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Chinese cream off US$200m

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:35

Tendai Marima

THE Chinese are creaming off millions in hard currency from Marange diamond
fields through an agreement which allows them to milk 90% of the revenue
generated from the deal, depriving the country of more than US$200 million
to date.

Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire has disclosed Anjin Investments, the
biggest diamond company in Chiadzwa, is controlled by Chinese who own 50%
equity and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) which has 40%. The
remaining 10% is supposed to be owned by the government through the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

However, Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday said ZMDC is not involved,
suggesting the 10% Marange diamond fields is actually owned by a company
called Matt Bronze controlled by the army.

The directors of Matt Bronze are not known, raising fears this could be
benefitting individuals in the army, not the public. Since Anjin is a
Chinese Defence Industry company, ZDI controlled by the army and Matt Bronze
a military outfit, this means the company’s proceeds are going to the
military which is averse to transparency and accountability.

According to a compliance report drafted by the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, Anjin mined 3 000 000
carats of diamonds between July 2010 and October 2011.

“At full throttle, the monthly production capac-ity may reach approximately
two million carats for which a comprehensive production footprint has
de-veloped,” the report says.

In an interview yesterday Biti said if Anjin was to operate at full capacity
the company would produce two million carats valued at an average of US$80
per carat which could yield US$160 million a month. However, Biti said Anjin
was not remitting anything to treasury despite creaming huge profits.

“They are not remitting, not even a single cent,” he said.
Biti also gave a breakdown of the structure of roy-alties and taxes, showing
Anjin is expected to pay 14% in corporate taxes (based on the net figure),
4% non-resident shareholders tax, royalties of 17% and also VAT.

This means Anjin is supposed to remit revenues covering the 50% shareholding
(if the ZDI’s 40% and the controversial 10% are added) and taxes, some-thing
which should have yielded more than US$200 million so far.

“Because it’s a joint venture we are automatically entitled to 50%, so 50%
plus taxes gives you the fig-ure we are supposed to get (US$200 milllion).
Our complaint is that ZMDC is not in there; it is this Matt Bronze company
which is owned by the army,” Biti said.

Anjin has not made remittances to treasury partly because diamonds are being
used to pay off a high-interest loan from China’s Export-Import Bank
(Eximbank) to build a state-of-the-art National De-fence College near

Zimbabwe entered into a US$98 million loan agree-ment with Eximbank on March
21 2011. The contract states the Chinese would fund and build the National
Defence College.

At a 2% interest rate, Zimbabwe would repay in a series of 26 installments
over 13 years, but only after a seven-year “grace period” has passed.

However, government ministers claim to be in the dark over how much is
generated by Anjin to repay China’s loan.
When the deal was initially presented to parliament in May 2011, MPs
objected to its high-interest rates and the lop-sided structure of the loan
which had greater financial benefit for the Chinese as lenders. However,
after much heated debate, it was approved in a second parliamentary sitting
in June.

Top government sources say diamond revenues from Anjin are also being used
to pay for arms be-ing imported from China. Zimbabwe buys arms from China.

Speculation is rife China is supplying Zimbabwe with arms in exchange for
diamonds. Just before the 2008 elections, a Chinese ship loaded with arms
was stopped from docking at the Durban port after pro-tests by trade unions.
The Anjin deal seems to be the new cover.

In an interview this week, Chimanikire said: “We are aware that there was a
loan arrangement for the defence college that would be paid through Anjin’s
diamond mining and China would supply equipment.”

Of the five diamond mining companies licenced to mine in Marange, Anjin is
the biggest. It has seven shafts which amount to seven mines in one area.

Biti has blamed the underperformance of rev-enue collected this budget year
on poor contribution by diamond mining firms, lamenting revenues of only
US$30,5 million had been remitted to the fiscus between January and March,
against a target of US$122,5 million.

Revenue collections for March 2012 amounted to US$287,9 million against a
target of US$320,2 million, giving rise to a US$32,4 million shortfall which
Biti said arose mostly owing to underperformance of dia-mond proceeds.

It is estimated Anjin mines seven million carats a year and with additional
processing plants, it is ex-pected to increase production to 10 million.
However, the company’s financial records remain a mystery, ac-cording to

“Their records must be made available to the pub-lic; in many companies at
the end of the financial year a dividend is declared to the shareholders and
even a 1% shareholder is told how much the company made and what they will
get. Speaking in my capacity as deputy minister of mining, there is no way
Anjin could have recorded a loss,” he said

Chimanikire further said diamond remittances were essential to the fiscus
and companies like Mbada and Marange Resources are supposed to declare their
dividends on a monthly basis because government needs the money.

Anjin has been at the centre of controversy since it began operations in
Chiadzwa in early 2010. Zimbabweans on Anjin’s board mainly comprise serving
and retired members of the military and the police.

In its report, Diamonds A Good Deal for Zimbabwe?, international human
rights group, Global Witness, warned involvement of the military and police
in diamond mining “creates opportunities for off-budget funding of the
security sector”.

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Elections: How far will the army go?

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:33

Owen Gagare
RECENT actions by the military, particularly army commanders, who have
openly declared their allegiance to Zanu PF, while also pushing for
President Robert Mugabe’s re-election in the next polls which they want held
this year has set tongues wagging about the role of the security forces in

The sensitive issue has assumed greater prominence with reports that Sadc
leaders are increasingly concerned about the Zimbabwean military’s
manoeuvres reminiscent of their brazen meddling in elector-al matters in
2008 and how this was poisoning the environment for free and fair elections.

Sadc facilitator in Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, together
with his regional colleagues insisted recently at their summit in Luanda,
Angola, on the full implementation of the GPA and roadmap. Zuma is expected
in Harare on Monday or Tuesday to engage principals on a number of
contentious issues, including the role of the military in politics and

This issue looms large in the incomplete roadmap done last year. As Mugabe
and Zanu PF’s pros-pects of winning the next elections diminish, Zimbabwe’s
security forces have been assuming a more direct role of politics and
electoral matters in a bid to influence the outcome.

The Joint Operations Command (JOC), which brings together the army, police
and intel-ligence services chiefs, has been the force behind Mugabe’s
vigorous push for elections, with or without a new constitution. The
military’s at-tempt to influence the selection of Zanu PF candidates has
also shown how the security forces are deeply involved in politics in the
run-up to the next elections.

The military was heavily involved in the discredited June 2008 presi-dential
election runoff betweenMugabe and Prime Minister Mor-gan Tsvangirai which
was marred by widespread violence and intimi-dation. The army practically
played a commissariat role for Zanu PF to save Mugabe from outright defeat
after he had lost the first round of polling.

Retired army commanders and military analysts say the public has every
reason to be afraid of the mili-tary although they point out that it is
unlikely they could stage a coup.

While some analysts say the ar-my’s moves are signs of desperation and last
kicks of a dying horse, oth-ers warn the military has potential do some
serious damage by unleashing violence and intimidation, as well as
manipulating the election results, although a coup is unlikely.

Dr Martin Rupiya, executive director of the African Public Pol-icy and
Research Institute, says the military must not be discounted as it will play
a critical role in the next elections and may influence the out-come. He
said security forces have already been strategically deployed to influence
the results by other means than a coup.

“When we talk about elections, the composition of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) and the six stages in the electoral process are critical.
These stages include constituency delimitation, voter registration,
campaigning, polling, collating and announcing of the re-sults. They are all
key,” he said.

“You have to look at the compo-sition of Zec and who controls the six stages
of the process. You will find that the Zec secretariat is still dominated by
security personnel and they are involved in campaigns and other processes,
so in reality the outcome can be influenced even before polling and this is
what we saw in 2008 when there was a delay in announcing the results.”
Rupiya says rather than a coup, the military would most likely work behind
the scenes to control and influence the electoral process like they
previously did.

After Zanu PF’s close shave in the June 2000 elections where it avoided
defeat by just five seats, the army started getting more involved in
politics. The military embarked on a bruising campaign in the run up to the
March 2002 presidential election. The election was rigidly controlled by the
army and the re-sult was a disputed outcome after Tsvangirai appeared to
have over-run Mugabe.

A few months before the poll,service chiefs led by the late Gen-eral
Vitalis Zvinavashe publicly declared they would not salute a president
without “liberation cre-dentials” which was interpreted as a veiled coup
threat if Mugabe lost.

Major-General Douglas Nyika-yaramba, recently promoted, was then deployed to
the electoral com-mission to become chief elections officer although he was
still serv-ing.

Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, a former colonel in the army, chaired the Electoral
Supervisory Commission which ran the election.
In 2004, Mugabe appointed a four-member Delimitation Commission chaired by
former judge advocate responsible for military tribunals in the Zimbabwe
National Army and High Court Justice George Chi-weshe.

In 2008, Chiweshe was appointed to chair Zec which presided over the
discredited presidential elec-tion run-off. He was later promoted to judge

Nyikayaramba is one of those army commanders who have vowed to defend Mugabe
to the hilt and re-sist or resign if anyone takes over. Major-Generals
Martin Chedondo and Trust Mugoba have also recent-ly declared their support
for Zanu PF.
Rupiya says statements like these should be taken seriously although there
are slim chances of a coup.

“You have to take them seriously, remember on January 9, 2002, they
announced that they would not ac-cept anyone without war credentials to come
into power and in 2008 they made good their threat. We have a historical
precedent,” he said.

Gwinyayi Dzinesa a senior re-searcher in Conflict Prevention and Risk
Analysis Division of the Pre-toria-based Institute for Security Studies said
the military had as-sumed the role of a “kingmaker” in Zimbabwean politics
and will play a huge role in the next polls.

“The security sector has increas-ingly been involved in Zimbabwe’s politics
since the country’s closely contested parliamentary elections of June 2000,”
he said.“The secu-rity sector, which has a record of partisan involvement in
violent political processes in order to influ-ence the outcome of elections,
has been shielded from security sector reform by Zanu PF despite constant
lobbying by the MDC parties.”

Dzinesa said it was highly un-likely Sadc would condone a violent electoral
process in Zimbabwe again while the option of a coup might not be
practicable in the cur-rent circumstances.
“Although it would be hard to pre-dict, I do not see the guarantors of the
GPA –– the AU, Sadc and South African President Jacob Zuma –– tolerating a
coup in Zimbabwe. The international community is also hardening its position
against coups.”

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China helps Zanu PF to map poll strategy

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:01

Brian Chitemba

ZANU PF has roped in the services of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to
draw up strategies to revive its waning support base in Matabeleland ahead
of the next elections. A CCP delegation met the Zanu PF politburo, central
committee and district coordinating committee members from Bulawayo,
Matabeleland North and South on Tuesday to formulate ways of enticing the

Zanu PF lost control of the Matabeleland provinces after the MDC first
contested elections in 2000, and the party believes that borrowing CCP
strategies would help revive its flagging fortunes.

The CCP’s Centre for International Exchanges director-general, Wu Shumin,
advised Zanu PF to address relevant issues facing the Matabeleland region,
saying the party would only be electable if its policies solved problems
facing the region’s electorate.

Zanu PF is unpopular in Matabeleland due to perceived marginalisation and
unfulfilled development projects, and the Gukurahundi atrocities committed
by the Zanu PF government in the 1980s believed to have resulted in the
deaths of about 20 000 people.

Shumin advised the party to address poverty, unemployment, housing
shortages, deteriorating healthcare, rampant corruption and industrial
development. Bulawayo has particularly been hit by de-industrialisation
which saw the closure of 87 companies leaving about 20 000 jobless.

The CCP backed the controversial indigenisation programme saying it would
gain Zanu PF political mileage because the black majority had been
disenfranchised for decades.
“The party’s greatest strength lies in connecting with the people and there
should not be a time when it is alienated from them,” said China Executive
Leadership Academy official Liu Jingbei.

“Successful parties derive their strength from vibrant grassroots structures
and discipline among members,” Jingbei said.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF has tasked its politburo members to come up with a raft
of recommendations on how the party can win the next elections to ensure
that President Robert Mugabe holds onto his 32-year rule.

The party’s national commissar Webster Shamu wrote to all politburo, central
committee and national consultative assembly members instructing them to
analyse Zanu PF’s performance in the 2008 elections and give him feedback

Zanu PF officials told the Independent that the 2008 election analysis and
recommendations were a waste of time, particularly in Matabeleland where
Mugabe has never been popular with the electorate.

“Who will vote Zanu PF in Matabeleland?” asked a senior party official from
the region. “We can’t win in this region because people feel marginalised
and if Mugabe rejects devolution then forget the Matabeleland vote.”

Senior party officials in Bulawayo met at the provincial headquarters on
Sunday, but failed to come up with any recommendations as they were soon
sucked into a bitter debate over district structures.

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Copac fails to break deadlock

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:02

Staff Writer

THE constitution-making process has hit a dead end again as the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) negotiators failed to agree on issues previously
resolved, with Zanu PF claiming the whole draft constitution does not
reflect the views of the people as captured in the national report. The
deadlock comes after Sadc urged the coalition government to complete the new
charter as outlined in the election roadmap. The management committee, which
met at Ruparara lodge in Nyanga starting last Sunday to resolve all
outstanding issues, failed to reach a compromise.

“The meeting has been adjourned and will resume soon but the management
committee has failed to break the deadlock,” said a Copac source.

Copac insiders who attended the meeting said the three parties — Zanu PF and
the two MDC formations vowed not to move on their party positions.

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Calls to regulate diamond sales to plug leaks, graft

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:08

Tendai Marima

EVEN though cabinet agreed last week to ensure diamond revenues are remitted
to Treasury, smuggling, looting and leakages will remain serious problems
unless urgent measures are taken to curb them. When Zimbabwe held mass
diamond sales in India in November last year, bargain hunters from as far as
Israel, Lebanon and China flooded Surat and Mumbai’s markets to buy the

The entry of Zimbabwe’s cheap diamonds onto the global stage pushed the
price of diamonds down and by January this year, South Africa’s De Beers and
Russian Alrosa, which control the majority of world supplies, recorded a six
to 10% drop in diamond price in the international market.

Sold at discounted rates of up to 50%, Zimbabwe’s diamonds are among the
cheapest in the world, making them attractive, but they have brought little
financial benefit to a country which expected to earn $2 billion from the
trade annually.

Finance minister Tendai Biti expected diamond revenues to contribute $600
million to this year’s national budget. However, Treasury has only been able
to get a trickle, with Biti last week warning the budget might have to be
revised downwards.

In figures presented to parliament last week, Deputy Minister of Mines, Gift
Chimanikire, said Zimbabwe had sold diamonds worth about US$120 million and
received a dividend of US$29 million for the first quarter of 2012.

Chimanikire said on average, Zimbabwe’s stones were sold for US$40-US$100 a
carat, but Parliamentary Legal Committee chairperson, Shepherd Mushonga,
questioned Chimanikire’s calculation and suggested they were being sold for
as little as US$9.

“Zimbabwe is now a member of KPCS (Kimberley Processing and Certification
Scheme) and that on the world market a carat of diamond is selling between
US$200 and US$800. The prices which the minister has referred to indicate
that our diamonds are selling for about US$9 per carat when we are members,
we are now allowed in the international community of diamond mines to sell
our diamonds,” said Mushonga.

Although Chimanikire rebuffed Mushonga’s point, allegations that sales of
Zimbabwe’s diamonds are under-priced and not transparent will not go away.
The sale of diamonds has been shrouded in secrecy amid complaints of
smuggling, corruption and looting since the discovery of diamonds in Marange
in 2006.

Biti has also questioned the pricing of diamonds at a 2012 budget
consultative meeting in Kwekwe in October last year. He told the meeting:
“We are being told that diamonds are being sold at US$60 per carat, but (on
the international market) the cheapest industrial diamond sells at US$200
while the expensive goes for US$1 300. Looking at those figures, the nation
could have got US$4 billion in 2010 alone, but we only got US$150 million.”

In February this year he said he had received US$5 million against a target
of US$41,5 million.

In September 2010, the government authorised a secret diamond sale held in
Marange diamond fields in spite of the international ban on Zimbabwe’s
diamonds. At the time, secretary for mines, Thankful Musukutwa, responded
defending lack of transparency and accountability saying: “We will not be
releasing the quantity or amount that was generated because these were
private sales by private companies.”

“No other country in the world releases their sales figures or quantities.
When it comes to the issues of diamonds, we must be careful as a country
because of the sensitivity of the issues associated with them,” he said.

Mines minister Obert Mpofu last week refused to guarantee transparency and
accountability, citing sanctions.

Industry experts say Zimbabwe’s cheap stones are set to dominate the global
rough diamond supply market in the next few years.

In 2010, India imported rough diamonds worth US$11 billion mainly for
industrial use and more than half of the imports were of low-range quality.
Demands for the country’s cheap gems led to the opening of diamond cutting
offices in Surat and another office is set to open in Brussels, Belgium,
later this year.

While import of rough gems from Zimbabwe could potentially employ 60 000
Indians in Surat, the trade has fuelled smuggling and corruption back home.

According to diamond consultant Keith Lapperman, Zimbabwe lost up to US$500
million last year due to theft and smuggling.

“My estimate is that last year, between 20 million to 30 million carats were
smuggled from Zimbabwe. This translates to between US$400 million and US$500
million. This is substantial,” he said. “A sub-industry of mainly smuggled
diamonds has developed, which, if not regularised urgently, will have
far-reaching consequences not only for Zimbabwe, but for the diamond
industry in general. This figure is likely to decline once you formalise the
sector. The controversy will be reduced.”

Economist John Robertson has pointed to the absence of protection of
property rights, citing the state’s seizure of African Consolidated
Resources (ACR) diamond claims in 2007.
“Essentially, the rights to prospect still need to be backed up with the
rights for Zimbabweans to claim minerals as their own property. Security of
ownership would guarantee billions in new investment,” he said.

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Mat political parties form election pact

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:59

Staff Writer

A CLUSTER of Matabeleland-based political parties is holding discussions to
form an election pact under the banner of the Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (Puma) ahead of the next polls.

However, Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa snubbed the initiative and instead
opted to join forces with the Common Issues Platform (CIP) in Harare despite
his party being involved in the coalition talks.

It is believed that all the agreements were in place and ready for signing
when Dabengwa turned his back on the deal, only to emerge at the CIP press
briefing in the capital.

Among the agreements, the proposed alliance would field and campaign for one
candidate in perceived Zanu PF strongholds. The deal was reportedly
facilitated by a retired senior politician in the region.

When reports of the CIP emerged, political parties in Matabeleland said they
felt betrayed because they had worked tirelessly with Zapu and other parties
since last year to form a united front.

Zanu Ndonga, Zapu, MDC 99 and the Democratic Party held a joint press
conference in Harare recently where they announced the formation of the CIP
to challenge the coalition government.

“This is the coming together of opposition parties that share the same views
and concerns about what is happening in the country,” Dabengwa said at the
press conference.
Puma officials said although they hold no grudge against Zapu, they were
surprised that it had snubbed efforts for a united front in Matabeleland.
Puma information secretary Bhekinkosi Mdlongwa said Zapu’s snub would not
derail their project.

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Further divisions rock Zanu PF in Masvingo

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:57

Staff Writer

FACTIONAL fissures continue to rock Zanu PF with officials in Masvingo
accusing each other of fuelling divisions by meddling in District
Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections. This emerged at a Nyajena Mission
rally a fortnight ago where Zanu PF politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire
reportedly accused Masvingo North MP Stan Mudenge of rigging DCC elections.
Sources said Mavhaire pointed out Mudenge was at the top of the list of
ministers bunking cabinet because of ill-health, but somehow had the
strength to visit the province and meddle in DCC polls.

When contacted for comment Mavhaire he said the party was busy with its
structures and was not at liberty to discuss what transpired at the rally.

Mudenge could neither confirm nor deny his involvement with the DCC
elections saying: “I am not at work so there is nothing I can say right now”.

Masvingo South MP Walter Mzembi also told the same rally that rigging was
possible because the party had no offices in the province after it was
evicted in 2010 for failing to pay rent. It is currently operating from
provincial secretary for administration Edmore Mhere’s business complex.

Masvingo has been a Zanu PF hotbed for factionalism which reared its ugly
head in May when intra-party violence erupted after a round of disputed DCC
elections in Nyajena, Masvingo South. Riot police were called in to quell
the violence.

The main warring Zanu PF factions are led by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

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Negotiators reform disputes threaten Zuma visit

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:53

Owen Gagare
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma, the Sadc-appointed facilitator in
Zimbabwe’s political dialogue, is reportedly anxious to come to meet on
Monday principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on imple-mentation
of the pact and election roadmap, but negotiators say they are not ready to
re-ceive him.

This follow negotiators’ failure to resolve disputed issues on the
constitu-tion-making process and come up with an agenda for Zuma and
principals’ meeting.

The negotiators, tasked to draw up an agenda for Zuma’s meeting with
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman Ncube, have not yet come
up with discus-sion points as they have been seized with resolving
differences in the constitution-making exercise.

The negotiators were part of Copac man-agement team which met in Nyanga from
last weekend until Wednesday. They, how-ever, failed to find common ground
and are scheduled to meet again early next week af-ter consulting their

One of the negotiators told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday it would only
be after either solving the constitutional impasse or declaring a deadlock,
that they could receive Zuma.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga confirmed
the management committee had not resolved all the issues but said
significant progress had been made. “We are at a very delicate stage of the
process, but I must say we made significant progress although we have not
yet finished,” he said.

Zuma, tasked by Sadc at its recent sum-mit in Luanda to meet the principals
to find ways of implementing agreed issues in the GPA, is eager to use the
current momentum to press all the parties on the roadmap. The summit
maintained elections in Zimbabwe should only be held after the full
implemen-tation of the GPA, derailing Mugabe’s push for polls this year,
with or without a new constitution.

The South African facilitation team met negotiators in Harare after the
Luanda sum-mit to prepare for Zuma’s visit, but a date could not be agreed
on because of current disputes.

Among Zuma and Sadc’s major concerns are Zimbabwe’s security chiefs’ brazen
med-dling in politics ahead of the elections. Sadc leaders are keen to
ensure polls are held in a peaceful environment, hence their bid to contain
security chiefs.

The MDC formations have been calling for security sector reform but the
issue is one of the unresolved items on the roadmap. Also outstanding is the
staffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and issues around the
observing and monitoring of the polls.

Some agreed items, among them media reforms, have not been implemented and
Zuma and principals are expected to come up with an implementation

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Zim’s road network now death trap

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:53

Wongai Zhangazha

JUST about every Zimbabwean driver has a story to tell about negotiating the
country’s pothole-ridden urban roads and highways. Negotiating the rutted
and usually narrow roads is now tantamount to a dangerous game — dicing with
death. Drivers are often left swearing after their cars have ploughed into
deep potholes, or when a seemingly smooth ride abruptly turns bumpy and
rough as a result of deteriorating roads. After many years of neglect, some
potholes have developed into craters, especially during the rainy season,
causing inconveniences and accidents, some fatal.
Occasionally, scores of people die on the roads, partly as a result of human
error, a situation often worsened by potholes and the general poor state of
the narrow and perilous highways.

The state’s roads agency, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration
(Zinara), which is tasked with maintaining the country’s road network, has
not been up to grips with the situation as it has done little to fix the
country’s roads despite its energetic revenue collection drive.

Zinara recently introduced new vehicle licence discs with enhanced security
features as part of efforts to curb what it has claimed to be illegal
reproduction of the permits.
This followed claims that last year it was prejudiced of up to US$15 million
in potential revenue through rampant printing of counterfeit discs. Zinara
head of corporate communications, Augustine Moyo, recently said motorists
would now be required to licence vehicles quarterly. Previously, licencing
was done either annually or quarterly.
“We have added a new holographic security feature which cannot be forged or
manipulated. This move is meant to assist us curb rampant printing of
vehicle licence discs. The current system is manual and has weaknesses,” he

“It would help us to have a watertight system when it comes to vehicle
licencing. This will also increase revenue inflows, translating into bigger
allocations to road authorities.”
Moyo said Zinara last year collected US$25 million from vehicle permits
against potential revenue of US$40 million. He also noted the country has an
estimated 800 000 cars, although only 478 000 were licenced authentically.

“We collected US$80 million and redirected it towards road and routine
maintenance,” he said.

“Our road network is very old. It should be appreciated that maintaining an
old asset is expensive. Some of these roads were constructed over 40 years
ago, yet the lifespan of a road is 20 years. This means almost the entire
road network now requires rehabilitation and not only the routine
maintenance being done now.”
However, motorists are not convinced Zinara is doing much.

Development specialist Maxwell Saungweme said evidence showed Zinara is a
very incompetent body which is “good at devising ways of siphoning money
from road users without delivering on most of its key functions”.

“A quick glance at the state of Zimbabwe’s roads really shows that this body
just makes noise and hogs the limelight by levying road user fees, but does
not really do much to ensure that roads are upgraded and maintained,” said

In a 2010 report on the state of parastatals released last month,
Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri accused Zinara of failing to
do its job despite its energetic revenue collection efforts.

Chiri noted the country’s road network has outlived its lifespan and
expressed concern no serious development was evident despite, in some cases,
the road network being over 50 years old.

Roads which have exceeded their intended design life include
Harare-Beitbridge, Harare-Chirundu, Harare-Plumtree, Harare-Mutare,
Harare-Bindura, Harare-Nyamap-
anda, Gweru-Chivhu, Gweru-Zvishavane, Masvingo-Mutare, Masvingo-Bulawayo,
Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Bulawayo-Victoria Falls roads — a total of 3 655km.

Chiri estimated the cost of new road construction per kilometre at between
US$350 000 and US$500 000, giving the construction cost of the mentioned
roads at about US$1,8 billion.

She pointed out tollgate collections would be insufficient for construction
or periodic and routine road maintenance, and recommended that resources be
availed from central government for road rehabilitation to augment the toll
funds, and that Zinara gets into joint partnerships with private financiers.

Zinara has since acknowledged the road problem and promised to seek central
government intervention and partner the private sector in construction and
maintenance instead of harassing motorists without tangible delivery.

Until Zinara does something about the situation, Zimbabwe’s roads and
highways will remain death traps.

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Zim prisons make dying in jail a welcome prospect

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:50

Elias Mambo

OVERCROWDING, squalour, disease and starvation characterise Zimbabwe’s 55
jails following decades of underfunding of prisons and neglect by the
authorities. The Supreme Court last week visited Harare Central Police
Station following an application filed by four Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(Woza) leaders seeking to condemn its detention cells as uninhabitable. The
media was part of the tour.

The visit enabled journalists to a get glimpse into the hellhole that
Zimbabwe’s prison cells have now become where thousands languish in misery
and solitude.
At Harare central police station, the situation can only be described as
awful. Cells designed to hold only six inmates are jam-packed with over 25
inmates sharing a single toilet flushed from the outside whenever the guard
on duty feels like doing so.

For breakfast inmates are fed maize meal porridge –– which sometimes has no
sugar –– two wafer-thin slices of bread and tea with only a few drops of
At lunch time it becomes a case of “survival of the fittest” as inmates
scramble for sadza with boiled cabbage or beans.

In its 2009 report on the state of local prisons, the Zimbabwe Association
for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (Zacpro) says for
most prisoners there is only one way to escape from this misery: dying!

The suffering which characterises a stay in Zimbabwe’s prisons is described
in graphic detail by former CIO operative and apartheid South Africa’s
double-agent Kevin Woods, who spent 18 years in the notorious Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison in Harare.

Woods was sentenced to death in 1987 for his role in the bombing of ANC safe
houses in Zimbabwe at the height of apartheid brutality. His sentence was
later commuted to life imprisonment before he was released courtesy of a
presidential pardon in 2006.

Woods reveals in his book The Kevin Woods Story: In the shadows of Mugabe’s
Gallows that for more than five years of his incarceration, he was cut off
from the outside world and held in solitary confinement –– naked.

He describes prison conditions as deadly, leaving inmates to summon all
their willpower to survive. Woods says he had to smuggle food into his cell
on many occasions and endured overflowing toilets and days with no food, no
electricity, no water and lice-infested blankets for months on-end.
Six years after Woods’ release, the country’s prisons are again under the

Woza leaders Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Celina Madukani and Clara
Manjengwa petitioned the Supreme Court through their lawyers, the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, seeking an order compelling government to ensure
holding cells at Harare central police station met basic human dignity and
hygiene standards.
Five Supreme Court Judges, Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Rita Makarau,
Paddington Garwe, Yunus Omerjee and Anne-Mary Gowora inspected the cells to
ascertain their conditions.
However, the judges failed to get a true reflection of the state of the
holding cells because the authorities cleaned the cells ahead of the
scheduled visit.
“One of the cells on the first floor had a stench but the floor appeared to
have been cleaned,” said Ziyambi who read out the Supreme Court’s
observations in court after the inspection.

“In that cell, there were six blankets lying on the built-on concrete beds.
In each cell that we inspected there were six built-in beds with no
mattresses. Around each of the toilets there was a concrete block which was
about a metre high but without a door.”

Woza leaders said great attempts had been made by the police to remove the
“human waste bomb” that had been apparent on the first floor cell unit
during their arrest in 2010.
Apart from food shortages and hygiene items, there is also a shortage of
prison uniforms.

Zacpro said Chikurubi, which has a holding capacity of 800 inmates,
currently has 1 780 prisoners –– more than double its capacity. The 55
prisons in the country have the capacity to accommodate 16 000 prisoners but
presently hold 35 000 inmates.

The suffocating overcrowding has been blamed for the rampant outbreak of
diseases and malnutrition within the prison system.

Exiled MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, who spent a year in jail for allegedly
assaulting Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa during a heated parliamentary
debate, referred to Zimbabwe’s prison conditions as “a human rights tragedy
and a serious abuse of human rights”.

In July 2005 Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled that police cells at
Matapi and Highlands police stations were “degrading and inhuman and unfit
for holding criminal suspects”.

Zacpro has said because of the current situation Zimbabwe’s prisons
constitute a unique and a particularly cruel form of torture that has both
physical and psychological impacts on inmates affected.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, DeputyJustice
minister Obert Gutu said police cells and prisons need urgent refurbishment
or even demolition.

“The fact of the matter is that most, if not all, cells in Zimbabwe are in
urgent need of refurbishment and in some cases, such as at Chivhu prison,
demolition,” Gutu said.“These are structures that were built several decades
ago to cater for a relatively small prison population. The average cell in a
Zimbabwean prison is nothing short of a hellhole.”

Gutu said most inmates were living dreadful lives.

“It would appear that the decision to phase off help from the Red Cross was
premature and ill-advised. Prisoners are now surviving on a diet of sadza or
occasionally beans or half-boiled cabbages as relish,” said Gutu.

“We call upon development partners, including the International Committee of
the Red Cross, to come on board and assist us in our vision of transforming
our prisons into modern correctional facilities.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was until recently
regularly supplying prisons with beans, cooking oil and groundnuts for more
than 8 000 inmates in 17 places of detention around the country, including
Harare Remand Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

It also provided assistance and technical support to the Zimbabwe Prison
Service to boost food production at prison farms, upgrade water and
sanitation facilities, monitor the nutrition of inmates and improve access
to healthcare services.

However, following termination of its assistance, UCRC has left a huge void
in the provision of food and other necessities. The situation is worsened by
the fact that improving prison conditions ranks low in the cash-strapped
unity government’s list of priorities. This means the suffering of prisoners
will continue and as Zacpro said, for now the only way out for inmates is
perhaps dying, making prison reform urgent.

As Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in jail to secure the freedom of South
Africa, said: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has
been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its
highest citizens, but its lowest ones”.

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Zanu PF bigwig linked to US$5,5m mystery yacht

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:04

A TOP Zanu PF bigwig has been linked to the purchase of a luxurious boat
worth US$5,5 million imported from an Italian yacht maker Azimut Yacht this

However, the yacht, which arrived in the country on Wednesday, has also been
linked to a mystery Harare man from Chisipite whose name is known to the
Zim-babwe Independent.

According to reliable sources in South Africa, the boat was fully paid for
at a company called Broderick Marine in Vanderbiljpark, southern
Johannesburg, which ordered the boat from Italy on behalf of the owner.

The yacht left Vanderbiljpark for Zimbabwe on Monday and crossed the
Beitbridge border post on Wednesday in an abnormal-load truck registration
number BX 00SB GP destined for Kariba.

The boat is a six-sleeper, with three lounges, two Cummins 5HP diesel
engines and has top and bottom steering wheels which allow the driver to
steer the boat from either inside or outside.

It is fully air-conditioned with a 32-inch flat screen television and a
refrigerator. Investigations by the Independent show the boat was bought and
imported by the Chisipite-based returning resident on the Zimbabwean side
while documents on the South African side show the own-er as a top Zanu PF

The sources said the boat was bought for US$3,8 million and duty of US$1,7
million was paid. It was cleared by Group Air’s GA Freight, a Harare-based
clear-ing agency.

Efforts to get comment from Broderick Marine proved fruitless.

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MIPF under investigation

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:04

Staff Writer

THE Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) has instituted a forensic audit
focusing on the way the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) disposed of its
residential properties and office blocks between 2000 and 2009. The
investigations, which started a week ago, are being carried out following
allegations that the properties were sold to MIPF trustees and top

The MIPF disposed of eight blocks of flats and office blocks which included
Charingira, Spencer Cook and St Andrews, along Samora Machel Avenue.

The audit is investigating whether the properties were sold at fair value
and wants to expose MIPF top managers and trustees who benefitted.

One top MIPF official told Zimbabwe Independent this week: “Ipec is doing a
forensic audit focusing on the disposition of residential properties between
2000 and 2009. There are allegations top managers bought more than one
property and that St Andrews was bought by trustees who later resold the

While pensioners from the mining sector receive an average US$63 per month,
the MIPF chairman, James Maposa, is paid a quarterly fee of US$789, a
sitting allowance of US$330 and a monthly fuel allocation of 100 litres.

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Khupe ‘to ditch Makokoba for Nkayi’

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:00

Staff writer

MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe is reportedly contemplating ditching
her Makokoba constituency in Bulawayo for rural Nkayi deeming it a safe seat
in the next elections, like many of her colleagues now running away from
urban areas. Khupe recently built a new homestead in Nkayi.

The deputy premier has been Makokoba MP since 2000 and saw off stiff
challenges from Zanu PF’s Tshinga Dube and MDC leader Welshman Ncube in the
2008 harmonised polls. However, Khupe’s popularity in MDC-T structures in
the constituency has been waning with members accusing her of dictatorship
and neglecting the electorate. This week 84 MDC-T members in the Makokoba
constituency, including senior officials, defected to the rival MDC.

Last month Khupe shunned a rally in Makokoba where she was scheduled to give
a keynote address only to surface at another rally in Siganda, Nkayi.

“Speculation around Khupe planning to stand in Nkayi has been doing the
rounds since late last year,” said a party insider. “What is fuelling it is
that she has not attempted to dispel the rumours. Khupe no longer commands
support and respect compared to a few years ago and she knows that.”

As a result the MDC-T has proposed a system similar to Zanu PF to protect
its presidium.

Contacted for comment Khupe denied the claims saying seeking a constituency
in Nkayi would “destabilise the area as there is a candidate who is already
campaigning there”.

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Dinha, Mafios bury hatchet

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:06

Staff Writer

MASHONALAND Central governor Martin Dinha and Zanu PF party heavyweights in
the province have resolved to put their feud aside and work as a united
front to ensure victory for President Robert Mugabe in the next elections
expected in 2013.

Dinha met with Mashonaland Central chairperson Dickson Mafios three weeks
ago in Muzarabani to try and resolve the sharp differences which had emerged
between the party’s heavyweights and the governor.

The two agreed to work together ahead of crucial elections to ensure that
Zanu PF regains the two seats — Bindura South and Mazowe Central — it lost
to MDC-T in the 2008 elections. Zanu PF won 16 of the 18 constituencies and
all six senatorial seats in the province which has been its traditional

Dinha confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent meeting with Mafios in
Muzarabani at a handover ceremony of a three-bedroomed house to Chief
Kasekete by United Family International Church leader, Prophet Makandiwa.
Mafios works closely with politburo members Nicholas Goche and Saviour

“We have decided to close ranks. I met with Mafios. We felt that it was not
in our best interest to fight. I am Zanu PF through and through and I am
Zanu PF by conviction and choice,” he said. “We agreed that we should define
our roles. The chairman will do his job of mobilising supporters, while I
represent the president in the province ... if there are issues to do with
land and governance, they call me and we sit down to chat the way forward.”

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Gono in bid to ‘calm’ markets

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:28

Chris Muronzi
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono is making frantic efforts to calm the
markets after Interfin Banking Corpo-ration and Genesis Investment Bank were
closed last week due to serious liquidity problems.

After holding meetings with delega-tions from the African Export-Import Bank
(Afreximbank) and the Interna-tional Monetary Fund (IMF) in Harare last
week, Gono was this week in Cairo, Egypt, for the continental financial
in-stitution’s meetings.

Sources say Gono, who is a director at Afreximbank, took the opportunity to
“calm the markets” about Zimbabwe’s banking sector which is engulfed in
instability due to the banks’ closures last week.

The sector is reeling from a liquidity crunch and several banks are treading
on quicksand. However, Gono has been assuring Afreximbank, which has given
Zimba-bwe more than US$2,6 billion over the past few years, that the banking
sec-tor is largely “safe and sound” and its money would not sink.

Last week Afreximbank executive vice-president for finance, administra-tion
and banking services Denys Denya was in Harare for meetings with Fi-nance
minister Tendai Biti, Gono and bankers, to assess the economic situa-tion
and banking sector.

Denya also met with CBZ, MBCA, FBC, Kingdom Bank and Interfin, as well as
international bank executives to assess the situation. Interfin was closed
due to a liquidity crisis and looting.

A banker who attended one of the meetings said: “Denya and his execu-tives
were in Harare and met Biti, Gono and bankers to evaluate the economic
situation and also the banking sector. The idea was to understand what was
happening in the sector and calm nerves following the closure of Interfin
and Genesis.”

Besides, the IMF delegation which was in the country for its Article IV
Consultations also had a chance to meet local treasury and monetary
au-thorities and also bankers to tackle the situation.

The multilateral financial institu-tion is on record as urging local banks
to merge, find new investors or close to avoid escalating systematic risks.

Zimbabwe has 26 financial institutions, a figure the IMF feels is too high
given its small economy with an es-timated US$7 billion Gross Domestic
Product and US$4 billion bank depos-its. Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of
events, Renaissance Financial Holdings Ltd founder Patterson Timba yesterday
withdrew a court application in which he was challenging a deal that saw the
National Social Security Authority acquiring a controlling stake in
ReN-aissance Merchant Bank (RMB). In a notice of withdrawal filed just
before the hearing was due before Jus-tice Lavender Makoni at the high
court, Timba, through his lawyers Muza & Nyapadi, withdrew the case at 8:45

“Take notice that the appellant here-by withdraws his claim against all the
respondents,” reads the notice of with-drawal.
Vote Muza of Muza & Nyapadi, repre-senting Timba, is said to have called all
law firms –– Dube, Manikai & Hwacha, Scanlen & Holderness, and Wintertons,
advising them not to come to court.

However, the move was not well received by Justice Makoni as it emerged
Timba had not paid the costs of other litigants in the case, expected to run
into tens of thousands of dollars.

Justice Makoni ordered the ques-tion of costs be determined by the high
court owing to their significance.
Timba applied to the high court to stop former RMB curator Reggie Saruchera
from making drawings from the bank and force the Reserve Bank, cited as the
second respondent, to re-imburse the bank funds paid to him as remuneration.
Timba also sought an order that should shares in RMB be disposed of, it
should be done on the basis of a valua-tion done by PriceWaterhouse Coopers
or two other valuations.

He also wanted an order to have Saruchera’s valuation of RMB set aside and
another to force him to recover funds the bank was owed by the RBZ and its
governor Gono.

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ZSE board blocks securities proposal

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:17

Staff Writer

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) board last week threw spanners into the
setting up of a Central Securities Depository (CSD) amid reports of
resistance by the stock-broking community who fear the transparency brought
about by the system would expose some of their underhand dealings,
businessdigest has established.

Well-placed sources said stock-brokers feared underhand dealings, open
positions and duplicate share certificates could come to the fore once the
electronic trading system was automated.

For instance, the Interfin Securities and Remo Investments share wrangle, in
which the two stock-broking firms lodged clients’ shares as security to
access funds without their permission, could have easily been detected had
the CSD been installed.

Interfin and Remo have since sold some of the shares to third parties.
Without a CSD, some of the shares cannot be traced or recovered. A ceremony
to mark the signing of the CSD shareholders’ agreement was cancelled at the
eleventh hour in the capital last week.

Members of the ZSE will today hold a general meeting which will, among other
things, discuss the progress of CSD and demutualisation of the exchange
ahead of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) slated for next Friday.

According to a notice sent to members, the agenda of the meeting is to get a
progress update on CSD, demutualisation and feedback on the 2010 finances of
the exchange.

ZSE board chairperson Eve Gadzikwa said the meeting was an operational
meeting, adding the AGM would go ahead as planned next Friday.

“The CSD ceremony was cancelled to allow shareholders to go through the
shareholder agreement,” said Gadzikwa.

Finance minister Tendai Biti last month ordered players in the capital
markets to expedite the process of setting up an automated trading system
(ATS) and CSD, amid indications the ministry was frustrated with the slow
pace of reforms.

Biti last year said government, through various institutions, would take up
a 51% stake in the CSD after a local consortium Chengetedzai Depository
Company had won the tender. The shareholding would entail ZSE getting 15%,
NSSA 13%, ZB Financial Holdings 13% and the Infrastructure Development Bank
of Zimbabwe 10%.

Chengetedzai is a consortium made up of First Transfer Secretaries and
Chartered System Information.

Disagreements over the valuation of the sweat capital used by Chengetedzai
saw the process being stalled further. Chengetedzai had valued the sweat
equity at US$1, 1 million based on valuations by Grant Thornton Camelsa.
However, the valuation was not agreed on, a development that saw Ernst &
Young being contracted to come up with another valuation.

Ernst & Young came up with four scenarios to the valuation range, which were
deemed reasonable. The first scenario was US$998 510, based on all hours
worked, the second scenario based on selected hours was US$686 420, the
third scenario on derived hours was US$356 513 and the fourth scenario based
on salaries was US$141 616.

However, the first and fourth scenarios were taken as outliers and as a
result, the averages of the two remaining scenarios was used. The valuation
therefore came to around US$520 000, a figure shareholders agreed on.

Plans to demutualise the ZSE have progressed at a slow pace due to funding

A total of US$4 million is required for the process, which was mooted four
years ago. Since then, no funds have been allocated for the process.
Demutualisation would mean the ownership, trading rights and management of
the exchange becomes divorced from one another in order to circumvent the
conflict of interest often associated with mutual exchanges.

The ZSE will hold its AGM next week, which would be held without suspended
chief executive Emmanuel Munyukwi, who is currently awaiting hearing.
Gadzikwa said the issue was still under consideration.

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Tobacco rakes in US$445 million

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:50

Gamma Mudarikiri

TOBACCO earnings for the current marketing season have so far earned the
country US$455 million, 45% ahead of sales for the same period last year
which were US$313 million. A total of 122 million kilogrammes have been sold
at an average price of US$3,72 per kg, while sales for the same period last
year were 115 million kg sold at an average price of US$2,72, an 37%
improvement in prices.

Contract sales have realised US$273 million from 75 million kg at a firm
average price of US$3,80 per kg, while 48 million kg have gone under the
hammer on the open auction floors, realising US$172 million.

The average prices on the auction floors have been US$3,61 per kg.

Meanwhile, Tobacco farmers in Africa met in Zambia last week and objected
to proposals by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to
stop the cultivation of the crop as development market forces would
not allow this owing to high demand for the leaf internationally.

Tobacco farmers and representative bodies at the meeting, which was
hosted by the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA), a lobby
organisation for tobacco farmers internationally, said proposals by FCTC
to ban cultivation of the crop was disturbing, exclusive and going
beyond FCTC mandate.
ITGA Africa region chairman François van der Merwe said FCTC’s original
mandate was to explore research and promote alternative crops in the event
that demand for tobacco globally declines.

“The suggestion that an outside organisation should think it morally right
to dictate what a farmer’s land can and cannot be used for in the pursuit of
his or her livelihood is disturbing to say the least.”

“Market forces will not allow this prescriptive-style to prevail. As long as
there is a demand for leaf, it will be grown,” Francois said.

FCTC’s recommendations include limiting land under tobacco cultivation as
control measure to control use of the crop.

Governments in tobacco growing countries as part of the
recommendations should not provide incentives to increase acreage of
land for tobacco cultivation and with time should freeze the total
acreage under the crop.

Farmers said although there are alternative and staple food crops, such as
maize, tobacco remains a cash crop with high returns compared to any other

Joseph Wanguhu, who represents the Kenya Tobacco Farmers Association (KTFA)
said he was skeptical about the viability of alternative crops, which
have a market internationally and poorly priced compared to tobacco.

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Inflation decreases

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:49

Staff Writer

INFLATION, as measured by the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came
in 0,01% lower than the April figure at 4,02% year on year. Month-on-month
inflation was 0,07%, 12 bps lower than April’s 0,19%. Annual inflation in
Zimbabwe as measured by ZimStats has trended downwards in 2012 from the
December 2011 closing figure of 4,9% to the current 4,02%.

The downward trend in inflation can be explained by two major exogenous
factors — crude oil prices and the South African rand exchange rate. The
current weak global economy has resulted in a drop in crude oil prices which
had exerted a lot of inflationary pressures on many oil importing economies
at the beginning of the year.

The recent drop in oil prices has led to a decline in inflationary pressures
in most economies and is part of the reason why inflation has only moved
sideways locally.

Zimbabwe currently imports most of its basic commodities from South Africa
and these imports constitute a great part of the 31,93% weighted food and
non-alcoholic beverage segment of the CPI calculation. Because the imports
are rand-based, the cost has been on a decline due to the weakening of the
rand, leading to a sideways if not downward movement in the cost of most
imported food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The decline in inflation was guarded by the huge increase in the 16,23%
weighted housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels component which
went up by 39 basis points month on month, while the annual increase came in
at 13,94% and clothing and footwear costs went up by 20 bps month-on-month.

The year-on-year food and non alcoholic beverages stood at 4,61% whilst
non-food inflation stood at 3,75%.

The month on month inflation rate in May 2012 was 0,07%, shedding 0,12
percentage points on the April rate of 0,19%.

The month-on-month food and non alcoholic beverages inflation stood
at -0.25% in May shedding 0.39 percentage points on the April rate of 0.14%.

The month-on-month non-food inflation was unchanged at 0,21%.

ZimStats is currently doing a Poverty, Income, Consumption, Expenditure
Survey (PICES). The objective of the survey is to provide data on income
distribution of the population; the consumption level of the population;
private consumption; consumer Price Index (CPI) weights; living conditions
of the population; production account of agriculture (Communal Lands, Large
Scale commercial farms; small Scale commercial farms; resettlement areas, A1
and A2 farms; and poverty. After the survey, the weights of the CPI will
change in line with the international requirement of five years. At present
2008 is the base year for the index.

Elsewhere on the continent, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), will rebase
its CPI next year.

Economists argue that the existing methodology is outdated and that it does
not fully represent current expenditure patterns. They also argue that some
of the components in the basket are obsolete.

Housing, water electricity gas and other fuels take up a greater proportion
of the average income, much more than food. However, food and non-alcoholic
beverages, have a greater weight of 31,9 against 16,2 for housing water
electricity gas and other fuels.

The changes to the weightings will make the basket accommodate current

The present basket is made up of 68 commodities under 12 components. New
weights will also be assigned to the commodities to reflect their relative
importance in current household consumption. It’s most likely that transport
and communication costs will see higher weightings as they now make up a
bigger share of household spending than previously.

The CPI for the month stood at 101.63 compared to 101.56 in April and 97.71
in May last year.

With the current CPI determination method in place and the Rand continuing
to weaken, inflation is likely to remain subdued and the weak global
economic growth is likely to ensure that oil prices remain depressed in the
short to medium term resulting in weaker inflationary pressures in most oil
importing countries like Zimbabwe.

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Confronting poll violence head-on

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:23

Maxwell Madzikanga

THERE seems to be broad agreement among certain political quarters that the
power sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe has been but a national disaster. This
is a view regularly articulated at home and abroad even by some of the key
leaders in the coalition arrangement, the Government of National Unity.
However, despite its seemingly dismal performance, the coalition government
has helped prevent further politically-motivated violence, stabilised the
country economically and prevented inevitable national implosion.

Zimbabwe witnessed improvement in a number of key health, social and other
development indicators. From the start, the coalition partners appreciated
the arrangement was transitional; a short-term agreement to enable the
country to enjoy respite from some of its challenges.

However, the transitional arrangement should not be used to stifle Zimbabwe’s
return to full democratic normality. One of the critical ingredients to the
return to full democracy is prevention and mitigation of
politically-motivated electoral violence in all its varied forms before and
after elections.

Factors that initiate, fuel and maintain the vicious cycle of political
violence are multifaceted, structural, intersecting and systemic. For the
coalition arrangement to come to a sustainable end, the country needs to
conduct credible elections within a reasonable timeframe.

However, elections are by their nature an uncertain and competitive
political process. When political stakes are high, as in the case of
Zimbabwe, politically-motivated violence tends to dominate the electoral
process. The political landscape in the country, before and after
Independence, has largely remained fraught with intolerance and hostility to
diverse political opinions and free debate.

Before Independence the Rhodesian armed forces, law enforcement apparatus,
civil service and all state machinery were highly partisan and rallied
blindly behind the Rhodesian Front.
On the other hand, during the war the key liberation movements experienced
an ugly “struggles within the struggle” scenario that unfortunately spilled
into post-Independent Zimbabwe. The ugly consequence of this intolerance has
done more harm to the country and has served but one purpose — sullying the
sacrifices of our heroic freedom fighters.

Political violence leads to loss of life, property, and “fracturIsation” of
families, communities and permanent disruption to traditional safety nets.
Despite the ugly consequences of political violence, it seems Zimbabwe is
not adequately prepared to deal with another potential wave of
electorally-motivated violence.

Political violence in general and electoral violence in particular is
predominantly a reflection of widespread poverty and lack of social
services, catastrophic unemployment levels and depleted trust in public

In the past, political violence in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa involved
use of brute physical force, threats and intimidation. The violence tended
to be largely but not exclusively, targeted at potential candidates,
electoral officials or objects of the electoral process like ballot boxes
and facilities. It also entailed harassment, breaking up of opposition
meetings and denying smaller political parties access to state resources.

Currently, for most politicians in the coalition government, politics and
contestation for political office is largely a life and death situation.

As some analysts have observed, violence during elections, whether
perpetrated by the incumbent, opponents, or both, is a clear sign of weak
institutionalisation of the African state and fragmented identity of the

Violence is perpetrated by both the incumbent political leaders as well as
by oppositional actors. It is not the proportion or degree that matters, but
the fact that in Zimbabwe, for example, violence has been and continues to
be promoted covertly and overtly by all political actors. An impartial,
pluralistic and capacitated media would play an important role in critically
analysing political statements and exposing politicians salivating for hate

It is most unfortunate that key political actors in the country seem to have
perfected their talents for using violence-packed language; language that
promotes disharmony, hatred and enmity.
Political violence in Zimbabwe is initiated and galvanised particularly by
the political elite who want to hold on or attain political power whatever
the cost.

Zimbabweans of divergent political persuasions should look forward to a time
when electoral violence cannot be used as a weapon to gain power or when
political disputes would be settled amicably.

The state has the responsibility of protecting all its citizens regardless
of their political views. Police need to always act in a non-partisan and
professional manner by avoiding selective application of the law.

Violence weakens national cohesion, increases national inequalities and
disparities, fuels suspicion, degrades the reputations of citizens at home
and abroad, depletes national pride and innovativeness, feeds braindrain,
widens the horizons of impunity and ultimately depresses voter turnout as
well as participation in democratic processes.

Paul van Tongeren and Kai Brand Jacobson provide an interesting framework
useful in enhancing understanding, preventing and mitigating electoral
violence in Zimbabwe. Critical ingredients of the framework are the need to
ensure that any underlying causes of electoral violence are mapped. The
mapping should begin at least 24 to 48 months before elections. They also
suggest that at all levels in a country, there should be a time-tested,
coherent infrastructure for peace and mediation.

The two electoral experts say social media should be harnessed with a view
to raising national awareness on the cost of violence, its long-term impact
as well as reporting incidents of electoral irregularities as they occur.
They recommend that adequate and comprehensive electoral training should be
provided to members of the police and other security services to enable them
to respond non-violently to incidents of political violence.

The role of law enforcement agencies before, during and after elections is
to prevent violence, provide intelligence and investigate such incidences
whenever they occur and to apprehend offenders and hand them over for

The judiciary needs to be effective, impartial and reliable. To combat
impunity, the judiciary should not only be seen to be dispensing
“predictable justice”, but should also work in sync with other state organs,
civic actors, national level actors and even international judiciary

The electoral management body should be robust and prompt in dealing with
electoral complaints and act in an impartial manner. Simultaneously, the
question of impunity has to be aggressively tackled at all levels beginning
with leaders of all political parties, candidates and other stakeholders,
cascading to the lowest levels.

The approach to permanently dealing with political violence should entail
multi-agency, multi-sectoral and multi-level strategies. Dealing with
political violence without dealing with other forms of violence endemic in
our schools, institutions of higher learning, families and communities would
be a waste of scarce national resources.

Raising violence awareness and training should be mainstreamed in the school
curriculum, training of armed forces, the police and all tertiary
institutions so that there is a ubiquitous understanding of violence, its
forms, manifestations and mitigation. This is how violence can be stemmed
and stamped out.

Madzikanga is a Zimbabwean academic. He writes in his personal capacity.

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Democratic forces must corner Zanu PF

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:20

Pedzisai Ruhanya

AFTER the March 29 2008 relatively free and fair general election won by the
then opposition MDC, Zanu PF resorted to violent political repression
against pro-democracy activists especially after its leader, President
Robert Mugabe, lost to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential
poll. When the history of the fall of Zanu PF is written, this will be
highlighted as a critical moment in the political demise of the former
liberation party.

Zanu PF enlisted the support of the army in the presidential run-off to
terrorise unarmed civilians whose only crime was to choose a leader and
party of their choice. The result of that June 27 2008 poll is what brought
Zimbabwe to the sad state it is today, a country governed by an illegitimate
Zanu PF elite that derives its powers from the coercive apparatuses of the

Mugabe’s sham electoral victory was dismissed by the AU and Sadc observer
missions as well as the EU, the Confederation of South African Trade Unions
and individual countries such as Botswana and Zambia who were very clear on
the illegitimacy of the Harare regime.

Sadc has met four times in Zambia, South Africa, Namibia and Angola and
discussed the Zimbabwean problem among other issues. At the meetings Mugabe
and the other parties (the two MDC formations) have been reminded to respect
the GPA and allow the implementation of necessary reforms that should lead
to free, fair and credible elections.

The last meeting in Angola insisted on previous positions of the regional
group, basically telling Mugabe, and indeed other leaders, that electoral
unilateralism and dictatorship was no longer acceptable to Sadc.

Instead of taking heed, Zanu PF is slowly returning to its pre-GPA electoral
shenanigans as it prepares for a violent poll. The spate of arrests of
pro-democracy forces, assaults on political activist including two alleged
murders of MDC activists in Mutoko and Zaka districts, as well as the
continued abuse of the armed forces, are indicators of Zanu PF’s electoral
strategy: the use of violence for political ends.

Zanu PF needs to appreciate that world leaders and leading democracies will
not legitimise a violent electoral process and outcome. The message from
across the Limpopo from President Jacob Zuma’s administration is that it
will not be “business as usual” until Zimbabwe has a legitimate government.
The continued call by Zuma, on behalf of Sadc, for a democratic roadmap to
the holding of future elections sends a clear message to Zanu PF that a
rigged poll is unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF has already identified its enemies as civil society, the
political opposition (MDC formations) and foreign companies through the
politically-driven indigenisation programme meant to secure votes for the
party.  It is clear that Zanu PF’s “Look East” policy has not yielded much
hence its continued attempts to re-engage the West so that it removes the
targeted sanctions.

The unanimous decision by the UN Security Council in 2011 to impose
sanctions on Zanu PF’s long time ally, the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi
leaves Zanu PF in a serious political quandary. It was the Security Council’s
decision to refer Gaddafi’s criminal conduct in the uprising in Libya to the
International Criminal Court that unsettles Zanu PF most because that
decision was taken with the consent of Russia and China, countries that
usually block such moves.

Consistently Zanu PF has stood in defence of these repressive laws as
necessary to maintain law and order in Zimbabwe, a euphemism for its
illegitimate stay in power. These reforms are contained in the GPA that Sadc
is consistently asking the parties to implement.

Instead of bowing to popular domestic, regional and international pressure
by repealing these laws, the Zanu PF element in the unity government
continues to selectively use these laws to further its narrow political
interests by applying laws such as the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act to demean the substance and social fibre of the justice system
in Zimbabwe.

Posa, a worthy successor to Rhodesia’s Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, is a
favourite tool of Zanu PF and its use could increase if the political
impasse within the unity government continues. It should not be forgotten
that the central objective of promulgating these laws and the setting up of
other institutions and infrastructure of repression was to silence the
democratic forces in Zimbabwe, and for as long as Zanu PFs legitimacy is
questioned, it will continue to use these draconian laws.

As a result, Zimbabwean politics reads like a nomad’s diary. With promises
of a better future, every election has been seen as an opportunity to set
the pace for development through creating a new vision that people must
rally behind. But these hopes have been consistently dashed by an
increasingly stubborn Zanu PF political elite.

Zanu PF’s loss in the 2008 general election has a number of ramifications in
terms of governance and democracy. The first consequence for the party was
its increased fear and paranoia, perceiving as it did a threat against from
outsiders who it accused of supporting the opposition through sanctions. The
party is using this warped thinking to abuse human rights under the guise of
safeguarding the national interest, when it is clear that citizens are no
longer interested in hollow and bankrupt politics and tired liberation

In this regard, civil society organisations and the democratic opposition
have huge challenges. They have to continue to guard against complacency by
not believing that the inclusive government made up of three political
parties alone can resolve this crisis.

It is in the interests of a possible political transition built on Sadc
consistency on creating political normalcy in Zimbabwe premised on
fulfilling GPA reforms that civil society groups should remain resolute and
continue to push for the full democratisation of the country premised on the
rule of law.

Ruhanya is a PhD candidate in Media and Democracy at University of
Westminster, London.

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Post-mortem of winter wheat season

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:04

Peter Gambara

THE winter wheat planting period in now over and indications are that only 4
000 hectares of the crop were actually planted countrywide this year. This
is against a target of 50 000 hectares that had been set by government.
Wheat takes 140 days to maturity and a crop planted second week of June will
only be ready for harvesting end of October, or beginning of November. It
will help us as a country to look back on what went wrong so that we can
plan better for tomorrow.

Although wheat can be produced in summer, wheat production in Zimbabwe is
done in winter starting in May of each year. This means farmers need to
irrigate the crop as our winter is dry. Winter wheat production in Zimbabwe
has generally been on the decline over the past 10 years.

Over the last decade, local producers have managed to produce up to 26 0000
metric tonnes from about 65 000 hectares, with the balance being imported.
However, over the past three seasons production has gone down to around 12
000 hectares, yielding about 50 000 metric tonnes. In 2010, while government
set aside US$26,6 million targeting 45 000 hectares, only 12 000 hectares
were actually planted.

In his 2011 and 2012 budget statements, the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti
did not set aside any funds for winter wheat production. However, after some
pressure from interested groups, government has tended to provide some
inputs as the season approaches. This year the Minister of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Joseph Made and Biti jointly
announced the availability of inputs from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) a
few weeks before the onset of the winter wheat planting period.

However, the logistics were poor hence the uptake of these inputs for wheat
production was insignificant and the total area planted to wheat this year
is estimated at only 4 000 hectares. Why is this so?

The challenges facing winter wheat production in this country centre around
the loss of interest from growers that emanates from a host of challenges
that producers continue to face. These include unreliable electricity
supply, high electricity charges, lack of a firm market for the crop,
shortage of finance on the local market and expensive water charges.

The loss of interest from farmers to grow wheat is mainly emanating from
electricity availability problems. Every year towards the start of the
winter season, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company
(ZETDC) has always been quick to reassure farmers that it will reserve a
certain amount of the electricity for winter wheat production, but half way
through the season, farmers realise those were empty promises as
load-shedding becomes too excessive to produce a reasonable crop.

By its nature winter wheat production relies on irrigation that is driven by
power. After planting the crop in May, one expects to harvest around end of
October, making the whole venture a six-month undertaking. It is not
sustainable to use diesel-powered generators to irrigate the crop for that
long and generators have generally been used to supplement availability of
power during critical stages of wheat production, however generators cannot
substitute ZETDC electricity.

Some farmers have experienced situations where electricity availability has
deteriorated midway through the season and they have had to abandon sections
of their wheat to concentrate on a smaller portion that they could irrigate
during the few hours that they received electricity supply. In such
situations, farmers make huge losses and this has contributed to some vowing
they will never grow wheat again until the electricity situation has

This past season (2011), a lot of farmers found themselves with huge Zesa
bills that make it completely unviable to grow wheat. Made recently
estimated the cost of electricity at US$700 per hectare. If a farmer were to
grow just 20 hectares, that means he/she incurs a bill of US$14 000. After
settling these bills, most farmers would actually end up in the red. There
is definitely a need to relook at the cost of electricity on the farms,
otherwise after last year’s experience a lot of farmers would rather not
venture into wheat production this year. A lot of farmers are therefore
looking at alternative winter crops like potatoes, cabbages etc.

The marketing of last year’s wheat crop presented a lot of challenges as
most farmers were stuck with their wheat with no real market to talk about.
Biti announced that he would not provide funding to purchase wheat as he
felt that millers, who directly need the wheat, should purchase the crop.
Those who delivered to GMB therefore did not get any payment.
Most members of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) preferred
to import wheat claiming it was cheaper to do so. Some said their silos
were full. Others said they could only pay for the wheat three months after
delivery. Some farmers have still not received their payments up to now. The
lesson here is let us as a country mobilise the finances to purchase a crop
on time and not leave it until the last minute. Failure to pay for delivered
crops demotivates farmers to grow the crop the next season as, was the case
with maize and now wheat.
The issue of the producer price is another contentious issue. Normally
government, either through GMB or the Ministry of Agriculture, would
announce a producer price at the start of the marketing season for winter
wheat, that is September1. However, last year this was not done.

It is important to mention here that the producer price is announced after
consulting producers through their farmers unions or associations as well as
some research as to the prevailing input prices at the time the crop was
planted. It is not a fixed price, as producers are expected to use it as a
guide in their negotiations with millers.

In the absence of a producer price, there is a tendency by millers/buyers to
offer a very low price coupled with cash on the spot incentive.

The availability of finance on the local market is another challenge that
has contributed to the decline in interest from farmers. It costs about
US$1200 to produce a hectare of wheat and the average yield is about 4
tonnes per hectare at US$475 per tonne, thus the profit from wheat farming
is therefore very small. Most banks say they advanced loans to wheat growers
last year and due to the chaos that characterised the marketing of the crop,
they could not fully recover the loans and have therefore stopped lending to
wheat producers. After all it is a very low profit crop that has the added
danger of not getting adequate water due to electricity load-shedding.

Farmers have become their worst enemies by not paying back loans to banks or
input suppliers like fertiliser companies. The habit of farmers not paying
back loans is spreading like cancer among the farmers. It is not a secret
that there is very little money available to banks to lend to all the
productive sectors of the economy and if farmers get into the habit of not
paying back, banks have a good reason to ignore the farming sector and
concentrate on less risky sectors.

The confusion that characterised the government winter wheat input scheme
this year left farmers with no real alternative source of finance to grow
the crop. Farmers were told to approach CBZ Bank to apply for the inputs and
get vouchers that were redeemable at GMB and yet for quite a long period,
CBZ staff professed ignorance about the input scheme. CBZ also demanded that
all those who wanted to access the inputs had to open bank accounts with
them.One wonders whether this is essential; why should all wheat farmers
bank with CBZ so that they can access a government input scheme?

If it’s a government scheme, why not provide the money through the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, it only makes sense for it to manage commercial banks
rather than have one commercial bank managing other banks. The lesson here
is if government wants to support winter wheat production, it should first
of all put it on the budget. It should then bring all the stakeholders
together early, say February, to agree on the logistics. The tendency by
ministries to plan and implement schemes without consulting the stakeholders
should be avoided.

Government had problems convincing the fertiliser manufacturing companies to
deliver fertiliser to GMB depots as they claimed they were owed money for
previous deliveries. There has been trading of accusations between the
Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture over the delay in
providing funds for the winter wheat and to pay farmers for crops delivered.
This impasse over the delay in paying farmers who delivered maize to GMB
last year actually contributed to the decline in the area planted to
commercial maize this year, as farmers lost confidence in GMB’s ability to
pay for delivered maize.

While government could not pay farmers on time for maize and wheat
delivered, the same government, through the Minister of Energy Elton
Mangoma, has directed ZETDC to disconnect farmers who have not settled their
electricity bills. This just shows poor coordination in government. If those
bills were incurred irrigating wheat that has not been paid for, where does
government expect these farmers to find the money to pay their electricity

Whereas wheat farmers face a finance crisis, the situation is different for
barley growers contracted by Delta. The farmers get their inputs on time and
they are paid for deliveries on time, but most importantly, they can be
relied upon to grow and deliver. Besides those who grew wheat and failed to
meet their loan obligations, there are quite a number of farmers who get
government subsidised inputs every year, but never plant a single hectare of

Others reduce the area they would have promised to plant so that they divert
some of the inputs towards their summer crops. There is need for government
to separate real wheat farmers from pretenders.

The cost of water is another factor but not very big challenge facing winter
wheat growers. Users of water are required by law to obtain permission and
pay for it by Zinwa. However, over the years the farmers have said Zinwa’s
charges are too exorbitant to the extent of being more expensive than

Wheat farmers in this country continue to face a lot of challenges that have
discouraged them from growing the crop. Maybe there is need for an indaba
where all players take part and iron out these differences and challenges.
Without addressing these challenges and trying to make wheat an attractive
crop to grow, the hectarage under wheat in this country will continue to
drop year after year.

Gambara is an agricultural economist and consultant with AgriExpert, a
consultancy firm. He writes in his personal capacity.Email:

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Mutasa equates the army to ZCTU

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:37

Muck Racker

TAFATAONA Mahoso believes the visit by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi
Pillay indicated that the majority of African elites “remain thoroughly
confused about the doctrine and practice of human rights in contrast with
the real prevailing and historical situation of human life, survival,
autonomy and dignity on earth”.

What baloney is this, readers of his turgid column may well ask? Pillay’s
visit “reminded many of a similar and scandalous visit by Anna Tibaijuka in
2005”, Mahoso claimed.
Did it? What it did do is remind Zimbabweans of the cruelty wrought by
Operation Murambatsvina where people were made to tear down their homes and
become internal refugees.It was one of the most disgraceful episodes in the
country’s recent history. Pillay’s recent visit also reminded us of the
persistent human rights abuses that the state media pretend never happened.“Both
women came in the name of the United Nations,” Mahoso says, “but carried
other baggage which had nothing to do with the purposes of the UN as
understood by the majority of its members.”

Mahoso provides as an example of this claim David Coltart’s proposal for a
Truth Commission so that victims of abuse and oppression may be given the
opportunity to say what happened to them and their loved ones and what
should happen regarding justice and reconciliation.Mahoso is so incensed by
this suggestion that he decides to call people names and invent a history
for them. Coltart is branded “a former Rhodesian Selous Scout”.What is
“scandalous” is that Mahoso almost certainly knows that Coltart was never a
Selous Scout. But he finds it useful to make the charge to bolster his
otherwise threadbare argument.It is also “scandalous” that the editor of the
Sunday Mail in which this allegation appeared was happy to provide Mahoso
with a platform to tell whoppers of this sort. Did he make any attempt to
verify Mahoso’s claim? It would have been easy enough to do so.

Some years ago when Aippa was new on the scene Mahoso headed a committee
that ascertained the people of Zimbabwe wanted an ethical media. He dined
out on this claim for years. He even wrote letters of complaint to editors
charging them with falsehoods.He now occupies an important media post. But
the invective remains the same.“In the hands of Senator David Coltart human
rights are used to advance the temporary fortunes of the MDC party and its
Rhodesian sponsors,” Mahoso claims. “That is why only Rhodesians and those
Africans defined as victims of Gukurahundi from Matabeleland region are to
be humanised while the rest of the nation is demonised.”Does he believe this
junk? Who do the majority of Zimbabweans trust, Pillay or Mahoso? Let’s have
a straw poll.

The same gang Mahoso serves have devised what they think is a vote winner.
They are proposing to change the design of Africa Unity Square so it no
longer resembles a Union Jack from the air.This is very obviously a populist
measure which is unlikely to make much impression. How many people want to
fly over the square in order to see the change of design? And how are they
going to do that?The last time they did something to the square it was to
remove the flower sellers as part of Operation Murambatsvina. That was
hardly a progressive move! In previous elections they have changed road
names thinking that would win votes. It didn’t.
The square was originally called Cecil Square after Robert Cecil, Marquess
of Salisbury, who was British prime minister in 1890, not after Cecil John
Rhodes as many people think.
Ask the authorities planning the name change and see what they say. Here’s
betting they think it was named after Rhodes.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has laid bare the levels
of desperation his party has reached in their bid to cling on to power. The
Daily News reports that Mutasa justified the army’s dabbling in politics
saying trade unions are doing the same for the MDC.“In as much as I do not
know much about what is going on at Copac, personally I do not have a
problem with the military choosing to campaign for a party of their choice,”
Mutasa said. “It is common knowledge that trade unions (ZCTU) campaign for
the MDC and should we then say they should not do that? These people fought
with us during the liberation struggle, so why should we discriminate
against them. We cannot stop them from campaigning,” he said.How can the
ZCTU’s support for the MDC be equated to the army’s involvement in politics?
Only Cde Didymus and his ilk seem to know.
In any case Zanu PF clearly has a lot more support in the trade union arena.
They can count on the support of Mushandi Munhu Workers’ Federation, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions as well as Zimbabwe Federation of Trade
Unions among a host of civic organisations they have been churning out.

Last week we ran a story in which Indigenisation and Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere, at the forefront of a crusade to take over ownership of
foreign-owned banks, was a former Genesis shareholder.
Kasukuwere’s Migdale Holdings, through various shelf companies, reportedly
holds a 17,20% stake of Genesis. Kasukuwere is now very keen to distance
himself from the Genesis melée, claiming he had sold his equity in the
bank.This irony, however, is clearly lost on Kasukuwere along with National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairperson David Chapfika
whose bank, Universal Merchant Bank, folded in 2001.These very same people
are now promising us heaven on earth claiming the indigenisation and
empowerment drive will create more than five million jobs and reduce the
unemployment rate to single-digit levels.
Chapfika claims it will also create a sustainable economy that can withstand
the effects of the “illegal” economic sanctions imposed on the country by
Britain and its Western allies.
NewsDay reports that Chapfika in April said the there was nothing sacred
about the banking sector.
“If you want to kill cattle, kill them all. You can’t say this one is too
fat today and leave it,” Chapfika said.
There you have it!

Whose idea is it to have children dress up in uniform and march around?

Can we guess that some of these kids are the children of chefs? Did the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child including the African child propose
that they should put on uniforms and parade at the opening of the “child
parliament”? Child soldiers are not in favour nowadays because of events
elsewhere in Africa. But nobody told our rulers.
While support for the disabled child is noble, the military theme is not.
The Zanu PF party flag was in evidence we noted. But Morgan Tsvangirai,
Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe who attended didn’t seem to mind!

We were pleased to see that Nando’s on Samora Machel has cleared a path to
its door.

The popular spicy chicken outlet has invested tens of thousands of dollars
in its new premises but the customers weren’t able to get in because kombi
drivers had blocked the entrance.This is all part of what NewsDay has
identified as the growing anarchy in Harare. The mayor has lost control as
people simply do what they like. Kombis park anywhere making it difficult
for other motorists to get into the city centre. Car sales yards have set up
their premises in the suburbs, the one opposite Prince Edward School being a
case in point. On Kwame Nkrumah Ave noisy car-wash merchants compete for the
attention of motorists looking for parking. In Strathaven patrons at a local
bar block access for residents trying to get in and out.Then there are the
churches with their loudspeakers blaring day and night.This is what happens
when the social order breaks down. Zanu PF officials are reluctant to say
“No” to applications for change of use because there are votes to be had in
saying “Yes” or just looking the other way. Meanwhile it is anarchy out
there and city officials think this is the time to launch their 13-year
Vision aimed at transforming the capital into a world-class city by 2025.
They are completely delusional. First they have to restore law and order.

Did you know Canada and Zimbabwe are at war, according to the Herald?
“Canada has indisputably declared war on Zimbabwe for its revolutionary
pursuits,” the edition of June 14 announced. “This is an open war,” Tendai
Moyo who is a researcher and social commentator told us. This all has
something to do with Queen Elizabeth being head of state and the Canadian
“aborigines” being subjugated!
So what’s he going to do about it? “In the face of such belligerence we can
no longer afford to keep on giving the other cheek,” he says. “It is high
time we counter these acts of aggression.”As you would expect, Moyo says he
is guided by a resolution of the Zanu PF Mutare 2010 conference which urged
the government to take measures through government against foreign companies
that impose sanctions. Moyo points to Canadian ownership of Caledonia
Mine.Isn’t it weird how this band of half-baked polemicists think Zimbabwe
has options. They will, as the expression goes, cut their noses to spite
their faces. By the way, does Zimbabwe have a foreign policy? All those
envoys sent out to smooth the path ahead of the Luanda summit and not a word
of solidarity.
Some formulaic mention of sanctions but nothing much else. Pathetic.

We hope the Herald’s Victoria Ruzvidzo had a nice stay in Vanuatu and that
she managed to win over the locals.

“Of course the world has largely been fed with untruths about our country
but we need to harvest this awareness and turn it into dollars somehow,”
Victoria reflects.She obviously hasn’t reached any conclusions yet. But
wherever she goes people have been curious to know about Zimbabwe. “They
know we are a sovereign state and that our president has made his views
clear on the global stage regarding our sovereignty –– a trait admired even
by his worst enemies.”And there are more than a few of those. Looks like
Victoria has her work cut out!By the way, if you want to win friends
Victoria, it’s not such a good idea to call their country “the back of the

Meanwhile ZBC has once again failed to broadcast the ongoing Twenty20
triangular series pitting Zimbabwe, South Africa and Bangladesh in Harare.

Cricket lovers will have to rely on Supersport for coverage of an event
happening in our own country. ZBC also failed to screen the Castle Premier
Soccer league because they demanded payment from Delta. As if to add insult
to injury, ZBC still has the temerity to demand payment of licence fees to
watch Vimbai “European” Chivaura and Mahoso giving us the benefit of their
Jurassic-era thinking.

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Zim govt in state of paralysis

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:35

Erich Bloch

ALTHOUGH no formal statement has been issued, state and independent media
carried extensive reports last week of an emergency cabinet meeting —
chaired by President Robert Mugabe — convened to deliberate on the parlous
circumstances of the Zimbabwean fiscus. The reports stated that the poor
fiscal circumstances are primarily due to the current, exceptionally weak
state of the economy, notwithstanding some marginal recovery in the years
2009 to 2011, and the excessive levels of government spending. The meeting
apparently also included strong contentions, wholly justified, that many of
the arms of government repeatedly incur unauthorised and unnecessary
expenditures such as the recent engagement of more than 4 000 additional
troops into Zimbabwe’s already bloated armed forces.

Tragically, however, despite some of the ministers (especially the Minister
of Finance, Tendai Biti) authoritatively attributing the bankruptcy to the
debilitated state of the economy and the expenditure control mismanagement
by many ministries, none of the reports on the meeting’s deliberations
indicate any substantive policies or actions to address the economic morass.
Minister Biti intimated the possible imposition of a freeze on public
service salaries (this has already provoked the ire of the public service,
notwithstanding the justification of such a freeze particularly in light of
current minimal levels of inflation). Instead of deliberating on
constructive, urgent policies and actions, within hours of the conclusion of
the meeting, diverse elements of government again made statements and
pursued actions certain to prevent the upturn of the economy. One of such
statements was made by Mugabe the day after the emergency cabinet meeting,
when he publicly stated that no further mining licences will be granted to

Currently, the greatest contributor to the emaciated economy is the mining
sector, but despite the significance the extent of mining operations remains
minuscule compared to that which it could be. Zimbabwe has an enormous
wealth of diverse mineral resources, ranging from gold and platinum to
diamonds, lithium, coal, nickel, tin, methane gas and much more, and yet
those resources are greatly unexploited, or insufficiently so.

Zimbabweans do not have the capital resources necessary to maximise the
exploitation of the huge potential wealth that can emanate from a pronounced
expansion of the mining sector, and there is also insufficient technological
resources to fully realise the economic opportunities of the minerals
available. Similarly, Zimbabwe’s present ability to effect value addition to
its minerals and other primary products is massively constrained by capital
and technological insufficiency, and this can only be remedied by intensive
interaction with foreign investors. However, the majority in the political
hierarchy is so myopically fixated on economic indigenisation and
empowerment that they continuously alienate access to required capital and
technological inputs. It is long overdue for politicians to recognise that
the necessary enhancement of indigenous involvement in the economy can only
be achieved in pursuing opportunities in tandem with foreign investors.

Realism must also set in with regards to the economic and fiscal benefits of
the diamond resources Zimbabwe has. It cannot be denied that the potential
of the resources is great, but realisation of massive fiscal inflows from
the exploitation of the resources cannot achieve a miraculous turnaround in
inflows to the fiscus.

On the one hand, the majority of legitimate operators in the diamond fields,
whilst paying mining licence fees and paying royalties on diamonds mined and
sold, cannot in the short term be expected to be the sources of vast
revenues to fund government expenditure. The operators incur considerable
initial expenditures on the development of their diamond mining operations,
including the acquisition and installation of the necessary mining
infrastructure, machinery and equipment, and on the training of their labour

Moreover, Zimbabwe has only held Kimberley Process Certification (KPC) for
about a year, and time elapses before maximised market access within the
bounds of KPC is achieved. In addition, the world diamond market demand,
and hence prices, have weakened considerably as a consequence of the 2008
financial recession in the US, and the recent similar recession and decline
in most of Europe, negatively affecting the revenue that can currently be
generated from the diamond fields. The importance of diamond fields to
Zimbabwe’s future economy is very great, but only realisable over a period
of time, and in the meantime they cannot be the fiscus’ spectacular cure-all
for its revenue shortfalls.

The problems of the fiscus being effectively addressed, and the restoration
of a strong, virile economy, are not only contingent upon the constructive
progression and development of the mining sector, but upon doing so
similarly for other key economic sectors. Agriculture was, for many
decades, the foundation of the economy, but has shrivelled to a small
portion of what it used to be. Admittedly, that is in part a consequence of
adverse climatic conditions but, to a far greater extent, its contraction
has been caused by the ill-considered pursuit of the politically-driven land
reform programme, and the failure to timeously pursue necessary reforms to
the programme.

After years of private sector representations that new farmers could not
access their working needs in the absence of appropriate collateral
security, about nine months ago Mugabe, when addressing the opening of a
session of parliament, intimated that the so-called 99-year leases would be
modified to accord them collateral value. Despite that statement, nothing
has happened over the prolonged period that has since elapsed. Not only,
according to ministerial information, have only 122 leases been issued up to
now although there are over 4 000 new farmers, but nothing has been done to
those leases to accord them transferability which would give them collateral
value. Meanwhile, most of the agricultural sector continues to wither,
yielding very limited benefits to the economy as compared to its former
economic contribution.

The circumstances of the manufacturing sector are as abysmal. It was in
September 2009 that the Minister of Industry and Trade, Welshman Ncube, said
a Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund would be created. One
month later Biti formally launched the fund, but almost three-quarters of a
year later, government has put no resources into the fund which has only
received a paltry input of US$20 million from Old Mutual, and to date the
fund has reportedly only assisted two industrial concerns. If industries
are to be rescued and revived they need expeditious funding, with attendant
funding conditions that are realistic in relation to the circumstances of
the industries.

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