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SADC Political Organ Briefs Regional Ministers on Status of Zimbabwe Unity Talks

Sources told VOA Mr. Guebuza shared with regional ministers the contents of
a report on Zimbabwe submitted to him recently by South African President
Jacob Zuma, SADC's mediator in the unity government talks

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 07 January 2010

The Southern African Development Community troika or committee on politics,
defence and security on Thursday briefed regional foreign ministers meeting
in Mozambique on the SADC mediation process in Zimbabwe.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, who is currently chairman of the
so-called Troika, briefed the ministers on progress made so far in
negotiations between President Robert Mugabe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party and
the two formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The ministers reportedly compiled a report on the region's hot spots,
including Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo which
they will present to the African Union at a summit later this month in Addis

SADC officials said the ministers are pleased the various parties to the
unity government in Zimbabwe have resumed negotiations on fully implementing
their 2008 power-sharing agreement. They said they believed Zimbabwe was on
the right path, as VOA correspondent Scott Stearns reported.

Sources told VOA Mr. Guebuza shared with regional ministers the contents of
a report on Zimbabwe submitted to him recently by South African President
Jacob Zuma, SADC's mediator in the unity government talks.

Zuma advisor Lindiwe Zulu earlier confirmed that ministers were set to hear
from Mr. Guebuza on the developments in Harare where South Africa has been
facilitating at the behest of SADC and the African Union.

"South Africa was mandated by the SADC troika, so it's the troika chairman,
President Armando Guebuza, or the SADC secretariat who will brief the
foreign ministers," she told VOA Studio  7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo.

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UK firm warns against buying Zim diamonds

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Friday 08 January 2010

HARARE - London-based mining company African Consolidated Resources (ACR) on
Thursday warned international diamond traders against buying germs from
Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond field, saying they are "stolen".

Reacting to an announcement by mining firm Mbada Diamonds of an auction -
later abandoned -- of some 300 000 carats, ARC lawyer Jonathan Samkange said
the precious stones the firm wanted to put under the hammer on Thursday were
"stolen diamonds".

Mbada Diamonds is a joint-venture between the government's Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) and little-known South African company Core
Mining, formed last year to work the Marange field that is also known as

"Those are our diamonds. Anyone buying them must know that they are trading
in stolen diamonds. We are placing an advert in the press to that effect,"
Samkange told ZimOnline.

The London Stock Exchange-listed company holds right of title to claims on
the Marange diamond field that was seized by the Harare government in
October 2006 and allocated to ZMDC.

The government also seized considerable quantities of diamonds from the ARC
but was last year ordered by the High Court to return the diamonds to the UK
firm. The court also upheld ARC's right of title to Marange - in a judgment
Harare's contesting.

Thursday's planned diamond sale was aborted on instruction from the Ministry
of Mines which accused Mbada Diamonds of failing to follow proper procedure
by calling the auction before relevant government departments including the
police had been informed.

In addition, Mines Ministry permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa told
journalists that Mbada had erred by attempting to auction diamonds from
Marange without obtaining certification for the diamonds from the Kimberly
Process (KP) which regulates the world diamond trade.

Under a set of measures meant to bring Zimbabwe's controversial diamond
industry in line with KP standards, the watchdog must monitor sales of
diamonds from Marange.

Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with reports
that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over
committed gross human rights abuses including murder against illegal miners
who had descended on the field following the expulsion of ACR.

International rights groups have been pushing for a ban on Zimbabwean

In November, Zimbabwe escaped a KP ban despite calls for the country to be
suspended over abuses in Marange, with the global body giving Harare a June
2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its regulations.

The largest diamond mining company in Zimbabwe is Rio Tinto. Other players
are Anglo-American and little known River Ranch mine. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe’s commitment to conflict diamonds scheme still in doubt, despite decision to suspend controversial auction

Press Release – 07/01/2010

Global Witness today welcomed a decision by the Zimbabwean authorities to
cancel a planned auction of diamonds from the Marange fields but warned that
the country must take concrete steps to demonstrate their commitment to
cleaning up the diamond sector or risk suspension from the Kimberley Process
certification scheme.

The Zimbabwean secretary for mines, Thankful Musukutwa, said on Thursday
afternoon that the government had stopped the auction of 300,000 carats of
rough diamonds because it had not yet won approval from the Kimberley
Process (KP) or national authorities.

If the sale had gone ahead, Zimbabwe would very likely have been in breach
of an action plan agreed at the KP plenary in November last year. Zimbabwe
has been the focus of significant attention following widespread reports of
human rights abuses and non-compliance with the KP's minimum standards.

Annie Dunnebacke, diamond campaigner at Global Witness, said: "If rough
diamonds from Marange had been exported from Zimbabwe without prior
inspection by a Kimberley Process monitor, then Zimbabwe would have been in
clear violation of the action plan they agreed to at the plenary session in

"We are pleased that the auction has been suspended but disappointed that
the Zimbabwean authorities did not communicate their plans in advance to KP
bodies. We are deeply concerned at Zimbabwe's complete lack of engagement
with the Kimberley Process since last year's plenary session. Their silence
jeopardises the success of the action plan and the viability of a clean
future for the Zimbabwean diamond industry."

It is imperative that Zimbabwe works more closely with the Kimberley Process
and demonstrates its willingness to implement meaningful reforms in the
diamond sector. If it fails to do so, the Kimberley Process must be ready to
take swift and decisive action to suspend Zimbabwe and protect the
credibility of the scheme.

/ Ends

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MDC-T Probes Corrupt Ministers

Thursday, 07 January 2010 20:03

THE MDC-T has set up a 13-member team to probe at least three ministers and
several legislators and councillors on corruption charges.

The party, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says those implicated in
underhand dealings would be dismissed.

The team, led by the party's deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada, will
carry out investigations into all MDC-T-led councils and has since opened
investigations into the goings-on at Bindura council, which is already under
probe by a team set up by acting Local Government minister Webster Shamu.

The MDC-T probe team comprises mainly members of the party's committee on
local government, who include its chair, Local Government deputy minister
Sessel Zvidzai, Last Maengahama, Kadoma Central MP Editor Matamisa and
Chimanimani West MP Lynette Karenyi.

Sources in the party revealed that at least three ministers (names supplied)
would be investigated for various corruption charges, including flouting of
government tender procedures, seeking bribes for tender awards and conniving
with their Zanu PF counterparts for self-enrichment.

The party has come up with a code of conduct which is soon to be taken to
the national executive committee and then national council for approval. The
code will require MDC-T ministers, legislators and councillors to declare
their interests and assets in line with modern trends to ensure that there
is accountability and transparency.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed that some ministers, councillors
and legislators were under investigation for engaging in corrupt activities.

He, however, refused to disclose the names of the people under probe, but
said there would not be any sacred cows to demonstrate the party's zero
tolerance of corruption.

Chamisa told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that anyone found to be
corrupt would face automatic dismissal from the party.

"We are a party of excellence. Transparency, accountability and good
governance are part of our fabric," he said. "We expect these from our Prime
Minister, from our ministers and from, most importantly, our councils. If
anyone negates these principles, then we will be destroying the very fabric
of the MDC. We should be the opposite of Zanu PF."

Chamisa said the party's biggest challenge at the moment was to deal with
corruption and plans were underway to weed out those people involved in any
corrupt activity, irrespective of their position in the party.

"Unfortunately others are now falling for this culture of corruption. Our
crusade to get rid of bad apples is unstoppable. There will be no sacred
cows - this goes for ministers, MPs, councillors. Zero tolerance on
corruption is not for convenience but is our conviction," he said.

Chamisa said cases of corruption in the MDC that have been exposed so far
should not be seen as a sign of weakness because the party was dealing
decisively with such cases and would not allow vice to flourish as Zanu PF

"A lot of our councillors have breached the citizen's charter and flouted
tender procedures. As a party we need to nip this corruption demon. Our
councillors have been emulating and imitating the Zanu PF model of a

"With the Chitungwiza case, we were late in dealing with that matter. Now we
are going to be more proactive. We have set up a committee led by Mashakada,
which is going to go to all provinces and all councils," said Chamisa.

Former Chitungwiza mayor Israel Marange was dismissed and councillor
Rangarirai Mutingwende suspended from the party over allegations of
corruption and more councillors were likely to face the axe as fresh
investigations to unearth more cases of corruption were underway in

Meanwhile, the Mashakada-led team went to Bindura yesterday to carry out
investigations on the allegations of mismanagement of council affairs and
continued deterioration of services in the town.

Of the seven allegations levelled by Shamu against the council, the team
found that there might be one case involving stands that needed further

Mashakada said all except one of the 12 councillors had at least two stands
each, one residential and one industrial, which they allocated themselves.

One councillor had four stands, three of which he claimed he already had
when he became a councillor in August 2008.

Mashakada said they would continue to look into this issue to verify his

"We have made it clear to them that if any one of them gets more stands they
will be dismissed from the party. With the one councillor, we are gong to
carry out further investigations to verify the authenticity of his claims.
We will not leave any stone unturned," he said.

Mashakada said the previous Zanu PF council led by Mayor Martin Dinha had
passed a council resolution that each councillor should have five stands.

He was, however, quick to say MDC-T welcomed genuine probes on corruption,
which are done professionally and are not politically motivated.

"The Bindura probe by Shamu smacks of political interference using the probe
as a veil to much deeper political interests in the affairs of Bindura,"
Mashakada said.

After their investigations, he dismissed the other allegations, including
the recruitment of 56 security officers which was necessary to protect
council property; mismanagement of council affairs, whose accounts were last
audited in 2005; and the abuse of public funds, whose revenue could not meet
the salary bill.

Mashakada said there was no basis for the accusations leveled at the
16-month-old council, which has done more in the last 16 months than ever
done by the past Zanu PF-led councils.

The council has bought two ambulances, several cars and sourced drugs for
the council health institutions.
The last council led by Zanu PF, Mashakada said, had auctioned all vehicles
and there was no ambulance in the town.

The team will be visiting Chegutu municipality today, where MDC councillors
are alleged to have abused council funds for personal use at the expense of
service delivery to residents and taxpayers.

Tsvangirai in December told councillors to shun corruption, saying that his
party would not hesitate to weed out those involved.

Meanwhile, MDC-T has suspended its UK branch executive for allegedly
defrauding the party of over 57 000 pounds.

This is the second time the party has sacked the UK executive after another
was suspended in October 2007 on charges of misusing party funds.

The UK branch was the second largest to be closed after the South African
executive was relieved of its duties for failing to account for donated

Faith Zaba

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Retired General Resists High Court Eviction Order

Thursday, 07 January 2010 19:56

ZIMBABWE'S ambassador to Tanzania, Edzai Chimonyo, has been ordered by the
High Court to vacate a banana plantation which he occupied over the festive
season in Manicaland, but the retired army general has stayed put on the

The property, Fangundu Farm, in Burma Valley, south-east of Mutare, is owned
by a Dutch and Malaysian company and is protected by a Bilateral Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa).

Chimonyo has reportedly ordered armed soldiers onto the property and has
proceeded to harvest bananas in spite of Tuesday's High Court order.

Justice Tedius Karwi presided over the matter and ordered Chimonyo to
immediately vacate the plantation saying his occupation was illegal.

The judge ruled: "That it be and is hereby declared that all plantation
crops, infrastructure and all movable property belonging to the applicants
on Fangundu are not subject to the appropriation, holding and use by the
respondent (Chimonyo) or any other people acting through or in association
with him."

Workers at Fangundu Farm told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that
individuals believed to be soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
were still camped at the banana plantation.

An official from the Ministry of Lands in Mutare said the invasion of
Fangundu Farm was unlikely to be reversed despite the court ruling.

"That ruling is just a piece of paper," said the official. "Almost every new
farmer in that area has been served with court orders so there is nothing
that Chimonyo can be afraid of."

Chimonyo, a retired major-general in the ZNA, occupied Fangundu Farm on
December 18. He entered the farm brandishing an offer letter allegedly
issued to him in 2006 by Didymus Mutasa, then Lands minister.

Government sources said when he occupied the land he was in the company of
senior lands officials from Mutare.

The farm is owned by a Dutch and Malaysian investment firm, Property Route
Toute BV. Property Route Toute BV is a company registered in The
Netherlands, approved and recognised as an investor in Zimbabwe through the
Zimbabwe Investment Centre Act.

Property Route Toute BV owns commercial farming entity Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd,
a major banana producing and processing concern with a massive processing
and packing plant on Fangundu Farm in Burma Valley.

The occupation of Fangundu Farm could have far-reaching consequences for
Zimbabwe's quest to attract direct foreign investment.

Kelvin Jakachira

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Commission Appointments Queried

Thursday, 07 January 2010 19:52

HUMAN Rights activists this week questioned the appointment of former chief
immigration officer Elasto Mugwadi and other short-listed candidates to the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) saying some of the commissioners
were unfit for the job given their history. The activists said some of the
commissioners had no "demonstrable" records in the human rights field.

President Mugabe last month appointed ZHRC commissioners, Mugwadi, Kwanele
Jirira, Carol Khombe, Joseph Kurebwa, Jacob Mudenda, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube,
Neseni Nomathemba, and Ellen Sithole in line with Constitutional Amendment
Number 19.

The commissioners were appointed by Mugabe after they were nominated by
parliament's standing rules and orders committee chaired by House of
Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo.

The human rights activists were in particular angry about Mugwadi's

Mugwadi, the activists said, would be a handicap to the integrity of the
commission. This followed his refusal in May 2003 to comply with a High
Court order blocking the deportation from Zimbabwe of American journalist
Andrew Meldrum, a permanent resident.

Meldrum, then Guardian correspondent, was deported for allegedly writing
"unfavourable" stories about the then Zanu PF-led government, despite having
a legal basis to continue practising journalism.

"Some of the appointments have raised eyebrows and it is difficult to
understand how persons with no demonstrable records in the areas into which
they have been appointed can properly discharge their mandates," a human
rights lawyer who asked for anonymity said.

"Lawyer Elasto Mugwadi was the chief immigration officer when Andrew Meldrum
was unlawfully deported from Zimbabwe," the human rights lawyer said.  "The
officers who were involved in the abduction of Meldrum at all times acted
with the knowledge and connivance of Mugwadi, who was their boss.  The
various court orders which prohibited Meldrum's deportation were personally
served on Mugwadi who was therefore at all times aware that Meldrum's
deportation was against the law."

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights has since confirmed that
Meldrum's rights were violated when he was unlawfully deported.

"The question that immediately comes to mind is how Mugwadi can in fact be a
human rights watchdog when he is in fact a human rights violator,"
questioned another activist.

"How does someone who has undermined the rule of law by ignoring court
orders suddenly become a human rights commissioner?  And how did the MDC
formations agree to this appointment?"

Mugwadi's appointment, the activist added, would "undermine the credibility
of the Human Rights Commission even before its work starts".

Efforts to get a comment from Mugwadi yesterday were in vain.

Apart from Mugwadi, the activists also queried the appointment of perceived
Zanu PF apologists, Jacob Mudenda and University of Zimbabwe political
scientist Joseph Kurebwa.

Other commissioners were described as "nonentities who have no track record
of upholding or even speaking out in defence of human rights. -- Staff

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Centres of Excellence for Needy Children –– Coltart

Thursday, 07 January 2010 19:26

EDUCATION minister David Coltart wants to set up 20 academic centres of
excellence this year to cater for bright disadvantaged children who will
receive full scholarships.

Coltart told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that two such centres would
be established in each province with the best education facilities.

This, he said, would help bridge the gap between government education and
elitist private education.

“We are looking at ways of catering for the disadvantaged children. If you
are a bright kid, the danger is that you will never realise your talent,”
Coltart said. “Only a few can afford non-government schools. We are
developing a mechanism that will bridge that gap between government and the
non-governmental education system.”

Coltart said there were local and British organisations that have expressed
interest in funding the project, with the Chinese willing to take over some
of the schools.

“We will establish one girls and one boys school in each province. We are
targeting schools where we will channel money towards and rehabilitate and
then identify the best teachers and heads in government for these academies.
We will also establish a scholarship fund,” he said.

Coltart said the next phase would be to establish 20 primary academic
centres in 2011 and then vocational centres for the non-academic students.

His long-term vision, Coltart said, would be to have an equal number of
academic and vocational training centres in the country so that all
differently gifted children would be taken care of.

His ministry has raised more than US$30 million for the Education Transition
Fund, whose main funder is Unicef, and its first priority is the provision
of textbooks in primary schools.

At the moment the textbook ratio at primary schools varies between 15
children to one and 36 children to one at rural schools and Coltart wants
the ratio to go down to two children to one book.

Coltart said his ministry would this year buy more than nine million
textbooks for primary schools.

He is still to get funding for textbooks for secondary schools.

On the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec), Coltart admitted that
it would take years before credibility of local examinations is restored.

“Zimsec was in a complete  shambles when I took over. We have managed to
restore a measure of financial viability to Zimsec, although exams were
delayed. But it will take time before credibility is restored,” he said.

Faith Zaba

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MPs Divided on Constitution-making Programme

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:36

LEGISLATORS are divided on how the constitution-making outreach programme
should be carried out, especially on the role government departments
perceived to be partisan will play in the process. MPs also feel that the
process would be discriminatory and excludes ordinary citizens.

The lawmakers voiced their concerns in the capital on Tuesday at a training
workshop held by the Constitution Parliament Committee (Copac), a
parliamentary select committee, in preparation for the outreach programme
scheduled to start next week.

During a heated question and answer session, some MPs objected to the
planned use of government departments such as district and provincial
administration  offices, councils and traditional leaders during the
outreach programme meant to gather the views of the people on the new
supreme law.

MDC-T MP for Magwegwe in Bulawayo, Felix Sibanda, said it was difficult to
trust government departments given that in the past they were inclined to
support Zanu PF. He said the structures could be biased in the
views-gathering process.

"My concern is with the involvement of government officials. How reconciled
are they to facilitate this and see that they have been trained without bias
because there have been a lot of misunderstandings with them?" questioned

Just before the June 2008 presidential election run-off, government
recruited over 13 000 youths who were deployed nationwide at provincial and
district levels as ward officers.

The MDC-T alleged that the youths, war veterans and Zanu PF militia were
responsible for the orgy of violence before the run-off which resulted in
the death of at least 200 of its supporters.

The MPs also said they were afraid that sponsored violence could emerge
during the outreach programme to derail the constitution-making process.

But Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said it would be difficult to
carry out the process without the support of government departments. He said
the police would be deployed to ensure peace.

"We picked headmen, district administrators, provincial administrators and
councillors because these are people we find at local government level.
These are certain government officials to assist us in the outreach
programmes," Mwonzora said.

"There are certain roles we want them to play and this has been agreed to by
all political parties. They are opinion- makers so they have to be involved.
They will be trained and we made a deal with the police to make sure that
they will respond to any disorder quickly."

Zanu PF MP for Mwenezi East, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, asked the committee what
measures were in place to ensure that people's views would be properly
captured in the 65-day outreach programme.

Bhasikiti also wanted to know how the committee was going to reach areas
that were not accessible by road due to bad weather conditions Paul
Mangwana, co-chairperson of Copac, said logistics were in place to ensure
that every ward in the country would be consulted.

Mangwana said: "If any area is not accessible we will provide time for it.
That is why we said our period is plus or minus 65 days. We will make sure
that no single ward making part of Zimbabwe will not be accessible. If it
means hiring helicopters we will do so. We have employed mechanisms and
video recorders for back up."

Zanu PF MP for Mhondoro Ngezi, Bright Matonga, was of the view that some of
the thematic committees members were too academic and could give people an
"academic constitution" and complained that there was discrimination against
the ordinary person.

He cited the religion thematic committee as an example where those who would
lead the committee are a doctor, a professor and a pastor and did not
constitute ordinary people like members of the apostolic church.

Mwonzora said the list of those on the thematic committees was still going
through "adjustments".

He said no reference constitution would be used during the outreach
programme, putting paid to Zanu PF's insistence that only the Kariba draft
should be used as a basis for the new constitution.

Mwonzora said: "These constitutions (Kariba and National Constitutional
Assembly drafts) were divisive and threatened the programme. Instead the
committee will be using talking points which will come from the people of
Zimbabwe. For example, when they answer questions like in whom they think
most executive powers should be invested, how this person can be chosen and
for how long should be his or her term of office.

"The constitution-making process will be issue-based and not document-based.
We are in a very unique process. This process has not been undertaken
anywhere. It is almost superior to the South African process."

Social scientist and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission member Joyce Kazembe said
during the outreach the MPs should strive to capture the desires of the

Kazembe said: "You will probably get a situation where people are not
addressing what the thematic committees like, for example, I want my
children to go to school or some will come and say I don't have fertiliser.

"Where will those issues fall? It is important that whatever the people say
will fit into one or the other thematic committees. It is important when you
go out there to listen to what people will say."

Meanwhile, the NCA this week said it would continue to intensify its
campaign for a "genuine people-driven constitution-making process" guided by
the position of the people who attended their second convention in July last

The NCA is opposed to the current constitution-making process saying it was
not people-driven.

Wongai Zhangazha

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Govt to Audit Zambezi Water Project

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:34

THE government will soon institute an audit into the activities of the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) as it takes over that venture in
line with a cabinet decision made in 2004. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Trust (MZWT), the current manager of the water project, is embroiled in a
tug of war with the Ministry of Water Resources and Development over control
of the project.

Water Resources and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo announced
towards the end of last year that the government has taken over control of
the water project, a move that did not go down well with the MZWT
chairperson, Dumiso Dabengwa, who accused Nkomo of hijacking the project.

However, Nkomo revealed this week that the takeover of the water project was
not personal but a decision made by cabinet six years ago.

"The decision to take over the water project was made by cabinet in 2004 and
what government is doing is re-affirming that position because the ownership
of the project from the onset was by the government and MZWT was only
managing the project, so there is nothing new with the government taking
over the project," Nkomo said.

He said the audit to be conducted by government would seek to produce a
comprehensive report on the activities of the MZWT and MZWP that would be
tabled before cabinet.

Nkomo said the government wanted an audit of what has been done since the
inception of the MZWT and said audited financial accounts have to be

"We need to know the liabilities of the water project and that entails
producing accounts and accounting for everything that has been done since
the project commenced," Nkomo said.

The water project has moved at a snail's pace with no substantial
developments despite numerous cash injections by the government and other
stakeholders and the progress of the water project has slackened while there
have been numerous allegations of misuse of funds at MZWT.

The ambitious project to pipe water from the mighty Zambezi river, 452
kilometres away, in a bid to ease perennial water shortages in Matabeleland
was first mooted in 1912 but abandoned by successive governments due to the
high costs involved.

Some former MZWT trustees, led by former councilor and activist, Arnold
Payne, took the MZWT to court in a bid to force the organisation to produce
audited financial accounts.

However, MZWT has failed to produce the audited accounts report almost five
years after the court application.

Nkomo said MZWT was one of the stakeholders in the Zambezi water project and
said the government will work with all stakeholders including the MZWT.

"The project will from now be run from government offices but we will work
with other stakeholders in the project and MZWT is one of the stakeholders
but it is not the only stakeholder in the project," Nkomo said.

He said the government decision to nationalise the project should not be

"There should be no politics in all this, the government nationalised the
water project because there was no progress on the ground," he said.

A Chinese engineering company, CWE, won a tender for the construction of a
dam which was the first part of the project. The company only carried out
excavation works, built access roads and identified a quarry site before
abandoning the site due to lack of funding.

Investors who include the Chinese, Malaysians and Italians have shown an
interest in partnering the MZWT in the construction of the dam but have all
left in unclear circumstances.

Loughty Dube

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Constitution of NEC Mired in Confusion

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:32

THE formation of the National Economic Council (NEC) in line with the global
political agreement (GPA) hangs in the balance amid confusion as to who is
responsible for the setting up of the economic think tank. Following last
November's Sadc troika meeting on the outstanding issues to the GPA,
negotiators of the power-sharing pact resolved in December that the Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) should notify stakeholders
to nominate would-be members of the council by end of this month.

According to a report of the negotiators that was sent to South African
President Jacob Zuma, nominations for the NEC were received from the Bankers
Association of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, and Jomic was instructed to invite the
Zimbabwe National Farmers Union and the Institute of Chartered Accountants
of Zimbabwe to submit their nominations.

But to date neither of the two organisations had been informed, casting
doubts on the coalition government's commitment to fully implement the
September 15 2008 agreement.

Article 3 of the GPA -- which gave birth to the inclusive government between
President Robert Mugabe, prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy
Arthur Mutambara -- binds the three principals to establish a NEC composed
of representatives of three political parties and representatives of the
manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism, commerce, financial, labour,
academia and other relevant sectors.

The terms of reference of the council shall include giving advice to
government and such other functions as assigned to the council by

Icaz chief executive officer Sonny Mabheju confirmed to the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that Jomic had not invited the chartered accountants
body to make nominations.

"I confirm that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (Icaz)
has not yet received an invitation to appoint a representative on NEC," said

On why the two organisations had not been invited to make nominations and
when political parties were going to submit names of potential members,
Jomic member Tabitha Khumalo said the committee had no powers to implement.

"That issue is an outstanding issue for the principals," said Khumalo. "We
wrote a letter to the principals advising them on the need to set up the
council. We (Jomic) do not have implementing powers."

Provisions of the GPA, however, state that Jomic should ensure the
implementation in letter and spirit of the agreement.

Khumalo added that it was up to Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to choose
which organisations should constitute the NEC.

Bernard Mpofu

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USAid Awards Grants Aimed at Rural Farmers

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:31

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has awarded
US$14 million in grants to seven non-governmental organisations aimed at
restoring livelihoods to farmers in rural Zimbabwe and kick-starting
agricultural recovery. The grants target more than 52 000 farmers and
agri-businesses in support of a broad range of activities and sectors, with
the ultimate goal of increasing production and raising incomes.

Grant activities include vouchers for agricultural inputs, provision of
extension services to farmers, training in conservation farming,
strengthening agro-dealers and processors, development of local commodity
associations, re-establishment of market linkages, business training, seed
retention, creation of internal savings and lending groups, and small-scale

One grant focuses on increasing production, processing, and marketing of
meat, milk, and eggs, whereas other grants focus on staple crops (eg, maize,
groundnuts, beans, and sweet potato) and cotton.

The projects will benefit farmers in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East,
Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland, and Manicaland.

USAid mission director Karen Freeman noted that the United States government
is committed to restoring the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe as an engine
of growth and a source of pride.

"Zimbabwe's economy has always revolved around agriculture. We are proud of
the activities proposed by the Livelihood awardees to help to restore this
important sector to health," she said. "This is an investment from the
people of the United States which demonstrates our strong and continued
support for Zimbabwean farmers and agri-businesses."

The NGOs include Agricultural Cooperative Development
International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, International
Relief and Development, the Cooperative League of the USA, Africare, Mercy
Corps, Care, and Land O'Lakes. Beneficiaries of the grants will work with
local partners and communities to ensure quick start-up, rapid and
sustainable impact, and high levels of local involvement and participation.

Staff Writer

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How Zimbabwean Politics may Play out in 2010

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:15

AS Zimbabwe enters the year 2010, it is of interest to consider the various
possibilities of how the politics of the nation may play in this year. The
nation's political direction is somewhat unpredictable and thus has no
predetermined or mathematical trajectory.

The political parties in Zimbabwe are likely to face a lot of pressure from
within and without, which may result in some structural or operational
changes. These changes may be intentional or perpetually enforced.

The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai may face a year of steep
challenges as the party comes under resilience and strategy-adaptation

Given the matrix of their newly found glory of being in a shared government,
this has ushered in a new dimensional load, which has previously been

By being a new player in a government, the MDC-T faces the pressure of
proving their mettle to perform at such a grand political stage.

If the MDC-T is going to convince Zimbabweans of its ability to govern then
there is a slightly higher expectation upon them than that of their
tried-and-tested Zanu PF counterparts.

The MDC-T has the pressure of creating effective visibility in this
government of national unity (GNU). This visibility has to come with some
earmarked operational distinctions which must clearly reveal the difference
between the traditional way of government and the way government should be,
courtesy of the MDC-T's coming in.

The MDC-T has no luxury of blaming the total failure of the GNU on Zanu PF's
contrary muscling and spanner-in-the-works gimmicks.

Rather there is an expectation of surviving the political marriage they
intentionally went into. They no longer enjoy the total, old and assumed
public sympathy that was characteristic of their outright opposition tag.

Rather, there is a public expectation of their ability in managing to
negotiate their way through the political jungle that they married
themselves into.

In this case, the MDC-T will likely continue to give maximum attention to
their government duties and roles.

This is also against a background of the need to equally focus on
strengthening their party structures, resolve and operations in order to
prepare for future elections as well as in keeping the party fluid and in

Given that the MDC-T had to pull all its "strong men" into government and
given the huge task of this government, I am left to wonder just how much
attention will be afforded to party stabilisation and development.

This year, the MDC-T may start to feel the challenges of bifocal
operations - operating in a tiring government and at the same time trying to
effectively run the party.

In this regard, the MDC-T also has a challenge of managing their supporters'
expectations. Inasmuch as they are not in full control of this government,
there is so much expectation for them to show just how different their
ministers' and officials' conduct is from what Zanu PF has been since 1980.

This will bear so much on the issues of values, democratic discharge and

The other dimension that will critically affect the MDC-T is its ideological
standpoint. When the party was launched it seemed to exhibit democratic
socialist ideals.

These were characterised by the strong labour base and the paramount
consideration of the workforce as the core determinant of party policy and

However, over time the party seems to have transformed to embrace a more
social democracy dimension in which labour is no longer as visible as it was
in its earlier years. The MDC-T must strongly define its ideological

Zanu PF on the other hand enters 2010 with a more robust voice against its
leadership's imposition of candidates and a clearer call for the prevalence
of internal democracy in the party. This was the clear message from their
incident-filled 2009 congress.

In that light, the party may face bolder voices that will not only call for
circumferential leadership changes but will challenge the presidium's
continued dominance in a time which cautiously introspects on their

The lonely voices that have previously called for their retirement may be
joined by more voices from more objective party supporters and from those
hopeful of gaining personal stature from such eventuality.

Zanu PF will not be too focused on improving their performance in the GNU;
rather their efforts will be in maintaining control of the power echelons of
the GNU.

For Zanu PF, government performance will not be a primary motivation this
year as their notion seems to dictate that power entrenchment is a weightier
determinant of who runs government and who does not.

This in essence will therefore afford them more time for party business than
for government duties. I therefore see Zanu PF going all out this year to
start preparing for elections in their party structures.

Zanu PF's internal pressures from the marked power struggles will also
likely cause internal purging of the party, sacrificing those standing with
"wrong" presidential hopefuls and those whose credentials and public
declarations are deemed sympathetic to the MDC-T.

There may be more leaders in the party who will follow the Basil Nyabadza
route or may face the Walter Mzembi debacle.

The MDC-M led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara also has its own
dynamics to contend with. In this regard, the party may realise just how
fast its honeymoon in government may come to an end should an early election
come into being. In that regard, the party will likely spend the year
considering which party (MDC-T, Zanu PF or other parties) to dissolve itself

Then there is the oblivious Mavambo-Kusile factor, which I think has not
taken the political space that many thought it would. Simba Makoni is still
regarded with some credibility as an individual, but it is unfortunate that
his party has not followed that up with any justified muscle to present any
meaningful political option.

Makoni is best advised to brand himself out of this Mavambo-Kusile
experiment in order to salvage whatever remnant of political respect that he
still has.

We also have the re-launched Zapu party led by Dumiso Dabengwa. The party
came into life to reclaim the space of the original Zapu which in 1987 had
gone into a lop-sided marriage with Zanu.

Zapu has done well in terms of its presence in Matabeleland, parts of
Midlands and in some portions of the diaspora. The party may need to
re-strategise if it is to make any meaningful headway.

It must also focus on achieving a national rather than regional agenda.
Given this scope, Zapu may stand to be another glide into the past unless it
transforms its focus, then it can be a party of the future.

On the outlook however, 2010 may see the emergence of a new and strong
opposition political party.

This party will most probably come from new political players who have never
been fully tainted by the misgivings of the current political parties.

I see this party being able to come in and try to fill some of the gaps that
currently exist from the political composition of the parties in existence.

One of the critical areas would be to offer strong and resilient opposition
to the parties in the GNU as the current tirade of political madness
requires a checking mechanism.

Trevor Maisiri is the Executive Director and co-founder of African Reform
Institute - a political leadership development institute based in Harare
also operating as a political "think-tank".

Trevor Maisiri

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RBZ Faces Court Over US$42 000 Rent Arrears

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:07

A BULAWAYO based company has taken the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to the
High Court seeking its eviction from its premises for failing to pay rentals
amounting to over US$42 000. The RBZ, according to court papers filed by
Trebo and Khays (Pvt) Ltd, has not paid any rentals for the premises since
February 2009 thereby accruing arrears amounting to US$42 435.

Zimbabwe abandoned the local currency and adopted the multi-currency system
in February last year, the same time that the RBZ started failing to pay

Trebo and Khays (Pvt), through its lawyers Cheda & Partners, also want the
RBZ to pay holdover damages before it is evicted from the rented premises in
the Belmont industrial area.

The premises house offices, a warehouse, a storage space for RBZ machinery
and equipment, and a garage for RBZ vehicles.

Court papers filed in December 2009 show that the Bulawayo company is
seeking an order forcing the RBZ to pay the debt and for the cancellation of
a lease agreement entered into by the two parties. It also wants the central
bank evicted from the rented premises.

"Plaintiff's claims against defendant are for: an order for the payment of
US$42 435 due on account of rent arrear as at 30th September 2009 together
with interest at the prescribed rate from the date of summons to date of
full payment," read the court papers.

"An order for the defendant to pay holdover damages equivalent to the
rentals due at US$172,50 per day from 1st October 2009 to date of eviction
and an order confirming the cancellation of the agreement of lease on
account of the defendant's failure to pay rentals on time or at all."

The company also wants the RBZ to be evicted within 48 hours once an
eviction order has been granted.

"Plaintiff also claims an order for defendants' eviction from No 8. Empress
Road, Belmont, Bulawayo within 48 hours of service of this order, failing
which the Deputy Sheriff, Bulawayo, be and hereby ordered to evict the
defendant and all those claiming through it," read the court papers.

The RBZ, which is represented in the matter by Chitapi & Associates, has
applied for an interdict to stop its eviction from the rented premises.

Since the suspension of the Zimbabwean dollar the RBZ has found it difficult
to operate as most of its costs were borne through the printing of the
worthless local currency under its quasi-fiscal activities.

The central bank has also failed to pay its workers on time due to financial

Loughty Dube

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Rail services: Govt to Allow Private Players

Thursday, 07 January 2010 18:03

GOVERNMENT plans to open up rail services to private players and review
current regulatory policies governing railways in a move that could bring
competition to the ailing National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ). This was
outlined in the five-year economic recovery plan, 2010-2015 Medium Term Plan
(MTP), aimed at stimulating the economy and restoring human rights and the
rule of law.

According to the 212-page draft, government is considering "a separate body
to own/operate infrastructure while the rail services are opened up to a
number of sector players for a fee".

The document, which is a follow up to the Short Term Emergency Recovery
Programme (Sterp), seeks to open up the running of the country's 3 077 km
rail network to other players.

The document says NRZ performance has been on a decline over the past decade
due to inadequate locomotive power and rolling stock capacity constraints
resulting from lack of funding.

The rail infrastructure, which includes signalling and telecommunications
systems, would be rehabilitated.

However, in December Finance minister Tendai Biti told parliament that the
railway system is collapsing and the World Bank said Zimbabwe should close
some parts of the network.

"Studies by a team of experts from the World Bank recently say we should
shut down at least two-thirds of the network because it is a disaster in
waiting," said Biti.

The revival of the rail infrastructure is pivotal to the country's economic
turnaround programme as investors require such infrastructure if they were
to pump money into the economy.

Critical lack of resources is hampering the maintenance and replacement of
ageing infrastructure, some of which is over 50 years old.

Vandalism has not spared the parastatal, with thieves targeting electric
cables and signalling equipment. This has led to electric locomotives being

The parastatal has also been hit by a spate of accidents over the last few
years as a result of ageing or vandalised signalling equipment.

NRZ is said to require at least US$274 million to invest in new equipment
and expand its network.

Biti allocated US$16,7 million to revive the country's rail network.

The parastatal plays a major role in the transportation of goods and
materials for the mining, manufacturing and agricultural industries.

Currently the NRZ is operating at between 30% and 50% of its capacity
because of a myriad of challenges.

Its also plays a pivotal role in linking other landlocked countries with
ports in South Africa.

Rail infrastructure expansion programme including construction of new links
to provide a shorter route to and from seaports and regional countries would
be explored.

The 2010-2015 MTP, submitted to the World Bank and other international donor
organisations recently, details strategies and projections that have been
made by the inclusive government.

According to the draft, the government intends to establish a "vibrant
market and private sector driven economy" which will be funded mainly by the
public and private sector through Public Private Partnerships involving
banks, investors and the government.

Nqobile Bhebhe

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Govt is Unable to Manage NGO Funds –– Analysts

Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:02

PROPOSALS to have all funding and assistance to Zimbabwe from humanitarian
organisations channelled through government would present administrative and
operational problems, analysts have said. It has been resolved by
negotiators of the three political parties which are signatories to the
global political agreement (GPA) that funding for aid be channelled through
government which should have the right of determining where resources are to
be allocated.

This resolution which has already been adopted by the negotiators is carried
in the report on progress on implementing the GPA which was sent to the
Southern Africa Development Community last year. It was a result of Zanu PF’s
position that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were aligned to MDC-T
which was affecting the political playing field.

Zanu PF has alleged that there is “politicisation of humanitarian food
assistance and the selective funding of elements or ministries by donors”.

It has gone on to allege that there was no transparency in “funds channelled
to the NGOs in terms of both size and quantities of funds and recipients

It is also clear that the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which has been a source of
contestation between Zanu PF and MDC-T was also targeted under the

Communications manager at the National Association for Non-Governmental
Organisatons Farai Ngirande said it was too early to have the government
controlling the funds as there was a serious need for institutional change.

“It is also important to note that because of the brain drain especially in
the last five years, government may not have the capacity to effectively
handle the funds as most of the qualified personnel left the public
 service,” said Ngirande. “On the other hand, the NGO sector has been able
to retain personnel who are best placed to undertake the humanitarian aid

Ngirande added that issues which have been raised against government,
especially corruption, may work against the move to centralise control of
funding for NGOs.

However, Ngirande added, government and civic society are not mutually

“It is not an either-or question as both the government and the NGOs are
important,” Ngirande said. “What is required is a comprehensive strategy
that involves all willing players.”

Simon Badza, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
said the centralisation of control of funding may be done as a measure to
monitor the operations of the NGOs.

“From time to time, all sovereign states may want to monitor the operations
of NGOs to see if they are operating within the parameters of the law,” said
Badza. “This may be done to make sure that if they are humanitarian
organisations, then they would be doing humanitarian work.”

Badza added that in most Third World countries, NGOs may be viewed as a
security threat operating as agencies of their parent countries.

Another analyst who said he was a consultant for several NGOs in the country
said the decision to control finances was literally ‘going where others were
coming from.’

“Most NGOs have an outstanding administrative capacity, something which is
almost absent in most government departments,” said the consultant. “When
the NGOs identify a gap, they always fill it because they have the finance
and this is a sign that they would be in a better position to execute
different tasks.”

The consultant suggested that the government should empower the NGOs instead
of disempowering them.

“It is surprising that it is only the funding that the government would want
to control. There are a number of cycles and procedures which are followed
and release of funds is only a stage, thus it may not make sense to control
one stage,” added the consultant. “What would happen, for example if a
proposal for infant feeding in Muzarabani is approved but the funds are
diverted to another district?”

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the resolutions are only a work in
progress and they would have to be approved by the respective political

“This is not being implemented and we need to fully appreciate the impact of
such a move,” Chamisa said. “Who knows, perhaps this may not fly when it
comes to implementation.”

The resolutions which were made by the negotiators of the three political
parties have once again exposed the fraught nature of the state-civil
society relationship in Zimbabwe.

It has become traditional that the state is suspicious of the activities of
civil society while on the other hand NGOs argue that they play a
complementary role to government activities. This once again puts the role
of NGOs under the spotlight.

Government has since the turn of the century been trying to increase control
on the operations of the civil society through legislative means.  Apart
from these methods, there are some strict processes and procedures which one
has to follow if they want to operate as an NGO in the country.

Parallels can be drawn between the proposals recently agreed to by
negotiators from the three political parties and the Political Parties
(Finance) Act passed eight years ago.

The Political Parties (Finance) Act provides for the financing of political
parties by the State and at the same time prohibits foreign donations to
political parties and candidates.

When it was passed in 2002, this act was mainly targeted at the opposition
MDC which two years earlier had mounted a serious campaign against Zanu PF.

While regulating funding of political parties through the act has been done
with few glitches, NGOs may be a lot more difficult.

Analysts pointed out that the definition of an NGO was not watertight, thus
there would be a number of problems when it came to the implementation. It
would also present problems if funding for an international NGO were to be
controlled by government which would have a prerogative to allocate
resources as there are programmes which are already running and may be

Questions have also been raised as to how government would be able to
allocate resources which were raised by third parties which are on the
ground and know the needs of the people.

Most of the NGOs have been operating for close to a decade and they now have
a better understanding of the communities they operate in and they may be
raising funds based on the needs assessment.

Regulation of NGOs through centralised control of finances by the state,
analysts added, may present problems especially at a time when many players
in the sector are opting for self-regulation.

Other countries, South Africa for example, have also been debating the issue
of regulation with the NGOs arguing that this would best be done by an
independent body.

Such a body would execute tasks specific to the regulation of NGOs as these
roles cannot be optimally performed within a specific government department
which may have other pressing needs.

It has been argued that governments are not best placed to perform such
roles because their budgets are shaped by forces beyond an entity’s actual
need, such as political will, economic conditions, international pressure,
and other, seemingly more pressing demands on limited government resources.

If the control of NGO funds were to be put under the ambit of government,
then there would be a further straining of resources and at the same time it
may create unnecessary delays in the disbursement of funds for pressing

Leonard Makombe

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Budget Outlook: Intent and Performance in 2010

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:55

ANY brief comment upon the national budget, especially so relatively soon
after the public disclosure of its contents, runs the very real risk of
misconstruing, or certainly doing less than justice to the influence its
measures are intended to have upon the country's future affairs. What might
seem to have high priority, for example, at least according to the monetary
weight assigned to the funding of particular activities, is not always an
infallible guide to the likely fruitfulness of the respective financial

This is not so much because economics is an inexact science but because
choice in the allocation of resources can also be exercised to destroy,
instead of enhancing, material welfare as the woeful experience of the
nation, particularly since the mid-1990s, so cruelly illustrates.

Such considerations, however, have not totally aborted all carping at the
budget proposals which have been accused of doing little or nothing to
improve the real earnings of the lowest paid, and are thus inconsistent with
its stated theme of providing a "pro-poor, broad-based and inclusive
development framework".

Despite this, few people of goodwill are likely to take serious issue with
any steps, however halting, which seek to ameliorate the lot of the
population's 85% "'submerged and drowning poor" or even their 13% "floating
or dog-paddling middle class cousins". The brutal reality of the situation
the country - and the minister - currently faces is that the genuinely
foreseeable growth in revenue provides no room for magnanimity.

Projected expenditure in 2010, including the US$810 million vote of credit
(essentially aid funding) is only US$2,25 billion against combined
ministerial, departmental and parastatal bids of US$12 billion. Allowing for
the fact that the demand for public funds almost invariably exceeds whatever
is available the situation can only be described as dire.

The priority given to health, education and social welfare spending in both
the budget allocations proper and the vote of credit thus provides little to
cavil about beyond making the trite point that few, if any, of the available
means are anywhere near adequate to address the ends being sought - hardly a
novel conclusion.

Where reservations over the budget proposals do seem likely to have somewhat
greater legitimacy over the latter's quite possibly over optimistic
assumptions concerning the country's short-term economic outlook. This is
seen as consisting of nominal GDP growth in 2010 of 7% predicated upon
strong real performances in the three materially productive sectors
agriculture, mining and manufacturing complemented by a buoyant performance
in tourism.

Although a caveat is recorded in so far as anticipated weather conditions
are concerned insufficient allowance is likely to have been made for the
uncertainty invariably present in respect of the outcome of the summer
cropping season where rainfall totals and distribution patterns are
notoriously erratic.

Moreover, since the country's agriculturally useful rain is usually confined
to just four consecutive months (roughly mid-November to the following
mid-March) the probable farming outcome cannot be foreseen with anything
like accuracy as early as December when the initial Budget forecasts have to
be made notwithstanding an increased reliance upon irrigation.

Since farming still provides an estimated 40% of secondary industry's inputs
and constitutes a market for, perhaps, some 10% of its output as well as
earning an albeit-much reduced income from exports, the effects of fickle
weather conditions are not confined to agriculture alone.

To the uncertain influences of the weather have more recently been added
those arising from the agricultural season's net impact upon money supply in
a situation of ongoing liquidity restraint and its implications for the
balance of payments.

The budget acknowledges the country's acute dependence upon grant aid and
investment inflows in a situation in which there is effectively no lender of
last resort.

While the scope for fiscal policy initiatives is extremely limited the
budget does not overlook either the essential role in stimulating growth
which "a conducive business environment" will be required to play.

It is here that the necessary reinforcing relationship between economic,
social and political objectives is obliquely alluded to.

For far too long ministers of finance have been expected to advance economic
growth and development in the most inauspicious of circumstances when
developments outside their portfolio have frustrated, impeded or totally
undermined attempts to promote the more efficient operation of market forces
to the national benefit.

Money alone can be of no use in a country without laws, property rights or
trust in institutions as ordinary citizens have found to their cost.

Notwithstanding payment of lip-service to the needs of "the economy", timid
politicians irked by the difficulty of making enough money honestly have
been continuously able to bring sufficient short-term influence to hijack
any moves viewed as likely to cramp the lifestyle of "the 2% prawn-eating
free stylers". The underlying message of the 2010 Budget is not sufficiently
spelt out. It needs to be.

Jimmy Girdlestone

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Gold’s Glitter Attracts Exploration

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:52

GOLD mining companies in the country have continued to increase exploration
activities in anticipation of better earnings from improved commodity
prices, especially that of gold. Two companies, Mwana Africa and African
Consolidated Resources (ACR), last year released reports showing the extent
of exploration activities.

Mwana Africa’s Zimbabwe Greenfields Exploration would see the company
foraging for minerals in Bindura, parts of Midlands, Mutoko and Bubi.

The company has 1 308 claims in the said areas.

ACR’s explorations have shown that there are gold and diamond deposits which
have previously not been looked into.

A report detailing the mining company’s mineral potential in the areas where
it has claims has shown that the firm can further exploit resources.

“Gold exploration in the Gadzema Belt, a few kilometres south of the Giant
Mine, has discovered broad, near-surface gold mineralisation hosted by stock
works,” ACR said. “This style of mineralisation has received little previous

ACR also said that the economic pit modelling of the Giant Gold Mine has
indicated that a conceptual pit at current gold prices will extend below the
current drilling depth of 100-150m.

“A deeper drilling campaign is recommended to add further resources at depth
and to close off broad gold intercepts hosted by a quartz diorite intrusion
to the south,” said the mining company. “ACR is currently modelling a
consolidated gold operation to encompass gold resources in the Midlands
district at Gadzema (Giant and Blue Rock), and at Pickstone-Peerless, 30 km
to the south.”

ACR’s exploration activities have been buoyed by the policy changes last
year which have seen the liberalisation of marketing of gold with only a
percentage being remitted to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Exploration into the potential of other minerals has shown three areas
containing probe-proven kimberlite indicator minerals.

These have been interpreted as being sourced from the diamond stability

“Ongoing detailed sampling is currently in progress to discover the parent

These targets have been generated from a large historical database that ACR
acquired in July 2008,” said ACR.

Apart from these potential diamond deposits, the company also has proven
claims in Marange and these have been confirmed by the High Court though the
company is yet to start mining.

Despite the confirmation of the ACR claims by the High Court, the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation has, in partnership with two other companies,
continued to mine in Marange.

ACR also has claims and interests in other mineral resources apart from gold
and diamond and these include nickel, base metals and platinum.

Leonard Makombe

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Mineworkers Threaten Strike

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:50

MINEWORKERS have threatened to go on strike next month in protest against
poor remuneration and working conditions. The threat followed the failure by
the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe (AMUZ) and the Zimbabwe Chamber
of Mines to agree on wages.

The dispute between the two parties has deteriorated with the mineworkers'
body taking the chamber to the High Court.

"We will start going to all the mines this month to address mineworkers and
get them to vote to go on strike," AMUZ president Tinago Ruzive told
bussinessdigest this week.

He said a decision on whether or not to embark on strike would be made by

Mineworkers were awarded a minimum wage of US$140 for the third quarter of
last year by arbitrator and lawyer Arthur Manase. The arbitration was
prompted by disagreements between the two parties.

The chamber had said they were only prepared to pay a minimum wage of US$80,
a reduction from the previous minimum wage of US$100, while the mineworkers
were demanding a minimum wage of US$200.

The mineworkers wanted US$174 as salary plus US$26 to cater for uniforms,
school fees, medication and other items.

Manase however awarded the workers US$120 plus US$20 to cover items such as
safety clothes, fees and medication Issues came to a head when the Chamber
agreed to pay only US$120, arguing the additional US$20 awarded was already
catered for by the provisions the mines give the workers.

This prompted the mineworkers' body to take the chamber to court.

The deadlock is aggravated by the failure of the two parties to meet over
wage adjustments for the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of this

"The chamber has refused to pay us the US$20 we have been awarded and we
have taken them to the High Court," Ruzive said.

He said this had bogged down negotiations for the first quarter of this year
in which they expect the minimum wage to be set at US$496.

"We are expecting a minimum wage of US$496 which is the Poverty Datum Line.
The figure is not a thumb suck," he said.

Chamber of Mines chief executive Chris Hokonya declined to comment on the
issue when contacted.

Meanwhile, employers have resolved to hold wage negotiations once this
year - effectively scrapping quarterly wage negotiations.

"We as employers have unanimously agreed that we will only negotiate once
this year and that's it," Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe director John
Mufukare said. "We are doing this to in order to lift the country from the
bottom of the productivity scale within the Sadc region."

He said they were "completely devastated" by plans by mineworkers to go on
strike at a time the country should be focused on economic recovery."

Kudzai Kuwaza

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Falcon Gold: Going, going, gone?

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:42

FALCON Gold, a major mining company in the country, may soon go under the
hammer due to severe operational problems. The company's chairperson, Roy
Pitchford, said the mining concern was exploring several options to secure
the future of the firm.

Among the options, he said, was selling the company to new investors.

"The focus of Central Africa Gold (CAG) is now to secure the future of
Falcon Gold and to this end several options are being considered including
further debt financing, the introduction of a strategic partner either at
the CAG or the Falcon level and the sale of the Falcon Group to investors
who undertake to provide adequate funding to fully restore the mining
operations of the company," said Pitchford.

The future of Falcon Gold, one of the biggest gold mines in Zimbabwe, would
be made known during the first quarter of this year.

Pitchford said lack of funding since 2008 and non-payment of gold lodgments
by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe impacted negatively on production levels.

"The absence of adequate funding during 2008 resulted in very limited gold
production, a situation that has continued throughout 2009. The suspension
from trading on the AIM exchange in London requested by CAG coupled with the
world economic situation has prevented CAG from raising adequate capital,"
Pitchford said.

He said the global economic downturn has made it impossible for CAG to
support Falcon Gold.

The company's principal property - Dalny Mine in Chegutu - last year treated
22 936 tonnes of ore producing 9,52 kg of gold and at an average yield of 0,
41g a tonne. Vince Mine in Kadoma, Golden Quarry and Camperdown Tribute in
Shurugwi are under care and maintenance.

Several mines in the country have shut down in recent years, suffocated by
hyperinflation, lack of skills, power and foreign currency.

Gold is a key foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe's struggling economy and
accounts for about 52% of total mineral production and a third of export

Gold deliveries fell to 13 000 kg last year from 21 300 kg the previous year
with the central bank saying the mineral was being smuggled abroad where
earnings were higher.

The mining sector has been on the decline since 2000. This is despite the
fact the country has a huge base of mineral resources and that there had
been a sustainable worldwide commodity price boom from 2004-2008.

Last year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the country could attract
up to US$16 billion in exploration and mining investment if it corrected
policies that have scared away foreign investors.

Mining has become a pillar of the country's battered economy following the
collapse of commercial farming.

But large mining houses have kept away from Zimbabwe's mining sector after
an economic crisis worsened by a nationalisation law requiring majority
holding by locals in foreign-owned mines.

Nqobile Bhebhe

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Textile Workers Seek Court Intervention

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:39

DAVID Whitehead Textiles Ltd (DWTL) workers want the High Court to place the
company under judicial management for the second time to save their jobs and
the firm from collapsing. In a letter to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) the workers asked the umbrella labour body to approach the
High Court to have the company under judicial management.

If the High Court application is made and succeeds, it would be the second
time for DWTL to be under judicial management.

In May 2006, the High Court placed the company under judicial management
after it experienced a severe liquidity crisis precipitated by
undercapitalisation and corporate governance shortcomings.

In the letter to ZCTU dated December 21 2009 signed by workers
representatives from the company's three manufacturing divisions and sales
outlets, the employees cited power struggles, alleged incompetence, empty
promises and unfavourable working conditions as the reason why DWTL should
be placed under judicial management again.

The three manufacturing divisions are Fabric Division in Chegutu, Yarn
Division in Kadoma and Hosiery Division in Gweru.

"DWTL is a viable company if properly managed. The employer has proved that
he cannot even run half machinery," reads the letter. "Instead, the employer
is busy creating scrap out of running machinery for sale so that he could
make money quickly and enjoy the proceeds. All the three manufacturing
divisions in Gweru, Kadoma and Chegutu had order books full in 2009, but
because of bad governance they failed to deliver to their customers locally
and abroad."

The letter said DWTL has been failing to pay most of its employees for the
past eight months.

"All the three manufacturing divisions were reduced to ghost zones such that
if you do not walk vigilantly you can easily be attacked by snakes in the
plants - the same applies to Bulawayo and Harare. DWTL is rated as a giant
company such that without its presence in Kadoma and Chegutu we cannot talk
of the two towns," it said.

Interested parties in DWTL differ on how to rescue the country's largest
textile firm.

Executive director Andrew Toendepi who is also a major shareholder with 51%
is proposing that the textile company raise capital through disposal of some
assets and retrenchments to fund operations as the company was failing to
borrow money on the market.

Ex-judicial manager Cecil Madondo however said it was not proper for
Toendepi to liquidate "a public company of national strategic importance
without a High Court order".

He said there was no production at the company because the "company was
heavily undercapitalised and did not have any working capital".

"What is required are people well versed in the textile industry to run the
company," Madondo argued. "A credible investor with at least 51% controlling
stake to recapitalise the business, establish effective corporate governance
structure and appoint a competent and qualified board of directors and the
company will roar back to life".

The letter said workers closed for the annual festive season after being
paid US$50 per employee without a bonus.

The letter alleged that Toendepi frustrated DWTL's first CEO George Maulidi
to resign in January last year.

His successor, a C Maswi, also left the company on July 31 2009. In a
memorandum dated July 17 2009, Toendepi told general managers that he had
taken over the role and functions of CEO with immediate effect.

"Does the Companies Act Chapter 24:03 require a major shareholder to convert
himself and operate as CEO? How can a company have checks and balances if he
is the chief executive?" the workers questioned in the letter.

Toendepi is also said to be the chairman of the group's works council.

Paul Nyakazeya

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‘Economic thrust must be maintained’

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:30

THE liberalisation of the economy in the second half of last year spurred
positive business developments and that impetus should be maintained if the
comatose economy is to be revived, business leaders said this week. Giving a
preview of business last year, the president of the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce, Obert Sibanda, said formation of the inclusive
government last February brought confidence into the economy, which
translated into the corporate world recording positive gains.

“The beginning of 2009 saw the general liberalisation of the economy, the
multi-currency framework, the removal of controls and the formation of the
inclusive government,” Sibanda said. “All these developments had a positive
contribution to business as we were able to plan and budget for our
businesses. This was an improvement as compared to the same period in 2008.

The year 2008 was characterised by a number of challenges, among them
hyperinflation, industry operating below 10% capacity, companies and
individuals failing to access their money from banks and a serious shortage
of basic commodities.

Sibanda said most of these problems subsided after multi-currencies were
introduced into the country’s payment system.

“The beginning of last year saw inflation going down. Basic goods were
readily available in shops at a reasonable prices, although most of the
goods were imported, capacity utilisation also increased to about 35%.
Although seemingly few, but these are positives that we should note,” he

Sibanda however said there were still some problems the business community
was still facing.

“There are certain challenges that still need to be addressed such as the
issue of capitalisation for businesses. But the challenge in that aspect is
that lines of credit are not available, interest rates at banks are high and
are for short terms. There are also liquidity constraints whereby goods
produced are sold at low volumes as there is not much disposable income,”
Sibanda explained.

He also said the cost of production was extremely high and while the local
industry was keen to substitute foreign goods with locally produced goods,
it became expensive. In addition, locally produced goods were not as
competitive as those produced in neighbouring countries.

Another challenge was that the country’s infrastructure was not up to
scratch with constant power outages, frequent water cuts and poor road
networks, Sibanda said.

He said it was important for the country to be positive in 2010 so as to
realise more positive outcomes.

“As this year begins, we need to continue to improve from where we left off.
As a country there is need for confidence from ourselves and politicians.
Politicians must create a positive impression about the inclusive government
and that it will not collapse,” Sibanda said. “Issues such as that of the
constitution should also be looked at seriously so that the outside world
can look at us and accept that we are in a transitional period and
eventually the country’s economy will be stable.”

Sibanda added that another vital issue to look into this year was that of
people’s disposable income, which he said need to be increased.

“Business growth depends on income circulation. However, the situation we
are facing currently is that money that is circulating is being used for
importing goods from neighbouring countries. If production increases, money
will then circulate within the country. People should then get reasonable
salaries for them to be able to spend and money circulates,” he said.

As at August 2009, the Poverty Datum Line stood at US$454 for a family of
six. However, most people, who largely encompass the civil servants, have
been earning about US$150. Hence, the government, which is the largest
employer, needs to increase people’s incomes.

Bulawayo businessman mogul Delma Lupepe said business was better during the
last half of 2009.

“The 2009 festive season was better than the last one as people were making
meaningful purchases. Business was going to be even better if people were
able to access their money early enough. Most people spent the better half
of the mornings queuing for cash at the banks and they began trickling in
after 12 noon. In general it was a better festive season than 2008,” he

One of the sales managers at Meikles Departmental Stores who spoke on
condition of anonymity also said business was better this time around.

“Between January and November 2009 business was quite low, but from the
beginning of December business was better as compared to the festive season
in 2008,” he said.

The chief economist at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Lorraine
Chikanya, said while business was good her organisation was still collating
information to determine how successful 2009 was for the business community.

“We do not have precise information on the performance of industries in 2009
as most industries will only open next week,” she said.

Fortune Dlamini

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Muckraker: Press and Democracy: Biti Should Know Better

Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:10

THERE was much discussion in the government media over the holiday period of
Nestlé's decision to suspend operations in Zimbabwe. That decision has since
been rescinded but we should not leave the subject before noting the
following paragraph in the Herald of December 23.

"The move by the Switzerland-headquartered food company comes after it bowed
to pressure from activists that are against Zimbabwe's land reform programme
to stop buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate, which is owned by the First
Family, and (from) seven other farms in October."
The decision was strongly criticised by the AAG, we are told, which said the
move was "tantamount to the company imposing sanctions on the country".
Nowhere in the Herald's account was there any mention of Zanu PF's ban on
multiple-farm ownership. Instead readers were led to believe that the First
Family's farming operations had fallen victim to opponents of Zimbabwe's
"land reform programme". Industry minister Welshman Ncube went so far as to
blame the media for the dispute. This enabled Indigenisation and Empowerment
minister Saviour Kasukuwere to weigh in with threats to "bring under
indigenous control all companies that continue to pursue the policy of
In other words companies that don't toe the line will be nationalised just
when government has been busy assuring investors that it will not do any
such thing.

And what about the missing dimension to this debate? Is land reform to be
measured by the number of farms owned by the First Family? And should they
not be subject to the same rules that govern other farmers? No wonder there
has been a concerted attempt to keep Roy Bennett out of the Agriculture
We note the concern of the business sector expressed in newspaper adverts
about the safety of Nestlé employees. This followed the arrest of Nestlé
company chairman, Kumbirayi Katsande.
You can imagine what message that heavy-handed intervention sent to
investors. What sort of a country is it where a company chairman is arrested
and interrogated because his company would not purchase milk from a company
belonging to the First Family?
A statement by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Chamber of Mines,
and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce expressed its concern that "the
fragile economic recovery underway should not be adversely affected by
perceptions of inappropriate actions to dealing with simple commercial
Indeed. Cde Kasukuwere should take note. He has struck another blow to
Zimbabwe's ailing economy.

We need to remind ourselves why Sadc became involved in helping to resolve
Zimbabwe's problems in the first place: to prevent Zanu PF inflicting
further damage on the regional economy. That the assault on Nestlé should be
linked to land seizures is a useful pointer to the country's underlying
Another underlying problem is the MDC's inability to see issues clearly.
Speaking at Manchester University recently, Tendai Biti seemed to think
newspapers are not important for democratic reform.
Complaining about the West's refusal to lift sanctions, he said: "They
(Western countries) have adopted a chicken-and-egg approach. They say 'give
us newspapers' and then we reintegrate you and so on. It's not mathematics.
You can't do that."
Biti needs to wake up. Without a diversity of views in the press Zimbabweans
won't be able to make an informed choice at the polls. It is understandable
that Zimbabwe's friends abroad should insist on media freedom as a
precondition of aid and investment in the country.
We always wondered why the MDC was dragging its heels on Aippa and appeared
happy to have cosy little arrangements with Zanu PF on media reform without
consulting local journalists. It all stems from the same ignorance on the
role of the press in a democratic society.
Biti should make it clear that his party is working hard to secure a free
media instead of making fatuous remarks about chickens and eggs.

Gorden Moyo has been making the same mistake. He thinks the West should
support parastatals before structural reforms have been completed. The
promise of reform should be sufficient to unlock funds, he thinks.
Can you imagine serious donors or investors handing large amounts of money
to Air Zimbabwe, Tel*One, Zisco and other delinquent outfits before first
being satisfied that reforms are showing results?
In a lot of cases the reasons why sanctions were imposed have yet to be
addressed. Zanu PF is continuing to pretend that sanctions were imposed in
response to "land reform". They are still in denial about electoral
violence, abductions, and torture.
Zimbabwe's friends abroad should ignore Biti and Moyo's blandishments. In
several key areas there has been no progress whatsoever.
For instance, little noticed in the list of those appointed to the Human
Rights Commission is Elasto Mugwadi who, as chief immigration officer,
ignored several High Court orders instructing his officials not to deport
Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum who was a permanent resident of
That is Zanu PF's view of human rights and media freedom. Useful to have it
advertised. But the MDC said nothing about Mugwadi's appointment apart from
nodding it through.

We enjoyed the picture in the Herald of Joice Mujuru holding up the latest
recruit at the Border Gezi Training Camp last week. He cannot have been any
older than one. We understand that the patriotic forces Simon Moyo spoke
about in his address are in short supply, but recruiting toddlers is
scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Mujuru warned of "selling out tendencies" that were evident in Zanu PF while
SK Moyo, now national chairman after country-wide manipulation, spoke of
Unity Day, December 22, as a "special day".
"We cannot allow our revolution to be hijacked by vana mafikizolos. The
enemy is here," he warned. In the audience were Webster Shamu, Olivia
Muchena, Jonathan Moyo and Philip Chiyangwa.
Even more revealing was a Herald editorial claiming that a "strong
reactionary group" had emerged ahead of elections in 2008 to challenge Zanu
PF that "used lies and deceit to swing almost half of the population to its
The Herald should understand that it is a cardinal rule in politics not to
insult voters. If they choose to reject the "lies and deceit" of Zanu PF at
the polls they should be able to exercise that right without being attacked
in the editorial pages of the state press. It is obviously a bitter pill to
swallow when voters reject your party, but Zanu PF should be advised to do
so graciously instead of heaping vitriol on the electorate. Then they can
get on with the serious business of examining why their stale shibboleths
and empty nationalism no longer cut any ice with voters.

On December 24 the Herald carried a letter to the editor in the place often
occupied by government spokesmen. The letter, headed "Let us be united
against sanctions", was attributed to "Honourable Paul C Kaseke, Junior
Governor, Harare Metropolitan Province".
Has anybody heard of this outfit? Kaseke said he was writing on behalf of
the children and youth of the country on the occasion of Unity Day yet the
language was clearly that of Zanu PF. Kaseke, for instance, denounced "some
sections of the media that thrive on negative nation-splitting reporting at
the cost of national unity".
The Unity Accord was rejected by the voters of Matabeleland in 2000, 2005
and 2008.
We recall in the past children dressed up as soldiers, policemen and
councillors as part of the former ruling party's agenda of indoctrination.
Their antics were always given generous coverage in the state media. It is
remarkable that they are still being put to work!
Here once again we see the losing party in the 2008 elections manipulating
the government media to explain why they performed so badly! This is media
abuse writ large.

The MDC need to remind the Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo
that he is a servant of parliament, not its master.
The Zimbabwe Independent carried a story before the holiday of Moyo
demanding that his portrait be hung in every office at parliament and in
constituency information centres around the country.
Official portraits had been commissioned in 2008 but the Speaker took a
dislike to them and asked that they be done again.
Secretary to parliament Austin Zvoma put his foot down, saying "we cannot
justify a repeat of expenditure already incurred".
We suspect this may be part of a wider struggle. But whatever the case, we
expect greater humility and less pomposity from MDC officials.
Are we being a tad naïve here?

Muckraker was interested to read President Mugabe's comments on the
government of national unity made at a press conference with the other
principals. He called for patience and said the three parties represented
should reach out and find each other.
There was no one who could claim to be more Zimbabwean than others, he said.
"We belong to Zimbabwe, all of us, and we have a common destiny."
Curious that, because just a couple of weeks earlier, addressing the Zanu PF
Congress, he said something very different. The MDC-T should open its eyes,
he told delegates to the party congress.
"This is your country and not for whites. Not the Bennetts. They are
settlers. Even if they were born here, they are offspring of settlers."
So what do we conclude from this: that racism trumps nation-building?

The Zimbabwe Independent reported on December 18 that Zanu PF had refused to
dismantle the Joint Operations Command, a state security organ that was
reportedly behind the bloody presidential poll run-off in 2008. The MDC-T
argues there was no need for JOC now a National Security Council was in
place. Furthermore, the NSC is mandated by the GPA, JOC is not.
Now we learn that JOC has been busy abusing its powers by stationing troops
on farms whose ownership is in dispute, in some cases before the courts. VOA
reports that members of the ZNA have been deployed to many farms around the
country in what sources said was a push to remove the last few hundred
remaining white commercial farmers from such properties. VOA cited sources
as saying the deployment was ordered by JOC.
The Commercial Farmers Union told VOA that of the approximately 300 white
commercial farmers still on the land, 152 face the imminent threat of losing
their properties to politicians of the former ruling Zanu PF party.
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana told VOA that the army is justified in
deploying soldiers on the farms, charging that the white farmers have
disregarded eviction notices.
But political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya told VOA that the attorney-general
is misreading the law and the military should not be used for enforcement
purposes. Commentator John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe warned that
the latest military deployment will scare away investors, adding that Tomana
wrongly concludes white Zimbabwean farmers have no rights.
A tribunal of the Southern African Development Community in 2008 found in
favour of a group of Zimbabwean and South African white farmers who argued
that their property had been illegally seized, and that they had not been
compensated properly under the land reform programme which the court
described as racist.

It was rather unedifying to see a gushing advert by Minister of Defence
Emmerson Mnangagwa, defence officials and service chiefs congratulating
President Mugabe on being re-elected president and first secretary of Zanu
PF at the recent Zanu PF Congress.
This suggests that delegates actually had a choice.
"Gushungo, you proved to the world, our detractors and prophets of doom that
Zimbabwe is not for sale." the ad declared. "We applaud you for galvanising
party cadres to defend our God-given natural resources and people's economic
Now we can see why he is called "Gushungo" with all that gushing going on
around him. As for defending natural resources, we were under the impression
that many of these had been mortgaged to the Chinese. And apart from an
avaricious post-liberation aristocracy making gushing noises, who exactly
has benefited from "people's economic empowerment"?

The Herald, in an editorial comment on January 1 said ordinary people would
"probably be shocked that unanimity could not be easily achieved among
indigenous Zimbabweans on the need to complete the liberation struggle.
"We are confident that history will record accurately these revolutionary
efforts," it said.
In fact history has already noted the ruthless plundering of the economy by
a political elite that has led to unprecedented privation among those
sections of the community whose interests they claim to be upholding.
The Herald is right to refer to the onslaught against a sovereign nation
taking place and how the international community has joined forces with the
democratic parties to prevent this destruction of a once prosperous nation.
This year
should put an end to the hypocrisy and mendacity of editorial writers hiding
in the dark corridors of power who saw the unambiguous rejection of their
corrupt project in 2008 and haven't forgiven the voters of Zimbabwe for
preferring the party of reform.


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Eric Bloch: Dangerous Currency Proposals From CZI

Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:07

THIS column has previously addressed the controversial issues of whether
Zimbabwe should continue to use a multi-currency basket. Or should it adopt
only one international or regional currency? Should it change its currency
of reference from the US dollar, while continuing to use the multi-currency
basket? Or should it revert to having its own currency?

There was, therefore, no intent to pursue the subject again for it is said
that "one should not cook the cabbages twice".  However, for every rule
there is an exception, and the ongoing calls from divers sectors of the
population for government to determine that the currency of usage, or of
reference, in Zimbabwe should be the South African rand, constitutes such an

For months, many letters to Zimbabwe's newspapers have called for the South
African rand to become Zimbabwe's principal currency.  At last month's
congress of Zanu PF, spokesmen of that party's Matabeleland South branch did
likewise.  And, last week, the influential Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) made a similar call.

CZI strives to assure the wellbeing and growth of Zimbabwean industry,
sometimes successfully, and sometimes unsuccessfully. But its call for
government to consider the adoption of the rand is most ill-advised, should
be reconsidered by CZI, and disregarded by government.

CZI president, Kumbirai Katsande, is reported saying: "We as the CZI have
held meetings on the adoption of a single currency, and it was agreed that
the use of a single currency will be critical in the survival of the local

He continues that the adoption of the rand would alleviate the challenges
faced by local industry, chief among them being the firming of the rand
against the greenback (the US dollar).  He said "the South African rand is a
stable currency, hence its adoption would be a positive move for the

First of all, the contention that the rand is a stable currency must be
disputed.  Nine months ago, the exchange rate approximated R10: US$1, and
then it progressively strengthened, within a few months, to R6,85:US$1, then
slightly weakening, to approximately R8:US$1, whereafter it again
strengthened marginally, to levels approximating R7,35:US$1.  Movement over
a nine month period of as much as 26% cannot be credibly regarded as being

Moreover, there is every likelihood that in the course of 2010 the rand will
weaken substantially.  Its significant strengthening in 2009 was primarily
due to two related circumstance, neither of which were a reflection of South
Africa's economy.

The first of these was that the intense global economic recession of 2008,
spearheaded by the collapse of many US and British banks, destroyed
confidence in the US dollar, which weakened considerably, aligned to the
considerable disintegration of the US economy.

As the value of the US dollar diminished, the value of the rand
automatically rose, in US dollar terms.  And the second cause of the
strengthening of the rand was a direct consequence of the first.

As the US dollar became weaker and weaker, countries with accumulated
monetary resources, such as Saudi Arabia and China (and many others) became
increasingly reluctant to be possessed of US dollars, the value of which was
progressively eroding.

So they invested in gold and platinum, disposing of their US dollars.  Over
a nine-month period, the world market price of gold soared from
approximately US$730 per ounce to over US$1100.  Being one of the world's
largest producers of gold and platinum, this was very beneficial to South

However, the adage applies: "What goes up, must come down", and that will
surely happen to gold and platinum prices, as it had done many, many times
before, whereupon the rand will inevitably weaken considerably.

In fact, the South African economy is already showing marked signs of
weakening (notwithstanding the grossly exaggerated expectations of World Cup
2010).  Numbers employed in South Africa's textile industry have apparently
declined by almost 70%, the industry being unable to compete against the
unfair, excessively subsidised, Chinese producers.

Similarly, there are reports of a more than 55% shrinkage of South Africa's
clothing industry.  Other reports indicate that, with most World Cup 2010
projects nearing completion, about 30% of construction workers have been
laid off.

As the South African economy contracts, so the rand must inevitably weaken.
Moreover, there are pronounced indications that most of the developed,
first-world countries are progressively recovering from the appalling
recession of the last 18 months, and as that recovery continues, the US
dollar must strengthen, which means that the rand will weaken.

Therefore, it is fallacious, in the extreme, to contend that the rand is a
stable currency, and hence it would be foolhardy for Zimbabwe to adopt the
rand as its currency.

Furthermore, as greatly as Zimbabwe cannot, and must not, wish for a South
African economic decline, it must recognise that as that decline occurs,
South Africa will very necessarily have to modify its monetary policies, to
minimise and reverse the decline.

Those modifications will probably be very desirable from a South African
point of view and, hopefully, successful over a period of time, but they
could well be totally unsuited for Zimbabwe, which is already in the first
phases of economic recovery.

Instead of being locked into South Africa's monetary policies, Zimbabwe
should be hedged by the divers monetary policies of the five currencies that
constitute its multi-currency basket, supplemented by its own policies
(where it can formulate them without conflicting with those that
automatically apply by using the various currencies).

It must be acknowledged that the Zimbabwean populace, and economy, suffers
some considerable prejudice from the innumerable cross-rates of the US
dollar to the rand being applied by commerce and industry.

But adoption of the rand as Zimbabwe's currency is not the ideal solution to
that prejudice, for the disadvantages of so doing outweigh the advantages.
Instead, government should consider prescribing that all must adhere to the
internationally determined exchange rates.  This would ensure nationwide
cross-rate consistency.

The proponents for adoption of the rand, including CZI, should think again,
and not pursue an emotive, counterproductive solution to a problem which
creates even greater problems and economic constraints.
Instead, Zimbabwe should adhere to its multi-currency basket until the
economy is fully recovered. Also Zimbabwe can either reintroduce its own
currency, or can join a wide-ranging, southern African monetary union.

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Comment: Tangible reforms needed

Thursday, 07 January 2010 17:25

IT was useful to learn that the French embassy had distanced itself from
claims in the Herald that outgoing ambassador Laurent Contini had called for
the removal of sanctions when he bade farewell to acting President Joice
Mujuru last Thursday. The French have in recent years proved much more
responsive to democratic imperatives in Zimbabwe than was the case six years
ago when President Jacques Chirac welcomed President Mugabe to the Elysée
and it would be disappointing to assume they had jumped the gun on
deliberations leading to the review of the common EU position on Zimbabwe
scheduled for next month.

These deliberations will obviously focus on the issue of sanctions which
were imposed in 2002 when the head of the EU's election observer mission,
Pierre Schori, was booted out of the country for identifying electoral
manipulation and violence in the presidential poll.

The EU is currently engaged in dialogue with the government of national
unity with a view to normalising relations. But one central problem remains.
What reforms do EU member states see in Zimbabwe that will lead to a stable
and democratic state in line with the principles set out in the Global
Political Agreement?

Contini was careful to say that Zimbabwe, in addition to its EU talks, must
mend fences with individual EU states, an obvious reference to Britain. But
the EU as a whole will only arrive at a revised formula that all states can
live with. That is going to be difficult in the absence of tangible reforms.

Reports from the inter-party talks that took place from November 23 to
December 6 suggest a disappointing lack of progress, a tendency to defer
important issues, and a worrying lack of commitment to democratic

Great emphasis for instance was placed on pressing regional states to close
down "pirate" radio stations, and for those stations to be repatriated and
registered here, but nothing was said about guaranteeing a safe and
unimpeded return for Zimbabwean journalists exiled in the Diaspora who
mostly run those stations.

This is a nettle the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster
Shamu, has persistently declined to grasp.

Meanwhile, individuals appointed to the statutory commissions don't always
match the standards they are mandated to uphold.

For instance, the appointment almost unnoticed of former Chief Immigration
Officer Elasto Mugwadi to the Human Rights Commission represents an
egregious failure to include human rights values in fashioning a future

He was responsible for disregarding High Court orders upholding the rights
of Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum who was illegally abducted,
detained and deported in 2003 following his successful defence against
prosecution under Aippa.

It was a brutal act of revenge by a delinquent regime.

The remnants of that regime continue to preside over the public media,
misleading and lying to the public of Zimbabwe about the talks recently
taking place and the reasons why sanctions were imposed eight years ago.

As a result there is little useful debate over such vital issues as
constitution-making, human rights and democratic governance. Editorialists
linked to the Zanu PF regime have publicly scorned these values.

Meanwhile, land reform is blocked because powerful barons from the ancien
regime don't want an ownership audit that will expose their careers in
greed. Evictions based on race have not only damaged the country's
productive capacity but have discredited it as well. The same goes for the
continued power matrix in JOC which has no mandate from the GNU.

Here lies the weakness of the current dialogue with the EU. Zimbabwe's
rulers want recognition and funding from the Europeans in fulfilment of both
the GPA and the Cotonou process.

But they have little or nothing to show from the inter-party dialogue except
upbeat statements where the wish is father to the thought. They can't for
instance agree on something as simple as chairmanship of the cabinet in
Mugabe's absence. The MDC has agreed to a number of questionable assertions
such as denouncing "external interference" in Zimbabwe's affairs when the
country more than ever needs external assistance.

The South Africans who have been mediating have adopted a similar approach,
full of optimism but no substance.

It is difficult in the circumstances to see how the EU can agree to blanket
lifting of sanctions when so much needs to be done, particularly in the
media, human rights and constitutional sectors.

The Europeans and Americans want to be helpful. It would be useful if they
could be assisted in this by evidence of commitment on all sides to a
democratic society and tangible reforms - which is why the GNU was
established in the first place.

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Candid Comment: Audit Won’t Reverse Land Reform

Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:51

THE call on Monday by Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial secretary of lands
Themba Mliswa that party members and war veterans must resist government’s
land audit exhibited political brinkmanship of the top order. Mliswa
shockingly told a meeting in Karoi on Monday that allowing the land audit
meant “denying black empowerment as the process is aimed at reversing the
gains of the land reform”.

“We are also demanding that the government must repossess all farms owned by
blacks who are leasing them out to former white commercial farmers, because
it is against the law,” Mliswa said.

He added that blocking the audit would be in line with a resolution made by
the party at its congress last December.

The former rugby coach did not spell out how the audit would reverse the
gains of the chaotic land reform programme that has killed the agricultural
sector and with it the economy. His utterances were acts of dissembling by
claiming that Zanu PF had resolved at its talk shop last month that it was
opposed to the audit.

Mliswa and those of his thinking in the corridors of power in Zanu PF and
government must be reminded that the three parties in the inclusive
government agreed when they inked the global political agreement in
September 2008 that a comprehensive land audit would be undertaken. It is
nonsensical for those opposed to the audit to insinuate that its primary
purpose is to reverse the gains of the land reform.

Rather this wanton attempt to cover up the anomalies of the whole land
reform project betrays what we fear has happened on the farms.

It has been said hundreds of farms have been grabbed by people who cannot
farm them. Many more have been made derelict by those who set out to loot
and plunder previously productive farms for the sake of it never planning to
put them to productive use. The nation is also aware of “cellphone” farmers
who never visit these lands but rather stay in the cities directing
operations though their mobile phones.

The proposed audit is supposed to expose all these irregularities and also
very importantly to expose multiple farm ownership.

To attempt to block this necessary undertaking is to prevent the
resuscitation of our commercial farming sector once the pride of the whole

The advantages to be accrued from the audit far outweigh the fears of Mliswa
and those of his thinking in Zanu PF, which continues to use the land issue
to hoodwink the electorate.

The land audit which is supposed to be comprehensive, transparent and
non-partisan is meant to establish accountability and eliminate multiple
farm ownership; ensure security of tenure to all land holders; and also to
ensure that people who deserve to be allocated land and who apply for it
shall be allocated land irrespective of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or
political affiliation.

The parties in the inclusive government also agreed to call upon the UK to
accept primary responsibility to pay compensation for the land expropriated
from former white commercial farmers and work together to secure
international support and finance for the land reform programme in terms of
compensation for the former land owners and support for the new farms.

This is meant to restore full productivity on agricultural land, not the
reversal of the land reform!

Although the MDC formations have voiced concern over the brutal force and
the manner the land was expropriated from white commercial farmers beginning
in 2000 when Zanu PF was staring defeat in the face, they have conceded that
the process is now irreversible. That is why the two formations have
publicly stated that we should now move from land redistribution to

What are Mliswa and his colleagues in Zanu PF trying to hide by blocking the

Several land audits have taken place in this country and revealed that there
were many multiple farm owners, among them top Zanu PF politicians.

Reports abound that some bigwigs have more than five farms each and are
scared of being unmasked during the audit.  This time around the audit’s
results would be made public and those found guilty would be shamed. The two
MDC formations should not allow the dirt to be swept under the carpet as
happened to the findings of previous land audits.

The first phase of the audit will be rolled out early this year with over
180 000 farms earmarked. The audit will run for the next two years.

It is laudable that Zanu PF and the two MDC formations have agreed that
there must be a uniform tenure system throughout the country to address the
current situation where some land is held under the freehold tenure system,
while others are under the 99-year leases and yet others designated as state

The parties have agreed that all land shall be held under freehold tenure on
condition that only citizens would be entitled to acquire and take title;
first registration of agricultural land for beneficiaries under the land
reform programme will be in the individual name of the owner, not that of a
company, save for land owned by institutions such as churches, schools and
hospitals; and any transfer of ownership to be subjected to a certificate of
approval by a land board or commission.

The board or commission would assess the value of agricultural land for
capital gains tax purposes where transfer is sought.

This is the way forward. What has Mliswa got to hide?

Constantine Chimakure

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Editor's Memo: Decade of Hope: may be, may be not

Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:26

IN the past decade our magnificent country went through a crucible but this
year, the beginning of a new decade, began on a high note; you must have
seen the firecrackers popping up from almost all households in the suburbs.
The feeling of hope was palpable. But can our troubled and wonderful
country, built on courage, faith, savagery, looting, greed, compromise and
hope, at the last gasp be saved from catastrophe?

May be, may be not!

The reasons for scepticism are all too clear and they are all premised on
one thing -- our politics are not right. The polarisation of the last decade
which manifested itself in political thuggery and looting is, if somewhat
lessening, still evident. The first two or three years of this new decade
may still be wasted as the main political parties struggle to disentangle
themselves from their entrenched positions.

Some of these entrenched positions have become completely ludicrous. For
example, hope had been engendered by the announcement on December 29 last
year that there would be an extensive land audit which would see the
examination of 180 000 farms.

Zimbabweans had hoped this move would signal the cleansing of our messy land
reform programme, a historical necessity done in the most chaotic, and often
barbaric, of methods.

A credible land audit, it was hoped, would rectify all the anomalies of this
project but it seems, for some there is a lot to be feared. A communiqué
emerging this week from Karoi would have been laughable if it hadn't
betrayed the real reason behind Zanu PF's intransigence regarding the land

Zanu PF secretary for lands in Mashonaland West province Temba Mliswa read
the communiqué which said there should not be a land audit before the
"illegal sanctions" have been lifted. How do we link the two without
sounding absolutely crass? Is this a sign that there is a huge cover-up of
the ugly realities of the whole land-grab project?

In the public media the MDC-T 's outstanding issues have been reduced to
three completely frivolous issues, namely Gideon Gono, Johannes Tomana and
Roy Bennett! The impression we get is that Morgan Tsvangirai and his crew
are holding the country to ransom because of these three individuals.

But the real outstanding issues such as media reform, the National Security
Council and the rule of law, are never mentioned.

For the next few years we cannot expect any movement in this regard as the
parties argue over peripheral issues skirting the heart of the matter as if
they are engaged in some mortal combat.

The people's scepticism is already beginning to show. The MDC which had been
seen as the party of change and hope is already beginning to show signs that
our optimism was probably misplaced.

Look at the corruption that has been exposed in recent weeks! Not only has
the rottenness affected whole municipalities in the case of Chitungwiza and
other towns but it has had a global feel as well.

It has been reported that some people in the UK have been dipping their
fingers in the party's kitty prejudicing it of tens of thousands of pounds.

This may be viewed in some sections as an internal MDC matter but for those
who had hoped this party might launch our dear country on a cleaner platter
to say they are disappointed would be an understatement.

Normally when such examples of corruption emerge they are a sign of a more
gangrenous inner wound.
It may at present seem as if this kind of corruption is confined to small
branches of the party but those who may interest themselves in getting to
the bottom of it all may discover that corruption has pervaded the whole MDC
superstructure. There are hints to this -- read the quotation below.

"Vigil supporters were interested to see that the British press has picked
up a story about the suspension of the MDC UK executive: as we reported in
our diary of 28th November, the MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti,
announcing the suspension, accused the executive of financial

Virtually everyone at the Vigil is MDC or former MDC and we know the depths
to which the party in the United Kingdom has sunk to get money and we have a
general picture of where it went.

"We were interested to see that the party's chairman, Speaker of Parliament
Lovemore Moyo (of the 200 portraits), has been nominated to lead a team to
investigate the matter. He installed the rogue UK executive and must have an
intimate knowledge of where the money went.

Or he could ask Tsvangirai's uncle, Hebson Makuvise, the
ambassador-designate to Germany. He was Tsvangirai's representative in the
UK so his knowledge of where the money went is even more intimate."

Two things emerge from this Vigil installment -- the purse of the MDC in
London is controlled from Harare and any claims to the contrary do not hold
water; and the highest office in the MDC may be practising cronyism. Just
how deep-rooted is this cronyism and isn't it at the very root of the
corruption we are beginning to read about?

It is such questions -- which are increasingly coming to the fore -- which
make some of the most optimistic among us begin to doubt our faith in

As the new decade begins where does our hope lie? We have to straighten out
our politics; the nation has to begin looking beyond the global political
agreement. Civil society was probably right: to put our nation's future
wholly in the hands Zanu PF and the two MDC groupings was wrong.

They are two sides of the same coin.

Nevanji Madanhire

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Bumpy Start for Zimbabwe Toll Roads as Motorists See Few Highway Improvements

Toll gates in place on Zimbabwean highways for five months now are bringing
in US$350,000 a month or some US$1.4 million a month, but motorists say the
major roadways continue to be littered with hazardous potholes

Gibbs Dube | Washington 07 January 2010

Newly established highway toll gates in Zimbabwe are pulling in $1.4 million
a month, the government recently announced, but unhappy motorists say most
highways in the country remain riddled with dangerous potholes five months
after the government started collecting fees to fund highway repairs.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti indicated in his 2010 budget statement that
most of the money raised by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was handed over
to the Zimbabwe National Road Authority for disbursement to the Department
of Roads, the District Development Fund and local authorities.

Ten percent is used by the Ministry of Finance to cover administrative costs
of running the 22 toll gates set up on the country's main routes last year.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi, who has been assessing the
current state of the roads in Zimbabwe, told reporter Gibbs Dube that
although the toll gates have been generating around US$350,000 a week, most
of the country's main roadways are still littered with dangerous potholes.

"Some motorists are furious that most roads are still in a bad state even if
toll gates are generating a lot of money," correspondent Chiripasi said.
"Some of these roads include the one that leads to Zvimba communal lands
which is President Robert Mugabe's rural home."

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Institute
of Zimbabwe said privatization was probably the best solution as the
strapped government is likely to channel toll funds to other purposes.

"The public sector is currently the regulator, collector of the money and it
is supposed to repair roads. This is a wrong concept. When things are like
that, it is very easy to collect the money and use it for other purposes,"
he said.

"In fact, the public sector should be the regulator and then it should
derogate the responsibility of collecting the money to a private sector
company for roads repairs and maintenance," Kanyenze argued.

The state-controlled press has quoted ZIMRA Commissioner General Geshom Pasi
as saying his officials are committed to the task of collecting revenue from
the temporary toll gates, which are supposed to be in placed until the major
highways in the country have been expanded to four lanes.

The urgent need for highway repairs was tragically underscored by an
accident in March in which Susan Tsvangirai, wife of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, died in a collision on a particularly bad stretch of the road
from Harare to Masvingo, in the southeast. That was followed by a series of
accidents involving commercial buses in which scores of passengers were

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Brazil to camp in South Africa

08/01/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE'S hopes of hosting the Brazilian national soccer team ahead of the
2010 World Cup finals went up in smoke after the former champions confirmed
they will set-up camp in Blomfontein, South Africa.

Local football authorities had put up a spirited campaign to lure the South
American giants including hiring businessman, Philip Chiyangwa's Rolls Royce
Phantom to ferry the Brazilian technical team when it visited the country in
November 2009 to inspect facilities.

The Brazilians indicated, then, that they were very interested in setting up
camp in Zimbabwe although the final decision was always a toss-up between
the country and host nation South Africa.

ZIFA Chief Executive Henrietta Rushwaya recently told that
the national association was close to tying-up a deal for two of the 32
finalists set up preparatory camps in the country.

But those two will no longer include Brazil after the former champions
confirmed they will be based in South Africa ahead of the start of the

Meanwhile, the efforts of countries in the region to maximise benefits from
the Africa's first World Cup finals are being undermined by the host nation,
which is also campaigning feverishly to have most, if not all, the finalists
set up their training camps in South Africa.

Of the 32 teams to participate in the soccer show case, 16 including
Argentina, Italy, England, France, Denmark, the United States and South
Korea have already decided to camp in the host country.

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The key to political change is inside Zimbabwe

Published: 2010/01/08 06:28:41 AM

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has now labelled Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe a "dictator". Will such criticism make much difference to Mugabe?
Will it help Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)?

Not as much, sadly, as outsiders would like to think . The recent history of
Zimbabwe and other trouble spots in Africa and elsewhere overwhelmingly
suggests that political change - and the pressure for it - largely has to
come from within. Outsiders will always know less than locals and have less
at stake in altering the status quo.

Zimbabwe's government of national unity, scarcely a year old, is gradually
collapsing amid continuing violence and recriminations.

Any viable strategy for change must grapple with the brutal fact that the
problem lies with the state and the entrenched venality of its political
system. Zimbabwe has passed the point at which the state and its
institutions can be salvaged through clever reforms. Many within the country's
ruling class have profited personally from a decade of social misery and
economic ruin. They maintain a vested interest in perpetuating the status
quo, with its facade of democratic institutions and contrasting reality of
elite bargains and repressive politics.

In essence, unless responsible leadership and a climate for genuine change
exist internally, external actors are whistling in the wind.

Even SA, the main regional player possessing the levers for engineering
regime change in Zimbabwe, is reluctant to attempt to flex its muscles to
force Mugabe to change course.

This, Pretoria has explained, is out of a fear that otherwise the
octogenarian president will simply say one thing and do another.

But behind that is its apprehension that there are no sufficiently credible
and powerful alternatives to Mugabe.

No wonder the South Africans, among others in the southern African region,
expect the MDC to prove itself by taking up the cudgels.

There is a certain logic here, however perverse it may seem in light of the
pivotal role foreign powers played in driving South African parties to the
negotiating table 20 years ago to end apartheid.

The truth is that neither the African National Congress nor the ruling
National Party would have succumbed to external pressure were they not yet
willing to change their policies.

They may not have known exactly how to do it, but the key thing is that they
were both ready to accept help in moving forward.

Mugabe's still formidable Zanu (PF) party shows no signs of wanting any
outside "help" at all, save to embolden its own position.

Disappointingly, the MDC has also been unable to compel Mugabe's regime to
change its ways.

The MDC is emasculated by its very nature as a broad-based movement, as
opposed to the militarily structured, fiercely hierarchical Zanu (PF) that
it must confront . Also, its legislators have proven every bit as vulnerable
to the state perks on offer as Zanu (PF)'s.

They have externalised the country's solutions, just as Zanu (PF) has done
its problems. If the MDC is divided in the face of a tough foe, critics ask,
what's it going to rule like without it?

The ratcheting-up of pressure by Obama can do little apart from making his
administration feel better about itself. Even if it was to achieve the
unlikely and unseat Mugabe, is there a plan beyond that?

Rather than name-calling, Obama would be better off presenting a sequenced
strategy for post-Zanu (PF) assistance to Zimbabwe; and in the interim
identifying - and sticking to - regime "red lines", transgression over which
the US would take further sanctions against Harare, at least thereby
encouraging the opposition.

The answer to Zimbabwe's power and governance conundrum lies in the
opposition MDC getting tougher and weeding out elements within the party
that have forsaken the national interest in favour of the personal.

In so doing, the MDC will probably have to exit the wobbly government of
national unity, since it cannot simultaneously berate and co-operate with
Zanu (PF).

But that demands it getting better organised, with a clearer strategy to
garner the support of Zimbabweans to end Mugabe's abusive rule. After all,
who has more at stake than them?

n Dr Mills heads the Johannesburg- based Brenthurst Foundation. Dr McNamee
is with the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Any viable strategy . must grapple with the fact that the problem lies with
the state and the entrenched venality of its political system

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Pushing the knowledge envelope: Leopold Albu

by Mutumwa Mawere Friday 08 January 2010

OPINION: Nation building is a complex enterprise involving the actions of

In any generation, there are individuals who stand out and whose legacy
flame continues to shine and inspire even after their death.

As we reminisce over the historic year that began with the inauguration of
the first African American President of the United States (US), we are
compelled to pause and reflect on our past particularly in view of the fact
that South Africa will be the first Africa state to host the Soccer World

Why South Africa and not Nigeria is the host, for instance? Why are many
Africans choosing South Africa as a tourist destination and most importantly
as the last station of their life for those that become medically

It is often easy to choose what to preserve as our heritage but no one can
doubt that the infrastructure and institutions that we see in today's South
Africa was a direct consequence of the actions of men and women like us.

The role of diamonds in the transformation of South Africa as an industrial
state can never be understated. Diamonds attracted great minds to South

These minds stand out as the founding fathers of corporate South Africa.

There probably has never been a dynamic group of business leaders in any
part of the world, which had in a short space of time done so much than the
Kimberley men.

They came to make money and so they did. Some of these men represented a
small group that was subject to political malice and religious, racial, and
social prejudice of the worst order and in spite of the odds stacked against
them they prevailed with distinction.

They never let prejudice stand in their way but managed to seamlessly weave
themselves into the dominant cultures in South Africa.

By forging partnerships and networks, they became part of the special class
of people who established the foundation that we often take for granted as
we negotiate the future of Africa.

This small group of people who could hardly be described as agents of
British Imperialism was Jewish emigrants.

The South African story would be incomplete without including the lives and
exploits of these men for they were important figures who believed in the
future of the country to allow us to write about their contribution today.

Such individuals used the newly found wealth for common good. They could
hardly be described as Marxist accumulators or misguided entrepreneurs.

They were creative adventurers of the first order and took the challenges of
their time head on.

They became the bearers of civilisation not as a burden but as part of their
call with destiny.

As we look back at the last 15 years of democracy in the South Africa which
represents the birth of a new nation founded on new values, principles and
beliefs we can observe that the vanishing of the kind of individuals who
occupied the higher echelons of South African society at the defining hour
in its journey is a signal of a civilisation's decline.

We find ourselves enmeshed in a Eurocentric civilisation that has its own
demands on humanity and yet many of us daily reject the obligations imposed
on us by its inherent social contract.

Several of the first Randlords were Jewish. They were of the same generation
and they seized the opportunities that Africa offered.

They gained control of the diamond industry and more importantly their
creative genius lay in setting up an infrastructure of financing and
industrial consolidation that they applied to exploit gold discoveries from

Such individuals included Leopold Albu, a German Jew, born on March 10 1861,
the brother of George Albu, who together emigrated to South Africa in 1876.
He died at 77 on March 19 1938.

Their father was a coachbuilder. They began their career in South Africa as
department store clerks in Cape Town before they became magnates of special

In 1895, they became pioneers in the field of industrial and financial
consolidation by establishing on the Rand, General Mining and Finance
Corporation with the help of the House of Wernher Beit, a Jewish controlled
finance house.

General Mining evolved over the years into Gencor, a company that was
controlled by Afrikaners.

There was nothing that prepared the Albu brothers for the wealth they
accumulated in Africa. They were ordinary people motivated by a desire to
better their own lives.

They started their careers at the bottom and through luck and hard work they
made a mark on South Africa's story.

Two brothers with no family support system in South Africa managed in one
generation to benefit from Africa's resources in a manner that has not been
replicated by many of Africa's black citizens notwithstanding the prejudice
against Jews.

If Jewish people could rise above the challenges of the time and end up as
respectable British citizens on the back of African resources, why is it
that we have not seen the level of activity and entrepreneurship of the
order that obtained in the first generation of post-diamond discovery in
South Africa.

The non-South African born black Africans are as disliked as the Jewish
people were but the difference is that the Jewish entrepreneurs were of a
different kind.

They integrated themselves into the dominant culture and proved to be
indispensable to the colonial project.

Even the Queen had to recognise their contribution to the Empire.

Africans of Jewish heritage have been in South Africa for the last 122 years
and yet their contribution to African heritage is yet to be fully exposed
and told.

Did you know for instance that of the 94 mayors of Johannesburg since its
formation on September 20 1886, 22 of them were Jewish?

Through civic, state and other activities, Jewish people became part of the
African story.

Although in the diaspora, they refused to regard themselves as foreigners in
their adopted home unlike many foreign born South African black citizens who
refuse to be the change they want to see in South Africa.

They are conspicuous in their absence in the state and non-state
organisations preferring to define themselves as second-class citizens whose
rights are only relevant in their countries of birth.

What do we learn from the experiences of the Albu brothers? We learn that
there is nothing inevitable in human life. Anything is possible. The harder
one works the luckier one can become. If Leopold could do it surely our
generation can do better. - ZimOnline

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