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The Harare handshake: Soft power, Africa style

International Herald Tribune

By Alan Cowell Published: July 25, 2008

PARIS: When Zimbabwe's political rivals posed for the cameras in a
remarkable handshake in Harare a few days ago, the message resonated far
beyond Africa.

After months of bloodletting in the deeply flawed Zimbabwean elections,
after the killings, beatings and uprooting of opposition supporters, Robert
Mugabe clasped the outstretched hand of Morgan Tsvangirai, the man who would
replace him as president and whom he had reviled as a puppet of the West.

It was a moment that, only days before, would have seemed utterly
improbable, but now the two politicians stood at the threshold of what
Mugabe called a "new way of political interaction." Whether they will cross
it is another matter altogether. But what exactly brought them this far?

Was it the culmination of Western and African pressures on Mugabe and
threats of deeper sanctions in a land so beset with hyperinflation that a
newly introduced 100 billion Zimbabwe dollar bill was not enough to buy a
loaf of bread? Or was it, as some Africans and their supporters preferred to
see it, a result of the cautious, painstaking backroom negotiations
conducted for more than a year by Thabo Mbeki, the president of South

On a wider canvas, the handshake seemed to reinforce a lesson in diplomacy
that bound a strife-bound nation in Africa to a onetime war zone in Europe.

On the same day that Mugabe and Tsvangirai shook hands, the Serbian secret
police finally arrested Radovan Karadzic, the former leader of the Bosnian
Serbs wanted on war crimes charges.
In both cases, proponents of what is called soft power claimed victory.
While Western nations had threatened Mugabe, it was Mbeki who presided over
the first face-to-face meeting in a decade between Harare's foes as they
signed an agreement to open negotiations. And, in Serbia, the force that
overcame the region's bloodstained nationalism was the lure of integration
with the European Union, which had made clear that Belgrade's future
relationship with Brussels hinged on the capture of suspected war criminals.

In a world where U.S. diplomacy is currently associated with "hard" power in
Iraq and a threat of the same in Iran, "soft power" claimed an unusual
twinning of victories. The carrot triumphed over the stick. Or so it seemed.

Of course, such iconic moments - a handshake, an arrest - are heavy with
symbolism that does not always translate into substance. Few of those who
have followed events in Zimbabwe would lay money that Mugabe and the
military cabal around him are ready to cede real power in the creation of
the unity government sought by South Africa.

But some conclusions seem worth underlining.

If Mugabe and Tsvangirai do indeed reach an agreement on power-sharing,
Mbeki will almost certainly claim kudos, not only within Africa, but also on
the broader stage where he stood firm against the United States and Britain,
with China and Russia at his side, to resist the imposition of broader
United Nations sanctions on Zimbabwe.

And if the Harare handshake is vindicated by political change, then Mbeki
will be in a position to assert that African diplomacy succeeded where
Western diplomacy failed. That would be no small achievement.

Many Africans feel that for centuries they have been demeaned, exploited and
trivialized by outsiders from the earliest Portuguese and Arab slavers
onwards. Generations of traders, missionaries and colonial administrators
roamed Africa, eroding or denying the identities and manners they found
there. In 1884-85, at the Conference of Berlin, the European powers carved
up Africa for decades to come.

The underlying message was that Africa's own ways were inadequate - a notion
reinforced in the post-colonial era by the aid agencies and global financial
institutions whose representatives rode into town to rewrite the economic
rule book according to the precepts of markets dominated by the West.
Throughout the Cold War, sponsors in Moscow, Beijing and Washington offered
rival prescriptions in return for guns or butter.

Only in 2001 did African governments come together to create what was
ambitiously called the New Partnership for Africa's Development, or Nepad,
which Mbeki embraced and sponsored enthusiastically as a means of regaining
African self-respect and asserting its right to a place in a globalized

Most significantly, the arrangement included what was called a peer-review
mechanism permitting African leaders to assess their lands' shortcomings in
the pursuit of "democracy and good, political, economic and corporate

But how could African governments claim any kind of collective standards in
governance or renewal as long as they countenanced Zimbabwe's viral
disarray? What purpose was there in "peer review" if the peer in question
simply ignored it? In Mbeki's view, an "African solution" became imperative,
not just for Zimbabwe, but for the continent's redemption. As the exclusive
mediator appointed by Zimbabwe's neighbors, he was in a unique position.

But the cost of the diplomacy is clear. For months, Mbeki insisted that he
could mediate only if he maintained his neutrality. But that neutrality
effectively shielded Mugabe from reproach or pressure as his supporters
rampaged bloodily against the opposition. While Mbeki maneuvered, Zimbabwe's
economic ruin and political oppression sent ever more of its citizens
fleeing into neighboring countries, his own in particular.

As so often in the continent's history, Africans themselves paid the price
of their leaders' hubris. An African solution, it seemed, required African

Of course, "soft power" rarely works without the threat of an alternative.
The carrot requires at least the implicit threat of the stick. In Serbia's
case, the alternative was continued exclusion from Europe's economic and
political mainstream. In Zimbabwe, it was the threat of ever greater
isolation and restrictions on its wealthy elite that laid the groundwork for
the Harare handshake.

That is probably where the parallel ends.

Much of the history of both Zimbabwe and the Balkans has been written in
blood - from the ethnic slaughter of Matabeleland in the early 1980s to the
massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srbrenica in 1995. With his arrest, Karadzic
now faces trial and accountability. But if negotiations in Zimbabwe lead to
a unity government offering some protection for Mugabe, the survivors of his
repression will have no prospect of commensurate justice.

Any hope of moral equivalence between the victims of Srbrenica and those of
Matabeleland, in other words, will be lost. But then, Africa is no stranger
to double standards - either from outsiders or from its own.

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Crucial questions surround Zim talks


    July 25 2008 at 09:41AM

By Peta Thornycroft and Fiona Forde

Zimbabwe's crisis talks enter their second day with the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) warning that the negotiations will fail if Robert
Mugabe does not concede power.

The talks, facilitated by Thabo Mbeki and his team of three, began on
Thursday under a media blackout at a venue outside Pretoria.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed on Monday, the two MDC
factions and Zanu-PF have two weeks to hammer out a settlement.

A talks insider said it was imperative that the parties discuss early
on the kind of settlement they were working towards.

"What kind of a government we are looking at has to be top of this
agenda," he said.

"The first decision has to be whether this will be a transitional
authority, or a unity or inclusive government. They have to put the horse
before the cart otherwise the talks will collapse."

Although the memorandum of understanding called on all parties to
enter into talks around an "inclusive government", some MDC members are
pushing for a transitional authority.

They say this would produce more of a power-sharing model than an
inclusive government, which presupposes Mugabe will be at the helm.

Equally important is the issue of governance and who will lead a
future formation, an issue so sensitive it could potentially break the talks
early on.

"The question of executive power is what it is about, anything less
would be against what people voted for, split the party, and betray all
those who have sacrificed so much," the insider said.

But it is understood Mu-gabe's negotiators - Nicholas Goche and
Patrick Chinamasa - have a mandate to secure the presidency for their leader
and offer Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC faction, a senior
ministerial role, with responsibility for some ministries and diplomatic

Tsvangirai has mandated his chief negotiators to accept nothing short
of executive control of any future government, in which the MDC would offer
some key positions to Zanu-PF and a largely ceremonial role to Mugabe.

Should the MDC fail to secure a strong settlement, Cosatu chief
Zwelinzima Vavi says he will call on union members to boycott the summit of
the Southern African Development Community in Johannesburg in August that
Mugabe would be expected to attend.

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times on July
25, 2008

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Mugabe re-election 'non-negotiable': state media


HARARE, July 25 (AFP)

Zimbabwe's ruling party has resolved that President Robert Mugabe's
controversial re-election is a "non-negotiable" issue in ongoing talks with
the opposition in South Africa, state media said Friday.

Citing unnamed party insiders, The Herald said ZANU-PF's politburo decided
at a meeting in Harare on Wednesday that the outcome of the June 27 ballot
which was boycotted by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had to be

"The meeting noted that there has to be a figure who appoints the
all-inclusive government envisaged in the memorandum of understanding signed
on Monday," said the report.

"And that figure is President Mugabe who won the run-off," the government
mouthpiece added.

An unnamed source was quoted by the paper as saying that "there has to be a
figure who creates the all-inclusive government".

Mugabe and Tsvangirai inked a memorandum of understanding earlier this week
to pave way for the fully-fledged talks that opened in Pretoria on Thursday
aimed at ending the country's months-long political and economic woes.

Tsvangirai pushed Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting in
March but he pulled out of the run-off presidential election after a wave of
deadly attacks against his supporters.

The MDC leader believes the outcome of the March ballot should be the
starting point for any negotiations on power-sharing, while Mugabe has
previously insisted that his re-election must be respected.

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Climate of fear in Zimbabwe persists despite deal

Amnesty International

25 July 2008

As the Zimbabwean government and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) prepare to enter power-sharing talks, Amnesty International
called on both parties to ensure there are no pardons for those who
committed human rights violations in the post-election period.

"There can be no lasting political solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe
without addressing past human rights violations. While human rights
violations must end immediately, investigations must be carried out and
alleged perpetrators brought to justice," said Amnesty International.

Amnesty International continues to receive reports of ongoing political
violence and harassment, particularly in rural areas. Even since the signing
of Monday's 'memorandum of understanding' by the ruling party and
opposition, victims of political violence have had to seek medical treatment
for injuries sustained in attacks.

On 22 July, an MDC official from a rural constituency south of Harare who
had been in hiding was allegedly attacked while he walked to work with a
youth in the early hours of the morning. They were both abducted by
suspected supporters of the ruling party and thoroughly beaten on the
buttocks, arms, legs and feet. According to reports, their abductors said
they had been looking for the MDC official, and that nowhere was safe. Both
the MDC official and the youth had to seek medical treatment as a result of
injuries sustained.

Though some bases from which 'war veterans' and other ZANU-PF supporters
launched attacks against opposition supporters have been dismantled, some in
rural areas including in Mashonaland West, Central and East provinces, still

"The attacks that have killed as many as 150, injured thousands and
displaced tens of thousands over the last several months -- and which
continue to take place - must not be swept under the carpet in the interest
of finding a short-term political solution," said Amnesty International.
"This would store up problems for further down the road."

While attempts are being made by all Zimbabwean political parties -- and the
Southern African Development Community, African Union and United Nations -- 
to address the political and economic crisis, Amnesty International said
that important questions of justice and impunity were not explicitly tackled
in the 'memorandum of understanding' signed on Monday.

"Any future deal between the parties should not include amnesties, pardons
or any other measures that would prevent the emergence of the truth, a final
judicial determination of guilt or non-guilt, and full reparations to
victims and their families."

In signing the memorandum, the ruling party and opposition committed
themselves to condemning the promotion and use of violence and to taking all
measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions it
controls are not engaged in acts of violence.

Despite the latest political developments, Amnesty International remains
concerned that Zimbabwe is still blanketed in a climate of fear. The
government must put an immediate end to all acts of intimidation, arbitrary
arrest and torture perpetrated state and non-state actors against human
rights defenders and political activists, particularly in rural areas. All
bases from which torture and ill-treatment is being carried out must be
closed immediately and alleged perpetrators of human rights violations must
be brought to justice.

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'SA's quiet diplomacy in Zim not right'


    July 25 2008 at 10:54AM

Half of adults living in South Africa's metropolitan areas do not feel
that "quiet diplomacy" was the correct way to handle the crisis in Zimbabwe,
according to a survey released on Friday.

Taylor Nelson Sofres' (TNS) research, conducted in mid-June, showed
that while 30 percent felt that the policy had been the correct way to
handle the problem, 21 percent gave a "don't know" response.

"One of the criticisms levelled at government is that this policy has
taken a great length of time to bear fruit, leading to an economic meltdown
(inflation is at 2,3-million percent) and increased violence towards
opposition MDC supporters."

 These factors were widely attributed to the influx of Zimbabwean
refugees into South Africa.

Competition for services, jobs, houses and other social factors were
amongst those that led to the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa,
the survey showed.

Three in 10 people agreed with the statement "The government's policy
of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe has been the right way to handle this

Exactly 50 percent disagreed, while 21 percent said "Don't know".

The main differentiator was race (38 percent of blacks agreed, 14
percent of whites, 19 percent of coloureds and 17 percent of Indian/Asians).

Age was also a factor, with a third of those under 50 agreeing with
the statement, compared with only 21 percent of those aged 50 to 59 and 12
percent of those aged 60 and more.

Differences by area were also notable with people in Johannesburg and
Bloemfontein being the most likely to agree (just over a half in each case).
People in Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban were much less
likely to agree.

The same study also asked people about their perceptions on refugees
from Zimbabwe. Only 29 percent of metropolitan adults in South Africa felt
that refugees from Zimbabwe should be allowed to stay. Only 65 percent felt
that people from other countries, who were here legally, should be allowed
to stay.

That meant that 71 percent of people felt refugees should be returned
to Zimbabwe. A third of people wanted even those here legally to leave.

"This illustrates the extreme sensitivity that people have towards
other Africans living here in South Africa.

"The sham Zimbabwe elections, widely unrecognised by the rest of the
world, have the potential to result in a flood of new refugees as Zimbabwe
spirals ever downward - unless something new comes of the [Memorandum of
Understanding] and these new talks."

The surveys were conducted among a sample of 2 000 South African
adults from the seven major metropolitan areas of South Africa, interviewing
them face-to-face in their homes, with a margin of error of under 2,5
percent. - Sapa

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Cosatu takes a 'swipe' at Bob


    July 25 2008 at 09:23AM

By Peta Thornycroft and Fiona Forde

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has vowed to make life
"difficult" for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe if he does not concede

Zimbabwe's crisis talks enter their second day on Friday.

The talks, which are facilitated by Present Thabo Mbeki and his
three-person team, began on Thursday afternoon under a media blackout at a
secret venue outside Pretoria.

Both Movement for Democratic Change factions and the Zanu-PF are
expected to hammer out a negotiated settlement within the next fortnight.
Little is known at this stage about the day-to-day agenda.

However, an insider to the talks said: "What kind of a government we
are looking at has to be top of this agenda.

"The first decision has to be whether this will be a transitional
authority, unity or inclusive government. They have to put the horse before
the cart, and then everything else will follow. Otherwise the talks will

Although Monday's Memorandum of Understanding called on all parties to
enter into talks around an "inclusive government," some MDC members are
still pushing for a transitional authority, which they believe would produce
more of a power-sharing model than an inclusive government would, Mugabe
would likely be at the helm of the latter.

Equally important is the issue of governance and who will lead a
future formation, an issue so sensitive that it could potentially break the
talks early on.

Although the MDC have entered the talks on the back foot, having
signed up to Monday's MoU without their demands being met, party insiders
feel confident they have sufficient support from a number of African
countries to secure a strong settlement.

Should they fail to do so, Vavi says he will call on his members to
boycott the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit that is
scheduled to take place in Johannesburg next month, which Mugabe would be
expected to attend as an incumbent regional leader.

Since the disputed run-off elections of June 27, which returned Mugabe
to power with 85 percent of the vote in a one-man race, Cosatu has refused
to recognise him as the president of Zimbabwe.

Although the union would be unable to prevent him travelling to South
Africa, "we will make it very difficult for him to be here," Vavi warned.

"If they don't reach a solution (in the next two weeks), we must
continue to put on pressure and we will stage a protest on August 16," Vavi
said on Thursday.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
July 25, 2008

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Losing candidates complicate talks

By Philip Mangena ⋅ © ⋅ July 25, 2008 ⋅
Accommodation of losing candidates from both ZANU PF and the MDC faction led
by Arther Mutambara in all inclusive government could complicate talks and
delay reaching a settlement.

State media reported on Friday that the real practical challenge that has
already emerged is how losing candidates will be accommodated.

The negotiators will have to tackle how the Mutambara leadership will be
accommodated in the all-inclusive government given that the President no
longer has the privilege to appoint non-constituency Members of Parliament
beyond five senators.

“That is a real practical challenge the negotiators will have to grapple
with. How do you come up with an all-inclusive government against an
electoral result that excludes the defeated?” said a source.

Currently Mugabe can only appoint five senators and this room is not enough
to accommodate losing Zanu PF candidates and unelected MDC Mutambara

No one can be a minister without being in parliament.

The entire Executive Council of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara lost
their seats in the last election. All seats were lost to the MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai including a bulk from its stronghold of Matebeland.

The Executive Council is comprised of Arthur Mutambara,President lost
Zengeza West, Gibson Sibanda,Vice President lost Nkulumane,Welshman Ncube
Secretary General lost in Makokoba, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga Deputy
Secretary General lost Glen Norah,Miriam Mushayi Deputy Treasurer General
lost Harare West,Jobert Mudzumwe,National Chairperson lost Masvingo
Urban,Fletcher Dulini- Ncube Treasurer-General lost Lobengula-Magwegwe.

All its portfolio secretaries who contested also failed to make it to
parliament except David Coltart,MDC-Khumalo(Legal) Moses Mzila
Ndlovu,MDC-Bulilima(Foreign Affairs),Edward Mkhosi, MDC-Mangwe(Lands) and
Njabuliso Mguni,MDC-Lupane(Education)

Already friction in the camp has emerged among the losing leadership and the
MPs who retained their seats. Most of the MPs who retained their seats were
moderates and had always pushed for co-operation with mainstream MDC led by

Last month deputy spokesman Abednico Bhebhe who retained his Nkayi’s seat
paid heavily for co-operating with the MDC and was relieved of his duties as
spokesman,however he was adamant that he is still the spokesman.

“The talk about me being expelled as party deputy spokesperson is nonsense,”
he said. “I heard about my dismissal on the radio, newspapers and
television. Nothing was communicated to me and as far as I am concerned I am
still the party’s deputy spokesperson until the national council sits and
officially passes such a decision.” he fumed.

Nomalanga Khumalo,MDC-Umzingwane was also chided by Welshman Ncube for
accompanying Tsvangirai at his tour of her constituency.Despite official
denial Ncube had instructed his party structures not to assist Tsvangirai
and his campaign team when they visit their constituencies.

Sources have since revealed that in private meetings,Mugabe and Tsvangirai
have already agreed on how to share positions in the new cabinet and other
government departments.

The sources said the MDC led by Tsvangirai would have 10 cabinet posts,
while a similar number would go to Zanu PF and two to the MDC led by Arther
Mutambara. Mutambara and Ncube are eyeing taking up the 2 posts.

Mugabe is likely to appoint Patrick Chinamasa who is also one of the
negotiators as a senator and other four ZANU PF ministers who lost. Nine
ZANU PF ministers lost their seats.

A Political analyst questioned the legitimacy of the losing negotiators.

“On whose behalf are they negotiating when they do not have the mandate from
their constituencies?We are approaching a situation where they would
negotiate for their personal benefit and not for the benefit of the country
which could complicate matters.”

Already it has emerged that the Mutambara MDC faction is pushing for an
amendment of No. 19 so as increase appointed senators from five to 11.

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Should Mugabe go same route as Charles Taylor?

The Sowetan

25 July 2008
Bill Saidi

You can imagine someone in Soweto, Harare, Lilongwe or Lusaka asking you, in
genuine bafflement: "Who is Radovan Karadzic? And where the hell is
Bosnia-Herzegovina? And why should I care about any of this, anyway?"

Your lesson of enlightenment could start with an extremist example of why
Karadzic could be of relevance in African history.

You could compare him with Charles Taylor, formerly the leader of Liberia
and a man, like Karadzic, now facing an international panel of judges on
charges of crimes against humanity or genocide - anyway, crimes related to
his responsibility for the deaths of thousands of unarmed and mostly
innocent people.

If any of the people in your snap survey asks you: "You mean like Idi Amin,
Mobutu Sese Seko, Macias Nguema, Jean-Bedel Bokassa and ." don't be alarmed.

But if someone then chips in with "And Robert Mugabe?" you are bound, for
your own sake, to pause before replying. If the questioner is a Zimbabwean
in exile, you have to be very careful. He could be a confirmed political
refugee, out to besmirch the wholesome name of an African leader who - some
tend to believe - was once regarded as one of the titans of the struggle
against colonialism, but is now regarded with loathing.

Karadzic was arrested a few days ago after evading his pursuers for more
than 10 years. He was accused of ordering the killing of nearly 100000
people during the war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia, a socialist
country whose existence owed much to one man, Josip Tito.

Yugoslavia helped many Africans struggling against colonialism in the 50s
and 60s. So, among some African leaders, its break-up after Tito's death and
the demise of communism had a cataclysmic effect on world geopolitics. Of
course, to many others, a man who, under any circumstances, kills thousands
of people strictly on the basis of their ethnic origins is to be treated
with a particular brand of loathing.

At the end of apartheid, South Africa went through a very dangerous period
of ethnic killings, which ended only after the leaders agreed on the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission, headed by Desmond Tutu, and the total support
of the new government.

I was in Nigeria shortly before the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was
forced to let the world decide Charles Taylor's fate over his collusion with
the rebels in Sierra Leone during their bloody civil war which featured the
"blood diamonds".

Though Obasanjo had soiled himself politically by seeking, in vain, a third
term of office, it is not improbable that his attempt to shelter Taylor may
also have contributed to his notoriety and his failure to earn his people's
sympathy, even after he had left the presidency.

Amin, Sese Seko and the others were fortunate to die in exile, probably
because the international community had not yet instituted the legal
machinery to pursue such brigands to the ends of the earth, literally.

For Zimbabwe, where calls for Mugabe to be similarly treated have become
more and more vocal since the recent violence against the opposition, there
will probably be much debate on the issue.

While some believe that in the spirit of reconciliation, all must be
forgiven, others hold that a "softly, softly" approach to such atrocities
could set a terrible precedent.

What, in the end, must be decided is whether, in pursuit of stability and
peace, wanton disregard for human life should be forgiven, or punished with
the ultimate sanction.

a.. Bill Saidi is deputy editor of The Standard in Zimbabwe.

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Chefs scramble for state assets


Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter
Fear of job losses triggers panic
TOP government officials are scrambling to loot state resources as
uncertainty over their careers in the face of the possibility of the
formation of a Government of National Unity (GNU) sends jitters among
ZANU-PF's political elite, The Financial Gazette can reveal.

Sources this week said in some government ministries and parastatals luxury
vehicles were being offloaded to individuals at book value in an
unprecedented asset stripping exercise.
The phenomenon has spilled into the judiciary, where some judges last week
received luxury vehicles with the option of purchasing those they received
last year at way below market rates.
The development comes amid allegations that senior ZANU-PF officials in
Mashonaland West province have been implicated in the looting of farm
equipment as uncertainty grips the rank and file of the ruling party over a
possible power sharing deal with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The Financial Gazette is reliably informed that nine suspected ruling party
supporters and war veterans led by one Gilbert Moyo, and currently detained
in Chegutu for looting farm equipment in the province, divulged out of court
the involvement of ruling party MPs and management at parastatals in the
"The looting is indicative of the realisation by a number of individuals
that the game is up. They now know that they will have to look for other
sources for sustenance," a ruling party source said.
Last week, The Financial Gazette reported on how former Mutare Commission
chairperson Fungai Chayeruka had been awarded a lucrative package that
includes a commercial stand and the purchase of 100 litres of fuel per month
for three months at concessionary rates.
Chayeruka, who chaired the commission for 14 months, will receive four
months' salary for every year served, a free cellphone and a line, a car at
book value and sitting allowances for Pungwe Brewery meetings held between
July last year and last month. He will be exempted from paying rates for
eight months.
However, Chombo stated in a letter that the car to be sold to Chayeruka at
book value should not be the official Mercedes Benz.
Mutare City Council insiders claimed council would most likely sell
Chayeruka a Nissan Hardbody (Wolf) he has been using during his one-year
reign as chairperson of the city.
The vehicle would be sold at a book value of $30 billion, which is not
enough to buy a half-litre sachet of milk.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC Manicaland spokesman, who is also the MP-elect
for Makoni South, alleged that the government was bent on bankrupting the
City of Mutare before the take-over of the local authority by his party.
Ruling party sources said not everyone in ZANU-PF welcomed the idea of a
government of national unity as it meant loss of privileges, resulting from
accommodation of MDC members.
Commercial farmers Union president Trevor Gifford yesterday said following
the June 27 poll: "There has been a lot of looting. There has been a lot of
stock theft on the farms."
Gifford said more and more people were coming up to occupy farms still
remaining in white hands, apparently afraid that the opportunity to take
over the properties might be lost with the coming in of a government of
national unity (GNU).
Ruling party sources yesterday said some party members were fearful that a
GNU would result in them losing political leverage that has seen them
accumulating wealth, while others were afraid of the possibility of being
called to account for their misdeeds that have gone unpunished.
"Some are not happy about the GNU, but President Mugabe has such a firm hand
on his party, the rest will follow what he says even if they are reluctant.
The same goes with the army, he has got such a firm hand," a source said.
An analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tsvangirai's climbdown
over the talks is informed by the realisation that ZANU-PF's desperation to
engage in talks presents him with the best opportunity to pull off a better
deal for his party, but remains with the problem of alienating his
traditional backers, thereby leaving him politically vulnerable to ZANU-PF.
"He now realises that he can win elections from the people but power has to
be negotiated from those who presently hold it. That is encapsulated by
Tsvangirai's owns words at the signing ceremony on Monday. He described
President Mugabe as the leader of the ruling party and himself as the leader
of the winning party," the analyst said.

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Talks snub leaves Makoni's career in limbo?


Staff Reporter

SIMBA Makoni, founder of the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn Project, who came third in
the March 29 presidential race, could become irrelevant in the new political
configuration following his exclusion from the preliminary inter-party

But Makoni's movement has dismissed the suggestion that he is finished,
insisting last Sunday's signing of the Memorandum of Under-standing (MoU) by
President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF and the two Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formation leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, was
an event that would not cause any sleepless nights.
Mavambo spokesperson Godfrey Chanetsa said the movement was very much alive
and it was a matter of time before it was invited to join the other parties
in resolving the national crisis.
"For one to think that the absence of Dr Makoni from the signing ceremony
marks doomsday for his political career is a very short-sighted approach to
"More elections will come and our presence will be felt," Chanetsa said.
"This was just an event and the process is still continuing. The political
space is still there for anyone interested in seeing our country recover and
develop to come on board.
"Our policy is that this is a long haul event in which everyone who matters
will eventually be consulted on the way forward," he added.
Analysts told The Financial Gazette yesterday that Makoni's snubbing could
spell disaster for him considering his tireless efforts in the last few
months to help break the political stalemate.
They said Makoni was effectively out of the picture because his
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn movement, soon to be converted into a fully-fledged
political party - the National Alliance for Democracy (NAD) - was not
represented in parliament.
"His absence (from the talks) is insignificant. It is a non-event because
who does he represent in the first place? He has been left by the wayside
and is now out of the equation," said University of Zimba-bwe political
science lecturer and commentator John Makumbe.
"He must act fast to save face and his political career. It is only fair
that any party, which fails to win parliamentary representation is not
recognised. So it's logical that his group should be left out of
Makumbe said Makoni committed a fatal political blunder by opting to form a
new party when there were already enough players - ZANU-PF and the MDC.
He said the former finance minister dug his own grave after defecting from
ZANU-PF and he was now reaping the bitter rewards of spurning overtures by
both parties to woo him into their fold.
"He is probably being penalised for defecting from ZANU-PF or refusing to
join the MDC. It has finally dawned on him that outside the two major
political parties he is a political nonentity," Makumbe said.
Makoni reportedly told SABC that his party would in future make its
contribution to the country.
He was quoted saying: "I cannot explain my absence from that signing
"Many Zimbabweans feel as I do that it is sad we are not involved at this
"But this is only the beginning, there is more to come and we will make our
Daniel Shumba, leader of another small party, the United People's Party, is
also seething over being ignored.
Shumba said all parties should be included in the talks even if they have no
representation in parliament.

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ZANU-PF firms, scribes put on sanctions


Staff Reporter

THE European Union (EU) this week included two
journalists from State-owned newspapers on its targeted sanctions list as it
widened the restrictions to cover 37 more individuals and four companies.

The political editor of The Sunday Mail
Munyaradzi Huni and Caesar Zvayi, who held the same position at The Herald
before leaving the newspaper last month, are the first journalists to be
included on the list since the EU began imposing travel bans on local
individuals with links to the ruling party following the disputed 2002
presidential poll.
Unconfirmed reports said Zvayi had left
Zimbabwe to take up a lecturing post at a university in Botswana.
Also included on the new list are Joyce
Kazembe, the vice-chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commi-ssion and
Peter Chingoka, the head of Cricket Zimbabwe.
One-hundred-and thirty government and ruling
party officials were already on the EU's targeted sanctions list before the
latest development.
Ruling party companies Zidco Holdings and
Jongwe Printing and Publishing Company (Private) Lim-ited and one with links
to the ZANU-PF Cold Comfort Farm Trust Cooperative as well as the Zimbabwe
Defence Industries also feature on the new EU list.
The sanctions were extended on Tuesday, a day
after ZANU-PF signed a pact to begin talks on a power sharing deal as
recommended by the African Union following President Robert Mugabe's
controversial re-election on June 27.
The lifting of targeted sanctions is one of
the items on the talks agenda.
Last week, the British embassy political
affairs first secretary Keith Scott told The Financial Gazette that his
country was investigating the number of people leaving in the United Kingdom
who are related to officials that are on the EU list.
"The Mugabe regime is illegitimate. It has
sponsored a campaign of violence and shown complete disregard for the
democratic process," said Scott.
"While there are no plans to deport students
whose parents are in the regime, we are investigating how many family
members of those on the EU's visa ban and asset freeze are present in the
The sanctions issue sparked a diplomatic
standoff between Zimbabwe and Zambia after Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa accused President Levy Mwanawasa, of not acting on a SADC
resolution to call for the lifting of sanctions in his capacity as the
regional bloc's chairperson.
When Zimbabwe was engulfed in political
violence blamed on ruling party militias, Zambia said the government should
first resolve the political crisis to pave the way for the lifting of
Analysts said growing international pressure
coupled with Zimbabwe's economic meltdown left President Mugabe little
choice but to sign the agreement with the opposition.
The central bank issued a $100 billion note
this week in the face of the world's worst inflation - which officials
estimate at 2.2 million percent annually but independent finance houses say
is closer to 12.5 million percent.
"When you start to hit these kinds of figures,
you know the wheels have come off in a big way," said Richard Cornwell,
researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies in South
Zimbabwe's latest political crisis began in
March with a presidential election where Tsvangirai garnered the most
votes - but not enough to win outright.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the June 27 run-off
against Mugabe, citing escalating state-sponsored violence against his
His party says more than 120 of its activists
have been killed by ZANU-PF militia since the March vote. Thousands have
been injured and tens of thousands have had their homes torched or been
forced to leave areas where opposition legislators were elected.
African election monitors said the June runoff
was not free and fair and several African leaders broke ranks to declare
they did not recognize him as president of Zimbabwe.
"It is impossible to accept the second round
of elections in Zimbabwe, with children being tortured, with barbarous acts
being committed, with violation of basic democratic rules," French Foreign
Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters Tuesday after the EU decided to
expand sanctions against President Mugabe.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said
EU nations were expecting more proof that President Mugabe was willing to
sign on to a transitional government with the opposition.
"It requires an end to the violence, it
requires an end to the ban on humanitarian NGO's getting around Zimbabwe.
Those are the first steps toward a resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis,"
Miliband told reporters.
Analyst Brian Raftopolous argues that Mbeki
may have been able to convince President Mugabe that Monday's deal was the
"last opportunity" to try and solve Zimbabwe's problems at a regional level.
"There may also be a sense that Mugabe feels
it is best to deal with Mbeki, who has shown him a degree of tolerance," he
- additional reporting by AFP

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Manufacturing sector input to exports plunges


Shame Makoshori Senior Business Reporter

THE manufacturing sector's contribution to the country's exports has
declined by nearly 30 percent over the past 27 years to 17 percent last year
due to the biting foreign currency shortages and the escalating production
costs among other things.

A survey commissioned by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and
sponsored by CBZ Bank Limited also revealed a frightening decline in the
sector's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Agriculture, which used to lag behind the manufacturing industry, has since
overtaken the sector in terms of its contribution to GDP.
At 22 percent, the manufacturing sector was the biggest contributor to GDP
between 1980 and 1990 followed by agriculture at 14 percent.
However, due to challenges relating to low capacity utilisation, foreign
currency shortages and rising inflation, the sector's contribution has
declined to about 17 percent with agriculture having taken over at 19
Export shipments under the manufacturing sector for last year totalled about
US$283 million, representing a nearly 2,8 percent decline from about US$291
million in 2006.
The report said in the first quarter of 2007, the manufacturing industry
contributed 12 percent to exports.
CZI report, which was undertaken by KM Financial Solutions also hit out at
the establishment by government of the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC), which the industrial representative body said had
resulted in goods vanishing from the supermarkets shelves.
"At the start of inspections by NIPC the national prices were being set
based on an exchange rate, which was significantly lower than the price
money had been picked up from those with free funds," the CZI said.
"The result was a decimation of working capital of producers. The
uncoordinated move was also a serious disincentive to continued production.
On the back of rapid inflation and rising global energy prices coupled with
international food inflation, there was need for realisation that the sector
needed more pricing flexibility than less," the body added.
The CZI said, on the local market, decreasing output of the agricultural
sector had accelerated the food inflation in the local environment resulting
in general cost-push inflation.
Now estimated at about 2.2 million percent, inflation has remained
uncontrollable in Zimbabwe.
"NIPC needs to be responsive and pragmatic so as to guarantee viability of
companies. In a number of instances, failure by the sector to adjust prices
has contributed to decreasing capacity as firms fail to replace stock. This
has also contributed to depletion of working capital and hence becoming a
constraint to improved production capacity utilisations," the report said.

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Zimbabwean economy has vast potential to recover


Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S struggling economy could turn around if stakeholders capitalise
on the vast infrastructure network and human resource skills it is endowed
with, a prominent businessman said this week.

Muchadeyi Masunda, chairman and facilitator of an economic forum, the
American Business Association of Zimbabwe (ABAZ), whose theme this year is
'Just Business', told a Harare news conference that brave decisions would
help bring the country back on track.
Masunda observed that the current economic sanctions were much more severe
than those imposed on the country in 1965 when Ian Smith made the Unilateral
Declaration of Independence (UDI).
He said rather than moan over the current crisis, business should continue
to invest in the country and become innovative in order to find a solution
to the country's ailing economy.
"We call on the local business community to soldier on in the face of the
huge challenges affecting the country. We are blessed with a competitive
edge, boasting a developed infrastructure in addition to a skilled workforce
and highly educated technocrats."
He said the brain drain currently afflicting the country would stop once the
economy stabilised.
"We have to resolve the crisis to give our country respectability," Masunda
Masunda who gave a comparison between the UDI-era sanctions and the current
so-called targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government,
said: "Those (UDI sanctions) were mickey-mouse type of sanctions. Some
industrialists would come together and import substitutes to keep the system
"That's why at independence in 1980 we had a robust economy with our
currency at par with the US dollar and 1-to-2 with the pound sterling. But
these ones called targeted sanctions are something else..."
The grand objective of the ABAZ economic forum set for August 21 in Harare
is to ensure the resuscitation of the Zimbabwe economy, once the pride of
the region.
Masunda said Zimbabwe has a well developed infrastructure, skilled workforce
and technocrats in the Diaspora whom he implored to return home to help in
the country's economic turnaround.
He said, as one way of helping Zimbabwe tackle its problems, ABAZ had
invited qualified speakers from Chile and Brazil, which suffered recessions
"As business people we are under pressure to continue in business because of
long-term measures. Sometimes doing business means you have to soldier on
even in difficult conditions like these."
"We should be happy because we still have the fortune of being able to
listen, share ideas, network and exchange notes with international business
experts from South American states like Brazil and Chile and even Ireland
that experienced similar situations before," Masunda said.
Masunda, who is Harare's ceremonial mayor, is a board member with various
reputable firms.

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Head start for ZANU-PF in talks


Njabulo Ncube Political Editor

NEGOTIATIONS on a power-sharing arrangement to end Zimbabwe's eight-year old
political crisis begin in South Africa today between President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) amid indications the
ruling party might already have an advantage over its rivals after it
managed to get into the top of agenda of the Memorandum of Under-standing
(MoU) its priorities.

ZANU-PF, which narrowly lost the control of the Lower House of the now
expanded parliament to Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, has listed as its top
priorities the issues of sanctions and the land question before
deliberations on the framework of a new government.
President Mugabe has maintained that the root cause of Zimbabwe's political
and economic crisis, is his seizure of former white-owned land for
redistribution to land-short blacks under his controversial agrarian reforms
initiated in 2000 after he lost a referendum on a new constitution.
The sanctions and land issues could however, bog down the talks and force
the talks to drag on past the two-week timeframe that has been set for
negotiators to reach a settlement.
British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has since cautioned that: "We'll
continue with the policy of sanctions to maintain the necessary pressure so
there is a fair outcome."
But ZANU-PF insiders were adamant yesterday that the party would eclipse the
MDC in the negotiations.
"We (ZANU-PF) and President Mugabe have an edge in the talks in that the
issues we have been complaining about are at the top."
"If the sanctions are lifted and Britain provides the money for land reform
all our problems will be a thing of the past.
"The issue of a new constitution is not a problem at all. We have convinced
the MDC that there is no problem with re-calling the people-driven
constitution they rejected in 2000," added the ZANU-PF insider.
The West has been at pains to explain that the sanctions, which include a
travel ban and arms embargo, were targeted at President Mugabe and his
associates. ZANU-PF however, claims these were hurting the ordinary person
in the streets more.
"There is no way we can go beyond the item on the economy on the agenda
unless and until the sanctions and land issues are successfully dealt with,"
added the insider.
"This is what we want and we believe this would be the panacea to the
country's economic problems. In this way, we believe we will have dealt with
the restoration of economic stability and growth. To us, other things such
as the political, security and communication are peripheral. These other
items are at our discretion."
But Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University
of Zimbabwe, differed with the ZANU-PF politburo member, insisting the MDC,
which forced President Thabo Mbeki to expand his mediation effort to include
representatives from the African Union and the United Nations, had an upper
hand in the negotiations. It had the leverage to cause the West to soften or
entirely remove the sanctions.
"The MDC enters into the negotiations with an upper hand. It is in a
position of strength in that it holds the elusive keys to unlock the
sanctions. All other issues are marginal," said Masunungure.
"ZANU-PF is desperate to have the MDC in government as it firmly believes it
is a client of the West. In the ZANU-PF scheme of things, the MDC masters
imposed the sanctions, so if the MDC are brought into the government, it
will have the task of persuading the West to soften or remove the sanctions
outright. ZANU-PF believes the West can listen to the MDC if it is part of
the government," he said.
There is speculation the MDC would be offered economic, financial and
agricultural portfolios in the GNU to allow the opposition to interact with
the West.
Sources privy to the talks claimed the ZANU-PF delegation failed to make it
to Pretoria on Tuesday because they had to attend a "cabinet" meeting for
the better part of the day. Information obtained by The Financial Gazette
indicates the ZANU-PF delegation only left yesterday morning for Pretoria
while MDC negotiators left on Tuesday evening.
The MDC and its allies in civil society have demanded the cessation of
violence, the restoration of the rule of law, the de-politicisation of state
organs and institutions, especially the state security agents, and the
release of all political prisoners.
According to the MDC, about 1 500 of its supporters and activists are
languishing in prisons countrywide while over 100 have been murdered by
ZANU-PF militias, a charge the ruling party has denied.
Those privy to the thinking of the MDC negotiators say they want all
repressive laws amended or entirely repealed to allow freedom of expression
and the opening of the airwaves to end the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC)'s monopoly.
They point out that the ZBC and the closure of four newspapers since the
inception of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in 2001
had resulted in the proliferation of foreign based radio stations that beam
into the country mostly news favourable to the MDC.
External radio stations have been included under communication item on the
It is envisaged that the dialogue will be completed within a period of two
weeks from the signing of the MoU on Monday this week.

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Civic society insists on transitional govt


Njabulo Ncube Political Editor

ZIMBABWEAN civil society organisations that are allies of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are insisting on a transitional
authority despite South African President Thabo Mbeki pushing for a
government of national unity (GNU) including President Robert Mugabe.

Mbeki was in Harare on Monday for the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) between President Mugabe and MDC leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, which paved the way for negotiations about
the formation a GNU featuring a titular president and an executive prime
However, civic society organisations, which played a pivotal role in the
formation of the MDC in 1999, in separate statements to The Financial
Gazette yesterday said while the signing of the MoU marked a new political
chapter in Zimbabwe, they still called for a transitional government headed
by a neutral person not from ZANU-PF or the MDC.
"MISA Zimbabwe cautiously welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding between ZANU-PF and the two formations of the Movement for
Democratic Change as the three main political parties in Zimbabwe on July
21, 2008," reads part of a statement from the media watchdog.
"Our cautious optimism is premised on the understating that while there is
an urgent need for dialogue in Zimbabwe - the dialogue in question should
not be the exclusive preserve and prerogative of political parties alone but
an inclusive process that embraces civil society organisations as opposed to
the exclusionary nature of the MoU.
"We reaffirm civil society's position on the need for a new people driven
constitution that expressly guarantees media freedom as outlined in the
Zimbabwe People's Charter," it said.
MISA Zimbabwe implored the negotiating parties as well as the mediators not
to lose sight of the need for a transitional process that enjoys the people's
"This can only be achieved in an environment that immediately allows
citizens to enjoy their fundamental right to freedom of expression,
association and assembly, access to information and media freedom."
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, representing more than 350 civic society
organisations, said any meaningful transformation in the country must take
place under a transitional arrangement. "The Coalition is utterly opposed to
a pact agreed between the political elite, which does not adequately address
the socio-economic and political crisis, which is, by and large, a crisis of
governance and legitimacy," the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition statement said.
While the spirit of accommodation was one to solve the nine-year crisis,
which has had repercussions for the entire southern African region, the
framework of the on-going national dialogue "must be aimed at renewal,
national healing and economic prosperity."
"The Coalition specifically demands that the on-going talks must be held in
a framework of respect for the people who overwhelmingly voted on March 29.
"A framework for dialogue should have guarantees that human lives should
cease to be tormented through state-organised violence and killings."
MISA Zimbabwe said it noted that two of the agenda items outlined in the MoU
related to the 'media' and 'external' radio stations.
"While we are not privy to the actual contents of the agenda items, we are
of the view that the two-week negotiation period should be preceded by an
unequivocal and explicit guarantee to the right of freedom of expression,
access to information and freedom of the media through the immediate
cessation of the arrests, harassment and torture of journalists and media
houses reporting on Zimbabwe."
MISA also demanded the immediate overhaul of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corpo-ration from a state broadcaster into a truly independent public
broadcaster as mandated under the guidelines of the African Charter on
Broadcasting. This should be accompanied by the freeing of the airwaves to
allow for commercial and community broadcasting and the granting of access
to all media houses (both foreign and local) to cover the political
situation as it unfolds.
It called for the suspension and subsequent repealing of all repressive
legislation that targets the media and in particular, the Access to
Information and Protections of Privacy Act, Public Order and Security Act,
Broadcasting Services Act and the Interception of Commu- nications Act.
Crisis Coalition added: "Quick fixes to the national crisis do not address
the constitutional and democratic deficits that our country has had to
grapple with for the past 10 years.
"We reiterate our calls for a transitional authority with the specific
mandate of taking Zimbabwe to a lasting democracy as opposed to a
power-sharing government of national unity."
The civil society organisations were adamant a GNU was a stop-gap measure,
which would give President Mugabe and ZANU-PF breathing space "before
reverting to the war path" against

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MoU signing greeted with caution


Njabulo Ncube Political Editor

THE signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by President Robert
Mugabe and both leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change formations,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara has been greeted with guarded
optimism as South African President Thabo Mbeki continues to push for an
accord to resolve the country's nine-year political impasse.

At the signing ceremony held at Rainbow Towers in Harare on Monday,
President Mugabe came face-to-face with Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who has
been a thorn in the political flesh of the founding Zimbabwean leader.
For nearly a decade since Tsvangirai, a former trade union secretary
general, formed the MDC in 1999, he and President Mugabe had not met until
Monday afternoon at the former Sheraton Hotel.
Mbeki, the Southern African Development Community (SADC)- appointed mediator
in the Zimbabwean crisis who is regularly criticised for his "quiet
diplomacy" approach, was on hand to witness what the parties hailed as a
historic occasion.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, President Mugabe said he and ZANU-PF
were committed to the talks, but stressed that the three parties should
engage as Zimbabweans without alleged Western interference. Only the
assistance of South Africa and Africa was acceptable, said President Mugabe.
"We sit here in order to chart a new way, a new way of political interaction
and this out of the decision that we made, we of southern Africa, sometime
ago, that we assist each other and in this particular case, we assist
Zimbabwe to overcome the political and economic situation, which requires
support. Our having signed this MoU is a serious matter on my part and my
party ZANU-PF, we take it seriously. The signatures we have appended there,
I hope, reflect the sincerity of all of us," said President Mugabe.
Tsvangirai concurred. "I know that in signing this Memorandum of
Understanding, I represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of
Zimbabweans to end this crisis as soon as possible. Honest, hardworking
Zimbabweans want nothing more than a life that offers peace, security,
economic opportunity, democracy and social and personal development. This is
a responsibility that the Movement for Democratic Change and I take with the
utmost seriousness," said Tsvangirai.
"This Memorandum offers the most tangible opportunity in the past 10 years
to improve the lives of our fellow citizens...We are Zimbabweans who want
only what is best for our country and our citizens...," he said.
Mutambara, the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, stressed that
Zimbabweans needed a shared vision to resolve the political and economic
"We must put national interests before personal interests. National
interests must drive us as we negotiate in the next two weeks. The people's
will must be supreme and sovereign. Let's have a shared national economic
vision," said Mutambara.
Echoing the same theme, President Mugabe said: "We must act as Zimbabweans,
think as Zimbabweans, be masters of our own destiny. If we do that, there
will be no need to suffer under sanctions, no need for us to call for Europe
to impose sanctions. There will be no need for a European hand, we don't
want it."
Tsvangirai said it should be acknowledged that these negotiations could only
proceed and succeed if the rule of law was restored and the public media
refrained from using hate speech to polarize society.
However, analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette, while acknowledging
that the words of all the parties were well-meaning, expressed guarded
optimism on the agreement and the talks, which begin in earnest in South
Africa today.
"Celebrations are premature," said John Makumbe, a fiery government critic
who teaches political science at the University of Zimbabwe.
"This is the first step in a very long and arduous journey as the Chinese
say. The lions, dragons, cheetahs and leopards are still out there. The
coming two weeks of negotiations will be the most difficult as issues that
need to be discussed are equally difficult," said Makumbe.
"With the polarisation between ZANU-PF and the MDC, it would be a protracted
struggle for the negotiators to reach a compromise on issues such as
sanctions and international interference; which President Robert Mugabe has
cited as non-negotiable priorities.
"President Mbeki will require much more superior mediation skills than he
has acquired in his entire mediation efforts including in the DRC and
Burundi to crack this one," Makumbe said.
"The polarity on sanctions, international interference, recognition of
(President) Mugabe as the legitimate leader, the cessation of violence,
including the dismantling of terror base stations, the polarity on the
constitution, these are very heavy duty issues, which make the deliberations
in the next two weeks not a stroll in the park. I repeat, it is premature to
start celebrating and saying the country has arrived at a break-through," he
Gorden Moyo, the executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, a civic society
organisation involved in governance issues, said he was cautiously
Moyo said judging from past intra-party negotiations between ZANU-PF and the
MDC, it would be foolhardy to take the three leaders at their word.
"I am cautiously optimistic about the MoU," said Moyo. "It is not
immediately clear if ZANU-PF this time around is genuine about the
negotiations. I am also worried that most of the issues on the agenda were
part of the agenda the last time. Most of these things were discussed, save
for a new government. My question is: Are the three parties going to
renegotiate what they failed to agree on the last time around?"
However, despite his reservations, Moyo acknowledged that there were
positives in the MoU such as the fact that the document was made public and
has been extensively circulated on the internet.
"There are things that we appreciate. The MoU has been made public. We have
had the previous process where agreements were shrouded in secrecy. This
time around ZANU-PF and the MDC have let the people of Zimbabwe and the
world know what they are up to," said Moyo.
Moyo also welcomed the fact that the mediation process had been expanded to
include envoys from the African Union and the United Nations.
A primary school headmaster, who requested anonymity, said of the talks: "I
am cautiously optimistic considering what is involved. We had the same
delicate process in the late 1980s. We have to learn from history and take
into perspective what happened to old Joshua Nkomo and PF ZAPU," he said in
reference to the Unity Accord signed by ZANU-PF and PF ZAPU in 1987.

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Clarification sought over planned take-over


Shame Makoshori Senior Reporter

CAPTAINS of industry this week sought clarification from government over the
planned seizure of foreign-owned firms, as state media reports indicated a
government survey had linked 499 companies to British ownership.

The companies would be targeted for expropriation under the country's tough
indigenisation law, reports said.
Confederation of Zim-babwe Industries (CZI) president Callisto Jokonya told
journalists in Harare on Tuesday that industry had met Indigenisation and
Empowerment Min-ister Paul Mangwana to discuss the issue.
He said Mangwana had assured the industrialists that any takeovers would be
implemented in accordance with the law.
"We had the Minister of Indigenisation here in this boardroom and he assured
us there would be nothing like jambanja (forced takeovers)," Jokonya told
the press conference.
"Our understanding of the Act is that there will be a willing-buyer
willing-seller (arrangement)," he said.
The Sunday Mail reported this week that preliminary results of a survey
conducted by the government had indicated that British investors had
interests in at least 499 local companies, with 309 of them having
shareholders from other European countries.
The report said 97 of these companies were 100 percent owned by British
shareholders, adding these would be targeted for the takeovers under the
Indi-genisation and Empower-ment Act.
This week, President Robert Mugabe and leaders of the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) factions sealed an agreement expected to culminate
in talks to heal the ailing economy, which has experienced a recession over
the past nine years.
Jokonya said the CZI had thrown its full support to the new developments in
Zimbabwe's complex politics.
"The CZI and the entire business community welcome this agreement to start
the dialogue process that will lead to the resolution of our problems, which
have serious political, economic, social, as well as humanitarian
"Business hopes that the constructive spirit of selflessness and national
harmony that was witnessed at the signing will prevail, and we wish the
negotiations speedy finalisation," he said in a statement.
The immediate past president of CZI Pattison Sithole said industry remained
ready to undertake the reconstruction process.
"What we are looking for as business is an environment for us and the nation
to prosper," Sithole said.
"Business will stand ready to participate in the national reconstruction
process that will follow. We will play our part.
"What is now needed is continued restraint until the objectives of the
Memorandum of Under-standing (MoU) are achieved", added Sithole
Yesterday, CZI launched the 2007 manufacturing sector survey where Jokonya
emphasised ind-ustry's optimism following the signing of the MoU but
attacked price controls, corruption and the continued printing of money as
some of the policies government had to drop.
"The survey brings the same issues every year (but nobody heeds its
 advice)," Jokonya said.
"We have ears but we do not listen, we have good advice but we do not take
it," the CZI chief added.
Jokonya said the confederation was fully behind the talks between ZANU-PF
and the two MDC formations
"We do not want to go back, but we are not sure about the policies," Jokonya
"They make us have no confidence in the economy. Just as we came out of the
launch of the 2006 manufacturing sector survey last year, there was a price
blitz. And since then business has not recovered.
"We must act on corruption, particularly on the farms where it is
disheartening to say the least.
"Fuel given to farmers is sold and fertilisers end up on the black market.
"We still have the question of distortions in the pricing system," said
"We produce coal but there is no coal, we have water but there is no water
in Harare, we are well networked with the National Railways of Zimbabwe
infrastructure but there is no service," he said
He added; "The skilled people have left because we are paying peanuts.
"Everyone is receiving less than US$2 per month. The region is paying much
more than that.
"So why should they stay? This (the poor salaries) is all caused by price
"They are not necessary and we do not need them.
"We do not want crisis management that we have been going through. We must
move away from crisis management and bring order.
"We have what I call manufacturing inflation.
"We are manufacturing inflation by continuing to print money," said Jokonya.
But Industry and International Trade Deputy Minister Phineas Chihota
defen-ded the printing of money arguing that under the circumstances, the
government had to find ways of cushioning the people.
"It is not exciting that people are printing money.
"They are not happy with it.
"How many African countries have operated without foreign support?
"How many, how many, how many? We must be sincere with ourselves.
"Ninety-eight percent of African countries operate on borrowed money in
their budgets. But we have gone this far funding our own budget," said

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Judge offered multiple farms


Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter

HIGH Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has stated, in a revelation that
exposes the chaotic manner in which offer letters are issued, that the
government offered him three separate farms from which to choose one but
eventually settled for a fourth.

The judge made the disclosures in an affidavit filed with the High Court in
a case in which he is contesting attempts by University of Zimbabwe medical
lecturer Lovemore Gwan-zura to have the issuance of an offer letter for
Daskop farm in Marondera to Justice Bhunu declared as having been irregular.
Justice Bhunu said he was offered Illing Farm but could not settle there
because it had been "double allocated".
He could not move into Rockland Farm in Marondera because it was subdivided
into A1 plots, even though it had been initially allocated to him.
"As a third option I was offered Aldington Farm in Seke. My offer was
withdrawn as the farm lay amongst certain problematic properties subject to
bilateral state agreements," the judge said.
The fourth property he was offered in March this year, Daskop Farm, has
precipitated the ownership wrangle that is before the High Court.
Justice Bhunu says he was issued with an offer letter for Daskop farm after
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary
Affairs, David Mangota, who was initially allocated the property, left it
after being offered another farm in the Midlands province.
The judge wants the court action against him thrown out on the grounds that
Gwanzura did not take leave of the court to institute proceedings against a
member of the judiciary.
Justice Bhunu described Gwan-zura as an "illegal land invader" on the basis
that even though the Mashonaland East provincial lands committee had
recommended that the UZ lecturer be given the farm, the recommendation was
not an offer letter, but "a mere invitation to a treaty".
Last month Judge President Justice Rita Makarau ruled in favour of Justice
Bhunu following an emergency motion, but Gwanzura has now taken up the
matter via a court application.
However, Gwanzura has said after the lands committee ruled that he could be
offered the farm he was surprised at how the judge could "jump the queue"
and get the property ahead of him.
He also accused the judge of lying and trying to eject him from the property
because he was "well connected".
Gwanzura said he had been told that the judge was allocated the farm after
performing special duties for the state.
The accusation, which the judge denied, could not be substantiated.

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Morgan Tsvangirai speaks on MoU


Morgan Tsvangirai
The world stands ready to join us in rebuilding our nation
ON Monday, July 21, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with President
Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara. This document commits our three parties
to a framework of negotiations that will take place over the next two weeks.

I know that in signing this Memorandum of Understanding, I represent the
hopes and aspirations of millions of Zimbabweans to end this crisis as soon
as possible.
Honest, hardworking Zimbabweans who want nothing more than a life that
offers peace, security, economic opportunity, democracy and social and
personal development. This is a responsibility that the Movement for
Democratic Change and I take with the utmost seriousness.
This Memorandum offers the most tangible opportunity in the past ten years
to improve the lives of our fellow citizens. But, our signatures alone do
not guarantee that we will be able to make the most of this opportunity.
Our signatures on this document must be accompanied by acknowledging some
very basic truths: We are Zimbabweans who want only what is best for our
country and our citizens. Our shared goal is best achieved in a climate of
tolerance and stability, not divisiveness and anger. We believe that wanting
a more democratic future or expressing an alternate political opinion should
be viewed as a right and not as a declaration of war.
We believe that the will of the people is the fundamental basis on which to
ground our negotiations.
We acknowledge that these negotiations can only proceed and succeed if the
rule of law is restored, if people are able to go about their business in
safety, if the public media refrain from using hate speech to polarise the
community, if the persecution of MDC MPs, members and supporters ceases, and
if humanitarian organisations are allowed once again to provide aid to the
millions of Zimbabweans in need of assistance.
For my part, I call on all Zimbabweans who believe in the ideals of
democracy as espoused by the MDC, to continue to abide by the rule of law,
to live in a spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness in the knowledge that if
we work together in this spirit, a better future lies ahead and justice will
We have committed ourselves to a process that presents the framework in
which we can strive to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis. This is just
the first step on a journey whose duration and success is dependent on the
sincerity and good faith of all parties involved.
In the spirit of a shared vision to heal our nation, I call upon my fellow
signatories to join me in putting aside our differences and acknowledging
that we have a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to show true
leadership and to find agreement that will bring an end to the violence,
polarisation, poverty and fear in which we have all been living for too
long. Our fellow countrymen and women look to us to find common ground that
will allow us, as a nation, to chart a democratic path forward.
We must acknowledge that the outcome of these negotiations will not be
acceptable until it has been endorsed by Zimbabwean civil society, the trade
unions and the people themselves.
We are not here to form an elitist pact, but rather to represent the hopes
and aspirations of each citizen and every stakeholder. This is my commitment
to our partners who have struggled with us for a more democratic form of
To the people of Zimbabwe I say, have courage, be strong, better days lie
The heart of the entire world is broken by what has happened in our country,
and your bravery is praised among all peoples everywhere. The world stands
ready to join us in rebuilding our nation and restoring what has been lost,
once our peace and freedom are re-established.
May God bless Zimbabwe.

lMorgan Tsvangirai is President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

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Leaders must walk the talk



THE signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the protagonists in
the Zimbabwe crisis on Monday was indeed as momentous as it was historic.

Historic in the sense that for the first time in many years President Robert
Mugabe and his political archenemy Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), met face-to-face to endorse delicate
discussions on issues that had kept them poles apart for the past decade.
Monday's signing of the MoU after a false start the previous week, was a
major climbdown on both sides, particularly for President Mugabe, who had to
leave the comfort of his Munhumutapa Offices to meet Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara - leader of the other formation of the MDC - at a Harare hotel.
In a way, the sight of the three leaders seated side by side after 10 years
of avoiding each other, demonstrated the seriousness of the crisis in
Zimbabwe and the intensity of diplomatic pressure - regionally and beyond -
on the country's political leadership.
Before South African President Thabo Mbeki's involvement as mediator in the
Zimbabwe crisis, Tsvangirai and his nemesis in ZANU-PF had mercilessly
turned each other into verbal punch bags, be it at political rallies or in
news bulletins.
And this has been at the expense of the country's economy and the ordinary
men and women, who have been the biggest casualties of the self-inflicted
Yet before the MDC leader's switch from trade unionism into mainstream
politics in the late 1990s, President Mugabe and Tsvangirai had very little
that separated them and used to share the platform at May Day celebrations.
With Tsvangirai, President Mugabe and Mutambara appending their signatures
on the MoU, a new page has been opened. There is renewed optimism that the
country's bruised economy could well be on the road to recovery after nine
years of a painful recession epitomised by a skidding exchange rate, high
inflation of 2,2 million percent and unemployment in the region of 80
While the three leaders have agreed on the basic rules to be followed in the
talks, the taste of the pudding will be in the eating. Their commitment to
the process should go beyond the diplomatic niceties widely reported in the
media following the signing of the MoU and should stand the test as the
talks gain momentum.
By signing the MoU, Mutambara, Tsvangirai and President Mugabe have taken
the first step of a long, gruelling journey and the immediate challenge is
for the trio to walk the talk.
It is encouraging that on top of the agenda are issues related to the
economy i.e. its revival, the debatable sanctions and the emotive land
Interestingly, the talks coincide with the release of the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Manufacturing Sector Survey, whose findings are
According to the latest CZI survey findings, the manufacturing sector's
contribution to the gross domestic product plunged from 21 percent in the
1990s to 17 percent. Output in the manufacturing sector declined by a
massive 28 percent in 2007 compared to a decline of 18 percent the previous
President Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai have a tough task cut out for
them, they can only ignore these sobering statistics at their own peril.
Granted, ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions have very little in common in
terms of their ideologies and to many bringing them together, as is being
suggested by pessimists, is like mixing oil and water - it just doesn't
ZANU-PF, boasts of its revolutionary background, claims to be the sole
custodian of the country's sovereignty and patriotism while the MDC's
campaign cry has been premised around democratic change that people can
We implore both parties to realise that they are Zimbabwean formations first
and foremost, and that they both have a role to play in bringing back the
country's lost glory.
In as much as none of them has a monopoly over the people's will, none is
indispensable either.
For the MoU to give birth to something beneficial to the people of Zimbabwe,
ZANU-PF and the two MDCs must negotiate in good faith, casting aside the
individualistic tendencies that have weighed down the economy.
While we have our doubts regarding the effectiveness of ZANU-PF's
representatives in the talks, namely Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche,
in fully representing President Mugabe in these delicate talks given their
lightweight status in the party, it is our fervent hope all the same that
their principals gave them the carte blanche to execute the mandate at hand.
The parties in the negotiations should exhibit a high degree of
statesmanship and should be prepared to bend backwards without breaking
their backs to accommodate either side with the theme "Zimbabwe first" being
their rallying point.
A winner takes all formula will scuttle the negotiations resulting in the
continuation of the Zimbabwe crisis that is hurting the majority of the
The key thing would be for President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to
compromise along the way. For ZANU-PF, the biggest challenge is for the
party's bigwigs to accept that whatever arrangement to emerge out of the
talks can only accommodate a few people from both sides. The majority of the
bigwigs should brace for ordinary life.
The chief negotiator in the talks, President Thabo Mbeki, who should be
commended for nudging the protagonists this far, should be realistic on the
timeframe within which the negotiations should be concluded. We believe two
weeks is too conservative given the complexity of the issues at stake.
How Mbeki would deal with the disputed June 27 victory claimed by President
Mugabe will also guarantee the success of his initiative.

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Zim lawyers have affinity for politics


Vote Muza

THE parliamentary plebiscite of March 29 2008 elections had one very
interesting feature that many might have noted, and this is the
unprecedented number of lawyers who participated in it.

Lawyers of all ages, from both genders and black and white races showed no
hesitation in offering themselves to the electorate for a chance to prove
their leadership mantles.
Close to 20 lawyers took part in the elections, and out of this unusually
huge number, only a minority failed to get elected.
The following is a list of some of those who participated from both ZANU-PF
and the MDC; Innocent Gonese, Douglas Mwonzora, Eric Matinenga, Obert Gutu,
Jessie Majome, Welshman Ncube, Shepherd Mushonga, David Coltart, Tendai
Biti, Brian Tshuma, Jabulani Ndlovu, Job Sibanda, Emerson Mnangagwa, Patrick
Chinamasa, Paul Mangwana and Sheila Mahere.
A few are not included in this list because I could not ascertain their
names in time for publication.
Interesting to note is that the MDC provided the largest number of
participants while ZANU-PF had a tiny number taking part. Although I stand
to be corrected, it would appear that the MDC had 12 lawyers elected into
both houses of assembly, while ZANU-PF had only one elected. Prominent
causalities on both sides are Chinamasa and Ncube, both men being key
representatives of their parties in the ongoing political dialogue.
The joke doing the rounds in legal circles is that the humiliating failure
by these otherwise very prominent lawyers to get into parliament has brought
the profession into serious disrepute. Therefore, if some had their way,
these two should face gross misconduct charges before the Law Society
disciplinary tribunal.
While the loss by Professor Ncube is pardonable, simply because of it being
a result of vote splitting between candidates from the two MDC factions that
of Chinamasa is treasonous! The man, in his wisdom, and political hindsight
chose to compete in what he felt was a safe rural constituency where votes
would be amassed without any sweat.
But lo and behold; despite being a seasoned, tried and tested campaigner in
the game, the man was heavily trounced, and without the accommodation of the
State President, he might never see the inside of parliament again in his
One other statistic is worth mentioning. Jessie Majome, MP elect for Harare
West became the first female lawyer to be elected.
Before, others of her gender had lacked the courage to directly seek the
mandate from the electorate and those who easily come to mind are our Judge
President, Rita Makarau and Sheila Mahere.
These went into parliament through direct appointment by the President. The
$64 trillion question to ask in view of this huge turnout, is why lawyers,
and not other professions?
Apparently, despite being popular with the public, medical doctors developed
cold feet and are represented by only two physicians, David Parirenyatwa and
Sydney Sekeramayi.
Engineers, pilots, teachers, carpenters, electricians, and many other
professions imaginable failed to provide a huge number of political
candidates, hence the scope of this article is to investigate why this is
the case.
One American Philosopher is reported to have remarked that "lawyers take to
politics, the way bees take to honey".
This indeed rings true especially if one undertakes a survey of leadership
trends, in Africa and beyond that confirms the dominance of lawyers in
positions of power at many levels.
The internat-ional icon, Nelson Mandela is a lawyer.
The same goes for the great Indian leader, Mahatma Gandi. Levy Mwanawasa,
Tony Blair, Barack Obama and dozens more who have held positions of
leadership in the past all take pride in having law as their profession.
The appetite 0f local lawyers to take part in politics was not as pronounced
in 1980 as it has been in recent years. A quick look at professional
demographics at all our past election periods will show a gradual increase
in the number of lawyers that culminated in the 2000 - 2005 parliament
having a sizeable number of lawyers, who included Mun-yaradzi Gwisai who has
now taken leave from politics and is now concentrating on academic work.
It can be argued, and without any debate that lawyers' participation in
politics locally was concomitant with the rise of violence, state
repression, torture, murder and various other human rights violations,
particularly in recent years.
Thus, lawyers' jump onto the political bandwagon was not merely out of a
quest for power, but was a response to the need to let law change politics
rather than politics changing law as has been the case under ZANU-PF
In the 1980's Zimbabwe was relatively peaceful, prosperous, and our State
institutions were the envy of many.
Lawyers were contend with cocooning in their chambers to dispense legal
advice and shy away from politics.
However, after 1997, when the ZANU-PF leadership began to be gripped with
paranoia and relied more on coercion than persuasion to maintain political
power, many lawyers began to see the need to take charge of our politics in
order for the country to change course.
As a matter fact, the large number of active legal practitioners contesting
with some of them being elected on the opposition ticket renders weight to
this argument.
Lately legal practitioners have through their daily interactions with
clients witnessed atrocious human rights violations perpetrated by State
security agents, and other renegade groups owing allegiance to ZANU-PF.
As human rights defenders, some of my colleagues and I have watched the rule
of law, and principles enshrined in our constitution trampled upon and
trashed by State officials, and the pain of these experiences has pricked
our consciences and caused some of us to react, hence the large numbers
presently involved in politics.
Through our training, and ethical demands, a majority of lawyers feel
injustices faster than other people.
Our consciences cannot bear to watch, arms akimbo, when principles of
fairness, justice and truth are being flouted for whatever reason by those
wielding political power. Lawyers are usually molded during training to be
assertive, courageous and dominant people.
It is these instincts for assertiveness, coupled with the great desire to
sustain genuine freedom, justice, equality and prosperity that spurred a
good number of my colleagues to take the bull by the horns and challenge for
political positions.
The forthcoming parliament is extremely blessed to have such a large array
of lawyers to scrutinise legislation before its promulgation, and
ultimately, the justice-starved Zimbabweans should be the major
beneficiaries of such a bumper harvest of lawyers.

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Urbanites now need food handouts too


Mavis Makuni

IN May 2005, the British newspaper, the Weekly Telegraph, carried a story
with the headline: "Zimbabwe placed on red alert for famine after harvest

The paper reported most Zimbabweans were no longer able to buy enough food.
This was after the Famine Early Warning Systems Network had warned that the
year's harvest was "insufficient to satisfy consumption needs".
I cannot recall the official reaction to this report, but the newspaper
would most likely have raised the hackles of some in government, who were
doing their best to paint a picture that concerns about food shortages in
the country were exaggerated and were an attempt by detractors to tarnish
the country's image.
In the same year, the head of state, President Robert Mugabe, told
international donor agencies: "We do not need your food." It turned out the
bumper 2004/2005 harvest upon which he based his rosy outlook, was a figment
of the imagination of then Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made.
But despite this, the government was still dismissive when the director of
the World Food Programme arrived in Zimbabwe for talks on the food crisis at
the request of then United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan.
Information and Publicity Secretary, George Charamba, insisted that Zimbabwe's
stance on food handouts had not changed.
"The president is very clear that while Zimbabwe welcomes drought mitigating
assistance from other countries of goodwil, it is firmly opposed to any food
handouts that are predicated on political conditionalities."
The government, he stressed, was responsible for ensuring that no one went
without food. In an interview with Skynews, President Mugabe said
international agencies should not try to foist food on Zimbabwe because it
had enough.
"Why does the Food World Programme want to feed us when we say we are not
hungry? It should go to hungrier countries than ourselves. They need the
food and we urge it to do good work there."
Three years after these declarations were made, Zimbabweans are not just
unable to buy "enough" food, many can no longer access any food at all, and
this includes urban dwellers. If any in the establishment doubt this, they
should undertake a survey of shops and supermarkets.
If they are honest, they will admit that these are virtually empty and
whatever meagre stocks they have are so stratospherically priced that few
can afford them.
This is affecting even those who have quadrillions in the bank. How does one
take care of a day's basic needs on the $100 billion that one is allowed to
withdraw per day?
From this amount, which for most people can no longer cover a day's
transport fares, one must buy food, pay bills, pay school fees and meet
routine daily expenses.
The authorities seriously need to stop pretending that things are alright
and address these problems. The role of a democratic government is to take
care of the needs of all citizens regardless of political affiliation,
especially when the hardships being endured are a result of its populist
Zimbabwe has become a basket case plagued by pervasive hunger in both urban
and rural areas because of the way the land reform exercise was implemented.
No one questions the imperative need that existed to redress past imbalances
and injustices by redistributing land. No one quarrels with the government's
often-repeated declaration that the programme is irreversible.
What should be reversed is the corruption, cronyism and lack of
accountability that has resulted in multiple farm hoarding by top government
officials and the allocation of land to people with no intention to
undertake the hard work necessary to make the land productive.
Agriculture is a fast result-yielding undertaking. No lead time is necessary
from the first planting to the first harvest. But eight years after the
seizure of land, the empowered farmers can still not get it right. Sanctions
and Western interference can surely not be blamed for this dismal
The people are starving mainly because of lack of production on the farms .
instead of squandering available resources on propaganda campaigns about
sanctions and the machinations of the West, funds should be used to ease the
plight of all Zimbabweans. But alas, the National Basic Commodities Supply
Enhancement Programme (Baccossi), shows the that the government has not
adopted an inclusive approach to address the hardships being endured by all
In addition to all its other shortcomings, this programme discriminates
against urbanites, who are as economically hard-pressed as rural folk.
Taxation without presentation is one thing, but limiting welfare programmes
to rural areas in the hyper-inflation ravaged Zimbabwe of today represents
taxation with deprivation and victimization for those living in towns and
Urban dwellers cannot be blamed for concluding that the taxes they pay are
being used to spite and slap them in the face. It is incumbent on the
government to take care of all Zimbabweans who have been impoverished over
the last decade of economic and political upheaval. One hopes the
considerations resulting in this segregation are not the same as those
articulated by State Security Minister, Didymus Mutasa in 2005.
After the government had blocked the South African Council of Churches from
delivering a donation of food and clothing to the victims of Operation
Muramba-tsvina, Mutasa declared: "This (aid) is really not intended for what
they say it is supposed to be, that's not true. They are doing it to help
the MDC."
On the basis of this convoluted reasoning, two trucks bearing a consignment
of foodstuffs and blankets to families that were then living in the open
after the demolition of their abodes, were barred from entering the country.
Earlier, United Nations Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka had deplored what she
termed the "hands off our victims" approach after the government had spurned
assistance from the world body and issued an order that non-governmental
organisations should concentrate on other programmes and should not become
involved in helping those who had been rendered homeless by the demolition
One fervently hopes that similar tenuous arguments and considerations are
not being used against urbanites, who were once denounced for being
totem-less and too fond of sugar.
There is also the small matter that urbanites have consistently voted for
the opposition in elections since 2000. But this is their democratic right
and they should not be penalized for it. It would be preposterous for a
national government to resort to such pettiness.

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Manufacturing sector output plunges


Staff Reporter
Survey portrays grim picture as . . .
THE manufacturing industry suffered a 28 percent decline in output last year
compared to an 18 percent slump in 2006, in yet another clear sign of the
impact of the deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

The grim statistics were captured in the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) Manufacturing Sector Survey launched in Harare yesterday.
The report, the seventh such survey by the CZI, signifies the depth of the
country's growing level of unutilised capacity.
"The country therefore continues to forge ahead under increasingly
under-utilised capacity, given a weighted average capacity utilisation of
18.9 percent in 2007 compared to 33.8 percent in the 2006-surveyed sample,"
the report noted.
Emphasising that the country faced "an increasing need for strong
implementation of anti-inflation policies", the survey said inflation
continued to pose serious threat to the conduct of business.
The survey, however, noted that despite grave foreign currency shortages,
companies still managed exports, with South Africa becoming the new leading
manufacturing export destination ahead of Zambia, which has been the top
destination for the two previous years.
"However, the industry still laments over foreign currency shortages,
controlled foreign exchange and raw material shortages having negatively
affected business performance," the survey said.
It pointed out that declining capacity utilisation levels had naturally
resulted in employment levels falling.
"Based on the sample surveyed, employment numbers declined by 12.2 percent
in 2007 from the 2006 sampled numbers. However, further analysis shows that
the workforce is not being paid a living wage.
"Transport costs in a number of instances were higher than the actual
salaries earned by the staff. Continued decline in disposable income for the
local market has resulted in low demand for manufactured products," the
survey revealed.
It said given that the manufacturing sector had dropped by 28 percent
against a decline of 12.2 percent in employment levels, it could be deduced
that idle time at work had increased significantly.
"Unfortunately the combination of idleness and a wage lower than a living
wage can lead to higher levels of pilferage and crime at work places," it
The survey noted that while the recently introduced interbank exchange rate
policy was still too nascent to allow for an impact assessment, about 52
percent of the interviewed companies however considered the inter-bank
exchange rate policy as a positive move in the right direction.
The report said this had helped provide a common cost platform for all
players and also allow for realistic costs to be assumed.
More than 90 percent of the respondents said they had been negatively
affected by the cash shortages that prevailed over the period under review.
In most cases daily cash withdrawal limits inhibited operations in light of
the skyrocketing inflationary pressure. This had accelerated the
dollarisation of the economy.
"We have noted that the cash shortages and the rapid depreciation of the
local currency have fuelled the un-official dollarisation of the economy.
"Salaries, a key input into the sector, are being pushed aggressively as the
labour force tries to contend with dollarised rentals and transport costs
which are linked to imported and rising fuel costs," the report's authors
The survey said latest findings showed that the sector welcomed regional
integration, with 29.8 percent preferring the Common Market for East and
Southern Africa (COMESA) and 23.4 percent preferring the Southern African
Development Community as they highlighted that it would mean a wider market
for them as well as more and better opportunities.
"COMESA, for example, is a market for 420 million people, with a GDP of
US$267 billion. There is a risk of the manufacturing sector missing out on
this opportunity.
"Moreover, the issue of proximity comes into play when doing business in
Africa. Coupled with lack of international credit to the local
manufacturers, the impact of the sanctions is negatively extending onto the
industry's export performance as products are turned down on the basis of
their source," the report noted.
The survey also noted that business confidence levels over the years had
declined to the current 2 percent (5 percent in 2006).
This, the report said, made it urgent for closer cooperation between
stakeholders and the policy makers in order to curb the problems on the
"The economy is closer to a solution than it is to its problems. The country
is fortunate in the sense that it remains endowed with serious potential
embedded in its natural resources and its highly educated and skilled labour
"A lot of non Zimbabweans have asked, 'Why is Africa (Zimbabwe included)
poor and yet so rich?'. Going forward clarity, consistency and cooperation
are key."

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Sugar industry seeks EU funding


Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE'S troubled sugar industry has opened negotiations with the European
Union (EU) for a 60 million Euro financial lifeline that would enhance the
capacity of hundreds of new sugarcane growers thrust into the volatile
sector under haphazard government-sponsored agrarian reforms.

The Financial Gazette heard this week that the bulk of these farmers could
face a major financial crisis if sugar export quarters granted by the EU are
removed later in the year, opening the industry up to greater competition.
A reduction in sugar production in Zimbabwe has been blamed on the new
farmers who settled on sugar estates with hectarage ranging between 20 and
60 without the financial wherewithal and the requisite skills.
It is estimated that there are 180 new farmers settled on sugar estates.
Sources said the industry is negotiating with the EU for funding to save
largely small-scale sugar producers from collapse in the face of mounting
competition coming with the removal of export quotas later in the year.
Zimbabwe has an export quota of between 10 000 and 20 000 metric tonnes of
sugar to the South American market per annum, and unspecified export quotas
to the EU.
"The sugar subsidies are going to fall away," said the source in Harare this
week. There won't be any quotas; it is going to be a free for all. But we
have been able to negotiate with the EU for 60 million euros to assist cane
growers. What we need to do is to come up with sustainable arrangements to
get the farmers grow (sugarcane)," the source said. A source said while
irrigation infrastructure was still intact, the farmers were failing to
utilise it.
"We have the best irrigation set up in southern Africa but we have not been
able to exploit its potential. We need to get everybody to produce,
especially the newer farmers that were introduced around 2000," he said.
However, with the diplomatic stand off between Zimbabwe and the EU
worsening, it could be impossible for the sugar industry to access the
funding should the powerful regional economic bloc press ahead with plans to
slap further sanctions on Zimba-bwe.
The EU roundly condemned President Robert Mugabe's re-election last month
and has mobilised other international bodies to cut ties with the country.
EU member states were expected to agree on Tuesday to impose tougher
sanctions on Harare, according to media reports.
The BBC reported at the weekend that the EU was to increase the number of
officials and business people associated with President Mugabe targetted for
a visa ban and financial sanctions.

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Clients circumvent cash limit


Synodia Bhasera Staff Reporter

CASH-STARVED Zimbabweans are crafting ingenious ways to sidestep bank rules
that limit the amount individuals can withdraw from their accounts. Zimbabwe's
central bank has imposed strict cash withdrawal limits in an effort to stem
a tidal wave of demand by depositors driven by escalating costs of basic and
other necessities each day.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has limited daily withdrawals to $100
billion despite the run-away inflation.
Eleanor Taruzei (35) is one of the many Zimbabweans affected by this
situation. She stoops as she walks to accommodate a bulging shoulder bag
often weighed down by a variety of toiletries that any woman would carry.
But nestled among the items are a number of automated cash dispenser (ACD)
cards that allows her to get the money she wants.
"I find it convenient, because having a number of these cards from different
banks allows me to withdrawal more than the stipulated amount."
She could be one among a number of Zimbabweans who are coming up with new
ways to beat the central bank's control measures.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono says these controls are meant to forestall
speculative practices that could worsen stagflation in the battered economy.
Information obtained by The Financial Gazette this week indicates that some
affluent Zimbabweans, mainly foreign currency and commodity dealers, now
operate multiple bank accounts with several banks and other financial
In fact, some dealers are reportedly to be single-handedly holding up to 21
bank accounts, enabling the person to withdraw a total of $2.1 trillion a
day to transact and cater for daily expenses such as food, fuel, and other
daily needs.
For ordinary workers, a daily limit of $100 billion can no longer buy or
transact anything. One needs $120 billion for transport to and from work,
which means one, has to go to a bank daily for transport only.
"It is uncomfortable to stand in a long and winding queue just to be given
an amount not enough to buy your child a yoghurt. Why should I forfeit my
right to get back the money that I entrusted to a bank?" said an enraged
municipal worker, who was in a queue at a commercial bank to withdraw part
of her salary.
"Small wonder people no longer deposit their money with banks these days,"
she fumed.
A decent lunch costs no less than $600 billion. A pint of beer is going for
$450 billion. Doctors now charge $600 billion for consultation.
To have a fashionable hairdo at a saloon, a woman needs at least $1.5
trillion. A simple dress for a small child is going for $1,4 trillion at
One can go on and on but the issue is that the daily maximum cash withdrawal
has become insignificant.
What is compounding the problem is that all visa cards and Zimswitch are not
Hoteliers and supermarkets approached by The Financial Gazette claimed that
banks have not updated swipe machines to deal with the high figures being
charged for goods and services, amid revelations some swipe machines can
only accept $7 billion per transaction.
It therefore means that for a product of $350 billion, one needs to swipe 50
times, in addition to paying commission of about $2 billion per transaction.
Enterprising restaurants and bottle stores now charge between 20 and 50
percent more for clients paying in personal or company cheques.

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Cartoons by Gado


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