November 9, 2012 in News
THE Zanu PF politburo deliberated on the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference
consolidated report on the contentious Copac draft constitution on
Wednesday and agreed to hand over disputed issues to the principals.
The report all but confirmed the sharp differences in the stalled
constitution-making process by the three parties in the inclusive government
as Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC all stick to their entrenched positions.
The report was divided into four parts comprising proceedings of the
conference; areas where no changes were recommended to the draft; areas
where recommendations for change to the draft were made and agreed to, as
well as areas where changes to the draft were recommended and disagreed on.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said the politburo had agreed
the management committee would deal with sticky points before handing over
the draft to the principals.
The politburo was pleased that its recommendations were highlighted in the
report although other parties disagreed with them.
“We received the report on the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference from Cde
(Patrick) Chinamasa. Our proposals are now part of the process. Copac didn’t
edit or leave anything out,” said Gumbo.
“We also agreed that there is need to mobilise for the referendum and
election. We are telling people to be ready for a referendum and that they
are supposed to follow what the party says.
“The report is going to the management committee which will forward it to
the principals, after which the draft will go to parliament and to a
referendum,” Gumbo said.
November 9, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have agreed to
end invasions of the money-spinning Save Valley Conservancy –– the largest
private wildlife sanctuary in the world –– by army generals and party
Report by Staff Writer
In a recent interview with Zimbabwe Independent Tsvangirai said the two
principals agreed to deal with the issue at their Monday meeting last week.
“We agreed to stop the nonsense at the Save Valley Conservancy,” said
“It would appear the (Masvingo) governor (Titus Maluleke) is being defiant
by putting his own chiefs into the conservancies. The president said he will
deal with that issue. It is a political issue –– a Zanu PF issue. In terms
of the land reform, the president confirmed that conservancies were
excluded,” he said.
The move comes two months after Mugabe, in a politburo meeting, fiercely
attacked army commanders, including major-generals and senior Zanu PF
officials, for grabbing safari landholdings in the Save Conservancy and
ordered them out immediately.
He accused them of being “greedy” for grabbing conservancies when they
already owned farms seized from white commercial farmers evicted during the
chaotic and violent land reform programme.
The Zanu PF politburo set up a committee comprising Local Government, Rural
and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement minister Herbert Murerwa, Tourism and Hospitality minister
Walter Mzembi and Environment and Natural Resources Management minister
Francis Nhema to deal with the issue but the committee has reportedly made
Zanu PF officials and military elites have benefitted from the seizures of
safari operations at Save Conservancy.
November 9, 2012 in News
EVERYWHERE around the world, vote-buying is rampant and a controversial
Report by Brian Chitemba
Scholars, researchers and journalists have been increasingly writing about
this subject which continues to plague many a body politic in different
countries, especially those where the political culture easily permits the
corruption of democracy and perpetration of electoral fraud.
Zimbabwe is certainly not an exception. Since 1980 there have been
activities mainly during elections, done mostly by President Robert Mugabe
and Zanu PF officials, which have been widely interpreted as vote-buying.
These often include food aid and donations of agricultural inputs and
implements, computers, as well as doling hand-outs to voters.
Zanu PF is, however, by no means the only party which towards elections
distributes goods and materials usually seen as vote-buying activities even
if it is not easy to draw the line.
To the oft asked question of whether vote-buying is undemocratic, most
people’s gut feeling is that it is, yet we have few full explanations of
The reason is that normative assessments of vote-buying depend on situations
and circumstances, although on the surface it appears like a straightforward
United States professor of politics, Frederic Charles Schaffer, wrote a book
titled Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote-buying, which
is very revealing.
Schaffer specialises in comparative politics.
Substantively, he studied the meaning of democracy, the practice of voting,
and the administration of elections.
His works cover such topics like what is vote-buying?, why study vote
buying?, when does a market for votes on sale emerge? how do rules and
institutions allow vote-buying? and is vote-buying undemocratic?
Since Independence in 1980, Zimbabwean politics has been dominated by
patronage, mainly driven by Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies, which is part
and parcel of their election campaign strategy and survival.
Zanu PF has also often unleashed political violence using state machinery,
including the army, police and intelligence services.
Over and above politics of patronage and violence, the party also relies on
vote-buying and ballot-rigging.
These problems are now entrenched in Zanu PF’s internal systems and national
Vote-buying has been a critical tool in maintaining Mugabe and Zanu PF’s
grip on power as they often splurge on farming inputs, computers and food to
purchase the loyalties of usually vulnerable communities ahead of elections.
Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe public policy and
governance manager and political commentator Jabusile Shumba said: “In the
Zimbabwean context, vote-buying is a key feature of Zanu PF’s patronage
politics since 1980 to sustain its political regeneration.
It stretches beyond food to the more complex policy arena where the state
chooses winners and losers. Land reform and indigenisation are cases in
Patronage has been playing out in local politics for a long time and
manifests itself in various ways, including senior party and government
appointments, government programmes such land reform and indigenisation as
well as access to state resources.
The launch of farming initiatives such as the farm mechanisation programme
which saw the dishing out of implements by Mugabe through state
institutions, including Reserve Bank, ahead of the 2008 harmonised polls
became synonymous with Zanu PF’s notorious vote-buying strategy.
That was over and above, the handing out of farms seized from white
commercial farmers, their equipment, houses and other assets, including
safaris and companies grabbed through political pressure.
The current indigenisation programme is also another campaign strategy and
vote-buying mechanism, never mind its ideological and philosophical
In fact, Zanu PF made it clear during its annual conference in Bulawayo last
year it will campaign on the indigenisation platform, after using land as
the main centrepiece of its canvass for votes during the past decade.
As the next elections loom, Mugabe was last week in another controversial
unveiling of US$20 million farming package for the 2012-13 summer cropping
season in which Zanu PF supporters are expected to receive seed maize, bags
of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and seed cotton, while Matabeleland farmers
will get dipping chemicals and livestock supplements.
Convinced this amounted to vote-buying, Mugabe’s critics were quick to
question the source of the US$20 million he is splashing on agricultural
inputs given that Zanu PF and the government are supposedly bankrupt.
This prompted observers to conclude Zanu PF is siphoning diamond revenues
which have failed to consistently flow to Treasury.
Recently Zanu PF failed to pay its 180 workers and has a debt amounting
close to US$3 million.
During its last two annual conferences in Mutare and Bulawayo in 2010 and
2011, respectively, Zanu PF declared it was broke.
Bulawayo-based political analyst Rodrick Fayayo said a glance at Zanu PF
history indicates political patronage has always been part of survival
“Our view has always been that instead of handing out parcels of food to
people, policies should be put in place to enable people to fend for
themselves rather than reducing and dehumanising people to beggars,” he
“I think it is important for a government to assist its people but what
surprises us is that it is not part of the current leaders’ DNA to genuinely
uplift electorates, beyond vote-buying.”
November 9, 2012 in Politics
ZANU PF provincial chairpersons who recently returned from Beijing where
they received ideological and mass mobilisation training from the Communist
Party of China (CPC) with regard to elections were told their party must
embrace change or die.
Report by Elias Mambo
This comes as the CPC, which has been ruling since the end of the civil war
in 1949, yesterday opened its congress in Beijing which began the
once-in-a-decade leadership changes and power transfer with a warning that
corruption might destroy the party if it goes unchecked.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who will hand over power to Xi Jinping, opened
the congress at the Great Hall of the People before 2000 delegates, warning
corruption “could prove fatal to the party and even cause the collapse of
the party and the fall of the state”.
In the process he threatened to deal with those involved in corruption
“whoever they are and whatever power or official positions they have”.
He was mainly referring to disgraced CPC heavyweight Bo Xilai and other
corrupt senior party officials. He could also have been referring to
outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, who will be succeeded by Li Keqiang, after
revelations his family had amassed a vast fortune during his reign.
The Zanu PF delegation was told new leaders of the CPC, who would be elected
at the congress which started yesterday, would be the first generation born
after the 1949 revolution that brought the party to power.
Jinping, taking over from Hu as president, is 59. He was born on June 1,
1953. Hu is retiring at 69. Li, who will take over from Wen as the new prime
minister, was born on July 1, 1955 and is 57. Wen is retiring as premier at
By contrast President Robert Mugabe is 88. The Chinese top leadership is
mainly young while Zanu PF is largely dominated by geriatrics.
Hu’s legacy would be consensus-based and collective leadership in an age in
which Chinese society is undergoing rapid, profound and disorientating
changes amid economic prosperity.
CPC’s congress comes ahead of Zanu PF’s annual conference from December 4-9
and the party’s elective congress next year.
Sources said CPC leaders frankly told Zanu PF chairpersons that without
leadership renewal and reform their party was going nowhere.
“We were warned of the need to constantly renew our party leadership so that
we remain relevant and adopt as a priority economic development strategies
that boost the economy and empower the masses,” said a source.
After Mao’s disastrous land reform programme in 1958, China has been rapidly
Since 1978 China, with the late Deng Xiaoping in charge, has gradually
pursued market economy reforms, creating an investment-and-export-led
economy which has now become the second largest in the world.
The key to China’s success has been vision, leadership renewal, reform, as
well as investor-friendly policies and property rights.
Speaking at the congress yesterday, Hu said a new model for economic growth
was needed to respond to domestic and global changes.
“On the basis of making China’s development much more balanced, coordinated
and sustainable, we should double its 2010 GDP and per capita income for
both urban and rural residents (by 2020),” he said.
Sources said Zanu PF provincial leaders were shocked when the CPC bluntly
told them that unless their party adopted leadership renewal it would be
difficult to reinvent itself ahead of crucial elections next year. The
Chinese party emphasised to Zanu PF leaders the need for ideological
training, mass mobilisation and the importance of being dynamic in the face
of shifting challenges.
It is said the Chinese advised Zanu PF to change leaders much to the
disbelief of the chairpersons who were unwilling to discuss the issue of
succession, a topic which is taboo in their party back home.
The 10 Zanu PF chairpersons were recently dispatched to China to draw
lessons on how the CPC had managed to remain relevant in an ever-changing
political and global landscape.
Upon return the chairpersons dwelt on the other lessons they had learnt from
the CPC but were mum on the leadership renewal warning as they feared it
could backfire on them, especially now that Zanu PF is heading towards its
annual conference next month and congress next year. The party has
suppressed debate on Mugabe’s succession despite his advanced age and
ill-health. Mugabe frequently flies to Singapore for medical treatment.
Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano recently expressed similar
sentiments in his address to the 2012 Open Forum conference in Cape Town,
South Africa, where he urged former liberation struggle leaders like Mugabe
to retire and allow a new generation of leaders to take over. Mugabe and
Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos are the only remaining founding liberation
leaders in southern Africa still in power.
“In my country, you will not find more than three people in cabinet who
fought in the liberation struggle,” Chissano said. “All the other ministers
and their deputies didn’t fight any war.”
Former South African president Nelson Mandela, who left office after one
term, repeatedly urged Mugabe to quit while he was still politically active.
Regional leaders have also tried to persuade Mugabe to retire in a dignified
way. Another ex-South African president Thabo Mbeki also tried to do the
same, while former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and “Mandela’s
team of Elders”, among others, also made an effort.
November 9, 2012 in Politics
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is using constant election talk as a ruse to prevent
Zanu PF from discussing his succession, with the unintended consequence of
the ploy being the scaring away of investors and sluggish economic growth,
MDC leader Welshman Ncube said.
Report by Owen Gagare
In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about his relationship with
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, their continued support for
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the stalled constitution-making
process and his prospects in the next elections, Ncube said he did not
anticipate polls in March as repeatedly claimed by Mugabe.
Ncube suggested Mugabe may not be serious about early polls given that he
has been calling for elections “tomorrow” since 2010.
“Mugabe has said to us there will be an election every year for the last two
years,” said Ncube.
“There should have been an election before the end of last year. There was
supposed to be an election before the end of this year; now there is
supposed to be an election no later than March next year … Look, there is a
method to that madness and the method is simply to say if I’m having an
election around the corner there is no issue about who is the Zanu PF
Ncube said Mugabe’s antics had kept the country’s economy stagnant for the
past three years as investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
“It is a damaging and selfish strategy to make sure the economy does not
grow so that others do not get the credit. So you can go into an election
and say all these others have also been in government with me but they also
Given outstanding processes needing completion before polls, Ncube said it
is likely elections would be held around June 2012. He confirmed he would
contest the presidential poll, but would not forge alliances with the MDC-T
out of which his formation split in 2005 because the MDC-T reneged on an
electoral pact on the eve of the 2008 harmonised elections.
Although he did not share the same values, policies and ideology with
Tsvangirai, Ncube said he had a good working relationship with him in
government. He had also managed to find “comfort zones” to work together
with Mugabe on government business despite having a “disrespectful
disagreement” over the way Mugabe had handled the principals’ issue.
Ncube insisted Mugabe and Tsvangirai were interfering in the internal
affairs of his party by disregarding a High Court ruling and the Sadc Maputo
resolution which declared Mutambara was not a principal.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s argument that the matter was still in court after
Mutambara’s appeal to the Supreme Court does not hold water because the
High Court judgment stands until the Supreme Court rules otherwise, said
“If they didn’t want to interfere in the internal affairs of MDC, they would
accept our communication from the party that says the MDC had its congress
and it elected so and so as its president …,” he said.
“Read (Justice) Kamocha’s judgment; it’s clear that the legal position is
that the congress is valid unless there is a court of law which has
overturned it. So what Mugabe and Tsvangirai have done is to say the
congress is invalid unless and until the matter is finalised in the Supreme
Ncube also said Tsvangirai was shooting himself in the foot by siding with
Mugabe, who want a dysfunctional government so he could implement very
little of the Global Political Agreement.
Read the full interview next week.
November 9, 2012 in Politics
OVER the years since Independence in 1980 Zanu PF’s deep-rooted
factionalism, which started during the liberation struggle in camps across
Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, has been playing itself out mainly on the
Masvingo political landscape, with two rival groups led by the late
vice-president Simon Muzenda and maverick Edson Zvobgo at each other’s
Report by Owen Gagare/Tatenda Chitagu
So vicious and acrimonious was the factionalism and divisions that by the
end of his life, Zvobgo, a Harvard-trained lawyer and one-of-a-kind
political mover, had become so contemptuous of Muzenda –– who was fiercely
loyal to President Robert Mugabe –– that at one time after he had been
sidelined from the party he celebrated Zanu PF’s defeat by the MDC in
Masvingo’s mayoral elections in 2001.
In a withering attack at the party leadership, particularly Muzenda’s
faction, Zvobgo, a former cabinet minister and politburo member, said the
ruling party was in doldrums because it has been infiltrated by “strangers”
who were ravaging its fabric.
Zvobgo, who was now sympathetic of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the
MDC before his death, said Zanu PF had performed dismally due to bungling by
opportunists who wanted to “harvest where they had not planted”.
“Baboons are on the run in Masvingo,” Zvobgo told the Zimbabwe Independent
then. “As is well known, they tend to want to reap where they did not sow.”
Prior to that in 2000, Muzenda had told Zanu PF supporters to vote for any
candidate the party fielded even if it were a baboon.
That intensified Muzenda’s fight with Zvobgo, resulting in Mugabe completely
sidelining him from mainstream Zanu PF and government functions.
Muzenda’s faction included senior Zanu PF officials like the late Stan
Mudenge, who died recently, former Masvingo provincial governor and
politburo member Josaya Hungwe, the Mumbengegwi brothers, Samuel and
Simbarashe, and former MP Shuvai Mahofa, among others.
The Zvobgo faction had in its fold the likes of Zanu PF politburo member
Dzikamai Mavhaire, the late Josiah Tungamirai and Vitalis Zvinavashe, and a
number of MPs at the time.
While the Muzenda faction tended to be linked to the Zanu PF camp led by
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Zvobgo group was somewhat connected
to the bloc led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Most of Zvobgo’s former
lieutenants, including Mavhaire and Tourism minister Walter Muzembi, are now
allied to the Mujuru faction.
Zvobgo and Mnangagwa generally fought for political turf in the ethnic
Karanga-dominated Masvingo and Midlands provinces. Zanu PF factions’ rivalry
is not based on ideology or policies but regional, ethnic and personality
differences, with power being the overarching objective.
Reflecting Zvobgo’s desire for the president to retire in the late 1990s as
Zimbabwe started declining, Mavhaire made the unprecedented “Mugabe must go”
statement for which he was severely punished through insults, intimidation
Zvobgo, who had presidential ambitions but did not want to publicly declare
them except through hints and insinuations, died fighting to dislodge
Mugabe from within.
His philosophy was that it was better for a Zanu PF faction than outsiders
to remove Mugabe for legitimacy and continuity.
This is partly captured in United States diplomatic cables filed from Harare
after meetings with Zvobgo.
The cables were released by whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks.
However, after Mudenge’s death last month the dynamics of Zanu PF politics
in the faction-riddled Masvingo province have changed and are shifting.
Almost all the party heavyweights in Masvingo –– except Hungwe –– have now
died, leaving the situation fluid and open to realignments.
With Mudenge’s death, Hungwe, a staunch Mnangagwa ally, has wasted no time
in trying to stamp his authority in the province and has made it clear to
other party cadres he had a mandate from Mugabe of uniting the party ahead
Zanu PF officials in the province say Hungwe believes Mugabe gave him the
role to lead the province during Mudenge’s burial at the Heroes Acre in
Harare. Mugabe appealed for senior party cadres from the province to unite
and avoid fights along factional lines.
He mentioned Hungwe by name, giving him the licence he needed to stamp his
authority and position himself as the new Masvingo political Godfather.
“Hungwe, who was in the Muzenda camp, is basically saying he is now the most
senior party leader left in Masvingo and naturally he should lead. But of
course you know there is resistance from officials like Mavhaire who were
close to Zvobgo,” a senior Zanu PF official said. “Hungwe is now claiming to
be following the president’s orders.”
Asked about his new role in the party politics in the province, Hungwe
confirmed he was trying to provide leadership but suggested he was merely
implementing Mugabe’s directive.
“If you were there at the Heroes Acre during Mudenge’s burial, you will know
what was said by the elders (Mugabe). You should be asking me what I think
about what was said, instead of asking me what my role now is,” said Hungwe
“But I accept the challenge and our focus is to unite the party and win the
November 9, 2012 in Politics
MOVES by Zanu PF provinces to inject new blood into their structures are
likely to further widen the party’s factional cracks ahead of primary
elections to select candidates for the make-or-break polls set for next
Report by Staff Writer
The young turks being infused into party structures are now pushing for
wholesale leadership renewal, fuelling divisions with the old guard which
still prefers the seniority and hierarchical approach.
Sources say the Zanu PF Provincial Co-ordinating Committees are battling to
bring sanity to the party as the young turks push for the infusion of new
A PCC member in Midlands said Zanu PF primaries are likely to be more
volatile than before given the way the young turks are aggressively pushing
for their candidacies to win slots to represent the party in the next
“The party is up for a rude awakening and the politburo has to come up with
a good strategy to vet and consider the new politicians,” said a source.
“These new guys boast resources to bankroll their campaigns because many of
them are successful business people.”
Chaos almost broke out at a Zanu PF meeting attended by Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Midlands governor July Moyo at Senga Training
Centre in Gweru last month over the issue.
A source said youths the meeting called for the ouster of Gokwe-Nembudziya
MP Flora Buka accusing her of batting for Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo is also reportedly facing stiff
competition from another young turk, businessman Edwin Matibiri, for the
Zvimba North constituency.
In Manicaland, Economic Development deputy minister Samuel Undenge is being
challenged by Joshua Sacco, a white farmer and militant Zanu PF supporter.
Former Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Philip Chiyangwa is eyeing
the Chinhoyi seat after being re-admitted into the party after a five-year
expulsion for alleged espionage.
Chiyangwa’s youthful businessman ally Chamu Chiwanza is targeting the
Mabvuku seat in Harare, which is also being eyed by Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation chairman Godwills Masimirembwa.
November 9, 2012 in Politics
LAST week Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai exclusively spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent on the topical issues of elections, the contentious
constitution-making exercise and the role of the military in politics and
Report by Faith Zaba/Owen Gagare
This is the second and final part of the edited interview in which
Tsvangirai (MT), who is also MDC-T president, spoke to the Independent’s
news editor Faith Zaba (FZ) and chief reporter Owen Gagare (OG) on key
matters including the party’s primary elections, intra-party violence,
corruption and his relationship with President Robert Mugabe.
FZ: Will primary elections in MDC-T include a confirmation process for party
MT: We have a process in which we have a number of constituencies with
sitting MPs and others without. We have said why don’t we start primaries in
those areas we don’t control, and later on in constituencies we control.
There are no sacred cows.
OG: But we hear in constituencies which you control there is going to be a
controversial confirmation of candidates, not primaries?
MT: Yes, we do have confirmation of sitting MPs. If the people want to
retain an MP they will say so through a vote. If not they (MPs) will be open
FZ: But this goes against the democratic principles you claim to uphold; are
elections not about allowing people to choose?
MT: The confirmation is done through structures — districts and branches. We
say if you want him/her (sitting MP), vote secretly; if he/she wins with a
majority, then we retain him or her, but if he/she loses, we open up the
process. It’s more democratic.
MT: Confirmation is about you and your constituency. After that, it is for
everyone. You don’t want us to confirm?
OG: People are saying it shuts out some prospective candidates.
MT: The party has internal democratic processes.
OG: But the confirmed candidate has an unfair advantage because people are
not given the right to choose.
MT: What you are saying is that we should open up everything as if the party
is new. The party exists and has MPs and if they have the confidence of the
people, why not retain them? Some people want to tear the party apart. We
have the responsibility of managing the processes so that we don’t impose
people or start with a parliament full of new, inexperienced people.
FZ: You were commended for dealing with corruption at council level, but you
are being criticised for focusing on the lower levels only.
MT: I am dealing with the issue of top leadership. There is an internal
process to investigate and establish the truth.
FZ: Is anyone currently under investigation?
MT: There have been allegations here and there. People are being
FZ: How many?
MT: Not many; we will tell you when the time comes. It is not good for
people who have been found guilty to then try and mess up other people’s
OG: People have been waiting for action against party officials named in
your report on internal political violence.
MT: Action is already underway. There was a (Harare lawyer Trust) Manda
commission which investigated pre and post-election violence and
post-congress violence. Those named are now going to appear before a
national disciplinary committee chaired by party chairman (Lovemore Moyo).
FZ: Some are saying there is a cover-up because those fingered are top
officials like Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
MT: Yes, she will appear before the national disciplinary committee.
OG: What about Gorden Moyo and Matson Hlalo?
MT: All of them will come before a national disciplinary committee.
OG: Have you had an opportunity in the National Security Council meetings to
ask why army generals violate the constitution and laws by uttering pro-Zanu
PF political statements?
MT: Yes. Their response has always been that it is an individual opinion and
doesn’t represent the institution. But if they are allowed to say what they
want, can we have order and discipline in the security sector?
OG: What is the attitude and mood like when you meet the generals?
MT: A lot of barriers have been broken. There was a lot of suspicion and the
first meetings were very tense, but now the tensions have eased.
FZ: What is your relationship with President Mugabe like?
MT: It has evolved over time. You know, we had an acrimonious relationship,
but now we have a working relationship which has served the country well. We
may not have achieved everything, but the coalition would not have worked if
our relations were acrimonious.
November 9, 2012 in News
THE running-mates clause in the Copac draft constitution is causing serious
ructions and headaches within the MDC-T which insists the document must go
to the referendum without amendments as all parties to the unity government
had appended their signatures to it to signal approval.
Report by Elias Mambo
According to senior party officials, the party is deeply divided into three
groups over the criterion for choosing the running-mates as jockeying for
One group is lobbying for the handpicking of running-mates by party leader
and presidential candidate Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, another prefers
election by the provinces, while the third backs appointment by seniority.
The appointment option is preferred by the party’s top leadership. Under the
running-mates clause, the first running-mate would automatically take over
as president should the incumbent resign, die or is incapacitated.
The sources said MDC-T bigwigs are making strategic manoeuvres to clinch one
of the two running-mate slots if the controversial clause in the draft
constitution is adopted in the final governance charter ahead of elections
The clause stipulates that a presidential candidate nominates two
running-mates to contest elections on the same party ticket.
The running-mates would serve as first and second deputy presidents should
their party’s candidate win the presidential poll.
If adopted, it would also effectively address the succession issue within
Contrary to earlier indications Tsvangirai preferred to handpick his
running-mates, provinces are reportedly calling for Finance minister and
party secretary-general Tendai Biti to be the first running-mate ahead of
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe and chairman Lovemore Moyo, sources
Other names being bandied about include national deputy chairman Morgan
Komichi and former organising secretary Elias Mudzuri.
“Almost all provinces are calling for running-mates to be elected rather
than handpicked which is against Tsvangirai’s wish,” said a source.
Provinces such as Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Harare, Bulawayo
and Matabeleland North and South want Biti to be the first running-mate
ahead of Khupe and Moyo, sources said.
There are fears within the party that should Tsvangirai be allowed to
handpick his own running-mates he might settle for his right hand man Ian
Makone, the sources said.
However, MDC-T Harare provincial spokesperson and Justice deputy minister
Obert Gutu dismissed allegations his province wants Biti nominated as first
“We dismiss such rumours that are divisive in nature because we are
pre-occupied with more pressing issues such as the constitution rather than
expending our energies on rumour-mongering,” said Gutu.
November 9, 2012 in News
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono says Zimbabwe’s economy
is now increasingly reeling from a liquidity crunch as the problem is now
manifesting itself in various ways, including financial instruments, the
market, monetary funding, balance sheet and bank forms.
Gono told bankers yesterday at a local hotel in Harare during the Banks and
Banking Survey breakfast event organised by the Zimbabwe Independent and FBC
Bank that liquidity challenges were deepening even though the multicurrency
system has brought exchange stabilisation and macro-economic stability.
He said the problem was the major sources of liquidity and broad money
supply in the economy, which comprise export earnings, diaspora remittances,
offshore lines of credit, foreign direct investment and portfolio
investments, were not performing well.
Gono, who was the guest speaker, made the remarks while delivering an
address under the topic “Liquidity Trumps Growths”.
“To the extent that the RBZ has not been issuing currency under the multiple
currency system, there is need to ensure streams of foreign currency inflows
continue to meaningfully contribute to liquidity levels in the economy,”
“Regrettably, the recovery in the export sector has remained sluggish,
diaspora inflows have been stunted by adverse global economic developments,
while capital inflows have remained subdued on account of growing investor
These developments have conspired to perpetuate liquidity shortages in the
Apart from the liquidity crisis, Gono said since 2000 a worrisome import
syndrome has gripped the country, driving the external sector position into
“This has combined with the country’s narrow export base which is dominated
by low-value primary commodities to worsen the country’s external sector
position. In addition, subdued capital inflows in the wake of the suspension
of budgetary and balance of payments support to the country by international
creditors has compounded the external sector position as well as the
liquidity situation in the country,” he said.
“Against this background, the export earnings realised by the country as
well as the subdued capital inflows, have been drained by a burgeoning
import bill that has been necessitated by attendant supply gaps in the
He also said short-term deposits “have largely remained short-term in nature
with the banking system mainly used as a conduit to facilitate salary
payments and withdrawals”.
“Despite securing credit lines, Zimbabwean borrowers have continued to face
stringent borrowing conditions. Notable conditions that have affected
utilisation levels include facilitation fees, deposit requirements and
various legal aspects, which sometimes take up to six months to fulfill,”
“Evidently, out of offshore facilities worth US$2 billion approved by the
External Loans and Coordinating Committee, only US$899 million was
drawn-down since the beginning of the year.
“Against such low utilisation levels of 42% realised this year to date, the
country will continue to face persistent liquidity challenges.”
Gono also spoke about limited policy space, re-emergence of malpractices
within the banking sector, capital adequacy, issuance of Treasury Bills and
banks’ reluctance to support their tenders, financial inclusion, structural
challenges and debt resolution, even though he omitted details due to time
considerations on some of the issues in his official presentation.
At the function, at which the Development Bank of South Africa’s continental
development-finance institutions head David Monyae spoke about his bank’s
vision and projects in the region, Standard Chartered Bank was crowned the
best bank in the country for the second year running in the Independent’s
2012 edition of banks and banking survey.
Stanbic Bank and MBCA Bank Ltd were named first and second runner-up,
respectively, while former FBC Holdings CEO, Livingstone Gwata, received
The survey was based on financial results for the half-year to June 30,
2012. The banks were rated on a strong domestic franchise, reasonable profit
levels, good asset quality, low risk to earnings, and liquidity.
The evaluation matrix considered, among other variables, the size of the
bank’s balance sheet relative to the country’s gross domestic product,
balance sheet growth as represented by growth in loans and deposits as well
as asset quality.
November 9, 2012 in News
IT is nearly midnight and seven-year-old Nelson Dara (not his real name)
should be in deep slumber so that he wakes up fresh and ready for another
day at school.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
But the young lad is far from being asleep.
Nelson is actually sitting on a 25-litre plastic container in a long queue
at the Dzivaresekwa municipal office patiently awaiting his turn to fetch
water for domestic use from a borehole. He is just one of several visibly
tired and sleepy children in the sluggish queue.
After another hour, which seems an eternity for him, it is finally nearly
his turn so he dashes home close by to call his parents so they can come and
fill the family containers with the precious but scarce liquid.
This is increasingly the plight of children in most of the country’s
high-density suburbs parched by a severe water crisis whose solution remains
Despite dry taps for more than six months in most suburbs around Harare,
many residents were recently issued summons and letters of final demand from
council. Some risk even having their properties attached and auctioned.
While council has, with increasing vigour, set its debt collection machinery
on hard-up residents, little has been done to improve the situation which in
some cases is actually deteriorating.
To compound residents’ plight, some councillors have been accused of
corruptly amassing personal wealth instead of fulfilling their public
mandate of serving communities. The MDC-T national executive recently
expelled 12 councillors from various cities for allegedly lining their
pockets through corruption, while others were due to be reprimanded.
The United Nations’ Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(Unocha) has warned that Zimbabwe’s humanitarian situation remains in a
state of fragile stability as a result of challenges of infrastructural
degradation in the basic sectors of water, sanitation and health.
On its website Unocha says the humanitarian situation required “a massive
financial investment” before the alarms developed into emergencies. The body
also warns that about half of Zimbabwe’s estimated 13 million people could
be drinking water from unprotected sources and living in unhygienic
The country, whose social services have collapsed, continues to battle
water-borne diseases, namely typhoid and dysentery, mainly attributed to
erratic water supplies, poor hygiene practices and inadequate sanitation.
Unocha further warns that cases of water-borne diseases could multiply with
the onset of the rainy season if authorities do not address current daunting
According to the monthly Unocha bulletin for September, a typhoid outbreak
was highly concentrated in Chitungwiza while dysentery killed 19 people
between January and September this year, also recently affecting 206 pupils
and staff at Chishawasha Secondary School in Mashonaland East.
A few years ago a cholera outbreak killed over 4 000 people in Zimbabwe.
About 33% of the country’s population has no toilet facilities and use open
spaces, with roughly 1% of these are urban dwellers.
Consequently, chances of meeting the much-vaunted Millennium Development
Goals target on water, sanitation and hygiene are virtually non-existent.
Current investments in sanitation and hygiene are said to be nowhere close
to the estimated requirements of around US$800 million per annum.
Fed up with the water crisis in their suburbs, which poses a serious health
threat, about 200 Harare residents demonstrated at Town House on Tuesday
demanding an end to the city’s water woes.
Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba said residents from various
high-density areas were angered by the high water bills they are receiving
despite going without a drop of tap water for months.
“Residents are saying enough is enough,” said Shumba.
“They have been lied to by the councillors who want to make themselves
relevant as their terms are about to end yet they never considered their
plight seriously while in office. There has also been no refuse collection
in their areas yet they (council) demand money.”
Most residents in high-density areas now depend on non-governmental
organisations for water supplies as council fails to deliver.
Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto said council has written off debts in
some parts of the city because they were not receiving any services.
“We had to write off bills for areas like Hatcliff Extension because the
area does not have water at all and refuse has never been collected,” said
Chiroto. “Our cars don’t even go there because there are no proper roads.
However, there are areas that have not had water for some time now but
receive fixed water charges. These are for maintenance of the
“But these fixed charges should not be high. I received the residents’
petition and we are going to sit down together with the mayor and Town Clerk
to discuss the issues.”
Last week Finance minister Tendai Biti told a parliamentary pre-budget
seminar in Victoria Falls that Zimbabwe required about US$4,2 billion to
restore and build new water and sanitation facilities.
This is a herculean task given that Zimbabwe’s 2012 budget was in July
revised from US$ 4 billion to US$3,6 billion.
November 9, 2012 in Business
RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono has sharply rebuked foreign-owned banks,
which he accuses of snubbing efforts to introduce tradeable paper on the
market, setting the stage for the imminent introduction of harsh measures to
Report by Clive Mphambela/Taurai Mangudhla
A visibly frustrated Gono, who was guest of honour at the Zimbabwe
Independent Banks and Banking Survey 2012 yesterday, said his office would
hit back at the foreign-owned banks for snubbing the Treasury bills.
“While it is true that an eye for an eye leaves the world blind, and love
begets love, snubbing the very authorities who have been bruised by verbal
shrapnel of the nature we have all been witnesses to … their unstrategic
actions can only invite and beget snubs as well,” he said.
Gono, who has been at the forefront of defending the foreign-owned banks,
admitted failure of moral suasion and instead threatened to use compulsory
means to make the banks comply.
“We have tried as the Reserve Bank board; we have tried as the monetary
policy committee of the central bank; we have tried as Treasury to use moral
suasion approaches to the sector so that they can see sense in following up
on these matters,” Gono lamented.
“None of those approaches have worked and you would know that extraordinary
circumstances demand extraordinary measures. We will be introducing a
battery of measures that will ensure compliance.”
“Our civility and persuasive approach of the past may have been misconstrued
to imply absence of policy instruments and lack of decisiveness. Nothing
could be further from the truth.”
In an interview later, Gono said his office would pursue many options,
including some where banks would have no way out but to subscribe to the
“We have many options to play with, including the introduction of perfectly
legal and legitimate fiscal and monetary instruments in the market whose
uptake may be non-negotiable, non-optional,” he said.These could be in the
form of statutory deposits, negotiable and non-negotiable certificates of
deposits (commonly known as NNCDs), among others.
Gono’s statement comes after repeatedly failed attempts by the apex bank to
find a home for idle bank balances in a manner that unlocked value and at
the same time re-activating the interbank market and improving liquidity.
In October, Treasury floated an inaugural issue of US$15 million 91-day
Treasury bills which were “snubbed” by the financial institutions.
A subsequent tender for US$15 million also flopped while a lukewarm response
to a similar issue on October 26 resulted in 89% of bids being accepted with
a total US$9,85 million raised at an average rate of 8,5%.
November 9, 2012 in Business
ZIMBABWE’s coal industry needs US$1 billion in the long-term to fully
recapitalise, Chamber of Mines CEO John Chikombero said.
Report by Gamma Mudarikiri
Chikombero told businessdigest in an interview this week coal production was
this year expected to drop to 1,96 million tonnes compared to 2,56 million
tonnes in 2011, owing to a myriad of challenges, chief among which were
erratic power supplies, working capital limitations and archaic and
He said the biggest challenge facing the coal industry is limited working
capital, hence the US$1 billion it needs over the next five years.
In the nine months to September 30 2012, coal production amounted to 1,246
million tonnes. Production of 2,56 million tonnes was recorded in the full
year in 2011. At its peak in the mid-1990s, Zimbabwe’s coal sector produced
more than five-million tonnes a year.
Chikombero however, said the 20 special grants recently issued by the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, would significantly improve coal
production although this was dependent on the success of capital-raising
efforts by government.
Zimbabwe’s leading coal producer Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) this
year suffered a 22% drop in overall production while deliveries plunged by
more than 50% owing to increased competition from new coal miners in a
market where demand has stagnated.
Competition is expected in the future to be stiffer with the licensing of
additional 20 mining companies to explore the possibility of extracting coal
in the nearby Hwange, Gwayi and Binga mining districts. This is also
expected to improve production volumes.
HCC last month commissioned equipment worth US$6,3 million procured under a
pre-purchase financing arrangement while awarding of tenders for the supply
of mining equipment worth US$40 million is also in progress and expected to
be finalised in this last quarter
In another bid to increase production, a new subsidiary, Hwange Coal
Gasification Company, plans to raise coke production by 40% to an estimated
200 000 tonnes per year.
November 9, 2012 in Business
TREASURY is finalising sweeping amendments to the Banking Act which will,
among other things, see shareholders being held responsible for bank
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu/Clive Mphambela
The amendments will compel impromptu and mandatory stress tests, limit the
number of shares an individual can hold in a bank as well as outlaw multiple
directorships for banking institutions.
Finance minister Tendai Biti is spearheading the amendments to the Banking
Act to bring lasting stability to the financial services sector after two
banks –– Interfin Banking Corporation and Renaissance Merchant Bank ––
collapsed this year and last year respectively, owing to poor corporate
governance and lack of periodic stress tests on banking institutions.
Genesis Investment Bank also collapsed.
“We are working on comprehensive amendments to the Banking Act which are now
with the principals,” Biti told parliamentarians at the pre-budget seminar
in Victoria Falls last week.
“The amendments will address the failing corporate governance we witnessed
at Interfin and Renaissance, where shareholders were more powerful than the
board and management,” said Biti.
If the amendments are incorporated into law, a bank’s shareholders will
become liable for its collapse.
“We will lift the corporate veil so that the shareholders will also feel the
pain of the collapse of their banks, just like depositors,” Biti said.
“We will put a limit to the number of shares an individual can control in a
banking institution and a banker would only be allowed to sit on not more
than two boards of a financial institution,” he added.
The proposed Banking Bill will also introduce a banking ombudsman who will
look into issues such as interest rates and would have the same powers as
provided under the Consumer Protection Act.
The banking ombudsman will adjudicate matters relating to fair trade
There will be mandatory and random stress tests on a bank’s financial
position to protect depositors, Biti said.
He said the amendments would also create synergies among the three financial
regulatory bodies –– the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe, the Insurance
and Pensions Commission and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Stakeholders have called on the regulatory authorities to improve the
governance structures within the local banking sector.
Biti’s proposals also come soon after the International Monetary Fund staff
team, in its concluding report following Article IV consultations in June,
identified the reduction of financial sector vulnerabilities as a key
objective for government.
“The IMF welcomed that the financial regulatory framework was being
strengthened after a long period of forbearance. In July 2012, the RBZ
announced steep capital requirement increases, to be phased over two years.
The announced increases in minimum capital requirements is expected to speed
up consolidation in the banking system. The RBZ will need to monitor closely
banks’ efforts to comply with the new requirements, which will undoubtedly
alter the banking system structures,” the IMF said.
The frequent and unannounced spot checks and stress tests on banks’ balance
sheets will help detect trouble early, enabling authorities to take timely
The IMF strongly advocated for a more proactive approach to banking
supervision, noting that a significant number of banks remained inadequately
capitalised and relatively weak despite meeting minimum capital
The team raised concern credit risks were unacceptably high, particularly
for smaller banks that have low capital buffers, adding asset quality had
deteriorated due to unsound lending practices, poor risk management and weak
The IMF said it would also be essential to ensure tight and transparent
governance in the banking sector.
Analysts have attributed the breakdown of corporate governance structures in
banks and public listed companies to the overbearing influence and power of
some shareholder managers as well as multiple directorships blamed for
diluting board member effectiveness and compromising their independence.
“Staff welcomes planned amendments to the Banking Act to improve oversight
and surveillance. The authorities plan to strengthen the Troubled and
Insolvent Bank Resolution Framework to incorporate prompt corrective
actions, and improve corporate governance,” the IMF team said in its report.
November 9, 2012 in Business
GOVERNMENT’S decision to regularise activities of illegal panners will not
have immediate impact on gold output, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CMZ)
chief economist Issac Kwesu said.
Report by Taurai Mangudhla
In an effort to boost mineral production and grow the economy, President
Robert Mugabe last week said steps were underway to decriminalise activities
of illegal panners, who are mostly active in the gold sector.
The move allows the players, now recognised as artisans, to operate in a
legal and properly managed manner as the country seeks to boost mineral
production and meet the extractive industry’s projected 17 % annual growth
target for 2012.
Unless government ensures the newly licensed miners get access to adequate
capital and critical equipment, Kwesu said, the impact of the decision might
barely be felt, particularly in the short-term.
“This will definitely mean we have more players in production, but output
depends on whether or not government puts in place policies that support the
artisanal miners,” he said.
“Growth in output may be seen in the medium- to long-term and it depends on
access to capital and critical mining equipment which is required to produce
substantial amounts of minerals because the illegal panners normally use
pick and shovel.”
Small scale producers, who include illegal panners, have made significant
contributions to gold mining in recent years.
In an update, the African Development Bank (AfDB) last week said Zimbabwe’s
gold deliveries by primary producers declined by 9,17% from August 2012 to
September 2012, whilst deliveries by small scale producers increased by 2,02
%, resulting in an overall decline in total gold deliveries by 7,14%.
The regional bank said a comparison of deliveries in September 2011 and
September 2012 shows deliveries by primary producers increased by 2,49%,
while those by small-scale producers declined by 14,74 %, resulting in a
1,48% decline in total gold deliveries.
According to AfDB, gold deliveries in Zimbabwe grew by 30,7% in the first
half of 2012 from the comparable period in 2011, on account of firming
prices on the international market.
In 2012, gold production is expected to reach 15 000kg despite a downward
review on overall mining growth from the MTP’s targeted 20% to 17%.
November 9, 2012 in Opinion
It is widely known that one of the key areas of Zimbabwe’s embattled economy
that has become very weakened is the manufacturing sector.
Report by Eric Bloch
The decimation of industry has occurred nationwide, but has had a marked
impact upon the industrial sector of Bulawayo, which for long has been the
hub of Zimbabwean industry.
Bulawayo had far more manufacturing enterprises than other cities or towns.
Industry was not the sole contributor to Bulawayo’s economy, for the city
also benefitted extensively from tourism, the distributive sector (wholesale
and retail) and service provision. However, proportionately, other cities
and towns have suffered similar industial decimation since 2008.
Of the many causes of Zimbabwe’s industrial decline, foremost was the
hyperinflation that peaked in 2008, when prices were rising by an average of
98% per day.
It is that hyperinflation which denuded almost every manufacturing
enterprise of its essential working capital — vital to fund stock-holdings
and to fund operational, marketing, distribution, and administrative costs.
By 2009, every industrial business required trillions of dollars to maintain
operations effectively. However, access to working capital was virtually
impossible. Banks and other financial institutions had minimal resources to
fund the borrowings necessary for industry to re-establish its working
What miniscule funding the banks could make available was for untenably
short periods, wholly unaligned to the industrial needs, and only made
available at substantially high rates of interest and allied charges.
Alternative sources of accessing working capital, being new investment into
the enterprises was rarely available.
Because of hyperinflation, domestic investors had been stripped of
investment capital, while foreign investors were deterred from investing in
Zimbabwe by the draconian, ill-conceived and structured laws of
indigenisation and economic empowerment, as well as by the overall political
and economic instability which prevailing.
The gross insufficiency of capital further impacted negatively on Zimbabwean
industry by precluding industrialists from being able to replace plant,
machinery and equipment timeously.
This failure to operate the latest, state-of-the-art technologies, adversely
affected local industry’s ability to be market-competitive against products
manufactured externally. The antiquated machinery of most Zimbabwean
industries negatively affected productivity and quality.
Another debilitating constraint on manufacturing has been, and continues to
be, the frequent non-availability, or erratic availability of essential
utilities, as electricity and water, compounded by the exceptionally high
costs of such utilities.
Not only are the advertised load-shedding schedules not adhered to, but in
addition, there are inumerably frequent supply interruptions. These cause
loss of production, and in some instances, irreparable damage to
manufacturing inputs and especially in the pharmaceutical, food processing,
and textile industries.
Another impediment to the viability of manufacturing is unfair competition
from foreign manufacturers who are able to supply like products.
On the one hand, those competitors enjoy the benefits of economies of scale,
being able (with state-of-the-art technologies) to produce substantial
quantities of products than Zimbabwean industrialists.
In addition, some countries are providing subsidies to their manufacturers
of very greater substance (generally considerably greater than prescribed by
the World Trade Organisation (WTO)), resulting in the selling prices being
Despite endless representations to Zimbabwe’s government, import tariffs are
not imposed at levels which would eliminate that unfair and unjust
competitive advantage. Concurrently, excessively great import duties are
imposed upon many essential imports of the Zimbabwean manufacturers,
including many material inputs and consumable spares, further minimising the
ability of manufacturers in Zimbabwe to be price-competitive.
Aligned to such negative and debilitating fiscal policies is absence of
export incentives, albeit such incentives should be consistent with the
provisions of Gatt. It is long overdue and necessary that Minister of
Finance and parliament ensure the provision of equitable and effective
export incentives and the re-creation of export processing zones, as well as
constructive revision of import policies and tariffs.
Industrial viability is also severely prejudiced by the never-ending delays
in clearing imports at Zimbabwe’s border posts. They are neither adequately
structured or staffed to ensure timeous clearance of imports. All too often
goods being held up for many days, and sometimes weeks, before being
cleared. This impedes industrial productivity and exacerbates cash flow
It is also all too frequent that customs officers of the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra) deliberately create impediments and delays to customs
clearance in order to motivate the offering of bribes, although fortunately
this does not pertain to all Zimra personnel.
Some in government have recognised certain of the restraints confronting
industry and have taken some limited actions to address them, such as the
creation of the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund, although
the funding thereof is grossly inadequate. The selection of recipients of
funding is not transparent and the loan conditions are unduly burdensome.
If government is genuinely intent on a substantive recovery of the economy,
and of achieving ongoing real growth, with the concomitant reduction of
nationwide poverty, creation of employment and meaningful national
well-being, all of these hindrances to the success of the manufacturing
sector must be urgently and constructively addressed.
November 9, 2012 in Opinion
After months of arduous campaigning by incumbent Barack Obama and aspirant
Mitt Romney, Americans this week went to the polls to elect their next
Report by Collins Rudzuna
Most observers contend that unlike the last presidential election, this one
will probably be won by a very small margin. Traditionally, Democrats, to
which Obama belongs, and Romney’s Republicans are considered to be driven by
different ideologies, with the former being liberal and the latter
Colloquially, they are referred to as left or right wing, respectively.
Pundits have already begun contemplating what the election of either
candidate will mean for the politics and economy of the country.
Apparently, even investors are factoring the election outcome into their
scenario analyses and making investment decisions based on that. Outside
America, people are considering what relations with that country will be
like under either one of the candidates.
The general feeling is that a Mitt Romney win will result in an
administration which is more business-friendly. On the other hand, a Barack
Obama win is expected to result in more support and funding for social
Whatever the case, we will soon know who will captain the American ship.
Whether the winner will steer the country in the direction expected is
anyone’s guess. Politicians are known for making a lot of unmet promises.
Closer to home it is a bit more difficult to try figuring out how politics
will play out. For one thing, it is not even certain whether we will have
elections and if so, when exactly they will be held. The constitution-making
process is yet to be finalised, money for the election is yet to be availed
and no clear official statement has been issued.
Yet talk of harmonised elections in March 2013 is heating up and, like the
Americans, we cannot help but contemplate a post-election scenario for
Clearly, the government of national unity (GNU) cannot be a permanent
solution. It was always an arrangement borne of compromise, an uneasy
co-existence of politicians with polarised views. On this basis it is likely
the GNU will soon be a thing of the past, one way or the other.
So, say an elections are held and the GNU is indeed dissolved, what are the
key economic issues to watch out for?
One immediate concern would be the issue of outstanding debt owed by
government to international financiers. Zimbabwe owes in excess of US$10,7
billion, approximately 109% of the forecast GDP for 2012.
Any potential growth is overshadowed by this huge debt overhang and whoever
will lead the country must have a workable solution for resolving this debt
One probable solution would be to seek assistance under the International
Monetary Fund’s (IMFs)’s debt relief programme for Heavily Indebted Poor
Already, different opinions have been expressed across the political divide
on whether this is the right route for Zimbabwe or not. Whatever position is
taken on this issue in a post GNU Zimbabwe will go a long way towards
determining the future of the economy.
Another key policy issue that an elected leader would need to address is
indigenisation. There is pressure from different lobby groups for government
to correct historical imbalances through indigenisation of the economy. No
agreement has been reached on how to address this issue.
Currently, government has a policy where companies are supposed to cede 51%
of their equity to indigenous people. Points open to contention include the
principle of indigenisation itself; the definition of who is indigenous; and
the way the programme is implemented. So far, the mining sector has been
targeted more aggressively than other economic sectors.
Most recently, Anglo American Platinum’s Unki Platinum Mine completed a deal
in which 51% will go to locals. As with other indigenisation deals in the
mining sector, concerns have been raised as to how the acquisitions will be
paid for and whether the new shareholders have capacity to put in fresh
capital should it be needed.
More importantly, questions have been raised about the effect indigenisation
has on potential investors.
As a capital-hungry nation, Zimbabwe is supposed to be going full throttle
to attract foreign investment. We expect the approach to indigenisation to
differ greatly depending on which candidate wins the elections.
The issues discussed above are but two examples of policy issues that a
newly elected leader would have to deal with among a plethora of other
matters that need urgent attention. Before one even gets to dealing with
policy there are issues around the election itself that we have to get
In Zimbabwe, perhaps the process of the elections per se is just as
important as the outcome. Ensuring that voting is peaceful is vital in
gaining acceptance among local and international observers.
Also, ensuring a peaceful post-election period is of paramount importance.
If elections do take place next year, they will hopefully be peaceful and
immediately widely accepted as free and fair, for the sake of the country.
After that we will then wait to see if politicians can deliver on election
promises and put into place progressive policies.
November 9, 2012 in Opinion
THE Communist Party of China (CPC) opened its 18th congress yesterday in
Beijing after lengthy preparations, factional infighting and heated
discussions among the authorities and public over the direction the country
with the biggest population and second largest economy in the world should
Report by Dumisani Muleya
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who will be replaced by Xi Jinping, opened the
congress which began a once-in-a-decade power transfer, warning corruption
“could prove fatal to the party, and even cause the collapse of the party
and the fall of the state”.
In the process, he threatened to deal with those involved in corruption
“whoever they are and whatever power or official positions they have”. He
was mainly referring to disgraced CPC heavyweight Bo Xilai and other corrupt
senior party officials. He could also have been referring to outgoing
premier Wen Jiabao, who will be succeeded by Li Keqiang, after revelations
his family had amassed a vast fortune during his reign.
Hu’s legacy would be consensus-based and collective leadership in an age in
which Chinese society is undergoing rapid, profound and disorientating
changes, amid economic prosperity.
It is interesting the CPC’s congress comes ahead of Zanu PF’s conference
from December 4-9 and the party’s elective congress next year. While it is
difficult to predict political events in a state of flux like in Zimbabwe
(Zanu PF in particular), one thing for certain is, come next month Mugabe
will seek to extend his leadership of the party by getting endorsement as
the candidate in next year’s elections.
It is however not clear whether Mugabe would seek re-election as party
leader during next year’s congress. Ordinarily, at 89, Mugabe should retire,
but given his ambitions to be president, he might want to cling on.
While Mugabe and his Zanu PF loyalists like to be associated with China, and
particularly the CPC, they have clearly learnt nothing from their
counterparts since Independence in 1980. China ideologically trained and
armed Zanu PF during the liberation struggle, but Mugabe and his party
failed to pick up any useful lessons from their handlers.
All they enjoy doing is going to Beijing, Shanghai and other glitzy cities,
only to come back with bags full of largesse and trinkets, not political and
Clearly showing he has no vision, Mugabe has failed to emulate former CPC
luminary Deng Xiaoping who picked great ideas during his visits to Singapore
and the United States to transform China into an economic powerhouse.
Mugabe and his hangers-on have been all over the world, but learnt nothing
useful from there. They have only brought back manuals on political
repression and poisonous propaganda from countries like Iran and Cuba, not
to mention North Korea where Mugabe has been.
As Nelson Mandela once said, Zimbabwe is suffering from “tragic failure of
leadership”. The country’s toxic leaders have virtually ruined the country
and that’s Mugabe’s legacy.
However, what is disturbing though is not just Mugabe’s leadership and
policy failures alone, but that he doesn’t seem to have any regrets and thus
Mugabe ought to have learnt from his Chinese role models how to run a party
and a country. Even if the CPC is ideologically handcuffed to the past and
is repressive, it has at least managed to ensure consistent leadership
renewal and economic prosperity in the past 34 years.
By contrast, Mugabe has been at the helm of Zanu PF for 35 years and his
reign has mainly spawned dictatorship and economic failure. Whatever his
achievements, they pale in comparison to his monumental failures.
Although it’s too late for Mugabe to change course, Zanu PF — whose
provincial chairpersons recently returned from ideological drilling by CPC
and training on massive mobilisation — might still reinvent itself if only
it is willing to now learn something from China. The ongoing CPC congress
provides that opportunity.
November 9, 2012 in Comment
One of the redeeming features of the GPA and government of national unity is
that President Mugabe is unable to get away with his populist claims.
Report by MuckRaker
When he castigated Tendai Biti this week over government’s failure to
provide money for agricultural inputs, David Coltart was quick to demand
that the president disclose the source of his funding.
Mugabe had raised US$20 million for the agricultural input scheme, US$12
million more than the annual education budget.
The source of the input scheme may be legitimate, Coltart said on Facebook,
but Zimbabweans will only know that if the president is candid about its
Mugabe’s input scheme came soon after the party bought over 500 vehicles
worth around US$14 million for election purposes.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora weighed in, according to NewsDay,
challenging Mugabe to disclose his donors or risk being accused of
benefiting from illegal dealings in Marange diamonds whose exact revenue
It was illogical for Mugabe to ask Biti to borrow money, he said, when it
was a Zanu PF administration that destroyed the country’s creditworthiness
in the first place.
Other MDC spokesmen accused Mugabe of grandstanding. MDC leader Welshman
Ncube said Mugabe was proffering lame excuses and blaming the wrong people
for his own failures as president of the country.
“This is the deliberate uninformed attitude that got us to the worst
inflation when Mugabe ordered Gideon Gono to print money,” Ncube said. ‘It’s
untrue that government can have unlimited resources.
“President Mugabe is head of government and whatever happens requires his
approval. He cannot therefore blame anyone. Minister Biti reports to
cabinet and funding priorities are approved at cabinet level, approved by
Mugabe. There is no way the president can distance himself from Biti’s
So it’s now clear accusing Biti of sabotage was nothing more than political
‘Head of govt’
Ironically, any reference to Mugabe in the state media is prefixed by the
“Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces” mantra, with the desired impression being that the president calls
the shots in all facets of government. However, when it comes to government’s
shortcomings, Mugabe likes to portray himself as a mere spectator.
Mugabe’s remarks confirm that any administration he heads will attempt to
borrow its way out of difficulty. That is irresponsible and inflationary.
But Zanu PF will do it.
And if Mugabe thinks no government can go bankrupt he should read the
history of Weimar Germany or Hungary in the 1920s or post-break-up
Yugoslavia in our own era. The problem is he heads an ignorant party which
thinks it can print money to escape its obligations. And its followers are
told the West is responsible for all our problems as a nation,
This is populism writ large, dishonest and hugely damaging to any economy.
Yet not a single apparatchik has the courage to tell Mugabe he is getting it
wrong at every turn. Instead they are all required to pretend he is
all-knowing –– the father of the nation.
The Herald reports that President Mugabe lashed out at false prophets and
“dubious” spirit mediums whom he accused of extorting money from people.
Some people who claimed to see things in advance, Mugabe said, were instead
“Now the prophets are all over the country. (If they are true prophets) let
them tell us where these curses (njodzi) befalling us are coming from. The
prophets should tell us how to overcome these?” he said, “leaving mourners
in stitches” according to the Herald.
This is clearly a Damascene experience for Mugabe who in 2007 was duped by
“diesel n’anga”, Rotina Mavhunga’s claims she had powers to extract diesel
from a rock.
Mugabe personally chaired meetings to discuss the issue, setting up a
taskforce packed with government ministers to investigate. The taskforce
included Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Defence
minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi.
The team is reported to have camped in Chinhoyi for close to a fortnight,
but strangely they did not detect that Mavhunga, with a Grade three
education, was a fraud. They accompanied her to rocks in Chinhoyi to perform
rituals hoping refined diesel would pour out of the rocks. Mavhunga was
pampered like a true “African Queen” and was allocated a farm, two head of
cattle and three buffaloes, a car and received billions of Zimdollars for
Mugabe later ordered her arrest claiming the taskforce had been blinded by
Retired Col Tshinga Dube says he wants to dispel rumours soldiers are being
deployed in most key economic positions in the country. “This is not true,”
he said. Contradicting himself he proceeded to ask: “Who is not a soldier
and what is wrong with being a soldier? Is the president not a soldier?”
Mugabe led guerrilla warfare during the liberation struggle, he said. “How
could you lead guerrilla warfare if you are not a soldier?”
Dube evidently has a short memory. Edgar Tekere in his book A Lifetime of
Struggle gives a detailed account of Mugabe’s attempts to lead the struggle
in the teeth of resistance from the military commanders in the field. In
Mozambique, Mugabe and Tekere were under virtual house arrest.
“I then taught him how to handle weapons,” Tekere recalls, “and to keep them
always within reach. “Yes, up to that time he had not learnt to use a
“There were other examples of his lack of appetite for war,” Tekere noted.
They had difficulty getting him into uniform. Inspecting the graves after
the Chimoio massacre, he was conspicuous without a uniform.
“Here he was, surrounded by the rest of us dressed in our military attire,
wearing a suit,” Tekere recounted. “It was most incongruous.”
“Tongogara and I decided he must have a uniform and arranged for one to be
made for him but somehow this never happened. He was really a civilian
bureaucrat. He would sit in his office waiting to receive military briefings
from me and never took the initiative himself unless pushed. He did not know
how to salute.” Ndabaningi Sithole described him as a good civil
So Col Dube there you are. No more misleading claims please!
As for his claim that it is not true that the military are being deployed in
key economic positions in the country, we need to recall the following
appointments: Justice George Chiweshe, formerly ZDF Judge Advocate; Air
Commodore Mike Karakadzai , National Railways of Zimbabwe general manager;
Albert Mandizha, general manager, GMB and Brigadier-General Gibson
Mashingaidze; not forgetting of course Brigadier-General Douglas
Nyikayaramba, formerly Chief elections officer of the Electoral Supervisory
Commission who has expressed a strong commitment to Zanu PF and is among
those threatening to block Morgan Tsvangirai’s admission to State House
should he win the elections, among others.
As for what is “wrong” with any of this, the obvious point to make is that
in a country purporting to be a democracy, the military should not interfere
in civilian administration and must reflect the constitution and laws.
This is elementary stuff. How can soldiers say they will block Tsvangirai
admission to State House and thereby refuse to recognise the outcome of a
What is the point of holding elections if the military supported by the
Justice minister and Zanu PF spokesman seek to predetermine the outcome?
FINALLY Saviour Kasukuwere’s Indigenisation ministry says it is calling for
the introduction of a youth levy in the forthcoming national budget despite
poorly administering the disbursement of funds allocated to community share
We recently carried a story which revealed the wrangle pitting Kasukuwere’s
and the Local Government ministries as well as the National Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Board.
These three, it was revealed, are fighting among themselves and at times
conniving to loot funds contributed by companies that have complied with the
indigenisation laws, leaving the intended beneficiaries once again out of
As if Zimbabweans are not being taxed enough, Kasukuwere has forwarded the
US$15 million budget proposal to fund “vocational training programmes”.
Forewarned is forearmed!