Saturday, 06 June 2009 20:18
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said he was surprised that
the state intends to appeal against a judgement in favour of freelance
journalists who successfully applied to stop the defunct Media and
Information Commission from interfering in their work.
Freelance journalists, Stanley Gama, Valentine Maponga, Stanley Kwenda
and Jealousy Mawarire sought the intervention of the court after the
Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity insisted that those without MIC
accreditation would not be allowed to cover the Comesa summit.
In a move hailed as a victory for democracy, High Court Judge Justice
Bharat Patel upheld their appeal on Friday evening.
The judge said the MIC ceased to exist legally last year when it was
replaced by the Zimbabwe Media Commission following the enactment of
Constitutional Amendment No.19. He said the order would stand
notwithstanding any appeal by the respondents.
Patel ordered Minister Webster Shamu and George Charamba, the
Secretary for the Ministry to retract their statements to the effect that
journalists must accredit with MIC for the purposes of covering the ongoing
Common Market for East and Southern African summit in Victoria Falls.
Patel said they should do this by putting notices in the print media
and also through radio and television.
The judge also interdicted Shamu, Charamba, "their agents and any
person purporting to act on their behalf or with their authority from making
statements, publishing notices, or attempting in any other way to compel the
four and or any other journalists to accredit for the Comesa summit, or
assuming any functions of the ZMC including the levying of accreditation
While journalists hoped this could bring a closure to the matter, MIC
lawyers on Friday announced that the state would appeal against the
Reacting to the announcement yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was
"surprised" that the state intended to appeal.
He said the AG's office had indicated in its legal opinion that "the
MIC was defunct".
Tsvangirai's office had sought legal opinion from the AG's office
after Charamba dismissed the Prime Minister's assurances that journalists
and media houses were free to operate without licences until the Zimbabwe
Media Commission was set up in terms of the Global Political Agreement
The correspondence between the AG's office and Tsvangirai was part of
the evidence produced at the High Court.
"It is surprising that it is the same (AG who now wants to appeal) who
advised that what was happening was wrong," Tsvangirai told journalists at
the Harare International Airport shortly before leaving for Europe and the
Tsvangirai left Harare on an eight-nation tour that takes him to
France, Sweden, Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the
He told journalists: "There is no legal basis for the media to be
licensed to cover and report issues about the country."
Meanwhile, lawyers and journalists hailed Patel's judgement as a
victory for those campaigning for a return to the rule of law and freedom of
"It is a victory for those who wish to see a swift return to the rule
of law, adherence to the laws of the country as well as cessation of the
abuse of power by certain members of the executive," the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement.
John Gambanga, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Voluntary Media
Council said the government must now put in place the ZMC to replace MIC.
"This is a major victory for democracy, freedom of expression and
freedom of the press," he said. "I am particularly happy with the fact that
the MIC's illegitimacy has been legally confirmed."
The ruling also came as a relief for journalists who have seen the MIC
throwing tens of their colleagues into the streets after closing down
Tafataona Mahoso, the controversial MIC chairman had opposed the
application by the four freelance journalists.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 06 June 2009 20:10
PROPOSALS by the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to encourage an equal distribution of resources have
sparked fierce debate ahead of a new constitution.
The parliamentary select committee on the constitution will on
Saturday kick-start provincial public hearings on the new constitution.
Since its appointment, the select committee has received draft
constitutions from the Margaret Dongo-led Front for Democracy in Zimbabwe,
the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), MDC-T and the Law Students'
There is also the Kariba draft that was produced by Zanu PF and the
MDC formations before the March 2008 elections, which might also be used as
"a reference point" in coming up with the country's new supreme law.
But it is the MDC-T draft that has excited civic groups and ordinary
people especially in the western parts of the country where the cry for an
equal distribution of national resources is always a major election issue.
Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo stirred the hornet's nest
recently when he told MDC-T supporters in Bulawayo that his party was
proposing that the new constitution ensures the country's provinces have
their own prime ministers and cabinets.
South Africa has a similar system where provinces have their own
budgets and regional legislatures.
Tsvangirai's party made a strong showing in the south and western
parts of the country after a promise to devolve power to the provinces and
set up a compensation fund for the victims of the Gukurahundi massacres.
Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of
Westminster in Britain said devolution would entail the transfer of
authority by the central government to local level governmental units
holding "corporate status granted under state legislation".
"This concept is likely to be met with so much resistance because most
people are worried that if the central government devolves power regions
might wake up someday claiming secession or some kind of autonomy," he said.
"This kind of fear is unfounded. The other reason why most people
might be against this form of administrative centralisation is ignorance,
particularly on what it entails."
Former Zapu Federal Party leader Paul Siwela who contested the 2002
presidential elections against Mugabe and Tsvangirai said the proposal to
give provinces semi-autonomy would get nationwide support because of the
general feeling that power is concentrated in one tribe.
Siwela said when he contested the 2002 elections his campaign was
centered on federalism and "a lot of people voted for me across the country".
"There are provinces that have for a long time complained of
marginilisation such as Matabeleland, the Midlands and Masvingo," he said.
Power struggles in Zanu PF, which has ruled the country since
independence have always centered on the need to rotate power to reflect the
country's ethnic diversity and fair distribution of resources.
Tsvangirai almost lost control of his party in February when he came
up with a cabinet nomination list that was dominated by politicians from one
province, exposing the strong feelings in the country's provinces about the
need to share power equitably.
In Matabeleland, political parties, church groups and civic society
have launched the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda (Macra) to push
for the devolution of power.
"Our organisation has been formed to tackle that agenda," said Macra
chairman, Effie Ncube said. "This country can no longer afford a central
government system because it has failed.
"We need to devolve political and economic power to the provinces."
NCA director, Ernest Mudzingwa said the MDC-T was likely to get
support even from outside Matabeleland if it campaigned for the
decentralisation of power because there were many provinces that felt
sidelined by central government.
However, critics of the federal system argue that Zimbabwe is too
small to be divided into "small fiefdoms", an argument that has angered
activists in Matabeleland.
President Robert Mugabe early this year labelled veteran nationalist
Dumiso Dabengwa "a tribalist" after he pushed for the revival of Zapu
following complaints that the old Zanu PF administration had failed to
distribute national resources equitably.
"That is very nonsensical," Siwela said. "It is either coming from
people who do not understand what a federal system entails or die-hard
The argument that Zimbabwe was too small to be divided into small
provinces, he said, was also misleading because countries such as Lesotho,
Equatorial Guinea and Botswana were smaller than some provinces in terms of
population and geography but were sovereign states.
"But we are not saying these provinces will become sovereign states.
They will enjoy some form of autonomy," he said.
Mugabe reportedly favours the secret Kariba draft because it vests
executive authority in the president.
This sets the stage for a fierce battle during the drafting of the
constitution, which will reach a climax in July with a stakeholders'
conference that will be attended by 5 000 delegates from the country's 10
province. The final draft would be put to a referendum.
In 2000 an attempt to introduce a new constitution failed after the
MDC, the NCA and other civic groups campaigned for its rejection because
their views were ignored.
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
Saturday, 06 June 2009 20:08
ZIMBABWE could be censured by its neighbours over its controversial
chaotic land reform programme after a regional tribunal accused the country
of violating the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) treaty by
ignoring a ruling in favour of commercial farmers being forced off their
The government was in November last year ordered by the Sadc tribunal
in Namibia to compensate 77 commercial farmers who had been violently
removed from their farms during the chaotic programme.
The court also ordered a moratorium on land seizures, which it
described as "racist and illegal".
But President Robert Mugabe has insisted that the government would not
respect the ruling because the Sadc tribunal did not have jurisdiction to
hear the case.
On Friday, Mauritius' former Chief Justice Pillay who now presides
over the tribunal with senior judges from Angola, Botswana, Malawi and
Mozambique dismissed a last minute application by the government to postpone
a contempt application by the commercial farmers.
The tribunal delivered a unanimous judgement that Zimbabwe was in
contempt of the regional court's November ruling.
Pillay singled out public statements by President Mugabe and by the
Deputy Chief Justice, Luke Malaba that the Sadc tribunal did not have
jurisdiction to hear the case of the Zimbabwean farmers.
He also criticised Attorney-General Johannes Tomana for saying
Zimbabwe would continue to prosecute farmers protected by the tribunal's
The tribunal concluded its ruling by referring Zimbabwe's contempt to
the Sadc summit for consideration of appropriate measures to be taken under
the treaty against it.
These measures could conclude sanctions or expulsion of Zimbabwe from
Deon Theron, the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers'
Union and Ben Freeth attended the hearing.
"In an unusual move, the tribunal also ordered the government of
Zimbabwe to pay the farmers' costs," farmers who attended the tribunal said
in a statement. "Costs orders are only made by the tribunal in "exceptional
Justice for Agriculture hailed the judgement as a "positive
development" for the displaced farmers.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week told the MDC-T annual
conference that the continuing disturbances on commercial farmers remained
some of the major challenges the inclusive government faced in its efforts
to restore the rule of law.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 06 June 2009 19:30
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday left for a three-week visit
of major Western capitals, where in meetings with United States President
Barack Obama and European leaders, he is expected to plead for direct aid
for the coalition government.
Tsvangirai is, however, unlikely to call for the lifting of targeted
sanctions imposed on Mugabe's inner circle amid concerns that hardliners are
still working hard to sabotage the inclusive government.
Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by Economic Planning and Investment
Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma, Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi and
Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga left shortly after midday.
His said his mission was to convince world leaders that Zimbabwe was
now ready to be reintegrated into the international community after years of
isolation and to seek funds for the country's economic recovery.
"The real strategy of the trip is to fulfill the programme adopted by
the government to re-engage the international community after years of
isolation," he told journalists at a brief press conference at the Harare
"I hope we will be able to put across to the rest of the world to give
this inclusive government the benefit of the doubt."
The Prime Minister, who is visiting Europe for the first time as a
member of the unity government he formed with President Robert Mugabe and
Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, said he would meet "Obama
and heads of government" in the European countries to brief them on the
progress the coalition had made since February.
Tsvangirai is visiting France, Sweden, Britain, The Netherlands,
Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the US.
Western donors have not extended any meaningful financial support to
the inclusive government insisting that they want to see evidence of real
political and economic reforms.
Although delegations from Western countries that have visited the
country to assess Zimbabwe's humanitarian needs have left without any
promises of aid, Tsvangirai is expected to extract funding to finance the
economic recovery programme.
Zimbabwe needs US$8.5 billion in the next three years to finance
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
Saturday, 06 June 2009 19:09
DR Douglas Gwatidzo, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association for
Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), is the winner of the 2009 Jonathan Mann
Award for Health and Human Rights.
The Global Health Council selected Gwatidzo as the winner from the
nominees for 2009 in recognition of his and ZADHR's work in advocating for
health rights and freedom from torture in Zimbabwe.
The Global Health Council also commended the support that Gwatidzo and
other members of ZADHR have provided to beleaguered fellow health workers
during the darkest hours of Zimbabwe's collapsed health system, mentoring of
young medical students and providing medical documentation and care for
victims of organised violence and torture.
The prestigious award is named after the late Jonathan Mann, a
dedicated health and human rights activist, who died in a plane crash in
1998. It is bestowed annually upon a leading practitioner in health and
human rights and comes with a financial reward.
The award is one of four that honour extraordinary individuals and
organisations that have made remarkable contributions to improve the health
and well-being of the world's poor. The Best Practices in Global Health
Award, the Excellence in Media Award for Global Health, the Jonathan Mann
Award for Health and Human Rights and the Gates Award for Global Health were
presented on May 28.
The Award was presented to Gwatidzo at a special awards ceremony held
during the Global Health Council's Annual Conference 11 days ago.
The Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights was
established in 1999 to honour Mann and highlight the vital link between
health and human rights. Sponsored in 2007 by four organisations, Associated
Francois-Xavier Bagnoud, HealthRight International, John Snow, Inc. and the
Global Health Council, the award is bestowed annually.
Despite his untimely death in a 1998 plane crash, Mann is considered
by many to be one of the most important figures in the 20th century fight
against global poverty, illness and social injustice.
As the first director of the World Health Organization's Special
Program on AIDS from 1986-1990, Mann pioneered the approach to AIDS that
continues to shape public health policy today.
As the François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights at
Harvard University from 1990-1997, Mann began to articulate the ways in
which the health of individuals and populations reflects access to basic
human rights, using as his warrant his years as a public health practitioner
and strategist and as his text the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
History will especially remember Mann for bringing to the world's
attention the basic notion that improved health cannot be achieved without
basic human rights, and that these rights are meaningless without adequate
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 06 June 2009 18:51
A scheduled visit to Old Bulawayo by King Mswati III was cancelled at
the last minute yesterday after the government reportedly discovered that
the cultural village was in a dilapidated state.
The Swazi monarch, who is in Zimbabwe on a three-day state visit, had
been scheduled to tour the theme park touted as the country's first cultural
Old Bulawayo was the capital of the Ndebele state and was built by
King Lobengula who assumed the throne after the death of his father King
King Mswati had also been expected to visit King Mzilikazi's grave in
a gesture descendants of the Ndebele monarch had hoped would help them
strengthen cultural ties with Swaziland.
But descendants of the monarch were told by government officials that
the trip had been cancelled yesterday morning because of "cultural reasons".
Sources said the officials claimed that in Swazi tradition a king was
not supposed to visit a grave or view a corpse.
However, this was dismissed by King Lobengula's descendants who
queried why Mswati was visiting Cecil John Rhodes' grave instead.
Prince Zwidekalanga Khumalo, a descendant of King Lobengula said
government would be embarrassed during the tour because the theme park that
was officially opened last year by Vice-President Joseph Msika was in "a
"The King's visit to the Old Bulawayo site was cancelled because there
was a feeling that the state of the site would not send the right signals in
as far as the preservation of our culture is concerned," Khumalo said.
"That place is now dilapidated and its condition is not good at all."
He said the cancellation was embarrassing because the government
officials who had organised the king's itinerary must have known that the
site had been neglected.
The bee-hive huts that were reconstructed by the Department of
National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) are said to be caving in
because of poor maintenance.
Efforts to get a comment from NMMZ were fruitless.
The reconstruction of Old Bulawayo began in 1991 after Ndebele chiefs
visited KwaZulu Natal in South Africa in order to learn about the
organisation of the Ndebele state.
Located 17km from present day Bulawayo, the cultural site is a
favourite of traditionalists and tourists.
Mswati was also expected to visit Matopos National Park before joining
other heads of state and governments at the Common Market for East and
Southern Africa summit in Victoria Falls.
Meanwhile, talks between Mugabe and Mswati might undercut Prime
Minister Tsvangirai's bid to get Sadc to intervene in the deadlock over the
appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana, who are Mugabe loyalists, media reports in South Africa
indicated on Friday.
Tsvangirai, through his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party,
wrote last week to President Jacob Zuma, who is the Sadc chairman, urging
him to intervene in the stalemate. This followed a series of failed meetings
to resolve the issue between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Professor
Minister Arthur Mutambara. The leaders wanted to break a deadlock over
outstanding issues in the political agreement that is the basis of the
Quoting unnamed official sources, Business Day reported on Friday that
Mugabe met Mswati in Harare to discuss regional issues, including the
continuing Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa summit at Victoria
Falls, but focused on the unity government problems. The Gono and Tomana
dispute featured prominently in their talks, especially because Tsvangirai
had reported Mugabe to Sadc over the matter.
Mugabe and Mswati, both widely criticised for political repression,
have formed a formidable bloc within Sadc resistant to democratic change. If
Mugabe succeeds in lobbying Mswati to reject Tsvangirai's appeal about Gono
and Tomana, it would be a major setback for the MDC, which is already facing
a rebuff from Sadc over its call to convene an extraordinary summit to
resolve the issue.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 06 June 2009 14:01
BULAWAYO - ZANU PF heavyweights in Matabeleland have reportedly
started canvassing for Vice-President Joseph Msika's post following
indications he is ready to quit politics on health grounds.
Msika (86), has of late been keeping a low profile amid rumours that
he is fed up with the infighting dogging Zanu PF and is contemplating
There is also a suggestion that the veteran politician supports moves
to revive Zapu by some of his trusted lieutenants such as former Home
Affairs Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa.
Sources said factions that fought openly in the run up to last year's
June 27 presidential run-off election had resurfaced to slug it off in the
battle for the post of Zanu PF's second vice-secretary reserved for former
PF Zapu officials.
Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo and Mines and Mining Development
Minister, Obert Mpofu have reportedly emerged as the front runners.
Last year, Mpofu angered the former PF Zapu old guard when he told
President Robert Mugabe that all senior party officials were campaigning for
then independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni who enjoyed Dabengwa's
Mpofu is less popular in the region as he is seen as a supporter of a
Zanu PF faction led by Solomon Mujuru while Nkomo is said to enjoy the
support of war veterans.
"As war veterans, we are mobilising our members to stand up and
support the nomination of Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo to take
Vice-President Msika's position," said a senior official in the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans Association in Bulawayo.
"In that case, we are already in motion to try and rally party members
and members of the war veterans' association to support the elevation of
"Those that are junior to him but harbour ambitions to take over from
Msika should wait for their turn."
But Nkomo on Friday dismissed reports that he harboured ambitions to
take over the post saying there was no vacancy in the presidency.
He said if Msika decided to retire, Zanu PF would follow proper
procedures to fill his post.
"As a party we have processes that we follow when dealing with these
matters," he said.
"With regard to the issue of the vice-presidency, there shall be
nominations that will be invited by the party when there is a vacancy."
Nkomo lashed out at party officials who were openly canvassing for the
post saying they risked dividing Zanu PF.
"It is my belief that the issue is like a bridge which we will cross
when we get to it," Nkomo said.
Zanu PF is already limping in the south western parts of the country
after senior officials and low-ranking supporters moved to the revived Zapu
protesting against what they perceived as the old Zanu PF's reluctance to
meet its part of the bargain in the 1987 Unity Accord.
At its congress last month, Zapu said it was recalling all its
officials still in Zanu PF and those who remained were "now on their own".
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:58
THE MDC-T's readiness to compromise on some challenges that have
confronted the three-month-old unity government will dent the party's
credibility as the country heads for another election in two years, a legal
expert warned last week.
A few days after joining Zanu PF in the unity government in February,
the party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai shocked many democratic
activists when it agreed to proposals by President Robert Mugabe to increase
the number of ministers in violation of the Global Political Agreement
Mugabe had initially tried to smuggle into cabinet additional
ministers among his loyalists from Zanu PF without the knowledge of the MDC
The MDC formations said they agreed to the expansion of the cabinet,
which even violated the constitution, to save the coalition from collapse.
The MDC-T also appears to have softened its stance on farm invasions
and its long-held view that travel bans against Mugabe's inner circle cannot
be described as economic sanctions.
Derek Matyszak, a senior researcher at the Research and Advocacy Unit
(RAU), said Tsvangirai's party, which has fiercely fought for democracy and
respect for the rule of law for close to a decade, was now singing from the
Zanu PF "hymn book".
"Instead of insisting on enforcing the GPA and what are now
constitutional provisions, the MDC simply accepts the flouting of its terms
in accordance with its policy of propitiation, appeasement and compromise,"
The MDC-T leadership also seemed to be less enthusiastic about the
need to push for the removal of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana despite the fact that their re-appointments
violated the GPA, he said.
Matyszak said signals from the party's leadership, especially Finance
Minister Tendai Biti, were that they were prepared to compromise on the two
if their powers were curtailed.
Biti recently said reports of serious differences between him and Gono
were a creation of the media.
"It has also been reported that cabinet has approved Biti's proposed
amendments to the Reserve Bank Act," he said. "All this indicates that the
MDC-T is once again preparing to capitulate to Mugabe's unilateral exercise
"We will be told that a compromise has been reached and that Mugabe
has agreed that Gono will stay but with limited powers."
Matyszak said the MDC-T also made a blunder by compromising on the
re-appointment of permanent secretaries as most of them were Zanu PF
politicians retained from the previous administration.
"So the MDC-T will have us believe that the likes of George Charamba,
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, and the likes of
David Mangota in the Ministry of Justice who is responsible for the
conditions in the prisons are suitable and non-political appointments," he
"As they did with Mugabe's unilateral allocation of the ministries,
they have simply accepted Mugabe's unrestrained and non-inclusive exercise
But Deputy Minister of Justice and MDC-T MP Jessie Majome said
compromise was better than giving up and allowing the country to slide back
into a situation where it is run by an "exclusive" government.
"We are aware that some of the tactics are meant to frustrate us and
push us out of the game but we believe that quitting is not an option," she
Responding to criticism that the government had not achieved much
since its formation, Majome said resuscitating the country was a process
which would take time.
"You need to understand that this transitional coalition government
was established to provide first aid to a dying, ailing and traumatised
society," she said.
"It is more of a paramedic act on the situation we found ourselves in
as a country following widespread atrocities and humanitarian crisis under
the former exclusive government.
"Work is in progress to bring about the promised reforms . . . it
cannot be an event but a process."
But Matyszak said it was unfortunate that the MDC-T had even
compromised on fundamental issues such as the opening of the democratic
"MDC-T has now decided to define sanctions the Zanu PF way," he said.
"It now says sanctions do not mean targeted sanctions and travel bans
against those who supported the Mugabe government.
"The MDC-T now uses the term sanctions to mean the absence of IMF and
balance of payments support and the provision of aid from countries that
Mugabe continues to insult."
He said instead of calling on donors to "open up their wallets", the
MDC-T should be pushing for the opening up of the democratic space which he
said was crucial in convincing the international community to come to the
Matyszak was contributing to a public discussion organised by Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights.
The theme of the discussion was "Assessing the Rule of Law, the
humanitarian and economic situation in Zimbabwe in the context of the
inclusive government's first 100 days and its 100-day action plan".
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:55
BULAWAYO - Only 471 out of 37 734 pupils attending municipal schools
have managed to settle their second term tuition fees in a development
councillors say will hamper efforts to revive the education sector.
According to a recent council report covering 29 primary schools,
parents failed to pay even after the fees were slashed by the local
authority following consultations with the Ministry of Education, Sport,
Arts and Culture.
Council had initially proposed charging US$150 a term for children
attending schools in low-density areas and US$20 for those in high-density
But after they were revised, the fees went down to US$10 and US$5
Contributing to debate on the report during a full council meeting on
Wednesday, councillors said although they sympathised with the parents who
were struggling to make ends meet, the poor response will cripple the
municipality's capacity to provide credible education.
"We must get an explanation from the relevant department on why it has
taken council this long to collect outstanding school fees and levies," said
Councillor Israel Mabaleka.
"It should be borne in mind that there are more than 37 000 children
whose levies and fees are still outstanding and yet as a council we complain
that we do not have money."
"This is the money we should be using to improve these schools and pay
He said council desperately needed the money to pay teachers and buy
Councillor Clayton Zana said council should use every possible means
to recover the funds as they were not in a position to subsidise education.
However, deputy mayor, Amen Mpofu who chaired the meeting said council
must be sensitive to the plight of the parents by giving them time to settle
the outstanding fees.
"The failure by the parents to pay the fees is a sign that people do
not have money," he said.
Council is giving 10% of the money it collects as levies to teachers
in an effort to retain them.
The unity government is struggling to mobilise funds to revive the
education sector whose collapse became more pronounced last year when 80% of
the country's school children failed to attend classes.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:53
THE country's comatose education sector requires at least US$100
million to re-equip schools with textbooks and restore some normalcy in the
sector, the Minister of Education, Senator David Coltart said last week.
Coltart who took over the ministry in February recently revealed that
there was a shocking shortage of textbooks at schools in a clear sign of the
state of the near collapse of the education sector.
"The Education ministry needs over US$90 million to reach the one
child to a textbook ratio," he said.
"With the decline in education, there is a danger that we will lose an
Coltart said his ministry had sent out the begging bowl to Western
governments and donors who have set certain benchmarks before they could
assist the inclusive government with direct aid.
The restocking of schools with textbooks lies third in Coltart's
priority list, which also includes the re-opening of all schools closed last
year after teachers deserted in protest over poor pay and ensuring the
results for pupils who sat for school leaving examinations last year are
According to Coltart, the United Nations will be sending out an appeal
to international donors and Western governments for financial aid to revive
the nation's education sector.
"Part of the aid will go into teachers' salaries with the other being
channelled to the Ministry to revive the country's education sector,"
The education sector is a victim of the country's decade-long economic
To add to the woes facing the sector, there is a huge teacher shortage
at schools as a number of them are reluctant to take up their jobs over the
paltry US$100 monthly allowances.
About 25 000 teachers quit the profession last year over low pay and
trekked to neighbouring countries, mainly South Africa.
Saturday, 06 June 2009 12:41
ON Wednesday Zimbabwe joined a regional campaign that focuses on the
reduction of multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships (MCPs), seen as one
of the key drivers of the HIV pandemic in the region.
The national campaign launched on Wednesday last week is called
OneLove. Its aim is to scale up information about the risks of multiple and
concurrent partnerships in the hope of bringing about behaviour change.
A multiple and concurrent partnership is a situation where sexual
relationships overlap in time. A sexual partnership is considered to be
concurrent if a person reports having two or more sexual partners in the
The concurrency issue is very important in the fight against HIV/AIDS
as it increases one's risk of exposing themselves to HIV infection, through
exposure to invisible sexual networks which enable the rapid spread of HIV
when it is introduced.
In 2006 a Sadc think-tank meeting in Maseru identified MCPs by men and
women with low and consistent condom use - and in the context of low levels
of male circumcision - as key drivers of the HIV epidemic in southern
Other drivers that were identified were: Untreated STIs, gender and
sexual violence, intergenerational sex, male attitudes towards sex and male
sexual behaviour, lack of openness.
In the wake of this meeting, a Sadc Regional Consultation on Social
Change Communication for HIV Prevention was held in Swaziland in October
2006. A year later another such meeting took place in Maputo, Mozambique at
which it was recommended that MCP reduction be a key focus of social change
communication interventions in Southern Africa over the next five years.
Zimbabwe's OneLove campaign is spearheaded by Action, a partner to a
South Africa-based non-governmental organisation, Soul City, the Institute
for Health and Development Communication, in partnership with the Ministry
of Health and Child Welfare and the National AIDS Council.
Soul City and its regional partners embarked on a three-year HIV
prevention campaign across 10 countries aimed at reducing MCPs. The launch
in Zimbabwe is the fourth after Lesotho, Tanzania and South Africa.
The other countries where the campaign's footprint will extend are
Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique.
The Sadc region is the most affected by HIV globally. According to a
2005 UNAIDS report the adult prevalence rate in the region was estimated at
almost 11% compared to the global average of just 1%. In Zimbabwe the HIV
prevalence rate stands at 15.6% for the ages between the ages of 15 and 49,
according to the National Aids Council (NAC) statistics for 2009.
Research conducted in 10 countries in the region established reasons
for engaging in MCPs across all the participating countries were similar.
It was established that some of the reasons included the need to have
a fulfilling sexual and intimate relationship. Both men and women said they
could not talk about their needs and desires with their spouses or regular
partners and so they sought pleasure and comfort with someone else.
This practice is also reinforced by cultural and social norms that
view men with more than one partner as acceptable and even desirable.
The OneLove campaign was officially launched in Harare by the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Henry Madzorera. He lamented the resources
being channelled into the treatment and management of HIV/AIDS, saying
prevention would be considerably cheaper, leaving resources to be channelled
to other pressing priorities.
Other partners in the OneLove campaign in Zimbabwe include
organisations working on HIV prevention initiatives such as the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAFAIDS), Zimbabwe AIDS Prevention Services
Organisation (ZAPSO), United Nations Children's Education Fund (UNICEF),
Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention Research Project (ZICHIRE) and
Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN).
UNFPA and SAFAIDS have already produced multi-media materials on
OneLove as part of the united force which is addressing the pandemic in
Forms of MCP "Steady" partner and other "side" partners often kept
secret are intergenerational sexual relationships, transactional
relationships and polygamy.
Reasons for MCP were common in all 10 countries and these were
identified as Dissatisfaction in Relationships and the types of
dissatisfaction came out as sexual, emotional and physical. And the reasons
for sexual dissatisfaction were identified as lack of variety in sexual
styles, poor communication: sexual/emotional needs, and physical abuse,
domestic discord, emotional and financial neglect.
A married urban Zimbabwean male, aged between 25 and 34, explained his
view of MCPs thus: "The other reasons why men have small houses it's
because ladies treat their husbands badly. They don't prepare hot bathing
water for their husband in the morning, there is no romance but at a small
house they get that."
But the other causes of MCPs are social norms, money and material
possessions, male domination and alcohol use.
NAC, echoing the minister's lament says more than 150 000 people are
on ART out of an estimated 500 000 and that nearly 2 500 people die every
week due to AIDS-related illnesses - down from 3 000.
The OneLove campaign hopes to create an enabling environment for
social change, in which individual behaviour change is a positive choice, to
get people to dialogue about issues like culture and gender that Zimbabweans
need to adopt if this pandemic is to be turned around.
The campaign also seeks to empower communities to take positive
organised action to prevent HIV and AIDS and to reduce the number of people
engaging in MCP and ultimately reduce the number of new HIV infections in
Zimbabwe, thus contributing to the continued reduction of the HIV prevalence
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:03
THE country's tourism players have rejected as unsustainable a
proposal by the world soccer governing body Fifa to reserve 80% of the rooms
stock in Victoria Falls without immediate payment for next year's World Cup
showcase in South Africa.
Fifa's accommodation agency, Match sent representatives to the country
last month to try and reach a deal on the provision of accommodation.
According to the contract proposed by Match, payment would only
commence with a 10% deposit end of October and 15% by the end of the year.
Match proposed to increase this to 25% by April 30, 2010 and a final
deposit of 50% on June 1.
These amounts would be deposited into an account controlled by Match
to which the tourism players would not have access to.
Tourism players said they were seeking to obtain a reasonable deposit
that can be used for working capital and daily requirements.
"Surrendering 80% of our rooms stock without any form of guarantee is
risky in the event that Match fails to fill up all the reserved rooms," said
Emmanuel Fundira, the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism president.
Fundira said giving out 80% stock of their rooms would mean that the
industry would have no capacity to host teams such as Brazil, England,
Nigeria "that we are trying to woo to our beautiful country".
Fundira said the industry is prepared to offer 300 rooms constituting
20% of the entire room stock in Victoria Falls.
The ZCT boss said the industry was not happy with the cancellation
terms in the contract dictating that after April 10, Match can cancel up to
15% of the rooms reserved without penalty.
But Fundira said the industry is "ready and willing to engage in
further negotiations with Match so we achieve a win-win situation".
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority accuses players of frustrating Match by
charging exorbitant prices.
ZTA boss Karikoga Kaseke was quoted last week saying some players were
charging rates ranging from US$1 000-US$3 000 a night, a charge the
hospitality industry denies.
Zimbabwe's tourism industry, whose image has been battered for the
past years because of lawlessness and economic meltdown, is picking up the
pieces and is touted to provide the quickest turnaround ahead of sectors
such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing in the new revival plan, Short
Term Emergency Recovery Programme.
Experts say the country will reap from the 2010 Soccer World Cup
showcase in South Africa by providing accommodation to visiting teams.
However, Walter Mzembi, the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister,
believes without a co-ordinated approach "we may as well forget it (World
Mzembi directed the industry to work as a sub-committee on the
National Taskforce on Sports, Tourism Image and Communication.
BY ROBINA MANGADZE
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:01
THERE is need for more creativity in the way government undertakes the
indigenisation programme to benefit citizens, Deputy Prime Minister
Professor Arthur Mutambara (pictured) said last week.
Speaking on the sidelines of a policy dialogue forum, Indigenisation
and the Capital Needs of the Private Sector, Mutambara said empowerment must
be about equity and access to capital.
Under the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment law enacted last
year by President Robert Mugabe's previous administration, locals must have
51% shareholding in all foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe.
"We don't want the government to use the number 51 to frighten
investors. 51% is nothing but a number," he said.
"What is important is delivery, sweating off assets and ensuring
delivery to citizens."
Mutambara said creative application of the current laws is what the
government should be pushing for, adding that if the laws become
prohibitive, they could be changed.
Mutambara said whatever action the government undertakes should not
only be in the national interest but should deliver.
"We have no business as a government to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa," he
said adding that there is an opportunity for private sector to be involved
in infrastructure development.
The crafting of the indigenisation law has unnerved investors who
equate the legislation to nationalisation of foreign companies.
Their fears grew when then Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Minister Paul Mangwana told a parliamentary portfolio committee in 2007 that
foreign companies not happy with the law "should pack their bags and go".
Analysts say Zimbabwe should take a leaf from the South African
empowerment model hailed as the best in the region.
According to the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) companies that do
not have local shareholders do not win tenders in both the public and
Participants at the forum said the indigenisation process has to be
free of corruption for it to gain credibility.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 06 June 2009 12:58
AFRICAN Development Bank has established a team that will work closely
with the inclusive government and the international community to mobilise
resources for Zimbabwe's battered economy.
The team is part of the pan-African bank's initiative to help revive
the economy following the formation of a coalition government in February.
Standardbusiness heard last week that among the staffers in the team
are Damoni Kitabire and Edrissa Nseera who are senior country economists
Senior officials from the bank based in Zimbabwe have held
consultations with the government including officials from the office of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Two weeks ago, AfDB's group executive board of directors discussed a
concept note proposing a short-term strategy for the bank to help Zimbabwe
address the country's problems and support its re-engagement with the
The 19 months strategy which runs up to December 2010 is anchored on
the roll out of the government's revival plan, the Short Term Emergency
Recovery Programme (STERP).
"The objectives of the AfDB strategy are to contribute to improved
economic stability, better financial and economic management and
accountability, greater private sector and international confidence, as well
as the development of key areas such as the rehabilitation of infrastructure
and capacity building," the bank said.
"The longer-term goal is the revival of strong private sector-led
growth, building on Zimbabwe's resource endowments."
The AfDB will help kick-start financial sector operations, identify
specific sectors, especially those covering physical infrastructure
development where it can leverage its resources with those of other donors.
It will also assist the inclusive government develop and implement
policy as well as interfacing with the international community.
Abdirahman Beileh, AfDB director said the regional bank is working in
collaboration with other partners including the World Bank, IMF, European
Union, United Nations Development Programme and bilateral agencies to
provide the financial and technical support for the new government.
AfDB does not have a Country Strategy Paper for Zimbabwe and the
country has not had funded projects from the bank since 1999.
For full re-engagement with the bank, Zimbabwe will have to meet two
pre-requisites which are the restoration of the credibility of the sovereign
state and launching a set of reforms (economic, financial and
institutional). If Zimbabwe meets these conditions, it will qualify to be
classifed as a fragile state.
This would unlock access to grant resources under the African
Development Fund (ADF) window and resources under the Fragile States Fund to
AfDB's enhanced support to fragile states and situations will be
implemented through the proposed Fragile States Facility (FSF) that provides
a broad and well integrated operational framework through which it can be
more effectively engaged in countries experiencing fragility.
The FSF provides scaled-up support to eligible fragile states in three
It can offer supplementary financing to eligible post
The support will be for a limited period of time, with clear and
strict criteria to be met for eligibility, a specific allocation, and
phasing-out mechanism and monitoring, delivery and exit provisions.
In addition, supplementary support will be closely coordinated with
arrears clearance operations to ensure the highest impact to the eligible
post crisis/transitional countries.
This means that the bank's Post-Conflict Country Facility which
provided arrears clearance to eligible countries, will be folded into an
Arrears Clearance Window of the FSF.
The FSF can provide targeted support for capacity building by setting
aside a limited pool of resources.
Targeted support focuses on human and institutional capacity building
and is implemented through secondment or use of non-sovereigns to provide
services such as procurement, auditing, training or even social services.
In the period 2008-2010, the FSF has a war chest of US$600 million.
AfDB has provided financial assistance to Zimbabwe since 1980 but
suspended its activities in 2000 when the southern African nation fell into
arrears amounting to US$ 406 million.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 06 June 2009 12:52
FOLLOWING Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri's call for the
business and banking sectors to ensure there is adequate security at their
premises, a local security company has highlighted the many security options
that are available to them.
Commissioner General Chihuri made his appeal to the business and
banking sectors in the wake of an increase in armed robberies, the latest of
which occurred at Kingdom Bank's Graniteside Branch in Harare.
"Armed robberies are quite rife, especially these days. I feel that
the business community should do more in terms of security. They should try
by all means to ensure that their premises are quite secure," the Police
Commissioner General was quoted as saying.
Supporting the police chief's call. Safeguard Security Group managing
director Andrew Mallon said there was a wide range of security options
available to local businesses.
These included physical security barriers, electronic security
devices, guard services and cash-in-transit services. Professional advice on
the most appropriate mix of security measures should ideally be sought to
ensure both business and residential premises are as secure as possible, he
Electronic devices that could be installed include closed circuit
television, alarms, with appropriately placed panic buttons, which in the
case of banks need to be concealed but easily accessible to tellers, and
electronic controlled access devices that restrict access to certain areas
of a building to authorised personnel.
Mallon said a double door controlled access security booth, such as is
common at banks and building societies in South Africa and the United
Kingdom, is designed to prevent a large number of people storming the bank
in the manner that the five robbers who robbed Kingdom Bank in Graniteside
were said to have done.
There are only a few financial institutions in Harare that have this
sort of set-up, whereby a customer entering a bank finds that on passing
through the outer door he is immediately confronted by a second door, which
can only be opened when the first door has closed.
The space between the outer door and inner door is designed to
accommodate comfortably no more than two or three people. The inner door
either unlocks automatically when the first door has closed or is unlocked
when the customer presses a green button, provided the first door has
closed. The first door cannot be opened while the second door is open.
Some of these security booths incorporate a metal detector that would
detect large metal objects so that people walking in with weapons would be
detected at an early stage.
Security guards are particularly essential at banks and other places
where large amounts of cash are held. It is important, Mallon said, to
ensure these are well-trained, well-equipped and well-supervised.
"We provide armed security guards where there is cash to be protected.
Where we carry cash on behalf of our clients, the money is locked and sealed
in a container with proper documentation. The guards conveying it have been
especially vetted, including undergoing a psychological stress evaluator
test, to ensure they are honest and trustworthy," he said.
"The days are gone when companies used to send a messenger with a
briefcase to bank money. Nowadays almost everyone has some money on them and
it will not take robbers long to pounce on a messenger carrying large sums
of money in foreign currency. In addition there is a risk of the messenger
succumbing to the temptation to stage a fake robbery or collude with
He said Safeguard recommended that businesses that regularly receive
money should site the cashier's office away from public view and the cash
should be deposited by the cashier in a drop safe to which he or she does
not have the keys. Cash safes, other than drop safes, should not be in the
cashier's office but elsewhere.
"It is a good practice, where use is made of a drop safe or
surveillance cameras to advertise the fact outside the premises as a
deterrent to robbers," Mallon said.
"Grill doors can also be used to secure offices where cash is kept or
counted. Panic button installations enable a cashier to press a panic button
in an emergency that will either sound an alarm or trigger a silent alarm
that will bring the nearest rapid response team to the premises," Mallon
He added that it was strongly recommended that both businesses and
householders subscribe to a reliable rapid response service and regularly
test their security systems and drills.
"It is our experience that robbers tend to steer clear of premises
they know have a radio link to our rapid response service, which is noted
for the rapidity of its response. In the few cases where they do attempt a
break-in at premises protected by our rapid response service, they get away
with little in their anxiety to be off the premises before the rapid
response team arrives," he said.
He said access to cash offices could be restricted using controlled
access door locks that require a security code to be entered on a keypad at
the door or a card to be inserted or an authorised person to have a finger
scanned for biometric fingerprint information.
"The biometric controlled access door lock is the most secure because
it can only be opened when an authorised person places his finger on an
electronic scanning pad," Mallon said.
"The installation of security alarms and cameras is also a good idea,
particularly if the alarm is linked to an effective rapid response service,"
Mallon said it was important to consider the training, equipment and
supervision a security company provided when it came to hiring a security
guard to protect one's home or business premises.
To take anyone from the street and put him in a security guard uniform
or to rely on a security company with a dubious record would be to take a
risk that could prove costly, he said.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:41
TRADITIONAL Zimbabwean legend has it that when the Haya bird sings, it
is because a storm is on its way.
It is called the rain bird. It rarely sings and when it does, elders
take notice and prepare for the rains.
When you see vultures hovering in the vicinity, it must be that there
is a rotting carcass somewhere.
Others talk of the bird that signals the presence of a snake in the
surroundings. Locals have devised the art of observing and listening to the
signs; the omens. And so we should in politics. We must read the signs and
try to find what lies beneath.
We must not let our prejudices obscure our judgment. And so it is that
when I read the proposal attributed to Water Resources Minister, Sam
Sipepa-Nkomo about the idea of decentralising power by subdividing Zimbabwe
into five self-governing provinces, I listened and tried to explore the
meaning of that sign. In so doing I heard a cry; a yearning to be heard.
It is not surprising that Nkomo's statements have sparked intense
debate among Zimbabweans. Yet as so often happens in these matters, the
debate at times took the downward spiral into tribal altercation once again
highlighting the perennial fault-line on the edifice of every young African
state. It is a fault-line from which an unstoppable and destructive tsunami
can so easily be spawned. It is not supposed to be like that.
It does not have to be like that.
To my mind, we have to rise above 'tribalisation' of issues and engage
in constructive discussion of the issues behind Nkomo's call. As a people
going through hard times, we have to sit down, listen and discuss.
The democracy we yearn for is far more demanding than most of us
anticipate. It demands that people make hard decisions on difficult and
complex political issues, some of which might at first sight seem
It demands that people engage in difficult, sometimes heated
discussions in order to make very hard choices. Nkomo's proposal may not be
the brightest idea on the table but that is no reason to dismiss it out of
hand by simply characterising it as a tribal rant.
For my part, I have thought long and hard about this matter and
attempt here to identify the problem which Nkomo's call highlights. In the
process, I also argue that perhaps even he and the MDC may have missed the
core of our problem as a country and that therefore the proposal as it
stands may fall short in trying to address that problem.
The problem of marginalisation and underdevelopment referred to is
real but it is a symptom of a greater problem which requires far more than
decentralisation of power or indeed the subdivision of the country into five
Yet first, let's consider the cause behind the proposal carried by
Nkomo. It is the problem of how our political system has handled the
interests of minorities since independence.
I view Nkomo's pronouncements as representing the cries of the
minorities in Zimbabwe who have felt marginalised in the political system.
It is that the way political authority is defined and constituted in
Zimbabwe is such that when they have had opportunities majorities have
appeared to run roughshod over minorities. I say 'when they have had
opportunities' because as we know from our recent history majorities have
not always had their way. And this is where Zimbabwe's problems lie - the
inverse of majorities oppressing minorities.
I argue that Zimbabwe's problem has not simply been the classical
majority/minority disequilibrium where the majority always oppresses the
minority. The problem, in my view is that Zimbabwe over the past 10 or so
years has been subjected to rule by a political minority. It is vital to
understand the source of this problem.
It arises primarily from our general conception of political authority
in the country, which privileges a particular political class. In this
regard, we have to ask the question: What is the basis of political
authority in Zimbabwe? To my mind, there have been two competing sources of
political authority since independence:
The first is a circumstance of history, namely the liberation
struggle. There is a powerful school of thought which suggests that one can
only derive political authority from his/her connection to the liberation
struggle. The second is the election process.
In this case one derives political authority from winning a free and
fair election. To add some clarity to this let us observe another example
which was believed to be a source of political authority centuries ago:
Religion. It was believed that good government derived from a
religious source so that the leader 'appointed' by God to rule over other
people. Of course, we have had our fair share of crazy ideas in our time,
with some politicians declaring that President Mugabe is the son of God,
implying that his political authority is derived from the Almighty.
Our problem is that between the two sources of political authority,
the liberation struggle has so far out-competed the election process. This
has been reiterated time and again and more recently we observed that even
those who lead state institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
derive their authority from those whose political authority is sourced from
the liberation struggle.
It is this rigid definition of the parameters of political authority
that has deprived the country of conditions in which a democratic culture
can properly thrive. Where these conditions exist, it should be easy to
foster a culture in which not only the majority will is respected but also
where the interests of minorities, whose plight Nkomo's proposal highlights,
There are a number of constitutional mechanisms which can be set up to
ensure the protection of minorities against oppression by the majority.
Nkomo's proposal could be one of them but if it is not the most desirable,
other ways could be devised. This is what we should be doing - trying to
debate Nkomo's proposal as a response to a problem and putting forward
alternatives where available.
So when I listen to Nkomo's proposal I appreciate the problem that it
highlights; a problem that must be solved but I worry that it also misses
the source of the challenge.
To put it another way, I ask this question, would Didymus Mutasa
behave and act differently if he was in the provincial government of
Manicaland? Would John Nkomo be any different if he was leader of the
provincial government in Matabeleland?
Likewise, would Josiah Hungwe have been a different leader if Masvingo
were governed separately? Would these men be more amenable to free and fair
elections as a source of political authority or would the liberation
struggle still reign supreme as the ultimate source of political authority?
The flaw in the idea that being governed by your own is the solution
to this problem can be seen in what happened at independence. Many black
Africans thought the same at independence but it turned out to be horribly
wrong. One of your own can be just as oppressive unless a proper political
culture fair and amenable to free-will is fostered. Being governed by one of
your own, whether at national or provincial level is not the answer to the
problems we face in Africa.
We have to go further and define the parameters and principles of
governance; to reform our conception of political authority so that the
election can truly triumph as the legitimate source of political authority.
Unless that is achieved, the problem we face at the national level could
very easily be replicated at the five provincial levels, with worse
But all this notwithstanding, we need to appreciate the context and
cause of Nkomo's statements.
It is a call that requires us to engage in serious discussion because
it points to problems that require our collective attention. Let us not be
swayed by emotion. Let's identify the cause of that proposal and discuss
ways of dealing with that problem.
If Nkomo's proposal is wrong, show why it is wrong but by all means
try to offer solutions to the problem that it highlights.Yet Nkomo and
others would also do well to realise that the greater problem we face as a
nation is that, in fact, the political majority has not been and continues
to be thwarted by a political minority.
And all this stems from the way political authority is sourced in our
politics, whether at national or provincial level.
Alex Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:37
THE electricity charges set out by the Minister of Energy and Power
Development last month are so unrealistic they could only be the outcome of
guess work. If the figures he based the charges on came from the power
utility they were meant to mislead him.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has no capacity to
read meters so consumers can pay on the basis of actual energy consumption.
When the minister initially suggested that families pay US$10 for
their monthly power consumption people did so reluctantly but were prepared
to give Zesa the benefit of the doubt. Consumers traumatised by the
haphazard "load-shedding" are prepared to pay in order to escape unscheduled
recurrent power outages but there are limits when the figures border on
Consumers were shocked when the minister revised the figures upwards
last month. The minister should have asked for current regional estimates.
Regional averages show that in South African electricity costs roughly
between R50 and R100 in high-density suburbs and between R150 and R250 in
These figures are closer to the ones consumers pay in Namibia's high-
and low-density suburbs
In Zambia, townships in Lusaka have a fixed charge of K190 000 (US$36)
a month per household while those on meters provided by the power company,
Zesco sometimes pay more than K200 000 (US$38) a month, depending on usage.
But most townships in Lusaka have pre-paid meters and families in
those areas now pay an average K80 000 (US$17).
Some suburbs have pre-paid meters and on average consumers pay K100
000 a month (US$19). These are countries where consumers are not subjected
to the heavy disruptions that Zimbabweans suffer.
There is therefore need to review the minimum charges outlined by the
minister, by bringing them into line with the regional averages as an
interim measure. The long term approach should be to allow for pre-paid
energy requirements. Consumers are already used to this when they top up
their mobile telephones. At least consumers will pay for what they use and
there will be no contested bills.
With pre-paid meters, consumers are able to regulate their consumption
just as they regulate their mobile phone usage. It will prove cheaper and
more successful in the long run.
The minister's figures need to be challenged. He needs to explain.
This is how accountability starts. If we allow him to dream up figures we
run the risk of going back to the days when Zanu PF arrogated itself
monopoly of knowledge and even had the audacity to decide how much of our
own hard-earned savings we could withdraw from banks and the frequencies.
What is particularly saddening is that groups such as the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe and the Combined Harare Residents' Associations and
their counterparts, as well as the crop of legislators appear to believe
that there is some justification in the minister's figures. This is in total
contrast to the sense among the people these groups claim to represent. This
is not the change and transparency consumers hoped and voted for on March
In any case, we are surprised the minister believes that Zesa has the
right people to run it in the new changed circumstances. It requires a sea
change from the management that subscribes to the view that it is better to
sacrifice operations so that the top echelons can live in the lap of luxury
despite total collapse of service delivery. The US$30 and US$40 should be
suspended until there is an informed decision.
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:32
I have followed Sam Sipepa Nkomo's views over the years. I also happen
to be one of those who engaged him in 2006 on the same issue, although at
the time it was slightly put as "Provincialisation".
I enjoyed his discussion then, which I happen to have to this day. But
I did engage him on it with a view to flesh the skeletal policy projections
he was pursuing and seeking to understand what the concept he was proposing
meant to the people of Matabeleland and Zimbabwe as a whole.
Today, I notice a change of name in his discussion. Semantics aside; I
also do not know whether the minister knows what he is discussing and what
it means in this constitutional discourse.
However, before I seek to unpack the concept of devolution which forms
much of today's currency in many public spheres, it is my wish to
acknowledge that I sense some level of consistency in whatever Nkomo might
be referring to in his postulations.
What I do not know is whether this is surely party policy or Nkomo's
position as an individual. What I gather from some colleagues is that so far
this is not party policy.
The main reason being that there is not even a tinge of it reflected
in the "Kariba constitutional" draft, for if it is surely MDC-T policy this
position should be coming not only from Nkomo but clearly reflected in that
document and also echoed by the likes of Eric Matinenga, Douglas Mwonzora
etc. Possibly, this stands as a sign of hope and aspirations on his part.
Having discussed these inadequacies in terms of policy shifts within
the MDC-T and my wish to understand Nkomo's locus of enunciation, I contend
that it might be necessary for us to attempt to unpack this concept of
"devolution" as a form of "administrative decentralisation".
It might also be worth mentioning that various other countries have
done it. It helps in situations like ours where people claim that a unitary
system is working when it is common knowledge that not every one is
benefiting, except for those who are closer to the centre and playing
politics of mimicry.
Before we engage the concept of "devolution" of power, it is necessary
for us to first seek to understand that this term is part of the discourse
on "decentralisation". Decentralisation as a concept informs the
"devolution" system, which is but one of the tiers in a continuum. Further,
there are various schools of thought on this discourse; notable among them
are the French and English scholars. My contribution will be informed by the
English scholars for obvious reasons.
Conflating decentralisation as a concept with normative positive
values also leads to evaluative concepts which I am not going to discuss
here. But it might be good for some of us to seek to understand how it is
linked with the current discourse of constitution making, democracy and the
general ideation of market reforms.
Decentralisation as stated above has different types namely;
"Political", "Spatial", "Administrative" and "Market decentralisation". In
brief, "political decentralisation" entails a situation where groups at
different levels of government; central, sub-national (meso) and local are
empowered to make decisions related to what affects them.
Political forms of decentralisation are usually engaged by political
scientists interested in democratisation and civil society seeking to
identify transfer of decision-making power to lower levels of governmental
units or their elected representatives.
"Spatial decentralisation" is a term used mainly by planners and
geographers seeking to formulate policies and programs aimed at reducing
excessive urban concentration in large cities by promoting regional growth
poles that have the potential to become centres of manufacturing etc.
"Market decentralisation" is generally used by economists to analyse
and promote action that facilitates the creation of conditions allowing
goods and services to be produced and provided by market mechanism sensitive
to the revealed preferences of individuals.
It gained momentum during the era of economic liberalisation (the
80s-90s), privatisation and the demise of command economies. Under this type
of decentralisation public goods are usually provided by small and large
firms, community groups, cooperatives, voluntary associations and NGOs.
"Administrative decentralisation" provides a continuum across systems
ranging from low to a high degree of autonomy. The following forms of
administrative decentralisation form the continuum; "deconcentration",
"delegation" and "devolution".
"Deconcentration" refers to the dispersing of responsibilities by a
central government, for example, a policy directed to field officers. In
essence this form of transfer leads to spatial changes and geographical
distribution of authority, but does not significantly change autonomy of the
entity receiving the authority.
What matters most is that in this form of arrangement the central
government retains authority and continues to exercise that authority
through the hierarchical channels of central government bureaucracy.
This is the least extensive type of administrative decentralisation
and commonly found in most developing economies.
"Delegation" entails the transfer of policy responsibility to local
governments or semi-autonomous organisations that are not controlled by the
central government but remain accountable to it.
This implies transfer of government decision-making and administrative
authority and responsibilities for carefully spelt out tasks, for example,
in the case of all state universities in Zimbabwe. Vice-Chancellors have
clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
They are not their own men and women. The main difference between
"deconcentration" and "delegation" is that the central government continues
to exercise its control by way of a contractual arrangement which ensures
accountability of local government. In essence "delegation" occupies a
higher level of administrative autonomy in this decentralisation continuum
for local entities than under "deconcentration".
Then finally, the concept of "devolution" as part of a continuum and a
subject of engagement mainly within the currency of Zimbabwe's
constitutional discourse deserves special attention. Devolution occurs when
authority is transferred by central governments to local-level governmental
units holding corporate status granted under state legislation.
Federal states are by definition devolved, although the extent of
legally defined and shared powers devolved by the federal government to
lower level governmental units can be quite limited. Furthermore, devolution
of established regional authorities is always discouraged in most countries,
largely because most states are characterised by weak central governments
and so central governments are weary of losing political control.
This concept is likely to be met with so much of resistance because
most people are worried that if the central government devolves power
regions might wake up someday claiming secession or some kind of autonomy.
This kind of fear is unfounded. The other reason why most people might be
against this form of administrative centralisation is ignorance,
particularly on what it entails.
An attempt to institutionalise "devolution" of power to regions and
localities must first find its basis within the state constitution creating
a federal system of governance or a lesser version of it. Thus seeking to
shift power from the centre to the regions; South Africa and Ethiopia
provide a case in point.
However, there is an assortment of preconditions for a successful
decentralisation and an efficient federal system. Further, the initiative
for such a policy must not be a product of elite reasoning.
If it grows out of the elite and their allies in the regions without
taking into cognisance broader assessments of the likely benefits and risks
contained in such a policy, then doom and policy failure can be ascertained.
It must be emphasized that in some cases this policy is notoriously
difficult to implement and might even be disastrous.
However, it requires diligence, commitment and political will on the
part of political elite and the ordinary masses.
Again sudden shifts to the regions of income, and welfare maintenance
functions can lead to massive social and economic dislocation which is
likely leave sub-regional governments with the task of maintaining social
safety nets and dealing with the plight of a population hit by a severe
For such an eventuality to be avoided, regional administrators must
work in tandem with all the political actors and not act like shock
absorbers protecting local populations against tough indiscriminate measures
of the central government.
Emphasis must be made that a weak federal government in such a
situation remains with little choice but to spend its increasingly limited
fiscal and political resources to buy the loyalty of regional
Zimbabweans must guard against this. Generally, a federal govt tends
to fail to perform its job as a provider of national public goods, including
such fundamentals as overall law and order, social safety nets, protection
of property rights and sound regulation of markets.
In this discussion, since it is my contention that it remains to be
seen whether the concept of devolution is MDC-T policy; it can be further
argued that, if it is indeed possible that the MDC-T is pushing this
decentralisation envelope there is a clear likelihood that party loyalty is
Devolution can work if some preconditions could be satisfied; first,
by ensuring that the central government is responsible for national public
goods, guaranteeing a free market, property rights and contract
Second, if the centre ensures unhampered inter-regional mobility of
capital and labour, enabling flows in response to the incentives created by
fiscal policies, regulatory regimes and social and economic infrastructure
set in the regions.
Third, if there is strong political will and commitment on the part of
political leaders at a central government level.
Fourth, if those calling for it are not taken for granted and are
capable of fighting for their cause in a concerted effort and committed to
this as a noble cause.
However, mention has to be made that these conditions are defined from
a capitalist perspective, but they do provide a telling impact of what needs
to be done for the policy of devolution to work. In addition, I am mindful
of the fact that these conditions comprise what has come to be known as
"market preserving federalism".
* Brilliant Mhlanga is a human rights activist and an academic from
the University of Westminster, in London.
BY BRILLIANT MHLANGA
Fingers Point at ZBC Bosses as Resources run out
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:19
THANK you very much for exposing the looting and corruption going on
at ZBC in the issue of May 31.
I am one of the few remaining experienced and skilled workers at the
state propaganda station. Many of my colleagues have been hounded out
because they are independent-minded and to ZBC, this is tantamount to being
I am very saddened by what is going on at the national broadcaster
which has now been turned into a personal propaganda tool by a few
individuals and one political party. Indeed things have fallen apart at ZBC.
Morale is at its lowest ebb and programming is at its worst.
How can senior managers buy themselves expensive generators and plasma
screen television sets when the company is struggling to broadcast due to
obsolete and archaic radio and television equipment?
Apart from failing to pay workers on time, there no longer is any
editing equipment working and producers and reporters are now resorting to
using cameras to edit programmes and news.
Where in the world have you heard of a whole national broadcaster
editing news and programmes on a news gathering camera? Even backyard
production houses can do better than this.
Hiring vehicles almost made ZBC bankrupt during the time of Jonathan
Moyo, Gideon Gono and Munyaradzi Hwengwere. Now Happison Muchechetere and
his gang made up of Allan Chiweshe, Tazzen Mandizvidza and Retired Brigadier
Kasu are repeating the same mistake.
We suspect that they are hiring these Mercedes Benz, Toyota Prados and
Nissan Navarras from their friends' garages. Indeed, these guys are looting
and we have evidence to prove that. Only recently they increased their
monthly fuel allocation from 240 litres to over 500 litres for each manager's
What a good way to loot!
They are selling themselves company vehicles issued to them for
peanuts, yet workers have no vehicles to go for production, hence the shoddy
programming on radio and television. These senior managers are reselling
the vehicles which they buy for themselves, sometimes using the now
discarded zimdollar currency. What a way to loot!
What are their priorities really? These guys know that days are
numbered because of lack of professionalism and practice of political
patronage and therefore they want to loot as much as possible before they
are booted out.
They know nothing will be done to them currently because their masters
at Munhumutapa Building will protect them. Certain senior ministry of
information officials and their relatives and girlfriends draw fuel from ZBC
for their use.
Please can those responsible save us from the madness and looting
taking place at ZBC. Please turn ZBC into a truly public service broadcaster
accountable to the people of Zimbabwe through Parliament. Cry our beloved
Telephone Tariffs Have Been Slashed by 30%: TelOne
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:17
THE story on TelOne tariffs by John Mokwetsi in The Standard of 31 May
A good balanced story could have been written had we been contacted
for comment. It is important to clarify facts. Attached is our response:
TelOne was authorised to charge in foreign currency at the beginning
of January 2009. So it is incorrect to state that permission to charge in
foreign was granted on February 2, 2009.
The January and February bills were reduced by 30% in an effort to
cushion our customers in these difficult times. The bills that our customers
are receiving are not estimated bills but are based on actual usage.
Acting in the public interest and faced with the need to strike a
balance between affordability of service and our viability, the regulator
reduced our tariff from US$0.10 a minute to US$0.07 a minute with effect
from March 15, 2009. However, TelOne backdated this tariff reduction to
March 1, 2009 for the benefit of our customers.
We call upon those of our customers who are finding it difficult to
pay their bills at once to visit our Customer Services Offices countrywide
to make payment plans. These are not being disconnected for as long as they
honour the payment schedules.
To date disconnections have only been effected to those customers who
have not paid anything since January. Accordingly, any customers that have
paid their February, March and April 2009 bills have not been disconnected.
It is generally agreed that in order to make telecom services
accessible to the majority of the citizens of Zimbabwe telephone charges
must be affordable. This is in line with the universal access objective.
Tariff charges must however be realistic to support network growth.
The regional average of tariffs for other telecommunication companies
is US$0.09 a minute and yet our tariff is US$0.07 a minute.
Kindly note that telephone utilisation has not decreased with
dollarisation. In fact, the billed units for April 2009 are 25% above the
November/December 2008 average.
Recent studies have also shown that at household level the average
local usage a month is 100 units which translates to 300 minutes a month.
At the local rate of US$0.07 a minute the average bill for a household is
U$21.00. It must be stressed categorically that those customers whose bills
are ranging between US$300 and US$700 as stated in your inquiry, did utilise
the phone. In Zimbabwe, we are seeing heavy utilisation levels of about 2
500 units a month for residential customers.
Charging economic rates will enable us to make a profit and remain
viable. Business viability will make it possible to modernise and expand the
network, keep abreast of the ever-changing technology and to meet customers'
expectations in terms of service and costs.
Our customers are once again encouraged to use their phones
responsibly in order to avoid crippling bills.
* REPEATED efforts were made to seek comment in order to balance our
story. We tried, repeatedly both the TelOne general line 798111 and the
direct line for Corporate Communications 706090 but Wilbesi will be among
the first to admit how incredibly difficult it is to access TelOne. -
Govt cadetship scheme a sham
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:08
STUDENTS in Zimbabwe seem comfortable living with deception
rather than facing the brutal truth, that the government cadetship scheme is
The government has gone for five months without paying its
employees salaries but rather allowances and yet we expect that same
government to own up to its promise of financing the cadetship scheme.
We are now faced with a situation where some students are going
to have their studies deferred due to inability to secure the monies
required by various institutions of higher learning and what's surprising is
the silence of the government over this issue.
The cadetship scheme, it should be noted, is borne out of the
guilty conscience of government after neglecting the students and it's only
there to save the face of government rather than take into cognisance the
plight of the suffering students. Firstly, I for one strongly believe that
it is a form of modern day slavery.
How can an individual faced with no other means of coming up
with the hideous and unsympathetic fees be able to resist applying for this
Secondly the terms and conditions of this scheme reek of evil.
When you are bonded to the government you do not have the power to negotiate
your own salary and those students will now be used as a source of cheap
I call upon the government to revisit this issue of cadetship
and return to its senses by bringing back the revolving loan and grant
Nust SRC President.
Why Gono Does not Deserve to Remain at the Helm of RBZ
Saturday, 06 June 2009 13:05
WHETHER Dr Gideon Gono authored the letter that has been widely
publicised on the Internet or not, the man has shot himself in the right
foot, and his days at the helm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are numbered.
Gono is gone!
Chances are that Gono did not pen the letter himself. The letter
could be a product of the hidden hand of some residual elements in Zanu PF,
including some in the military. If that is the case, Gono should have
dissociated himself from the letter as it has been doing the rounds for
quite some days now.
Chances, therefore, are that he authored the letter and is happy
with the contents, or he is aware of the authors of the much publicised
letter and is hoping that the contents of the letter, even though he did not
write it himself, may appeal to the Sadc leaders who are said to have been
Given Gono's failure to distance himself from the letter, those
who believe he wrote it will be asking the following questions:
Why did he find it necessary to copy this letter to Thabo Mbeki?
Why did he find it appropriate to copy the letter to Sadc Heads
What evidence does he have that Tendai Biti is linked to the
alleged externalisation of foreign currency at Honey and Blanckenberg? Why
does he find it necessary to discuss an issue which has already been
investigated and closed?
How was the letter allegedly delivered to the Prime Minister's
Are there any records in the RBZ mailroom to show that a letter
was dispatched to the Prime Minister's office?
If Gono indeed authored the letter, then he has just proved to
the Sadc Heads of State and governments that he does not know the
appropriate channels of communication, and is not fit to occupy the high
office of Governor for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
His letter could best have been copied to Professor Arthur
Mutambara and President Robert Mugabe as the three Principals of the Global
Political Agreement, or alternatively, addressed to all the three.
Gono has given a very clear impression in his letter that he and
the Minister of Finance cannot work together, and should that be the case,
he should resign immediately and allow the country to move forward. Gono,
please go in peace.
SMS The Standard
Saturday, 06 June 2009 12:33
ZBC guess work
I RECENTLY bought a television set for our office for US$120,
but I am now being asked to pay US$100 for a TV licence.
I also have a TV at home, a radio in each of my two cars. Can
anyone tell me how much I owe ZBC and is it fair to charge me in multiples
when I use one gadget at a time. I appeal to the minister in charge to order
a review of the licence fees. Otherwise the whole of the country faces
arrest. Whenever a decision meets such widespread resistance or causes such
an outcry it means it has no support and government should be sensitive
enough to act and order a downward review. It is too much to expect us to
pay that much for one channel. I ask Happison Muchechetere, the ZBC CEO to
find out how much DStv is charging for 25 channels and a host of other free
channels and then reflect on his fees. He should not pass his corporate
expenses onto us. Improve quality in order to attract commercials. - DStv
SHAME on ZBC bosses! Do they use those generators to watch Dead
BC programmes or satellite television? - Kusanyara.
THE US$40 that the Minister of Energy and Power Development,
Engineer Elias Mudzuri said we should pay Zesa is way too much especially
here in Marlborough, Harare. We suffer massive weekly, sometimes daily power
cuts for prolonged periods. So no way are we paying the extortionate
rates. - Verima, Harare.
OVER the years Zimbabwe has been invited to a number of
presidential inaugurations. Its representations consisted of high-powered
delegations. What boggles the mind is their inability to learn from these
democratic environments. Behaviourists argue that environment is integral in
shaping one's behaviour. - Tawanaishe.
Leave Moyo alone
PEOPLE must stop criticising Professor Jonathan Moyo because he
is giving an honest analysis of the shortcomings of the government of
national unity. One might hate the Tsholotsho-born professor but one can not
take anything away from him. He is the only person who demonstrated to the
people in Matabeleland what could be achieved in terms of development if a
person is given a position in government. Tsholotsho could be somewhere
today had he not been disturbed by the politics of hatred and jealousy.
Remember that in the early 90s he foretold the situation we find our country
in today. So why fight against such brilliant brains. Stop blaming Moyo for
the closure of The Daily News. Blame Sam Sipepa Nkomo who did not register
the newspaper like other papers which did under protest. -Ronnie Nkiwane.
I TEND to agree with the late Learnmore Judah Jongwe, who once
asserted that Professor Jonathan Moyo's academic track record was dubious.
Moyo's utterances during a recent interview with VOA radio was not only
shocking, it was woefully defective in academic relevance and charm. He
vehemently denied that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr
Gideon Gono contributed to the collapse of the economy. Then how come the
people who embraced and promoted Gono's quasi-fiscal activities lost
dismally during the March 2008 elections? - Tinotenda.
Please tell us
CAN the Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture, Senator
David Coltart please tell us why it is that we now have to pay primary
school fees backdated to last term, especially after the minister announced
that school fees had been reduced and soon after we paid heavy levies. At
the government school where our children attend they are asking for US$150
for last term and US$10 for second term and US$28 in levies. Will I ever
finish paying for all these? - Disgruntled.
COULD Senator David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sport,
Arts and Culture please come to our rescue? We are at the mercy of teachers
at Mt Carmel Secondary School in Headlands. Why are they taking their
allowances when they are not teaching? - Irate parent.
COULD the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture come to
the assistance of parents with children at Christon Bank Primary School?
They are supposed to pay US$5 levy but the teachers there are demanding a
further US$5 as part of their salary. - Concerned.
COULD the government do something about the rand-US dollar cross
rate because here in Kwekwe we are being ripped off. It is daylight robbery
and business people are profiteering while ordinary people continue to
suffer. Please do something! - Suffer continue, Kwekwe.
ZIMRA needs to know that we want to pay duty without having to
smuggle anything, but we can only do that once it stops charging us 65% for
our goods. It also needs to appreciate that only a few of the goods it
confiscates end up being bought at Zimra auctions. Please do not turn us
into smugglers. - Trader.
THE Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe easily forgets that
Operation Murambatsvina left our children in the open during the winter
cold. His were happily ensconced in the comfort of their homes. Now you
appreciate how it hurts. But your actions will forever haunt you. - Anon.
WHOSE money was Dr Gideon Gono using to purchase cars, tractors,
fertiliser and other equipment? Those who praise him make it sound as if he
personally donated these from his own pocket, because then he would be
extremely rich and very kind. - Amused.
HOW can the MDC formations expect the Governor of the Reserve
Bank, Dr Gideon Gono to quit the billionaires' club? The price for doing so
is loss of all wealth and that he will not remember to reveal all the
secrets of the club. - O Makoni.
IF Dr Gideon Gono loves Zimbabwe he should resign and not be an
impediment to its progress. Let him ignore the voices of a vocal minority
who benefited directly from the RBZ's quasi-fiscal activities. - Sam,
4 June 2009
By Radio VOP
HARARE - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) has released
a test-run of a comedy drama as part of a campaign to ensure the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) becomes an independent public broadcaster.
MISA-Zimbabwe says the play, titled Dzimbabwe, chronicles how ZBC has been
reduced to a political public relations department, allowing party
sympathisers free rein to broadcast propaganda. National Vice-Chair Njabulo
Ncube said? the people of Zimbabwe were the genuine stakeholders of ZBC and
should have a say about the direction the broadcaster should take.
The play captures how the four characters, Professors Marashike and
Mupererwe and Doctors Chiura and Mahoto give themselves the right to define
who is a genuine Zimbabwean. The panel appears on national TV reciting
mantras against the then opposition MDC and glorifying Zanu (PF). Dzimbabwe
is being piloted in Gweru and Kwekwe, but could soon be taken nationwide.