The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

AG’s conduct criminal –– Bennett

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:42

MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett has said the Attorney-General (AG) should be
investigated for using fabricated information to press ahead with charges of
terrorism that he was cleared of by the High Court.
In court papers opposing an application by AG Johannes Tomana for leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision to acquit
Bennett on Monday, the popular politician said Tomana’s, conduct bordered on

High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu acquitted Bennett on charges of terrorism,
banditry, insurgency and trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s
government in 2006.

Bennett’s acquittal would have allowed him to join the government as Deputy
Agriculture minister. His party and his lawyers say the AG is scraping the
bottom of the barrel to keep the senator in the dock.

If the High Court allows Tomana to appeal to the Supreme Court, the case
might take years, thereby sustaining President Robert Mugabe’s excuse that
Bennett will only join the government if the courts clear him.

Opposing papers submitted to the Supreme Court by Bennett’s lawyers
yesterday noted that the state was so desperate to nail him that it had
repeated false information in its leave to appeal application.

“The actions of the Attorney-General in this regard are criminal, and
potentially very dangerous for the entire populace as it means other
fabrications might have succeeded elsewhere,” said Bennett in his opposing
papers. “I believe that this honourable court would be entitled to refer the
Attorney-General’s conduct for proper investigation with a view to
prosecuting whoever included the false information in the state summary.”

Bennett alleges that the state had repeated in its latest application lies
about Mozambican bank statements and e-mail communications that are supposed
to implicate him as the financier of the terrorism plot.

The state failed to sustain this evidence in the initial trial presided over
by Justice Bhunu, yet was using the same “evidence” as a basis for its

State papers filed by chief law officer Chris Mutangadura on behalf of
Tomana on Wednesday submitted that Bhunu had erred at law when he considered
the pieces of evidence in isolation from the others, thereby failing to take
a holistic assessment of all evidence. Mutangadura argued that the totality
of state evidence established a prima facie case against Bennett.

“In other words, the existence of a bank account in the name of Peter
Michael Hitschmann, the e-mail communication between Hitschman and Roy
Bennett as well as the fact that the said e-mails contain messages pointing
to the funding of firearms acquisition all point to a conspiracy between the
said Hitschmann and the respondent (Bennett),” argued Mutangadura.

“The learned trial court misdirected itself when it ruled that the
authenticity of the e-mail printouts was solely dependent on the credibility
of a computer expert when, in fact, circumstances surrounding the discovery
of the said e-mails was the most fundamental consideration which the learned
trial court did not even bother to consider in its valuation of evidence.”

However, in his response Bennett denied that the court’s analysis of the
evidence was “piecemeal”.

He said it was clear from the court’s judgement that Tomana seemed to be
“glossing over very serious improprieties in how the prosecution included
demonstrably false material in the state summary fully knowing that it did
not have evidence to support the allegations”.

Bennett raised concern over his failure to obtain his passport and other
documents from Mutare magistrates’ courts on Wednesday. He said he
discovered that “the passport had been uplifted from the clerk of court by
Michael Mugabe, one of the applicant (Tomana)’s senior officers who
initially handled the prosecution of my case”.

“I am shocked that the applicant thinks that the trial should simply have
ignored the very material discrepancies between the state summary and the
evidence led in court which showed that the Attorney-General’s office had in
fact fabricated information that had been included in the state summary,”
reads Bennett’s court papers filed yesterday afternoon by his lawyers,
Beatrice Mtetwa and Trust Maanda.

“My understanding is that an accused person and a court rely on veracity of
the state summary in the conduct of a trial and where there are material and
unexplained prejudicial discrepancies, a reasonable court is entitled to
refuse to act on such criminally contrived evidence.”

Bennett said he was astounded that Tomana thought the court should have
ignored the fact that there were no bank statements when the state summary
said they would be produced by Superintendent Sipho James Makone.

Regarding the e-mails, Bennett said the state failed to lead even the “most
basic evidence” on how they were originated.

“I cannot quite understand how it can be seriously said the court erred in
analysing (information technology expert Perekayi Denshad) Mutsetse’s
testimony. Mutsetse testified as an expert on IT; he stated how he had
identified the alleged e-mails as genuine and authentic,” reads Bennett’s
papers. “It was therefore relevant for the court to take into account the
fact that Mutsetse had identified a fake e-mail created in court as genuine,
merely because it had the same characteristics as the e-mails produced by
the state.”

Bennett said the state case rested on inadmissible and irrelevant “evidence”
premised on Histchmann’s alleged confessions and indications, which were
rejected by Bhunu in the initial trial.

“Once these were ruled inadmissible there was virtually no cogent and
reliable evidence to connect me to any crime. It is therefore an outright
and demonstrable lie that the trial relied on bare averments by the defence
in the application for discharge,” he added.

Bennett disputed claims by the state that he fled the country when the
allegations first appeared in 2006.

“Not a single one of the state witness led evidence that they had come to my
premises to conduct investigations and found me absent. No evidence was led
that I absconded to South Africa and none could have led as I left Zimbabwe
openly through a properly designated exit point using my passport,” he

“When I applied for political asylum the Zimbabwe government in fact
responded that there were absolutely no criminal charges against me. I deny
that the judge could have found as a fact that I absconded to South Africa
without any evidence being led in this regard.”
The High Court is yet to set a date to prosecute the state application.

Wongai Zhangazha

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anglican Diocese appeals against Kunonga court ruling

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:15

THE Anglican Diocese of Harare last Friday filed an application with the
Supreme Court to re-instate the appeal against a High Court ruling that gave
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his board of trustees custody and control of
diocesan property, amid reports of continued harassment of Anglicans by the
Bishop Chad Gandiya, who was ordained last July, replacing acting Bishop
Sebastian Bakare, confirmed yesterday that since last week's ruling he had
received reports from several clergies of harassment by the trustees in the
company of the police and barring Anglicans from church establishments,
including worshipping at the priests' residences.

"Some of the clergies were told by Kunonga's priests not to use church
properties," he said
"We are keeping an eye on things and have informed Vice-President (John)
Nkomo of these developments. In Marondera they were told not to attend
church services, even at the priest's residence. We have also received
reports from Melfort, Highlands and several other areas."

The Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA, Diocese of Harare, has
since applied to the High Court to stop any evictions and to have the matter
dealt with as an urgent matter. CPCA spans four countries -- Botswana,
Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In its application to the Supreme Court, CPCA is asking for the
reinstatement of the appeal against High Court Judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo's
ruling and wants to ensure that the matter is determined on its merits.

The appeal had been dismissed by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba on a
procedural technicality -- on the grounds that CPCA had failed to provide
sufficient security for the applicant's cost of appeal.

Contrary to state-media reports, Diocese of Harare secretary Father Clifford
Dzawo told the Zimbabwe Independent that the Supreme Court did not grant
Bishop Kunonga, an ardent supporter of President Robert Mugabe, and his
trustees control over properties of the Anglican Diocese of Harare.

He said the matter pertaining to the ownership of diocesan property was
still pending at the High Court and has not been disposed of.

"Since that matter was still pending in another court, the Supreme Court did
not make any finding on it. It is therefore a misnomer to report that
diocesan assets now belong to Dr Kunonga as the ownership of assets was
never an issue in this appeal," Father Dzawo said.

"The High Court is still to allocate the case to a judge and set the date
for hearing."

He said the matter before the Supreme Court was an appeal against Justice
Hlatshwayo's ruling regarding Kunonga and six other trustees of the Diocese
of Harare.

The other trustees are Beaven Michael Gundu, Justin Nyazika, a P Majokwere,
Onias Gatawa, Alfred Tome and Winter Reggie Shamuyarira.

Hlatshwayo's order gave custody and control of the diocesan property to
Kunonga and the six trustees, who have since left CPCA to form their own
organisation known as the Church of the Province of Zimbabwe, making Kunonga
its archbishop.

"Since Kunonga and his trustees are no longer part of the CPCA, they cannot
and are not part of the church that owns the property to which they are
trustees. It is for this reason that the CPCA appealed against the order of
Honourable Justice Hlatshwayo," said Father Dzawo.

The Anglican saga has been ongoing since 2007 when Kunonga lost control of
the church after he withdrew his diocese from the Anglican Church Province
of Central Africa in protest against what he regards as the tolerance of
homosexuality by Anglicans in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Faith Zaba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gossip a threat to MDC cohesion –– Tsvangirai

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:13

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told top officials of his party that
bootlicking is the biggest internal threat to the MDC-T’s cohesion.
According to MDC-T sources, Tsvangirai said this at a meeting of his party
executives and Harare provincial leaders last Saturday.

The meeting was part of moves by Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti, the MDC-T
secretary-general, to close ranks following reports of power struggles
between the two politicians.

Both Tsvangirai and Biti, who as Finance minister is one of the most
powerful figures in government, addressed the Saturday meeting.

They both accused MDC-T Harare provincial leaders of fanning divisions,
sources who attended the meeting told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.

“Tsvangirai pointed out that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) was
behind moves to create a wedge between himself and Biti,” a source said.
“But he also made it clear that proximity-seekers, those who frequented his
residence to seek favours, were feeding him with dirty rumours and lies
about other senior party officials,” the source said. “He was very clear
that this bootlicking was a serious internal threat and that this had also
contributed to the perception that Biti was trying to wrestle power from

Tsvangirai, the sources said, accused the MDC-T Harare provincial leadership
of leading the “gossip peddling cycle”.

The sources said Tsvangirai accused senior party members from Harare
province of sponsoring youths who spent time milling around Harvest House,
the MDC-T headquarters.

These youths recently attacked party director-general Toendepi Shonhe and
confiscated his official car for allegedly blocking them from party
employment. “Tsvangirai said no idle youths should be allowed at Harvest
House again,” another party source said.

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday confirmed that Tsvangirai and Biti
had addressed the issue of perceived power wrangles during the Saturday

“The meeting with Harare province was part of a programme that we have
started to inform our structures of the corrosive machinations of those who
want to see us divided,” Chamisa said. “We have already met party leaders in
Manicaland and Bulawayo and this is going to be a countrywide programme.”
The party’s national executive will discuss the matter tomorrow, while the
national council, the MDC-T’s top decision-making body, would tackle the
perceived divisions at a meeting on Sunday.

Chamisa said this fire-fighting exercise was meant to avoid another split in
the party “because the CIO takes advantage of our democratic credentials and
use divergent views expressed by our members to stage divisions”.

“It happened in 2005 (when the MDC split into the current two factions) and
the state machinery which is still under Zanu PF’s control will try to do it
again. President Tsvangirai is aware of the machinations to sidetrack the
MDC from real issues such as the constitution, elections (party treasurer
Roy) Bennett’s persecution and the full implementation of the global
political agreement,” said Chamisa.

Farai Mutsaka

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dual citizenship would boost Zim forex inflows

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:56

ZIMBABWE, facing dwindling foreign direct investment, should allow dual
citizenship and postal voting to incentivise foreign currency remittances
from Zimbabweans living outside the country, a working paper commissioned by
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recommended.
According to the paper, the coalition government should introduce a raft of
measures to attract more foreign currency remittances from Zimbabweans who
feel excluded by strict immigration and voting laws.
Zimbabwe's economy is struggling to take off, and industries that showed
signs of recovery after the formation of the coalition government last year
have stagnated because of liquidity problems.

Zimbabwe has to rely on foreign money to engineer recovery and the UNDP says
diaspora money could salvage the situation if government introduces friendly

Over three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living outside the
country, mainly in South Africa and the United Kingdom, after fleeing
decade-long political and economic turmoil.

"In order to effectively tap the developmental potential of the diaspora,
laws need to be amended to allow for dual citizenship so that the attachment
of the diaspora to the homeland becomes a permanent one," reads the paper
titled "The Potential Contribution of the Zimbabwe Diaspora to Economic

Godfrey Kanyenze, the director of the Labour and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe and Daniel Makina, a professor of finance at
the University of South Africa in Pretoria, compiled the report.

"Furthermore, Zimbabwean migrants do not enjoy political (voting) rights by
virtue of not being in the country. Restoration of these rights would go a
long way towards fostering attachment to the country and a desire to
participate in its development," according to recommendations contained in
the 52-page document.

Zimbabweans who acquire citizenship of another country or stay outside the
country for seven consecutive years automatically lose their Zimbabwean
citizenship, according to immigration and citizenship laws.

The UNDP cited the example of the Philippines, whose 2003 restoration of
dual citizenship resulted in increased economic and governance participation
by that country's citizens in the diaspora.

Zimbabwe's official figures show that foreign currency remitted through
enhanced money transfer agencies by exiled Zimbabweans rose to US$190,5
million in 2009, representing a 142,6% increase from the previous year.

The paper said Zimbabwe could raise more money from the diaspora if the
coalition government built confidence and trust among citizens by applying
"internationally accepted democratic reforms".

The UN agency said government should restore confidence in the banking
sector to improve remittances through the formal banking sector.

Banking is one of the sectors still affected by lack of confidence following
years of hyperinflation and policy inconsistency and uncertainty.

"Once confidence and trust are restored in the way the state does business,
the government might then consider issuing bonds in foreign currency for its
nationals in the diaspora at a competitive interest rate and thus create a
more attractive instrument for channelling remittances," the UNDP said.

India, according to the paper, successfully raised US$11,7 billion in three
separate bonds issued between 1991 and 2000.

Dual citizenship and postal voting are some of the contentious issues that
the constitution-making process should resolve and clarify the status of
exiled Zimbabweans.

Zanu PF, which has taken a tough line on these two issues, is reportedly
split over whether to allow dual citizenship or not. Some Zanu PF members
are vigorously arguing that it would be unfair to disenfranchise millions of
Zimbabweans who were forced to leave the country by economic and political

Bernard Mpofu


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Violence fears as war vets mobilise against constitution

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:55

WAR veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda is allegedly forcing villagers,
traditional leaders and government workers to attend campaign meetings in
Manicaland ahead of the constitutional outreach programme.
The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee, which is leading the
constitution-making process, will today meet to decide on dates for the
outreach programme, amid concerns of resurgent violence.

Sibanda's meetings have heightened fears that war veterans, who have
traditionally led violent campaigns on behalf of Zanu PF, could be

A witness who attended some of the Manicaland meetings said Sibanda
threatened that the constitution-making process was a matter of "life or
death" for President Robert Mugabe's party.
Sibanda on Wednesday confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that he was
holding meetings in Manicaland in "defence of the country".

He denied using threats.

Witnesses, however, maintained that Sibanda rounded up government workers,
local headmen and chiefs for a meeting at Chimanimani Country Club on
Tuesday last week after poor attendance marred his first attempt the
previous day.

"On Monday, he accused chiefs and headman of relaxing while the country was
being sold out. He told them that they should support the party's position
(Zanu PF) during the forthcoming constitution outreach programme and
subsequent elections because they were receiving benefits from Zanu PF
policies," said the witness who asked for anonymity.

"The Tuesday meeting that started at 9am was held in the Chimanimani Rural
Council boardroom and two representatives from each government department
were forced to attend."

The witness, who claimed to have written down Sibanda's statements, quoted
the war veterans leader as saying: "I want to assure you that this country
is going to be defended and during the process of defending this country
some people will die and some people will run."

Sibanda is said to have spoken against any constitutional clause that would
allow for the payment of compensation to white farmers who lost farms during
the 2000 chaotic land reform programme.

Speaking to the Independent from Manicaland where he was still holding
marathon meetings, Sibanda said the campaigns were meant to inform people of
the importance of defending the country from "imperialist" Western

"I did not threaten anyone. The person who gave you those recorded speeches
is a liar. My message is that the country should be defended from foreigners
who want to tell us what to do," Sibanda said. "For them (foreign countries)
to work in cahoots with another party here to remove another party in
government is a form of aggression and that aggression should be resisted."

Sibanda said the meetings would be held countrywide.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party has expressed concern that
Sibanda could inflame tense political relations that have resulted in recent
cases of violence associated with the constitution-making process.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said his party would demand an explanation
from Sibanda because war veterans were funded by the government and should
not abuse their office to stoke violence.

"War veterans are supposed to be the custodians of the values of our
liberation and Independence. They brought the one man one vote democracy. We
have no reason to believe that the gallant sons and daughters who fought for
this noble cause can today turn into crocodile liberators," said Chamisa.

Wongai Zhangazha


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mineworkers down tools

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:54

MINEWORKERS have gone on strike to press for better wages and working
conditions, but employers say they cannot meet workers' demands because
business is down.
A leader of the Associated Mineworkers' Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz), which
says it has a membership of 25 000, yesterday told the Zimbabwe Independent
that the strike started on Wednesday after the Chamber of Mines turned down
their proposals.

"The chamber failed to fulfil its obligation of holding negotiations for the
first quarter of this year's salaries. They failed to do so again last
 year," Amwuz president Tinango Ruzive said, adding that an official 14-day
strike notice had expired on Wednesday.

Chamber of Mines chief executive Chris Hokonya, however, accused the workers'
union of negotiating in bad faith. He said Amwuz had agreed to put the
strike on hold ahead of a meeting between employers and the union scheduled
for Monday next week.

Hokonya said mines were struggling and could not afford the US$496 minimum
monthly wage demanded by workers for the first quarter of this year.

Like most sectors of the economy, power supplies and lack of investors are
slowing down recovery.

"We have to be realistic with them (mine workers). We can only pay salaries
that are sustainable instead of promising what we cannot fulfil," said

Hokonya said most mines were operating at below 30% capacity due to
inconsistent power supplies.
Ruzive accused the chamber of disregarding a labour tribunal ruling that
awarded wage increments to workers.
"Last year we won an arbitrary award for the third quarter where we were
awarded a minimum of US$140 which the chamber did not accept. It advised the
mines to pay US$120 which was a violation of the ruling made in our favour,"
Ruzive said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The football feast

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:37

THE greatest show on earth is how it's been described -- and it's on
Zimbabwe 's doorstep for a whole month. The 2010 Fifa World Cup will bring a
feast of football action to fans the world over and DStv's SuperSport will
be bringing coverage to viewers throughout Africa, inclusive of unrivalled
airtime involving live matches, previews, reviews and re-broadcasts.

"SuperSport's promise to DStv viewers is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,"
said Elizabeth  Dziva, public relations manager of MultiChoice Zimbabwe.

"The tournament is the pride of the continent and the World of Champions
will broadcast football's greatest event like never before.

"Not only will SuperSport screen every one of the 64 matches live on DStv,
but the action will be supplemented by expert analysis, world class magazine
programming and breaking football news," she said.
A 24-hour World Cup channel will also be introduced, both in standard
definition and high definition, making this the biggest and most lavish
production in SuperSport's 23-year history.

In-house analysts will come from African football giant Kalusha Bwalya,
former England international John Barnes ex-Dutch international Edgar
Davids, as well as SuperSport's regular guests such as Abedi Pele, Ernst
Middendorp, Gary Mabbutt, Gary Bailey and Daniel Amokachi. SuperSport's
theme piece will be Dr Alban's Hello Africa, the Nigerian star's iconic
song. -- Own correspondent.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Regional leaders can’t deal with Zanu PF –– analysts

Thursday, 13 May 2010 18:05

THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa recently sent two
separate envoys to Harare within a week of each other, in what commentators
said signalled growing irritation with Zimbabwe’s power-sharing disputes.

Seven days after Zuma’s envoys came to Harare for another unsuccessful round
of talks, the DRC last week sent in Leon Jean Ilunga Ngandu, a special envoy
of President Joseph Kabila, to step up pressure for the full implementation
of the Global Political Agreement. Kabila is in a sense Zuma’s boss by
virtue of being the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chair.
Political commentators say while Kabila’s direct intervention indicated
impatience, it also showed the failure of successive regional leaders to end
Zimbabwe’s political stalemate.
“The problem largely remains that African leaders have over the years been
reluctant to criticise each other out of some warped sense of loyalty to one
another despite circumstances dictating otherwise,” said Psychology
Maziwisa, the interim leader of the Union for Sustainable Democracy, a local
organisation that advocates democracy.
Zuma, despite showing more vigour in dealing with Zimbabwe than his
predecessor Thabo Mbeki, has like Mbeki failed to secure agreement on issues
ranging from security issues and democratic reforms to the appointment of
key government officials.
Phillip Pasirayi, a campaigner for political reform, said Zuma, like most
African leaders, had the delicate and difficult task of nudging President
Robert Mugabe, a liberation war ally, into surrendering power.
“These parties, former liberation movements like Zuma’s ANC, do not know how
to deal with Zanu PF,” Pasirayi, the director of the Centre for Community
Development, said. “They do not have a political formula and they also take
Zanu PF to be one of their own as they share a common history.”
Commentators such as Trevor Maisiri said Kabila had taken an active role in
Harare’s political standoff because he wanted the differences resolved
before the expiry of his term this September.
“The direct intervention by Kabila could really be both a flexing of muscle
in order to apply pressure on Zimbabwean principals from various angles but
at the same time it really reveals some inefficiencies on Zuma’s
pendulum-like dealings with the Zimbabwean situation,” said Maisiri, an
executive director at African Reform Institute, a local think tank.
However, others think Kabila’s sudden dive into the Zimbabwean dispute could
complicate negotiations.
Political science professor and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred
Masunungure said a “deep sense of fatigue” on the part of the region could
affect efforts to narrow Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
“I hope it (Kabila and Zuma’s parallel processes) is not a fragmentation of
efforts. Zuma is the point man and he has all the facilitators. I hope the
left hand knows what the right hand is doing,” said Masunungure.
“What has happened may be a case of the Sadc chair asserting his authority.
However, Zuma should be the primary person while the Sadc chair should be
the secondary person and they should work together and coherently,” said
Masunungure, who also chairs the Mass Public Opinion Institute, a local
research organisation.
Yet, these increased efforts by regional leaders have failed to ignite hope
in many Zimbabweans who are now used to watching their shaky government limp
While political leaders dither on implementing an agreement they signed up
to, ordinary people and businesses are grinding to a standstill.
“I don’t think Mugabe and Tsvangirai will ever agree. We should just go for
elections because this experiment is not working,” Ednah Chihambira, an
accounts clerk with a local hotel chain told the Zimbabwe Independent.
Industry, which had shown signs of recovery during the early days of the
coalition government, is beginning to take a knock because policy
disagreements between Mugabe and Tsvangirai have scared off investors.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), which recorded phenomenal success when it
was re-opened in February 2009, has best mirrored how unresolved political
issues have killed off prospects of a quick economic recovery. Last month,
the ZSE trade dropped 21% from March on the back of official discord on how
the controversial indigenisation law would be implemented.
This week, ZSE and Johannesburg-listed Pretoria Portland Cement, said
government policy inconsistencies, as shown by the indigenisation debate,
had slowed investment.
“The (indigenisation) law certainly has affected business confidence. There
exists huge uncertainty at the moment. We hope to see some sense prevail,”
Paul Stuiver, chief executive officer, PPC, Africa’s biggest cement producer
said in a statement on Tuesday.

Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Leo Mugabe eyeing 20% Telecel stake

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:41

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo, is positioning himself to snap up a
20% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe amid reports of an escalating fight to control
the country's second largest mobile phone operator.

Mugabe has reportedly formed a coalition made up of companies and
organisations that were members of the Wealth Creation and Empowerment
Council (WCEC), which was awarded a mobile licence by government in 1997, to
buy the shareholding from Telecel International, which owns 60% of Telecel
The remaining shareholding is held by WCEC's consortium, Empowerment
Corporation, a company in which Mugabe's Integrated Engineering Group is a
Telecel International should sell a 20% stake in the mobile company to
locals to comply with the country's telecommunications regulations. The
value of the 20% stake could not be established at the time of going to
print yesterday.
Other members of the Empowerment Corporation -- James Makamba and Jane
Mutasa -- are also eyeing the 20% stake.
Sources in Telecel Zimbabwe and documents in possession of businessdigest
revealed that Mugabe has teamed up with WCEC members -- the Zimbabwe Farmers
Union, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, the
Indigenous Business Women's Organisation and the Small Scale Miners
Association -- to have Makamba and Mutasa specified for alleged corruption.
Mugabe denies eyeing the stake, but confirmed he was working with WECC to
rationalise the shareholding in Empowerment Creation.
The Mugabe coalition alleged that Makamba and Mutasa transferred their
shares in Empowerment Corporation to their respective companies -- Kestrel
Corporation and Selpon Investments -- giving them majority control in the
In a letter dated April 27 signed by WCC chairperson Sailas Hungwe to
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, the council questioned why the state chief
prosecutor had last month dropped US$1,7m fraud charges against Mutasa and
others. Mutasa was arrested for defrauding Telecel Zimbabwe, but the state
withdrew charges citing lack of evidence.
WCC demanded the reinstatement of the charges.
"In its meeting of 26 April 2010, the council resolved that .police must
investigate other fraudulent matters perpetrated by Jane Mutasa and
involving fake invoices that were paid by Telecel for services which were
not provided or performed," read the letter. "(Investigate) the conversion
of IBWO by Jane Mutasa into her personal company, namely Selpon Investments,
without the WCC's approval as per its constitution."
Earlier, WCC had written to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa seeking the
specification of the Empowerment Corporation, Mutasa and Makamba.
Chinamasa's office on February 2 advised Hungwe that his ministry was no
longer administering the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"The Act has been re-assigned to the Ministry of Home Affairs," read the
letter from Chinamasa's office. "Your request will, therefore, be forwarded
to that ministry by copy of this letter."
Mutasa last week confirmed to businessdigest the boardroom wrangle within
Empowerment Creation saying problems were being fueled by greedy elements.
She said: "Greedy and ambitious individuals who never paid for their shares
are the ones causing problems in Telecel and in the wealth (WCEC) council."
Mugabe on the other hand claims none of the members in Empowerment
Corporation, the investment vehicle used to form a partnership in Telecel
Zimbabwe, paid for the shares.
 "Shares were issued out to the organisations which make up Empowerment
Corporation based on the value of the licence and there is no one who paid
anything," said Mugabe. "Whatever cash was used was a loan from CBZ which
was borrowed against the licence and serviced using proceeds from Telecel."
Mugabe insists that there is no way he would have paid for something that
was being offered for free.
With Makamba specified and unable to exercise his first right of refusal and
Mutasa now out of the mobile company's board, Mugabe would be closer to snap
the 20% stake.
Mutasa maintains that there were shareholders who failed to pay for their
stakes in Empowerment Creation resulting in her exercising her preemptive
rights to shore her stake in Telecel Zimbabwe.
Mugabe on the other hand, said there is no way this could have happened as
the shareholding was meant to be "as broad-based as possible" when the
Empowerment Corporation was formed.
"All the shares should be returned to the original owners as of 1997 and the
new stake should be kept under Empowerment Corporation," said Mugabe.
Mutasa said it would be unfair to say she converted shares to her own
company as there are other shareholders, Native Investments for example,
which also had shareholding despite being owned by individuals.
Two members of the Empowerment Corporation, Native Investments owned by
Phillip Chiyangwa and Magamba Echimurenga, a consortium representing
veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war, cashed out their shares in Telecel.
The late war veteran leader Chenjerai Hunzvi is said to have cashed out his
organisation's shares.
Shareholding in Empowerment Corporation has been changing over the years,
amid allegations of manipulation by shareholders as well as the pulling out
of others.
It is, however, agreed that as of 1997, Kestrel Corporation, owned by
Makamba had 15% while Mugabe's Integrated Engineering Group owned 10%.
Other shareholders including Affirmative Action Group, Magamba Echimurenga,
National Miners Association of Zimbabwe, IBWO and the Zimbabwe Farmers'
Union had 9% each.
The remaining shareholding was shelved for future determination. According
to minutes of an Empowerment Corporation meeting seen by businessdigest,
Makamba is said to have sold a 20% reserved for future determination to
Telecel International without the consent of other members. According to the
minutes, Makamba made a commitment to return both the shares he acquired
from Magamba Echimurenga, AAG, ZFU and those he allegedly sold to Telecel
Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive officer Aimable Mpore could not be reached
for comment yesterday as he was abroad. Efforts also to reach Makamba over
the past two weeks were in vain.

Chris Muronzi/Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Agribank set to cut branches, lay-off staff

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:32

AGRIBANK will soon cut its branch network by 25% and lay-off staff in a move
to lower costs, CEO Sam Malaba has said.

 He says the move to cut branches and lower the bank's staff complement has
been necessitated by low business activity and the need to stay afloat.
The bank's operating expenses for the year ending December 31 2009 was
US$9,23 million.
"The bank has embarked on a branch rationalisation exercise which has so far
resulted in a reduction in the number of branches from 54 to 50," said
Malaba in an interview with businessdigest on Wednesday.
"We intend to remain with 40 branches. We are targeting loss making
branches. Further reductions will be done on a gradual basis. Consideration
for closure will be influenced by lack of business activity, connectivity
challenges and branches not owned by the bank."
The bank, Malaba says, has found an equity partner, but declines to name the
He said: "The bank, after discussions with potential strategic partners will
make proposals to the shareholder and therefore we are not in a position to
reveal details."
Banks are racing to raise capital through rights issues and private
placements in order to meet working capital requirements.
Malaba said the bank did not suffer any write offs last year.
"The bank had however provided for doubtful debts to the tune of US$111 063.
The loans provided for are fully secured and the bank can realise value from
the security in the event that all other recoverable efforts do not
materialise. The bank is confident that it will recover," he said
Agribank's average provision for bad and doubtful debts between 2001 and
2006 was about 18,4%, a development Malaba says is in line with provisions
by other banks. Between 2007 and 2009, the provision was 3,9% mainly due to
the hyperinflationary environment.
Asked to comment on allegations that politicians accounted for the bulk of
non performing loans, Malaba said: "The perception that politicians are
looting the bank was not correct. Very few politicians are on the bank's
book and those borrowing pay back like any other farmer. No loans were
written off for political reasons and that is why the provisions for bad and
doubtful debts are not high."
He said the bank's "continuous" poor performance was a result of poor
working capital from the onset.
Malaba says the bank was never adequately capitalised since 1999 when it was
changed from the Agricultural Finance Corporation to Agribank.
"Under-capitalisation of the bank means that it will not have liquidity to
underwrite meaningful business and thus generate positive earnings," Malaba
Malaba said the placing of the bank on the US sanctions list had seen  its
South African account being frozen.
"Initially the bank's Nostro Accounts were frozen by a South African bank
for about a year and this affected our foreign currency account holders who
wanted to utilise their foreign currency to purchase inputs and fertilisers
for their farming programmes. We cannot hold US dollar denominated Nostro
Accounts with any international bank," he said.

Paul Nyakazeya

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Law threatens cement production

Thursday, 13 May 2010 20:08

SOUTHERN Africa's largest cement maker Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC)'s
Zimbabwean operation could "grind down" if the country's indigenisation law
is implemented, CEO Paul Stuiver said this week.

Should Zimbabwe's indigenisation law - the subject of a consultative
process - be implemented, Stuiver says, the company's Zimbabwe operations
would probably "grind down over time".
He said the dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy after years of economic
decline characterised by high inflation, resulted in a "massive increase" in
cement demand.
PPC produced 5 000t of cement in January 2009, but ended the year between 30
000t and 40 000t in output.
"Then, in March this year, we saw a 10% drop off in demand. The announcement
dented our business," said Stuiver. "There is concern on our side that this
law is not a business-friendly bill. There exists huge uncertainty at the
moment. We hope to see some sense prevail."
The controversial law, if implemented in its current form, would see foreign
firms cede 51% of their shares to locals.
The indigenisation law came into effect on March 1, and would have affected
foreign-owned firms valued at US$500 000 or more.
Under the economic empowerment regulations, foreign businesses valued at
US$500 000 and above must "cede" 51% stakes to "indigenous" Zimbabweans.
However, the policy's implementation was suspended in April, after calls for
widespread consultation as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President
Robert Mugabe differed on its content.
Stuiver said PPC would work with any new commercial partner in Zimbabwe, but
noted that any new 51% shareholder would need to come up with the equivalent
percentage of capital for any investment requirements.
"Cement pricing is expected to remain under pressure for the remainder of
the year," the company said in a statement.
Demand for cement would probably decline this year, the company said.
Overall, cement volumes in the six months to March 31 fell 8% even as sales
in Zimbabwe more than trebled, PPC said.
South African deliveries slipped 15% because of weak homebuilding and the
slow release of government infrastructure projects, the South African
company said.
PPC said it would slow down on some of its planned capital spending because
of lower demand but will continue to seek expansion beyond South Africa,
Zimbabwe and Botswana.
"The strategy to expand the business beyond its existing geographical
boundaries will continue to receive significant management attention," PPC
Net income rose to R551 million  (US$73 million), or 114,6 cents a share, in
the six-month period. This was an improvement on the R103 million or 20,6
cents a share achieved a year earlier, the company said.

Nqobile Bhebhe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Telescope: Ministers not below poverty datum line

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:01

A RECENT media report stated that government ministers earn less than US$300
per month, far below the poverty datum line estimated at about US$500.

Though innocent, nonetheless this statement is misleading. It sums the
widely held misconception concerning remuneration. It is not clear whether
the supposedly less-than- US$300 earned by our government ministers refers
to the basic, total guaranteed package or total remuneration. Looking at the
range of remuneration components enjoyed by our ministers, the quoted
remuneration range appears to be the basic salary. This apparent basic
salary myopia fuels the misconception that we intend to address.
As our recent survey revealed, many tend to view remuneration as being the
basic salary. For many, basic salary contributes the most to the cash
component of their pay. By default, non-cash elements of pay tend not to be
recognised as part of remuneration per ser, a notion buttressed by the
widespread practice of non-inclusion of non-cash pay elements on the pay
Considering current practices in reward, using basic salary as a benchmark
for remuneration comparison is not very useful, and can be potentially
misleading, giving rise to incorrect pay decisions. As a nation, we are
accustomed to the traditional salary-plus-benefits or salary-add-on-benefits
approach to pay structuring, where the focus is mainly on basic pay, with
add-on benefits calculated as a proportion of the base pay. Referring to the
case of South Africa can help give clarity, supplying context to our text.
In the last decade, South Africa saw a fundamental shift towards the more
flexible approaches to pay structuring, effectively ditching the
salary-plus-benefits approach, a paradigm shift driven by the re-invention
and repositioning of reward management as a strategic corporate agenda. The
strategic reward management wave is in its embryonic phase in Zimbabwe.  In
2009, 70% of senior executives and senior managers in South Africa were on
non-traditional remuneration structuring, popularly known as the "my pay my
way" structures. Under the non-traditional pay structuring approaches,
employees are given a menu of benefits to choose from, in line with their
life-cycle stage needs. In the more sophisticated structures, the employee
'sells' the remaining benefits to the employer for cash, thus increasing
their take-home cash. The default 'use-it -or-lose-it' unwritten clause,
rather more precisely, 'take-it-or-leave it' falls away under the flexible
approaches to pay structuring. It is clear from this narrative that basic
pay will vary with the individual's choice. We are destined to conclude that
using basic pay as a basis for comparing salaries does not add much value
any more.
Using total guaranteed package to compare pay levels provides a more
accurate pay snap shot, as it brings together all elements of fixed pay into
one figure, whether these appear on the payroll or not. The tax man or lady
must surely be smiling, I suppose. We will put to test the claim that our
government ministers are earning less than US$300 per month, using the total
guaranteed package framework.
Every minister is given a top-of-the range vehicle, the Mercedes Benz
traditionally, being the standard minister's car. We are talking US$65 000
to US$70 000 purchase price for a top-end Benz model. In professional reward
management, the vehicle offered by the employee's organisation is an
integral part of the employee's fixed remuneration. Taking, the lower car
value of US$65 000 and applying accepted reward practice yields an annual
car benefit of US$9 600, translating to US$800 per month, already 2,6 times
higher than the US$300 per month upper limit.
We could as well rest the case. To gauge the extent of the true ministers'
remuneration from a professional reward management angle, other components
of pay must be interrogated.
Housing benefit is very significant. Ministers are given largely free
accommodation by the state. This is an integral part of their guaranteed
remuneration. Our estimate of the annual housing benefit enjoyed by our
ministers is at least US$25 000 per annum giving a pro-rated monthly housing
benefit of US$2 000. Adding utilities into the minister's guaranteed package
further swells the remuneration beyond the widely reported figures.
Other guaranteed benefits, which from a reward perspective are part of the
ministers' guaranteed pay, include fuel allocation and vehicle maintenance
costs. Being not privy to the other guaranteed elements, I cannot speak with
confidence, concerning other possible benefits such as educational
assistance, medical aid, pension , security, second car, clothing, to
mention a few. This list is enough to rescue us from the basic pay myopia.
On the basis of the benefits enjoyed by our ministers that are common
knowledge, we come to the conclusion that each government minister earns a
total guaranteed package of at least US$3 000 per month. It is as clear as
noon-day that the reported minister's remuneration is in fact at least 10
times understated. Therefore, the assertion that our government ministers
live below the estimated US$500 per month poverty datum line is incorrect.
Now, factor tax into that remuneration equation. Ministers enjoy
concessionary tax rates, with most of the benefits being tax exempt. Is that
earning below the poverty datum line?
Honestly speaking, on an after-tax basis our ministers' total guaranteed
package should be at or above the upper quartile when placed alongside other
senior executives in Zimbabwe with equivalent job sizes. I stand to be
The unfortunate impression created by the untruth that our ministers earn
below the poverty datum line is two-fold. First, far from courting sympathy,
the below-poverty datum line myth depreciates our brand as a nation in the
eyes of the community of nations. Uninformed elements might use the
erroneously alleged poor remuneration of our ministers as an excuse to
justify the earning-by-clocking-mileage syndrome, seemingly calculated to
supplement "poor" income. Second, it creates the unintended notion that
ministers earn more or less the same as the rest of the civil servants. On a
basic salary basis ministers and other civil servants are in the same
league, but looked at from the more accurate, therefore objective total
guaranteed package perspective, the two play in different leagues.
When the travel and subsistence allowance exceeds the going-market-rates,
the difference is regarded as being part of the employee's remuneration,
although it is not considered part of their guaranteed package. When the
market principle is applied to ministers' travel expenses any market excess
should be regarded as part of the minister's remuneration. Admittedly,
travel and subsistence allowance has been used by many smart and powerful
employees as a cash cow to increase the size of their wallet.
The ignorance surrounding professional remuneration that appears to be
widespread in our nation lies at HR's doorstep. Human capital practitioners
should have both thought
and professional leadership. By
being silent, HR is guilty by complicity.
Who would blame Dave Ulrich, a leading light in HR thought leadership when
he candidly advised "HR should give value or give notice"?

Readers Forum: Do you think that our government ministers earn below the
poverty datum line? Visit to share
your thoughts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe retains firm grip on foreign affairs

Thursday, 13 May 2010 18:10

WHEN European nations in the 19th century wrested accountable governance
from their monarchs by putting in place parliamentary systems, one area
remained outside their scope. Foreign policy, it was said, was the "domain
of the king".

That view is alive and well in today's Zimbabwe. The Foreign Affairs
ministry might as well close down. It is a mere cipher. President Robert
Mugabe (86) exercises sole power and despite the formation of a government
of national unity (GNU) he brooks no interference from his purported
This has led to predictable resentment. Recently President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad of Iran visited Zimbabwe as Mugabe's guest. He was met at Harare
International Airport by a 21-gun salute as jets screamed overhead. Cabinet
ministers lined up to greet the honoured guest.
But something was missing in this otherwise warm welcome. Mugabe's partners
in government, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, were conspicuous by their absence.
Neither Tsvangirai nor his ministers put in an appearance. They were all in
Bulawayo attending the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, which the Iranian
leader would later open.
The word "snub" was put to good use in both the private and official media.
An MDC statement made it clear this was not a visitor that the party would
"As a party we feel that a country is defined by its friends," the statement
said. "We want to place it on record that judging by his record Ahmadinejad
is coming, not as a friend of Zimbabwe but as an ally of those who
unilaterally invited him.
"Choice of friends defines character," the MDC said, "and inviting the
Iranian strongman to an investment forum is like inviting a mosquito to cure
This, needless to say, incensed Mugabe's followers who claimed the MDC was
taking its marching orders from Washington and London.
But the episode underlined the fragility of the unity government.
Mugabe remains wedded to the postures of an earlier era when Zimbabwe was
part of an international network subscribing to Marxist-Leninist values.
Part of that structure remains intact in the form of the Non-Aligned
But the days when the Zimbabwean despot could strut upon the international
stage with authority have long since passed. The collapse of the Communist
bloc tore away the struts underpinning international support for regimes
such as Mugabe's.
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's visit in 1983 was a high-water mark
for Zimbabwe's post-Independence diplomacy but nowadays even Chinese leaders
give Harare a wide berth.
Mugabe's unilateral invitation to Ahmadinejad has once again focused
attention on the shortcomings of the GNU. Senior officials appointed by
Mugabe recently declared they were under no obligation to attend meetings of
the Council of Ministers that Tsvangirai chairs. A "Government Work Plan"
drawn up largely by MDC ministers to plan for the year ahead had not been
approved by the cabinet and was therefore unconstitutional, Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa declared last month. Chinamasa lost his seat to the MDC in
the 2008 election.
Observers are waiting to see what impact this obstruction of government
business will have on a forthcoming visit to Brussels of several cabinet
ministers, including Chinamasa, to get European Union sanctions lifted.
Despite suggestions that some concessions may be forthcoming, it is
difficult to see what tangible progress the GNU can point to as warranting
their removal.
The heads of Zimbabwe's bloated state-owned corporations recently refused to
give the MDC minister responsible for parastatals accurate estimates of
their incomes. Only 10 out of 85 submitted the information required. Others
submitted false information, according to local reports.
The chief executives of the state-owned corporations enjoy hefty incomes and
generous allowances, including entertainment allowances running into
thousands of dollars. Their children's education and payment of domestic
staff are also paid for by their companies, many of which are in financial
difficulties. The companies include fuel and power providers.
Parastatals minister, Gabuza Joel Gabbuza, said he was "only trying to
rationalise salaries of chief executives and at the same time rectify
anomalies where the top brass are earning unrealistic salaries while their
companies are constantly applying for government bail-outs." Most CEOs in
state companies are the beneficiaries of Mugabe's patronage.
Mugabe continues to be the chief obstacle to change, clawing back as many
powers as possible, and threatening to do to the business sector what he has
done to agriculture. South African negotiators appear not to have made much
impact, with President Jacob Zuma giving the impression he is out of his
depth. British officials had no difficulty rebutting his attempt to get
sanctions lifted when he visited London earlier this year.
With over a year of tenure behind it, the GNU's report card reads "could do
better". --

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tomana must resign now!

Thursday, 13 May 2010 18:08

AFTER a gruelling 16 months of persecution, 109 court appearances and a
shameful waste of taxpayers' money, controversial Attorney-General Johannes
Tomana this week dismally failed to have Roy Bennett put to his defence by
the High Court on treason charges.

It was simply an encyclopaedic display of gross incompetence which must
warrant his instant resignation as the state's chief legal officer.
It was a case that Tomana took up himself against sound advice from Bennett's
lawyers that the Attorney-General could not demean himself and his office by
appearing personally to prosecute.
But it appears Tomana did not want to miss his chance to showcase his
incompetence to the world. And he gladly took up this doomed mission that
would lead to his ultimate disgrace.
Rather than Bennett, it must be Tomana himself who must now come under the
spotlight. Even a freshman in law school would have seen from the outset
that the state was never going to succeed; especially after their so-called
key witness, Peter Michael Hitschmann, ended up vouching for the defence.
The Attorney-General called up several witnesses, who the judge later
described as being of "amazing ignorance".
As Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said in his judgment, the state cannot take a
dive in the centre circle and expect the referee to award a penalty. And in
this case, Tomana took a shameful dive in his own half and expected the
referee not only to award him a penalty, but also to give Bennett a red
card! But justice had other ideas.
The Attorney-General must simply hide his head in shame. He has dismally
failed in his national duty by pursuing a political fight which has since
cost him his reputation.
We in the MDC have always said that Tomana has compromised his
professionalism by sacrificing his reputation on the altar of political
expediency. An Attorney-General who makes a public confession that he
supports a political party is never fit for office and his dismal
performance in this case vindicates those of us who have always seen this
case as "persecution by prosecution".
Now Tomana has been hoist by his own petard.
We believe Bennett must immediately take up his national duty to which the
party deployed him. Zanu PF cannot have a hand in MDC deployments to
Forget the shrill, shameful propaganda from relevance-seekers such as
Jonathan Moyo. Bennett is a patriotic Zimbabwean who has distinguished
himself in serving his country. It is not criminal for him to have served in
the British South Africa Police at one point in his life. Even Zanu PF
stalwarts such as Phillip Chiyangwa did, just as Olivia Muchena, now a
cabinet minister, was a member of the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa's UANC.
Bennett was born on 16 February 1957 in Rusape. His father was a farmer and
in 1958 the family moved from Rusape to Karoi. His childhood was one of bare
feet and consisted of roaming the farm with his friends, hunting with a
catapult and fishing in the rivers and dams.
He did his primary education in Karoi from 1962 to1969 and his secondary
studies at Ellis Robins High School in Harare from 1970 to 1973.
In 1993 he purchased Chimanimani Estate in the Chimanimani area from the
Lonrho Wattle Company where he started growing coffee and  continued cattle
ranching. Bennett was nominated as the Tobacco Grower of the Year for Karoi
North area in 1988, and was awarded the National Coffee Grower of the Year
award in 1996. He was chairman of the Chimanimani Farmers Association and
was the Manicaland representative on the Agricultural Labour Board. He sat
on the Board of the Zimbabwe Coffee Mill as chairman and later became a
trustee of the Chimanimani Country Club. He also formed and chaired the
Chimanimani Development Association and was the
chairman of Mvurachena Primary School in Chipinge.
Senator Bennett, a fluent and eloquent Shona speaker, played polo and
captained the Mashonaland side for several years and played in the national
team for four years.
He remains a patriotic Zimbabwean whose only crime is that he is white and
he is MDC.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Director of Information and Publicity in the MDC
formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. He can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You
need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Eric Bloch: President, prime minister misinformed

Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:46

IT is inevitable that one must ponder on the calibre, or the intents, of
those whose function it is to provide President Robert Mugabe with facts,
information and guidance.

Are they driven by a desire to fulfil their obligations to him as
effectively as they can (in which event they are indisputably incapable and
inept), or by their perceptions of what they believe the president wishes to
hear irrespective of whether those perceptions are soundly-based, or are
merely their misconceptions.
Whatever the reality, it is irrefutable that not only do they fail to inform
and guide him correctly but, in failing to do so, they render the president
and country an immense and highly prejudicial disservice.
Over the years there have been many occasions when such misinformation and
ill-conceived guidance have been incontrovertibly evident, but recently one
of the most pronounced indications of such advisory disservice to the
president was when he spoke at the World Economic Forum on Africa, held in
Dar es Salaam.  Mugabe (who is also Head of Sate and Government and
Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces) unreservedly dismissed
all foreign investor concerns relating to Zimbabwe's new Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Act and underlying regulations.  He stated that not
only was it fair, just and equitable that 51% of all businesses be reserved
for indigenous Zimbabweans, but also that those who said the legislation
would drive away investment were totally incorrect.  He asserted that this
was not the case, and that many foreign investors had continued to be
forthcoming.  After all, he explained, "forty-nine percent is a lot.  I don't
think it's a painful thing for them".
Nothing could be further from reality.  The minute that the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Regulations were promulgated, hundreds (if not
thousands) of intending investors, who had very seriously been considering
substantive investment in Zimbabwe, flocked away in droves.  Whether their
contemplated investments were within the mining, manufacturing, tourism,
financial services, information technology or other sectors, there was an
overnight total loss of interest by the droves of investors who had been
vigorously evaluating Zimbabwean investment opportunities.  Not just
millions, or hundreds of millions, but billions of investment dollars were
immediately demotivated from being sent to Zimbabwe as an investment
destination.  The imminent creation of thousands of critically needed
employment opportunities disappeared.  So too did all the economic
downstream benefits which would have flowed from the new investment
operations and the considerable potential fiscal inflows, by way of direct
and indirect taxes as a result of those investments.  This is in blatant
contradiction of the presidential statement that "People have said it will
drive away investment. We say it won't!"
It is time that the president's advisors and informants told him facts,
instead of that which they think he wishes to hear.
Reinforcing his statement that investors would not be driven away, the
president said: "Companies have been forthcoming. I don't think it's a
painful thing for them.  Forty-nine percent is a lot."
If that were so, why could indigenisation not be pursued at 49%, instead of
51%?  Surely that which is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?  The
reality is that 51% vests control in the holders, whilst 49% is a minority
holding which subjugates the holders to the determinations, the whims and
fancies of the majority holder. A 51% to 49% equity structure vests
domination powers in the majority holder, and renders the minority equity
holder into potential subservience and oppression.
It is untenable for almost all foreign investors that they be expected to
provide the entirety, or the greater substance, of an enterprise's capital,
as well as technology transfer and access to markets, and yet be subjected
to virtual impotence in the policy formulation and management direction of
the business which they have made possible.  When this investor perception
has been voiced, some Zimbabweans have sought to counter it (as did, for
example, the chairman of the Harare branch of the Zimbabwe National Chamber
of Commerce) by alleging that Zimbabweans are able to contribute
substantially to the capital requirements of new investments.  They support
this contention by alluding to the extent that Zimbabweans own houses and
other properties.  But the investment ventures require money, not
residential properties, and the debilitated state of Zimbabwe's money market
is such that access to funding founded upon the security of properties is
Revitalisation of the money market, and the economy, requires massive
inflows into Zimbabwe of money from external sources, but the indigenisation
legislation is a big impediment to such inflows being forthcoming.
Moreover, much of Zimbabwe's economic development requires not only monetary
injections, but also technology transfers, franchises and licences, and
access to external markets, but none can be realistically expected to be
willing to make those available without any concomitant retention of some
In the same manner as the president appears to have been grievously
misinformed as to investor perceptions and requirements, so too has Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, albeit to a markedly lesser intent.  Addressing
the same gathering at the World Economic Forum on Africa, he reportedly said
that "Zimbabwe is ready to do business".
Clearly this is not the case; it is only ready to receive what is tantamount
to investor philanthropic handouts.  He said that "it is time that investors
started looking at Zimbabwe from a different perspective", but the
perspective of investors the world over is that investments must be secure,
in economically stable environments, with the potential of fair,
market-related investment returns.  That is certainly not so in the case of
Zimbabwe, and especially so for so long as the unrealistic and destructive,
indigenisation legislation is continued in its present format, instead of
being restructured for just and equitable indigenisation and economic
empowerment, concurrently with respect and fairness for non-indigenous
However, the prime minister correctly stated that: "If Africa's time has
come for investment, then Zimbabwe cannot miss the boat."  Zimbabwe must
make sure that it does not miss that boat, and as first steps towards
sailing in it, the destructive legislation must be constructively amended,
concurrently with the global political agreement being belatedly fully
implemented, Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements being
honoured and complied with and, undoubtedly, the president and prime
minister receiving factual and constructive advice, instead of being told
that which the advisors unilaterally assume they wish to hear.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Muckraker: Mugabe sticking to stale old mantras

Thursday, 06 May 2010 17:52

WE were intrigued by the president's remarks in an interview with the People's
Voice. He said while Zanu PF's enemies were the imperialists -- the British
and Americans, for the MDC-T the enemies were Zanu PF and the people of
Isn't that the same people who rejected Mugabe and his party in the 2008
election? Why didn't the People's Voice reporter ask him about that
discrepancy? And what is remarkable is that the stale old blandishments that
lost Mugabe the last poll are being resuscitated for use in the next one.

You would have thought Mugabe's advisors would have devised new positions
for the party given the refusal of the people to swallow Zanu PF's previous

In fact it could be argued that the people, having judged Zanu PF's
threadbare claims, decided the "imperialists" would do a better job feeding
them and helping to rebuild the economy.
Mugabe has yet to understand voters' priorities which don't include empty
How can he claim Zanu PF wants to "defend the people's sovereignty" when his
policies consign the same people to penury?

Here is another example of a partisan press not asking a single challenging
question while the president makes all sorts of disingenuous claims.

What use is a newspaper that doesn't ask the questions?

Meanwhile, the People's Voice should ask how the people can "determine their
own future" when they get beaten or even killed for supporting the MDC-T.

And then we had Rugare Gumbo proclaiming the EU would not be allowed to fund
the constitution-making exercise.

Why not when they are providing agricultural support? If they can feed us
why  can't they provide expertise in constitution-making? But Gumbo should
not worry. Constitution-making is underway. And the land audit will soon be
operational so all those owning more than one farm will be exposed.

And what is the Zimbabwe delegation doing in Brussels if not seeking funds
for GPA projects?

It is a bit baffling that Zanu PF is sabotaging its Brussels mission by
allowing those opposed to reform to speak for the country.

Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and former Irish
president, was in Zimbabwe last week and met President Mugabe at his
Munhumutapa offices in Harare.

The Herald reported Robinson lauded Mugabe "for his efforts to improve women's
status in Zimbabwe".
"The president emphasised that women now have the benefit of a strong
platform, the inclusive platform and that women's voices right across the
board are understood," Robinson said.
Thanks to the Sunday Times we were we able to have an insight into how
Mugabe's trusted lieutenants treat women.

Marian Chombo, the estranged wife of Ignatius Chombo, has appealed to Mugabe
to help her salvage something from the minister's vast estate.

"Marian (50) says her husband (58) has been harassing her, confining her to
the house and at one time getting her 'locked up' by the police for 'trying
to steal fuel'," the Sunday Times reported.

She now wants President Mugabe to intervene as "a father" and "a leader" so
she can escape her "miseries".

Let's hear what Robinson says about Chombo's treatment of Marian. We hope
next time Robinson will also ask Woza about the treatment of women under
Mugabe's regime.

Nigerian football authorities are fuming about the low standards of the
hotel where their senior national football team will camp during the World

They want to meet Fifa officials in an attempt to dump a KwaZulu-Natal hotel
contracted to serve as their team's base camp during the World Cup football
showcase which kicks off next month.

Nigerian Sports Minister, Ibrahim Bio and Super Eagles coach, Lars Lagerback
flew into Durban last Wednesday after a media storm in Nigeria over the
suitability of the three-star Hampshire Hotel in Ballito.
"I am concerned about the noise. I am very unsure of the security of this
place. It's important that our boys are secure," Bio said.

Are these the same guys who allowed Zimbabwe's Confederation Cup
representatives, Caps United, to be booked  into a down town two-star hotel,
the BB Hotel in Warri, two weeks ago?
Apart from being close to noisy seedy beer halls and crowded markets, power
cuts are a regular occurrence in the area.

The inhospitable conditions Caps United players and officials endured
included sleeping on the floor at the domestic airport for more than two
hours while waiting for Nigerian football authorities to welcome them.

Winston Churchill, Britain's World War Two leader, once said that the
civility of a country is measured by the way it looks after its prisoners.

We got insight on how we have been looking after our prisoners from the
Zimbabwe Prison Services Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources, Vincent

They have been starving all these years. Now an idea to keep them well
nourished while they serve time has suddenly been found.

"Ndhlovu said the prisons have realised that prisoners can work for
themselves rather than starve while sitting behind bars, so they are
teaching them to farm which will help them even in their lives after
completing their sentences," the Herald reported on Monday.

This, he said, to our amazement, will help turn around the economy.

"He boasted that ZPS would never complain of hunger again neither would
there be any stories of starving prisoners in Zimbabwe," reported the
Herald, without questioning why such an initiative took so long when
prisoners were dying of hunger on a daily basis.

The Herald gave us a good demonstration of how the state media fails the
reading public when it reported Media minister Webster Shamu's address on
the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Monday.

We have no quarrel with the address which appeared helpful to the media. But
the Herald's report terminated with the conclusion of the minister's
remarks. The paper declined to report the speech of UN Secretary-General Ban
ki Moon or the Unesco representative at the Rainbow Towers ceremony. It also
omitted to report the remarks of the ZUJ Secretary-General and other

This was, among other things, a betrayal of the profession. It was an
illustration of why a captive media cannot be trusted to provide the public
with accurate news. So they remain uninformed.

In this case they were not allowed to hear what the UN Secretary-General had
to say about freedom of the press and its importance to democratic
governance. That is a deliberate policy by those managing the public media
to keep the public in the dark. Which of course represents an egregious
disservice to the public it is supposed to serve.

And is it true that the Broadcasting Authority is in place, as the minister
said in his speech? We thought the president was asked about that at his
meet the press briefing in March and said if it was the case that the
authority was improperly constituted, then it needed to be put right.

As it is Tafataona Mahoso currently heads the authority and is also CEO of
the ZMC secretariat. This anomaly obviously can't be allowed to persist
although, it must be said, Mahoso seems a lot friendlier than he used to be!

It was good to see our old friend and colleague Bill Saidi speaking at a
World Press Freedom Day ceremony hosted by the US embassy Public Affairs
section on Monday evening at Gallery Delta. He kept the large audience
entertained with his anecdotes of an earlier era in journalism.

But Bill is in urgent need of an editor. However entertaining, his speech
lasted about 20 minutes longer than it needed to. Messages passed to him by
the organisers were ignored as he fulfilled a golden opportunity to tell a
captive audience the story of his life which included walk-on roles for
Harold Macmillan and Richard Nixon.

Next time Bill should tell us how life at the Herald today contrasts with 25
years ago when the editor locked him in an office and threw away the key!
Anyway, it was good to see him back in the trenches, defending the freedoms
he has done so much to uphold at the many papers he has been fired from!

There were scenes of pandemonium when snacks were served both before and
after the speeches at Gallery Delta. The French caterer, doing a good
impression of Basil Fawlty, had great difficulty keeping the hungry hordes
away from the food table until the starter's flag went down. His was an
unenviable task. No sooner had he chased off marauders at one end of the
table than another gang appeared at the other end.

Eventually American peace-keepers had to intervene and persuade the
increasingly volatile chef that it might be a good idea, if he valued his
life, to let the hungry hacks get at the food.

It must be said, the resulting melée was not an edifying sight. The
collective noun would be a "flock" of Gannets! But in this case vultures
might be more appropriate. But at least all were happily fed and "watered",
courtesy of Uncle Sam and Misa, and the standard of the snacks was

Among those attending the event was Deputy Media minister Jameson Timba who
demonstrated why he is regarded as the most erudite and accomplished public
speaker in the country. We should add "honest" to that.
Speaking on the setting up of the Zimbabwe Media Commission he said that
"collectively as a government we have failed the nation. The delay in
establishing the ZMC was inexcusable and government should acknowledge
He went on to admit that government mistakenly regarded press freedom as a
gift to the people. "It is our responsibility as government to ensure that
it exists," he said, pointing out that it was in government's interest as
well as the people's to have a free press.
That should be spelt out in bold letters.
All in all, it was a great Press Freedom Day. Just a pity the public media,
whose reporters were present, were not allowed to report what was said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No grounds for state appeal

Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:49

JUST when we thought that the dust was settling - with the acquittal of MDC
treasurer Roy Bennett this week - it is not over yet. The state which
apparently goofed in the prosecution of the legislator has in its wisdom
decided to appeal the High Court ruling.
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, who led the prosecution of Bennett, is
praying to the trial judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, to give the state
leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the not guilty verdict.

Tomana's decision to appeal follows remarks by the Zanu PF legal secretary
Emmerson Mnangagwa immediately after the ruling that the judgement was

Whatever Justice Bhunu decides regarding the application for leave to
appeal, his verdict on Monday delivered a significant black mark against the
integrity of the AG and his office.

There is vindication for all those who in the first place saw the
prosecution of Bennett as an act of racial persecution by a system that has
made it its business to use the courts as an arena of punishment and not
justice. But justice was served on Monday as the state case fell on its
face, largely due to the glaring inadequacies in the quality of the

Justice Bhunu in his written judgement commended the state for "having put
up a brave fight under very difficult circumstances in defence of a
constitutionally elected government". But the state's success in prosecuting
this case was not going to rest on bravery or the quest to defend a
constitutionally elected government.

The onus was on the state to prove that Bennett indeed wanted to topple the
government. The difficulties that Justice Bhunu refers to in his ruling were
of the state's own making. In the three years it took to bring the case to
trial, the state with all its machinery and resources failed to find
credible witnesses to testify.

The evidence relied on by Tomana and his prosecuting team was weak. The
judge pulled no punches in attacking the integrity of the state witnesses
lined up by the AG's office to provide evidence to prove that Bennett wanted
to commit acts of treason.

Words like "appalling", "unreliable", "dubious" and "erroneous" were used by
the judge to describe the quality of the evidence adduced by the state
witnesses. By the same token, the dubious and unreliable evidence reflects
badly on the quality of the prosecution and in particular Tomana. By
appealing, Tomana has to prove that the judge erred and that the state had
managed to establish a prima facie case that the charges against Bennett
were valid.

What is curious though is how the AG expected to win this case using an
appalling witness like Perekayi Mutsetse who demonstrated stunning
incompetence in the area of IT, his supposed forte, to the extent that his
testimony "virtually destroyed" the state case.

The AG also needs to tell the nation how he intended to successfully
prosecute a case using evidence from a hostile witness in the form of Peter
Hitschmann. Tomana, the state said, called Hitschmann to "give evidence with
the full knowledge that he was likely to give evidence adverse to the state
case". In the end the evidence supported the defence case, the judge said.

The judgement spared the AG direct criticism but soccer exemplars by the
judge in the summary of the ruling should be instructive to Tomana. Justice
Bhunu said judges and assessors were mere referees and umpires in the legal
process. "One cannot therefore take a dive at the centre circle and expect
the referee to award a penalty," said the judge.

He added: "Like in most contests a team cannot be allowed to advance to the
next stage unless it performs well at the preliminary stage."

Tomana's team should not expect to proceed to the next stage of the
contest - that is putting Bennett to his defence - after such a poor showing
in preliminary rounds of the contest.  He has appealed anyway to satisfy the
aspirations of a political clique which is opposed to Bennett's appointment
as Agriculture deputy minister.

In fact the ruling bolsters the MDC argument that Tomana should not continue
to be AG. He has professed his fondness of Zanu PF's ideology but has said
he is an AG for all Zimbabweans and therefore apolitical in that role. We do
not believe this. This case is emblematic.  Not many Zimbabweans, the
majority of whom support Bennett's MDC, see Tomana as their AG. They see him
as a symbol of division in the GNU.

Bennett's acquittal, the MDC said, "is an indictment of the person and
office of the Attorney-General who has wasted the taxpayers' money by
besmirching and persecuting an innocent Zimbabwean." It is difficult to

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor's Memo: Democratisation now without delay

Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:32

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday received the W Averell Harriman
Democracy Award in Washington DC where he spoke of Africa's need to replace
the "Big Men" of the continent with "democratically elected leaders and
strong democratic institutions".

Tsvangirai noted the difficulties his party faced before taking the decision
to join the unity government and maintained that the arrangement of the GNU
is not a comfortable one.
The MDC compromised, he said, as the GNU represented "another step in
Zimbabwe's difficult but certain transition to a true democracy".
"In Zimbabwe today the Movement for Democratic Change has formed a coalition
government with the former ruling party. This was not an easy decision, nor
is it a comfortable arrangement," Tsvangirai lamented.
"This has exposed us to criticism from outside the country where observers
mistake the sharing of government portfolios with the sharing of visions and
objectives with our partners in the new administration."
Tsvangirai said the sad rule of the "Big Men" of Africa is also reflected in
Zimbabwean politics and since his party is faced with a ruthless opponent
they are willing to use peaceful and democratic agents of change. They had
"to be patient -- separating long term objectives from short-term tactics".
While this makes sense to any observer, a critical analysis of what is
happening in the GNU points in a very different direction.
It makes sense to separate the long term objectives (presumably a full
democratisation of all political processes in Zimbabwe) from the short-term
tactics, but one is left wondering what the latter would achieve.
The agenda of the global political agreement is not only to usher in a GNU,
but also to have institutional reforms. These reforms should touch on
elections, the media, the economy and other governance-related issues.
These are areas where Zimbabwe has scored so poorly since Independence.
Zimbabwe's democratisation process was stalled immediately after
Independence and it would be a clear sign of foolishness on the part of
Zimbabweans to delay it now that there is a window of opportunity.
Zimbabweans are not stupid and this explains why they are impatient with
what is happening in the GNU and the near total failure of the MDC to stamp
its authority and create space for its agenda of democratising all
Zimbabweans' impatience comes from the false hope raised last year and while
it is understandable that the economy, which went through a decade of
recession, may take time to shape up, the same cannot be said about
institutional reforms.
There is an entire generation of Zimbabweans which has grown up under the
threat of an intolerant state which uses its apparatus to silence and crush
The only way to push back the big crushing foot of the state from the people's
skulls is by democratising all its institutions making sure that they play
their intended role.
Zimbabweans yearn for that day when they will wake up to seeing the
Attorney-General's office, the police, the army, the Central Intelligence
Organisation and the media playing their constitutional role, not a partisan
A total democratisation of institutions now is a strong foundation on which
to launch the reversal of Zimbabwe from a weakening state to a strong one.
Zimbabwe was on the verge of becoming a collapsed state and this was a
result of the weak institutions which were totally dysfunctional by last
year. The people know very well that these have to be strengthened or else
we find ourselves in the same situation even after a change of political
Tsvangirai should also note that if the MDC's agenda is to transform
Zimbabwe from what it is, then there is need to start strengthening the
institutions now as a guarantor for developing Zimbabwe.
As the United Nations Commission on Global Governance noted in 2005: "Strong
democratic institutions are needed at all levels to regulate corporations,
protect public and human rights, eliminate poverty, and manage markets --
all components of a just and sustainable model of development."
While Africa needs to get rid of the archaic "Big Men" to be replaced with
"democratically elected leaders and strong democratic institutions", the
question is which one should come first.
In Zimbabwe, it is no chicken and egg affair as we are now agreed that the
GNU gives an opportunity to build strong democratic institutions which will
be the foundation for democratically elected leaders.
This equation cannot go the other way around as it has been proven not to
work as the "Little Men" in opposition soon evolve into "the new Big Men".

Constantine Chimakure

Back to the Top
Back to Index