Gono's 'secret' out Dumisani Muleya THE indelible
ink used during the hotly-disputed 2002 presidential election could save
former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri, currently undergoing a corruption
trial for alleged externalisation of scarce foreign currency, from a guilty
Intelligence sources said the "classified security item" which
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono refused to disclose in an open court last
week when he testified in Kuruneri's case was the indelible ink used in the
Gono told the court he personally invited Kuruneri to
provide US$500 000 - which is at the centre of the externalisation
allegations - to save the country from a potential "national
He said had it not been for Kuruneri, Zimbabwe could
have plunged into "catastrophe" but refused to reveal the details of the
issue, citing national security concerns and the Official Secrets
The sources said the presidential election hung in the balance
due to lack of foreign currency to buy the ink until Kuruneri chipped in at
the last minute to save the situation.
Zimbabwe at the time could
not raise the US$500 000 needed to buy the ink. The sources said Kuruneri
emerged as the knight in sh...[ends here]
Alliance bungles anti-blitz protest Augustine
Mukaro YESTERDAY'S anti-government mass action organised by a coalition of
opposition parties and civic groups to protest the ongoing demolition blitz
was a flop largely due to poor organisation and lack of
Observers said the failure of the stayaway exposed the waning
influence of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and
its allies, the same coalition that managed to stage a five-day mass action
that brought the country to a standstill in June 2003.
groups involved in the failed protest are the National Constitutional
Assembly, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and a number of NGOs. Human rights
group were also part of it.
However, the broad alliance seemed to
have bungled the protests, showing the alliance has lost the political
initiative. In 2003 the MDC was on top of the situation and reduced
President Robert Mugabe to a prisoner at State House as people stayed away
from work for a week.
Back then, even civil servants who do not
belong to the main labour body, joined the stayaway. Most workers stayed
indoors, thus denying the security forces an excuse for a major
Yesterday most workers reported for work and businesses
Shops, banks, offices, industries and different service
centres were open.
Zimbabwe's main cities were a hive of activity. It was
business as usual in Harare.
In Bulawayo, the second largest
city, the situation was the same.
There was a heavy police presence in
parts of the cities and towns and in the streets. Three Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) activists were arrested in Bulawayo for allegedly
organising the mass action. The three, Percy Mcijo, David Shambare and
Ambrose Manenji, were picked up from their homes at around 5:00am and
detained at Bulawayo central police station.
"The ZCTU has not
ascertained the fate of the three who are still in police custody but has
already instructed lawyers to handle the issue," the unions' spokesman,
Mlamleli Sibanda, said.
Despite the failure of the mass action,
organisers said they were satisfied with it. Spokesman for the alliance
Lovemore Madhuku said traffic was thin in Harare "showing a lot of people
did not report for work".
"It has been reasonably successful,"
Madhuku said. "More than 50% of the workforce in Harare and Bulawayo didn't
report for work."
Outspoken MDC MP Job Sikhala said the stayaway
succeeded in expressing popular disenchantment.
"The stayaway was
not about closing businesses but voicing dissatisfaction with government's
demolition campaign," Sikhala said. "We have managed to do that and we are
convinced it will be more effective tomorrow (today)."
clean-up campaign took an ugly twist last week with bogus housing
cooperatives that sprouted from the chaotic land seizures coming under siege
from disillusioned members demanding their money back.
More than 30
housing cooperatives exploited the country's haphazard land reform programme
to swindle thousands of homeseekers from all walks of life of billions of
dollars by allocating them stands on unserviced government or council
The majority of the housing cooperatives bore names of
national heroes such as Leopold Takawira, Simon Muzenda, Moven Mahachi,
Chenjerai Hunzvi, Sally Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.
apologist and self-proclaimed pastor Obediah Musindo of Destiny for Afrika
Network was also fingered in the illegal settlements across the country
through his 21st Century Housing Cooperative.
The cooperatives got
money through joining fees and monthly contributions ranging from $300 000
to $15 million.
Nyadzonia Housing Cooperative along Airport Road,
whose illegal structures were among the first to be demolished, charged $7
million per stand at the time of demolition.
secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Association told the Zimbabwe
Independent that unscrupulous businesspeople were making a killing by
cheating teachers into joining bogus housing schemes and failing to deliver
"We have to deal with members and non-members who have
lost their hard earned cash as a result of joining many shady schemes being
proposed to them by unscrupulous businesses," Majongwe
Majongwe said many teachers had joined Gwindigwi Housing
Cooperative in Harare and Marondera in which they contributed $25 000 each
since 2002 but nothing had come out of it yet.
Aneas Chigwedere officiated at the launch of the cooperative at the City
Sports Centre in Harare.
Majongwe said teachers had been duped into
joining bogus housing cooperatives run under the names of Zanu PF
People whose houses were demolished said they had already
sent emissaries to claim their monies from the cooperative
"We can't just sit back," one of the evictees said. "Those
who took our
money should return it. They made us believe that we would
be protected because of their political links to Zanu
Highly-placed sources at 21st Century Housing Cooperative said
home-seekers last week besieged Musindo's offices demanding their
Director-general of 21st Century Housing Cooperative Ronald
Kapofu dismissed the allegations as misleading.
"People want to
discredit our network," Kapofu said. "We follow the legal route and will
only allocate stands to our members once they are serviced."
Most of the
illegal settlements were established by Zanu PF aspiring candidates to
entice the electorate to vote for them.
Government has also
dispatched riot police to the country's small towns and growth points to
clear-up all flea markets and home industries.
Irate informal traders
operating at growth points and along major highways leading in and out of
Harare said police destroyed their stalls, which had become their only means
Informal trading had become the lifeline for more than
80% of the country's population rendered jobless by the economic downturn
and company closures.
Over the past three weeks government has
demolished tuckshops and backyard structures and home industries in the
country's major cities under the pretext of cleaning up the
The operation has since been challenged in court and a
petition to stop it has been handed over to the United Nations by the Mbare
Residents Association. - Staff Writers.
MDC rubbishes reports of infighting Ray
Matikinye THE MDC has dismissed reports of power struggles rocking the
opposition party over what strategy to use to confront government
The opposition party told the Zimbabwe Independent that its
constitution was "quite clear on succession issues".
reports over the past two weeks said infighting threatened to split the
opposition party into tribal cliques, with fierce jockeying for key
executive posts ahead of the party congress slated for January next
The wrangles are also said to emanate from differences between
intellectuals and trade unionists.
MDC national director of
elections Ian Makone, university lecturer Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro,
and ousted Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri were reportedly eyeing posts
in the national executive.
But the MDC says what was interpreted as
factional fights in recent weeks stemmed from a frustrated party
constituency demanding an immediate and more radical response to Zanu PF's
disputed victory in the March poll.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said: "People are frustrated and angry (believing) that the leadership
should have taken a radical approach soon after the results were announced
and this frustration and differences in approach have been misinterpreted as
Presidential spokesman William Bango said: "It
would be too ambitious for those cited as front-runners vying for posts they
are said to be eyeing. In the first place the constitution is quite clear on
the modalities of succession and it would be difficult for a person in the
lower ranks to aspire to the national executive."
while the trio has ambitions, they each knew very well their chances of
rising to the positions they aspire to.
"Mudzuri is a district member
while Mukonoweshuro is a ward member. They both have to fight to retain
those positions and graduate to the high echelons of the party according to
the constitution," Bango said.
According to the MDC constitution, a
member starts at the lowest structure, graduates to the ward, district and
province up to the national executive.
Meanwhile, Mudzuri has distanced
himself from leadership wrangles saying he is not vying for the party
"I have never made my intentions known to
anyone that I would want to be party secretary-general and I was surprised
by the inclusion of my name.
Perhaps it is the work of people who want
the post themselves and are trying to smear other people's reputations to
enhance their chances for selection," Mudzuri said.
"In fact, the
type of democracy prevailing in the MDC has no room for an individual to
nominate himself or herself for a post as alleged. The request to stand for
any post comes from the general membership of the party."
Sunshine city now only for the rich Ray
Matikinye ZANU PF launched "Operation Murambatsvina" in urban areas not out
of its concern about deteriorating standards of hygiene and rising criminal
activity but to forestall a festering nucleus of resistance poised to ignite
mass protests against economic problems, corruption and electoral fraud, it
Sources within Zanu PF say government feared opposition
parties could use the swelling numbers in the cities, especially Harare, to
trigger nationwide protests. The plan was hatched by the party at a meeting
but had to assume a human face by roping in city council
Political analysts see Operation Restore Order as a
pre-emptive strike against urban unrest over Zimbabwe's economic collapse
that has brought about joblessness and crippling shortages of basic
commodities and fuel.
Zanu PF became aware that the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions had been mobilising workers in the informal sector since
2004. Most of the flea market workers and vendors in the various towns and
cities lost jobs over the past five years due to the Zanu PF-induced
And facing increasing prospects of unrest over a
collapsing economy, Zanu adopted a scorched-earth policy toward perceived
potential foes riding on the pretext of a clean-up operation. It detained
thousands of Zimbabweans, torching homes and wrecking street kiosks as well
as displacing countless others from makeshift homes in major
Mugabe told the 61st session of the Zanu PF central
committee: "In each and every constituency, we are now able to gauge the
level of our support by locality and reconstruct the strengths and
opportunities of our party on one hand and threats and weaknesses on the
While he lauded party support from rural voters, he said the
"habitually fickle" urban voters withdrew their support through apathy or
voting for the opposition.
"The hostile urban voter has confirmed
that our campaign in urban areas has been ineffective. The near total sweep
by the opposition in Harare and Bulawayo remains undeserved, owing more to
our weakness than opposition strength," Mugabe told party delegates,
indicating how deeply he had been stung by yet another crushing rejection by
the urban electorate.
"We looked for votes from communities suffering
from acutely degraded municipal services right across the board," he
Mugabe ironically blamed the deterioration of services in
urban centres more on opposition MDC control than on the interference by
Zanu PF in the management of urban councils.
He however told
central committee members government would marshal all resources possible to
growth points, towns and cities to thwart growing popularity for the
opposition MDC in those areas over the next five years in order to win back
the urban electorate's support.
In the March election urban voters
handed Mugabe yet another rebuff by voting overwhelmingly in favour of the
opposition MDC. The opposition even reclaimed the Zengeza and Kadoma Central
seats it had lost in previous by-elections.
Mugabe's promised new
thrust reversed an earlier government policy that sought to withhold
critical financial support to cities and towns viewed as opposition
MDC-led councils inherited a legacy of deteriorating
urban infrastructure that has degenerated alarmingly over the past five
years due to an accelerated economic meltdown.
"What started as a
commendable action by the Harare city authorities to clean up the city took
a sinister turn when government went back on the policy of indigenisation
and started flattening flea markets and fruit stalls," Zimcet director David
More importantly, the blitz served to scatter the
urban electorate and reconfigure the demographic distribution of the victims
in a broader strategy to gain electoral advantage ahead of the presidential
election due in 2008, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says.
week's statement by Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo lends some credence
to MDC assertions. In the weekly message in the party publication, Nkomo
urged supporters to rally behind party candidates in municipal and local
government elections to be held soon. "Let us make sure our resounding
victory in the March elections translates into yet another emphatic victory
in local government elections. It should be obvious that MDC-led local
government structures will not vigorously pursue a Zanu PF-drawn national
agenda," he wrote in The Voice.
Another pointer to government's
action could be vice-president Joice Mujuru's call at the commissioning of a
$225 million project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency
in Lupane last Monday.
"Women in rural areas have a habit of running to
urban centres to seek employment. We want people in urban areas to leave
their homes and invest in rural areas because that is where the money is,"
A UN expert on the right to adequate housing, Miloon Kothari,
censured Zimbabwe's policy of evicting the urban poor and demolishing their
shacks around the country, likening the operation to a form of
"We are seeing in the world, and Zimbabwe is a good
example now, the creation of a new kind of apartheid where the rich and the
poor are being segregated," Kothari said.
"This kind of a mass
eviction drive is a classic case where the intention appears to be that
Harare becomes a city for the rich, for the middle class, for those that are
well-off and the poor are to be pushed away."
Police operation spreads to private businesses Loughty
Dube THE police Operation Restore Order this week moved into Bulawayo private
businesses where armed policemen stormed electrical goods shops and several
non-governmental organisations to demand receipts and forex details before
carting property away.
The latest police move comes a day after the
Bulawayo city council announced that it would lose about $756 million this
year in uncollected revenue if licensed vendors do not return to
The Independent on Wednesday witnessed truckloads of police
vehicles leaving private companies and some NGOs laden with an assortment of
goods that included computers and television sets among
Business people in the city, who spoke on condition of
anonymity for fear of police reprisals, confirmed that police stormed their
premises demanding receipts and proof of where they sourced foreign currency
for goods purchased in South Africa and in Botswana.
television sets that I ordered from Botswana and South Africa were
confiscated by police but some of the goods were purchased three years ago
and the receipts and importation documents have already been lost. How do
the police expect us to keep such old records for small goods like these,"
complained one businessman.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena
however defended the latest police action against the shops and legitimate
businesses saying police wanted to eradicate trade in stolen
"There is a lot of property that is stolen and sold in
legitimate shops and the process we are doing now is to stop the trade in
stolen goods. There are shops that are dealing in stolen goods," Bvudzijena
The latest action comes after police destroyed market stalls
and illegal backyard shacks in the townships. The police this week also
started to raid shebeens and other illegal drinking spots.
company had computers confiscated after its owner failed to explain where
the forex to purchase the computers from Botswana was sourced
The Bulawayo city council says it will lose a total of $756
million in revenue if vendors pushed out by police from their trading bays
are not allowed to go back.
Bulawayo executive mayor Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube said council was raking in $63 million in monthly payments by
the licensed vendors.
Police leave out own shacks in clean-up Takawira
Mapfumo THE ongoing clean-up campaign is being applied selectively as it has
not affected shacks and illegal structures at most police and prison camps
The police have been at the forefront of the operation,
demolishing thousands of shacks in high-density suburbs but a survey by the
Zimbabwe Independent has revealed that there are illegal structures at
Harare Central Prison and Tomlinson Depot that have not been
The police use the shacks at Tomlinson Depot for housing.
Other iron-corrugated shacks are being used as classrooms by Tomlinson Depot
There are also shacks at Harare Central Prison
Camp being used for housing. The shacks were not part of the initial
accommodation plan but were constructed because of a housing shortage in the
Police chief spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena however denied that
the shacks were illegal saying they were approved by the city council. He
said the shacks were safe and in line with city by-laws.
all police stations throughout the country have pre-fabricated housing
structures for junior officers due to accommodation problems.
log cabins are wooden modules which are a recent development. They are legal
and permanent," said Bvudzijena.
The prison camp has about two old
log cabins and three cement corrugated ones currently being used as barracks
for male officers, as well as an approximately 150 metre stretch of fowl
runs. There are also a dozen shacks at Tomlinson Depot.
City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said council was going to destroy
all illegal structures regardless of their location.
Mabhena warns Mugabe Loughty Dube FORMER
Matabeleland North provincial governor and ex-Zapu secretary-general
Welshman Mabhena has warned President Robert Mugabe to avoid pushing people
too far as they can revolt against him.
Mabhena said Mugabe was doing
everything to provoke the people whom his failed leadership and disastrous
policies had already impoverished in many ways.
He said he could
not understand Mugabe's growing "siege mentality and dangerous paranoia"
because no one "is fighting the government but the government is the one
fighting the people".
"Mugabe thinks people hate him and he is very
angry at everyone. That is why he is lashing out in all directions. I urge
Mugabe to take care of the nation's interests and avoid feeling threatened
by his own people."
Mabhena said people should not revolt but said he
feared Mugabe was pushing them too far. He said government should address
the real issues and not get involved in sideshows of no material relevance
to people's wellbeing.
"Mugabe should not tempt people to go into a
revolt but should ask them what should be done about this situation. People
know what should be done for us to move forward," Mabhena
"A true leadership cares for the national and people's
interests but when a leader fights his own people, it shows he has lost it,"
Mabhena said in a wide-ranging interview.
The former Zapu supremo
said the ongoing demolition blitz on shantytowns and vegetable vendors was
"People are afraid, angry and agitated but I say to them
no matter how painful the process is, they should not revolt but seek a
peaceful solution to this crisis," he said.
"If people rise
against government they would have fallen into Mugabe's trap and a state of
emergency would be used against them."
Mabhena challenged other
former nationalists to speak out against Mugabe's failed rule. He said
seasoned nationalists like James Chikerema should voice their disgust at the
"I challenge people like Chikerema and other
veteran nationalists to speak out and ask Mugabe whether this is what people
fought for when they took up arms against the colonial regime. Is this what
thousands of our fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and
sisters died for?" Mabhena said.
"Even the racist Ian Smith regime
was not like this. It was against the nationalist movements and the black
people but at least it ran the economy in a much better way despite that its
policies largely benefited a white minority," he said.
are seeing now is un-believable. Everything has just collapsed."
said he did not understand how destroying the informal sector and people's
makeshift homes would help ease the current economic crisis.
informal sector and poor housing have been with us since the birth of this
country. Even during the colonial era we had farmers who brought in their
produce which was sold on the streets and other such places. People earned
their living through that," he said.
"During the sanctions period
under the colonial regime people survived through self-employment and other
personal initiatives. I don't understand what this campaign of destruction
is meant to achieve," said Mabhena.
Minister's son wrecks govt vehicle Shakeman Mugari/
Takawira Mapfumo IN a clear case of abuse of state property, Education
minister Aeneas Chigwedere's son wrecked a government vehicle which he was
using for personal business.
The son, Gwinyai Chigwedere, damaged the
vehicle, a Nissan Double Cab registration number GED 636, after he hit a
road embankment while driving to his father's farm outside
The minister allowed his son to drive the truck even
though it is against government regulations. According to Cabinet Circular
Number 3 of 1992, it is illegal for ministers' children to drive government
The government paid a massive $119 million to repair the
vehicle. The vehicle was issued to the minister to use on trips to remote
Government was forced to pay for the repairs despite the fact
that Chigwedere should have personally met the costs. Chigwedere did not
report the matter to police as required by the law.
hand show that Chigwedere allowed his son to drive the ministry's vehicle to
the farm ostensibly to pay workers.
Although documents in our
possession show that the accident occurred on May 31 2003, the vehicle was
only repaired in February this year. During this period no one knew where
the vehicle was even though the minister kept pushing officials in his
ministry to repair it urgently.
The truck was later repaired at Floyd
Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd on February 8 this year. The invoice number for the
payment made by the ministry was IN101824. Voucher number 1900066924 was
used to authorise the payment.
Chigwedere took a month to report the
accident to government. In a report he made to the Education ministry's
permanent secretary, Thompson Tsodzo, Chigwedere accepted that it was his
son who had damaged the vehicle saying it needed "substantial
"I am sorry to report one ministry vehicle, No GED636
was damaged on Saturday 31 May, 2003," said Chigwedere in the letter to
"On the fateful Saturday, my son, Gwinyai, drove the vehicle
to my farm 15 kilometres out of Marondera, to pay our farm labourers," he
Chigwedere then filled in a government Transport Accident
Report form. In a copy of the report in possession of the Zimbabwe
Independent, Chigwedere put his driver's licence as 11246AM. Chigwedere also
accepted that the matter had not been reported to
President Robert Mugabe has of late been talking tough on
corruption in government. He has also lambasted government officials for
misusing government property.
Tekere says Mujuru best after Mugabe Shakeman
Mugari FORMER Zanu PF secretary-general Edgar Tekere says Vice-President
Joice Mujuru is the best candidate to replace President Robert Mugabe as the
Zanu PF leader and national president.
Tekere said Zanu PF legal
affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa should drop out of the race and make
way for Mujuru.
He said it was also time for Mugabe to go so a new
leader could take over. "I think people have been waiting for too long for
him to call it a day," Tekere said. "If you look in the region he is the
oldest leader and the odd one out. I mean someone must now take over from
Tekere said he was elated by the prospects of Mujuru succeeding
Mugabe. "I'm happy that we will be having someone like Mujuru as president.
She is the best we have at the moment," said Tekere. "Also I am sure her
appointment would improve our international image. At the moment I don't see
anyone capable of doing that in Zanu PF."
Tekere urged Mnangangwa
to "pull out of the contest" and support Mujuru.
"What I want to say to
Mnangagwa is stop entering the contest and support Mujuru. We can't all be
presidents at the same time," Tekere said. "I support Mujuru because we were
together in the bush. It's only natural that I would do
Tekere went further: "In fact the succession debate should be
closed now because we now have the right candidate. It's a case closed, we
now have the next president. What more do we want?"
Asked why he
thought Mujuru was the best candidate, Tekere said Mujuru had changed from
being a "mere school dropout to a soldier and then a
Reacting to accusations there was tribalism in the way Zanu
PF chooses its leaders, Tekere said: "It's not about regionalism and
tribalism. Regionalism and tribalism don't work. I'm campaigning for Mujuru
but I'm not Korekore. If it was about tribalism I would be saying (Security
minister Didymus) Mutasa should be the next president," he
Tekere however said Zanu PF was still riddled with corruption.
He said it was corruption in Zanu PF that had contributed to the economic
"I complained about corruption years back and they expelled
me from the party saying I was a rabble rouser. Now the country is in a
crisis because of corruption," he said.
Gono says right, Zanu PF goes left Godfrey
Marawanyika THE ruling Zanu PF seems bent on throwing a spanner in the works
of central bank governor Gideon Gono to build foreign investor confidence by
pulling left while the RBZ boss is talking of turning right.
Zanu PF appear to have parallel visions and if Zanu PF's intentions to
nationalise land are anything to go by, then Zimbabwe's hopes of winning
international sympathy are doomed, analysts have said.
to Zanu PF's planned legislative changes, the ruling party intends to amend
the constitution to allow it free rein in acquiring land, effectively
nationalising the asset.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is
understood to have crafted a document to that effect.
trying to lure international investors to come to Zimbabwe.
despite Gono's efforts to turn around the economy, his major challenge is in
reconciling decisions based more on political expediency than economic
rationale. Gono talks of land being a bankable asset while Chinamasa and
friends think otherwise.
Gono says in his monetary policy review he
is "setting the foundation for a more comprehensive framework for bilateral
investment promotion and protection agreements post the land reform and in
the promotion of new investment".
"We are pleased to inform our
potential investment partners with whom we have been negotiating for
investment that Zimbabwe, as a part of the global community, is fully aware
of the need to protect and encourage inward investments as a tool to attract
international capital mobilisation," he said recently.
other hand the ruling party is proposing that all land acquired for
resettlement automatically become state land.
amendment being proposed and recommended is to render and declare all land
that has been gazetted and to be gazetted in the future for acquisition for
resettlement purpose become the property of the state without the necessity
of going through the courts," Zanu PF says.
amendment will be so crafted in such a manner and form to put acquisition of
land for resettlement purposes beyond legal contestation."
senior bank economist who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the
intended nationalisation of land would send wrong signals to
"Any normal investor wants to know the status of property
rights which is what Gono is talking about, and makes sense in this case,"
the economist added.
"Zanu PF is going three steps back yet Gono
is battling to win the hearts of the very few investors who were prepared to
do business with Zimbabwe. Judging by the information emanating from Zanu
PF's intended constitutional amendments, we are in trouble just like when
the farm invasions started."
Since February 2 000 when the farm
invasions started, the country has not experienced any major meaningful
investment inflows because of the uncertainity over property
The current and capital accounts last year finished for the
fifth consecutive year in deficits, figures from the Ministry of Finance
By the end of last year, the current account had a
deficit of US$463,7 million and the capital account was minus US$211,5
The current account takes into account the country's exports
and imports, while the capital account takes into account issues such as
foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, and long-term and
Bulawayo-based economic com-mentator Eric Bloch
said government had to be clear on how it wants to handle the land issue,
especially the subject of 99-year land leases. He said if there is no
security in terms of lease agreements this could spell doom for
"The government should be forthright on what it wants to
do. If they adopt this attitude of just nationalising land without any
options of lease then we should forget about investment. The would-be
investor will just go to any other country where it is safe to do business,"
"There is also another problem of compensation, as people
want to know how they would be compensated. This (compensation) has to be a
matter of trust, but government has to be more forthright in whatever it is
Apparently the Zanu PF document on the constitutional
amendment is silent on whether there are going to be any leases of land.
Farm invasions blamed for milk shortage Chris
Goko/Eric Chiriga NUTRITIONAL foods company Nestlé Zimbabwe says it is
processing three million litres of milk, five times lower than its optimum
capacity due to a slump in dairy farm products.
Nestlé, makers of
condensed and powdered milk, coffee, and culinary products such as sauces
and seasonings, as well as selected chocolate brands, consumes 15 million
litres at its five processing plants in Zimbabwe when producing at full
Yves Manghardt, chairman and managing director of Nestlé's
South Africa, made the revelation when he presented the Swiss multinational
company's finances for the year 2004.
Manghardt, who is also in
charge of the company's operations in 19 southern and eastern African
countries, said his firm was capable of generating "healthy profits" and
fostering economic growth.
He emphasised though that this could only
be achieved with the implementation of "sound business principles" and
collaboration between Nestlé and host countries.
emphasised the need for business to make a long-term commitment to the
continent," Manghardt said on Wednesday last week.
"The company can
generate healthy profits and create benefits to the people of Africa," added
the Nestlé boss, who listed Zimbabwe among two other African countries
blighted by business and political turmoil.
Nestlé, whose primary
focus is shelf-stable dairy products, including
skimmed milk and cooking
ingredients, suffered milk supply disruptions owing to farm invasions
ordered by President Robert Mugabe's government.
Although it has been
working to assist small-scale dairy farmers, the outturn has been
disappointing and inadequate due to their limited capacity.
competing firm Dairibord and other operators have also suffered raw material
supply disruptions, thereby compromising quality and undermining product
Africa, he said, contributed more than 2,3 billion Swiss
Francs in sales last year alone.
With 27 manufacturing facilities
in Africa, Nestle's operations are anchored in mainly South Africa, Kenya,
Cote'd Ivoire, Mauritius, Nigeria and Uganda.
Manghardt said the company
would continue to make products of a high safety standard, but "tailored to
suit local tastes".
Burying informal sector creativity, enterprise Alex T
Magaisa THE recent clampdown on the informal sector in Zimbabwe's urban areas
demonstrates a characteristic contradiction that defies logic: instead of
resuscitating the capital that is locked away in the informal sector, the
authorities are attempting to bury it. The informal sector is a direct
product of the legal and economic conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe and
unless those conditions are properly and comprehensively dealt with the
recent clampdown will remain a superfluous exercise.
There are at
least two ways of looking at the informal sector. Firstly, it is a
reflection of the demise of the formal sector. Secondly, and more
positively, it is a reflection of the creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and
resilience of the people in the face of adversity. An appreciation of the
second positive aspect is crucial to overcome the negative decline of the
The strategy therefore should not be to wipe away the
informal sector, but to harness its potential in a way that builds into the
Many theories have been articulated in
attempts to explain the strategy taken by the government in recent weeks. As
is so often with many things in Zimbabwe today, the discussion has
invariably been placed within the framework of the human rights paradigm. In
my opinion, we must also understand it from an economic perspective - that
quite simply, as an economic strategy, the clampdown was based on the wrong
premise and will not solve the country's problems. It may wipe away the
symptom temporarily, but the cause of the demise will remain
Perhaps we might try to understand this by exploring some
ideas on the forces that create the informal sector. By definition, the
concept of the informal sector assumes that there is a formal sector. The
formal sector constitutes the core of the market that is legally recognised
by the state and is subject to relevant laws and regulations. It is in the
formal sector where one often finds an organised workplace and organised
labour. Players submit to regulations, pay taxes to the state and rates to
local authorities and are properly registered according to the laws that
govern the creation and operation of business
Therefore, everything else that falls beyond the formally
recognised market falls in the informal sector - unregulated, no taxes, etc.
But in both the formal and informal sectors there is an exchange of goods
and services for economic value. But what really gives rise to the informal
The World Bank has identified two forces that lead to an
informal sector. Firstly, when ordinary people seek to survive in an
environment where opportunities for income in the formal sector are scarce
they resort to activities principally aimed at self-preservation. These
people engage in survival activities.
It reminds me of the woman
from Mufakose who used to do my laundry at Shingai Court a few years ago.
She came twice a week cleaned my house and did my laundry for a fee. She was
so good and trustworthy I entrusted her with my keys while I was at work and
I became her referee when she looked for more informal
When she could not make it on account of illness she did
not send a sick note - she sent her son. This woman simply needed to survive
and I admired her resilience and resourcefulness in times of hardship. I was
persuaded to offer her a bonus each month.
Secondly, the informal
sector also arises where people within the formal sector seek to avoid the
regulatory framework of the formal system. The World Bank calls these
illegal business activities. This is by no means a clear distinction, given
that both the individual and the business entity may resort to the informal
sector for purposes of survival.
I knew a fellow lawyer who took on
clients beyond his formal employment. They did not exist on the firm's books
- he called it his "extra fee" which he said was useful for him to survive
like a lawyer. Was this fellow also engaged in the informal sector? Indeed,
sometimes what the WB may call illegality in business may also qualify as
illegal if carried on by the individual who is seeking survival. An example
of this could be trading foreign currency on the parallel market. Although
the World Bank's distinction may be hard and questionable, it nonetheless
helps us to understand the conditions that have led to the proliferation of
the informal sector in Zimbabwe.
Among other reasons, the state
has approached the informal sector in the violent manner on the allegation
that there is too much illegality taking place in that sector which is
undermining the economy.
There is also the argument that the informal
traders have no legal rights to be trading at the places where they have
been because they lack title. The government fails to appreciate that the
informal sector is not a self-generating project but one that arises
firstly, because in the absence of chances in the formal sector, people have
to find something to survive on. It is not disputed that the economy has
regressed and unemployment is close to 80%. Among other direct causes is the
closure of businesses due to harsh economic conditions and the decline in
the commercial agricultural sector, which was a major employer during the
heyday of commercial farming. Many of these people moved to the peri-urban
areas, because they have no employment on the farms and do not have access
to the land.
As Geoff Hill has stated in his work on Zimbabwe, the
once wonderful education policies of the current government in the early
1980s produced a class of young men and women whose target was to work in
the city. Every young person who passed five "O" levels headed for the city
to find a job.
However, we did little to create the employment
opportunities. How do you convince a man of 35 years who has computing
knowledge and other technical skills but no job, to return to where he came
from when his struggle was to escape that environment at all costs? Instead,
he deploys his knowledge and skills to survival activities to enable him to
cope with the conditions.
What Zimbabwe needs is not to destroy his
structure where he is doing his work but to harness that potential into a
force whose proceeds can be channelled into the formal economy. He may be
willing to submit to the laws but there is no one interested because of lack
of political will.
Then there is the issue of those in the formal
sector engaging in so-called
illegal activities to avoid state
regulations. Perhaps many in Zimbabwe may identify with this particular type
of conduct. We know that a number of businesses have been charged with
trading foreign currency on the parallel market. Some commodities are being
traded on the parallel market, etc.
In my view, the key question that
authorities must confront is what forces are behind the movement from the
formal to the informal market. The common assumption is that those who move
into the informal sector are motivated by greed. Of course, greed may be a
factor but could there be something more that we are not prepared to admit?
That individuals are selfish is an accepted fact and even formal markets are
Perhaps another explanation could simply be that
individuals in the formal sector seek earning opportunities in the informal
sector because there may be something wrong with the legal framework of the
formal sector. This may take place where there is excessive and unnecessary
regulation, which makes trading on the formal sector impracticable because
it brings no returns. People engage in formal business to generate income.
The price that they are prepared to pay for the order and certainty of the
formal market is submission to the laws.
However, if the laws
become an impediment to business and when compliance to the formal markets
results in losses, that bargain is impaired and the rationale course is to
seek an alternative course. One option is to exploit opportunities beyond
the legal framework, that is, in the informal sector. Otherwise the only
other option is to close shop and engage in other activities. That is
probably why there are formal companies engaged in the informal sector while
others that cannot even find opportunities in the informal sector have
chosen to wind up, introducing yet more players into the informal sphere.
Thus the cycle continues.
In addition to the factors suggested by the
World Bank, I would add that another permitting force for the growth of the
informal sector is the failure to enforce regulations in the first place. It
is not a cause as such, but a permitting force because if the state fails to
enforce the regulations it creates conditions that enable the proliferation
of the informal sector. The state sometimes allows this growth for political
expediency. To the extent that the state permits the growth of this sector,
it is also complicit in the breakdown of the law and cannot therefore claim
a higher moral authority at a later stage.
Thus, while those
challenging the state's actions may face massive hurdles if they pursue the
matter from a strictly legal perspective, their grounds of objection are
stronger when grounded on challenging the moral authority of the state in
Finally, the informal sector is a product of the
failure at the formal legal, economic and political level. The word
"turnaround" is in vogue. Perhaps we have been turning around too much we
are now so dizzy we cannot see the reality of our times. Part of this
reality is the informal economy, which we must harness and not pretend to
behalf of the citizens of Munich, twin city of Harare, I wish to express our
deep concern for the people of Harare at this moment.
I have heard that
police and army units have been engaged in demolishing not only the stalls
of street traders, licensed as well as unlicensed, but also legally as well
as illegally built homes in several districts of Harare.
my information, thousands of people have been made homeless and many more
have lost their means of supporting themselves and their families.
wish to protest most strongly against these measures in the interest of the
citizens of our twin city who had already enough to put up with because of
the economic situation.
As a long-serving mayor of a state capital
with a population of over one million people, I am fully aware that the
maintenance of security and order as well as the compliance with legal
regulations are of importance to the administration of a big
However, my experience has also shown me that a municipality
can only be successful in the long-run if the measures taken by the
administration are always preceded by a careful weighing up of the interests
and well-being of all citizens.
I am sure that you take the
responsibility assigned to you on behalf of the citizens of Harare just as
seriously as I do.
I would therefore ask you in the interest of
Munich's twin city to do your utmost to prevent further demolition measures
as long as the people concerned are not offered alternative accommodation,
to provide food and shelter for those who have already been made homeless
and as soon as possible to designate places where traders can pursue their
efforts to provide for themselves and their families.
Mayor of the city of Munich,
letter was addressed to Harare Metropolitan Governor and Resident Minister
DOESN'T President Mugabe notice that he has crippled the
country? Why can't he resign like leaders in other countries
Doesn't he notice that Zimbabwe is the only country with over a
quarter of its population living outside its borders, yet the country is not
Doesn't he think that he is stretching Zimbabweans' patience too
Ugandans are all over the world because of, the madness of Milton
Obote and Idi Amin, Nigerians because of the coups and military juntas,
Congolese because of the late Mobutu Sese Seko, Rwandese all over France
because of the madness of Interahamwe while Sudanese have fled xenophobic
Arabs. Does he think Zimbabweans fled the drought?
judge you harshly Mr President. You have tormented many souls - including my
mother's, because even if I send her some British pounds, she can't get the
essential commodities nor access the medicine prescribed for
Lucky you Mr President, you get everything you want. I hate
you for that Mr President.yes I hate you! I really hate you for tormenting
my mother's heart.
History shall judge you harshly just like it
has done Emperor Bokassa, Obote, Amin, Moi, Mobutu and other despots who
once ruled countries on the African continent. And your children and young
wife shall also face the music when the time comes.
let others take over and try to resuscitate the economy you have badly
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will always impose his wishes on the people
of Zimbabwe without ever stopping to think if the action he takes will add
value to the country for the good of Zimbabweans.
At some point I
thought his promise to re-introduce the Senate was only meant to induce Zanu
PF candidates who had stood as independents to withdraw their candidature in
the March parliamentary elections.
Mugabe first revealed this
intention when he met a female Zanu PF official who had registered for
election as an independent candidate in Masvingo.
I realised Mugabe
was serious with his intention to please some cronies who had lost in the
primary elections when he maintained his stance after the
And even surprisingly, I read that Mugabe has ordered
parliament to sit earlier than scheduled in order to start debate on the
constitutional amendment to reintroduce the Senate, which at some point was
disbanded because it had proved a liability to the nation.
doing, Mugabe has proved that he doesn't care about the economic crisis
prevailing in Zimbabwe as the reintroduction of a Senate is an unplanned for
expense which can be avoided.
For us Zimbabweans in the diaspora, it
could have made sense if Mugabe had rushed a motion to amend the
constitution to enable us to vote. We certainly need the same rights that
were extended to Mozambicans in the diaspora in that country's last
Why does Mugabe not learn from some of the positive
developments that are happening next door? After all, the Mugabe regime was
actively involved in mobilising Mozambicans resident in Zimbabwe to register
and vote in that election.
We (diasporans) are a major source of
foreign currency for this regime, and therefore Mugabe should really
consider amending the constitution to allow us to vote in future
Maybe (central bank governor) Gideon Gono, Mugabe's
economic and financial advisor, should tell him that without the foreign
currency brought in by Zimbabweans in the diaspora, the country could have
collapsed by now, and encourage him (Mugabe) to take the issue
Failure to respond positively, we may have to channel our
foreign currency through the black market. After all, some of us failed to
access Gono's foreign currency when we left the country.
just joined the diaspora, I am so full of energy, and will soon start
mobilising other Zimbabweans living or working outside Zimbabwe not to send
their foreign currency through the official channels if they are not granted
their birthright to vote through a positive amendment of the
I FIND it disturbing that the governor of the Reserve Bank
Gideon Gono casually informs the High Court that, far from committing any
wrong, former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri, who is currently on trial for
illegal externalisation of funds, actually rescued Zimbabwe from catastrophe
when he chipped in with the US$500 000 transferred into a South African
account "in the national interest".
Why then did Gono stand by in
silence while our innocent saviour languished in remand prison for more than
a year? How did Gono know that Kuruneri possessed such a huge quantity of
foreign currency in the first place, and where did Kuruneri get this money
Perhaps Gono unwittingly gives the game away when he rambles on
unintelligibly about the story of a sick mother needing urgent medical
"I have the greatest appreciation of the help that
accused gave to save my mother then," Gono tells the court, referring to
Apart from his real mother, there is only one person in
Zimbabwe who could possibly fit the bill of being the political mother and
father of Gono. I can only disclose his identity in
"Extraordinary circumstances sometimes demand extraordinary
dealings of circumstances," Gono told the judge, whatever that
Could this same defence not apply to the many other bankers
who were hounded out of their banks and Zimbabwe by the same Gono when he
was appointed governor? It now turns out that Gono should also have been
targeted. Can these bankers now return to Zimbabwe and explain in camera the
circumstances surrounding their respective alleged
I hope Gono's principals found his performance in court
last Friday or anywhere else before then, for that matter, entirely
proposal by Zesa to hike electricity charges by up to 600% flies in the face
of the central bank governor's efforts to bring down inflation and is
scandalous to say the least (Zimbabwe Independent, June 3).
put their house in order in as far as service delivery is concerned before
they can start talking about any increase in power charges.
continue to sponsor inefficiency. This notion of bringing the cost of this
and that up in line with the regional or international prices does not make
sense if our salaries do not match those regions from which they are
bench-marking their charges.
Companies providing essential services
must act responsibly and lead by example if our national dream of reviving
the economy is to become a reality.
I WOULD like to comment on the political events currently taking
place in terms of the destruction of what government calls illegal
structures in Harare and surrounding areas.
This is just a tip of the
ice-berg as more is coming considering the way Zanu PF has treated perceived
members of the opposition. People of Harare are paying dearly for their show
of no confidence in the ruling party, hence the suffering.
will our government plan before acting as in this case?
I believe and
know that lots of well-to-do Zimbabweans today have been brought up and
raised by money that their parents saved through vending and
Informal types of business have sustained a lot of
families, yet the government which claims to represent the people treats
How and when are those that have been left homeless
going to get decent accommodation, and how long will it take seeing that
government is broke by admitting it needs UN food relief after telling the
world that it did not need any aid from any quarter. Mugabe should not take
people for granted.
Perhaps this is a tough lesson for people to learn
where to put the Xs in future elections.
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa)'s plan to hike power charges is likely to cause more company closures
and stoke up inflation, which will hit the country's urban poor the
hardest. Zesa plans to hike energy tariffs by between 200% and 600% from July
1. According to a preliminary schedule circulating in the power utility,
large companies and other commercial users of electricity will have their
power tariffs increased by 600%. Commercial users according to the Zesa
definition include manufacturers, mines, hotels and other industrial
works. Tariffs for domestic users will be increased by between 230% and 400%
on a sliding scale. The proposal document also says that domestic users
currently paying between $15 000-$20 000 per month will have their charges
hiked by as much as 400%. Power used by the agricultural sector will be
increased by 200% as part of government's special dispensation for the
sector in the hope of increasing production. If the proposals sail
through cabinet in their current form it means the general public, who are
classified under domestic users, will be paying an average of 300% more for
their electricity. Companies will be paying 600% while the agricultural
sector will pay 200% more. The official justification for the increase is
that Zimbabwe is charging far less than what other countries in the region
are charging. The plan, according to sources at Zesa, is to eventually
charge in line with regional power prices. The other explanation is that
Zesa needs to operate commercially hence the need to charge viable
tariffs. But analysts say this could lead to a total collapse of key sectors
of the economy. They say the power hike will cause the economy to shrink
further as more companies close down. A manufacturing report released by the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries last year says that more than 1 000
companies have closed shop over the past five years owing to escalating
costs and a hostile trading and operating environment. Energy costs
constituted a large chunk of the broader problems that sank most of the
companies. Experts warn that a 600% increase in power costs will certainly
wipe out the remaining few companies. It will drown the remnants of the once
viable manufacturing sector that are already on the brink of collapse.
Mining, the only sector that achieved positive growth last year, will also
come under siege from increased overheads. Troubled mining companies such
as Falgold have said that the old tariffs were already suffocating them. The
new charges will lead to their closure. "The result is the closure of
manufacturing and mining companies in the country because that would be a
huge increase on their costs," said economist Eric Bloch. "If they don't
close down then they would obviously cut down production and lay off
workers." Bloch said the tariffs if introduced in the proposed form would be
the death knell on the industrial sector. "There are going to be massive
retrenchments because a number of companies will close. Energy is one of the
highest contributors to overheads," Bloch said. Estimates show that energy
contributes about 30% of the costs especially in manufacturing sector. It is
the biggest cost for the tourism sector at the moment, which is already
reeling from a slump in tourist arrivals. Hotels are currently battling to
pay their electricity bills. But the biggest impact, analysts say, would be
the ripple effects of the hike on the public whose disposable incomes have
already been eroded by inflation. They say the new increase in electricity
prices would stoke inflation and throw into disarray the Reserve Bank's
plans to reduce inflation. Bloch said an increase of that magnitude would
send inflation hurtling to about 400% by year-end compared to 50-80% that
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono had targeted by December. Perhaps the
devastating effect would be seen in the prices of basic commodities that
would shoot up in reaction to the new tariffs. When energy costs rise
manufacturers pass on the crippling costs to customers. The result is a
sudden surge in prices of basic commodities, further impoverishing the
common man. President of the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers' Union George
Kawenda said power charges would squeeze the common man who is already
struggling to make ends meet. "It means increased levels of poverty
especially in the urban areas. It means the people will have very little
money at their disposal to use for other things," Kawenda said. "These
increases are made without consideration for fundamentals. There is no
consideration of how much people are earning now," he said. "It would be
difficult for companies to review salaries that match that increase," he
added. Other analysts said Zesa is making consumers pay for its
inefficiencies. They said Zesa had over the years accumulated borrowed holes
in its books because of undercapitalisation. "The customers are now being
overcharged to cover the financing costs of this debt. Zesa must be
efficiently run," said an economist with a local bank. "The customers are
paying Zesa's debts," he said. Zimbabwe has enough power generators that Zesa
is failing to utilise. The country has since independence increased its
dependence on imported power because it cannot maintain its own power
resources. The power generators around the country are a shambles. Zesa
has not been able to acquire spare parts needed to keep the generators
running. Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations have the potential to
produce 20% of the country's electricity needs but they are almost
idle. Generators at the Hwange Thermal Power plant and Kariba Hydro power
station are perennially down owing to a shortage of spare parts. This has
forced Zesa to turn to South Africa's Eskom and Mozambique's Hydro Cahorra
Bassa for supplementary power. The dependence on external suppliers has
increased drastically over the years and Zimbabwe now imports 33% of its
power. This is despite the fact that with proper management Zesa could
produce enough energy for the whole country. The hike also highlights the
serious defects in the RBZ's policy to splash money on parastatals
ostensibly to improve their operations. Zesa was one of the first
parastatals to feed from the RBZ trough with a $50 billion grant under the
Productive Sector Facility. The loan has however failed to improve Zesa's
service provision. In fact, Zesa this week introduced power rationing as part
of efforts to "save power". The load-shedding is likely to continue for as
long as the foreign currency crisis persists. This, monetary experts say,
shows that it is a fallacy for Gono to believe that he can improve
parastatals by dishing out billions.
When it fails, Zanu PF turns violent By Nelson
Chamisa/Frank Matandirotya THE on-going so-called "clean-up" exercise by the
Zanu PF government is shameful. Thousands have been rendered homeless and
thousands more have had their sources of income destroyed by the so-called
But to us in the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) there is more at stake here, and questions have arisen which
need answers from Zanu PF.
Why did the government allow Siyaso in
Mbare to sprout over the past 25 years? Why did Zanu PF allow flea markets
to sprout during the self-glorified Third Chimurenga? Why were those aligned
to Zanu PF allowed to form housing cooperatives in and around Harare and why
is it illegal now?
The answer is very simple: politics was at play.
Zanu PF wanted votes and power and since the year 2000 the people in all
urban areas have continuously rejected the regime.
In short this
is a retribution exercise, as we know that Zanu PF is a state, regime and
government moulded into a seamless whole sustained by violence. Zanu PF has
been reproducing and institutionalising violence since Independence in
Poverty and powerlessness are then born out of this, with
political repression and material scarcity being the order of the day.
Instead of the freedom and prosperity that are the legitimate goals of
citizens globally, the Zanu PF order has not been able to find legitimacy in
the eyes of the people of Zimbabwe whom it has reduced to
But this malformed political order is dying because new
social forces, forged in a cauldron of violence and the unremitting serfdom
and scarcity that are its legacy, are now pressing against the barricades.
In short this suggests that the current regime of institutionalised
despotism will collapse under the weight of violence and present
As social and economic conditions worsen in Zimbabwe,
politics is no longer the instrument through which contending interests are
conciliated in a structured framework. For Zanu PF politics is itself a
struggle for control of power, which is then used to further and consolidate
political ends. If holding on to power is its primary motive, why does the
Zanu PF government persist in causing so much devastation to
Events during the past two weeks have illustrated the
divide between those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the
methods of gangsters; between those who honour the rights of man and those
who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy
Political parties that fight terror as if the lives of
their own people depend on it will earn the favourable judgement of history.
Zanu PF knows these alternatives and has made its choice.
Zanu PF government is a sponsor and servant of terror. When confronted the
regime chooses defiance. The people of Zimbabwe are meeting hardships and
challenges like every nation that has set out on the path of
The MDC promises lives of dignity and freedom and that is
a world away from the squalid, vicious tyranny the people of Zimbabwe have
known; because free people embrace hope over resentment and choose peace
Having helped liberate Zimbabwe, the MDC will honour
its pledge to build a stable and peaceful country. Millions will see that
freedom, equality and material progress are possible in our
The people of this country will face the clearest evidence
that free institutions and an open society is the only path to long-term
national success and dignity. For we know that there is a special evil in
the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable by Zanu PF
for its selfish political ends.
But we must show new energy in
fighting back an old evil. We know that Soviet Communism failed precisely
because it did not respect its own people, their creativity, their genius
and their rights.
The day of Zanu PF tyranny is passing. Freedom has
a momentum that cannot be halted. Historians will note that in many
countries the advance of markets and free enterprise helped to create a
middle class that was confident enough to demand their rights.
fact, the prosperity and social vitality of a people are directly determined
by the extent of their liberty. Freedom honours and unleashes human
creativity and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. The
progress of liberty is a powerful trend.
Yet we also know that
liberty if not defended can be lost. By definition the success of freedom
rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples and upon their
willingness to sacrifice. Today our people live in captivity fear and
silence. Yet the regime cannot hold back freedom forever.
Rule by the
capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand
with the oppressed until the day of freedom finally arrives.
should strengthen the people's faith in the power of civil society. We
should seek truth and integrity for our fellow citizens to avoid the
country's disintegration. We should rescue this country from its current
descent because we believe in the power of ordinary people.
dream is to help our country develop a relationship between the state and
its citizens that is not based on fear. We are still at the beginning of the
road. It's a matter of having enough faith.
*Nelson Chamisa is the
MDC national youth chairman and MP for Kuwadzana. Frank Matandirotya is the
MDC district secretary for Chikomba.
Gono is visionless and must go now By Patrick
Mlambo AFTER reading Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono's
monetary policy statement, I was left wondering whether this man knows what
he is doing.
In fact, the long and short of it is that he should
resign. Gono cannot see that he cannot change things. He has no solutions to
the current problems.
His resignation is the most useful decision he
should make under the present circumstances. He should bite the bullet and
let go the governorship.
Gono's monetary policy review, presented
last month, is nothing more than hogwash. It does not promise anything to
the ordinary man. It does not say anything positive. It gives nothing to
look forward to. It sends shivers down the spines of those he promised to
pin down. It is full of retribution.
The ordinary man has no interest
in Gono's retribution, because he gains nothing from it. The men whom he
wants to descend on are not excited either. Gono wants to name and shame
those involved in corrupt activities. What will that achieve?
witnessed this kind of retribution in the late 80s through the Sandura
Commission. Maybe Gono never learnt anything - that the culprits were all
pardoned except for those who had already died.
does Gono think he will achieve by this act of retribution? This is
senseless as it will achieve nothing. I never expected it from the RBZ
This man fails to understand his role. Can he be told that
he is the RBZ governor and not a politician. He should learn to leave
politics to politicians. Politicians determine fiscal policy and that should
be left as their domain.
Gono's role should be to convince the
politicians and lobby them on the merits of aligning their fiscal policy
with his monetary policy. It is not his duty to spell out fiscal policy. I
am sure no one gave him a job description when he took over. It is not his
Little wonder there are reports of certain sections of the
ruling party calling for his head. Yes, they cannot leave him alone because
he is growing bigger than a simple governor. He is usurping ministerial
powers. He is slowly becoming a Jonathan Moyo of the previous parliament and
cabinet and for that he should step down or get the boot.
the above is not enough, the nature of retribution Gono proposes for
exporters resembles a lot of folly on his part. It shows a lack of
Exporters are the source of meaningful inflows of foreign
currency. More of these people are required to get Zimbabwe from where it
is. It is their foreign currency that we require as a country, and not the
diaspora dollar or pound.
I am not sure what their response would be,
in a country without that currency, to a policy statement that promises to
deal with them viciously for "wrongs" that they do. They are smarter than
Gono by all means. And a crackdown on them would worsen
Gono can take all the exporters, all Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority officers and officials and all cops to jail, but the ones who
replace them will be equally corrupt if not worse. It's not about
retribution, Dr Gono. It is about a change in mindset. It is about a change
It is about teaching children to grow up as good citizens.
It is about teaching children in homes. It is not about teaching them "not
to steal because if you are caught you will go to jail". It is about
teaching them to be "good citizens" and also that "good citizens do not
steal because stealing is bad". Gono is teaching the former and it is a pity
he is teaching adults and not children.
This requires a national
approach, not one of violent enforcement as is the case now.
now he has been sucked into the Chris Kuruneri saga. Maybe it is true he in
fact facilitated the transfers, in which case he might be found guilty. Any
full investigation of his tenure as CBZ chief can bring out a lot more
things against him.
Gono needs to give government some
explanations regarding the Zimbabwe/Malaysia bilateral payment arrangement
and how that money made available by government to the "productive sector"
to buy stuff from Malaysia was utilised in procuring stuff from our
neighbours South Africa.
In his position he is not only expected to be
free from corruption, but must be seen to be free from it. The Kuruneri saga
will cast a lot of doubt about him despite what the final verdict on his
involvement is. It would therefore be gracious for him to step down
In addition, we read about Gono having sanctioned the purchase
of 50 state-of-the-art cars for use by the RBZ in fighting corruption. I am
told those cars are at the RBZ depot in Msasa. Imagine, 50 cars for the RBZ
when the Ministry of Health is using ox-drawn ambulances in
Yes, 50 cars to enforce his retribution when people are dying
en route to hospitals in ox-drawn ambulances. It beats all reason. These are
cars that will be parked kwaMereki during weekends and at rural homes over
Gono is not aware of where he starts and ends. He has
turned the RBZ governorship into a political post and wants to do everything
and be everyone. It is a total recipe for disaster. He should leave politics
to politicians and lobby them for alignment of their policies with
*Patrick Mlambo is a Zimbabwean writing from New
Spreading tentacles of
patronage GOVERNMENT this week started to demarcate residential stands and to
re-allocate market stalls to "deserving people" in the aftermath of the
state-sponsored tsunami, Operation Murambatsvina. Prospective
beneficiaries were registering to be considered for the re-allocated stands
and stalls which the authorities said would bring order to various urban
centres. We were not however surprised by the presence of Zanu PF sharks who
ironically have contributed immensely to bringing disorder and confusion to
town planning by encouraging people to build houses on unserviced plots and
without change-of-use permission. The state media showed Nyasha Chikwinya as
one of the dignitaries at a registration centre. Details of her illegal
housing project in Hatcliffe have been reported. The government has said
apart from demarcating and reallocating stands in urban areas, it will
publish the names of the beneficiaries in the press to ensure equitable
distribution of resources. We will not be duped into believing that the Zanu
PF government has become a doyen of transparency and is acting responsibly.
The government has never been known to possess this virtue when it comes to
the allocation of scarce national resources. All its actions have been
steeped in the mire of political patronage. The government of President
Mugabe in its clientelist mode has built a complex system of power largely
based on its ability to co-opt interest groups in society through a
patronage system in which they exchange support for the regime for material
benefits. In South America, the system of clientelism has been the hallmark
of successive governments who have managed to reward small interest groups
such as land-invaders, collective taxi drivers, and street vendors, to
enable them to organise and have access to public space to exercise their
profession. The practice of rewards also takes place among big business
people who are awarded state contracts or access to cheap money from
governments in exchange for their unwavering support for the
establishment. There are traits of this unsavoury practice inbuilt into the
ruling elite in Harare. The government has been very adept in ensuring that
key people across the social spectrum are adequately catered for. It is a
practice which ensures that strategic partners get prime positions at the
feeding trough. It is a system that seeks to hoodwink the public into
believing that the state is benevolent and keen to correct colonial
imbalances by redistributing resources. At the end of the day, deserving
cases have been elbowed out of the queues and those who should benefit from
the state's welfare system are as poor as ever. It is sad to note that
those politically connected are always at the front of the queues or do not
queue at all to access state largesse. There are senior civil servants and
military, police and security officials who have become very rich because of
this patronage. Firstly, they were allocated productive and well-equipped
farms during the ill-fated resettlement exercise. Then they accessed cheap
loans from government. Next they were in the government scheme to acquire
tractors and irrigation equipment. They have not repaid loans but they
still get the opportunity to have another helping at the feeding trough even
though there is a long list of hungry Zimbabweans locked outside. It is
not surprising to discover that these are the same people who looted funds
from the Pay for Your House Scheme in the mid-1990s. There are still
thousands of teachers, nurses and clerks who contributed their meagre
earnings to the scheme in the hope of owning a house one day but their dream
was shattered when crooks in high office hijacked the scheme. Today
thousands of poor civil servants are still waiting for their houses. Good
luck to those who deposited millions of dollars each with a commercial bank
under government's new housing scheme two years ago! Chiefs and other
junior traditional leaders have been given cars when district hospitals do
not have ambulances. Chiefs' houses have been electrified yet clinics still
use candles and do not have running water. There are also scraps for the
selected lot lower down the social ladder. These come in the form of bags of
seed and fertiliser, preferential treatment in accessing relief aid and even
a party T-shirt with a portrait of Mugabe emblazoned on it. All these
beneficiaries form various layers of support for the establishment because
their collective consciences have been bribed. That includes those
responsible for upholding the law. It is no wonder we have become poorer
by the day when the chosen few live in a different world of unrivalled
plenty. The connection between the wealthy few and the impoverished many in
a system that is unaccountable and grossly self-indulgent should be obvious
to even the most simple-minded observer. Operation Murambatsvina, if nothing
else, has laid bare that national trait.
'Operation Clean-Up' economic
folly MANY will not agree, but some definitive action by the government was
long overdue in respect of the endlessly growing shantytowns, and
particularly those on the periphery of business and residential areas of
Zimbabwe's major cities. Similarly, constructive action was very
necessary in respect of the tens of thousands of informal sector operators
who over-populated certain areas, such as Mbare in Harare, with ramshackle,
potentially dangerous trading structures. Action was necessary because
the growing shantytowns and the crowded informal sector trading zones were
increasingly becoming a major potential health hazard, not only to those
living or trading in those areas, but to society as a whole. The almost
total absence of sewerage and toilet and ablution facilities, and the
mountains of refuse that characterised almost all those areas were fast
becoming the prospective source of disease in general and especially for a
possible cholera epidemic outbreak. And action was also necessary because of
the rapidly increasing extent of criminal activity in many of the
unauthorised trading areas by vast numbers (but not all) of the informal
traders. The criminal activities included trading in stolen goods and in
hazardous drugs such as mbanje and gold sourced from panners or stolen from
mines and the operation of a thriving black market of foreign currencies
while commerce and industry, and all other formal economic sectors, have
been critically short of such currencies in order to continue their
operations, and thereby provide employment and produce much of Zimbabwe's
needs. Although there have been numerous causes of Zimbabwe's pronounced
economic decline, to the point of near total collapse - and the greatest of
such causes is undoubtedly the government - nevertheless certain informal
sector operators are very major contributors to that economic
decline. So, some very substantive actions by the government were very
necessary. The most constructive of such actions would have been for the
government to desist in its diverse policies which have yielded little but
economic destruction, and vigorously to have embarked upon alternative
policies as would bring about genuine, rapid, and substantial economic
recovery. Such recovery would assure employment creation, minimising the need
to resort to informal sector activities, and would generate state revenues
which could be applied to accelerated housing development and to creation of
informal sector trading centres. But to have done so would have meant the
government would have had to acknowledge the abysmal failure of its
programme of land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement and sought to
realign it to that which had been agreed upon at the Harare Donors
Conference in 1998, and again in Abuja in 2001, but resolutely reneged by
the government. It would also have meant adherence to the principles of
democracy in the entirety, establishment of a genuinely and totally free and
fair judiciary, respect for human rights, humane enforcement of law and
order, creation of an investment-welcoming environment and constructive and
reciprocally respectful interaction with the international community.
Regrettably, to expect such actions from the government is naivety in the
extreme, and therefore other actions had to be expected of the
government. Such actions needed to be humane. They needed to recognise the
dire circumstances of those living in the shantytowns and those which had
forced so many to turn to informal sector operations as the only way whereby
they could survive. But the government does not have much of a reputation
for respect for human rights. The actions of the Fifth Brigade in
Matabeleland in the mid-1980s are well known. It has had no hesitation in
legislating oppressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act, and an equal absence
of hesitation in incarcerating persons for many months before they are
brought to trial. So instead of seeking to address the shantytown and
informal trader issues humanely, the government resorted to brute force.
Justifying its actions as necessary in order to restore economic wellbeing
to Zimbabwe, it applied unmitigated brutality. At the height of winter,
tens of thousands, including numerous children, have been rendered homeless,
subjected to the suffering inflicted upon them by the elements, while at the
same time they have been deprived of their only remaining sources of income,
and therefore now face an appalling future of poverty, malnutrition and
ill-health. Not only is that the fate for those who lived in the shantytowns
and those who traded in unauthorised trading areas, but the same fate has
been imposed upon many who were operating with requisite authority, such as
many of the flower sellers in the designated area of Africa Unity
Square. And the economic consequences are horrendous. Instead of having the
alleged beneficial economic results, the reverse is the case. First of all,
there will inevitably now be an upsurge in crime, for how else will the
displaced survive. They will resort to burglary, theft, car-breaking,
pick-pocketing, black marketeering and the like. Who can blame them, if they
have been deprived of all other avenues of income generation? Secondly,
the previously distressingly low levels of business confidence, which were
hindering economic revival, have sunk to the lowest levels as a direct
effect of witnessing yet further excessive governmental
authoritarianism. And internationally, Zimbabwe having become an
ever-greater pariah, its image has been further blackened and cast lower
than ever before, to the prejudice of attracting investment, obtaining lines
of credit and restoring Zimbabwe as a renowned tourism
destination. Action by the government to deal with the dangers and ills of
the shantytowns and of the informal trading areas was critically necessary,
but not the actions taken, and still being pursued. Those actions were, and
are, inhuman and monstrous in the extreme, and pronounced economic
Not-so-Bright Matonga speaks WE were
interested to read the story on Information deputy minister Bright Matonga
urging youths to "become self-reliant" in Zimbabwe's shrinking employment
market. Matonga was addressing 300 students in his Ngezi
constituency "The most affected by the unemployment crisis are
school-leavers with neither training nor experience," Matonga pointed out,
explaining this was the reason government had set up the ministries of Small
and Medium Enterprises Development and Youth Development and Employment
Creation. This sounds like a huge contradiction. In case Matonga hadn't
noticed there is currently a massive crackdown by the police and local
authorities against informal traders and small-scale indigenous operators.
How many informal traders have had their future ruined in the current
operation with either direct or tacit approval of either government or city
council? How does Matonga reconcile his anguished plea for self-reliance with
his government's ruthless crackdown against those seeking to be self-reliant
through informal trade? On another note, Local Government minister
Ignatious Chombo said government would soon come up with less stringent
standards for housing construction that would cut costs by as much as 68%.
He said local authorities were failing to adapt and consequently their
requirements made it impossible to reduce housing backlogs in urban areas.
He said council requirements were "British-oriented" and too costly for
Zimbabweans. Is the order that council and government are trying to "restore"
in urban areas any less British? How is Chombo going to Africanise it we
We feel sorry for the poor mandarin who, for whatever reason,
insinuated that The Voice newspaper was not the official mouthpiece of Zanu
PF. The editor of the paper, Lovemore Mataire, went ballistic that the tag
of party mouthpiece had wrongly been bestowed on the Herald by a government
official who should otherwise know better. The official was reminded in
no uncertain terms that in Zimbabwe "an individual is Zanu PF first before
being a government minister". "With all the tireless efforts that I have done
in uplifting this paper," fumed Mataire in his Candid Brief column, "it is
disheartening that there are some within or among us" who don't appreciate
the paper's role. Mataire needn't worry. The Voice is appreciated about as
much as the Chinese People's Daily! But seriously folks, we wonder how
much the paper is taken seriously outside party structures. Especially when
it claims that a company quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange such as
Zimpapers "is a private company and not a public company". So much for party
One thing that one cannot take away from former
Information minister Jonathan Moyo is that in his operations you could
easily see the workings of an evil mind, at once fascinating and repellent.
He did his job with a finesse which is evidently lacking from his
successors. He gave the state media life, albeit for the wrong reasons in
the main. Without him Operation Murambatsvina has been reduced to a humdrum
affair whose overall purpose remains tenebrous. When we thought it
couldn't get any worse, Matonga showed us we were wrong. He has decided on a
news blackout on the destruction of shacks and other illegal urban
structures, according to a weekly paper. While Newsnet was following behind
Chombo this week showing us what government was doing for displaced people,
there was not a single video clip on the havoc going on in Highfield, Glen
View and other high density suburbs. But they had images of US Taliban
prisoners at Guantanamo, courtesy of politically-correct editing. Then
Monday's 8 o'clock main news led with people commenting on the Warriors'
game against Gabon on Sunday, won through a dubious penalty that would have
been better forgotten. Obviously taking instructions from the same
not-so-Bright mind, the Herald ran an editorial comment on Tuesday titled:
"Warriors' battle for glory a national issue". As we have already said,
at least there was something to admire in Moyo's calculating mind although
he irritated all and sundry by trivialising our sense of judgement of
issues. Unfortunately he has been replaced by a slouching, almost sightless
pair that can only lead us to hell.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe has
emphatically denied reports that he is dead. Presidential spokesman George
Charamba, who told Mugabe he was reportedly dead as a result of heart
failure, said the president laughed off the rumours. The Zimbabwe
Independent two weeks ago reported that Mugabe had visited a heart
specialist in Harare. We did not at any point suggest he was dead. But if
Charamba wishes to add value to our story he is welcome to do so. Mugabe was
in fact as "fit as a teenager", Charamba said. "He is in the best of health
and is at work. Those doubting can check on Thursday when he addresses
parliament." We definitely hope a lot of people did check and Muckraker
awaits their verdict after hearing what the government will offer the
country in the forthcoming session. We also hope that Charamba is aware that
today's teenagers are hardly the best measure of a healthy person for the
obvious reasons, in addition to unemployment, hunger and other ills that go
with a country whose economy stopped functioning some five years
ago. Some observers, by the way, have pointed out that what ails the
president is not so much heart failure as Yellow Fever. He can only see
allies in countries like China which will not criticise his oppressive
Muckraker would like to put to rest a mischievous story doing
the rounds. It was reported that during talks at the White House last week
between President George Bush and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki an intruder
broke into the grounds. CNN showed the man being wrestled to the ground by
security staff. This was not, as some observers unkindly suggested,
Morgan Tsvangirai carrying out a one-man protest. Nor is it true that he was
shouting: "It was a stitch-up.We wuz robbed." Although those words may
well come to mind in the context of the March poll, the intruder did not
utter them. Nor is it true that Mbeki told Bush: "Disregard him. He follows
me everywhere. I have never seen him before in my life."
interested to hear Benjamin Mkapa's words of wisdom flowing from the Africa
Economic Summit meeting in Cape Town. How come he is suddenly an expert on
Operation Murambatsvina? "A secondary economy should be dealt with in any
economy," he opined, "especially during the time when attempts are being
made to re-establish stability. The government of Zimbabwe is just trying to
formalise the economy." So that's what it's doing? You have to be
truly ignorant of Zimbabwe's recent economic history to come up with such a
facile explanation. The formal economy has contracted by 30% over the past
five years - and is still shrinking. Investors have fled the country in
droves because of threats to their companies from people like Joseph
Chinotimba and chaotic fiscal measures which make it impossible to do
business. The burgeoning informal sector is a symptom of government's
failure to sustain the formal sector. Tanzania, after 40 years of
economic-management failure, has more recently adopted a completely
different approach that has witnessed growth and stability as a result. That
enables Mkapa to express revolutionary solidarity at international fora but
to avoid like the plague the sort of policies his friend President Mugabe is
pursuing in Zimbabwe. What intrigues us is how much longer Tony Blair and
Gordon Brown can go on talking about the need to throw more money at Africa
when people like Mkapa, although pursuing sound policies at home, are aiding
and abetting Zimbabwe's descent into chaos. It was not long ago that any
friendly visitor passing anywhere near Harare was asked to say a few words
in support of Zimbabwe's land reform policies. We don't hear much about
those any more. But it seems regional leaders are now being asked to say
something idiotic about Operation Murambatsvina. Who will be the next poor
Still with medical matters, UN special envoy James Morris appears
to suffer from a disease known as diplomatic paralysis brought on by policy
contradictions. Unable to speak out on how poor governance leads to food
shortages, he clearly believes that it is better to admit failure than
exhibit anything so inconvenient as firm values. Asked in Johannesburg on
his return from Harare last Wednesday if the recent crackdown had not made
Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis worse, he paused for 30 seconds, during which
journalists wondered if he would ever speak again, only to concede: "I have
no answer for that." Indeed, that probably goes for the UN as a
Still on the subject of diplomacy, we were sorry to say goodbye to
South Africa's ambassador Jeremiah Ndou. A consummate diplomat, Ndou played
his cards close to his chest. He was kept on here well beyond his normal
transfer date in order to mediate talks between Zanu PF and the MDC - a
mission from hell! He showed what an accomplished diplomat he was last
weekend by giving a lengthy interview to Herald political editor Caesar
Zvayi during the course of which he managed to avoid disclosing one single
thing of interest! Somebody might like to count the number of times he
referred to the "challenges" Zimbabwe faced and see if some sort of record
was broken. "Challenges" is the new diplomatic buzzword to describe
far-reaching structural problems like dictatorship and starvation. Ndou
was not asked the obvious question: Why do you believe sanctions are
inappropriate for Zimbabwe because they isolate the country when your party
advocated sanctions against South Africa throughout the 1970s and
80s? Was that not to isolate a brutal and abusive regime? Ndou said when
on leave in South Africa he read press reports on Zimbabwe and couldn't
believe this was the same country where he was stationed. A picture was
presented of collapse in which there was no life and people couldn't move
around. Was this before or after Operation Murambatsvina, we wonder? While
the media was there to criticise, he admonished, it was incumbent on them to
report the good things that government was doing. Perhaps when he has thought
of a few examples he could write and tell us.