The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Murambatsvina a brazen display of govt failure

Zim Independent

By MD Kufakunesu

SOBER-mindedly speaking, one can see that Operation
Murambatsvina was an accurately named operation.

Surely, our sunshine cities had been reduced to heaps of
rubbish. The pavements had been "uplifted" to the level of make-shift retail
shops - a level they do not deserve.

But have you ever asked yourself why there was filth which was
mercilessly scrubbled by Operation Murambatsvina?

The filth and disorderliness which was "sanctified" by some
cabinet ministers entered our cities not so long ago.

It was due to the rural-urban migration triggered by government's
failure to provide for the rural populace.

The education for all, accommodation for all and health for all
calls among other promises, turned to living nightmares.

In an endeavour to make these aborted promises a reality, people
moved to the cities. The increase in numbers of the people, coupled with
crippled service delivery, resulted in chaos and disorder.

However, a few months after the operation, the cities were
infested with the very people who had been driven to the villages.

Even now the streets are full of street kids, shebeens and
vendors while squatter camps are slowly but surely mushrooming.

A stroll around the streets of any city will give one a feel of
what I mean. But was Operation Murambatsvina a solution?

I don't think so.

To the designers and executers of Operation Murambatsvina, I say
you lacked common sense because the operation is slowly proving to be a
piece-meal solution.

The streets are teeming with chaos again. Government should have
fulfilled its promises.

Frustrating people through mistimed and badly crafted operations
is not a solution. In fact, it is becoming dazzling clear that the Zanu PF
government lacks the basics in terms of governance.

Those in government should serve the people or step down. People
who litter the streets with their wares in efforts to fend for themselves
are a product of government's failure.

Does government honestly think people would have moved to the
cities if it had fulfilled its promises?

* MD Kufakunesu writes from Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Billboards for Zanu PF's misrule

Zim Independent


ONE phenomenon emblematic about the Ziscosteel saga is
government's convoluted management of information relating to the
embarrassing corruption that has crippled the steel giant.

Apparently displaying all the traits of a rudderless vessel,
government is crying out for a more competent information manager to clearly
articulate its position on the saga.

The multiplicity of messages which have emerged from senior
party officials typify the lack of cohesion in the party's anti-corruption

Industry and International Trade minister Obert Mpofu set the
tone of discord when he sensationally revealed to a parliamentary portfolio
committee that "there is a thick file, which if you see it, you will be

He said some of the people responsible for "bleeding" Zisco were
his colleagues in parliament.

No sooner had he made the revelation than he told the same
committee that he was not aware of any MP who had looted Zisco - a fatal

Then followed a cornucopia of confusion on the real story at
Zisco. The Standard this week quoted Vice-President Joseph Msika as saying
there was no corruption at Zisco but that the company had collapsed due to
lack of equipment.

A Herald columnist, who usually reflects the thinking of
President Mugabe's thought police, on Saturday tried to situate the Zisco
report as a non-event. The columnist feels that the corruption at Zisco has
nothing to do with government but venal managers aping poor corporate
governance in the private sector.

The Sunday News this week quoted Anti-Corruption minister
Munyaradzi Mangwana almost confirming details of Mpofu's initial expose.

"I cannot say names (of alleged looters), but yes, I can only
inform you that a number of my esteemed colleagues are under investigation,"
he said.

This level of honesty could be dangerous for Mangwana.

Then government itself entered the denial mode.

Statements attributed to "Zisco managers" yesterday sought to
dismiss the contents of the Zisco report, saying the National Economic
Conduct Inspectorate investigators who authored the report had relied on
information from "nefarious sources".

Before the full publication of the report, there is already a
concerted effort to sanitise its contents. Government spin-doctors have
tried to exonerate politicians by blaming the rot on Zisco managers. The
managers have in turn professed their innocence saying they made "sensible
business decisions".

The attempt to trivialise the level of corruption at Zisco,
denials and the paucity of official information on the saga, do not however
discount the fact that there is grand corruption at Zisco and that
politicians had a hand in this by virtue of their active involvement in the
graft and the failure of their oversight role at the parastatal.

Like the more than three-score state institutions in the
country, Zisco falls under its line ministry. Mangwana's ministry also plays
a supervisory role at parastatals and there are also departments in
vice-presidents Joice Mujuru and Joseph Msika's offices dealing with state

This bureaucratic dead mass lived up to its reputation and let
the situation degenerate to the current disconcerting levels. Government
should therefore not escape culpability here.

The attempt to lead the nation into believing that Zisco was
brought down by managers underscores government's jaundiced commitment to
fighting corruption in big offices. We are already seeing a dogged effort to
restrain structures set up by the state - through a constitutional amendment
and an Act of Parliament - from probing misfeasance at Zisco.

It is curious that Msika says there was no high-level corruption
at Zisco at a time when the Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the
issue. Then there is the criminal attempt by government spin-doctors to
divert public attention from politicians to management at Zisco. All this in
the name of fighting corruption?

The Zisco saga should instead be a test case for government's
commitment to fighting corruption and demonstrating to would-be investors
that corruption will not be tolerated. Mpofu's attempt to conceal the
contents of the report on the sterile premise that it would scare away
investors is an undisguised advertisement that government is prepared to
conceal graft even if it means scaring away investors.

This is government defending corruption.

This newspaper meanwhile will continue to perform its public
duty by shining a spotlight on the dark and dirty corners of so-called
public corporations that have become billboards for Zanu PF's misrule.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Biggest sin the bishops committed

Zim Independent

Candid Comment

By Joram Nyathi

WHEN it comes to discussing national issues, Zimbabweans are a
pathetic lot. The bigotry and self-righteousness are sickening. The latest
display of intolerance for rational dialogue was sparked by The Zimbabwe We
Want document and it has brought out the worst among people you would expect
to exercise reason. Even open distortions of that document have become
currency to prove how Bishop Trevor Manhanga and his group want to "buy time
for this regime".

The first is the issue of what President Mugabe said was
"non-negotiable". The Christian Alliance camp believes he referred to the
constitution and that means there can be no dialogue. You won't believe that
the issue of a new constitution has been outstanding since before the
February 2000 referendum.

The biggest sin that the bishops committed, from all that I have
read, was not to end every sentence in their document with the phrase "and
Mugabe is to blame". In an interview with Violet Gonda on SWRadio's Hotseat
programme, Dr John Makumbe was forthright, asking Manhanga, "Did you blame

This referred to the bishops' meeting with President Mugabe. Is
this not the "bravado" that Morgan Tsvangirai accused Lovemore Madhuku of?
What would Manhanga achieve, for instance, by glaring at Mugabe in front of
TV cameras and saying "You murderer, you should leave State House now.
People are hungry and angry because of Murambatsvina?" Beyond sensational
headlines like Dzikamai Mavhaire's "Mugabe must go" what would that "blame"

Manhanga explained what is already in their document about
sovereignty, independence, ownership of national resources and freedom from
foreign domination. These are the issues Mugabe said were non-negotiable.

When you read or hear that the bishops are buying time for the
regime, you would imagine that their document precludes any militant
alternatives that have been proposed since the formation of the MDC in 1999.
How come we haven't moved an inch? If anything things have gotten worse,
including Operation Murambatsvina and Project Sunrise.

Then somebody has the shameless nerve to ask Manhanga: "Where
were you when ZCTU leaders were beaten?" But that is the question for all of
us, the entire civic society movement and opposition parties. Where were
they and where were the bishops supposed to be?

Our discussions are now framed in the Zanu PF mindset. Those who
did not fight in the Independence war have no right to aspire to rule this
country. Now those who have never been arrested or beaten by police have no
right to speak of democracy. There are no latecomers, otherwise you want to
steal the limelight from the "real" fighters.

Anybody who suggests an alternative belongs to Zanu PF. It doesn't
alarm them that government spin-doctors are uneasy with the radical position
adopted Manhanga's camp regarding the church's mandate and its involvement
in the political affairs of its flock, presidential term limits and a new

Having tried to denounce the bishops' The Zimbabwe We Want
document, Makumbe was asked the way forward. This was his response: "What we
need is a roundtable, Zanu PF, MDC, Christian Alliance and the group, I don't
know what they call themselves . the vision group". So who is the "we" who
have a licence to talk to Zanu PF and Mugabe when all others are seen as
sellouts for proposing a national dialogue that embraces all key
stakeholders? It's back to the old political paradigm: if you are not with
us you are against us.

There is no disagreement on what the bishops proposed. The
difference is that you must be "a known critic of Mugabe". Bishop Levee
Kadenge admitted in the same interview that their documents were similar. He
was not worried by the "product" but by the "process" which they have agreed
was guided by Zanu PF. It's only "we" who should talk to Zanu PF.

Declared Makumbe: "We know the Zimbabwe we want. The Zimbabwe we
want is without Mugabe as president." Is freedom really that simple? Is that
what they are going to declare at the imaginary "roundtable" with Zanu PF?

The problem with this posturing militancy is that it panders to
the illusion that Zanu PF and President Mugabe have no supporters. The
reason we are stuck in this crisis is because those deceiving voters
in this way tend to believe their own propaganda and stop
investing energy in building party structures because they imagine they own
the electorate. This is despite Zanu PF proving them wrong over and over

Many of us dream of the Zimbabwe portrayed in the bishops'
document. There is no rivalry among the poor about how we attain it so long
as they get to live its ideals. Mugabe cannot be wished away by simply
sounding hostile, militant and critical. It is action that will move Mugabe,
not weak opposition forces fighting to claim credit for chickens that have
not hatched.

I can imagine Mugabe taking the bishops' document to the AU, the
UN General Assembly or the EU and telling them: "You see, my people don't
want all these things you claim for them about democracy - free elections,
property rights, investment, access to education and healthcare, personal
security, an end to violence, an independent judiciary, an equitable land
reform process, peaceful elections and a free press or a new constitution.
This is the document I drafted for the Zimbabwe I imagined they wanted. They
have rejected it because they don't like me. But I am not God and will not
live forever. So leave my Zimbabweans alone."

The document's greatest merit is its sober simplicity, its lack
of bitterness or personalised rancour. In its humanness and big-heartedness,
it is a document that Nelson Mandela could have written. Its weakness is
that it is too optimistic, painting an idyllic society even for the most
advanced democracies. But that is also its virtue because a national vision
should be attainable but never attained. Unfortunately Zimbabweans have been
so poisoned in their reasoning and thinking by the incumbent regime that
they divide themselves well before Zanu PF has noticed that there is a
groundswell of opposition building up. We are our own worst enemies.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Must do better to get off Zisco hook

Zim Independent


We liked the picture on the front page of Tuesday's Herald. It
showed what looked very much like two waxworks from Madame Tussaud's museum.
But on closer inspection they turned out to be President Hu Jintao shaking
hands with President Mugabe in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

The hall faces on to Tiananmen Square where in 1989 the Chinese
"people's" army ruthlessly crushed a popular movement by students and
workers seeking reform. Perhaps Hu Jintao passed on a few tips. What we do
know is that the two leaders looked decidedly wooden in their greetings.
There was considerable space between them and, indeed, it looked as if Hu
Jintao was holding Mugabe at arm's length.

The president will recall similar treatment from Jacques Chirac
in that memorable Elysée Palace scene where an embrace was extended to just
about every African leader except ours.

Why don't Chinese leaders try and look less contrived in these

Greeting visiting luminaries follows a well-choreographed
pattern. Barely have they touched hands when the Chinese head of state will
swing his guest round to face the camera. There will then follow the most
plastic of smiles as if to say "I have done this a thousand times before and
this is how it goes".

Hu Jintao spoke of "unshakeable" ties with Zimbabwe. So why didn't
he look as if he meant it? Perhaps having another 47 leaders to greet, all
of whom were assured of "unshakeable" ties with Beijing (so long as they
have minerals) proved tiring for the Chinese president.

Meanwhile, here is a list of things that could have been
discussed: how to crack down on trade unions; how to monitor the Internet;
how to hold fake elections; and how to have a partisan judiciary.

Not discussed was independence for Tibet and the performance of
MA60 aircraft.

THE Chinese, it would appear, have been bestowing their favours
rather liberally in Africa as they seek to win friends. Apart from the small
incident of birds that don't fly, much has been made of the approved tourist
destination status bestowed on Zimbabwe. This would lead to a veritable
stampede of visitors, we were told.

In fact there has been only a trickle, and those that have
ventured here tend to sit on their wallets. Given a choice, the more
affluent tourists flock to London and other European capitals. Britain is
also an approved tourist destination and Chinese tourists, like everybody
else, want to be pictured outside Buckingham Palace. They should avoid doing
the same thing outside State House!

Now the authorities in Beijing have taken the shine off Zimbabwe's
exclusive status by conferring it upon a host of other African cou tries.

On arrival in Beijing last Friday Rwanda's Paul Kagame was told
his country had been awarded approved tourist destination status. And now we
discover 10 African states currently enjoy that status.

Oh well. Perhaps when they have "done" London, Paris, Rome,
Berlin and Amsterdam the Chinese will find time to visit us in significant
numbers. But it won't be just yet.

Anybody out there feeling sorry for Zimbabwe Tourism Authority
boss Karikoga Kaseke? He can't understand why he has been refused a visa to
visit the UK. He said he had received a call from a lady at the British
embassy who asked him "funny" questions about his association with Zanu PF.

"I told her that I do not hold any positions in Zanu PF but I am
a party cadre and cannot deny that," he said. "I am what I am today because
of Zanu PF."

He thus helpfully dismissed any lingering thoughts we might have
had that he owed his position to professionalism or performance!

Somebody else not too worried by professionalism is Didymus
Mutasa, the Minister for State Security, who appears to think police
officers have the right to beat up somebody being arrested if they can argue
that they were earlier assaulted by that person.

The police had been "provoked" by trade unionists, he told Irin
news agency. "One of the trade unionists had attacked a policeman at a
roadblock. So then the police told the trade unionists: 'Now you are in our
hands, we are beating you.' How can people attack the police and not expect
them to retaliate?"

So an unverified claim by a policeman becomes a pretext for
police violence against peaceful protesters? Mutasa's statement needs to be
circulated as widely as possible. Nothing better illustrates the criminal
nature of the regime: a group of people peacefully exercising their right to
demonstrate are viciously attacked with batons because a policeman claims he
was assaulted by one of them weeks before.

In any case, nothing could justify the degree of violence used.
This was not self-defence.

It was a planned and systematic assault on civic leaders both
before and after their arrest. That Mutasa should attempt to justify this
disgraceful episode by characterising it as a warranted reprisal tells us
just how abusive this regime has become.

We were intrigued to note the following inserted in a recent
Herald article by Caesar Zvayi: "At the beginning of July UN
secretary-general Kofi Annan openly condemned the sanctions that he
acknowledged are hurting ordinary people."

We have checked reports appearing in the press at the time and
statements made by Annan's office. Nowhere can we find a statement by him
"openly condemning" sanctions or saying they were hurting ordinary people.

The only thing we did find was a claim to that effect by
President Mugabe after their meeting in Banjul.

Does Zvayi really think Annan, a consummate diplomat, would give
such a hostage to fortune? That he would publicly endorse the claims of a
leader who has denounced the secretary-general's own emissaries and refused
to cooperate with the UN? That he would agree to pursue diplomacy that is
directly contrary to the views expressed by the US and EU?

Not very likely is it? Zvayi should get real and stop swallowing
the self-serving rubbish dumped on him by the President's Office. It is
almost as bad as Tafataona Mahoso claiming that the future of the economy
lies with new farmers, parastatals,Phillip Chiyangwa and publications that
carry pictures from the galas! That, in all seriousness, is what Mugabe's
minions are churning out with the obvious implication that independent
papers are out of touch.

Can you imagine a future in which corrupt parastatals are the
only form of advertising and galas the only form of activity?

And there was Manheru last weekend telling us Zisco's problems
were a product of "corporate evil", not the corporate corruption of the
leadership he speaks for! They will have to do better if they want to get
off this particular hook.

Another point, Zvayi claims the church leaders omitted from
their National Vision document to explain why government delayed in
distributing land. This is a falsehood. In the same section that the church
talks of a homegrown constitution, it notes that under "relevant restrictive
provisions" the Lancaster House constitution "included the 10-year
moratorium on constitutional amendments, a clause protecting white property,
rights and privileges, and the willing seller and willing buyer clause".

Even when it's in black and white, it would have got in the way
of a sweet lie along with "illegal" western sanctions. Then there is the
twaddle that the vision is not "exhaustive" because it "focused on political
parties" instead of the bigger society. Where do they claim that it is
"exhaustive"? How can a discussion document ever be exhaustive?

But what can one expect from a mafikizolo of journalism who sees
Zimbabwe's national vision in the coat of arms, flag and national anthem as
if there was ever a referendum to endorse these. Was it not just a panel of
a few men who chose Solomon's Mutswairo's composition as having some merit
and he was paid $7 000 for his individual effort?

One of the biggest fables to hit the pages of the Sunday Mail
was created by one Robert Mukondiwa. It was touted as a revelation of the
animal that is Harare Commission chair Sekesai Makwavarara. She was
described in the Sunday Mail as a no nonsense, political survivor and a
political schemer who had outwitted her rivals.

It turned out that her greatest achievement was no more than to
play turncoat, dumping the MDC for Zanu PF when it suited her. When it
became clear that Zanu PF had lost power at the Town House, all they needed
to do to stage a backdoor comeback was to produce a malleable woman that
Ignatious Chombo could manipulate. She stabbed her boss in the back for the
love of Zanu PF and has never pretended that she knows anything about
improving service delivery to Harare residents.

That's about all there is to Makwavarara's claim to fame.

There was a statement this week issued by a company named S & M
Bricks which sought to "officially categorically clarify" a story in the
Standard that working for the Chinese was hell. One of the stations in the
ZBH stable carried a similar story warning of a deadly disease outbreak if
the workers' compound was not attended to urgently.

The statement carried in the Herald on Tuesday denied claims
that the only available lavatory was not working.

"The truth is the lavatory has been working properly since it
started functioning," was the categorical clarification. So when did the
lavatory start "functioning" but not working we wonder?

Just to rub it in, the statement accused the Standard of a
hidden agenda and "irresponsibly spreading lies with blind eyes". We have
heard about substandard products but we had not heard about "blind eyes".
And these are the people Mugabe believes will lead us to prosperity!

The statement called on the Standard to "apologise in all the
newspapers in Zimbabwe" or face legal action. Let's hope their lawyers are
more literate than their managers!

Finally, as South Africa said farewell this week to former
President PW Botha (known as the Great Crocodile), there has been
controversy over his legacy. He presided over a paranoid regime which
believed it was facing a "total onslaught". It was also responsible for
unprecedented human rights violations. He liked to wag his finger at his
critics, when he wasn't locking them up. But this particular crocodile made
a significant contribution to the diverse and democratic state South Africa
is today. He understood when the time came that he had to get out of the way
to facilitate negotiation and change. Other crocodiles who like to wag their
fingers could benefit from his example.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Governmentium predominates in Zimbabwe

Zim Independent

By Eric Block

THERE has recently been very justifiable excitement in Zambia,
for the remarkable economic turnaround in the last few years has now been
capped with a discovery of oil reserves in the north-west of that country.

The Zambian government is rapidly and dynamically pursuing the
commercial exploitation of the discovery which, if proven to be viable, will
accelerate even more the spectacular recovery of the economy that has
stemmed from the creation, albeit belatedly, of genuine democracy, respect
for law and order, human rights, economic deregulation and an
investment-conducive, welcoming environment.

Not to be outdone, Zimbabwe has recently discovered the heaviest
element yet known to science, and this columnist is obliged to the anonymous
author of the following "authoritative" report: "The new element has been
named Governmentium. Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant
neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it
an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces
called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like
particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it
can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into
contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction, that could
normally take less than a second, to take over four days to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of four years; it does not
decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the
assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact,
Governmentium mass will actually increase over time, since each
reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to
believe that Govermentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical
concentration. The hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium - an element
which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium, since it has half as
many peons but twice as many morons.

That Governmentium exists in pronounced quantities in Zimbabwe
is indisputable, for the evidence of its presence is to be seen within
virtually every facet of Zimbabwean life. Authoritative scientific
confirmation that Zimbabwe is possessed of infinite resources of
Governmentium include:

* Having, over the first quarter-century of Zimbabwean
Independence, had six economic plans to bring about well-being for all
Zimbabweans, each launched with great fanfare and promises of imminent
economic utopia, but none of the promised deliverables being forthcoming, it
is now almost a year since government, with even greater fanfares, launched
the National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP).

But all that it has appeared to yield to date has been the
creation of innumerable "task forces" which have apparently produced nothing
but endless talk-fests, and thousands of column centimetres in the
state-controlled media, heralding the imminent massive economic upturn
(whilst ever greater numbers become unemployed, are homeless,
under-nourished, without access to healthcare and suffering intensely). Only
Governmentium can create an administration that can unendingly be duped by
its own specious propaganda, and that can be continuously blinded by the

* The Head of State, speaking in Beitbridge only a few months
ago, said that Zimbabwe welcomes white farmers, wants white farmers, and
will facilitate white farmers, provided that they recognise black farmers as
their equals, but his Minister of State for Security and Lands states
vigorously that no whites will be permitted to farm in Zimbabwe and,
pursuant to that intent, continues to authorise and encourage evictions of
whites from farms.

He promotes authoritarian, discriminatory legislation, spews
forth racial diatribes in disregard for policies enunciated by his president
and in disregard for Zimbabwe's constitution, which prescribes against
racial discrimination. Clearly affected by Governmentium, he not only
contemptuously disregards his president, the constitution, justice and
equity, but also exacerbates Zimbabwe's economic ills and national poverty;

* Governmentium has also pervaded the corridors of the Ministry
of Agriculture, ever since 2000, as is assertively demonstrated by the
year-on-year assurances of gargantuan increases in agricultural output.
Undertakings that Zimbabwe would be rapidly restored to food
self-sufficiency, that productivity would be undoubted because of timeous
availability of essential agricultural inputs, and so forth. In
contradistinction, year after year the production of the agricultural sector
has declined, and the economic foundation of Zimbabwe brought to near-total

* Endlessly enthused statements flow forth from government of
the long-awaited upturn in tourism, with those statements supposedly
corroborated by impressive statistics of fast-growing numbers of tourist
arrivals. Concurrently, however, disclosures from tourism industry operators
indicate that there has been virtually no increase in the number of
bed-nights sold. Thus, either the data on arrivals is incorrect, or the
tourists are curtailing their stays in Zimbabwe, or the increases are
attributable to back-packers who do not patronise hotels, caravaners, or
visitors residing with family or friends. Whichsoever of these is the case,
there is little or no benefit to the tourist industry and the economy;

* Great emphasis is placed by the president, the presidium, the
Ministers of Information and Publicity, Industry and International Trade,
and many others, upon Zimbabwe's supposedly most beneficial "Look East"
policy. Few will dispute that Zimbabwe should, in its endeavours to attract
investment, develop the economy, and generate trade, look to the East, but
only contemporaneously with looking North, West and South. But although the
governmental claims overwhelming success from its "Look East" policies, the
populace can see little, if any, of that supposed success. Admittedly, a
cement factory has been opened in Gweru, a glass factory is being
established in Kadoma, a brickfield has been created by Chinese investors in
Mt Hampden, there has been some limited investment into mining, and there
are stated to be 37 other small-scale, corporate investments, but the
aggregate investment is minimal when compared with the repeated projections
of gargantuan investment that emanate from national leaders impacted upon by
Governmentium. To a major extent, Zimbabwe has benefited China, with
comparatively little reciprocal benefit to Zimbabwe.

China has sold at least six aircraft to Zimbabwe, fleets of
buses, tractors, and other mobile equipment, tonnes of clothing and shoes
(much of which were second-hand and rejects, quality products being
consigned to Europe, USA, Australia and other first world economies), and
much else, but the quid pro quo trade has not been substantial. Those are
but five examples of the permeation of Governmentium in Zimbabwe, but are
only indicative of like infiltration of that element throughout the
Zimbabwean autocracy. It is surely an element that Zimbabwe could do

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Beyond the China summit

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

By Dumisani Muleya

CHINESE President Hu Jintao hosted more than 40 African
leaders - including President Robert Mugabe - in the Great Hall of the
People in Beijing last weekend for the China-Africa summit amid fanfare.

China basked in global publicity as the emerging giant in
Africa, competing for economic turf and political influence with Western
powers, the United States, Britain and France, whose sway is supposed to be

China's trade with Africa was worth US$40 billion last year.

Nearly all African countries were represented at what was the
largest such event yet held by the country. The event was characterised by a
lot of symbolism and rhetoric, as well as ringing resolutions that might
have well overshadowed the need to come up with solutions for Africa's
myriad problems.

For a few days African leaders coming from countries collapsing
under the weight of misrule and mismanagement such as Mugabe and the likes
of Omar al-Bashir of Sudan hid behind the Great Wall of China from the
consequences of their policy failures at home.

They enjoyed admiring Chinese success attributable to good
economic policies - which some of them are immune to - and reforms
introduced after 1978. Hopefully African leaders learnt something about how
to reform and build a successful economy from the backwoods.

It would have been a waste of time and public resources if
African leaders did not pick up any good lessons from Beijing. But some of
them have previously been to countries like Malaysia and learnt nothing.

The event came at a time when China is fast spreading its wings
across the world's poorest continent (which ironically is one of the richest
in terms of natural resources) trying to gain a vice-grip on its resources.

Copper, cobalt, platinum, timber and iron ore are all on Beijing's
shopping list in Africa.

While China ideologically and materially supported African
liberation struggles and may help some countries to reconstruct their
economies, it must also be noted it is not a charity organisation that
dishes out gifts to African nations for fraternal reasons.

Times and global dynamics have changed. China is hunting for
resources all over the world to service its rapidly expanding economy.
Beijing is no longer hidebound in a rigid ideological mindset. It is a
rising power trying to secure its place in a changing global order. This is
the context of its open show of power and wealth. The competition for trade
and investment is hotting up and China has now joined the new but similar
scramble for Africa with western powers which have traditionally exploited
the continent for centuries. Given the chance, China would want to be the
new imperial power on the continent.

Probably because of changed circumstances China would offer a
better deal for Africa, but the underlying motive is the same: to expand its
influence for economic and political hegemony.

However, it is those countries willing to reform that will
benefit from the Chinese largesse, not those who emulate a model the Chinese
themselves long ago discarded. This means Mugabe must now quickly put his
ducks in a row and reform if he wants to benefit from China via his Look
East policy. Sabre-rattling without rhyme or reason while the country is on
the skids will not help anyone.

This is China's story. Coming from a background of a failed
Maoist land reform programme and political repression, China launched
economic reforms in 1978 by dismantling its command economy.

It deepened reforms of the economic system, capital, commodity,
labour and technology markets as part of its socialist market economy
vision. This strengthened the regulatory function of the market rather than
the state.

Now, as its economy grows, China offers new hope as a major
investor, trading partner and provider of aid to Africa. It's also viewed by
others, especially in the third world, as a counterbalance to the west in
their efforts to build a new world away from the one dominated by one
country or one power bloc.

African leaders, especially dictators, are also comfortable with
China because it does not tie aid to such political imperatives as democracy
and human rights.

China's foreign policy is premised on the doctrine of
non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries whatever the
circumstances. African despots who hide behind the cloak of sovereignty to
conceal human rights abuses find this most appealing. China emphasises
non-interference because it is extremely sensitive about its own human
rights record. This shows China, just like Western powers, is driven by

Although Mugabe wants to cast himself as China's best friend in
Africa, the real benefits of Chinese investments are going where there are
more resources and a chance for better returns. China has offered very
little to Zimbabwe in terms of trade and investment besides the paltry aid,
low- quality equipment and machinery, fighter jets, and suspect passenger

In fact, Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao recently omitted
Zimbabwe from their African tour. This shows Zimbabwe is not a special case
for China. Harare must reform if it is to benefit from its "unshakeable"
relationship with Beijing.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Independent Letters

There should be an Act for women too!

IT looks like the Women's Coalition is now the most powerful
organisation in Zimbabwe, more powerful than parliament itself, the ruling
party, and even the war veterans' body.

How can one explain the fact that the coalition managed to make
parliamentarians accept the Domestic Violence Bill without as much as a

Why was the Bill formulated by women's groups and not by

It is common knowledge that women's organisations are
donor-funded and always follow orders from their principals. So in a way,
these donors have force-fed parliament via the Women's Coalition to accept
the Domestic Violence Bill without taking it to those who will be affected
by it - the common people who elected the very MPs who are now debating the
Bill in parliament.

Isn't it an irony that an unelected body like the Women's
Coalition can arm-twist a body of elected people into doing what it wants?

It is a scary thought. The invisible hand of Western donors is
now governing us, whether we like it or not.

Women's groups are now the defacto ruling power in this country
even though they represent/are accountable to noone, not even the so-called
disadvantaged women.

When the Bill was first debated in parliament, only MDC
legislator, Timothy Mubawu had the guts to stand up for what he and the
silent male victims of psychological female violence believed in, while the
rest of the MPs were too scared to make their views known.

Mubawu was later silenced by donor-funded demonstrators and
removed from his positions within the MDC.

It is a sad day when parliamentarians are too scared to voice
their opinions in parliament of all places.

These same demonstrators have been silent about Zanu PF leaders
who have slept with under-age girls.

Betty Makoni once told viewers on the Mai Chisamba Show that she
had the names of those leaders who had raped children but declined to name
them. Why?

Perhaps she would have done so if Mubawu had been one of the

Perhaps it is time women's groups were governed by an Act of
Parliament, just as they themselves expect others to be governed by Acts of

It would not be a bad idea for a parliamentary committee to
probe the operations and finances of women's groups to find out what
percentage of funding is actually used to help women, how much the directors
are earning and how much they get in allowances.

If they earn in forex then they should be earning those salaries
through foreign currency accounts. I'm sure some disgruntled staff members
could chip in with some very interesting details.

Mwana Wevhu,

      We're really grateful

       THE MDC expresses its gratitude to the people of Zimbabwe
for coming out to vote during the just-ended rural district council

      The party is conscious of the immense economic burden
associated with hunger and starvation which the people of Zimbabwe are
enduring as a result of a crisis of misgovernance and corruption in the
country caused by Zanu PF and the Mugabe government.

      The MDC is also mindful of the threats of violence and
threats of denial of state-supplied agricultural inputs and food assistance
that the people of Zimbabwe were subjected to by Zanu PF during the election

      Inspite of all these pressures the people of Zimbabwe were
still able to come out to vote for their preferred candidates. For this we
salute them for their courage and resilience.

      Notwithstanding the uneven electoral playing field which
favours the ruling party, the MDC is pleased with the party's performance
which saw it win in 45 contested wards.

      We note that the Tsvangirai group won in 35 contested
wards and congratulate them for their efforts and victories.

      We hope that these results will put to rest the lie
peddled since the split of the MDC that the Tsvangirai group is the
legitimate MDC and that it is the dominant wing of the party with grassroots
support while we have been branded as lacking in grassroots support.

      We hope and pray that we have heard the last of the false,
prejudiced and malicious claims that we are a splinter group with no
grassroots support.

      The truth of the matter is that in this national election
we won more contested seats than the other half of the MDC which has been
falsely described as the main MDC, dominant MDC or legitimate MDC.

      The MDC is also pleased with its improved performance in
light of the statistics which show that in the 2003 rural district council
elections the united MDC managed to win no more than 15 wards throughout the
whole country.

      We as the MDC strongly believe that our concern should be
to come up with strategies of dislodging the Zanu PF-led regime and rescue
the people of Zimbabwe from starvation, hunger and dehumanising abuses.

      This can only be achieved if the obsession with figures
and numbers by the opposition give way to the sober realities on the ground.

      We recognise that there is still a lot of work ahead in
removing the corrupt and dictatorial regime of Zanu PF, and to that extent,
we as a party are prepared to go the extra mile in our struggle against the

      Paul Themba Nyathi,

      MDC director of elections.

            Help Zesa and stop insulting our intelligence,

             HAS central bank governor Gideon Gono lost his mind?

            How dare he publishes a pathetic supplement - in
cartoon form - costing a huge amount of cash, when this country is so broke?

            Firstly, the cartoon-type supplement was an insult
to our intelligence.

            Those of us who can afford to buy the papers do not
need this type of graphic message to tell us how broke the country is. Those
who need the graphic-type messages live in the rural areas where they never
see a newspaper. We are neither stupid nor uneducated.

            Our stupidity could be putting up with this mess for
so long without doing something about it!

            In this day and age when we have constant water and
electricity shortages, and there is virtually no fuel in the country except
on the black market, how dare the Reserve Bank wastes valuable money on such
a stupid, pathetic supplement?

            Presently, the majority of teenagers in this country
are writing the most important examinations of their lives and last week
alone my children came home to no cooked supper as electricity goes off
before 6pm only to come on after 8pm.

            Even getting up early in the morning to have a
decent breakfast has not worked as the electricity goes off before 6am and
only comes on after they have gone to school.

             My plea to Mr Gono is: get your act together,
procure some spares for Zesa and stop insulting our intelligence.

            IN Darke,


                  Are these signs of a return to sanity?

                  DO I detect the tiniest glint of a return of
humanity, legality and sanity to the Zimbabwean scene?

                  I refer to the statements by a senior member
of the administration - Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

                  From her lips came, not a commendation to the
ZRP for prompt action, but a reproof for the "overzealous" arrest of some
unfortunate bakers for overcharging.

                  Does anyone believe that price controls can
work when hyperinflation prevails?

                  This brave lady also suggested that
intimidation was not the best way to gain the co-operation of the people. Is
it possible that the vice-president's sentiments are shared by some of her
colleagues or do the bully boy tactics still reign supreme?

                  The first inkling of hope came some months ago
when Mujuru paid a visit to Kondozi Estate and demanded to know who had
helped themselves to the tractors and other equipment, loss of which had
jeopardised production on the estate.

                  There appears to have been some change since
that visit.

                  An attempt has been made to bring disabled
Arda farms back to production by allocating them to Sedco, but why not back
to their owners who would guarantee production without the help of
government subsidies?

                  For six years other people's property and
assets have been up for grabs by anyone who considered him/herself to be
above the law or indeed supported by the law.

                  The disastrous consequences are obvious to all
except those who do not want to see. Business people whether from the east
or the west are scary of investing in a country which has not regretted its
past mistakes but daily threatens more of the same to still productive

                  Is change on the horizon? If so, there might
very well be a small glow at the end of the tunnel. There are, however, many
inescapable conditions to be met before a turnaround becomes possible:

                  * A return to the rule of law under an
independent judiciary including a guarantee of property rights;

                  * Redress for the wrongs committed during
Gukurahundi, the farm invasions and Operation Murambatsvina;

                  * The re-establishment of sustainable
agriculture independent of massive, crippling, hyper-inflation building
government subsidies;

                  * The development of a sound fiscal policy;

                  * The acceptance and adherence to United
Nations human rights norms.

                   Predictably, the National Economic Development
Priority Programme is following the failed route of its numerous
predecessors. The rate of inflation and fall in value of the Zim dollar are
as devastating as ever.

                  Perhaps it is this pressure which is at last
opening the eyes of those who will not or cannot see.



                    Fixation on past has failed govt

                    FOR the umpteenth time, we continue to hear
that the government is implementing economic turnaround programmes or that
initiatives for turnaround programmes are underway. Evidently, all this has
been rhetoric as the results on the ground show that an accelerated economic
downward spiral is instead underway.

                    The problem lies squarely in Zanu PF and its
old guard leadership whose thinking is fixated in the liberation war
ideology and therefore cannot grasp the modern day trends in economic
development such as the critical importance of attracting foreign direct
investment (FDI) and globalisation.

                    Such fixation with an outdated ideology is
aptly displayed by the government's foreign policy which focuses on
denigrating Western countries, especially Britain and America, and this has
stifled any meaningful FDI into this country.

                    No country in the world has achieved
sustainable economic development without substantive FDI or at worst by
trading with itself. China and India are examples of emerging economic
powerhouses which realised that economic development can only be achieved by
following foreign policies which are conducive to trade and investment with
all countries including and specially the West.

                    These two countries have become the most
favoured destinations for FDI. Investor confidence in these countries is at
unprecedented heights. More specifically, to achieve its impressive economic
growth China had to draw on its reservoirs of domestic savings to create
infrastructure and then attract foreign capital to build factories and
acquire expertise.

                    In our case, domestic savings, if any, are
devoured by government's recurrent expenditure while its misguided foreign
policy, among others, inhibits FDI.

                    It is Zanu PF's blinkered view that mending
relations with Western countries is negating sovereignty. Brazil, Singapore,
India and South Africa still have their sovereignty as intact as ever yet
they are all on good terms and are increasing trade, with the Western world.

                    Sovereignty does not mean impoverishing
Zimbabweans. Zanu PF political trajectory is no different from North Korea's
whose dictatorship has impoverished its populace to the bone.

                    The disorderly implementation of the land
acquisition may have stifled relations with Western countries, yes, but
mending these relations was and is still very possible had it not been for
the entrenched paranoia, egoism and backwardness of the Zanu PF leadership.

                    Today the majority of Zimbabweans (perhaps
excluding those in the diaspora) are poorer than they were a year ago due to
the ravaging inflation and it can easily be projected that in 2007
Zimbabweans will be among the poorest people on the planet as inflation is
expected to reach 5 000% with the gross domestic product inevitably
plummeting to unprecedented depths

                    Under the guise of protecting sovereignty,
Zanu PF has monopolised political power through banning daily independent
newspapers, denying opposition access to both radio and national television,
using brute force of the army and police to crush any gathering by
opposition parties or civic organisations and driving out all white
commercial farmers.

                    Sovereignty is never compromised by
following democratic principles of freedom of the press, association and
rule of law. In fact, leaving alone the few experienced white farmers that
are left in the country will at least ensure that a respectable level of
agricultural productivity is guaranteed as the majority of new black farmers
still need time to gain experience and to fully mechanise their farms. This
is a smart way of doing things and Didymus Mutasa and company should know

                     To make matters worse, there is no
succession plan in Zanu PF nor is it known how people will choose President
Mugabe's successor. The question is which people and when? Is it the central
committee members, politburo or primary elections will be held?

                    The truth is that Mugabe has no intention of
relinquishing power as long as he still has a breath left in his body and
that is why he is deliberately dubious on the succession issue and is even
pushing for the postponement of the 2008 election to 2010. This is misrule
and poor governance by any standards and it sends a clear message that the
economic meltdown is here to stay - as long as Zanu PF is in power.

                    Lately, Zanu PF's "champion" of economic
turnaround Gideon Gono was left with egg on his face when the central bank
spent millions of scarce foreign currency to acquire fake fertiliser for the
country. Whether this was incompetence or corruption or both, it remains
unknown, but one thing for sure is that the value that this fertiliser will
add to the country is less than the old currency $10 trillion which failed
to make its way back to the system before the passing of currency reforms
deadline of August 21.

                    It is because of these reasons: fixation
with outdated and prehistoric foreign policies, poor governance, misrule,
endemic corruption, incompetence and disregard of the rule of law - that
renders the Zanu PF government incapable of ever achieving economic
turnaround for this country - even if it is given a life time of trying!

                    As never before, our salvation now lies in
our hands. We are the voters responsible for putting the Zanu PF government
in power. I call upon all of us whether one is currently an ordinary member
of the MDC or Zanu PF or whether one is in the police, army or any other
profession, to put our minds and efforts together and become economic
freedom fighters and work towards removing this corrupt and anti-economic
development government.

                     Let us create a future for our children!
Totambura here nenhamo isu tiine simba rekubvisa nhamo yacho? (We surely
shouldn't suffer in a land of plenty).

                    Tawanda Sahayi,


                    Saddened by death of cricket

                    By Loud Ramakgapola

                    DARLINGTON Majonga's story "Sabotage for the
love of cricket?" (Zimbabwe Independent, November 3) made sad reading about
the death of cricket in the country.

                    I'm sad about the fire that destroyed
Houghton's Cricket Academy, I'm sad about the fire at Harare Sports Club and
I'm sad I can no longer watch Brian Lara, Andrew Flintoff, Graeme Smith,
Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini at my favourite Queens Sports Club.

                    It's really sad that cricket has taken such
a knocking.

                    I'm sad because I was one of the blacks who
benefited in the late 1990s when I was a teacher in the Bulawayo western
schools. We were trained and given certificates to become coaches at our

                    We used to benefit from the presence of
Henry Olonga at our schools. It was nice to learn the game and then later
see top-class players in Zimbabwe.

                    It's sad that there are people working
against the development of cricket. We really miss top-class cricket and if
top guys like Heath Streak can be persuaded to come back, the better for the

                    * Loud Ramakgapola writes from Bulawayo.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parastatals Passing the Buck to the Softest Target

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Mavis Makuni

The talk being heard these days about the need for parastatals and other
public sector service delivery entities to charge higher tariffs as the only
way to dig themselves out of the quagmire of corruption, inefficiency and
mismanagement that has bankrupted most of them, is a shameless act of
passing the buck to the softest target -- the consumer.

It is fashionable these days for any entity where the chickens are finally
coming home to roost after many years of corruption, financial
mismanagement, inefficiency, pillaging, top-heavy management structures and
incessant interference by political heavyweights, to conclude that the
easiest way out is to turn on hapless consumers.

Among parastatals and organisations loudly mooting stratospheric tariffs as
the panacea to their self-inflicted troubles are the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority, (ZESA) the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), Air
Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company and local authorities such
as Harare.

It's daylight robbery, say I. An analysis of the chaos at any of these
organisations will prove that they have not got to where they are because of
lack of revenue but because of its abuse and poor corporate governance. Fees
and tariffs paid by hard-working consumers have been squandered on buying
fleets of expensive vehicles for managers in top-heavy structures. To add
insult to injury, this has not been money well spent. It is well known that
one of the most consistent findings of commissions inquiring into the
operations of parastatals is the ruinous impact of nepotism.

Some of these institutions have been flooded with relatives, friends and
cronies of people in high places, who unfortunately, have run the
organisations to the ground because of incompetence and other shortcomings.
Most of these people are not qualified for the big positions they are thrust
into but command out-of-this-world salaries and perks, thus bleeding the
coffers dry. Because most of these appointees have hotline access to
heavyweights in high places, they are capable of throwing their weight
around and getting away with absolute murder.

As a result, some parastatals have become places where anything and all
things are possible -- a lethal recipe guaranteed to wipe out any national
objectives or benefits.

That is why stories have surfaced from time to time of abuses such as chief
executive officers allocating themselves eight or more 'company' cars or
converting the organisation's assets to personal use. In a recent row
involving a CEO of a parastatal it was revealed how he had regularly sent
gangs of workers from the organisation to tend his farm at taxpayers'
expense. The ongoing row at Harare's Town House over the suspension of town
clerk, Nomutsa Chideya, has given consumers a shocking insight into how
revenues raised from the service charges levied from them are abused. There
is a no-expense-spared culture as far as meeting the extravagant demands of
officials is concerned. The helpful mud-slinging enabled the residents of
Harare to learn that while they have gone without water for hours or even
days on end, fire tenders have been dispatched to fill swimming pools and
water gardens at the residences of members of the Commission running the
affairs of the city of Harare. This is just one example of how resources and
equipment that are supposed to be used for the benefit of all residents are
diverted to meet the selfish needs of individuals.

Is it any wonder that service delivery is non-existent in the capital when
the abuses described above can only be the tip of an iceberg? When
organisations such as the Harare City Council clamour for economic tariffs
and service charges, they are asking the public to pay for the extravagance
of greedy and selfish individuals and surely this should not be allowed to
continue. These entities are already abusing the revenues they are
collecting now. Levying higher service charges and tariffs simply means
forcing consumers to throw more money into a bottomless pit into which the
frivolous and corrupt can continue to dip their fingers with impunity. It
has nothing to do with improving or even maintaining service delivery.

At present, residents in many parts of Harare go without water and
electricity for hours or even days on end. There is no garbage collection
and householders are obliged to devise their own ways of disposing of
domestic waste. These include burning or burying the stuff. However, despite
the fact that the entities concerned are failing to meet their end of the
bargain, they faithfully, without fail, demand payment of tariffs and
service charges every month. They have no qualms about increasing tariffs by
astronomical percentages for non-existent services. What every consumer
wants to know is where this money goes.

In gearing up to make a killing by squeezing consumers even harder, ZINWA
has been trying to justify the move with self-serving but unconvincing
rhetoric. The public is being told ad nauseam that existing infrastructure
is no longer adequate to meet the demands of an increased urban population.

This excuse would have made sense at independence in 1980 when the outgoing
colonial government could have been blamed for deliberately not planning for
the future. But to complain about inadequate or dilapidated infrastructure
after almost 30 years of independence is self-indictment for the government
and ruling party. The fact that they have been caught flat-footed because of
their failure since 1980 to lay any foundations for the future does not
justify the scramble now underway to squeeze blood out of stone. The taxes
and levies Zimbabweans have paid over the years should have been used wisely
to take care of eventualities instead of affording the ruling elites lavish

The impact of official dereliction of duty, abuse and lack of vision is
suddenly being felt as things fall apart all round. ZESA wants to increase
tariffs when even at current levels, it is not supplying electricity most of
the time. What are consumers paying more for? Air Zimbabwe, which probably
has the highest turnover of CEOs in the world, increases fares regularly in
inverse proportion to the deterioration of its services. The authorities
must realise that their belief that if all else fails after they have messed
up the solution is to pile the financial pressure on the long-suffering
consumer is myopic and dangerous. Very soon that overburdened consumer will
simply not be able to pay. What, then?

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mahoso a Desperate Man

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Rashweat Mukundu

The chairperson of the Media and Information Commission (MIC), Dr Tafataona
Mahoso is a desperate man.

One would sympathise with the Law Society of Zimbabwe statement, a few weeks
ago, that responding to the many allegations that Mahoso makes about
everyone except himself is such an agonising decision because it is an
exercise in futility.

In making responses to Mahoso, the hope is that citizens would benefit from
a clear understanding of issues and disabuse them of the hysterical writings
of the MIC chairman.

Writing in The Sunday Mail this week, Mahoso attacked ZUJ, MISA, LSZ, MAZ,
MMPZ, IJAZ, the list is endless, accusing these organisations of not only
being confused about AIPPA, but also of having other motives beyond their
stated mandates.

For the record, at no point did MISA or any progressive organisation or
persons, to my knowledge, commend AIPPA and at no point has Mahoso been
asked to do anything for the media, because he is simply incapable of doing
anything positive.

The question would be which media would Mahoso assist when the same
commission he presides over has shut four newspapers, and caused the
harassment, arrests and personal suffering of hundreds of media workers.

MISA and many other organisations and people in Zimbabwe have indeed
consistently reminded Mahoso that he has done nothing good for the media and
that AIPPA is incapable of doing anything positive till the end of time.

This failure is aptly demonstrated by his use of the so-called Media Fund to
shut newspapers that are ironically supposed to contribute to the fund.

By his own admission, he has used all the resources in the Media Fund, set
up under AIPPA, to fight legal battles with the very constituency he is
supposed to help develop.

Whose interests is Mahoso and the MIC representing? As the LSZ asked, who
appointed Mahoso and who is he accountable to?

Certainly not the media.

The MIC has proven over the years that it is one apparatus of state
repression and Mahoso gets his instructions, as was shown in the
accreditation court case of Kelvin Jakachira, from the intelligence entity
which houses his postal address.

Mahoso justifies AIPPA by arguing that the fact that the LSZ used it to
demand a right to respond to his attacks in The Sunday Mail means that the
law is okay. Mahoso deliberately tries to mislead readers that media houses
need a law compelling them to afford one a right to reply. Any knowledgeable
media person would know that the right to reply is part of the modus
operandi of any serious and well-meaning media organisation.

This of course does not include The Sunday Mail and other state owned
newspapers, which have operated for years now without observance of ethics
and general media practice.

There is no need for a law like AIPPA to compel media houses to afford
citizens the right to reply, this should be standard practice. Indeed there
is no need for a law like AIPPA to register media houses and journalists as
Mahoso is currently doing.

Mahoso gloats in his article that the MIC has done well in defending AIPPA,
he does not say at what cost to the development of the media in Zimbabwe and
at what cost to the rights of citizens to receive and impart information.
And for whose benefit.

Mahoso was deployed to defend AIPPA and he now believes his own lies about
the role of the media and its relationship with the state. For a man of his
age, wisdom seems to have evaded him.

Thus he argues that the relationship between the media and the state should
be one of reverence as he does to his own masters. He deliberately forgets
that no one forced the current leadership to run for office. And when in
office, whether by hook or crook, they should be open to scrutiny and not
seek to hide under repressive laws and sycophantic academics.

The argument that the media in any democracy should not be put under state
control will remain as valid for as long as the world exist. The reason why
the legal, medical and engineering practices are partially controlled by the
state is because they deal with serious socio-economic issues that, in fact,
pose a danger to society, should, as an example someone masquerade as a
legal practitioner, a doctor or an engineer.

On the other hand the media and journalism are a profession primarily about
one's right to freely express themselves. The right to receive and impart
information, be it by journalists, columnists, opinions writers, fiction
authors, writers of letters to the editor, cannot be made a privilege of
only a few as is now the case under AIPPA.

Everyone in society has a right to speak through any medium of his or her
choice. By registering media houses and journalists, Mahoso and company are
making that right a privilege for a few, who happen to carry licences and
certificates of registration.

This right to impart and receive information was taken way from four
newspapers in the past three years. The choice of what to publish and who to
employ in any media organisation should be left to the individual who so
desires. Indeed private media organisations are set for profit among other
reasons, but they should get the same rights to receive and impart
information even for profit because there is nothing immoral or
illegal/wrong with that.

Private media organisations, before AIPPA and Mahoso, were legitimate
organisations that operated legally, paid taxes, employed thousands and were
making a contribution towards the good of society. Simply because the same
publications challenge state excesses, expose human rights violations and
many vices of this government, they are then seen as enemies of the ruling
elite. Mahoso confuses his and his masters' interests on one hand, with
those of the generality of citizens. On the contrary newspapers such as The
Daily News were popular and indeed made it because they were loved by the

The people of Zimbabwe and not Britain the EU or US made The Daily News what
it had become, because it resonated with their miserable conditions of
existence. Mahoso's cries to be invited to the Quill Club are like cries of
an executioner to be invited to the funeral of his/her victim.

It is for this reason that AIPPA and its chief protector Mahoso are
unnecessary in Zimbabwe and detrimental to the development of the media and
enjoyment of citizens' right to freedom of expression.

Their existence is a political project that has become a horrifying
nightmare we are all hoping to wake up from sooner rather than later. As
sure as the sun rises every day, we are in no doubt that such a day will

Rashweat Mukundu is the National Director for MISA Zimbabwe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe Not One to Take US to 'The Zim We Want'

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

National Agenda With Bornwell Chakaodza

The test of the strength of a free and democratic society in this day and
age is its capacity to undertake debate and accept honest dissent.

Even with our differences, the importance of tolerating each other cannot be

It is in this context that I see the recent launch of the document by some
church leaders (not all the church leaders of Zimbabwe) entitled The
Zimbabwe We Want: Towards a National Vision for Zimbabwe in a positive and
favourable light.

Not that what is said in the document is anything new. No. It is all
familiar stuff which has been discussed by all and sundry since the outbreak
of the Zimbabwean crisis more than six years ago.

The crisis has not gone away and as long as it continues to rear its ugly
head, organised pressure groups and individuals must never tire of speaking
out. Candour, frankness, dialogue and discussion: these are essential for

In any event, it falls on the entire Zimbabwean society including the
churches, the labour movement, the media and the opposition parties to map
out the way forward for our country in the spirit of creating the conditions
necessary for a new beginning under the Almighty God.

The beauty of the church document is that it is not propagandising for any
political party or political ideology. It is providing a platform for public
debate and discussion on such issues as the land question, the economic
crisis, democracy and good governance, reconciliation, electoral laws,
constitutional reform, sovereignty, patriotism, human rights and a host of
other issues.

As we navigate our way to a political solution to our crisis, it is crucial
that everything be put on the table. Consensus is growing among all
Zimbabweans that our situation is not sustainable although it has been
sustained this far, albeit with untold suffering. Where there are divergent
views is on how to get to "The Zimbabwe We Want".

Some like the heads of Christian Denominations which prepared the document
under discussion believe in the slower course of changing ZANU PF opinion
and position and seeing President Mugabe as the key and the epicentre of the
solution to this country's crisis.

Others like the Zimbabwean Christian Alliance and the majority of
Zimbabweans believe that as long as President Mugabe is at the helm, there
will be no headway. Most Zimbabweans have become cynical and sceptical about
anyone who tries to engage Zanu PF in the search for a solution to our
political crisis.

And these sceptics including this columnist were vindicated by the unhelpful
comments by the President at the launch of the document nearly two weeks
ago. President Mugabe did a demolition job on this initiative by these men
of cloth. Whereas this group of churchmen, in a rare attempt to confront the
real issues at stake said in the document:

"We pride ourselves in our sovereignty, but that sovereignty does not reside
in one individual or one group. It resides in the people of Zimbabwe as a
collective. The authority to govern is derived from the people. Those who
govern, regardless of whatever political opinions they may have, must be
accountable to the people."

The President in his demolition job of the document said: "The Zimbabwe we
want must be our Zimbabwe. We must have it, own it, keep it and defend it.
It cannot be the Zimbabwe we want if we give it away so easily, under
whatever guises. It must be independent, it must be sovereign and it must be
a free country which is not fettered by foreign domination".

I challenge anyone to give me a better and more eloquent way of pouring cold
water and scorn on something that mature Christians crafted in all
seriousness in an attempt to provide a road map for our troubled country.
I'm sure we all agree including Bishop Trevor Manhanga and company that
these are very interesting times we find ourselves in.

President Mugabe is not the man to take us to 'The Zimbabwe We Want'. His
best days are behind him and Zimbabwe must now move on without him. For our
President to live in the past it's understandable. It is difficult to be
anything else twenty six years after liberation and still in power. Given
this kind of longevity for anyone, power invariably becomes arrogant and
does not like to be challenged or held accountable by mere mortals.

Take the issue of sovereignty for example. Relatively young and energetic
political leaders the world over are now talking about open frontiers and
not sovereignty for its own sake. The buzz word is sovereignty for
prosperity and not for poverty. Countries are now talking of sharing
sovereignty in the sense of trading-off some of their sovereignty in return
for prosperity and development for their own people.

The European Union (EU) is a very good example of this. After all, who in
this world has eaten sovereignty and declared: After action, satisfaction!

The heads of Christian denominations who have come up with 'The Zimbabwe We
Want' document must be told in no uncertain terms that though what they have
done is commendable, Zimbabweans are beyond awareness of the problems they
face and what they need the political authorities to do is to take concrete
and practical action to resolve this crisis. There is fatigue all round now
and the people of this country are impatient for change.

Yes, documents gave us benchmarks, they give us direction but what is much
more important is action, action and more action. I do think that there is a
lot of common ground that binds us together as Zimbabweans.

In fact, going through this church document one finds many fundamental
issues that bring us together as a people regardless of race, tribe or
creed. Where there is no consensus or broad agreement, let us sit down and
discuss for the good of Zimbabwe. Let all of us have open minds.

In conclusion, I want to say that it is not difficult to condemn and condemn
people who are trying to do something. But we need to be constructive from
time to time. Some Zimbabweans are trying to resolve this crisis in their
different ways. It does not matter much if some of them are failing. At
least they are trying. Trevor Manhanga and his colleagues are trying. Gideon
Gono and his team at the central Bank are trying. So is Archbishop Pius
Ncube and other militant organisations doing it their own way.

The difference between the people mentioned above and some of us is that
they are trying and we are not. They are trying and perhaps failing in the
process. The most important thing however it to keep trying in the hope that
one day soon we will all arrive.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Swedish Envoy Calls for End to Farm Invasions

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Nkululeko Sibanda Own Correspondent

The Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sten Rylander says the current economic
meltdown can only be arrested if the government stops the continuing
upheavals on the farms.

Addressing delegates to a Farmer Study Group Initiatives in Africa
conference in Kadoma this week, Rylander said Zimbabwean authorities should
stop the eviction of white commercial farmers committed to agricultural

"At this point in time there is an urgent need, as I see it, to turn the
tide again, to bring the situation (on the farms) back to normal and to
bring the fast-track land reform programme to an end . . . to stop chasing
keenly committed farmers off their land. There is also need to go for
changes and reforms which will encourage and realise the bridge-building
that all of us are so keen about, both within the Zimbabwean nation and the
international community at large," Rylander said.

"It is well known to all of you that Zimbabwe has been going through
turbulent and difficult times during the past few years. This (land reform
programme) has led to a very unfortunate economic meltdown and to an
unprecedented loss of production, particularly in agriculture.

"Contrary to what we can still hear today from some officials in the
Zimbabwean government, most of us in the international community, including
Sweden and the European Union, were not against the land reform programme in
this country."

The Swedish Ambassador said the international community accepted the idea of
land reforms as there was great need to have a programme that sought to
address imbalances created during the colonial era.

"On the contrary, we saw a great need and urgency for land reforms aimed at
correcting the gross injustices inflicted upon the nation during the
colonial era.

". . . But we did have, and still have, critical views about the ways in
which the land reforms have been pursued and implemented," Rylander said.

He however stressed that for Zimbabwe to succeed in building bridges with
the West, there was need for a dimensional shift that would allow some white
commercial farmers to either retain their land or remain on the land without
interference from any quarter.

Rylander said it imperative to restore the rule of law, good governance and
respect for property rights if the West was to take Zimbabwe seriously.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mkapa Initiative Dead in the Water

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Njabulo Ncube

A bridge-building initiative by former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa
appears to have failed to take off, four months after the Zimbabwean
government announced his involvement in attempts to end a six-year
diplomatic row between it and the British government.

President Robert Mugabe, under immense pressure from the West to change his
policies, announced in July that Mkapa had agreed to mediate in what Harare
insists is a "bilateral" dispute with former colonial master Britain.

Whitehall has denied the existence of a bilateral dispute with Harare,
saying the country was reeling from bad governance and mismanagement of the
economy, especially since the advent of controversial land reforms in 2000.

Diplomatic sources said the Mkapa initiative, like many before it, had
suffered a stillbirth.

The diplomatic sources said the failure by the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) heads of state and government to deliberate on Mkapa's
involvement in trying to tackle the Zimbabwean crisis at their recent
meetings in Maseru, Lesotho and two weeks ago in Midrand, South Africa,
spoke volumes about the initiative.

"We have information Mkapa is not working on anything. In fact, we knew it
was a time-buying gimmick by Zimbabwe. We have been asking for the agenda
and terms of reference but nothing has materialised," added one diplomat,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The British Embassy in Harare confirmed that London had not received any
official communication from Mkapa.

"We have had no recent contact with former president Mkapa," said British
Embassy spokesman, Gillian Dare. "Neither he nor anyone on his behalf has
approached the British government about mediation," Dare said.

She stressed that London did not accept the existence of a bilateral dispute
as the premise for any initiative to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

"We do not accept that this is a bilateral issue. The crisis in Zimbabwe is
a domestic one based on poor economic and political governance. If Mr Mkapa
can persuade President Mugabe to undertake the policy changes that
Zimbabweans urgently want for a more stable and prosperous future, we will
support his efforts in any way we can, as we would any international efforts
aimed at achieving real progress in Zimbabwe."

Powerful western nations, the United States and France, have indicated that
the increasingly isolated Zimbabwean government's overtures to Britain were
meaningless unless Zimbabweans first engaged in political dialogue among
themselves before seeking a deeper rapprochement with foreigners.

A church-authored vision document released a fortnight ago has also
underscored the importance of national political dialogue to resolve the
country's nagging six-year political and economic crisis.

ZANU PF has repeatedly refused to engage the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in dialogue, insisting instead on talking to British Prime
Minister Tony Blair.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Church Has Never Been a Force in Politics

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Mordecai Mutiswa Betera
United Kingdom

- It is not the role that churchmen play in politics that I wish to dispute
but rather, it is what they should have done. First, the church has never
yielded any real influence in Zimbabwean politics. In general, they are
viewed with suspicion.

Indeed, no one has ever placed that obligation on the church and thereafter
engaged in an appraisal of their performance. They choose to do so
themselves -- and much to the disquiet of many. Many a time, when ordinary
people sought an answer to daily hardships in colonial times, the church has
sought to pacify them by trying to convince them that only an act of
providence would free the people, not revolution!

Well, that can only be totally untrue for, had it not been for President
Robert Mugabe, where would we be today? Quite like our counterparts in
Australia, perhaps. I am not referring to the incessant skirmishes between
the police and protesters and the President's view of these. He is right on
these as well and, though no one believes it, he wishes no one any harm but
that these people observe the correct procedures.

To suggest that the clergy will serve their nation better by aligning with
the protesters is simply adding to the nation's confusion. These protests
are completely misplaced. Constitutional matters, correctly conceived and
intended for real change, are addressed through parliamentary debates.
Indeed, they are often initiated by protest groups, but how does someone
take the role of an expert in the campaign for constitutional change, with
no discussions involving the government in power?

The fact that that government may be objectionable to the supposed expert is
reason to engage it in discussions. Furthermore, one cannot be a credible
advocate in this regard and at the same time seem or overtly support one
political faction while rejecting a significant other. Does Dr Lovemore
Madhuku seriously believe that if President Mugabe's government falls -- 
hopefully peacefully after serving us so well, he will then succeed in
effecting constitutional change to appease disgruntled ZANU PF supporters -- 
and call that a constitution for the nation?

These are time and national-resource wasters. Finally, losing an election is
not a big deal. In a civilised society such as Zimbabwe, my vote is a
floating one. I can change my loyalty from one leader to another at any
time, depending on who delivers. I do not cling to party loyalty in a
fanatical way, but give it legitimate loyalty -- and we should all give ZANU
PF support at a time like this when we are besieged by international

Party membership may be for life -- I have not changed mine since I opted to
support Mugabe in 1962 as a young boy, but the party can lose its support at
the ballot box, depending on performance. However, when matters of great
importance such as land reform feature, I support the party which ultimately
feels for its people and nurtures their elementary aspirations. I do not
think that there are many churchmen -- generally middle class -- who find
the land issue a lucrative one to address.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Econet Targets 20 000 New Users Weekly

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Staff Reporter

Econet has begun a plan to sign up 20 000 new subscribers per week, while
CEO Douglas Mboweni says efforts are in progress to raise additional foreign
currency for further network expansion.

The company is close to completing a major expansion programme at a cost of
US$20 million to increase capacity from 500 000 to 800 000. Under the
current phase, Econet is releasing 300 000 new lines, which will be at 20
000 every week.

"We want to carry on releasing lines beyond the current 300 000 that we
promised will be released over the next weeks. Foreign currency is the issue
for all of us in this country, but at Econet we believe that a solution will
be provided for us," said Mboweni.

In a statement, a spokesman for the company said the company had released
over 60 000 lines in the last three weeks and plans to release about 20 000
lines a week through about 30 dealers as well as the company's shops

Econet says market research has shown that there are currently about 100 000
people in Zimbabwe who have a cell phone but do not have a line, and the
priority is to get these people all connected in the next two weeks. "Once
this has been done it is expected that queues will ease off, but the demand
will still be there," said the spokesman.

Mboweni has questioned claims that the mobile phone market in Zimbabwe could
reach a penetration of 40 percent, saying Econet's own market analysis is
that real demand in Zimbabwe has fallen dramatically because of the economic

In the region, only South Africa and Botswana have reached that level of
penetration, and they have very strong economies at the moment, while the
rest of the region is still below 15 percent penetration, Mboweni said.

"The recent expansion we have done will take Zimbabwe to about 10 percent.
It will be hard to push above 15 percent while disposable incomes are being
eroded so quickly by inflation," he said.

The company is currently leading mobile service providers in a legal
challenge to a law that would give state fixed phone operator Tel*One a
monopoly over international traffic, saying the law threatens their
viability and could force them to bill subscribers making foreign calls in
foreign currency.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Camps Bury Hatchet

Financial Gazette (Harare)

November 8, 2006
Posted to the web November 9, 2006

Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter

Factions seek unity.

The two factions of Zimbabwe's splintered main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have embarked on fresh moves to bury
the hatchet, a year after splitting acrimoniously in October 2005.

Insiders in the rival factions, which both claim to be the legitimate core
of the party, told The Financial Gazette that committees to spearhead a
process of reconciliation had been established on both sides and had been
tasked with initiating fresh talks on the possibility of re-uniting.

The sources said the reunification of the two factions was one of the items
on the agenda of a meeting of Morgan Tsvangirai's national executive last
weekend. They said the Arthur Mutambara camp of the party held a similar
meeting simultaneously, possibly to choose a committee to spearhead the

"Zimbabweans are suffering. There is misery and impoverishment and the only
prescription to liquidate misery and agony is a new Zimbabwe and the MDC is
a midwife of that new Zimbabwe. So it is important to strengthen the midwife
for a new Zimbabwe to be born."

Chamisa's counterpart in the rival camp, Gabriel Chaibva, denied any
specific talks with the Tsvangirai camp.

"Our first prize is national reunification of all democratic forces and that
has had no takers," said Chaibva.

These fresh attempts at reunification follow the recent signing of a
non-aggression pact to end hostilities between the two feuding sides, which
had previously indicated that their differences were irreconcilable.

The cooperation agreement, which was reportedly signed in South Africa,
called on both factions to stop making public statements ridiculing each

The MDC gave President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF a stiff challenge at
the polls in 2000 -- just a year after its launch -- and during the
presidential election in 2002, when Tsvangirai lost by 400 000 votes.

But the party split last year after an October 12 meeting of its top
executive which could not agree on whether or not to participate in senate
elections the following month. Tsvangirai, leading a section that called for
a boycott of the elections, vetoed a narrow majority vote by his executive,
endorsing participation in the polls.

This opened a rift that has resulted in the opposition suffering a series of
crushing election defeats at the hands of ZANU PF, putting the leadership of
both camps under pressure from supporters to bury their differences.

But analysts say reuniting the two sides could be difficult, given the deep
personal differences between senior figures heading the rival groups. Since
the split, the two factions have hauled each other over the coals in public,
with the pro-Senate camp accusing the Tsvangirai faction of employing
violent tactics against those opposed to his leadership. Tsvangirai has
denied resorting to violence, and his supporters have accused the Mutambara
faction of seeking a compromise with ZANU PF.

Tsvangirai's committee will be chaired by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the group's
secretary for integration and reconciliation, and comprises Lucia Matibenga,
the faction's chairperson of the Women's Assembly, economic adviser Eddie
Cross, and Innocent Gonese, the secretary for legal affairs.

"We discussed the issue of the split and how to resolve the issue. We
appointed a committee to deal with the split and resolve how to get back
together. We made a decision for reintegration of leaders that left after
the October 2005 fallout," said a member of the committee, who declined to
be named, saying he was not authorised to speak on behalf of his party.

A source in the Mutambara camp confirmed that the faction had set up a
parallel committee, which would be led by the group's secretary general,
Welshman Ncube. Other members of the committee are Ncube's deputy, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, and Paul Themba Nyathi, the director of elections.

Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction, while denying the
establishment of a committee by his group, said unity [ends here..]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean bio-fuel project slows down

People's Daily

      The progress towards sustainable solutions to the energy crisis in
Zimbabwe through producing bio- fuel from jatropha has been slowed down due
to the lack of follow- up programs in the growing of jatropha trees, local
media reported on Thursday.

      The launch of the bio-diesel project at Harare polytechnic at the end
of last year caused a lot of excitement in the country. However, almost a
year after the launch, progress towards the commercial production of
bio-diesel has been checked by operational challenges, the official Newsnet

      Feasibility studies carried out at the University of Zimbabwe have
shown that bio-diesel is a sustainable solution to the country's energy
problems. The buying price of jatropha seeds was also benchmarked against
international diesel prices to promote farmers to grow jatropha. But the
responses from key institutions have not been positive.

      The infrastructural development bank has also not made any moves to
put up infrastructures for processing the seeds into bio- diesel.

      Workers said they lack the knowledge and resources to spread
information about growing jatropha which is a critical stage for the success
of the whole project.

      Source: Xinhua

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mathuthu sues Fingaz over hotel spending stories

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/10/2006 12:53:32
ONE of President Robert Mugabe's top lieutenants is suing a business weekly
over a series of reports about her alleged lavish spending of tax payers'

Thokozile Mathuthu, the governor for Matabeleland North is suing the
Financial Gazette weekly newspaper for $30 billion after it published
articles critical of her stay at a hotel, court documents revealed Friday.

According to court documents, Mathuthu does not deny staying in a top hotel
on a government account but queries the Financial Gazette's claim that she
blew $2 billion in tax payers' money.

Mathuthu also denies any involvement in an alleged attempt to restructure
the ruling Zanu PF party's top power structure, a plot allegedly hatched in
Tsholotsho by leading Zanu PF figures opposed to Joice Mujuru's bid for the
vice presidency.

Mathuthu said she had a "good name and reputation which were damaged by
the said articles".

Her lawyers, in papers filed Thursday, said: "The applicant denies that she
is in any way associated with the Tsholotsho group of political plotters and
that her visit to the area had any other agenda other than government

She has hired top Bulawayo law firm, Gula-Ndebele and partners to take on
the Financial Gazette.

Mathuthu also said her stay in the hotel "did not cost the government
anywhere near the amount of $2 billion alleged in the article."

She also denied that President Robert Mugabe summoned her over the incident.

"The reports were unlawful, false and malicious.They were understood by
the ordinary public to potray the plaintiff as an irresponsible, dishonest,
reckless, insensitive, nauseating, arrogant, corrupt, treacherous person
whose lavish extravagance knows no bounds," the papers said.

No comment was immediately available from the Financial Gazette

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The National Vision Document of Suspicious Verses

New Zimbabwe

THE debate around the recently released National Vision Document (NVD) has
so far suggested an emerging pathetic cover up for an evidently gigantic
ecumenical gaffe.

Since its release, there have been comments to the effect that 'The Zimbabwe
We Want' document is "good" and that those who see otherwise are barking up
the wrong tree. Only last week, a leading business weekly newspaper's editor
took a swipe at the critics and labeled them "bigots".

There has been little, if any at all, effort by commentators and journalists
to dig deeper for clues as to how all this began and to where it is leading

According to Bishop Trevor Manhanga, who so far appears to be the spokesman
for the Church Leaders, it was President Robert Mugabe who suggested that
they "go out to the people" and be his ears on what they want.

Be that as it may, questions immediately arise.

Am I alone in finding it shocking that the same church leaders who were in
the Constitutional Commission in 1999 will allow themselves to go and gather
the same information they gathered and handed over to Mugabe seven years

Is the Bishop seriously telling us that they rose up and took their bibles
and went to see Mugabe without the people's mandate, and they were told by
Mugabe to then go to the people? Is he telling us that when they met Mugabe
they didn't know what the people wanted and therefore could not say it to
Mugabe then and they had to go and ask?

Is it a people's Church which seeks audience with a tyrant without their
mandate and needs to be reminded by a tyrant that there are people to be
consulted? Are they visionaries who don't know what the people want or they
are tools ready to be used?

It goes without saying that the 1999 findings were more genuine because we
know that the government gave money to the Commission and sent it to the
people. We still remember the dramatic meetings throughout the country and
in South Africa. The reports are still there.

This is in contrast with the Church Leaders whose meetings are not easy to
remember and whose donors are unknown. What then is "good" about a document
which is essentially a summary of what we all have read and heard over the

Bishop Manhanga dares to say "give the process a chance". What process? What

This whole senseless thing about going to the people was a measure to cover
up for a dismal performance at the State House on May 25 where we saw for
ourselves elderly Bishops behaving like children.

If there was a concrete plan on the part of the Bishops on how to move
forward on all this, they would have told Mugabe that there was no need to
go and ask the people. As Church leaders who minister to a whole population
affected by Mugabe's policies, and who know what the people want, they would
have said it there and then. Instead, they offered their "support" for him
and told the whole nation that he was a "listening" leader.

To suggest that it is beyond their mandate for the Church leaders to offer
political clues to an afflicted people is to miss the point and to pull the
opposite direction against Jesus Christ.

It is the Church's duty to point at the people who are at the centre of
humanity's agonies. The people who were beaten and had their buttocks
roasted on stoves in 2000 belong to the Church. So are those killed by
Gukurahundi and displaced by Murambatsvina, the two projects carried by the
army whose commander is Mugabe.

It is, therefore, not over the top for the Church to "apportion blame". To
avoid apportioning blame is cowardice.

Jesus Christ of whom they are supposed to be his servants, called Herod the
"fox", cracked the whip when the situation demanded, and above all, he
refused to be associated with corrupt tyrants and the authors of the common
people's misery. Always he mingled with the victims of power.

He knew what the people wanted and did not need to meet Herod. He sought
modest solutions and went straight to mobilise the people without anybody's
funding and finally rode on a donkey to Jerusalem.

Just because the Church leaders did not have any plan they not only unwisely
accepted to "go to the people" and be Mugabe's ears, but they offered their
"support" and told us that he "listens".

Now that the document -- whose contents were pretty obvious anyway -- is
out, the same person whom were told listens has refused to accept what we
want and told us it's "not negotiable".

We see here an offensive inability to perform their duties in exact line
with the teachings of a creed they claim to stand for.

In a nutshell the whole premise of the Church's approach was wrong because
it left many loopholes for Mugabe to manipulate it as Archbishop Ncube has
always warned. It is generally a disservice to be praised by Mugabe and the
Church should have known that.

For instance, President Mugabe resents donor-funded organisations that dare
talk about the constitutional matters but why is it that he is at ease with
the Church leaders whom we know lead organisations funded by Western donors?

It is difficult to imagine that there is a Western donor who will fund the
launching of a suspicious document, which is a brainchild of people who
"support" Mugabe. They fund, mostly, developmental projects and so it is
hard to imagine that they bought this one.

So where will the money to print and launch the document in all the
provinces come from? Shall we purchase into the suggestion that a person
like Prof Marvelous Mhloyi spent all her time assisting in the writing of
the document all for free? Who will pay her?

It is the silence around these questions, which suggest that the Church
Leaders have been bought. This probably explains why they are operating with
this sense of guilt and this whole air of wanting to protect an image.

Like a barking dog in Saul Bellow's The Dean's December, we simply "ask for
the universe to open a little more" but a cabal of Bishops is shrinking it
further with their suspicious verses in the name of righteousness.

Mthulisi Mathuthu is a Zimbabwean journalist and New columnist.
Views expressed here are his own. He can be contacted at:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo graft probe cop transferred

New Zimbabwe

By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/10/2006 12:52:40
A ZIMBABWE Republic Police detective investigating Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo over corruption allegations has been transferred from
Harare, throwing the investigation into doubt.

Chombo, who is considered in political circles an "untouchable" due to close
links to President Robert Mugabe is accused of buying a personal vehicle
using money from the state-run bus firm, the Zimbabwe United Passenger
Company (Zupco).

Chombo also faces charges of receiving bribes in the purchases of buses at
the parastal among other charges.

The case's investigating officer, a Superintendent Ncube spoke Thursday only
to confirm that he had been transferred to Mutare but refused further

Sources said Ncube touched a raw nerve after arresting Zupco acting boss
Dr Chipo Dyanda on allegations that she had unlawfully released Zupco funds
to pay for legal costs for her jailed predecessor, Charles Nherera.

The sources added that Dyanda, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, is
Zanu PF District Coordinating Committee member in Zvimba, Mugabe's home

Zanu PF bigwigs are said to have been furious after her arrest in a matter
that has seen Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga also being dragged
before the courts on bribery allegations.

Matonga's case continuous.

Back to the Top
Back to Index