Thursday, 23 July 2009 23:07
GOVERNMENT leaders and ministers have asked principals to the global
political agreement (GPA) to define the process and direction of
constitutional reform after a power struggle erupted between parliament's
select committee, the House's administration and the Minister of
Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs, Eric Matinenga.
Impeccable sources in government said the move to refer the matter to
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy
Arthur Mutambara was prompted by the escalating battle between the
committee, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma and his administration, and
Matinenga, which they feared would disrupt the current constitution-making
The battle revolves around the control of the process and material
resources, which include money.
"The government leaders have referred the matter to the principals so
that they can clearly define the process and direction of constitutional
reform," one of the sources said. "The fight to control the current process
between the select committee, parliamentary administration and Matinenga is
getting out of hand."
The referral of the matter to the principals, analysts said, confirmed
fears by civic society and other stakeholders that the current
constitution-making process was a project of political parties in the GPA
and that it was never meant to be people-driven.
Sources in both government and parliament told the Zimbabwe
Independent that Matinenga has on several occasions clashed with House of
Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo on the process and direction of the
constitutional reform with the latter accusing the minister of trying to
"hijack" the leadership of the process from parliament.
Moyo, the sources added, was adamant that the process should be led by
parliament as defined in the GPA, while Matinenga insisted that as
Constitutional Affairs minister he was in overall charge.
Since becoming minister, Matinenga has made several public
pronouncements on the constitutional process and was one of the first
government officials to announce that the Kariba draft constitution would
not be the only referral document. This irked the committee, which was of
the view that Matinenga was trespassing on their turf.
Besides the clash between Matinenga and Moyo, it came to the fore this
week that the 25-member select committee was in a tug-of-war with Zvoma and
his administration over the current process.
The committee wrote to Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara asking to have
autonomy over the running and management of the process, amid reports that
its secretariat - the administration of parliament - was not operating
Parliament's administration reportedly received undisclosed sums of
money from a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Non State Actors
Forum, which was used to pay allowances for 500 of the 4 000 delegates to
last week's first all-stakeholders conference without the knowledge of the
Co-chairperson of the select committee Paul Mangwana was quoted in the
state-controlled media this week saying they only knew of the payments
through a report Zvoma wrote, but did not explain why the NGO was allowed to
make the payment without the knowledge of the committee.
Mangwana said the committee needed to be autonomous as envisaged in
"We should only report to parliament when we are through," Mangwana
was quoted as saying. "We do have our budget and finance committee but we
are not holding any money. It is coming through the administration of
"We do not have our own secretariat, we are relying on staff of
parliament," he said. "This means we are not autonomous. We need to run our
own affairs and not the present setup where the administration of parliament
is running the show."
The sources said Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara were expected to
immediately meet and define the process and direction of the reform exercise
to avoid it being stalled by power struggles.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 23:03
JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa (below) has been caught out on his
statements over the SMM Holdings (Pvt) Ltd dispute in which he claims that
"there have been no discussions, absolutely, at any level whatsoever"
between dispossessed business tycoon Mutumwa Mawere and government over the
return of Mawere's seized companies.
Chinamasa's statements contained in adverts placed in newspapers this
week have fuelled rising tensions within government over the handling of the
SMM saga which has divided authorities. The issue could land Chinamasa in
serious trouble as some of the parties in the quarrel now want parliament to
investigate the issue amid allegations of looting and asset stripping.
The SMM conglomerate was seized by government from Mawere in 2004 on
the pretext that the company was hugely indebted to the state and that the
owner had been salting away funds to offshore accounts where it was stashed.
The issue had pronounced political undertones and the odour of a sour
President Robert Mugabe, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Mawere
are inclined towards the return of SMM assets to their legitimate owners to
close the matter, while Chinamasa, the company's administrator Arafas
Gwaradzimba and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are pulling in the
opposite direction. This has created a conflict with running heated
exchanges over the issue.
As reported in the Zimbabwe Independent last week Gono has written to
Mugabe saying Mawere should be given back his companies which were seized
unlawfully, while Chinamasa and Gwaradzimba are refusing to let the assets
be returned to the South African-based business magnate.
Mugabe has not rejected Gono's advice, but Chinamasa has rebuffed
After Gono's May 14 letter to Mugabe was published in the press,
saying Mawere must get back his assets, Chinamasa this week placed a
newspaper advert insisting Gwaradzimba would remain in charge. Gwaradzimba
has been accused of creaming off from SMM a 6% payment of gross proceeds of
the sprawling empire and selling off its assets. There have also been
allegations that he was using the money to send his children to schools in
Australia and other far-flung places. Gwaradzimba says the allegations are
"malicious". Politicians are also accused of plundering SMM.
In his advert, Chinamasa claimed there have been no discussions at any
level between government and Mawere on the SMM issue.
"There are no discussions, and there have been no discussions,
absolutely, and at any level whatsoever, between the government of Zimbabwe
and Mr Mutumwa Dziva Mawere on the reconstruction of SMM," he said.
However, information to hand shows there has been discussions between
Mugabe and Mawere over the issue. Documents reveal that Chinamasa has been
made aware of Mugabe's meetings with Mawere. There have also been meetings
which involved Mugabe, Mnangagwa, Gono and Chinamasa himself to discuss the
The Independent's informed sources said Mugabe met twice with Mawere
on the sidelines of South African President Jacob Zuma's inauguration on May
9 in Pretoria. The meetings were organised by Zimbabwe's ambassador to South
Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo.
At those meetings the SMM issue was comprehensively discussed and
Mawere ended up giving Mugabe documents on the matter that has been fought
in the courts in South Africa, Britain and Zimbabwe. The case is still going
on in local courts. Gono wrote an advisory to Mugabe after the president
asked him to do so upon studying the documents provided by Mawere.
"Contrary to Chinamasa's claims, the SMM reconstruction issue has been
discussed at the highest level. President Mugabe has engaged Mawere directly
on the issue and the minister knows or ought to know that," a senior
government official said. "Apart from that, Chinamasa has had meetings with
Mugabe and others on the issue. These are hard facts and therefore the
minister's statements in the advert are simply untrue and misleading."
A letter written by Gono to Chinamasa on June 9 on the SMM issue shows
that Chinamasa was informed about Mugabe's meetings with Mawere.
"Honourable Minister, it is pertinent that it be appreciated for the
record that the advisory issues were prompted by what I was made to
understand was a meeting between His Excellency the President and Mr Mawere
on the sidelines of the recent inauguration of President Zuma," Gono said in
his letter to Chinamasa. "The meeting, I was made to understand, had been
arranged through Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa Cde SK Moyo."
Gono then tells Chinamasa that he only came to have contact with
Mawere after Mugabe's meetings with him.
"I was asked by His Excellency to review the paperwork and
representations as were presented by Mr Mawere," the letter says. "I then
proceeded to give what I strongly felt and still do feel was objective
advice based on facts as had been presented."
Another letter also shows that there had been government discussions
going on about the SMM issue.
A letter written by Gwaradzimba to Chinamasa on June 22 provides clear
evidence of this. In his letter Gwaradzimba thanks Chinamasa for updating
him on the outcome of a meeting on June 2 between Mugabe, Mnangagwa, Gono
and himself "on issues pertaining to the reconstruction of SMM".
Gwaradzimba also reveals that after Chinamasa had briefed him about
what was said at the meeting, he also got another briefing from Mnangagwa
whose role on the issue is coming under increasing scrutiny for its lack of
explanation and clarity. While it is clear how other players got involved,
Mnangagwa's role is unclear, prompting speculation of hidden political
issues at stake in the dispute.
In his letter to Chinamasa, Gwaradzimba discloses that Mnangagwa told
him that Mawere was claiming that as administrator he "has taken and is
still taking too much money out of SMM and sometimes inappropriately".
Mnangagwa also told Gwaradzimba that Mawere was saying some of the money was
being used to send his children to overseas schools or universities in
Australia and other places.
Documents show Chinamasa is aware of ongoing discussions on the SMM
dispute despite his denials.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 23:01
A SCRAMBLE to endorse President Robert Mugabe as Zanu PF's leader and
first secretary by provincial executive committees, the youth and women's
league ahead of the party's congress in December has started, stalling
momentarily the bitter succession debate.
First to endorse Mugabe was the Midlands province at the weekend,
which described the octogenarian as a "supreme leader", and other provinces
were expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the Zanu PF Midlands province met in Gweru, party legal
secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa said the province had unanimously agreed that
it was "satisfied and committed" by the leadership of "Supreme Leader"
Mnangagwa -- who is the godfather of the province despite his
difficulties in securing it -- leads a faction in Zanu PF battling against
another camp headed by retired army general Solomon Mujuru to succeed the
Mujuru's wife Joice who is also party and state vice-president, and
Mnangagwa are jostling to take over from Mugabe who has been the undisputed
leader of Zanu PF since 1976.
The Mujuru faction is reportedly fighting for the retention of the
current Zanu PF presidium, amid reports that their bitter rival wanted Joice
to go at the congress.
Impeccable sources within Zanu PF said Mnangagwa was behind the
Midlands province move to become the first executive committee in the
country to endorse Mugabe to avoid what befell his faction after the October
2004 Tsholotsho debacle.
Mnangagwa's faction was accused then of plotting to re-arrange the
Zanu PF presidium by trying to block the ascent of Mujuru and precipitate
the ouster of Vice-President Joseph Msika and national chairman John Nkomo.
The faction allegedly wanted Mugabe to retain his post, Mnangagwa to
become co-vice president along with then women's league boss Thenjiwe Lesabe
whilst Patrick Chinamasa would replace Nkomo.
The plot was scuttled by the Mujuru faction resulting in Mugabe
suspending six provincial chairpersons and expelling war veterans leader
Jabulani Sibanda for attending a meeting in Tsholotsho where the plot was
Chinamasa and ex-Information minister Jonathan Moyo were also victims
of the debacle as they lost their positions in the Zanu PF politburo.
"The decision by the Midlands province was calculative," a Zanu PF
politburo member said. "They have quickly moved in to reassure Mugabe that
they are solidly behind him, but deliberately did not make any pronouncement
on the other members of the presidium."
The source said there was still room for the province to nominate
candidates of their choice to occupy the two vice-presidency positions and
that of national chairperson. Women's League boss Oppah Muchinguri, the
sources said, was being backed by the Mnangagwa camp to take over from
The same faction also wants Nkomo to retain his position and was yet
to make a firm decision on whether or not the ailing Msika should remain in
office. The Mnangagwa faction, the sources said, would influence the outcome
of next month's youth and women's leagues conferences.
The faction reportedly wants Shurugwi MP and also Zanu PF national
deputy secretary for administration in the youth league, Anastancia Ndhlovu,
to take over as the organ's deputy secretary from Indigenisation Minister
Saviour Kasukuwere, who is eyeing the post of secretary for commissariat in
the politburo. The faction also wants Muchinguri to remain Women's League
secretary, but she would have to shrug off the challenge of Women's Affairs
minister Olivia Muchena, who has the blessings of the Mujuru camp. The
sources in Zanu PF said that the Mnangagwa faction was in control of five of
the 10 party provinces. The camp was therefore better positioned to force
changes in the presidium, the central committee and the politburo.
"The Mujuru faction has been lobbying for the current presidium to be
retained at the congress under the guise that they were against the
intensification of factionalism," another senior Zanu PF member said. "They
want to maintain the status quo and fight another day. If they succeed at
congress, they will push for the restructuring of provinces which they think
were restructured to benefit the Mnangagwa faction."
Zanu PF secretary of administration, Didymus Mutasa, and Nkomo met
provincial chairpersons at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare on July 6
where Mutasa instructed them to retain the current presidium. Sources said
Mutasa told the chairpersons to ensure that their provinces nominate Mugabe,
Msika, Mujuru and Nkomo, but Mashonaland Central and Manicaland chairpersons
Dick Mafios and Basel Nyabadza objected saying it was unconstitutional; the
leaders of Mashonaland West and the Midlands, John Mafa and Jaison Matyaya
backed the secretary for administration.
Nkomo, the sources said, had to intervene and pronounced that the
provinces were free to nominate anyone of their choice in line with the
party's constitution. Last month, Mugabe told the central committee that he
would stay put and that there would be no change of guard in Zanu PF until
there was "better unity".
"We must be united. People (in Zanu PF) are preoccupied with planning
who will be where, by such a time," Mugabe was quoted saying. "That will be
decided when we are better united."
Mugabe's succession debate has been raging on for the past five years,
but it reached a crescendo on May 20 this year during a politburo meeting
when heavyweights attributed problems afflicting the party to infighting and
divisions by senior officials bent on grabbing power from the ageing leader.
The clash of bigwigs, among them Mnangagwa, Mujuru, Muchinguri,
Kasukuwere, Rugare Gumbo and Thokozile Mathuthu prompted the convening of
another politburo meeting on May 28 where a succession committee headed by
Nkomo was appointed.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:58
IT is a relief for Margaret Taruvinga, a science student at the
University of Zimbabwe (UZ), that she will go back to college next month.
After spending a year doing nothing at home and a few months as a
temporary secondary school teacher in Harare's sprawling high-density suburb
of Dzivaresekwa, Taruvinga is happy that she would soon pursue her academic
Despite the joy at the re-opening of UZ on August 3, Taruvinga is
worried about the high fees the university wants and where she would raise
transport fares to commute from her Kuwadzana home since the campus will not
offer accommodation because of the state of dilapidation of halls of
residence. The university has been intermittently closed in the past two
years due to a plethora of reasons, among them student unrest over fees, a
lecturers' strike and water shortages.
The fees required for students in the faculties of humanities is
US$404, sciences US$504 and veterinary science US$674.
Being the first-born in a family of seven - with one of her siblings
being a student at the Women's University - Taruvinga realises the reality
that her parents would struggle to meet the fees and other costs attendant
UZ authorities this week said the fees should be paid before the
college re-opens, adding that revenue inflows expected from the fees so far
were very low.
From the expected US$922 000 from fees, only US$332 000 had been paid
by July 6.
The projected revenue is also expected to dwindle after 1 010 students
joined government's cadetship programme where the state pays for their fees
and on completion of their courses they would be bonded to government
ministries and departments.
Students not on the programme would be required to pay cash upfront
and show proof of payment before they are admitted into class.
Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge (top right) said the failure to
re-open the UZ at the beginning of the year was a result of water problems -
a matter the students union said was just one of the many reasons affecting
the institution and other state universities.
Mudenge last week told parliament that: "I know a lot of people are
asking why at the moment the UZ is failing to open for undergraduates and it
is because of water. We approached Unicef to build us six boreholes as a
temporary measure because Zinwa and the city council have not been able to
provide water to the institution.
"I am also concerned as a parent. My own daughter is a final-year
student at the UZ and is failing to complete her degree, so I know how the
other parents are feeling on this matter," he said. "We hoped that when the
six boreholes were drilled, the university would open but of the six
boreholes, three collapsed, one yielded no water and two gave out poor
supply of water."
The minister said Unicef had to drill 13 more boreholes, the majority
of which were now supplying adequate water.
While the water crisis seemed to have been resolved, the plight of the
UZ students looks set to continue.
Students from outside Harare would have to find accommodation after
the college said its halls of residence were inhabitable. This entails more
costs to be endured by the students.
This week, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) and Zimbabwe
Congress of Students Unions (Zicosu) met with parliament's Portfolio
Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education to discuss the state of tertiary
education in the country and the plight of students.
The parliamentary committee comprised lawmakers Patrick Zhuwao, Editor
Matamisa, Marvellous Khumalo, Anastasia Ndlovu, Jefrison Chitando and
The unions pressed the portfolio committee on the need for a holistic
approach in dealing with the problems faced by the UZ.
The unions told the committee that the "exorbitant fees" were "beyond
the reach of the majority of the students".
The unions also raised the issue of National University of Science and
Technology students who were barred from writing their examinations after
failing to pay the fees.
Zinasu and Zicosu said apart from the fees, the colleges had
dilapidated "infrastructure and the acute shortage of accommodation". They
also highlighted the unprofessionalism in the running of examinations by
Higher Education Examinations Council.
The unions told the committee that the problems at the institutions of
higher learning stemmed from inadequate funding from the fiscus and asked
the committee to put pressure on the government to prioritise and fund
The unions also raised the plight of academic and non-academic staff
in all state tertiary institutions.
Lecturers and non-academic staff have in the past two years been on
strike pressing for better remuneration and working conditions.
Last week, a disgruntled university lecturer wrote to the Zimbabwe
Independent saying that even if 1 000 boreholes were drilled at the campus,
chances were high that the university would not open its doors next month.
"Lecturers are grumbling and petulant because of poor working
conditions. Staff are ridiculously underpaid and administration has turned a
blind eye," the lecturer wrote.
Meanwhile, Harare City Council this week said they were working flat
out to restore water supplies at UZ.
"Water supplies continue to stabilise with preference being given to
the central business district industry and the Mount Pleasant areas to
maintain uninterrupted water supplies at the University of Zimbabwe," said a
council report on water supplies and sanitation infrastructure
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:54
ZIMBABWE'S basket-case tag could continue to stick amid growing fears
that the majority of farmers do not have the financial capability to boost
agricultural productivity this year.
With no cheap funding from the Reserve Bank to dish out to farmers
through concessionary facilities, government projections of a 24,3% growth
in agricultural productivity could be unattainable, agricultural experts
said. Government requires US$880 million for the summer cropping season, a
figure representing more than 80% of the US$1 billion National Budget
presented in March.
Farmers who have in the past benefited from quasi-fiscal interventions
carried by the central bank generally resent government's policy shift in
financing, marketing and pricing agricultural commodities. The move was
inevitable owing to deteriorating economic conditions.
Also troubling the sector are farm disruptions reportedly affecting
the remaining white commercial farmers.
The new policy which, among other things, eased the central bank's
supra ministerial interventions and liberalised the commodities market was
necessitated by the introduction of the multi-currencying of the national
payments system on the back of unprecedented hyperinflationary levels.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, presenting his mid-year fiscal policy
statement last Thursday, said this policy shift had resulted from government
"With regards to financing, this shift was driven by the need to find
an effective and sustainable means of financing agriculture given the
resource constraints facing government and the potential financing capacity
of the banking system, other private players, including farmers themselves,"
But farmers' organisations are pessimistic about the future due to
this policy change.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Wilson Nyabonda, is on
record saying no farmer had received any lines of credit from banks.
"We are yet to hear of any farmer who has received funding under the
announced lines of credit," Nyabonda said. "We want contractors to source
offshore funds and start engaging in contract farming instead of crowding
around funds sourced by the government."
Renson Gasela, a commercial farmer based in the Midlands who is also
the deputy secretary of information in the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC said:
"Farmers are in a dilemma. GMB has the best price for maize but they are
undercapitalised. On the other hand other buyers have cash but are offering
The court case involving Karoi farmers that successfully sought an
interdict barring a local buyer from purchasing maize below the gazetted
price could be a tip of the iceberg on farmers' preparedness to finance
agriculture under prevailing economic conditions.
"I don't know whether most farmers received loans for the winter crop
because of unviable loan requirements. They are unviable in the sense that
they should be serviced in three months before the crop is ready for
marketing," Gasela said. "It is not working at the moment and unless
something is done quickly we are going to have a serious problem next
According to Gasela, a former GMB general manager, a farmer currently
needs to sell two tonnes of maize to grow a hectare of the crop.
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mangudya, however, said
banks were only prepared to support better performing farmers, adding that
some farmers were failing to manage income generated from sales.
"Agriculture is a business and because of that income from produce
sold should be ploughed back into the business," he said. "We need to have
good business ethics whereby farmers who have received sales should plough
back to business as opposed to waiting for loans from banks."
Mangudya blamed hyperinflation which the International Monetary Fund
said reached 500 billion percent by December 2008 for declining agricultural
Hyperinflation, he said, was an "anti-production disease" which was
"cured" by the introduction of various foreign currencies to the national
Banks, according to the BAZ president, are currently operating at up
to 40% capacity.
"The current national payments system has exposed banks to be more
cautious to risk management. Banks require better performance (from farmers
who borrow money) to ensure sound financial intermediation", Mangudya said.
Financial institutions, Mangudya added, have modelled two forms of
loans for farmers. On the one hand farmers can apply for working capital for
the winter and summer crops. He said close to US$50 million has been made
available by banks under that category.
Mangudya said over US$200 million in loan advances for farmers had
been sourced from bank deposits.
The second form of financial assistance, according to Mangudya, is
channelled to tobacco and cotton merchants to buy crops from farmers.
Apart from lines of credit sourced from regional and international
lenders, government has received assistance from international aid agencies
and donor organisations.
Total financial requirements for crop input packs for communal farmers
during the 2009/10 summer cropping season amount to US$142,4 million.
"Of this requirement, a total of US$66,5 million has so far been
provided . by the European Union (EU), United States, United Kingdom,
Ireland and Japan through the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO),"
reads Biti's mid-term fiscal statement. "This support is expected to benefit
more than 600 000 households, and the inputs will be distributed through
established local non-governmental organisations."
Economist Daniel Ndlela said an end to quasi fiscal activities by the
Reserve Bank could signal the resuscitation of the sector.
"In my view, the cessation of the Reserve Bank in the quasi fiscal
arena as a whole, including agriculture, should come as a positive
development," Ndlela said. "The central bank's involvement in Agricultural
Sector Productive Enhancement Facility was in direct proportion to the
decline of agriculture. Agriculture failed because of inflationary finance.
Their intervention fuelled a black market for fuel and other inputs. We
reaped misery from such policies."
Government, Ndlela said, could resuscitate agricultural productivity
through an affordable credit regime, technological improvement,
notwithstanding good climatic conditions.
ZB Bank chief economist Best Doroh said "handouts" to farmers should
"The issue of giving handouts should be discouraged and replaced with
facilities that value productivity," he said. "Zimbabwe's agricultural
sector can move from being a basket case to a bread basket in the region
when there is major capital injection in the form of lines of credit."
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:51
THERE remains little doubt among most Zimbabweans and observers alike
that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) could be the best possible agency
towards a better political and economic future for the country.
Nevertheless, the delays and hiccups attendant to the process so far,
and hardly two months away from the first anniversary of the GPA, underline
the political landmines that still stand in the way of progress in Zimbabwe.
The constitution-making exercise, not to mention the political fracas
thereto at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) on July 13, is
one such political landmine that has so far been exposed.
However, what about the land audit, an outstanding issue which both
the MDC and Zanu PF appear so afraid to have thrust in the public domain? In
addition, what about the many delays in the rectification of the most basic
of people's needs? The list is long: water and sanitation, particularly in
the high-density urban areas but not excluding many of the low-density
suburbs; the food, transport and energy shortages across most of Zimbabwe;
the agonisingly slow recovery of the education and health systems; the
grinding urban poverty and unemployment; rural underdevelopment, etc.
Sadly, these are the bread and butter issues which, still largely
unattended to, are quickly dissipating the euphoria that accompanied the
inauguration of the inclusive government in February. The reality now is
simply this: the economic and social questions will not be resolved as long
as these political landmines remain in place. These are the problems which
the GPA sought to resolve; they are the same that threaten the transitional
process and leaves the economy in limbo.
As I pointed out in an earlier contribution to this new newspaper
("Zimbabwe's Transitional Government: The First 100 Days", Zimbabwe
Independent, May 22 2009), the problem is all about the tension that
underpins the compromise between Zanu PF (the "defeated") and the MDC (the
"cheated"), and the mostly conflictual (though mostly subtle) relationship
between the two executive authorities - the executive president and the
executive prime minister - within the GPA and its inclusive government. The
ideal set-up would have been that which the South African architects of the
GPA had tried in vain to establish in June 2008, soon after the "run off" of
that month: namely, having Mugabe as ceremonial president, while Tsvangirai
assumed executive powers as prime minister. It is not difficult to
understand why this model was rejected by Mugabe, leaving Mbeki and Sadc to
browbeat Tsvangirai into a GPA which, even on paper, is an ambivalent
document, to state the least.
But, as has to be acknowledged, it was an outcome that reflected the
balance of forces in the Zimbabwean polity on September15, 2008. Even then,
the expectation, particularly amongst the South African and Sadc
underwriters of the GPA, was that, with the passage of the weeks and months
following the signing of the GPA, the old man would gradually but certainly
recline towards retirement, as the younger man, the prime minister, got into
the saddle, helped to create an integrated (and even non-partisan) Cabinet,
and on the basis of which the transitional government would undertake its
task, without hindrance and with the full confidence of the Zimbabwean
What a great opportunity has gone begging; and so the political
squabbling and quibbling goes on. There have been some significant benefits
for the MDC in the meantime, in addition to the latitude which the GPA has
provided for an opposition movement that hitherto had been virtually
outlawed: for example, next week the MDC will see its provincial governors
and ambassadors take office, at last!
Still, both the constitution-making exercise and the land audit issue
remain the major political landmines. The Zanu PF stalwarts, few in number
but disproportionately big in terms of the strategic positions they hold in
the state apparatus, will not concede easily to the idea of the land audit,
let alone the exercise itself. There is far too much to hide; there is
speculation and fear that the revelations of a land audit would be enough to
obliterate whatever legitimacy the party of liberation still has in the eyes
of the population. This in part explains the persistent "land invasions": to
make the land audit not only unfeasible but also eliminate it altogether as
one of the provisions of the GPA.
So far, the strategy is working, as long as the MDC lacks the
political capacity to demand that this key element of the GPA is followed
through to its logical conclusion and to the benefit of the country, as
property rights are restored and agricultural production recovered. No
doubt, the land question still stares us in the face, with the decade-long
land reform exercise only a live reminder that we are no closer to its
Both the MDC and its collection of NGOs have, traditionally and
ideologically, viewed economic matters as largely secondary to issues of
democracy and human rights. For that reason, the MDC still finds it
difficult to translate the concept of transformation into a meaningful
economic agenda that will also address the national question, confront
international capital and its comprador representatives at home, and lay the
foundation for urban and rural development. On the contrary, there is the
growing temptation in the ranks of the MDC leadership to translate the
transition itself into an agency for its nouveaux riches, those corporate
pimps some of whom have been among its ardent financial backers in the
recent past; whilst correspondingly placing on the backburner the real
priorities that concern the urban and rural masses. So, what's new?
History repeating itself within 30 years of a post-Independence period?
Whatever the case, it is consistent with modern-day mass movements
that the MDC, and its NGO's and donors alike, view the issue of
constitution-making as both a priority in terms of the "democracy agenda",
and a soft target, a lesser landmine than the land audit, in the pursuit of
the GPA process which will logically culminate in a general election, the
outcome of which will guarantee the MDC unfettered victory and power.
That was the MDC's calculation, until the fiasco at the HICC on
July13: Zanu PF strategists had read the script and resolved to put the
spanner in the works. "The constitution-making process should be delayed for
another three months," read part of the resolution issued by the war
veterans a day after the confrontation at the HICC. At least, that betrayed
the plot on the part of the Zanu PF strategists in both the party and the
state. Enough indication, at the least, that even the constitution-making
exercise is so fraught with dangers that it might not be concluded according
to the schedule of the GPA. For there are elements determined to make the
GPA process open-ended and even wreck the agreement altogether. So, who will
rein in these elements and thereby clear the political landmines?
Reference has already been made to the strategists who have assumed
the mantle of would-be "Zanu PF machinery", few in number but holding
strategic positions within the pillars of the state apparatus. The agenda is
driven essentially by self-interest and self-preservation, as a class
buttressed by a securocracy that had become so powerful over the last decade
and now lacks the capacity to either unbundle itself or adjust quickly to
the demands of the new dispensation. Self-anointed as the usurpers of the
history and ideology of liberation, these strategists sustain a
disproportionate influence within the state, maintain the threat of violence
as a major part of the arsenal the securocrats had monopolised over the
decade, and orchestrate and hegemonise a public media mantra designed to
fuel a desperate fight-back against a would-be ascendant MDC.
It is doubtful that such a backlash can be sustained indefinitely,
especially given their lack of a viable alternative to the GPA and against
the background of a Zimbabwean population so weary of a miserable past and
yearning for a better future. Also, any discernible improvement in the
social and economic life of the people is likely to be associated with the
GPA, if not also the MDC as the new kids on the block. So, inevitably, a
GPA success story is more likely to be a feather in the cap of Tsvangirai
and the MDC and a nail in the political coffin of Mugabe and Zanu PF. But,
the backlash of these incorrigible elements within Zanu PF and the state
will continue to wear down the inclusive government, disrupt the GPA, and
delay the country's economic and social recovery. Hence the need for a
game-plan on the part of the inclusive government as a whole, supported by
the key stakeholders in the civic society, business and the diplomatic
community, in the region and internationally.
First, the inclusive government should streamline its own functions,
so as to ensure a definitive and integrated executive authority, as opposed
to the current set-up which appears to be amorphous and divided between the
president and prime minister. The key provision of the GPA in this regard
is that the prime minister is the head of the government, responsible for
policy formulation and implementation, and is the one to whom all cabinet
ministers are answerable. If the emphasis is on functionality and delivery,
then it is the office of the prime minister that should be accorded primacy
over those issues of protocol which uphold the superiority of the head of
Clearly the prime minister has so far failed to assert his position in
this regard, even though his diplomatic stance will have helped portray a
less partisan figure, a national rather than party leader. But the country
wants to see and needs a prime minister who must impress as the man in
charge of policy, leading from the front in all state matters, and in close
and visible liaison with his ministers. In doing so, he must also create
the appropriate modus operandi through which to win the confidence and trust
of a head of state who has been all in charge for almost 30 years. Only
then can we expect a thoroughgoing implementation of the GPA, including
constitution making and the land audit.
Second, the state bureaucracy itself requires streamlining through the
requisite change of guards, not as part of retribution against misfits or
reward for new loyalists, but as the need to ensure that the state is
equipped with skills and personalities who understand the demands and
imperatives of the new dispensation. In this regard, the Public Service Act
can be used as it was in the early 1980s, to retire and replace the service
chiefs (including the chairman of the Public Service Commission) and
selected permanent secretaries, This is a necessary exercise in renewal and
rejuvenation; it also sends the message that it cannot be business as usual
under the new dispensation. For such changes will liberate the latent forces
within the state apparatus, towards a new mission and the confidence that
Zimbabweans can leave up to any challenge, as they did in 1980.
Third, the inclusive government should institute a series of
non-partisan think tanks, beginning with the political in which the old and
the retired politicians can offer their advice, to the economic and
technical as proposed by deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara in his
initiative, "The Zimbabwe 2040 Vision".
Last but not least, regional, continental and international support
remains crucial for Zimbabwe, easier to mobilise and engage once the
inclusive government is truly on course and has established its credentials
with the Zimbabwean society. However, even the element of oversight on the
part of these factors should remain at hand, not least in the face of such
real threats to Zimbabwe's transitional process.
=Ibbo Mandaza is a Zimbabwean academic and publisher.
By Ibbo Mandaza
Thursday, 23 July 2009 20:12
GOVERNMENT officials, including ministers, are now expected to spend
less time on government-issued cellphones as the fiscus intensifies efforts
to curb unnecessary expenditure.
Finance minister Tendai Biti in his midterm budget statement last week
said government had so far in this financial year accumulated US$21,7
million in arrears.
To reduce spending, government officials would be restricted in using
mobile phones, vehicles, fuel allocation and foreign travel, some of which
are " not commensurate with the benefits to the economy".
The arrears are on utility bills such as electricity, water,
telephones and vehicle hire.
Biti said in line with his "you eat what you gather" policy and in an
environment characterised by shortage of resources, the results based
budgeting (RBB) allows government agencies to achieve their micro and macro
level results in a more coordinated systematic, integrated and cost
Biti said he would set airtime limits for government officials and
convert existing contract lines into pre-paid lines.
"For those still on contract lines, service providers will be
requested to withdraw ability to make a call on contract lines that exceed
set spending ceilings. In addition, government will streamline the number of
government officials warranting provision of handsets and air time
allowances," he said.
The Finance minister said as of June outstanding bills for CMED
vehicle hire charges stood at US$6,7 million, and continue to grow.
To curb this, he said, Treasury in consultation with CMED is working
on a new billing system as the current one which provides for payment of
flat monthly fixed charges per vehicle (dead mileage) of US$1 000 (2 500km
at $0,40 per km) "encourages unnecessary use of government vehicles,
subsequently leading to high demand for fuel".
He said, currently, CMED imposes a charge that penalises ministries
should a vehicle on hire not clock a minimum mileage of 2 500km.
On fuel consumption by government which according to Biti is a cause
of concern, he proposed "setting fuel consumption limits for senior
officials, setting fuel consumption levels per ministry, with the cap
informed by nature of duties".
On foreign travel, Biti said a disproportionate share of revenue is
being spent on foreign travel adding that in certain instances, ministries
are initiating foreign travel requests which were not commensurate with
benefits to the economy.
"Expenditures related to foreign travel have been at levels that, if
sustained over the course of the year, will crowd out other operational
costs. I propose that expenditures on foreign travel be limited to a given
allocation with travel approvals related to availability of funds."
Government has spent US$11 million on foreign trips aimed at raising
resources in support of Sterp requirements.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:56
IT'S official: inflation is back!
But the usual suspect - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe chief Gideon Gono -
has nothing to do with the slight rise of the demon this time around.
His hands are clean as he has not been printing any Zimbabwean dollars
since the official dollarisation of the economy in February this year.
Zimbabwe's month-on-month inflation rose to 0,6% in June from -1,0% in
May, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said this week.
CSO resumed calculating inflation figures in January after last
releasing the figures in July last year.
Economic analysts said during the period under review inflation rose
in June due to the firming of the rand against the American dollar coupled
with rising utility bills such as telephone, municipal and electricity
Fuel prices also fed into inflation, economists say.
Petrol rose by 50% to an average of US$1,50 per litre from US$1.
ZB Financial Holdings group economist Best Doroh said the rise in
inflation was nothing to worry about for now. He said there was no
discernable inflation trend yet, but warned that there was need to curb
"unsustainably" high public utility bills before it worsens inflation
Said Doroh: "The main reason our inflation in US dollars terms rose in
June 2009 is firstly, the strengthening of the rand against the US dollar
given that we import most of our basic commodities from South Africa," Doroh
Doroh said public utility charges such as electricity, water and rates
were highly priced and that was translating into some pressure on prices.
"Fuel prices have generally been on the increase since June 2009 and
that is feeding into higher food prices," he said.
"However, the issue of unsustainably high public utility charges needs
to be addressed up front otherwise it may worsen the inflation outlook."
But why is CSO failing to calculate year on year figures?
"I suppose CSO does not have the figures for last year as we were
still operating in the Zimbabwe dollar era. Thus, the impact on users of the
inflation figures is that we somehow remain short-term sighted," said Doroh.
"However, you can still extrapolate the figures to get an annual rate,
which can be used as a projection," added Doroh.
The decision to dollarise Zimbabwe's economy has however brought a
marked measure of stability to the economically troubled country.
Finance minister Tendai Biti last week urged businesses to avoid
tendencies and practices that stoke inflationary pressures.
Said Biti: "Sustained stability in prices also restores the real value
of savings and allows for longer term planning by both business and
"It is therefore incumbent upon government and stakeholders, including
business and labour, to collectively avoid tendencies and practices that
threaten the gains in containing the inflationary pressures of the past,"
Biti said for this to be achieved it required "close monitoring of all
price developments, including the negative tendencies in fuel pricing which
since June 2009 have seen inconsistent upward reviews".
"Similarly, utility tariff adjustments by local authorities and some
of our parastatals will also warrant close tracking of developments, with
measures quickly instituted to ensure that our gains in inflation reduction
are not reversed. Business, on its part remains urged to act responsibly in
reviewing pricing arrangements," he said.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:52
THE Indigenous Petroleum Group of Zimbabwe (IPGZ) has proposed a
further reduction of Carbon Tax and scrapping of debt redemption to ensure
the fuel prices in Zimbabwe are in line with regional prices.
In line with their fuel cost build up, IPGZ this week said government
should reduce Carbon Tax from $0,013 per litre for diesel to $0,005, and
$0,040 per litre for petrol to $0,005 per litre.
Commenting on their proposal to scrap debt redemption IPGZ said they
"strongly feel it is a National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) liability
and sovereign debt" and questioned how it came about.
"How much is it and why should oil companies and consumers bear the
brunt over historical Noczim mismanagement?" IPGZ questioned.
IPGZ said the Zimbabwe National Road Authority Road Levy needed to be
slashed to $0,01 per litre of petrol and diesel. "Sadly we do not see where
these funds have been applied and our roads are in a sorry state to say the
least, this fund needs to be audited, to establish where the funds are,"
IPGZ questioned the Strategic Reserves Levy saying there were no such
things as strategic fuel reserves in Zimbabwe.
"Who manages these and where are they? What is the volume stocks
target build up for these?" IPGZ questioned.
The IPGZ said the amounts of money being allocated to these areas were
"If you proportionate per litre imported it would translate to 30 000
000 to 40 000 000 litres per month," IPGZ said.
"Should these be reduced, this could have a positive impact on the
pump price and essentially on the Zimbabwean industry," IPGZ added.
The price of fuel is higher by an average of US$0,32c compared to what
the region is charging.
"We applaud, genuinely, Finance Minister Tendai Biti for attending to
the punitive duties. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development officials
have been in denial all these years that the duties had no bearing on
industry since the consumer was bearing the cost," said IPGZ.
"Looking at the regional fuel prices, our cost build-up provides for
the most expensive fuel in the region, due to greed and denial by government
officials in the Ministry of Energy that our pricing system is
unsustainable," they said.
"For the record, before 1999 Zimbabwe was using an average 155 000 000
litres fuels per month, but we are down to below 30 000 000 litres per
"We cannot squeeze revenue targets from the same volume, but rather
reduce taxes and excise duties to ensure we raise more volumes especially
through diesel so that industry produces and those volumes are boosted and
therefore raise the revenue base," said IPGZ.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:49
OLD MUTUAL, the largest pension scheme in Zimbabwe said it is ready to
pay out pensioners in foreign currency but was awaiting clearance from the
Commissioner of Pensions.
Businessdigest understands that Old Mutual recently wrote to
pensioners under their books informing them that they had introduced two
Under the proposal, pensioners with less than US$20 per month will be
paid a lump sum while those above US$20 will be paid on a monthly basis.
Payments would have commenced this month but have been stopped by the
Commissioner of Pensions, Old Mutual claims.
It is understood that this was at the instigation of smaller pension
funds that are low on liquidity
fearing that once Old Mutual start paying in forex they would be
pressured by their clients to so the same.
An official at Old Mutual yesterday said they will start paying in
hard currency "soon" after getting clearance from the Commissioner of
"We are waiting for approval to pay out pensions from the Commissioner
then our accounts department will deposit money into the pensioners'
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Commissioner of Insurance Ninetti
Mpofu promised to respond to questions sent to her, but had not responded at
the time of going to print.
With the introduction of multiple currencies in February pensioners
have not been getting their monthly pay as pension schemes said their
foreign currency reserves were low.
This week the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) said pension
warrants are now "valid for only two months instead of three months. So
warrants not cashed within two months from the date of issue will be
returned to NSSA".
NSSA resumed operations in April paying benefits in foreign currency.
Most pensioners stopped collecting their pension as the cost of
transport to town was more than they were being paid.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:47
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe will not be launching its 3G service this
year but the good news is early next year subscribers can look forward to
the service, CEO Douglas Mboweni said.
Mboweni said 3G service would be available initially in Harare and
later extend to all the major cities by the end of next year.
"We ran successful 3G tests in Harare following authorisations from
the regulator. As we prepare for a full launch, we are proceeding into test
marketing, where we will offer the service to a test panel of subscribers
while new bandwidth is being built in," Mboweni said.
Econet will use a combination of terrestrial (land) links and
satellite to broaden its international bandwidth, which is key to all data
All new technology being installed on the Econet Wireless network as
part of on-going expansion is at least EDGE-capable, which means it can
support modern data services, the company said.
How does 3G works work?
With 3G, one can make person to person video calls, which means one
sees the person he/she is calling, provided of course both people are on 3G
and using 3G compatible devices.
One can also do video live streaming, download videos at fast speeds
or can also send a colleague a video message. On the business front,
executives can hold video conferences with clients, send them pictures,
documents or data, and be able to receive instant feedback without a
physical meeting or even being in the office.
On the financial front, transactions also become easier and faster.
One can do banking on the move.
Apart from allowing users to access mobile email and internet, GPRS is
being used for other critical services such as vehicle tracking systems and
Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:40
THE construction industry has declined sharply since 2000 due to the
unstable marco-economic environment, forcing most construction companies to
either relocate to neighbouring countries or close shop.
Presenting the 2009 Mid-term Fiscal Policy last week, Finance Minister
Tendai Bit said viability challenges in a highly unstable economic
environment were the main reasons of the downfall of the construction
"As a result, between 2000 and 2008, the sector persistently declined
by a cumulative 125% forcing most construction companies to either relocate
to neighbouring countries or shut down altogether," Biti said.
According to the minister, the construction industry recorded the
biggest decline compared to other sectors of the economy during the period
The construction industry is a barometer of economic activity. It has
strong forward and backward demand linkages with the rest of the economy and
promotes strong multiplier effect in the economy.
"The strong demand for inputs such as cement and other building
materials such as steel and electrical products, roofing material, among
others, stimulates production and creates jobs in other related sectors,"
He said the construction sector was also important in meeting other
critical social obligations such as housing delivery.
Biti said the 5% capital gains tax on immovable property was set after
providing for an inflation allowance on the purchase price of the property.
The inflation allowance is calculated using the difference between the
"All Items" Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the month of disposal and purchase
divided by the CPI for the month of purchase.
Although in the past capital gain has been indexed for inflation, the
inflation-adjusted cost of capital assets has become impractical to
determine due to unavailability of consumer price indices for the last half
of 2008. Gains arising from disposal of immovable property purchased after
February 1 2009 will be subject to capital gains tax as provided for in the
Capital Gains Tax Act.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:04
ATTORNEY-GENERAL Johannes Tomana is the "single biggest threat to
national healing", MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said last weekend.
This followed the refusal of the AG's office to release Roy Bennett's
passport so he could attend meetings in South Africa.
Last week lawyers for Bennett, Mtetwa & Nyambirai, wrote to the AG's
office seeking a relaxation of Bennett's bail conditions and the release of
his passport. Their request was turned down by Michael Mugabe, a law officer
standing in for Tomana. As a result Bennett's lawyers filed an urgent High
Court application. This was rejected on technical grounds.
The judge said Bennett had "a good case but had chosen the wrong
In his affidavit Bennett said the AG's office was "motivated by
malice". The administration of justice would not be jeopardised in any way
by a relaxation of bail conditions, Bennett argued.
The state's position in denying Bennett his right to freedom of
movement where there is clearly no suspicion that he will skip the country
illustrates the role of the AG's office in persecuting MDC and civic leaders
at a time when all parties should be working for healing and reform.
Zimbabwe's friends in the region and overseas should note this
vexatious and partisan policy, particularly Sweden which holds the EU
presidency. It is emblematic of all that is obstructive and malicious about
Zanu PF's approach to the inclusive government. Other MDC and civic
activists are facing similarly vexatious charges regarding militia training
in Botswana that the Botswana government has dismissed as spurious. Taken
with the ongoing farm seizures, there should be no indulgence of those
individuals who are playing a key role in sabotaging national
At the same time the MDC needs reminding that it is delinquent in
trying to pass off farm invasions as "isolated incidents". Agricultural
recovery is key to national recovery and that is not going to happen so long
as lawlessness persists.
Evidence that old attitudes die hard could be found in what the Herald
passed off as a review of a cultural exhibit on Monday. The reviewer waxed
indignant over an installation, "Footsteps of Change", by Sithabile Mlotshwa
at the Pan African Festival of Algiers. The artist was accused of
"threatening to stifle Zimbabwe's rebranding efforts" by portraying Zimbabwe
in a poor light.
"She used her artistic licence to lie to the whole world about the
situation at home at a time when Zimbabweans are reengaging the
international community, "the reviewer, Jonathan Mbiriyamveka, railed. "The
inclusive government, the turnaround of the economy and the constitutional
reforms are not reflected in the installation," he complained. Instead
Mlotshwa was sowing the "seeds of hate".
He compared Mlotshwa's work to the "outstanding pieces" by another
artist, Sasa Masimba. The reviewer's main complaint appeared to be that
Mugabe's reign was represented as that of a country going backwards.
Zimbabwe is portrayed as an ailing pregnant woman, Mbiriyamveka fumed.
"She is lying on the floor with her bulging belly all covered up by the
colourful Zimbabwean flag while latex gloves are spread over her face. The
impression one gets is that perhaps Zimbabwe's inclusive government is on
the verge of collapse."
Deputy Culture minister Lazaraus Dokora had sought a meeting with his
Algerian counterpart to find out just how the installation made it to the
festival without the Zimbabwe government's consent.
Here you have a classic illustration of the disease that ails us as a
nation. A minister complaining about an art exhibit because it does not
reflect the official Stalinist line that art must promote state policy. An
artist whose work does not toe the official line is subject to bitter
denunciation because she expresses herself in a way that is inconvenient to
This cultural coercion matches claims by ministers that the state
media should reflect the views of the parties to the GPA. We need to knock
this cultural fascism on its head. Zimbabwean artists must be allowed to
express their feelings and not be intimidated by puerile reviews of the sort
carried in the "entertainment" section of the Business Herald on Monday.
By the way, in the same edition Muckraker spotted a front-page picture
captioned "Government is striving to secure lines of credit to allow
improved capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector".
The picture showed a Dairibord production line being inspected by
somebody who looked very much like former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir
He has been out of office for many years now, so Muckraker must be
It was interesting to read Lord Selborne's remarks in the "100 years
ago" section of the Herald this week. The High Commissioner was speaking on
the subject of the new (1909) South African constitution which brought
together the four British colonies that were to form the Union of South
Africa the following year.
He said there had been criticism that the Transvaal had swallowed the
Cape and that the Cape had swallowed the Transvaal. Natal had been swallowed
by both, some critics claimed. But he asked whether there had ever been a
constitution that was not a compromise of some sort.
Muckraker was always amused that journalists based in Bulawayo who met
regularly at a bar at the Selborne Hotel had difficulty spelling the hotel's
name when they got round to filing stories on what had been said there. A
"u" invariably managed to creep in after the "o".
Let's hope that's "a thing of the past", to use one of the state media's
We recall an early manifestation of that expression in 1986 when after
the NAM conference at the Sheraton Hotel, a Herald editorial confidently
proclaimed that with the importation of new patrol cars for the conference,
shortages of police vehicles would be "a thing of the past".
Perhaps readers can remember any other breezy forecasts that didn't
turn out to be quite so accurate!
Government publicists masquerading as journalists have helpfully
indicated what sort of language they want to see used in the
constitution-making process. The events of Monday last week when Zanu PF
hoodlums ran riot at the HICC is now referred to as "a mishap", according to
the official media. And the economic catastrophe Mugabe's government has
spawned over the past decade is referred to as "sanctions-induced".
Even the state's negligent record at UZ which has resulted in the
collapse of that once fine institution is being ascribed to sanctions.
In a dissembling editorial on Tuesday the Herald admitted that chefs
had been able to escape the declining standards at the university by
educating their children abroad. President Mugabe had helped poor parents by
sending students to Fort Hare, we were told.
Official whoppers of this sort induce a mixture of outrage and
laughter. The Fort Hare scholarship scheme was not the product of
presidential bounty, as we are led to believe. It was a government programme
supported by the taxpayer. And we are delighted to hear that poor children
benefited because that certainly wasn't the case with other scholarship
schemes run by the Ministry of Higher Education.
As for those companies who found it difficult to continue assisting
the university, that had little to do with sanctions "taking their toll" and
more to do with the toll Godwills Masimirembwa took on companies.
What about the US$6 million Gideon Gono gave to Lobels? Couldn't the
university have made use of that? And can the RBZ explain what happened to
the US$4,7 million the EU allocated for research projects at UZ last year?
What do UZ students thinks of this mendacity? Do you ever hear them
saying it's all the fault of sanctions? Never. They know where the problem
The UZ crisis was but one of numerous examples of how ruinous
sanctions had been, the Herald told us.
In fact of course the UZ is emblematic of a mismanaged economy and
scandalous distortions in state priorities. And did readers notice Tuesday's
lead letter in the Herald complaining bitterly about "rich newspaper barons
being able to bring their propaganda into Zimbabwe duty-free"?
Here was further evidence if it was needed of the provenance of such
deceitful letters such as this one which claimed Tendai Biti's budget was
The writer was understandably furious because the removal of duties on
imported newspapers will help to keep the public informed, something the
government's captive press is incapable of doing.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF which is constantly lecturing us on Pan-Africanism
is doing its best to block other African voices in the constitution-making
They seem to have a strong dislike of Cyril Ramaphosa who made such a
notable contribution to South Africa's democratic transformation. Was it
something he said?
Could Met Office chief Dr Amos Makarau please inform us why he is
unable to get the weather forecast to the Herald on time. Several times a
week we are told "the weather report was not available at the time of going
to press". Why? Can Dr Makarau please explain?
But all is not lost. He will be "coming up" with a statement next
month on El Niño, that naughty little Spanish boy who causes so much havoc
at this time of year together with his sister, La Niña.
Finally, our commiserations to Partick Chinamasa on his unscheduled
sojourn at Frankfurt Airport. Perhaps now he will understand what it feels
like to be on the receiving end of a hostile political campaign. Nine years
ago when Joseph Chinotimba and his thugs were besieging Chief Justice Antony
Gubbay in his chambers Gubbay appealed to Justice minister Chinamasa for
"Put it in writing," came the terse response.
Let's hope the EU says the same thing!
Thursday, 23 July 2009 21:52
AT Cabinet's insistence, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last
week organised a workshop on a "Shared Vision for Zimbabwe".
Participants came from diverse sectors of society, ranging from
politicians from not only the three parties comprising the "inclusive
government," but also several other parties, to the clergy, action groups,
societal representative bodies, proponents of women's rights, the business
sector, diplomats, and many others.
Inevitably many of the views expressed focused almost exclusively
upon issues pertinent to the particular fields of interest represented by
respective speakers, but most sought to address the broad spectrum of
characteristics envisaged for the Zimbabwe of the future.
This columnist was one of the many accorded the privilege of
contemplating what the Zimbabwe of the future should be. In doing so
recollection of the "I have a dream" speech of the renowned activist, Dr
Martin Luther King, more than four decades ago, flashed to mind - albeit
with the very necessary recognition of being devoid of both his remarkable
intellect and his profound eloquence. Nevertheless, as is so for almost all
who love Zimbabwe, I too have a vision of the Zimbabwe that should be, the
Zimbabwe that its extraordinarily wonderful people (with regrettably some
very great exceptions, but fortunately a minority) deserve.
Whilst a dream is, more often than not, the unreal or mystical, a
vision can become a reality, and that will surely be so of the right vision
for Zimbabwe, notwithstanding the hell that it has undergone for at least 11
My vision for Zimbabwe is for:
lA Zimbabwe in which poverty is the extreme exception - not the norm
lA Zimbabwe free of any and all discrimination on grounds of gender,
faith, race or tribe, the sole discrimination being between the honest and
the dishonest, between the good and the evil, between the capable and the
lA Zimbabwe of sound, diversified and ongoing economic growth and
wellbeing, enabling self-sufficiency for all.
lA Zimbabwe positively interactive, collaborative with and respected
by the entire international community, save for those countries that abhor
international norms of justice, human rights and free exercise of will
(within the parameters of internationally recognised and accepted criteria
of ethics and morals, communal interest and justice).
lA Zimbabwe respectful of the rights of all.
lA Zimbabwe where corruption is the exception, not the norm.
From the depths to which Zimbabwe has sunk, almost wholly of its own
making, converting that vision into reality requires radical transformations
of policies, of actions and substantive reversals of much that has
characterised the last decade, or more. Achieving the vision requires:
lZimbabwe unreservedly espousing, and unequivocally pursuing, genuine
and total democracy;
lAbsolute adherence to respect for, and maintenance of, human and
property rights, justice, maintenance of law and order (in a just and humane
lProbity and thrift being the overriding criteria of fiscal policies,
and of their implementation;
lAny, and all, Zimbabweans being entitled to land, with complete
security of tenure and entrenched collateral value, that entitlement being
constrained only by an obligation of continuing meritorious, productive
lCreation and maintenance of an investment welcoming, conducive and
incentivised environment for both domestic and foreign direct investment
(with especial emphasis upon mining, manufacturing - and particularly
encompassing value addition to Zimbabwean primary products - tourism,
information technology and services);
lFacilitative policies of economic empowerment available to all who do
not abuse those policies, and applied free of discrimination, favouritism
and nepotism, those policies being focused upon economic development and
growth, inclusive of the SME sector;
lEducation and healthcare, of the highest standards, available to all;
lConstructive, non-confrontational, collaborative action
internationally (regionally and abroad), Zimbabwe taking a rightful place
within the international community, and being responsibly internationally
lForward looking, instead of a recriminatory endless focus (oft
distorted) on the past.
Converting the vision from wishful thinking to reality will not be
easy, for it necessitates abandonment of most of the policies and actions
that have been vigorously and obdurately pursued, impliedly acknowledging
the errors and disastrous consequences of that pursuit.
Also required will be to remedy and rectify much of the great harm and
injustices of those policies and actions, including requisite compensation
in many instances. It will also necessitate continuance of the admirable
efforts of the inclusive government - in the last few months - to restore
the once very good and strong international relations enjoyed by Zimbabwe,
so grievously damaged and eroded over the last decade.
This does not require subjugation, but some genuine contrition. More
importantly, demonstration of genuine and enduring acceptance and
implementation of international norms of justice and equity, of protection
of human rights, of compliance with international agreements, of respect for
others, and that this will be an ongoing, lasting stance of Zimbabwe, and
not a transitional one of convenience.
When the vision for Zimbabwe becomes a reality, and it surely will,
the nation of Zimbabwe will, notwithstanding being relatively small in
population size, be one of the world's great nations.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 21:00
SPEAKING at the burial of veteran nationalist Akim Ndlovu, Zanu PF
leader Robert Mugabe quipped that the writing of Zimbabwe's new constitution
will not be a "mass party".
The aged leader has not hidden his liking for the Kariba draft,
negotiated in secrecy by the ruling political parties' representatives:
Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and Patrick Chinamasa. The draft was agreed on
in 2007 - a year before the September 2008 Global Political Agreement that
led to the formation of the unity government.
Reasons for his preference are easy to read, and should provide enough
cause for the pro-democracy movement to remain vigilant. The Kariba draft
retains a system of executive fundamentalism that has undermined good
governance, nurtured corruption and stifled democracy. The draft carves for
the president unchecked and exclusive authority, placing him above all
citizens and the law. He has unfettered powers to make all key appointments
with the only requirement being that he consults bodies which he would have
appointed himself - a classic treatise on how to consult oneself. These
appointments range from ministers, permanent secretaries, judges, Reserve
Bank Governor, Attorney-General, ambassadors to chairpersons of various
commissions set out in the draft - including the Electoral Commission.
As if not having learnt anything from our immediate history, the draft
gives the president exclusive powers over the military, including the power
to declare war. No cabinet or parliamentary approval is required, until
after sometime - by which the country would already be at war. Using
existing provisions in the Lancaster House constitution, Mugabe sacrificed
the lives of many of our soldiers in the DRC. This adventure in 1998
depleted over a billion dollars in unbudgeted resources - setting in motion
the collapse of the economy.
The president also has powers to declare a State of Emergency and
martial law without cabinet and parliament approval. We have had an
experience of a State of Emergency and martial law before: 1964 until 1990.
During this time, a number of atrocities were committed under the banner of
preserving state security. Mugabe's admitted "moment of madness" saw an
estimated 20 000 people being butchered in Matabeleland, and several
hundreds disappeared across the country. Civil liberties were suspended -
and political freedoms entertained to the extent to which they were either
state sanctioned or aided the state.
In normal democracies, parliament is meant to provide checks on the
executive in addition to its duty of "law making". A president who violates
the constitution or deliberately fails to defend it can be impeached. Yet in
Zimbabwe, the drafters of Kariba sought a constitution that removes any
parliamentary sanction against him. Instead, the president is handed a
sledgehammer to smash parliament: powers to dissolve parliament. This power
can be exercised as he wishes - without need to consult or show reason.
Such powers are as enticing to politicians seeking to retain political
power as they are to those seeking to acquire it. The same cannot be said
for the country -- the less power politicians have, the healthier the
nation. The draft is a perfect tool for dictators and a monumental retard of
democracy. This is the draft that in all likelihood will be presented to the
The other parties to the GPA have been trying to convince Zimbabweans
and the world that this will not be the case. But experience militates
against their assurance. For a start, few Zimbabweans would have believed
that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would sign such a scandal as
the ill-named Global Political Agreement (GPA). Any reading of the document
proves that Zanu PF had an upper hand. Even after losing the 2008 elections,
Mugabe walked away being both Head of State and Head of Government. He
chairs cabinet. Morgan Tsvangirai, the winner of the elections has had to
live with being reminded by some ministers and security chiefs that they
take orders "only from the president".
Issues remain unresolved. Mugabe is still to swear in the MDC nominee
for deputy in the agriculture ministry, Roy Bennett; Gideon Gono and
Johannes Tomana remain in office; Mugabe's appointees remain as permanent
secretaries, giving Mugabe control of the administration of all ministries
and Mugabe refuses to convene the National Security Council. In the past
months, we have witnessed the use of the courts to decimate the MDC lead in
the House of Assembly. Seven MDC Members of Parliament have been
conveniently convicted or are facing trial on charges that carry custodial
sentences that disqualify them from parliament.
In all these situations, the MDC has done little apart from releasing
statements and "referring matters to Sadc". As the party waits for a
response from Sadc, Mugabe's onslaught remains. It is not difficult to see
where power lies in this government: The MDC looks like guests of a
The GPA sets a number of areas of focus and deliverables. Most of
these require nothing but goodwill to achieve. These include the unlocking
of civil and political liberties; allowing the free movement of humanitarian
aid; freeing the media and stopping political violence. Five months into the
life of this transitional regime, we are yet to see any signs of these
matters being addressed.
Considering that the MDC is failing to win on these issues, it is
difficult to imagine the party gathering enough strength and conviction to
fight off the possible imposition of the Kariba draft. Mugabe has since
reminded everyone that they agreed to the Kariba draft. On its part, the MDC
has developed the narrative of "incremental change". It reads naïve.
Some elements in the party are of the thinking that the
"constitution-making process" currently going on must not be challenged no
matter how bad it is or how bad the content will be. The idea is that this
unity regime concludes at the delivery of a constitution, with elections
being held and a popular government being elected. This line of thought
feeds on the hope that the MDC would win the election - and then as a new
government, will create space and resources for a thoroughly people driven
MDC MP for Nyanga Douglas Mwonzora, one of the chairpersons of
Parliament's Select Committee has even gone further to suggest that opposing
the process is tantamount to supporting Mugabe. Already many within the
broader democracy movement have heeded to this scaremongering and are
slavishly following the road to the butcher's house.
Without the constitution hurdle being passed there will be no
elections, we are told. So in theory we must all support the [ends here]
Thursday, 23 July 2009 21:00
A MAJOR challenge that the 2009 Budget remains faced with is the low
levels of revenue inflows that have made it impossible to meet departmental
Over the past years government was used to over-spending on the
strength that the Reserve Bank would print money to meet its budgetary
President Robert Mugabe is on record saying the central bank should
run the mint if government is broke.
Not only had the printing of money without production to support it
increased inflation and money supply, lowering the country's
creditworthiness, it also resulted in huge budget deficits over the past
With the introduction of multiple currencies in February, questions
are being asked if government would be able to live within its means this
Economic analysts said government should cut non-essential expenditure
like buying luxury vehicles for senior government officials and ministers
and international trips.
In his fiscal policy review last week, Finance minister Tendai Biti --
who claimed to be determined to cut government expenditure -- said the 2009
budget already has challenges with regard to financing agriculture, the
country's economic mainstay.
Requirements for the 2009/10 summer cropping season, estimated at
US$880 million, are not only almost equal to the entire 2009 National Budget
of US$1 billion, but are also in excess of the domestic financial sector
savings deposit base.
"Additional budget challenges emanate from requests by some ministries
for funding in areas that had not been covered within the US$1 billion 2009
envelope," Biti said.
He said ministries, notwithstanding their appreciation of the
realities of cash budgeting, continue to raise bids for additional
The requests include services for the audit of payrolls, requirements
for decent public service remuneration, public service delivery,
infrastructure, the new constitution-making process, diplomatic missions'
running expenses, national examinations expenses, and other outstanding
In the fiscal review, Biti said government officials and ministers
would be restricted in using mobile phones, vehicles, fuel allocation and
foreign travel as part of reducing government expenditure.
ZB Financial Services economist Andrew Chirewo said given the
prevailing modus operandi (that is the dollarisation of the economy),
government will be "forced" to operate within budgetary allocations because
of lack of control of money supply.
Chirewo said while budget deficits per se were undesirable, in certain
circumstances they boost economic growth.
"Countries with poor macroeconomic management frameworks and fiscal
indiscipline (such as Zimbabwe) often incur budget deficits to finance
consumption or recurrent expenditure which has little positive bearing on
future economic growth. In such cases, budget deficits become undesirable,"
He cited South Africa and Botswana as beneficiaries of budget
South Africa, Chirewo argued, was projected to incur a decade-high
budget deficit of 3,8% of GDP in 2009, but "we cannot say the budget deficit
is bad or ill-advised because the expansionary fiscal stance has been
necessitated by the desire to accommodate capital expenditures relating to
construction of soccer stadiums and upgrading of social amenities ahead of
the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which will definitely have a positive effect on
the country's economic outlook".
Botswana has had to "unavoidably" incur a budget deficit of around
10,9% of GDP in 2009 to accommodate additional expenditures aimed at
shielding the economy from the global financial and economic crisis, while
the United States and European Union are also running budget deficits aimed
at stimulating economic growth.
"Avoiding budget deficits naturally implies running a cash budget or a
surplus budget. For Zimbabwe, surplus budgets are achievable when there is
vibrant economic growth, underpinned by superb export performance, high
levels of employment, both human and physical capital, as well as limited
necessity for expansionary government expenditure," Chirewo said.
Corporate lawyer and newspaper columnist Alex Magaisa said history has
shown that government has generally failed to live within its means and Biti's
Herculean task is to inculcate discipline in line ministries.
"The trouble is there is so much that needs to be done and all this
require resources but there is little by way of resources to do it," Magaisa
said. "At the moment as a country we are living like hunter-gatherers,
living from hand to mouth and whilst this might permit survival, it does not
provide the facility for development at all,"
Magaisa said too much of the government revenue was being expended on
"survival needs" as opposed to "growth needs" -- for example, 60% has been
spent on the allowances for civil servants and 18% on ministries' operation
"These are not substantive industrial activities and on top of that
the allowances are below the taxable threshold which means government is not
earning any tax revenues from these sources," he explained. "Now we all
understand why this had to happen but clearly there has to be more and
better ways of raising revenue, not only to sustain these non-cash
generating expenditures but also to ensure there are more resources for
other productive sectors of the economy."
Economist Brains Muchemwa said Biti should be very strict with
allocating "extra money" as most ministries were used to over-spending
"From the primary operating perspective, it is not possible to run
budget deficits since we do not have reliable and accessible funding sources
now. Budget deficits are not bad phenomena, but what matters is the extent
to which we dig into deficits and the funding strategy," Muchemwa said.
He said government must learn to live within its means and curbing the
propensity to engage in populist but expensive jaunts. He said government
needs to respect money and appreciate that it does not grow on trees. The
analysts questioned how a government of limited means can spend about US$8
million to buy foreign-made vehicles for parliamentarians.
They said Biti was right when he said priority must be on purchasing
locally assembled vehicles.
"Ministers should lead by example and buy vehicles from Willovale
Industries and MPs should follow suit. I could never imagine a French
president driving anything other than a French-assembled vehicle, let alone
an American president driving around in a non-American vehicle," Magaisa
He said in other countries, leaders who shun locally-produced products
would be considered an embarrassment and they would be forced out, but in
Zimbabwe it's a mark of greatness to drive around in a foreign-made vehicle.
"It is absolute nonsense for MPs to say that they are entitled to
their choice simply because they are getting loans. Everyone knows these are
preferential loans. Who else is getting a loan from the bank to buy a car?"
Magaisa questioned. "Would 90% of them get a loan if they applied to a bank?
I doubt they have the credit-worthiness. They should be grateful the
taxpayer is affording them an opportunity to buy a motor vehicle, some for
the first time in their lives."
Economic consultant Eric Bloch said not only was economic recovery
critically dependant upon government living within its means, but government
had no alternative, "for it neither has any borrowing powers in the current
environment, nor the ability to print money".
Bloch said government must therefore maximise its means, without
resorting to overly-burdensome taxation (which would deter investment and
undermine economic recovery). It could achieve that maximisation by a
variety of means:
"In the short term government should enhance enforcement of tax
compliance; stimulate the economy, which results in increased fiscal
revenues; accelerate privatisation of parastatals, and disposal of excess
state assets; and restore unreservedly harmonious international relations,
thereby establishing opportunities of increased donor support," Bloch said.
"Once governmental solvency has been restored, there is no need for an
absolute avoidance of deficits, but deficits should only be at readily
sustainable levels, and only to the extent of absolute need," said Bloch.
"In a virile economic environment, minimal deficits are not imprudent,
if occasioned by genuinely necessary expenditures," he said. "There is no
doubt that, in the past, some ministerial spending was grossly excessive and
highly irresponsible, but Minister Biti appears to be taking constructive
actions to curb such profligacy."
BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:45
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's recent public characterisation of Assistant
Secretary Johnnie Carson as "an idiot" is a serious affront to
African-Americans, and indeed to all people of African descent.
The president's earlier characterisation of Jendayi Frazier,
Ambassador Carson's predecessor, as "that little girl trotting around the
globe like a prostitute" was equally offensive, and the African American
Unity Caucus (AAUC) believes much beneath the dignity of a sitting head of
One must wonder why President Mugabe seems to reserve these demeaning,
off-colour and totally unnecessary barbs for distinguished representatives
of the African Diaspora community. The AAUC is confounded by President
Mugabe's apparent callous disregard for the sensitivities of this community,
which supported him in his liberation struggle and has largely defended him
against harsh criticism during his long administration. When Mugabe has
needed the African diaspora, he has never hesitated to ask for its support,
but he doesn't offer respect to those who now happen to disagree with him in
any way on the harsh realities of Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe has missed an early opportunity to refocus Zimbabwe's
relationship with the United States. That relationship has been marred by
rancour and name-calling due largely to his unshakable resentment of Great
Britain as the former colonial power and his perception of the US as a
country that did not support his liberation struggle. However, Mugabe's
intransigence and lingering resentments do nothing to relieve the sufferings
of the Zimbabwean people, sufferings which, in no small measure, are the
results of Mugabe's own hubristic and callous policies.
While the AAUC was not privy to the dialogue between Assistant
Secretary Carson and President Mugabe, it is clear that Ambassador Carson,
who served as America's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, was putting forth ideas to
help raise Zimbabwe from the chasm into which it has fallen. Make no
mistake, a nation whose inflation rate only recently was incalculable needs
all the help it can get.
Through a series of poor governing decisions, the Mugabe
administration has ruined his country's economy sector by sector - from
commercial farming to manufacturing to small and medium enterprises to the
vendor on the street. His government's determination to win elections at
all costs has been at the sacrifice of the freedoms of speech and assembly,
and he has presided over the disintegration of institutions such as the
judiciary by forcing out judges whose loyalty was to the rule of law rather
than to the ruling party. President Mugabe seems to have thrown any
semblance of good governance and respect for human rights to the wind.
In his Africa policy speech in Ghana, President Obama said that the
West was not responsible for the destruction of Zimbabwe's political and
economic systems. He said that what Africa needs are not strong men, but
strong institutions, which is the opposite of what Mugabe has wrought in his
country. If Zimbabwe is to be restored to the successful and productive
nation it was even recently, there must be dispassionate and serious
engagement by the Mugabe government with the rest of the world. Playing the
blame game will not accomplish this.
Our government appears ready to engage. Efforts have been made in
recent years to begin discussions on how the US can help Zimbabwe, but
Mugabe and his loyal lieutenants only want to dredge up the past to
criticise those who refuse to offer uncritical support. If a workable
relationship is to be established, one must ask, can President Mugabe put
the colonial past behind him and move forward? Can he govern justly and
wisely for the benefit of his people and the future of Zimbabwe?
=The African American Unity Caucus (AAUC), established in 2002, is a
non-partisan alliance of committed leaders and organisations of African
ancestry focused on issues affecting Africa and the African diaspora.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:42
ZANU PF leaders in the Midlands province last weekend bestowed on
President Robert Mugabe the new but rather dubious accolade of "supreme
The Midlands leadership led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa did
not expatiate on the new title for the president other than to say they were
happy with Mugabe's leadership and there was therefore no need to look for
an alternative leader at the party's congress at the end of the year.
We are expecting other provinces to follow suit. There will soon be a
flurry of sycophantic statements as leaders fall over each other to endorse
Mugabe as life-president of the party. The new accolade in reality means
nothing more than extending Mugabe's tenure, notwithstanding the
consequences of such a move to the political fortunes of the party and the
More importantly though it betrays the desperate situation the party
now finds itself in, in the quest to deal with the issue of succession. The
party is stuck with Mugabe. This does not however mean that the succession
issue is dead. It is very much alive as the need by the leadership to sensor
the clear and present danger of not attending to the challenge of leadership
renewal mounts. The current stratagem of defying Mugabe is only postponing a
problem that will continue to haunt the party. In fact it is making the
problem more and more complex.
The fact that Mnangagwa is leading the garrison to protect Mugabe's
throne does not preclude the fact the wily politician is in his own right
also interested in taking over the reins of power. Mnangagwa's opponents
will be forced to endorse Mugabe for their own safety. They know the
backlash of failing to do so as exemplified by the Tsholotsho saga five
years ago. But that does not stop them from mobilising against Mnangagwa
when the time comes to replace Mugabe. By remaining in office, Mugabe stands
as the buffer ensuring an uneasy peace in the party. But his tenure as
supreme leader does not have an everlasting guarantee seal. He will be
replaced one day and that is the day the party must prepare for.
The major defect in the succession project in Zanu PF is that Mugabe
has skilfully managed to situate any debate to succeed him as a ploy to
unseat him from office. His allies have adopted the same discredited ruse in
their quest to have a safe passage to the top when the time comes.
Mnangagwa's beatification of Mugabe is therefore a ploy to weaken
opponents in the party. Mugabe is the weapon of choice in that endeavour.
His supreme leadership therefore has little to do with improving the country's
battered economy or the ability of the government to deliver. It has its
roots in the archaic policy of a "strong hand" which often features
prominently in the conduct of dictators.
This policy is largely motivated by the thinking that to perform vital
reforms which require both political will and political support, the strong
hand of a supreme leader is required. It may actually be true that necessary
reforms are best carried out by dictatorial regimes. For instance, in the
first years of Hitler's rule, Germany increased its economic and military
power greatly, and in Saddam Hussein's first years in power, Iraq became one
of the most developed countries in the Middle East, with good education and
social security systems. Zanu PF will always argue that the party requires
Mugabe's strong hand to carry out land reform and to form a bulwark against
But this is not sustainable. The end result is poor governance that
will eventually lead to the degeneration of systems whose strength is in a
strong man. The system's downfall is to a large extent a result of the
strongman surrounding himself with incompetent associates that causes poor
performance of governance in the long run. The resulting mismanagement will
sooner or later have an adverse effect on the policies carried out and
consequently on economic performance and social welfare. This is where the
Zanu PF administration is at the moment. There is an overwhelming presence
of mediocrities around Mugabe and this has effectively created a caste of
people who are vitally interested in sustaining the regime, for any change
will drive them away from power.
At the end of it all though, Zanu PF's failure to discuss its
succession and attempts by hawks in the party to ring-fence Mugabe's throne
can only weaken the party further. Without leadership renewal whatever the
party does is doomed, as Thabo Mbeki clearly understood. It has remained a
Potemkin edifice with Mugabe as its fragile buttress.
A leader who wants a controlled succession would overvalue his
presence in power as compared to the more necessary concerns of society as a
whole. From our viewpoint, these considerations may outweigh the potential
benefits from stability that may accompany any succession.
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:16
THE decision by the 25-member parliamentary select committee on the
constitution-making process to demand autonomy over the running and managing
of the process should be commended and the principals to the global
political agreement (GPA) must grant the request as a matter of urgency.
Co-chairperson of the committee, Paul Mangwana, this week said they
had written to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
his deputy Arthur Mutambara asking for autonomy after "revelations" that its
secretariat - the administration of parliament - had received money from an
obscure non-governmental organisation, Non State Actors Forum, and paid
allowances to 500 of the 4 000 delegates who attended last week's first
What is striking and instructive about the matter was that parliament's
administration did not bother to inform the committee prompting it to demand
autonomy in its work as envisaged in the GPA.
"We should only report to parliament when we are through. We do have
our budget and finance committee but we are not holding any money, it is
coming through the administration of parliament," Mangwana was quoted as
lamenting in the state-controlled media. "We do not have our own
secretariat, we are relying on staff of parliament. This means we are not
autonomous. We need to run our affairs and not the present setup where the
administration of parliament is running the show."
It is important for the committee to be autonomous. This enables the
committee to determine its process without the handicap of being overly
dependent on the political principals.
Financial independence is also one of the key areas that facilitate
the overall independence of such bodies. It is imperative to see that even
the leaders of the committee realise that their position and process will be
severely hampered for as long as they are dependent on funding which is not
within their control. The old adage in relation to justice rings true in
this case, namely that independence must not only be there, it must be seen
to be there.
An argument has been raging concerning the funding of the
constitution-making process given the common knowledge that the country has
little by way of liquid resources at present.
But the constitution-making process is probably one of the most
important tasks that this government must accomplish. If the government can
allocate US$8 million for procurement of vehicles for ministers and MPs,
then surely it can put aside money for this very important process. It is
the platform upon which a new Zimbabwe is being reconstructed and apart from
poverty alleviation and building capacity for production, the process needs
the government's utmost support as it should be a top priority.
Zimbabwe can rely on donors for all other things but constitution
making must be locally funded. It is our process and we cannot let others
determine how it will be done through the conditions that come with
financial aid for this process.
He who has money has power and there is no free lunch in this world.
If donors give their money, which is essentially taxpayers' funds from their
home countries, there will likely be some conditions. This means that
interference will inevitably be there one way or another. They can easily
withdraw their funds at any time if their conditions are not being met and
this would be disastrous. If there is anything that we must do with our own
resources, albeit limited, it is the constitution-making process.
From the process, let me move to an issue that has been troubling a
lot of people since the formation of the inclusive government - hosting of
several conferences and workshops by the administration.
Since March, government has hosted several conferences and workshops -
Health Summit, Tourism Summit, Investor Conference, Private-Public
Partnership Conference, Rebranding Conference and National Vision
conference. Just next Thursday, the Office of President and Cabinet will
host a National Alcohol Policy Workshop!
While it is important for people to talk and for the government to be
open and transparent when it makes policies, what we have to question though
is the amount of resources being spent on these events.
It would be useful if they publish records of the budget - showing who
is earning what for hosting the conferences, supplying materials, etc. It is
these types of events, noble though they may be, where corruption festers -
friends get contracts, kickbacks are paid and some of the stuff finds its
way to private homes and businesses. There must be financial transparency.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his fiscal policy review last week
showed that vast amounts of money have been spent on travel - internal and
external. It would be interesting to see how much subsistence fees are paid
to those travelling in the entourages.
Whilst dialogue and transparency in policy-making is good, the cost
may end up outweighing the benefits.
By Constantine Chimakure
Gono should be shown the door
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:47
RECENT revelations that Gideon Gono had written to President Robert
Mugabe recommending that businessman Mutumwa Mawere should be given back his
businesses are very worrying considering that Gono was at the forefront of
having Mawere arrested for externalisation.
Mawere had to flee Zimbabwe in order to avoid arrest although he all
along had pledged his innocence.
But Gono would have none of this and used his powers as Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe governor to have Mawere arrested and strip him off his assets.
Although it is refreshing to hear that Gono is finally advising Mugabe
that Mawere should be allowed to reclaim his assets, he has been at the
front of persecuting bankers, businessmen and the ordinary people by using
quasi-political programmes to run the RBZ.
Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their country as Gono went
on a rampage to have these people arrested on flimsy charges.
Scores of high profile businessmen and bankers have been arrested and
had to spend spells in remand prison only to have their charges dropped due
to lack of evidence.
Worse still millions of Zimbabweans have been made paupers after Gono
continued to print the Zimbabwe dollar despite calls that this was fuelling
People died from curable diseases while others had to spend sleepless
nights hungry as they failed to get money from banks because of Gono's abuse
of the RBZ and the banks.
After all this, one begins to understand calls by the MDC and other
progressive forces that Gono should resign in the interests of the nation.
Gono says Mawere should be given back his companies in order to
restore international investor confidence in the country.
But he should also resign in the interests of international confidence
as he is one of the prime reasons why the international investors are
unwilling to invest in the country as they fear losing their businesses to
Gono has caused unnecessary problems and it is high time that he
should be shown the door.
In my view Gono should be arrested for causing this mess in the
Hefty bills not met by service delivery
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:39
THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is disturbed by the
position that has been taken by the City of Harare to issue letters of final
demand to residents who have not paid their bills.
The move has been met with massive opposition from residents who feel
that the council does not have any justification to demand money from
residents when little efforts are being made to improve service delivery in
Harare. Moreover, residents also feel that the City of Harare should have
made consultations with residents first to find out why they were failing to
honour their bills rather than threatening them with legal action.
Residents have voiced concern on the state of service delivery as
opposed to the amounts of money which they are required to pay. It defies
logic for council to make threats to residents when the council itself is
failing to improve service delivery with the money that residents have been
paying in rates so far. Some residents in the northern suburbs of the city
pointed out that they have paid their bills faithfully to the council in
spite of the fact that they have not been getting any municipal services.
City roads continue to be littered with deep potholes; most shopping centres
(especially in high density areas) are surrounded with piles of uncollected
refuse; recreational and sanitary facilities have not been maintained and
they have become unusable. Shopping centres like Areno (Kuwadzana), Kamunhu
and Makwavarara (Mabvuku), Makomva (Glen View) and Budiriro 2 have become an
eyesore due to the piles of garbage that have been there for months.
Moreover, residents have also argued that the money that is being
demanded by the City of Harare is beyond affordability. Most residents earn
an average of US$100 a month and yet the City of Harare demands as much as
US$88 for rates while some water bills are within the range of US$35-US$60.
These bills outweigh the average monthly income that Harare residents get.
Furthermore, there are also electricity, telephone and other bills that
residents have to pay. Some residents who live in the Avenues area in the
city centre have also complained about the exorbitant bills that they are
getting from the City of Harare. Some of the bills for blocks of flats in
the city centre have amounted to as much as US$10 000 (for water). These
residents have complained that water supplies have been extremely erratic
and they do not understand why the City of Harare is charging so much money
for non-existent services. In law, when two parties enter into a contract,
if one party does not deliver their end of the bargain then the contract is
null and void. What case does the City of Harare have against residents to
whom they have not kept their end of the bargain?
The current situation has created a lot of mistrust between residents
and the City of Harare. Residents are withholding their money because they
feel that Council is not being fair by demanding money for non-existent
services. Furthermore, the fact that the Council is awarding its personnel
hefty salaries at the expense of quality municipal service delivery also
leaves a lot to be desired. There is a need for the City of Harare to engage
in dialogue with residents and hear their side of the story so that good
working relations between Council and residents can be created.
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mugabe must retire for nation to move forward
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:38
I HAVE come across a number of people who believe that the situation
in Zimbabwe can only improve when Robert Mugabe is dead. But I constantly
remind them that we do not have to wait for him to die first for us to be
free. We can be free even in his presence.
My assertion is that I don't wish him dead but I want him to retire
peacefully and leave Zimbabwe's politics! It is an undeniable fact that
Mugabe has dismally failed in his tenure as president and it is highly
unlikely that Mugabe will restore Zimbabwe to where she was 10 or so years
ago. My only hope, therefore, lies in a new Zimbabwe, a new Zimbabwe in
which Mugabe or anyone else do not hold us back.
If the truth be told I don't hate Mugabe the person but his actions
and policies. I was in Form 3 in 1999 when the MDC was formed but to be
frank with you, I don't remember being forced to attend their meetings or
buying a membership card. I have attended their meetings and have bought my
membership card out of my own volition. The same does not, however, apply to
Mugabe's party. I was forced to attend their meetings from the year 2000 up
In January 2002 as we were nearing the presidential plebiscite the
Zanu PF-sponsored youth militia was moving door-to-door asking us to produce
a party membership card and also forcing us to chant that party's slogan. My
brother bought a card for my safety.
There were also roadblocks along major roads from Bindura to Harare
as well as from Bindura to Mt Darwin. These were even found in other remote
areas like Madziva and Shamva. We were not free and it was difficult for us
to register our anger against this regime.
Ruthless oppression in our post-colonial struggle for Independence and
democracy has produced great men and women of courage, of commitment to the
people who want Mugabe to retire and allow them to have a government of
their choice, a government that respects and fulfills the expectations and
aspirations of its people. In the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: "All that
the downtrodden can do is go on hoping. After every disappointment, they
must find fresh reason for hope."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in a hard labour camp just
for making a casual criticism of Stalin in a letter to a friend!
"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is
the first and only legitimate object of good government" (Thomas Jefferson,
principal author of the American Declaration of Independence). British
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone had this to say: "The proper
function of a government is to make it easy for the people to do good and
difficult for them to do evil".
ZTV coverage biased
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:28
IF it was the MDC-T which had initiated the commotion that prevailed
on the first day of the constitution-making conference last week, ZTV would
still be showing the "hooligan" MPs and their supporters every day calling
for their arrest.
However, because it was caused by Zanu PF MPs, it has been made water
under the bridge.
MDC-T should speak out on arrests
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:24
THE continuous arrest and conviction of MDC-T MPs on various charges
has become a great cause of concern because they seem to be politically
Whilst I concede that the due process of the law must be respected and
adhered to, I am now concerned that the endless spate of arrests is an
attempt by certain sections within the government to decimate the structures
of the MDC and reverse their majority in parliament.
As far as I know at least eight MDC MPs have been convicted this year
or are facing charges for various allegations most observers view as trumped
The fact that these MPs are from a party that has managed to remove
Zanu PF's stranglehold on the reins of absolute power in parliament raises
suspicions -- even in the most objective of people -- that something fishy
is going on.
It is a striking coincidence that these MPs are all of a sudden
breaking the law and engaging in these criminal activities they are accused
The MDC-T leadership must ensure that these MPs are well represented
in the courts and should speak out if there is reason to believe that the
rulings by the courts are politically motivated.
SMS The Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 23 July 2009 22:18
ALLOW me to congratulate the greatest international icon of our time
Nelson Mandela on his 91st birthday and to wish him many more.
PARTIES to the GPA must not fool themselves that people shall vote Yes
to a flawed constitution-making process. They do not necessarily know what's
best for Zimbabwe.
ARE Morgan Tsvangirai and most Zimbabweans fooling themselves on the
constitution-making process? I am convinced that the orders to disrupt the
indaba came straight from the President's Office. Are we stupid enough to
believe that Robert Mugabe has changed?
Zimbo justice, Harare.
TO Patrick Zhuwao and the thugs that disrupted the constitution
indaba, thank you for showing supporters what a disgrace your party has
MDC for life.
THE need for change continues to be there all the time. What we tend
not to know is what causes it. We are terrified of it, we fight and retreat
from it yet it is the future. The fact is that change is the confirmation
that we are moving forward. To make positive change work we need people with
the right mindset, those who are able to think ahead. Thumbs up to the Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, we salute you for playing that role.
Stivy Chinozy, Westgate.
MORGAN Tsvangirai and the MDC are riding on a beast which has been
given the pseudonym of "inclusive government". The actual name of the beast
is Zanu PF and its driver's name is Robert Mugabe. The sad thing is that the
passengers are being led into the bush where they will be eaten up.
WAS our liberation struggle a revolution or a rebellion? I for one
believe it was a rebellion targeting an individual; Ian Smith and not a
revolution to change the unjust social system. Where there was a crow there's
now an owl. This current setup is more dangerous than colonialism, it's like
WHAT caused the "land reform" was the shocking referendum defeat and
the fact that Zanu PF had nothing to offer the disgruntled voters. Proper
land reform happened in the 1980s when genuine landless people were
resettled and not the election-focused shame of 2000.
WHILST examination markers wait for months to be paid because of
"limited resources" our first lady gets voted as one of the best dressed
women in Africa. Talk about our own version of Imelda Marcos who had 3 000
bras and 700 pairs of shoes.
THE real reason MPs want to buy flashy 4x4s is so that they can
"access" their constituencies to show how foolish we all were to vote them
WE commend the MDC's disciplinary committee for firing the political
"prostitutes", which was good riddance to bad rubbish!
TO Arthur Mutambara I say a good leader has to humbly accept
criticism. However, you seem to be in a rush to get ridof your critics.
RAYMOND Majongwe and the PTUZ leadership risk becoming irrelevant when
they insist on going in the streets. The majority of teachers understand the
fact that prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai is failing to get funds to pay us
because industry, factories and mines are not generating any revenue. Let's
not listen to those encouraging teachers to strike.
RAYMOND Majongwe is a hypocrite. For how long can he complain about
Tendai Biti not consulting teachers' unions such as PTUZ and Zimta in
coming up with their salaries, when he and his union do not consult teachers
in making decisions that affect them such as going on strikes. PTUZ
leadership has overstayed its welcome.
THUMBS up to Finance Minister Tendai Biti for the sterling work, keep
it up. As long as the MDC-T controls the Finance ministry, this country will
AFRICAN journalists ought to devote more space to covering political
gems not germs.
CRY my beloved Highlanders. Why is Highlanders retaining Madinda
Ndlovu? We need coaches and players who are devoted to the club. We are
tired of being a punch bag.
I TUNE in to ZTV every now and then but I still don't see the new
programmes we were promised.
July 24, 2009
By Mxolisi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - The opposition ZAPU party has accused Obert Mpofu, the
Minister of Mines, of embarking on a campaign of intimidation against its
supporters in Umguza constituency, Matabeleland North.
Mpofu is the Member of Parliament for Umguza, representing President Robert
The original PF-Zapu led by veteran nationalist, Dr Joshua Nkomo, now late,
signed a Unity Accord with Zanu-PF in 1987, which resulted in the death of
the largely Matabeleland-based party as an independent political
Last year members of the former PF-Zapu announced they were pulling out of
the pact accusing Mugabe and Zanu-PF of disrespecting the letter and spirit
of the 1987 agreement.
The agreement brought to an end an orgy of killings in the western regions
of the country in the early 1980s, during which innocent civilians variously
estimated at up to 20 000 were butchered by troops of the
North-Korean-trained Five Brigade.
Members of the new ZAPU say the accord however failed to bring any
meaningful change to the Matabeleland region, pointing out that it is still
lagging behind in terms of infrastructural development.
Some ZAPU members who spoke in separate interviews with The Zimbabwe Times
Thursday accused Mpofu, one of the most powerful Zanu-PF politicians in
Matabeleland, of deploying terror gangs in Umguza.
The gangs were said to be evicting and threatening villagers deemed to be
supporters of the revived ZAPU.
The ZAPU members say Mpofu's campaign began soon after the opposition party's
special congress, which was held in May this year. The campaign has gathered
momentum since then, they say.
"More than 20 families have been evicted from the areas where they were
resettled, and Mpofu has threatened to continue evicting more," said one
villager now living in South Africa, who claimed to have been subjected to
"The campaign is being led by some war veterans; hey have told us that we
should leave the resettlement areas immediately because we were settled
there on the basis of our previous support for Zanu-PF.
"They all tell us that they are acting on the orders of Mpofu and his wife,
who is a Zanu-PF councillor. They claim to own the whole of Umguza."
The campaign is said to be full in swing in areas such as Mfazomithi,
Sawmills and Nyamandlovu, where both Mpofu's and Zanu-PF support is said to
be under severe threat from the revived opposition party.
The ZAPU members say that after failed attempts to get an audience with
Mpofu and the police to resolve the matter, the ZAPU supporters threatened
to fight back.
ZAPU's information director, Methuseli Moyo and Themba Khanye ZIPRA Veterans'
Association Chairman for South Africa Province both confirmed that Mpofu was
carrying out such threats.
"We are aware that Obert Mpofu and his supporters have embarked on a
campaign to intimidate our supporters in Umguza," Moyo told The Zimbabwe
"They have threatened to uproot ZAPU supporters from resettlement areas.
Mpofu may find himself having to evict all the people in Umguza if he
carried out his threats to get rid of ZAPU supporters.
"The only survivors would be the people he imported from other regions and
planted in Umguza. ZAPU says the land belongs to all the people of Zimbabwe,
including Mpofu's imports, and they will not be evicted by anyone."
Khanye warned Mpofu and his supporters to "immediately end their silly
campaign", adding that his actions would bring political tension in Umguza.
"They should not forget that they are dealing with former soldiers who spent
all this years working with Zanu-PF and now know what that party does
whenever its support is being threatened by another party," said Khanye.
"We know what our members can do if these threats were to continue, but we
have been urging them to be patient in the hope that these Zanu-PF tactics
will soon end.
"We do not want to create a bad image of ZAPU because we are a disciplined
organization, but Mpofu and his supporters should not continue to push us."
Khanye said that ZIPRA Veterans were there to defend ZAPU and would do so at
"Mpofu must know that Umguza Constituency is now ours and whether he likes
it or not, he has to accept it."
ZAPU also accused Mpofu of having influenced the police in Umguza into
stopping the party's meetings in the constituency on flimsy excuses.
Efforts to obtain comment from Mpofu were not successful.
Friday, July 24, 2009
BILL CORCORAN in Johannesburg
MEMBERS OF the judiciary loyal to President Robert Mugabe are trying to
erode his political rival's parliamentary majority through the courts by
jailing Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MPs, the party has alleged.
The former opposition party, which has been in a transitional government
with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party since last February, has accused biased
judges and prosecutors of "going after" MDC MPs on trumped-up charges and
then seeking and handing down stiff jail sentences on conviction.
The MDC made the allegation this week after the fourth party deputy in a
month was sentenced to a jail term of more than a year. A sentence of six
months or more automatically disqualifies an MP from holding a parliamentary
Member of parliament Ernest Mudavanhu was jailed on Tuesday for 18 months
having been convicted of selling for profit 20 tonnes of fertiliser last
year given to him as part of a state programme to boost agricultural
In total five MDC MPs have been jailed since the transitional government
came into existence six months ago and a further 11 are facing charges
ranging from fraud to abusing government farming input programmes.
Despite the murder last year of about 200 MDC supporters and the torture of
thousands more during Mr Mugabe's campaign to get re-elected as president,
no senior official from Zanu-PF has been prosecuted over human rights
"It is total victimisation," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. "Zanu-PF is
determined to erode the MDC's majority in parliament by using the coercive
apparatus of the state. It is a case of the guilty ones prosecuting the
Some analysts are suggesting the purging of MDC deputies may be a ploy by
Zanu-PF to regain control of the lower house before MPs vote on whether to
accept or reject a new constitution, which must be ratified before the next
While the MDC controls the lower house, their majority is small. Following
the 2008 general election both MDC parties secured 109 seats in the 210-seat
House of Assembly, with Zanu-PF and one independent winning the remaining
Although MDC party president Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, lost out
to Mr Mugabe for the presidency - after he pulled out of the presidential
election run-off with his nemesis because of widespread violence - winning
control of parliament was viewed as a significant blow to Zanu-PF.
Since independence in 1980 Zanu-PF has controlled parliament, which has
enabled Mr Mugabe to introduce easily laws and constitutional amendments
that have tightened his grip on power.
To date two MDC MPs jailed for more than six months have been suspended from
parliament by clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma, a Zanu-PF member, even
though they have both appealed their convictions.
Excluding the recent suspension of the MDC MPs, a further seven
parliamentary seats are available following the expulsion of three MPs from
Arthur Mutambara's breakaway MDC faction and a number of deaths.
by Andrew Moyo Friday 24 July 2009
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and former foe Morgan Tsvangirai lead
Zimbabwe on a programme to promote peace and national healing starting
today, but rights groups criticised the government for not acknowledging the
need for justice for victims of violence and abuse.
In a notice published earlier this week Mugabe declared July 24, 25, and 26
officials days for Zimbabweans to renounce all forms of violence and
dedicate themselves to working together to ensure security of all persons
and property, refrain from inciting political intolerance and ethnic hatred
in order to promote national healing and reconciliation.
But a coalition of civic society groups said in a statement that the
government initiative would flop because it was not "victim centered" and
because continuing political violence and human rights abuses would
undermine any effort at national healing, reconciliation and integration.
The Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CISOMM) mechanism that brings
together some of the leading NGOs in the country said it would not take part
in the government initiative claiming it was invited late and that it did
not want to be seen to be legitimising a "dangerously flawed process".
The CISOMM said: "We emphasise that any attempt at national healing,
reconciliation and integration in the current socio-political context of
ongoing state-sponsored politically motivated violence, continued human
rights abuses, selective and targeted prosecutions and a biased
state-controlled media, will not achieve the desired goal of holistic and
sustainable peace and development."
The civic alliance that was formed to monitor implementation and progress of
last year's power-sharing agreement between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and another
former opposition leader Arthur Mutambara said true healing and
reconciliation was possible only if there was full disclosure of all crimes
committed over the past years and justice for victims of violence and abuse.
It called for sweeping reform of the security sector that is accused of
perpetrating violence against perceived opponents of Mugabe and his ZANU PF
The civic alliance said the need for national healing and reconciliation
should not be used as a pretext to grant blanket amnesty to people who
committed crime against humanity.
It called for: "Comprehensive reparations for victims of human rights
violations; a credible and independent truth-seeking inquiry into the
conflicts of the past which holds perpetrators to account and which provides
victims and survivors with the opportunity to tell their stories with a view
to promoting national healing."
Chairman of the government's national healing and reconciliation commission
John Nkomo was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara who led a smaller opposition faction agreed
to bury years of rivalry to form a power-sharing government to ease Zimbabwe's
political crisis and launch the country on a path to economic recovery.
The unity government has been able to stop economic recession and has
restored basic services such as health and education but its reconstruction
programme is hampered by refusal by rich Western nations to provide the
US$10 billion the Harare administration says it needs to revive the economy.
The United States and its European Union allies insist they will not provide
direct financial support to Harare until they are convinced that Mugabe is
committed to genuinely sharing power with Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 24 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe is among nations whose policies hinder trade and other
commercial activity, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report
released on Wednesday.
The WEF's Global Enabling Trade report published in Geneva ranked Harare 118
out of 121 countries.
The ranking measures and analyses institutions, policies, and services
enabling trade in national economies around the world and scores points for
factors such as market access, border administration, business environment,
transport and communication.
The southern African country's neighbours South Africa, Zambia and
Mozambique were ranked 80, 94 and 61 respectively.
The annual report, comes at time when new Finance Minister Tendai Biti has
effectively liberalised the country's economy, removing government controls
in sectors such as mining, maize purchase, currency restrictions and high
import taxes which the previous administration said were meant to protect
the country's industry.
Zimbabwe's unity government - formed in February between President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - has promised to revive the
economy and bring the country back to its former regional breadbasket status
following a decade long economic decline.
But the administration, which says it needs US$10 billion to revive the
economy, could fail to deliver on its promise unless it is able to unlock
vital financial support from Western donor governments that have remained
reluctant to provide aid until they see evidence that Mugabe is committed to
genuinely share power with Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
by Mutumwa Mawere Friday 24 July 2009
OPINION: Former South African President Nelson Mandela turned 91 on
Saturday, July 18. The day has been declared a national day in recognition
of Mandela's contribution to the democratic revolution.
The fact that Mandela is a universal icon is not in dispute but what
is significant is that after 15 years of post-apartheid experience, the
barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding still exist in South Africa.
The struggle to eliminate social and economic discrimination is not
over, it will be changed by us working together.
Mandela was not much older than our generation when he began the long
march and in so doing made his mark on history.
What is required is a determined attempt to change the hearts and
minds of not only the previously advantaged but the minds of the previously
Mandela's journey was rough and full of all kinds of roadblocks.
Because of people like Mandela we can now take elevators to fame and
Our founding fathers stood up for us even when they knew that the
future was uncertain with no guarantees and more importantly that when the
storm was over they would be standing.
Can we stand up for Africa the same way that people like Mandela stood
up for us? They fought to ensure that justice and equality visited every
citizen. They fought for every citizen to have the right to add his/her
voice as to how South Africa should be governed.
Often we take for granted the constitutional order that now obtains in
South Africa forgetting that only a few years ago, the country was divided
along racial lines.
We all have work to do to make Africa the kind of environment that we
want to see. To break the cycle of poverty, crime, and hopelessness, we have
to take more responsibility as citizens. We must and should demand more from
What do we need to do? What is and should be the role of the state?
Our divided past has not prepared us to see the future as a shared one. Many
of us see the architecture of progress in a silo framework in which we can
have icons with no connection to their peers and those below.
The world has positioned Mandela as an icon with no African equal and
yet it would be wrong to suggest that Mandela operated as a silo. He was
located in a collective and the values shared informed the actions that
pushed the envelope of change.
By isolating Mandela as an icon a real danger exists and an
expectation is created that no change can substitute for real economic and
social change. When Mandela was our age, he understood his calling and he
did respond selflessly.
The struggle to eradicate poverty requires new instruments. The
post-colonial state has not delivered on the promise largely because many of
us have not understood what is needed to be done.
Although Mandela is a world renowned icon, very few of us in Africa
properly understand the significance and power of the brand. What is evident
is that people living outside Africa have done more to celebrate the man
than people on the continent. It was, therefore, not surprising that the
celebrations of his 91st birthday was in New York although Mandela could not
The fundraising to promote and preserve Mandela's legacy is being
driven largely from outside Africa. This exposes the fact that we as
resident Africans have yet to appreciate the value of the brand. No other
former head of state in Africa attracts the kind of attention Mandela
He and United tates President Barack Obama are the two living black
brands that we have to showcase.
However, the construction of a working and progressive Africa requires
a new mindset. Although our history is full of pain, the future belongs to
all who believe in building it. The past cannot provide the answers that
will alleviate poverty.
In trying to build a new future for Africa, we have no choice but to
start by understanding our past. Our founding fathers were angry people and
many of them were compelled to be active in politics because of the nature
and character of the colonial bottleneck.
The racial glass ceiling that was created could only be broken through
a civil rights movement. However, the economic glass ceiling can only be
broken if we work together to build a new Africa founded on values,
principles and beliefs that have worked for other nation states.
After the experience with socialism/communism, we now know what works
and what does not. Africa's future lies in our hands and yes we can build
The settlers who came from Europe only expanded the universe of
African tribes but what they also contributed apart from the unjust system
was a new way of doing things.
They built a system, albeit underpinned by an abhorrent constitutional
order, which delivered economic independence to them. They simply did not
expect handouts from their mother countries but managed to convert African
resources into wealth for themselves.
The majority of us could not participate in the economy based on race
but one would have expected that the post-colonial order would open the
economy to allow the majority to be decision makers.
As part of taking ownership of our heritage, we managed to bring into
South Africa, three former heads of states and government i.e. former
President Mwinyi who represented President Kikwete, His Royal Highness
Prince Mabandla Dlamini, former Prime Minister of Swaziland and former
President Kaunda to celebrate the contribution of President Kaunda to the
social and economic changes in Africa.
About 600 invited guests attended the Gala Dinner at the Sandton
Convention Centre. We all learned more about the man called KK. We also
learned more about what inspired him to be the change that he wanted to see.
Apart from anything else, the mere fact that this event happened on
the same day as Mandela's birthday was significant because it gave a
pan-African character to Mandela's day.
In celebrating Mandela's legacy, a risk exists of alienating Mandela
from the actions and choices of other pan-African civil rights players.
Mandela, KK, Mwinyi, HRH Dlamini and many other role players are connected
in as much as we should be connected as African businesspersons.
In building a new Africa, we have to create a social compact based on
smart partnerships between state and non-state actors. Can people like KK
play a role in the renaissance of Africa? Absolutely!!!
How can we work with our political brands to build a new conversation?
We have to accept that our founding fathers have not been armed with a new
kind of language to respond to the challenges that confront African
professionals and businesspersons.
Many African professionals see no link between the civil and economic
revolutions to Africa's detriment. KK can open doors in Africa that many of
The people who facilitate African trade and investment see no value in
passing their commissions to make life easier to the people and the former
heads of states that in the majority are treated like grandparents. -
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Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
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1. Dear JAG,
An encouraging letter from Eddy Cross and I agree with him, it is not
going to be easy because Mugabe did not sign up to the Government of
National Unity to hand over power, he will not change his tactics of
using violence or just plain lying, but slowly and surely democracy
is taking over and very soon will not be reversible. However we
desperately need the International Community to put more pressure on SADC
and the AU to see that all parties to the agreement stick to it to the
2. Dear JAG,
I am sympathetic to Eddie Cross's efforts to sell the "success" of the
GNU, but he is over-optimistic. He is certainly not the first nor will he
be the last politician to think that he is getting the better of Mugabe.
The recent progress in Zimbabwe has been due to the change from Zimdolla
to US$.... nothing else. I appreciate his need to be optimistic to
encourage the population, but when dealing with Mugabe it is wise to be a
great deal more cautious. The man has an unquenchable appetite for
personal power and accepts no boundaries.
3. Dear JAG,
THE COLD HARD LIGHT of REALITY
I wish to commend the excellent letter written by Nick McCabe in the Open
Letter Forum of July 21 st 2009.
Nick was commenting on the glowing optimism so often expressed in the
letters written by Eddie Cross. I have also on many occasions been of the
opinion that Eddie has ' Gilded the Lily' in his description of the
'advances' made by the GNU.
Shortly after the Second World War, Winston Churchill wrote an essay
entitled 'The High Road to the Future'. In this essay he expressed the
opinion that the survival of Western civilization depended upon the
forging of a strong, resolute and united ' United States of Europe'. He
also described the dangers of Totalitarianism. A totalitarian state
according to Churchill is one where ' No one can go to sleep without the
fear that in the middle of the night, the secret police will knock upon
the door and remove the occupant of the house, and that occupant may
never be seen again.'
Let us be clear once and for all. Our struggle in Zimbabwe is a struggle
against tyranny. It is a struggle against totalitarianism. It is a
struggle to establish democracy. It is a struggle to bring back the rule
of law. It is a struggle to bring back the independence of the Judiciary.
Very importantly, it is a struggle to wrest back the control of our
country from the small, poweful, lawless band who at present have their
hands firmly upon the levers of power.
I want to be very clear about this. We should not boast about seats in
parliament, about goods on supermarket shelves, about schools re-opening
or any of the so-called 'successes' of the Government of National Unity.
When people are still oppressed. When people cannot feel safe to express
or even hold a view that is at variance with ZANU PF. When people can be
killed for what they believe. When we are ruled by the forces of evil.
When our country is in the grip of an evil and cruel dictatorship.
Let me be clear on one further point. There are no persons, powers or
organizations in this world who have either the right or the power to
grant amnesty to the people who have been responsible for the death, the
suffering and the humiliation of countless thousands of Zimbabweans. The
people who have been responsible for these crimes must and will face
justice and be held accountable.
4. Dear Mr. McCabe,
What a typically English, negative, nitpicking, critical, depressing
approach to life you have picked up. You remind me of the unhappy,
complaining, old ladies many of us have to come and look after in order
to keep our financial heads above water. Now and then we meet a happy
Living in England has not done you any good - I suggest you return to Zim
immediately. Then you can try your hand at coping with the situation on
the ground, and hopefully do a better job of it. We are all open to
constructive suggestions but negative criticism for the sake of it will
never help anyone, particularly yourself. Can we hear what your
suggestions in this situation would be?
Mrs. S. Bowne
5. Dear JAG,
An economics professor at a college made a statement that he had never
failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.
That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be
poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on
socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the
same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied
little were happy.
As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had
studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a
free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all
resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of
All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that
socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great,
the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward
away, no one will try or want to succeed.
Couldn't be any simpler than that.
6. Trudy Stevenson.
IT WAS never going to be a great success, this First All-
Stakeholders' Conference: any gathering of 4,500 people will fail
to achieve very much except provide a spectacle, and the logistics are
Trouble started last week when the thing was postponed - it was
scheduled for the weekend of 11-12 July, then Zanu PF announced it was
postponed indefinitely "due to lack of funds" or some such,
and the Parliamentary Select Committee had to put its foot down and
announce that it would take place on Monday & Tues 13-14 instead.
There was a rush of last-minute preparations: lists of delegates and
full-page announcements in the press, organisations running around trying
to get their delegates on the list, etc., and it was only on Saturday
evening or Sunday morning that most of us knew registration would take
place on Sunday!
Registration was a nightmare, and very few of us managed, despite being
there the whole day and half the night! It was supposed to start at 8am,
I first went at 9.45am and they weren't yet ready, so I returned at
2pm, by which time hordes were already gathered and struggling to get
past the first hurdle - registration on the first form.
That was nothing, however, compared to the next stage: the photo-identity
card to get into the venue. There were literally thousands of people
milling around pushing and shoving and being told (or actually physically
pushed) to get into different queues going this way and that way for
number, signature, photo - it reminded me of the scrum when sugar
arrived at the supermarket a couple of years ago!
A policeman kept walking up and down and in and out of rooms with bundles
of what looked like completed accreditation forms, complaining that he
was not responsible for accrediting people - but doing absolutely
nothing to control the chaos!
This already alerted me that there was a parallel process going on,
especially when I saw a queue going into the photo room at the back of
the Secretariat room next door, and Nyasha Chikwinya slipping in and out
- memories of elections and the nonsense at some polling stations!
Somewhere at the back of the photo room, one or two people were doing
photo-identities, but by 4pm they had only processed 87 people!
Most of us gave up, but for the three thousand or more coming from out of
Harare, there was yet another nightmare - allocation of food
vouchers and accommodation!
I was very pleased with myself this morning for managing to swan into the
main auditorium without any fuss whatsoever (no mention of photo-ID
cards!). As I chose a seat, Chinotimba greeted me from behind:
He seemed to find it very amusing that I was seated so close by.
Gradually, the place filled up, and soon the singing and dancing started
- Zanu PF songs, especially "Hondo yeMinda!" with much
shaking of fists (slogans expressly forbidden in this process) and
marching up and down.
I noticed that Chinotimba was directing groups to start, move, stand up,
move back, etc and joining enthusiastically at times. Most of the people
downstairs were joining in this, while upstairs groups responded with the
open-palm MDC slogan and waved their placards.
It seemed quite good-natured, and no-one was particularly worried -
although we were very tired of waiting by mid-day, when there was still
no sign of Opening Ceremony starting.
The co-chairpersons of the Select Committee did appeal to groups not to
use their slogans, but they soon started up again.
Eventually, the top table filled up, the Clerk of Parliament (Zvoma)
announced that the Principals would come later but we would start the
proceedings. We started with a prayer, and this caused noisy complaints
from the "war vets" shouting "National Anthem! National
The Clerk appeared not to hear, and called for the Speaker of Parliament
to give his opening address then the crowds started singing the
National Anthem. This was OK, we all stood up and sang - and it was
quite a moving moment.
Lovemore Moyo (Speaker) started speaking, and immediately, the rowdy
thugs around the room started singing and shouting and shaking their
fists again, drowning Moyo, who, however, carried on with his speech.
The war vet crowds danced into the centre of the auditorium, egged on by
Chinotimba, and started throwing water around over the delegates and
moving forward in masses so that the seated delegates had to stand up and
move away. Moyo gave up speaking and the top table moved out - the
signal for everyone else to go, also.
I kept looking around for the police to do something - but the few
present just stood idly by - or got out themselves! Eventually,
when most people had left the auditorium, my colleague Chamunorwa was
trying to take me out but we first moved across to Tendai Biti and a few
others who were sitting firmly in their places, determined not to budge.
Then more missiles came flying through the air, Chinotimba was dancing on
a table - and I decided it was time to go!
The" war vets" were singing and dancing on the steps outside,
and delegates were trying to skirt around them to get away: I followed a
group of women behind the pillar and through the flower beds.
There was a bit of a traffic jam as those of us lucky enough to have
vehicles drove off - but most of the 4,000 genuine delegates were
standing around traumatised, not sure what they could or should do.
We have decided that we must not give in to this thuggery, so we will
re-convene on Tuesday. We hear that the three Principals, including
Robert Mugabe himself, will come.
If they don't come on time and join together to stop this insanity,
this Constitution process - and the inclusive government - is
finished, in my view.