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Tsvangirai tightens grip on MDC-T

Sunday, 01 May 2011 14:55


BULAWAYO — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s was set to tighten his grip on
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) after heavily contested elections
at the party’s 3rd national Congress that ended last night.

Tsvangirai seemed to have closed ranks with his secretary general Tendai
Biti to fight a faction allegedly led by national organising secretary Elias

Voting was still underway at the time of going to press but Tsvangirai and
Biti’s supporters had already swept the strategic posts in women and youth
assemblies in earlier polls.

Theresa Makone, whose family had been one of Tsvangirai’s major pillars of
support, shrugged spirited challenge from Editor Matamisa to retain her post
as the chairperson of the women’s assembly on Friday.

Solomon Madzore succeeded Thamsanqa Mahlangu as the new youth chairperson.
Madzore is said to be close to Biti.

After the congress was officially opened by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila
Odinga the previous day, early Saturday saw all the candidates engaging in
frenetic campaigns outside the venue.

But indications were that Thokozani Khupe who was slugging it out with
Norman Mabena and Thabitha Khumalo for the vice-presidency and secretary
general Tendai Biti pitted against Eliphas Mukonoweshuro were set to retain
their posts.

However, there were also indications that Mukonoweshuro would not go down
without a fight.

Tsvangirai was also said to have favoured Lovemore Moyo (chairman), Nelson
Chamisa (organising secretary), Tongai Matutu (spokesman), Abedinico Bhebhe
(deputy organising secretary), Roy Bennett (treasurer) and Elton Mangoma
(deputy treasurer). Bennett and Tsvangirai were elected unopposed.

Matutu was however facing a real fight from Douglas Mwonzora, who also has a
lot of support despite not being nominated by his province.

There were small incidents that marred the voting process with Matabeleland
North province initially refusing to take part in the voting process after
the names of some of their delegates were missing on the voters roll.

The names of the ward chairpersons were later added allowing the voting
process to go ahead.

Nominations for Bulawayo province were also not publicly announced following
confusion, which started well before the congress.

The post of organising secretary had also been left out of the ballot paper
sparking complaints from the contestants.

Tsvangirai was the first to cast his vote just before lunch but the process
dragged on until late in the night. Results were only expected around
midnight. The congress was also set to come up with resolutions.

The PM, who is facing President Robert Mugabe in elections expected next
year, had gone to the congress seeking to strengthen his party’s leadership
in the face of emerging factionalism.

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the congress went well and showed that
there was internal democracy within the party.

“There was excellence in the campaigns, people were free and the campaigns
were done peacefully,” he said.

“This shows that there is rich internal democracy and team spirit. Delegates
were allowed to vote freely and our emphasis of the secrecy of the ballot
shows that we are world class.” he said.

Tsvangirai declared at the congress that the MDC-T will win the next
elections and form a government alone.

There was a small incident where Tsvangirai was briefly locked out of the
stadium by security details claiming that they had not been paid for their

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Service chiefs tell Mugabe to go

Sunday, 01 May 2011 14:48

By Nqaba Matshazi

Hawks within Zanu PF and securocrats have reportedly demanded that President
Robert Mugabe defer elections and immediately appoint a successor, as time
was not on his side.
Sources said Mugabe and the security chiefs held a teleconference last week,
when the veteran leader was in Singapore, where the president was told to
tone down on talk of having an election this year.

He was also told to instead direct his energies to appointing a successor in
an effort to prevent further fissures within the party and the country.

The sources revealed that the hawks and securocrats told Mugabe that if need
be, he had to dictate a successor to his party and they would support that

“He was told that he was no longer marketable as a candidate,” an informant

“Zanu PF’s best chance was in identifying a successor who would be sold to
the electorate between now and 2013.”

It was not immediately clear what Mugabe’s response was, but the insider
said Zanu PF’s attitude to the poll roadmap indicates that the president
agreed that it could be time to appoint a successor.

Questions have been raised about Mugabe’s health and whether he was prepared
for the rigours associated with another election, the fourth in nine years.

Mugabe’s health has for decades been a matter of speculation and conjecture
and interestingly the teleconference was held while he was in Singapore,
where he has previously sought treatment and at a time when the veteran
leader had gone to collect his stricken wife, Grace.

Mugabe has been demanding an election this year to end what he describes as
an impasse in the inclusive government.

The uneasy coalition government was created by his Zanu PF party and the two
MDC formations in 2008 after an inconclusive election.

In recent days Zanu PF has changed its tune on elections, saying the
dictates from the poll roadmap made it impossible for a vote to be held this
year, with 2013 being the most likely date.

Then, Mugabe would be 89 and too old to embark on an exhaustive electoral

“It is my own opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year.
We need to start talking about elections next year or 2013, assuming that
the (constitution) referendum is completed in September as we have been
advised by Copac (Constitutional Parliamentary Committee),” Chinamasa told
the state media last week.

This indicates a major climb down from Zanu PF, which had claimed they would
have polls whether a new election had been approved or not.

Security chiefs are said to have warned that going for elections was likely
to mirror the 2008 polls, where Mugabe lost the popular vote.

He only maintained power by holding a much condemned election re-run, after
neither he nor his long time nemesis, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were
unable to pass the 50% threshold to be declared outright winner.

The Zanu PF succession debate has been a thorny issue in the last two
decades, amid claims of a widening rift between two factions, one led by
retired army general Solomon Mujuru, whose wife, Joice is the vice-president
and another led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo declined to comment, claiming he was in a

“No, no, you are disturbing me, I am in a meeting,” he said, before curtly
terminating the call.

Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba was unavailable for comment, as his
number was unavailable.

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Gukurahundi splits cabinet

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:25


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has pledged to set up a team to discuss the
controversial issue of Gukurahundi and map the way forward after the matter
split Cabinet along regional and political lines last week, authoritative
sources said.
The sources said Mugabe told Cabinet that the team, which will comprise of
representatives of the three political parties in the inclusive government,
will be smaller for easier management of the controversial topic.

Mugabe said the issue of Gukurahundi, during which an estimated 20 000
people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces were murdered, was divisive
and had the potential of wrecking the inclusive government.

He suggested that the matter be taken out of Cabinet.

“He said why don’t we take it out of cabinet and select a few to discuss the
issue and map the way forward,” said one minister who attended the meeting.
“Cabinet agreed but many believe it was a diversionary tactic by the old

He continued, “People must be careful of this old fox because he tries to
divert anything that faces him personally. How many commissions have been
set and nothing happens after that?”

The minister said Mugabe wanted to defer the issue until after the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) extra-ordinary summit slated for May
20, which is going to discuss problems bedevilling the unity government.

The sources said the contentious issue cropped up after the Minister of
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Advocate Eric Matinenga questioned
why National Healing and Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu was
being brought to court in leg-irons as if he was a hardcore criminal.

Mzila-Ndlovu was arrested for failing to notify the police when he addressed
a memorial service for Gukurahundi where he allegedly said the late Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Mernard Muzariri did not deserve a
national hero status as he was guilty of killing a PF-Zapu official in the

“We had finished all items on the agenda when this was raised under any
other business,” said a Cabinet minister who attended the meeting. “The
discussion then became passionate and heated to the extent that
Vice-President (Joice) Mujuru almost failed to control it.”

Mujuru was chairing the meeting because Mugabe had left the venue but was
later spotted at the Medical Chambers in the avenues in Harare.

When Mugabe returned after about an hour, said another minister, Mujuru
refused to continue chairing the meeting even after the insistence of the
President because she detested the controversial nature of the subject that
was being discussed.

During the meeting Mugabe was blamed for all the violence by the army and
the selective application of the law by police as he is overly in charge of
all security organs.

Sources said MDC-T ministers accused Mugabe of blessing the operations of
the police under Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and those of
the army under Zimbabwe Defences Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga.

“If Chihuri continues to behaviour the manner in which he is doing it means
he has the blessing of Mugabe. The same goes to the service chiefs. These
serve at the pleasure of the President,” said another source.

Article 7 of the Police Act says the commissioner can be removed from office
for any reason after consultation with Cabinet. “The President shall cause
parliament to be informed as soon as practicable of any such removal.”

Said another Cabinet Minister said: “So the buck stops with Mugabe. All the
blame lies squarely on him.”

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ZCTU, employers on collision course

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:23


EMPLOYERS have castigated the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s
“name and shame campaign”, where the labour body will make salaries of
senior managers public, describing the move as retrogressive.
The labour body will today launch the controversial campaign where it would
disclose company executives’ salaries together with the earnings of the
lowest paid workers.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Joseph Kanyekanye said
the campaign was a “retrogressive move” that would create unnecessary
friction between employers and employees.

“This campaign is retrogressive considering that issues of salaries and
wages are a function of productivity, in this economy there is no capacity
to increase salaries and wages,” said Kanyekanye.

He added, “However,  it should not be a question of workers earning the same
salaries but there is always room for designing a scheme of rewarding
incentives for workers’ good performances.”

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said the trade union will disclose
executives’ salaries to force companies to improve workers’ conditions.

“All along, we have been generalising our talk, disclosing salaries
according to sectors but tomorrow (today), we are going to name one company,
disclose its executive’s salary together with that of the lowest paid
worker,” Chibebe said. “This will be followed with more names as we go

“For a long time now, we have been urging executives on the need to share
the burden of economic recovery but they continue to enjoy obscene salaries
and allowances while workers bear the burden alone.”

The international community today commemorates the Workers’ Day. The High
Court on Friday granted the ZCTU an order allowing marches to go ahead in
all the 38 centres where Workers’ Day is being commemorated. The police had
earlier banned the marches.

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Minister gets reprieve

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:22


BULAWAYO — Co-Minister in the Organ on Healing and Reconciliation Moses
Mzila Ndlovu was on Friday given his passport back by the Hwange magistrates
court to enable him to attend the inter-party talks set for South Africa.
Ndlovu surrendered his passport as part of his bail conditions following his
arrest on April 19 together with Roman Catholic priest Marko Mnkandla over
the Gukurahundi disturbances.

The charges arose after the duo attended a memorial service for victims and
survivors of the Gukurahundi massacres in Lupane without police clearance.
They were also ord-ered to pay US$500 bail.

Ndlovu’s lawyer Matshobana Ncube confirmed the release of the passport but
said they would be challenging some of the conditions imposed on the use of
the travel document.

The minister is supposed to surrender the passport on his return. Ndlovu and
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga are the two MDC negotiators while MDC-T is
represented by Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma.

Zanu PF has Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche.

Negotiators from Za-nu PF and the two MDC formations will meet in South
Africa ahead of the South African Development Community emergency summit on
May 20 in Namibia.

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Wrong to blame all Shonas for Gukurahundi – Analysts

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:20


NDEBELES must not blame all Shonas for the Gukurahundi genocide that saw
thousands of people killed by President Robert Mugabe’s North Korean-trained
5 Brigade in the 1980s, analysts say.
The analysts’ comments come in the wake of increased levels of hatred
exhibited to all Shonas especially at online news sites and social networks.

One comment on an online newspaper read: ”But today, whilst we had countless
Shonas condemning the burning of the Gukurahundist flag of Zimbabwe, today
they are heaping praise on Gukurahundist policemen and women for such a
barbaric act. God will punish all of you Shona animals one day, you wait. In
the meantime, let's burn the Gukurahundi flag of Zimbabwe.”

Analysts said Mugabe must unconditionally apologise for the genocide that
saw an estimated 20 000 innocent people from Matabeleland and Midlands

Historian Pathisa Nyathi said it was wrong for all Shonas to be accused of
being responsible for the genocide as many had no clue as to what was

“What is happening now is the same as during Gukurahundi where all Ndebeles
were being accused of being dissidents,” said Nyathi. “It’s wrong to paint
all Shonas with one brush and one wrong can’t correct another wrong.”

He said arresting those who dared talk about Gukurahundi will not solve any
problem but rather continue raising emotions.

“When people are quiet it does not mean they are satisfied,” said Nyathi.
“When people start talking, those responsible become jittery because the
culprits are alive and are known.”

Nyathi said the old wounds are still festering, people are boiling within;
there is that bitterness even when they zip up their mouths, the heart
He added, “You can arrest people but you can’t wish it away. They need to be
very simple, humble, and honest and accept responsibility for the good of
Zimbabwe, for us to have meaningful unity, for us to have genuine

Political Science lecturer John Makumbe concurred with Nyathi reiterating
the need for an apology, pay compensation to victims of surviving families
as well as identifying and reburying those killed.

“That way they may appease families that lost their loved ones. The unity
government should also take it upon itself to go and talk to those who were
affected by Gukurahundi on what they want done,” said Makumbe. “If they want
secession then the issue should be brought up for national debate with its
pros and cons discussed.”

Executive Director for the Bulawayo Agenda Anastacia Moyo said it was wrong
to blame the whole tribe for a sin committed by a few individuals.

“It will be wrong also to put a blanket that all Ndebeles have a blanket of
hatred for Shonas,” said Moyo. “There are Ndebeles related to Shonas, who
stay with Shonas and those people do not hate Shonas and vice versa.”

Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said he did not want to comment
on the matter because it would open old wounds especially after the signing
of the Unity Accord in 1987. He accused The Standard of having a hidden

“What is the purpose of you writing this story?” asked Ndlovu. “Are we
building the nation or you want us to live in the past? When the Unity
Accord was signed you were not there, this issue ended there. I was involved
in negotiations to end the atrocities. I can’t go back into history when
that part was concluded.”

Mbuso Khuzwayo secretary for Ibhetshu likaZulu said while Shonas might have
indirectly benefitted from the atrocities of Gukurahundi, it was wrong to
blame all of them for the genocide.

He said there are many Shonas that are as much victims as the Ndebeles.

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Obama aides, Sadc meet over Zim crisis

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:17


BULAWAYO – The United States last week met a high powered Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) delegation to discuss concerns about mounting
politically motivated arrests and violence in Zimbabwe.
The meeting on Thursday between the officials from the US’s National
Security Staff, Department of State, Department of Treasury and the US
Agency for International Development and senior officials from Namibia,
Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and the Sadc secretariat was specifically on
the Zimbabwe situation.

It also came a few days before the forthcoming emergency Sadc summit and a
few weeks after the regional body came hard on President Robert Mugabe over
the violence and arrests of his opponents.

The US officials who attended are some of President Barack Obama’s senior
advisors on African affairs.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe
Zulu who is also one of the facilitators in the Zimbabwe inter party talks
was among the officials who attended as well as Tanki Mothae, the Sadc organ
on politics, defence and security cooperation director.

“The United States affirmed the importance of Sadc’s role as guarantor of
the 2008 Global Political Agreement and lauded Sadc’s recent announcement
that it would support Zimbabwe’s efforts to formulate guidelines for
peaceful, free and fair elections,” the US State Department said in a

Johnie Carson, the senior advisor for African Affairs at the National
Security Staff “emphasised concern over the recent increase in politically
motivated arrests, harassment and violence throughout Zimbabwe.”

Police have been accused of targeting Zanu PF opponents following the
arrests of Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and
co-minister in the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation Moses Mzila
Ndlovu (MDC) recently.

Civil society activists and MDC supporters have also been targeted in a
campaign that has been linked to elections now expected next year.

The Sadc summit is expected to reiterate the tough stance taken by the organ
on politics, defence and security at the Livingstone summit, which stunned
Mugabe and Zanu PF.

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Relief over election delay

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:16


ZIMBABWEANS have received with a sigh of relief news that elections, which
are usually violent and fatal, could be deferred to next year or a later
date to enable government to institute electoral reforms before the vote.
But political analysts said this development was a blow to Zanu PF
hardliners and some senior security officials who were calling for early
elections under the current conditions that favours the former ruling party.

It was almost certain that elections would be held this year after President
Robert Mugabe declared that polls would be held with or without the new

But Zanu PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa last week made a U-turn indicating
the unlikely probability of the polls being held this year as the crafting
of a new constitution was still in process.

“It is my own opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year,”
said Chinamasa who is the Justice minister. “We need to start talking about
elections next year or 2013 assuming that the referendum is completed in
September as we have been advised by Copac.”

Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) is mandated with
spearheading the constitution-making process in the country.

The business community, political parties, churches and individuals had
expressed grave concern over an early poll saying it would dampen prospects
of economic recovery.

The polls would also open wounds of the violent 2008 elections, in which the
MDC-T claims that at least 200 of its party activists were murdered by Zanu
PF militia and state security agents.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Joseph Kanyekanye
applauded the decision to delay election saying this would give the economy
time to recover and stabilise.

He said during election time politicians tend to utter populist statements
that would have a direct bearing on the performance of the economy.

“The uncertainty that comes with elections is usually not good for the
economy,” said Kanyekanye. “The economic progress that we have made since
February 2009 is a testimony to what we can achieve as a country if
elections are delayed until an appropriate time.”

The business community has been on record as saying that they see no reason
for elections at this critical stage in Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. They
even met Vice President Joice Mujuru to lobby her to influence the
postponement of elections.

The National Constitution Assembly (NCA) has also applauded the postponement
of polls but added that the Copac-driven constitution-making process must be
abandoned for a people-driven one.

NCA national spokesperson Madock Chivasa said, “I think this is good, but
the next thing is to engage all the people so that we come up with a
people-driven constitution.”

He said Zimbabwe must only hold elections when a people-driven constitution
is in place, violence halted; and electoral reforms instituted to enable a
level playing field, among other issues.

Harare transporter Johnson Dube said elections must be held in 2013 when the
economy has stabilized. He said the country must concentrate on reviving its
economy than squandering scarce funds on elections because they will not
only be a sham but will halt the economic recovery that is beginning to bear

“We cannot be a perpetual electioneering country, we must be a productive
country,” said Dube. “Mugabe and Tsvangirai must work together until 2013 so
they experience first had how hard it is live or work with your adversary as
people in rural areas are doing.”

Moses Mazhande of Chitungwiza also lauded the postponement of elections
saying polls must be held when all outstanding issues of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) are addressed to make sure no party will dispute
the results.

“I feel elections must be held in 2015 on condition that issues such as
sanctions, political violence, electoral and security sector reforms are
addressed so that no one will dispute the results claiming the playing field
was not level,” said Mazhande.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were
fruitless last week.

The two MDC formations are on record saying they will only participate in
elections when they playing field is level.

But sources in Zanu PF said several hardliners in the former ruling party
are infuriated with the prospect of the postponement of elections.

But others said the postponement of elections is a change of strategy by
Zanu PF as it is buying time trying to sort out the succession issue in the
heavily divided party.

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Zanu PF blamed for MDC-T violence

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:14


A political analyst once remarked that while President Robert Mugabe’s reign
was nearing its end it was important for people to divest themselves of the
ideologies of the veteran leader.

Abstract as it may he sound, he was warning future leaders to be wary of
resorting to violence, intolerance and corruption to cling onto power.

Mugabe’s 31 year reign has been punctuated with allegations of bloodshed and
dishonesty and resorting to these may now seem to be the norm rather than
the exception, with politicians from most parties resorting to chicanery to
hold onto power.

While the MDC-T has generally been considered to bring a breath of fresh air
in Zimbabwe’s murky politics, events leading to the holding of its congress
have analysts asking whether Zimbabwe was ready for democracy or this
remained a pie in the sky.

Elections in most of the provinces have been blighted by violence, with the
most striking picture being of a youth running away with a ballot box in
Midlands before votes could be tallied.

Bulawayo province has seen the worst political violence, with opposing
candidates, Gorden Moyo and Matson Hlalo trading accusations of being the
masterminds of the bloody orgy.

Mashonaland has also had its fair of confusion and violence, raising fears
that elections and constitutionalism were far from being the determinants of
how the country or political parties would be governed.

Media scholar, Brilliant Mhlanga claims violence in the country is a result
of a bad birthmark and an inheritance from the way Zanu PF has been
conducting its politics.

“It is in fact my contention that the violence in MDC -T be understood as a
symptom of a massive political tumour that has been affecting our national
psyche as Zimbabweans for a while,” he said.
“It speaks about Zimbabwe's bad birth mark which mark has continued to taint
any project that people seek to push, hence the pitched battles we have seen
leading to the MDC T Congress.”

Mhlanga said a glance at the MDC-T’s history revealed that it was a party of
massive violence and political upheavals rather than a peaceful party, as
its spokesman, Nelson Chamisa regularly claims.

“As a revelation, people should be very much afraid, that if members of a
party are prepared to subject each other to this form of violence, what of
ordinary citizens who have no political affiliation whatsoever,” he

Last week, Chamisa claimed that his party could have been infiltrated by
Zanu PF and the violence was as a result of that infiltration.

The party’s chairman, Lovemore Moyo also blamed Zanu PF tendencies, within
the party, claiming they were responsible for the chaos.

In the long run, Mhlanga said these incidents of violence were likely to
create discontent, while fomenting factionalism and heightening infighting,
much to the detriment of the party.

“This is a clear sign that democracy in Zimbabwe remains a seriously elusive

“This violence within the so called change agents shows the extent to which
Zimbabwe's wound has festered,” he said.

The media scholar said this was an indication of the huge task that lay
ahead if Zimbabwe was to finally taste the promise of democracy.

Political analyst, Trevor Maisiri said the violence within the MDC-T was
incomparable to Zanu PF because of difference to access to power, but warned
that the infighting could be foreboding of worse things if the party was to

“The danger is that if the MDC-T does not exterminate even the small
instigations of violence in its structures, there will always be
possibilities of its amplifications if the party comes into power,” he

Maisiri claimed infighting within the MDC-T was being worsened by that the
party lacked a “coherent value system or [an] ideological persuasion” that
holds the party together.

“So what you will realise is that the MDC is still in a movement status and
has not fully transformed into a political party,” he said.

“Movements bring people together based on common issues whereas parties
bring people together based on common values, so this infighting is very
characteristic and expected due to the particulate nature of the MDC's
issues-based agenda which has, therefore, brought all these supporters

Maisiri of the African Reform Institute added “what you will see is that
there are varying and divergent value systems in the MDC and this normally
leads to uncontrollable tension and ultimately violence.”

He, however, was optimistic that after the congress, MDC-T would find common
ground and aim all their ammunition at Zanu PF.

However, the analysts agreed that violence had become an ideological tool in
the country and getting rid of it would be a difficult task.

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Poll roadmap half-baked– Analysts

Sunday, 01 May 2011 17:10


THE roadmap to elections drafted by representatives of the three parties in
the unity government recently is a rushed document that falls short of
finding an uninterrupted path to a free and fair poll, political analysts
said last week.

The document, described by analysts as a shortened version of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), does not spell out what actions would be taken
against parties that fail to adhere to or implement agreed electoral issues.

It will certainly end up in the political dustbin, they said.

The roadmap was crafted after a no-nonsense Southern African Development
Community (SADC) summit held in Zambia at which the three principals were
ordered to find an uninterrupted path to free and fair elections.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the roadmap to Zimbabwe’s
elections is just a shortened version of the GPA signed in 2008.

Despite agreeing on a number of issues, Zanu PF has steadfastly refused to
implement them even though it claims publicly to be doing so.

He said there was no need for a roadmap as the GPA and the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) guidelines on elections are clear about what
has to be done to have a free and fair election.

“My sense is that we are going round and round in circles,” Mangongera said.
“What is lacking is political will and commitment on the part of the
principals. We all know what needs to be done.”

Even the International Crisis Group (ICG) has also criticised the
signatories to the GPA for lacking the political will to reform the country’s
security sector.

In a report titled “Zimbabwe: The road to reform or dead end” the
organisation lambasted Mugabe and Tsvangirai for failing to address the
issue of public violence which has become pervasive in both parties.

Mangongera said the outstanding issues of the GPA are the same contentious
matters in the roadmap document.

Zanu PF and the two MDC formations have failed to agree on  major issues
which have a direct bearing on the holding and outcome of the elections.

These include security sector reform, recruitment of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC), deployment of the military in rural areas, the amendment
of the notorious Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and the time frame for
observing the polls by regional monitors.

Mangongera firmly believes that Mugabe will not reform the security sector
and ZEC as they are the key institutions that enables him to hold on to

Zanu PF has vowed not to reform the commission arguing that determination of
staff suitability was the work of the commission itself.

“Without these reforms we will be running a military election,” he said.
“Zanu PF will not budge on security sector reform.”

University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe described the
roadmap draft as  apartially useful half-backed document.

He criticised the document for failing to spell out what action the Sadc,
the guarantor of the GPA, will take in the event that one of the parties
refuse to implement the agreed reforms as has been the case before.

“It does not give a time limit for the implementation of some of the
 issues,” Makumbe said. “It’s a foot-dragging tactic by Mugabe and
unfortunately the MDC formations are failing to see the trick.”

Another analyst said while Mugabe appears reconciliatory to rivals, his
actions on the ground shows that the 87-year-old leader is far from
embracing far-reaching political reforms.

Zanu PF youth militia and soldiers deployed in rural areas continue to
intimidate and beat up people with impunity.

The police, who have been accused of being too partisan in favour of Zanu
PF, also continue to selectively apply the law while the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the public media persist to openly churn
out propaganda and propping up Mugabe.

Ever since the formation of the unity government two years ago, about 30 MDC
MPs have been arrested at one point or another, with some of them being
taken into court shackled in leg irons.

Makumbe urged the SADC extraordinary summit to be held in Namibia on May 20,
to take firm stance against Mugabe to implement the reforms totality.

“This is the time for SADC to show its teeth," he said.

He said Mugabe can only implement electoral reforms only if he gets real
pressure or practical signs that the region no longer tolerates his

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Air Zimbabwe heading for crash-landing

Sunday, 01 May 2011 15:57


TROUBLED Air Zimbabwe is sinking deeper into problems as it has emerged that
it risks losing an engine for one of its planes and has fallen behind on
quarterly insurance payments.
Confidential papers seen by Standardbusiness show that the engine of a B767
could be auctioned if the airline fails to pay a monthly installment of
US$500 000 beginning next month to Lufthansa Technics, to offset a US$2,5
million debt.

Lufthansa Technics is one of the few companies in the world which can do
engine overhaul and maintenance on B767 planes.

“The airline (Air Zimbabwe) managed to stop Lufthansa Technic from
auctioning the B767-200 engine which requires US$2,5 million for repairs, on
condition that we sign an agreement whereby we shall make US$500 000 monthly
payments from May 2011 to redeem the debt,” the documents said.

“Failure to honour this agreement will result in Lufthansa Technic
auctioning the engine without further notice.”

Experts say US$500 000 monthly installment is too much for an airline which
is failing to generate enough revenue due to a poor business model.
In addition, analysts say, the airline’s equipment is antiquated and this
means the cost of running an airline is high as compared to regional
On insurance, the airline is behind on quarterly payments.

It is supposed to pay  (Euro) 1 036 092,88 (about US$1,5 million) for the
quarter ending June 30 2011.

The money was due on April 1.

In addition, the airline owes South African creditors US$1 million and the
reprieve ended yesterday.

It was not clear whether the airline had paid the creditors and the
insurance cover as the acting group chief executive officer, Innocent
Mavhunga was said to be in a meeting when this paper called on Friday.

Jonathan Kadzura, the airline’s board chair was unavailable for comment as
he was in a meeting.

According to confidential documents seen by Standardbusiness, Air-Zim paid
Zambezi Air-lines US$40 000 towards aircraft hire in the week ending April
13. It paid US$20 000 the following week for aircraft hire.

The documents paint a gloomy picture of the airline as they showed that its
debt was US$94,40 million at the end of the week ending April 20.

“Air Zimbabwe Passenger has a creditor’s balance of US$91,39 million, NHS
US$2,53 million and Galileo US$470 575,” the documents said.

Pilots at AirZim went on strike on March 22 demanding their outstanding
salaries. They resumed work on April 22 after the Ministry of Transport
bailed out the airline by providing US$3,8 million.

The money was allocated to salaries (US$2 million); US$101 190 towards
hand-ling charges; US$74 286 for Jet A1 fuel; US$57 143 for navigation fees
and US$20 000 towards aircraft hire.

As a result of the strike, the airline could have lost over US$20 million in
potential revenue since it was making an average loss of US$5 million a

The airline usually flies at least 4 000 passengers per week. As a result of
the strike, the airline ended up flying 820 passengers affecting the revenue
of the company.

This means a big financial hole was left in the airline’s coffers which,
according to aviation experts, will be there for a long time.

Air Zimbabwe has over the years deteriorated into a museum of mismanagement
attributed to government interference.

According to sources, the airline’s board has become redundant as it is
being bypassed by the Ministry of Transport in making crucial decisions.
Analysts say government has to move out of the airline to stop the financial

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Mining firms submit empowerment plans

Sunday, 01 May 2011 15:55


FOREIGN-owned mining houses have submitted plans on how they would embrace
locals ahead of the May 9 deadline amid indications that government is going
ahead with the programme to empower locals.
According to an extraordinary government gazette published last month, a
controlling interest or 51% of any foreign-owned mining company with a net
asset value of at least US$1 is required to be held by either the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB), or the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC); or any company or other entity
incorporated by the ZMDC or NIEEB; or a statutory sovereign wealth fund that
may be created by law.

It can also be transferred to an employee share ownership scheme or trust,
management share ownership scheme or trust or community share ownership
scheme or trust.

Information obtained on Friday shows that mines have pledged to support
government’s indigenisation programme though some are prepared to give the
shareholding in phases until it reaches the desired threshold.

Saviour Kasukuwere, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment
minister told Standardbusiness on Friday the response by mining houses was
encouraging and they were working on the issue of compliance with the

Kasukuwere said NIEEB would ensure that empowerment is broad based and that
powerful people won’t take away everything.

NIEEB would then brief Kasukuwere, who would then take the matter to the
country’s leadership.

Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare in written responses to
Standardbusiness said the mining body “believes a solution which satisfies
the twin objectives of growing the mining industry and Zimbabwe’s economy
and indigenisation and economic empowerment can be achieved”.

“The chamber and its members support the policy of indigenisation and
economic empowerment provided it is done in a way which will meet the two
objectives mentioned above,” Gapare said.

Mining is capital intensive and according to Gapare requires up to US$5
billion over the next five years and most of this money has to come from
foreign direct investment.

“We need to ensure that the indigenisation imperative can co exist with the
need to raise this kind of capital from investors,” he said.

Kasukuwere believes capital is not racist and locals can raise money to
finance the projects.

Standardbusiness is reliably informed that of the 51% shareholding, more
than half of it would be housed in a sovereign wealth fund to be used for
future generations.

The remainder would be sold to locals and the money raised would be lent out
to finance projects run by locals.

The plans, if approved, should be achieved within a period of 6 months, that
is, issue of shares or interests to the designated entities.

The minister responsible for indigenisation may however grant a three months
extension for compliance.

The mining industry is projected to grow by 33% this year buoyed by firming
commodity prices on the world markets.

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Zim banking sector struggles to survive

Sunday, 01 May 2011 15:52


Zimbabwe’s banking sector has continued to underperform owing to
undercapitalisation and macro-economic pressures, the Minister of Finance
Tendai Biti has said.
Following the inception of the inclusive government in 2009, which ushered
in economic reforms and a sustainable multiple currency regime, the banking
sector witnessed a crisis of depositor confidence and capitalisation, as the
Zimbabwe dollar was rendered worthless.

However, despite a modicum of economic stability being restored, the banking
sector has been affected by a liquidity crunch that has led to short-term
lending with concomitant high interest rates.

“The banking system remains vulnerable with weak capitalisation, raising
non-performingloans and tight liquidity situation,” Biti said in a statement
on the state of the economy last week.

“Furthermore, non-compliance to the minimum capital adequacy threshold
requirement by some small banks is worsening vulnerabilities in the sector.”

He said government would strengthen supervisory efforts and enforcement of
compliance with prudential requirements.

Biti said that transferring non-core assets and liabilities into a Special
Purpose Vehicle would restructure the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s balance

The minister noted that on one hand, interest on savings deposits remained
“pathetically low” at around 1% although savings for deposits of one month
and three months have improved to around 9% and 12% respectively.

On the other hand, lending rates remain very high ranging from 15% to 30%,
with over 90% of the total lending being short-term, a scenario that he
described as unsustainable.

Economist John Robertson described the adverse situation as a reflection of
scarcity in the market, low levels of economic activity and investor apathy.
“Most of the money in banks is on call basis rather than fixed deposit.

“Banks cannot lend money that urgently needs to be withdrawn,” he said
adding that government needed to urgently reform its indigenisation policies
in order to lure the much-needed capital.

“Banks are also being targeted by the indigenisation act.

“The lack of investor interest will naturally translate into lack of money
in the banks eventually leading to banks charging high interest rates on

However, total deposits during the first quarter grew with January recording
US$2,36 billion while February recorded US$2,4 billion.

“In line with the increase in the deposit base, lending also increased from
US$1,81 billion in January to US$1,88 billion in February, translating into
a loan deposit ratio of 76%,” Biti said.

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Pirate tobacco farmers congest auction floors

Sunday, 01 May 2011 15:50


THE influx of unregistered tobacco farmers has been blamed for the
congestion at the auction floors.
James Mutambanesango, the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) managing director said
the auction system had changed substantially over the years as more
small-scale farmers have ventured into tobacco farming.

He said in the past, the tobacco season usually commenced in April while the
floors dealt with individual farmers who had large commercial plots as
opposed to hundreds of small-scale farmers.

“There is an outcry because we are simply enforcing legislation.

“We are cracking the whip for the sake of those farmers who are legitimately
booked into the system,” Mutambanesango said.

He said TSF would not accept tobacco from farmers who were not booked into
the system until all procedures had been followed.

Mutambanesango said bookings would continue until Thursday.

A number of farmers eager to sell their crop could be seen queuing outside
the floors.

Some said they had spent several nights outside the floors despite being
advised to follow registration procedures.

Mutambanesango said the farmers had to provide information on the size of
the land where tobacco was produced and the estimated crop size to enable
buyers to raise appropriate amounts of money from their offshore accounts.

“The floors are designed to accommodate a certain volume of crop on any
 day,” he said.

“Right now we are conducting five sales per day translating into roughly 2
500 bales going under the hammer.”

He said space at the floors was limited.

This, he said, could see the selling season stretching into August if the
number of auction floors did not increase.

Mutambanesango said Timb, as the regulator, should bring together all
relevant stakeholders in the tobacco industry in order to address the
challenges in future.

Compounding problems at the auction floors is the fact that merchants are
rejecting some of the tobacco, as it may be mouldy or mixed.

Figures from Timb show that on Wednesday the country’s three operating
tobacco auction floors—TSF, Boka and Millennium rejected 1 535 bales,
bringing to 39 844 the number of bales that failed to meet the mark since
the marketing season commenced in mid-February.

Mutambanesango said many farmers are inexperienced in terms of grading and
packaging their tobacco and urged government to provide more training and
extension services for this agricultural sector.

“Timb-licensed re-handlers deal with rejected tobacco,” he said.

“The re-handler may fail to bring back the tobacco on time or may overcharge
for service rendered but all this has nothing to do with the floors.”
Vendors selling wares and foodstuffs just outside the TSF premises have
added to the confusion at the floors as they are in constant running battles
with the municipal police.

However, Boka Floors CEO, Matthew Boka said the floors were coping very well
with the farmers and expressed optimism that the selling season will
gradually improve as more farmers are attended to.

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SundayOpinion: Fallacy of constitution-making process

Sunday, 01 May 2011 16:29

By Alexander Rusero

One of the greatest tenets of freedom in any given democracy is for the
people to be given an opportunity to write the supreme law that will govern
them. In contrast, the ongoing constitution-making process is nothing more
than a formality. It appears as if the responsible authorities for this
project already have a document they want, but the most worrying aspect is
to call that exercise  people-driven.

In 2005, President Mugabe once described the Lancaster House Constitution as
home- grown and sacrosanct.

However the so-called “homegrown and sacrosanct” constitution had to be
amended a world-record of 19 times.

At a public lecture with trainee journalists in Harare last year, Professor
Lovemore Madhuku, a firebrand constitutional law expert lamented Copac’s
professed ignorance on proper procedure of writing a constitution. Professor
Madhuku defined a constitution in the best simplest terms: a document that
defines how a country should be governed.

In this regard we may ask ourselves whether the current process determines
the way we and future generations will be governed. In other words, a
constitution is not in any way a product of legal genius, it is just a
document that seeks to depict the values, norms, and beliefs of a country
and how best such may be safeguarded today and tomorrow. It should be an
answer to any prevailing generational crisis.

The constitution-making process by the Copac leaves a lot to be desired. The
mistake from the onset was to engage political parties who formed the
 “shaky” coalition government to decide upon the destiny of the country.

The process is being undertaken by the  gate-keepers who will ensure that at
the end of the day interest of their masters will be protected. In such a
case one would point to the fact that the process is segregatory in nature
as it is exclusive of other political parties outside government as well as
other groups. Exclusion of other minority groups or political parties
negates the aspect of a people- driven process. The Copac-led constitution
is far from being people-driven.

We only hear of Copac when it is in need of money, or when legislators are
threatening to boycott  the exercise because they have not been paid. A
people-driven process of constitution writing does not necessarily mean
hordesof people have to gather to conduct that exercise.

Again politicians may not be allowed to dominate in such a process. It
should be put in place by a collective group of people who are independent
of the politics of the day, who do not have any interest to protect nor
sideline at the end of the day.

If it goes unchecked, the current process will produce a document far short
of the constitutional expectations or one that is even worse than the
Lancaster House Constitution. The other dilemma that the country will be
faced with is that the current process is going to be hijacked by both Zanu
PF and MDC to flex their muscles on each other and prove the other who is
capable of influencing public opinion more than the other.

In 2000 the Chidyausiku Constitution faced a major rejection from an
ill-informed people who voted against it without properly comprehending the
contents. Most of the people did not know why they were voting No.

The popular “No” vote engineered by the NCA was used more as a political
barometer to measure MDC’s election readiness one year after its
insurrection as a political party ahead of the general election that was
scheduled for June 2000.

What was supposed to be a national consensus became an MDC consensus and
this reversed the country’s early attempts to author its own constitution.

All the three parties in the Inclusive Government should have known from the
start that article six of the Global Political Agreement stipulated the
“acknowledging that it is the fundamental right and duty of the Zimbabwean
people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves.”

This clause did not literally mean that only Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations had an explicit right to craft the constitution. Other sectors of
the society were supposed to be represented by the civil society.

However, MDC’s continued mistake was its blind belief that its presence
automatically meant the representation of all Zimbabweans who were anti-Zanu
PF and more directly who were anti-Mugabe.

That is a hallucination and fallacy that the MDC formations need to urgently

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Comment: Congress exposes dark side of MDC-T

Sunday, 01 May 2011 16:28

The MDC-T congress held in Bulawayo over the past few days has exposed the
darker side of a  political party that has given hope to millions of
Zimbabweans desperate for change.
When congresses are held, the usual assumption is that delegates freely
elect their leaders and come out of these political gatherings more united
and energised. They burst at the seams with enthusiasm and exhibit the signs
that they are ready to govern.

Sadly, the party has emerged from the Bulawayo congress weaker, more divided
and resembling the very same Zanu PF political system it is fighting to

There were reports of candidates pulling out of races after money exchanged
hands and threats were issued.

It’s strange when party cadres who express interest in contesting posts and
go through the nomination process all of a sudden withdraw their candidacy
amid reports of threats, intimidation and vote buying.

These dirty tricks are synonymous with Zanu PF and are inimical to a clean
electoral process.  Again in typical Zanu PF style, the run-up to the
congress was characterised by factional fights, which turned bloody in
Bulawayo two weeks ago.

Godfathers emerged in MDC-T and fuelled factionalism in the provinces in
broad daylight as they tried to outdo each other. Tribalism and regionalism
reared their ugly heads and officials were manhandled for the simple reason,
that they had come from another province.

All along, the MDC-T has been in denial of the existence of these factions
that have adopted crude Zanu PF campaign tactics. The party had argued the
divisions showed that the party was democratic and encouraged health
competition for positions.

But party president Morgan Tsvangirai can no longer pretend that all is well
in his party. He denounced the sponsors of factionalism and threatened to
expel those behind violence in the party.

By castigating violence, Tsvangirai struck the right note but the problem is
that Zanu PF’s culture of violence has established roots in his party and
nothing short of an aggressive process to cleanse the party will produce
desirable results.

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SundayView: ‘21st Century media, new media, new barriers’

Sunday, 01 May 2011 16:10

By Charles Ray

World Press Freedom Day, observed annually across the world on May 3, was
established by the United Nations to celebrate the principle of press
freedom and to commemorate those who died in trying to exercise it.  For
these reasons, the United States has partnered with Unesco to host the
official global commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in the US for the
first time.

Zimbabwe has seen some real progress for press freedom in the print media
sector with new players receiving permits and entering the market.

Zimbabwean media consumers can now choose from seven different daily
newspapers, each striving to make its mark in a dramatically more
competitive print market.  This is good for the average citizen, who can now
choose, compare and contrast among print news sources.

However, these developments stand out in an environment that is still
dominated by legal restrictions on media reporting and a closed, ideological
broadcasting sector monopolised by one political party.  The mobile
telecommunications sector offers consumers an exciting new alternative as it
starts to open access to the internet via cellphones.

One can easily see that Zimbabwe will follow South Africa’s lead in rapidly
developing an active online community and media environment.  Due to the
lack of innovation and modernisation in the broadcast sector, online media
is playing a more and more critical role as an information source and debate
platform for engaged Zimbabweans.

The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “21st Century Media, New
Media, New Barriers”, is very apt in Zimbabwe and across the continent of
Africa.  The world has witnessed dramatic change recently thanks to social
media users and followers in the Middle East and North Africa.

In many countries in the region — including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen,
and Syria — the internet is serving as a catalyst for journalists,
activities, and citizens alike to connect with each other and share their
stories and call for change with the world.

The internet is the global gate which has amplified demands for freedom of
expression, facilitated vibrant and open discussions on a wide range of
topics and connected citizens with each other around the world. Indeed,
access to information has been profoundly altered with the arrival of the
digital age.

In this new public space crowded with news and chatter, journalists play an
essential role in searching for truth, analysing trends, maintaining
credibility and providing reports to serve the public good.

Undoubtedly, the arrival of the digital age — the evolution of the internet,
the emergence of new forms of media and the rise of online social networks —
has sparked debate as to what it means to be a journalist, what role
bloggers play, and what the effect of a blurring of lines between citizen
journalists and professionals will be on the media of today and tomorrow.

Zimbabwe, and indeed the world, is facing a critical transformative moment
in its history. Around the world people are calling out for freedom,
transparency, and self-determination. New digital tools are supporting this
cause in a way that is faster and more widespread than ever before, and
journalists are playing a central role in this effort.

Unfortunately, many of them have been killed or injured as they’ve sought to
report on the grave challenges facing our world today. It is up to each of
us to honour their legacy and do all we can —  both virtually and in
reality — to support press freedom as a fundamental right to be enjoyed by
everyone, everywhere.

Charles Ray is the US Ambassador, in Harare.

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Editor's Desk: Wa Mutharika cuts his nose to spite his face

Sunday, 01 May 2011 16:14

What has become of Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika? He is the second
president to rule Malawi after the demise of strongman Hastings Kamuzu
Banda. The world would have expected that Malawi would now be a beacon of
the democratic movement in Africa.
Malawians, everyone hopes, do not collectively have a short memory. Banda
was arguably the most odious ogre to emerge on the African continent in
modern times. Few Malawians, and for that matter Africans, would have
forgotten already the suffering he visited upon his people. Banda suppressed
dissent and used a paramilitary force, the Young Pioneers, to intimidate,
harass and eliminate political opponents.

When Bakili Muluzi took over from Banda in May 1994, the world heaved a sigh
of relief. The relief was even more satisfying because that was also the
year that South Africa, only a month earlier,  had held its first non-racial
democratic elections preaching peace, unity, the preservation and the
restoration of human dignity.

Nelson Mandela had, after 27 years of incarceration, been released from
Robben Island and later Victor Verster prison on February 11 1990. The 1990s
therefore marked a new beginning for Africa. It was also the same decade
when Zambia had peacefully transitioned from Kenneth Kaunda’s dictatorship
to multiparty democracy.

Towards the close of the same decade Zimbabwe saw the emergence of credible
opposition to Robert Mugabe’s own dictatorship.

To his credit, Banda did not blame his country’s woes on foreigners as has
become the catchphrase among the new generation of African despots.

Banda had diplomatic relations with some of the most villainous regimes in
the world. When everyone else was shunning relations with apartheid South
Africa and Zionist Israel, Banda had diplomatic ties with them.

In a leaked cable former British High Commissioner to Malawi Fergus
Cochrane-Dyet is alleged to have said of wa Mutharika that he was “becoming
ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism”. The irony is completely
lost on wa Mutharika that by sending the British envoy packing he was
confirming what the diplomat had averred in the leaked cable.

Cochrane-Dyet said in the cable that local civil society activists were
afraid after a campaign of threatening phone calls and said the government
was restricting the freedom of the media and minorities.

Reports indicate that the deterioration of media freedoms and minority
rights, and the perennial lack of fuel and shortage of foreign exchange had
exposed the government to criticism from local non-governmental and civil
society organisations. Two colleges of the University of Malawi were closed
after a stand-off between the government and academic staff. The stand-off
began after a lecturer was detained by police for allegedly discussing the
North African uprisings with his students. The lecturer and some of his
supporters lost their jobs a few weeks later.

But wa Mutharika, by causing the severance of  diplomatic ties with the UK,
has cut his nose to spite his face. A whopping 40% of Malawi’s budget comes
from abroad and the UK just happens to be the largest donor. Of course wa
Mutharika has strengthened his country’s ties with China and Iran in a kind
of “Mugabesque Look-East Policy”. His admiration of Zimbabwe’s  President
Robert Mugabe is an open secret. He named one of Malawi’s most important
roads after Mugabe.

But the recent turn of events in Malawi should be worrisome for the rest of
the continent. The fact that Malawi is turning back the hands of time and
throwing the southern African sub-continent back to the Kamuzu Banda days
should worry not only Malawians but everyone else in the region. The
democratic movement has suffered a body blow and in countries such as
Zimbabwe where steps towards democratic change have met intractable hurdles
the blow cannot be more debilitating.

When perceived advocates of democratic change turn into despots all those
who believe in the democratic process not only lose their morale but feel
betrayed by pretenders masquerading as champions of people’s rights.

Wa Mutharika is hardly the only pyseudo-democrat in sub-Saharan Africa who
has betrayed his own people when the democratic process turns against him.
We saw recently how the Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo was pulled like a mouse
out of a bunker for refusing to surrender power after losing an election.

It must be remembered that Gbagbo was the staunchest advocate of democracy
in fighting the entrenched dictatorship of the Ivorian founding father Félix
Houphouët-Boigny who ruled the country from independence in 1960 to 1993.
According to biographers Gbagbo was imprisoned in the early 1970s and again
in the early 1990s, and he lived in exile in France during much of the 1980s
as a result of his union activism.

His about-turn therefore can only be described as shocking.

Wa Mutharika has never really been democratic but fate thrust democracy upon
him. Historians say wa Mutharika was actually a beneficiary of Banda’s
development programmes. In 1964 — shortly after what was dubbed Cabinet
Crisis, wa Mutharika was one of the 32 Malawians, selected by Banda to
travel to India on a scholarship for “fast track” diplomas and possible
posting into the then white-dominated civil service. In other words, wa
Mutharika did not go into exile in reaction to the political crisis in
Malawi but as a beneficiary of it.

According to online publications wa Mutharika has upheld the memory of Banda
as a national hero, saying that he would continue Banda’s work. In September
2004, he restored Banda’s name to the national stadium, the central
hospital, and the international airport; Muluzi had removed Banda’s name
from all three places. Wa Mutharika was present at the May 2006 unveiling of
a mausoleum for Banda that cost US$620 000.

He also has his own delusions of grandeur. He has built a white marble
mausoleum for his late first wife Zimbabwean-born Ethel Zvauya in imitation
of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his third
wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The lesson to learn from the Malawian debacle is that there are many false
prophets on the road to true democratisation. Checks and balances should be
put in place to prevent them from assuming power.

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