|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
South Africa, where independence was gained from the murderous
apartheid regime, independence is still celebrated, and the leaders of that
liberation-the late Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, the first president of
a democratic South Africa-are still honored in their own land, and among
democratic forces in Africa.
As Lynne Duke noted in her tribute to Walter Sisulu at his death at 90 (The
Washington Post, May 7), when he and Nelson Mandela led the militant Youth
League of the African National Congress, "they staged marches, boycotts and
work stay-aways to battle the laws that progressively stripped nonwhites of
their human rights."
But now, as the black citizens of Zimbabwe are battling the savage laws and
brutality of Robert Mugabe's government, South Africa's president, Thabo
Mbeki, is hesitantly and ineffectively involved in what The Economist calls
" 'quiet diplomacy,' a euphemism for inaction."
This abandonment of the brutalized people of Zimbabwe is joined by the
rulers of Nigeria and Malawi. On May 5, Mbeki, along with presidents
Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria) and Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), came very briefly to
Harare to speak with Mugabe. As the headline in the May 6 New York Times
noted: "Negotiations in Zimbabwe Fail to Break Political Crisis."
At a news conference, Mugabe crowed: "I am the president of this country and
I have legitimacy."
In a May 8 editorial, the Times had a quick explanation for this forsaking
of the freedom fighters in Zimbabwe: "We understand why African leaders are
reluctant to lean on Mr. Mugabe. Mr. Mbeki shares Mr. Mugabe's roots in a
liberation movement, and the instability of many African regimes makes their
leaders loath to promote regime change anywhere."
But why is the universally respected-and indeed, venerated-Nelson Mandela
silent? After all, in May, Mandela, together with South African deputy
president Jacob Zuma, was involved in arranging an agreement between Hutu
and Tutsi antagonists in Burundi. But Mandela was not in Harare.
However, another hero of the South African liberation movement, Desmond
Tutu, archbishop emeritus, Capetown, has vigorously denounced the Mugabe
dictatorship: "The hard facts on the ground in Zimbabwe . . . suggest an
alarming array of policies and practices that may be leading the country to
a catastrophic future. . . . The ongoing political violence . . . must be
brought to an end. The threatening famine, caused in part by government land
policies, will make things even worse."
But only Nelson Mandela has the resounding stature to compel
attention-including among the largely silent black civil rights leaders in
the United States-to the horrific measures Mugabe inflicts on his people to
stay in power.
I asked Adotei Akwei, Africa advocacy director of Amnesty International USA,
about the silence of Mandela. "If Mandela would speak out," Akwei said,
"that would be a big breakthrough. But in addition to his disinclination to
attack Mugabe, the 'liberator' of Zimbabwe, in the past, Mandela is a very
loyal person, and he has known Mugabe a long time. Why did Bishop Tutu speak
out? He is a man of principle."
Furthermore, while Nelson Mandela is respected worldwide for the price he
paid for his principled fight for the liberation of South Africa-imprisoned
in the former leper colony Robben Island for 26 years-there has been no
pressure on Mandela from his international admirers to bring hope and
encouragement to the Zimbabweans.
"Very disappointing," said Akwei, "is that there has been such little
visible public concern anywhere for the suffering of the black people of
Zimbabwe. And that includes black leaders in the United States. Even some of
those who eventually became involved in protesting the slavery and genocide
in Sudan have not been heard from about Zimbabwe."
But there has been no pressure on American black leaders to come forward.
American black church groups were an important force in getting more black
political leadership to focus on Sudan. And in time, some of the white
American media woke up, to some extent, to the savagery of the National
Islamic Front government's jihad against the black Sudanese in the south.
Although The New York Times has provided some useful spot-news and editorial
coverage to the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe, most of the media have been
indifferent. I have seen nothing on Ted Koppel's Nightline or on the
valuable Frontline documentary projects of the Public Broadcasting System.
As for Kofi Annan and the United Nations, keep in mind Rwanda, and all the
UN's failures to save millions of people around the world from their
Meanwhile, Cathy Buckle, in a March 29 online weekly letter from Zimbabwe,
tells of Patricia, in Harare, attacked in her home at 1 a.m. by men in army
uniforms accusing her of supporting the opposition to Mugabe. They "put a
condom on the end of a rifle barrel and forced it inside her. Afterward they
beat her and forced her to drink her child's urine. 'They have already
killed me,' she said, 'but I have to carry on.' " Patricia, like a huge
number of Mugabe's victims, is black.
Here at the Voice, I received a press release from the African Liberation
Day Coalition 2003. The headline: "Blacks Assert Hands Off Zimbabwe,"
addressed to the "U.S. and British governments," accused by this coalition
of recolonizing Africa. The demand: "money for reparations and not
Will they demand that Mugabe pay reparations to all the black Zimbabweans he
has so ruthlessly misruled?
Among the signers of the "Hands Off Zimbabwe" message are: Africans Helping
Africans, International Action Center, National Conference of Black Lawyers,
Harlem Tenants Council, and New York A.N.S.W.E.R. The latter is noted for
its skill at organizing anti-war demonstrations, along with the
International Action Center.
Will A.N.S.W.E.R. invite Robert Mugabe to address its next demonstration for
"Peace and Justice"? Meanwhile, incredibly, the African Liberation Day
Coalition scheduled a rally for last weekend advocating "support of
President Mugabe for standing up for his country." Ask the black Zimbabweans
Free-falling exports push Zim deeper into recession
By Hama Saburi Deputy Editor-in-Chief
5/22/03 11:49:03 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE will be stuck in the woods for quite sometime because of
free-falling exports, which gave rise to acute shortages of essential
The capacity to export nose-dived over the years in line with the
slowdown in economic activity, with foreign exchange receipts falling from
US$3.6 billion in 1996 to US$1.9 billion in 1998 before plunging to an
estimated US$1.4 billion last year.
The trend has resulted in imports of essential commodities,
particularly fuel and electricity, getting tighter by the day.
Zimbabwe has not been able to service external debts as a result, with
arrears amounting to US$1.3 billion as of November last year.
It means, therefore, that last year's exports were only sufficient to
cover arrears, leaving only $1 billion to meet critical imports.
The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe alone needs US$40 million a month
to import 67 million litres of fuel consumed locally every month, while the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority requires US$5.5 million monthly.
ZimTrade chief executive Freddy Chawasarira said intermittent power
and fuel supplies were militating against the ability to export.
He said: "Workers are spending much of their time in fuel queues,
while electricity load-shedding is delaying deliveries into export markets."
ZimTrade is a quasi-government institution established in 1991 to
Exports refer to goods and services sold outside a country to earn
foreign currency needed to sustain a nation's import requirements.
Analysts said Zimbabwe was handicapped by its heavy reliance on raw
exports of tobacco, minerals and cotton, whose prices are externally
The country loses a lot of foreign currency in importing the finished
products instead of processing them locally.
For instance, platinum is sent to South Africa for refining before
hitting the export market.
Traditional exports - tobacco and minerals - contribute about 30
percent of Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which basically, is the
total value of goods and services.
Unfortunately, traditional exports are besieged by a host of
difficulties that have sounded a wake-up call on Zimbabwe.
The controversial land reform programme disrupted agricultural
production causing tobacco production to plummet from 168 million-kg of
flue-cured tobacco last year to an estimated 90 to 110 million-kg this year.
The mining sector is in a vice as well because of high input costs
against not-so-attractive prices.
Major exporters are cutting on production to minimise costs, with most
textile companies operating at half their normal capacity owing to the
shortage of lint.
The troubled Cold Storage Company, which used to export beef to the
European Union, suspended exports after the outbreak of foot-and- mouth
disease in 2001 that is still affecting some parts of the country.
Zimbabwe has already lost significant market share in Zambia after
Lusaka went against the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
requirements by imposing punitive duty on local products.
Zimbabwe's exclusion from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, that
offers preferential trade access into the United States, because of
political reasons also denied companies an opportunity to push products into
that vast market.
Nhlanhla Masuku, former Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
president, argued that while the performance of exports has been poor, the
country was losing valuable resources through externalisation of foreign
ZimTrade boss Chawasarira said the country should look at other
"We should be more creative and look at the export of services.
"The construction sector should take advantage of opportunities in
Angola, where there is need for reconstruction following the end of civil
war," Chawasarira said.
A study done in September last year concluded that the service sector,
which comprise banking and finance, telecommunications, transport,
insurance, shipping and forwarding, tourism, health and education
contributes half Zimbabwe's employment and GDP.
Mike Ndudzo, the general manager of the Industrial Development
Corporation said there were value-adding opportunities in the horticultural
Only 10 percent of fresh fruit produced locally are value-added.
In the cotton industry, there is capacity to invest in spinning and
weaving technology since only 28 percent of the 140 000 tonnes of cotton
lint produced is spun into year and further processed into fabrics and
There are 15 tanneries in the country with an installed capacity of
processing 680 000 hides per annum, but can only handle 390 000 due to the
shortage of hides.
"Only four tanneries can produce finished leather and the rest only
process up to wet blue state. As a result, 50 percent of hides are processed
to their finished state and the rest is exported as wet blue leather.
"There is, therefore, an opportunity to further process the wet blue
leather into finished products such as belts for export," said Ndudzo.
Bernard Mufute of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said the
adjustment in the exchange rate from Z$55 to the United States dollar to
Z$824 has come as a major relief to exporters.
Mufute said: "Exporters were earning US$8 million a week last year,
but earnings have started to pick up because of the adjustment in the
exchange rate and the beginning of the tobacco-marketing season."
He, however, said exports were affected by the country's poor credit
rating that has seen external business partners demanding up-front.
Chawasarira said while the move in the exchange rate is welcome, the
continued rise in inflation was affecting export competitiveness.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Leonard Tsumba noted in his monetary
policy statement that the inflation scourge had become the country's first
Inflation, which averaged 15.5 percent in 1990 increased to 112.1
percent as December 2001 and 198.9 at the end of last year. The rate has
since hit an all-time high of 269.2 percent amid indications that it could
reach 500 percent by the end of the year.
Inflation mirrors the general loss of purchasing power.
Zimbabwe's inflation is the highest in the region. Its regional
trading partners Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia enjoy rates of
11,1 percent, 16,7 percent, 11,3 percent and 25 percent respectively.
Chawasarira said the adjustment in the exchange rate, which the
government strongly resisted over the past two years, has to be done
regularly in sympathy with the rising rate of inflation otherwise
benefits accruing to exporters would be minimal.
"We have been tasked to come up with a paper to incentive exporters.
Industry and International Trade , Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi admitted that
there should be some more in term of incentives apart from cheap funds,"
Chawasarira said referring to two finance facilities that were put together
last year to enable exporter and companies in the productive sector access
Exporters are getting loans under this facility at 5 percent interest,
while the productive sector access the same window at 15 percent interest,
which compares favourably with lending rates in the banking sector now
hovering around 75/80 percent.
ZimTrade is considering a number of other incentives in regional
countries that could be applied in Zimbabwe.
In South Africa, for example, the government assist companies in
marketing their products externally by financing the costs of airfare,
exhibition and freighting among other things.
It has also been suggested before that export incentive in the Export
Processing Zones (EPZs) should be relaxed and extended to other
At the moment, EPZs are open to new companies exporting 80 percent of
Qualifying companies enjoy tax holidays and duty exemption on raw
material and capital equipment among other benefits.
Towards the 'final push'
5/22/03 8:58:06 AM (GMT +2)
VERY few dictators go down without a fight or some form of resistance,
no matter how ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is a case in point and in this
country, with the ever-increasing calls for a "final push" we must brace
ourselves for the "final push back".
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seems to be calculating its
moves so that its ongoing effort to push Robert Mugabe's regime out of power
indeed becomes final. The MDC leader is on a cross-country mission to garner
as much support as he can for his party's titanic mission.
It is clear now that he has not been lured into giving in to any of
Mugabe's demands, a position which in itself is sensibly militant and
courageous for a person of his status.
That Morgan Tsvangirai has frustrated Mugabe's bid to be legitimised
by him; that he has refused to withdraw his poll court case against the
President and that he has continued to call for mass action as a means of
finally pushing ZANU PF out of power reveals that Tsvangirai's combatant
stance means nothing short of serious business when the opposition takes to
What with statements such as "Uku chichitsva uku tichitaurirana," (on
one end we are in mass action or the other we are on the negotiating table)
uttered at Sakubva stadium over the weekend Mugabe and his henchmen ain't
seen nothing yet.
Mugabe seems to lack the foresight to realise that the inter-party
talks are not only for the good of the nation but also for his own good and
that of his party.
ZANU PF needs these talks much more that the MDC. It is the ruling
party which would benefit rather than the opposition and hence the ruling
party must be more persuasive in its efforts to coax the MDC to the table.
By dragging their feet to the negotiation table ZANU PF only have
themselves to blame when they are pushed out of power by a popular uprising.
The MDC has nothing to lose but everything to gain, so if both parties
are to build the confidence of the people they must be seen to do something
of which the inter-party talks can be a starting point.
Mugabe must see negotiations with the MDC as a way of keeping himself
in power a little longer, that is if he still wants to remain in the hot
seat, otherwise obstinacy will get him nowhere.
The government and the ruling party must not take the threats from the
MDC and the ZCTU lightly. Zimbabweans are indeed extremely angry. They are
angry with a lot of things that Mugabe and his regime have done or not done.
They are angry with the runaway inflation, the crippling fuel crisis, the
frustrating foreign exchange shortage, the manipulative black market, the
miscalculated land reform programme and the shocking crimes against
Moreso Zimbabweans are very bitter about the greed shamelessly shown
by those at the top, the ruling elite.
The last thing this country needs is greedy people in positions of
political and business influence. The greedy fish within ZANU PF and the
government who take advantage of their stamina to devour the best worms will
discover that they are hooked.
Already there is disgruntlement from war veterans who called, and
rightly so in a long time, for the ouster of a war cabinet that has declared
war on its people.
It seems sanity is finally dawning on the war veterans whose gratuity
demands in 1997 began the economic crisis that we find ourselves drowning in
At that time they cared less what their demands would do to the entire
economy, what with our involvement in the DRC war, it's no surprise that
Zimbabwe's situation is what it is today.
At that time war veterans were greedy and like all greedy people they
could not think properly. Now that their families are suffering because
almost every top brass in the ruling party emulated their greedy way of
living, they are taking measures and the latest casualty is Joseph
Chinotimba, who has been sacrificed for his greed for political power which
puts the war veterans' association into disrepute.
Mugabe has also realised that the land grab, that he erroneously
called "reform", is riddled with severe shortcomings caused by his greedy
and inconsiderate henchmen who have had their cake and eaten it too.
This realisation has however come a little too late because no matter
how genuine the Charles Utete audit committee might be, the general
population has lost faith in the whole land saga.
Mugabe's regime has committed so many atrocities that have rendered it
illegitimate and even though others might argue that the call for mass
action is a defiance of the law I will put it to them that corruption,
repressive legislation amongst others are much more unlawful than calling
for a restoration of the rule of law through mass action.
The time has come to fight lawlessness with lawlessness and though
Mugabe will definitely not go down without a fight, his grip on power is
The war veterans whom Mugabe used to spearhead the land grab no longer
seem to support him as much as they did in February 2000. There are reports
of desertions from the army and rampant corruption amongst the police force
and this could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Of course there will always be some die-hard loyalists to cocoon the
President in his last moments in office but that will be all that Mugabe's
final push back will be about.
The people of Zimbabwe, including the second chimurenga liberations
war veterans, can now see their history and their future with clarity based
on the present misrule of Mugabe and his party.
The present government's destiny is really unfortunate as Anthony
Reeler gravely sums it up in his May 6 2003 Idasa report on "Crimes against
humanity and the Zimbabwean transition":
"That history will judge Robert Mugabe harshly seems in little doubt,
and the people of Zimbabwe will determine his fate for his crimes against
humanity when we are able to see our history with clarity and not before."
Inflation, interest and exchange rates - the impossible trinity
5/22/03 8:55:01 AM (GMT +2)
The fact that Zimbabwe is currently facing significant macro-economic
instability is now a case that is known and has been debated by many. It is
only sad to note that unlike the nature of debate that has taken place
elsewhere and worldwide, Zimbabwe lacks adequate debate that proposes
practical alternatives that bring about net positive gains to the economy.
This article makes an attempt to contribute to this debate by looking
at the challenge of what I wish to indigenise and call the 'impossible
trinity' of maintaining controls on the three major rates that drive an
economy vis exchange rate, inflation rate and interest rate.
Worldwide, extensive debate has been made on the question of an
appropriate exchange rate regime, particularly for emerging markets,
especially in the light of the so-called impossible trinity of full capital
account convertibility (CAC), monetary independence (for inflation control),
and a stable currency. Given the economic challenges that Zimbabwe faces
today, debate has arisen on the trinity of controlled prices that come in
For instance, Zimbabwe has had a pegged exchange rate (the controlled
price of foreign currency), triple digit inflation rate (despite the
controlled prices of basic commodities) and controlled interest rates.
Economic theory and practice elsewhere has shown that it is not possible to
have simultaneous controls on these three major rates because one has to
give in, hence the indigenised principle of the Impossible Trinity for
Zimbabwe and the question of whether these policies are achieving the
Under normal circumstances, the debate on The Impossible Trinity
hinges on the challenges of having full capital CAC, monetary independence
for inflation control and a stable currency.
Empirical evidence has shown that the fixed peg has promoted a black
market for foreign currency, controlled prices have triggered a black market
for basic commodities whilst the controlled interest rates - before
announcement of recent monetary policy changes - have promoted the borrowing
of cheap local currency for speculative purposes on the hard currency.
Undoubtedly, the three controls are not achieving the desired objectives.
Exchange rate controls
Other studies have shown that most countries have adopted intermediate
regimes of various types including fixed peg, crawling pegs, fixed rates
within bands, managed floats with no pre-announced path, and independent
floats with foreign exchange intervention moderating the rate of change and
preventing undue fluctuations.
Countries with "managed" floats have had their central banks intervene
periodically because the external value of a currency remains of concern to
most governments and central banks. This is so because a sharp change in the
value of a currency value can affect the real economy.
Exporters in Zimbabwe have suffered from the fixed peg due to
unanticipated sharp appreciation of the real exchange rate.
Debtors or other corporates, the major culprits being public
enterprises with offshore loans and high import content requirements such as
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority,
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe, have
been affected badly by sharp currency depreciation or devaluation.
A sharp rise in parastatal debt or that of any other corporate body
threatens the viability of financial institutions and can lead to bank
Such policies as devaluation should therefore be implemented following
careful consideration and great caution, notwithstanding the benefits that
arise to exporters and the net benefit to the economy in the form of foreign
Capital flows - which can be inflows or outflows are primary
determinants of exchange rate movements on a day to day basis. For reasons
that are not subject of this discussion, Zimbabwe has suffered huge capital
outflows unlike the rest of the world. Impact of the outflows has been
significantly different from the rest of the world too.
Zimbabwe, though a small player in the world economy, has a
significantly large trade deficit and a very weak currency. In economic
principles, such anomalies need to be investigated, studied and understood
for good and proper policy formulation.
Another issue that is subject for debate is that of how the exchange
rate should be managed. Should we be monitoring the nominal or the Real
Effective Exchange Rate (REER)? It is generally conceived that REER should
be monitored because it reflects changes in the external value of a currency
in relation to its trading partners in real terms. However, in the
short-run, there is a general tendency to monitor the nominal rate.
This brings in the issue of "stability" versus "volatility" in
Zimbabwe's foreign exchange market. In principle, it would be desirable if
the exchange rate depreciate when capital inflows are weak. The extent of
the depreciation and the pace is also another subject for consideration.
Unfortunately, this option of depreciating the Zimdollar is not always
available to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe during periods of turbulence such as
the one we are currently in.
Again, in some circles, such policies are not politically palatable.
Current debate on applied economic policies in Zimbabwe should also be
on forex management, especially on the appropriate policy for management of
foreign exchange reserves.
In an exchange rate regime of free float, one can argue that the need
for reserves falls away. Some countries, where monetary policy is directed
towards the single objective of inflation control, in fact maintain no
reserves, except for operational purposes. However, in the light of
volatility induced by capital flows there is a growing consensus to maintain
"adequate" reserves. But the definition of adequate still remains unattended
A fixed peg definitely requires "adequate" reserves, a position that
Zimbabwe has failed to meet as evidenced by the long queues for foreign
currency to finance such imports as fuel, medical bills, tuition fees for
students in foreign universities, electricity bills to name a few,
re-capitalisation of industry etc.
Interest rate and inflation rate controls
Noting the challenges that Zimbabwe faces regarding steering the
economy in the desired direction, sight should not be lost of the fact that
the co-existence and simultaneous control of the exchange rate, control of
prices and control of interest rates becomes an impossible trinity.
One policy has to give way to another and a decision has to be made on
Challenges similar to those faced by controlling the exchange rate
arise following implementation of policies that control interest rates and
inflation rate. Differences arise on the magnitude of the impact on the
economy, market response, government response and economic response in
The same principle of controls on the exchange rate apply on controls
imposed on interest rates.
One further wonders how controls can be placed on inflation without
addressing the root causes, moreso when Zimbabwe is now suffering under
hyperinflation despite price controls.
Empirical evidence points to the fact that price controls have failed
but a more serious effort is required to address the fundamental causes of
On issues pertaining to interest rate policy, note can be made of the
fact that interest rate policy can be used to stabilise the exchange rate
and or the inflation rate.
It is really a matter of government or national policy. Monetary
policy should not target both nominal and real exchange rate and the
In Zimbabwe, it appears that measures are in place that attempt to
target both as evidenced by the challenges faced in the foreign exchange
market and the prevailing hyperinflation. It is thus proposed that
consideration be made monetary policy be used for its prime purpose.
The following proposals are raised as food for thought to this
economic debate that is hoped to contribute to a positive turnaround of the
- Zimbabwe should seriously consider the idea of being integrated into
the global economy and more importantly, the global capital markets;
- With an overvalued exchange rate, policy recommendation is normally
that of higher interest rates and fiscal contraction in order to reduce the
current and budget deficit. Fiscal contraction should be accompanied by
de-monetization of the budget unless the resources are used to finance
capital projects relative to consumption;
- The country has had a currency attack and continues to have one on
the parallel market. This has unfortunately invited capital controls in
order to protect the exchange rate from the adverse effects of unwanted
capital outflows. Capital controls should be imposed with the assumption
that in the long term there will be liberalisation and integration into the
global capital markets.
- Should policymakers concern themselves more with the nominal
exchange rate or the real exchange rate?
There is a general tendency to monitor the nominal exchange rate
because it affects the inflation rate but focus should really be on the real
effective exchange rate which has a more powerful effect.
- An attempt has been made to use the exchange rate as a nominal
anchor to dis-inflate the economy from triple to single digit levels. The
existence of a parallel market has defeated this objective.
Whether this is the best policy stance for Zimbabwe or not is a
question that needs answering. At least the country needs to make a serious
decision on whether to prioritise achievement of price stability prior to
exchange rate stability or vice versa.
Probably, consideration should be made of the crawling peg and gradual
introduction of some flexibility, accompanied by appropriate fiscal policy.
Should consideration be made to sustain the fixed peg, note should be
made of the fact that the fixed peg has been successfully used to
dis-inflate from high inflation without a crisis but it is important to exit
from the peg during the process.
However, cognisance should also be made of the fact that in Zimbabwe,
there is empirical evidence proving that controls on the exchange rate
create a thriving parallel market.
The economy is now priced to the parallel market, thus creating
inflation. Efforts to curb inflation through interest rate controls have
produced the counter-effect as human nature saw an opportunity to borrow
cheaply and take advantage of wrong government policy to buy forex on the
parallel market and thereby hedge inflation.
Extensive borrowing for consumption fuelled inflation, which in turn
invited price controls. Efforts to curb inflation through price controls has
created a commodities black market.
A cat and mouse game has now arisen between policymakers and policy
users as a vicious cycle of controls and hedging tactics rages on.
The challenge of addressing and efficiently managing the indigenised
theory of 'The Impossible Trinity - exchange rate, inflation rate and
interest rate partly provides the answer to Zimbabwe's woos, if economic
rather than political reasoning takes the lead in guiding the way forward.
-Judith Kateera is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society
The talks, the preconditions and final push- Isaya Sithole
5/22/03 9:18:45 AM (GMT +2)
THIS is a two-part contribution. The first part will deal with the
talks in the context of the existing pre-conditions thereto. The second
part, which is a continuation of the first, will deal with the "final push"
and make contributions for its effective implementation.
There was a lot of excitement about ZANU PF, MDC talks following the
recent visit by the regional Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and
This is evidenced by the
discourse in the media and everywhere else.
However, most Zimbabweans know that similar talks between the two parties
collapsed mid last year after ZANU PF put a pre-condition that the MDC must
withdraw its court case challenging the validity of the presidential
election, thereby recognising the legality and legitimacy of the
establishment, before the talks could proceed.
In as much as most Zimbabweans can't wait to have a negotiated
settlement to the current political impasse, the prospects for such a
solution are bleak, at least at the present moment.
I am not trying to sound pessimistic but the objective situation and
the prevailing discourse show that there is still some work be done. The
pre-conditions attendant upon the dialogue are naturally a blockade to the
birth of a process of principled dialogue and negotiation.
Both parties appear to be taking a "fixed-pie" approach to the talks
and if they don't see the need for mutual compromise on their part in the
national interest then dialogue, let alone its success will be at best
The unfortunate thing is that the pre-conditions and the acceptance or
otherwise thereof form the core of both parties argumentative framework and
there is less likely to be a quick meaningful compromise.
The government and ruling ZANU PF insist that Tsvangirai must withdraw
his election petition as a pre-condition for dialogue. The MDC remains
adamant and defiant that the talks must be unconditional and that's a
Infact if Tsvangirai withdraws the petition then he would have sold
out to the millions of people who voted for him and his party.
Pre-conditions have always been used in political history to increase
the bargaining power of the party which imposes them in the negotiation
They are part of a broader political posturing process and if the MDC
accepts ZANU PF's precondition they would have compromised on a fundamental
point without ZANU PF itself compromising on anything and by so doing they
enter into the negotiating arena from a defensive perspective, like guests
invited to a members-only club. We must reject the beggar tactics that are
being forced on us by those that seek to appease our cruel masters.
If we go cap in hand begging for our deliverance, we are only inviting
the contempt of those who have power over us.
The talks must just be unconditional or if there are to be any
pre-conditions the MDC must also come up with strategic and tactical counter
pre-conditions like withdrawing the treason trial of the three MDC leaders,
the repeal of repressive legislation like POSA and AIPPA, etcetera.
These counter pre-conditions are not meant to abstract the talks as
such but to increase the bargaining power of the pro-democracy movement and
obviously in such a process some skillful and innovative obstructive tactics
In any case, the counter pre-conditions suggested above naturally fall
squarely within the guiding principles of the progressive movement -
transparency and accountability.
The MDC is a movement for "democratic" change and in a democracy, even
in a representative one like our own, there is a limit to the decision that
leaders can make without consulting directly with their members and
It is my respectable view that these talks and the election petition
therewith have a crucial bearing on the future of Zimbabwe and I hope wise
counsel will continue to prevail in the MDC leadership that they must be
wary of cutting out deals with the establishment on these issues without
consulting their constituency and the broader civil society.
So, as a tactical move the MDC must demand the repeal of POSA as a
pre-condition so that they are able to hold rallies across the breath of the
country gathering the views of their membership.
These rallies and consultation meetings must be accompanied by an
effective conscientisation and socio-political mobilisation process which
has the effect of sensitising the masses to the issues at hand.
The MDC owes this to the nation if they are to prove their
"demoncratic" character and that they are not out to get political power.
The obvious advantage of such a strategic and diplomatic move is that
even when the talks collapse along the way, supposing they resume, the
people will respond/react appropriately in defence of their interests
because they would have been consulted and so they "own" the negotiation
process by virtue of having made their input into it.
The MDC must also make strategic and multi-pronged alliances with the
broader civil society.
It will be naÔve for the MDC to think that they will do it alone and
to ignore the potency of other pro-demoncracy forces, especially the
constitutional reform movement where we find the genesis of the party. The
MDC has always been a civil society party and it must remain so.
I have argued in previous contributions (Financial Gazzette November
7-12; November 14-20) that a presidential poll re-run and a new constitution
are not incompatible, but rather, complementary.
I restate what I stated in the contributions referred to above that
the talks between ZANU PF and MDC must take place within a constitutional
context and that that is the only way other progressive forces can really
see the dialogue as positive and deserving of their support.
The MDC must not take President Mugabe's statements that demonise NCA
leader Lovemore Madhuku too far because we all know that it is not true but
an attempt by the regime to further fragment the people's resistance ahead
of the possible resumption of talks between ZANU PF and the MDC.
We have seen a lot of activism in its various manifestations by the
NCA since the beginning of the year and even beyond.
Although most of their calls for stay-aways were arguably perceived as
a failure in certain quarters, their undeniable success was in managing to
create and sustain a discourse that constitutional reform is inextricably
tied to any lasting solution to our current crises.
That is important and due recognition has to be accorded to the
constitutional reform movement for surviving the turbulent political
currents obtaining in this country since the "NO" vote.
The MDC itself having largely evolved from the NCA and having placed
constitutional review as one of their top priorities in their Presidential
election manifesto, can not convince us that constitutional reform has
suddenly ceased to be important or that it only becomes important when they
take over the reigns!
Having argued that the talks between ZANU (PF) and the MDC are
ill-fated from birth by virtue of their structure and the pre-conditions
attendant thereon, people must brace up for the "final push". We must
however, not forget that the push may not be final but it's a step ahead all
the same. A negotiated settlement cannot altogether be ruled out but it can
only be possible if progressive forces demand by concrete action, political
concessions from the status quo in a confrontational manner. The concessions
that the powerful give to the powerless at any given time reflect the
balance of political forces at that particular time.
We must learn to
accept that no group , however benevolent, can hand
over power to the vanguished on a silver plate. We must accept that the
limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they
oppress. We must realise that the government and the ruling party have no
desire to share power and encourage democratic governance and our situation
is not a mistake on their part but a deliberate act of suppression and
therefore no amount of moral lecturing will persuade the system to come to
terms with the people and correct the situation.
concedes nothing without demand for it formulates its very
method of operation on the ironic basics that they are the sole conscience
of the people.
It gears itself to resist demands in whatever way it sees fit and our
preparedness to take upon ourselves the cudgels of the struggle will see us
through. However, the reality of our situation is that fear has become an
important determinant in Zimbabwean politics. We must remove from our
vocabulary completely the concept of fear, for fear breeds misery in the
land. If we acquiesce in the system's strategies and fail to make political
demands and choose to come to a round table to beg for our deliverance, we
are asking for the contempt of the powers that be.
We must completely
discard any beggar tactics and confront the system
head on with political demands. Of course this may involve being subjected
to victimisation, police brutality and judicial harassment. It may even mean
death but in a true bid for change we have to take off our coats, be
prepared to lose our comfort and security, our jobs and positions of
prestige, and our families, for just as it is true that "leadership and
security are basically incompatible," a struggle without casualties is no
I have often said one
major set back in the progressive movement is
lack of a courageous militant and combative leadership. However, its
refreshing to note that the MDC has now ceased to think that economic
hardships will automatically mobilise the people and are taking an active
leadership role. A simple and general definition of leadership includes the
capacity to influence, inspire, rally, direct, encourage, motivate, induce,
move, mobilise and activate others to pursue a common goal or purpose while
maintaining commitment, momentum, confidence and courage.
shortcoming in our strategy is being contend with fighting
within a framework set by the system. This is the major danger I see facing
the progressive movement at the present moment - to be so conditioned by the
system as to make even our most well - considered resistance to fit within
the system both in terms of the means and of the goals.
After the wake up call of the
"NO" vote ZANU (PF) in danger of
collapse, embarked on a massive macho style process or re-organisation and
they re-defined the boundaries of the political boxing ring. The events that
followed the referendum are well documented and will not be repeated here.
To add a semblance of legitimacy to the new lawless dispensation the "Hondo
yeminda" or "Third Chimurenga" philosophy was developed together with an
ideology that relegate opposition supporters and progressive elements to
sell-outs and puppets of the British. This was used to create a misguided
discourse and to veil governance crisis that is at the core of Zimbabwe's
The system has
put in place a framework where they are the embodiment
of patriotism, the national interest and the sole conscience of the people
inspite of glaring evidence to the contrary. The system has put in place a
legal framework which bans demonstration, strikes, mass actions and any form
of political activity although it is public knowledge that the law is
applied selectively in this regard.
The system has virtually closed all democratic avenues of political
expression and there are very few options, if any, left for the
The only viable option left, in my view, is to go outside this
framework but remaining within the constitution, defective as it may be.
This means confrontation with the government but it must not be
fragmented and isolated confrontation. For the final push to be effective we
must broaden our base of operation. A fundamental tenet of the strategy is
totality of involvement.
No fragmentation or distraction from the mainstream of events should
As people existing in a continuous struggle for truth and justice, we
have to examine and interrogate old concepts, values and systems. Having
found the right answers we should then work for consciousness among all
people to make it possible for us to proceed towards putting these answers
into effect. In this process, we have to evolve our own schemes, forms and
strategies to suit the need and situation, always keeping in mind our
fundamental values and beliefs.
We must stop dreaming that
one day the President will have an on the
road to Damascus experience and embark on a genuine democratisation process.
There must be political pressure upon political pressure and this will
inevitably lead to genuine dialogue, talks, conferences and conventions
until the will of the people triumphs. The will of the people is destined to
triumph anyway because the voice of the people is the voice of God! We must
avoid going to the table before we revive and increase our bargaining power
through mass political activity. The late Kempton Makamure used to tell me
that "you can not win on the conference table what you have lost on the
battlefield of political struggle" and this is the essence of the final push
strategy. I have already mentioned that it may not be the final push and
that more pushes may be needed.
If there are to be any talks
or mass political activity, the MDC must
get all progressive forces on board and this also means broadening the
issues to be discussed. One major flaw underlying the management paradigm of
the troika is its over concentration on ZANU (PF) and the MDC whereas our
crisis is complex and multi-faceted. It would be naÔve and parochial for the
MDC to ignore sideline and therefore antagonise civil society in any deal
with ZANU (PF) and this is tantamount to sowing seeds of its own
destruction. The political implication is that even if the MDC comes into
power, it will have to face the music of a hostile civil society. The MDC
must not forget that their success in the June 2000 parliamentary elections
has been out of a harmonious working relationship with civil society,
especially the NCA which they now seem to despise.
Minority parties like NAGG, ZAPU, ZANU and others which were
complaining of marginalisation from the talks must be able to forge amongst
themselves an alliance and present their case as a coalition. If they remain
fragmented, divided and uncoordinated, they will only have themselves to
blame. Noticeably most, if not all, of them are members of the NCA and in my
view, the most appropriate thing for them to do is to rally behind the NCA
in demanding that the talks between ZANU (PF) and MDC encompass
constitutional reform. That is the only viable way to ensure that their
interests and those of other minority groups are protected.
So fellow countrymen,
meanwhile lets forget about the talks and brace
up for the final push. Genuine constructive engagement will come later. The
fact that the establishment is still arrogant enough to impose
pre-conditions for dialogue means that it has not yet been hit below the
belt and that we still have some work to do. The MDC and the rest of the
progressive movement must present a common action front to confront the
powers that be. Let us show the will and ability to dialogue amongst
ourselves as the pro-democracy movement and come up with a co-ordinated
action plan supported by a wide mass base. We cannot afford to waste any
more time and to lose any single battle. While it may be relevant now to
talk about the establishment in relation to us, we must not make this our
pre-occupation, for it can be a negative exercise. As we proceed further
towards the achievement of our goals let us talk more about ourselves and
our struggle and less about the establishment.
Brace up for the final push - the Zion train is coming our way
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ISAYA SITHOLE IS A HARARE-BASED LAWYER AND CAN BE
CONTACTED ON HIS MOBILE NO. 091 382 977
. . . and now to the notebook
5/22/03 8:56:20 AM (GMT +2)
Too Little, Too Late
The public media this week reported that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) has started printing $1 000 notes which are expected to be in
circulation by year-end.
Good idea, it sounds, but CZ is convinced that the move is coming a
bit too late.
That note should have come into circulation three years ago when the
economy of this country started really going haywire, not now when the bank
should be introducing even a $10 000 note.
Already average businesspersons who sell their goods or services to
ordinary members of the public are having to contend with carrying around
large bales of worthless paper.
On an average day, one single cashier in a supermarket or a bus
company collects more than $1 million and if the money is in all the country
's denominations, surely that worker would be paid a lot in overtime accrued
in counting the money than in doing real work.
When the $100 note was introduced in 1995, an ordinary worker needed
only one note for the whole week, same with when the $500 note was
At the rate the economy is rotting - inflation is now at 269 percent -
by the time that $1 000 note starts circulating it could be so useless that
one would need five of them a day. This effectively defeats the whole
purpose the move is supposed to serve.
Surely we cannot be a nation pre-occupied with counting money. We have
much better and serious things to do than counting nothing.
For President Mugabe's spokesman
George Charamba to compare Mugabe
with other presidents and former presidents and heads of government like
Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Bill Clinton and Margaret Thatcher in his
slovenly attempt to justify Mugabe's unbridled extravagance is insulting
Zimbabweans to the marrow.
To start with, Mugabe is in a class of his own. Close to this class
are other like-minded rulers like Sam Nujoma, Fidel Castro, Olusegun
Obasanjo and Bakili Muluzi, so for Charamba to start seeing any similarities
between Mugabe and the likes of Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Clinton, is the worst
will-o' the-wisp any person could have.
The leaders in question could afford packing their official cars with
their paraphernalia like socks and the like on their several junkets because
their economies could afford it. The question here is: can Zimbabwe afford
this opulent life Mugabe loves? The answer should be obvious to any
If the facts about the story that Charamba, for once, confirmed that
Mugabe last week took with him his official Benz to South Africa, then CZ
starts wondering whether the rulers of this country really appreciate the
gravity of the economic problems before them.
People do not care about where Mugabe takes his car with him, but the
inordinate costs attached. If he and his Merc are as inseparable as Siamese
twins, he should stay put at State House because poor Zimbabwe cannot afford
Surely to spend 90 litres of scarce fuel on just below 200 km is an
ulcerous waste by a ruler who should be leading this country by example. If
Mugabe's Merc alone needs that much, what about the cavalcade of outriders
that accompany him where ever he feels like going? Some people are really
And of newsmen
Which school did ZBC's Regis
Mhako attend? His former English language
teachers should surely be cringing in shame every time he files a news story
from his base in Bindura. For the fellow is a walking scandal. His
pronunciations are execrable to say the least. Although ZBC has announced
plans to implement its controversial 100 percent local content, that is no
justification for pronouncing English words the way this bureau chief does.
If the Queen Mother was a bit finicky about the purity of her
language, this fellow would be hanged for bastardising her language and
whoever did the auditions would be sued to poverty.
It looks like the auditions were done at the Border Gezi National
Youth Training Centre in Mount Darwin. Drs Mahoso and Chivaura would to do
the nation a great service if they take this fellow aside for a day or two
and give extra lessons.
In other parts of the world such carelessness would not be tolerated.
In fact one would be fired on the spot. Ask my colleagues in Jalalabad!
Rain brings test for Zimbabwe protesters
Paul Kelso, Sports correspondent
Friday May 23, 2003
With leaden skies above and water underfoot it did not look like much of a
day for cricket at Lord's yesterday morning. For the spectators sheltering
beneath umbrellas at the half-empty ground there was one consolation: at
least both sides had bothered to turn up.
England and Zimbabwe had been scheduled to meet 98 days previously in the
heat of Harare, but the visitors failed to keep their appointment,
boycotting the World Cup fixture amid security concerns and deep misgivings
about the political situation in Zimbabwe.
The location may have changed but yesterday the arguments remained the same.
Zimbabwe's cricketers have kept their promise to tour England this summer,
but the deepening humanitarian and political crisis in their country has
turned the trip into a vehicle for protests against Robert Mugabe and his
regime. Yesterday it arrived at the home of cricket.
More than 200 protesters, many of them exiled victims of the regime,
gathered outside cricket's most venerable venue and attempted to give
spectators and MCC members a history lesson of their own.
Some carried banners with the slogans "Say no to state terrorism in
Zimbabwe" and "Wake up world! Zimbabwe is dying!", blew on whistles and
cheered every car that hooted as it passed.
Others handed out black armbands urging people to "mourn the death of
democracy" in Zimbabwe, an echo of the protest staged by two Zimbabwe
players, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower, during the World Cup. That act, the
only dignified moment of a squalid episode, ended the international careers
of both and caused Olonga to flee in fear of his life. He was at Lord's
yesterday commentating for television.
Many protesters, including more than 100 MPs and the gay rights campaigner
Peter Tatchell, have since called for the tour to be cancelled. However,
others, Olonga included, believe it provides an opportunity to highlight the
continuing abuses by the Mugabe regime.
That was the view of the 50 exiled opposition activists and trade union
members who began their protest outside the Zimbabwe high commission on the
Strand before 9am.
Ephraim Tapa, 41, a general council member of the Zimbabwe congress of trade
unions who fled Harare in March 2001 after he and his pregnant wife were
seized and tortured, said: "We are here to protest against the blatant human
rights abuses carried out by Mr Mugabe and his cronies. While cricket games
are being played, people's freedom and human rights are being abused. It is
unforgivable and immoral."
Inside the ground there were unprecedented levels of security, almost
certainly costing the England and Wales Cricket Board the profit they
claimed was crucial to the English game when arguing that the tour should
The security did not prevent two pitch incursions by protesters, one by a
woman carrying a banner that read, "Bowl out killer Mugabe." Police said
last night that two people had been charged with aggravated trespass.
In the stands there were plenty of empty seats and precious few armbands on
display, and reaction ranged from incomprehension to scorn.
"It's rubbish," barked one MCC member, declining like many of his colleagues
to be named. "This is a cricket match for God's sake. These people [the
protesters] know nothing of the game. Nor does anyone else frankly."
Anti-Mugabe protesters invade Lord's
By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent and Michael Paterson
Two protesters against the Robert Mugabe regime were arrested for invading the pitch during yesterday's opening day of the England v Zimbabwe Test match at Lord's.
During the separate pitch invasions in England's innings, a man and a woman both unfurled anti-Mugabe posters and were escorted from the outfield without a struggle by stewards and then arrested by police.
The invasions, which both happened between overs, were met by boos from many of the thousands of schoolchildren in the half-full ground.
Other protesters, including several MPs and around 50 Zimbabweans, demonstrated outside.
Kate Hoey, the former sports minister, was one of those giving out black armbands as a symbol of the death of democracy in Zimbabwe to members of the Marylebone Cricket Club arriving for the match.
Miss Hoey said the armbands would "show the England and Wales Cricket Board that a lot of people think they're wrong to let England go on tour to Zimbabwe next year".
One of those wearing a black armband as he entered through the Grace gates was John McCrirrick, the horse racing commentator.
He said: "I'm wearing it because I think Mugabe is a monster. I was proud of the protest during the World Cup by Henry Olonga, the Zimbabwean bowler who wore an armband on the field of play and soon after fled to Britain fearing for his life."
Frederick Smith, 68, from Church Stretton, Herts, wore the unlikely combination of an MCC tie and blazer with an armband. He said: "There's no point in stopping Zimbabwe's cricketers coming here but I am wearing an armband because I think there should have been a Government-backed attempt to depose Mugabe years ago."
The arrested protesters, believed to be a woman in her thirties from London and a Zimbabwean man in his forties, were taken to police stations in central London for questioning.
The Lord's protests came as a cross-party committee of MPs said that Mr Mugabe should be stripped of the honorary knighthood awarded to him by the Queen.
They said the Zimbabwean president did not deserve to be created an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1994.
Nicolai Ceausescu, the Romanian dictator, was also stripped of the same honour and the Commons foreign affairs committee said that Mr Mugabe, a fellow "despot", should be treated the same.
The committee recommended that the Government "take steps to strip Robert Mugabe of all honours, decorations and privileges bestowed on him by the United Kingdom".
In June 2002, I wrote a letter of appeal, to the outside world targeting relevant organizations that claim to be concerned about the preservation and sustainable utilization of wildlife.
In my concern about the possibility of the Wildlife Producers Association becoming defunct, I wrote expressing my disgust at the lack of response and action taken by conservation groups and governments in this global village we live in, in allowing the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. This non-action has now resulted in the collapse of the Wildlife Producers Association of Zimbabwe by allowing the violent removal of commercial farmers from their land, thus no income and no levies payable to the Association. The Association was founded by dedicated men and women who built up an envious record of wildlife management and sustainable utilization of the environment. We were leaders in this field in Africa and indeed in the world. But alas, no more. The violent and illegal land grabs have done immense damage to our wildlife.
Shameful isnít it to think that the world has turned itís back on us, as the unnecessary destruction of Zimbabweís wildlife continues. The loss, according to our displaced wildlife producers, has now reached an alarming 80%, since the violent invasions of commercial farms started in February 2000.
The one thing, in my opinion, which stands out clearly, is that a few executives connected to wildlife and environmental issues, bask in the glory of their positions and benefit from all that is on offer. They do nothing about the wanton destruction of our wild creatures, other than talk and pass the buck down the line to those who are equally as ineffectual, and eventually to the concerned underlings who try to do what is right but who are hamstrung by politics.
We need action, not diplomatic manoeuvering, nor quiet diplomacy. Enough of this slaughter. The United Nations and foreign governments talk about the humanitarian catastrophy unfolding in Zimbabwe, but what about our environment and wildlife? Is there no concern for them?
The numerous letters of appeal sent out to organizations and conservation minded bodyís world wide for financial assistance and help in publicity were ignored and not even a courtesy letter returned. What is it we need to do to help the wildlife in Zimbabwe? Soon many will be extinct and the world will be a poorer place and if the environmental groups do not step in now, by pressurizing their respective governments we can kiss our wildlife good bye.. The global village needs to do something now to stop the lawlessness, possibly by some hard talk and publicity once again of this environmental disaster caused by human greed of power.
The recently held World Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development held in South Africa recently, was a farce. All the delegates have gone home after wining and dining and generally feasting on the taxpayerís money and many more humans and animals have died since then. While human abuses are intolerable, we should not forget animal abuses, which are continuing unabated. The delegates at this conference should be reminded of their high ideals and visions of a better world for all. There are hundreds of horrific articles and documentation of the extreme cruelty to both humans and animal in Zimbabwe, the majority of which do not reach newspapers.
There are groups of people in Zimbabwe who are trying their best to do what is right, but their hands are tied by the authorities and even their freedom is under threat by the draconian laws passed by the Zimbabwean Government.
20 May 2003
Sunday Times (SA)
Mugabe hints further at stepping down
Robert Mugabe has warned that black people who have been
allocated land but are not using it productively, will forfeit it to the
state. The Zimbabwean president was speaking during the first of a series of
rallies aimed at addressing the country's drought problem.
Mugabe said his government would re-allocate un-used land to
people who will use it. He confirmed that there would be a national review
of the country's land reform policy, which has seen many farms taken from
white farmers and given to blacks.
Mugabe said much of the land had not been taken and was lying
idle. During the rally, Mugabe again hinted that he might retire soon,
urging his supporters to debate a successor.
The Mercury (SA)
A new challenge for African politics
May 23, 2003
By Chris Landsberg and Shaun Mackay
The AU has appropriated the power to intervene in the affairs of
member states should they violate human rights or become a source of
instability. The crucial question now, ahead of African Day on Sunday, is
whether - and how - it will exercise this power.
THE Organisation of African Unity, Africa's premier multilateral
institution from 1963 to 2002, has been superseded by the African Union.
While the OAU failed in numerous significant respects, one of its
major achievements was to bring the challenge of attaining liberation in
Africa to a close. The challenge to its successor is to introduce norms,
values and mechanisms for democratic governance into African politics and
interstate relations. One of the more radical departures by the AU has been
the introduction of the notion of legitimate intervention in the affairs of
While non-interference in domestic affairs was a golden rule of the
OAU, the AU is seeking - rather ambitiously - to defend and protect human
rights even should this require such intervention.
Thus its Constitutive Act of union gives it "legislative powers to act
against member states acting against the ethos of good governance and the
rule of law'" on the following grounds:
a.. A violation of
constitutionalism - ie, the toppling of a
legitimate government by unconstitutional means, such as a coup d'etat;
a.. Internal "instability"
which threatens the stability of a
subregion or the continent.
Intervening in such circumstances will be regarded as a defence of
peace and democracy. As the keystone of this new emerging structure of
continental governance, the AU is seen by some as being in a unique position
to promote a whole new set of norms and values which emphasise that the
principles of "sovereignty" and "non-interference" are not sacrosanct, and
that the norms of democracy and human rights that were not cornerstones of
the OAU's founding charter are indispensable.
But many developed countries do not believe that Africans are willing
to police themselves, and the muted response to the crisis in Zimbabwe by
the AU, other multilateral institutions, and leading African countries has
not helped to dispel those fears.
Indeed, given the OAU's dismal record in this regard, the AU will have
to work hard to prove its efficacy and viability. It will need to garner the
necessary political will to intervene, and the capacity to do so.
This may be easier said than done. It will require not just the
commitment of the AU secretariat but also that of key powers on the
continent, such as Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, South Africa and others.
This is not only because they will need to provide the necessary
resources, but also because, without their political support, the doctrine
will be dead in the water. Of course, the recent debacle in the UN
surrounding intervention in Iraq brings into sharp focus the potential for
states, especially stronger states, to disregard multilateral forums in
pursuing agendas that may affect an entire region.
One positive development to emerge from the debacle over Iraq is that,
despite the fact that the UN was unable to persuade the US to abide by a UN
decision on that country, it did not allow itself to be used to rubber-stamp
This must have sent a clear message that the UN would not allow itself
to be used as a legitimising instrument for the objectives of any one state,
even if that state was the most powerful in the world. At some stage, the AU
may find itself in a similar situation. Will the African states which have
supported the ideal of multilateralism as expressed via the UN accept this
when their own interests are at stake?
Beyond this, a major task for the AU will be to convince member states
of the need to pool some of their sovereignty to it and its organs,
including the proposed African parliament. President Thabo Mbeki recently
underscored this point in an address to a conference of representatives of
churches in 23 African countries when he said that "the idea of sovereignty
is a matter we need to look at. We must be able to act more forcefully
together as Africans to take forward the whole idea of African unity."
He added that the AU's Constitutive Act had "extra-territorial
provisions", enabling it to intervene in countries where it was convinced
that genocide or other crimes against humanity were being committed.
AU members have signed numerous protocols binding them to democratic
governance, but few have observed them in practice.
No doubt, some will enter the AU in the belief that it too will become
a "toothless tiger". It is up to the AU, its secretariat and instruments
such as the organ on peace and security to set in motion the conventions and
practices that will signify the body is serious.
The AU has an opportunity to distinguish itself from its predecessor
in the way in which it chooses to handle the issues that bedevil the
continent. One of its most distinguishing features, at least on paper, is
its commitment to intervention. The major task for the AU in this regard
will be to garner both the necessary political will to make such
interventions where circumstances require, and to build its capacity to
a.. Chris Landsberg is the director of the Centre for Policy Studies
at Wits University and Shaun Mackay its manager.
A sad day at Lord's
Yesterday saw the start of England's controversial Test match against
Zimbabwe. We sent two journalists: Andrew Meldrum, the Guardian's man in
Harare until last weekend when he was dramatically kicked out; and Mduduzi
Mathuthu, who suffered under Mugabe and now lives in exile in this country
Friday May 23, 2003
The verdant green manicured pitch. The clipped, chipper accents and the
cheering schoolchildren. The crack of leather on willow. It all combined at
the opening of the England versus Zimbabwe test match at Lord's yesterday to
convey the atmosphere of fair play and civilised normality that cricket
But that is the problem. There is nothing civilised or fair about what is
going on in Zimbabwe. The thought that the Zimbabwe team's tour of England
is being used by Robert Mugabe to project an image that things are normal
and acceptable in Zimbabwe rankled so much that I could not enjoy the match
When the schoolchildren booed the anti-Mugabe protesters who ran onto the
pitch, I found myself wanting to go over to them to explain that Zimbabweans
are being beaten and tortured by Mugabe's police. I wanted to engage in
heated exchanges about the morality of handing Mugabe positive publicity on
a platter, especially with MCC members who sauntered around wearing their
Certainly the performance of the Zimbabwe side left a lot to be desired. The
team did their best and were energetic and spirited. But their inexperience
was glaringly obvious. This was not the best team that Zimbabwe could have
fielded. Rather, it was the team that the Mugabe regime found acceptable as
its ambassadors. It is a very young team, with an average age of 23, and
inexperienced. Not only inexperienced in sport, they are inexperienced in
life and they will follow the instructions of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union to
avoid saying anything about the political or economic situation in the
The team playing at Lord's is a team that has been purged of any element
that is critical of the Mugabe order. The ZCU encouraged several senior
cricket players to retire, or just sacked them. Former captains Andy Flower,
and Alistair Campbell, Guy Whittall and Craig Wishart, who all performed
well in the recent World Cup cricket tournament, have left the team.
Worst of all, Henry Olonga, who at 26 was just reaching his peak in cricket,
is no longer on the team. In fact, he cannot even go back to Zimbabwe.
Instead of playing for Zimbabwe, he spent yesterday up in the incongruous
fish-eye on stilts that is Lord's media centre working as a commentator for
cricket. I am sure that Henry did a great job of explaining the actions on
the field. But his rightful position is playing for Zimbabwe, and as the
stirring role model that he has been for so many aspiring young Zimbabweans.
Henry showed great courage and moral leadership when he and Andy Flower wore
black armbands at Zimbabwe's first World Cup match to mourn the death of
democracy in Zimbabwe. He has gone through a torrid time of threats and
harassment. No matter what Mugabe's lackies on the ZCU do to erase his
image, Henry Olonga will remain a hero to the ordinary Zimbabwean.
The most infuriating part of the match was when I picked up my programme and
saw a lengthy interview with English Cricket Board chief executive Tim Lamb.
He, of course, said sport and politics should remain separate. I agree.
That's why I do not think that Mugabe should be the patron of the ZCU or
that the board should be packed with his fervent supporters and sycophants.
Lamb says Zimbabwe's cricketers should not be treated any differently than
tennis players, golfers or other sportsmen from Zimbabwe. I say that those
other athletes do not curry favour with the Mugabe regime in the way that
the cricket administration does.
Most maddening is Lamb's assertion: "Why should cricket be treated
differently from other sports or, indeed, in relation to the 300-plus
companies that are continuing to trade with Zimbabwe with nobody batting an
eyelid." My riposte to that is that virtually every single one of those
companies has stood up in opposition to Mugabe. The companies and, most
importantly, their thousands of employees have participated in the
anti-government national strikes that have closed the country down twice in
the past two months. Those British-based companies have encouraged good,
accountable business practices and values in a way that the ZCU and the ECB
have not. I agree with critics that the ECB has made a "grubby deal" with
Lamb went even further, hotly defending the ZCU and saying that Mugabe was
just a figurehead patron and that Andy Flower was encouraged to extend his
contract. Surely Lamb knows that Flower had voiced his unhappiness with the
situation in Zimbabwe and also at the highly political machinations behind
the scenes in the ZCU. It is most unseemly of Lamb to sully the image of
cricket by justifying the unjustifiable.
I snapped shut my programme in disgust and looked around for a cricket
official to argue with.
The most enlivening and fun part of my day at Lord's was outside at the
determined but festive demonstration by hundreds of Zimbabwean exiles
committed to exposing the Mugabe government. I saw old friends and made new
ones. I laughed at the poster that read, "Tim Lamb is Mugabe's Lord Haw
Haw". The protesters decided not to spend the money to go into the stands,
but instead to use that money to help feed hungry Zimbabweans.
I was happiest with those people, who I believe are showing a true
commitment to values of good sportsmanship and fair play. I agreed with some
of them to go out and streak at the Lord's pitch, wearing nothing but a
black armband or two. That is the only way I could have fun at the Zimbabwe
'The killing is a little local difficulty to these cricketers'
The only Zimbabwean flag flying at Lords cricket ground was the official
flag. It was posted high on the grandstand and a few steps below sat Heath
Streak, the Zimbabwe cricket captain, who constantly opened his mouth wide
like an overfed hippopotamus. From where I was seated, I thought he was
laughing. It was just another day and another cricket match for this
extraordinary man whose very presence at this event was, put simply,
My fascination with the career of the 29-year-old fast bowler dates back to
2001, when his father Denis's farm, in the Turk Mine area of Matabeleland,
was designated by the government for resettlement, so he and his family
would have to leave. A few days after the property was listed, Streak
resigned as cricket captain. I was working at the Bulawayo bureau of the
country's leading daily independent, the Daily News, and I latched on to the
story, drawing attention to what he later called a "coincidence". As the
Daily News hit the streets the next morning, with a story headed Farm
Designation Bowls Streak, he rang the office and arranged to meet me. He
assured me that his resignation was not linked to their farm's seizure by
Mugabe's government. He revealed during the same discussion that he feared
the story would cause the confrontation between the farmers and the
government to escalate.
But it wasn't too long before another extra-ordinary coincidence took place
in the life of Heath Streak that would forever change my opinion of him. In
lightning time, the farm was de-listed, and - you guessed it - Streak
reclaimed the captain's armband. Watching him open Zimbabwe's bowling
yesterday was like a date with Mugabe's ambassador.
Outside the ground were scores of Zimbabweans driven into exile by the
regime. There's no doubt that Streak and his delegation could hear the
whistling, or that they saw the protesters who ran on to the field. The
chilly weather would not dampen their determination to send a message to the
suited hypocrites who sign grubby deals for their entertainment while
Mugabe's shock troops are battering people into submission in Zimbabwe.
Having been arrested on six occasions and spent several nights in Mugabe's
jails myself, I knew just how they felt.
But the hypocrisy of playing in such an event was lost on these cricketers
whose only concern is money and the lush green pitches. Nothing will make
them boycott a match, except maybe a bad pitch. The mere sight of them
smiling provoked a swirl of rage in me.
For here I was, looking at missionaries for a murderous and isolated regime
whose survival is guaranteed by such commonsense-defying actions. The
killing of political opponents and the starvation of millions in Zimbabwe
are but little local difficulties for these cricketers who remain fiercely
loyal to Mugabe, their patron.
By exporting entertainment to a place where thousands of Zimbabweans have
fled for their safety and behaving as if everything is normal, the
Zimbabwean delegation and the blundering England and Wales Cricket Board
officials have launched a propaganda salvo for Mugabe. He will dutifully
repay them with more blood.
Attempts to justify the Zimbabweans' presence here have been shockingly
lacking in reason. Sport can never be divorced from politics, particularly
when the patron of said sport has ordered the unprovoked killing of 20,000
native Ndebeles and is responsible for a famine that could kill millions.
If the dead could talk, a message would today be reaching Heath Streak at
Lords from Tichaona Chiminya, the opposition leader's driver, who was doused
in paraffin and set alight by Mugabe's supporters in 2001. And Gloria Olds,
a 78-year-old farmer from Nyamandlovu, and her son, Martin, killed one after
the other in 2000 and 2001, would almost certainly have something to say
about Streak and his team embedding with the regime that cut their lives
How many toilet rolls will Z$100 get you?
Some creative marketers pulled a stunt at our office last week. They sent
two packages - one to me and one to our production manager, Jeremy Miles.
Mine contained only Z$100; his just had a roll of toilet paper. Very strange
gifts to receive.
We haven't heard from the marketing firm to explain what its aim was, but
I'd bet those Zimbabwe dollars are worth less than the roll of toilet paper.
What do you think? One hundred Zimbabwe dollars versus a roll of one ply?
Place your bets.
I went down to my local supermarket to check the price of toilet paper. For
500 sheets of one-ply house-branded paper, (probably as cheap as it gets in
South Africa) you'll pay R2.29. Still think the Z$100 is worth more? Let's
According to the currency cross tables, one Zimbabwe dollar is worth just
R0.009. As hard as it is to believe, that Z$100 note is worth just 90c, less
than half the price of a roll of the cheapest toilet paper in South Africa!
Zimbabwe remains our major trading partner in the region, but the damage
done to that country is unbelievable, as is the negative perception it has
created for southern Africa as a whole.
Rhodesia was once described as the jewel in Africa's crown by Cecil John
Rhodes. I think if Rhodes saw the simple equation above, he would turn in
his grave. In fact, the thought that this is what the resource-rich country
has turned into would probably sicken him to his stomach.
It is unfortunate that globally we have been tarnished with the same brush
as Zimbabwe for no apparent reason other than sentiment and
But President Thabo Mbeki's breakthrough talks, together with Malawi's
Bakili Muluzi and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, could slowly start rectifying
the ludicrous link between us and this recalcitrant distant cousin on our
South Africa's recent global bond take-up, upgrades by rating agencies and
the strengthening rand are already reflecting this new thread of actionabili
ty in African politics.
Once President Robert Mugabe is out, some real progress will be made. I
don't think he'll go easily, but I believe we are on track to at least edge
him out sideways.
He will be edged out because he does not stand for the policies most of
Africa now stands for and has signed on the dotted line to implement.
He does not stand for the tenets of nationhood espoused by the modern
African leaders, who employ social as well as individual, capitalistic and
democratic ideologies in their political philosophy.
There will be no place for dictators in this climate. They will be sidelined
by a new breed of African government.
I believe the ANC's strategic team are right in their resolve. And it is
great to see it actually happening within just one year.
In an efficient African model, Z$100 would be worth R100.
Imagine how much toilet paper you could buy with that. - Evan Pickworth
By Farai Mutsaka Chief
VETERANS of Zimbabwe's war of liberation yesterday warned that they
would use "military force" against anti-government protesters next month, in
what analysts have described as an attempt to cow the populace in the run-up
to mass demonstrations planned by the opposition and civic groups.
Officials within the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and civic society have indicated that they are planning combined mass
protests that are scheduled for the middle of June.
Patrick Nyaruwata, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA), told journalists in Harare that his
organisation would use force to stop the street protests.
"We have stood aside and observed you (the MDC) for too long and this
time we will not. This time, using our own military experience, we will
mobilise against you. I do not mince my words. The consequences for any mass
action will be grave," he said.
"We will co-ordinate with the state security agents to fight you off.
Remember most top security agents in defence, the police and the CIO
(Central Intelligence Organisation) are war veterans, and we will be
co-ordinating with them," he added.
State Security Minister Nicholas Goche, under whose control the CIO
falls, declined to comment on the war veterans' leader's threats.
"Why do you want me to comment on that? I have no comment. I won't
assist you," he said, before switching off his mobile phone.
Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, under whose ministry the war
veterans fall, also said he could not comment on the matter.
"I have been out of Harare. I cannot comment on things that I did not
personally hear, I'm sorry," he told The Daily News.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi could not be reached for comment
Officials of the ZNLWVA at the Press conference would yesterday not
provide details on what "military force" they planned to use against
Zimbabweans who might participate in the demonstrations next month.
But ZNLWVA secretary-general Endy Mhlanga told The Daily News that it
was common knowledge that MDC youths would be armed during street protests,
adding that his organisation had a plan to deal with them.
"Ian Smith (former Rhodesian prime minister) was armed to the teeth,
but we defeated him. We are prepared to fight again using all the experience
we garnered during the war to defend the ordinary people from this unlawful
violence," Mhlanga said.
He added: "We have a plan in place and we will deal with them in a
very decisive way. Everything has been put in place. We will use the same
tactics we used during the farm invasions and during the war to crush the
"We have been mobilising our 55 000 members throughout the country,
starting in Harare, and we have been telling them to be prepared to risk
their lives once again and assist militarily for the final battle to defend
The war veterans played a critical role in the invasion of white-owned
farms, which began in 2000 and caused massive instability in the
agricultural sector, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy.
Several white farmers and farm workers were killed during the
invasions that have led to the displacement of thousands of farm workers,
most of who are now destitute.
Commentators said the war veterans' threats were part of attempts to
discourage public participation in the proposed mass action, which is
expected to include marches on President Robert Mugabe's State House
residence and Munhumutapa offices.
The public overwhelmingly supported calls for a mass job stayaway
called by the MDC in March and another organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions last month.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube yesterday said the war veterans'
threats were an attempt to intimidate the public from responding in a
similar fashion to the proposed mass action, which the opposition party says
is the "final push" to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.
He denied that the MDC was arming supporters, saying: "It is patently
false that the MDC is arming anyone. We have no soldiers to arm and we have
not trained anybody in any form of combat.
"This is clearly calculated to intimidate the people of Zimbabwe from
undertaking peaceful mass action to free themselves from this rogue regime.
We are not afraid and the people should not be afraid. We decline this
invitation to engage in any form of violence. They can shoot us if they
want, but we will be unarmed."
Midlands student leader suspended for distributing MDC mass action
5/23/03 12:47:01 AM (GMT +2)
Mudzingwa in Gweru
ONWELL Marasha, the president of the Students' Representative Council
at the Midlands State University, was suspended yesterday after he was
allegedly caught distributing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)'s mass action pamphlets on campus.
Professor Ngwabi Bhebe, the university's vice-chancellor, said the
suspension was with immediate effect.
Marasha was ejected from campus and barred from attending lectures
until he had been cleared by the students' disciplinary committee.
Part of the suspension letter reads: "On 14 and 15 May 2003, you
breached Section 3.1.4 of the Ordinance in that you engaged in conduct
reasonably likely to be harmful to the interest of the university by
distributing pamphlets and whistles to other students."
"An investigation into your case will be carried out as a matter of
urgency and you shall be called to a Student Disciplinary Committee set up
in terms of section 27 of the State University in the Midlands Act Chapter
Bhebe alleges that on 14 May, Marasha and a group of other
unidentified students were caught distributing opposition party material and
urging other students to join in the MDC's planned mass action scheduled for
Last week, Marasha and three other student leaders were arrested and
fined $3 000 each for contravening a section of Miscellaneous Offences Act.
But Marasha denied the charge yesterday and alleged that he was just
being victimised for being a student leader.
"We just paid the fines so that we could secure our release from
police custody. The alleged material was distributed by people from outside
Gweru and there is no evidence linking me to the commission of the crime,"
Mutare journalist removed from remand
5/23/03 12:49:52 AM (GMT +2)
STANLEY Karombo, 29, a reporter with SW Radio Africa and a
correspondent with the Voice of America (VOA), facing a charge under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), was on Tuesday
removed from remand by Mutare magistrate, Milton Serima.
This was after his lawyer, Peter Makombe, had argued that AIPPA was
being challenged at the Supreme Court, and it was improper for the
journalist to remain on remand.
SW Radio Africa is an independent Zimbabwean radio station that beams
from the United Kingdom.
Makombe said: "There is no need for Karombo to remain on remand until
the Supreme Court delivers the judgement on the Act."
Makombe said Karombo's cellphone and audio recorder that were seized
by the police on 19 March when he was arrested should be returned.
Karombo was arrested after he allegedly attempted to interview the
police for a story he intended to file to the VOA radio station .
The police immediately confiscated his audio recorder and cellphone,
which he was using.
Karombo, who spent five days in police cells, claims that he was
beaten up by the police before they went and searched his house for
Shortage of blood
5/23/03 12:51:38 AM (GMT +2)
From Sandra Mujokoro in
SUPPLIES of blood to most hospitals in Bulawayo have been erratic
during the last few weeks because of the critical shortage of fuel.
Emmanuel Masvikeni, the public relations manager of National Blood
Transfusion Services (NBTS), said the national blood reserves had only 700
units of blood when 3 500 units were needed at any given time.
He said supplies had been erratic over the last few months due to
various economic problems being experienced in the country. He said the
reasons were beyond the NBTS control.
"The biggest problem we are experiencing is the non availability of
fuel and as a result, we have had to cancel bleeding sessions," said
The organisation normally use mobile units to move around centres such
as schools and clinics in the country collecting blood from donors.
He said the NBTS was finding it difficult to get round the fuel
crisis. "Industrial actions in the various sectors of the economy and job
stayaways have also compromised blood collection activities," said
He said despite the just ended school holidays, adults were reluctant
to donate blood because of fear of knowing their HIV status. This, he said,
led to seasonal shortages.
Operations at Bulawayo's biggest hospitals, Mpilo and the United
Bulawayo Hospital have been seriously affected by the recurrent blood
Doctors at Mpilo, where some patients needing blood have been detained
since the beginning of this month, are prescribing iron sulphate tablets.
Zulu Mahlangu, the deputy medical superintendent at Mpilo Central
Hospital confirmed that they had a serious shortage of blood at the
hospital. Patients in need of blood transfusions at Mpilo had been waiting
since the beginning of this month.
George Nkomo of Entumbane, whose wife had been admitted at Mpilo
hospital and was waiting for a blood transfusion since last week, said they
were told to keep checking with the hospital. They were initially told to
buy the blood transfusion kit for $ 2000 as the hospital had run out of the
ZESA workers press for Gata's ouster
5/23/03 12:52:13 AM (GMT +2)
REPRESENTATIVEs of striking Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(ZESA) workers yesterday vowed to continue with their action until their
management agreed to their demands of a pay hike and the removal of Sydney
gata as the executive chairman of the power utility.
In a telephone interview from Kadoma where ZESA management and workers
are negotiating to break the impasse which threatens electricity supplies in
the country, Ian Munjoma, the general secretary of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Energy Workers' Union, said there was little progress on the salary
"The management is now offering 30 percent but we have expressed our
displeasure with such peanuts," he said.
"Workers have mandated us to get to the $125 000 minimum wage mark in
tandem with the devaluation of our currency. The cost of living has risen to
unacceptable levels and we can't accept anything less. The $47 696 minimum
wage suggested by the government is also unacceptable."
Munjoma expressed the hope that an agreement would be reached by today
because they agreed to negotiate for two days.
ZESA workers downed tools on Monday demanding a salary hike and Gata's
dismissal because of his alleged misuse of ZESA pension funds.
The strike has spread to other parts of the country as artisans and
other skilled staff in Masvingo have downed tools demanding salary
A member of the workers' committee who refused to be named said
skilled workers and general hands in Masvingo had joined the strike
paralysing operations at the country's sole power utility.
This week national strategic institutions such as the Harare
International Airport and Morton Jaffray Water Works experienced power
Managers were reported to be at work and were doing all the work
including office cleaning.
Said a member of the workers committee: "We are not going to go back
to work unless our demands are met." Workers in Mutare, Bulawayo, Hwange and
several other stations have since joined the strike.
The workers yesterday petitioned Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy
and Power Development and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament,
demanding Gata's dismissal.
ZESA has maintained that the strike was premature and against the true
spirit of negotiations and it has declared it illegal.
Made refuses to name top land beneficiaries
5/23/03 12:55:08 AM (GMT +2)
DR JOSEPH Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement this week refused to disclose in Parliament the names of
Cabinet ministers and judges who have benefited under the controversial land
Responding to a question from Tendai Biti, the MP for Harare East
(MDC), on which ministers and judges had acquired farms during the
fast-track programme, Made said: "That would be unprecedented, moreover,
when one applies for land we do not ask his status in society. We just give
land to Zimbabweans."
But Willas Madzimure, the MP for Kambuzuma said Made was misleading
the House as the application form has a section which asks one's occupation.
Said Biti: "What Made has said is not convincing. Ministers and judges
hold very important arms in the government."
Shadreck Chipanga, the Zanu PF MP for Makoni East concurred with Biti
saying: "Apo ndinobvumirana newe. hatidi vanhu vanoita mafarm akawanda. (I
agree with you there. We do not want multiple farm ownership.)