Thursday, 09 July 2009 22:44
FURTHER details have emerged over Zimbabwe's controversial platinum
deals and credit facilities with China which have now provoked a storm in
government as the main political leaders fight to claim glory for the
Official sources said this week that Zimbabwe and China recently
signed a cautioned Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eximbank of
China over the existing US$200 million deal connected to the anticipated
US$5 billion platinum mining deal between the two governments.
The US$5 billion figure came out of complex calculations involved
after a meeting between Treasury and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
officials on June 8.
The meeting was attended by Biti himself, his advisor Conrad
Nyamurova, and an official in his ministry, Mary Takavarasha, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono, his deputy Edward Mashiringwani and Gono's advisor
Minutes of the meeting held at Biti's office on June 8 show that the
minister highlighted he had recently signed an MoU with Eximbank as part of
efforts to sort out the platinum deal linked to existing credit facilities.
The minutes of the meeting headlined "Zimbabwe-China US$5 billion
loan" note the following points:
a.. The minister (Biti) lamented the current format of the
platinum-backed loan through Eximbank of China which would heavily prejudice
a.. If the deal goes through, the Chinese would get 50% in a mineral
resource (platinum) worth at least US$40 billion without paying anything;
a.. Gono agreed with the minister (Biti)'s strong reservations and
added that the RBZ had long stood opposed to the deal and;
a.. The minister (Biti) highlighted that recently he signed a
cautioned MoU with Eximbank on condition of clear legal documentation and
declaration of obligations of the Chinese.
Information gleaned from documents to hand show that Biti recently
signed a cautioned MoU with China's Eximbank to pave way for work to begin
on the mining concession that was mortgaged and thus encumbered after the
negotiation of a US$200 million credit facility with Eximbank. The initial
deal was structured on a wrong valuation framework of US$10 per ounce.
Although the platinum concession involved is estimated to be worth
US$40 billion, government officials say the deal with China should be at
least US$5 billion considering the current platinum prices on the world
According to Platinum Today, a web-based publication which claims to
be world's leading authority in the platinum group metals, the monthly
average price of platinum of late has been between US$1 167 and US$1 168 an
ounce. The price was US$1 109 per ounce yesterday.
A senior government official said yesterday Harare currently wants
Beijing to contribute at least US$5 billion in the platinum deal.
"If Zimbabwe and China took the lowest possible price of platinum per
ounce of say US$1 000 an ounce in view of the fact that there are 30 million
ounces of platinum in the concession, the real value of the deal would be
US$30 billion," the official said. "If you take the current market prices it
goes up to US$40 billion.
This means that if the Chinese were to get 50% of the equity as
initially agreed, they should pay between US$15 billion and US$20 billion.
However, we think US$5 billion is a reasonable figure and that is what we
are working with."
Despite Biti's feverish denials, government is engaged with the
Chinese over the massive platinum deal and credit facilities, including the
US$950 million deal that is currently on the table. The US$950 million
negotiated under China's buyers credit facility is almost a done deal
although there are a few issues which need to be finalised.
Sources said Zimbabwe first needs to clear its US$30 million arrears
to the Chinese and pay a deposit of 10% of US$950 million - US$95 million -
and thus a total of US$125 million before the money comes. However, the
conditions could be waived. The issue is still under negotiation.
Biti signed an MoU with Eximbank to free the platinum concession which
was mortgaged in 2006 when Zimbabwe signed a US$200 million facility with
The deal dates back to events starting in 2006. It involved the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and a Chinese company, Wanbao
Mining, for the development of platinum in a concession known as Selous and
Northfields reserves covering 110 square kilometres.
ZMDC represented the Zimbabwean government and Wanbao the Chinese.
Zimbabwe has huge platinum deposits. South Africa is currently the
leading world platinum producer, followed by Russia.
However, when Zimbabwe in 2006 negotiated a US$200 million facility
with Eximbank, the Selous and Northfields reserves were put up as
This left the concession encumbered and the mining deal was stalled
for a while. Biti has now signed the MoU to extricate the concession and
allow for the mining upon finalisation of "legal documentation and
declaration of the obligations of the Chinese".
The Chinese development assistance has been in the form of
concessional loans, export credit (including buyer's and seller's credit)
Zimbabwe has benefited from a buyer's credit loan from China. In
August 2006, China extended a US$200 million buyer's credit loan facility to
Zimbabwe for the procurement of fertilisers, agrochemicals, agriculture
equipment and tools, irrigation and other equipment and animal health
The terms of the agreement include: the value of the commercial
contract should be more than US$2 million.
The portion of the Chinese content of exported goods should be no less
than 50% of the total value.
The cash payment (down payment) made by the importer to the Chinese
exporter should not be less than 15% of the total contract value or 20% in
the case of ship export contract.
The export buyer's credit provided by the Eximbank of China for an
export project of goods or services shall not exceed 85% of the total
contract value, and 80% in the case of a ship export contract.
Biti has been trying to sort this issue out in relation to the
BY DUMISANI MULEYA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 22:40
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara yesterday openly differed with
President Robert Mugabe on fundamental issues at the inaugural two-day
Zimbabwe Investment Conference in the capital in an apparent show of discord
in the unity government.
Mutambara spoke strongly against the stalling of the implementation of
the global political agreement (GPA), attempts to foist the Kariba draft
constitution on the people, and state failure to halt farm disruptions and
the breakdown in the rule of law.
In a clear response to Mugabe's recent declaration during his Zanu PF
Central Committee and Consultative Assembly meetings that the Kariba draft
would be the only reference document during the constitution-making process,
Mutambara said Zimbabweans were yearning for a people-driven constitution.
The deputy premier said the inclusive government should take on board
concerns raised by civic organisations on the constitutional process.
"We need a people-driven constitution, not the Kariba draft,"
Mutambara said. "(National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore)
Madhuku and labour movements must be involved in the (constitution-making)
process. No to Kariba! If we do these things (taking on board concerns of
civil society) the next elections will be free and fair."
Mutambara said government should stop blaming the West and in
particular the United States for the socio-economic decline, but should
uphold the rule of law, respect property rights and resolve the outstanding
issues of the GPA if the country is to attract foreign direct investment
"For you to be trusted, credible to investors, we must resolve that
matter (outstanding issues) because if we don't we lose credibility. How can
we convince investors if we don't respect our own agreement," Mutambara
Mugabe has in the past decade accused the West of destroying the
country's economy through sanctions after his government embarked on a
controversial land reform programme in 2000.
Currently FDI contributes 4% of the gross domestic product and
government is projecting 25% by the end of the implementation of the Short
Term Emergency Recovery Programme in December.
On fresh farm invasions and disruptions affecting mostly white
farmers, Mutambara said there was need for a moratorium on the disturbances
which he blamed for food insecurity in the country.
"More than 80% of indigenous people now have land. There is enough
land for everyone but we continue to face food shortages. What is needed is
productivity, productivity; productivity.Sovereignty is not about
ownership," the deputy premier said.
Mugabe - who opened the investment indaba after Mutambara's
presentation - however blamed the perennial food shortages on economic
sanctions and drought.
He credited the inclusive government with tackling matters of the rule
of law and property rights amid pressure from Western Europe and the United
States that more had to be done to restore confidence.
"Above all, Zimbabwe upholds the sanctity of property rights," Mugabe
said. "The formation of the inclusive government has strengthened our stable
political environment making us more conducive to investment promotion. My
government is committed to promoting the rule of law in all its facets,"
After the octogenarian leader's speech, Commercial Farmers Union
president Trevor Gifford asked Mugabe whether his government would
compensate white farmers evicted during the chaotic land reform programme.
Mugabe said he would only compensate "developments and improvements"
the farmers made on the farms in line with the country's constitution.
He said Britain, the former colonial master, should compensate the
farmers for the land his government acquired.
"It's not every white farm which will be taken. Not necessarily,"
Mugabe said in reply to Gifford. "The responsibility of compensation rests
on the shoulders of the British government and its allies. We pay
compensation for developments and improvements. That is our obligation and
we have honoured that.
Sure there must be some compensation. Let's join hands and appeal to
Britain's outgoing ambassador to Harare Andrew Pocock last month said
his country had no obligation to pay the compensation.
"In the fairly recent past, the Zimbabwean government has said that
compensation rests with the United Kingdom. Well it does not - either
legally or morally," Pocock said. "In Lancaster House, sovereignty was
transferred to the Zimbabwean government. The disruption on the farms was
not caused by anything to do with the United Kingdom, it was driven by
Zimbabwean government policy . therefore we have no legal obligation for
compensation. We've never accepted that, and we won't."
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the conference that while there
may be disagreement on the way the land reform was carried out, there was
agreement on the need for it. He said a lot is being done to rectify what
"We need to rectify the problems surrounding the land reform programme
for the last 10 years and that that programme starts with the land audit
followed by the land commission which will deal with all matters arising out
of that audit and I am sure there are many, including issues of
compensation, issues of title, issues of disputes on land," Tsvangirai said.
"I also say that perhaps we need now to move to a phase where the land issue
in Zimbabwe has to be depoliticised, deracialised so that we deal with the
phase of agricultural productivity."
Mugabe assured investors that indigenisation laws, which some foreign
investors dread in their quest to pour funds into the cash-strapped
government, were misconstrued.
"Such policies as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
should not be viewed as obstacles to investment promotion," Mugabe said.
"They should be welcomed as promotive of the greater participation of our
people in the economy."
Despite Mugabe's attempts to put a gloss on the new administration,
Mutambara maintained that more reforms had to be introduced by the
"We have challenges as an inclusive government and we should not gloss
over them. This government, of which I am one of the leaders, must reward
excellent failures and punish mediocre success. Most of us are mediocre and
must be fired," Mutambara said.
Government, according to Mutambara, should "take a plunge" in its bid
to lure foreign investment. He said foreign investors should pour their
resources into some loss-making state enterprises through Public/Private
Partnerships and Build/Operate/Transfer deals. An investors' prospectus
released at the conference identified 10 state entities and private
companies that could attract investors.
Mutambara said government "hates" foreign aid arguing that no state in
history had achieved sustainable growth through such help.
Zimbabwe requires close to US$10 billion to revitalise the economy.
BY BERNARD MPOFU
Thursday, 09 July 2009 22:37
THE setting up of constitutional commissions, among them the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC), has been delayed by the constitution-making process.
Tongai Matutu, the chairperson of the parliamentary select committee
on the media, yesterday said MPs tasked to shortlist candidates for the ZMC
were currently tied up with the constitutional process.
Other commissions are the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
Matutu said since June 19 - the closing date of receiving applications
from would-be commissioners - no progress has taken place in constituting
"There has been no progress since June 19 as we (legislators) are tied
up with the constitution-making process," Matutu told the Zimbabwe
Independent. "There is no co-ordination, but we hope that after the first
all-stakeholders' conference, we will move in to shortlist candidates and
invite them for interviews."
He said his committee wanted the ZMC to be in place by the end of
"The interviews will be transparent and will be held in public. The
media and the public would be allowed to attend, but they will not ask
questions. This is according to what was agreed by parliament's Standing
Rules and Orders Committee," Matutu explained.
He declined to divulge names of the people who applied to be
However, the Independent is reliably informed that among the
applicants were chief executive officer of the defunct Media and Information
Commission (MIC) Tafataona Mahoso, academics Claude Mararike and Vimbai
Chivaura, and pastor Gift Mabaudi.
The ZMC should replace the MIC, which has been the state's weapon of
choice in its dealings with the media in the country.
The setting up of the ZMC was supposed to be the starting point in
media reforms, which would culminate in the establishment of new newspapers,
and independent radio and television stations.
In May Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said both local and foreign
journalists, as well as media houses had no legal obligation to apply for
registration until the ZMC was constituted.
Tsvangirai said the 2008 amendments to the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) did away with the statutory MIC, which was
responsible for the accreditation and licensing of journalists and media
High Court judge, Justice Bharat Patel, last month issued a
provisional order that MIC was now a legal nullity, a move being opposed by
Media minister Webster Shamu and his permanent secretary George Charamba.
lMeanwhile, Harare provincial magistrate Moses Murendo is on July 21
expected to make a ruling in an application by Independent editor Vincent
Kahiya and news editor Constantine Chimakure - facing charges of publishing
or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state - to refer the matter
to the Supreme Court.
Kahiya, Chimakure and ZimInd publishers, represented by finance
director Michael Curling, are challenging the constitutionality of the law
they are being charged under.
Harare Area Public Prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi yesterday told the
court that the state had failed to give a response to the application made
last month to the journalists' lawyer Innocent Chagonda within the timeframe
Chagonda said he was served with the response on Tuesday when he had
indicated that he needed at least a week to prepare a counter-response. He
said he would furnish the court with the written response on July 14.The
defence and state attorneys then agreed to remand the case to July 21 for a
ruling on the journalists' application.
In their application, the journalists are arguing that Section 31 of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which attracts a maximum of
20 years in prison, infringed Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,
which guarantees freedom of expression.
The scribes argued that it was important that the country's highest
court decides on the constitutionality of the provisions as it was a matter
of public importance.
The law, they averred, was a hindrance to the practice of journalism
and was not necessary in a democracy.
Charges against Kahiya, Chimakure and Zimind Publishers arose on May 8
when the news editor wrote an article headlined "CIO, police role in
activists' abduction revealed", stating that notices of indictment for trial
in the High Court of MDC-T activists allegedly abducted between October and
December last year had revealed that the activists were either in the
custody of the CIO or police during the period they were reported missing.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
Thursday, 09 July 2009 22:26
THE High Court yesterday reserved judgement in a case where former
Information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo is seeking the nullification of
last August's election of MDC-T national chairman Lovemore Moyo as Speaker
of the House of Assembly on the grounds that the poll was flawed.
Professor Moyo, the Tsholotsho North MP, wants Justice Bharat Patel to
declare the election of the Speaker a farce.
Lawyer Terrence Hussein representing the lawmaker told the court that
the MDC-T chairman's election was flawed citing incidences where the secret
ballot was "brandished" to the public as evidence that the election process
was not in line with best practice.
Lovemore Moyo beat MDC-M secretary for elections Paul Themba
Nyathi -who had the backing of Prof Moyo and Zanu PF - for the speakership.
Lovemore Moyo garnered 110 votes while Nyathi polled 98 amid claims
that some MDC-M and Zanu PF lawmakers voted for the MDC-T candidate.
Hussein said MPs "did not fold" the ballot in the booth and this
defeated the whole concept of a secret ballot.
He also said the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, tasked to conduct
the election, failed to execute his duties by not restoring order in the
House despite clear indications that there was "chaos" in the chamber.
This, Hussein argued, could have been avoided by putting the vote on
hold until order prevailed.
The lawyer further argued that Zvoma did not rein in the "fracas" to
ensure the vote was in line with rules.
But advocate Mathew Chaskalson representing the Speaker defended the
voting process saying no objections were raised during the poll.
He argued: "This is because no party should wait and see who wins and
then raise complaints.
The applicants cannot seriously submit that they could not object in
the voting process."
Choise Damiso, counsel to parliament, also defended Zvoma saying no
formal objections had been raised on the day in question, a development
giving credence to the outcome of the vote.
She averred that Zvoma was an innocent bystander in a vicious
On the charge that the atmosphere was chaotic in the House and that
the only reasonable action that could have been taken would have been to the
stop the process.
Damisa argued that the situation seemed disorderly because of the
"dramatic growth of parliament" but was otherwise conducive to the poll.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:37
A HIGH Court judge has said the police have failed to absolve
themselves in the alleged abduction of MDC-T activists between October and
December last year.
In a written judgment released on Tuesday referring the case of four
MDC-T activists to the Supreme Court, Justice Tendai Uchena said evidence
led during the hearing did not absolve the police from the alleged
MDC-T activists, Concillia Chinanzvavana, Fidelis Chiramba, Violet
Mupfuranhewe and Collen Mutemagau, facing charges of recruiting youths to
undergo military training in Botswana for purposes of committing banditry in
Zimbabwe, applied for referral of their case to the Supreme Court on the
strength that their abductions and torture violated their constitutional
The state, however, argued that the application was "frivolous and
vexatious" and that the MDC-T activists were never abducted by the police
between October 31 and December 22 last year, but were in custody of state
In his ruling, Justice Uchena said the Attorney-General (AG) - the
respondent - failed to deny the allegations raised during the hearing by the
He said the AG's response was "simply that the applicants were from
October 31 2008 to December 22 2008 in the custody of state security agents".
"That response attempts to distance the police from the alleged
wrong-doing, but does not succeed because the police are alleged to have
been involved from the time the applicants were abducted," Uchena said.
"The second (Chiramba) and third (Mupfuranhewe) applicants were kept
in police custody for a long time before they were taken to a house where
they were kept until December 22 2008. The response does not absolve the
whole state law-enforcements agents."
Justice Uchena said an exhibit produced in court on police
investigations did not absolve the police as it gives the impression that
they dealt with the applicants from December 22 2008 onwards without
specifically denying earlier involvement as alleged by the activists.
He said: "Even Chief Superintendent Magwenzi's own affidavit does not
respond to what is alleged to have happened before December 22 2008. The
respondents' response leaves the allegation of detention beyond 96 hours
Justice Uchena said the applicants were held for more than one and a
half months without being taken to court and if that is proved it would be
in contravention of provisions of the country's constitution.
"It cannot therefore be held that the applicants' application is
frivolous and vexatious," he ruled.
The state argued that besides referring the matter to the Supreme
Court, there were other remedies the MDC-T activists could take for their
alleged deprivation of liberty - such as suing for damages.
In regard to the question of physical mistreatment in which the
activists alleged that they were assaulted and treated in an inhuman and
degrading manner, Justice Uchena also referred that question to the Supreme
The applicants also sought referral to of their case to the
constitutional court on the grounds that they were denied the protection of
the law and access to their legal practitioners.
They also want the Supreme Court to consider whether or not they
should be prosecuted given that they were before the court illegally.
They alleged that the police knew that they were missing and that
Justices Charles Hungwe and Yunus Omerjee had ordered their release.
"It is not in dispute that the applicants' enforced disappearance was
known to the police. The police were party to the proceedings before Justice
Hungwe where the issue was the disappearance of the applicants and others.
They at first denied knowledge but conceded after the applicants' legal
practitioners had proved that some of the applicants had been detained at
various police stations," Justice Uchena said.
"The applicants' access to legal practitioners is a constitutional
right which ensures the protection of an accused person's right at the time
of his or her arrest and thereafter."
He said the allegations made against the law-enforcement agents were
"It would be unacceptable for such serious allegations to be swept
under the carpet. The request for an investigation is in my view not
frivolous and vexatious. Its seriousness is demonstrated by the respondent
and the police having considered it necessary when they investigated the
allegations," Justice Uchena added.
The judge making reference to provisions of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act (CPE Act) lambasted the detention of the activists saying it
far exceeds the period allowed under Zimbabwean law.
He said: "The CPE Act provided for the detention of an accused person
in police custody for not more than 48 hours without a warrant of further
detention and not more than 96 hours if a warrant of further detention was
issued. Even if one had been issued, the applicants' detention far exceeded
the period permissible under our law.
"The applicants' unchallenged allegations merit the attention of the
Supreme Court. They cannot be held to be frivolous and vexatious. I would in
the circumstance refer this question (unlawful deprivation of liberty) to
the Supreme Court."
The applicants in their affidavits alleged that they were kidnapped
between October 30 and November 3 2008. They further alleged that they were
thereafter kept by their abductors and associates until December 22 2008.
Chiramba in his affidavit alleged that he was on the night of October
31 2008 arrested by heavily armed man at his house in Banket who took him to
Rhodesville Police Station, Harare, and was later transferred to Borrowdale,
Marlborough, Highlands, Avondale and Hatfield police stations between the
day of his arrest and November 4 the same year.
On November 4, he was told he was innocent and would be taken home
before a warned and cautioned statement was recorded.
Chiramba alleged that as they got near Mount Hampden another vehicle
came and signalled the one he was in to stop.
He said he was dragged out of the car which was supposed to be taking
him to Banket and thrown into the motor vehicle that had signalled them to
stop and immediately blindfolded and driven back to Harare where he was kept
in a carpeted house.
There he alleges he was assaulted all over his body.
"He was put in a deep freezer where he felt close to death. A few
minutes after being removed from the deep freezer he was ordered to remove
all his clothes, and hot water was poured onto his genitals causing him
"He was also asked to walk stark naked in front of women who were also
in captivity. His abductors looked on laughing and mocking his body make-
up," wrote Uchena in the judgment.
Mupfuranhewe in her affidavit narrates that on October 31 2008 she was
taken from her Banket home by men who produced their police identification
cards and said they were police officers from Chinhoyi.
The police officers agreed that her two-year-old son who was crying
for her could go with her to CID Chinhoyi where they were taking her.
Mupfuranhewe was kept in police cells in Chinhoyi where she was asked
about the whereabouts of her husband, to which she professed ignorance.
She was later transferred to Mabelreign police station and alleged
that she heard men who had brought her telling police officers on duty not
to give her food.
She was transferred to Borrowdale police station where six men
interrogated her and later taken back to Banket to show her interrogators
the houses of other MDC-T members.
During her detention she alleges that she was given rules regarding
her child, that he was only going to be allowed to go to the toilet and was
not to cry for food.
"On the third day of their arrival at this house she was ordered into
a tub of very hot water for failing to participate in a quiz. She was burnt
on the buttocks. One day she and another participant in this application
were accused of spoiling the toilet and they spent the whole day having ice
cold water poured into their pants," read Justice Uchena's ruling.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:31
MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett will be sworn in as Deputy
Minister of Agriculture alongside six new provincial governors next month,
the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.
This is contrary to claims that Bennett's case had been referred to
Sadc as one of the outstanding issues of the global political agreement
(GPA) after President Robert Mugabe refused to swear him in arguing that he
was facing serious terrorism charges.
Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office,
confirmed to the Independent this week that Bennett would take the oath of
office alongside five governors from the MDC-T and one from the MDC-M in
"Contrary to what some sections of the media have been saying, the
issue of the swearing in of Bennett is not an outstanding issue," Moyo said.
"There was an agreement reached on the issue by the three principals and he
is likely to be sworn in as deputy minister in August when the new governors
are sworn in."
He said the only outstanding issues of the GPA were the appointment of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General
"As far as outstanding issues are concerned we are now left with the
Gono and Tomana issue that has been referred to Sadc," Moyo explained.
"Bennett will be sworn in with the new governors and the current governors
were allowed to complete one year of service before the new governors are
Bennett is facing terrorism charges in that he plotted to procure
weapons to overthrow Mugabe's government.
Bennett was arrested before he could be sworn in along with other
deputy ministers in February.
He was released on bail a month latter and since then he has not taken
the oath of office despite the fact that he was sworn in as a
non-constituency senator upon his release from remand prison.
Bennett will serve as deputy to Joseph Made, who oversaw the country's
chaotic land reform programme and sanctioned the takeover of Bennett's
coffee farm in Chimanimani.
During his time as a member of parliament, Bennett shoved Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa to the floor during a heated parliamentary
debate, an episode that led to him being jailed for eight months for the
BY LOUGHTY DUBE
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:31
TEACHERS and government are heading for a showdown this month-end
after teachers' organisations indicated that they will not accept salaries
Government promised to pay civil servants - who have since February
been surviving on a monthly allowance of US$100 - salaries beginning this
month though it indicated that it has a thin budget.
However, the country's two main teachers' organisations, the militant
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers
Association (Zimta), said they would reject a salary below US$400 and will
embark on a nationwide strike.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe yesterday said: "We will only
agree to an acceptable figure and since the cost of living in the country is
around US$400 that is the amount that we will accept otherwise we will stop
reporting for duty."
Tendai Chikowore, Zimta president, said teachers have been patient for
too long on the salaries issue and were not being consulted by the
"As teachers' representatives we are still unaware of the salary
scales government will put in place because we were not officially
informed," she said.
Chikowore could not be drawn on the ideal salary Zimta members wanted,
but sources in the organisation said the teachers were looking at minimum
monthly pay of US$400.
She said while government's decision to pay salaries was welcome and
long overdue, her organisation was concerned that they were not consulted on
"The salary issue is not clear and while we commend the government on
coming up with plans to replace the allowance, we are worried on the lack of
consultation as this will create problems in future if there is no
consensus," Chikowore explained.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti a fortnight ago announced that the
government had mobilised resources and will with effect from the end of July
start paying salaries to civil servants.
The government of national unity between President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara is broke
and has struggled to pool resources to revive the comatose economy.
The allowances paid to civil servants since the formation of the unity
government were raised from donors.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:20
"IT is through the grace of God that we managed to survive the cholera
outbreak, otherwise it should have wiped us all out," said Fungai Moyo from
Residing at Paget House -- a dormitory meant for women only in the
high density suburb -- the 38-year-old Moyo expressed disillusionment with
the inhuman and humiliating conditions she and other residents are made to
live in at the flat.
For the four years she has stayed there, and the Harare City Council
has made countless promises it never honoured to improve the conditions.
Contrary to the empty promises, the situation has worsened and is in
need of urgent attention. This is despite the fact that the women pay what
they term exorbitant rates to the council.
Moyo said they were living like animals and were at times embarrassed
of the surroundings they were living in.
Showing the Zimbabwe Independent news crew around this week, Moyo
explained how harsh the conditions they were staying under were.
At the entrance of the flats, a stench emanated from the side of the
Dirty water trickling from blocked showers and tubs upstairs could be
seen flowing down the walls into the flats' dining room.
Moyo lamented: "You see this is a place where people are supposed to
be eating, but look at how it looks with water from blocked showers upstairs
flowing. This is disgusting. It is a miracle that we are not sick. Further
down are the kitchens where we cram when we want to cook."
On the first floor of the house, the first thing one sees is the dirty
water that has accumulated in the showers.
"These showers have been like that for a long time. It is now a year
we have been facing such problems. It is difficult to shower in such
conditions. That is the same condition with the tubs. There is no running
water and we have to collect it from the taps outside," Moyo explained.
The bathtubs are brown and rusty with dirt while only two toilets on
the floor that has about 28 rooms were functional. Two people share each
"The toilets also do not have running water forcing us to use the
bucket system," she said.
Yet with all these problems, Moyo -- who makes a living from sewing
and mending clothes -- owes the city council US$124 in rentals.
"I am required to pay the council US$124 for rent and an additional
US$23 they call property tax, but for what? For this dirt! It makes me very
angry. The rent is backdated from February and the woman that I share the
room with has to pay the same amount. All in all we have to pay the council
close to US$300 for this tiny room with a smashed window," said the
disgruntled woman showing us the broken window.
She alleged that some of the windows were smashed during the countdown
to the bloody June 27 2008 presidential election run-off by Zanu PF youths
during their campaign for the 85-year-old Mugabe.
Last week, the Harare City Council resolved that Paget House and
Carter House, also in Mbare, be closed as they were a health hazard and
needed renovations to make them habitable.
The council said Carter House, which offers overnight facilities,
needed repairs in dormitories, sanitary facilities for both males and
females, laundry, kitchen, cloakroom, linen and refuse, while Paget House
required renovations in the dining room, kitchen, sanitary facilities from
first to the third floor and improvement in refuse collection.
Moyo welcomed the city fathers' idea, but her biggest worry was where
they would be housed if the two flats were to be closed.
She said: "We welcome the development to renovate this place but where
will they accommodate us during this renovation. Staying here is a sign that
we do not even have homes.
"Besides we are yet to see if it will be renovated, we are used to
these promises by city council. All they want is to milk our money. "
Apart from the renovations at the two houses, councillors suggested
the demolition of illegal structures and businesses that were mushrooming in
The proposal was first made by Councillor Thomas Muzuva who said the
city was facing a serious health hazard because of illegal structures.
"The illegal structures are promoting unhealthy conditions which can
give rise to cholera, for example, at Mupedzanhamo (Mbare) canteens are
mixed with shops that sell chemicals, a very serious health hazard. Plans
should be set to demolish these structures immediately," Muzuva said.
Prominent places that were highlighted by the councillors include
squatter camps along Mukuvisi River, Mupedzanhamo, Boka Tobacco Floors and
sculptures at Newlands.
Councillor Mooza Allana raised concern over a lot of dumping of
rubbish at Pennywise in Eastlea saying it was unhygienic and said the city
fathers were also to blame for the mushrooming of squatter camps.
"Mushrooming of squatters has also to do with the planning of the
city. People are trying to earn a living.
Are we helping our people to get the resources or land properly?" said
Councillor Paul Gorekore on the other hand said it is the council that
was giving people space to conduct such businesses, an indication of how
rife corruption is within the system, especially in Mbare.
\He said council should be consistent in the enforcement of its
It is yet to be seen whether the city council will be able to achieve
the set tasks following confessions by the finance director Cosmas
Zvikaramba that the municipality was facing serious financial problems.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:12
ZIMBABWE'S constitution-making process is on Monday expected to go a
gear-up with the convening in Harare of an all-stakeholders conference.
Our News Editor Constantine Chimakure on Wednesday caught up with the
co-chairperson of the parliamentary select committee spearheading the
process, Douglas Mwonzora, at Parliament Building in the capital to explore
how far the process has gone, the problems it is encountering and the
controversial Kariba draft. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Chimakure: Give us an update on the first all-stakeholders conference?
Mwonzora: First, the all-stakeholders conference will go ahead as
planned. There were concerns raised mostly by our colleagues in Zanu PF
through their caucus and these concerns are that the conference must be
attended by everyone who must attend and that there was no adequate time for
the invitation to reach those people in the remote areas.
The complaint on the part of the two MDCs was that we should under no
circumstances as a select committee vary the global political agreement
(GPA). Therefore, we should stick to the timeline as given under the GPA.
For that reason we have a cut off date, being July 13, so any extension must
fall within that prescribed timeline. Having set down as chairperson of the
select committee together with the administration of parliament headed by
the speaker we then agreed to extend the date of the conference to July 13.
Delegates will arrive on July 12 and on the 13th of July and half of the
14th of July we will hold the conference.
Chimakure: Before you go any further, are you saying the conference is
now going to take one and a half days instead of the initially planned four
days? Why the change?
Mwonzora: The conference itself was supposed to take one and a half
days. The days we were including to make them four were arrival and
The decision to move the conference to July 13 was a fair compromise.
We need to strike a balance between the concerns of Zanu PF that everyone
who should come, and the concerns of the two MDCs of not going against the
Chimakure: How were the delegates selected?
Mwonzora: The delegates were selected using the provincial
consultative assembly attendants. At the provincial consultative meetings we
asked our secretariat to get a record of the stakeholders who came, these
were various organisations and individuals.
In order to come up with the national representation, we looked at
organisation which had a national representation as obtained during the
consultative meetings. We had to look at organisations with a regional
representation and we also had to look at individuals with special
endowments like special experiences, which will be helpful in the
constitution-making process or special qualification.
Having done that we then divided the stakeholders into 23
categories -- labour, youth and students, farmers' organisations, religious
organisations, informal sector, NGOs, freedom fighters, business, disabled,
political parties, traditional leaders and healers, arts and culture,
children's organisations, media, local authorities, academia, parastatals,
residents and ratepayers' associations, government arms, sports
organisations, minority organisations, professional boards, women's
organisations and development agencies.
From these organisations we then allocated a quota for each
organisation by way of percentages. All in all we are inviting 4 000
delegates and we looked at, at the representativeness of the organisation.
We also looked at the proportion of each organisation to the population of
Zimbabwe and using that we then allocated percentages of the delegates, for
example, the organisations that deal with the disabled will have 2%,
students and youths 4%, business organisations 3%, traditional leaders 2%,
traditional healers 0,4%, media 2% and academia 1%.
Using these percentages we are then able to determine the absolute
number, then apportion these numbers to each organisation following in each
category looking at the size as far as we could determine.
We are aware that that this is not very, very mathematically correct,
but it is the closest to mathematical accuracy.
Chimakure: Is the constitution-making process well financed given
reports that your committee wanted US$36 million, but was cut by the
executive to US$19 million? Also shed light on reports that the executive,
especially the president's office, is against the donor-funding of the
Mwonzora: Regarding the financing of this process, the finances are
going to come from the treasury as well as from international donors. The
select committee simply does a budget, presents that budget to parliament's
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and it takes the matter up with the
executive and the donors. That coordination at that level is not a concern
of the select committee, but the realities of the Zimbabwean situation
should always be borne in mind, that is Zimbabwe as a country is broke and
relies heavily on outside donors.
It is possible to get money from donors without any strings attached.
What is of importance is that the president's office -- through the
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda -- acknowledged
that part of the funds are going to come from the donors. That is why Dr
Sibanda wrote a letter to us sometime ago clarifying how the money from the
donors are going to be coordinated. That is an acknowledgement that donor
money is important.
Chimakure: Are you saying there is a change of heart by some elements
in government, especially from Zanu PF, who were insisting that donors may
end up influencing the process and its outcome? During the joint Zanu PF and
the two MDC formations' caucus meeting on Monday, Zanu PF MPs even objected
to the invitation of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa to come and address the
conference on the grounds that he would influence the process and ultimately
its outcome. What do you say to that?
Mwonzora: Firstly, there is nothing wrong with donor money. It is a
reality that Zimbabwe has to live with and that responsible members of
parliament must live with. Zimbabwe has no money and requires outside help
and that is why cabinet has taken positive steps to woo international
These donors do not interact with the select committee but interact
with the executive and the administration of parliament. So, if they are to
influence anyone then it would be the executive and not us. Some MPs do not
appear to understand the concept of sovereignty. Sovereignty does not mean
international isolation; it simply denotes the independence of nations when
they make national decisions.
Chimakure: The Ramaphosa issue?
Mwonzora: Media reports on Ramaphosa were very unfair. The select
committee had expressed a wish to invite him as one of Africa's most
distinguished lawyers and constitutional negotiators. Also, he is from Sadc
and importantly from a country that has dealt actively in Zimbabwe's recent
history. However, no invitation had yet been dispatched to Ramaphosa at the
time the MPs made their utterances. I do not agree that this is a Zanu PF
position. This is an individual MP's position. I say so because I have had
sight of the Zanu PF caucus resolution made on that day and the resolution
does not talk of barring outsiders.
The issue is people must avoid talking in double tongues. At one time
we people purport to expouse Pan-Africanism, on the other hand they do not
want to invite successful Africans. That does not make sense. We must borrow
from African wisdom.
Chimakure: Your committee has made several pronouncements to the
effect that it will not use the Kariba draft constitution as a reference
document. Why was the document then acknowledged in the GPA when my
understanding is that the constitution should have been enacted before the
March 2008 harmonised elections, but Zanu PF later reneged on that
undertaking? Why not acknowledge other drafts crafted before the Kariba one?
Mwonzora: The Kariba draft does not bind the select committee. This is
because according to Section 6.1 sub-paragraph 4 of the GPA, the select
committee together with all those involved in constitution-making must come
up with their own draft. It is in black and white. Had the negotiators
intended us to bring an amended version of Kariba, that section should have
stated that. Whether the Kariba draft will be used as reference, the answer
is yes together with all relevant draft constitutions. That is why we are
going to mass produce the Kariba draft, the NCA draft, the Zimbabwe we want,
the rejected Constitutional Commission draft as well as the draft produced
by Fodesi under Margaret Dongo. The status of the Kariba draft is that it
is one of the documents that will be availed to the people of Zimbabwe. It
is up to them to accept it or not.
Chimakure: Why was it then acknowledged in the GPA and are you
suggesting that President Mugabe is wrong by insisting that it should be the
Mwonzora: It is important to understand that acknowledgment does not
mean adoption. The Kariba draft is the only document, of all these drafts,
signed by the parties. It is important to note that Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC-M
do not represent all the people of Zimbabwe and therefore it is unfair to
the people of Zimbabwe to impose their draft on them.
Chimakure: Mugabe insists that the Kariba draft is the reference
document as agreed by the three political parties?
Mwonzora: President Mugabe is a skilled negotiator and my reading of
what he said is negotiating. He knows that there is Section 6.1, therefore,
what he may want as a leader of Zanu PF may not be what Zimbabweans want in
Chimakure: But Mugabe reportedly told his central committee a
fortnight ago that if the Kariba draft is not used as a reference document,
Zanu PF members should vote against a new draft constitution once it is
tabled in parliament. Don't you see the danger of Zanu PF sabotaging the
constitution-making process at the last minute?
Mwonzora: No, because once the referendum passes the new constitution
it is not to parliament to reject it. But of course politicians may try to
circumvent the will of the people. This they will try whether the
constitution has been spearheaded by the select committee or by the civil
society, but they do so at their own peril and there are ill-advised in
doing that. My personal plea to President Mugabe will be to respect whatever
comes out of the referendum.
Thursday, 09 July 2009 20:06
BY now the Zimbabwean government should have gotten smart when it
comes to mortgaging national resources to secure cash or any other important
After getting a heads-you-lose and tails-you-lose deal from Libya at
the height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis a few years ago, analysts say the
troubled southern African nation should be shying away from such deals.
But recent reports that Finance minister Tendai Biti (below) could
have signed a tentative agreement with China to secure US$5 billion in
exchange for the country's platinum paints a bleak picture of a desperate
inclusive government keen on bolstering its empty coffers at any cost.
Though Zimbabwe desperately needs critical foreign funding to lift the
economy from the current doldrums, analysts say mortgaging national
resources is not a sustainable strategy for any serious government.
Economist Daniel Ndlela warned that mortgaging the country's resources
is never an option to consider for any country saying Zimbabwe should take a
cue from Zambia's experience.
The economist highlighted how a copper boom in 2002 saw Zambia crying
over spilt milk after initially agreeing terms with the Chinese.
Ndlela said: "It is always a bad thing when a country resorts to
mortgaging national resources in general. If in this instance Zimbabwe is
going to do so, then it is definitely not a good idea.
"In principle, it is never a good idea because countries ideally have
to secure loans on their export merits. If a government is desperate then it
might happen. But we have to look at the Zambian experience to learn. Zambia
mortgaged its mineral resources when the government was desperate but after
mineral prices started increasing on the international market, Zambia
This, he added, saw the Zambians pulling out of the deal.
"When there was a world mineral boom in 2002, the Zambians reneged on
their own terms because prices had increased. In principle, mortgaging
national resources has never been a good strategy for any country. It
normally exposes serious desperation," Ndlela explained.
Ironically, this is not the first time Zimbabwe has mortgaged its
In 2002, Zimbabwe attempted to mortgage its oil assets to Libya in
exchange for fuel.
The assets included a major oil pipeline, which runs from Zimbabwe's
eastern city of Mutare to Harare, as well as oil storage facilities in
Harare, under a deal aimed at settling Zimbabwe's debt to Libya and securing
fresh fuel supplies.
An independent valuation of the assets conducted at the time and
seconded by an Italian company, Roux Italian, valued the country's oil
assets at about US$150 million then, but Libya's oil company, Tamoil, valued
them at only US$38 million. The assets would have gone for a song.
But it now seems that Zimbabwe is willing to reach out for diamonds on
the devil's belt before it learns its lesson.
When Zimbabwe failed to pay its US$67 million fuel debt to Libya,
government had no choice but to sell its shareholding in CBZ Holdings and
Rainbow Tourism Group to the Libyans to save the state's oil assets.
Political commentator Eldred Masunungure said Zimbabwe should not be
blind to the country's future needs by pursuing a short-term and
shortsighted policy that would eventually prejudice the nation.
Masunungure said: "Mortgaging anything, let alone national resources,
must be a last resort for any country for the simple reason that it is in
the national interest of any country. This is a short-term and shortsighted
approach to deal with the unity government's immediate problems.
"I think mortgaging any resource undermines national interest. This
plan of mortgaging resources won't deal with long-term generational inequity
because we will be prejudicing future generations. Clearly this exhibits
desperation on the part of government. We should not be blind to tomorrow's
needs so that we can satisfy today's wants and needs."
Government is said to have inked a cautioned Memorandum of
Understanding with the Eximbank of China (Eximbank) for the platinum-backed
US$5 billion loan on condition of explicit legal documentation and
declaration of the obligations of the Chinese.
In the latest deal, Zimbabwe would get US$5 billion from Eximbank of
China and in return the Chinese will get 50% equity in a US$40 billion
platinum concession without paying anything.
The US$5 billion would be converted into equity for the Chinese,
although it falls US$10 billion short of the total value of their
Analysts argued that since the platinum concession is worth about
US$40 billion, this means the Chinese would collect US$20 billion out of
their 50% equity- a whopping US$15 billion profit - at the end of the
Experts fear that Zimbabwe is securing lines of credit from cash-rich
nations with national resources to buoy the economy.
Biti denies entering into any such deal with the Chinese, but analysts
are not buying the official line saying this could be a face-saving denial
by the minister, a key opposition official, once opposed to mortgaging of
Zimbabwe has more than 40 different types of precious minerals which
make the country potentially one of the richest in Africa.
China is making forays in Africa's resources sector but Zambia's
opposition accuses the Asian powerhouse of a poor safety record and paying
workers low wages.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 09 July 2009 19:52
GOVERNMENT has identified five state assets which would require a
combined US$2,1 billion to be revived within the next 12 months.
According to an investors prospectus made available yesterday,
government said the Zimbabwe Power Corporation requires US$900 million to be
revived in the next three months whilst a total of US$160 million is needed
to recapitalise public company Hwange Colliery in the same period. National
Railways of Zimbabwe require US$274 million to start functioning smoothly.
Air Zimbabwe needs US$750 million immediately to operate viably and compete
with other airlines. TelOne immediately requires US$278 to upgrade its
Zimbabwe Investment Centre Chief Executive, Richard Mbaiwa yesterday
said private enterprises which had been identified as requiring urgent
funding include Seed Co, Continental Private Limited, African Associated
Mines and Infrastructure Development Bank.
Cabinet last month approved a commercialisation and privatisation plan
which will take different forms as part of a rationalisation, reconstruction
and transformation agenda.
The country needs close to US$10 billion to rivitalise its battered
economy and has so far received close to US$2 billion.
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti recently told businessdigest that
government would assess different state assets and decide on the model which
they will use either to commercialise or privatise them.
"Cabinet has approved the process of commercialisation and
privatisation. This includes how it will be done, the timing and
objectives," Biti said.
Biti said the process had been divided into different categories and
classified state enterprises under each of the groups to ensure maximum
benefit for the country.
He said there are some high-value state companies which had huge
potential but needed capitalisation and good management.
This category includes companies such as TelOne, POSB, power stations,
Zisco and National Railways of Zimbabwe.
He also said there were strategic high-value enterprises which were
seriously draining the fiscus such as Air Zimbabwe.
"These would need comprehensive commercialisation and partnership
plans to be revived," Biti said.
Biti further said there were strategic high-value state enterprises
which were currently dormant but had potential if they could be revived.
These include companies such as the Cold Storage Company and Arda.
"Government should consider various options to revive and resuscitate
these companies," Biti said.
He indicated that some of the companies needed to be commercialised
and privatised at the opportune time to ensure government gets maximum
Biti said government was determined to ensure that commericlaisation
and privatisation plan succeed because it was an integral part of the
economic recovery programme Sterp.
BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 19:44
MORE than eight in every 10 formally employed workers in Zimbabwe will
not encourage their relatives in the Diaspora to come back home despite
being relatively optimistic of the inclusive government formed in February.
An employee confidence survey carried by Industrial Psychology
Consultants, a human resources think tank in June shows that 83% of workers
in the survey sample - drawn from industry and commerce -would advise their
relatives and peers beyond the borders to continue working outside the
Interestingly this poll was conducted in the same month Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai -- during his three-week international tour seeking to
engage Zimbabwe with the West and the United States -- failed to convince
Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom to come back home.
"When asked what advice they will give to their Diaspora relatives at
this stage of our economic development, 83,1% of the respondents said
'hold-on there. It is still a long way to go' and 16,9% said 'come back home
now, employment opportunities are available'," reads the survey.
"While the economy seems to be stabilising the majority of respondents
feel it is not yet the time to advise their Diaspora relatives and friends
to come back home. There is still a lot of work to be done on the ground by
the inclusive government to increase the confidence of the populace."
An area of major concern for employees according to the survey is that
the economy is not creating more jobs as shown by 59,6% of formally employed
not feeling that they were secure in their current jobs and were actively
searching for other job opportunities. With manufacturing industry operating
at 10% capacity and most banks on flexi-time, workers in the two sectors
seemed hardest hit by the transitional period.
Low salaries, the poll further stated, would make it difficult for
companies to attract skilled labour that moved to more economically active
"While the government and the private sector have been holding
conference after conference, including rebranding of the country in order to
attract foreign investment thereby creating employment, very little is
happening on the ground to impact positively on the lives of the working
population. The government has been very slow to implement key initiatives
to inspire confidence in working population," the survey said.
However, at least half of Zimbabwean workers continue to pin their
hopes on their current employers while the other half considers moving on.
An estimated 50,7% of employers interviewed in the survey feel that
the future of the employees was bright, compared to 49,30% who said they do
not see a bright future for their employees.
When asked if they were confident of finding a new job in the current
environment, 76% of the respondents said yes. Out of these, 83% aged below
25 years said they were confident of finding a new job compared to 87% in
the 26 - 30 age group, 70% in the 30 - 40 age group and 80% of those above
Eighty percent of the respondents said they were confident of getting
a new job compared to 66% for the females out of the hopefuls, while 78% of
the managerial employees also indicated that they were confident of getting
a new job.
When analysed by marital status 76% of married employees said they
were confident of getting a job compared to 82% for the single (never
married) and 67% for the single (married before).
At least 34% of the interviewed workers view career development as the
major source of stress followed by 28% who view "lack of job security' as
another stressor. More than a 10th of workers according to the poll are
discontent over management style with 6% worried about "lack of
communication on the developments in the company".
The cited top stressors seem to cut across all the demographic
categories like age and gender. "Those with post graduation qualifications
are more worried about job security (36%), while those with first degrees
(40,4%) and those with diplomas (47,9%) are worried about developing their
career. Employees with 'A' Levels are stressed by lack of job security," the
When analysed by industry, the results indicate the top stressors for
the major industries are as follows: manufacturing employees are stressed by
the need to develop their career (27,3%), compared to "lack of job
security-actively looking for a job" at 4,6% for the financial services
employees. In mining the major stressor is the need to develop their careers
at 30,8%. This same stressor is true for those in the NGO or diplomatic
sector at 40%."
Thursday, 09 July 2009 19:38
ONLY two foreign exhibitors have so far registered for this year's
edition of Zimbabwe's premier annual mining and engineering trade exhibition
the Mine Entra to be held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in
The exhibition will run from July 22 to 24 under the theme 'Providing
a platform for dynamic take-off'.
The Mine Entra exhibition will run concurrently with the mining
conference to be held at the same venue to be attended by minister of Mines
and Mining Development
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Daniel Chigaru, the ZITF
general manager said only two foreign companies who are from the Southern
African region had shown interest to participate at this year's Mine Entra.
"We have so far received responses from three foreign companies, two
from South Africa and one from Zambia," said Chigaru.
Chigaru also revealed that the ZITF had so far not received any
responses from Europe and the Far East who used to exhibit over the years.
"We have not received any bookings from countries in Europe, the Far
East and the West to exhibit at the 2009 Mine Entra," Chigaru said.
Chigaru said the snub of the Mine Entra by powerful European countries
and the Far Eastern countries will not do well for the country's economy as
it seeks foreign currency from investors to jump-start the decade long
"The snub does not augur well for the resuscitation of the mining and
engineering sector as the exhibition forms an ideal marketing forum for
mining and engineering companies," said Chigaru.
The mining industry is still failing to attract new investment despite
the government's withdrawal of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill last
The controversial mines and minerals bill demands foreign-owned mines
to surrender 51% stake to indigenous businessmen, and including giving the
government a free 25% stake.
President Robert Mugabe was quoted last year saying the bill will
broaden the participation in the mining sector by indigenous people.
But this has backfired as potential foreign mining investors have
continued to shy away from the country as they fear for their investments.
The country is rich in minerals and the mining sector has contributed
a third of the export revenue.
BY HENRY MHARA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 19:13
A NEW Zimbabwean search engine could give google and top search
engines a run for market share after launching what the developers says is a
faster search engine this week.
Onny has an uphill task to fight bigger and established search engines
such as google and yahoo for market share and advertisers.
Most advertising revenue is now going online mostly to search engines
and webs where costs are minimal and reaches a broader audience and users.
Kingstone Kanyile, the brains behind Onny, said he was hoping to tap
into the market through cheaper adverts for continental and international
But first it has to establish a strong user base and be sure that the
site is sexed up to appeal to new users.
"Onny is different from other search engines in the way all pages and
search results are indexed on the web-pages. Onny has been developed to
become the darling search for all internet users, knowledge workers,
students, business people and communities. In essence, Onny is for everyone
who has a compelling need to keep informed and understand their world to
stay ahead," said Kanyile.
Kanyile said Onny is the first of many innovative IT driven solutions
with local roots and a global reach.
"Onny is signalling the dawn of a new era for Zimbabwe as we embrace
innovative solutions to claim our space and share on the global arena.
"It has built in intelligence and is faster than other search
Kanyile is the former head of Genesis Investment Bank and Industrial
Development Bank Zimbabwe. He is a software engineer and says he spent at
least 18 months working on Onny.
Thursday, 09 July 2009 21:12
SINCE the formation of the inclusive government, civil society - in
its broadest sense - has been correctly seeking ways and means to influence
the new government's policies.
This was done initially within the ambit of the parameters set up by
the Global Political Agreement (GPA), with various non-governmental
groupings seeking to monitor its implementation.
Without a doubt this has been unfamiliar territory for most civil
society organisations for a number of reasons, but mainly due to the fact
that very few civil society leaders have had any experience in engaging with
a unity or inclusive government.
This is especially so in the case of Zimbabwe which now has a
government that includes a political party that was formed through labour
and broad-based civil society support. The ascendancy of both Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) parties into government was never simply a party
It was a project that involved in its beginning and until the last two
years, the sharing of a common democratisation of Zimbabwe agenda not always
through deliberately symbiotic acts, except for the "NO" vote' in 2000 and
the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Prayer Rally of March 11 2007. In all these
years, political repression by the Zanu PF administration has been
experienced and shared between civics and the MDC.
Whether eventually intended or not, civil society organisations that
sought the democratisation of Zimbabwe in the last 10 years cannot easily
deny that they shared some common principles and experiences with the MDC.
It is within this context that the advent of the inclusive government
in February 2009 has significantly changed the manner in which MDC- civil
society relations have been configured over the last 11 or so years.
This is mainly as a result of the fact that before the MDC signed the
GPA, its positions and manifestos tended to reflect the policy intentions
and requests of the majority of civil society organisations.
Added to this is that through MDC's nine-year parliamentary presence,
civil society was involved in lobbying the aforementioned party's
legislators to greater reception than with the Zanu PF parliamentary caucus.
Given the reality that the MDCs are in government, it is this
relationship with civil society that needs re-examination either in order to
continue with it as of old, or to begin to redefine its parameters.
There are two inclinations within civil society over the nature of the
relationship that must be pursued with the inclusive government.
The first is that a number of civil society organisations have argued
strongly that the inclusive government is an opportunity that cannot be
allowed to whither or be lost.
This is a position that has bordered on the sacrosanct given the
political environment that was experienced in the country particularly
between March and June last year as well as over the last 10 years.
It is reasonably argued that the inclusive government is a very
important opportunity and it must be supported as far as is possible
regardless of the shortcomings of the GPA or the lack of expected progress
and delivery on promises made by government.
The opportunity is also premised on fear of the return to an
outrightly repressive political environment and hence a return to a
political status quo dominated by Zanu PF.
Ostensibly this position can also be viewed as one that understands
the next phase of the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe to be closely
linked to that of the fate of the MDC in government and not necessarily as a
The alternative position within civil society is that the current
political environment is not necessarily one that is preferable in terms of
the processes that occurred after the March 2008 harmonised elections that
were as undemocratic as was the eventual signing of the GPA.
This position argues that the inclusive government is a transitional
one that must seek amongst other things to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy,
free the media as well as deliver a people-driven constitution from the
This understanding of the current political setup in Zimbabwe is
premised on a view that the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe was
established on certain fundamental and binding principles that should not be
abandoned solely because the labour-backed MDC is in an inclusive
Those persuaded by this argument regularly juxtapose the resolutions
of the National Working People's Convention (NWPC) of 1999 that led to the
formation of the MDC with the contents of the GPA and cite the differences
between the two as one of the main reasons the inclusive government must be
closely watched, criticised and even challenged.
Civil society groups or individuals within this framework are not
opposed to the MDC. They argue that they differ in terms of the nature and
manner of compromises that have been made in the MDC's arrival at an
inclusive government, as well as the seemingly continuing lack of
deliverables in relation to previously agreed to principles within the
context of the struggle for democracy.
It is however not as if the civil society groups herein do not see
the inclusive government as an opportunity of some sort of incremental
They do see a chance for reprieve in relation to political repression,
even though they argue that this remains tentative, and they do see the MDC
in government as being part of a potential change of governmental culture.
They are however not willing to throw all into it, neither are they
willing to witness key tenets of Zimbabwe's struggle for democracy as
outlined in the NWPC and the Zimbabwe People's Charter severely undermined
or compromised in the name of keeping the inclusive government afloat.
Having outlined these two divergent views of how civil society has
been and shall probably continue handling the inclusive government, it is
also important to explain four key issues that activists from civil society,
the political parties as well as ordinary citizens of the country must
continuously consider in understanding the current political context.
First is the need for political party leaders and civil society to be
continuously cognisant of the key establishing principles and founding
declarations of the struggle for a truly democratic Zimbabwe.
These are to be found in collective declarations such as the NWPC of
1999, the first People's Constitutional Convention of 1999, the Zimbabwe
People's Charter of 2008 as well as any relevant party manifestos that
concurred with the need to enhance democracy in Zimbabwe. Such a practice
allows for leaders and those that support them to be consistent in their
quest to deliver a democratic Zimbabwe.
Secondly, there must be an understanding that there is consistent need
to measure whatever "opportunities" the inclusive government presents to
civil society or the people of Zimbabwe against aforementioned principles
for the pursuit of a democratic Zimbabwe.
This is because where people have found opportunities they must be
cautious that assumed changes to media laws, the constitution, the
judiciary, youth policies, education and gender policies, imperfect as they
shall be, can easily become permanent.
And in this, there must be a broader perspective that accepts the fact
that not attending a conference organised by the inclusive government is not
in itself a "dis-engagement" from the inclusive government. It is an act
that seeks to negotiate with the same government to first meet key
requirements which, though it may disagree with, it has to be made
consistently conscious of.
Thirdly, it is imperative that we all do not easily mimic the
political culture engendered by Zanu PF since Independence. This includes
taking on the characteristics of the trappings of power that Zanu PF has
continually shown to the people of Zimbabwe.
Especially so fighting to demonstrate political loyalty to one party
or person beyond democratic reason as has been the case with Zanu PF and its
interactions with war veterans, women's organisations, peasant
organisations, farmer's unions or youth movements.
Fourthly, emphasis must continually be placed on the imperative need
for civil society to remain conscious of the fact that all the principled
and people-centred work that has been undertaken since our country's
national independence is not lost to the next generations of Zimbabweans.
It is not the opportunities of the present that pass on the torch of
the struggle for democracy from one generation to the next. Instead it is
the continued public placement and consciousness-raising of the founding
democratic principles, goals and beliefs of the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe that ensure it is not lost to a historical pursuance of a better
Zimbabwe for all.
Zhangazha is National Director of Misa Zimbabwe. He writes here in his
BY TAKURA ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 09 July 2009 20:11
Morgan Tsvangirai's one-man campaign to mollify President Mugabe by
extolling his spell-binding virtues and charm is running into difficulties
within the prime minister's own party where these views are not shared.
We have already witnessed the outburst of dissent in Southwark
Cathedral when Tsvangirai attempted to sell the current dispensation as one
of amicable concord at a time when members of Woza were being assaulted and
well-connected hoodlums were grabbing farms.
Then this week we were told that Tsvangirai had apologised to Mugabe
for his party's boycott of cabinet last week after MDC leaders had been
prevented from chairing it. Given the constant obstruction of GPA
objectives, it deserves to be boycotted.
It tells us all we need to know about the president's overweening
self-regard that he should describe the stayaway as "insolent".
Létat c'est moi it seems! We are only surprised that MDC ministers
have not been charged with lèse majesté. If we had a Bastille it would soon
be filling up as July 14 approaches.
Tsvangirai actually declared his support for the boycott after his
return. Then privately he apologised to Mugabe and the president wasted no
time in releasing the apology to the state media.
This attests to a dysfunctional party whose leader is formulating
policy on the hoof. It is supremely unimpressive and likely to serve the
needs of Mugabe's clique more than anybody else.
Did you see that incorrigible gang on the front page of the Herald on
Monday lining up to say goodbye to a frail-looking president as he departed
for Malawi? How extraordinary that all these powerful individuals need to be
present on the tarmac even when the president is departing from the country
for a single day. These are the people who have blocked the launch of the
National Security Council (because Tsvangirai will sit on it), preferring to
run the country through JOC. Would you entrust this country's future to this
And then Zanu PF complains when the government has problems with
In another glimpse of how others see us, we were interested to note
that upon his arrival in Sirte Mugabe was met by Libya's Justice minister.
And just the other day Col Gadaffi was making a scene in Pretoria
because the lowly Pallo Jordan was dispatched to welcome him. The whole
ceremony had to be repeated with Jacob Zuma doing the welcoming to
propitiate the prickly Libyan leader who looked like something out of a
Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
We were also intrigued by the Johnnie Carson story. Firstly, the
meeting in Sirte was presented as an important recognition for Mugabe,
equivalent to Tsvangirai's meeting with President Barack Obama. Carson was
"briefed on the process that led to the formation of the exclusive
government" - as if the State Department needed any explanation of this
"process" when their ambassador had been present in Pretoria at its genesis.
Then, a few days later, in a torrent of abuse, Mugabe described Carson
as "an idiotic little fellow".
This confirms reports we had received that the meeting broke up in
acrimony. In a revelation of just how disconnected he is from the real
world, Mugabe had clearly expected Carson to agree with his version of
events because he was an African American -- "an Afro-American for that
matter", although we are not sure what the distinction is!
It must be galling for the president to have his warped ideas of
racial solidarity shot down by America's most senior officials.
A black president, black assistant secretaries of state, black
ambassadors, and not a single taker among them for Zanu PF's discredited
Meanwhile, newspaper col-
umnist Bornwell Chakaodza had some useful advice for Tsvangirai after
his policy somersaults.
"Attempts by the prime minister to downplay issues of the rule of law,
abductions of MDC members and farm invasions, which we all know remain
outside his sphere of control, only dented his credibility among his hosts.
"All Tsvangirai needed to do was to state the truth of what is
happening in Zimbabwe, explaining his own party's position, his limitations
and the efforts he is making to correct the situation. Where he has met with
little cooperation from his GNU partners, his supporters needed to hear him
"Telling it like it is does not and will not threaten the existence of
the inclusive government. Only by confronting the truth of our circumstances
can we hope to exorcise the demons of self-interest that stand in the way of
our quest for true democracy."
Couldn't have said it better ourselves.
We noted with interest President Mugabe's refusal to say farewell to
US Ambassador James McGee. Taken together with his undiplomatic remarks
about Carson, it is clear Mugabe wants to keep stoking the fires of
hostility with the US. So while the PM is busy trying to rebuild bridges to
the West, Mugabe wants to knock them down.
Is this a sensible policy? Do Zimbabweans share his hostility to the
Obviously not. Ask around. Zanu PF is not only pursuing unpopular
policies, it is pursuing damaging ones.
Wasn't the whole point of the Sadc-guided GPA to stop Zimbabwe's
rulers inflicting further damage on the country? Quite clearly that hasn't
This is what the Financial Mail's editor Barney Mthombothi had to say
of Tsvangirai's predicament: "Tsvangirai may be prime minister but he
remains largely powerless. He cannot stop farm invasions. He cannot even
come to the rescue of his own supporters who are being brutalised by Mugabe's
henchmen. By sweetening the pill a bit Tsvangirai runs the risk of being
seen as Mugabe's useful idiot. The West is keen to help, but it will have to
be a Zimbabwe sans Mugabe. He's very much the fly in the ointment."
Meanwhile, ANC president Jacob Zuma has warned party leaders in
KwaZulu-Natal not to become "power-drunk" because of the party's recent
overwhelming election victory in the province.
"Victory intoxicates, and don't get drunk over it. Be modest and
respect your victory because if you don't, it could lead to your downfall,"
Zuma told delegates to the ANC provincial general council.
"Don't ridicule those you have defeated and you must deliver things
that you promised during campaigns."
Zuma also warned leaders that taking for granted the loss suffered by
the IFP was akin to Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe taking its victory for granted.
"Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe got drunk by victory and we all know what
happened thereafter," Zuma said. He also sounded a warning against those who
believe that the ANC's overwhelming victory in the province signified the
demise of the IFP.
"There is an impression that the IFP is dead. I warn you against that.
This is politics and not a football match. You don't have to create
unnecessary formidable opposition by taking the parties you have defeated
for granted. Treat them with respect."
How many people know that when Michael Jackson visited Zimbabwe in
1998 he was a guest of Zimbabwe Defence Industries? He came here to explore
business opportunities and ZDI boss Col Tshinga Dube asked Phillip Chiyangwa
to drive him around.
Chiyangwa recalls in an article in the Sunday Mail, "Remembering MJ",
Jackson being mesmerised by Chiyangwa's new BMW 750i.
But he wasn't so mesmerised about meeting the president, Chiyangwa
says. Jackson feigned a toothache to avoid the appointment. Chiyangwa had to
rush to Jackson's hotel room and coax the star into meeting Mugabe.
"But what am I going to say, Phillip?" Jackson wanted to know. Just
wait for the president to say something, was the advice. And so they duly
Chiyangwa says that international hostility following Zimbabwe's entry
in the Congo war put the kibosh on any investment Jackson planned. But they
remained in touch until 2004.
It was of course Nelson Mandela who Jackson really wanted to meet. On
that occasion his toothache cleared up very quickly we gather!
We were amused by President Rupiah Banda's remarks about Mugabe's
hectic schedule demonstrating that he was "a dedicated African leader".
"He was in Libya attending a summit recently, in Malawi (on Monday)
and today in Zambia and is rushing home for a cabinet meeting tomorrow."
What he could have added was ". . . to make damn sure nobody else slipped
into that seat while he was away".
Finally, we were intrigued by an advert in yesterday's Herald by
Premier Finance Group stating that Temba Mliswa, who is claiming to have
acquired an 8% stake in the bank, has in fact "no space in Premier Finance
Group, and will not be allowed any".
But then on Page B3 of the same day's Business Herald is a puff piece
on Mliswa saying he owns an 8% stake in the bank and that his success can be
attributed to his "local network" that includes "Bishop" Noel Pashapa,
Airforce Commander Perence Shiri, retired prisons chief Paradzayi Zimondi,
TA chief Shingi Mutasa - and God!
Shingi: How did you get in there?
Thursday, 09 July 2009 20:09
ONLY cynics and sceptics can dispute that the long oppressed and
distressed Zimbabwean economy has begun to recover.
But only naive optimists, succumbing to wishful thinking, can believe
that that recovery will be completed rapidly. Thanks to gross economic
mismanagement, fuelled by placing political objectives ahead of the nation's
needs, the economy had progressively contracted over the last 11 years,
reduced to a shrivelled and shrunken shell of its former self.
Inflation soared endlessly upwards, employed numbers plunged
continuously downwards, the poverty-stricken increased constantly to more
than seven million, government became bankrupt - these were but a few
characteristics of the decimated economy. But, despite the fact that there
are many who scoff at suggestions of positive economic transformation, the
reality is that upturn has begun.
That this is so is irrefutably proven by the transition from the world's
highest ever hyperinflation in 2008 to monthly deflation from January to May
2009 (June inflation data is currently awaited, but will undoubtedly either
reflect further deflation, or very minimal inflation). The slow restoration
of economic wellbeing is evidenced by the absence of the immense scarcities
of basic commodities that prevailed in 2008, by the growing interest being
demonstrated by potential investors in Zimbabwe's vast investment
opportunities, by the near total disappearance of unlawful money-changing
traders, and by a slow but growing inflow of international funding, as well
as positive assessments emanating from the International Monetary Fund.
Nevertheless, many positive measures and actions by government and the
private sector alike is absolutely necessary if the economic recovery is to
progress. One of the most critical keys (of many) is the revitalisation of
Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector. In the so-called "good old days", that
sector was the second greatest employer of labour, and generator of foreign
exchange, its performance only exceeded by that of agriculture. Agricultural
rehabilitation and recovery is possible, but only over an extended period of
time, whilst restoration of wellbeing for the manufacturing segment of the
economy can be achieved far more rapidly. Regrettably, however, the industry
is confronted by innumerable challenges which must be (and can be!)
overcome if its recovery is to be rapid and substantial, and it needs
constructive actions by government, parastatals, labour and others,
complementary to those of the industrialists. Foremost amongst the
lRecurrent demands by labour for wage increase far beyond the means of
the manufacturers. Admittedly, Zimbabwe's workers have been grievously
afflicted by the intense escalation of Cost of Living in 2008, and almost
all earn a relative pittance as compared to the poverty datum line.
Notwithstanding, employers can neither pay that which prices their products
beyond market-related competitiveness, nor that which they do not have. The
industrial labour force needs to recognise realities, including that it is
better to earn too little, than to earn nothing, and that unrealistic wage
demands can only lead to business downsizing or closure, with concomitant
unemployment. Labour must also appreciate that enhanced efficiency and
productivity fuels employer viability and progressively improved worker
lAlmost all industries are now highly under-capitalised, as a
consequence of last year's extreme hyperinflation and resultant operating
losses, and as a result of the recent "dollarisation" of the economy. That
currency-change policy was absolutely essential as an element of enabling
economic recovery, but a negative consequence was that the working capital
base of most enterprises was suddenly severely eroded. The tragedy was that
not only commerce and industry were so affected, but the financial sector
suffered similarly. The decimation of its capital base, concurrently with a
near-total discontinuance of deposits of funds by customers, deprived the
banking and allied institutions of the ability to advance to manufacturers
the funds necessary to restore their working capital limitations.
lA major challenge impacting upon virtually all manufacturers is the
extremely erratic services of many parastatals, concurrently with
extraordinarily great charges for those services, being at levels very
markedly greater than prevailing in neighbouring territories. Endless
electricity load-shedding (often inconsistently with pre-published
schedules), compounded by recurrent faults, massively reduces manufacturing
sector productivity, whilst the excessively high charges impact adversely
upon the manufacturers' ability to be regionally price competitive.
Similarly, in some Zimbabwean industrial areas, water supplies are extremely
unreliable, and throughout the country telecommunications are horrendously
unsatisfactory and especially so in respect of national, regional and
international calls and telefax transmissions. And those appalling services
are subject to unjustifiably high charges, emulating the exceedingly high
charges of Zesa, other parastatals, and local authorities.
lMost of the manufacturing sector is also gravely affected by the
magnitude of skills losses in recent years, as Zimbabweans' "brain drain" to
various countries in Southern Africa and further afield intensified. That
loss of skills has been exacerbated by most of industry having been unable
to upgrade, modernise and rehabilitate very ageing plant and machinery.
Capital availability constraints, intensified by immense foreign currency
scarcities, precluded manufacturers fully maintaining and developing their
production infrastructures. This has curbed volume production necessary
for market competitiveness, and increased operating costs significantly.
lSome manufacturers have also been very adversely affected by very
extensive importation, from the Far East in general, and China in
particular, of vast quantities of factory "seconds" and reject goods,
blatantly imported by techniques circumventing the payment of customs duties
and other import imposts, and as a result marketed (usually in the flea
markets) at prices which sharply reduce market demand for Zimbabwean
products, irrespective of major disparities in product quality and
durability. This applies to a very wide range of goods, but especially
impacts severely upon clothing and footwear manufacturers, the country being
flooded by imported substandard, second-hand and factory-reject goods.
lAnother great challenge impacting negatively upon the industrialists
has been government's demand of payment of value added tax by the fifth day
of the month, and further provisional payments thereof mid-month. The effect
of this is to further erode the decimated working capital base for, as a
general rule, the industrialists are having to fund the payments to the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority before having received payment from customers,
for most sales by the manufacturers can only be achieved by an extension of
credit facilities to the customers, as they too are subject to inadequate
working capital circumstances.
Concerted and dynamic interactions between government and the
manufacturers, and upgrading of parastatal services concurrently with their
applying rational pricing policies, and access to international lines of
credit - directly or via local banks - are prerequisites to a rapid
manufacturing sector recovery.
Thursday, 09 July 2009 19:58
VIRTUALLY abandoned and discarded by a bankrupt government she has
worked for almost 30 years, my sister Zanele Ngwenya, 55, languishes in a
dilapidated hospital ward after a bone-crunching automobile accident.
To term the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) a "hospital" is an
overstatement. Almost 30 years under the clutches of a senseless, abusive
dictatorship, Zimbabwe's once fine medical system has turned into a
hellhole. A "hospital" with no blankets, no food, no drugs, blocked
plumbing, and two solitary tungsten bulbs dangling from the cracked ceiling
is a good setting for a horror movie.
Zanele is one of many women in the ward that attends to fractures, but
due to an astronomical flight of doctors out of the country, she has to make
do with a North Korean practitioner whose knowledge of English does not
extend much beyond one word: "bones".
The early morning visiting hour greets you with an overwhelming stench
of cheap medicine, human odour and stale food. Ironically, a few blocks down
the road, a state-of-the-art health investment worth several millions of US
dollars lies idle almost 10 years after its completion. Ekusileni Medical
Centre was the brainchild of Zimbabwe political icon, former vice-president
July, another irony, is commemoration month of the death of Nkomo.
State media is currently engrossed in an orgy of primitive egotistic
hypocrisy, praising Nkomo as "Father Zimbabwe" and yet, his party and
properties either remain expropriated or, like Ekusileni Medical Centre, lie
While Zanele is gasping for life at UBH, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Mugabe brandish swords at each other on issues a far cry from
life-saving reality. Of course Zimbabweans want a new constitution - at
least they can guarantee a quick exit of the forgettable Zanu PF machinery
of deceit, repression, corruption and violence. But Mugabe is not giving up
without a fight. The agreement that brought about the inclusive government
was succinct in that Zimbabweans have to debate and reach a consensus on a
new constitution within 18 months from September 2008.
Article 6 of this agreement created an all party Select Committee of
Parliament to supervise constitutional debates in communities. But other
members of civil society, particularly the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), argue that a process driven by MPs is not only prone to partisan
contamination, but also subverts the will of the people. Their definition of
"popular" excludes politicians, who on the other hand claim they were
themselves elected by "the people".
The conflict of constitutionalism is not new in this southern African
country. Ian Douglas Smith, the last colonial ruler of Rhodesia, also had
his brand of constitution that was rejected by the British who eventually
brought him kicking and screaming to Lancaster House, London, in 1979 where
technically, Zimbabwe was born. Both Mugabe and his late revolutionary
colleague, Nkomo, resented the British-brokered document that guaranteed
property rights of the white minority for 10 years.
By 2008, Mugabe had amended the Lancaster House constitution a record
19 times, hence the ire of the NCA and their constituents. In fact, 1999 was
another battlefield because the NCA, at the time fronted by the then
Secretary General for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Morgan
Tsvangirai, dismissed Chief Justice Chidyausiku's Mugabe-appointed
Constitutional Commission as a sham. Almost every protagonist ran a parallel
process, so that by the time Mugabe's propaganda hit man Professor Jonathan
Moyo took his version of the draft constitution to a referendum, the NCA and
Tsvangirai had galvanised enough Zimbabweans to vote "No!"
Since then, the NCA, through its never-say-die chairperson Dr Lovemore
Madhuku, has waged a campaign against using Mugabe's amended constitution to
drive the electoral process. His argument is that as long as Mugabe is
afforded unlimited executive authority he will, as he has, manipulate all
electoral outcomes, even if he appointed what he terms an "independent"'
Some neutral commentators have however put a damper on Madhuku's
crusade. At one time, the NCA was meant to have changed guard, but Madhuku
is alleged to have manipulated the organisation's constitution to enable him
to resume another term as chairman. Thus, the critics argue, the good doctor
has lost the moral (high) ground to wage a democracy war against fellow
constitution abuser Mugabe!
The bulk of civil society is also divided. Recent stakeholder
consultations have not produced hard and fast resolutions on desisting from
participating in the government brokered process. Some argue that the select
committee of parliament co-chaired by lawyers Douglas Mwonzora of MDC and
Paul Mangwana of Zanu PF is not representative enough, since there are other
parties that did not make it to parliament but have a following, like Dr
Simba Makoni's Mavambo Kusile Dawn.
However, others say that MDC and Zanu PF are THE political parties
that represent THE people, so their legitimacy is unquestionable. The second
group urges its constituents to participate to ensure content reflects
sectoral interests, while the last groups claim to be "observers" to the
On July 3, both the NCA and ZCTU stayed out of another stakeholder
people's convention running under the "Our Country Too" brand attended by
two thousand civil society representatives. This group divided
constitutionalism into eight thematic entities who took common resolutions
on issues like enshrining fundamental liberties in the Bill of Rights,
devolution of power and proportional representation. Enshrining local
governance in the national constitution and infusing powers of recall was
said to be key in progressive constitutions.
The people's convention was resolute in trashing the GNU Kariba draft,
while arguing that if the select committee of parliament so much as
manipulates the process, they will campaign, like they did in February 1999,
for a "No" vote at the next constitutional referendum in 2010. Taken
whichever way, until there is a system of governance that allows for
democratically elected representation guaranteeing of individual liberties
and good governance, the likes of Zanele and her brother Rejoice will have
to make do with a dilapidated public health delivery system.
*Ngwenya is president of the Coalition for Liberal Market Solutions, a
think tank based in Harare and affiliated with www.AfricanLiberty.org.
Thursday, 09 July 2009 20:37
THE two formations of the MDC appear to be in competition to see which
can appear the most delusional about our national situation.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube
both think the farm invasions and accompanying violence are a product of the
media's fevered imagination.
Wearing his Jomic hat, Ncube denied any form of farm invasions but
said there were "a number of anomalies" on the farms, which the media has
wrongfully interpreted as invasions.
It was useful therefore to have Ben Freeth's well-documented account
this week of the extensive looting and destruction on commercial farms in
the Chegutu area.
Six thousand tonnes of citrus ready for the export market was pillaged
on Stockdale Farm before the evicted owners could reap a single orange,
having made a huge investment in production.
Their state-of-the-art equipment was "acquired" by the new owner, a
On Northleigh Farm, a once productive dairy farm, there is no longer a
single cow being milked. Invaders, allegedly assisted by law-enforcement
officers, broke into the main house and took possession of the house and
This story is repeated throughout the district, Freeth notes. Some of
the invaders can produce offer letters. Most don't bother.
Many of the commercial farmers who tried to remain on the land have
been charged with what Freeth calls the unique Zimbabwean crime of farming.
These are not isolated episodes as Tsvangirai and Ncube would have us
believe. They are systematic, from Mashonaland West to the sugar-cane
estates and conservancies of the lowveld and the coffee plantations of the
The story is one of a lawless elite helping themselves and a
law-enforcement system that is partisan.
Ironically, some of the victims of land-grabs were able to hold out
with the support of their workers until this year. But with the formation of
the inclusive government they have surrendered to the new wave of
occupations that are, the CFU says, as bad as, if not worse than those of
2000. Ncube appears to think it's okay so long as the new arrivals carry
offer letters. It's not okay. This is institutional racism.
On some of the most productive farms producing seed maize, seed wheat,
and soya beans, farmers have received orders from the Ministry of Lands to
Tsvangirai has failed lamentably to use his powers in government to
halt this anarchy or to deal with the looters. But this is precisely what he
should be doing.
The whole purpose of the inclusive-government project was to restore
order and productivity on the land so the country could become
self-sufficient once again. But as it stands, the MDC prefers a policy of
propitiation towards President Mugabe which requires it to do nothing in the
face of criminal activity. What has happened to the land audit the party
touted last year? And what use is Giles Mutseyekwa at Home Affairs?
Nobody seems to care about the farm workers rendered destitute in all
this. They are the silent victims of Zanu PF's misrule and the MDC's
indolence. It is sufficient that he saw it, Arthur Mutambara said of farm
invasions after his whistle-stop tour of Mashonaland West. Actually doing
something appears not to be on his list of priorities!
Donor governments gave Tsvangirai an unambiguous message during his
tour of Europe and North America two weeks ago. Curb political crime, stop
the detentions and prosecutions under repressive laws like the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, and open up the media.
To date he is focusing on the media. This is welcome, but he should be
active on a broad front.
Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Ncube should understand there will be no
assistance to Zimbabwe beyond humanitarian needs so long as misrule is
countenanced. Their constant attempts to gloss over what is so evidently
repression, land seizures, and political prosecutions will not escape those
from whom they seek sustenance.
There has been some talk, most notably from Mutambara, of a national
rebranding to attract investment and tourists.
Sadly this won't do the trick. Former CFU head Colin Cloete in Selous
is currently incurring huge costs protecting his farming business from a
So long as Jomic is ducking its responsibilities, getting bogged down
over offer letters, and the Prime Minister is looking the other way,
Zimbabwe will be stuck with its rogue image.
That's not good for business.
Thursday, 09 July 2009 20:11
POLITICIANS have an uncanny propensity for opening their mouths and
putting both feet in them. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, called this
sort of thing dontopedology. And he should know!
We had a classic example of it last week from Finance minister Tendai
For the record, we have a good professional working relationship with
However, we hold no brief for him. The Zimbabwe Independent does not
at all hold a brief for any politician or anyone else for that matter. We
don't even hold a brief for our publisher and paymaster on his personal
Following a news report in the Independent last week that Biti had
signed a US$5 billion deal with China, the minister hastily called a press
conference to deny the story. The US$5 billion is part of complex
calculations that Biti should know.
The Independent had reported Biti had signed a cautioned MoU with
China's Eximbank on condition of explicit legal documentation and
declaration of the obligations of the Chinese to sort out the platinum deal.
The story was based on documents, including minutes of a meeting that
was held in Biti's office on June 8, which mentioned US$5 billion.
The meeting was attended by Biti himself, his advisor Conrad
Nyamurova, and an official in his ministry, Mary Takavarasha, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono, his deputy Edward Mashiringwani and Gono's advisor
Our story was that Zimbabwe and China are negotiating a US$5 billion
deal involving the mortgaging of the country's platinum resources worth
US$40 billion which will benefit Beijing more than Harare.
The background to the deal dates back to events starting in 2006.
It involved the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and a Chinese
company Wanbao Mining for the mining of platinum in a concession known as
the Selous and Northfields reserves covering 110 square kilometres.
The agreements to the deal were initially dodgy. Biti has been trying
to sort out the mess, at least legally. He has signed an MoU with Eximbank
to pave way for the platinum deal that is estimated up to US$40 billion.
However, Biti last Friday called a press conference to deny our story.
Using his characteristically intemperate language, the minister claimed that
our story constituted "gutter journalism" or "sad journalism", whatever that
"That is a story without any foundation, without any credibility,
without any legitimacy," he claimed. "It is sad journalism."
Biti however acknowledged that there was a deal that was signed in
"That is the only, only, only agreement between a Zimbabwean interest
and a Chinese interest over platinum in Zimbabwe," Biti said. "That resource
is still to be developed. So where US$5 billion arises eludes my wisdom. It's
gutter journalism." The US$5 billion figure was an estimate floated at the
June 8 meeting in Biti's office.
Now let's closely examine Biti's remarks. Is Biti trying to deny
Zimbabwe and China are negotiating a platinum deal which he himself is very
uncomfortable with? Is he denying that he has signed a cautioned MoU with
Eximbank deal? Did the June 8 meeting take place or not and was the
Zimbabwe-China deal discussed?
We wanted to ask Biti all these questions since last week, but we
could not meet him. Last week I spent almost one and half hours in his
office waiting to interview him -- in vain. On Wednesday our appointment
failed due to other engagements. We have an appointment for today.
If all Biti's answers to these queries are in the negative, does it
mean then that the minutes of the June 8 meeting were fabricated? If his
responses are in the affirmative, what exactly was he denying?
Trying to make cheap political capital, President Robert Mugabe
confirmed the Chinese deal this week, saying it was negotiated by his
previous regime, not the MDC, and funds would come in tranches. What is Biti's
comment on this?
Biti has also denied Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's announcement
that Zimbabwe had obtained US$950 million from China. "While I was away, the
government, through Finance minister Tendai Biti, also secured lines of
credit from China totalling US$950 million," Tsvangirai said last week.
Mugabe also confirmed the US$950 million.
But Biti dismissed this, saying: "There is no foundation at all in the
press reports that we have received a loan of US$950 million from China."
In other words, Biti is simply saying Tsvangirai lied. Is he also
implying Mugabe lied as well? But who here is really spinning a yarn? The
US$950 million deal is on the table.
Initially, I was tempted to ignore Biti's denials simply because they
came across as surreal. I believe that as a journalist never chase a denial
from a politician because if you let it race along, it will run itself to
But in the public interest as a newspaper that first wrote the story
we had to respond. And this is our honest response. Frankly speaking, we
think the minister's remarks were political gibberish of Jabberwocky
We certainly think that by denying everything, Biti was being
economical with the truth. If our story, which we believe is true based on
the evidence we have, is "gutter journalism", then the minister's
intemperate reaction was "gutter politics".
To be fair, if we are off base and off message, we would really love
Biti to prove us wrong.
BY DUMISANI MULEYA
July 10, 2009
Jan Raath in Harare
There was rare public questioning for President Mugabe over his land-grab
programme yesterday during an investment conference - and his answer did not
exactly reassure visiting foreign businessmen.
He told the conference, which was convened to raise finance to rebuild the
economy after the past ten years of misrule, that "not necessarily" every
white farm would be seized.
Mr Mugabe also asserted, to much incredulity, that Zimbabwe had paid white
farmers "compensation for developments and improvements", adding that
compensation should be paid by the British Government.
The false assertion came in answer to an unexpected question from Trevor
Gifford, the president of the predominantly white Commercial Farmers' Union
(CFU). Mr Gifford wanted to know who was going to compensate white farmers
and why they were denied the right to own and farm land.
About 12,000 farms have been seized, most of them violently, since the land
grab began, the CFU says. No one has received full compensation. By
eliminating nearly all white commercial farming, Mr Mugabe set off the
collapse of one of the most prosperous African nations. Zimbabwe was
classified last month as the most aid-dependent country in the world.
Mr Mugabe's last encounter with the CFU was in April 2000, soon after his
"revolutionary land reform" began. Union officials pleaded with him to
assert the rule of law after the first white farmer was murdered. The
delegation of farmers was threatened with violence and the next day Mr
Mugabe declared on state radio that "white farmers are enemies of the state".
Arthur Mutambara, the Deputy Prime Minister and head of the lesser faction
of the Movement for Democratic Change, contradicted Mr Mugabe yesterday. He
told the would-be investors that Zimbabwe needed property rights and
security of tenure to be restored. He said Zimbabwe "can't keep pushing the
blame" for its failures on to former colonial powers.
by Patricia Mpofu Friday 10 July 2009
HARARE - Amnesty International has urged Zimbabwe's power-sharing government
to set up an independent body to probe complaints of human rights violations
by members of the country's police force.
The international rights watchdog said on Wednesday that such a body should
be accessible to the members of the public.
"The Zimbabwean authorities should set up an independent complaints body
accessible to the public which investigates all allegations against the
police," said Amnesty International secretary general Irene Khan in a
Amnesty made the call following a ruling by a Harare magistrate on Tuesday
ordering the government to investigate alleged assault of four women human
rights activists by police while in custody.
Police, arbitrarily arrested and assaulted the four activists from the Women
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) pressure group, on June 18 after they took part in
a peaceful demonstration to commemorate World Refugee Day.
"While the court's decision is welcome, the Zimbabwean authorities must now
get to the bottom of these allegations and bring those responsible to
account," said Khan, who was in Harare at the time of the women's arrest.
The four women were arrested about 50 metres outside a hotel in Harare where
Khan was holding a press conference on June 18. Police assaulted the
activists and are reported to have accused them of embarrassing the
government in front of international visitors.
Prominent human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who is representing the
activists, told the court that the women were also denied access to
treatment for their injuries as a punishment for their activism.
The state was ordered to present its report on the women's allegations by
"This is one of the many cases documented by Amnesty International that show
Zimbabwean police's poor record of policing peaceful demonstrations and
ill-treatment of perceived political opponents while in custody," said
Amnesty about the arrest and assault of the women activists.
Backing its calls for an independent authority to monitor the police on
human rights, the international rights watchdog said: "We do not trust that
police are capable of investigating themselves.
"Lack of accountability within the ZRP appears to be more of an
institutional culture as opposed to lack of a legal framework or knowledge
of how to bring those responsible to book. The ZRP has been instrumental in
silencing government critics since 2000 and continues to do so with total
Amnesty also voiced concern over delays in implementing reforms and
retraining of the police, five months since the creation of an inclusive
A power-sharing agreement signed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara that led to formation
of the unity government commits the new administration to undertake training
programmes to assist the police and other security agencies appreciate the
rights of freedom of assembly, association and other basic rights.
"Despite the political agreement, police continue to categorise as criminal
all legitimate activities of human rights defenders," said Amnesty.
Amnesty International specifically called for urgent reforms of the police's
law and order department and the anti-riot unit both of which have been
identified by victims as the most notorious for using torture, excessive
force, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention as tools of repression
against perceived political opponents since 2000.
Khan led a high level mission to Zimbabwe from June 13 to 18. She met with
senior government officials including Vice President Joice Mujuru and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Among other senior government ministers, Khan also met with the co-Ministers
of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa and discussed the urgent
need for police reforms.
Since 2000, Amnesty International has documented numerous cases involving
thousands of human rights activists who were victims of arbitrary arrest,
unlawful detention, use of excessive force and torture while in police
custody. In addition, detainees have been denied bail, medical care, water,
food and access to lawyers and family as a form of punishment for their
activism. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
09 July 2009
A member of parliament for Zimbabwe's former Movement for Democratic Change
was sentenced to 18 months in prison - six of them suspended - on Thursday
after conviction on charges that he committed violence in the turbulent
post-election period of 2008.
Magistrate Samuel Zuze pronounced the sentence against Meki Makuyana, 44,
member for the Chipinge South constituency of Manicaland province in the
House of Assembly.
Makuyana was the fourth MDC lawmaker to be convicted and sentenced this
Mutare West MP Shuah Mudiwa was recently handed a seven year sentence for
Chipinge East member Mathias Mlambo got 10 months for committing public
violence, and lawmaker Lynette Karenyi of Chimanimani West was found guilty
of electoral fraud.
Karenyi, Mudiwa and Mlambo have appealed their convictions, and lawyers for
Makuyana are also filing an appeal. The MDC issued a statement calling all
the charges "trumped up."
MDC Manicaland spokesman Pishai Muchauraya told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such convictions reflect an attempt by the
former ruling ZANU-PF party and loyalists in the judiciary to whittle down
the MDC's House majority.
by Own Correspondent Friday 10 July 2009
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's unity government has been urged to immediately
repeal all repressive laws and lift all restrictions on the media to enhance
the political transition in that country.
The call was made at a three-day Commonwealth Organisations' Roundtable
conference which ended in Sandton yesterday.
Lifting media restrictions and repealing all repressive laws was a priceless
exercise which could be done immediately to enhance free expression and free
flow of information, particularly in the current process of re-writing a new
constitution for Zimbabwe.
The Roundtable brought together about 80 Commonwealth associations and
organisations as well as Zimbabwean civic society groups and others from the
southern African region to review the needs of Zimbabwe during its current
transition, identify priorities for practical help and support and develop
new programmes of action to enhance the transition.
Mark Collins, head of the Commonwealth Foundation, said the 53-member club
of former British colonies had a wealth of experience drawn from former
trouble spots like Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Northern Ireland and other
countries which can be valuable to Zimbabwe as its people seek to achieve
reconciliation and healing after a period of turmoil.
Although President Robert Mugabe had pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth
in 2003, its people had always remained part of the Commonwealth and the
club's associations had thought it prudent to continue re-engaging with
civic society in Zimbabwe and offer assistance wherever possible to enhance
the transitional process.
"There is no competition going on between SADC, the African Union and now
the Commonwealth to see who can engage (in Zimbabwe) better," said Collins,
in response to a question at a press conference about whether the
Commonwealth could do anything that SADC had failed to achieve in Zimbabwe.
"Our idea is to help the transitional process. We want to use every tool in
the tool bag to ensure that this process is a success."
Carl Right, the Commonwealth local government forum's secretary-general,
said his organisation had the technical skills that Zimbabwe's local
authorities could draw from as they battled to restore services and
infrastructure destroyed during the country's 10-year crisis.
Some participants had been unhappy that instead of pushing for the repeal of
all draconian laws which impinge on basic rights and press freedoms, the new
unity government was still setting up commissions to regulate the media.
There was no guarantee that these commissions would fair any better than the
previous ones which had destroyed the independent press.
The pre-2000 environment in Zimbabwe in which the media was not regulated
and citizens were allowed to set up their newspapers without hindrance is
what Zimbabwe desperately needed now.
Cephas Zinhumwe, the CEO of the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO), said one major success of the unity government had
been the ability of his members to move freely to distribute humanitarian
aid in the country.
However, he also called for the repeal of the repressive media and security
laws which had been used to stifle NGOs in the past. As long as these laws
remained in the statute books, the police could always resort to them
whenever it suited them, Zinhumwe warned.
Former South African cabinet minister Jay Naidoo, who chairs the Development
Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), said his institution was prepared to help in
Zimbabwe's reconstruction but also called for reforms particularly at the
central bank to ensure transparency in the use of any resources extended for
the reconstruction process. - ZimOnline
July 10, 2009
The mining company run by Phil Edmonds, the former England spin bowler, may
at last have found its line and length in Zimbabwe.
Central African Mining & Exploration (Camec) has released an independent
estimate for two platinum prospects in Zimbabwe that it bought 15 months
ago, stating that there is enough metal there to support a mine for 20
Camec's £120 million purchase of the prospects from a secretive company
called Lefever sparked accusations from the then opposition party led by
Morgan Tsvangirai that it was funding Robert Mugabe's regime. Now that Mr
Tsvangirai is Prime Minister in a power-sharing deal with the dictator, he
may change his view. He scrapped a punitive tax on foreign companies last
week. Brock Salier, an analyst with Ambrian, who visited the site last month
said: "Tenure is always a sensitive issue in Zimbabwe." However, he added
that he was confident that Mr Tsvangirai was unlikely to jeopardise foreign
investment by nationalising mining assets. Mr Salier gives "buy" advice and
has an 18p target price.
Camec aims to start building the mine this autumn, with production by 2012.
Its shares rose 0.79p to 10.75p, but are far off the 60p they reached last
year before the collapse of metal prices.
By Sandra Nyaira
08 July 2009
Shortly after the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs warned that Zimbabwe must prepare for the threat of swine flu,
reports emerged in Harare this week of the country's first two cases on the
heels of occurrences in South Africa.
Reuters reported that state media said a man of Asian origin recently
arrived from London had tested positively for the virus and was quarantined
The agency quoted Health Minister Henry Madzorera as saying he could only
confirm the case of an 18-year-old squash player who was being treated in
In its latest monthly report, OCHA said Zimbabwe has had a respite from its
humanitarian emergency as cholera cases have dwindled, but is now at risk
from the H1N1 flu.
When the U.N. agency issued the report two cases had just been reported in
South Africa. It said South Africa's proximity raises the need for plans to
deal with an outbreak.
Responding to the OCHA warning, Health Minister Henry Madzorera said
Zimbabwe is on high alert and has plans to deal with any such outbreak,
adding that the country has received sophisticated equipment and drugs from
the World Health Organization.
But Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human
Rights said he does not believe Zimbabwe is ready to deal with a major
outbreak of H1N1 flu, pointing to the need for effective border controls.
Cholera has claimed more than 4,000 lives in the country since August of
last year, though the epidemic has subsided significantly from its peak in
WILSON JOHWA Published: 2009/07/10 06:56:56 AM
A NETWORK of regional and international civic organisations affiliated to
the Commonwealth is developing a special programme to assist Zimbabwe with
training, along with technical and other humanitarian support.
This is despite Zimbabwe having left the Commonwealth in 2003, ahead of its
likely expulsion over human rights abuses.
Yesterday, the head of the Commonwealth Foundation, Mark Collins, said in
Johannesburg that Zimbabweans could apply for Commonwealth scholarships
Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth when the government was angered by the
country's continued suspension from the organisation. Political contact was
severed, but some civil society links survived.
Collins said engagement with Zimbabwe by the Commonwealth network had been
growing since civil society bodies petitioned for such support at the 2007
Commonwealth heads of state and government meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
This week, at a three-day round table of Commonwealth associations and
regional civic bodies held in Johannesburg, representatives committed
themselves to press freedom and the rule of law.
Ironically these were the principles adopted by the Commonwealth's Harare
Declaration of 1991.
"This meeting has been the first step and a programme for the future has
been developed," Collins said.
The roundtable had acknowledged that aid money would not make any difference
to the dire situation in Zimbabwe if conditions there were not conducive to
reform. While non-governmental organisations were now able to travel to much
of the country freely, the concern was that repressive legislation was still
Formal political ties between Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth are yet to be
restored, although Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met Commonwealth
officials during his recent visit to Europe and the US.
Chairman of the Commonwealth committee on Zimbabwe Carl Wright said
Tsvangirai's meeting had encouraged the roundtable to invite a Zimbabwe
cabinet minister to attend.
Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, a Movement for Democratic Change member, had been
invited. She had not attended, but had sent a representative
Commonwealth heads of state and government were due to meet in Trinidad and
Tobago later this year, with the thought that the body ought to re-engage
with Zimbabwe. But Wright said the organisation was now concerned with
reconstruction and development.
Earlier this year a mission by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to
Zimbabwe found a shortage of skills, including manual workers.
Wright said it was envisaged that cities twinned with Zimbabwean towns -
such as Durban which had such an arrangement with Bulawayo - would provide
technical skills for their partner cities.
July 10, 2009
Fans travelling to the World Cup finals in South Africa next year will find
that the host nation is so pushed for accommodation that they may be
encouraged to base themselves in neighbouring countries. Zimbabwe is being
promoted as one of the most likely options.
South Africa's lack of hotels means that a system will also be incorporated
whereby fans are billeted in local family homes. A further plan is to push
for use of hotels in tourist areas that are not near World Cup venues and
bus in supporters from afar. An example given by Fifa, the sport's world
governing body, is to base fans on the picturesque Garden Route and
transport them by bus to Durban, 750 miles away.
With only a year and a day until the World Cup final, these are just some of
the headlines if you want to be daunted by what lies ahead. At a press
conference last week, after South Africa's hosting of the Confederations
Cup, Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said that accommodation and transport
were "now a big challenge".
It is quite something for Blatter to acknowledge such blatantly inherent
problems. He also said that, because of the chill of the South African
winter, camping was not an option for visitors. This may come as a surprise
to Polokwane, formerly known as Pietersburg, the northernmost host city,
which is planning a campsite for 2,000 people in local school grounds.
Again, the solution could lie over the Zimbabwe border, 130 miles away.
It should be acknowledged that this is fertile media territory. Before most
leading world sporting events, the hosts' flaws are rich pickings for the
press. Last year's Olympic Games in Beijing, it was reported, were going to
be ruined by smog and human rights atrocities and the venues for the Athens
Games four years earlier were never going to be built on time.
Yet there may not have been a top sporting event for which scepticism was
better founded than South Africa 2010. A prediction here is that, by this
time next year, hundreds, maybe thousands, will have missed kick-off times
or matches because of transport problems. Another prediction is that South
Africa will be unique, providing one of the best and richest sporting
experiences imaginable. And also that there may never have been one where
global goodwill has been stronger.
The World Cup is not only a landmark event for world football, it is a
defining event for its host nation. And here's hoping that, once the
football circus has been and gone, it will have defined it for the better.
Until 70,000 workers went on strike on Wednesday, it seemed that the one
certainty for 2010 was the construction of the stadiums. They would be
finished and would be splendid.
But, despite these recent problems, the evidence is persuasive. The Nelson
Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth is a beauty. The new stadium in
Nelspruit is built round 16 pylons made to look like giraffes. From the
south stand of the (nearly finished) 46,000-seat venue in Polokwane, which
backs on to a game reserve, there will be days when punters will be able to
see the real thing. And in Soweto's (almost) rebuilt Soccer City Stadium,
the players' tunnel has been designed like the inside of a goldmine, a
reflection of the industry that gave Johannesburg its wealth.
It does not stop there. Only last November, the near-complete rebuild of
another 46,000-seat venue, the Orlando Stadium on the other side of Soweto,
was finished. And next week, financiers hope to finalise funding for the new
50,000-seat Amakhozi Stadium in Johannesburg, for the Kaizer Chiefs football
club. Yet neither the Orlando nor the Amakhozi is needed as World Cup
It is as if a packet of stadium seeds has been sprinkled over the Rainbow
Nation. The question is not whether there will be enough world-class
facilities for South Africa's World Cup. It is: are there too many? And when
the World Cup has been and gone, can they really all fund themselves, as
they profess, on a diet of rock concerts, religious festivals and the
occasional big sporting event?
In an interview with The Times, Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the
World Cup organising committee, scotched rumours that it was because of Fifa
pressure that stadium hunger broke out. It was South Africa and its host
cities, he said, that wanted to make a statement and post an advertisement
for the country. An expensive advertisement it is, too. The World Cup "will
strengthen this country's profile," Jordaan said. "The world will be
Indeed, the surprise for a first-time visitor to Cape Town next year will be
turning right out of the airport on to the main road into the city and being
confronted with the Langa township, a 60,000 (some say 250,000) tin-shack
community at the roadside. Then, farther down the road, finding the new
Green Point Stadium in one of the wealthiest, most attractive corners of the
city. By the way, there is no public transport system between one and the
Green Point, at the planning stage, was to cost 1.2 billion rands (about £93
million) but is estimated now at R4.5 billion. In fact, it was not even in
the original World Cup bid document because Cape Town was to host matches at
Newlands, its historical rugby ground. The same is the case in Durban (costs
climbing from R1.6 billion to R3.1 billion), where the magnificent ABSA
Stadium was billed as a host until the city decided to build another stadium
next to it.
There can be no starker picture of flawed planning than the Durban skyline.
The city council agreed to the new Durban Stadium because it could be
configured as an athletics stadium and therefore host the Olympics or
Commonwealth Games. However, to fund itself post-2010, it needs Natal
Sharks, the rugby team, to move from their ABSA Stadium home.
Yet the Sharks have no intention of doing so, and as Brian van Zyl, their
chief executive, said: "Why move into an athletics stadium where the seating
is too far from the field of play? We could never understand why they
elected to build in the first place. The decision was totally irresponsible
and, as a city rate-payer, it was very annoying."
But this is no isolated case. The Super 14 rugby union teams bring in the
cash, which is why Green Point also needs the Stormers to move from
Newlands. Meanwhile, in Port Elizabeth, for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium,
there is no Super 14 team and the Premier Soccer League club have been
And Polokwane has a city population of 250,000, is building a 46,000-seat
stadium (with no roof on the east stand because of overspend), has no host
team of note and not even a stadium management company appointed to find
It does not take Lovers Sibanda, the editor of The Speaker, the Polokwane
newspaper, to mention the words "white elephant" and say that "it is
supposed to be a business that sustains itself, but I don't think it will".
Indeed, of the ten stadiums to be used for the World Cup next year, five
have been built from scratch (total cost about R12billion) and not one
appears to be a sustainable post-2010 business. Furthermore, only one of the
five (in Port Elizabeth) was in the original bid document.
There will be many wonderful stories from next year's World Cup, but how and
why South Africa 2010 went from its original, economically tight bid to its
present shape may be the enduring one. And was it responsible of Fifa to let
it do so?
Staging a World Cup is a huge investment and South Africa, of all host
nations, needs a proper return - to have its reputation swelling, not its
overdraft. The hope is that the World Cup will help the First and Third
worlds of South Africa to edge closer. Let us hold that hope, but it is
becoming a slim one.
Potential for lack of air-traffic control
There may be no greater test of the logistics at South Africa 2010 than
those on match day at the airport in Polokwane. It is an example of how the
country has benefited from the World Cup: the main building has been
rebuilt, which would not have happened otherwise, but the new building is
not remotely large enough to cater for World Cup traffic.
Polokwane, formerly known as Pietersburg, is the capital of Limpopo
province, a stop-off 230 miles north of Johannesburg. The hope is that the
World Cup will advertise the city as the gateway to Kruger Park. At present,
the airport's daily traffic involves the arrival and departure of four
30-seat planes. Because airport traffic is counted only one way, Polokwane
airport is used at most, therefore, by 120 people. The daily average is 100.
During the World Cup, however, this could increase a hundred-fold. At its
peak, on match days, in Polokwane a procession of 20 Boeing 737s will come
and go. At a minimum, 7,500 people will disembark every day; at most it will
The airport authorities have also been informed that, on arrival, they are
expected to shift their punters from plane to bus in ten minutes. "You can
plan for it, but how do you deal with it?" Sipho Mthombeni, the airport
chief executive, said. "It will be a big challenge. Sometimes I lose sleep
about it." The ten-minute transfer? "I don't think it is possible," he said.
He is charged with training 50 temporary staff and using a neighbouring
plane hangar as a make-do arrivals lounge. "We have never experienced
anything like this," he said. "It is probable that it will not go as
smoothly as we would like."