by Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe vowed Friday to unilaterally announce dates for new
elections, apparently ditching a Cabinet committee he established with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai which was charged with fashioning a “road-map” to
Tsvangirai last month announced that he had agreed with Mugabe that a
committee comprising Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) and his
Constitutional Affairs counterpart Eric Matinenga (MDC-T) would work out a
programme leading to the new polls.
The move infuriated MDC leader Welshman Ncube who accused his rivals of
violating the GPA agreement and warned Tsvangirai that he was being led down
the garden path by Mugabe.
On Friday the Zanu PF leader told a meeting with traditional leaders and
local government officials in Mutare that Chinamasa now had sole charge of
the process of drawing up the so-called road-map.
“I was hoping to meet Chinamasa here in Mutare, but he did not come. He is
now the person in charge. It’s no longer the Ministry of Constitutional (and
Parliamentary) Affairs,” he said.
The coalition parties remain divided on the timing of the polls. Mugabe
wants the vote to immediately follow the end of the current Parliament on
June 29 while the MDC parties are insisting on a delay to allow
implementation of further reforms.
Speaking to reporters in South Africa where he was attending the World
Economic Forum on Africa Tsvangirai said a June election was not possible
and insisted that media and security reforms must be implemented first.
“Violence has always characterized our elections,” the MDC-T leader said in
an interview today with Bloomberg TV. “If we can contain that, it will be
ready any time after June.”
But Mugabe said the election dates would become clearer next week after the
Senate completes its deliberations on the new Constitution.
“We will see from next week what the date can be,” he said. “We now await
the decision of the Senate. Only when it is passed shall we be able to have
a roadmap for elections.”
He also ruled an extending Parliament and reiterated calls for peaceful
campaigns ahead of the elections.
“Parliament dies on 29 June,” he said. “MPs, all of them, would have lost
their legislative power.”
“As in any contest, there are some whose tempers may flare and others with
raging emotions, to all of them, the country’s appeal is for peace, peace,
peace! Violence should not have any place nor footprint in our elections.”
Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has waived voter registration requirements
for those without documentary proof of residence as the programme
intensifies ahead of its end on May 19. Thirty-seven thousand people had
registered to vote as of yesterday, up from 25 000 last week.
ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told political parties yesterday that
those without documents to prove their residence would fill in an affidavit
form available at registration centres as part of measures agreed upon to
address concerns raised by the parties and stakeholders.
“ZEC agreed with you in this regard and as a consequence added the use of an
affidavit as an additional document to prove residence.
“The affidavit is the fall-back position for all applicants and, therefore,
no one citizen should be turned away for want of documentation. The
affidavit will be gazetted soon, it will form part of the law of Zimbabwe.”
Justice Makarau said the affidavit form was agreed upon by ZEC and the
Registrar-General of Voters Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, who attended yesterday’s
In the meeting, political parties castigated Finance Minister Tendai Biti
for not adequately funding the electoral commission. This was after Justice
Makarau said although the process had been largely underfunded, it had been
MDC-T organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa complained about “skewed”
distribution of voter registration centres.
He said some provinces had more centres than others and suggested the use of
traditional polling stations as voter registration centres.
Zanu-PF secretary for security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi said it was interesting
to note that the MDC-T now wanted polling stations to be used as voter
registration centres, a suggestion it had initially spurned.
“It had been said let voter registration be done at polling stations and
they had said no, people would be intimidated, but they now want the same
thing they had rejected, they are now wiser,” he said.
Political parties complained that the voter registration period, April 29 to
May 19, was too short.
Others complained that staff in the RG’s Office frustrated aspiring voters
by demanding certain issues that ZEC had not mentioned.
Justice Makarau said ZEC would meet to review the effect of the process and
establish if there was need to extend it.
ZEC, she said, envisaged another 30-day registration period provided for by
Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 20 which should commence when the
proposed Constitution takes effect. The 30-day period, she said, should
cover up for time lost during the initial stage of the current voter
“We do not have information that Section 6 (3) of the draft Constitution has
been repealed, so we still have additional 30-day voter registration period
provided for by the Draft Constitution,” she said
Turning to people who have turned up to register as voters, Justice Makarau
said the figure rose to 36 785 from 24 940 within the last week, those that
have transferred rose to 13 345 from 8 839, while those who have taken
national identity documents rose to 55 654 from 42 882.
Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
The urgent chamber application in which Mr Jealousy Mawarire is seeking
permission to have his court application to compel President Mugabe to
proclaim election dates by June 29 heard on an urgent basis has been set
down for hearing on Wednesday.
This was in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive that if Mr
Mawarire wanted his court application to be heard on an urgent basis, he
should first seek leave to have it treated as an urgent matter.
If that application succeeds, then the main application for the proclamation
of poll dates would be entertained urgently.
Mr Mawarire has to justify why his case should be treated with urgency.
Mr Mawarire cited President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, MDC leader Professor Welshman Ncube and the
Attorney-General as respondents.
In the main court application Mr Mawarire wants President Mugabe to proclaim
the dates by June 29 in line with the fast-approaching expiry of terms of
office of local authorities, Parliament and the President.
He argues that if elections delay, Zimbabwe would be running under an
illegality without councillors, Parliament and the President.
Mr Mawarire says that he is a registered voter in Zaka East Constituency and
that as a citizen of Zimbabwe, he had a legal standing to mount such an
Mr Mawarire, a member of the Centre for Election Democracy in Southern
Africa, argues that the looming expiry of Parliament had triggered confusion
and debate among representatives of political parties and the inclusive
If the election date is not fixed in line with the looming expiry of the
terms, Zimbabwe would be plunged into a situation where it would be run
by Staff Reporter
THE SADC organ on defence and security (Troika) met in South Africa Friday
to discuss Zimbabwe and other regional hotspots, South Africa President
Jacob Zuma’s office has confirmed.
The meeting was held on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum on Africa
underway in Cape Town.
In a statement, Zuma’s office said: “President Jacob Zuma will (on Friday)
host the SADC Troika on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum on Africa
in Cape Town.
“The meeting will discuss matters of regional interest including Madagascar,
Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The Troika is chaired by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and also
includes the leaders of Mozambique and Namibia.
The meeting follows a recent regional diplomatic offensive by Prime Minister
and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai which was aimed at convincing SADC to
call a meeting to discuss preparations for new elections in the country.
SADC facilitated the formation of the coalition government after
inconclusive elections in 2008 and has been helping the GPA parties
negotiate a so-called roadmap to new elections.
Although both Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe agree that their unity
arrangement is no longer workable they remain miles apart over the actual
timing of new elections.
Mugabe is pressing for the elections to be held soon after the end of the
current Parliament on June 29 but the MDC-T leader says conditions are not
yet in place for a credible vote.
The MDC-T accuses Zanu PF of stalling the implementation of media and a raft
of other reforms agreed as part of the GPA deal.
Tsvangirai has insisted that the reform process must be completed before new
elections can be held.
WASHINGTON — Serving and retired officers from Zimbabwe's military, police
and intelligence are tightening their stranglehold on Zanu-PF as information
emerges that President Robert Mugabe’s party will waive its rules governing
primary elections to accommodate them.
Former senior security officers are already running the party’s influential
political commissariat department, key in formulating strategies for
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed to VOA that top leaders in the
party, known as the presidium, are currently considering a proposal to waive
requirements to accommodate the former officers who want to represent
Zanu-PF in crucial polls expected to be called this year.
Multiple Zanu-PF sources told VOA that an unprecedented number of serving
senior army and retired officers, police, air force and the Central
Intelligence Organisation operatives, want to run for parliamentary seats
this year. It is not clear if the serving officers will resign from active
Current and former officers seeking political office include Assistant
Police Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti, Commanding Support Unit, Elias
Kanengoni, CIO deputy director internal, CIO operative Lesly Humbe, Colonel
Philip Toperesu, serving army member and Assistant Police Commissioner
This has caused friction with some members especially sitting Members of
The South African-based Institute for Security Studies says the the fact
that many security personnel want to contest as lawmakers indicates that
“the security sector may be considering elected office as a way to protect
its privileges and assets rather than military force, which would be opposed
regionally and internationally.”
Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi, director of the Media Centre, told VOA
that relaxing rules will not end factionalism in Zanu-PF.
The unity government agreement – which was brokered by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) after the 2008 elections erupted in violence –
included proposals for security sector reform, but little headway has been
According to the Global Political Agreement, the bedrock of the agreement,
“state organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and
should be impartial in the discharge of their duties… there [shall] be
inclusion in the training curriculum of members of the uniformed forces of
the subjects on human rights, international humanitarian law and statute law
so that there is greater understanding and full appreciation of their roles
and duties in a multi-party democratic system.”
Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Archbishop Reverend, Johannes Ndanga
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), one of the largest
groupings of churches in Zimbabwe, yesterday launched a massive voter
orientation exercise countrywide to educate Bishops from the Apostolic and
Zion churches of the need to ensure their followers register to vote for
Zanu-PF during the forthcoming harmonised elections.
The ACCZ has 638 members with a following over 9,5 million registered people
of whom about 5 million are eligible voters.
About 400 Bishops and their spouses from all the Apostolic and Zion churches
in Zimbabwe attended a conference meant to educate them on the need to
register as voters to ensure an emphatic Zanu-PF victory at the forthcoming
The conference that was held at the Zanu-PF headquarters and officially
opened by Zanu-PF national chairperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, was held under
the theme; “re-aligning the indigenous churches’ authority over national
affairs in Zimbabwe.”
The Bishops were drawn from in and around Harare with other provinces
represented by at least two bishops.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, ACCZ president, Archbishop
Reverend, Johannes Ndanga, said the church had a role to play in shaping
national affairs of all countries the world over.
“We are launching the conference for peace and voter orientation ahead of
the harmonised elections. We are conscientising each other on the need for
peaceful elections and the need to register. We are encouraging our bishops
to register as voters first before they urge their followers to do the same.
“This is a watershed election that we should have a big say as the church
because we have to remember where we came from. We have about 400 bishops
and their spouses here to ensure that people like (MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan)
Tsvangirai who want to steal where they did not sow do not get anything at
all. We want elections as soon as possible. We don’t want the continued
abuse of our leader President Mugabe who is a founding revolutionary who
taught people about this independence that Tsvangirai is enjoying,” said Rev
Archbishop Ndanga said it was a myth that churches should be apolitical when
it is the church that is supposed to bless national leadership.
Some MDC-T traditional allies among them the CNN, BBC, the New York Times,
the Guardian newspaper and some research groups among them the
Afro-Barometer, Mass Public Opinion, Zim Vigil, Freedom House and
individuals such as National Constitutional Assembly chairman Professor
Lovemore Madhuku among others have already predicted Zanu-PF victory.
Delivering his keynote address, Cde Khaya Moyo said Zanu-PF was grateful to
the church for the role they played since the liberation struggle adding
that without prayer, the revolutionary war may not have been won.
“As Zanu-PF we are the only party with clear policies that are
people-centered. This country is not for sellouts but revolutionaries. Let’s
not play with our independence and sovereignty. We are not a banana
“We have clear and principled leadership in President Mugabe. He is a
principled and committed revolutionary. Bishops we know you are many in
terms of your followers. Elections are coming soon. It is going to be a game
of numbers. We want all the people who are committed to their country to
register as voters so that Zanu-PF wins overwhelmingly. We already have one
candidate whom we should all vote for who is President Mugabe,” said Cde
For local and Parliamentary elections, he said, candidates would be
determined at the primary elections reiterating that the revolutionary party
would not condone candidate imposition.
“When you vote, you should know where you came from. Let’s make sure we
remove these thieves from local authorities. We want clean and committed
council. You should vote for Zanu-PF.
“The forthcoming elections are synonymous with the 1980 elections because
the enemy is still fighting us. The Americans and the European Union are
fighting to remove President Mugabe. We cannot defeat the enemy if we do not
vote in our numbers. No one should just pop up and say they want to be
President of this country if they don’t know where we have come from,” said
Cde Khaya Moyo.
He said, the 1987 unity accord between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu was very much
alive saying no one could claim to have ended the union when they were not
the ones who signed the pact.
“The unity accord of December 22, 1987 between the two parties-PF-Zapu and
Zanu-PF is irreversible . . . The accord has two signatures, that of
President Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo. It is something
we must be proud of. Whoever says he is out of the accord please leave them
alone because they don’t have signatures there. Please pray for such people
because they know not what they are doing,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
Zanu-PF national commissar and Media, Information and Publicity Minister,
Cde Webster Shamu, Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu and Harare provincial
chairperson Cde Amos Midzi attended the meeting.
Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
Government says it has formally received an application for a licence to
start mining of diamonds in Bikita from Nan Jiang Africa Resources. But
Government yesterday stressed that the firm would only get licenced if it
cedes majority shareholding to Zimbabweans in line with the country’s
indigenisation and empowerment laws.
Nan Jiang Africa Resources, believed to be a consortium of Chinese and
Zimababwean businessmen, recently applied for a licence to start diamond
mining in Bikita.
This follows the discovery of four kimberlite pipes in the Devuli Ranch in
Budzi communal lands.
The area where the diamonds were discovered lies on the border with
Manicaland which is home to the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Speaking on the sidelines of a national mineral policy stakeholders’ meeting
in Masvingo, Deputy Mines and Mining Development Minister Gift Chimanikire
confirmed that Nan Jiang Africa Resources had formally applied for a diamond
mining licence. Government, he said, was currently considering the
Deputy Minister Chimanikire, however, said they had already informed the
company of the need to fully comply with the country’s indigenisation and
empowerment laws for them to get a licence to operate.
by Staff Reporter
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has warned that
indigenisation compliance deals reached with foreign financial institutions
without the approval of the central bank were effectively “null and void”.
Foreign banks – mainly local units of UK-based Barclays and Standard
Chartered as well as South Africa’s Standard Nedbank – have been under
pressure to comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.
The legislation requires foreign firms to transfer to locals 51 percent of
their Zimbabwe operations and Barclays was reported to have submitted its
compliance proposals while Stanchart was said to have initiated negotiations
after being threatened with closure.
But Gono warned in an opinion piece published Friday that transactions not
approved by the RBZ would remain “deals on paper”.
“Any 'deals' that foreign banks in this market voluntarily or involuntarily
enter into and sign-off without our prior approval will remain 'deals on
paper' — basically null and void,” he wrote.
“The current seemingly unilateral approach to implementing the
indigenisation can only lead to fictional results akin to the mining deals
involving Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa which will have to be renegotiated and
submitted to us for approval for them to become ‘real’.
“In the banking sector, and as the law stands, it is only the central bank
that has been conferred with legal powers to issue or withdraw banking
licenses and that is the practice the world over.”
Gono is fighting a one-size-fits-all approach to indigenisation of the
country’s banking sector which has led to public spats with empowerment
minister Saviour Kasukuwere who is driving the programme which is also Zanu
PF’s key campaign platform for elections due this year.
The RBZ chief has rejected allegations he was opposed to the programme and
insisted that: “I am on record, as far back as 2007, as having been one of
the first public officials to hail the government for passing the then
long-overdue Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.”
He said foreign banks operating in the country were “systemically important”
and needed “to be safeguarded at all times” adding indigenisation of the
sector should be conducted in ways that enable foreign shareholders to feel
“comfortable that they can still leave their names, brands and systems
attached to the same indigenised institutions”.
The RBZ chief said in terms of paid-up capital, deposits and "the total
market book", Zimbabwe’s banking sector was dominated by locally-owned
“It is clear that the “rush” to indigenise the banking sector is more driven
by emotions and an uninformed perspective than by necessity,” he added.
“We need to ‘hurry slowly’. We can achieve the desired benefits through
other creative means such as lending quotas, mobilisation of support lines
of credit and supply-side empowerment.
“It is important that the process does not disconnect the local institutions
from their original parentage as doing so would be to throw away serious
associational benefits to the country that come with those connections.”
Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00
The perimeter fence around the Great Zimbabwe monuments has been vandalised,
a situation that has raised fears that World Heritage Site might be
compromised owing to poor security. Large parts of the perimeter fence
were destroyed around the monuments resulting in livestock such as cattle
freely roaming into the historic site while fire outbreaks had also
National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe southern region manager Mr
Lovemore Mandima lamented the destruction of the fence around the monuments
saying the site was now difficult to secure as a result.
Mr Mandima said the perimeter fence was being repeatedly vandalised despite
efforts to have it repaired in the past.
“As I speak, large parts around the monuments have no fence because the wire
around was vandalised.
It has become difficult to secure this place. Livestock freely roams into
the monuments thereby compromising the security of this place,’’ he said.
Mr Mandima said poor security around the monuments would result in the
public accessing sensitive areas and likely to destroy some of the relics
There have also been isolated cases of mugging of visitors by thieves inside
the monuments owing to poor security.
WASHINGTON DC — Telecommunications mogul, Strive Masiyiwa, says economies of
most African nations are performing well but the generated wealth is not
spreading to people who are struggling to make ends meet.
The Zimbabwean born millionaire, who is attending this year’s World Economic
Forum in South Africa which ends Friday said though six of the fastest
growing economies are in Africa, the continent is failing to effectively use
its resources for the benefit of the people.
Masiyiwa, who is a member of the Africa Progress Panel chaired by former
United Nations secretary general Koffi Annan, believes that a lot still
needs to be done to ensure that natural resources are channelled towards
improing the standard of living of the poor and create jobs for millions of
Reacting to several critics who say growth projections in the sub-Saharan
African region of up to 5 percent during the past few years are being
‘manufactured’ by some economists, Masiyiwa said such assumptions as
Critics say new research indicates that some economic reports about a rising
Africa are based on flawed statistics.
The Africa progress panel monitors economic growth and the use of resources
in African nations.
Masiyiwa further said the communications industry in Africa has been one of
the most phenomenal successes in the history of the continent.
The telecommunications mogul says 20 years ago less than one percent of the
African people had access to a telephone line.
Masiyiwa said on average today, 70 percent of the African people have a
He said mobile phones are playing a critical role in promoting economic
growth and good governance in Africa.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says in its sub-Saharan
Regional Economic Outlook Report released Friday that projections point to a
moderate, broad-based accelaration in growth in the region to around 5.5
percent from 2013 to 2014.
The IMF says this reflects a gradually strengthening global economy and
robust domestic demand. It says investment in export-oriented sectors
remains an important driver and an agriculture rebound in drought-affected
areas will also help growth.
"Uncertainties in the global economy are the main risk to the region’s
outlook, but plausible adverse shocks would likely not have a large effect
on the region’s overall performance," says the IMF.
Sapa | 10 May, 2013 12:56
Revenues from mining in Africa are not reducing the gap between the rich and
the poor on the continent, the Africa Progress Panel said on Friday.
The panel, which consists of eminent persons chaired by former United
Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, released its Africa Progress report
Speaking in Cape Town at the World Economic Forum on Africa, Annan said
while the past decade had brought growth to several African countries, some
crucial interventions were needed to ensure revenues were not hidden in tax
havens, but invested in critical areas such as health and education.
The interventions should include African countries putting in place bold
policies for transparency and accountability.
"The Africa Progress Panel finds it unconscionable that some companies,
often supported by dishonest officials, are using unethical tax avoidance,
transfer pricing, and anonymous company ownership to maximise their profits,
while millions of Africans go without adequate nutrition, health, and
education," Annan said.
African countries needed strategies that would dictate to investors the
terms under which natural resources should be developed.
These strategies should include fiscal arrangements and tax regimes.
It should also be linked to creating more jobs.
"Processing natural resources before exporting them brings extra value to a
country's natural resource sector," Annan said.
May 11, 2013, 2:15 am
The news that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire at
the age of 71 has dominated the media this week. I’m no great lover of
football but one of my fondest memories of Zimbabwe is of being right out in
the bush somewhere beyond Mutoko and seeing youngsters wearing Manchester
United T shirts. At first I thought maybe they had been given the T shirts
and they didn’t reflect real support but I quickly discovered the kids’
support for a foreign football club was genuine. Whether that story proves
that Alex Ferguson was the greatest and most influential manager of all time
I don’t know but certain Zimbabweans leaders could do well to follow his
example and accept that it’s time to go! It’s hard to believe that no one is
indispensable after a long time at the top. Ferguson, who has been manager
of Man U. for twenty-seven years, had named his successor – unlike Zimbabwe’s
man at the top! Mugabe has been in power for thirty-three years and, even
before he’s gone, his party is tearing itself apart over who should succeed
him. Mugabe could stop the rot at one stroke by naming his successor but he
remains silent. This week he went so far as to reprimand his officials in
the party for the infighting and his deputy Didymus Mutasa has openly
declared his support for Joyce Mujuru for the next president; she is after
all is second in line after Mugabe.
How much this leadership struggle means to ordinary Zimbabweans is
unclear; only an election will indicate their general thinking but there is
no agreement yet on when the poll will be held. This present Government of
National Unity expires on June 29th and thereafter there will be no
government, a dangerous hiatus looms. Perhaps that was the reason Robert
Mugabe warned that ‘the west uses conflicts to spy on Africa’. He was
addressing the Tenth Conference of the Committee of Intelligence and
Security Service in Africa or CISSA for short. A public conference of spies
and secret agents is surely a contradiction in terms but there they were in
plain sight. Mugabe told the gathering of spooks that: “Our erstwhile
colonisers continue to manipulate international institutions and conventions
to justify unilateral military interventions in African states with the
objective of extracting and unfairly exploiting our resources.” And
speaking of our resources, Mugabe went on to invite the spies and special
agents to go and enjoy Zimbabwe’s tourist spots which they did, with 5 star
treatment all the way, incognito and wearing dark glasses, no doubt!
Some commentators have speculated that Mugabe’s address to the spies was
an attempt to influence African leaders to comment favourably on Zimbabwe’s
forthcoming elections. More likely, it’s the row over security reform that
is dominating his thinking. MDC insists that security reforms were part of
the GPA but Zanu PF - and the military - say such reforms are no longer
necessary. Moreover, Minister of State Security Sekeramyi alleges that the
calls for security reform are ‘being pushed by external forces’. It’s those
pesky foreigners again!
All this talk of spies seems totally unreal when one considers the
realities of life in Zimbabwe: chaos in the Mobile Voter Registration
process; arrest of journalists; one million people in need of food aid and a
shortage of ARVs for AIDS patients, the list goes on and on. Instead of
talking about any of these very real problems facing the country, Mugabe is
warning of spies and western infiltration but ‘Not to worry’ as the old
Rhodies used to say, Zim will soon have giant TV screens in our cities,
courtesy of the Chinese, to counteract the western media’s propaganda!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.
A colossal conundrum and paradox of Change Management is balancing change with continuity and stability. Swift passage of the constitutional Bill in the Lower House on 9 May is the clearest sign in recent times that change is now imminent. Preparing for this eventuality is a necessity, not an option.
Interestingly, leading celebration of the historic moment were mainly ZANU PF MPs. Most of these had threatened to derail the COPAC process in the lead up to the second all-stakeholders conference. Isn’t it amazing how quickly people change their minds in our beautiful land mass called Zimbabwe?
Now that a new constitution is fait accompli, the nation, particularly our political leadership, should start seriously contemplating modalities for a soft-landing as it is only through a miracle or daylight robbery that the MDC may fail to form the next government.
The purpose of this discourse is simply to present, explore and interrogate some of the options for creating a healthy and effective balance between change, continuity and stability, deriving from our past experience. If these options are already under consideration, there is nothing to lose by revisiting them.
It might be useful to briefly reflect on our transition to independence in 1980. For years after April 1980, we had several “remnants” of those who had served the Rhodesian government both in the civil service as well as the uniformed forces. Some of them are still serving today. Only those who knew they had committed heinous crimes against humanity for which they might be punished such as General Peter Walls, saw it fit to run away. Professional soldiers, police officers, prison officers and civil servants, continued to serve the government of the day without prejudice.
Colonel Dyke was one of them. In the Air Force of Zimbabwe, disciplined former Rhodesian officers such as the late helicopter pilot Group Captain Harvey, rose to become one of President Mugabe’s most trusted pilots. The police had several white Patrol Officers before this rank was later abolished. Integration of Rhodesians and freedom fighters surprised many as chaos and mayhem had been anticipated. Despite sporadic cases of disturbances and disharmony, overall, the exercise was quite smooth. Time for change had come.
With the ‘new Zimbabwe beckoning’, to paraphrase an MDC senator, it is time to have a blue print for soft-landing. A few thugs, clowns and political activists masquerading as generals, must not be allowed to derail the people’s project and shutter our dreams. Most of these shameless and unprofessional generals are overdue for retirement, anyway. As cowardly General Peter Walls did, they will most likely dismiss themselves at the dawn of a new era. We should allow them to leave unceremoniously and spend their last miserable days on their unproductive farms. Paying too much attention to them will elevate them to the undeserved status of saints. This is not to say their criminal activities should be swept under the carpet. The law should take its course.
In the olden days, police officers generally served for up to 25 years while soldiers retired at 55. While I’m not aware if this was a legal requirement or not, it certainly was common practice. The new government should reactivate this practice or legal requirement (whatever the case) in order to cleanse our security services of thugs who think that they are bigger than Zimbabwe.
Those who quit the uniformed forces in droves at the height of the political and economic madness between 2000 and 2008 should also be given the opportunity to return to service. Most of those frustrated were the “non-aligned” officers; those that did not serve Ian Smith nor liberate the country. This is now the missing link in our security services. Those who chose to remain, were either silenced or kept at the same ranks while militias disguised as officers enjoyed accelerated promotions.
On the other hand, some of our children will be forgiven for thinking that Mariyawanda Nzuwah is some kind of a monarch. The same applies to Tobaiwa Mudede and many others that we all know. Together with the unprofessional generals, these “tired but not retired” civil servants should be shown the exit door as soon as a new government is formed. Zimbabwe does not have a crisis of qualified citizens.
That said, there are some men and women across the political divide that should be given a second chance irrespective of their political affiliation or past errors. I doubt if Simba Makoni has reached his sell-by date. The same applies to Arthur Mutambara. While he delivered spectacular failure as a political appointee, the fact remains that he is probably the only known Zimbabwean to have worked for NASA. Posting him to a function responsible for technology will not be a waste. If Edna Madzongwe headed the Science and Technology ministry for years with nothing to show for it, Arthur can move mountains. While this might sound controversial, Gideon Gono can be an assert as well if he is allowed to discharge his duties without taking political directives. Like him or not, the man has energy and intelligence. Mutumwa Mawere also comes to mind.
Walter Mzembi, Chindori-Chininga, Joice Mujuru and other technocrats and moderates, should also be part of the equation for soft-landing and transformation. We can’t afford to throw away the baby with the bath water. Nevertheless, this is not the same as calling for another GNU.
If in 1980, Zimbabweans came from different walks of life to rebuild their country, in 2013, it should be a lot easier. However, the likes of Jonathan Moyo, George Charamba, Reuben Barwe, Chocha, Domic Chinenge and other legendary bigots across the entire spectrum of media, politics, uniformed services and civil service, should be relegated to the dustbin of history, where they rightly belong. The time to plan for soft-landing is now.
Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity – firstname.lastname@example.org