May 31, 2013 in News
After staking his credibility and that of his party by publicly insisting
elections would be held by June 29, President Robert Mugabe is facing an
embarrassing situation as it has become crystal clear general elections
would not be held then.
Report by Owen Gagare
Just as his word came to naught when he declared elections would be held in
2011, March 2012 and by March 31 this year, Mugabe’s bluff that elections
would be held soon seems to have left him exposed to further humiliation as
June 29 fast approaches.
Mugabe and Zanu PF have been repeatedly claiming polls would be held on June
29 when the five-year tenure of the president and parliament comes to an
While a new constitution has been signed and gazetted, there are a number of
issues which still need to be done before elections. With the 30-day
mandatory voter registration process starting on Monday (June 3), it is now
indisputable elections cannot be held in June as the exercise will only end
on July 3.
It is even becoming unlikely elections will be held in July because the new
constitution requires nomination of candidates after the voter registration
process and proclamation of election dates to be at least 14 days after the
polls are called for, and at least 30 days before polling day.
There is also the Sadc summit coming next weekend in Mozambique. Given that
Zimbabwe will hold the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general
assembly in Victoria Falls in late August, it would also be difficult to fit
elections within the month of the conference.
Besides, the Electoral Act, Urban Councils Act and Rural District Councils
Act need to be amended before polls.
The Electoral Act will have to be amended to make provisions for
proportional representation and the election of two senators specially
elected to represent persons with disabilities, among other issues.
The Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must also be
amended before the elections to remove the power of the Minister of Local
Government to appoint councillors and to accommodate provincial councils.
Besides the legal requirements, Mugabe’s faction-riddled Zanu PF is
apparently not ready for elections as it is struggling to finalise rules and
regulations for its potentially divisive primaries.
May 31, 2013 in Politics
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is on the ropes as Sadc leaders are set to meet next
weekend in Maputo, Mozambique, for an extraordinary summit to deal with
Zimbabwe’s political and security situation ahead of elections later this
Faith Zaba/Owen Gagare
Diplomatic sources at Sadc’s Gaborone headquarters in Botswana say the
summit, which will be held on June 9, will be one of the most critical ever
as it comes on the cusp of polls and the end of the four-year coalition
government established in 2009 with the help of the region to restore
political and economic stability, while preparing for free and fair
They say while Mugabe and Zanu PF have been trying to resist the special
summit or confine its discussions to election funding to avoid scrutiny
before and during the polls, Sadc leaders have rejected this, demanding a
comprehensive review of the situation in Zimbabwe in the context of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the roadmap.
“The summit will be in Maputo next weekend to review the GPA and the
political and electoral environment before elections,” a senior Sadc
“Since 2011, Mugabe and his party have been fighting a cold war with
regional leaders over implementation of the GPA, roadmap and reforms.
Despite threatening to call for elections arbitrarily and reject Sadc
facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma, and his team, Mugabe has
failed to wriggle out of the GPA and call for polls unilaterally. He is
currently on the ropes.”
Another diplomat said Zanu PF has, however, caused anxious moments over the
elections date issue after it recently blocked Zuma’s team and the Sadc
troika representatives from attending full Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) meetings.
Diplomats say to show Mugabe’s bluster is no longer taken seriously in the
region, Zuma — who has maintained a firm stance and kept the Zimbabwe
situation under control — twisted his counterpart’s arm to have the Maputo
summit when they met on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of
the African Union jubilee celebrations.
Zanu PF and its leaders did not want Sadc to have an extraordinary summit on
Zimbabwe besides the regular annual meetings usually held in August.
The sources also say Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also MDC-T
leader, and Industry and Commerce minister and MDC chief Welshman Ncube,
however, lobbied regional leaders for the special summit which Mugabe did
The three political parties in the inclusive government, Zanu PF and the two
MDC formations, were formally notified yesterday on the date of the
Now that the summit dates have been secured, Zanu PF has shifted its
position and is saying only election funding issues would be discussed at
the meeting, a claim already rejected by Zuma’s team.
This comes as Zuma’s facilitation team is expected in the country on Tuesday
to meet negotiators over the election roadmap and Jomic issues.
The Sadc appointees to Jomic, who are expected in the country on Wednesday,
will also meet with the monitoring body as it presses ahead with plans to
ensure the country holds free and fair polls.
Sadc, keen to play a key role in ensuring there is no repeat of the disputed
bloody 2008 polls, wants to amend its Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections at the meeting to allow its observers to be deployed
three months ahead of polls and three months after, which Mugabe and Zanu PF
have been steadfastly resisting.
Article 4.1.10 of the guidelines states that the observer missions should be
deployed at least two weeks before the voting day, which Sadc now says is
not adequate to monitor the volatile electoral environment in Zimbabwe.
“The extraordinary summit will seek to amend the principles and guidelines
on elections to extend the 14 days for the deployment of observer missions.
We want the observer missions in Zimbabwe at least three months before the
elections, whose date will be made clearer at the summit,” said a senior
“These elections are not going to be easy for Sadc. We want to make sure the
environment is conducive to free and fair elections so that the Zimbabwe
issue is resolved once and for all.”
Sadc diplomats said regional leaders are also expected to take stock of the
political situation in Zimbabwe and approve a new election roadmap currently
being thrashed out by negotiators of the three parties in the inclusive
government after a new constitution was signed and gazetted last week.
In line with the region’s guidelines, Sadc wants to ensure there is a
non-violent environment for free, fair and peaceful elections,
constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
are respected and that there is non-discrimination in voter registration.
Sadc also wants the existence of an updated and accessible voters’ roll,
polling stations to be in neutral places and the counting of votes to be
done at polling stations, scrutiny which Zanu PF has been desperately trying
Apart from assessing Zimbabwe’s political and legal preparedness for the
elections, the summit is also expected to deal with issues of funding of the
“Regional leaders want clarification on how much Zimbabwe has for the polls,
how much (money) it needs and how foreign funds will be channelled to assist
in the process. We have been receiving conflicting reports on the funds
raised so far,” the Sadc official said.
“Sadc wants the elections to be properly funded and to be transparent so
that the Zimbabwe question is brought to finality. And obviously, because
Sadc is going to assist in mobilising funds, it naturally means the stakes
which are already high, will be raised higher to ensure the polls are free
and fair. Sadc leaders can’t discuss funding issues without linking them to
political and electoral processes, as well as the state of preparedness for
Sadc diplomats say regional leaders are unnerved by Zanu PF’s desperate
attempts to avoid regional and international scrutiny before and after
Mugabe and his officials recently barred a United Nations electoral
assessment mission from coming to Zimbabwe — a standard practice — after
Harare requested US$225 million from United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) to fund the elections.
The UNDP helped to pay for the new constitution which Mugabe signed into law
The UN mission wanted to meet political players, members of the civil
society and electoral institutions, but Zanu PF claimed this would be
overstepping its mandate.
“We also want to understand from Zanu PF why it is so opposed to the UNDP
funding, when the UN agency funded the constitution-making process. When
dealing with these issues, we will listen to all GPA parties,” the Sadc
May 31, 2013 in News
ZANU PF is reactivating its terror networks across the country ahead of
general elections in which its leader President Robert Mugabe is seeking
victory to end the wobbly inclusive government, the Zimbabwe Independent can
Report by Elias Mambo
Sources in the party claim Zanu PF has deployed militia groups coordinated
by sitting Members of Parliament and other officials in order to thwart the
MDC formations attempts to woo rural voters.
“Zanu PF has redeployed youth militia groups countrywide which includes
Chipangano in Harare, Top Six in Chinhoyi, Jochomondo in Hurungwe, Jambanja
in Maramba-Pfungwe and the recently established Al shabab in Kwekwe,” Zanu
PF sources said.
“The groups are co-ordinated by Zanu PF legislators anxious to block the two
MDC formations from reaching out to the masses by intimidating them or
instilling fear in the electorate to shun the MDCs.”
According to a source who runs a flea market in Mbare, Chipangano has
restarted its intimidation tactics by going around the community singing
revolutionary songs and issuing threats. “The group goes around the
community singing, dancing and blocking traffic. The police do not even stop
them because they are from Zanu PF. They have not yet attacked anyone but
their behaviour reminds us of 2008,” said the source.
About 200 MDC supporters were reportedly killed in the June 2008
presidential poll run-off when the country’s security sector embarked on a
vicious campaign to save the career of Mugabe who had lost in the first
round of polling to MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.
However, Harare Zanu PF provincial youth chairperson and alleged Chipangano
leader, Jim Kunaka, refuted the allegations saying youths in Mbare are on a
peaceful mobilisation crusade.
“There is nothing wrong in singing and mobilising support for our
revolutionary party,” Kunaka said. “President Mugabe is on record saying
that the forthcoming elections should be peaceful so as a leader I have
managed to pass that message to our followers to shun violence and
peacefully galvanise support for our party,” he said.
In Mashonaland Central last week, traffic came to a standstill between
Guruve and Mudhindo business centre when the militia set up roadblocks to
search vehicles after reports that MDC-T pamphlets were being distributed in
the area. In Midlands province, particularly in Kwekwe, Al shabab has been
evicting shop owners in Mbizo from their business premises and taking over
under the guise of youth empowerment.
MDC-T Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya confirmed that Al shabab is terrorising
people in his constituency.
“I am aware of an incident where Sekai Mangwiro was evicted from her
hardware shop in Mbizo 1,” said Chikwinya. “The matter was reported to the
police leading to the arrest of four members of Alshabab.
However, these culprits were released without any charges.”
In many rural areas, teachers have expressed fear of a resurgence of the
2008 polls scenario when they became targets of violence by Zanu PF militia
who accused them of supporting the MDC-T.
However, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said he was not
disturbed by activities of the youths whom he said were rallying support for
“I am not disturbed by those activities because they are peaceful attempts
to mobilise support for our party,” Mutasa said. “Our youths have always
been in line with the desires of their leadership and we have not received
any complaints of intimidation.”
May 31, 2013 in News
VOTER registration, now a standing cabinet agenda item, once again dominated
the government policy-making body meeting this week, resulting in Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamsa, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson
Rita Makarau, and Registrar General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede being instructed to
meet to deal with the issue threatening to throw the electoral process into
Report by Brian Chitemba
Chinamasa, Mudede and Makarau were expected to meet yesterday to find ways
of smoothening voter registration which is increasingly becoming a
contentious issue ahead of crucial general elections.
The meeting was expected to take stock of all the problems which affected
the mobile voter registration exercise, discuss ways of how “aliens” will
get documents to enable them to register as voters as provided for by the
new constitution and look at plans to establish schools as registration
centres where headmasters will become commissioners of oath to allow all
Zimbabweans to be able to register.
Government is going to publish a consolidated plan of how voter registration
is going to unfold.
This comes ahead of the 30-day mandatory voter registration starting on
Monday after Finance minister Tendai Biti announced he has secured US$25
million for the exercise.
Voter registration has always been a big challenge in previous elections,
leading to Zanu PF being accused of using a shambolic voters’ roll to rig
Home Affairs co-Minister, Theresa Makone, recently reported to cabinet that
ordinary Zimbabweans were failing to register due to a number of bottlenecks
resulting in RG’s office being directed to replace lost identity documents
for all Zimbabweans free of charge until the last day of voter registration.
“Aliens” were recently cleared to get identity cards so that they can
register as voters, but despite the cabinet directive many people still
found it difficult to register and acquire documents with registry officials
being strict on issues such as proof of residence, among other stringent
The word “alien”, stamped on the minority’s identity, refers to anyone who
does not belong in the environment in which they are found or a person who
comes from a foreign country and does not owe allegiance to the country he
or she is in.
An electoral democracy lobby non-governmental organisation, Election
Resource Centre (ERC), says many people were still disenfranchised due to
the chaotic voter registration exercise.
ERC says the previous mobile registration process lacked awareness around
when and where the registration process was to take place. Voter awareness
was devoid of the intricate details relating to what type of services were
rendered by the mobile teams.
This resulted in a number of potential voters being turned away because they
would have visited the centres seeking to recover lost birth certificates
instead registering to vote.
Key government institutions, ERC notes, supposed to be complementing voter
registration teams seem to be unaware of their responsibilities given that
police were failing to issue reports to first time voter registrants to get
a national identity card for free.
Voter registration teams made the process cumbersome by refusing to issue
birth certificates which are a requisite to obtain an ID, before one
qualifies to register as a voter.
According to ERC, the previous voter registration exercise was characterised
by massive urban skirting where towns and cities such as Mutare, Chipinge,
Gwanda and Masvingo had no designated registration centres.
Apart from ERC, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has also
complained about lack of professionalism among registration teams after they
failed to open and close centres at stipulated times, resulting in queuing
prospective voters being turned away.
In some cases, mobile units would relocate without notice, leaving citizens
frustrated.The registration teams, Zesn says, were plagued by an
excruciatingly slow pace of processing applications for registration.
“Mobile and static units had limited services. Reports reveal that not all
of the units were offering a comprehensive package of birth certificates,
national identification papers and voter registration on site,” Zesn says.
“As a result prospective registrants were unable to benefit fully from a
single centre. Some citizens with ‘waiting passes’ were asked to produce
birth certificates and upon failure to do so, failed to register.”
On funding of the exercise, Zesn says there is a problem with lack of
transparency on how the funds were disbursed, with government departments
accusing and counter-accusing each other of receiving different amounts of
“As a result there was lack of accountability and blame games revolving
around inadequate funding dominated the narrative for the insufficiencies of
the exercise,” it says.
Thus civil organisations have recommended that decentralisation of the
process should reach at least the polling stations level in order to lessen
the travelling distance to allow easy access to voter registration services.
The civil groups further suggest that registration teams provide full
services to potential voters instead of limiting them to IDs and voter
registration without providing birth certificates.
They say a credible voter registration could be done if there was effective
supervision of the RG’s office by Zec, which is ultimately accountable to
The groups say a successful voter registration exercise can only be achieved
after the public has been adequately informed of the process, the
requirements and the modalities prior to the commencement of the process.
Further, a proper voter registration requires adequate financial and
well-trained human resources, while stakeholders should be allowed to
educate and mobilise citizens to participate in the process, they say.
May 31, 2013 in News
GLOBETROTTING President Robert Mugabe left on Tuesday for an eight-day visit
to Japan and a two-day stop-over in Singapore with over 60 government
Mugabe, who had only returned home from Ethiopia on Monday, took one of the
biggest delegations this year to attend the 5th Tokyo International
Conference on African Development (Ticad), co-hosted by the Japanese
government, the African Union Commission, the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
Sources said Mugabe took a high-powered delegation of cabinet ministers,
directors of ministries, their political aides, personal assistants,
national security personnel and specialists from government departments to
the three-day conference that gives African countries an opportunity to
interact with their Japanese hosts.
A top government source said Mugabe, who would join other African and Asian
leaders and representatives of development partners, left on Tuesday night,
four days before the start of the conference.
“The conference will commence on June 1, but the delegation left on Tuesday
(May) 28, which means they will be away for a week in one of the most
expensive cities in the world,” said the source.
The trip to Japan’s Yokohama city is wholly-funded by Treasury.
Besides spending a week in Japan, sources also say Mugabe will stop over in
Singapore for two days, a move that led ministers from the MDC formations
withdrawing from the trip.
“Some senior government officials withdrew from the trip because Mugabe is
going to stop over for two days in Singapore while his huge entourage will
be holed up in hotels since they are travelling on a chartered flight.”
His previous trips to Singapore over the years have sparked reports about
the 89-year-old leader’s deteriorating health ahead of elections.
Mugabe’s office was allocated US$15 million last year by Treasury, but
chewed up US$20 million in six months, overshooting the budget by 133% by
mid-year, according to sources in the Finance ministry. Most of the money
funded foreign travel.
In June last year, Mugabe came under fire after blowing more than US$7
million when he took an entourage of 92 to the United Nations Conference on
Sustainable Development in Brazil.
In his 2012 national budget proposals, Finance minister Tendai Biti warned
against excessive foreign travel saying the executive had blown US$45,5
million on trips in the previous year.
May 31, 2013 in Politics
SOLDIERS, together with Zanu PF supporters, have besieged Mutoko North and
South constituencies, threatening to deny food aid to starving villagers if
they do not support President Robert Mugabe’s party despite his call for an
end to political violence.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
Army officers from the 2.1 Infantry Battalion are force-marching villagers
to Zanu PF meetings in the constituencies, according to villagers.
The terrified villagers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of
harassment, said the soldiers were using black Loncin motorbikes, which are
also being used by Zanu PF youths, ordering villagers to attend party
meetings. Loncin is a leading Chinese manufacturer of motorcycles, scooters
The party recently acquired 550 vehicles — an assortment of single and
double cab 4X4 vehicles including Toyota Hilux, Nissan NP300, Ford Ranger
and Mazda BT50s valued at US$14 million — and motorbikes for 68 districts to
ensure its campaign managers and foot soldiers reach all areas including
remote districts to mobilise voters.
The soldiers, names supplied, have been addressing meetings at Mukombwe and
Tsiga primary schools in Ward 26 where they are openly campaigning for Zanu
“They come and address villagers who would have been ordered to gather by
headmen, claiming to be prominent farmers telling people to register and
vote for Zanu PF,” said one villager.
“These same people are known soldiers who used to work for Operation Maguta.
They were also involved in the intimidation of villagers in the 2008
violence. The level of intimidation is serious; people are living in
Assistant Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti, former Central Intelligence
Organisation operative, one Shumbamhini, wife of former army officer, Mapiti
Mushimbo, and Senator Edmond Jacob are fighting it out for the Mutoko South
MDC-T Mashonaland East Jomic representative, Pineal Denga, said they have
received reports of soldiers intimidating people.
Denga said: “What we have heard lately is that soldiers were given
motorbikes and I can confirm seeing one truck (of soldiers) loaded with
motorbikes on its way to Mutoko. These motorbikes are being used to
intimidate villagers who are being told to vote for Zanu PF.
“The soldiers are even threatening that villagers who don’t support Zanu PF
will not receive the drought relief support.”
Denga said Jomic would meet next week to discuss the issue.
The Zimbabwe National Army had not responded to questions e-mailed to its
communications department by the time of going to press.
May 31, 2013 in Politics
ZANU PF’s Women’s League is facing stiff resistance from politburo
hardliners opposed to its proposal to reserve seats for aspiring female
legislators, saying the move compromised the calibre of candidates who can
deliver victory against the MDC-T.
Report by Brian Chitemba
The fight over the women’s proposal erupted in last week’s politburo meeting
where Zanu PF’s supreme body was supposed to finalise the primary election
guidelines to pave way for internal polls.
A fresh clash exploded among the bigwigs who vociferously opposed Women’s
League secretary Oppah Muchinguri’s plan to ring-fence aspiring female
Muchinguri, politburo sources said, tabled the proposal arguing it was a
positive way towards emancipation of female politicians. The new
constitution provides for the appointment of 60 non-constituency female MPs
as part of efforts to empower women.
“The Muchinguri proposal that women should not be challenged by men is
ridiculous because the party must field competitive candidates since we have
to win the forthcoming elections at all cost,” said a politburo member.
“This is a crucial election and we cannot afford to have weak candidates
just to please women.”
The proposal met stiff resistance from party heavyweights who further argued
Muchinguri was seeking to indirectly impose candidates ahead of the
high-stakes polls expected later this year.
Dogged by serious infighting, Zanu PF has postponed finalisation of for
primaries several times as the party battles to quell internal strife which
has seen a team led by national chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo,
controversially restructuring provincial executives.
The debate over a quota system for women was inconclusive, forcing the
politburo to defer the discussion on primary polls to the next meeting. The
politburo was supposed to meet this week but the meeting was postponed
because President Robert Mugabe went to Japan for the fifth Tokyo
International Conference on African Development.
Politburo insiders say the proposed rules and guidelines for primaries were
delayed because they were unfavourable to the factional designs of sitting
bigwigs in parliament as some face ouster by ambitious “young Turks” pushing
to replace them.
In 2008 Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, former Education minister Aeneas
Chigwedere, ex-deputy Finance minister David Chapfika and former soldier
Claudius Makova, among other bigwigs, lost in primaries.
Some were saved after the politburo intervened on their behalf.
The failure by Zanu PF to conclude the primary elections rules suggests the
party is not ready for early elections it has been demanding for more than
May 31, 2013 in Politics
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week signed the new constitution before it was
gazetted into law, raising hopes of a fresh democratic dispensation
following decades of Zanu PF authoritarian rule subsequent to the collapse
of the minority colonial regime in 1980.
Report by Elias Mambo
However, despite the new-found optimism about Zimbabwe entering a new era,
analysts say there is need for cautious hopefulness and expectation because
Mugabe’s 33-year rule showed that Zimbabwe’s problem has not necessarily
been the compromise Lancaster House constitution of 1979, but a political
culture of repression and resistance to constitutionalism by the country’s
They say while a new constitution is desirable, on its own, the document
will not change the despotic political culture and how the country is
governed to ensure societal development and progress.
Even after the new constitution has come in, partially so far, not much is
likely to change, they say, unless the country’s leaders begin to embrace
constitutionalism and govern in strict adherence to the constitution and
laws of the country while adopting a new political culture rejecting
arbitrary and repressive rule, together with all its excesses and abuses.
Analysts note embracing constitutionalism is important for Zimbabwe to move
ahead, away from the current authoritarian politics and inept governance.
Having a new constitution without changing the political culture and
embracing constitutionalism will not help achieve a new dispensation.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last week at the signing of the
constitution said, if Zimbabwe is to progress and hold free and fair
elections, there is need to “embrace the spirit of constitutionalism, the
need to cultivate the behaviour and tradition of respecting and adhering to
the new charter”.
“This is called constitutionalism,” Mutambara said. “This is harder than
crafting a constitution, which is ostensibly a piece of paper. Developing a
national value system rooted in constitutionalism requires social
mobilisation, civic education and leading by example.”
In its most basic form, constitutionalism is a complex set of ideas,
attitudes and patterns of behaviour elaborating the principle that the
authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental
law — a constitution.
It is widely accepted the Lancaster House constitution, amended a record 19
times since Independence, had progressive clauses which guaranteed human
rights and fundamental freedoms.
However, after 1980 Zimbabwe saw the introduction of draconian laws such as
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order
and Security Act which contravened freedom-oriented and security-related
Public policy and governance manager at the Institute for a Democratic
Alternative for Zimbabwe, Jabusile Shumba, said what is needed in Zimbabwe
is a radical transformation of the prevailing political culture if the new
constitution is to be effective.
“What we need is radical transformation in our political culture and that
cannot happen with the current crop of leadership. What has poisoned our
politics over the past three decades is not lack of democratic institutions,
but the subversion and perversion of the same,” he said.
“The Lancaster House constitution had some very progressive clauses to
guarantee respect for human rights and the upholding of property rights. But
it was constantly violated as the political class sought to advance its
Parts of the new constitution which immediately took effect last week
include Chapter 3 relating to citizenship, Chapter 4 (the declaration of
rights), Chapter 5 (election and assumption of office of the president) and
Chapter 6 concerning the election of MPs.
Other sections that also took immediate effect were Chapter 7 which deals
with elections, Chapter 8 (the jurisdiction and powers of the Constitutional
Court), Section 208 (term limits for service chiefs) and Chapter 12
regarding independent commissions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Amnesty International said the real test would be whether the new
constitution could “usher in a new culture of human rights”.
Although there is agreement the new constitution is more progressive than
the Lancaster House one, some of the clauses that include a non-partisan
security sector and electoral body were enshrined in the Lancaster
constitution, but were trampled upon.
As a result, calls to reform the security sector in accordance with the
Global Political Agreement have intensified although they have been
steadfastly resisted by Zanu PF, with securocrats publicly throwing their
weight behind the party ahead of crucial elections expected later this year.
Thus, in Zimbabwe, the problem has been more a lack of the political will to
fully observe the tenets of the constitution than a poor founding law,
analysts say, since the rule of law is the bedrock of a constitutional
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said lack of
political will to uphold constitutionalism and the constitution has been the
“There are certain things which do not need the constitution to be realised;
these include the rule of law which remains a question of politics not the
constitution,” said Ruhanya.
“The big issue is not about the constitution, but the leadership factor
which requires a complete overhaul. The absence of critical reforms,
especially security sector reforms, will ensure the new constitution is
ineffective, especially during the next elections.”
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika said Zimbabwe’s
leadership should adopt a value system rooted in constitutionalism.
“We still have the challenge of constitutionalism to deal with – this speaks
to the culture of adhering and abiding by the constitution, accepting that
it is supreme,” said Lewanika.
“The new constitution is a major step forward, but there is still a long way
May 31, 2013 in Politics
THE Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) set up under the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) to monitor implementation of the
power-sharing deal between Zanu PF and the MDC formations will continue to
exist beyond the lifespan of the inclusive government, contrary to Zanu PF’s
Report by Hazel Ndebele
Zanu PF does not want Jomic to monitor elections, with former Information
minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo, saying the GPA, including
Jomic, must be replaced by a national process that includes all political
parties interested in contesting the next elections.
MDC-T Jomic co-chairperson, Elton Mangoma, told the Zimbabwe Independent the
monitoring body would supervise the forthcoming crucial elections and that
its lifespan would only end after the new president has been sworn-in.
MDC Jomic co-chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also confirmed the
body would observe elections.
Section 22 of the GPA does not mention the lifespan of Jomic or its
extension beyond the expiry of the inclusive government.
Jomic insiders said the extension of its term is necessary to allow as many
observers as possible to monitor the make-or-break polls.
“We have suggested to the principals that we get on board other political
parties not in the GPA as well as members of the civic society in order to
have as many observers for each polling station as possible,” said a Jomic
Zanu Ndonga leader Gondai Vhutuza said it would be improper for Jomic as
currently constituted to observe the elections.
May 31, 2013 in News
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau has
assured “aliens” they would not be turned away at registration centres after
a chaotic mobile voter registration exercise resulted in thousands of
potential voters failing to register.
Bitter complaints were raised after so-called “aliens” were turned away
during the mobile voter registration exercise despite cabinet assurances the
process would be expedited to enable them to vote in crucial elections later
In an interview with The Zimbabwe Independent last week, Makarau said the
new constitution had made some “aliens” citizens of Zimbabwe.
Last week President Robert Mugabe signed the new draft constitution into law
marking a major milestone towards imminent general elections.
Makarau said: “The law has now redefined who the Zimbabwean citizen is.
Persons who had not yet been defined are now regarded as Zimbabwean
citizens. Using the word ‘alien’ is now a misnomer. However, we still have a
few foreign nationals who may not qualify to be voters.”
Zec has said the 30-day mandatory voter registration exercise is expected to
start next week. The electoral body has been engaging different political
parties, the media, members of non-governmental organisations and women’s
coalitions on issues to do with the voters’ roll, accreditation, voter
education and funding.
Makarau confirmed receiving a letter from the MDC-T demanding they craft a
code of conduct for security forces before the elections to ensure they
behaved in accordance with the constitution and laws governing their
“Yes, the letter has just been received and is still to be looked at by the
commissioners. I cannot give my personal opinion on it, but Zec will respond
to the MDC-T,” she said.
The MDC-T also complained to Zec and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee (Jomic) about the abrasive and meddlesome conduct of military
commanders. They also copied the letter to Sadc facilitator in Zimbabwe,
South African President Jacob Zuma.
May 31, 2013 in News
DISGRUNTLED Zanu PF youths and Manicaland residents have blasted the
indigenisation programme spearheaded by Indigenisation minister Saviour
Kasukuwere, describing it as a project meant to rob the nation of its
resources by a few well-connected individuals at the expense of the
The Zanu PF youths were particularly concerned by the alleged looting of
diamonds in Chiadzwa by influential people from outside Manicaland while the
public is not happy with the composition of the Zimunya-Marange Community
Share Ownership Trust.
The secretary-general of Marange Youth Empowerment Trust, John Kaisi, who is
a Zanu PF youth member, said the promises given to youths and people of
Manicaland during the launch of the trust had come to naught.
The trust was launched by President Robert Mugabe at Gomorefu High School in
Marange in June last year.
Youths and Manicaland residents in general were promised claims in Chiadzwa
as part of initiatives to empower them.
“What is surprising and saddening is that we are suffering yet we have
diamonds in our midst,” said an emotional Kaisi. “We do not have anything to
talk about in terms of development here (in Manicaland), yet the diamonds
are being taken by others from outside the province. Diamonds should benefit
the whole province instead of a few individuals.”
Kaisi said indigenous people had not benefitted from the Marange diamonds
which he said was against the spirit of indigenisation.
“We should also have a stake in the mining sector, but we have not been
given the opportunity. That alone means that the indigenisation programme is
fake,” he said. “How many indigenous people have benefitted so far? Is there
anyone with genuine evidence to show us how they have benefitted from the
Another youth member, Julia Gurure, who is facing difficulties in
registering a mining claim in Penhalonga, said her experience had proved the
indigenisation programme was a “farce”.
“We can’t talk of indigenisation without empowerment. Indigenisation without
empowering the broad majority is a sham,” Gurure said.
While Zanu PF youths are angry over the lack of benefits from
indigenisation, people from Manicaland are not happy with the trust which
they feel is not representative, as it is dominated by those with Zanu PF
links. The trust is composed of local government officials, traditional
leaders and some community leaders handpicked by chiefs and local government
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Natural Resource Dialogue Forum (ZNRDF) has
expressed concern at the secrecy surrounding the Marange-Zimunya Community
Share-Ownership Trust, saying this could create a haven for looting.
In an interview, the Manicaland Co-ordinator for ZNRDF, Freeman Boso, said
the secrecy had resulted in lack of transparency, accountability, and
community participation in the trust’s activities.
Saviour Kasukuwere maintains the indigenisation programme would carry on
despite allegations of corruption and growing criticism.
May 31, 2013 in News
GOVERNMENT is set to launch a national youth policy next month to, among
other targets, ensure youths have a 25% quota in economic, indigenisation
and empowerment initiatives across all key economic sectors.
The Indigenisation ministry will oversee the implementation of the policy by
pushing for youth participation in agriculture, mining, commercial and
The policy’s key objectives are to empower youths to participate and
contribute to the socio-economic development of the country and “instill
national identity and respect for national principles and values”.
“The policy encourages equal employment opportunities for the youth who have
attained the age of majority, with particular attention to reducing gender
inequalities and institute an incentive scheme for employers to invest in
skills development for young people,” reads the policy document seen by the
The government will be responsible for the provision of resources from
private organisations in the country, for the policy’s implementation.
The policy would also draw on external financial and technical financial
May 31, 2013 in News
AIR Zimbabwe has sent over 600 employees on forced leave as the parastatal
rationalises staff levels in a frantic bid to turn around the ailing company
and restore customer confidence.
The national airline said it is implementing a restructuring programme which
will see about 307 workers being retained while over 600 are laid off to
facilitate streamlining of operations.
The parastatal is aiming for optimum use of personnel for the next six
months after which it will review progress in revitalisaion and
recapitalisation. Air Zimbabwe had 1 020 employees manning its limited route
network, but the bloated workforce was bleeding the airline resulting in
delayed salary payments and recurring job actions.
“… The company has had to send over 600 employees on vacation (leave),” said
Air Zimbabwe public relations executive officer Shingai Taruvinga. “This
company position has been communicated to all stakeholders including the
unions with whom several consultative meetings have been held.”
Senior Air Zimbabwe officials insisted the restructuring exercise would see
the parastatal’s performance improving.
The airline has announced plans to re-launch the Harare-London route in
July, 14 months after abandoning the route due to viability challenges. —
May 31, 2013 in News
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe’s banking sector is sound despite
uncertainty over the fate of AfrAsia Kingdom Bank (Kingdom) amid reports the
institution is struggling to plug a US$21 million hole that could prejudice
investors and have a contagion effect on the financial sector.
Highly placed sources at the central bank have also indicated the banking
sector is currently unstable, with up to four banks in trouble and a
liquidity crisis cutting across all players.
Speaking after delivering the country’s state of the economy address for the
month of April, Biti told businessdigest he had met Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono to discuss the current state of the financial
services sector and possible solutions to any existing challenges.
“Zimbabwean banks are quite strong, but we want them to be even stronger.
That’s why we are coming up with new and comprehensive amendments to the
Banking Act,” he said.
“The only problem is that some of us are greedy and we end up taking
shortcuts and prejudicing depositors and that is my biggest worry. Some of
our local banks have a high prevalence of theft.”
As first reported by the Independent earlier this month, RBZ forensic
investigators were camped at Kingdom after the central bank established the
commercial bank was reeling from a massive US$21 million under-performing
loan and could be placed under recuperative curatorship to protect
depositors’ funds and the banking sector.
It emerged the US$21 million came as a result of problems with Kingdom’s
major debtor, Valley Technologies.
Meanwhile, last week businessdigest also reported that former majority
shareholders in Intermaket Holdings (IHL), mainly Nicholas Vingirayi’s
Transnational Holdings, together with Econet Wireless Holdings Ltd, filed a
legal bid to annul the forced takeover in 2008 of the IHL group by the
former Zimbabwe Financial Holdings Limited (Finhold).
According to an application filed in the Supreme Court earlier this month,
the former majority shareholders are seeking to have a 2008 High Court
judgment, where the transaction that saw the former Zimbank (now ZB) and
Intermarket Holdings takeover approved, set aside.
Biti sided with Vingrayi, saying he should get back his assets.
“I was discussing with the RBZ governor and our desire is that whoever lost
their assets for whatever reason, be it Mutumwa Mawere or Vingirai should
have them reinstated,” Biti said.
May 31, 2013 in News
AS Treasury clamps down on excessive VIP foreign travel costs, government
ministers and senior civil servants are now required to first get approval
from the Ministry of Finance before seeking cabinet authority to go abroad,
a senior government official told parliament this week.
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
Accountant-General and acting Finance ministry permanent secretary Judith
Madzorera told the Finance and Budget Portfolio Committee on Monday that the
new measures were introduced after most ministries and government
departments overspent on foreign travel in the 2012 financial year.
The government spent nearly US$50million in foreign travel and subsistence
allowances, far more than what was allocated for education or the energy
sector. Education received US$25 million while energy projects got a US$16
million allocation in the 2012 budget.
“Treasury now advises the Office of President and Cabinet on foreign travel
so that we keep expenditure within the budget,” Madzorera said.
She said this in response to Zvishavane-Ngezi MP Obert Matshalaga who wanted
to know what government was doing to curb excessive government spending on
Madzorera however conceded that it was difficult to curtail travel budgets
for high offices like the presidency and prime-minister’s office, without
naming them. “There are offices that are necessary for us to provide or fund
because of their nature,” said Madzorera.
May 31, 2013 in News
AS government continues to wrangle with Indian firm, Essar Group, over the
New Zimbabwe Steel deal, it is the 3 700 steel workers who are bearing the
brunt of the endless squabbling which has further damaged the reputation of
the country as a serious and safe investment destination.
Report by Faith Zaba
Despite a partnership agreement first signed in August 2011, the renamed
Ziscosteel has failed to resume operations.
Government and Indian-based investors agreed on a US$750 million
transaction, but the deal has not been consummated due to haggling over iron
ore deposits and the shareholding structure of NewZim Minerals, formerly
Buchwa Iron Ore Mining Company, a subsidiary of Ziscosteel.
This has left workers reeling from poverty and despair rendering true the
KiSwahili saying that when two elephants fight, it is the grass which
Ziscosteel closed down in 2008 and since then it has been a tale of broken
promises and false hope for the steel workers.
The Ziscosteel fiasco is taking its toll on the workers and their families.
Workers have now gone for 35 months without a regular salary since they last
received wages consecutively between February and May last year. Essar last
paid the May 2012 salaries, which saw the lowest paid getting at least
Workers are also in trouble because they got bank loans and opened accounts
for furniture and clothing not knowing they would be unable to pay.
As a result, some have lost all their household property and cars which were
repossessed over unpaid debts.
When Zimbabwe Independent visited Redcliff this past weekend, it witnessed a
moving story of human tragedy and misery.
Many children are no longer going to school because their parents cannot
afford the fees. Pregnant women are giving birth at home because they cannot
pay the US$20 maternity fees. Most families are now surviving on one meal a
day and have not had access to tap water for the past five months.
Since Zesa installed pre-paid meters, with a free credit of US$5, the town
is now in complete darkness after that credit ran out.
Charles Zihura, a father of two who is waiting for another baby as his wife
is expecting, is owed more than US$9 000 in unpaid salary.
“We go to work everyday — we clock in at 7am and clock out at 4pm. We spend
the day on an empty stomach. Most of us are having one meal a day — sadza
with green leafy vegetables,” he said.
“I can’t even feed my kids and my wife. I can’t pay my bills, I owe US$1 500
in water bills and I also owe the bank over US$400. My first born child is
not going to school because I can’t raise the US$65 for fees. Doesn’t the
government see we are suffering? We are languishing in poverty, suffering
from hunger and other problems.”
Ziscosteel workers committee member Cheneso Jack, a single mother of two, is
now praying for divine intervention as the situation increasingly
“I’m in trouble, drowning in debt. I have been reduced from being a
businesswoman to a pauper. My Mercedes Benz E230 was repossessed because of
a US$150 debt, which had risen to US$800 due to interest charges,” Jack
“I had a clothing, electric and kitchware shop on the side, which I had to
close because there is no business in Redcliff. I owe US$4 000 in rentals
for the shop, US$700 in telephone bills, US$800 water charges and US$750 for
the Zesa bill. I had to send my child, who is in Form 1, to a boarding
school, because I want to be prestigious or that I can afford it, but
because I want to take him away from this misery and poverty.”
To raise the US$420 boarding fees for her son, Jack had to barter clothes
with potatoes, which she sold in Kwekwe. Although schools opened on May 7,
her child only went to school this week.
“The situation is so bad here that people are snatching away foodstuffs from
kids, who would have been sent to the shops. When you buy groceries you have
to sneak into the house, otherwise you will have five to 10 people outside
your door begging for food,” she said.
The workers have written to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mpofu and Ncube appealing for help.
They want government to send an audit team to investigate Ziscosteel
managers, whom they allege are still getting full benefits, which include
between 400 and 600 litres of fuel per month. Workers say the situation is
confusing as it appears Zisco was still operational as truckloads of tonnes
of ingots, blooms, scrap metal, coke fines and limestone dust are always
running up and down.
“But they don’t even assist people when they are bereaved, sick or arrested
for not paying maintenance. Pregnant women are suffering, giving birth at
home and people are dying from curable ailments because they can’t afford
Ward 4 councillor, Martin Shoko, said companies and residents owe the
Redcliff Town Council US$11,8 million, of which US$5 million is owed by
residents. He said Ziscosteel owes them more than US$2,5 million.
As a result, council is unable to provide services — so residents have to do
without reliable water and electricity supplies, among other problems like
lack of health care, transport, garbage collection and dilapidated roads.
Such is life in Redcliff.
May 31, 2013 in News
LEGENDARY English playwright William Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar:
“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is often interred with
their bones.” He went on to say, “so let it be with Caesar!”
Report by Herbert Moyo
One would expect that this is now conventional wisdom, given its
However, this timeless truism evidently has no bearing in Zimbabwe where
some people — regarded as more equal than others — are rewarded for the
evils they would have done during their lives.
This week the Shakespearean axiom reverberated in the country when Zanu PF
gave a national hero status to convicted Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) deputy director (internal), Elias Kanengoni, who was notorious for the
attempted murder of the late Gweru businessman and political activist,
Of course, none of the graveside speakers, including Acting President Joice
Mujuru, who reportedly put her foot down by ensuring Kanengoni was accorded
national hero status, and Kanengoni’s daughter Tabetha, mentioned the
Their silence on the issue was deafening even though the event is still
etched in the public’s minds.
Kanengoni, together with another CIO operative, Kizito Chivamba, was
convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to seven years in prison after
he shot Kombayi on March 24 1990 in an assassination attempt just three days
before the general elections.
Kombayi was contesting the Gweru urban seat under the late Edgar Tekere-led
Zimbabwe Unity Movement (Zum), against the late vice-president Simon
Muzenda. Despite his defection, Tekere was declared a national hero. He
however also had a dark past — shooting a white farmer after Independence.
Kombayi, who at the time was Zum national organising secretary, survived the
shooting, but was severely injured.
However, President Robert Mugabe granted Kanengoni an amnesty shortly
Kanengoni was subsequently restored to his duties in the CIO which of late,
according to Mujuru, had come to consist of “deflecting multi-faceted regime
change efforts aimed at destabilising our nation”.
Tabetha hailed Mugabe and the politburo for according her father national
hero status, saying “we know we have a family in Zanu PF that loves us and
that will always be with us”.
These eulogies fuelled growing fears among Zimbabweans that according
someone national hero status by Zanu PF is a partisan exercise which has no
public input and endorsement.
As more people of Kanengoni’s calibre are interred at the National Heroes
Acre — where some of Zimbabwe’s illustrious liberation struggle icons are
buried — it becomes a desecration of a national monument.
Kanengoni’s case is a hark back to the burial of former CIO director-general
Mernard Muzariri whom critics protested was not a national hero if his role
in the Gukurahundi massacres is taken into account.
Although Zanu PF claims those who qualify to be national heroes must have
made serious contributions to the liberation struggle, remained consistent
and led by example, some of those buried at the heroes acre do not qualify
by the party’s own standards.
For instance, George Nyandoro was buried at the heroes acre even though he
served in the transitional Zimbabwe-Rhodesia arrangement, while others like
Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Ndabaningi Sithole and James Chikerema, whom he worked
with, were excluded.
While Sithole’s case is different after accusations he denounced the
struggle and revelations by founder CIO director Ken Flower that he was
sponsored by the Rhodesians and American intelligence to destabilise
liberation movements through civil strife, Zanu PF’s inconsistencies are
glaring as shown by the Lookout Masuku and Thenjiwe Lesabe cases.
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said declaring
Kanengoni a national hero was a travesty of heroism and such decisions
turned the heroes acre into “a circus” while undermining the contributions
of real heroes who lie there.
“The Kanengoni case shows that the true test of who is a hero or not is
simply how much one has fought to defend the hegemonic interests of Zanu PF,
not always to serve the country,” said Ruhanya. “The likes of Chenjerai
Hunzvi, Border Gezi, Elliot Manyika and Cain Nkala are all interred at the
shrine despite all the repression and violence associated with their
activities in the post-Independence era.”
The selection of heroes has become increasingly controversial, especially
after 2000, coinciding with the period that Zanu PF faced the biggest threat
to its rule after the emergence of MDC.
At the burial of politburo member Ephraim Masawi in 2010, Mugabe spelt out
the criteria for national hero status, saying: “Heroes acre ndeye varwi
verusununguko haisi yevatsvene (the National Heroes Acre is for people who
participated in the war of liberation, not for the holy).
Even then, Zanu PF has not been consistent as further shown by the Hunzvi,
Gezi, Manyika and Gary Magadzire cases.
Magadzire was honoured for his contribution to farming after Independence,
while some like Gezi and others were rewarded for fighting to keep Zanu PF
Hunzvi faced allegations of corruption and spearheaded a campaign of
violence against Zanu PF political opponents, worsening the country’s
already grisly human rights record.
Like Hunzvi, Gezi and Manyika earned their places at the national shrine
after spearheading a campaign of brutality through the National Youth
Looking at the glowing pictures proudly displayed at his Gweru hotel, there
is no doubt that Kombayi was a prominent figure during the liberation
struggle, providing material support to Zanu PF and prominent nationalists.
No wonder he went on to be rewarded by becoming the first black mayor of
Gweru at Independence.
Analysts say he would have been a national hero had he remained in Zanu PF,
but like many others who dared to fall out with Mugabe, he was denied that
honour, confirming that to be declared a hero, one needs not only to have
contributed to the liberation struggle, but also remained loyal to Mugabe
and his party till the end.
May 31, 2013 in Business
Zimbabwe must carefully craft policies and strategies to avoid the twin
evils of a natural resource curse and the Dutch disease if the country is to
benefit from its vast mineral deposits, economic development experts said.
Leading a natural resources discussion forum arranged by Southern African
economic think-tank, Macro economic and financial management Institute of
Eastern and Southern Africa (Mefmi) at a Harare hotel last week, Jan
Isaksen, an economist and counsellor of the Norwegian Embassy in Zambia,
said there was a tendency for resource rich countries to grow slower than
their counterparts due to high levels of graft and corruption that can
become pervasive in resource-rich economies, particularly in the early years
after the discovery of the resources.
“In addition, there is sometimes a rapid movement of capital and labour from
other traded sectors to the resource sector, a phenomenon known as the Dutch
Disease,” he said.
The forum attracted discussants from Mefmi fellows, senior officials from
the ministries of finance and economic planning, central banks and senior
diplomatic staff from the region.
Isaksen also said some countries suffer a rapid increase in aggregate demand
often leading to overheating of the economy and inflation and an
appreciation of the currency.
He said economies could suffer due to the “spillover loss effect” of
crowding out of the non- resource-traded-goods sector, leading to permanent
loss of capacity and technological progress in these sectors.
The natural resource curse is a phenomenon where a resource rich country or
region fails to develop economically despite its resource base due to poor
governance, rampant corruption or civil wars or other conflicts that arise
due to the resource endowment.
The “Dutch Disease” on the other hand describes an economic process where
the resource sector drains productive resources from other sectors of the
economy leading to stunted growth in these sectors or a skewed economy.
According to Isaksen, the Norwegian parliament in 1971 adopted what they
called the “ten oil commandments” that underpinned the country’s oil policy
based on the principle that the natural resource was owned by all Norwegians
and should fall under national supervision and control.
The policy was hinged on the establishment of a state oil company, Statoil,
through which all licences would be issued to foreign partners on a 50%
equal partnership with the government oil company.
The second most important thing the Norwegian did was to set up a sovereign
wealth fund into which all oil revenues would flow. The parliament then set
up a fiscal rule that the governemt budget deficit in any one year would not
exceed the expected real return on the fund which was estimated at 4% per
The fund is now worth US$700 billion and is managed by the Ministry of
Finance through the Norges Bank (the central bank of Norway) under Norges
Bank Investment Management (NBIM). NBIM also manages the foreign exchange
reserves’ investment portfolio.
Despite being well endowed with natural resources Zimbabwe has struggled to
create an environment in which the resource base can be leveraged to spur
economic growth. A toxic political environment that is viewed as hostile to
foreign investment has been cited as a challenge. Discussants also blamed
the large multinational corporations for fuelling corruption as a deliberate
policy saying this undermined the potential for poor countries
May 30, 2013 in News
DESPITE whoever wins the next elections in Zimbabwe, one of the glaring
challenges to be immediately addressed is the country’s economic diplomacy.
Opinion by Trevor Maisiri
Over time, the methodologies through which many countries are playing out
the international relationship between politics and economics have evolved.
The Cold War era was marked by a prioritisation of political diplomacy over
economic diplomacy as the need was to clearly define political allegiances
or lack thereof. Although the contestation during the Cold War is also
assumed to have been driven by economic interests, political factors were
The post-Cold War period, marked by the fall of communism, saw a momentum
where major global powers began to re-create systems of economic gain
premised on the dictates of the new political landscape. Smaller states were
disenfranchised as re-organised global economic structures advanced the
interests of post-Cold War powers.
The response of smaller states was expressed through urgency in forging
notions like South-South co-operation and the push for reforms in
multilateral institutions in order to even-out the global trading terrain.
Coupled with globalisation, countries were forced to enhance their economic
diplomacy in order to play a critical role in global markets as well as
create survival models from the harsh onslaught of global economic
re-organisation and competition.
Given Zimbabwe’s political challenges that transcend over 15 years or so,
the country’s economic diplomacy has thus been suppressed by domestic and
international political matters. The country has not hinged its diplomatic
presence across the world on economic interests.
Zimbabwe’s embassies have rather been more about protection of political
space than venturing into creation of economic opportunities for the
country. With rapid developments in global economics, one of the priorities
that Zimbabwe’s next government will have to pursue, after elections, is the
economic diplomatic profile of the country.
Theorists indicate that the three main pillars of modern-day economic
diplomacy are trade, exports and investments. The way in which foreign
investments are handled has become less geo-centric compared to the past.
The first interface that investors have with a potential investment
destination is through the information hub, usually via internet and other
such technology portals.
Their next phase of interaction, which must be physical, is through the
nearest diplomatic services of the intended country of investment
destination. Many countries are therefore re-modelling their embassies to
become hubs through which certain services can be offered in the virtual
Diplomatic establishments have also become first-line marketing channels and
trade route representation of their countries. These are all aspects that
Zimbabwe’s foreign missions will have to quickly adapt to so as to enhance
their credibility and capacity.
It will require an effective backward integration with domestic business
sector and trade promotion institutions to create a smooth linkage in this
However, where undisciplined political behaviour is unrestrained, this value
chain is difficult to create, sustain or utilise. Government’s interaction
with the business sector therefore has to be progressive and unfettered by
suspicion and marginalisation. Both the business sector and government must
play their genuine role in building this relationship.
Labour must also be considered a critical building block of a progressive
business environment. This ultimately means revisiting the social contract
ideals. Once the domestic business environment is built along a mutually
shared prospect and focus, while reasonably addressing the multiple
stakeholder concerns, then it is easier to create a robust economic
diplomacy platform through which the country’s embassies become
The four main evolutionary stages of economic diplomacy are trade and
investments, networking and advocacy, image building, and management of the
regulatory environment. The country will need to ensure that besides
embassies merely driving trade and investments, there are other crucial
Embassies must network with the business and trade enclaves in the
territories they are domiciled. They have to be more aggressive in hunting
for the business rather than wait for it to come their way.
This involves developing effective marketing, outreach and networking
capacity at embassy level. Embassies inevitably become the public relations
drivers, not only for their governments, but for the entirety of their
domestic business value-chain as well. They will also be the mainline
channels through which harmonisation of domestic and international business,
trade and investments regulations are achieved.
As they do that, they also create the compulsion and capacity to impact
international economic arrangements in global institutions beneficial to the
Zimbabwe has a large diaspora population, which many credit for having
carried the economy during the hyperinflationary period in the mid to the
late 2000s. Zimbabwe’s political authorities have always treated the
diaspora as a political renegade group, worthy of exclusion. Zanu PF has
been the biggest advocate of this notion, given that many in the diaspora
are seen as having run away from the party’s political and economic
mismanagement of the country.
The MDC-T has also taken the flak from the diaspora. I remember when its
leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attempted to invite the diaspora
back home at the inception of the inclusive government in 2009. He was
attacked for extending the invitation without guarantees for political
safety and socio-economic security. Since then, we have not heard any of the
politicians in the inclusive government engage fruitfully on the issue of
the diasporans’ homecoming.
This is also shown by the lack of fervent support, by all political parties,
for issues related to building mechanisms for those in the diaspora to
exercise their vote in the upcoming elections. Even after the elections, it
is not likely that all those in the diaspora will immediately come back
home. The post-election economic diplomacy approach must therefore also
target those that remain in the diaspora.
China and India’s economic development has been heavily shaped by their
nationals in the diaspora. They have created business opportunities that
have maintained a strong link and feedback into their domestic economies.
They have been central to network building and information gathering in the
countries they are domiciled. Their channel of economic connection with
their home countries has been their embassies and related diplomatic
platforms. Zimbabwe’s post-election economic diplomacy will therefore
require government to re-work its relationship with the diaspora.
There will be a need to create formal channels through which embassies
become developmental links on which this relationship is anchored.
Therefore, the next government will have to critically look at the country’s
economic diplomacy against a background where rapid economic growth will not
only be aspired to, but a priority. The next government will have to
intentionally re-engineer the functions, scope and expertise of diplomatic
There must be deep consideration of who must ultimately be appointed to lead
this new economic diplomatic onslaught; away from the historical system of
political patronage. The age of diplomatic postings as reward for mere
political loyalty must come to an end. Our diplomatic services must not be
incidental institutions, but intended to drive economic recovery.
A well-known diplomacy academic, Kishan Rana, defines economic diplomacy as
“the process through which countries tackle the outside world to maximise
their national plan in all fields of activity including trade, investments
and other forms of economically beneficial exchanges where they enjoy
comparative advantages; it has bilateral, regional and multilateral
dimensions each of which is important”.
Maisiri is the Southern Africa senior analyst at the International Crisis
Group. He is also a student of Economic Diplomacy. He, however, writes in
his personal capacity.
May 31, 2013 in Opinion
THE Baba Jukwa social media phenomenon — which has taken Zimbabwe by storm
as the anonymous writer nears 100 000 likes on Facebook — needs to be
evaluated in the context of free speech and free flow of information in a
democratising society such as Zimbabwe, as it gives a critical dimension
into resistance struggles that do not necessarily involve “big men” but
“small men” agency which has sent shock waves across the entire
authoritarian system while ruffling feathers of the powers that be.
Opinion by Pedzisai Ruhanya
It is significant to address the matter in the context of freedom of
expression, free speech and freedom of the media against this backdrop
without delving into content analysis of the issues raised by the anonymous
writer of Baba Jukwa posts, which are unsettling the political elites in
Zimbabwe through juicy reports and “exposures” that have sent the country’s
security apparatus rummaging high and low for the author.
In that vein, it is critical to give background by retracing the original
media theory since Baba Jukwa is effectively functioning as a “muckraker”,
something which was part and parcel of journalism right from the beginning.
The original theory of the press was concerned with the role of journalism
in the political processes as advanced by liberal philosophers such as
Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville.
Edmund Burke reputedly coined the term “Fourth Estate” in 18th Century
England to refer to the political power possessed by the press in comparison
to the other three arms of power in Britain: Lords, church and commons.
It is postulated that the power of the press arose from its ability to give
or withhold publicity as well as its informative capacity since its most
crucial freedom was to report and comment on acts of governments and other
issues. Press freedom therefore becomes a cornerstone of representative
democracy and progress.
In countries where the right to freedom of expression is provided for in the
constitution, this suggests strongly freedom is highly valued, and in one
way set apart from other liberties which might be equally thought crucial to
The First Amendment to the United States constitution, which deals with
protection of freedom of expression and of the press, could be a case in
point. The US First Amendment was passed in order to restrain congress from
passing laws that restrict freedom of speech and the press.
Media scholars have noted, for instance, the US First Amendment’s guarantee
of freedom of speech and the press was drafted at a time when the new
federal congress was the only threat to their exercise.
It is argued the restraint against the US congress could be supported by
that almost all the early free speech cases in the 1920s and 1930s concerned
the persecution of individual writers, pamphleteers and protesters, many of
them members of radical or socialist groups.
It is noted the First Amendment was asserted only against the government.
That was so whether the case concerned official censorship, application of
criminal laws relating to advocacy of insurrection or restrictions imposed
by police officers and local authorities on meetings and processions.
It has been pointed out there is widespread support for free speech, that is
the principle that even speech which causes some measure of harm to the
public, is entitled to a special degree of immunity from state or government
restraint not afforded to other conduct which might cause a similar amount
Under this principle, for example, speech which offends the majority of
people could not legitimately be prohibited, while there would be no
comparable inhibition in restraining public conduct such as public
love-making or leaving litter in Harare Gardens with similar offensive
The protection of the freedom of expression in most modern constitutions is
probably more closely connected with a view about the desirability of an
informed electorate than it is with 19th Century liberal views concerning
the discovery of truth as a critical aspect of the need for freedom of
expression, a theory that is associated with Mill.
Historically and according to scholars such as Mill, the most durable
argument for a free speech principle has been based on the importance of
open discussion aimed at the discovery of truth. It is argued, if
restrictions on freedom of expression are tolerated, society may prevent the
establishing and publication of true facts and accurate judgments.
Another theory of free speech sees it as an integral aspect of every
individual’s right to self-development and fulfilment. This perspective
contends that restrictions on what a man’s allowed to say and write or (on
some formulations of the theory) to hear or read, inhibit the growth of his
People will not be able to develop intellectually and spiritually, unless
they are free to formulate their beliefs and political attitudes through
public platforms such as Baba Jukwa on Facebook nowadays. The argument
asserts that there is an individual right to freedom of expression, even
though its exercise may be inimical to the welfare and development of
However, Mill’s “harm principle” provides a way of discriminating between
views that should be tolerated and those which should not. According to this
perspective, any view which does not harm others should be allowed while
only those views which harm others may be suppressed.
Mill is explicit in saying that the mere offence to others does not amount
to harm; someone applying Mill’s harm principle in this area would not seek
to suppress Baba Jukwa. The fact that the social media character calling
himself Baba Jukwa causes great discomfort to mainly those in the political
class would not alone amount to a sufficient reason to hunt him down and ban
According to Mill’s harm principle, a more tangible harm is required than
mere offence in order to justify suppressing an individual’s right to
freedom of expression in a democratic society. In contrast, it has been
argued a speech which incites racial violence, for instance, would be the
sort of expression of opinion which those who believe in Mill’s theory might
want to ban. The direct causal link with harm could warrant suppression of
such a speech.
Even opinions lose their immunity from suppression when the circumstances in
which they are expressed constitute the expression of instigation to some
An opinion that corn dealers are starvers of the poor, or that private
property is robbery, ought to be unmolested when simply circulated through
the press, but may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an
excited mob assembled before the house of a corn dealer or when handed about
among the same mob in the form of a placard.
Acts of whatever kind, which without justifiable cause do harm to others may
be, and in more important cases, absolutely require to be controlled by the
unfavourable sentiments, and, when needful, by the active interference of
While Mill’s principle on freedom of expression calls for its protection, it
is also clear that it also justifies its significance and relevance in a
democratic society by regarding the prevention of harm to others as a good
reason for control of the individual in the exercise of his or her
The development of a democratic culture requires and values inquiry and
those democratic systems are committed not only to interrogating
governmental policies, but also into the integrity of those whom they
entrust with the management of public affairs.
The significance of the right to freedom of expression in a democratic
society is emphasised when it is argued that it is well that the public be
informed of state and government matters concerning politicians and public
Both high-mindedness and a desire to sell contribute to the way in which the
media bring political information before the public, and democratic
government may well be the incidental beneficiary of muckraking carried on
for purposes which those engaged in the exercise would rather hide.
Following the signing of the new constitution, my view of a democratic
society is individuals should be free from restraint on expressing or
publishing their views as pointed out by Mill in On Liberty regardless of
whether those views are true or otherwise.
The consequences of suppressing freedom of speech are bad, while utility
will be maximised by preserving and protecting the right to free speech even
if in some particular cases it may, at first glance, seem to serve no useful
Ruhanya is the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director and a media studies PhD
May 31, 2013 in Opinion
Building on the successful conduct of the recent constitutional referendum,
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) encourages the Zimbabwe
Election Commission (Zec) to go forward now with a review of the list of
polling stations in advance of the 2013 general elections.
Opinion by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
While Zec has not legally released the list of polling stations now, doing
so would further enhance Zec’s credibility, increase transparency in the
process and help Zec and other stakeholders to plan more effectively.
Critically, it would also provide sufficient time for voters to learn the
locations of any new polling stations.
Based on an analysis of the list of polling stations used for the
constitutional referendum and population data from the 2012 census, Zesn
estimates that Zec should establish an additional 489 polling stations (227
in Harare) in order that all voters have a reasonable and equal opportunity
to vote as enshrined in the newly adopted constitution.
Zesn chair Reverend Solmon Zwana said: “Zesn is encouraged by recent
developments at Zec and we hope it moves forward expeditiously with a review
of the polling stations so that there are sufficient polling stations for
all voters to have a reasonable and equal opportunity to vote.”
Zesn’s analysis shows that because of new voters who have turned 18 since
the 2008 elections as well as already eligible voters who have changed
residence, there are 232 wards with an insufficient number of polling
stations. This did not cause a problem during the constitutional referendum
because citizens were permitted to vote at any polling station in the
However, for the general elections, voters will only be able to cast their
ballots in the ward in which they are registered. This could lead to long
queues and disenfranchisement.
For example, Epworth Local Board ward 7, according to the 2012 census, has a
population of 39 031 people. Zesn estimates there are 22 638 eligible voters
in the ward. However, during the referendum, there was only one polling
station in that ward. It is not possible for 22 638 voters to cast their
ballot at a single polling station.
While Zesn estimates Zec should create new polling stations in all the 10
provinces, 46% or 227 of the new polling stations should be established in
Harare province (see Table 1).
At the provincial level, Zesn analysis does show a wide variation in the
number of estimated eligible voters per polling station (see Table 2).
However, this pattern is generally consistent with 2008 and typically
predominantly rural provinces need more polling stations per eligible voter
to minimise the distance voters must travel to reach a polling station.
Therefore Zesn’s analysis does not show the need for a full review of the
list of polling stations by Zec, but only a relatively modest increase of
approximately 5% of the total number of polling stations in just under 12%
of the wards.
For the full report, including specific wards ZESN estimates require
additional polling stations, see ZESN Analysis of Polling Stations from the
2013 Constitutional Referendum for the 2013 Harmonised Elections at
www.zesn.org.zw or send comments to email@example.com or
May 31, 2013 in Opinion
FOR a nation whose Treasury is admittedly bankrupt, and whose transitional
coalition government’s service delivery record is very poor, frugality
should be the buzzword.
Candid Comment with Stewart Chabwinja
Or, to cite Finance minister Tendai Biti’s caveat, we should be eating what
Viewed in this context, government’s continued failure to live within its
limited means is most worrying, amid revelations this week the country’s
moribund economy shrunk by about 3% during the first four months of the year
due to constrained business activity.
Yet the executive’s appetite for foreign travel remains undiminished, with
President Robert Mugabe flying out to Yokohama, Japan, on Tuesday for the
Tokyo International Conference on African Development, with a bloated
entourage of about 60 officials.
The country’s limping economy simply cannot afford the profligacy of
Treasury wholly funding the trip — it is certain to drain millions of scarce
taxpayers’ money in airfares, accommodation and general upkeep in top hotels
in Yokohama on Tokyo Bay. Tokyo is one of the world’s most expensive cities
to stay in, and Yokohama is unlikely to be far behind.
What’s more, reports suggest Mugabe and his team would be in Tokyo until
next Tuesday, followed by a two-day Singapore stop-over (for medical
check-ups and shopping?) before flying back home.
The coalition government formed to rescue the country out of the
socio-economic morass must prioritise provision of basic infrastructure and
services including roads, electricity and potable water which unabatedly
continue to deteriorate. While spiking the air miles, Mugabe’s office chewed
up US$20 million in six months against an annual allocation of US$15
It has been another hectic travel year for Mugabe thus far with destinations
including Equatorial Guinea, The Vatican, AU meeting in Ethiopia, Kenya,
Asia, and South Africa for the Nations Cup and a liberations movement
meeting. No wonder government spent nearly US$50 million in foreign travel
last year, far more than education (US$25 million), while energy projects
got US$16 million.
Mugabe is by no means alone in globetrotting: Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Biti himself helped drain the travel budget through their own
trips and other things.
Most of the trips are hardly worth it with the staple memoranda of
understanding usually all government delegations bring back home.
To that you can add politically expedient spin, with the recent AU meeting a
case in point as Mugabe and the state media served the public with an
airbrushed version of events in Ethiopia to promote Zanu PF’s self-serving
agenda, although Sadc has since set the record straight.
Thus, moves to curb waste, revealed this week, by clamping down on excessive
spending on foreign travel deserve praise. We must spend every public penny
Historically, debt has often been considered a sin. Government would do well
to take a leaf out of Germany and the Netherlands where schuld, the word for
debt, also means guilt.
May 31, 2013 in Opinion
THAT Zimbabwe’s economy is hamstrung by a toxic political environment is no
longer news to the general populace.
Zimbabwe Independent Editorial
Now, calls for the urgent restoration of an acceptable democratic order in
Zimbabwe have been getting louder.
While no date for general elections has been set yet, President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have repeatedly said elections will be held by
June 29 this year.
However, the feasibility of this date has been repeatedly challenged by
other political parties and various organisations — including this
newspaper — who say there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly on
key reforms required for a credible and peaceful contest which will lead to
an acceptable outcome, whichever way the dice rolls.
One dimension that has come out loud and clear though is growing weariness
of the Zimbabwean economy with delays in fixing a date for the polls. A
fortnight ago, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce called for the
elections to be held soon. This week, Finance minister Tendai Biti said
continued delay in holding the elections was hurting the economy. Business
executives say as much.
And rightly so. Given that businesses need to plan ahead, even without
necessarily building and pontificating on the eventual outcome, it is always
important for business leaders to understand when major events will occur
such as elections since these affect strategic and operational decisions.
Foreign investors are also sitting on the fence, watching and waiting
impatiently for this process to play out. All the waiting is at a cost in
the form of delayed implementation or commencement of investment projects.
Time is money!
The Zimbabwe Investment Authority is presently sitting on approved foreign
direct investment projects with a nominal value of more than US$1 billion.
Bilateral and multilateral donors are also keen to satisfy themselves that
not only the election outcome, but the process leading to that outcome, is
acceptable before opening the taps of financial support. The continued
delays in announcing the elections date is thus imposing a latent, but large
cost on the economy.
Portfolio inflows through the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the potential
recapitalisation of banks and other local companies by foreign investors,
also hinge on the elections. Biti’s comments earlier this week are spot-on.
A major challenge of investing in Zimbabwe has always been the dire lack of
clear economic direction and sound policies.
While the Global Political Agreement, that has been the basis of governance
in Zimbabwe since 2009, ushered in a semblance of economic stability, it has
been characterised by the discordant agendas of the two main political camps
in government — Zanu PF and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC. This has been at
a great cost which, now more than ever , needs to be capped. Each of the two
major political camps contend that an outright victory by their parties will
lead to greater clarity of economic policy going forward.
It is imperative that an election date be announced once all the electoral
reforms needed to hold free, fair, credible and acceptable elections are
implemented. If not for the politics, the main political protagonists should
at least do it for the economy.
May 31, 2013 in News
‘WE cannot go beyond March next year,” President Robert Mugabe told a Zanu
PF meeting in early September 2011. “I will definitely announce the
(election) date. It does not matter what anyone would say. Once I announce
the date, everyone will follow.”
Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya
That was vintage Mugabe threatening to arbitrarily stampede the country into
early elections following a Zanu PF annual conference resolution in Mutare
in 2010 which said elections would be held the following year without fail.
Of course, 2011, which Mugabe and his officials had baselessly claimed was
the final year of the coalition government, came to pass without elections.
Mugabe and his gullible followers, including his state media hacks who seem
to have been programmed to parrot whatever he says no matter how ridiculous,
then changed tune: elections will be held in March 2012 whether anyone likes
it or not.
As we now all know, there were no elections last year. When it became clear
the polls would not be there, Zanu PF fifth columnists, motivated by
sinister designs to subvert the will of the people, then tried to ride on
the by-elections court case to force through general elections.
So after the Supreme Court directed Mugabe to proclaim by-election dates by
August 31 last year, they went to the High Court to seek a reprieve until
October while strategising. They got another respite until March 31 this
The propaganda machine went into overdrive again, misleading the nation
general elections would now be held on March 31, come what may. Every story
written in the state media around this issue was laced with such deceit.
However, the date came and passed, yet again. As time ticked away and Mugabe
sweated over his uncertain future, things got desperate. Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa went to the High Court for the third time seeking another
relief for Mugabe to be given until June 29 to announce by-elections dates.
In a Machiavellian bid, Chinamasa tried to make back-door manoeuvres to
secure an order declaring general elections be held by or on June 29.
We exposed the plot and forced them to drop it. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, who together with Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube
have stood firm against plans for early polls without reforms to level the
playing field, went to court to block Mugabe’s bid.
Tsvangirai, however, withdrew his application after assurances by the
Attorney-General’s Office Chinamasa’s shenanigans would not be tolerated.
But the court granted Mugabe an extension to proclaim by-election dates by
Then another round of deception followed. Mugabe and Zanu PF officials,
backed by the ever-sycophantic state media, started claiming general
elections would be held on June 29.
Because the court ruling deferred proclamation of by-elections dates to June
29, a web of deceit and lies had to be weaved around that date which also
happens to be the day when Mugabe’s five-year tenure and the lifespan of
parliament ends. Hence, the state media now slavishly claiming — even when
nobody believes them — general elections would be held on or before June 29.
There was also another official explanation given to justify June 29. We
were told elections have to be held on that date because after that,
government could well be unconstitutional as the executive would be
operating without parliament, implying rule by decree. This is despite a
clear provision in the Lancaster House constitution which says general
elections must be held within four months of parliament’s dissolution.
Enter comrade Jealousy Mawarire with a curious application: he wants the
courts to order general elections by June 29 as government would allegedly
be unconstitutional after that. I have no comment on this one except that
Mugabe now faces serious disgrace on this issue. Don’t hold your breath.
The powerful can be all but powerless at times.