The political economy of plunder
THERE are so many
brand new luxury vehicles seen on the streets of Harare these days. How does
this incredible distortion of wealth distribution occur in a starvation economy?
The answer lies in the systematic political economy of plunder that Zanu PF
has developed in order to strip the nation of its wealth.
The strategy is
essentially very simple:
* Identify or create a shortage of any basic
commodity - eg forex, fuel and maize meal are just not available in the formal
market place to the ordinary buyer.
* Enact legislation so that movement of
the commodity is controlled by a parastatal eg RBZ, Noczim and GMB.
Restrict trade in that commodity to licensed traders only and selectively grant
licences to political cronies. Since the shortages began, many new banks and
fuel companies have opened up despite the hostile trading environment.
Introduce price controls for the commodity that are way below the market value,
or even below the cost of production.
* Preferentially (or exclusively) sell
the commodity at the controlled prices to the licensed political cronies.
Allow these traders/political cronies to resell the commodity on the black
market at prevailing free- market rates, hence fuelling inflation and reaping
massive profits. Forex, fuel and maize meal are readily available on the black
market at many times the controlled price.
The latest shortage is
electricity. Load-shedding is upon us, but seems selectively aimed at the heavy
industrial sites in Southerton in order to "persuade" them to pay in
Zimbabwe's economic collapse is not just an unfortunate side effect of
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reform policies and his desire for a life
presidency. It is a strategy, carefully planned at the highest levels to create
a black market economy designed to enrich the gangster elite that is the Zanu PF
T Chimurenga - Harare
Mugabe's Zimbabwe like a limping
I am a student studying in London who decided to go and see my
family in Zimbabwe during the Easter break.
What I encountered was
heartbreaking. Goods were priced six times as much as they were last year when I
left; the police are still acting like President Robert Mugabe’s cousins and the
nation is on the brink of starvation.
I almost cried for my people. People
used to ask me whether I would like to come back after my studies and I always
maintained I would, but after seeing the disaster at home my answer is now a
The whole nation needs to buy food to last a week — obviously
not bread — stash it in their homes and have a seven-day mass action that would
shake the Old Man at State House.
Something like that needs to be done. The
Movement for Democratic Change cannot go it alone. The Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions can not either, but the whole nation needs to do so.
ZANU PF militias and supporters would agree they cannot afford to get into a
kombi to go to town. They too should set aside their desperate love for the Old
Man and admit that things are bad.
It does not need a rocket scientist to
see that Zimbabwe is a limping dog, does it?
Changamire Dhamba –
It’s Chombo who messed up fine
I am a Zimbabwean living in the United Kingdom. I always turn
to The Daily News for accuracy and maturity in news on Zimbabwean politics and
daily general information coverage.
The other day I had the shock of my life
to read that Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo could talk about
corruption, incompetence, flouting of tender procedures and so on without
He is a minister in a government that has not only failed in
urban areas, but the country as a whole. He is in a Cabinet that is one of the
most corrupt in the world. Chombo defended corruption at the University of
Zimbabwe when he was supposed to be heading the Ministry of Higher Education
Chombo accused Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri of failing to turn
the city around yet old Robert Mugabe and himself are the very people who
brought the city into the mess it is in through dummies like Solomon Tawengwa,
who were appointed to public office without the slightest knowledge of public
Harare was brought to its knees by 20 of bad governance,
yet Chombo wants Mudzuri to rebuild the city in two days.
It only shows what
an incompetent manager Chombo is and the rest of the Cabinet that sat down to
reach such a useless conclusion.
It is not difficult to see why the country
collapsed with people sitting down a whole blessed afternoon to plan an
injustice on an elected man.
Besides, as the mayor was elected, why does he
have to dance to Chombo’s tune?
I find this decision very childish. The
people of Zimbabwe are fed up with this exhausted regime and its dirty tricks.
Mugabe and people like Chombo are a waste of time to all of us and our
struggle for survival. The end of apartheid in South Africa and racial
segregation in Zimbabwe are not necessarily the equivalent of independence.
Independence is not brought by just the end of racial injustice. It is born
at the end of all forms of domination.
Mugabe and his Cabinet are no longer
popular. Mugabe and company hijacked the people’s cause for self-determination
that had started with the 1894-96 uprisings and the spirit of resilience Mbuya
Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi demonstrated.
Mugabe and company are sacrificing
and using Zimbabwe and even Zanu PF itself as a pedestal for personal fortune
and security. Zanu PF was founded on values and goals radically different from
the selfish missions under which its policies are traded today.
died in the liberation struggle did not die for the silly abuse and
monopolisation of power by a dictator and his belly-dancing sycophants.
must be re-established that the true Zanu PF ended with the war of liberation.
The present criminal clique is just a mafia gang trading under a convenient name
and that is why it must be removed and its leadership tracked down, arrested and
Here in the UK we are not just relaxed and contributing
through mail as many people think. I am an active and proud member and
spokesperson of The Zimbabwean Dream, an active protest and awareness forum.
I am also a lead singer, choirmaster and active member of Zimbabwe Vigil
where we demonstrate every Saturday outside the Zimbabwean High Commission in
Central London. I am serious about rebuilding Zimbabwe.
cult-cabinet under the management and supervision of Mugabe should never be
thought of as legitimate.
Chombo is illegally heading the Ministry of Local
Government because the person who appointed him has no mandate or the legitimacy
to do so.
Mugabe, as we know, has illegitimate power. The courts or the
people will soon prove this point.
When that happens, from here we shall
take over the embassy until someone legitimate is elected by the people in a
well-organised and transparent election.
Courage Shumba –
Moyo, the truth doesn’t kill
The Sunday Mail
of 6 April has Jonathan Moyo saying that the government had deployed the army to
“deal with terrorism”.
Moyo unashamedly warned that “where the army is
deployed, people should not expect a picnic”.
Soon afterwards we saw on TV
so-called army deserters being paraded meaning that these were not deployed by
Hasn’t the Minister of Information got it all wrong?
do we have to believe now – the army information officer or the real information
officer in the name of the minister himself?
Surely people should do their
homework before they misinform the nation. The truth must be there.
says knowing the truth shall make us free. Please, tell us the truth so that we
live by it.
Between the army and Moyo they must tell us who is telling the
truth and who is lying.
Moyo, tell the army the truth.
Levee Kadenge - Harare
Why declare loyalty to crumbling Zanu PF?
April, the State propaganda station, ZBC, carried a story in which one Emmanuel
Nyambuya claimed that they had formed a rival union to represent the interests
of students in the country.
I think it’s prudent that as a student and a
fellow classmate of Nyambuya at the University of Zimbabwe, I must respond to
this before the whole nation is confused and hoodwinked by such dirty
politicking by Zanu PF.
First, let me say that Nyambuya was ousted from his
post at the UZ.
He was given a vote of no confidence by the union and has,
therefore, no mandate to appear on national television claiming to be
representing not only myself but other students at the UZ and nationally.
is amazing that while some politicians, including President Mugabe, are
negotiating for their safety after the fall of this regime, others have the
audacity of coming out on television and declaring their loyalty to a falling
Second, let me say that the Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions,
which Nyambuya claims to represent, is not a new animal in the student union
politics. That pseudo-union of the Zanu PF youth wing has been supported before
by Zanu PF ministers and their cohorts.
It is not a new machination that
Zanu PF has come up with. What pains me most, however, is that any citizen or
serious student should start believing that they can engage in any meaningful
discourse with the falling and illegitimate Zanu PF regime.
regime has proved from time to time that it has no national interest by looting
and holding on to political power despite its abject failure.
through the Zimbabwe National Association of Student Unions, we have said that
the Mugabe regime is illegitimate and that we will participate in any process
that will result in us burying and forgetting the regime.
Mugabe, wake up to reality for your own and your family’s
“If a ruler honours liars, all his advisors will be wicked.”
Proverbs 29:12 (Living Bible). How very true King Solomon’s wise words are to
our situation in Zimbabwe today.
Jonathan Moyo, Minister of State for
Information and Publicity, was elevated to this position for his capacity to
manufacture government propaganda – and what happens?
All the government
news media, both electronic and print, peddle lies all the time. Typical of such
blatant lies is the usual, if not stereotype, comment following the job
stayaways called by either the MDC or ZCTU:
“It was business as usual in
Harare, everywhere in fact.”
“However, thousands of workers were stranded as
commuter bus operators withdrew their services. And those workers who turned up
for work were locked out by their employers.”
Shame on you news
Wake up, Robert Mugabe, from your deep slumber and face reality for
you are slowly being entrapped in your own snare. Those loyalists whom you
believe are the guardians of “your” sovereignty are actually being used by the
devil – to destroy you and your family.
They are fooling you into believing
all is okay. Humble yourself before God, and the truth will unfold as you begin
to see things from His perspective.
To you ZTV/ZBC staffers and like-minded
journalists of whatever publication, take heed: James 4:7 “Submit yourselves to
God . . . Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
To the generality of
Zimbabweans (those who fear only God, of course) here is a message of warning
and hope: “When the wicked are in authority, sin increases. But the godly will
live to see the tyrant’s downfall.” (Proverbs 29:16)
In these troubled
times, it is very easy for anyone to fall into sin.
Chokwadi Chinorwadza – Greendale,
Beware of these Nigerian and South
African Trojan horses
As the temperature rises once again in the
kitchen, we are hearing of the Mbekis and the Obasanjos coming on yet another
heroic mission to save us. Does anyone still remember Abuja?
suddenly remembered us again! Let us beware of Trojan horses, my countrymen and
The best way (if there remains any) to resuscitate Zanu PF is for that
very sick party to revisit what should have happened in 2000.
A period in
the recovery ward of opposition politics is what Zanu PF needed then and now: to
allow the party to regroup, find itself a new leader and compose a new political
message for the post-liberation war era.
This is enough time for it to
disinfect itself of the fat ticks that have been sucking the country dry for the
last 10 to 15 years. Who knows?
In five or 10 years’ time, Zimbabweans may
be prepared to give them another chance to rule. That is what the game of
leadership is all about.
For anyone to believe that Zanu PF can re-invent
itself while simultaneously solving the avalanche of economic problems that now
threaten to drown this nation is like suggesting that HIV is not responsible for
There are those who tell me that the long-awaited light at the end of
our long, dark tunnel is now in sight.
Before we step forward, please, let
us make sure it is not an oncoming train, be it a diesel model running on
Nigerian oil, or an electric version running on South African
Rwendo Rurefu - Harare
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 3
Police bury torture victim in secret
as mourners watch from the long grass
The first known secret burial of an arrested Zimbabwe
From the cover of the bleached long grass, a small group of
mourners watched a friend being buried on the horizon at a desolate cemetery
south of Harare. The mourners could not get closer, as beyond the mounds of red
earth bordering lines of waiting graves in the Seke South cemetery were soldiers
and policemen. They would be the ones to lower Tonderai Machiridza, 32, to his
last resting place. To the south of the cemetery, more soldiers were lurking in
the bush. To the west another group of battle-ready men hung about. Riot police
and soldiers had collected Mr Machiridza's body from the mortuary at the
government hospital that afternoon to bury it - without family, friends or
mourners. There was to be no ceremony, traditional or Christian. A spokesman for
a funeral parlour near the cemetery and around the corner from a row of lean-to
coffin-makers' shops confirmed that his company had been assigned to handle the
burial. "It is out of our hands," he said. "The police are taking the body from
the mortuary and they are going to bury the deceased."
The dead man's friends crouching in the bush were triumphant to
have got close to what the government had decided should be a secret burial.
They had run several miles through dusty streets from the home where a vigil was
meant to have taken place. They were survivors of a raid the night before when
soldiers swarmed through the house, "beating, shouting and swearing at" grieving
and angry people who had gathered to vent their sorrow shrouded in blankets on
the floor. In the pandemonium some escaped over the barbed wire above the
concrete security wall. Dried lines of blood at the top of the wall had been
left by many legs snagged on the wire. Among those who escaped was Mr
Machiridza's pregnant wife Lidia, 27, and their two children. More than 50
mourners, including the dead man's mother, Mary, were taken to cells at the
nearby St Mary's police station. They were to be held for the rest of the day
because Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, was due to speak over the coffin of one of his most energetic local
Mr Tsvangirai was due to tell the crowd of the barbarism of Mr
Machiridza's death, of how he had been picked up with three colleagues 10 days
earlier, allegedly tortured and taken to a government hospital where he was
chained to the bed and left without treatment. Friends rescued him and took him
to a private clinic, where he was admitted to intensive care. But he had already
lost too much blood to survive. The MDC said that the night before the planned
burial relatives took Mr Machiridza's body to the home of the policeman who,
they said, was the main torturer. A police spokesmen said that was why mourners
were arrested. The hall where Mr Tsvangirai was due to speak was sealed off and
police set up road blocks at the main entrances to the township. Then, with the
help of the army, they buried the activist on a clear autumn afternoon. Police
said two officers would be charged with the murder of the activist but did not
give their names.
ABC News online
Posted: Mon, 5 May 2003 8:05 AEST
African leaders meet on Zimbabwe crisis
A delegation of African leaders will arrive in Zimbabwe today for talks with
President Robert Mugabe and Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
meetings come amid increasing speculation that Mr Mugabe is preparing for
South African President Thabo Mbeki is leading a
diplomatic effort to repair the deep divisions between the opposition and the
ruling party in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mbeki will be joined by Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi for the one-day
Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai are being urged to re-open
negotiations over a possible transitional Government.
Movement for Democratic Change says it is prepared to meet with Mr Mugabe to put
an end to worsening unrest.
The Times - World
May 05, 2003
suffer setback after 'agents' jibe
PROSPECTS for a rapid solution to the
escalating crisis in Zimbabwe received a setback yesterday after a state-owned
newspaper denounced the delegation of three African presidents arriving in
Harare today as British “agents”.
President Mugabe also indicated that he would spurn talks with Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), amid a new
diplomatic initiative designed to haul the former British colony out of its
worst political and economic crisis since independence in 1980.
The visit is made ahead of a trip to southern Africa by the US State
Department’s top Africa official, Walter Kansteiner, which is widely viewed as
an effort to win backing for US calls for political reform in Zimbabwe.
The Sunday Mail questioned whether the three presidents were going to
be in Zimbabwe as “African brothers; to help or act as agents in efforts by
Britain, the former colonial ruler, and the United States to force Mugabe to
In an astonishing gaffe, it declared that the three presidents, including
President Mbeki of South Africa and President Obasanjo of Nigeria, the two most
powerful figures in Africa, were not to be trusted as they could be “British
agents” coming to “play British games”.
Mr Mbeki, Mr Obasanjo and President Muluzi of Malawi are expected to meet Mr
Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai today in an attempt to persuade them to negotiate a
path away from Zimbabwe’s impending economic and political catastrophe.
While he ruled out “regime change”, Mr Mbeki said last week that the key
issue was to bring Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to the negotiating table, but he
gave no further details of the talks’ agenda.
Diplomats say that there is a growing consensus between African and Western
countries that the key issue is to find some way for Mr Mugabe, 79, who is in
his 24th year of power, to step down and make way for free and fair presidential
and parliamentary elections held under international supervision.
Regional analysts say that the talks today hold the same significance as the
intervention by neighbouring black states in 1979, which forced Mr Mugabe to go
to Lancaster House in London for negotiations with white-ruled Rhodesia that led
to elections and independence in 1980.
But Mr Mugabe’s refusal to participate in an Africansponsored settlement
could finally turn Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo, who have hitherto bent over
backwards to support the former Zimbabwean liberation leader, against him.
For the past three years, Mr Mugabe has portrayed the mounting economic
crisis in Zimbabwe as the result of a British “war” against the Government. Last
week the Sunday Mail dismissed reports that he might step down before his
term of office expires in 2008 as “wishful thinking”.
Mr Tsvangirai said last week that “the only way” to resolve the crisis was
through “serious and sincere dialogue between the MDC and Zanu (PF)”. The MDC
has insisted on “a peaceful political environment” as a precondition for talks,
including the restoration of the rule of law, the repeal of repressive laws and
the disbanding of ruling party militias.
The talks would have to lead to the establishment of a transitional
government and elections within three months of Mr Mugabe resigning, according
to the Constitution.
The MDC has offered two new concessions in the past week. Party sources said
that it would be willing to drop its high court challenge to presidential
elections that returned Mr Mugabe to power last year if he gave a “cast-iron
commitment” to resign soon.
It was also willing to discuss a “dignified exit” for Mr Mugabe.
Mbeki will tell Mugabe that regime must change
By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent
05 May 2003
Three African presidents will fly to Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, today in the
most serious attempt so far to persuade Robert Mugabe to step down.
Thabo Mbeki, President of Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa, will be
joined by Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and the Nigerian leader, Olusegun Obasanjo.
They are now said to accept that Mr Mugabe's departure is the only possible
starting point for resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.
Although few Zimbabweans are expecting an announcement of regime change at
the end of the one-day visit, many regard the mission as the beginning of the
end of Robert Mugabe's uninterrupted 23-year rule. .
Senior officials in Mr Mbeki's government insist that the South African
President is finally ready to work hard to secure Mr Mugabe's departure from
office. Mr Mbeki knows his plans depend on Mr Mugabe's co-operation and so he
will try not to annoy the Zimbabwe leader.
The United States, backed by Britain, is pushing for a solution that would
see Mr Mugabe replaced by a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party. The new
President would then call a constitutional conference and organise elections to
be monitored by the international community. America, Britain and South Africa
have indicated that the country's former finance minister, Simba Makoni, is a
suitable interim figure to take over from Mr Mugabe.
A constitutional amendment for Mr Mugabe to retire without an immediate
election would require the opposition to co-operate. Mr Mbeki and his colleagues
will also meet the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement
for Democratic Change. Mr Mbeki may have kind words for Mr Mugabe in public but
his officials insist that in private he will encourage him to quit. To heighten
the pressure, President George Bush is sending Walter Kansteiner, his special
adviser on Africa, to the region this week.
Mr Mugabe, 79, has hinted that he might step down in favour of a member of
his own party. Quoting an unnamed analyst, a practice often used to air the
views of the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, the Zimbabwean Sunday
Mail newspaper said Zanu-PF had the credentials to rule, while the
opposition was "a British creation".
Well-placed sources in the Mbeki government said South African officials had
discreetly met opposition representatives to discuss an exit plan for Mr
Embattled Zimbabweans have pinned their hopes on Mr Mbeki providing a
mechanism to end their political and economic misery. "We want to look back at
Mbeki and say this great man became our saviour," said Lovemore Madhuku,
chairman of Zimbabwe's largest civic group, the National Constitutional
Assembly. "No one wants history to record Mbeki as the greatest betrayer of the
Amnesty International is calling for a United Nations resolution condemning
Zimbabwe for human rights abuses, on the ground that Mr Mugabe's violations of
human rights constitute a serious threat to regional security.