Njabulo Ncube & Rangarirai Mberi Staff Reporters
Politburo at loss over action to take
THE ruling party is in a quandary as to how to deal with Dumiso Dabengwa, a
ZANU-PF politburo member who threw his weight behind independent
presidential candidate Simba Makoni on Saturday to end weeks of speculation
linking him to the former finance minister.
ZANU-PF insiders told The Financial Gazette this week that the Presidium,
comprising President Robert Mugabe, his two deputies Joice Mujuru and Joseph
Msika and national chairman John Nkomo, was choosing caution despite being
pressed by some radical members of the party to take immediate and drastic
action against the former ZIPRA intelligence chief.
The Presidium and other top ZANU-PF officials, such as party secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa, are in a dilemma because the party's
constitution and the standing rules formulated by the Central Committee -
the supreme policy making-body of the party outside congress - are silent on
how to deal with such a case.
Mutasa told this paper yesterday that ZANU-PF would not be pressured into
disclosing how it intended to deal with Dabengwa.
"Why should we discuss with newspapers what we are going to do or are
planning to do with him?" asked Mutasa. "You should be patient until we come
to you to tell you what we have arrived at. What is the hurry to know what
we plan to do as a party? We have our own internal procedures and these have
nothing to do with newspapers."
When Makoni, a former party Politburo member, announced his presidential bid
on February 5, ZANU-PF was quick to invoke its rules and regulations to
In terms of these rules and regulations, "any member of ZANU-PF, who, after
due process of selecting candidates has been done, decides to stand as an
independent expels himself or herself in terms of section 19.1, which states
such a member is automatically expelled from the party without any recourse
to any procedure."
But the rules and regulations are silent on the circumstances pertaining to
Dabengwa, who is not a candidate in the elections, declared his support for
Makoni at two public meetings in Bulawayo last Saturday, less than 24-hours
after Msika vouched for his loyalty to President Mugabe.
Dabengwa's announcement would have therefore been a major embarrassment,
while also casting doubt on the quality of the intelligence being passed on
to members of the presidency.
President Mugabe has referred to Dabengwa as a "sellout", but the former
home affairs minister said: "I remain resolute, I have nothing to fear. I
will not respond to whatever is being said about me."
Nkomo has dismissed Dabengwa's move as a "non-event."
"What happened at White City is good riddance. It is now clear that we have
infiltrators among us," he said. "We are also not crying, as we believe
there is freedom of choice. This is a passing phase, which people should not
preoccupy themselves with," he added.
ZANU-PF insiders however, said the development has in fact shocked the party's
leadership, which is still battling to win support in Matabeleland,
currently a stronghold of the Arthur Mutambara faction of the Movement for
But President Mugabe, despite his attacks on Dabengwa on Monday, is holding
his fire and not taking any action before properly evaluating the full
extent of internal opposition to his leadership.
People in the Makoni camp claim that ZANU-PF officials working with the
former finance minister were not "coming out" now because they were
"utilising ruling party resources to campaign for Makoni" in their
"Of the 75 independent candidates that are standing under Makoni's banner in
the polls, about three quarters are using ZANU-PF structures to reach the
voters," said a source.
Dabengwa's defection has created further discord in Matabeleland with
several former ZIPRA and PF ZAPU officials jumping on the Makoni bandwagon,
notably former Speaker of Parliament Cyril Ndebele, and Roma Nyathi, who was
the deputy of the late commander Lookout Masuku.
On Saturday, Dabengwa claimed that President Mugabe refused to meet top
officials of his party, including retired army general Solomon Mujuru, who
had sought to meet him to discuss discord in the ruling party over his
decision to cling to power.
Dabengwa makes the claim in an interview with The Financial Gazette
following his endorsement of Makoni's candidacy.
"We tried to meet him, several times. Most recently, we, myself and Cde
(Solomon) Mujuru, asked the Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, to arrange
a meeting, and we also tried through Msika, when he was acting President. Up
to this day, that appointment has not been granted," Dabengwa said.
Mujuru has repeatedly been linked to Makoni, but he has refused to be drawn
on the matter. Last Friday, at the launch of the ZANU-PF manifesto, Mujuru
wagged a finger at a Herald reporter who had approached him for comment.
However, his wife, has publicly declared her support for President Mugabe.
Sekeramayi could not be reached for comment.
Dabengwa has also caused a stir by claiming pressure for President Mugabe to
step aside runs wider than ZANU-PF cares to admit, naming a host of top
government officials as having participated in a meeting that agreed on the
need to push for new leadership for ZANU-PF.
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
ZIMBABWE will need to import grain because only 14 percent of land targeted
for maize had been planted by December, and much of this crop was adversely
affected by fertiliser shortages, a report co-sponsored by the government
A joint team comprising the Ministry of Agriculture, Operation Maguta, a
programme run by the military, the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the
Famine Early Warning Systems Network and the Meteorological Office, prepared
the "First Round Crop Assessment Report".
Government dubbed 2007-8 the "mother of all agricultural seasons", and
ploughed resources into importing farm equipment, fertiliser and seed.
But in its executive summary, the report paints a dire picture of the
season, saying the government must prepare for grain imports after its
failure to secure enough fertiliser and seed resulted in only a fraction of
the targeted land being planted.
"Potential yield from mid to late planted crop is likely to be compromised
by the fertiliser shortage. The total expected production for this season
might not meet the expected targets. For this reason, there is need to look
into contingency plans for food imports," the report said.
The report was compiled after an assessment undertaken in February this
Government had targeted two million hectares for maize this season. But the
report says: "Early planted crop (by the end of November) is at the grain
filling stage and constitutes 14 percent of the total area planted."
The bulk of the maize crop, or 86 percent, was only planted between December
last year and January this year.
"This crop ranges mostly from early vegetative stages to early reproductive
stage and is showing signs of severe nitrogen shortage due to excessive
leaching, compounded by the shortage of fertiliser."
The bulk of the seed maize had been acquired through Operation Maguta,
"however, some seed was not delivered on time", the report found.
Total seed maize supplied by government and non-governmental organizations
was 26 791 metric tonnes, enough to cover 1.7 million hectares.
But fuel supply was inadequate in all provinces, the report said, and back
up spares for farm machinery were also scarce.
Tomorrow, President Robert Mugabe launches a third phase of the farm
mechanisation programme, designed to retool resettled farms, most of which
were stripped of infrastructure during the fast-track land reform exercise,
which began in 2000.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
GOLD panning activities resulted in the destruction of 2 000 hactares of
arable land in the Mazoe Valley in 2006 and many more thousands of hectares
were believed to have been destroyed in other areas during that period, a
senior government official said this week.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) director-general, Mutsa Chasi, said
with no stringent controls on gold panning, the country's economy is losing
most of the productive land.
She told a conference in Harare on Monday that the loss of productive
farmland has far reaching implications on the success of the economic
recovery programmes the government is battling to implement.
Apart from the destruction of land, most of the illegally extracted gold is
sold through the unofficial market, draining substantial amounts in
potential foreign currency earnings from the fiscus every year.
"In 2006 they (gold panners) destroyed 2 000 hectares of arable land in the
Mazoe Valley," Chasi told scientists, who attended a workshop exploring ways
of mitigating environmental degradation and boosting crop yields in
"This is just one valley, what about in 30 to 35 other districts where they
are in operation?
"They go into the ground and dig deep pits, use cyanide and other chemicals.
"All those chemicals will be washed down into our rivers and drainage
systems. The land where the panning is taking place is no longer good for
agriculture," she added.
In a country where about 80 percent of the population is classified as poor,
Chasi said the only way to avoid land degradation and massive cutting down
of trees was to implement projects that would lead to poverty reduction.
Hungry people, she said, were tempted to exploit the environment for
Scientists estimate that more than 5 000 hactares were being destroyed every
year in regions where gold and diamond panning his taking place.
Chasi said EMA had fought losing battles against the "vicious" gold panners
because of the escalating economic crisis in the country.
"We have (launched) a blitz with the assistance of the police," she said.
"We have tried these enforcements for a very long time but the police can
only assist us to a certain extent," Chasi added.
Meanwhile, the EMA director general indicated that the country was
contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer through emission of carbon
She said the energy sector, contributing 80 percent of the emissions, was
the single major culprit.
The ozone layer protects the earth from excessive heat from the sun.
As a result of the depletion of this layer, Zimbabwe has experienced six
very warm years since 1986, and the trend could worsen if the emissions
EMA estimates that temperatures have increased by between 0,5 and two
degrees Celsius since 1986.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE government is mulling draconian legislation to restrict the activities
of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) through the imposition of leadership
sympathetic to the state.
Currently, the legal profession is self-regulated, but the government is
working on legislation that will give it control over the society.
Last week, attacks on the LSZ and its president Beatrice Mtetwa, escalated
with the government saying it now viewed the LSZ with suspicion for
allegedly receiving British government funding.
This week, the state claimed the LSZ had applied to observe elections on
March 29 on behalf of the European Union (EU) and Britain. Both Mtetwa and
the British embassy have issued statements denying these allegations.
Sources this week reported that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was
considering measures that would enable government to appoint those
sympathetic to it to lead the society.
The sources said that last year, Chinamasa held meetings with leaders of a
group of lawyers that government views as sympathetic to its cause, at which
it was agreed that the law society was allegedly "unnecessarily obsessed
with human rights issues".
After the meeting, the lawyers are alleged to have met Mtetwa in an attempt
to broker a meeting between her and Chinamasa, but the LSZ president is said
to have turned the proposal down.
Yesterday, Simplicius Chihambakwe, a top lawyer who was among those who met
Chinamasa, confirmed that the meeting had indeed taken place, but declined
"The meeting was confidential, so I am not entitled to divulge anything. It
was not for public consumption," said Chihambakwe.
Weeks after that meeting, Chinamasa appointed Chihambakwe to serve as a
member of the LSZ's council, replacing the Dean of Law at the University of
Zimbabwe Emmanuel Magadu, even though the academic had not yet served his
The second of the two members the Minister is entitled to appoint to the
lawyers' council is the ministry's permanent secretary, David Mangota.
Chihambakwe said when he was appointed to represent the minister, he had not
been aware that he was "sitting on someone else's chair."
In an interview, Mtetwa confirmed that the meetings took place but declined
to shed more light on the matter.
On allegations that the LSZ wants to observe the elections on behalf of the
EU, Mtetwa said: "The Law Society has always applied to observe elections
and during the 2005 elections, members of the profession were in fact
accredited to observe the elections. As a profession with a diverse
membership, the Council resolved to invite names from all interested members
so that the diversity of our members can be reflected in the observer team.
If we wanted to observe the elections on behalf of Gordon Brown, we would
hardly have invited members in the transparent manner that we are doing."
Mtetwa said in any event, the names of observers were scrutinised by the
ministry and, from previous experience, "we are aware that certain names
will be removed from the list as my name was removed from the list submitted
in 2005. The decision as to who will observe elections therefore rests with
the government, whose representatives are clearly interested parties."
THE United Nations is considering a complaint by a lawyer representing a
Zimbabwean diamond mining company on the conduct of the Kimberly Process
(KP) team that absolved the country of any wrongdoing in the trade of
The KP cleared River Ranch Limited, the Beitbridge mine at the centre of an
ownership dispute, after a seven-member team assigned to probe allegations
that vehicles registered under the Zimbabwean office of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) were used for diamond smuggling were false.
The KP report claimed that Bubye Minerals, the company fighting for control
of River Ranch mine, had withdrawn the allegations against UNDP. However,
Bubye denies that it withdrew the assertions and accuses the KP team of
falsifying the company's submissions. On February 25, the director of the
UNDP's Legal Support Office, Peri Lynne-Johnson, said the matter would be
Bubye Minerals lawyer Terrence Hussein wrote to the KP chairperson, Karel
Kovander, complaining about the misrepresentation of the report.
"Please be informed that this matter has been referred to the Legal Support
Office, Bureau of management and we will revert to you as soon as our review
is complete," Johnson said.
River Ranch Limited is suing Hussein for $12 trillion for defamation arising
from allegations he made to the UN and elsewhere that the company was
involved in smuggling. The company says Hussein's claims are false. Hussein
maintains he stands by his statement and is prepared to defend himself and
Bubye Minerals in court. "At no time and in no manner have I ever denied
that the UN vehicles were involved at River Ranch diamond mine.I request as
a matter of urgency that you delete the false representation that is
attributed to me as regards the UN vehicles and/or afford the readers of
your report the benefit of my side of the story," Hussein told Kovander.
Kovander said Hussein's complaint would be attached to the KP report.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
THE National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) has launched a fresh
crackdown on the country's troubled hoteliers after they unilaterally
increased food and accommodation prices without the approval of the
state-run pricing body.
Hoteliers at the beginning of the month hiked prices of food, beverages and
accommodation rates without seeking the authority of the NIPC, which
sanctions all price reviews in the country.
Some hotel operators had raised accommodation charges to between $635
million and $1.2 billion from the $70 million last approved by the NIPC in
The hoteliers had also increased meal prices to $348 million up from $30
million, citing rising prices of raw materials and other operating costs.
But the pricing body on Tuesday ordered them to reverse the hikes.
NIPC chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa, said the commission had instead
granted the hoteliers a 400 percent price increase on accommodation rates
and food and beverages, which should enable them to operate profitably.
The 400 percent price increase now means that overnight accommodation at a
five-star hotel now costs $280 million down from $1.2 billion effected by
hoteliers at the beginning of the month.
Lunch and dinner served at a top hotel in the country now costs $120
million, down from $348 million.
Besides cracking down on hoteliers, the NIPC has also descended on millers
and several entrepreneurs in its latest blitz on manufacturers and
Meanwhile, Masimirembwa on Tuesday accused the country's business community
of increasing prices in a bid to foment anger against President Robert
Mugabe's government ahead of crucial presidential, parliamentary and local
government elections scheduled for the end of the month.
The NIPC chief said most manufacturers and retailers had increased prices of
commodities in recent weeks.
"It is naive to say that things happening here are just happening. You can
certainly feel a wave of unauthorised price increases.
"The applications flooding our offices for price adjustments indicate that
there is something amiss. Look at the parallel foreign currency exchange
rate..the way it is surging.
"What has suddenly changed in the fundamentals. There is certainly a
political agenda," Masimirembwa told captains of industry and business at a
meeting convened by the Zimbabwe Economics Society on Tuesday.
The NIPC charged that the business sector continued to violate the price
caps even though the sector had received relief from the commission through
"The NIPC has been adopting a liberal approach by approving prices. So we
wonder why business chooses to violate price controls by selling at prices
that we wouldn't have agreed on.
"It is more than viability concerns," he said.
Masimirembwa's indictment of the country's business leaders, whom President
Mugabe frequently disparages for working with western nations and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change to unseat his government, is not
But business leaders deny the accusations and blame the government for
mismanaging the country through its populist and ill-advised economic
THE Media and Information Commission (MIC) was given up to yesterday to lift
its ban on journalist Brian Hungwe, in a development that constitutes a
major test of the enforcement of Zimbabwe's reformed media laws.
The outcome of the case will be a test of the sincerity of the government's
promises to allow more media freedoms.
The case also challenges the continuing existence of the MIC after the
enactment of new legislation that replaces it with a new entity.
In a letter dated March 3, 2008, Hungwe's lawyer, Selby Hwacha, said the MIC's
letter of February 26, 2008, notifying his client of a one-year ban from
practicing journalism, is "clearly not lawful".
Hungwe was banned for allegedly operating without accreditation.
Hwacha wrote: "We request you to confirm urgently that the blanket ban on
our client is ineffective and that there is no impediment to his practice as
a journalist. The denial of means of sustenance is inherently urgent given
especially that our client had been given to understand that the ban would
"Should we not hear from you by or before 10.00am on Wednesday 5th March
2008, we will have little choice other than take the matter to court
Hwacha noted that the MIC imposed the ban in terms of Section 79 of the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
which deals with the accreditation of journalists.
Hungwe applied for accreditation on January 5, 2007. In July 2007, he
received notification to appear for a hearing with respect to the
On September 18, 2007, following notification of the hearing for his
accreditation, he received a letter from the MIC to which was attached a
"disciplinary determination" which found Hungwe guilty of contravening
Sections 79 (5) and 90 of AIPPA Chapter 10:27. The determination resulted in
the one-year blanket ban.
Hungwe's lawyers argue that the ban was not valid or lawfully effective at
any given time.
It is noted that applications for accreditation are made in terms of Section
79 of AIPPA while a journalist can only be punished or banned in terms of
Section 85 (3) of AIPPA.
In the case of a ban, a journalist should be notified in writing of the
proposed action and be given an opportunity to show cause within a
reasonable time why the intended disciplinary measures should not be taken.
Thereafter, the commission must afford the journalist a fair hearing and
consider representations made before taking action.
In Hungwe's case, the mandatory disciplinary process was not complied with.
It is further noted that the AIPPA Amendment Act, which came into law on
January 11 2008, dissolved the MIC in whose place should now be the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC).
The ZMC is yet to be constituted.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
What people want is a leader who can deliver
A trio of election manifestos has hit the electoral campaign trail as the
battle for the presidency hots up ahead of elections scheduled for March 29.
A trio of election manifestos has hit the electoral campaign trail as the
battle for the presidency hots up ahead of elections scheduled for March 29.
The rallying cry among contenders for the country's top job, especially
those from the opposition camps, is the revival of the battered economy,
blamed on mismanagement by the government of President Robert Mugabe, who is
seeking re-election on a ZANU-PF ticket.
President Mugabe is being challenged by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni, a former finance minister who
broke ranks with ZANU-PF to become an independent candidate on February 5.
Analysts said the election manifestos of the two opposition candidates were
almost identical because of the issues facing the country, now in its ninth
year of an economic recession.
Both manifestos lacked a tangible programme of action that would act as the
road map as the parties move to rescue the country's economy from the jaws
of a ruthless recession.
"They look the same to such an extent that they are meaningless," said
economic consultant, Daniel Ndlela.
He said the challenge for voters in the forthcoming polls would be to judge
the people behind the manifestos to ascertain their ability to deliver the
country out of its current economic crisis.
Ghana, he said, had consistently churned out economic blue prints that were
more sophisticated and impressive than those of Malaysia, but the Asian
country had managed to progress much faster than the African state because
of its leadership.
"The manifestos are identical, they are both talking about re-engagement
with the international community," said economist Witness Chinyama, stating
that the main thrust was the revival of the country's economy.
"The missing link is the foreign currency aspect and people will have to
decide on who will re-engage the international community soon enough to
unlock it," Chinyama said.
James Jowa, another economist, concurred.
"The issues are the same. The bottom line is the ability of the candidates
to deliver," said Jowa.
The ruling party candidate looked set to fare badly, having presided over
the recession, Jowa suggested.
Makoni, who has only unveiled "elements of the manifesto", highlights that
Zimbabweans have undergone intense stress due to poverty, estimated to
affect 80 percent of the population, rampant unemployment, especially among
the youth, spiralling inflation put at over 100 000 percent and a plethora
of other problems caused by a deteriorating economy.
Makoni noted in his manifesto that immediate and urgent tasks to be dealt
with if he is elected to power would include a resolution of the food,
power, fuel water and sanitation crises facing the country, as well as
restoration of health and education services.
Tsvangirai is proposing to deal with the same issues, promising to "provide
jobs, bring back food on our shelves at affordable prices and making sure
that power cuts and water shortages are a thing of the past".
He also proposes to restore productivity in the economy, as well as
undertake a comprehensive land audit and roll out an extensive land and
agrarian reform programme that boosts productivity.
Makoni promises the same miracles, except in different words, but stresses
that he will "affirm the necessity of land reform" in the country.
Both Tsvangirai and Makoni are proposing to restructure the civil service,
with Makoni stressing that he would "strengthen the civil service and
provide better conditions of service for a more effective and speedy service
delivery", while Tsvangirai plans to "cut the number of ministries to 15 and
to restructure government to establish a civil service that is not only well
paid but one that is proactive, relevant and patriotic".
ZANU-PF is inevitably fighting from the corner, and has anchored its "people's
manifesto" around issues on which it thinks it has done well.
It has established a theme around its battle to retain power: "Defending our
land and national sovereignty: building prosperity through empowerment."
"We are the champions of the national struggle against British colonialism,
who delivered Independence in 1980, who have remained its stalwart defenders
and whose pledge each day, as the sun rises and the sun sets, is 'Zimbabwe
will never be a colony again'," said President Mugabe in his message
accompanying the ZANU-PF manifesto.
The manifesto, is directing Zimbabweans to the past, highlighting "what
ZANU-PF has done for you".
ZANU-PF in history, the manifesto declares, is the empowerment of
Zimbabweans through freedom and national independence, the establishment of
the rights of citizens to vote, peace, national unity and stability,
education, and empowerment through land reforms.
The manifesto acknowledges people's suffering due to the current economic
hardships, but places the blame on economic "sanctions and sustained Western
attacks" on the incumbent regime.
The British, the manifesto alleges, are sponsoring puppets to unseat the
incumbent regime to make Zimbabwe a colony again.
The manifesto places huge emphasis on the empowerment of black voters
through land reforms, and is promising to accelerate this into other sectors
of the country's weak economy.
"ZANU-PF says as long as nationally conscious Africans remain salaried
managers running white-owned industrial and commercial concerns, prosperity
will continue to elude the people of Zimbabwe.
"ZANU-PF believes there is a real opportunity for building on gains already
made through empowerment achieved on land. It must now extend to the rest of
the economy so that the politics of the country begin to address and
rearrange the economic domain," the manifesto said.
Jowa noted that the ZANU-PF manifesto was totally ignorant on modern
economic trends, and was almost drifting the country towards a command
structure economic model, where government has control of all productive
In any case, the party had failed to deliver as evidenced by the
acceleration of the economy.
"ZANU-PF will be judged by its history, its failure to deliver," Jowa said.
But how will voters test the ability of the other two candidates to
implement policy changes required to heal the country's frail economy?
Jowa said Tsvangirai, who has been in opposition since 1999, has managed to
build capacity over the years and has structures within his party.
"He has gained experience over the years," he said.
Makoni has previously been attacked for having been part of the ZANU-PF
bandwagon, which he only deserted last month when he announced his desire to
stand as a presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections.
However, Jowa said the fact that he was forced to quit President Mugabe's
cabinet in 2003 over policy differences with the government, places him in a
Makoni has said those who want to judge him should look at the three budget
statements he made when he was finance minister in President Mugabe's
cabinet between 2000 and 2003.
Ndlela said voters are simply going to rally behind an individual they feel
could save them from a worsening economic crisis and are unlikely to
scrutinise the election manifestos.
"It's anyone who can deliver them from the evil one, and that evil is the
(damaged) economy," said Ndlela. He said the current government was "totally
unable to move forward and undo the damage it has made to the economy".
DUMISO Dabengwa (DD) has revealed how, together with retired army general
Solomon Mujuru, he tried to meet President Robert Mugabe to press for a
change of leadership in ZANU PF. In this interview with Financial Gazette
News Editor RANGARIRAI MBERI (RM) in Bulawayo, following his public
endorsement of Simba Makoni, Dabengwa also talks about his frustration at
his failure to push for change from within the Politburo, the top council of
ZANU-PF that President Mugabe says is packed with cowards. Excerpts:
RM: Why are you backing Makoni?
DD: This is a rescue operation. We have stood up to rescue the situation, to
rescue our country, lest we leave it to fall into the wrong hands.
RM: What do you mean by "wrong hands"?
DD: We could slide, and people could vote with anger, with frustration, for
anybody who would come and plunge the country into deeper difficulty.
RM: So is this the beginning of the end of the 1987 Unity Accord?
DD: I remain committed to the unity agreement that we forged in the
liberation struggle, in Mozambique. This is the unity accord that was signed
with blood; the blood of those that fell in the struggle. It was a unity
forged by the likes of Tongo (Josiah Tongogara), (Alfred Nikita) Mangena and
JZ (Jason Moyo). I remain committed to that agreement of the Patriotic
RM: You feel the 1987 agreement was not honoured in some respects?
DD: It was in danger. After we had agreed we were coming home (at
Independence), before we had even set foot back on Zimbabwean soil, others
were already deciding to break away, to go against some of our agreements.
We should retrace our steps and seek guidance from the principles of the PF
I am sure that when all is said and done, and when Makoni has established
the national authority he has talked about, our way forward will be clearer.
RM: President Mugabe says he is never challenged on any of these matters in
the Politburo. He says people in there are just, in his words, not
DD: I have raised these issues at the Politburo. Unfortunately it was not
easy to get the necessary support. I thought we were deviating from the real
objectives that we all longed for.
RM: But did you ever try to raise your concerns with the President,
DD: We tried to meet him, several times. Most recently, we, myself and Cde
(Solomon) Mujuru, asked the Defence Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, to arrange
a meeting, and we also tried through (Vice President Joseph) Msika, when he
was acting President. Up to this day, that appointment has not been granted.
RM: You are supporting a man your party says is selling out to the
DD: My view is that Simba Makoni is not sponsored, there is no evidence of
British or American involvement in this campaign; and we don't want to see
it either. Only the people of Zimbabwe are sponsoring this movement. This is
why we are appealing to them, regardless of their political affiliation, to
support this initiative. When you fail at political party level, you go back
to the people. The President is for the people; the people are not there for
RM: Just yesterday (Friday), VP Msika said you had nothing to do with
DD: Yes, he did say that. Unfortunately, my last attempt to brief him on my
intentions was unsuccessful.
RM: Does this all mean you are out of ZANU-PF?
DD: No, why should it?
RM: You will be at the next Politburo meeting?
DD: I will.
RM: Should we expect any more ZANU-PF officials to take your lead?
DD: That's up to each individual.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO-The city, which has always played second fiddle to the capital
Harare, has become a hotbed of opposition politics.
Independent candidate Simba Makoni, who is now considered President Robert
Mugabe's strongest challenger in the March 29 elections, launched his
presidential campaign in the city last Saturday.
Opposition leader Arthur Mutambara, who has publicly stated that he is
behind Makoni, took to the stage the following day. But it is this Saturday
that everyone is watching. Morgan Tsvangirai, founding president of the
Movement for Democratic Change, the man most people say President Mugabe is
watching, will be addressing a rally at White City Stadium, venue of the two
President Mugabe has so far not announced when he will be in Bulawayo. He
kicked off his tour in Manicaland, Tsvangirai and Makoni's home province,
moved on to Mashonaland East, the only province that publicly declined to
endorse his presidential nomination in 2006.
Nothing has so far been heard about the fourth presidential hopeful, Langton
Makoni's rally at White City is currently the talk of the town. Supporters
of ZANU-PF were unnerved by the crowd he attracted while those sympathetic
to Tsvangirai say they were not impressed.
"ZANU-PF should be worried by the attendance bearing in mind that Makoni
only announced his candidacy a month ago," a ZANU-PF insider told The
"The people that turned up at the stadium are only a fraction of his
supporters. Those who support Dabengwa (Dumiso) were not at the stadium
because they are still within ZANU-PF. The same applies to those who support
Mutambara. They are going to vote for Makoni because Mutambara has endorsed
him. So ZANU-PF should be worried."
Dabengwa, the former ZIPRA intelligence chief and a politburo member was
among the first senior ZANU-PF officials to come out openly in support of
Makoni. Dabengwa is, however, not contesting any parliamentary seat.
Gorden Moyo, executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, a civic organisation
that promotes dialogue on social, political and economic issues among
citizens said he was not impressed by the turn out.
"The turnout was way below my expectation given the hype Makoni has been
receiving in the local media, the fact that Dabengwa was behind him and that
he was visiting Bulawayo for the first time as a presidential candidate,"
He said Makoni had failed to attract the support of the grassroots people in
Bulawayo but had attracted that of the middle class and academia.
"These normally constitute only five percent of the population. To win an
election you need the support of ordinary people who would normally flood
White city. In fact, there were more cars outside the stadium than people
inside," he quipped.
Moyo, however, said this should not be used as a yardstick to measure
Dabengwa's popularity because he had just announced his alliance with Makoni
that very same day. "Perhaps the rally was not given enough publicity," he
Both Moyo and the ZANU-PF insider, however, said this year's elections would
be different. They are not really about which candidate will win the
presidency but about who will controll parliament- both the House of
Assembly and the Senate.
They said constitutional amendment Number 18 had given powers to parliament
to impeach the president or elect his successor. They argued that if someone
won the presidency but did not control parliament, it could impeach him or
"These elections are really about who controls parliament," Moyo said.
"ZANU-PF has failed to resolve the leadership question, so it is taking this
to parliament. It does not really matter therefore whether Makoni wins or
not. What matters is how many of his sympathisers get into parliament. If
they can gang up with the opposition and outnumber those loyal to
(President) Mugabe, they can impeach him even if he wins the elections."
The ZANU-PF insider concurred; adding that what made the whole thing more
intriguing was that one did not have to cross the floor. One could simply
vote with the opposition.
"This is one of the reasons why Makoni and Dabengwa have publicly stated
that they have not left ZANU-PF. They have not left the party but simply
want to takeover the leadership," the insider said. He admitted that there
were deep divisions within the party and this was one of the reasons why the
party's campaign had been slow to take off.
Moyo argued that ZANU-PF was concentrating on numbers. It was working on
ensuring that it won enough seats to make sure that it would control
parliament. It was therefore not wasting resources on Bulawayo and
Matabeleland because it did not have support there.
"ZANU-PF is looking only at Tsvangirai, not at Makoni and Welshman Ncube
(secretary of the Arthur Mutambara faction but generally regarded as the
defacto leader of the faction)," Moyo said. "Makoni and Ncube will divide
Tsvangirai's vote one at the presidential level and the other at
Asked about the significance of Dabengwa's alliance with Makoni since he was
not contesting any parliamentary seat, Moyo said Dabengwa was only
interested in changing the party leadership, while the ZANU-PF insider said
there was something for Dabengwa in the longer term if they succeeded in
ousting (President) Mugabe.
"Right now Dabengwa is not worried about being in Parliament. He wants to
change the leadership of the party. Everything else comes later," Moyo,
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
THE money market maintained its surplus position this week on intensifying
electoral spending and quasi-fiscal activities.
The market was up to the tune of $525 trillion on Tuesday but eased
marginally on statutory reserve payments to the central bank by financial
The market opened $433 trillion up yesterday, and was forecast to close the
day almost unchanged.
The high liquidity levels were posing deployment problems to the country's
banks, which are still smarting from a liquidity crunch that ravaged the
sector early this year.
Bankers said although the surplus has removed the liquidity risk that
grounded most banks in January, the excess funds were not performing for the
troubled financial institutions.
Dealers and investments analysts said banks had been left in a quandary and
battling to craft strategies to deploy the high volumes of funds, which are
costing them as they are not fetching real returns by sitting on their
Analysts said most financial institutions had been condemned to the margins
of their mainstream business since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had taken
over the biggest slice of the lending market by advancing credit to various
sectors of the economy, including quasi-government institutions.
Bankers said their plight had been aggravated by the fact that their main
creditor - the government - was issuing a one-year treasury bill at a rate
of 340 percent per annum against an annual inflation rate 100 580.2 percent.
"This instrument is obviously very unattractive as it is giving a negative
real return of more than 100 percent," Kingdom Stockbrokers (KSB) said in a
report this week.
Market watchers said some banks were drawing bankers' acceptances to deal
with the non-performing excess liquidity.
They attributed the surplus conditions on the market to the injection of
funds destined for the administration of the joint presidential,
parliamentary and council elections set for the end of the month,
concessionary advances going towards various economic support facilities
like the Agricultural Mechanisation Programme, civil servants salaries and
other fiscal expenditure going towards state-run utilities such as the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority and ZESA.
Owing to the continued excess liquidity conditions, investment rates
remained depressed with 7-14 day NCD rates fetching below 50 percent with
most financial institutions quoting nothing for the same.
The surplus conditions on the money market also powered equities to break
record levels gaining 69.89 percent last Friday compared to 56.19 percent
during the previous week.
Analysts expect the market to remain awash with excess liquidity due to the
resultant campaign expenditures.
"Furthermore, other quasi-fiscal expenditures are likely to assist in
increasing money market liquidity thereby sustaining the current soft
investment rates," KSB said.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
THE government will not turn back on plans to forcibly acquire mining assets
using a controversial mining law despite fears that the planned take-over
could worsen the capital flight being experienced in the country.
President Robert Mugabe on Friday last week said concerns among the business
community that Zimbabwe might lose potential foreign investment if it forges
ahead with the legislation would not deter him because the crisis-hit
country was already suffering from massive smuggling of minerals by the
foreign owned companies.
Last year, government initiated moves to expropriate 51 percent
shareholdings from the foreign-owned mines accused of illegally trading in
minerals at the expense of the country's economy.
President Mugabe said the best way to deal with the losses would be to take
them over and give "trustworthy" local entrepreneurs to run them.
"Some have said we will lose investors (if we take over foreign owned
mines), but we are already losing from the colonial investments," he told
about 5 000 supporters gathered in Harare to launch his party's election
manifesto. "We want to correct things and prove that, despite the sanctions
we will survive," added President Mugabe.
Reports suggest that major mines have halted expansion programmes to monitor
the outcome of the polices.
But President Mugabe said empowerment of the previously marginalised
indigenous people was "absolutely necessary".
"The mining sector has remained a place that is closed from us," he told the
"We do not know what is happening there and unless we are there as owners we
will continue to be cheated. We want to restore (the country) as the leading
gold producer. International prices of gold have gone up to more than US$900
per ounce, yet our tonnage per year has gone down."
"They say this year it might fall to 11 tonnes. In a country with huge gold
reserves, this is just a shame. After the elections, after our victory, we
must improve our supervision," President Mugabe added.
Apart from mines, government planned to take over controlling stakes in
foreign owned financial institutions such as Barclays Bank and Standard
Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank, a subsidiary of Standard Bank of South
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana last year warned the
foreign owned banks would be "impacted" by the empowerment laws just like
the mining firms.
"We were colonised by force. We are trying to correct that, we cannot expect
them to smile," he told bankers who had warned of an acceleration of capital
flight. "They frighten you that there will be capital flight, but they are
neo-liberals, these banks are run by blacks but decisions are made in
London. They want to create white islands in a liberated Zimbabwe. We are
not going to take that," Mangwana said.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
AIR Zimbabwe is moving towards selling air tickets predominantly through an
e-ticketing system, in compliance with new international aviation standards,
The Financial Gazette can reveal.
The move could also significantly reduce costs for the national passenger
The e-ticketing system enables passengers to make reservations, buy airline
tickets and pay online via the airline's website.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson, Pride Khumbula said, e-tickets now account for
about 80 percent of the national airline's ticket sales. "Air Zimbabwe
issued its first e-ticket in August 2007, and to date has issued 40 000
e-tickets. "The airline is 80 percent e-ticketing.and recently set up a help
desk to support users, (who) include airline staff, ground handling
companies, and travel agents. The help desk offers assistance to where users
may be experiencing problems at any point in the e-ticketing process - at
point of booking, check-in, or ticket cancellation," said Khumbula.
The airline hopes to have become 100 percent e-ticketing compliant by June.
The system adoption by Air Zimbabwe is meant to conform to the e-ticketing
strategy announced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for
the aviation sector. An electronic ticket is a paperless ticket, which is
captured in the passengers booking and is stored in the airline's system. At
the point of sale, a receipt is generated, which carries the passengers'
itinerary and booking reference number. A passenger simply presents his ID
or passport at check-in.
The Geneva-based IATA, which represents more than 240 airlines operating 94
percent of scheduled international flights, launched its drive for
e-ticketing four years ago, and now more than 80 percent of travellers on
IATA carriers fly without paper tickets. Non-IATA airlines, mainly low-cost
carriers, already have a paper-free ticketing system, where travellers only
present an identity document at check-in.
By of June 2008, the world's airlines will no longer offer paper tickets to
their customers as they move exclusively into e-ticketing. Khumbula said
e-ticketing was one of the most significant opportunities to reduce costs
and improve passenger convenience.
"The benefits of e-ticketing include stress-free ticketing for customers and
reduced possibility of lost tickets. Passengers can access their e-tickets
anywhere and any time.
"Changes to itineraries no longer have to be made in person at the airlines
sales offices or travel agent but can be simply done over the telephone,"
Air Zimbabwe, Khumbula said, was at an advanced stage of developing its
Internet Booking Engine (IBE), which will enable passengers to book and
purchase their tickets online, offering the traveller convenience,
flexibility and control of their travel arrangements. "The airline expects
to launch Internet booking by mid year," Khumbula said.
The change-over from paper will not only save the global aviation industry
US$3 billion per annum but will also mean the industry, criticised by
environmentalists for its part in global warming, will save 50 000 mature
trees a year. The airline industry will also realise a total saving of US$9
per ticket because a paper ticket costs US$10 versus an e-ticket, which
China, one of the fastest-growing markets for air travel and host to this
year's Olympic Games, could become the first country in the world to operate
an entirely paper-free ticketing system by the end of this year.
THE emergence of the Simba Makoni "initiative/project" has raised
justifiable questions about the direction of the continuing quest by
Zimbabweans to end the dictatorship of the ZANU-PF regime and usher in a
genuinely democratic dispensation.
One such question is: how should civic society relate to the initiative?
More fundamentally, should it be the business of civic society organisations
to pronounce their preferences among contesting presidential aspirants?
I have decided to take a few hours from my activist work and put pen to
paper to address some of the pertinent issues arising from the Makoni
In doing this, I am neither wearing the hat of an academic nor putting on
the spectacles of the proverbial analyst. I am here articulating the views
of a civic society activist who, since 1997, has been part of a movement
that has certain beliefs, values and principles.
Accordingly, the views and positions expressed herein are partisan in that
they are controlled by the beliefs, values and principles for which I have
been an activist in the past 10 years.
The starting point is to put my cards on the table. Based on the values and
beliefs of the movement I belong to, the Makoni "initiative/project" is
fundamentally misconceived. It will fail. It has no grassroots support. It
misunderstands the nature of the responses required to address our deepening
The founding stone of the initiative is the March 29 harmonised election.
The planners believe that on March 29, Makoni will capture power from
President Robert Mugabe through an electoral process presided over by none
other than the President himself.
To them, the reason why President Mugabe is still in power is because those
who have challenged him in previous elections did it prematurely and lacked
the requisite credentials, support and strategies.
The time has now come, a person with the requisite credentials has been
found and the support from appropriate circles is also available. According
to them, President Mugabe is a democrat who respects electoral processes and
will hand power to whoever is elected on March 29.
Makoni and his backers believe that peaceful street protests, stay aways and
grassroots meetings advocating fundamental reforms such as a new, democratic
and people driven constitution are inappropriate and misguided. All that
matters is a carefully planned electoral strategy that "ambushes"
(President) Mugabe and takes power away from him through the ballot.
The response to this approach is simple: the March 29, elections are being
conducted under a defective constitution whose raison d'etre is to preserve
the status quo. Elections under the current constitution cannot deliver
change whatever the credentials of the contestants and however sophisticated
Until Zimbabweans put their energies together and push the current regime to
embrace a genuine and people-driven reform process that leads to a
democratic constitution, power will not change hands through a mere
election. Participation in the elections on March 29 cannot be for the
purpose of winning power. It can only be for any other good reasons.
This brings me to the question of the day: if power cannot change hands
under the current constitution, why are all major civic groups, including
the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), urging people to go and vote on
Different civic groups may have different reasons for urging people to go
and vote. For the NCA, March 29 will not deliver a new President but it
provides a platform for Zimbabweans to make a statement against the Mugabe
regime's sins, which include being the author of the suffering of the people
and above all, its refusal to embrace democratic reforms.
Casting a vote against (President) Mugabe on March 29 is a peaceful protest
against dictatorship and a key step in the post election agenda of
confronting that dictatorship and advocating for genuine democratic reforms.
But the vote on March 29 is not just against (President) Mugabe. It must be
a statement in support of a set of values, beliefs and principles, which
guide our post-election struggle for change in Zimbabwe.
It is in this context that the presidential candidature of Morgan Tsvangirai
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) gains a windfall.
The MDC was launched in September 1999 as a result of the deliberations of a
Working People's Convention of February 1999. That Convention was convened
by the ZCTU and was attended by most civic groups.
The NCA played a key role at the Convention. At its launch in September
1999, the MDC had two main parents: the labour movement and the
constitutional reform movement.
The MDC was formed as a political wing of these two movements to pursue, as
a political party, the values and principles that these two movements
represented. For example, the ZCTU would expect the MDC, as a political
party, to fight for labour friendly policies. Similarly, the NCA expects the
MDC to advocate for a new, democratic and people-driven constitution.
Thus, since 1999, there has existed a family: the labour movement, the
constitutional reform movement and the political party mothered by these two
movements. Each member of the family is a separate entity and independent
from the others. The MDC is partisan.
The other movements are non-partisan. Like every other family, certain core
family values are shared. In this particular family, the most important
value is that Zimbabwe's political system must be transformed through
people-driven processes and that a new, democratic and people driven
constitution must anchor that transformation. The family is convinced that a
"reformed ZANU-PF" is not the answer because it does not seek
The family has had its own problems. The MDC has not been consistent in
defending family values. On many occasions, it has disappointed the family.
There are two most recent disappointments. The first is its support for
Amendment 18. It is common knowledge that the other family members were
outraged by that misguided endorsement of piecemeal constitutional reforms.
The second disappointment is the MDC's participation in this election under
a defective constitution. The family's preference is "No elections without a
new, democratic and people-driven constitution".
However, notwithstanding these disappointments, the family is agreed on the
bigger picture of transforming Zimbabwe through people-driven processes.
Whatever his weaknesses, Tsvangirai's presidential candidature symbolizes
the founding values of our movement. Elections on March 29, being held under
the current constitutional arrangements, will not make anyone other than
(President) Mugabe, the president.
Accordingly, a vote for either Morgan Tsvangirai or Simba Makoni can only be
for other good reasons. For our family, our good reason is to support our
kind of politics. It is to demonstrate that our kind of politics has the
greatest support in the country and must therefore be vigorously pursued in
the post-election period.
Our good reason is to use March 29 to set the agenda for the post-election
period. As these elections cannot deliver a change of government, the
competition between Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni is, to be blunt, "for No. 2
position." President Mugabe's "No. 1 position" is secured by the absence of
a free and fair election. He has no genuine support.
However, the competition for the "No. 2 position" is serious business.
Making a choice between Simba Makoni and Morgan Tsvangirai is a big
political statement, reflecting one's position as to the way forward in the
current crisis. Morgan Tsvangirai represents the route we have been
following since 1997. He is, as a person, not the answer. He represents the
answer and must be supported.
A vote for Tsvangirai's presidential bid is a statement against a "reformed
ZANU-PF" agenda. It is important that this statement be made against Simba
Makoni and his group because their set of beliefs distorts our post-election
agenda of a total assault against the system. This group does not believe in
transformation - all they want is to replace (President) Mugabe. These
ZANU-PF reformists have no post election agenda because they only have one
plan: to win and govern. They are irrelevant in a post-election setting
focusing on transformation. They do not believe in our methods. Fortunately,
because of our grassroots presence, March 29 will show that the overwhelming
majority of Zimbabweans support a total transformation of the system
presided over by (President) Mugabe and not a mere tinkering with it
They will reject the Simba Makoni initiative. Makoni will be a distant third
in the presidential race. The situation will remain what it is today with
one solution - pushing for a genuine people-driven transformation and free
and fair elections under a new democratic constitution.
Lovemore Madhuku is the NCA chairman.
Economic Viewpoint with Terrence Kairiza
True hyperinflations, those that satisfy Cagan's (1956) definition (of over
50 percent monthly inflation), have occurred more frequently after 1984.
Since then, true hyperinflation episodes that lasted more than two months
number 20 in 18 countries, with Zimbabwe being the latest addition to this
infamous club. Zimbabwe officially ascended to hyperinflation status in
March 2007 when month-on-month inflation reached 50.54 percent and
year-on-year being 2 200 percent. Though the potency of Zimbabwe's case to
degenerate to levels of Serbia's spectacular 310 million percent monthly
inflation in January 1994 is disquieting, what is alarming is the fact that,
in documented hyperinflations, incumbent monetary authorities often became
impediments to a rapid disinflation programme through a wanton disregard of
sound economics, resorting to abstruse theorising about cures to
The RBZ's departure from conventional economics is best encapsulated in a
phrase in the 2007 Monetary Policy Statement: ".. those who wrote economics
textbooks never experienced Zimbabwe's land reform." Implicit in this
statement, the central bankers purport to be exponents of a 'new economics'
whose fundamentals lie on Zimbabwe's idiosyncrasies, but in so doing expose
themselves as a prisoners of a particular brand of 'tried and failed'
unorthodox economics that is omnipresent in most modern episodes of
hyperinflation. The notion that Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is 'special', thus
requires 'special solutions' which lie outside the realms of standard
stabilisation programmes is misleading, as analysis of events since 1998
reveals that Zimbabwe's hyperinflation bears the same general roots with
Despite shifting policy pronouncements, the central theme of the RBZ's 'new
economics' charade is not difficult to sift. It is that market forces are
defunct and that a rescue package for Zimbabwe necessitates a cocktail of
high public spending (in the form of Quasi Fiscal Activities of the central
bank) and cheap money propped by an incomes policy. The fundamental elements
of this dogma are based on a false belief that the price mechanism needs to
be supplanted by an assortment of direct government controls for an
This atrocious philosophy manifests itself in the mirage of supply-sided
interventions (without concomitant reforms to the operating environment),
which has seen inflation accelerating from XXX to over 66 000 percent in
December 2007. These supply sided interventions (ASPEF, BACOSSI, Operation
Food Security, SMEs Development Programmes, Farm Mechanization Programme
etc) go beyond the operational realm of a normal central bank of firstly and
foremost, maintaining the stability of the currency (both in domestic and
external markets) and soundness of the banking system. To date there has
been no expansion to the real economy despite protestations from the
monetary authorities. Actually, the country has seen contraction of an
average of 7 percent since 2003. These figures are by no means trivial; save
for Somalia (where no reliable data exists). Zimbabwe is the only country
that has an average contraction in real terms in Sub-Saharan Africa for the
Orthodox economics say that monetary expansion is only inflationary at the
peak of a business cycle, where there is no idle capacity. Does this make
Zimbabwe's case 'special' as there is definitely idle capacity and monetary
expansion is inflationary? NO! Due to the rigidities that the central bank
is creating especially with its impractical exchange rate policy, the money
injections in Quasi Fiscal Activities (QFAs) mostly do not go towards the
intended uses, but rather towards the import of consumption goods, purchase
of foreign currency and speculative activities, thus there is no expansion
in supply of goods.
The resultant demand for imported consumption goods mounts pressure on the
Zimbabwean currency in currency markets and inevitably leads to continuous
depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar vis-à-vis other currencies.
That RBZ's whimsical potency to create liquidity runs parallel to any
stabilization programme is absolute. But is this assertion justified in
light of the cash shortages at the end of 2007? Cash shortages are resultant
of lax liquidity management. Once a central bank embarks on Quasi Fiscal
liquidity injections, it runs the fatal risk that rates of inflation will
surge ahead of the growth of the money supply, creating a situation whereby
the real stock of the national money falls below its normal levels, thus
causing perennial cash shortages, which cannot be alleviated without
printing more money.
During Germany's 1923 hyperinflation, Reichsbank president Rudolf Havenstein
even boasted of the installation of new high-speed currency printing presses
that would enable money growth to keep up with skyrocketing prices. 30 paper
mills were working overtime just to keep the Reichsbank supplied with paper
for its banknotes.
The issue of QFAs of the central bank is insidious in modern episodes of
very high to hyperinflation. In Bolivia (1985-87), Croatia (1993-94), and
Macedonia (1992-96), QFAs in the form central banks financial support to
loss-making state-owned enterprises played a major role in fuelling
inflation, whereas in the cases of Angola (1996-98) and Bulgaria (1997-98),
the QFAs entailed support to bail out banks in distress.
Instead of focusing on the price misalignments (especially the price of
foreign currency) that have rendered monetary policy paralysis, the central
bankers have taken the nation on a whirlwind of cosmetic projects embodied
in currency reforms and banking reforms, all of which have been futile. A
paragon of the erroneous reasoning that permeates the 'new economics' dogma
is best exposed in the context of some of the theoretical underpinnings of
these currency reforms as a remedy to hyperinflation. Looking at Operation
Sunrise I: One of the basis of these reforms was that the removal of three
zeros would 'effectively have positive psychological effect on people's
reference points when comparing the relative strength of the local currency
against regional and international prices, as well as prices for goods and
Other dogmatists hold that currency change-overs are a natural cure to what
they perceive as inertial inflation. Theoretically, inertia in price
expectations can be seen as path-dependent, as backward-looking expectations
if the future is uncertain, thus all prices in an economy are continuously
adjusted in relation to a price index by force of contracts. A belief in
this theory implies that the problem of inflation stems from the fact that
no one believes that prices can be stabilised, so everyone insists on taking
price increases onto their prices or wages to hedge against next month's
expected rises. Precisely, inertial inflation theory says inflation only
exists because we had it yesterday. The answer is to simply halt the
inertial slide upward by inducing a psychological effect on people's
reference points, either by price freeze or currency change. Again, this
line of reasoning runs parallel to the realities of Zimbabwe's
hyperinflation. Firstly, there is very weak indexation in Zimbabwe as the
trade unions have not been powerful to push for better wage contracts that
keep in line with inflation expectations and, secondly, the government
already has price controls.
Currency changeovers have been natural experiments in most periods of
hyperinflations. Serbia changed currencies four times within a space of four
months between October 1993 and January 1994, but inflation remained elusive
with prices increasing by 5 quadrillion percent during the period. The same
experiments had been carried out earlier in Brazil with the same results
between 1988 and 1992 when they changed currencies five times. In Zimbabwe's
case, inflation increased from an average of 1017 percent in 2006 after
Sunrise I to over 66,000 percent by December 2007.
On the other hand, the sustained onslaught on the banking sector by the
central bank which has seen several banks put under curatorship has not
helped matters, as it has reduced confidence in the financial sector.
Further, since 2004, the RBZ has not followed a clear interest rate policy
with the real rate unsystematically oscillating between positive and
negative, making it difficult for financial institutions to take clear
positions as a profit making opportunity is reversed to a loss making one in
the next instance. Therein lies a danger as this might cause banks to become
overcautious and slow down the economy through a credit crunch.
What is remarkable about advocates of 'new economics' is their unshakeable
belief in their own infalliability. In the aftermath of Serbia's inflation,
the official explanation was that hyperinflation was a result of illegal
sanctions from the West. The former Soviet Union countries and other
transition economies, which were plagued by hyperinflations in the early 90s
blamed inflation on the inflationary overhang of the command economy (yet
they were the same people who were in charge of the central banks before
The competing scapegoats in the case of Zimbabwe are sanctions and
speculation. In Zimbabwe there is a pervasive notion that the existence of
the speculation and shadow economy in general in tandem with the official
economy is essentially harmful. However, it is not certain that all shadow
economic activity should be discouraged or that all its aspects are
negative. In particular there is need to revisit its contribution to
The situation be that as it may, what is never mentioned is that the awkward
policies of the central bank particularly with regards to the exchange rate
have fuelled these activities. Though causes of hyperinflations do not lie
exclusively with the central banks, central banks often play a crucial role
in facilitating a clear path to demise, firstly by their lax liquidity
management and indirectly by providing a theoretical justification of the
unorthodox acts by other arms of government. The central bank's ability to
facilitate a hyperinflation rests upon its ability to mystify the
generality. To advance this fraud central bankers sometimes resort to all
sort measures including the exploitation of the society's chronic
superstition and religion.
In Zimbabwe's monetary policy statements are rife with quotations from the
Bible and monetary policy issues are reduced to footnote material.
Terrence Kairiza is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society and can be
contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ZES articles are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge and he can be contacted
Cell 091 2 732 873
Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
"There has to be trust and confidence developed on both sides. It is
important for us to forge a firm foundation for a united country." The
speaker is Kenya's leader of the opposition and the country's prime minister
designate, Raila Odinga in an interview with the BBC.
The interview was conducted after Odinga and the head of state, Mwai Kibaki,
had finally allowed sanity to prevail by sealing a deal to end a horrendous
and catastrophic two months that followed national elections held at the end
of December. It is no small feat that former United Nations secretary
general, Kofi Annan, handled the difficult negotiations in such a
transparent and honourable manner as to retain the respect and trust of both
sides until the desired outcome was achieved.
This is mediation and peace brokering at its best and the continent of
Africa, blighted by conflicts raging in a number of trouble spots, needs to
tap more into the skills of elder statesmen and technocrats like Annan. In
his interview with the BBC, Odinga, who signed a power-sharing deal with
Kibaki to end the civil strife triggered by the disputed December elections,
pledged to help the displaced and those who had lost jobs and property. He
also undertook to work for national reconciliation and healing to help
Kenyans put the dark period, during which 1,500 people perished and more
than 600 000 were forced to flee their homes, behind them.
Some Kenyans have naturally reacted skeptically to these pledges, which are
akin to belatedly treating the symptoms of a chronic disease. These
undertakings to focus on national aspirations come too late for the almost 2
000 people who died needlessly when hostilities broke out after the election
results were disputed following voting in December. Odinga's declaration
during his interview with the BBC that "I feel confident that the experience
we have gone through has been a teacher and everyone is going to ensure that
this coalition succeeds" is no consolation to the thousands who were
displaced, maimed and traumatised when the crisis assumed ethnic dimensions.
No one can blame those Kenyans who are not convinced that the deal will
work. A skeptical man in Kibaki's home town of Nyeri was reported as telling
the BBC: "They're two kings sharing one power. That can never happen. You
can never have two husbands for one woman in one house." A displaced woman
living in a camp was reported by the press to have expressed similar doubts
about the power-sharing arrangement. "It's become a habit of saying 'peace,
peace, peace' every now and then and after peace we see flames of fire."
The bottom line of this lack of faith in politicians and political
dispensations is that in many parts of Africa, elections no longer serve
their intended purpose. Government by the people, a favourite phrase of
Abraham Lincoln, is supposed to mean government in accordance with the will
of the people. The surest way the people can express their will is through
free and fair elections during which they can vote for representatives of
their choice and throw out corrupt, inefficient abusers of power.
However, events in Kenya and those that have surrounded elections in many
other countries show the extent to which the roles of the governed and
governors have been reversed . The reality on the ground is that the main
function of the electorate now is to legitimize corrupt and tyrannical
regimes by being depicted as voting overwhelmingly to keep them in power. As
seen in the Kenyan scenario, this cruel feat is achieved through election
rigging, uneven electoral playing fields and emasculated electoral
commissions that exist solely to do the incumbent government's bidding.
All this was confirmed by the disgraceful conduct of the Electoral
Commission of Kenya , which is dominated by Kibaki's cronies and was
therefore liable to the manipulation that obliged it to falsify election
results and arrange a hasty swearing-in of Kibaki before the outcome of the
presidential polls was announced publicly. The commission's only
consideration was to ensure victory for the incumbent at any cost, including
the loss of thousands of lives. More tragically, Kibaki was prepared to
claim victory and to remain un-moved for the next two months of bloodshed,
when he knew the truth.
The comment cited above, made by the woman from Kibaki's home town about
seeing "flames of fire" assumed more acutely disturbing dimensions for me
because I read it while contemplating a picture of members of the Police
Support Unit published on the front page of a Zimbabwean state newspaper on
Monday. The caption explained that the three officers silhouetted against a
ball of fire, were passing "through a cloud of tear-smoke during a mock
battle . staged to demonstrate the police force's preparedness to deal with
violence" during and after the March 29 elections.
After the reckless and disproportionate show of force by the police in Kenya
in the aftermath of the disputed elections the preparations being made by
local law enforcement agents ahead of the harmonised polls this month are
troubling. The very notion implicit in the caption referred to above that
elections, which should empower ordinary Zimbabweans to exercise their
democratic right to vote in a free and safe environment, should evoke images
of conflagration and combat, is very worrying. The images imply that the law
enforcement agents are preparing to unleash rather than prevent violence. It
is not a positive way of promoting the electoral process as the pictures
only serve as a crude warning that voting is a dangerous business that
Zimbabweans undertake at their own peril.
That is certainly the only conclusion to be reached when even in a mock-up,
police are obliged to use so much tear gas. The reliance on all manner of
impediments such as the over-use of tear-gas unfortunately blinds the
powers-that-be to the expectations and aspirations of the people. Resorting
to tear-smoke to tackle any aspect relating to the staging of peaceful
elections is a contradiction that speaks volumes.
The people expect that under normal circumstances,there should be no need
for the police to be anticipating violence on such a scale as to warrant the
kind of combative rehearsals they are having. This show of force makes the
impending polls something ominous to be contemplated with foreboding. Why?
In referring to the need to build trust between the opposition and the
government, Kenya's Odinga has pointed out that historical injustices need
to be addressed. "It means we recognise Kibaki as president and he
recognises that there were some flaws in the elections."
The tragedy is that not a single Kenyan needed to die for these shortcomings
to be acknowledged. Similarly no single Zimbabwean needs to lose his or her
life in relation to the elections to be held at the end of this month.
Promoting fair play, humane practices and justice for all should be part of
the normal political culture of a country. Regrettably, this is not the case
in most African countries where elections are now a millstone around the
people's necks because of the rigging and fraud that make it impossible to
dislodge unpopular governments.
In announcing plans to appoint a new Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA) board, Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development Minister, Munacho Mutezo said it was imperative for the media to
appreciate the authority's functions and the operational challenges it
"Water issues are sensitive worldwide, hence
the media hype they receive and it is against this background that the
media, as informers of the society, should be well informed of the country's
water resources management and development", said the minister who,
unexpectedly, conceded however, that ZINWA was not beyond reproach. He
insisted, however, that in writing about ZINWA, media should also refer to
The minister must rest assured that as
watchdogs for the public interest, there is nothing that would please media
practitioners more than knowing that everything was working properly and no
Zimbabweans were suffering deprivations and indignities with respect to
performing routine tasks and accessing services that people in other parts
of the world take for granted. This is not the case in Zimbabwe these days
and the media cannot be accused of fabricating stories about this because
the problems are there for everyone to see. Suburbs go without water for
weeks on end and the sight of sewage flowing in residential areas has become
a permanent feature of urban life.
What this means is that these problems are
affecting and inconveniencing such large sections of the population at any
given time that propaganda can no longer be effective as a damage control
mechanism. What is needed is concrete improvement in service delivery. The
Minister would not need to blame the press if he and officials in his
ministry cared to listen to the residents' concerns. I agree with the
Minister when he describes water issues as being sensitive. Water is life.
Human beings can live without food for weeks but would succumb after only a
few days when deprived of water.
The Minister is aware of the link between
water shortages and disease outbreaks. The United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF) estimates that about 80 percent of all illnesses in developing
countries are linked to poor water and sanitation. The regular outbreaks of
diarrhoea and cholera that have been reported in various urban centres in
Zimbabwe, prove that this country is not immune to these risks. A recent
epidemic of diarrhoea in Mabvuku was not a pretty sight. In the same issue
that it reported the Minister's plans to appoint a new ZINWA board, the
state daily, The Herald also carried a story about a water-linked diasese
outbreak in Chinhoyi.
What the Minister needs to appreciate is that
ZINWA's inefficiency stands out like a sore thumb because when local
authorities managed water affairs, residents enjoyed more reliable service
delivery. Water cuts were rare and it was unheard of for suburbs to go for
months without water as is the case now. Under these circumstances, it is
difficult to understand which achievements of ZINWA the minister wants the
media to acknowledge and highlight.
If the unpalatable truth must be told, most
residents view the imposition of ZINWA to manage urban water affairs that
city councils were running quite efficiently as an unnecessarily punitive
move. The Americans have a saying, "don't fix it if it ain't broken" but
here was central government forcibly taking over a functioning system and
rendering it dysfunctional. The only achievement that ZINWA can claim credit
for since its advent is setting up a burgeoning bureaucracy with hundreds of
new jobs for which consumers have to pick up the tab. In other words, ZINWA
is delivering jobs rather than water.
It cannot be amusing for long-suffering
consumers to read about plans to appoint a new board after a restructuring
exercise when all these moves do not result in better service delivery. The
ZINWA chief executive officer, Engineer Albert Muyambo has been quoted as
saying the main thrust of the authority's new management strategy is "the
provision of water on a 24-hour basis to the central business district,
industry and high density areas while making sure that low density suburbs
did not go for seven days without water."
The simple question is what are people in the
low density suburbs expected to do on the days ZINWA lets them go without
water? A management strategy that aims for less than 100 percent service
delivery to begin with is an admission of failure and Minister Mutezo should
not be surprised by the hue and cry over ZINWA's inefficiency. He must
realise that it is not an outstanding achievement for the authority to meet
demand in Harare's CBD, industrial and high density areas. This is what it
must routinely do and does not deserve a pat on the back for it.
ZINWA has been loud and vocal about its
determination to take over water jurisdiction from local authorities despite
a disastrous track record and opposition from municipalities. All that ZINWA
has done since its arrival on the urban scene is to moan about not having
enough resources. The latest complaint was reported by The Herald on Tuesday
when it quoted the billing and revenue manager, Godfrey Kusangaya as saying:
"The problem is that the authority does not have enough resources like
computers and vehicles and this impacts negatively on meter reading, bill
processing and revenue collection."
The question that begs an answer, Minister
Mutezo, is: Why was it imperative to impose ZINWA in the urban areas to
replace city councils that had established efficient systems over the years?
To "fix" urban dwellers?
ELECTIONS in Zimbabwe have caused their fair share of controversy,
intrigues, twists and turns - some of them very nasty. The current one is no
Interestingly, ever since the emergence of a real challenge to the ruling
party, a disturbing phenomenon has once again reared its poisonous head:
that of senior army chiefs openly declaring their allegiance to the
incumbent, and not to the process of holding democratic elections as
enshrined in the country's supreme governing law - the Constitution.
It all started in January 2002 when retired army chief, Vitalis Zvinavashe -
then in charge of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) - shocked the nation by
announcing that the military would not accept a President who did not meet
their requirements such as possessing credible liberation war credentials.
Zvinavashe's criterion ruled out Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who was, and still is, posing a serious threat to
President Robert Mugabe's rule.
Tsvangirai went on to lose the disputed Presidential poll by over 420 000
It seems it is now the norm that a serving or retired army general must come
out of the shells a few weeks before elections to drive Zvinavashe's point
Last week, Retired Major General Paradzayi Zimondi, ordered his officers to
vote for no one else except President Mugabe, facing a challenge from
Tsvangirai, former finance minister Simba Makoni and little-known Langton
Towungana, who seems to be in the race only to enhance his CV.
The state-run daily The Herald quoted the Commissioner of Prisons as saying:
"If the opposition wins the election, I will be the first one to resign from
my job and go back to defend my piece of land. I will not let it go.we are
going to the elections and you should vote for President Mugabe."
In all fairness, this trend cannot be allowed to continue.
While we fully subscribe to the right to freedom of speech as the
cornerstone of any democratic society, guaranteed under international law,
we feel strongly that Retired Major General Zimondi is out of order.
His job comes with restrictions. As a public servant, it forbids him from
issuing reckless and inflammatory statements that betray his allegiance to
one political party.
If Zimondi wants to become ZANU-PF's commissar, he must join the field of
politics, but he must certainly not abuse his authority as Commissioner of
Prisons by openly campaigning for ZANU-PF.
Manipulating a government function to do the bidding of one political party
or one candidate like what Zimbabweans witnessed last week puts the ZDF in
It also gives credence to the perception that some members of the defence
forces, for one reason or the other, have become sensitive to the interests
of a selected few as the Rhodesian military did when the oppressive Ian
Smith regime was in power.
The country has corrupted the important role of some members of the defence
forces by deploying them in strategic institutions outside the military to
the point of allowing some of them to run elections.
Because of huge salary perks and other rewards such as A2 farms, it is now
doubtful if these senior army officers are still acting in the best
interests of the people.
What Retired Major General Zimondi did constitutes abuse of office and a
violation of his subordinates' right to elect a leader of their choice.
Such reckless statements are a form of intimidation that might be used one
day to demonstrate that the atmosphere under which the March 29 elections
were held could not be classified as free and fair.
Security forces have the responsibility to serve whichever government comes
into power through democratic means. Otherwise what is the point of holding
Their dedication to a country and its people's sovereignty are fundamental
roles that cannot be abdicated simply because one is a beneficiary of this
or that scheme.
Zimondi needs to make a choice between joining politics and being a public
Going by what he said last week, he might as well resign and make room for
others who can discharge their duties professionally.
Having joined the armed struggle in his 20s and getting attested into the
army as a colonel in 1980 before rising through the ranks, Zimondi should
The army is not a debating society; it must be apolitical and ready to serve
a democratic and multicultural nation in line with the wishes of the people.
Office bearers in such esteemed positions cannot limit themselves to
defending their personal interests, such as farms, at the expense of the
people who are yearning for better living standards, jobs and food on their
Leaders who love their people respect their choices; they do not impose
The liberation struggle was about defending the interests of the majority
blacks and ensuring the country's wealth is distributed equitably, the land
None of the presidential candidates, President Mugabe, Makoni or Tsvangirai
has shown the desire to go back on these issues.
Zimondi's threats, subtle as they may appear, should not be taken lightly.
The contesting political parties should condemn his utterances in the
strongest terms possible and press the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to make
its position known on such unfortunate statements whose timing could be
meant to intimidate the electorate and swing support in favour of the ruling
But whatever Zimbabweans individually believe in, they have got to get out
and vote for it, in order to overcome the voter intimidation, misinformation
and other challenges to their rights.
Zimondi's words futile
EDITOR - What is the point of having an election when men like Retired
Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, who is supposed to be apolitical, coerce
those under them to vote for ZANU-PF?
This country, which is now called Zimbabwe, is a European construct. It is
the Europeans who set out the borders in 1889 in Switzerland.
Before that, people were just drifting from one place to the other. There
was no recognised authority before the colonialists came. If the Portuguese
had not occupied Mozambique before the British then perhaps Southern
Rhodesia would have included Mozambique as Eastern Rhodesia. Or if the
Portuguese wanted, they could have made Southern Rhodesia part of
We should all thank the colonialists (British) for setting out the borders.
General Walls refused to salute (President) Mugabe. Where is he now? The
same will happen to Paradzayi Zimondi.
All the inhabitants of this former British colony have an inalienable right
to choose who rules over them. This is not to be done on their behalf by the
likes of Zimondi.
Blind faith is what Zimondi is showing here. He and his friends can support
(President) Mugabe as much as they like but he must leave us to choose who
rules over us.
I don't think Zimondi got his job as a soldier on merit. He serendipitously
got into this position by virtue of either being a school dropout or he was
a fugitive from justice or both when he strayed into Mozambique. This was
not by design but by accident so he should not brag about his position.
The fact that General Walls refused to work under (President) Mugabe did not
stop (President) Mugabe being President and by the same token Zimondi's
scrappiness will not stop Tsvangirai being President.
What Zimondi has done is outright intimidation or gangsterism and he should
be arrested for this offence but then this is a corrupt regime. Instead, he
will be promoted. Saka (President) Mugabe vachitaura semunhu akatsika pfuti.
It is quite obvious who runs the show in Zimbabwe - the army. Zimondi doesn't
even understand what an election is all about; he needs to be educated on
the do's and don'ts of elections because.
And you expect a free and fair election in such an environment; perish the
Each one take 10
EDITOR - Whatever people do and think about Simba Makoni, he has the backing
of us ordinary Zimbabweans. Our campaign strategy is simple: We will make
sure each one of us takes 10 relatives and friends to the polls and the 10
take 10 and 10 take 10.
He is a liberator and, yes, he is the only cabinet minister who never
grabbed a piece of land. Winning or not, he is the anointed one to lead
Handei nyati mhenyu. Do you think with the torture that happened anyone in
ZANU-PF will admit they are behind Simba. They are big in age and very young
I urge Zimbabweans not to think twice as we have a messiah in Simba.
Email us on email@example.com and register your 10 friends and
relatives. The in thing is to be independent and enjoy the independence.
Who wants to be saluted nemhondi dzapedza kutorture vanhu.
Work avoidance makes democracy meaningless
EDITOR - The Bantu say a "leader is a leader because of the people." Nothing
can be truer about the leadership that comes by way of asking people to vote
for an incumbent. Leaders are placed where they are because people will have
participated in the process of putting them into that position.
Election time is time to employ our public servants who will occupy
municipal, legislative and presidential offices. Potential leaders come to
the people begging for employment; this is what campaigning is all about.
Just like potential employees sell their services by preparing attractive
Curriculum Vitaes, so do potential leaders promise service delivery, laws
that protect the citizens and governance and goodwill to all Zimbabweans.
A lot of promises are made of how good things will be if, the public gives
the incumbent a chance to work for them. Just like a housekeeper seeks to
impress his or her boss that he or she can look after babies, cook, clean
the house e.t.c that is how our potential public servants communicate when
they want to be elected into office.
Some say elections are an expression of people's democratic rights.
Democratic rights are linked to obligations that people should fulfill; to
ensure that the enjoyment of rights becomes a reality. This obviously
implies that there is work that needs to be done by all citizens. Such work
might involve registering to vote, inspecting the voter's roll and inputting
into the delimitation processes to ensure that people have a say in the
employment of public servants who will be responsible for service delivery.
It might also mean having the voice to articulate one's discontent when
people feel the election was not free and fair without fear of reprisals.
This is still part of exercising one's democratic right, which in my view is
every citizen's obligation.
The critical questions are; after the elections, why are people not able to
question their servants when they fail to deliver the goods or services they
pledged to and fire them for incompetence? Why then do citizens allow their
servants to forget that they account to the people? Why is the power of many
people swallowed by one servant- turned- master?
It is, in my opinion, a question of the public's complacency and
incompetence as employers. Citizens do what Ronald. A. Heifetz a renowned
writer on leadership calls "work avoidance".
Citizens know that they should stand up to their public servants and ask
them to account for their behaviour, but people do not do their work.
Zimbabweans sit on their potential and expect civil society organisations to
do the dirty work because they are preoccupied with making money or looking
for basic goods, goods that would otherwise be available if they do their
work by ensuring that public servants account to them.
People know that they do not like power cuts, the stench of sewage,
potholes, queuing for money, bread, and the collapse of the health delivery
system, but they hesitate going to the civil servants in the relevant
offices to ask them to account for the poor service delivery.
Fellow citizens we are guilty of "work avoidance". You hear people saying,
"something must be done, something must be done." The question is: By who?
People have contributed to giving up their rights to their servants. They
have contributed to the chef mentality that makes those in positions of
power not bat an eyelid in the face of the human suffering we witness,
normalising the abnormal. After voting, people begin to call their servants
"chef", even if they cannot cook nice food. Some citizens say "Zimbabwe
yakanaka", while smelling the 'sweet aroma' of sewage in their homes.
The councillors, MPs, senators and President we will vote for on March 29
fellow citizens, are our servants. The leadership style they should adopt is
that of servant leadership, knowing where their power comes from. They
should account to the public.
Let me at the risk of sounding ridiculous, say as we prepare to employ our
servants in the impending elections, let us make sure that we state our
position as the bosses, and do the work we have to do if we want the
services we so cry for. Those with the potential of upsetting the power
scales, 'chefs' who are insolent and arrogant should not be given the job
because they will refuse to account to the public, a sure case of failure to
deliver and further dehumanisation in our Zimbabwe.
Our public servants should respect accountability and dignity of the human
person. A servant leader should accept criticism without being vindictive
and should not seek to enrich only him or herself as we have seen with some
Development Worker and Activist
Rigging has started
EDITOR - All police officers have been asked to submit their voting details.
Not bad because they will be deployed out of their wards. The catch is that
everyone would be forced, one way or the other, to vote for a particular
candidate. You know who?
How can you vote when there are ex-combatant officers seeing where you are
putting your vote? That is rigging if you ask me. Last time some envelopes
were opened and officers were victimised when it was seen that they had
voted for the opposition.
Please highlight this issue in your widely read newspaper so that our votes
can count. Imagine all 30 000 police votes being stolen. That can steal a
whole election in someone's favour. The time is now.
Tsvangirai should not step aside for anyone
EDITOR - I refer to your comment in your February 21 issue of The Financial
Gazette under the heading, "It's not about Tsvangirai." Well, your comment
encourages unity of opposition and civic society against the ruling party on
March 29 2008 and you propose that the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should
step aside for Simba Makoni. It was unfair on the person of Morgan
Tsvangirai and his top leadership.
My understanding is that the decision not to join forces with the Mutambara
faction was recommended by a negotiating team and thus it was not an
individual decision by Tsvangirai.
I totally agree with your recommendation that it will be good for Tsvangirai
to embrace all progressive forces that include the youth, intellectuals and
the business community. The break up of the MDC in October 2005 was a very
unfortunate development in the history of the opposition and Tsvangirai as
the leader should shoulder most of the blame for the break up.
ZAPU split after its banishment by the Rhodesian government in 1963 and
hence the formation of ZANU. In 1989 Edgar Tekere, then secretary-general
for ZANU PF, was fired from the party after opposing the one party state,
leading to the formation of the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM).
But, Mr Editor, for how long should we cry over spilt milk- the good old
days of the MDC? The writer still has the highest regard for Tsvangirai's
former comrades in arms, the likes of Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube and
Paul Themba Nyathi, as he worked with them during their trade union and NCA
days. I also have no problems with Professor Arthur Mutambara opting not to
stand as a presidential candidate and opting to contest Zengeza constituency
and his support for Dr Simba Makoni for the presidency.
Your comment on Tsvangirai needs repeating "by refusing to embrace other
progressive forces, Tsvangirai is no different from a captain of a losing
team who protests at the entry of a super substitute for fear that the fresh
pair of legs might steal the show."
Your analogy is misplaced, suppose Dynamos FC is playing against its arch
rival Highlanders FC at Rufaro stadium and at half time the scoreline reads
Dynamos 0 - 1 Highlanders. For some strange reason, some spectators (Fingaz
Editor included) shout and ask the Dynamos captain Murape Murape to make way
for Zephania Ngodzo the Highlanders star who is on their bench. Surely this
does not make sense.
What stops Zephania Ngodzo from scoring an own goal, and thus help
Highlanders to increase its tally. The norm, in football, is for the Dynamos
team to use one of the substitutes on its bench. Simba Makoni should be a
super substitute for ZANU PF and not for the MDC Tsvangirai. Simba Makoni
has publicly confirmed that he is an 'independent' presidential candidate
and is not a member of the MDC.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
6 March 2008
Posted to the web 6 March 2008
Johannesburg will this weekend catch Harare's election fever when Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition's (CZC) campaign arrives in that city.
The campaign to be held under the "Rock the Vote concert" banner is aimed at
encouraging millions of Zimbabweans resident in South Africa to return home
and cast their vote in this month's general elections.
CZC has been running a series of voter education campaigns in Zimbabwe use
the medium of music, in various cities and in rural areas across the
CZC says it is now taking the campaign to South Africa because of the large
number of Zimbabweans living and working in that country.
"There are quite a number of registered Zimbabwean voters in South Africa
and all we are doing is to entice them to come back home for just a day and
vote then go back to their bases," said Pedzisayi Ruhanya, CZC Programmes
"We are primarily concerned about South Africa because we know that there
are people there and we would want to make them aware of the processes
taking place back home and help in the democratic process of the country."
A number of local artists, including Sandra Ndebele, Knox, Snipper, Sam
Mtukudzi, Willom Tight, and dance outfit Mambokadzi will perform at the show
alongside some of their South African counterparts.
"All we are saying with the help of these artists is that Zimbabweans take
your time, come back home to vote and assist in resolving the problem back
home," said Ruhanya.
A publicity blitz for the show has been launched at several venues and in
the media in Johannesburg ahead of the show.
6 March 2008
Posted to the web 6 March 2008
Former finance minister and member of the Zanu PF politburo, Simba Makoni is
challenging Robert Mugabe later this month for the leadership of Zimbabwe.
Sehlare Makgetlanen tackles the question of whether he represents a break
from the past or more of the same.
Zimbabwe under the leadership of Mugabe is facing fundamental governance,
democracy and development challenges. It has failed to "legitimately
exercise power and authority over the control and management of the
country's affairs in the interest of the people and in accordance with the
principles of justice, equity, accountability and transparency." Mugabe has
prevented some members of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) from expressing their governance, democracy and development
policy preferences through democratic means to be the president of ZANU-PF
and the country. He regards himself as the only leading judge of what best
serves the national interests of Zimbabwe which include governance,
democracy and development demands, needs and interests of the country and
Mugabe has threatened to be the stumbling block for ZANU-PF to win free and
fair elections and for the resolution of Zimbabwe's governance, democracy
and development problems. Processes and issues leading to true national
self-determination should not be left into the hands of one leader
irrespective of the unquestionable content of his or her commitment to the
liberation cause and that the political leadership including the leadership
in the political administration of the society is the collective process in
which no individual is indispensable. He has in the process mobilised some
members of ZANU-PF to implement their decision to use their strength and
resources in challenging him not only as the president of the party but also
as the president of the country. Those theirs is hostility to the new
leadership of the party and the country as required by the present
situation - the struggle fought for under the pretext of defending the unity
of the party - must be democratically fought against. It is not in the
interest of the country and its people in defending the unity of the party
if its president is against the popular national interests - the governance,
democracy and development demands, needs and interests of the country and
Whether they will use this development to have collective leadership and the
democratic means capable of adequately appropriating Zimbabwe's problems for
their confrontation and resolution remains to be seen. These problems have
intensified. This development led Simba Makoni to challenge Mugabe in the 29
March 2008 presidential elections. What is the present state of Zimbabwe's
national situation? "The Zimbabwe of today," according to Makoni at the
launch of his election manifesto in Harare on 13 February 2008, "is a nation
full of fear, a nation in deep stress, a tense and polarised nation, a
nation also characterised by disease and extreme poverty." It is a nation in
which "immediate and urgent tasks to resolve the food, power and fuel, water
and sanitation problems, resolve health and educational services" should be
Highlighting the gravity of Zimbabwe's socio-political and economic
situation, Makoni in his 5 February 2008 announcement that he would
challenge Mugabe in the 29 March 2008 presidential elections as candidate
pointed out that he shares "the agony and anguish of all citizens over the
extreme hardships we have all endured for nearly 10 years." Admitting the
role played by the national leaders on the development of the national
situation, he told reporters that he also shares "the widely held view that
these hardships are a result of failure of national leadership and that
change at that level is a prerequisite for change at other levels of
national endeavour." He was denied opportunity to a "renewal of the
leadership in the ZANU-PF and country" to end economic crisis and "national
despair." It is for this reason, among others, that what he is "offering is
the chance for hope" to rid Zimbabwe of fear and poverty. The point is that
"we believe that solving these problems will not be intractable, once we
remove the barriers and impediments that bar the expression and pursuit of
our common interest and common purpose." If elected, he promises that he
would "address national issues that separate and divide us as a nation and
institute a process of national healing and reconciliation." Having been
expelled from ZANU-PF, he is standing as an independent presidential
candidate in the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 29
March 2008. He calls upon Zimbabweans particularly members of the party to
join him in his struggle to prevent Mugabe from winning a sixth term in
office. "I particularly invite those compatriots who have been pushed into
despair and despondency, but have the qualities of leadership, to please
enter the race. I also invite those in ZANU-PF who share our yearning for
renewal to contest the election as independent candidates under our banner."
He is contesting elections under the banner of the movement called Dawn
(Mavambo/Kusile), whose logo features a rising sun. "The time for decision
has come. Jump off the fence, climb out of the false comfort zones."
Contrary to Makoni's position, members of the ruling alliance are not in
"the false comfort zones." Theirs are structures of wealth and privileges.
There is essentially nothing new Makoni has pointed out since announcing his
decision to challenge Mugabe in the elections. He has repeated statements
opposition political parties and their critics have been saying about the
country's problems and how to resolve them. On the atrocious abuse of power
and public resources and use of violent measures to deal with dissent and
opposition including within the ruling party, he maintains: "Zimbabweans are
experiencing stress and tension because of the siege mentality in the state,
with the state resorting to violence to suppress dissent, a lack of respect
for the law and gross abuse of state resources." He continues: "National
institutions have been corrupted, privatised and politicised. We are seeing
a scourge of the politics of patronage and gross abuse of power and a
culture of chiefdom." He has served as a senior participant in creating and
sustaining this democracy practice. He continues stating what has been
attributed not only to the ruling party, but also to two factions of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). "There is lack of a national vision
and agenda on the basis which all Zimbabweans could be mobilised for
national reconciliation and revival." What is his vision and agenda on the
basis which Zimbabweans could be mobilised to serve as social agents for
development and progress of their country is the strategic question which he
has so far failed to answer. Predicting a landslide victory in the
elections, he is basing his campaign platform on the revival of the economy
and the restoration of political freedoms and property rights. He claims
that this strategy will "restore our people's independence, dignity and
confidence." This strategy will continue, if he wins elections, in managing
the inequality of power relations between the rulers and the ruled of the
As it happened in the past, members of ZANU-PF were denied their democratic
rights and opportunity to fight for nomination during its December 2007
congress so as to stand as the party's candidate in the 29 March 2008
presidential elections. It endorsed Mugabe as its sole candidate. This
decision ensured that he should not be challenged within the ruling party in
his attempt to be re-elected as the president of the country. Makoni was
defying this decision in announcing that he would challenge him as the
ruling party's candidate in the elections. He maintains that at the December
2007 congress, some party members including himself were prevented from
seeking nomination as its presidential candidate. In his words: "I would
have very much wished to stand as (ZANU-PF) official candidate.
Unfortunately, as we all know, that opportunity was denied to other cadre
who would have offered themselves to serve the party and country."
While Makoni's announcement is viewed by some individuals as a substantial
and welcome addition in the arsenal against Mugabe, the MDC faction led by
Morgan Tsvangirai and civil society organisations aligned to it regard him
as the ruling party agent deployed to divide the opposition vote in the
elections. Tsvangirai dismissed him as "nothing more than old wine in a new
bottle." Lovemore Madhuku was more harsh and brutal. He dismissed him as the
part of the ZANU-PF-state institutional machinery and its project guilty of
many years of its rule. As usual, the ruling party viewed him as the traitor
and agent of imperialist interests. Questions are raised as to whether he is
honest and sincere in his declared challenge to Mugabe. Is he the
intelligence project by supporters of Mugabe designed to identify senior
members of the ruling party who are Mugabe's opponents he maintains support
his campaign? Some are of the view that his aim is to split the opposition
vote - most importantly urban voters who have supported the MDC in the
Why did Makoni decide to challenge Mugabe? At what time did he seriously
convince himself that he should summon his courage to challenge Mugabe? Why
did he announce his decision so late? Is it because his wish to be the
ruling party's official candidate was rejected? Was he forced to make his
decision? If he was forced, who forced him, for what strategic and tactical
reasons? The announcement of his decision raises the key question as to
whether he is a shrewd politician capable of effectively challenging Mugabe.
What are his strategy and tactics to win elections and to effect the
democratic transformation of the state and society? Is his campaign
individual or collective effort? Can the majority of Zimbabweans regard it
as their proud national product? Who within the ruling party are supporting
his campaign? Have they participated in the creation and sustenance of the
current situation? Are they now convinced that Mugabe is threatening their
interests and therefore he should be replaced as the country's president for
their interests to continue being protected? Why they have not publicly
articulated what they stand for - particularly how and for what strategic
and tactical ends Zimbabwe should be governed? He initially stated that he
was standing as an independent presidential candidate within the ruling
party challenging Mugabe. He refused, given his loyalty to the party, to end
his relationship with it. He was embracing leaderless illusion that the
party will not end its relationship with him. As the party correctly pointed
out, he expelled himself from it by making his announcement. He continues,
after expulsion from the party, refusing to provide a critical analysis of
the party and how it ruled the society and articulating this to Zimbabweans
so as to with their support for him to solve problems they have been facing
as he claims to be his key reason why he decided to contest elections. He
continues refusing also to use opportunity to substantiate in practice that
he is independent from the ruling party.
Makoni has so far failed to provide failed to provide alternative vision and
agenda of the future Zimbabwe to that offered by ZANU-PF and two MDC
factions. Despite acute problems confronted by the masses on the daily
basis, his strategy and tactics have failed to meet their demands and needs.
The consequence is that they do not recognise them as expressions of their
own experience. Briefly, they failed to capture their imaginations. Is he
for the authentic national popular democratisation of the society and the
state for the masses of the Zimbabwean people to be the main authority in
achieving, maintaining and expanding their interests? Unless the power to
determine the form and content as well as the timetable of the change is in
the hands of the masses of the people through the leadership of those who
have surrendered their being their representatives to their cause,
unilateral declaration of independence of leaders from the people will
always be the negation of the popular principle, "we are our own
The strategic tasks confronting the masses of Zimbabweans are political. Who
should be their national president and why? How should be their national
problems be resolved? What should be the nature of the future Zimbabwe's
relations with its regional and continental African countries and the rest
of the world particularly developed countries? How best and effectively to
improve the material conditions of the millions of Zimbabweans? These are
some of the questions which should be answered to the satisfaction of the
majority of Zimbabweans.
*Sehlare Makgetlaneng is the head of Southern African and SADC Desk at the
Africa Institute of South Africa.
**Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at
6th Mar 2008 00:06 GMT
By Blessing-Miles Tendi
IBBO Mandaza, Claude Mararike, Vimbai G Chivaura, Sheunesu Mpepereki,
Godfrey Chikowore and Ngugi wa Mirii are key nationalist public
intellectuals who have legitimised ZANU PF authoritarianism at one point or
another since 2000.
They are or once were part of a cabal of nationalist public intellectuals
aligned with ZANU PF that pontificated on current politics and liberation
history, on various ZTV talk shows and prime time news, as 'analysts' and
They resurface in the government-owned press episodically, penning a
superfluity of articles about Zimbabwean and African history, national
elections, and hero worshipping Robert Mugabe.
However, Tafataona Mahoso has loomed larger than any other public
intellectual supportive of ZANU PF. Through the Sunday Mail, Mahoso
manufactures a weekly outflow of theories of Western conspiracy and
political siege against Zimbabwe.
Mahoso depicts Zimbabwe's sovereignty as under threat from America and
Britain. In order to defend Zimbabwe's sovereignty, Zimbabweans are
encouraged to be 'patriotic'. To be 'patriotic' means supporting ZANU PF
because it 'delivered independence'.
Anything short of this is 'unpatriotic' and renders one a 'sell-out' to the
imperialists. Mahoso's intention is to herd Zimbabweans under the umbrella
of eternal ZANU PF authoritarianism. His
arguments are nothing more than a convenient apparatus for absolving ZANU PF
of any responsibility for Zimbabwe's economic, social and political decay.
When I interviewed MDC parliamentarian Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga in
2005, she recounted the following interesting encounter: "I remember
visiting my Glen Norah constituency in 2003 to keep abreast with needs there
and a very old man came to see me. He had a copy of the Sunday Mail. I
thought he had come to ask for food relief or health care assistance. I got
a shock when he started waving his copy of the Sunday Mail in frustration
and asked me, 'could
somebody please respond to Mahoso'".
Disturbingly, that old man's plea remains unmet because we have
continued to allow ZANU PF and the nationalist public intellectuals to
privatize and re-narrate our liberation history to suit their authoritarian
ends. We have allowed them to define what it means to be a patriotic
Zimbabwean and what it means to be a 'sell-out'.
We have stood by while the likes of Mahoso have portrayed human rights and
democracy as unimportant yet the liberation struggle was as much about land
as it was about human rights and democracy.
Mahoso's contention that human rights is Western imperialism, as if
human rights has had no significance in Zimbabwe, independent of
Western-based human rights campaigners, is divorced from Zimbabwe's
historical and contemporary political and historical experience. Human
rights is not rented from the West.
It is an offshoot from the Zimbabwean people's resistance to colonial
oppression. The West does not have a monopoly on the history of human rights
being born out of struggles against oppression. 'Without the experience of
sickness there can be no idea of health.
And without the fact of oppression; there can be no practice of resistance
and no notion of rights'. The Second Chimurenga was a struggle by majority
black Zimbabweans for human rights in the civic sphere and for
self-determination. Self-determination is one of the
central facets of the human rights doctrine hence human rights is
engraved in Zimbabwe's historical trajectory.
Mahoso's writings habitually demonstrate how Western governments invoke
human rights erratically and hypocritically. He is not concerned with the
extent of human rights observance in Zimbabwe because his principal point of
concern is the genuineness of Western governments championing human rights.
Consequently, Mahoso pays little attention to the human rights doctrine
itself, the universal strivings for equality and freedom that have spurred
its proliferation globally, and to the reasons why ordinary Zimbabwean
citizens, the local human rights community and the MDC, resort to human
In making the unmasking of Western double standards on human rights a
central pursuit, Mahoso implies that uncovering Western double standards is
of greater consequence than the ZANU PF government's human rights abuses.
Nothing could be further from the truth than this. Struggles for human
rights have had and continue to have a local history. Zimbabwe's local human
rights community, opposition and citizens have their own particular and
legitimate reasons for believing in and invoking human rights language.
They have legitimate reasons particular to the Zimbabwean historical and
political context - the emergence of ZANU PF's authoritarian nationalism,
for instance - for resorting to human rights language and appealing to
external human rights promoters for support, no matter how selective or
hypocritical that support may be.
Zimbabweans must reclaim their history from ZANU PF and its
intellectuals. We ought to speak strongly to the true values of Zimbabwe's
liberation history in the independent media. Is the state of affairs in
Zimbabwe today a reflection of the liberation values that we fought for? Are
we articulating a compelling defence of the validity of human rights and
democracy in Zimbabwe? Does sovereignty lie with ZANU PF elites or
Zimbabwean citizens? Who are the REAL 'sell-outs' standing in contradiction
to Chimurenga ideals - ZANU PF, MDC or civil society?
ZANU PF and its intellectuals have manipulated ideas and our history to
legitimise their undemocratic practices since 2000 while many of us have
been ensconced in the false sense of security that we are 'right'. Civil
society and the opposition need to absolve themselves of the misguided
belief that because they are 'right' they do not need to confront the likes
Any public intellectual who argues, as Mahoso did in the Sunday Mail in
February 2008, that 'President Mugabe is the future' when Mugabe has
presided over unprecedented economic and social decline is an irresponsible
intellectual whose ideas should be challenged robustly. It is tempting to
state that Mahoso's writings must be quarantined in an asylum for deranged
ideas but, instead, they ought to be challenged and discredited for being
the threat to national security that they are.
*Blessing-Miles Tendi is a researcher at Oxford University. Email:
Thursday, 06 March 2008 10:12
HARARE - A shortage of blood and its by-products has hit Zimbabwe, the
country's blood bank said this week, revealing the country only had a paltry
1,000 units of blood instead of the requisite 3,000 units.
National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) spokesman Emmanuel
Masvikeni said the early closure of schools ahead of the March 29 poll was
likely to exacerbate an already dire situation.
The lack of the vital health product has been precipitated by scarce
fuel and foreign exchange.
Blood, essential in surgical operations, for haemophiliacs and for
transfusions after major accidents, is the latest product to join the list
of shortages in the southern African country.
Among the basics in short supply so far has been petroleum-based
fuels, water, electricity and food.
Zimbabwe's opposition blames the shortages on economic mismanagement,
while President Mugabe says they are a result of a Western plot to topple
Persistent fuel shortages had also adversely affected the blood
NBTS mobile units normally move to schools, factories and commercial
offices collecting blood from donors, but the lack of fuel has impacted
negatively on the collection.
The shortages "has led to shortages and intermittent supply of blood
and blood components to hospitals nationwide," Masvikeni said.
"The foreign currency shortage has put severe and enormous pressure on
NBTS, as the import of essential plasma derivatives is no longer possible,"
Plasma is essential for transfusion to haemophiliacs and is imported
because the country does not have the technology to extract it from donated
Masvikeni said everything that is imported, including test kits and
anti-D, administered to Rhesus-negative mothers shortly after giving birth,
were in short supply.
The blood bank said donors were also feeling compromised because the
traditional "donor comforts" or refreshments given to them after donating
blood were not readily available.
Health and Child Welfare minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa, told a
visiting Tanzanian delegation last week that Zimbabwe's blood bank was
certified safe because of its ability to screen for HIV and Aids and other
He said the NBTS was the first institution in Africa to attain an
International Organisation for Standardisation Certificate for quality and
safe blood. But said shortages were undoing the gains made by the country.
Thursday, 06 March 2008 10:14
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum was very surprised to see the
alleged interview in Zimbabwe with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,
Professor Manfred Nowak as reported in The Zimbabwean on 28.02.08.
We do not believe the interview took place although we cannot be sure.
The Forum hosted an invitation only event at Meikles Hotel in Harare
on February 23, 2008. Professor Nowak was on a 24-hour private visit to
Zimbabwe. We were honoured to have Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture join our celebrations as a special guest. In accepting
the invitation to be the main speaker the Special Rapporteur made it clear
that he did so on the understanding that officials from the Government of
Zimbabwe would also be invited as he is keen to continue pursing the
possibility of an official invitation from the Government.
The Forum opened the meeting by stating clearly that the Special
Rapporteur could not talk about Zimbabwe in particular but only about
torture in general. This was respected by all those who participated in the
event. The Special Rapporteur made no Zimbabwe specific comments. During
the event and the subsequent question and answer session, no journalist from
The Zimbabwean or any other news outlet identified themselves.
A press release issued by the Forum invited members of the press
wishing to see Professor Nowak to come to Meikles Hotel on Sunday 24
February. No journalists from The Zimbabwean or any outlet turned up to
NOEL KUTUTWA, Chair Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Chief Reporter's response: Prof Nowak did not make it clear to me that
he was on a private visit to Zimbabwe and therefore off-the-record during
the entire duration of our interview on the sidelines of the 10th
anniversary of the NGO Forum at the Meikles Hotel on February 23.
We apologise for betraying the confidence of Prof Nowak but vehemently
reject any suggestion that we did not follow due process. His remarks were
published with good intentions and in the public interest and this was in no
way meant to malign him.
By Fikile Mapala
Last updated: 03/07/2008 01:32:38
ZIMBABWE'S former information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has launched
a withering attack on independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni,
describing his election bid as "ridiculous" and "bizarre".
Moyo, who is the independent MP for Tsholotsho constituency in Matabeleland
North province, likened Makoni to a "bad doctor" giving a patient the wrong
medicine after making the correct diagnosis.
Moyo said: "Simba Makoni is giving the people of Zimbabwe an independent
candidate when what the people want is a united front of all progressive
The former Zanu PF government spokesman, speaking at the Harare Quill Club
on Wednesday night, said although he had succeeded as an independent MP in
Tsholotsho, he thought Makoni would not win as an independent in the March
He said: "I am an independent candidate myself and people would expect me to
be saying very nice things about Simba Makoni. But I have not allowed myself
to get carried away by that achievement. My situation is different because I
don't intend to form a government."
Moyo said it is not ideal for a presidential candidate to be an independent
and not be answerable to a formal political organisation or institution with
checks and balances.
Moyo explained: "Politics is about being part of a group. A President cannot
be stand alone. A President should be a member of a group with formal
structures, obligations and principles. It's different when you want to be
an MP for a constituency like Tsholotsho."
Moyo, a former Zanu PF politiburo member and respected academic, expressed
concern at Makoni's insistence that he did not need a political party
because he was "in alliance with the people of Zimbabwe".
He said: "When you say you are an independent and you are in alliance with
the people of Zimbabwe, saying you will form a national authority, you scare
some of us."
Moyo said it was practically impossible for one individual to form an
alliance with all the people adding that the claim was "ridiculous by
The Tsholotsho MP said the only people who were known to claim to be in
alliance with the people are dictators who did not want to be answerable to
a formal political grouping.
Moyo claimed that Makoni's presidential bid was an informal way by
disgruntled Zanu PF members of dealing with the succession issue after
failing to outflank President Robert Mugabe from within the party.
He said the forthcoming presidential election was going to be a succession
election in which all Zimbabweans would, by default, be involved in dealing
with an issue that Zanu PF members had failed to resolve as a political
Moyo added that Makoni was not an alternative leader to Zimbabweans but only
another leadership option for Zanu PF members who were opposed to Mugabe's
He said: "Makoni is not much of an alternative. He is leading another
faction in Zanu PF. Makoni is the leader of Zanu PF-B and Mugabe is leading
"Makoni's people have said they only want to change the bus driver. But
Zimbabweans are saying they want more than that. They want a new driver and
a damn new bus and maybe even a new destination."
The political science professor said Makoni's "third force" should not be
confused with his long advocated "third way" as there was marked difference
between the two.
He lamented that the Makoni project was an unaccountable shadowy third force
with no organisational structures and lacking transparency which
astonishingly expected to be treated seriously by the electorate.
Moyo said: "To tell us that you are a third force employing a military
strategy to win elections in a modern society like ours and expect us to be
impressed is to ask for too much. It's not only old fashioned; it's also a
bizarre way of doing politics."
Moyo also said he was concerned that some of the individuals spearheading
the Makoni project were unrepentant former 5 Brigade operatives who had been
involved in the senseless killing of innocent people in Matabeleland and
Midlands provinces in the early 80's during what is known as Gukurahundi.
Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi, a top official in the Makoni project, as a
member of the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade which was involved in the
massacre of an approximated 20,000 people during the military incursion, it
Moyo said: "Whoever said the devil you know is better than the devil you don't
know was speaking from experience. An opportunity to change things has been
squandered. But I don't think that an aspiring president standing as an
independent represents much of an alternative."
Moyo who said he had profound respect for Dumiso Dabengwa, said it was
"unfortunate" that the former Zipra intelligence supremo had decided to be
part of the Makoni project.
Makoni is up against President Robert Mugabe and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in key elections on March
by Edith Kaseke Friday 07 March 2008
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is loosening the purse strings by parceling
out farm machinery in a desperate bid to overcome the double threat from a
former ally and an old foe who have promised to defeat him in elections at
The ageing Mugabe, still adored by some on the African continent but equally
loathed by many over rights abuse charges, will at the weekend hand out
tractors, motor cycles, combine harvesters, generators, small farm
implements and cows to beneficiaries of his controversial land seizures.
The farm equipment programme is being funded by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono, who is accused by critics of raiding the central bank's
coffers to prop up an unpopular regime.
Traditional chiefs, who have publicly backed Mugabe's candidacy, have also
seen their financial allowances raised while soldiers woke up last month to
find billions of Zimbabwe dollars in their accounts. Mugabe on Wednesday
told striking teachers they would soon get a pay rise.
"This programme has been going on for some time but I think the timing
leaves no one in doubt that Mugabe is trying to buy votes. You can call it
tractors for votes," said John Makumbe, a political science lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe and bitter critic of Mugabe.
Mugabe could face his sternest political test in a presidential race against
expelled ruling ZANU-PF party politburo member Simba Makoni and old rival
Morgan Tsvangirai of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
Only a month ago, pundits were predicting an easy win for Mugabe against a
divided opposition but the entrance of Makoni seems to have re-energised
voters, analysts say, adding that Mugabe was now fighting for his political
Makoni's bid was boosted last weekend when he won the backing of ZANU PF
politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, but it remains to be seen whether this
would be enough to weaken Mugabe or make Makoni a serious contender for the
"From all this, you can understand why Mugabe is resorting to the national
purse even as he knows it has a great cost to the economy. I suppose the end
justifies the means really. He desperately needs votes," said Makumbe.
Zimbabwe is facing a devastating economic crisis that has sent inflation
spiraling beyond 100 000 percent, fanned unemployment and resulted in
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.
Mugabe's critics are quick to blame the meltdown on the seizures of
white-owned farms to resettle blacks, many of who lack commercial farming
skills and have battled with shortages of inputs in the past five years.
In the current farming season, the government could only supply 10 percent
of the fertilizer required by farmers. But some farmers have in turn sold
inputs like fuel and seed on a thriving black market, where they realise
Gono has acknowledged the rampant abuse of government inputs, even blaming
it on Mugabe's senior lieutenants, but no one has been brought to book.
"We will see again most of this equipment going down the drain as long as
the sanctity of property rights is not addressed," economic consultant John
"No matter how many tractors or generators we buy, if we do not address the
issue of land as a free enterprise which can be freely traded using it as
collateral, we will not achieve growth in the agriculture sector," he added.
Mugabe has made the emotive land issue the central plank of his election
campaigns since 2000. While it resonates with Zimbabweans, many are
beginning to ask whether it was wise to displace established white
commercial farmers and replace them with either incompetent or inadequately
funded black peasant farmers.
Zimbabwe has become a net food importer having lost its breadbasket status
partly because of erratic weather in recent years but largely because black
villagers resettled on former white farmers failed to maintain production.
The defiant Mugabe says the land reform programme is irreversible but Makoni
and Tsvangirai say they will address the critical issue of multiple farm
holders, repossess non-productive farms and cap the size of the farms. -
by Prince Nyathi Friday 07 March 2008
HARARE - Workers at the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) have
given the government two weeks to review salaries or they would join school
teachers on strike, compounding problems for a cash-strapped administration
that faces voters in month-end elections.
Public school teachers went on strike last week to press for more pay saying
recent increases that lifted salaries to more than Z$500 million on average
were overtaken by inflation, which at more than 100 000 percent is the
highest in the world.
In a letter dated March 3, the National Education Union of Zimbabwe (NUEZ)
gave the Ministry of Labour 14 days to resolve the salary dispute or ZIMSEC
workers would go on strike.
"ZIMSEC employees cannot bear the position anymore. We are therefore left
with no option but to declare a dispute," NUEF secretary general Headman
Mangwadu said in the letter notifying the government of workers' intention
The least paid worker at ZIMSEC earns $350 million per month, nearly US$12
000 at the official exchange rate of $30 000 to one American dollar. The
figure is whittled down to a measly US$15 at the widely used parallel market
rate of one greenback to about $24 million.
Both ZIMSEC spokesperson Ngoni Pasipamire and Education Minister Aeneas
Chigwedere were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Hundreds of professionals among them teachers, engineers, doctors and nurses
have fled Zimbabwe's economic crisis to seek better paying jobs and living
conditions in neighbouring countries and as far afield as Britain, Australia
and New Zealand.
However, analysts say an unfair playing field guarantees Mugabe victory at
the polls despite clear evidence he has failed to break an acute recession
marked by hyperinflation, rising unemployment and shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency. - ZimOnline
by Lizwe Sebatha Friday 07 March 2008
KWEKWE - At least 100 people in the Midlands town of Kwekwe have been hit by
a severe bout of diarrhoea blamed on failure by local council authorities to
provide clean and safe drinking water to residents.
According to officials in the Kwekwe city council, diarrhoea cases that also
showed cholera-like symptoms were recorded at local clinics in the town that
like every urban area in Zimbabwe has to make do with broken down sewer
systems and infrastructure as the country grapples economic recession.
Kwekwe town clerk, Ngwena Musara, told ZimOnline yesterday that diarrhoea
cases were on the rise due to frequent water cuts in the town that have
forced residents to source water from unprotected wells.
"There is an upsurge in the number of people especially children, reporting
with symptoms of diarrhoea at the municipal clinics. Most of the over 100
cases reported are those of people who had contracted diarrhoea.
"Residents are being forced to rely on unsafe and untreated water from
unprotected places as ZINWA (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) is failing
to provide clean water," said Musara.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Edwin Muguti admitted that water borne
diseases were on the rise in Zimbabwe due to poor sanitation and a shortage
of water that has seen residents in towns go for days without water
"Water, sanitation and sewage problems are not new things in most of the
urban centres in Zimbabwe. Water-borne diseases are therefore common," said
On Wednesday, Health and Child Welfare secretary Edward Mabhiza said four
people had died of cholera in Shamva, about 100km north of Harare, bring the
number of those of who have died from the disease to 15 since last month.
The water crisis, just one among a plethora of hardships Zimbabweans have to
shoulder, has seen residents in towns and cities risk their health by
accessing water from shallow and unprotected wells exposing themselves to
water-borne diseases. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
06 March 2008
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a non-governmental organization, is
bringing its Rock the Vote campaign to South Africa to encourage Zimbabwe
expatriates living there to go home and vote in national elections to be
held on March 29.
An estimated 2 million Zimbabweans have moved to South Africa in search of
political asylum or economic survival. The Harare government of President
Robert Mugabe has refused to allow Zimbabwean expatriates to vote, however.
The Crisis Coalition has organized a pro-voting concert Sunday in Joubert
Park, Johannesburg, which will feature such well-known Zimbabwean musicians
as Sam Mtukudzi, Sandra Ndebele and Willom Tight.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Program Officer Nixon Nyikadzano told reporter
Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the organization hopes the
free concert will become a platform for engagement to bring about change in
It is to be the final concert in a tour that has reached most parts of
By Jonga Kandemiiri
06 March 2008
Despite statements to the contrary from other quarters, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission insisted on Thursday that police officers will remain
at least 100 meters from polling stations on election day, March 29,
dismissing reports that the country's Electoral Act has been amended by an
Commission spokesman Utloile Salaigwana said the Electoral Act stands as
amended by parliament and that under the provisions of the act police
officers will not be allowed into polling places and will be obliged to
remain 100 meters away.
He was responding to reported statements by the deputy police commander of
Victoria Falls, named Makhala, saying the law was amended by President
The officer was said to have told a meeting of political parties Tuesday in
Victoria Falls that police would be allowed into polling stations based on a
presidential amendment to the Electoral Act. VOA reached Makhala but he
declined to comment.
Victoria Falls municipal council candidate Paulos Chiliwede of the
opposition formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that such statements will create
confusion among voters and officials.
Published: 7 Mar 08 - 0:00
A Chinese business delegation that visited Zimbabwe late last month said
companies from the Asian giant were keen to invest in the Southern African
country's gold- and platinum-mining sector.
China's Deputy Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng, said the Chinese
government was interested in pursuing exploration projects in Zimbabwe,
especially in the gold and platinum sectors.
He said the Zimbabwean government "was delighted" after the Chinese
expressed interest in the country's mineral resources.
Zimbabwe's Mines Minister, Amos Midzi, confirmed that the country's mining
sector "was heading for better times" after the Chinese delegation committed
itself to investing in the minerals sector.
The 22-member delegation consisted of mining, exploration and trade experts.
"The visit has been very helpful; we have agreed to what the delegation has
asked for from us. They want gold and platinum exploration and investment
opportunities and we are willing, as government, to partner them because
they are sincere investors," he said.
President Robert Mugabe, who met with the delegation, hailed the Chinese for
standing by his government, which has been shunned by the UK, the US and
other Western nations, which accuse him of human rights abuses, rigging
elections and ruining the economy.
"This friendship is rooted in a formidable relationship, but we now need to
embark on developing this relationship of cooperation with programmes that
would enhance and continue what we have built over the years," Mugabe is
reported to have said during the meeting in Harare.
There are two producer of platinum in the country at present, Zimbabwe
Platinum Mines and Mimosa Platinum Mines. The world's largest platinum
producer, Anglo Platinum, is developing another platinum mine in the
The Chinese have already entered Zimbabwe's mining sector, after Chinese
mining and trading group Sinosteel bought a stake in Zimasco Consolidated
Enterprises, the holding company for Zimbabwe's largest ferrochrome
Zimasco produces 210 000 t of high-carbon ferrochrome annually, accounting
for about 4% of global ferrochrome production.
State-owned Sinosteel and Zimasco inked the deal on Sept. 19 last year.
China's investment drive in Africa's resources sector has been met with
mixed reactions, with some viewing it as a new form of colonialism.