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Zuma to tackle Mugabe in SA

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:47

By Dumisani Muleya

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma and his Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) colleagues are tenaciously moving to tackle President
Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe situation at the forthcoming inter-regional
tripartite free trade area summit in Johannesburg next month after he
wriggled off the hook at today’s extraordinary regional meeting in Windhoek.
Following the watershed Sadc troika of the organ on politics, defence and
security summit in Livingstone in April, Mugabe has been furiously lashing
out at regional leaders in public, while at the same time secretly sending
envoys to apologise and plead for support.

Zuma and his Sadc leaders read the riot act to Mugabe in Livingstone and
wanted to deal decisively with him and the Zimbabwe situation today in

However, Zuma failed to make it to the Windhoek summit due to local
government elections in South Africa and other pressing commitments,
diplomatic sources confirmed yesterday.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the MDC-T, and Industry and
Commerce minister Welshman Ncube, the leader of MDC-N, resultantly did not
go to Windhoek since Zuma would not be there and Zimbabwe is not on the

Sources said Zuma and other Sadc leaders now want to hold a focused and
rigorous session on Zimbabwe on the sidelines of the Sadc-Common Market for
East and Southern Africa (Comesa)-East African Community (EAC) Tripartite
Free Trade Area summit in Johannesburg. They said Zuma and his allies –– who
want Mugabe and other GNU leaders to fully implement the GPA and come up
with an elections roadmap before free and fair polls can be held within a
realistic and practical timeframe –– have already started serious lobbying
ahead of the critical meeting.

The Sadc-Comesa-EAC summit will be held in Johannesburg from June 10-12.
Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao yesterday confirmed from Windhoek the
inter-regional grouping summit would be held within the next three weeks but
could not comment on Sadc plans to have a concentrated session on Zimbabwe

“The tripartite summit will be held in Johannesburg on June 10,” Salomao
said without elaborating.

Regional leaders in Namibia will now discuss the report of ministers of
justice and attorney-generals on the controversial Sadc Tribunal –– another
issue infuriating Mugabe –– the principles, guidelines and institutional
framework, the declaration and roadmap towards the establishment of the
grand free trade area between Comesa, EAC and Sadc and progress on the
impact of the global financial crisis on Sadc.

Sources said Zuma also felt it would be “not strategic” and
“counter-productive” to discuss Zimbabwe in a highly-charged Windhoek
atmosphere where issues could be buried under some sludge of rhetoric and

Sources said Zuma told Vice-President John Nkomo last week that he would not
be going to Windhoek. Nkomo was sent by Mugabe to make peace with Zuma and
lobby for support. Nkomo was said to have also met with Botswana President
Ian Khama to try to plead for support and prevent confrontation in Windhoek.
Khama has always dealt with Mugabe directly and ruthlessly.

Fearing Zuma and his allies would finish him off in Windhoek, Mugabe, who
has lost support in the region, also dispatched other top envoys to
different Sadc countries. Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa went to Angola
and Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi travelled to Mozambique to plead for
backing. Mugabe and his officials were involved in frantic lobbying in a bid
to avoid being routed in Windhoek.
Zuma has now come up with new plans to deal with the Zimbabwe problem at the
looming inter-regional summit in Johannesburg, a senior South African
official said last night.

“Zimbabwe is out of the agenda because President Zuma is busy with local
government elections whose full results will only be out this weekend. It
was decided weeks ago that he is not attending,” the official said.
“Besides, there was a feeling here in Pretoria among the president’s
advisors that the atmosphere around the summit has been poisoned and
discussing Zimbabwe there would generate more heat than light.”

But other Sadc diplomats in Windhoek said Zimbabwe would feature prominently
on the sidelines of the Sadc-Comesa-EAC summit after it was removed from the
agenda of today’s Windhoek meeting.

“The Johannesburg encounter on Zimbabwe would be a theatre of fierce
diplomatic battles between the pro-Zuma and pro-Mugabe camps in Sadc,” a
senior Sadc official said.

“Prior to the Livingstone summit, Zuma had rallied key Sadc leaders to
support his position as facilitator on Zimbabwe and regional power-broker.
However, after that Mugabe panicked and initially thought he could reverse
the situation through confrontation,” the official said. “Later, he realised
he needed to use diplomacy if he were to survive in Windhoek.”

Initially Mugabe slammed Sadc leaders for telling him to his face that they
were “disappointed” with his and others’ failure to implement the GPA and
were increasingly becoming “impatient”. This language and other more harsh
pronouncements were contained in the Livingstone communiqué, something
unprecedented in Sadc history where revolutionary solidarity always
prevailed over “frank and honest” dialogue. In Livingstone Sadc leaders said
they had “frank and honest” discussions about Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, through envoys, first approached Sadc ambassadors in Harare last
month in a damage limitation bid after attacking regional leaders and
opening the floodgates for Zanu PF officials and the state media to abuse
Zuma and his allies. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi started the
damage-control mission and was backed by Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba.
Later Nkomo, Mnangagwa, Sekeramyi and others were sent across the region to
do further damage control, apologise and lobby for support.

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Principals in disarray over Mutambara

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:41

By Staff Writer

PRINCIPALS of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are in disarray over the
controversial issue of what to do with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, former leader of the smaller MDC formation, after a series of
events this week which left the leaders worried about the stability of the
Government of National Unity (GNU) if the issue is not resolved soon.

Informed sources said the Mutambara problem erupted in the corridors of
power on Tuesday after Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai tried to
have a briefing with the six GPA negotiators without involving MDC-N leader
Welshman Ncube. Instead of Ncube, Mugabe and Tsvangirai wanted Mutambara in
the meeting. MDC-N negotiators Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Moses
Mzila Ndlovu reacted to this by boycotting the meeting, sabotaging the
briefing and rendering it invalid.

“The problem started when Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara wanted to have a
briefing with the six negotiators on Tuesday after cabinet without inviting
Ncube,” a senior cabinet minister said. “The meeting could not proceed as
planned because Ncube withdrew his negotiators and in terms of the GPA
binding decisions have to be made through consultations by all the three
parties, their leaders and negotiators.”

Sources said prior to that Mugabe and Tsvangirai had on Monday discussed
Mutambara’s status as deputy prime minister in his presence and resolved
that the status quo would be maintained. “The principals on Monday discussed
the issue and decided that court processes must be allowed to take their
course and until a verdict has been made Mutambara should remain as deputy
prime minister,” a source said.

Mutambara, who Ncube and his party accuse of being a Zanu PF surrogate, then
wrote to South African President Jacob Zuma, Sadc facilitator on Zimbabwe,
on Wednesday informing him of the principals’ decision on Monday.

Mutambara also complained in his letter to Zuma that Misihairabwi-Mushonga
and Mzila Ndlovu were trying to use GPA processes to resolve his dispute
with Ncube. He said Ncube should not be allowed to replace him as his
leadership was being challenged in the courts and the MDC-N must not
participate in negotiations.

Sources said Ncube is now expected to write his own letter to Zuma or meet
him to respond to Mutambara’s assertions.
The sources said this issue –– which has created havoc within the GPA and
GNU –– also came up at another meeting between Mugabe, Ncube and
Misihairabwi-Mushonga on Tuesday evening. The two ministers had gone to meet
Mugabe on a number of other government-related issues but found themselves
intensely engaged on the Mutambara dispute.

Mugabe maintained the position of principals on Monday but suggested to
Ncube that he should also meet Tsvangirai to discuss the issue.
Mugabe also said there should be a meeting of party leaders which would
include Tsvangirai and Ncube to try to resolve the issue. Tsvangirai and
Ncube feel deep hostility towards each other since the split of the original
MDC in 2005.

Ncube has previously discussed the issue with Mugabe one-on-one but the
president refused to swear him in citing legal hurdles which the minister,
who is a lawyer, has dismissed as uninformed and irrelevant.

The latest turmoil engulfing principals came after it appeared Ncube was
going to be sworn-in as deputy prime minister next month following
successful secret negotiations involving all major players. –– Staff Writer

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Rights commission to look only at post-2009 abuses

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:15

By Paidamoyo Muzulu and Nqobile Bhebhe

VICTIMS of state-sponsored organised violence and torture prior to and after
Independence have to wait longer for justice because the proposed Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission will only deal with cases that happened after the
formation of the coalition government in 2009.

The victims’ hope for justice was raised by Constitutional Amendment No19
which was passed in January 2009 and saw a Human Rights Commission being
hastily inaugurated without an enabling act to support its function.

Cabinet agreed to the Human Rights Commission Bill but the proposed law
states that the commission would only look into human rights violations
committed after February 2009. That means the liberation war and Gukurahundi
atrocities, the 1990 election violence, the 2000 referendum and
parliamentary election violence, and the 2008 presidential runoff violence
would be conveniently erased from the collectively memory of the country
through this legislation.

Zimbabweans who harboured dreams of justice for abuses unleashed on the
populace during the chaotic and violent land reform programme and the much
maligned Operation Murambatsvina of 2005 have been left disappointed.

Political activists, opposition leaders, civic society and trade unionists
all have long and sad tales on human rights violations. Some were abducted,
tortured, beaten and forced to do despicable things by perpetrators, most of
who are walking scot free.

Political and social analysts concur that the government is not sincere in
its treatment of human rights issues but merely playing to the gallery.

Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition based
in Johannesburg, said: “Such a curtailment of the scope of functions of the
Human Rights Commission shows clearly that those who wield de facto power in
this inclusive government are not sincere about genuine commitment to human
rights respect.”

Mavhinga added that the commission should not be limited by time in its
scope to right the wrongs of human rights abuses committed in the past.

“If the commission is to be relevant at all, it must be left free to examine
any issue that relates to human rights abuses regardless of when those
abuses took place,” he said. “In fact, the most relevant gross human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe that must be investigated for justice and accountability
pre-date the formation of the inclusive government, particularly the 1980s
Gukurahundi atrocities and the widespread 2008 electoral violence that
claimed over 200 lives of mainly MDC supporters.”

Analysts further agree that Zimbabwe does not need a Human Rights Commission
for mere window-dressing, but one that is effective and relevant to the
needs of thousands of victims of abuse.

Lawyers for Human Rights director, Irene Petras, said all human rights
violations should be investigated if the country was to move forward.

“If the commission is not allowed by law to look at other epochs of history,
it means that other ways should be found. The Organ on National Healing
should come up with ways of dealing with violence of the past. It could be a
truth and reconciliation commission, a reconciliation commission or a
special ad hoc commission to look at violations from different periods of

She added that it would be wrong to proscribe crimes and those who breached
certain laws should always be made to account for their actions.

“Crime cannot be proscribed. People should be made to answer through trials
or apologies for their actions,” Petras said.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku believes parliamentarians should
flex their muscles and block such bad laws in accordance with their mandate.

“The proposal is wrong. The law is unjust and MPs have a right to reject
such defective laws,” Madhuku said.

He added that the MDC formations can use their majority to stop the proposed
Bill from the executive.

“The MDC should use their majority to block such a law, particularly because
a majority of their members bore the brunt of the violations. They should
use their majority in the Lower House to stop that piece of legislation like
they did on the election of the Speaker.”

Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo said Zanu PF had tamed the commission by
prescribing a limited jurisdiction to its activities.

“Zanu PF has given itself immunity to atrocities and human right violations
committed since 1980 by saying that the commission would only investigate
cases from February 2009. Zanu PF people should know that they will not be
safe in the next government because certainly they would not be in control.
As Zapu, together with other partners, we want to ensure the human rights
commission is granted a green light to investigate all reported human rights
cases dating back to 1980,” said Moyo.

Effie Ncube, Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda leader concurred with
Moyo saying a special commission should be set up to look into the
Gukurahundi era.

“The Gukurahundi era is a special period in the history of Zimbabwe and the
announcement that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission operations will
exclude the 1980s atrocities is shocking and regrettable. All human rights
defenders should advocate for setting up of a special commission to
interrogate that period.

Omitting that period would only serve to embolden people with propensity for
violence to continue their acts knowing that they would not be prosecuted,”
added Ncube.

Edwin Ndlovu, MDC Bulawayo provincial spokesman said the commission should
be allowed to work in retrospect.

“Attempts to cover up the pre-2009 human rights violations should be
condemned by all democratic Zimbabweans.  If the commission was created to
investigate violations in Zimbabwe, no one should prescribe a timeframe. The
Gukurahundi atrocities, Murambatsvina era, farm invasions and all violence
recorded during elections should be interrogated,” said Ndlovu.

After all is said and done, Zimbabweans repose their faith in their elected
representatives to make sure that justice prevails. Parliament would be
under severe scrutiny all the way until the commission’s Bill is passed or
rejected. The stakes are high after the violations of the last decade.

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‘Security sector reform not regime change’

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:07

By Wongai Zhangazha

THE building of a professional defence force was among the new government’s
top priorities at Independence in 1980.
After successfully waging a protracted guerrilla war, Zanla and Zipra
combatants were integrated into the new Zimbabwe National Army, which also
comprised elements of the Rhodesian army.

The immediate post-Independence defence policy was premised on a number of
fundamental objectives that included securing the nation’s political and
military unity, supporting the “national reconciliation” policy as well as
countering threats of dissidents.

But before long the army was diverted onto the wrong path by then Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, whose quest was to establish one-party

This resulted in his government launching a military campaign by deploying
the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands to “weed
out dissidents”.

Thousands of people were killed in the operation code-named Gukurahundi.

Mugabe has repeatedly refused to apologise for the killing of thousands of
unarmed and defenceless civilians and his only acknowledgement of
Gukurahundi has been to describe it as “a dark chapter” in post-
Independence Zimbabwe’s history.

In 1987 the late Zanu PF whiz kid Edison Zvobgo, who was the Justice
minister, amended the constitution giving Mugabe absolute power.

Parliament and cabinet powers were virtually usurped and the Defence, Home
Affairs, Finance and Foreign Affairs ministries’ important oversight roles
to create effective checks and balances on the security sector were
This led to a shift in the security sector.

While in the 1980s and 1990s the defence forces participated more on
regional collaborative security, with the national army deployed in
Mozambique, Angola and the DRC to help those governments in their fights
against rebel forces the new millennium witnessed a major shift in the
dynamics of Zimbabwe’s defence policy.

After the rejection of the government-sponsored Constitutional Commission’s
draft national constitution, the violent 2000 parliamentary elections and
the chaotic land reform programme, the security sector became openly linked
with Zanu PF.

This was manifested in the March 2002 presidential poll when the then
commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), the late General Vitalis
Zvinavashe and Air Force head Air Marshal Perence Shiri announced that the
armed forces would not support any leader who had not fought in the
liberation war.

Prior to the 2008 harmonised elections, ZDF boss General Constantine
Chiwenga, police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and Prisons Commissioner
Paradzai Zimondi all pledged their support for Zanu PF saying they would
never salute Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Analysts said the declaration not to support any opposition leader by the
security chiefs clearly illustrated that Zimbabwe had essentially become a
military enclosure.

Since 2000 the MDC and human rights activists have accused the police and
soldiers of partisanship and perpetrating abuses against opposition

The security forces are now associated with fear, intimidation, brutality,
torture, politically-motivated murders and lately with greed.
That is why there are widespread calls for it to be reformed.

Contrary to Zanu PF MP for Tsholotsho Jonathan Moyo’s sentiments that
security sector reforms were tantamount to regime change, political analysts
said reforms were a critical component of any democratic transition,
especially when the security sector is fingered in perpetrating violence.
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) calls for an end to the partisan nature
and deficiencies of the security sector in its conduct with those perceived
to be opponents of Zanu PF.

Principals to the GPA agreed to security sector reforms in relation and to
establish a National Security Council to end monopoly of security policy
decision making.

Analysts say reform of the security sector must begin by “curbing the
sweeping powers of the presidency” and creating an Act for the Central
Intelligence Organisation which has been operating without an Act of
parliament but as a department in the presidency.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said: “It needs to be understood that
security sector reform is undertaken when a community is coming from a
situation of conflict, especially where the security sector is being accused
of being partisan and causing some of the conflict. It would be important
then to demobilise those who are considered to be partisan and the security
sector should then be able to defend the nation and not cause conflict.

Maisiri said the security chiefs should be answerable to the National
Security Council as stipulated in the GPA.

“It does not make sense reporting to the president alone. There should be
some accountability and the NSC should be the supreme body,” said Maisiri.
Another analyst said it was disingenuous to equate security sector reform
with regime change adding that the military was blocking the transition to

“I don’t think that the solution is in changing the reporting regulations
for the generals to make them answerable to a minister who then reports to
the president,” he said. “My fear is that civilian authority has severely
been undermined to the point where the security apparatus of the state is
covertly running the affairs of the state.”

Economic justice and governance commentator David Takawira said reforms were
necessary and the top brass had to be retired and replaced by non-partisan

“The solution lies in retiring the current crop of security chiefs and
replacing them with officers whose names have not been tainted by political
interference,” he said. “The security sector reform should not be
misunderstood as removal of leadership only, but the realignment of the
sector to suit the correct and appropriate working frameworks of the sector
itself. It is actually helping the sector transform itself from the vampire
form,” said Takawira.

Executive director of the African Public Policy and Research Institute
Martin Rupiya said Zanu PF was exhibiting a “schizophrenic personality and
approach” to the issue of security sector reform for good reasons.

Rupiya said the country could take the example of Tanzania on how it dealt
with security sector reforms.

“We have a singular example in Sadc of security sector reform to suit a
multiparty democratic environment carried out at the beginning of the 90s by
Tanzania that addressed deeply entrenched post-colonial, one-party-state,
and security sector and government tendencies under Chama Cha Mapinduzi,” he
said. “In a process led by Justice Francis Nyalali, the government accepted
far-reaching reforms, which included divesting the party from government.
Senior officers and political party elites, were given the choice of either
resigning from the uniformed forces and joining the political party fulltime
or vice-versa, but not both,” Rupiya said.

“The abolition of commissars within units and removing tithes on individual
salaries of civil servants from going directly into party funds,” were
adopted, he said. “Today, Tanzania has tranquility, peace and stability
existing under multiparty democracy.”

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Zim escaped more EU sanctions —WikiLeaks

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:04

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

ZIMBABWE only just managed to avoid further punitive sanctions by the EU in
September 2008 when Zanu PF and the MDC formations signed a Sadc-facilitated
power-sharing agreement, according to diplomatic cables released by
The cables from Helsinki, Finland, said the EU was on the verge of reviewing
travel and economic sanctions with a view to increasing and strengthening
them when the power-sharing deal was brokered.

Finland’s policy chief in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Unit for European
Common Foreign and Security Policy, Leena-Kaisa Mikkola, said the EU was on
the verge of imposing new restrictions on Zimbabwe.

“The EU was considering strengthening the sanctions, but given the recent
political breakthrough the EU will not consider additional or stronger
sanctions,” Mikkola said. “The ministers will welcome the recent deal
between (President Robert) Mugabe and the opposition, and the EU will stand
ready to plan its role in reconstruction efforts,” Mikkola said in the

The cable further quotes Mikkola saying the EU remained cautious in its
dealings with the new dispensation in Zimbabwe and had no concrete
reconstruction plan at that juncture.

“Mikkola was unsure how the ministers would deal with existing sanctions;
she doubted the ministers would take action to remove them and thought they
would adopt a “wait and see” approach,” reads the cable.

The EU and US imposed travel bans against Mugabe and his political allies
and the sanctions also bar other countries from selling arms to Zimbabwe and
doing business with companies owned by specified individuals.

The US also froze lines of credit to Zimbabwe.

However, the EU and US renewed the sanctions last year arguing that the
inclusive government had not made sufficient progress in implementing the
GPA since its formation.

The sanctions issue has been one of Zanu PF’s sore points in the GPA and the
former liberation movement has pegged full implementation of the GPA on the
lifting of these sanctions.

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Parly merely rubber-stamps executive decisions—Moyo

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:03

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo conceded for the first time on
Tuesday that the present parliament merely rubber-stamped executive
decisions because of fear of upsetting the fragile coalition government
formed to end a decade of political squabbles.
Moyo made this admission to visiting German legislators seeking to establish
achievements of the coalition government. The eight-member Bundestag
delegation, which included five women, was led by Stephen Liebich.

The Speaker said it was difficult to run a parliament without an official
opposition as most decisions were made by consensus.

“It is a challenge as an institution to operate where there are no checks
and balances and without an opposition in parliament.

Normally we operate on a basis of consultations and consensus within the
parties in the inclusive government,” said Moyo.

He said parliament had to be wary of upsetting the shaky coalition
government in its deliberations and decision-making.

“We are going through a transitional process that will lead to free and fair
elections. We are also mindful of the sensitivity of the questions of the
inclusive government.”

The German delegation wanted to know when the constitutional review process
would be completed and Moyo responded by telling them he was not certain
since the process was subject to a number of variables.

“I cannot be specific when this process would end. We are guided by
availability of resources. When funding dries up, no work takes place.”

However, Moyo remained hopeful that the constitutional review process would
be completed before any new elections are held. He added that a referendum
would also be held before the draft constitution could be debated in the

Legislation with the potential to divide the wobbly coalition government has
been skirted by cabinet since February 2009. Most contentious are the Posa
Amendment Bill, the Human Rights Commission Bill, Broadcasting Services Act
Amendment Bill and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The Posa amendment has been on the order paper for two years as the
coalition partners bicker to find consensus and the political will to
broaden democracy as espoused in the GPA.

The Posa Bill has been gathering dust in the Senate since December after
sailing through the Lower House. Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese moved the
amendment as a Private Members Bill after cabinet displayed reluctance in
steering it through parliament.

Parliament has mainly passed financial bills, such as the Reserve Bank
Amendment Bill, Energy Regulatory Bill, General Laws Amendment Bill,
National Security Council Act Amendment Bill and the Office Audit Bill to
enable government to operate.

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I set money aside for Zim land reform — Blair

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:00

By Bernard Mpofu

FORMER British Prime Minister Tony Blair has for the first time revealed
that London, during his term in office, had set aside funds for Zimbabwe’s
land reform programme.
He insisted that the UK was still committed to bankroll a genuine exercise
via a United Nations agency despite President Robert Mugabe’s hard-line
stance on the emotive issue.

Blair recently told the NewAfrican magazine that plans by his government to
fund the controversial land reform exercise, over a decade ago, failed to
take off amid fears that Mugabe’s administration would misappropriate the

While Mugabe has publicly announced that government had “successfully
completed” the land redistribution exercise,  Blair said Britain’s current
coalition government led by David Cameron are prepared to sponsor  a genuine
land reform programme in Zimbabwe.

During the chaotic reform exercise in 2000 thousands of white commercial
farmers forcibly lost vast tracts of land to native Zimbabweans. Britain was
prepared to make £36 million available to Zimbabwe provided the UNDP
approved a plan that reduced poverty and enhanced production, reports at the
time indicated.

“One of the myths that Mugabe used was this thing that we wouldn’t provide
money for land reform,” Blair said. “I set aside the amount of money they
needed for land reform, but one important thing was that the money had to go
through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and not through his
government machine, because if it went through his government machine it
wasn’t going to be used for the purposes for which it was directed.
Therefore, that was the issue; not that we wouldn’t fund the land reform, we
were happy to do that. And still are, by the way!”

Blair’s sentiments were, however, contrary to what the then British
Secretary of State Claire Short wrote to the Zimbabwe’s government.

On November 5 1997 Short wrote a letter to then Agriculture minister
Kumbirai Kangai that Britain would not fund the land reform exercise, a
decision which according to Zanu PF, riled Mugabe and prompted the chaotic
land programme.

“I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special
responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe,” she wrote.
“We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former
colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were
colonised not colonisers,” read the letter. “We do, however, recognise the
very real issues you face over land reform. We believe that land reform
could be an important component of a Zimbabwean programme designed to
eliminate poverty. We would be prepared to support a programme of land
reform that was part of a poverty eradication strategy but not on any other

In September 1998, the UNDP organised an international land donor conference
where Britain and other Western countries pledged to fund a systematic land
reform programme.

The Commercial Farmers Union had agreed to release about 120 farms for the
first five-year pilot land reform exercise. This did not take off as two
years down the line war veterans embarked on farm invasions after the
electorate voted against Mugabe’s constitutional proposals.

The white commercial farmers took their cases to the Sadc Tribunal
challenging the seizure of their properties. The tribunal ruled in their
favour, but the government did not abide by the judgment and in turn
questioned the legality of the regional body.

The legality of the Sadc Tribunal could today come under scrutiny at the
Sadc heads of government summit in Windhoek, Namibia, although the Zimbabwe
delegation is planning to block it.

Meanwhile, the government of national unity formed in February 2009 which
undertook to carry out a land audit of the chaotic exercise has been slow in
carrying out the audit, citing limited funding.

Critics contend that the audit is likely to expose Mugabe’s cronies accused
of multiple farm ownership. The European Union has since the formation of
the inclusive government in 2009 pledged to support the audit, a move Mugabe’s
Zanu PF strongly opposes.

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Battle for secret Zimbabwe report rages on

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:58

SOUTH Africa’s Mail & Guardian’s efforts to gain access to a report on
Zimbabwe’s 2002 presidential election reached the Constitutional Court on

The report was commissioned in 2002 by then-president Thabo Mbeki, who
requested that justices Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Kampepe undertake a
mission to Zimbabwe to investigate that country’s “constitutional and legal
challenges” prior to the 2002 election.

Allegations of vote-rigging and reports of violence and intimidation marred
the elections, which President Robert Mugabe won.

The Mail & Guardian, which is a sister newspaper of the Zimbabwe
Independent, The Standard and NewsDay, has argued in both the high court
(2008) and the Supreme Court of Appeal (December 2010) that widespread
reports of electoral irregularities made the report commissioned by Mbeki of
vital public interest, and that it should be released in terms of the
Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia).

The newspaper has argued that, although several years had passed since the
election, the report might provide information about whether the elections
were free and fair, as South Africa at the time declared they were. This had
a bearing on both the legitimacy of Mugabe’s presidency and the 2011
Zimbabwe presidential elections.

Opposing the Mail & Guardian, the Presidency has argued that Moseneke and
Kampepe had gone to Zimbabwe as diplomats and were received as such and that
diplomacy allowed for information to be exchanged “in confidence”.

The presidency is challenging in the Constitutional Court the appeal court’s
December 2010 ruling that there was no factual evidence that the judges were
acting as diplomats; a role not in keeping with the independence of the
judiciary and the separation of powers.

Arguments in the Constitutional Court were heard on Tuesday from senior
counsel Jeremy Gauntlet for the Mail & Guardian, and Marumo Moerane for the

The Constitutional Court judges who heard the matter included Chris Jafta,
Edwin Cameron, Johann van der Westhuizen, Sandile Ncobo, Bess Nkabinde,
Johan Froneman and Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Justices Kampepe and Moseneke, who compiled the Zimbabwe report for Mbeki,
recused themselves.

The Presidency’s insistence that the report ought not to be released rests
on several arguments.

The first is that it was a “Cabinet report”, and so not within the ambit of
the Promotion of Access of Information Act.

Second, it argued that it should not be released in order to uphold the
neutrality of the presidents of South Africa who have been engaged in
mediating between the opposing parties in Zimbabwe’s turbulent political
climate, and that the judges were the president’s “special envoys” in this

Third, the presidency maintained that the judges’ mission was a diplomatic
mission and that information gleaned during such activities, and received in
confidence, should therefore remain classified.

Fourth, it argued that the report was being used by the president in the
formulation of executive policy.

In terms of Paia, it is up to the party declining to make requested
information available to supply proof as to why a particular record should
not be released.
For the presidency, Moerane submitted that the “burden of proof had been

Moerane argued that to disclose the report would be to reveal information
that was supplied in confidence and that the purpose of the report was to
assist in formulating policy.

The purpose of the visit was vigorously interrogated by the bench.

While it is common cause that the two judges who went to Zimbabwe were on a
presidential mission, Chief Justice Ncobo noted: “What is at issue is
whether that report was for the purposes of formulating policy.”

Moerane said the two judges who compiled the report were special envoys
whose function was to inform then president Thabo Mbeki about constitutional
and legal challenges in Zimbabwe. The presidency was therefore not obliged
to release the report.

However, Gauntlett said: “They went as judges, they are judges. They could
never stop for a moment to be judges.”

He argued that the judges could not have gone as “special envoys” on a
diplomatic mission nor been the “embodiment of the president”, as this would
have had serious implications for the separation of powers.

The bottom line, Gauntlett argued for the Mail & Guardian, was that the
Presidency had put in the public domain no detailed evidence to prove that
the report ought to remain confidential.

In his ruling in December last year, Appeal court Judge Robert Nugent said:
“In my view no evidential basis has been established by the appellants for
refusing access to the report.”

“It might be that the report contains information that was received in
confidence … but that has not been established by acceptable evidence.”
Nugent’s judgment referred to the Bill of Rights, which, he said,
“guarantees to everyone the right of access to ‘any information that is held
by the state’”.
“Open and transparent government and a free flow of information concerning
the affairs of the state is the lifeblood of democracy,” Nugent wrote.
On Tuesday in the Constitutional Court, judgment was reserved, as the bench
adjourned to consider the arguments presented. — Additional reporting by
Sapa and M&G reporters.

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Nyikayaramba a Zanu PF thematic committees advisor

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:53

By Faith Zaba

TOP army officer and commander of 3 Infantry Brigade in Manicaland,
Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, is the technical advisor on
elections and transitional mechanisms for Zanu PF in compiling data
collected during the constitution outreach meetings.

Nyikayaramba, who has openly declared his support for Zanu PF, is one of the
top three advisors representing President Robert Mugabe’s party in the teams
of technical experts who have been selected to compile views expressed by
people during the consultations.

Co-chairperson of the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) Munyaradzi
Paul Mangwana yesterday said Nyikayaramba, Zimbabwe Media Commission chief
executive officer Tafataona Mahoso and University of Zimbabwe lecturer
Vimbai Chivaura were among Zanu PF’s technical advisors in the thematic

In 2002 Nyikayaramba was said to have resigned from the army and was
appointed chief elections officer of the electoral commission ahead of the
presidential election contested bitterly between Mugabe and MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

After the poll which Tsvangirai claimed was rigged, Nyikayaramba resumed his
post in the army.

Nyikayaramba is also one of the top army officers who have vowed never to
salute any leader without liberation war credentials –– an apparent
reference to Tsvangirai.

Last year, Nyikayaramba said as long as the current generals were still in
control of the army Mugabe would remain in office for life.

He has described civil servants who have not publicly declared their
political allegiance to Zanu PF as traitors.

According to Nyikayaramba, only war veterans and chiefs have the right and
powers to hold rallies and meetings because they fought for this country.

Mahoso, Nyikayaramba and Chivaura are part of the new team of technical
experts who have been chosen to compile the constitution data that will be
used by the drafting team to come up with a new supreme law.

Mahoso and Chivaura are well-known Zanu PF sympathisers who host programmes
on national television backing Mugabe’s party and denouncing Tsvangirai.

Sources in Copac said Judge President of the Francistown High Court in
Botswana Justice Moses Chinhengo, and University of Zimbabwe law lecturers
Geoff Feltoe and Brian Crozier have been nominated by the three political
parties in the GNU to draft the constitution.

However, Mangwana said Copac had only agreed on Crozier and Chinhengo and
were still to come up with two female names to ensure that there is gender
balance in the drafting committee.

“You are correct on Crozier and Justice Chinhengo but we have not agreed on
Feltoe. We want a woman to be part of the team,” Mangwana said. “We are
going to forward five names to the management committee, who will approve
three of the names. Crozier and Justice Chinhengo are legislative drafting
experts with Masters Degrees in that area.”

Crozier was the director of legal drafting in the Attorney-General’s Office
from 1989 until he resigned in 2000. Prior to that, he worked as a public
prosecutor and legal adviser in the then Rhodesian government and in
Zimbabwe after Independence.
Justice Chinhengo resigned from the High Court Bench in 2004 without giving
any reasons and Feltoe is a member of the Zimbabwe Election Commission.

The drafting team will also comprise teams of four legal experts and social
scientists from each of the three political parties and the three Copac
co-chairpersons, who will give instructions to the three technical drafters.
Drafting should start as soon as the thematic committees finish compiling
the views from the provinces.

Mangwana said compilation, which is expected to start today, should be
completed in 10 days.

He said to ensure that there are no further delays, Copac has appointed 306
technical experts to the thematic committees –– 102 from each political
party –– 51 team leaders and 51 researchers. Mangwana said the legislators,
who were in the initial thematic committees, have been removed except for
those who were heading the teams.

“We lost over US$2 million last week when the process stalled due to
disagreements on how data should be compiled,”he said.“If we had continued
with the initial number of 700 members in the thematic committees, we would
have needed another US$1,8 million. But now we will only need U$900 000 to
finish the process within the 10 days required.”

“We want people who are efficient, computer literate and these people will
be supported by the team leaders who are the politicians and they will sign
each report. We removed legislators and they have been replaced by people
who are computer literate,” he added.
Outlining the process of compiling data that they have agreed on, Mangwana
said: “We have now agreed on taking the predominant views from the three
meetings in a ward. A district report will then be complied with predominant
views from the total 30 wards in each district, before a provincial report
is complied.”

A new constitution will lead to elections meant to end the country’s
political crisis which almost resulted in an economic implosion before Sadc
facilitated a government of national unity.

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Gono compiling banking sector report

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:52

By Paul Nyakazeya

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono is compiling a comprehensive
report on the soundness of each bank to be presented on June 1 along with
measures the central bank will take on financial institutions found wanting.

Gono told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that the banking sector report
would be presented a day after the central bank’s board meeting to dissect
the report’s findings.

“The report will deal with the status of individual banks and their state of
soundness as well as the way forward in respect of those deemed to be
falling short of our expectations in terms of safety and soundness,” Gono

Finance minister Tendai Biti recently expressed strong sentiments about the
high loans default rate amid fears that this could trigger a major banking

In his update on Zimbabwe’s economic performance for the first quarter of
this year, Biti revealed that about 34% of bank loans had not been repaid.

Biti also expressed concerns about the high level of loan-to-deposit ratio,
which stood at 76%, and suggested that the sector faced a loan default risk.

This ratio is unsustainable in the face of the prevailing liquidity crisis
and the high rate of loan defaults, analysts said. A loan-to-deposit ratio
of up to 80% is acceptable in a developing liquid economy.

As a result, national treasury directed the RBZ to correct the precarious
situation before the bubble bursts.

The present scenario surprisingly comes against the backdrop of reports by
fiscal and monetary authorities last year that banks were reluctant to
extend loans.

“The banking system remains vulnerable with weak capitalisation, rising
non-performing loans and a tight liquidity situation,” Biti said.
“Non-compliance to minimum capital adequacy threshold requirements by small
banks is worsening vulnerabilities in the sector,” he said.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mushayavanhu last night said
all banks were sound.

“As BAZ, according to the information we have, there is no bank that is not
sound, and as such, this does not put depositors’ money at risk. But the
Reserve Bank’s arm which supervises banks should have more information on
that,” Mushayavanhu said.

In January, bank deposits stood at US$2,36 billion, increased to US$2,4
billion in February and ended the first quarter in March at US$2,57 billion.
On the other hand, loans increased from US$1,81 billion in January to
US$1,88 billion in February and then to US$1,99 billion, representing a loan
deposit ratio of 77,3%.

Despite the growth in the deposits base, interest on savings of 1% has
remained largely low, but interest on savings of up to three months has
improved to between 9% and 12%.

However, lending rates have remained unsustainably high, ranging between 15%
and 30% with over 90% in short term loans.

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Mudzuri bounces back

Friday, 20 May 2011 08:50

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

FORMER Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri has bounced back
into an enlarged MDC-T national executive council at a heated six-hour
national council meeting in Harare yesterday.

According to party insiders, national council members questioned the logic
of retaining people who were rejected by party structures at the national
elective congress last month.

Just about all the people who lost their positions at congress were retained
by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to “mend” cracks in the party, which
expanded its NEC from 30 to 38.

Of the 15 people appointed to the NEC yesterday, Mudzuri, Lucia Matibenga,
Thabita Khumalo, Paurina Mpariwa, Thansanqa Mahlangu, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
and Amos Chibaya all contested and lost polls in the positions they had been
nominated for. The rest, who include Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza, Kerry Kay,
Concilia Chinanzvavana, Luta Shaba, Spiwe Ncube, Henry Madzorera, Eddie
Cross and Sesel Zvidzai failed to secure nominations.

Insiders said the standing committee now comprised Tsvangirai’s “favourites”
brought back from the political wilderness.

“Council members were controlled in their criticism of nominations from the
standing committee for appointment to the national executive so as not to
cause offence to the party leadership,” said the source who was part of the

“Some members questioned the omission of people like Innocent Gonese from
the list while those rejected by party structures got a second bite of the

The national council also threw out a petition from provincial chairpersons
seeking to be automatic members of the national executive by virtue of their

New party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the developments last night
saying the national council held long deliberations over the NEC
appointments and rejected the chairpersons’ petition because it would
require a (MDC) constitutional amendment, and also because it was tabled

Mwonzora said: “These names from the standing committee were simply
proposals and hence we allowed debate. However, no names were rejected by
the council.

“Provinces had adequate time to table constitutional amendments to congress
but they didn’t do so. It is not clear whether they were speaking for
themselves or the provinces as there were no minutes to corroborate their

Tsvangirai faced a difficult balancing act of placating anger among losing
candidates and demands of new provincial leaders calling for the exclusion
of his suspected cronies, but most were left dejected.

“I am disgusted. That’s a bunch of congress losers and some pretty
incompetent fellows there,” said one senior party member in reference to the
new NEC appointees.

However, Mwonzora insisted that his party followed a transparent criterion
to appoint people to the NEC.

“The standing committee considered the history of an individual, their
expertise, consistency in working for the party and what value they add to
the party before their names were proposed to the national council,”
Mwonzora said.

Meanwhile, the national council adopted a congress resolution to set up an
independent commission of inquiry to look into the intra-party violence
which engulfed provincial congresses. Violent cases were recorded in
Bulawayo, Masvingo, Chitungwiza, Mashonaland West and Midlands North.

Mwonzora said: “We will soon institute an independent committee to examine
the cases. The party is waiting for nominations of people perceived to be
neutral and independent so that the process is not tainted.”

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RioZim turned down Essar proposal

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:20

Chris Muronzi

RIOZIM Ltd’s debt problems could have been eased had management accepted the
terms of Essar Africa Holdings’ far-reaching proposals when the global group
agreed to underwrite the resources group’s US$40 million rights issue a few
months ago, businessdigest has established.
Market sources this week said RioZim MD Josh Sachikonye turned down Essar’s
proposal for a management restructuring that would have seen the top
executive stepping down from the helm of the group.

According to sources, Sachikonye, who holds a significant stake in RioZim
after Rio Tinto divested out of the local operation in 2004, would have seen
his stake diluted and forced to step down from his position.

Fearing the dilution, the sources said, Sachikonye scuppered the deal. The
same sources said RioZim management had appointed a team to reschedule the
company’s US$50 million debt. This, according to the sources, would see the
group roping in a new investor.

RioZim has been on the market for some time but liquidity problems in the
economy have not played in the group’s favour. Several efforts on Wednesday
and yesterday to get a comment from Sachikonye were fruitless as he was not
answering his mobile phone.

Sachikonye told a local daily this week that RioZim was restructuring its
debt by converting its metal stocks into cash in the next 12 months.

He said the mining giant was also seeking a strategic partner after the
Essar deal collapsed.

On Wednesday, RioZim placed advertisements in local newspapers confirming
that several banks were exposed to its debt, but claimed that the “group’s
resources, asset base and capacity to produce are considered sufficient to
cover the current exposure to the banking sector”.

Businessdigest last week exclusively revealed that RioZim was reeling from
quite a sizeable debt and had forced several banks to roll over loan
Non-performing loans are loans that are in default or close to being in

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BEE law: ‘Failure to comply will lead to sanctions’

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:16

By Nqobile Bhebhe

YOUTH Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere said the government would not hesitate to impose punitive
measures against foreign-owned firms which failed to meet the deadline to
comply with the controversial empowerment law.

Kasukuwere revealed that non-compliant firms would be banned from exporting
their produce.

“Firms that fail to comply by deadline day will have sanctions imposed on
them by barring them from exporting their produce,” said Kasukuwere.

He said this while addressing captains of industry in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

To enforce the sanctions, Kasukuwere said an instrument would be gazetted
with names of the affected companies effectively withdrawing their operating

With foreign-owned mining companies compelled to cede 51% of their stake to
Kasukuwere said focus would now shift to the manufacturing, banking and
tourism sectors.

“We are now coming up with the manufacturing implementation framework which
will be different from the mining framework as it has its own special
characters,” he said.

He said the sector would be given a three-year time lag to comply.

Kasukuwere said the government was not against foreign investment in
Zimbabwe but against “foreign arrogance”.

He said some foreign firms expected him to do “a jambanja” (violent
takeover) so as to attract international press, but I won’t do that as the
law is on our side”.

Most mines have adopted a wait and see attitude and are putting expansion
plans on hold until there was clarity on how the empowerment plan would be

Although some foreign-owned mining firms have submitted their proposals on
how they planned to sell a majority stake to locals, Kasukuwere did not
reveal government’s position on the proposals.

The proposed empowerment programme has been attacked by several lawyers who
say it is illegal.

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

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

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

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

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‘Long way before a gold-backed local currency’

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:05

Reginald Sherekete

WHEN Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono announced plans to introduce a new
gold-backed local currency two years ago, the move caused a furore of
interest and criticism. However the proposal seemed to have died a natural
death since then.

Now, amidst the firming of commodities prices, Gono has resurrected his
push, criticising the United States’ Federal Reserve for running their
printing press to the ground in order to finance a budget deficit.

Gono was quoted last week in a local paper saying: “The trillions of dollars
being printed in the US to finance their budget deficit year-in year-out
will one day run out of steam and its inflationary impact on other countries
will likely lead to a resistance of this base currency if the US does not
take immediate steps to rein in its appetite for deficit financing in the
medium to long-term.”

The US budget deficit was projected at US$1,65 trillion after the
announcement of the US$3,8 trillion 2011 budget plan. The pressure thrust on
gold could be enormous as central banks which hold US dollar reserves are
now opting to hold the precious metal rather than the dollar. Analysts say
the continued printing of the dollar by the US seems to be dampening
confidence in the dollar amid high inflation fears.

Gold broke the US$1 500 psychological barrier in the past weeks to establish
a new support price.The precious metal had long been resisting the new
benchmark and has since peaked at US$1 579,00 per ounce.

The firming gold price has also raised debate amongst investors and analysts
alike on the direction of the precious metal and the way forward for
Zimbabwe. China has been increasing its gold reserves despite being
conservative in offloading their US dollar holdings. In 2009, China declared
an increase of their gold reserves by 454 metric tonnes which they indicated
as purchases since 2003.

China currently holds US dollar reserves of nearly $2 trillion. Analysts say
China could be getting increasingly nervous about the dollar. The Asian
giant had gold reserves of 1 054 tonnes as of April 2011,  a figure
representing only  1,6% of its forex reserves.

Russia has been the most active in the past two years and substantially
increased its gold reserves by 230,6 metric tonnes to 792,3 tonnes, which
represents 7,3% of its forex reserves.

This, analysts say, may indicate a deliberate move by most central banks to
hold the bullion compared to the US dollar.

“I strongly believe that the days of the US dollar as the world’s reserve
currency are numbered. There is need for us to begin thinking seriously and
urgently about introducing a gold-backed Zimbabwe currency which will not
only be stable but internationally acceptable,” added Gono.

But the use of the gold standard fell away in 1971 and if put in perspective
does not really give a true value of the US dollar.

Reserves currently held by the US are 8 133,5 metric tonnes as at April
2011, according to  the World Gold Council. With the price of gold at US$1
500, the US gold reserves are valued at US$434,2 billion. From this
analysis, the US dollar could be overvalued or rather gold is undervalued if
it really backs the US monetary base which stands at US$2,493 trillion.

Former ENG Capital Gilbert Muponda (pictured) was this week quoted
supporting the proposal by Gono to introduce a gold-backed Zimbabwe dollar.
He said: “It is an idea whose time has come. If implemented properly, the
gold-backed local currency will resolve the liquidity crisis currently
ravaging the sanctions-hit economy.”

He further indicated that  revenue from diamonds could be used to build the
six months import cover and stock up gold reserves to support the Zimbabwe

An economist with a financial institution shot down the idea of introducing
a gold-backed Zimbabwe dollar as an ambitious task saying the country does
not have any stock piles.

“The country does not have any reserves, the only gold to talk about are
untamed gold fields with no exact figures of deposits. The production side,
if being optimistic for 2011, could just total 18 000kgs which translates to
about $600 million dollars,” he said.

Zimbabwe has a long way before its reserves can substantiate a monetary base
backed by gold, analysts say. Expansionary monetary policies may not be
possible without an equal increase in the bullion. Adoption of the gold
standard in isolation by any country could be costly.

Economic growth can be suffocated if money supply is directly linked to
changes in gold reserves.

With US gold reserves at 8 133,5 metric tonnes and compared to a monetary
base of US$2,493 trillion translates to a price of US$8,614.94 per ounce.
Can this be an indication of the open upside of the precious   metal? Other
analysts in the market feel the use of the gold standard to determine the
real price of gold or it being an impetus for future price increase is

“It is a matter of supply and demand. Gold is definitely enjoying huge
demand given the inflationary pressures on the US dollar,” said a
commodities analyst. “It is important to remember that gold is a commodity,
subject to the laws of supply and demand. The price also is influenced by
mining and extraction costs, or the expectation that central banks will buy
more gold to diversify their assets.”

Gold has been in a 10 year bull market beginning at a low of US$271,10 per
ounce in January 2001 to a high of  US$1 388,50 an ounce in January 2011 ––
an increase of 412%. This implies a 40% average annually. Gold producing
countries like Zimbabwe stand a huge opportunity in increasing their gold
export earnings. There has been a steady recovery in the gold mining sector
with 2009 annual output figures at 4 970 kgs and 2010 totaling 7 610 kgs.
In the budget statement, the forecast for 2011 was set to almost double at
13 500 kgs.

Gold production has been greatly hampered by funding constraints due to
liquidity challenges and indigenisation laws hindering foreign investment
into the mining sector. The mining sector is also being held back by power
cuts which affect production targets.

At the moment, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is not stocking any gold. Given
the positions taken by other central banks it would be smart for the RBZ to
begin stock-piling initiatives in anticipation of firmer prices in the
future. But analysts say Zimbabwe’s economic situation is still too dire for
such therapy.
Gono said: “We need to rethink our gold mining strategy, our gold
liberalisation and marketing strategies as a country.”

Financial innovation by Tetrad Asset Management in introducing the Gold Fund
as one of their unit trusts products places investors in a position to tap
into the gold boom. Since inception in July 2010, the fund has increased by
17% to US$1,17 to-date from the US$1,00 issue price.

“From inception the fund has received significant response from the market
but since it is a unit trust fund which attracts small investors,
accommodation of huge investors like pension funds tends to cause liquidity
shocks to the fund and affects the valuations when they decide to liquidate
their units,” said a fund manager at Tetrad Asset Management. He indicated
that they are working on a new tailor-made product which may give huge
investors the exposure to invest in gold and ride the current bullish trend.

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Tobacco deliveries set to hit 200m kg mark

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:02

Bernard Mpofu

GOVERNMENT sees tobacco deliveries hitting the 200 million kgs mark this
marketing season.
The new forecasts becomes the first revised figures since Finance minister
Tendai Biti made projections in the national budget statement last December.
Government also expects excise duty collections from tobacco to boost the
fiscus as production of the cash crop resurges from economic contraction.
Excise duty generated from the golden leaf rose to US$2,6 million in March
from US$3 253 in January, Biti said.

Biti sees tobacco deliveries to the country’s auction floors —TSF, Boka and
Millennium — surpassing the initially projected 150 kg from 50 000 hectares.
Contract farming is expected to account for 40 000 of the hectarage, with
the remainder being financed from the banking sector and self financing.
Last year 123 million kg of the cash crop were sold at the auction floors.

“Agriculture is projected to grow by 19,3%  in 2011, with tobacco output now
estimated to record 200 million kgs from the original projection of 150
 kgs,” reads the first quarter treasury bulletin.

On the downside, Zimbabwe’s cereal stocks are expected to diminish raising
fresh fears of grain shortages.

An anticipated rise in cotton prices on the international market and a
statutory instrument introduced last year to outlaw side marketing of the
crop will help boost production as seen by a downward revision.

“As of 31 March 2011, a total of 26,95 million kgs worth US$82 million had
been sold. Over the same period in 2010, a total of 21,6 million kgs was
sold for US$71,2 million. However, the average price of US$3,04 recorded for
the first quarter is lower than the US$3,26 that prevailed in the first
quarter of 2010,” reads the treasury update

“Findings of the survey are estimating a reduced maize output of 1,45
million tonnes from the original projection of 1,5 million tonnes. This is
due to the prolonged dry spell that affected most parts of the country from
January. Similarly, cotton output is now estimated at 220 000 tonnes from
the initial projection of 300 000.”

Tobacco deliveries hit an all time high of 236 million kgs at the start of
the controversial land reform exercise aimed at resettling landless blacks

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Gold-backed Zim dollar the most ideal solution

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:26

By Gilbert Muponda

RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s proposal this week for the introduction
of a gold-backed Zimbabwe dollar is an idea whose time has come. If
implemented properly, the gold-backed local currency will resolve the
liquidity crisis currently ravaging the sanctions-hit economy.
In light of the global financial crisis and sanctions, Zimbabwe is
effectively barred from accessing any meaningful lines of credit and the
liquidity crisis will persist if the domestic capital market is not
re-activated with the introduction of a local currency backed by a precious

There is no shortage of reasons for the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar, but
it is now universally agreed that quasi-fiscal activities by the central
bank and excessive printing of money accelerated the demise of the local

But the country has started to generate meaningful revenues with the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority regularly surpassing revenue collection targets.
Previously, the government had been forced to print money to finance
everything. This is no longer necessary given the economic recovery and the
discovery of diamonds.

The revenue from diamonds can be used to build the six months import cover
and stock up gold reserves to support the Zimbabwe dollar as proposed by the

The gold-backed currency is anchored on the premise that the central bank
holds a large amount of gold (or other precious metal) in relation to the
paper money that they issue. That means if the country doesn’t have any gold
reserves, no money can be issued.

This effectively eliminates the normal inflationary pressure that comes from
a fiat money system referring to money that has value only because of
government regulation or law.

Zimbabwe has systematically been excluded from the international credit
system, specifically because of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act (Zidera) passed by the United States in 2001. The Act makes it illegal
for any US national or entity to transact with certain companies or
individuals in Zimbabwe.

This affects various institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, International
Finance Corporation and African Development Bank where US representatives
cannot vote in favour of any credit to Zimbabwe. This creates a huge
political risk premium which makes international banks hesitant to grant
lines of credit to Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean institutions.

This situation effectively blocks these institutions from doing any
meaningful business with Zimbabwe as the country’s political risk is
magnified. This lack of access to international credit markets has become
very clear throughout the economy with banks failing to grant any medium to
long-term loans. This is partly causing the mini-financial crisis rocking
Zimbabwe’s banks as they fail to access reasonably-priced funding.

It is widely-reported that banks are lending at 40 to 60% per annum which is
way too high an interest rate to give to a legitimate business transaction.
This has created a very high default risk and forced banks to avoid lending.
This illiquidity needs to be addressed through the introduction of a
gold-backed currency.

A modern currency is basically paper money backed by the country’s revenue
generation capacity and assets.

The United States is the largest holder of gold reserves. How much of this
is still in Fort Knox physically and not just on paper is another question
as much gold is loaned out. In essence, the US has sold a lot of its gold
into the market through gold leasing even though it still shows up on the
federal reserve’s books as an asset (accounts receivable).

This partly explains why the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency
since the US holds the largest amounts of gold even though its exact
quantity remains a subject of speculation.

In foreign exchange, no major currency is considered to be as safe and
stable as the Swiss Franc. The country’s centuries-long policy of political
neutrality, as well as the fact that 40% of its currency reserves were
previously backed by the precious metal, contribute to the Swiss’s image as
“liquid gold”. The proposed gold-backed Zimbabwe dollar can in fact be based
on the same model.

Canada and Australia possess large reserves of precious metals and both
countries have very strong, well-developed mining sectors. Australia is the
world’s third largest exporter of gold with mining accounting directly for
approximately 8,5% of its GDP. Canada is the world’s third largest producer
of gold.
These two countries have strong economies and currencies. Whilst Zimbabwe
has huge gold and other mineral reserves, these have been properly leveraged
out to create liquidity in the country’s economy. There is need for Zimbabwe
to move away from total dependency on a foreign currency whose economy has
nothing in common with Zimbabwe’s.

The economy and industry is currently reportedly operating at approximately
45-50% capacity. This is significantly higher than the 10-20% capacity
utilisation before the introduction of multiple currencies in 2009. Now the
multiple currencies have achieved their intended purpose which was to
stabilise the economy. The next phase, which is growth, requires the use of
a softer currency which closely mirrors the country’s macro and micro
economic conditions and the US dollar can be used in its traditional sense
as a foreign currency but not to permanently replace the Zimbabwe dollar.

Muponda is CEO of GMRI Capital. He can be reached at or on Skype: gilbert.muponda

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Bulawayo: A place of political slaughter

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:22

By Brian Chitemba

WHEN Mzilikazi defied the great Zulu King Shaka and fled from Zululand in
the 19th century, he finally settled in Matabeleland and established the
Ndebele nation with Bulawayo as his capital.

Bulawayo means a place of slaughter and it was the name of Shaka’s great
palace in kwaDukuza in northern Zululand. KwaDukuza is present day Stanger
on the KwaZulu Natal north coast.

Mzilikazi’s Old Bulawayo palace is now a national monument situated about
20km from the modern-day city of Bulawayo.

Ever since Mzilikazi’s death, Bulawayo has been a battlefield with his
successor Lobengula fighting off fierce rivalry to ascend to the throne.

It was also in Bulawayo where colonial architect Cecil John Rhodes’ men
deceived Lobengula into signing a “treaty” ceding control of his kingdom and
subsequently all its rich natural resources, particularly gold.

Popularly known as koNtuthu Ziyathunqa, which loosely translated means a
place of bellowing smoke, Bulawayo was once the industrial hub of Zimbabwe
with critical railway links to South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

Declared a city in 1943, Bulawayo was also prominent for its shebeens and at
one point an MP moved a motion in parliament calling for the legalisation of
shebeens. The shebeens formed part of an exciting nightlife in the city’s
high density suburbs with prominent South African mbaqanga outfit the Soul
Brothers gracing some of the popular drinking holes in the 1980s and 1990s.
All those places have faded into oblivion and residents now only refer to
them with nostalgia.

The city has now virtually come to a standstill. The bellowing industrial
smoke has been replaced by the clear blue sky and the former extensive
industrial neighbourhood of Belmont has been reduced to industrial ruins.

Most manufacturing companies have relocated to the capital Harare resulting
in a sharp decline in the standard of living in Bulawayo.

Widespread unemployment and perennial water shortages have gripped the city.
Massive load shedding has enveloped Bulawayo in perpetual darkness despite
the presence of a thermal power station. This thermal power station has been
lying idle for years and it is only recently that the powers that be are
desperately trying to resuscitate it as enormous power outages rock the

When Bulawayo was still the real deal, it was referred to as the city of
kings. Even Bulawayo-based football club Highlanders had a huge following.
The club was almost like a religion and business would grind to a halt when
Highlanders played its home games at Barbourfields Stadium.

But all this has been reduced to a heap of the imagination. Bulawayo now has
very little to talk about. All the appellations the city was known by are no
longer appropriate since what they celebrated has vanished like morning dew.

Highlanders is not worth talking about, industry has relocated and the
social scene is lukewarm.

From its majestic appellation of “City of Kings”, Bulawayo has lately gained
prominence as kingmaker of the country’s chaotic political landscape.
Zimbabwe’s main political parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations as
well as other small regional parties, have for years been battling for
control of the city.

Not only is political rivalry confined to inter-party contestations but it
has become intraparty with the main outfits rocked by internal squabbles as
rival factions fight for control of their parties in Bulawayo.

Bulawayo has always provided a strong opposition to President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu PF, first as a Zapu stronghold and currently Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T.

But since the acrimonious split of the MDC in October 2005, Tsvangirai’s
formation has been riddled by serious infighting in Bulawayo and the battle
intensified ahead of the party’s elective national conference held in the
city last month.

Rival Bulawayo factions were involved in bloody skirmishes as they battled
to wrest control of the city and although the MDC-T declared its national
conference a success, allegations of vote-buying, rigging and imposition of
candidates were the order of the day.
The fight for control of provincial structures was eventually won by Gorden
Moyo over Matson Hlalo, with the helping hand of Tsvangirai who quickly
endorsed the disputed provincial poll.

Since the MDC-T’s Bulawayo indaba, the party finds itself in an unenviable
position as it is currently trying to pacify losing factions by absorbing
them into limited national structures.

Amendment of the party’s constitution to set a so- called “Council of
 Elders” is nothing more than a move to accommodate those who were left by
the wayside in Bulawayo.

Ironically, Zanu PF will also be holding its annual conference in Bulawayo
in December. The party has also not been spared serious infighting similar
to the MDC-T in the province. Factions led by politburo members Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu and Eunice Sandi Moyo on the one hand and Joshua Malinga, Angeline
Masuku and Absalom Sikhosana on the other are vying for control of the

Political commentator Dumisani Nkomo said Bulawayo has played a decisive
role in previous elections and political hawks want to capitalise their
support base in the region to secure powerful government posts in the next

Nkomo said Bulawayo and other Matabeleland provinces were political capitals
because of the radicalism displayed by the electorate and various political
parties’ supporters.

“Political bigwigs play their political games in Bulawayo because they know
they can secure their positions if they get the support from the region. The
Bulawayo electorate cannot be taken for granted and is very critical of
political issues,” said Nkomo.

Nkomo pointed out that the de-industrialisation of Bulawayo had raised
political discontent.

Bulawayo residents have shown resentment towards Zanu PF abuses with the
late former Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena’s family refusing
to bury him at Heroes Acre while the family of the late veteran nationalist
Joshua Nkomo successfully pushed the government to pull down his statue next
to the Karigamombe Arcade in Harare.

Another political analyst Chamu Mutasa said Bulawayo was a war zone for
political parties because the populace there largely believed that they were
marginalised by Mugabe’s government since Independence.

Mutasa said the city’s political environment was fluid due to a void left by
Joshua Nkomo with many unsuccessfully seeking to fill the gap.
“Bulawayo has largely been a second city not the second largest city,” said
Mutasa. “It should also be seen against the background of the politics of
exclusion since 1980 where the region has been elbowed out, thus change for
Bulawayo is bitter-sweet,” he said.
“Then there is the obvious thing that they have been on the receiving end of
Gukurahundi, thus they do not like the current government,” he said. “The
people of Bulawayo cannot be pushed around; they are rebellious because of
what Mugabe did to them in the Gukurahundi mass killings.”

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Erich Bloch Column: Labour demands beyond employer means

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:19

WITHOUT exception all employers have been confronted with demands, from
employees in general and the labour force in particular, for increased
wages.  Most collective bargaining agreements have been reached after
prolonged, usually very confrontational negotiations, frequently only
concluded after referral to arbitration, or to the labour court, and almost
always being of very limited duration.  Within months of the agreements
coming of force and effect, new demands for wage increments emanate
vociferously from the representatives of the labour, usually vigorously
goaded and reinforced by the trade unions.  All too often, not only are the
demands centred upon major increases, but also with insistence that such
increases be with retrospective effect.
That workers crave substantial wage increases is unsurprising  because wages
are far below the workers’ essential needs.  In most instances, wages do not
suffice to meet the fundamental living requirements of the workers and their
immediate families.  In addition, as a consequence of the gargantuan levels
of unemployment, and due to the impacts of HIV/Aids and innumerable other
health constraints, most income earners have not only responsibilities for
their immediate families, but also for innumerable other dependants.  It is
little wonder, therefore, that workers consistently seek improvement in
their incomes.

However, in doing so they are all too often dogmatically oblivious to the
reality that very few employers have the resources to fund the demands for
higher wages.  On the one hand, commerce and industry has had its capital
resources wholly decimated by the history-breaking hyperinflation that
confronted Zimbabwe in 2008.  The capital required to continue operations is
trillions’ percent greater than was needed before hyperinflation flagellated
all sectors of the economy. Almost all enterprises were undercapitalised to
fund operations at even the abysmally low levels that prevailed in 2008, let
alone to meet the needs of any business growth.

On the other hand, the survival of businesses continues to be contingent
upon competitively pricing in both domestic and export markets.  Since 2009
Zimbabwe has had vast inflows of goods from neighbouring countries, from the
Far East and from other countries.

Almost without exception, the foreign suppliers benefit from higher volumes
of production than attainable by their Zimbabwean competitors. This enables
them to spread their production costs and, therefore, to minimise selling
prices.  In addition, their wage levels are considerably less than those
prevailing in Zimbabwe (notwithstanding the inadequacy of those wages to
sustain the Zimbabwean workers) and as a result, the foreign suppliers can
price their products very competitively.  The same circumstances impede
Zimbabwean product competitiveness in export markets.

In those circumstances, however great workers’ needs for higher wages, their
demands are grossly unrealistic. They cannot be met by employers, and
trigger innumerable business closures or, at the least, downsizing with
concomitant diminished numbers employed.  But workers and trade unions are
myopically oblivious to this. The divide between business and workers has
been growing greater at an exponential pace. It is undermining the best
interests of employers, workers, the economy in general, and the populace as
a whole.

Recently Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union president Lovemore Matombo, in an
interview with The Legal Monitor said that consultations were underway
between labour organisations across the sector to mount strong action
against employers.

He said that the patience among workers had worn thin, and that “every
labour movement, every trade union in this country, has a problem with its
employer and what we are saying is let’s galvanise support so that as we
approach June, all of us are geared to go on a strike, but it has to be
collective.”  He contended that “we will have to do that.  We have no

He added that the confrontation was most likely to take place because
government and most employers were resisting calls to match salaries and
wages to the poverty datum line (PDL). It currently stands at just over
US$500, whereas most workers in the public and private sector earn between
US$100 and US$300.  That workers, supported by their trade unions, aspire to
earn wages equal to, or above, the PDL, cannot be faulted. No one can wish
that others should be struggling to survive in extreme poverty. They however
ignore many fundamentals including that:

    Employers cannot pay that which they do not have;

It is better to earn little, than to earn nothing. When demands are pitched
at employers at unsustainable levels businesses collapse and the workers are
rendered unemployed, and therefore wholly devoid of income;

Endless wage confrontations impair the already low levels of productivity;

  Wage demands beyond employer means not only halt Zimbabwe’s economic
recovery, but will reverse it.  That will result in even greater poverty. It
will result on more becoming dependent upon the few fortunate enough to have
some income, even if that income is inadequate.

Because workers and the trade unions obdurately disregard the realities and
instead intensify their demands and confrontation, they are suicidably
destroying themselves, concurrently with their destroying Zimbabwe and its

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Could we please see some leadership

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:17

We were interested to hear President Mugabe “lashing out at fly-by-night
pastors that are turning Christianity into money-spinning ventures”.
He was addressing a wedding ceremony for the daughter of his Gushungo Dairy
Farm manager, Stanley Nhari who has himself been in the news recently. The
president “bemoaned the proliferation of some dubious pastors masquerading
as men of God,” according to a Herald report. He warned such unscrupulous
individuals that such practice was against the word of God.

The bride and groom were based in South Africa, we are told. Their wedding
ceremony was hosted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

This is all very intriguing. The president’s remarks contained views that
have long since been scrapped from most wedding ceremonies. For instance his
injunction that “women should submit themselves to their husbands regardless
of their level of education and professional qualifications” is regarded as
not only redundant in most wedding ceremonies nowadays but also distasteful.

Prince William and Kate Middleton omitted it from their wedding last month
as did William’s parents in 1981. It is remarkable that some churches still
entertain it.

But the Seventh Day Adventists are a reactionary lot generally, we gather
from the Herald’s report.

The president had his audience “in stitches” with his story of how he had
been honoured by one of the apostolic churches with a holy staff which had
the power to attract any woman.

What was missing from the Herald’s report on money-spinning pastors was any
mention of the case of Madzibaba Godfrey Nzira who was jailed for an
effective 20 years for rape in 2003 and then released in January this year
following a presidential pardon on health grounds.

Nzira did very well as a pastor, we understand, and is currently assisting
Zanu PF with its election campaign. Nzira’s release comes after he served
about seven years of his sentence.

Meanwhile, we were interested to note that the beneficiaries of the
president’s blessings are based in Johannesburg and obviously prefer to live
outside this country. They don’t seem short of a Bob or two, if you will
forgive the expression!. The bride is a lawyer. And the Adventist church
seems to be mobilising support for Zanu PF. It evidently also believes in
the subordination of women in marriage.

Those Seventh Day Adventists who don’t subscribe to this reactionary
ideology, use your vote wisely when the time comes.

Needless to say the British tabloids have been having fun with the
predicament the IMF’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn finds himself in. Here is
somebody who almost single-handedly rescued the eurozone financial system
over the past few years and is seen as the only candidate who could evict
Nicolas Sarkozy from the Elysée in the next poll. He was brought down by an
over-developed libido.

The New York police grabbed him just minutes before his plane was due to
take off from JFK following an episode with a Guinean chamber maid at his $3
000 a night hotel.

The lady judge refused to grant bail declaring DSK, as he is known in
France, a flight risk. He appeared in court looking unshaven and
shell-shocked and was remanded in custody.

On Tuesday the British press carried headlines such as “French toast”.
“French whine” and “Bail Out”. Oh, how the mighty are fallen!

George Charamba has been using the Herald to advertise the stance the
government will adopt at Windhoek. Instead of responding robustly, the MDC-T
leaves the public guessing as to what they think.

This is what Muckraker thinks: The GPA couldn’t be clearer. None of the
three parties can go it alone. They are obliged to consult and agree on
election dates. The MDC-T should be spelling that out.

The whole purpose of the GPA is to prevent an election outcome that is
contested. That is what the Sadc facilitation is about. Zanu PF is not
mindful of that. It thinks it can steamroll the nation into an arbitrary
decision which will in all probability end in discord and possibly violence.

Furthermore, Zanu PF has not fulfilled its side of the bargain in completing
its GPA commitments. Why has there been no focus on healing? And where did
that 2009 date come from for human rights parameters? Are the events of 2008
to be air-brushed over?

Why is JOC still in place when the National Security Council was designed to
replace it? Why have the airwaves not been opened to a diversity of voices?
Why is the public press partisan and dishonest?

The MDC-T should be making it abundantly clear that there cannot –– indeed
should not –– be any closure of so called “pirate” stations abroad until ZBC
fulfils its role as a public broadcaster in a genuine and professional
manner. And what does the PM think he is doing attempting to propitiate the
hardliners in Zanu PF by endorsing the greed-ridden and damaging
indigenisation programme during his visit to the WEF-Africa in Cape Town?
Could we please see some leadership here.

Just when Muckraker thought the “public” media could not insult our
intelligence any further, they upped the ante on Monday.

Media and political “analysts” are quoted describing Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai “as not only shallow minded and reckless, but also a person who
lacks an understanding of the role of the state media in defending the
country’s sovereignty”.

ZBC goes to great lengths to ensure that their “analysis” cannot be taken
seriously by any right thinking viewer by enlisting the services of Caesar
Zvayi and Jonathan Moyo. It becomes more of a comical charade as the
analysts are said to have “lashed out at Mr Tsvangirai for his utterances
last week when he attacked the public media describing them as shallow”.

Media analyst Zvayi, according to ZBC, stated that Tsvangirai “should be
reminded that the public media cannot be fooled by his opinion based on
partisan reportage he gets from the private media which treats him with kid

Don’t worry, we are as confused as you are!

Meanwhile, Moyo said Tsvangirai “who claims to be a champion of democracy
has exposed his hypocrisy by attacking the media for scrutinising the
happenings within his party and criticising his ideological bankruptcy”.

It is not the first time that Tsvangirai has attracted media attention for
showcasing his political illiteracy, we are told, “as he was once caught
offside when he saluted the Germany (sic) flag”.

ZBC’s “observers” feel the latest sentiments by Tsvangirai have confirmed
that he requires “careful handling” as he lacks a basic understanding of the
operations of the media.

It does not require a rocket scientist, we believe, to conclude that our
so-called “public” media falls far short of the ethos of integrity,
fairness, objectivity, and credibility. Their appeal has plummeted
concurrently with the autocratic regime they try to prop up. Even rural
viewers are shunning them with satellite dishes mushrooming across the

As if to beef up their emaciated story, ZBC brought in the comments of
Kisnot Mukwazhe, the leader of the little known Zimbabwe Development Party
(ZDP) with Facemore Museza as his deputy. The less said about the names the

At the party’s launch in 2008, Mukwazhe praised Zanu PF’s policies and
President  Mugabe while castigating the MDC. The party’s founders left the
launch in a huff after being grilled by journalists on the circumstances
behind the party’s sudden formation.

Mukwazhe, who was “addressing journalists in the capital”, said it was
“unfortunate that a man who aspires to be a leader of this country can make
such statements”.

“The statements by Tsvangirai are unfortunate as a man who claims to be a
good leader can be caught offside. The media should be allowed to play its
role and cannot be dictated to.”

It seems Mukwazhe has recovered from the bashing he received after he was
allegedly caught “crawling into his neighbour’s bedroom”. According to
Zimbabwenewsonline a police report (RRB 1060447) was lodged at Waterfalls
police station.

Turning to the issue of elections, ZDP Secretary-General, Reverend Everisto
Chikanga said unlike the MDC formations which are stalling progress due to
fear of losing, his party is ready for the polls adding that the animosity
in the inclusive government can only be ended through general elections.

“We are ready for the next elections and we have programmes to improve the
lives of Zimbabweans,” said Chikanga.

ZDP also expressed its sentiments on the proposed reform of the security
sector saying these are attempts by the MDC-T and its handlers to weaken
Zimbabwe and effect illegal regime change.

So ZBC would like us to believe that this ZDP outfit is a bona fide
political party which coincidentally parrots Zanu PF views!

Justice Malala made some useful comments in his Sunday Times column last
weekend. He took both Julius Malema and Afriforum to task for their public
quarrel over the singing of revolutionary songs.

He said Afriforum’s court application against the singing of the songs was
“nothing but a cheap publicity stunt, an attempt to cheapen the struggle for
freedom in South Africa”.

ANC Youth League president Malema is no different, he said. “With his cheap
bodyguards in their boastful suits with machine guns, his arrival at court
showed nothing but buffoonery of the order of Idi Amin.

“Malema and Afriforum are two sides of the same cheap coin,” Malala wrote:
“crass, unintellectual, ahistorical and incapable of thought before action.
What happened at the high court was politics at its worst. The presence of
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with her promises that Malema will be president
completed the confederacy of dunces.”

He then referred to the Mandela/de Klerk talks which were aimed at endorsing
the centre and rejecting extremes on both sides of the political divide.
“Neither the ANC nor the then National Party had any hope of running the
country alone,” Malala said. “South Africa needed leaders who could see
beyond their own political trenches.”

He denounced the populist policies that both sides were pursuing. The people
of South Africa have given the political centre to extremists, he said.
Nationalisation of the mines would not offer a cogent solution to South
Africa’s policies.

“(It) had failed so signally everywhere it had been attempted that it was an
insult to South Africans’ intelligence that the ANC now puts it on its
Saviour Kasukuwere, take note.

We were amused by Rugare Gumbo’s claim that the anti-sanctions campaign
would be taken to “another level”. Does that mean down the tubes?

Who apart from Gumbo and the Zanu PF hardliners believe their dubious
petition will be taken seriously either by a majority of Zimbabweans or the
governments of the EU and US? The latter have already told a visiting Sadc
lobby group what to do with their petition. And the claim that it was the
product of voluntary persuasion is just too funny for words given the
evidence of the “voluntary” nature of the campaign. Have the members of Zanu
PF ever done anything voluntarily?

And visiting German head of delegation Stefan Liebich must have suppressed a
chuckle when SK Moyo told him that Zimbabwe respected human rights. Does SK
think Germans don’t know what is going on here? Do they think the arrests
and detentions are the figment of somebody’s imagination?

Liebich must also have had a private chuckle when SK claimed “Zimbabwe
upheld its laws and applied them regardless of one’s political affiliation”.
So political affiliation had nothing to do with the imprisonment of Douglas
Mwonzora, Elton Mangoma or Moses Mzila Ndlovu?

Meanwhile, right next to the Herald report on Liebich’s meeting with SK
Moyo, there is another report in which Emmerson Mnangagwa describes the
usefulness of Aippa in dealing with pesky journalists. Let’s hope our German
friends took note of that.

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Candid Comment: Cry my beloved Zimbabwe

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:12

WHENEVER I think of Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, I often think that
title refers more to Zimbabwe than to South Africa. And if anybody remembers
the cover on the paperback version of the early editions of the book, where
there are two emaciated figures, it is really more a reflection of a
Zimbabwean rather than a South African.
This beloved little country of ours has gone through so much conflict,
particularly over the last 50 years, which conflicts have delivered shocks
to its delicate economy.  The shocks have stunted the potential economic
growth the country has always had, more like a child who has repeated
episodes of kwashiorkor.  Hopes for economic prosperity that had been raised
by the federation of present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi in the
mid-1950s had all been dashed by the early 60s, at the end of the

Of course, the Zambians and Malawians insist that the federation had been
designed to fleece their countries and develop Zimbabwe. Arguably, Zimbabwe
did benefit much from the union, particularly in terms of infrastructure.
Many may recall that the Kariba Dam was built then (benefiting both Zimbabwe
and Zambia) and there was much extension of rail and road links. By the end
of that era, the political conflicts of the country had become uglier;
political parties banned, their leaders arrested and the media gagged.

When Ian Smith declared UDI in 1965 the country was placed under
international sanctions and evidently its economic development was stunted,
although import substitution subsisted the economy for the duration of the
sanctions. Not long after the declaration of UDI, 15 years of armed conflict
ensued, meaning more economic retardation — particularly infrastructural

After Independence the country only enjoyed two years of peace before
another war was unleashed. The phrase “ethnic cleansing” had not been coined
by then, but that was precisely what it was all about. Irrespective of the
fact that the Gukurahundi massacres were confined to the Matabeleland
province and Midlands, this created a dysfunctional economy as this meant
one of its limbs was not functional.

The first victim was tourism, as many may recall, when two European tourists
became victims of Gukurahundi. Now, as happens quite often, tourism is the
window through which other investments look. So the years 1982-1987 were
basically stunted too. But the Unity Accord at the end of 1987 didn’t mean
the end of war for Zimbabwe. Having resolved our internal conflicts we were
out again in Mozambique in the Renamo/Frelimo conflict.  Peace only came to
that country in 1992 with the signing of the Rome Accord.

Okay, so now our baby had a chance to grow. This time around it was mother
nature, and a severe drought wreaked havoc throughout the country. To
demonstrate that peace is essential to economic growth, the years of
recovery from the drought between 1994 and 1997 were years of rapid economic
growth and in some years, the Zimbabwean economy grew by seven percent, the
same as what had been attained by the South East Asian Tiger countries. But
by 1998 it was back to conflict and this time round the war was fought away
from home in the faraway DRC.

Again we shall not go into the merits or demerits of this war. We merely
want to chronicle some key events that have kept stunting our economic
growth. By the time the DRC issue had been resolved our economy was already
mired in the land reform programme which Zanu PF described as a war, and
indeed it became one. This last war has thrown our economy into disarray for
the best part of the past decade.

The GNU ushered in a brief Pax Zimbabweana. If it had been handled carefully
and resulted in fresh elections that would lead to undisputed results, the
country might for once have enjoyed the peace that it desperately needs to
achieve economic growth.

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Editor's Memo: Sadc leaders need to stand firm

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:10

By Dumisani Muleya

EVEN though Zimbabwe has been struck off the agenda of today’s extraordinary
Sadc summit in Windhoek, regional leaders must keep their eyes on the ball
going forward.  They should keep Zimbabwe in the spotlight and marshal the
country towards free and fair elections within a realistic timeframe.
Zimbabwe was removed from the agenda of the special Sadc meeting — initially
called to tackle the political and security situation in this country and
Madagascar -largely because of tight schedules of certain leaders.
Since Zimbabwe has been knocked off the agenda, Sadc must re-convene as soon
as possible to ensure the situation in this country — which has been
dragging on for at least 10 years — is resolved quickly. Sadc leaders need
to insist on mainly two issues: full implementation of the GPA and the
crafting of an elections roadmap to guide the country towards credible and
genuine polls. We need a legitimate government run by genuine winners of
valid democratic elections. Sore and unpopular losers of elections — or
electoral thieves — should never be allowed to subvert the people’s will and
grab power in a civilised and democratic society.

Sadc leaders must always remember that they are dealing with Zimbabwe in a
dynamic and changing environment. The world is changing and changing fast.
The demand for change is steadily moving down the African continent from the
north, judging by the reception given to President Robert Mugabe and other
African leaders attending the recent swearing-in of Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni. Motorcades of African leaders, most of them dictators in one shape
or form, were attacked by angry missile-hurling protesters shouting “Go to
hell dictators” and “You dictators: we are tired of you!”.

It’s good Mugabe was there to hear it for himself, otherwise he would claim
the media was lying!

As Sadc leaders have rightly warned, Mugabe and others of his ilk must never
take people for granted. What is happening in the Middle East and North
Africa shows that oppressed and poor masses can rise against their
oppressors if pushed into a corner. Zimbabweans are fed up and angry at
Mugabe’s leadership and policy failures and atrocities committed by his
regime during his disastrous 31 years in power. Only those blind to reality
and in denial can refute this.

Sadc leaders must therefore insist on a peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwe
situation based on the GPA, which envisages free and fair elections after a
new constitution. The process is spelt out in Article VI of the GPA. The
elections roadmap being crafted now is meant to fulfill in practical terms
what was agreed and envisaged in the GPA. The GPA, which has many grey areas
including on the timing of elections, must continuously be reviewed and
updated where necessary to achieve its ultimate objective to create
political and economic stability, as well as conditions for free and fair
elections. That is why constant engagement between the GPA political parties
is necessary.

Sadc leaders must build on the Livingstone resolutions to find a lasting
solution to the Zimbabwe situation. They must not be derailed by Mugabe and
his Zanu PF surrogates who have always found democracy confusing and detest
it so much.

After getting a rude awakening in Livingstone in March following a frank and
honest summit of the Sadc troika of the organ on politics, defence and
security, Mugabe and his propagandists unsuccessfully tried to spin a yarn
about what actually transpired there and the significance of the outcome.
Since then they have been desperately trying to recover from the aftermath
of the bruising summit.

However, their response has been clumsy and pedestrian. Mugabe reacted
angrily at the outcome of the Livingstone summit, only to find himself
effectively apologising for his hurried and imprudent remarks. The situation
was made worse through reckless utterances by Mugabe’s waffling spin-doctors
like Jonathan Moyo and others whom nobody, except perhaps themselves, takes
seriously anymore.

Apart from apologising for the mess he created and allowing his sycophants
to exacerbate, Mugabe found himself being forced to approach Sadc
ambassadors in Harare and send envoys to the region to beg for support from
the very same people — including President Jacob Zuma - he had been scolding
and telling off just a few weeks earlier. This shows confusion and lack of
legerdemain in statecraft.

Sadc leaders must stand firm and insist — as they did in Livingstone — the
GPA be fully implemented and the roadmap finalised to ensure free and fair
elections within a reasonable and practical timeframe.

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Comment: Banks - Regulator must step up

Friday, 20 May 2011 09:09

THERE is a general feeling — and a mistaken one for that matter — that
depositors in this country are usually not very fussy about banking. In fact
most of them are using banks just as a pipeline to access salaries and
nothing more. The salaries deposited in the banks are usually withdrawn in
full in one transaction and there is no activity in accounts until the next
month’s salary is deposited.
Most of these depositors could do without bank accounts because they are not
receiving any interest on their balances, which in most instances are kept
at the barest minimum allowed by financial institutions. There is no savings
culture to talk of in this country and one would ask if banks still have
relevance in this market. In general many Zimbabweans still do not trust
banks. And who can blame them?

The issue of high bank charges and minuscule interest paid on depositors’
balances has become an almost banal debate in which the government and the
central bank have oftentimes expressed great worry about but unfortunately
can’t do much about. More worryingly though is the fact that there are banks
which are struggling due to poor performing loans and the general malaise of
low liquidity. Again the central bank’s options and capacity to intervene
are limited. In essence the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is broke due to poor
budgetary support.

Resultantly it has abdicated its role as the lender of last resort. The puny
state of the central bank is worrying because it has seen bankers resorting
to unethical means to survive. The surfacing bank exposures recently
reported in the Renaissance Financial Holdings case have raised eyebrows
about the conduct of banks.

Because the central bank cannot lend and the depressed activity on the
interbank market means banks have been forced to borrow from private
individuals to recapitalise. The central bank has set capitaliastion
thresholds for banks and these have to be adhered to, notwithstanding the
state of the market!

Borrowing money for private individuals is a recipe for disaster and results
of this are beginning to emerge. Opportunists and others with criminal
intent can easily get a foot in the door in banks by advancing loans usually
at unsustainably high interest rates.

The lender usually comes back to claim shareholding in lieu of the debt.
Damaging fights emerge on the quantum of debt and the size of shareholding
claimed. There are also unconfirmed reports of banks making underhand deals
to trade as independent money lenders at very high interest rates, all in a
bid to make a fast buck.

This has raised the question: Is the central bank still in full grip of the
sector? Well, that’s a question the regulator would answer with a big “yes”
in a bid to protect the sensitive industry. The RBZ chief Gideon Gono was
recently quick to point that all was well with the financial sector despite
problems unearthed at Renaissance. But this is not comforting at all. While
most banks have indicated full compliance with minimum capital requirements,
are they really fully capitalised or are they characterised by shady
corporate structures?

Banks are just operating from their own treasuries and the market has been
left to self-correct through supply and demand. This has allowed banks to
justify unethical practices in the name of trying to create economic
activity? That is why the authorities always try to warn or rather encourage
banks to charge reasonable service fees and offer competitive interest rates
on deposits as they no longer have economic power to manipulate the market.

Given the bank failures of 2003 and beyond, there is even greater need for
stringent regulation in the sector notwithstanding the empty pockets of the
central bank. Gono has indicated that the regulator would announce punitive
measures in the next monetary policy statement with regards to compliance
with indigenisation laws. It would be interesting to see what measures the
central bank would propose to further tighten the financial sector to help
safeguard customer deposits.

This country is badly in need of a savings culture and this cannot be built
on the current shaky foundation of the financial services sector. The
regulator must step up to the plate and restore confidence in banks;
otherwise depositors will keep their savings under the mattress.

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