Muleya/Blessing Zulu MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders yesterday
pledged to be in the forefront of protests aimed at piling pressure on
President Robert Mugabe to go as the political and economic crisis in the
The party yesterday spelt out its course of action ahead
of Monday's mass action.
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told the
Zimbabwe Inde-pendent that his party was fine-tuning its strategy to stage
anti-government street protests.
"We are currently finalising the tactics
and getting ready to go," Nyathi said. "Zimbabweans have a clear choice on
this matter: to acquiesce in the current illegitimate regime or to stand up
for their rights once and for all."
Stressing that MDC leaders
would be at the forefront of the protests, Nyathi said the sequence of events
in their strategy was already in place.
"On the first day of the mass
action, which is on Monday, people will congregate in the central business
districts of all cities and towns," he said. "The venues of assembly will be
announced by organisers in different places."
On the second and
third days, Nyathi said, people will demonstrate wherever they find
themselves. He said local party structures would be used to co-ordinate the
"During the last two days of the mass action (Thursday and
Friday) there will be a change of tactics. People will be asked to stay at
home," he said.
"But there might be changes depending on how the
Nyathi said the MDC would announce the targets for
the marches on the days in question. They have yet to be selected. The MDC
has made no secret of its desire to target State House but it is likely to be
heavily defended. So is Munhumutapa Building.
Announcing the dates
of the mass action at a rally in Harare last Sunday, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said a critical mass of people was needed to make an impact on the
regime. He warned the protests would not be a picnic.
"We want to
embark on democracy marches in every town and every workplace," he said. "We
must be prepared to be arrested, we must be prepared to make a mark to ensure
that we will never again be oppressed."
In his public messages,
Tsvangirai has urged people to "rise up in your millions".
to work for the whole week. Stand up and be counted. Demonstrate your anger,"
he said. "Action must take place everywhere in Zimbabwe. Be peaceful. Be
disciplined.Beware of the Zanu PF merchants of anger."
government has warned it will crush the protests. The army and war veterans
have threatened to pounce on the MDC.
The police and the army were
yesterday mobilising personnel to deal with the protest.
spokesman Wayne Bvu-dzijena yesterday said law enforcement agents were ready
to deal with the MDC.
"We know from experience what they mean by mass
action," he said. "As a result we have put in place strategies to deal with
But the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP), an independent
group of ex-combatants, said no one has a right to intimidate anybody with
"Any demonstration by any Zimbabwean or groups of nationals is
a constitutional right," the ZLP said. "No one has a legal or moral
authority to take the law into their own hands by using military force to
stop a demonstration."
Nyathi said the MDC was geared for action
regardless of the threats.
"We will not be deterred by the police or any
other partisan group. If soldiers decide to be partisan that will be their
problem but we will not be deterred," he said.
"If government out
of fear of its own citizens throngs security forces into the streets that
will be a massive defeat for them and a victory
Crisis in Zimbabwe chairman Brian Kagoro said
although government appears prepared to combat the MDC, its capacity to deal
with an angry and restless population could be strained.
regime has spent the last three years practising anti-riot drills but it has
less than 200 000 security forces. As a result its capacity might
But Kagoro expressed a widespread concern that
despite their determination, the MDC might not be able to achieve the
critical mass it talks about. "People look ready to show defiance but I'm not
sure they are prepared for direct confrontation," he
Observers are agreed the mass action will represent a key test
of the opposition's strength. Having won the political initiative after a
stayaway and by-election victories in March, it remains to be seen whether
the MDC can confront a regime committed to using brute force to suppress
Kahiya GOVERNMENT and fuel companies on Tuesday discussed a new pricing
regime which would allow direct foreign imports and ease the energy crisis
gripping the country, the Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday.
night industry sources said government wanted to deregulate the industry and
take fuel off the list of controlled commodities. This would enable the
private sector to import fuel and sell it at a sustainable price. Government
is expected to make a major policy announcement on fuel any time from
The talks come amid reports from industry sources that the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim)'s Msasa depot has virtually run
Sources close to the Tuesday meeting said Energy and Power
Development permanent secretary Justin Mupamhanga would not commit himself to
implement proposals by industry for a new tariff structure. But the sources
say government could quietly let private importers bring fuel
Fuel companies want the government to allow them to import fuel
using a preferential rate of US$1:$1 500 and then add a nominal 20% charge on
the landed price. Marketers want the price of fuel to be aligned to
the prevailing exchange rate.
The marketers, sources said, also
want the government to put in place policy measures to even the playing field
and kill off the black market by removing the subsidy on fuel. Fuel sold on
the black market is bought at the controlled price, which is subsidised by
At a price of US 40 cents a litre, petrol would cost $600 plus
20% ($120) which translates to $720 a litre under the proposals. Fuel is
being sold for as much as $2 500 a litre on the black market due to critical
The price of fuel went up in March by 300%, resulting in a
mass stayaway which shook the establishment. Since then government has been
reluctant to effect new increases.
Fuel industry players in March
warned the new price of fuel would not improve the supply side because it was
still sub-economic. The situation has deteriorated further with the black
market taking over the fuel trade.
Unscrupulous dealers, some with
close links to the ruling Zanu PF, buy the scarce fuel from Noczim for resale
at black market prices approximating $1 000 a litre.
the Independent this week revealed that fuel was being sold at Crittal Hope
in Harare's Southerton industrial area which is owned by Chinhoyi MP Philip
Chiyangwa for over $1 000 a litre.
At Cold Comfort Farm, run by Zanu
PF in Tynwald, fuel is being sold at $1 050 a litre for a minimum purchase of
200 litres. The operation caught fire and was partly razed last week but
business has continued.
Fuel is also being sold for $1 400 a litre at
an industrial stand along Harare Drive in Prospect. Other operators are
openly advertising their businesses in the daily newspapers.
operator contacted by the Independent refused to divulge where their "depot"
was saying they operated on a cash-on-delivery basis.
comment on whether the fuel operations were legal, police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena yesterday said the traders were violating
"Fuel is still a controlled commodity and whoever is
doing that is breaking the law," he said.
Muleya TWO Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers who fled the country last
year after they were tortured for allegedly supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been granted asylum in
The servicemen, Corporals Irvine Ndou and Kwanele Ntini,
arrived in Perth - the state capital of Western Australia - on April 8 and
are now settled there.
Their trip was facilitated by the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Botswana where they had
sought refuge after last year's presidential election fearing for their
Ndou and Ntini, who had joined the army in 1999, fled the
country on April 27 last year and arrived in Francistown in Botswana on April
28 by foot from Plumtree.
On arrival in Botswana, the two soldiers
contacted the UNHCR which then sent them to Dukwe refugee camp near
Relating their ordeal to the Zimbabwe Independent last
week, Ndou and Ntini said they survived harsh conditions and death by a
They said some "senior elements" in the army, who tortured
them, wanted to kill them for political reasons.
The two corporals
said they were tortured and harassed for refusing to campaign for President
Robert Mugabe during last year's presidential poll.
intensified immediately after the presidential election," they told the
"The accusations against us were that we were
campaigning for the MDC before the election. This was simply because we had
vehemently resisted the army's efforts to draft us into the Zanu PF campaign
team during our field attachments as environmental health
Ndou and Ntini had enrolled at the Medical Training School
at Imbizo Barracks on the outskirts of Bulawayo where they took an
environmental health course after returning from the war in the
They were then deployed to Natisa Clinic at Mapisa growth point
and later to Sikhathini Clinic in Plumtree in Matabeleland South
"We refused to campaign for Zanu PF because it was against
the ethics of our profession and also on account of the fact that we were not
political activists. We had done our job in the DRC and we did not want to be
involved in politics."
Ndou and Ntini said there was a massive
crackdown in the army after the election. "Uniformed political activists",
they said, targeted those referred to as "born frees" - those born since
"We were branded MDC sellouts and alljunior NCOs who were
earmarked for promo-tion were later replaced by old unqualified war veterans
who are actually Zanu PF political commissars," Ndou and Ntini
"The claims against us were all false and pure and simple
nonsense. It was a matter of political intolerance and repression, which is
at the heart of Zimbabwe's political crisis. We were nearly 'liquidated' just
because we refused to be part of the army's project to prop up a
Information on Ndou and Ntini's dramatic
escape came as it emerged that one officer, Captain Ernest Chuma, who also
fled after being tortured by the army in Harare, was still detained in
Botswana "for personal security reasons" awaiting clearance to be sent
Chuma escaped to Botswana two days after the presidential
poll. He tried to get refuge at Dukwe camp but was arrested by Botswana's
security agencies on suspicion he was tracking down Ndou and
Intelligence sources in Gaborone this week said Chuma was
still in detention pending arrangements for his travel overseas. He was
nearly repatriated to Zimbabwe last year but the plans were shelved after a
thorough verification process of identity.
A family member said
Chuma's whereabouts were unknown but he last wrote to his relatives earlier
this year saying he was in Botswana.
The army has said Ndou, Ntini
and Chuma are deserters. It recently alleged 26 "rogue soldiers" were
arrested for deserting and beating up people. This has, however, been
dismissed as a propaganda stunt to cover up army brutality against
Kahiya/Mthulisi Mathuthu SHARP differences have emerged between Zimbabwe and
Libya over the real value of National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) assets
and those of its sister company Petrozim after the two countries failed to
agree on the results of three different valuation exercises carried out last
The valuations were carried out to facilitate the acquisition of
Zimbabwean assets by Libya as part of the two countries' trade
Government sources this week said the Libyan business
delegation currently in the country was keen to see a quick resolution of the
impasse which threatens to scuttle any fuel supply deal.
composition of the Libyan delegation has raised eyebrows as it does
not consist of technocrats who are usually a key component of such
missions. Sources said there could be an attempt to solve the problem at the
political level which would give the Libyans leverage. Officials from Noczim
and Petrozim, industry sources said, have been resisting attempts to sell
off the assets cheaply.
The transfer of the petro-chemical
industry assets are key to the launch of a joint venture company,
Tamoil-Zimbabwe, which the government announced had been formed last year.
The company intends to trade in retail and wholesale of
Information to hand shows that last year the Libyans contracted
an Italian company to carry out an asset audit on Noczim and Petrozim, while
the government through the valuation department in the Ministry of
Local Government and National Housing carried out its own assessment. Noczim
also contracted estate agents and property valuators CB Richard Ellis to do
a similar exercise.
Sources said the results from the valuation
exercise were so disparate that negotiations on the transfer of assets
collapsed at the end of last year, which is partly the reason Libya stopped
supplying fuel to Zimbabwe.
The audit carried out by the Italian
company put the replacement value of Noczim assets at US$90 million and that
of Petrozim at US$62 million. Petrozim facilities which include the Mutare to
Harare pipeline and storage facilities were built at a cost of US$85 million
nine years ago.
Richard Ellis on the other hand put the total
replacement value of Noczim assets at $21,3 billion and that of Petrozim at
The government valued the Noczim assets at $2,13
billion and those of Petrozim at $626 million. The government figures were
lower than those from the two valuations as the state valuators used a rate
of US$1 to $55 while Richard Ellis used the prevailing black market rate at
the time. The Italians on the other hand did not take into account the value
of the land owned by the two organisations.
The failure by the
parties to agree stalled negotiations and another audit to address the Libyan
concerns should have been carried out by the end of the month. This has
however not been done. The execution of that audit now hangs in the balance
as the Libyans are believed to be impatient and would like the deal concluded
as soon as possible.
l Meanwhile, a Libyan company, Mansour
Investments, is preparing to build a hotel and a shoe manufacturing company
in Zimbabwe as part of government's open door policy towards the North
Africans who provide fuel.
Led by one Rajab Mansour, the Libyans are
also said to be interested in setting up a shoe manufacturing company with a
local company in Bulawayo's Kelvin North industrial area.
told the Independent that the Libyans were originally meant to co-finance a
hotel project with the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) in Kariba but later opted
for a solo project because RTG is also already involved with Libyan Arab
Africa Investment Company which has acquired a 14% stake in
Libyan Ambassador Mohhamed Azzabi confirmed yesterday
that a delegation of Libyan investors came to Zimbabwe a fortnight ago and
consulted with local business people on the investments but he declined to
disclose the names of the local players.
"All I know is that they
have already hired local and international companies to do feasibility
studies for them. They have already started their projects but they have left
for South Africa, Zambia and Malawi," said Azzabi.
A Libyan source
said Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company representatives were also expected
in the country soon to explore investment opportunities in plastic
manufacturing, cold storage and water bottling.
This follows last
year's reports that unspecified Libyans were eyeing the country's biggest
platinum producer, the Hartley Mine owned by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
(Zimplats) as part of the oil barter deal.
Loughty Dube WANKIE,
the country's sole coal producer, is allegedly giving preferential treatment
to export clients at the expense of the local market in a bid to raise
foreign currency, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
This week sources
close to the troubled colliery company told the Independent Wankie was
exporting coal to regional countries while local companies have failed to
secure supplies for weeks on end.
The shortage of coal has forced
several companies relying on coal for operations to suspend or scale down
Wankie is currently operating at less than
half capacity due to the shortage of foreign currency to buy spare parts for
Sources close to operations at the troubled Wankie
Colliery confirmed that most of the country's coal was finding its way out of
the country while there was a serious shortage in the
Companies that include Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries, Circle
Cement, Portland Pretoria Cement, Delta Corporation and the tobacco industry
have been forced to scale down operations as a result of the coal
Wankie is exporting large quantities of coal to companies
in Zambia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) among
"Local trucks spend days waiting for coal but
transporters for foreign countries are given priority and loading of those
trucks is done at night," said one source.
The source said in the
last few weeks Wankie has increased the number of Zambian companies that it
is exporting coal to.
According to the source Wankie has since the
beginning of the year been exporting large quantities of coal to Nitrogen
Chemicals of Zambia and lately Chilanga Cement factory and Kongola Copper
Mines have been added to the list.
Wankie's spokesman Simukai
Chihanga confirmed to the Independent that his company was exporting coal to
the three countries in the region but said there was nothing sinister in the
move as it enabled them to get foreign currency to buy spare
"Wankie exports coal and coke mainly to the DRC, Zambia and
South Africa," Chihanga said.
"The company only exports about 5%
of its total production and the limited foreign currency receipts we generate
from these exports have enabled us to buy critical spares that have kept us
going in the face of the severe foreign currency shortage facing the country
at the moment."
Chihanga however denied allegations that Wankie was
giving priority to the export market at the expense of local
"Customers make their own arrangements to transport coal
from the mine," said Chihanga.
"We load all local traffic during
the day if coal is available while export traffic is loaded from 6 pm to 6
am. This arrangement enables export customers to clear their consignments
with the banks and relevant authorities during the day," he
However, sources said Wankie recently entered a deal in which
it would supply Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia with a further 6 000 tonnes of
coal in the coming two months.
According to sources Wankie is
selling the coal at US$60 per tonne.
However, Chihanga said Wankie
was currently unable to meet both the local and export demand due to lack of
foreign currency to buy spares.
The company needs more than US$6
million to purchase equipment such as draglines, shovels, dumpers, drills,
caterpillars and loaders.
"Wankie Colliery Company is currently
unable to meet both local and export demand for its products due to the
unavailability of foreign currency to import spare parts for repair and
maintenance of machinery used to mine coal," he said.
Chanakira FINANCE minister Herbert Murerwa yesterday left Zimbabwe for Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, where he will meet officials from the African Development
Bank (ADB) in a bid to secure funds to bail the country out of its
After Addis the minister will dash off to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington to "defend the
country's position" on June 6.
Murerwa will then board another
plane, this time for Durban, South Africa, where he will again try and defend
Zimbabwe's economic performance at the influential World Economic Forum (WEF)
on June 11.
In an interview yesterday, Murerwa said: "I am going to
the ADB to try and secure more funding for various essentials. This includes
electricity, foreign currency, as well as fuel. I will discuss other issues
when I get there."
Zimbabwe has an acute shortage of fuel,
electricity and foreign currency which has worsened because the international
community such as the IMF and World Bank abandoned supporting the country's
economic recovery programmes.
In Durban Murerwa will be accompanied
by top business executives including Trust Holdings Ltd chief executive
officer William Nyemba, Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd deputy executive
chairman Nigel Chanakira, Meikles Africa Ltd chief executive officer Chris
Parvin, ZimSun Leisure group chief executive officer Shingai Munyeza, and
former Finance minister Simba Makoni.
IN June 2002 I wrote a letter of appeal to the outside world
targeting organisations that claim to be concerned about the preservation
and sustainable utilisation of wildlife.
In my concern about the
Wildlife Producers Association becoming defunct, I wrote expressing my
disgust at the lack of response and action by conservation groups and
governments in this global village we live in, in allowing the breakdown of
the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
This inaction has now resulted in the
collapse of the Wildlife Producers Association of Zimbabwe because commercial
farmers who were removed from their land now have no income and can no longer
pay levies to the association.
The association was founded by
dedicated men and women who built up an envious record of wildlife management
and sustainable utilisation of the environment. We were leaders in this field
in Africa and indeed in the world. But alas, no more. The violent and illegal
land grabs have done immense damage to our wildlife.
terrible to think that the world has turned its back on us as the destruction
of Zimbabwe's wildlife continues. The loss, according to our displaced
wildlife producers, has now reached an alarming 80% since the violent
invasions of commercial farms started in February 2000.
The one thing
which stands out clearly is that a few executives connected to wildlife and
environmental issues bask in the glory of their positions and benefit from
all that is on offer. They do nothing about the wanton destruction of our
wild creatures, other than talk and pass the buck down the line to those who
are equally as ineffectual, and eventually to the concerned underlings who
try to do what is right but are hamstrung by politics.
action, not diplomatic manoeuvring, nor quiet diplomacy. Enough of this
slaughter. The United Nations and foreign governments talk about
the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Zimbabwe, but what about
our environment and wildlife? Is there no concern for them?
numerous letters of appeal sent out to organisations and conservation-minded
bodies worldwide for financial assistance and help in publicity were ignored.
What is it we need to do to help the wildlife in Zimbabwe?
many will be extinct and the world will be a poorer place and if
the environmental groups do not step in now to pressurise their
respective governments we can kiss our wildlife good bye. The global village
needs to do something now to stop the lawlessness, possibly by some hard talk
and publicity about this environmental disaster caused by human greed for
The recent World Summit on Environment and Sustainable
Development held in South Africa was a farce. All the delegates have gone
home after wining and dining and generally feasting on taxpayers' money and
many more humans and animals have died since then. While human abuses are
intolerable, we should not forget animal abuses which are continuing
unabated. Those who attended the South African conference should be reminded
of their high ideals and visions of a better world.
groups of people in Zimbabwe who are trying their best to do what is right,
but their hands are tied by the authorities and even their freedom is under
threat from the draconian laws passed by the Zimbabwean
RECENT comments by Patrick Nyaruwata that they will mobilise war
veterans to counter the mass action planned for next week shows the war
veterans have lost direction and purpose. Whose and which sovereignty do they
purport to be defending when they have ruined a once prosperous economy by
holding the country to ransom?
Zanu PF and its thugs and the misguided
Green Bombers are trying to hold the whole country to ransom. But lest they
forget, the independence of Zimbabwe came as a result of collective
For Zimbabwe to be liberated, all stakeholders - the rural,
the urban, the poor, the rich, the educated and the illiterate - were united
under one cause. For the war vets to think that the same tactics used during
the struggle can be used again today without the support of the masses is
The Iraqi information minister tried to fool the world
into believing all was well when Saddam Hussein's regime was
Nyaruwata should know there are thousands of young
Zimbabweans today ready to make the same sacrifice made by war veterans in
the 1970s to bring us back the true democracy stolen from us. They are also
willing to die for a worthy cause just as some of them have already been
killed by the Mugabe regime.
We will not yield to your threats and
indeed, your days are numbered. The signs are clear and the time has never
been more opportune. Indeed this is the final push to axe the
Mugabe thinks of leadership qualities in terms of
education, himself against Morgan Tsvangirai, yet he wants an illiterate
Joseph Chinotimba to represent the people of Highfield in
What constructive idea can Chinotimba bring to any
situation except to cash in on the confusion he has brought wherever he has
been? Surely there is everything wrong with the politics of Zimbabwe, hence
our need to bring about change.
We know Mugabe will not go down
without a fight. Fight you will but down you are going. People will not
accept anything short of victory.
We will keep the pressure on Mugabe
and his cohorts and push them to the wall. Mugabe has nothing more to lose
because he has lost everything already, including his
Final word to the war vets: thank you for liberating us from
the whites, but as for liberating ourselves from the dictator, now it's our
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's recent statements
ostensibly initiating debate on his succession are unlikely to generate
useful public discourse as long as a democratic framework for discussion is
absent, analysts say.
They say Mugabe's remarks have so far failed to
stimulate serious debate, particularly within his party, largely because the
issue has not been officially tabled for proper deliberation.
debate is to be meaningful, analysts say, Mugabe must first announce when he
is leaving and then lay down the rules of engagement. There should be clear
modalities of how people can articulate their opinions.
Lovemore Madhuku said given Zanu PF's Marxist command structure, in which the
force amalgamating the people, party and state into one entity is Mugabe,
there could be no effective debate on succession.
"It would be difficult
to have open debate on Mugabe's succession because some people don't even
think he is serious about it," he said. Madhuku said Mugabe just wanted to
sound like a benevolent leader allowing his followers to tread on what was
seen as scared ground.
Analysts say Zanu PF may introduce the issue
formally during its December annual conference. Yet they also suspect Mugabe
is trying to ward off pressure on his buffeted stewardship by pretending to
be on a democratic reform path.
Although his remarks have also been
taken by some to mean he is about to retire, others fear it is just part of
his customary brinkmanship. They think he is trying to maintain his position
on the edge of the current crisis.
As it is, instead of provoking
thoughtful debate, Mugabe's cagey remarks - which seem aimed at easing
pressure on him over the increasingly pressing issue - have only managed to
fuel speculation over his currently uncertain political future, analysts
Mugabe first declared his succession debate - for years
treated as a political taboo - open and encouraged people to openly discuss
it in a recent interview with ZBC. He also indicated his retirement could
Last week Mugabe followed that up with vague remarks
in Mashonaland Central province.
Addressing a rally last Thursday in
Mount Darwin, about 160 km north-east of Harare, Mugabe said people were free
to openly discuss his succession, but warned his lieutenants against
clandestine campaigns to take over from him. "You must debate succession
openly," he told thousands of supporters. "We want to be true and open to
each other and discuss as a united people, not cracking each other's
Mugabe said he was aware that some of his party's top leaders
were seeking divine intervention to succeed him.
"I am aware of what
is happening. Some top leaders are consulting ancestral spirits and
traditional healers to enhance their political fortunes," he said. "But it's
not about ancestral spirits, it's about unity and
people's wishes." However, despite Mugabe's statements, those harbouring
presidential ambitions are still unable to overcome their fear and come out
of the closet. They seem scared of sanctions associated with expressing
interest in Mugabe's job.
Iconoclasts often cite the precedent within
Zanu PF to explain the issue. Sidelined ruling party maverick, Eddison
Zvobgo, once considered a potential future leader, was pushed to the
periphery of the party for declaring his interest in Mugabe's
Others now seem afraid. Perceived potential Mugabe successors
including Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa plead they have no
interest in occupying the highest office in the land, despite engaging
themselves in activities that suggest primary presidential
Mnanangwa, who is also Zanu PF secretary for administration,
two weeks ago claimed he had no interest in becoming president under
cross-examination in a High Court case in which it was alleged he had
unlawfully released prisoners while he was Justice Minister.
like Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Special Affairs minister and Zanu PF
chairman John Nkomo and former Finance minister Simba Makoni, who are also
seen as possible presidential candidates, have actually remained mum on the
As if to dramatise this deep-rooted culture of fear, Zanu PF
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was quoted in the press saying the succession
debate was not an issue at the moment despite discernible shifts and changes
in the ruling party over the matter.
"That is not an issue at all,"
Shamuyarira was quoted as saying. "Do you expect us to form an organisation
to debate the succession of the President?" He reportedly said, in line with
the party's constitution, members would later select Mugabe's successor
during the ruling party's congress next year. Zanu PF has a deeply
embedded political culture - the manner in which people in a society perceive
the state and their role in it - of gullibility
Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza, who is seen as
closely linked with Zanu PF, said Mugabe's statements on his succession
indicated that he was about to retire. "I think basically, it's
confirmation that he is about to retire," Mandaza said. "But it would be
helpful if he as the leader of Zanu PF would launch the issue formally and
put down modalities of how it should be managed within party
Mandaza said as long as there is no official debate on the
issue, like through a party congress, "speculation, anxiety and even division
will persist". While Mugabe is still in charge, Zanu PF political barons
are already looking beyond his tenure of office and consolidating their
positions for a take over when he finally retires.
There have been
numerous reports that Mugabe's lieutenants are fiercely intensifying their
efforts to seize strategic positions in the escalating battle for political
The scramble for power in Zanu PF revolves around factions
that have for sometime been slugging it out against each
Retired army General Solomon Mujuru, Mnangagwa, and Information
minister Jonathan Moyo are seen as leading the groups fighting for Mugabe's
crown. Critics say what is currently happening in the ruling Zanu PF is
not unusual. Authoritarian regimes have been generally considered to be
fragile in that they are unable to cope with adversity like economic crisis,
resolve internal conflicts, respond to competing interests and demands,
modernise themselves and, above all, ensure smooth succession.
are also unable to institutionalise themselves because they rely on brute
coercion to maintain their rule. They often collapse when faced with civil
disobedience and instability or military disaffection. History is replete
with examples from Roman emperors to present-day despots.
current growing social instability, it may be so with Zimbabwe although the
situations are different in time and space.
While the contours of
Mugabe's regime are easy to draw, the substance of his power and authority as
well as legitimacy are precariously shrinking. His power building blocks -
the army, intelligence service, police, and the parasitic hangers-on in the
patronage network - are also showing signs of fading allegiance.
reports that the army and other security agencies are no longer irretrievably
behind Mugabe, except top generals whose fates are inextricably linked with
his, the volatile state of flux is a recipe for change. But the suppressed
succession debate, unless allowed to flow within a well-defined and
democratic political framework, could provide the catalyst for an
MARGARET Dongo once caused an uproar in parliament after she called
MPs, including cabinet ministers, "Mugabe's wives". The reaction of those
who felt insulted by the petite Dongo's outburst was predictable. Instead
of standing up to President Mugabe's dictatorial one-man rule, they turned
on Dongo, threatening to beat her up.
Dongo's exasperation was easily
understandable. As the only independent MP, she was fighting a lone war
against authoritarianism in parliament, prior to offering herself as a
presidential candidate before losing her seat in the 2000 general election.
During that time Zanu PF had 147 MPs in a House of 150.
There was no
one in Zanu PF ready to stand up and challenge Mugabe's growing absolutism,
let alone take him on for the post of president. Since that symbolic drama in
parliament, debate about Mugabe's successor has gathered momentum, more so in
the media than within the ruling party itself. But the debate has not been
matched by any growing number of men of substance offering themselves to lead
the country out of its deepening crisis. There is a palpable fear of
challenging Mugabe as leader of the party.
It is therefore not surprising
that it is Mugabe himself who has rekindled the debate about a successor. He
told a ZBCTV reporter in April that he was ready to retire and that the
succession issue should be debated openly without fanning tribal or ethnic
fires that would divide the nation.
But the reaction within the party has
been subdued, largely because of what Dongo was trying to dramatise in her
statement in parliament. The other problem is of course Mugabe's political
antics. Those like Eddison Zvobgo, Dzikamai Mavhaire and Edgar Tekere who
dared challenge Mugabe's presidency have been ruthlessly sidelined from the
party's rigid structure. None of them has been able to rise from the
Is Mugabe now keen to relinquish power or is he simply playing a
political game? Is there anybody in the party bold enough to call his bluff?
Observers say Mugabe is keen to retire but faces roadblocks mounted by those
in his party who benefited from his system of patronage and are not certain
about their future. Mugabe is no longer his own man. He is under siege from
those who committed heinous crimes, from the Gukurahundi era to last
year's elections, who fear that Mugabe's departure would expose them to
punitive action under a new government.
There are also those in the
uniformed forces and war veterans who looted properties and committed
extra-judicial killings with impunity during the so-called land reform who
see Mugabe as the safest buffer between them and the prison gates. These are
the people putting Mugabe under pressure to stay on to guarantee their
safety, not his alone. It is the same people whose privileges would evaporate
should Mugabe lose an early election or from any compromise settlement with
the MDC. Thus Mugabe's call for a succession debate is likely to appeal to
the worst type, those who feel most vulnerable to due process and therefore
want him to guarantee them personal security.
Commentators also blame the
stalemate on the rigid top-down leadership structures in the party for
stifling debate and lack of space for individuals to air divergent views.
Mugabe is the leadership while the faceless mob is the party and there is
nothing in between. Party congresses where policies and leadership issues
should be discussed have become meaningless annual rituals where party
sycophants and opportunists take turns to shower Mugabe with praise and noone
wants to be seen as the fly in the ointment.
Zanu PF has failed to
foster independent thinkers within its ranks.
In other democracies
leaders emerge on the basis of new ideas to help the nation out of its
problems, and not through presidential patronage or parroting the leader's
latest fad. What we have come to expect in Zanu PF is what Mugabe says at a
rally becomes every MP's or cabinet minister's slogan. If he attacks the
opposition MDC, that is the song for the week, if he says the British are
responsible for the nation's problems, that becomes the gospel. None of the
prospective successors to Mugabe as president can clearly be quantified in
terms of what they stand for.
For instance who is Emmerson Mnangagwa, who
is Jonathan Moyo or Simba Makoni and what does each represent beyond Mugabe?
What are the individual views of these putative candidates on current
political, social and economic issues? How do they view Zimbabwe's foreign
policy, if any, our relationships with multilateral institutions like the
World Bank and the IMF? Can they take a stand on any national issue and
campaign without Mugabe's backing? In short, do we have real men to campaign
for the presidency or are we still dealing with the same sort of people Dongo
was referring to - "Mugabe's wives" - trying to hang on to his coat
In short, we are not likely to see any serious national debate so
long as Mugabe himself sets the parameters of that initiative and continues
to pitch himself at public rallies as a potential candidate or, failing that,
a deus ex machina. Or so long as he is personally trapped by insecure
blackmailers near him who tell him he can't be safe if they are not but
pretend it is the people who want him to die in office.
But for all
practical purposes the only national issue for which Zanu PF needs Mugabe is
to deal with the MDC. On all other issues he is simply lost. To his captors
all we can say is, in the name of God let the man go.
ZIMBABWE'S foreign currency crisis is becoming ever
greater. Forex availability is steadily declining, with a resultant collapse
of those remaining sectors of the economy as have not already been
The increasingly great demand for forex is triggering massive
competition within the foreign currency markets for whatsoever may be
available, and that competition is driving exchange rates upwards rapidly.
Last week saw rates in the parallel market soar to levels almost twice those
that prevailed only a few months ago. Key purchasers of foreign exchange
were major parastatals, believed to have included the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe (Noczim), the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and Air Zimbabwe.
Zesa has been at
great pains to deny that it has been one of the contributors to the upsurge
in exchange rates, as a consequence of its rapacious encroachments into the
"parallel" market. In prominent advertisements it has denied that it has been
sourcing foreign exchange in the black market. But avoidance of the black
market does not mean that Zesa has not sought forex in the parallel market,
and in fact the authority has to all intents and purposes acknowledged that
it does patronise that market.
In its press advertisements of denial,
Zesa stated that it "... only sources foreign currency from the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe and other authorised dealers like commercial banks ..". Where the
forex is supplied by the Reserve Bank, the transaction is within the
"official" market. However, the only forex accessible to commercial banks and
like institutions is the 50% of export proceeds as are not subject to
mandatory surrender to the Reserve Bank.
That 50% is intended for the
exclusive use of the exporter in accord with a Reserve Bank prescribed
priority listing, and is subject to Reserve Bank authorisation, and therefore
any forex provided to Zesa by the banks must be that which is "diverted" by
the exporter (with the assistance of the bank) into the parallel
It must be assumed that other parastatals also do not access the
black market but, in order to supplement the insignificant funds accorded
them by the Reserve Bank, necessarily emulate Zesa in seeking their
critically required forex needs from the parallel market. That market is
regrettably a diminishing one.
Government has destroyed many of the
generators of foreign exchange. Agriculture was a key producer of forex,
producing over 200 million kg of tobacco, considerable quantities of cotton,
sugar, citrus, beef and much else. Government brought agriculture to its
That a land reform programme was (and is) needed is incontestable,
but despite well-intentioned and constructive advice available to government,
it adopted an obdurate stance which resulted in the slaughter of the
golden goose, and hence it no longer lays golden eggs. In like manner
government destroyed Zimbabwe's relationships with the international
community to such an extent that foreign direct investment dried up, balance
of payments support was withdrawn, and almost all aid other than as required
on extreme humanitarian grounds ceased.
But these disastrous actions
of government did not suffice to destroy totally the foreign exchange
resource to Zimbabwe. Whilst not enough forex could be earned by the mining,
tourism and manufacturing sectors to provide fully for Zimbabwe's needs, they
were all major contributors to the forex pool. So, for a very long period of
time government set out to destroy them - not necessarily with intent, but
that was the effect of its economic policies and its disregard for the
concerns expressed by the operators in those sectors.
foremost, government fuelled rampant inflation with its fiscal indiscipline,
its tacit condonation of corruption, its constraints on productivity through
its destruction of business confidence, its active promotion of a divide
between employers and employees, and its incompetence in management of
parastatals upon which the economic sectors necessarily had to rely for
essential operational inputs. These devastating impacts upon those who could
produce much-needed foreign exchange were then reinforced by government's
prolonged, rigid opposition to devaluation of Zimbabwe's currency, for
government was unwilling to recognise a correlation between inflation, costs
of production of export commodities, and therefore of currency exchange
The result was that exports became less and less viable, for
necessary price increases to address the rising costs rendered the exports
uncompetitive and, therefore, ever less foreign currency was forthcoming.
Tourism was also severely affected, partially due to government reticence to
devalue (until it belatedly did so with the creation of an "export support
rate" or "exchange rate adjustment" in February last. That very temporarily
rendered some exports possible once more, but only for a very short space of
time, as the benefits were soon eclipsed by hyperinflation).
tourism suffered even more from the adverse image that government's actions
gave Zimbabwe. Perceptions (not unfounded!) of an absence of law and order,
and of a lack of tourism requisites, curtailed interest in Zimbabwe as a
destination. As all these negative factors intensified, so the extent of
foreign exchange inflows decreased. As they became less, so the value of that
available grew, thereby increasing costs for all sectors of the economy,
causing the inflation spiral to rise higher and higher. A never-ending cycle
of cost escalations, resultant higher inflation, consequential lessening in
exports and, therefore, of foreign exchange receipts, and therefore also of
further costs of foreign exchange, set in. Government being completely unable
to acknowledge culpability recurrently sought others to blame.
leading culprit, according to the state, was the exporter. Accusations flew
fast and furious that exporters were resorting to transfer pricing, whereby
they were minimising the amounts of foreign exchange that had to
be repatriated to Zimbabwe, and were accumulating vast amounts
outside Zimbabwe. Inevitably some will have done so, for transfer pricing is
a characteristic of any overly-regulated economy, and particularly one
wherein exchange controls exist, and wherein the political, economic and
judicial environment becomes more and more oppressive. But although some
exporters have been guilty of some transfer pricing, it is inconceivable that
this could be of any magnitude, for with escalating production costs few
will have been, or are, able to do so and continue in
Allegations of transfer pricing are not the only attacks upon
exporters. As the extent of foreign exchange available shrunk the Reserve
Bank increased the amounts of export proceeds that had to be sold to it, from
40% to 50% of those proceeds. That foreign exchange was to be applied
primarily to the requirements of Noczim and Zesa. However, the shrinking
forex inflows resulted in the amounts available to those parastatals falling
sharply. That forced them into reducing supplies of fuel and energy to the
populace, and to enter the parallel market to obtain such forex as
Fuel distributors cannot buy fuel at prices of $800 per litre
and more, in order to supply fuel outlets at prices a little more than half
of cost. The insufficiency of forex also motivated Zesa to demand of
exporters that they pay for their energy needs in forex. Some have agreed to
do so, despite the severe prejudice to their operations, but many cannot
afford to do so. When they resisted the Zesa demands, a government official
had the arrogant impertinence of saying that "exporting companies were trying
to have their cake and eating it too". What a brazen effrontery! The exporter
has already been obliged to surrender half of his gross foreign exchange
earnings for the benefits of Noczim and Zesa, and is then expected to yield
even more. How can a requirement to pay twice constitute it having its cake
and eating it?
And how does that insolent government official expect
the exporter to pay for imported raw materials, spares for plant and
machinery, franchise fees and royalties, commissions payable to foreign
marketing agents, and the like, if progressively the foreign exchange which
he has earned cannot be used for his business needs? Soon the exporter will
no longer be able to export, due to lack of inputs, whereafter not only will
the exporter be unable to pay electricity charges, but he will also be
without any export proceeds to be subjected to the 50% obligatory surrender
to the Reserve Bank. Then Zesa will be even worse off, as will be all
WHILE President Mugabe's publicists were celebrating what appeared
to be a successful visit to South Africa recently, the authorities down south
were not exactly ecstatic.
Firstly, the University of Fort Hare
disassociated itself from racist remarks made at their graduation ceremony by
praise-singer Jongela Nojozi. Then, in response to questions as to who
invited Mugabe to Walter Sisulu's funeral, there was a flurry of statements
suggesting he had invited himself. And the MDC's Moses Mzila rained on
Mugabe's Soweto parade by recounting that when Sisulu visited Harare in the
early 1990s the president had refused to meet him. Now that he needed some
nationalist credibility he was only too keen to fly down with a large
entourage to be seen mourning the passing of a leader whose humanity and
political inclusivity were the exact opposite of Mugabe's narrow
But the best bit in this comedy of errors was Jonathan
Moyo's maladroit decision to send a letter of protest to President Mbeki's
office about the "demonisation" of Zimbabwe's leader in the South African
Nothing could have been more calculated to excite the derision of
the South African media. In particular, Moyo complained about the disrespect
shown to Mugabe over the ceremony to celebrate the "historic" return of the
lower part of a Zimbabwe bird from Germany.
Muckraker revealed last
week that the bird's bottom had actually been returned in February 2000 but
the authorities took three years to respond to the German embassy's request
for a handover ceremony. Why if the ceremony was so historic, as Moyo
claimed, was it delayed for three years?
Moyo targeted the Hogarth column
in the Sunday Times which satirised Mugabe's pretensions. He described the
paper as "unAfrican, filthy and uncouth". That was a mistake. The editor
of the Sunday Times, Mathatha Tsedu, is chair of the South African National
Editors' Forum. He is also a firm admirer of President Mbeki whom he
describes as "the epitome of a truly committed son of the African
Moyo got his reply last Sunday. The Sunday Times ran a front-page
story itemising Grace Mugabe's shopping bills run up to comfort her during
the first couple's attendance at Sisulu's funeral.
R51 860 was spent
on a dinner set, R16 159 at a Pretoria hardware store, R3 443 at Pick 'n Pay,
R2 415 at Edgars, and R2 586 at Woolworths. The dinner set was imported from
"Breeten". In all she spent nearly R100 000.
It will not have been lost
on South African readers that these purchases were made as millions of
Zimbabweans have been reduced to dependence upon donors for food supplies.
The author of their misery, Moyo says, should not be "demonised" because he
is the head of state of a "friendly neighbouring country".
have in a nutshell the solidarity disease. However wicked and damaging the
policies of a leader, he should not be criticised or held to account because
it is "unAfrican".
Moyo invited Mbeki to intervene "given the fact that
the newspaper in question has been at the forefront of demonising the
president, government and people of Zimbabwe and seeking to divide
Zimbabweans and South Africans for a long time now".
disingenuous. No South African newspaper has demonised the people
of Zimbabwe. Instead they have exposed the hypocrisy and double standards
that characterise Zimbabwe's leadership. That includes complaining about a
bad press from another country while illegally abducting and
deporting journalists in your own. As for dividing Zimbabweans and South
Africans, never have the people of the two nations been more unified in
their opposition to the brutal regime in Harare and their determination to
see it removed. Moyo should stop embarrassing Zimbabwe with his
ill-conceived interventions. And if he so dislikes the Hogarth column, why
does it look as if he is trying to copy it in the Sunday Mail - without much
Mbeki's spokesman, Bheki Khumalo, gave Moyo an unambiguous
answer to his importunities. The South African government had no intention of
interfering with the media, he said on Tuesday.
"Sometimes we are
criticised and lampooned in ways that we do not like, but we respect the
right of the media to do this," he said. "We fundamentally support the right
of people to criticise. Our law allows people to write what they
Could Tafataona Mahoso say which media
representatives Walter Kansteiner met "in the desert" during his recent visit
We ask because Mahoso has been peddling stories about
meetings in Botswana which have subsequently proved to be false. But even
when it is obvious to everybody, including those sources in the state media
which fed him these stories, that they are false he goes on repeating them.
Then he has the cheek to label a number of journalists as "disgraced" because
they allegedly repeated falsehoods.
The fact that they were acquitted
in court or had their cases dismissed he regards as "mere
The law was badly crafted, he says of the most recent
case under Aippa. So what are we to make of the head of a state media
commission who ignores court findings to pursue a campaign of vilification
against journalists? He cited Grace Kwinjeh, Ray Choto, Mark Chavunduka,
Andrew Moyse, Basildon Peta, Chengetai Zvauya, Lloyd Mudiwa and Geoff Nyarota
as authors of "offending" material.
Choto and the late Chanvunduka
were vindicated by the Supreme Court which struck down those sections of the
Law and Order (Maintenance) Act which they were charged under. In the most
recent Nyarota/Mudiwa case, the state again suffered the humiliation of being
told its laws were bad.
But Mahoso will not let the law get in the way
when he hurls accusations against journalists who have offended the
pretensions of the overweening state he so slavishly serves. Needless to say,
he exhumes the Magunje case as his evidence-in-chief. Andrew Meldrum failed
to verify his evidence when reporting the incident, Mahoso claims.
Meldrum was acquitted on precisely that point: that he did everything
he reasonably could by seeking comment from the police. The police lost
that case for the state by refusing to cooperate.
Mahoso ignores that
salient point as well. How can any journalist trust the integrity of somebody
who is not prepared to respect court verdicts and who goes on repeating
childish claims about meetings in the desert - all part of the state's
discredited propaganda offensive - even when it has been shown those meetings
never took place?
If Mahoso thought that Aippa was "poorly crafted" why
didn't he say so? Is there any record of him having warned the minister
responsible that the Act contained serious structural faults? Why is Mahoso
wise now after the event? And what are the "national security implications"
of the Magunje story? Have these been raised before? The only security
involvement we can think of was the way the Daily News was set
George Charamba has been celebrating Meldrum's deportation claiming
that "a major plank of the overall Western strategy for regime change had
There was a clumsy attempt to link Meldrum to US,
British and even Swedish diplomacy with Charamba citing some fanciful ties
between London and Stockholm. But Charamba's central thrust was that the
government had a sovereign right to tear up somebody's residence permit if it
so chose. He justified this by claiming that Britain had been "haunting (sic)
innocent Zimbabweans out of its shores". They were "herded into concentration
camps", he suggested, before being "thrown on Air Zimbabwe without even
the slightest veneer of legality".
Not a single one had abused
Britain's hospitality, he claimed. Sadly, Charamba knows perfectly well that
those who do abuse Britain's hospitality like George Shire and
Chinondidyachii Mararike are at liberty to stay there if they are permanent
residents. Those who are not legally entitled to stay are removed, although
not declared prohibited immigrants in the vindictive way Zimbabwe's deportees
are. What Charamba did not say was why it was okay for his government to
disregard three court orders prohibiting the Immigration department from
deporting Meldrum. In fact, in his long rambling article that was crying out
for an editor, he did not once refer to the intervention of the courts. Which
is hardly surprising. This is a regime that declines to be bound by its own
courts. When rulings go against it, as Mahoso has shown, they are treated as
inconsequential. And then they complain when Zimbabwe is described as a
We were grateful, by the way, to have Charamba's admission
that former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was "ousted". Will the Law Society
please pass that revealing reference on to the International Bar Association
and other interested parties. It confirms what we already knew but is the
first official confirmation.
Charamba says that "to those of us in the
know Meldrum had long stopped practising journalism".
These are the
same spooky people, we can safely assume, who were "in the know" about the
meeting in Botswana between Jack Straw and Walter Kansteiner (that never took
place); who were "in the know" about the MDC sending a delegation to the same
"Botswana" meeting; who were "in the know" about Strive Masiyiwa taking part
in a conference organised in Botswana by the South African Institute for
International Affairs (it took place in South Africa and Masiyiwa was not
present)? What else do these people "know"?
The editor of the Herald on
Wednesday demonstrated that he doesn't have a mind of his own by branding
Meldrum a "suspected intelligence officer." Perhaps we should start naming
suspected spooks at the Herald and Sunday Mail. But that could take up too
Charamba is truly delusional in thinking that by abducting
and deporting Meldrum he has secured a less critical press for his
politically ailing boss. The next few months will show that there is "no rest
for the wicked" - the Congo "gold-diggers and bootleggers" Charamba serves.
And the next time Charamba foists one of his inventive tales about "Western
imperialism" on the Sunday Mail he should disclose that as a Chevening
scholar he was the recipient of British imperialist hospitality a few years
Muckraker has a theory as to where all the missing bank notes have
gone. There are approximately 20 fuel queues visible around Harare on any
given day. Some of these are of course "hope queues", but if there is
fuel anticipated they will grow to at least 100 vehicles. Each driver will
be carrying at least $30 000 if they hope to fill their tanks. That amounts
to $60 million in Harare alone tied up in fuel queues.
Add to this the
women who carry large amounts in cash awaiting cooking oil deliveries, or
forex dealers who have harvested all the $500 notes they can lay their hands
on. Then there are the ordinary folk who no longer trust the banks because
they don't have any cash available. How much is held under mattresses
although admittedly these "bricks" could prove
During Germany's grosse inflation of the early
1920s people carried money around in wheelbarrows. Thieves were quick to take
advantage. But instead of stealing the money they would dump the money and
run off with the barrows!