THE Zanu PF leadership is up in arms against Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa for continuing farm disruptions and new
In a development which has brought to the fore policy contradictions
in government and the ruling party, political leaders in Mashonaland have
asked Vice-President Joseph Msika to intervene.
The leaders, through senior politburo member and party spokesman
Nathan Shamuyarira, have written to Msika to convey to the presidency their
recommendations to nullify Mutasa's recent land offer letters and illegal
farm invasions spearheaded by top army officials, the police and senior
In a letter to Msika, dated October 19 and delivered on October 25,
Shamuyarira said the Mashonaland West political leadership, in consultation
with traditional leaders and land committees, had recommended that the
remaining white farmers be allowed to continue farming on the small pieces
of land still in their possession. This is in sharp contrast to Mutasa's
position that white farmers should be kicked off the land. A number of
farmers on the list are facing litigation after they failed to vacate the
land as required by the law.
Last month the Zimbabwe Independent reported that the Minister of
State for Special Affairs Responsible for Land and Resettlement Programme
Flora Bhuka tabled before the politburo a report proposing a further
expropriation of white commercial farms because "there were still too many
white farmers on the land".
The report was rejected as "retrogressive".
Party sources this week said the letter from Mashonaland West had
eroded Mutasa's political standing which has been premised on his firm grip
on land distribution. The sources said it was also useful to note that the
letter was sent straight to Msika and not even copied to Mutasa and Bhuka
who are directly in charge of land reform.
The party leadership said white farmers should be allowed to continue
producing on the smaller pieces of land because they worked with the local
people. The letter followed an earlier meeting with Msika at Cooksey Hall
during which the VP rebuked the leaders for failing to deal with
land-related problems in the province.
"In line with the policy provisions which were outlined in the meeting
we wish to assist the governor's office in the implementation of the
resolutions, which were made at the (meeting with Msika)," Shamuyarira said.
The resolutions include giving of Rydings School in Karoi back to the
community and property, including $800 million, which was misappropriated
when the school was taken over by Mutasa's lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa.
Mlotshwa claimed ownership of Rydings School on the basis of an offer
letter that allocated him Enthorpe Farm on which the school is built.
He proceeded to appoint businessman Themba Mliswa - Mutasa's nephew -
as chairman of the school's board of governors. The trustees of the school
contested the takeover and wrote a petition to President Robert Mugabe while
challenging the acquisition in court. The court has barred Mlotshwa and
Mliswa from interfering with the administration, assets and programmes at
The leadership also recommended "the removal of those members of the
Zimbabwe National Army, the police, and senior civil servants who illegally
occupied farms in Mashonaland West province".
The politicians recommended "the nullification of the offer letters
issued to Noma Mliswa for Summerhill Farm, Rotina Mavhunga (the diesel n'anga)
for Baguta Extension, Brigadier General Dube for Grande Parade and Brigadier
Mtisi for Folliot farm and their eviction from the said farms". The
leadership recommended the removal of Themba Mliswa from Spring Fever farm
in Karoi because of "continued confusion he has caused and indiscipline".
GOVERNMENT plans to launch a second phase of the price crackdown
specifically targeting Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firms and
Some companies have already received an ultimatum from National
Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa, to
reduce prices of all imported basic commodities by November 23.
Business managers were instructed to reduce the prices or risk being
A confidential document leaked to the Zimbabwe Independent this week
reveals that plans for a second price blitz are advanced for a possible
launch in the next two weeks.
The document, compiled by the Ministry of Industry and International
Trade, is expected to be presented to cabinet next week. Once cabinet
approves the plan, the NIPC will, together with security agencies, launch
The document gives an update of the current pricing situation and
recommends that a new crackdown be launched to deal with "price madness".
"It is our conviction that the revolution which was started in June
should be brought to its logical conclusion, otherwise the government would
have set a very bad precedent by arresting people, then release them and
leave them doing exactly what they were arrested for," the document says.
It said there was need to deal severely with businesspeople because
they had shown that they "will never repent".
The document, dated November 7, recommends that government also deals
with the ZSE which it said had "become the biggest haven of speculators".
"Funds being invested on ZSE are not helping Zimbabwe in any way. There is
no justification whatsoever for the mega returns obtaining on ZSE.
"At a market capitalisation of more than $7 000 trillion, or $7 qdrln,
ZSE is destroying any effort to fight inflation.
"This form of inflationary money is unacceptable. Government should be
able to track the biggest speculators on the bourse and scrutinise their
motives," the document says.
"There is need for investors to account where they got the huge funds
they are dabbling on the ZSE. Information at hand indicates that most of
these funds are from parallel market activities. The ZSE is also providing a
huge cash base for parallel market activities to complete a vicious circle.
There is need to radically review commissions and levies charged on ZSE
The report also recommended that government uses the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Act, which is yet to be assented to by President
Robert Mugabe, to take over foreign companies that were allegedly increasing
prices "to destabilise the economy".
"Once this Bill has been given the crucial presidential assent, the
ministry will move with speed to make sure that all companies working to
destabilise the economy are indigenised," it says.
"We have also noted with concern that some big companies are already
employing tactics to evade the indigenisation process by going into mergers
with black-owned companies with a clear intention to mask the true ownership
of their companies."
ZIMBABWE'S year-on-year inflation rate for October surged to 14 840,
6% as the economic crisis continues to worsen despite efforts to control
prices of basic goods.
This represents a 6 848,5% increase from September's 7 982,1%. The
inflation rate was 1 070% in October last year.
According to Central Statistical Office figures leaked to the Zimbabwe
Independent this week, month-on-month inflation, which had temporarily eased
over the past two months because of a controversial price blitz in June,
jumped 96,9 percentage points from 38,7% in September to 135,6% last month.
Figures obtained yesterday showed that annual broad money (M3) growth
continued in August, firming to 17 806,8% from 17 073,1% in July.
The growth in broad money was largely driven by a 25 785,7% increase
in credit to the private sector, while credit to government and public
enterprises grew by 14 504,2% and 6 418,9% respectively.
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group economist David Mupamhadzi said the
inflation rate reflected a failed economy.
"We are now feeling those effects of the printing of money,"
Mupamhadzi said, adding that "the rise will fuel demands for higher wages
from workers battling to catch up with rising prices of goods and services".
Economic consultant John Robertson said there was need for monetary
restraint and a change in economic policy to rein in inflation.
"The authorities have to appreciate that we are in a crisis and do
something right now," said Robertson.
He projected higher inflation in the short-term, saying prospects of a
decline were almost impossible.
Constantine Chimakure/Shakeman Mugari
THE viability of independent newspapers is under serious threat after
government this week ordered privately-owned papers to slash their cover
The National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) ordered the
Zimbabwe Independent and the Financial Gazette to reduce prices from $600
000 to $150 000.
The Independent's sister publication, The Standard, was also directed
to reduce its cover price. The directive comes after police arrested the
chief executive of the Zimind Publishers, Raphel Khumalo, and Financial
Gazette CEO Jacob Chisese last Friday on allegations of increasing prices of
their newspapers without NIPC approval.
Khumalo and Chisese were quizzed over the increases. They were
summoned to appear before the NIPC at Runhare House on Monday and told to
revert to the old price of $150 000, an amount they say cannot cover their
Khumalo said the directive could lead to closure of the newspapers
that are already struggling to survive because of escalating costs of fuel,
labour, ink, and newsprint.
It currently costs about $950 000 to print a single copy of the
Independent, he said. "A newspaper is not a basic commodity. It seems that
when all the media laws have failed to get the newspapers closed this new
crackdown could finally force private newspapers to shut down," Khumalo
While government keeps the lid on the prices of newspapers, other
costs that come with the printing of papers have skyrocketed.
For instance, a printing plate that cost $1,9 million in June is now
going for $12 million. A plate is used to transfer an image on to newsprint.
No newspaper in Zimbabwe can function without them. Every page uses a
separate plate for printing.
The cost of films has also gone up drastically over the past three
months. A single roll of film that cost $49 million in June now costs $315
million before Value Added Tax. The films are imported from Japan. Foreign
currency is not available on the official market.
The cost of fuel, a key input in the distribution of newspapers, has
also gone up dramatically, tracking the US dollar. At Monday's meeting
Khumalo and Chisese failed to reach an understanding with NIPC chairman
The two executives explained to Masimirembwa that the price of $150
000 was unviable. They told him that newspapers could be forced to shut down
because of crippling loses. But he was indifferent to their plight.
He insisted that his commission had only approved a $150 000 peg and
that this price should be in operation for three months.
In approving the $150 000, the NIPC used the state-owned Sunday Mail
as its benchmark. Privately-owned newspapers however argued that their cost
structures were different from those of the state-owned newspapers which get
Privately-owned newspapers have to source fuel at $1,3 million a
litre. State-owned papers also get a trade discount on newsprint, a
privilege that private newspapers do not enjoy.
The renewed pressure on private newspapers comes less than a month
after President Robert Mugabe appointed Masimirembwa, a Herald columnist, to
chair the NIPC.
Even before his appointment, Masimirembwa did not make a secret of his
hatred for the Independent.
In his column on October 26, Masimirembwa included the Independent
among "enemies of the people" for publishing an article that Mugabe had
named Rural and Social Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Defence
minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Speaker of the House of Assembly John Nkomo and
former Finance minister Simba Makoni as his possible successors, and
suggested none of them was up to it.
"The so-called independent media owes it to the people of Zimbabwe to
report the truth, guided always by a desire to build our nation, and not be
an instrument in promoting the divisive agenda of former colonial masters,"
Masimirembwa wrote in the overheated language of the ruling party.
"If the so-called independent media abdicates this responsibility,
then we can be forgiven for labelling them 'enemies of the people' not
worthy of belonging to the corpus of media houses that deserve the tag the
When Masimirembwa was approached recently by a reporter from the
Independent after a press conference, he dismissed him saying: "Read what I
think about the Independent in today's Herald. You are not a serious
HOME Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi has been slapped with a $34
trillion lawsuit for the unlawful arrest and detention of MDC and civil
society leaders who were on their way to a meeting organised by Save
Zimbabwe Campaign at Zimbabwe Grounds on March 11.
Mohadi is being sued in his official capacity as the Minister of Home
Affairs together with Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri who is
responsible for the day-to-day running of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
There are also 17 other defendants - all police officers - including the
officer commanding police the Law and Order section Assistant Inspector
Musarashana Mabunda, Supt Tavaziva and Chief Supt Taengwa, both from the law
and order section. The three officers are being sued in their official as
well as personal capacities.
Among the 62 people seeking compensation from the ministry are leaders
of the two MDC factions Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, National
Constitution Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku and Sekai Holland, a senior
official in the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.
The opposition and civic society leaders had in August demanded $1, 2
trillion when they filed their notice of intention to sue but have reviewed
the compensation fee to $34 trillion in the summons they filed to all the 19
defendants last week.
Alec Muchadehama of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni, who is
representing Tsvangirai and company, said his clients had no choice but to
review the damages claim because of inflation.
"We had to review our damages claim because the figure we had claimed
has become too little because of inflation," Muchadehama said.
In the fresh demands, the political and civil society leaders want $50
billion each for unlawful arrest, $100 billion each for unlawful deprivation
of liberty, $200 billion each for assault, $60 billion each for loss of
amenities of life, $100 billion each for contumelia, $50 billion for future
medical expenses and $70 million for past medical expenses.
According to the summons, the 62 were arrested on their way to a
meeting that had been arranged by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
"Our clients advise us that on March 11 2007 they proceeded to or near
a meeting which was to be held at the Zimbabwe Grounds, Highfield Harare.
Before they got to the venue of the meeting they were arrested and taken to
Machipisa Police Station," read the summons.
Tsvangirai and company are saying they did not commit any crime by
wanting to attend the prayer meeting.
"They had not committed any offence nor were they about to commit any
offence warranting them to be arrested. The arrest was therefore unlawful.
After the unlawful arrest our clients were taken to Machipisa Police
Station. At Machipisa Police Station our clients were savagely assaulted and
tortured by the police who were in the course and scope of their
employment," said the summons.
According to information on the summons, Tsvangirai and company
sustained fractures on their limbs and other bodily cuts, bruises, blunt
trauma and several other injuries as a result of the assaults.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) could be losing billions of dollars
through the funding of Operation Chuma/Igolide and Chikorokoza Chapera
amidst allegations that police are submitting falsified gold recovery
returns to justify maintaining the operations in which officers are
reportedly pocketing millions dollars in allowances.
The two operations started in November last year with the Criminal
Investigations Department's minerals section launching Operation
Chuma/Igolide and the Duty Uniform Branch (DUB) running Chikorokoza Chapera.
According to impeccable sources in the police and the central bank,
senior officers administering the operations are remitting falsified returns
to justify continuation of the operations without corresponding gold
recoveries, arrests and prosecution of suspects.
There is also alleged gross abuse of vehicles and fuel allocated for
the operations by senior officers.
Officers in the CID's minerals section who keep the records,
reportedly get $90 million a month in allowances while their DUB
counterparts on the ground and who work away from their stations, get $23
million a month.
This discrepancy in allowances has, the sources say, caused animosity
between the two police sections and morale is reportedly low among DUB
The DUB officers are reported to be operating under difficult
conditions without adequate resources like vehicles, uniforms and camping
However, it is the continued funding of the operations by the central
bank that has raised eyebrows among officers.
The officers said there were no clear checks and balances or
corresponding exhibits and suspects for the returns that were being
The sources said a senior central bank official in the financial
intelligence department (name supplied) who appeared critical of the
operations was removed at the behest of senior police officers.
"What is happening is that CID minerals teams who claim to be carrying
out surveillance on production at mines, are attributing purported increased
production to their presence," said a source.
"Mines are remitting their normal monthly returns to the Ministry of
Mines and Fidelity Printers in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act and the
operation teams are claiming that particular gold quantities produced are as
a result of their surveillance. There are no tangible exhibits in terms of
recoveries of gold that could have been hidden elsewhere," said one of the
"A provincial minerals team is made up of over 70 officers, and
considering that these operations are nationwide, the RBZ has since last
year pumped out billions of dollars," said another source.
There were media reports recently that the RBZ had stepped up gold
audits to plug losses in deliveries from producers.
RBZ spokesman Tonderai Mukeredzi said he had forwarded written
questions by the Zimbabwe Independent to the Fidelity Printers chief
executive officer three weeks ago and no response could be obtained at the
time of going to press.
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka could not be
reached for comment.
The sources said there was need for the RBZ to investigate the
operations as it could be "pumping money down the drain".
THE chairperson of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC),
Godwills Masimirembwa, is selling chickens he rears at a farm in Harare
South above the stipulated government price, the Zimbabwe Independent can
Masimirembwa, who was appointed by President Robert Mugabe to chair
the NIPC last month, is selling a bird weighing about 2kg for $1,5 million
when the commission gazetted the producer price at $434 567 while the
wholesale and retail prices are $478 023 and $573 628 per kg respectively.
By selling at $1,5 million, Masimirembwa is way above the price for a
A visit to the farm, located about 30km outside Harare, on October 30
revealed that apart from overcharging, hygiene at the property was
questionable. There was no slaughter house or running water for breeding the
Masimirembwa's workers use water from an unprotected well for the
chickens and for their own consumption.
Chickens ready for the market, his workers said, were slaughtered in
an open place.
"Masimirembwa started this chicken project in 2003. We have since then
been using a well for the chickens and ourselves," one of the workers said.
"We have about 12 500 chicks at the moment after we slaughtered 4 500 last
week. We expect to slaughter 5 000 next week."
The workers said Masimirembwa was directly involved in the selling of
the chickens, adding that prospective customers place their orders with the
"He takes the orders. He accepts a minimum of 30 birds per order,"
another worker said. "Our major customers are in Mbare and a restaurant in
the city (name supplied)."
Efforts to get a comment from Masimirembwa yesterday were fruitless.
The NIPC boss heads a government operation to enforce price controls.
His appointment has also raised eyebrows in the legal community given
that Masimirembwa is a blacklisted lawyer.
According to information gathered by the Independent this week, the
Legal Disciplinary Tribunal struck Masimirembwa off the register of Legal
Practitioners, Notaries and Conveyancers in March 1997 for "unprofessional
and dishonourable conduct".
He was deleted from the register by consent.
The tribunal ruled that Masimirembwa had failed to account adequately
or at all to clients in respect of fees he charged for work not done or
contrary to clients' instructions.
He was also found guilty of
failing to keep proper books of accounts and misappropriation of trust
According to The Herald of April 4 1997, the chairperson of the
tribunal, then High Court judge, Justice Adam, awarded the Law Society of
Zimbabwe costs of the proceedings in terms of the High Court tariff of fees
for legal practitioners.
Advocate Erik Morris, instructed by the society, the newspaper
reported, submitted that Masimirembwa had shown "a serious disregard of his
clients' interests and proper standards of competence" expected of
"All of these above show a serious or reckless disregard for the
client's interest and the proper standards of competence which should be
expected from the profession and as such tends to bring the profession into
disrepute," Morris was quoted as saying.
Apart from that, Masimirembwa, of then Masimirembwa & Associates, had
failed to keep proper books of accounts and to comply with the requirements
of bookkeeping by-laws.
He had also practised as a legal practitioner without holding the
relevant practising certificate.
Constantine Chimakure/ Loughty Dube
BRITAIN will engage Sadc leaders on Zimbabwe's deepening political and
economic crisis on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government
(Chogm) meeting in Kampala, Uganda, amid media reports that the former
colonial master once considered military action in the southern African
The three-day meeting starts on November 23.
In a question and answer session in the UK parliament this week,
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon said the meeting with the regional leaders would
revolve on the political situation in Zimbabwe, with particular regard to
democratic freedoms and human rights.
"My Lords, as Zimbabwe is no longer a member of the Commonwealth,
those matters will not be on the formal agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth
Heads of Government meeting in Uganda. The issue is, however, likely to be
discussed at the margins of the meeting," Baroness Royall said. "My noble
friend Lord Malloch-Brown, who is today (Monday) at the Commonwealth meeting
discussing Pakistan and his ministerial colleagues, will certainly raise the
issue in bilateral discussions with regional leaders."
Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth December in 2003 after
indications that the club of former Britain colonies wanted to extend the
country's suspension from the grouping on allegations of human rights
abuses, among others.
Baroness Royall said the UK would work with civil society and Zimbabwe's
neighbours to find a solution to the crisis.
"We also want to use the opportunity afforded by the Commonwealth
People's Forum and the civil society organisations affiliated to the
Commonwealth to provide the people of Zimbabwe with greater support. We want
to work not only on the margins of Chogm, but with those other civil society
organisations," Baroness Royall added.
Asked by Lord Howell of Guildford whether or not it was now prudent to
look for another candidate to spearhead talks between Zanu PF and the MDC
after Sadc's pointman, South Africa president Thabo Mbeki, was proving "a
damp rag", the Baroness Royall said:
"My Lords, I note the views of the noble Lord and I understand and
share his frustration at the time that this is taking. However, it is
important to note that President Mbeki has a task and a timescale in which
to deliver. We must wait until the end of November before looking for other
candidates. I am afraid that that is the situation. That does not prevent us
having discussions with other countries in southern Africa on the margins of
By Dr Alex T Magaisa
VICE-President Joice Mujuru was reported last week to have stated
publicly that she has no intention of challenging President Mugabe for the
presidency of both Zanu PF and Zimbabwe.
This is hardly a source of surprise. It brings to mind an earlier
article I wrote about the perils of pursuing change in Zanu PF.
I made reference to the words of Machiavelli, the political thinker of
the Renaissance era, who wrote: "It must be considered that there is nothing
more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more
dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the
reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order and only
lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order ." This is
a danger that stalks would-be contenders for power in Zanu PF.
Having made his intentions clear, and captured the backing of
significant stakeholders in Zanu PF power structures, namely war veterans,
whose leader Jabulani Sibanda has promised a "Million Men March"; the Women's
League, whose leader Oppah Muchinguri threatened earlier this year that she
and fellow leaguers would resort to shedding their clothes in protest
against any would-be challengers and the Youth League, President Mugabe has
ensured that the fortunes of any challengers to his throne are substantially
What is probably significant about Mujuru's announcement is first, its
timing and second, that she has had to make it at all, particularly because
there is no clear public record of her having declared her interest in the
presidency in the first place. Why now and not many months before when the
rumours were rife in the media? What has changed now that necessitates such
a public denial?
Her announcement lends itself to the interpretation that it is an
assurance to the president that she remains loyal, despite the rumours of
machinations on her part and those around her. But importantly, the more
likely interpretation is that this is a declaration as Zanu PF heads for the
extraordinary congress next month, of her own power and position within the
party, against those that she perceives to be the real competitors.
VP Mujuru knows, as do her competitors, that President Mugabe will run
for the presidency in 2008 and that this is no longer a potential vacancy in
Zanu PF. Her best bet therefore is to retain her position in the presidium.
Her words here are clear and significant: "The presidium is made up of four
people and I am already in the presidium. I am not going anywhere."
She couldn't be more unequivocal. Which begs the question: Is her
position under threat and if so from whom? This, more than her denial of her
intentions to gun for the presidency, is the significant part. She knows
that to stand any significant chance in the post-Mugabe era, she must remain
in the upper echelons of the party. In order to do that, she must regain
President Mugabe's confidence and also keep her adversaries at bay.
In this regard, her major adversary appears to be Emmerson Mnangagwa,
who, having lost the earlier phase of his battle against her for a position
in the presidium in 2004, has been slowly working his way up, apparently,
regaining President Mugabe's confidence. It is significant that by virtue of
his party position, it fell to him to make public announcements concerning
the forthcoming extraordinary party congress.
In doing so, he became the public face of the party's endorsement of
President Mugabe as the sole candidate for the party. That circumstance
created a perception of Mnangagwa as supporting Mugabe's candidature, and
probably explains the timing of VP Mujuru's statements, in order to equalise
their positions, notwithstanding speculation that both of them were up to
then, seen as contenders for the presidency.
Here one sees two contenders apparently retreating simultaneously, one
probably eyeing a place in the presidium and the other keen to retain a
place in that structure. But the retreat is no more than a strategic
re-alignment, a step back, perhaps in order to launch two steps forward when
opportunity knocks in the future. This whole saga is not important because
of President Mugabe's endorsement, but because it is yet another round in
the battle between the contenders in Zanu PF, a battle whose first round
went to VP Mujuru in 2004, of which the next round is only now in play.
Interestingly, in circumstances that seem to indicate a latent
development in profile-building, both contenders have been claiming their
spaces in cyberspace. There is a profile of Mnangagwa on the website of the
Ministry of Rural Housing and Social Amenities, which he heads.
There was a story by Clemence Manyukwe, in the Financial Gazette
newspaper last week, which carried a dramatic title, "When the crocodile
resurfaces". It was probably an attempt to analyse Mnangagwa's resurgence
after the 2004 loss of opportunity to Mujuru. Coincidentally, the profile of
Mnangagwa in Manyukwe's story is by and large a reproduction of the
biography on the Mnangagwa's website. It appears that Manyukwe's source for
the biographical details of Mnangagwa is very similar to the source of the
website details, given that the information in most parts matches verbatim
the website profile.
Nevertheless, the profile seeks to demonstrate Mnangagwa's record in
the struggle for independence and his achievements in his ministerial
positions since independence, including from 2000-2005 when he was Speaker
of Parliament. He lists among his achievements the establishment of the
Judicial College, the Small Claims Court, amendments to the Constitution and
the democratisation of the institutions of parliament, which are described
as progressive reforms.
Perhaps what Manyukwe and fellow members of the Fourth Estate, could
do to assist the public, instead of repeating verbatim the biographical
claims by individuals who wish to lead the country, is to question them on
the substance of these achievements - such as, for example the nature of the
constitutional changes, the events during those long ministerial tenures
and the nature of democratic reforms.
That way, the public could gain more and better information about
these candidates so that they can be judged on their merits rather than rely
on rumour and speculation. The aspiring leaders also benefit from such
scrutiny as they can take the chance to respond to questions of public
On the other hand, it was recently announced that Mujuru had launched
her own website, which ostensibly, is designed to profile her office and
provide an opportunity for interaction with those who wish to "share
valuable ideas with her office".
Declaring firmly that she believes that "the party has always been and
remains supreme to government", there is an indication that she regularly
undertakes "countrywide provincial visits where she meets and deliberates
with local and traditional leaders". The website also profiles her role in
the liberation struggle and the leadership roles she has taken after
independence. Being a woman who rose from a young age to assume a position
of national leadership, she is profiled as an inspiration to the girl-child,
staking a claim, perhaps, to the female constituency.
Now, both are prima facie noble efforts, notwithstanding the
limitations of access to cyberspace by most of their intended audience in
Zimbabwe. Yet, given the tight battles for space in the national media, it
is not surprising that both contenders would wish to stake claims in
cyberspace. Then again they may be efforts to build their respective public
profiles to the international audience and attempts to rebut or neutralise
some of the unflattering information about them that appears in cyberspace.
Either way, it is clear that although both have lost the present
opportunity to stake a claim for the presidency, which appeared so near,
there is still more to come in future. What is happening now is no more than
a tactical retreat and re-building in preparation for tough jousting ahead.
One thing is for sure, the latent battle in Zanu PF is not over yet.
It remains a significant plot in the script appertaining to the national
question. The spotlight having turned away from the presidency, the key
battle is now for the space on the penumbra of that top post, in order to be
better positioned to strike when the opportunity arises.
Dr Magaisa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
HARARE'S water and sewerage reticulation system is fast crumbling as
the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) fails to turn around the
deteriorating situation across the country.
A survey by the Zimbabwe Independent showed that the capital's
infrastructure is in a free-fall characterised by unavailability of water
and raw sewage flowing in the streets posing a threat of disease outbreaks
in overcrowded townships.
Where water was available, much of it was being lost through burst
pipes, which residents said had gone for months without Zinwa repairing
Critics say Zinwa's mounting problems mirror Zimbabwe's long-running
political and economic crisis.
Swarms of flies and mosquitoes hover over raw effluent which has
become a common sight in most high density areas.
The excuse from Zinwa is the national shortage of fuel and the ageing
piping system which they claim needs a complete overhaul.
The Independent news crew discovered that it was only a question of
time before an outbreak of disease hits Tafara-Mabvuku as residents have
resorted to drinking water from underground streams in the suburbs. The
streams' mains sources of water have been sewer flows and water from burst
"This is our third month without water in the whole of Tafara and
Mabvuku areas," residents association chairman Joseph Rose said.
"Residents have dug wells along these streams to get water for their
daily use. Our fears are that there could be an outbreak of diseases as raw
sewage from burst pipes often flow into these streams."
Residents fetching water from an unprotected well along one of the
streams shouted that "government must provide water because we can't
continue getting water from the rivers as if we are in rural areas".
A 100-metre long queue was seen at The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints in Tafara as residents waited to get water from the church
Almost all suburbs in the capital have reported water shortages since
Zinwa took over the supply of bulk water last year.
Rose said residents were increasingly getting agitated by the fact
that despite Zinwa's failure to provide services, it was increasing rates.
This week Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) reiterated its
call since last year for the reversal of a cabinet decision empowering Zinwa
to take over sewer and water services from local authorities.
"There is ample evidence that Zinwa cannot manage water affairs in
Zimbabwe and that it is hopelessly incompetent," CHRA said. "The association
continues to reject the takeover of sewer and water services because no
substantive benefits have accrued to local authorities in Zimbabwe since
Zinwa came on board," CHRA said. "Persistent bickering between the City of
Harare and Zinwa over accountability to residents in cases of quality of
water, leakages, inadequate supplies and billing have put residents in an
CHRA said the absence of a memorandum of understanding between the
City of Harare and Zinwa is disastrous and is a corrupt business
arrangement, which should be rejected.
"Residents cannot be coerced to pay unreasonable, unjustified and
unlawful water rates coming from a water body that is unaccountable to them
but to the government," CHRA said.
Zinwa has been increasing charges at alarming rates with residents in
most parts of Harare receiving bills ranging from $5 million to $40 million
over the past two months.
The association said Zinwa's increases in service charges of over 1
600% since September 2007 are unjustified considering that there is no
visible improvement in water supply and administration.
Residents and business continue to be plagued by water cuts as Zinwa
fails to meet the daily consumption of Harare.
Raw sewage continues to find its way into water bodies in the City of
Harare, pushing up water treatment costs which are passed on to the
residents. Further, some chemicals are not being procured, a situation which
poses serious health threat to residents.
"An uprising by the residents of Harare is imminent if the current
scenario is not addressed," CHRA said. "We demand that the City of Harare
take full ownership of the capital's water supply and administration before
Zinwa triggers a residents' uprising over water bills."
CHRA blamed excessive interference by politicians in the running of
Since Zinwa's takeover of water distribution and sewerage
reticulation, even government arms such as the Comptroller and Auditor
General, Mildred Chisi, warned that the authority had no capacity to provide
clean water without disruptions.
The audit, which was presented to the Public Accounts Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee last year, said that Zinwa was failing to provide
undisrupted water supply and water of the right quality to its customers in
small towns, growth points and institutions because of lack of an
operational plan, failure to maintain plant and equipment and poor record
THE Zimbabwe government has admitted that it wronged white commercial
farmers when it violently evicted them from their farms at the height of
Zanu PF-instigated land invasions in 2000.
During an International Centre for Settlement of the Investment
Disputes arbitration hearing in Paris, France, a fortnight ago between
government and Dutch farmers, the state did not raise objections to farmers'
claims that it breached the Netherlands-Zimbabwe bilateral investment treaty
and therefore was liable to all the losses and damage incurred.
"In a rather unusual turn of events, Zimbabwe did not raise objections
to the tribunal's jurisdiction, thus ensuring that written and oral
arguments on the merits would proceed forthwith," said the International
Institute for Sustainable Development newsletter, Investment Treaty News
(ITN), dated October 30.
ITN is a reporting service on international treaties governing
overseas business investments and on lawsuits which arise under these
treaties, pitting foreign investors against host governments.
The agreements have significant public policy implications in the
areas of health, environmental protection, economic development and
The claimants, all Dutch nationals, allege that their agricultural
land holdings were subjected to violent invasion and seizure by
self-professed war veterans, culminating in their confiscation by the state
without payment of financial compensation.
They further allege that the Zimbabwe police failed to provide
physical protection and security as guaranteed by the Netherlands-Zimbabwe
bilateral investment treaty.
Giving evidence to a tribunal in Paris, Lands and Security minister
Didymus Mutasa said the move by the Dutch farmers to seek compensation was
in order as the government did not honour its obligations under a
government-to-government agreement between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.
"The Zimbabwean government acknowledged that certain 'deprivations'
had taken place without payment of compensation," ITN said. "The government
insisted that this was the 'only issue for arbitration', adding that it
would 'pay compensation in full as and when it is able to do so', an
apparent reference to the straitened economic situation in which the
hyperinflation-wracked country finds itself."
Mutasa, whose European Union travel ban was temporarily lifted to
allow him to attend the hearing, said the government was not in a position
to compensate the farmers now.
The farmers took their case to the Washington-based ICSID calling on
the government to admit breaching a bilateral investment treaty with the
The court is expected to present its ruling on the amount of
compensation the farmers should receive before March next year.
The farmers are claiming a total of US$48 million from the Zimbabwean
If the government fails to pay, the farmers would have the right to
seize any Zimbabwe government property outside the country including loans
from the World Bank and export earnings.
There are an additional 50 farmers from Switzerland, Germany and
Denmark whose lands were seized and who are also preparing to go to the
tribunal demanding compensation. All of them come from countries that had
similar treaties with Zimbabwe.
The developments at the ICSID come at a time when government faces yet
another land acquisition challenge in a case filed with the Sadc Tribunal
and set to be heard in Windhoek next week.
The Sadc Tribunal will hear the case, the very first, on November 20
2007 in Windhoek, Namibia in which farmer, William Michael Campbell of Mount
Carmel Farm in Chegutu, is seeking relief for himself, his family and all of
his employees from harassment on his farm. He is seeking an urgent interim
interdict from such interference pending a full hearing on the fundamental
legal issues at stake in the Zimbabwe land seizures.
Campell is currently facing criminal charges at the Chegutu
Magistrates' court for failing to stop farming opera-tions and faces up to
two years in prison if convicted.
Lucia Makamure/Orirando Manwere
THE Ministry of Justice has exhausted its 2007 budgetary allocation
and will only be able to adjust the salaries of striking magistrates,
prosecutors and support staff in January next year, officials revealed
Giving oral evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the ongoing strike by court
personnel, the ministry's acting permanent secretary Chisingaperi Chaitezvi
and chief magistrate Herbert Mandeya said while the PSC had acknowledged the
need to review the salaries, it could only do so next year due to budgetary
However, the representatives are said to have insisted on an immediate
adjustment or a written undertaking by the Public Service Commission that
the adjustments would be backdated to September this year.
Regional magistrates had their salaries reviewed from $40 million to
over $100 million in September while those of provincial magistrates
remained at $36 million.
Prosecutors and magistrates earn between $16 million and $26 million
respectively, according to sources.
Mandeya said the situation at the courts was not normal as regional
magistrates were working extra hours to handle cases with the help of stand
in public prosecutors from the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Meanwhile the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has blamed government's
failure to implement provisions of the Judicial Services Act for the ongoing
strike by magistrates and prosecutors countrywide.
Under the Judiciary Services Act, which was passed last year, the
judiciary should be independent from the Ministry of Justice, and should be
run by a commission which, among other things, should determine the terms
and conditions of services.
In a telephone interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, LSZ president
Beatrice Mtetwa said there was need to separate the judiciary from the
Justice ministry in order to improve conditions of services for magistrates
"There is need to separate the judiciary from the Ministry of Justice
so that the terms and conditions of services are set by a commission for
professionals in the department to get reasonable remuneration," she said.
Mtetwa described the conditions of services of magistrates as
horrendous saying these were the main cause of the mass exodus by
"Government should arrest skills flight as we now have more
inexperienced personnel in charge of our courts and this could compromise
justice delivery," said Mtetwa.
SCORES of insurance companies risk forced closure following their
failure to meet re-registration criteria set by the Commissioner of
Many ailing players in the industry which has been hit by high
inflation and poor quality business have until the end of the month to
register with the commission that falls under the Ministry of Finance.
The re-registration exercise followed the amendment to the Insurance
and Pensions Act in 2004 which set up a Commission of Insurance and
The Commissioner, Ninette Mpofu, was only appointed last year.
She immediately embarked on a re-registration exercise which should
have been concluded early this year. However, some insurance companies have
failed to register.
Addressing the Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe annual general meeting
in Nyanga this week, Mpofu gave chilling statistics on the registration
exercise and warned those not registered that they will soon be deemed to be
Mpofu said there was a possibility of unregistered companies being
"put under curatorship or some form of management".
Responding to industry concerns on what would happen to the companies
and individuals insured by unregistered companies, Mpofu said: "Your clients
will be asking questions why you
did not comply. You are going to lose business."
Mpofu said 67% of life assurers were registered so far, 60%
short-term, 50% reinsurers, 17% funeral assurers, 23% brokers and 14%
She said new players in the sector would be required to raise capital
which conformed to regional standards.
Mpofu said the current figures were too low. She cited Mozambique
where capital requirements for new entrants were between US$1,5 million and
US$ 2,5 million.
"You should expect figures in this region," said Mpofu.
The commissioner is this month expected to publish a list showing
registered and unregistered insurance firms.
It is the impending publication of the list which is causing panic in
the sector as unregistered companies which are currently operating are
afraid of losing business.
As part of the registration exercise, insurance companies are expected
to provide the commissioner with their shareholding structure, management
profile, business profile and capitalisation.
The commission also requires companies' audited accounts. Financial
services sector sources said the requirements were less stringent compared
to conditions set for registering a new banking institution.
There is real worry in the insurance sector that smaller companies
will fail to meet the required capitalisation thresholds. Insurance firms
have been struggling to pay subscriptions to the Insurance Institute of
Zimbabwe resulting in them being excised from the membership list.
Company bosses who have not registered were in Nyanga this week
privately lobbying the commissioner for an extension to put their act
together before the chop.
She encouraged smaller players in the industry to merge to enable them
to meet registration criteria and to raise the required capital.
Meanwhile, insurance companies raised concern over government's thrust
forcing them to subscribe to a government paper with a tenor of 300%.
Industry feels that the rate is too low in the hyperinflationary environment
where independent analysts have put the figure at above 30 000%.
Industry players have said under such circumstances, the prescribed
assets ratio undermines the regulatory objective to maintain industry
They urged Mpofu to take up the issue with government.
CASH shortages worsened this week amid speculation that the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe was working on plans to introduce higher denominations of
Businessdigest understands that the central bank is finalising the
introduction of $500 000 and $1 million notes. The new bearer's cheque notes
are likely to be introduced early next month.
The denominations below $10 000 will be scrapped, sources said.
"From the discussions and preparation we have had so far I would say
the new bearer's notes will come mid-December," said a central bank official
who is part of the team working on the introduction of the new
RBZ governor Gideon Gono is expected to present his monetary policy
early next month. In that policy, sources say, Gono will give an indication
of when a new currency will come but will introduce higher denominations of
bearers' cheques as an interim measure before the launch of Sunrise Two.
Two weeks ago Gono said plans for a new currency had been shelved but
the market remains sceptical about the real motive of that announcement.
The central bank introduced a $200 000 bearer's cheque note three
months ago but its value in both real terms and convenience has been
overtaken by events on the inflation front.
Inflation surged to 14 840,5% for October, increasing 6 848,5
percentage points on the September figure 7 892,5%.
As inflation continues to gallop the demand for cash has also
For instance a litre of petrol that cost $180 000 three months ago is
now going for $1,3 million.
The parallel market has also put pressure on the frail Zimbabwe
dollar. The United States dollar which was going for $50 000 four months ago
is now pegged at about $1,3 million.
This demand for cash comes as the central bank continues to limit cash
withdrawals for individuals and corporates. Corporates are allowed to
withdraw only $40 million while individuals can only get $20 million a day
which is barely enough to buy 20 litres of fuel on the parallel market.
Central bank sources said the plan was for the new denominations to
coincide with the festive season which is normally characterised by high
Most banks had run out of cash by mid-afternoon yesterday.
Genesis Bank group economist, Brains Muchemwa, said it was surprising
that despite the market having excess liquidity cash was not available in
"One would not expect banks to have problems in funding their cash
requirements with such excess liquidity," Muchemwa said. "The most probable
explanation could be that the Reserve Bank might be preparing to launch
Sunrise Two as it promised in October, hence reduced need to print too many
of the old bearer cheques that would need to be phased out in a month or
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group economist David Mupamhadzi said it was
an indication of the value that the Zimbabwean dollar has lost over the past
"Due to the current cash shortages that we are experiencing coupled
with the continuous increase in prices, the demand for money will continue
to increase, and a number of agents will prefer to keep their money out of
the formal system," he said.
Mupamhadzi said the situation had been worsened by the current
shortages of basic goods and services, which forced people to carry cash.
Most business are now demanding cash payments. In any case the black market
does not deal with bank transfers, cheques or plastic money.
ZB Financial Holdings group economist, Best Doroh, said the root
problem was inflation which meant that the demand for cash for transaction
purposes was now high.
Kingdom Financial Holdings economist, Patrick Saziwa, said the current
cash shortages were caused by speculation as a lot of money was outside the
"The Reserve Bank was not printing enough cash to support the money
that it is dishing out
in the form of the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention Facility
and other cheap financing systems leading to a cash imbalance," Saziwa.
A MASVINGO businessman has appealed to Vice-President Joseph Msika to
help him in his loan dispute with the Infrastructural Development Bank of
Zimbabwe (IDBZ) and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister
Kudzai Mbudzi, the managing director of Treasure Consultants (Pvt) Ltd
(TCL), a property development firm, appealed to
Msika in August in a bid to force Chinamasa and IDBZ to comply with
court orders that his company be paid a $150 billion buyout price for the
TCL's 2 000-unit housing scheme in Masvingo.
The matter arises from the fact that in 2005 IDBZ agreed to fund TCL's
Runyararo South West housing project in Masvingo. IDBZ however failed to
fulfil its part of the contract and gave TCL $81 billion instead of the
$90,5 billion which the parties had agreed on.
Mbudzi said the project therefore faced problems.
Chinamasa then appointed an administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba of
Global Accountants, to run TCL, arguing that the company was insolvent.
IDBZ had agreed upon an "arbitrated and negotiated" reconstruction
scheme to buy out TCL from the housing scheme and pay $150 billion.
Chinamasa approved the scheme and the figures which were determined by
an independent evaluator.
In a letter dated August 22 2007, Mbudzi accused Chinamasa and IDBZ of
"secretly" and unlawfully placing TCL under reconstruction before seizing
the housing scheme.
"Under normal circumstances Chinamasa should have afforded me an
opportunity to be heard, or at least hear my own side of the story, before
placing my company under reconstruction," said Mbudzi in a letter to Msika.
Mbudzi, who is also the Zanu PF's secretary for information and
publicity in Masvingo province, said TCL was not insolvent and accused
Chinamasa of refusing to engage his company to get its side of events.
"My numerous verbal and written requests and appeals to the Minister
and IDBZ to reverse the Reconstruction Scheme and afford me a fair
opportunity to pay whatever I owed the bank were turned down," Mbudzi said.
Mbudzi took the matter to the High Court and won the case. Chinamasa,
Gwaradzimba and IDBZ were the respondents.
"This whole process up to date took a total of 11 months. When finally
IDBZ was asked to comply with the Scheme of Reconstruction, as now ordered
by the High Court, we are told that they have no money to pay for the
project and would therefore not be compelled to do so, irrespective of all
the foregoing and standing court orders at whose instance they were issued,"
Mbudzi also told Msika that he did not want to embarrass government by
having the courts enforce the arbitrated reconstruction, as he was a war
veteran and a senior Zanu PF politician.
"Your Excellency, I am an ex-combatant and a very senior member of the
party and would therefore not want the court (to) enforce (the) Scheme of
Reconstruction through legal means as that would tarnish the image of both
the government and the party at this critical moment on the eve of a
landmark national election."
Chinamasa could not be reached for comment.
Mbudzi also attached copies of his court application in the letter to
"The cumulative effect of third respondent's conduct, to wit, breach
of contractual commitments by each of and/or refusing to disburse funds
timeously or scaling down applicant's requests, resulted in delays in
completing certain phases of the project," read Mbudzi's court application.
Mbudzi accused IDBZ of plotting to seize the housing project from TCL
by deliberately starving the company of funds required to complete the
"The conclusion is therefore inescapable that the 3rd respondent
(IDBZ), from the beginning posed and positioned itself to unilaterally
taking over the project without paying compensation to applicant (Mbudzi),
hence its taking over direct management of the project and also its flagrant
breach of the domestic quasi-judicial arrangements, and in ways subvert
common business ethics at the expense of the rights of prospective
beneficiaries of the project," Mbudzi said.
GOVERNMENT'S plans to sign Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) next
month, along with other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries,
poses a huge threat to Zimbabwe's already battered economy.
EPAs are a collective scheme to create free trade areas between the
European Union (EU) and ACP member states. Once signed, they will be
operational on January 1 2008. The agreement entails that member countries
abolish tariffs to ensure free trade among members.
Analysts however say Zimbabwe will not be able to benefit from the
agreement because of the current economic problems. Zimbabwean companies are
already reeling from foreign currency shortages, an unviable exchange rates
and lack of raw materials. Price controls, inflation and hostile operating
environment have also affected local companies. These problems, analysts
say, make it impossible for local companies to compete on the EPA markets.
Under threat are Zimbabwe's agricultural and manufacturing sectors
that will be forced to compete with an influx of cheaply manufactured
European goods. This will harm local farmers, local manufacturers and
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade heard this week that EPAs, once signed, would result in
loss of guaranteed markets. The committee was also told that the EPAs will
lead to more unemployment, and diminished income. .
The committee also heard that EPAs had strict conditions attached
which Zimbabwean companies might not be able to meet.
The EU has also been demanding "zero-for-zero" concessions, especially
on tariffs levied on imports and exports.
These concessions include that developing countries scrap duty of
imports from developed nations, which would also reciprocate with a similar
"We can't compete on an equal footing with the EU as we have a smaller
economy," said Andrew Mushita, director of Community Technology Development
Trust (CTDT), a non-governmental organisation which deals with trade and
"If we cannot meet the conditions imposed by EPAs, then it means we
cannot export," said Mushita.
Mushita also told the parliamentary committee that Zimbabwe would have
to contend with dumping of cheap commodities by European producers who are
beneficiaries of subsidies from their governments and who also use advanced
technology with better economies of scale.
He told the committee that unless the conditionalities suited Zimbabwe's
productive environment, the country would not reap any benefits from being a
signatory to the EPAs.
CTDT legal officer Angeline Munzara-Chawira said development had to
take the centre stage in dealing with EPAs.
"Trade should not come first before development but development must
always come first," she said.
Zanu PF MP for Buhera North, William Mutomba, raised concern over the
predicament the country faced regarding EPAs. He asked Mushita if it was
possible for government to refuse to sign the EPAs next month.
"It seems the disadvantages are outweighing the advantages. We seem to
have shortages of everything," Mutomba said. "What is it we want to export?
We seem to be making negotiations for the sake of negotiations. Do we have
any direct benefit?"
Negotiations for EPAs started in 2002 after stinging World Trade
Organisation criticism of the EU's non-reciprocal and discriminating trade
agreements with developing countries.
Zimbabwe entered into the talks under the Eastern and Southern Africa
Negotiating Forum - umbrella body of the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (Comesa).
However this move is likely to also create problems for Zimbabwe,
which is an active member of the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc), according Masiiwa Rusare of the Trade Centre. Sadc has its own
tariff agreements which may not be compatible with those of the EPA.
"There will be a tendency for competing programmes in one country. It
is difficult to implement if a country is a member of two groupings. If
Comesa says the common external tariff is 20% and Sadc says it is 15% it
becomes difficult to implement," Rusare said.
By Nhlanhla Nyathi
THAT fateful day in Inyanga when the Tripartite Negotiating Forum
(TNF) - comprising government, business and labour - failed to agree on the
broad working modalities of the initially proposed social contract will go
down in Zimbabwe's history as a monumental failure.
All the participants in the TNF forum squandered a chance of a
lifetime to facilitate an all-inclusive determination and progression of
prices and wages for the welfare of all Zimbabweans.
The parties in the TNF forum should have realised that dragging their
feet with regard to such an emotive issue was bound to blow up in their
faces as inflationary pressures remained relentless and unbearable.
Concessions should have been made by one or two parties in the TNF
forum in the interest of forging some kind of agreement since it was obvious
that government was not going to back down until something substantial was
done to appease the suffering masses.
As a consequence mistrust ensued between government and business
leading to the one-sided disastrous price controls that have destroyed the
social fabric of the Zimbabweans as well as sunk viable businesses.
Since the implementation of the blanket price controls in June, which
also affected parastatals and government institutions, basic commodities and
a significant number of other products have disappeared from the formal
market leading to a thriving parallel market that has become more potent and
difficult to police than ever.
Law enforcement agencies have had a torrid time in the past few months
bogged down with trivialities of policing a faceless black market which can
virtually operate from anywhere. On the other hand, manufacturing companies
have had to contend with the forceful application of the price controls by
government through ruthless law-enforcement agencies.
Initially because of adequate stocks normally kept by companies as
part of their stock holding policies, the inception of price controls did
not immediately lead to shortages of commodities in the formal market.
It was only after a few days of uncontrolled bulk buying by consumers
that it became apparent that stocks on the shop shelves were not being
replenished. Companies blamed unviable pricing structures as a major
inhibiting factor disabling them from ordering raw materials required to
keep the production process going.
Zimbabweans became victims of widespread shortages and had to learn
the art of becoming modern day hunter and gatherers for virtually every
commodity required to sustain their daily lives.
Going into the fifth month of the stand-off between government and
business over the contentious price controls, it appears the new National
Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa, is
determined to maintain the hard-line status quo.
The latest decree by the NIPC to devise new pricing formulae on the
basis of converting foreign currency-denominated invoices at the official
exchange rate is a huge blow to the business community that was looking to
engage the NIPC in constructive ways to find lasting solutions to the
It is an open secret that foreign currency is scarce on the formal
market, while the parallel market that has access to the foreign currency is
priced at a massive premium. Clearly companies would rather not re-stock at
all if such threats keep lingering in the horizon. No sound-minded
businessman would source currency at US$1: $1,2 million only to sell the
imported products at a discounted US$1: $30 000.
With this latest stance taken by the NIPC, the standoff is bound to
persist for some time to come. Consumers will have to wait a bit longer
before shop shelves can be filled up again.
Companies will have to continue hunting for alternative survival
strategies in the meantime to ensure their long term existence and
profitability as the local market is unlikely to be a market of choice due
to controlled pricing structures that have proved to lag behind real
As part of that process, some companies have already scaled down
production and laid off part of their workforce, while others entered into
toll manufacturing agreements with companies outside Zimbabwe. Unfortunately
for Zimbabwean consumers, these alternative survival strategies disadvantage
the local market and result in reduced supply of products.
If that is to be the trend going forward, it is quite clear that the
price and wage controls that resulted in forced lower fuel prices, lower
water tariffs, lower electricity tariffs, lower labour costs and many other
forced reductions will not benefit locals as they have been shunned by local
companies trying to avoid operating at a loss.
If toll manufacturing is to be the survival strategy going forward as
it seems to be so far, companies outside Zimbabwe will be the eventual
unintended beneficiaries of the price and wage controls.
Toll manufacturing allows local companies to use their skills, labour
and machinery for a fee to manufacture on behalf of companies outside
Zimbabwe without investing their own financial resources required to
purchase raw materials.
Such a process enables local companies to continue operating
profitably while limiting exposure to price controls and the local market.
Although it is a good business survival strategy under the current
circumstances, toll manufacturing by its nature tends to tie up productive
capacity and time of local companies to external commitments while the local
market is starved of the same product.
The disadvantage that arises in circumstances where there is toll
manufacturing coupled with price and wage controls are clear.
The initial intention of price controls was to relieve suffering
masses from high prices resulting from the hyperinflationary environment.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it will be strict on its lending
policies to commercial banks that want to borrow from the central bank to
cover their short positions.
In a circular to banks last week, the central bank said it will also
be closely monitoring capitalisation levels of financial institutions.
The central bank said banking institutions should actively engage each
other on the interbank market to avoid resorting to the punitive overnight
accommodation rates which are currently at 800% and 850% for secured and
"Borrowing from the Reserve Bank is highly discouraged and should only
be considered on a lender of last resort basis," the central bank said in
the circular dated November 2.
"Accommodation rates should therefore be seen as policy rates that
show the bank's unwillingness to be injecting inflationary liquidity into
the market," added the bank.
In October the Central Bank announced that it was using its interest
rate instrument to repel speculative tendencies and reduce inflationary
This is despite the continued support to productive sectors through
concessionary loans at 25%.
"This borrowing discipline will also be expected from Fiscal
Authorities who should live within their set budgets." - Staff Writer.
By Wellington Mbofana
A LOT has been said about South Africa's interest in Zimbabwe or lack
In the past, it used to be said that the Thabo Mbeki-led government
would not publicly chastise President Robert Mugabe because of strong
liberation war ties, the ANC's fear of a wave of labour governments in
Zambia and Zimbabwe influencing Cosatu to challenge for power and Mbeki's
general reverence for Mugabe as an elder statesmen.
In recent times, it has been suggested that South Africa is now moving
with speed on Zimbabwe for fear of losing the hosting of the 2010 World Cup
to Australia or England.
I want to argue that South Africa's position on Zimbabwe has not
changed since attaining independence in 1910. South Africa's involvement in
Zimbabwe, just like its involvement all over the continent, is motivated by
The African National Congress (ANC) government in South Africa is
still very secure in power and the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(Cosatu) is not a threat to it. Unlike the unsubstantiated claim of Mbeki's
reverence for Mugabe, the history of the ANC's exile in Zimbabwe reveals
that Mbeki had a hard time in Zimbabwe in the1980s as the Zanu PF government
supported the now insignificant Pan Africanist Congress.
During Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, Zanu's armed wing Zanla fought
with Frelimo and not ANC's Umkhonto weSizwe which fought in Zimbabwe with
Zapu's Zipra. The fact that Mbeki and the ANC are not shouting about it does
not mean that they are not seeking their comeuppance!
Zimbabwe's economic decline has been a blessing to all its neighbours.
Zambia and Malawi, two countries that lost out on the 1950s-1960s Federation
of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, profited from Zimbabwe's chaotic land reform as
they rushed in to recruit dispossessed but experienced Zimbabwean white
Zimbabwe, which once boasted a sophisticated economy and prided itself
as the breadbasket of southern Africa, now survives on barter trade with
hitherto poorer countries of Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.
Further, most Sadc countries have become alternative investment
destinations at the expense of Zimbabwe.
South Africa has benefited the most from the Zimbabwean crisis.
Zimbabwe was the only country in the sub-region that could economically and
politically offer competition to South Africa.
When apartheid regime fell in 1994 the new government refused to renew
its trade agreement with Zimbabwe. It is significant to note that the new
South Africa rushed to enter into trade pacts with most of the other Sadc
The crisis in Zimbabwe has seen South African corporations and
products flooding the country and the region without competition.
"Proudly South African" products and businesses are fast spreading
their tentacles to dominate the landscape from Cape to Cairo.
Zimbabwean labour, both skilled and unskilled, is fuelling the South
South Africa now monopolises regional tourism with most tourists
visiting southern Africa now going through South Africa, even to visit
When a resolution is finally concluded, South Africa will "lead
reconstruction efforts" in Zimbabwe. Put simply, South Africa will come and
take up everything as is happening in Mozambique, the DRC and other
post-conflict areas on the continent.
It is ironic that the revolutionary Zanu PF government has managed to
deliver the country to South Africa, a feat white Rhodesians rejected in
1922 when they voted for self-government as opposed to becoming South Africa's
South Africa and China are actually competing to be the continent's
new colonial powers. While in the past South Africa had only one colony in
South West Africa -- now Namibia -- in the future the whole of southern and
central Africa will be part of South Africa.
Politically, South Africa in 2007 like the apartheid regime in the
late 1970s wields significant power over Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe now depends on
South Africa for protection on the world stage and propping up locally.
South Africa is directly participating in developments in the country
as demonstrated by their intelligence's unravelling of and involvement in
coup plots, mercenaries and spy sagas.
Both the apartheid and ANC governments have been motivated by economic
interests in their relations with Zimbabwe.
South Africa is guided by the dictum of no permanent friends but only
permanent interests as she understands that power in the modern world is
located in the economy and not waiving of fists, sloganeering, revolutionary
speeches at world assemblies or involvement in intractable wars in foreign
The 2010 argument is a ruse. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, on his
last visit to South Africa in July, which was timed to coincide with former
president Nelson Mandela's 89th birthday, said only God could take away the
soccer World Cup from South Africa. Chances are God has no such plans and
South Africa can rest assured of hosting the soccer extravaganza!
It is inconceivable to see how Zimbabwe - not violent crime or HIV and
Aids - can be a factor in the hosting of the tournament as the crisis is in
Zimbabwe and not South Africa.
Peter Mokaba, the stadium closest to Zimbabwe, is more than 220km away
from the border! World events have been held in regions engulfed by crises
As presented above, in 1922 Rhodesians refused to be provinces of
South Africa. By 2015 if not 2010, Zimbabwe like Lesotho, Swaziland,
Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique will be a de facto province of South
Africa. And in this case South Africa would have achieved what she has
Wellington Mbofana is a Harare-based writer.
By Beloved Chiweshe
THE robbery and callous murder of Sydney Tapfumaneyi, a final year
Business Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) should be wholly
blamed on UZ vice-chancellor, Levy Nyagura, the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Education as well as the government for gross negligence,
incompetence and disregard for human life.
Sydney becomes the second student to be murdered after the eviction of
students from the halls of residence at the UZ on July 9.
In August, Tafirenyika Magwidi, a humanities student was murdered in
the company of two unidentified men along Airport Road in Harare.
Tafirenyika's naked body was found between the Catholic University in
Hatfield and the One Commando army barracks. He had decided to walk home
after failing to secure transport. Over 4 000 students were evicted from the
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) has condemned the
eviction of students from the halls of residence at the University of
Zimbabwe, arguing that campus life forms an integral and vital cog of
university and college life.
Campus life, apart from offering proximity to learning facilities,
plays an imperative role in providing students with positive peer pressure,
opportunities to learn from each others' experiences and mostly much needed
security from thieves, rapists and murderers. Students on campus
collectively present themselves with security by forming a cohesive group
which has concern for the welfare of each other.
As if the loss of human resources through brain drain, as trained
personnel migrate to greener pastures is not enough, we are now seeing loss
of lives through bloody murders such as the one in which Sydney's life was
lost. Human life is sacred and ought to be given the respect it deserves.
It was clear that the move to evict students would have fatal
casualties. Such shortsightedness on the part of administrators should not
be tolerated in modern day society. For the administrators to claim that it
had not been forecast is hypocrisy at its worst.
Sydney was among the many students whose desire and passion for
academic excellence resulted in them sacrificing their lives. The
unavailability of accommodation, expensive or otherwise, has not spared
students who solely depend on their parents' paltry salaries for survival.
It is very sad to note how uncaring the people who are running public
office can be. Sydney had decided to officially seek refuge at the premises
where he was currently staying in Waterfalls.
The majority of students are living as vagrants, with friends or with
distant relatives. Another group of students of no fixed abode move from one
night club to the other as dusk of every given day approaches.
Desperate female students have been taken advantage of by financially
capacitated and morally deficient old males. Male students have not been
spared either by older women thereby exposing the intelligentsias of this
nation to the deadly HIV and Aids pandemic.
The murder provides all like minded, progressive, and forward looking
parents with an opportunity to interrogate the eviction of students from a
moral and parental point of view. Learning that the decomposing body of one's
son was discovered after three days is emotional torture. Sydney's struggle
was symbolised by his death, may his soul rest in peace.
We will not confine ourselves to discussing Sydney's case in isolation
but will criticise, condemn and lambast the education delivery system in the
country in its broadest sense. The rot is evident at primary schools and
Teachers have become the laughing stock when it comes to salaries.
They are justifiably a demoralised and demotivated lot. Add to this, the
shortage of text books which are a vital component for any learning process.
Surely the education sector needs an overhaul.
Human life should be dignified, I will not comment on the death of the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa's
son, Chengetai, while studying in the United States.
While we don't celebrate the death, I wish to use the life and studies
of the minister's son to illustrate the parallel education patterns emerging
in Zimbabwe, one for the elite which is well funded and is beyond the reach
of many and a second system running parallel which is underfunded and
pretends to have its
doors open to everyone when actually it does not.
Despite ministers preaching the evils of imperialism, they still send
their children to the same countries they pretend to despise. The small
group of the Zanu PF elite is plundering the country's wealth and spending
fortunes on educating their children abroad, while convincing us that we
still have the best education delivery system.
It's not surprising, their parents were brought about by the same
system, were educated abroad and do not understand the needs of a grade
seven pupil in Zhombe.
The majority of the ministers educate their children outside Zimbabwe,
often at top universities in the US, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Australia has already deported eight students whose parents are senior
members of Mugabe's cabinet and there are calls for other countries to do
the same as the government's policies deny the majority basic education.
Hartmann House, St Georges, Prince Edward and St Johns are among the schools
the minister's son attended before pursuing tertiary education in the United
States. Surely there is need for the imbalances to be addressed urgently
before an anti-apartheid like Soweto uprising.
May the soul of the minister's son rest in peace.
It is these disappointing and ugly events that characterise our
learning today that prompt the many demonstrations that students embark on,
day in day out, against a background of the escalating brutality of the
regime and its surrogate and partisan police. For those who have always been
wondering, we cannot sit idly and watch developments such as these.
With no military and police arsenal at our disposal and our only
strength being our capacity to harness the power of the people, we promise
that his tragic death will not be taken lightly and as students we will do
all that is permissible in a democratic society to protest. Only last week
students stormed the streets of Harare protesting against the closure of the
campus halls and the deteriorating education delivery.
As concerned students, we are calling on government to urgently
revisit the evictions with a sober mind in order to avoid more deaths. There
are a number of individuals and organisations who, if approached, are
willing to give a hand in the renovations of the halls of residence.
It is high time the administrators and those in the responsible
ministry and government come up with a holistic, all inclusive and
students-centered approach to the looming humanitarian crisis at the
University of Zimbabwe. We deserve to be treated with human dignity.
I extend my condolences to the Tapfumaneyi family. Sydney's loss is
not only a loss for the Tapfumaneyi family but for all the students in
Zimbabwe. We solely blame the death on President Robert Mugabe's brutal
regime. May Sydney's soul rest in eternal peace.
Beloved Chiweshe is the Secretary General of Zinasu.
LAST week's arrest of Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele on
allegations of abuse of office represents an ongoing attack on the judiciary
by the executive that started in 2000 in a bid to undermine its integrity,
regional legal experts have said.
Gula-Ndebele was arrested for allegedly meeting fugitive former NMBZ
Holdings deputy managing director James Mushore who was on the police wanted
list on allegations of externalising foreign currency.
Gula-Ndebele is alleged to have assured the banker that he would not
be arrested if he returned to Zimbabwe from self-imposed exile in Britain.
The AG's arrest was, however, described by law experts as
"unconstitutional, unprocedural and unthinkable" in any democracy.
The experts said Gula-Ndebele's arrest calls into question the
independence and integrity of the country's judiciary.
In separate interviews with the Zimbabwe Independent, legal experts
expressed concern over the government's continued interference with the
judiciary and harassment of lawyers in the execution of their duties.
They said the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe needed the urgent
intervention of regional and international institutions through concerted
efforts of all stakeholders.
Speaking on the sidelines of a symposium on the Rule of Law, Human
Rights, Constitutionalism and the Constitution-Making Process in the Sadc
region held in Harare last week, Justice George Kanyeihamba, who sits on the
African Union Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Supreme Court of
Uganda, said it was time the international community responded decisively to
the Zimbabwe crisis.
"In as much as there is respect for the so-called sovereignty of
individual states, it has emerged that political leaders are abusing their
offices by deliberately enacting laws and undermining decisions of the
judiciary which has the mandate to interprete these laws," Kanyeihamba said.
"We have learnt with grave concern about how in some cases the
judiciary in Zimbabwe has played its role and issued court orders which have
been ignored by the state. The worst cases have been reports of
intimidation, arrest and beating of lawyers in the course of their duties.
"I feel it's time bodies likes Sadc, the AU and United Nations organs
should respond by enforcing international standards and statutes."
He emphasised that this could only be achieved through continuous
empowering of the general populace through awareness programmes by the media
and civic organisatons.
George Kegoro of the International Commission for Jurists (Kenya), who
led a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe following the arrest and assault of
lawyers by police earlier this year, said his organisation had since
submitted a report on Zimbabwe to the African Union and the United Nations.
"Our coming here was to show our solidarity with our counterparts in
the legal fraternity who have been subjected to harassment by state agents,"
"It is only through such efforts that we can push for international
intervention. The Sadc initiative to try and resolve the political impasse
in Zimbabwe, which is being led by South African president Thabo Mbeki, is
one example of results of continuous lobbying.
"Although the adoption of Constitutional Amendment No 18 by the two
major political parties has left out the civic society and the general
populace, it is a step in the right direction towards resolving the
political problems and the same can be done with the problems facing the
Professor Fredrick Ssempebwa, the past- president of the East African
Law Society, said there was need for African states to adopt peer review
mechanism at regional level to ensure checks and balances on fundamental
"As long as individual states are left to do their own thing under the
guise of so-called sovereignty and territorial integrity, our brothers and
sisters in some countries like Zimbabwe will continue to be on the receiving
end," said Ssempebwa.
"The Sadc tribunal should be strengthened through ratification by
member-states to provide checks and balances on certain decisions by the
judiciary, which may be influenced by politicians.
"We have an effective regional tribunal in East Africa which can
review certain cases. This was adopted and ratified by political leaders and
this has helped to ensure compliance by individual governments with court
orders and providing recourse to aggrieved parties."
South African Black Lawyers Association president Bonginkosi Matshazi
said Sadc leaders should be vigorously engaged to adopt the proposed Sadc
constitutional framework to ensure protection of the judiciary in
"It is the abuse by politicians in crafting the supreme laws of the
countries which has seen our friends in Zimbabwe being subjected to
continued harassment by the executive. We need to push for a common legal
framework on fundamental human rights, particularly the need to uphold the
separation of powers among state institutions," said Matshazi.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
filed a High Court application seeking an order that the Police Commissioner
and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police be prohibited from hindering,
obstructing or taking any action which hinders legal practitioners from
gaining access to their clients and carrying out their lawful duties.
The applicants are also seeking an order that the commissioner causes
an investigation to be conducted into the criminal conduct of members of the
force who assaulted them and were also contemptuous of court orders.
The two bodies are also seeking a declaration of rights due to lawyers
under domestic and international law which they allege were violated by the
With reference to the arrest of Gula-Ndebele, University of Zimbabwe
law lecturer and National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore
Madhuku said in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe the AG had the
exclusive powers to determine whether or not to prosecute an accused person.
He said if the police believed Gula-Ndebele committed an offence, they
should have instituted proceedings for his removal from office through the
president, before arresting him.
Gula-Ndebele's arrest is believed to be political as he is allegedly
linked to the Joice Mujuru faction of Zanu PF which is believed to be making
efforts to wrest power from President Mugabe.
The executive's interference with the judiciary intensified at the
inception of the fast-track land reform programme in 2000 when members of
the High Court and Supreme Court bench were forced to resign, mainly due to
non-compliance with court orders by the state.
In 2002, war veterans openly attacked court decisions on applications
by former white commercial farmers and gave judges ultimatums to resign.
Mike Moyo, then deputy chairman of the Harare province of the Zimbabwe
National War Veterans Association, issued a statement condemning the judges
which read: "Time is up. The judiciary must go home or else we will chase
them and close the courts indefinitely until President Mugabe appoints
Chief Justice Antony Gubbay was harassed and intimidated in his
This was after the Supreme Court made an order with the consent of
government acknowledging that land resettlement through unlawful invasions
contravened property rights enshrined in the constitution.
The conflicts eventually led to the resignation of Chief Justice
Gubbay, Justice James Devittie, Justice Ishmael Chatikobo and Justice
In February 2005, Justice Fergus Blackie faced a judicial inquiry for
allegedly convening what was dubbed a kangaroo court in Nyamandlovu outside
Bulawayo at night. He set free commercial farmers arrested hours earlier by
Blackie was suspended while a three-man tribunal was set up to
investigate his conduct.
However, he was found not guilty of serious misconduct and President
Mugabe later revoked his suspension and he resumed his duties.
In September 2002, Blackie was arrested on charges of breaching the
Prevention of Corruption Act or alternatively defeating the course of
justice following his alleged improper handling of a case involving a white
However, in July 2003, the state withdrew obstruction of justice
charges against Blackie who later resigned.
Following the resignation of previous members of the High and Supreme
Court benches, a new team led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku was
The current benches have also made a number of rulings which have been
ignored by the police and other state agents, making a mockery of the role
of the judiciary.
The recent arrest and assaults of lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Harrison
Nkomo, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni, among others, while in the course
of their duties and the harassment of staff from the AG's office accused of
acceding to bail applications by opposition MDC members has cast a dark
shadow on the independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe.
The award of farms to judges has raised questions about their ability
to make impartial rulings in cases involving land or the powers of the
THE National Incomes and Pricing Commission evidently believes that by
holding down the cover price of the Zimbabwe Independent it has contained
inflation. This week it directed that we should peg our price at $150 000.
Sadly economics is rarely that simple. Imported fuel is the main
driver of inflation. It tracks the US dollar. There has been no attempt by
government to control this and other inputs used in the newspaper business
such as newsprint, film, plates and inks.
Zimbabwe is not a self-sufficient economy as it was at Independence in
1980. It does not manufacture everything. We have to pay the market price
for what we consume.
The state media by contrast is heavily subsidised. It gets cheap fuel
for distributing its newspapers. It also enjoys a monopoly of state
institutional support. Parastatal advertisers are required to advertise in
its columns. So on national occasions are the army, air force, police,
prison service and parliament, among others.
The independent press receives no such support. We operate as a
business and like every other business in this dysfunctional state we have
to operate in the real world of 14 800% inflation.
Critically, not only is the business playing field tilted against us,
we have to deal with the depredations of a regime that sees the private
media as "the enemy".
NIPC chair Godwills Masimirembwa has advertised his hostile view of
the Independent in his weekly Herald column. It is therefore hardly
surprising he will use his current post to get even with the newspaper.
"You must read my column to see what I think about you," he told one
of our reporters seeking an interview recently.
And, just as the Media and Information Commission was set up to punish
the independent press, so the NIPC will be used to silence an inconvenient
Government will use the commission to do what Masimirembwa's turgid
column can't - close us down.
For, make no mistake, that is the intention here. If a company cannot
recover the cost of production it will go under.
Masimirembwa says his price edicts will have a life of three months.
That's in contrast to everything else in Zimbabwe which has a price-life of
24 hours! As it stands our newly designated price of $150 000 is less than a
Freezit. It is the same as a bread roll or an egg. A toilet roll is $1
This is what happens when ruling party politicians, backed by the
police, attempt to prescribe how businesses should operate. And then the
government hopes in all seriousness to attract investors.
What sort of government is it that wastes its time and public funds
determining the price of newspapers?
The NIPC project, like all the others before it, will fail. Very
simply price controls have not worked wherever they have been tried,
including in this country.
Can anyone recall the litany of alphabet agencies over the past 10
years and anything they achieved?
Another price "blitz" is about to be launched and this too will
compound the nation's problems rather than solve them.
In the meantime, and so long as it has breath, the Independent will
continue to expose the ignorance and plain stupidity of a regime that long
ago lost the plot.
That is our duty: to provide the public with news and views that will
enable them to make an informed choice at the polls. And that of course is
precisely what our enemies want to prevent.
THE anticlimactic mood in the political stakes as Zanu PF gets closer
to its special congress next month gives me a feeling of having been
cheated. This has not been helped by the distraction provided by the MDC
circus in the past few weeks, which instead of marshalling resources for the
"final push" in next year's synchronised elections, has been dismembering
Compared to the gladiatorial slugging between President Thabo Mbeki
and his sacked deputy Jacob Zuma for the soul of the ANC, Zanu PF's
succession contest is a caricature. In South Africa the ANC's Polokwane
conference will decide the fate of many men and women. There is palpable
tension across the country: will Mbeki win or will Zuma take over after the
South Africans see Zuma as closer to the poor, a preferred clone of
President Mugabe, ironically a man Cosatu would love to hate.
Less edifying is the way the presidential contest sometimes assumes
ethnic overtones; that despite his clear moral failures as a national leader
Zuma is seen as a victim and being frustrated purely because he is Zulu. To
which he responds in a populist way, using his charm and charisma to play to
an emotional gallery where song and dance have the better of sound
On the other hand Mbeki gets pilloried for being the enigmatic, aloof
philosopher king South Africa is not yet ready for. Mbeki has also been
unfortunate in the way his presidency has been entangled in Zimbabwe's
problems where his quiet diplomacy has earned him the wrath of those whose
alternative approaches to similar crises have been a disaster in Afghanistan
and Iraq and are breeding excitable demagogues from Iran to Venezuela.
Mbeki's dealings with President Mugabe have coloured every one of his
misjudgements, from Manto Tshabalala-Msimang to Jackie Selebi, eliciting
intense anger from the public, but moreso the media who see his government
as increasingly intolerant of criticism.
That, nevertheless, doesn't distract from the captivating engagement
by South Africans in the succession debate in the ANC. In Zimbabwe the
debate died before even the venue of the conference was decided. Then it was
buried when two weeks ago Zanu PF's secretary for legal affairs Emmerson
Mnangagwa announced after the party's central committee meeting in Harare
that the December congress was "a mere formality".
He said the congress would focus on Constitutional Amendment No 18
which harmonised the elections and shortened the presidential term. So why
do state media keep referring to this charade as a special or extraordinary
Mnangagwa said Mugabe's candidature had been decided way back in line
with the party constitution, itself an extraordinary disclosure to those of
us who are not initiated. So what is the point of all the noise about the
women and youth leagues of the party campaigning for Mugabe's endorsement as
the presidential candidate if that's an issue decided by the Goromonzi
conference of 2004?
Why are we having war veterans led by Jabulani Sibanda traversing the
country demanding what is a fait accompli?
Another major point not fully explained is why the venue of the
congress was moved from Chinhoyi as initially planned, to Harare. What was
the purpose of the Chinhoyi conference?
But the real anticlimax comes from the fact that none of those we were
told would openly challenge Mugabe for the leadership of Zanu PF has spoken
out. Mbeki and Zuma may sometimes be captured together, but nobody in South
Africa is in any doubt as to who the key protagonists are in the fight for
the top post in the ANC, with Zuma casting a dark cloud over Mbeki.
Zuma has criminal charges pending, but he has not allowed that to
dampen his spirit. Many are even prepared to overlook his sexual
indiscretions, which sadly reflects just how low we set the moral bar for
those seeking public office.
Back in Zimbabwe, those we were told would create fireworks for Mugabe
appear to have thrown away their gloves before the match could begin. I don't
know whether they were a creation of the media who failed to take on a manly
form or are pretenders who cannot stand up for their convictions. Were there
ever people in Zanu PF who wanted to challenge Mugabe or is it the usual
fables which begin and end with plots and witchdoctors?
This lack of certainty has fuelled fanciful speculation and inventive
interpretations of Mugabe's body language in the public discourse. When he
railed against the Tsholotsho declaration which backed Mnangagwa, we were
told his preferred successor was Joice Mujuru. Then when he made comments on
Edgar Tekere's book deemed unflattering of Mujuru, the anointed immediately
Instead of political rivalry we are given the picture of an
overarching Mugabe influencing what happens after he leaves office - which
leaves his anointed as his only rival for office. The difference with the
ANC is that Zuma has a definite ideological constituency of his own.
Finally, if it's true that the constitution is clear on who the Zanu
PF presidential candidate in next year's election is, are we being told that
senior party leaders who wanted to challenge Mugabe at the December
conference don't know this simple fact? And why was the party's information
secretary Nathan Shamuyarira allowed to run with the political hoax in The
Voice that all four posts in the presidium would be open to contest?
Because Zanu PF has the benefit of racing against itself.
ZIMBABWE'S economic malaise can only get worse as long as our
government continues to employ irrational policies in the forlorn hope of
saving the economy from further decay.
Three announcements this week aptly illustrate the depths of
hopelessness our rulers have plumbed and it is apparent that they are not
finished yet in their quest to ensure no recovery takes place soon.
Firstly, the chairman of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
Godwills Masimirembwa early in the week announced that government was going
to embark on another price blitz to compel retailers to comply with
controlled prices and to kill off the black market. He also wants to ensure
that imported basket goods are priced in tandem with the official exchange
rate. The looting gangs are limbering for action. Remember Makro and Letombo
Secondly, on Tuesday it was reported that the Tripartite Negotiating
Forum was convening to extend the protocols signed in June between
government, labour and business who at the time committed themselves to a
social contract. The protocols were rendered ineffectual by the price blitz
that immediately followed the signing of the deal. This week government
announced it wants to "operationalise" the dead protocols.
Lastly, the Economic Development ministry was upbeat about a new
alphabet economic plan - the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (Zeds) -
to guide the economy in the new year. Does the government believe that these
three activities can be blended in the cauldron of bureaucracy to create
economic recovery? This is a recipe for unmitigated failure.
Masimirembwa and his commission believe salvation will come from the
irrationality of controls, heavy-handedness and placing spooks to watch over
business round the clock. The commission portrays the intimidating face of
the regime - the sort that believes menace is a substitute for leadership.
Here we have a government which in September admitted through its supposed
handyman, central bank governor Gideon Gono, that price controls were not
working. Gono then announced a fund to revitalise the manufacturing and
retail sectors which had been ravaged by the July price blitz.
Two months later, there are plans to put the same industry on the
torture rack again. We have Masimirembwa wielding a hammer and Gono a spoon
of a poor diet. They both want the ailing industry to recover quickly. It is
clear that the hammer will do more damage on the patient compared to the
expected positive impact of Gono's feeding scheme. Any form of blitz is a
big threat to the efficaciousness of the concessionary funding to industry.
Does Gono have a view on this? Is his advice to government still of any use
when horses and chariot are driven through his project?
Amid this glaring policy inconsistency and confusion, there is an
attempt to demonstrate a modicum of common sense by calling social partners
in the TNF to gather and keep the protocols alive. The purpose of the TNF is
to foster dialogue and build bridges between the three parties. This has
nothing to do with the destructive prescriptions coming from the pricing
commission. In fact, who expects the TNF to be taken seriously when its
predecessor, the National Economic Consultative Forum failed to rise above a
The TNF in June signed protocols on prices and incomes stabilisation;
restoration of production viability and pricing; and management of foreign
currency. These were expected to be implemented immediately but government
then came up with parallel processes which rendered the agreements
redundant. What is the plan now with the TNF? It will meet and the partners
will reaffirm their commitment to the social contract. After that the
protocols will be mothballed to make way for the pricing commission and its
Also most likely to join the protocols in the recess of dormant plans
is the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy. Chaos thrives where there is
no planning. At the moment our rulers have decided to trash planning which
requires commitment, discipline and foresight. This is a country run by
taskforces and commissions, all with temporary mandates and very limited
scope. No economic blueprint works here.
All the feverish activity by the government has failed to address the
fundamental issues of a bloated budget deficit and depressed capacity
utilisation in industry which are responsible for our hyperinflation and
shortages. It is instructive that in South American economies which came out
of hyperinflation, they had to legislate against central banks funding the
budget deficit. No amount of sabrerattling will rescue this economy until we
get the fundamentals right. Let's stop the printing press and get rid of the
pricing commission for starters.
WE are currently witnessing a rush of politicians to justify their
involvement in the Nomatter Tagarira affair where the young Grade III
dropout hoodwinked government officials into believing she could produce
diesel from rocks.
Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange last week tried to justify
this madness on the grounds that "the government and the president believe
in African culture, we believe in spirit mediums".
It would be useful to know which dimension of African culture required
governors, senior policemen and ministers to believe that diesel can be
conjured from rocks. That a whole team of politburo taskforce investigators
swallowed this hokum tells us all we need to know about the intellectual
calibre of the Zanu PF leadership.
Didymus Mutasa justified it on the grounds that everybody was
responsible for a lapse of judgement.
"The Chinhoyi diesel hoax was not a personal expedition by me," he
pleaded. "Rather it was a national exercise mandated by the ruling party's
politburo and I was one of those selected to be on that research team."
A case of the blind leading the blind!
"As a research team we did not manufacture that spirit medium. We saw
So that's all it takes?
And how does Tobaiwa Mudede explain his role in harbouring the girl?
Perhaps she could conjure up ghost voters!
This wouldn't be so bad if the participants were simple country folk.
But they are educated people occupying senior positions in the land.
And now the same people who believe pure diesel emanates from rocks
are telling us how to manage incomes and prices. It is shocking.
How do we know we are not being told to cap price rises because a n'anga
has whispered something to officials in return for $5 billion?
Samkange said if asked by state prosecutors, he would testify against
the girl because she had taken the government for a ride.
Was it her, Cde Samkange, or was it you and your colleagues who took
the country for a ride? It is not the poor girl who should be in court but
those who gave her public funds in the hope of a political miracle.
Have you noticed how the Herald devotes its front page to "the spirit
of unity" with the MDC but then publishes vicious attacks on the opposition
on its opinion pages from people like Mukanya Makwiro and Mabasa Sasa?
Why do these op-ed pages never reflect the diversity of views that a
self-respecting public media should contain?
Those involved in the current inter-party talks should ensure that the
public media not only provides a platform for differing views but is run
professionally along non-partisan lines in a way that generates public
trust. That is certainly not the case at present.
Those currently contributing to its columns who just spit venom and
malice should be prepared to explain their role as President Mugabe's
cheerleaders at a time when the country is sinking in an economic morass
caused by people who are willing to believe diesel flows from rocks!
Bishop Trevor Manhanga appears to be singing from the Zanu PF hymn
book as he demands the lifting of sanctions. This comes just a week after
reports of the shooting of MDC members on a retired army officer's farm at
Kwekwe. One died from his injuries.
The ex-army officer and ruling-party activist was arrested after that
incident. But who has been arrested in all the other cases of political
violence since March? Why have the killers of Gift Tandare and Edward
Chikomba not been brought to book? Perhaps Manhanga can tell us?
Sanctions were imposed in response to political violence and electoral
manipulation. When it is evident that those issues have been resolved
sanctions will be lifted. That message must go out loud and clear to those
who want sanctions removed but cannot win without coercion.
Muckraker's attention was caught by a full-page advert in the Standard
inserted by the workers of Watermount Farm. They allege that senior
government officials on November 5 hired a gang to violently assault the
workers causing serious injuries. They then instructed hospitals not to
admit the injured workers so there would be no record of the violence.
"To date some of our black brothers survive and progress on the basis
of using the government machinery to destroy innocent fellow blacks," the
workers said. "Public officials should act in the public interest and not
They should obey the law.
There is plenty of idle farm land elsewhere which can be allocated to
government officials, the workers pointed out.
"The conduct of such officials is tarnishing the country
unnecessarily, both locally and internationally," they charged.
Indeed. Now the jongwes are coming home to roost!
Reports of rapacious officials grabbing land regardless of court
orders are now a permanent feature of Zimbabwe's lawless landscape.
We feel sorry for the Watermount workers. But they were no doubt
cheering the government on when it directed land seizures in 2000. What did
they say when Kondozi Estate was taken?
What goes around comes around. The rule of law is there, ideally, to
protect all Zimbabweans from over-mighty rulers. The government is behaving
like a bully because it can get away with it. And the courts, widely seen as
suborned by gifts of land, nod their assent.
Potential investors in Zimbabwe should read Tafataona Mahoso's
vitriolic denunciation of the business sector in this week's Sunday Mail. It
helpfully reveals the depth of hostility exhibited by this regime towards
those who try to keep the wheels of industry and commerce turning. Nobody in
their right mind would invest in a country where business becomes the
scapegoat for a regime that needs somebody to blame for the chaos caused by
its collective ignorance.
We have half-baked lawyers with no business experience attempting to
regulate prices and half-baked media professors purporting to speak for the
"There can be no business without people," Mahoso lectures our
business editor. But he omits to tell his readers why three million
Zimbabweans have emigrated. Those people voted with their feet.
Mahoso blames business for failing to inventively mobilise the
Diasporan dollar. He should ask Diasporans why they won't invest here in the
sort of projects Mahoso thinks are laudable like agricultural equipment.
They just want houses and luxury cars, he suggests.
Hang on a moment. What sort of car does Mahoso drive around in?
Deputy Minister of Economic Development Sylvester Nguni appears to
have a realistic grasp of current events. Addressing a pre-budget seminar in
Bulawayo last week he spelt out what was ailing the country.
Zimbabwe was facing significant challenges such as a decline in output
in all sectors, hyperinflation, frequent power outages and fuel shortages,
he said. These problems, coupled with water and coal shortages, price
distortions, brain drain and a poor transport and telecommunications
network, have caused serious operational problems in industry, Nguni said.
What was so remarkable about this statement was its refreshing
honesty. There was no attempt here to blame sanctions.
The deputy minister even said there was a need for a policy that
ensured exporter viability and "the removal of price misalignments on the
exchange rate". He also called for the reform and recapitalisation of
This is a project that won't fly so long as ministers interfere in the
day-to-day running of these corporations. Air Zimbabwe is a perfect example
of a potentially profitable company that has been wrecked by ministerial
Nor, sadly, will the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy get off
the ground. You have to be very na´ve to believe it will succeed when the
National Economic Development Priority Programme has flopped.
What is needed is for Gideon Gono to set targets for reducing
inflation and engage the government and the public in a national campaign to
get the headline numbers down.
Gono himself must first stop printing money. As it stands, inflation
will continue to rise and the economy to dive so long as Zanu PF fails to
address the macro-economic distortions that are causing the current havoc.
Spain's King Juan Carlos won praise back home this week after telling
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to "just shut up" before storming out of an
Ibero-American summit, AFP reports.
Spain's monarch was applauded by Spanish media for his angry reprimand
last Saturday of Chavez, after the Venezuelan leader described a former
Spanish prime minister as a "fascist" and launched into a wide-ranging
"The king has put Chavez in his place in the name of all Spaniards,"
the centrist El Mundo newspaper said, noting that it was "an act without
It said the monarch's rebuke was "something that should have been said
to him (Chavez) a long time ago".
The fireworks made for a dramatic finale to the 17th meeting of the
heads of state and government of Spain, Portugal and their former colonies
in the Americas, which started last Thursday, AFP reported.
Chavez's outburst and King Juan Carlos' admonition to "shut up" was
replayed again and again late Saturday on Spanish television news programmes
to the delight of viewers, the news agency reported.
Newspapers in Spain on Sunday praised the regal rebuke, with the
right-wing press in particular relishing the outburst from the king.
Their response is not surprising. It is always good to see demagogues
told to "shut up" when they pontificate about the sins of others without
mentioning their own. We need to see more of this.
The Standard has done a good job in exposing the exploitation of young
girls by the Miss Rural pageant's organisers. Many were promised modelling
A Chinese gentleman called Mr Wang came to take revealing photos, we
were told. The Chinese embassy, asked about Mr Wang, said: "There are many
Mr Wangs here."
Indeed, a bunch of Wangers it would seem.
Eric Bloch Column
IN recent months it has become fashionable to castigate the developed
world for its alleged "poaching" of skilled persons, be they doctors,
nurses, teachers, or others.
Alongside vitriolic condemnation of these supposedly diabolical
actions are pronounced contentions that the so-called poachers should
compensate the countries from whence the skills were sourced.
The diatribe against the supposed poaching and the demands for
compensation, have emanated primarily from politicians but, of course, they
have been strongly supported by state-controlled media.
The most recent such outpourings in Zimbabwe occurred last week, when
Zimbabwe's Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere
responded to a question during question time in the House of Assembly.
He was asked what long-term strategies government had to arrest the
current brain drain, and consequential shortage, of teachers in Zimbabwe.
The minister commenced his reply by saying that "what is happening is
that teachers are being poached by our neighbouring countries".
However, he failed to recognise that he who will not be poached can
generally not be poached. The fish would not rise to the bait, if the fish
were not hungry.
Zimbabwe's skilled engineers, pharmacists, accountants, teachers,
doctors, nurses and other skilled health-care providers, and hoteliers, as
well as almost all others possessed of skills, have been departing Zimbabwe
in droves. Some are doing so in response to blatant offers such as
advertisements in Zimbabwean newspapers seeking science and mathematic
Others responded to advertisements in international newspapers and on
the Internet, or merely depart Zimbabwe to seek employment opportunities
But they do so for many reasons, comparable to the circumstances of
the hungry fish that is irresistibly drawn to the plump and juicy worm being
dangled before it. For some it is that they find the political environment
untenable. The absence of any genuine democracy, and instead a near-total
governance by dictatorship, despite the facades of democracy, are anathema
to some to an extent that they seek other, more genuinely free and
This is especially so when fundamental principles of justice are
abused, with undue violence and brutality in the effecting of arrests,
disregard for human rights after arrest, vicious oppression of the masses
with actions such as Operation Murambatsvina, unhindered attacks upon
supporters of political opponents, and the like.
Many others are driven to seeking livelihoods beyond Zimbabwe's
borders because of the pronouncedly deteriorating sociological environment.
Confronted with endlessly frequent, often very prolonged,
interruptions in electricity and water supplies, frighteningly inadequate
health care services, inclusive of hospitals not only under-staffed, but
also under-equipped, intense scarcities of basic commodities,
telecommunications facilities that are less effective than smoke signals,
and massively declining education services.
There are many other reasons for the constantly growing exodus of the
skilled from Zimbabwe, but the greatest trigger of that exodus is Zimbabwe's
disastrous economic circumstances.
With the exception of a few "fat cats", mainly politically connected,
the majority of the population is very desperately struggling to survive on
incomes markedly below the poverty datum line.
With real inflation being in the region of 20 000%, as distinct from
Central Statistical Office (CSO) determination of inflation at less than
half of that level, very few generate income that keeps pace with the
They are becoming more and more poverty-stricken, unaided by the
skills that they have striven to acquire and develop.
That poverty becomes increasingly intensified as calls upon them for
desperately needed support emanate from ever greater numbers of their
In his response to his questioner in the House of Assembly, Minister
Chigwedere did not recognise this economic consideration which impacts upon
Zimbabwe's retention of skilled persons.
He told the House that "by improving the living and working conditions
of the teachers, by raising their salaries to satisfactory levels...",
Zimbabwe can reduce its tremendous loss of educational skills.
This would certainly be so, but to a substantial extent would have to
be accompanied by credible assurances that the salary enhancements would be
on an ongoing basis to such an extent as would, at the very least, maintain
lifestyle, but preferably would improve it.
However, such assurances are unlikely to be forthcoming, and even more
unlikely to be believed if they are given, when regard is had not only to
government's abysmal track record of disregard for its undertakings, but
also to the minister's further declaration to the House of Assembly that the
retention of teachers must also be achieved "by bonding them and preventing
them from going".
To most teachers this sends a message of impending "slavery", for
their freedom of movement, choice of employers, of employment, and similar
considerations would be wholly destroyed by bonding constraints.
Undoubtedly, the minister would justify his proposed action by
contentions that the state has paid for the imbuing of the teaching skills
into the teachers, through state-funded universities and educational
However, that is only partially so, for almost without exception
aspiring educationalists must pay fees for their studies, or have those fees
paid for them by families. They also devote anything from three to five
years of their lives to their studies.
That they should then be compulsorily indentured to the state, without
any assurance of ongoing, sustainable and equitable remuneration is unjust,
and can only result in many dishonouring their bonding commitments and
fleeing the country, never to return.
Zimbabwe's losses of the skilled, in innumerable disciplines, is
cataclysmic, and must be halted, but at least it conveys one partially
compensatory feature in that it provides millions in Zimbabwe with partial
living, thanks to the funding sent to them by their relations abroad, and is
indirectly probably Zimbabwe's greatest present source of foreign currency,
albeit through alternative markets and by supply of goods.
If the brain drain is to be curbed, it is not by demands upon
neighbouring states not to employ Zimbabweans.
It is not by specious demands for compensation from the countries
employing the Zimbabweans. It is not by actions of force such as bonding.
It is by restoring democracy, respecting human and property rights,
and just and equitable law.
It is by restoring economic wellbeing. It is by reestablishing
infrastructures that meet national needs.
Until all this is done, nothing will halt the brain drain, or the
consequential continuing decline of Zimbabwe.
Govt must respect the constitution
THE recent arrest of the Attorney- General, Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, on
allegations of contravening Section 174 (1) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 has once again shown the Zanu PF
regime's lack of appreciation and understanding of the concepts of the rule
of law, separation of powers and independence of the Attorney-General's
office. The action shows a contempt and disdain for constitutional
principles and is symptomatic of a regime that has lost its way and
While we hold no brief for Gula-Ndebele and we express no opinion on
the correctness or otherwise of the decision he is alleged to have made in
relation to James Mushore, our concern as the Movement Democratic Change is
that the behaviour of the police undermines the remaining vestiges of the
public's confidence in the justice delivery system. Over the years we have
witnessed the battering that the rule of law has received at the hands of
the Zanu PF regime and this latest incident simply reinforces the point that
we must return to constitutionalism and respect of our institutions.
While our constitution is defective and needs a complete overhaul, it
does give some independence to the judiciary and the Attorney- General and
in this regard Section 76(7) of the constitution is clear and unambiguous in
that it gives unfettered powers to the Attorney-General and it states that
he or she "shall not be subject to the direction and control of any person
or authority". One would therefore have expected that in the exercise of his
duties the Attorney-General is vested with discretionary powers in matters
relating to prosecutions.
In any civilised society, there are ways of dealing with issues and if
it was felt that the Attorney-General had exceeded the bonds of the powers
vested in him, then the proper procedures would be to institute proceedings
for his removal instead of hauling him before the police as a common
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe is neither a civilised nor a democratic
country and it would be too much to expect the Zanu PF regime to pay any
regard to legal niceties and Zimbabwean citizens have over the years been
victims of this high-handed approach only for the cases to collapse due to
lack of evidence.
It is not only members of the opposition and civil society who have
been arrested on trumped up charges and the arrest of the Attorney-General
comes in the wake of the acquittal of Levison Chikafu, the Manicaland area
public prosecutor. Chikafu was not even placed on his defence and he was
cleared of all five charges he was facing after being discharged at the
close of the state case. He made allegations that his prosecution was
politically-motivated because he had the courage to prosecute some high
The Zanu PF regime has shown in the past that it is not comfortable
with people who execute their duties in a professional way and it has a long
history of ignoring legal advice given to it. It was not comfortable with
the previous Attorney-General and one hopes that we are not witnessing a
situation where this is persecution and harassment related to political
We have noted that the Attorney-General's Office Bill which went
through its first reading and received a non-adverse report from the
Parliamentary Legal Committee has not seen the light of day and is gathering
dust in some office somewhere and one wonders whether there is a link
between the latest incident and the Bill.
As the MDC, we believe that Zimbabwe can only move forward when we
have a government which derives its mandate from the people through
elections which are held freely and fairly under a democratic peopledriven
constitution. It is only such a government which can observe democratic
norms and standards and respect its institutions, the rule of law and
MDC secretary for justice,
legal and parliamentary
'Godfathers' ruining the MDC
POLITICAL violence and godfather politics and general impunity
threaten the stability of the MDC today.
The "restaurant elections" in Bulawayo give us a lot of lessons. In
fact this indispline on the part of Thokozani Khupe and Theresa Makone
brought to the fore the existence behind the scenes of powerful political
sponsors/godfathers to whom it seems the MDC leaders are beholden. Why is
the Theresa Makone circus being allowed to show when its crystal clear its
destroying the party?
Political violence it seems has also become an accepted way of winning
elections and maintaining power. Survey after survey underscores the
declining respect for our leaders among party supporters. The treatment of
Lucia Matibenga helps explain why. The methods of our leaders have left so
many people feeling disempowered and excluded from the national project.
Our leaders are leading by hectoring sidelining and stifling rather
than by inspiring. They want us to believe that a leader should lead and
They now believe that politics is the domain of the few to be
conducted in corridors and behind closed doors in "restaurants". They now
believe that power is won and lost through conspiracy. But this style of
politics, because of the rise of mass participatory democracy, cannot work
Democracy created with care can also perish. Democracy cannot be
imposed, it seems. Therefore the MDC should seriously embark and insist on
the tradition of collective leadership.
Our leaders should seek the cooperation of actual or potential allies
of all hues and sizes. Our leaders should always insist that their
achievements are attributable to the collective with whom they serve.
Restaurant coups, backbiting and godfather politics should be
discarded with the contempt of political rubbish.
By nurturing the best of our traditions the MDC through self-renewal,
trials and tribulations will ensure it remains relevant to the national
Mpofu's gesture vote-buying
THE Chronicle of Saturday, November 10 carried a story about the
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Obert Mpofu, sourcing 30 tonnes of a
scarce agricultural input, maize seed, for farmers in his constituency. He
was himself pictured standing next to a delivery lorry at the local GMB
It is indeed good for the minister to serve his constituency this way
but some worrying questions need answers. First, will other MPs and senators
representing their constituencies have similar access to similar quantities
of maize seed to benefit their constituencies?
Second, which farmers in his constituency will benefit from this
supply of seed? Will the minister give this seed to those farmers for free?
If not, what criteria will he employ to select the beneficiaries?
Obviously the farmers in question do not require the same quantities of seed
and there must be some difference in their treatment.
Third, what is the difference between what the minister has done and
hoarding? The question is when commodities are this scarce, is this the best
way of distributing those scarce resources?
Would it not have been better to distribute this seed via the normal
channels so that every farmer has a chance to get something to plant, even
if only little?
Fourth, why is this coming on the eve of an election? Why should the
public not see it as vote-buying when the minister who is seeking
re-election is seen distributing that seed to farmers who are starved of the
It is my humble submission that our MPs and senators do not have
similar access to resources, especially where these resources are sourced by
the state using tax-payers money. In particular, MPs and senators from the
opposition are grossly disadvantaged in this regard. I want to guess that
Mpofu used the heavier ministerial jacket to access this resource. Ministers
should be beyond the limited constituency interest: indeed, they must serve
the national interest.
I find it inappropriate that MP's and senators are expected to develop
their constituencies mostly on their own when there are full ministries
responsible for those tasks.
This causes uneven distribution of resources which is seen in the
marginalisation of whole constituencies and regions, because those that are
in control will monopolise resources in the same way Minister Mpofu has
done. In my view, commending what Mpofu has done is applauding blatant
'Mother of all agricultural seasons' a pipedream
I NEVER cease to be amused when our central bank and government
officials dub the coming agricultural season "mother of all farming
Obviously the assumption here is that since the so-called new farmers
were issued with tractors, combine harvesters, seed, fuel and fertilisers we
are going to witness a bumper harvest.
May I humbly advise that farming takes more than equipment and inputs
to succeed. It takes dedication, perseverance and discipline, among other
The tractors that were allocated to so called "new farmers" are
already being hired out to those farmers who did not get them on a
commercial basis. The diesel and petrol given to our new farmers has already
found its way onto the black market. If you don't believe me, take a drive
to farming areas like Mhangura and for $100 000 000 you can pick up a drum
of diesel without any problems.
Fertiliser is being sold for anything from $3 000 000 per bag in broad
daylight. And these are the same people being expected to produce the
"mother of all farming seasons"?
Give back the farms to their original owners and see the whole
countryside turn green.
People do not eat political rhetoric.
Water is our right
THE city of kings
has been humbled to deny its identity and integrity of being the real
city of kings. All five of the city's supply dams have dismally failed to
stabilise this excruciating gloomy water situation currently in town.
It has never happened in history that any second largest city of any
country can run for more than four months without a drop of water, but with
Bulawayo this has become the norm. It is really disheartening to think that
people have been forced to live in such a decaying atmosphere. It is a
Is it not our right as citizens to have access to clean water?
MDC must practise what it preaches
THE state of the Zimbabwean opposition forces shows us that nothing
will change in Zimbabwe unless people change their behaviour.
The situation in the ruling party shows us that nothing will work for
Zimbabwe unless we have a win-win outcome in the next election. There is a
strong case for reflection across the political divide and listening to each
other. Leaders should never take people for granted.
The on-going internal squabbles over the dissolution of the MDC women's
Assembly and the Ephraim Tapa-led UK and Ireland leadership has been
characterised by what other members have called abuse of power.
The allegation of under-performance has not been substantiated yet, at
least in the eyes of the outsiders.
However, one would have thought that if Lucia Matibenga was
under-performing she needed to be supported by way of extra training and
performance management. If she was corrupt then the members needed to know
and then brought to book.
Dissolving the MDC women's assembly is tantamount to sweeping things
under the carpet. What accountability and transparency is the MDC government
talking about then? This is not the democracy the MDC preaches.
It will be fair to say the performance of other various portfolios of
the MDC have not been very impressive either, although the usual defence
would be that, it is because of Zanu PF that certain party organs are
failing to do their work. It is true that the same women's assembly is
operating in the same environment of Aippa and Posa.
The people of Zimbabwe are capable of seeing who is indicating right
while turning left, and who is speaking their language of hope honestly, and
more importantly who has the right track record and experience.
It is therefore very important for the press to start profiling these
prospective leaders and interview them so that we know what they think,
their vision for Zimbabwe.
Everyone has got strengths and weaknesses so respective media houses
should help us with more information. It is not enough to report about names
Please, the media must inform us before it is too late.