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Army demands elections in 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:06

Faith Zaba

TOP Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) commander Brigadier-General Douglas
Nyikayaramba says President Robert Mugabe must remain in office for life and
elections must be held this year to ensure “political stability” in the

Nyikayaramba, who is commander of 3 Infantry Brigade in Manicaland, also
told the Zimbabwe Independent in an exclusive interview in the capital
yesterday that Zanu PF would win the next elections. He however did not say
how he knows that.

In stunning revelations, which clearly indicated the army was dabbling in
politics and was the power behind Mugabe’s throne, Nyikayaramba said the
president (87) cannot be removed because he was irreplaceable like a
 “father” in a family.

“Why do you want to force him to go? Where were you when he crossed into
Mozambique (to fight in the liberation struggle) and why didn’t you go?”
asked Nyikayaramba. “If you can change your father in your family, then we
can do the same, but has anyone ever changed his or her father just because
he is old? Until your father dies only then can you have a stepfather ––
that is that.”

He said elections, which he claims Zanu PF would win, must be held this year
because the inclusive government has failed to look after the army. He added
that he suspected that the MDC-T-controlled Ministry of Finance was
deliberately under-funding the military to incite soldiers to mutiny against
their commanders.

“In our case (the military) we need elections like yesterday because it has
created a lot of challenges in the military. We are not getting enough
medicines from the inclusive government. Maybe they want the soldiers to
mutiny,” he said.

“We are not getting enough money for rations and enough money for uniforms
etc and it has all to do with this inclusive government whose priorities are
lopsided –– they don’t understand the strategic benefits and importance of
having a robust defence system. We would rather have one government.”

Nyikayaramba, who once “retired” during the 2002 presidential poll to become
chief elections officer in a bitter contest between President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, brushed aside the two MDC factions’
call for security sector reforms, querying whether they understood what
exactly they were talking about. He suggested that the parties do some
research so that they come up with proper proposals of what they are talking

“I joined the liberation struggle when I was 14 years old from school. I
grew up in the struggle and this was as a result of our political parties
having failed to achieve political independence through negotiations …then
we saw the creation of a military wing of the political party (Zanu), Zanla
for example in my case,” said Nyikayaramba.

“There is that very close connection between Zanu PF and Zanla and you
cannot afford to separate me from that.  Truly speaking, I am in Zanu PF and
Zanu PF is in me and you can’t change that.

“Now we are a creation of that political party. When you talk about security
sector reform, what are you talking about? In 1980, we were integrated and
that was a transformation in itself, transforming from a guerilla
organisation into a professional army.

“As we speak in terms of the training standards, we are the highest trained
military personnel on the continent of Africa. We are even over trained for
our roles - so what transformation are we talking about, what re-orientation
are we talking about?”

Mugabe last week voiced the same views as Nyikayaramba, saying there was no
need for security sector reform.

On calls for Mugabe to step down, Nyikayaramba said he believed that the
Zanu PF leader should continue in power because he has sacrificed a lot for
the country.

“He is the leader of our revolutionary struggle and the struggle is still
on, why would you want him to leave when the struggle is still on? When the
struggle is finished and he is happy that the struggle is through and we are
entering a new dispensation, he will make an informed choice and an informed
decision,” Nyikayaramba said.

Asked what the military would do if someone without liberation war
credentials won the elections, Nyikayaramba said the question was
“irrelevant” because Zanu PF was assured of victory in the next elections.
“I don’t see such a thing happening. It (the question) is very irrelevant
based on factors on the ground. There is no such a possibility. It’s a
dream,” he said.

“That question is irrelevant because that situation will never arise and I
am sure everyone, including yourself, have now woken up to realise that he
(Tsvangirai) is not the right candidate.

Nyikayaramba insisted, like the Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General
Constantine Chiwenga and other senior security services chiefs, he would not
salute Tsvangirai even if he won the elections.

“The bottom line is that I will not salute someone like that personally. I
will resign if the political establishment accept it, if they do that would
be fair and fine. It’s not in me. Principle is indivisible - it is either
yes or no. I am not a hypocrite; I will stand by what I have said.

“What I know is best, what I know is principled. We lost a lot of comrades
because of some of these people when they turned against us during the
liberation struggle and for me to wake up and say good morning sir, me no,
no, no!”

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ReNaissance Bank saga deepens

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:27

By Staff Writer

THE ReNaissance Merchant Bank saga deepened this week amid revelations that
Finance minister Tendai Biti is determined to bulldoze his way to force the
National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to bail out the troubled bank, a
situation which has ignited a political storm in the corridors of power.

Informed sources said this week Biti on Monday instructed Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono to receive US$20 million from NSSA on behalf of
ReNaissance –– which is technically insolvent –– to avoid criticism over the
use of workers’ money to rescue a bank plunged into a crisis due to
systematic abuse of depositors’ funds. This came as British tycoon and real
estate magnate Nicholas van Hoogstraten and prominent mogul Jayesh Shah
attacked Biti for indirectly describing them as “loan sharks”.

“There are two particular loan sharks, one of Indian descent and one of
British descent, that have unlawfully descended into our market and that are
exposing our banking system, our money market system to unacceptable
usurious rates of interest,” Biti said recently.

Van Hoogstraten and Shah –– two of the richest people in Zimbabwe –– this
week hit back, saying they knew Biti was talking about them because they
have rescued banks and many companies locally by providing loans and
bridging finance.

Van Hoogstraten, who told the Zimbabwe Independent that he was widely known
on the market as “lender of last resort”, described Biti’s comments as
“foolish and inaccurate”.

“As a lawyer and a minister he should know better than to make such foolish
and inaccurate comments,” Van Hoogstraten said. “For many years I have been
the single largest investor in the Zimbabwean financial market and currently
have Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-quoted holdings with a value of well over
US$250 million.”

Shah said the minister’s remarks were “unfounded and baseless”. Former
ReNaissance chief executive Patterson Timba, recently booted out of the bank
following revelations of financial mismanagement, had borrowed US$5 million
from Shah.

“It’s unfortunate,” Shah said “that the Honourable Minister of Finance is
indeed giving the impression that: (a) We approached Timba and conned him
into borrowing the money from us, (b) then put a gun to his head and forced
him to sign the agreement, (c) blasted Timba’s safe and forcibly took the
security, (d) and when Timba refused to accept the loan proceeds –– we
forced open his pockets and shoved the money in.

“One does not have to be a genius to know and understand that Timba would
have been history in September 2009 if he failed to raise US$5 million ––
the RBZ minimum capital requirement then.”

Efforts to get comment from Biti or Gono failed yesterday but senior
Treasury officials confirmed the two had a meeting on Monday over the
ReNaissance issue. “There was a meeting between the minister and the
governor on Monday where it was decided that NSSA would now channel US$20
million to ReNaissance through the Reserve Bank,” a senior Ministry of
Finance official said. “This is a complicated and tricky issue because some
senior government officials, including the minister, have a potential
conflict of interest in the matter. Now they have decided to try to disguise
the rescue package by sending it through the central bank, but I think this
will cause problems going forward. There are many banks in liquidity
problems in Zimbabwe, so why ReNaissance? There is a problem.”

Insiders say Biti is trying to rescue ReNaissance to prevent it from
collapse affecting the whole banking and financial system. They say Biti is
motivated by the “common good” instead of personal or political interests as
suggested by some when they pointed out that Patterson Timba was brother of
Jameson Timba, Minister of State in Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s office and a
friend of the Treasury boss.

Patterson Timba’s relationship with Biti through various networks has
complicated the matter. Biti insists he is doing it to safeguard the banking
sector, although his critics say this was not true.

Those opposed to NSSA funds being used to rescue ReNaissance say doing so
would be rewarding corruption and ineptitude.

ReNaissance problems were laid bare recently after an investigation by the
Reserve Bank which exposed a gross violation of banking laws and
regulations, chronic liquidity and income-generation problems,
insider-lending and related-party exposures, weak corporate governance
structures and internal controls, inappropriate shareholding structure,
under-capitalisation and systematic abuse of depositors’ funds.

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Moyo, Zvoma feud disrupts parliament

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:56

By Paidamoyo Muzulu

NATIONAL Assembly speaker Lovemore Moyo’s reluctance to take advice from
parliament clerk Austin Zvoma has resulted in the continuous dissemination
of contradictory information from the Lower House.
Speaking at a parliament media workshop in Mutare last weekend, Zvoma said
there was a long-standing feud and distrust between himself and Moyo since
the latter became Speaker in August 2008.

Zvoma said their working relationship was so bad that Moyo was unwilling to
take advice from him or have his speeches drafted by the clerk’s department
as per tradition and protocol. “I only hear of the Speaker’s remarks when
they are already public. He does not consult me and gets advice from
elsewhere,” said Zvoma.

He said this created confusion resulting in the clerk having to make some
necessary corrections.

“At one point, he made reference to parliament going to sit at different
provincial centres contrary to the constitution that gives the president
power to cite where the House may sit,” Zvoma said.

Moyo had made remarks in September 2010 saying the decentralisation of the
House to sit in provinces was an endeavour to bring the institution closer
to the people under parliamentary reforms of 1996.The duo’s relationship
took a further nosedive in March this year when the Supreme Court nullified
Moyo’s 2008 election as Speaker and Zvoma immediately withdrew his benefits
such as parliamentary vehicles and office accessories, and gave him two
weeks to vacate his parliamentary residence.

The tensions between the two were triggered by the alleged leaking of
information by Zvoma that Moyo had asked for his portrait to be displayed in
all parliamentary constituency offices. Zvoma rejected the request arguing
that the move would amount to unfruitful and wasteful expenditure. Zvoma
said had the request been granted, it would have meant that Senate President
Edna Madzongwe would also have to receive the same treatment.

Relations also soured when Moyo’s stay at the luxurious Meikles Hotel was
leaked to the public media. Moyo argued that parliament had to find him
suitable accommodation in the capital since he hails from Bulawayo.

The two have also clashed over recruitment of Moyo’s support staff with
Zvoma accusing Moyo of breaching procedure and protocol.
Efforts to get comment from Moyo at the time of going to press yesterday
were in vain.

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AirZim asks Van Hoog for US$2m

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:07

Bernard Mpofu

FINANCIALLY troubled national carrier Air Zimbabwe is reported to have
extended its begging bowl to British business tycoon Nicholas Van
Hoogstraten asking for close to US$2 million in a desperate bid to save the
collapsing airline.

Dogged by operational problems that have seen the carrier unable to service
its main routes because of soaring debt, Van Hoogstraten told the
Independent in a written response to enquiries that he was prepared to save
the airline should treasury make a formal request to him.

Van Hoogstraten’s conditions seem to be in response to Finance minister
Tendai Biti’s prominent remarks that some struggling local banks were at the
mercy of “two loan sharks — one of Indian descent and one British”.

Biti told a press conference a fortnight ago that the two businessmen had
assumed the role of lender of last resort on the market.

“I have, during the past few years, made relatively small short term
emergency loans to Air Zimbabwe on an interest free basis,” said Van
“It is correct that I have been asked by their London office for a US$2
million loan which I have agreed to subject to Minister Biti personally
signing the acknowledgment of debt agreement.”

However, Air Zimbabwe acting CEO Innocent Mavhunga pleaded ignorance on Van
Hoogstraten’s claims.

Mavhunga said: “That’s news to me. I don’t know anything on that.”

Van Hoogstraten, whose assets are in property, agriculture and hotels, is
estimated to be worth over £700 million. His assets domiciled in Zimbabwe
are estimated to be worth over U$250 million

“I should add that I have been a long time supporter of Air Zimbabwe which
has excellent staff and services. The airline has been weakened by the
Zimbabwe dollar and incompetent senior management. It should be put to bed
and its operations handed over to an international airline as happened with
Kenya Airways,” Van Hoogstraten said.

Last year, government brokered a deal with a Chinese company to acquire two
Airbuses by June, but that now hangs in the balance owing to pressing
financial commitments.

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‘Loan sharks’ blast Biti

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:46

A FORTNIGHT ago Finance minister Tendai Biti told a press conference on the
ReNaissance Bank saga in the capital that some struggling financial
institutions were now at the mercy of “two loan sharks — one of Indian
descent and the other British”. This was in apparent reference to business
tycoons Jayesh Shah (JS) and Nick Van Hoogstraten (NVH).

Shah, Hoogstraten and Frank Buyanga of Hamilton Properties are alleged to be
loan sharks who are playing the role of a lender of last resort because the
central bank is broke.

More than 500 people reportedly lost their immovable properties to Buyanga’s
company after allegedly accessing loans from it and failed to repay. But
Buyanga claimed the people had sold their properties to his firm.

This week, Zimbabwe Independent editor Constantine Chimakure (CC) sent
questions to Shah and Van Hoogstraten on their operations and the
ReNaissance saga. Below are their edited responses.

CC: What do you say to allegations that you are a loan shark?

NVH: Mr Biti should think carefully and obtain correct information before he
makes public statements. In particular, as a lawyer and a minister he should
know better than to make such foolish and inaccurate comments. For many
years I have been the single largest investor in the Zimbabwean financial
market and currently have Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-quoted holdings with a
value of well over US$250 million. In addition, I have extensive property
holdings and interests in a large number of other Zimbabwean enterprises
including money market and bank deposits. Also, unlike everyone else, my
family owns everything outright with no loans or partners.

As for being a “loan shark” (apart from a few relatively small personal
loans) all loans I have made are of a 30, 90 or 180-day tenure to financial
institutions at market rates of between 16% and 24% per annum with no fees.
I do not advertise loans –– institutions and companies come to me as I am
generally known in the market as the “lender of last resort”. This is
similar to my situation in the UK where I have been a financier since my
late teens.

CC: How many financial institutions have you lent money?
NVH: In Zimbabwe during the past six months or so I have been approached by
30-40 potential borrowers including RioZim (recently exposed) almost all of
whom were found to be poor or risky credit risks which I rejected. I learnt
when I was a young man that the first two principles of banking are, only
lend money to people who do not need it and, only lend when you have
adequate security –– which of course ties in with the first.

CC: How exposed are you?
NVH: My current exposure to the Zimbabwe financial market is at the
relatively low level of only US$16,85 million after withdrawing some funds
following the public statement of Mr Biti.
However, a senior government minister then asked me to cancel further
intended withdrawals from the market to which I agreed.

CC: What is your relationship with Air Zimbabwe? Is it correct that AirZim
is asking for a US$2 million  loan from you?
NVH: I have, during the past few years, made relatively small short-term
emergency loans to AirZim on an interest-free basis. It is correct that I
have been asked by their London office for a US$2 million loan which I have
agreed to subject to Minister Biti personally signing the Acknowledgment of
Debt Agreement.
I should add that I have been a long time supporter of AirZim which has
excellent staff and services. The airline has been weakened by the Zimbabwe
dollar and incompetent senior management. It should be put to bed and its
operations handed over to an international airline as happened with Kenya

CC: When entering into loan agreements is your interest in making a return
on investment or an opportunity to gain control in an event of default?
NVH: I have had large investments in Zimbabwe since Independence and
generally the country has been good to me. The mother of my youngest son is
a Zimbabwean. I see it as part of my responsibility to support the country.
Whatever money I may make in Zimbabwe is relatively small compared to our
family wealth outside of Zimbabwe. For instance, in Bermuda we own one of
the largest re-insurance companies with net assets of over US$850 million.
The prime interest of any banker or financier is the return of his capital,
not gaining control of the collateral security which is usually a problem.

CC: What is your comment on the failure by borrowers to repay loans and then
seek protection from the state?
NVH: Persons who borrow money and fail to repay should be treated the same
as a thief. It would be nonsense for the state or the courts to protect such
persons. In the subject case of the (former ReNaissance Bank chief
Patterson) Timba loan from Mr Shah, this is a classic case of what is
allowed to happen in Zimbabwe.
ReNaissance Bank should certainly not be given any state or other public
funds. Minister Biti should not forget that NSSA funds and state funds
belong to the people of Zimbabwe and should not be used to bail out any
risky or fraudulent operation such as ReNaissance Bank. There should be a
full investigation into dealings between Timba and NSSA.

Chimakure now speaks with Shah

CC: Mr Shah, are you a loan shark?
JS: If providing facilities at 9% per annum can earn us the title loan
shark, then we are loan sharks. I am sure the Minister of Finance will
comment and may take the trouble to explain why he has called an Indian
(without mentioning names) a loan shark. It’s not a secret that some
individual borrowers are paying almost 10% per month (that is 120% per
annum) to some registered micro-finance companies and registered money
lenders and what name will the minister give these entities?

CC: Can you outline the terms of the US$5 million you lent to Mr Timba?
JS: Clause 6.1 and 6.2 of our agreement (which clause is not an issue and
not in dispute with Timba) read as follows: “6.1. The Borrower shall pay the
Lender interest of 9% per annum. 6.2. In the event of default of payment of
any amount due in terms of this agreement, then default interest shall
accrue at a flat rate of 3,5% per month...”

In any event we did not give Timba an agreement to sign, on the contrary it’s
Timba who approached us for funding and even prepared the loan agreement ––
part of clause 1,4 & 8,1 read as follows: “1.4. The parties record that the
Borrower has been unable to secure financial assistance for the purposes of
meeting his obligations arising from clause 1,2 hereof from any other
source... to meet certain statutory capital raising objectives in
ReNaissance Financial Holdings Ltd (hereinafter called “RFHL”). It is
recorded that the aforesaid capital raising objectives are statutory and
have a deadline of the 30 September 2009.

“8,1,1 Having prepared this loan agreement, the borrower hereby represents
to the lender the consummation of the transaction.”
It’s unfortunate that the Finance minister is giving the impression that we
approached Timba and conned him into borrowing the money from us, then put a
gun on his head and forced him to sign the agreement, blasted open Timba’s
safe and forcibly took the security and when Timba refused to accept the
loan proceeds –– we forced open his pockets and shoved the money into his

“One does not have to be a genius to know and undertstand that Timba would
have been history in September 2009 if he had failed to raise US$5
million –– RBZ minimum capital requirement then in 2009.

“It is sad and unfortunate for the Finance minister to call financiers like
us loan sharks after over a decade of providing financial assistance to
various financial Institutions in Zimbabwe even at the peak of sanctions.
“Because of our links to Zimbabwean companies, our company accounts as well
as my personal accounts were frozen in Europe, including the UK, and
eventually closed.

CC: How many financial institutions have you lent money to?
JS: I am bound by confidentiality clauses, so I will not comment, suffice to
state that after the Finance minister called us loan sharks –– our head
office in Dubai has instructed us not to accept and forward any financing
proposals from Zimbabwe for consideration and have also decided to call back
all monies upon agreed maturity dates.
We are glad to note that the Finance minister has made a statement that all
banks including ReNaissance Merchant are safe which gives us the comfort
that we shall be paid all our maturities.
It is sad that after almost  a decade of association with Zimbabwe, we will
be making an untimely exit from Zimbabwe and many of our counterparties will

CC:  Why are you playing the role of the lender of last resort?
JS: The central bank of a country is and will always remain the lender of
last resort and we are not playing nor have any intentions of stepping into
the shoes of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
We are a small finance house (Al Shams Global Ltd) based in Dubai and have
been providing bridging finance and structured finance to various corporates
and financial institutions in the region and West Africa –– these are
business transactions that many finance house do worldwide.

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National Healing organ set for review

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:08

By Wongai Zhangazha

SADC facilitators and Zimbabwe’s GPA negotiators have agreed to a review of
the dormant Organ of National Healing and Reconciliation to give it life and
a mandate to justify its existence.
The organ’s issue was raised with the Sadc-backed facilitators after several
failed attempts by ministers responsible for the organ—Vice President John
Nkomo, Sekai Holland and Moses Mzila Ndlovu — to summon the country’s
security ministers and security chiefs to meetings aimed at addressing
alleged selective application of the law and resurgent political violence
over the past three months.

Nkomo’s office tried to summon Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State
Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo
Mohadi and Theresa Makone but was spurned.

Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, army chief Philip
Sibanda, police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and CIO
director-general Happyton Bonyongwe also snubbed the negotiators saying they
reported to President Robert Mugabe.

Mzila Ndlovu, who is also one of the negotiators, said there were
frustrations in the ministry because it operated in a vacuum and there was
no enabling Act giving the department authority to investigate cases and
summon people for interviews.

“At the last round of negotiations held in Cape Town, the organ was under
scrutiny after an assessment on the performance of the ministry revealed
that it was not functional. Issues were raised of how difficult it was for
it to operate without any written legislation,” said Mzila Ndlovu.

He said the absence of a law to give direction to the organ was one of the
oversights of the GPA.

The organ’s work is presently done in close liaison with Jomic, which
supervises its work and reports to cabinet.

“The facilitators intervened and it was agreed that there be a serious
review of the organ on national healing. It was decided that there be a
framework for this ministry to ensure that we really do our work.”

Mzila Ndlovu hoped that the negotiators would start working on the legal
basis of the organ at their next meeting.

The ministry has no clearly defined policy on what its day-to-day activities
are leading to some analysts calling it irrelevant.

They argue that the organ is just “a smokescreen to cover up government’s
reluctance to tackle head-on the perpetrators of political violence”.

“The attitude and behaviour of the MDC towards the issue of justice for
victims of political violence is disappointing,” said an analyst. “They seem
to be colluding with Zanu PF to sweep the issue under the carpet. One would
have thought the MDC would be driven by values of respect for life and the
principle of justice rather than by selfish political considerations.”

“It’s not just about an enabling Act,” the analyst said. “It is also about
political will. I doubt that there is sufficient courage and the will to
deal with this issue in the current government set up. There are people with
skeletons in the cupboard and they are afraid of being prosecuted. I have
not heard of any country in the world that has achieved truth, justice and
reconciliation while the perpetrators of the violence and injustice are
still in power.”

Mzila Ndlovu accepted the criticism saying he was disappointed by the way
the national healing process was being operated.

He said: “The only national healing outreach campaign which we jointly held
since I joined the ministry was last year when we went on a shoe
distribution exercise in the Midlands, Gwanda and Bulawayo.

“It was a noble thing to do assisting vulnerable children but with the
current work that we are expected to do, I was not convinced. I am still
failing to understand the connection with the issue.”

The organ is likely to clash with the proposed Human Rights Commission (HRC)
that will deal with human rights cases which happened after the formation of
the inclusive government in 2009.

Mzila-Ndlovu described the proposal as mischievous and insensitive to human
rights abuse victims.

“We cannot just ignore issues of the past. For me the real work should start
on ethnic healing. People should accept that for healing to take place those
who violated human rights issues should come out in the open and apologise.

“The problems we are facing now are historical and should be addressed. The
HRC will be insensitive to victims. I don’t subscribe to the notion that it
is water under the bridge. I think this issue must be brought back to the
negotiators and say when we created this what did we have in mind,” said

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Jailed Siwela left in a dilemma

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:50

Brian Chitemba

INCARCRATED political activist Paul Siwela is now faced with a huge dilemma
as political parties scramble to disown him.
Siwela was arrested together with Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) secretary
general John Gazi and secretary for security official Charles Thomas on
treason charges.

Gazi and Thomas were released on US$2 000 bail each while Siwela is still
languishing at the notorious Khami Prison Hospital since being arrested over
two months ago.

MLF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent that Siwela should first clear
his status with Zapu before associating himself with the militant political
Gazi confirmed that his party was seeking clarity regarding Siwela’s Zapu

On the other hand, Zapu has dismissed claims that Siwela was a member of the
party, but observers say the move was the “political dumping of Siwela”.

Siwela, who has contested unsuccessfully in previous elections on a Zapu
Federal Party ticket, has failed to garner support in Matabeleland.  Zapu
Federal Party died a natural death after veteran politician Dumiso Dabengwa
revived the original Zapu that was founded by the late veteran nationalist
Joshua Nkomo.

Zapu spokesman Methuseli Moyo said Siwela was never a member of the party
and he was struggling to get bail due to another pending treason charge.

“The last time he left Zapu he was threatening to take Zapu to court but he
went quiet. We were then surprised to read in the press that he was one of
the leaders of MLF. Only Siwela knows which party he belongs to because he
seems to be everywhere,” said Moyo.

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Govt presses Mutare to approve Chinatown

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:48

Paidamoyo Muzulu

MUTARE mayor Brian James has revealed that central government was pressing
his council to approve an unplanned development of a Chinatown and a
24-storey hotel complex by diamond mining firm Anjin Corporation in the
eastern border city.
Anjin plans to build an ultra-modern Chinese village for Chinese nationals
working at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields and has also offered to buy Mutare’s
sole garden park to develop a hotel complex, but James said the city was
being kept in the dark on the multi-million dollar project by the provincial
governor and provincial administrator, who seem to have given the firm the
thumbs up.

“We are under pressure from the government through the offices of the
provincial governor and provincial administrator to grant Anjin development
permits. The mining firm is working in partnership with the military in the
developments,” said James.

James said Anjin had not submitted its exact developmental plans to the city
but rumours of the project were flying all over.

“We were told that the development in Hobb House area was a holding area for
Anjin mining equipment but we now see residential flats. The city is not
privy to their developments plans as they are working on state land,” James

He added that the city was being pressed to approve the sale of the Meikles
Park for development of a hotel complex or risk having the land seized by
the state.

“The Chinese group in partnership with the military is offering a fair price
for the city park but the land is not suitable for such a development. The
government has said it may just take the park away from us and swap it with
other state land in the town.”

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore yesterday said: “Send in
your questions in writing. I do not give interviews over the phone.”
The Chinese are renowned the world over for developing Chinatowns in all
countries they settle in or do business. South Africa is home to a number of
Chinatowns on the continent.

Chinese companies tend to develop these villages to house and cater for
labour, which they import from mainland China.

Mutare has experienced an influx of Chinese nationals since the discovery of
diamonds in Chiadzwa in the last decade.

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Abuses render politburo impotent

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:41

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

THE once almighty Zanu PF politburo, whose decisions and policies dominated
and determined the national political, economic and social psyche in the
past 30 years of President Robert Mugabe’s rule has become impotent. This is
because of the organisation’s human rights abuses which have resulted in the
other national and supra national bodies having a critical say in the
affairs of the state.
Zanu PF’s defeat in the 2008 elections, the formation of the inclusive
government in 2009 after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
in September 2008 and the involvement of Sadc and the AU in Zimbabwe’s
domestic affairs have resulted in the erosion of Mugabe’s grip on power and
consequently the ubiquitous roles of his party’s central committee and the

The role currently being played by Sadc and South African President Jacob
Zuma, the facilitator to the Zimbabwean political dispute between the two
formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF clearly
showcase the impotence of the politburo. A close look at the outcomes of the
Livingstone and Windhoek Sadc meetings to address the Zimbabwean crisis also
assist to confirm this hypothesis.

Zanu PF is finding it difficult to impose elections on Zimbabweans because
of domestic and regional outcries that conditions for holding elections are
still absent. This case illustrates that the communist-style politburo is
now a shadow of its former self.

The outcome of the March 29 2008 harmonised elections has ensured that
business cannot be as usual in the administration of national affairs. The
era of politburo unilateralism is gone. The outcome of taking that route is
increased domestic, regional and international isolation.

It is important to note that Zanu PF does not control any urban council. It
does not have a single mayor in all the towns and cities of Zimbabwe. This
was a historical development and it was the harbinger of the erosion of the
powers of the politburo. That development makes a mockery of Zanu PF’s
claims of being a party of the people.

Zanu PF’s demise was inevitable after years of inflicting human rights
abuses starting from the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres. Violence
characterised all elections from 1990 up to the June 2008 presidential

The consummation of the inclusive government in January 2009 after the
signing of the GPA meant that there were now several centres of power in the
country. While Mugabe’s executive powers remained largely intact there were
now some checks and balances. Cabinet, which had hitherto merely been an
implementing body of Zanu PF decisions in the days of Mugabe’s one-party
rule, became a forum of power struggles between the two formations of the
MDC and Zanu PF respectively.

Cabinet as it stands can no longer rubber stamp the decisions of the central
committee and politburo because of its composition. Added to this there is
also the Council of Ministers that is chaired by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai. By virtue of Tsvangirai chairing this body, it cannot be used to
implement the decisions of the politburo.

What this means is that government ministries and departments — unlike in
the past — implement national programmes and not necessarily the decisions
of Zanu PF.

It is at Cabinet level that the Zanu PF’s call for elections in 2011 hit a
snag. They have to convince their GNU partners that an election is the best
way forward. Any unilateral decision by Zanu PF will invite regional
intervention which will not support dictatorial tendencies in an era of
The position of the politburo is now treated in the same manner as the
positions of the national executives of the two formations of the MDC. It is
merely a position of a political party. The only difference between the
position of Zanu PF and those of the MDCs could be the malign and egocentric
nature of Zanu PF’s call for elections without attendant democratic reforms.

In the case of national security reforms, however, the decisions of the
politburo still stand because of the control invested in the president’s
office by the current constitution. This is coupled with the failure by the
negotiators to the GPA to clearly address the ubiquitous nature of the
securocrats in Zimbabwean politics especially their partisan behaviour.

Where the GPA sought to create a National Security Council, the securocrats
working in cahoots with Zanu PF have blatantly refused to reform. The
partisan Joint Operations Command (JOC) remains intact and continues with
its poisonous political activities. This explains why democratic forces in
Zimbabwe have identified the security sector as a critical and last bastion
of Zanu PF’s abusive rule that needs to be democratised before the holding
of any election. This would then facilitate a free electoral environment
where the security of citizens is protected and guaranteed.

Both Sadc and the AU are guarantors of the GPA. Where there are disputes
among the political players Sadc has to mediate under the leadership of
President Zuma.  The decision of the Sadc Troika on Defence and Security in
Livingstone calling upon the GNU to lay out a clear democratic road map to
future elections clearly shows that the calls by Zanu PF to have elections
on its own terms could be hallucinatory and suicidal.

It is important to note that the life of undemocratic political structures
such as the politburo cannot live in a world that is increasingly fighting
against evil and dictatorial political structures and values. It is like
attempting to solve 21st century problems using a 20th century bureaucracy.
Zanu PF should embrace democratic reforms otherwise it risks being buried by
the reform winds blowing across Africa. There is no longer space for
Communist-style structures in this century.

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Political will to make police effective — Makone

Friday, 27 May 2011 09:43

Wongai Zhangazha

HOME Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone said her ministry would only be
effective in executing its duties of maintaining peace in an election if
conditions of a free and “just society” were politically enabled.

Makone said her ministry would be guided by the outcomes of the Sadc
mediation, through the principals, on how to proceed with elections.
“The reason why other parties to the GNU, the mediator, as well as Sadc, are
pursuing the course of a clear roadmap is because of the violence that
characterised the presidential runoff of June 2008.

“Our ministry will be guided by the outcomes of Sadc mediation through the
principals and cabinet, as to how to proceed with elections. It is
preemptive to discuss the state of readiness or otherwise of the ministry
until the Sadc processes are complete,” said Makone.

Makone said a violence-free election was possible in Zimbabwe if the
security sector was non-partisan and performed its duties professionally.

“It takes political will by the political leadership, a realigned
non-partisan police force, a military that is confined to barracks and a
Central Intelligence Organisation that is truly neutral to stage credible,
free and fair as well as non-violent elections.”

“Social engineering is the biggest problem that Zimbabwe suffers from,
especially when elections are in the air. The ministers of Home Affairs can
only be effective when the ingredients of a free and just society are
politically enabled. I think that is precisely the reason why we are having
inter-party dialogue as well as Sadc mediation.”

Her co-minister Kembo Mohadi was not willing to divulge the preparedness of
the ministry in the event of an election this year.

“When we are ready to talk to you about elections we will call you and issue
a statement,” Mohadi said.

Makone said statements previously made in the public domain by the security
leaders of not willing to work with people with no war credentials were
“very unfortunate” and challenged them to work on being non-aligned and

“It is those statements which continue to traumatise and haunt Zimbabweans.
It is those statements which confirm the worst fears of the leaders of the
region that Zimbabwe’s security forces are partisan and cannot be entrusted
with enforcing peace before, during and after elections,” she said.

Makone was not comfortable in divulging how the ministry responded to police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s 2010 letter requesting a reversal
of electoral reforms agreed to by the inclusive government.

Chihuri suggested that “for security reasons” the police maintain a presence
in postal voting stations as well as the postal voting system.

Makone said: “Electoral reforms and processes will be published by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission toward the time of elections. Those parts of
the reforms that talk to the location of the police during the election
would be determined and concluded by the negotiators and principals, as well
as the ministers of Home Affairs in due course and gazetted accordingly.”

Though work tensions between Makone and Chihuri turned sour after Chihuri
accused Makone of abusing her office as well as undermining uniformed
forces, Makone said she was still having confidential security meetings with
the commissioner-general.

“I have never lost a minute of sleep because of what the
commissioner-general said about me in parliament. He knows where to find me
if he has any issues with me. We have a job to do and I think we are on
course,” she said.

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Suddenly the GPA looks more bearable

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:42

SO, an admission at last: Zanu PF is in crisis.

President Mugabe conceded this point in an interview with Southern Times
editor Mabasa Sasa.

Asked about a 2002 interview with New African magazine in which he said he
would gladly step down if his party found a suitable successor, Mugabe said
the party would find someone but he could not leave while the party was in

“The party will find someone,” he suggested, “but you don’t leave the party
amidst problems and in a situation of crisis such as we have. You’ve got to
get the party out of the crisis and then you can retire,” he said. “We have
got to ensure that we are out of the crisis first before we can think of
that. And also, the party needs me and should not create weak points, points
of weakness within the party. We must remain solid and in full gear. Once
you have change, and if we had it now for example, the new man or new
woman –– that is an act that might destroy the party for a while as it goes
through transition.

“Any new leader needs to consolidate so we don’t want to take risks at all.
No risks at this time because there are people who have regime change as
their objective. (Tony) Blair has been calling for it. His successors, we
haven’t heard the voice of (David) Cameron yet. But there’s that other man
with a round head. What’s his name? Hague. William Hague. He seems very
critical of us and seems to be onto regime change.”

This is a fascinating insight into the presidential mind.

First we are told there is a crisis so he can’t go because of that. Then we
are told change might destroy the party. So Zanu PF can’t revive itself
because that would create a risk.

And where does this fatal challenge come from? Blair, Cameron and Hague.

So Zanu PF can’t change because of the threat from British politicians, one
of whom retired years ago!

Then there is the danger of “segmentation”, the president tells us.

“If the leader of the party is removed in a manner which disappoints a
significant section of the followers, naturally there will emerge
 divisions,” we are told. “Some will say no you are not our leader. Others
will come up to counter and then more will follow. Then you get segmentation
of the party and that is not good. That is what kills the party. You don’t
want Zanu PF to go the way of Unip in Zambia.”

Does he mean he doesn’t want Zanu PF to go the democratic way where veteran
leaders are replaced by more recent arrivals? So there is something else we
must beware of: Segmentation which joins “crisis”, “weak points”,
“transition”, “risks”, “regime change”,  and “divisions” as reasons why Zanu
PF can’t change and the president can’t go.

We should be grateful to Mabasa Sasa for this useful insight.

Last Friday the Herald carried reports of what had been said by Mugabe’s
emissaries who had been dispatched to regional leaders to supposedly put the
record straight regarding the dossier that had so upset Zanu PF ahead of the
Livingstone summit.

The dossier referred among other things to the violence taking place in
Zimbabwe. Didymus Mutasa, who had been dispatched to Tanzania said:
“Tanzania took note that much of the violence was being perpetrated by the
MDC-T and there was no state-sponsored violence.

“The minister however expressed his worries that Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai could be used to follow the violent activities being perpetrated
in North Africa by the United States and their allies.”

Emmerson Mnangagwa returned from Angola where he delivered a glowing account
of the situation in Zimbabwe.

“Our economy continues to grow despite the illegal sanctions and is on a
recovery path…” he told his hosts in Luanda. The political situation was
“extremely stable”, he claimed. “We cannot wish for anything better,” he
said. “Yes there have been reports of isolated violence. An exercise was
carried and it indicated that of the 121 violence cases reported, 10 were
blamed on the MDC-T by Zanu PF, and none from the other MDC-T formations.”

The region had “the opportunity to listen to both facts and fiction”,
Mnangagwa related without saying which of those things emanated from his
He denied reports that Zimbabwe service chiefs snubbed South African
negotiator Mac Maharaj during his recent visit to Harare.

“These things are just coming from the media,” he claimed. “After all, there
are no military issues on the GPA.”

So why would Maharaj remain holed up in his hotel room with no response from
his hosts? All a bit mysterious! Meanwhile, could Sadc embassies in Harare
acquaint their governments with the Jestina Mukoko case and clip it to the
Zanu PF claims in the Herald that reports of violence are fictional. Mukoko
escaped with her life. Tonderai Ndira wasn’t so lucky.

As for those in the upper echelons of Zanu PF, including their mouthpiece,
the Herald, who think they have done well to sabotage the Sadc Tribunal, all
they have actually done is to confirm to the world the view that Zimbabwe is
a rogue state that holds the rule of law in contempt.

We were amused to hear that Nathan Shamuyarira is busy with the president’s
memoirs. How many years has he been busy with them? And is it true that Zanu
PF has a retirement home where Shamu, Stamps, Muchemwa, Kangai etc all
reside (at our expense)?

Zanu PF sycophants’ keenness to abide by the tenets of the GPA in their
quest to avoid the election roadmap is hilarious to say the least. Suddenly
the GPA –– which Zanu PF was all this time refusing to implement –– is now
touted as the one and only way towards the holding of elections.

ZBC this week claimed that political analysts and observers said the planned
South Africa meeting, which will examine the issue of Zimbabwe, would be the
MDC’s Waterloo, adding that parties to the GPA should stick to the already
existing election roadmap spelt out in the GPA.

Among the political analysts was the now regular duo of Goodson Nguni along
with media practitioner Caesar Zvayi who also doubles as an analyst. Zvayi
said it is not surprising that the case of Zimbabwe was deferred at the Sadc
extraordinary summit in Namibia as there is nothing new to discuss since the
negotiated GPA already shows the way.

It seems to have escaped Zvayi’s notice that the GPA itself is far from
being implemented in full because Zanu PF throws spanners into the
negotiation works. Who can forget the threat that Zanu PF will no longer
concede anything as long as sanctions are still in place?

Added to this, President Mugabe has refused to appoint provincial governors
from the MDC formations despite being mandated to do so as part of the GPA.

Despite agreeing to media reforms in September 2008, Mugabe and Zanu PF have
ensured that the national broadcaster, ZBC, maintains its archaic monopoly.

Their acolytes in the public media –– including the so called
analysts —continue to fan hate speech against Zanu PF’s partners in the
GPA –– something that was supposed to have ended after the signing of the
GPA. It has in fact worsened with the continued increase of partisan
messages on television and radio praising Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Meanwhile, Nguni surfaced at the  summit in Windhoek, this time fronting the
All Africa Non-Governmental Organisations. This dubious outfit held a press
briefing where it demanded that elections be held so that political
“normalcy” can be restored in Zimbabwe.

Nguni, the outfit’s secretary-general, said some civil society organisations
were using the ongoing summit to “influence Sadc into implementing the
Western imperialist agenda.

“Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa, neither (is it) a province of
Sadc. It’s a sovereign country,” he declared.

Nguni also lashed out at Zuma’s advisor on international affairs, Lindiwe
Zulu: “When she (Zulu) comes to Zimbabwe, she refuses to see any pro-Zanu-PF
civil society, but she talks to anti-Zanu-PF society and gets a one-sided
version of what is happening in our country,” Nguni claimed.

We would also want to remind Nguni that Zimbabwe is not Zanu PF. He cannot
expect Zulu to consult the countless bogus organisations Zanu PF has
invented –– like the Zimbabwe Children of War Liberators Association,
Zimbabwe Coffin Makers Association, Zimbabwe Exhumers Association, Youth in
Natural Resources Management, the Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions,
Journalists for Empowerment, Destiny for Afrika Network, Zimbabwe
Revolutionary Volunteers Front,  the Federation of Civil Society
Organisations, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice, Upfumi Kuvadiki, and the
Millionaires Cashflow Club.

And now we can add the All Africa Non-Governmental Organisations to this
useless lot.

Muckraker’s interest in Big Brother 6 was aroused by claims by Zimbabwean
housemate Vimbai that there was no repression in Zimbabwe. She shocked her
housemates by painting a rosy picture of Zanu PF misrule.

“People are totally free to express themselves in Zimbabwe,” she told her
clearly unconvinced housemates.

She then went on to equate regime change to what happened in Egypt where
“there is now chaos with no police and no order”.

While we appreciate Vimbai’s right to air her views, her misrepresentation
of facts cannot go unchallenged.

In the end her posture lends credence to Mozambican housemate Michael’s
claim that she was sent by the Zimbabwean government for propaganda

Vimbai is the daughter of Ambrose and Tracy Mutinhiri,  reports suggest.

Finally, Muckraker was shocked to hear this: “Down with the Herald, down,
down. Burn the Herald. Fire to the Herald…Go and burn the Herald.”
Phew! We may have differences with our colleagues at Herald House but we try
to avoid that sort of incendiary vitriol. Could this be Morgan or one of his
acolytes venting their fury on the proponents of “shallow” journalism?

No, none of the above. It was ANC regional chairman for Nelson Mandela Bay
Nceba Facu expressing his anger over the number of black voters who
supported the Democratic Alliance in the Port Elizabeth area.

The ANC retained control of the local government in last week’s elections
but saw its margins eroded both in PE and across the board in the Cape.
Facu denounced the Port Elizabeth Herald which has been exposing his shady
business dealings and said that blacks who voted for “white parties” should
be driven into the sea.

Strong stuff. As the editor of the Herald’s sister paper, the Sunday Times,
pointed out, with that sort of language Facu trampled on the legacy of the
man his region is named for.

Anyway, if he persists in disgracing his party with that sort of invective,
we’re sure room could be found for him amid the ranks of Zimbabwe’s more
deranged “revolutionaries”.

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Whither democracy in the MDC-T?

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:52
Brian Chitemba THE recent return through the back door of officials who lost
elections by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T shows that the party may slide from
being a mass-based democracy to dictatorship, analysts have said.

The labour-backed party was once viewed as a champion of democracy that
threatened to end President Robert Mugabe’s kleptocracy. Zimbabweans were
assured that the MDC was founded on sound democratic principles where the
wishes of the people would be paramount. However, the trappings of power
seem to have quickly caught up with the party and Tsvangirai has been
accused of slowly adopting dictatorial tendencies by vetoing crucial party
decisions claiming to be providing true leadership and protecting the party’s
legacy. This led to an acrimonious split in 2005 and with it the dearth of
democracy in the once flourishing loose coalition.

The formation of the inclusive government in 2009 again showed the MDC-T’s
slant towards cronyism when certain individuals were handpicked to serve in
government much to the chagrin of dedicated founding members. Last month’s
congress in Bulawayo brought this issue into when the MDC-T’s national
council — chaired by Tsvangirai — appointed virtually all officials rejected
by structures at the elective congress into the council. Elias Mudzuri,
Lucia Matibenga, Thabita Khumalo, Paurina Mpariwa, Thamsanqa Mahlangu,
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro and Amos Chibaya who all lost in resultant polls were
co-opted into the council for “their special skills, consistency and loyalty
to the party”.

Others who failed to secure nominations such as Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza, Kerry
Kay, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Luta Shaba, Spiwe Ncube, Henry Madzorera, Eddie
Cross and Sesel Zvidzai were all taken on board the council for the same
reasons. This then raises the question why the MDC-T even bothered to hold
an elective congress when the party’s standing committee comprising the top
12 knew whom it wanted on the national executive council. The party could
have saved itself the embarrassment of rampant infighting which unfolded in
the run-up to the congress by simply appointing council members, just like
Zanu PF does its politburo.

Zanu PF only holds elections for just a few members of its presidium, which
in turn makes all politburo appointments. Although this has been the root
cause of widespread factionalism in the former liberation movement, at least
all party members know that absolute power rests with one individual.
African Reform Institute director Trevor Maisiri said the retention of
losing candidates into the MDC-T council was likely to be taken as the
leadership’s failure to read the unfolding internal mood. Maisiri said
Tsvangirai was protecting his cabal and this would prove to be
self-defeating in the long run. He said: “This misreading can ultimately
lead to further disjointing of the party leadership and its general
membership which will result in the rise of elitism.”

Maisiri said instead of rescuing his allies from the political wilderness,
Tsvangirai should have used the opportunity to assign more people-approved
leaders without denigrating the democratic process. “This is a defeat of the
people’s expression. How does the party leadership justify the glaring call
for leadership renewal by members at congress against the recycling of
losing candidates in the NEC,” said Maisiri. He added that the MDC-T was
falling into the same trap as Zanu PF where politburo appointments were made
by President Robert Mugabe and his sheepish followers. “This is the wrong
slide and we can see a narrowing of this leader-centred autocracy between
Zanu PF and MDC-T and it is outrightly dangerous to democracy,” Maisiri
said. But MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora argued that the appointment of
losing officials was democratic because they recorded a number of votes at
the congress.

He said it could have been undemocratic had the officials been re-assigned
to their original positions, but they would be given new posts within party
structures. Mwonzora further fought in Tsvangirai’s corner saying his boss
did not solely appoint members of the council. Some were chosen by the
standing committee. He explained that the recycling of Mudzuri and
colleagues was approved by the first meeting of the national council, which
according to the party constitution is an extension of the congress.

“The criticism of the appointees is unfair and wrong because if they were
not appointed then who was supposed to take their place?” Mwonzora argued.
“These officials were nominated by provinces and that indicates that there
are certain constituencies which have confidence in them.” Southern Region
Consortium on Constitutional Reform coordinator Effie Ncube said Tsvangirai’s
move to include the losing candidates in senior party structures reflected
mature democracy in MDC-T. He said democracy was not only about elections,
but inclusivity that embraces those who lost elections. Ncube gave an
analogy of US President Barack Obama who appointed his rival in primary
elections Hillary Clinton to the country’s powerful office of Secretary of

“The appointment of Mudzuri and company into the NEC is different from how
Mugabe appoints losing candidates to even more senior positions. There is
still democracy in MDC-T,” he said. But another analyst Chamu Mutasa said
the recycling of the top officials defeated the essence of the bitterly
contested elections if losing candidates were rewarded. “We see the same
rewarding of patronage in Zanu PF proliferating in MDC-T. That honestly
doesn’t show democracy. It doesn’t exist anymore in MDC-T. Tsvangirai has
shown several times that he is a dictator,” Mutasa said.

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‘Youths must not be used by politicians’

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:09

By Wongai Zhangazha

ZIMBABWEAN youths have been encouraged to take a leading role in rebuilding
the country by participating in national processes and avoid being used by
politicians in their “dirty jobs”.
Youth leaders from the two MDC formations and non-governmental organisations
told guests at the Independent Dialogue in Harare yesterday that young
people from across the political divide should rise and claim their stake in
the national agenda.

The dialogue supported by the US Embassy Public Affairs section under the
theme “Does the youth have a role in rebuilding Zimbabwe?” saw youths from
different backgrounds debating how they could empower themselves and take a
meaningful role in the roadmap to help rebuild Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF Youth Affairs secretary Absolom Sikhosana ducked out  at the
eleventh hour.

The dialogue came at a time statistics show a low youth participation ratio
in national processes such as voter registration, elections,
constitution-making and indigenisation.

Coordinator of the Students Solidarity Trust Masimba Nyamanhindi said it was
worrying that many youths involved themselves in violent political
activities, instead of issues to do with their emancipation.

Nyamanindi said: “While we want to be voted for and be seen as youths, the
youth themselves are not participating in youth processes. So it becomes
difficult for us to be voted for if we are not participating.”

“Young people constitute about 67% of the Zimbabwe population but we have
had two major events that happened in the last four years –– the 2008
election and the constitution process.

“If we look at the statistics of youth participation in those events, you
will see that they are scary and negligible.

“The young people are found mostly doing all the dirty work on the ground
but when it comes to the most important things that will make a change in
society we are found without people.”

Nyamanhindi said young people should be inspired by youths in some of the
Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East, who after the revolts
have managed to be seen as “a force for change and not source of violence”
after taking control of challenges of high levels of unemployment and high
food prices to change their society.

Director of the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network and Peace Building Grace
Chirenje said the youths were conveniently engaged when the adults have got
something that they want to achieve.

Chirenje said: “A lot of the times reasons are given as to why youths should
not be included and some of those are reasons such as the youths lacking the
necessary skills and qualities.

“We are also not afforded opportunities to share power with the adults.”

“I know some say we lack motivation and inspiration, but is that true? Is
that a true reflection of who we are as young people? My favourite is that
we are born frees, we are mafikizolos and have just come on board so what do
we know?” said Chirenje.

She said for youths to have a hand in effectively rebuilding Zimbabwe, they
should be able to define their own role without interference from older
“The role that we have is at micro level. We can’t look at rebuilding
Zimbabwe at a macro-level somewhere way up there. We need to start looking
at it in terms of what can I do as a young person to rebuild Zimbabwe.
Imagine in your respective communities if you were to make a small
difference what kind of Zimbabwe we would have.

“This role should start from you at an individual level. We are sick and
tired of rulers in Zimbabwe, we need leaders who can transform this nation
from point A to point B,” she said.

MDC-N youth secretary-general Descent Bajila said youths should move away
from the role of being used during campaigns and be at the forefront of
taking meaningful positions.

Bajila said: “When it’s time to campaign the youths and the elders move
together but when we are getting to the table where the cake is, we are
chased away.

“This has been a trend in our politics. There should be at least an
agreement among all youth institutions that in rebuilding Zimbabwe, youths,
be it from Zanu PF, MDC-T or civil society, should play a central role.”

Bajila said the youths’ role in rebuilding the country was not as “green
bombers, perpetrators of violence, toy toying or raping”.
“This is not our role. There is also a role that is possible for young
people to be progressive industrialists, real political leaders and not
political puppets,” he said.

Bajila said youths should not just register to vote in numbers but to be
voted for as well.

“We can’t have our issues in parliament being discussed via Bluetooth
telling older MPs to say this and that on our behalf. We should be in there
(in parliament) saying what we want,” he added.

Bajila also attacked leaders who did not want to make way for the younger
generation by stubbornly clinging to power.
MDC-T youth chairperson Solomon Madzore said there was need to address
aspects like education that acts as an important tool in helping youths
rebuild the country.

“Education is a fundamental right but unfortunately that same education has
been reduced to something else, something like a privilege. Young people in
Zimbabwe are not guaranteed of that education and yet it is education that
equips us as young leaders of today with various skills as we lead and move
forward, “he said.

He acknowledged that poverty was the root cause of youths easily being hired
as perpetrators of violence and called for an economic model young people
can access to be developed.

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Labour problems: Greed stifling communication

Friday, 27 May 2011 11:09

By Andrew Masuku

I FOUND the article by columnist Eric Bloch, entitled “Labour demands beyond
employer means” (Zimbabwe Independent, May 20), an interesting read. It
sought to adequately address a volatile topic concerning employer/employee
relations. However, well intended as the article appears to be, history has
it that such sentiments alone have only had limited successes, as they put
employers on one side against the employees on the other. This has left a
chasm that will remain difficult to entirely close.

It is well documented that the history of labour disputes in our country,
since colonial days, has been characterised by poor communication between
the employers and employees. During the colonial days there had been a
system that regarded black workers only as tools of production. White
employers did not consider it necessary to talk to their black employees on
matters of remuneration.

The employees were not supposed to know or question how and whether business
was making profit or not. Since the advent of Independence in 1980, most of
those white- controlled companies saw it fit to include on their company
organisational structure the position of personnel manager — now human
resources manager. In the majority of cases such posts were reserved for
black people, who were expected to deal with issues of labour relations. The
personnel manager would be expected to communicate well with his/her fellow
black people, whilst ensuring that the interests of the employer would be
adequately preserved.

One of their mandates was to ensure that salary scales were to be kept
confidential, to ensure that clear salary discrepancies were not made known
to black employees. Personnel managers were also guided, not by common
sense, but by the Labour Relations Act, whose promulgation was through
legislation by MPs. The majority of those MPs could not necessarily
understand the metrics of business activities. However, this arrangement
could have been workable, as long as the MPs were to be regarded as the true
representatives of the labour constituency.

Unfortunately, as time progressed, the MPs themselves also became employers,
so that the Labour Act remained a government instrument but without
adequately addressing the needs of the vulnerable employees. As a result the
MPs would then be debating with their business interests at heart.
However, it may be true that in some business enterprises employers would be
struggling to raise money for employee salaries, as Bloch puts it. What
seems to be a fundamental predicament in employer/employee relations is lack
of proper communication, which should be regarded as lubrication of human
relations in our society.

    Why can’t employers be transparent to their employees, concerning the
profitability of the company, so that the employees are also constantly
appraised of how the business would be performing?
    Why are employees not invited to also give their own input for
consideration, in terms of innovations that would lead to better performance
of the company?
    Why is there no clear communication on what business sense it would make
for certain managers to be given certain perks when the company would be
said to be struggling?
    Why are salaries not transparent to everyone to avoid suspicions, or
mistrusts between management and workers?
     Why should employers not explain in detail to their employees why
certain decisions would be taken at the expense of the prevailing ones?
    In some cases, why are employers not interested in knowing where their
employees reside and how they manage to come to work, let alone knowing the
number of people that are dependent on them for survival?
    Why can’t salaries be performance-related, so that each employee feels
comfortable with the salary or wage, as agreed upon at time of engagement?

Employees should be treated as human beings, just as employers need to be
treated as such. To pretend otherwise is failure to grasp the solutions that
would bring success not only to the business enterprise concerned, but to
Zimbabwe as a new civilisation. It is only a matter of how effective
communication methods can be applied for any business to head in the right
direction. One of the most unpleasant things that the white employers
practised during the colonial days was to treat black people not as human
beings, but as tools for production. It is saddening to note that while most
black people in our country resented that kind of treatment, to the point of
deciding to participate in the armed struggle, it is now clear that some of
those same people were actually envious of such behaviour by those

Given an opportunity, they now find it convenient to practise exactly, if
not worse than how those racists behaved. Today we also have politicised
labour unions that cannot be taken seriously by workers, as the above
questions remain unanswered. This is in spite of the fact that the labour
unions are known to be in place. One wonders what it is exactly that they
contribute in bargaining conferences, when one looks at the product of
National Employment Council (NEC) salary rates that seem to suggest
underhand dealings by those so-called labour representative negotiators.

Our real problem in this country seems to be centered on that five-letter
word — greed. It appears as if it is through greed that some employers
prefer to take comfort in living a trouble-free life style while their
employees languish in abject poverty. At the same time, it is through greed
that some employees would constantly seek to steal from their employers, or
expect to be paid without their adequate production input.

About the Author

Masuku is the author of Freedom from the Dungeons of Human Slavery

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CandidComment: Bankers truly a privileged lot

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:25

POPULAR American group The Commodores in the 1980s released a track called
Running to the Bank. In the video, a love struck man is seen crossing back
and forth to the bank to finance the extravagant tastes of his lover.
In similar fashion, Zimbabweans are still a long way from being freed from
the clutches of their single biggest employer; banks. Whether we like it or
not, we are all working for the banks and our version of the Commodores’
song is “Working for the bank, they’ve got us working for the bank.”

Thankfully, their patron, Finance minister Tendai Biti came out in the open
on Monday accusing bankers of “stealing depositors’ money.” We agree. Just
look at the amounts they charge us in incomprehensible fees and commissions.
It’s as if it’s a crime to deposit your money in a bank. What with
ridiculous withdrawal ATM fees at one percent of every transaction? That’s
how much people in Europe and elsewhere earn in interest. And when you
change your money into another currency they first hit you on the spreads ie
the difference between the buying rate and the selling rate, and then charge
you commission either way.

“I have been playing with bankers a fortnight ago and it is good to be away
from them,” said Biti. Well, we deal with these fellows everyday Minister
Biti, unfortunately since our salaries come through their systems we haven’t
figured out ways of being away from them. And your ministry is at the
forefront of promoting e-commerce and e-government, which will give these
usurers more ground to levy charges. I heard a fed-up customer say to a bank
teller, “Look, all I want is to know when I can have my money from your
bank.” They were telling him extended rules as to how he could shut his
account with them.

There has been so much talk of a significant portion of Zimbabweans,
especially those in the informal sector, being unbanked and that efforts
should be made towards bringing them into the mainstream. Quite honestly if
I were one of those people I would avoid the banks like a plague.

On the other side of the coin is the debate over whether Zimbabwe is
overbanked ie it has too many banks. Who wouldn’t want to run a business
where you simply open your doors, charge people for entering your banking
hall, charge them exorbitant administration and ledger fees for transacting
on their accounts, give them a pittance or no interest on their money, take
that money and lend it to your friends and cronies at favourable interest,
demand a cut of the loan to borrowers who are not your friends nor relatives
in addition to interest at 30% compounded?

And if you feel that your Mercedes 4matic is being overshadowed by your
competitor’s Audi Q7, you simply slap in another commission to finance it,
why not? After all no one will do anything to you. In fact you will be
praised for excellent performance. Look at all the adulations at how
non-funded income (largely fees and commissions) have bolstered or saved the
majority of the 18 commercial banks?

Back to Biti, he said when things went wrong, the banks blamed the
government and the Reserve Bank for implementing policies they allege were
not conducive for the banking sector to operate viably, in other words, the
latitude to charge more fees.

A more frightening statement from the minister was that the banks fail to
supervise themselves. What an abdication of duty Mr Minister! We expect you
to supervise those crooks on our behalf. That’s why we obediently pay our
taxes. What we heard last week that you only conduct occasional checks on
the banks is unacceptable.

One other thing, if a bank is in distress, let it go.

One doesn’t’ believe the minister’s constituents voted him into him into
power so as to promote the interest (excuse the pun) of the banking elite,
for the plan to bail out Renaissance Merchant Bank with NSSA funds.

After all there is commercial capital waiting in the form of Econet. Biti
must represent the interest of the nation. After all, if a client fails to
pay back a loan, the banks will, like The Merchant of Venice’s Shylock,
demand their pound of flesh. So they should get a taste of their own

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Kasukuwere wedded to flat-earth mentality

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:16

EMPOWERMENT minister Saviour Kasukuwere continues to make brinkmanship and
reckless pronouncements regarding the indigenisation of foreign-owned firms
his forte. Speaking in Bulawayo last week, Kasukuwere said government would
not hesitate to have sanctions imposed on foreign firms which fail to meet
the deadline to comply with the empowerment law. The sanctions, he said,
would be in the form of banning the companies from exporting their products.
He went further to say the firms opposed to the indigenisation policy should
pack their bags and leave Zimbabwe.

Kasukuwere should know better! Zimbabwe is in critical need of foreign
investment to rebuild an economy which almost imploded because of his party’s
reckless policies and bad governance since Independence.

Who would benefit if foreign companies in the country close shop or are
banned from exporting their products? The economic consequences are too
ghastly to contemplate.

Most Zimbabweans would support the idea of indigenisation if done in a
responsible and sustainable way. They are opposed to the Kasukuwere and Zanu
PF way which is clearly premised on securing political survival. What
Kasukuwere passes for indigenisation is just expropriation and grabbing.
Below is reproduction of an opinion which was published by Business Day of
South Africa last week and our hope is that the Kasukuweres of this world
would learn a lot and change tack.

“How often is it possible for Zimbabwe to take a turn for the worse? You
would expect that at some point a social disaster of the scale that has
afflicted Zimbabwe would reach its nadir. However, as sad as it is to say,
Zimbabwe has taken a turn for the worse.

In an illuminating study, the Brenthurst Foundation has tracked Zimbabwe’s
decline, up to suggestions in recent times of improvement, including
economic growth for the first time in a decade. Sadly, according to this
study, these green shoots appear to be flattering to deceive, and more
problems loom.

Despite a level of development second in the region only to South Africa in
the early 1990s, Zimbabwe registered 12 years of economic shrinkage
associated with hyperinflation until forced dollarisation in 2009. At its
peak in 2008, inflation was estimated at 6,5 quindecillion novemdecillion
percent — or 65 followed by 107 zeros.

The Global Political Agreement signed between Zanu PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its smaller offshoot in 2008
suggested a possible partial way out and led to the government of national
unity. At last, economic growth reappeared, although today most of the civil
service is still being paid less than the minimum wage in South Africa.

New problems are threatening even this minuscule economic resurgence. The
politics of Zimbabwe are still deeply flawed, and investor confidence is low
with the government’s apparent determination to nationalise much of the
remaining private sector, to say nothing of the growing corruption and
cronyism, the report states.

It is in this context that Zanu PF has insisted on the indigenisation policy
going ahead. The policy forces foreign companies to sell half their equity,
not only to Zimbabweans, but Zimbabweans specified by the government. Only
in the flat-earth mentality of Zimbabwean economics could such a move even
be considered. The notion that this plan will “retard investment” is such a
radical understatement it hardly bears examination.

One of the disturbing aspects of the programme is that it appears to be
garnering some support from none other than the MDC. At the recent World
Economic Forum, MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said:
“Across the political divide we agree on the principle of citizenship
empowerment... we have been consistent in the area of indigenisation.” This
is despite him saying that indigenisation was “empty rhetoric” earlier this

It seems the unity government is doing what its detractors feared most:
strengthening Zanu PF’s position. Zanu PF has been provided with a lifeline,
and is using its position in the unity government to consolidate its hold on
power. The consequence is that for once it is actually Zanu PF that is
pressing for early elections.

What should regional nations do now? The Brenthurst paper suggests we should
not rely solely on external intervention nor place undue expectations on the
MDC, “whose performance in the unity government has fallen well short on a
number of levels”.

It calls for a new approach that should comprise several elements, including
renewed international pressure for reform, stronger regional leadership by
South Africa, and a commitment by the opposition in Zimbabwe to become a
credible, democratic and accountable alternative to Zanu PF.

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IndependentComment: Mugabe in denial

Friday, 27 May 2011 10:12

IN Freudian psychoanalysis being in denial is a defence mechanism by a
person or people faced with an unpleasant situation too uncomfortable to
accept or too ghastly to contemplate. The person therefore rejects reality
and insists it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence
confronting him.

Denial — which involves thoughts, actions and behaviours — takes various
forms. Simple denial involves denying reality of the unpleasant altogether.
In minimisation the person admits the fact but denies its seriousness
(rationalisation). When it comes to projection, the person admits both the
fact and its gravity but denies responsibility.

President Robert Mugabe is in denial. In fact, he is now crossing the line
and borders on being in denial of denial.

If ever more evidence was needed that Mugabe is in dangerous denial, it came
in the form of an interview with the Southern Times last week. It was a
revealing interview and provided the clearest evidence yet that Mugabe has
lost it.

Whether he was talking about the North African situation, UN and Libya,
International Criminal Court (ICC), Sadc, sanctions, Arthur Mutambara,
elections or Zanu PF succession, his approach was simply deny, deny and deny
again! The whole interview was a stream of denial.

“I am not old. I am 87 but my body says the counting doesn’t end at 87, at
least you must get to 100,” Mugabe claimed. This is what he said when
confronted with the self-evident reality that he is now too old to
effectively run government.

Mugabe denies he is plagued by old age and illness. He refuses to accept the
obvious fact that he is no longer able to meet the strenuous demands of
running a government. But that is why he sleeps in meetings and walks
dragging his feet. It’s mainly because he is old and inevitably ailing.

Mugabe must accept certain realities. You can’t defy the laws of nature. Lee
Kwan-Yew, Singapore’s celebrated statesman, finally came to terms with this
reality 13 days ago when he finally retired at 87. Lee is five months older
than Mugabe.

Despite his huge success as a leader, Lee had to accept he was old and had
to go. During his three decades in office, Singapore grew from a poor
developing economy to one of the most developed nations in the world, with a
small population, limited land space and lack of natural resources.
Although Lee has been criticised for being authoritarian and intolerant of
dissent, his overall legacy is splendid.

Mugabe is refusing to let go. Instead of retiring on account of age, illness
and his catastrophic failure as a leader, he is offering all sorts of
excuses. Last week he repeated the true but self-serving justification that
he would not quit now because Zanu PF would disintegrate.

“Well, well, well. The party will find someone but you don’t leave the party
amidst problems and in a situation of crisis such as we have,” the president
declared. “You’ve got to get the party out of the crisis and then you can
retire,” he said in an attempt at justification. So in other words everybody
in Zanu PF is hopeless except Mugabe?

Instead of showing he has learnt something from the North African uprisings,
he chose to blame Europeans for the revolts against tyranny and poverty. His
remarks about the ICC, UN, AU, Libya and Sadc demonstrated how delusional
and detached from reality he has become.

The interview was a tale of denial, rationalisation and justification. For
instance, Mugabe pretends he is not aware of state-sponsored violence and
human rights abuses by security forces. Can he tell us then who has been
behind all these acts of intimidation, violence and killings of civilians
since 2000? Who killed Talent Mabika and Tonderai Ndira? Who killed people
at Chiweshe in 2008? Who tortured Jestina Mukoko and others? Who is
responsible for all the maiming, disappearances and killings since 1980?

Who savagely assaulted Morgan Tsvangirai at Machipisa in 2007? How about
Gukurahundi? Were the security forces not involved there? Why have the
culprits not been arrested or held to account?

On Gukurahundi, Mugabe has been playing delaying tactics; the deadliest form
of denial. He has avoided dealing with the issue, a denial of justice being
done. Instead, he always offers excuses to shirk responsibility, but alas
the issue won’t go away.

Actually, Mugabe denies responsibility for all his failures during his
disastrous 31-year rule. He shifts the blame to others but the truth will
find a way out eventually!

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