Zimbabwe arms saga raises questions over govt
By John Chiahemen
Johannesburg - The planned trial of
suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe could raise embarrassing questions for the
government over their alleged bid to buy weapons illegally from the state,
defence analysts say. The key question will centre on what role President
Robert Mugabe's senior aides played in any plans to procure weapons from
state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), a cash-strapped agency under
the firm grip of the government. The analysts told Reuters on Wednesday that
proceedings against the 70 men, who were charged on Tuesday, could throw a
spotlight on what one called "the murky operations of the ZDI". "Certainly it
does raise some questions and it might expose some more about the activities
of the ZDI that the government will regret later," said Richard Cornwell,
head of the Pretoria-based Africa Security and Analysis Programme. The group
of South Africans, Namibians, Angolans, Congolese and a Zimbabwean are
charged with conspiring to murder the president of Equatorial Guinea in an
alleged plot to topple the government of the oil-rich African state. They
also face charges under Zimbabwe's immigration and firearms laws after
authorities seized their plane in Harare on March 7 and said they tried to
procure weapons from the ZDI. The authorities have not elaborated on the arms
Experts said it was difficult to imagine
the ZDI would agree a deal to sell arms without the approval of senior
government or party officials or without an end-user certificate specifying
the final destination of the weapons. "There is no way they are going to be
able to sell it to anybody without an end-user certificate or at least some
government backing," said Herman van der Linde of private think-tank
Executive Research Associates, also in Pretoria. Interior Minister Kembo
Mohadi has suggested that Zimbabwe authorities had monitored the alleged
procurement deal and moved in on the group after suspecting "a sinister
motive". He did not elaborate but legal experts said that suggestion could be
put to the test in court. Cornwell said the trial could lead to public
scrutiny of other activities of the ZDI, mainly in its role in arms brokerage
and dealings across Africa and elsewhere. "ZDI is involved not only in the
manufacture of arms but also in a significant amount of brokerage of
third-party arms," Cornwell told Reuters. The Zimbabwe government used the
ZDI to provide the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe soldiers with
military supplies when Mugabe sent thousands of troops to back the late
President Laurent Kabila against rebels in 1998. ZDI has been in financial
straits since the Kinshasa government failed to come up with promised
payments for the support, military analysts said.
Pietermaritzburg - South African President Thabo Mbeki on
Thursday defended his so-called policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe,
saying the crisis there would take time to resolve and that President Robert
Mugabe did not take instructions from him.
Robert Mugabe does not take instructions from me," the Sapa news agency
quoted Mbeki as saying during an election campaign in eastern KwaZulu-Natal
province for South Africa's April 14 polls.
He added: "I discuss matters
with them as a neighbour."
Mbeki has come under fire from political
detractors for his stance on South Africa's northern neighbour, plunged into
crisis after presidential elections in March 2002 that returned Mugabe to
power, the results of which international observers and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai alleged were rigged.
Zimbabwe is currently in the
grip of its worst economic crisis, with inflation at more than 622 percent,
70-percent unemployment and critical shortages of fuel, medicine and
The crisis can only be solved once formal talks between the two
groups begin, Mbeki said.
"One has reason to believe that formal talks
would bring a speedy resolve," Mbeki said.
South Africa and Nigeria
brokered talks between the two sides in May 2002, but these collapsed after
succeeding only in drafting an agenda.
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) pulled out of the talks after the
opposition filed a lawsuit challenging Mugabe's legitimacy after the 2002
Mugabe has ruled out dialogue with Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) until the opposition withdraws its
election litigation and recognises him as the legitimate head of
Mugabe slammed the door on proposed fresh negotiations with the
MDC last month, dealing a new blow to the "quiet diplomacy" tack taken by
South Africa to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis.
critical of some South Africans insisting on an
Mbeki said Palestine and Northern Ireland had been
riddled with conflict for decades, but, according to the South African
leader, there were no complaints from anyone.
"Palestine has had
problems since the 1940s but nobody complains," he said.
"And what about
Northern Ireland? Nobody complains that Tony Blair's diplomacy is not
working. They speak about my quiet diplomacy (towards Zimbabwe), but no
diplomacy is loud."
March 18 - By Cris Chinaka HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's trial of 70
suspected mercenaries charged with plotting to kill the president of
Equatorial Guinea may begin in the top-security prison where they are held,
government sources said on Thursday.
But a lawyer
representing the detained men said he would make an urgent court application
if necessary to ensure the men were brought to an ordinary open
Lawyer Jonathan Samkange said the state had laid fresh
charges on Thursday against the 70 under the Foreign Subversive Organization
Act which criminalises activities that seek to overthrow governments of
states recognized by Zimbabwe. Samkange said the charge was "obsolete"' in
the present case.
The men -- from South Africa, Angola, Namibia,
Democratic Republic of Congo and one from Zimbabwe -- were arrested on March
7 after their U.S.-registered Boeing 727 plane landed in Harare and was
seized by Zimbabwean authorities.
The men say they were heading
to Congo to guard mines. But Zimbabwe maintains they were on a mission to
oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea
and has charged them with plotting to murder him and his
Samkange has dismissed the coup charge as "fictional"
and questioned whether it can be brought under Zimbabwean law.
The state also charged the men under immigration and firearms laws over
accusations their plane landed in Harare with a false declaration and that
they intended to pick up weapons from state-owned Zimbabwe Defense Industries
These charges attract a maximum sentence of 10 years in
jail, although Zimbabwe officials have indicated the men could face more
severe penalties -- including death -- under other charges being
considered, including possible charges brought under tough security
Zimbabwe's Public Order and Security Act, enacted in 2002,
provides for a variety of charges relating to crimes deemed to threaten
state security, and the southern African country's acting chief prosecutor
has said other charges might follow.
On Thursday, government
sources said the state might decide to send a magistrate to Zimbabwe's
maximum security prison where the men are held to hear charges against
"This a case of terrorism, a case involving sensitive
security issues... and it might be best at this stage to charge the men where
they are being held," one source told Reuters.
defense lawyers had rejected the proposal on Thursday, and would file an
urgent application the next day if the state did not agree to an open court
"This is not a court martial... there is no basis for
not bringing them to an open court. This case has aroused a lot of interest
and we have an obligation to see that these guys get a fair trial in an open
court," Samkange told Reuters.
Under Zimbabwe's immigration
laws, the men can be held for two weeks before a court hearing. Samkange said
state lawyers had indicated the suspects had only been served with a warrant
of detention four days after their arrest, meaning they could be held until
Regional defense analysts say the planned trial of
the suspects could raise embarrassing questions for the government over their
reported bid to buy weapons illegally from the state.
Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer, says it has arrested
20 men it says were part of an advance party in the coup plot. It said the
operation was funded by foreign powers and multinational firms to put an
exiled opposition politician into power.
The detention of a British former
SAS officer in Zimbabwe on suspicion of aiding a coup against another African
country was denounced as "extraordinary" in the Commons today.
Etonian Simon Mann, 46, was among 64 men arrested at Harare International
Airport and accused of being mercenaries, hired to help overthrow the
government in Equatorial Guinea. He could face the death sentence.
men say they were headed to eastern Congo to work at mining
During exchanges on future Commons business, Tory Henry
Bellingham (Norfolk NW) said it was an "extraordinary" situation.
Mann may be an adventurer but if he was going to launch a coup
against Equatorial Guinea he would hardly start it in Zimbabwe.
currently imprisoned in squalid conditions, possibly facing the
"Has the High Commission been to see him. Have consular
officials offered him any support at all?"
Commons Leader Peter Hain
replied: "I'm not aware of the detailed consular arrangements that have
applied, but obviously British citizens are entitled to full consular access
and support whatever their situation, whatever they might or might not have
"I am sure that the Foreign Office will be wanting to take a close
interest in your request."
He added: "Indeed that situation is rather
bizarre and pretty well everything that happens in Zimbabwe at the moment is
not just bizarre but something more serious than that."
March 18 (Reuters) - A German citizen detained with other foreign nationals
in Equatorial Guinea accused of plotting a coup has died of cerebral malaria,
a Western diplomat in the oil-rich country said on Thursday.
was one of 20 alleged mercenaries -- most of them from South Africa --
arrested earlier this month in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo on
accusations of scheming to topple President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters by phone from
Malabo that none of the other detainees appeared to be in
Officials in Equatorial Guinea and Germany were not
immediately available for comment.
Earlier South Africa said in a
statement it had been told by Equatorial Guinea that there was no truth to a
Spanish newspaper report that one of the South Africans held, Nick du Toit,
had died of torture on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe has arrested another 70 men it
accuses of being involved in the same alleged plot against Obiang after their
Boeing 727 was seized at Harare's main airport on March 7.
seized power from his uncle in 1979, has said the plot was funded by foreign
powers and multinational companies. His opponents accuse him of
stage-managing it to create a climate of fear ahead of
Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony, is
sub-Saharan Africa's third biggest oil producer. (additional rpeorting by
Sent: Thursday, March 18, 2004 11:19 PM Subject: Parliamentary Public Hearing
Tuesday 23 March 10.30 am
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for
Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade will be conducting a final
Public Hearing to prepare
A Rescue Plan for Industry and
Commerce TUESDAY 23 MARCH 10.00 for 10.30 am at Parliament - Conference
Room (Union Avenue entrance)
Interested members of the public are invited
to attend. Those who wish to make submissions concerning these sectors,
either as group representatives or individuals, are advised to indicate to
the secretariat on registration. The Committee particularly welcomes oral
submissions backed up by written documents, although we will also receive
both oral and written submissions on their own.
Members of this
Committee are the Honourables Chiyangwa (Chairman), Chindanya, Chitongo,
Kaukonde, Madzimure, Mukahlera, Mutsauri, Mzila Ndlovu, FD Ncube and
The Governor of the Reserve Bank has been especially invited
The fears, which underscore the potential for fissures
within the ruling party, have reportedly set ZANU PF bigwigs on a collision
The internal feud was precipitated by the elevation of
Mutasa, 68, into President Mugabe's election Cabinet during the recent
reshuffle. With the ink barely dry on his appointment letter, Mutasa has
already started wielding the axe on corrupt leaders in both political and
Mutasa, who many thought was in the twilight of
his political career dating back to the days of the liberation struggle, was
thrust at the centre of the anti-corruption crusade when he was appointed the
Minister of State responsible for Anti-Corruption. This was in line with the
government's new found quest to deal with the all-pervading graft in what is
widely seen as a thinly veiled move to soothe voter anger and fear of
deprivation ahead of the crucial 2005 Parliamentary elections.
The appointment, which caught many by surprise, is seen as a deft move to
enable Mutasa to exert his influence and dominance among his ZANU
PF colleagues who rank among the country's most voracious acquirers of
wealth through corruption and political patronage.
which all along had been made to believe that for the rich and powerful,
justice is both blind and cheap, however remains largely sceptical whether
Mutasa would pursue the anti-graft crusade to its full expression. Although
he has a power base of his own, it remains to be seen whether he has or will
get sufficient political backing in his efforts to rid the country of
Sources within and outside ZANU PF were unanimous that
President Mugabe was tactfully heaving Mutasa, who became Zimbabwe's first
black Speaker of Parliament in 1980, to the post of vice-president left
vacant after the death last year of the ruling ZANU PF's godfather in
Masvingo, Simon Vengai Muzenda.
Mutasa, the founder of the
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) Birmingham branch, had long coveted
the number two job. Recently he openly declared his interest in the post of
vice-president, but the feeling within the ruling party is that whoever fills
that slot would stand a better chance of succeeding President
Mutasa was at one time tipped for the vice-presidency
during the run-up to the party's national conference in 2001 after the
late vice-president Muzenda had indicated that he wanted to resign. This
move however flopped after Muzenda had a change of heart on the pretext that
he wanted to see through the controversial land redistribution
High-ranking ZANU PF sources said most senior party
members were baffled at Mutasa's appointment and discussion on his role in
the whole anti-graft crusade was taking place in dark rooms. This had caused
confusion and friction among party heavyweights in the succession race.
Still, jockeying was now intensifying, as it was widely believed in the
ruling party that President Mugabe, who had previously insisted on a
distant departure date, was now seeing out his last term of
But seemingly unperturbed by his colleagues' manoeuvres,
Mutasa, a known loose and provocative political tongue, told The Financial
Gazette this week that the other ZANU PF cadres were free to discuss whatever
"You probably have to ask the President (Mugabe)
about that one," Mutasa said jokingly. "But on a serious note, I am not an
individualist and I will accept any position of power bestowed upon me by
either the President or my colleagues as long as I see that I am suitable and
up to the task. Let them continue discussing my appointment. They are free
and are at liberty to do so."
Pressed to state categorically
whether he was still interested in the post of vice-president, Mutasa
retorted: "The decision lies with the people of ZANU PF whether they want me
there or not."
But last year the veteran politician did not mince
his words. Then the government-owned media quoted him saying: "If anyone
proffered my name for that position, I would first thank that person and
readily accept the offer." This was interpreted to mean that he might have
known that he was poised to be appointed to the key position.
Last month, President Mugabe poured cold water on speculation on his likely
chosen successor when he deliberately did not appoint a second vice-president
in his cosmetic Cabinet reshuffle, turning the succession race into a fierce
Instead, the President threw a political lifeline
to old colleagues like Mutasa, who had spent almost nine years in political
Already a number of politicians and bankers perceived to
have strong links to the President's perceived choice of successor,
Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, have been quizzed by the police in
the ongoing corruption blitz that has sent shivers down the spines of ZANU PF
Sources said most senior party members were baffled at
Mutasa's appointment and discussion on his role in the whole anti-graft
crusade was taking place in dark rooms.
"It's now a whole new
ball game after Mutasa was incorporated into the Cabinet," the source said.
"His position to look for skeletons in other people's closets may see some of
those eyeing the post being caught up in this whole corruption thing. But
what remains to be seen is whether Mutasa himself will not be caught up as
Another source said the contentious succession debate was
likely to turn nasty ahead of the planned ZANU PF congress slated for
December as party members were now bent on digging dirt on each other to
please President Mugabe.
"Already there is friction among party
members," the source said. "But I think as a tradition the President has
always tried to please all provinces by appointing senior members of the
provinces into the Cabinet. But it's going to be a dog eat dog situation this
year before the Congress in December."
Names being bandied
around as the front-runners for the late Muzenda's post include Mnangagwa,
Minister of State responsible for Lands John Nkomo, and Defence Minister
It is also being speculated that incumbent vice
Ppresident Joseph Msika, who has been flexing his muscles lately, will retire
together with President Mugabe, paving way for Nkomo, who holds the third
most senior party position as national chairman.
THE equities market
was driven further into nether territory this week, amid a worsening
financial sector crisis that rocked Intermarket Holdings Limited and the
listed Barbican Holdings Limited.
The benchmark industrial index
retreated eight percent, while the mining index sank by 15 percent in the
Another week saw another financial counter being suspended
from trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), raising fears that
the collapse of some banking institutions, which was held back in January,
Significant losses were recorded in heavyweight
bellwether stocks this week, with Old Mutual taking a breather and shedding
$355, to close at a flat $6 000.
The financial giant announced
management changes during the week, following the retirement of long serving
chief executive officer Graham Hollick, who has been replaced by Luke
Delta, PPC, Apex, ABCH, Innscor and Meikles, which
lost $1 050 to end the week at $2 300, were other notable
There were gains in Zimsun, which rebounded from last
week's low of $7 to $18, Falcon put on $1 500 to close at $7 500,
while Kingdom bucked the sliding trend in financials to close at $47.50, up
Excellent results produced by Celsys, which registered a
mammoth 8 000 percent growth in earnings, and NicozDiamond failed to bring
excitement to the market and the two counters traded largely unchanged during
Stock market analysts said uncertainty over the levels
where investment rates will eventually settle was affecting the stock
There has been a dearth of institutional investors on the
market, despite the fact that the ZSE average price to earnings ratio has
been at its lowest in years.
Asset management companies, which
handled much of the investments in stocks, are yet to be sanctioned under the
new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) regulations, robbing the market of key
Firming money market rates have also further compounded
the stock market's woes.
Tuesday's RBZ finance bill tender,
which sought to suck $60 billion from the market and had the novelty of
inviting bids from individual members of the public, attracted bids amounting
to $101 billion.
The highest bid rate was 400 percent, with the
lowest being 315 percent, giving an average yield of 317.11
Money market dealers said yesterday the unprecedented move
by the central bank to allow direct bids by the public would circumvent
financial institutions that had traditionally acted as intermediaries in the
"I also think this will create further shortages,
and trigger the switch of funds from other investment destinations," a money
market dealer said.
The market opened the week $215 billion
short and was forecast to have a $146.4 billion deficit on
Investment rates for the seven- to 14-day period ranged
between 250 percent and 300 percent in the week, while the 30- to 90-day
deposits were being quoted at around 230 percent and 270
Monday's foreign currency auction saw the local currency
weakening marginally against the major currencies.
average auction rate for the local unit against the United States dollar was
$4 239.66, a marginal change from $4 211.71 to the greenback at the previous
The Zimbabwe dollar was quoted at $631 to the South
African rand, $7 834 to the British pound, $5 205.45 to the euro and $870.61
to the Botswana pula.
THE decline in the
year-on-year inflation rate can be sustained, but not necessarily to levels
predicted by the central bank, if the country receives steady foreign
currency inflows at a predictable rate of exchange, analysts
Inflation, described as the worst evil confronting the
Zimbabwean economy, went down by 20.3 percentage points last month in what
could be an arithmetic decline devoid of underlying
Analysts said the stability on the foreign currency
market during the first two months of the introduction of the foreign
currency auction system has also eased pressure on inflation.
David Mpamhadzi, group economist for Trust Holdings, said the inflation
outlook would be dependent on developments on the foreign currency market,
particularly in the first half of the year.
If the foreign currency
market remains under pressure, mostly due to a ballooning import bill
estimated at around US$200 million a month, inflation could go up again,
flying in the face of the monetary authorities who are anticipating it to end
the year at between 170 percent and 200 percent.
Inflation has been
on an upward spiral since June 2003 with economic pundits predicting it could
breach the 1 000 percent mark by the end of 2003.
has however slowed down twice in the past four months, first in December
2003, when it decreased from 625 percent to 598.7 percent, before rising
In February, the rate went down from 622.8 percent to 602.5
percent with the month-on-month food inflation easing by 10.2 percentage
points to 3.5 percent.
John Robertson, a local economic
consultant, said inflation was slated to rise owing to the ballooning budget
deficit and impending food shortages.
"Food scarcity and government
fiscal problems are likely to push inflation up again. Furthermore, the
amount of foreign currency being earned is not sufficient to meet importers'
demand, to fund government budget deficit and meet food import requirements,"
Others, however, welcomed the tightening of money
supply growth as a positive step that would bring down inflation. Firming
interest rates have had the effect of clamping down credit expansion,
especially for speculative consumption.
rates have recently started going up and are currently around 250 percent, on
the back of intervention by the central bank.
"Key to driving
down inflation is the exchange rate. Prices of basic commodities, which have
been major drivers of inflation, hinge around the exchange rate," said
"If managed below $4 500 against the United States
dollar, it (the exchange rate) will have a positive knock on effect on
inflation," he said. "The parallel market has sort of disappeared and this
has changed expectations in terms of price determinations, but the outlook
for inflation will largely depend on the behaviour of the exchange
Foreign currency inflows from exporters alone would not be
sufficient, hence other avenues of bringing foreign exchange into the country
such as tapping into Zimbabweans in the diaspora and attracting foreign
investments would be required.
LAST week's terrorist
attacks in Spain, which claimed the lives of 200 people reverberated in the
major global markets, but for Zimbabwe's financial sector, the Ides of March
were to bring further turmoil to the troubled sector at a time when most
thought the worst was over.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this
week moved to weed out weak financial institutions from the sector, at the
same time confirming fears that problems in the sector ran
First to come under the central bank's surgical scalpel
were three Intermarket Holdings Limited subsidiaries - Intermarket Discount
House, Intermarket Building Society and Intermarket Banking Corporation -
which were closed and placed under a six-month curatorship.
Barbican Holdings Limited's flagship, Barbican Bank, was also placed under
curatorship, while Barbican Asset Management was closed for a number of
breaches of regulations.
While Intermarket's problems have been
well documented in recent weeks, Barbican Bank's predicament took the market
by surprise, coming as it did after an announcement by management that they
had repaid funds advanced to the bank by the RBZ through the Troubled Banks'
The developments have triggered a fresh round of sector-wide
panic withdrawals amid fears of a pervasive contagion effect emanating from
the affected institutions.
Industry players have called on the
central bank to issue clear statements on the health of all banking
institutions to allay investors' fears and avert certain disaster as a result
of the panic.
"This is not the end. We can expect more of the
smaller banks to meet the same fate, but there are real fears of ripple
effects in the whole sector because even the bigger banks were exposed to
these small institutions.
"I think they (RBZ) are aware of that,
which is why they cannot go full-scale," economist Best Doroh
John Robertson said the latest developments showed that the
RBZ's intervention in January, which saw the central bank pouring billions
of dollars in liquidity aid for distressed banks, had met limited
"We have serious defects in the financial sector, which
cannot be solved by flooding liquidity in the market without a clear
comprehension of the problems. This round of problems could be stopped by the
RBZ once again flooding the market, but they have realised that this does not
"They need to get the whole story, but the unfortunate thing
about banking crises is that they create panic and even good and sound
companies suffer as a result. It is very difficult to predict what will
happen next," Robertson said.
An economist with a local
commercial bank said the latest action by the central bank might mean that
the regulator had run out of patience with some banking
He added that this might also sound the death knell
for locally owned banks, which have borne the brunt of the reorganisation of
the financial sector.
"The depositors' flight to quality is not
likely to be reversed. So while the RBZ might be moving towards restoring
confidence in the sector, I do not see depositors returning in a hurry," he
Executive Mayor Elias Mudzuri could be on his way out as it emerged that a
commission headed by Sekesayi Makwavarara, this week suspended from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), would be appointed in the
next few weeks to run the affairs of the capital city.
It would be
the second commission to descend on Town House in five years in what appears
to be a grand plan by the ruling ZANU PF to silence its main rival, the MDC
in Harare, ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections.
PF government, aware of the resistance building up at the MDC-dominated Civic
Centre in Bulawayo against the city's first provincial governor, is
determined to prepare a soft landing pad for Witness Mangwende, who was last
month appointed the first governor for Harare.
sources told The Financial Gazette this week that Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, who has been tight-lipped about the contents of a report
submitted by a taskforce appointed to investigate the goings-on at the
council, has made up his mind on the fate of the Mudzuri-led
Chombo, who has been at loggerheads with the MDC-dominated
council since its arrival in 2000, is likely to cite maladministration,
corruption and failure to solve the perennial water crisis in Harare as some
of the reasons to justify the appointment of the commission. The city's books
have also not been audited since 2001.
The choice of acting
mayor Makwavarara as head of the commission is likely to cause a further rift
within the opposition party and cause confusion among the urbanites, who
strongly rallied behind the MDC in previous elections.
Makwavarara was this week suspended from the MDC and a recommendation was
made to have her expelled from the party.
Makwavarara has been the
acting mayor for Harare since the suspension of Mudzuri in April 2003, but
she has been under fire from MDC members, who accuse her of working against
the interests of the party.
Chombo could not deny nor confirm the
latest developments when contacted for comment this week.
said he was still studying a report compiled by the Kurasha taskforce, which
is said to have advised the government to intervene before the situation at
Town House got out of hand.
"The whole process will be concluded by
Tuesday next week. If the mayor (Mudzuri) wants to challenge the findings of
the taskforce, he is free to do so. After that, I will start implementing the
recommendations in the report," Chombo said.
Mudzuri told The
Financial Gazette this week that the government was capable of doing
"There is nothing impossible with this government. They
can do anything without following the law. Residents will soon realise that
the government does not respect a democratically elected council," he
Citing an example, Mudzuri said the government had proceeded
to appoint new governors for Harare and Bulawayo yet the constitution only
has a provision for eight governors.
"If they decide to follow
the law, they should hold elections within six months after the appointment
of a commission," added Mudzuri.
In 1999, the government dismissed
the entire council headed by its first executive mayor, Solomon Tawengwa of
ZANU PF, and replaced it with a commission led by former diplomat Elijah
The Chanakira Commission left Town House in 2002 after
the expiry of its term of office and was replaced by Mudzuri's team.
ZIMBABWE'S first water bottling
company, Glendale Spring,, is teetering on the verge of collapse after
marauding farm invaders stopped repair work at the plant which was
mysteriously gutted down by fire last year.
The invaders brought
repair work at the factory to a standstill, raising fears that Glendale
Spring could be forced to retrench its entire workforce of 31
Glendale Spring operations manager Nicodemus Musakasa
confirmed that the company had been stopped twice from rebuilding its
It has emerged that the invaders were planning to take
over the factory, but hesitated when they learnt that a consortium of
indigenous businesspeople trading as Harambe Holdings, had bought the
Former Mashonaland Chamber of Industries president David
Govere heads Harambe Holdings, which has been operating the plant for the
"Settlers allocated land at a nearby farm were not
helping by switching off electricity, totting guns and generally making
it uncomfortable for the employees and builders involved in reconstructing
the plant," said a source.
The invasion follows a mysterious
incident in December last year when the factory, which has so far cost the
company $70 million in repairs, was completely razed by a fire whose origins
could not be established.
Musakasa said they have been complying
with the authorities in the Mazowe District to ensure the impasse is resolved
and believes reconstruction could start soon now that the Mashonaland East
provincial governor, Ephraim Masawi, has promised to intervene.
Masawi could not be reached for comment at the time of going to
Musakasa said the employees at the factory have been
receiving their salaries since December. - Staff Reporter
THE ruling ZANU PF,
known for its blatant egotism and flagrant disregard for the voice of reason,
is unlikely to flinch at threats by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) to boycott the 2005 parliamentary election, analysts said this
The MDC resolved last week that it would not participate in
the poll unless its demands for a free and fair plebiscite are
Analysts said while the MDC had a point in insisting on a
level playing field, ZANU PF, just like other ruling African political
parties, thrived on poll boycotts and undemocratic electoral
They said with or without the participation of the MDC, ZANU
PF could always argue to the rest of the world, as it has done in the past,
that all the due processes of electoral law in Zimbabwe had been followed to
For ZANU PF, which has ruled Zimbabwe since independence
from Britain in 1980, an MDC boycott could turn out to be a carbon-copy of
the 1996 presidential poll when Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the African National
Congress and Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole of ZANU Ndonga tried to pull out of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF, which is
under pressure to win the 2005 ballot at all costs and possibly give its
leader the confidence to relinquish power before the 2008 presidential
election, went ahead with the voting process and won by nearly 100
MDC sympathisers are adamant that ZANU PF will always
emerge victorious by hook or by crook if next year's election is held under
the current electoral laws.
They say the MDC could save lives by
pulling out of the race on time and avoiding bloody clashes against ZANU PF
supporters, known to enjoy sympathies of the law enforcement agencies and the
Other analysts say with public sentiment
against it in a deteriorating economy where poverty is afflicting 70 percent
of the 13 million population and worsening, ZANU PF could yet yield to
pressure to amend the electoral laws.
University of Zimbabwe
lecturer Joseph Kurebwa said the decision by the MDC to boycott next year's
general election unless certain conditions were met could work in favour of
ZANU PF and render the opposition party irrelevant.
by the MDC, the only opposition party that has posed a serious challenge to
ZANU PF's rule, could also be the last nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's
nascent democracy as this would give the ruling party the leeway to do
whatever it wanted, he said.
"They (MDC) are just bluffing . . .
there is no way they would change things by boycotting the elections when
they are the main opposition party in the country," said Kurebwa. "If
anything, this will render them irrelevant."
of Zimbabwe lecturer and chairman of the Zimbabwe Integrated Programme,
Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said there was nothing the opposition party would gain by
refusing to contest the election. Such a decision, he said, would only widen
the rift between it and ZANU PF.
"I don't see any advantages they
will get from boycotting the election," Dzinotyiwei said. "This will only
further widen the gap between the MDC and ZANU PF and chances of any dialogue
The MDC national executive met last week and
resolved that unless the government met a number of conditions - the most
important being a levelling of the playing field - the party would not take
part in any future polls.
The party resolved that for it to
participate in any future elections, President Mugabe's government would
first have to demonstrate genuine efforts to ensure that polls in Zimbabwe
met internationally accepted standards.
"The MDC, through its
national executive, has resolved to reserve the party's right to take part in
the 2005 parliamentary election unless there is genuine commitment from the
Mugabe regime to run the polls in accordance with universally accepted norms
and standards," MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said last week.
Demands from the MDC include the setting up of an independent electoral body,
the supply of electronic copies of the voters' roll to all interested
parties, the repeal of draconian laws such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act as well as
the disbanding of youth militias.
In addition, the party is
demanding that voting should take place in one day, that counting should take
place at polling stations and that transparent ballot boxes and visible,
indelible ink should be used in all polls.
It is also demanding
amendment of the Electoral Act to bring it in line with the Southern African
Development Community Parliamentary Forum's electoral standards and norms as
well as the re-opening of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe.
The party said it was, together with several other civic groups, planning
"rolling mass actions" to force the government to agree to
Since independence, opposition parties in Zimbabwe
have blamed their defeat on flawed electoral laws, alleged massive rigging by
ZANU PF and untold violence.
Kurebwa said judging from past
experience, ZANU PF would not easily bow to the opposition's demands,
especially if the demands took away some advantages it enjoyed from the
current electoral system.
"ZANU PF has shown that it is willing to
go on its own," Kurebwa said. "Look at the 1996 presidential elections where
Muzorewa and Sithole tried to pull out of the election, but ZANU PF went
ahead with the elections and won by about 100 percent . . . and what happened
Dzinotyiwei said it would be better for the MDC to try
and influence ZANU PF to embrace change when it had seats in Parliament than
to do so from outside.
"While we realise the dilemma the
opposition is facing when it comes to dealing with ZANU PF, it is better for
them to remain in Parliament . . . being in Parliament gives them a foothold
from where they can initiate change," Dzinotyiwei said.
Alois Masepe, another political analyst, said boycotting elections was one of
the ways the opposition could effectively use to push President Mugabe's
government to agree to constitutional reforms.
He said the main
problem was that Zimbabwe's constitution was meant to serve a one-party state
and could not work in a multi-party democracy.
elections is a political activity that can be used to force the government to
accept the wishes of the people," Masepe said.
"But when they call
for a boycott, they should make the people understand why . . . they should
be able to explain to the people the reasons why they are not participating
in an election and mobilise them not to go and vote."
with enough pressure from the masses, ZANU PF, as a party that claims a
background of liberating the people, would give in to the
"Everyone in this country, including ZANU PF,
agrees that the constitution is a people's issue and it should be addressed
before any free and fair elections can take place," he said.
BULAWAYO - Two
Bulawayo firms, saddled with combined electricity bills of about $1 billion,
have dragged the national power utility to court after being forced to close
shop following a disconnection of supplies.
The two firms - O
Connolly and NIMR & Chapman - last week filed urgent court applications
with the Bulawayo High Court to force the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) to restore supplies.
Both companies are disputing
the huge electricity bills and have temporarily sent workers
It also emerged yesterday that Pretoria Portland Cement, the
largest producer of cement in Zimbabwe, was in talks with ZESA to find ways
of settling its debt.
Information at hand indicates that the two
urgent applications were filed separately at the Bulawayo High Court after
the firms received the "shocking" electricity bills for the past
Justice Nicholas Ndou, in his chambers, heard the O
Connolly application last Friday and a judgment on the matter is due before
the end of the month.
The case of NIMR & Chapman has been
postponed to a later date.
THE ruling ZANU PF
party, clutching at straws and desperate to reclaim urban constituencies in
the forthcoming parliamentary elections, has pulled out an ace against
opposition parties after it announced the demarcation of the restive Harare
and Bulawayo provinces.
The development, seen as an attempt by the
ruling party to amass extra votes and penetrate the main opposition party's
urban stronghold, could cause confusion and weaken the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which has been technically shut out of the rural
Since independence, Harare and Bulawayo have never had
governors, while the remaining eight provinces were administered by
provincial administrators answerable to governors and resident
It is common cause that Harare and Bulawayo are
political power bases of the MDC, but in relentless efforts to keep the
opposition in check, President Robert Mugabe (80), recently appointed the
first governors to head the provinces, courting confrontation with the
opposition executive mayors in the two major cities.
controversial appointment of the governors will help Zanu PF, rejected by the
urban voters for running down the economy, hold all the aces in the event of
The decision, whose merits have not been fully
explained to the public, attracted widespread condemnation, but that has not
deterred President Mugabe's government, which is determined to repossess lost
The delimitation process is widely perceived as a way to
dilute the urban vote and lay firm groundwork for ZANU PF to finally take
over the provinces.
Local authorities have since queried the
government's intention and sincerity in continuously creating boundaries,
arguing that the move destroyed social and cultural fabrics.
Bulawayo Executive Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube probably aptly summarised the
confusion surrounding the exercise. He said: "I welcome his (Cain Mathema)
appointment if it is to add value to the citizenry of Bulawayo and so long as
he sticks to state provincial issues such as problems being experienced by
people in trying to acquire birth certificates, passports and other
"My role is clearly stated in the Urban
Councils Act - to deal with civic issues of the city. I am not aware of the
role of the new governor, but I will be happy as the elected executive mayor
of the city of Bulawayo if he is going to ensure that the government pays us
the nearly $3 billion owed to us by various government departments," he
Analysts this week viewed the demarcation of Harare and
Bulawayo as political provinces as a way to frustrate the MDC and penetrate
its structures with a view to dilute its influence.
enjoys massive support in urban areas, where it clinched 57 of the 120
contested parliamentary seats in the June 2000 parliamentary polls, while
ZANU PF boasts of hogging the rural vote.
Defending the exercise,
the government has in the past said expansion or withdrawal of district and
provincial boundaries fell under a new national resettlement policy as an
alternative way of decongesting overpopulated areas across administrative
Last week, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said his
ministry was awaiting the promulgation of the district boundaries from the
Local Government Ministry "that would enable my ministry to put in place
borders and boundaries that would make it easy for the administration of the
Asked whether demarcation was not a way of
diluting the urban vote, Chinamasa said: "It's very clear there is fear in
the MDC of losing the upcoming elections. They have lost the goodwill of the
people and are now running scared.
"They know they have lost out
in quite a number of programmes especially the land reform exercise and they
want to play cat and mouse games, saying they want to boycott the
"They don't want to be embarrassed, hence the funny
ideas of boycotting elections claiming the playing field is uneven. They will
use all sorts of excuses but that doesn't worry us."
political analyst Alois Masepe argued that the move - if not done within the
framework of a level playing field - could spell gloom and doom for the
opposition as much as it would be open to manipulation by the
Masepe asked: "To whom does the delimitation
committee ultimately report? Who appoints them? Is the person they report to
an interested party in the whole process. For instance, is that person a
"If the process is upside down then there is no
democracy to talk about. What they want to do is to mix the rural and urban
voters and manipulate votes. That is how vote-rigging begins."
He queried why ZANU PF was so eager to tamper with boundaries in the 11th
hour ahead of parliamentary elections pencilled before the end of
"We need to look at the move closely," another
political analyst, Heneri Dzinotyiwei, said.
need to look at this carefully so that they are not short-changed if they
decide to participate. Prior to all previous elections as far back as I can
remember, there has been an exercise of that nature.
exercise is to be without prejudice, then there must be an independent body
in charge. The body should listen to everyone."
He added: "We may
see part of the urban areas being attached to the rural areas and of course
that will heavily impact on the outcome of any election there. So there is a
need to see what the ultimate goal is."
Another analyst, Joseph
Kurebwa, said the timing of the process was suspicious and should be looked
at with a hawk's eye.
"Whether the timing is coincidental or by
design beats me," Kurebwa said.
"But one thing for sure is that
the ruling party wants to maximise its chances during elections.
"The major reason for appointing governors was to make sure that MDC mayors
are constantly under the direct scrutiny of ZANU PF."
terribly wrong in the country's erstwhile vibrant mining sector and it is
screaming for attention. First, there was the disappearance of billions of
dollars worth of platinum belonging to Zimbabwe Platinum Mines following a
robbery in Johannesburg in October last year. This did not however seem to
evoke as much attention and concern over the looting of the country's
resources as it should have.
If anything, the headline-grabbing
incident could only provoke muted responses from the authorities. Zimbabwe
displayed a typical one-swallow-does-not-make-a-summer attitude. The general
feeling, it would seem, was that it was just one of those things and there
was no need to press the panic button. Despite pledges for a thorough
investigation by former Mines Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga when The
Financial Gazette revealed the robbery, nothing has been heard of the probe.
Needless to say, the culprits have not yet been brought to book.
But even before the dust settles, early this month, exactly five months after
the first heist and in similar circumstances, two trucks ferrying nickel from
Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) were hijacked in South Africa. From our
preliminary investigations, the 40 tonnes of nickel were worth a staggering
$2.5 billion, a top line ripple for even the mining bellwether stock. Even
more alarming was the attitude of both BNC and the Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) which is responsible for marketing most of the
country's minerals. They both pushed the buck, refusing to take
responsibility for the lost nickel, which will certainly not be the last
shock to hit the scandal-prone mining sector.
In what could only be
described as a monumental public relations disaster, the MMCZ only issued a
statement after the theft had become public knowledge following the Fingaz
story. The statement was a poor way of absolving the MMCZ, which should be
equally responsible for the stolen nickel. In fact there was a noticeable
reluctance by both the MMCZ and BNC to make this public. What did they have
to hide? We also can not help but wonder whether the MMCZ and BNC are aware
of their "serious" responsibilities?
Simply put, the provision
of adequate security could have mitigated the risk. Far from suggesting that
they literally delivered the nickel into the hands of the hijackers, it is
pertinent to point out that failure to provide security, in this case, could
never be a matter of inadvertency or oversight. It can hardly be innocent
negligence but smacks of outright recklessness bordering on mischief
considering the serious prejudice to the nation.
as to what actually happened is still scant, we are hard-pressed to believe
that these incidents, which will certainly result in breathtaking losses for
the mining sector, are isolated. That is why we feel that the sector should
be placed under scrutiny to unravel what is increasingly becoming its
terrible aura. There are two main issues to be considered here.
First, the incident concerning BNC brings into question issues
of transparency and good corporate governance as BNC, which was acquired by
a consortium of black businessmen in the heat of the deal-making frenzy of
the late 1990s, had not advised its shareholders about the loss, which
will obviously create a big dent in the company's bottom line. Despite the
fact that it is a public quoted company, it opted for the audacious decision
not to immediately advise its equity investors.
Even though it
might still be investigating and gauging the implications of the robbery, it
should not have concealed the incident from the shareholders. The company's
silence might have been legal but it was somewhat grossly misleading to the
shareholders. The silence could turn out to be a very expensive
Secondly and most importantly, the incidents smack of
deep-seated corruption in the sector. The telltale signs are there. We say so
because not only should the frequency at which Zimbabwean mineral exports
are falling prey to "South African robbers" be cause for concern but
something does not seem to add up here. There could be a much more complex
story behind all this. Indeed the two robberies in question should be a red
flag to alert the authorities of a possible close-knit, well-organised
Zimbabwean syndicate responsible for these robberies. It is very highly
likely that the proceeds of the loot are silting up the pockets of some
well-placed individuals in the mining industry. The most frightening thing
though is that we don't know as yet for how long this cancerous rot might
have been festering.
Who in Zimbabwe received payment from the
3/18/2004 7:34:39 AM (GMT
EDITOR - The whole farce about African mercenaries on
Zimbabwean soil needs deeper investigation and consideration, especially as
Stan Mudenge, Kembo Mohadi and other honest and truthful ZANU PF stalwarts
have been making so much noise.
I suspect this is an effort to
divert attention from the real issues.
It would seem that the
"mercenaries" had bought and paid for a whole lot of AK47s and 7.62
ammunition from the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI). Now, ZDI is owned and
operated by ZANU PF, aka the Zimbabwe government.
The amount that
changed hands was reported to be US$180 000. Who was this paid to? Was it to
Colonel Tshinga Dube of the ZDI? Was it banked by him, or banked by the ZDI?
Was it banked in Zimbabwe, or externally?
It is obvious also that
the buyers did not expect any trouble in collecting their guns. One assumes
that they had been given assurances that the guns would be ready and waiting
at the airport. Who gave them this assurance? Dube? The Zimbabwe government?
I don't think they would have landed without it.
Who decided to
arrest them - and why? What part did South Africa play in the scheme? If the
South Africans knew of the scheme, why did they do nothing? I believe they
have said they did know, so their inaction is puzzling.
President Robert Mugabe think he can get oil from Equatorial Guinea? Is that
why the plane was held and the people arrested? Or was it simply a matter of
thieves falling out, and the US$180 000 not being shared with the right
I read that the Equatorial Guinea president thanked South
Africa and Angola for warning him, but apparently not Zimbabwe. Maybe he
feels miffed the "mercenaries" were going to get their guns from
A lot of questions need to be answered, none of which is
likely to be truthfully answered by Mudenge and Mohadi. But we can be sure of
a torrent of froth from Mugabe and Mafikizolo Moyo!
Time for shift from neo-liberalism to people-centred
ZIMBABWE today faces political and economic
crises as a result of a multifaceted chain of events ignited by the early
1990s structural adjustment programmes that were forced on the country by the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
To say the IMF
and the WB are solely responsible for these crises would be a
misrepresentation of facts but their policies have played a huge part in
triggering the problems the country is facing.
started implementing the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), a
number of sectors of the economy were affected and this led to ordinary
people suffering the consequences. In implementing ESAP, the government
adopted the so-called Washington Consensus (WC) principles, which in effect
reversed the otherwise steady growth of the economy that Zimbabwe was
experiencing. The principles included:
a.. cost recovery for
a.. minimal role for the
a.. financial liberalisation;
competitive exchange rates;
a.. openness to foreign direct
a.. privatisation; and
The augmented WC includes the above plus many others
like legal and political reform and the World Trade Organisation agreements.
In the midst of implementing some of these principles, the government
encountered multiple problems from different fronts, including from its own
people, labour unions, the private sector, civil society, multilateral and
bilateral donors, including the IMF and the WB. Donors squeezed the country
to enforce further changes to the economy that was rather protected from
foreign manipulation before the 1990s.
In the mid-1990s,
Zimbabwe agreed with the WB to implement a home-grown five-year phased
programme towards a freer market. During the first year, Zimbabwe was to lift
many restrictions on imports, meaning drastically reducing tariffs on
products coming into the country. At a donors' conference in Paris in March
1991, the WB and western countries promised US$690 million to fund the first
year of the programme. The donors, however, back-tracked, demanding much more
rapid changes than originally agreed. Little of the promised funds have been
given and donors said they would not come into the country until the
government negotiated a much freer market deal with the IMF and the WB. But
of course the reasons that are being given today by the donors are that
Zimbabwe has a very bad human rights and governance record. In our own
interpretation, these rapid changes that the donors wanted entailed free fall
financial, capital and trade liberalisation. The free fall liberalisation
exposed the country to foreign products and control, thus mortgaging the
nation to the dictates of foreign commercial interests at the expense of
their social and moral well-being. The re-orientation on public spending
meant that the government had to remove subsidies on socially important
sectors like health, education and agriculture. Today, the cost of health
care is beyond the reach of many because the IMF required the government to
cut expenditure and stop subsidising health care provision. People, including
the poor, were supposed to pay for their own health in the form of user fees
or cost recovery.
Zimbabwe's food security has been compromised
because the IMF and WB required farmers to switch from traditional food crops
to cash crops to supply the export market. After independence in 1980, the
government provided infrastructural facilities, inputs and credit to
encourage communal areas to produce maize for the market. These were,
however, drastically curtailed during the 1990s. There was substantial
reduction in the subsidies on farm inputs. The centralised crop purchasing
system of the early eighties was gradually abandoned and the farmers were
left to locate their own markets. Because of communal farmers' immediate need
for cash, they thus became hostage to middlemen, and were forced to sell at
market-dictated low prices which, in turn, reduced their incomes and
purchasing power. On the other hand, mostly white commercial farmers
gradually shifted away from maize production for domestic consumption to
export crops, especially horticulture. When Zimbabwe liberalised its trade to
the "opportunities" of globalisation in the early 1990s, it was acting under
the advice of IMF "experts" whose general mandate is to open up developing
countries' economies to the global market. Also a section of the private
sector in Zimbabwe put pressure for trade liberalisation. Some of them are
now complaining about premature liberalisation, or badly
sequenced liberalisation. They are now calling for protection against the
entry of "foreigners" (especially those from South Africa) taking over the
The 1999 United Nations Development Programme
Human Development Report for Zimbabwe notes that: "The adoption of an
orthodox structural adjustment programme (ESAP) in 1991 entailed a
fundamental shift from the state intervention system to one largely driven by
market forces. (Sachikonye, 1997; Kanyenze, 1999; Loewenson, 1999). The
reform programme referred to as ESAP was first announced in the Budget
Statement and an accompanying statement, Economic Policy Statement:
Macroeconomic Adjustment and Trade Liberalization (GOZ, 1990), in July 1990.
A more elaborated statement, Zimbabwe: A Framework for Economic Reform
1991-95 (GOZ, 1991), was published in early 1991 as an input into a meeting
of donors held in Paris in February that year. It was only after the Paris
meeting that there were pledges of financial support from
The political dynamism for development henceforth shifted
from Harare to Paris, from the people to the donors. The assumption was that
ESAP would raise investment levels, thereby facilitating higher growth
rates, employment creation and uplifting the standard of living of the
majority of the people (GOZ, 1991).
The way forward
Time has come for Zimbabwe to shift the political, economical
and developmental debate from neo-liberal economistic discourse to the
people centred developmental alternatives in a more sophisticated,
historical, structural and humanist manner. The IMF delegation is in Zimbabwe
this week and is coming under Article IV consultations, which basically mean
the delegation is coming to check whether Zimbabwe is now adhering to
the conditions suitable for the resuscitation of balance of payments
Zimbabwe, in its present situation, may be forced to talk to
the IMF but it should set its own conditions that it feels are suitable for
the development of the people of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean people
and its leadership have now an understanding of what happened under the IMF
policies. There should now be national consensus involving all stakeholders
in shaping the future of the country. Civil society organisations should play
a key role in this process. Rangarirai Machemedze is the programmes
coordinator for the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and
Negotiations Institute (SEATINI).
In this final part, he highlights the possible
hazards for opposition politicians of clandestine deals with the ruling ZANU
PF as pressure mounts for a negotiated settlement between Zimbabwe's two
major political parties. On March 18 1975, Herbert Wiltshire Hamandishe
Chitepo, the revolutionary chairperson of Dare reChimurenga, the ZANU
"politburo" at the time, was assassinated in Lusaka, Zambia, and there are
various theories explaining his death.
He was in a situation
in which Tsvangirai finds himself at the moment, that is, when the colonial
regime had targeted him as a militant in order to pave the way for détente.
At the same time, some of his colleagues in the high command and Dare wanted
his head on a platter over the controversies surroundings the Nhari
According to Flower, in his book referred to above, a
few days after Chitepo's death, my uncle, Edison Furatidzayi Chisingaitwi
Sithole, a ZANU central committee member but then working as the information
and publicity secretary for the enlarged ANC, and as legal and constitutional
adviser for the then ANC president, Bishop Abel Muzorewa during the Smith-
Muzorewa talks, declared in Salisbury that Chitepo's assassination had
shattered all hopes of a negotiated settlement.
specifically states that the Rhodesian Front did not like and was becoming
impatient with Sithole's militant and obstructive tactics and his general
veteran leadership, which qualities particularly manifested themselves during
the "NO" vote campaign against the constitutional proposals of the Pearce
Commission in 1972. Inside the struggle he also had his enemies.
Finally, on October 15 1975, in a move similar to what happened to Madhuku,
Sithole was abducted and bundled into a vehicle. That was the last that was
seen of him and up to now his fate is still a mystery, perhaps the biggest
political mystery in Zimbabwe in the past 30 years.
worrisome to us as a family is that it took his colleagues in government 14
years after independence to declare him a national hero, and a further six
years to install a representative grave at the national shrine.
What is even more worrisome is that there are some among his colleagues who
have decided to embark on a deliberate and systematic operation to suppress
his achievements and what he stood for. But for us ,the "bones" of that
legacy and heritage continue.
I shall not dwell on the ascendancy
of Mugabe to the presidency of ZANU in 1975 in succession to Nbabaningi
Sithole except that it was part of the struggle within the struggle without,
of course, being blind to the merits and demerits of both men.
What is of interest to me for present purposes is the formation of
the Patriotic Front by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU and
the Mugabe-led faction of ZANU in 1976.
In his book, Struggles-
within- the Struggle, the late brilliant professor Masipula Sithole notes
that, after 1974, ZAPU was clearly divided ideologically between "militants"
and "centrists", or moderates as they were called. (Could this be the
situation in the MDC at the moment?)
The militant wing consisted of
those who had led ZAPU in exile, like Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, Edward Ndlovu and
George T Silundika. The centrists were mainly those ZAPU leaders who had been
restricted at Gonakudzingwa, like Josiah Chinamano, Joseph Msika, Willie
Musarurwa and Nkomo himself.
The former group was largely
responsible for building up ZIPRA, the military wing of ZAPU, and giving it a
Soviet orientation under the direction and leadership of Moyo. This group was
well known for its persistent resistance to a united front with ZANU. For
that reason, it had formed a very troublesome group within ZAPU called
Dengezi - "the clay that fights unity".
The latter group was
largely responsible for maintaining PCC/ ZAPU structures within Zimbabwe and
it is this wing that was involved in the aborted controversial Smith- Nkomo
talks in 1976 against protestations from the ZAPU external wing which felt
that unilateral talks with Smith were ill-advised and would further
compromise the party's precarious image within the African population, which
was responding more and more to militant political symbols.
After the failure of the Smith-Nkomo talks, the external wing of ZAPU gained
more relevance, while the internal wing became irrelevant because its mass
support had dwindled. Nkomo then left the country to assume ZAPU leadership
in exile from Moyo.
In light of the October- December 1976 Geneva
Conference on Rhodesia, Mugabe of ZANU and Nkomo of ZAPU formed what became
known as the Zimbabwe Patriotic Front. About a month after adjournment of the
Geneva Conference, Moyo was assassinated when a letter bomb exploded in his
Lusaka office while Nkomo was away accompanying Kaunda on a trip to west
Moyo's death was attributed to what was described by both
ZAPU and the Patriotic Front as "enemy agents".
In 1978, Alfred
Nikita Mangena, the ZAPU veteran commander, believed to have been very close
to JZ Moyo, was killed in a landmine blast outside Lusaka. For both Moyo and
Mangena, some put the blame on the struggle (enemy agents), while others put
it on struggles within the struggle (internal contradictions). You are free
to arrive at your own informed conclusions.
In like manner, in
contemporary Zimbabwean politics,some of us are advocating a popular front of
the opposition, civil society and other progressive elements to exert
collaborative effort to pressure the ruling party and government to come to
the negotiating table.
This is a process and the temptation is to
coerce those who resist without understanding why they have reservations and
where possible addressing their pertinent concerns.
month ago, in a very commendable move, Tsvangirai announced that his party
had now forged an alliance with the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and that future political
action would not be carried out under single organisations. What is puzzling
is that within a month of Tsvangirai's announcement, both the NCA and the
ZCTU embarked on separate political actions as separate organisations. What
is going on here?
This separatist and fragmented approach has
proved to be futile and it is entrenching unnecessary struggles- within -the-
struggle, not to mention the wastage of resources. We must avoid a situation
where we will end up fighting among ourselves, as if that is the
The reality is that as the formation of a popular front
against the establishment becomes increasingly inevitable, opposition and
civic leaders are positioning themselves strategically for a higher bargain
in the united front - the who-is-calling-the-shots thing. And at this time
when the regime is using heavy- handed tactics against political opponents,
one can be either a victim of the struggle or of the struggles within the
struggle. Alternatively, one can be a victim of the struggle and have no
sympathy whatsoever from fellow comrades.
These are things that
we must avoid as a lesson drawn from an inspirational history.
We have seen it before during our struggle for independence and if we have
learnt nothing and forgotten nothing from our past mistakes then we will only
have ourselves to blame. We must learn to persuade and not to coerce and even
sometimes physically eliminate those who may hold opinions that differ from
Everything in the national interest must be done with
a consensus-seeking spirit and we must avoid sealing clandestine
political deals that will unnecessarily endanger the lives of fellow
activists and analysts alike.
There are a lot of sinister things
that happened in the struggle between 1974 and 1977 which we must avoid at
all costs in our contemporary struggles. Our history should be our rabbi.
Bretton Woods institutions' visit
presents golden chance
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) and
the World Bank (WB) make a return to Zimbabwe this week under the annual IMF
consultation visit known as Article IV.
There are mixed feelings
in the country as to the importance of the visit to Zimbabwe and its likely
implications for future relations with the Bretton Woods institutions. The
country's relations with the two have been strained since 1998 when the
country got entangled in the DRC civil war.
Mugabe's anti-West rhetoric over the years has only helped to further
distance the country, not only from the two institutions, but also from other
bilateral and multilateral lending institutions and foreign investors who
normally take a cue from the IMF and WB before doing business with any
The country has not been able to honour its financial
obligations to the IMF and WB, with loan service and repayment arrears
currently running into millions of United States dollars. As such, the
country's credit rating has deteriorated considerably and there are already
initiatives under way within the IMF to expel Zimbabwe's from the
Zimbabwe's poor economic performance has been
underpinned by a severe foreign exchange shortage that began towards the end
of 1999 and resulted in shortages of most imported products.
led to poor performance of the productive sectors that rely on imported raw
materials and other components in their operations.
inflation, unemployment, national debt and the general standard of living
Zimbabwe finds itself in this predicament
because of inability to generate or get access to adequate foreign
There are basically four major sources of foreign
exchange, namely export receipts, external loans, foreign direct investment
(FDI) and aid.
The country's export receipts have dwindled from
more than US$3 billion in 1997 to less than US$1 billion in
No matter how vigorously some want to deny it, the fast-track
land reform programme has been the chief architect of the poor
The chaotic nature of the reform programme
has caused the country to lose its most experienced farmers and their workers
and replaced them with untrained and inexperienced new farmers.
The fall in agricultural exports is exemplified by the decline in tobacco
production from more than 200 million kilogrammes four years ago to 81
million kilogrammes in 2003.
This year tobacco output is officially
forecast to decline further to around 60 million kilogrammes. Given that
tobacco alone accounted for a third of the country's foreign exchange
earnings prior to the hurried land reform programme, the impact will
certainly be felt over many years to come.
The second major source
of foreign exchange consists of loans, bilateral or multilateral, and the
major lenders to the country over the years have been the Bretton Woods
The drying up of funding from these institutions in
1998 has contributed significantly to the foreign exchange crisis and poor
The third source of foreign exchange comes
in the form of FDI, which is money invested locally by citizens of other
countries. Foreign investors want to be assured of some minimum levels of the
security of their investments. As such, issues of property rights and
security of tenure are critical for FDI.
The official lack of
respect for property rights under the fast-track land reform programme in
Zimbabwe since February 2000 has scared away potential investors and has
forced some existing investors to relocate to other stable destinations. As
such, FDI levels in the country have gone down significantly over the past
four years, much to the detriment of job creation.
source of foreign exchange inflows is in the form of aid that is normally
channelled through non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In Zimbabwe, NGOs
have continued to play an active role, particularly in food relief efforts
and various other support initiatives to help civil society.
order to reverse the present economic decline, Zimbabwe should improve on its
ability to generate foreign exchange. And, in this regard, it is pertinent
that export performance be revived.
The current initiative by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to support the productive sectors of the economy
under the monetary policy introduced at the beginning of the year is a step
in the right direction.
However, exports can only be increased
gradually - in the medium to long term - as confidence returns to the
In the short term, however, there is need to improve
international relations particularly with the IMF and the WB for the country
to be able to negotiate some balance of payments relief. This will be
critical not only for adequate foreign exchange resources to be made
available to the productive sectors of the economy at affordable rates, but
also to stabilise the exchange rate.
But this can only be
possible if the authorities are willing to accept that, just like at the
individual level, whenever one borrows, it is the lending institution that
dictates the conditions of use and repayment and not the
In addition, there is need to take meaningful steps
towards reducing the perceived risks associated with the country in order to
become an attractive FDI destination.
In this regard, the
country should address issues of concern to the international community
regarding the perceived lack of rule of law, lack of respect for private
property rights, lack of press freedom and poor democratic institutions,
among others. More specifically, there is need to bring sanity to land reform
in order to restore confidence, harness adequate resources and re-establish
the productivity of the agricultural sector.
The new monetary
policy has been viewed with a lot of optimism, particularly in the way it has
exposed poor corporate governance in the financial services sector. The
ongoing anti-corruption crusade should therefore be extolled.
However, for it not to be perceived as a 2005 election gimmick, as it most
likely is, the net should be cast wider to include probes
into externalisation of foreign exchange and assets by politicians,
particularly those lamenting their assets having been frozen by the European
Union, the United States and other progressivse nations under the existing
targeted sanctions regimes.
If the anti-corruption initiative is
to hold water with the general public, it has to take on board input from
civil society and other stakeholders. It should also probe past corruption
allegations in initiatives such as the Pay-for-Your House Scheme, the War
Victims Compensation Fund and the recent allegations of scandals regarding
multiple ownership of farms by politicians.
The setting up of
the Anti-Corruption Commission - as was being championed by Parliament and
organisations such as Transparency International Zimbabwe -should have been
the most appropriate starting point.
In light of the initiatives
under the new monetary policy, there is a tendency to neglect the fiscal side
of the macroeconomic equation. For years Zimbabwe has constantly failed to
meet its fiscal targets because of an oversized civil service, poorly
performing parastatals, a huge debt overhang, a huge Cabinet, unrewarding
foreign missions and other unproductive expenditures.
increase in the number of ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle is a good example
of what should not be done because it will result in a significant increase
in unbudgeted expenditures.
There is already talk that some
government ministries have almost overspent their 2004 budgetary
The fiscal problem is further compounded by the fact
that the country is heading towards a general election in 2004, which is
likely to see an upsurge in expenditure as the government tries to assuage
restless constituents such as civil servants and the rural poor during the
Zimbabwe's short voting cycles have been a
major hindrance to any hopes for the adoption of tough decisions to extricate
the country from the current economically ruinous path, with most economic
decisions being based on the need for the amassing of short-term political
Another supplementary budget looks unavoidable and, as such,
the country's macroeconomic instability is set to continue
The visit by the IMF and WB delegation is an opportunity
for the authorities to climb down the anti-West rhetoric pedestal and
initiate moves towards restoring relations with the institutions for the good
of the country.
There is no need to expect imminent positive
results from this visit given the ground that the country has to cover before
most of the major issues of concern to the international community are
adequately and satisfactorily addressed.
But all the same, the
authorities should make sure it is a good starting point. They owe it to the
country's poor and disadvantaged as well as the country's future
a.. James Jowah is a member of the Zimbabwe
Reporter FORTY-TWO new Cuban health professionals arrived in Zimbabwe
yesterday, along with 75 others already assigned to Zimbabwe who had gone
back to Cuba for holiday.
The group comprises general practitioners,
specialist doctors, nursing tutors, engineers and technicians.
are part of a new group of 60, the fourth group to arrive in Zimbabwe since
The 75 who had gone back to Cuba for holiday work at central,
provincial, district and mission hospitals.
The Minister of Health and
Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, is today expected to welcome the health
"Dr Parirenyatwa is also expected to mention where the
Cuban health professionals would be deployed," said the spokesperson for the
ministry, Mr Bright Mpofu.
Zimbabwe and Cuba enjoy excellent relations
and this has seen more than 186 health professionals serving in Zimbabwe
Last month, a three-member Cuban delegation met Dr
Parirenyatwa in Harare under the ninth session of the Zimbabwe-Cuba Joint
Commission as part of efforts to strengthen co-operation in the field of
At the meeting, the Cuban Deputy Minister of Foreign Investment
and Economic Co-operation, Mr Ramon Ripoll Diaz, who was leading the
delegation, said his country would assist Zimbabwe to improve its health
Zimbabwe and Cuba also signed a memorandum of
understanding aimed at strengthening economic, scientific and technical
The memorandum was signed by the Deputy Minister of
Industry and International Trade, Cde Kenneth Manyonda, and Mr
New areas of co-operation proposed under the memorandum of
understanding include science and technology, youth, gender and employment
Reporter Intermarket Building Society branches throughout the country
opened yesterday to process salaries only.
The curator for Intermarket
Building Society, Mr Ngoni Kudenga of Kudenga and Company Chartered
Associates, said the branches would remain open until people get their
As early as 8 am yesterday, thousands of people who get their
salaries through Intermarket Building Society could be seen queuing outside
the troubled building society's banking halls where a maximum withdrawal of
$500 000 a day was allowed. Teachers and members of the Zimbabwe National
Army were among those who thronged the building society.
asked to produce their payslips, letters from their employers and valid
Security guards manning the entrances were letting in
only a few people at a time into the banking halls to avoid
Mr Kudenga said he had recalled a "substantial number" of the
building society's workers for the sole purpose of processing
Those with any other business besides salaries were turned
Some people who spoke to The Herald expressed relief at being able
to get their salaries.
The closing of the building society had left
many concerned about their salaries while workers found themselves
temporarily out of work.
Some commercial banks yesterday began limiting
the amounts of money that could be withdrawn as people panicked.
employers have advised their workers who were getting their salaries through
Intermarket and Barbican Bank to open new accounts with other banks.
closing of three subsidiaries of Intermarket Holdings ---
Intermarket Building Society, Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket
Discount House --- last week and Barbican Bank and Barbican Asset Management
this week have resulted in people losing confidence in the banking
Some bank tellers were yesterday limiting withdrawals to $1
million after realising that most of their customers were requesting amounts
of more than $2 million.
"Almost everyone I was serving was
withdrawing and they wanted big sums so I ended up asking them to reconsider
because it was too much," said a commercial bank teller who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
Reporter THE new board for Parirenyatwa Hospital must find ways of creating a
viable hospital that does not discriminate on ability to
Parirenyatwa Hospital is faced with challenges that include the
retention of its human resources, the upgrading of its private wards and
accepting all patients without discrimination.
Speaking at the
inauguration of the hospital's board members, the Minister of Health and
Child Welfare Dr David Parirenyatwa, challenged the board members to come up
with solutions in issues of recruitment and retention of health staff and
industrial actions that might be undertaken by
"The newly appointed board members for
Parirenyatwa need to be more innovative and be committed to their
"The board members should be able to take a leading role in
issues concerning Parirenyatwa Hospital, including the upgrading of D1 and
D2 private wards," said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Mr Charles Tawengwa, who
retained his position as chairperson for Parirenyatwa Hospital, said the new
board was a democratic body open to views aimed at improving the
He said different responsibilities would be
allocated to the board members to ensure the effective running of the
Dr Parirenyatwa last week announced new boards for
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe,
National Pharmaceutical Company and the Public Health Advisory
He said the appointments, which include old and new board members,
are effective from March 1 this year.
Mr Tawengwa and Mr Zigora have
retained their positions as Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals chairman and
group chief executive respectively.
Other board members for Parirenyatwa
Hospital are Mr Herbert Nkala, Mr Bernard Basera, Mrs Margaret Mwamuka, Mrs
Florence Kazhanje, Dr Billy Rigava, Dr Davies Dhlakama, Mrs Mavis Sibanda, Dr
Christopher Samkange, Professor Kufu Nathoo, Mr James Fleming, Dr Steven
Munjanja and Mrs Susan Maonera.
Ms Mabel Torongo has been appointed
chairperson of the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe while Mr Jealous
Nderere becomes the new vice-chairperson.
Other MCAZ board members are
Dr Alex Zinanga, Dr George Gwaze, Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa, Dr Stanley
Sakupwanya, Ms Priscilla Munangati, Mrs Flora Sifeku, Mrs Muriel Munyaradzi,
Dr Tapiwa Bwakura, Dr Isaac Dombo and Mrs Semukeliso Gono. Dr George Washaya
has been appointed chairperson for the National Pharmaceutical Company and
other board members are Mrs Priscilla Madzonga, Mrs Eunice Wilson, Ms Gugu
Mahlangu and Dr Ash Morar.
Also on the Natpharm board are Mr Nyasha
Makuvise, Ms Subusisiwe Bango, Mrs Selina Mumbengegwi, Mr Charles Tawengwa
and Mr Celestine Kumire.
Mr Jealous Nderere has also been appointed
chairperson for the Public Health Advisory Board while Mr Dombo Chibanda is
the new vice-chairperson.
Dr Parirenyatwa said the board would also be
responsible for issues concerning the Health Services Commission to be put in
place soon, and whose task would include looking into salaries for all health
Other board members for the Public Health Advisory Board are Dr
Alva Senderayi, Mr Charles Tarumbwa, Dr Edward Makondo, Dr Kudzai Ndawana,
Mr Douglas Shonhiwa, Dr James Duri, Mr Victor Mugwagwa, Mr Emmanuel Magade,
Mr Alexander Phiri, Mrs Siphiwethina Tshuma, Mrs Claveria Chizema and
Mr Philemon Macheka.
Reporter THE Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
President's Office and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan Moyo, yesterday expressed
concern over an American radio station broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe propaganda
The minister raised this issue during a meeting with
Botswana ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Mothusi Nkgowe, who paid a courtesy call
on him at his Munhumutapa offices.
Mr Nkgowe told journalists after
the meeting that he had discussed the American radio station and the alleged
ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana with Prof Moyo.
"I was not
aware of this issue until the minister raised it and I will take the issue up
with the authorities in my country.
"Since the 1970s Botswana has had a
relay station for the Voice of America and this was established to help the
coverage of Radio Botswana. I am not aware that there is now a station
specifically to broadcast more about regime change in Zimbabwe."
radio station in Botswana, together with others in the Netherlands
and Britain, has been at the forefront in broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe
Mr Nkgowe said he had raised the issue of the alleged
ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana with the authorities.
regarding the flogging of people suspected to be committing crime, this is in
the statute books of Botswana and does not apply to Zimbabweans only but to
anyone suspected to have breached the law," he said.
Mr Nkgowe defended
the flogging of suspected criminals, saying he believed this was not in
violation of human rights as the same obtained with capital punishment which
was applicable in some countries while others condemned it.
He said Prof
Moyo had also raised the issue of Zimbabweans who were being hired by
Botswana businessmen and then thrown out before getting their dues.
minister expressed concern at the hiring of Zimbabweans by Botswana business
people who would later call the police so that the Zimbabweans would be
deported before being paid and I will also take up this issue with the
authorities in my country," Mr Nkgowe said.
Relations between Zimbabwe
and Botswana, he said, were excellent contrary to media speculation that
there was bad blood between the two countries.
There have been numerous
reports of Zimbabweans being allegedly ill-treated in Botswana, with some
being flogged at customary courts. Last year, Botswana said it was deporting
2 500 Zimbabweans every week. Politicians in the neighbouring country blame
Zimbabweans for the increasing crime rate in their country.
resulted in a number of operations to flush out the illegal immigrants, a
situation that has at times resulted in the abuse of Zimbabweans legally
resident in that country. Botswana has also faced mounting criticism over its
decision to erect an electric fence on its border with Zimbabwe ostensibly to
control the movement of animals between the two countries. Critics of the
move say the fence has been put up to control the movement of people between
the two countries and is mainly targeted at Zimbabweans.