Friday, 22 January 2010 03:04
ARMS dealer and key state witness in MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett’s treason
trial, Peter Michael Hitschmann, has told the High Court that he sold huge
amounts of ammunition to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Hitschmann told Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that the central bank was his
biggest client and that in one transaction he had sold 20 000 rounds of
ammunition to the bank.
Giving evidence last week, the ex-policeman accused the state — represented
by Attorney-General Johannes Tomana — of trying to “overdramatise” the
ammunition produced in court saying it was negligible as compared to what he
supplied to some of his clients, among them the RBZ.
It is the state case that Hitschmann supplied Bennett with arms of war to
destabilise the country. The arms dealer also allegedly implicated Bennett
through e-mails and confessions to state security agents of the plot to
Hitschmann denied implicating Bennett and Tomana has since made an
application to Bhunu to have him impeached.
The ex-policeman was jailed in 2006 for possessing firearms in a case
related to the Bennett matter.
“The state in both trials is seeking to overdramatise ... the quantities of
ammunition and we have invested much of the court’s time (on that). My
identification of certain ammunition by its calibre and quantity has no
bearing whatsoever on these proceedings,” Hitschmann told the court. “As a
firearms dealer it is permitted by law to hold any quantity of ammunition,
for example, I would estimate that a range of 6 000 to 7 000 rounds of
ammunition is not much. To put this into perspective may this honourable
court realise that one single large client of mine, namely the RBZ, would in
one single purchase acquire more that 20 000 rounds of ammunition.”
The arms dealer disowned six Uzi submachine guns the state produced in court
saying they were not in his possession when state security agents raided his
He said he needed protection for himself and his family if he was to recount
in court circumstances that led to him writing several statements in 2006
while in detention at Adams Barracks in Mutare.
He said: “I hope the court will bear with me, I do not want to recount the
detailed version of the torture that I went through, not at the hands of the
police. I will be very clear about that.”
He said apart from being in leg irons and handcuffs for 15 days without
being able to wash and with no medical treatment, the video shown in court
was filmed by “various people who tortured me”.
He said the very same people detained his wife and son and confiscated their
passports until late June 2006 without charges being laid against them.
Hitschmann said he was burnt on the “buttocks with cigarettes, kicking me in
the testicles and allowing me to urinate upon myself after having caused me
a head injury to the right temple and a blow to the left cheek”.
Tomana in his application for impeachment said “the allegation of torture is
not sustainable”. However, Hitschmann insisted that he made the statements
after he was tortured.
“I wrote several hand-written confessions during the night of the 6th to the
morning of the 7th March 2006. The police were not present. This has been
confirmed by them in their statements to the court during my trial. The
persons responsible for my torture and interrogation started drinking from
the moment we started through to the early hours of the morning,” the
“They dictated the theme of those false confessions. Although I was tortured
and in pain I was not drunk and my mind was very alert. I noted upon the
arrival of the first two police officers who were juniors that my
interrogators were in a hurry to go. I assisted them in building the papers
together as fast as I could with handcuffs on — all the time aware that in
their drunken stupor they omitted to get me to sign any of the statements.
This brings me to paragraph nine of the submissions which refer to the
detailed narration that I presented in the video,” Hitschmann explained.
He said because of the poor picture of the video the court was not able to
see that there was blood in his hair.
Hitschmann said: “My learned counsel madam (Florence) Ziyambi noticed that
when she came to Mutare. I will never forget that she at least tried to ask
what had happened to me but was then ultimately threatened and chased away
by the very same people and this one point is going to be a thorn in my
sight until I discover their identity.
“Your honour, can you believe that the same so-called intelligence agents
that ran this case refused to give any statement verbal or written? Is that
not amazing your honour when we are talking of allegations that involve
actions that allegedly endanger national security?”
Hitschmann was also keen to know why charges against the other co-accused
were dropped. Among those who were said to be co-accused were Minister Giles
Mutsekwa, MDC youths Thando Moyo, Wellington Tsuro, Jerry Maguta, Garikai
Chikutya, Patrick Nzungu and Alfred Chiukira.
Responding to the impeachment application by the state, Hitschmann said
Tomana in his submissions kept on referring to him as the accused and
convicted accomplice despite that Bennett was not part to his trial.
“Mr Roy Lesley Bennett was never involved in my trial and was only charged
strangely enough with the same charge that was brought against me, namely
possession of weapons with intent to commit acts of banditry, insurgency,
sabotage and terrorism while I was still in prison but close to completing
“I would be delighted if these firearms had been in the accused’s possession
but regrettably they were in my possession and he had nothing to do with
them being in my possession,” he said.
Hitschmann said Tomana had “deceived this honourable court and (squandered)
valuable time and resources and caused additional unnecessary stress when he
knew from the onset that I had nothing to contribute as far as the state’s
case against the accused” was concerned.
Justice Bhunu is expected to make a ruling on the impeachment application on
Thursday, 21 January 2010 23:30
IN a new twist to the corruption saga in the MDC-T, the party is engaged in
an attempt to foil a move to have two of its ministers put on the European
Union sanctions list for allegedly conniving with their Zanu PF counterparts
in corrupt activities.
Last week the Zimbabwe Independent broke a story in which three MDC-T
ministers - Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri, Home
Affairs co-minister Giles Mutsekwa and deputy Mines minister Murisi
Zwizwai - were named as having been under investigation by a party committee
for corrupt activities.
The party's information department has since strongly denied any involvement
by it ministers in corrupt activities.
Although it denies there is any such committee set up to expressly
investigate the three as originally reported, it has emerged that there has
been a campaign from within the party to have at least two of them - Mudzuri
and Zwizwai - put on the EU sanctions list which contains President Mugabe
and about 200 other top Zanu PF officials seen as benefiting from the
collapse of the Zimbabwean economy through, among other ills, corruption.
As the party prepares for its 2011 congress, insiders in the MDC-T say
infighting has given rise to the allegations. An MDC committee is currently
investigating corruption at the local government level and other officials
are investigating the British branch.
Zwizwai confirmed that there were attempts to place him, together with
Mudzuri, on the sanctions list, describing them as "a Nicodimous diplomatic
offensive" by some fellow MDC-T members.
"There has been a Nicodimous diplomatic offensive by some nocturnal
characters seeking to place myself, Elias Mudzuri and hence the party under
European Union sanctions," Zwizwai said.
"I have a strong feeling that (the) Nicodimous is not from Zanu PF because
Europe will not give an ear to that party. I am confident that MDC will
unmask (the) Nicodimous sooner than later for the good of the public and the
party," he said in a signed statement in response to questions put forward
by the Zimbabwe Independent.
Some Western embassies and EU legislators confirmed that senior MDC-T
members had approached them urging the placement of the two on the sanctions
list. Sources said the Americans were independently investigating the
infighting in MDC-T and also the allegations of corruption.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T is preparing a response to be presented at the African
Caribbean Pacific/European Union joint parliamentary assembly in Brussels
denouncing claims that Zwizwai was conniving with his boss, Obert Mpofu, in
corrupt activities, emanating from the way Mbada Diamonds was allowed to
mine Chiadzwa diamonds without going to tender.
The issue was first raised at a ACP/EU parliamentary sitting in Luanda held
at the end of November last year by two legislators, one each from the
Netherlands and Germany, who said they were concerned about Zwizwai's
alleged involvement in corruption in the Chiadzwa diamonds.
MDC-T Matobo Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa confirmed in a telephone interview
from Matobo that the issue was going to be discussed at a meeting in
Brussels between January 25 and 29 but said she was not aware of any
intentions to put Zwizwai on the sanctions list.
"Yes I am going to make a presentation on the issue relating to the deputy
minister and I am waiting for the response which is being prepared in
Harare. The issue raised in Luanda was on the Marange diamonds and they
wanted to know about the human rights abuses and they also wanted to know
the involvement of the deputy minister in corruption in Marange," she said.
Mlotshwa said the two MPs from the Netherlands and Germany were worried that
MDC members were already engaging in corrupt activities at such an early
stage in government.
"The allegations were that the deputy minister was involved in corruption
and we are going to present something saying the contrary and that we have
proven that he is not involved in any corruption in Marange. The MDC is
going to respond to the issue so that they know that there are no elements
of corruption in our party," she said.
Last week MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said Mudzuri, Mutsekwa and
Zwizwai were not being investigated by the party for any corrupt activities.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 23:24
THE High Court has ordered the attachment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
property after it failed to pay US$2m for tractors it bought under its farm
mechanisation programme in 2008.
Justice Tedias Karwi granted an order last December compelling the central
bank to pay US$2,1 million to Farmtec Spares and Implements, failure of
which would result in the attachment of RBZ property.
Lawyer Davison Kanokanga of Kanokanga & Associates approached the High Court
on behalf of Farmtec and was granted the order after the RBZ had admitted
that it owed the company money for the tractors supplied.
According to court papers, the RBZ placed an order of 150 tractors with
Farmtec through the Farm Mechanisation and the Agricultural Support
In October 2008, Farmtec delivered 60 tractors valued at US$2,1million and
the remaining 90 were to be delivered upon the RBZ's payment of the initial
Kanokanga said, in the application, despite numerous calls of demand, the
RBZ "has either failed, or neglected to pay the plaintiff the US$2 100 011
due", which forced Farmtec to approach the court for reprieve.
According to records at the High Court, a letter to the sheriff or the
deputy sheriff to attach RBZ movable goods of the value of US$2,1 million
has already been issued.
The letter says Farmtec is entitled to the money which it recovered by way
of a judgment of the High Court dated December 9 2009.
The sheriff was directed to take possession of the bank's fixed assets in
the event of failing to find movable goods.
The writ of execution listed five fixed RBZ assets in Kariba, Mutare and
The assets include stand number 548 in Kariba measuring 2 927 square metres
registered under the deed of transfer number 11464/89, a stand in Harare's
Greendale measuring 1,6 hectares and registered under deeds of transfer
number 5017/83 and another stand number 17613 of Harare Township registered
under deed of transfer number 2486/98.
Other properties are stand number 82 Umtali (Mutare) measuring 1 487 square
meters and registered as deed number 10541/97 and a plot number 138 of Rodel
Township measuring 1,9 hectares registered under deed number 1449/94.
By yesterday it was not clear whether the sheriff had managed to attach any
Kanokanga said he had not yet received a return of service document from the
sheriff and he would not know what has been attached so far.
The central bank ran many quasi-fiscal operations to bust sanctions.
The facilities that the RBZ created in its numerous quasi-fiscal activities
included the Productive Sector Facility, Basic Commodity Supply Side
Intervention, Local Authorities Reorientation Programme, the Farm
Mechanisation Programme and the Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility
which were all financed by printing money.
But with the dollarisation of the economy last January, printing money was
rendered useless and the central bank's lifeblood dried up leaving RBZ
governor Gideon Gono with no option but to turn to the treasury for funding.
Gono's empire started crumbling around him at the inception of the
multi-currency system last January which relegated the worthless Zimbabwe
dollar to the dustbin, marking the beginning of the fall of the RBZ and its
The Farmtec lawsuit is one of several cases against the beleaguered lender
of last resort.
The RBZ blames the treasury for under-funding the bank. Finance minister
Tendai Biti has refused to adequately fund the bank arguing that there was
need for reforms at the bank and that there was need to clip the governor's
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:32
ZANU PF is reportedly blocking key reforms designed to speed-up the full
implementation of the global political agreement (GPA). This comes as the
two MDC formations have been accused of being complicit in the whole problem
by allowing President Robert Mugabe and his lieutenants to circumvent issues
contained in the political agreement.
This week, the constitution-making process, the most crucial step that the
country had taken towards stability, peace and democracy, was put on ice
amid reports that some elements in Zanu PF were determined to derail the
process and force the adoption of the Kariba draft constitution as the main
Over the past month senior Zanu PF officials have gone public to denounce
the planned land audit with Agriculture minister Joseph Made this week
saying it was premature to undertake the exercise. Made said sanctions
should be lifted first before the audit could take place.
Progress on negotiations to resolve outstanding issues of the GPA have been
at a snail's pace. The talks failed to resume on Saturday because one of the
two Zanu PF negotiators, Nicholas Goche, was supposedly out of the country.
The secretive negotiations reportedly started on Wednesday with no progress
Zanu PF first tried to derail the constitution-making process last July when
its members and war veterans disrupted an all-stakeholders conference at the
The Zanu PF supporters became violent and forced delegates to scuttle for
cover as they threw chairs and overturned tables at the conference venue.
Last week, there was near pandemonium at the Harare International Conference
Centre when Zanu PF supporters disrupted a workshop of outreach teams and
threatened delegates with violence if the party's choice of collating teams
were not approved.
Zanu PF, sources said, is pushing for the engagement of civil servants for
the data collation process, a move being opposed by the MDC formations.
The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) said it had also delayed
the deployment of outreach teams because they discovered that some people
had fraudulently been accredited and trained.
The majority of those fraudulently accredited, the sources said, were
members of the Zanu PF women's league.
Unconfirmed media reports were that some Zanu PF members and war veterans in
rural areas were intimidating people calling for the adoption of the Kariba
draft as the new constitution.
The Kariba draft was crafted in 2007 between Zanu PF and the MDC formations.
On another front Zanu PF, which agreed in the GPA that there should be a
land audit to determine the use of the vast tracts of land that have been
grabbed from white commercial farmers, has made a U-turn on the matter and
is agitating for the shelving of the audit.
Made on Wednesday said Zanu PF was suspicious of the intention of the land
audit and wanted it shelved. He said there was no justification to blame new
farm owners for grabbing land which they were not capable of utilising
because they had not been given everything they needed in order to be
"We might be wrong to say that there are large tracts of land lying idle.
They (farmers) need to be capacitated and sanctions need to be removed,"
The purpose of the land audit, according to the GPA, is among other things,
to flush out multiple farm owners, to find and reallocate idle land and to
determine what kind of assistance the new farmers needed.
Zanu PF however believes the land audit is a ploy by "detractors of the
programme to reverse the gains of the land reform".
The party's militant war veterans have sworn to resist the audit demanding
that the money earmarked for the programme be used to assist new farmers
with inputs and other needs.
The crucial talks to settle the outstanding GPA issues have had to be
postponed for weeks because the Zanu PF negotiating team is, for one reason
or another, unavailable.
Negotiators last met last year and took a holiday break without resolving
any of the key conflict issues. Sources close to the talks say Mugabe's
party was not in a hurry to bring GPA issues to finality and in fact there
were elements in the party that were determined to reverse the whole
"Zanu PF wants to take the country back to 2008. Their reason is that they
are clear in their minds that any process that may lead to elections is
against them because they cannot win any election in the foreseeable
future," a senior MDC official said, adding the party's national council
was expected to meet at the weekend to deal with these issues. "They will
scuttle the constitution, delay or totally derail the talks, block the land
audit while physically bringing back violence out in the countryside."
The MDC has since accused Zanu PF of using delaying tactics to thwart any
progress aimed at fulfilling the GPA in full.
The unresolved issues that are still keeping the government partners apart
include the unilateral appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono which the MDC want revoked.
The two MDC formations also want to share provincial governors, something
that Zanu-PF has reneged on. Mugabe has also refused to swear in Roy
Bennett, currently on trial for terrorism-related charges, as the deputy
minister of Agriculture.
However since the signing of the GPA the agenda of outstanding issues has
grown to 27 items, but 16 of the issues are said to have been agreed on
while the remaining 11 are subject to negotiation.
Zanu PF has remained adamant on issues pertaining to national security with
revelations that the Joint Operations Command (JOC) was still meeting while
the National Security Council which replaced JOC has only met once despite
provisions in the GPA for the council to meet once a month.
Tsvangirai does not attend JOC meetings, but he is expected to attend
meetings of the National Security Council.
Zanu PF has deliberately slowed down the full implementation of the GPA
through Mugabe who has delayed the operationalisation of four constitutional
commissions, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the Human Rights
Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Anti-Corruption
Despite the naming of the commissioners, there has been no movement to swear
in the commissions which are expected to spearhead reforms in their chosen
The 15-nation Sadc bloc brokered an accord in September 2008 that resulted
in Mugabe and Tsvangirai forming an unsteady power sharing government.
However, since that time Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the MDC-M have
accused Mugabe of violating terms of the agreement.
Tsvangirai last year temporarily withdrew his party from the coalition
government in protest at Mugabe's intransigence but reversed his decision a
month later following talks mediated by Sadc.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:29
A HARARE publishing consultant Roger Stringer has challenged Speaker of
Parliament Lovemore Moyo to clarify the selection process of nominees to the
Zimbabwe Media Commission after accusing legislators of political
horse-trading during the exercise. In a letter written to Moyo on January 4,
Stringer claimed that he had been dropped from the final list of nominees
submitted to President Robert Mugabe to accommodate Zanu PF politicians.
Stringer, according to the letter, first expressed his concerns to MDC-T
Senator Obert Gutu, who chaired a panel of interviewers for the
constitutional body. Gutu reportedly referred him to Moyo.
The speaker chairs the parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee
(SROC) that was tasked to carry out the public interviews last August.
"I am therefore now writing to protest about the way in which the above
process has been handled by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee of
parliament," reads Stringer's letter. "Although it had been promoted as an
objective, independent process, it appears to have ended up being
politically driven. As a participant in that process who had no
party-political affiliation and trusted that it would be conducted in a
professional manner, I believe that not only I but the Zimbabwean public as
a whole are owed an explanation of what took place."
Following the interviews at Parliament Building, media reports were that
Stringer had ranked sixth out of the 27 candidates that were vying for
nomination onto the ZMC.
SROC, according to the constitution, was required to submit 12 applicants to
the president who would then appoint eight commissioners.
Mugabe last month appointed former ZBC newscaster Godfrey Majonga as
chairperson of ZMC deputised by ex-Daily News editor Nqobile Nyathi.
Others appointed to the commission were Millicent Mombeshora, Miriam
Madziwa, former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Mathew Takaona and
journalism lecturer Lawton Hikwa.
Former Zimbabwe ambassador to China Chris Mutsvangwa, who was reported to
have failed to make it to the final list, was also appointed to the
commission amid claims that Zanu PF had lodged a complaint against the
original list saying is was "fraudulent".
"While I am aware that parliament was under no legal obligation to follow
the procedures that it chose, the fact remains that the SROC undertook to
invite members of the public to be considered for nomination according to a
specified selection process," Stringer wrote.
Moyo did not respond to written questions from the Zimbabwe Independent on
Stringer's case, although on Wednesday he had acknowledged receipt of
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:24
THE Ministry of Energy and Power Development intends to transform the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) into a regulatory board, shedding
its fuel distribution role. The proposal to restructure Noczim to eliminate
the conflict of roles by separating regulatory functions from service
provision is now before cabinet committees for approval.
Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri confirmed the
developments and told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the main aim
was to form an independent distribution company for all petroleum products.
"The need to restructure came after several companies complained that Noczim
was holding onto their fuel for long periods after taking delivery. So we
need to set up an independent distribution company that would not be
involved with marketing of the products," said Mudzuri.
He said it was critical for Noczim to be a regulatory board and not to have
a hand in distribution.
Several players in the oil sector have been calling for an overhaul of
Noczim to transform it into a regulatory board overseeing the petroleum
industry instead of maintaining its dual role of importing and distribution
fuel while at the same time controlling competition.
Noczim's responsibilities encompass both the distribution of petroleum
products and the regulation of the fuel industry.
Under the Medium Term Plan (MTP) government outlined several policy measures
it hopes would prop up the struggling energy sector that is facing "ageing
and obsolete equipment and poor state of infrastructure".
In improving the energy sector, government would "finalise and adopt the
draft National Energy Policy, review property rights laws to attract foreign
direct investment in the infrastructure sector and review regulatory
framework governing energy and enforcement of issues of quality assurance".
In a bid to attract investment to the energy sector, government plans to
"take inventory of all stalled projects" and new projects would be embarked
on after completion of the prioritised projects.
Completion of the rehabilitation of Feruka Oil Refinery and increased use of
the pipeline is identified as one of the major projects.
"Effective importation of liquid fuels will be promoted by ensuring that all
petroleum products are brought into the country by rail and through the
In that regard, once normality has been restored in the transport sector,
restrictive levies will be charged to fuel importers using road," reads part
of the document.
Once Feruka pipeline is fully operational, downstream fuel receiving and
dispatch facilities would be built countrywide.
Mudzuri said several Middle East countries including Iran have "shown great
interest" in rehabilitating Feruka pipeline but have not "come up with firm
plans for consideration".
Zimbabwe imports all its liquid fuel requirements. The estimated monthly
demand is 105 million litres of diesel, 90 million litres petrol and 15
million litres jet fuel. The transport sector consumes 60% and the
agricultural sector 13% of the petroleum products.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:22
THE trial of Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive officer
Andrew Matibiri on allegations of criminal abuse of power that was supposed
to be heard at the Mbare Magistrates court on Tuesday has been moved to
February 16 after a state witness failed to turn up. Matibiri is being
charged with criminal abuse of power as a public officer as defined in the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he allegedly illegally
allocated himself eight growers' numbers which allowed him to sell tobacco
without the authority of the TIMB board.
It is the state's case that sometime last year Matibiri allegedly allocated
himself eight growers' numbers and sold 1,8 million kg of tobacco belonging
to Saltlakes Holdings.
Saltlakes Holdings is a company owned by controversial Zanu PF Mashonaland
West secretary for lands Temba Mliswa who is into tobacco farming.
According to the state, the tobacco did not meet the requirements of the
board and was from the previous season.
Matibiri is alleged to have abused his powers to save Saltlakes from a
possible loss by deceiving his employer.
The main witness and complainant in the matter, TIMB chairperson Njodzi
Machirori, did not turn up for the trial resulting in the postponement of
Court papers show that Machirori told the police that Matibiri had flouted
procedures that were to be followed in processing growers' numbers.
"Every farmer must have one grower's number with the approval of TIMB. The
30th of October every year is the deadline for registration with TIMB of
every person who needs to grow tobacco in the country," read the papers.
Matibiri, the state alleged, allocated himself grower numbers 120458,
157161, 157341, 157849, 159019 and 159446.
This, the state averred, was contrary to expectations from a public officer
as the tobacco from Mliswa's company had failed to sale on the auction floor
because it was from the previous season.
Tobacco from the previous season, the court papers read, should not be sold
on the auction floor but should be kept by the farmer with the approval of
TIMB which outlines conditions under which tobacco should be kept.
Fanuel Madanire is representing the state.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:17
AFTER several months of dilly-dallying, political haggling and horse
trading, Zimbabwe's inclusive government last December finally constituted
the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), which is expected to lead media
reforms, call for and process applications for new newspapers, and for radio
and television stations. The composition of the ZMC commissioners was
finally agreed to by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and announced in
December amid claims that some candidates such as Useni Sibanda and Roger
Stringer, who had performed exceptionally well, were dropped in a political
Former ZBC newscaster and Danhiko Project deputy director, Godfrey Majonga,
was appointed chairperson of the commission.
Majonga is deputised by former Daily News editor and National University of
Science and Technology (Nust) lecturer Nqobile Nyathi.
The other commissioners are lawyer Chris Mhike, former Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) president Matthew Takaona, former ZBC chief executive
officer Henry Muradzikwa, Reserve Bank division head Milicent Mombeshora,
Nust lecturer Lawton Hikwa and journalist Miriam Madziwa.
The composition of the commission by members from across the political
divide was welcomed by many.
High hopes were raised as Zimbabweans waited for the commission to start
work immediately, as agreed by the negotiating teams that ZMC shall upon
swearing in immediately process all applications for media licences that are
pending, and develop and flight adverts calling upon interested parties to
apply for media licences.
However, almost a year after the amendment of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), which established the ZMC that replaced
the Tafataona Mahoso-led Media Information Commission (MIC), the new body
has not started processing applications from new media players.
Last year the public had to wait for four months after interviews were
conducted, raising concerns over the three political parties' commitment
towards establishing a free and diverse media.
Confusion reigns over whether the media commissioners are expected to be
sworn in by President Mugabe or not, while the issue of the setting up of
offices and a secretariat for the ZMC will further delay the licensing of
Questions are also being asked on whether a new statutory instrument will be
required to operationalise the ZMC.
Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Jameson Timba told the
Zimbabwe Independent this week that the commissioners would not be sworn in
but would receive letters from Mugabe before their appointment is gazetted.
"The ZMC commissioners are awaiting appointment letters from President
Mugabe and once the letters have been written the appointments will be
gazetted," Timba said. "The commissioners will then start work and receive
applications from new media players seeking to register newspapers and
Mugabe is currently on his annual leave and is expected to officially
appoint the commissioners when he returns to office next month.
Timba said there was no legal instrument required to operationalise ZMC as
that was done through the amendment of Aippa in January 2008.
"Aippa was amended in 2008 and the amended Act recognised the ZMC. the ZMC
is a recognised entity at law," Timba said.
However there were no significant amendments made to Aippa which guide the
operations of the ZMC.
It has also emerged that there are no offices ready for use by the ZMC as
the offices previously housing the MIC are now occupied and rented by the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
ZUJ secretary general, Foster Dongozi, said delays in setting up the ZMC
were disappointing but said they were expected under the inclusive
"The delay in setting up the ZMC is nothing unexpected from having observed
the direction the global political agreement (GPA) has taken," Dongozi said.
"In terms of fully implementing the agreement it is not surprising that the
ZMC is not in place but what is worrying is the lack of movement in
constituting the ZMC to register new newspapers," he said.
He said ZUJ was calling on the authorities to facilitate that the ZMC gets
to work and serve the media industry.
Turning to the enabling legislation, Dongozi said the new commission would
operate under the amended Aippa as the amended law recognises the ZMC.
"While changes to Aippa were cosmetic and not detailed, they however cover
the setting up of ZMC and allow the body to operate in the country and as
media organisations, we expect the commission to get to work soon," Dongozi
Media Institute of Southern Africa national director Nhlanhla Ngwenya said
delays in officially appointing the ZMC were slowing down establishment of
new media players.
"The official appointing of the commissioners is causing delays in the
registration of new media players and those banned by the government and
what this means is that by extension Zimbabwe will remain with the
unreliable state- owned newspapers and broadcasting stations," Ngwenya said.
Zanu PF has included the media as an outstanding issue in unresolved GPA
issues. Zanu PF has argued that foreign stations and online publications
operating from out of the country and operated by Zimbabweans should cease
operations and apply for licences locally.
Organisations that broadcast into Zimbabwe are the Voice of America's Studio
7, SW Radio Africa and the Voice of the People.
Zanu PF also wants donor-funded publications that include Prime Minister
Tsvangirai's weekly newspaper, the Prime Minister's Newsletter, the MDC's
Changing Times and the Legal Monitor to be banned.
However ZUJ and Misa have indicated that they would not support a statutory
board to control the media but would only support a voluntary and
self-regulatory media council.
The organisations have however said they would support the government
controlled constitutional body while media reforms are taking place.
While the pace of setting up the ZMC and appointing the commissioners has
been moving at a snail's pace, there are also concerns that former MIC chief
executive officer, Tafataona Mahoso (below) is tipped to become the new
chief executive officer of the ZMC.
Mahoso led the MIC in shutting down many newspapers such as the Daily News
and its sister paper the Daily News on Sunday, the Tribune and a number of
radio and television broadcasting stations.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:43
A COUNTRY’S constitution is supposed to be immortal and should be crafted to
benefit future generations. It should never be written to deal with current
political problems. In Zimbabwe the inclusive government embarked on a
constitution-making process last April and the outreach programme has been
postponed indefinitely after a six-month delay due to financial constraints
and disagreements among the three political parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC
For some people, a new constitution was seen as an enabling tool to hold
free and fair elections within two years, while to others in civic society,
the process was an opportunity for a people-driven process to replace the
Lancaster House Constitution, which critics say has been manipulated by
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF to hold on to power. It has already been
amended 19 times in 30 years.
But to another group of people resisting the reforms, a new constitution was
seen as a weapon to limit Mugabe’s powers.
However, as the country prepares to embark on the outreach programme,
analysts are concerned at the way the process is being done.
They have raised questions on whether the views of the ordinary Zimbabweans
would be captured and how the proposed talking points would impact on the
process and its outcome.
Concerns have also been brought up relating to the type of questions the
Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac) came up with at a workshop held
in Harare last week.
Analysts interviewed by the Zimbabwe Independent felt that the questions
were aimed at manipulating the views of the people during the
Said political analyst with the African Reform Institute Trevor Maisiri: “My
concern is that the talking points must not be leading questions which will
then force people into a certain notion prescribed by the way the question
Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure
says his greatest fear was that people would not be speaking about the
constitution but the prevailing political crisis.
“It’s not going to be about an ideal constitution. The whole process will be
personalised. The danger inherent in the process is that it is being done
under a deeply polarised environment. This might end up being a symbolic
process. There are already fixed views or partisan views seeking approval,”
Another political analyst Takura Zhangazha concurred when he said the
process was largely driven by the partisan interests of the three political
parties, with a compliant civil society that would side with one of the
three parties’ partisan agendas.
“The civil society role will be to sanitise this particular process but it
is fairly lucid that they all have their patent political biases that will
be conveniently manipulated by all of the three political parties,
especially the MDC-T,” he said.
“So the process is reflective of the partisan and competing interests of the
three political principles of the global political agreement. Where any
member of Copac wishes to differ with the former, they will be whipped into
line just as has been the case when parliament passed Constitutional
A constitutional lawyer, who has been leading a parallel constitution-making
process through his organisation, the National Constitutional Assembly,
Lovemore Madhuku, said the questions did not encourage debate. Instead of
coming up with a host of leading questions, Madhuku said Copac should engage
people in debate by asking general questions that encourage discussions.
“Leading questions undermine the process. They should be asking questions
like what they want to see in a new constitution and what they find
problematic in the way they have been governed. The referendum is going to
be about the current situation and not the wishes and ideals of the people,”
Just looking at the 17 questions that are being proposed by the thematic
committee which looked at the arms of the state and principles on the
separation of powers, they do not give an impression that people will be
able to express their aspirations on the new constitution.
Copac has come up with questions such as: who should be head of state? Do we
need an executive president or prime minister? Should the head of state be
head of cabinet, judiciary and the legislature? Should the head of state be
commander-in-chief of the defence forces? Should there be mechanisms for
recalling the head of state/prime minister? And how is he or she elected
Zhangazha said the questions were raising similar issues of who in the GPA
has executive power –– the prime minister or the president.
“This means the constitutional reform process is similar to another round of
power sharing negotiations except without the Sadc mediators until towards
the end where we must again expect disagreement on the issue of executive
power and perhaps elections regulator frameworks,” he said.
Masunungure pointed out that some of the questions were quite technical,
leaving doubt on an average Zimbabwean’s ability to give an informed
“Unless there is a mechanism for explaining to the layman the meaning behind
the talking points, it will be difficult to get an informed and
knowledgeable response. If we are not careful we would end up with an
elite-centred process capturing the views of the elite in rural areas who
are the teachers and other civil servants,” he said.
Masunungure proposed that Copac simplifies the questions, making the talking
points understandable to average Zimbabweans so that they can give more
meaningful and informed responses.
The analysts interviewed believed that not enough civic education has been
done to ensure that most ordinary people participate from a knowledgeable
and informed point of view. Maisiri challenged Copac to embark on a massive
civic education drive before the outreach teams are sent out.
“What you will realise is that there are a lot of pockets of people in
Zimbabwe who are not aware of the centrality of the constitution and its
essence. So there should be civic education around that before the reform
process is commenced,” he said. “Before the outreach teams go out, the
talking points must be made public so that people think about them way in
advance before the outreach.”
In support Madhuku said the outreach should be done in the form of workshops
where concepts are explained first until people understand so that debate is
generated from the basis of knowledge.
This outreach process, he said, should not be hurried but should be done
over a period of more than a year. Madhuku doubted that all the individuals
involved in the outreach teams fully understood the concepts and terms.
“How can you say you trained people over three days? There is no mechanism
to check whether they even grasped what they need to do,” he said.
Masunungure concurred when he said he did not think the more than 600 people
in the outreach teams would contribute meaningfully to the process.
“The American constitution was written by 65 people. The outreach process is
a symbolic thing to say that we consulted. I am very sceptical. I have
serious doubts that the process will still be completed by October. I
believe that they will be consulting then,” he said.
Maisiri is worried about whether the process would be 100% foolproof.
“Who will ensure that the captured information complies with what the people
would have said? Who would also handle the final document in terms of
writing it before it goes to the referendum? Will there be enough time and
capacity at the second stakeholders’ conference to verify the input into the
final document?” questions Maisiri.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:23
DESPITE the inclusive government making great strides in improving the
economy since its formation last February, Zimbabwe failed to impress
internationally and was last year ranked lowly in the highly-acclaimed 2010
Index of Economic Freedom.
The Index of Economic Freedom ranks countries according to criteria that
assess a country's economic openness, trade and the efficiency of domestic
regulators, freedom from corruption, property rights and the rule of law.
Zimbabwe was ranked 178 out of 179 countries assessed in the report compiled
by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. The
report was released on Wednesday this week.
In 2008, Zimbabwe was in the same position.
The index measures economic freedom within 10 specific categories: labour
freedom, business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government
spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property
rights and freedom from corruption. Scores in these categories are averaged
to create an overall score.
Political and economic analysts in Zimbabwe were quick to say that despite
the progress by the inclusive government there were many contributory issues
which weighed down on the country's economic freedom rating.
Economist Eric Bloch said factors that affected the economic performance of
the country include the failure by the government to protect property rights
and the lack of rule of law.
"Government has been doing nothing to protect property rights; there is no
rule of law in the country, farm invasions are still taking place,
corruption is rampant and government is still regulating some sectors of the
economy like labour and all these things add to lack of economic freedom,"
Bloch said the scarcity of foreign currency in the country also contributed
to lack of economic freedom.
Political analyst Lovemore Madhuku however said Zimbabwe had bad policies
but said it would be unfair to say the country was only ahead of North Korea
on the list.
"Zimbabwe has very bad laws and it is a bad country and that is accepted by
everyone, but to have the country last on a world survey will be unfair
because there are other worse-off countries," Madhuku said.
Madhuku said it was accepted that the country has no rule of law and has bad
economic policies but said he needed to analyse the indicators used.
Unstable countries and those at war were not surveyed.
Hong Kong was ranked first in the world and the compilers of the report said
it remained the world's freest place to do business.
Singapore was ranked second while Australia and New Zealand were third and
fourth. Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, the US, Denmark and Chile complete the
list's top 10.
"Zimbabwe's score has decreased by 1,3 points from last year, reflecting
notable declines in trade freedom, freedom from corruption and investment
freedom. Zimbabwe is ranked 46th out of 46 countries in the sub-Saharan
Africa region and is the world's second least economically-free country,"
reads part of the report.
"The Zimbabwean economy performs poorly and is characterised by instability
and volatility, both hallmarks of excessive government involvement. Economic
policy is overly influenced by political considerations and state
interference. The country's previously established economic infrastructure
has crumbled under a tyrannical and oppressive regime. Zimbabwe's economic
climate has become increasingly hostile to foreign investment. The financial
system, which suffers from repeated crises is failing."
Making the bottom list with Zimbabwe on the Index of Economic Freedom are
Cuba and North Korea ranked 177 and 179 respectively.
Of the 179 countries graded in this year's Index, only seven scored 80 or
higher, the rating necessary to qualify as having a "free" economy. Another
23 earned 70-79,9 points, ratings that characterise them as "mostly free".
Fifty-eight economies are classified as "moderately free" (with scores
between 60 and 69,9), while 55 are classified as "mostly unfree" (scores
from 50 to 59,9). The remaining 36 economies are classified as "repressed"
(scores below 50).
"The 2010 Index provides strong evidence that economic freedom has
far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development.
Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable
social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability,"
the report said.
Economies classified as free or mostly free also do a much better job
promoting human development, reducing poverty and protecting the
environment. The editors found strong correlations between levels of
economic freedom and these economic and social variables.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:21
FORMER Premier Bank chief executive officer Exodus Makumbe has made a
takeover bid for NDH Equities, businessdigest has learnt. It is understood
Makumbe began a due diligence examination into the company last week.
Speculation is also rife that Makumbe is eyeing NDH Holdings, believed to be
facing recapitalisation challenges.
Market sources say Makumbe, who left Premier Bank in 2008, could make a
comeback into the financial services sector.
NDH Merchant Bank, another subsidiary of NDH Holdings, last year failed to
meet a half payment of the US$7,5 million prescribed minimum capital
requirements that were set by the Reserve Bank. Financial institutions are
expected to fully comply with the statutory requirements this April.
Efforts to get comment from Makumbe proved fruitless as he was reportedly
outside the country. No comment could also be drawn from NDH.
"Makumbe is seeking a control of NDH," said one source. "The deal is
expected to be a reprieve for the company which is yet to meet the minimum
Last November, Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono speaking on the status of the
banking sector said he was "satisfied" that the merchant bank would
adequately capitalise "upon full implementation of the capitalisation
strategies" that were then underway.
"With effect from 1 January 2010, every banking institution shall be
required to have finalised the capitalisation of non-distributable reserves
to ensure their capital components are in conformity with the applicable
banking laws and regulations as well as international best norms," said
The move, sources said, could be linked to last year's decision by NDH
shareholders to raise US$10 million capital through a private placement for
the merchant bank.
Under this private placement, a new investor was expected to invest US$10
million while NDH surrendered about 40 million shares. NDH received a
merchant bank licence from the central bank in 2008 and operates NDH
Discount House and NDH Equities.
Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen
whether CFX and ZABG will meet the capital requirements after failing to
meet part of the requirements last September.
Bernard Mpofu/Chris Muronzi
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:20
A NEW year always brings a fresh spell of optimism. It is widely expected it
to be much better, in every respect, than the one before it. This year is no
exception with anticipation high that the global economy will fully recover
from the financial crisis. The recovery first became apparent around
September 2009 when countries such as Japan and German posted positive
quarterly economic growth rates after many months of recession.
The global recovery appears to be right on track as reflected by rising
commodity prices and the rally in world stocks.
After succumbing to huge losses in 2008 the gold price recovered by 26% in
2009 to US$1 103,3 an ounce on dollar weakness. Platinum prices gained 65,5%
on anticipated improvements in the car industry while crude oil more than
doubled in price to US$77,91 per barrel because of reduced supply from
Industrial metals such as copper and nickel are also in the ascendancy,
which could be a reflection of a revival in the manufacturing sector giving
further credence to the idea that recession is receding.
Major markets posted big gains driven by anticipated turnaround in the
global economy and improving quarterly earnings for some companies. The Dow
Jones was up 18,8%, a growth it last achieved in 2003, while a 22% gain on
the FTSE 100 was last attained in 1997. The pair of JSE All Share and Nikkei
225 grew by 28% and 19%, correspondingly.
Excitement about a recovery in the world economy is being tempered by the
slow response in the job market. Since the recession began in 2007 the US,
which is the world's largest economy, has lost more than seven million jobs.
US President Barack Obama in December met bank chiefs and asked them to
increase lending to businesses in order for them to create more jobs. Banks
in the US and in other developed countries were bailed out by taxpayers'
money and are expected to reciprocate this gesture.
The performance of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange last year was in tandem with
the world markets although the fundamentals at play locally were different.
Industrials ended the year 52% up while resources were much stronger, adding
85,5% to prices prevailing on February 19 when the market started trading in
The market was driven higher by anticipated economic resurgence after the
formation of the inclusive government and the subsequent replacement of
Zimbabwe dollars with multiple currencies. A radical shift in economic
policy initiated after the setting up of a shared government helped some
companies to restart operations.
The market evidently performed far ahead of fundamentals as the companies,
although they increased capacity to estimated 35%-50%, were, and still are,
in the red.
Operating expenses increased faster than revenues being pushed by high
tariffs on utilities and pressure from unions for salary increases. As a
result most companies posted substantial top-line growth but went on to lose
This trend is likely to continue into the New Year because companies are
still hamstrung by lack of capital in their bid to ramp up production to
break-even levels. It has already become clear that debt capital will not
come easily and companies are increasingly turning to equity financing.
Recent experience has shown that existing shareholders do not have the cash
to put into companies. For instance, underwriters took up 38, 46% in the
African Sun's rights issue while for CFX the subscription rate was barely
2%. This also shows that even raising capital through equity is difficult in
this environment unless prospects are rosy enough to get external investors
to chip in.
That notwithstanding, the ZSE was fairly firm in the second week of January
on the backdrop of rising interest from foreign investors. Whereas the first
week of January was quiet the second one has been hectic. Investors started
piling into the market when the reduced transaction costs were effected on
January 11. It is rather early to describe the ongoing rally as the
beginning of a bull-run in the absence of major fundamental improvements in
the economy. If anything this market is expected to be very volatile with
intermittent rallies being followed by bouts of profit taking because of
high political risk. Barring a miracle, most of the outstanding issues on
the political agreement could remain outstanding by Christmas time.
Corporate actions in 2010 will be dominated by capital raising exercises
which should benefit corporate finance houses. The lack of liquidity in the
market does not augur well for new listings although it will be good to have
one or two this year. The last initial public offering that the market had
was ZECO in 2008. This year is promising after the reverse listing of TN
Holdings in a transaction which culminated in the removal of Tedco from the
ZSE board. The evident manipulation of the price on the listing day was
needless though. The counter listed at 6c. It is currently trading at 2, 8c.
In 2010 the Securities & Exchange Commission and or the ZSE committee,
should deal decisively with unfair trading practices if they are to restore
the integrity of the market.
In conclusion this year is not expected to be very different from the one
before it. Most companies will barely break even because of lack of capital
and the ZSE will be a volatile stock pickers' market.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:18
EARLY last year, Delta chief executive officer Joe Mutizwa announced to the
market his intention to sell the group’s shareholding in Ariston Holdings.
His announcement came a few months after political rivals, President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had made up and decided to get
into a union.
The economy had also been dollarised, a move that brought price stability.
Delta’s announcement early into unity government seemed surprising given
Ariston had been the company’s foreign currency source at the height of an
A few months after Mutizwa’s assertion, other companies hinted on the same
route –– exiting non-core businesses.
Imara Asset management CEO John Legat believes the year 2010 could be back
to the basics for Zimbabwean companies.
Already, African Banking Corporation Holdings (ABCH) has joined the
corporate bunch of companies wanting to stick to what they do best.
An economic crisis characterised by high inflation and foreign exchange
shortages saw companies preserving value through acquisitions of non-core
Cash-rich institutions such as mobile phone group Econet Wireless picked up
some valuable non-core businesses during the crisis. Econet snapped up
significant shareholding in the then First Mutual Limited and Mutare
Bottling Corporation, among other priced tokens.
Although market speculation last year was rife that Econet was selling its
cast away bottling company, the group later said it was not selling it to
just any investor. And this year Econet seems to be in no hurry to sell.
ABCH CEO Douglas Munatsi says the group is also divesting out of
non-financial holdings including 22,3% shareholding in Starafrica, 14,5% in
PG Industries Zimbabwe and another 30% in PG Botswana.
Munatsi said: “We are in the process of disposing our Starafrica shares. The
sale will be complete by end of February. We will sell to investors with the
company’s interest at heart and who will be able to work with our partners
in Starafrica where we have an in interest in non-core business.”
Although Munatsi did not say when the group intends to sell its shares in
PG, Legat says many business models in Zimbabwe do not work.
He says there is “little or no synergy between subsidiaries of a company”.
Legat explains: “Operationally, doing business has become considerably
easier under dollarisation… (this) implies that good management will
quickly spot any inefficiencies in their business models and take
appropriate action. “Many business models in Zimbabwe simply do not work in
the new dollarised and competitive environment, but managed to get by in a
less competitive and inflationary environment. Such companies could well be
those whose models were built on import-substitution products.”
Legat believes businesses like these will be closed, sold or remodelled.
“Often there may be little synergy or correlation between each business,
largely because group structure was a product of history, driven by former
mergers or economic imperatives,” says Legat.
In companies where there is “little or no synergy” between the subsidiaries
of a company, Legat hopes it would make more sense to unbundle.
This he says, plays out well for major shareholders willing to remain
invested in both businesses while allowing management of a holding company
to focus on the core business of the group.
“It further allows management of the spun-off division to act
Internationally, the unbundling by US cigarette and food group Altria of
first Kraft in 2007) and then Philip Morris International (in 2008) had
demonstrated the advantages of the approach, Imara noted.
This will not be a new business move for local businesses.
Starafrica spun off Red Star and listed it separately on ZSE. Others like
African Sun and AFRe spun off Dawn Properties and Pearl Properties
ZimRe Holdings also spun off its property division and listed a few years
Legat said “In Zimbabwe, exchange controls and lack of foreign exchange were
He feels there is need for companies to undertake restructurings given the
need for capital and skills. He also says Zimbabwe still has many
opportunities for group companies to unbundle a division (or divisions) that
has little synergy with the core business of the group.
One way would be to issue the shares in that division to the shareholders of
the main group in the form of a dividend in specie. That division could then
be separately listed on the stock exchange. The original shareholders can
then decide whether they wish to retain or dispose of the division…Such a
strategy more often than not increases overall shareholder value, especially
if it is done in a tax-efficient manner.”
And Zimbabwe is just an ideal place for group companies to unbundle a
division or divisions that have little synergy with the core business of the
group, says Legat. But an unbundling proposal might be met with resistance
by shareholders not willing to be diluted.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:15
THE most daunting challenge the Zimbabwean government will face this year is
achieving the main objective of restoring economic stability and growth in a
dollarised economy which had shrunk by 60% in a decade. The immediate
economic challenges facing the country are ensuring companies increase
capacity utilisation, tackling corruption, paying external and local debts,
increasing exports and overcoming foreign currency shortages.
Social challenges include inconsistent power and water supplies, poor
infrastructure, and a deteriorating education and health system.
However, Zimbabwe appears to be recovering from the disaster the country had
been facing over the last 10 years.
Economic analysts say prospects of opening new a business in Zimbabwe are
better compared to previous years as the environment has improved.
“A lot of positive gains will be recorded this year,” economist Brains
Muchemwa said. “Companies whose operations are not entirely based in
Zimbabwe will fare better.”
Coronation Financial Services economic analyst Lance Mambondiani said
“Zimbabwe’s banking institutions might not witness any foreign investment in
future due to the unfavourable laws and procedures required by the Reserve
Bank, Zimbabwe Investment Authority and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for
Analysts said loans to kick start business would be a major challenge this
year. There was a complete freeze in credit markets as banks were unwilling
to lend due to a high risk of default.
Write-offs constituted a huge chunk of the losses being reported. The cancer
appeared to be a complete loss of confidence in the financial system.
Exiled businessman Gilbert Muponda told businessdigest that although the
country’s economic performance was improving Zimbabwe was still a very
high-risk investment destination.
“Apart from banks, look at Meikles Africa and Shabanie Mashaba Mines. All
similar cases but treated differently. Laws are selectively applied so no
foreign investor would want to come, moreso in the financial sector.”
In October last year Zimbabwe was ranked 143 out of 178 countries –– up from
153 achieved in 2008 –– in a 2009 World Bank report on Doing Business which
looks at how regulatory environments influence the operations of business.
Zimbabwe also recorded the biggest jump of the 180 countries surveyed by
Transparency International (TI) during the last quarter of 2009, being
ranked as the 34th most corrupt nation from the number 14 it was positioned
last year. TI however said Zimbabwe was still ranked in a worrying position
due to the breakdown of formal procedures and structures at most
institutions that are operating in a recovering economic environment.
Commenting on the survey TI chair Huguette Labelle said as the world economy
began to register a tentative recovery and some nations continued to wrestle
with ongoing conflict and insecurity, it was clear that no region of the
world was immune to the perils of corruption.
“At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of
public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the
world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance
and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle,” said Labelle.
Independent economist John Robertson said Zimbabwe’s economic revival
depends on policies that ensure that all major sectors of the economy start
“More investment than aid is vital, to consolidate last year’s gains. This
will only be possible if there are well-defined economic policies,”
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the manufacturing
sector’s operation has improved to about 35%.
On the property market, dollarisation has brought about a sobering
normality, whereby debt is real until it’s fully paid, and there won’t be
implicit discounts associated with excessive inflation anymore.
The predictability of future incomes and costs imply therefore that in 2010,
the mortgage market reincarnation will come sooner.
Property analyst Michael Russell told businessdigest on Tuesday that
construction projects that had stalled will be rejuvenated and more
importantly, new developments will come on stream.
“The only question that remains vague however is the when bit, as the rate
of growth of the GDP, expected around 6 - 7% per annum for the next four
years, will not be able to rejuvenate the mortgage market to desired levels
as the majority of the working class may continue to fall outside the
bracket that would be able to afford mortgages for much longer,” he said.
To access a 12-year Msasa Park mortgage of $50 000 at 10% assuming a loan to
value payout of 80%, one would need to be earning a gross monthly salary of
around US$4 000 to qualify.
Considering the income levels of the assumed middle class in Zimbabwe, and
the projected growth rate of incomes, it will be 2014 when individuals
earning around $600 per month today and growing at an average of 40% per
annum will be able to afford mortgages for the humble Msasa Park houses.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:13
THE 2009 hunting season was severely affected by outstanding issues in the
global political agreement (GPA), the Safari Operators Association of
Zimbabwe (Soaz) has said. Soaz chairman Jacob Mudenda told businessdigest
last week that the industry operated at about 45% capacity during last
season as a result of the protracted disagreements in fulfilling the GPA.
"2009 was not a very productive hunting season. Those operators in state
land concession areas and areas under Campfire reported that the selling of
the hunts was extremely difficult," Mudenda said.
"The fluidity in government due to jostling over outstanding issues
unsettled those who wanted to come for the hunting season as they were not
sure whether they would be safe," he said
Outstanding issues in the GPA signed by the three principals - President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara - in September last year include the swearing in of Roy
Bennett as Agriculture deputy minister, the appointment of central bank
governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, and the issue of
Mudenda said this was further aggravated by the disengagement of MDC-T from
the inclusive government which temporarily triggered fears by potential
clients of a repeat of the violence that characterised the presidential
run-off elections in June 2008.
The global credit crunch last year also contributed to the decline in
business during last year's hunting season, Mudenda said. The industry had
consequently operated at 45% capacity.
Mudenda urged the two parties Zanu PF and MDC to "quickly resolve
outstanding issues to ensure that this year's hunting season, which begins
in May, will be a success".
"Political stability is essential to creating a conducive environment for
our activities. On that note, the outstanding issues should be resolved not
only for our industry but for the economic upturn of our country," he said.
Mudenda said the standoff between the association and the parent body, the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, over the 2% levy on trophies which had been
before the courts, had been resolved.
"The issue (trophy levy) was resolved out of court. It's being paid. We
reached an amicable agreement. There is very good rapport between the ZTA
and the Zimbabwe Council of Tourism under whose umbrella the safari
operators fall," he said.
Mudenda said they were currently preparing for the coming season and were
sending representatives to the safari marketing shows in Dallas and Reno in
the US to boost business.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:09
LONZIM, the investment company owned by Lonrho, would soon be building a
five-star hotel in the capital. Last year the company, whose portfolio
includes management of hotels in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, announced that it
would be running a five-star hotel in Harare. This led to speculations that
the group intended to buy either Rainbow Towers or Meikles hotels.
LonZim managing director, Geoff Goss, confirmed this week that they would
construct a five-star hotel.
"We have identified a piece of land on which we can build a five-star hotel
complex," said Goss. "We are not currently negotiating to acquire any
existing hotel properties in Harare."
Apart from the anticipated development, LonZim also runs Leopard Rock Hotel
Goss said Leopard Rock has been doing well since it was taken over by the
"Leopard Rock is an internationally sought after destination," added Goss.
"Our management contract with Lonrho Hotels is proving to be a very
successful formula. Occupancy rates and revenues are climbing steadily."
LonZim also plans to fly the local skies with a low budget domestic airline.
Another airline, Fly Kumba, last year failed to take off amid reports that
it intended to ply routes which were already serviced by Air Zimbabwe.
Goss said the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) would allow them
to fly if they complied with stipulated regulations.
"Lonzim has three suitable passenger and cargo aircraft allocated to the
business unit. CAAZ has an open skies policy and as long as we comply with
their requirements, we are confident that we will be able to successfully
traverse our desired routes," Goss said.
While other players in the airline business were struggling, Goss said,
LonZim would take the advantage of being a "low cost to operate" airline
without any of the legacy issues other airlines are encumbered with.
LonZim is listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM (an international market
for smaller growing companies) and it was formed primarily for long-term
active investment to build a portfolio of investments in Zimbabwe. When it
was formed four years ago, LonZim said they would look into investments in
the tourism, accommodation, infrastructure, transport, commercial and
residential property, technology, communications, manufacturing, retail,
services, leisure, agricultural and natural resources sectors.
Its profile has been built around these areas.
Their aim is to reap the benefits which are likely to come with the warming
of the economy which had stuttered for close to a decade.
Apart from focusing on Zimbabwe, other LonZim operations
are in Mozambique's Beira Corridor. This is the link between Zimbabwe and
the Mozambican coast.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:49
Could somebody explain why Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura finds it
necessary to "congratulate Zanu PF for holding the Fifth National People's
Congress successfully against all those who predicted confusion and failure"?
"Congratulations to those that ensured the party held its congress
successfully with resounding people's resolutions," Kadzura gushed.
"Also most importantly I wish to congratulate those that were retained to
the party's central committee."
Doesn't this bootlicking cronyism tell us all we need to know about the
structural defects inherent in Zanu PF's threadbare regime? Here is somebody
who should have at least a measure of self-respect as the chair of the
country's national airline. But no, he feels a compelling need to advertise
his pathetic loyalty to a regime that has meddled in the affairs of Air
Zimbabwe to the extent of rendering the parastatal virtually bankrupt.
This doesn't seem to worry him. Instead he is more concerned to have
everybody notice his message of congratulation to the central committee.
"The only thing that we, the led, now await to see (is) where our esteemed
leaders are going to lead us to."
"We the led"! Let's hope he is speaking for himself as he prostrates himself
before his political masters. We can safely assume that the place they are
going to lead us to is the same one they led us to before - up the garden
To be fair, Kadzura's cloying advertisement was about the need to follow
through on land reform, in particular the land audit. But we still can't
understand why the chairman of Air Zimbabwe thinks we need the benefit of
his opinion on the land issue. Shouldn't he be explaining how he is going to
get the airline back into shape?
There were 15 planes in the Air Zim hangar in 1980. Now there are four.
And the chairman wants to congratulate the central committee and discuss
land reform! Anybody wondering how the country ended up in this mess need
look no further than his article.
Another lost soul is the MDC's Nelson Chamisa. He was waving his fists at
the Zimbabwe Independent last Friday accusing it of publishing a "malicious
and mendacious" report on a corruption probe within the party. Yes, the
party was probing corruption, he admitted, but only at the local government
level. There was no involvement by ministers mentioned in the Independent
story. In fact the ministers named are "living examples of hardworking
We needed to suppress a chuckle when we saw that. Does Chamisa live in the
"The party would like to reassure the nation," he rather naively stated,
"that if there are any investigations of this nature, we will be the first
to let the people know."
It is a bit silly to attack the press in this way. How does he think they
got their story? By sucking it out of their thumb? He doesn't seem to
realise that by attacking the Independent he is likely to draw attention to
their sources which aren't exactly from another planet. Didn't some of the
ministers in question say they knew an investigation was underway and
Best in that situation to be measured in one's response.
We recall Chamisa spending a whole ZTV programme some time ago ranting at
the host for trying to personalise the MDC by calling it the MDC-T. He
wasted valuable time that could have been used explaining the party's
Meanwhile, a fanciful website called theZimbabwemail, which has a bee in its
bonnet about the Independent, believes Jonathon Moyo was our source in this
and every other story we have ever written. So convinced is the website that
Moyo's hand can be detected behind everything the paper publishes that it
claims Moyo was best man at our publisher's wedding.
In fact his brother Nicholas Ncube was best man, a fact that everybody
present would happily have confirmed. As for a source in the newsroom
suggesting Moyo sent the story to the editor last week, any such source
would have known that we had the details of ministers being investigated the
previous week but didn't use the story while it was still being
The outspoken John Makumbe was providing good value in his interview with SW
Radio Africa's Violet Gonda last weekend. Here he is on the subject of
Gonda: So far we hear the investigations are targeting those groups that are
in the Diaspora, but just talking to some members of the MDC, they say that
some of the people who were receiving the money, for example from some of
the groups in the Diaspora, are members of parliament and ministers, so
would they also be investigated? What are your thoughts on that?
Makumbe: Yes they must all be investigated, everything must be above board,
everything must be transparent, if names are not exposed then there will be
no real exposure of corruption and they will all have to be investigated.
According to Morgan Tsvangirai himself, nobody is sacred. Even if it is his
own son Edwin who took the money, it must be exposed, that's what he has
said and I believe him. I believe that is the way things will go.
The question is really - who
will hang the cat? Who is going
to do the investigation? Will the investigator not be bribed again and do
the same thing? Here is a case where the MDC should demonstrate to Zanu-PF
how you investigate corruption within a party - you bring in an external
agent, you bring in people who are not MDC, who are also not Zanu-PF, who
are not CIO. You don't do the Chihuri-style of 'the police will set up a
committee to investigate how the people were tortured by police' - you know
it is ridiculous. And so I think this is a classic example which as the MDC
can set. Get an independent auditor to audit their books, investigate the
matter forensically and expose everything by name, by date, by situation.
We have often wondered what planet President Mugabe hails from. On Tuesday
the Herald quoted him saying Zimbabwe's sovereignty was "non-negotiable".
The article was headed: "We're masters of our destiny says President".
This when the country is being fed by well-wishers because Zanu PF has
destroyed the agricultural base. When we can no longer use our national
currency because it was totally devalued by the reckless behaviour of the
What sort of sovereignty is it when donors have to keep funds out of the
hands of government officials to prevent them being filched? What sort of
"destiny" is it that we are masters of?
It is funny watching Zanu PF spokesmen wriggling on the hook of their
chaotic and corrupt land reform policies. We had Joseph Made yesterday
claiming it was "premature" to carry out a land audit that would unfairly
judge new farmers who have been operating under "harsh" conditions such as
But sanctions didn't prevent them from obtaining free fuel and retailing it
on the side of the road. It didn't prevent them selling inputs they had been
given for free. It didn't stop them hiring out tractors and other equipment
given to them by the Reserve Bank.
It should be obvious what Made and others are up to. They are throwing
roadblocks in the path of genuine land reform. It isn't sanctions that have
prevented the "capacitation" of eternally "new" farmers. It is the lack of
seriousness and commitment that have dogged the land programme since 2000.
Now Zanu PF understandably perceives a land audit as exposing its corrupt
policies and multi-farm ownership. And who is right at the centre of this
Augean stable? Personal agricultural advisor to the president, Joseph Made.
No wonder he is a worried man.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:46
FOR almost a decade the subject of sanctions has been highly topical in the
context of Zimbabwe. Initially, the sanctions imposed by sections of the
international community upon Zimbabwe were specifically targeted at named
individuals who constituted the political hierarchy of Zimbabwe, and others
closely associated with such individuals.
The sanctions barred such persons from travelling to, and in, the imposing
countries, from operating banking accounts therein, and from being possessed
of any investment in those countries.
The intent was to demonstrate the magnitude of those countries' opposition
to the policies and actions of those subjected to the sanctions, and in
particular the contempt for the abuse of the fundamental principles of
democracy, and for the precepts of respect for human and property rights,
and for just
implementation and preservation of law and order.
The second phase of sanctions was the promulgation by the US of the Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, enacted for motives of a like nature to
the subjects of the targeted sanctions.
The issue of greatest substance in that Act was that until such time as
genuine restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe occurred, and Zimbabwe
conformed with internationally-recognised norms of human and property
rights, and of wholly equitable application of law and order, the US would
not support funding being accorded Zimbabwe by the Bretton Woods'
institutions (IMF and World Bank).
It would exercise veto power to bar Zimbabwe access to such funding.
Although apparently a very substantive sanction, it was in reality nothing
but a corroboration of a prevailing situation, for the constitution and
policies of those international institutions preclude funding to debt
servicing defaulters with debt repayment arrears. This has been Zimbabwe's
circumstance for many years.
Sanctions against Zimbabwe subsequently intensified when the European Union
and some other countries resolved that none in such countries should provide
any funding, goods or services to the Zimbabwe government, to any entities
with which it was directly associated (including parastatals such as Zesa,
TelOne, Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Grain Marketing Board,
and the like, including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe).
Any interaction of such countries with the Zimbabwe government and
underlying entities, if of a direct or indirect financial nature, was
limited to critical humanitarian aid. Concurrently, there was a progressive
extension of the number of individuals subjected to the targeted sanctions.
At all times, the key intent of those applying sanctions was to motivate a
Although with petulant, endless diatribes, the Zimbabwe government
vitriolically and speciously alleged that the motivation for the sanctions
was in order to bring about a "recolonisation" and domination of Zimbabwe,
the realities were diametrically different.
It was wholly unacceptable to the majority of the international community
that the Zimbabwe government endlessly dispossessed thousands of their
legitimately-owned properties, compounding such actions by not providing
compensation, and by blatant disregard for numerous Bilateral Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreements to which Zimbabwe was a signatory.
It was even more unacceptable that such property dispossessions were very
frequently effected with recourse to unlawful violence, in total
contemptuous disregard for human rights and for tenets of law, with
government not only doing nothing to contain such violence, but tacitly
Relations with the international community were worsened also by the
frequent politically motivated arrests, without valid grounds, incarceration
of individuals for prolonged periods of time without being brought to trial,
and frequent subjugation of those arrested to unjustified beatings and
In such circumstances, it is little wonder that almost all countries (other
than those with like demonic policies) found it necessary to distance
themselves from Zimbabwe and its government, and to seek ways of provoking a
Zimbabwean transformation to acceptable international norms.
Unfortunately, however, the consequences of their actions were wholly the
opposite of the sought after results. Essentially, all that the sanctions
achieved was that:
* Government could deflect culpability for Zimbabwe's ills by alleging
that they were wholly due to the sanctions imposed, notwithstanding that to
a significant extent such allegations were without foundation, save and
except for the impacts of deteriorating parastatal services delivery;
* Government progressively became more and more resistant to change,
perceiving that any changes would be perceived as surrender, and of loss of
* In order to demonstrate its contempt for the international actions,
government vigorously pursued intensified relationships with those countries
of like dictatorial, non-democratic, unjust policies; and
* The Zimbabwean economic decline intensified, due to the continuous
deterioration in parastatal services, collapsing infrastructure and mass
exodus of skilled Zimbabweans to more viable economic regions, resulting in
intensified poverty, suffering and hardships for most Zimbabweans.
Thus, no matter how sound the motivations, objectives and intents of those
imposing the sanctions, those sanctions were counterproductive to a very
great degree, and most injurious to the very people that the sanctions were
intended to aid.
With the coming into being of the Global Political Agreement and the
so-called "inclusive government", there has been recurrent demand, by those
that formerly exclusively constituted the Zimbabwean government, that the
new governmental partners use their influence to motivate a lifting of
The international community would be well advised, in the interests of the
masses of the Zimbabwean population, to yield to the urging that the
sanctions be lifted, insofar as such sanctions have negative economic
Doing so does not in any manner necessitate that they also lift the targeted
sanctions, for it is not only their perfect right to demonstrate their
opposition to dictatorial, oppressively unjust and non-democratic
philosophies, policies and actions.
It is also the absolute right of any country to determine who may enter
their countries, may invest therein, and so forth, and if countries wish to
continue to bar those whom they consider unacceptable, it is their right to
But continuance of economic sanctions, of barriers to interactions with
parastatals, with companies in which government is a shareholder, and of
constraints upon economic recovery, are sanctions against an innocent
populace, and a major contributor to suffering.
The perplexing sanctions puzzle would be equitably resolved by a
discontinuance of economic sanctions, whilst targeted sanctions upon
individuals deserving thereof remain of force and effect.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:38
IN a country where there is a structure of good governance and the rule of
law, intervening to stop the continuing land invasions should really not
depend on individual Zanu PF politicians. Respect for the constitution and
adherence to the principles of the rule of law is all that is necessary.
Sadly in Zimbabwe, attributes such as democracy, good governance and the
rule of law are things that are merely talked about but not practised.
Otherwise, why should Zanu PF's Women's League leader Oppah Muchinguri clash
with Zanu PF's secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa over the
take-over of one of the most productive farms in Manicaland, as reported
recently by both the press and the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU).
The ongoing takeover of productive farms including those that are protected
by the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippa) by
the so-called Zanu militants is a matter of national concern which should
not depend on individual Zanu PF senior politicians for resolution, but
should be an exclusive matter for the government of national unity.
I am not talking here about that toothless bulldog that goes by the name of
the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic). Why this Jomic
exists at all boggles the mind! I am talking about and calling on the
government of national unity (GNU) to show leadership and stop the insanity
of this endless programme of farm evictions.
Is the inclusive government that toothless and impotent as Jomic? The GNU is
failing the nation on this particular issue of national importance.
We are merely stating the obvious when we say that the unending farm
evictions and disruptions have consequences for foreign policy decisions and
financial decisions by investors from many parts of the world. It distresses
me to be a citizen of a country whose leaders condone beatings and
harassment of both farmers and farm workers. It saddens me to be a citizen
of a country whose leaders ignore and disregard court orders, where there is
no rule of law and where Zanu PF supporters are free to confiscate anything
someone else has worked for. And then we mourn when tourists and investors
are reluctant and unwilling to get involved in Zimbabwe, forgetting that we
are our own worst enemies. Oh dear, what's going on here?
Our lack of success in the whole economic recovery process comes primarily
from our own destructive ways and our acceptance of illiterate people who do
not have the slightest knowledge, expertise, skill and innovation to take
over productive farms.
No wonder these perpetually new farmers invariably force commercial farmers
off there farms just as the crops are ready to reap; crops that these
cellphone farmers would not have put into the ground in the first place.
What a shame!
The supreme lesson of this day and age is that a people who are free go
right ahead through self-effort and don't loot other people's wealth and
strip their assets; more or less the sort of things that the Affirmative
Action Group does.
And no society can move forward without attributes such as acknowledging and
respecting the property of others and of course good governance and the rule
We are losing our way as a country precisely because we have not put
accountability and the rule of law at the centre of everything that we do.
This is the single greatest source of our failure in this country. Why is it
that even poorer countries than Zimbabwe in this region are succeeding and
we are failing? Look at our education sector at the moment. It is in a total
Our health delivery system - which has indeed picked up - is a far cry from
what it used to be 10 or so years ago. Also look at the dilapidated
infrastructure everywhere which used to be very sound 10 or so years ago.
Things are stalling practically everywhere and in every sector in this
country or not moving as fast as we would want them to while in countries
around us things are happening. Why? And we talk about 2010! God help us
It was stated by government at the outset of the land reform programme in
2000 that it would be done in such a way that the nation's food production
and other issues would not be affected.
But given what Zimbabweans have experienced over the years, this has not
been the case. The chaos that has reigned since 1999 but is still continuing
on farms has to be seen to be believed.
Even now, if one is to drive around the country, the way I have done in my
home province of Mashonaland Central and my home district Guruve, it is
disturbing to see and witness how Zimbabwe's agriculture has massively
declined and become a shadow of its former self. How it is going to recover
given this unending programme of land invasions is anybody's guess.
Quite a large chunk of former prime land now lies uncultivated and derelict.
Grass everywhere is what I have seen in my drives around the country. I
still strongly believe that it is never too late to do what is right for the
country given the resilience of its people, black and white, as well as the
robustness of its infrastructure.
Why are we not learning from the success of our neighbouring countries just
as much as we can learn from our own failures? A friend of mine who visited
Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park during the just ended festive season
told me how amazed he was to see hordes and hordes of tourists visiting
Victoria Falls but staying in Zambia, and how for some reason animals from
the Hwange National Park were migrating into neighbouring Botswana.
What does this say about us? Whether this has to do with our burning of
vegetation in the national park or the destruction of infrastructure or both
is difficult to say. But one thing is clear.
These things are happening and there is no point in us pretending otherwise.
Something really needs to be done if we really have the interest of Zimbabwe
at heart and perhaps it is not too late to salvage something.
In conclusion and at the risk of sounding repetitive, I would like to
reemphasise the overriding importance of the inclusive government showing
real leadership to end this seemingly endless programme of farm evictions
It is not doing the country any good at all. People are surprised that on
this key issue there is deafening silence and lack of action on the part of
the GNU. We can only ignore what is happening on the commercial farms at our
Ultimately, the buck stops with President Robert Mugabe. A public statement
from the president to simply say no more farm invasions in conformity with
the rule of rule will be sufficient and will really do the trick.
If the land is the economy as we were repeatedly told at the beginning of
the fast track land reform, is it not more to the point that the effective
and judicious use of the land is the economy.
Bornwell Chakaodza is a veteran journalist and media consultant.
By Bornwell Chakaodza
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:34
NOW the political grapevine has churned out another catchy intrigue in the
form of the alleged 2009 Christmas meeting in Gweru which supposedly was
called to plan a splinter party out of the mainstream Zanu PF. This episode
has inevitably been code-named Tsholotsho II, after the first abortive
attempt which thereafter claimed the political scalp of Jonathan Moyo and
some provincial chairpersons of Zanu PF.
Five years after, the failure to fully exorcise the ghost of the first
Tsholotsho debacle has created contours of dissonance in the eminent year of
Zanu PF's test of resilience. On such a holy day as Christmas, it is alleged
that a potential breakaway group met in the Midlands capital to embrace an
The name that is being linked to the incarnation of this sacred agenda,
which in 2005 was assumed to have been permanently quelled, is that of the
recently re-admitted Moyo. Given the proximate days of his readmission, I
wonder if within such a restricted timeframe he could have already crafted a
notorious cleavage from his controversial political past in Zanu PF.
Anyway, Moyo is quoted as having vehemently denied the allegations of this
Christmas tryst and has in fact blamed the rumour mill on MDC-T's abstract
menu. Whether this is false or true, I however want to dwell on the
possibilities and the converse of the eventuality of a breakaway party
coming from within Zanu PF, especially at such a time in the political era
of Zimbabwe. For whoever may harbour any such thoughts, there are distinct
considerations that need to form the underlying foundations of analysis and
I personally believe that given the current political circumstances, there
is no practical possibility of an effective opposition political party
coming out of the structures of Zanu PF. It defies political logic and thus
has no reasonable space in any wise discharge of political strategy.
Historically, we have seen the Zimbabwe Unity Movement led by the former
Zanu PF strongman - Edgar Tekere. Inasmuch as this was not defined in the
totality of a breakaway, it was a one-man step-out venture planted out of
the top hierarchy of the party. We have recently seen a similar exploit from
His initial expression was that of a mass breakaway from Zanu PF supported
by assumed heavyweights. In the end what we saw was a lonely journey that
Makoni had to walk, uneventfully accompanied by an out-of-favour Dumiso
The mass breakaway did not take shape. To-date there has never been a strong
political force directly created out of Zanu PF either en masse or by
individual walkouts. What then would change this time around, if this
Christmas debacle ever happened?
Zanu PF breakaway hopefuls must be aware of the strongman compulsion that
grips the party's politics today. The party has made the grave mistake of
creating a "demi-god" out of its leader, Robert Mugabe.
They have uplifted him from normal human mortality into a realm that even
mystifies his personhood. As such, many have considered him to be a life
beyond the party. The party's brand has therefore been carried by his person
and his self-actualised, larger-than-life political stature. This is
indicated by the combative regalia that the party adopted bearing his face
and name in places that would otherwise be proverbially censurable.
His legacy in the party has attracted no challengers to his position mainly
due to this beyond-measure elevation. In this regard, what Zanu PF is and
will ever be (in the foreseeable future) is what Mugabe is or will be. There
cannot be a separation of his person and the lifeblood of the party.
In such a circumstance any breakaway group has the monumental task of
working against this divisive creation of a president whose personal
totality is the institution of the party.
There is no way one can stand on Zanu PF ideals and yet have the unimagined
luxury of subtracting Mugabe. Whoever is under Mugabe in Zanu PF will not
survive a political battle (within and outside of the party) that sets them
The danger of creating superhuman leaders for political parties is that they
will exhibit a compulsion that may not be successfully challenged by those
within the party or those that were once strongly within. If Zanu PF wasn't
personality driven, then a breakaway would have been easy to execute.
However, given the current scenario, the master who was created seems to
have capacity to pulverise whichever "son" or "daughter" aspires to stand
against him, within the party or without.
Secondly there is the notion of the questionable capacity of Zanu PF members
to fully transform to being anything else that is not Zanu PF. I think the
indoctrination that seems set in Zanu PF really creates marked loyalty which
will be difficult to break from in totality. In this regard, it becomes
difficult to break away and re-brand mindsets and paradigms from the heart
and mind of Zanu PF.
What may be possible is a breakaway group that still remains Zanu PF by
conduct, characteristic, worldview, operation and mindset yet differ just in
name, location or regalia. There is very limited capacity to create an
essentially unique political culture from people and groups that will have
come out of Zanu PF. Some may declare such possibilities by word, but the
deed may deeply connect to functional motherhood. Once a son or daughter of
Zanu PF it becomes insurmountable to convince Zimbabweans that one can be
anything else which is not the party.
Thirdly, the fragility that currently grips Zanu PF will never entertain a
breakaway. Against conventional thought, where the weaknesses, squabblings
and power struggles detected in Zanu PF seem to point towards the break-up
of the party, in essence this is what unites it.
There is no one in Zanu PF who wants to be known as the one who finally
caused the disintegration of the party.
There are fears for one's security and fears of being historically
misaligned. Zanu PF operates as a single machinery that is whipped into line
even against natural trends and demands.
This single unit of purpose seems to be laced by silent commitment to rise
together or fall together. In fact in moments of weaknesses, there is
greater policing within the party to identify those that may want to mutiny
against the ship. Internal vigilance is greatest in times of weaknesses.
This is the reason why the first Tsholotsho debacle was quickly crushed. It
was the inevitable nature of the internal cohesion propounded by the
eagerness to avoid the eminence of a collapse.
In that regard, whenever Zanu PF is at its weakest point, there is a greater
pull towards the centre and a whipping into line of those who may give their
backs to this centre.
Zanu PF is more dangerous to its members in its moment of weakness than in
its moment of strength. Therefore the party will never break up in moments
such as now, where it is faced by internal strife and pressure.
Makoni made the grave mistake of thinking that some heavyweights would join
him based on the position of weakness that was in the party.
However he was surprised when the "comrades" failed to follow him out of the
party. Given this extent, whoever walks out of Zanu PF in its current
moments of challenges, again may find himself on a very lonely journey.
In light of the breakaway from the supposed Gweru meeting there is no
reasonable grounds to assume that such action will either happen or if it
does will cause sizable impact to Zanu PF.
The salvation of Zimbabwe's opposition politics will not necessarily come
from a Zanu PF breakaway; rather it has to be from other forces external to
If for sure Moyo is really involved, then this time the professor's
experiments will blow him up together with the laboratory, creating no
future potential for either his own political existence or that of such
lTrevor Maisiri is the co-founder and executive director of the African
Reform Institute, which is a political leadership development organisation
which also functions as a political "think-tank".
By Trevor Maisiri
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:11
ZIMBABWE is facing massive food shortages again this year with crops already
wilting in many parts of the country due to a prolonged dry spell. In such a
scenario it is easy for news media to come up with headlines suggesting that
millions of people are facing mass starvation. Not so fast.
There will be no mass deaths induced by famine but as food stocks are
exhausted, hunger will set in and trigger a negative chain of events which
will hurt this fledgling economy.
Aid agencies have warned food shortages could provoke mass migration. Hungry
migrants including teachers and nurses from Zimbabwe could be forced to
leave their homes, cross the Limpopo and make their way to South Africa's
already teeming cities. More national resources would have to be committed
to food imports instead of production and social upheaval could set in due
The situation on the ground is dire. The rains have been poor throughout the
country including the maize-producing belt spanning Mashonaland East, West
and Central provinces.
The Met Office's rainfall projections have been way off the mark. This is
not the normal season that we were promised at the onset of the rainy season
three months ago.
All projections of a better harvest this year compared to the 2008/2009
season have to be revised downwards. The government says one million
hectares have been planted with maize this season, up from 900 000 hectares
At a projected depressed productivity rate of two tonnes a hectare, the
country was forecast to produce two million tonnes of maize, enough to feed
the nation and fill the strategic reserve silos.
Finance minister Tendai Biti in presenting the Budget at the end of last
year was bullish in his forecast of growth in agriculture; a 10% jump,
spurred by better yields in maize, tobacco and small grains.
This anticipated higher production on the farms and was expected to anchor
the overall economic growth of 15% this year. It will not happen. Any growth
will be minuscule this year. A marginal 2% growth is now forecast in
What might also not happen is mass starvation on the scale already being
ventilated in the media if aid groups come in with bags of maize meal and
nutritious porridge mix to feed the children.
Starvation can also be averted if donors honour their pledge to bridge a
US$810 million gap in the budget. These are big ifs. Donors have committed
their resources elsewhere.
Their hopes were heightened following the formation of the unity government
between President Robert Mugabe and his former archrivals in February last
year. There was sure evidence that the situation would improve.
In the spirit of this projected positive change, in November last year, the
United Nations reduced by almost half its request for donations to assist
Zimbabwe's poor following positive changes in the economic situation.
Aid agencies now fear the cuts in funding will see more people going without
food this year. The US-funded Famine Early Warning System Network in its
latest forecast predicts that as a result of the poor rainfall and the
severe shortage of agriculture inputs, 2,2 million Zimbabweans would need
food aid. The government has no resources of its own to feed the vulnerable
in our society.
While food assistance will target mainly rural folk, those in towns and
cities will have to fend for themselves. They have to buy imported food as
has largely been the case in the last 18 months.
This also has its problems. Most sectors of the economy are driven by
agriculture. A poor run in this sector therefore means that other sectors
would have to rely on imports for raw materials.
Analyses and projections by major financial institutions this week point to
the fact that unless the political situation improves so as to allow an
improvement in international financial support, the liquidity crunch that
characterised 2009 is expected to continue.
As a result Biti would be forced to keep the zero import duty on basic
commodities at a time when local manufacturers are clamouring for a levy on
Food shortages will hurt the economy even more. With feuding parties failing
to solve outstanding issues, the credit crunch is likely to degenerate
further as bank deposits dry out in the heat of hunger and hardships. The
little money available will flow south across the border to import food.
At the end of the day, there will be very little left to provide as loans to
the productive sector. Financial institutions which provided loans to
farmers this season will be sitting on illiquid assets like houses and motor
vehicles as farmers fail to pay back loans. We are keenly observing this
drama as it unfolds in the financial services sector.
The solace though is that producers will not take advantage of food
shortages by increasing prices of basic commodities due to the expected
continued extension of the zero import duty on basic commodities scheme.
This will ensure the continued availability of imported basic commodities
but no new jobs to ease unemployment. This is a major test for the GNU.
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:07
THE Zimbabwe Mail (ever heard of it?) website has published an article
entitled "Moyo planted MDC corruption story". If you haven't already read
it, below is its gist. The corruption story referred to was the Independent's
lead story last week headlined "Ministers named in graft probe". Three
ministers were named, Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri,
Home Affairs co-minister Giles Mutsekwa, and Mines deputy minister Murisi
The Zimbabwe Mail in their story allege that Tsholotsho North MP Professor
Jonathan Moyo "planted" the story of the three ministers "as part of his
petulant retribution over a story we (Zimbabwe Mail) broke about Tsholotsho
It alleges that a source working for the Independent told its reporter that
Moyo emailed the article with the fiction to the editor Nevanji Madanhire
The article apparently penned in the MDC-T information department was based
on the assumption that if the publisher of the Independent, Trevor Ncube,
and its editor can be linked to Moyo, then that rubbishes the story.
But that is to hide behind a finger.
And, to say that a source working for the Independent gave the Zimbabwe Mail
the story is plain silly. If indeed there was such a source, he or she would
have told the Mail reporter that Madanhire is not the editor of the
Independent but only its deputy editor.
The Mail article also presupposes that our readers have got short memories.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa thinks so too. At a hastily summoned press
conference last Friday he had this to say: "We would like to state and place
it on record that there are reports that are disturbing, reports that are
malicious and mendacious that have been carried in the Independent that the
party is carrying out a probe on certain ministers belonging to the MDC."
Only two weeks ago Chamisa was the knight in shining armour confirming to
the Independent that some ministers, councillors and legislators were under
investigation for engaging in corrupt activities. (See the Independent
January 8-14 page 1.)
Although he refused to disclose the names of the ministers under probe he
said there would be no sacred cows because the party wished to demonstrate
its zero tolerance of corruption.
"We are a party of excellence. Transparency, accountability and good
governance are part of our fabric. We expect these from our Prime Minister,
from our ministers and from, most importantly, our councils."
He said his party's major challenge at the moment was to deal with
"Our crusade to get rid of bad apples is unstoppable. There will be no
sacred cows -- this goes for ministers, MPs, councilors. Zero tolerance on
corruption is not for convenience but is our conviction."
At the press conference last Friday Chamisa made a somersault: "What I wish
to state as a matter of fact is that no such committee has been put in place
by the party to probe ministers. And there is no such probe that is
targeting ministers, and that our ministers do not have any allegations
levelled against them."
And to cover up for this shameful flip-flop, the Independent, its publisher
and its editor have to be tarnished by crudely linking them to someone the
public generally perceives as the devil incarnate.
Those who have followed the goings-on in the media over the past 10 years
would be puzzled to think that I have become Jonathan Moyo's confidant.
I was editor of the Business Tribune in 2004 when the Ministry of
Information and Publicity under the tutelage of none other than Moyo caused
the closure of the newspaper leaving me and 63 others destitute.
Moyo then had an axe to grind with the publisher of Tribune newspapers which
was completely unknown to the staff. But in his vindictiveness he had to
punish not just the publisher but the staff and their families by shutting
Three other newspapers, the Daily News, the Daily News on Sunday and the
Bulawayo-based Weekly Times were also banned on Moyo's watch.
There were no media jobs because media space was continually being squeezed.
Earlier a whole generation of ZBC journalists had been made destitute in a
similar way. Journalists found themselves beggars on the street or working
in menial jobs that sundered their dignity.
A lot found themselves working underground in the country of their birth.
This was dangerous and those who were caught were tortured and/or
imprisoned; one or two were said to have been killed. A lot of others chose
exile. And if anyone were to ask each one of them the man who caused them
all their misery, they would be unanimous in pointing a finger at Moyo.
And now I am said to be his bedfellow!
Personally I feel Moyo should eventually apologise for the anguish he caused
so many people in the media or those connected to it. Obviously there are
some in both the public and private media who are only too happy to work
with him -- and that's their democratic right -- but I am not one of them.
It is also important to note that journalists do not help their case when in
fighting Moyo they write lies about him. Stories which cannot be
independently verified and outright lies such as the alleged planting of
stories in newsrooms may eventually strengthen him when the reading public
fails to distinguish fact from fiction. That is a disservice to our
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:51
SINCE South African President Jacob Zuma took over the reins from his
predecessor Thabo Mbeki on the mediation in Zimbabwe, many were hopeful that
his outspoken approach would precipitate the contesting parties to the GPA
into resolving the political logjam in this country.
He has treaded carefully since then ensuring that he is not seen as an
appendage of President Mugabe, as Mbeki had become.
President Zuma through his set of negotiators had until last week played the
role of arbiter fairly and in a manner Zimbabweans generally respected. But
progress has been agonisingly slow for him. His view of the crisis in
Zimbabwe now has a broader contest. The soccer World Cup is now just four
Zuma wants to flex a stronger arm to bring finality to the issue. His
statements last week have however betrayed the impatience of a leader who
now wants the Zimbabwean issues resolved expeditiously even if it means
making fatal mistakes in the process of doing so.
Zuma was extensively quoted in the media last week questioning why
outstanding issues –– chief among them the contested appointment of the
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana ––
were “so fundamental that we cannot move without resolving them”? “Can we
park them and proceed?” said Zuma lamely.
Park what and proceed where Mr President?
In addition President Zuma wants an election in Zimbabwe next year because
this is what the people of Zimbabwe want. Tsvangirai was quick to respond to
“President Zuma cannot push for elections in Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai told the
German Press Agency dpa. “The elections in Zimbabwe will be defined by the
GPA. The GPA says after the referendum the president and prime minister will
set the date for the election.”
But Zuma’s real motive in trying to park AG Johannes Tomana and RBZ Governor
Gideon Gono in a dark corner was revealed in a disclosure by his spokesman
“For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered a great deal, as
well as for the sake of stability in the region, Zimbabwe cannot be in a
permanent state of crisis,” Mangwenya said. “The region cannot be consumed
by one country for such a long time.”
So this is about the World Cup. To mask this ruse, “people of Zimbabwe who
have suffered a great deal” have now been roped in to give his project a
sheen of national agitation to resolve the issue.
Indeed Zimbabweans want to see the impasse broken and the GPA implemented to
the letter but they are not pushing for shortcuts. There is no doubt that
Zuma wants to see the Zimbabwean issue resolved before the World Cup which
starts in the middle of the year.
Zimbabwe is a dangerous distraction to the successful hosting of the World
Cup. Zuma is therefore avoiding talking about Zimbabwe and blowing the
vuvuzela to spur on Bafana Bafana in the same breath.
For the next few months he would be forced to blow the vuvuzela in the
direction of Zimbabwe to urge the negotiators to get a positive result
quickly. This louder form of diplomacy now replaces Mbeki’s largely
discredited quiet diplomacy.
The vuvuzela diplomacy has however started on not so good a note. Zuma is
parachuting onto the scene with what I feel is a wrong plan to solve the
problem. Blotting Gono and Tomana from the political logjam is not the
Postponing the resolution of the contentious issue does not solve the
problem. Time cannot rehabilitate Gono and Tomana in the eyes of
Zimbabweans. Critically also, Zuma should realise that this is not just
about Gono and Tomana as individuals. It is about what they represent.
They are emblematic of the ghosts that need to the exorcised from the
recesses of the government of national unity.
Zuma’s plan to “park them and proceed” is a discredited strategy that
resonates with Zanu PF’s declaration that Gono and Tomana are not
In fact the park-and-proceed plan will soon be adopted and adapted by Zanu
PF as the way forward. It is the directive from the mediator, Zanu PF spin
doctors would say.
The Zanu PF propaganda mill will soon be feasting on that statement to push
an agenda that is not in the spirit of the GPA.
Zuma’s role in the mediation after the park-and-proceed plan could be
compromised. The danger is him being accused of speaking the language of
Zanu PF which has managed to trivialise the outstanding issues to the extent
of making them mere footnotes in the debate.
MDC-T should put its house in order PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:03
OF late the "party of excellence" has been able to demonstrate that they are
a corrupt bunch par excellence, and this is quite disappointing because they
promised to raise the bar compared to their Zanu PF counterparts. Their
foundation is premised on governmental accountability, democracy and good
governance which they have been trying to live up to until this Friday when
they denied and concealed the details of the developing story in the
The denunciation was an attack on the integrity of the press in Zimbabwe
because it appeared as if the whole article was unfounded and lacked
This could be so from the vantage point of someone naïve and parochial and
not to the inquisitive mind, which scrutinises and does not take anything at
It is common knowledge that journalists often protect their sources that
sometimes prefer not to be named however; this does not mean that they
consulted "ghost" sources.
It is disturbing to take note of the fact that minister Nelson Chamisa did
confirm the report in an article in the Zimbabwe Independent (January 8 to
14) that spelt out details of an ongoing investigation involving three
ministers several councilors and legislators.
From such a standpoint the naming of the three did not go down well with the
MDC-T and they sought a quick fix. Who then are the three ministers under
probe and which committee is probing them if not the already existing one
led by Tapiwa Mashakada?
MDC-T's oscillation portrays their departure from the truth for political
reasons or others best known to them but one thing is for sure, the
corruption tide threatens to bring the party to its knees. If there was no
case the MDC-T would not have called for a press conference but they would
have issued a press statement.
It is common knowledge that Zanu PF is corrupt but as it stands now the MDC
has had its fair share of scandals and this has ballooned because of its
policy of not investigating and punishing stray members. This is something
which their competition has not been doing leaving the party exposed to too
What we expect from them is to punish the perpetrators rather than attacking
the Zimbabwe Independent.
Story on GZU staff situation inaccurate PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:02
REFERENCE is made to a story headlined "Staff shortages hit tertiary
education sector" (Zimbabwe Independent, November 27). The story had
inaccuracies concerning the staff situation at Great Zimbabwe University
that we wish corrected for the mutual benefit of the university's
stakeholders and the readers of your newspaper. According to the story,
"Great Zimbabwe University is a relatively small institution with 27 posts
which explains why there are low vacancy levels."
On the contrary whilst it is still a growing institution, Great Zimbabwe
University has a staff complement of 623 with 501 posts filled and 122
vacancies -- a vacancy rate of 19,58%.
Of the total staff complement, academic staff account for 274 posts of which
77 are vacant -- a vacancy rate of 28,10%. There is a 12,89% vacancy rate
among the non-academic staff.
Whilst efforts are continuously being made to fill vacant posts, the
recruitment and retention of staff remains a major challenge to the Great
Zimbabwe University as it is with all other state-owned education
institutions in the country due to relatively uncompetitive salaries and
other conditions of service.
The above statistics are summarised in the tables on right:
Great Zimbabwe University Information Officer.
MDC-T probe story false PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:01
WE refer to your article titled "Ministers named in graft probe" published
in your issue of January 15. For the record we wish to state that the named
ministers are not under any investigations and therefore your story is
false. Needless to say your statement was anguishing and distressing to our
ministers and the cohesion of the party in general.
We would be pleased if you do a decent thing and retract your statement in
the next edition of the Zimbabwe Independent.
It is true that the MDC-T stands against corruption and in this regard have
taken decisive action against our structures in the UK and in Chitungwiza.
It is also true that a committee has been set up headed by the party's
deputy secretary-general, Tapiwa Mashakada that is conducting evaluations in
the operations of local government that are led by MDC-T.
However, we have not set up any committee and are not investigating any of
the ministers concerned.
We therefore look forward to the retraction of the story.
MDC-T Acting Information and
ICT providers should get serious PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 19:00
IT was with great pleasure that I received news of Broadlands Networks'
entry into the world of ICT Zimbabwe in the article "Siziba set to launch 4G
network" (Zimbabwe Independent, January 15). I have a few issues -- not only
for Broadlands but for most of the players in this sector, namely Econet,
For a start I think Chemist Siziba knows that to be in that field one has to
offer as much information about his company and products as possible --
unless the information has been given to a priviledged few, in which case it
ceases to be mass market-orientated.
I have tried several times to google his company but it is nowhere to be
found. They are even trailing Thomas Mapfumo who can be googled and has his
music labels available online. Save for Mweb, all the other ICT players have
no websites because most of them have not updated them recently, including
the biggest mobile provider which has some articles dating back to 2006!
In a country with about 11 million people you don't expect to have half the
population being subscribers. Added to the worrying figure, we already have
Econet having taken three million subscribers. Telecel is gunning for 1,2
million. NetOne can easily take the same number as Econet's given its
I pray the company did not commit itself to huge unsustainable loans which
make it a candidate for liquidation before it has connected a fraction of a
percent. Broadlands does not have any network to talk about if it can only
service parts of the CBD and possibly hot spots near its directors'
TelOne, with the right partner can simply unsettle all these newcomers just
by adding dedicated Internet connections and providing cable television
connections, even to those who don't want land lines.
MDC-T must not be sidetracked PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:55
MOVES by Zimbabwe's largest political party the MDC-T to set up a toll free
number for the public to whistle blow corrupt members is not welcome in
every direction. That should be reserved for companies. In politics, there
are vultures always circling in the air and the former ruling party Zanu PF
and its intelligence machinery will ultimately be the "whistle blowers!" If
they are always planting "arms of war" in the MDC-T's garages and offices
then what will stop them from utilising this phone service which is actually
I wonder who will be paying for the phone bill -- let's hope it's not us the
There is always a time for everything.
This time around it is for the GNU to be set up straight and concentrate on
writing a new constitution, laying safeguards for the next election to be
free and fair. I am of the opinion that the MDC-T must be busy penetrating
the security services which are giving us nightmares but it seems that they
are trying to topple each other by playing to the public gallery.
We can always settle corrupt leaders by voting them out hence the cry that
candidates must be chosen by the masses, not imposed.
Worried Party Member,
SMS The Zimbabwe Independent PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 January 2010 18:54
CAN'T we do something as a nation to help the suffering souls in Haiti? We
only love to receive from donors and not to give anything to anyone. We are
such a disgrace as a nation.
B Mutasa. THERE is a humanitarian crisis at state universities as female
students have to exchange sex for money from "sugar daddies" whilst male
students are resorting to stealing cellphones.
HIV Free Generation.
IT is fascinating to see that Sadc leaders congratulate each other over the
"progress" they have made in the GNU. I wonder though why the MDC-T should
always be flexible on issues such as the appointments of Gideon Gono and
Johannes Tomana. MDC won the elections and Zanu PF should abide.
WE can assure President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF that we do not view the
presidential seat as sacred and we do not view you with awe. Only the things
of God are sacred and we only view Him with awe.
LET'S make Gweru the seat of government, Bulawayo the judicial capital and
Harare the legislative capital. Such an arrangement is serving South Africa
well. Devolution of power to the various provinces would be good for the
nation. We also need to do away with the useless post of provincial
WELL done to the police for bringing to book the Stanbic Bank Chegutu branch
robbers swiftly. We wonder why the same zeal was not demonstrated in
pursuing thugs who attacked Nelson Chamisa, bombed the Daily News amongst
other unsolved crimes. We need a non-partisan police force.
THOSE MDC-T officials that seem to have signed a MOU with Zanu PF on
corruption in both the central government and the local council should be
dealt with promptly. The MDC-T must fire any official
who tarnishes the image of the party.
IF Zanu PF continues to block PM Morgan Tsvangirai from chairing cabinet and
the GNU fails, voters will know the cause of its failure and punish Zanu PF
at the polls.
DEPUTY PM Thokozani Khupe's interaction with female prisoners during the
Christmas period shows how she has a heart of a leader.
BRAVO to MDC-T for probing their officials. If these allegations are true
then they should set an example by dealing decisively with those guilty of
corruption. Our civil service is on the brink of collapse and government is
scrounging around for investors and they surely will not take too kindly to
corrupt tendencies at such high level as cabinet ministers. At least if we
can reduce corruption from one side of the GNU it's better than if it is
coming from both sides.
EDUCATION Officers in Buhera district are very corrupt. They are demanding
money to reinstate teachers with missing documents. Newly qualified and
temporary teachers are also forced to buy and submit forms that they sell.
This is open corruption.
CORRUPT college administrators who continue to run universities into the
ground should be put in jail for prejudicing students of their hard-earned
fees. Justice should prevail!
ZESA and ZBC are a national disgrace. The two corporations connived to
deprive us of the African Cup of Nations. I hope their union is dissolved
before the World Cup.
THANKS to Zesa I have never watched the African Nations Cup since the
WHAT is Zesa doing to alleviate the power shortages. I don't know where they
are going with these exorbitant charges when we are spending more than two
weeks without electricity.
ZESA in Masvingo has condemned us to darkness. We are now resorting to the
moon for light.
ECONET should truly be inspired to change our world and stop defrauding us
by charging for unsent messages. Instead of erecting massive billboards,
they should be busy making 3G accessible to all.
WARNING: Content may be hazardous to health. Not for sale to persons under
the age of 18. Extremely dangerous and poisonous material. The editor is not
responsible for any complications that may result from this material. The
new Zimbabwe Media Commission should make our "public" media carry this
cautionary statement in bold on the front page of every issue.
Owen Mudziviri, Chinhoyi.