Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:44
COPAC still needs a further US$35 million to complete the
constitution-making process, including holding of the referendum, over and
above the US$45 million it has already gobbled.
Copac national coordinator Gift Marunda confirmed that the body needed US$5
million to complete the drafting process and for publicity of the final
“We need a US$5 million to complete the work outside the amount needed for
the holding of a referendum,” said Marunda. “This amount includes activities
such as producing the final draft, translating it into local languages, the
second all stakeholders’ conference and consolidation of the draft for the
referendum,” he said.
Finance minister Tendai Biti is on record indicating that he had budgeted
US$30 million for the referendum, which may be jeopardised should Zanu PF
have its way and halt the entire constitution-making process as it has been
threatening to do constantly.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:48
ZIMBABWE’S new governance charter will tackle the contentious succession
debate with two vice presidents being appointed based on seniority to
provide certainty compared to the current situation open to manipulation.
According to its report of May 14 2012, the Copac management committee
agreed the new constitution should indicate that the president appoints two
vice presidents ranked in terms of seniority to provide certainty in matters
“In this regard, it was agreed that the constitution should provide for a
first vice president and a second vice president,” reads the report.
On the quota for women in parliament, the report says: “There was an
agreement on the principle of reserving a quota for women in parliament but
there was no consensus on the actual quantum. There was also no agreement on
whether this quota would apply to both houses of parliament.”
The report also says the new constitution would allow the president to
appoint not more than five ministers from outside parliament. The select
committee had earlier set the number at three.
Copac has also scrapped the holding of provincial stakeholders meetings
alleging that they risked being “hijacked for ulterior motives” and would
instead replace them with public awareness campaigns countrywide.
According to a Copac management committee documentsubmitted to the select
committee, all the three political parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations unanimously resolved to dump the meetings.
“The management committee resolved that it was no longer necessary to
conduct the pre-stakeholders provincial meetings. Members were in agreement
that there was high probability that these meetings would be hijacked for
ulterior motives. In their place, the management committee suggested the
holding of public awareness campaigns countrywide,” reads the report.
Last week, Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T told diplomats
that the second all stakeholders’ conference was likely to be held next
There was mayhem, bordering on violence, during the first stakeholders
conference in 2009 as parties clashed on ideological grounds.
Tension has been escalating around the constitution-making exercise,
particularly on the issues of devolution and gay rights, which Zanu PF
accuses the two MDC formations of attempting to smuggle in the new
Civil society organisations have long expressed worry that a second all
stakeholders conference could turn violent and appealed to Copac to put in
measures to secure a violence-free conference.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:58
ZIMBABWE’S growing reliance on food imports, particularly from regional
countries such as Zambia and Malawi, is testimony to the country’s general
regression over the years blamed on the government’s policy failures by
players within the agricultural sector, the mainstay of the economy.
The country should have by now cemented its erstwhile status as the region’s
breadbasket given the high levels of investment in agriculture and related
industries the Zanu PF government inherited at Independence in 1980.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says Zimbabwe’s agricultural decline was
triggered by the controversial land reform programme from 2000 when the
government expropriated land from the country’s mainly white commercial
“Whilst few have argued about the necessity for land reform in Zimbabwe, the
implementation which saw the dismantling of property rights and land tenure
has damaged confidence for investors,” said CFU president Charles Taffs.
“The attrition of these rights has impacted, not only on citizens, but also
foreign investors. Compensation for expropriated investments is a
pre-requisite to the restoration of the country’s image as a good place to
The CFU accuses the government of failing to give secure tenure to the new
black farmers, a situation which has turned land into “dead capital” which
cannot be traded or advanced as collateral by farmers seeking loans in order
to invest in its productivity.
In contrast, land values and land-based investment in the region has
increased markedly with Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique having welcomed
Zimbabwe’s displaced commercial farmers, and in the process boosting their
Zambia’s maize production has peaked three million metric tonnes in 2011
before dipping slightly to 2,9 million metric tonnes this year.
The Zambia National Farmers Union’s head of outreach and member services
Coillard Hamusimbi said last week his country would have a maize surplus of
1,035 million metric tonnes this year.
Hamusimbi said that displaced white Zimbabwean commercial farmers were
helping Zambia’s phenomenal agricultural growth.
Malawi also recorded a surplus in maize production after 2005 largely due to
the Agricultural Productivity Investment Programme introduced in 1998, which
included provision of credit to procure seeds for hybrid maize, legumes as
well as fertiliser. Subsidies for fertiliser introduced in 2006 brought the
prices down from US$22 to US$7 a bag.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe, now a basket case, has been moving from one
policy failure to the next with the most recent flop being last month’s
announcement of a US$20 million loan facility for wheat farmers which
farmers still have not received despite the onset of the planting season.
Most farmers this week said they would abandon wheat farming, which can only
serve to worsen food security and increase Zimbabwe’s reliance on imports.
Even the decision to move the budget year from June to January is also
indicative of the government’s failure to align its policies with the
agricultural sector as it is now held in the middle of the farming season,
making it difficult to plan or offer the ideal assistance required by
The Ian Smith regime held its budget in June after the agricultural season,
which gave it the perfect opportunity to factor in the needs of agriculture
for the following season.
Various schemes aimed at assisting new farmers have been launched but, as
with other government programmes, they have failed to reach deserving
beneficiaries with reports of abuse by ministers, high-ranking government
officials and those connected to them.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono launched the Farm Mechanisation Programme
in 2007 where beneficiaries were given farming implements.
However, the programme failed to stimulate agriculture after it was
reportedly abused by politicians and Zanu PF supporters.
Lately there have been reports about ministers being given priority access
to fertiliser at the Grain Marketing Board while ordinary farmers fail to
access as little as a 25kg bag.
The failure of the country’s agriculture has had far-reachingnegative ripple
effects on the economy leading to the collapse of downstream industries
reliant on the sector for survival.
According to the CFU,“traditionally, for every dollar directly invested in
agriculture, three were invested in downstream industry and services”.
This partly explains why the economy collapsed before 2009.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:57
BRITAIN’S Ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert (pictured) says she does
not see her country funding Zimbabwe’s land reform programme in the near
future despite an agreement by the three political parties to Zimbabwe’s
Global Political Agreement for the country’s former coloniser to pay
compensation for land acquired during the chaotic land reform exercise.
Article 5.9 (d) of the GPA says the parties hereby agree to: “call upon the
United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay
compensation for land acquired from former land owners for resettlement”.
In their review of the GPA in April last year, party negotiators also called
on the three principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to write to the
British Prime Minister asking for his country to pay compensation to those
farmers whose land was acquired.
Bronnert, however, said although her country initially assisted Zimbabwe
with its land reform programme, it had never accepted liability for the
programme and would therefore not pay, more so considering that the
programme did not benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.
“Well, we were not parties to the GPA, this was a Zimbabwean agreement and
we have never accepted liability to fund land reform although we did
actually provide some funds for land reform, soon after Independence. I
think it was £44 million which we paid,” she said.
Britain partly funded the land reform programme when it was based on the
willing buyer –– willing seller concept but stopped in the early 1990s when
the government announced it would compulsorily acquire land.
Bronnert said Britain has always believed there was a need for land reform
in Zimbabwe to address historical imbalances and ensure more equity to the
“But we do have a problem with the way the land reform was undertaken and we
feel it was unfair to the individuals affected. It had a terrible impact
both on those running and managing the farms, those working on the farms and
the wider Zimbabwean economy,” said Bronnert.
“At some point I think we are likely to…support a future settlement but I
think we are a long way from it and it will require quite a big political
shift and a political settlement here for that to be taken forward,” she
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:54
STATE Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo says his ministry is
considering engaging the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate possible
cases of graft in parastatals as it becomes apparent most entities are
failing to adhere to good corporate governance practices.
In an Interview with Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday, Moyo said most
parastatals were run by incompetent people and had failed to adhere to good
co-operate governance practices such as holding annual general meetings
(AGMs), among other things.
He blamed political patronage for bringing in corrupt and incompetent
managers whom he said had “no clue” on how to run important institutions. He
said transparency and accountability were a “culture shock and burden” to
individuals used to looting parastatals.
“It gets them angry and they have to find ways to avoid anything that brings
them under scrutiny,” Moyo said. “If any parastatal fails to provide
financial statements or audited reports, we will invite the Anti-Corruption
Commission because these are legal requirements to ensure transparency and
accountability. They should not give us reason to suspect they have
something to hide,” he said.
Moyo said his ministry would step up efforts to ensure AGMs are held using
relevant acts of parliament, subsidiary legislation and the Corporate
Governance Framework launched in November 2010.
“Out of a sample of 42 state enterprises and parastatals who submitted their
returns, regrettably only four were able to hold their AGMs as provided for
under the Companies Act (Chapter24: 03),” he said. “Let me emphasise that
all parastatals were required to hold AGMs in line with the CGF beginning
Moyo said failure to hold AGMs deprived government, as a shareholder, the
opportunity to exercise its ownership functions which include consideration
of audited financial statements and reports, authorisation of programmes,
reviewing board composition, making new appointments and approving
The Companies Act requires that one-third of the board retire at an AGM
while best practices in corporate governance require parastatals to be
properly constituted, timeously staffed by competent and reliable persons.
Moyo said his ministry was working on different approaches to ensure
compliance with corporate governance practices and they would launch next
week the State Enterprises and Parastatals Restructuring Manual which will
be the “bible, chapter and verse on the restructuring of parastatals to make
them more efficient”.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:55
AS Zimbabwe prepares for elections either this year or next year, Zimbabwe
Independent reporter Herbert Moyo (HM) interviewed the Organ on National
Healing, Reconciliation and Integration co-chairperson Sekai Holland (SH) on
what has been done so far to heal scars of political violence and brutality
before the polls. Find below excerpts of the interview:
HM: What has the Organ on National Healing achieved since its inception?
SH: We have fulfilled part of the mandate of article 7:1c of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) in that we successfully advised cabinet on the
adoption of the policy establishing the infrastructure for peace. We have
also produced a code of conduct for parties because they are the source of
cyclic political violence.
HM: Will the code have the force of law to be effective?
SH: The code of conduct has to be understood in the context of getting
parties talking face-to-face and using their heads and hearts to accept that
violence in politics is unacceptable.
HM: You have also been speaking about intra-party violence; is there still
violence in your own party and if what are you doing about it?
SH: Yes, every political party in Zimbabwe is crying about intra-party
violence. It is now staple fare so the code is important because violence
has to be stopped.
HM: Given that political parties in Zimbabwe are known for making
resolutions they never fulfill, what difference will this code make?
SH: The code is based on the parties’ understanding and willingness to
implement the GPA, which is their own document. Zimbabweans now want peace
so I am convinced the parties will do all they can to uphold the code.
HM: You were quoted in the state media as saying the code was “a
Zimbabwean-driven process meant to address Zimbabwean problems without
external interference”. Does it mean there are external forces trying to
SH: What I said was that for the first time the three political parties have
understood answers to our problems should come from the people rather than
HM: What is the organ’s view on the Zimbabwean exiles’ initiative to seek
retributive justice in South African courts against Zanu PF officials
accused of violence in 2008?
SH: It is Zimbabweans’ democratic right to seek justice in the best way they
can. We appeal to them to link what they are doing and what is happening at
home so that they give our processes maximum support.
HM: How is your organ dealing with the issue of Gukurahundi massacres in
Matabeleland and the Midlands, and do you feel this is an issue best
forgotten as some senior Zanu PF politicians prefer?
SH: Gukurahundi is part of the injury that society has faced. It has to be
dealt with in the context of truth, justice and forgiveness for
reconciliation to take place. You cannot mask injuries and pretend things
did not happen. There has to be acknowledgement and fair assessment. Some
need an apology and they should get that. Truth, justice and forgiveness are
what the organ is advocating in line with recommendations by our traditional
leaders. After all it is said kugonangozi kuiripa (the best way to appease
an avenging spirit is compensation).The Ndebele emphasise dialogue in
resolving conflicts, so dialogue is the best.
HM: Finally what lessons have you drawn from countries like South Africa,
Rwanda and Kenya on restorative and retributive justice?
SH: South Africa has taught us the need for truth, justice and forgiveness
as the basis for reconciliation because if we skip these, there won’t be any
reconciliation. An act of parliament is going to establish the National
Peace and Reconciliation Council — a permanent body that will deal with the
past, even the period before 2009. (The) Rwanda (genocide) is scary; do we
(also) have to kill 800 000 people before peace prevails? No!
Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:31
THE cash-strapped Bulawayo City Council is proposing to slash workers’
salaries by 20% to service a loan used to purchase luxury vehicles for
senior officials after a local bank threatened to attach some of its
A report by the council’s finance committee shows that city fathers wanted
salaries cut to enable it to repay US$4,5 million bank loan used to buy 20
top-of-the range vehicles for managers. Among the vehicles purchased were a
Land Rover for town clerk Middleton Nyoni, a Toyota Prado for the housing
director Isaiah Magagula and a Toyota Fortuner for finance director Kempton
The bank has threatened to attach the council’s main buildings, the Tower
Block and Revenue Hall, over the outstanding debt.
A finance committee member told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that
council was forced to resort to slashing salaries to help solve its unending
cash flow problems as there was no other way of raising the required amount.
“Council is broke because we rely on rates but we all know that residents
are struggling to pay their bills. Therefore, it’s likely that council will
slash salaries,” said the senior councillor.
Council has been failing to pay workers on time for the past three years,
prompting workers to go on strike last month. Council workers in Grades four
to 12 are yet to receive their March salaries.
Council reportedly collects close to US$4 million in revenue each month and
the week-long strike has already prejudiced it of about US$1 million.
The Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’ Union general secretary Moses Mahlangu
demanded that council pay workers their outstanding salaries and return the
luxury vehicles if it could not pay for them instead of cutting workers’
already low wages.
Service delivery in Bulawayo has been crumbling with burst water and sewer
pipes now a common feature in residential areas.
Council was also failing to pay a US$21 million Zesa bill, which resulted in
the power utility disconnecting electricity at the City Hall, Tower Block
and Revenue Hall two months ago, and the three prestigious buildings have
been without power ever since.
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo (pictured) declined to comment saying he was busy
Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:30
THE Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) has ruled that the recently
announced general mining regulations of 2012 are unconstitutional.
The department of mines increased new application fees, special licence
fees, registration fees and ground rental fees to between US$5 000 and
The PLC resolved to issue an adverse report on the statutory instrument at
its meeting on March 16 2012 saying, among other things, the application
fees were pegged too high and they were non-refundable even if an
“Generally, the fees imposed by the statutory instrument are very hefty,”
the PLC’s report says.
“They impose a heavy financial burden on citizens and non-citizens alike who
opt to invest in the mining sector.
“Legal instruments that impose hefty financial burdens are more appropriate
for legislative enactment to the extent that this is the only way that
ordinary citizens would be able to have input into the process through their
The committee also raised concerns that the statutory instrument is ultra
vires the enabling Act, Mines and Minerals Act.
“The statutory instrument purports to have been enacted through the minister’s
regulations –– making powers in the Mines and Minerals Act, that is, section
403. The said section does not give any competence to the minister to make
regulations prescribing application fees,” reads the adverse report.
The PLC chairperson Shepherd Mushonga said it would be illegal to charge the
“These fees are a legal nullity,” said Mushonga. “The ministry cannot
continue to levy these fees in the face of our adverse report.”
However, Mines minister Obert Mpofu maintains that the regulations would
stand since the PLC’s report is just an opinion.
“I am empowered by the Act to make the decision,” said Mpofu. “People can
form their opinions but the minister derives his powers from the Act and
would make decisions in line with his powers.”
Mpofu told parliament on Monday that his ministry had so far receipted US$10
million since the regulations were gazetted since serious miners are the
only ones applying.
He also said the new fees were meant to deter investors who applied for
licences for speculative purposes.
The Chamber of Mines last week complained that the new fees were a hindrance
and were negatively affecting investment in the industry.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:47
MINING has always played an important role in shaping Zimbabwe’s
pre-colonial and modern economic history and politics.
Gold trade with Arabs, which dates as far back as the 11th century, made
British explorers think they had stumbled on King Solomon’s mines when they
first saw Great Zimbabwe in 1870.
Years later, King Lobengula was duped into signing the Rudd Concession
ceding all mining rights to Cecil John Rhodes.
The discovery of copper in Zambia led to the development of the Rhodesian
Railways connecting gold-rich South Africa to Zambia and the Congo between
1904 and 1909.
Still in keeping with Rhodes’ Cape to Cairo dream of a colonial super state,
50 years later, Kariba Dam was primarily built to supply hydroelectric power
to copper mines in Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo.
Even though Zimbabwe was not as “mineral rich” as her regional counterparts,
chrome, iron ore and gold helped sustain the colonial economy when Ian Smith’s
regime faced sanctions for its unilateral declaration of independence in
Today, Zimbabwe’s mines have more than 60 minerals, and the recent
discoveries of new deposits of platinum and diamonds as well as economic
recovery, has placed mining as the top revenue earning sector.
At last week’s Chamber of Mines annual general meeting in Victoria Falls,
the chamber’s president, Winston Chitando, said mining now contributed 13%
of GDP and 50% of exports.
Currently, mining is Zimbabwe’s single fastest growing sector and attracts
more than half of the country’s foreign direct investment. If growth trends
continue, analysts expect the sector to grow by 15 to 20% in the coming
years with revenues of up to US$5 billion a year by 2030.
Despite the troubles which faced foreign mining firms during Zimbabwe’s
crisis years after 2000, new local and foreign investors, mainly from South
Africa, the United Kingdom and later China, marked a new era in Zimbabwean
mining in which the government played a leading role.
The discovery of vast platinum reserves resulted in government brokering
two of the biggest mining deals in Zimbabwe’s history. For US$225 million,
South Africa’s Impala Platinum acquired Zimplats, while Anglo Platinum
invested US$300 million in Unki Mine.
Diamond exploration also attracted a US$61 million investment from Rio Tinto
into Murowa Diamonds in Mazvihwa, south central Zimbabwe, about 40
kilometres from the asbestos mining town of Zvishavane in the Midlands
Province, but these new capital injections did not automatically translate
into growth for the struggling mining industry.
Professor Richard Saunders of the University of York in Toronto, Canada,
noted that “mining restructuring by means of investment focused mainly on
mergers and acquisitions that involved the transfer of asset ownership
without an accompanying renewal and boosting of production”.
Apart from developments in platinum projects, mining productivity was low,
especially from the traditionally strong producers such as asbestos, coal,
gold and nickel.
Although Zimbabwe had been among the top gold producers in Africa,
productivity was hit hard by the economic meltdown.
Between 1999 and 2008, mining contribution to the GDP was as low as 4%. In
2000 to 2001, more than 10 gold mines shut down or were struggling and by
2007, gold output had fallen to “it’s lowest levels in more than a century”,
according to University of Zimbabwe economics professor, Tony Hawkins.
Hawkins said the Reserve Bank’s failure to pay gold producers for sales
worsened the slump as even “the country’s largest producer, Metallon Gold,
responsible for some 60% of annual output, was at a standstill in January
2009 because it was owed some US$20 million by the RBZ”.
On the bright side, the combined effects of introducing the multi-currency
in 2009, increased Asian investment in Africa due to a higher demand for
mineral and energy resources, and thus helped revive a dying sector and
fuelled economic recovery.
Since then mining export revenues have grown in leaps and bounds from US$600
million in 2009 to US$1,3 billion in 2010.
However, Hawkins believes continued gains in revenue are critically
dependent on global market forces and internal political stability as well
as government policy.
The majority of mining companies have submitted indigenisation
implementation plans, but submissions are still outstanding from Metallon
and Duration Gold and the Chamber of Mines’ proposal on how to resolve the
empowerment issue was rejected.
Chitando said one foreign-owned company had offered to transfer 26% of its
shares to indigenous Zimbabweans while 25% would form part of its corporate
social responsibility projects.
Commenting on the rejection, Chitando said: “They (government) said they
preferred to handle each mining company differently for them to comply with
the indigenisation requirements. As we speak, that exercise is being done.”
The company specific nature of indigenisation laws means each and every
company has to comply, rather than a conglomerate offering a blanket
indigenisation implementation plan.
The top-down approach of government in mining policy formulation has also
come under fire from Chitando.
“Lack of consensus on the contribution of the mining industry to the economy
is the prime reason for some policy interventions working to the detriment
of the industry,” said Chitando.
Further to the controversial indigenisation policy, the highly militarised
nature of mining, especially diamond mining in Marange, has drawn criticism
of the government by local and international human rights groups.
Next week’s first-ever visit by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Navi
Pillay, includes a trip to the Marange diamond fields. Private media and
rights groups expect Pillay to comment on human rights abuses there, but
government says it had invited Pillay on its own initiative and “had done
nothing wrong” in Marange.
In other more stable African countries, the true potential value of mining
remains to be seen because although the continent sits on a vast array of
mineral deposits, mining still remains an under-funded and underdeveloped
industry. Countries continue to export raw minerals and lose revenue due to
lack of beneficiation and value-addition.
For Zimbabwe, the numerous potential economic benefits of mineral
exploration emphasise the need for a more cautious indigenisation policy and
the development of sound macro-economic policies which safeguard the
interests of all stakeholders, including local communities, government and
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:16
SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi is set to
appear before a disciplinary hearing next week, facing numerous charges
which include, among other things, undermining the exchange’s board and the
Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SEC) and incompetence.
Munyukwi was suspended last week after SEC CEO Tafadzwa Chinamo sent a
letter on March 15 to the ZSE board highlighting how Munyukwi had undermined
the regulatory body’s authority and the ZSE Listing Committee.
According to the letter, SEC called for a meeting on March 13 between the
ZSE board, the Listing Committee and financial advisors regarding concerns
over the RioZim and Ariston circulars, which the regulatory body felt were
issued without proper adherence to exchange regulations and provisions.
Munyukwi’s cellphone went unanswered when businessdigest tried to seek his
Munyukwi is alleged to have cancelled the meeting without the consent of SEC
and the ZSE board, a development which created confusion since other
participants had already made other plans. SEC later revealed that the
meeting would proceed as scheduled.
“The ZSE CEO mischievously contacted all persons due to attend the meetings,
telling them the meetings had been cancelled as the ZSE would be engaging
SEC directly on the matters. The ZSE did not at any time contact SEC nor
acknowledge receipt of our letters,” reads part of the letter by SEC to the
In the letter, Chinamo further highlighted that Munyukwi was unreachable by
phone when they tried to establish why the meetings were cancelled and
advised attendees that the meetings would proceed as scheduled, adding SEC
would go ahead with its planned action with or without their presence.
“In the end, we met Ariston and RioZim, first the advisors, then in the
afternoon we met the advisors together with representatives of the
companies,” wrote Chinamo.
But it is understood that ZSE Listing Committee chair, Vimbai Nyemba could
not attend since she had made other commitments after the ZSE CEO had
informed her of the cancellations.
RioZim and Ariston both agreed on the recommendations from SEC with regards
to their irregular circulars and issued circulars to their shareholders
incorporating issues raised by SEC.
Chinamo said that Munyukwi only responded later with responses which did not
in any way address their concerns and as such the regulatory body regarded
as not warranting a response, but rather a mere acknowledgement.
Munyukwi, who is accused of undermining the board, is understood to have
granted permission for the two circulars of RioZim and Ariston to be
published without prior approval of the ZSE Listing Committee.
“Bear in mind that the ZSE Listing Committee did not meet, as they should,
to review and approve either corporate action. The ZSE did not issue the
Listing Committee members with the two circulars, even after they were
published. In the RioZim circular, the company writes that approval was
granted by the ZSE Listing Committee,” Chinamo said.
“It would appear the ZSE CEO considers himself the ultimate authority, with
no regard to structures that are supposed to guide him. This is a gross
violation of procedure, a disciplinary matter for the ZSE Board, which SEC
must insist action is taken.”
This comes after reports last year that stockbrokers were pushing for the
ouster of Munyukwi after passing a vote of no confidence in him in a meeting
where members sought to address issues affecting the viability of the
Munyukwi is believed to have fallen out of favour with member brokers since
the extra-ordinary meeting held in June last year, where he failed to
provide information to members regarding the ZSE audit, among other issues.
The fallout led to brokers calling for an EGM at the exchange ,which
Munyukwi blocked on grounds of it not being properly constituted. It is
understood that brokers forcibly made their way into the exchange building
and convened their meeting but Munyukwi did not attend.
Chinamo also indicated Munyukwi continued to hold such a vital post without
him satisfying minimum requirements for him to be the CEO of the ZSE.
“While on the CEO, his fit and proper documentation is still outstanding and
I am of the view that he can’t continue to hold such a vital post without
SEC having knowledge of his credentials. We will write to the ZSE chair
highlighting this issue and give him 5 days to comply, failure of which
would mean suspending him,” Chinamo said in his letter to the board.
Munyukwi will be allowed to appeal against his suspension and charges
levelled against him in the disciplinary hearing. Both Chinamo and the ZSE
chair, Eve Gadzikwa confirmed Munyukwi’s suspension but could not furnish
businessdigest with the charge sheet, saying the matter was subjudice.
It is believed that the charge sheet also includes issues with regards to
lack of detail in ZSE financial statements, questionable procurement
procedures and shambolic minutes of important meetings.
Munyukwi’s suspension followed the relieving of duties of Tony Barfoot as
the ZSE consultant three weeks ago. Barfoot is the former CEO of the ZSE.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:50
THE mining sector is likely to miss the projected 15,9% growth target this
year due to a plethora of challenges, chief among them erratic electricity
supplies and lack of financing for developmental projects.
According to a Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ) annual report, electricity
supply remained a major challenge facing mining entities while an
arrangement to provide reliable supplies to consumers who paid premium
tariffs paid dividends, but companies complained about the high tariff
“Some members could not access electricity on the scheme due to the absence
of a dedicated transmission infrastructure. With suppressed demand
surpassing supply by over 2 000MW, developmental efforts in the mining
industry is going to be seriously affected,” reads part of the CMZ’s report.
“New projects are unlikely to take off, and if they do, the extent of demand
management will be severe for those that are not able to participate in the
ring-fenced contracts with Zesa.”
The CMZ suggested that the immediate solution to the power problems was to
negotiate with regional electricity suppliers for incremental power
The chamber said that the increases in royalty rates for gold and platinum
from 4,5% and 5% to 7% and 10% respectively would heavily weigh down on the
mining sector's projected growth of 15,9%.
“Hardest hit is the gold sector whose majority of companies are still
struggling to increase their production capacities to viable levels,” read
the annual report.
But Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu, assured the mining firms during a CMZ
annual conference in Victoria Falls last week that his ministry would review
The CMZ said mining firms continued to face challenges in raising the
required capital to meet planned capacity developmental requirements, adding
that the tight liquidity conditions meant that local borrowing was limited
to short-term working capital requirements in the face of huge capital
requirements for developmental projects.
It is estimated that more than U$7 billion was required over the next five
years to finance developmental projects. But of the $2,881 billion loans
advanced in 2011, the mining industry accessed 6,4% while the bulk of the
loans went to the manufacturing sector (18,8%), agriculture (16,32%) and
The mines noted that it was difficult to access credit from international
banks after Zimbabwe deteriorated on competiveness, according to the
International Finance Corporation.
“The cost of production during the year rose on the back of labour costs,
electricity, imported consumables and cost of capital. Mining title fees,
royalties and development levies were also increased during the year.”
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:48
THE recently published consumer price index (CPI) statistics which saw the
annual rate of inflation marginally increasing to 4,03% for the month of
March have come under scrutiny from market players who fear the official
figures are not reflective of the real situation on ground.
The annual inflation rate stayed in check from the beginning of the year
where it remained unchanged at 4,3% for the month of January and February
and slowed down to 3,98% in March, a development that painted a rosy picture
in the economy.
But economists have raised doubts on the inflation numbers, arguing
conversion factors adopted by Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat)
in December 2008 when the base index was restated to 100 were historical and
were not based on current consumer expenditure patterns.
“We need to know what conversion factors Zimstat used to get the weightings
on the components of the CPI since when calculating the figures you need to
know how consumers have adjusted to changes in circumstances,” said an
economist with a financial institution.
Independent economists have always argued that the reported CPI figures are
not fully reflective of the real situation on ground. Yet the published
figures show that on a month-on-month comparison, the inflation rate
declined to 0,19% in April from 0,43% in March, indicating a slowdown in
price increases during the month.
“The weighting of the CPI model seems to be a bit off the mark and therefore
needs to be re-calibrated to reflect the exact spending habits on consumer
goods and services so that the inflation figures reflect the exact increases
in the appropriate consumer consumption baskets,” said Brains Muchemwa an
A consumer expenditure survey is usually carried out when the inflation
index is restated so that the weightings on the CPI components are adjusted
to give an accurate measure of the real changes in general price levels.
At the moment there are indications of a discrepancy on the weightings of
the CPI components which are not reflective of the major drivers of
inflation in the current economic scenario.
For instance CPI components like health with a weighting of 1,3%,
communication – 1% and education – 2,9% are surely underweight given the
huge demand for such services in the economy.
The telecommunications sector definitely has grown to be a major component
of CPI given that the tele-density ratio has increased to 68% in 2011 since
the advent of the mobile phones.
The education component is also underweight given that almost every
household pays school fees and the recent increases in school fees at the
beginning of the full term are significant and should be reflected in the
The furniture, household equipment and maintenance’sweighting of 15,1% seems
to be also out of line given that the demand of durable consumer goods is
currently low because of the low disposable incomes. Less people can afford
to buy furniture in this current economic scenario and placing a huge
weighting distorts the CPI statistics.
Muchemwa said: “A new survey on consumer expenditure habits needs to be
conducted so that the weighting of the CPI components gives a near correct
picture of consumer behavior. Such components as education (2,9%),
communication (1%)and household furniture and equipment (15,1%) seem to be
having inappropriate weighting.”
“But it is the results of the comprehensive survey that will be able to
assign the right weights,” cemented Muchemwa.
But government through the ministry of finance has indicated an intention to
conduct an expenditure survey but to date nothing has been concluded, a
development that will see inaccurate inflation figures being published.
There are also sections of the market who also feel the figures are being
tempered with by government to create a rosy picture of the economy to gain
political mileage and also to counter speculative tendencies which fuelled
inflation in the hyperinflation era.
Zimstat is a government run institution and statistical offices vary in
their technical sophistication and ability to resist political pressure.
Curbing inflation to single digits level is one of the top priorities for
the inclusive government and the influence of government in making sure the
figures remain within stated projections cannot be scuffed off.
In the February edition of The Economist in the article Don’tlie to me,
Argentina which sought to explain why Argentina’s figures were excluded from
their published table of statistics, concerns of government tempering with
the figures were raised.
The Economist reported that the Argentine government debased INDEC one of
Latin America’s best statistical offices so as to avoid bad headlines and
independent-minded staff were replaced by self-described supporters of
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
“In an extraordinary abuse of power by a democratic government, independent
economists have been forced to stop publishing their own estimates of
inflation by fines and threats of prosecution. Misreported prices have
cheated holders of inflation-linked bonds out of billions of dollars,” read
“From this week (12 February), we have decided to drop INDEC’s figures
entirely. We are tired of being an unwilling party to what appears to be a
deliberate attempt to deceive voters and swindle investors,” cemented The
Finance minister Tendai Biti indicated that inflation is projected to end
the year at around 4% but there are a number of factors which can turnaround
the estimates with inflation ending heading northwards.
Firming crude oil prices have resulted in prices of fuel going up by 50%
since beginning of 2010 and this has a cascading effect to all components of
the CPI since transportation is a common factor.
Other factors include possible civil servants wage increases which can
stimulate artficail demand and imposition of varied duties on imported goods
is usually countered by general price increases by retailers.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:41
THE Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa has started buying
land to build new churches as the property wrangle with ex-communicated
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga continues, reports the Standard.
However, Kunonga threatened to take over the newly-built churches saying he
does not care if they use “his” name.
“Assist them by telling them that they should not build in the name of the
Harare diocese and “Anglicans” because they would have built for me as the
law gave me custody of the church and all its properties,” he said.
“Impress upon them that they should change the name so they do not get
disadvantaged. They can come up with a new name and re-register or else
their efforts will amount to nothing but a waste of time because the law is
clear that they have no church,” asserts Kunonga.
Strangely, instead of coming to the aid of the Anglican Church, church
leaders were busy obsessing over the impending visit of Nigerian prophet TB
They argued that prophet TB Joshua’s teachings were of no help to the
country as they were “judgmental, partisan and unorthodox”, the Herald
Ironically Zanu PF and MDC-T officials frequent TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church
of All Nations in Nigeria with Manicaland governor Christopher Mushowe being
the latest attendee.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe president and spokesperson Goodwill Shana
said God should not be used for partisan purposes.
“We think it is important to get (into the country) people who can help the
country to move forward, not people who are judgmental,” Shana said.
“People have a right to believe what they want, but it is difficult to
believe a Word of God that comes on a partisan basis,” he said.
And are we supposed to take church leaders seriously who look the other way
when abuse is meted out to one of their own while they mendaciously accuse
TB Joshua of being partisan.
Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe leader Bishop Trevor Manhanga said TB
Joshua should first pray for the “burning” Nigeria before talking of
Talk about the pot calling the pot black! A bit of advice to our church
leaders:“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do
not notice the log that is in your own?”
Manhanga has over the years been drifting into the Zanu PF camp which is why
he doesn’t enjoy the public confidence he used to.
Speaking of clueless leaders, MDC-T Senator for Chikomo, Morgan Femai has
rightly received flak for saying that women should always have bald heads,
shun bathing and dress shabbily to curb the spread of HIV.
He also said HIV was spreading at an alarming rate as men find it difficult
to resist attractive and well-dressed women.
As if that was not daft enough, Femai went on: “Women have got more moisture
in their organs as compared to men so there is need to research on how to
deal with that moisture because it is conducive for bacteria breeding. There
should be a way to suck out that moisture.”
His utterances were not only an embarrassment to his party but to the whole
nation as the international media picked it up saying they represented
Another MDC-T Senator, Sithembile Mlotshwa, also said people should have sex
once a month and men should be injected with drugs that reduce their libido.
She also called for prisoners to be given sex toys to quench their sexual
Not to be outdone, MP for Bulawayo East Thabitha Khumalo has said women must
keep their husbands’ mistresses on a tight rein in order to “safeguard their
Where does the MDC-T get these legislators? Surely they are more pertinent
issues to tackle. No wonder they call it “the party of Sexellence”!
We are always amused by Zanu PF youth secretary Absolom Sikhosana who only
seems to surface during President Mugabe’s birthdays. The 60-year old
“youth” can always be relied on to take sycophancy to new heights each
Last week he came out of his shell to address a press conference on the
hosting of the World Federation of Democratic Youth general assembly at the
end of the month.
Claiming to know what youths want, Sikhosana said as the youths they were
fighting against imperialism.
“We are struggling against imperialism, we want to find the future,”
Flanked by Zanu PF youth secretary for security, John Mushayi, and for
resettlement, Anastancia Ndhlovu, Sikhosana seemed undeterred that he was
the odd one out among much younger colleagues. Like his handler President
Mugabe, Sikhosana has joined the handiende bandwagon despite calls within
Zanu PF for him to step down.
We ran a story in January in which Zanu PF national and provincial youth
leaders called for Sikhosana to resign and pave way for young blood.
However, Sikhosana then told the Independent that he would not step down
saying only Mugabe, who appointed him, can remove him.
He said his job was to lead and give the youth wing “direction”.
“That is gross indiscipline by the youth if they said that and these are the
kind of things they should desist from,” he said.
“We are talking about issues that affect the welfare of the youths, not
tissues,” Sikhosana said in a rather lame attempt at a joke.
We are sure that imperialism is not the major concern for the unemployed
youths roaming the streets. The only “direction” Cde Sikhosana is giving the
Zanu PF youth league is towards the dust-bin of history!
Listening to the president’s speech at the funeral of Edson Ncube earlier
this month, it was fascinating to hear him provide a stirring rendition of
Rule Britannia, the British patriotic anthem. His audience, needless to say,
looked bemused by this ode to empire which only a handful would have known.
Mugabe used the song to illustrate the depredations of colonialism. Children
were brought up in his era to learn the words, he explained, remarking that
Zimbabweans, in the words of the song’s exhortation, “never shall be slaves”.
It was an interesting intervention given the hysteria in his party
surrounding the constitutional debate and demonstrated that the president
still has his faculties about him.
In this context we were surprised by EU ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia’s
remarks in Brussels that there had been “significant progress” and positive
direction in the implementation of the GPA. As our colleagues at NewsDay
pointed out, Dell”Ariccia’s view of the state of the GPA is not only
astounding but a major misrepresentation of the reality on the ground.
“We don’t see a positive direction but a dangerous path where the military
establishment in this country has erected barriers by openly meddling in
politics and making threatening noises against dissent,” NewsDay commented
“The political roadmap as agreed under Sadc mediation has become a quagmire
ruled by hawks in Zanu PF who are bent on disbanding the constitution-making
progress and having elections on President Mugabe’s terms,” the paper said.
It pointed to the chaos in the voters’ roll and threats against the media. A
suborned police force has disrupted freedom of assembly, it remarked.
It appears, we might add, to be blind to Webster Shamu’s threats on World
Press Freedom Day and Major-General Martin Chedondo’s intervention in
electioneering. The MDC-T, whose presence in Brussels no doubt justified
Lady Catherine Ashton’s positive spin on events, has done little or nothing
to support press freedom. And what can be said about the broadcasting sector
in the same deadening grip of the former ruling party.
The EU needs to wake up to the plight of the people of Zimbabwe and stop
sending misleading and emollient messages. And so long as the state media
remains captive to Zanu PF, it is essential that the externally-based media
perform a national duty in informing the listening public of what is
actually happening inside Zimbabwe.
A useful bulletin from Eddie Cross this week. He recently flew over Middle
Save estates in the Lowveld and spoke of the utter desolation there.
“Just to confirm that these people (Zanu PF) live in Never Never land an
80-year-old woman in the leadership of Zanu PF took over a large functioning
conservancy last week forcing the owners and their staff out of their homes
and depriving them of a lifetime’s investment. She has already taken over
eight other farms, all of which are now in varying degrees of degradation.
“I flew over Middle Save estates last week and looked down and saw that,
apart from the old Arda farms being leased by a private company, all the
farms occupied by Zanu PF hangers on were derelict and empty –– not ever a
single maize crop –– nothing.
“These were at one stage some of the most productive farm properties in the
country. This year, after 12 years of land reform, we will import 80% of our
That is the sort of information the public are being deprived of by the
Zimpapers and ZBC grip on the public media.
There will be “no going back” on mining fees, Mines minister Obert Mpofu has
said. This comes despite calls from the mining industry for the fees to be
reduced. Mpofu believes lower fees will lead to speculative behaviour.
MPs on the other hand argued higher fees would frustrate indigenisation.
MPs urged government to be consistent in its declarations.
Guruve South MP Edward Chindori Chininga who heads the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Mining said when government took the land released by
mining companies the intention was to give the claims to indigenous
“Our understanding now is that the land has been given to a foreigner
again,” Chindori Chininga said.
Mpofu should understand there is nothing admirable about “no going back”. If
anything it reflects a stubborn lack of flexibility that actually prevents
effective policy formulation. It has of course mostly been used in regard to
land distribution where “no going back” has become the mantra of those who
have taken more land than they are entitled to. In particular it has become
a means of preventing the audit mandated by the GPA.
Another “pressure” group, Mushandi Munhu Workers’ Federation (MMWF), seems
to have joined the trade union fray. This was after another Zanu PF-aligned
union, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), failed to make an
impact after it split into three factions.
According to the Herald, May Day celebrations were a damp squib as
infighting within unions resulted in low attendances. Less than 1 000 people
turned up at Gwanzura Stadium where the George Nkiwane-led Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions faction held its commemorations while about 400 people
attended the official Lovemore Matombo-led ZCTU faction’s celebrations.
Despite being beefed up by the MMWF, ZFTU’s commemorations were the most
thinly attended attracting less than 100 people.
A visit to post offices in Avondale and Mabelreign on Tuesday revealed no
new computerised licence discs which we were told on Thursday, May 3, would
be introduced the following Saturday. This was a world-class system, the
Herald announced in an interview with the Zinara head of communication and
technology, Gift Kanotangudza. The new disc, he said, would be bar-coded and
encrypted with security features.
Well, you have to actually produce the item before those features are of any
use. And staff in the two post offices had “no idea” when the new forms
would be available.
This gives weight to Muckraker’s theory that a group of people sit down
every Monday to see what inconvenience they can cause the public. You will
recall the number plates exercise. And we suspect there is money to be made
somewhere down the line.
Let’s just scrap the whole project and stop Zinara making a nuisance of
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:35
ALTHOUGH the economy grew by 9,7%, as measured by Gross Domestic Product
(GDP), in the first quarter of 2012 it was growth from an exceptionally low
base. It follows a 15-year period of marked economic decline. Substantive
recovery of the economy is thus critically needed if the prevailing high
unemployment is to be reversed. A key element for achieving economic
recovery is the re-drawing of our fiscal policies. The forthcoming mid-year
Budget review by Finance minister Tendai Biti is such an opportunity.
Amongst the numerous changes which need to be effected are:
l The reform of income tax rates and tax bands applicable to individuals.
It is inhumane for government to continue to impose taxes on incomes which
are below the poverty datum line (PDL). Those who earn less than the PDL
are suffering immensely and barely able to pay for the most basic needs.
Currently, the PDL for a family of six is approximately US$550 per month.
Assuming that in most such families there are two income-earners and more
often than not one being in the informal sector income tax should only
become payable on incomes in excess of US$330 per month. Whereas the current
income tax threshold is pegged at $250. As a result government is worsening
the plight of many Zimbabweans.
Government argues that the fiscus is, to all intents and purposes, bankrupt,
and that revenue has to come from somewhere. This is also accentuated by the
need to stem fiscal deficits with expenditure being contained to actual
revenues hence the need to maintain the prevailing tax threshold, tax bands,
and rates. However, this approach is an abdication of government’s
obligation to ensure the economic wellbeing of the populace.
Moreover, constructive revision of the taxes payable would result in
substantial compensatory tax revenues. Enhancement of individuals’ net
after-tax income accords the individuals greater spending power. As well,
much of the additional spending will yield value added tax and other
indirect taxes such as customs duties, whilst also increasing the taxable
incomes of the enterprises benefitting from greater trade volumes as a
result of greater consumer spending.
Added to this enterprises will also benefit from the growth in trade volumes
thereby realising greater taxable profits and employ more people; who will
also become direct and indirect taxpayers.
Government can also foster the creation of jobs within the economy by
according employers tax incentives commensurate with the number of people
employed. The cost of those incentives would then be funded by the tax
revenues received from those so employed.
Another avenue to advance economic recovery is to motivate new investment
into the economy. For instance government can accord new ventures a
transitional period in which they are exempted from paying income tax.
Examples of this approach are the export processing zones instituted by
government as well as the initiatives made by South Africa, Botswana, Israel
and other countries which gave tax relief and incentives to new investments.
The approach the government has taken in pursuing indigenisation and
economic empowerment also needs to be reviewed.
The transfer of shareholding from non-indigenous shareholders to those who
are indigenous should be exempted from capital gains tax. In addition, any
dividends payed by enterprises to community share trusts, employee share
trusts and other indigenous new shareholders should be exempted from
Withholding Tax. This would help the recipients of the shares to expedite
Another avenue for the Finance ministry is to stimulate exports. A growth
in exports would not only diminish Zimbabwe’s negative balance between
inflows and outflows of money, but would contribute materially to achieving
increases in volumes of production. The resultant economies of scale would
enable local market price stability, thereby reducing inflation. The
increased volumes would create employment and the concomitant economic
benefits. A reintroduction of export incentives would be both economically
and fiscally beneficial.
In a bid to protect local industry from imports government imposed various
duties on many commodities. However, the measures have proved to be grossly
ineffective and, to some extent, prejudicial to Zimbabweans. The export
subsidies and incentives Far East countries give their enterprises nullify
the duties imposed by government.
The Finance ministry should address this anomaly by further modifying the
customs duty regime. However, they should recognise that some of the basic
commodities are not sufficiently produced locally to meet consumer needs and
demand. Such commodities should not be subjected to customs duties since
consumers would be prejudiced.
Government should expedite the eradication of the frequent and pronounced
delays in the clearance of goods at border posts. On too many occasions
officials seize and impound goods on spurious grounds. This is coupled by
the lengthy delays in resolving such issues.
Such situations have a devastating impact on importers in general and
manufacturers and traders in particular. The losses sustained ultimately
impair the taxable incomes of the affected businesses, thereby minimising
the minister’s tax revenues.
These are but a few of the many measures which Biti needs speedily to
address, as a constructive step towards accelerating Zimbabwe’s economic
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:32
WHILE Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team with the European Union (EU) was upbeat
about the possibility of the bloc lifting sanctions after its trip to
Brussels last week, analysts have warned that without meaningful reforms on
the ground it would still be difficult to ensure the removal of the
Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), Justice and
Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) and Regional Integration
and International Co-operation minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga
(MDC) led the re-engagement team in talks with the EU in the Belgian
Talks have been ongoing since 2009 as part of broad efforts to implement the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) to restore political and economic stability
before free and fair elections are held.
Negotiations are going on within the framework and context of the EU-Africa
Cotonou Agreement, Article 96, which says “political dialogue concerning
respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall be
conducted within the parameters of internationally recognised standards and
“The parties may agree on joint agendas and priorities. Benchmarks are
mechanisms for reaching targets through the setting of intermediate
objectives and timeframes for compliance,” it reads.
The EU slapped President Robert Mugabe and his top allies and associated
companies who either owned, controlled or were linked to Zanu PF with the
measures in 2002, citing rampant political violence and gross human rights
violations which it said hindered the holding of free and fair elections in
The targeted sanctions specifically followed the expulsion of EU election
observer Pierre Schori, a Swedish UN diplomat whom the group had designated
head of its proposed 150-strong team for the disputed March 2002
In defiance of Zimbabwe’s demands that the EU’s team be part of that of the
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, the European bloc dispatched
Schori to Harare but government refused to accredit him, saying he could
only stay as a “tourist”.
Zimbabwe also banned election observers from Germany, Finland, Britain,
Denmark and the Netherlands, citing their alleged bias against the
government, and further specified the joint ACP-EU team should be led by an
Then Foreign Affairs minister, Stan Mudenge, said the government regarded
the Swedish diplomat as a tourist visiting the country, and ruled out
accreditation of the EU separate from the specified joint ACP-EU team.
Prior to that, the EU and Harare had been fighting over chaotic land
seizures, political repression and human rights abuses ahead of the
election. Instead of further dialogue, Zimbabwe formally declared a dispute
between the two sides under Article 98 of the ACP-EU partnership agreement,
allowing it to seek independent arbitration.
The EU retaliated with targeted sanctions.
However, analysts say unless Zimbabwe fully implements the GPA, which
tackles issues in EU-Africa relations, the Cotonou Agreement, sanctions
would remain. Political analyst Charles Mangongera said implementation of
the GPA was crucial to the removal of sanctions.
“The key to Zimbabwe in normalising its relations lies in government
tackling all outstanding issues in the GPA. That should be the basis of
re-engagement with the EU,” he said.
“The critical thing which needs to be assessed right now is whether the GPA
has delivered democracy or not in Zimbabwe, otherwise there hasn’t been any
change in political attitudes and no fundamental changes in behaviour of
those under the targeted restrictions to warrant their removal.”
Another analyst, Alexander Rusero, a Harare Polytechnic lecturer in Mass
Communication, said Mugabe needed two things from the inclusive government,
namely legitimacy of his presidency after the disputed June presidential
election run-off and removal of sanctions.
The two MDC formations and Zanu PF agreed to a raft of reforms, including
amending electoral and media laws and drafting a new constitution, to pave
way for free and fair polls.
However, work on the new charter has run in fits and starts with Zanu PF
being accused of trying to frustrate the process to force an early election
under the Lancaster House constitution.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused Zanu PF of stalling the reform
process, but maintains he would not quit and continues to insist on reforms.
However, Rusero believes even if there were no meaningful reforms in
Zimbabwe, the restrictive measures should be lifted given that Zimbabwe now
has an inclusive government.
“Though the EU is clear that Mugabe’s administration has to deliver on the
reforms for it to consider lifting the restrictions, the measures would not
achieve anything because the political dynamics have changed since the
formation of GNU,” he said. “The EU has to note that it is no longer about
Zanu PF but a government of national unity and this also means holding free
and fair polls.”
Although Zanu PF has hailed the re-engagement process, the EU has already
ruled out lifting the measures, saying only free and fair elections could
change the situation.
“The punitive measures were taken after taking into consideration the
electoral situation and serious human rights abuses committed in 2002,” said
the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell’Ariccia.
“The EU has been very clear that these measures will be lifted when credible
elections, where people can express their wishes freely, as well as results
which are respected by stakeholders, have taken place,” he said.
However, the EU diplomat said while Europe noted the progress in Zimbabwe
since the formation of the coalition government in 2009, more needs to
Dell’Ariccia also said only the elimination of the causes that led the EU to
impose the sanctions would lead to the full removal of these measures.
Political commentator Ernest Mudzengi argues Zanu PF lacks the political
will to implement reforms to facilitate free and fair elections. “Zanu PF is
by no means doing better in relation to political reforms and neither is it
doing any better in terms of its commitment to implementing reforms,” said
“This push by Zimbabwe shows the sanctions are indeed biting the individuals
on whom they have been imposed.”
International Crisis Group’s Trevor Maisiri stated that Zanu PF has been
manipulating the restrictions issue politically and using it for propaganda
purposes as part of its efforts to frustrate reforms and mobilise against
perceived internal and external enemies.
“Zanu PF argues that reform is contingent on the removal of sanctions and
accuses the MDC-T of reneging on GPA commitments to facilitate this,”
Maisiri said. “It is true that there are no meaningful reforms on the ground
that can persuade the EU to revise the restrictions but lifting these
measures can also be a measure to build confidence or motivate political
parties to move forward, although the lifting has to be progressive.”
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku concurred,
saying he believes the EU has to act so as not to continue giving Mugabe a
pretext to undermine or block reforms.
“Nothing on the ground has really changed politically but the EU should
remove the restrictions so that it does not continue to give Mugabe a
voice,” said Madhuku. “The GNU warrants the removal of these measures as
However, deputy Justice and Legal Affairs minister and MDC-T senator Obert
Gutu says the inclusive government should adopt reforms to warrant the
lifting of restrictions.
“There should be reciprocity, meaning the GNU should proceed to fully
implement the outstanding issues of the GPA, which include media reforms and
repealing of the offending provisions of Posa and Aippa, amongst other
issues. Then and only then, should these restrictive measures be lifted.”
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:27
ON April 29 2012, I participated in a panel discussion with Simon Bright,
director of the film Robert Mugabe ... What Happened?, and McDonald
Lewanika, the director of Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CCZ). This followed
the showing of Bright’s latest film (Robert Mugabe ... What Happened?) in
the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford.
The event was sold out. Extra chairs had to be wheeled in to accommodate a
steady flow of eager viewers. Another reminder of how the story of Mugabe
the man continues to captivate the British public.
“Were this a documentary about any other African leader or the neglected
crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Madagascar, would the
public interest have been this similar?” I wondered to myself. I think not.
Mugabe is the British media’s bogeyman for everything that is wrong with
Africa and one can never escape the naked reality that the fallout from Zanu
PF’s violent eviction of white farmers in Zimbabwe from 2000 onwards, many
of whom were British descendants, continues to attract a disproportionate
amount of international focus compared to other more severe crises in the
DRC and Madagascar.
The film relies on interviews with the late Edgar Tekere, Geoff Nyarota,
Simba Makoni, Lovemore Madhuku, John Makumbe, Wilfred Mhanda, Trevor Ncube,
Elinor Sisulu, Dennis Norman and Lovemore Matombo to paint what Bright has
billed as “a definitive account” of Mugabe’s life.
The film depicts Mugabe’s role in Zimbabwe’s successful liberation and
development, along with his Machiavellian retention of power, and suggests
that his leadership showed great promise in its infancy, but deteriorated
over time. We are told, at the end, that Mugabe’s legacy is one of genocide.
To be fair, when juxtaposed against the Mugabe and the White African
documentary, which managed to scoop a British Independent Film Award (2009),
was nominated for a Bafta (2010) and shortlisted for an Oscar award (2010),
Robert Mugabe ... What Happened? is a far more bearable watch. It also
showcases never-before-seen archival footage and the makers are to be
commended for conducting several original interviews. But that is where it
The film has many problems.
The vast majority of the aforementioned commentators on Mugabe have observed
him from a distance. They have no intimate knowledge of the man.
Consequently, the likes of Sisulu, Makumbe and Madhuku bring little by way
of substance towards understanding Mugabe. Tekere and Norman once worked
closely with Mugabe, but they were not sufficiently probed on meaningful
matters. For instance, Norman’s only real contribution is the retelling of
how, after the first cabinet meeting of the independent Zimbabwe government,
Mugabe instructed cabinet members who were not dressed in suits to dress
appropriately. Members of cabinet always wore suits after that first
encounter, Norman tells us. “And so what?” I exclaimed to myself during the
The core problem with the film, however, is that the question it poses —
what happened to Mugabe’s promise? — can be asked of almost all the figures
it relies on for answers. Despite being a long-time civil society activist
for democratic constitutionalism, Madhuku unilaterally amended the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) constitution in 2011 in order to retain
leadership. Lovemore Matombo and George Nkiwane are currently locked in a
power struggle over control of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
The handiende or angihambi from power syndrome is not just about Mugabe and
Zanu PF evidently.
Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer, has long since abandoned
academic responsibility as he made clear to me in 2005: “There is no such
thing as intellectual neutrality in Zimbabwe. You are either for the
establishment or against it. I am not a saint. I definitely refuse to be a
saint. John Makumbe is MDC. So am I as bad as (Tafataona) Mahoso?
And for all Simba Makoni’s criticisms of Mugabe’s leadership in the film, it
goes without saying that he was a member of Zanu PF from 1980 to 2008.
Makoni bears collective responsibility for bad policies in those years.
These examples lead me to the essence of my argument, which is that in
asking what happened to Mugabe, we are asking the wrong question. What we
ought to ask is what happened to Zimbabwe’s political culture? What is it
about our political culture and values that debases leadership? Zimbabwe’s
problems are much bigger than Mugabe. By focusing on him, we miss the crux
of the matter.
The words of the late Masipula Sithole in 2000 are worth recalling here:
“The fundamental crisis our country is facing today is a crisis of political
values. Should we manage to fix the economy without revisiting the values
crisis, we are building on quick sand.”
I want to close by raising three last points. First, it is bad film-making
for Bright to demonise Mugabe in the way that he does. Mugabe’s statement
that “if redistributing land from whites to blacks makes him a Hitler in
Western eyes, then let it be” is deliberately used out of context in the
film in order to portray Mugabe as Hitler’s disciple. I challenged Bright on
this point during the post-screening panel discussion. He was guilty as
charged and could not reply.
Second, we are told at the end of the film that Mugabe’s legacy is one of
genocide. And yet there has never been genocide in Zimbabwe. Gukurahundi,
Murambatsvina and the March to June 2008 violence all violated human rights,
but to label them genocide is to banalise the term into a validation of
every kind of victimhood.
Lastly, to further move beyond Mugabe, we need to understand the motives and
calculations of the various men who built Mugabe up. Why did Rex Nhongo
(Solomon Mujuru) ditch Zipa comrades such as Mhanda in favour of actively
supporting Mugabe’s rise to power in 1976? What did Mugabe’s colleagues in
detention in Sikhombela — such as Tekere and Enos Nkala — see in him that
they did not see in themselves to the degree that they worked so closely
with Mugabe and backed him to the hilt?
Understanding these men, their relationships with Mugabe and the structures
out of which they arose will tell us much more about Mugabe’s leadership,
where Zimbabwe has come from and where it is headed.
Blessing-Miles Tendi is a lecturer in African History and Politics at the
University of Oxford and author of Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe:
Politics, Intellectuals and the Media.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:23
BLESSING-MILES Tendi begins his review of my film Robert Mugabe … What
Happened? by criticising the choice of Mugabe as an African villain when
there are worse African villains to be found. Of course, he is right, but I
chose the subject that interests me.
There are already films on some who led Africa badly (Mobutu Sese Seko,
Leopold II), but Mugabe is a fascinating subject who, as a fellow
Zimbabwean, means something to me. I agree with Tendi that there is a
special market for the film in Britain because of its former colonisation of
Rhodesia. I even agree with his assertion that Britain has made Mugabe a
“bogeyman for everything that is wrong with Africa”.
However, to reduce this to misplaced sympathy for white farmers rather than
to an interest in what has actually happened in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s
leadership is to misjudge the complexity of both Britain and Zimbabwe.
Despite sell-out screenings around Britain, there is no British money in
this production, whereas French, German and South African funds have been
forthcoming. A tour of German cinemas has been requested and cinemas showing
the film have sold out in Amsterdam, Brussels, Cape Town and Johannesburg
and currently New York. It seems to be selling out wherever it goes.
In fact, the film spends very little time lamenting the fate of white
farmers and a great deal more describing the fate of black opposition voters
and the mechanisms of government. If Tendi’s opinion that the film fills
cinemas with British people whose sympathies lie with dispossessed white
farmers is correct (this has never actually been reflected by any of my
audiences) — this is one of the audiences whom I want to enlighten about the
I took an early decision that this would be a film about what had happened
under Mugabe’s leadership rather than a psychological portrait of the man —
which could never have been more than guesswork.
Interviewees who had experienced Mugabe’s reign were asked about this
history and answered in different ways. Tendi finds fault with many of them.
Some, like Elinor Sisulu, John Makumbe and Lovemore Madhuku, he claims, are
too distant from Mugabe to have a useful view. Is closeness a vital
qualification to be allowed to speak?
These three have been victims of Mugabe’s repressive machinery and have
observed him closely. Add to these other names Tendi omits from his list:
Geoff Nyarota whose Daily News publication was bombed; Paul Themba Nyathi, a
Zapu central committee member and founder member of the MDC; and more
particularly the deliberately nameless Ndebele victims of Gukurahundi
violence, and later the female victims of Zanu PF youth violence. Distant or
not, they have a right to speak about their experiences.
Where I’ve interviewed those whom Tendi feels were sufficiently close, he
accuses me of inadequate probing. He rubbishes Dennis Norman’s anecdote
about Mugabe’s demand for cabinet ministers to wear appropriate clothing. I
included this anecdote because it is, in fact, very telling: Mugabe had high
ideals, he placed a value on authoritarian looks that served him well and he
wanted to be taken seriously by the Western world — unlike, for example, the
military uniforms of other African leaders.
Tendi also chooses to overlook Norman’s comments on the success of Zimbabwe’s
first decade and in particular on the success of the first resettlement
programme. Where Tendi claims that despite his closeness to Mugabe, Edgar
Tekere adds nothing of substance, for most viewers he perfectly illustrates
the arc of the film, from his idolisation of Mugabe when he first knew him
in the 1960s to his later disillusionment with Mugabe’s one-party state and
corruption 20 odd years later.
Tendi also ignores the testimony of the man who perhaps was closest of all
to Mugabe — Lawrence Vambe, a family relative who attended the same school
as Mugabe, who knew him all his life and worked for him throughout the
Lastly, he completely fails to notice Mike Auret’s trenchant comments about
Mugabe’s early success followed by precise details of the genocide in
Matabeleland and his cutting comments on the Congo expedition, some of the
most telling in the whole film.
This is a film about Mugabe, but instead of looking at the charges the film
makes about his leadership, Tendi ducks them by rubbishing the witnesses.
Tendi’s list of the bad points about certain of the witnesses does not
necessarily make them unreliable, and I would answer “two wrongs do not make
In any case, there are large sections of the film where Mugabe speaks for
himself — an audience does not have to rely solely on witnesses. Tendi
seizes on only one of these — where a quote is used out of context. He is
right, as I agreed at the panel, but had the sound quality permitted me to
use the quote in its entirety, it would have been even more damning.
Tendi relates the actual quote thus: “If redistributing land from whites to
blacks makes him a Hitler in Western eyes, then let it be.” In fact, the
whole quote runs: “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only
one objective: Justice for his people, sovereignty for his people,
recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their
resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that
is what we stand for.”
Tendi contends that “in asking what happened to Mugabe, we are asking the
wrong question. What we ought to ask is what happened to Zimbabwe’s
political culture? … Zimbabwe’s problems are much bigger than Mugabe. By
focusing on him, we miss the crux of the matter”. It is precisely the
political culture led by Mugabe on which the film focuses that has caused
the problems Tendi does nothing to elucidate.
At the screening, Tendi referred vaguely to the mess of political culture in
a strange echo of Mugabe’s words in the film, where he says of political
violence “that’s how it is in Africa”, as if, like some neo-colonial
commentator, there is something ineluctable in the African air that drives
African leaders to political violence.
There is nothing mysterious about the process. Political violence worldwide
is ordered by politicians bent on staying in power: Slobodan Milosevic,
Hitler, the generals in Argentina. The film shows Mugabe directly
threatening and carrying out violence against his population, creating a
political culture where violence rules, yet Tendi disputes my use of the
word “genocide” by claiming that while Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and the
March to June 2008 violence all violated human rights, “to label them
genocide is to banalise the term into a validation of every kind of
Finally, he raises some questions about the late ‘Rex Nhongo’ (Solomon
Mujuru), Tekere and Enos Nkala, on the grounds that “understanding these
men, their relationships with Mugabe and the structures out of which they
arose, will tell us much more about Mugabe’s leadership, where Zimbabwe has
come from and where it is headed”. They are good questions and we wait for
Tendi’s theories on these points, and for someone to make a film about them.
Meanwhile, go and see the Robert Mugabe … What Happened? And judge for
Simon Bright has directed a number of films in and around his native
Zimbabwe, including the recent Robert Mugabe ... What Happened? He is also
the director of the Afrika Eye film festival in Bristol. E-mail: