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Tsvangirai under tight surveillance

Friday, 18 November 2011 10:07

Dumisani Muleya

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) has come under close state watch
over his political activities and manoeuvres ahead of elections next year or
in 2013 amid fears by President Robert Mugabe and his security operators
that he was lobbying to put Zimbabwe on the United Nations Security Council
agenda if poll results are disputed again. Briefings to the Zimbabwe
Independent by official sources show Tsvangirai is being closely monitored
all over the place by state security agencies as they try to detect and
decipher his political moves, mainly after elections, in the wake of events
in countries like Ivory Coast and Libya.

“The prime minister is under close watch, particularly now ahead of the
elections,” a source said. “The security agencies are on his case because
they have established a trend that after elections since 2002 there is
always an attempt to take Zimbabwe to the UN Security Council because of
disputes over results which always arise. This has unnerved those close to

Sources said Tsvangirai’s latest trip this week to Morocco, which those
close to Mugabe are watching with extraordinary interest, have heightened a
sense of insecurity and anxiety within the corridors of power in Harare.

Although Morocco is not an African Union member, having pulled out in
protest in 1984 over Western Sahara and the Polisario Front, it is going to
be a non-permanent UN Security Council member for a two-year tenure starting
January 1 2012 on the Arab League ticket. It will replace Lebanon.
Sources say state agents have been shadowing Tsvangirai on his recent trip
to Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon. South Africa, Nigeria and
Gabon are UN Security Council members. Togo is coming in to replace either
Nigeria or Gabon.

“Tsvangirai is being monitored because they fear he is mobilising outgoing
and incoming UN Security Council members, mainly from Africa, to build a
case at the international body to deal with the Zimbabwe situation if it
deteriorates after elections,” a source said.

These fears were expressed in detail in a column in the  state-controlled
Herald last Saturday, widely believed to be written by Mugabe’s spokesman
George Charamba. Checks on the issue showed Charamba’s worries were a
reflection of the anxieties of Mugabe and his lieutenants.

Tsvangirai this week went to Morocco, apparently for a meeting organised by
the Amadeus Institute, an independent local think tank founded in 2008. He
returns home this weekend from Rabat where he was expected to interact with
the likes of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Libyan Interim Prime
Minister Abdurraheem El-Keib at the Amadeus Institute. The presence of
Odinga and el-Keib is bound to raise further alarm in Harare.

Tsvangirai arrived in Rabat as foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab
League met on Wednesday to discuss the crisis in Syria where President
Bashar al-Assad is battling a determined uprising against his rule.

Sources say the political upheavals in the Middle East/North Africa and
former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, bludgeoned and shot dead by
Nato-backed rebel fighters in cold blood in his home town of Sirte last
month, have unsettled top Zanu PF leaders who were already disturbed by
events in Ivory Coast a few months ago.

Southern African leaders have tacitly warned leaders like Mugabe and others
to be wary of events in North Africa as they could happen in trouble spots
in the region.

The Amadeus Institute, which in 2008 gave Tsvangirai a democracy award,
describes itself as “a laboratory of ideas and a unique creator of debates”.
Tsvangirai was blocked from the trip to Morocco using an emergency travel
document by South Africa in 2008. Tsvangirai also visited Morocco and Libya
in 2009 when he was premier.

While the Amadeus Institute is seen elsewhere as a public platform for
debate, it is regarded a conduit of alleged Western funding to the MDC-T in
Mugabe and state security circles.

In his Nathaniel Manheru column, headlined MDC-T: Dreams of death, division
and invasion, Charamba described the Amadeus Institute as a “phony

“This is the vehicle through which Morocco interacts with Morgan Tsvangirai
and his party, indeed the vehicle for meddling in Zimbabwe’s electoral
politics,” he said. “Morocco has funded the MDC-T both as a country and as a
protégé of Europe and (the United States of) America doing the bidding of

Showing that Tsvangirai was under close watch and reflecting fears of his
activities, Charamba had indicated the premier would visit Morocco and the
US before the end of the year. He said his visit was part of a broad attempt
to lobby UN Security Council members on Zimbabwe.

Official sources say Mugabe and his loyalists fear Tsvangirai could push for
UN intervention as in Ivory Coast and Libya, taking a cue from events of
2002 and 2008. According to WikiLeaks cables, Tsvangirai wrote to former US
president George Bush suggesting UN intervention in Zimbabwe after the
disputed 2002 elections. After the violent 2008 June presidential elections
run-off, the US and its allies took Zimbabwe to the UN Security Council but
was blocked by China and Russia.

Charamba’s piece attempted to deals with Tsvangirai and his MDC-T’s game
plan towards and after the next crucial elections. It claimed their plan is
firmly situated within the local, regional and international context.
Locally, he claimed Tsvangirai was banking on Mugabe’s incapacitation, death
or divisions within Zanu PF, while in the region and internationally, the UN
Security Council would be the theatre of action, further raising the stakes
in the struggle for power in Zimbabwe.

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VP Mujuru escapes Mugabe censure

Friday, 18 November 2011 10:02

Faith Zaba

VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru will escape any form of sanctions to be slapped
on senior Zanu PF officials who secretly met United States diplomats and
expressed their desire to see President Robert Mugabe leave office. Mujuru
is among Zanu PF bigwigs recently exposed by the WikiLeaks cables as having
met the US diplomats. The cables revealed that the late Vice-President
Joseph Msika, the late Eddison Zvobgo, the late retired army commander
General Solomon Mujuru, Vice-President John Nkomo, Indigenisation minister
Saviour Kasukuwere, former Information minister Jonathan Moyo and Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono, among other senior officials, wanted Mugabe to

Zanu PF politburo members told the Zimbabwe Independent in separate
interviews this week that the party would not deal with everyone, including
Mujuru, exposed in the explosive WikiLeaks cables as this would damage an
already badly fractured party ahead of crucial general elections expected
next year or in 2013.

Mujuru met US ambassador Charles Ray on the outskirts of Harare on December
16 2009, just three days after a heated Zanu PF congress in the capital.
While other top party and government officials were quoted criticising
Mugabe’s leadership as a liability in their meetings with US diplomats,
Mujuru managed to steer clear of discussing Mugabe and rather sang from the
Zanu PF hymn book blaming sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic woes.

On politics, Mujuru told Ray that the Zanu PF old guard was giving way to
“young blood” noting that she and party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who were
54 and 64 years old in 2009, were on the younger side and formed one half of
the party presidium along with Mugabe and Nkomo.

Zanu PF is presently studying diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks to
decide who should be punished.

In several of the cables senior Zanu PF and government officials told US
diplomats that they wanted Mugabe out of office because he had become a
liability to both the party and the country. Others went further and
discussed sensitive issues regarding Mugabe’s personal life, particularly
his health.
When the cables were published, all but Jonathan Moyo distanced themselves
from the damaging disclosures.

Moyo said it would be naïve for those implicated in the cables to assume
that there would be no reprisals.

The politburo members said heads would roll among those found to have had a
“sinister” agenda to destroy the party.

Contrary to expectations by Mujuru’s rivals, who have been pressing for
Mugabe to deal with her for meeting US diplomats clandestinely, politburo
insiders said she was unlikely to be punished.

“People like Mai Mujuru have no case to answer,” said one politburo member.
“She was acting President at the time of the meeting, so why would she meet
the Americans in the dark. Jonathan Moyo might also survive because he came
out and said that at the time he was in the wilderness.”
“The president said some of the people might have said what they said
without realising the implications of their statements. He said for some, it
was through ignorance and stupidity as they didn’t realise the impact of
their statements.”

The insiders said a typical example of how Mugabe was likely to deal with
the WikiLeaks is what happened to people implicated in the Tsholotsho “coup
plot” of 2004. Six provincial chairpersons and Moyo were fired, while
Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa were forgiven despite their direct
or indirect role.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed that not everyone would be
punished but only a few whose intentions might have been to destroy the

“Very few people will survive the Wikileaks,” said Gumbo. “It is a big
challenge for us to sort out these WikiLeaks cases. We can’t deal with
everyone because the party will be destroyed totally. What we will look at
is what the person’s intention was. We will look at whether the person’s
intention was to destroy the party or its leadership or whether it was done
out of ignorance because he or she was over-excited.”

“If someone said we are liberal, it is different from someone who says the
party is destroyed or someone who criticised the party’s leadership,” said

The cables left Mugabe isolated and forlorn after senior party officials,
including some ministers, said he should step down.

Mugabe, fighting the effects of old age and ill-health, apparently due to
prostate cancer, is under growing pressure to quit ahead of the Zanu PF
national conference in Bulawayo from December 6-10.

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Parties in full throttle campaigns for polls

Friday, 18 November 2011 09:55

Faith Zaba

THE three parties in the inclusive government — the two MDC formations and
Zanu PF — have gone on a full throttle campaign to woo voters ahead of
crucial elections anticipated next year or 2013. While Zanu PF has come up
with strategies targeting churches, the youth, businesspeople, women,
communal farmers and urban dwellers to win the general elections, the MDC
formations have been holding campaign rallies across the country.

However, the police and Zanu PF supporters have disrupted several of these
rallies which were supposed to be addressed by the two MDC formations
leaders, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube.

Tsvangirai has held rallies in Manicaland, Binga, Nkayi and Masvingo, while
planned meetings in Victoria Falls, Lupane, Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare and
Chitungwiza were cancelled after police and Zanu PF supporters blocked them.

MDC-N has had meetings in Lupane, Gwanda, Matobo and Tsholotsho, while a
rally, which was supposed to be held in Bulawayo, had to be called off after
the police denied it clearance.

Ncube has said he wants to hold a rally in every district of Zimbabwe before
the elections.
President Robert Mugabe is yet to launch his campaign rallies, although his
Zanu PF party has adopted a different campaign approach from the MDC

Zanu PF has intensified its campaign in rural areas, making donations to
schools and villagers. Parallel to government efforts to provide
agricultural inputs in rural areas, Zanu PF has a scheme of its own,
targeting communal farmers.

Even Zanu PF cabinet ministers are said to be spending a lot of time in
their constituencies and provinces attending meetings and making donations.
In a recent interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Zanu PF spokesperson
Rugare Gumbo said one of its strategies was working with the churches to
build support for the 87-year old leader.

Zanu PF’s drive to infiltrate the churches stems from a decision by the
party’s commissariat last April to use faith organisations as future
vehicles for its election campaign.

At the launch of Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions campaign in March, churches,
including Apostolic churches and founder of the United Families
International Church Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa who attracts a large
following in Harare, were invited to denounce Western sanctions against
Mugabe and his allies.

But Zanu PF’s main targets are the Apostolic churches, which have a
following of more than four million people. Zanu PF believes this can
bolster its declining support and rocket it to victory.

Gumbo said the party’s aim was to garner votes from at least half of the
members of the apostolic churches.

“We are working with the churches. Even if Zanu PF gets a quarter of
Vapostori, we will be fine but we want at least half of the Vapostori,” he

At some church services, leaders of the churches were seen eulogising Mugabe’s
leadership and urging congregants to support Mugabe because “he carries the
blood of Jesus”.

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Detectives looking for Standard journos

Friday, 18 November 2011 09:52

DETECTIVES from the CID Law and Order section yesterday visited Alpha Media
Holdings (AMH) offices looking for Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and
senior reporter Nqaba Matshazi over a story published in the newspaper last
month alleging that Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi was muscling out
resettled farmers in Beitbridge to create room for his son and nephew. The
detectives, who were led by a Detective Inspector Mukwaira, said they wanted
to record statements from the two scribes regarding how they got documents
used in writing the article. The officers said the two should report to the
Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order section today.

The detectives’ visit came a day after Madanhire and Matshazi were granted
US$100 bail each by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts for criminal defamation
and theft charges involving Green Card Medical Aid Society. Green Card is
owned by Munyaradzi Kereke, a special advisor to Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono. Madanhire and Matshazi were ordered to surrender their
passports and continue residing at their given address.

AMH Group Senior Associate Editor Iden Wetherell said the latest development
appeared aimed at destabilising the newspaper group ahead of elections
marked for next year.

“This has all the hallmarks of a sustained campaign by the state to disable
our newspaper group output ahead of elections,” Wetherell said. “And yet
they have the cheek to complain about sanctions.”

AMH chief executive officer Raphael Khumalo echoed the same sentiments and
accused the police of selectively applying the law.

“This is another case of selective application of the law and harassment of
our journalists. We are yet to hear of the arrest of people who stormed
parliament this year or those who disrupted MDC rallies recently. Our
journalists have become a soft target for the police,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo said he thought the ushering in of the present coalition government
would restore some normalcy in the country, but it seems things had become
worse, and that was sad and unacceptable. — Staff Writer.

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Violence: Mugabe’s Damascene moment?

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:10

Dumisani Muleya

THE historic pact between Zanu PF and the MDC formations to end resurging
political violence and curb future brutality ahead of possible elections
next year or 2013 signals a “Damascene moment” for President Robert Mugabe
and moves to atone for atrocities of his regime.
Officials close to the initiative to stop violence say Mugabe, 87, and
facing the exits due to old and ill-health, is gradually becoming mellow as
he tries to repent and make amends for the damage his regime inflicted on
the people and society during its three decades-long repressive rule.

Zimbabwe has a long history of political violence dating back to the
colonial era, particularly after Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of
Independence in 1965, although Zanu PF perpetuated the culture of violence
after 1980.

Mugabe’s rule has been a reign of terror in many respects, characterised by
fear and violence. When he came to office in 1980, one of Mugabe’s first
moves to consolidate and keep power was to target the main opposition party,
the now defunct PF Zapu. Its leaders, who spearheaded the liberation
struggle, were arrested and detained.

Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, one of the founding nationalists before Mugabe,
survived assassination attempts in 1982 before ironically fleeing to the
former colonial power he had fought, Britain.

During the same period Mugabe, then committed to a one-party state and
command economy, unleashed brutal repression using North Korean-trained
security forces in the south-western and midlands regions of the country in
a desperate bid to crush Zapu and Nkomo. In the process, at least 20 000
civilians were massacred during the episode now known as Gukurahundi which
resonates with Zanu PF history. During the mid 1970s, Zanu PF leaders and
commanders scattered in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique deployed a crack
force dubbed Gukurahundi to quell an internal rebellion by disgruntled

Zapu was eventually coerced into a merger with Zanu PF in the 1987 Unity
Accord, paving way for constitutional changes giving Mugabe, prime minister
until 1989, sweeping executive powers and turning the country into a de
facto one-party state. Attempts to create a de jure one-party state failed
in 1990.
Elections since 1980 have always been marked by violence and bloodshed. Zanu
PF’s systematic brutality, mainly during elections, started in the 1980s
against Zapu and the trend has continued up to this day. The 1985 elections
took place amid a fierce tide of violence in the south-western part of the

Edgar Tekere’s ZUM became the main victim of violence during the 1990
elections, marked by the shooting by state agents of the late Patrick
Kombayi, while the MDC became the target of a sustained crackdown after

After Zanu PF lost the 2000 constitutional referendum — the first time
people voted against Mugabe’s regime in clear protest at misrule —all hell
broke loose. Mugabe and his party reacted with vicious repression and
violence, seizing farms, attacking the MDC all over the place and curtailing
civil and political liberties, including press freedom.

The elections of 2000, 2002 and 2008 were thus characterised by violence.
The brutality of 2008, which shook the conscience of the nation, left scars
which are still fresh.

Following recent incidents of violence, particularly in Chitungwiza,
political party leaders, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube moved to act
and held a historic meeting in Harare last Friday to come up with a deal to
end violence.

Senior officials in the three parties involved in the pact say Mugabe – who
previously boasted Zanu PF had “degrees in violence” - has undergone a
“Damascene moment” as he goes through the twilight zone of his long
political career.

“I think President Mugabe is genuine in his call for the need to end
political violence. He seems to be trying to atone for his mistakes to leave
legacy of peace and harmony,” a senior official involved in the
anti-violence initiative said. “Like the Biblical Paul on his way to
Damascus, it seems Mugabe has eventually seen the light.”

Another official reinforced this observation, saying the initiative to
honour Nkomo, once a sworn enemy of Zanu PF leaders, with statues in Harare
and Bulawayo was part of Mugabe’s atonement process. “He appears to be
trying to make amends for the excesses of the past and therefore he must be
acting in good faith,” the official said.

Questions abound whether Mugabe is not pooling wools over people’s eyes on
this issue. Observers say Mugabe might be willing to have a mindset shift
given the now entrenched multiparty politics environment but some of his
lieutenants might be disinclined. Those close to the process say the biggest
challenge for the leaders was not agreeing to end violence but walking the
talk. Hence, Ncube emphasised during the meeting the need for sincerity.

After the three party-political leaders addressed the meeting, MDC-T
secretary-general Tendai Biti summed up their contributions in 10 points in
what he termed the “Harare Declaration”. There is also the 1989 Harare
Declaration against apartheid and the Harare Commonwealth Declaration of

Biti’s charter drawn from Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube’s contributions
include the need to say no to violence and embrace peace, sincerity,
tolerance, the call for citizens to be proud to be Zimbabweans subscribing
to a common set of values, principles and grundnorms (basic norms), equality
before the law and freedom from coercion, leadership, vision, the need for
security forces to protect the people, spirituality and implementation of
agreed issues.

Scepticism is rife though on whether the anti-violence pact would be a
watershed in Zimbabwe’s electoral politics, leading to free and fair
elections. Some critics say the move is a smoke-and-mirrors plot by Mugabe
and Zanu PF to con the MDC parties again through a change of strategy and
tactics. Others insist it a genuine effort by Mugabe to make amends for his
political transgressions and avoid being held to account for gross human
rights abuses, although the process might be undermined by uncontrollable
hardliners around him.

Only time will tell if this was a genuine deal to end violence or a
deceptive change of strategy by Mugabe who always introduces new, and often
radical, political dynamics during the course of the game. Critics say
Mugabe must be given the benefit of the doubt although he is not to be

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SMM saga: Chinamasa gets final warning

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:05

Paidamoyo Muzulu

THE Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee this week dispatched a final
written warning to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa demanding that he
avails the Shabanie Mashaba Mines Holdings share warrant certificates he
claimed were in government possession after the state took control of
Mutumwa Mawere’s business empire in 2004.
Chinamasa escaped contempt of parliament charges in August for failing to
produce the share certificates despite receiving three letters of demand
from the committee. However, The Speaker of parliament ruled that the
committee had not exhausted all available channels to get the information
before charging Chinamasa.

Parliamentary insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent that a letter had been
dispatched to Chinamasa demanding that he produce the certificates.
“A final letter demanding share warrants proving government ownership and
total legal costs for UK proceedings and fees paid to lawyers who
represented the government. The minister has since acknowledged receipt of
the letter,” one of the sources said.

The sources said Chinamasa “has requested for time to get all the details

Committee chairman Edward Chindori-Chininga was not immediately available
for comment as he was said to be in South Africa. However, in August
Chindori-Chininga said his committee was going to decide collectively on the
next course of action against Chinamasa.
Chinamasa was not available for comment.

Clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma declined to confirm or deny the new
development in Chinamasa’s case.
“I cannot confirm that information because that would be undermining the
work of the committee,” Zvoma said yesterday.

The case arose out of the committee’s investigations into the status of the
now defunct SMM after they were placed under state administration as part of
their reconstruction for state indebtedness.

Chinamasa then appointed Afaras Gwaradzimba of AMG Global Accountants as the
administrator of the mines with powers to seek SMMH share certificates from
T&N (UK) to effect a complete government takeover of Mawere’s empire.

The case resulted in a long-winded court case in the UK with Gwaradzimba
claiming he won the matter and got the share warrants. However, Mawere
maintained that he still owned SMMH and the share warrants were still safely
tucked in a safe in the UK.

Gwaradzimba is currently facing contempt of parliament charges for utterings
that demeaned the characters of members of the Mines and Energy Portfolio
Committee by publishing a defamatory article in the NewsDay of Friday, March

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‘Hopes for free polls dashed’

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:04

Nqobile Bhebhe

PRESSURE group International Crisis Group (ICG) says the slow pace in
tackling the Zimbabwe political crisis was diminishing prospects of
constructive engagement making it difficult to see how minimal conditions
for free and fair elections could be secured. In a report released on
Wednesday titled Resistance and Denial: Zimbabwe’s Stalled Reform Agenda,
the ICG said initial hope created by the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) resolution of a more robust hands-on approach on the
Zimbabwe crisis was fast fading due to no visible action.

Following a Sadc Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security meeting in
Livingstone, Zambia in March, which was hailed as a watershed for its
hard-hitting communiqué, there were high hopes that a long-lasting political
resolution was imminent.

“The promise that the regional organisation Sadc would take a more robust
stand following the March 31 communiqué of its Organ Troika on Politics,
Defence and Security has not yet been adequately borne out,” reads the

The report says political instability was escalating with recent clashes in
Harare and other parts of the country being cited.

“A more resolute Sadc position has been in place since the first quarter of
2011, but has yet to bear fruit on the ground…But the clock is ticking, with
no more than 18 to 20 months before elections,” it says. “The issue cannot
be endlessly deferred, however, even if the first step is only constructive
talks about potential dialogue. In the meantime, prospects for constructive
engagement are diminishing, which makes it difficult to see how even minimal
conditions for free and fair elections will be secured.” the report says.

However, MDC president Welshman Ncube told the Zimbabwe Independent that it
was wrong for people to assume that Sadc should “police Zimbabwe everyday
like a headmaster” saying the regional body was still on track in its
commitment to the Zimbabwe crisis.

“It’s a mistake for anyone to think that Sadc will be policing Zimbabwe like
a headmaster and it will never happen. Sadc can only facilitate, guard and
pressurise. The communiqué was tough and I believe Sadc still stands by
that. The Livingstone summit established one principle that Zimbabwe will
not hold any election unless those elections are held in a free and fair
environment. Therefore I don’t think Sadc has changed and it would not yield
on that,” said Ncube.

The ICG said the two competing formations of the MDC largely welcomed the
more proactive engagement of Sadc’s facilitation team headed by South
African President Jacob Zuma.

However, it said President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, which retains a
dominant role in the current power-sharing arrangement, has frustrated it.
The ICG said Mugabe’s recent admission that he could not force a 2012
election date suggested that realisation was growing within Zanu PF that
efforts to impose elections without consensus would be counter-productive.

As a guarantor of the Global Political Agreement, Sadc needs to secure
tangible progress on several key issues if elections are ultimately to be
held in conditions that are sufficiently free and fair.

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Zesa drops Sino Hydro deal

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:03

Paidamoyo Muzulu

ZESA has renounced the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) clandestinely
signed between treasury and Chinese conglomerate Sino Hydro for the
expansion of the Kariba South hydroelectric power project opting for a more
transparent tender process. Kariba presently generates 750 megawatts of
power at its peak and the MoU seeks to increase generation capacity by an
extra 600 MW. It was signed by Finance minister Tendai Biti and Economic
Planning and Development minister Tapiwa Mashakada early this year.

Investment in the country has been subdued in the last decade with Zesa
failing to provide uninterrupted power supply to the manufacturing industry.
The power authority sometimes switches off consumers for up to 12 hours as
part of its haphazard load-shedding schedule.

Zesa chief executive officer Josh Chifamba told the Mines and Energy
Portfolio Committee on Monday that the agreement awarding Sino Hydro the
Kariba expansion work had jumped the gun and would cause problems with other
Chinese companies should it be implemented without going to tender.
“Sino Hydro made an offer, (but) it jumped the gun on many issues,” said
Chifamba. “The feasibility studies had not been done. We were going to have
problems with other Chinese partners. The only way was to go to
international tender,” he said.

Chifamba said such large projects needed very high levels of transparency to
encourage investment and participation by the most competent company through
a tender process.

“We need maximum transparency to encourage funding. This would also give us
an opportunity to evaluate the best tender and compare the services of the
companies in an open manner,” Chifamba said.

The debt laden energy utility conceded that the perennial power shortages
could only be solved by engaging in Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to
build new electricity generation plants. However, Chifamba suggested that
investors were wary of Zimbabwe’s inconsistent policies.
“We are not the most attractive investment destination in the world,” he
said. “Electricity generation is a long term investment. There must be
stability, and currently there is nervousness among investors, for instance,
around indigenisation policy.”

Most local parastatals are debt ridden making them unattractive to
investors. Zicosteel owes about US$240 million to Chinese and German banks.
The situation is the same at the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air
Zimbabwe, Noczim, Grain Marketing Board, Agribank, Cold Storage Company,
TelOne, NetOne and the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). The ZPC has been
shortlisted for privatisation or restructuring in the short to medium-term.

In another development, Chifamba announced that Zesa would soon embark on
the ambitious Batoka hydro-power project with potential to generate 3000MW
after finally agreeing to settle a US$260 million debt to Zambia for the
shared Kariba infrastructure inherited at independence in 1980.

The dispute revolved around an unpaid debt for infrastructure that Zimbabwe
inherited at Independence from the Central African Power Corporation (Capco)
during the federation era.

Chifamba said: “Zesa will start servicing the Capco debt commencing next
January and that will give us the greenlight to start the Batoka project.”
Zimbabwe’s power stations are operating at 50% capacity and producing 1 300
MW compared to a national demand of 2 400 MW. The utility meets the
shortfall by importing from the DRC’s power company Snel, Eskom of South
Africa and HCB of Mozambique.

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Zanu PF indaba preps hit a snag

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:02

Brian Chitemba

A HIGH-POWERED Zanu PF delegation has descended on Bulawayo for a crisis
meeting to deal with problems bedevilling preparations for the party’s
annual conference to be held in the city in about three weeks time. The team
led by the party’s national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo (pictured), also
comprises secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Zanu PF women’s
league secretary Oppah Muchinguri, youth affairs secretary Absolom
Sikhosana, spokesman Rugare Gumbo and education secretary Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

They are scheduled this weekend to meet various conference preparatory
committees at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), the venue of the

The party’s top brass will meet the Bulawayo committee led by provincial
chairman Isaac Dakamela to discuss the slow trickling in of funds and
donations as well as accommodation challenges amid reports that the party
was battling to secure accommodation for the more than 5 000 delegates
expected to attend the indaba.

While accommodation for senior officials has been secured, ordinary
delegates are likely to be accommodated at government schools close to the
Dakamela confirmed that his party’s bigwigs would visit the city for crucial
meetings “to iron out outstanding issues regarding conference preparations”.

Dakamela said Bulawayo province would meet ahead of the conference to
publicly endorse Mugabe’s continued leadership. Zanu PF sources in Bulawayo
said the party faced serious problems securing funding and beasts for
slaughter pledged by local businessmen during the fundraising launch.
Zanu PF budgeted US$1,5 million for the conference with each province
expected to raise US$150 000. However, the host province has only managed to
source US$21 000, which is all locked up in pledges.

“The Khaya Moyo committee will craft ways of sourcing resources for the
conference because there is no money and the Bulawayo City Council has
refused to allow the party to use its pavilion at the ZITF. “There is a lot
of confusion around the preparations and all this is because Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu and Dakamela don’t know what they are doing,” said a senior Zanu PF

Dakamela said the party wrote to the Bulawayo City Council asking for the
council’s pavilion for use as offices for the presidium. Council rejected
the request saying Zanu PF had not followed proper procedures.

Khaya Moyo’s team, the source said, would also attempt to rein in warring
factions in the province.

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Byo water project set for completion

Thursday, 17 November 2011 19:02

THE long awaited Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline, which is expected to ease
Bulawayo’s perennial water woes, is set to be completed six months after the
original schedule. It was initially scheduled to be completed in December.

The Mtshabezi-Umzingwane water pipeline is seen as a medium-term panacea to
Bulawayo’s perennial water shortages. Bulawayo residents and business have
endured serious water rationing over the years as the city’s supply dams are
failing to cope with the ever increasing water demand.

According to findings by the cabinet taskforce on reviving Bulawayo
industries, water shortages have forced many companies to close shop or
relocate to Harare.

Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the project would be
delayed after the State Procurement Board (SPB) refused to approach Zesa
directly for the electrification of the pump station. The SPB instructed
that an open tender be used to select the company to carry out

“The project is 77% complete,” Nkomo said. “The contract for the Mtshabezi
Pump Station: Electro-Mechanical Works was awarded to Hydroproject (Pvt.)
Ltd through PBR 1194 on 25 August 2011 for the sum of US$1,126,738.40. The
Contractor placed orders for the pumps with a supplier in South Africa. The
electricals of the project will certainly push it to the end of the first,
if not second, quarter of 2012.”

Nkomo said the 42km excavations were complete while the laying of pipes had
been done on 40,8km. Only 1,2km remained on the pipeline expected to cost in
the region of US$14 million.Bulawayo has five supply dams, Insiza,
Umzingwane, Upper Ncema, Lower Ncema and Inyankuni, which are all located in
the drought prone Matabeleland South province.

Mtshabezi Dam has a capacity of 11,4 million cubic metres of water and has
not been fully utilised since it was completed in 1994.

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Budget conundrum: What can we expect?

Thursday, 17 November 2011 17:08

Collins Rudzuna

SO the Finance minister is due to make his budget announcement shortly and
the nation is expectant as usual. Developments in the world economy,
particularly the Eurozone countries, have now sobered up the initial
optimism and put to doubt the achievability of earlier estimates of real GDP
growth of 9,3% for 2011 and 7,8% for 2012.

One of the topical issues that came out of the mid-term budget statement was
the existence of a significant unfunded budget deficit of US$700 million. In
the absence of new sources of funds we expect the minister will follow the
international trend and implement “austerity measures”, the  buzz phrase for
cutting the deficit by reducing spending.

As we have seen in the UK, where university students demonstrated against
the reduction of state subsidies on education, this strategy is highly
unpopular and may be met with stiff resistance from those affected directly.
Austerity measures would be difficult to implement in Zimbabwe anyway as 70%
of our budget is taken up by public sector salaries. Cutting salaries or
laying off workers ahead of what is possibly an election year would be
political suicide and might also be the catalyst for a violent eruption by
the discontented masses.

Prospects for cutting spending being limited as they are, what is the
minister likely to do to manage the deficit situation? It is highly probable
that modest tax increases may be put into effect. Taxes ranging from pay as
you earn on individuals’ salaries to various duties and levies payable in
the course of trading are already on the high end, especially relative to
the low incomes earned by most people. Yet it is likely that the taxman will
make a further squeeze on the taxpayer, if only a slight one.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) recently published its report
on a manufacturing sector survey. One of the CZI’s policy recommendations
was reduction of Vat and import duty. It is highly unlikely this
recommendation will be implemented and it is more likely that duty on
imported products may instead be increased.

The debate on the imposition of import duty is another topic that makes for
interesting discussion. It is particularly interesting to consider whether
this strategy will be effective in enhancing the competitiveness of local
manufacturers, thereby reducing the need for imports and improving the
balance of payments situation. Official figures show total foreign payments
in the third quarter at nearly US$600 million per month, suggesting an
annual import bill of US$7,2 billion. Exports are anticipated at US$4
billion and this leaves a deficit of US$3,2 billion.

The mid-term budget statement saw the minister re-introducing duty on
certain basic foodstuffs as a direct result of lobbying from local
manufacturers. Given their initial success, manufacturers may be asking for
further protection. Last time, retailers adjusted prices of locally-produced
goods to match those of imported goods, thereby “cheating” the final
consumers of any benefit from buying from local sources. It will be
interesting to see what happens on this front this time around.

Some political analysts have ruled out the possibility of an election being
held in 2012. From a budget point of view it would be fortunate if they are
right as this exercise would need funding as well. In an economy where the
government’s finances are already stretched, the holding of an election
would cost us money we do not have. Yet the appointment of a democratically-
elected government is key to our ability to attract the international funds
that are needed to revamp the economy. Donor funding will be needed for this
exercise as for the constitutional referendum as well. It will be
interesting to see how the parties involved in the election are receptive to
donor money should it be available.

Early rains have fallen and the agricultural season has kicked off.
Hopefully, the uncharacteristically high temperatures prevailing do not
negatively affect agricultural production. Subsistence farmers rely on a
good harvest for food and should the season be a bad one, the Finance
minister may have to make available funds for food relief as well. This is
one area where donor funding should come in to plug the gap, and if
politicians are readily willing to work with Ngos, then the process of
distributing food will be smoother.

These issues of the budget deficit, trade balance, elections and food
security are just some of the more important ones to consider but the
overriding theme is that the minister has a tough exercise ahead of him and
little room to manoeuvre.  Aside from increasing taxation and sourcing funds
from donors, there is little that can be done by the minister. Is he perhaps
more creative than we assume? We will know when the budget statement is out!

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Zimbabwe embarks on eco friendly fuel project

Thursday, 17 November 2011 16:22

Paul Nyakazeya

ZIMBABWE through Green Fuel has joined a growing list of world economies
taking up the call to reduce carbon emission while enjoying local benefits
of a homegrown solution to fuel independence. Green Fuel ethanol is produced
locally from sugar cane grown in Chisumbanje. The ethanol project has
created more than  4 500 jobs to date in agriculture and offers training and
skills development in the new technologies introduced by the Green Fuel
ethanol plant.
Ethanol is a safe, clean transportation fuel, which will reduce pump prices
and bring significant benefits to industry, business and individuals across
the country.

By being locally produced Green Fuel ethanol will save on fuel importation
and transportation costs.
Green Fuel produces anhydrous ethanol using the latest plant and
distillation technologies from Brazil. This is a new generation, high
quality biofuel and is the best performing fuel on the market.

Ethanol blends of 10% and up to 25%, are safe for use in al petrol vehicles,
offering a clean efficient fuel with a higher octane rating and improved
performance of your petrol vehicle. It is easy and safe to switch between
blend and 100% petrol.
Currently, regional market comparisons indicate that the pump price of
petrol in South Africa is R10,77 (US$1,35), the rest of the region is
experiencing a price range of between US$1,50 and US$1,70.

Zimbabwe’s fuel prices last week tumbled in the backdrop of Green Fuel’s
introduction of blend into the local market.  Green Fuel blend entered the
market at a retail offering of $1,36 per litre effectively giving the
motorist cheaper fuel than the US$1,42 to US$1,44 price range.

Local produced ethanol is said to be revolutionising the fuel market,
protecting the local consumer from ripple effects of increases global oil
prices with Green Fuel’s blend being on the market at a competitive US$1,36.
Green Fuel spokesperson Lilian Muungani told Independent Motoring on Monday
that market reaction to the product has been overwhelming and effort was
underway to ensure the distribution is nationwide.
“We are open to supply everyone and we urge distributors outside Harare to
approach us for commercial agreements,” she said.

She said the last two week’s experience in the fuel market presents Zimbabwe
with all forms of possibilities informing of a revolution that will not only
stabilise fuel prices, but will also turn the wheels of economic recovery
towards accelerated growth.

“The 10% minimum blend ratio has had an impact of a downward movement in the
price of blend by about eight cents,” Muungani said.

There is more benefit awaiting the consumer if authorities increase the
blend ratio. Research has shown that a blend ratio of up to 20% has no
resulting technical effects on the vehicles therefore if the blend ratio
goes up to this figure the consumer is presented with a cost saving of up to
16 cents this is likely to bring the price of blend further down to the
$1,25 and for the first time in the history of this country fuel may be
priced lower than in South Africa.
“This will have a huge positive impact on the general industrial performance
as well as the small to medium enterprise sector in the rural areas whose
operations hinge on the movement of commodities from major industrial
cities,” said Muungani

A cursory look at the fuel trends within the region shows that most of
Zimbabwe’s neighbours remain vulnerable to the oscillating international oil
prices from which Zimbabwe will be cushioned henceforth.  The Malawi Energy
Regulatory Authority (Mera) this week announced a 30% hike in fuel prices.

This, the board indicated, was meant to cover the rising costs of fuel
importation. The energy regulatory authority further announced that the
price hike had been effected in consideration of other macroeconomic
fundamentals affecting the price of petroleum products. The South African
Energy Department recently announced a 23% hike in fuel prices surprising
petrol consumer with R10,77 cents per litre (US$1,35).

But for the motoring public, questions abound on fuelling on blend from
ethanol with questions bordering on safety for the engine, impact on
performance and most importantly the issue of economic savings against
mileage to be achieved being asked.

For many urbanites, air pollution in most urban centers is no longer a
distant subject confined to environmental discussions at international
forums. Rather, it has become a daily reality invading one’s nostrils as
emissions from industrial and motoring activity combine to form a thick
layer in the atmosphere.

The benefit resulting from ethanol use to citizens is cleaner air resulting
to healthier people, especially those that suffer from respiratory diseases.
Ethanol is a clean burning fuel that reduced air pollution and decreases
green house gas emissions by over 60% and as high as 90%.

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Make constitution outreach reports public

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:48

Qhubani Moyo

IF the Constitution Parliamentary Committee (Copac) is not planning anything
sinister with the views that came out of the constitutional outreach
programme done between June and September 2010, then it should make public
the provincial and national report so that the public is informed on the
views made. This business of treating information that came from the people
as highly confidential and classified may incite the thinking that there is
some sinister agenda by the select committee. It is a matter of public
record that the way select committee handled the whole constitution-making
process is far from impressive. The glaring incompetence levels, amongst
many of the members of the select committee, make it urgent and critical
that the views of the public be made public. Otherwise a cunning few could
manipulate the rest of the members of the select committee to come up with a
constitution that does not reflect the will of the majority of the
Zimbabwean people.

It is just and fair that the people who expressed what they wanted to get
into the new constitution be given reports of what came out of the outreach
programme. The news that Copac is already moving to the drafting stage of
the constitution makes the whole outreach process a charade and should not
be allowed to happen.

What wisdom is Copac using to jump to converting the people’s views into a
draft constitution without publicising what came out of that outreach? This
borders on undermining and disrespecting the people of Zimbabwe. There is
also a rumour that Copac has concluded the constitutional principles that
are supposed to be the pillars and foundation of the constitution. The
question that many Zimbabweans would want answered, as a matter of urgency,
is are these principles general constitutional principles or are they
principles that are derived from the views of the people? If the views of
the people were made public, it would be easy to answer that question but as
it stands the truth will be difficult to tell.

The lingering question is what the trio of co-chairpersons Edward Mukhosi,
Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora are doing by wanting to treat the people’s
views as a safely guarded secret that has a potential of threatening
national security? If anything, the keeping of people’s views as secret has
a potential of causing mayhem and instability because the constitution that
may come out might not be identified with the collective views of the whole
nation. Copac should not play kids’ games about the constitution-making
process because when all has been done it is the real foundation of the
future of this country.

The majority of the problems we face today are a result of a weak
constitution. The co-chairpersons and their team have to know that they are
carrying dynamite in their hands and it can easily explode in their faces if
they play games with the information that was gathered.
This is not only critical or urgent but highly explosive because the
outcomes of all other process of constitution-making have been made public.
What then is the point of keeping people in the dark on the outcome of this
important phase of the process.
When the GNU was formed with Article Six of the GPA mandating the writing of
a new constitution, the first thing that was done in that regard was the
appointment of the select committee from the MPs. The names of those
appointed to lead the process were made public. After that the first
stakeholders’ conference, which came up with 17 thematic areas that were to
form the basis of the public enquiry, was held. The subsequent meetings came
up with the talking points and these thematic areas were well publicised and
presented to the nation and which reflected, to a large extent, the basis of
the public outreach questionnaire.

This was followed by the appointment of the outreach teams whose names were
also widely publicised in the media. The outreach programme meeting points
and the how the people were supposed to submit their views were also

This made the people identify with the constitution-making process and thus
ensuring that the public moves with it in line with the desired
people-driven constitution. What then has happened now for Copac to pretend
that publication of this part of the process is not important? This is the
most critical stage of the process and Copac should not pretend that this is
less important.

This is especially problematic given that Copac made a commitment to move
with the people and inform them in all national languages of the outcomes of
all the stages of constitution-making. They must deliver on that promise
unless they have something to hide or are planning a coup on the views of
the people. This is a supposedly a people-driven process after all!

Rushing to the drafting stage without publicising the people’s views is a
potential source of conflict. This is because some people might dispute what
is in the draft on the basis that they have no knowledge of what came out in
the outreach programme. People will want to know the relationship of what is
in the draft constitution and the various provincial reports. This will
build confidence in the whole process as anything outside this might be met
with resistance in the long run. The select committee should not negate the
simple tenet of constitution-making in conflict areas which is moving with
the people in the process.

A suspicious outcome based on data that was never made public can have
dangerous outcomes which can cause instability. For instance if the
constitution does not embrace the principle of devolution of power in which
provinces have power to run their affairs with governors directly elected by
the people, then this will be a cause for a national problem. Equally if the
constitution does not provide for an electoral system based on proportional
representation, abolition of death sentence, a comprehensive Bill of Rights,
promotion of all languages and cultures, a maximum two five-year terms for
the president and the removal of a dual vice presidency among many issues,
then this can be a major source of conflict.

Copac should just do the right thing by ensuring that what came out of the
outreach is not left to speculation and rumour but made public to avoid the
dangers that go with speculative tendencies.

Moyo is the National Organising Secretary of the MDC led by Professor
Welshman Ncube. He is contactable on .

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MuckRaker: Another ‘healing’ body as Rome burns

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:19

‘ZDF won’t entertain security sector reform being advocated by the MDC-T,”
the Saturday Herald told us last weekend.
This was said by Chief of Staff, Major-General Martin Chedondo at army
headquarters last week.

Major-General Chedondo said the idea of security sector reform was being
pushed by “former Rhodesians who lost to Zanu and PF Zapu on the

So not only will the army forbid security sector reform, it will, according
to the Herald, forbid any discussion of the subject on the grounds that
“Rhodesians” are behind it.

This at a time when the nation is drawing up a democratic constitution.
Is Chedondo authorised to block freedom of expression in this way and
prevent Zimbabweans from exercising their democratic right to discuss the
options open to them? The methodology here is not new. First of all identify
a spurious threat to the state. Then curb the democratic rights of
Zimbabweans on the basis of that non-existent threat.

How many “Rhodesians” does Chedondo think are left? Does he have any clue?
And here we have the MDC-T failing the public once again. Instead of making
it abundantly clear that Chedondo does not have the right to silence
Zimbabweans just because he imagines some plot to promote sanctions
involving “Rhodesians”, the party remains silent.
This is a claim that needs to be rebutted vigorously instead of allowing
ignorance to prevail. Chedondo boasts of having “won” the liberation war.
Did he win it in order to prevent Zimbabweans exercising a free political
choice at the polls?

On the subject of sanctions, what has happened to that dubious
“anti-sanctions” petition?
Did it find a home anywhere? We recall those poor kids from Zhombe being
stuck in Harare once they had served their purpose without food or anywhere
to sleep.

But who will the petition be handed to? None of the UN agencies or EU
personnel are likely to take it seriously. It needs pointing out to Zanu PF
that with the increase in state-sponsored violence and the prevention of
MDC-T rallies, the likelihood of sanctions being retained by the US and EU
is growing by the day.

The Herald is carrying ads of a menacing looking fellow charging forward
bellowing “Sanctions must go.”
”Don’t stand by and watch such an injustice,” he yells. “This November be
heard loud and clear.”
He is right. There must never be a return to the violence that characterised
the 2008 election. The public need to speak out against Zanu PF’s mendacity.
We liked the picture in the Herald of police officers dancing to mark the
relaunch of the ZRP service charter. Was anybody aware it had been
relaunched, or indeed that it was alive in the first place?

What does this suggest? That a new era dawns? That the police will be
The relaunch took place as officers from the CID Fraud Squad were busy
raiding the offices of the Standard.
The Saturday Herald carried a front-page heading announcing that “Police to
be more effective”. That should be interesting!

Still with sanctions, Tafataona Mahoso tells us that “…Any genuine effort at
national reconciliation and unification must begin with the full admission
that illegal economic sanctions constitute mass violence and mass torture
against the people…”
There, accompanying this daft claim, is a picture of Jestina Mukoko who has
been a notable victim of state violence.
Equally significant is another picture which shows the Matapi flats covered
with satellite dishes. Here is a practical example of what the people think
about ZTV which Mahoso champions.

The hundreds of dishes that coat the flats tell us the people don’t want
Zanu PF’s propaganda and that any lifting of sanctions will first require a
full admission of violence by those responsible.

Muckraker has been studying the spending habits of South Africa’s
post-liberation aristocracy to see how closely it compares with our own.
Former Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Sicelo
Shiceka who went to Geneva to visit his girlfriend in jail while claiming he
was on official business related to the World Cup was finally fired by
President Jacob Zuma two weeks ago. The details of his profligate spending
were provided in this column several months ago.

But Shiceka has been overtaken in the big spending stakes by Transport
minister Sbu Ndebele whose sojourns, Business Day reports, have included the
Pretoria Sheraton, Cape Town’s Cullinan and Radisson Blu, the Michelangelo
Towers in Sandton, and the Cape Grace and Westin Grande.
The minister spent a total of 346 nights in top class hotels, Business Day

Ndebele’s spokesman justified the expenditure on the grounds that the
Department of Public Works had failed to provide him with an official
“What we are seeing is a growing trend of ministers spending a fortune on
their high-flying lifestyles at luxury hotels,” the Democratic Alliance’s
Transport spokesman Stuart Farrow said. He described Ndebele’s accommodation
bills as exorbitant.
Mahoso and other propagandists for the regime have regularly attacked the DA
as elitist.
Who are the elitists here? Those who use public funds to live high on the
hog, or those who exercise public accountability in ensuring the public
interest is properly observed?
And which of the parties mentioned above is the revolutionary party?

Political parties causing violence will be held accountable following the
drafting of a code of conduct by the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration, the Herald reported on Monday.
The code compels political parties to publicly campaign against violence. It
will also establish a National Peace and Reconciliation Council to resolve
political disputes, states the Herald.

Haven’t we heard all this before? Another national “healing” body set up
while incidences of political violence continue unabated? We would like to
know what “healing” the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration has managed to achieve since its constitution?.
According to its code of conduct: “The leader of a party that has subscribed
to this code will instruct the party’s officials, candidates, members and
supporters that no weapon of any kind, including any traditional weapon, may
be brought to any political rally, meeting, march or other demonstration.
“A party that has subscribed to this code will not engage in or permit any
kind of violent activity to demonstrate party strength or to prove
Inter-party and stakeholders’ committees will be established at national,
provincial and district levels to deal with political violence, reads the
code of conduct.

All this sounds very nice but what measures have been put in place to deal
with the parties that do not conform to this code of conduct? What of the
clearly partisan police who only seem to make arrests when the MDC-T are

Meanwhile Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo has been busy
encouraging his party supporters to retaliate when attacked by their
political rivals, NewsDay reports.
“Let us desist from political violence and be peaceful,” he is reported as
saying. “But if we are attacked, we are left with no choice but to
retaliate. We cannot afford to watch them as they attack us. We will also
fight back,” he said.
When are they attacked Cde Khaya Moyo? Were they being attacked when they
unleashed terror on their opponents outside parliament during the opening of
parliament a few months ago? We wonder if they were also under attack when
they disrupted an MDC-T rally in Chitungwiza recently carrying all sorts of

NewsDay reports that the ZRP officers who arrested fugitive Rotina Mavhunga,
alias Sekuru Mboni, last year after she duped cabinet ministers into
believing pure diesel was oozing out of a rock, have been rewarded, albeit
over 12 months later.
Constable Washington Chinyama and Sergeant Trybest Mutata were handed R200
each and certificates of merit during a belated Cop of the Month awards
ceremony held in Chinhoyi.
They were adjudged the best cops for the 2010 second quarter for managing to
“corner and arrest” the mystic figure-turned-con artist.
Mavhunga was in September last year slapped with a 27-month prison term
after being found guilty of defrauding government and supplying false
information to senior officials.

The officials that were duped by Mavhunga included ministers Didymus Mutasa
(then National Security), Sydney Sekeramayi (then Defence), Kembo Mohadi
(Home Affairs) and former Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange. Then
there was Tobaiwa Mudede and police deputy commissioner-general Godwin
Mavhunga reportedly got four buffaloes, a vehicle and billions of Zimbabwean
dollars for leading government on what the magistrate termed “a wild goose
Mavhunga once headed a 50-strong convoy to Makuti and Kariba and had a
helicopter dispatched from Harare when the country’s fuel shortage was at
its most acute.

Speaking on behalf of the Cop of the Month sponsors, the Cotton Company of
Zimbabwe, the firm’s area manager Lancelot Ndlovu hailed the police’s
efforts in curbing crime in the face of serious resources constraints.
We’ would add mental resources among the serious resources constraints.

We hear “Reverend” Obadiah Msindo is up to his usual tricks with elections
now looming on the horizon. Hapless employees as well as people promised
housing stands, loans and farm implements are being made to toyi-toyi
outside his ironically-named “White House” office. They also have to endure
Msindo’s “preaching” on the virtues of Zanu PF and President Mugabe.
Muckraker is perplexed about how the good reverend is able to provide stands
and implements when we are reliably informed that he does not own his own

Msindo told a church gathering in Harare recently that every church member
was supposed to preach the Zanu PF gospel in their neighbourhood if they
wanted to be economically and socially empowered. Msindo also claimed that
his “church”, Destiny for Afrika Network, had gone “international”.
“I want the world to know that all other prophets who are saying that there
is someone other than Robert Mugabe who will win next election and rule this
country are lying. Mugabe was chosen by God. He will cease ruling this
country by choice. To be precise he will rule until he dies,” Msindo added.
Muckraker was left perplexed on which “God” Msindo was referring.

Last week we commented on the questionable role of the Zimbabwe Media
Commission following its threat to close down newspapers.
This week the Standard has seen two of its journalists arrested and
incarcerated at the behest of a powerful citizen. This is an abuse that
should worry journalists in all dimensions of the profession. This should be
a civil matter. The Criminal Defamation Act is a colonial law designed to
silence nationalist dissent. But the supine Zimbabwe Media Commission has
said nothing and done nothing in response to the arrests.
The ZMC clearly doesn’t see its role as defending the press. Instead it
chooses to advance the agenda of the state. Where does all that money from
registration fees and levies go? Who has the ZMC assisted with the revenues
it has collected?
Godfrey Majonga appears to be walking in the footsteps of Mahoso with the
threat to close newspapers. The world should know Zimbabwe is a delinquent
state that only pretends to be democratic.

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Eric Bloch Column: Will diamonds be for never?

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:12

THERE has been much talk recently that the Marange diamond mines should be
nationalised, including an ill-considered motion in parliament to bring such
nationalisation into being.  On the other hand, the Mines and Mining
Development minister, Obert Mpofu, has been quoted saying that such
nationalisation will not occur. Ever since the discovery of the considerable
diamond resources in the eastern districts, there has been over-reaction and
excessive expectation that those resources would bring economic
transformation and recovery. While those expectations are unrealistically
optimistic, it cannot be disputed that effective exploitation of the diamond
fields would bring about a substantial economic upturn.  However,
nationalisation of the diamonds would be disastrously counterproductive.

First and foremost, the government, in common with almost all governments
the world-over, has a long-proven record of failure to operate businesses
successfully.  Be it Zesa, National Railways of Zimbabwe, AirZim, TelOne or
any of the other more than 40 state-owned enterprises, the history of their
operations is naught but paucity of service, gross operational losses,
excessive numbers of employees, frequent incidents of corruption, and much
else of negative operations and performance.  There is absolutely no
credible reason to believe that, in contrast to the dismal performance
records of virtually all existing parastatals, suddenly government would be
able successfully and viably to operate diamond-mining enterprises.

Secondly, government — by its own admission — is bankrupt.  It has a
gargantuan debt, which it is unable to service.  It cannot fund its
day-to-day operational needs, including its pronounced inability to fund
health services, education, infrastructural maintenance and development, and
other ongoing government costs.  It cannot capitalise properly its existing
parastatals and, therefore, it would clearly be unable to provide that which
would be needed by diamond-mining ventures for development of the mines,
acquisition of essential equipment, funding of working capital needs and the
like.  Thus, nationalisation of the diamond mines would minimise to far
below otherwise attainable levels, the operations of the mines, the volumes
of their production, the extent to which they would be able to provide
much-needed employment, and innumerable downstream economic benefits.

Instead of the fiscus benefiting from attendant mining royalties, direct and
indirect taxes on the operations of successful mines, and diverse other
associated revenues, government would be confronted with calls for essential
capital and to provide funding to cover operational losses.  It does not
have that funding and therefore the exploitation of the new-found diamond
wealth would be miniscule.

A further hazard of the nationalisation of the Marange diamond fields could
be the loss of the long-fought-for Kimberley Process Certification (KPC).
For a considerably long time there was reluctance to accord Zimbabwe KPC
status.  This was not, as spuriously alleged by some of the political
hierarchy, because of so-called “illegal”sanctions, but for fear that the
Marange production would be a conduit for blood diamonds and for other
illegally produced diamonds.

To a significant extent, those fears were founded upon beliefs that unlawful
diamond-mining was being pursued in the Marange diamond fields by Zimbabwe’s
security forces and other state employees.  Were those fields now to be
wholly operated by the state, inevitably perceptions will develop that once
again they had become unauthorised diamond producers who are smuggling the
diamonds across Zimbabwe’s borders for sale outside of the
officially-recognised markets.

A further negative that will arise from the nationalisation of the diamond
fields and from their mining operations would be that, yet again, Zimbabwe
will be discouraging the critically needed foreign direct investment which
is a prerequisite for economic recovery.  Much investment has already been
discouraged and driven away by the manner in which government is pursuing
indigenisation and economic empowerment. Investors do not wish to provide
considerable capital, technological expertise, access to their markets, and
very much else, and yet be accorded minority investor-status devoid of
control over their investments and the underlying operations of the
investment entities.

The demand for a minimum of a 51% indigenous participation in all mining —
and most other — ventures has substantially discouraged the investment which
is so essential to Zimbabwe’s future wellbeing, to the creation of
employment, generation of export earnings and creation of inflows to the
fiscus.  Nationalisation of the diamond mines would further deter investment
in general, creating a fear that that nationalisation will be a precursor to
the nationalisation of all other mines, and thereafter of other enterprises.

It cannot be denied that stringent controls are necessary to ensure that
there is no unlawful exploitation and that all diamonds are legitimately
marketed within the prescribed parameters of the Kimberley Process
Certification.  The proceeds of that marketing should benefit Zimbabwe and
all amounts due to the fiscus should be timeously forthcoming.

But that should not — and cannot — be achieved by nationalisation of the
diamond mines.  It must be ensured by efficacious and transparent monitoring
by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, the Zimbabwe Minerals
Marketing Authority, the Mines and Mining Development ministry and the
Zimbabwe Republic Police reinforced by just and efficacious,
business-conducive legislation, and as also by the Zimbabwe Revenue

Although the diamond fields cannot be the sole source of Zimbabwe’s future
economic wellbeing, they can be a major contributant to it. That is if it is
fully capitalised and developed, and constructively and positively managed
and exploited.  That needs private sector venture capital and expertise, not
state-driven mismanagement; as is the characteristic of all of Zimbabwe’s
parastatals. It also needs access to legitimate international markets as
well as non-corrupt and non-oppressive state security.  None of that can be
credibly anticipated in the event of nationalisation.  In that event,
instead of “Diamonds are forever”, they will be “for never”!

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Farming season in disarray

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:05

Paul Nyakazeya

WHEN heavy downpours hit most parts of Zimbabwe in early October, farmers
began preparing their land for the traditional planting season despite not
having enough inputs.  But faltering weather patterns in the region are
creating uncertainty about when the best time to plant crops is, forcing
farmers to either rely on their own observations and judgment, or the
sometimes conflicting advice of meteorologists. Whichever way you look,
climate change is taking its toll.
For Zimbabwean farmers it’s a double edged sword as farming inputs are not
readily available and too expensive for many. Farmers are also failing to
access loans to buy implements and inputs.

Some Zimbabwean farmers are no longer confident about the agricultural
season since the Grain Marketing Board — traditionally a source of seed and
fertiliser — has indicated that it would not provide free farming inputs to
small-scale growers.

The immediate past president of the Commercial Farmers Union Deon Theron
told the Zimbabwe Independent that this farming season was uncertain as in
previous years farmers were able to access loans to buy inputs.

“As a country we will be forced to import food again to make up for the
shortfalls that seem inevitable,” said Theron. “Regarding loans, most
farmers do not have anything to offer as security and this is worsened by
the liquidity problems affecting the country in general,” he said.

An average A2  farm is between 10 and 15 acres in size. A farmer would need
about 400kg of compound D fertiliser for one hectare of land, and about
250kg of seed is needed for one to plant on the same amount of land.
However, success largely depends on the planting population and type of
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president Silas Hungwe said the perennial challenge
facing local farmers in acquiring inputs was now legendary.

“As a union we are worried but hopeful government will assist communal
farmers to avoid importing maize to meet shortfalls,” said Hungwe. “However,
in urban centres, input shortages and high transport costs could be brought
to an end by spreading agro-dealerships,” he said.

Hungwe said at least 250 000 smallholder farmers would benefit from the
revival of agro-dealership programmes meant to improve their access to
technology and inputs. The farmers would be drawn from four of the country’s
10 provinces.

Communal farmers said the financially-troubled GMB was still paying farmers
for grain they delivered last season instead of giving them subsidised or
free farming inputs.

Colin Muyambo, a farmer in Manicaland province, said they would not till
their land to previous levels unless the GMB provided agricultural inputs.
Muyambo said a 10kg bag of maize seed now costs up to US$22. He said farmers
were struggling to raise funds for inputs.

“We could not afford to ignore these early rains as we feared we could lose
out if it was (indeed) the onset of the season,” said Muyambo.
Like many smallholder farmers who cannot afford irrigation schemes, Muyambo
said he had to rely on rainfall.
However, the early rains welcomed by farmers last month was downplayed by
the country’s meteorological department, which said the precipitation did
not herald the rainy season.

The meteorologists’ warning that farmers should not begin planting their
crops has left many confused.
“No one now knows about the cycle (of rainfall) anymore, and even the people
who tell us these things are not sure themselves,” Muyambo said.
Farmers have been appealing to government to “quickly” release funds under
the US$45 million Subsidised Inputs Facility for the 2011 summer cropping to
ensure early planning.

With the rainy season setting in, farmers said they would like more action
on the ground and not just promises.
Presenting the country’s mid-term fiscal policy review in July, Finance
minister Tendai Biti said his ministry’s original growth projection for 2010
was 7%.  However, fragile prospects for recovery in economic performance
demand a reduction of this figure.

“We have, thus, revised our growth projection for 2010 to 5,4%,” Biti said.
“The revised projection figure of 5,4% should not be taken for granted.  A
business as usual mentality will certainly guarantee a further downward
revision,” he said.

ZFU director Paul Zakariya said while it was important that government
allocate resources towards funding for this year’s summer cropping.
“We will only believe it if the funds are released,” said Zakariya. “What
happened last season should not be allowed if the country is to produce
enough,” he said.

In the past, government would release less money compared to what it would
have promised, greatly affecting agricultural production.
“We have had so many promises which never materialised. There also has to be
a lot of trust between government and input manufacturers so that they can
release the inputs,” he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Donald Khumalo said the
programme maybe beneficial to farmers depending on the method used to
disburse the inputs. He said there should be strict monitoring and control
measures for the inputs to get to farmers.

“Normally, the facility is abused and Agritex officers and farmers unions
should assist in spearheading the programme,” said Khumalo.
The Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet), an early warning system
funded by USAid that monitors food security around the world, has over the
last 10 years estimated that Zimbabwe’s food was insecure.

Government has dismissed Fewnet projections as wrong. Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made said Fewsnet’s
projections did not portray the correct situation on the ground, suggesting
that it should leave Zimbabwe alone and go to countries where it is wanted.

Once regarded as the breadbasket of southern Africa in the first decade of
Independence, Zimbabwe has become a basket case and a perennial importer of
food in the past 10 years. It also heavily relies on food handouts from aid
agencies after farm invasions of the early 2000s disrupted the country’s
agricultural production.

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Why voters fear an early election

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:03

Richard Lee

ZIMBABWEANS are concerned about increasingly strident calls by President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF for early elections next year after the
constitution-making process and a referendum. Although it is widely accepted
that the shaky inclusive government’s life has to come to an end sooner
rather than later, it is imperative that government creates a conducive
environment that allows for free and fair elections. Anything less could
have disastrous consequences for a country that is barely out of the woods
following a decade-long economic calamity.

There is an urgent need to have substantive and meaningful reforms
undertaken, as dictated by the Global Political Agreement (GPA), before
elections to avoid a repeat of the discredited 2008 presidential election
run-off. And the last thing that Zimbabweans want is a repeat of the 2008
orgy of politically-motivated violence.

Hopes were high that the inclusive government — created in February 2009 and
composed of Zanu PF and the two MDC formations — would implement all the
critical issues agreed in the GPA, paving the way for free and fair
elections. However, almost three years on, Zimbabweans are seriously
concerned about their politicians’ sluggish approach to resolving the GPA’s
many outstanding issues, which are essential to ensuring that any polls are
credible and violence-free and that Zimbabwe finally opens a new chapter.

Indeed, nothing substantial has been achieved since the inclusive government
was formed, save for the stabilisation of the economy. Instead, the
government of national unity has been a theatre of political battles, mainly
between Mugabe and his Zanu PF ministers, and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MDC ministers. In August last year, the three parties
endorsed and formalised the implementation matrix, which was approved and
presented as part of the report to the Sadc mediator, South African
President Jacob Zuma. After that Zuma took the report to the Sadc summit in
Windhoek and it was approved by regional leaders, who gave Zimbabwean
parties timeframes and deadlines on the implementation of the agreed issues.

The implementation matrix envisaged some issues being tackled immediately,
others within a month or two, and a few continuously or on a periodic basis.
The issues included interference with the rights of freedom of association,
assembly and speech; electoral, media and security sector reforms; dealing
with staffing issues at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and
disbanding the Joint Operations Command (Joc), which is a state security
organisation that was reportedly behind the bloody presidential run-off poll
of 2008 that kept Mugabe in power.

Zimbabwe’s cabinet approved the implementation matrix, but nothing much was
done afterwards.

And it is becoming increasingly clear that elections might be held in 2012
without the necessary fundamental reforms.
Mugabe recently told his party supporters that: “We must have polls which
put an end to this dysfunctional political arrangement — the inclusive
government which has served this country not as we desire. Already, we have
lost three years of potential development. We cannot afford to go on in this
indecisive, if not negative, way. We must put an end to this ugly political
scene that is in our country.”

“We cannot go beyond March next year,” he added. “I will definitely announce
that (election) date. It does not matter what anyone would say.”
It looks as if the elections will at least be postponed until after a
referendum on a new draft constitution. But without the necessary democratic
reforms, it is difficult to see how that referendum can be credible — let
alone the far more hotly contested polls that could follow it.

Rather than resorting to rhetoric, now is the time for the three political
parties to show commitment to ensuring the full implementation of the GPA.
Without security sector reform, opening up of the airwaves, realignment of
and staffing of Zec in order to weed out central intelligence officers,
military personnel and partisan officials from the election body and an end
to selective application of the law, free and fair elections will be
elusive. As long as Joc, which is made up of army commanders, central
intelligence organisation directors, police and prison commissioners, and
defence and security ministers, continues to hold its meetings, there is
understandable fear that the elections could be as bloody as in 2008. But
Zanu PF has refused to dismantle Joc, whose members have vowed that Mugabe
will rule for life and that they will not allow anyone without war
credentials to take over from him.

Current indicators of the situation on the ground are not good. There are
widespread reports of politically-motivated violence across the country,
including in Harare. The police, together with the Attorney-General’s
Office, continue to enforce the law in a partisan manner. It has failed to
investigate, arrest and prosecute known or identifiable perpetrators of
politically-motivated violence. The culture of impunity by the police has
remained intact despite the signing of the GPA.

After realising that Mugabe and Zanu PF are already in full election mode,
MDC-T finally awoke from its deep slumber recently and demanded the full
implementation of the GPA and related democratic reforms before Zimbabwe can
hold elections. The MDC-T even made it clear that it would not participate
in any elections unless the following benchmarks are met:

Completion of the constitution-making process and the referendum;
Completion of the drafting of a new voters roll;
Completion of media reforms;
Completion of legislative reforms;
Conclusion of outstanding issues on security sector realignment and staffing
of Zec.
Compliance by Zimbabwe with the Sadc electoral guidelines; and,
Putting in placing mechanisms to ensure that violence will not be a factor
in the elections.

I suppose it is better now than never. But the MDC formations have to remain
steadfast in relation to their demands for reforms if Zimbabwe is to create
an environment where journalists can operate freely without fear of being
arrested or intimidated, political parties can have equal access to state
media, particularly the only public broadcaster which has become a
mouthpiece of Zanu PF propaganda, political parties can campaign freely, and
the independence of the electoral body is guaranteed.

The signs are worrying but it is still not too late to avoid a repeat of
2008. But genuine reforms need to be made — and made soon.
Lee is communication manager at the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Media: Cornerstone of Zanu PF’s misrule

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:01

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

SINCE the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009 following
the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008, media
reforms, just like security sector re-alignment, have been resisted by the
Zanu PF side of the government because they form the cornerstone of the
party’s misrule and consolidation of its political hegemony albeit through
extra-legal activities.
There are several reasons that can be advanced to explain why Zanu PF has
resisted media reforms in violation of Article 19 of the GPA which deals
with freedom of expression and communication.

The GPA is not adequate to ensure entrenched democratic media reforms, but a
broad democratic process is required because the media is at the heart of
this dictatorship. The situation is worsened by the fact that a
representative of the regime, Information minister Webster Shamu is supposed
to spearhead the reforms. It is simply not permissible.

The critical reason for stalling media reforms has been a well crafted
agenda by Zanu PF from Independence in 1980 to use the media, particularly
the sole broadcaster, ZBC, to entrench its rule through propaganda
activities against its political enemies, feeding misinformation to the
electorate and portraying itself as the only party that can administer the
affairs of the state. The coming of Independence did not stop Zanu PF, which
won the elections, from monopolising television and radio stations in a
similar way and manner the Rhodesian Front did with the Rhodesian
Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) the predecessor of ZBC.

Like the Rhodesian Front, Zanu PF uses ZBC, which is supposed to be a public
broadcaster, covertly and overtly to further its political interests. The
broadcast media in Zimbabwe is used to vilify opponents of Zanu PF and
President Robert Mugabe despite the fact that the regime has lost the
democratic legitimacy to government. It also used to manufacture consent
through repeated lies and disinformation about the political and economic
imperatives, especially during election times.

The main role of the broadcast media and newspaper titles under government
control is to complement and implement the activities of the coercive
structures, the security apparatus through the use of embedded intellectuals
such as Tafataona Mahoso, Rino Zhuwarara, Claude Mararike, Sheunesu
Mupepereki and others through newspaper columns and radio and television
programmes where they reinforce Zanu PF propaganda and ideologies of the
ruling elite.

The music jingles on television and radio in support of Zanu PF programmes
such as the land reform and the economic indigenisation policies are all
meant to entrench Zanu PF using the media hence the spirited efforts to
refuse to implement reforms because Zanu PF cannot imagine a situation where
there is competition at the ideological level using media diversity and
In fact there has been elite continuity where the structures of the RBC were
largely retained; RBC staff were replaced by Zanu PF supporters, relatives
of party and government officials and sympathisers including war veterans
who used to run Zanu PF propaganda stations during the war like Radio

The continued use of the colonial 1957 broadcasting laws until 2001 when the
Broadcasting Services Act was put in place showed that Zanu PF did little to
democratise the broadcasting area for selfish and political reasons of
consolidating its power. In the print media, although the Mass Media Trust
was supposed to create a buffer between the government and Zimpapers, Zanu
PF disregarded it and made sure the titles are under its control for the
sole reason of advancing its political power under the guise of national
development, security threats and other misguided reasons.

Before 2000, there was an Information ministry, but after the constitutional
referendum defeat in February 2000 and a narrow electoral victory in June
2000, Zanu PF started to redefine its media policies and strategies to
confront the new organised democratic forces and the coming of robust
newspapers such as the Standard, Zimbabwe Independent and the Daily News.

The one thing that Zanu PF did was to create an arsenal of structures and
laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the
Broadcasting Services Act, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the
Public Order and Security Act. All these laws were meant to criminalise and
negate the practice of journalism and consequently stifle media freedoms.

But the most critical move taken by the government during that period was
making the Information portfolio a department in the Office of the President
and Cabinet and led by a professor of political science, Jonathan Moyo. The
banning of newspapers, private television stations and the era of jingles
and music promoting Zanu PF were some of the projects. Like  other
departments in the president’s office such as the Central Intelligence
Organisation, ruthlessness in dealing with opponents of the regime became
its critical focus but at the level of ideas through propaganda and
legislative oppression.
Hegemonic theories such as Antonio Gramsci’s conceptualisation of the media
suggests that the media has to be understood as an instrument to spread and
reinforce dominant hegemony. However, the media can also be used by those
who want to spread counter-hegemonic ideas as well.

The use of music jingles, performing cultural groups and popular musicians
to rally people behind the government’s programmes such as the land reform
and elections show how the mass media can be used by the political elite to
entrench its power in the face of organised civic and political opposition.

Zanu PF, despite knowing Moyo’s previous positions on the party’s policies
and leadership, decided to work with him to produce and reproduce knowledge
and ideas as an intellectual. The regime could not hang on to power through
the use of violence without consensual support through discourse and

There is a division of labour in Zanu PF between the thinkers and those who
hold the gun; the latter being the violence apparatus. Many Zimbabweans know
of vigilante groups such as Chipangano.

These groups work hand in glove, supporting and covering for each other’s
mistakes. Where outbreaks of political violence take place and Zanu PF and
the violence agents are involved, the state media will immediately apportion
blame to the Movement for Democratic Change and other opposition political
parties as it did in the 1980s against Zapu and in the 1990s against ZUM.
They allow Zanu PF’s embedded intellectuals to comment on radio, television
and state-controlled newspapers blaming it on everyone except the party.

To then allow this critical aspect on its hold on power especially
broadcasting to be liberalised and democratised is like surrendering power.
However, media advocacy groups and journalists should not give up or lose
hope because that is the nature of the struggle. Human rights are born out
of struggles. Those fighting for media reforms should appreciate what they
are fighting against; the power of the ruling elite and its system. The
struggle must continue.
Ruhanya is a PhD candidate, Media and Communication Research Institute,
University of Westminster, London, UK.

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Govt not in control of inflation

Thursday, 17 November 2011 16:59

By Innocent  Makwiramiti

THE  major factors influencing growth of  inflation are both external and
internal. Latest figures from Zimstats      show that inflation, as measured
by the consumer price index, stood at 4,3% year on year for the month of
September 2011. Growth was driven by foodstuffs, which account for nearly
30%  of the consumer price index, followed by non-alcoholic beverages and
utilities (ie rates, water, electricity). According to government targets,
inflation is expected to average between 4% - 5% in 2011, well below the
projected growth rate of 9,3%. Under such a scenario, economic growth will
be positive in real terms. Inflation, however, is expected to be above 5%
year-on-year by year end. This will be driven by external factors (ie
imported inflation, rand depreciation, rising food prices, Eurozone crisis)
and internal factors (ie wage, salary pressures, ineffective monetary and
fiscal policy, structural rigidities in the economy, low capacity
utilisation, prices of utilities and worsening balance of payments).

The big question is, does government have the necessary tools to control the
expected inflationary pressures? When use of the multiple currencies
replaced the local currency, inflation declined to the negative region. This
was a deflationary environment characterised by low production in the
economy, rise in  cheap imports of basic commodities, worsening balance of
payments, massive unemployment levels and growth of the informal economy.
The decline in inflation does not imply that government had the necessary
tools to control inflation (ie appropriate monetary and fiscal policy to
fine tune the economy).

A significant portion of inflation is imported. As a result of low capacity
utilisation prevailing in the economy, at least 70% of basic commodities in
the retail sector are imported. Prices are therefore determined by forces in
the country of origin,  of which government does not have control. This
exposes the economy to vagaries  of regional and international  economies
where the local economy does not have any influence. The rand for example is
depreciating and currently stands at around R8 to the US$ from a rate of R6
three months ago. This is likely to lead to an increase in price levels in
South Africa,  which in turn will automatically be transmitted to Zimbabwe
since she is our major trading partner in the region. Government does not
have control in such form of price transmission.

The worsening balance of payments position on the current account signifies
the extent of imported  inflation. Latest figures indicate that the current
account deficit stands at US$3 billion with imports at US$6 billion while
exports are at US$3,1 billion. Foodstuffs account more than 60% of imports.
Capital goods needed to improve capacity utilisation and hence supply of
goods and services remain depressed.

Capacity utilisation is currently at 57,1% on average although it varies
from a low of 30% to a high of 74% according to a recent study by the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI). The low level of capacity
utilisation is due to a host of factors, which include the liquidity crunch,
imports, low investment levels, high cost of production and depressed
demand. Capacity utilisation varies from industry to industry. The deficit
from low capacity utilisation has to be met by imports. What this indicates
is that we are an import-dependent economy, including imported inflation. In
such an environment it will be difficult to control inflation.

The above is worsened by the fact that world food prices are on the rise.
This is due to climatic changes and to demand outstripping supply. This has
an effect on imported basic commodities and our government does not have
influence on those prices.

The current Eurozone crisis will have an effect on the local economy and
will present challenges to our government insofar as inflation control is
concerned.  The crisis will reduce demand by Europe for our exports in the
short to medium term. Further, bilateral and foreign direct investment will
remain depressed.

This is shown by the fact that foreign investors, who used to dominate the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), have retreated. As such, liquidity in the
economy will remain low and hence so will capacity utilisation. This has an
effect on government in as far as controlling inflation is concerned. We
will continue to import inflation in the short term. We desperately need an
injection of fresh capital to jump-start the economy. As such, the expected
inflow of US$2 billion dollars from Marange diamonds, if managed properly,
will play a big part in reducing inflation through increasing capacity

Monetary and fiscal policies are necessary tools in a fully-functional
economy to fine tune economic variables and hence inflation.  Monetary
policy is as good as dead, while fiscal policy is limping from the intensive
care unit. The two instruments are necessary to fine tune liquidity and
aggregate demand and hence inflation. This leaves the economy vulnerable to
external inflationary influences which our government is unable to control.
Part of the explanation can be due to absence of local currency. However, if
we had adequate liquidity in multiple currencies, the tools could still be
effective. There is no effective interest rate and exchange rate management
policy to influence inflation. Currently, the policy is determined by
external forces.

Other areas where government finds it difficult to control inflation are in
the areas of speculative, cost-push and demand pull-inflation. As long as
capacity utilisation remains low, speculative tendencies will remain  in our
economy as import agents put a premium on imports.

Speculative inflation has become cancerous in our economy. Around 70% of
inputs in the manufacturing sector are imported. We do not have control on
the price of imported inputs. Input costs will continue to escalate,thereby
putting pressure on price hikes. Because local authorities are being
pressured by government to break even in their operations, they are
resorting to price hikes (ie water, electricity). This ends up being
inflationary. Wage spiral inflation is arising from demand for higher wages
by the private sector given the recent increase in the salaries of civil
servants. This area is difficult to control, especially given the fact that
the country is heading towards elections.

Demand for higher wages leads to demand-pull inflation. This may be worsened
if politicians start pouring money in the market for electioneering

From the above, it can be seen that inflationary pressures are in our
economy and these will take time to be removed. What then are the best
possible solutions?Inflation is a necessary evil in the growth process. This
is provided all the economic fundamentals (ie liquidity, inputs, utilities,
infrastructure) are in place. What will be left will be to fine-tune
inflation / demand so that it moves in tandem with production. This involves
application of appropriate monetary and fiscal  policy, which is not the
case in Zimbabwe at the present moment. But still we need to move towards
putting in place the necessary framework that will control inflation as we
jump-start growth in our economy.

Most of the strategies have been highlighted in many economic forums or
discussions. It is still however pertinent to mention them in this
The strategy to be adopted to control inflation should be aimed at improving
liquidity within the economic system. This in turn will enhance the supply
of goods and services and consequently reduce inflation. A holistic approach
as outlined in the Medium Term Plan (MTP) has to be adopted, one that
enhances sectoral  integration as was before the turn of the century.

Capacity utilisation in the real sector (ie agriculture, mining,
manufacturing, tourism) has to be increased.Under normal circumstances, 70%
of output from the agricultural sector finds its way into the manufacturing
sector.  Because of challenges in the agricultural sector arising from
shortage of inputs, tillage problems, lack of production skills, poor
weather conditions, poor distribution and marketing  and liquidity crunch,
the sector is currently  unable to carry its role as a significant driver of
the economy. These challenges have to be urgently sorted out so that the
supply and demand gap of agricultural and manufactured agricultural
commodities is reduced. This will reduce imported inflation.

Exports have to be increased through putting in place export incentives.
This is particularly so in relation to the mining, tourism and manufacturing
sectors. Value addition in the mining sector must be carried out to improve
on earnings. A rise in exports will increase cash in circulation and reduce
the current account deficit of the balance of payments and consequently
imported inflation.

The financial sector is the engine of growth in any economy. In Zimbabwe,
this sector is not fully playing this role largely due to inadequate
financial instruments to  mop up financial savings needed to increase
investments  in the economy.

Financial instruments must be put in place to harness excess savings in the
informal economy. This sector has lost confidence with the formal banking
sector and is currently holding in excess of US$3 billion to US$4 billion
which can be channelled into the formal banking sector. This can play a big
part in the provision of medium/long term funding urgently needed by the
production sectors in order to improve supply of goods and services and
consequently reduce inflation (ie financial,technological).

Special windows should be opened for the small and medium enterprises in
order to enhance their operations. Experience in Asian tiger and western
industrialised countries has shown that the SME sector plays a big part in
creation of employment and supply of goods and services. Zimbabwe cannot be
an exception. Attention should be given to this sector to reduce
unemployment, increase consumption and create sectoral linkages and
consequently industrialisation. In the medium to long term, the SME sector
will play a significant part in the reduction of inflation.

For the above to succeed, a conducive environment must be put into place by
government.This relates to property rights, transparency, policy consistency
and commitment. It is the politician who is derailing most strategies for
economic growth largely because of self-centredness and greed. Because of
the myopic nature of the politician, most strategies are not fully
implemented, hence the continued economic challenges that we are

Business and labour are raring to go in a conducive environment. Foreign
direct investment (FDI) whether coming from the east, west, north and south
cannot come if there are no property rights and transparency. The onus is
therefore on the politician as the driver to create an environment that
increases the supply of goods and services and consequently control and
reduce inflation. The road can be long but it can be short if there is
commitment on policy consistency.

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Independent Comment: Biti must remove rigidity in the economy

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:57

AS the nation eagerly awaits the 2012 national budget presentation by
Finance minister Tendai Biti next Tuesday, questions abound as to whether
the nationwide consultations managed to yield any meaningful input or was it
just an all too familiar routine before the budget is drafted. However, many
sectors of the economy will expect their input to be considered and
incorporated into the economic roadmap for 2012.
While presenting the 2011 budget statement, Biti indicated that there were
key issues inhibiting the economy from moving forward and derailing the
attainment of fiscal targets.

He cited the political environment, absence of fiscal space and alternative
financing instruments, lack of implementation capacity, slow pace of reform
and the unsustainable debt as the albatross around the economy’s neck. He
said these issues would make all the difference between Zimbabwe’s current
levels of growth and a double digit growth rate.

An economic growth rate of 9,3% was projected for 2011. In his mid-year
fiscal policy review statement, Biti said the nation was still on course to
attain this target by year-end.

But given that the country is still reeling from a liquidity crisis which
has crippled both the financial and the capital markets, it remains an
illusory target.
The performance of the financial sector and stock market can be considered
to be a measure of wellness of the economy and the lack of activity on our
stock market is clearly indicative of the structural problems affecting our

Biti needs to urgently come up with policies which can remove such rigidity
in the functioning of the economy. Sadly urgent and more pressing matters
are not given as much attention due to the friction within the GNU.

For example, the revenue generated from diamond sales was expected to bring
about relief to the fiscus but has actually become a curse, with only a few
individuals benefiting at the expense of the whole nation.

This issue has been spoken about with the minister even proposing the
crafting of a diamond Bill but still the noble idea remains an academic

The recent blitz on companies under the disguise of indigenisation is
another sign of discord in the unity government. The whole programme has
been marred by inconsistencies and half- baked implementation models.

Without doubt, the timing and the rush to implement the policy shows lack of
vision and purpose. One wonders where the seriousness and urgency in this
unity government is. Expectations on the 2012 budget statement should hinge
on the need to build an environment conducive to business, which resultantly
encourages direct foreign investment that can bring about relief to Zimbabwe’s
dire liquidity situation. When there is injection of money in the economy,
the ripple effects are far much greater.

Biti introduced duty for imported goods during the year in a bid to protect
local industries amid pleas that imports were cheaper than
locally-manufactured goods. But the move has since backfired and triggered
price increases since local manufacturers still operate below capacity and
are failing to meet demand.

The question remains whether locally manufactured products can compete with

Local industries are still in the recovery mode and most of their
manufacturing equipment and methods have since become obsolete and it will
take a long time for them to catch up. Therefore, imports will always be
needed to cover the supply gap. Even Biti conceded in his 2011 fiscal policy
statement last year that local manufacturers were running antiquated relics
of plant and equipment that made them generally uncompetitive.

But a few months later, something changed his mind. As such, it is of
paramount importance not to swing policy like a yoyo when facts on the
ground suggest otherwise, as seen on the decision to impose duty of imported
but cheaper products.

Local manufacturers should invest in newer plant and equipment for them to
survive the competition.

Instead of coming up with such protectionist policies, Biti should be
ensuring that he creates an environment that allows companies to access the
much-needed capital to lift the local industry out of the doldrums. So far
he only managed to create cry babies out of Zimbabwe’s industries who run to
mummy for protection when the slightest opportunity to do so presents
itself. Yet it is a harsh business environment out there.

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Editor’s Memo: Political violence: Zanu PF’s sincerity suspect

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:56

THE sincerity of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF to play their part in
ending politically-motivated violence is doubtful given the reckless
utterances by party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Chief of Staff at Army
General Headquarters Major-General Martin Chedondo. Speaking a day after the
leaders of the three political parties in the inclusive government had met
last Friday to denounce violence, Moyo surprised the Zanu PF Midlands
conference when he encouraged his party supporters to retaliate when
attacked by their political rivals.

Khaya Moyo said: “Let us desist from political violence and be peaceful. But
if we are attacked, we are left with no choice but to retaliate. We cannot
afford to watch them as they attack us. We will also fight back.”

Moyo cannot purport to be against political violence when he makes such
reckless statements. Why did he not tell the Zanu PF members to report to
the police if they are attacked? Why did he not assure them that Zanu PF
will use the police to protect them? Put simply Khaya Moyo was advocating
for vigilante activities. He is telling Zanu PF supporters that once they
are attacked, they should attack back.

Is he not confident of the police’s abilities to discharge their duties? It
is ironic that Khaya Moyo can make such a statement when the police have
been accused of being biased in favour of Zanu PF.

Meanwhile Chedondo on Friday also dabbled in politics in contravention of
the Defence Act that demands he must be apolitical. He vowed that the army
would never entertain security sector reform. Chedondo went further to
exhibit political intolerance by labelling a key player in the inclusive
government and the body polity of the country, the MDC-T, as a puppet of the
US and the West meant to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

Moyo and Chedondo’s utterances clearly demonstrated that Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s call for a
paradigm shift in the way we run our politics fell on deaf ears.

Mugabe may have been mellow and charming last Friday, but the situation on
the ground makes it abundantly clear that there is no major shift in the
mindset of the securocrats and senior Zanu PF officials. Bear in mind that
it was alleged, and never denied, that senior army generals and party
bigwigs masterminded the June 2008 bloody presidential run-off campaign for

The campaign left over 200 MDC supporters dead, thousands injured and
displaced. The chilling aspect is that the violence was allegedly
perpetrated by state security agents, with the support of war veterans and
Zanu PF youth militia. This is why there is a call for security sector
reforms. The army, police, prison service as well as the CIO need to be
professional again and not be Mugabe and Zanu PF’s attack dogs.

The re-emergence of violence this time around brings back the sad memories
of June 2008 and threatens to erode the gains the inclusive government has
made since its formation in February 2009.

If we are to have free and fair elections next year or in 2013,
politically-motivated violence should be brought to an end. Perpetrators
must be brought to book and dealt with swiftly and firmly. The principals of
the inclusive government should publicly rebuke outlandish statements such
as those made by Khaya Moyo.

Servicemen with political leanings like Chedondo should either quit the army
and join the Zanu PF commissariat, or go back to the barracks and seek

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Candid Comment: Shhh, it’s budget day next Tuesday, don’t let anyone know

Thursday, 17 November 2011 18:55

A LONG time ago a female friend who was still on the lookout for a
prospective husband confided to me that one of the things that made her
dismiss a suitor immediately was the state of his shoes. To her, a man with
unpolished and untidy shoes was correspondingly unsound upstairs and she
wasn’t prepared to tie the knot with such a person.

Needless to say, I wasn’t up to scratch and that’s why I was only her
friend. From my high school days, not polishing shoes signified that you
were a non-conformist and being labelled a rogue was by then  highly
desirable. Old habits die hard and I hadn’t managed to kick that habit at
the time of talking to this fantabeaugorgeous (fantastic beautiful and
gorgeous) lady. I don’t know if other women would agree with her method of
judging the book by its cover, by it at least had its own logic.

Earlier this year we wrote in this column that the issue of not having
change two years after dollarisation to us suggested an element of
disorganisation by government and we were worried that if our government
could not solve basic economic issues like small change, could they solve
greater economic challenges? One can bet their bottom dollar that by the
time the unity government (more of a disunity government really) reach that
stage of the play where the word “Exeunt” is written in the script, we still
won’t have them coins which we were told were  on the high seas donkey’s
years ago now.

And now we are preparing to hear about this same government intends to solve
the bigger economic issues in the upcoming fiscal budget. Using the polished
shoe benchmark, these guys have scored badly  already. The simple shoe
criterion is why has there been no definite date for the budget? Yes, the
16th (yesterday) was bandied about for a while but while trying to establish
the exact date, various dates were given, right up to the last minute!
Surely, an event of such national significance ought to be known well ahead
of time by all stakeholders in the nation. Inquiries to Parliament, where
the budget announcement is made, revealed that they had no iota as to when
it would be held.

In a casual discussion, one minister had indicated to me that only the
Ministry of Finance knew. Oh yes? Does the budget belong to the Ministry?
For people not to know at least a month in advance when the budget will be
announced is not good enough.

The budget is an essential tool of economic policy and the entire nation
needs to know where the leadership is taking them. Many executives prefer to
hear from the horse’s mouth as pronouncements therefrom have an impact on
their operations. As such they postpone implementing other business plans or
trips until the announcement is made.

Now when the budget date is the subject of surreptitious activity, what does
that say to us? Does that signal confusion  behind the scenes or why we’re
already expecting an overrun of US$700 million? Isn’t there a deadline for
preparing the document? If that’s not the case, we can postpone the budget
to the following week or next month, big deal. We might even say let’s have
no budget day at all and receive announcements as we go.

How can the nation take the budget seriously now if those drawing it up don’t
seem to do so? And the excuse that the President’s trip had been overlooked
is even more ridiculous, given that Presidential  trips as those are planned
way in advance. This is a clear case of the left hand not knowing what the
right hand is doing.

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