July 27, 2012 in News
THE European Union this week partially lifted sanctions against Zimbabwe in
an effort to encourage a credible constitutional referendum and general
elections, but a report by the bloc’s Committee for Arms Export Controls
released on July 13 lists the country among potentially repressive states
still receiving arms from Britain.EU eased restrictions on development aid
to Zimbabwe, although an assets freeze and targeted travel bans remain in
force against specific Zanu PF leaders and some of their associates, for
human rights abuses.
Even if the reinstatement of development aid could mean more much-needed
assistance for the country, no mention was made of the UK’s secret supply of
military equipment to Zimbabwe.
According to the Arms Export Control Committee in 2011, 28 countries,
including Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and the DRC were “provided
licences authorised by the government (of Britain) in the period January 1
to December 31 2011 for equipment that might be used to facilitate internal
The licences are mainly for cryptographic software and equipment which can
be used for encryption, spying and code scrambling by military intelligence.
Internationally, cryptographic equipment is classified as weapons and
subject to arms-trafficking export regulations.
Committee chairman Sir John Stanley criticised the UK’s export of security
technology to authoritarian regimes such as China, Russia, Sudan and
Zimbabwe as code scrambling could help government restrict the flow of
information and suppress protests.
“This equipment scrambles conversations and makes speech unintelligible, and
it is a key element of protecting communications used by security forces,”
“If you are an authoritarian and repressive regime preparing an operation to
send tanks into a village or break up a demonstration, security forces take
great care to make sure those they are going to attack don’t get any warning
in advance,” he said.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat), an international anti-arms trade
pressure group, has records showing that between 2008 and 2012, the UK
issued five export licences for cryptographic equipment. The two licences
issued in 2009 and 2010 were worth an estimated US$57,6 million (£35 656
000). The most recent arms export licence was issued on February 14, 2012
for an undisclosed amount.
The British government has remained secretive about details of its arms
export licencing. In a 2007 parliamentary questions session Labour MP Harry
Cohen asked the then Energy minister Malcolm Wicks for more clarity on UK
arms export licencing, but Wicks said such issues were a private and
confidential matter between governments.
In 2000 Tony Blair’s government came under fire for issuing licences for
Hawk fighter jet spares sale to Zimbabwe and MPs accused the government of
breaching EU and UK guidelines on arms exports.
In May this year, weapons manufacturers were summoned to parliament to
explain why five Hawk fighter jets and 1 030 Land Rovers for police use were
sold to Zimbabwe between 1989 and 1992. The Arms Export Committee report
shows that in the first quarter of 2012 the UK issued military export
licences worth more than US$960 million (£606 million), including to
countries like Bahrain and Egypt where governments have ruthlessly crushed
Last week, UK parliamentarian and former anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain
called for a continuation of sanctions against Zimbabwe arguing that the
military’s involvement in diamond mining and the CIO’s financial connections
to Asian tycoons and syndicates posed a threat to the country’s stability.
July 27, 2012 in News
NATIONAL Social Security Authority (NSSA) lost close to US$4,5 million in a
botched computerisation deal after terminating the service provider’s
contract citing incompetence.NSSA recently re-tendered the contract for the
supply and implementation of social security systems after the original
tender winners, Professional Computer Services (PCS), allegedly failed to
provide a functioning system to agreed specifications.
Although NSSA terminated PCS’ contract in 2008, it only paid out the company
most of the money this year to avoid legal battles.
However, a report gleaned by the Zimbabwe Independent suggests NSSA was
negligent as it failed to solicit input from the Central Computer Bureau to
carry out due diligence on PCS to find out if the company had the capacity
to deliver on the project.
The report shows PCS is apparently more into computer training than hardware
The project was supposed to take eight months but it failed to take off,
resulting in NSSA general manager James Matiza terminating the contract in
April 2008, two years after it should have been completed.
However, Matiza told the Independent NSSA had to terminate the contract to
save the organisation from further financial losses after PCS failed to
“It’s true we had to pay the money so that we could free the authority to
look for another contractor to supply us with a system that works,” said
Matiza. “We were very patient with PCS and went to arbitrations but they
still failed to deliver,” he said.
A source close to the NSSA computerisation deal said the project was
supposed to be monitored by the Central Computer Bureau to ensure
self-interests did not compromise the process.
“NSSA cannot be the judge and the jury in this case,” said the source. “An
independent body was supposed to be consulted to avoid cancelling the deal
without exhausting all other avenues which were open to Matiza as the
contract with PCS dictated.”
The source also said most NSSA officials manning the project lacked
requisite experience in computer software, plunging the project into chaos
as some had personal interests.
“There is no guarantee that the NSSA computerisation programme will be a
success as long as the same people are involved and as long as NSSA does not
involve external consultants in the tendering process to make sure people
with personal interests in the deal are weeded out,” the source added.
July 27, 2012 in News
LEGISLATORS from across the political divide rapped the coalition government
for lacking policy direction and political will to tackle Zimbabwe’s
economic malaise while debating Finance minister Tendai Biti’s
mid-term fiscal policy review which proposed austerity measures.Budget and
finance portfolio committee chairperson Paddy Zhanda tore into the fiscal
policy calling it a half-hearted attempt to address problems while skirting
crucial issues for economic recovery, such as communication, infrastructure
and provision of strong political and economic leadership to stabilise the
“I think there is no serious commitment on the part of the executive to
address the (economic) plight of this country,” said Zhanda.
Zhanda said government had failed to indicate when the country would have
adequate energy yet cabinet continues to meet every Tuesday and ministers
are in their offices every week day.
MDC-T legislators Webber Chinyadza, Willias Madzimure, Tabitha Khumalo and
Felix Sibanda, and Zanu PF’s Simbaneuta Mudarikwa were among MPs who
vociferously backed Zhanda.
July 27, 2012 in News
ZIMBABWE faces a public relations disaster over its intent to host the
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly next year
as it becomes increasingly clear that it cannot meet targets, especially
putting up of infrastructure such as a 5 000 seater convention centre and
revamping airport handling services required to host the major world
event.While the local political and community leadership in Victoria Falls,
desperate for benefits that would accrue from successful hosting of the
event, want to downplay problems they are facing, which include being
side-lined from preparations and projects, they admit arrangements are in
The country has to upgrade the Victoria Falls airport, revamp water and
sewer reticulation systems, resurface roads and rehabilitate the hospital in
the resort town.
There is also need for an efficient airline, but Air Zimbabwe, which is
reeling from debts and problems associated with old equipment, is only
servicing the Harare-Bulawayo -Victoria Falls route, only three days a week.
Although government is putting on a brave face, architects told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week it was not feasible to complete the construction of a
major convention centre, roads and other civil works required in time for
the conference in August 2013.
A year after winning the bid, government is yet to start constructing a
convention centre, a hotel, villas and a shopping mall on 1 200 hectares of
land at an estimated total cost of US$1 billion. The event will bring more
than 4 000 delegates from 186 countries, industry representatives and more
than 400 international journalists to the Victoria Falls, one of the seven
natural wonders of the world, which is ecologically sensitive to new
constructions and an influx of people.
Government is yet to secure a US$1 billion loan for the construction works,
throwing the entire preparations into disarray.
Zimbabwe is hoping to use the summit to showcase itself, repair its battered
image and hasten the recovery of its tourism industry — currently on the
rebound after a decade of precipitous decline.
Instead of promoting the country as a world-class tourist destination, it
seems hosting the general assembly could turn out to be a fiasco which would
further tarnish the country’s image, by showing Zimbabwe as a disorganised
country run by incompetent leaders. Top government authorities admitted
recently Zimbabwean officials lied to win the bid to co-host the conference
with Zambia, beating Russia, Turkey, Jordan and Qatar which have better
Tourism secretary Sylvester Maunganidze disclosed last week to parliament
Zimbabwe told lies about the state of its infrastructure to win the bid to
host tourism’s biggest global event. Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has
conceded the country was yet to come up with funding to build the convention
centre and shopping mall.
In its 2012 budget, Zimbabwe only set aside US$1 million for the
construction of the convention centre. Government is instead mulling
building a semi-permanent structure made from aluminium glass fabrication —
which it claims would last for 15 to 20 years — in Chogm Park, north of
However, in interviews with the Independent, local architects said they have
never heard of such a structure. “We have never heard of a tent made of
aluminium glass fabrication. If the first world doesn’t know about such a
thing, how would Zimbabwe have it?,” one architect asked.
“Anyway, a glass structure retains heat and it has a greenhouse effect and
would require a lot of air conditioning. It is an inappropriate structure
considering Victoria Falls’ World Heritage status.”
Another architect said two months were required for tendering and
adjudication. This means construction could only start in September, but
would have to stop during the rainy season.
“They (constructors) would probably have to stop building in October for six
months until April, meaning they have at most eight months to build the
facilities,” said the architect.
It took South Africa four years (1994 – 1998) to construct the 5 000-seater
Durban International Convention Centre. “To host such a summit, you need a
structure like HICC (the Harare International Conference Centre).
They are also talking of constructing two, three-star hotels. It took us 18
months to do an extension of a 55-roomed hotel when there was already
electricity and water there. It took 18 to 24 months to construct Elephant
Hills and Kingdom hotels, while a four-bedroomed house takes nine months,”
the architect said.
“To do civil works they would need about a year. A lot of components go into
the construction of a conference centre and hotel. This is just going to be
an embarrassment for the country.”
Victoria Falls mayor Nkosilathi Jiyane told the Independent yesterday they
had received US$1 million for water and sewer reticulation, and were
awaiting a US$7 million disbursement from the Zimbabwe National Roads
“We haven’t done anything but we are about to start. We were promised funds
by Zinara to resurface roads from town to the border post, all roads in the
town centre to Elephant Hills hotel, national parks and to the airport. We
have been pleading with Zinara since last year,” he said.
The road resurfacing would take eight months. “The construction of the
convention centre is the main problem. The contractor is already here but
the Ministry of Tourism is still to sign the contract. They are now
constructing a temporary conference centre at a cost of US$13 million and
this will be fast-tracked and should be completed in six months — so we are
told by the contractors,” said Jiyane.
He said the construction of a US$300 million convention centre, two hotels,
shopping mall and golf course would start anytime now, but would not be
complete in time for the conference.
Hwange West MP Gift Mabhena, whose constituency covers Victoria Falls, said:
“Although the minister said they are at an advanced stage, from my own
perspective there is not much progress. But the biggest problem is that they
are not consulting locals, councillors and MPs.”
July 27, 2012 in Politics
ZANU PF’s factional divisions, widened by dissolution of District
Coordinating Committees (DCCs), have apparently assumed a regional and
tribal dimension capable of further tearing the party apart ahead of next
elections.An insider revealed that the party’s Midlands and Masvingo
provinces are threatening not to vote for President Robert Mugabe in the
next presidential poll, accusing the politburo of deliberately dissolving
the DCCs to thwart Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the succession
“Why is it that whenever Ngwena (Mnangangwa) emerges a winner in a fair
electoral process, goalposts are suddenly changed?” the insider asked.
“After the Tsholotsho meeting, it was clear Mnangangwa had (the support of)
six provinces and they purged the party, particularly the Masvingo and
Midlands leadership, and blocked him by amending the constitution to say one
of the vice-presidents must be a party woman.”
July 27, 2012 in News
JUSTICE minister and Zanu PF lead negotiator Patrick Chinamasa will be in
the firing line today at a potentially-explosive extraordinary Zanu PF
politburo meeting where President Robert Mugabe’s loyalists and hardliners
are set to come out with guns blazing to shoot down some clauses of the
controversial draft new constitution and force new amendments.
Politburo members who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday said
debate at the meeting will centre mainly on the executive and presidential
powers which have been diluted in the draft, condemning Mugabe to what
loyalists claim is a clerical position.
Zanu PF is currently divided into three groups over the draft –– an
anti-draft faction led by vocal politburo member Jonathan Moyo, another
defending it which includes negotiators and Chinamasa himself and a third
which is neutral.
Insiders said Mugabe appeared on Wednesday to be leaning towards Moyo’s
group as he asked questions which suggested he was against some issues in
the draft. Moyo has been attacking the draft through the state media, saying
it contained issues that did not come from the people and clauses targeted
The group which backs the draft reportedly includes Defence minister and
party legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, who chairs the politburo
committee that supervised the constitution-making process, and negotiators
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana (who is not a
politburo member but is called in when the need arises), among others. The
faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru is said to be largely neutral.
“There will be fireworks at the politburo meeting tomorrow (today) because
there are serious problems with the draft which Chinamasa and his allies
will have to explain and defend,” a senior politburo member said. “The
battle lines are clearly drawn. We will fight this draft which is targeted
at the president, service chiefs and other individuals perceived as propping
up the party.”
Warning shots have already been fired across Chinamasa’s bows.
Insiders say at the politburo meeting on Wednesday it was clear there was a
strong lobby against the draft, led by party strategist and outspoken
Senior politburo members said a jittery Chinamasa stunned the meeting on
Wednesday when he said the draft was “plagiarised” from the 2000
constitutional commission draft, Kariba draft and the current constitution,
prompting colleagues to whisper “so it was a cut-and-paste job”.
Sources said during his Wednesday presentation to the politburo, Chinamasa
prefaced his remarks with a metaphor.
“He told the meeting that ‘you sent us to hunt for an elephant but we
brought an animal we can’t describe’,” a senior politburo member said. “One
politburo then said ‘you brought back a dead donkey’, prompting laughter
across the table.”
However, Chinamasa braved through the presentation amid interjections and
questions, although debate was not allowed since some politburo members had
not yet read the draft, which is why debate was postponed to today.
“As Chinamasa presented, a lot of questions were asked although people were
not allowed to comment and debate issues. Only points of clarifications were
raised,” another official said. “But it was clear there are strong
reservations and protests.”
The politburo recently rejected an earlier Copac draft over the contested
issue of presidential power, forcing drafters to make wide-ranging changes
to the document.
Excessive powers vested in the office of president since 1987 contributed to
the rejection of the proposed constitution in the referendum of February
2000. It was also the main point of dispute in Global Political Agreement
negotiations and the bone of contention amongst the parties in the inclusive
Today’s politburo meeting will also focus on term limits proposed by the
draft for security chiefs, permanent secretaries, judges, chiefs and other
key constitutional posts.
Senior politburo members told the Independent yesterday they would challenge
Chinamasa on the proposed executive structure, particularly the curtailing
of sweeping powers which Mugabe currently enjoys, and the delegation of some
of those powers to parliament that, according to the draft, would now play a
major role in the appointment of members of independent commissions.
Parliament will be involved in the appointment of elections,
anti-corruption, human rights, media, gender and national peace and
reconciliation commissions, while the Judicial Services Commission (JSC)
will select judges. The president will now only appoint from a list
submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
The appointment of the chief justice, deputy chief justice, judge president
of the High Court, prosecutor-general and all other judges will now be done
by the president from a list of three nominees submitted by the JSC.
Chinamasa will also have to explain why there are term limits for the
president of the Council of Chiefs and why the Council of Chiefs can no
longer nominate a person to the JSC.
The appointment of provincial governors is no longer the prerogative of the
The governor will be appointed by the president from the party with the
highest number of National Assembly seats in the province or, if there is no
clear winner, he or she will be drawn from a political party which received
the highest number of votes cast in provinces in the general elections. The
president will ask those parties to submit names of two qualified persons
for the appointment of provincial governor of that province.
Some of the key appointments which the president can still make as in the
current constitution include ambassadors, Attorney-General and security
“Party hardliners such as Moyo, Didymus Mutasa and Simon Khaya Moyo are
uncomfortable with the structure of the executive, which they say reduces
Mugabe to a mere clerk,” said a senior politburo member.
“The hardliners and party loyalists are angry and also worried about
reduction of Mugabe’s powers. The new draft reduces the president to a
figurehead, whose job would be to rubber-stamp the appointments, although
some people disagree with this assessment.
“The argument is that the president should not be reduced to a clerk because
he is directly elected and should therefore retain significant executive
powers because his power is derived from the electorate. There should be a
clear separation of power, and not delegation of executive powers to
Chinamasa is also likely to be criticised for the creation of a National
Prosecuting Authority, removing that function from the Attorney-General’s
Office which, party hardliners say, was plagiarised from the South African
Zanu PF also set up a technical team which included Mnangagwa, Chinamasa,
and Goche, and a five-member technical team to handle the
constitution-making process. Members of the technical team include Jonathan
Moyo, former Matabeleland North MP and chair Jacob Mudenda, Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe chairperson Tafataona Mahoso, Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa, and author
Alexander Kanengoni. The team is also now divided over the draft
constitution, insiders say.
July 27, 2012 in News
THE clause in the new draft constitution which stipulates presidential
election candidates must select running mates who automatically become
vice-presidents if the principal candidate wins, has thrown the two main
political parties –– Zanu PF and MDC-T –– into a quandary.
The clause, which deals with transitional mechanisms in the event of a
president resigning or dying, forces the two political parties to deal with
their simmering succession issues which have fuelled factionalism and
The draft states if a president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the
first vice-president must take the oath of office within 48 hours. The first
vice-president assumes office as president until the expiry of his/her
predecessor ’s term, while a second vice-president becomes first
Insiders say the provision has left Zanu PF and MDC-T in a serious dilemma
as their leaders would have to show their succession preferences through
their running mates.
They say the parties are now debating whether to follow their party
hierarchy, which would mean fielding a weaker team during elections, or
amend their party constitutions to allow their members to choose the top
three strongest candidates to spearhead the campaign and run for government
Although Zanu PF has a leader with two vice-presidents who could go in as a
team, debate has erupted about the strength of a campaign line-up featuring
the aged and frail President Robert Mugabe and his co-vice-presidents,
Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, who is also ailing.
While others want Mugabe to maintain this team, there is strong resistance
from the faction led by politburo heavyweight Emmerson Mnangagwa which wants
a different formula from the hierarchy used to select running mates.
There is also debate as to whether Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would go
in with his deputy Thokozani Khupe and chairman Lovemore Moyo if the pecking
order is to be followed. The majority apparently wants secretary-general
Tendai Biti to be one of the running mates, but that would require
constitutional or political interventions as Moyo is senior to Biti.
Sources said Zanu PF is already debating the possibility of an extraordinary
congress to address the issue. A senior politburo member yesterday said the
party might have to call for an extraordinary congress to “endorse” the
presidential candidate and elect his running mates.
“A special congress might have to solve this issue,” the official said.
“There are too many things to consider. There is the regional balance to
consider, the 1987 Unity Accord and the gender issue, as one of the
vice-presidents has to be a woman.”
July 27, 2012 in News
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has revealed government was losing at least
US$1 million to police corruption at roadblocks while the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra) collects between 4% and 5% of import revenue. Biti told
parliament this week that according to rough calculations by his ministry’s
budget committee, police corruption in Bulawayo cost national treasury about
R500 000 and US$700 000 in Harare alone.
“As (the) Ministry of Finance, we said let us increase revenue mobilisation;
let us tighten up, but look at what is happening at Zimra,” said Biti. “It’s
a culpable situation where we are only collecting 4% to 5% of our import
In his mid-term fiscal policy statement last week, Biti accused several
departments, including police, immigration and registrar-general, of not
remitting collected taxes and revenue to Treasury’s Consolidated Revenue
Fund as prescribed by the constitution and Public Finance Management Act.
July 27, 2012 in News
THE High Court has ruled a commercial bank should reimburse its client money
deposited in a foreign currency account (FCA), which was later raided by the
Reserve Bank as it tried to prop up government during the hyperinflation
era.High Court judge Justice Francis Bere made the landmark ruling
(judgment HH-310-11), likely to have serious ramifications across the
banking sector, when he directed Standard Chartered Bank to repay China
Shougang International an undisclosed amount which the company deposited
with the bank. China Shougang is a trade and engineering company.
In its defence, StanChart had argued the company should claim its money from
the RBZ, which had liquidated FCAs, but the court ruled against it.
July 27, 2012 in News
LOW capacity utilisation, working capital constraints and the government’s
indigenisation policy, among other factors, have caused the
de-industrialisation of Bulawayo, a study conducted by the National
University of Science and Technology (Nust) reveals.
The survey was conducted by Nust Technopark director, Eli Mtetwa and
The study, commissioned in September 2011, says more than 73% of interviewed
industrial companies’ capacity utilisation was low with most operating in
The objective of the study was to investigate industrial manufacturing level
and state of the business environment in Bulawayo in the 1960s to 1980, 1980
to 2000 and 2000 to date.
According to the study, relocation of industry dates back to
pre-Independence period and accelerated after 1980 because certain economic
and political realities favoured relocation to Harare.
The companies, according to the study, attributed low levels of capacity
utilisation to loss of skilled labour, a shrinking market and obsolete
Out of the companies surveyed, the 40% that experienced high labour turnover
between 2000 and 2009 were metalworking and mining-related industries.
“The relocation of businesses from Bulawayo has been reducing the customer
base of industrial manufacturers over the years,” the study shows. “The
supplier base for industry has similarly been eroded”.
The study also noted purchasing power of the Bulawayo population was very
low, adding poverty levels were very high.
Earlier surveys on poverty before the 2006-09 economic meltdown found
poverty levels were much higher in Bulawayo compared to other urban centres
However, obsolete equipment and low capacity utilisation resulted in high
unit cost of production, low profit, outright losses and general
uncompetetiveness, the study says.
The study also found that many companies were either cash-strapped or
desperately needed operating capital and could not meet wage and utility
“The banking sector is experiencing its own liquidity problems and therefore
not in a position to aid anyone. Even in instances where a bank lends money
to help meet operating capital requirements, the lending periods are short
to the point of harassing,” the study says.
“In addition, the interest rates are high to the point of making it not
feasible to earn a profit.”
Raw materials such as agricultural produce and steel products — once
available in the country — are now scarce, forcing companies to import.
This, the study notes, also increased operating costs. Erratic power supply
had also contributed to the problems facing companies in the country’s
second largest city.
High cost of utilities — electricity, water and rates — did not help the
“On the footsteps of the meltdown period, a significant number of companies
were resuscitated thanks to the injection of fresh capital by their parent
companies overseas or in South Africa,” the study says.
“In the face of the government indigenisation drive, the external parent
companies concerned have since backed away from investing in their Zimbabwe
entities and hence those companies are on the verge of collapse.”
Competition from cheap imports had slowed down turnover, the study
July 27, 2012 in Business
Chris Muronzi/Gamma Mudarikiri
Officials from the Ministry of Lands and its lands inspectorate department
as well as people believed to be members of the Zimbabwe National Army have
occupied CFI Holdings’ prime farm — Glenara Estates, businessdigest has
Well-placed sources said this week several government officials had been
allocated 400 hectares of land on Glenara Estates, giving rise to fears the
poultry operations on the farm could suffer owing to unregulated settlement
of people on the estate.
The civil servants and military personnel first appeared on the farm
brandishing offer letters in February this year and told management they
would be taking over parts of the 1 200ha estate.
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
LAST week the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, presented his 2012 mid-year
fiscal policy review to parliament, updating the country on fiscal and
economic developments during the first half of 2012, and outlining new
policies to be pursued. As with most such reviews, it had positive content
but also negative features, and in some respects failed to address critical
issues.At the outset, Biti contended the 2012 national budget “was crafted
with the objective of democratising the economy through strengthening and
sustaining macro-economic stability, leveraging the country’s potential in
order to attain inclusive and pro-poor growth capable of generating jobs and
uplifting the standards of living” of Zimbabweans.
He further claimed these objectives “were anchored under the budget’s theme
of sustaining efficient and inclusive growth with jobs”, with especial
reference to “consolidating macro-economic stability, promoting inclusive
growth with jobs, capital formation through both domestic and external
investment, promoting the stability and role of the financial sector, and
increasing investment in the social sectors of health and education”.
Tragically, the desirable and admirable objectives were not realised in the
first half of 2012, while the prospect of achieving them in the second half
of the year are extremely remote. Instead of consolidating macro-economic
stability, the growth of the economy has diminished against that attained in
2011, and has been relatively minimal. Rather than job creation there has
been shrinkage in employment, especially so in the manufacturing sector
where more factories closed down, or downsized operations. Although there
has been substantial approval of intended investments by the Zimbabwe
Investment Authority, very few of the approved investments have
Investors remain concerned by the unrealistic, onerous indigenisation and
economic empowerment policies so vigorously pursued by the Minister of Youth
Development, Indigenisation, and Economic Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere,
and by his National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board.
Investment also continues to be discouraged by the magnitude of Zimbabwean
bureaucracy, by government’s resistance to administrative devolution and by
the erratic and unreliable availability of essential utilities over and
above continuing non-conducive taxation policies.
Financial sector stability and security has not been fully realised, with
another two bank-failures in 2012, absence of lines of credit from external
sources and reluctance of the public to use banking services. Many still
fear a future loss of their deposits, and are confronted with onerous
interest rates, bank charges and minimum duration of bank loans. The
intended increase in investment in the social sectors of health and
education has been severely constrained, falling far short of required
In light of all of these negatives, Biti acknowledged targeted economic
growth of 9,4% in 2012 will not be achieved and has revised the target to
5,6%. Moreover, he has had to reduce his projected revenues and
expenditures for 2012 from US$4 billion to US$3,6 billion. It is arguable
whether that reduced budget will be achieved. It is important to note the
budgetary performance inadequacies have not been spuriously attributed to
the so-called “illegal economic sanctions”, but instead there has been
greater recognition of facts and realities. This enhanced recognition of
actual circumstances included awareness that original expectations of
agricultural outturn in the 2011/2012 season were unrealistic.
In part, the below-forecast agricultural performance was caused by negative
climatic conditions, but Biti also recognised a major limitation to output
was the financial constraint on most farmers. He highlighted the damaging
delays in payments to farmers by the Grain Marketing Board and the inability
of farmers to access loans due to lack of collateral security. He said:
“issuance of bankable leases has previously been emphasised in order to give
value to land, that way facilitating the participation of private players in
the much-needed financing for agriculture”. (It is almost a year since
President Robert Mugabe said leases would be transferred to accord farmers
collateral value, but nothing has happened as yet).
Biti also recognised and acknowledged “the immense endowment of resources in
the mining sector” saying that “there is potential for generating
substantial benefits and revenues to the economy”. However, he also
recognised “the long overdue amendment to the Mines and Minerals Act
continues to obstruct new exploration”.
Yet another key positive of the fiscal policy was Biti’s recognition that
substantial new investment is much needed, including investment in mining,
manufacturing and tourism sectors, but one of the major deterrents to such
investment is the oppressive nature of Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and
economic empowerment policies and legislation. Biti disclosed cabinet had
agreed foreign investors will not be obliged to cede 51% share ownership to
indigenous Zimbabweans, although he neither described what the new
prescribed minimum indigenisation shareholdings would be, nor when
parliament and Senate would effect the amendments to the prevailing
Another positive inclusion in the review was Biti’s criticism of the
magnitude of travel expenditures incurred by the political hierarchy and
senior public servants, and his emphasis that such expenditures must be
stringently curtailed. He also reiterated valid concerns at the ongoing
magnitude of corruption which prejudices the fiscus. However, such concerns
on travel expenditure and on corruption have been previously voiced many
times, and the populace must yet again ponder whether substantive corrective
actions will be energetically and urgently pursued.
Amongst the negatives in the policy review is that, with his hunger for
revenue, Biti has failed to review upwards the tax threshold and tax bands
for individuals, with the result that those who struggle to survive on
incomes well below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) remain subjected to taxes
minimising their inadequate incomes. When will Zimbabwe align its taxation
policies with the PDL, thereby marginally minimising the substantial
suffering of so many?
Most regrettably, Biti has yet again disregarded the numerous,
well-justified representations for an extension of time within which
businesses must remit value added tax to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Currently, payment is prescribed within 25 days of each month-end, with the
result that businesses cannot afford to extend credit to customers.
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
PROMINENT economist, University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor Asho
Chakravati has dismissed the commonly-held view that Zimbabwe’s debt,
estimated at just over US$10,7 billion, is a cause for concern, arguing
instead it is manageable and does not pose a major constraint to economic
revival.Chakravati says Zimbabwean authorities should worry less about the
quantum of the national debt but instead deal with arrears to the
multilateral lending institutions as the IMF and World Bank, from whom other
lenders take a cue in the suspension of further external support.
“We are not repaying the debt anyway, so it is not an immediate drain on
resources, so what?” Chakravati said while addressing the 43rd edition of
the Institute of Bankers’ winter banking school in Nyanga last week.
“Zimbabwe’s economic growth is more vulnerable to domestic factors and
domestic economic variables rather than the level of the foreign debt.”
Earlier in the week, Finance minister Tendai Biti had told parliament
government was already making strides in implementing the Zimbabwe
Accelerated Arrears Clearance, Debt and Development Strategy (Zaadds),
through accelerated re-engagement with creditors, including multilateral
financial institutions — the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the
African Development Bank.
The strategy aims at achieving debt relief and as a result creates
opportunities for new financing and normalisation of relations with
creditors. Chakravati said it was critical for government to learn to “play
the game” according to the rules of international finance.
Zimbabwe needed to follow the example of Zambia which had successfully been
funded by the multilateral institutions 20 times over the past decade.
Zimbabwe only managed to get funding from the IMF once during the first
phase of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme in the early 1990s.
“Congo had US$8 billion written off recently, Greece has just had US$200
billion written off. We simply need to play the game properly to resolve the
country’s debt situation,” Chakravati pointed out.
But he cautioned that if one were to draw from eurozone country experiences,
the major worry for Zimbabwe was the unsustainable size of its public sector
wage bill. While government debt was currently attractive because it was US
dollar-based, Zimbabwe needed to learn from the southern eurozone countries
which borrowed at low rates but substantially increased both public and
private sector wages.
Chakravati observed this had resulted in the current high levels of social
unrest in the economies of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain (Pigs).
However, Zimbabwe’s US$10,7 billion debt, which is estimated at about 111%
of Gross Domestic Product, was a pittance in the global scheme of things,
He gave the example of Greece which in 2010 had debt of US$447 billion (165%
of its GDP), and Italy’s debts which represented 310% of GDP of which
government borrowings accounted for 129% of GDP, whilst private sector
borrowings took up 181% of GDP.
Similarly, Spain had total borrowings that were 335% of GDP, the majority of
which was private sector (283%) with government at 72%.
Biti said the principals’ approval of the Zaadds was a clear demonstration
of government’s commitment to resolving the country’s external debt
challenge, critical for unlocking new financing for some infrastructure
projects and social programmes.
Launch of the Zaadds was followed by a High Level Debt Forum hosted by the
African Develpment Bank (AfDB) in Tunis on March 23. The forum culminated in
the building of consensus among creditors and other stakeholders, including
China, over the process of resolving Zimbabwe’s external debt and arrears.
This was followed up through a forum with development partners held on the
sidelines of the April 2012 IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC,
which further confirmed support for the resolution of Zimbabwe’s external
Government will, therefore, be engaging multilateral Institutions, including
the IMF and the World Bank, on the necessary measures to implement the
According to the Ministry of Finance, a World Bank/IMF mission had already
been in the country over the period June 13-27, focusing on the development
of a macroeconomic policy framework in support of inclusive economic growth
and the sustainable implementation of the Zaadds. Biti said this would
anchor the arrears clearance process and debt relief initiatives through the
implementation of sound macro-economic policies.
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
THE much-awaited mid-term fiscal policy review statement was eventually
presented to parliament on Wednesday last week. Even before the presentation
some facts were already clear; for instance, that our revenue inflows were
falling short of target, agricultural production for the past summer season
was below expectation and we had to revise our budget and economic growth
These, among other obvious challenges, made Finance minister Tendai Biti’s
job an unenviable task. Even before the minister had finished presenting his
statement, there were “analysts” already dismissing it as a non-event.
Let’s face reality here, the minister had a tough task. No one disputes that
our revenue targets are not being met, while at the same time demands for
support from the little resources continue to mount.
Biti tried his best on a very difficult task, but, he needs help. I am sure
the minister would accept advice and good ideas. The ordinary man in the
street is not interested in the unseemly bickering between supporters of
different political parties. They want to see jobs created for their
multitudes of children who are finishing school but have bleak employment
In his statement, the minister alluded to traditional revenue routes like
PAYE, VAT, customs duty and others seeming to have reached a plateau; we
cannot expect increases in these income streams. The much-anticipated boom
from diamonds has not materialised — so the question is what next?
It is not a secret the wage or salary levels for the greater majority of the
working class are too low. So the minister could not increase PAYE,
otherwise people would have ended up taking home even less. He could not
increase VAT as well, as that would have the effect of increasing the cost
of the basic goods basket. It is often said the unemployment rate in
Zimbabwe is currently 80%, meaning only 20% of the potential working class
is actually going to work and the rest are surviving on other means and it
is these “means” that we should turn to.
We should ensure all those cross-border merchants operating the mushrooming
shops in the CBD pay their fair share of taxes. They seem to have easy
lives. They put on the most expensive outfits and drive posh cars,
suggesting they are making money, but they don’t pay tax. Biti should
consider them for taxation. Maybe we should go back to the old system where
every adult is expected to complete a tax return every year.
During his presentation, Biti rightly pointed out that the four sectors
driving the economy are agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing. If
the minister has any manoeuvring to do, surely it has to be in these sectors
due to their multiplier effect. He seems to have a good grasp of issues
affecting these sectors. Such challenges include shortage of finance in
general and the inability of the central bank to play its traditional role
There is also the issue of collateral security, electricity, absence of
credible markets like the commodity exchange affecting the marketing of some
agricultural commodities, inability of government to provide funds for the
strategic grain reserve and lack of maintenance of the country’s
Biti’s dilemma was how to resolve all these challenges. It seems the
mid-term fiscal policy review statement was merely a review statement. There
wasn’t anything in terms of new innovations.
The 2013 budget will only be presented in November and by that time it would
be too late to expect meaningful policy interventions. Normally, if funds
are made available, it would take a few more weeks for parliament to approve
the budget before the state procurement board has to do its own convoluted
tendering process. So the inputs end up reaching intended beneficiaries in
January next year.
Those involved in the value chain must also be given sufficient time to play
their part, particularly fertiliser companies, transporters and
It is important to provide funds for the GMB to buy grain for the strategic
grain reserves so that farmers do not lose confidence in it.
But government should make an effort to kick-start the economy somehow. A
good example is that of Delta. At the height of the hyperinflation, the
company faced stiff competition from imported beers from South Africa, but
with government support (putting punitive tariffs on imported beers), the
company was able to import the necessary bottling plants and increase
capacity utilisation while warding off competition.
Maybe this can be done with other companies, mainly those producing cooking
oils, soaps and margarine. This is necessary to deal with the ballooning
import bill which dwarfs export proceeds. The record of Biti’s presentations
clearly shows the footprints of who would have lobbied him to address
In last week’s statement, the minister clearly listened to the Grain Millers
Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and imposed a 20% duty on flour. He has a
tendency to listen to one group of lobbyists and adopting their
recommendations without wider and deeper consultations. The facts as
presented by GMAZ are not entirely correct as they were merely designed to
serve their narrow interests. They have failed to support local production
over the past three years and they are equally to blame for the chaos that
characterised the marketing of wheat last year.
Biti is right though in saying local banks used to support local farming,
but if the truth be told, these banks do not seem to have the resources any
more. With the central bank planning to double the banks’ minimum capital
requirements, our local banks will simply not have the resources to lend to
the productive sector. Some of the banks had to get into bed with foreign
partners at the very last minute to beat the capitalisation deadline;
surely, you cannot expect such banks to have meaningful resources to on-lend
to the productive sector.
The issue of recapitalising the central bank is a key aspect that he has not
addressed adequately. In the absence of a lender-of-last-resort, it would
remain difficult for these banks to manoeuvre.
Some of the issues are admittedly difficult for Biti to address alone. These
include how to make 99-year leases bankable, re-establishing the commodity
exchange market and establishing the warehouse receipt system, seeking a
long-lasting relationship with the private sector by avoiding policy
inconsistencies, and coming up with a lasting position on Zesa. Ministers
must debate these matters frankly rather than on partisan lines.
Gambara is an agricultural economist and agricultural consultant with
AgriExpert, a consultancy firm. He writes in his personal capacity. E-mail:
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has been closely following
the Zisco-Essar deal, including the Minister of Mines and Mining Development
Obert Mpofu’s recent appearance before the parliamentary portfolio committee
on trade and commerce. Mpofu complained about how the Zisco-Essar deal was
negotiated and concluded. He called for the agreement to be revisited on the
basis that it does not unlock value to the nation. In his own words, the
Indian-based company, Essar, will pay US$750 million for iron ore worth over
Mpofu’s calls follow similar remarks by Finance minister Tendai Biti and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Their sentiments echo the voices of civil society organisations like Zela
which have raised concerns regarding the way mining contracts, including
among many others, Zimplats and Chiadzwa diamond deals, were negotiated.
In his oral evidence to the parliamentary committee, Mpofu pointed out that
despite his ministry being the custodian of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources, he
was not privy to the provisions of the agreement, but had managed to get
bits and pieces through informal means. It is both surprising and alarming
the “custodian” of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources also has to rely on informal
means to get information about an agreement which he should have been
This shows how flawed Zimbabwe’s mining contracts negotiation system is and
that if we continue with this business-as-usual attitude, Zimbabwe’s
significant and diverse mineral resource base will just remain a
comparative, not competitive advantage. Contracts determine the extent to
which a country derives benefits from its mineral resources.
There is need for an urgent paradigm shift on mining contracts and mineral
deals negotiations to move away from the current system where ministers tend
to outdo each other at the expense of the nation.
Contract negotiations should be guided by the Africa Mining Vision adopted
by heads of state and government of the African Union (AU) in February 2009.
The Africa Mining Vision is an aspiration of the highest political
leadership to move into a new orientation of choices of mining policies and
institutional culture. Their intention was and still is that Africa’s rich
and diverse mineral heritage should be used as a springboard to address the
continent’s chronic poverty and underdevelopment through broad-based
sustainable economic development.
The Africa Mining Vision now has an Action Plan for Implementation, which
was adopted at the second AU conference of ministers responsible for mineral
resources development held in December last year.
The organisation’s vision is “transparent, equitable and optimal
exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth
and socio-economic development”. The question is whether mining contract
negotiations as evidenced by the Zisco-Essar deal are based on the tenets of
the Africa Mining Vision, or indeed our own national legal dictates? Based
on Mpofu’ oral evidence and observations by Biti, Mutambara and civil
society organisations, mining contract negotiations in Zimbabwe contradict
aspirations of the Africa Mining Vision.
Civil society organisations have called for transparent and broad-based
negotiations of contracts as championed by the Africa Mining Vision instead
of limiting them to a single ministry.
This was after the realisation government has limited skills to effectively
negotiate with mining companies. Lessons from Africa and around the world
show that strong, transparent and participatory governance processes, at all
levels along the mining value-chain, can assist mineral-rich countries
attain sustainable economic and socio-economic development.
Generally, negotiations are extremely asymmetrical because mining companies
are highly-skilled and well-resourced, while governments are poorly-skilled
and under-resourced. The Zisco-Essar, Zimplats and Chiadzwa diamond deals
amply demonstrate government’s limited negotiating capacity over contracts,
hence the need to broaden contract negotiation processes to include other
stakeholders such as civil society, rather than making it the prerogative of
This is in line with principles of the Africa Mining Vision which calls for
an inclusive mining sector in which all stakeholders have a voice and
participate in policy and decision-making processes.
Contracts between the state and mining companies are very different from
commercial contracts between one mining company and another. The Africa
Mining Vision reinforces the need for transparent negotiation of mining
However, based on Mpofu’s recent oral evidence, lack of transparency is not
only limited to the general public. Even key ministries like Mines also have
to rely on “bits and pieces (of information) through informal means” to know
what is going on, hence calls for transparency and access to information at
Why is there this secrecy and who is benefitting from it? Certainly not the
country, based on the financial prejudice Mpofu alluded to in this deal, or
Biti’s complaints about Chiadzwa diamonds.
While it is good to put the Zisco-Essar deal under scrutiny, there have also
been calls to put the spotlight on Chiadzwa diamond deals. The Chiadzwa
diamond contracts should be re-negotiated based on the principles espoused
in the Africa Mining Vision.
There is no justification whatsoever for Zimbabwe to continue signing skewed
contracts. The African Development Bank has an African Legal Support
Facility which provides technical advisory services to help African
countries rich in mineral resources negotiate better mining deals.
There is also the Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA) which can be
used as a template in negotiating mining contracts. Why isn’t the government
utilising the African Legal Support Facility and the MMDA? Deals like
Zimplats, Zisco-Essar and those in Chiadzwa must be officially investigated
in the national interest.
In defence of the Zisco-Essar deal, the Minister of Industry and Trade,
Welshman Ncube, argues the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05) does not
require value addition of minerals before a licence can be granted and that
requiring Essar to do so would be unprecedented as such criteria were not
used in the negotiations of platinum and diamond contracts.
Although legally sound, this defence is not sustainable as it seeks to
continue the current dig-and-export model which characterises mining not
only in Zimbabwe, but also the whole African continent, and has not helped
its social and economic development.
Ncube, however, raises a point which has been highlighted on several
occasions by Zela concerning the regulatory framework in the form of the
Mines and Minerals Act. This is an old, colonial and archaic piece of
legislation passed in 1961 whose main focus is on the extraction of mineral
resources with no regard to sustainable development.
This law is not compliant with the aspirations of the Africa Mining Vision
in various key areas. For example, while the Africa Mining Vision is
development-oriented and places mining at the centre of industrialisation in
mineral-rich economies, Zimbabwe’s legislative and regulatory framework in
the form of the Mines and Minerals Act is not progressive.
The Act therefore needs to be amended, based on the tenets and principles of
the Africa Mining Vision. The current processes to reform the Mines and
Minerals Act through the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill should be guided
by the Africa Mining Vision if the sector is to underpin sustainable growth
and structural transformation in Zimbabwe. It is imperative that proposed
amendments derive from a fully consultative and participatory process.
Dhliwayo is the director for the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.
He holds a Masters degree in Environment and Development from the University
of KwaZulu Natal and a Bachelor of Laws Honours (LLBS) Degree from the
University of Zimbabwe.
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
By July 27, 2012 in Opinion
IT is always cheering on a cold winter’s morning to have a good chuckle. And
NewsDay supplied that this week with reports of Zanu PF bigwigs calling each
other names. At the same time the Herald carried a headline saying “Experts
dismiss draft constitution”.
And who were these “experts”? Jonathan Moyo, Goodwills Masimirembwa, and
Lovemore Madhuku. But Paul Mangwana doesn’t think so. He calls them “the
Masimirembwa started off as a technical advisor to Mangwana on Copac but
seems to have jumped ship.
Now while we can credit Moyo with experience and Madhuku with some expertise
on constitutional matters, can the same be said of Masimirembwa?
Mangwana thinks he is a turncoat. We thought Masimirembwa’s main claim to
fame was to have brought the country to its knees in 2007 with debilitating
price controls which didn’t seem to apply to his chicken farm.
He is currently importuning the good people of Mabvuku whose votes he will
be seeking in the general election. He is still struggling to get reinstated
on the Law Society’s register of practising lawyers –– without much luck.
His chief complaint on the draft is that the executive president was at the
mercy of parliament because the legislature could pass a vote of no
confidence in the government and force the president to dissolve parliament
if he does not replace ministers.
“If an opposition has a super-majority in parliament and does not like the
president it will just pass a vote of no confidence in his government and
force him to call for an election.”
Goodness, a president accountable to parliament. Evidently a scary thought
There was a curious picture in the Herald on Monday. Zanu PF secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa was seen signing the visitors’ book at
This it turns out was a sentimental visit to the cell where he was
incarcerated during the Ian Smith-era. Accompanying him was his wife,
Colonel Gertrude Mutasa.
Zanu PF is evidently militarising even wives now. And it was sad that
Didymus didn’t pay tribute to Guy Clutton-Brocks for those food parcels that
evidently kept him from becoming too emaciated.
He was held for one and a half years without trial we are told. This is
obviously a bid to add Didymus’s name to Zanu PF’s iconography ahead of an
election. Publicity recently hasn’t been so good.
Readers are invited to sympathise with somebody who hasn’t been exactly
sympathetic to the plight of others.
By the way, compare that with the five years Dumiso Dabengwa spent
incarcerated by a Zanu PF government despite having been acquitted in the
courts on arms charges.
To his credit Mutasa, oft cited in this column for putting his foot in it,
was also in the news for the right reasons this week after he rebuked the
Zanu PF provincial leadership in Harare for failing to rein in the Mbare
gang Chipangano, the Herald reports.
Mutasa spelt out what we have known all along that Chipangano is a Zanu
PF-aligned militia group despite provincial chairman Amos Midzi’s feeble
protestations that some of them were not under Zanu PF.
“Cde Midzi if you tell me that you don’t know that group, I will tell you
that you are lying,” Mutasa said.
“Instead, I want to know what is not ending it.”
Midzi is not alone in peddling the whopper that Chipangano is not part of
Politburo member, Tendai Savanhu, has also denied any links to Chipangano,
saying the militia group was a creation of the MDC-T to tarnish the image of
Zanu PF and drag its name in the mud. As if they needed any help in that
Munyaradzi Huni did a good job with his Dabengwa interview on Sunday. It’s
just a pity some of the answers went begging. For example, Dabengwa
complains that he worked hard to get the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act
replaced by Posa. The Law Society and other civics were involved in this
process he tells us.
“Together we came out with the final document which I presented to
parliament and I sweated to get it through parliament and then it went to
the president for signing. To this date I don’t know what happened but it
never got approved.”
So the current Act is not the one he worked on, he would seem to say. But
despite Huni’s energetic attempts to suggest this smacked of hypocrisy by
the civics, Dabengwa would appear to be telling us something different. And
his remarks on land were useful for the record.
Land was the reason people went to war, he said. Hence the need for land
reform. But he expressed reservations over the manner in which it was
implemented saying there was a need to provide infrastructure before people
moved onto the land.
Glaringly self-evident to everybody else in the country but not President
Mugabe’s loyalists it would seem.
Dabengwa also said he does not want to be recycled since he had already made
his contribution to the country during and after the liberation struggle.
Asked if he would consider serving under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
administration, Dabengwa said: “I have been a government minister for 10
years and for me that’s enough.”
The irony for Dabengwa, who happens to be a leader of an opposition party,
is clearly lost. Such a gaffe will not stop him from demanding to be taken
The question which went begging for the interviewer is what then is Dabengwa
doing in politics if he feels he has already made his contribution?
We were amused by Huni’s attempts to get Dabengwa to say something nice
“What would you say are some of President Mugabe’s achievements?” he
“As a leader in the government,” Dabengwa replied, “certainly there were
achievements that were made. But I think unfortunately later on we were made
to suffer a setback. He made lots of achievements in education and health.”
Not quite the ringing endorsement Huni was looking for! And then there was
“Indigenisation is a mess”.
“The people who go around grabbing other people’s assets without working for
them and without knowing exactly how to utilise and make those things
Indeed, our thoughts exactly.
Nathaniel Manheru appears to think whites don’t read the Herald judging by
the venom which he spits at them every week as if they were a monolithic
mass. He was particularly vituperative last weekend.
“What is this thing called the Zimbabwean economy? Where is it? Who wields
it? Which Zimbabweans own it? I hate anyone who seeks to save their
racialised economic privileges in my name, I the underdog. I am no sharer.”
Oh bow-wow. So, if you are not a sharer, you will understand if a growing
number of people who are sick of the racist posturing emanating from Manheru
don’t want to place their advertising with the Herald?
Manheru, by the way, has little regard for facts. The Nats won power in the
1948 election, not 1949. And “most whites” did not leave South Africa in the
depression of the 1930s. A few did.
All these errors and then the cheek to talk about the “burdens of bad
Meanwhile “diesel n’anga”, Rotina Mavhunga, has finally been released after
duping Zanu PF politburo members, ministers and top security chiefs into
believing she could draw fuel from rocks.
President Mugabe personally chaired meetings to discuss Mavhunga’s claims
she could produce pure diesel out of rocks.
Mugabe said after hearing the claims of diesel oozing from rocks, he set up
a taskforce, packed with government ministers to investigate. The taskforce
included Mutasa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home affairs
co-minister Kembo Mohadi.
The team is reported to have camped in Chinhoyi for close to a fortnight,
but strangely they did not detect that Mavhunga, with a Grade three
education, was a fraud, reports the Standard.
Mugabe later claimed the taskforce had been blinded by Mavhunga’s “beauty”.
Muckraker was intrigued by the Herald headline “EU extends sanctions”
published on Tuesday. Surely the lifting of sanctions was a triumph for
Zimbabwean diplomacy? But then it dawned.
Zanu PF needs sanctions to project itself, in the archaic language of
yesteryear, as a victim of imperialism. So they will ignore the key issue
that elections must not be tainted by violence and concentrate instead on
the fact that they remain in place.
Then there were Simbarashe Mumbengegwi’s fulminations. He can’t understand
why the EU has difficulty taking him seriously.
He moved heaven and earth to get sanctions lifted but now it’s all a
“non-event”. The price of failure –– it seems –– is to talk big!
In an unprecedented move the police this week said they had adequate
security for civil servants to carry out a demonstration.
As if that was not earth-shattering enough police spokesperson, Chief
Inspector James Sabau went on to reassure the business community that the
“demonstrations would not be violent since the police would be present to
ensure that the running of other businesses will not be disrupted”.
This is a far cry from what the MDC formations have become used to from the
police with their rallies banned under one pretext or another.
The eagerness with which the police sanctioned the strike surprised many.
Maybe the fact that the civil servants were to march to Finance minister
Tendai Biti’s offices had something to do with it?
The Zimbabwean reports that last week hundreds of women converged at Africa
Unity Square protesting the continued arrests and harassment of women on the
grounds of loitering, soliciting and prostitution.
Asked to comment on the protests, Sabau said they don’t just arrest
everyone, saying they arrest women with the “regalia” meant to lure clients.
“I would love these women to come on wearing the regalia that they will be
wearing when they are on the streets. It’s unfortunate when you see them, it’s
very different on how they look during the night.”
Was it Zanu PF or MDC regalia these women were wearing Inspector Sabau?
ZBC reports that first lady, “Amai” Grace Mugabe celebrated her 47th
birthday with a “low key” event at her children’s home in Mazowe on Monday.
“It was a sweet, sweet surprise for the First Lady when she, during her
routine visit to her Mazowe children’s home, was greeted by a sizeable
cheering crowd singing happy birthday,” the gushing report stated.
Despite having come for a “routine” visit and feigning surprise, the first
lady was clearly dressed for the occasion!
BJuly 27, 2012 in Opinion
THE Zimbabwe Independent, which has over the years been investigating the
goings-on at Marange diamond fields, carries the fourth instalment of the
latest Global Witness report: Financing A Parallel Government?, which makes
interesting revelations about Chiadzwa.This week the report by the UK-based
non-governmental organisation which campaigns against natural
resources-related conflict, corruption and associated environmental and
human rights abuses exposes how off-budget financing of Zimbabwe’s security
forces could result in human rights abuses in the next elections, thus
The Global Witness report sheds light on activities unfolding at Marange
diamond fields, detailing who is involved and the intricate networks
comprising the Chinese and Zimbabwe’s security forces dealing in diamonds,
cotton and property sectors.
SAM Pa’s apparent support for the CIO may undermine Zimbabwean democracy
directly. According to a source within the organisation, the CIO has
allocated funding from Sam Pa towards:
The planned construction of a CIO training college. This is not to be
confused with the National Defence College being constructed by Anhui
Foreign Economic Construction (Group) and paid for with the profits from
Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd;
l Two covert operations termed Operation Black Hawk and Operation
Spiderweb, designed to discredit Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai, Finance
minister Tendai Biti, and Welshman Ncube ahead of the next election;
The training of CIO operatives to jam the radio stations Voice of
America and SW Radio Africa. The jamming is said to take place from a
location in Hillside, Harare, off Chiremba Road;
The training of South Sudanese intelligence operatives by the CIO at the
CIO training academy in St Patricks Road, Hatfield in Harare, and in Juba,
The existence of Operation Spiderweb has been independently confirmed by a
senior Zimbabwean government official. We have not been able to corroborate
the existence of other programmes, including Operation Black Hawk.
Moreover, even if these programmes exist, it is difficult to directly link
one source of finance with a particular programme as funding can be
Further, even if true, there is no evidence to suggest that Sam Pa was aware
of how his donation was spent, although he could have reasonably foreseen
such expenditure, given the poor reputation of the CIO.
Nevertheless, if it is true that the CIO is engaged in covert activities to
discredit senior politicians from the MDC, then this has the propensity to
directly undermine Zimbabwean democratic processes and institutions.
Sam Pa’s apparent financial support for the CIO could fund future human
rights abuses. It is also possible that off-budget financing of the CIO
could fund future human rights abuses in the run up to the next election.
Local human rights groups have compiled detailed reports setting out how
members of the CIO were involved in organising the violence in the 2008
elections, which focused on supporters of the opposition MDC. For example:
In Muzarabani North and South and Mazowe North, a CIO operative was
allegedly in charge of local bases where victims were murdered;
In Mount Darwin South, a senior CIO official is alleged to have part
financed the Zanu PF district office which organised the violence in the
In Makoni South, a CIO operative was allegedly in charge of a local base
at which an MDC supporter was beaten;
In Nyanga North, a CIO operative was in charge of the DDF Ruwangwe base
from where MDC supporters were allegedly intimidated;
A CIO official was sued by the Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project,
Jestina Mukoko, for his alleged role in her abduction and torture in 2008
More recently, unconfirmed news reports have identified CIO agents using
Nissan pick-up trucks in a number of alleged human rights violations:
In January 2012, a mechanic, Bornface Mvemve, was test driving an
MDC-owned vehicle in Msasa, Harare. It was reported that, as he was driving,
a grey Nissan Hardbody double cab with no number plates overtook his car and
suddenly blocked his way. Three men assaulted him, poured beer over him,
smashed the MDC vehicle’s windows and then left the scene.
In January 2011, an MDC activist Julius Mutavira Gono of ward 10,
Madzimure village, Chiredzi South constituency was reported to have been
beaten in broad daylight by three members of the CIO who drove to his house
in a Nissan twin cab with unmarked plates.
In August 2011, three CIO agents who were reported to be intimidating
MDC activists ahead of constitutional outreach meetings in the Chipinge,
Chipinge South and Musikavanhu constituencies used white Nissan double cabs
(registration plates supplied).
After the exposure of these registration details by SW Radio Africa, the
number plates were removed by the CIO.
While there are some similarities between these reports, it is impossible to
know whether these are the same vehicles donated by Sam Pa to the CIO.
The next election will inevitably lead to heightened political tensions.
While abuses are not inevitable, Zanu PF’s use of violence as an electoral
strategy during past elections means that there is a risk that CIO agents
will be deployed to intimidate and attack political opponents.
Global Witness previously wrote about Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd in the
briefing Diamonds: A Good Deal for Zimbabwe? Here, we restate some of the
evidence setting out the extent of Zimbabwean military and police control of
the company and introduce new evidence on the ownership of Anjin.
The discovery of diamonds at Marange in 2006 resulted in the arrival of
thousands of small-scale miners. This period was characterised by violence,
smuggling, corruption and intimidation of diamond diggers. In the autumn of
2008, the government launched Operation Hakudzokwi or “You will not
return” — designed to secure the Marange diamond fields for government
control. Soldiers, police and helicopter gunships were deployed, resulting
in the killing and wounding of many artisanal miners.
After Operation Hakudzokwi, the government began to grant concessions in
Marange. The first to receive concessions were two previously unknown firms
Mbada Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd and Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd. Fifty percent of
Mbada is owned by Grandwell Holdings registered in Mauritius, and 49,99% of
Grandwell is now owned by Transfrontier Mining, in turn owned by a network
of companies registered in secrecy jurisdictions.
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
SOME eight or so years ago, blue-chip Innscor, at an analysts briefing,
revealed the philosophy to its rapid growth into one of the largest
conglomerates. Their axiom was very simple: “Follow the money.”
Anyone who’s watched Innscor’s growth into the behemoth it is in the local
economy today has seen its tentacles spread into several and oft-unrelated
businesses. From the original business of selling chicken and chips, Innscor
has consolidated itself in the fast food sector and has moved into diverse
enterprises that range from food processing to fridge-manufacturing and
That’s really following the money! But one can also say that it’s the
megacorp’s ability to “think outside the box” that has lurched it forward.
And that is exactly what our government and the rest of our economic agents
need to do.
Since dollarisation there’s been banter about mega investments that would
get our relatively huge factories going again. But that hasn’t happened, and
perhaps might never happen. In fact, that hasn’t happened over the last two
decades. So, how about thinking outside the box and follow the money? If we
look at most of our economic activities today, we can see that the structure
of the economy has clearly changed and as they say, when the game changes,
change the players.
Our economy has since changed from the big enterprises of the past, many of
which were virtual monopolies and oligopolies, to several micro, small and
medium-sized enterprises, the so-called MSMEs. Take the urban transport
sector, for instance. Long gone are the days of Harare United, ZOC, both of
which later became one under Zupco. Instead we have thousands of small
operators running the much smaller commuter ominibuses, better known
nowadays as kombis.
Only visionary companies like Econet have seen this reality and started
advertising on these vehicles, in much the same way other advertisers used
to on the Harare United buses. The rest in the advertising industry appear
to be still caught in a time warp, perhaps waiting for the reincarnation of
Zupco. And yet the kombis are such an opportune platform for placing
adverts, given their mobility and that more than 90% of greater Harare’s
estimated two million people use them everyday. The same applies in Zimbabwe’s
other cities and towns.
In fact, in London, the bulk of 25 seater kombis carry advertisements. But
the industry is just one example of a changed economic structure. In retail;
whereas we were accustomed to big shops and vast departmental stores, these
have been replaced, especially downtown, by very small boutiques, some of
which are hardly big enough to fit the salesperson. That too, like my
visionary mathematics teacher used to say when calculators were first
introduced and there was hesitancy to use them in schools, is not going to
Manufacturing has been no exception and things we thought could only be
produced in established factories are now being produced in backyards,
garages, by the roadside or even under trees.
The quality can be gobsmackingly good. We understand one upmarket furniture
outlet now purchases some of its products from these informal businesses.
That’s seeing the gap. And yet our national budget seems to concentrate on
the old economic structure alone. Sure, we still need the old economic
structure, but we must also recognise and actively support the new
In the new economic structure is where the bulk of employment potential lies
and government must stop paying lip-service by making philosophical and
expedient speeches on this sector at rallies and yet do nothing pragmatic on
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
THE official figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for
the results presidential election run-off of June 2008 indicated that
President Robert Mugabe had garnered approximately a million more votes than
he had during the first round of voting just three months earlier. Yet
according to Zec the voter turnout, was exactly as it had been in March —
around 42% of the registered voters. These statistics invite three, and only
three, possible readings of the result: that the one million voters who had
initially voted for Mugabe’s main contender MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
had, over the three-month period, switched their allegiance or that one
million voters, who had not bothered to vote in the intensely contested
first round, turned up to vote in the second round, in which there was only
one candidate, Mugabe, after Tsvangirai had pulled out citing violence and
The third possibility is that due to Tsvangirai’s withdrawal and the wave of
endemic violence which swept through the country after the first round of
voting, there was no monitoring of polling and the numbers submitted to Zec
on the electoral returns were merely wishful thinking on the part of Zanu PF
party cadres. This possibility is the only one plausible.
The violence and brutality which engulfed the country over this period was
organised, co-ordinated and controlled by sections of the security sector
and aided and abetted by a complacent and compliant police service,
rendering the niceties of the Electoral Act and any other legislation
designed to ensure free and fair elections completely irrelevant.
It is patently obvious that if a repetition of this electoral debacle is to
be avoided in the next elections, the security sector needs to be reined in.
This implies security sector reform.
However, as experience from other countries has demonstrated, security
sector reform is a lengthy and complex process. Ahead of elections, Zimbabwe
may only realistically implement those reforms necessary to facilitate a
free poll. To do this requires removing or limiting the power of those who
control the security sector and who are ultimately responsible for the
violence of 2008. For this reason, the question of how state security
service chiefs are appointed is of vital importance.
What does our current constitution have to say on the subject? Section 96(4)
of the constitution, under which the 2008 elections were held, provides:
“The Commander of the defence forces, and every commander of a branch of the
defence forces, shall be appointed by the President after consultation with
such person or authority as may be prescribed by or under an Act of
After spending US$45 million, endless meetings and convoluted negotiations,
the latest draft constitution proposes, in Section 11.11(2), that Section
96(4) is replaced with the following: “Every Commander of the defence
forces, and every commander of a service of the defence forces, is appointed
by the President after consultation with the Minister responsible for the
The provisions relating to the manner in which the commissioner-general of
police is appointed likewise remain largely unaltered, with absolute
discretion in this regard vesting in the president.
It is a vexed question as to how appointments are made to key positions in a
democratic government in such a way so as to ensure that the incumbent is
non-partisan and not subject to political influence. Rather than attempting
to resolve or attenuate the problem, the proposed constitution gives
unfettered discretion to the president (who in all probability will be a
candidate in an election) to appoint individuals to head those institutions
which have the brawn to subvert the will of the electorate if he does not
win the election — or to ensure that he does.
The democratic way of attending to this problem is to limit the discretion
of the person making the appointments, to make the process transparent and
to put some distance between the locus of political power and the appointing
This is exactly what an earlier draft of the proposed constitution,
circulated in May, had attempted to do. In terms of that draft, the power of
the president to choose the individuals who would head the security sectors
was removed. For example, in appointing the Commander of the Defence Forces,
the president was required to act “on the advice of the Defence Forces
Commission”. The commission thus chose the office holder, the president
merely formally made the appointment. At least 50% of the selecting
commission had to comprise civilians.
Even more significantly, although the president was to appoint the
commissioners, the composition of the commission was to be approved by a
Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee which was to conduct interviews
of the candidates in public. This body itself had to “proportionally
represent all groups and parties represented in parliament”. Similar
procedures were proposed for the appointment of the commissioner-general of
The latest draft restores the unfettered power of the president to appoint
service chiefs, representing a massive compromise by the MDC parties. In
fact, the draft leaves virtually all of the vast powers vested in the
president intact and little different from those under the current
There are, however, two significant changes. One is that the president’s
power to appoint provincial governors is subject to democratic
considerations. The other is that under the current constitution, all key
appointments made by the president, including the appointments of the
service chiefs, and regardless of whether these appointments are merely an
extension of a term of office, in an acting capacity or a lateral transfer,
must be made with the consent of the prime minister.
However, this requirement will end with the inclusive government so the
executive power of the president in this regard will in fact increase rather
than be diminished under the proposed constitution — though it must be noted
that the requirement of securing the prime minister’s agreement before
making appointments has been studiously and consistently ignored by Mugabe
for the duration of the government of national unity (GNU) in any event.
Although numerous articles have appeared in the press suggesting that the
sticking points between the parties during constitutional negotiations
concerned citizenship, devolution of power and gay rights, it is clear from
the difference between the earlier and present draft of the constitution,
outlined above, that the real cause of dissention was the old chestnut of
The fact that excessive power is vested in the president contributed to the
rejection of the proposed constitution in the referendum of February 2000.
It was also the main point of dispute in the negotiations around the Global
Political Agreement, and it has been the primary bone of contention amongst
the parties in the GNU.
The changes quietly effected to the earlier draft reveal that once again
Zanu PF has had its way on an issue which may negate the minor democratic
advances still proposed. The approach adopted by the MDC parties, clearly
evident in September 2008, of protest and capitulation continues.
And Zimbabwe’s politics continue in a circular trajectory — we were told the
GNU was the only solution to a flawed election, now we are told an election
is the only solution to a flawed GNU; we were told we needed a new
constitution before we could have a democratic election, now it seems we
need a democratic election before we may have a new constitution. Plus ça
change, plus c’est la même chose (French expression for the more things
change, the more they remain the same).
Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional
law expert and researcher on legal matters.
July 27, 2012 in Opinion
WHEN we last checked, Copac was expected to gobble up US$45 million before
it produced the final draft constitution to be taken to a referendum —
possibly in September — at a cost of another US$30 million.
This means the cost of producing a new constitution under Copac could end up
being US$75 million. If Copac incurred further budget overruns, the US$45
million figure could by now have scaled US$50 million, pushing the total
cost of the process to plus or minus US$80 million.
Copac overshot its initial US$21 million budget as it overran its original
financial plan by a whopping US$24 million due to uncontrolled expenditures
and waste. It is clear some people saw it as a money-spinning opportunity
rather than a national project where public service value is more important
than personal enrichment.
Compare this with the cost of the Constitutional Commission during the
1999-2000 constitution-making process. On November 29 1999, the commission
submitted its report in the form of a draft constitution to the President of
Zimbabwe after it had fulfilled its mandate within the stipulated time-frame
of five months, at an (audited) cost of ZW$297 196 900 (or, at that time,
the equivalent of US$7 280 652).
This is despite the fact the commission consisted of 400 members: 150 MPs
who constituted the core of the membership and the other 250 members drawn
from the private sector and a cross-section of civil society. The commission
had various committees.
Copac comprised 25 MPs selected from the three political parties in the GPA
to spearhead the crafting of a new constitution. Its other important
structures were the management and steering committees. Of course, there was
also a secretariat.
However, by comparison the commission was far bigger than Copac in terms of
organisation and size. But Copac has guzzled more resources, showing it was
extravagant and wasteful.
South Africa, for instance, spent US$30 million on its constitution-making
process during the 1990s, Uganda US$10 million, Ethiopia US$6 million and
Eritrea US$4,5 million.
Quite clearly, Zimbabwe invested a lot of money and time in producing the
Copac draft. Given the shoddy nature of the draft, it is very difficult,
even if one wants to be charitable, to avoid the damning conclusion the
process was an expensive charade.
A cost-benefit analysis of Copac suggests the process was run by incompetent
profligates. If one looks at the draft, it is certainly not worth US$45
Taking into account Copac, always beset by risk and uncertainty, had been
struggling since April 2009 until July 19 to produce the final draft
constitution, it gives the distinctive impression the organisation
functioned like some sort of a slow, incompetent or corrupt bureaucracy.
Although the budgeting and costing for the process is important, the real
issue is the quality of the draft which Copac produced. With the money and
other resources at its disposal, even if sometimes they came in drips and
drabs, the group should have produced something better.
However, Copac came up with a damp squib. It produced a flawed compromise
document through a formula of appeasement.
The draft has clauses designed to placate President Robert Mugabe and Zanu
PF (for instance, the claim in the preamble that Zimbabwe is a unitary and
indivisible state), others for MDC-T (crippling Mugabe’s powers of
appointment of who serves in the judiciary and independent commissions as
well as limiting terms for state security service chiefs and permanent
secretaries or whittling down the functions and powers of the
Attorney-General), MDC (devolution), civil society (compelling Zimbabwe to
ratify all international instruments) and other organised interest groups
Eventually, in their bid to placate everybody, Copac constitution-makers
managed to propitiate nobody. Besides, placation is not a basic
Instead of a patchwork of appeasements, what people wanted was a
constitution which clearly and systematically underlined popular sovereignty
(that the right to rule comes from the people); limited government;
separation of powers and checks and balances; structural distribution of
power between the centre and the periphery vertically and horizontally and,
of course, individual rights.
Although the draft tries to address one of the key issues confronting
Zimbabwe today, the separation of powers by curtailing executive authority
and strengthening other arms of government, parliament and the judiciary,
the approach was clumsy. Reading through the draft in key areas one can
easily see who the drafters had in mind while writing.
The process was inherently unrepresentative and its conception and framework
were badly flawed, hence this sloppy and unimpressive draft which, as it has
now predictably turned out, was just a costly farce.