Thursday, 28 January 2010 20:40
THE shaky inclusive government is facing renewed danger of collapse after
ongoing inter-party negotiations yielded a stalemate over contentious issues
confronting the three rival parties currently running the country.
Informed sources said the inclusive government was now hanging in the
balance and under threat following failed talks last week and Zanu PF's
defiant position this week on negotiations which have kept local and
regional leaders in frenzied engagements.
The sources said after a new deadlock on Wednesday last week, the situation
deteriorated dramatically in the aftermath of Zanu PF's politburo meeting on
Wednesday which resolved that the party's negotiators must not yield during
talks unless the MDC formations ensured the removal of targeted Western
sanctions and stopped foreign radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe.
Guided by its congress resolutions made last month, Zanu PF on Wednesday
said its negotiators were not going to cooperate with their MDC counterparts
until sanctions are lifted and foreign radio broadcasts are stopped.
Zanu PF renewed its venomous attacks against the MDC-T, describing it as a
"tool of British and Western imperialism", showing the former ruling party
was now geared for a fresh fight with its bitter rival. It accused the MDC-T
of calling for "evil sanctions" and demanded their removal as a condition
In a move which showed the widening gulf between the parties and rising
tensions, MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday fired warning shots,
saying the situation was rapidly deteriorating because Zanu PF was
recklessly continuing to "tear apart" the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
the foundation of the inclusive government.
"Sadc should intervene. One way to resolve this is for the region to
intervene and help us agree to disagree and find and locate exit points to
this political logjam," Chamisa said.
"If we can't agree we must have a framework for basic infrastructure to
facilitate free and fair elections. Let's just have an acceptable electoral
management regime and hold elections because Zanu PF is wasting our time in
the inclusive government."
Chamisa said Zanu PF has "torn apart the GPA" and "threw it out of the
window". He attacked Zanu PF, saying the party was undermining the inclusive
government despite losing the 2008 parliamentary elections and the first
round of the presidential election before President Robert Mugabe stormed
back to power via a campaign of violence and brutality.
"They were denied legitimacy by the people and we loaned them legitimacy in
the interest of moving forward and saving our nation from disaster," Chamisa
said. "Why do people have to waste a whole year talking when they know that
they are not interested in resolving the issues at stake?" Chamisa said.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, who is the party's chief negotiator and
Finance minister, on Tuesday warned that if the inclusive government failed
to implement the GPA, the power-sharing arrangement could soon fall apart.
Biti told journalist in Washington DC that South African President Jacob
Zuma should intervene to prevent the breakup of the inclusive government.
"This equation can only work if those fundamental foundational cornerstones
which brought the Zimbabwean parties involuntarily together are addressed,"
Biti said "If there is a fear that there is arrested development on the
things that gave rise to [the inclusive government] such as democratisation,
writing of a new constitution and economic reforms, it will collapse. This
is the time for President Zuma to show leadership and intervene."
Informed sources said senior MDC-T officials are convinced the way forward
is no longer more negotiations, but Sadc intervention. The sources said the
MDC-T officials are not limiting their options to Sadc. If Sadc fails,
sources said, the MDC-T would withdraw from the government and campaign for
"Talks are going nowhere," a senior MDC-T official told the Zimbabwe
"Last week it was a disaster. We met and there was no progress at all. In
fact, there was retrogression.
We are now taking this issue to Sadc and if that doesn't work we will
consider pulling out. Zanu PF thinks we are bluffing but we are serious
about this. We are not going to be talking forever and if these negotiations
fail it's time to take difficult options."
Last week Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa
refused to cooperate with MDC-T negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma
and MDC-M representatives Welshman Ncube and Priscillah Misihairabwi,
leading to a new deadlock in the talks.
Although negotiations are resuming on February 8, the MDC-T is already
pulling out all the stops to take the issue to Sadc.
Frustrated senior MDC-T officials said this week they would first refer the
issue to Sadc and if that failed they could disengage from government again.
Last year the party briefly withdrew from government over the same issues,
precipitating a paralysis of government that was only stopped after direct
Sadc leaders, including President Armando Guebuza and Zuma, held a meeting
in Maputo which led to the MDC-T's rejoining the government. Regional
leaders ordered talks to resolve the issues, but the negotiations have not
gone far. After the Maputo summit, marathon talks were held between November
23 and December 6 and appeared to be making progress. However, when they
resumed last week, Zanu PF, now guided by its congress resolutions, balked
and stalled the process.
The parties are deadlocked over such issues as the swearing-in of Roy
Bennett, appointment of provincial governors, appointment of Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and the chairing
of cabinet, among other things, which took again centre stage last week
before they hit a new impasse.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 20:33
THE European Union and the MDC-T are facing a critical moment in the next
few weeks when they consider the issue of targeted Western sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe, Zanu PF officials and companies linked to the
The emotive sanctions issue has become a contentious matter in Harare and in
Western capitals as Mugabe and his cronies step up their campaign to be
removed from the restrictive measures which have left them squirming in
Although Mugabe and his officials initially claimed the sanctions were
useless and ineffective, they now say the measures sabotaged the economy.
The sanctions debate is causing ructions among major stakeholders, including
the EU, United States, Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
Sources in the MDC-T said the party was not resolute on the sanctions issue
despite a strong lobby emerging in the party imploring the West to lift
sanctions on business entities which were added to the sanctions list in the
last two years.
A group in the party does not however oppose the continuance of sanctions
against President Robert Mugabe, his lieutenants and companies they operate.
Another group in the party wants the sanctions to remain on the grounds that
they are the only lever to ensure reform in Zanu PF.
The differences come ahead of an EU summit next month which is expected to
review the sanctions list. The US has also been making enquiries to update
its list which now contains several deceased government officials.
Diplomatic sources this week said the US was planning to place more
individuals on the list, mainly new permanent secretaries and other
government officials who were promoted to their positions last year.
This week the Zanu PF politburo announced that it would not make
concessions in the talks with the MDC unless sanctions were lifted.
The sources said Tendai Biti, who is in the US to lobby the International
Monetary Fund to restore Zimbabwe's voting rights, was expected to plead on
the sidelines for Washington to lift the sanctions on companies which were
placed on the list last year.
The sources said Biti believed that the lifting of sanctions on the
companies was critical to his grand project of economic revival. However,
there is strong opposition to this plan by MDC officials who feel that there
should not be a revision of the sanctions regime. The officials instead want
the sanctions tightened.
"The feeling is that such a move (lifting sanctions on companies) would be
seen by Zanu PF as relenting," an MDC official said.
The companies which Biti wants removed from the sanctions list include ZB
Bank, Agribank, Infrastructure Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimre Holdings, Industrial
Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, and the
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 20:29
POLITICAL divisions in Zanu PF's Mashonaland West province are deepening as
the party's executive and senior politburo members fight for control of the
Three members of the provincial executive who were suspended on January 15
at a meeting called for by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo have
accused the politburo of trying to take charge of their province.
The provincial chairperson John Mafa, his vice Frank Nhambakuwa, and
secretary for lands and resettlement Temba Mliswa were suspended allegedly
for repeatedly misrepresenting the provincial co-coordinating committee's
resolutions on elections last year for the national executive committees of
the youth and women's leagues.
However, sources in the provincial executive believe that the three were
suspended because of a report the lands committee is preparing that would
expose Zanu PF bigwigs and their close family members who are multiple farm
owners and those allegedly leasing out their farms to former white
Sources in the party said there were efforts to suppress the report and
this, they claimed, led to the suspension of provincial executive members
who sit in the lands committee.
A member of the lands committee said: "All these (land) investigations have
resulted in people being victimised. A district administrator is now on
forced leave while some lands officers are now going to be transferred. This
has also led to the suspension of Mafa and Mliswa who sit on the lands
In a letter to the acting national political commissar, Richard Ndlovu,
copied to President Robert Mugabe, his deputies Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo
and other senior party officials, Mafa said the suspensions were
He said the meeting convened to suspend him and others was not sanctioned by
Mafa's letter reads: "The meeting was totally out of order. There was no
quorum at the meeting. You will recall that we met several times and have
advised on the problems in the province concerning the youths and women and
now the central committee selections.
"Amongst other issues there have been tribalism, imposition and misuse of
the land reform process. I would like to state that I, as chair of the
province, divorce myself and my executive from any resolutions passed at the
Friday 15th January 2010 meeting as I was not part of the conception of this
debacle of a meeting."
Mafa chronicled the power struggle between his executive and politburo
members who want to take control of the province.
He wrote: "I called for the executive meeting a week earlier than the
proposed 16th January 2010 date. Surprisingly on the 14th January 2010, Cde
Ignatius Chombo called for a co-coordinating meeting for 15th January 2010.
I advised him of the difficulty of holding the meeting on this date.
"He however went ahead and advertised for the meeting on the radio and used
my name as though I had approved and had sanctioned that meeting, which I
Mafa said it appeared that each time the provincial executive meeting is
called for, there is a counter provincial co-coordinating committee meeting.
"This is evidence that the chairs and facilitators of these meetings do not
want my leadership as the provincial chairman," he said.
When contacted for comment, Chombo said the trio should follow the proper
party procedures when aggrieved instead of talking to the media.
"Why are they talking to you?
They know what procedure to follow when aggrieved. If they told you that
they wrote to the commissar, well he has not informed us about it," he said.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:27
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is over the next two weeks expected to appoint a new
politburo for his Zanu PF party in a move that might see the introduction of
The Communist-era politburo comprises 49 members and acts as the secretariat
of the central committee between congresses.
The move might see the introduction of new members and give clues to the
political direction Zanu PF wants to take in the aftermath of its congress
The Zanu PF congress made crucial resolutions that pre-empted the ongoing
political negotiations between the party and MDC formations, while
threatening the survival of the inclusive government in the process.
Inside sources said Mugabe would appoint members of the politburo after his
return from an African Union summit in Addis Ababa. Mugabe and the three
members of the party's presidium, Joice Mujuru, John Nkomo and Simon Khaya
Moyo, met on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's politburo meeting to discuss
various party issues including the forthcoming appointments. The politburo
will meet again next week to discuss current party issues.
Zanu PF's Soviet-styled politburo, whose full name is the political bureau,
has 49 members who include the party leader, two deputies, a chairman, 19
heads of department and their 19 deputies, as well as 10 committee members.
Mugabe appoints the politburo, although there have been muted calls for them
to be elected. The politburo's main function is to act as the administrative
organ of the 245-member central committee which was expected to meet today
but had its first session of the year postponed.
Sources said Mugabe is likely to make a series of new politburo
appointments -- including at least 10 changes to fill vacancies left by
those who quit the politburo or who died -- and other planned replacements
to rejuvenate his ageing team dominated largely by deadwood.
Sources said Mugabe could make drastic changes which might see old-guard
members, particularly Nathan Shamuyarira, whose health is said to be
failing, being retired. The sources said Jonathan Moyo, who returned to Zanu
PF recently and was greeted with a warm welcome at the party's congress last
month, could come in to replace Shamuyarira. Since the current politburo was
appointed after the turbulent 2004 party congress, a number of its members
have either resigned or died.
Those who quit Zanu PF and the politburo citing the party's leadership and
policy failures include Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni. Thenjiwe Lesabe
has also reportedly left or is considering leaving. Several former PF Zapu
senior members, some of whom are in the politburo, could be replaced because
of their doubtful political loyalties and claims that they were sympathising
Other politburo members died. These include vice-president Joseph Msika,
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai, Ruth Chinamano
and Elliot Manyika who was the party's political commissar. The replacement
of Manyika has been a talking point in Zanu PF as several officials are said
to be interested in the post. Those often linked to this include Webster
Shamu and Saviour Kasukuwere. Moyo has also been mentioned in connection
with the position, although most Zanu PF officials want him to take over
from Shamuyarira to revive the decaying information and publicity
Sources said there was heightened anxiety and tensions within Zanu PF as
senior party officials are lobbying and jostling for positions. It is said
the old guard does not want members like Moyo to bounce back into the
politburo fold and have been lobbying behind the scenes for their exclusion.
Following the divisive nominations for the top four positions in the party
ahead of its congress on December 9-13 last month, Zanu PF was left reeling
from worsened fractures and infighting. The faction led by Emmerson
Mnangagwa is still particularly bitter after it was routed by the rival camp
led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru.
High-level divisions have also been clear in the party.
They manifested most recently after congress through initially Nkomo's
absence at Unity Day celebrations last month at Border Gezi Training Centre
in Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central province where Joice Mujuru presided
and Mujuru's absence at Nkomo's congratulatory party at Trade Fair Grounds
in Bulawayo last Saturday.
Behind the scenes members of the party's warring factions have also been
expressing rancour and firing brickbats at each other.
A senior politburo member said there were growing worries and panic in Zanu
PF by those who fear they might be dropped from the politburo and hence
removed from the crowded feeding trough in the party.
Senior Zanu PF officials are known for using their positions and status to
peddle influence and amass wealth. Despite that most of the party's senior
members have no veritable or transparent sources of income, they are however
rich and have wealth and properties beyond their legitimate means that they
cannot account for.
The late Zanu PF politburo supremo Edison Zvobgo once called for an
investigation into senior party and government officials, saying some of
them who in 1980 were very poor were now rich beyond measure due to
corruption and outright theft.
"There is growing anxiety on who is going to be in the new politburo which
should have been appointed last month. The new politburo is coming in two
weeks and some people will be left out," a senior politburo member said.
"The old guard wants to remain ensconced in there while young members want
to come in."
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:25
THE government-owned telecommunications company, NetOne, has approached
treasury to renegotiate terms for a US$28 million loan the firm got from
international financiers at its inception more than a decade ago.
Reward Kangai, NetOne managing director, yesterday told the parliamentary
portfolio committee on media, information and communication technology that
the firm had since 2002 failed to service the debt owed to three lenders,
among them Standard Chartered Bank of the United Kingdom.
The international financiers advanced capital to NetOne for its network
"Efforts are underway to engage the Ministry of Finance to renegotiate the
repayment of those loans," Kangai said. "Now that we are charging our
customers in foreign currency, there is capacity to pay those loans."
NetOne also recommended to government to review its policy on procurement
arguing efforts by the company to keep abreast with new technologies were
being outpaced by bottlenecks in the State Procurement Board.
The board is mandated to purchase supplies on behalf of government
departments, parastatals and companies.
Kangai added that NetOne would be on "the same playing field with its
competitors" - Econet Wireless and Telecel - if government approved the
company setting up an independent procurement committee.
The procurement board, Kangai further argued, often took close to six months
to procure supplies for the mobile phone company.
"NetOne should have its own procurement committee. We have a situation where
control is no longer necessary.we are not a parastatal," Kangai said.
The NetOne boss told the legislators that subscribers to the mobile phone
company on the contract service were shifting to the pre-paid platform,
EasyCall, after billing problems affected the company.
NetOne has just under 500 000 subscribers.
Kangai said the company had failed to replace the obsolete billing system
following a decision by the government procurement board to stop bids by
prospective tenders that were seeking to upgrade the system.
The company, according to official figures released this week, is now third
in terms of subscriber base after Econet and Telecel.
"That billing system is old and it needs to be replaced. It is inconsistent
with new technology", Kangai said.
On whether NetOne would get a strategic partner from South Africa, he said:
"There are a lot of operators that have shown interest. Management through
the board will submit recommendations through the parent ministry."
Meanwhile, government received US$53 million from China to finance the
expansion drive of the mobile phone operator currently targeting an
ambitious five million subscribers by March.
In another development incoming Telecel managing director Aimable Mpore also
revealed to the same parliamentary committee that the telecoms company would
launch its speed-enhanced 3G technology by June after it was granted
operating frequencies by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe last week.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:23
THE High Court has set aside its own ruling ordering a retired army general,
Edzai Chimonyo, to vacate Fangundu Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which he occupied over
the festive season.
Chimonyo is Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania.
The occupation of the plantation may have far-reaching consequences in
Zimbabwe's quest to lure foreign direct investment even from countries it
has bilateral trade agreements with.
Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that an earlier judgment by Justice Tedious
Karwi ordering Chimonyo to vacate Fangundu Farm in Burma Valley be set aside
on the grounds that he and his lawyers had not been served with court
In his ruling made available yesterday, Justice Musakwa said: "The operation
and execution of the default order handed down by Honourable Karwi in case
number HC 6541/09 be and is hereby stayed."
Justice Musakwa said Chimonyo should apply for the recission of the earlier
judgment which ruled against him.
Chimonyo's lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa yesterday said: "Justice Musakwa granted a
provisional order suspending the operation and execution of an earlier
judgment by Justice Karwi which judgment had required the ambassador to
vacate the farm.
"The provisional order was granted principally on the basis that the
ambassador and his lawyers had not been served with the original
application. The ambassador is now going to apply for a recission of Justice
Chimonyo is reportedly back at work in Tanzania but his workers have
maintained a sustained presence at the farm in the southeast of Mutare.
Fangudu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, is owned by Matanuska
(Pvt) Ltd, a farming entity whose shareholders are Malaysian and Dutch
Their company, Property Route Toute BV, is registered in The Netherlands and
recognised and approved as an investor through the Zimbabwe Investment
The occupied property is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreement (Bippa) which protects foreign investment.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:22
AFRICAN Union Commission chairperson Jean Ping has admitted that Zimbabwe's
all-inclusive government is plagued by problems, but was quick to say that
these could be overcome.
Ping told the Zimbabwe Independent ahead of the 14th Ordinary Session of the
Assembly of the AU held under the theme "Information and Communication
Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development" that he
was pleased with the progress made by the inclusive government.
Ping said: "The inclusive government in Zimbabwe has problems but these
should not hinder the progress made. It's a necessity that these problems
are addressed and overcome."
However, talks in Harare seem to have stalled amid confusion on the way
Negotiators are still to agree on the most divisive issues on the agenda,
including the appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and the swearing-in of MDC-T
treasurer-general Roy Bennett as Deputy Agriculture minister.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told journalists at the National Press Club in
Washington DC on Tuesday that talks to resolve outstanding issues had
reached a deadlock and called for Sadc intervention.
He said: "What is required is for Sadc and president Zuma to take leadership
of these issues because the leadership in Zimbabwe has failed to provide
Biti warned that if the outstanding issues were not resolved the government
He said: "If the transition is no longer dealing with certain fundamental
things which gave rise to it, for instance the issue of the constitution and
democratisation, then it means it is no longer serving the purpose for which
founding fathers created it.
"Equally, if it is no longer serving the issues of the economy it also means
those that were forced to go into this equation on the basis of the economy
will not find it useful and this thing will collapse."
Wongai Zhangazha in Addis Ababa
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:16
SERIOUS bickering and wrangling by the three political parties in the
inclusive government on the selection of rapporteurs, accountability of
donor funds and the role of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
have put off track the constitution-making process.
Besides the problems, Zanu PF has launched a parallel outreach programme for
the constitution-making process designed to coach people to come up with a
constitution similar to the Kariba Draft, which was strongly opposed by the
MDC formations and civic society.
Impeccable sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that there was
also a battle to take charge and control the process between the
Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) and the management
committee of the process.
The UNDP on Monday met with Copac and later with the management committee on
Wednesday where a decision was made to amend the original funding agreement
made with the donor organisation.
The organisation had pledged to bankroll the outreach programme of the
constitution-making process to the tune of US$18 million, but the funding
was put on ice amid allegations that some earlier disbursements were not
properly accounted for.
It also emerged this week that the UNDP was not happy with the talking
points Copac came up with, with suggestions that they were influenced by
The sources said the fight between Copac and the management committee,
co-chaired by Tendai Biti from MDC-T, Welshman Ncube from MDC and Patrick
Chinamasa from Zanu PF, was likely to further delay the commencement of the
outreach programme to gather the views of the people.
“The management committee that is composed of the negotiators from the three
parties feels it has more powers than Copac and the cancellation of the UNDP
project document is an example of the mistrust that the two bodies have for
each other,” said one of the sources.
Last week, Zanu PF’s vice-president Joice Mujuru launched a nationwide
outreach programme in Mt Darwin, ostensibly to educate people on the
Party sources said the programme was meant to result in a constitution
similar to the Kariba Draft written by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations in
2007 during talks to end the country’s political crisis.The Kariba Draft was
rejected as the sole reference document to the current process.
The sources said donors had also expressed concern that Zanu PF had
influenced the crafting of talking points and was pushing for the redrafting
of the questions to be put to the people during the outreach programme. The
donors, the sources said, feared that through the talking points Zanu PF was
planning to introduce the Kariba Draft by another name through the back
“Zanu PF used its teams on the ground during the training programme for
outreach purposes and they infiltrated all the thematic teams and influenced
the imposition of their draft questions into the questionnaire,” said
The source said donors were also concerned about the use and accountability
of funds they have channelled towards the constitution-making-process so
The sources said the donors expressed concern that the number of outreach
teams doubled after a training workshop a fortnight ago.
The donors allegedly raised concerns over the budget of the
constitution-making process after Copac agreed to involve all members of the
House of Assembly and Senate in the outreach programme.
Only 50 MPs were initially supposed to participate in the outreach programme
but after protests from the legislators and their political parties, it was
agreed that all of the over 300 members of the two houses be allowed onto
Sources in Copac said the parliamentarians are set to pocket between US$65
and US $300 daily in allowances from the outreach programme.
The outreach teams are expected to be out in the field for 65 days when the
The UNDP and government had pledged slightly over US$50 million to fund the
constitution-making process but the figure is expected to balloon after
enlarging the outreach programme teams.
Co-chairperson of Copac Douglas Mwonzora confirmed to the Zimbabwe
Independent that initially not all legislators were supposed to be part of
the outreach programme.
“Originally not all House of Assembly members and Senators were part of the
outreach programme but the management committee decided to include all
legislators in order to enhance accessibility in all areas and all this has
the effect of increasing the allocated budget,” Mwonzora said.
Mwonzora denied that the UNDP had stopped funding the process.
“If the UNDP were to pull out they would inform the government and they have
not indicated that to us. The UNDP remains committed and this week we met
with them to discuss various issues pertaining to the constitution-making
process,” Mwonzora said.
There were reports that UNDP, the European Union, USAid, Germany, the United
Kingdom, the UK’s Department for International Development, Sweden and
France had withdrawn their support for the constitution-making process after
failing to influence the talking points.
Mwonzora however said there had been confusion over the issue as the
original understanding was that UNDP would provide experts to assist in
wording the questions and in the production of the outreach manual.
“The allegations that the UNDP wanted to influence the talking points is
false as there is a standing agreement that the UNDP will provide experts
who will assist with the wording of the questions and the production of the
manual and there is no way they would have wanted to take control of a
process that is controlled by Zimbabweans,” Mwonzora said.
It also emerged this week that the three political parties finally reached
an agreement on the appointment of rapporteurs who will lead the outreach
Copac on Tuesday met and reached an agreement that the rapporteurs will be
appointed on a professional basis by the committee.
The rapporteurs would report to Copac and will make daily reports to
political representatives after every outreach meeting.
Zanu PF had wanted civil servants and youths to be the rapporteurs. However
the other parties alleged that civil servants and youths were partisan.
The parties had then proposed that each party will provide 70 rapporteurs.
“The issue of having each party forwarding 70 rapporteurs was rejected and
the rapporteurs will now be appointed professionally,” Mwonzora said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NAC) and the Zimbabwe National Association of
Students’ Unions yesterday said the stalling of the
constitution-making-process was a precursor to a flawed draft document.
At a joint press conference in Harare the civic organisations said they
would campaign against the process.
“To get a genuine constitution, we need an independent commission and that
is the position we still stand by,” said NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku.
“The politicians know about the need for independence and that is the reason
why they have three chairpersons (for the management committee where each of
the three political parties which are signatory to the global political
agreement are represented).”
The “flawed” process, Madhuku said, was also taking too long to take off, as
it was very much behind schedule.
“We will fight to stop this as these people are wasting our time as a
country. This is our country and we cannot watch this circus,” said Madhuku.
“They are not writing a constitution. It will be very naïve to continue
giving them the money for the new constitution. What we are saying is that
they should not waste our time and we are going to play our constructive
Thursday, 28 January 2010 18:32
ATTORNEY-General (AG) Johannes Tomana this week failed to extract a
confession from key state witness Peter Michael Hitschmann that would have
nailed MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett on charges of treason. Tomana was given
an opportunity to cross-examine Hitschmann after High Court Judge Justice
Chinembiri Bhunu declared him a hostile witness.
Immediately after the impeachment, Tomana began cross-examining Hitschmann.
On several instances during the course of the cross-examination this week
Hitschmann would refute the AG's assertions saying: "Do not put words in my
mouth. I never said that Your Honour. The record can speak to that."
An earlier ruling that the AG could not ask questions or make reference to
any of the statements or confessions allegedly made by Hitschmann, made
Tomana's task a very difficult one.
Section 259 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act provides that
confession is not admissible against other persons. The court also found
that the statements that Hitschmann made to the police "had not been
properly warned and cautioned".
During cross-examination Hitschmann denied Bennett ever at any stage
possessed the weapons recovered from his residence or that they were
involved in illegal dealings.
He also denied that Bennett had deposited funds into his offshore account
with a Mozambican bank.
On Wednesday the state brought in another witness, Precious Nyasha Matare, a
typist from the President's Office in Mutare, to testify that she printed
the e-mails that allegedly implicated Bennett.
She told the court that she was called in to print the e-mails from
Hitschmann's laptop at Senior Assistant Commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa's
Tomana then sought to produce the e-mails in court as evidence but was
stopped in his tracks by the defence team led by Beatrice Mtetwa on the
grounds that they were inadmissible.
"Hitschmann has made it very clear that such e-mails were shown to him but
their origins were not known," Mtetwa said. "My Lord, there can be no
question that printing of e-mails cannot be regarded as oral evidence as my
learned friend has sought to do," she said, adding that Matare was not an
information technology expert and could not know the origins of the e-mails.
"There is absolutely nothing that makes those e-mails admissible in court
through this witness. The witness says she is a typist, and I do not believe
that gives her the necessary expertise to give evidence on the origins of
those e-mails. From her evidence, she clearly does not know the addresses of
the various parties involved," argued Mtetwa.
But Tomana was adamant the e-mails should be used as evidence in court
arguing that Hitschmann had admitted that the laptop that is being used as
an exhibit belonged to him.
"The admissibility of these e-mails is clearly covered by Section 281 of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act," Tomana said. "The e-mails should be
accepted as exhibit number 13. The state seeks to rely on those e-mails to
prove that an offence was committed by the accused (Bennett)," he said.
"The e-mails stand alone and they are not confessions or statements made by
this witness," he said.
Justice Bhunu reserved his ruling on whether e-mails allegedly printed on
Hitschmann's laptop in 2006 should be used as evidence in the ongoing
Thursday, 28 January 2010 18:30
ZIMBABWE is seeking permission from Sadc countries to draw water from the
Zambezi River to ease water problems in the Matabeleland region. Water
Resources Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that the country was yet to get the authority from the
other riparian states although his ministry had made a proposal to the
Riparian states are countries that are connected to a river. Rivers riparian
to the vast Zambezi include Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe,
Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
"We have not yet obtained permission to draw water from the Zambezi," Nkomo
said. "We need to inform other riparian states of our intensions. A proposal
has been submitted but no permission or agreement has been reached."
Nkomo said there has been extensive correspondence between Zimbabwe and
"The Zambians asked for a comprehensive environmental impact assessment
report and that was submitted and we are still awaiting feedback. We are in
constant touch with them," he said.
The now renamed National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) is seen
as a permanent solution to end water crisis in the Matabeleland region. The
NMZWP wants to draw water from the Zambezi through the construction of a
450km pipeline to arid Matabeleland.
Unreliable water supply has in the recent past forced several companies to
relocate from the region, particularly Bulawayo, to other provinces. This
has reduced employment levels.
Last week Nkomo said under current estimates, a whopping US$1,1 billion was
needed to finance the three phases of the project.
This involves the completion of the Gwayi/Tshangani Dam, laying of a
pipeline from the dam to Bulawayo and its connection to the Zambezi.
Nkomo further suggested that the cash-strapped inclusive government would
implement the project through a joint venture partnership with a Sadc
country. He said he would soon embark on a regional tour to hold talks with
several countries on the possibility of a joint venture.
Botswana could be the partnering country, Nkomo hinted.
"I will be in Francistown on Sunday to meet my counterpart to discuss the
water project. Botswana has shown interests in also drawing water from the
Zambezi River but they want to access the water from Bulawayo. A joint
venture is a possibility," said Nkomo.
Last Thursday Nkomo was in Zambia to discuss the Zambezi Water Course
The Matabeleland water project was first mooted way back in 1912 but has
been shelved over the years due to funding constraints.
The total cost of the pipeline has sky-rocketed over the years and Nkomo's
estimate is almost double the US$600 million previously budgeted for in
Nkomo said the current cost of laying the pipeline is pegged at 18 million
rand/km and three companies would be awarded the tender.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:30
CONSTITUTIONAL and structural changes to give the Attorney-General (AG)’s
office autonomy are necessary if the state’s legal arm is to be efficient in
carrying out its mandate, analysts have said. This office, analysts said,
should be transformed into a more independent body, which is free from
They pointed out that a wholesale transformation of the office was necessary
as cosmetic changes such as changing personnel may not bring the desired
The AG’s office has, among other things, been accused of selectively
prosecuting offenders, failing to adequately advise the government on
critical legal issues, being manipulated by politicians and lack of
Highest on the list of misdemeanours that the AG’s office has been accused
of is political manipulation. This is because of the way it has handled
high-ranking political cases.
An example is the current trial of MDC treasurer Roy Bennett, in which the
state prosecution is led by AG Johannes Tomana, whose appointment remains an
outstanding issue of the global political agreement, further fuelling the
debate that there is political interference.
Programmes coordinator at Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Tafadzwa
Mugabe, said the AG’s office should become professional if it is to be taken
as a vital player in the justice delivery system in the country.
“The AG’s office should stop being used as a tool for political ends,” said
Mugabe. “They should also stop the selective application of the law where
some people are prosecuted not on the merits of the case but on the basis of
which party they belong to or they are perceived to be sympathetic to.”
Mugabe cited the case of Joseph Chinotimba — a leader of the war veterans
association — who accused Nkulumane MDC-T MP and Deputy Youth minister
Tamsanqa Mahlangu of stealing his cellphone.
He said there was much “zeal and vigour” in pursuing the matter by senior
officers in the AG’s office.
“We had very senior law officers pursuing this case but in normal
circumstances such a case will attract a fine or the person would be asked
to return the cellphone,” said Mugabe. “What makes this case even more
telling is that the accused was found not guilty.”
Apart from the accusations which have been levelled against the AG’s office,
there are administrative problems which also have to be addressed and these
include a mounting backlog of criminal cases that include corruption,
serious understaffing and personality clashes within the AG’s office which
have seen some experienced law officers being unceremoniously transferred
and others quitting.
Staff movements have left the AG’s office depleted and at times there are
inexperienced officers who are running departments, which partly explains
the bungling which has characterised the office.
There are for example six soldiers — Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuka, Oncemore
Madzurahova, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure and Shingirai Mutemachani — who
are accused of trying to topple President Robert Mugabe, who have been on
remand for three years. This is mainly because of the AG’s office’s failure
to proceed with the case because of administrative problems.
If the AG’s office was to become an independent authority, analysts argued,
it would be able to carry out the prosecutions as well as being the “people’s
lawyer”, which is able to represent the state in various cases.
“It would make a lot of sense to have an independent prosecution authority
as the current setting confuses the AG’s roles as the chief advisor to
government and being the advisor to a political party,” added Mugabe. “With
the establishment of a prosecuting authority, there will be no double roles
where we have the person crafting the laws who then will advocate for these
laws to be passed by cabinet and parliament. If it is an independent
prosecuting authority, then I am of the opinion that this may change.”
Constitutional law expert and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe
Lovemore Madhuku said any authority should be a creation of the constitution
as a mere change which is not supported by the supreme law would not have
“We need to have an independent prosecution authority which would separate
the roles of the government legal advisor from those of the person heading
the prosecution,” said Madhuku. “The weakness we have in the country, and we
have had this system for a long time, is that we have a partisan AG. It is
usually the case that the government legal advisor would be partisan and the
best way forward would be separating the two.”
He pointed out that the controversy over the double role, that of being a
legal advisor to government and the leader of the prosecution, became
evident after Patrick Chinamasa, who is now the Justice minister, took over
with his “emotional attachment”.
Chinamasa then rose to becoming a minister while in most cases the AG
normally becomes a High Court judge.
Mugabe said experience with the AG’s office in the last 30 years has shown
that it is open to political manipulation and it is time to explore other
“Some may say we keep trying new things but our experience has shown that
the AG’s office is not doing well. Take for example what has been happening
when government defies court orders. It is the duty of the AG to advise
government on what to do, that is to respect these court orders,” he said.
“Imagine what would happen if an accused person were to be sentenced and
then tell the judge that they would not comply. This will cause anarchy and
this is what the AG’s office is doing by letting government ignore court
Tinoziva Bere, the vice president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, said the
reforms should start with the removal of people seen not to be independent.
“We would then remove the AG’s office from direct ministerial control, more
along with what happens in South Africa but we should add more on the
appointment process,” said Bere. “The people who will be appointed to the
office should be under public scrutiny before they are short-listed and
interviewed. There should be a Judicial Service Commission that is made up
of independent lawyers who should be involved in the shortlisting of
This Judicial Service Commission could also have a representation from the
bench. While some countries involve the parliament in the selection process,
Bere said the experience in Zimbabwe is that the politicians should not be
part of the process.
If the AG’s office were to be transformed into an authority, with autonomy
along the lines of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Parks and Wildlife
Authority, it would be able to execute its mandate in a more transparent
manner without political interference, analysts say.
Under such an arrangement, the taking up of cases by the AG, though with
precedence, would be viewed as the normal execution of duties by the office
unlike the case at the moment.
Another problem with the AG’s office is high staff turnover at almost all
levels which has affected continuity. There have been five attorney-generals
in the last decade. Chinamasa was the AG in 2000 before he was succeeded by
Andrew Chigovera who resigned three years later.
Bharat Patel acted in the capacity of AG before Sobuza Gula-Ndebele took
While Gula-Ndebele showed considerable initiative towards reforms, he was
elbowed out of office and Tomana took over.
There is also a lot of movement at the lower ranks as law officers are
transferred, fired or suspended and in most cases this is linked to the
personality clashes which have come to characterise the AG’s office.
A report prepared by the International Bar Association to the International
Council of Advocates and Barristers in 2004 showed a number of problems at
the AG’s office and these included understaffing, lack of resources and
These problems have continued and they may only be solved if the AG’s office
was to be transformed into an independent body with autonomy.
Attempts to reform the AG’s office last year were stillborn after the AG’s
Bill which sought to introduce reforms lapsed after the second reading in
This would have been the first step towards realising reforms at the AG’s
office as it would have gone a long way in making sure that it is weaned
from the parent ministry.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:09
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti is in Washington lobbying the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) to restore the country’s voting rights and offer lines
of credit. The IMF suspended Zimbabwe’s voting rights in June 2003 after the
country’s economy deteriorated and government fell behind on debt
The multilateral financial institution said the country would only regain
the voting rights as well as financial and technical help if it cleared its
arrears and implemented sound economic policies.
Zimbabwe owes the IMF US$139 million under the Poverty Reduction Growth
Facility – Exogenous Shock Facility.
Biti, sources in government said, left the country early this week for
Washington and was upbeat that the voting rights would be restored.
Voting rights in the IMF are based on countries’ quotas, the amount of
foreign exchange reserves that they have deposited in the fund.
Biti’s Washington visit came a few days after US ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Charles Ray, said his government would support a motion to restore Zimbabwe’s
voting rights in the IMF when the board of the multilateral lending
institution next meets.
“We would want to assure Zimbabwe that once the issue of restoring Zimbabwe’s
voting rights in the IMF is put forward for debate at the next IMF sitting,
America will fully support the motion,” Ray was quoted in the media saying.
Biti hinted during the 2010 National Budget that the budget deficit of about
US$480 million would be financed by the international community as major
sectors of the economy were still to recover.
Biti said Zimbabwe needed the help of the international community to
complement efforts made to reign in inflation, lower the unemployment rate
and democratise the country’s political system.
Speaking at a press club in Washington on Wednesday, Biti said 2009 closed a
decade of political, economic and social turmoil in Zimbabwe and that the
country needed help from the international community to sustain the progress
it has made to date.
“The only way you can have democracy and real change in difficult places
such as Zimbabwe is if government itself is able to deliver,” Biti was
quoted by the international media saying. “But delivery requires resources,
and we don’t have the resources. Therefore, engagement becomes essential,”
He said this engagement needed to come from the international community, and
the country could not recover without clearing its US$6 billion debt to
various financial institutions worldwide.
“We need to transform the Zimbabwean economy,” said Biti. “We need to
modernise the Zimbabwean economy. But we cannot do that without a fund of
at least US$8 billion and therefore, we are appealing for a modern-day
He was referring to the man who formulated the plan for the rebuilding of
Europe after WWII, known as the Marshall Plan. Biti said Zimbabwe was
calling on its creditors to eliminate the money it owes them.
If the debt could be erased, Biti said, his country’s political, economic
and social prospects would continue to improve rapidly.
The finance minister said improvements implemented last year helped to open
a new chapter for Zimbabwe. Adding that after 12 years of shrinking,
Zimbabwe’s economy grew by about 4% in 2009.
Biti said on average, inflation for the year was negative. He also noted
market capitalisation of Zimbabwe’s stock exchange was more than US$4
billion, and its returns made it the most competitive bourse in Africa.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:07
ZIMBABWE will continue to experience power shortages. A Zimbabwe Power
Company generation report dated January 24 2010, seen by businessdigest,
shows that all is not well at Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) with only one
unit operating at Hwange.
The other five are tripped due to system failure with only unit 6 expected
to return to service soon.
The ZPC report reads: "The total internal power generation capacity
available from ZPC power stations is 835MW which is 53,2% of the forecast
maximum demand of 1570MW. Six units are in service at Kariba and only one
unit is service at Hwange Power Station. There is no generation at the small
thermal power stations."
Hwange Power Station is operating at a mere 13,4% of capacity producing 90MW
against targeted capacity of 670 MW.
Kariba is operating at almost near capacity. The plant is generating 745 MW
against a targeted capacity of 750MW.
All three small thermal stations are not generating any power. As of Monday
this week, ZPC was producing only 835MW against a forecast demand of 1 570
ZPC's imports are not helping with the power company importing 230 MW of
power against the required 300MW. Ironically, Zimbabwe is still meeting its
end of the export bargain with Namibia.
Documents show that ZPC is exporting 150MW to Namibia despite a crippling
shortage of energy on the domestic scene.
With a deficit of 655 MW, Zimbabwe will continue to experience power
At Hwange only Unit 4 is in service and sending out 90MW. According to
reports, Unit 1 is need of a "major overhaul'.
Unit 2 and 3 are tripped due to a system disturbance but might return to
service. Engineers are said to be inspecting Unit 5 which tripped almost two
Unit 6 went out due to a tube leak and is now awaiting diesel to return to
Worries over erratic power supplies have seen mines and industry engaging
Zesa on how to ease the problems.
But with the current problems at HPS, it could be long until blackouts are
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:04
GOVERNMENT has signed a US$56,3 million fertiliser and seed deal with the
South Africa headquartered African Investment Group (AIG) that will see GMB
depots nationwide resuming distribution of the commodity at a large scale by
month-end. The availability of the fertiliser is expected to ease the
current shortage of the commodity, which was threatening the 2009-10 farming
The deal between government and the AIG was inked last December.
Enoch Chihana, AIG marketing director, told businessdigest on Monday that
the distribution of the imported fertiliser would be speeded up as his
company would physically deliver the commodity to GMB depots as agreed in
There are 84 GMB depots in the country.
"We are not new in Zimbabwe. We feel we have come at a very crucial time. We
have a vision to see Zimbabwe regaining its status as the breadbasket of
southern Africa," Chihana said.
As of Monday, Chihana said,
34 000 tonnes of fertiliser have since landed into the country.
According to a supply contract for the fertliser and seed between government
and AIG, 40 000 tonnes of basal fertliser valued at US$22,6 million, 5 900
tonnes of Urea valued at US$3,3 million,
32 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate valued at US$18 million,
5 000 tonnes of hybrid maize valued US$18 million and
1 000 tonnes of sorghum valued at US$1,3 million.
Zimbabwe needs about 650 000 tonnes of fertilisers each year.
"Whereas the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe represented by the
Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (as the
purchaser) desires to procure basal fertiliser and seed (commodities) from
AIG, a company duly organised and existing under the laws of Switzerland (as
supplier) for development or agriculture in Zimbabwe," reads part of the
Government was forced to import the fertiliser after local companies failed
to produce enough because they were facing problems procuring raw materials.
"The total price of the supply contract is US$56,3 million inclusive of all
costs up to the receiving depots," reads the agreement.
A copy of a government guarantee in the possession of businessdigest showed
that CBZ Bank had agreed to be the principal borrower on behalf of
Zimbabwean farmers to secure a buyers credit facility not exceeding US$56,3
"The minister (Elton Mangoma) being duly authorised and acting for and on
behalf of government of Zimbabwe does hereby guarantee by binding the said
government as surety to CBZ for the repayment by the beneficiary farmers of
the value of agricultural inputs received up to a total amount not exceeding
US$56,3 million in the event that the beneficiary farmers default," reads
the government guarantee.
Mangoma said any liability incurred in terms of the guarantee should only be
called up by CBZ after it has provided satisfactory proof that it has
exhausted all available legal channels for recovering any outstanding debt
from the beneficiary farmers.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made
was recently quoted saying it was important that companies awarded tenders
to supply the country with the fertiliser delivered to GMB depots speedily
for collection by farmers due to the shortage.
"It is very important that the companies that won the tenders supply GMB
Farmers had been accusing Made of neglecting them and feared they would lose
their properties after failing to repay loans advanced to them.
Farmers were using their immovable property as security when securing loans
"We have had some quarrels with the Ministry of Finance but I am very
grateful for the spirit we have struck in working with speed to ensure we
deliver the commodities," Made said. "The two ministries are now
concentrating on the speedy delivery of the fertilisers to farmers. We
already have fertilisers in stock and we are expecting more deliveries."
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:03
THE continued disruptions on farms have resulted in more than 1 500 farm
workers losing their jobs this month alone, the General Agriculture and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) has said. Gapwuz secretary
general Gertrude Hambira said farm disruptions had a devastating impact on
"The current farm invasions have resulted in us losing a lot of labour on
the farms," Hambira said. "We are still collecting information, but results
so far have shown that we have lost at least
1 500 workers this month."
She said the union, which has a membership of 20 000 farm workers, felt
betrayed by the inclusive government which had set the end of farm invasions
as one of its objectives.
"Since the formation of the inclusive government in February last year, 4
500 farm workers have lost their jobs due to unrest on the farms. This shows
that the formation of the inclusive government has done nothing to improve
the lives of farm workers," Hambira said.
The areas most affected by these job losses, Hambira said, were Mashonaland
West, particularly in Chegutu and Karoi and Manicaland's Odzi area.
She said that the union had raised the issue with Tsvangirai's office and
the ministries of Labour and Agriculture but were yet to receive a response.
Hambira said the union was advocating for a wage increase for its members.
Farm workers are currently earning US$32 a month, a figure she said was far
She said the union last held wage negotiations in August last year.
The current wage, she said, was not enough and were advocating for their
members to earn a living wage which is at least a quarter of the Poverty
Datum Line currently estimated at US$454.
Hambira said most employees - especially new farmers resettled during the
land reform - were not paying workers resulting in some of them downing
"We are having problems with employers who are new farmers as they are
always arguing that they cannot pay wages because they have just been
resettled on the farms. We wonder for how long they will remain new farmers
given they were resettled 10 years ago. Where have you seen a baby that
never grows after 10 years," Hambira questioned.
She said the union had embarked on an exercise to help educate farm workers
on the new constitution and encourage them to contribute during the outreach
programme to be carried out by the Constitution Parliamentary Select
Gapwuz's membership has been whittled down from 200 000 members before the
land reform programme to just 20 000 members. This was caused mainly by the
chaotic nature of the exercise.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 16:56
TWO former Arundel school students have raised the country's flag high when
they were nominated for entry to Oxford University. The 2009 Rhodes scholars
of the year, Mutsawashe Mutembwa and Sarah-Jane Littleford, will be part of
the 200 scholars nominated from 13 different countries.
Mutembwa, who obtained 11 A's at ordinary level, and three A's and a B
grade at advanced level, was once awarded a scholarship to Indiana
University, where she passed with double distinctions in Mathematics and
Economics, and was awarded with a BA.
According to Mutembwa, the scholarship to Oxford serves as a platform for
her to study for MSc in Mathematics and Computational Finance at Oxford.
During her days at Arundel School, she participated in extra curricula
activities evidenced by the national honours in hockey, a sport which she
She represented her school at hockey, and captained the Zimbabwe under-18
and under-21 teams in 2007 and 2008, respectively, before proceeding to
Indiana University, Bloomington on a full scholarship.
She was a member of the university's women's field hockey team throughout
her time at the university.
Mutembwa was involved in various activities at the institution, among them
the Rotaract Club and the St Paul's collegiate choir.
Littleford, who intends to pursue a Masters degree in Nature, Society and
Environmental Policy at Oxford, obtained nine A's at ordinary level, and two
A's and a B at advanced level.
Exhibiting leadership qualities at a younger age, Littleford was the school's
deputy head girl, swimming captain, head chorister and drama captain, having
achieved a distinction in directing and producing the school play, Daughters
of Venice in 2004.
Littleford later won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia, where she got double distinctions in sustainable development
and environmental studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.
She also studied Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland,
and she is particularly interested in environmental issues.
As part of her degree, she wrote a thesis on the possibilities of jatropha
curcas as a bio-fuel for small scale application in Zimbabwe. -- Staff
Thursday, 28 January 2010 16:51
HOTELIERS and tourism companies have for years been in a public relations
overdrive to illustrate the benefits of a Fifa World Cup tourney to be
hosted by South Africa in a few months’ time. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
(ZTA) is one such entity at the centre of the World Cup hype. ZTA and many
others had hoped to see sports tourism spilling into Zimbabwe while
hoteliers hoped for packed room occupancies.
Soon, with the soccer tournament in the midst, Zimbabwe could be oiling its
public relations machine again to run the final lap.
But the Business Council of Zimbabwe (BCZ) feels the excitement has been
misplaced at least. At worst, the benefits could have been “exaggerated”.
So far none of the participating teams has given a commitment that it would
use Zimbabwe as a training camp. Across the border, it is publicity galore.
The SABC, the official FIFA World Cup broadcaster, has begun a countdown.
And understandably so, South Africa is where the soccer showcase is
happening. But Zimbabwean media, particularly the state broadcaster, ZBH,
has caught the contagion aided by hoteliers and tourism authorities keen on
cashing in on an anticipated tourism boom.
South Africa is expected to reap billions.
The BCZ president, Victor Gapare, believes Zimbabwe has been exaggerating
the benefit of the tournament.
Instead, he said Zimbabwe should focus on fundamental issues such as
infrastructure, education, and agriculture.
“The view expressed was that the benefit of the soccer World Cup 2010 has
tended to be exaggerated. Secondly, the World Cup is happening in South
Africa, and not in Zimbabwe; and not one football team has up to now firmly
confirmed using Zimbabwe as training base.
“The council felt there should be more energy put in attending to more
fundamental issues such as infrastructure, education and agriculture.”
Instead, Zimbabwe can use the tournament that will last for almost two
months, to market Southern Africa and put it on the international tourism
map, BCZ says.
He was commenting on the state of the countries business sectors.
BCZ also noted that airline tickets for the tournament were “heavily priced”
and above normal rates.
Gapare said: “It was observed that the airline tickets for the soccer World
Cup tournament period are heavily priced above normal rates and this could
affect travel costs to and within South Africa.”
On the political front, BCZ said the political situation was not helping
much as political parties –– Zanu PF and the two MDCs –– were still to iron
out outstanding global political agreement issues.
Analysts did not see the negotiators agreeing on any major concessions.
Rather, they anticipated that the three principals –– Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara ––
would be behaving themselves ahead of the football tournament. After the
soccer tournament, it would be back to the negotiating table.
This was because South Africa didnot want to see Zimbabwe’s politics
overshadow its moment of glory.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 18:26
"THE hardest lesson of my life has come to me late. It is that a nation can
win freedom without its people becoming free. I am a Zimbabwean patriot and
an African patriot too. I refuse to accept that we cannot do better than we
have so far done, or to reach for the easy excuse that all our mistakes are
simply a colonial inheritance that can conveniently be blamed on the
I have quoted these words from The Story Of My Life, by Joshua Nkomo, simply
to illustrate that true freedom as envisaged by the founding mothers and
fathers of this great nation called Zimbabwe still has to be accomplished.
Freedom is not simply about holding regular elections no matter how uneven
and biased the political playing field is.
A nation cannot be free when the majority of its inhabitants live in
debilitating poverty, fear and repression.
It is a complete negation of freedom to have a set-up where might is right
and where those who possess and control the coercive power of the state ride
roughshod over the basic and fundamental human rights of the weak and poor
It is a fact that since 1980, elections have been regularly held in
It is equally true that the majority, if not all of these electoral
contests, have been marred by violence, intimidation, thuggery and outright
Invariably, most electoral results in Zimbabwe have been contested mainly
because the process that gave rise to these elections was fundamentally
flawed and consequently the results of these elections were always a fertile
ground for contestation.
The problem we have in this country is that our politics, since the
attainment of Independence on April 18 1980, have always been the politics
of power retention at whatever cost.
What has always mattered is whether the political establishment, as ushered
in at Independence, had been preserved and retained intact, political power,
economic privileges and all.
Everything else was subordinated to this primary instinct of power
retention. As a result, the dominant political players, during every
electoral contest, would throw all caution to the wind and go for the
jugular to ensure that, ultimately, they always retained political power and
hence their privileged economic status as well. This is where we got it all
In a democracy, elections should give the voters an opportunity to freely
decide who should be entrusted with the duty of running matters of the
state. Put alternatively, any election that fails to accord the voters an
opportunity to freely choose their political leaders is but a sham election.
Do I hear someone talking about the farcical June 27 2008 presidential
election run-off in Zimbabwe? That internationally discredited sham of an
election is an unmitigated example of how not to run a free and fair
My main fear is that I always see the ghost of June 27 2008. If not
thoroughly exorcised, this ghost will come back to haunt us come the next
elections in Zimbabwe. Just mark my words.
The situation on the ground in Zimbabwe today, in my humble view, is still
far from being suitable for the holding of a free and fair election any time
soon. Whilst we now have a semblance of political stability and some measure
of tranquillity, I actually view this as a false dawn.
Beneath this facade of peace and tranquillity lies the lethal ghost of
political intolerance and deeply entrenched mistrust and bitterness. We seem
to be living in a fool's paradise where, unfortunately, some of us have
chosen to bury their heads in the sand, ostrich style, and somehow hope that
our politics will just get themselves right without any deliberate and
conscious effort to heal the nation. Sometimes, I wonder what has happened
to the Organ on National Healing and Integration. Can somebody please tell
me whether or not this organ is still in existence and functional?
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai is arguably the most popular political
party in Zimbabwe at this juncture. This fact has been proven by various
Tsvangirai and the MDC are poised to win, any free and fair election held in
Zimbabwe today, tomorrow or at any time in the near future. What is in
serious doubt is whether power will be transferred to Tsvangirai and the MDC
if they win an election.
I wish to be uncharacteristically defeatist and openly declare that even if
Tsvangirai and the MDC were to win the next elections, it would be a real
nightmare for them to obtain total transfer of power from the remnants of
the securocrats who still retain a tenacious hold on the coercive
instruments of State power today.
That is the real tragedy we have in Zimbabwe at this juncture in our
political history. We have never experienced a situation where power has
been transferred from one political party to another after the holding of
We are just used to the holding of generally discredited, violent and rigged
elections where the result is manipulated and the people's voice is cheated.
If this cancerous political disease is not completely cured, Zimbabwe will
always be mired in debilitating political problems which will continue to
adversely impact on the economic turnaround that all of us are so keen to
The instruments of terror and repression are still intact throughout
Zimbabwe. Those militias and other state actors who violated and tormented
the nation between March and June 2008 are still roaming free. What
guarantee is there that these merchants of terror will not be let loose
again in the event that another election is called for today?
Obert Gutu is senator for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.
By Obert Gutu
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:41
'OBSERVERS", we are told (Herald, Monday) believe Sadc and the AU should
take the MDC-T to task for "reneging on its GPA obligations while hiding
behind the finger that they had no influence on British foreign policy".
Among these "observers" is "analyst" Christopher Mutsvangwa. The British had
let "the cat out of the bag", he declared, in regard to recent statements by
David Miliband in the House of Commons.
Mutsvangwa and other Zanu PF supporters posing as analysts should be
instructed on what is happening here.
The British and others are only too aware that President Mugabe and his
followers have refused to implement key aspects of the GPA. These include
the role of AG Johannes Tomana and RBZ governor Gideon Gono.
President Jacob Zuma thinks these two can be "parked" somewhere. But Tomana's
performance in the state's prosecution of Roy Bennett shows that problems
left unresolved remain a danger to the GNU.
The court accepted this week that the state's star witness, Peter
Hitschmann, had been tortured prior to statements he had made. But still the
case staggers on.
Mugabe has an unambiguous obligation to appoint as ministers individuals
drawn up by the MDC-T. It is not his job to decide whether they are
acceptable to him or not.
The same goes for Zimbabwe's ambassador to Pretoria.
That appointment should be decided in consultation with the GNU partners.
The British, the EU and the US understand this. By referring to the role of
the MDC-T, Miliband is saying that decisions such as the lifting of
sanctions will be taken only when the partners in government agree there is
evidence of reform.
That is clearly not the case at present. Zanu PF is blocking reform every
step of the way. The MDC-T for their part are constantly giving hostages to
fortune. They need to spell out that so long as the causes of sanctions
remain, it is impossible to agree to their lifting
Every time Zanu PF demands that sanctions should be lifted, the MDC-T needs
to insist on the removal of controls on the media and violent farm
disruptions. Deputy secretary for information and publicity Ephraim Masawi
on Wednesday spoke of the MDC-T's "treacherous role" in the initiation of
"The people of Zimbabwe, as the victims of MDC-T and Western murderous
collusion now demand that Mr Tsvangirai and his Western allies remove their
evil sanctions so that children can go to school, the sick can be attended
to in hospitals, people can find jobs and farmers produce."
What "murderous collusion" is he talking about? It was the MDC-T that lost
200 supporters in the 2008 elections when Zanu PF's murderous gangs were on
the loose. And the public, who largely voted against Zanu PF's
blandishments, associate the collapse of the schools and hospitals with Zanu
PF's reign. It is the MDC-T which has engineered recovery in the education
and health sectors. But we agree with Masawi that it is currently impossible
for farmers to produce.
A free press and the safety of property are fundamental to a democratic
society. There must be an end to subornment of the state media as
illustrated by disingenuous remarks about "pirate" radio stations.
These will disappear once Zimbabwe is free and political infiltration is
removed, as required by the GPA.
Muckraker has a theory that once individuals leap aboard Zanu PF's
threadbare bandwagon, they are given an injection that makes them say really
We had Mutsvangwa talking about Jan van Riebeeck at the Quill Club last
Friday. He seemed to think this was a reasonable topic for an audience of
He is also a big fan of China but doesn't seem to appreciate that the
Chinese are expanding on the Western model of trade and investment - the
opposite of Zimbabwe.
Then there was SK Moyo speaking to Zanu PF's Youth League. He had obviously
been given the same shot by the men in white coats and started rambling
about the transitional government. "But we do not have transitional
diplomatic posts," he added.
"All the noise about the South African ambassadorial position is useless
because ambassadors are appointed by the president and commander in chief of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces."
So, not much consultation there!
Then John Nkomo emerged from the same clinic. Youths should unite to shame
Zimbabwe's detractors, he declared.
"Efforts are there to divide us for regime change purposes but let's remain
united. If you girls and boys sleep out there our heritage will go."
Where was "out there", we asked ourselves? And did "our heritage" include
electoral violence as exhibited in 2008?
Muckraker would welcome suggestions from readers of evidence of victims of
the party jab!
Nkomo, by the way, told the youths they were free to disagree with the
Dissent is welcome, he said, "but it must never be acrimonious or
antagonistic and must never interfere with official party or government
So what does that leave? And he repeated that funny charge that the West was
Zanu PF has always had particular difficulty with people "causing confusion"
and it is a serious charge to make within the party. The comrades are easily
But observers should take note of a sinister claim by Nkomo. "Once party
structures are efficiently and effectively organised and mobilised, setbacks
experienced during the March harmonised elections will not be repeated," he
We note that Ignatious Chombo is threatening to reimpose commissions on town
councils he regards as corrupt.
If he has evidence of corruption he should produce it and not use it as a
smokescreen for disregarding the electoral verdict of voters. Can't he get
it into his head that nobody wants Zanu PF back in power, either through the
front door of parliamentary elections or the back door of local government.
How well did his commissioners perform the last time? Anybody remember
Meanwhile, we are still waiting to hear how many farms Chombo has. His
"forensic teams" need to have a look there.
The following is a statement from the German embassy in Harare.
"Contrary to a report in the Sunday Mail of 24 February, donors have not
suspended funding of the constitutional process. This article is misleading
and not based on facts," said German Ambassador Albrecht Conze, speaking in
his capacity as current Chair of the 'Friends of Zimbabwe' Group.
"The international community remains committed to support the people-driven
constitution-making process which is vital for the country's future
"We have agreed to disburse funding towards workplans and budgets prepared
by the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Committee," said Ambassador
Conze. "Donors are waiting to meet with representatives from government,
parliament and civil society to consider the first workplan."
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:34
QUESTIONS recurrently posed to economists, financial and business gurus, and
others believed (frequently unjustifiably so) to know the necessary cures
for Zimbabwe's prolonged economic ills are very diversified and wideranging,
including -- amongst innumerable others:
* Will the land audit restore viability to agriculture, and thereby
bring back a thriving economy?
* Can mining sector development be the source of economic recovery and
* Is revitalisation of the manufacturing sector the key to achieving
Zimbabwean economic wellbeing?
* Should the South African rand, or the US dollar, not be Zimbabwe's
national currency, so that the economy will not be distorted by currency
cross-rates or, if the former, so that the South African economy will be the
catalyst of economic transformation in Zimbabwe?
* Is a change of government key to bringing about a thriving economy?
* If corruption would be vigorously contained, will that not trigger the
creation of a viable economy?
* Must the national debt not be eliminated, by international debt
forgiveness, thereby assuring economic recovery?
* Surely reduction of governmental spending would bring about a stable
and sound economy?
* Can economic metamorphosis not be achieved by innovative taxation
* International aid and investment is surely the key to bringing about
an economy of real strength and solidity?
and innumerable other questions in similar vein. The key characteristic of
almost every question is an implied suggestion that a single policy, and
associated actions, is the prerequisite for an economy which will sustain
and support all (or, at least, a substantial majority of the Zimbabwean
However, those who so question, and thereby imply that need, are imbued with
grievous misconception of the economic realities. There is no single cure
for the intense economic ills that have afflicted Zimbabwe for most of the
last three decades, and especially so since late 1997.
It was then that the economy commenced its horrendously escalating and
accelerating downward slide. It is the last 12 years that witnessed Zimbabwe
consistently, and with ever greater intensity, doing virtually anything and
everything that could assure the continuing and recurrently worsening of the
economy. So great was the economic destruction that:
* More than four-fifths of the populace were struggling to survive at
levels far below the Poverty Datum Line;
* Over half the population were under-
nourished, victims of pronounced malnutrition, their incomes being markedly
less than the Food Datum Line;
* Millions of Zimbabweans, and particularly those with skills, departed
Zimbabwe to pursue survival in more accommodating economies;
* National infrastructure, including education, health,
energy-generation, water conservation, purification and distribution,
communication and transportation services, and very much else, progressively
declined to abysmally low levels, exacerbating the economic collapse and
* Government became bankrupt;
* Unemployment became extremely pronounced, with growth in crime
becoming the ever-greater key to human survival;
* Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and domestic investment became
* Zimbabwe's international ratings became so minscule that it was
perceived to be amongst the world's worst economies, and least desirable
investment destinations, and devoid of any credible credit rating;
And innumerable other characteristics of a defunct, moribund, collapsed and
But the questioners who pose, endlessly, the enquiries as to whether one
action or another would not halt and reverse the economic morass misguide
themselves, and others, when they impliedly suggest, through their
questions, that there is a key course of action to be pursued to reverse
Zimbabwe's economic ills, and set the economy upon a meaningful growth path.
The reality is that a composite of actions, measures and policies must be
unreservedly applied to bring about the anxiously-desired economic
transformation. Key amongst these are that:
* Zimbabwe must meet the criteria upon which FDI and domestic investment
are founded, which include assured investment security, partially evidenced
by unmitigated respect for, and adherence to Bilateral Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreements and for rule of law, respect for property and
human rights, and for international norms of justice, and include a minimum
of economic regulation, conducive taxation legislation, and realistically
manageable levels of international debt;
* Indigenisation and economic empowerment must be pursued constructively
and facilitatively, rather than by expropriation, dictate, and
* Agriculture must be restored to its former glory, the first step
thereto being reform of land reform, ensuring land ownership by farmers,
procuring effective land utilisation, timeous availability of inputs, skills
development, market-driven fair prices, and the like;
* Mining, manufacturing and tourism must be encouraged and facilitated,
with minimal state regulation and interference;
* Political stability and integrity must be assured;
* Infrastructural rehabilitation and development must be urgently
implemented and continued, mainly achieved by partial or total privatisation
of parastatals, and constructive interaction with strategic partners;
* Zimbabwe must achieve restored, sound, reciprocally-respect based,
international relations, abandoning its arrogance and psychotic
misconceptions of Machiavellian intents of the international community;
* Misplaced arrogance and pride must be replaced by seeking debt
rescheduling and debt forgiveness, through avenues such as HIPC (Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries' conventions);
Simultaneous recourse to all these cures, and others, will bring about the
Zimbabwean economy so yearned for by the Zimbabwean people. Focus upon any
single cure is misguided and will be ineffectual.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:27
DO Africa's liberators lack the guile to match their high principles? The
tide of liberation sweeping across communist East Europe after decades of
state rape produced leaders of the moral stature of Vaclav Havel and Lech
Africa too has had more than its quota of leaders like Ken Saro Wiwa,
prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for his abused and neglected people
in the Niger Delta. Why then are so many of Africa's Iron Curtains still
Morgan Tsvangirai should have his requiem composed now, when many still
remember the good intentions, the sacrifices he made. Why wait another
year, by which time his squabbling and infiltrated party will have been
completely outfoxed? And his lieutenants will have stripped the gravy train
of the last toilet seat?
He should consider the permutations. Sanctions are lifted - the state
parrots will say that is what had brought Zimbabwe so low. Sanctions are
not lifted - they'll say the weekend farmers were denied the opportunity to
get Zimbabwe's agriculture back to pre-1997 levels.
Consider that the MDC pulls out of the 2011 elections, citing abuse of food
aid and agricultural inputs, youth militia, the suborned public media,
Tomana's selective use of the judiciary to punish electoral violence - and
it is accused of putting self ahead of the suffering masses. It goes through
the election, and is accused of being a bad loser.
What happened in the MDC's tactical department that even on the currency
front, tails it loses and heads the other side wins?
The nightmare of queuing in banks for worthless Zimbabwe dollars is receding
into the past. No currency per se could ever be a magic wand. It only
provided the window of opportunity to restore confidence in the economy.
Give him another year and Gideon Gono will be riding back like a knight in
shining armour with his Zimdollars as much in demand as ever, while the MDC
fails to deliver "its" US dollar.
A currency is nothing more than a means of rationing, of levelling the
ground between those with the willingness to produce and those with the
appetite to consume (not always evenly matched between nations or even
classes within a nation).
The Chinese yuan has a tendency to be strong - very strong. But the Chinese
have been castigated for unfair competition for years by US manufacturers
for keeping it weak.
Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum, Hugo Chavez defies orthodoxy and
tries to keep a weak currency strong. He is increasingly and predictably
failing to provide his people with electricity and other essentials, despite
having vast reserves of oil.
Our demand that the Zimbabwe dollar stay strong became an invitation to
foreign producers to smash and grab.
Many revolutions have compromised too much at the last hurdle, when the race
for future generations is lost or won.
They found the ghosts of the ancien regime, like the Securitate in Romania
or the crony capitalists in Russia, lingering on long after the night of
euphoria had faded when Nicolae Ceausescu and his grasping wife Elenor were
lined up against a wall and shot, or the Iron Curtain was dismantled.
Mr Tsvangirai, sir, if you have decided that there is nothing that the
ruling party (for that is what it remains) can do that is so bad as to
justify the MDC pulling out of the unity government, Zimbabweans have indeed
lost their nerve at the final hurdle. Our liberation has not begun with the
US dollar and rands pouring in from the diaspora and the donors.
It will begin when US dollars and rands flow from the sweat of all
Zimbabweans falling on our own soil.
John Bennett is a Zambia-based commercial farmer.
By John Bennett
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:25
NATURE has been kind in bestowing on Zimbabwe the diamond deposits at
Marange, which by all accounts is one of the richest global discoveries of
recent times. It's of a scale that has the potential to transform the
fortunes of this country - to fund hospitals, schools and infrastructure.
Diamonds are forever, so the saying goes. But they're not. They are a
precious and finite resource that needs to be husbanded with the greatest
What a tragedy therefore that the huge revenues now flowing from Marange are
going not to the benefit of Zimbabwe, but into a handful of well-lined
pockets. It's a depressing and all too familiar story.
The title holder of the central concession in the Marange fields has been
elbowed aside - in contravention of a High Court judgment - and the
discovery gifted to two companies about which little is known.
Whoever makes such decisions has come to the conclusion these companies are
more reliable partners to exploit this precious resource than a publicly
listed, well respected minerals firm that has been in the business for years
and is of proven integrity.
The figures tell the story of what is at stake. In the 42 days up to October
18 2009, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) mined the
Marange concession at an average of around 69 tonnes per day.
Even at this relatively slow pace they declared 59 373 carats of diamonds.
With the two new companies in place, and their machinery going full bore,
the pace of extraction has accelerated hugely.
About 3 800 tonnes per day are now being processed - 55 times as much as
ZMDC managed. One can safely assume the volume of carats has expanded
Medium and high-grade stones comprise a small proportion of the Marange
output (around 10% and 4% respectively) but the figures are nonetheless
In deposits of this type, 10% of the diamonds mined yield 90% of the
profits. On that basis, Marange is generating somewhere between US$30
million and US$300 million dollars per month. I
t's difficult to be more precise because all transparency is lacking. Where
is all this money going? Of one thing we can be sure - the high-grade gems
are going out the back door, while the lower grade industrial stones are put
on public display. What's happening is in direct contravention of the
Kimberley Process and industry norms.
Zimbabwe's economy made great strides in 2009 and will grow for the first
time in 10 years. Sound management is in place and basic services have been
But, despite increased revenues and the significant donor funds flowing in
from the US and EU and elsewhere, everyone knows the going is tough. The
government is struggling to deliver services on a budget of around US$100
million a month. Set alongside this, the tax revenues from Marange would
have the potential to transform this situation.
There's another aspect to this too: Zimbabwe desperately needs to attract
foreign investment. With the economy stabilising, potential investors are
now beating a path to Harare. They like what they see in terms of economic
management but they view with great concern the manner in which property
rights - whether for a diamond field or a farm - are being flouted and
investment agreements disregarded.
A spotlight, clear and bright, needs to be shone on the riches flowing from
Marange before this precious resource is squandered. The choice is simple -
are revenues from these diamonds to be a national birthright, funding health
education and infrastructure, or are they to be frittered away to the
benefit of a chosen few?
Diamonds are certainly not forever. - By a Correspondent.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:22
AT this moment in the political history of the inclusive government of
Zimbabwe, very few may still contest the view that the current
constitution-making crusade remains an imperfect product of a pragmatic but
hugely flawed coalition government. The constitution-making process has
become the new terrain for political stake building both within and outside
the inclusive government.
There is no doubt that part of this inclusive government is a weak but
authoritarian Zanu PF regime that phenomenally seeks to control the
transitional process in such a way as to reinvent itself and emerge stronger
at the expense of the democratisation project.
Derailing the progress of the inclusive government by reducing it to an
expedient framework for "pacts, bargains and haggling" that waters down
tangible reforms is one of Zanu PF's key strategies.
The mediator, South African president Jacob Zuma, seems to be falling into
the trap by suggesting that "some of the issues could be put aside for now
so that the country can ready itself for elections".
This view sounds incremental. In mediation one may have to avoid seeking
clarity on the way forward as it may bring out serious ideological
differences that tear apart parties that are diametrically incompatible.
The problem with this approach is that it postpones Zimbabwe's immediate
need to confront and reform institutions and systems of violence and
intolerance that have been used to commit unspeakable acts of terrorism; and
institutions of cooperation that create open democracy.
One of the chairpersons of the constitution-making parliamentary
sub-committee tried to dispel fears of political violence during
constitutional consultations by saying that they have made a deal with the
police to make sure that they would respond to any disorder quickly during
The question is: Why should there be a deal with the law enforcement agents
whose clear mandate is to maintain law and order?
After all, we are made to understand that a deal had been made during the
first national constitutional reform conference held in July last year which
was disturbed by Zanu PF supporters.
It may be important to understand that deal-making at this point may not be
enough to create and safeguard the future of Zimbabwe. The real deal is to
organise and inform citizens on a broad-based constitutional consultative
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on September 15 2008 said the agreement was
a "painful compromise". It did not provide instant solutions and may
actually need patience. In his own words, he said: "I call on all supporters
of Zanu PF and MDC to unite as Zimbabweans. Divisions, polarisation and
hatred belong to the past. Safety must be restored to our community; our
state institutions must serve the people. Our lives begin now. Let us not be
divided by our past, but be united by hope for the future".
Zimbabweans may want to be reminded that there is still time to heed the
call and understand that the future depends on the wisdom of the people to
While fundamental issues within the inclusive government are yet to be
resolved, a greater section of citizens passively continue pretending that
someone somewhere will soon make a change for them. Actually, attempts to
smuggle the Kariba Draft into the process have intensified.
Functionaries of the ancien regime such as some headmen, district
administrators, provincial administrators and war veterans have been drafted
as facilitators. Their main purpose is to manipulate the consultation
process while claiming to defend national sovereignty or land reform.
The time has come to create a national founding document that bears the
imprint of the broad, diverse, multiracial, multilingual and multicultural
nation. Our current constitution is a ceasefire document that was with each
amendment given the executive authority to criminalise civic participation
and political pluralism.
Already, its replica, in the form of the Kariba Draft remains Zanu PF's
preferred alternative. Intentional efforts to do away with the
constitutions that bear the imprint of dictatorship, violence and its memory
must be forgotten.
The new constitution shall be the basis upon which to target and reform
those institutions, systems and attitudes used to commit atrocities on the
innocent citizens of Zimbabwe.
Citizens may have to be reminded of the need for high levels of tolerance
that will ensure that the constitution, the supreme law of the land,
reflects the multiple realities of this country - both the dubious and
glorious deeds of the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial life and
Critical to effective social and economic transformation is refocusing
broadly and beyond any political party.
Concerned citizens and community leaders may assist by building sufficient
social capital with a supportive collective consciousness in communities to
leverage good policy decisions or salvage bad ones.
Credit and support must be given to various civic groups operating both
within and outside the framework of the constitutional process that have
invaded the public and political forums, policy arenas and courts (including
that of public opinion).
The idea is to establish new norms, principles and values upon which to
legitimise or de-legitimise certain expressions of public life and popular
will in leadership and governance. Community organisation must begin to
transform the yesteryear victims of the status quo to be the champions of a
Of course, blaming Zanu PF for illegally holding on to power and mutilating
the very sacred safeguard of a democracy in the constitution sounds natural.
Lambasting the MDC for holding on to the "unworkable" power-sharing deal and
for "behaving like an estranged wife", or for signing the deal in the first
place seems logical and objective.
However, concerned citizens may also ask themselves if they have done
enough, if anything at all, to stop the current state of affairs. Citizens
must actively participate in co-creating a new dispensation where political
players must be made to choose a shared power world or no world at all.
Thabani Nyoni writes from the University of Minnesota, US, where he is on a
Hubert Humphrey International Fellowship Programme focusing on Public
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:11
THE ruling by the High Court which threw out the evidence of main state
witness Peter Michael Hitschmann in the treason trial of Roy Bennett on
Monday has once again brought to the fore the issue of torture of of people
High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu ruled that the evidence which the
prosecution sought to use to convict Bennett was extracted under duress and
The latest confirmation of torture falls into a familiar pattern in which
the courts have at all levels found the state to be culpable in the torture
Court records are now replete with examples of egregious excesses by
security agents who use torture as a weapon of choice against perceived
enemies of the state and common criminals to extract evidence.
The torture of Hitschmann occurred four years ago when he was arrested and
charged with banditry. His description in court last week of the degrading
treatment he was subjected to in custody mirrors the horrors of Jestina
Mukoko and other human rights activists who were detained and tortured while
in custody. Mukoko has since filed a US$500 000 lawsuit for "illegal
abduction, disappearance and torture at the hands of state players".
The torture saga has become a consistent tale, from the detention and
torture of journalists Ray Choto and Mark Chavunduka in 1999 to the most
recent case of the alleged abduction and subsequent torture of MDC's
transport manager Pascal Gwezere at the end of last year.
The sad part of all this is that torture and detention have become part of
the governance system in this country. This has been a weapon of choice for
the repressive Zanu PF regime and lately, it has been happening under the
watch of the inclusive government.
The MDC-T which has been a victim of this archaic form of repression has a
role to speak out strongly against it. The closest the party has come to
condemning torture was in April last year when the party's Giles Mutsekwa,
who is Home Affairs co-minister, spoke about the cowardly act.
"I know how painful and evil it is as I have in the past gone through that.
It is deplorable and it should never happen," he said.
Mutsekwa said then that there were three state security organs involved in
the abduction of innocent people who they pick-up, detain for torture, then
surrender at a police station for them to be brought to court.
"What we really need to do is to come up with a new Constitution. We have
three centres of power that govern the operations of the police. President
Robert Mugabe and the Attorney-General can order police officers to effect
an investigation and arrest without the co-ministers of Home Affairs
knowing," he said.
Constitutional changes to ensure unprofessional hands do not interfere with
the functions of the police is a solution but the most obvious short-term
way forward is for known torturers occupying senior positions in the state
security apparatus to be brought before the courts and punished.
These individuals are known and their acts of impunity stem from the fact
that they are insulated from prosecution by a repressive system.
Ironically, those sanctioning torture are our so-called liberators. A number
of them were victims of torture during the liberation struggle but they now
preside over a government which stands accused -- and has dismally failed to
make a plausible denial -- of using torture as an instrument of state
Their victims since 1980 are many. Most of them were arrested, detained and
tortured on all sorts of baseless allegations, which is why they were
acquitted by the courts.
The damage inflicted on them physically and psychologically would however
have been severe and at times life-threatening. Heroes of Zimbabwe's
liberation struggle such as Joshua Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku,
Welshman Mabhena, Edward Ndlovu, Kembo Mohadi and many others were subject
to physical and psychological torture during the 1980s on allegations
similar to those faced by Mukoko, Gwezere and Hitschmann.
There is all the evidence that our government has never hesitated to
sanction torture but this has gone on for far too long. Now is the time to
make loud calls for that to be reversed.
We cannot continue to live with torture. We cannot continue to just
celebrate the release from detention or acquittal of tortured suspects and
not call for torturers to be tried and punished. Why has the
Commissioner-General not lifted a finger in this regard? Why does the UN
continue to overlook this abuse when funding the deployment of police
officers to world hotspots?
Torture remains an international crime and a violation of important
international instruments, chief among them the UN Convention Against
Torture, adopted by the General Assembly in 1984.
President Mugabe and his henchmen have been trying to position themselves as
victims of an international conspiracy hatched from Western capitals. Far
Mugabe and his lieutenants have invited international condemnation by
failure to deal decisively with torture. What they do not see is how bad
they look every time the state is exposed for torturing suspects. There is
no better advertisement of their credentials as human rights violators than
this. So long as they carry on with impunity Zimbabwe will be regarded as a
Thursday, 28 January 2010 18:50
FOLLOWING Zanu PF's congress last month, which made resolutions effectively
to stall the inter-party dialogue, negotiations on contentious issues
between the party and the two MDC factions now appear to be headed for a
blind alley. This might leave the inclusive government in perilous balance
or lead to its collapse.
The prospects of survival for the inclusive government are gloomy. Before
the parties took a break from the dialogue on December 6 ahead of the Zanu
PF congress, there appeared to be a breakthrough on the talks as parties
covered a lot of ground, clearing most of the issues of the 27-item agenda.
The negotiators appeared to be within reach of an ultimate resolution of the
issues which have been creating conflict within the shaky coalition
government formed after the disputed presidential election in 2008.
However, when the talks resumed on Wednesday last week things took a
dramatic turn for the worse. Guided by their party's congress resolutions,
Zanu PF negotiators went to the negotiating table to throw spanners in the
works. They said they were not going to negotiate anything because their
hands were tied by the congress resolutions. As a result nothing progressive
came out of it and all the ground initially covered was lost.
Progress was reversed and gains rolled back. Controversial issues including
the swearing-in of Roy Bennett, appointment of provincial governors,
appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana, and chairing of cabinet, among other things, took centre
stage but there was no movement.
In fact, there was retrogression in dialogue as Zanu PF negotiators simply
refused to negotiate, citing all sorts of excuses including the party's
congress resolutions that were designed to stall dialogue.
The MDC-T left the meeting stunned and exasperated. Zanu PF negotiators felt
their tactics based on bald-faced intransigence and deliberate lack of
cooperation was working. The party's strategy is obviously to frustrate MDC
negotiators and tire them out. Political wear and tear could eventually
weaken the MDC and ensure its containment.
In reaction to last week's latest stalemate, the MDC-T is now taking back
the issue to Sadc, but it won't end there.
Senior party officials are behind closed doors now mulling over other
options, including disengagement yet again, which might deteriorate into
withdrawal from the government if matters rise to a head.
Senior MDC-T officials are livid over what Zanu PF is doing and some are
beginning to seriously consider the option of pulling out despite the fact
that others now enjoying the trappings of power - status, posh cars and
upmarket houses - might balk at this. But things are certainly not looking
The problem in the current round of talks started with the Zanu PF congress
and its resolutions.
The party's decisions effectively meant stalling of the talks and that's
where we are now.
We are entering a political danger zone and depending on the parties'
strategies, calculations and moves, we might soon have a really crippled
government or see a start to the beginning of its end. After its congress,
Zanu PF took a position not to make any more concessions in the talks.
Zanu PF said it noted "that the inclusive government brings the party into
partnership with ideologically incompatible MDC formations from which it
must extricate itself in order to retain its mantle as the only dominant and
ascendant political party that is truly representative and determined to
safeguard the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe".
This clearly showed Zanu PF was not interested in seeing this transitional
Now its negotiators are fulfilling that mandate of clumsily trying to
disentangle the party from the inclusive government which has drastically
limited President Robert Mugabe's power and imposed fetters on his exercise
It is clear Mugabe particularly hates this arrangement for that reason,
although it saved him from being swept from power via a looming popular
uprising which was building up at the height of the economic meltdown, and
widespread discontent among the public and even the security forces.
The soldiers had begun expressing anger through riots and had the inclusive
government not been formed worse would inevitably have come. The course of
history could have changed and by now things could be very different, for
better or worse.
In resolutions which pre-empted the negotiations, Zanu PF also castigated
the MDC over the "continuance of the illegally declared and undeclared
Western sanctions which remain a paramount and decisive outstanding issue in
the inter-party dialogue". It said the MDC needed to "undergo fundamental
mind frame change".
To show the talks had no realistic prospects of success, the Zanu PF
congress also "instructed" Mugabe to ensure that the party's negotiators did
not give in on anything until the targeted sanctions were lifted and foreign
radio broadcasts to Zimbabwe stopped. It also gave other conditions for
cooperation, including matters relating to alleged foreign interference,
NGOs, so-called parallel government and a whole host of demands which make
fruitful talks impossible.
As a result the negotiations are stalled. They may resume on February 8 but
chances of success are between slim and none unless something dramatic
happens. This leaves the MDC wedged in a conundrum: either to lapse back
into passive submission or engage in an open fight with Zanu PF whose
outcome will be unpredictable. The casualty of this would be the inclusive
government whose collapse would be disastrous.
Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:45
ZIMBABAWE may already have up to two million illiterate people and the
number is rising. Last year 700 000 pupils in their mid-teens were supposed
to write the school-leaving Ordinary level examinations; three quarters of
Also last year hundreds of thousands others were to sit the
now-much-degraded Grade Seven exams. A lot didn't; many did but the
percentage pass rate was zilch in the rural areas where the majority of our
We saw this coming!
Now we have a huge problem on our hands yet we don't have the foggiest idea
of what we should do with such a sea of illiterate, unemployable people. Our
education system is still in the doldrums; this week teachers started a
strike for better wages meaning we face another difficult year for our
This scenario is not without precedent; it happened in Rhodesia. During
Rhodesia's apartheid the development was deliberate; it was a tool of
The policy was to keep the natives illiterate so they wouldn't know their
rights. So the Department of Native Education put in place a bottleneck kind
of education in which fewer and fewer children progressed to the next level.
In the end the indigenous population was generally illiterate and
unemployable in any skilled fields, only providing cheap labour in the mines
and on the farms.
It suited the Rhodesians and actually worked for them, but for only a while.
The illiterate population eventually became restive and fought a painful
guerrilla war whose effects are still felt today. Faced with no other way to
vent their frustrations with the Rhodesian regime the only weapon they had
was to kill.
It is these same guerrillas who wreaked and continue to wreak havoc on our
agricultural sector and this can be traced to the depredations of the
Rhodesian education system.
That is what's going to happen in our country; in fact it's already
happening and the climax is just around the corner.
In the late-1990s when the Zimbabwean economy began to implode and
unemployment began to get out of hand, it became impossible to keep children
in school. Teenage boys and girls deserted schools and went into activities
that gave them immediate returns and sustenance. Young women went into
prostitution while their male counterparts mostly went into bhagabhaga (gold
Their motivation was simple: those who had an education were not getting
jobs so why bother with something that would only lead you into a dead end?
Our river systems were invaded and polluted with mercury, silting many
rivers. But that was not the only story emerging from bhagabhaga! It was a
real gold rush with all the violence that has accompanied it throughout
The makorokoza (panners) organised themselves into gangs prepared to kill
for their claims. They literally became murderers because violence became
the only means of survival.
The climax of this came in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. The makorokoza had
become so violent the police could not contain them, hence the involvement
of the army.
But the problem is not only about people who lack education turning to
violence, it is also about the uselessness of our own examination system.
Those who manage to remain in school, at the end of their toil, write a
useless exam that no one recognises. Yes the government will try to force
industry and commerce to employ the Zimsec school leavers but in the end
this cannot be feasible.
The government has allowed the existence of a parallel education system
which is run by an internationally renowned examination board.
School leavers from this better education system are obviously superior to
those from public schools and all things being equal will get jobs in
commerce and industry ahead of their public school counterparts, resulting
in elitism. A further result of this will be frustration and
Our government is just being driven by nationalist paranoia.
Just as it resisted dollarisation when it was the only way to go when the
local currency had collapsed in the second half of the last decade, it is
resisting the externalisation of our examinations system when, again, it is
the only way to go in the circumstances.
The result will be that children will just not bother sitting the Zimsec
examinations and their parents would not have any sort of ammunition to
compel them to.
An illiterate, unemployable population is a source of instability for the
country. It drove people to war in the 1970s. In Zimbabwe it has already
caused little localised battles between the makorokoza and the police and
Who knows, these little skirmishes may eventually escalate into something a
little more sinister.
What is to be done? Zimbabwe's overdependence on formal education is at the
core of this puzzle. Every child has got to go through a classroom with a
teacher for a number of years and then write an examination which the child
may or may not pass. Those who pass are good, those who fail have themselves
to blame. It's as simple as that!
But there is room for distance education in Zimbabwe; it's cheaper and it
gave thousands an education in Rhodesia and young Zimbabwe. How many of us
still remember the Rapid Results College, the Central African Correspondence
With so many teachers absconding there has to be a paradigm shift. We're
sitting on a time bomb.