Fri 13 Jun 2008, 8:43 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police impounded two buses used by opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on his campaign ahead of the June 27 presidential
run-off election, the Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday.
Tsvangirai, who has been detained four times in the past week, is continuing
his campaign, MDC spokesman George Sibotshiwe said.
"The police have impounded the two buses that we were using. They are saying
the buses are not properly registered, but that is not true, just
harassment. "But (MDC) President Tsvangirai is continuing with his campaign
here. We are using other cars that we had in our convoy," Sibotshiwe said.
Friday 13 June 2008
Some of the military bosses who run Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe are ready to
see him go - but only if they get personal assurances they won't end up in
court for war crimes dating back to the 1980s.
Friday 13 June 2008
By Alex Duval Smith
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's claim on Wednesday that his
country is ''effectively being run by a military junta'' was not a crass
attempt to grab headlines.
In its 28 years in power, the guerrilla movement-turned government of
President Robert Mugabe has never shaken off its militaristic structure.
That President Mugabe felt confident to travel to Rome last week for the
United Nations Food and Agriculture summit provides current proof that the
84-year-old leader has full military backing and did not fear being
overthrown in his absence.
Zimbabwe, which gained independence from white rule in 1980 after one of the
most bitter and entrenched liberation wars in Africa, is governed by a cabal
of battle-hardened ex-guerrillas whose rhetoric betrays their past.
On Thursday, vice-president Joseph Msika was reported to have told a rally
in the southwestern town of Zaka that a vote for Tsvangirai in the June 27
run-off election ''will be akin to an act of war.'' He said : "Voting for
the Movement for Democratic Change will be like voting for Rhodesia and the
British, which means voting for war."
The Marxist-bred Zimbabwe African Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) has a
political party structure and there are progressives within it. But the
country is actually run by the Joint Operations Command - a war cabinet made
up of the defence forces chiefs and the heads of the police, prisons service
Skeletons in the closet block power-sharing deal
Behind-the-scenes attempts by South Africa to broker a negotiated settlement
to the fraught and violent electoral process finally floundered not so much
on Mugabe's reluctance to give up power as on his lieutenants' fears that
they would be brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Some Zanu-PF elders, such as former security minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
had conceded of "the need for a power-sharing government after the
election." Mugabe himself is said by some to have offered to concede defeat
after the 29 March first round.
But hardliners wanted personal guarantees. JOC heavyweights such as Air
Force Commander Perence Shiri and Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga argued
that, in 1980, the security apparatchiks of Ian Smith's outgoing regime were
even given high-ranking jobs in the first post-colonial government.
Both Shiri and Chiwenga - and to a lesser extent Mnangagwa - were involved
in the killings of between 10,000 and 30,000 people in Matabeleland,
southern Zimbabwe, in the early 1980s. Those killings, which were linked to
Mugabe's campaign to oust his prime minister of the time, Joshua Nkomo, have
been described by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace as a
In the recent South African-brokered negotiations, the MDC briefly
considered legal immunity or some form of truth commission to smooth the JOC
heavies' exit. Tsvangirai spoke of a ''comfortable retirement'' for Mugabe.
However, amid mounting evidence that the same men have been the brains
behind current violence against MDC supporters, the opposition party changed
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 13, 2008
LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says there must be an end to
violence and oppression in Zimbabwe before the country's presidential
Brown says deliveries of food aid should immediately be resumed, and more
election observers should be allowed to enter the country.
The Southern African Development Community plans to have 400 observers. The
U.S. ambassador in Zimbabwe has called for three or four times that number.
Brown was speaking at a London news conference Friday with visiting U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The U.N. leader says Zimbabwe's election on June 27 must be transparent,
fair and competitive.
Friday, 13 June 2008 07:59
Monday 23 June 2008, 12.30 - 14:00
Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy
429 Strand, London, WC2R OJR
Nearest tube Charing Cross
On 23 June Lovemore Matombo, President of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Wellington Chibebe, General Secretary of ZCTU are
due in court to face charges of spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the
As part of their bail conditions they are not allowed to address
political or public gatherings. These charges and bail conditions are clear
breaches of free speech and freedom to associate.
We urge people to protest at attempts to silence trade union leaders
and the state sponsored violence and intimidation which has intensified
since the first round of elections in March.
We are calling for:
. trade unionists to be free to organise and speak without being
arrested and tortured
. an end to violence and intimidation
. real democracy for Zimbabwe.
. justice and rights for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans
You can read more information about the demo on our website.
If you can't be there please either forward this email onto your
friends and colleagues, or download and pass around the demo flyer.
As well as the demonstration on 23 June in London, we are calling on
supporters to contact the Minister of Justice in Zimbabwe, asking for the
charges to be dropped. Download a copy of ACTSA's appeal letter.
Your support is essential to help achieve democracy, rights and
freedom for Zimbabwe.
Action for Southern Africa - Peace, Justice, Solidarity
By Innocent Chogugudza
Last updated: 06/14/2008 09:46:13
THE writing is already on the wall; an MDC government is increasingly
becoming an unavoidable reality in Zimbabwe.
However, l must warn that to achieve the above seeming reality, sacrifices
have to be made. The same sacrifices made in the second Chimurenga war in
which President Mugabe, among other gallant fighters was a hero.
Fighting for freedom has never been easy, as those against it will always
guard their interests with the greatest tenacity and determination they can
offer. It does not need the bishop's brains to note that defying a
determined dictatorship will not be an easy or cost-free endeavour. It is
common knowledge that all forms of struggle have complications and costs;
and the same can be said of Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela's struggles.
Fighting dictators will, of course, bring casualties and all forms of
collateral damage. It is my hope, however, that this analysis will persuade
democratic leaders and their foot soldiers to consider strategies that may
increase their effective power while reducing the relative level of
It is not a secret that many Zimbabweans have suffered and died in the hands
of brutal militias, overzealous and extremist ruling party zealots in what
analysts have rightly or wrongly called a 'state-sponsored' wave of violence
against the MDC party activists. The reality of the situation is that those
who have died in the political violence are heroes in the struggle for
freedom and will always be remembered on freedom day.
I have found the following to be reasons why an MDC government is
Economic Collapse: the current state of the country's economy is such that
no one in their right frame of mind will ever invest their confidence in a
Zanu PF government. This is irrespective of the genuineness of some of
Mugabe's explanations or excuses as to why the economy is worse than any in
the world other outside war zones. The argument about the British reneging
on their land reform commitments whilst, it has some weight the reality of
life on the seized farms and the resulted hunger in the country tells
The current state of economic stagnation in business activity in Zimbabwe
will continue until there is a new political dispensation in the country.
With no hope of new bilateral financing arrangements and balance of payments
support, the situation will only become bleaker in the coming months. There
is also an element of sabotage by those whose businesses have been destroyed
by a combination of bankrupt Zanu PF economic policies and the effects of so
called smart sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Poverty: The ever deteriorating standards of living in Zimbabwe have
provided the much needed ammunition to propel the opposition MDC into
government. This process may not happen now but certainly in the next few
months or two years maximum. Whatever Zanu PF tries to do now, it is living
on borrowed time and should start preparing for opposition politics.
The reality of nationalist parties such as UNIP, KANU, MCP and others is
that once they are defeated, they will never rise again and the nearest they
can ever get to power is in the form of a shadow cabinet. Hopefully, the
Zanu PF party possibly under new leadership would be a loyal and responsible
opposition party for the good of democracy. Poverty will force the people of
Zimbabwe to chose between Zanu PF for despair and MDC for hope and a chance
to survive in a democratic society.
Violence: the brutality and wanton destruction of property being perpetrated
by Zanu PF militias and rogue elements in the war veterans movement has made
the people of Zimbabwe resilient and more determined to defy any attempts by
the ruling Zanu PF party to impose its mandate on the people. This kind of
situation benefits the opposition MDC party in spite of whether the party
leader has charisma or not.
As of now, people are more concerned about removing Zanu PF from power than
they are concerned about the quality of opposition leadership's quality - an
unnecessary luxury Zimbabweans cannot afford. Therefore, the debate about
Tsvangirai's leadership qualities is irrelevant. The people will not vote
for a party that beats up and fails to feed its people and still claims that
it is a people's party. As for the opposition, resorting to violence will
always weaken their reputation and respect amongst the people; an eye for an
eye leaves the world blind and should not be adopted as a strategy.
Loss of moral authority to rule: there is growing evidence and realisation
by Zimbabweans that the 'ruling' Zanu PF party does not have the moral basis
to extend their rule even if they 'win' the next run off election. Those who
back Zanu PF and are true to themselves should be reminded that protracted
one party rule has the effect of creating resistance in the minds of the
ruled especially when the leadership becomes lethargic, corrupt and
In Zimbabwe's case, the people generally feel neglected, abandoned and
betrayed in extreme cases. The people's distrust of government is growing
everyday and inevitably, this is good news for the opposition leader.
Tsvangirai's critics can say he is a sell-out, unintelligent and everything
negative but the reality remains, the collapse of the economy is his
greatest asset and the man is the only real hope the people have.
Election Run Off: It is clear that the opposition won the March 29 election,
whether they won it by 50% or not is irrelevant. In mature democracies, the
very fact that an incumbent loses to an underdog is a shocker that usually
prompts immediate resignation. It is embarrassing for a person of President
Mugabe's stature by African standards to lose the first round of an election
and insist on contesting a second round which might bring more embarrassment
to him and his party if he losses it again. Some even doubt the sincerity of
Zanu PF in participating in elections.
For many years in Zimbabwe as indeed in other dictatorships, elections have
been used merely as rigidly-controlled plebiscites to get public endorsement
for candidates already hand picked. It is true that dictators under pressure
may at times agree to new elections, but then rig them to extend their
contested rule. In situations where opposition candidates have been allowed
to run and were actually elected, as occurred in previous years, results
have been contested and the "victors" subjected to intimidation, arrest and
harassment. It should be known that dictatorships are not in the business of
allowing elections that could remove them from power.
The sad truth is that the June 27 run-off election is not necessary and can
be avoided through a negotiated solution. The reasoning behind stopping the
June 27 election being that another Zanu PF government will not have any
positive impact on the lives of the people except more impoverishment. On
the other hand another an MDC victory will not be accepted by Zanu PF and
their backers and may result in another stalemate with the possibility of
civil war in Zimbabwe. The extent of violence is Zimbabwe today is high and
unprecedented and more importantly, commensurate with Zanu PF's level of
desperation and fear of losing power.
However, the impending victory against Zanu PF party and its spiritual
leader should not be interpreted to mean that when the dictatorship is
eventually defeated; all other problems will also disappear. The fall of one
regime does not bring in a utopia. Rather, it creates opportunities for hard
work and long efforts to establish a more just social, economic, and
political dispensation and the eradication of other forms of injustices and
Gene Sharp (1993) states that the downfall of dictatorships in Africa,
Soviet Union, Asia and South America has minimally lifted much of the
suffering of the victims of oppression, and has opened the way for the
rebuilding of these societies with greater political democracy, personal
liberties, and social justice.
The most important thing to remember is that of necessity, and of deliberate
choice, the focus of the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe should be to
address the major problem of how to prevent the rise of a new dictatorship.
This requires concrete an effective constitutional guarantees defining the
terms and conduct of the country's next leaders.
Many including Kenneth Kaunda, Desmond Tutu, Thabo Mbeki, Simba Makoni and
Kofi Annan amongst other great thinkers have raised the idea of a government
of national unity through negotiations between the two major parties. In
reality, this is where the focus of attention should be directed. Given the
nature and level of violence in the country today, a free and fair vote
cannot be achieved. Mugabe should be persuaded or pressured to accept this
reality and move the country forward. Mugabe's reputation will be in serious
tatters if he goes ahead with this election and either losses or wins in
much disputed circumstances.
The Kenyan style of political settlement should be ideal for Zimbabwe.
However, the issue of power distribution should be resolved by creating a
Prime Minister's post and split the power between the Prime Minister and
President with parliament providing the requisite checks and balances for a
period of one year. The transitional government can then draw up a new
constitution and hold new elections in due course and by then, Mugabe will
have retired. If the above plan is not acceptable then a neutral person,
preferably a retired judge or respected clergyman, can be appointed to head
a transitional authority for twelve months.
In essence, negotiations, of course, may not be an option at all due to a
variety of factors. For instance, firmly entrenched members of Zanu PF who
feel secure in their positions may refuse to negotiate with the opposition
MDC for fear of losing their power, wealth and status. The problem remains
that if negotiations fail, what other option exist which has not been tried
Ultimately, March 29 will forever be remembered, as the defining moment for
politics in Zimbabwe should the run-off election proceed as planned. Once
again, the opposition MDC should now be thinking of how to either govern as
a democratic movement or consider power sharing with a belligerent Zanu PF
party as a junior partner.
The truth is Zimbabwe will never be the same again irrespective of what
happens on June 27. The road to the return of people power has only begun
but a word of caution; Mugabe and Zanu PF are not quite finished yet
although the writing is already on the wall for them. Their dignified exit
from power is all the people of Zimbabwe want.
Crisford Chogugudza is a political commentator based in London. E-mail him:
Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter
TWENTY police officers at Headlands police station were detained last week
when 31 postal ballot paper applications went missing in an incident that
saw law enforcement agents at four stations in Makoni district being
summoned for parades and forced to chant ZANU-PF slogans.
Half of the officers are currently detained at Chikurubi Maximum prison.
The Headlands police station officers were detained in their station's cells
before being "screened", leaving at least 12 facing disciplinary hearings.
The hearings started on Monday under a panel of five officers who include
the Deputy Officer Commanding Mutare Rural, Joshua Tigere and the Officer
Commanding CID, Rusape District, who was identified only as Chief
Contacted for comment by The Financial Gazette yesterday, Tigere, a former
police spokesperson for Manicaland province said: "I no longer comment on
press queries, go to our spokesperson. I just presided over the case but you
have to contact the spokesperson, he will tell you how I handled the case."
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
yesterday said he was yet to confirm the incident.
Police sources yesterday said some of the officers were severely assaulted
following their arrest and one, identified as Muringayi is now walking with
the aid of crutches.
After the Headlands incident, the arresting officers proceeded to Rusape,
Inyati and Nyazura police stations all in Makoni District where they
summoned officers for parades and forced them to chant ZANU-PF songs and
"The arresting officers said they wanted to knock sense into our heads
because we were supporting the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change). They
forced us to chant ZANU-PF slogans. Constable Banda of Inyati police station
volunteered to resign after refusing to chant ZANU-PF songs," a police
The names of police officers who were arrested at Headlands police station
were given as Wilbert Mushayavanhu, Gerison Gome, and Fidelis Zingwangwa
with the rest being identified only as Nhendere, Munetsi, Maruva, Nyamayaro,
Mudzuto, Chifamba and Mate.
The checking of applications for postal votes started on June 4 and will
close on June 17 when all applications are supposed to reach the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC), by noon.
A stilted campaign among armed forces has been launched to ensure that
members vote for incumbent President Robert Mugabe in the June 27 election,
which pits him against first round winner Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
The MDC has complained about ZANU-PF, in collusion with top military
generals, going all out to coerce junior members of the army, the police and
their spouses to vote for President Mugabe.
The uniformed forces vote two days before June 27 under the supervision of
THE Attorney General (AG)'s Office has come under fire from human rights
lawyers over its plans to deny bail to all suspects arrested on charges of
either committing or inciting political violence.
The Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, Johannes
Tomana, was quoted in the state media saying it had been decided "that those
arrested are locked up right to trial. Bail is opposed as a matter of
And Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa
weighed in with a suggestion on Tuesday to declare an amnesty for petty
criminals so as to decongest prisons and make room for suspects expected to
be arrested on charges of political violence.
But Irene Petras, the national director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, said the AG's intentions as articulated by Tomana were "regrettable
and unfortunate" as they clearly confused the role of the AG's office with
that of the judiciary.
"In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, all accused persons have a
fundamental right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of
law. They also have the right to protection of the law and the right to
their liberty as guaranteed in sections 18 and 11, respectively," she said.
"Bail is an entitlement that is provided to accused persons to ensure that,
from the time of their arrest to the finalisation of their trial, their
right to liberty is not unreasonably and unnecessarily violated," Petras
An accused person has a right to apply for bail before a criminal court,
which bail must, in the interests of justice, be granted where an accused
person has convinced the court that he or she is of fixed residential
address and is not likely to abscond from attending trial if set free on
bail; will not interfere with witnesses or evidence and will not commit
further offences while on bail.
"When bail is applied for, the State as represented by the AG's office,
cannot simply oppose the granting of such bail without providing the court
with substantive and credible reasons (supported by evidence) for such
opposition," Petras said.
She explained that courts would have to be convinced that there is a
material likelihood that the accused may flee from justice if released on
bail, interfere with witnesses, or commit further offences.
The human rights lawyer also said it was then solely within the mandate and
function of the court and not the AG's office to decide on the basis of the
evidence before it whether bail should be granted, adding that these were
elementary tenets of criminal procedure and constitutional law.
Scores of opposition supporters and officials accused of inciting violence
are presently languishing in jails after being denied bail. They include
Eric Matinenga, the Buhera West House of Assembly representative.
Matinenga, who was released by a court on Thursday, was re-arrested on fresh
charges of inciting violence in his constituency.
Lawyers fear that if the AG's proposal is enforced, people accused of
involvement in political violence will be thrown into jail unnecessarily
until the June 27 presidential election is held, thus disenfranchising them.
"The State, as represented by the AG's office, now seeks to unilaterally
remove in totality the right to even make an application for bail by
publicising its intention to make it mandatory that no bail is granted at
all to those arrested on the mere suspicion of 'political violence'. To
simply deny bail as a matter of policy because the crimes for which accused
is charged amount to political violence is clearly unconstitutional," Petras
She said it was unacceptable at law and in practice for the State, through
the AG's office, to override the function of the judiciary, by issuing a
widely publicised policy decision to deny bail without just and reasonable
cause. "It usurps the functions of the judiciary, and places executive
pressure on an independent arm of government."
Clemence Manyukwe Senior Political Reporter
A high court judge was allocated a farm two months ago after performing
"special duties" for the state, Judge President, Justice Rita Makarau heard
The revelations were made during the hearing of a land dispute after an
urgent application lodged by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, who is seeking an
order to have another new farmer, Professor Lovemore Gwanzura, ejected from
Daskop farm in Marondera on the grounds that the government allocated it to
the judge in April this year.
Between July 2002 and December 2007, the farm was owned by David Mangota,
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
In a sworn statement submitted to the Judge President, Mangota said he moved
from the Daskop farm after being allocated a bigger farm in the Midlands.
Mangota said after leaving the farm last December he handed it over in April
this year to Justice Bhunu, who had been granted an offer letter for the
property by the Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa.
In an affidavit, Justice Bhunu said after Mangota had handed over the
property, Gwanzura visited Daskop farm on April 12 and told him that the
land had also been allocated to him.
"He (Gwanzura) declined to produce his offer letter or even exhibit it to
me. After I had produced my offer letter, he declined to respect it and
insisted that he would nonetheless commence his farming operations," Justice
Bhunu said in an affidavit.
"On the 29th of May 2008, I was phoned by my employees at the farm that
respondent had come back to the farm and had forcibly occupied the wheat
fields and commenced ploughing there at."
However, in response, Gwanzura accused the judge of lying and trying to
remove him from the property because he was 'well-connected."
Gwanzura said he had been the occupant of the property since June 2007 and
was waiting to be granted an offer letter.
He said he had planted 40 hectares of winter wheat this year after getting a
$1,8 loan trillion from Agribank.
Gwanzura, who claimed to have farm workers, implements, inputs such as
fertilizers and fuel on the property and said how Justice Bhunu "skipped the
queue and obtained the farm ahead of me is only a matter of speculation."
"When I heard of the presence of applicant -Justice Bhunu -I started
enquiries as to how he could be allocated the farm. I was told through the
Ministry of Justice that applicant had been given special dispensation by
the President (Mugabe) to get the farm through minister Mutasa because
applicant was helping and doing special duties," Gwanzura said.
"This, it was alleged, necessitated the President giving him the farm by
taking it from me. This story was denied by the President's office and Lands
Office in Marondera. This proves that this was done by the Justice Ministry
Gwanzura also challenged the issuing of an offer letter to the judge on
grounds that it was done without going through the provincial lands
committee, which is supposed to make recommendations to the minister before
an application is approved.
He also argued that Mutasa's offer letter was invalid as he was advised that
President Mugabe had ordered Mutasa to suspend the issuing of offer letters
after "problems arose sometime in November 2007."
In response Justice Bhunu denied any wrongdoing on his part and insisted
that when he occupied the farm two months ago it was vacant.
"The President acting through the Minister of Lands, is the very authority,
which has allocated me this farm. Does first respondent dispute that? First
respondent will never obtain an offer letter since issuance of same has been
prohibited by the President," the judge said.
Justice Bhunu handled arguably the most high profile case this year in which
he recommended to President Mugabe, as part of a tribunal, the sacking of
former Attorney General Sobusa Gula- Ndebele on allegations of improper
Shame Makoshori Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S banking sector this week averted a potentially crippling job
action after the industry's 10 000 strong workforce threatened to down tools
within a week if employers did not give in to their demands for substantial
The sector gave in to workers' demands, raising their offer for salary
increments from 150 percent to 499 percent, the highest offer by any sector
in recent months.
This was however, lower than what the workers had initially demanded but
enough to quell agitation among workers who had already embarked on a
They were scheduled to embark on a full-scale strike on Tuesday next week
after giving notice to employers in line with the country's labour laws.
This would have plunged the sector into a crisis, one that could easily
affect all the country's economic activities, which are heavily dependent on
the banking sector.
The Financial Gazette understands that the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers'
Union (ZIBAWU) had demanded an 800 percent salary hike to cushion its
members from the effects of escalating prices that have hit the country.
Long queues resurfaced in major financial institutions such as Stanbic Bank,
Barclays Bank, CBZ Bank and others this week, as bank employees embarked on
ZIBAWU secretary general Wellington Likhukhuma told The Financial Gazette
yesterday that they had finally agreed to have a 499 percent increment for
As they had already received their salaries for May, the workers will be
given the balance this month resulting from the increment.
The workers have already opened negotiations for salary increments for June,
"We will be doing this on a monthly basis. We realised that it was not in
the best interest of anyone to go on industrial action, so we concluded an
agreement on Tuesday to award a 499 percent salary increment across the
board," Likhukhuma said.
"We have already opened negotiations for June, starting with housing
allowances and then the cost of living adjustment.
"These banks must be sensitive. If the civil service can pay $68 billion net
salary to workers why can't they be able to pay better.
"They are declaring profits year after year but they cannot look after their
"In fact, we have been able stop rampant crimes in banks by declaring zero
tolerance on crime.
"Our members have heeded our call and we are grateful that no major
incidents have been reported.
"They count trillions of dollars everyday yet at the end of the day they
have no money for transport," Likhukhuma said.
After the new adjustments, the lowest paid worker in the banking sector will
earn $17 billion, from the previous $2.9 billion.
Bank tellers, who form the majority of workers in the sector, will see their
salaries going up from about $30 billion to about $170 billion.
Bank tellers in higher grades will earn more.
ESKOM, one of ZESA Holdings' key electricity suppliers, has revealed that it
does not have sufficient generating capacity to export power to Zimbabwe.
Reports from South Africa quotes Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin
saying Eskom has since July 2007 avoided entering into any firm arrangements
with ZESA, due to the shortages of power affecting Africa's economic
Giving a written reply to a parliamentary question, Erwin told Lance
Greyling of the Independent Democrats that because of the lack of generating
capacity, no electricity has been scheduled for sale to Zimbabwe since July
"Eskom is entering into non-firm annual agreements with Zimbabwe, which
allows for the sale of power, by either party," Erwin said.
"These transactions are concluded on a day-ahead basis subject to the
availability of power. There is no obligation on either party to supply the
He told Greyling that neither the Zimbabwe government nor its power utility
owed any money to Eskom for power supplied in the past.
Zimbabwe imports electricity from Eskom, the Democratic Republic of Congo's
Snel and Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa.
The region has, however, been experiencing a serious deficit of power supply
due to rising demand, which cannot be met from the current electricity
In a paper presented to energy ministers last year, former ZESA chief
executive officer Simbarashe Mangwe-ngwende said the challenges facing the
African power sector are a microcosm of the many problems facing the
continent that are rooted in its economic and social underdevelopment.
He said consumption of electricity has been low due to poor gross domestic
product and electricity access levels.
"Fortunately, there is strong political will to break with this life of
poverty in the midst of plenty and this is reflected in the many national,
regional and continental institutions engaged in the search for a lasting
solution," he said.
Mangwengwende said energy sector reforms implemented by power utilities in
the past have only succeeded in providing for emergency generation through
Independent Power Producers, but have marginalised the poor and the local
"Regulatory agencies are weak and countries have not managed to attract the
levels of private sector investment anticipated. Although some of the
problems in the power sector are attributed to such externalities as drought
and steep increases in prices for oil importing countries, the root causes
of these problems lie in weaknesses in planning and regulation.
"There are many wish lists of priorities that reflect a desire for a better
future but there are very few bankable projects to make that future a
"Bankable projects pay dividends, repay loans and therefore attract
investors. The local private sector will be able to attract much more
foreign direct investment than what governments are able to.
"Bankable electricity projects are produced from coordinated economic and
energy planning, promotion of manufacturing industry and regional
integration driven by demand of the regional economic powers and
exploitation of economies of scale," he said.
EDITOR - Why should people be surprised at what is going on in the country?
It's typical of an African country's election to deteriorate into a civil
war. The right word for elections in Africa should be 'controlled mayhem'.
If what is happening is not controlled mayhem what is? A government calls
out for an election and when it seems to be losing it unleashes an orgy of
violence against perceived opposition using state machinery!
That is no election by any definition. Why call for elections in the first
place if citizens are not allowed to express their wish? We are in for more
dirty tactics until June 27.
This so-called 'independence' thing came too soon for Africa - we have
regimes, which cannot organise an alcoholic revelry in a brewery. This is by
far the messiest experiment on political and cultural change in history.
There is no way that MDC will ever come into power through the ballot box,
never. Holding of 'elections' is just a charade.
This is effectively a country being run by the military but on paper,
civilians are the Cabinet. War veterans run the show. Why have law courts
when the people who are supposed to be custodians of the law perpetrate
unlawful acts of violence and get away with it? It's pointless for outsiders
to repeatedly condemn the blatant violation of human rights because as one
war veteran told me, 'There are no human rights in Zimbabwe'.
Some of these people were dehumanised a long time ago (during the liberation
war) so an avalanche of condemnation is like water of a duck's back.
Toothless SADC has not made any comments.
The delay in announcing the run-off was all strategically planned to give
time to security agents to bash the opposition in the countryside first. The
state using guerrilla style operations to smash the citizens is what is
President Mugabe doesn't mind because he is told, 'Imi chef endayi pamberi
nekutonga isu zvese zvimwe tinogadzirisa'. One can imagine the war vets
telling President Mugabe.
Is it any wonder that Africa is called the Dark Continent? The only reason
why we had peace or the so-called reconciliation, which in African terms is
'relaxed chaos' from 1980 up to the late 90s was because ZANU-PF was
petrified of attacks from apartheid South Africa so they wanted the whole
world on their side.
You will notice that as soon as the apartheid threat was gone, when South
Africa came under black rule, the war vets came out of their shells, and
wouldn't give a toss about anyone on the African continent. That is when the
military escapades to Congo started.
Shame Makoshori Senior Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) says the continued injection
of massive liquidity into the market could weaken measures to stabilise the
economy by further fuelling inflation.
CZI president Callisto Jokonya last week said in Harare money supply growth,
the rate at which currency is injected into an economy, had overtaken
inflation as Zimbabwe's "number one enemy".
He said economic stability hinged on the central bank halting more cash
injections into the economy and making sure foreign currency went through
the official market.
Commenting for the first time on the impact of the liberalisation of the
Zimbabwe dollar on industrial operations, Jokonya said companies had
registered improved export performances but ultimate viability would be
restored if more foreign currency trickled into the interbank market.
In the absence of balance of payments support from the International
Monetary Fund and other multilateral lending institutions, Zimbabwe's
currency has rapidly depreciated.
This has forced government to rely more on domestic sources of credit,
particularly money printing, to finance its budget deficit, itself one of
the major victims of runaway inflation.
"Once the (foreign currency) is put into the interbank market, this should
obviate the need to print money," Jokonya told reporters.
"Our number one enemy is the excess of the Zimbabwe dollars on the market.
If we continue with the current policy of injecting massive amounts of
liquidity into the economy we will continue to see a continuous depreciation
of the currency. We need to act as a matter of urgency to reduce money
supply growth. We will reach a point where we risk the local currency
becoming unusable," Jokonya said.
"We are seeing in both urban and rural areas a phenomenon where small
traders, landlords and individuals are refusing payment in local currency
and insisting on barter deals."
Some companies are also demanding payment in foreign currency, he said.
CZI estimates indicate that Zimbabwe could receive US$550 million through
tobacco and cotton sales this season.
If this revenue was channelled into the official market this could help
stabilise the exchange rate.
The past two months have witnessed a phenomenal decline in the value of the
Zimbabwe dollar on the foreign exchange market, with the domestic currency
experiencing the worst drubbing on the dominant parallel market.
This has left sellers of foreign currency firmly dependent on the parallel
Jokonya said it was high time the central bank moved in with some form of
control on the rampant foreign exchange market.
"There are some adjustments to be done. We cannot just let it (Zimbabwe
dollar) lose. The release of operational modalities on how the exporters
funds that are currently held at the Reserve Bank will be repaid are yet to
be announced; the delayed release of the modalities has a very negative
effect," he said.
THERE have been recent loud calls by some segments of the business community
for the Reserve Bank to curb money supply growth as the ultimate panacea to
the high levels of inflation.
Firstly, the logic of this call, which is deeply rooted in the orthodox
neo-classical monetarists' doctrine that "too much money chasing too few
goods leads to inflation," is a trivially well known dynamic, which merits
In the case of Zimbabwe, it is overly simplistic for stakeholders to blindly
sing the classical rhetoric of "monetary austerity" as the sole solution to
the inflation problem for the following reasons:
a) In Zimbabwe, the bulk of money supply growth is accounted for by growth
in productive loans to the private sector, in particular to farmers and
industrialists, under the Basic Commodities Supply Side Interventions
(BACOSSI) as well as through Bankers Acceptances. Currently, credit to the
private sector constitutes 75-80 percent of total loans in the economy, with
government and public enterprises only accounting for 20-25 percent. This is
Blind calls to shut off this credit from the productive sectors are
therefore, perilous, as this would unambiguously throw the economy deeper
into a hyper mode of stagflation, a condition, where high episodes of
inflation co-exist with a worsening recession on production. Without ASPEF,
BACOSSI and Mechanisation Programmes, the situation would, therefore, have
been much worse.
b) Most developing and even developed economies bridge the internal
shortfalls of savings on desired investment levels through injections of
resources from off-shore sources, either as loans, grants or investment
inflows. For instance, the USA is the most heavily borrowed economy on earth
today if one looks at their perpetual multi-billion dollar balance of
payments (BOP) deficits year in, year out, but they bridge this gap through
BOP inflows in their capital account.
In the case of Zimbabwe, the impact of sanctions has been to literally dry
up BOP support, as well as other forms of capital inflows, meaning that the
country has to rely on internal resources.
c) Given that the economy has to make do with internal resources, at a time
when the productive side is not performing well, calling for a reduction in
money supply would mean either asking government to hike corporate and
individual income taxes or outright abandonment of the various
socio-economic and infrastructural projects already being implemented. It
should be apparent to an average mind that doing so would be catastrophic.
d) The high money supply growth rates Zimbabwe is experiencing are also a
direct result of the constitutional requirements of the elections. This is
typical in any country running elections and Zimbabwe is no exception.
e) Zimbabwe has just liberalised the exchange rate, at a time when the
central bank has limited gross foreign reserves. The direct inevitable
implication of this is that the central bank has to also buy foreign
exchange from the market at the liberalised exchange rates to meet urgent
This unambiguously injects money into the market. To blindly call for a
reduction in money supply, therefore, in this context, would be tantamount
to saying to the Reserve Bank "please do not buy foreign exchange for
strategic needs like grain imports and other payments for medicines,
fertilisers and agricultural machinery, among many other priorities".
It is, therefore, a question of sequencing and timing. Now is not the time
for big-bang contraction in broad money supply, given our circumstances.
One way through which money supply growth can be swiftly curtailed is
through sufficient increase in interest rates. Doing this will, however, be
folly in that already Zimbabwe's interest rates are way too high and raising
them further, will lead to company closures, job losses and more poverty.
As monetary authorities, we are, therefore, well aware of the classical
connectivities between nominal monetary aggregates, prices and real
variables in the economy.
We are sequencing our policy interventions in a manner that protects
production in key sectors of the economy, whilst at the same time having a
human face to the majority of the people.
Once we get our productive sectors right, inflation will cease to be the
We also once again call upon stakeholders to go back to the negotiating
table and establish a lasting social contract.
The social contract is imperative and critically needed to weed out what we
now see as unrepenting speculative attacks on defenseless masses by a few
unscrupulous business people.
Government, labour, business and civil society need to uphold the virtues
that come with positive, constructive, and mutually converging expectations
in bringing down inflation.
Merely shrinking the money supply belt will not do. Any suggestions to the
contrary will be patently simplistic and naive.
Gideon Gono is the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
True democracies allow opposition politicians to exist, campaign and even
LAUNCHING its campaign last month for the forthcoming presidential election
run-off, ZANU-PF declared kuti ". chave chimurenga ka ichi!", that is to say
". it is now war .". Blood!
"Chimurenga" is a Shona word, which means "war of liberation". The First
Chimurenga of 1896 and 1897 was waged by the Shona and the Ndebele
populations against the colonial occupation. The Second Chimurenga between
1966 and 1979 was waged by African fighters against settler rule. Blood was
spilt in both wars.
It is not clear what 'liberation' is referred to in the 'Chimurengas' that
were waged after 1980.
ZANU-PF has referred to the land-grab exercise between 1999 to the present
day, as the 'third Chimurenga'. Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order, which
was waged by the State against citizens in May 2005 could well be taken to
have been the 'fourth Chimurenga.'
While the first and second Chimurengas were targeted against exotic settlers
or colonialists, the third and fourth were unleashed against citizens.
The 'Fifth Chimurenga', proclaimed in May 2008, and a few other times
earlier on, is said to be a war against "Britain and her allies". It is a
bloody war that cannot be lost. Whether the ruling party wins the poll or
not, power will not be ceded to the winner. The 'fifth Chimurenga' has
already claimed lives - black blood.
A few cases in point to show that we are indeed in a state of war - in
On Saturday 7th June 2008, ZANU-PF held an election campaign for the run-off
at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare, Harare. The Mbare Musika vegetable market was
closed for most of the day, from about 10:00 hours until about 17:00 hours
as all the vendors at that market were obliged to attend the rally.
The forced closure of markets at Mbare whenever ZANU-PF holds a rally in the
area is said to have become the norm in recent years. When the vegetable
market was eventually opened after the rally, towards the end of the day,
virtually all the stalls in the market were draped with ZANU-PF paper flags,
and campaign posters with the President's image.
It is extremely hard to believe that every vendor at the Mbare vegetable
market, on June 7 2008, supported the candidacy of the reigning regime, and
that none of them supported the opposition presidential candidate. There was
not a single Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) poster, sticker or flyer
in the entire market on the day. Results in recent elections have certainly
not reflected a 'one party state of Mbare'.
At the Mbare bus terminus open trucks packed with ruling party youths
criss-crossed, with the drivers blasting the hooters as loud and as long as
possible, and the passengers sang out pro-ZANU-PF songs and party slogans.
The entire terminus and market area was infested with men and women wearing
party regalia. Not one person wore MDC material. It is also extremely
difficult to believe that the MDC has suddenly lost all of its supporters in
On June 4 2008, at 11:00 hours and at Munhumutapa offices, corner Sam Nujoma
Street and Samora Machel Avenue, two armed policemen treated an unarmed
young man in a fashion that would probably have embarrassed both the late
Samora Machel, and Sam Nujoma. The hapless citizen was forced to do
press-ups on the hard pavement on clenched bare fists. He was thereafter
made to kneel on the ground as the two policemen interrogated the young man
in full view of passers-by, seemingly without any shame about the crudeness
of their savagery. Advocate Eric Matinenga, Member of Parliament-elect for
Buhera West was arrested in Buhera on Saturday May 31 2008 on trumped up
charges, which were subsequently rightly dismissed at the Mutare Magistrates
Court on Thursday June 5 2008.
Only two days later, the prominent MDC politician and lawyer was picked up
from his home by State agents, apparently on account of the same allegations
that had been dismissed as baseless at the Magistrates Court.
As the nation prepares for the presidential election run-off, the opposition
party has had to struggle for the right to campaign. The party has had to
apply to the High Court for an order to enable it (the MDC) to campaign
A good number of MDC members of parliament-elect, besides Eric Matinenga,
and local government Councillors have been arrested and incarcerated on the
basis of ridiculous charges. Morgan Tsvangirai has lost his liberty twice on
his run-ff campaign trail.
Many MDC activists and ordinary members of the party have been assaulted or
murdered. The narrations on the extermination tactics employed by the
murderers of opposition members are chilling. ZANU-PF members have also been
assaulted or killed by "suspected MDC members".
Where-ever the truth lies, the prevalence of politically motivated violence
and horrendous deaths on both sides of the political divide, show in no
uncertain terms, that Zimbabwe is indeed in a state of war, a Chimurenga.
Politics in Zimbabwe has become a dangerous game; a life-threatening
adventure. The backwardness of the domestic political system becomes glaring
when one takes a glimpse at the dynamics of the on-going run towards the
2008 United States of America (USA) presidential elections. No blood there.
Other democracies, not just in the Americas and Europe, but also some in
Africa, such as South Africa, allow for opposition politicians to exist,
campaign and even to win, without adverse consequences from the incumbents.
At the beginning of April 2008, Innocent Chagonda, another prominent Harare
lawyer was arrested for the funny-sounding crime of "causing disaffection in
the police force or armed forces".
His trial at the magistrates courts has repeatedly failed to take off as the
so-called 'star witness' for the State in the case has on all court
appearances claimed to be unwell and unfit to stand in the dock to testify.
Chagonda spent an awful night in police cells for educating police officers
that they could be sued for indulging in unlawful conduct.
Another human rights lawyer - Harrison Nkomo, is presently on remand on
allegations of making 'statements that undermine the authority of the
president'. Last year, lawyers were arrested, physically assaulted, and
incarcerated by the police.
Practicing law in Zimbabwe, like delving into politics, has become
The recent suspension on the aid work of non governmental organizations is
likely to result in widespread starvation, or at least significant hardship,
not for "Britain and her allies", but for Zimbabweans.
Indeed, the spilling of blood, and death, are part and parcel of any
Chimurenga, including this 'fifth Chimurenga'. What is most sad and
irritating however, about the present 'Chimurenga' is that the lives to be
negatively affected, the lives to be lost, and the blood to be spilt, are
This 'fifth Chimurenga' "against Britain and her allies", is hurting and
killing dozens of black Zimbabweans. Chave Chimurenga!
Chris Mhike is a lawyer practicing in Harare
THERE have been calls from many quarters for a government of national unity
(GNU) in Zimbabwe to end the economic crisis and political impasse. The
presidential run-off scheduled for June 27 is seen by advocates of a GNU as
a recipe for deepening the crisis regardless of the outcome.
One fervent advocate of a GNU or transitional authority, as he prefers to
call it, is Simba Makoni, a losing candidate in the March 29 poll. He argues
that not only would the run-off not solve the political crisis; the violence
accompanying it would deepen divisions in an already polarised society.
Moreover, so dire is the current economic situation that the country simply
cannot afford another election. Makoni quite correctly points out that
conditions for a free and fair election do not exist because of violence and
a compromised Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). He sees the transitional
authority's mandate as stabilising the economy and creating an environment
conducive to a free and fair election in two to five years.
The view that a run-off would be a costly exercise in futility is shared by
the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based think tank. In a
recent report it argued that regardless of the result of the run off,
Zimbabwe's political and economic woes would deepen and persist.
A victory for incumbent (President) Robert Mugabe would mean continued
internal political conflict, rapid economic decline and international
isolation. The report predicts a coup by the military should MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai win. The only sensible solution according to the ICG is a
negotiated political settlement between the MDC and ZANU-PF.
In theory there is nothing wrong with the two parties agreeing to form a
transitional coalition government to arrest Zimbabwe's calamitous decline.
Arguments advanced by Makoni, ICG and many others in favour of this
proposition make sense. But are they realistic? Are conditions on the ground
conducive to a pact between the MDC and ZANU-PF to put the national interest
above all else?
Political analysis and strategy should not be made in a vacuum. If that
happens it loses credibility and relevance.
Facts on the ground in Zimbabwe militate against the two parties working
together. An undisputed truth is that ZANU-PF, so used to monopolising
power, is not interested in any coalition. It simply will not share power.
To (President) Mugabe the idea goes against every instinct in his body. The
self-proclaimed apostle of a one-party state will not for a fraction of a
second entertain sharing power with even God himself.
President Mugabe, through Patrick Chinamasa, now peddles the falsehood that
a GNU will be considered after the run-off. This assumes of course that
(President) Mugabe wins. Should he win the only item on the agenda would be
the destruction of the MDC and Tsvangirai. To think that a victorious
(President) Mugabe would entertain any accommodation of the MDC is sheer
madness. How can there be serious discussion of a GNU when ZANU-PF has
embarked on a systematic elimination of MDC activists? How can there be
national reconciliation when livelihoods of defenceless innocent people in
rural areas are wantonly destroyed even now?
Zimbabwe's election must be the only one in the world in which a party has
to seek intervention by courts of law to hold campaign meetings and rallies.
There is a determination to ensure that people are thoroughly intimidated
not to be able to make a free choice. Access to state-owned print and
electronic media is denied to the MDC.
Instead a crude and vicious propaganda against the MDC has been unleashed
under the direction of the Ministry of Information. The entire state
machinery has been mobilised to ensure that President Mugabe wins on June
Yet proponents of a GNU talk glibly about this notion oblivious to the
mayhem that prevails in the country. To succeed national unity or coalition
governments must be predicated on the bona fides of all participants. They
must be premised on a sincere desire to promote national interest.
(President) Mugabe is no fool. He knows the composition of a GNU before the
run-off must reflect the results of March 29.This means it must be led by
Tsvangirai whose party won both parliamentary and presidential polls. Any
other arrangement would be a negation of the will of the people and
certainly not acceptable to the MDC.
A Tsvangirai-led GNU is equally unacceptable to (President) Mugabe. Having
lost the first round (President) Mugabe realised the risks inherent in a
run-off. It is, however, a risk he is willing to take, given the unpalatable
alternatives on offer. (President) Mugabe is convinced that the current orgy
of violence in rural areas coupled with crude propaganda will reverse the
March 29 result. He certainly is not prepared to entertain the idea of a
GNU, even with Tsvangirai as junior partner.
Tsvangirai and his party must just be destroyed. The MDC leader has met
every significant African leader concerned with the Zimbabwean issue over
the past nine years. Yet (President) Mugabe has steadfastly refused to meet
him. Given this reality how can the idea of a GNU be seriously canvassed?
President Mugabe and the clique that surrounds him will not allow any
sharing of power to happen even in transient form. There is talk of
reasonable people in ZANU-PF prepared to walk the path of national unity and
reconciliation. If they exist their views are irrelevant as they lack
courage within structures in their party to forcibly express them. Cowardice
and opportunism combine to make them impotent spectators as their party
plunges Zimbabwe on the road to ruin.
There is talk of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki being in favour of a
GNU in Zimbabwe in his role as SADC appointed mediator. Media speculation
said as recently as last week Mbeki's officials met with MDC and ZANU-PF
representatives to convince them to forego the run off in favour of a GNU.
Little credence should be given to such speculation. Mbeki wants ZANU-PF to
remain the ruling party in Zimbabwe. He will support whatever strategy
(President) Mugabe believes can best advance his agenda. At present core to
this strategy is winning the run-off by whatever means necessary.
Mbeki is fully aware of the murder, torture and rape sponsored by the state
that has devastated lives in Zimbabwe's rural areas. Credible reports say a
fact-finding mission commissioned by Mbeki to look into allegations of state
sponsored violence presented its report to him two weeks ago. Composed of
retired generals of South Africa's defence forces it reportedly confirmed
reports of state-sponsored violence.
Characteristically, there is no mention of the report by Mbeki. Its findings
were too unpalatable for his agenda to protect (President) Mugabe from
international censure. Not a murmur of protest about the murder, rape and
torture of ordinary Africans Mbeki and his ilk claim to speak for. Instead
of raising these issues of life and death of Africans he claims to love and
represent, Mbeki found it more important to write to US President George
Bush to leave Zimbabwe alone.
Those who believe a GNU or transitional authority is what Zimbabwe needs are
well meaning. But they must be realistic. ZANU-PF is not interested in such
a solution. It wants to bludgeon the MDC and its supporters to submission.
Commanders of the defence forces have repeatedly said they will not accept a
ZANU-PF defeat. People are being murdered and rendered homeless by a regime
that does not value their lives and well being. African leaders watch
helplessly as Zimbabwe and its people are sacrificed at the altar of ZANU-PF
Whenever Mbeki is cornered on his Zimbabwe policy he says it is up to the
people of Zimbabwe to solve their problems. He may well be right. But he
should not abuse his position as mediator to protect President Mugabe's
regime. It is a cop-out for a man who has given support to (President)
Mugabe. He is however right to say ultimately it is up to Zimbabweans to
resolve their problems.
They should do so by voting President Mugabe out on June 27.
Ray Matikinye News Editor
WHO would mount a horse in full gallop with one hand tied behind his back?
Apparently, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is being made to try to
achieve that feat.
Given its role to uphold the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
electoral norms and guidelines, conducting the presidential run-off poll in
15 days time, success in meeting set criteria is not guaranteed.
Simply counting votes, announcing results and managing an election is what
ZEC staffers presumed would be their prime task.
They assumed too this assignment was cut and dried.
Yet this time around the unforeseen eventuality of a presidential run-off
election has posed unique and extraordinary problems for the electoral body.
It is the first ever such event in the 28-year history of independent
Zimbabwe with no precedent in the southern African sub-region.
ZEC officials were the first to foresee problems that the legislature
overlooked when enacting regulations stipulating a 21-day period for a
run-off after the announcement of election results.
With such an eventuality unanticipated, the electoral body did not voice any
concerns about the impractical timeframe.
"This is the first time that we have such a situation with its unique
challenges," admitted ZEC deputy chief election officer responsible for
operations, Utoile Silaigwana, when asked about delays in announcing a
"But as soon as that is done, we will set the machinery going and will live
up to expectation, carry out our mandate as we have done in the past."
It sounded too routine and easy to execute.
Now that a date is known, the run-off could prove a serious challenge to ZEC's
capacity given the resources that have to be mobilised and the replacement
personnel that has to be recruited.
That task alone dwarfs the mundane task of counting, collating and
announcing the figures.
The crunch is the financing of the run-off.
Third-placed presidential contender and former finance minister, Simba
Makoni, says the run-off is an unnecessary expense in the light of
additional financial resources needed to conduct the poll in such a short
time. Zimbabwe's economy is not in the best shape, strangled by galloping
When President Robert Mugabe initially told his South African counterpart,
Thabo Mbeki, that ZEC needed to delay the polls because it had no funds to
replenish elections materials, the SA leader promised to mobilise funds.
Even with a pledge of a US$60 million advance from SADC, the presidential
balloting will leave the country worse for wear.
Talk by Member of Parliament-elect, Ignatius Chombo, that his party had been
allocated $21 trillion for electioneering purposes in Mashonaland West
province alone, shows the magnitude of the financial commitment required to
stage the contest assuming the remaining nine provinces have been awarded
Many teachers acted as polling officers on election day and some have
performed those duties beyond mere proficiency at every election since
Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980.
Now it is uncertain they will risk their necks and enlist as polling
A wave of politically motivated violence that has engulfed rural areas in
Zimbabwe prompting teachers, civil servants from which ZEC drew its pool of
manpower to flee the conflagration, has put a premium on the electoral body's
ability to mobilise manpower to man polling stations.
A fortnight ago the Progressive Teachers' Union (PTUZ) estimated that 7 000
of its members had fled from schools countrywide, fearing retribution by
revanchist independence war participants, party youth militia and soldiers.
Several schools have been shut down because of political violence that has
been unleashed since the March polls.
"We want the schools reopened because while it is the poor people whose
children are denied education, the chefs' children are going to school,"
complained the Governor of Mashonaland East, Ray Kaukonde, in reaction to
the closure of schools in the province
Teachers are being targeted, the militant PTUZ says, and many are fleeing.
More than 5 000 teachers have been beaten, about 600 hospitalised while at
least 231 teachers' houses have been burnt, the union says.
But ZEC could draw comfort from defiance shown by some officials of the
teachers' representative body.
Enock Paradzai, a PTUZ executive, says that members would not be deterred
from acting as polling officers in the second round, in spite of the
crackdown against them since the March 29 elections.
"We are still hunted down, but even if the harassment continues, this will
not stop us from participating as polling officers," he said, adding that if
ZEC sends teachers who volunteer to be polling officers to distant districts
where they are not registered to vote, they should not go.
Last week the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry decreed
that non-governmental organisations and private voluntary organisations
should suspend operations and register afresh, which could hog-tie those
organisations involved in election monitoring.
Moreover, it appears unnecessarily risky to volunteer as observers given the
surge of violent incidents against those that participated in the March
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which provided independent
observers to all polls, is now required to re-accredit, at an increased
cost, all its 9 400 observers, many of whom have been beaten up since the
ZESN says this is impossible in a situation of regular attacks against its
At the same time, the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, insists local
election observers need to reapply for accreditation
"These new requirements for new invitations to observe the run-off suggest a
deliberate attempt to curtail domestic election observation that has become
critical in promoting transparency, accountability and voter confidence,"
"Domestic observation of elections is important not just on election day but
in the run up to elections and during the post-election period when foreign
observers are gone."
Political analyst, Professor John Makumbe, says it is unrealistic for people
to think that a call by President Mugabe to end violence was genuine.
The MDC says more than 25 000 people have been displaced while nearly 8 000
homes have been torched since March 29. With a ward-based presidential
election run-off this disenfranchises the displaced.
ZIMBABWE is burning, and could be on the brink of some sort of civil war.
People from the two rival political formations, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and the currently ruling
ZANU-PF led by President Robert Mugabe, have been engaged in a bitter
warfare, burning down houses and killing each other.
ZANU-PF activists are killing and beating opponents to punish them for
allegedly trying to reverse the gains of the country's independence when
they voted for the opposition in the March 29 harmonised elections, in which
the MDC formation led by Tsvangirai emerged with more members of parliament
than ZANU-PF, the first time this has happened since independence in 1980.
MDC activists are engaged in what has often been described as revenge
attacks, also beating up and killing ruling party members and torching their
This madness has to stop!
We expected Zimbabweans to have matured enough to the point of realising
that no politician is worth dying or killing for.
President Mugabe's children are safely sheltered at State House, away from
the brutal killings taking place in defence of his bid for the top job in
Tsvangirai's children are also carefully protected in privileged mansions in
South Africa, away from the mayhem precipitated by his bid for power.
If their own children cannot die for the political causes that they lead,
surely no one else should.
If they feel compelled to protect their own children and families from the
murderous environment that now characterises the political campaign today,
they should also seek, in equal measure, to protect those that support them.
The women, men and children dying for these two politicians need protection
as much as their own children and families do; their lives should not be
sacrificed for the selfish quest for political power.
The people who are being tortured and murdered are our friends and
relatives; they are part of us.
The protagonists in this battle need to realise that they need to engage to
stop these murders by their supporters.
Clearly, there are MDC youths whose parents could be ZANU-PF members and
vice-versa. The murder of an MDC member, therefore, could be a bereavement
in a ZANU-PF family and the murder of a ZANU-PF member could also be a
bereavement in an MDC family.
We recently witnessed situations where top ZANU-PF party members had their
children given away in marriage to prominent MDC activists. This is as it
should be: we are one people and there is no reason for the current
divisions spawned by support for the two presidential aspirants.
It is therefore imperative that the two political leaders bury the hatchet
and start talking to each other to stop this bloodbath and once more
re-unite the nation.
This should possibly be made in the spirit of forming a government of
national unity (GNU).
We are mindful that Tsvangirai is not amenable to this idea. On returning
from brief exile in May, he rejected the idea of a GNU, vowing that he would
defeat President Mugabe at the June 27 polls.
President Mugabe's hatchet men have equally scoffed at the suggestion,
insisting a runoff has to take place first before anything of the sort
We feel the run-off will not heal the nation. More than anything else, more
people are likely to die before and even after the runoff.
The outcome of this run-off election is likely to be contested by both
ZANU-PF and MDC, and we hazard the guess that this will spawn a worse
Over the weekend, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, a close friend of
President Mugabe, called for a GNU, saying the June 27 election would not
bring peace to the country.
Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan also called on the two
feuding political leaders to prepare for a negotiated settlement even after
President Thabo Mbeki, whom we feel has done a great deal in trying to find
a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis, has also called for a GNU.
The point Mbeki's critics have failed to understand is that a resolution of
the Zimbabwean crisis should come from Zimbabweans, who should engage each
other, irrespective of their different political persuasions, to find a
Simba Makoni, a defeated presidential hopeful in the March 29 harmonised
election, has also called for a GNU, saying the country and its people
cannot afford another election.
"We are convinced that the last thing Zimbabwe and the people need is
another election. Between now and June 27 we believe that an election cannot
be conducted...the people will be short-changed," Makoni told journalists in
Johannesburg, South Africa, this week.
We share the same view, and hope that the bickering parties will realise
that they are not doing Zimbabwe any good by adopting hard line positions.
Both Tsvangirai and President Mugabe need to compromise to allow the country
to move on and avert a civil war.
IN the last few weeks, immigrants into South Africa have been subjected to
an anti-foreign sentiment, which has resulted in violent attacks on
Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Somalis, Namibians and Malawians, among others.
The bulk of these people came into the country illegally. Most immigrants
are economic refugees who have escaped hardship and political turmoil in
their countries and want to earn a living in South Africa.
The financial remittances from these migrant workers is making a
contribution to capital inflows into their countries of origin. Indeed, for
countries such as Zimbabwe, the remittances account for a large part of
foreign currency inflows into the country.
To have a sustainable solution to the migrant labour issues in South Africa,
it is important to begin to stimulate employment-creating economic activity
in the neighbouring countries so that potential migrant labourers find
employment in their own countries.
Of particular interest is Zimbabwe, whose economy and indeed political
situation needs to be turned around so as to stop the economic meltdown and
reduce the flow of migrants into South Africa.
With inflation currently pegged at 1 700 000 percent, the economic crisis in
Zimbabwe could not be more grave. An economic stabilisation plan needs to be
put in place once there is meaningful change in the political climate.
This plan must be different from the stabilisation programmes of the past,
and it must do so by dealing with the poor upfront, and not as an
afterthought. Its 10 key points must be:
Providing a safety net for the poor
The stabilisation programme will be painful. It will immediately result in
an increased availability of goods in the shops, but prices will go up
The poor will not have the purchasing power to buy these goods, in
particular food and medical drugs. Zimbabwe's development partners must put
in place, and fund, an emergency relief programme.
Our partners are already operating relief programmes of various kinds in the
country, with transparent financial management systems in place. They should
immediately increase the scale of the stabilisation programmes.
Obtaining balance of payment support
The first step in tackling the Zimbabwean crisis would be through a shock
balance-of-payments (BOP) support programme - a large inflow of foreign
currency. An amount of about US5-billion would be sourced for BOP support,
in the first instance, from the IMF and the World Bank.
To be able to get this BOP support, Zimbabwe will need to commit to an
ironclad economic stabilisation programme (ESP). Recall that one of the
biggest problems of the current government is that nobody trusts it.
Nobody inside Zimbabwe, and nobody outside Zimbabwe. So we will need to
design an acceptable ESP, and stick to it.
The BOP support would immediately provide foreign currency for importers,
and ease the availability of foreign currency for procuring fuel,
electricity and food.
This will stop the exchange rate from sliding further in what is now the
Unifying the exchange rate
All exchange controls would be abolished, as there is nothing to control in
the first place.
The official rate and parallel rate will need to be unified into one
market-determined rate. This will eliminate market distortions and general
arbitrage (or "institutionalised corruption") opportunities.
Issuing a new currency
It is paramount to issue a new currency at the prevailing market rate, but
with a nominal value, which is easier to transact. At the same time, a debt
management programme with various creditors would be initiated, with a fair
settlement with equitable burden-sharing between all.
Eliminating quasi-fiscal activities
Currently the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has taken over the roles of the
finance ministry and commercial banks by disbursing financial resources to
government entities. It is also providing free or subsidised foreign
exchange to public enterprises and selected importers.
This is contributing to excessive growth in money supply and hyperinflation.
The Reserve Bank would immediately be made to return to focus on its core
functions, price stability and payment-system stability.
The loans and bad debts from the Reserve Bank's quasi-fiscal activities
should be placed in a debt-recovery Special Purpose Vehicle and managed
separately from the activities of the Reserve Bank and the private banking
Banks will generally require recapitalisation as hyperinflation has eroded
their balance sheets.
It has also reduced their capacity to engage in innovative banking
activities that are required for the country's economic recovery.
There is now a continuous negative feedback from falling foreign currency
reserves, currency depreciation and hyperinflation in the face of excessive
money supply growth. The BOP support would serve to stabilise the currency
and begin to stop inflation from rising further.
Beyond that, there is a need for monetary policy to follow an
inflation-targeting approach. This means moving to positive real interest
rates as quickly as is possible.
Doing it immediately would mean that interest rates would have to rise to
over 1 000 000 percent, an unimaginable level.
Perhaps a gradual rate increase in the face of falling inflation is a more
desirable approach, in order to avoid a complete collapse of the productive
sector, which is barely surviving under the current circumstances.
Bringing down the budget deficit
The budget deficit - the root cause of the economic crisis - would be
brought down by controlling government spending. This will involve painful
expenditure cuts, which is why all stakeholders should be on board during
the process of assessing the fiscal deficit and what is sustainable in the
We will also need to shift, within government expenditure, towards repairing
and upgrading key economic infrastructure.
Sorting out land reform
The chaotic land reform process needs to be normalised. A process should be
instituted whereby, farm by farm, a fair solution is reached. This needs to
be done urgently and systematically, so that there is restoration of and
respect for property rights.
Offers should be made to white farmers to come back and be part of the plan
of restoring production in the agricultural sector and benefit from legally
sanctioned and fair compensation rules for what they lost illegally.
Supporting the productive sectors
We need to bring profitability back to agriculture, manufacturing and
mining. In the short term, the best way to do this is to liberalise all
markets for inputs and outputs. Farmers, industrialists and miners alike
should be free to sell to the market, including in US dollars.
Re-establishing social safety nets
While a transitional safety net would be put in place immediately, we would
also immediately put together task forces to bring the health insurance and
pension plans back to normal.
Once the programme begins to take effect, the stabilisation process could be
quite quick, and the expectations built into it will begin to address the
flow of migrants into South Africa.
Mthuli Ncube is director and professor of finance at Wits Business School,
Shame Makoshori Senior Business Reporter
Top executives in the baking industry last month refused to take up senior
posts in the vocal National Bakers Association (NBA) citing continued
harassment triggered by deteriorating relations with government, which has
previously accused them of working as regime change agents, The Financial
Gazette has established.
Bread makers have struggled with losses due to price controls. Executives
who attempted to increase prices without sanction from government were last
year arrested and detained in filthy police cells. Government has often
alleged that industry has been working with President Robert Mugabe's
declared foes in the west to unseat his administration by increasing prices
to trigger social upheaval that would result in him losing to the opposition
in presidential elections. However, despite government posturing, prices,
except those of bread, have continued to skyrocket.
Relations between government and bakers hit their lowest point in 2006, when
former NBA chairman Burombo Mudumo and another senior official from Lobels
Bakery were arrested and detained by the police over what government said
were illegal price hikes.
But the bakers argued that the prices they were charging were nowhere closer
to being exorbitant, saying they could only make their companies reach
break-even point in terms of profitability.
The NBA, which commands a 125 membership, held its Annual General Meeting
(AGM) at the beginning of May during which a new executive led by Harambe
Holdings' Bramwel Bushu took over. Minutes of the AGM seen by this paper
this week, showed how government's intimidation on the private sector was
beginning to take its toll on the industry.
Most bakers had refused to take up leadership positions in the NBA because
they feared for their security, especially after hostile meetings with the
Joint Operations Command (JOC), a group of the country's heads of security
agents that is increasingly taking an influential role in economic issues.
The minutes indicated that an official with one of the country's top
bakeries (Innscor) had been the hot favourite to take over the NBA
chairmanship from Vincent Mangoma. He, however, declined.
"First choice declined the hot seat because of continuous government
harassment," reads part of the minutes. The minutes said another choice had
been "reluctant to take the hot seat due to demands the post has on one's
freedom" while a third choice, an official with Lobels, excused himself
because he had a pending legal case to do with a previous arrest over bread
The minutes also show that there was a resounding agreement to persuade
Mangoma to remain as chairman. Minutes said during his tenure, Mangoma had
assumed respect from the government, the milling industry and consumer
He is described in the paper as honest "but fearless when it comes to
articulating bakers' issues.
The Financial Gazette was unable to get comment from Mangoma on why he could
not stand for re-election.
It was difficult to imagine, while the Sekesai Makwavarara circus was in
full swing over a period of more than three years, that service delivery
would get any worse in Harare.
During her tenure as the chairperson of the commission running the affairs
of Harare, some people believed the press was too hard on Makwavarara when
it exposed her bungling and deplored her extravagance at a time when most
city residents were struggling to make ends meet. I remember that I used to
get e-mails from irate readers of this column who wanted to comment
privately on the fact I was too critical of a fellow woman who had made it
to the top and was a role model for young girls.
I was unmoved by these accusations because as a journalist I try to focus on
the truth regardless of the gender of the person involved. I was unimpressed
by the argument that Makwavarara was a role model because of the way she
ascended to the status of first citizen of the capital city and then allowed
herself to be used strictly as a "face" or token incapable of thinking and
That is not the kind of advancement and empowerment women should be fighting
for. Youths need role models who demonstrate that leadership involves more
than cheerleading and ululating. It will be recalled that Makwavarara was
elected as a councillor on an opposition ticket and then came out in her
true political colours once securely inside. There is absolutely nothing
wrong with changing one's mind or perspective once one has gained new
insights into a situation as long as one does it openly and in a principled
manner, which was not the case with Makwavarara's political metamorphosis.
Women should be free to support political parties of their choice and should
support these organisations out of principle and conviction. The former
chairperson of the Harare Commission went in as a member of the Movement for
Democratic Change and then crossed the floor after being wooed by the ruling
party. This smacked of opportunism and something upcoming women leaders
should not emulate.
Makwavarara's bungling was also hard to ignore because of the excesses she
was accused of . Worst of all, she was never able to articulate municipal
issues and to inform residents why, for example, garbage was not being
collected from the streets.
I have recalled Makwa-varara's disastrous tenure of late because although
the powers-that-be eventually came to agree with her critics and relieved
her of the job of being chief executive officer of Zimbabwe's capital, her
departure has not resulted in any appreciable improvement in service
delivery. On the contrary, things have got progressively worse. There seems
to be no pretence any longer on the part of the municipality of fulfilling
obligations such as collecting garbage from residential areas, replacing
street lights or keeping sanitary lanes, even in the city centre, clean. The
same is true of the city council's failure to repair potholes, some of which
now threaten to rival America's Grand Canyon.
The biggest eyesore, however, is the presence of mountains of uncollected
garbage everywhere. At the beginning of this year there was an outbreak of
disease in Tafara and Mabvuku, which was attributed to erratic water
supplies and the Harare City Council's failure to collect garbage. At about
the same time the Harare and Chitungwiza municipalities were summoned by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to explain their dereliction of duty
which had resulted in refuse not being collected from Mabvuku, Tafara,
Kuwadzana, Chitungwiza, Glen View, Glen Norah, Mufakose and Budiriro. In
November last year the Harare municipality was fined $158 million for not
putting a fireguard around a dump site in Pomona. It had been fined an
undisclosed sum earlier for not collecting garbage from the streets.
One would have expected that after all these run-ins with the EPA, things
would improve but one would be wrong. The council's hands-off approach,
which involves flouting its own by-laws, means that more suburbs, including
those in low density areas, are chocking under mountains of garbage. At
their wits' end about what to do with the refuse they generate every day,
residents have taken to throwing it into open spaces in their areas and try
to burn it from time to time. A putrid stench hangs over road verges where
some of the refuse is strewn .It is not a pretty sight and one wonders when
things will return to normal.
I used to wonder whether the City Fathers knew of this suburban and inner
city rot (the pun is inescapable) until someone pointed out to me that they
were more than aware. Despite its failure to collect and dispose of garbage
from residential areas, the city council deploys an army of inspectors to
ticket residents caught dumping refuse in the veld. It cannot get more
comical and ridiculous than that- the municipality capitalizing on its
dereliction of duty to make a quick buck from helpless residents!
Under-estimate ZANU-PF at your own peril
EDITOR - It seems Zimbabweans are underestimating the level of ZANU-PF's
While many think that the terror campaign is only confined to the rural
areas, the ruling party has embarked on a less visible but more traumatising
way of getting votes in the urban areas.
Gangs of ruling party thugs have been waging a door-to-door campaign at
Mbare's overpopulated flats, telling residents to vote for ZANU-PF or risk
being evicted from the flats if President Mugabe loses votes in this
I appeal to the opposition, and human rights organisations to investigate
these threats as a matter of urgency.
Tsvangirai blowing hot and cold again!
EDITOR - It is extremely sad that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the biggest
opposition party in Zimbabwe, is once again displaying confusing political
signals that seem to have become his hallmark.
On one hand he says there will be a trial of perpetrators of violence and
their leaders, while on the other he says he is open to a government of
national unity, presumably with the above-mentioned culprits.
Threatening these murderous morons will only serve to entrench their
determination not to leave power, Morgan.
Our people are sick and tired of ZANU-PF, but threats, no matter how
justified they are, will only serve to take us further into the abyss.
Hell, ZANU-PF thugs are so mentally damaged they are even prepared to
justify their actions even in a court of law!
Thankfully, the avenging spirits of the dead victims will deal with those
who murdered - that they can be assured of. But as for those who have made
thousands lose everything, the most fitting punishment would be civil
action; sue them for what they are worth, until they are totally bankrupt
EDITOR - ZESA's new charges are outrageously high and will put some firms
out of business, as well as generally squeezing too much money out of us
Did ZESA get permission for the new charges? If so, when and from whom? If
not, why not?
Why did ZESA carefully avoid telling us, its "valued customers," about the
It apparently increases its charges on the basis of the month-to-month
consumer price index - but no index has been published for many months and
ZESA makes up the figures as it goes along.
It has the cheek to impose the new charges on the basis of estimates of
consumption, disregarding the fact that this will often mean that consumers
pay for electricity not consumed.
It charges interest at 250 percent per month when our courts have ruled that
interest accrual above 100 percent per year cannot be recovered because of
the in duplum rule.
Run-off: Everyone must go and vote
EDITOR - As June 27 approaches, I urge the people of Zimbabwe to go to
polling stations in their millions and finish off the ailing ZANU-PF.
Fellow countrymen, this presidential run-off election is not about
Tsvangirai versus (President) Mugabe; no. It is about Zimbabweans versus the
ZANU-PF government, which has brought our lovely country down to its knees.
This is not the time for finger pointing. Both MDCs, civic societies,
churches, other political players and all Zimbabweans in general including
those in ZANU-PF, must work together to make sure Morgan Tsvangirai wins
this presidential run-off and as a country make a positive change we can all
The MDC national council passed a resolution to support and work together in
this presidential run-off and as Bulawayo Province, we still stand by that
and will support and work together with our colleagues in the Tsvangirai
At this juncture, I would like to urge the people of Bulawayo to go out in
large numbers and vote for Morgan Tsvangirai in this run-off election. All
320 000 registered voters in Bulawayo should vote unlike in March 2008 when
only about 97 000 voted.
There is no room for complacency; we should all be seen to be working for a
new political order in Zimbabwe. It would be a tragedy if victorious
parliamentarian colleagues of ours in the Tsvangirai formation here in
Bulawayo bask in the glory of winning house of assembly elections and forget
the bigger prize; really it would be treasonous.
Winning Parliamentary elections only without winning the presidential
election would be totally useless.