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‘MDC-T to rationalise armed forces’

May 17, 2013 in Politics

THE MDC-T would cut down the number of defence forces and establish a
defence service commission (DSC) in a bid to ensure security sector reforms
if it comes to power.

Brian Chitemba/Elias Mambo

In its policy document seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, which will be
launched today in Harare by party leader and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, security sector reforms will top the agenda if the party wrests
power in elections later this year.

The MDC-T, however, has for long been clamouring for security sector
reforms, but faced stiff resistance from Zanu PF which enjoys the support of
the army, police and intelligence services.

Tsvangirai and army generals have also been engaged in a bitter war of words
with the securocrats vowing they will never allow the former trade unionist
to rule, while the premier equated such sentiments to a military coup.

But the MDC-T policy document says it will ensure army commanders will be
made professional by an Act of parliament which will provide for the
establishment of a permanent force, that will bar security personnel from
engaging in partisan politics.

“The MDC government will plan an overall reduction in staff to levels more
appropriate for a country with no significant threats.

Rationalisation will be handled with great sensitivity. The experience from
the demobilisation exercise undertaken in the early 1980s is that if former
fighters are not assisted in adapting to civilian life, they may be a burden
on society, may engage in crime and banditry and may also be used by
dictators for personal political comebacks after losing a popular vote,”
reads part of the policy blueprint.

The party says rationalisation and right-sizing will be implemented to
ensure the defence forces show a true representation of the Zimbabwean
population and fair labour practices.

The MDC-T noted that under the Zanu PF regime, the security services have
been used to perpetuate Mugabe’s 33-year rule through violence and

A number of army commanders, including Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander
Constantine Chiwenga, Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Major-General
Trust Mugoba and Major-General Martin Chedondo, have made political
statements which the MDC-T said sought to undermine free and fair elections.

The country is highly militarised as the defence forces has been drawn into
all spheres of life, the MDC-T said, hence the DSC will depoliticise the
army and state institutions so that they serve the interests of the nation.

“The MDC recognises that civil-military relations will only be stable if the
requisite is accompanied by the fulfilment of certain responsibilities
towards the defence forces and its members. The government will not misuse
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for partisan or repressive purposes,” it reads.
“The government will take account of the professional views of senior
officers in the process of policy formulation and decision-making on

The party also says its new government will come up with legislation which
emphasises the themes of an ethical code of conduct for intelligence

  Security sector re-alignment urgent: Mutsekwa

THE MDC-T defence and security secretary Giles Mutsekwa, who recently told
the Zimbabwe Independent his party was holding sensitive high-level talks
with the military, says the security services have been manipulated for
partisan political ends, hence an urgent need for security sector

Although he refused to divulge information his talks with the military
commanders during an interview this week with SW Radio Africa, Mutsekwa,
instead referring questions to his party’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora,
said security sector reforms were imperative for Zimbabwe’s political
transition to democracy.

“What we are saying is that for 33 years since Zimbabwe became independent,
the security sector in Zimbabwe has been very unfortunate in that it has had
a civilian government that has chosen to abuse our security services,” he

“Therefore, it is only paramount that because there is now a new political
dispensation and that there is now democracy emerging in Zimbabwe, our
security sector, which has been misemployed, and being misemployed, is
completely different from them being unprofessional.

They might have received professional training, but 33 years of
misemployment obviously takes away some of that professional training that
you had. So yes, there is an urgent necessity for re-alignment —
straightening their actions and thinking so that it dovetails with the new
political dispensation that pertains the country.”

Although some service chiefs, among them the commander of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri and top army commanders including Major-Generals Douglas
Nyikayaramba, Trust Mugoba and Martin Chedondo have declared their
allegiances to Zanu PF and publicly shown contempt for MDC-T leader, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mutsekwa said the generals had no power to stop
the security sector re-alignment.

He said the security sector re-alignment was agreed to in the Global
Political Agreement. He also noted his party would continue to engage Sadc
and the African Union, who are the GPA guarantors, until the security sector
is reformed.

Mutsekwa, however, said his party was willing to inherit the security sector
“lock, stock and barrel”, but with the condition that there must be a

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Sadc puts foot down over reforms

May 17, 2013 in Politics

SADC leaders are standing firm and insisting on the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) and its attendant poll roadmap as President Robert Mugabe
and Zanu PF get increasingly desperate to railroad the country to general
elections when the tenure of the coalition government expires next month.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

While Mugabe and his party have instructed their negotiator in GPA talks,
Patrick Chinamasa, to come up with a “roadmap” to elections ahead of the
June 29 end of the inclusive government, Sadc leaders want negotiators to
revisit the original roadmap to complete it before free and fair elections.

Sadc facilitator to Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, backed by
most of his regional colleagues, has remained steadfast in his demands that
the GPA roadmap and reforms, including restraining security service chiefs
from dabbling in politics, must be implemented in full.

Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, who is part of the
facilitation team that also includes Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula,
yesterday said the regional bloc is expecting a revised document of the
elections roadmap from the negotiators.

“The next step that Sadc has said over and over is the development of a
roadmap that contains issues in the GPA. There is the need to take the old
roadmap created two years ago, develop it and see what it is they have
implemented since it was adopted and then develop the final one with
important benchmarks that will ensure free and fair elections,” Zulu told
the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.

This came as Mugabe last week said Chinamasa alone, excluding Constitutional
Affairs minister Eric Matinenga, was now working on the roadmap. Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had recently announced Chinamasa and Matinenga
were tasked by principals to develop a roadmap to elections.

This was, however, rejected by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman
Ncube, who is MDC leader, as his party did not have a representative on the

A Sadc Troika on politics, defence and security meeting held in Cape Town,
South Africa, last week urged GPA parties to “finalise the outstanding
issues in the implementation of the GPA and prepare for holding free and
fair elections”.

Although the new draft constitution was passed by parliament this week, Sadc
is demanding that before elections are held, not only the new constitution
has to be in place, but there must also be full implementation of the rest
of the GPA.

The Sadc facilitation team wants a progress report on the elections roadmap
agreed on some time ago by all three parties to the GPA and endorsed by
regional leaders at their summits.

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Mugabe to summon military generals

May 17, 2013 in Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has tacitly agreed to summon service chiefs over
their recent inflammatory political statements in which they threw afresh
their weight behind Zanu PF, as pressure mounts on him to rein in military
commanders ahead of watershed elections later this year.

Faith Zaba/Brian Chitemba

Mugabe is under pressure from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a victim of
vicious military verbal attacks, and Sadc leaders to restrain security
service chiefs from interfering in politics and elections.

Tsvangirai, who recently raised the issue with Sadc and other African
leaders during a diplomatic trip across the continent, escalated the matter
with Mugabe during their Monday meetings.

The MDC-T also wrote to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson
Rita Makarau and the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic),
complaining about the abrasive and meddlesome conduct of military
commanders. They copied the letter to Sadc facilitator in Zimbabwe, South
African President Jacob Zuma.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, and prison services boss Paradzai
Zimondi, as well as other high-ranking army officers including
Major-Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo and Trust Mugoba, have
vowed Tsvangirai would never rule even if he wins next elections.

Chiwenga shocked the nation recently when he described Tsvangirai as a
“sell-out” and “psychiatric patient” suffering from “hallucinations”. He was
reacting to reports that MDC-T defence and security secretary Giles Mutsekwa
had met him and other commanders to discuss elections and transitional

Sources said after balking on the issue, Tsvangirai on Monday confronted
Mugabe, demanding he must rein in service chiefs whose statements are in
violation of the constitution and laws, while they also undermined peace and

A top government official told Zimbabwe Independent this week Mugabe agreed
with Tsvangirai that service chiefs had overstepped the line and were
destabilising the political and electoral environment ahead of make-or-break

“The prime minister raised the issue at the Monday meeting with Mugabe. The
president conceded the utterances by some of the commanders undermine the
prospects of free and fair elections,” said the official. “Mugabe also
expressed concern over the service chiefs’ conduct and said he would soon
summon them to discuss the issue.”

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said he had no details of the
principals’ meeting as he does not attend their gatherings. “I don’t attend
Monday meetings because they are principals’ meetings and I am not one. I
wasn’t there,” he said.

After the Monday meeting, the MDC-T intensified pressure on Mugabe and the
military commanders by writing to Zec and Jomic demanding they should craft
a code of conduct for security forces before the elections to ensure they
behaved in accordance with the constitution and laws governing their

“By way of suggestion, we would propose that Zec seriously considers
crafting a code of conduct for members of the security services in
elections, which would regulate the conduct of the security services in a
manner that is consistent with the new constitution,” reads the letter
copied to Zuma.

The MDC-T said the threats by the generals since 2002 undermined the
credibility and legitimacy of election outcomes.

“We note that the new constitution makes provisions to ensure that members
of the security services conduct themselves in a professional and
politically non-partisan manner,” the letter reads.

“Section 208 prohibits both the institutions and individuals in the security
services from acting in a partisan manner; furthering the interests of any
political party or cause; violating the fundamental rights or freedoms of
any person.”

The MDC-T further complained utterances by the army chiefs poisoned the
electoral environment, while undermining its own interests and furthering
Zanu PF’s political agenda.

Sadc and the African Union, the MDC-T added, would be concerned about the
behaviour of partisan army commanders. “As candidates and participants in
the electoral process, we are appalled by this conduct.

“We do not wish to participate in a sham electoral process whose outcome is
already predetermined,” the party said in the letter.

“Finally, it is our expectation that Zec will pursuant to its constitutional
obligations, carefully consider our concerns, as expressed in this
communication and take appropriate action to protect the electoral
environment and consequently, the credibility and legitimacy of the
electoral process.

“Inaction or silence in the face of conduct which plainly does serious harm
to the credibility of the elections might otherwise be interpreted as
condoning such conduct.”

Tsvangirai this week described the security chiefs’ remarks as tantamount to
a “coup” since the uniformed forces were threatening to subvert the will of
the people.

Since 1980, the military has increasingly played a key role in politics and
electoral processes. The military was influential in Mugabe’s disputed
victories in 2002 and 2008, something they want to repeat in the next

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Zanu PF infighting now vicious cycle

May 17, 2013 in Politics

ZANU PF factionalism is now increasingly becoming a vicious cycle — those
recently appointed to investigate renewed infighting have become entangled
in the problem as they now also stand accused of fanning the internal

Report by Elias Mambo

Following the eruption of fresh clashes in Bulawayo and Manicaland, the Zanu
PF politburo appointed a team comprising party national chairperson Simon
Khaya Moyo, national commissar Webster Shamu, national secretary for
security Sydney Sekeramayi and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
to investigate the latest incidents of infighting and compile a report.

The team will also visit Masvingo and Harare to further probe the
factionalism in the party. From there it will go around the country to other
provinces as part of the party’s restructuring process before elections.

Last year, Zanu PF plunged into nationwide infighting following its divisive
and controversial District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) polls which were
characterised by intimidation, voting irregularities and ballot stuffing.

The DCC elections became a theatre for internal political power struggles as
the main factions battled to seize control of the party and position
themselves to produce a successor to President Robert Mugabe (89) who is now
reeling from old age and reported ill-health.

Zanu PF sources say Mugabe feared succession-fuelled infighting would
disrupt his elections campaign, hence the dissolution of the DCC which had
resulted in defeat across provinces for Vice-President Joice Mujuru at the
hands of her fierce rival, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and his

The sources also say the current outbreak of squabbling in the party still
pose a serious threat to Mugabe’s campaign.

“One of the biggest problems which Mugabe fears in the run-up to general
elections is the flare-up of factionalism and succession battles. Yes, there
are external threats to his bid for re-election, but internal pressures are
the biggest problem for him,” a senior Zanu PF politburo member said this

“Last year we dealt with renewed factionalism by dissolving the DCCs, but
now we have appointed a high-powered team to deal with the problem. However,
the composition of the team is partisan and not going to help anything. It
will only fuel the problem.”

Mnangagwa’s allies in the party fear that the probe team is not going to fix
the problems because it is composed of Mujuru’s associates who would be
trying to purge her rival’s supporters from provincial structures, while
laying the ground for her to take over from Mugabe.

“The whole team belongs to Mujuru’s faction and it is surprising how such a
team can be said to be providing solutions to internal fighting when its
leader is heading a faction,” another Zanu PF official said.

Zanu PF is divided into two major factions, one led by Mujuru and the other
by Mnangagwa. However, there are factions within factions which overlap as
officials shift from one group to the other depending on political
circumstances and events.

A clause in the new draft constitution passed by parliament this week, which
says if the president retires after his re-election, is incapacitated or
dies, he would be replaced by a candidate from the same party, is fuelling
the divisions as the two factions fight to strategically position themselves
to take over.

However, in a bid to restructure its grassroots which have become a
battlefield for factional fights, Zanu PF has dispatched the probe team
which the Mnangagwa faction views as partisan.

The team has already visited Bulawayo and Manicaland, which have been torn
apart by serious infighting as provincial officials battle for positions of

However, the restructuring done in Bulawayo and Manicaland has already left
a trail of further divisions as the probe team is seemingly removing those
aligned to Mnangagwa and replacing them with Mujuru supporters.

Party sources told the Zimbabwe Independent the whole probe team is a Mujuru
project meant to consolidate her position as she increasingly gains ground
ahead of Mnangagwa.

In Bulawayo, the probe team demoted Killian Sibanda, seen as close to
politburo member Obert Mpofu, now linked to Mnangagwa, from the position of
chair to vice-chair, replacing him with veteran nationalist Callistus Ndlovu
who is a Moyo ally. Moyo is seen as a Mujuru associate.

Moyo and Mpofu are fierce rivals eyeing the position of vice-president left
vacant by the death of John Nkomo. Although Moyo is the front-runner, Mpofu,
who has denied interest in the job, and others, pose a challenge to him.

Sources say the real fight in Zanu PF now is over the position of
chairperson of the party. If Moyo becomes vice-president, the position of
chairperson will remain vacant and this might trigger a stampede as Mutasa
and Mnangagwa, as well as politburo member Kembo Mohadi, among others, are
said to be interested.

In Manicaland, the Zanu PF faction loyal to Mujuru appears to have gained
ground following the appointment of a new provincial executive. Zimbabwe
ambassador to Cuba John Mvundura is the new provincial chairperson, with
retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya his deputy. The two are believed to
be aligned to the Mujuru camp.

Mvundura replaced suspended chairperson Mike Madiro, while Nyambuya took
over from Dorothy Mabika. Madiro and Mabika are said to be Mnangagwa

Mabika last week claimed Mutasa, who is linked to the Mujuru faction, was
pushing for charges of stealing cattle donated to Mugabe for his birthday
against her because she rejected his sexual advances, although sources say
the real issue is factionalism.

After Manicaland, the politburo team would be heading to Masvingo province,
one of Mnangagwa’s strongholds, and if Mujuru’s supporters are installed as
the new regional leaders, the infighting might further escalate.

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Zanu PF frustrates Jomic

May 17, 2013 in Politics

ZANU PF has been accused by its coalition partners of frustrating the
activities of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) set
up under Article XXII of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2009 to
monitor the implementation of the power-sharing deal between Zanu PF and the
MDC formations.

Hazel Ndebele/Herbert Moyo

This follows claims that the former ruling party has repeatedly refused to
allow Sadc representatives and delayed seconding party members to boost the
body’s monitoring capacity, among other things.

The parties have an agreement that each should second 10 party members, one
from each province, to Jomic to boost its monitoring capacity but Zanu PF
only sent theirs two weeks ago.

“While we seconded our representatives more than three months ago, Zanu PF
only sent its representatives two weeks ago and they only joined and were
officially oriented into Jomic on Tuesday,” said Priscilla Misihairambwi who
is a chief negotiator for the Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation.

Misihairambwi’s observations were backed by her party colleague Frank
Chamunorwa and Thabitha Khumalo from the MDC-T.

Zanu PF is also said to be steadfastly resisting the inclusion of Sadc
representatives in Jomic claiming their presence amounted to interference in
the country’s sovereignty.

Sadc views Jomic as a vital cog in the functioning of the GPA hence its
decision to appoint David Katye of Tanzania and Colly Muunyu of Zambia to
fully represent Sadc in Jomic meetings.

Khumalo and Chamunorwa confirmed Zanu PF members were reluctant to allow the
participation of the Sadc members with Chamunorwa stating “we (the MDC
formations) have always been open to their presence in Jomic and it is only
Zanu PF who are refusing.”

Misihairambwi said progress continued to be bogged down by details
pertaining to the Sadc members’ terms of reference in Jomic.

“Namibia has not even bothered to second anybody because they feel it is
pointless to do so when the terms of reference are not clear and for us it
is an issue we are taking back to Sadc for clarity,” said Misihairambwi.

Sources also said Zanu PF members have a tendency of absenting themselves
from Jomic meetings and the latest example is last Thursday’s meeting with
the Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede at KGVI in Harare. Chamunorwa and
Khumalo reportedly attended and sought clarification on various issues
pertaining to voter registration.

According to minutes seen by this paper, Jomic wanted to know how the voter
registration exercise is being carried out, where the registration centres
are as well as the requirements for one to register as a voter in the wake
of challenges reportedly being faced by members of the public.

“In Bulawayo, the armed forces have been registering to vote using
affidavits which confirm proof of residence. Members of the public are
however not accorded the same privilege,” read part of the minutes.

Chamunorwa confirmed the meeting and said Mudede blamed lack of funds for
the problems bedevilling the registration exercise.

“He said they had only received less than half of the US$8 million they had
requested to ensure smooth operations and consequently they were
short-staffed and could not operate as many registration centres as they
would have wanted,” Chamunorwa said.

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MDC-T alliance plans stall over power-sharing dispute

May 17, 2013 in Politics

THE MDC-T’s plan to form alliances with other political parties, especially
the MDC, are stalling over power-sharing mechanisms in the event of an
electoral victory, with senior members from both sides fearing they may lose
out on influential posts in the new government, close sources have said.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

The two parties have enjoyed a love-hate relationship since their
acrimonious split in October 2005 over participation in senate elections.
Their failure to form an alliance in the 2008 general elections saved
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from humiliating defeat.

Some 28 political parties have registered with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
to contest the forthcoming general elections. This comes as civil society
organisations like the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute and Crisis Coalition in
Zimbabwe have been calling for all progressive democratic parties to work
together during the coming general elections.

The MDC-T’s alliance proposal, among other things, is said to have suggested
the party would not field candidates against senior MDC leaders during the
polls. It was also suggested that others would benefit from seats under
proportional representation in the National Assembly, senate and provincial
councils proposed in the new constitution.

The sources say informal negotiations between the MDC formations have been
ongoing behind the scenes but big egos and deep-seated personal differences
were stalling progress.

“The MDC-T has made overtures but the response so far has been lukewarm as
the proposal was not detailed on power-sharing like in the pre-2008 election
deal that fell through,” a source said.

“The MDC-T sent a vague proposal that did not attend to issues around
power-sharing which some feel is another walk down the garden path.”
Reached for comment, MDC leader Welshman Ncube was non-committal on whether
there are any talks between the parties.

“I have heard of the same but we are yet to see any formal proposal and I
don’t like commenting on hypothetical questions,” Ncube said.
Some politicians from the Matabeleland regions are said to be uneasy with
the alliance talk since it is assumed that the MDC is strong in that region.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora could not confirm the talks but said “we
are ready to work with all progress forces for change in Zimbabwe”.
Zimbabwe is expected to hold general elections later this year after expiry
of parliament’s life on June 29. However, parliament is yet to pass
amendments to harmonise the laws to the new constitution to pave way for

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Police ban political parties from door-to-door campaigns

May 17, 2013 in News

OFFICER Commanding Harare Suburban District, Chief Superintendent Reggies
Chitekwe, this week summoned the main political parties to Harare Central
police station to announce the ban of door-to-door campaigns to curb
political violence which might increase as the country heads for general
elections this year.

By Wongai Zhangazha

The announcement by Chitekwe comes after the MDC-T launched a door-to-door
campaign two months ago, which led to a series of arrests with the latest
being that of 19 party activists and later five more for allegedly
conducting an illegal voter education exercise.

Addressing about 50 people from the main political parties Zanu PF, MDC-T,
MDC and Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile, Chitekwe said this was an official directive to
curb political violence and protect citizens.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed the
meeting on Wednesday, saying it was Chitekwe’s responsibility to ensure
safety of residents who fall under his district.

Nyathi said: “The regulating authority is given powers to assess situations
in their areas as far as security is concerned. It’s his duty to consider
safety of citizens. There have been incidences when some of these
door-to-door activities are held in the evening, on private properties and
this might end up in violent incidences. We encourage the move taken by the
regulating authority.”

Areas that fall under Chitekwe’s district include Avondale, Mabvuku,
Borrowdale and Marlborough.

However, MDC parties’ activists said the move was unfair as Zanu PF has been
embarking on door-to-door campaigns since early this year without any
arrests taking place.

They described the move as part of a police campaign to block mainly the
MDC-T from freely mobilising its members ahead of this year’s make-or-break

Lately Zanu PF supporters have been accused of carrying out door-to-door
voter registration exercises in a number of high density residential areas
checking whether names of citizens above 18 years of age appear on the
voters’ roll.

Those not found not on the voters’ roll were asked to go and register while
the registered were given membership forms. This has been alleged in areas
like Mbare, Dzivarasekwa and Glen View, among others.

A Dzivarasekwa resident who preferred anonymity said: “Known Zanu PF senior
members in the area have been conducting their own door-to-door checks of
the voters roll. This started way before the launch of mobile voter
registration. When they came to our house they had this thick book which we
thought to be the voters roll.

“Some residents complained of being forcibly given Zanu PF forms to fill. We
ended up filling in the forms because who are we to say no. We stay with
these people in our neighbourhood and we don’t want trouble when elections

The voters’ registration exercise has descended into chaos as thousands of
citizens fail to register to vote to long queues and restrictive
requirements, particularly proof of residence. Cabinet has made a resolution
to relax the requirements but registration officials are refusing to
implement the directive, saying they have not yet been officially informed.

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Voter registration dominates Cabinet

May 17, 2013 in News

VOTER registration again dominated cabinet discussions this week as it
became more apparent that bureaucratic bungling and systematic
disenfranchisement of potential voters by the Registrar-General’s office is
continuing unabated, resulting in ministers resolving that teachers
countrywide be involved in the exercise.

Owen Gagare/Faith Zaba

Government sources told the Zimbabwe Independent after noting that
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede and registry officials countrywide had
failed to implement various cabinet directives, aimed at removing
bottlenecks militating against the smooth running of the registration
exercise, cabinet this week resolved that voter registration becomes a
standing cabinet agenda item.

A source said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, whose ministry oversees
the operations of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), and co-Home
Affairs minister Theresa Makone, who supervises the RG’s office, were tasked
with coming up with modalities to ensure the upcoming 30-day voter
registration exercise, which will be done after the president has assented
to the new draft constitution and gazetted the constitutional Bill, is done

Makone confirmed the latest developments, saying the measures government
wants to introduce would ensure the programme flows smoothly.

“We agreed that all teachers must be registry officials and that all schools
must be registering centres. I will discuss with Minister Chinamasa to come
up with the necessary modalities for the exercise to be done smoothly,” she

“Cabinet resolved voter registration becomes a standing agenda item and
every week there will be feedback on how the exercise is going.”
Makone presented a report to cabinet three weeks ago after a massive outcry
from ordinary Zimbabweans who were failing to register, culminating in the
RG’s office being directed to replace lost identity documents for all
Zimbabweans free of charge until the last day of voter registration.

Aliens — people living in Zimbabwe — were cleared to get identity cards with
immediate effect so that they can register as voters.
Despite the cabinet directive, ordinary people are still finding it
difficult to register and acquire documents with registry officials being
strict on issues such as proof of residence, among other things.

This led to Chinamasa presenting proposals to cabinet which resulted in the
Zec announcing people could swear in an affidavit on their residential
addresses before registering.

Registry officials were however not availing affidavits to people, hence the
latest cabinet intervention.

The voter registration exercise issue was also discussed during the
principals meeting on Monday, where Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
reportedly highlighted the problems ordinary Zimbabweans where facing while
trying to register as voters.

MDC-T this week wrote Zec and copied the letter to Sadc facilitator in
Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, outlining the anomalies his
party had come across.

“Our expectation is that as the ultimate responsible authority on the voters’
roll, Zec would take a greater and more active role in the voter
registration exercise to ensure that its integrity is not compromised,” read
the letter. “Ultimately, it is Zec’s and its commissioners’ reputations and
integrity that are at stake. More significantly, it is the future of the
country and the millions of Zimbabweans that is on the line.”

A local non-governmental organisation, Election Resource Centre, which has
been observing the voter registration processes, this week said a large
number of people are still disenfranchised despite the on-going voter
registration exercise.

“In places which the mobile registration teams have visited a number of
potential voters remain disenfranchised due to a myriad of challenges
ranging from lack of publicity, inadequate time allocation, the cost of
registration, limited civil registration services and difficulties in
acquiring necessary documents like proof of residence,” it said. “The
foregoing challenges have the inevitable effect of excluding a significant
number of eligible voters from the imminent general elections.”

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June 29 poll claims Zanu PF chat show

May 17, 2013 in News

FOR the past four years, President Robert Mugabe has been threatening to
unilaterally call for general elections to end the coalition government he
claims is a dysfunctional creature.

Report by Brian Chitemba

Publicly, Mugabe has since 2010 been telling Zimbabweans to get ready for
imminent elections, claiming the unity government formed in 2009 only had a
two-year mandate despite not providing any evidence to back up the

Last week Mugabe made fresh demands in Mutare, insisting nothing would stop
him from ensuring elections are held by June 29, while further indicating he
would set poll dates this week.

Zanu PF officials and their state media hacks have also been parroting
Mugabe’s declarations which have been repeatedly proven unfounded by time
over the past four years.

Even though events on the ground show their claims are unrealistic and
groundless, they remain undeterred in their choreographed repetition of what
amounts to misleading pronouncements.

Even clear constitutional and legal positions on the elections issue have
been deliberately misinterpreted in pursuit of early polls, creating
confusion on matters that should be fairly clear.

While Mugabe and his supporters have been labouring through election dates
claims which have been proven false since 2010, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai consistently pointed out Mugabe cannot make such as key decisions
without consulting him as required under the Global Political Agreement

The tenure of the current parliament lapses at midnight on June 28 and
elections would be constitutionally due within 120 days, but the various
processes that need to be completed before polls are held indicate it is not
possible for Zimbabweans to be railroaded into voting by the end of next

Analysts dismiss Mugabe’s call for early elections as mere political
rhetoric because it was unlikely he would proclaim election dates before the
full implementation of critical political and electoral processes, some of
which are outlined in the GPA, to pave way for credible, free and fair

Mugabe, who is becoming increasingly frail due to old age and reported
illness, is said to be eager for early elections while he could still
withstand the rigours of a gruelling campaign.

But with May halfway through, lack of consensus and clarity on issues are
conspiring against Mugabe’s wishes for a June election as all necessary
processes to hold credible polls, like harmonising existing laws such as the
Electoral Act, Urban Councils Act and Rural District Councils Act with the
new constitution, will have to be complete within just six weeks.

According to sources at the Registrar-General’s Office, voter registration
will close on May 28 although it was likely to be extended by another month
to June 28, after which two months is required for data capture which would
take until around August 28.

After data capture, another month is required for voters’ roll inspection
after which a further month is needed to capture the data, suggesting the
process could be completed around October.

MDC leader Welshman Ncube – by far the most consistent political leader on
this subject — has insisted for the past four years that elections would be
held late 2013, although his current calculations show they could come
anytime between August and October.

However, some political analysts, particularly Ibbo Mandaza, say it would be
impossible to have elections in October since it will be the beginning of
the summer farming season as many would-be voters are most likely to be
pre-occupied with agricultural activities.

Ncube says for the country to hold credible elections, close to 60 days are
required to implement critical processes that include the conclusion of the
constitution-making process and harmonisation of the laws with the new

Even if Mugabe fast-tracks the gazetting of the new constitution, he can
only do it around the end of this month after which the new constitution
stipulates that a mandatory voter registration outreach be conducted for a
minimum of 30 days.

The new constitution also requires nomination of candidates to take at least
14 days after proclamation of election dates, and at least 30 days before
polling day.

This proves timelines to be incorporated into the Electoral Act make polls
on June 29 impossible.

Further, Ncube believes elections are only feasible by October 27, since the
constitution says an election must be held not later than 120 days from the
dissolution of parliament.

But constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku says it was legally possible to
have elections by June 29 because the voter registration timelines could be
altered to pave way for polls.

“There is nothing that can stop elections as long as there is a new
constitution. The 30 days voter registration doesn’t stop elections because
we are still more than 30 days away from June 29 of which the voters’ roll
can close two weeks before poll date,” said Madhuku.

However, he conceded elections could be delayed because some political
parties were demanding reforms which could take “forever to be implemented”.

South African International Relations deputy minister Ebrahim Ebrahim this
week dismissed prospects of June 29 elections, saying Zimbabwe has to
implement reforms first. This sparked anger from Zanu PF officials like
Jonathan Moyo.

“There have to be certain reforms that need to be speeded up. If Zanu PF
says they (polls) should be held in June or July that is probably playing
politics. All parties should agree that the time is ripe for an election,”
Ebrahim told the South African Press Agency.

Apart from the legal processes that need implementation, political parties
appear not yet ready for elections despite rising rhetoric. Mugabe and Zanu
PF, which has been passing resolutions to hold early elections at its annual
conferences since 2010, have been exposed as powerless on the issue.

Besides, Zanu PF is still to hold its primary elections after their
guidelines were postponed several times since November 2012. There is also
the on-going restructuring exercise of provincial structures led by party
chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo which is still in its infancy with only three
out of 10 provinces having been covered.

Moyo has reshuffled the faction-riddled Manicaland and Bulawayo provincial
executives and is yet to visit Masvingo and after that Harare, in a frantic
bid to strengthen the party before elections.

After the provincial restructuring programme, Zanu PF would then invite
aspiring MPs to submit their CVs. The candidates will then have to campaign
for the primaries before preparing for general elections.

Top Zanu PF officials say they require at least two months to campaign
before elections, meaning elections can only be possible between August and
September at the earliest.

They also say the deepening internal fighting in Zanu PF could also delay
elections as Mugabe is struggling to quell the widespread infighting
threatening to split his party before elections.

Officials say Mugabe could only call for elections after he has managed to
stabilise his fragile party, which was defeated in the 2008 elections mainly
due to the economic meltdown and internal power struggles.

The MDC-T has also postponed its primaries due to growing internal strife
over the candidate selection process, something which shows elections are
still a long way off.

Earlier this month, Tsvangirai embarked on a regional offensive to lobby
Sadc and other African leaders to ensure Mugabe adopts reforms before

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Trevor Ncube deplores media repression

May 17, 2013 in News

ALPHA Media Holdings chairman Trevor Ncube has deplored the continuing state
of media repression and restrictions in Zimbabwe, saying this is inimical to
the free flow of information and sharing of vibrant ideas necessary to drive
forward development in the country.

Staff Writer

Speaking at a Sapes Trust policy dialogue forum on Media Freedom in Harare
last night, Ncube said it was deplorable that the coalition government
partners continue to view the media as an enemy of the state instead of a
development partner.

Consequently the government has imposed repressive measures to curtail the
flow of information through laws such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act and the Official Secrets Act, Public Order and
Security Act, Criminal Law Act, all of which are out of place in a
democratic society.

“As a result, there is a dearth of ideas in Zimbabwe,” said Ncube, “this
unlike in America where freedom has allowed them to continue to produce the
likes of Google and Twitter because the free flow of ideas in their society
allows it”.

Ncube also said that media regulation should be left to media practitioners
and civil society and government should not be allowed to have a role
because they have vested interests to protect.

“They cannot be the referee and player at the same time,” said Ncube who
concluded by urging the public to join in fighting for media freedom as they
are ultimately the biggest losers when information is censored.

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Gono battles to rescue Kingdom Bank

May 17, 2013 in News

THE RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono this week met
Spiritage Group CEO Zachary Wazara and Kingdom bank founder Nigel Chanakira
and key officials from the companies in a bid to resolve an escalating fight
between the parties to avoid the collapse of AfrAsia Kingdom Bank.

Report by Chris Muronzi

Sources privy to the Monday meeting held at the central bank’s Samora Machel
office said Gono called for a meeting to narrow a widening rift between
Wazara, Chanakira and Kingdom Bank over a non-performing US$21 million loan
advanced to the telecommunications guru’s Valley Technologies, a mobile
phone operator.

According to the sources, Gono is keen on assisting the feuding parties to
iron out contentious issues that saw Wazara writing a damning letter to the
central bank early this month claiming Kingdom Bank attempted to conceal a
non-performing loan that had eaten into the bank’s equity in the December
reporting period from the bank.

This comes after Gono over the weekend said he was confident the situation
was under “control for normal business to continue.”
He added he was committed to approving and facilitating all legal and
administrative requirements needed to ensure AfrAsia Bank Ltd and any other
shareholder could inject funds or shore up shareholding in the troubled

In an announcement last week after our publication of the story highlighting
a feud between Chanakira and Wazara and the threat it poses to the bank,
AfrAsia Bank Limited said: “AfrAsia Bank Limited wishes to re-iterate its
commitments to its investment in AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Ltd – AKZL, the
Holding company of Kingdom Bank.”
AfrAsia said it had since January offered support to Kingdom in various
forms including assisting the bank secure lines of credit and lines

Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Ltd invested US$9,5 million in Kingdom
Financial Holdings Ltd for a 35% equity stake in the group which owns the
local bank. Gono yesterday said getting warring parties to negotiate was
common in the banking sector but said such misunderstandings were more
prevalent in indigenous-owned banks.

He said: “I’m unable to say much at this stage without undermining the
discussions under way. Those familiar with dispute resolution proceedings
know that it is never done until its done. For the record, the dispute is
between corporate entities and the parties taking part in those discussions
are doing so in their company representatives capacities. Our role as a
central bank is to help these parties to avoid destabilising one another in
the financial sector.”

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Security forces step up new recruitments

May 17, 2013 in News

ZANU PF is stepping up its election campaign with the army, police and
prison services embarking on a massive recruitment drive to aid the party to
win the do-or-die polls later this year.

Report by Elias Mambo

Government sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week secret
recruitments by Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
and Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) were underway in defiance of the Public
Service Commission freeze on employments.

Finance minister Tendani Biti last year raised alarm over the issue. Before
the June 2008 presidential election run-off similar recruitments were done
to rescue President Robert Mugabe from the jaws of defeat after he had lost
the first round of polling to MDC-T leader, now Prime Minister Morgan

“Since Mugabe started calling for elections in 2010, the police, army and
prison services were given the target of recruiting as many people as
possible before elections although this contradicts the government policy on
recruitment,” a source said.

“The strategy being used to ensure police officers, army, prison services,
their wives, children and dependents vote Zanu PF to make a difference in
the next elections,” said the source.

The security services have a combined workforce of close to 130 000 people
and the recent recruitments would hopefully push the figure close to 200 000
before elections.

“If each officer has, say, five people of voting age under his or her
household and they vote for Zanu PF, then the party would get up to its one
million votes target,” said the source.

Another source in government said new recruits started their training
countrywide on May 2, while the prison services recruited in February and

“In Mbalabala training commenced on May 2, while prison services recruited
in February and March. Another group of recruits in the army is expected to
start training soon,” the source said.

The source also said Zanu PF officials, MPs, war veterans and their
employees have been approached to submit names of relatives interested in
joining the uniformed forces.

“Each official is given a certain number of people from his immediate family
who can be recruited while the MPs are asked to recommend people close to
Zanu PF from their constituencies,” said the source.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said yesterday there was nothing
abnormal about the recruitments.

“We have a clearly laid-down recruitment policy and we recruit whenever is
necessary to maintain a suitable ratio with the public,” she said.

“We are not contradicting any government policy. Whoever told you that there
is a government policy to freeze recruitment will be better placed to tell
us that we are against government policy.”
ZPS public relations officer Elizabeth Banda said her organisation recruits
when need arises as they are not bound by the government policy on civil
service employment freeze.

“We recruit when need arises within the organisation and the government
policy does not apply to us,” she said.

The ZNA had not responded to questions sent to its public relations
department by the time of going to print.

MDC-T secretary for defence and security Giles Mutsekwa said the recruitment
drive was “suspicious” as it came just before elections.
“Suspicious recruitments are currently going on. I can confirm in Mutare 3
Brigade (army base) has been recruiting. This is against government position
that until we are able to reward our civil servants we are not supposed to
have new intakes,” Mutsekwa said.

“This is a deliberate attempt by Zanu PF to recruit as many people as
possible to boost their chances of winning the next elections. What Zanu PF
is not aware of is that those people do not support them. Those are
desperate people seeking employment and won’t help the dying party’s chances
to win the elections.”

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Zanu PF intimidates teachers

May 17, 2013 in News

ZANU PF is now targeting teachers in rural areas which it is intimidating
and coercing to support the party and help it mobilise voters ahead of
watershed polls expected later this year.

Elias Mambo

Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week teachers in Zanu PF
strongholds in Mashonaland provinces, Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland are
under increasing pressure to pledge their support to the party.

Last week teachers in these regions were given forms titled Special Vote
Requirement to fill in all their identity details and current stations
without being told the purpose of the forms. It is feared this is part of
Zanu PFs voter intimidation and mobilisation strategy.

We were just asked to complete these forms and return them to the
headmasters who will surrender them to Zanu PF offices, said one teacher in
Mashonaland Central.

The forms shown to this paper ask the teachers for their details including
full names, employment numbers, ward and constituencies of origin.

The forms have unnerved teachers who fear a recurrence of the 2008 election
violence in which they became targets of brutality after being accused of
supporting the MDC-T.

Zimbabwe teachers’ unions said their members have, as in 2008, become
targets of political violence intended to silence them ahead of elections.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond
Majongwe said Zanu PF was out to intimidate vulnerable teachers in rural
areas to secure votes.

We have reports of such intimidation in all the provinces in the country and
this is a clear case of intimidation ahead of elections, said Majongwe.
Those forms do not serve any purpose except to intimidate our members who
now feel they are under serious scrutiny.
Majongwe also said headmasters from Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces
were taken for political orientation lessons during the school holidays and
are expected to mobilise support for Zanu PF.

We have reports Zanu PF was working with the Zimbabwe Teachers Association
during the holidays and they conducted political orientation lectures. Some
headmasters were taken to Chimoio in Mozambique, and all this is meant to
influence the teachers votes,he said.

Recently the PTUZ alleged a new wave of violence is rising against teachers
under an operation code-named Operation Vharamuromo, (operation close your
mouth) intended to suppress anti-Zanu PF dissent and critics.

A 2010 survey by the PTUZ suggested between 65 000 -75 000 teachers were
displaced due to violence by war veterans and youth militia prior to the
June 2008 blood-soaked presidential election run-off.

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Govt in effort to bail out ailing companies

May 17, 2013 in Business

GOVERNMENT will this year disburse US$5 million under the Distressed
Industries and Marginalised Fund (Dimaf) as part of efforts to recapitalise
ailing companies in Bulawayo, Ministry of Industry and Commerce acting
permanent secretary Staneslous Mangoma said.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

Mangoma told businessdigest this week that following the assessment of the
state of industry by the ministerial task force late last year, government
will soon be disbursing US$5 million to rejuvenate the ailing industry in
Bulawayo although other areas like Masvingo are likely to benefit.

“We have received communication from the Ministry of Finance that US$5
million will soon be availed targeted mostly at industries in Bulawayo
although at the moment I am not in a position to give the exact timelines of
the disbursement,” said Mangoma.

Industry in Bulawayo however requires US$73 million to fully recapitalise. A
report released by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce early this year
showed that 60 companies in the city, once the industrial hub of Zimbabwe,
are on the verge of collapse.

This could add to the 85 companies which closed in Bulawayo last year,
predominantly from the clothing and textile sector representing 74%, motor
and construction sectors constituting 22% and 4% respectively.

Mangoma said the budgetary constraints continue to thwart government efforts
to fund the full recapitalisation of industry in general.
Since the launch of the US$40 million, Dimaf has managed to disburse only
US$13 million to revive industry countrywide.

Last year, Treasury availed only US$5 million from the allocated US$10
million. The funds benefitted 30 companies from the initial target of 45

Bulawayo continues to be de-industrialised as some companies are closing and
with others downsizing operations.

Dairibord Holdings this year announced plans that it would be closing its
factories in Bulawayo due to low raw milk supply.

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Zimbabwe to pay off Nampower $40m debt

May 17, 2013 in Business

ZIMBABWE is expected to have more than 100 megawatts (MW) additional power
on its supply grid by November this year after Zesa Holdings (Zesa) has
expunged a US$40 million debt owed to Namibian state-owned electricity
company NamPower, Energy minister Elton Mangoma said.

Report by Taurai Mangudhla

The US$40 million is in respect of a February 2007 deal in which NamPower
gave Zesa a loan to refurbish its Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Zesa was to repay the debt by exporting 100MW during peak periods and 150MW
off peak to Namibia daily for five years given Zimbabwe’s then
hyperinflationary environment and lack of foreign currency.

“The power purchase agreement is for 150MW so you can see it’s a lot of
power which when that contract terminates we will be able to have another
100 to 150MW supplied to the country,” Mangoma said.
The 150MW is expected to reduce the country’s power deficit which currently
stands around 800MW.

Mangoma said Zesa was currently supplying NamPower with electricity worth
between US$4 to US$5 million each month.

“What they have done is to ask us to sign a power purchase agreement which
is a lot more than the amount that they have given us, for instance, we have
got a contract that says we should be able to export power which sometimes
is in the region of US$4 to US$5 million a month to them,” he said.

“As you can see if we were just repaying with electricity we could have just
taken ten months or one year and finished it, but they instead actually pay
us for that electricity or a portion of it until the end of the power
purchase agreement which is in October.”

Zimbabwe’s power purchase agreement with Namibia was expected to be fully
met last year, but it was extended for another year after the country failed
to honour the agreement on account of persistent power generation

In September last year, Mangoma announced Zimbabwe would continue supplying
Namibia with electricity until it clears the debt.

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Guided tours mask land reform failures

May 17, 2013 in News

IT has almost become part of tradition for visiting heads of state or
high-profile delegates to visit the highly mechanised First Family’s
Gushungo Dairy Estate and Amai Grace Mugabe elite Junior school in Mazowe
which are hardly typical of Zimbabwean farms after the land reform programme
or average local schools.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

This has raised questions as to why the focus should only be on the Mugabes
family’s flourishing businesses and projects when thousands of other people
benefitted from the country’s controversial land reform programme, blamed in
some cases for ruining the country’s one thriving agricultural industry and
food shortages.

If the land reform programme is anywhere near as successful as Zanu PF and
its apologists increasingly claim, why are the foreign dignitaries not being
taken to other farms, or is the government too ashamed to show them the long
grass, vandalised equipment and dilapidated farmhouses which have been
turned into kraals, critics of the land invasions ask.

This, critics say, justifies the need for a land audit, although government
this week said it has abandoned plans to carry out an audit as set out by
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to weed out multiple-farm owners due to
lack of funds.

Instead government would carry out a “land use audit” to determine the
extent of current land usage.

Last week, spouses of director-generals of intelligence organisations from
Zimbabwe, Mali, Zambia, Senegal, Indonesia, Gabon and Nigeria toured the
Gushungo Dairy Estate, Amai Grace Mugabe Junior School and the Grace Mugabe
Children’s Home.

During the visit, Willia Bonyongwe, wife of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) boss Happyton Bonyongwe, showered praises on Mugabe’s
dairy project which she said was a shining example of the much-needed
value-addition project that everyone must emulate.

She described the First Family, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the land
reform programme, as an “elaborate exposē of what Zimbabwe is all about”,
different from what she said was reported by the Western media.

When Malawian President Joyce Banda was in Zimbabwe to officially open the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last month she was feted like royalty, and
was taken to the First Family’s dairy project. From such a limited
appreciation of the results of the country’s agrarian reform Banda gave the
programme a ringing endorsement, saying she was highly impressed by what she
had seen at the Mugabes’ farm and would send a delegation to study the

Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi also visited the
dairy farm recently and described it as world class.

While focus is now mostly on the First Family’s businesses, previously
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s Donnington Farm just outside Norton was
another success story sold to foreign dignitaries although he bought it and
was not given under the land reform programme.

Disgraced Former African National Congress Youth League president Julius
Malema and his delegation toured Gono’s farm in 2010.

In 2007 Equatorial Guinea strongman President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo,
who was in Zimbabwe to open the country’s once vibrant Harare Agricultural
Show, also toured Gushungo Dairy Farm.
Obiang was later taken to Grace’s late brother Reward Marufu’s farm in the
same district.

These guided tours have shielded foreign leaders and dignitaries from
finding out for themselves the true picture of the country’s land reform
programme. Critics say the tours are a political gimmick which has mostly
benefitted Mugabe and the well-connected elite, while the less privileged
face a host of insurmountable challenges each farming season.

The endorsement of the land reform by foreigners is politically expedient
for Zanu PF which is pitching its election campaign for crucial polls this
year on indigenisation and empowerment.

Independent socio-economic rights activist Hopewell Gumbo said Zanu PF
bigwigs are not fully supportive of an all-inclusive agrarian reform but
sought to use it for political gain.

“There has been very little significant investment support to the poor
majority and the new farm ownership structure remains stratified with the
poor at the bottom and the rich at the top,” Gumbo said.

“However, it should be noted that large sections of people have access to
land without the resources to till the land more efficiently. There is
nothing spectacular to see on most of the farms of ordinary people besides
the size of the new acquisition; cases of success are rare. One wishes most
of the other farms were the same (as the First Family’s).”

Namibian-based journalist Wonder Guchu however said the whole issue was
historical and emphasised the need for an urgent land audit to establish the
real situation on the ground.

“When people moved onto the farms it was haphazard. Farming is not an easy
vocation. This is why a few farmers are doing well while most are
struggling,” he said. “Even when Gono gave implements, fertilisers and seeds
under the mechanisation programme, most sold those things for quick cash, as
a result there are few farms worth showing off,” he said. “There is need,
therefore, for a land audit to establish the real situation on the ground.
There must be farms for resettlement and others for production; only an
audit can guide that process.”

Guchu said politics has kept the situation unchanged.
“A land audit would unearth unproductive farmers; these are known even
without an audit. So what are we waiting for? Why are we massaging
unproductivity?” he asked.

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Resources, graft and Africa’s curse

May 17, 2013 in News

AFRICAN countries have often been accused of turning conferences into talk
shops which fail to come up with meaningful policy proposals and resolutions
to tackle the myriad of problems bedevilling the continent, including
poverty, disease and human rights abuses.

By Herbert Moyo

Throughout the year, different countries on the continent play host to
various international gatherings — from the African Union meetings to
regional gatherings such as the Sadc summits — and quite often African
leaders choose to divert attention from their own shortcomings, while
blaming outsiders for their own problems, in the process doing nothing and
leaving critical issues unresolved.

Despite having an abundance of resources, solid skills base and a huge
market, Africa remains poor due to conflicts, bad governance and

While historical exploitation, exogenous factors like skewed global trade
practices and exploitation by big economies are a major factor, internal
problems also play a major role in keeping the continent underdeveloped.

Although a number of countries are increasingly becoming democratic on the
continent, wars and coups continue in countries like Mali, Central African
Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while governance issues
are still unresolved in states like Zimbabwe, one of the African countries
failing to derive meaningful benefits from its abundance of mineral

Only the powerful and rich are benefitting at the expense of the country and
the poor.

Last week, Zimbabwe hosted the 10th Conference of the Committee of
Intelligence and Security Services of Africa in Harare, during which State
Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi urged African countries to work closely
in tightening security across the continent to curb the unbridled plunder of
natural resources by Western countries.

“This imperial competition for our resources has, of late, been interfaced
with the threat of illegal regime change,” Sekeramayi said. “Africa is at
crossroads; either we allow our erstwhile oppressors unfettered access to
our natural resources and, thus, face the wrath of this great continent’s
future generations, or we grasp the nettle and take full charge of the
exploitation of our natural resources.”

Like many other Zanu PF officials, Sekeramayi grabbed the opportunity to
ratchet up the party’s stale mantras on sanctions and regime change while
appealing for “African solidarity”.

Analysts say while there are external problems retarding development on the
continent, some of the issues confronting African countries, including
Zimbabwe, are self-inflicted. They say resources are being plundered in
countries like Zimbabwe by the ruling elites, including security forces
which are supposed to be safeguarding the country’s riches.

Finance minister Tendai Biti last year lamented that Treasury’s revenue
targets were not met partly because diamond proceeds fell far short of

Political analyst Godwin Phiri says: “One needs to look no further than the
security forces and Zanu PF chefs working in cahoots with corrupt foreign
interests, particularly from China, to see who is plundering Zimbabwe’s
resources while the economy receives little or no benefits”.

Phiri’s claims are supported by Global Witness whose 2012 report, titled
Financing a Parallel Government: The Involvement of the Secret Police and
Military in Zimbabwe’s Diamond, Cotton and Property Sectors, fingered the
security forces, including the army, police and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), in shady dealings in the diamond, cotton and property

Global Witness alleged the CIO received millions from Hong Kong businessman
Sam Pa as well as 200 Nissan pick-up vehicles in exchange for resource
exploitation opportunities.

“In return, Sam Pa received diamonds and accessed business opportunities in
the cotton and property development sectors,” reads the report.

A Canadian campaign group, Partnership Africa Canada, also recently said at
least US$2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from the Marange
diamond fields with most of the money allegedly enriching Zanu PF leaders
and their cronies.

Marange fields have seen “the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil
 Rhodes”, the colonial magnate who exploited South Africa’s Kimberley
diamonds a century ago, charged Partnership Africa Canada, a member of the
Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on diamond trade.

Marange fields — one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits — has been
mined since 2006 and its vast earnings could have turned around Zimbabwe’s
economy, battered by years of meltdown and political turmoil, the group

Zimbabwe also continues to lose out on real benefits from its resources due
to badly negotiated and secretive mining agreements entered into by the
cash-strapped government with foreigners, analysts say.

Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela), which has been monitoring
developments in the mining sector, says lack of transparency in the Zimplats
and Zisco-Essar deals, for instance, illustrates the problem of shady

“It is surprising that contract negotiation has remained the preserve of a
few individuals at times without the competency to craft good mining deals
for the country,” Zela said.

Zela’s assertions were supported by Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure who
demanded legislators to be involved in negotiations with potential investors
to prevent corruption by ministers who give away Zimbabwe’s precious natural
resources for kick-backs.

Analysts say Sekeramayi and fellow government ministers would also do well
to examine malpractices by companies from other African states involved in
resource extraction in Zimbabwe.

Findings by Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARC) investigating corporate
governance and social responsibility of South African mining companies in
five African countries, including Zimbabwe, shows the plunder of resources
and failure to uplift ordinary people’s lives is rampant on the continent.

Reads the SARC 2010 report: “It is clear that South African companies are
not behaving any differently from Western and Asian companies, making a
mockery of the African Renaissance (touted by former South African president
Thabo Mbeki.)

“South African mining companies are taking advantage of regional governments’
weak legislation framework and lack of capacity to monitor the development
agreements to disregard some of the most basic human rights.”

While South African companies have not been good corporate citizens,
Zimbabwe’s security forces, apart from pillaging Marange, were accused of
looting DRC resources during their involvement in the country’s war from
1998 to 2002.

In Sierra Leone and Liberia, former Liberian president Charles Taylor abused
the two countries’ diamond resources to fund civil wars in both countries.
Taylor was subsequently found guilty of crimes against humanity using
proceeds from “blood diamonds”.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest crude oil exporter yet the country is forced to
import 85% of its fuel because of failure to develop its own refining
capacity, partly as a result of corrupt government officials who allegedly
receive kick-backs from multinational oil companies for stakes in the
lucrative industry.

Over the years, different ethnic groups have been locked in violent clashes
to control the huge oil reserves. Thousands of lives have been lost,
including those of famous author Ken Saro Wiwa and nine others who were
executed on the orders of former military ruler, the late Sani Abacha, in

Analysts also say that while the West has a well-documented history of human
rights violations and plunder of African resources, Zimbabwe and other
African countries should accept their own shortcomings and stop playing the
blame game.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said: “There is need
for introspection to come up with policies that ensure that Zimbabwe adopts
policy frameworks that benefit the generality of the population, not just a
few elites.”

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Zimbabwe: Election dynamics and scenarios

May 17, 2013 in News

As the Global Political Agreement (GPA) staggers to an end, continued
violations of the agreement, reform deficits, limited institutional
credibility and the rejection of a UN election needs assessment mission
underscore the continued absence of conditions for peaceful and credible
elections despite the new constitution adopted in March 2013.

President Robert Mugabe has been forced to step back from a June vote, but
his party still pushes for an expedited process with little time to
implement outstanding reforms and new constitutional provisions.

The pervasive fear of violence and actual intimidation contradicts
rhetorical utterances of commitment to peace. A reasonably free and fair
election is still possible, but so too are deferred or disputed polls, or
even a military intervention.

The international community seems ready to back Sadc, which must work with
GPA partners to define and enforce “red lines” for a credible vote.

Zanu-PF is likely to resist further reforms. Sadc places particular emphasis
on democracy- supporting institutions, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(Zec) faces significant challenges. Limited government funding threatens its
capacity building, public outreach and ability to ensure the integrity of
the voters’ roll.

The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC)(Reggie
Austin) resigned, citing the body’s lack of independence and government
support, and was replaced by (Jacob Mudenda)with close ties to Zanu-PF.

The GPA’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) plays an
important role in responding to political conflict, but has insufficient
support and addresses symptoms, not causes, of violence and intimidation.

Certain pro-Zanu-PF security officials may seek to influence the polls. Some
have demanded greater political representation; they played a pivotal role
in the 2008 violence that secured Mugabe’s victory, for which none were held

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has demonstrated some professionalism, but its
leaders openly support Zanu-PF and frequently harass Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formations and civil society, which the MDC-has been powerless
to prevent.

The GPA provides no basis for credible investigations of the police (or
other security elements), who refuse to answer to the co-ministers of Home
Affairs or Jomic and expose parliament as largely toothless. Political
parties face internal challenges. Within Zanu-PF, “hardliner” and
 “reformist” camps are fighting over who will succeed 89-year-old Mugabe.

MDC-T is struggling with a reported drop in popularity, infighting and
limited capacity to mobilise its supporters.

The international community assesses Zimbabwe’s progress positively,
demonstrating its support for Sadc’s facilitation.

The constitutional referendum enabled the European Union to lift restrictive
measures against most of the individuals and entities (excluding Mugabe, his
wife Grace, a small group of security officials and the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation).

Zimbabwe and the UK subsequently held their first bilateral talks in over a
decade, and a “Friends of Zimbabwe” meeting that offered economic support
and the lifting of sanctions against two Zimbabwean banks by the United
States shows Western commitment to supporting Zimbabwe’s reform.

Sadc’s priority is “containment” even more than reforms to maintain
stability. This objective remains vague, but the organisation must
consolidate its promotion of reforms in compliance with its election
guidelines. Reforms require monitoring, but Jomic’s capacity for this is
limited and Zanu-PF’s resistance to extending its mandate to focus on
elections has frustrated Sadc.

The regional bloc should establish an office in Harare that complements
Jomic but also allows it to independently liaise with the government.

If the impasse on sectorial reforms persists, the vote may be rescheduled.
Political leaders recognise that to proceed when the risk of large-scale
violence is high and when parties and Sadc disagree over what constitutes an
acceptable threshold for credible elections would be dangerous.

Faced with divisions that threaten their performance in the polls, Zanu-PF
and MDC-T may back postponement.

Deferral, if accompanied by firm Sadc pressure, presents opportunities to
promote reforms, on condition that strict timelines are defined, monitoring
is enhanced significantly, political parties understand the risks of
failure, and institutional weaknesses and the potential for interference by
the security sector are reversed.

Otherwise, the “winner-take-all” attitude means the election is likely to be
strongly disputed.

Some in Zanu-PF feel threatened by the erosion of economic opportunities
that would come with losing power, while others fear prosecution for human
rights violations. For the MDC-T, an electoral defeat would signify a loss
of influence. For Zanu-PF, disputing the results could mean increased
influence by bringing the country to a standstill.

A conclusive election requires that all parties and their supporters accept
results. There are indications that Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai
have agreed to do so and accommodate whoever loses.

However, such a deal does not automatically translate into acceptance by
their parties. Tsvangirai has agreed to be the GPA principals’ point man on
election preparations, which could make it more difficult for him or his
party to cry foul or withdraw because of irregularities.

The waters are already muddied by the MDC-T’s acquiescence in the
referendum, which proceeded according to the interests of the GPA
signatories, disregarding the concerns of other political groups and civil

A military takeover is unlikely, not least because of uncertainty about the
political allegiance of the rank and file, probable regional censure and
international isolation.

However, allegations of the army’s bias and complicity in human rights
violations raise concerns it may seek to influence the election outcome. It
may also present itself as a stabilising force if inter- and intra-party
relations deteriorate further.

This year is decisive. Elections in a context of acute divisions are
unlikely to provide stability. There is growing sense that the best way
forward is further power sharing, though this is only helpful if objectives
are established and widely accepted.

To note that Zimbabwe is less violent now than in 2008 means little before
the campaign – it is the competition for power that generates violence.

That the elections are likely to be tense and see some violence and
intimidation is clear; what is not yet clear is the nature of the violence,
its extent and the response it will generate.

To define and build consensus on the election roadmap
To Sadc:
Facilitate further discussions among the GPA parties to address the lack of
consensus and clarity on reforms following the constitutional referendum.

To enhance oversight on the political process toward elections
Convene a dedicated heads of state summit on Zimbabwe that emphasises
roadmap compliance with the Sadc “Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections” and that:

(a) Establishes a liaison office in Harare to monitor and evaluate electoral
preparations and facilitate prompt response when necessary;
(b)Defines “red lines”, strict benchmarks and clear measures for
non-compliance by the GPA parties to the agreed roadmap; and
(c)Establishes clear monitoring and observation roles in the election.

Utilise its security structures and processes to facilitate high-level
engagement between senior military, police and intelligence officials from
the region and Zimbabwe to persuade the security sector not to interfere in
the political process.

Require an electoral code of conduct for police, military and intelligence
services that can be endorsed by Sadc heads of state.

Ensure the country does not rush into elections before there is clarity and
consensus on, and practical implementation of, necessary reforms.

To the GPA principals:
Take a more hands-on role to expedite and ensure implementation of
agreements and GPA commitments, as well as the resolution of outstanding
disagreements, in particular:
a) conduct the outstanding annual review of GPA implementation as stipulated
in Article 23 relating to the periodic review mechanism;
b) ensure Sadc officials deployed to Jomic during the constitutional
referendum remain in place until after the elections; and
c)resolve disagreements preventing the deployment of additional Jomic
provincial monitors.
Direct Jomic to independently investigate allegations regarding state
security forces’ partisanship and political interference.
Extend Jomic’s mandate to cover the election period (including before and
after the vote) and make provision for holding political party leadership
accountable to the GPA and the election roadmap.
Encourage political tolerance and coexistence across party lines through
frequent joint press conferences, calling for non-violence, inter-party
dialogue and responding to particular concerns and incidents.

Allow the UN needs assessment mission to return to Zimbabwe to conduct an
assessment that can help address the lack of confidence in electoral
processes and systems.

Resource fully and operationalise the ZHRC so it can discharge its mandate
before, during and after elections.

Appoint staff to Zec with a view to addressing concerns about alleged
political bias set out in the draft election roadmap.
To address the politicisation of the security services and state

Hold regular National Security Council meetings as the elections draw near
to mitigate disagreement and develop consensus.

Ensure security officials making partisan public statements are censured or

To build a sustainable democratic transition in Zimbabwe
To Jomic
Operationalise additional teams recruited in 2012 to complement existing
teams working with the Operation Committee.
Increase outreach, cooperation and collaboration with civil society and
faith-based organisations.
To preserve and consolidate political coexistence.

This is a summary of the International Crisis Group’s latest report on

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How Zanu PF hangs onto power

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

RECENT arbitrary arrests of prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
and senior officials of the MDC, coupled with sporadic attacks on civilians
and civil society by the state, have been interpreted by some, including
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, as the last kicks of a dying horse.

Opinion by Simukai Tinhu

High-profile lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional
Assembly, a vocal civic organisation when it comes to constitutional and
democracy matters in Zimbabwe, also echoed the same sentiments — explaining
such behaviour as indicative that Zanu PF was panicking it might lose the

Lost among all this are two unmistakable facts: first, violence and
intimidation of civilians is part of the party’s electoral strategy; second,
Zanu PF has been the subject of such predictions before, and to date they
have been proved wrong.

Indeed, in the run-up to the 2002 and 2008 elections, with mounting national
debt, food shortages, disease outbreaks, rampant unemployment, and high
levels of inflation, many wrote off the party.

However, Zanu PF has proved to be a survivor, and is currently calling the
shots in a shaky coalition government with the two MDC formations.

Key considerations
There is no doubt that Zanu PF has depended on heavily managed and scripted
elections to retain power. Alongside manipulation of elections, intimidation
and violence have also been at the heart of this strategy.

Indeed, a cursory look at the post-independence elections shows that these
have been characterised by violence. In the run-up to the 1985 parliamentary
elections, the Zanu PF government unleashed the infamous Gukurahundi
campaign against supporters of PF Zapu, resulting in the deaths of

In 1990, Zimbabwe Unity Movement, a party that provided a formidable
challenge, also faced widespread intimidation and violence. In the 1996
elections, the two main opposition parties, Abel Muzorewa’s United Parties
and Ndabaningi Sithole’s Zanu-Ndonga, withdrew from the elections citing
irregularities and intimidation of their supporters.

When the MDC emerged in 1999 and seemed to have a genuine chance of
unseating Zanu PF, President Robert Mugabe’s party again resorted to
physical force. Even today the use of coercion and the threat of violence
remain critical for Zanu PF’s strategy, and it should not come as a surprise
if this year’s elections are shrouded in violence, intimidation and

The party has also been aided by an unequal political playing field. For
example, the media in Zimbabwe has always been muzzled. There are very few
privately–owned newspapers and radio stations.

This has meant that public information remains under the firm grip of Zanu
PF, which uses state–owned media to manipulate public opinion in its favour,
while using hate speech and other inflammatory language against the

Repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act have been used to severely curtail basic rights through
vague defamation clauses, and draconian penalties. Certainly, Zanu PF treats
an unequal political playing field as something that cannot be changed. For
example, to date, they have showed total disregard to calls by the
opposition, civil society, regional bodies such as the African Union and the
international community to change it so that other political players have
room to manoeuvre.
Zanu PF has had an overwhelming share of Zimbabwe’s most talented
politicians, including figures such as Patrick Chinamasa, Jonathan Moyo and
Herbert Murerwa.

This vanguard of elite politicians, who masterminded the party’s
stranglehold on Zimbabwean politics since the 1980s, are not only street
smart and tough, intelligent and well-read, but also ruthless.

Most crucially, they have perfected the art of staying in power. It is this
obsession with power that blinds them to any regard for competitive
politics, and which also explains the party’s aversion to democracy.

Mugabe’s party also has an ideology which appears to resonate with a
staunchly anti-Western and nationalistic section of Zimbabwean society. In
fact, it could be argued that Zanu PF is a political party that has a
“permanent” support base of mostly rural peasants who have consistently
voted for them since Independence.

Though the MDC has started to make some inroads, historically, it has been
difficult for the opposition to claim significant support from this group.
Zanu PF has not only managed to secure support from this group through
nationalist ideology, but it has also used propaganda.

For example, it has repeatedly played the fear card of a return to “white
rule” via the MDC, portraying the opposition as conniving with foreigners to
steal Zimbabwe’s resources.

One of the less remarked on reasons for Zanu PF’s long stay in power is its
interpretation and reinterpretation of history. Mugabe’s party understands
the power of “useful history” — the application of it as a propaganda tool,
and as a social and political organising force that can help shape national

Zanu PF has manufactured and popularised many histories in order to justify
both its policies such as land reform and indigenisation and also the party’s
repressive rule.

History has been used to reinforce the centrality of Zanu PF in Zimbabwean
politics and also the eternal nature of the “revolutionary party” versus the
ephemeral nature of other parties that have come and gone. While Mugabe’s
own interpretations of national history might be difficult for
non-Zimbabweans to appreciate, they do resonate with certain sections of
Zimbabwean society.

Elite cohesion as survival tool
Zanu PF’s greatest strength has, however, been its elite’s cohesion. There
would be genuine grounds for optimism for the opposition if the party was to
split or a significant number of party stalwarts were to leave. The unity of
the party is the best barometer for Zanu PF staying in power, and no
strategy can seriously purport to have the ability to unseat it if it does
not consider undermining its unity.

What explains this high party elite cohesion? First, is what might be called
“corrupt law practice”. This “colapractice” (a portmanteau for corrupt law
practice) system is simple; in return for elites’ loyalty to the party, the
government tolerates corrupt activities by its party officials.

However, the government closely documents this corruption, building evidence
that can be used against elite officials, particularly those that the party
cannot afford to leave or join other parties.

If any of these party members undermine party cohesion by, for example,
threatening to form a breakaway or join a rival party, compromising
information is passed to the legal system led by a partisan

The disobedient party member either faces prison, full-scale seizure of
their wealth or both. Zanu PF has turned this strategy against a number of
party elites such as James Makamba, Chris Kuruneri, and Phillip Chiyangwa,
among many.

The very nature of Zanu PF’s corrupt political culture has also ensured its
survival. The party is dominated by wealthy individuals who have mines, vast
tracts of land and who also own or control local banks. Together, these
individuals practise a distinctive form of patronage politics that has been
used to maintain the party’s unity.

Public offices are often used by its elites to gain access to state
resources, which are then shared among party elites to retain their loyalty
to the party. The resources are also used to lure talented members of the
intelligentsia and powerful civil society leaders to the party.

The West, by publicly backing the opposition MDC, may have done an injustice
to the very democratic ideals that they seek. Indeed, they have been an
asset to Mugabe in terms of boosting his core supporters’ hostility towards
perceived attempts to micro-manage Zimbabwean politics.

Washington and Brussels’ missteps afforded Zanu PF the perfect invitation to
take on the MDC as a front for neo-imperialism. In addition, their
relentless criticism and lack of engagement with Mugabe’s party gave endless
fodder for stoking nationalism and anti-Western rhetoric.

Zanu PF’s internal problems
Is an attempt to unseat Zanu PF from power a case of pushing water uphill?
No. Once Mugabe is gone, all bets are off. The 89-year-old leader’s presence
has neutered any potential split in the party.

The octogenarian leader will either expire or resign before the end of the
first term (should he win the upcoming elections). The fact that Zanu PF
fought so hard for a provision in the new constitution which says that
should a president retire or fail to continue in office for any reason,
there would be no fresh elections, but the governing political party would
choose whom to thrust to the top post.

This is the clearest indication yet that Mugabe intends to hand over power
to one of the party members. Rumour has it that power struggles within the
party have already started in earnest. But who are the contenders?

The choice of successor, if left to Mugabe, will certainly be someone
capable of preserving party unity and also determined to carry forward his
policies, land reform and economic indigenisation. The man who appears to
fit the bill is Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has long been
regarded as the president’s blue-eyed boy.

Having been minister of security, justice and defence, he is not only an
experienced administrator, but probably more than anyone else, has helped
build and maintain Mugabe’s post-Independence political order.

However, not only does Mnangagwa lack the charisma of his mentor, he also
combines the worst instincts of narrowly focused patronage with a ruthless
authoritarian temperament. He is rumoured to be one of the country’s richest
people, and has been accused of being the man behind the Gukurahundi
atrocities committed against civilians in Matabeleland in the early 1980s.

In addition, the succession of Mnangagwa will be of the same generation.
Rightly so, having been in cabinet since 1980, Mnangagwa exudes an
atmosphere of elderly exhaustion.

The other contender is the current Vice-President Joice Mujuru. However,
with the death of her husband, retired army commander Solomon Mujuru in
2011, who was known as a king-maker in Zanu PF’s internal politics, Mujuru’s
faction has been gravely weakened.

A surprise entry in the battle has been the emergence of Saviour Kasukuwere,
the young and energetic Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment who has been the point-man in Mugabe’s drive to “indigenise”
foreign-owned companies. The burly, former intelligence officer is by far
the underdog.

Kasukuwere’s faction is made mainly of young apparatchiks languishing in the
political wilderness; emerging on the national scene might prove difficult.
His camp lacks the patronage networks of the traditional factions of
Mnangagwa and Mujuru that draw party bigwigs and turn out the vote.

Some believe that if Mugabe were to lose the election, security chiefs (who
have a symbiotic relationship with Zanu PF) would take over. This is
unlikely for two reasons: first, the army is very much aware that its
stock-in-public image is extremely poor.

Despite explicit threats, I doubt if they have the stomach for experimenting
with actual governance. Second, the army will also struggle to project
legitimacy across Africa. Diplomatic assault by international leaders,
particularly from Sadc, would be too much for them to withstand.

What if Zanu PF loses?
Having been encouraged by the peaceful referendum vote, many are beginning
to see a scenario where Zanu PF voluntarily hands over power in the event of
its defeat. This is a reckless assumption. Past elections have shown that
the party is distinctly hostile to competitive politics, and as such, it
would be naive to think that Zanu PF is conducting elections out of
goodwill, with the ultimate intention of handing over power to the

The Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is considered one of the brains
behind the party’s survival strategies, expressed Zanu PF sentiments when he
was recently asked on BBC’s Hard Talk programme if the party was prepared to
voluntarily surrender power if it were to lose the elections.

Chinamasa’s response was that he would campaign for Zanu PF to win, and did
not see his party losing. Such Pollyanna intransigence not only reflects
Zanu PF’s resolve not to give up power, but to retain it at all costs.

Tinhu is a University of Cambridge graduate with an Mphil in African

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Leaders should now embrace constitutionalism

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

PARLIAMENT on Wednesday passed, with amendments, the Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill paving way for President Robert Mugabe to
assent to it before it is gazetted into law.

Candid Comment with Dingilizwe Ntuli

While a new constitution is desirable, on its own, the document will not
change the political culture and how the country is governed to ensure
development and progress.

A national constitution is basically a set of fundamental principles,
written or unwritten in a consolidated form, or established precedents
according to which a state is run. It was interesting to see MPs and
senators in a euphoric mood amid celebrations which appeared on the surface
to mark the birth of a new country.

Zanu PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo’s reaction was: “This is a
historic day for our liberated and sovereign state of Zimbabwe. We are about
to seal the authoring of a new supreme law of the land. This Constitutional
Bill is a product from the people of this great land … it is home-grown and
smells of no foreign ingredients.”

Even after the new draft constitution has been gazetted, not much is likely
to change unless our rulers begin to embrace constitutionalism, govern in
strict adherence to the constitution and laws of the country and adopt a new
political culture in rejection of arbitrary and repressive rule, together
with all its excesses and abuses.

Embracing constitutionalism is important for Zimbabwe to move ahead. Having
a new constitution without embracing constitutionalism will not help

In its most basic form, constitutionalism is a complex of ideas, attitudes
and patterns of behaviour elaborating the principle that the authority of
government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law — a

So is Khaya Moyo and his Zanu PF colleagues now prepared not just to adopt a
new constitution, but embrace constitutionalism and inherently implied

It must also be said the new constitution alone will not be a lightning rod
to freedom and prosperity in Zimbabwe, as Khaya Moyo and his comrades would
like us to believe. The problem in this country has never been about the
constitution and laws per se, but the repressive political culture and
leaders who violate the constitution and laws with impunity.

Apart from their disregard for the constitution, Zimbabwean leaders have
also been applying laws selectively ensuring authoritarianism and attendant
problems, including violation of the rule of law.
With that mentality, Zanu PF used its power to manipulate the constitution
and laws, while circumventing or ignoring court orders.

If that did not help, judges and lawyers have been targeted in a bid to
secure the party’s political agenda and objectives.

As a result, the constitution and its values, such as freedom of expression,
speech or assembly, have been reduced to an abstraction.
So, will the new constitution change all this? Will Zanu PF respect the rule
of law?

Will the harassment and arrest of political and human rights activists,
civil society leaders and journalists end? Will corruption and plunder of
public resources stop? Will the new constitution set Zimbabwe on a path to
democracy and economic recovery?

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Zim paying the price for ‘successful’ land seizures

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

We were struck by the Herald’s claim that President Robert Mugabe should be
commended for securing food supplies from Zambia and thus averting

By The MuckRaker

Last week Zimbabwe and Zambia signed a government-to-government agreement
for Zimbabwe to import 150 000 tonnes of maize from Zambia. Vice-President
Guy Scott signed for Zambia.

Only a government with the people at heart could propose such an
arrangement, we were told. If Tendai Biti had been in charge of the deal,
the grain would have been sourced by private companies, the Herald claimed.

“The involvement of the government will ensure the grain is distributed to
all deserving people fairly without discrimination on party political

Really, is that the case? We were under the impression that the president’s
followers were claiming that he was the fountain of plenty!

“It is clear that the MDC-T wanted to use hunger as a campaign tool in
harmonised elections …” the Herald said in a case of turning reality on its

But we are missing something important here. Why was Zimbabwe importing food
in the first place? Did we not use to be a food exporter? And where are
those farmers now? Many of them are in Zambia producing not only for the
Zambian home market, but for exports as well to countries that cannot feed

Zimbabwe is paying for its “successful” land seizures. And the President of
Malawi says she would like to emulate Zimbabwe’s example. A case of the
blind leading the blind! And you can bet your bottom dollar the Zambians are
enjoying a case of schadenfreude!
What of the others?

Among the president’s funny claims were his remarks in Mutare that he would
win a beauty contest if he competed against Morgan Tsvangirai. His party
lost seats in Manicaland in 2008 because at 84 (then) he was showing
wrinkles consistent with his age, Mugabe said.

He had his audience in stitches with that one, the Herald told us.
Then there was the appeal to his subordinates to behave themselves. He was
referring to the number of divorces in the upper ranks of the leadership. We
felt there were others whose record was less than glowing who he didn’t
mention. Not sure why?
Schools galore

A reader has written to complain about unauthorised buildings going up in
Marlborough. This follows Muckraker’s column a few weeks ago (“Just say No”)
mentioning what looked like blanket approval to change of use in certain
areas by the city planning department.

Creches and education institutions seem to be mushrooming everywhere, we

“We have the existing Marlborough Junior and High School in our vicinity,”
our correspondent says. “Four houses down from us is Angels Nursery School.
Across the road from us is Happy Primary School which used to be a nursery
school, but has now expanded and become a primary school.

“No notice of their intention has ever been given to us or the fact that
they are advertising on their sign outside that they are registered to offer
Cambridge International Education Programmes and Qualifications which means
they are intending to bring in high school children.

Added to this, Happy Primary School has built a double storey classroom
block which looks straight into our yard.

No notice of their intentions has ever been given to us, it has taken away
all our privacy. We are going to have children hanging out of windows all
day long. It is just not fair to ourselves as residents and has now brought
the value of our property down because of this development.

“The road in front of our driveway is totally potholed due to all the
traffic including a big school bus and three smaller school buses dropping
children off at Happy Primary School and the lorries bringing in the
materials to build all their new extensions.

“I could go on and on and feel quite desperate at this stage as it seems as
though there are people just doing what they want, most probably because
they have people of influence behind them.”
Possible deadlock

Muckraker is keen to hear from the country’s leading parties what steps they
have taken to deal with a possible deadlock in the wake of elections.

All the evidence suggests that no one party will secure a majority in either
the presidential or parliamentary polls.

The MDC-T threw away its advantage by poor leadership about a year ago. Its
leaders didn’t understand what was required to win an election. It woke up
late in the day to the fact that its opponents were not playing by the book
in regard to the GPA. And to this day the MDC-T has not spelt out its
commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

Also absent are the media reforms to which the GPA commits us. What, for
instance, is Tafataona Mahoso doing as CEO of the Zimbabwe Media Commission
and chair of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe? What is the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act still doing on our statute books?

The truth of the matter of course is that Zanu PF doesn’t subscribe to the
basic freedoms that underline a democratic society. But in that situation,
it is fundamental for the challengers to tell the country what they stand

Instead, we have been treated to a policy of complacency with Morgan
Tsvangirai talking about accommodation and motorcades. His party has allowed
Zanu PF to get away with sweeping the GPA requirement for a land audit under
the carpet. So the greedy post-liberation aristocracy keep their ill-gotten

Flawed character

However, even the mildest criticism of President Mugabe has led to civic and
student leaders being incarcerated, something Sadc should care about. This
is not what a democratic society is about.

Editors at this newspaper were detained for suggesting that MDC-T officials
had discussed post-election arrangements with army officers, again something
that Sadc, as guarantors of the GPA, should be concerned with.

What all this illustrates is the flawed character of the ancien régime and
MDC-T’s response to it.

Zimbabwe is not the reformed society political leaders promised in the GPA.
And as a result, the election will instead reflect that democratic deficit.

Weird parties

Meanwhile, Muckraker has enjoyed looking at the weird political parties that
have suddenly emerged on the front page of the Herald.
Unsurprisingly, they all seem to say they want an end to the GPA and early

Muckraker’s favourites are the Zimbabwe Organised Open Political Party and
the Multi-Racial Open Party Christian Democracy. Sounds like something out
of the 70s.

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Dangers of indigenisation on banks

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

FOLLOWING on the piece I wrote last week in which I tried to explain why we
should proceed with caution to secure shareholdings in the few foreign banks
we have in the country, this installment seeks to draw the attention of
stakeholders to the inadvertent dangers that could befall our economy at
this critical juncture if we choose to throw caution to the wind.

Opinion with Gideon

The President’s advice
It has been erroneously suggested in some publications this week that
President Robert Mugabe has not given us direction on this important matter.

During his 89th birthday interview with ZBC’s Tarzan Mandizvidza, the
journalist asked the president to comment on what he termed “public spat
between officials of the same government over the issue of indigenisation
and economic empowerment”, singling out differences over application of this
policy to financial institutions and the response was:

“Well, I suppose it is the application, how do we apply that principle
(51/49%) of indigenisation and empowerment? When it comes to natural
resources, that is very clear.

“When it comes now to areas of technology, in fact, the technology is
borrowed, then you cannot apply the same principle (51/49) because the
resource is not yours … Those who have brought the resource here own that
resource. What you can say is you are participating in that resource … and
this is a resource that is coming into the country and for that one, you can
go 50/50 or you can agree on a ratio which is sustainable and equitable. It
is not in every case that we must apply the 51/49.”

Now, what more clarity and guidance do we want? My interpretation here is
that the 51/49 policy is not cast in concrete. Where it is necessary and
pragmatic that we vary that approach through negotiation, we must not be
afraid to negotiate and do so in a fair and sustainable way.

On February 23, at the national Heroes Acre during the burial of the late
ambassador John Mayowe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru echoed the same

She called on the nation to appreciate that the concepts of indigenisation
and economic empowerment were not mutually exclusive and that there is need
to “be practical and flexible enough to know when to emphasise one or the
other without compromising the broad thrust of the revolutionary initiative”.
Again interpreted simply, this means a one-size-fits-all approach to
different sectors of the economy needs re-thinking.

Back to the basics
Elementary commerce tells us that production is a function of four factors,
namely land, (including all in or under it), entrepreneurship, (the desire
to take calculated risks in anticipation of profits), labour (the human
resources factor) and capital (technology and financial resources). All
other components are variations of the same thing but in substance, nothing
has changed.

The significance of this reality is to remind stakeholders that the
legitimate battle for and subsequent acquisition and indigenisation of our
land is fundamentally different in character, historical significance and
justification from our efforts to indigenise capital, technology, or
entrepreneurship, which is what the banking sector is.

Indeed, as we are already doing, we should open up the sector to many new
players and we are on record calling on citizens with appetite for banking
business to come forward to get new banking licences. The idea is to grow
the cake, not to shrink it.

Principally, for example, whatever we decide to do with our land and other
land based resources such as our mineral heritage, agriculture and tourism
will not result in their physical relocation to another part of the world.

Indeed, the Great Dyke will not go anywhere but remain where it is until us,
as Zimbabweans, decide on how we are going to exploit what is under it. The
same applies to our land, and Victoria Falls, in case of tourism.

These resources were God-given within the geographical perimeters of our
motherland and sons and daughters of Zimbabwe went to war and some perished
in their just cause and quest to have these resources back into the hands of
their rightful owners as our forefathers were violently and brutally

The same cannot, however, be said regarding entrepreneurship, technology,
and financial capital. These factors can come and go where conditions are
more favourable for them to thrive from one location to another, hence the
need to treat them with caution and not as if we are dealing with land,
minerals and other natural resources.

Where there is capital flight or technology withdrawal, the impact can be
decisively negative not only at the micro levels of the individual companies
but also at the macro levels of the economy.

It has been observed a country’s economic environment and attractiveness to
potential investors is, among other factors, shaped by adherence to the
global laws, norms and ethos relating to resources in a country including
quality of labour, life and infrastructure. There should be respect for
property rights, including trademarks, patents and intellectual property,
international franchise and other agreements such as bilateral investment
protection agreements and proximity to markets and general ease of doing

A country’s economic environment is, therefore, a delicate circle of
cooperative factors which can only be ignored by those who mistakenly
believe and forget that the world has become a global village which frowns
upon certain actions beyond what is regarded as historically justifiable.

Concept of brand equity
Financial institutions represent a combination of capital (financial and
technological), entrepreneurship, brand equity and goodwill developed over
years of consistent quality service and reliability.

If we are to take, for instance, the signage of an international bank
without saying anything to the market, and put it onto a building of a
struggling indigenous bank today, without question, that indigenous bank
will swell with deposits.

The opposite will be the case if, for instance, we take down the signage of
Museyamwa or Chikonamombe (indigenous) struggling banks and put it on the
building of an international bank. In no time, we will witness a near-run on
that bank. Such is the power of brands, reputation, networks and perceptions
that need to be managed properly as we implement policy.

Alternatively, take down the Coca-Cola signage along Seke Road in Harare and
replace it with Museyamwa or Chikonamombe logos, you will have a different
market reaction to the product coming out of that bottling plant even when
there has been no change in formula, quality, price or management.

Such is the need for structured, measured and sober approaches that must be
adopted in acquiring stakes in capital, technology and
entrepreneurship-intensive companies and sectors. A one-size-fits-all or a
jambanja approach to indigenisation is ill-advised and inappropriate,
especially in the banking sector.

We have commonalities
It is also a fact that where there is perceived attacks on or against
capital or, entrepreneurial or perceived attacks on intellectual property,
brands, franchises and security of investments, the world is, because of
globalisation, getting more united against such practices as countries
believe that an attack on one is an attack on them all because of the common
characteristics of these factors of production.

Our own friends, the Chinese, Russians, Malaysians, South Africans, Zambians
and others always advise us against unstructured interventions.

Systemic importance
Citizens and nations of the world are now invested all over through a web of
alliances and it is sometimes difficult to clearly unravel whose interests
one is hurting when you tamper with financial institutions.

Due to their size, international connectedness and complexity of the
services they provide to the local economy, international banks in Zimbabwe
are of systemic importance to the economy and any disruption in their
operations, intended or otherwise, could cascade into the entire sector with
dire consequences for the economy, already reeling under serious liquidity

Recent events in Europe and elsewhere are full of cases where countries have
been brought down to their knees, riots erupted and governments changed
overnight as a result of widespread financial dislocations and chaos arising
from the failure of just one large bank.

This is because banking institutions sit at the nerve centre of the economy
and as was said by the chairman of the Bank of Credit and Commerce
International investigating team in 1992:

“The failure of any substantial company is likely to cause loss, and often
hardship, to creditors, employees and shareholders. But when the company is
a bank these results are magnified because banks deal in other people’s
money and the creditors will include the bank’s depositors and customers,
who may lose almost everything they have.”

Lurking potential dangers
The knock-on effects of a rusty, unstructured and one-size-fits-all approach
to the indigenisation of foreign owned banks are real.
A significant number of the foreign-owned banks may not accept having their
names or brands attached to something they have no control over at
managerial and shareholder levels.

Accordingly, they will either choose to disinvest or remove their logos from
the risks involved with associating their brand or names without power to
influence business methods, decisions and direction of the bank.

I am aware some among us couldn’t care less if they go but as governor, with
specific responsibilities to the sector, I care a lot.
There will be a significant down-grading of the rating of the local out-fit
with the result that lines of credit, deposits, and other facilities
currently being provided from a common pool of head-office resources will be
reduced to the detriment of the local customers and economy. It takes time
for a bank to rebuild lost confidence and trust.

There is a risk of drying up external lines of credit which are currently
benefitting the country, especially in the critical tobacco and cotton

There is also a danger of needlessly attracting hostile sanctions on our
financial sector as reckless and forced indigenisation of the financial
sector can lead to unintended consequences. The land reform programme taught
us how our detractors can turn bilateral disputes into international

There is a further risk of financial isolation coming through disconnection
from global payment platforms such as the Society for Worldwide Interbank
Financial Telecoms (Swift), which is the gateway for all of the country’s
foreign payments. Once the country is off Swift, even the local payment
system which also runs on the Swift platform will collapse with far-reaching
and serious consequences for the economy.

The Swift network is the channel through which all financial communications
between banks are transmitted and disconnection from such a platform is
equivalent to a wholesale embargo on all economic transactions, including
critical transactions such as those involving medical, food, fuel and other
such critical imports .

Under an environment of isolation, local banks would not be able to import
cash and neither would they be able to repatriate. Local banks may actually
see their correspondent bank relationships suspended or terminated. This is
even more dangerous given our current situation where we do not have our own
currency to fall back on.

Financial sanctions would affect international trade and lead to low foreign
exchange generation, worsening the country’s balance of payments position.

Disruption of the activities of the few international banks we have in the
country would have a significant effect in disturbing the conduits through
which diaspora remittances are channelled further worsening our already
precarious market liquidity situation.

Reaction of our friends
Protection of property and intellectual rights, symbols and other forms of
capital, entrepreneurial and technological ownership and inventions is
something we cannot as Zimbabweans ignore or go against without risking
international punishment, including from our “friends” who are fast becoming
more like everybody else.

A case in point is where one of our oil-supplier friends at country level in
Africa, upon learning that Standard Chartered Bank was being targeted for
immediate compliance with indigenisation, instructed that all their money (a
10-figure amount) which was in another foreign-owned bank be repatriated to
their country immediately fearing their bank would be next. Such is what we
call the contagion-effect.

It took a lot of effort to persuade and assure the authorities in that
friendly country that their money was still safe. The liquidity crisis and
inter-bank disruptions which would have followed as a result of that single
withdrawal would have caused a deep crisis and a negation of our efforts as
a country to raise funds for such critical programmes as elections, food
imports and civil servants pay, among others.

It is a chilling thought to imagine what would happen if we fail to pay our
civil service, including law enforcement agents and security forces.

Proper timing is also very important when it comes to policy implementation
because where the sequencing is wrong, uncoordinated and heavy-handed the
results are often the opposite of the expected.

We do not have the luxury or security of our own currency to fall back on in
the event of trouble; unemployment at record levels; threatening shortages
of food, fragile balance of payments position, increasing company closures;
low foreign direct investment inflows and insufficient exports to boost the
country’s liquidity position.

These could be some of the catastrophic consequences of an unstructured
indigenisation intervention which is not strategic, especially in the
financial sector outside the framework suggested by the president.
Ultimately, real indigenisation will come when Zimbabweans form and own
their companies 100% across all sectors of the economy.

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Zim’s actual GDP distorted by corruption

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

The size of any economy, its growth or shrinkage, is generally determined by
evaluation of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Column by Eric Bloch

The Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) regularly measures Zimbabwe’s GDP,
and assiduously strives to determine it as accurately as reasonably

It commendably does the same with many other statistics which are of
significance to aid government in coming up with policy determinations.

The same figures are critical to the private sector in general, and the
financial, commercial and industrial sectors in particular.

These statistics cover a significant range of economic indicators, including
the Consumer Price Index (CPI), from which inflation data is determined, the
Poverty Datum Line (PDL), Food Datum Line (FDL), the number of people
employed and unemployed, and population data, amongst others.

Although Zimstat seeks to identify relevant facts and figures pertaining to
GDP, certain facets of the Zimbabwean economy are difficult to determine,
and are not included in the GDP. Among the foremost of such unidentifiable,
non-quantifiable components is corruption; for there is no reliable source
from which the magnitude and extent of this phenomenon can be ascertained.

The fact is, tragically, that so many in both the public and private sectors
are engaged in corrupt practices.

And yet it is sadly uncontestable that corruption is exceptionally
pronounced in Zimbabwe. While almost all Zimbabweans were inherently honest,
and corruption was anathema to them, that has markedly changed over the many
years of hardships, poverty and suffering that have afflicted a vast
majority of the populace.

Even the most honest ended up resorting to dishonest practices when their
children were not only crying from hunger, but were dying from hunger!

It is not disputable that widespread corruption does exist in both the
public and the private sectors. It is apparent that many (albeit not all)
politicians have progressively enriched themselves from the time they first
engaged in the political sphere.

That most of them had very limited resources when their political lives
began is well-known, but they now possess one or more upmarket houses,
numerous motor vehicles, and a vast and diverse range of private sector
investments (often including investment beyond Zimbabwe’s borders).

This is clearly also emulated by numerous civil servants, be they permanent
secretaries or PAs to ministers, or others further down the public service

Similar levels of corruption prevail throughout most of the private sector,
from senior management down to general labourers, be they sweepers or

Depending on the levels of employment, the nature of the corruption is
varied, with some accepting bribes to ensure contract awards while others
misappropriate and falsely use invoice and receipt books, and the like.

Many resort to unauthorised usage of employer-owned assets, such as motor
vehicles, even to the extent of using such vehicles as pirate taxis. And the
magnitude of employee perpetrated misappropriation and theft of monies and
goods is extensive, ranging from minor items such as stationery, catering
inputs, cleaning materials, and the like, to theft of stocks and other

But, save to the extent that such corrupt practices are only quantifiable if
criminal proceedings are brought against the perpetrators, there is no
authoritative data that can be obtained as to the quantum of the
corruption-based activities which, to all intents and purposes have become a
key element of the Zimbabwean economy, and yet cannot be included in GDP

Another area of economic activity which has grown over many years of
embattled economic circumstances, primarily occasioned by negative
government policies and by gross disregard for economic needs on the part of
the political hierarchy, is that which is known as the informal sector.

The intensification of formal sector unemployment over past years has been a
major source of the increasing poverty that is characteristic of Zimbabwe.
So too was the stupendous, record-breaking hyperinflation that prevailed in

Although impressively and effectively halted in 2009 upon adoption of
foreign currencies, it was not reversed. Thus the enormously high prices of
goods and services created by that hyperinflation continue to prevail, and
have marginally risen, albeit to a limited extent.

In desperation, thousands have resorted to generating income for themselves
in the informal sector, no matter how limited such income may be.

Some of the informal sector activities are highly unlawful and include
gold-panning, diamond-smuggling, and the like. Other informal sector
operations are very varied, ranging from the manufacture and sale of goods
such as furniture and household accessories, repair of footwear, and much
else. Others are engaged in simple trading or in the rendition of services
such as plumbing, electrical work, operation of unlicensed transport
services, currency-dealing, and much else.

Almost all of such income-generating activities are unlawful, as they do not
conform to licensing laws, health and other regulations. Many are not
registered with and do not submit tax returns to, the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority. Further, their transactions are not formally recorded and hence
are not included in the calculation of GDP.

Yet a further field of quasi-economic activity that is not-documented or
reported on, and hence not an element of the calculated GDP, is the
“transfer-pricing” engaged in by some importers and exporters, where
invoices and other relevant documents are falsified, with the intent of
unlawfully externalising funds and minimising taxable income. Similarly,
there are many who deliberately understate their cash sales revenues, again
with intent of avoiding tax.

It can similarly be argued that the activities of touts, such as those at
border posts, at Zesa offices (issuing pre-paid metre units), passport
offices and the like, who facilitate “queue-jumping” by the public, are
engaged in an economic activity, for they charge fees for their services.

But, as with other informal sector operations, there is no recording of
their revenues by Zimstat, nor rendition of tax returns. Hence these
revenues also fail to be included in GDP.

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Review voter registration requirements

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) commends government efforts aimed at
enfranchising the majority of Zimbabweans as the nation approaches crucial
elections in 2013.

Report by The Election Resource Center

Nine days after the state-supported decentralisation of voter and civil
registration started, the ERC has however observed some administrative
anomalies which have the potential to undermine the otherwise necessary
process of registering prospective voters.

While the process is continuing in some of the areas, the outreach is
evidently yet to be witnessed in most electoral districts.

In places which the mobile registration teams have visited, a number of
potential voters remain disenfranchised due to a myriad of challenges
ranging from lack of publicity, inadequate time allocation, the cost of
registration, limited civil registration services and difficulties in
acquiring necessary documents like proof of residence.

The foregoing challenges have the inevitable effect of excluding a
significant number of eligible voters from the imminent general elections.

The process has also been affected by reports that there is disproportionate
distribution of the mobile voter registration teams throughout the country’s
provinces, with observations that some provinces, with a high contribution
to the national population have fewer mobile registration centres.

Yet some with a low contribution to the national population have a high
number of centres.

The ERC therefore calls upon the electoral authorities to immediately attend
to the emerging challenges in order to enable all eligible voters to either
register as such or inspect details of their registration in the country’s
voter register.

The ERC is monitoring the mobile voter registration process, which started
on April 29 and initially expected to finish on May 19. Through its
volunteer networks and first-time voters mobile caravans, which are
monitoring and complementing the process as well as providing information to
the young people on the process throughout the country’s 10 provinces, the
ERC is able to gather reports around the ongoing voter process.

The following are guiding principles for voter registration:

Voter registration framework and processes must be fair and honest, free
from political and other manipulation or intimidation, allow all eligible
persons to register as voters and not allow ineligible persons to register
as voters

Voter registration frameworks and processes should not contain measures that
exclude persons from registration to serve political advantage. For example,
there should be no:
criteria for eligibility to register;
differentiation in resources provided for registration processes;
differentiation in accessibility;
differentiation in assurances for security or safety; or
imposition of additional checks or administrative obstacles that may deny
one the opportunity to register to vote, or make it more difficult to
register to vote for persons assumed to have a certain political tendency.

Voter registration exercises should aim at registering 100% of qualified
persons, including those societal groups that may be less inclined to
register to vote, such as women, youth and those to whom standard
registration processes may be less accessible.

All voter registration information should be recorded accurately and
maintained properly so that the voter lists used for elections are up to
date. This may require implementing systems to check data validity and the
accuracy of data recording, as well as proactive programmes to check that
all data is up to date and to receive advice of and process any necessary

Voter registration processes should be physically and geographically
accessible as well as readily understandable by all persons qualified to
register. Any locations used for voter registration purposes and which
require the public to attend to provide or check information should be:
physically accessible to all — including the elderly and disabled;
open at times that can service all employed, unemployed and rural farm

readily accessible on foot or serviced by regular public transport, and
located within reasonable distance of all eligible voters in its catchment
area — using mobile locations in more sparsely populated areas may assist in
this; and
At a place that does not intimidate potential voters. For example, locating
voter registration centres near offices associated with the ruling party, or
law enforcement/ military agencies may in some instances deter people from

An informed public
Voter registration processes should be clearly explained and widely
publicised to all potential eligible voters as well as to all stakeholder
organisations in the electoral process, such as political parties, the media
and civil society organisations (CSOs).
Transparency in registering voters promotes public trust in the integrity of
voter registration processes and products.
Civil society, particularly through professional and impartial monitoring
and reporting by CSOs, and fair investigation and reporting by the media can
enhance the transparency of voter registration.

Field registration staff and people registering to vote must be assured of
their safety and security. Voters must be able to trust that registering to
vote will not result in their being subjected to consequent discrimination,
intimidation or violence.
Registration staff must be supervised and protected against any action by
outside persons so that they can conduct their work in an honest,
professional and impartial manner.

Voter registration information stored on both paper and electronic formats
must be sufficiently secure to prevent unauthorised access, to protect
against unauthorised alteration or disclosure and to ensure that any legal
requirements for information privacy are met.

Information privacy
In some countries, information privacy is legislated and protected by law.
If not, privacy rights should be included in the framework for voter

Information provided by people directly for the voter registration process
should not be available to any government or private organisation that can
use this information for purposes which could deter people from registering
to vote.

The purpose of voter registration is to allow citizens to exercise their
basic political right to vote; it is not an information gathering exercise
to be shared with other institutions, such as law enforcement authorities or
for commercial interests.

The institution(s) responsible for voter registration must be subject to
accountability mechanisms which ensure that the objectives of voter
registration are achieved and that the principles of voter registration have
been applied. These mechanisms could be internal (such as internal reviews
and audits of the voter registration system, process and data) or external.

External accountability mechanisms for voter registration that could be
applied include:
a process for public review of the voters’ roll;
rights of the public in general and stakeholders in particular to lodge
administrative challenges to errors, omissions and inclusions in the voters’
independent external audits and evaluations;
rights of affected parties to lodge judicial appeals against decisions made
by administrative bodies in relation to the voters’ roll;
access for political party and independent observers to observe all voter
registration processes, their right to lodge complaints about any
irregularities and to have these resolved effectively; and
public reporting and reporting to parliament by the EMB on the extent to
which it has met its voter registration objectives

Political parties and the public need to believe that voter registration has
been conducted with integrity, equity, accuracy and effectiveness.

Transparency measures and the provision of regular and accurate information
on voter registration can promote public credibility in a well-implemented
registration process, and can also provide knowledge to improve less
well-implemented processes.

Stakeholder participation
Stakeholders must be informed regularly and their views considered both at
the decision-making phase and during the conduct of a voter registration
exercise. This will increase stakeholders’ support and trust of the overall
process and its product — the voters’ roll.

Primary stakeholders are directly affected by the voter registration process
or its outcome. Included in this category are citizens who are eligible to
register, the registration authority, political parties and candidates,
executive government, legislatures, EMB staff, contractors, electoral
dispute resolution and supervisory bodies, the media, observers and
monitors, CSOs, donors and assistance agencies, and suppliers and vendors.

Secondary stakeholders have an interest, but are not directly affected by
the exercise. Included in this category are the general public, academia,
international or regional electoral networks and research institutes.

Key findings
Based on the above principles, the ERC has made a preliminary assessment of
the first seven days of the mobile voter registration process. The findings
are as follows:
Some registration centres opened late: The general situation is that fewer
registration teams were deployed on April 29, with the majority of districts
reportedly starting on days later that the official date.

Lack of publicity: The mobile registration process is lacking in awareness
and publicity around when and where the registration process is to take
place. While there are reported cases of prior notification through selected
traditional leaders, such voter awareness was often devoid of the intricate
details relating to what type of services are being rendered by the mobile

This has resulted in a number of potential voters being turned away because
they would have visited the centres seeking to recover their lost birth
certificates as well, a service which is not being offered by the mobile
registration teams.

The lack of sufficient information and publicity around the process means
the process has the potential of being shadowy to potential voters intending
to register as voters. The potential registrants will not be able to
register because of a lack of information on the whole process.

Inadequate time: Most centres were only opened for a shorter period thereby
failing to meet demand of citizens visiting the centres.
Due to mentioned lack of publicity, people take time to know of the presence
of the mobile teams, by the time they get to know of their presence, the
mobile teams would have moved to another designated centre, a distance away.
Some registration centres are serving more than three wards, which is
leaving the teams overwhelmed as they will not be able to service all
interested people intending to register as voters.

Non-compliance: Some key government institutions, that are supposed to be
complementing and aiding the mobile voter registration teams, seem to be
unaware of their responsibilities and roles.

We have received reports that, for instance, the police in some areas are
not issuing out police reports to potential first-time voters to facilitates
one to get an ID for free. It seems the police are not aware of this
government directive as reports of police in some areas refusing/ not
issuing out police reports to those who need them are being received.

Lack of full services: It has been observed that the mobile voter
registration teams are not providing some services which are important for
one to register. For instance, the teams are not issuing out birth
certificates which are a pre-requisite for one to obtain an ID, itself a
requirement for one to register as a voter.

Population statistics
This section makes chart presentations of the population statistics in the
country as of August 2012, taken from the 2012 population census. We show
the variables of provincial population and the provincial voter population
as of 2008, which variables can be indicative and important in analysing the
implementation of the mobile voter registration exercise.

On May 4, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) published a list of
places, dates and areas to which the mobile registration teams would visit.
Such publication was finally done about six days after the mobile
registration exercise had started, which meant that the citizens were
blacked out on such crucial information and could have prevented many people
who wanted to register from doing the same.

Registration centres findings
Disproportionate distribution of mobile registration teams: Some provinces
which, according to the census figures, have a high contribution to the
national population, have been allocated fewer mobile voter registration
centres. In comparison, some provinces which have a low contribution to the
national population have high allocation of centres.

Urban skirting: Most urban areas like Mutare, Chipinge, Gwanda and Masvingo
have no designated registration centres.

Leave voting, go to school: No registration centres in areas with a high
concentration of youths like colleges and universities. This has greatly
affected areas like Mt Pleasant and Senga in Gweru.

Deception: Some centres were not opened as per published schedule.

Decentralisation must reach at least the polling station level in order to
lessen the travelling distance as well as enable the elderly and disabled to
have easier access to voter registration services.

Mobile teams must provide full services to potential voters as opposed to
limiting the decentralised services to IDs and voter registration only,
without providing birth certificates.

Voter education and publicity must precede the mobile registration teams.
Requirements such as proof of residence need to be reviewed, especially for
urban voters and young voters who find it difficult to produce proof of
residence, for example, in Harare South, there is a concentration of
informal settlements and peole are not able to get proof of residence.

Zec should consider increasing mobile voter registration teams in areas with
a higher population density to avoid disenfranchisement of citizens
intending to register as voters, but are not able due to constraints and
lack of access.

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Polls face litmus test

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

WHILE Zimbabwe is supposedly busy laying the groundwork for credible, free
and fair elections to usher in a post-coalition government, the country’s
muddled mobile voter registration exercise heralds chaotic polls with yet
another disputed outcome.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

The ultimate deliverable of the Global Political Agreement is a peaceful
polls whose result can stand the litmus test of domestic and international
scrutiny, paving the way for a government of the majority’s choice.

Such elections can only be delivered through transparent voter registration
exercise that allows as many eligible citizens as possible, with minimal
hassles, to exercise their inalienable right to universal suffrage.

But if the current voter registration shambles are anything to go by,
another disputed polls seem to be in the offing as the exercise has been a
veritable dog’s breakfast thus far.

As pointed out by the Election Resource Centre, the guiding principles for a
sound voter registration exercise include integrity, comprehensiveness,
accuracy, accessibility, an informed public, transparency, security and

The current Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)-driven exercise does not
meet these principles.

Instead, we have brickbats flying between the major poll stakeholders
including the Finance ministry, Zec, the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office and
major political parties.

Hurdles strewn in the path to a successful registration exercise include
alleged disproportionate distribution of mobile voter registration teams.
The voter registration challenges have been tackled in several cabinet
meetings where they are now a standing agenda item.

Disconcertingly, there appears to be a yawning disconnect between
re-assuring cabinet resolutions over voter registration, and the
implementation of such resolutions by the RG’s Office.

As rightly observed by ERC, the process is lacking in awareness and
publicity pertaining to when and where the registration process is underway,
and what services are being rendered by the mobile teams.

The exercise lacks a holistic approach, as registration teams are, for
instance, not issuing birth certificates which are a pre-requisite for one
to obtain an ID, itself a requirement for one to register as a voter.

Rigging conspiracy theorists have already noted that most urban areas —
strongholds of the MDC — initially had no designated registration centres.
Government must hastily capacitate Zec to make voter registration more

If thousands of would-be voters mainly from the country’s uniformed forces —
whose commanders are openly campaigning for Zanu PF in brazen violation of
the constitution and laws — can easily be registered to vote countrywide,
ordinary citizens must enjoy the same rights.

The bureaucratic bungling and systematic disenfranchisement of potential
voters by the RG’s Office is a recipe for another stolen election, and a
stalled Zimbabwean transition to democracy.

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When will Zim be ready for elections?

May 17, 2013 in Opinion

DR Ibbo Mandaza, a local academic, author and publisher, always has
interesting “theories” on politics, current events and how things are likely
to pan out.

Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Mleya

Besides being an intriguing political operator in his own right, his views
can be enlightening, yet sometimes sound theoretical and far-fetched, if
eccentric, before events prove him right — not all the time, but sometimes.

Among some of his thought-provoking views has been his contention that
perhaps Zimbabwe needs a second government of national unity because it
doesn’t look ready for elections now and transition beyond the current
political stalemate.

In the process, Mandaza also argues the media in particular, and academics
in general, have failed so far to probe behind the political rhetoric so as
to identify and explore the dynamics and realities influencing current

But the strange thing though is that he believes there would be no elections
this year. His main reasons included processes antecedent to the polls and
the Zimbabwe’s leadership succession crisis which cannot be resolved through
elections, but via a “transitional mechanism” until the country is ready for
a meaningful contest.

Mandaza says, first, the time-line for 2013 elections is fading. He also
says aligning some laws to the new constitution will take long.

His other reason is Sadc will remain steadfast in its demands for reforms in
accordance with the agreed roadmap even though the debate on what
constitutes “minimum conditions” for free and fair elections has become
chaotic and even open-ended.

The other issue is Mandaza thinks President Robert Mugabe cannot possibly
reconcile an election agenda in 2013, with all its potential for a bruising
campaign and violence on the one hand, and, on the other, the need to leave
behind a legacy at least acceptable enough to redeem some excesses of his
misrule, while simultaneously bequeathing Zimbabwe a new constitution, a
peaceful transition, economic recovery and a return to the international
community of nations.

Three years ago, Mandaza argued the principals’ forum would have a life of
its own such that Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would end up
comfy with each other. It initially sounded ridiculous, but it later
transpired Tsvangirai apparently forgot “he who sups with the devil needs a
long spoon”!

Now the big question is: Is Zimbabwe ready for elections and when will the
polls be held? Mandaza thinks there would no elections in 2013. Of course,
many think they will be there even if the country may not be ready.

Frankly speaking, Zimbabwe is not ready for elections. As the Global
Political Agreement lurches towards the end, there are continued violations
of the agreement, rejection of the attendant roadmap and reforms.

Besides, there is chaos on critical processes like voter registration and
voters’ roll compilation, showing electoral institutions such as the
Registrar-General’s Office and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission still lack
capacity and credibility. The public media is still viciously partisan.

Further, Zanu PF is also rejecting agreed reforms and is anxious to prevent
scrutiny as shown by the blocking of a UN election needs assessment mission,
a move underscoring continued lack of conditions for peaceful and credible
elections, despite the adoption by parliament of a flawed constitution this

Mugabe and his loyalists are refusing to co-operate with Sadc; they recently
snubbed President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team and are unwilling to accept
Sadc troika representatives appointed to work with Jomic.

Political leaders are not even agreed on election dates. Their parties haven’t
even held primaries.

The military is still interfering in politics; repression remains rife and
violence lingers. In fact, despite relative calm nothing much has changed
since 2008. So at what point will Zimbabwe be ready for elections?

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