ZLHR Press Release - 25 Jan: High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, on Monday 25 January 2010 declared Peter Michael Hitschmann an adverse or hostile witness, whom the State is at large to cross-examine.
Justice Bhunu, who delivered his long-delayed ruling in an application filed by the State seeking to impeach its main witness in the ongoing trial of Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett said Hitschmann's demeanor in the witness box constitutes that of a hostile or adverse witness.
The Judge said Hitschmann portrayed the demeanor of a deeply aggrieved citizen who has an axe to grind with the State and its functionaries.
Justice Bhunu ruled that Hitschmann presented himself as a "melancholic wounded weeping soul who has been gravely brutalized and tortured at the hands of the State, its organs and functionaries."
The Judge said Hitschmann still views the State as an adversary because he has a pending appeal case against the State in the Supreme Court on related charges.
The Judge said Hitschmann gave his evidence at the instance of the State with the greatest reluctance.
Justice Bhunu also stated that Hitschmann engaged in slanging matches with Attorney General Johannes Tomana, whom he sought to portray in open court as an incompetent State functionary who was wasting the court and everyone's time by calling him as a witness when he knew that he was not going to implicate Bennett.
However, Justice Bhunu ruled that the alleged previous inconsistent statements which Hitschmann allegedly made and which the State intended to use as one of the basis for impeaching Hitschmann cannot be used for impeachment purposes because the statements were inadmissible in his own trial and hence are equally inadmissible against Bennett.
After ruling and proving that Hitschmann is a hostile witness Tomana proceeded with the impeachment process starting with cross examining the firearms dealer. The trial continues on Tuesday 26 January at 1000 hours.
by Own Correspondents Tuesday 26 January 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwean High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Monday upheld an
application by the state to impeach its key witness in the ongoing treason
trial of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's close aide Roy Bennett, paving
the way for the prosecution to cross examine him.??
Justice Bhunu made the ruling after finding gun dealer Michael Peter
Hitschmann an "adverse or hostile witness to the state case". But the judge,
in a potentially fatal blow to the state's case, ruled that confessions by
Hitschmann implicating Bennett in the alleged crime were inadmissible
because the firearms dealer made the statements under duress.
The trial continues on Tuesday.
The state led by Attorney General Johannes Tomana had sought to have
Hitschmann impeached on the grounds that he disowned statements and
confessions he allegedly made implicating Bennett in the alleged plot to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
"Having seriously considered the matter and carefully weighed the evidence
before me, the history of this matter and the witness' performance and
demeanor in court, I have no option but to find that the witness, Peter
Michael Hitschmann is an adverse or hostile witness to the state case . . .
and the state is at large to cross-examine him," Justice Bhunu ruled.
Immediately after the ruling, AG Tomana began cross-examining Hitschmann.
But it became apparent the cross examination would not go far as Tomana had
very limited room to maneuvre after the judge also ruled that the
statements - written and video clippings - in which Hitschmann is said to
have implicated Bennett in 2006 were inadmissible and could not be used in
In rejecting the confessions by Hitschmann, the judge said ruled that the
statements that Hitschmann made to the police "had not been properly warned
"The handwritten statement was not signed or witnessed by anyone. The
witness (Hitschmann) told the court that his tormentors were drunk and
disorderly such that in their drunken state they omitted to make him sign
the statement. Having noted the omission, he then deliberately refrained
from signing it, signifying his lack of free volition," Justice Bhunu noted
in his ruling.
"This is not a blow, in any case, the state never sought to use them,"
Tomana told journalists after the trial had adjourned to today.
Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa lawyer remained cautious saying: "That the
state has been allowed to cross examine its witness does not mean much. We
are happy that the statements which say the witness is Bennett's accomplice
have been ruled inadmissible.
"We now do not know where the state case is premised on. But we are not sure
what the state has up its sleeve. We do not know what more evidence it can
Bennett, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government - formed last
February by MDC leader Tsvangirai and Mugabe after a violent election in
2008 - has pleaded not guilty to the treason charges levelled against him.
The MDC says the case against Bennett, Tsvangirai's nominee for deputy
agriculture minister, is politically motivated and aimed at keeping him out
Legal experts in Harare said Bennett's trial was crumbling like a deck of
cards following the impeachment of the state's key witness. The state case
was heavily hinged on Hitschmann's alleged confessions which he made under
interrogation by state agents at an army barrack in Mutare. - ZimOnline
Masvingo/Nyanga, January 26, 2010 - There have been reports that Zanu PF has established secret militia bases in Masvingo and some parts of Manicaland province, Radio VOP has learnt.
Radio VOP's correspondents in Masvingo and Nyanga reported that the party had
deployed youths at the bases which were being used to intimidate
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) provincial director for elections and legislator for Masvingo Central constituency Jefferyson Chitando said his party was aware of the bases. "We are aware that some youths are already being sponsored by Zanu PF so that they terrorise villagers thereby trying to manipulate the people so that they will be afraid to freely contribute in any democratic process which might want their input."
"We have been informed of the latest developments but we urge Zanu PF that it will not manage to win the people by intimidating them. Zanu PF is scaring people away by trying to have militia bases in every district," said Chitando.
Masvingo West constituency legislator Tichaona Mharadze said: "Zanu PF has set a base in my constituency at Mushandike. Soldiers are also seen at the base training the youths. The people in my area are not very sure of what will happen to them."
In Mwenezi, all people thought to have MDC-T links were being ordered to surrender their party regalia and membership cards "while time still permits".
"Its like we are approaching an election again, we are not very sure of what is actually going on because there is a base near Maranda where some youths are camping. Soldiers who were urging villagers to adopt the Kariba draft constitution are still in the area," said Givemore Vandirai.
Zimbabwe is set to embark on a constitutional making process. A Parliamentary select team will go round the country to seek people's views on a new constitution for the country. Zimbabweans are being asked to add to the Kariba draft constitution which was adopted by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, who are the three principals of the Global Politcal Agreement (GPA) which brought about the new unity government.
However there have been reports that Zanu PF has been co-ercing people to accept the Kariba draft as it is.
Zanu PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke dismissed claims that his party had set up militia bases. "They are crying babies... they have been always like that, it is their way of trying to blackmail Zanu PF because they are aware Zanu PF will never again lose an election in rural areas."
In Nyanga Zanu PF militia bases were said to have re-emerged in Nyanga North and Makoni district with armed personnel threatening villagers with death if they refuse to support the Kariba Draft.
MDC Nyanga North legislator, who is also the parliament constitution select committee co-chair, Douglas Mwonzora, told journalists at the weekend that he had witnessed militia bases in his constituency.
"I have personally seen the militia bases in my constituency and have told the police to dismantle them. I have also engaged the principals in the Global Political Agreement that that they should make sure that the bases should be dismantled with immediate effect. We have also discovered that there are armed people who have established bases in Makoni district.
"As the parliament constitution select committee co-chair I am worried by these sad developments in the country. We are saying people's opinions should not be manipulated at this crucial process, "said Mwonzora.
Meanwhile in Masvingo ugly scenes of violence took center stage at the war veterans elections held Sunday, leaving scores injured.
The bloody elections, which saw 'little known' Isaac Gonese trouncing Zanu PF women's league chairlady, Shylet Uyoyo, were held at Chiefs
Hall in the high density suburb of Mucheke. Gonese polled 142 votes, against Uyoyo's 45, making himself the candidate to contest for a national post at the war veterans congress slated for next Saturday.
Radio VOP witnessed Uyoyo disrupting the process, throwing the ballot box at the face of Tranos Huruva, the returning officer.
"The elections are null and void. You rigged the vote, because he (Gonese) is from your faction," said Uyoyo singing revolutionary songs.
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 26 January 2010
HARARE – An international human rights group has slammed Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party of shielding abuses by ZANU PF – in the name
of trying to save Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition regime.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the power-sharing government
formed by the MDC-T and ZANU PF last February has largely failed to end
rights abuses or to institute fundamental reforms.
It said the new regime in Harare has made no attempt to repeal or
substantially amend repressive legislation such as the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), which continue to be used by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF
to harass political opponents and rights activists.
“The MDC lacks real power and does not consistently speak out against the
continued abuses, possibly seeking to save the fledgling power-sharing
government,” the watchdog said in its annual for 2009 released at the
ZANU PF uses its control of the security forces and the judiciary to harass,
abduct, torture and kill those it considers opponents.
Mugabe’s supporters have continued to violently invade commercial farms in
total disregard of the rule of law, while police intimidation and harassment
of MDC-T and human rights activists persist unabated.
Police, prosecuting authorities, and court officials aligned with ZANU PF
continue to persecute MDC-T legislators and activists through politically
At least 17 MDC-T legislators face various trumped-up criminal charges, with
at least five legislators already convicted by the courts.
The watchdog said it appeared that the MDC-T had no solution to ZANU PF’s
continued abuse of power.
Tsvangirai announced in October last year that the MDC-T had “disengaged”
from the unity government, ostensibly over the treatment of a senior aide
but mainly due to intensified ZANU PF attacks on his supporters.
This was followed by a two-week stand-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in
which the latter led a boycott of Cabinet meetings chaired by the
The MDC-T only called off the boycott after the intervention of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in November and after Mugabe agreed to
discuss outstanding power-sharing issues.
But there has not been much movement in terms of addressing the sticking
points from the September 2008 Global Political Agreement, save for
window-dressing appointments of commissioners to sit on new media and
Mugabe and ZANU PF have remained adamant in their refusal to honour the rest
of the issues agreed by its negotiators during discussions with the MDC-T
and a breakaway MDC faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Negotiators from the three parties have reportedly agreed on 16 of 28
outstanding power-sharing issues.
The three leaders have however failed to find a compromise on appointment of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Attorney General and swearing
in of Roy Bennett – treasurer general of the Tsvangirai-led MDC-T party – as
deputy agriculture minister.
Mugabe has refused to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his top
allies to head the RBZ and the AG’s Office.
The veteran leader has also refused to swear in Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister, insisting he has to be cleared by the courts of the
terrorism charges he is facing first.
In addition several new issues have emerged during inter-party negotiations
that have been taking place since November with the MDC-T said to be
demanding that the Joint Operations Command (JOC), the supreme organ that
coordinates state security, be dismantled since a new National Security
Council (NSC) formed as part of the power-sharing pact should perform the
Also outstanding are issues regarding the review of ministerial allocations,
parallel government structures, conferment of national hero status, the
chairing of Cabinet, Cabinet rules and the role and position of the
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, George Charamba.
Charamba has been accused of leading a campaign of hate speech aimed at
derailing the coalition government.
The MDC-T is also said to have demanded that it be given control of the
ministries of foreign affairs and home affairs.
ZANU PF is said to have refused any suggestion to dismantle or reform the
JOC which it says should remain in existence to oversee operational matters
while the new NSC handles matters of policy.
Mugabe’s party is also opposed to the MDC-T’s demand for control of the home
and foreign affairs ministries.
ZANU PF resolved at its congress last month that there should be no movement
on the concerns raised by MDC-T before the latter successfully negotiates
for the lifting of travel restrictions and an asset freeze imposed on Mugabe’s
lieutenants by the West.
The congress instructed Mugabe and ZANU PF negotiators “to ensure that all
outstanding issues, once agreed, must be implemented concurrently”.
“This means there should be no movement on the concerns of the MDC
formations without corresponding and simultaneous redress of ZANU PF’s
concerns such as the illegal Western sanctions, Western-funded pirate radio
broadcasts and Western interference in Zimbabwe’s internal politics through
the funding of parallel government structures and the sponsoring of
political activities of NGOs as a force multiplier for the MDC formations,”
read part of the resolutions.
ZANU PF accuses the MDC-T of not living up to a promise to lead a campaign
for lifting of Western sanctions against the veteran Zimbabwean leader and
members of his inner circle. – ZimOnline
By Ann Hellman
JOHANNESBURG and CAPE TOWN, Jan 25, 2010 (IPS) - The seizure of large
commercial farms - almost all white-owned - has continued despite the
formation of a unity government in Zimbabwe. The country's farm workers say
they are the biggest losers.
The workers say that Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders
must intervene immediately to stop the violence against them.
About one million farm workers have been evicted from farms across Zimbabwe
since the year 2000, according to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement
This is a huge percentage of the total Zimbabwean farm worker population,
which was estimated by the Justice for Agriculture Trust based in Harare at
somewhere between 1.3 and 1.9 million before the land seizures began.
Zimbabwean refugee rights group People Against Suffering, Suppression,
Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) says around 100,000 are now working on farms
in South Africa.
IPS spoke about the situation for farm workers with three Zimbabweans
considering joining their peers on South African farms. Fearing government
persecution by Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation, all the farm
workers insisted on anonymity.
They told IPS that when Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe's land reform
programme first started in 2000, things seemed promising.
"They were promising to give us labourers good wages after removing these
white farmers," Rufaro* said.
But things quickly soured. "Some ZANU-PF youth went around hitting and
raping farm workers and beating them to death. Farm labourers were thrown
out of the farms with their employers and some farmers ran away without
paying anything to farm workers," said Letty*.
The workers said at least three major farms had been invaded since the unity
government was formed - Usasa Seedlings, Mount Carmel (a mango farm) and
Stockdale citrus farm.
Stockdale, in the Chegutu district in Mashonaland West, was invaded in April
2009 by the speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Edna Madzongwe, despite a
ruling by a SADC tribunal which said 78 white farmers who faced losing their
farms could keep their land.
The SADC tribunal ruled in favour of the farmers in November 2008, finding
the land redistribution programme discriminatory on the basis of race. With
the Zimbabwean government failing to act on the ruling, the tribunal in June
2009 referred the case to the SADC summit of heads of state.
The farm workers said Mugabe has simply ignored rulings from the SADC
tribunal, which was set up in Namibia in 2007 to rule on disputes in the
Southern Africa region.
For now, an estimated 60,000 farm workers find themselves living in
makeshift camps, often on the roadside near where they were evicted from,
waiting for the government to resettle them.
"Some few farm workers who were lucky were resettled. But if they labelled
you MDC you were not going to receive anything. We need land now to resettle
the poor who have no place to stay," Tapiwa* said.
Toiling in a foreign land
"The situation for Zimbabwean workers is dire," says Philani Zamuchiya, of
the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS). "Although
South African labour laws protect them, commercial farmers continue flouting
the regulations because they already have a pool of workers waiting to take
up employment," he noted.
In the Western Cape Province, problems worsen during the off-season for work
in the vineyards. The five-month lean period is the most difficult for farm
workers who struggle to meet basic necessities, let alone send money to
their families back in Zimbabwe.
Constant threats and taunts by locals are another reality the foreign
workers live with. Over 3,000 Zimbabweans were driven from their homes at
Stofland, near the town of De Doorns during attacks in early November 2009.
In addition to long-simmering xenophobia, Zimbabwean rights organisation
PASSOP and farm worker union Sikhula Sonke say the attacks were prompted by
a turf war between labour brokers who deepen poverty for migrant and
national farm workers alike as intermediaries between employers and the farm
Many farm workers are living on donor handouts now, while others have fled
to South Africa. Letty said that of the few farm workers who still have
jobs, women are in the majority. Because they are paid less, they are still
found in small numbers at work on Zimbabwe's potato and horticultural farms.
"After the land invasions started," Rufaro said, "and we were evicted from
the farms, most of our kids did not go to school for two years. We women end
up having kids at home without food, because we had no money and all the
shops were empty because the farms had closed down.
"The stress for women with four kids at home day and night for two years...
it was a pity for us," Rufaro said.
"Most women who used to work on farms are moving up and down to Malawi,
Zambia and South Africa, to buy anything that they can sell to put their
children back in school. We are moving up and down just to take care of
having food at home," she added.
In the long term, all three say, land reform will only work in Zimbabwe if
the land grabbed by members of Zanu-PF over the past ten years, is handed
over to the state.
Tapiwa said he did not advocate a return to white-owned commercial farming
in Zimbabwe. "The best method is that those who have farms now must hand
them over to the government. Government must subdivide them and give them to
the landless people to farm," he said.
Johannesburg-based land reform expert and academic Stephen Greenberg agreed.
Greenberg said the South African government was in a "positive" discussion
with the land sector about promoting smallholder agriculture.
Instead of buying up huge white-owned farms and transferring them to a few
people, a new smallholder farming model would see farms being subdivided to
give more people access to the land.
"It's about the mentality of what commercial agriculture is and seeing what
is really possible," Greenberg said.
He told IPS that the model had already been put into practice in Masvingo,
south eastern Zimbabwe.
"There were white commercial farmers farming a few cattle on huge tracts of
land that they said was poor quality. These farms have been divided up into
10-20 hectare plots that are now producing crops," he said.
Tapiwa had a warning for South Africans - "We should have organised to bring
our government to task, especially during the voting period. I see in South
Africa the economy is also in the hands of whites," he said.
"You need to have a move here towards taking control of the economy and then
once the economy is in blacks' hands, move towards the land."
"That is why we are advising you South Africans to make a plan now before
you reach the point where you grab the land," said Rufaro.
But Greenberg says that while the ruling ANC is likely to come under more
pressure to redistribute the land, South Africa's rural areas lack a strong
movement to take back the land.
"Although there is a frustration, there is not yet a rural movement strong
enough to take the land in South Africa" he said.
Eyewitness News | 13 Hours Ago
Zimbabwe's Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is due to hold
make-or-break talks with civil servants in a last-ditch bid to avert a
Workers have set a strike date of next Tuesday unless their demands for
higher salaries are met.
Ministers are desperate to avert a general strike, which would take Zimbabwe
back to the bad old days of the last decade.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, who is Minister of Public Service and a member of
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, is scheduled to meet union officials on Tuesday.
Many teachers are on a go-slow at the moment because their salaries are only
around R1500. They want four times that amount.
The head of the Progressive Teachers Union, Raymond Majongwe, told
Eyewitness News he had a meeting with Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
He said he is hopeful some sort of compromise can be reached.
However the cash-strapped government is in a difficult position.
Education Minister David Coltart's suggestion was to ask state utilities to
cut their fees so that teachers' salaries are not gobbled up quite as
Sources said the constitutional revision management committee will focus on
selection of the rapporteurs who will report public sentiment to the
parliamentary select committee responsible for drafting the new constitution
Jonga Kandemiiri & Brenda Moyo | Washington 25 January 2010
The committee that runs Zimbabwe's constitutional revision process has set a
meeting Tuesday in Harare at which it will take up the issues that have
delayed the rollout of the public outreach phase of the national exercise.
Sources said the panel will focus on the selection of the rapporteurs who
will report public sentiment to the parliamentary select committee
responsible for drafting the new constitution. The three political parties
in Harare's unity government want to have one of their own rapporteurs in
each of the 70 outreach teams; the committee proposed just one per team.
Funding will also be taken up: the state-run Sunday Mail reported that
donors including the United Nations Development Program and the European
Union pulled out after failing to influence the constitutional process. The
newspaper is considered to be partial to the former ruling ZANU-PF party of
President Robert Mugabe, like the Herald and Bulawayo Chronicle.
But Web news service ZimOnline quoted international donors as saying they
were committed to the process. VOA could not reach spokespersons for the EU
or the UNDP to confirm the ZimOnline report.
Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that Tuesday's meeting is necessary to take bearings as the
revision process moves into the critical phase of outreach deployment.
Parliamentary Select Committee Co-Chairman Edward Mkhosi of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told
reporter Brenda Moyo the meeting will set the way forward.
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
ANALYSTS says although the country is likely to experience food shortages on
the back of a poor 2009/2010 agricultural season, the possibilities of a
significant jump in food-deficit propelled inflation remain limited.
Most of the country’s ten provinces have reportedly experienced poor
rainfall this season with the staple maize crop said to be failing.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said at the weekend cabinet would have to
decide whether to budget for food imports as aid organisations predicted up
to 2 million people might require food aid.
Food shortages normally lead to spikes in the prices of basic commodities
which could have an adverse impact on the inclusive government’s achievement
in the fight against inflation.
The ditching of the Zimbabwe dollar helped end rapid price hikes, money
supply growth and speculative activities which had fed the country’s
Analysts however say while inflation should move from the deflation mode
experienced in 2009 into single digit positive territory, the impact of a
possible drought should be limited.
Kingdom Financial Holdings says unless the international community provides
significant support, the country is likely to continue experiencing the
liquidity crunch which started last year
Again the possibility of crop failure and the subsequent need for food
imports would make it unlikely for treasury to remove the zero import duty
on basic commodities.
“Although the increase in bank deposits indicate a warming up of the
liquidity situation, a poor agriculture season will cause a significant
out-flow of funds through imports.
“Producers will (also) not take advantage of food shortages by increasing
prices of basic commodities due to the continued extension of the zero
import duty … (which) will ensure the continued availability of imported
basic commodities,” Kingdom said in its quarterly outlook report.
The analysts added that dollarization had also limited money supply growth a
development that would in-turn impact inflation positively.
“Dollarisation results in a decrease in money supply growth as it becomes
impossible for the monetary authorities to print money.
“Unlike under the Zimbabwe dollar regime cash shortages were addressed
through cash injection by the Central Bank, this time around it is only
possible through foreign injections (aid or loans) or increased exports
“These have not been performing well for political reasons,” the Kingdom
25 January 2010
Eddie Cross says illegal mining is being used to fund a fight back against
BULAWAYO - You will recall my analogy last year of the wounded Buffalo in
the Jesse. Well I thought today I should revisit this situation and find out
just what has happened since then.
Visibility in lowveld Jesse is not more than 5 metres and when wounded, a
typical buffalo will quickly find refuge in such bush where he can wait for
the inevitable pursuit. Anyone who has hunted Buffalo will know they are
extremely wily and dangerous. They will back track and wait alongside their
recent spoor to see what is coming and stand completely still until they can
start that short furious dash that so often has resulted in a rather painful
flight into a nearby thorn bush or worse still impalement on his horns and
possible death for the hunter.
In our case the buffalo has been mortally wounded and he knows it - but
there is a lot of life in the old bull and he has some real dagga boys with
him. He knows pursuit is inevitable but has time and the environment on his
side. The question is what are his tactics?
Well, first he understands this is a fight to the finish. Secondly he knows
that stealth and silence are essential, so he keeps his true intentions a
closely guarded secret. Thirdly, deception is a great help when it is
available. Cut off from the rich grass of the riverine bush and the vleis'
his other need is nutrition and water. Both are scarce and the sun is hot
They have found a patch of rich grass and browse at a place called Marange -
there they are finding the resources and water for the fight back. They know
the hunters are aware of the secret grazing but are confident that because
it is well into the Jesse they cannot be approached without warning.
For the rest they understand that there is little they can do if the hunters
catch up with them and are able to train their weapons on them before the
bulls get going and therefore they strategise every day - constantly moving
and hiding in different locations - always watching what is happening and
keeping an eye on the weather.
So Zanu PF fights on. They have latched onto the illegal mining operations
at Marange and despite the pressure from the whole world through the diamond
trade and despite a High Court ruling that the diamond find belongs to a
British firm - ACR and the diamonds being produced and marketed are stolen
property, they are pressing on with total disregard for the legal niceties
and international and regional opinion.
The real problem is that while output was fairly modest in 2009, production
has escalated sharply with the introduction of new capital and equipment. So
much so that I understand the volume now being traded is impacting globally
on prices. This has far reaching implications for the political crisis in
Zimbabwe and could affect the entire region. The funds being generated from
Marange far exceed the yield of blood diamonds in Sierra Leone which led to
regional instability and violence in West Africa .
With these funds Zanu PF is now receiving the resources required for the
fight back. They can pay members of the armed forces and militia and support
their political programme of violence and intimidation. They can make
mischief in the region as they so choose. But the consequences of this
criminal activity for countries like Botswana and the other regional States
is such that they must be becoming increasingly alarmed at this turn in
The GPA process is becoming a joke as it is now 16 months since we signed
the agreement in Harare, almost 12 months since we formed the Transitional
Government and only 12 per cent of the agreement has been implemented - all
of that exclusively by the MDC. Zanu PF has made a complete fool out of SADC
and continues to flagrantly defy regional rulings and requests while they
play games with the South African facilitators. Just look at the process
since the MDC suspension of contact with Zanu PF in the State when Bennett
was rearrested and charged falsely with crimes against the State. Mugabe is
on leave and I understand that there will be no further discussions on the
implementation of the GPA until February.
While they fiddle - Zimbabwe burns. No progress with health and education or
economic recovery and investment. No reduction in political violence and
human rights violations. No change in the media and the daily outpouring of
propaganda. No change in respect for Court judgements and ethnic cleansing
goes on in farming districts. We are in the middle of a lousy rainy season
and another crop failure looms with an exhausted donor community and new
challenges such as Haiti on their minds.
If regional leaders do not take effective action in the near future, MDC
will have no choice but to go into the Jesse on its own and try to finish
this fight on the wounded buffalo's territory. Only those who have been
there before know how dangerous that game can be. But we will have no
In plain terms this would mean a messy reform process, a totally inadequate
situation of electoral and governance reforms with continued international
suspicion and hostility and finally an election held under very similar
conditions to those in March 2008. An uneven playing field, complete Zanu PF
control in rural districts and a corrupt and distorted electoral process
that is vulnerable to manipulation and deceit.
Can we win in such circumstances - of course we can but the danger is that
if we do not, then the hunter may be fatally wounded himself and the region
will have to decide whether to leave the old bull to die on his own and
simply let Zimbabwe slide back into the chaos and collapse that
characterised our situation before the Transitional Government was formed.
We could be back at square one.
Eddie Cross is MP for Bulawayo South and the MDC's Policy Coordinator. This
article first appeared o n his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com
by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 26 January 2010
OPINION: Strickland Gillian (1868-1954), American poet and humorist in his
famous poem, "The Reading Mother," wrote:
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me.
Any wealth accumulation process that remains untold creates distortions of
the order that can be counterproductive.
Our mothers could not tell us the story of corporate Africa because the
majority of Africans were excluded from the story.
Capitalism was not for the majority and the laws made sure that black dreams
and aspirations would be prescribed and managed.
Accordingly, manner and circumstances in which the tangible wealth that
people like Rhodes made remained untold to native Africans. This part of our
Africa's heritage was never told to us.
The link between God's creation, minerals, and people like Rhodes was never
revealed in our informal and formal education. As a result, I grew up
believing that there was a link between Britain and the colonies of the
nature of principal and agent.
However, in the absence of mothers that can tell the story, we can put the
missing dots so that our heritage reflects the true picture of the
challenges and promise of Africa.
Being richly endowed with resources is not sufficient to guarantee success
and sustainable nation building. The human input is still required.
Africa's past is full of pain and promise.
The memories of native Africans is devoid of the experiences of some of the
key men and women whose contribution to Africa's social and economic change
was critical in creating a firm foundation from which the post-colonial
state could build on.
Our mothers could therefore, not tell the stories of these men and women.
How, therefore, can we bring yesterday's icons, legends and superstars to
Our generation has the obligation to tell the story so that in the words of
Strickland, they can never be richer than us if we invest in understanding
our past and the men who shaped it. They were after all ordinary people
driven by personal ambition.
We all know that most of our post-colonial state actors were born from the
womb of a colonial order. When they assumed state power their understanding
of the building blocks of the system they inherited was no different from
our understanding of the movers and shakers of our political-economic
The background of Africa's post-colonial system was different from the
architects of the colonial order.
We have always questioned the wisdom of politics mixing with business and
yet if our mothers were part of the system they would have told us that
Rhodes, for example, was not just a businessman but understood the need to
have a government that understands what time it is.
Some may ask why I am focusing on the stories of beneficiaries of an unjust
system and yet others would say that it is important for us to understand
both the positive and negatives aspects of colonialism.
We cannot change the past but we need to create artificial mothers to tell
us the story that we may never know unless we invest in digging into our
past not as a means to relive it but to benefit from it.
Our mother would no doubt have told us the story of a man called, Barney
Barnato, who was born on July 4, 1852 as Barnett Isaacs in the Whitechapel
slum of London.
Barney was the son of a small shopkeeper off Petticoat Land in London's East
He changed his name when he was acting as a comedian and unlike Rhodes he
was an extrovert who dropped out of school at 14. He was of Jewish heritage
and a smooth operator of note.
Nothing in his background prepared him for greater things in life.
After dropping from school he obtained a number of odd jobs including being
a "bouncer" at a public house and appearing on stage at a music hall.
After hearing of the discovery of diamonds, several of his relatives left
for South Africa compelling him to eventually followed later.
Like many of his contemporaries, he arrived at the diamond fields with no
real capital other than a box of cigars that he hoped to convert into cash
after selling to diamond diggers.
There were no promises when he came to Africa. He began his career as an
itinerant buyer of diamonds. This was followed by the purchase of diamond
claims in the center of Kimberly Mine. He prospered and was able to
establish the Barnato Diamond Mining Company.
He understood the power of consolidation and like Rhodes he acquired a
number of claims resulting in the merger in 1885 of his company with that of
Baring-Gould's Kimberly Central Mining Company.
Through this deal, he became a strong and independent player in the diamond
industry with a significant stake in the Kimberly Mine.
Rhodes understood the danger of competition in the diamond industry and the
implications on the demand and supply balance.
In response to Barnato's strategy, Rhodes was forced to put in place a
sophisticated hostile takeover of a French controlled company, Compagnie
Français de Diamant du Cap, that had a significant stake in Barnato's
This acquisition allowed Rhodes to reverse his interests in the French
company for shares in Kimberley Central. He was able to secure about 20
percent of the shares in the company giving him a voice.
This pitted Rhodes and Barnato for the control of the remainder of the
Kimberly Central's issued capital.
Rhodes proceeded to acquire up to 60 percent of the issued shares in
Kimberley leading Barnato surrender in March 1888 by accepting Rhodes' terms
that effectively placed the control of the company in his hands.
After defeating his major competitor, Rhodes formally incorporated De Beers
Consolidated Mines Limited on 12 March 1888. De Beers became the undisputed
The new special vehicle took over assets that represented the whole of the
De Beers Mine, three-quarters of the Kimberly Mine and a controlling
interest in the Bultfontein and Dutoitspan Mines. Both Rhodes and Barnato
were appointed among the company's first Life Governors.
The Kimberley Central's shareholders later challenged the deal but the
courts ruled that if Barnato agreed to put Kimberley into voluntary
liquidation, De Beers could still achieve its objective of acquiring its
competitor by buying the assets in liquidation.
This is what transpired leading to the historic purchase of Kimberley's
assets for a consideration of £5,338,650 that was paid by Rhodes in a form
of a cheque which, in those days, was the largest sum of money ever covered
in a single cheque.
Barnato then branched into gold with the formation of a company,
Johannesburg Consolidated Investments Company (JCI).
This company became famous with the acquisition by the late Brett Kebble
through a black economic empowerment transaction of the shares held by Anglo
American Corporation of South Africa.
He committed suicide on his way home to London. It is reported that he
jumped off the boat and drowned himself on July 4 1897.
Barney worked his way into high society and became a major player in South
African history. The institutions that he helped found had and continue to
have a lasting impact on Africa.
He was one of the few who struck gold in Africa. In 1889, he was elected as
Kimberley's Member of Parliament in the Cape Parliament. He served until his
death. Barney redoubled his fortune in South African gold mining shares of
1894-95 before losing most of it in the share collapse of 1896.
He had left London as a young poor Jewish man but through the wealth
acquired in South Africa, he was able to build, but never lived in, a vast
house on the corner of Park Lane and Stanhope Gate in Mayfair, London.
If we our mothers had told us these stories then we would know that there is
nothing inevitable in life. The harder one works the luckier one can become.
The stories of our corporate legends have to be told because the people we
want to look up to have yet to demonstrate that they appreciate that the
South Africa we see today is not an accident of history but the collective
story of determined and ambitious people like Barney.
It is only when we remember the stories that our mothers could never tell
that we can understand that the future is in our hands in as much as the
past was in the hands of the people of flesh like us.
Though Jewish, Barney lived life to the fullest and never saw his heritage
as a stumbling block to progress. - ZimOnline