June 29 2012 at 12:35am
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Harare - The European Union says Zimbabwe's diamond wealth is not being used
to help its struggling people.
Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia, the top EU envoy in Zimbabwe, led a delegation
of Western diplomats on a two-day tour of Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields
that ended on Thursday.
He says it is impossible to determine how much of the country's diamond
revenue reaches government coffers.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, whose Movement for Multiparty Democracy is in
an uneasy governing alliance with longtime President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party, has said the government is benefiting far less than it should.
There are concerns the money is being diverted to the military and other
Dell'Ariccia says: “For the moment, the benefit of diamonds is not
translating to the betterment of lives for the people.” - Sapa-AP
Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:34
Government has accused De Beers, which started exploration in Zimbabwe in
1993 but left 13 years later after forfeiting its Marange claims, which were
controversially taken over ACR and then later by government, of plundering
the country's diamonds during its exploration activities, writes Shame
It was far much unlikely, analysts argued, that US$650 million would flow
into government coffers from the industry this year.
The reasons vary from widespread pillage of the resource by the ruling elite
to massive concentration of ownership in the hands of foreign firms, but the
results are disturbing because nobody, including Biti, seems to understand
where the diamond cash is going.
In the inclusive government, political parties have traded accusations over
the whereabouts of diamond revenues.
Next month, Biti would be forced to review his 9,4 percent growth
projections downwards because the numbers are not adding up.
"They are not remitting, not even a single cent," Biti was quoted as saying,
exposing the shortcomings of a decision to concentrate ownership of the
diamond firms to foreigners.
"The problem with Zimbabwe's diamond industry is that none seems to know
what happens in the industry," said Brains Muchemwa, chief executive officer
of Oxlink Capital.
"None seems to understand what is going on. ZANU-PF says there are no
leakages, the MDC on the other hand says there are leakages. It has become a
political issue," Muchemwa told The Financial Gazette In-Depth.
Diamond revenue projections, the economist argued, were overstated because
of a serious lack of knowledge of the industry as exposed by massive
discrepancies between forecasts and actual earnings.
"The fact that diamond revenues are below targets does not mean we need to
trivialise their contribution to the fiscas," he said.
With little support from the international community, which provides up to
10 percent of budget revenues across Africa, Zimbabwe had managed to survive
on through grit and guts and the promise of an overflow of revenues
following the Marange discoveries.
But a clique of the well connected few are creaming off the wealth.
Last year, Parliament said the three firms now mining in Marange following
the controversial withdrawal of the AIM-listed Africa Consolidated Resources
(ACR) ranked among the world's most fortunate enterprises because they were
located at the epicentre of the world's richest diamond seams.
Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and Anjin were extracting 164 489,18
carats, 104 713,01 carats and 234 749,92 carats per month respectively, the
highest worldwide, a parliamentary report said.
The sad thing, however, is that while reports said at least US$200 million
in diamond revenues were being milked out of Zimbabwe per months by one
company alone, the country's economy had been bleeding, its long suffering
citizens facing an even more daunting task to resuscitate their economy.
Thousands cannot pay for school fees, they live below the poverty line and
cannot afford running water.
The threat of waterborne diseases is almost always endemic.
Barter trade, the Iron Age economic system practiced by forefathers, has
returned to rural communities - the hardest hit by a three-year long bolt of
a cheeky liquidity crunch.
The liquidity crisis has been most pronounced in the past two weeks when
financial institutions collapsed amid an ongoing exodus of skilled staff to
Zimbabwe's diamonds have been a curse since 2006.
A rush-dash by impoverished villagers into the Chiadzwa diamond fields
during the tumultuous period of economic decline that ended in 2008 was
greeted by extreme show of force by the military.
Widespread deaths have been reported by villagers and non-governmental
organisations in the diamond fields, with agitations to declare the Marange
gems "blood diamonds".
"It seems Zimbabwe's diamonds are living the country but no money is coming
back. The diamonds are making other countries rich while Zimbabweans remain
poor," Robertson argued.
Head of research at Econometer Global Capital, Takunda Mugaga, said without
accountability it will remain a dream that Zimbabwe's diamond industry will
pull millions of the country's impoverished citizens out of dire poverty.
Unlike in Botswana where transparency and good management had created an
industry on which the entire southern African economy's levers revolve,
Zimbabwe had failed to come up with a viable system.
"Biti is not being honest," Mugaga said.
"There is need for accountability. There seem to be no accountability in
this industry. Diamond revenues are only enriching the elite. We are
creating an egalitarian society," he added.
In the next two to five years, Zimbabwe projects to earn at least US$2
billion per annum in diamond revenues and supply 25 percent of the global
The statistics are promising.
But the revenues are disappointing.
The country's diamond industry has been littered with lack of transparency
since the 1990s when global giant, De Beers moved to explore the Marange
In November, The Financial Gazette reported that key documents relating to
De Beers' diamond exploration in Marange had vanished from the Ministry of
Mines and Mining Development, giving a dramatic twist to a government
campaign against the world's largest diamond producer and processor, which
exited the country under controversial circumstances in 2006.
Government has accused De Beers, which started exploration in Zimbabwe in
1993 but left 13 years later after forfeiting its Marange claims, which were
controversially taken over by ACR and then later by government, of
plundering the country's diamonds during its exploration activities.
De Beers had been granted extensive exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) for
diamond exploration when it came into the country, covering a significant
portion of the country.
It held a total of 47 EPOs in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts, the first
of which was gazette on March 14, 1996.
The Financial Gazette understands that the missing records formed the
backbone of an extensive investigation into allegations of massive diamond
looting and shadowy exportation of samples by De Beers from the heart of the
controversial Marange fields, said by global gem experts to bear the highest
concentration of gems worldwide.
The Mining Promotion and Development Unit kept the missing documents, which
had information highlighting De Beers' export of ore samples during
A crack team, put together by Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu, to investigate
allegations against De Beers, is understood to have already compiled a
report. The report has since been submitted to Mpofu.
Investigations by this newspaper revealed that the report had suggested that
there was a possibility that De Beers illegally exported Marange diamonds
De Beers has publicly denied the allegations.
"ZGS (Zimbabwe Geological Survey) does not have a complete set of records
showing soil/rock sample exports (by De Beers)," the report said.
"The same holds for (the Department of) Metallurgy. Records at both
departments depend on copies that will have been sent by Mining Promotion
and Development Unit. The export records at MPDU could not be found," the
Officials within the Ministry of Mines said they feared manipulation or
destruction of evidence by some officials "to advance certain interests".
There was even speculation of bribery within the ministry, with reports
suggesting an investigation could be launched to establish how the documents
29 Jun 2012 08:54 - Ray Ndlovu
The shadowy operations of Anjin Investments has come under scrutiny from the
Movement for Democratic Change and human rights group Global Witness.
The shadowy operations and ownership structure of Anjin Investments, a
China-linked diamond mining company in Marange, eastern Zimbabwe, has come
under scrutiny from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and human
rights group Global Witness. They are anxious that diamond revenue from
Marange is being used to prop up a Zanu-PF-led parallel government.
Anjin, which boasts of being “the next De Beers” because it is the largest
diamond company in Marange, has also not remitted revenue to the treasury in
There are four diamond mining companies with operations in Marange: Anjin,
Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and the Zimbabwe Mineral Development
Corporation, the government’s diamond investment arm.
They were meant to contribute $600-million in revenue to boost the official
budget of $3.4-billion. However, figures from the finance ministry headed by
the MDC-linked Tendai Biti show that only $30-million had been paid in the
first half of the year, against expected revenue collection of $274-million.
The signs are that the budget target is wildly off the mark and a Mail &
Guardian report last week signalled that Biti would be revising downwards
growth targets for 2012 at a fiscal policy review in early July. Obert
Mpofu, the mines and mining development minister, has defended low diamond
revenue collection from Marange, arguing that Zimbabwe was adversely
affected by Western sanctions and had not held any diamond auctions this
But his explanation has failed to impress the MDC, which is feeling the heat
from the slumped economic growth and had pinned its hopes on revenue from
A parallel government
An angry Biti told Parliament last week: “We, in the ministry of finance,
now fear that there may be a parallel government to which these monies may
be going and not coming to us.”
Anjin, which began operations in Marange in 2010 and is estimated by Global
Witness to have produced three million carats this year, says it will not
remit diamond revenue to the treasury because of a $98-million loan China
extended to Zimbabwe last year for the construction of a national defence
college in Harare.
It is not clear how much of the loan — which was brokered by senior Zanu-PF
officials — has been paid.
Anjin chief executive Munyaradzi Machacha said it had so far injected
$30-million into state coffers.
“He [Biti] says he has not received anything, which means he is untruthful
or illiterate. Go ask Biti what he has done with it. He is persecuting a
cash cow because he has made a calculation blunder. We have invested and we
are still to break even. The $30-million we have remitted is in royalties
and other obligations.”
Machacha said the company had been selling its diamonds at $60 a carat “and
not $1500 as projected by the finance minister”.
“Biti should be man enough to tell the world that he made a mistake in his
budget presentation on revenue coming from diamond sales.”
Political observers said the China-loan deal was a thorn in the side of the
cash-strapped MDC, whereas Zanu-PF would take ownership of a
state-of-the-art military college ahead of elections.
Meanwhile, the ownership of Anjin is also a source of conflict among members
of the unity government. Gift Chimanikire, the deputy mines and mining
development minister, tabled an ownership structure before Parliament last
week that was strongly challenged by Biti. Chimanikire said Anjin
Investments was 50% owned by the Chinese government, 40% by Zimbabwe Defence
Industries — linked to the defence ministry — and 10% by the Zimbabwe
Mineral Development Corporation.
But Biti said the corporation was not a shareholder and the 10% was held by
an “unknown” military outfit called Matt Bronze. Biti’s claims are backed by
a Global Witness report released last week titled “Financing a Parallel
Government”, which intimates that Matt Bronze is linked to members of
Zanu-PF’s ruling elite.
Written by Sydney Saize
Friday, 29 June 2012 15:00
MUTARE - A top police officer in court for allegedly murdering a suspected
illegal miner says he is a victim of a conspiracy because he blocked
military and police officers from looting Chiadzwa diamonds.
Joseph Chani, a police chief superintendent, is charged with murder and
assault after he allegedly beat to death Tsorotsai Kusena and injured three
of his relatives in September last year.
They had been arrested in Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Yesterday, taking to the stand for the first time since his trial started on
Monday, Chani portrayed himself as a target.
He also shocked the court gallery when he alleged that a doctor who
conducted a postmortem on Tsorotsai had actually worked on the wrong body.
Chani said the doctor, Isdore Mwembe Kasongo, would have noticed injuries on
Tsorotsai’s head following an alleged fall.
Continuously sipping bottled water during the two-hour plus cross
examination, Chani said fellow officers wanted him out because he was the
“sole defender” of Chiadzwa diamond resources while the military and
elements in the police were the exploiters.
“My presence in the Chiadzwa diamond concessions had stopped all the
miscellaneous activities between the police, army syndicates with civilian
illegal diamond panners. Now the grumblings and aggrieved parties have come
up with a conspiracy theory to claim I murdered Tsorotsai Kusena,” said
Chani under cross examination from Jane-Rose Matsikidze, who is prosecuting.
High Court judge Hlekani Mwayera, who is in Mutare on a circuit, is
presiding over the matter in which 13 witnesses have testified so far. All
the 13, who included senior and junior police officers, a soldier and a
doctor gave damning evidence against Chani.
But Chani denied assaulting Tsorotsai and the surviving complainants,
Pikirayi and Wonesai Kusena and relative John Gwite.
“All the 13 witnesses are liars and I am the one who is telling the truth,”
he said, insisting Tsorotsai and his colleagues were assaulted by guards
from private firm, Mbada Diamonds.
He said the witnesses from the police and army were either beneficiaries in
illicit diamond dealings in Chiadzwa or were rogue.
He took aim at one of the witnesses Edson Mandizvidza, a police assistant
“Mandizvidza is a drunkard and womaniser whom I had warned earlier over his
drinking alcohol whilst on duty. He at one time disappeared from an
operation only to be spotted with a prostitute called Marange,” said Chani.
Chani dismissed court exhibits of pictures showing the injuries sustained by
his alleged victims saying they could have been tempered with.
“The injuries on the buttocks of the deceased could be of someone else other
than Tsorotsai. I want to challenge those pictures now as they were taken
behind my back,” said Chani.
Chani’s lawyer Takesure Thondhlanga applied for the postponement of the
trial to July 3, 2012 to allow a defence witness who is in Bulawayo to
By Tichaona Sibanda
29 June 2012
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere says government
is set to adopt a policy that will see Zimbabweans having 100 percent
shareholding in mining companies.
According to a report in the state media Kasukuwere said the new policy will
ensure that local people get total ownership and control of their mineral
He said consultations were currently underway with the Ministry of Mines and
Mining Development for an implementation plan that will achieve the desired
But analysts warned the new law will kill off the mining industry, just as
the land act killed off agriculture.
Economist and the MDC-T’s director for policy, Eddie Cross, said one f the
reasons the indigenisation programme in Zimbabwe is turning out to be
problematic is because ordinary people do not have funds to buy the reserved
shares as they are living in abject poverty.
Lawyer and economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga spoke to SW Radio Africa on
Friday about the new proposed law, and said: ‘What that actually means is
that foreign companies cannot come to Zimbabwe and do the exploration
because it’s an area that is reserved for Zimbabweans.
Don’t forget that in most cases, the capital, equipment and expertise that
you require may have to come from foreign companies and they won’t come,’
Friday, 29 June 2012
The MDC is disturbed by Zanu PF Matabeleland South Province’s decision to
disengage from JOMIC activities citing frivolous reasons that they can only
do so after the finalisation of Morgan Ncube, MDC Mat South Youth Assembly
chairperson's case for allegedly insulting Zanu PF's Robert Mugabe.
A letter in possession of the MDC by Andrew Langa, Zanu PF provincial JOMIC
representative confirms this development.
Morgan Ncube has already been arraigned before the Courts,granted bail by a
Bulawayo High Court Judge yesterday pending trial at the Plumtree
Magistrates court on 6 July 2012.
The MDC is aware that the legal position is that when a matter has been
brought before Courts, it does not suspend any JOMIC activities unless there
is an indictment by the Courts.
The MDC is aware that Zanu PF does not have tangible reasons for pulling out
except to try and scuttle the operations of the peace-monitoring body.
The MDC as a party is not surprised by Zanu PF’s threats as its political
commissar, Webster Shamu early this month issued a warning that the sunset
party intended to paralyse JOMIC operations. Zanu PF views JOMIC as a
stumbling block in its bid to engage in violent acts reminiscent to those
experienced in 2008.
The People’s Party of Excellence urges the SADC-appointed team seconded to
JOMIC and begin their work. Zimbabweans want peace and expect the relevant
statutes enacted to ensure peace-building in the country are adhered to
without fear or favour.
The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!
Harare, June 29, 2012 - Zanu (PF) and the two formations of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) have tentatively agreed on a clause in the new
constitution to model Zimbabwe’s next presidential election on the American
model of introducing a presidential running mate, a development seen keeping
in check succession politics.
Information obtained by RadioVOP indicates that the three political parties
charged with drafting a new constitution for the country have agreed that
under the new supreme law of the land, presidential candidates should
nominate their respective running mates.
Under American presidential election system, a running mate is a person
running with another person on a joint ticket during an election.
The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate
position. In the event of the presidential candidate winning the polls, the
running mate automatically becomes the Vice President.
In the previous elections, presidential candidates have appointed election
managers. In the controversial 2008 presidential polls Emmerson Mnangagwa
acted as President Robert Mugabe’s election manager while Tendai Biti was
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s manager.
There is an agreement on maintaining two Vice Presidents in the new
constitution with the running mate of the winning presidential candidate
automatically becoming the first Vice President. The winning President will
have the constitutional mandate to appoint the second Vice President.
The Presidential term remains remain two five year terms, depending on the
age of the candidate seeking re-election.
Sources privy to the delicate negotiations involving the COPAC management
committee, which last week met for four-days at a secretlocation at the
resort town of Nyanga, said there was an agreement between three political
parties to introduce a running mate in the newconstitution envisaged to lead
to fresh polls, bring closure to the coalition government.
Members of the COPAC management committee, who include Emmerson Mnangagwa
(Zanu PF), Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF), Nicholas Goche, Welshman Ncube,
Priscilla Misihairwambwi-Mushonga (MDC), Tendai Biti (MDC-T) and Elton
Mangoma, among other senior party officials signatory to the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), were said to be
consulting their respective parties on the latest clause they wanted
enshrined in the new constitution.
Sources claimed Zanu (PF) representatives were agreeable to the clause being
inserted in the new constitution but were now understood to be under
pressure from colleagues questioning the motive of introducing a running
mate in the constitution when it was known that the succession debate in the
party was “taboo.”
While Zanu (PF) insiders saw the issue of a running mate as meant
necessarily to address President Mugabe’s party’s internal succession
problems, sources said negotiators from all the parties in the GPA viewed it
as a way of enhancing Zimbabwe’s political system, making it more
fascinating for the coming generation.
They added that the issue of a presidential running mate, which has been in
the US system since time immemorial, would ensure long-term political
stability, which critics say, has sadly has been in short supply in
Zimbabwe. It would ensure political certainty, they argued.
For instance, if President Mugabe nominates Joice Mujuru as his running
mate, it can almost be taken for granted that she automatically becomes
Zimbabwe’s next President should the former resign, become incapacitated or
die in office.
“A running mate tells a lot about what the prospective president stands for,
what his/her principles are and if he/she is capable of moving the nation
forward. It just makes, in my view, the whole electoral process much, much
more exciting. America has used this
method for centuries to great national benefit,” said Psychology Maziwisa, a
Harare-based political analyst.
Maziwisa added that in Zimbabwe, though, its most immediate use would be to
bring an end to the traditionally problematic issue of succession.
“By nominating a running mate, the president’s choice becomes public and
there is no anxiety anymore about who is most likely to succeed him,” he
COPAC management is scheduled to meet again before the end of this week in
desperate attempts to conclude the constitution-making process.
Zanu (PF) has brought new demands the party wants included in the draft
before the COPAC management committee.
By Tichaona Sibanda
29 June 2012
Paul Siwela, the outspoken secretary general of the Mthwakazi Liberation
Front (MFL), says the new draft constitution will not change the lives of
people in the Southern regions of the country.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa’s Election Watch program on Friday, Siwela said
as far as they are concerned there is no devolution in the new constitution
until the powers to be devolved are spelt out.
‘From what we’ve seen and read in some reports, there is no devolution of
power, except a mention of a structure to be created under devolution, which
is meaningless and will not change anything.
‘In this structure, there is no mention of a budget, the powers assigned to
the structure, or mention of service delivery and accountability,’ Siwela
The leader of the MFL, which is agitating for a separate state called
Mthwakazi, claimed that what the three parties to the GPA had done was to
extract the section on devolution from the Kariba draft and put it in the
‘As MFL we are watching all that charade which we know will not change the
lives of the Mthwakazi people until they get their self determination,’
He said his party, which was launched in December 2010, will still pursue
the idea of secession as they feel the people in Matabeleland and parts of
the Midlands have been continuously over-looked for development since
He went on to claim that Zimbabwe has never been an equal state but has for
the past 32 years set out to tribally oppress the people of Mthwakazi
through genocide, social, economic and cultural marginalization.
‘We lost close to 20,000 people who were butchered by Robert Mugabe’s troops
and no one came in to help or stop it. They can still repeat it and nobody
will say a thing, but the only way of stopping it is by having a separate
state from the rest of Zimbabwe,’ Siwela said.
But SW Radio Africa has been told that the new constitution is designed to
redistribute political power away from the capital Harare, to eight
provincial councils created under devolution.
Under the new system, the national government will provide a given
percentage of the budget to the provincial legislature, which will comprise
elected parliamentarians, senators and local council officials. These
electoral colleges will recommend governor to the President, but the final
choice is left to the president.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 09:45
What could be the solution to all the problems in the judiciary service?
Chief Justice Chidyausiki is for a "carrot and stick" approach where an
improvement in remuneration is seen as crucial to stemming systemic
corruption, writes Tinashe Madava.
IN April this year, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku complained that the
lack of adequate funding was fuelling corruption in the justice delivery
His admission that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has had to accept
that the judiciary will never be adequately funded and so has to learn to
live with under-funding, rang alarm bells.
What really is the extent of corruption in the judiciary? How has it
affected the ordinary people in the street?
Critics argue that the state of the judiciary represents everything that is
wrong with Zimbabwe today. This group of critics argue that the corruption
starts at the very bottom, where justice delivery originates in terms of the
law. They contend that the police force is so corrupt that sometimes the
perpetrators of crime go scot free because they would have paid the
arresting officers to look the other way.
In some instances, police officers have been accused of conniving with
prosecutors and lawyers to the detriment of justice delivery. So, Chief
Justice Chidyausiku's lamentations while launching a Code of Ethics for the
judiciary service two months ago need further scrutiny. Spot on as he may
have been, it left a chilling question: Are innocent people being sent to
prison while guilty ones walk away free?
Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) president, Tinoziva Bere, believes there is
some justification in concerns about corruption in the delivery of justice
but it is not confined to the judiciary alone. He says corruption pervades
the whole administration of justice chain.
"Corruption of the administration of justice system is present among some
police officers (the most visible ones being the Traffic Section), some
prosecutors (or Attorney General staff), some judicial support staff
members, some judicial officers themselves (magistrates and judges), some
lawyers (including very senior ones) and some prison officers," said Bere in
written responses to questions sent to him by The Financial Gazette
He charged that there are similar problems in quasi-judicial bodies such as
labour dispute resolution mechanism, local authorities, mining
commissioner's office, government licensing authorities and all public
offices that make quasi judicial decisions.
"Even land allocations do not escape the poison. The rot is not confined to
administration of justice. Our society is rotting and political patronage is
corruption," he added.
But Bere admitted that corruption of the administration of justice was the
worst kind as it undermines rule of law and the very orderly fabric of
"It is, however, not helpful for society to continue to replay one statement
without any investigation being done or some form of documentation or
redress. It is equally unfair and harmful to recklessly generalise. As
criticism becomes less and less fact-based and less and less objective, it
becomes dangerous sloganeering, which causes more harm than good. It can
lead to people calling for scrapping away of the justice system and
replacing it with extrajudicial processes. So we at the LSZ appeal to all to
do something and stop sloganeering," cautioned Bere.
Lawyer, Aston Musunga of Musunga Law Chambers, contends that the judiciary
has generally fared well.
"I think since independence, we have had a satisfactory judiciary system,
which consists of the lower court as magistrates then the High Court and
Supreme Court. We have also maintained a Labour Court," said Musunga.
"The only loophole I have seen is in terms of constitutional matters, which
have all been heard by the full bench of the Supreme Court.
"I am of the view that if we had an independent constitutional court it
would address constitutional matters far better since it would take off the
load from an already overloaded Supreme Court bench," added the veteran
The issue of a constitutional court has been raised in the current draft
constitution being debated by the Global Political Agreement parties under
the Constitution Parliamentary Committee, ZANU-PF is resisting having a
constitutional court, insisting instead, on the current set up which Musunga
contends as overburdening the Supreme Court judges.
However, while commending the system under which judges are appointed,
Musunga thinks that recent appointments to the bench have departed from
tradition and compromised justice delivery. In terms of the appointment of
judges, this has been made by the President on recommendation of the JSC.
"The system worked well from independence as the JSC followed output from
the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). The more senior lawyers would be appointed
first but as we went along, that system has been disregarded.
"Junior lawyers have been appointed to the bench most probably ahead of more
senior members . . . the system has now been compromised," said Musunga.
So, do we have the right crop of judges at the helm of justice delivery?
One lawyer who requested anonymity said while the judges could be qualified,
political partisanship had pervaded the judiciary and compromised justice
delivery especially in matters to do with political violence.
He made comparisons on the treatment of the Shamva policemen who allegedly
murdered Luxmore Chivambo and injured 11 others at a mine compound in one
night of "madness" this year and the murder of a policeman in Harare's Glen
View high density suburb last year. The Shamva policemen were granted bail
within two weeks, ranging between US$50 and US$100 while the Glen View
suspects who are all believed to be Movement for Democratic Change
supporters, are still languishing in remand prison. They were recently
"Such a scenario exposes the judiciary to criticism because while the Shamva
policemen acted knowingly and under instructions from a senior officer, and
they got bail quite easily the Glen View 29 have been in the cells for close
to a year," said the lawyer.
At the time, Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Obert Gutu
clashed with the Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana as he ramped up
pressure for a level playing field in justice delivery. Gutu has for a long
time accused the AG of bias when it comes to cases with political links.
"I feel that the AG's office is severely compromised when dealing with
politically sensitive cases," said Gutu who has consistently described his
ministry as a haven of corruption.
"This just shows the general pervasion of the justice delivery system. This
is a politicisation of the matters that are supposed to be dealt with
professionally. In all criminal matters, the court should always lean in
favour of the liberty of the subject.
"This is a well grounded principle in Roman Dutch criminal jurisprudence,"
said Gutu, a lawyer by profession, in an earlier interview with The
Early this year, Gutu attacked Zimbabwe's justice system at a Southern
African Development Community (SADC) meeting in South Africa, alleging that
the system is riddled with "corruption, political bias, and in some cases,
"Many political activists have been hastily arrested on flimsy and or
trumped-up criminal charges, detained for inordinately long periods of time
and eventually acquitted after undergoing trial. It is a fact that in most
politically sensitive criminal cases, the Attorney General's office has had
a spectacular if not embarrassing failure rate," he said at the SADC
But Bere said; "In respect of politically sensitive cases, the current High
Court and judiciary has suffered from the stigma of the past. That human
made crisis that saw may judges forced out of office or unable to continue
and a new bench appointed.
"That stigma lives today and is visible in the absence of praise when the
courts do well and the immediacy of criticism when they fail.
"The LSZ understands the history of this problem and has chosen not to
participate in the perpetuation of the stigma and rather seek ways to
actively engage the judiciary and offer assistance in retraining of both the
profession and the judiciary"
That some judges have benefited from the land reform through pushing out
other beneficiaries of land reform has also increased criticism of the
judiciary. The farm row between UZ professor Lovemore Gwanzura and High
Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu has raised a stink. While another High
Court judge, Justice Francis Nere is also involved in a farm row in
So, what could be the solution to all the problems in the judiciary service?
Chief Justice Chidyausiki is for a"carrot and stick" approach where an
improvement in remuneration is seen as crucial to stemming systemic
corruption. He believes that wielding the stick alone would not help
although he is for the imposition of severe penalties for those found guilty
Justice Minister Patrick China-masa is also on record lambasting corruption
in the delivery of justice in the country and acknowledging that documents
disappear from court records.
"While I can live with the outcome of a court judgment that is bad in law
and with a factual basis which has been erroneously arrived at due to
incompetence of a judicial officer, I cannot live with an outcome of
judgment that has been bought," said Chinamasa.
"More seriously, members of the public allege rampant corruption in the
courts involving all key players in the justice delivery system. (They
include) judicial officers and support staff, clerks, interpreters and the
lot of police investigating officers, prosecutors, lawyers in the private
sector not to mention touts who impersonate lawyers, prison officers whether
in civil and criminal matters," China-masa has previously said.
But, while his statement might have reflected a true picture of the goings
on in the justice system, it remains to be seen whether any action would be
taken to stem the tide. Bold measures transcending the whole of society have
to be adopted. A whole culture has to change to a point where bribery is
totally unacceptable and people are afraid to even attempt it.
The LSZ president cautions on a wholesale labelling of the judiciary as
corrupt. He contends that while his organisation has accepted, based on
repeated complaints, that the chain of administration of justice has been
polluted by individuals who are corrupt, they have been cautious not to
undermine the "very foundations of administration of justice and to tarnish
those whose hands are clean. The administration of justice still works.
There are many honest serving members in the administration of justice
28 June 2012
Gibbs Dube and Tatenda Gumbo | Washington
Lack of foreign direct investment and Zimbabwe’s policy discord have
crippled the country’s ambitious $9 billion medium term plan launched last
year aimed at boosting the nation’s economy and creating employment for
Economists said revelations by Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada that the
economic blueprint has missed almost all its targets, was widely expected as
Zimbabwe is currently struggling to attract crucial foreign direct
investment and international donors.
They said this was worsened by poor planning, policy inconsistencies and
political tension within the unity government.
Indications are that the short term plan, which was to be funded through
domestic savings and new investment from abroad, failed to create jobs.
The economy is recording sluggish growth in the manufacturing and
The plan had envisaged that the economy would grow by an average 7.1 percent
for the next four years.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Research Institute of
Zimbabwe told VOA there were high expectations that the plan will not
stimulate the Zimbabwe economy.
Bulawayo businessman Bulisani Ncube said the government should abandon the
For perspective on the plan and its short-comings, VOA reporter Tatenda
Gumbo spoke to Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe
economist Prosper Chitambara and legislator, Paddy Zhanda, who’s also the
chairman of the parliamentary committee on budget and finance.
Zhanda says the MTP is a sophisticated economic recovery plan that has
By Tererai Karimakwenda
29 June, 2012
The Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube revealed this week that
the government does not have its share of funds that were promised to assist
companies which are struggling in Bulawayo.
Speaking at a conference for the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
(ZNCC) on Thursday, Ncube said government had managed to provide only half
of the $20 million promised when the Distressed Industries and Marginalised
Areas Fund (DIMAF) was initiated.
Another $20 million has been provided by Old Mutual, who partnered with
government on the DIMAF project. Ncube said a lack of funds has meant that
government cannot afford to contribute the remaining $10 million that was
Government initiated DIMAF in response to complaints that the Matabeleland
region, especially Bulawayo, had been ignored since independence and many
companies were closing or relocating. But so far the programme has not
addressed that issue.
According to NewsDay newspaper, more than 80 companies in Bulawayo have shut
down and others have relocated to Harare and other towns. The report said
thousands of workers were left jobless.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai addressed journalists after meeting with
civic groups in Bulawayo on Friday. Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme,who
was at the event, said the DIMAF programme dominated his speech. He said the
Prime Minister revealed that DIMAF funds had been used to start up new
companies when they were only meant for existing companies that are
Tsvangirai also confirmed that the majority of companies that have received
DIMAF funds so far are in Mashonaland and this defeats the purpose of the
initiative. According to Saungweme there were allegations by some
journalists that the majority of DIMAF funds had gone to companies owned by
ZANU PF members.
The issue of unequal distribution of resources to the provinces is at the
centre of the argument for devolution in the new constitution. It has been
reported that the negotiators drafting the new charter have reached
agreement on devolution, but the details are not yet clear.
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 18:24
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pressed President Robert Mugabe this week
to impress on the country’s generals to accept a Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) victory in the forthcoming polls to avoid a possible
bloodbath reminiscent of the 2008 polls that eventually gave birth to the
The country’s generals have been extensively quoted in various media outlets
vowing they would not respect the will of the people if Prime Minister
Tsvangirai romped to victory in fresh polls President Mugabe wants held this
The statements, which are in contravention of both the Constitution and the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) that paved the way for the formation of the
inclusive government in 2009, have riled ZANU-PF’s rivals and the
The GPA, which is part of the country’s Constitution after being enacted as
amendment number 19 states that State organs and institutions do not belong
to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their
During a principals meeting held on Mon-day, the premier impressed on
President Mugabe that holding an election with the military threatening to
seize power would be a treasonous act that would destabilise the country
saying the Pres-ident, as the commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, has a duty to clip their wings.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is in agreement with the premier that
the generals must be confined to the barracks, according to sources.
But there was however, no consensus on the issue as President Mugabe argued
strongly that security sector reforms were not necessary. His party, ZANU-PF
has also refused to embrace security sector reforms, claiming this was
tantamount to allowing regime change to take effect.
The issue of the implementation of agreed issues under the GPA such as media
reforms and finalisation of the constitution-making also came up for
discussion during the meeting.
Sources said the MDC-T leader is desperate to find common ground with his
long time rival ahead of the envisaged visit by South African President
Jacob Zuma who is facilitating the local dialogue under the aegis of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Zuma is under pressure from SADC to push the parties towards implementing
reforms to pave the way for an uncontested poll by June next year.
SADC is also concerned with the military’s involvement in politics.
Last month, Major-General Trust Mugoba became the latest serviceman to
ruffle political feathers when he said the army would not allow the MDC-T to
take over power if it wins an election as it does not represent the ideology
of the liberation struggle that he claimed is represented in the mission of
The MDC-T has argued that the utterances are proof enough that the country
must institute security sector reforms before any poll.
While presidential spokesman George Charamba could not be reached for
comment, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the
high level meeting, but declined to give details.
“What I can only confirm is that yes the principals met,” said Tamborinyoka.
Last Wednesday, Tsvangirai told the House of Assembly that he had minutes
that showed a senior police officer had told members of the force that the
inclusive government does not affect the force as there is no inclusivity in
the police force.
The top officer allegedly told his subordinates that the force belongs to
“Now, for me, I think it will be against the principle of running a free and
credible election if such an attitude becomes the norm because at the end of
the day, why go to an election if people make that declaration,” Tsvangirai
told the House of Assembly.
“I want to say that I think one of the serious reforms that is required is
the re-alignment of our security establishment to respect the will of the
people, to respect the security of the vote, to respect the security of the
persons and of course to respect the mandate of the people. Otherwise there
is no reason why we should go for elections; to me this is a deal breaker.”
Tsvangirai’s statements came weeks after Mutambara also told legislators
that security sector reforms remained on the agenda of the current talks.
Mutambara said security realignment was necessary in order for the
securocrats to respect the Constitution and eradicate issues of
politically-motivated violence in which the force has been fingered.
28 June 2012
ZESA Holdings might be losing millions of dollars in revenue to about half a
million property owners nationwide using electricity for free.
The power utility has 600 000 registered properties in its database
nationwide and cannot account for nearly 500 000 other consumers.
Zesa says it should be billing at least one million properties.
It also emerged that thousands of residential and commercial property owners
are reportedly illegally connected, while others bypass electricity meters.
Zesa seems not to have correct records of properties developed by housing
co-operatives and residents who are subdividing big stands.
When some of these properties are connected to the main power line,
investigations have shown that Zesa takes over a year to give the new
consumers account numbers for billing purposes.
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company managing director
Engineer Julian Chinembiri yesterday confirmed that they had problems in
compiling correct records of people who were using electricity.
"A lot of residential areas are being built and it means more consumers
should get registered. It is our hope that by the end of the year we will
have more than one million registered consumers.
"To increase our revenue base, we have to register more people and we
encourage people to come forward. If we discover that one has been using
electricity for free, the law will take its course," he said.
He said consumers were being logged in the database as and when they come to
pay their bills or to notify them of new connections.
Some people stopped paying electricity bills during the Zimdollar era and
Zesa is battling to update its system.
Eng Chinembiri said the power utility's budgeting and planning was based on
registered consumers only, implying others were using power for free and the
burden is put on those in the database.
"Our database only has 600 000 registered consumers whom we are billing.
This means that we lose a lot of money as people and companies use
electricity without paying.
"Zimbabwe has got a lot of households and those who are not registered
either bypass meters or connect electricity illegally.
"When they bypass the meter, they disconnect electric wires to the meter and
connect them directly, which is dangerous."
Eng Chinembiri said Zesa was putting in place mechanisms to register more
people to increase the power utility's revenue base.
On pre-paid meters, he said the power utility needed US$60 million to
install them countrywide.
He said Zesa rolled out a pilot project last week and was installing prepaid
meters in various places.
The pre-paid system is expected to establish an efficient billing system.
"We are using 2 000 meters for testing and we are first installing in areas
where we have non-functional meters that are recorded. We are doing the
tests in Harare and Bulawayo.
"We secured 10 000 meters apart from those coming from the four companies
that we contracted and one of the companies last week sent samples which we
tested and passed. The companies will be paid after their meters pass the
tests," Eng Chinembiri said.
The four companies are Solahart, ZTE, Finmark, and Nyamazela of South
"The reason for the delays was because most of the meters were coming from
China, but if it all goes well from the 10-15th of next month we will be
rolling out the project in full force," he said.
"We were supposed to have rolled out our pilot project on June 1, but there
were delays," he said.
Zesa's billing system is based on estimates, a situation that has seen
consumers refusing to settle their bills.
The situation has also seen the power utility failing to recoup hundreds of
millions of dollars owed by consumers who argue that Zesa has a poor debt
Zesa has no clear debt-collection strategy apart from the unpopular power
A poor debt-management system has also seen Zesa struggling to settle
Consumers owe Zesa about US$550 million.
29 Jun 2012 08:49 - Ray Ndlovu
Although Shakespeare wrote the line "If music be the food of love, play on",
Zimbabweans have learned that playing music can land them in jail.
Especially if the music is “insulting” and undermines the authority of
President Robert Mugabe.
A member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Nyengerai Makundidze,
is still in jail three weeks after Zanu-PF supporters in Bulawayo found him
in possession of music that insulted Mugabe. The lyrics remain unknown, but
Makundidze joins a long list of offenders who have been arrested for
offences committed against the 88-year-old leader.
The police, under Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act, are empowered to arrest civilians for insulting Mugabe and undermining
the office of the president.
Human rights groups and law experts have criticised the legislation and
further opposition to the law has been extended by United Nations human
rights commissioner Navi Pillay on her trip to Zimbabwe last month. Although
jokes about Mugabe are widespread and attract a standard one-year jail term,
most court cases collapse because state witnesses fail to prove the offence.
Political observers say the court cases and jail terms are meant to act as a
deterrent to freedom of expression. The list of offences is always growing
and several people have been caught on the wrong side of the law. At the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, a police officer was arrested for using a
toilet reserved for Mugabe and a Beitbridge man was arrested for being in
possession of Mugabe cartoons.
Jokes about Mugabe’s health have even landed a senior MDC member, Douglas
Mwonzora, in trouble. But Richmore Jazi is the latest person set to stand
trial, later this year, for saying that Mugabe must have been helped to
blow up balloons for his lavish 88th birthday party held in Mutare in
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) continues to record a massive outcry and
disgruntlement from residents across Harare over delays in cancelling of
debts by the City of Harare from the period February 2009 to December 2010.
Citizens have also demanded that the municipality scrap off debts accrued
during the period of 2005 to 2006, during the Zimbabwe dollar era. These
positions have emerged during Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), public
meetings and reports gathered by the HRT, as part of i
by Pretty Chabuda
Residents have failed to find the justification for the huge debts that they
are said to have accrued between the period February 2009 up to December
2010 when the City of Harare was failing to provide public services that
fall under its mandate. For instance, refuse collection, water supply and
road maintenance. It is during this period that roads became heavily
potholed, dumpsites emerged across all suburbs, high cases of flowing
sewerage were recorded and water supplies became erratic. Council did not
stop billing residents or imposing huge interests on their accounts despite
the shoddy services it was providing.
Like any other institution, the City Of Harare should be in a position to
accept that it has to suffer the consequences of national socio-economic
meltdown that the ordinary citizen had to go through when they lost their
deposits in banks, and they have not been compensated. Residents continue to
protest over failure by council to decentralise and digitalise its billing
system. This is a move, according to most residents, is deliberate on the
part of the council which is trying to hide ongoing corrupt activities and
embezzlement of rate payers’ money while it serves them with final letters
of demand and threatened attachment of their properties as was the case in
From the focus group discussion held in Mabvuku on 9 May 2012 it came out
that the City Of Harare is charging US$ 8 for refuse collection every month
yet the actual charge is pegged at US$6, 50 on the bill. Residents are also
being overcharged for sewerage reticulation by a $1 above the fixed charge
of US$5 which appears on household statements as US$6. On the other hand
residents in Northern suburbs despite going for years without running
council tap water or rehabilitation of old infrastructure, the council
continues to send monthly bills with fixed rates ranging from US$5 to US$11.
If one is to calculate what this translates to it becomes clear that there
is a deliberate attempt to steal from residents through overcharging by a
‘mere’ dollar, which become a bigger figure if looked at from the
perspective of all residents.
In April 2011 during a meeting held by the HRT together with the City of
Harare in Mabvuku, as part of the residents body’s mandate to facilitate
engagement amongst citizens, their elected representatives and service
providers, municipality officials told residents they had to negotiate
through their councillors if they wanted their debts to be frozen but the
likelihood of that happening was very remote. To date nothing has
materialised. In the interim fears of property repossession by council
loomed and the axe fell on the residents in February 2012. Despite the
department of water acknowledging that the area had gone for five years
without water, they still insisted on residents settling their bills for
water not delivered, for refuse not collected, and above all for being
excluded in budget formulation.
The Chairperson of Mabvuku Residents’ Committee Mr William Daison said: “The
City Of Harare promised to provide residents in Mabvuku with feedback on
their demand for debt cancellation but residents have waited for more than a
year for the feedback’’.
Most residents feel burdened by the huge debts that have accumulated in
their accounts and expect the City of Harare to honour their promise to
provide satisfactory feedback on the issue of debt cancellation.
This has also been the case in Glen Norah. The HRT had a public meeting on
the 23 June 2012 where it emerged that in 2005, Glen Norah residents were
told by the District office that they were to make payments at any district
office or City of Harare banking hall as it was no longer functional, and
they were promised that despite their monthly bills not reflecting any
payments, council billing system/ computers had recorded their payments.
Their accounts to date do not reflect the payments made from 2005 to 2006,
highlighting the level of corruption in council.
It was also revealed at the same meeting that despite making several trips
and holding meetings with Mr. Stonard Majogo from the City Treasury
Department seeking clarification and correction on their manipulated bills,
residents have up still not benefited, meaning the thefts of residents funds
are done through a complex network of council employees. The billing system
remains corrupted and chaotic, giving rise to speculation that most of the
money being generated by the council is going towards administrative and
staff expenses, against moral expectations of residents to improve service
The upsurge in the number of residents disconnected from water supplies
owing to dysfunctional water meters in Glen Norah and Highfield in the past
two months has angered residents who have been subjected to estimated,
backdated and inflated water bills. In the interim, cut off families have
been relying on borehole water. The City of Harare has not provided the
disconnected residents the United Nations allocation of 20 litres per
individual per day, a resolution made in the presence of a Zimbabwean
delegation. In September 2011 violence erupted at community boreholes sunk
by UNICEF amongst residents as they fought for water near Ruvheneko Primary
school. Council made no visible efforts to improve the water situation.
Recently, in retaliation angry Glen Norah residents whose memories are still
fresh from the horror deaths experienced in the 2008-2009 cholera outbreaks
have reconnected illegally their water after being disconnected by council.
City of Harare Area Manager Districts-Harare Water, Mr Victor Chifamba said:
“Glen Norah is one of the areas with serious cases of housing units that
have illegally reconnected water, pegged at 900 households.”
The City of Harare needs to wake up from their sleep and respond to the
demands of the residents as a matter of urgency.
Dissatisfied residents from Dzivarasekwa Phase 3, whose bills averaged
US$600 in May 2012 threatened to boycott servicing their municipality
accounts after a huge section of the area went for two months without water
and refuse collection while their monthly payments were not reflected on
The Secretary of Dzivarasekwa 2 Residents’ Committee Mr. Omiro Chigo said:
“We want City authorities to explain to us the conversion index that was
used from Zimbabwean dollar to US dollars with regards to the US$10 that
were debited onto our bills by the municipality despite it lying to us that
it had cancelled our debts. We also want central government and the central
bank to tell us where our quintillions went in February 2009 because clearly
local government did not clear our debts but instead backdated them and put
interest on them,”
The HRT therefore ask City Of Harare to seriously consider debt cancellation
for the period stated above for it to be able to achieve the recently
launched vision, “Harare to achieve a WORLD CLASS CITY STATUS by 2025,
otherwise they will continue to experience slow cash inflows given the poor
debt management system. It is far much better to take actions that promote
trust and confidence in the system than fight residents, who are themselves
struggling to make ends meet. An incentive to the defaulters through a debt
cancellation would spur more people to attempt to remain up to date with
their debt than have the current situation where the majority have lost hope
of ever completely settling their huge debts.
Pretty Chabuda - HRT Lobby and Advocacy
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Friday June 1st – Saturday June 30th 2012
Election Watch 2012-7
NEWS of fresh disagreements in Zimbabwe’s long overdue constitutionmaking
process was the most significant aspect of the media’s coverage of
the country’s preparations for forthcoming national elections.
Both the government and private media reported the parties in Zimbabwe’s
Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) accusing each other of
stalling the exercise.
Matters came to a head when ZANU PF reportedly tabled a 29-page
document with over 225 demands that would, according to the other parties,
subvert the views of the people gathered during the constitutional outreach
The private media reported the document as containing proposals to overhaul
nearly all the 18 chapters of the draft constitution, which ironically had
approved by Copac’s management committee that includes senior ZANU PF
Politburo members (The Financial Gazette and Daily News, 7 & 8/6).
The Gazette reported that a perusal of the document shows that the party
specifically wants to discard the issues of devolution of power, an
independent National Prosecuting Authority, the Constitutional Court and a
Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The party also wants the removal of a
clause in the draft barring the military from engaging in the political
the country (which exists in Zimbabwe’s present Constitution). It further
proposes the removal of a clause that demands the President first seeks
parliamentary approval before declaring war. ZANU PF proposes that the
President should be allowed unbridled powers to declare war. In addition,
party advocates for unlimited ministerial appointments by the President.
The media reported that ZANU PF’s proposals attracted outrage from the two
MDC formations and some political commentators, who viewed them as an
attempt to delay the conclusion of the new constitution, thus enabling
to unilaterally call for fresh polls under the current negotiated Lancaster
House Constitution (Gazette, Daily News, Radio VoP and New
Zimbabwe.com, 7 & 8, 15, 16 & 21/6).
Furthermore, the two MDC formations were reported as promising to block
ZANU PF’s plans during the management committee’s three-day retreat in
Nyanga during June, aimed at breaking the gridlock over the final draft
(Zimbabwe Metro, Daily News, Daily News On Sunday, NewsDay, and The
Gazette, 15, 18/6).
However, all media reported ZANU PF defending its demands and dismissing
some of the accusations as “nonsense” (Daily News and NewsDay, 8, 10 &
These included claims that the party’s Politburo member Jonathan Moyo had
authored the document with the assistance of senior military officers.
In one such story, ZANU PF’s Copac co-chairman Paul Mangwana was
reported saying: “We never demanded that soldiers be allowed to take
part in politics, what we are saying is we do not want a politicized
constitution that has reference to the military in every chapter…” (The
This report was among the 42 stories the media carried on Copac’s
squabbles. Of the 42 reports, 18 appeared in the government media and 24 in
the private media.
The remaining eight reported other political analysts and some civic
organizations blaming all the parties for problems in the
These commentators and civic groups accused the parties of being selfish;
lacking national interest; and politicizing the exercise.
In one such case, ZBC (7/6, 8pm) reported National Constitutional Assembly
chairman Lovemore Madhuku expressing doubt over Copac’s ability to deliver
a new constitution: “There is no constitution that will come from Copac so
there is need for government to intervene because precious time has
been wasted while millions of dollars have gone under the drain. The
whole process should be aborted”.
The NCA leader said nowhere in the world was a constitution written by
political parties and urged the principals to disband Copac and set up an
independent body to write the new supreme law of the land as is the trend
worldwide (ZBC, 7/6, 8pm).
In another report, the Daily News (23/6) reported a coalition of civic
the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (Nango),
expressing similar sentiments.
By Farai Mutambanengwe, 28 June 2012
The period between 1967 and 1972 was a time that witnessed massive growth in
the Rhodesian economy, despite stringent sanctions imposed upon the Smith
The sanctions, initially imposed by Britain and subsequently the UN, were
meant to cripple the country economically and thus force the Ian Smith
regime to step down. They instead heralded the start of a highly successful
industrial drive that was to see the Rhodesian currency and economy firm to
The way in which Rhodesia prospered under sanctions has often been used to
ridicule the present Zimbabwean government over their claims that the
so-called "smart sanctions" are what have brought the economy to its knees.
During the Rhodesian-era, the sanctions were total, and in theory Zimbabwe
was not supposed to have anyone trading with it whatsoever. In practice, the
Rhodesians became adept at creating sanctions-busting measures that enabled
them to source limited essentials from outside, as well as export some of
Two weeks ago, this column pointed out how the Government of that time and
the business sector closed ranks in the face of this external threat, and
how that close cooperation resulted in the build-up of elaborate business
linkages across all sectors of the economy. These linkages are the ones
primarily credited with the strengthening of the economy that then resulted.
If sanctions are meant to be damaging to an economy, why then did the
Rhodesian economy thrive? The answer lies in the way the government reacted,
the dynamics of economies and the power of synergy. Instead of precipitating
economic demise, the sanctions and more importantly the reaction to these
actually created an environment conducive for economic prosperity.
Prior to declaring The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), the
Smith regime had been warned of the consequences that would result in the
event that they went ahead with this action. They were fully aware that the
country would be blockaded, so they made plans to transfer most of their
foreign currency reserves to South Africa, a friendly country. They also
began planning around the issue of how they could become self-sufficient and
reduce dependence on imports. By the time UDI was undertaken, they had made
significant progress in this direction.
A key action that the government took was to set up an exchange control
regime that allowed government to direct how the country's foreign currency
reserves would be used. Government then deliberately targeted these reserves
towards capital expenditure meant to enhance the country's industrial
capabilities, primarily in the area of import substitution. In the next few
years, the government was at the forefront of setting up manufacturing
companies which would then be sold to the private sector when the entities'
viability had been established. The Industrial Development Company (IDC) was
a key vehicle for this activity.
The closing up of the economy created a 'greenhouse effect' on capital, in
that capital within the country was locked up, and had to be redeployed
locally. Capital was re-invested in expansion projects in the fields of
energy, housing, manufacturing, farming and mining. As such projects came to
maturity they in turn resulted in even more capital being available for
redeployment, creating a vicious expansionary cycle. The closed borders and
financial system was therefore conducive for the rapid expansion of the
economy through the money multiplier effect.
Because of the close-knit cooperation between the various key players within
the economy, cross-sectoral linkages emerged within the economy that aligned
the operations of the various sectors. The financial services sector, awash
with cash would finance farmers through providing loans for the acquisition
of inputs. The farmers would produce and the products would be directed
towards various marketing boards which would then on-sell product either to
local markets, or would organise sales to external markets through various
schemes set up to evade the sanctions.
In a nutshell, what the government managed to do was create a national
economic system that was well-aligned and geared to create massive synergies
for the economy as a whole. This system was said to be over 70 percent
self-sufficient, meaning that the country only needed to import about 30
percent of its requirements.
Looking at our situation now, the differences are glaring. The smart
sanctions did not, and do not create the sort of barriers that result in an
internal pooling of capital. In fact, post-dollarisation there are no
exchange controls whatsoever, and therefore capital is free to leave at any
time. The political and economic dynamics currently at play actually
encourage such a flight of capital.
Government has not taken a leading role in directing the economy, as
politicians are currently pre-occupied with who is in power, rather than
getting the economy to perform. Its relationship with the private sector has
become more symbolic than anything else, and government policies more often
than not do not have the direct input of the private sector. Furthermore,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation are practically non-existent.
The business sector has also become fragmented, with each company focusing
solely on its own survival. There are thus no synergies to talk of even
among companies sharing a common value chain, let alone cross-sectoral
synergies. As an example, most companies right now would rather import a raw
material than source their product from a fellow local company. While there
may be arguments about price, quality and the fact that we are in a free
market, this myopic approach becomes laughable when those same companies
call on citizens to "Buy Zimbabwe".
Much as open markets are the right instrument for creating a competitive
business environment, the importance of scale and synergies in achieving
price competitiveness cannot be underestimated. Our industrial productive
capacity stagnated for two decades after independence, before becoming
decimated during the hyper-inflationary era. To think that we can just
emerge from such circumstances and immediately take on a world that has been
innovating all that time is wishful thinking. Zimbabwe simply does not have
any industries that are scaled up to the levels at which other operations
worldwide are operating, at the moment.
The concept of synergy is even more interesting. One definition of synergy
is: "a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". In
other words, one plus one equals three or four, and not two. Synergies arise
when separate units or systems are made to function in a way that results in
output greater than either unit could have achieved on its own.
The impact of a lack of unity was amply demonstrated by the manner in which
industrial capacity utilisation went up in the first couple of years after
dollarisation, then stagnated and now seems to be falling. The reason why
capacity utilisation stagnated was because uptake of local products was
compromised as people began preferring imports. Currently, several
manufacturers are closing down production and instead becoming distributors
Achieving a sustainable turnaround of the economy requires that all players
focus on re-generating the linkages and synergies that once made this
country extremely competitive. Land reform will not become truly successful
before the financial and manufacturing sectors come on board and join hands
with the farmers. Neither will the drive for industrialization. Economies,
like all man-made systems, do not simply heal and align themselves without
active effort. Until hands are joined and concrete ideas on national
economic regeneration are made, we can forget about expecting a turnaround.
Farai Mutambanengwe is the founding chairman of the SME Association of
Zimbabwe, and managing director of Adway Financial Services (Pvt) Ltd.
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June 29, 2012, 12:26 pm
“Zimbabwe becoming a Chinese colony” was the title of a short piece by
Maxwell Saungweme this week. The author invited the public to submit their
own views on the topic from people who had personal experience of China’s
involvement in Zimbabwe.
Sadly, I no longer live in Zimbabwe so I’m not eligible but I know that
before I left in 2004 there was plenty of evidence of Chinese involvement –
specially where I lived in the north east. However, it is not just Zimbabwe
that is in danger of being colonised by the Chinese. Nothing indicates more
clearly China’s growing economic colonisation of the western world than the
‘Made in China’ label. From underwear to top coats, from head to heel you
might say, the clothes on sale in British stores bear the ‘Made in China’
label. Well-known British brands, once renowned for their craftsmanship and
quality are now out-sourcing to China and the reason is clear: cheap labour.
With a population of 1.3 billion, China has to find jobs to satisfy the
increasingly large urban populace or run the danger of serious unrest.
Occasional stories of disturbances indicate that the fear of serious unrest
is ever present with the Chinese authorities.
It is not only in the area of the retail trade that China is spreading its
tentacles around the world. Africa’s vast mineral resources are hugely
attractive to the Chinese. With sparse mineral reserves of their own and
with the willing co-operation of African governments looking for capital to
exploit those resources, China has found a highly lucrative market. In
Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe’s ‘Look East’ policy has played right into China’s
hands. Human rights issues take second position after the profit motive. The
Anjin diamond mine in Chiadzwa is a case in point. Anjun is owned by the
Chinese but while the Zimbabwean military are so heavily involved in
Chiadzwa we cannot expect any human rights issues or sustainable development
policies to be put in place, as Global Witness points out.
Meanwhile everyone is getting in on the act: the Commissioner of Police has
applied for a diamond licence; it is rumoured that an army chief owns half
of Anjin and the CIO are rewarded in diamonds from a certain Chinese
businessman. This same man, one Sam Pa, is reported to be financing Zanu PF
in exchange for access to diamonds. An anonymous Politburo member reveals
that it is Zanu PF’s intention to grab all the diamond mines, with help from
the military and the Chinese no doubt. Now we hear there is the possibility
that Russia may supply Zimbabwe with military helicopters in exchange for
the country’s platinum deposit which is said to be the second largest in the
world. As I said, everyone is getting in on the act but it has not gone
unnoticed by the rest of the world. Global Witness has called for an
investigation into the mystery Chinese businessman, Sam Pa and his
involvement in Zimbabwe’s diamond mines.
Does all this show that Zimbabwe is becoming a colony of China as Saungweme
claims? The original colonisers came with the bible in one hand and a gun in
the other; they wanted territory for the British Empire but they also wanted
the mineral resources. That was a century ago but today colonisation takes a
different form. Now, according to Saungweme, the Chinese are literally
buying up Zimbabwe. They are everywhere, he claims, and they are putting
ordinary Zimbabweans out of business. The Chinese have, in effect, taken
over the retail trade and market traders and street vendors are having a
hard time competing with cheap Chinese goods.
The fact that all this is happening with the approval, not to say
encouragement, of the government of Zimbabwe is deeply disturbing. The
concept of colonialism usually implies that it is done against the wishes of
the indigenous people, the ones being colonised. In this case, it appears
that a government dominated by Zanu PF is only too happy to have China as
the coloniser. Is it a case of ‘anyone as long as it’s not the whites’ or is
it just plain greed – on both sides?
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.