SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
10 June 2010
More cracks in the already shaky coalition government are appearing, after a trade agreement authorised by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was reversed this week, apparently on Robert Mugabe’s orders.
The bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPPA) with South Korea was signed while the Prime Minister was on a state visit to the country last month. But on Wednesday, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba launched a scathing tirade against Tsvangirai in the state controlled Herald newspaper over the agreement, saying the Prime Minister does not have the authority to approve such an agreement on the government’s behalf. Charamba said only Mugabe, after consulting cabinet, could bind Zimbabwe to another country through a BIPPA.
The BIPPA was signed between Zimbabwe and South Korea, with Heneri Dzinotyiwei, the Minister of Science and Technology, signing on behalf of Zimbabwe. But Charamba said it was “absurd” that Tsvangirai had delegated Dzinotyiwei to sign on behalf of Zimbabwe. He said such powers were only vested in Mugabe, not Tsvangirai.
“It is absurd, to say the least. Anyway, as far as I know and I have checked, the President never made any such delegation so in effect no BIPPA was signed in Korea,” he told the Herald. “Maybe it was the mock signing ceremony of a BIPPA that might be signed in the future by those constitutionally delegated to do so.”
It is widely suspected that Mugabe came under pressure to reverse the South Korean deal from his long time supporters, North Korea. The two Korean states are sworn enemies, and it is understood that North Korea, believed to be secretly funding Zimbabwe’s military, is furious that deals are being negotiated with the South. The agreement has now reportedly been reversed after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the South Koreans to tell them the agreement was “null and void.”
“Their embassy has been informed of the constitutional position and indications are that they have since communicated to Seoul,” the Herald quoted a Foreign Affairs official as saying.
Tsvangirai’s office has now called for Charamba to face disciplinary action for undermining the authority of the Prime Minister. The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Gorden Moyo, called a press conference on Wednesday and announced that Charamba had gone over the top in his statements to The Herald, belittling Tsvangirai’s trip to South Korea. Moyo said Charamba’s comments violated “ethics of the civil service and also the spirit of this inclusive government.”
“The BIPPA was prepared by the two countries in accordance with local laws and protocols,” Moyo said. “The agreement was drafted by the office of Zimbabwe’s Attorney General and reviewed and approved by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation.”
Moyo said Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment who had a constitutional responsibility of signing such agreements on behalf of the government, had officially conveyed his power of attorney to Dzinotyiwei. Moyo said Charamba’s claims were not only false but did not represent government’s position and violated the ethics of the civil service and the spirit of the inclusive government.
Observers have commented that this most recent split in the government once again clearly shows that Mugabe has no intention of sharing power in the ‘unity’ government. A deadlock over outstanding issues of the GPA remains firmly in place, with Mugabe refusing to implement his part of the deal. The three principals to the GPA finally met on Tuesday to discuss a report on how to solve the outstanding issues. But no agreement has been reached and it’s understood that the dispute will now be taken to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the guarantors of the Zimbabwe unity deal.
Mugabe meanwhile has insisted that his recent unilateral appointment and promotion of judges was fully constitutional. Tsvangirai and the MDC have been up in arms over Mugabe’s unilateral move, which saw controversial former Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman, George Chiweshe, become Judge President of the High Court. Tsvangirai has warned that Mugabe risks plunging the country into a constitutional crisis over the appointments, pointing out that the constitution stipulates that the President must make key appointments in consultation with the Prime Minister.
But Mugabe is reported to have defended his actions to Tsvangirai during their Tuesday meeting, saying the judges were appointed through an internal authority, the Law Society of Zimbabwe. A source quoted by the Herald said: “It must be borne in mind that the Law Society has many people sympathetic to Tsvangirai and he agreed that it was doubtful they would act against his interests.”
“President Mugabe said he had merely formalised the appointments acting on the advice of the Law Society, the Chief Justice and the Judicial Services Commission,” the source reportedly said.
The Herald also quoted this source as saying that “it does not really matter whether or not he (the Prime Minister) was satisfied” with Mugabe’s explanation. The ‘insider’ also insisted that the “matter is now closed.”
SW Radio Africa
By Lance Guma
10 June 2010
The launch of the constitutional outreach exercise next week Wednesday is now under threat, after Members of Parliament from both ZANU PF and the two MDC’s demanded an increase in their daily allowances. Currently MP’s and Senators taking part in the process will get US$25 per day in allowances, but legislators say they want this increased to US$75 per day. Their demands appear motivated by the fact that rapporteurs for the exercise will be paid US$100 per day.
A joint caucus meeting held on Tuesday by the MP’s resolved to appeal to the three party leaders in the coalition government to intervene and up their allowances. But Newsreel understands that several ZANU PF MP’s have already been tasked to campaign for a delay to the exercise, using the allowance issue as an excuse. Mwenezi East MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti for example, told journalists they would call for the exercise to be postponed until they got the increases.
Obert Gutu who is the MDC-T Senator for Chisipite told Newsreel this was not the MDC position. He said although they had taken their case to the principals for an increase to their allowances they at no point said they would pull out of the exercise, or call for a postponement because of the allowances. He said the constitutional outreach exercise was an important national project and money issues should not get in the way.
The call for a postponement by ZANU PF MP’s will add to growing evidence that the party is not interested in a people driven constitution. The first stake-holders conference in Harare last year was disrupted by its rowdy supporters who invaded the conference venue, chanting slogans and threatening a repeat of the June 2008 election violence. After that a series of squabbles over the talking points, composition of the outreach teams and donor funding, ensured the process failed to meet its deadlines.
The MDC-T has already issued a stinging statement accusing ZANU PF MP’s of adopting a ‘mercenary’ attitude to the whole exercise. It blamed its partner in the coalition government of trying to derail the process. “Coupled with the ZANU-PF-instigated violent disturbances in the countryside, where villagers are being coerced to stay silent during the outreach program, the whole game plan begins to give itself away," the statement read. The party also noted that the state controlled media had deliberately ignored publicizing the outreach exercise.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo meanwhile appeared to contradict the statements coming from his own party MP’s insisting, “as far as we are concerned the outreach program is going ahead as stipulated by the principals. Certainly as far as we are concerned we will stick to the $25 allowance.”
If the government gives in to the demand for increased allowances at least an additional US$500 000 will have to be sourced from donors or government coffers.
SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
10 June 2010
Energy and Power Development Minister, Elias Mudzuri, has said the utility power supplier will suspend its regular programme of power cuts to enable football fans to enjoy uninterrupted coverage of the World Cup in South Africa.
Mudzuri told a news conference on Wednesday that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) was working to ensure equitable distribution of the limited power available to consumers, to enable them to watch the World Cup.
He also said that ZESA would suspend disconnections to allow the public to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This will be good news for the consumers who have failed to settle their bills and, according to ZESA, owe the utility more than $300 million. Mudzuri added that disconnections and load-shedding would return after the month-long football tournament.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday called upon the unity government to invest in sport through financial and material support.
Tsvangirai, a keen sportsman who rarely misses a round of golf each weekend, said he was committed to ensuring that government lives up to its responsibility to invest in the sporting future of all Zimbabweans.
Writing in his weekly column in The Prime Minister’s newsletter, Tsvangirai said over the past decade, Zimbabweans have been denied the exposure, excitement and national unifying effects of international sporting events.
Zimbabwe has a great sporting tradition and has produced many world recognised sports names and personalities. Football is the national passion in the nation while cricket and athletics are also very popular. But most sports associations have failed to attract sponsorship owing to the country’s economic and political situation.
The Prime Minister, who flies to South Africa on Friday for the opening ceremony of the World Cup, said it was heartening the country was once again taking its rightful place on the international stage.
He pointed at the visit last week of five times world champions Brazil, who almost brought the country to a standstill when they were in Harare. The Samba boys played a friendly international with the Zimbabwe warriors, winning 3-0 at a game watched by Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Last month, long distance runner Stephen Muzhingi won his second Comrades marathon in a row, a feat recognised by Tsvangirai when he extended an invitation to the runner for a ‘cup of tea’ when he gets back to Harare.
‘The pinnacle of success in this area (financial and material support) would be seeing our national team qualifying for the next FIFA World Cup,’ Tsvangirai wrote.
SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
10 June 2010
South African Foreign Affairs officials in Pretoria are making frantic efforts to squeeze in a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and the three principals who will be at the official opening of the FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup opens in Johannesburg on Friday and Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara have been invited to attend.
The three will travel to the football extravaganza having failed to agree on any of the outstanding issues in the GPA during their Tuesday meeting in Harare.
The political leaders reportedly declared a deadlock after their four hour meeting and agreed to refer the issue to Zuma to mediate in the power-sharing dispute that has dodged the shaky coalition government since its formation over a year ago.
Zuma and his facilitation team have been sitting on the fence in the hope that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara would reach an understanding and avoid the regional instability that the lack of resolution is threatening.
A Harare based journalist told us he was in touch with South African diplomats in the capital who informed him officials in Pretoria were working overtime to set up a meeting between Zuma and the principals.
‘They told me plans are at an advanced stage to make sure Zuma and members of his facilitation team get time from their busy schedule to engage Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara during their brief stay in South Africa.
Gabriel Shumba, a pro-democracy activist, said it was almost inevitable that Zuma will now push the warring sides to prepare for elections. The South African team is on record saying they have a raft of proposals containing a framework of ideas on how to run a successful free and fair election, whose outcome is acceptable by the international community.
The South Africans have had this document for a while, but there are suggestions they only plan to produce it when all else has failed.
‘I can only guess this document has something to do with a general framework of holding free and fair elections. It is useless referring the crisis to a SADC summit because we will get the same outcome where the principals would be asked to go back and negotiate,’ Shumba said.
A few months ago Zuma suggested that holding of fresh elections was the only way out of the continuous disagreements by the parties in the inclusive government. Some observers have said he should tell the coalition partners to ‘park’ some of the outstanding issues, and concentrate on those that would affect the holding of elections.
Speaking in January to a South African radio station Zuma said he hoped one day the leaders would ‘open up and look at the issues from all angles.’
‘Are these issues so fundamental that we cannot move without resolving them? Can we park them and proceed,’ said Zuma.
It is believed the latest stalemate has finally convinced Zuma the only way out is an election.
The warring parties have failed to agree on several outstanding issues in their power sharing agreement signed in September 2008. They include Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of the central bank governor and the attorney general and his refusal to swear in Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture.
ZANU PF says it wants the MDC to first call for the lifting of targeted sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle, plus the closure of independent radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe, before a compromise can be reached on anything else.
SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
10 June 2010
A Harare magistrate on Thursday denied bail to Farai Maguwu and remanded him in custody. Maguwu is the diamond researcher who was arrested last Thursday, shortly after giving evidence to the Kimberley Process monitor to Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, about the volatile situation in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Maguwu’s lawyers intend to file an urgent High Court application on Friday against the denial of bail and to challenge the ruling by the magistrate to place him on remand on the basis of ‘contradictory & self destructive’ evidence placed by the State in court’.
Police claim to have found documents which contain falsehoods about the human rights violations in the Chiadzwa area in March.
Maguwu’s lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, who is also a human rights defender, told SW Radio Africa that the prosecution team knows they will not be able to secure a conviction based on the evidence brought to the court, but the case is a deliberate attempt to silence people doing advocacy work on the controversial diamond fields.
Maguwu accuses the Kimberley Process monitor of shopping him to the police. His lawyers said the police told the court they’d be travelling to South Africa to get evidence from Chikane.
Bere said since Maguwu’s arrest last week the police have failed to be consistent about the charges he is facing. When Maguwu was initially arrested he was informed the reason was the communication that he had made to Chikane. But this changed when he was first formally charged and that charge did not make any reference to the KP monitor. It accused the activist of sending information via email to exiled human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba and an Anton Dekker, from the Netherlands.
But the lawyer said on the court day a different charge appeared, which was the one on the record. This says Maguwu published falsehoods and sent them to Gabriel Shumba, Anton Dekker and Tor Olsen, a coordinator of the Zimbabwe Europe Network.
Bere added: “Then during the evidence to the court by the investigation officer, Detective Inspector Dowa, he then revisited allegations that he was going to be visiting Abbey Chikane in South Africa to collect documents. So it is like a cycle but it still includes Chikane.”
The lawyer said in a normal country a government should investigate allegations of human rights abuses and not arrest the person who has raised the complaints. Bere said the KP monitor should have also investigated these allegations before reporting to the very people implicated in the abuses in the diamond fields. “But in this case the mouth that has raised the alarm is the one that is being silenced,” he said.
“The larger purpose is to close down the Centre for Research and Development. The larger purpose is to silence this voice that is speaking for the silent people in Marange.”
“When they say they can’t grant him bail because he may run away or he may interfere with the witnesses – the witnesses are senior police officers and senior police personnel. There could never be interference by an unarmed individual like Farai Maguwu and Chikane can never be interfered with by Farai Maguwu because he is the one who actually complained about Farai Maguwu.”
“Eventually when the Kimberley Process has run its course and maybe Zimbabwe has been admitted, they (Zim authorities) will lose interest in Maguwu. But while the issue is hot now they want him in jail,” said Maguwu’s lawyer.
Meanwhile a leaked interim report to the Kimberley Process by the South African monitor recommends that Zimbabwe be allowed to resume diamond exports from the Chiadzwa diamond fields. This internal report is due to be debated on Monday by the Kimberley Process Working Group on Monitoring (WGM).
A member of the WGM, Global Witness, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that it rejected Chikane’s report that said Zimbabwe’s diamonds are clean. Elly Harrowell of Global Witness said Chikane’s recommendations do not mean automatic certification of Zimbabwe’s controversial diamonds. She said the decision has to be taken on the basis of ‘absolute consensus’ between members of the KP monitoring group.
10 June 2010
Last week an informal meeting of donor countries labeled ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’ was urged to support foreign based media outlets, the constitution making process and civil society groups, working to safeguard people’s rights. One of the groups that travelled to Norway for the meeting and put forward their recommendations was the Zimbabwe Europe Network. Lance speaks to its coordinator, Tor Olsen, and finds out how they want donors to deal with the coalition government.
Tichaona says Mugabe has been in power for far too long and has now established what he describes as ‘a legacy of non-inheritance.’ He says when people have clearly rejected their government, as Zimbabweans did in 2008, they should go and not attempt to fool the people and prolong their stay in the guise of a ‘coalition government.’ And, Shumba says the morale of Zimbabweans is very low because of the failure of the constitution-making process to take off.
The Heart of the Matter
Tanonoka writes, “The people are under siege in Zimbabwe and yet they are being asked to come up with a new constitution while they are in the shackles of repressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act. I do not know what, if any, strength the MDC has but it is beginning to look like they are just there to watch ZANU-PF doing as they like.
It is therefore a surprise to me that the MDC is still pursuing efforts to hold talks with Mugabe over the so-called outstanding issues.”
SW Radio Africa (listen on 4880kHz in Southern Africa)
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Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe
10 June 2010
The Commercial Farmers Union is gravely concerned with the recent continued harassment of productive farmers and the failure of Zimbabwe Republic Police to render appropriate assistance in spite of High Court Orders for farmers to remain in occupation
Particular events reported to these offices include the following:
1. Manicaland – a farmer’s wife was barricaded into her house in the early hours of Tuesday 8th June 2010 and subsequently given 4 hours to vacate the property. She is in possession of a High Court Order to remain in occupation.
2. Manicaland – a farmer was removed from his property over the weekend, his equipment has been vandalized and the farm foreman was beaten unconscious last night. The farmer is in possession of a High Court Order to remain in occupation.
3. Manicaland – a farmer in possession of a High Court Order to remain in occupation has been subjected to a long lock-down situation with alleged police protection for an orgy of looting of equipment, farm inputs and crops.
4. Manicaland – The owners are in possession of a High Court Order for the settlers to be removed. This is a BIPPA farm with Malaysia. It is alleged that a prominent Minister has visited the property and informed all settlers to remain in occupation and that all High Court orders must be ignored.
5. Mashonaland East – An elderly woman has been removed from her homestead on her daughter-in-law’s farm who has since been told that she is to vacate by Thursday this week. It has been proven that the beneficiary’s offer letter is not correct. The farmer is in possession of a High Court Order to remain in occupation.
The above incidents are not happening in isolation and that similar events have unfolded all over the country which are currently being investigated.
These events have been driven by statements allegedly emanating from a prominent politician who has instructed beneficiaries and officials to disregard Court Orders. Beneficiaries have been allowed to take the law into their own hands to evict farmers without due process. Both farmers and the office of the CFU have received no support from the relevant police stations in affected areas. This constitutes a blatant break down of law and order and the enforcement of High Court Orders and BIPPA agreements.
We are concerned that at a time that Zimbabwe wishes to re-engage with the international community and encourage investment, that these breaches of the rule of law will drive Zimbabwe into further isolation. This will further erode both local and foreign investor confidence and jeopardize economic recovery.
This accelerated disruption is happening in Zimbabwe at a time when international attention is focused on southern Africa for the Soccer World Cup which is due to start this weekend – Friday 11 June 2010. Is this the kind of attention Zimbabwe wishes to draw to the country at this time?
Production statistics – wheat and maize
Zimbabwe normally produces between 390 000 and 450 000 tonnes of winter wheat. Predictions for this current winter program indicate that the country will only produce in the region of 10 000 tonnes of wheat.
The maize requirement is 1,8 to 2 million tonnes annually. This year’s estimates indicate the country as a whole has only produced between 700 – 800 000 tonnes maize.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has warned of impending widespread hunger and says hundreds of thousands of more Zimbabweans will be in need of urgent food assistance.
According to the most recent figures, a conservative estimate of 2.17 million Zimbabweans currently need food aid.
For further information:
Chief Executive Officer
Commercial Farmers’ Union
Phone : +263 4 309 800 (Harare)
Cell : +263 912 235 640
Commercial Farmers’ Union
Phone : +263 4 309 800
Cell : +263 912 284 847
Commercial Farmers’ Union
Phone : +263 4 309 800
Cell : +263 912 246 233
SA Cell : 072 109 0125 - currently in South Africa
Last week SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma spoke to the Zimbabwean ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila. She was one of five ambassadors from the MDC parties in the coalition government, posted to serve in different countries. Zwambila talks about her work at the Embassy, Australia’s position on the targeted sanctions and some of the challenges she has faced so far.
Interview broadcast 03 June 2010
Lance Guma: Maswera sei mhuri ye Zimbabwe, zita rangu ndinoitwa Lance Guma. Five new ambassadors from the two MDC formations in the inclusive government were appointed to serve in different countries. As you will be aware in this five part series on Behind the Headlines, we speak to all five ambassadors – that’s Hebson Makuvise in Germany, Hilda Suka-Mafudze in Sudan, Trudy Stevenson in Senegal, Jacqueline Zwambila in Australia and Mabed Ngulani in Nigeria. This week we are down under in Australia, speaking to Ambassador Zwambila. Thank you for joining us Ambassador.
Jacqueline Zwambila: Thank you Lance, how are you?
Guma: I’m OK. First question obviously – how are you finding life in Australia?
Zwambila: Well I arrived here on the 19th of February (2010), I was one of the first new ambassadors to leave Zimbabwe to take up a post. I presented my credentials on the 4th of March and so officially took my position as ambassador to Australia for Zimbabwe on the 4th of March 2010. It has been absolutely fantastic in terms of being in this new position, it’s a very new experience and there are challenges and also wonderful learning experiences.
Guma: The waiting period must have been quite torturous, I mean I spoke to the other ambassadors and they said for months you were doing nothing, not earning a salary and it got pretty difficult for some of them.
Zwambila: Yes I think that’s just the generality of being Zimbabwean, I think the whole of Zimbabwe is actually in that kind of situation even the time we were there and all part of the processes of having to be where we want to be. Of course it was a challenge but we did the training and we were in Foreign Affairs and eventually we did get allowances, like everyone else, I think you do know that civil servants in Zimbabwe are only getting about just under two hundred dollars so we were in the same boat.
Guma: Are there many Zimbabweans in Australia and if so, what are most of them doing?
Zwambila: There are roughly about 30 000 Zimbabweans in Australia – can you believe it?
Guma: Hmm – that’s a lot.
Zwambila: So it’s a very big community. I’ve been very privileged that I’ve been able to, one of the duties which I do is to meet Zimbabweans, they are the first stakeholder I think at the Embassy. I’ve already been to Sydney to meet Zimbabweans. They’ve got associations, the Zimbabwe Association in Sydney, I was there in March. I’ve been to Adelaide to meet Zimbabweans where we held, Zimbabweans here hold a soccer tournament every Easter, so there I was able to meet Zimbabweans from all over Australia.
It was amazing, with their families, it was a beautiful weekend and also I’ve been to Melbourne where, that was on the, they had a National Day dinner which they held and invited me there. So already I’ve been able to go around and meet Zimbabweans and explain what’s going on at home and also listening to their issues as being in the Diaspora. It’s been absolutely fantastic.
Guma: Now from the training you received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the actual posting, it represents quite a transition for people like you who were formerly in the opposition. Can you describe for us how that transition has gone? How are you finding it?
Zwambila: Well being an ambassador means that you represent all people of Zimbabwe. You carry the flag of Zimbabwe which has got the good and which has got the bad and you as the ambassador are meant to represent all these issues and represent Zimbabweans in your host country and which is what I’m trying to do.
Guma: And it must be difficult being an ambassador in a government that has three political parties, do you ever find yourself caught between speaking on behalf of your party and speaking on behalf of the country as an ambassador, because let’s face it, all the ambassadors the world over from Zimbabwe belong to a different political party so you might not necessarily think the same on national issues?
Zwambila: It’s a very big balancing act. I think that is a fact but at the end of the day, as ambassador you have to represent what is happening in your government and the government has got three principals from three different parties and again as an ambassador you… the mandate really for us here is to re-engage our, the way our host country and so by re-engaging we need to talk to our, for example I’m in Australia, talk to the Australian government to tell them about the challenges and the progress of what is happening back home and so basically, that is what I have been doing.
Guma: Now let’s look at the issues of promoting the country where you are and your work in its entirety. How difficult is it, given that the coalition government back home has not resolved all the outstanding issues? Does that not pose complexities for you?
Zwambila: Well what you talk about is the job of the three principals back home; I’m here to say what has been done and that progress and that is what I do.
Guma: Australia, just like the European Union and United States slapped travel and financial sanctions on members of the Mugabe regime and how complicated does that make your job as an ambassador particularly given that you are from the MDC and you are in a country that has put in place these measures, which have not been put by your party but by the country where you have been posted so how does that make life for you?
Zwambila: Well that position of Australia has been there long before I came to this country and so they will make their decisions as to what they institute, what they want to do about Zimbabwe but I can say as a fact that Australia was one of the countries which gave aid to Zimbabwe, was one of the first countries to give aid to Zimbabwe in the new inclusive Global Political Agreement and I think to the tune of about thirty million in water, sanitation, health etcetera with the cholera we had and they’ve continued to do that. and they have actually had a shift of position where they are now, they made a statement, they’ve increased the aid to Zimbabwe and they will be now looking at funding government ministries which they want to fund.
Guma: OK so that represents a partial lifting of some of those measures, is that what you are saying?
Zwambila: Yes it is basically but from, but it’s not up to me to be able to say to them who they give, how much money, I think at the end of the day they are the ones who are funding but I think it’s significant to note that they have shifted position because first of all it was only donor money, now they are looking at also funding ministries.
Guma: Right we understand recently there was a National Day event in Australia, can you tell us about that and what happened and some of the work you are doing there also?
Zwambila: Well it was a wonderful day which we had, the objective of the exercise was to say Zimbabwe is open for business and we had a reception at the residence and we invited the people of the diplomatic community, government and Zimbabweans and other associations and etcetera. We had a very big showing, in total about 150 people at the residence and it was a very well attended event and it really showed that Zimbabwe was open for business. And also it was a day where with that kind, with the audience which was there, to explain to them the progress which has happened in Zimbabwe and the challenges still facing Zimbabwe and that was the message which was imparted.
Guma: What sort of opportunities would you say Australia can present for Zimbabwean businesses, that sort of thing in terms of the economic arena? I mean would you say you have picked up anything that you think that Zimbabweans listening to this programme would say – you know what, that represents an opportunity for export or things like that?
Zwambila: Well you know America is one of the biggest mining countries, we do already have some I think Australian mining companies in Zimbabwe. On the 1st of September Australia is hosting the Africa Down Under Mining Indaba, we’re hopeful that our government will be invited to come and attend that function so we are still waiting for that opportunity, so I think in mining in terms of scholarships and things which can help, you know to be given to people to do mining I think there are opportunities there which will be nice to work on.
And tourism again is a very big issue. Australians love traveling, we already have a lot of Australians who come to Zimbabwe and we’d like to increase that mileage of Australians. You know we had Consular work, one of our biggest workloads here is the Consular Services where we issue visas, we issue Zimbabwean documentation and we’re getting a lot of Australians coming to get visas to come to Zimbabwe which is a good sign.
Guma: And obviously the Embassy will include in terms of its staff compliment, people from different political parties – how is the interaction between people from different parties – ZANU PF, MDC and the like within the Embassy? How would you describe the relations?
Zwambila: Well I believe that I run a professional team, I believe that I know when I did the stint at Foreign Affairs before I came to my position, I went there with a lot of very professional people and I’d like to believe that that professionalism is also here in my office. I cannot talk on the personalities, I think personalities are totally different from being professional on the job and when we talk of professionalism on the job, it’s there.
Guma: OK, my final question for you Ambassador, people know the whole concept of an embassy in general but apart from the processing of visas that you were talking about, what else does the embassy do, in case there are those who are listening who are in Australia and they might not know some of the services that you offer there are. Could you maybe tell us what else you do?
Zwambila: As I said, we issue all documentation for Zimbabweans who are in Australia, we for example, for passports, we don’t necessarily issue passports here in Australia but we do the documentation for you then to be able to take your documentation to Zimbabwe or we send it to Zimbabwe for you and then you wait to get your passport. We also do the documentation for birth certificates, we have new babies, new Zimbabwean babies being born in Australia which is wonderful, we are growing as a nation and we do those.
We also do like for example, police certificates, you know for when people might need police clearances and we send those to Zimbabwe for them. So basically we are a document processing warehouse which we then send those documents to Zimbabwe, but we do offer on site temporary passports. You know the temporary passport, in case something has happened to your passport, for you as a Zimbabwean to be able to go back home and come back. Those are basically, and also the other thing of course, issuing visas to Australians and other nationalities who want to visit Zimbabwe, we issue those on site at the Embassy in Canberra.
My other duties involve paying courtesy calls to the diplomatic community. So far I think I’ve done 24, I’m starting with of course the African diplomats as we are part of the AU (African Union) and the family. We actually held the Africa Day celebration where all African Heads of Mission hosted an Africa Day where Kevin Smith was the guest and that’s where he actually announced that Australia will be opening a new Embassy under the auspices of the AU in Addis Ababa which was the message he was giving us there. So, and also meeting government officials etcetera so it’s quite a packed week which I do have.
Guma: And with the African diplomats that you meet, is there a difference in perception between diplomats from the West and those from Africa in terms of how they understand the Zimbabwean problem and what the country has gone through? Would you say there are major differences?
Zwambila: I don’t think so, I don’t think so. Also again it’s about I think some of the Ambassadors, remember we are very far away, like for example, the other Ambassadors are not necessarily involved in the Zimbabwean situation so it is always nice to explain what is going on in Zimbabwe and with the African diplomats – they are our brothers – they have always known what is going on in Zimbabwe, so that probably would be the difference but generally Zimbabwe is a country, the issues in Zimbabwe are quite well known so there’s not really a difference. But with the diplomatic community, I think we are all, they are all good friends which is great.
Guma: Well that was the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila joining us on Behind the Headlines. Ambassador thank you so much for taking time to talk to us.
Zwambila: Before I go I would like to say “Hello Chegutu, how are you? I miss you. Unoziva Chegutu ndiko kwandinobva, Kumusha kwangu ku Msengezi (Chegutu is my home area, that’s where I come from) and I hope you are all well and I really do miss you.”
Feedback can be sent to email@example.com or http://twitter.com/lanceguma
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe’s Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.
South African Resource Watch
Johannesburg 9 June 2010
The Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) condemns the arrest and persecution of Human rights and economic justice activists in Zimbabwe.
SARW calls on the government of Zimbabwe to immediately release human rights defender, Farai Maguwu and refrain from any further arrests.
Farai Maguwu, director of the Mutare-based Centre for Research and Development (CRD) is a prominent economic justice activist fighting to protect the rights of people of Marange whose rights are being violated through illegal extraction and trade in diamonds. His arrest followed the meeting he held on 25 May2010 with Kimberley Process Monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, to discuss human rights abuses and the rampant smuggling of Marange diamonds.
While we appreciate efforts by all parties to make the Global Political Agreement work, it will be appropriate for the Zimbabwe government to show its seriousness about transformation by releasing Mr. Maguwu. The detention of Maguwu since the 3 June is contrary to the spirit of a new democratic Zimbabwe that we all want to build.
The illegal trade of diamonds in Marange is accompanied by serious human rights violations. The unregulated diamond trade is a threat to the economic interests of Zimbabwe, and in turn to the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.
The work being done by Mr. Maguwu and others is therefore important in ensuring that there is transparency and accountability in the extraction and commercialization of minerals in Zimbabwe.
A better coordinated diamond industry will contribute immensely to a quick recovery of the Zimbabwean economy. Mr Maguwu’s arrest therefore is not in the interest of the country and its citizens.
SARW calls on the government to release Mr Maguwu and to institute a commission of enquiry into illegal diamond trade, mining related violence, and human rights abuses in Marange.
update – Number 21
Week ending Tuesday 1 June 2010
Posted by ZDNPolitics
He said his constituency believes that some politicians have corruptly amassed wealth outside of the public scrutiny.
Zimbabwe would only play the role of being a transporter of power from other countries to South Africa, he said.
Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Now
Click here for back copies of the Zimbabwe Weekly Update
update – week ending Tuesday 8 June 2010
Posted by ZDN on June 8, 2010Politics
Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Now
Click here for back copies of the Zimbabwe Weekly Update
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:14
A FORTNIGHT ago, when Impala Platinum quietly announced that it is to move ahead with the Phase 2 expansion at 87% held Zimplats, at a cost of US$500 million, more than a few investors scratched their heads. Phase 1 has been a roaring success, including its ranking as one of the lowest cost platinum producers in the world, sitting, to boot, on huge reserves.
A few days later, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe told the annual general meeting of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines that “government has no intention of expropriating the mining industry. No mine has been nationalised since Independence”.
On the contrary, Mugabe, one of the continent’s more belligerent leaders, infamous for land grabs, declared that “recapitalisation of the mining industry remains an immediate imperative”.
No doubt more than a few investors will continue scratching their heads, but Mugabe is apparently bending over in several directions to reassure investors. Government is exploring, said Mugabe, “the path of profitable partnerships and joint venture initiatives with foreign investors in the mining sector. It is our belief that this situation has the potential for a sustainable win-win partnership”.
Aquarius Platinum is also well-established as a miner in the country; several more platinum projects owned by other operators are moving towards mine builds. A number of Zimbabwean politicians, assisted by various promoters, are increasingly keen to draw a line between Zimbabwe’s realities, and perceptions of those realities.
One reality is that dozens of mines — gold was discovered in the 1880s — across a richly endowed landscape are in tatters, on a combination of power shortages, huge shortfalls in foreign currency, logistical failures, shattered infrastructure, and plain neglect. But opportunities there are aplenty.
The key to unlocking the opportunities lies in flexibility, now patently adopted by Zimbabwe, in legislation. In his speech, Mugabe said that government has “accepted the principle of empowerment credits” as an integral component of the 51% equity that Zimbabwean citizens are required, on the face of it, to hold in enterprises where foreign investors are present.
Mugabe said he was “amazed by the rush of negative publicity towards this policy of indigenisation when in fact the regulations provide for flexibility where necessary”.
So-called credits are initiatives that, if recognised, allow the foreign investing mining company to claim against the 51% requirement. Mugabe said that “premier initiatives that qualify for empowerment credits” include the areas of (local) procurement, capacitating industries, and fostering new companies owned by indigenous persons.
Further credits can be claimed for corporate social investment in communities, which “creates a visible platform for local empowerment, thus achieving broad-based and transformative empowerment”. Credits are also available for initiatives such as construction of dams and irrigation schemes, and approved scholarship and skills development programmes.
Mugabe cited Zimplats’ social investment of building roads, schools, clinics and the fibre optic link to Norton and Ngezi. Victor Gapare, president of the Zimbabwe mines chamber, explains that the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment regulations gazetted in January 2010 “states that in return for achieving certain socially and economically desirable objectives, a business may be allowed to have indigenous ownership at a lower percentage than 51%”.
There are already case studies available from recent transactions. On May 19, Rio Tinto Zimbabwe (RioZim), a unit of transnational mining giant Rio Tinto, announced the decision to proceed, at a cost of around US$300m, with the expansion of the Murowa diamond project.
This followed a restructuring of shareholdings; Rio Tinto will now own a direct 78% interest in the Murowa diamond project; RioZim will become an independent Zimbabwean controlled company owning the remaining 22% of Murowa.
Rio Tinto will cease to be an ordinary shareholder in RioZim, but will retain a reduced cash participation in RioZim’s assets, other than the Murowa diamond project, for a period of 10 years. Clearly, Rio Tinto was satisfied that the landscape was sorted before these announcements.
Meanwhile, there is firm evidence that Zimbabwe is taking serious action to stamp out the wild, substantial, and illegal flow of diamonds from Marange, in the east of the country. The deposit is held, nominally, by London-listed African Consolidated Resources; its interests span Zimbabwe, in gold, platinum, nickel, and rock phosphates.
Zimbabwe’s formal mining sector employs some 45 000 people, contributes around 50% of exports, and comprises nearly 20% of GDP. Mining is, therefore, argues Mugabe, “deservedly a key sector providing impetus for growth and economic development”.
Mugabe left no uncertainties about government’s painful knowledge that recurring power outages continued to impact heavily on the whole economy. “I wish to inform this meeting that several power projects requiring new investors are pending, including the Hwange power Stations 7 and 8, Kariba and Batoka. In addition, government will institute the necessary energy sector reforms required for attracting new investment in that sector”. — mineweb.com
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:11
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has been quoted in various media as having said that there might not be a need for elections next year. His reason for saying this, as reported, is that he believes Zimbabwe is not ready.
Perhaps he should say that it is the inclusive government, and not necessarily Zimbabweans, who are not ready. In fact Zimbabweans have always been ready for a free and fair election. It has just never happened since 1980. As a result, we have learnt to live with governments that are not as legitimate as expected, hence our being saddled with at least two negotiated governments since our Independence. The one government was formed in 1987 between Zanu PF and PF Zapu and the latest being the tripartite government negotiated by Sadc.
It is however the latter government that is of significance in the current political discourse. This is because it is scheduled to hold elections by latest, 2011. Or at least so we are told. Of its three principals, Mutambara has been the most vocal in insisting that they are not in a position to hold these elections. President Robert Mugabe has talked of the same in a manner that seems more a threat than a democratic possibility, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has generally referred to them as a given in 2011.
Regardless of the positions of the three political parties in government, an examination of public sentiment would probably result in a call for elections but under a democratic framework. This framework would include issues such as the establishment of an independent electoral commission and international observer missions. It is a position shared by civic society organisations and some of the main political actors. The question that is yet to be adequately addressed is when can these ambitions become a reality?
When the inclusive government was formed, the intention was that it would be a transitional government. Its key performance mandates were to establish a new democratic constitution, hold democratic elections in terms of that new constitution as well as stabilise the national economy and re-establish social stability. All of this was to be done within, at most, 24 months. Over half of the envisioned time has elapsed and no real progress has been made on all four major tasks of the inclusive government. And in particular, no meaningful progress has been made either on the constitutional or electoral reform process.
What has been achieved is the establishment of bodies such as Copac and the Electoral Commission without a clear understanding of what their roles in leading to a democratic free and fair election are. If one takes the example of Copac, there is more in-fighting over resources than there is any real progress or articulation of the transitional agenda of the inclusive government. And where one examines the significance of the Electoral Commission, its functions remain largely unchanged because there has been no democratic amendment of the Electoral Act. And it does not seem likely that such amendments will take place given the fact that the main disputes were about the personalities running the commissions, most of whom have since been replaced.
And then there is the rather complicated issue of the term of office of parliament which, judging from the statements that have appeared in the media, does not even begin to consider itself a transitional parliament. A number of MPs have privately indicated their unwillingness to subject themselves to an electoral process until 2013. But as has been the case with a number of constitutional amendments in the recent past, they can always be whipped into submission.
Given this state of affairs, it would be reasonable to assume that there are going to be a number of problems with the holding of elections next year. And these primarily hinge on the lack of time to complete a decent constitutional reform process, hold a national referendum and negotiate adequately with Zanu PF to democratise the electoral system.
Is it possible for all of these to be done by May 2011? It will depend largely on the ability of the three political principals to fast-track political processes that will, if it occurs, further compromise any notions of a transparent transition to democracy. The risk will become that of another potential global political agreement.
In essence, the inclusive government is faced with the task of seeking to negotiate its way to an election that none of the principals wants to lose. Yet they have done little to ensure a change from the violent political culture that attends to elections, have made little progress on the constitution and have an undemocratic electoral system which they have barely begun to dismantle.
There should be a more honest analysis of these suggested elections, and their political meaning to the people of Zimbabwe. To be overly political about their occurrence without being frank about our ability to make them truly democratic is to be dishonest with the citizens of our country.
The inclusive government, civil society and whoever else intends to ensure that these elections occur need to revise the manner in which they are undertaking the constitutional and electoral reform processes. On the former, they must make it people-driven or call a spade a spade and re-negotiate Kariba without being dishonest with the people. They must desist from arguing about the personalities who make up the electoral and other commissions and deal with the particular laws and systems that enable these statutory bodies to exist. And, as a final point, it is not necessarily about timetables but substantive reforms that are undertaken prior to May 2011.
lZhangazha is a political analyst based in Harare.
By Takura Zhangazha
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:58
ZIMBABWE and South Africa are ranked among the least peaceful societies in the world, the Global Peace Index (GPI) has said.
In its report for 2010, GPI ranked Zimbabwe 135th and its southern neighbour 121st, out of the 149 countries that were ranked, with Botswana taking position 33.
Zimbabwe is still politically unstable, GPI said, when one looked at the “degree to which political institutions are sufficiently stable to support the needs of its citizens, businesses and overseas investors.”
Zimbabwe has since the turn of the century been scoring low on most of the indicators cited under GPI and this has seen the country’s rankings in many indices dropping.
The country’s human rights record once again proved one of the major areas of concern as it scored 4,5 out of 5, which is a very dangerous level closer to that of countries in a war situation.
GPI noted that the country scored 4 out of 5 in terms of organised conflict, number of homicides per 100 000 people and level of violent crime. Scoring a 5 means the country’s ranking is the most undesirable while a 1 is the ideal situation.
There is a relatively high likelihood of violent demonstrations, GPI noted, as Zimbabwe scored 3 out of 5.
In terms of peace, the country scored 1. Zimbabwe’s military sophistication, a qualitative assessment of the grade of equipment used and the extent of military research and development, also ranked 2 out of 5.
Zimbabwe’s chilled relations with neighbouring countries were also noted as it scored 3 out of 5. This is mainly a result of the country’s diplomatic rows with Botswana over a number of issues including treatment of Zimbabweans in its western neighbour and alleged internal interference in its political affairs by Botswana, especially by the president Ian Khama.
In addition to the Economist Intelligence Unit, other organisations engaged in the study include the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, International Institute for Strategic Studies, University of Uppsala Conflict Data Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Bonn International Centre for Conversion and the International Centre for Prisons Studies.
In coming up with the ranking for a particular country, GPI looked at indicators which include factors such as levels of violence and crime, political stability, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Indicators which were looked at include potential for terrorist acts, likelihood of violent demonstrations, access to weapons, international standing and civilian control over the military.
GPI has also used an updated secondary dataset of 33 indicators measuring quality of life and good governance that attempt to gauge democracy, government competence and efficacy, the strength of institutions and the political process.
Other indicators in the updated secondary database include international openness; demographics, regional integration, respect for religion and culture; education and material well-being. The Global Peace Index is maintained by the Institute for Economics and Peace and developed in consultation with an international panel of experts with data collected and analysed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
In coming up with its annual reports, GPI tests its index against a broad range of “drivers” or potential determinants of peace, including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material wellbeing, which were collected from such additional sources as Amnesty International, the World Bank and Reporters without Frontiers.
The Global Peace Index was originally the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea, and it has been endorsed by such individuals as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureates such as Martti Ahtisaari, Mary Robinson and Jimmy Carter.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:32
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees Zimbabwe’s domestic and foreign debt increasing by US$1 billion to US$8,6 billion by year-end.
The debt will be close to thrice the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at US$3,5 billion.
The huge debt — which will result in high future taxes if the country’s major sectors of the economy do not start performing against a background of inadequate foreign aid, investment and lack of creditworthiness — is made up of US$7,6 billion and US$1 billion in foreign and domestic debt.
With a debt of US$8,6 billion and an estimated population of 14 million, it means every Zimbabwean would now owe local and foreign creditors US$614.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a low income urban family of six needs US$481 to survive the whole month.
On average most Zimbabweans live on US$5 daily, which translates to US$150 a month.
Commenting on the projections, economist Brains Muchemwa told businessdigest this week said it was important to consider the ability of government to generate future revenue to offset this huge debt.
“The ability of the Zimbabwean government to service its debt is a function of the vibrancy of its revenue model, implying therefore that the economy must keep growing, broadening the tax base whilst a rational civil service reform needs to be implemented to conserve cash and improve the debt servicing,’ he said.
Muchemwa said disposal and commercialisation of loss-making parastatals needs to be prioritised, and equally, the tightly regulated industries such as the telecommunications needed to be further liberalised so that government generates more revenue from taxation.
“The stone-age mentality of having tightly regulated industries for no-one’s benefit except the operators is retrogressive and should not be government policy,” he said.
Last year, Finance minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe required US$8,5 billion in three years to fund economic recovery after a decade of recession. The IMF said while positive signals showing prospects for recovery had been registered since 2009, growth prospects remained bleak because Zimbabwe remained entangled in a plethora of constraints requiring decisive actions.
“The outlook for 2010 is highly uncertain,” the IMF said on Tuesday. “Zimbabwe is in debt distress. Sound policies and good governance will be critical to pave way for eventual debt relief and access to donor financing... directors strongly encouraged authorities to improve their co-operation with the Fund on policies and payments.”
The IMF added: “Large budgetary wage increases crowding out growth-oriented expenditures, a significant slowdown in private capital inflows because of increased uncertainties about the indigenisation process, and strong credit growth have intensified external and banking system vulnerabilities.”
Lance Mambondiani, an investment executive at Coronation Financial, this week said the total debt as a percentage of GDP is more than 150% and the Net Present Value (NPV) of our debt to export is over 250%, meaning the debt was two and half times greater than the total value of the country’s exports.
“Based on these figures alone, whichever superlative you choose, the country is poor and highly indebted and requires the support of the international community,” he said.
Mambondiani said it is almost unpalatable that at a critical time of stabilisation, the choice was between servicing our foreign debt and feeding the people, rebuilding infrastructure, paying civil servants, putting more medicines in hospitals or restoring industry and agricultural capacity.
He said re-integrating Zimbabwe into the world economy must include debt rescheduling either under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) plan or outside the HIPC initiative, which will involve a formal deferment of debt service payments and the application of new and extended maturities to the deferred amount until the economic conditions in the country have improved.
“If we are to compare the total debt to revenue figures averaging US$60 million and assuming that government had no other expenditure except pay the debt, it would still take the country more than a decade to fully service its external debt,” Mambondiani said.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development chairperson Rutendo Hadebe said there was need for a comprehensive audit of the debt rather than the country’s participation in the HIPC Initiative.
“Zimbabwe should find other solutions before adopting HIPC. Zimbabwe could qualify as a HIPC (but) measures such as mandatory privatisation of state enterprises, adopting an economic adjustment programme and other such pre-requisites could be more harmful to the economy,” he said.
Hadebe said the HIPC initiative is a long, fraught process which is tied to a whole range of sometimes controversial macroeconomic policy conditions.
The average time for completion of the programme has been six to seven years, which means debt cancellation takes a long time.
“Zimbabwe will also have to meet its external debt service obligations as a supposed sign of goodwill once it starts the initiative which will mean that ironically, there will be a significant increase in the external debt service burden over the short-term,” he said.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:47
ZIMBABWE lost its first tri-nations series on home soil in eight years due to poor batting in the Micromax series final despite putting up great performances against Sri Lanka and India.
Some of Zimbabwe’s batsmen such as Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza displayed commendable levels of maturity and consistency in the One Day International (ODI) Series.
For instance, in the ODI series against West Indies in February the Zimbabwe batsmen failed to record high totals with Hamilton Masakadza managing 49 runs in a five ODI Series, which Zimbabwe lost 4-1. In the Micromax series, Zimbabwe batsmen managed to have consistency with Masakadza and Brendan Taylor being the pacemakers in the partnerships.
After winning their first match in Bulawayo Zimbabwe found consistency, only losing one match in the other three matches.
With Sri Lanka ranked sixth and India third in the world in ODI matches, this was a tough task but credit to the bowlers and the good fielding by players who managed to restrict their opponents to manageable run totals and the highest chase of 285 against India. Zimbabwe could not chase 206 runs in the West Indies.
Zimbabwe cruised through to the final in a tournament involving Test playing nations.
There was a huge crowd at the final played at Harare Sports Club with Zimbabwean fans hoping for a rare triumph after the team’s good perfomances.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor, the most experienced batsman in the team, was awarded the man of the series and won three Man of the Match awards in the series. He was the second highest batsman with 295 runs in the series and pocketed US$7 500 in the tournament. During the tournament he managed to set a new personal best of 119 runs.
In an interview, Taylor said: “My success in the series was through hard work and the input of Dave Houghton and the coach; it has been fantastic winning the man of the match three times. Credit goes to the team without whom I would not have gone through partnerships.
In the matches my plan was to be relaxed as much as possible and take each ball as it comes. It was a wonderful tournament for me.”
India and Zimbabwe will play in two Twenty20 matches over the weekend and India would want to bounce back from their defeats. The Indians would use the experience they gained from the IPL League in India where Twenty20 matches were played and there was stiff competition.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 20:16
CABINET ministers have clashed over the controversial Chiadzwa diamond mining activities and secret sales of gems by state-run agencies which have only given government a paltry US$800 000 despite reaping tens of millions of dollars that cannot be accounted for by the Treasury.
The fight by ministers at a meeting at Munhumutapa Building, Harare, last week brought to the fore the shady diamond mining deals in Marange — from which Treasury could have been prejudiced of millions in hard currency —and accusations of smuggling and theft at the diamond fields.
Last week on Tuesday ministers from Zanu PF and MDC-T fiercely clashed at a meeting over the Chiadzwa diamond deals, leaving government badly fractured and divided over the hotly-contested issue.
Sources close to the meeting said the battle over diamonds mainly pitted Finance minister Tendai Biti against his Mines counterpart Obert Mpofu. The sources said others who joined the fray included Co-Home Affairs minister Giles Mutsekwa and Public Works minister Theresa Makone on Biti’s side. Youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Women’s Affairs counterpart Olivia Muchena joined forces in a bid to rescue Mpofu who was under siege from the firebrand head of the Exchequer.
“So intense was the debate over diamonds that Mpofu was forced to go to the restroom (toilet) at least five times during the course of the meeting,” one source said.
“There was war between the ministers over the diamonds issue,” the source said. “Mpofu was fiercely attacked for failing to explain convincingly what was going on at Chiadzwa. There are all sorts of things happening there such as the corrupt allocation of mining contracts, secret sales of diamonds and the failure to declare proceeds and even smuggling. Mpofu was grilled over all this.”
Sources said Mpofu presented a report on what was happening at the Chiadzwa fields but did not account on many issues which have been bothering ministers for a longtime.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy has been investigating the goings-on at Marange but was largely frustrated by President Robert Mugabe’s cronies in government.
After Mpofu’s presentation, described by sources as an attempt to whitewash shady happenings at Chiadzwa, other ministers immediately responded, supporting and countering Mpofu.
Sources said Biti grabbed the issue by the scruff of the neck, combating Mpofu at every turn and in the heat of the battle forcing him to leave the meeting at least five times. Biti demanded to know what exactly was going on at Chiadzwa.
“It was an open conflict mainly between Biti and Mpofu. During the proceedings Mpofu left the meeting at least five times going to the toilet,” a source said.
Sources said Biti insisted Mpofu should account for all diamond sales and produce relevant documents on the exports, including CD1 forms. He also wanted to know why cabinet has been kept in the dark and even misled on the diamond mining activities.
Biti’s remarks were in line with the MDC-T’s position on the Chiadzwa diamonds. The MDC-T has complained of “lack of transparency and due process in the handling of diamonds at Chiadzwa and in the granting of concessions and mining rights”. It has also said that the “concessions and mining rights in Chiadzwa should be granted on the principle of transparency and openness involving public auctioning or public tender processes carried out by an independent authority”.
The MDC-T has demanded that “all income from Chiadzwa should be accounted for transparently to the State to enable the same to attend to capital and recurrent expenditure and in particular the adequate remuneration of civil servants”.
However, Zanu PF central committee member and former Information minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday hit back at the MDC-T, saying their position was either “malicious or ignorant”. He accused the party of “peddling falsehoods about Chiadzwa diamonds”.
“The persistent but false allegations claiming lack of transparency in the allocation of Chiadzwa mining concessions are coming from people who are either malicious or ignorant, or both,” Moyo said.
The former Zanu PF politburo member said Chiadzwa mining claims legally belonged to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
“The record will show that between December 2006 and January 2007 the government openly and in terms of relevant laws allocated to ZMDC seven special grants covering the whole of Marange measuring about 129 000 hectares. Relevant issues of transparency as to who owns what area ended with this fact which was gazetted,” he said.
“Thereafter it has been entirely up to ZMDC to decide whether to mine in Marange alone or in partnership with entities of their choice. Its pure madness to demand ZMDC must make its business decisions in public or even use tenders in the false name of transparency. ZMDC is a business and no business anywhere in the world does that. Ask Coca Cola, Microsoft or De Beers.”
The state-owned ZMDC is working with Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd in joint-venture partnerships hurriedly formed and given licences without going through transparent procedures last year. Mbada and Canadile signed Memorandums of Agreement in July and final agreements in October last year before they started minting.
Between May 2007 and April 2010, government sold diamonds to Belgium, South Africa and mostly Dubai, United Arab Emirates, but the fiscus did not get anything to talk about. Documents in possession of the Independent show that diamonds mainly to Dubai were sold illegally through shelf companies and deposited into ABC Bank and CBZ Bank accounts via telegraphic money transfers through American Express Bank Ltd and Standard Chartered Bank in New York.
“Government has been selling diamonds from May 20 2007 to April 22, 2010 through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Minerals Mining Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and ZMDC subsidiaries such as Sandawana Mines (Pvt) Ltd and other entities like Lesley Faye Jewellers, which trades as Premier Diamonds, but no one knows where the money is going,” an informed diamond mining source said.
Sources say those in diamond mining are creaming off through under-invoicing like labelling gems and diamonds, fraudulent evaluation and even blatant activities like exchanging roughs diamonds for gems during the process of exporting.
“There are even fears that more than four million carats stockpiled could also be sold in a fraudulent manner. That is why ministers are fighting over this issue,” the source said.
Government says it has built up stocks of 4 580 234 88 carats of diamonds awaiting to be sold if the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) gives the go ahead. KPCS monitor Abbey Chikane has in his latest report on Chiadzwa signalled Zimbabwe could soon be allowed to trade after it was barred from doing so due to smuggling and human rights abuses.
Human rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, London-based environmental watchdog Global Witness and local diamond overseer Centre for Research and Development (CRD) in Zimbabwe have accused Zimbabwean security forces, mainly the military, of widespread abuses and killings at the Chiadzwa diamond fields. CRD director Farai Maguwu was arrested for telling Chikane about human rights abuses and smuggling.
Due to human rights abuses perpetrated at the diamonds fields, civic groups have labelled Zimbabwe’s gems “blood diamonds”.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 19:29
THE South African government was last week ordered to release a secret report on the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe, after a successful court bid by the Mail & Guardian, a sister newspaper to the Zimbabwe Independent.
Since 2008 the Mail & Guardian has been trying to have the report released, amid widespread speculation that it contained evidence showing that Zimbabwe’s 2002 disputed election was not free or fair.
Judge Sisi Khampepe and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke were at the time commissioned by then president Thabo Mbeki to visit Zimbabwe and report back on the state of the election.
The report was handed to Mbeki but never made public, although the former president insisted the electoral process in Zimbabwe was completely democratic.
Zimbabwe’s Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said President Robert Mugabe had received about 54% of the vote cast with his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC getting 40%. Three minor candidates received 6% among themselves.
Tsvangirai said the presidential election was rigged and described Mugabe’s win as “daylight robbery”.
The Mail & Guardian’s efforts to access the details of the report were repeatedly denied, leaving it with little choice but to seek the intervention of the High Court. The government, now under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, was given seven days to release the report to the Mail & Guardian, after the High Court ruled in the newspaper’s favour last Friday.
The government can appeal in that time, but its plan of action was not yet known.
Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes on Monday said that he was “extremely pleased” with the outcome of the court challenge, calling it a victory for “freedom of information in South Africa”.
He said there was a “sense” that the report “will say something very different to what Mbeki was saying about the elections in Zimbabwe”.
The government has argued that the report was “confidential” and a “record of the cabinet and its committee”.
They said it contained information “supplied in confidence by or on behalf of another state, for the purpose of assessing or formulating a policy”, and that the content of the report was not in the public interest.
The government has also argued that the report would lead to a deterioration of relations between the two countries, as South Africa is the facilitator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
The newspaper has in turn argued that the report is of enormous public interest, as the 2002 elections were marred by vote-rigging, intimidation, violence and fraud by Mugabe’s government, despite South Africa’s contention that the election was free and fair.
Dawes said the report was never handed to cabinet despite being described as a “document of cabinet” and instead remained within the office of the president, arousing more suspicions of its content.
He described the court’s decision as an important one for South Africans who he said were left “injured” by the government’s abysmal handling of the Zimbabwe crisis.
Mbeki faced international criticism for his policy of “quiet diplomacy” towards Zimbabwe, a policy that many say has damaged South Africa’s own reputation.
Dawes said that it was a “painful and difficult period” for South Africa, because “it seemed to jar with our own democratic values”.
“The truth of the report might be a way to address some of the hurt and frustration by reasserting our democratic values,” Dawes said, expressing hope that the Zuma administration would not fight the court’s ruling “too hard”.
“The Zuma administration has taken a more robust and assertive approach than Mbeki, and appealing this ruling and hiding this report will be very damaging,” he said. — SW Radio Africa and Staff Writer.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:20
THOSE countries in the Fishmonger Group who have been deliberating in Oslo on what measures can be undertaken to assist Zimbabwe without fortifying President Mugabe’s supporters will have seen the calculated attempt to undermine economic progress published in the Herald on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written to the South Korean embassy in Harare to inform them that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was in Seoul recently to receive an award, does not have the authority to operationalise any Bippa agreements.
George Charamba told the Herald that no such agreement existed.
A Foreign Affairs official said the South Koreans had been informed of the constitutional position.
What have we here? A crass attempt by reactionary elements in government to sabotage the prime minister’s attempts to secure trade benefits with one of the world’s most dynamic economies.
It is a shocking example of the problems Zimbabwe faces as it attempts to re-establish improved relations with the world. And it is all about Mugabe’s waning prestige.
In fact no Bippa is needed for Zimbabwe and Korea to sign trade agreements. And if Mugabe’s hangers-on are so desperate that their boss should be recognised as the sole authority in Zimbabwe, why was Tsvangirai invited to Seoul and not him?
The Koreans, with close ties to the Americans, will be only too aware of the bid by the last-ditch gang and their collaborators in the Herald to hang on to power even if it means jeopardising economic recovery. They won’t be inclined to take the Foreign Affairs letter too seriously knowing where it originates and the fevered politics in Harare. What they will want to see is the same as the Fishmonger Group — recovery and reconstruction in line with the GPA terms.
The South Koreans will also know that Zimbabwe has been renewing relations with China in recent weeks. The Wang Gang has been in town. Here again we see the politics of yesteryear being revived. But at the end of the day how sensible is it for officials in Munhumutapa Building to undermine their own prime minister when he is seeking economic assistance abroad. Isn’t that his brief? And what will the world make of officials who resort to pathetic self-assertion of this sort because nobody else will engage them?
The leader of this gang was spitting venom at our publisher Trevor Ncube last weekend, claiming he “faced no political impediments at all” to securing his licence.
Really, none at all? Don’t we recall this same individual threatening Barnabas Thondhlana at a Unesco meeting last year if he dared publish before a licence was issued for NewsDay?
Public spats are not confined to our own government. The Congolese have their fair share. But it is difficult to decide who is most at fault, DRC opposition leader Tshimankinda Ngandu Kalala or DRC ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawampanga Mwana Nanga.
A public row, reported in NewsDay this week, doesn’t reflect well on either of them. But perhaps that’s the way they do business in the DRC.
Firstly we had Kalala, on a visit to Harare, taking a pot shot at President Joseph Kabila.
“There is so much misery among the ordinary Congolese, you cannot believe it,” Kalala told NewsDay. “Our country is endowed with rich mineral resources but something has gone terribly wrong somewhere. The present government has destroyed the country.”
Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
But then Ambassador Mwana Nanga waded in declaring Kalala was “a political joke”.
“He is not even known in DRC opposition politics.”
So why call him names?
And in another familiar echo, Kalala accused Kabila of selling mineral rights to the Chinese and “pocketing the money”.
He said corruption had taken root in the government of the DRC and Kabila was provoking wars with neighbours.
Kalala described President Mugabe as a “wise old man” from whom Kabila could take advice. He said the young DRC leader was fortunate to have wise elderly leaders within the Sadc community but was just not taking their advice.
Kalala is clearly immune to advice — from Zimbabwe’s voters. Does he really think he can walk into a neighbouring country and completely misread the political climate?
But which is worse: firing salvos at your head of state while you are abroad — something even the MDC avoids nowadays — or lashing out at opposition leaders, as Mwana Nanga did when ordinary diplomacy requires you be even-handed and welcoming to all visitors from your country?
So what is the Media Commission going to do about Tafataona Mahoso?
Here is Muckraker’s opinion for what it is worth. We can understand the Zanu PF view that bygones should be bygones and everybody should have a chance to redeem themselves.
But has Mahoso shown the slightest hint of repentance? Has he expressed remorse for all those journalists he put out on the street or forced into exile? Or whose address he gave to the CID?
And what about those tens of thousands of people who would have liked something different to read other than the Herald and Sunday Mail? Has he apologised to them for the stifling media climate he helped engender?
Has he written anything apart from partisan tracts designed to advance the cause of a political party decisively rejected by Zimbabwean voters?
The ZMC should be clear on this. Mahoso is anathema to local journalists because of his terrible record at the MIC where he disposed of people because Zanu PF didn’t like what they wrote. He was an obedient executioner.
His scribblings by the way are something no journalist should ever be — unforgivably boring. He cannot proceed, it would appear, beyond a couple of paragraphs without the help of Noam Chomsky.
If and when he repents his ways there might be a place for him in the apparatus of the ZMC, he should be told. But until that epiphany occurs he had better get used to making tea.
Oh, and those members of the ZMC who think Mahoso should stay on, please tell us what qualities they most admire in him? We would be fascinated to know! And do they think he should get to keep the 4X4?
SO there is no mercy for poor old Jacob Zuma.
After one of his wives strayed out of the kraal we expected an outpouring of sympathy for the South African leader.
But that was not the case. Several Talk Radio 702 callers last Friday said Nompumelelo Ntuli’s reported infidelity was a “victory” for South African women.
One SMS said: “Viva MaNtuli Viva. If Zuma can get some on the side, why can’t you?”
Meanwhile, Zuma has put on a brave face saying he was “not losing any sleep” over the reported cases of infidelity on the part of MaNtuli.
“We differentiate between personal matters and matters of the country,” he told journalists in Pretoria.
MaNtuli had an affair with a bodyguard who reportedly was the father of her unborn child. The bodyguard then committed suicide.
But latest reports suggest that MaNtuli had another relationship with famous actor Joe Mafela, but long before she met Zuma.
Mafela admitted to the Sunday Times that he had an extra-marital fling with MaNtuli. MaNtuli was reportedly unhappy that Zuma had fathered his 20th child out of wedlock with Sonono Khoza. MaNtuli was also aggrieved Zuma had taken Thobeka Madiba on a state visit to London instead of her.
Zuma is not the only one with several wives. Our own very enterprising Minister of Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, is reported to have several.
His estranged wife, Marian, has made it known that Chombo has five wives. We now hope women’s organisations in Zimbabwe will show the same solidarity as their South African counterparts and declare a “victory” for Zimbabwean women.
But what we find curious in the whole Zuma saga is the sudden appearance in the picture of Julius Malema, the ANC youth leader. Does anyone remember the ANC Youth League taking Zuma to task over his “risky” sex life?
Malema rushed to Zuma’s defence saying: “We have seen the latest reports, they are nothing, you are the president, you must never be demoralised by petty things.”
But Zuma appears content after he was given a white goat by MaNtuli, as an apology for straying out of the kraal.
The state media continues with its attempts to hoodwink gullible Zimbabweans into believing the country is part of the World Cup showcase in South Africa.
The Manica Post recently gave us a good example of such efforts. The paper told us “hundreds of police officers have been deployed at strategic points in Manicaland as the province tightens security measures ahead of the Fifa Soccer World Cup”.
Just how hundreds of police officers can be mobilised as part of the force’s efforts to keep law and order inside Zimbabwe is a big surprise.
But the Officer Commanding Manicaland Police (Operations), Assistant Commissioner David Mahoya, tells us the deployed officers would be on the look-out for locals and foreigners who might want to take advantage of the tournament to indulge in the illegal diamond trade.
“There are some who will come into the country and, indeed, visit the province as genuine tourists, but with a hidden agenda to indulge in illegal diamond trading. We are not going to be asleep or going to be carried away with the soccer matches,” Assistant Commissioner Mahoya said.
Is this not another attempt to hoodwink us? We know who is involved in the illegal trade in diamonds. Just ask how some big chefs have suddenly become cash rich. That is where the ZRP investigations should begin.
We were surprised that public companies such as Zimpapers and ZBC could “sponsor” a campaign for a war veteran to take over a leadership post.
We got the evidence from the Manica Post when the paper reported the election of a new Manicaland leadership for the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association at the Mutare Polytechnic.
Apart from thanking Jabulani Sibanda for supporting them to organise the elections, we were told war veterans’ political commissar Ben Moyo thanked companies such as the Manica Post, the Herald and ZBC for their sponsorship. We were not told whether it was in the form of publicity or cash donations. This was followed by a very long quote from Moyo thanking Mutare companies for sponsoring their elections.
“May the spirit of oneness abide (with) us all as one nation?” he preached. “Special thanks to the following sponsors: Matan Holdings, Holiday Inn, Bhadhella Wholesalers, Mutare Merchants, Zvirimugwara, Dhlanjara, Carswell Meats, Palmex Investments, Mutare Mart, Mupfumi Tours, BBC Hardware, Masara Transport, P Makwanzini, Selfast, Nematec, Dollar Shop, Ali Bhadhella, Jays Wholesalers, Blue Star, Automotive Precision, Top Quality, The Grocery Shop, Mutare Propshaft Centre, Mega Meats, Manyuchi Filling Station, the Manica Post, ZBC, Herald, Cde Mbengo, Bauline Butchery, Mazara Transport, Raffles, Jerams, Spareport Centre, Mr Mudzi, Sugar Centre, Bhufaro Hardware, Cut Price, Brothers and Woodlands. We are also thanking all those we have not mentioned by name,” Moyo said.
Is there anybody left? At least Mutare residents know where not to take their business if they want to make a protest against the depredations of war veterans and Zanu PF. The participation of public media represents a particularly shocking betrayal of public trust. Let’s put it on the record.
The case of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme monitor Abbey Chikane is a strange one. A couple of weeks ago he told the press that a “naughty intelligence officer” had broken into his case in his hotel room and photographed documents. That is how, it was suggested, the state media was able to publish a story about how the Americans were plotting to manipulate his recommendations and prevent any concessions to Zimbabwe.
Now we learn he has stated that Zimbabwe has satisfied the minimum KPCS requirements. All very mysterious. Did the “naughty” intelligence officer get it wrong or did Chikane change his mind after being sat on? And how professional is it to abandon an informant knowing what his fate is likely to be? Perhaps he was just naive!
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:25
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe recently swore in three new High Court judges, “promoted” one to the Supreme Court and appointed another to the position of Judge President of the High Court.
The appointments were done in the usual surreptitious manner and raised the ire of the MDC-T.
The Zimbabwe Independent of May 21 reported that “MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa… said the country’s delicate political situation meant Mugabe should have consulted with coalition government partners in matters involving important decisions such as judicial appointments”.
MDC-T’s complaints that the appointments were invalid have no basis at law, provided the president followed the procedure for judicial appointments set out in the constitution. The constitution does not follow the best practices on the appointment or promotion of judges. MDC-T erred grievously in chasing the sharing of political power in the executive and in the legislature while ignoring reform of the judiciary, the manner of judicial appointments, judicial performance and judicial ethics. In fact, the judiciary is far more important than the Attorney-General or Governor of the Reserve Bank — their obsessions!
The judiciary has virtually remained untransformed and does not enjoy the confidence of the general public. Unless the judiciary is forced to transform, the desire to uphold the rule of law expressed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is a fat pie in the sky.
It has been argued that the GPA trumps the constitution for so long as the political agreement among the three main parties exists. The argument is supported by the provision in Article 1 of the agreement annexed to the constitution:
“For the avoidance of doubt, the following provisions of the Interparty Political Agreement, being Article XX thereof, shall, during the subsistence of the Interparty Political Agreement, prevail notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution …”
Section 84 (1) of the Constitution provides that the “Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court shall be appointed by the president after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission”. Nowhere does it provide that consultation with the premier is a prerequisite.
Article 20.1.3 (p) which is reportedly being relied upon by the prime minister states that the president "in consultation with the Prime Minister, makes key appointments the president is required to make under and in terms of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament".
To then argue, as MDC- T seems to argue, that judicial appointments and promotions are covered by Article 20.1.3 (p) is untenable. Firstly, there is no definition of what are “key appointments” in the agreement or elsewhere in the Constitution. “Key appointments” become matters of subjective judgment. Secondly, the president in terms of the same GPA has the power to make appointments which may even seem “key” without the need to consult the prime minister. Thirdly, it seems that where the president is required to consult the prime minister, specific instances are spelt out.
Fourth, judicial appointments are matters of serious constitutional import. If there had been an intention to vary the appointment process stated expressly in the Constitution would there not have been specific reference to judicial appointments? Fifth, nowhere in the entire “global” agreement does one find specific reference to any matters relating to the judiciary or judicial reform. In fact, ignoring the judiciary the GPA even goes so far as to require that uniformed forces undertake education in human rights, humanitarian law and statute law!
In terms of section 31K (2) of the Constitution, “where the president is required or permitted by this Constitution or any other law to act on the advice or recommendation of or after consultation with any person or authority, a court shall not, in any case, inquire into either of the following questions or matters — (a) the nature of any advice or recommendation tendered to the president; or (b) the manner in which the president has exercised his discretion.”
What this means is that even if the prime minister had disagreed with him, he could effectively go ahead with the appointments and promotion.
All that the president is required to do is send names of persons he intends to appoint to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The JSC is generally made up of appointees of the president. The JSC has no power to recommend names to the president at all. They examine the names of the proposed appointees and revert to the president with a recommendation. If they recommend against a particular proposed appointment, the president may still go ahead with the appointment. All that the president is required to do is to inform parliament that the appointment “is not consistent with [a] recommendation made by the Judicial Service Commission… as soon as is practicable.” The recommendation of the JSC does not bind him.
Parliament itself will have no power to rescind the appointment or to vary it. There is no specific time set for the president to inform parliament that his decision went against the recommendation of the JSC. This constitutional requirement does not suspend or delay the appointment. All that parliament remains with if severely aggrieved by the president’s disregard of JSC’s advice is a vote of no confidence in the president.
Where the president has in fact failed to consult the JSC before making the appointment a court of law may set aside the appointment. But in this instance, his failure to consult the prime minister may in fact be a laudable act. Judicial appointments in our constitutional tradition must be as far as possible free from political influence or horse-trading.
In terms of s 31K (2) of the Constitution, no court has any power to enquire into the JSC’s advice and how it was received or implemented or ignored by the president. Even if the JSC may have informed the president that one or more of the persons he is seeking to appoint or promote is, say, a criminal, a serial murderer, a fraudster or even a corrupt jurist the president, if so inclined, is constitutionally permitted to go ahead with the appointment.
Further, there is no specific requirement for the president to consult the JSC when appointing a sitting judge like Justice Chiweshe to the position of Judge President.
With their appointment judges immediately enjoy security of tenure guaranteed under the Constitution and may only be removed “for inability to discharge the functions of…office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, or for misbehaviour.” Even then, before removal can be achieved there is a cumbersome and protective constitutional process to be followed.
In my view, Constitutional Amendment No 19 or the GPA did not alter the process for the appointment and promotion of judges in Zimbabwe, sick as the process is. The GPA provided an opportunity to push for judicial reform. But this was spurned as the parties battled for political power. Regrettable as the situation is, the new constitution-making process offers an opportunity to remedy what is clearly a system that is susceptible to patronage and corruption.
.Tererai Mafukidze is a local lawyer.
By Tererai Mafukidze
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:17
IT HAS oft been said that “there are none so deaf as those as will not hear”. If that is so, which it surely is, the deafest of all is undoubtedly Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere dogmatically refuses to hear any criticism whatsoever of Zimbabwe’s declared policies and intentions for the vesting of ownership and control of the Zimbabwean economy in the hands of “indigenous” Zimbabweans, as rigidly disregards any suggestions for modification or variation of those policies and intentions, and contemptuously dismisses all warnings of the catastrophic consequences of such methods of indigenisation and economic empowerment.
Albeit not in consequence of any physical defect, the minister is so stone-deaf (on issues of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, but not on other issues, ie he suffers selective hearing deficiencies) that he hears nothing that is said in opposition to his polices, no matter whom the person may be.
He demonstrated this almost two months ago, when he walked out of an indigenisation and economic empowerment conference, for he was unwilling to hear the authoritative criticisms of Professor Tony Hawkins (one of Zimbabwe’s most renowned economists). The minister has done likewise on numerous other occasions ever since the gazetting of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations. Most recently, he scathingly dismissed the well-intentioned comments by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono.
Admittedly, many of those concerned comments were made publicly by the governor, (and why should they not be when they are on an issue of concern to all Zimbabwe’s population), but undoubtedly he also voiced his concerns non-publicly, within the corridors of government. But this has not deterred Kasukuwere from saying: “We have seen the criticism from the Reserve Bank Governor. We will only take note of him when he stops his megaphone criticism. When they are ready to talk we will listen, but in the meanwhile we will not listen to this kind of megaphone criticism.”
In other words, the minister is only possibly willing to have any regard to the views of others if those views are expressed behind closed doors, on a one-on-one basis, and not if they are voiced publicly. And, based upon the Zimbabwean experience of the last few months, it appears improbable that the minister is even prepared to consider views at variance with his own when they are conveyed to him privately. He is obdurately determined to proceed with his Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment intents, irrespective of the evidence of the consequential economic disaster, and of the inevitable intensified impoverisation of more and more of the population. Clearly, his self-inflicted hearing deficiency is compounded by myopia.
The minister has a blatant disregard for the irrefutable fact that a prerequisite for recovery of the Zimbabwe economy, and for its subsequent development and growth, is that substantial foreign investment be forthcoming, and that will not occur when the foreign investors are forced to be minority participants in the ventures funded by them. They also provide technology transfer, managerial inputs, access to international markets, franchises and licences, and much else.
Any investor seeks investment security, and a key element of that security is managerial and operational control, in contradistinction to being dominated and subordinated by others. That the legislation has fuelled intense fears of investment security, and hence has caused an immense demotivation to invest in Zimbabwe is blatantly apparent from events in the last few months, but the minister is oblivious to that (although such oblivion is undoubtedly deliberately self-generated). Among the proof of loss of critically-needed investor interest is:
mTrade and investment missions from four European Union countries, and from one Commonwealth country, have been summarily cancelled;
aMajor mining houses in South Africa, Canada, USA, Australia and elsewhere have put on hold intended pursuit of new investments in Zimbabwe and, in many instances, enhancement, development and growth of their existing investments;
iMajor foreign investor initiatives targetted at Zimbabwe’s manufacturing, tourism, financial services and commercial sectors have been “put on hold”, or terminated;
MInternational risk analyses have lowered Zimbabwe’s investment security rating to a lower level than ever before, placing Zimbabwe amongst the perceived five highest investment risk destinations.
Concurrently, various greatly-needed international lines of credit required to revitalise Zimbabwe’s money market and to provide all economic sectors with working capital, and which had been resolved upon by international financers, have not been progressed. This has grievously impaired the economic recovery so positively commenced in 2009.
The minister also allows his blinkered and auditory deficiencies to obscure the fact that his legislation can in no manner achieve wideranging economic empowerment. Those of Zimbabwe’s indigenous population as have the monetary resources to acquire controlling interests in Zimbabwean enterprise are few and far between. Those sufficiently endowed to acquire such interests at fair value are very few. Effectively, only those already economically empowered would be able to fund acquisition of existing enterprises, and to fund the ongoing operations of those enterprises. Thus, his legislation, and his empowerment intentions, can at best further empower the already empowered few, and not the masses who need such empowerment. And many of those few are also lacking in the operational expertise necessary for the successful continuance and development of the businesses.
At the same time, he has fuelled chaos within the existing economic environment. The few indigenous economically-endowed are vigorously demanding the “sale” to them of controlling interests in mines and industries which they covet, frequently resorting to actual or implied threats of recourse to the politically-empowered in the absence of their demands being met. Groups of “war veterans” (be they genuine or pseudo) are aggressively demanding the transfer of enterprise ownership to them. So too are spokesmen of affirmative action, and of labour representative bodies, without any regard to the non-availability of financial and other resources. These include the Bulawayo Chapter Affirmative Action Group Secretary, Retired Major Clement Bishop Malaba, and Bulawayo Urban Residents’ Association Chairman, Winus Dube.
The minister deludes himself that the indigenisation of enterprise can be funded by the intended National Indigenisation Fund, chaired by David Chapfika, but that fund has no resources, and the intention is to access funds by imposing levies upon private sector enterprises. In other words, businesses must provide the funds to pay for the purchase of the shares, in their businesses, by others. This is disguised expropriation, in disregard for justice and equity, for Bilateral Investment Promotiom and Protection Agreements, and for international economic norms.
It is indisputable that Zimbabwe needs to vigorously and effectively pursue indigenisation and economic empowerment, but that must be done constructively, and beneficially to the majority and not the few, and to the advantage of the economy. The minster’s stance is diametrically opposite. He urgently needs effective hearing aids and non-misted spectacles, so that he can hear and see that which he presently cannot.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:14
AUSTRALIA is strengthening its relations with Africa in a calculated move to enhance its political and diplomatic engagements, promoting trade and investment, addressing peace and security challenges on the continent, and delivering targeted development and humanitarian assistance.
The move by Australia, a rich continent and country of over 23 million people with a gross domestic product of US$1, 1 trillion, is perceived by political analysts in two ways: – the genuine desire to prop-up social and political development in Africa and a bold bid to win the support of African countries for its candidacy for a temporary place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2013-14 term.
But the Australian government argues that its increased assistance to Zimbabwe and other African countries is about contributing “more effectively” to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and being a “good international citizen in a world that is becoming ever smaller and more complex”.
In Zimbabwe, for example, Australia has since the formation of the inclusive government last year been at the forefront of international efforts, both political and humanitarian, to assist the country.
Australia was one of the first countries to deliver what is now known as humanitarian plus aid to Zimbabwe – assistance that looks beyond simply emergency relief to longer-term measures to help restore capacity in essential services, such as water, education and healthcare.
Australian assistance to Zimbabwe since the formation of the unity government included $5 million to boost the rural economy and address the long-term food security needs of the people; US$2 million through Unicef to support the Education ministry in acquiring much needed material, including text books; US$5 million in food aid through the World Food Programme; and US$6 million for assistance to build Zimbabwe’s taxation administration and mobilisation of technical expertise in water and sanitation, in cooperation with South Africa.
Australia continues to pump money into Zimbabwe despite its concerns that the inclusive government has failed to fully consummate the global political agreement that gave birth to it. It blames President Robert Mugabe for the failure and is adamant that the 86-year-old nationalist should “move off the stage” if the international community is to bankroll Zimbabwe’s reconstruction.
This year, Australia’s development assistance to Africa would be increased by 40% on the previous financial year, providing assistance to over 30 countries. The assistance would explicitly focus on assisting African countries reach their MDGs, particularly in the areas of food security, water and sanitation and child and maternal health.
Stephen Smith, Australia’s Foreign Affairs minister, says Africa is changing for the better and this is under-appreciated in his country as it is internationally.
Australia sees a more confident Africa engaging with the world.
Australia now has diplomatic relations with 51 of Africa’s 53 countries, excluding Guinea Bissau and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is compared to 41 in 2007.
Smith says: “Governance has improved markedly, with progress on accountability, political liberalisation and economic management. Nearly all African elections are now genuinely contested and political representation has broadened to reflect the diversity of African society.
“Robust economic growth is also transforming Africa and raising living standards.”
The World Bank has said it expects Africa-wide economic growth of nearly 4% in 2010 compared to 1% last year.
It is against this backcloth that Australia is strengthening its relations with Africa.
Until recently, the Australian private sector had been quicker to recognise the economic importance of Africa than had the country’s public sector.
More than 300 Australian minerals and petroleum resources companies have interests in more than 40 African countries, with current and prospective investment estimated at US$20 billion.
Smith says it is not just investment as trade with Africa is also growing.
Trade in goods with Africa is valued at close to US$5, 5 billion, having grown at more than 8% annually over the past decade.
Australian companies have plans to invest US$22 billion in the African resources sector on various projects across 38 countries. Major Australian mining projects are underway in South Africa, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique and Tanzania.
“Recognising Africa’s economic potential, the Australian government is committed to supporting expanded economic linkages with Africa,” Smith adds.
But just as there are sound economic reasons to enhance engagement, Australia also sees good strategic and geopolitical reasons.
Smith argues: “For Australia it makes strategic sense to engage with Africa bilaterally, regionally and through the African Union."
He admits that the country needed Africa’s support to win the UN Security Council seat, but adds: “The cynics who assume Australia’s engagement with Africa is simply or only about this really miss the fundamental point — Australia’s re-engagement with Africa is driven by a clear-eyed and pragmatic view of our long-term strategic and economic interests into the future.”
In its submission to Australia’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Parliamentary Committee, the South African High Commission in Canberra welcomed the re-engagement with Africa, but expressed some doubts about the motives.
“There is, inevitably, a lingering sense amongst some that the reengagement with Africa is fuelled primarily by a desire to secure the African vote for the 2013/14 candidature for the Non-Permanent Seat on the United Nations Security Council,” reads the South African High Commission submission.
The Kenyan High Commission in its submissions to the committee believes trade between the two continents — growing at about 8% annually — can transform Africa.
“However, it is heavily tilted in favour of Australia,” the high commission says. “The growth in Australian mining interests in Africa has remained the most dynamic aspect of these relations ."
Besides issues of trade, Australia is also investing in research, education and health to benefit Africa.
The country in March launched $8 million Australia-Africa Millennium Development Goals Research Partnerships Programme for the two continents’ education and research institutions to work together to support African economic growth and MDGs progress.
It has also doubled the number of scholarships to Africa to more than 250, and made them available for the first time to five West African nations, including Nigeria and Ghana. This brought the number of countries in Africa receiving scholarships to 19.
Bob McMullan, Australia parliamentary secretary for international development assistance, says when government announced a couple of years ago its intentions to increase aid to Africa there “were many supporters, but a few loud detractors”.
“The supporters said ‘finally’, but the detractors accused us of using aid as a way of currying favour to gain Australia a seat on the UN Security Council,” McMullan recalls. “The detractors were wrong then and they are wrong now.”
CMED fails to account for vehicles
Thursday, 10 June 2010 19:27
CMED (Pvt) Ltd, a company set up by government to provide transport hire services and procure vehicles on its behalf, is debt-ridden and failing to account for 19 vehicles that have vanished without a trace in Harare, an audit report has said.
A Value for Money Report compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri says CMED’s poor record-keeping practices has seen the company losing track of 19 vehicles in Harare alone.
She says more vehicles could vanish because of poor record-keeping in the company.
In her report, Chiri says: “As a result of poor-record keeping, I was not able to trace the movement of 19 vehicles transferred from head office to Harare province. The 19 vehicles were also not recorded at the provincial office.”
“I observed with concern that, of the 68 Mahindra vehicles bought, 15 of them were issued without proper procedures having been followed as one could hardly trace them to the user ministry and in addition these vehicles have not been billed since their date of purchase in March 2008.
“The vehicles were entered in the fleet list in March 2008. This, in my opinion, is open to abuse and could even result in the CMED (Pvt) Ltd losing vehicles, as the vehicles cannot be traced to the user ministry due to inadequate recording,” her report said.
Chiri said the CMED’s Chinhoyi provincial office also faces the same problem - poor record keeping – that resulted in the failure to provide vehicle files for 63 light vehicles and 27 heavy vehicles.
The report says further evidence of poor record-keeping was also reflected by the absence of job cards in the vehicles that were presented for inspection.
The fleet list in Mutare is also not complete. Out of 165 vehicles, 76 had no engine numbers, 44 had no chassis number while 34 had dates when they were bought and their expected year of disposal.
CMED also does not have an asset register, according to the report.
This resulted in the auditor failing to ascertain whether the company really owns 1 200 vehicles as claimed by management.
“I established that vehicle registers were not properly recorded and that there was no master asset register,” Chiri said in the report.
Apart from poor records, the company is operating with an aged fleet, fails to honour government tender bids, cannibalises vehicles, does not replace an aged fleet that is costly to maintain and does not service vehicles.
Cannibalism entails taking parts from a vehicle with major problems and transferring them to another vehicle of the same make to get a vehicle back on the road.
The report says the company takes a long while to repair vehicles. For instance,according to the report, in a review of provincial and district workshops from 2004 to 2008 from a sample of 3 490 vehicles 42% exceeded the company’s own service schedule of two days.
Also the company’s assets are “tied up” in debtors.
“My analysis of the organisation’s financial statements for the financial years 2004 to 2008 revealed that more than 50% of the organisation’s current assets were tied up in debtors. In 2004, 78% current assets were tied up in debtors, 64% in 2005, 56% in 2006, 78% in 2007 and 88% in 2008,” the report said.
According to the report, line managers were not seeking authority to cannibalise vehicles as required by the management. The report says CMED blames government departments for some of the problems at the company. For instance, the report says the Ministry of Information never made a single payment in 2008 while the Mines Ministry only paid in July 2008. The Local Government and Justice ministries were also fingered as culprits for non- payment to CMED.
But Chiri says the company is not aggressive in its debt management and collection approach.
“Even though CMED (Pvt) Ltd was attributing its failure to purchase vehicles to ministries not paying their bills on time, I however, noted with concern that 24 vehicles were not billed since the date of purchase in question,” Chiri said.
In her recommendations, the comptroller said CMED needs to be recapitalised for the company to be self-sustaining, maintain minimum stock levels for spares, ensure adequate supervision at all levels and design and implement “good internal control systems which ensure that all vehicles purchased are properly recorded”.
The report reads: “CMED (Pvt) Ltd should ensure that there is adequate supervision at all levels. Management should design and implement a good internal control system which ensures that assets of the organisation are properly recorded.
“CMED (Pvt) Ltd management should ensure that all vehicles purchased are recorded and information that should be contained in the asset register is captured. There should be a monitoring mechanism to ensure that all activities and information are recorded. Good record-keeping would help in
identifying areas needing more attention and resources and hence help management in decision- making.”
The report urged management of the state company to effect an aggressive management of debtors.
CMED was a parastatal prior to commercialsation in 2000.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 17:53
A RECENTLY compiled inventory of Zapu properties has revealed that some senior Zanu PF officials and former PF Zapu members are illegally occupying the revived party’s assets.
Zapu has compiled an inventory to establish what happened to hundreds of properties the party acquired in the early 1980s. Zapu officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the party was concerned that Zapu properties are illegally occupied by senior Zanu PF officials.
The sources said an inventory of the party properties was destroyed when the government took possession of former PF-Zapu properties and when the properties were returned some former PF-Zapu officials took them over.
“We have established that some former senior party members who are still with Zanu PF took charge of property ranging from shops, residential properties and buildings belonging to the party and that is the reason that some of them were against the revival of the party because they knew that they would be found out,” said the party official.
Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo, confirmed that the party is doing an inventory of all properties it owns. He said that the party is also aware that some Zanu PF officials and other Zapu members are clandestinely occupying the party properties.
“We are currently in the process of compiling an inventory of our assets and once that is done we will then move a step further in repossessing the properties from those that are illegally possessing them,” Moyo said.
He said the party’s properties are concentrated in Bulawayo, Harare, Mashonaland East and in Matabeleland.
Moyo, however, could not give more details and said the party would be in a position to do so once a full inventory of the properties has been compiled.
According to Zapu, the party owns properties that include the four-storey Magnet House which houses the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The party also owns Davies Hall which is used by Zanu PF as its Bulawayo provincial headquarters.
Other properties owned by the party include farms and hotels, among them Castle Arms in Bulawayo, Green Haven — a huge entertainment facility along Victoria Falls road — and several residential properties.
Officials said several politicians with links to Zapu are staying in houses that belong to the party.
“There are a lot of people running businesses in premises belonging to Zapu while some people are staying in houses belonging to Zapu. Those people got those properties fraudulently when they were returned by government while some of the properties are still under the control of the government. Some of the properties were given to some individuals to pacify them while others secretly took control of the properties and are renting them to third parties,” said the official.
Zapu also wants a property that houses over 50 police officers and their families in Queens Park East in Bulawayo returned to them.
The property, previously known as Lundi Hotel, used to house injured Zapu cadres after the war of liberation.
Moyo said Zapu members are agitated over the property issue and said once the party has established the status of the properties it
would move to have the illegal occupants removed and the properties returned.
The interim president of Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa, last month said the party was mobilising resources to engage a team of lawyers to take the challenge forward.
“Zapu is in the process of mobilising resources to hire a formidable team of lawyers that will lead the process for the return of the properties,” Dabengwa said
“We realised that the process to get the properties back should be legal because we will need court orders to evict the people who are currently occupying the properties.
“We have an inventory of the properties but it is not complete and there is a team working on the status of the properties and once resources are available then the legal process will begin,” Dabengwa said.
The government seized numerous properties belonging to PF-Zapu, then led by nationalist and former Vice President Joshua Nkomo, alleging that it had discovered arms caches.
The revived Zapu is expected to hold a congress in August where the issue of the properties is expected to take centre stage. Several Zapu members, led by its former intelligence chief Dabengwa, last year pulled out of the Unity Accord with Zanu PF saying Zanu PF had failed to honour its part of the bargain 22 years after the deal was consummated.
Thursday, 10 June 2010 18:11
WE live in a surreal country where anti-reformists from the Zanu PF element in the inclusive government work overtime daily to keep the nation and its people under subjugation and in poverty for the sake of their political expedience.
These hardliners have become contemptuous of the national interest and their sole mission is to reduce the country into a jail and us citizens prisoners trying to escape. They have no respect for either political or economic agreements they appended their signatures to and their level of intransigence continues to increase with each passing day.
They are masters of the blame game for their own mistakes and misjudgements.
When Zanu PF and the two MDC formations signed the global political agreement (GPA) last year, I thought the former ruling party had awakened to the realities of modern democratic governance and was prepared to play a pivotal role in the reconstruction of the country. I was mistaken.
Since the inclusive government was inaugurated in February last year, Zanu PF has been shredding the GPA with reckless abandon. I have no doubt that it entered into this marriage of convenience with the intention to use the MDC formations to gain international goodwill and to mend the economy in the vain hope that along the way, the electorate would abandon the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
It is startling to read in the publicly-owned, but state-run newspapers, that Zanu PF hardliners are attacking members of the international community after they called for the party and its partners to fulfil the GPA – a pact the three parties signed out of their own volition and commitment.
The Fishmongers, a group of wealthy nations led by the United States and Britain, met in Oslo, Norway, last week and agreed that they will only fully re-engage Zimbabwe and bankroll its reconstruction if the nation fully consummates the GPA.
In Zanu PF’s eyes, the Fishmongers will never loosen their purse-strings until they see the back of President Robert Mugabe. But the group never made that statement. Why should we prejudge them when they made it clear that they remain ready to respond positively to “tangle progress” in implementing key provisions of the GPA.
The Fishmongers are simply asking us to address our democratic deficit if we are to again become a member of the international community and enjoy the benefits thereof.
The group of the wealthy nations acknowledged several steps the inclusive government has made, among them, the establishment of the Electoral and Human Rights Commissions, the adoption of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, and the recent granting of licences for independent media by the ZMC, but was quick to say they were not enough.
Among their concerns were the lack of respect for the rule of law, which Didymus Mutasa has helpfully illustrated this week, protection of fundamental freedoms, and the slow pace of progress in improving governance.
“We urge the parties to accelerate the implementation of their outstanding commitments under the GPA,” the Fishmongers said in their statement. “The lack of progress in this area undermines the ability of the inclusive government to deliver the change which ordinary Zimbabweans expect, and hampers full re-engagement with the international community.
“We share the concern of the private sector, both international and domestic, about the negative consequences of the recently published regulations on indigenisation for the already fragile investment climate.”
Who can quarrel with that? The country needs institutional reforms which include the easing out of army generals who have pronounced their political affiliations, demilitarisation of state institutions and overhaul of the army, the police and other state security organs so they serve the people instead of a political party. We need to open a new democratic chapter if we are to be counted among successful nations.
I am disturbed why Tsvangirai and his party are failing to respond firmly to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s intransigence. Is it that Tsvangirai has now succumbed to the trappings of power to the extent that he has developed a lackadaisical attitude? For how long is he going to stand aloof while Mugabe and his hangers-on continue to destroy this country?