Monday, 07 March 2011 08:59
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
FOR the first time since the formation of the Government of National Unity
(GNU) two years ago, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week chaired an
explosive Cabinet meeting, authoritative sources have revealed.
Ministers traded insults while discussing issues of sanctions, diamonds and
the political violence that has engulfed the country, the sources said. It
has since been resolved that a special cabinet meeting be held to address
the contentious issues.
The Tuesday meeting came up with a number of decisions that could indicate
Mugabe’s willingness to make concessions on various outstanding issues in
the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader has been a nominal deputy
chairperson of the Cabinet because Mugabe has previously been denying him
the chance to chair the meetings in his absence.
In most cases, Cabinet meetings were postponed because the 87-year-old
leader was not available to chair them.
“The Prime Minister chaired a heated cabinet meeting on Tuesday,” said one
source who attended the meeting.
“This was after the President had excused himself and left the room. We were
actually shocked by that development because this has never happened
The sources said even after Mugabe came back Tsvangirai continued to chair
“I am not sure why he left the room but Tsvangirai chaired until the meeting
was finished,” said another source. “I think he (Mugabe) might not have been
feeling fine or he has changed his position that the PM does not chair those
Cabinet convened only once this year on Tuesday after having last met on
December 18 before Mugabe took his annual leave.
A fortnight ago, Mugabe said he could convene meetings twice per week to
make up for the time he was away on leave.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed that the Prime
Minister chaired last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
“The Prime Minister indeed chaired Cabinet at the request of the President
which is not anomalous because he is deputy to the chair of Cabinet,” said
“In fact, this is what should happen, especially in the absence of the
President to ensure that Cabinet continues to transact business of the
“The absence of one principal must not stop people’s business from being
transacted by this important body.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba were
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:24
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
ZIMBABWE’S political parties have been unanimous in rejecting Zanu PF’s much
publicised anti-sanctions campaign as a self-serving measure.
President Robert Mugabe on Wed-nesday officiated at a mass rally in Harare
where a petition to have the European Union (EU) and United States sanctions
targeted at about 200 individuals and some state- owned companies lifted.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the anti-sanctions
campaign was an excuse to unleash violence on voters ahead of elections
expected later this year.
“If a leopard wants to eat its cubs, it first accuses them of smelling like
a goat,” said MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
“If it’s the issue of sanctions why are we beating each other? Why are we
forcing people to attend meetings? Why are we terrorising each other in the
Chamisa said Zanu PF was good at finding excuses for problems it was causing
and never took responsibility.
His sentiments were echoed by Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller MDC
faction who said Zanu PF was actually working hard to see to it that the
“Zanu PF needs sanctions,” Ncube said. “Zanu PF’s strategy is to have the
sanctions continue being re-enforced so that they can beat us up, so that
they won’t fully implement the outstanding issues on the Global Political
“Imagine if there were no sanctions. What would their election campaign be
Gibbs Kamba-Gotora, who leads a little-known Zimbabwe Organised Political
Party (Zoopp) said Zanu PF was trying to hide behind the sanctions instead
of taking responsibility for its shortcomings.
“Zoopp will not join the petition frenzy because this action does not answer
to dictates of common sense and understanding,” Gotora said.
Ibbo Mandaza, a political analyst said Zanu PF was trying to create a
campaign platform and would thrive on the misinformation to confuse the
“They are capitalising on that to exaggerate and create this scenario where
they are blaming everything on the sanctions,” he said. “If the EU and
America are to remove the sanctions Zanu PF would be hard put.”
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said they would not have taken the pain to
launch the petition if they did not want the sanctions to go.
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:23
INFORMAL traders in Mbare are counting their losses after they were forced
to close shop and attend the launch of Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions petition on
Marauding Zanu PF youths rampaged through Mbare and Mupedzanhamo markets
shepherding the traders to the Glamis Arena where President Robert Mugabe
officiated at the much hyped rally.
Various reports put the attendance figures at 20 000 but indications are
that many did not go to the venue voluntarily.
Even in downtown Harare some shops were forced to close their doors fearing
that the excited Zanu PF youths might go on a looting spree, similar to the
destruction that followed their demonstration against foreign businesspeople
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the force was not aware that
traders were forced to attend the rally.
“I can confirm that as the police, we are not aware of any reports
concerning the issue of residents who were forced by Zanu PF youths to
attend any rally,” he said.
But several vendors and small-scale business owners in Mbare said they
incurred heavy losses on Wednesday because of forced closures.
They said the volatile township, which has become the hotbed of political
violence pitting Zanu PF and MDC-T youths was increasingly becoming hostile
Some claimed that Zanu PF had deployed “spies” especially at Mupedzanhamo
who monitored their activities.
Several vendors at Mbare Musika said they feared they would not be able to
raise rentals for their stalls as a result of the political disturbances.
“We pay US$38 direct to the council and US$50 when leasing other people’s
tables and these disruptions might make it difficult for us to raise the
rentals,” said another vendor who requested anonymity fearing reprisals.
Vendors at Mupedzanhamo who pay as much a monthly US$100 per table
complained that they were failing to pay their rent considering that
business had been low since last year December because of violence.
Several workers also reported late to work after public transporters were
diverted to the venue of the rally.
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:32
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE AND NQOBANI NDLOVU
POLICE yesterday allegedly barred the MDC-T from holding meetings in
Mashonaland East, West and Bulawayo provinces saying the security forces
were on high alert.
The MDC-T is holding restructuring meetings ahead of its congress expected
Sources said the police and army were on high alert amid fears of a repeat
of the Egypt and Tunisia uprisings that toppled entrenched dictatorships.
At least 45 activists, including former MDC-T MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, are in
remand prison after they were charged with treason for watching a video of
the North African protests.
Last week planned demonstrations against President Robert Mu-gabe’s 31-year
long rule failed to take off after a heavy deployment of police and
Lucia Matibenga, an MDC-T executive member who had travelled to Bulawayo to
oversee the province’s restructuring yesterday said they were forced to
disperse after police in riot gear descended on the venue.
“We have a congress coming and so we are in the middle of restructuring and
because of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) we have to seek police
clearance and that is why we were holding the meeting inside our party
offices,” she said.
“At about 12 noon two police officers, Superintendent Fumai and another
Superintendent Moyo came to our offices saying they had been sent by a Chief
Superintendent Masina to tell us to disperse because the country was on high
Matibenga said she tried to reason with the officers that the meeting was
private to no avail.
Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena professed
ignorance when asked about the ban yesterday.
But a tough-talking MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti described the police
actions as “fascist”.
He said the MDC-T may be forced to review its participation in the inclusive
government if the trend continued.
“The police have no powers to stop public gatherings and the police can’t be
the agency and hangman of a fading and expiring political party,” Biti said.
He said the arrests of activists, including Gwisai and MDC-T MP Douglas
Mwonzora, were in violation of the constitution.
Police have also refused to grant the Welshman Ncube-led MDC permission to
hold a rally on March 12.
But Zanu PF was allowed to hold its rally at the Glamis Arena on Wednesday
where President Robert Mugabe launched the party’s anti-sanctions petition.
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:25
BY OUR STAFF
POLICE Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s attempts to blame all the
political violence on MDC-T while defending Zanu PF has re-ignited debate on
whether he is fit to occupy the non-partisan office.
Chihuri last week told MPs that senior MDC-T leaders were responsible for
the political violence rocking the country.
He singled out Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and Home Affairs
co-minister Theresa Makone who he claimed were abusing their offices.
The top cop’s statements were at variance with observations from local
political parties, NGOs, churches and international organisations that have
accused Zanu PF of perpetrating most of the violence.
Last month police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Zanu PF and MDC-T were
equally to blame for the violence.
But Chihuri said no Zanu PF member had been arrested because they had not
committed any crimes.
MDC-T said Chihuri was a “biased, partisan Zanu PF activist masquerading as
a national, professional police chief.”
“For the record, we find it strange and abhorrent that as a public servant
Chihuri has the audacity to rubbish his own Minister of Home Affairs,
Theresa Makone, and the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe,
and accuse them of causing violence in Zimbabwe today,” MDC-T said in a
“It is also unbelievable that as the head of the police force, Chihuri has
decided to ignore investigations into the 2008 violence as directed by the
Global Political Agreement.”
MDC-T said facts on the ground showed that Zanu PF militias were responsible
for most of the political murders, assaults and destruction of property.
Police are accused of going after the victims of the violence and giving the
Zanu PF youths immunity from prosecution.
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:22
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly agreed to an out of court
settlement with the Bulawayo woman who claims the popular politician
fathered her three-month old son.
Last week 23-year-old Loreta Nyathi sensationally claimed that Tsvangirai
was neglecting their son named Ethan.
She was preparing to drag the PM to court to force him to contribute towards
the baby’s upkeep.
It has since emerged that Tsvangirai moved in swiftly after The Standard
broke the story by appointing prominent Harare lawyer Innocent Chagonda to
deal with the matter.
On Wednesday Nyathi confirmed that Chagonda had communicated with her lawyer
Josphat Tshuma of Webb Low and Barry and indicated that they wanted to
settle the issue amicably.
“Tsvangirai’s lawyers have made contact with my lawyer and from the
information I have received they want us to have an out of court
settlement,” she said.
But later in the week Nyathi was no longer taking any telephone calls.
Tshuma said he needed permission from Nyathi to comment on the issue.
Chagonda refused to comment on the matter saying he could not discuss the
case on the phone.
He said he would only be available for an appointment this week.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka was also not willing to comment
on the matter.
“I have said these folktales will not divert the Prime Minister’s attention
from issues seizing his mind, which are the need for transparency in the
mining of diamonds in Chiadzwa, state sponsored violence and the salaries
for our patriotic civil servants,” he said.
Tsvangirai and Nyathi allegedly first met in 2009 at the Churchill Arms
Hotel in Bulawayo where they were introduced to each other by a mutual
The two are said to have kept in touch through phone calls and text messages
before they met again in February last year when Tsvangirai was on a tour to
assess the food situation in Matabeleland.
They reportedly met at the Holiday Inn where they became intimate and Nyathi
claims that is when she fell pregnant.
Nyathi’s father, Englam, who was a ZBC disc jockey, had said he did not know
about the father of her daughter’s son until The Standard sought his
comment. He said he preferred that the matter be solved through traditional
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:18
THE United States has called on the security forces to “stand up to the few
extremists” among them and reject the use of violence against fellow
Susan Page, the US deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs made the
remarks on Friday during a visit to Zimbabwe.
“We recognise that not everyone within the Zimbabwe Republic Police and
armed forces supports or is engaged in violence,” she said.
“The United States applauds those patriots serving their fellow citizens and
their country by maintaining law, order and stability.
“I urge these security service members to stand up to the partisan few among
them who are intent on abusing their positions, and their fellow citizens,
for personal gain.
“Service to extremists within one party is not service to the nation.”
Page said the US believes Zanu PF would be a part of Zimbabwe’s future.
—By Our Staff
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:14
The chairing of the Cabinet meeting by Tsvangirai came a week after the MDC
leader openly told Mugabe at a principals’ meeting on February 25 2011 that
he would be held accountable for the violence against citizens by soldiers
as he was the commander-in-chief of Defence Forces.
Documents shown to The Standard indicate that Tsvangirai told the principals
at the meeting that the deployment of soldiers in rural areas was
undermining civil authority.
The issue of deployment of soldiers has been discussed in several National
Security Council (NSC) meetings but no solution has been reached.
“The commanders have not furnished the NSC with reports as legitimately
expected nor have they carried out the implied direction of the NSC to
account for and recall to barracks all soldiers that were deployed under the
Maguta programme or AS (Army Special) duties,” reads the document in part.
Tsvangirai also told Mugabe the security sector had been undermining the
authority of the Prime Minister for the past two years.
The documents say there has been reluctance from both line ministries and
the service chiefs to accept the new dispensation “coupled with a deliberate
display of disrespect” for the Prime Minister’s office.
“Instead a trend is discernible where there is an attempt to create
exclusive zones where the military and the security sector are seen as equal
and competing institutions,” says the document.
“The same observation applies to the conduct of the PSC (Public Service
Commission) chairman Dr (Mariyawanda) Nzuwa who, in contravention of
executive authority of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe continues
to decline effecting appointments to the Prime Minister’s staff.”
This conduct, says the document, frustrates efforts in terms of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) to have national institutions that are not
Tsvangirai also complained that the appointment of a security advisor and
VIP protection to the Prime Minister was being frustrated through a variety
of excuses for the past two years.
“It is clear that the appointment of the security advisor to the Prime
Minister and that of the VIP protection is provided for under the
Presidential Directive that forms the basis of the CIO (Central Intelligence
Organisation),” said the document. “In all cases it is the President that is
the ultimate authority in the appointment of staff into intelligence
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:08
BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
BULAWAYO — Three leaders of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), which is
pushing for a separate Matabeleland state, are facing treason charges
following a police swoop on Thursday and Friday.
Although two of the activists were released on Friday evening after
interrogations, the five including 2002 independent president candidate Paul
Siwela are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
MLF officials said the five who include John Gazi, a prominent war veteran
in the city who is the party’s secretary general, were detained at Bulawayo
Central Police station.
Sabelo Ngwenya, the party’s legal affairs secretary who is based in
Johannesburg, said Charles Gumbo, the MLF deputy secretary for security was
the first to be arrested on Thursday for distributing fliers.
On Friday Nonsikelelo Ncube (deputy chairperson), Gazi, Ntombizodwa Moyo
(deputy information and publicity officer) and Siwela were picked up.
A source said the detectives were mainly interested in getting access to the
party’s documents and information on some of the party’s leaders based in
“This is a deliberate act of intimidation designed to prevent MLF from
campaigning for secession,” Ngwenya said.
“The regime knows that our people were coerced into being part of Zimbabwe
and as such they see us as a threat.
“We are going to mobilise people to force the regime to release all our
cadres in detention. We are also going to highlight the same to the
MLF was launched in Bulawayo in December last year and it has been openly
campaigning for the secession of the Matabeleland provinces to create what
it calls Mthwakazi Republic.
Last week, the group formally wrote to President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai demanding the creation of a separate state citing
“continued marginalisation” of Matabeleland.
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:29
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
AS President Robert Mugabe’s staunch ally Muammar Gaddafi battles to
violently halt revolt against his four decade long reign, questions are
being asked if the Libyan leader would become the second fallen dictator to
seek refuge in Zimbabwe.
Former Ethiopian strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was slapped with the
death penalty in his own country for slaughtering hundreds of people, lives
like a king at a farm in Norton and in Harare’s leafy Gunhill suburb.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said they were
open to the idea of Gaddafi fleeing to Zimbabwe, in the first indication
that such an option could be on the table.
“I was almost rendered speechless by the idea of him and Mu-gabe coming
together,” Clinton told journalists in Geneva.
“And if the violence could be ended by his leaving, that might be a good
The speculation might not be far-fetched following claims — although
dismissed by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa — that Zimbabwe has given
Gaddafi military support in the war against his own people.
Besides, the Gaddafi family is known to already have vast business interests
In August last year, one of Gaddafi’s sons, Saadi, who is a former
professional footballer, was in the country ostensibly to scout for business
He was taken to the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo where he reportedly
promised to make a big investment to ensure that the construction of the dam
is finally completed.
Water Resources Development and Management minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo
yesterday said they had not made a follow up on the promise.
“Basically it was not our initiative,” Nkomo said. “We had gone to the dam
as the parent ministry and Gaddafi’s son was brought by (Tourism minister)
Walter Mzembi. I don’t know what Mzembi will do now considering developments
Saadi was also taken to Victoria Falls and according to Mzembi, expressed
interest in investing in various sectors of the economy. He ended his trip
by paying a courtesy call on Mugabe.
Several efforts to reach Mzembi for a comment on the matter were
Celebrities and institutions throughout the world are falling over each
other to return money they got from the Gaddafi regime because of the
But Zimbabwe has remained tightlipped on the Libyan issue even when its
neighbours join the rest of the world in condemning the regime’s excesses.
Although a deal between Mu-gabe and Gaddafi to bring fuel to Zimbabwe
collapsed, observers say it is possible that one of Africa’s longest rulers
has other interests in the country.
A court case, in August last year, where a former ZBC employee was accused
of defrauding the Libyan government of US$4 million revealed that the
Gaddafis might have invested in real estate in the country.
Stanley Masendo was accused of siphoning the money from a company known as
Crieff Investments, which later changed to Aldawlia Investments.
The company bought 12 haulage trucks and properties, which included 10 flats
in Harare, which were left under Masendo’s management.
In 2002 there were also reports that President Mugabe’s wife Grace had sold
her mansion in Borrowdale to Gaddafi.
The construction of the mansion known as Gracelands had caused controversy
amid allegations that it was built using funds meant for poor civil
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:28
BY JENNIFER DUBE
LARGE cracks run through the walls and some bricks are loosely hanging in
But an army of children spend the day criss-crossing the rooms oblivious of
the squalor and the danger posed by the crumbling walls.
Welcome to Geneva Hostels in Highfield, which were constructed in 1976 and
were named after the conference convened to negotiate Zimbabwe’s
This is where you find a family of 15 living in one big room partitioned to
small bedrooms to give the married ones some modicum of privacy.
“This place used to be a dump site and before long, it was graded and these
low-cost houses built at an alarming speed to accommodate many of us who
were still bachelors,” said Chrispen Chiguvare, who has been a resident
“The houses were later handed over to us and we started paying rent.
“The rule that barred women from these houses changed when we got married
and raised our families here.”
Tired of the squalor, the Geneva residents recently petitioned the Harare
City Council demanding that the municipality stop charging them rentals.
They also sought council’s help to secure alternative accommodation.
Since independence, various councils have pledged to provide proper
accommodation for the families but nothing has materialised.
When the hostels were constructed, a room was allocated to three bachelors
who partitioned it to make small bedrooms. They also shared a small kitchen.
The toilets, now in a dilapidated state, are outside and are shared by at
least three families each.
“We live like rats in a small hole,” said 61-year-old Stella Rugonye.
“It was better in the past because children could fit under the bed but now
they are grown up and we have to share one room with our sons,
daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
“It becomes worse when our daughters visit with their husbands.”
Mbuya Samora (65) said she and 10 other members of her family, mainly
orphaned grandchildren, have to face different directions when sleeping to
fit in their small bedroom.
“I sleep on the bed with my daughter and two other grand- children and the
rest sleep on the floor,” she said.
“The eldest of those who sleep on the floor is my 18-year-old grandson and
the youngest is a nine-year-old girl.
“They have to squeeze each other to fit in the little space left by our
property and the girls have to face one direction and the boys the
With 15 members, Mavis Bhanire’s family is one of the biggest.
“I have three daughters-in-law so I have since moved out of the bedroom so
they can share it with their husbands, my sons,” said the 55-year-old woman.
“I sleep in the kitchen with my grandchildren and my 19-year-old son who is
“One of the families we share with has eight members while the other has
The residents want to be exempted from paying rent as council once condemned
the houses as unfit for human habitation.
Each family is paying US$35 up from US$4 since dollarisation in 2009.
They also appealed to council and government to refurbish the houses before
they curved in and killed occupants.
For the past 10 years, the residents have also been getting water only at
night and they would like council to address that and also attend to the
blocked sewer system.
Council spokesman Lesley Gwindi said he could not comment on the matter as
he had not seen the petition.
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:28
BY JENNIFER DUBE
A Harare magistrate says journalists who are challenging the
constitutionality of Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act, which has been widely used to arrest media practitioners have a
The section deals with publication of statements that “undermine public
confidence in law enforcement agencies.”
Magistrate Don Ndirowei on Monday removed from remand Nevanji Madanhire, the
editor of The Standard, reporter Nqobani Ndlovu and Alpha Media Holdings
representative Loud Ramakgapola after they sought to challenge the code in
the Supreme Court.
“It is this court’s finding that this application is not merely frivolous or
vexatious,” Ndirowei said.
“There is indeed a question of contravention of the Declaration of Rights
and there is need to refer the question to the Supreme Court.”
Madanhire and Ndlovu have been appearing before the courts since November
last year on charges of “publishing and communicating false statements
prejudicial to the State” after The Standard ran a story on the postponement
of police promotional examinations.
Through Harare lawyer Chris Mhike, the three questioned whether or not
Sections 31 and 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which
they are being charged under, were consistent with the Constitution of
Zimbabwe, particularly Section 20 which provides for freedom of expression.
Section 31 of the Act criminalises the publishing or communicating of false
statements prejudicial to the State while Section 96 creates the offence of
AMH Editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya and Zimbabwe Independent editor
Constantine Chimakure have a similar application pending before the Supreme
Police have routinely used the law to harass journalists and Ndirowei’s
ruling would provide a ray of hope for journalists as the country heads
towards a potentially volatile election period.
Monday, 07 March 2011 09:48
BY MERNAT MAFIRAKUREWA
AT least 300 delegates are expected to attend the Zimbabwe Investment
Conference aimed at luring foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.
The investment conference, to be held on March 8 and 9, will run under the
theme, “The Emerging African Investment Destination”.
President Robert Mugabe, who last week threatened to seize foreign-owned
companies, will officially open the event.
It means Mugabe would have to convince the same investors he was bashing at
the launch of Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions campaign last Wednesday to put their
money in Zimbabwe.
Euromoney is a leading organiser of conferences for cross-border investment
and capital markets for portfolio and direct investors, financial
intermediaries, corporations, governments, banks and financial institutions.
In an interview on Friday, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
minister Tapiwa Mashakada said FDI has remained elusive to the country hence
the need to continue canvassing for investment.
“This is an effort to attract private equity into the country. The country
is US$10 billion short in capital for it to achieve a quick turnaround,”
“We have to woo investors in order to complement our own resources from the
Mashakada said the country stood a good chance of attracting investment
given its rich endowment with natural resources.
“The country has lots of opportunities to showcase to the outside world and
be able to attract substantial amounts of investment.
“Local businesses should take advantage of the conference to network and
establish common areas of co-operation,” Mashakada said.
Some of the topics to be discussed include the country’s internal political
environment, debt relief negotiations and the effect of external political
environment with regards to investment attraction by Zimbabwe.
Preconditions for exiting the multicurrency system, incentives put for
foreign investors, how competitive the country’s telecommunications industry
is and the challenges of attracting FDI would also be under the spotlight.
African Development Bank president, Donald Kaberuka, African Export-Import
Bank president, Jean-Louis Ekra and German ambassador to Zimbabwe Albretch
Conze are some of the high level delegates that would grace the event.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Industry
minister Welshman Ncube and Mines minister Obert Mpofu will represent
government at the high-profile event.
The forum will bring together policymakers, businesspeople, financiers and
key overseas players in a high-level meeting aimed at highlighting Zimbabwe
as a destination for fruitful foreign direct investment.
Last month a delegation from the London Stock Exchange described Zimbabwe as
an emerging market that provides immense opportunities for investors across
the world but needs to be consistent in its policies.
“Zimbabwe is providing opportunities above other emerging markets and we are
here to explore the depth of those opportunities,” said Ibukun Adebayo, the
bourse’s head of business development for Africa, Middle East and South
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:37
Three scenarios: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Add a fourth; Ivory Coast.
In Tunisia President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali took the gap as soon as the
people rose against him. He and his family with their buccaneering love for
money raided the central bank and fled to Saudi Arabia. Their assets in
different parts of the world may have been frozen but they still have quite
a considerable loot considering they took with them US$56 billion in solid
In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak took a little longer to surrender. He didn’t
skip the country, only going to the beautiful Egyptian resort of Sharm
el-Sheik. He and his family were worth US$70 billion. It has been frozen too
by countries in which he had laundered the money through apparently
The common thing about the two long-serving dictators was that they didn’t
want to kill their own people. It was a religious thing and also conformed
to international humanitarian standards.
In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi has gone against the religious norm and has
decided to kill his own people. He has hired mercenaries from neighbouring
African countries and reports indicate he is paying them well. A captured
soldier of fortune is reported to have revealed that he had been promised
US$12 000 for every rebel he killed.
A ship was intercepted in the Mediterranean last week carrying £100 billion
worth of Libyan money to finance his effort to reclaim the country. His
assets in the West have been frozen. He is known to have property in
Zimbabwe and South Africa. The two brother nations have not yet announced
what sanctions they are going to impose on these assets, if any.
Of these three scenarios which is likely to play out in Zimbabwe if — which
is unlikely at the moment — there is a popular rising?
I can bet it would be the Libyan fiasco, namely civil war. No Zimbabwean
would want that. Zimbabwe has gone throw civil war before. The 1970s war of
liberation was for all intends and purposes a civil war. It was not simply a
war between oppressed blacks and the settler colonialists.
There were many blacks with interests in Rhodesia and wished the colonial
state to continue. Not only that, for the war to have lasted that long it
meant the Rhodesian government had co-opted a huge chunk of the black
population into its system. It is a fact of history that the bulk of the
Rhodesian military machine was made up of black people, some of whom like
Phillip Chiyangwa are enjoying the fruits of independence now.
The number of black people who died in that war is still unknown but
guestimates put it at 120 000, mostly black people. Ironically whites who
died during that war are miniscule.
In the early-to-middle 1980s the country once again plunged into civil war
as the new black Zimbabwean regime sought to silence dissent on its road to
establishing a one-party state. The Gukurahundi has now been classified
genocide. President Mugabe himself, who led the onslaught, has described the
period in which 20 000 people in Matabeleland and the Midlands perished at
the hands of the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade as a time of madness.
That civil war only ended when the targeted Ndebele population led by
nationalist stalwart Joshua Nkomo surrendered by signing the peace pact that
became known as the Unity Accord in December 1987.
Zimbabweans know that civil war is very likely in Zimbabwe. The country is
too polarised and the March 2008 elections showed that Zimbabwe is split
almost 50-50 between those for the continuation of the Mugabe rule and those
who wish for change. So any popular uprising is likely to meet the same fate
as that which is playing out in Libya at the moment. Mugabe supporters will
put up a fight and they have the advantage of the national arsenal behind
them. It is common knowledge that the military and the police are firmly
behind the regime and they would not hesitate to open fire on unarmed
civilians – they have done so before.
Now to the Ivorian scenario, almost forgotten now because of events in North
Africa; the parallels between the West African country and ours are a
plethora. The most important parallel is the lack of respect for the people’s
will as reflected in national polls. Ivorians went to the poll in November
last year and chose a leader in the name of Alassane Ouattara. His victory
is internationally recognised but the incumbent president Luarent Gbagbo has
refused to hand over power. Now the country has been plunged into civil war.
A similar scenario played out in Zimbabwe in 2008 when the losing candidate
refused to hand over power. The period leading to the June 27 presidential
run-off election had all the markings of a civil war. It is estimated that
200 people lost their lives.
If elections are held this year, the result will be much the same as those
of 2008 – inconclusive and highly divisive. What is likely is that
Zimbabweans will no longer tolerate stolen polls and this may lead to mayhem
and a possible civil war. There are too many angry people roaming the
country and some of them are becoming increasingly more militant. Calls for
secession are getting louder and the possibility of such fringe
organisations as the recently-launched Mthwakazi Liberation Front gaining a
foothold in Matabeleland is high.
So, with the Libyan and Ivorian scenarios likely to play out in Zimbabwe,
what is the way out for the beautiful country?
It’s simple: the Global Political Agreement (GPA) has got to work come hell
or Good Friday! All its clauses have to be implemented to the letter and
spirit. Negotiators and the principals they represent should shed away their
intransigence. Zimbabweans are now seated on a razor’s edge: they pine for a
change to democracy, which is slightly different from the so-called
The time has come when Zimbabweans should know that “change to democracy”
does not necessarily equate to “regime change”. It is the processes that
drive democracy and the tenets that form its pillars that have been
subverted in this country. If these are re-established, and leadership that
lives these processes and tenets found, then Zimbabwe would be put back on
The GPA and its proposed roadmap is a good starting point.
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:31
The government of national unity has by and large failed the people of
Zimbabwe because the politicians from all parties have been focusing more on
political posts for their leaders and self-aggrandisement as opposed to
improvement of the economy and social lives of Zimbabweans.
The following examples illustrate this:
From the onset the cabinet was too big. It was meant to ensure that
politicians from all parties benefited from government resources. Do we
really need provincial governors when we have provincial administrators?
These posts should be removed to save money! Surprisingly both Zanu PF and
MDC are fighting for these posts.
Government expenditure is not being controlled. Look at foreign travels by
ministers and senior civil servants like those in the ministry of Tourism,
Finance etc. Huge allowances are being claimed on every trip. They do not
want to miss any international conference.
Over-expenditure on low priority areas — When I joined government in 1993
from university in the then Ministry of Agriculture, our director used to
drive a Mazda 323. Senior officers would benefit from a car loan scheme from
CMED. The economy was performing much better then. Yet today you find the
most classy and expensive vehicles being driven by government officials yet
government is claiming it does not have money to pay civil servants who are
earning less than US$200 per month! Permanent secretaries and principal
directors drive grand Cherokees. Prados, Toyota vigos, mercs and Navaras are
all over, including police, army, CIO and prison services. Government has a
penchant for vehicle models assembled outside Zimbabwe dumping the locally
assembled Mazda vehicles.
Granted this culture of expensive and classy vehicles was brought by Dr
Gideon Gono during the quasi-fiscal operations in false belief, I hope, that
he would motivate civil servants as in private sector, forgetting that
government is funded through taxes, the MDC has also joined.
Probably the inclusive government’s biggest failure has been the poor
management of the transition from the Zimbabwe dollar to the multi-currency
system. This has crippled the economy.
Government-provided services are too expensive: passport fees, import permit
charges, vehicle number plates (US$160!) Environmental Management Agency
(EMA) permit to move pit sand (US$250!) TIMB tobacco registration fee
(US$20!) This why farmers failed to register, they could not afford! The
list is endless. Under normal circumstances these are supposed to be almost
free, given that the same organisations and individuals already pay a form
No effort was done to compare service charges with those prevailing in, say
1997, in US dollar terms or to benchmark with region. Black market rates
were simply used taking advantage of monopoly and legislation. What
government forgets is businesses take these costs when pricing their
products and services and we become an uncompetitive nation, as is the case.
Government must also understand that citizens do not have endlessly deep
pockets. Look at vehicle taxes toll fee when entering Zim through borders,
toll-gate charges, vehicle licences, a string of fuel levies.
The reason foreign musicians are flocking into Zimbabwe is not that Zimbabwe
is that attractive or that they like us. The Beenie Mans, Cappletons, Shawn
Pauls etc. It is because in their countries gate charges would be a dollar
yet in Zimbabwe they would be US$15 to US$20. Yes, they know we are crazy,
we do not understand and appreciate the value of the US dollar.
As expected, the donors are now tired. Our own diasporans can no longer
support their relatives home because US$100 has much lower purchasing power
If a father misbehaves, the son is likely to misbehave. This is the same
situation with government (father) and local authorities and parastatals
(sons). Some of the highest paying jobs are in local authorities and
Look at the crazy service charges and license fees of local authorities. How
can you have a nation where over 90% of consumers owe money to public
utilities service providers?
Like the father local authorities are arrogant and do not listen to advice.
Through the blessing of their mayor Muchadeyi Masunda Harare City council
has refused to lower salaries and allowances for senior managers. But
chickens are coming home to roost as council is now failing to pay its
workers. Ratepayers cannot afford the high rates.
The scenario of taking care of council senior management only at the expense
of the common worker is similar to that of government taking care of senior
civil servants and ministers.
Monday, 07 March 2011 10:30
The grisly photograph of Webster Baipai on the front page of last week’s
issue of The Standard must have sent a chill down the spine of everyone who
Baipai — young and handsome with a bright future ahead of him — must be
ruing the day he became a participant in political violence that left his
face spited by the loss of an eye and permanent abrasions. His must surely
be the face of political violence in Zimbabwe today.
Baipai’s case is interesting in more ways than one.
He is a Zanu PF activist and probably the first member of the party whose
injuries have been so graphically photographed. This is important because it
must have jolted the minds of that party’s perpetrators of violence leaving
them to ask how far their impunity can go.
Zanu PF activists have always been shielded by law enforcement agents when
they have indulged in violence. Because of this MDC activists, who in the
past have borne the brunt of Zanu PF violence, have avoided open retaliation
because they have always come out the worse for it.
Not only have the police perfected the art of transforming the victims (MDC
activists) into perpetrators and detaining them for long periods, they have
also blatantly applied the law selectively.
This was always going to present problems as victims became more and more
inured to the injustices visited upon them. Driven against the wall, it is
man’s primeval nature to cast away his fear and put up a fight. This is
what Zimbabwe is beginning to witness now as violence escalates round the
The salutary lesson to come from the Nyanga episode is that when it comes to
the crunch each individual is on his/her own. The people who have been
driving the violence — the politicians — would be miles away in the comfort
of their secured homes when the victims begin to lick their wounds.
People should refuse to be used by these perverted people as pawns in their
debased political games.
The events in Cairo, Tunis and the current Libyan scenes continue to bear
testimony to the power of a common cause among a suppressed and oppressed
people. It remains to be seen how the Zanu Pf and indeed the Mugabe regime
will see the ‘writing’ on the wall. Dictators will try by any means to hang
on and maintain their power grip regardless of the untold suffering to the
ordinary citizenry. The Mugabe regime unsurprisingly remains aloof and
defiant despite the continued polarization of the Zimbabwean political and
social environment as a direct result of its acts of commissions and
omissions. An increase in violence, intimidation of ordinary citizens and
arrests of opposition members across Zimbabwe is clearly an attempt to
stifle any voices of dissent in the hope that the world will focus elsewhere
while the Mugabe regime maintains their iron grip.
Throughout history, Dictators with their rogue regimes almost always fail to
reform and change course-they characteristically wallow in self
aggrandisement and delusional thinking that only their political will and
leadership must be exercised and any such opposition must be silenced if not
crushed. Col Gaddafi in this self belief went to the extent of even writing
‘The Green Book’ all in a thin veiled quest for some grandiose charismatic
stamp on the politics of Libya. Zanu Pf and Mugabe continue to believe that
the entire nation state of Zimbabwe cannot but survive without Zanu PF.
Clearly the Mugabe and Zanu Pf regime, just like all the dictators, are more
than happy to drag the whole country down with their inevitable demise. The
Ben-Ali and Mubarak regimes had continued to take their citizens for granted
almost appropriating the nation’s resources as if it was their family
fiefdom, Gaddafi and his regime as does the Mugabe regime continue to bury
their heads in sand denying any opportunity for new political ideas and or
leadership for their respective citizens.
While the Mugabe regime conveniently forgets that it’s the very same masses
that were instrumental in bringing about political change from a rogue
regime way back then. Zanu Pf and the Mugabe regime continue to wallow in
the fallacy that these very same masses will not rise against such misrule.
Early 1998 during the food riots, Zimbabwe’s masses gave a hint to Zanu PF
and the Mugabe regime a clear message that true to a common cause- people
will sure rise regardless of any such threats and or realities of police
brutality. While it sounds acceptable to over patronize ordinary Zimbabweans
and describe them as ‘peace-loving’, it is worth remembering that any human
being regardless of nationality, religion or race, when suppressed,
oppressed and cornered will act to defend their livelihoods by any means
necessary. A quick glance at world history and more specifically that of the
Zimbabwe’s political evolution is there for all to note.
Treasonous charges continue to be made against any notable opposition
figures by the Mugabe regime in an attempt to quell the freedoms of Zimbabwe’s
citizens, violence and intimidation is being meted out on the streets by
Zanu Pf militias and state security agents against opposition members.
Opposition officials have to watch over their shoulders while attempting to
perform their day-to day democratic mandates. It doesn’t come as a surprise
that to date opposition members and its senior officials are being dragged
to courts at such a massive and biased rate and yet no single such actions
are being witnessed among Zanu PF leading violence instigators (militias,
legislators and security agents alike).
Zanu Pf and the Mugabe regime has had over 3 decades to show an inclination
towards some political rectitude but as is with dictatorships, the status
quo is always the preferred way and change is never a natural process but
one requiring a radical shift from the conventional ways.
By Takura Chiketa
A Political activist