By Tichaona Sibanda
6 January 2010
Political protagonists in the country have agreed to a hybrid working
document to be used as a 'talking point' during the drawing up of a new
constitution in Zimbabwe.
This has potentially diffused the volatile position that had been taken by
ZANU PF to impose the Kariba draft on the people. Instead, the parliamentary
select committee that is spearheading the process made a compromise by
agreeing to use 'talking points' instead of a proper draft document.
Masvingo urban MP Tongai Matutu, a lawyer by profession, told SW Radio
Africa on Wednesday that they unanimously agreed to do away with any draft
and instead will go out to the people with no draft.
'What we will have are talking points. For example we will ask people how
they want their MPs elected; by secret ballot or show of hands. We are not
taking any document at all, this is historic and we want it to be a
home-grown document,' Matutu said.
Consultations with members of the public are expected to begin in the next
two weeks with a draft expected before the end of August.
'Every MP and senator will have the same talking points and everyone is
expected to use them as a starting point during the outreach programme. We
are going out there with a working paper and not a draft or a document,'
'The Kariba draft now belongs to the dustbin. Even the draft that was
submitted by the MDC has gone the same way, so too are drafts sent by the
NCA and several civil society organisations,' another MDC MP said.
The select committee will next week start consultations on a new
constitution that it is hoped will steer in a new period of democracy in the
country and lay the groundwork for free and fair elections in 18 to 24
Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has since set aside US$43
million for the constitution-making process while the United Nations
Development Programme has provided another US$2 million.
Harare, January 06, 2010 - Zanu PF legislator and co-chairperson of a
special parliamentary committee leading Zimbabwe's constitutional reform
process said parliamentarians should protect citizens from attacks when they
contribute their views to the constitution making process.
Paul Mangwana, one of the committee's three co-chairpersons told legislators
that they should protect citizens from politically motivated attacks before,
during and after expressing their wishes.
"It is our duty as parliamentarians to go to the people and ask them to
forget that they are MDC, Zanu PF, Mavambo but the people of Zimbabwe. We
must mobilise people to come to the outreach meetings and ensure that they
have freedom before speaking, during and after speaking," said Mangwana.
He said his committee had been assured by the country's security arms that
no one will be attacked after expressing their views.
Under last year's power-sharing deal the country is supposed to have a new
constitution in the next two years to pave way for new elections. The draft
constitution will be put before the electorate in a referendum expected in
July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be brought before
Parliament for enactment.
Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is
expected to call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee basic freedoms,
strengthen Parliament and limit the President's immense powers.
Seventeen thematic committees has already been set up. These will be dealing
with various issues of interests to the public. The committees will be
chaired by legislators selected from the three main political parties who
will be deputised by representatives from civil society.
The proposed new constitution is part of a September 2008 power-sharing deal
between Zimbabwe's three main political parties that gave birth to the
country's coalition government last February.
Jan 5, 2010 10:39 PM | By Moses Mudzwiti
Zimbabwe's multimillion-dollar constitution-making process has become a
gravy train for MPs and senators.
A week-long all-party parliamentary caucus to kick-start the process, which
started on Monday, has reportedly turned into a money- grabbing spree for
MPs, senators and party officials.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change revealed
in the party publication Changing Times that foreign donors had agreed to
fund the process of making a new constitution - an essential precursor to
genuinely multiparty elections - to the tune of $3.6-million (R26-million) a
Insiders claim that most of the first day was spent arguing about how much
each participating MP or senator would earn.
Though MPs have agreed to lend their cars to the state for the duration, to
help transport participants to the constitution-making indaba, they stand to
Their allowances are said to range from $40 to $400 a day. The legislators
were also demanding that the best accommodation be made available to them
when they travel outside their home areas.
About 800 people are expected to get high-paying temporary jobs as field
officers. Their job is to ask Zimbabweans what they want in the new
The consultation process is expected to last for at least two months, after
which the data will be collated and become the basis of a draft
A referendum will be held to test Zimbabweans' acceptance of the new
constitution. If it proves acceptable, elections will be held.
By Violet Gonda
5 January 2010
There were at least 4 500 farmers in Zimbabwe before the government's
controversial land reform programme began in 2000, but now there are only
about 300 left. At least a million farm workers have lost their livelihood
and homes as a result. In just 10 years Zimbabwe has turned from being the
bread basket of the region to one of the most heavily food aid dependent
countries in the world.
Even though the unity government has been in existence for a year, farm
attacks still continue and recently there has been a renewed push to get the
remaining commercial farmers off the land. Late last month Finance Minister
Tendai Biti Zimbabwe said that Zimbabwe needed US$45 billion to get back to
pre-2000 peak levels and said security of tenure and production was
important for agriculture. But despite these statements his counterparts
from ZANU PF continue to wreak havoc on the remaining farms, including those
that should be protected under the Bilateral Investment Protection
"We have been informed that there is a target list of commercial farmers and
this is deeply disturbing," said Charles Taffs, vice president of the
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU).
"Countrywide, 152 of the approximately 300 remaining commercial farmers are
under imminent threat of losing their properties," Taffs said in a statement
on Tuesday. "We have also been told that the former Minister of Lands,
Didymus Mutasa, is behind a number of the invasions."
The violence on the farms have brought food production to a virtual halt and
ironically some of the beneficiaries of the land have started leasing it out
to evicted white farmers. CFU President Deon Theron told SW Radio Africa on
Wednesday that Themba Mliswa, the ZANU PF Mashonaland West land chairperson
and Vice President of the lobby group Affirmative Action, is threatening the
new farmers with eviction if they lease out their land to white farmers. We
were not able to reach him for comment.
Theron said the situation across the country is extremely frustrating and
there is no help coming from the police or the MDC who are partners in the
coalition government. The farmers union said Ray Finaughty, their chairman
for Manicaland, spoke to an MDC minister and asked him to intervene on
behalf of a family under seige in the area, but it is alleged the minister's
response was that the farmers should 'take a stand and defend themselves'.
"This is outrageous," Finaughty is quoted as saying. "How can farmers defend
themselves against drunken mobs, especially when the police refuse to assist
us, claiming they are unable to intervene in situations deemed to be
Theron told us: "I think it was Minister (Elton) Mangoma who said that. It
was out of frustration because he can't intervene to help because they (MDC)
don't seem to have any power."
The CFU President said he cannot see any people investing in the country
when there is still total lawlessness in the farming areas. "Until the MDC
stands up, we are not going to move forward. If they don't take control of
what's happening they are as ineffective as they will ever be and they
effectively have no role to play within government. They may as well not be
there," Theron said.
Meanwhile a recent media report says Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Tanzania,
retired Major General Edzai Chimonyo, has invaded a major banana plantation
owned by Malaysian investors in Burma Valley, Manicaland province and has
started harvesting their ripe bananas. This highlights what the farming
community have been saying, which is that Mugabe's land 'reform' has nothing
to do with land, and is nothing more that grand theft. 'Land beneficiaries'
nearly always move onto the farms during harvesting time, under the guise of
owning offer letters.
Several other families in the Manicaland area have been violently attacked
on their farms in recent days. Rudolf du Toit and his South African wife
were targeted by mobs and Ray Finaughty of Manda farm, was besieged in his
home and given just three hours, by drunken mobs, to get off his farm on
Christmas day. The 'beneficiary' of Finaughty's farm, with 40 hectares of
tobacco and 11 000 chickens, is Winnie Mushipe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
head of finance.
South African national Louis Fick also had his house broken into and trashed
and property stolen on Tuesday. Police blamed him for going back to his
farm, although he is the farmer with a court order allowing him to stay on
his own farm. Another senior RBZ official, deputy governor Edward
Mashiringwani, is eying his farm in Chinhoyi.
The CFU says it is also concerned following recent statements by Robert
Mugabe and controversial Attorney General Johannes Tomana, that the military
should be deployed to help evict the last of the white commercial farmers -
a move that would further scare investors.
Written by Tapuwa Mashayamombe
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 17:49
Zimbabwe's Minister of Land Reform and State Security, Didymus Mutasa
together with his wife threatened a farmer with death telling him to leave
in minutes on Saturday.
The minister visited a farm which belonged to Gavin Woest in Rusape in order
to invade it, two witnesses have confirmed.
It is reported that he then told the Woest's that they could only take with
them their personal belongings but would now forfeit everything including
the farm equipment and that of their carpentry workshop. All this had to be
done within minutes on Saturday the 2nd of January 2010 by 3 pm.
''Bear in mind that this farm has been in the Woest's family for over 50
years'', an informant told ZimEye. The Woest's were warned about this
invasion the day Ray Finaughty's family was evicted off their farm on
Christmas Eve and the Woest's were waiting under great tension for their
eviction and after a couple of days, it was indeed their turn.
However, another witness to the fracas said that Mutasa threatened the
farmer with death.
''The sad thing is that not only are the white families affected, but also
all the farm workers and their families that are left unemployed and cannot
feed their families and themselves'', the informant further noted.
"One wonders if the police will intervene or not as Mutasa is a Government
Official who is involved in the invasion," she said
The farmer was ordered to leave with neither a court order nor a government
listing directive which are legal requirements for a lawful removal.
According to the law, valued compensation is also supposed to be paid before
a person can be removed by force. (ZimEye, Zimbabwe)
Mutare, January 06, 2010 - Retired former army chief, Major General Edzai
Chimonyo, who is Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania, has invaded a banana
plantation in Burma Valley, east of Mutare, which is owned by Malaysian
investors in a move that may upset investment relations with the Asian
Chimonyo led by a group of armed soldiers is said to have moved into the
banana plantation owned by Matanuska and immediately started to harvest ripe
bananas, whose value has not yet been ascertained.
Matanuska, a major banana exporter, is owned by Malaysian investors and the
business falls under the Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA).
However, Chimonyo has refused to recognize that status and is insisting he
was legally allocated the plantation in 2006 by the then lands minister,
"Chimonyo is here and has taken over the plantation," said a worker from
Matanuska. "Armed soldiers are all over the plantation."
There was no immediate comment from Chimonyo but officials from Matanuska
had approached the High Court seeking his immediate eviction from the
There was talk that the Malaysian government had approached the Zimbabwean
government to formally complain about the invasion of the plantations.
Sources said soldiers had already begun harvesting the bananas and selling
them to various outlets in Mutare.
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Wednesday 06 January 2010
HARARE -- Whether the president should wield more power than the prime
minister or whether capital punishment should stay, are some of the issues
Zimbabweans will be asked about during a 65-day public consultation exercise
on a proposed new constitution, top officials said Tuesday.
Douglass Mwonzora and Paul Mangwana - two of the three chairmen of a special
parliamentary committee leading the constitutional reforms - promised full
transparency during the constitution writing exercise and vowed that
political parties would not be allowed to impose their ideas on citizens.
Mangwana and Mwonzora are senior members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU
PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T parties respectively. They
co-chair the constitutional committee together with Edward Mkhosi from
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara's MDC-M party.
"We are not going to impose anything on the people," said Mwonzora, during a
training workshop in Harare for Members of Parliament who shall lead various
thematic or subcommittees that shall go around the country soliciting the
views and ideas of citizens they want included in the new constitution.
Highlighting some of the issues that will be discussed during the public
outreach programme Mwonzora said: "The death penalty and the issue of the
executive powers -- whether they should be with the president or the prime
minister or whether they should be shared between the two are some of the
issues likely to come up."
A new Bill of Rights, judicial independence, press freedom and dual
citizenship are other issues also expected to feature prominently during the
consultations with citizens many of who say their basic rights have been
dangerously eroded by a raft of repressive laws enacted by ZANU PF years
before it formed unity government with its former opposition rivals.
Mangwana said: "People should be free to say out their views. There will not
be victimisation. We have been assured that people will be protected and can
say what they want."
The proposed new constitution is part of a September 2008 power-sharing deal
between Zimbabwe's three main political parties that gave birth to the
country's coalition government last February.
But some civic society organisations led by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) political pressure group and including the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe National Students Union have expressed
fears that the views of ordinary Zimbabweans are likely to be sidelined in
favour of those of the political parties controlling the reform process.
The NCA and its allies - who in 2000 successfully mobilised Zimbabweans to
reject a ZANU PF-sponsored draft constitution -- have said they will mount a
similar campaign against the coalition government's draft when it is taken
to the electorate in a referendum that should take place later this year.
Rejection of the draft constitution would be disastrous for Mugabe and
Tsavangirai's unity government whose most important task besides reviving
the economy is to write a new and democratic constitution to replace the
existing one that was drafted by Zimbabwe's former colonial power, Britain.
If approved by Zimbabweans in the referendum the draft constitution will be
taken to Parliament for enactment, with the coalition government expected to
call fresh elections once a new constitution is in place.
However, it is not clear whether the government will call new elections
immediately after a new constitution is enacted or whether it will wait
until expiry of its legal life span in 2013. - ZimOnline.
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 06 January 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's government plans to increase the number of people on
anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to 300 000 this year up from 180 000 currently
receiving the life-prolonging drugs, Health Minister Henry Madzorera told
ZimOnline on Tuesday.
HIV/AIDS is a major killer in Zimbabwe with the pandemic aggravated by
severe poverty and a barely functional public health system in the southern
African country that is only beginning to emerge from a decade of acute
recession and political turmoil.
Madzorera said the coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would work with international organisations to
make more ARVs available to the nearly 400 000 people requiring the drugs.
He said: "The need to improve anti-retroviral drug distribution is on top of
government's priority list and (by end of this year) 300 000 people living
with HIV will be able to access the life saving drugs.
"We are setting plans with our friendly organisations to overcome the ART
challenge .. although it is a long process we aim to achieve the target."
The Harare government has struggled for cash with rich Western donor
countries unwilling to avail more financial support to the administration
but Madzorera said the US$285.4 million allocated his department in this
year's budget would greatly assist the drive to expand distribution of ARVs.
"We want to ensure people living with the HIV countrywide do not travel more
than eight kilometres to collect drugs in 2010," he said.
According to United Nations estimates almost 343 600 adults and 35 200
children under 15 years urgently need ARV treatment out of 1.2 million
Zimbabweans living with HIV/AIDS.
An estimated 3 000 people out of the total 12 million Zimbabweans die of
HIV/AIDS related illnesses every week.
But the country that once boasted one of Africa's best economies and an
envied public health delivery system has made some commendable progress
fighting HIV/AIDS with the government reporting last September a drop in the
infection rate to 13.7 percent from 14.1 percent in 2008. - ZimOnline
FINANCE Minister, Tendai Biti says the government plans to privatise three
state-owned companies and list them on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)
Speaking during the listing of TN Financial Holdings on the local bourse,
Minister Biti said trading the privatised firms on the ZSE would facilitate
public participation in their shareholding while enabling the creation of
viable independent companies.
"We are looking at listing at least three entities ... so you should be
seeing the IPO's (Initial Public Offers) this year," said Biti.
The minister said the government had seen some success stories with the
privatisation of the former Dairy Marketing Board, now trading Dairibord
Holdings Limited and the Cotton Marketing Board which has since been
rebranded into AICO Africa Limited.
"We have had some success stories with Dairibord and Cottco," Biti said.
Although Minister Biti did not name the companies targeted for
privatisation, mobile phone operator Telone is understood to be in talks
with South Africa's Telcom while Redcliff-based steelmaker Ziscosteel has
also attracted international attention.
The government is also understood to be considering part-privatisation of
the struggling national airliner, Air Zimbabwe.
Minister Biti said the ZSE was likely to benefit from increased investor
participation during the course of the year following the reduction in
trading fees and the signing of the Bilateral Trade Agreement with South
By Lance Guma
06 January 2010
War veterans from the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA), the
liberation war military wing of ZAPU, have regrouped to demand properties
seized from the party by Mugabe's regime in 1982. Under a crackdown that saw
the arrest on treason charges of senior ZAPU figures like Dumiso Dabengwa,
Lookout Masuku and Stanley Nleya the regime seized 25 farms, 31 companies
and several high value buildings. It was also during this period that Mugabe's
troop's targeted perceived ZAPU supporters in the Matabeleland and Midlands
provinces, culminating in the Gukurahundi Massacres.
In 2004, almost 17 years after the unity accord ZANU PF claimed they had
returned the properties. This however was denied by ZAPU who said the
properties remain in the hands of third parties linked to ZANU PF. Newsreel
is reliably informed the ZIPRA Veterans Association is currently organizing
a meeting to be held outside Bulawayo sometime this week to discuss and
coordinate demands for the return of the properties, among other issues.
Some of the properties owned include Magnet House, the Bulawayo headquarters
of the notorious Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), belonging to the
political wing ZAPU. Military wing ZIPRA owns Queens Park Police Station,
formerly known as the Lido Hotel. This was previously used to house injured
or disabled former ZIPRA freedom fighters after the war. ZIPRA, under a
company called Nitram Holdings, also owns Nest Egg, Wood Glen, Hampton and
Ascot Farms and others.
In December 2008 ZAPU officially broke away from the unity accord with ZANU
PF, citing marginalization and a failure to fulfill promises. The failure to
return the seized properties was also cited as contributing to the
withdrawal of the party from the 1987 unity pact. It now remains to be seen
how ZAPU will be able to evict the CIO from Magnet House and whether the
ZIPRA veterans can also evict the police from Queens Park Police station in
Bulawayo. Either way, conflict over the properties looms large.
ZAPU spokesman Methuseli Moyo has already confirmed that the party has hired
lawyers to prepare a legal challenge demanding the properties be returned.
Harare, December 06, 2010 – MBANDA Diamonds Mining, a company authorized by
government to mine diamonds in Chiadza, has announced that over 300 000
carats of diamonds will go on sale Thursday at the newly converted diamond
processing facility at the Harare International Airport.
The chairman of Mbada Diamonds Robert Mhlanga said Thursday’s sale will be
followed by another one next week and they will be declaring dividend to
government as soon as the transactions are completed.
“International diamond buyers from as far as the Americas, Europe and Asia
have already started arriving for tomorrow’s sales, which are expected to
run for the next three days,” said Mhlanga adding that they will be
accepting buyers who take the gems in large volumes.
He said the Zimbabwean government, through Marange Resources, is expected to
earn 75 percent of the total sales revenue through a 50 percent weekly
dividend, a 10 percent royalty fee, 15 percent taxation and a five percent
resource depletion fee.
“In order to ensure maximum security and compliancy with the Kimberly
Process, the first consignment of the diamonds on sale were airlifted from
Chiadzwa diamond fields under guard from the police, Mbada Mining
security officers and the Government Mineral Unit,” said Mhlanga.
Officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) will also be at the
points of sale to ensure that there are no leakages.
Mhlanga said since the commencement of the diamond mining operations towards
the end of last year, Mbada Diamonds has put in massive infrastructure
including water, housing, a private airstrip and fenced over 1000 hectares
of the mining concessions.
The chairman also revealed that they have embarked on a massive housing
project and crop input scheme worth millions US dollars for relocated
families from Chiadzwa and Marange areas.
Villagers from Chiadzwa are fighting relocation arguing that they can only
move after being compensated.
Jan 6, 2010, 11:50 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe has clinched an 8-million-US-dollar deal with Botswana
that is like to see an improvement in power generation in the southern part
of the country, state media reported Wednesday.
'The deal will see us reviving Bulawayo Thermal Power Station and enable us
to generate 90 megawatts, the Herald quoted the managing director of the
Zimbabwe Power Company, Noah Gwariro, as saying.
Under the terms of the deal, Zimbabwe will supply nearly half of the output
to Botswana, Gwariro said.
Some 4.5 million of the 8 million dollars will be used to refurbish the
plant, while the remainder will be spent on coal, Gwariro told the
Zimbabwe has been experiencing serious power shortages for the past decade,
forcing some parts of the country to go for days without electricity.
Most of its power stations were shut down due to financial constraints,
forcing the country to rely on imports from South Africa, Zambia, DR Congo
Some countries have cut supplies as Zimbabwe failed to pay for the imports.
Last month, the state-owned power utility Zesa announced that it was
struggling under a debt of 465 million dollars it owed its regional
Constant power cuts have forced some companies to cut production or close
Written by GIFT PHIRI
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 12:34
HARARE - Political turmoil is likely to fester for months to come, stunting
investment, prolonging an aid freeze and wilting green shoots of economic
recovery that were sprouting.
A broad-based solution to the 11-month long crisis looks increasingly
unlikely in the near future after President Mugabe's Zanu (PF) seems intent
on rolling into action the December 2009 congress resolutions to trash the
global political agreement and staunchly refuse to implement terms of a
A political commentator, Ronald Shumba said the balance of power was in
Mugabe's favour, and he appeared to be in no hurry to negotiate.
"It's not a question of Maputo failing. It is just part of a long bargaining
process," Shumba said this week.
"Mugabe doesn't need to give too much too quickly with the army behind him.
They will just offer token gestures."
Prior to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting
in Maputo, Mugabe showed signs of seeing reason to implement fully the
power-sharing pact. But by the time of his December congress, the deeply
troubled leader was on his old turf, saying a vehement no to any resolution
of the outstanding issues with his arch-opponents.
"Zanu (PF), as the party of revolution and the people's vanguard, shall not
allow the security forces of Zimbabwe to be the subject of any negotiation
for a so called 'security sector reform' that is based on patent
misrepresentations of Zimbabwe's heroic history and for the mere purpose of
weakening the state so that it can be easily overthrown," said one of the
Zanu (PF) congress resolutions.
Significantly, the party resolved to "extricate itself" from its liaison
with the MDC which it branded "ideologically incompatible" so as 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
Southern African nations have been accused of being too soft on Mugabe and
his party and has dismally failed to ensure implementation of a pact which
the regional bloc brokered.
The negotiators are not due to meet again until mid-January.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC party has slammed the continued
hold up in fully implementing the pact.
"As MDC we are expecting the negotiating team to meet and finalise on the
unfinished business of implementing the outstanding issues," MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said. "Our wish is to have the matter concluded as soon as
possible so that we can start focusing on the bread and butter issues that
are affecting the people of Zimbabwe."
Chamisa said he hoped outstanding issues had to be referred to SADC for
arbitration "so that we move ahead with the business of the inclusive
The fast economic turnaround ushered in by the use of multiple foreign
currencies and the abandonment of the inflation-prone Zimbabwe dollar has
benefited all citizens: more and more people in rural areas have shrugged
off poverty; urban residents are becoming better off.
But analysts are warning that failure to implement the pact fully could see
the country sliding back to instability.
More than 70 percent of the budget is donor funded. Several major donors
including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and European
Union have frozen aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars in development
finance, and are demanding full implementation of the power-sharing pact
before they bankroll the administration.
Others believe the popular MDC leader will simply hope to limp through to
the next presidential election, which is scheduled for next year under the
terms of the power-sharing deal.
"Morgan will be thinking he's just got to get through this, hold elections
and count on people to have him form an exclusive MDC government," said one
There are understood to be efforts afoot to unite the two MDC formations
before elections to form a powerful front against Mugabe.
Wednesday 6 January 2010 / by Kabelo Marupi
Counterfeit United States Dollars are in huge calculation in most African
countries as hardly a month passes by without arrests. Tuesday morning, both
Zambian and Zimbabwean authorities announced arrests involving huge sums of
In Zambia, police Tuesday arrested a 37 year old state security intelligence
officer, suspected of being member of a larger group, for being in
possession of nearly US $80,000 counterfeit notes.
Richard Nzala, a constable in the Office of the President, was arrested and
detained by the Drug Enforcement Commission when he attempted to sell off
the counterfeits to unsuspecting people, reports say.John Nyawali of the Drug Enforcement Commission is today quoted saying that
Nzala, is scheduled to appear in the Lusaka magistrate court this week, was
found with a total of US$ 79, 900 in hundred dollar bills hidden in a bag he
was carrying during his arrest.
He becomes the second security personnel to be arrested in recent months
following the arrest of a Zambia Army soldier who was arrested for
possessing over US$ 2.5 million dollars of counterfeit notes.
In Zimbabwe, the state controlled Herald reported on Tuesday that a 35 year
old man, Archibold Simbarashe Zulu, from Harare was nabbed over US$50 000
counterfeit notes recovered from a toilet at a stationery shop in the city.
Detectives, acting on tip offs raided a shop which Zulu was using as a hide
out and found a bag full of fake notes amounting to US$50 000. The bag was
found stashed in an empty box in the toilet.
At one time Zulu is said to have brought more than US$350 000 in fake notes
which he also placed in the toilet for safekeeping.
In Zimbabwe, fake notes became a hit soon after the introduction of multiple
currencies such as the dollar, pound and South African rand. Most shops were
ripped off as it was difficulty to distinguish genuine note from fake ones.
Most shops have since invested in counterfeit detective devices.
Harare, January 06, 2010 - Two alleged coup plotters on Wednesday made a
fresh bid for freedom by lodging a bail application in the High Court.
Pattison Mupfure and Nyasha Ziviki, were arrested in 2007 together with five
other men and charged with treason for allegedly plotting to oust President
Robert Mugabe's previous government.
In their application for bail pending trial Mupfure and Ziviki said they had
been detained for almost three years without trial and neither are there any
hopes of trial in the future..
"In observing the referred constitutional presumption, justice has failed to
prevail on me, an innocent person," read part of Mupfure's bail application.
The two alleged coup plotters deny the charges leveled against them stating
that not even one or all of the state witnesses know them.
Mupfure, who was employed as a Principal Instructor in the then Ministry of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare justified his bail application by
stating that he has a family and elderly parents to look after.
Zikivi, who indicated that he needs to consult a physiotherapist to examine
him on injuries he sustained during torture sessions by the police and state
security agents, also stated that he is a bread winner to his wife, two
children and his aged parents.
Besides Mupfure and Zikivi five other alleged coup plotters namely Albert
Matapo, Emmanuel Marara, Oncemore Mudzurahova and Shingirai Webster
Mutemachani are languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Prison where they have been
detained since their arrest in 2007.
The State alleges that the coup plotters were planning a coup d'etat which
would have culminated in the installation of former Rural Housing Minister
and now Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as President Mugabe's
Imraan Karolia | 54 Minutes Ago
Dozens of angry travellers into South Africa from Zimbabwe claim they were
subjected to police brutality at the Beitbridge Border Post.
More than 60 000 people have used the crossing point in the past five days.
Eyewitness News is in possession of video footage featuring travellers at
the Beitbridge Border Post being attacked by a man who appears to be a South
African police officer.
Some admit the queues were lengthy and there was insufficient crowd control
but travellers said this did not give police the right to become violent.
"The South African side was chaotic; we are treated like animals and whipped
by police," said one traveller.
"They were being sprayed with water and whipped; I think that was totally
disgusting," said a man who filmed the alleged abuse.
The video was handed over to the Police Ministry which is yet to respond.
At the start of the millennium, few had any idea what a tumultuous decade was in store not only for Zimbabwean cricket but for the country itself. As we now know, a place heralded as one of Africa's success stories descended into near anarchy under the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe, and unavoidably cricket was dragged down with it. At times it was hard to see how cricket could survive in such a dysfunctional society, but it managed, often against all the odds, and is still just about keeping its head above water.
A review of the last 10 years is more of a political essay than a cricketing one. Too often, the game itself was almost an afterthought - a situation made worse by the overt politicisation of the board in the middle of the decade. Stories about cricket in Zimbabwe were inevitably centred on the mess inside the country and debate over the morality of maintaining cricketing links with them.
The international community was divided. Unfortunately the countries that adopted the hardest line towards Zimbabwe were predominately white, allowing Mugabe to play his race card. In the smaller cricketing world, the governments of the UK, Australia and New Zealand fought a determined battle to sever ties with Zimbabwe until such time a degree of normality returned. To their shame, the cricket boards of those three adopted an often cowardly attitude, with money being put before anything else, including their own players, who were too often left alone to make career-affecting decisions with little or no guidance.
As 2000 dawned the future looked rosy for the Zimbabwe side. It had a team with a wealth of experience, and a batting line-up that was able to hold its own with any country. World Cup wins over India and South Africa in 1999 had further boosted the profile of the game, and the year ended with a defeat of Sri Lanka in an ODI at Harare Sports Club.
Progress continued in the early part of the decade, although to those who cared to look beneath the surface, the country itself was beginning to unravel as Mugabe sought to paper over his appalling mismanagement with increasingly desperate legislation. Spectators who tried to use matches to highlight the failing society were brutally dealt with. In 2002 one was killed after unveiling an anti-Mugabe banner at a Pakistan ODI in Bulawayo.
The watershed came at the 2003 World Cup, an event that should have been a showcase for southern African cricket but which lurched from one mess to another. All that was wrong with Zimbabwean society was brought to a wider audience by the famous black-armband protest by Andy Flower and Henry Olonga during a group match in Harare. The board, by now increasingly in line with the thinking of those ruling the country, tried to stifle the pair but the cat was out of the bag and all it managed to do was make things worse.
By the end of the tournament Zimbabwe were clearly a divided side, and just how much so became clear a year later, when a clumsy attempt to replace Heath Streak as captain rapidly became a much more serious matter after the bulk of the country's (predominantly white) team walked out in support of their skipper. From then on, the game stumbled from crisis to crisis, almost all avoidable but somehow inevitable.
The one constant throughout the decade - and of the one before it - was board chairman Peter Chingoka. From one of Zimbabwe's wealthier families, he was originally seen as a careful and canny safe pair of hands and a man who guided Zimbabwe through its difficult early days as a Full Member of the ICC. But as the country became increasingly politicised, so did Chingoka. His denials of links to the Mugabe regime may have convinced many internationally that he was an innocent caught up in events, but those inside the country were not as easily fooled. They pointed out that to survive under Mugabe you needed to toe the party line.
|The ineffectiveness of the ICC was almost a constant in Zimbabwe's decline. Fact-finding missions were shown what the authorities wanted them to see, and too often the word of Chingoka and others was taken as gospel. Those opposing the board were blithely dismissed as rabble rousers, despite often having served the game loyally for decades|
Eventually it took the actions of politicians to unmask Chingoka, and he was banned from first the European Union and then Australia and New Zealand because of his links to Mugabe. Even then the ICC feebly pretended it was not its responsibility to delve deeper. Two cricketers wearing black armbands produced an official censure, but a man closely linked to a despot was repeatedly welcomed with open arms at the ICC's top table.
The ineffectiveness of the ICC was almost a constant in Zimbabwe's decline. Fact-finding missions were shown what the authorities wanted them to see, and too often the word of Chingoka and others was taken as gospel. Those opposing the board were blithely dismissed as rabble-rousers, despite often having served the game loyally for decades.
There was perhaps a brief opportunity in May 2004 for the ICC to have made a difference, although given all that was happening on the wider political front in Zimbabwe the chances were slim. Instead it proved typically supine, even allowing Malcolm Speed, its chief executive, to be humiliatingly snubbed by Chingoka when Speed flew to Harare to try and help find a way out of a rapidly escalating shambles. He was left to amble round a park in Harare while a board meeting took place behind closed doors.
Those running the ICC maintained it was powerless to act, and that allowed Chingoka and others to banish anyone opposing them, hand-pick stooges to run local boards, redraft the constitution to make their removal all but impossible, and eliminate the flickering remnants of any credible alternative.
If the ICC was all too willing to dismiss the politicisation of Zimbabwean cricket, what it could not ignore was the plummeting standards of the cricket itself. In 2004, Zimbabwe suspended itself from Test cricket for a year after two massive innings defeats against Sri Lanka. It returned nine months later, only to suffer eight more humiliations before a second suspension. Officially this was at Zimbabwe's behest, but few believed that. They continued to play ODIs but the results were equally dispiriting. In the period from the sacking of Streak through to the end of 2009, only 26 matches were won out of 111 played, and aside from Bangladesh only one of those wins came against a Full Member (West Indies in 2007). Even a memorable victory over Australia at the inaugural World Twenty20 in the same year could not disguise how far the side had fallen.
Inside Zimbabwe the mess was, if anything, even greater. Domestic competitions lurched from one calamity to another, and at one stage there was not even enough wherewithal to host the Logan Cup, the century-old first-class domestic tournament. As the economy went into meltdown, equipment became scarce, facilities deteriorated, and any cricket that was played was often of a very poor standard.
By 2008 it appeared things could not get any worse. Questions, however, began to be asked about the board's finances as the ICC continued to pour in millions of dollars. An audit arranged by Chingoka with a tiny Harare-based accountant convinced nobody, and eventually the ICC decided on a specially commissioned independent forensic audit. After a series of unexplained delays, the report was produced but the ICC refused to make it public. Only a few blinkered souls in Dubai appeared to not see how ludicrous that decision made all those involved look.
But as the decade neared an end there was finally progress. Julian Hunte, the head of a West Indies board almost as dysfunctional as the one he was asked to investigate, produced a report on the state of the game in Zimbabwe and slowly change began to be seen. The domestic structure was overhauled and made more transparent. Former players were wooed back into the fold, and even the media, for so long seen as an enemy to bash or manipulate, was subjected to a charm offensive.
At the forefront of this change of tack was Ozias Bvute, a controversial figure who was at the heart of many of the rows in 2003 and 2004. Portrayed then as the antichrist, in the last year he has been more Ban Ki-moon. The reality is probably somewhere in between, but by focusing on the future he has managed to galvanise the board into giving the impression to those inside and outside Zimbabwe that there is hope. He, and not the increasingly marginalised Chingoka, is instrumental to the rebuilding of Zimbabwean cricket.
There is a long way to go. Six or seven years of neglect cannot be overturned overnight, and the crumbling structure of school and club cricket remains in need of urgent attention. The national team are still international cricket's whipping boys, and despite no end of verbal support, even those countries with governments ambivalent to Mugabe remain reluctant to play matches against such a poor and commercially unappealing opponent.
The next two or three years will decide if cricket is to survive in any meaningful way inside Zimbabwe. If the advances made in 2009 can be built on then there is hope. But the very thing that started the rot, the eccentricities of the country's leading political elite, will ultimately decide which direction things will go. If Zimbabwe can sort itself out and move ahead, then cricket should be strong enough to follow. It remains a huge if.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Posted on Wednesday 6 January 2010 - 09:00
Sanday Chongo Kabange AfricaNews reporter in Lusaka, Zambia
A bizarre story involving a sighting of the ghost of deceased singer,
Michael Jackson, has terrified some Zimbabwean students in the Southern
African country. The sighting of Jackson's ghost occurred at the St Mary's
Mission School, a Catholic institution, in Zimbabwe's capital of Harare.
Allegedly a group of students aged from twelve to fourteen years were
sitting along with some of the nuns that work at St Mary's and watching a
nativity play that was organised after school hours.
Children dressed as Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men were on stage when
suddenly the lights went out. Then ghost-like being appeared on stage waving
a white-gloved hand. The terrified students emptied the hall along with the
Almost all the students later agreed that it was Michael Jackson that
they saw' 'It definitely was MJ' noted Theresa, a student at the school. 'It
was his face and his clothes. He smiled and waved at us'.
'I saw it too' commented Sister Maria 'it was not human and must have
been a spirit. The students later told me it was Michael Jackson'.
News of the otherworldly event spread through the area and some
interested locals even visited the hall in the hope that they too might see
Jackson's ghost, according to news media out of Zimbabwe.
Belief in ghosts is widespread in the southern African country riddled
by a decade of economic and political stand-off between Robert Mugabe’s Zanu
PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.
Written by Madock Chivasa
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 17:42
As 2009 ends, ushering in a new and promising year we are convinced that
2009 has been a year we managed to weather the gathering clouds and raging
storms that confronted us.
2009 has been that year that we will look at and proudly say to ourselves as
Zimbabweans we were right in defending the guiding principles and values to
a people driven democratic constitution making process as expressed by the
positions of the people of Zimbabwe since 1997.
Regardless of the enormous challenges we faced we remained true to the
founding principles of our broad democratic movement and the yearnings of
the Zimbabwean masses as expressed in the historical positions of the
people. The inception of an inclusive government in February of 2009 which
ushered in a "transition" presented a lot of complexities to the
pro-democracy forces. There were moments of fierce disagreements. We have
remained faithful and true to the ideals of our founding documents.
It has been so for the past years and so it must be with the coming year
2010. A year which promises to be full of activity, as the onslaught to
mislead the masses intensifies.
The recently launched state media campaigns to mislead and hoodwink the
masses into believing that they are part to the constitution-making charade
currently underway bears testimony that the politicians are prepared to go
all the way to impose themselves and their views on the people of Zimbabwe.
We see these shenanigans as they are, deception, and we wish to remind
political elites that we have travelled this road before.
We stand here today as the curtain for 2009 closes convinced that we have
survived our darkest hour, convinced that 2010 will see a major people's
victory. We remain convinced that a great people have been awakened and no
amount of political posturing will deceive the masses.
The constitutional movement will in 2010 intensify campaigns for a genuine
people driven constitution making process. We remain guided by the historic
positions of the people of Zimbabwe over the years, reaffirmed at the 2nd
all people's convention at the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza on Monday 27
For the avoidance of doubt and demystifying the propaganda peddled by
Douglas Mwonzora and company regarding the NCA position, we will take this
opportunity to re-state our position by reproducing the resolutions of the
2nd People's Constitutional Convention, which state:
We unreservedly recommit ourselves to the principles and resolutions
articulated 10 years ago by the National Working Peoples' Convention as well
as the first People's Constitutional Convention in 1999 and as outlined as
recently as 2008 in the Zimbabwe People's Charter. We hold that these
principles that outline what we know and believe to be a truly people driven
constitution making process hold true today and remain non-negotiable.
We therefore unreservedly reject the government-led process for
constitutional reform as outlined in Article 6 of the Global Political
Agreement and strongly recommend that the current process as being led by
parliament and the inclusive government be immediately stopped and an
independent, democratic constitutional reform process be initiated.
We resolve that if the inclusive government and or parliament do not heed
our call to cease forthwith the constitutional reform process as outlined in
Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), we will actively seek a
rejection of any draft constitution produced by the same process through
campaigning for a NO vote should that draft be brought to a referendum.
We further resolve that the people of Zimbabwe have an inalienable right to
reject or accept any draft constitution brought before them and that if they
so decide to reject any document that comes out of the GPA's Article 6, it
remains their democratic right to do so.
That after such a possible rejection of a draft constitution that emerges
from the Article 6 process, we will continue to lead and assist the people
to continue in earnest with the campaign for a democratic constitution as
soon as possible after that No Vote.
We further resolve that we shall undertake and expand our civic education
programme to explain to the people of Zimbabwe the resolutions outlined
herein beginning in the month of August 2009 until such time there is a
people driven democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
We also recommit ourselves to ensuring that there is gender equality and
recognition of the views and needs of the physically challenged in our TAKE
As we enter 2010 this will be the agenda and program of action for the
constitutional movement. We will, beginning this very January, together with
our traditional allies, the labour and students movements, intensify the
people's community meetings and grassroots mobilisation for a genuine people
driven constitution. Bumbiro Ngarinyorwe Nevanhu. (NCA National
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 12:00 AM
Alex T. Magaisa
I HAVE been reflecting on the story of the last decade – 2000-2009. The job
of writing this history will be best accomplished by those learned in the
trade. I have been writing this column for most of the decade. The
experience has been painful, soothed only by the fact that I enjoy the art
of writing and communicating my thoughts.
I have had the pleasure of reading correspondence and comments from those
who follow it, admirers and critics alike. I have learnt a lot about
politics, human behaviour and many other things. Kind words have been
encouraging. Critical comments have been educative. I have learnt about my
strengths and also about my many limitations. I like to think that’s the way
it should be.
I thought, perhaps, I could capture some of the highlights of the decade,
through this A to Z of what I have referred to as the lost decade – lost
only because the country has regressed due to the many challenges it has
faced. But I admit it’s not entirely accurate that it’s a lost decade – I
suppose one could say if we have learned anything from the challenges, then
it’s not really a lost decade.
There are many competitors for each letter of the alphabet and no doubt each
reader will think there are other more befitting highlights. That would be
correct, but if I wrote them all, then this would become longer that it is
now – and it is rather long already, as you can see. So take these as my own
highlights or lowlights and feel free to add or subtract, in accordance with
your own reflections.
A is for Agreement.
A decade of turmoilwhich reached its peak during the election period in 2008
ended with relative calm in the aftermath of the political agreement reached
between the feuding political parties, namely, the erstwhile ruling party
ZANU PF and the opposition parties MDC-T and MDC-M. Known by its acronym
‘GPA’, representing the rather grandiose title Global Political Agreement,
the agreement of 15th September 2008 led to the formation of the Unity
Government, also known as the Inclusive Government in February 2009. It has
to be mentioned, however, that this agreement has been blighted by so-called
‘outstanding issues’ – I was tempted to accord this term its own status
under the letter ‘O’ but it ran a close second to the eventual winner.
B is for the Black market.
First, the black market, also known as the parallel market, was in the trade
of foreign currency but with shortages of basic commodities, including fuel
and food more and more of these goods became available only on the black
market. Certain places in Harare and Bulawayo became known as the ‘World
Bank’ acknowledging their status as physical spaces where currency was
traded openly and on a large scale.
But in the same context of the black market, ‘B’ must also represent a
notorious phenomenon that was unique, imaginative and in some ways
exploitative – ‘Burning Money’. As the central bank restricted withdrawals
from individual bank accounts, ever-inventive Zimbabweans devised mechanisms
of circumventing such limitations. One of these mechanisms was the so-called
‘Burning Money’ – enabling a person to withdraw far more than the restricted
amount from the bank. But it also presented opportunities for individuals to
make enormous wealth by exploiting the massive and unrealistic gap between
the official and black market exchange rates. Consequently, ‘burning money’
represents a very efficient if unfair money-making invention that grew out
of adversity and skewed policies, both of which are manifestations of a lost
C is for the Constitution
Although the making of the Lancaster House Constitution which gave
independence to the new Zimbabwe in 1980 was a controversial process, the
issue of the Constitution did not enter the public consciousness until
later. Few ordinary people had any clue about the Constitution. No wonder it
was relatively easy for the new government to amend the Constitution in
1987, giving extensive powers to the new Office of the President. It wasn’t
until 1999-2000 period when the matter of constitution-making became a truly
public affair, thanks to the efforts of organisations such the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA). Since 2000, the issue of the constitution has
become a key battle-point but 10 years later, the country has yet to find
common ground on the new constitution. Presently, it has to make do with a
rag-tag constitution that is a pale shadow of the Lancaster House
Constitution. In 2005 I referred in an article to our Constitution as
bhurugwa rine zvigamba (a trouser with too many patches).
D for Diaspora
Throughout history the land that is now Zimbabwe has had its phases of
migration. People have come and gone. But it wasn’t until the last decade
that the word ‘Diaspora’ was popularly assigned to migrants who left the
country. That is because for the first time, Zimbabweans left in their
millions to settle in other countries. They mostly chose familiar places –
countries with which there are some historical or cultural connections;
where it would be easier to integrate and settle and there large communities
of Zimbabwean migrants have grown – Britain, the US, Canada, South Africa,
Australia. “Diaspora” doesn’t just represent a people – the place itself is
known as kuDiaspora. So people say, ‘akaenda kuDiaspora’ (he went to the
Diaspora). This word was hardly used in Zimbabwe before the last decade; now
it is an integral part of the national vocabulary, complete with its own
meanings and usages unique to Zimbabwe.
E is for Elections
Commencing with the constitutional referendum of February 2000, it’s a fair
bet that Zimbabwe has probably had more national elections than any other
African country since the start of the New Millennium. After the Referendum
there were Parliamentary elections in June 2000; then there was a bitterly
controversial Presidential Election in 2002. There were Parliamentary
elections in 2005 (including elections for the newly formed Senate). Then
there were Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2008. Yet ironically,
those elections have delivered absolutely nothing of substance, confirming
the view that elections are not necessarily indicative of democracy.
Instead, elections have been synonymous with allegations of rigging,
unfairness, fear, extreme violence and everything that is negative about
politics. Going by what transpired in the last decade, it will be difficult
to convince those who do not believe that elections can be an agent of
change for as long as one of the contestants also plays the role of referee
and enforcer of the rules.
F is for the Final Push
Yes,the Final Push that never was. At some point, the then opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai called for what was called the Final Push, meaning the
pressure leading to the eventual end of President Mugabe’s rule. But
needless to say, the Final Push failed. Mugabe remained in power and
eventually compromised with Tsvangirai after the chaotic elections of 2008
to form a government of national unity which presently presides over a shaky
G is for Gono
The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It could have been the Global
Political Agreement or the Government of National Unity but even those two
fall in the shadow of the dominating Governor. Other than Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, there is probably no other public figure who has loomed large in
public life in Zimbabwe. Many believe that at his peak, the Governor was
more than a mere central bank boss – that he was in fact the de facto Prime
Minister. Through the so-called quasi-fiscal functions, the Governor
literally ran government. No wonder Minister of Finance at the time, Herbert
Murerwa threw in the towel – he was redundant. When the drama of the decade
is told to future generations, “Your Governor” as he often referred to
himself in his monetary policy speeches, will be a key and dominant
H is for Human Rights
Everywhere its human rights this and human rights that! It has been the
story of the decade. Human rights has been the subject of struggle in
Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world but it wasn’t until the last decade that
human rights became popular in the language of ordinary people in Zimbabwe.
In some ways it has been the equivalent of the Civil Rights Movement in
1960s America. There are countless organisations that bear the term ‘human
rights’ and many more still that claim to champion the cause of human
rights. In some ways, it could be said that whilst all other industries
declined, one industry grew in leaps and bounds – it was the industry of
human rights. It attracted well meaning individuals dedicated to the welfare
of human kind. But it also attracted other unsavoury characters, attracted
by the US dollar reservoir built in the catchment areas of many of the
so-called civil society organisations.
I is for Inflation
Students of economics will look back at Zimbabwe during the last decade for
a perfect case study on the dynamics of inflation and indeed,
hyperinflation. There were reports that inflation rose to at least 130
million per cent, a figure not known in a country that is not at war. It was
like Weimar Germany, a return to a very hostile era when inflation ran riot,
leaving ordinary people pulverised. Known to name offspring after key events
or signs, it will not surprise anyone if some children of the last decade
bear names such as Inflation or Hyperinflation – a constant reminder of the
harsh realities faced by ordinary citizens at the time.
J is for Jonathan Moyo
J is for Jonathan Moyo, the political science professor who has become one
of the most conspicuous and, it has to be said, controversial politicians
during his tenure as Minister of Information between 2000 and 2004. He
arrived on the scene via Wits University as a key leader of the
Constitutional Commission which sought but failed to lead the
constitution-making process in Zimbabwe. For his efforts, he was rewarded
with a post in government, as Information Minister. He is credited with
crafting the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) which severely emasculates media freedom. He is also credited with
designing the repressive Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which
essentially represents a resurrection of the colonial Law and Order
Maintenance Act. He vehemently rejects these credits. But there can be no
doubting the massive impact Jonathan Moyo had in public life – at one point
he was probably the single most visible and hugely influential politician
He will also be remembered for allegedly masterminding the so-called
Tsholotsho Declaration by which a faction of ZANU PF sought to wrest the
vice-presidency from a rival faction. In that episode, Joice Mujuru got the
vice presidency effectively putting on hold the ambitions of Emmerson
Mnangagwa. Moyo was fired from government and ZANU PF. But by the end of the
decade the controversial professor was back in ZANU PF, his return
reportedly receiving enormous applause from the audience at the party’s
congress in December 2009. His career in a decade is an apt representation
of the topsy-turvy world of politics in Zimbabwe during that period – the
highs and lows, the contradictions and the senselessness of it all.
K is for Kiya-kiya
When you asked a Zimbabwean how they were managing in the difficult
conditions, the answer would often be, “tiri kungokiya-kiya!”, meaning they
were using all sorts of imaginative skills to make ends meet. Kukiya-kiya
means many things; anything really to make a living, usually outside the
formal forum. Everyone kiya-kiyad in order to survive. It didn’t matter
whether it was legal or illegal, some things just had to be done to create
income. Indeed, by the time the unity government was formed, Minister of
Finance Tendai Biti was asked where they were getting the money from his
answer was ‘taka kiya-kiya’, leading his critics to label him Minister
Kiya-kiya. The pejorative insinuations aside, this was a formal
acknowledgement of how Zimbabweans had to survive in a decade when things
got really twisted. They had to kiya-kiya and may still have to in the
present decade, given the conditions.
L is for Land.
Ever since the colonisation by the British of the land that is now called
Zimbabwe the land issue or the ‘land question’ as it is sometimes referred
to has always been a bitterly contentious matter. It was thought, naively
and short-sightedly, it must be said, that the Lancaster House Constitution
had provided a suitable mechanism for dealing with this hotly contested
issue. The simmering tensions exploded in 2000 as this most legitimate but
easily exploitable of questions became a convenient platform for political
The forced removals of white farmers from the land and the subsequent
seizure by the government attracted much negative international attention.
The process, known as Fast Track Resettlement Programme, has had its fair
share of problems, not least the virtual diminishing of property rights
system that supported commercial agriculture and with it a significant
reduction in productivity. Corruption and multiple farm ownership,
compensation, etc remain contentious issues which will no doubt spill into
this and coming decades. This matter is sure to haunt Zimbabwe for a very
long time, despite the political rhetoric. Nyaya yeminda icharamba ichinetsa
(The land question will remain problematic).
M is for Mugabe
As ever he remains a towering and domineering figure in Zimbabwean politics.
Many thought he would be basking in retirement by the end of the decade but
he has now entered his fourth decade in power and it would be foolish to bet
against him entering the fifth.
N is for Nathaniel Manheru
When the history of the decade is recorded, the name Nathaniel Manheru and
his contributions to the media will be an integral part of it. Some say the
Herald columnist was initially Jonathan Moyo, the political science
professor and ZANU PF politician who headed the information ministry at the
time. And they say when he left without ceremony in 2004 the column was
penned by George Charamba, permanent secretary of that ministry. One thing
for sure, Manheru was a gifted wordsmith but his words were harsh, unkind
and the pen spewed much vitriol against real and perceived opponents. The
propaganda was astounding but for those following Zimbabwean politics,
beyond the vitriol, there was also a wealth of information about internal
workings of government and ZANU PF from this Manheru character. Students of
history will learn a few things about the chaos of the decade if they have
the patience to read a collection of Manheru’s articles.
O is for Operation Murambatsvina
O is for Operation Murambatsvina (2005) also referred to as Operation Drive
Out Trash but also known officially as Operation Restore Order. Although the
literal translation, i.e. Operation Drive Out Trash is often favoured by the
media and commentators alike, it is the official version which truly
represents what this controversial process was about: it was to ensure that
‘order’ as defined by the then ruling party was resorted, on its terms –
that is, a measure to deal with real or perceived opponents. This involved
the bulldozing of homes and other commercial structures used by ordinary
people in urban areas. However justifiable the concerns may have been, the
manner in which it was brutal, prompting the United Nations to dispatch an
Envoy, Ms Anna Tibaijuka on a fact-finding mission. It left many homeless,
bitter and without means to earn income, driving them further into the
depths of poverty.
P is for printing money.
Zimbabwe was not the first and as the global economic crisis has unravelled,
it will not be the last to print money. However, over the last decade, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe became synonymous with a money making machine,
known to print millions of worthless Zimbabwe dollars. Even when new
denominations were created after knocking off some zeroes, it did not take
long before the little zeroes returned, often in large numbers. The enormous
hyperinflation was blamed partly on the indiscriminate manner in which the
central bank printed money. It was indeed a decade when money was printed
with reckless abandon. Even when the German firm supplying printing paper
stopped its service, the inventive bankers at the central bank continued to
print. However, after countless resuscitation attempts, in early 2009 the
Zimbabwe dollar finally went into a deep comma from which it is still to
Q is for Queues.
Queuing is not unique to Zimbabwe. But these were no ordinary queues. People
didn’t just queue. They queued in large numbers. They queued for days and
nights. They queued at fuel stations, banks, shops – they queued for
everything. They said if you were walking in town and saw a queue, you just
joined the queue only to ask the purpose of the queue once you had secured
your place. Waingomirawo muQ (You just waited in the queue). Some joked that
someone once joined a queue only to discover that it was a queue into a
funeral parlour! It was indeed, a decade of queues. Even now, Zimbabwe
remains in a queue to achieve democracy.
R is for Referendum.
Students of politics and history will forever grapple with the following
question: would the result of the parliamentary elections of June 2000 have
been any different had there been no Constitutional Referendum in March
2000? That’s because there is a view that the referendum on the new
constitution that was held in February 2000 and the historic defeat suffered
by government then may have awakened ZANU PF to the real probability of
electoral defeat in any future elections. Observers point to the orgy of
violence that was escalated between March and June 2000, culminating in a
very narrow and controversial victory over the MDC, a party formed barely a
year earlier. They believe that the Referendum changed the course of
history, giving ZANU PF a chance to test the depth of the river, not with
its legs but with a very long and dispensable stick. As it happened, ZANU PF
retained parliamentary majority and the constitution is still to be remade.
S is for Senate
Alright, not necessarily the senate itself but what the issue of the senate
sparked within the then united MDC which was leading a strong charge against
ZANU PF. In late 2005, ZANU PF introduced an amendment to the Constitution
which resuscitated the Senate which had been abolished in the late eighties.
The MDC was not sure what to do – to participate or boycott the senatorial
elections. Some wanted to boycott as a matter of principle whilst others
thought it best to participate to protect the democratic space. The MDC
decision-making body met to decide and the result was disputed and
controversial. This acted as the spark for the split of the party, leading
to the two factions now referred to as MDC-T led by Tsvangirai and MDC-M led
by Arthur Mutambara. Clearly the Tsvangirai faction has the large slice of
power but this has not stopped the Mutambara faction, hence the tripartite
arrangement in which the two now share power with ZANU PF.
T is for Tsvangirai
T is for Tsvangirai, Mugabe’s arch-rival and nemesis since the formation of
the MDC in 1999. Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader rose to become
perhaps the most potent opponent Mugabe has ever faced in his political
life. A man popular among ordinary Zimbabweans, any weaknesses have so far
been outshone by his bravery at confronting a feared regime. He rose in the
last decade to become a truly alternative national leader, persuading even
those who staunchly doubted his credentials in the early days. Along with
Mugabe, Tsvangirai looms large in the politics of Zimbabwe and the fear has
to be that his status may give rise to the same cult personality that has
been so negative in Zimbabwean politics.
U is for Unity Government
After nearly a decade of heated struggle, ZANU PF and the two MDC parties
eventually agreed to form a government of national unity in 2008. This came
into being in February 2009 and although shaky, it continues to run the
country’s affairs in the current decade. Its lifespan is not certain and
outstanding issues remain to be resolved but it’s fair to all of them agree
that this is probably what they have to live with for now at least.
V is for Victims.
The history of Zimbabwe is full of victims – victims of violence,
exploitation, war, poverty, etc. The last decade had its fair share of
victims. Indeed, many ordinary people suffered like never before. The
violence, especially during election periods was horrendous. The images of
tortured and murdered men and women will live long in the memory of those
who were unfortunate to witness them. Some of those who lost their lives are
known. But it is fair to say that perhaps many are not. Some of those who
lost or damaged their limbs are known and have been honoured in some ways.
But there are many more silent victims who will never receive awards or
airtime. “V” is for all victims of the last decade but most of all for the
Unknown and Silent Victims – we’ll call it the Tomb of the Unknown Victim.
W is for War Veterans.
The veterans of the liberation struggle rose to prominence at the end of the
previous decade and their role continued to be influential in the last one.
First, under the leadership of Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi and Joseph ‘Chinoz’
Chinotimba, the self-styled commander of the farm invasions, the veterans
led the charge against white farmers displacing them violently from the
commercial farms. The veterans and indeed some who claim to be veterans were
an influential factor in the politics of the last decade, propping up an
otherwise shaken ruling party. When the story is told, the role of the
veterans will no doubt be a prominent factor.
X is for Xenophobia
Zimbabweans in South Africa, along with many other migrants in that country
suffered horrific assaults in 2008 at the hands of locals. Victims of
troubles in their own country, they sought refuge and opportunities for work
in South Africa. Yet for some this appeared like jumping from the frying pan
into the flames as they experienced xenophobic attacks which left many dead,
injured, homeless and traumatised.
Y is for the Youth Brigade
Alright, they were not really referred to as the youth brigade – this is
more of an eighties term. In the last decade they were known mostly as the
notorious Green Bombers but they were too many candidates for ‘G’ and they
were beaten to it by the Governor. Yet, the story of the decade would be
incomplete without the youths who were trained under the Border Gezi
programme, named after the late ZANU PF politicians who is credited with
designing this mean machine that invoked fear among ordinary citizens as
they championed the cause of the then ruling party.
Z is for ‘Zhing-Zhong’
Z is for ‘Zhing-Zhong’, a term that became popular in the last decade
following the huge influx of Chinese goods in Zimbabwe’s retail markets.
Apparently, they are notorious for poor quality and lacking durability. The
joke was that you could buy a pair of shoes in the morning but by the end of
the week they would be worn out.
But ‘Z’ also represents the Zimbabwe Ruins, a term of description used so
often during the miserable years of the last decade. It is derived of course
from the name given to the remains of the ancient city based in present day
Zimbabwe. It is from that ancient kingdom that Zimbabwe ironically derives
its name. Also known as Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans soon came to refer to
the country after which they are named as Zimbabwe Ruins, denoting the
social, political and economic collapse of the country. Whether or not a new
civilisation emerges from these ruins is a key task of this and the coming
decades but last decade will probably be known as the period when Great
Zimbabwe was truly reduced to the Zimbabwe Ruins.
I hope the new decade brings better fortunes. Happy New Year – I hope it’s a
beautiful one for you all and for Zimbabwe.
Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, the University of Kent. E-mail
The typical Zimbabwean mentality is to say that when something does not
affect me now, I would rather not care about it or not do anything about it.
This is why ZANU PF was allowed to get away with the worst atricities in our
history, the Gukurahundi murders because some people saw no reason to
challenge them. ZANU PF got away with murder that could have been stopped
because those who could stop it were not affected at the relevant time. Now
there are so many people who were mum about Gukurahundi who now come out
saying there must investigations, there must be an enquiry etc ect, yet they
could have actually stopped it.
The reason why ZANU PF became the monster it is today is because some people
thought ZANU PF was too big to be challenged overwhelming those who dared
to. President Robert Mugabe was viewed and reverred in such Godly
omnipotence that challenging him was considered taboo. Now nobody knows what
to do with this "god" that Zimbabweans created. Some people blame the
international community particularly the west for not doing enough to stop
Mugabe especially Gukurahundi. What people seem to forget is that the
international community is very sensitive to events on the ground. What they
hear and see from the people on the ground is what they will alsways take
into consideration. In the 1980's Mugabe was held in the highest possible
regard in Zimbabwe and that is why he managed to dupe the international
community. If there was roundly outcry about his policies from within
Zimbabwe as is the case today, the international community would have
definitely done something about him back then.
The same applies to the MDC today. There is a lot of genuine support for the
MDC from within Zimbabwe and the international community is aware of that.
Like wise, it will always be very difficuclt to challenge the actions of a
supposedly popular political party not just in Zimbabwe but in Africa as a
whole. But where such challenge has been executed and enduring anyway, it
has always been proven worhtwhile in the end. In Zambia Frederick Chiluba
swept tp power in convincing fashion after his Movement for Multiparty
Democracy (MMD) beat the then veteran president Kenneth Kaunda and his UNIP
party. Everything was so appealing with the MMD and early allegations of
corruption against Chiluba and his inner circle where dismissed in
contemptuos fashion. But who ever thought or imagined that the roundly
popular and dimunitive Chiluba would be such an obscure figure in Zambian
politics less that ten years down the line? But that is the fortunate
reality of corruptible political personality.
It is heartening though to find out that because of the ZANU PF experience,
Zimbabweans have now opened up a little bit and they are more aware of what
their politicians are up to now more than they were fifteen to twenty years
ago. The MDC just like any other political party is prone to, and not immune
from corruption. There is corruption within the MDC as has been revealed in
recent times, and that corruption has to be exposed so that people realise
not just its existence, but the extent of it as well. The corruption in the
MDC is already alarming though, especially coming from a party that was
formed with a very clear mission to rid our politics of the same curse.
Corruption and misappropriation of funds in the MDC date back to as early as
2002. There were promises then to deal with it by the MDC leadership but it
was never dealt with and that shows a serious lack of sincerity in the part
of the MDC leadership.
In my last article I raised a number of issues of paramount importance. I
was quite pleased with the response of the majority of people that have
taken time especially to email and in some cases phoning me about what they
feel has also been worrying them regarding such matters. There have been a
handful of people who still live in the 1980's era and feel that because
ZANU PF had contributed in our liberation they could not be challenged in
any way or shape. These people still think that just because the MDC is
fighting democratic struggle against ZANU PF, it (MDC) must never be
challenged in any way or form but I am glad that these people are just a
tinny minority. I do not just write about these issues for the sake of
writing. These are issues that need to be highlighted and only the
beneficiaries of the corruption will want them left in secret.
Fighting against corruption and expeosing it is just as important as
fighting for democracy because good governance abores corruption
In 2002 Roy Bennett travelled to the UK together with Sekai Holland, Paul
Themba Nyathi and other MDC officials. There was a meeting that they held
with with the MDC Manchester Branch leadership. MDC Manchester was then one
of the most vibrant if not the most vibrant of the MDC UK branches. The
branch had raised money in excess of £80 000 that appeared to have not been
properly remitted to Hararee and accounted for. Sekai Holland was challenged
to explain about that money in front of Bennett and Nyathi and
unsatisfactory answers were given. The Manchester branch leadership that
comprised of Durani Rapozo and Jennings Rukani among others were not happy
with the way the funds had been handled. The meeting ended in a stalemate,
and the branch then wrote to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai registering
their displeasure. Tsvangirai promised to set up an investigation into the
matter and that was the last we heard about. Whether the investigation was
ever held and whatever its findings were, it remains a mystery.
That meeting should have given Bennett a very early insight into the
financial irregularities of the MDC and if he was very keen on routing out
"rogues" from within the party he could have started quite early on in his
brief. When he assumed the position of treasurer he must have known all
about the "milking" of the party by those bleeding it as he said. The
problem that I think he faced was that some of those rogues were possibly
too rogue for him to handle. They are senior rogues in the party and for
someone who was already aspiring for a leadership position he thought the
best way to go about it was to wash his hands of that. But the same issue
has come back to hound him and the disappearance of the said £57 000 in this
latest saga must never surprise Bennett because he had a taste of the
financial activities of the party a long time ago. Its not whether there are
rogues or not in the MDC. There are rogues, and at the highest level of the
party as well, and it is just a question of how the issues must be dealt
with. The selective routing out of the rogues will not help the cause. There
has to be a comprehensive mechanism that must be applied to all and sundry
in the party.
The other issue that I raised was the disbanding MDC external structures and
I will further expand on this one because it is also a very essential issue.
There are people who left Zimbabwe because they were being persecuted for
starting up the MDC in the first place. None of these people ever thought
they would need to leave Zimbabwe, but they went abroad where they carried
on with their MDC involvement. Most people who left Zimbabwe and applied for
asylum especially in the UK on political grounds are black Zimbabweans. Most
if not all, white Zimbabweans who left the country for Britain did not need
to apply for asylum thanks to their ancestry and heritage. "Disbanding" the
MDC external structures is another suttle way of saying these people who
sought asylum and some of whom are still waiting for their cases to be
determined, do not need to be outside the country. They need to go back to
Zimbabwe because that is only where they can be part of the MDC activities.
Such a statement will also compromise many people who are still waiting for
the outcome of their asylum applications at a very sensitive time.
Returning to Zimbabwe for people who left in fear must never be suggested by
anyone. It must be on the basis of a genuine diminishing of the
circumstances that created that fear in the first. No amount of glossing
over the reality of the situation on the ground will convince these people
to return to Zimbabwe. People will make their own assessments as to whether
they can go back.
The MDC is a party with very worrying signs of corruption, favoritism,
nepotism and cronnyism. These are the same ills that have bedeviled ZANU PF.
When a party is corrupt or allows corruption to manifest itself within it,
that party becomes limited in is ability to deliver. Corruption leads
ineffectiveness because merit becomes a periferal facet of the integral
activities of that party. There are people who have been fingered for
corruption and other ills in the ZANU PF establishment, people like Ignatius
Chombo who has destroyed the once vibrant ministry of local government. The
grave consequences of that is that the corruption in that ministry is also
filtering through to the MDC through the councils that it leads. If
corruption is not weeded out it simply becomes contageos and if the MDC is
serious there is a real chance of rescuing the party because the corruption
is not yet as widespread as it is in ZANU PF.
The MDC UK province gives the MDC party a fantastic opportunity to show that
it can seriously tackle corruption. The UK is a very small arm of the MDC
and dealing with it if the will is there should not be very difficult. What
has stopped ZANU PF from eradicating corruption from within its ranks is the
absurdity of putting those fingered with the corruption in charge of the
clean up exercise. Concealment will be the outcome and nothing will be
achieved. The investion must also look at what happened to that £80 000 nd
the people who were involved with the Manchester Branch should be consulted
as part of the investigation.
The other problem is that when issues are raised through the media, they can
only be addressed or responded to throuhg the media. I have heard a few MDC
officials that there was never any decision on disbanding MDC external
structures. So why was it said in the media then before the decision was
made? Whatever the case there is a compelling case of dealing with the
corrupt tendencies of MDC officials and those responsle must be brought to
book. There should not be any white washing of these issues. They are issues
of national relevance
Silence Chihuri writes from Scotland. He can be contacted on email:
January 6, 2010
Recently the Co-chair of the parliamentary select committee Douglas Mwonzora
indicated that an estimated four million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will be
given a chance to contribute to Zimbabwe's constitutional making process.
And well here is my small contribution that pretty specific and aimed at
addressing the Bambazonke mindset that has disadvantaged other regions
cities in terms of national cake distribution.
The new constitution must have a mechanism in place that other regions of
the country are NOT disadvantage by the Bambazonke craze that seems to have
hypnotized many in Zimbabwe. I will be straight to the point. It appears to
me that you need to travel to Harare in order to get any important document
always. Unless you are In Harare you stand to lose out on many items that
reacquire head office for authorization. I mean ask anyone outside Harare
and they will tell you that you have to go to Harare to get your birth
certificate, passport and even a liquor license.
We can not afford to pile all civic, administrative, sporting, travel,
educational activities to one city. In fact this has put a great strain on
the one time sunshine city. Ever wondered why Harare can not even clear the
garbage the city produces? The reason for this is the lunatic efforts of
trying to centralize everything to Harare. You don't believe me? Read on.
Economic Growth Deprivation
Most of the decision and policy makers might not be consciously aware of the
long term effects of centralizing everything to one city. Centralizing all
services to one city disadvantages and robs other cities and regions of
their inherent capacity to grow and develop. How and why? Now when ALL
concerts, meetings, rallies, conferences, tournaments, document
applications, congresses , state funerals etc are held in one city it means
that ALL commercial and business activities follows suit to where the big
fish and crowds are. Let me distil this to a very minute level .When any of
these major events are hosted in a city , there comes along business
activities ranging from hotel accommodation , transport , fuel stations ,
restaurants , air time , beverage etc which means that for your business to
tap into the honey trail , you must be located in Harare to avail your
This inherently deprives, robs and short changes other regions whose
industries can experience growth because no big business player wants to
invest in Masvingo or Mutare or Bulawayo where there is less activity.
This has a ripple effect and unintended consequences. For instances mobile
companies who run businesses for a profit have no motivation to setup more
base stations and increase capacity in areas where there is NO marked
activity that always comes with hosting of events seminars. As the chain
reaction proceeds, investors in travel and tourism sectors are most likely
going to follow suit and channel more resources to the region that will
yield highest returns. The ripple effect can not be exaggerated . As a
result of this biased distribution of resources which area creates more jobs
and business opportunities? Well, the city that hosts everything.
If I was planning to setup a business in Zimbabwe and had two options of
opening offices in either Gweru or Bulawayo, which location do you think
will be the best one ? None. Business logic would suggest that I take my
plans to Harare.
International Funds & AID
As far as the international community that donates and avails money and AID
to Zimbabwe is concerned, the money and aid sent to Zimbabwe is set to
develop the country and NOT Harare alone. This is where the deprivation and
robbery takes place.
An interesting example of this is in the higher education sector. Now the
example I am using here is of an area I know of and other regions are
affected in a more or less similar way. My choice of using Bulawayo schools
as an example is based purely on my knowledge and familiarity with the
higher education system there. As a result this does NOT exclude other areas
affected by the same bias possibly in Mutare , Gweru , Kwekwe Masvingo etc.
Planned and Organized Deprivation
Bulawayo is basically divided into western and eastern suburbs. The latter
is where the bulk of the people reside - emalokitshini. Now during Rhodesia,
only 2 schools in the western suburbs (townships) offered A level science.
Namely Mzilikazi High School and Mpopoma. There are no more than 40 places
for A level students in these schools. So what it means is that the whole
western suburbs can maximally produce 40 students to qualify for higher
education institutes from a science point of view. No new A level science
schools were introduced after independence in the townships! I would be glad
if any one out there points out the new A level schools that offer science
in Bulawayo's townships !
On 26 June 2009, seventeen bright but economically disadvantaged Zimbabwean
students received full four-year scholarships worth over $5.5 million
dollars to study in the United States. Ambassador James D. McGee . None of
these came from the southern part of the country because maybe they did NOT
meet the high grade criteria? The full list of the recipients and the
colleges they will be studying/
Blessing Havana (Pomona College), Rutendo Ruzvidzo (College of Wooster),
Tafadzwa Mahlanganise (Davidson College), Tanya Sawadye (Cottey College),
Yemurai Adda Mangwendeza (Yale University), Zvikomborero Alexander Matenga
(Wesleyan University), Tatenda Yemeke (University of Chicago), Tatenda
Mutsamwira (Jacobs University), Lovemore Simbabrashe Kuzomunhu (University
of Pennsylvania), Lovemore Makusha (Williams College), Lesley Nyirenda
(Stanford University), Corra Leigh Magiya (Providence College), Joshua
Fomera (Duke University), Lennox Chitsike (Hamilton College), Ngonidzashe
Madungwe (Tufts University), Stephen Dini (Swarthmore College) and Tinofara
Majoni (Colgate University).
These students probably deserved the scholarships and we are proud that they
will do the nation proud BUT they could have benefited from a skewed system
that disadvantaged other pupils from other regions. Well that's NOT these
recipients's problem. Such situations have long term effects that may
manifest themselves in resentment of some people by some section of people.
Can not connect the dots with the students in the townships where there are
only 2 A level science schools on Bulawayo? The inherent robbery or
deprivation of opportunity lies in the very fact that these students from
the townships can NOT even compete on a level field to be considered for
these scholarships. It's a numbers game. The more schools in an area with A
level science will avail more students to be considered for the
scholarships. So an area with 2 schools providing A level science can ONLY
produce so much students to avail for consideration .No need for rocket
science to figure this out.
As I said before this is not unique to Bulawayo region alone , but also
relevant to other areas that are outside Harare as well .But I chose to use
an example whose facts and reality I am very conversant with.
In simple terms the Embassy did a great job to give kids from poor
backgrounds a chance to shine. But as I said the donors only give and then
decision makers based in Harare decide to give an unfair advantage to some
areas at the expense of other kids simply because they don't come from the
Ok let me am more brutal. Sometime last year there was an unofficial
position from ZIFA that for a player to play for the national team , the
player had to come from Harare because it was expensive to transport players
from other areas like Hwange , Gweu and Bulawayo. Now this had an
interesting side effect. Many players from outside Harare started leaving
their teams for Harare based clubs so that they enhance their chances of
playing for the national soccer team. Remember this situation arose during
tough economic times and as such cost reasons will be sighted as an excuse
on this one. But as you might know the performance of the national soccer
team nose divided along side with this unofficial ZIFA policy. Recently the
national team was twice thumped 3-0 by Thailand and Syria in some Asian
tournament. Why ? The "catchments" area of talented players has been shrunk.
As such there is no huge pool draw from
I know truth hurts.
Part of this problem is due to the mental colonial inheritance. I can assure
you that some of the decision makers genuinely believe that everything must
happen in Harare. The list of people with such mentality even includes
individuals who come from regions outside Harare.
It defeats logic why less than 20 % of the resources for 2010 readiness have
been allocated to Vic Falls , Bulawayo and Mashing (Great Zimbabwe ) the
last 2 that are nearer South Africa than Harare.
I will point to a few recent examples of such incidents, happenings and
mindset. Obviously over time the examples are far too many to list here but
the following only serve as an eye opener now that we purportedly have a
government made up of 2 opposing parties. You will realize that the thinking
is the same on both sides of the aisle. I deliberately will NOT discuss the
pre GPA beeps and blunders regarding this centralization of services in
Last week the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi was
surprised that Bulawayo was going to miss out from the South Africa soccer
show case Cup because of the collapse of service provision in the
hospitality sector according to a report in the Chronicle. He said " .. the
collapse of service provision in the hospitality and tourism sectors would
lead to the city's failure to benefit from the World Cup. " Amazing. He
looked very surprised why Bulawayo hospitality industry was in such a state.
Well the above synopsis of events should help address his amazement and
shock. From his reaction it is very possible that the honorable minister had
not been in Bulawayo before. Couple this with the reluctance of ZIFA to
refurbish Barbourfileds Stadium to meet FIFA standards for visiting teams
and the state of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport; you will have a general idea
of the less obvious implications of this like the general lack of enthusiasm
towards national events by people from regions outside the capital.
Recently it was announced that a Chinese firm, China Sonangol, is set to
develop satellite towns around Harare in a development that is expected to
ease housing problems in the capital. "This follows the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding between Zimbabwe and China Sonangol that will
see the latter funding the development of satellite towns. The Chinese joint
venture company has already unveiled an eight-billion-U.S. dollar package to
fund various developmental programs in Zimbabwe. Ok what is causing the
housing problem in the first place ? Yes, you got that right; it's
centralization! Secondly, the financial deal worth $ 8 million was entered
between China and Harare the headlines must read, and not the entirety of
Zimbabwe. But as far as the Chinese are concerned - they are helping
Zimbabwe. If services and resources were distributed widely across the
country based on cost and strategic importance, there would be NO such
housing and garbage problem in Harare.
A year, or so, ago a partnership struck between a Ukrainian company Augur
Investments and Harare City Council for the development of the Joshua
Mqabuko Nkomo Road (Airport Road) offices, houses and hotels to the tune of
US$100 million. Is there any problem with such investments in Harare in
Zimbabwe? No. But it creates the suction loop and ripple effect mentioned
earlier on. Such a huge project has capacity to create thousands of much
needed jobs, which is excellent. And now where will people flock to look for
jobs? It follows then that the problem of accommodation continues, coupled
with garbage and traffic mayhem.
The vibrant and hard working Minister of Information and Technology (ICT)
Nelson Chamisa declared recently that "In five to ten years, Harare will be
the next Bangalore." Bangalore is India's third most populous city that
experienced growth and a rise in living standards because of technological
advancement. This came after the good news that Broadhorn Capital venture
has invested in two technology companies in the country. The capital raised
may be in the form of debt or equity and may be from private or public
sources. Obviously this is very encouraging and good news for Zimbabwe and
underlines the state of mind of our leaders and decision makers when it
comes to investing in Zimbabwe.
But why would the Honorable Minister imagine the development of Harare alone
and not other parts of the country? Or, is it possible that the Minister in
his statement implied that Harare is Zimbabwe? Is that then not the
continuation of the same old mindset that I referred to earlier on? If so,
Zimbabwe deserves a serious shift of mindset, considering that the Honorable
Minister, Nelson Chamisa, is still young and definitely the future
leadership of Zimbabwe. Our country can not continue into the future with
such a heavily skewed baggage whose mindset is such that one region has to
develop at the expense of other regions. Developing Harare is not developing
Zimbabwe. Harare is a part of Zimbabwe, but not Zimbabwe.
I could go on for a 100 pages listing similar examples. But the bottom line
is that such issues must be addressed if efforts to turn around the country's
fortunes are to remain truly national.
Centralization and Decentralization
There are a number of proponents of any modern government that shape the
reasons for centralizing services. These reasons may be political, cost,
control, efficiency and for quality service delivery. For example, foreign
embassies are located in the country's capital along with other
international and monetary institutes. That's great and that makes sense
from a cost and control point of view. But there are instances where
centralizing operations for the sake of it makes neither economic, political
nor common sense.
I will sight an interesting but isolated situation in Zimbabwe. ZIMRA is
responsible for collecting revenue for the government in Zimbabwe. And quite
naturally and probably correctly ZIMRA headquarters is located in the
capital city Harare. Now Beitbridge border town is probably the busiest port
of entry in southern Africa located in the southern most part of the
country. Recently ZIMRA failed to process customs and excise related duties
in time and efficiently from Beitbridge, because there is an extremely poor
data link between the border post town and computers systems located in
Harare to process these transactions.
Beitbridge is 580kms away from Harare, 288 kms away from Masvingo and 230
kms away Bulawayo. It is therefore twice as much expensive to set up and
maintain communications link between the border town and the capital, than
it is to set up and maintain a communications link from the border town to
Bulawayo or Masvingo.
So ask a 3rd grade pupil where he or she would deploy computers to process
the ZIMRA transactions? No brainer.
Case for Decentralization
I must make it clear that I do not purport the relocation of the capital
city - not at all! But I am high lighting some long observed traditions
colonially inherited and never looked into. The case of decentralization of
services where necessary, has both economic and social benefits that can not
be reduced into monetary terms or values. Also it helps decongest processes
in the capital by off loading other trivial and strategic services to
regions where it makes both economic and social sense. And, most
fundamental, this helps in developing a nation with diverse skills,
backgrounds and cultures to realize its full potential.
But it would be very unfair to conclude this pretty brief and general
discussion without mentioning the role or lack thereof, of leaders from
outside the capital. Maybe they have simply given up or they care less or
they love traveling to Harare for all their meetings, seminars, training,
It will also be unfair to blame Harare boys like Chamisa and Chiyangwa who
are running up and down to develop their neighborhoods. It is also very easy
to blame the pre-GPA of the state of things of uneven development and
distribution of donor funds and resources. But this I can say with absolute
certainty and conviction and I will ONLY speak for Bulawayo and surrounding
regions. To the leaders from the region I have few words for you and really
not interested in your excuses for failing to grab what must come to the
region. As I said my comments are POST new government and NOT pre GPA. The
region has a vice president and a vice prime minister. Two party chairmen!
And several cabinet ministers from both parties. So this I can assure you
that people in the region expect you NOT only to do your national duties
that serve the whole of Zimbabwe, but to make NO excuses when requesting or
even demanding a proportionate share of the national cake. I know some
misguided few, will contend that these are national leaders who work for
Zimbabwe as a whole and NOT confined to any region. Yes very true that - NOT
confined to any region as is presently the case - confined to developing
Well as expected these politicians will be making their usual rounds as the
parliamentary elections approach. They might be in for a rude shock this
time around and not going back to parly. Oh no; not because of a new
political party, but due to people deciding to boycotting the process
altogether since their election makes no difference.
To all concerned and determined activists from all other regions that are on
the receiving end of the centralization stick, I urge you to make sure this
issue is sanely and fruitfully brought up during the constitution making
process and finally captured in the new constitution. For if you don't speak
up about this, very soon you will be required to travel to Harare to apply
for a permit to paint your house!
For the record this problem of centralization and was created during the
colonial regime through UDI and furthered after independence. Just to leave
you with something to think about Hwange power station located in
Matebeleland North supplies a very huge chunk of the electricity consumed in
Zimbabwe. But guess what people are used to darkness?
I am not sure where the proceeds of diamonds mined in Chiadzwa in Manicaland
are headed to, but I can surely tell you that Manicaland is NOT benefiting
from its natural resource. Quite naturally I do expect those who benefit
from the status core to come up with excuses why things are lopsided as they
are. But fact remains that these are some issues that must be addressed so
that the present generation does not leave a problem for future generations
whose approach might be totally different from the our methods.
I don't blame those who have been beneficiaries of this bias at all. But
enlightening those who have been disadvanted to act and get a fair and
proportional stake in the national cake - otherwise the constitution
remaking process should called - "Bambazonke Constitution" .
Feel free to post your suggested solutions to this on the blog . We pretty
much interested on how to address these anomalies than just mere opinions.
Everyone has an opinion so spare us your opinions and give us more of
possible and practical solutions to resolve this head on and make sure it is
included in the constitution making system.
Ndabezinhle Ndlovu - Washington D.C.
+ 1 202-642-2565