July 20, 2012 in News, Politics
STATE-RUN Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru — widely understood to be
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba — last Saturday gave
readers an insight into his boss’ thinking following the Supreme Court
ruling ordering the president to set a date for by-elections by August 30.
In his column titled Zanu PF: When defeat gets so sweet, Manheru said this
was “a legal battle where Mugabe the president loses to Mugabe (the) leader
of a political party seeking an early electoral end” in the Government of
National Unity (GNU), which he describes as a “political charade”.
This clearly reflected the interpretation of the ruling the Zimbabwe
Independent got from senior Zanu PF officials loyal to Mugabe. Although
Mugabe lost the case, he emerged the winner insofar as the judgement gives
him a lifeline to resuscitate his plans for general elections this year
which were thwarted by Sadc leaders at their extraordinary summit in Luanda,
While some observers seem to think Mugabe lost the matter, the reality is he
lost as president of the country who has a constitutional obligation to
proclaim election dates, in this case by-elections, but won as Zanu PF
Mugabe’s lawyer Advocate Ray Goba was quick to say he expected his client to
comply with the order.
“The highest court has ruled and so we expect that the order would be
complied with,” he said.
The indirect Mugabe victory may however be hollow as it has been stated,
mainly by the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, (see Qhubani Moyo’s
opinion-editorial piece on page 15), the moratorium on by-elections is still
valid since Sadc leaders and principals extended it for the duration of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the inclusive government in Maputo in
November 2009 after the initial one year freeze had expired.
So despite the Supreme Court ruling, GPA parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations, are still bound by their own agreement not to contest each other
even if by-elections are held. Short of violating or pulling out of the GPA,
Zanu PF might not be able to benefit anything politically valuable from the
Mugabe had appealed a 2011 High Court order calling on him to proclaim
by-election dates for constituencies left vacant following the expulsion of
Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu from Ncube’s MDC.
While there is consensus the ruling was legally sound condemning Mugabe to a
rare court defeat, the veteran leader has ironically come out the winner as
the judgement gave him a lifeline to revive his call for elections this year
which had been effectively blocked by Sadc.
Mugabe had been demanding elections this year, with or without reforms,
including a new constitution.
Showing why Mugabe might be happy with the ruling, Manheru said the court
ruling had implications “well beyond the three by-elections to suggest many
possibilities, all of them favourable to Zanu PF”.
“More dramatically and boldly, the president may use this judgement to
dissolve parliament and get the country to move post-haste to harmonised
elections,” he wrote, revealing his and Zanu PF’s excitement at the
opportunities provided by the judgment.
The coalition government did not call for any by-elections since its
formation after the three parties had inserted a moratorium in the GPA
preventing them from contesting against each other for the first 12 months
of the inclusive government’s lifespan.
However, the moratorium was further extended in Maputo to cover the duration
of the GPA — something which ruins whatever designs Mugabe had in mind to
revive his crumbling elections plans.
Judging by the official Prime Minister’s Newsletter, the MDC-T seemed to be
holding the wrong end of the stick and unaware of the wider implications of
the ruling which it simplistically hailed as one of those rare episodes
where “Zimbabweans must celebrate the mere fact that for the first time in
its history, the Supreme Court went against the true intentions of Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF”.
While conceding the court decision is legally sound and by-elections are
overdue, University of Kent law lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa however said the
situation could be used by Zanu PF to test the strength of its popular
support and its electoral machinery ahead of general elections like it did
with the February 2000 constitutional referendum whose “No” vote effectively
awakened the party to the real prospect of looming electoral defeat ahead of
the June 2000 election”.
“It is generally agreed that the ‘No’ vote allowed Zanu PF to re-strategise
and prevent what seemed to be sure defeat in the 2000 parliamentary
elections,” Magaisa said.
He also said the ruling might result in a sheer waste of resources, given
the forthcoming constitutional referendum and general elections.
“The imminence of the general election, the resource limitations and the
potential instability that comes with elections all combine to make a
cocktail of challenges that arise on account of this judgment,” Magaisa
“But we should not forget the GPA was a product of political negotiation and
if by-elections are considered undesirable in the run-up to the next general
elections, the politicians have to, and can find, a way of dealing with this
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Professor Lovemore Madhuku concurred the
judgement was legally sound but suggested its effect should have been
suspended. “The best thing would have been to suspend the effect of the
ruling even for 12 months to allow the president time to find money to hold
general elections,” he said.
MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said there was
“absolutely no sense” in having by-elections now, only to have general
elections soon after.
Zanu PF strategist and senior politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who has been
spearheading calls for general and by-elections this year, told state
television, ZBC on Monday the country should after the ruling just hold
“If all we have is the US$100 million, surely let us use it to hold the one
that matters,” Moyo said in reference to general elections.
Attorney Jonathan Samkange dismissed Finance minister Tendai Biti’s argument
that there was no money to fund by-elections, saying he would have to “look
Manheru further said: “Until this court decision, the whole debate has
evolved as if only GPA principals watched by Sadc through its facilitator
have been the only factors at play.”
The court decision may just have given Mugabe a way around Sadc resolutions
deemed inconvenient by Zanu PF pressing for general elections this year
without reforms — effectively pulling the rug from under the MDC parties’
feet but the moratorium on by-elections might as well foil the president’s
plans once again.
July 20, 2012 in News, Politics
THIS week the Zimbabwe Independent, which has over the years been
investigating the goings-on at Marange diamond fields, carries the third
instalment of the latest Global Witness report, Financing A Parallel
Government?, which makes interesting revelations about Chiadzwa.
This week the report by the UK-based non-governmental organisation which
campaigns against natural resource-related conflict, corruption and
associated environmental and human rights abuses exposes how Zimbabwe’s
security forces direct shadowy companies as a means to fund their agenda
off-budget. The Global Witness reports sheds light on activities unfolding
at Marange diamond fields, detailing who is involved and the intricate
networks comprising the Chinese and Zimbabwe’s security forces, the army,
police and intelligence services dealing in diamonds, cotton and property
Members of the CIO are directors of three interlinked companies:
Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pte) Ltd, registered in Singapore on June 12
2009, with directors: Lo Fong Hung, Veronica Fung Yuen, Jimmy Zerenie, Gift
Kalisto Machengete and Pritchard Zhou;
Strong Achieve Holdings Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands on
March 23 2009, with authorised signatory: Masimba Ignatius Kamba;
Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, incorporated in Zimbabwe on May 14
2010, with directors: Masimba Ignatius Kamba and Lo Fong Hung.
Global Witness, through information obtained from several sources within the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), has identified three of the
Zimbabwean directors of these companies as members of the CIO.
The first, Gift Kalisto Machengete, is a director of the Zimbabwean company
Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, and holds 51% of that company’s shares,
according to records held at the Zimbabwean company registry. Multiple
sources from within the secret police identify Dr Machengete as a director
of finance and administration in the CIO. Machengete is also currently a
board member of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), and on its website he has
publicly listed his career history as including employment as a research
economist in the President’s Department (parent department of the CIO) from
He was also Head of Coordination and Secretariat in the President’s
Department in 1998; Acting High Commissioner at the Zimbabwean High
Commission in Malaysia; and from 2006 he was appointed as deputy director
Administration and Finance in the President’s Department.
Further, there is a company called Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd, registered in Hong
Kong on April 15 2010. This shares a director, Jimmy Zerenie, with
Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, but Global Witness has no information
to suggest that the CIO has any role in this Hong Kong company, nor that the
directors or staff of Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd had any knowledge of any CIO
involvement in “Sino-Zimbabwe Development”.
The second, Pritchard Zhou, is a director of Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt)
Ltd. According to Zimbabwe’s company register, Zhou has been identified as a
CIO operative by several sources within the secret police. In 2005 he was a
minister counsellor at the Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa. He is
presently director of the Zimbabwe National Heritage Trust.
The third, Masimba Ignatius Kamba, is identified by one source as holding a
leadership position within the Zimbabwean company, Sino-Zimbabwe Development
(Pvt) Ltd, although he does not appear in the Zimbabwean company register.
He is, however, listed as a director of Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pte) Ltd,
registered in Singapore, and as the authorised signatory for Strong Achieve
Holdings Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands. Several credible
sources within the CIO identified Kamba as another CIO member.
In addition Kamba was named in the media as a senior member of the CIO when,
in 2010, he was the beneficiary of the unlawful seizure of Silverton Estate,
a commercial farm. During the seizure of the farm, Kamba told the owners he
was director of finance in the President’s Office. This claim was publicly
repeated in 2010 in the newsletter of the Office of the Zimbabwe Prime
Minister (MDC), which alleged that Kamba is the director of administration
in the CIO.
In some of the court documentation surrounding the farm seizure Kamba is
sometimes described as Ignatius Kamba, and once gives his address as Private
Bag 0095, Gaborone, the address of the Sadc secretariat in Botswana.
There are also several public reports of men named Ignatius Kamba, Masimba
Kamba or IM Kamba, who may be the same man, but Global Witness has not been
able to confirm they are one and the same person. In 1998 Kamba was a
counsellor in Zimbabwe’s Mission to the European Union. In 2004 in a list of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s governing board an IM Kamba was publicly
listed as acting director of Economics in the President’s Department. A man
named Masimba Kamba was appointed to the board of the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe in 2006. Finally, in 2011, a Masimba Kamba attended, as a Sadc
representative, an Asean-EU High Level Expert Workshop on Preventive
Diplomacy and International Peace Mediation, held in Indonesia.
Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings, a company which Global Witness believes to be
in effect the same firm as Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, is accused
of being represented by senior Zanu PF politicians and serving and retired
CIO officers during a 2010 dispute over the company’s behaviour in the
cotton industry. In court documents senior Zanu PF government officials are
alleged to have “spearheaded” the entry of the company into Zimbabwe. These
officials include Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment, Nicholas Goche, Minister of Transport and
Assistant Commissioner Martin Kwainona, a police officer and member of
President Mugabe’s personal bodyguard.
Goche and Kasukuwere are on both the EU and US sanctions lists, while
Kwainona is on the EU sanctions list.
Global Witness interviewed some of the parties to the dispute. They alleged
that during meetings between the parties, Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings was
represented by former members of the CIO. On one occasion, a currently
serving senior member of the CIO represented Sino-Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings.
At district level Global Witness interviewees identified local Sino-Zimbabwe
Cotton Holdings representatives as CIO officers, who were permanently based
in the areas where they operated and were well known to locally-based cotton
Sam Pa’s apparent financial support for the CIO undermines Zimbabwean
democratic processes and institutions. By its very nature, off-budget
financing of the security sector undermines Zimbabwean democratic processes
and institutions. The GNU should decide its spending priorities through
collective agreement in cabinet. Zimbabwe’s National Security Council should
set a national security strategy, and the GNU should raise taxes to fund
these priorities. The process of managing expenditure and raising revenues
should be carried out by the Ministry of Finance, overseen by the cabinet of
These processes should be scrutinised by parliament. Off-budget financing
undermines democracy by allowing security forces to set, and fund, their own
July 20, 2012 in News, Politics
FORMER MDC-T deputy spokesperson and Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo’s woes
continue to mount with party insiders saying she is likely to lose her seat
in parliament as well as her positions in organisations where she is
deployed as the party’s representative.
Insiders say moves are firmly underway to oust her as operations committee
chairperson of Jomic, from the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders
Committee where she is a committee member and the Sadc Parliamentary Forum
where she sits on the committee on HIV/Aids.
Khumalo was fired as deputy spokesperson last week amid reports of
factionalism and infighting in the MDC-T’s Bulawayo provincial structures
where she is fighting with deputy party leader Thokozani Khupe.
“The battle is much serious than we thought,” said a party insider. “They
are now moving to destroy her career in the MDC-T once and for all through a
series of measures.”
Contacted for comment MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora could not deny nor
confirm there were moves to further demote Khumalo.
“Khumalo remains a founding member of the party; however there is an ongoing
restructuring exercise where members will be moved from one position to
another,” he said.
Outspoken Khumalo has never been far from controversy and challenged Khupe
for the deputy presidency at the party’s congress in Bulawayo last year.
However, disgruntled MDC-T party officials say Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai not helping matters by alienating colleagues who helped him
launch the party in a move to give the MDC-T intellectual and technocratic
“It is unfortunate Tsvangirai has roped in people who are opportunists and
have departed from the founding principles of the party,” said a disgruntled
party official. –– Staff Writer.
July 20, 2012 in News
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe has called on the government to abolish the
Universal Services Fund (USF), citing the Postal and Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)’s failure to account for the
revenue paid into the fund by telecommunications players and failure to use
it for its intended purpose of further improving the sector.
In his presentation to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media,
Information and Communication Technology focusing on policy misalignment on
network development programmes, Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni said
that two per cent of his company’s gross revenue had to be surrendered to
the fund in the absence of any communication as to how it will be used and
despite the fact that it was not being ploughed back into information
communication technology (ICT) development.
Mboweni, who said his company was “quite emotional” about the money it paid
into the fund from 1998 to 2008, which Potraz could not account for, urged
the government to abolish the fund.
“The USF is no longer relevant because we are already doing the work it was
meant to be doing, especially building base stations,” Mboweni said.
All licensed operators in the postal and telecommunications sector are
supposed to contribute to the USF administered by Potraz, which was set up
to finance the provision of postal and telecommunications services in the
under-serviced areas of the country. It was revealed that Potraz had built a
paltry 8 base stations to be operated and shared by players in the
In 2010, Potraz was accused of sitting on US$20 million under the USF due to
its failure to come up with a concrete plan to utilise the funds. It was
reported at the time that government had decided to direct US$10 million of
the fund towards supporting the country’s fibre optic backbone, critical for
the maintenance of high standards of quality in the telecommunication
However, Econet which revealed that it had so far contributed US$30 million
since dollarisation, said it was already investing more funds in the fibre
optic link and base
stations, which rendered the USF irrelevant.
Mboweni also expressed Econet’s displeasure at the other cellular
communications companies’ failure to match his Econet’s contribution to the
fiscus, saying “no company was given more resources than the other.” Econet
has this year contributed US$414 million to government through taxes and
July 20, 2012 in International, Politics
Wongai Zhangazha recently in ADDIS ABABA
AS heavy rains pounded the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a storm — not
weather-related, but political — was brewing in the new, US$200 million
Chinese-built African Union headquarters where the next head of the
secretariat was being elected.
Incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon was locking horns with South African Home
Affairs minister for the second time this year.
Dlamini-Zuma had failed six months ago to oust Ping as AU Commission chair.
The South African former foreign minister was nominated by Sadc, which had
not had a chance to head the continental body’s secretariat since the
Organisation of African Unity (now AU) was established in 1963.
Ping had the backing of Francophone Africa as well as countries opposed to
the perceived dominance of South Africa — the continent’s largest economy —
including continental political giant Nigeria.
There was palpable tension among diplomats as they shuttled between hotels
and offices, lobbying for their preferred candidate and trying to manage an
explosive election which threatened to divide the AU.
Dlamini-Zuma eventually emerged winner, but it was not an easy road for her
as she had to survive a vicious smear campaign waged by Ping.
Ping angrily denied reports claiming his campaign was being funded by France
and accusing him of failing to manage the crises in Ivory Coast and Libya,
among other issues.
He hit back, saying SA had voted for Resolution 1973 authorising the bombing
of Libya, among other things.However, Sadc was riled by the allegations and
Botswana Foreign minister, Phandu Skelemani, accused Ping of “sowing seeds
of animosity and division among AU member states”, and demanded an apology.
But some East African countries were reportedly angered by Skelemani’s
remarks, as they preferred comments by another southern African country, not
Botswana or Malawi which supported the arrest of Sudanese President Omar
Fears in the AU corridors were that Sadc would lose some votes as a result,
although Zimbabwe’s Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi appeared
“Everybody now accepts that it is no longer tenable to continue to
marginalise the southern African region which has not held the position of
AU Commissioner for 49 years,” said Mumbengegwi.
“Central Africa has held the position on three occasions and now there is no
way they can hold it for a fourth time while southern Africa has not held it
even once. Losing is not an option,” he said.
However, the battle intensified after a document titled Observations on Ms
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy was circulated.
“Accepting Ms Zuma’s candidacy amounts to fully selling out our continent,”
read the document.
It also claimed: the fact that South African Reserve Bank had private
shareholders was proof the country was not a sovereign state and should not
be allowed to field a candidate for the chairmanship.
“The central bank of South Africa is privately-owned (although controlled by
the government through legal arrangements) since the apartheid era by an
Afrikaner coalition. How could President Jacob Zuma, notoriously unable to
dismantle the Afrikaner infrastructure that still controls the South African
economy through the central bank, claim to assume and defend the union
project of Africa?” asked the document.
Diplomatic sources said Dlamini-Zuma had the guaranteed support of 30
countries going into the voting, and the challenge was securing the support
of Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria and Kenya, countries strongly behind Ping.
When the vote finally got underway, Dlamini-Zuma garnered 27 votes against
Ping’s 24 in the first round. In the second round she led with 29 votes to
Ping’s 22. In the third, Dlamini-Zuma got 33 votes, just one short of the
required two thirds, forcing Ping to drop out as per rules.
She then ran alone in the fourth round to secure the required two-thirds
majority by 37 votes.
As South African and Sadc delegates celebrated Dlamini-Zuma’s victory, Kenya’s
Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka blasted South Africa’s
‘bulldozing tactics’, saying they caused ruptures within the AU.
July 20, 2012 in International, Politics
THE African Union’s African Court on Human and People’s Rights judge
president Gerard Niyungeko has revealed that the institution wants to expand
its jurisdiction to criminal matters in a manner similar to the
International Criminal Court (ICC) to address its challenges.
The African Court was adopted at the then Organisation of African Unity
summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 1998 as a continental court to
ensure protection of human and people’s rights in Africa. It complements and
reinforces the functions of the AU Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
Speaking at the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa on challenges faced by the
African Court based in Tanzania, Niyungeko said the court’s jurisdiction was
only limited to civil matters and the AU’s policy department was working on
broadening the court’s line of work to enable it to try leaders, rebels,
security agents and ordinary people on cases of a criminal nature.
The ICC has been criticised by African leaders as targeting only them while
their counterparts from the West remain untouchable.
“The court has been receiving several criminal cases from a number of
countries, but it cannot yet try anyone in criminal matters because it does
not have criminal jurisdiction,” said Niyungeko. “AU policy organs have
recognised that the African Court should be given broad jurisdiction
especially on criminal matters.”
However, Niyungeko lamented the small number of countries which had ratified
the court, among them Zimbabwe, which has also not ratified the ICC.
“Out of 54 countries, only 26 have so far ratified, which is a challenge
because all of these countries have ratified the Charter on Human and People’s
Niyungeko said the African Court would collaborate with the ICC. — Staff
July 20, 2012 in Business
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has projected the country’s trade deficit will
widen to US$2,8 billion this fiscal year, as the local industry continued to
be strained in capacity.
Presenting the mid-term fiscal policy statement review on Wednesday, Biti
said the widening trade gap, resulting from total imports of US$8,2 billion
against exports of US$5,1 billion, would have a very negative impact on the
country’s current account deficit.
“Capital inflows, which ordinarily finance the current account deficit,
continue to underperform as reflected through insignificant foreign direct
and portfolio investment as well as overseas development assistance,”Biti
He revised the budget downwards from US$4 billion to US$3,640 billion, in an
environment where expectations and resource demands are high.
Biti said the buoyant expectations and ambitious targets of the 2012 budget
had been systematically devalued by a number of downside risks, which
included a poor rainy season in 2011; policy inconsistencies and
uncertainties undermining investor confidence; lack of capital and the
absence of alternative financing instruments; revenue underperformance
against a high and unsustainable wage bill; and the crowding out of social
and infrastructure spending.
However, according to the IMF, Zimbabwe’s budget for this year would be out
by US$838 million due to an expected revenue shortfall of US$640 million and
additional fiscal spending of US$198,1 million.
According to the IMF’s recently-concluded 2012 Article IV consultations, the
original revenue projection of 37% of GDP (6,7% more than in 2011), included
diamond dividends at 5,5% of GDP.
But the revenues had underperformed, resulting in government revising
projected diamond dividends downwards to US$100 million from US$600 million.
This creates a shortfall of US$500 million. The IMF also estimated that tax
revenue would fall short by US$140 million.
Biti said there would be various downside risks to the economy from the
second quarter and into the last half of the year.
“These include the failure to realise budget revenue targets and reduced
demand for export commodities, with a negative bearing on overall GDP
growth,” Biti said.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu recently said that while diamond production would
maintain its upward trend and was on course to meet the targets set for
2012, revenue would not meet the US$600 million mark set by Treasury as the
major company mining in the area was under sanctions.
Mpofu said initially the ministry had set a monthly target of US$54 million,
but would not meet it because of the sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining
Biti said that contrary to last year’s projections that GDP growth would be
9,4% this year, indications were that the economy would shed almost four
percentage points to only grow by 5,6%. This fell short of the MTP annual
average target of 7,1%.
“The slowdown in GDP growth is a reflection of the underperformance of some
key sectors such as agriculture and tourism,” said Biti.
The IMF Article IV Consultations’ report notes that expenditure originally
budgeted would increase by some 3,5% of GDP on account of higher capital
outlays and full-year effects of the 2011 pay increases would rise further
by US$198 million due to unbudgeted increases in employment costs, including
employee allowances, in spite of efforts to resist pressure to increase base
The mission also identified some further fiscal pressures from
higher-than-budgeted cash interest payments and costs arising from
transporting grain from the northern parts of the country to the drought-hit
south. — Staff Writer.
July 15, 2012 in Opinion
IT was useful to have Patrick Chinamasa’s comments on recent political
events this week.
The purpose of the exercise –– an interview with Munyaradzi Huni –– was
obviously to promote the myth that Zanu PF was responsible for economic
policies that provided stability after the formation of the Government of
National Unity in 2009.
In fact, Zanu PF was responsible for promoting the anarchy we continue to
witness in the agricultural sector and behind the indigenisation programme.
The official policy on the land now is that it is under-utilised. As a
result, Zanu PF will oppose a land audit.
“Yes, naturally it will be under-utilised,” Chinamasa commented.
“I have said it on many occasions, I would not want to see any assessment of
people’s productive capacities at this moment because the resources are not
But we thought land reform was an unalloyed triumph for the revolutionary
And we certainly don’t recall Chinamasa saying that any sort of audit could
not go ahead because there were insufficient resources available to farmers.
Who was responsible for that? Here’s another disclosure: “The few who are
producing are doing so from their own resources and you know what we went
through in 2008. All our capital, all our bank accounts were washed out.”
Again, who was responsible for that?
“We have had to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” Chinamasa
declared. “I accept that there is a lot of land that is not being
productive. It belongs to people with no capacity to use it.”
Goodness, what a comment on his colleagues!
And there’s more. “What basically brought us to the negotiating table under
Sadc was the unfortunate assault on Tsvangirai at a police station.”
So if it was so “unfortunate”, why has the government not done anything
about it? Does this not promote impunity? What does Chinamasa, Minister of
Justice, think beyond pronouncing it “unfortunate”? Huni didn’t ask so
Chinamasa didn’t tell.
This would be a good point to remind ourselves of what Eddison Zvobgo had to
say about land “reform”.
“We have tainted,” he said, “what was a glorious revolution reducing it to
some agrarian racist enterprise.”
And that is precisely what it has remained!
Meanwhile, here are a few words for Munyaradzi Huni to add to his limited
lexicon: Mwale, Machipisa, Ndira, Nabanyama.
Very soon we shall be ruled by failed bankers. We can hear their rabid
barking already even though cabinet has not approved their plans to seize
control of banks and schools.
If you are not a registered voter don’t complain when the collapse which is
just around the corner occurs. You have a weapon against misrule. You just
have to claim it.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Indigenisation minister
Saviour Kasukuwere reached a truce on Monday in their public row over the
takeover of foreign-owned banks, reports NewZimbabwe.com.
Kasukuwere who recently went berserk shouting unprintable words when quizzed
about his contrasting position with that of Gono had accused the latter of
He then lectured Gono that “discharging national responsibilities requires
maturity and sober reasoning”.
Clearly Kasukuwere does not heed his own advice judging by his recent f-word
rant to hapless journalists.
Despite being vituperative in his attacks on foreign-owned banks Kasukuwere
is surprisingly tame and evasive when it comes to his role in the demise of
the ill-fated Genesis Investment Bank.
Despite claiming he no longer had anything to do with the closed bank, we
recently carried a story which revealed Kasukuwere had a 13,8% stake in
Genesis through various investment vehicles as recently as May 8.
He has blamed economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the
European Union for the collapse of his business empire.
“Here is a company (Genesis) which has gone under not because of
mismanagement, but purely because of sanctions,” he said
Kasukuwere has now set his sights on the already decimated education system,
extending the asset-grab programme under the indigenisation laws to include
privately-owned educational institutions including crèches, primary and
secondary schools as well as institutions of higher learning.
This is despite cabinet ministers such as Education minister David Coltart
saying there was no such cabinet policy.
Very soon the sanctions will also be to blame for the closure of schools.
When will the perennially under-construction library in Kuwadzana be finally
operational? For the past decade we have been promised time and again that
the library will open “soon”.
The MP for the area, MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, at
the weekend told Kuwadzana residents he had “repossessed” the community
library which had been converted into a Zanu PF torture base, NewsDay
“Our colleagues from Zanu PF used to torture people at this place during the
2008 elections,” he claimed. “They even ended up stealing window panes,
toilet equipment and other plumbing material. Every resident in Kuwadzana,
including the unborn children, know about this,” he said.
For the umpteenth time Chamisa announced that the library would be
officially opened soon. We hope this “soon” will arrive in our lifetimes!
A little less talk and a lot more action go a long way Cde Chamisa. That
includes hero-worship of other people’s leaders.
Zambian jester-in-chief President Michael Sata was once again in the news
for yet another “joke”, this time at former US President George W Bush’s
expense. Sata and Bush held a press conference commemorating a charity
project which included the donation of a cervical cancer-screening centre.
Sata complained about “the young man”, 66-year old Bush, being late for
their meeting, adding that were he not bringing money to Africa, he would
not have waited.
“The young man is lucky that he is the first American leader to have brought
money to Africa through his Millennium Challenge Account; that’s why I’m
standing here. Otherwise if it was somebody else I would have handed him
over to one of my ministers to meet him.”
Sata lashed out at Bush, calling him a “colonialist” who had come to pay
back all the resources he had stolen from Africa. But this was all
light-hearted we were told. The two leaders know each other well.
In an effort to mend relations, former Zambian President Rupiah Banda sent a
personal letter of apology to Bush after Sata’s outburst.
Part of the letter read: “These statements, which were not only factually
incorrect and undiplomatic, do not represent the true feelings of the
Zambian people, who strongly recognise the value of positive relations with
the United States of America.”
Sata then hit back with a strongly-worded reaction to Banda’s statement
saying he was “deeply embarrassed” by Banda’s exaggeration of his
“light-hearted” conversation with Bush.
He then “encouraged” Banda to “behave in a manner befitting a former Head of
State” and “behave as a mature adult”.
“Mr Banda spent his presidency doing wrong things for himself and his
children. I therefore understand his desperation and attempts to seek
relevance, though in wrong places this time around,” charged Sata.
Sata described Banda’s conduct as “unbecoming and unprecedented for a
self-respecting former Head of State”. A classic case of the pot calling the
Muckraker was amused by Nathaniel Manheru’s pathetic attempt to claim
victory from the outcome of the Sadc summit in Luanda which blocked
President Mugabe’s push for elections without reforms in 2012.
Zanu PF’s clamour for elections this year should not have been taken
literally, Manheru asserts.
“That urgency has been expressed through a demand for elections “in 2012”, a
phrase which the two (MDC) formations want to read literally, want to read
in calendar terms, indeed as a mathematical magnitude.”
According to Manheru the push for polls this year was a mere “metaphor” to
ensure “they fall in line with the frenetic election time-table which Zanu
“The bottom line is that we are going for elections; we are ending this
dysfunctional inclusive government, and this because Zanu PF — the ruler —
has willed it,”Manheru claimed.
This is despite Manheru’s boss President Mugabe having declared in May that
elections would be held this year without fail.
At the 2010 Zanu PF conference in Mutare, Mugabe swore that elections would
be held in 2011, with party members declaring they would not allow the
coalition government to continue beyond that year.
Part of the resolutions made by the party in 2010 read: “Resolves that at
the expiry of the term of the Global Political Agreement with two MDC
formations on September 15, 2008 and the inclusive government born therefrom
on February 13, 2009, the country must hold harmonised elections without
Who is fooling who here?
July 20, 2012 in Politics
THE general position among Zimbabweans is that presidential and
parliamentary elections will be held within the next 12 months. President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are on record demanding that elections be held
before the end of the year.
However, this is unlikely in light of two critical processes that must be
completed before the end of this year. First, it is important to reach
finality on the constitution-making process and second, it is now settled
that Zimbabwe will undertake the national population census exercise in
Both these processes require time and resources. Between now and mid-August,
the country will be occupied by the national census. Thereafter, the country
may be occupied by the constitutional referendum, provided that the ongoing
political rituals are completed.
Even assuming that the constitution is adopted before the end of the year,
we understand there will be a number of reforms that will require
implementation. In our view, reforms would be needed to ensure the
environment is conducive for free and fair elections. It would be utterly
useless to agree on the document, but go to elections under the same old
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) believes the census and the
constitution-making exercise are critical national processes which must be
completed before the next elections. Both processes have, in different ways,
an important bearing on the elections.
The census produces population statistics from the household to the national
levels and this data is used by the national government, local authorities,
the business sector and other stakeholders for planning and other purposes.
It provides a comprehensive and remarkable source of information with
regards to the population. The data that is yielded by the census gives a
good picture of the state of the population across the country including
population density, tracing rural-urban/urban-rural migration and helps in
the allocation and distribution of resources.
Done properly, the census is an important tool for development since it
should give a complete picture of the country’s population, enabling the
authorities to plan in response to the population distribution and resource
needs. At Zesn, we are concerned not just with the election process, but
also with the overall goal of promoting good governance.
The census data can be used efficiently by a responsible government to
respond to the development needs. This is particularly important now that
Zimbabwe will be adopting the devolution model under the new constitution.
At Zesn, we believe that devolution can work more efficiently if the
devolved provincial governments and local authorities are given adequate
resources. To determine whether adequate resources have been allocated, much
depends on the levels of the population and access to such facilities as
schools, clinics, housing, transport, employment, etc. All this information
should be available through the census. That is why it is important that the
census be conducted properly and efficiently so that it produces specific,
precise and accurate data.
Apart from the developmental aspects of the census, we are also conscious of
the relationship between census and elections. The census is a game of
numbers as are elections. It is the most comprehensive resource for
population statistics in the country. As such, other records like the voters’
rolls will ultimately be measured against the census.
Likewise, results of elections in the regions and nationally are also likely
to be measured against the census results. One can easily spot anomalies
between the census data and the voters’ roll or indeed the election results.
It would be odd, for example, if the voting figures in a province far exceed
the population figures produced in the census.
A very important aspect that we will be looking at is the distribution of
the population between the rural and urban populations. Previous census data
have generally shown significant differences between the rural and urban
In the 2002 census, it was revealed that only 35% of the population was in
the urban areas, with the rural areas accommodating 65%. These patterns tend
to correspond with voting figures in elections, with the majority of votes
emanating from the rural constituencies.
However, there have also been complaints of inflation of voting figures,
particularly in the rural areas. It would be interesting to see how the
events of the decade after 2000 have affected population distribution
between the rural and urban areas.
During that period there has been a nationwide land reform programme, which
among other things, led to displacement of farmers and farm workers from
commercial farms taken by government. Economic challenges in the rural areas
have also led to increased rural-urban migration, with most young
able-bodied men and women flocking to towns and cities in search of
The economic problems which affected the country had a severe impact on the
rural economy which also suffered heavily due to droughts. Most observers
have cast doubt on claims the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s population is in
rural areas. We expect the gap between rural and urban populations to have
narrowed significantly in the last 10 years due to a combination of
political and socio-economic factors.
Given the statistical data that the census will yield, we at Zesn not only
regard it as an important national process for development, but we will be
watching the process closely to ensure that it produces precise and accurate
data. We are mindful of the fact that manipulation of census data could
impact heavily not just on development planning, but also on the electoral
The public should take it seriously and ensure that they are counted.
Accurate census data will play an important role in improving our national
statistics. We also think people should take advantage of this season of
counting to go out and register as voters. If the government can count
people, then people should ensure that their votes count by registering.
The other national process that is crucial before the elections is the
completion of the constitution-making process. Although this process has
taken longer than expected, we understand that it is coming to an end now.
Zesn will play its role in scrutinising the draft constitution. We will pay
particular attention to our core area of elections and we shall report our
findings. We believe that it is important to have the next elections under a
new constitution that provides for a free and fair environment.
Although we do not yet have a copy of the final draft constitution, we shall
be providing some highlights from the drafts that have been availed to us so
far. — Zesn.
July 20, 2012 in Opinion
THE ruling by the Supreme Court last week specifically ordering the holding
of by-elections in the three vacant constituencies, namely Bulilima East,
Nkayi South and Lupane East — and by extension other areas as well — has
provoked a heated debate and lots of interesting dimensions to the public
While interpretations of the judgment and its implications may differ, the
facts are well-detailed and explained in the ruling itself. The judges of
the highest court in the land ruled in black and white that the President
(Robert Mugabe) should gazette dates for by-elections in the said three
constituencies by August 30 2012.
Although the ruling relates specifically to the three constituencies which
were subject to court action, the law is clear that there should be
by-elections within 90 days should a vacancy arise with regards to the
parliamentary constituencies. There are now 31 vacant positions in both the
House of Assembly and Senate, some which became unoccupied before those
three constituencies referred to in the ruling.
The judgment is as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer and needs no
further explanation. The issue of not having resources does not arise, as
what is important is to ensure that the country upholds the rule of law
which takes precedence. The government just has to find money somewhere to
ensure that the country maintains the rule of law as required by the
constitution and underscored by the court ruling. It is however the
political implications of the judgment which are subject to scrutiny by
various political players and the public. This is to be expected as the
judgment touches a raw nerve — the issue of elections.
Polls are always the climax of political and electoral processes and they
create high levels of excitement. It is therefore not surprising the ruling
brought back the debate on whether the country should hold general elections
this year or should stick to the recommendations of the recent Sadc Luanda
summit. The summit recommended that parties conclude reforms before
elections and acknowledged that the lifespan of this government of national
unity (GNU) only expires in June 2013.
However, the usual suspects in Zanu PF, who were stopped in their tracks by
Sadc leaders in Luanda recently, are trying to create confusion and
struggling to revive their collapsing plans to hold elections this year,
which were left in disarray by regional leaders, under the by-elections
pretext. Their views and agenda is filtering into the public space through
such manifestations as the Herald’s Nathaniel Manheru column — believed to
be written by Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, under the cover of a
pseudonym — which for a long time has been used as a faceless platform to
communicate the views of a Zanu PF cabal dominated by hardliners.
There is no argument against holding of by-elections; they certainly have to
be held as declared by the Supreme Court but this should not be used to push
for early general elections.
While it is possible that by-elections may change the composition of
parliament given their number, it must be clearly explained this is very
unlikely because of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which puts a
moratorium of the three parties — Zanu PF and the two MDC formations—from
contesting each other for the duration of the agreement and coalition
Initially, the moratorium for GPA parties not to contest each other in any
of the constituencies where by-elections would have arisen was expected to
last for a year. However, at the Maputo Sadc Troika summit in November 2009,
the moratorium was extended by regional leaders and principals to cover the
entire lifespan of the GNU.
If the parties in the GNU are serious and sincere about the GPA, then they
should all honour their commitments — for indeed that is what Sadc said in
Luanda recently and will almost certainly say during its annual summit next
month. GPA parties must also be sincere enough not to use shenanigans to
support independent candidates clandestinely with the aim of violating the
moratorium and the letter and spirit of the GPA for self-serving political
This is a very important point as it directly touches on the three litigants
All of them are now active members of the MDC-T and therefore covered by the
moratorium that their new party signed. Abednico Bhebhe is now the MDC-T’s
deputy national organising secretary, Njabuliso Mguni is an active member of
the MDC-T in Matabeleland North. In fact, Mguni contested and lost the
position of provincial organising secretary. Norman Mpofu is also an active
member of the MDC-T at its Bulilima East district structures.
Because the three are active members of one of the parties in the GPA, they
cannot break the rules and seek to contest as independents. From a
principled point of view and in the spirit of the GPA, the party that was
holding that seat should be the one allowed to field and contest with other
parties outside the government or independent candidates as it were.
This is not subverting democracy, but is actually designed to promote the
same by avoiding triggering a climate of fear while creating an environment
for free and fair elections in which all parties could run without being
frightened by political violence and intimidation. The idea behind this is
to promote democracy in the long-run. Holding elections such as those in
June 2008 and before does not help the cause of democracy.
As much as the MDC led by Welshman Ncube would have loved to contest, for
instance, in the other vacant constituencies, it cannot do so given that it
is bound by the terms of the GPA and the moratorium on by-lections. This is
not to say the Ncube-led MDC is afraid of squaring up with the three
litigants, it has always been ready to take them on in any election, anytime
and wherever, but the party is insisting on upholding and implementing the
GPA which parties signed willingly and hopefully in good faith.
Zimbabweans need to be serious about national agreements and commitments if
the country is to move forward. The best approach by the coalition partners
with regards to this issue is to ensure that they put national interest
above parochial agendas.
If the GNU partners were to fight each other in the by-elections, it will
take off the critical players from the processes of crafting a roadmap to
free and fair elections as they would have become participants in a
dog-eat-dog affair. It would not benefit the nation to destabilise the GPA
by creating an election mood that suspends and replaces the spirit of
co-operation with the spirit of rivalry and acrimony.
General elections should be held only after key political reforms, which
include the completion of the constitution-making process that should, among
many other things, enshrine devolution of power, the de-politicisation of
the state security organs, opening up of public media space, in particular
the electronic media, reforming the electoral framework and laws,
strengthening of independent commissions and the affirmation of their
independence through proper legislation and resource allocation, have been
Thereafter the country can go for general elections constitutionally due in
June next year. The Supreme Court ruling must not be used by political
opportunists and Fifth columnists trying to subvert democracy to push for
ill-planned and chaotic general elections this year.
Moyo is the director of policy and research co-ordination in the MDC led
by Professor Welshman Ncube. Contact: email@example.com
July 20, 2012 in Opinion
By Tabani Moyo
THERE is something telling about resolutions made by Zanu PF politburo and
central committee to disband District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) last
month. Before being dissolved, DCCs linked provincial structures with the
district structures. The DCC polls were keenly contested within the party,
as they were linked to the succession race.
Zanu PF has passed up several opportunities to fully address the issue of
succession of party leader President Robert Mugabe. It is quite unfortunate
that instead of addressing the core crisis, that of leadership renewal, the
party has often resorted to sanctioning those who make their presidential
In disbanding the DCC structures, Mugabe has again put the lid on succession
politics within the party and engendered an environment of fear, especially
for Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction that was on the ascendancy
after winning in most provinces against candidates aligned to rival,
Vice-President Joice Mujuru. The message is thus clear: as long as Mugabe is
alive, the succession debate should never be placed on Zanu PF agenda.
Contrary to assertions by the party that DCCs are not wanted as they were
divisive as proven by the controversy that haunted the elections, Mugabe
himself, who has been at the helm of the party for far too long, is also a
major stumbling block.
This DCC furore leaves Zanu PF with a false sense of security in the
short-term, but the bottom line is the party is failing, or rather reluctant
to renew its leadership, and that is a recipe for disaster as Mugabe is
With the disbandment of the DCCs, the party structures will become
voiceless. Zanu PF has adopted a top-down command structure as opposed to
the ideal situation of a bottom-up approach. Leadership-related questions
will not be tolerated. A case in point is when Major-General Douglas
Nyikayaramba said Retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri would succeed Mugabe
at a memorial service for General Constantine Chiwenga’s brother.
Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu was quick to shoot down
Nyikayaramba’s sentiments insisting that “the joke was not funny and should
never be repeated”.
This is sad given that even Shamu himself may actually want someone “young”
to lead the party. He expressed this view almost a decade ago, which saw him
being pushed into political oblivion for a while.
The disbandment of DCCs confirms that Mugabe has become Zanu PF himself.
This is well illustrated by the Tsholotsho debacle of 2004. Some senior Zanu
PF politicians allegedly used the cover of a prize-giving ceremony at
Dinyane School in Tsholotsho to discuss a succession plan that would have
shaken up the presidium. Six of the party’s 10 provincial chairpersons were
in favour of the succession plan, but were later suspended.
Instead of the party’s leadership holding a serious meeting on why its
senior members were nicodemously discussing succession issues, Mugabe came
out guns blazing. Within a few weeks of the Tsholotsho meeting, the six
chairpersons had been suspended and some of the people involved were
strongly warned for trying to stage a “palace coup”.
This structural decay was confirmed in the manner senior party members
confided in the US government that they wanted the party leadership renewed,
according to WikiLeaks. Many senior members of the party expressed
reservations about Mugabe carrying on as leader, and also cited his advanced
age and deteriorating health.
Again the party did not convene a serious meeting to deliberate the
succession issue that had been confided in the US government — one of Zanu
PF’s “enemies” following so-called targeted sanctions. Instead, Mugabe has
used the WikiLeaks disclosures to strengthen his hand by creating an
environment that is divisive, through ignoring this brazen act of “betrayal”
as a way of creating uncertainty over the fate of the culprits.
In the first round of the 2008 presidential elections, the party structures
showed Mugabe their vote of no confidence in his leadership, taking the
polls as a window of opportunity to resolve the outstanding issue of
succession. Zanu PF MPs and councillors campaigned for themselves and urged
their supporters to make a “wise decision” over the presidency, hence the
“bhora musango” (anyone but Mugabe) strategy when it came to the
presidential poll. Hence, Mugabe lost the first round of voting to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Instead of serious introspection, Mugabe keeps reminding the party
leadership in politburo and central committee meetings that they erred by
not campaigning for him, as if to say without him the party is history.
No doubt the disbanding of the DCCs is yet another blunder by Zanu PF as far
as the succession question is concerned as it targets symptoms rather than
causes of the disease. What is clear, although no-one in Zanu PF will say it
loudly or publicly, is that party members are certain that Mugabe’s reign is
drawing to a close and sooner rather than later the succession issue would
be resolved. By then it could be too late as Zanu PF will realise the folly
of tying its survival to an individual and dissolving structures to serve
This is an important lesson to other parties in the country: the sooner they
start resolving issues of leadership renewal, the better for their political
Tabani Moyo is a journalist based in Harare. He can be contacted at