Friday, 29 June 2012 08:47
AS the Zanu PF central committee meets today to discuss issues affecting the
party, President Robert Mugabe and his politburo have all but made a
dramatic climb down on their demands for elections this year following a
watershed Sadc summit in Luanda which blocked their plans, leaving them in
disarray. The Zanu PF politburo met on Wednesday and failed to stick to
resolutions on elections it has been making since beginning of year. Mugabe
also failed to carry out his threats to announce the elections trajectory by
last month before he was forced to retreat in Luanda.
Sadc leaders in Luanda told Zimbabwean leaders and their parties to go back
home and implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and follow the
elections roadmap to prepare for free and after elections after 12 months
from the beginning of this month.
Senior Zanu PF politburo members yesterday said Mugabe and his loyalists
failed to “stay course” on elections during the Wednesday meeting. Sources
said the main resolution of the meeting was the nullification of the
hotly-disputed district coordinating committee (DCC) elections whose chaotic
fallout was first reported in the Zimbabwe Independent recently.
“We are going to have a central committee meeting tomorrow (today) but the
issue of elections is no longer urgent because even in the politburo meeting
on Wednesday it wasn’t really discussed, although there were references to
it,” a senior politburo member said. “The issue of district elections was
The nullification of district elections results, marred by allegations of
intimidation, vote-buying and ballot-rigging, was a further indication
Mugabe and his party were no longer scrambling for elections this year.
Further signs Zanu PF has now backed down on its clamour for early polls,
with or without a new constitution, came as MDC leader Welshman Ncube said
yesterday elections were likely to be held by September next year after the
expiry of the lifespan on the coalition government in June. The current
constitution puts the ceiling for elections as October month-end next year.
Ncube told the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress in
Victoria Falls that polls were practically still a long way off.
“We will have an election by September next year one way or the other,” he
said. “After Luanda, there is some steady progress in that direction.
Virtually all the issues in deadlock had been resolved as of yesterday
(Wednesday). What remains is editorial work of the drafters.”
Copac has reportedly managed to resolve all issues in dispute, paving way
for Sadc facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma’s long-awaited
visit. Zuma wanted to visit Harare on Monday but principals and negotiators
said they were not ready to receive him. Zuma is expected to pressure
principals to implement the GPA and roadmap as directed by Sadc leaders and
raise regional concerns about military interference in politics and
elections following threats by army commanders to block winners from taking
Ncube said the challenge now was to have credible elections which would not
undo what has been achieved under the inclusive government.
A series of recent events at home and in the region have conspired to thwart
Mugabe’s election plans. After most politburo meetings held since January
this year, some Zanu PF officials have been demanding elections this year,
citing claims of a dysfunctional coalition government. Zanu PF officials
have also been claiming it was in the national interest to hold elections
this year, not next year as that would polarise society during United
Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly to be held in Victoria
Falls in August. They also been saying the GPA has expired and that the
lifespan of the government ends in March next year, pretexts rejected by
Sadc leaders. Now some Zanu PF hardliners have invented a new excuse that it
is not possible to hold the elections under a new constitution as the
remaining before polls by June next year is not enough to accommodate that.
However, at the Wednesday meeting Zanu PF’s approach and focus was
remarkably different, sources said.
Absent from the Wednesday meeting was the usual fiery rhetoric demanding
elections this year without fail; issuing of ultimatums to Copac to hand
over the draft constitution to the principals; urging of Zanu PF officials
to prepare for elections this year and the urgent need to end the
“dysfunctional” coalition government whose lifespan has allegedly expired.
Instead, the politburo virtually admitted elections were not coming this
year when it nullified all DCC election results countrywide, irrespective of
whether they were in dispute or not.
A party insider said: “All DCC election results have been nullified. People
felt the elections were divisive and fuelled factionalism ahead of
The DCC elections had become the battleground for Zanu PF factions tussling
to wrestle control of strategic party structures in the battle to eventually
produce a successor to Mugabe, now reeling from old age and frailty.
Infighting rocked DCC elections in Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East,
Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and South provinces, as the factions led by
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa fought
for control of the provinces.
The divisions which have been ripping the party aparthave been complicated
by the emergence of a strong security establishment-based group rooting for
Mugabe to stay on.
Internal strife has been so pronounced that it forced Mugabe to publicly
denounce factions and their leaders, saying they were destroying the party.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said yesterday: “DCC elections were
discussed but a report will be produced in due course.” However, senior
party officials say the results were nullified. In the last politburo
meeting before Wednesday senior party leaders clashed along factional lines
mainly due to the elections fallout.
However, party insiders told Independent yesterday hardliners pushing for
elections this year, with the support of securocrats, still want polls the
current constitution, not new one. They are now arguing it would not be
possible to hold produce a new constitution in 12 months and hold elections
Senior Zanu PF politburo member JonathanMoyo, a Mugabe loyalist identified
with party hardliners who all along was vowing polls would be held this
year, wrote in the current edition of a state-controlled weekly “it would be
impossible for the processes, laws and institutions enabled by the new
constitution to be enacted and implemented within the constitutionally
available time in the next 11 months before the next general election”.
“In other words… it is now practically impossible for the elections to be
held under any new constitution,” he said.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:38
ZANU PF is scrambling for a clause in the draft constitution which will
require 80% approval in a referendum to amend the constitution in reference
to land issues, a move widely seen as an attempt to protect its senior
officials and supporters who grabbed farms during the chaotic land reform
The proposal is among the 200 recommendations Zanu PF made on the draft
constitution currently under discussion.
Most of the Zanu PF demands — which seek to fundamentally change the draft
constitution — are geared towards preserving the current imperial presidency
and institutional arrangements. But a compromise has been reached on most of
the issues, according to the Independent’s briefings with negotiators.
Some of Zanu PF’s demands include that the military should be allowed to
play an active part in national politics; the president should appoint
commissions without parliamentary approval; there should be no
constitutional court as demanded by the people but a “division” of the
Supreme Court; there should not be devolution of power to the provinces;
executive authority must only vest in the president and the president shall
not be answerable to parliament on deploying troops, among other things.
Zanu PF also wanted the registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede to remain in charge
of voter registration with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, whose staff it
is refusing to change, only “supervising the process”. The party also wanted
the Attorney-General to retain his prosecuting powers but not sit in cabinet
It was also demanding the maintaining of the two vice-presidents, although
the idea of a running mate, who automatically becomes the first
vice-president, is being discussed. Seats in parliament will also be
increased by 60 reserved for woman despite that the method of distribution
is still in dispute.
On land, Zanu PF wanted Section 7.2 (a) of the draft to include it was
“resolved to include the Land section 4.24, which requires 80% approval in
referendum when amending the constitution in section 18.12”.
This is widely seen as an attempt to make land issues irreversible under
the new constitution. President Robert Mugabe and senior Zanu PF officials,
including ministers, seized vast tracts of land from displaced commercial
On devolution, Zanu PF wants it to be called “decentralisation” and be left
to an Act of Parliament to deal with under the principles and tiers of
government, although the issue has not been resolved.
Under the deal agreed by the parties last week, the country’s 10 provinces
will each have a provincial assembly made up of MPs and senators from that
region, representatives of local authorities and 10 individuals elected by
proportional representation as well as a provincial governor.
“When it comes to the issue of governor, the provincial assembly will
nominate two candidates for the post and forward the names to the president
who will then formally appoint one of those,” one negotiator said.
Under the current constitution, the president appoints governors invariably
from his party which lost the last election.
Zanu PF was also demanding that the proposed constitutional court must be
deleted from the draft and replaced with “constitutional division of the
Supreme Court”. The issue is one of the most contested matters as Zanu PF
seems afraid of having different judges other than the current Supreme Court
bench presiding over constitutional matters. Most of the current judges were
elevated after the party had purged the bench of “undesirable elements” at
the height of the land reform programme and political repression after 2000.
On the election of the president, Zanu PF wanted the 50 plus one concept,
which is in the Electoral Act, to be revisited and embedded in the
constitution. The party is also insisting on a clause which says the
“president takes precedence over all persons in Zimbabwe” after the draft
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:35
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has slammed the coalition government’s
continued haggling over economic policies, warning the long-running row
could soon stall Zimbabwe’s steady recovery.
Biti told the Zimbabwe Independent at the weekend policy differences
continued to widen structural fissures within government, tearing apart the
Global Political Agreement (GPA).
“There is no collective responsibility in government because some people
continue to be partisan on measures adopted to arrest collapse of government
operations,” said Biti.
Last week Biti faced a barrage of criticism after his presentation on a
catalogue of measures aimed at solving financial problems dogging
Biti’s proposals called for sweeping cuts in foreign travel which gobbled
US$45 million last year, freezing of civil servants’ salaries, disposing of
loss-making government entities and ensuring mining companies in Marange
diamond fields remitted revenues to Treasury.
Biti has repeatedly lamented low revenues from diamond, something which has
forced him to revise downwards his budget projections.
The minister has also accused Zanu PF of running parallel government
directly financing certain state activities with proceeds from diamond
Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been
accused of prioritising foreign travel at the expense of funding basic
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:41
ZIMBABWE’S financial sector is still vulnerable and needs continued
vigilance, especially given the country’s “destabilising” indigenisation
policy and collapse of banks such as Interfin Banking Corporation and the
closure of Genesis Investment Bank, a report by the visiting International
Monetary Fund team has disclosed.
The IMF team is deeply concerned about the destabilising effect Zimbabwe’s
controversial Indigenisation policy could have on the country’s banking
sector and on investment.
An IMF report seen by the Zimbabwe Independent shows that the fund sees
policy risk stemming from heightened government calls to indigenise the
The IMF team headed by Alfredo Cuevas and comprising Murna Morgan, Christian
Henn, Eliza Lis and Futoshi Narita was in Harare between June 13-27 to
conduct Article IV consultations with the country’s authorities.
The team met officials from government, the Reserve Bank (RBZ) and other
“A policy risk relates to the potentially destabilising effects of
indigenisation policy on the banking system, as well as its chilling effect
on investment more broadly,” the report reads.
“Other risks stem from fiscal slippages and financial sector instability,
including liquidity constraints and questions over the quality of governance
in small banks.”
The IMF commended efforts to enhance regulatory framework on the part of the
central bank, pointing to the order forcing undercapitalised banks to meet
minimum capital requirements by the end of March 2012 or merge with stronger
The fund said 12 banks were either below or just above minimum capital
requirement levels as at December 31 2012.
After the collapse of Interfin from non-performing insider loans and its
subsequent placement under curatorship, and Genesis surrendering its
banking licence after failing to meet minimum capital requirements, the IMF
still feels the country’s financial sector remains vulnerable.
“As noted, a number of banks remain barely capitalised, and while several
weak banks have met the minimum capital requirement following capital
injections, credit risks remain high, particularly for smaller banks that
have low capital buffers,” the report says.
The report also notes that asset qualities deteriorated in the last year and
a half — a development the fund says reflects unsound lending practices and
poor risk management. Non-performing loans were at 9% in March 2012, up from
4% in the same period last year with wide variations across the banks.
The IMF report says loan origination from weak banks remained strong, funded
by unstable short-term deposits.
“The serious improprieties uncovered at Interfin would seem to confirm
persistent concerns over the quality of corporate governance in some of the
smaller banks, underscoring the need for active supervision,” the report
While the liquidity situation in the banking sector improved, there was
uneven distribution, the IMF said.
The IMF says rapid credit growth last year saw loans-to-deposit ratios of
banks rising sharply, and a liquidity ratio of 27% at the end of December
2011, with 15 banks below 25% of the prudential liquidity ratio.
The report lauds the central bank’s move to have banks remit offshore funds
held in Nostro accounts, saying the move lifted the prudential liquidity
ratio from 25% to 30% towards the end of this month.
“The government issued bonds in March 2012 to reimburse the commercial banks
for the US$83 million of statutory reserves blocked at the RBZ.
Nevertheless, while the bonds are nominally tradable, their durations (2-4
years) and sub-market interests (3 %) means that banks are holding on to
these bonds, preventing their use as collateral to foster reestablishment of
the Interbank market,” the report says.
The report says there is a need to amend the Banking Act to strengthen the
Troubled and Insolvent Bank Resolution Framework to incorporate swift
corrective actions, and deal with corporate governance deficiencies.
According to the report, an amended Banking Act would be presented to
cabinet by August 2012.
The IMF added that there should a debate on the need to consolidate the
small and weaker banks going forward.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:36
ZIMBABWE is thrashing out a “resources for arms” deal with Russia which may
see the country being supplied with military helicopters and other hardware
in exchange for platinum. A report carried by Russia’s Kommersant business
daily and online publications yesterday said officials from the former
superpower who were in the country in April all but secured an
inter-governmental agreement on stimulating investment and defence, under
which a state corporation, Russian Technologies, would supply military
helicopters in exchange for mineral rights to platinum deposits in
However, checks yesterday by the Zimbabwe Independent with Russian diplomats
in Harare indicated the military helicopters in question may actually be old
ones which had been taken for repairs in the world’s largest country in
terms of surface area.
“The helicopters in question are not new but old ones which had been taken
to Russia for repairs,” one diplomat said last night. “Probably that’s what
they are referring to.”
Reports say the Darwendale mining area which has attracted the Russians’
interest in the mineral-rich Great Dyke has platinum reserves as well as
other valuable metals such as gold, nickel, copper and palladium, among
A senior mining executive confirmed to the Independent yesterday Russians
were in the country in April and, apart from meeting government and military
officials, they also met players in the mining sector to glean information.
“Yes, discussions are taking place and in fact I met the visitors referred
to in April,” the mining executive said.
“They did not disclose how they proposed to pay for the (platinum) deposits
but were certainly holding discussions and asked to meet with me to talk
about the area in question.”
The executive said the major sticking point could however be differences in
valuation of the resource between government and the Russians.
He said the Russians wanted government to take into consideration
investment, financing and operating costs to extract and process the mineral
in evaluating the deal.
“There will be a gap in expectation on the part of our government which
clings to the belief that minerals in the ground are valued at the selling
price of estimated metal content,” the executive said.
“This ignores investment, financing and operating costs to extract and
process the minerals. So if government expects to receive billions worth of
military equipment in exchange for bare ground, it’s not going to happen!”
It is understood Russchrome and RusszimMining, which have links to the army,
are part of the deal. ZDF spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi said he was
unaware of the deal.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:29
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has summoned MDC-T heavyweights in Bulawayo
to quiz them over the recent defections of 84 party members in Makokoba.
Makokoba is represented by Tsvangirai’s deputy, Thokozani Khupe, in
The 84 members are believed to have dumped the MDC-T to join the Welshman
Ncube-led MDC after accusing Khupe of “abusing them and working with Zanu
Tsvangirai is currently in Bulawayo and sources said he is determined to get
to the bottom of the matter and determine why the supporters have ditched
Tsvangirai is expected to chair a no-holds-barred meeting with his party’s
Bulawayo provincial executive committee led by chairman and State
Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo, in which the defections
issue would take centre stage along with the state of the party in Bulawayo.
Sources said Tsvangirai was also expected to meet some of the defectors at
the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial offices as part of his mission to lure them
back to the party.
Khupe has vehemently denied that the “defectors” were members of the MDC-T
and labelled the reports as part of Ncube’s propaganda war to wrest the seat
from her in the next election.
Ncube lost the same seat to Khupe in the 2008 elections, but has been taking
advantage of the internal squabbling plaguing the MDC-T in Bulawayo.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:34
MDC-T MPs Eddie Cross and Anadi Sululu have vowed to press ahead with their
motion calling for the censure of ministers who skip parliament to avoid
scheduled question-and-answer sessions by backbenchers.
MDC-T heavyweights have ordered the duo to withdraw the motion, calling for
accountability by members of the executive, fearing it may expose the party
ahead of elections, but Cross said they would disregard the directive
because most ministers in the coalition government think they are beyond
Cross said in an interview some of his party leaders were informally
lobbying him and Sululu to withdraw the motion.
“Some ministers, even in our party, are offended by the motion and have
informally been sending overtures to us to drop the motion,” said Cross.
“However, Sululu and I are equally determined to move the motion since it
will improve transparency in government.”
Cross said the days for the executive to use parliament as a rubber stamp
and treat it as a doormat are over.
“We will not allow ourselves again to be used as doormats. Finance minister
Tendai Biti now knows it after we threatened to block his 2012 budget,”
Cross singled out Tourism minister Walter Mzembi as the only member of the
executive who has treated parliament with respect since 2009.
Those with outstanding questions on the order paper include Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman
Ncube, Transport and Infrastructure minister Nicholas Goche, Youth and
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, State Enterprises and
Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo and Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi
and Theresa Makone.
The MDC-T move to thwart the motion comes hard on the heels of Zanu PF’s
whipping of Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda into line after he recently
tried to push for an investigation into allegations of corruption and
mismanagement at the Reserve Bank.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:33
BANKERS have urged the Reserve Bank to mint coins to alleviate the problem
of unavailability of change in small denominations in the economy.
Documents in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent show the Bankers
Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) recently made a proposal to government for the
central bank to be allowed to mint coins to facilitate smooth transactions.
According to the proposal, the coins could be exchanged on a
dollar-for-dollar basis enabling people to redeem coins for notes should
they accumulate large amounts of coins.
“This in our view will bring a lot of convenience to the public and make
pricing simpler,” Baz president George Guvamatanga says in a letter, dated
May 14 2012, to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono. “This will reduce the
unnecessary price increases that have been attributed to the absence of
The bankers suggested a directive be issued encouraging operators to provide
change to the public. Their letter also says the cost of importing coins has
been an inhibiting factor in efforts made so far in making coins available.
Following adoption of multi-currency use, bankers imported several million
rand worth of coins from South Africa but these were re-exported after
bankers failed to agree on an uptake rate with retailers.
In the 2011 budget statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti said government
had engaged the United States Federal Reserve over possible provision of
coins and replacement of soiled notes to ease small change problems in the
Biti said he was working with the banking sector to import US coins to
resolve the problem posed by the current challenge of applying cross rates
in giving change in rand coins for transactions made in US dollars.
However, Baz has nowr shelved plans citing the huge costs of importing the
coins. It said importing US$5 million worth of coins in various
denominations required another US$5 million to pay for them.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:31
PLOTS by Joint Operations Command chiefs and intelligence services to smear
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s image ahead of the next elections through
allegations of corruption and sexual indiscretions, amongst other things,
seem to be falling apart, especially after the Highlands housing scandal
failed to stick.
This comes amid allegations in a Global Witness report released this week
that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has received about US$100
million in off-budget financing from a Hong Kong businessman, Sam Pa. Some
of the funds were allegedly targeted towards an operation codenamed
“Spiderweb” – a covert manoeuvre designed to discredit senior MDC officials.
There has been no public denial of the allegations by the CIO. Senior
members of the MDC-T, particularly secretary-general Tendai Biti, as well as
MDC leader Welshman Ncube are to be also targeted by intelligence agents in
The smear campaign is aimed at damaging the profiles of President Robert
Mugabe’s opponents ahead of the next elections.
Top on its list was the alleged housing scandal in which Tsvangirai was
accused of misappropriating US$1,5 million he received from the Reserve Bank
in 2009 to buy a house in Harare’s upmarket Highlands suburb. He was
allocated a further US$1 million by Treasury for the same project hence
allegations of double-dipping and fraud, but investigations into the case
seem to have collapsed after Mugabe, who approved the deal, urged caution on
Biti, who is also Finance minister, was also being investigated over the
issue. Sources say the murky campaign, whose dirt has failed to stick, was
far from over with more “sexual scandals” likely to be exposed ahead of
polls. The issues came under the spotlight again after the alleged US$100
million CIO slush fund report.
“More scandals will be revealed in the run up to elections. The CIO has been
trailing Tsvangirai, Biti, Ncube and other officials for a long time. They
have much on them including sex tapes, so it will not come as a surprise if
we have Pius Ncube-kind of exposures again,” said a source.
Tsvangirai, who recently married Elizabeth Macheka Guma, after the Locardia
Karimatsenga fiasco, has also been linked to several other women. This
week's reports say he was paying US$1 400 a month in maintenance for his
19-month-old baby with a Bulawayo woman, Loreta Nyathi.
Biti is also reportedly under probe over US$20 million drawn from the
International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The money is said
to have mysteriously “disappeared” from the coffers of the troubled Interfin
Bank now under curatorship. Biti has however explained how he used the SDR
Last year, police probed Biti’s ministry officials for alleged corruption.
One of those arrested in the ministry was Petronella Chishawa, who was later
embroiled in an alleged sex scandal with Biti which was splashed on the
front pages of state newspapers, which will be the main platform for
discrediting MDC officials ahead of elections. However, most of these
exposures have failed to work.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:27
THE ongoing murder trial at the Mutare High Court involving a Chiadzwa
villager has brought police brutality and impunity during investigations and
in dealing with civilians to the spotlight once again.
Police officers in Mutare have fingered their superior Chief Superintendent
Joseph Chani as being responsible for the death of Tsorosai Kusena –– a
suspected diamond dealer –– who died after alleged torture while in police
custody. The three officers reportedly said their boss approved the use of
torture during Kusena’s interrogation, which led to his death.
Although this has outraged his family and the community, the claims are
hardly surprising since the police have for a long time been accused of,
among other things, using violent methods, torture and other extra-judicial
measures when dealing with suspects, be it in political, criminal or civil
In March this year all hell broke loose in the small mining town of Shamva
when police rounded up Ashley Mine residents and severely assaulted them
over a case involving the officer-in-charge’s wife, resulting in the death
of Luxmore Chivambo.
The officer-in-charge Inspector Aspias Shumba was later arrested but is out
on US$100 bail, while his six subordinates are out on US$50 bail each.
By contrast, 29 Glen View residents facing charges of murdering a police
officer last year continue to languish in remand after being denied bail.
Police are pulling out all the stops to secure convictions, while they
ignore many murders of civilians.
The case is as much about the murder of a policeman as it is about police
Police ruthlessness is rampant. In 2006 police allegedly picked up and
savagely beat up organisers of a demonstration for better living conditions
who included former ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe and his
president Lovemore Matombo.
In 2007, police allegedly shot dead in cold blood a National Constitutional
Assembly activist Gift Tandare during a Save Zimbabwe Campaign peace rally
in Highfield, but there were no arrests made.
During the same year, police severely assaulted then opposition MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, over a public meeting which they
claimed was unlawful. Tsvangirai sustained severe injuries, including a
broken skull, triggering global outrage and condemnation.
Concerned Zimbabweans have expressed horror at police barbarity and
impunity, calling for security forces to be held accountable for their
Human rights activists have condemned police violence, including their
approach of arresting in order to investigate. Police often lose cases in
court due to lack of evidence.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:34
MYSTERY surrounding the identity of the owner of the US$5,5 million
luxurious yacht imported from Italy has deepened with the country’s security
services sniffing around to unmask the individual. The yacht has drawn as
much attention while moored off Lake Kariba’s waterfront this week as when
it crossed the Beitbridge border post last week on Wednesday, but until now
the ownership of the two Cummins 5HP diesel engine vessel remains shrouded
Zimbabwean clearance documents list the luxury boat as belonging to James
Moyo of a known Chisipite address, while South African sources say he is
merely a front for a very senior Zanu PF official.
Following an article in last week’s Zimbabwe Independent, people have come
forward offering information and linking more names of Zanu PF bigwigs to
the vessel, including a rich minister and a top military commander.
The Independent is still reconciling the different names to the ownership of
But whoever the lucky owner is, they sure have very deep pockets.
The vessel was built by Azimut Yachts of Italy and has fully air-conditioned
six-sleeper berths and three lounges with a 32" flat-screen television and a
It also has top and bottom steering wheels which allow the driver to steer
the boat from either inside or outside.
According to sources in South Africa, the boat was fully paid for at
Broderick Marine in Vanderbiljpark, southern Johannesburg, which ordered it
from Italy on behalf of the owner.
It crossed the border on Wednesday last week and was cleared by Group Air’s
GA Freight, a Harare-based clearing agency, which said it could not discuss
personal clients due to strict confidentiality agreements.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:32
ZANU PF secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment Saviour
Kasukuwere has declared there will be no going back on indigenisation of
the banking sector saying financial institutions which do not serve
aspirations of ordinary people have no place in Zimbabwe. Speaking at the
Zanu PF Economic Cluster Department workshop in Harare yesterday,
Kasukuwere, who is also the Indigenisation minister, lashed out at the
banking sector accusing it of having a mentality that “is very much in the
He said the time had come for the country to move the indigenisation
rhetoric to economic empowerment. Kasukuwere said government would today
publish a statutory instrument that would legislate the 51% threshold for
ownership under the country’s indigenisation laws. He revealed that his
ministry was in advanced discussions with Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays
Bank and StanbicBank regarding their empowerment programmes.
He expressed disappointment at the hospitality sector saying Zimbabweans had
not been empowered and indicated that “we cannot continue with a situation
where we have foreigners showcasing our animals when the locals are there.
“I am, however, pleased that there has been a lot of compliance by our
mining sector with the major platinum and gold producers having submitted
acceptable empowerment plans”, Kasukuwere said.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:30
INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube has blamed Mines minister
Obert Mpofu for stalling implementation of the multi-million Essar deal by
routinely defying cabinet decisions, forcing the Indian company to mull
Without mentioning Mpofu by name but in apparent reference to him, Ncube
told the Independent this week the situation at NewZim Steel Ltd is
frustrating because “a former Industry and Commerce minister” is ruining the
US$750 million deal. Mpofu was Industry and Trade minister when Ziscosteel
“We have a former minister in charge of industries who says he will not
comply with decisions of cabinet which is supposed to be the highest
executive authority in the country,” said Ncube.
“The situation at NewZim is frustrating to the extent that management and
workers held a day of prayer last week. Since last year, the new investor
has injected more than US$50 million in a bid to assist us but we seem not
to want to be assisted. One person is a stumbling block to the deal,” Ncube
He said even if his officials and those from the Mines ministry and NewZim
agree on something, “that very person turns down everything”. “We take
issues to cabinet and agree, but again this very person who was minister in
charge of industries when Zisco closed vetoes everything,” Ncube said.
Mpofu has said Ncube signed the deal without his Mines ministry’s input and
wants the deal reviewed.
Essar controls 54% of NewZim Steel, while the government and minority
shareholders control the remaining stake. The company also holds 80% of the
resources through its stake in NewZim Minerals, formerly Buchwa Iron Mining
Bimco held the rights to iron ore claims for feedstock into Ziscosteel
However, Essar has failed to kick-start operations because the Ministry of
Mines has refused to give it mineral rights to Mwanezi iron reserves,
arguing it does not know the quantity and value of the deposits.
The ministry has even claimed there are 30 billion tonnes of high-grade iron
ore reserves and Zimbabwe could lose billions of dollars if Essar was given
unlimited rights to mine. President Robert Mugabe and cabinet have
instructed Mpofu and Ncube to speedily resolve the issue but the problem
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:29
GOVERNMENT is stepping up efforts to resuscitate ailing parastatals by
seeking partnerships with leading South African state-owned enterprises
following four-day inter-governmental meetings in Pretoria last week.
State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo, who headed the
Zimbabwean delegation, told the Zimbabwe Independent government indicated it
wanted joint ventures with Transnet, South African Airways (SAA) and Eskom
during meetings with South African Public Enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba
and his officials.
Transnet operates and controls major transport infrastructure in SA which
include the National Ports Authority, Transnet Rail Engineering, Transnet
Pipelines and Transnet Freight Rail. Eskom is the South African power
Transnet is embarking on a massive R300 billion infrastructural development
programme aimed at assisting the South African industrial sector to increase
exports to the rest of the world and grow the economy.
“South African state enterprises are interested in investing in Zimbabwe and
we have singled out Eskom, SAA and Transnet for joint ventures with their
Zimbabwean counterparts because they are key levers in the South African
economy,” said Moyo.
Moyo’s delegation toured SAA offices and facilities at OR Tambo
International Airport in Johannesburg on the second day of their visit and
also held meetings with the airline’s top management.
Moyo said they had also explored areas of mutual co-operation in the areas
of privatisation, restructuring and management of state enterprises. His
ministry has produced a manual to serve as a guide for line ministries in
re-structuring of state enterpries.
Transnet is earmarked to partner with the National Railways of Zimbabwe in
reviving the rail infrastructure while SAA and Eskom would partner with Air
Zimbabwe and Zesa, respectively.
“We are working together with the relevant ministries and when our South
African counterparts come, their officials will also meet with the line
ministries responsible for the relevant state enterprises,” Moyo said.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:21
NOT only in Zimbabwe is the phrase “profitable airline” oxymoronic, but
across the world the airline industry is known to be dogged by hopeless
economics which accommodate only the very large and efficient airlines.
While there are no permanent darlings in this industry, the ugly child “Air
Zimbabwe” exemplifies a perfect case study on “how not to run an airline”.
Air Zimbabwe owes its creditors, including staff a whooping US$150m,
approximately 3% of the GDP of Zimbabwe.
Transport minister Nicholas Goche has admitted that Air Zimbabwe is a
chronic loss- making entity that has toiled in the red for several years. As
expected he has promised a restructuring exercise, but what he can perhaps
learn from other such exercises is that a mere change in company structure
and its roles barely cuts it in this ruthless industry.
Case for consolidation
For flag carriers belonging to relatively small countries such as Zimbabwe,
continuous restructuring with no lasting solution is the order of day.
Unless fundamental shifts in the areas of ownership and scale are effected,
governments will continue to waste taxpayers’ money into these bleeding
Despite overprotection of skies and incessant subsidies, smaller airlines
such as Air Zimbabwe, Air Botswana and Air Malawi will always struggle to
cover their operating costs. Their stark choice is either to consolidate or
eventually face the auction block. This unfortunate and harsh reality calls
for an industry evolvement, which in this case refers to consolidation and
privatisation of national airlines.
Economies of scale
The airline industry is confronted by fundamental issues driven by
globalisation, which include scale and ownership, role of national identity,
competitive pressures and consolidation.
Because the marginal cost of an extra passenger is almost negligible, the
industry has been reduced to a numbers’ game. Therefore, airlines which can
put more and bigger planes in the sky, and fly more often, are able to bring
down their per-passenger cost dramatically. With more occupied seats, large
airlines are able to cover the industry’s notoriously high fixed overheads
which include aircraft maintenance and leasing. Such costs are the reason
there are small airlines compromising on safety and incurring losses year
after year, despite government assistance.
Because of economies of scale gained from large markets, big airlines can
price their tickets generously, drawing more passengers and making more
revenue. It then follows that by allowing mergers and alliances in the
African airline industry prices are likely to come down, operators are
likely to make profits and more people will be able to fly.
In our case, Air Zimbabwe’s extensive cost structure which includes a staff
complement of an estimated 1 360 workers, training school and office
infrastructure is probably too large to be supported by the revenue
generated from the number of passengers the carrier shuttles. With a bit of
sprucing up the once respected engineering and maintenance unit (Air
Zimbabwe Technical) could support more regional airlines at once without
drastic increases to costs.
Over-protection of national skies and regulatory constraints among countries
are preventing the regional airline industry from achieving the efficiency
and performance levels reached in other parts of the world. A central
recommendation is a merger or an alliance which brings several flag carriers
together to form a much bigger and stronger regional airline taking the
shape and identity of the region, perhaps with cross border-equity
Sadc’s ailing flag carriers
Performances of regional flag carriers confirm that small and state-owned
airlines have a difficult time, owing to their ownership structure and small
At the beginning of the year Air Malawi was reported to have incurred a loss
of about US$7,1m in the 2010-2011 financial period and US$8,3m the year
before. Early this year the Nyasa Times, a Malawian paper, reported the
airline was in K7bn (US$26,2m) debt. Air Botswana has not been spared
either. The airline lost an estimated P54m (US$6,8m) for the 2010-2011
financial year end period and P45m (US$5,7m) the previous year. LAM, the
Mozambique flag carrier, has done worse. Apart from loss-making, the airline
was banned from flying into Europe a few weeks ago on safety grounds.
Continental giant South African Airways (SAA) has been posting losses for
three consecutive years (2007-2009) and is expected to incur another loss in
the current financial period. For the majority of the African airlines,
profits are tighter than leg room in the economy class.
The cited cases bring out the argument that while Air Zimbabwe’s problems
may largely be the result of internal issues, the common thread among
loss-making flag carriers is ownership structure and most importantly, scale
which is often worsened by overprotection of national skies.
The problem of limited scale is rooted in how fractured the African
continent is, with 54 nations, each government determined to have its own
national flag carrier.
Consolidation in Europe
Consolidation is not a new phenomenon in the airline industry. Both North
America and European markets have experienced several cases of mergers and
acquisitions in recent years.
For Europe, even the big four large flag carriers Air France, Lufthansa,
British Airways and KLM had to adjust to the industry’s evolvement. In 2004,
flag carrier Air France merged with its Dutch counterpart KLM. Coming from
difficult backgrounds the merged entity realised an increase in operating
profits by 32,5% on a 7,6% increase in revenues. In a 2005 merger of
Lufthansa (Germany) and Switzerland flag carrier, Swiss, the combined
company reaped US$530m from the financial synergies created by the deal.
The momentum of consolidation has gathered pace in recent years, resulting
in Iberia, the Spanish flag carrier, merging with British Airways in 2011.
Closer home, Kenya Airways, third largest airline in Africa and one of the
very few profitable ones, is a privatised entity with the largest
shareholder (KLM-Air France) owning approximately 26% of the carrier.
Earlier this month, Kenyan Transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakere indicated
that plans to merge or cooperate were underway among the three East African
countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
These chronicled mergers and consolidations show that it is possible for
countries to merge their flag carriers with the good intent of saving and
making air transport affordable to its citizens. This is a reasonable
proposition for African governments — particularly those in Sadc — to
consider a regional carrier.
Benefits of regional airline
Apart from gaining economies of scale and subsequently charging lower fares
and keeping in the black, a consolidated industry will promote regional
economic integration, trade and tourism. With reliable, cheaper and frequent
flights there will be greater volumes of passengers and goods moved.
In a recent article, the Global Aviator reported that about 15 African
airlines have been banned by the EU from flying into Europe on safety
grounds. African airlines cannot expect to compete against continental
giants such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Emirates without working
together. A regional airline is the way forward.
With a combined population of 280 million people, Sadc should consider
integrating its flag carriers to not more than three major airlines to
become competitive. For Zimbabwe, a trip down memory lane tells of the
existence of “Central African Airways”, a joint airline which brought
together Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the 1940s.
Given this collective predicament it is worth revisiting that model.
Ray Chipendo is a management consultant at a Johannesburg-based firm, as
well as managing partner for Emergent Capital Management, a niche
investment management company on the ZSE and JSE markets. E-mail:
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:05
NEGOTIATIONS can be a useful tool of resolving conflicts or disputes,
depending on the issues at stake. Problems like constitution-making
contests, labour disputes or company acquisitions can be resolved through
However, when the issues at stake are fundamental, affecting human rights or
the future of a country, negotiations may not provide the most ideal way of
reaching a mutually satisfactory settlement as compromise on some basic
issues could prove to be difficult or impossible.
Negotiations, of course, may not be an option at all in some situations.
After Zimbabwe went through a decade of political stalemate and conflict
since 2000, mainly due to disputed elections which fuelled an economic
meltdown and hyperinflation, Zanu PF and the two MDC parties resolved after
the June 2008 presidential election runoff bloodbath the only way out was
Although the country had come through negotiations in the past, including
the Lancaster House Conference in 1979 which ushered Independence in 1980
and the talks between Zanu and Zapu during the civil strife in the
mid-1980s, the 2008 dialogue was different. The circumstances, issues and
dynamics had changed.
However, one of the most difficult questions to answer during the 2008 talks
was the issue of power relations. Who held the balance of forces and how was
the situation going to pan out during the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
negotiations and after?
During the GPA talks, under the facilitation of former South African
president Thabo Mbeki, it was not clear who was stronger in the power
relations, especially after President Robert Mugabe had lost the first round
of polls in March and resorted to violence to retain power, while Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was at the height of his popularity and held sway
on the moral high ground. There were questions and prognoses of what would
happen during the talks and what next after that.
The majority of long-suffering Zimbabweans pinned their hopes for change on
the GPA which led to the current unity government, as it spelt out sweeping
reforms, including a new constitution as part of attempts to open up the
country’s democratic space and create favourable conditions for free and
Zanu PF’s opponents, who have consistently accused the party of rigging
elections and brutalising opponents to maintain its grip on power, were
optimistic the party which was part of the liberation movement that led the
country to Independence was finally on its way out.
However, the expectations based on the GPA dispensation have proved rather
naïve as Zanu PF has used the respite of relative peace and stability to
close ranks and rejuvenate itself. Now most of them the time Mugabe and Zanu
PF prevail when there are disputes.
Whenever there is a deadlock, Mugabe has simply gone ahead to impose his
will. Typifying the power Mugabe still wields in the coalition has been his
decision to unilaterally appoint governors, ambassadors, judges and renew
the contracts of security service chiefs despite in violation of the GPA,
showing Zanu PF is still very much in control.
In the regard, the jury is now surely out on who is in charge, Mugabe or
Mugabe still holds the balance of power using his positional and coercive
capacity, mainly the control of state institutions, particularly the
security forces.Tsvangirai mainly has moral power or the force of
persuasion — soft power — while Mugabe has the hard power.
One of the most important lessons to emerge from the negotiations leading to
the GPA is how negotiations work.
Negotiations do not mean that the parties in the talks sit down together on
a basis of equality and negotiate and resolve the differences that produced
the conflict between them. Two facts must be remembered. First, in
negotiations it is not the relative justice of the conflicting views and
objectives that determines the content of a negotiated agreement. Second,
the content of a negotiated agreement is largely determined by the power
capacity of each side.
The most important issue is leverage. What can each side do to secure its
objectives if the other side fails to come to an agreement at the
negotiating table? What can each side do after an agreement is reached if
the other side breaks its word and refuses to meet its side of the bargain?
Using the power of incumbency, even if it was shaky at the time, Mugabe and
Zanu PF were in a relatively stronger position, hence the outcome which
largely favoured them. Zanu PF set the ground rules for negotiations,
dictating that some issues like Mugabe’s position were out of bounds. During
negotiations on the roadmap last year, Zanu PF also refused to talk about
such issues as security sector reforms.
By contrast, the MDC parties have conceded much ground on issues such as
sanctions removal, provincial governors, ambassadors, judges, Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-general Johannes Tomana.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said although the current deadlock in
the negotiations had shown Zanu PF was not as powerful as it used to be, it
nevertheless proved it still had the edge over the MDC formations.
“The MDC parties are negotiating with (politburo members Patrick) Chinamasa
and (Nicholas) Goche but the real Zanu PF has become a complex mix of
civilian hardliners, securocrats, clergy and crony capitalists whose
collective weight has made the party’s position stronger,” he said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika said the MDC groups
have been frustrated by informal power structures propping up Mugabe and
Zanu PF. “The failure to engage in meaningful national debate on realignment
of the security sector means there will always be an outside force that can
frustrate formal efforts because the formal structures themselves are not
where power and control lie,” said Lewanika.
“Outside the formal arrangements, you have informal or parallel structures
especially made up of securocrats who refuse to subject themselves to
civilian oversight and control. You can have discussions as Copac, or the
management committee or as principals, for instance, but these engagements
and agreements can be vetoed by JOC (Joint Operations Command) or the Zanu
Lewanika said Tsvangirai got the illusion of power because despite chairing
the Council of Ministers, government business virtually grinds to a halt
whenever Mugabe is out of the country. Besides, Zanu PF ministers
deliberately defy his directives, showing where power lies.
Information minister Webster Shamu and his Indigenisation counterpart
Saviour Kasukuwere are among Zanu PF ministers who have refused to accept
The current constitution-making process also shows who controls the levers
However, Education minister and MDC senator David Coltart said the problem
was some parties were negotiating in bad faith, hence the long drawn out
talks and failure to implement agreed issues. “The problem here is that some
people have been negotiating in bad faith because of their selfish political
motives and consequently delayed the process,” he said.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku said GPA was a
“hoax” right from the beginning as the parties, particularly Zanu PF and
MDC-T, did not intend to fulfil some of the agreed issues, especially
producing a new constitution.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:26
Faith Zaba/Tendai Marima
AN intricate web of Chinese and Zimbabwean military networks control the
country’s biggest diamond mining company, Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd
through front or nominee companies designed to camouflage the involvement of
security forces, investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent have
While most cabinet ministers and others in government may not have been
informed about the organisational and ownership structures of Anjin,
investigations show the firm is controlled by the Chinese and Zimbabwean
military establishments mining diamonds under disguise in Marange.
Anjin is a joint venture between a Chinese firm, the Anhui Foreign Economic
Construction (Group) Co. Ltd, a large construction company, which sources
say is connected to the military-industrial complex in China, and Matt
Bronze Enterprises, whose company directors were people selling shelf
While it was clear who Anhui, which had embarked on major construction
projects in Africa, including military complexes in countries such as Ghana
and Zimbabwe was, the biggest question has been, who is Matt Bronze and who
are its directors and ultimate beneficiaries?
According to the latest Kimberley Process Certification (KPCS) Compliance
Verification Report on Anjin conducted in November 2011, Matt Bronze was
registered on December 24 2009. KPCS failed to nail down who Matt Bronze is.
However, investigations by the Independent show it is a front company for
the military. Records at the Registrar of Companies show Matt Bronze was
incorporated on April 24 2008 and is housed on the 9th floor, Travel Centre
Corner, 3rd and Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare.
According to official records, Anjin is a 50-50 joint venture between Anhui
and Matt Bronze.
A visit to the Registrar of Companies showed the directors of Matt Bronze
listed as Shelton Wandai Kativhu and Pennelope Rujeko Kativhu. However, the
beneficial owners of Matt Bronze are not known.
Investigations show Matt Bronze was formed by the Ministry of
Defence/Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation through a vehicle called Glass Finish (Pvt) Ltd.
The military has 80% in Glass Finish, while ZMDC has 20%. Records also show
Glass Finish’s directors as Prudentius Kativhu and Tinashe Kunze. The link
at the Registrar of Companies between Matt Bronze and Glass Finish is the
address listed in the records.
When the Independent visited their offices at the Travel Centre, it
discovered the 9th floor was occupied by the Zimbabwe Tourism Council, which
sublets some of its offices.
Prudentius Kativhu, working with Kunze for a company called Prudent
Financial Services, used to occupy one of the offices. Prudent Financial
Services’ core business was selling shelf companies but it has since vacated
the premises and Kativhu is said to be now operating from home, while Kunze
is at Pockets Building along Jason Moyo Avenue.
The Independent yesterday tracked down Kunze, who appeared to be in his 20s
and looked nothing like an expected millionaire co-owner of one of Zimbabwe’s
biggest diamond mining companies, Anjin.
Kunze was shocked when asked about his connection to Anjin through Glass
Finish and Matt Bronze but explained what actually happened for their names
to end up listed as those of the company’s directors.
“We sold those shelf companies in 2009 or 2010 to a Tarumbwa, who at that
time bought a lot of shelf companies from us,” he said. He said after that
they did not know what happened although the shelf companies bore their
According to Global Witness, which monitors natural resource-related
conflict and corruption, Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa holds a third of
Anjin shares on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.
Anjin directors are listed as Chinese nationals Jiang Zhaoyao, who is the
general manager, Chen Qing, Peng Zheng, Li Zhongiqi, Huang Xianjue and
Tarumbwa, the only Zimbabwean director listed, as the company secretary and
principal officer. Tarumbwa was in 2006 listed by the United Nations as a
Judge Advocate General at the Ministry of Defence and was on the EU
An affidavit obtained by Global Witness shows the agreement to form a joint
venture was signed by Tarumbwa for Matt Bronze and Peng Zheng on behalf
The company register also states Anjin’s share capital is US$2 000, made up
of 2 000 ordinary shares of one US dollar each, shared equally between
Tarumbwa and Zheng.
Kunze said: “Are you telling me that he didn’t change the directors? I was
actually shocked two weeks ago when I received a call from DHL telling me
that they had a parcel for Matt Bronze, which I should collect. I told them
it was no longer our company.”
Information obtained also showed Anjin’s Zimbabwean directors are drawn from
the military and police. They include Ministry of Defence permanent
secretary Martin Rushwaya, senior assistant police commissioner Oliver
Chibage, Munyaradzi Machacha who used to work in Zanu PF’s commissariat
department, director of Marange Resources, Mabasa Temba Hawadii and
assistant police commissioner Nonkosi Ncube.
Non-executive board members are retired army officer Morris Masunungure and
retired colonel Romeo Mutsvunguma.
Anhui has done many projects across Africa, including army and police
barracks in Ghana. In Zimbabwe, it is building a new National Defence
College along Mazowe/Bindura highway. The deal is financed from a
controversal US$98 million loan from the Chinese state-owned Eximbank.
A letter signed by the acting secretary for the Mines ministry, a V. Vera,
to Anjin dated February 2, 2010 reads: “We are pleased to confirm that
cession of part of Special Grant 4765 measuring 3 731 hectares from ZMDC to
Anjin Investment giving exploration, prospecting and mining rights, has been
approved by the secretary for the ministry of Mines.”
The letter said Matt Bronze is the company which ZMDC used to cooperate and
sign agreements with Anhui.
Matt Bronze contributed the special grant for mining as its investment, and
the Chinese firm injected capital.
According to the KP report, Anhui claimed it had invested US$380 million as
at November 5, 2011 in developing the mine and in relocating the villagers
to Arda Transau estate.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu yesterday referred questions on Anjin’s ownership
to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.“Talk to the owners of Anjin, talk to
Mnangagwa,” he said adding there was nothing wrong in the military’s
involvement in mining.
However, Anjin has denied it is partly owned by the Zimbabwean military and
police.“Anjin Investments has never been controlled by Zimbabwean military
or police. It is Anhui and Matt Bronze that benefits from Anjin
Investments,” the company said. “As for how the government-related company
Matt Bronze distributes its benefits, the Chinese side knows nothing at
However, evidence clearly shows it is owned by the Chinese and Zimbabwean
Thursday, 28 June 2012 17:49
YOUTH Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere was still a significant shareholder in the ill-fated Genesis
Investment Bank shortly before its demise three weeks ago, despite his
earlier claims he had exited the bank way before its closure, businessdigest
Documents seen by businessdigest show that Kasukuwere owned 13,88% in
Genesis through various investment vehicles as recently as May 8, barely
three weeks before the bank was forced to surrender its licence after
failing to meet the US$10 million minimum capital requirement set for
merchant banks by the Reserve Bank.
The documents show that Kasukuwere’s shareholding was spread through various
nominee companies, including Tabco Investments (4,25%), Larium Investments
(1,8%), Shearox Investments (1,8%), Vilkriss Investments (1,67%), Designated
Investments (2,81%), Harnicot Investments (1,55%), Continental Securities
(1,55%) Rentus Enterprises (Pokestow) (1,02%) and Vilcerst Investments
The shareholding structure, compiled as at 31 March 2012, had not changed
as at 8 May 2012, documents show. Genesis is the only bank to have failed to
raise additional capital, after having tried to court more than 20 potential
investment partners. Analysts say Kasukuwere’s presence in the bank may have
been a big liability towards trying to lure potential investors. Kasukuwere
has been on a rampage, forcing foreign companies, including banks, to
surrender 51% of their equity to local investors.
However, when contacted for comment last week, he claimed he no longer had
anything to do with the closed bank.
“As a matter of fact, I sold out my shareholding in the bank a long time
ago. I am no longer a shareholder and if you check the Genesis board I have
no representation,” Kasukuwere said.
However, documents show Kasukuwere was a shareholder just before Genesis,
controlled by ZimRe Holdings which had 69,41%, was closed.
His known investment vehicle, Migdale Investments, is listed as beneficial
shareholder for the various stakes, amounting to 13,88%.
Kasukuwere, one of President Robert Mugabe’s point men in the heightening
threats to seize foreign-owned banks under the pretext of indigenisation, is
leading failed bankers who want a chance to revive their fortunes through
Kasukuwere’s right hand man David Chapfika, National Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) chair, also presided over the collapse of
a bank. Wilson Gwatiringa, NIEEB also has a chequered banking past. He was a
top executive at the defunct Universal Merchant Bank where Chapfika was. —
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:03
By Lennox Mhlanga
IN 1989, the late prominent Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and
human rights activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti and his band Egypt 80 released an
anti-apartheid album, Beasts of No Nation which depicted on its cover the
then US president Ronald Reagan, UK premier Margaret Thatcher and South
African president PW Botha.
At the height of the anti-apartheid struggle and civil disobedience in SA in
the mid-1980s, the now late Botha, after rejecting the liberation movement’s
growing demands for freedom, including the release of Nelson Mandela,
fuelling unrest and upheaval, famously remarked angrily that, “This uprising
will bring out the beast in us”.
Fela then later stretched Botha’s menacing retort to encompass other
notorious African dictators who seemed to swear by this haunting mantra.
Stretching it further, one is tempted, nay, forced to apply the same to the
current Zimbabwean situation. It is a glaring fact elections in this country
bring out the “beast” in our leaders and their followers.
As a result the mere mention of elections sends chills down the spines of
many. But why is this so? It is partly because political violence and
impunity have become so synonymous with polls; it has become the norm rather
than the exception that bones of voters will be broken, their backsides
roasted or lives lost.
Zimbabweans have allowed the culture of violence to permeate their electoral
processes to the extent that this menace is now the norm rather than the
exception. It is always looming. It has become so perverse that people
discuss it as if it were normal for political militants and activists to
bash the heads of those who do not agree with them.
Violence as a political tool has real and sometimes unintended consequences.
It is also a political diversion from genuine and pressing issues. That is
why it is important to implement security reforms to ensure the security
services are professional and help to stem, instead of participating in, the
perpetration of violence. This is an important precondition for free and
fair elections. It is not interference, as some claim, but a compelling case
There are still outstanding political, legislative and media reforms which
are a necessary to level the playing field before campaigning starts in the
run up to elections. There is too much partisan control over state
institutions and pillars of democracy such that they tend to be abused to
the advantage of one party at the expense of the other participants in the
electoral race. Political violence then tends to fall in between the cracks
of such a compromised political setting. But violence begets violence and
the cycle has no end.
There are some among those who wield political power who do not have any
respect for human life. Perhaps it is this “war thing” we are told we do not
understand. Evidently, when some came out of the bush, the bush never came
out of them. But does the revolution have to eat its own children in order
Blatant threats against those perceived to be traitors who dare vote for the
opposition are bandied about even on public forums. Others even have the
temerity to boast they are above the law.
During elections, villagers are cowed into involuntary silence because the
nature of retribution is usually too ghastly to contemplate. People are made
an example of, in the same way as during the liberation struggle. Who from
those dark days does not remember people being forced to lie on the ground
while someone pounded their backs to pulp?
Fast forward to 2008 and those labelled sellouts were singled out for the
most heinous crimes imaginable, with the intention of permanently etching
images of brutality in the victims' minds.
The situation is worsened by the paralysis or refusal of the security forces
to act decisively in curbing political violence. In fact, such deliberate
inaction is directly responsible for encouraging impunity on the part of the
perpetrators. They deem themselves untouchable and this adds to the dilemma
faced by victims on how and where to report their cases. To top it all ,
there is the continued presence of extra-judicial militias at the beck and
call of certain sections of known political parties and actors.
The Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections have not
been implemented in letter and spirit. Human rights activists have for a
long time lamented the fact that the heads of state in the region have paid
lip-service to these principles which lack a clear implementation mechanism.
Certain players on the Zimbabwean political arena are insisting on internal
processes which are supposed to ensure free and fair elections without
outside “interference”. This only serves to muddy the waters in which the
big fish prey on the small ones. Such implementation mechanisms are supposed
to be driven by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the organ for National
Healing and Reconciliation and the Global Political Agreement itself but
these are all ineffective. These institutions and processes are paralysed by
the toxic nature of our national politics.
What should it take for genuine free and fair elections to be held in
We need a process whose conduct would be above reproach and transparency to
ensure results are not contested or even rejected altogether. Stolen
elections have a tendency of leaving a bitter aftermath.
Though the situation is complex, the solution is simple. In a situation
where Zimbabweans and internal institutions have been found wanting outside
scrutiny and in the absence of guarantees, the responsibility falls on the
citizens themselves to grab the opportunity presented by elections to be
proactive and daring. They should troop to the polling stations in their
millions and thumb their noses at the merchants of death. They should grab
the chance to choose the government and leaders they want with both hands.
The sanctity of the ballot should not only be protected, but it should be
guaranteed by the democratic institutions and security forces whose
constitutional obligation is to protect every citizen of Zimbabwe without
fear or favour. No Zimbabwean is above the law.
Zimbabweans should be brave enough to expose those who promote blatant
violations of the constitution and smooth conduct of elections. How many
times should people be reminded that the war is over? It is high time we
left the trenches and caves of a liberation war that ended generations ago
and for liberators and victims alike to enjoy the true fruits of freedom?
The time to break free from the dark past lies with every Zimbabwean and in
that move, lies our fate. After the elections, will it be another five years
of bitterness and regret or five years of hope, peace and prosperity? Let
the elections come. Whether black or blue every countryman should be true to
the motto that says: “See you at the ballot box!”
Mhlanga is a former journalist, columnist and blogger.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 17:58
REALITY teaches us that it is really inappropriate to talk about financial
planning to someone existing just at the edge of the food chain as Maslow’s
hierarchy of needs kicks in. Their fundamental question is where or whether
they will work tomorrow, whether they will eat, whether they will wear and
where they will sleep.
Unfortunately, many people in Zimbabwean fit this description. I believe
the fortunes of Zimbabwe can improve by embracing an entrepreneurial culture
With our so-called “Look East” policy, there are lessons we can pick from
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet an agent from Singapore in
SA. His agency — International Enterprise Singapore — is an economic body
under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Singapore, spearheading that
country’s efforts to develop its external economic wing by providing market
information, and assisting enterprises in building up their business
capabilities and finding overseas partners.
For the second year running, they are organising the Africa-Singapore
Business Forum which is a platform for exchanging insights and promoting
collaboration between Africa and Singapore. The forum which meets at the end
of August will bring together business and government leaders seeking to
identify opportunities of achieving sustainable growth in their economies.
Singapore-Africa trade exceeds US$7 billion and Singapore companies have
investments and projects across the continent, spanning industries such as
agriculture, infrastructure, urban solutions, transport and logistics. The
city-state has formalised agreements with Egypt, SA and Kenya.
Singapore considers itself a hi-tech and wealthy country, home to more US
dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country — a “city of
opportunities” with entrepreneurial tendencies. It is not endowed with
natural resources like Zimbabwe, but owes much of its prosperity to trade
and the knowledge economy.
The port of Singapore is considered one of the five busiest ports in the
world. According to the World Bank, Singapore is the easiest place in the
world to do business. It is considered as “hybrid regime” by the Economist,
which is probably a euphemism for a democracy with some dictatorial traits.
Singapore government agencies achieve good scores for pro-enterprise
performance in the surveys on the pro-enterprise orientation commissioned by
the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE). The Enterprise Challenge
provides funding and test-beds to experiments with risky and unproven ideas
and foster pioneering breakthroughs that can create quantum leap improvement
in the delivery of service.
Entrepreneurial culture is not just relevant to business and technical
students contemplating starting their own businesses, but can be extended to
people who intend to seek employment with large companies, enter public
service, non-governmental organisations, hospitals, universities, public
school administration and all facets of life. Being an entrepreneur is more
about attitude than aptitude and it is being an architect of your future.
An empirical study, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), an annual
assessment of the national level of entrepreneurial activity, concluded that
entrepreneurial spirit was lacking in Singapore way back in 2000. GEM is a
global study, which was first conducted in 1997, now on regular one-year
basis, which measures differences in the level of entrepreneurial activity
It listed Singapore very low in the total entrepreneurial activity by
country category. But the government and business sector then set out to
remove impediments to entrepreneurship as a way to maintain its national
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has generally been excluded while countries like
Uganda have been included.
One key aspect for fostering an entrepreneurial culture is the removal of
all barriers, particularly those created by government or within its power
to change, that block or discourage people’s entrepreneurship.
The core variables include those initially put in the model as success
factors of entrepreneurial culture, like country orientation towards
entrepreneurship, social networks, role models, entrepreneurial education,
economic enablers, specific legislation, supporting facilities, technology
transfer offices and funding.
Programmes Singapore has encouraged include Technopreneurship 21, which was
designed to develop entrepreneurship involving technology and innovation
and, SME21 which seeks to stimulate high-tech small and medium enterprises
(SMEs), moving away from the earlier focus on multinationals and larger
While Singapore had a pro-business environment, no protection was accorded
to SMEs, which naturally could not compete with larger and well-established
ACE is used by Singapore in building a more pro-enterprise environment
through facilitating discussion and debate on the regulatory framework,
changing culture and mindset, improving access to finance, and facilitating
networking and learning.
In Singapore, universities and technical colleges now have entrepreneurship
programmes, and incubators. There is therefore a growing eco-system to
support entrepreneurship in Singapore, given its hub position in the region.
Entrepreneurs are pro-active, disciplined self-starters with a drive to
succeed, ability to organise and are open to any new ideas which cross their
path. They are able to organise various factors effectively and understand
key aspects of their business environment.
Entrepreneurial success involves being innovative, blazing new trails, and
creating amazing results. All entrepreneurs have a passionate desire to do
things better and to improve their products or services.
Zimbabwe has indicated its intentions to develop clusters, although
practically nothing much has been done. A cluster is a geographical
concentration of actors in vertical and horizontal relationships, showing a
clear tendency of co-operating and of sharing their competencies, all
involved in a localised infrastructure of support. The advantages of
clustering include productivity due to the use of better as well as cheaper
specialised inputs and innovation, where proximity between customers and
suppliers facilitates the transfer of tacit knowledge.
We can learn from Singapore how to embrace an entrepreneurial culture and
apply best practices that have been developed by other nations to our own
geographical reality. It is not enough to boast about natural resources.
Knowledge has to be applied to beneficiate those resources into value-added
products to accrue significant benefits for economic development.
Tafirenyika Makunike is the chairman and founder of Nepachem cc
(www.nepachem.co.za), an enterprise development and consulting company. He
writes in his personal capacity.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:14
TALK Radio is not so talkative it would seem. In fact apart from the music
it is distinctly quiet for a supposedly “talk” station –– to the extent that
the station’s name has been changed to Star FM.
This week they have been congratulating themselves on “moving forward with
the opening of the airwaves”.
“We are finally here and at Zimpapers history has been made,” board chairman
Dr Paul Chimedza proclaimed. This was “another feather to our nest”, he
said. That we presume is similar to having a feather in your cap!
But amidst the back-patting, things are less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
out there. The Zimbabwean public is proving a tad shy about calling in. It
is obvious the station can’t sustain the claim to talk radio. Perhaps people
don’t trust the rhetoric of diversity emerging from its studios. Who can
blame them. What happens to people in Zimbabwe who are too outspoken?
“The Zimpapers Talk Radio project was born out of the realisation that
Zimbabwe was moving forward with the opening up of the airwaves and
embracing all players to participate in this space,” Chimedza declared.
What space? Talk Radio was the only station licensed. Other applicants were
told they shouldn’t bother.
Exactly how much freedom will be accorded to Star FM callers and presenters
Chimedza said “the purpose of Star FM was to reignite the Zimbabwean spirit
that has seen Zimbabwe championing education, agriculture, and sport among
So this is just the first week and the propaganda has started already. What
about the decline of schools, the collapse of agricultural production, and
the silencing of dissentient voices? What about Operation Murambatsvina and
its trail of human misery? We hope callers will remind their audience that
Star FM was a charade from the very outset.
We enjoyed Munyaradzi Huni’s interview with Julius Malema. The interview was
conducted at Malema’s luxury town house in Sandton. So it didn’t take much
to “track him down”.
Huni asked about the two nations of Thabo Mbeki’s 1998 speech. Did Malema
see these two nations as surviving in parallel for ever?
There was no meeting point, Malema replied. The point that Mbeki was
emphasising was that there were two economies in South Africa.
“I am here in Sandton but just across the road there is Alexandra,” he said.
“It’s as if we are not in one country. Visible poverty, unemployment ––
people without hope, children heading families because their parents have
died because of other killer diseases…And when you cross the road you’ve
got the rich, very wealthy people who own more than 2 000sq metres of land.”
That includes Malema. But the fact that he is one of these very rich people
is lost on him. How did he get so rich so quickly?
He thinks he can trot out his populist mantras while remaining on the rich
side of the street.
“I got myself accommodation here in Sandton because I was creditworthy,” he
claimed, “and what made me creditworthy is because I earned a salary.”
He was prepared to be exploited by the banks, he said. In fact he earned
more than he disclosed, he confessed. Now he wants somebody to define for
him what a luxurious life is so it doesn’t look quite so contrasting. Again,
he’s living a luxurious lifestyle but doesn’t acknowledge it.
His role models are Peter Mukaba (sic), Winnie Mandela, and Fidel Castro.
Not the sort of people you would most like to be stuck in an elevator with!
Be very careful if Winnie gets out her box of matches.
Huni asked some pertinent questions in the course of his interview. But just
for the record, Mbeki borrowed his reference to the two nations –– the rich
and the poor ––from Benjamin Disraeli’s Sybil.
Malema and Huni share the populist mantra that the South African judiciary
and media are run by whites. That may have been true 10 years ago but is
manifestly not true now. Has Huni heard of the new chief justice and his
recent pronouncements? Is he aware of who owns Avusa (The Sunday Times, The
Sowetan and other titles in the group)?
It’s a pity that Huni did not report Kgalema Motlanthe’s outstanding speech
at the Harold Wolpe memorial dinner. It was a searing critique of President
Jacob Zuma’s South Africa.
And on the subject of a non-racial society which Motlanthe bravely upholds,
has Malema discovered yet where Kliptown is? It’s certainly nowhere near
Cape Town! If he has no idea where the Freedom Charter was drawn up it might
explain why he is so ignorant about Joe Slovo’s role in the struggle. Does
he really not know what happened to Slovo’s wife?
The blind leading the blind would be a good heading for this particular
Malema also accused Zuma of not being a neutral facilitator in the
Zimbabwean crisis saying he has “very strong views” about President Mugabe
and Zanu PF.
“All you see is very pretentious and it’s not helpful at all. I don’t think
Zanu PF should buy into that,” Malema charged.
We were then perplexed by Malema’s equally pretentious claim that he had
never been critical of President Mugabe.
“I have never been critical of President Mugabe. I said that President
Mugabe has been president for a long time, but despite it all he has never
succumbed to the pressure of the imperialists. He is exemplary, the
leadership we need in Africa,” fawned Malema.
In 2010, at an ANC Youth League annual convention, Malema lambasted Mugabe
and ageing ANC leaders for clinging on to power warning they could be
removed at any time.
“Inasmuch as we support the revolutionary programme in Zimbabwe, President
Mugabe must hand over to those young chaps so that we engage with (them) on
the same level. We will never agree with permanent leadership,” Malema said.
“Permanent leaders or old horses refusing to leave are not welcome,” Malema
This is clearly an inconvenient episode in Cde Malema’s illustrious career
which would be best ignored.
We hope Zanu PF will also not buy into such a ruse.
Much has been said of late about the need for Bippas (Bilateral Promotion
and Protection Agreements) to be negotiated to encourage investment.
But the decision this week to evict Chiredzi-based Mauritian farmer Marie
Joseph Benoit Liagasse in terms of the Land Acquisition Act should send a
loud and clear message to anybody thinking of bringing capital into
Zimbabwe. The Land Acquisition Act superseded all bilateral agreements
signed between Mauritius and Zimbabwe, he was told. His main failure, it
would appear, was not to be in possession of an offer letter from the
“Bilateral treaties are prerogatives of the executive”, NewsDay reported the
court as ruling. “A treaty does not make part of domestic law except by
virtue of an enabling legislation.”
So what is the point then of having a Bippa with Mauritius if its citizens
have no protection from arbitrary confiscation of their property? This is
precisely the sort of thing Sadc sought to have Zimbabwe avoid so the region
could prosper. Not much chance of that!
ZBC reports that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has told the
European Union (EU) to respect the African Union (AU) by channelling their
views on Zimbabwe through the continental body whose position on “illegal”
sanctions is known.
Mutambara said this while lecturing the outgoing Swedish Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Anders Liden, who had made an ill-fated courtesy call to bid
farewell after serving for two years.
“It’s time Europe, the European Union change their focus and emphasis on
Zimbabwe from political diplomacy to combining political and economic
diplomacy resulting in commercial diplomacy where European companies can
invest in Zimbabwe on a win situation. Sanctions have to go first because
they are hurting the ordinary Zimbabwe,” Mutambara said.
He said the Western countries who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, including
Sweden, should take into account the AU’s position which calls for the
immediate removal of sanctions which are hurting the economy and ordinary
Mutambara has conveniently ignored EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia’s
assertion that they would only lift the sanctions if electoral reforms
agreed to under the GPA were implemented and non-violent elections were
Liden was “evasive in his answers and could not be drawn into saying more on
the issue of illegal sanctions,” avers ZBC.
How clear can the EU get, we wonder?
Meanwhile ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has castigated
politicians whom he says are bent on “tarnishing” the image of the police
through “false” allegations.
He criticised politicians for issuing “reckless and false” statements
blaming the police, describing such people as political failures who want to
make the ZRP a scapegoat. Chihuri then called on local politicians to desist
from venting their frustrations on law enforcers.
“Our loyalty to serve the people is mistaken as partisan by a section of
politicians who make police punch bags for their failures and undermine our
authority,” said Chihuri.
The only punch bags are peace-loving Zimbabweans exercising their right to
assembly and association. As for “tarnishing” the image of the police
Chihuri and company are quite good at doing that without any assistance.
In 2007 Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten to within an inch of his
life while activist, Gift Tandare, was shot dead by police after attending a
rally under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
As if to add salt to the wound, the police in April denied Tsvangirai and
members of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign permission to commemorate Tandare’s
death claiming they would be busy with Independence Day celebrations.
As for the number of times the police have denied political parties
permission to hold rallies, we have lost count. The usual pretext for
denying them being that Zanu PF had either booked the venues or was holding
its own rallies in close proximity to where parties wanted to assemble.
The police always seem to run out of manpower as soon as they are notified
of the holding of a rally by any party which is not Zanu PF. Strangely they
seem to be able to marshal this “manpower” for disrupting the rallies.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:21
THIS week two radio stations, controversially awarded broadcasting licences
by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, chaired by Tafataona Mahoso, were
frantically trying to roll out their operations in the market under a cloud
Government-controlled Zimpapers’ talk radio Star FM, went on air on Monday.
The radio station, staffed with former ZBC employees, has been trying its
best to allay public fears it will just be “Zimpapers on air” or another
propaganda platform for Zanu PF and other dubious outfits connected to the
The station has actually invited editors from different media groups —
including the private press — to participate in its first programme, Editors’
Forum, on July 1 to discuss editorial policies and other related issues.
Supa Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM Stereo, which describes itself as “Zimbabwe’s first
privately-owned national radio station”, announced it has acquired
state-of-the-art transmission and studio equipment from Italian company DB
Elettronica Telecomunicazioni. The deal was sealed at the just-ended
National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Nevada, US.
The moves by the two radio stations were greeted with mixed feelings. Some
say the two broadcasters, especially Star FM, would not add value in terms
of pluralism and diversity in the broadcasting arena because of their
partisan ownership structures linked to Zanu PF.
Star FM, in particular, bears the burden of proof. It has to show cause why
listeners, tired of state broadcasting, must trust it or think it would be
any different from Zimpapers or even ZBC stations in terms of editorial
policy and content.
However, some observers are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Misa-Zimbabwe said it “welcomed the end of ZBC’s broadcasting monopoly as
the newly licensed Zimpapers’ talk radio’s Star FM went on air on June 25
2012”. It claimed this represented “a landmark development” in the country’s
broadcasting sector “shackled by tight political controls” since colonial
It further described the arrival of Star FM as an “historic development”,
although, it also noted the controversial way in which it got its licence
and the issue of its ownership by Zimpapers.
Nonetheless, Misa said it was “too early to pass judgment” before adding
“the ball is now in Star FM’s court to confound its sceptics by eschewing
the partisan slant of its owner, Zimpapers”.
Zimpapers officials have been waxing lyrical about their dubious project.
But one thing they did not do was to promise anyone an editorial policy
It’s all well and good to say we should celebrate the arrival of Star FM and
ZiFM but what is important is: What are they offering to the public?
While it is good to always give them the benefit of the doubt, no serious
observers of the media can really expect the two stations to provide a
diversity of news and opinions, given their ownership structures.
How on earth can anyone really expect Star FM to have an editorial policy
different from its owners, Zimpapers, which operates as a propaganda
platform for Zanu PF and sections of government? So far, Star FM is just
regurgitating Zimpapers news on airwaves, no different from taking the group
However, more worrying is the fear Star FM will just reinforce ZBC
propaganda and expand state media structures by default. Of course, on paper
Zimpapers is a listed public company, but in reality operates like a party
organ and the last thing it can plausibly claim is that it operates in the
public interest. For that reason, if no other, Star FM will try but
eventually fail to distinguish itself from Zimpapers.
A smoke-and-mirrors approach is not sustainable. At some point the mask will
fall irretrievably. The same applies to ZiFM even though its ownership is
In the meantime, it must be clear to all the issuing of these two licences
is just consolidation of Zanu PF’s grip on the airwaves. One Zanu PF
minister jokingly said to us this week: “Look, we own the airwaves!” Who can
doubt that? To us it’s clear we still need to reassess the situation and
democratically open up the airwaves instead of just waving the green flag
for those connected to Zanu PF.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:19
SYRIA has recently become one of the hottest spots on earth and a centre of
world attention for its protracted unrest that has degenerated into civil
war. Armed conflict, costing more lives with each passing day, has not
subsided since March 2011 and on Tuesday a pro-government television station
was attacked by suspected “armed terrorist groups”.
Syria is not the first country to witness a wave of mass uprisings as
protests first swept Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain — a phenomenon
dubbed “the Arab Spring”.
In all countries, “the Spring” began in much the same manner, with
large-scale protests in the streets signifying the people’s dissatisfaction
with autocratic regimes. This begs the question: How was it possible to get
the support of so many people in countries where there was strict state
control over mass media; and what lessons can Zimbabwe draw ahead of the
In today’s world where the Internet is no longer a privilege and is
affordable to most, a new powerful tool for influencing the population has
since arrived: social media networks.
The term “tweeter revolutions” has been coined. Now, when the audience of
Facebook and Twitter networks account for 800 million people, it has become
convenient to use this channel to spread democratic views and organise mass
rallies. While communicating in social networks, people often fondly think
of the information and any rumour instantly acquires details and spreads
among users as an undeniable fact.
In essence, each user becomes a participant in “cyber warfare”.
Since the advent of social media, the usage of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
etc has significantly increased in Zimbabwe, especially among the youths who
constitute a large part of the voting populace.
The media landscape has experienced sea changes which are beyond the reach
and capacity of repressive state machinery, such as that still existing in
Zimbabwe in the form of Aippa and Posa. For instance, people do not need to
notify the police that they intend to hold a political gathering; they can
simply communicate using Facebook. There can thus be rapid information
transfer and exchanges, much to the chagrin of regimes that seek to control
masses by feeding them with fibs, partisan dosages of poisonous information
and propaganda through state-controlled media.
What’s more, distance is not a factor as people can communicate. Social
media provide proximity.
The results of elections since 2000 in Zimbabwe have adequately demonstrated
people can no longer be starved of information as technology has pushed back
the restrictive boundaries. Information and its communication is now
available in real time.
Within seconds, electoral results can now be circulated throughout the
country and the world, thereby increasing transparency and exposing
electoral fraud, if any.
It therefore goes without saying that whoever adapts better to social media
between the two major political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC-T, will enjoy a
major head-start and advantage because the majority of Zimbabweans are
exposed to smart gadgets that enable real-time mass communication.
The same gadgets have played a pivotal role in the US and elsewhere where
the incumbents have taken full advantage of them.
However, it so far seems the MDC-T is ahead of Zanu PF regarding the use of
The cyber highway has penetrated even the rural areas and information can
now be gleaned readily in Zimbabwe with almost two million of the six
million mobile phone users enjoying such access.
The Arab Spring started in Tunisia where Arab youths posted anti-government
slogans on Facebook and Twitter. Co-ordinated protests followed, resulting
in President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali being ejected from the country.
The rest, as they say, is history.
It has become increasingly evident that concerned youths the world over now
protest using social media and Zimbabwe will be no exception as it heads for
crucial elections — for the first time with a significant portion of the
population using various platforms independent of the state to receive and
get their message out.
Friday, 29 June 2012 08:16
IF you try to look up the word indigenisation in the online version of the
Cambridge dictionary, the entry is not found. Instead, the search engine
will ask if you meant indigestion, indignation, disorganisation or
indentation, among others.
Well, in this country, it’s a bit of all the above. Zimbabwe’s
indigenisation programme has drawn much indignation internationally,
especially because of its disorganisation. Because of the haphazard manner
in which it has been conducted, it has resulted in serious economic
indigestion that has caused more than just mere indentation of the pockets
of many a Zimbabwean citizen.
Again, for the record, we have never been against indigenisation, only its
modus operandi. A proper indigenisation programme must benefit as wide a
section of our population as possible, not just a small clique. However,
perhaps we need to clear much of the confusion surrounding indigenisation,
starting with the very words used to describe it. We want “to call things by
their name”, to quote Pluto, the mythical Greek god of the underworld when
he was being charged of abducting Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder’s
daughter Proserpina, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, an anthology by the
celebrated icon of Latin literature.
The names that have interchangeably been used to describe the aspiration of
the black majority to have more meaningful participation in the economy are
indigenisation, affirmative action and economic empowerment. And yet these
three are quite distinct and apart from each other. This explains why we’ve
had the Indigenous Business Development Centre, the Affirmative Action Group
(AAG) and the empowerment aspect in the National Indigenisation and Economic
Fortunately, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) does have an entry for
indigenisation and describes this as “bring (something) under the control,
dominance, or influence of indigenous or local people”. This is what largely
is the object of the 51% equity model which has been zealously pursued by
minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
However, there seems to have been more concentration on indigenisation, the
equity model, and not much on the other part, empowerment, but we shall come
to that later. Affirmative action, first championed by Phillip Chiyangwa and
the late Peter Pamire as of the late 1990s, is not one of Kasukuwere’s
portfolios and yet this could be his best foot forward.
But the AAG appears to have also concentrated on indigenisation. Again,
according to the OED, affirmative action refers to action favouring those
who tend to suffer from discrimination. It is also known as positive
discrimination. This fits in more to Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s
supply chain model, although he refers to it as an indigenisation model.
Under this model, the formerly disadvantaged indigenous people are given
opportunity to supply goods and services to existing business. Here, there
is positive discrimination in their favour where, for instance, it can be
made compulsory that all institutions, government and private, must source
say, 51% of their goods and services from indigenous businesses.
Both indigenisation and empowerment have been tried to some extent. However,
the reason they haven’t worked is because the beneficiaries have not been
empowered to take advantage of the opportunities availed to them. This is
why empowerment ought to have been the first step.
The OED defines empowerment as: [with object] make (someone) stronger and
more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their
rights. In short, you are enabling someone. How do you enable someone? By
first providing them with the technical, financial and general business
skills so that they can run their businesses successfully.
Then you go into affirmative action as they can now properly take advantage
of the supply chain advocated by Gono. Thereafter, indigenisation becomes
easier because the new entrepreneurs can now pay for equity in companies,
doing away all this disquiet.