|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Records at the Companies Registry
show that the businessmen are all
directors of Takepart.
acquisitions, analysts said, form part of Zanu PF's attempts to muscle
its way into key sectors of the economy. Members of the consortium have also
benefited from the land reform exercise and are expected to consolidate
their wealth by creating synergies between farming and agro-processing.
Musanhi is the owner of Musanhi Buses which ply the
Harare-Mt Darwin route.
He also owns Sabata Holdings and a stake in Dahmer Motors.
Kaukonde owns Amalgamated Motor Corporation and Closelink, a business group
with links to TSL.
Natfoods and Innscor two weeks
ago issued a cautionary statement announcing
the arrival of Takepart Investments.
The statement said Takepart had acquired a 21% holding
"Takepart has since swapped a portion of this holding for Innscor shares,
leaving it with a 10% stake in Natfoods," said the statement.
The consortium has also acquired an 11% stake in Innscor.
Kaukonde has been appointed to the boards of both Natfoods
(as deputy chair)
and Innscor to represent the interests of the consortium. Musanhi is his
alternate at Innscor.
Kaukonde's appointment makes
him the first Zanu PF provincial chairman to
become a board deputy chairman of a listed company.
Contacted for comment, Kaukonde who is also Zanu
PF MP for Mudzi, said
Takepart would operate as an investment vehicle.
"We are not involved in any other business except
said. "We are also looking at consolidating our position in the new venture
before considering acquiring stakes in other companies."
Natfoods is the country's largest agro-processor of
consumer foods and
stockfeeds. The company is also involved in bulk supplies of raw materials
to livestock and poultry producers, bakers, brewers, fish farms and other
Innscor on the other hand is
the holding company for a consumer-focused
group of businesses operating in the food, entertainment, adventure tourism
and distribution sectors.
The past two years have seen a number of significant
takeovers by indigenous
business interests including TSL Ltd, Zimsun, Tedco, Bindura, and Lobels,
while Circle Cement Ltd, Natfoods, Interfresh and Innscor Africa now have
significant indigenous shareholdings.
Mugabe hiding behind Posa
CRITICISING rulers directly, or even obliquely, can be hazardous for
journalists, especially in countries where the head of state makes every
n Iraq for example, before the recent war, praising the president the wrong
way was equally dangerous. One journalist was reportedly arrested and
tortured for writing that Saddam Hussein cared about every detail in the
country, including the toilets.
been observed that countries which boldly declare that they respect
free speech have in their legislation provisions that militate against such
freedom when free speech is directed at the head of state.
May Information minister Jonathan Moyo wrote to the South African
government to complain that the press there was demonising President Mugabe.
should state categorically that we believe in media freedom as one of
pillars of democracy, yet we are clear that this freedom is not a licence
for vested interests to insult and demonise a head of state," Moyo wrote.
The injunction against criticising the president is logical if
the head of state as the embodiment of the nation: a person who, for reasons
of decorum, should not be lampooned or belittled.
In Zimbabwe, however, the use of the Public Order and
Security Act to
protect the image and stature of Mugabe is questionable, especially when the
head of state is also head of government and the ruling party and in those
capacities attacks his opponents without restraint.
Last week police charged editor of the Daily News Nqobile
Nyathi over an
advert carried in her paper. The advert, placed by the opposition MDC,
depicted a person resembling President Mugabe being chased by a crowd. The
cartoon was accompanied by the words: "Do you recognise him? Thief! Thief!
On Monday, the chief executive at the
newspaper, Sam Nkomo, and his
commercial director, Moreblessings Mpofu, were also charged by police for
publishing the same adverts which are deemed to be insulting to Mugabe.
Under Section 16 of Posa it is an offence to
make any false statement about
the president where there is a risk of engendering feelings of hostility
like monarchs and non-executive presidents do not usually
generate discourse. They are not expected to align themselves with political
groupings or causes. Such leaders do not usually make inflammatory
statements against their own people or other leaders.
The law has however been used in Zimbabwe to
stifle debate on the record of
Analysts said as
long as Mugabe remained a powerful force, rarely out of the
public spotlight and ready to take on his opponents and detractors like a
streetfighter, he should not expect to be protected by the law. In any case
he was bound to be the butt of satirical comment by cartoonists and
columnists who exercised their right to submit their rulers to public
scrutiny and remind them that they are not little gods.
The analysts said as long as Mugabe
continued to hurl insults at his critics
and even other heads of state, he would attract an appropriate response. He
should not then try and hide behind the ample skirts of Posa.
Mugabe and his handlers in their
long-standing combative mode have churned
out abuse with gusto. Moyo, in an apoplectic outburst early this year,
called South Africans "filthy and recklessly uncouth". He later claimed he
was referring to their newspapers. Mugabe has weighed in with the bold
assertion that Australian Prime Minister John Howard was a genetically
modified criminal and a racist. This was after Howard insisted that Zimbabwe
was still suspended from the Commonwealth and guilty of human rights abuses.
Media watchdog Article 19 has observed
that public figures in the Sadc
region are over-protected from criticism.
"The research has revealed that the use of these laws has
increased in some
countries over recent years - especially in countries facing political
crisis or civil conflict," said Article 19.
Angola, the Law on Crimes against State Security gives powers to the
state to determine threats to national security. Such threats include
defaming the president and other government officials.
Tsvangirai pushes Mbeki on talks
Dumisani Muleya/ Blessing Zulu
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
written a letter to South African president Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian and
Malawian counterparts about talks on the Zimbabwean crisis.
Tsvangirai confirmed in an interview this week he wrote the letter after
Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi
visited Zimbabwe on May 5 but had not received a response.
He said the leaders' failure to respond to the letter had killed the
momentum of the talks as there had been no follow-up on the agenda items
agreed upon at the time.
Mbeki and his colleagues met Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe
separately during their visit.
"I wrote a letter to the three leaders as a follow-up to the meetings that
we held in Harare during their recent visit," Tsvangirai said. "So far they
have not replied."
In the letter Tsvangirai urged the three leaders to resolve the local crisis
as the situation continued to deteriorate.
Efforts to obtain a copy of the letter were blocked by Tsvangirai's
spokesman William Bango. But Tsvangirai said "nothing substantive has
happened to give us confidence since the three leaders' visit".
There have been reports recently of behind-the-scenes talks between the MDC
and the ruling Zanu PF. These include a church initiative reported last
month by the Zimbabwe Independent.
It has also been reported that Zanu PF officials visited Tsvangirai while he
was in prison over his second treason charge arising from the recent mass
action. But Tsvangirai said this was unfounded.
"I didn't see anybody," he said. "I didn't meet anybody in prison." Asked if
it was true that State Security minister Nicholas Goche tried to visit him
in prison as reported in the press, Tsvangirai said: "I didn't see him."
However, Tsvangirai confirmed there were church leaders trying to get the
MDC and Zanu PF to the negotiating table.
"There have been no formal talks but that does not mean there are no
initiatives at local, regional and international levels," he said. "The
churches are taking a national responsibility and we have said we welcome
that. But I can't reveal details about that because these are matters
happening behind the scenes."
The Independent reported earlier this year that catholic clergyman Father
Fidelis Mukonori last year tried to broker talks, apparently with Mugabe's
support, between the MDC and Zanu PF. The Heads of Christian Denominations
held meetings in May with representatives of the two parties in a bid to
The churches are trying to revive the talks, sources involved said, after
claims that the publication of the Independent's story had scuppered their
Calls for serious talks to break the political impasse over Zimbabwe's
deepening economic crisis are growing louder at home and abroad.
On Monday United States President George Bush starts his trip to Africa
which will see him meet Mbeki, Obasanjo, and the leaders of Botswana,
Senegal and Uganda.
The Zimbabwe crisis is expected to loom large in Bush's tour. African Union
leaders could also give impetus to the talks if they tackle the Zimbabwe
crisis at their summit, which starts in Maputo today. Tsvangirai said the
MDC was sending a team to the meeting.
He also said his party would dispatch a team to meet Bush's delegation in
South Africa to engage the Americans at various levels. Washington has been
piling pressure on Mugabe to abandon repression and misrule.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has already set the tone for Bush's trip
by urging Mugabe to cease tyranny and consider a negotiated settlement to
rescue the sinking country.
The MDC has targeted South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi,
Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia in its diplomatic offensive.
Telecoms firms await benefits
TELECOMMUNICATIONS companies are not receiving assistance from the Universal
Service Fund to which they contribute money for future expansion or to
extend their facilities to under-serviced rural centres, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.
Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)
director-general Cuthbert Chidoori said companies started contributing early
last year but none of them had benefited as yet.
Responding to questions faxed to him last week,
"Contributions towards the fund from all licence holders who have Universal
Service Fund obligations have been received by the Postal and
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe since the beginning of
the year in 2002."
Telecel and Net*One managing directors,
Edward Mutsvairo and Reward Kangai
respectively, confirmed their companies were contributing to the fund.
Potraz, which is the trustee of the
fund, said no telecommunications company
had benefited from the monies collected.
"The objectives of the fund are spelt out in the Postal
Telecommunications Act (Chapter 12:05) and since the fund is not operational
there are no beneficiaries as yet," said Chidoori.
Chidoori did not explain why the fund was not functional
when companies were
contributing to it nor how much had been contributed.
"No figure for the amount is available, but as soon as
the fund is
operationalised all monies (including appropriations from government) as
stipulated in the Postal and Telecommunications Act, will be transferred
into the Fund Account," he said.
The money, according
to the Act, is supposed to be granted to needy
companies for them to extend their services to under-serviced areas.
Kangai said Net*One needed money from the fund for rural projects.
"We need the money to
initiate rural projects. We need foreign currency to
purchase equipment and it is unfortunate that we are paying in local
currency and that must be converted into foreign currency."
Kangai said there was a need for dialogue to make the most out of the fund.
"There is a need for
consultation between us and Potraz so that we benefit
from the fund," he said.
Mutsvairo also said that there was a need for consultation with
that our efforts become profitable".
EU/US mull aid reduction
THE European Union and the United States might reduce humanitarian food
assistance to Zimbabwe for the 2003/4 season because the problem is largely
man-made, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The European Union, which last year donated 83 million euros towards
humanitarian assistance to the country, plans to cut its aid by 50% this
year because there are many other places in need of assistance.
The US embassy this week said there were also other countries in need.
want to continue with our aid but since Zimbabwe is not the only
country in need of aid other areas would have to be considered," said US
embassy acting public affairs officer, Lucy Hall.
Last week EU head of delegation to
Zimbabwe Francesca Mosca confirmed that
the grouping had slashed its aid to Zimbabwe.
"A sum of 42 million euro has been earmarked from the
budget," Mosca said.
"The EU's contribution
to Zimbabwe alone, in the previous appeal, amounted
to 83 million euros.
"These funds have been used to procure, transport and
distribute almost 150
000 tonnes of food to the most vulnerable sections of the Zimbabwean
population, especially the old, the sick and those with no means of support
and access to food," she said.
Mosca said the
programming for the next appeal is on-going and additional
fundraising may be made available from emergency reserve funding.
"The commitment of
additional funding will be done when government makes the
official request for assistance," she said.
Mosca said the EU was aware that the
crisis in Zimbabwe was also an
accumulation of circumstances that would make it last for some time.
"Drought, successive poor harvests, collapse
of the economy, forced land
acquisition, restrictive market access and control have made for a political
and humanitarian crisis.
donation likely to be given to Zimbabwe at any given time depends on
the projected magnitude of the crisis as it unfolds in the future depending
on the projected shortfall from this years harvest," she said.
the conclusions of crop assessments undertaken suggested that the
overall cereal gap or import requirement was in excess of 1,2 million
"At this point it is estimated that Zimbabwe will
need in excess of 600 000
tonnes in the form of food aid," she said.
The EU's commitment to the humanitarian crisis in Southern
stands at 328 million euros. The contribution covers 42% of total needs in
the region. This amounts to 272 000 tonnes of food aid as well as non-food
humanitarian aid such as seed, fertiliser, vaccines and other essential
Hall said the government's appeal to other countries would determine levels
"Though we are not sure of
what will be donated at the moment, it would be
determined by government's appeal and demands from other areas," Hall said.
Govt/MDC head for clash at AU summit
A CLASH looms between government and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change over the Zimbabwean crisis at the African Union (AU) summit which
opens in Maputo today.
Government has said it will put pressure on the AU to draw up a resolution
condemning the United States and other Western countries for attacking
President Robert Mugabe's regime over repression and leadership failure.
Mugabe last week held talks with
his key AU ally Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ahead of the Maputo summit.
Gaddafi lashed out at Western
countries during the inaugural AU summit in
Durban last year. The AU evolved from the Organisation of African Unity.
To counter government attempts to hijack the AU summit, the MDC this week
sent a delegation to Mozambique to seek support.
The MDC seeks to lobby African leaders to reject
Mugabe's claims that
Zimbabwe's problems are due to neo-colonial machinations.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in an interview this
week his party had
resolved to engage African leaders on the Zimbabwe crisis to counter
government propaganda and set the record straight.
will engage AU leaders and we know we have support within the
organisation," he said. "We have a right to be heard by AU leaders and this
is what we will be doing. We have been in contact with regional leaders and
some understand our case but others, of course, don't."
Mugabe would be hoping to
drum up support in his bid to secure continental
reaffirmation in the face of growing international isolation.
In February, Mugabe managed to
convince the Non-Aligned Movement summit in
Malaysia and later the Common Market for East and Southern Africa meeting in
Sudan to issue solidarity messages supporting his regime.
He hopes to repeat the same showing in Maputo.
Govt backtracks on killings/torture probe
THE government is backtracking on its promise to the international community
that it will investigate all cases of political killings and torture, the
Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Movement for Democratic Change MP Job Sikhala and his supporters, Taurayi
Magaya, Charles Mutama and Gabriel Shumba, were tortured by the police
earlier this year but no action has been taken against the culprits.
Sikhala, Magaya and Mutama had to receive specialist treatment in Denmark.
In February Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo in a letter to Australian
Prime Minister John Howard said President Mugabe had promised to deal with
"I raised the issue with President Mugabe who confirmed that
concerned had taken the case to court and that the police admitted with
apology that the MP was assaulted," said Obasanjo.
police were to take necessary disciplinary action against the
President Mugabe denied any government involvement in such police acts.
Allowing the case to be prosecuted in court must convince people that the
government was not behind the act and would not condone it," said Obasanjo.
Sikhala this week said there was no progress in the case.
"The last time they (the police) came to me is when I said I
was going to
sue them," he said. "Apart from that visit (in May) there has not been any
feedback on the issue."
In the run up to the 2000
parliamentary election in Buhera, two MDC
activists, Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika, were petrol-bombed and died.
Those alleged to have murdered the two are war veteran Tom Kainosi Zimunya
and state intelligence operative Joseph Mwale who is still terrorising
opposition supporters in Manicaland.
MDC legal secretary David Coltart said despite promises
attorney-general and the police to carry out investigations into the
Chiminya/Mabika case nothing has been done.
"I have raised the
issue on more than six occasions in parliament. I have
approached the attorney-general and the police commissioner but no
investigation or prosecution has been done," said Coltart.
In another incident MDC
activist Tonderai Machiridza was allegedly beaten in
police custody. Eventually he was taken to hospital, where he was chained to
a bed. A magistrate ordered his release and he spoke to journalists before
he collapsed and died on April 18. An autopsy showed that he died of
internal injuries from beatings.
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena said two police
officers were facing murder charges following his death. However, no
policeman has been prosecuted over the case.
Other cases still to be resolved include those of Coltart's
Patrick Nabanyama, who was kidnapped and is presumed dead, and farmers David
Stevens and Martin Olds who were murdered. There have not been any
successful prosecutions in the cases although the perpetrators are known.
Police spokesperson Inspector Oliver Mandipaka said he was not
ZBC faces lawsuit over car drama story
THE cash-strapped Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) faces a defamation
suit from Topper and Laurinda Whitehead for alleging the couple fabricated
the story of a man who jumped onto the back of their car and threatened to
burn it while they were driving during last month's mass action.
The incident took place outside Meikles Hotel in central Harare. The ZBC
flighted footage of the man threatening to burn their car and claimed the
episode was stage-managed to coincide with the G8 summit in France. ZBC said
the man might have been a journalist.
Topper Whitehead said
they had given ZBC seven days to retract their story
and apologise but the television station declined.
"I am now in the process of filing
papers to sue ZBC for defamation," said
version of events was supported by the chairman of the
Zimbabwe Liberators Platform, Anthony Mukwendi, who said he witnessed the
saw the group of men attacking a man outside the hotel and I took notice
of the filming of the event," he said.
"I followed for a few kilometres
when the man jumped behind the car but I
lost track of them," said Mukwendi.
Whitehead said the man was a war veteran and the matter had
been reported to
"We first reported the case at
Avondale police station and gave them the
name of the suspect," said Whitehead.
"We were then referred to Harare Central police station
(Law and Order). The
reference number for the case is 5770-03. We made a statement and gave the
police the video footage," Whitehead said.
He said the man jumped onto his car in an attempt to seize his
"The man was infuriated when we captured footage of him and his colleagues
attacking a man outside Meikles Hotel during the mass action called by the
MDC," Whitehead said.
"When the men saw that we were
filming them they ran towards our car and we
started off. Only one of them managed to cling onto the car and he was the
one who was threatening us," said Whitehead.
He said the man was related to a former Zanu PF
member of parliament.
CIO in clumsy attempt to smear MDC
IN a clumsy attempt to plant a fictitious story in the Zimbabwe Independent,
a suspected intelligence operative this week dropped forged documents at the
paper's offices purporting to show internal feuding in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
On Wednesday afternoon a heavy-set man clad in a brown jacket delivered to
the Independent reception desk an envelope addressed to the news editor
Vincent Kahiya. Kahiya was on his way out at the time the letter was
As Kahiya was
driving off he saw the man who delivered the letter driving
away in a white Nissan Hard Body truck with a Zanu PF logo on it.
The two documents
were on MDC letterheads. One of the documents, purportedly
written by the party's secretary-general Welshman Ncube to chairman Isaac
Matongo, said the MDC "Matabeleland province executive councils" were not
happy with perceived tribalism in the party. The other document said
Shona-speaking members of the executive had labelled their Ndebele
counterparts as docile during the mass action.
Ncube yesterday described the letter as "garbage".
"It was one of those CIO-generated documents," said Ncube.
"I would not
write a letter to my chairman because his office is next to mine and I talk
to him every day."
Ncube purportedly wrote to Matongo
to organise a meeting to iron out the
allegations are serious and warrant your immediate attention before we
brief the president," Ncube's alleged letter to Matongo reads.
"However, I am of the opinion that we first summon the executive to Harvest
House to discuss the issues raised as these threaten the survival of the
party which is already showing cracks and set to crumble following the
demise of the 'Final Push' and allegations of misappropriation of funds
meant for demonstrators."
The letter bore Ncube's signature at the bottom but a
close examination of
the signature showed that it was cut from a bona fide letter and then pasted
on the forged letter before being photocopied. The letter does not have a
date. The other document was not signed.
The documents also alleged that "Shonas" misappropriated $40
for Matabeleland. It said Ncube would be replaced by his deputy Gift
Chimanikire as the party's secretary-general during the party's next
Mugabe evades diplomatic showdown
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe recently avoided an embarrassing diplomatic backlash
by the European Union (EU) and its accession countries when he backtracked
at the last minute on his threats to expel British High Commissioner to
Zimbabwe, Sir Brian Donnelly.
High-level sources this week said Mugabe wanted to throw out the crack
British diplomat after the recent mass action that closed the country for
five consecutive days.
Mugabe accused Sir Brian, who before coming to Harare was
to Belgrade when former Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic fell from
power, of co-ordinating mass action and undermining his rule.
Addressing a rally in Nyakomba in Nyanga on June 12, Mugabe
warned that Sir
Brian would be expelled if he continued interfering in the country's
"This guy called Mr Donnelly, if he
continues doing it, we will kick him out
of this country," Mugabe said.
Sources said Sir Brian's expulsion would have led to the
bloc withdrawing its envoys from Harare in protest.
The EU's accession countries - those nations waiting to join
the group and
mostly former Eastern bloc states - would also have been asked to follow
Diplomatic sources said Foreign Affairs minister
Stan Mudenge prevented the
diplomatic fallout by urging official restraint.
"Mugabe wanted to expel Donnelly but we understand Mudenge
advised it would
be counter-productive to do so," a source said. "The EU countries would have
recalled their ambassadors in retaliation."
The EU has a common position on Zimbabwe's current
political and economic
crisis. The group has imposed targeted sanctions and issued a series of
statements condemning Mugabe's regime.
one of the key EU members, last year closed its embassy in Harare
in protest against the prevailing situation.
Head of the European Commission
Delegation, Francesca Mosca, was yesterday
unavailable for comment. Mudenge could also not be reached.
Donnelly has been the principal target of
Harare's propaganda offensive
since his arrival two years ago. Together with his Prime Minister Tony
Blair, he has been accused of trying to help the MDC to oust Mugabe from
But Sir Brian has dismissed the
officially contrived diplomatic clash
between Harare and Lon-don as a "false fight" and "non-starter".
In the latest edition of the Britain &
Zimbabwe magazine, Sir Brian says the
situation in the country has become untenable.
He said there was now "incontestable evidence of the
disregard for basic
democratic rights and freedoms" in Zimbabwe.
"With so many problems besetting Zimbabwe it is hard to
know where to
begin," he said. "Food, fuel, foreign exchange, are all in desperately short
supply. Millions of Zimbabweans are suffering as a result. HIV/Aids, a
tragedy in itself, is interacting with the food shortages with devastating
effects and threatens the collapse of the health and education sectors, as
well as family structures," he said.
Eviction notice death knell for horse-racing
ZIMBABWE'S largest horse-breeding estate, Spesbona Farm in the Trelawney
area, was last week served a Section 8 notice, dealing a major blow to the
multi-million dollar racing industry.
The Commercial Farmers' Union this week said the notice was one of many that
were being issued throughout the country to the few remaining commercial
Thoroughbred Breeders Association of Zimbabwe
chairman Peter Moor confirmed
that Spesbona, owned by Jeff Armitage, had been served with a Section 8.
"It's a big blow to the whole industry,"
Moor said. "Armitage has been one
of the most successful breeders with a history dating back over 20 years."
Moor said Armitage had been producing around 40 horses a year.
"Some of the horses he produced include
Grand Challenge winners such as
Match-Winner, Stay Alert and the Toss," he said.
Moor said over 75% of the horse-breeders in the country had
been forced off
their farms, putting the whole industry on the brink of collapse.
"Around seven out of 30 breeders throughout the country are
operational," he said.
He said the number of horses brought
onto the market over the past three
years had dropped as the farmers were being chased off their properties.
"This year we sold a mere 180
horses instead of a yearly average of between
400 and 500 horses," he said.
The thoroughbred breeding industry was producing some 400 foals
from a breeding population of roughly 700 mares and 30 plus stallions
expensively imported from South Africa and Europe.
those 400 foals, approximately 75 would be entered for the annual
whilst the rest were raced or leased privately," Peter Lovemore, a longtime
racing personality said.
"A small number were exported
and roughly 250 new horses were coming into
racing each new season," he said.
Lovemore said the breeding industry had been destroyed and the
"Breeding stock numbers have fallen to an
all-time low as mares have either
been destroyed by peasants who have invaded farms, or exported to
economically and physically safer countries in the region," he said.
"The stallion band, a pillar of any successful
industry, is also at an
historical nadir in terms of numbers and, more importantly, quality."
Lovemore said the effects were now impacting
disastrously upon the racing
industry where the number of horses in training had dipped well below the
marginal line of sustainability.
three years ago Zimbabwe boasted a healthy breeding industry,
racecourses, a resident colony of some 22 jockeys and over 700 horses in
training spread between at least 30 trainers.
"The number of
horses in training has halved. No more than half a dozen
jockeys actually live in the country anymore for security reasons," Lovemore
"This effectively means that the Mashonaland Turf
Club and various owners
must expend vast sums of money importing jockeys from South Africa and
Mauritius," he said.
Since the closure of
Bulawayo's Ascot racecourse in 2001, only Borrowdale
Park remains active in staging live racing.
Other famous breeding farms that have fallen
victim to the land reform
include Golden Acres in Marondera, which was forced to close down after
invasion by the ruling party militants.
every other industry, the breeding of racehorses requires finesse,
expertise, capital and, more than anything else, hope for the future. That
no longer exists," Lovemore said.
Tax boss says property purchase above board
ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority(Zimra) commissioner-general Ger-shem Pasi has
denied claims circulating in the tax agency that he fraudulently purchased
an upmarket property in Glen Lorne.
Property market sources say Pasi bought the property at a hugely discounted
price, allegedly prejudicing the state of millions of dollars in transfer
duty and tax.
But the country's chief taxman in an interview this week said he
property in March for $68,75 million after protracted negotiations.
Estate agents have put the market value of the property in the region of
Pasi said the purchase was above board.
"This is not the first time that there have been enquiries
about the house,"
"It had been on the market for a long
time and there were no takers.
Everything was done above board and the documentation is there," he said.
The sale of the property was
handled by estate agents Pam Golding and the
deal was concluded in March. This was confirmed by records at the Deeds
Office, which also show that Pasi has a house in Belvedere.
On the seemingly low purchase price, Pasi
said prices of houses were not
controlled, thus sellers charged what they wanted. He said he managed to
negotiate a discounted price because the property required extensive
renovation especially in plumbing and electricity supply.
When the Zimbabwe Independent visited the double-storey
property located in
a quiet cul-de-sac in the hills of Glen Lorne recently, there appeared to be
construction work taking place. The plaster-under-tile house sits on a
2,2-hectare garden sheltered by indigenous msasa trees.
Anonymous sources said to be calling from within Zimra have
claimed Pasi was
living beyond his means as he had purchased upmarket houses and acquired a
pool of cars. But he strongly denied any claims of ill-gotten wealth.
"I have a large investments portfolio built over the years
which I retire
occasionally to raise money for capital projects," he said. "I did not start
working yesterday. I have tried as much as possible to keep a low profile
because of security threats on me and my family, because of the nature of my
work," he said.
"I do not have a pool of cars. I have
my official car here on which I pay
tax and another I purchased through the car purchase scheme," he said.
Pasi said the only other house, which
he said he built using his own and
mortgage resources over a long period, was in Belvedere.
Local firms fume over tenders
LOCAL contractors have alleged unfair dealing in the award by government to
Chinese firms of two tenders for the construction of the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) and the Lupane government complex.
The tender for the MZWP project was awarded to the Chinese Electrical
Machinery and Equipment Company while a $2,6 billion deal for the Lupane
project went to another Chinese firm.
Chinese Water and Electrical Company was earlier this year
tender to clear land and grow crops on behalf of the government at Nuanetsi
Ranch in southern Zimbabwe.
North governor, Obert Mpofu, confirmed that a Chinese company
had been awarded the tender to construct the Lupane complex but would not
disclose its name.
"The Lupane government complex tender was definitely given to a
company but I cannot at this moment give you the name of the company that
won the tender," Mpofu said.
The local construction industry
has alleged clandestine dealings in the
award of the two tenders saying the two companies did not submit bid-bonds
when they bid for the projects.
Zimbabwe Builders and Contractors Association chairman
confirmed the allegations that the Chinese companies did not hand over
bid-bonds with their tender documents.
we have is that the Chinese did not have bid-bonds and that
is very wrong," Wutaumire said.
"We do not know what criteria the State Procurement
Board used to adjudicate
the tenders when the winning tender was meant to have been disqualified on a
technicality," he said.
construction companies submitted bids for the Lupane government
including Costain, Kuchi Construction, and Murray & Roberts.
Early campaign irresponsible — analysts
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s recent call on the ruling Zanu PF to start
campaigning for the 2005 parliamentary election will fuel political
instability and accelerate economic decline, analysts said this week.
Expressing dismay at Mugabe’s unexpected remarks, analysts said plunging the
country into volatile electioneering would exacerbate political uncertainty
and scupper efforts for economic recovery.
The University of Zimbabwe’s Institute for Development Studies political
analyst Brian Raftopoulos said engaging in campaigns two years before the
next general election was politically irresponsible.
“It simply means we will remain in a state of heightened political activity
and economic decline,” Raftopoulos said. “Political instability and the
culture of fear will remain and that is not a good basis for long-term
transformation and the building of an enduring democratic society.”
Mugabe told a rally in Shurugwi two weeks ago that he was already on the
campaign trail ahead of the next parliamentary poll.
“We should start preparing for the 2005 parliamentary election now because
2005 is not far away,” he said. This was widely viewed as the launch of what
could prove to be low-intensity but damaging electioneering.
Before his declaration, Mugabe, who has been traversing the country
addressing rallies whose real purpose remains obscure, had earlier set the
tone for the campaign in Nyanga where he incited his supporters to target
Addressing a rally in Nyakomba in Nyanga on June 12, Mugabe reportedly said
there was no place for white farmers whom he accused of destabilising the
country and undermining his rule.
He singled out opposition MDC MP Roy Bennett and another farmer, Pieter de
“These Bennetts and De Klerks are not deserving cases in regards to
allocation of land, because they are destabilising our society,” Mugabe told
the rally. “They are for illegality; they are supporting a party in its
programme of pursuing an illegal course to power.”
Three days after Mugabe’s remarks, Zanu PF youths and war veterans descended
on Bennett’s farms in Ruwa and Chimanimani destroying property worth over
Bennett is now suing Mugabe in his personal capacity for instigating
lawlessness and wanton vandalism of his property.
Mugabe’s statements in Nyanga were similar to government claims that the MDC
wanted to overthrow government during the recent mass action. MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and detained for two weeks on those charges.
However, High Court Judge Susan Mavangira dismissed the state allegations
that Tsvangirai had incited his supporters to oust Mugabe in her bail
“There is not a single statement in which the applicant’s (Tsvangirai’s)
precise words are used,” she said. “Bits of newspaper reportage relied on by
the state were not fact but a matter of editorial deduction that the
applicant meant that there must be a revolt, violent conduct or breakdown of
law and order.”
On the contrary, Mavangira said, Tsvangirai’s defence attorneys submitted as
part of evidence pamphlets and adverts distributed during the stayaway
mobilisation, urging people to be “peaceful, disciplined, vigilant and
As if to reinforce his earlier call for the start of barnstorming, Mugabe
last week appeared to encourage official impunity when he urged the police
to disregard laws that he does not want.
In a speech read of his behalf by acting president Joseph Msika at a police
passing-out parade at Buchwa Training Centre near Zvishavane, Mugabe said
the police should view legislation that he described as “remnants of
colonial laws” with “suspicion”.
Analysts say Mugabe’s remarks effectively meant police were empowered
through presidential fiat to choose which laws to obey or disregard even
though that is not their constitutional mandate.
They say law enforcement agents, like the police and courts, are there to
implement laws that exist and not pick and choose which legislation they
should comply with.
Critics point out that in a functional democracy, only parliament, in
collaboration with the executive, makes laws.
They note that the role of the executive is to initiate legislation.
Certainly, critics say, the executive has no duty to undermine laws on the
statute books just because they are not consistent with its political
When elected officials make it their business to encourage impunity,
analysts observe, it is a classic case of promoting the law of the jungle.
If Mugabe’s call for an early campaign for the 2005 general election is
anything to go by, it means Zimbabwe will spend five consecutive years
locked in an election mode and resultant political turmoil.
Since the February 2000 constitutional referendum, Zimbabwe has been in the
grip of political upheaval and economic implosion. The period has been
characterised by widespread violence, killings, torture, rape, arson,
intimidation and harassment.
The referendum campaigns and subsequent vote in which government suffered a
shock defeat set the stage for a brutal and bruising 2000 parliamentary
After the general election, there were by-elections in 2000 and 2001 and
then the volatile presidential election in 2002. This was followed by rural
council polls and more by-elections.
Now the country is preparing for urban municipal elections and after that,
according to Mugabe, the 2005 parliamentary election. In between there will
be more by-elections and this means that polls of one sort or another will
have convulsed the country for five years in a row.
Since 1980 Zimbabwe has not held peaceful elections whenever Zanu PF is
under serious challenge.
Before and after the 1980 general election, there was violence across the
country during campaigns. The late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, leader of PF
Zapu, complained that his party was unable to campaign in some parts of the
country because it was garrisoned by Zanu PF militias.
In his book, The Story of My Life, Nkomo says when told about the prevailing
violence and the need to create a peaceful campaign environment, Mugabe
bluntly responded: “Why should people campaign where they are not wanted?”
This unenlightened cast of mind still appears to hold sway.
Before his political rebaptism Mugabe’s current spokesman Jonathan Moyo
confirmed in a comprehensive account, Voting for Democracy: Electoral
Politics in Zimbabwe, that elections in the country, in particular the 1990
parliamentary and presidential polls, were characterised by violence.
Moyo argued that the determination as to whether a country is democratic or
not is ultimately settled by that country’s electoral system.
Using the 1990 elections as a case study, Moyo said Zimbabwe’s electoral
system and institutions were virtually dysfunctional and geared to serve the
interests of the incumbents.
Moyo accused Mugabe of violating the law and illegally occupying the office
of president before the elections.
“When Mugabe dissolved parliament on February 14 1990 (SI24E of 1990), his
act raised questions about the legitimacy of his presidency thereafter,
because he had, in fact, dissolved the body upon which his legitimacy rested
since he had not been popularly elected,” Moyo said.
“Unfortunately, this issue did not receive the public attention and scrutiny
Mugabe’s legitimacy is now once again being disputed. This time he is
accused of stealing last year’s presidential poll.
Moyo concludes that the 1990 elections, objectively speaking, were neither
“free nor fair”.
Nothing has changed in terms of electoral politics in Zimbabwe since then
except, of course, Moyo’s political metamorphosis.
Analysts warn that political instability likely to be engendered by renewed
electioneering would most certainly worsen the socio-economic situation.
Economic consultant John Robertson said this development would further hurt
the economy and ensure that Zimbabwe remains stuck in the quagmire for more
years to come.
“It would be seriously damaging to the economy and investor confidence,”
said Robertson. “With helicopters flying to every part of the country and
the motorcade all over the show it would be very costly to the economy.”
Protests: Yes, destruction and death: No!
RES Cook, in his letter to the editor of this esteemed newspaper, takes me
to task, whilst concurrently suggesting that most economists and economic
commentators are divorced from reality. He charges them with allowing their
economic dictates to obscure the need for actions which may not be
economically justified, but which should be pursued for other good and sound
reasons. In particular, he challenges the views which I expressed three
weeks ago when I contended that the mass action called by the Movement for
Democratic Change by way of a “stayaway” from work and protest marches was
ill-considered and destructive.
I welcome his disagreement with me to the extent that one of my objectives
in writing is to motivate and provoke dialogue and exchanges of opinion, for
I believe that as none know it all (yes, not even the honourable Minister of
Information and Publicity knows it all, even if he may believe otherwise!)
it is advantageous for frank and open exchanges of opinion to be
forthcoming, thereby enhancing the formulation of informed views and of
policies. However, I do not welcome the fact that his disagreement with my
perspectives of the mass action was founded upon a complete misunderstanding
of the foundations upon which my views were based.
It cannot justly be considered that a populace should not take actions of
protest against any absence of good governance, against blatant disregard
for the fundamental precepts of law and order, the basic principles of human
rights, against destruction of democracy, against dictatorial rule and
against tyranny. It is not only the moral right of people to oppose such
unacceptable governorship, whensoever it may occur in the world.
It is also their moral obligation to do so for the greater good of the
population, provided that such opposition is voiced in ways that comply with
just and equitable law, respect for the freedom of determination of others
and in such manner as has a possibility of a successful reversal of that
against which the protest is directed. The protest must be such as has the
prospect of success, instead of one which, with the possible exception of
attaining increased international awareness of the causes of the protest,
cannot achieve anything other than further to divide a desperately severed
nation and of causing even greater hardships, poverty and death for hundreds
and thousands, if not millions.
It was with the latter in mind that I condemned the recent MDC-organised
mass action. The strategies pursued could only play into the hands of those
against whom the MDC wished to protest. If there was overwhelming support
for the stayaway, government could blame the economic devastation that it
had caused upon the MDC and its protest action. If large numbers supported
the action, government could claim that that support was solely due to
intimidation, employer-created lockouts, and the like.
If, on the other hand, support was minimal, the government and ruling party
publicity machines and propaganda trumpets would be able to capitalise
thereon, claiming that it evidences an absence of support for MDC and
support for the government. This would be so even if limited support would
be attributable to totally different factors. So, such a form of protest
could only place government in a “win-win” situation. Surely that was not
the MDC intent!
On the other hand, that manner of mass action, whilst incapable of yielding
any beneficial outcome, inevitably causes numerous negative circumstances,
as was evidenced by the recent stayaway. A sadly ailing economy was rendered
even more ill. Many businesses that have been parlously teetering on the
edge of the precipice of collapse were subjected to further crippling
losses, making their ability to survive even more uncertain. Should the
stayaway have been “the last straw” which brings about the liquidation of
enterprises, then that stayaway would be culpable for the creation of yet
further unemployment, in a country wherein an estimated 80% of the
employable population is already unemployed. The resultant poverty for not
only those deprived of employment, but also for their wives, children and
extended families, will be massive. They will be faced with intensively
increased hardships and with their very survival in doubt.
Many of those fortunate enough not to lose their employment as a direct
consequence of politically-driven work stoppages nevertheless suffer great
discomforts and hardships. The disastrous state to which government has,
through gross economic mismanagement, reduced much of commerce and industry,
mining, tourism and agriculture results in an inability of many employers to
pay salaries and wages for services not rendered. So stressed are many
enterprises that the loss of revenues for a few days have prolonged
repercussions, and their cash flows precluded paying of wages to those who
supported the protest, even in instances where the employers were supportive
of the principles upon which the protest was based. As most employees are
desperately struggling to make ends meet, with rampant hyperinflation
continuously eroding their spending power, any loss of wages is cataclysmic.
Other long-term adverse repercussions include a reluctance of customers
abroad to source supplies from Zimbabwean industries, fearing that recurrent
work stoppages will cause unreliability of deliveries or, at best, prolonged
delays. As a result, Zimbabwe’s gravely decimated foreign exchange reserves
decline even further, intensifying shortages of fuel, energy, industrial
inputs, health-care requisites and much else. Thus the hardships of the
Zimbabwean people (with the exception of the corrupt, and the exception of
those at the helm of government enabling ready access to whatsoever limited
resource remains), intensify more and more. Already, the insufficiency of
food and of adequate health care is creating a fast accelerating death rate,
with the life expectancy of most of the population falling sharply. In rural
areas, and in high-density suburbs of Zimbabwe’s cities and towns,
malnutrition and ill-health are increasing rapidly. That this is so is
primarily due to government’s acts of omission and commission, but
work-stoppages are an undoubted contributor.
It could be argued that all this, as dismal and distressing as it is, is a
justified sacrifice in order to achieve much needed transformation, a return
to all facets of good, democratic governance. However, as work stoppages and
stayaways cannot be the catalyst of metamorphosis, and only play into
government’s hands, they serve no constructive purpose and the resultant
sacrifices are therefore meaningless. This was the intended thrust of my
article which provoked RES Cook’s criticism of me and other economic
In contradistinction, I submit that if a mass action is not only embarked
upon for the right motives, but is also pursued in such a form as can yield
the desired results, and is undertaken in compliance with any fair and just
laws, equitably applied (as distinct from those laws which are designed to
remove from the mass of the people the fundamental principles of freedom,
inclusive of the right of freedom of speech) then not only should there be
the entitlement to resort to such action, but those oppressed by unjust law,
tyranny and inhuman dictate must do so.
However, one of the characteristics of the “right” action must be that it
has reasonable prospects of achieving its declared objectives. There was no
way that last month’s stayaway could do so. It could only be damaging and
the source of even greater misery and intensified oppression.
In contrast, one must ponder why a proposal voiced some time ago by Tendai
Biti was never positively pursued. He advocated an organised boycott of all
businesses in which the ruling party owns shares, and of all businesses in
which members of the ruling party own substantial shareholdings. If properly
researched and details of such enterprises widely disseminated, inclusive of
inclusion in the plethora of full-page press advertisements so extensively
published by the opponents of government, such a boycott could be very
extensive, widespread and effective. It’s amazing how many politicians bleed
more from a wound to their wallets than they do from a wound to the flesh!
Properly orchestrated, such forms of mass action could exert great pressures
for change, without the disastrous prejudices to the country as a whole that
the stayaways create. So I say to RES Cook: Thank you for voicing your
disagreement with me. Dialogue can only be useful. However, don’t imply that
economic commentators are not prepared to stand up and be counted, and that
they allow their perceptions of economic objectives as omnipotent and
overriding all else.
I for one support mass action, but not if it can only fail and, in doing so,
the lot of the majority is worsened, and the target of the action is
The root of misrule in Zimbabwe
ANYBODY seeking evidence of where responsibility for epidemic misrule lies
in Zimbabwe need look no further than an address made by President Mugabe to
a police passing out parade for senior officers last week. In a speech read
on his behalf by Acting President Joseph Msika and reported in the official
press, Mugabe called on the police to support land reform. They should not
be an obstacle, he said, to economic development but become the “bedrock of
this government’s drive to mould a citizenry which is mentally, economically
and politically liberated…”
It was crucial to cultivate a sense of loyalty and patriotism, Mugabe told
“The remnants of colonial laws that masquerade as capitalist interests
should always be viewed with suspicion by progressive African police
organisations and their governments,” he said.
Attacking the MDC, he said the police should guard against “the perpetuation
of subtle strategies by elements in our society who wish to ride on the back
of capitalist interests into the State House without recourse to democratic
His government was opposed, he said, to the “irresponsible use of such
democratic space to precipitate puppet opposition parties driving foreign
agendas… to sell out our independence and sovereignty, thereby derailing the
impetus for economic empowerment”.
It would be difficult to find a more irresponsible statement by a head of
state entrusted with upholding constitutional liberties. The duty of the
police is to uphold the law. Parliament determines what that law should be.
If Mugabe has objections to specific laws, his party, which has enjoyed a
parliamentary majority for 23 years, is in a position to repeal them. It is
not the function of the police to assume which laws the president favours
and which he objects to before carrying out their duty. Nor is it the duty
of the police to be the “bedrock” of attempts by government to “mould”
society’s thinking in one direction or another. That only happens in a
Mugabe’s objection to “capitalist interests” advancing on State House
provides no excuse for manipulation of the police. Parties favouring a
market economy are perfectly at liberty to seek the support of voters. Last
year 1,2 million people, according to official figures, voted for a market
economy and against Mugabe’s arbitrary land seizures. In reality, of course,
it was far more.
Last month Finance minister Herbert Murerwa was in Washington to hold out
the national begging bowl to the world’s most important “capitalist”
institutions. Clearly he did not go without the president’s approval.
The bottom line is Mugabe’s doctrinaire policies have seen the fastest
contraction of any economy in the world. They have resulted in over 70%
unemployment, 300% inflation and dependence upon donors based in Washington,
Brussels and London. What sort of independence and sovereignty is that? How
are the police supposed to defend the fiction that Mugabe’s policies are in
the national interest when the evidence of their eyes every day suggests
The rights of Zimbabweans are enshrined in the constitution’s Bill of
Rights. These include the rights to expression and assembly. How the
opposition uses its democratic space is defined by that constitution, not by
a ruler who has a direct electoral interest in limiting that space.
Mugabe’s likes and dislikes are irrelevant here. He does not have the right
to abridge the rights of others in order to secure for himself a further
purchase on power. He cannot make puerile claims about the opposition being
“puppets” driven by “foreign agendas” and then order the police to act
Good governance and the rule of law are values shared by a majority of our
people. If they accord with the experience of successful societies
elsewhere — to which Zimbabweans are flocking in droves — that doesn’t make
them an offence. Rather the offence lies with rulers pursuing damaging
policies that have failed everywhere else they have been tried and then
telling police officers they should support such policies.
What “democratic practices” does Mugabe think the opposition have ignored?
Their applications to hold rallies have been turned down, their access to
Zanu PF no-go areas restricted, their statements distorted by the official
media, and their liberties curtailed by arbitrary arrest and detention.
“It is vital for the public to work with the police since the culture of
demonstrations and stayaways is not in sync with the government’s desire to
consolidate our national unity and turnaround the economy…” Mugabe told the
The street demonstrations and stayaways are the direct product of hardships
Mugabe’s misrule has engendered. They are arguably the only recourse left to
a hungry and pauperised populace. But whatever the case, it is not for
Mugabe to determine what kind of political culture should be permitted. The
whole purpose of a constitution in a society guided by the rule of law is
precisely to prevent overweening rulers like Mugabe using state
law-enforcement agencies to his advantage while at the same time disabling
his political opponents.
The police have already forfeited public support by appearing to side
with oppressors against the oppress-ed. An interview with a prostrate and
badly-beaten MDC supporter, Tonderai Machiridza, just 24 hours before he
died of his injuries, screen-ed on BBC’s Panorama programme recently,
exposed to a world-wide audience the vicious consequences of a culture of
This is not something any Zimbabwean can be proud of, least of all those
entrusted with upholding the law.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s comparison of Zimbabwe’s regime with
that of Burma’s, where state violence against a popular opposition has
ensured for that country the reputation of a rogue state, appears to have
stung members of Mugabe’s inner circle.
And so it should. Zimbabwe’s international standing has been prejudiced by
ongoing state-sponsored terror and impunity for those who have assaulted,
tortured and killed members of the opposition. Zimbabwe’s rulers are getting
the reputation they deserve.
Top of the agenda for any inter-party talks must be a restoration of the
rule of law and professionalism in the police force. There can be no
political settlement, no fair electoral management, and no public or
investor confidence without broad acceptance of a non-partisan force
committed to upholding the rule of law — not the diminishing political
fortunes of a president who appears intent upon doing as much damage as
possible before he is finally obliged to go.
Govt continues to blow RBZ funds
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s weekly advance to government continues
to escalate, shooting up from $3,8 billion in early March to $50,3 billion
by the end of April.
The central bank says Zimbabwe's economy has been contracting since 1996
when both productivity and economic activity nose-dived from their peak
attained in that year.
In figures for
May released this week, the central bank said weekly advances
to government steadily ballooned from $3,793 billion on March 14 to $50,291
billion on May 16.
The RBZ did not shed light on what projects the money had been
used for, but
analysts speculate that the bulk of this borrowing went to pay salaries of
the bloated civil service.
In less than two months the figure more than doubled.
The RBZ said during this time lending to
banks increased while credit to
government domestic debt as of March 14 stood at $344,9 billion,
increased to $446,101 billion as of May 16.
The RBZ said:
"During the week ending April 30 2003, cheque transactions
amounted to $708 billion. Of this, 84,2% constituted high value items, and
the remainder, low value. By volume, low value transactions accounted for
80%, while 20% related to high value."
Despite government insistence that commercial
agriculture was flourishing
and tobacco chalking up billions, the bank said Zimbabwe's foreign currency
earnings from the golden crop continued to decrease.
The tobacco farming community has not been spared by
land resettlement programme which has witnessed large-scale commercial
farmers removed from their land and replaced by new farmers with less
Some of the new farmers diversified
into maize production instead of
tobacco - a major foreign currency earner.
The RBZ said as of May 9 this year, cumulative tobacco sales
1,9 million kilogrammes of tobacco had been sold at an average price of
US$1,83 per kg.
This compares to 4,7 million kg sold at
an average price of US$1,81, during
the corresponding period last year.
In its unaudited results for the six-month period ended April
heavyweight tobacco firm Tobacco Sales Floors Ltd (TSL) this week told
shareholders that urgent attempts needed to be made to revitalise tobacco
production over the next few months.
TSL said: "Latest
estimates of this year's tobacco crop indicate a volume of
approximately 80 million kg, less than half of last year's production. The
prospects for next year's crop are similarly poor."
Government however continues to
insist that more tobacco would be sold this
year because of the "huge success" of the small-scale farming sector.
The small-scale sector has faced nightmares because tobacco is an expensive
crop to grow and commercial banks have refused to lend new farmers money,
saying the industry was now high risk.
The RBZ said since 1995 Zimbabwe's output and productivity
had followed a
This pattern means that the
country's productivity had been rising and
falling in tandem with economic performance.
"This confirms the fact that a country's productivity
growth plays an
important role in helping it achieve economic growth and higher standards of
living," the RBZ said in its report.
Ours was victory of a different kind
CRITICISM of the "failed" June street protests has one wondering about the
meaning of political victory. From the mild attacks on the MDC to the
scathing attack on the public for not heeding the call, one is inclined to
suspect that a carpet of dead bodies on the streets or a takeover of State
House would have constituted victory!
Morgan Tsvangirai misread the situation and underestimated Mugabe's
readiness to decimate his own people when he called on "millions" to take
part in the protests.
With the state security apparatus deployed on the streets
days before the
protests, the stage was set for a scene reminiscent of the merciless
massacre of hundreds during the pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests.
Fortunately, the people intervened and scored a victory of a kind.
Today, we're relieved and disappointed. We're relieved because we'll not
spend our hard-earned dollars on a mass funeral. We're disappointed because
Mugabe is still the tenant at State House. After our historic rejection of
Mugabe's bogus constitution in 2000, and impressive feats in the
parliamentary and presidential elections, we still hold the final nail to
drive into Zanu PF's coffin.
Zimbabweans were in agreement with
Tsvangirai, but were monitoring the enemy
much more closely. They hijacked the MDC's battle and fought it on their own
terms. Come Monday, June 2, they made the best of decisions under the
emerging police-state scenario. A few ventured into the streets but millions
By the end of
the week, Zimbabweans had scored a stunning victory.
The military and militia who had for weeks been psyched up for a rendezvous
of target-shooting practice on our streets returned home a disappointed lot.
The people saved themselves from an approaching bloodbath. Theirs was a
tactical retreat, not surrender. They redefined political victory.
Political victory in the
context of the struggle in Zimbabwe has assumed a
new meaning. It is now people-power that provokes Mugabe's full military
muscle into the streets. Now it is fearless, unarmed students and the public
confronting military tanks and trigger-happy cops toting AK47s.
Victory is the defiant
spirit of the minimum-wage labourer who stays home;
it is the commuter omnibus operator who gives his overused vehicle a
deserved rest. Victory is the hungry school boy deprived of the chance to
attend school. Don't forget Mohamed X, the shop owner in downtown Harare,
Michael Y, the industrialist, and the flamboyant Musorobanga Z, who
temporarily closed shop in spite of government threats.
The late Marcus Garvey once said: "Action,
sacrifice, self-reliance, the
vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the
oppressed have seen and realised the light of their own freedom."
Only Zimbabweans can slay this monster, Zanu PF.
During the "failed" protests, millions of Zimbabweans poured into
streets, stood defiant to Mugabe's tyranny, called him to step down - in
spirit. Even if by some miracle the MDC and its leadership were wiped off
the face of the earth, we'd still have the opposition we have today - the
Zimbabweans would be their own worst enemies if they
revolution on the basis that one episode failed to dethrone the tyrant.
Mugabe's tyranny is the sire of our current political revolt; his terror,
our motivation. The longer he stays, the stronger would be our resolve to
By unleashing his full arsenal of terror on
an innocent, defenceless
population, Mugabe has pushed the people's drive for change deeper into
their public psyche. Winston Churchill once urged that: "If you're going
through hell, keep going."
From now on, defiance
of Mugabe's dictatorship becomes our culture, a cancer
in his obsolete brain. To exorcise it, he'd have to round up all adult
Zimbabweans and toss them on the bonfire of his vanities.
Obert Ronald Madondo,
Is destroying the country the only way to power?
ARE we all going mad? Is destroying the country the only way to get to
power? People are shouting their voices hoarse for sanctions against their
own country, isolation of their own country and for the worst misery to
Their logic - so we get angry and remove Robert Mugabe from power possibly
by violent means before the next presidential election.
This is akin to burning the whole house just because a
snake has run into
the house. This is stupid logic.
The world (the
EU/US) is destroying us all to get rid of one man. I don't
think they are acting in our best interests but for themselves.
The same world
(Britain) refused to apply sanctions against South Africa's
apartheid regime because it would hurt blacks more than the regime. What has
Is Mugabe queuing for fuel and food? It is us the ordinary
people who are
suffering. The world is trying to kill us en masse and then blame Mugabe for
it and we are cheering them on.
Our grave sin was
to vote Mugabe back into power. For heaven's sake didn't
we vote 58 MDC MPs, didn't we vote all executive mayors, didn't we vote in
all MDC councillors except one in Harare? That was the best we could do.
So to thank us
for that you kill our struggling companies with stayaways and
mass action. Even Morgan Tsvangirai acknowledged in the Daily News recently
that people do not want stayaways anymore. So why the MDC continues to call
for them baffles the mind.
I completely agree with Denford Magora that MDC leaders and
leaders should get off their high horses. Drop this legitimacy issue, stop
calling for sanctions and the isolation of your own people, go to the
negotiating table with Zanu PF.
George W Bush of the United
states got into power through questionable means
but the Americans have moved on and waited for the next presidential
election. Why can't we do the same?
For a party that was formed a few months before the elections
the MDC has
done remarkably well. Do not destroy all that because of greed for power.
What will it take?
THE failure by Zimbabweans to rise up in their millions and deliver the
final blow to President Robert Mugabe's illegitimate and brutal regime has
been a cause of disappointment and deep soul-searching to many people in and
outside the country.
Fear of the regime seems to outweigh the people's desperate yearning for
political and economic freedom. Zimbabweans are now prisoners of their own
The fear is not without
basis. This is one of the most brutal regimes that
the continent has ever produced. It is the same government that murdered
over 20 000 innocent people in the Midlands and Matabeleland in the early
1980s for standing in the way of Zanu PF's desire for political hegemony and
Mugabe's quest for a one-party state.
It is a chilling thought that none of the perpetrators of that
cleansing has been brought to book. Having benefited from a presidential
amnesty, they are roaming the country freely and have now unleashed their
terror on the nation while the whole world watches helplessly.
Many people have been displaced, tortured or killed over
the past three
years as Zanu PF fights for political survival in the face of strong public
opposition, particularly in the urban areas. A combination of factors,
namely ignorance, fear and lack of political sophistication, has kept the
rural areas firmly under Mugabe's grip. It is difficult to dismiss the
terrible thought that one day Zimbabwe might be shocked to find mass graves
of victims of Zanu PF's violent campaign to thwart the opposition MDC threat
in the 2000 parliamentary election and the 2002 presidential poll. Rural
areas are presently inaccessible to the independent media, the international
press or members of the opposition.
the danger that Mugabe poses to those who challenge him, the
current political paralysis in the country raises a number of questions.
Have Zimbabweans not suffered and been humiliated enough to realise that
taking to the streets in their millions is a risky but necessary step
towards their liberation from Mugabe's regime? What will it take to force
Zimbabweans onto the streets to demand justice, a return to the rule of law,
democracy and all the basic rights accorded citizens in a normal country?
also wondered whether the MDC is up to the task of challenging
illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe and whether it was right in its choice of
strategy and pronouncements in the period leading up to the week of national
Perhaps this is a somewhat harsh assessment
of the MDC. There is no doubt
however that the job stayaway was very successful in bringing the economy to
a complete standstill. By staying home en masse, even against unprecedented
levels of intimidation and state-sponsored violence, Zimbabweans
collectively delivered an unambiguous message to Mugabe's government. It is
instructive that staying away from work is a strategy chosen by Zimbabweans
to counter the brute force unleashed by Mugabe's military dictatorship on
those who elect to participate in public demonstrations against his
Be that as it may, one
would have thought that the dire economic situation
that Zimbabweans are subjected to on a daily basis should have caused all of
us to take to the streets and demonstrate loud and clear that we cannot take
this pain and dehumanisation anymore. Granted, the regime had mobilised its
rent-a-mob from the rural areas, the army, the police and its shadowy
paramilitary units and showed that it was prepared to kill if that was what
was needed to stop a massive street demonstration.
So we are to believe that while
Zimbabweans desperately want change from the
life of misery that Zanu PF rule has reduced them to, they were not prepared
to risk life and limb in their fight against this corrupt, repressive and
PF has reduced a whole nation to destitution and killed all hope except
for those benefiting from its continued rule. Life in Zimbabwe has been
reduced to a living hell and the most natural thing would be for Zimbabweans
to rise up and unshackle themselves.
Ponder this. Inflation is running at
over 300%, that is if you believe the
official statistics. Private-sector economists see inflation hitting 1 000%
by year-end. Unemployment is well over 70% and many businesses are teetering
on the brink of collapse. An acute shortage of fuel threatens many business
operations and has made the task of going to work a nightmare for all
commuters. On top of all this Zimbabweans are subjected to political
intimidation on a daily basis, state terror and the crudest propaganda
campaign that puts to shame Goebbels' much more sophisticated
spin-doctoring. All these and more are factors that should have caused
Zimbabweans to embrace the call by the MDC to take to the streets a few
weeks ago. But they didn't. Why?
While fear was a major
factor, the MDC's strategies must carry most of the
blame. Let us make one thing very clear. People want change but the MDC has
no capacity to deliver that change yet. It was swept to where it is by
people's anger against the tired and corrupt Zanu PF government and not
because it had a better political manifesto. It has failed to enunciate a
concise vision and show political passion. And of course its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is no Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Joshua
Nkomo or Herbert Chitepo.
His pedestrian style is insufficient to drive political
passions even in the
most down-trodden of black townships. This explains in part the calm during
his two weeks of imprisonment.
The MDC's call
for street protests was marked by confusion. First it gave
the government three weeks' notice of its impending mass action. This gave
Zanu PF ample time to prepare to quash the protests, including printing
T-shirts emblazoned with the words "No To Mass Action" and mobilising its
rent-a-mob from the rural areas. The MDC leadership proceeded to give street
names, times and dates of where the mass action would take place. Of course,
Zanu PF activists and the state military machine were at the venues before
them. The MDC top brass was nowhere to be seen when their leadership on the
streets was most needed.
To be fair, Tsvangirai was picked up by police from his home before taking
to the streets but most of the leadership played it safe.
The MDC's use of the independent media to inform the public of
and venues of the mass action played into the hands of the government. If
the MDC had been a grassroots-based organisation it would have used its
party structures thus making it difficult for the government to keep abreast
of events. Struggles such as the one the MDC is trying to wage have been won
without a sympathetic media. But it takes hard work, planning and living
with the people to put these structures in place.
also a tactical blunder to label the mass action the final push. By
calling it the final push the MDC raised the stakes and put its credibility
on the line. Politics is a game of taking risks. The higher the risks the
bigger the potential for a huge payoff. Unfortunately the very successful
job stayaway was far from being the final push.
It achieved a number of things,
though, among them sending a clear message
to President Mugabe and his regime that he no longer enjoys the support of
the urban electorate across the board. It also proved beyond any shadow of
doubt that only brute force will keep Mugabe in power. But it also
demonstrated that in spite of their desperate lives Zimbabweans have not yet
mustered the courage to confront a regime that has turned their dreams into
one long nightmare over the past three years.
The one clear result to emerge from the stayaway is the
stalemate. The MDC does not have what it takes to harness people's power to
drive Mugabe from office while Zanu PF's monopoly on coercive power is not
enough to crush the people's burning desire for change. This stalemate
should point both parties to the fact that they desperately need each other
to find a solution to the man-made crisis facing Zimbabwe. That solution can
only be found when both parties sit around a table and negotiate.While
regional and international intervention is important in finding a way out,
it is face-to-face talks between the two main protagonists that will get us
However, it is important to realise
that there are many in Zanu PF who will
fight against the prospect of talks as a way of extending their political
life. Chief among these is Jonathan Moyo whose political life depends on
Robert Mugabe. Talks with the MDC pose a direct political threat to him,
which is why he has used the government-controlled media to undermine talks
and to question the role of Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo.
His opposition to talks and indeed his venom against the MDC are informed by
personal interests rather than the public good. Such elements in both
parties must be made to realise that the more damage the country is
subjected to the longer it will take to get back to recovery.
It is time for true statesmen to emerge from
both parties and help find a
durable solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. And these negotiations must be
informed by the fact that the current crisis is as a result of Zanu PF's
corruption and mismanagement and that Mugabe's government is illegitimate.
For its part, the MDC must now realise that more stayaways and street
protests will further ruin this country and that its call for a failed final
push has hurt its credibility. The MDC can only stay away from the talks if
it knows that it is able to mobilise massive public support to drive Mugabe
Issues to be negotiated are when will
Mugabe go. Mugabe and his side-kicks
have long passed their sell-by date. The talks must also focus on the nature
of constitutional amendments required to put a transitional administration
in place and the form and composition of that administration. The talks
should clearly set out a timeframe for a new constitution and a date for
fresh presidential and parliamentary elections under the auspices of the
This will be the easy
part. The more challenging task will be rebuilding
this country and its national institutions which have been devastated by 23
years of Zanu PF rule. And in this Zimbabwe will need the support of its
regional and international partners.
Mugabe's rule, particularly over the past two years, is a
seminal lesson on
how African civil wars are made. Thank God Zimbabweans have declined
Mugabe's invitation to a civil war. For how else does one characterise his
blocking of all avenues to free expression of political choice by
Zimbabweans? How else does one describe his use of force and violence to
frustrate a new political dispensation?
accept unconditional talks with the MDC to give Zimbabwe a
chance to live again. Even the most heartless and selfish of politicians
must be touched by the suffering of Zimbabweans from all walks of life. The
world wonders whether Mugabe cares about anybody other than Robert Gabriel
Mugabe. His decision on whether to begin negotiations with the MDC should
help answer that question.
A madman wielding a hammer
By Paul Taylor
THOUGH Robert Mugabe is not, to his credit, as clever as he sometimes
sounds, neither is he as clever as he fondly imagines.
His central political insight, which ensured both his rise to power and his
inevitable fall, is the Maoist assertion that "power blossoms from the
barrel of a gun".
Over the years, because of his instinctive preference for
violence, he has
sacrificed the tools of statecraft on which leaders in civil societies
customarily depend: popularity, legitimacy and respect for the invisible
all-powerful social contract which defines the rights and obligations of
governors and the governed in any ordered society.
Now he has to hammer the nation for the sake of survival.
After all, a
hammer is all Mugabe possesses: and, as the great psychologist Abraham
Maslow once said: "When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem
begins to resemble a nail."
There is a blossoming parallel
market for scarce fuel? Bash! Outlaw the
carrying of fuel in jerrycans. Banks are running out of money in response to
staggering hyperinflation? Smash! Outlaw the carrying of cash in large
quantities. The people are protesting increasing levels of oppression?
Crash! Intensify oppression.
As Mugabe frantically swings out with his hammer not only
to crush his
enemies but also in an effort to mend the economy that he has already
pulverised, he is demolishing the remaining foundations of his own power
structure and the modern state of Zimbabwe itself.
a psychologist like Maslow would have seen a very old man in a
very tight spot who is a danger to himself as well as those around him; a
man who is psychologically fragile, emotionally unstable and increasingly
given to paranoia.
Maslow would have understood that we are faced with one of
occasions when a person who has lived a long life must be removed to a place
of care before he can inflict further harm on himself or those around him.
He would have commenced the necessary procedures for the
institutionalisation of a patient desperately in need of intensive geriatric
Unfortunately, in Zimbabwe we do not have
the options available to the
mental health professionals of the United States. Maslow's patient is our
president. And whatever so-called experts in South Africa and even in
Zimbabwe say, the old man and his trusty hammer are going nowhere.
People in Matabeleland know this very well. There are
too many skeletons of
the Gukurahundi era yet to be discovered for Mugabe to think that a peaceful
and secure retirement is possible. How can he be given an unconditional
amnesty when we do not yet know the full extent of what he has done?
And people who know Mugabe very well understand it too.
James Chikerema, who
grew up with Mugabe from childhood in Zvimba, recently reiterated that the
old man would hold onto power to the death.
Perhaps it is time for those of us in civil society to accept
that there is
no sense in trying to persuade the old man out of power. Flattery is
In the 1980s he was showered with
pangolins at home and honours abroad just
as his minions were ravaging the homesteads and villages of Matabeleland and
the Midlands. He was Karigamombe.
In the 1990s as civil society came of age and his
subjects grew increasingly
discontented, his ministers still abased themselves in his presence,
crawling before him as one anonymous account puts it, as if they were lower
than crocodile dung. He became Gushungo.
All this flattery has gone to the old man's head. Indeed,
he appears to
believe that he will continue to influence Zimbabwean affairs from beyond
the grave. He warned opposition supporters, "Ndinovamukira" (ie I will haunt
them from beyond the grave as a vengeful ghost).
this case there is no sense in civil society commentators trying to ease
him out of office with words of mellifluous praise. Sad to say, people who
should know better are reviving the nonsensical argument that if we flatter
Gushungo sufficiently he will surrender power and wander off into the sunset
with his goblins and witches and Grace.
Such efforts will only cement the
elderly man's bottom onto his throne and
they add no dignity to the democratic struggle which has seen the shedding
of so much blood over the years.
There is no sense in the suggestion that Mugabe should be
accepted as the
fair winner of the 2002 presidential election. To pretend otherwise - to
imply that in truth Mugabe won the election by a margin of 1,6 million votes
to 1,2 million for his opponent - is an unworthy flip-flop. Where is the
dignity in this approach? Do we believe in the politics of participation or
the politics of propitiation?
There is no sense
in the MDC offering to climb into bed with Zanu PF's tame
generals. As an inveterate writer of letters to newspapers has pointed out,
the mate of the black widow spider never survives her loving embrace. The
generals should be told if they step out of line they are in for the high
time to accept that Mugabe will not go voluntarily, today, tomorrow,
in six months or a year.
It is time to accept that, insofar as Mugabe is
capable of imagining
Zimbabwe when he is a ghost, he intends that his successor will be Emmerson
Mnangagwa, a man who has the distinction of carrying a hammer just like his
It is time to accept that
Mnangagwa in particular is a man of the mould not
so much of Mikhail Gorbachev or De Klerk as Idi Amin.
It is time to accept that Zanu PF
lacks the capacity of either the Soviet
Communist Party or South Africa's Nationalists to reinvent itself as a
partner in a peaceful transition to civil style politics for the sake of
self-interest if not patriotism.
It is time to accept that Zanu PF's intransigence and
violence guarantee the
inevitable demise of Zanu PF's hegemony. It is time to accept that what
Mugabe and his party have destroyed and will destroy people of goodwill will
one day rebuild.
Our freedom will come, not
because Mugabe deigns to give it to us, but
because it is our God-given right and nothing less can be acceptable.
Paul Taylor writes on civic issues.
Zimbabwe needs a new type of president
By Chido Makunike
THOSE who argue that the solution to Zimbabwe's many and escalating problems
is not simply to get rid of Robert Mugabe as president are stating a truism,
but one that disingenuously does not tell the whole story.
Of course it will take more than deposing Mugabe to solve the complicated,
long-running problems we face, and it will take many years after he is gone
to do so.
None of this changes the fact that there is
very little prospect of solving
those problems as long as Mugabe remains president. There is abundant
evidence that our plight will only worsen as long as he rules. None of the
now very necessary help from the international community will be forthcoming
as long as Mugabe is around, nor does he have the skills and interest to
mobilise local resources to get us out of the quagmire.
He is more a source of division than of unity, a destroyer
more than a
builder, a warrior when peace-making ability is what is required. He simply
must go before we can seriously contemplate reconstructing and healing an
impoverished, traumatised Zimbabwe.
Some would go to
the extreme of saying virtually anybody else as president
would provide relief from the Mugabe legacy. They would be happy to settle
for even some of the dubious characters within Zanu PF who are being
marketed to us as presidential material. The argument is that while it would
be best to have a completely new dispensation, this may not be realistic
because Zanu PF would not allow it.
According to this view, we might just have to make do
with whoever the
ruling party gives us, in gratitude to them for having spared us from the
further blundering, repression and decline that is guaranteed with Mugabe at
This is nonsense of course,
but such is the fear and defeatism that Zanu PF
and Mugabe have instilled in us that a surprising number of people would
settle for such conditions of putting the Mugabe era behind us. While Mugabe
is dangerous and harmful to Zimbabwe as an individual, we must also cleanse
our politics of what he represents. If we don't, we might feel short-term
relief at seeing the man gone, only to find that his successor continues
with his negative legacy.
It is both Mugabe the person and the failed system of
governance that he
stands for that need to be overhauled. We don't just need a fresh face at
the presidential palace; we need a fresh way of doing things.
We need a president who takes seriously the task of improving
condition of the people in every way. The president must get his sense of
power and prestige not from imperiously watching his private mobile army
scatter traffic and pedestrians as his motorcade screams down the road, but
from a respect he earns from the public for being seen to be doing his best
for them under the conditions obtaining.
A good president
must desire to be respected more than he is feared. He must
be able to empathise with the plight of citizens at all levels of society,
even if he does not personally face the same problems as them.
Mugabe filled me
with revulsion when a few weeks ago he said "most of the
people are happy with their lot". This reflected an arrogant prescription of
what we should be happy with, rather than listening to our cries for relief
from the hardships he bears considerable personal responsibility for
bringing about. Who the hell is he to tell us to keep our needs "simple"
when the freeloading, unproductive ruling elite lives off the fat of the
land by crookedness and plunder?
Incredible as it seems, it may also be a sign of a
delusional person who
really is blind to all the evidence of suffering around him. Periodic,
genuine rather than aggressively defensive expressions of appreciation and
regret at what the majority of Zimbabweans have been going through the last
few years would have gone a long way towards retaining the respect a
majority of Zimbabweans had for him once upon a time.
don't want a president who is a coward, so frightened of the inherent
dangers of a job no one forced him to take up that he cannot mingle easily,
freely with the people. Mugabe now studiously avoids the urban electorate
that has convincingly rejected him recently, but this is precisely where he
should be launching a charm offensive, assuming he has any charm left.
president of a modern nation should be flexible enough to discard ideas he
is tied to that prove wrong or unworkable. There is nothing "principled"
about a consistency that is destructive. Rigid ideologues have as much
chance of successfully adapting to fast-changing conditions as the now
extinct dinosaurs of old.
We have learnt that there is nothing intrinsically
impressive or useful
about a pedantic approach to education. Having years of higher education -
certificates, diplomas and degrees - plastering one's wall and academic
titles on their own do not confer the kind of smarts, wisdom and heart to
make an enlightened, effective leader.
I would rather
have a simple president who is confident enough to go and
visit a farm dressed for comfort than a "sophisticated" president who is
clearly out of touch with things. I want a president who is more concerned
with results than flashiness, who values substance more than appearance.
must be more concerned about what Zimbabweans think of his
performance than revel in the cheers of people in Soweto or in Harlem who do
not have to live with the effects of his words and actions. I do not expect
to have a president who is without flaws, any more a paragon of virtue than
the rest of us. But murderers, notorious international outlaws, plunderers
of Zimbabwe's and other nations' wealth who make the rampaging colonialists
look like rank amateurs should not even be in the running for the position
Chido Makunike is a Harare-based political