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Mugabe bulldozes politburo over polls elections

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:09

By Faith Zaba

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe this week railroaded the Zanu PF politburo into
upholding the party’s Mutare conference resolution to hold fresh elections
later this year.
Angered by the party’s lead negotiator at the talks, Patrick Chinamasa’s
recent remarks that “it is not possible to hold elections this year”, Mugabe
intimidated the politburo on Wednesday into sticking with the party’s
unilateral resolution on elections which flies in the face of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). It also undermines ongoing negotiations on the
elections roadmap and Sadc’s position that elections should not take place
this year.
Mugabe’s position, endorsed by the politburo on Wednesday, openly
contradicted Chinamasa’s view, exposing deep divisions within Zanu PF over
the issue of elections.

Politburo sources said yesterday Mugabe arrived at the meeting in a
“no-nonsense mood” and quickly set the tone and tempo of the meeting by
stating there would be elections this year, in line with the party’s
conference resolution in Mutare last December, in a bid to crush dissent and
whip everybody into line. Although Chinamasa, whose views represent a large
body of opinion in the party, was silenced, the issue remains in dispute.

Sources said Mugabe opened the meeting emphasising the need to adhere to and
uphold party decisions, in this case the Mutare conference resolution on

“The president set the tone in the politburo meeting sayings the party must
stick to and uphold its own resolutions and decisions, including the one on
elections. Everyone else who spoke after him spoke in support of elections,”
a senior party official who attended the meeting said. “We all spoke with
one voice. In there, no one will dare oppose him. Of course, no one said
anything to contradict him and against elections being held this year. The
only thing that people do is nod their heads in agreement; only to start
complaining outside the meeting.

“When he says something, people can’t even cough. The policy direction in
the party and decisions on important issues emanate from him including in
the central committee, politburo and so on. He has declared that he wants
elections this year and that’s it.”

Asked if Chinamasa and those opposed to elections were not strong enough to
cause problems going forward, another official said: “Mugabe is in total
control of the party, whatever he says prevails.”

Mugabe has since last year been pushing for elections to be held this year,
saying he is fed-up with the inclusive government and the GPA. He is
supported in this by a clique of state securitychiefs and party hawks whose
views are mainly embodied and articulated by politburo member, Jonathan
Moyo, who is fighting hard to have elections this year despite having been
on record opposing polls in 2011. Moyo, who flip-flops in terms of loyalty
to Mugabe and Zanu PF and on many issues of public debate, wrote at the
weekend claiming that elections should only be held this year or 2016. His
reasons were vague but clear enough to show he has somersaulted again to
support the call for elections.

Chinamasa, who is well-acquainted with the realities of the GPA and
negotiations, recently said: “It is my opinion that it is not possible to
hold elections this year.” Sources said this angered Mugabe and his
diehards. Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo came out saying the remarks were
just Chinamasa’s personal views and not those of the party.

The sources said Chinamasa was taken to task and forced to explain his
remarks which had created confusion in the party.

“Chinamasa was grilled over the issue. He said that was his personal opinion
informed by his own knowledge of the GPA and current political processes. He
said he thought given the current situation, the need to finalise the
constitution-making exercise and to go through all stages of the electoral
process, it was not possible to hold elections this year.”

Senior Zanu PF officials insist Chinamasa was influenced by what negotiators
and facilitators had already agreed at the road map negotiations.
Mugabe is said to have ordered the party to get down to business and start
the process towards elections whose timing he would unilaterally determine.
He was supported by most senior officials, including his Vice-President
Joice Mujuru.

“Mujuru also spoke very strongly in support of elections. She told the
politburo members that we have to honour decisions made at the party
conferences such as the one in Mutare, which decided that we have elections
this year,” one official said.

Gumbo yesterday confirmed the decision to have elections this year was
unanimous. “Basically, there was just consensus. Everyone spoke in support
of elections this year,” he said.

Asked whether the lack of debate was because Mugabe set the tone at the
start of the meeting, Gumbo said: “Even if he had not said anything, I don’t
think anyone would have said anything contrary to that position.

“Zanu PF is a consistent party and we believe strongly that elections can be
done this year and all these outstanding issues can be done within three or
four months if people are willing to implement them. We don’t see why we
cannot meet those things. What is left is to set a date for elections rather
than continuing negotiations,” he said.

Gumbo said elections were definitely coming this year and as a result voter
education and registration would be starting soon.
Pushed to explain where government would get funding for elections, Gumbo
said: “Tendai Biti (Finance minister) is joking that there is no money. He
said the same thing about the constitution — so where did he get the money

On comments by international advisor to Sadc facilitator, President Jacob
Zuma and a member of the facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, who this week said
elections in Zimbabwe were out of the question this year, Gumbo said those
were her own views.

“The facilitation team and their spokesperson have their view and we respect
their view — we equally expect that they also respect our views. We must
respect each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zulu said they would not take seriously what Mugabe’s party
agreed on at their politburo meeting. “Unfortunately as facilitators, we
cannot comment on comments made by Zanu PF over the issue of elections. We
have not been told about their concern. In any case we have a proper channel
in which any political party can communicate their issues they think are

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Chinamasa in trouble over elections

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:13

By Staff Writer

ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa has landed himself in deep
trouble by admitting that elections were “not possible” this year in
contradiction to his party’s position that polls should be held without

President Robert Mugabe and a hawkish clique in Zanu PF want elections to be
held this year for as yet unexplained reasons, and Chinamasa’s concessions
at the ongoing Sadc-sponsored negotiations to push the poll to next year or
2013 angered the aging leader. Chinamasa was grilled at a politburo meeting
on Wednesday over the issue.

As a result Chinamasa now finds himself in a difficult position following
the politburo meeting which upheld Zanu PF’s resolution at its Mutare
conference last December that elections be held this year. The Zanu PF chief
negotiator had last week agreed with fellow negotiators and Sadc
facilitators in South Africa that elections would not be held this year.

Chinamasa recently said “it is not possible to hold elections this year”,
echoing the position of many senior Zanu PF officials, negotiators and
After the politburo decision, Chinamasa is now stuck in a dilemma of having
to reconcile his party position and that of negotiators, who include
representatives of the two MDC groupings.

The other problem which Chinamasa now faces is that the politburo resolved
that Mugabe would unilaterally call for elections this year, while
negotiators agreed in an initialled and signed elections roadmap that the
president would proclaim elections in consultation with the prime minister.

The roadmap also lists a number of electoral issues which would need to be
done by consensus.

Among the major issues are the delimitation of constituencies, nomination of
candidates, polling, announcement of election results and the activation of
liaison committees, particularly at local level.

However, Mugabe directed that Zanu PF should proceed unilaterally and the
Home Affairs ministry should immediately initiate all electoral processes
such as voter education and updating the shambolic voters register.

Chinamasa was asked to explain to the politburo on Wednesday his comments,
which angered Mugabe.

Sources said Chinamasa explained that the reasoning behind his statement was
based on evidence on the ground, which seemed to suggest that the
outstanding issues could not be implemented in time for elections this
year. –– Staff Writer.

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‘Govt will press ahead with BEE’

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:19

By Tatenda Macheka

YOUTH Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere and Mines minister Obert Mpofu yesterday told a workshop for the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines that the government would press
ahead with its contentious indigenisation drive even though the
Indigenisation Act has some gaping loopholes.
“No one is going to stop us from indigenising any company, particularly
those which supported the (Ian) Smith regime like Anglo American, which has
exploited our resources all over the country. Even though the Indigenisation
Act has certain loopholes, we are not going to stop the process,” Kasukuwere

Mpofu concurred saying Zimbabwe was the only country in the world which had
not benefited from its resources. He mentioned Murowa Diamonds and Zimplats
as some of the companies which had immensely benefited from the country’s
mineral resources but were opposed to indigenisation.

“This is an emotional issue because we are the only country that has not
benefited from our resources. I feel emotional when some of our colleagues
challenge us saying this idea of indigenisation is wrong. We have enriched
our neighbours and other countries.”

“De Beers was in Chiadzwa for 15 years and looted more than 100 000 tonnes
of diamonds out of this country. We have the records (to prove it) and now
they are saying we must not indigenise. If we were allowed to sell our
diamonds, we could have paid our debts and would not need the World Bank or
IMF,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu also lambasted civil society for criticising the government instead of
focusing on how the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation had performed in
the past. He said the ZMDC was the only parastatal that has contributed more
money to the fiscus since Independence.

Prominent lawyer and former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe
Sternford Moyo dismissed the Indigenisation Act saying it focused on
directors and company secretaries and required them to put forward
indigenisation plans when in actual effect they were not the owners of the

Moyo said: “Company directors and secretaries do not own the property which
you are saying they should relinquish. The state entities which are set to
be created by the Act will suffer losses like what the parastatals are doing
and the government later decided to privatise them. The state will end up
having accumulation of entities and will run them down just like what they
did in other areas. We need to create new opportunities for business and not
destroy what has already been built. How can you build a house by taking
bricks from another house which has already been built?”

However, Kasukuwere laughed off these claims saying government was
determined to pursue the policy to its end while engaging its lawyers.

“We are not nationalising anything but only seeding value. The
Indigenisation Act was not going to be necessary if these companies had
complied with us for the sake of our people, but they did not do anything
and now that we are indigenising, they are saying we are wrong,” said

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Elections: Zanu PF has no candidate

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:25

By Qhubani Moyo

NOW that it has become clear even to the doubting Thomases that the next
harmonised elections in Zimbabwe will only be held in 2013 when they are
constitutionally due, the focus in the public discourse is fast shifting to
analysis of the candidates for the elections than the self-indulgent demand
to rush to the polls without necessary reforms and adequate preparations.

The debate about an early election which Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
naively started and President Robert Mugabe ran away with has proven to be
unhelpful as the majority of Zimbabweans –– except for a few individual
political players collaborating with securocrats –– remain resolutely clear
that elections should only be held in 2013 when they are constitutionally

The compelling and undisputable reason for this argument is that the GPA ––
which was a necessary political agreement ––  has no timeframe for
elections. Therefore the people cannot be rushed to serve individual
interests at the expense of the majority of the citizens. Only a few
misguided elements are pushing this mad rush for elections.

The level of socio-economic and political decay in the country has reached
rock bottom and as such more time, planning, resources and commitment are
required to bring Zimbabwe back to the levels before Zanu PF plunder.  The
damage to the economy was so severe that it would be many years before full
recovery is realised.

Recovery can only be achieved if politicians desist from their theatrical
demands for elections whose purpose is nothing but to fulfil narrow
party-political and individual interests. Everyone knows the situation that
we found ourselves in due to Zanu PF’s political failures and economic
looting cannot be solved overnight. Given the divisive nature of our
elections and concomitant political violence, a trademark of Zanu PF since
Independence, one cannot doubt that those calling for rushed elections have
ulterior motives to use the state security apparatus to coerce citizens to
vote against their will. Their agenda is clear and thinly-disguised: they
want to steal the elections again and entrench themselves in power.

Those calling for early elections are clearly merchants of chaos who have no
national interest and well-being of the nation and people at heart. They are
merely working to secure their own political future and thus economic
benefits at the expense of the nation. This agenda is being driven by a
power-hungry group within Zanu PF which has failed over the years to gain
control of that party and wants to use violent elections as a weapon to
usurp state power and use the state apparatus to annihilate dissent both in
that party and the nation. A close analysis of these individuals will show
you that these are the same people, in one form or another, who have been in
at forefront of indescribable horror against the people of the country.

It is the same group that is identifiable with the Gukurahundi genocide, the
bloody 1985 general election in which people literally walked on top of
corpses to vote in Matabeleland. It is indeed the same group that plotted
the 1990 violence against the  Zimbabwe Unity Movement in which Patrick
Kombai was mercilessly shot with an AK 47 by known Zanu PF assailants who
were rewarded with an undeserved presidential pardon. It is factually
correct again to say that the same group has been in charge of the reign of
terror in the bloody 2000 and 2002 elections as well as the attack and
killings of innocent Zimbabweans in the run-up to June 2008 presidential
election run-off.

Now this group of terror, which lacks political charisma and has been
subject to constant defeat and humiliation in Zanu PF, has no formula of
getting to power by democratic means and can only rely on the most evil
method: political violence and intimidation. What these myopic individuals
fail to read is that the world is changing and changing fast. All those
involved in human rights violations are being brought to book as a
collective and in their personal capacities. Of course, in Zimbabwe
unrepentant violators of human rights abuses have been rewarded with high
positions and perks but that will soon come to end. It will end in grief for
them. They will be held to account.

These are the same intransigent elements who would like to refuse to hand
over power to a democratically-elected leader and government. Before every
election they make threats to block leaders without liberation struggle
credentials from assuming power even if democratically elected.

However, it must be made unequivocally clear to these people that they
should perish the wicked thought of thwarting the will of the people by
blocking democratically and popularly elected leaders. The world will not
sit and watch them rape democracy. Gone are the days that they would
slaughter over 20 000 defenceless people like they did in Matabeleland and
Midlands with the world watching. The securocrats and their lackeys can only
underestimate the new global approach and determination to protect civilians
from the wrath of dictators at their own peril.

The danger that the country is facing now is that Zanu PF wants to make
their own succession crisis and resultant divisions a national issue. This
is purely an internal political issue and they should desist from trying to
plunge the country into chaos because of their failure to put their house in
order. The truth of the matter is that they have failed completely to manage
their succession issue and that is their own business; let them not burden
Zimbabweans by their own failure to have a smooth succession plan.

This is what happens when people have wants in authoritarian systems and
when leaders cling to power for far too long. Such kind of systems always
have a dead end. Once the centre cannot hold, the whole edifice comes
crumbling down. Zanu PF is going to end this way. Instead of trying to
stampede the nation into early elections, Zanu PF political dinosaurs must
be trying to resolve their succession and renew their deadwood leadership.

What further puts Zanu PF in a panic mood is that the other two parties in
the coalition government have successfully dealt with the issue of who will
be their candidate in the 2013 elections. For the MDC-T it is clear that
Tsvangirai will be the candidate and in the MDC Professor Welshman Ncube is
the candidate. Zanu PF is in a quandary; effectively it has no presidential
candidate and finding one will be very difficult given its simmering
factionalism and internal strife.

To imagine that in 2013 Robert Mugabe at 89 can run a successful campaign
and have a programme for the future of the country is to stretch the
imagination. To imagine that the future of this country can be entrusted to
Mugabe at the age of 89 in 2013 is pure madness. Honestly how does a leader
aged 89 take the country forward and embody aspirations of the youths who
are the majority in this country?

Zimbabweans must not allow Zanu PF power-mongers and securocrats to hurry
them to elections just because they want to field Mugabe when he can still
manage to campaign and milk him of whatever political capital he still has.

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Joint-venture set to improve road network

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:30

By Nqobile Bhebhe

GOVERNMENT is set to sign several joint-venture projects with a major South
African road construction firm next week to rehabilitate the country’s
crumbling road network.

Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development
Secretary for Transport, Patson Mbiriri said the Bulawayo-Plumtree,
Bulawayo–Gweru, Harare-Mutare and Harare-Chirundu roads are the major
highways set to benefit from the joint venture.

The Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway is set to be the major benefactor of
the partnership because of its strategic value to South Africa in accessing
land routes to other Sadc countries.

Mbiriri said public/private partnerships were integral in the development
and rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s ailing infrastructure.

He revealed that the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) hoped to seal
the partnership deal with the unnamed South African road construction firm
as early as next week.

“We are also working with the Development Bank of Southern Africa on the
Harare-Chirundu road as well as the Harare-Beitbridge, feasibility studies,”
Mbiriri said.

Last year, the DBSA agreed to extend a US$1,3-billion loan for the
Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu dual carriageway.

The government and the South African financial institution signed a
disbursement agreement of US$500 000 to fund feasibility studies ahead of
the actual reconstruction of the road.

Zimbabwe has 18 338km of state roads, 5 290km of urban roads and 54 240km of
rural roads, which translates to a total road network of 77 868km in need of
major maintenance since a large portion of the network has outlived its

The rehabilitation and construction of the highway from Plumtree to Bulawayo
and ultimately to Harare and Mutare will also see the construction of 10
toll gates.

Mbiriri said the government would stop issuing road concessions to
constructors because there had been unfortunate instances where 25-year
concessions had resulted in them recouping their money in a year because of
high traffic volumes.

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Zamcom boosts Zim chances of drawing from Zambezi

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:29

THE constituting of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (Zamcom) interim
secretariat has boosted Zimbabwe’s chances of getting permission from
riparian states to draw water from the Zambezi River.

Riparian states are countries connected to a river and those riparian to the
mighty Zambezi River include Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe,
Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

According to information from Zamcom, the secretariat which is based in
Botswana would work toward achieving regional integration in sharing the
treasured water resource of the Zambezi River basin.

The establishment of a permanent secretariat and other requisite organs of
the commission are dependent on ratification of the agreement. Five
countries have already ratified the agreement but it can only come into
force after six of the eight riparian states ratify it.

The main objective of the Zamcom is to “promote the equitable and reasonable
utilisation of the water resources of the Zambezi Watercourse as well as
ensure the efficient management and sustainable development thereof”.

“The first responsibility of the secretariat is to coordinate the riparian
states and inform them of the expected steps needing their support towards
the realisation of the ultimate operationalisation of the Zamcom agreement
and its vital governance organs.” Zamcom said in a statement.

The Zambezi watercourse is of particular importance in the region because it
is shared by eight countries with a total population of over 50 million.

Water Resources and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo was unavailable
for comment but he revealed last year that Zimbabwe had formally approached
other riparian countries to seek permission to draw water from the Zambezi.

The newly renamed National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project has long been
touted as a permanent solution to the permanent water crisis in the
Matabeleland region.

However, the water project has moved at a snail’s pace with no substantial
developments in sight despite numerous cash injections by the government and
several stakeholders over the years.

The ambitious project to pump water from the Zambezi, some 452 kilometres
from Bulawayo, was first mooted in 1912 but has subsequently remained a pipe
dream since successive governments abandoned it due to the high costs
involved. — Staff writer.

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Sadc mulling measures to take against Zim

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:28

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma has revealed that Sadc leaders would
consider what measures to take against Zimbabwe at its summit in Namibia
next week after the government refused to comply with the regional bloc’s
Tribunal ruling on land reforms in 2008.
Zimbabwe snubbed the Tribunal’s ruling which found that Mike Campbell and 78
other farmers had been denied access to justice and that the country’s land
reform programme was discriminatory against white people.

In September 2009, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said: “We hereby
advise that, henceforth, we will not appear before the Tribunal and neither
will we respond to any action or suit instituted or be pending against the
Republic of Zimbabwe before the Tribunal. For the same reasons, any
decisions that the Tribunal may have or may make in future against the
Republic of Zimbabwe are null and void.”

Zuma said on Monday that a report commissioned by Sadc to review roles and
responsibilities of the Tribunal with a view to strengthening it and
improving its terms of reference was now ready.

The report also deals with the recognition and enforcement of decisions by
the Tribunal.

“A report containing recommendations regarding these matters will be
presented by the committee of ministers of justice and attorney-generals to
a special Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit on May 19-20 in
Windhoek,” Zuma said in the South African parliament.

He was responding to a written question from Democratic Alliance MP James
Selfe on what steps justice ministers and attorney-generals of Sadc states
would take against President Robert Mugabe for snubbing the Tribunal’s

Commercial Farmers Union president Deon Theron welcomed the Sadc initiative
to look at ways of strengthening the Tribunal and its commitment to the rule
of law.

“We welcome Sadc support of the Tribunal otherwise it would become a
mockery. It’s important that the Tribunal should be supported and
strengthened for it to enforce its rulings,” said Theron.

Theron said his union believed in the rule of law and would always use such
channels to seek redress issues.

“We have always said we would accept the Tribunal rulings even if they went
against us. Courts should be respected because they are neutral arbiters in

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‘Zuma will have final say’

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:26

By Brian Chitemba

SADC is likely to determine when Zimbabwe’s next elections will be held
since it will fund part of the costs because the inclusive government is
broke, it has emerged.
This is despite Zanu PF’s insistence this week that elections should be held
without fail this year.

Government sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that Sadc
facilitator South African president Jacob Zuma will have the final say on
when Zimbabweans will vote for a new government after he pledged that the
regional bloc will bail out the cash-strapped coalition  formed by President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai two years ago.

Although the amount of money to be released by Sadc is still unknown, the
fund, sources said would be available once critical reforms including the
writing of a new governance charter and security sector reforms, among
others, are implemented.

“Ultimately it’s up to Zuma and Sadc to determine when elections will be
held,” said a source.

Mugabe (87) wanted elections this year but pressure from Sadc and lack of
funding has scuttled his plans.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has come up with a US$400 million budget
for elections but Finance minister Tendai Biti quickly warned that Treasury
was broke and was seeking US$150 million to finance a budget deficit. Biti
blames ballooning foreign trips and expenses which topped over US$12 million
in the first quarter of the year for poor cash inflows.

The inclusive government will finance the referendum, expected in September,
and the elections roadmap drafted by negotiators to the Global Political
Agreement. The negotiators met in Cape Town last week and agreed that
critical reforms be implemented before Zimbabweans cast their ballots.

“Since the government is broke, Sadc has pledged to help fund the polls but
on condition that reforms are in place,” said the source. “Zuma will be
coming to Zimbabwe to meet principals over the roadmap and tell them that
money for elections will only come if the GPA is fully implemented and
President Robert Mugabe stops violence against opponents.”

Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson of the Sadc facilitating team, could not be
reached for comment on Wednesday as her mobile phone was unreachable.
The draft roadmap is awaiting approval by Sadc — scheduled to meet for an
extraordinary summit next week in Namibia. Some of the pertinent issues
outlined in the roadmap are the writing of a new constitution and electoral

The constitution-making process has resumed after being stalled by lack of
funding. Donors rescued the process with a US$5million package while the
government also released another  US$5 million.

Despite Mugabe’s election plans faltering, Zanu PF has resolved that primary
elections be held this year to give candidates ample time to campaign ahead
of elections now widely expected in 2012.

Senior Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent that the primary
elections which were initially scheduled this month will now be held later
this year at a date to be announced.

The delay of the primary elections, sources said, were partly blamed on
Mugabe’s frequent trips to Singapore which led to postponement of politburo
meetings. Mugabe has made five trips to Singapore this year to seek medical
attention amid reports that his health is failing.

The 87-year-old leader wanted elections this year while his failing health
was still permitting him to campaign. Service chiefs are also reluctant to
see him leave office fearing that his successor would not win elections
against Tsvangirai.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo on Wednesday insisted that the former
liberation movement was preparing for elections this year.

“We are ready for elections at anytime, and yes primary elections are coming
but no date yet,” he said.

Zanu PF sources said Mugabe was eager his party goes to primary elections
because endorsing of candidates is believed to have cost them votes in
previous polls.

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Bulawayo to host Zanu PF indaba

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:25

By Brian Chitemba

FACTION-RIDDLED Zanu PF Bulawayo province will host the former ruling party’s
annual conference in December at a time when tensions between the warring
camps are escalating.
The conference is set to confirm President Robert Mugabe as the party’s
candidate if parliamentary and presidential elections are to be held next
According to a circular from Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus
Mutasa, Bulawayo has been selected to host the conference and feuding
factions in the province  have been urged to close ranks and start preparing
for the gathering.

Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela yesterday confirmed that
Bulawayo would  host the conference.

It is understood that a nasty political storm between party bigwigs had
escalated with politburo members Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Eunice Sandi-Moyo
seeking to control provincial structures by sponsoring Dakamela to retain
his position while Joshua Malinga, Angeline Masuku and Calistus Ndlovu want
him out.

A senior provincial official said the infighting was likely to throw
spanners into the works and scuttle smooth preparations for the annual
conference hosted by provinces on a rotational basis.

“The fighting between camps in Bulawayo rages on and our preparations will
be affected seriously. We are not working together as a team,” said the

The Bulawayo provincial joint committee chaired by Dakamela met last week to
draft committees to stir preparations for the conference but a faction led
by Malinga did not attend the crucial meeting.

It emerged this week, the source added, that some of the warring party hawks
with business links were plotting to influence traditional donors to prevent
handouts towards the conference.

“There are plots and counter-plots to disturb the preparations because the
fight now is about who controls the provincial structures,” said the source.
‘Some officials don’t want Dakamela and his executive.”

Dakamela is linked to Mines minister Obert Mpofu while Malinga, Masuku and
Calistus Ndlovu back Vice President John Nkomo. Nkomo and Mpofu are long
time political rivals despite efforts by the top officials to close ranks in
recent months.

“As days towards the conference draw closer, we expect fireworks in
Bulawayo,” said the source. “If not handled carefully, the situation may
deteriorate to what happened towards the MDC-T congress. The only difference
is that we are not having elections but some officials may want to co-opt
their blue-eyed boys into the provincial executive before the conference in

Sources said Dakamela was also under fire from the Masuku and Malinga camp
for failing to drum up support for the anti-sanctions petition which failed
to reach the 200 000 signatures targeted by the province.

Insiders revealed this week that the party had only managed to get 70 000
signatures in the province, which is seriously dominated by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T.

Since the inception of the MDC-T, Zanu PF has never won a parliamentary seat
in Bulawayo.

Zanu PF commissar Webster Shamu and former Air Force of Zimbabwe deputy
commander Henry Muchena made several trips to Bulawayo from last year until
early this year to bring the fighting factions together but in vain.

But yesterday Dakamela insisted that the political situation in the province
was under control.

“Everything is going on well and we are busy working on conference
preparations. There is no fighting in our structures,” he said.

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‘Diamond mining must benefit communities’

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:23

By Wongai Zhangazha

STAKEHOLDERS in the mining industry have challenged the government to
properly account for revenue from the diamond mining sector and ensure that
it benefited the poor.
Delegates at a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) workshop organised by
the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) and Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers
Association (Zela) accused the government of failing to plough back revenue
from diamond proceeds in community development.

The diamond mining industry has been in pandemonium since the country’s gems
have been shunned by major international buyers after being classified as
“blood diamonds”.

This has created a lucrative black market which makes it difficult to
ascertain the real revenue derived from diamonds. Zanu PF’s Simbaneuta
Mudarikwa asked what was being done by the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation and other state enterprises to develop communities they operate

“We would want to know who is getting money and benefiting from the
industries in mining,” Mudarikwa asked. “What is being done to develop
communities? For instance we have the ZMDC, what is it doing? Where is the
money going to? We should not only question what foreign-owned companies are
doing. Even those state-owned companies have a role to play. What are they

Political interference and preferential treatment of some mining companies
have also contributed to the problems in the mining sector.

The situation at Chiadzwa, the main hub of diamond mining in Zimbabwe,
remains dire.

Villagers have accused Chinese company Anjin of depriving them of employment
opportunities by favouring Zanu PF supporters.

Some delegates called for more robust research to craft a proper framework
for the diamond industry.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, Edward
Chindori-Chininga, said there was need for proper research on empowerment so
that people have a better understanding of where “we are going”.

“There should be accountability. Some mining companies tend to take social
responsibility as a charitable measure and not as a responsibility. They
think that whatever they have done or given communities it’s a blessing. The
community must benefit,” said Chindori-Chininga.

He said something was “terribly wrong” in the 10% shares that are for the
community trusts.

Chindori-Chininga said: “CSO needs to do some work on what structures need
to be put in place to develop the community. Guidelines should be clearer on
community structures in terms of who is involved, what is the structure
like, what is the role of the DA (District Administrator) and under what
regulations will it operate.”

SARW director Claude Kabemba said it was important that the government
promoted its own people first.

“Our local companies are worse than foreign companies. If we can’t set best
standards for ourselves, how do we expect foreign companies to perform?” he

Research on Zimbabwe’s mining sector in Marange and Mutoko by Zela paints a
worrying picture.

“A few lucky villagers were however employed by the mining company although
a lot more are bitter that they have been sidelined, particularly by Anjin
that is alleged to be bringing workers in from China, hence depriving local
youths of employment opportunities,” Zela reports. “There are also reports
that mining companies should employ people from Zanu PF structures only.”

The environmental lawyers expressed concern over lack of support from the
judicial system to protect the rights of the Chiadzwa people who were
forcibly relocated without being given compensation except for the US$1 000
disturbance allowance to each family and groceries for a month.
They argued that cases filed at the courts were not treated as urgent

“The effect of the court decision is that since the court failed to uphold
the need to promote class action, it gave a licence to the state and mining
companies to relocate the families without making any consultations or
reaching agreement with the people, except using coercion and threats,” Zela

“It also means the judiciary is not ready to protect the economic, social
and cultural rights of communities against the operations of mining
companies and government. The courts that are expected to be the last
bastion in protecting the environmental, economic, social and cultural
rights of the poor are failing to do so.”

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Constitution responses on media raise eyebrows

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:21

By Faith Zaba

JOURNALISTS who write stories critical of the government and the president
should either be jailed or hanged. These are some of the views expressed by
villagers in Zanu PF’s stronghold of Mashonaland West during the
constitution outreach meetings.
According to documents obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent this week with
responses from consultation meetings in Chegutu, Kadoma, Makonde, Zvimba,
Kariba and Hurungwe on the specific rights the new constitution should
guarantee to the media, the majority view was that government should
regulate the press.

Some villagers went as far as suggesting that the media sector should fall
under the Defence ministry, instead of the Media, Information, and publicity
ministry, while some meetings proposed that there be one newspaper and one
broadcasting company in the country. Others wanted the number of newspapers
to be limited. Villagers at Pumara farm said there should not be privately
owned media.

In Kadoma they said foreign media should be banned and local news should not
be published or broadcast outside Zimbabwe.

The majority of meetings in the six towns said no foreign journalist should
be allowed to practise in Zimbabwe and media organisations should only be
owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.

At a meeting at Nyamupfute in Makonde, the document said, villagers proposed
“life imprisonment for false reporting on the country” arguing that “bad
publicity negatively impacts on tourism and revenue inflows”.

A meeting at Open Space in Chegutu suggested that government critics should
be “killed” and at Fort Martin, also in Chegutu, the villagers said
journalists should be constructive and practise truthful reporting and
should be Zimbabwean and those “who by-pass should be sentenced to death”.

At Benhura Primary School in Kadoma, the villagers advocated for the “death
sentence for people who write false stories about the country”.

In Makonde they said media critical of the government should be banned.

Another view which came out at several meetings, particularly in Mugabe’s
rural home in Zvimba 110 km west of Harare, was that “journalists who peddle
falsehoods should be prosecuted”. They also said information should be
censored before publication.

“Media (should) be nationally responsible and not criticise,” said villagers
at a meeting at Zvimba Resettlement. In Chegutu, villagers said journalists
should name their sources in their reports.

Several meetings in the province said journalists should be patriotic and
pro-government. The villagers said they wanted news that unite people and
promote peace, national development, cultural and traditional values.

Close to half of the meetings held in the province said “pirate radio
stations”, singling out Voice of America’s Studio 7, should be “outlawed”.
In Chegutu, 55 of the 112 meetings supported that view, so did 38 of the 88
meetings in Hurungwe and 52 of the 116 in Kadoma, 17 of 41 in Kariba.

Of interest were the contradictory demands at the same meetings where some
people said press freedom should be guaranteed in the new constitution and
others proposed censorship of the media.

At Kagoro business centre in Chegutu, the list of proposals included freedom
of the press, truthful reporting, media censorship, promotion of peace,
unity and development, no cartooning or disparaging of the president and
unlimited access to information.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations were this week, according to
our sister publication NewsDay, haggling over how they will compile data
that would be used in drafting the new constitution.

The parties reportedly failed to agree on the methods to compile the data
with Zanu PF demanding a quantitative method against the MDCs wishes.
The quantitative process entailed that the more an issue was raised, the
more important it became. The MDCs wanted a qualitative method in which the
substance of the contributions is what must be considered.

As a result of the haggling, the MDC-T allegedly threatened to walk out of
the constitution-making process, which would lead to a new constitution and
free and fair elections to end a decade-long political and economic crisis
in the country. Zanu PF reacted angrily to the MDC-T pullout threat with its
spokesperson Rugare Gumbo saying the party would notify Sadc facilitator of
the Zimbabwe political talks, South African President Jacob Zuma, and
continue the constitution-making process with the smaller formation of the
MDC and civic organisations.

Sources in the three parties last night told the Independent that frantic
efforts were underway to patch-up the differences in the collation of the
constitution-making data.

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Securities board plans ‘frozen’

Friday, 13 May 2011 08:20

By Bernard Mpofu

PLANS to set up a Central Securities Depository (CSD) by June have hit a
snag after Finance minister Tendai Biti put the proposal on hold and
referred the matter to cabinet, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SEC) chairperson Willia Bonyongwe
yesterday said government had “frozen” the process after questioning the
“form and structure” of a consortium that was last year awarded a tender to
run the CSD.

This suspension comes after the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, currently seeking
control of the CSD, was approached by Chengetedzai Depository Company (Pvt)
Ltd with a view to court the exchange as an equity partner.

Chengetedzai, a consortium of local businessmen, required US$5 million to
run the CSD.

A CSD is an organisation holding securities either in certificated or
uncertificated (dematerialised) form to enable book entry transfer of

“We had awarded a tender to a consortium but the ministry has suspended all
that,” Bonyongwe said. “

But as far as we are concerned, we think the Rennaisance issue is actually
reinforcing the need to  have automation sooner rather later. We really need
it now. That’s why we had targeted June. Now, we don’t know and that’s a
question you should ask the minister. The minister said he was going to
refer the matter to cabinet.”

Biti could not be reached for comment as he was reportedly out of the

The ZSE currently utilises a call-over system to execute trades. Critics say
paper-based operations of the exchange were fraught with inherent risks.
Clearance and settlement is done between stockbrokers with payment against
delivery of physical scrip on a T+7 calendar days basis.

Turning to the Renaissance saga that has seen trades in Afre Corporation and
Rainbow Tourism Group being suspended on the equities market this week,
Bonyongwe said the matter had exposed structural flaws in the ZSE.

“This problem focuses on the role of the ZSE and the Central Securities
Depository. We have said we needed the ZSE to be automated. We need it to
have an independent board,” she said. “The Afre Corporation issue
demonstrates lack of an independent ZSE board. The ZSE cannot ask to have an
independent board when it doesn’t have one itself. For us, the Afre issue
emphasises the need to restructure the ZSE.”

During preliminary stages of the tender bid last May, four consortiums —
Chengetedzai, Zimbabwe Central Securities Depository Company, CDF Trust and
Land Fortune Farming Ltd — submitted tender documents to SEC.

After an independent evaluation of the bids, CDF Trust and Land Fortune
Farming were eliminated from the tender before Chengetedzai subsequently won
the tender in December.

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Wheat season in disarray

Friday, 13 May 2011 15:50

By Tatenda Macheka

THIS year’s wheat winter season is headed for disaster because farmers are
reluctant to start planting the crop due to fears of power outages and
inconsistent water supplies.
Commercial Farmers Union president Deron Theron said this winter wheat
season is likely to be in disaster in terms of output owing to lack of
assurance from Zesa, absence of lines of credit from banks and shortages of
inputs on the market.

“We have a shortage of 340 000  tonnes which we are importing but we can
produce more than this in the country. Due to lack of lines of credit from
banks and lack of inputs we cannot  produce this, even water from Zinwa is
now expensive and the supply is  inconsistent,” said Theron.

“Last season, 10 000 hectares of wheat were planted and only 7 000 tonnes
were produced.  Zimbabwe at its peak in the  2001/2 season produced more
than 341 000 tonnes and since then the production has been declining
drastically. Last season recorded the worst ever performance.”

The farmers will require at least 66 megawatts (MW) of electricity with an
estimated total of 44 611 hectares expected to be put under winter wheat.
Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) acting
general manager Julian Chinembiri said the power utility held a series of
meetings with farmers unions on power supplies.

“The farmers need at least three days a week of power supplies to be able to
irrigate,” he said.

Wheat farmers have in the past seasons blamed lack of consistent power
supplies for negatively impacting on winter wheat farming.

Zimbabwe is facing a perennial power shortage with demand at 2 100 MW far
surpassing supply currently standing between 1 300 MW and 1 400 MW.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga
denied water was expensive.

She dismissed the allegations that water is expensive saying this has become
“a seasonal cry” for farmers.

Munyonga said Zinwa is willing to assist farmers in any way possible, adding
there was more water in dams this season.

“Water levels are very high this season in all our dams. Farmers just want
to complain but water is very cheap and available. We charge US$12 per mega
litre which means US$12 per 1 million litres. Farmers only have to get into
agreements with us and acquire permits.” she said.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union chief economist  Prince Kuipa said funds government
availed to assist farmers cannot meet their demands, adding there is need
for other stakeholders to come in and assist .

The annual wheat consumption requirements is around 450 000 tonnes.

“Zimbabwe needs to import wheat worth over US$150 million to meet an
expected shortfall of 440 000 tonnes and the government gave us US$10
million which covers less than 12 000 hectares which produces 60 000 tonnes
in a good season which is a drop in the ocean in terms of what the nation
“At least 60 000 hectares was supposed to be put under wheat this year but
farmers had planted only 10 000 hectares,” he said.

Although international wheat prices are low, the local price is attractive.
For instance, while the International  Grains Council revealed that the
price of wheat is at US$280 per tonne, the local market offers more than

Finance minister Tendai Biti admitted in his 2011 budget that over the years
wheat production has been decreasing owing to declining hectare, funding
challenges and unreliable power supply and out of the targeted hectarage of
45 000 hectares, farmers only managed to put 12 000 hectares using inputs
worth US$5 million.

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RBZ to audit banks

Bernard Mpofu

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will soon audit all banks’ statutory capital
requirements after a three week investigation in Renaissance Merchant Bank’s
operations exposed a US$16,5 million hole, Finance minister Tendai Biti

Biti said following a probe into Renaissance Bank’s corporate governance
practices which unearthed an irregular shareholding structure, poor
separation between shareholders and management, use of depositors funds and
borrowed funds to capitalise the bank, the central bank would move in to
ensure that financial services institutions comply with the June 30

According to sources close to the investigation, Renaissance Merchant Bank
is technically insolvent with a negative balance of US$15 659 725, a
development that prompted government to seek a “cash-rich” investor expected
to inject US$17 million to lift the group out of the red.

“As far as the issue of corporate governance is concerned the Reserve Bank
will continue with its investigations in other banks,” Biti said.
“The investigations that have started at Renaissance Merchant Bank are going
to continue to other banks. The reason we are going to carry out these
investigations is that we are not going to be found in the same situation
that has been found vis-a vis Renaissance Merchant Bank and Renaissance
Financial Holdings.

“So other audits are going to be carried out in the next few weeks to ensure
that we don’t have distressed banks and that if we do have distressed banks,
solutions are found expeditiously that ensure that the investing public is
not prejudiced. We are going to do that.”

The central bank set US$10 million and US$12,5 million as capital
requirements for merchant banks and commercial banks, respectively. Official
figures show that as at December 31 2010, 19 out of 24 banking institutions
had complied with the regulations.

The central bank then extended the year-end deadline to June 30 after it
became apparent that some banks were unlikely to comply with the capital
threshold in the first quarter of 2011.

In his quarterly state of the economy review two weeks ago, Biti warned that
failure by “small banks” to comply with statutory capital requirements,
non-performing loans and tight liquidity situation could stress Zimbabwe’s
banking sector.

He said: “Despite these problems it is our firm belief that the bank
(Renaissance) is in a sound position. (We hope) that it will be able to meet
the demands of its depositors. That it is a viable operation and that it
will remain functional. But we are going to do certain things to protect the
bank from itself but the bank is functional. We as government are not going
to allow any bank to fail.”

According to Biti, the findings of the Renaissance Merchant Bank
investigation had revealed “serious misdemeanors” which forced government to

“First there is an irregular shareholding structure in respect of which
certain shareholders, in particular three main shareholders, have got a
direct and indirect shareholding of at least 70%, which is inconsistent with
the internal regulations of the Reserve Bank,” Biti said.

Section 36 of the Banking Act limits individual shareholding to a maximum of
10% while corporate shareholding should not exceed 25%. But sources said
former Renaissance boss Patterson Timba had direct and indirect shareholding
of 44,66% and collectively executive management is believed to have owned
89,17% of the holding company.

“The bank has been seriously undercapitalised but of concern has been the
attempt to capitalise the bank through borrowed or depositors funds in
violation of Section 32 of the Banking Act. We think that this is an
unacceptable violation,” he said.

Information gathered by businessdgest shows that apart from Renaissance, at
least three other banks which include government owned ZABG and Genesis
investment bank are struggling to raise the statutory capital levels set by
the central bank after the dollarisation of the economy two years ago.
However reports suggest that a possible 93% acquisition of Genesis
Investment Bank shares by a consortium of foreign banks could help boost
capital levels.
The deal would also face resistance under the indigenisation and economic
empowerment regulations compelling foreign-owned companies to dispose 51%
shareholding to black Zimbabweans.

Genesis CEO Bright Mahere could not be reached for comment. But banking
experts say the future of merchant banking in Zimbabwe remains under threat
under the prevailing economic conditions making the bank’s prospects of
raising capital slim.

Analysts said ZABG, an amalgamation of banks that reportedly failed at the
height of a financial crisis in 2004 could fail to recapitalise after the
bank surrendered assets to Barbican, Trust and Royal Banks after they were

Reports also show that ZABG failed to publish year-end results in February
after its auditors refused to certify the bank’s financials because of
Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono declined to comment on the status of
capitalisation levels in the banking sector saying this would “pre-empt” his
forthcoming Monetary Policy Statement expected next month.

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Indigenous banks exposed to risks

Friday, 13 May 2011 15:17

By Chris Muronzi

SEVERAL Zimbabwean banks are exposed to risks after RioZim Ltd failed to
settle loans amounting to US$50 million, forcing the financial institutions
to roll over the loans, businessdigest can reveal.

Documents seen by businessdigest show that a number of local banks were
reeling from RioZim’s non-performing loans and have resorted to rollovers.
Non-performing loans are loans that are in default or close to being in

Trust Banking Corporation advanced US$3,4 million to RioZim. Trust Bank’s
loan book stood at US$1,436 million by December 31 2010.  While the bank’s
loan book could have grown in the quarter to March and to date, there is
indication of concentration of RioZim’s US$3,4 million advances and their
exposure is 239% to the bank’s December loan book. Concentration risk is
very high on RioZim’s balance. Most of the loans were due in April and early
May while others are due later this month. RioZim CEO Josh Sachikonye is
also the Trust Holdings Ltd (THL) chairman. THL owns Trust Banking

When reached for comment yesterday, Sachikonye said he was in a meeting and
promised to call back but had not done so at the time of going to print.
Trust Bank MD Nyevero Hlupo was also said to be in a board meeting and had
not called back at the time of going to press.

Tetrad also advanced a series of loan facilities amounting to US$4,8
million, representing a 15% exposure compared to their December loan book.
Some of the loans were due last month while some of the loans are due later
this month. According to documents, Tetrad has been forced to revolve RioZim’s
Bankers Acceptance (BA). BA is a short-term credit investment created by a
non-financial firm and guaranteed by a bank. Tetrad group CEO Eugene Mlambo
said: “The loans are performing. Its not unusual for us to role over a loan.
Up to this day, they have never failed to meet  their side of the bargain.”
Kingdom Bank has the highest exposure in terms of value of US$7,5 million to
RioZim, representing 9% of their December loan book. The loan facility is
due next month. Sources say the bank might also be forced to roll over the
facility on maturity.

ZB Bank is also exposed to the tune of US$5, 9 million. The ZB loan
facilities were due early May forcing the bank to roll over the facility.
The RioZim loan represents around 8% of ZB’s total loan book of US$70.4
million to December 31 2010.

Premier Banking Corporation is exposed to the tune of US$2,4 million, which
is 9% of the loan book as at December 31 2010. RioZim, according to
documents, accessed various loans. The bulk of the group’s loan facilities
matured last month. Again management at the bank is still to recover their
funds. Premier CEO Daniel Sackey had not responded to businessdigest’s
enquiries at the time of going to print. His personal assistant had earlier
claimed her boss was in a meeting.

BancAbc is exposed to the tune of US$3 million. RioZim failed to settle the
loans in April forcing management to roll over the facility. Africa Bank
Corporation Botswana is also exposed to the tune of US$5 million. Interfin
Bank is owed US$1,5 million by the company. But the Interfin facility will
be due early next month. When reached for comment the Interfin Bank MD Ray
Njanike refused to comment and referred all questions to RioZim management.
Other financial institutions owed funds by the mining group are IDBZ –
US$2,3 million, Metropolitan Bank US$1,3 million, Imara Corporate Finance –
US$1,5 million but their loans are due in August and September.

African Export and Import Bank is owed some US$8 million which has been due
since December last year.
Renaissance Merchant Bank is also exposed to the tune of US$2,9 million. The
bulk of the loans were due by end of last month with small chunk of about
US$204 578 maturing early June. Although the company has a US$2 million
facility with NMB Bank, the group is still to utilise the fund.

International banks like Stanchart Chartered, Barclays and Stanbic have
shunned advances to RioZim. The banks have been criticised for their very
low loan-to-deposit ratios but it is now their stringent credit risk
guidelines and policies that help them accurately assess risky borrowers
thus reducing default rates.

RioZim’s financials to December 2010 show that finance costs rose from
US$4,3 million to US$10,2 million, a figure representing 137% rise in
finance charges.

Some of the company’s debt attracts interest as high as 30% annually, the
documents show.
Finance costs at $10,2 million swallowed the group’s US$9,3 million
operating profit resulting in $570 000 loss before tax in the full year to
December 2010.

This comes after RioZim’s bid to raise US$40 million through a rights issue
fell through last month after the would be underwriter  –– Essar Africa
Holdings –– pulled out of the deal.

Essar is said to have pulled the plug on the RioZim deal after a due
diligence examination found the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company was
heavily geared and had a sizeable short-term debt.

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‘Securocrats fear post-Mugabe era’

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:30

By Brian Chitemba

SECURITY chiefs want President Robert Mugabe to remain in power despite his
failing health and old age to protect their personal interests and fear of
international prosecution for crimes they committed under the stewardship of
the octogenarian leader.

Mugabe, who has been at the helm of Zanu PF since 1977 and Zimbabwe from
1980, is clinging to office in spite of his waning political support.
The 87-year-old strongman has always been regarded as something of a
political enigma since he has never contested the Zanu PF presidency in his
entire political life.

Mugabe was first thrust into his present party position while still in
prison in 1974 when he was elected to replace Ndabaningi Sithole, who
suffered a vote of no confidence by a clique with the strong influence of
his one time ally Edgar Tekere.

Taking power on a wave of popular support in 1980, Mugabe’s early political
promises of reconciliation and democracy were later overtaken by a strong
authoritarian streak and deep distrust of the opposition. Since then, there
has been no challenge to his leadership with all Zanu PF gatherings
scrambling to endorse him.

But now reportedly battling life threatening prostate cancer, among other
things, Mugabe is facing old age and isolation even from Sadc which has
opposed his 2011 elections plans.

The beleaguered veteran ruler is dependent on security chiefs from the army,
police and intelligence to fight in his corner.

But the question remains: Whose interests is the diehard Joint Operations
Command (JOC), which brings together army, police, intelligence chiefs and
some questionable “advisors”, protecting?

Political analyst Effie Ncube said the securocrats had immensely benefited
from Mugabe’s 31-year rule through looting that explains why they are even
prepared to “go to war” to maintain the status quo and safeguard their
personal interests.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, army
commander Lieutenant-General Phillip Sibanda, Air Force chief Perence Shiri,
CIO boss Happyton Bonyongwe and police commissioner-general Augustine
Chihuri have openly declared their support for Mugabe.

The security chiefs are reportedly among a rich elite who benefited from the
chaotic land reform programme from 2000 and are now allegedly at the
forefront of plundering lucrative diamonds at the Marange gems fields.

“Ushering in a new government would expose the securocrats to accountability
for their vast wealth,” said Ncube.

“The army chiefs don’t want transparency and they can only do that if Mugabe
is in power.”

Ncube said reports of Mugabe’s recurrent trips to Singapore for medical care
clearly show that he is no longer fit to govern the country.

It emerged recently that the octogenarian’s advisors were now overly
concerned with his advanced age, failing health, the collapse of his plans
to ram elections this year and are reportedly persuading him to sort out the
succession crisis.

Despite welling pressure on Mugabe, his service chiefs are said to be
backing him for another term in office.

“The security bosses have amassed wealth and they want to continue
benefiting; that’s why they don’t want Mugabe to leave,” said Ncube.
“Basically, they want to protect their interests.”

He said Mugabe should listen to his close advisors by sorting out the
succession issue and then stepping down instead of being held hostage by the
service chiefs.

In the recent past, Mugabe has been systematically deploying his military
henchmen to head parastatals and key state-run entities to cement his
control of all spheres of the economy.

“Mugabe was going to leave a legacy if he had stepped down 15 years ago but
his failure to respect human rights and protecting corrupt officials as well
as security bosses has soiled his profile,” said Ncube. “It’s time these
securocrats allow democracy to thrive by allowing whoever wins the next
elections to govern.”

He said Mugabe was rejected by the electorate in the 2008 harmonised
elections but he withheld the results for more than a month because the
securocrats pushed him to declare the outcome inconclusive.

“Even if those in Zanu PF didn’t challenge him for close to four decades, he
must go because honestly, there is nothing he can offer whether he is in
office for the next 20 years,” he said.

Last year Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena “retired” and was seconded to the
Zanu PF commissariat department where he joined former CIO director internal
Sydney Nyanhongo to lead the former liberation movement’s violent campaign
for Mugabe’s re-election.

UK-based Zimbabwean journalist turned academic Admore Tshuma said Mugabe was
like a blackmailed president as his security chiefs feared that his
departure would unravel serious internationally prosecutable crimes.

Most of those around Mugabe are guilty of crimes against humanity stemming
from Gukurahundi during which tens of thousands perished at the hands of the
North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands in an
operation the government justified as weeding out dissidents.

Then there is Operation Murambatsvina in which hundreds of thousands of
homes in the country’s shanty towns were torched and bulldozed in a
two-month government-led campaign in which about 700 000 people lost their
homes or livelihoods.

Mugabe’s government justified the campaign arguing that it was intended to
crack down on black-market trading and other criminal activity in slum
However, the United Nations and human rights groups said the campaign
violated international law and attacked it as a “catastrophic injustice” to
Zimbabwe’s poorest.

“Let’s not forget that the International Humanitarian Law states clearly
that if a government in power sends an army to a particular place within the
country and then that army happens to target civilians, then the government
has committed Crimes against Humanity which is a serious and prosecutable
crime,” said Tshuma.

He said the security chiefs, particularly Shiri, who masterminded the
Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s, feared that they could be taken to The
Hague for their role in the death of over 20 000 civilians during the

“Assuming there were security problems in Matabeleland, but collective
punishment that was meted out to people of Matabeleland is forbidden by
international law, particularly the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Additional
Protocol 11 of 1977.

Surely there are crimes against humanity that have been committed in
Zimbabwe by Mugabe and his men,” said Tshuma.

Former journalist Methuseli Moyo fired a broadside at the service chiefs for
refusing to grant Mugabe a chance to rest at a time when his health has
become a serious problem for him personally as well as the country.

He said the military elite were scared that if the ageing leader quits, they
would also be rendered jobless because no future government would absorb
them given their tainted images.

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The city of Bulawayo is still alive

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:27

IT was Mark Twain who said:  “Reports of my death are an exaggeration!” and
that is certainly so of the plethora of media reports that Bulawayo is
dying.  The doom and gloom merchants allege, with pretended authority and
conviction, that the manufacturing base that has been catalytic of Bulawayo’s
economy, is crumbling and collapsing at a cataclysmic pace.  They contend
that the city is on the threshold of loss of all industrial operations. They
claim that as a result its entire economy has collapsed, and that the city’s
demise is an absolute certainty.
Bulawayo’s commercial and industrial enterprises have been grievously
affected by the economic ills that have afflicted all of Zimbabwe. The
perceptions and contentions of Bulawayo’s demise are unfounded and misplaced
in the extreme.  Nothing could be further from fact and reality.

It cannot be denied that various enterprises (estimates claim a totality of
29) have  ceased operation in Bulawayo, but they were only a few of the
significant number engaged in engineering, textiles and clothing, furniture,
pharmaceuticals, food processing and other sectors.  It is sad to note that
several are under judicial management, due to debt servicing constraints,
and that very many have had little alternative but to downsize their
operations, until Zimbabwe’s economic circumstance changes positively and
enables regrowth.

Although some have closed down, many have substantially scaled down
operations, and a few have been merged and consolidated with
sister-operations in Harare. The hundreds of manufacturing businesses that
have for so long constituted Bulawayo as a major industrial centre continue
to operate.  Admittedly, most of them have to constantly surmount major
operational obstacles and constraints, as is also the case for industries in
Harare, the Midlands and Manicaland.  Virtually without exception, Zimbabwe’s
businesses, whether engaged in industry, commerce or otherwise, are
critically under-capitalised.  The hyperinflation of 2008 and the subsequent
demonetisation of the Zimbabwean currency, wholly eroded the working capital
resources of all enterprises.  After those economically tragic developments,
working capital requirements were trillions percent greater than previously
needed, merely to fund the same levels of stock-in-trade and operational

Accessing of new capital resources was, and still is, very restricted for
all of Zimbabwe’s banks and financial institutions. They have miniscule
liquidity and therefore, can only make very limited funding available to the
financially emaciated private sector.  Such minimal funding as has been
accessible from the financial sector has, since 2008, only been available
for very short periods and at exceptionally high cost.  The straitened
fiscal resources attainable have not sufficed to enable continuance of
operations at previously attained levels, let alone to fund development and

As catastrophically great as working capital inadequacy has been, and
continues to be, that has not been the only affliction that has beleaguered
the manufacturing sector.  Its operational woes have been intensified by
many other negative circumstances.  For several years energy supply has been
erratic and irregular.  This is a major hindrance to production efficacy.
Concurrently, the service delivery by parastatals and local authorities
(over and above that of Zesa) has also fallen far short of that necessary to
assure sound and viable ongoing manufacturing operations.

Industry has also been confronted by diminished export market
competitiveness, as its operational cost include hard-core expenditures
heavily increased by the 2008 hyperinflation. This has necessitated pricing
at levels markedly greater than those which their non-Zimbabwean competitors
apply to like products. Their competitors have not been victims to similar
cost escalations and in the case of some Far East competitors, they also
being beneficiaries of massive government export incentives, far greater
than conform to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade provisions.

Similarly, industry (including that in Bulawayo) is oppressed by low levels
in local market demand.  In part, that is due to the very limited consumer
purchasing power, as a result of inadequate resources, notwithstanding that
since the horrendous inflation was contained, there has been a marginal
increase in consumer spending.  However, to a major extent, Zimbabwean
industry is unable to achieve substantial domestic market penetration
because it is confronted with unfair import competition, due to a
combination of the great export incentives received by Far East exporters,
and to many of Zimbabwe’s customs duty tariffs being unrealistically
favourable to the imported products.  That is especially invidious, because
concurrently many of those tariffs are prohibitively high when applied to
some of the raw material imports required by the Zimbabwean manufacturers.

Nevertheless, there are indications that, slowly and progressively, the
Zimbabwean economy will recover and improve. Most Bulawayo industrialists
have stated that they are neither prepared to succumb to prevailing economic
ills, or to the dismal prognostications of Zimbabwe’s very many obdurate
pessimists.  In contrast to those imbued with intense dejection and
defeatism, and oblivious to the undoubted ultimate recovery of the economy
(which could be greatly accelerated if government would start to do the
right things), most of Bulawayo’s business community, whether in
manufacturing, trade, or otherwise engaged, have demonstrated and continue
to show determination to survive and to be around when the recovery fully

Moreover, they recognise the magnitude of Bulawayo’s potential.  It is a key
provider of many of the needs of the mining sector in general and that which
is fast growing in Matabeleland and the Midlands in particular.  It is a
principal road, rail and air junction, facilitative of ready access to
export markets, which markets will undoubtedly develop and grow in the
future.  It is one of Zimbabwe’s key gateways to Zimbabwe’s increasing
tourism industry.  And it has a local authority which, notwithstanding
pronounced financial resource constraints, strives to maximise the city’s
operational efficiency.  Bulawayo also has a large population, desirous of
gainful occupation, with much ability and a tendency to work productively
and constructively (in exchange for equitable reward).

All this, and much else, gives the lie to those who suggest, devoid of
foundation, that Bulawayo is near dead, and due to be buried.

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Muckraker: Personal opinion is not fact Cde Gumbo

Friday, 13 May 2011 12:23

‘TSVANGIRAI exposed”, the Sunday Mail declared last weekend.
This was a story designed to shoot down the MDC leader’s dossier which
“caused havoc” in Livingstone.
Tsvangirai “lied” that the securocrats had “effected a silent coup in the
country and were allegedly abusing their power to intimidate, arrest and
detain Zanu PF opponents by invoking Section 121 if the Criminal Procedure
and Evidence Act…” the paper said.
However, a forensic audit by the AG’s office “which the Sunday Mail has
verified independently through public records at the courts and which has
been made available to Sadc through diplomatic channels show the cases cited
by Tsvangirai in his sensational dossier that caused havoc in Livingstone
were fewer in number than claimed and stretch over a two-year period”.
So claims of abuse of power are invalidated by the fact that they stretched
over two years and were “fewer in number” than claimed? In one case
Tsvangirai got the age of a victim wrong.
This was a bold attempt by the Sunday Mail’s Munyaradzi Huni, who has
emerged from hibernation, to rubbish the dossier that Tsvangirai presented
to the Livingstone summit.
It would be silly to deny that the dossier could have contained the
occasional error, but heads of state gathered in Livingstone would have made
allowance for that. In no way would it have invalidated the evidence
supplied. What we have in Zimbabwe is a pattern of human rights abuse that
needs to be investigated, not rubbished by partisan reporters who sing for
their supper.
What progress for instance has been made in the Jestina Mukoko case? Why has
the Sunday Mail not rushed to report progress in that case? Is the Sunday
Mail seriously suggesting an abuse did not take place because it happened
three years ago?
And what about Tonderayi Ndira? What happened to that case?

The problem here is that nobody trusts Zanu PF or its law enforcement
agencies. They can wave as many documents as they like “proving” that
Tsvangirai “lied”, but nobody is going to believe them. Who recalls the
government’s dossier presented in Dar es Salaam in 2007? That’s where the
scepticism began. And we still haven’t heard what happened to investigations
into the “bashing” of Tsvangirai and others at Machipisa police station. Or
was that also a “lie”?
The Sunday Mail spoke to an official at Sadc HQ in Gaborone, we are told,
who was happy to say the documented evidence now emerging “did not square up
in (Tsvangirai’s) favour”.
Our experience of Sadc officials is that they are hostile to the MDC and
unable to deal firmly with Mugabe, in particular Tomaz Salomão. That perhaps
remains the case. But it doesn’t change the picture of an increasingly
impatient group of heads of state who won’t swallow Zanu PF’s excuses any
Indeed, Zuma has been telling anyone who cares to listen that sanctions need
to be lifted so observers can see how threadbare Zanu PF’s claims –– that
everything is the fault of sanctions –– really are. And we tried to tell the
Sadc mission to the US and EU that they stood little chance of success.
US officials cited politically-motivated arrests, harassment, intimidation,
and violence persisting throughout the country.

Last Tuesday’s Herald contained mugshots of senior journalists bleating
about sanctions against them. It was all so terribly unfair, they said.
This followed the refusal of Italian authorities to grant Reuben Barwe a
visa to accompany President Mugabe to Rome.
It is always sad when travel plans have to be cancelled. But people reading
the hate-mongering vitriol emanating from the Sunday Mail every weekend and
ZBC’s asinine output will soon understand how that sympathy rapidly
evaporates. As the EU ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia had to explain to an
obtuse Judith Makanya, sanctions were imposed on the state media because
their reporting “could be seen as an incitement to hatred”. If and when they
regain their independence and professionalism we can all work together to
see sanctions lifted and reform implemented.
But that’s obviously not just yet!

We were pleased to see The Zimbabwean newspaper giving Emmerson Mnangagwa a
robust rebuke following his cynical statement that Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora should not be allowed to vote so long as sanctions remain in place.
The MDC had an advantage over Zanu PF because its members in the Diaspora
could hear the views of visiting politicians whereas Zanu PF politicians
could not travel, Mnangagwas said.
“Sanctions must go first and if they don’t, I don’t think those in the
Diaspora can vote until they return home,” he said.
So it is quite clear that the voting rights of Zimbabweans will be defined
by Zanu PF ministers on the spurious grounds that sanctions have not been
lifted –– which is their problem, not anybody else’s.
But as The Zimbabwean points out, Mnangagwa, “an erudite minister with a law
degree, should know better –– that a majority of Zimbabweans who have fled
the country have sought refuge in South Africa, a country where he and his
Zanu PF colleagues can visit at will without any travel bans.
“Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF colleagues are free to visit South Africa without
any hindrance and carry out their election campaign if they wish,” the paper

Let’s make sure everybody is aware of this potential abuse in the voting
system. We cannot have Zanu PF ministers horse-trading, fixing the electoral
rules because of their ridiculous obsession with sanctions.
Why don’t they do the obvious thing and remove the causes of sanctions? How
much would it cost them to open up the airwaves and improve levels of
professionalsm? Just do it!

Zanu PF has dismissed statements by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa that elections have
been postponed to next year as personal opinions, ZBC announced on Monday.
According to Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, “the revolutionary party still
stands by the Mutare People’s Conference resolution that elections will be
held this year”.
Gumbo went on to say that “the two have no right to express their personal
opinions as fact or make decisions on such issues as the powers to do so are
only vested in the Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe”.
It seems that Gumbo is obstinately refusing to acknowledge new political
realities. He still believes that a resolution made by the former ruling
party is binding on the nation.
Gumbo added that there is no room for personal opinions when it comes to the
proclamation of the election dates.
“Even Sadc is advocating for a speedy implementation of outstanding GPA
issues,” Gumbo claims adding that Chinamasa “should have been better
informed that as a negotiator he represents Zanu PF”.
Muckraker sees this as more of a pot calling the kettle black. Gumbo has
clearly not appraised himself on the election roadmap which states that
President Mugabe has no power to unilaterally call for elections without
consulting and agreeing with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Come up with a better excuse please Cde Gumbo! You are the one trying to
pass a personal opinion off as fact and frankly speaking, we don’t buy it.

We were amused by ZBC’s enthusiastic coverage of ANC Youth League president
Julius Malema’s diatribes against whites. Speaking at a rally in Kimberley
last Sunday, Malema said white people should be treated as “criminals” for
“stealing” land from black people.
“We must take the land without paying,” Malema said. “They took our land
without paying. Once we agree they stole our land, we can agree they are
criminals and must be treated as such.”
Malema, who seems to have made playing to the gallery his forte, has often
adopted contrasting attitudes towards issues, depending on the audience he
is speaking to. This is particularly so in the case of President Mugabe.
Last year Malema was feted by Zanu PF during a visit to Zimbabwe, where he
affirmed his support for Mugabe and his populist policies.
No sooner was he back in South Africa than he declared that Mugabe had
outlived his usefulness as president.
“I am not a violent person,” he declared. “I am one of the few people who
told President Mugabe in his face that he should not be violent and should
not beat up people.”
In response to questions in the Equality Court last month Malema said
President Mugabe’s land reform “method is wrong” adding that adopting it
would be “anarchic”.
“That would be chaos,” he said.
Strangely ZBC ignores Malema’s comments when they deviate from the party

The anti-sanctions campaign launched by Mugabe in March has gone
exceptionally well with the target of two million signatures having been
surpassed, the Herald said on Monday.
Director of Urban Communication Services in the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity, Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, said more than
2,2 million people had signed the petition.
“Sadc, which has already condemned the embargo will then be asked to take
that resolution to the African Union which will in turn be expected to speak
with one voice on the matter at the United Nations,” said Mutambudzi.
He said the petition was an affirmation by Zimbabweans that they opposed the
sanctions and they were not targeted.
As if this was not comic enough Mutambudzi said the petition could also be
used as a legal basis for Zimbabweans to sue the countries that have imposed
the “illegal” sanctions.
Few will buy these claims with reports of directives to police officers and
their spouses to attend the anti-sanctions signing ceremonies. As well,
villagers countrywide complained about being coerced to attend these
Zimpapers published an advertisement in the Chronicle carrying 462
signatures purportedly denouncing the embargo.
However, according to NewsDay, several employees at Zimpapers’ Bulawayo
branch claimed they never signed the petition and wondered where the company
obtained the signatures.
“We do not know where the signatures were obtained from because the petition
was not circulated here,” said a journalist at the Chronicle.
Given the rigging tendencies of this regime, we wouldn’t put it past them if
they rigged this one as well.
Who can forget the “It’s a landslide!” headline by the Herald in which
President Mugabe in June 2008 is said to have “romped to a landslide
 victory” –– against himself.

Journalists should report the positive as well as the negative, the
president told reporters at Harare airport.
“Press freedom means just that,” he said; “press freedom but freedom to
report what is progressive to society.”
And the president’s view of what was “progressive” to society? We are not
sure. Perhaps when he thinks of something he could get George to write and
tell us.

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CandidComment: We need to lure back Diasporans

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:18

WHAT is Zimbabwe’s major export resource? Forget about gold, or recently
diamonds, forget about tobacco or cotton. Don’t even scratch your head about
the manufacturing sector. The answer is the human resource. And as a nation
we stepped up this export over the last decade.
It is very difficult to get the absolute export figures, but they range from
anything between a million and two million. Others have proffered figures of
up to five million, but that sounds a bit far-fetched, even though given the
prevalence of Shona in the streets of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, and
Cape Town, one would be forgiven for believing this upper-end estimate. A
friend of mine says, after English, the most commonly spoken languages in
the London Underground (the transport system, not the shady world), are
English, Afrikaans and Shona, in that order.

Unlike the traditional exports, the human resource export has brought
relatively low receipts. The hyperinflationary era gave the illusion that
there were substantial amounts of remittances from the Diaspora. Granted,
there was substantial support of families back home by the Diasporans, but
the impact on growing the economy was minimal, if not negligible.

The foreign exchange had its buying power increased because of high
inflation here, hence the illusion. People think the remittances have
stopped, but they continue in the dollarisation era, much as they did before
hyperinflation, but do not have that much of an impact. Were it the case, we
would not be grappling with liquidity problems in the economy. The liquidity
crisis in the current dollarisation era has replaced the foreign currency
crisis that was prevalent in the pre-hyperinflation era. Arguably, the
economic impact of the remittances from the Diaspora is mainly as a social
safety net.

But why is that? Why is Diaspora money not having a major impact on
investment and economic growth, as was the case in the South East Asian
nations? Countries such as the Philippines even ended up having a minister
responsible for its citizens abroad who on occasions would go and meet some
of them at the airport in a show of gratitude for the positive impact they
were having on their country’s economic growth.

Sentiment from the vast majority of Zimbabwean Diasporans is that there isn’t
much to come home to. As a result, many of them are directing their earnings
into investing in their adopted countries. If we estimate the biggest
investment in an average person’s life such as a house and value the houses
at an average US$60 000 a unit, we’ll come up with a figure of US$60
billion. If home offered those prospects, and they bought houses here
instead, that money would find itself in our system. With that alone we
would be a substantial way towards the US$100 billion for Zimbabwe by 2030
as envisioned by some businessmen. Of course, the amount will not come up at
once. But we have just used what may be a very conservative figure.

In South Africa for instance, houses cost much more and our average US$60
000 may be far much lower than the actual price. The same applies to
properties in London and the US.

The bottom line is something needs to be done to lure the Diasporans back to
their motherland. The skills gap they have left in the mother country is
immeasurable. Most economists are predicting fantastic growth projections
for Zimbabwe, based solely on the availability on one factor of production,
capital. But few hardly ever mention the need for a critical mass of human
resources with skills at all levels.

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Editor'sMemo: Fulfilling our watchdog role

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:16

By Iden Wetherwell

PRESIDENT Mugabe believes in press freedom. This stunning revelation was
made at Harare airport last week upon his return from Rome where he attended
the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Press Freedom Day, he said journalists should
be free to work, reporting the good and the bad “but with more focus on the

“Press freedom means just that,” he said; “press freedom but freedom to
report on what is progressive to society.

“Yes, the negative must be reported but it must not be created by the

It would be interesting to know what the president regards as “negative”. He
heads a party that dominates and manipulates the public media for its own
narrow advantage whereas it should offer a platform to a diversity of
voices. In particular it should provide a platform to the party that won a
majority of votes in the last election instead of denying that party media
space. That is an abuse by any definition.

It is three years since the editor of our sister paper, the Standard,
Davison Maruziva, and Arthur Mutambara were arrested under the catch-all
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act following an opinion piece
Mutambara had written critical of law-enforcement officers. Subsequent to
that, Zimbabwe Independent editor Vincent Kahiya and news editor Constantine
Chimakure were charged under the same Act for publishing the names of state
agents cited in court papers as involved in the abduction and torture of
Jestina Mukoko and others.

Earlier this year Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Nqobani
Ndlovu were charged for claiming the police had cancelled promotional exams
and were now recruiting war veterans to fill  senior positions.

This is only a snapshot of the obstacles journalists have to face in their
daily work.

When we opened shop 15 years ago we knew we faced a formidable challenge. It
was a lonely neighbourhood with a predatory state watching our every move,
which is not surprising given our determination to expose the corruption and
misrule that were becoming endemic in the upper echelons of power.
We exposed the VIP housing scam in which prominent people had benefited by
building mansions. And we revealed the War Victims Compensation Fund which
had been plundered by senior officials. One claimed hand-outs for an injured
big toe, others for various “disabilities” such as eating disorders!
District Development Funds were finding their way to private homes where
sprinklers could be heard clicking away on verdant lawns.

In January 1999 then Standard editor Mark Chavunduka and news editor Ray
Choto were abducted and badly tortured for a story the paper carried
involving Zimbabwe’s role in the DRC. Charges against the two were
dismissed. A court order for the police to investigate their abduction made
no progress. And the state’s determination to punish our papers led to the
drafting of the Public Order and Security Act which replaced the colonial
Law and Order (Maintenance) Act which had served the regime well since

The new Act joined the dubious Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) as a weapon to beat the media.

But the state’s weapon of choice in its war with the private media was the
aforementioned Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which of course
had nothing to do with reform but caught within its copious net a generous
harvest of journalists. Many fell foul of the Act’s defamation clauses. The
original defamation law, drafted in London to crush nationalist agitation
throughout the empire, had last been wheeled out in 1958 when James
Chikerema called Native Affairs minister Patrick Fletcher a thief. It has
proved useful ever since!

One of the key functions of a worthwhile media is to hold up a mirror to
authority. We believe this approach has exposed not simply misrule but
hypocrisy as well. Some of our most venomous detractors, while mouthing
revolutionary mantras, have feathered their nests at the people’s expense.

I am pleased to report that the Zimbabwe Independent, recently joined by
NewsDay in the Alpha Media Holdings stable, has fulfilled its role as a
public watchdog. And we are delighted to hear that we now have support for
our endeavours from the highest in the land.

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Editor's Comment: Elections - Sadc, AU must assert authority

Friday, 13 May 2011 17:14

THE Zanu PF politburo resolved yet again on Wednesday that elections would
have to be held this year without fail. This is consistent with the position
taken by the party’s annual conference in Mutare last December.

President Robert Mugabe, supported by a misguided clique of securocrats and
intolerant Zanu PF hawks, has been desperately pushing for early elections
despite manifest evidence that conditions for free and fair elections have
not so far been created. He is clearly acting purely for personal and
self-serving political reasons.

It is clear Mugabe, plagued by health problems and old age, wants to secure
another five-year term while he still can campaign so that he fulfils his
autocratic dream of being president-for-life. He wants to die in office it
would seem.

Mugabe on Wednesday reasserted himself at the politburo meeting and demanded
that the elections be held this year. No one opposed him. Zanu PF chief
negotiator Patrick Chinamasa was in trouble finding the courage of his
convictions to state openly that it was not possible — in terms of
preparations, logistically and financially — to have elections this year.

Before elections there should be institutional and legislative reforms
capturing such key issues as a new constitution, orderly voters’ education
and registration, a fresh voters’ roll, transparent delimitation of
constituencies, equal access to the media and a peaceful atmosphere for

Since the GPA is guaranteed by the African Union and Sadc, these two bodies
must ensure minimum conditions for free and fair elections in line with the
Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. We do not
mean in theory but in practice.

Every reasonable person can see that Zimbabwe is not yet ready for
elections. The majority of Zimbabweans can see that. In fact, everyone can
see that except Mugabe and his surrogates.

South African President Jacob Zuma, the Sadc facilitator on Zimbabwe, is
very clear on this. He has indicated no elections should be held in Zimbabwe
before conditions for genuine and credible elections are created. Who is
Zuma, Mugabe and his delusional lackeys are bound to ask? Well, he is the
Sadc facilitator on Zimbabwe and an influential player in regional and
African politics. That is why he has been involved in Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast
and Libya.

Zuma’s international relations advisor and one of his three facilitators,
Lindiwe Zulu, captured the Sadc view when she said this week: “Categorically
and totally, Zimbabwe will not have elections in 2011 because there is a lot
of work to be done in the area of reforms and creating a conducive
environment for free and fair elections,” Zulu said. “The next Zimbabwe
election must be totally different from 2008.”

Sadc and the AU must assert their authority and refuse to allow Zimbabwe to
be stampeded into blood-soaked early elections which would take us back to
square one; to the period of political turmoil and economic meltdown.

The Registrar-General has said the voters’ roll is in a shambles. The
chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), retired Justice Simpson
Mutambanengwe has warned that the electoral body needs adequate funding and
that rushing to elections without enough preparation would inevitably lead
to yet another disputed outcome.

Chinamasa was being honest and realistic when he said recently: “It is my
opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year.” His view is
shared by virtually all negotiators and facilitators.

However, Mugabe and his dangerous bootlickers want us to believe the country
is ready for elections. They want to take us down the June 2008 route: the
path of elections-induced bloodshed. They have already deployed the security
forces to spearhead a campaign of violence and intimidation.

Given their record of corruption, incompetence and failure, there is no way
Mugabe and Zanu PF can win free and fair elections. Their trump card is
Meanwhile, let’s wait for the Sadc summit on May 20 to see if Mugabe and his
diehards can intimidate all Zimbabweans and the whole region.

As for the two MDC parties, they are better advised to apply Napoleonic
logic on the current situation: Never interrupt your enemy when he is making
a mistake. Mugabe is clearly committing political suicide. He must not be
interrupted, otherwise he might stop his hara-kiri!

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