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Welshman Ncube wants polls deferred to 2013

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:41

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

MDC–M secretary-general and the man expected to take over as party president
at its third congress which gets underway tomorrow, Welshman Ncube, has
called for elections to be held in 2013 when they are constitutionally due
because no meaningful electoral, media or security reforms have been put in
place to date.

In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent at his Harare home
yesterday, Ncube said that the holding of elections should follow the full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which stipulates
that a new constitution must be in place and calls for the establishment of
independent commissions and electoral and media reforms that create a
conducive environment for holding of free and fair polls.

“Clearly as things stand now in 2011 those conditions do not exist,” he
said. “There is unanimity that those conditions do not exist. It is
pointless to have them (elections) in 2011. Let’s use 2011 to implement
those things and have elections in 2012 but if not the best thing to do is
to have the elections when they are due, that is in 2013,” Ncube said.

His statement is in sharp contrast to Zanu PF which resolved at its December
2010 conference in Mutare to hold elections this year.

Ncube said contrary to assertions that the inclusive government ends after
two years, the GPA calls for a review of the working of the government to
measure if it has created a conducive environment to hold elections and the
result will determine if elections should be held.

The secretary-general is on the brink of the party presidency after securing
11 out of 12 of the party’s provincial nominations for the post. Only
Masvingo failed to hold a provincial congress to make its nomination.

Ncube will become the second president of the party since its split from the
main MDC formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in October 2005
over differences on whether or not to participate in senatorial elections.
He will be taking over from Arthur Mutambara who is not contesting the

Mashonaland Central is the only province that nominated Mutambara for a post
in the party’s national executive, as secretary-general, the same position
Ncube currently holds.

Ncube clearly believes his party will be within its remit to recall
Mutambara from his government post as deputy prime minister.

“People who were seconded to the inclusive government are deployed by the
parties,” Ncube said. “In our case it’s the party that decided who was
deployed from the deputy prime minister to the deputy ministers. All of
these can be redeployed without exception, all of them,” Ncube said.
Ncube said Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe have no right to veto any
nomination to the cabinet by the other partners in the inclusive government.

“No party is given a veto over the nominees of the other,” he said. “It is
against the spirit of the agreement for Zanu PF to allege a veto for a
person qualified to be a minister. To arrogate themselves a veto is wrong in
principle,” Ncube said.

He added that the party’s standing committee would decide Mutambara’s fate
in government.

As the new president of MDC, Ncube said he would continue to fight for the
full implementation of the GPA and restore the economy by pushing the
inclusive government to deliver.

“We will have to ensure that the GPA is fully implemented with a new
constitution, electoral reforms, governance reforms that will make sure that
the will of the people is not distorted. This also includes developing the
economy. It is only a truly free people, economically free who can exercise
free choice in elections,” he said.

Ncube said they were not looking for coalition partners in the next

“The most important thing is to focus on the growth of our party and be
ready to fight an election on our own. If in the process we get a broader
coalition that would be a bonus,” Ncube said.

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Election reforms clip police powers

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:31

Alfonce Mbizwo

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa has proposed to dilute police powers by
limiting their involvement in elections, tackling political violence and
granting comprehensive powers to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to
administer the country’s voting process.

A sixth draft Electoral Amendment Bill of 2010 by Chinamasa, seen by the
Zimbabwe Independent, proposes to reduce the role of the police in elections
to that of maintaining order at polling stations and even then, under the
orders of the presiding officer.

The intended electoral reforms would be part of the implementation of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed between President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara in
September 2008. The GPA gave birth to the inclusive government in February

The draft Bill was sent to Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC-M negotiators of the GPA
for their input before it is tabled before the cabinet committee on
legislation. The reforms are meant to create a conducive environment for
free and fair elections in line with Sadc’s Mauritius guidelines on
democratic polls.

It is not clear when Zimbabwe will hold fresh polls with Mugabe and Zanu PF
insisting elections should be held by June, while the MDC-T says they can
only be held after democratic reforms have been undertaken and the GPA fully

“Police shall have the sole function of maintaining order and preventing
contraventions of the law so that voters may freely cast their votes” and
“shall not interfere with the electoral processes at a polling station,”
reads the proposed Bill.

They are also barred from entering a polling station unless called upon for
assistance or to cast their votes. The police Commissioner-General would
have to appoint special police liaison officers and special investigation
committees in provincial centres to expeditiously deal with cases of
politically-motivated violence or intimidation in each province.

The Bill proposes that such special liaison officers would be senior police
officers who would work closely with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
(ZHRC) and a multi-party liaison committee during the election period.

Incidences of violence would be probed by a ZHRC-appointed special
investigations committee, which would include the special liaison officer,
two representatives of political parties and a ZHRC commissioner.

Magistrates and prosecutors would be designated to handle cases of political
violence and would be expected to give priority to such cases. Those
convicted of electoral violence could be banned from being registered as
voters for five years.

The Bill proposes to give Zec powers to accredit both local and foreign
observers, monitor media election coverage and conduct voter education.
Zec would be empowered to establish an Observer Accreditation Committee that
would be charged with the responsibility of accrediting individuals
representing foreign countries or international and local organisations who
have applied to be accepted as observers or invited by Zec.

The Bill also proposes to give Zec more responsibility on voter education
and bans foreign organisations from providing any voter education, while
local organisations have to have their material vetted by the commission.

Such organisations would also be required to disclose their sources of
funding. The commission could ban materials it deems “offensive”,
“misleading”, or likely to “prevent a substantial number of voters from
making any informed political choice in an election.”

The Bill proposes that political parties and candidates be held accountable
for the behaviour of their members in the run-up to and during elections.
The country’s last four elections in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2008 were marred
by violence and claimed scores of lives and left many more people maimed or

“Every office bearer of a political party that is contesting an election and
every candidate and election agent shall take appropriate measures to
prevent politically-motivated violence and any electoral malpractices,” read
the proposed Bill.

The parties shall “take effective steps to discipline all members of the
party who engage in politically-motivated violence or who commit any
electoral malpractice before, during and after the election period.”

Chinamasa has proposed that a presidential run-off should be held not less
than 21 days and not more than 63 days after the last.
Parties would be banned from campaigning or advertising at least 24 hours
before elections.

Among other provisions, the Bill proposes that public broadcasters afford
free access to political parties and independent candidates contesting in
the elections. It recommends a “fair and balanced allocation of time between
each political party and independent candidate” and that “each political
party and independent candidate is allowed a reasonable opportunity to
present a case through the broadcasting service concerned.”

While the broadcast and print media would not be obliged to air or publish
any political adverts, they have to offer same terms and conditions to all
parties “without discrimination.”

There are proposals for illiterate or handicapped voters who would be
allowed to seek the assistance of another registered voter to assist in
casting their vote in the presence of two electoral officers, an observer or
employees of Zec.

New amendments include proposals to penalise the so-called “purported
publication of results prior to official announcement”.

“No office bearer or member of a political party shall purport to declare
and announce the results of any election before it has been declared
officially by an electoral officer,” the Bill reads.

Anyone found breaching this clause would be guilty of an offence and may be
fined or imprisoned for up to six months.

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2011 could be politically intriguing

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:55

Nqobile Bhebhe

THIS year promises to be interesting as different parties gear up for a
hectic political calendar which will see the two MDC formations holding
their second congresses since they split in 2004 and the drafting of a new
constitution, followed by a referendum.

Debate on the next elections will also intensify as the three parties are
divided on when they should be held and whether they should be harmonised or
just presidential polls.

Also to be seen is whether the government of national unity (GNU) would be
extended to 2012 or President Robert Mugabe will have his way — that is
elections this year.

While there is no possibility of any leadership renewal in the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC, MDC-M is likely to change its name to MDC-N when its
secretary-general Welshman Ncube takes over the reins of power from outgoing
party president Arthur Mutambara.

Zimbabweans are also waiting to see whether Ncube, the law professor, will
elbow out the robotics professor Mutambara from the deputy premier’s

MDC-M says it would usher in a rare breed of democracy in Zimbabwe’s
politics by having a smooth leadership transition, something that is
unprecedented in the country where there is no talk of leadership renewal in
Zanu PF and MDC-T, both of which believe that Mugabe and Tsvangirai are the
faces of their parties and there is no one else suitable to take over from

The smaller MDC formation is holding its elective congress tomorrow and
incumbent leader Mutambara has pulled out of the race after most of the
provinces nominated Ncube.

While Zanu PF says the succession debate is not an issue and it was up to
Mugabe to decide when he wants to step down, MDC-T’s national council
resolved that Tsvangirai should not be challenged at the congress scheduled
for May 10. Now Tsvangirai is expected to remain at the helm of his party
after that resolution and after the MDC-T constitution was amended outside a
congress to remove the two five-year term limits.

Last week, speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent in his personal capacity,
MDC-M Bulawayo province spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said 2011 presents a rare
opportunity for Zimbabweans to realise that MDC-M  stood by democracy

“As a member of the so-called smaller faction of MDC, I expect to see a
phenomenal change in Zimbabwe’s political landscape.  After our January
congress, in which we expect Professor Welshman Ncube to be elected leader,
Zimbabweans would experience real democracy,” said Ndlovu.

He said it would be an opportunity for other political parties, Zanu PF and
MDC, to learn “the transference of political power in a democratic manner”.

“What would happen would be unprecedented, a smooth power transfer would be
demonstrated and all Zimbabweans who believe in democracy should join us,”
said Ndlovu.

But Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo expects “a hectic year as the political
calendar would be congested” though saying it was difficult to predict how
it would pan out.

The constitution-making process is set to be concluded by September,
followed by a referendum and then elections.

“Generally, 2011 is shaping up to be a hectic year. The Global Political
Agreement (GPA) tenure is drawing to an end, which naturally would tend to
heighten political tension with political parties campaigning for
 elections,” said Moyo.

However, he was quick to say that political activities should not interrupt
agricultural activities. In the past, most of the violence and intimidation
occurred in the rural areas in the run-up to elections and immediately

“However, with talk of a referendum to pave way for elections that could be
held in September, this should not disrupt farming activities as most people
in rural areas depend on subsistence farming.
“We feel elections, practically, should be in 2012 but Zimbabwe politics is
unpredictable and Mugabe could call and set election dates anytime,” said
Brilliant Mhlanga, a media scholar at the University of Westminster in the
United Kingdom, said 2011 should for Matabeleland region be a year of making
very important decisions and taking stock of all that has happened.

Looking back at 2010, he lamented the “sad occurrences where three late
Matabeleland gallant sons” were denied heroes status.

Despite calls from the region and beyond to have the Ndebele paramount Chief
Khayisa Ndiweni, former MDC-M deputy leader Gibson Sibanda, and Akim Ndlovu
(one of the commanders of Zipra) conferred with national heroes status,
President Mugabe’s  Zanu PF turned a deaf ear.

Ndiweni (97) died in August in his sleep at his home in Ntabazinduna, about
30 km from Bulawayo. He became chief in 1939 and was one of the longest
serving traditional leaders in the country.

He was buried at his homestead.

Mhlanga said: “2011 should also be a year of generational renewal for us,
re-aligning of ethos and political engagement; especially with the young
generation clearly taking a stand in politics and political positions while
at the same time aligning with those of the generation of liberators and
freedom fighters.”

“For instance, despite the loss of our loved ones, they also provided us
with an opportunity to begin to ask whether we need to have our heroes
interred at Heroes Acre in Harare? Second, it was a fateful challenge for us
to imagine why we do not have our own national shrine?”

Another major highlight in the region was the erecting of late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s statue.

A  North Korean-made three metre statue “honouring” Nkomo described as
“small and pitiful” was erected in the middle of the night in Bulawayo at
the intersection of Main Street and 8th Avenue.

Weeks later, co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi commissioned and
decommissioned the statue, saying “the family objected”.

Another statue planned for Harare at Karigamombe Centre in Harare also
sparked controversy.

Karigamombe —  which means felling a bull — smacked of Zanu PF triumphalism
over the late Vice-President’s Zapu party whose symbol was a bull.
Nkomo’s son, Sibangilizwe upped the battle by calling for his father’s
remains to be exhumed from Heroes’ Acre in Harare for reburial at his family’s
home village.

Sibangilizwe claimed that in his final days, Nkomo complained bitterly about
the direction the country was taking.

“My father said he had tried to mould him (Mugabe) into a proper leader but
he feared that his efforts were to no avail,” he said.

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‘Truth commission essential for national healing’

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:45

Paidamoyo Muzulu

THE Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) has said that for
national healing to take place in Zimbabwe, there should be a truth and
reconciliation commission that has powers to bring perpetrators of violence
during the 2008 elections to book.

The report titled “National Healing and Reconciliation in Zimbabwe:
Challenges and Opportunities” was produced by Pamela Machakanja.

The IJR contributes to the building of fair, democratic and inclusive
societies in Africa before, during and after political transition.

The IJR report argued that true reconciliation could not occur when the
truths about past wrongs are not told.

It said truth-telling encouraged the verification of past repressive actions
and incidents by individuals and government.

“The paper further argues that it is only after truth-seeking initiatives
have taken place, that willingness to seek justice based on people’s
understandings of what happened to them can be achieved. Thus, it is
important that the state takes concrete policy actions to demonstrate a
break with the past and build a future based on respect for human rights and
rule of law,” the report said.

In pursuit of reconciliation and peace, the three feuding political parties
signed a Global Political Agreement on September 15 2008 that among other
things called for national healing.

Consequently, the National Healing and Reconciliation Organ was set up,
co-chaired by three ministers from parties to the agreement.
The report argued that the Zimbabwean situation raised a number of questions
on how justice could be served while at the same time promoting

“The Zimbabwean case highlights the importance of critically examining the
relevance of instituting transitional justice systems with a view to making
informed choices about achieving a balance between comprehensive processes
of restorative justice and retributive justice systems,” said the report.

Machakanja in the report argued that whatever form of transitional justice
was chosen, there was need for a clear and credible account of the past
involving acknowledgement for past violations as a process of facilitating
individual and national healing and reconciliation.

The report also cited 12 conditions necessary for successful reconciliation
and national healing. Among them were legislative reforms, political will,
transformative and restorative justice and civil society engagement.

“The National Healing and Reconciliation Commission would have to be secured
by a bill passed through Parliament and enacted into an act of law. Such an
act would allow the commission the discretion to: establish the time periods
to be covered by the Commission’s investigations; determine the nature of
human rights abuses to be investigated; determine the social and economic
effects of the abuses including recommending preventive and health promoting
approaches, assessment, counselling, healing programmes and community
interventions,” the report said.

It further argued that the quality and credibility of the work of the
Commission and the legitimacy of its outcomes would largely depend on how
independent it is and the calibre of the Commissioners.

The political will to promote genuine reconciliation was paramount, the
report said. Raking past atrocities and human rights abuses is an
excruciating exercise. If badly managed, the exercise could backfire, and
further widen the chasm in an already politically-fractured nation, noted
the report.
It said a successful national healing and reconciliation process required
meaningful engagement of civil society and the public at large.

“This is because a process aimed at responding to people’s needs must
necessarily involve the people affected by the conflict, especially at
grassroots level. In this context, civil society organisations can play a
vital role in monitoring the implementation of the reconciliation and
healing processes,” the report said.

It concluded by saying restorative justice was an option that could be
pursued and the country should also be concerned about moving forward and
creating real peace among its citizens.

“Whilst retributive and restorative justice systems have their merits and
demerits, there has to be a proper consideration with a view to moving the
country forward amidst the specific circumstances in which it finds itself,”
read the report.

“Zimbabwe needs to realise that national rebuilding and the creation of
functional democratic institutions and systems cannot take place if the
population remains deeply divided along political lines and human relations
are plagued with fear, mistrust and suspicion.

“If fear and human insecurity are burdens of the past, then these create
obstacles to the envisioned goal of reconciliation, national healing, social
cohesion and nation building,” it concluded.

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Cash squeeze: Govt extends recruitment ban

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:42

Nqobile Bhebhe

LIMITED revenue inflows to Treasury has forced government  to extend  a
recruitment freeze on civil servants only limiting itself to critical 
workers, a cabinet minister has said.

Public Service minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro told the Zimbabwe Independent
on Tuesday that only critical technical public workers across all ministries
would be employed.

Early last year, Treasury froze all new public service appointments citing
lack of money to foot the wage bill.

“We expect the freeze to continue this year due to limited revenue inflows
to the Treasury. However, this does not translate to mean a complete ban.
Workers in education and Health ministry’s other departments would be
recruited”, said Mukonoweshuro.

Mukonoweshuro said government was struggling to raise salaries for the
current workforce and would not put a time frame for a resumption of full
scale recruitment.

 “Until such a time when we have significant revenue inflows that would
allow us to pay regionally competitive salaries we will not start mass
recruitment to fill all vacant posts,” he said.

When government resolved to impose a freeze last year it cited lack of
fiscal space to fork out salaries to an estimated 200 000 employees who were
gobbling almost 70% of total domestic budget and 18% of Gross Domestic

Economists recommend that no more than 30% of the budget be channelled to
salaries as per World Bank standards.

 In his budget statement Finance minister Tendai Biti increased the salary
bill to US$1 billion from US$773 million, an increase of about 30%. Taken
together with other employments costs such as pensions, medical aid and
other allowances, the total salary bill will be US$1, 4 billion this year,
an increase of US$400 million from the 2010 outturn of US$1 billion.

Economists say this figure was unsustainable.

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Member escapes death amid Zanu PF feud

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:16

Brian Chitemba

THE long-running Zanu PF Bulawayo intra-party feud has turned nasty after
the newly appointed provincial coordinator Callistus Ndlovu escaped death in
an accident he claims was engineered by his political rivals.

Ndlovu, a Zanu PF central committee member, replaced former Information and
Publicity minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu as the Bulawayo provincial coordinator
last month in what party insiders say was part of the fierce factionalism
that is splitting  the former ruling party.

The former minister was ousted by a faction linked to Ndlovu following
allegations that he failed to set up vibrant structures in the city, which
has become an MDC-T stronghold in the last decade.

Sources said Callistus Ndlovu is aligned to party hardliners such as
Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku, politburo members Joshua
Malinga and Tshinga Dube while Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is backed by politburo
member Eunice Sandi-Moyo as well as beleaguered provincial chairman Isaac

Ndlovu, a NetOne board chairman, this week confirmed the accident which
happened on December 24 on the outskirts of Bulawayo, saying he suspected
foul play although he would not finger his political rivals.

He escaped without injuries.

“I suspect foul play although I cannot say who it is but some people must
have unlocked the nuts on my hind wheel.  However, there was no serious
accident, so I have not reported the matter to the police,” he said.

“Some people think my car was tampered with by our colleagues in the party
but I cannot point at anyone, but definitely there was a case of foul play.”

Sources said Ndlovu visited a social club in the city centre where he parked
his vehicle for three hours and a Zanu PF official known to be at
loggerheads with Ndlovu was also seen at the club.

“We suspect that the party official who got in the club briefly was somehow
linked with tampering with Ndlovu’s vehicle because he is also linked to the
fighting factions within the party,” said a Zanu PF insider.

Ndlovu, a former industry and technology minister, is resurrecting his
career in politics after falling from grace in 1989 following his
implication in the Willowgate motor scandal.

The former ruling party has been rocked by serious divisions stemming from
unilateral suspensions of members and defiance of party directives.
Last month, Zanu PF national commissar and Minister of Media, Information
and Publicity Webster Shamu stepped in to try and bring the warring factions
together.  Shamu held various meetings in a bid to bring sanity to the
province where Zanu PF has never won a single parliamentary seat in the past
10 years.

Zanu PF continues losing support in Bulawayo where the party failed to win a
seat in the March 2008 elections. The country’s second largest city as well
as Matabeleland North and South have become MDC strongholds with both
formations of the party enjoying strong support in the region.

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‘Loan shark’ Buyanga close to Zuma

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:13

Bernard Mpofu

CONTROVERSIAL property mogul Frank Buyanga, accused of fraudulently seizing
about 500 immovable properties in Harare through an opaque loan scheme,
reportedly has close links with South African President Jacob Zuma and
controversial African National Congress (ANC) bigwig Fana Hlongwane.

Buyanga, who was the director of Hamilton Property Holdings before his
resignation last week was according to sources in both Zimbabwe and South
Africa part of Zuma’s entourage when the president toured Russia and China
last year.

The sources said the mogul was using his political links to spread his
business tentacles across southern Africa.

The flashy businessman was accused in August last year of cheating 500
homeowners out of their properties through a loan scheme where the borrower
would sign an agreement of sale and repay the principal loan and interest
within three months.

But some of the people who accused Buyanga of seizing their properties later
made a U-turn, saying they had instead sold their houses and stands to the
property mogul.

A settlement agreement was later hammered out between Buyanga and the
complainants’ lawyers for them to repay the businessman and retain their
properties by the end of last year. The pact was not honoured and Buyanga is
reportedly working on evicting the people.

Reports show Buyanga has business interests in the UK, Zimbabwe, Zambia and
Malawi. The operations have different names and partners.

A source said besides being close to Zuma, the opulent Buyanga was working
on several business projects with Hlongwane, who until November was under an
arms probe in South Africa.

The businessman has been photographed in the company of Zuma, top government
and ANC officials and South African businesspeople on tour in Russia and
China last year.

According to the sources, he wines and dines with Hlongwane in Johannesburg’s
best restaurants.

“Buyanga is highly connected in the ANC and is currently working on some
business projects with Hlongwane,” one of the sources said. “He has a good
public relations disposition, which saw him being part of Zuma’s entourage.”

Efforts to get comment from Zuma’s office this week on the nature of
relations between the president and Buyanga were fruitless. Questions that
were sent to Zuma’s private secretary Desley Sithole were not responded to
at the time of going to press.

Hlongwane had since 2006 been under probe by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office
(SFO) in connection with alleged kickbacks in South Africa’s
multibillion-rand arms deal. His name has become synonymous with a
high-flying lifestyle in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs and he also goes by
the name “Styles” because of his taste for the finer things in life.

Buyanga is also linked to another controversial property mogul Nicholas Van
Hoogstraten, who is reportedly close to President Robert Mugabe.
International media reports claim that Buyanga was fronting Hoogstraten, but
the UK-born 31-year-old businessman last year vehemently denied that.
“He (Hoogstraten) is not involved in the business. How can he be involved in
a mere US$10-million to US$20-million business,” Buyanga said in a rare
media interview with our sister newspaper, the Standard, in August last

In Zambia, Buyanga is in partnership with Zimbabwe businessman Ian Haruperi
who is reportedly close to President Rupiah Banda. Haruperi, Zimbabwean-born
South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere and Buyanga were also part of Zuma’s
entourage to Russia in August.

Haruperi’s social network page has several pictures of him, Buyanga, Zuma
and other members of his entourage in Moscow.

Like Hlongwane, Buyanga has a flashy lifestyle and owns a fleet of
state-of-the-art vehicles, among them a Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz SUV,
Aston Martin, Bentley, Range Rover, Lamborghini and BMW.

Buyanga declined to speak to the Zimbabwe Independent and referred questions
to his lawyer, Wilson Manase of Manase & Manase legal practitioners.
“I have no comment on his private life,” Manase said. “We don’t discuss his
private life when we meet.”

On Buyanga’s bid to evict people who sold their immovable properties to
Hamilton Property Holdings, Manase said only four out of over 50 had managed
to repurchase the properties by Wednesday.

“There is no criminal case against Frank. We are in the process of reviewing
the various property purchases in line with the agreement we had for their
former owners to repurchase them in six months so that we put a closure on
this matter,” Manase said. “Those who answered the call of repurchasing the
property will have their title deeds back, those who did not will lose out.”

In a press statement last week, Hamilton Property Holdings said Buyanga had
resigned and that it was going ahead to evict occupants.

The company said although various individuals and companies who sold their
properties to Hamilton Property Holdings, its subsidiaries or Buyanga made
reports to the police alleging the properties were fraudulently acquired,
the Attorney-General’s Office had advised the company’s lawyers there was no
evidence to lay criminal charges against the company.

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Law firm paid for services not rendered ­— Mubayiwa

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:11

Chris Muronzi

A LAWYER barred by the High Court from representing state mining group —
Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Marange Resources —
Farai Mutamangira — was paid close to US$1 million for a case another legal
firm handled despite concerns of “apparent conflict” of interest, former
ZMDC CEO Dominic Mubayiwa claimed in court papers.

In an affidavit deposed with the High Court last year, former ZMDC boss
Mubayiwa says Mutamangira and his law firm were paid US$950 000 for a case
involving African Consolidated Resources which was handled by Sawyer&

Sawyer & Mkushi represented ZMDC in its battle to wrest a diamond claim ACR
claims rights to.

ACR, the London stock exchange listed mining junior, was kicked out of
Chiadzwa diamond fields in 2006, but is still legally fighting to reclaim
its rights to the concession.

Mubayiwa deposed the affidavit challenging his dismissal from employment in
October last year. He claims the disciplinary committee was not duly
constituted adding the hearing had been full of malice, bias and “absence of
an environment conducive to a fair hearing”.

He claimed that ZMDC chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa “wanted to cause” him
to change the company’s lawyers from Sawyer & Mkushi legal practitioners to
Gula Ndebele & Partners or Hogwe & Partners without board approval.

“On 20th July 2010, Masimirembwa wanted to cause me to change the ZMDC’s
corporate lawyers from Sawyer & Mkushi Legal Practitioners to Gula Ndebele &
Partners and/or Hogwe & Partners Legal Practitioners. Alternatively
Masimirembwa wanted the Corporation to engage Mutamangira and Associates
while Hogwe & Partners Legal Practitioners could be appointed as MMCZ
lawyers where he again served as board member,” reads Mubayiwa’s affidavit.
“I advised him against such appointments as there was apparent conflict of
interest arising from each of the appointments. Furthermore a change of
lawyers required a board resolution which did not exist.”

Mubayiwa claims the advice “did not go well” with Masimirembwa.

“Masimirembwa proceeded to appoint Mutamangira & Associates the corporation
lawyers contrary to advice that there could be apparent conflict of
interest. He caused the corporation and its associate companies to pay
US$950 000 for services rendered in the Africa Consolidated Resources
dispute with ZMDC when ZMDC was represented by Sawyer & Mkushi and the
latter had been paid their fees,” he averred.

This week, High Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira barred Mutangmira and
his legal firm — Mutamangira and Associates — from representing ZMDC and
Marange Resources.

The ruling came after an urgent chamber application by George Chikumbirike,
who is representing Core Mining, who objected to Mutamangira’s
representation of ZMDC and Marange Resources arguing the lawyer was an
interested party.

Chikumbirike said Mutamangira should not have appeared in proceedings where
it was resolved to take over Core Mining without following proper procedure
as a legal practitioner of ZMDC and Marange Resources, but should have
appeared as their agent.

The basis for Chikumbirike’s argument was that Mutamangira  was “intimately
and emotionally” interested in matters involving ZMDC and Marange Resources
and Core Mining.

Chikumbirike also claimed Mutamangira was involved in investigations into
Core Mining that resulted in the prosecution of its shareholders.
He further submitted that Mutamangira & Associates ought not to be allowed
to represent ZMDC and Marange Resources as the affidavit they filed on
behalf of their clients were prepared and commissioned by their law firm.

Chikumbirike further submitted that Mutamangira and/or his firm should have
advised their clients accordingly and consequently of the need for a
different firm to represent them as their legal practitioners while they
would only act or appear as agents for the said clients.
In his defence, Mutamangira said allegations made against him were based on
speculation. He denied ever conducting investigations into the operations of
Core Mining and ZMDC.

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Moyo’s politburo return riles Zanu PF bigwigs

Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:31

Brian Chitemba

SENIOR Zanu PF members are sharply divided over the re-admission of
Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo into the party’s politburo with stalwarts
from Matabeleland opposed to the political scientist’s return to the top.

Politburo members told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that senior
officials from Matabeleland were not happy with Moyo’s return to the party’s
key decision-making body, the most important organ outside congress.

The Zanu PF Matabeleland bigwigs, sources said, view Moyo’s rise as a threat
to their dominance.

Sources said President Robert Mugabe was the only one who wanted Moyo back
in the politburo despite spirited bids by former PF-Zapu gurus, including
Vice President John Nkomo, who are strongly opposed to the former
Information and Publicity minister’s comeback.

Others chagrined by Moyo’s re-admission into the politburo include
Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction, while the former University of
Zimbabwe lecturer enjoys the support of  Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, among others.
“We didn’t want him to bounce back in the politburo because he cannot be
trusted,” said a top Zanu PF politburo member.

“However, Mugabe’s voice prevailed, the president believes he is capable of
turning around the fortunes of the party.”

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo on Wednesday said he could not rule out
disgruntlement among politburo members because the appointment of such
senior members were made by Mugabe, 86, in consultation with other presidium

“Obviously when there are such high profile appointments, there is bound to
be complaints although I haven’t received any,” he said. “But once the
president announces the appointment of a politburo member, there is
virtually nothing we can do; we just accept it.”

Mugabe dropped Moyo from the politburo and central committee at the 2004
congress following the legislator’s decision to stand as an independent
candidate in the 2005 parliamentary poll. Moyo was accused of orchestrating
a Tsholotsho meeting dubbed the ‘Tsholotsho declaration” in 2004 that aimed
at changing Zanu PF’s leadership structure.

At Zanu PF’s 2010 conference in Mutare, Mugabe personally announced Moyo’s
politburo comeback.

“He is back as he was working in the party, he has talent and I am sure we
will be satisfied with his work,” Mugabe told delegates at the December

But other politburo members insisted that the return of Moyo had caused
divisions at the party’s echelons of power. Sources said Moyo was also
likely to be appointed as Media, Information and Publicity minister, taking
over from incumbent Webster Shamu. Zanu PF officials said Shamu would
concentrate on party business as Moyo takes charge of the ministry that
controls the media.

“This is part of Mugabe’s wider plan of winning possible mid-year
 elections,” said the source. “The president is optimistic Moyo will do
wonders to help him win the hearts of Zimbabweans who seem to be fed up with
Zanu PF.”

Moyo is now linked to the post of Zanu PF deputy commissar which is vacant
following the death of Ephraim Masawi last year.

A former Zanu PF deputy secretary for information and publicity, Moyo was
re-admitted into the party in 2009.

Moyo declined to comment on those opposed to his re-admission to the

“I cannot comment at the moment on that issue,” he said.

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Firm sues RBZ for US$35m

Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:28

Leonard Makombe

AN international minerals auditing firm, Alex Stewart International (ASI),
is suing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for US$34,99 million over unpaid
fees for services rendered between 2007 and 2009.

ASI, through its lawyers GN Mlotshwa & Co, in summons lodged with the High
Court on December 16 last year also listed Finance minister Tendai Biti as
second respondent because the central bank falls under his ministry.

ASI, which is registered in the United States and was contracted by RBZ in
2006 to audit the country’s mining industry, has further threatened to lodge
another US$100 million lawsuit, which would effectively cripple the central
bank which is already saddled with debts.

In June last year RBZ was saved by the invocation of the presidential powers
to gazette temporary regulations protecting the central bank from having its
property attached by creditors as government had assumed the debts. RBZ had
failed to pay local and foreign companies for fertiliser, seed, tractors and
vehicle imports.

In its declaration lodged with the High Court, ASI said it was claiming
US$34 995 200 for the auditing services in respect to the production and
export of minerals from the country, a debt RBZ has acknowledged.

This figure represents what RBZ owed as at the end of July last year and it
includes a US$2 187 200 net interest for the period December 2008 to July

“Notwithstanding numerous negotiations and discussions regarding payment of
the debt, no such payment has been forthcoming,” said ASI in the
declaration. “This is in spite of the fact that first defendant (RBZ) does
not and has never disputed its indebtedness to plaintiff (ASI).”

In October last year, ASI’s lawyers issued a letter of demand compelling the
central bank to pay the outstanding debt and it not honoured.

“Notwithstanding such demand, first defendant has failed and or neglected to
pay amounts due and payable to plaintiff,” said ASI in the declaration.
“Indeed in a separate lawsuit, plaintiff intends to sue first defendant for
damages in an additional amount of US$100 million for breach of contract.”

The RBZ has failed to pay a number of debts since the adoption of multiple
currencies and the institution of a government of national unity, which has
seen Biti take over as Finance Minister and the start of personal clashes
with RBZ governor Gideon Gono.

Prior to the changes, RBZ was able to settle its debts with the
international auditing firm and at one time, in October 2008 Gono wrote a
letter of acknowledgement to ASI president Enrique Segura, where he
“recognised and very strongly recommended the services provided”.

“Your company had accomplished very concrete results as follows: RBZ knows
every month with accuracy the quality and quantity of all minerals mined and
exported (RBZ is able to calculate effectible income taxes and royalties,”
the governor wrote.

He added that ASI’s audit work since June 2007 had enabled the central bank
to have accurate data on financial statements of the mining companies “as we
are proceeding with the auditing of every mine since its inception to today”.

ASI’s work enabled RBZ to ascertain the cost of mine closures and the impact
on the environment of mining activities.

Gono said by engaging the auditing firm, they had managed to identify
through the ASI reports, extensive losses at Fidelity Printers in the
processing of gold bullion, taxes and penalties due by Zimplats, and Bindura’s
financial distortions.

ASI reports exposed an absence of US$30 million in funds which should have
been set aside by mining companies for environmental remediation and a
general lack of observance for environmental standards.

However, relations turned frosty in 2010 after the central bank failed to
pay the auditing firm required fees.

Segura in May last year wrote to Biti “as a last resort”, saying despite
having performed the job for which they were hired, they had not been paid
their fees by government.

“Mr Minister, we at Alex Stewart have been working very hard for your
country, maintaining an infrastructure of 100 local employees and more than
50 expatriates,” said Segura. “We have done this in the face of opposition
from our own government which first refused to grant us permission to work
in Zimbabwe due to its embargo.”

Segura said they had hired lobbyists to convince the US government to allow
them to work in Zimbabwe.

“We fought (for) our right to work in your country because we believe in
your country’s cause and we understand all too clearly the need to protect
the country’s non renewable resources against exploitation by mining
companies to the detriment of national treasury and the health and well
being of the people.”

Segura said they were appealing not only to the “Honourable Minister’s sense
of fairness but also to your understanding of the work we have done and the
benefit that a Mineral Production and Export Auditing Program such as ASI
can bring to the country and people of Zimbabwe.”

It appears the appeal fell on deaf ears and ASI instructed its lawyers to
write an order requesting the payment of the amount due on October 14 2010.

At the time of going to print, the RBZ and Biti were yet to respond to the

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Confusion reigns over elections

Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:25

Taurai Mangudhla

CONFUSION reigns over the proposed holding of elections in the first half of
this year after Zanu PF insisted that the polls should go ahead despite
growing internal and external resistance.

A report in the state-controlled Sunday Mail this week suggested that
elections were likely to be deferred to allow for the conclusion of the
constitution-making process and because of “intervening complications” in
the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

But Zanu PF national political commissar Webster Shamu told the Zimbabwe
Independent on Tuesday that the position taken during the Zanu PF annual
conference in Mutare last month had not changed.

“The Zanu PF party position is that at the expiry of the term of the global
political agreement with the two MDC formations on September 15 2008 and the
inclusive government born therefrom on February 13 2009, the country must
hold harmonised elections without fail,” said Shamu in a written response to
an inquiry by the Independent.

The assertion by Shamu flies in the face of the position taken by the two
MDC formations and the Sadc mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma,
who argue that no elections should be held before the conclusion of the
stalled constitution-making process and full implementation of electoral and
security sector reforms.

Sadc, the regional bloc which played an instrumental role in the formation
of the GPA, added its voice last week insisting on a clear roadmap before
another plebiscite.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the constitution was not the solution
to electoral problems in the country.

“We may have a new constitution but people can still have an election that
is neither free nor fair,” Chamisa said. “A new constitution is half, the
other half is to do with cleaning the voters’ roll, removal of Zec (Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission)’s secretariat, broadcasting reforms and election
monitoring reforms. We should also agree on the nature of the election
keeping in mind that we have to complete the presidential election that is
in dispute. We can’t have an election with (Lovemore) Sekeremayi in Zec’s
office” he added.

Sekeremayi is the Zec chief elections officer who was accused alongside the
commission of holding on to the March 2008 presidential election results for
over a month.

Chamisa said there was need for “real” security sector reforms and an
elaborate election monitoring mechanism to avoid violence.
“The villagers are still being terrorised, we need to remove the
infrastructure of violence…we have appealed to Sadc, AU, EU and the
international community to monitor elections six months before and after the
election to avoid violence and intimidation,” said Chamisa.
MDC-M secretary-general, Welshman Ncube, said it was unlikely that elections
would be held anytime soon adding that Zanu PF was trying to attract the
people’s attention on the wrong things.

“It’s a flare, in a war situation people can throw a flare into the sky to
attract their enemy’s attention,” said Ncube. “The idea is to catch your
enemy unaware.”

Ncube said that the inclusive government should give precedence to all the
agreements enshrined in the GPA over elections and elections could only be
held after the fulfilment of all things agreed in the pact.

“A new constitution is one of the many answers (to the country’s problems),
but all the requirements of the GPA must be met,” said Ncube.  “We must have
a constitution whose outcome will not be contested otherwise it will take us
back to 2008.”

Ncube has also said that despite claims to the contrary, the GPA did not
have an expiry period.

Analysts said there were reforms to be undertaken before the country talked
of another election.

Midlands State University (MSU) chairperson for the Media and Society
Studies Department Zvenyika Mugari said there was need to “convincingly”
implement reforms before an election to ensure that democratic standards are

“For as long as you cannot convince me that we have a conducive environment,
I don’t see why we should call for elections,” said Mugari. “We shouldn’t
just hold elections for the sake of having them. People should create an
environment that makes the process legitimate where everyone is prepared to
accept the outcome.”

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the uncertainty within Zanu PF could be
explained in terms of the internal demands within the party and the
inclusive government as well as external pressure from the regional

“Reality is dawning, the rhetoric is over, the reality is setting in,” he
said. “There was a broad consensus against an election, I know for sure that
(Jacob) Zuma (South African President) and Sadc are not for an immediate
election, the three principals should agree on the election bearing in mind
that the GPA is premised on a new constitution,” said Mandaza.

Constitutional law expert and National Constitutional Assembly leader
Lovemore Madhuku, however, dismissed the “climb-down” saying Zanu PF would
continue to rally for an election this year.

“There is no climb-down, remember Zanu PF said they will go for an election
with or without the new constitution,” he said.

Madhuku’s assessment was that Mugabe wanted to avoid coming under fire
during a Sadc troika meeting expected before end of this month.

“Mugabe wants to cheat people targeting Sadc so that he doesn’t have to
explain a lot of things in the upcoming meeting,” said Madhuku.

Last week, Zuma’s International Affairs advisor Lindiwe Zulu told the
Independent that the South African president was drafting a roadmap to
Zimbabwe’s elections to be tabled at an extraordinary meeting of the Sadc
Organ on Defence, Politics and Security later this month.

The roadmap, Zulu said, would be tailored along the lines of the regional
bloc’s Mauritius principles and guidelines governing democratic elections to
ensure free and fair polls as and when they are held to end the shaky
marriage of convenience between President Robert Mugabe and his archrival
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

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The true story on the state of Zanu PF

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:11

By Rashweat Mukundu

IN the last two weeks of December, readers of the Zimbabwe Independent were
subjected to two lead stories by the weekly, focused on the political
vicissitudes and likely fate of Vice President Joice Mujuru.

In the mind of an average reader of the newspaper like myself, the two
stories by Dumisani Muleya somewhat said the Mujuru “falling political star”
is or was the main story to emerge from the sleepy Zanu PF conference held
in Mutare.

Muleya’s sources say Mujuru has dented her political career by plotting a
revolt against President Robert Mugabe and clandestinely working with Mugabe’s
political rivals, the MDC, in the person of Finance minister Tendai Biti.

This, we are told, resulted in a massive backlash from Mugabe and Mujuru’s
opponents in the party, who see her seeming ambition to succeed Mugabe as
getting out of hand. On the other hand listening to Mugabe’s speech at the
conference and his subsequent interview with ZBC’s Reuben Barwe, one gets a
feeling that the real story of Zanu PF is not Mujuru, but Mugabe himself and
his loss of a moral mandate to lead his party, his loss of capacity to bring
unity and his determination to destroy Zanu PF and the country by calling
for another self-serving election.

In the same scheme of things one wonders who is leading the Mujuru onslaught
and how are these people, these sources Muleya talks of, linked to Mugabe’s
determination to hold onto power and how are the same elements linked to
schemes to hold this country in bondage and possibly disrupt a soft
political landing for the Zimbabwe crisis in the post- Mugabe era.

I argue that Mugabe was the big story to emerge from the conference in his
failure to articulate anything new, his obvious tiredness and refusal to
move away from the past and chart a new course for Zimbabwe.

Mugabe demonstrated his failure to garner a moral mandate to lead the party
by threatening those within Zanu PF who oppose him on elections to stay at
home. Zanu PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo had told the Independent last
month that no one is prepared to challenge Mugabe. In this, one can also
interpret that he is also not prepared to challenge Mugabe.  These
revelations exposed the internal workings and the pathetic state of Zanu PF’s
democracy, if any, and the transition into a “monarchy”.

President Mugabe confirmed Gumbo’s words by telling-off those opposed to
elections in his party to go to hell. In this instance Mugabe demonstrated
that he is leading a party that is no longer comfortable, but in fear of
him. And that he no longer has a persuasive  vision to bring the party
together. This to me is the biggest story from the Zanu PF conference and
the Mujuru falling star story is an attempt at political diversion by the
isolated clique surrounding Mugabe, who want to see him go on for personal

This same grouping that probably includes elements in the security forces
and the likes of the fired and returned politburo member Jonathan Moyo, are
not prepared for rapprochement amongst progressives in both Zanu PF and the
MDC parties, who might in fact have a vision far beyond Mugabe, and also who
do not see violence as the ultimate political arbiter — who in fact want to
see Zimbabwe emerge from a post-Mugabe era united and able to address its
key challenges in the political and economic arena.

The strategy of this grouping is not only to support Mugabe as part of a
succession scheme but also maintain the Zimbabwe populace in fear and awe of
political violence that can be unleashed by the security agents, many of
them Zanu PF commissars in uniform and some from the Tshololotsho grouping.

While the progressives in Zanu PF see a political resolution to the Zimbabwe
crisis away from the barracks, Red Bricks (CIO HQ) and Police General
Headquarters (PGHQ), those opposed to them in the party have no other
strategy than to abuse security forces to their own ends. Could it be these
elements that are pushing for action on Mujuru as part of their strategy to
muddy the political scene and achieve their ends?

It is inconceivable that Mujuru would be so tactless as to bring placards
denouncing Mugabe to the Mutare conference with the intention of hijacking
the conference and chase Mugabe off. It is equally inconceivable that Mujuru
would be so tactless as to conspire with the MDCs so openly without noting
the consequences of such actions in a Zimbabwe teeming with CIOs, some who
even pretend to be street kids, kombi drivers and vendors.

In any case what Zimbabwe needs now are political leaders who are principled
enough to reach out to their political rivals in the process of mending our
decade-long crisis. We cannot continue with the scorched earth and zero sum
games of the likes of Mugabe and the few and isolated surrounding him.  The
attacks of Mujuru should therefore be seen in the light of Zanu PF’s
succession politics, the question being who, by name, is behind the attacks.

As Muleya wrote in a Candid Comment in the Independent last month, Zanu PF’s
failure to address Mugabe’s succession is a major risk not only to the party
but to the country as well. The risk in this is not Mugabe in person, but
the plans by the elements surrounding him. And the same elements attacking

Progressives in Zanu PF and Zimbabweans at large must not allow them to
prevail. They bear a deeply foreboding message for all us in their lack of
respect for life, democracy, decency and the desire of all to see Zimbabwe
rise again. They only think of themselves.
Rashweat Mukundu is a Zimbabwe journalist and human rights activist.

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Mutambara’s political star dims

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:07

Leonard Makombe

WHEN Arthur Mutambara, who had left local politics as a student leader in
the 1990s, dramatically strutted back onto the political scene some five
years ago, it was hard to envisage an even more ignoble exit from the
political party he joined at the top.

Mutambara’s re-entry into local politics was surprising if unexpected as his
only foray into politics was placing an advert supporting Morgan Tsvangirai’s
fight against Zanu PF hegemony.  By his own admission, Mutambara will not
stand as the presidential candidate for the party he suffixed with his
initials (MDC-M) at its congress tomorrow. The man who made that chastisised
statement on New Year’s Eve was a far cry from the one who swaggered around
five years ago exuding the aura and buoyancy of a self-confident

It was inevitable that Mutambara would step down after almost all the party
provinces nominated secretary-general Welshman Ncube as the next MDC-M

After leading one of the very first post-Independence student protests at
the University of Zimbabwe in late 1980s and 1990, Mutambara acquired an
almost mythical status among Zimbabweans and in the absence of viable
opposition political parties was regarded as a symbol of resistance to the
corruption and dictatorship manifesting itself in Zanu PF.

As president of the UZ Students Representative Council (SRC), Mutambara led
demonstrations at the campus, causing the closure of the university and the
subsequent arrest of the student leaders together with Tsvangirai, then
Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
After almost 15 years in the political wilderness, having left the country
as a Rhodes Scholar and earning various qualifications including a doctorate
in robotics and mechatronics — a very unfamiliar field — Mutambara was a
surprise choice to head the splinter group of the MDC.

His return to active politics, a jump from being a top businessman as he was
the chief executive officer and managing director of the African Technology
and Business Institute, split public opinion.

On one side there were people who felt that Mutambara was being used by
Ncube, who had led a party rebellion against Tsvangirai which resulted in a
split of the party in October 2005.

Ncube, this school of thought argued, wanted a national leader for his
regional project as most of the politicians who broke away were from the
southern part of the country.

Those who differed argued that Mutambara was justified to join this group
and would bring in a lot of political capital given that he was among the
very first people to stand up against President Robert Mugabe.

Others credit former MDC-M founder member, Job Sikhala with bringing
Mutambara into the MDC-M fold.Sikhala, who has since abandoned the splinter
group to found his own MDC 99 party, says he played no part in scouting for
a leader for the party which saw them approaching up to seven business
personalities and politicians in the country and in exile.

“Mutambara was brought in by Ncube,” said Sikhala.

Ncube was the kingmaker about five years ago but now wants the crown after
the dust stirred by the split five years ago has settled.
Mutambara had an easy victory against Gift Chimanikire who had stood as a
candidate for the presidency of the party and thereafter benefited from the
winds of change that swept across the country.

Despite losing in the March 2008 elections, Mutambara heavily benefited from
the inconclusive nature of the results. With his party winning 10 House of
Assembly seats out of 210 and managing six senatorial seats out of 60,
Mutambara’s MDC held the balance in both houses and was duly rewarded with a
deputy prime minister’s post as well as three full ministries.

When Mutambara was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister in February 11, 2009
with that infamous pause between “So help me...” and …“God,” it appeared his
star was on the ascendancy. His peers in the UZ’s SRC who ventured into
politics, Edgar Mbwembwe was just a member of the House of Assembly and
Munyaradzi Gwisai had been fired as an MP six years earlier.

Mutambara, who had served as an academic, research scientist and management
consultant in the United States and South Africa, appeared suited for the
newly recreated post of DPM.

Despite his ascendency, Mutambara was always vulnerable mainly because he
had failed to win an election, a fate that befell most of the party’s
leadership. He faced a rebellion early on as MDC-M Members of the House of
Assembly defied an order to vote Paul Themba Nyathi as House Speaker.
A failure to stamp his authority on the party led many to suspect that
Mutambara was a mere figurehead with Ncube as the puppet master.

Mutambara’s views were in some instances at variance with the party’s
position and this cost him the leadership of the party. There were cases
where Mutambara was said to side with Mugabe and this further alienated him
from the party leadership, not to mention the grassroots.

Dhewa Mavhinga, the coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition’s South
African office, said Mutambara’s comments too often swung widely from the
party position.

“For instance, praising  Mugabe as a hero one minute and berating him in the
next was so inconsistent and that became part of his legacy and may have
harmed his party.”

He, however, pointed out that Mutambara’s decision not to contest party
leadership was sensible and likely to win him respect and support in the
long run.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said the downfall of Mutambara was a
progressive rollout of a plan which could have been hatched when the MDC
“Ncube could not rise immediately then. He would have been seen as
power-hungry thus had to look for a stop-gap measure,” said Maisiri. Media
reports have suggested that Mutambara was likely to inherit Ncube’s position
as Industry minister, a position which means he would now be required to
balance between his own position and that of the party.

Should he retain his lofty position in government due to some technicality,
the axe of recall will forever be hanging above his political head, drawing
parallels to the fate of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who was
booted out of office after he lost the leadership of the party to Jacob

While the ouster of Mutambara has been couched in the language of leadership
renewal, a UZ political science professor, Eldred Masunungure, said the
changes were mere elite recycling.

“If Mutambara is replaced by Ncube then there is not much (leadership
renewal) because Ncube was in the leadership (as secretary general),” said

Mutambara, who put a brave face on the eve of the New Year saying he would
bounce back as “head of state”, is likely to make an abrupt exit into the
political wilderness unless or until someone else picks him up and dusts him
down for another office.

“Politics being usually unpredictable, he (Mutambara) might eventually
resurrect politically,” said political analyst, Jack Zaba. “But the chances
of him having a political resurrection within the MDC-M formation are highly
unlikely. It is increasingly becoming clear that if he decides to get back
into politics, he might as well need to migrate to a different political
formation like the MDC-T or even Zanu PF to seek refuge and exorcism of his
political ghosts.”

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Nkomo miserly with truth about Nyashanu

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:01

WE were interested to read tributes to Nevison Nyashanu who was declared a
national hero by Zanu PF and buried at the national shrine on Sunday. This
provided a platform for John Nkomo to make some extravagant claims about
lost blood and true revolutionaries.

But Nyashanu hasn’t always been a hero. Nkomo acknowledged that Nyashanu was
“arrested, detained and tortured”, but he suggested this was all the work of
the Smith regime. In fact Nyashanu was also a victim of arrest and torture
by the Zanu PF regime.

In the mid-1980s he was detained at Chakari police camp near Kadoma and
badly beaten. His offence was to have remained in touch with former Zipra
cadres. The CIO officer in charge at Kadoma was Ernest Tekere, according to
published reports.

When Judith Todd visited Nyashanu at Chakari she noted his head was swollen
as a result of the assaults, according to her account, Through the Darkness.
A Life in Zimbabwe. In the brief time available she asked Nyashanu about his
swollen head.

He had time to say just two words before his interrogators returned:
“Tekere. Truncheon.”

Nkomo omitted much interesting detail in his graveside speech. Before his
abduction and disappearance Nyashanu had stood for Harare Central against
Bernard Chidzero in the 1985 poll.

He told Todd during her visit to Chakari he had three detectives working on
him full time preparing treason charges. What a nice irony given the
sentiments expressed about Morgan Tsvangirai in Mutare!

So much to say but the Sunday Mail declined to say any of it! That’s what
happens when the press is suborned by a political party.

What were the circumstances for instance in which Nyashanu lost his job at
the Public Service Commission?

NewsDay carried a front-page picture on Monday of a sparsely attended

A pity really given his contribution to the country.

Tekere, under whom Nyashanu suffered at Chakari, popped up again in the Pius
Ncube case, more alert readers may recall. His clandestine home movies
proved of value to the ruling party. He denies any connection to the CIO.

Other facets of a state-run press are columnists whose incontinence runs
beyond editorial control. Tafataona Mahoso provided a good example of this
last Sunday when, having run out of Cold War leftists to quote, he quoted
himself at length.

In the process he took a pot shot at CZI boss Joseph Kanyekanye who he
described as “a nice and clever man” — a kiss of death coming from Mahoso
who many would say is neither.

CZI members, Tafataona claimed, support the MDC-T but favour a delay in
elections because they fear that a popular vote will politically bury Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC-T, the very same way it buried Abel Muzorewa in 1980.

“This faction of the so-called business community is going around trying to
intimidate voters,” Mahoso claimed, “saying that early elections will bring
violence, food shortages, fuel shortages and cash shortages similar to those
the country suffered in the period after the 2005 elections and up to the
beginning of 2009.”

How is this reality a form of intimidation and how does it compare with the
sort of intimidation those affiliated to Mahoso’s gang are currently
engaging in?

By the way, we recall Muzorewa getting three seats in 1980. Tsvangirai’s
party won 99 in 2008. Any analysis of voting patterns will show Zanu PF
losing ground in every post-2000 election with the brief exception of 2005.
And why can’t Mahoso wake up to the fact that Mugabe lost the 2008 election
because of persistent misrule, not some external conspiracy. There was
indeed a landslide, as Mahoso suggests, and Mugabe lay firmly underneath it.

As for sanctions, Mahoso and those who think like him had better wise up to
the fact that so long as Zanu PF behaves like a rogue party it will be
impossible for people like Kanyekanye to get them lifted, however hard they
may try. Can you imagine going out on a limb from your own constituency only
to be savaged by a frothing Sunday Mail columnist lying in wait!

Before we leave the subject of frothing columnists, a New Year’s wish for
Reason Wafawarova. Could he please tell us why he doesn’t want to come and
live in the homeland he claims he will die for. Do we not have a
contradiction here?

Congratulations to the Herald for its sensible comments on passports.
Bringing in retired civil servants would go some way to shifting the
backlog. And of course once an applicant’s citizenship has been confirmed it
should not be necessary to go through the same process every time a new
passport is needed.

What also needs to be said is that passports should have many more pages
than is currently the case. With so many countries requiring visas from
Zimbabweans travelling abroad, a new passport fills up very quickly.

Meanwhile, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede must stop dragging his heels on
South Africa’s offer of a security printing press which we gather can print
4 000 passports an hour. If that will help move the queues, so be it. Why is
it Zanu PF officials like to make life as difficult as possible for the
public they are supposed to serve? The whole system is currently down
because of an electrical fault and therefore there won’t be any renewals,
Mudede told a press conference on Monday exactly when the public wanted to
hear some good news from him. “I want to assure the nation that our experts
are on the ground.”

What are they doing “on the ground”? We need them fixing the problem and we
need Mudede to graciously accept South Africa’s offer of a security printer.

By the way, was it generally known that the country’s central data base was
at KGV1 barracks?

Then there are the new number plates. Who thought up the plan to withdraw
the old ones? And who is making money from this exercise?

Muckraker was rather surprised by Joyce Mujuru’s remarks to Sadc ambassadors
to Brazil. She was in Brazil for the inauguration of that country’s new
president. At a dinner hosted by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Brasilia, Thomas
Bvuma, and attended by Sadc diplomats, she thanked Sadc for their support in
the face of Western pressure.

It is rather surprising that the vice-president should use Brazilian soil to
make a partisan speech in which Southern African envoys were encouraged to
salute Zimbabwe’s “brave stance” against sanctions. We wonder what EU
ambassadors will say to their Brazilian hosts?

Namibia duly complied without it seems attempting to reflect the wishes of
the Zimbabwean people. It is not in the interests of Namibia to ignore
democratic change in Zimbabwe because of misplaced solidarity with an
unpopular regime in Harare.

On a similar topic, when will President Mugabe be making his visit to Bishop
Crespo in Ecuador? We look forward to that event announced in September. We
would hate to think that the media was misled by official pronouncements.

Muckraker enjoyed a letter to the editor of the Herald recently claiming
that President Mugabe was being “demonised” because of his “solid stance” on
land and sovereignty.

“We say to those who do not see the good that Cde Mugabe continues to do for
his people, ‘Go to hell’.” The writer went on to wish the president a
prosperous New Year!

As far as dubious letters to the editor go, the Herald takes pride of place.
The indelible footprint of Munhumutapa Building on the “letters” is evident
to even the most undiscerning of readers.

On Tuesday we were (mis)treated to one such letter entitled “Nyashanu a true

“Those who thought that the no-nonsense attitude was only a preserve of
President Mugabe,” the letter read, “were amazed when Vice-President Nkomo
reiterated that the land reform would not be reversed, illegal sanctions had
to be removed and that Zimbabwe would not entertain outsiders meddling in
its affairs.”

From a reader??

In the sms section there was yet another one: “We have no words for you
Commander of the Defence Forces and first secretary of Zanu PF. You are just

Oh please spare us your in-house material and publish real feedback from

The BBC reported last week that a group of Internet hackers code-named
“Anonymous” had blocked the official government website and the Ministry of
Finance site in protest at Grace Mugabe’s lawsuit against The Standard.

Mugabe sued the paper for publishing a WikiLeaks report implicating her in
diamond pillaging. Reuters reported that the government web portal was unreachable last Thursday while the Finance ministry’s
site displayed a message saying it was under

“We are targeting Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime who have outlawed the free
press and threaten to sue anyone publishing WikiLeaks, Anonymous activists

Muckraker tried to navigate through the websites and observed that on Monday
the treasury information portal was still down. The government website
meanwhile insists on calling archived material “achieved”. No marks there.

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Matabeleland-Zambezi water project urgent

Thursday, 06 January 2011 18:03

Eric Bloch

ALMOST a century ago, in 1912, it was first proposed that Zambezi water
should be piped to Matabeleland in general, and Bulawayo in particular.  The
then Administrator of  Southern Rhodesia reputedly rejected the proposal,
stating that the estimated £6 000  was far beyond the country’s means.

When the project was again mooted, 20 years later, Prime Minister Godfrey
Huggins (subsequently to become Lord Malvern) is said to have similarly
rejected it, the then anticipated cost being £60 000, considered to be more
than the country could afford.

Another two decades went by, and in the  1950s the Prime Minister, Edgar
Whitehead, was reported to have said the project, at an anticipated cost of
£600 000, could not be justified.  A very similar stance was apparently
taken a few years later by Sir Roy Welensky,  Prime Minister of the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

When the country attained Independence pressures to harness some of the
immense Zambezi water flows for Matabeleland’s benefit intensified.  Over
the preceding 80 years the City of Bulawayo had grown exponentially, to a
population in excess of a million.  Rural area growth and development had
also progressed, including a diverse range of mining activities and
agricultural operations extending from livestock ranching to communal
farming, and much else.  Concurrently, there had been significant tourism
sector development.

All were critically dependant upon adequate and reliable water supplies, and
this was especially so of the city of Bulawayo due not only to its growth,
but also due to substantial changes in climatic conditions and rainfall
patterns.  All of the city’s dams were located south-east of the city for
that region had had a bountiful water catchment area.  But the climatic
changes resulted in consistently lesser rainfall in that area, with marked
intensification of rainfall to the north of the city where no significant
dams had been established.

Progressively, from the late 1950s, pressure from the Matabeleland
population in general, and from the citizens and civic leaders of Bulawayo
in particular, intensified for a Zambezi water project to be implemented.
However, all representations to government fell upon deaf ears, including
those of the government of independent Zimbabwe, which in 1984 again
cavalierly dismissed the proposals.

In desperation, an informal body of concerned citizens established a
committee for the Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), seeking to
pursue the combined endeavours of a pressure group, of sourcing of funding,
and general pursuit of transforming the project from a vision to a reality.
Progressively it became more and more forceful and effective, to such an
extent that, in the early 1990s, government enforced the committee’s
dissolution and the establishment (under the then aegis of the Minister of
Home Affairs and the Minister of Water) of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Trust (MZWT).

In 1993, at the instance of the Trust and with begrudging governmental
support, a comprehensive and authoritative project study was carried out by
an expert Swedish company which identified the overwhelming beneficial
characteristics of implementing the project.  The substance of the expert
opinion was that, as a first phase, a dam should be constructed at the
confluence of the Gwayi and Shangani Rivers (and would be Zimbabwe’s second
largest conservancy of water), concurrently with the installation of a
pipeline from the dam to Bulawayo.  That pipeline would include several
pumping stations to raise the water from the dam to the watershed at Lupane,
whereafter the water would flow southwards by gravity.

It was envisaged that at a subsequent stage a pipeline, with pumping
stations, would run from the Zambezi to the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to enable
topping-up of the dam when required (which would not be frequent, as the dam’s
capacity would meet four years’ consumption by Bulawayo and relevant rural
areas.  Moreover, it was assessed that the annual requirement of the city
was equal to one and a half minutes’ peak flow over Victoria Falls!).

The Trust vigorously sought to raise the required funding, but without
unequivocal and total government support doing so was greater than any
Herculean task, and that support was virtually non-existent.  Despite
endless endeavours, the Trust could not convert the concept into actuality.
The absence of access to the necessary funding over the 16 years that have
elapsed since the project study was completed was not due to lack of
recurrent, oft concerted, Trust efforts.

It was due to, initially, only superficial backing by the state,
progressively exacerbated by the state’s worsening bankruptcy, rendering it
an internationally unacceptable borrower.  Concurrently, government’s
recurrent alienation of much of the Western world’s developed countries
eliminated all prospects of developmental aid to fund the project, in whole
or in part.  Even sufficient funding for the first phase construction of the
dam could not be raised.

Tragically, the negativity in bringing the Matabeleland-Zambezi water scheme
into being has also been constantly fuelled by the pronounced misconception
that the project is naught but to provide the residents of Bulawayo with
water supplies.  This is pronouncedly at variance from fact, for the
implementation of the MZWP project would be of overwhelmingly great national

In assuring the survival and growth of Bulawayo, and the well-being of its
residents, the country’s second-largest city and industrial base would be a
continuing, and increasing, contributor to the national economy through
productivity, employment continuance and creation, export revenue
generation, down-stream economic activity, fiscal contribution and much

At the same time, major fishing industry operations can be established in
the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, as also can diverse tourism operations.  A properly
implemented Zambezi water project would also immensely enhance agricultural
activity in Matabeleland North, West, and South, and even parts of the
Midlands, and would be a major facilitative contributor to further mining
sector development.

All this would dramatically enhance the Zimbabwean economy, be a trigger for
much employment creation and reduction of the vast number of
poverty-stricken, suffering Zimbabweans. It would be catalytic of
critically-needed foreign exchange earnings, and would have major other
benefits for Zimbabwe.

Tragically, many continue to be provincially parochial and tribalistic in
their attitudes instead of being nationally patriotic, and allow those
attitudes to influence their views on the project, and on who should bring
it into being.  There are many in Matabeleland who insist that the
conceptualisation, implementation, and future management of Zambezi water
supplies to Matabeleland are the exclusive prerogative of the residents of
Matabeleland, and that government not only has no role to play, but also
should desist from any involvement.

Others believe that government is, or should be, the sole authority in
Zimbabwe of anything and everything, and that therefore it is government’s
absolute right and duty to determine whether the project be progressed or
not and if it is to be progressed, then that be done by government.
The reality is that it matters not one iota who brings this long-overdue,
life-saving and nationally beneficial concept into being.  What matters is
that it now be implemented expeditiously.

Almost 100 years of benefits for Zimbabwe and its people have pointlessly
and myopically been squandered.

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Candid Comment: Without reforms, the spectre of 2008 looms

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:50

Leonard Makombe

WHEN writing about elections at a time like this, one has to resist the pull
to compare what is happening in Ivory Coast with what happened in Zimbabwe
in 2008 or Kenya the year before. It is a very strong pull that can be
resisted, but only at the risk of failing to address the problem of
elections in most of the countries in the developing world in general and
Zimbabwe in particular.

What has happened in Ivory Coast, Kenya and Zimbabwe since 2007 gives
credence to the anarchist assertion that: “If elections worked, they would
have banned them,” as the polls held in the three countries have not been an
instrument for electing representatives based on popular will.
Instead, elections were a farce, setting precedents for the whole continent
which is likely to further slow down the democratisation process which in
many cases was set in motion at the end of the colonial period.

In Zimbabwe, given the institutional complexity of representative systems,
it is logical that a water-tight electoral system is put in place to avoid
situations where elections are described as a “sham”, “not free and fair” or

Electoral reform is top of the “to do” list of the government of national
unity and despite the confusion around when the next poll will be held, it
has to be completed as soon as possible.

However, it is always good to ascertain what is wrong with the current
electoral laws and see how they could be improved.

Political parties have, including Zanu PF in 1980, complained of the skewed
nature of the electoral framework, perceived as open to fraud and in favour
of those administering them.

More than three decades later, political parties continue to raise the same
issues, arguing that the electoral laws hinder the conduct of free and fair
elections, itself a vital process in a democracy.

Thus it should have been refreshing to hear that the inclusive government,
through Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, plans to make wholesale changes
to the contentious laws.

However, the freshness would be transient as a cursory look at the proposed
amendments show that the security sector, itself a candidate for reforms,
would continue to play a major role when the country goes to vote.

Proposed amendments, in the spirit of maintaining law and order, would see
the appointment of special police liaison officers who should be senior

Maintenance of law and order, it has to be conceded, is paramount but what
worries anyone who has been following the country’s elections is that the
police have played a partisan role and should not be allowed to go on doing

What makes this worse is that the senior officers would be appointed by the
Commissioner-General, in this case Augustine Chihuri who last year said
something like: “It made no sense to change governments through a pen, by
casting ballots, which cost less than five cents.”

The question therefore is what brief the Commissioner-General would give to
the special liaison officers? In fact, giving the police a special role,
when their hands are already dirty could spoil the whole election process.

It is also important to note that the issue of violence should be addressed
in advance and never in retrospect and as such, amendments to the electoral
laws should be clear on the definition of violence and the consequences to

Electoral violence runs like a thread in most African elections and the best
way is to have enough deterrence, by having heavy penalties in place and not
giving perpetrators of violence an incentive to beat up, maim or even kill

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Editor's Memo: GNU must get its priorities right

Thursday, 06 January 2011 17:48

IT’S a new year and the inclusive government turns two next month.

As we enter 2011 it is our hope that this creature called the inclusive
government focuses on development rather than concentrating on bickering
over positions and power as has been the case in 2010.

We hope that the inclusive government will be focused on urgent national
issues such as the adequate provision of electricity, improving the welfare
of civil servants as well as revamping the education system rather than
fighting for high sounding titles such as “Head of State and Government”,
“Commander-In-Chief” and “Right Honourable”. These titles do nothing to help
the ordinary man and woman in the street.

We hope the year will bring about policy consistency within the fabric of
the inclusive government. It was difficult to believe last year that cabinet
actually met almost every Tuesday to discuss government policy judging by
the contradictory statements blurted by various ministers on issues such as
indigenisation and civil servants’ wages. These kinds of inconsistencies
only increased scepticism over whether Zimbabwe is a conducive place for

It is also our fervent wish that we have a people-orientated constitutional
process as soon as possible. This should reflect the wishes of Zimbabweans
and not one based on partisan lines. Last year, there were groups of people
who thoughtlessly regurgitated rehearsed lines disguising them as the views
of that particular area for inclusion in the constitution.

Some suggestions during the constitution-making process bordered on the
bizarre such as proposing that journalists critical of President Robert
Mugabe should be hanged. Others were intimidated and barred from giving
their views with several incidents of violence with facilitators of the
process in some cases running for dear life. This seriously damaged the
credibility of the whole process.

It is such kind of incidents that placed Zimbabwe in the 51st position out
of the 53 countries on the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance last year.
This is despite the fact that the inclusive government had been in existence
for over a year.

In 2011 we would like to see the outstanding issues of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) addressed and not again go round in circles over positions
which were agreed to and signed by the three principals, President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara months ago. It is tragic that the three principals cannot
implement an agreement they negotiated for close to half a year. This
appears to be causing as much exasperation to President Zuma as it does to

We hope that the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration
is more effective in bringing about a peaceful environment and end political
tensions that have ravaged the country since 2000. It’s a crying shame that
one of the chairpersons of that organ, Sekai Holland, last year said they
were operating on a vague mandate without an enabling law and had no
guidance as to how to operate.

Besides a few meetings and one or two jingles, this vital organ has not
achieved anything of substance. This is evidenced by increasing reports of
violence in various areas in the country.

Finally and most importantly, we also hope that there is a clear roadmap to
economic recovery before the inclusive government’s term comes to an end. We
have seen calls from Mugabe for elections by June this year, constitution or
no constitution. As we have always said this is a recipe for disaster and
will drag the country back to the dark days of 2008 characterised by
violence and decay.

We call upon Sadc and the African Union, as the guarantors of the GPA, to
ensure that the year 2011 heralds a process that will finally bring about a
free and fair election. That’s as much in their interests as in ours.

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