Thursday, 20 November 2008 21:22
ZIMBABWE has sent a team of investigators to Botswana to probe an
alleged plot of banditry involving Botswana authorities and opposition MDC
activists, raising the diplomatic tensions between the two states.
The investigation into claimed acts of destabilisation came at a time
when diplomatic relations between Harare and Gaborone - uneasy neighbours -
were seriously strained by the issue which has been discussed at the
Diplomatic sources said Zimbabwe's investigation team is led by
Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha. The sources said the mission
also includes other Foreign Affairs officials and state security officers.
It is said the team arrived in Gaborone on Tuesday night. It was
expected to meet government officials and other stakeholders between
Wednesday and today to "investigate circumstances surrounding training of
MDC activists in banditry activities".
Efforts to get a comment from government were unsuccessful last night.
Zimbabwe is claiming that Botswana is providing MDC activists with military
training on its territory to destabilise the country.
"A group of MDC activists were recently arrested and allegedly coerced
to admit training and recorded in the process in a bid to create evidence
for the trumped-up charges," a source said. "The whole plot is similar to
the charges against Joshua Nkomo and PF Zapu officials such as Dumiso
Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku (in the early 1980s). It is also similar to
cases involving Ndabaningi Sithole and (MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai."
Government has since 1980 been making similar allegations, arresting
and torturing the accused, but later failing to prove its claims. Before
just about every election identical allegations are raised and people
arrested and tortured mainly on false charges.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently accused Tsvangirai of
trying to be like the late notorious Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi and
his Unita movement.
The MDC dismissed this saying Tsvangirai had no reason to do so when
he could defeat Mugabe in any free and fair election. The MDC also said it
had no cause to turn to rebel activities when it has the largest number of
MPs in parliament.
Botswana has also dismissed Zimbabwe's allegations as "nonsensical and
absurd". It invited a full investigation.
Botswana President Ian Khama has refused to recognise Mugabe as the
legitimate president, saying he won the second round of elections in June
via a brutal campaign of violence and murder. Khama has also refused to
attend official Sadc meetings with Mugabe, arguing he is not a legitimate
head of state.
The Botswana leader has said if power-sharing talks between Zanu PF
and the MDC factions fail, there should be fresh free and fair elections
under international supervision. Mugabe's regime reacted angrily, saying
this was an "extreme act of provocation".
Zimbabwe and Botswana have had difficult relations since 1980 due to
trade and political disputes.
Mugabe recently tried to calm down Khama, claiming he was a "friend
and even a relative".
Last week, after the Sadc summit in South Africa, Botswana's Foreign
Affairs minister Phandu Skelemani said if the power-sharing talks fail his
government would "go back to square one" by not recognising Mugabe as
Skelemani said his government was "shocked by the baseless and absurd
charges" made by Harare regarding acts of banditry and destabilisation.
Zimbabwe first officially made the allegations at the extraordinary
meeting of the Interstate Defence and Security Committee held in Mozambique
on November 5.
"The allegations that the Government of Botswana would wish to train
foreign nationals on its territory to effect regime change is ridiculous,"
"All those who are aware of Botswana's longstanding commitment to the
principles of good neighbourliness, non-interference in the internal affairs
of others, and peaceful resolution of disputes in our region and elsewhere
would no doubt attest to this."
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 20 November 2008 21:21
CENTRAL bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday drove a stake through the
hearts of speculators on the stock exchange by ending suspected fraudulent
trading which drives out buyers from the bourse.
While Gono sees this as a way to instill discipline on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange (ZSE), the downside is that the state will lose a windfall it
was collecting from taxes and stamp duty from trade on the bourse.
The absence of buyers on the ZSE has been worsened by the decision by
the central bank to force insurance companies and pension funds to buy
government paper with a tenor of 450% at a time when inflation is officially
at 231 million %. Insurance companies and pension funds constitute the
largest buyers of stock. Their absence will see a major retreat on the
Gono said the decision to rein in the ZSE was meant to stem the bourse
that had "literally galloped away, in the process creating obscene paper
wealth that is causing havoc in the economy".
But analysts told the Zimbabwe Independent last night that although
there was need to regulate activities on the stock market, the heavy-handed
decision by the central bank could diminish revenue to the government from
transactions on the bourse.
Government levies 2% stamp duty and 5% tax on sales for daily trades
on the stock market.
On Monday, for example, blue chip Old Mutual traded 45 941 shares at
$520 quadrillion each with government getting at least $2,15 sextillion from
stamp duty and tax on sales.
But yesterday OM traded only 1130 shares at $10 quadrillion, which
means that government lost a potential $1 sextillion from the stock market
Stock market watchers warned the move was also likely to see a bearish
and apprehensive market owing to changes in carrying out transactions
announced by Gono.
"All trade on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is to be supported by
confirmed bank balances, signed off by each bank's CEO," Gono said.
The stock market, which faced a crash on Tuesday, yesterday closed as
a sellers' market characterised by a handful of bids and an all-time fall of
the Old Mutual counter, which dropped to $10 quadrillion from $350
The benchmark industrial index dropped 24,48 percentage points while
the mining index traded unchanged from Wednesday.
Insurance companies, who constitute the bulk of investors on the ZSE,
analysts said, were yesterday reluctant to order stocks from their brokers
until the market "corrects".
ZSE chief executive Emmanuel Munyukwi and newly appointed Securities
Commission chairperson Willia Bonyongwe described the RBZ's decision as
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 20 November 2008 21:19
HUMAN Rights Lawyers have written to the Attorney-General demanding
the immediate release of 12 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters
and two young children from unknown police camps this week.
The 12 from Banket were arrested and detained by police last month in
They include Fanuel Tambo, Fidelis Chiramba, Pieta Kaseke, Terry
Musona, Agrippa, Lloyd Tarumbwa, Larry Gaka Emmanuel Chinansvavanu and his
wife Concilia and their child, Ernest Mudimu, Tawanda Bvumo, Violet
Mvuranhewe and Gwenzi Kahiya.
A letter written by legal practitioners Atherstone & Cook on behalf of
other concerned lawyers expressed concern over failure by the ZRP to release
12 clients despite the force officially admitting that they arrested and
detained the supporters.
The lawyers said: "Your clients -- in that case the Zimbabwe Republic
Police -- have officially admitted they arrested and detained them on
unclear charges allegedly investigated by Chief Superintendent Crispen
Makedenge, officer in charge CID Homicide Section with Detective Sergeant
Muusa of the same section.
"In view of ZRP's claimed inability to find any of them in any cell,
there are very serious concerns about the safety and health now of these
On November 11 Harare judge Justice Charles Hungwe issued a final
order confirming the illegality of the continued detentions which required
ZRP to produce and remand or release all 12 detained that same day.
"We trust you will immediately bring this to the attention of your
clients and ensure that they make more strenuous efforts to meet the
requirements of the court order now by locating and releasing the various
applicants," reads the letter.
The detained persons' lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said if the 12 were
not produced, he would file an application at the High Court for contempt of
court and make a report to the police under the Missing Persons Act.
"We appeal to anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the
missing MDC supporters to come forward and assist in strict confidence," he
Muchadehama said other cases of MDC members that were still pending
included that of MDC MP for Mbare Pineal Denga who is facing allegations of
possessing explosives without a licence. Denga is still under trial and his
case was further remanded to Tuesday next week.
Another case is of ex-army officer Tichaona Mudzingwa facing
allegations of trying to cause disunity among members of the armed forces on
March 31 2008. The trial was supposed to continue yesterday but was
postponed to December 19 after a senior army officer Martin Chedondo who was
supposed to testify did not appear in court.
Muchadehama said: "Chedondo said he could not testify because he was
attending to special operations to do with security in Manicaland."
MDC MP for Highfield, Pearson Mungofa who is facing the same charges
as Mudzingwa, is expected to appear in court on November 27.
Muchadehama said four cases were withdrawn before plea due to lack of
evidence while a number were still pending and no one yet has been
Meanwhile, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti who appeared in
court this week had two of his four charges dropped before a Harare
Biti's lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, said the charges dropped included
insulting President Robert Mugabe and causing disaffection among the members
of the armed forces.
Uriri said: "The publishing falsehoods to cause public disorder charge
was also withdrawn but replaced with another. The state suggested that
wanted the charges split for trial purposes and dates were set between
December 17 and 18.
"We however objected to that on the basis that the three other charges
emanated from the same document and that the state was avoiding our
application of reprisal of remand of Biti and that it breached Biti's
protection of the law.
"We also asked the state to provide reasons as to why they wanted the
charges split and they said they would act over the reasons thus remanded to
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 20 November 2008 21:15
THE High Court has granted seven men accused of plotting to stage a
coup last year leave to challenge the constitutionality of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act under which they are being charged.
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo on Tuesday referred the matter to the Supreme
Court which will determine whether the arrest of the seven was lawful.
Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara,
Patson Mupfure, Shingirai Mutemachani and Rangarirai Mazivofa were arrested
for allegedly plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe in a coup.
The accused's lawyer, Charles Warara, argued that the Act was not in
line with the Constitution as it tended to replace the Roman Dutch law being
used in the country.
Warara told the High Court that the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act was clearly not in keeping with the Roman Dutch law in operation
as the changes made to the offences did not exist under common law.
"The effect being that the law becomes supreme to the Roman Dutch law
as it no longer can be used in charging anyone with an offence but all cases
dealt with under common law carry persuasive authority now and have no
binding authority on the judiciary of Zimbabwe," Warara argued in the
application for the referral.
The seven alleged coup plotters, who have been in custody since last
year in May, are facing charges of inciting members of the security forces
to overthrow Mugabe's government.
The state's case against Matapo and his co-accused is that they
sometime in May last year tried to influence servicemen Captain Shepherd
Maromo, Captain Olivine Maroala, Corporal Elias Gape, Charles Nyashadzashe
Mufudze, Sergeant Owen Bafana and Ronald Matanga to unlawfully overthrow the
government of Zimbabwe.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:25
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC this week said it will press for the
establishment of a transitional authority if the power-sharing deal with
Zanu PF falls through.
The deal -- which has been in limbo since it was signed on September
15 -- ran into fresh problems this week after the government drafted
Constitutional Amendment No19 and sent it to the pact broker, former South
African president Thabo Mbeki, without consulting the MDC formations.
Before the furore over the constitutional amendment, the pact signed
by President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the other
formation of the MDC had failed to fly over allocation of ministerial
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesperson of the MDC-T, told the Zimbabwe
Independent on Tuesday that his party has a Plan B if the power-sharing deal
He said the MDC would mobilise Zimbabweans to demonstrate against
Mugabe's regime and press for a transitional authority.
Chamisa said the party would work with civic society and other
democratic organisations to achieve the Plan B.
"If the talks fail, the MDC will work together with other
organisations in the civic society and other parties and make sure we create
circumstances and conditions that make it possible for the creation of a
transitional authority," Chamisa said.
He said the transitional authority, to be made up of political parties
and civic society, would be mandated to address the humanitarian crisis in
the country and to depoliticise national institutions.
Chamisa said the authority would also craft a democratic and
"The new constitution will pave the way for fresh polls that will be
supervised and managed by international bodies, namely Sadc, the African
Union and the United Nations," he added.
Chamisa said the resistance against Mugabe's regime would work this
time around because of the suffering Zimbabweans have endured due to the
"The fact that they (demonstrations) failed yesterday doesn't mean
they will fail today," Chamisa said. "It is the people who are telling us as
the leadership what direction to take, whatever we are doing is coming from
The MDC-T's national council last Friday agreed not to join an
inclusive government until Constitutional Amendment No 19 is promulgated and
its demands for equitable and fair power-sharing were met.
The council rejected a resolution by Sadc that Tsvangirai and Mugabe
should co-manage the Home Affairs ministry and forthwith form a unity
"The longer that this crisis remains outstanding, then the obligation
(grows) on Sadc, the African Union and the people of Zimbabwe that a
transitional authority be instituted pending the enactment of a new
people-driven constitution and the holding of elections under African and
international supervision," read one of the resolutions of the council.
It also resolved that in the event of an illegitimate government being
unilaterally formed, the MDC-T would not be part of the same and will
peacefully, constitutionally and democratically mobilise and campaign
against the illegitimate government.
Hopes for a quick formation of a unity government were dashed this
week when the MDC-T said it rejected a constitutional amendment drafted by
the government and dispatched to Mbeki.
Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the formation of a new
cabinet was a "process not an event" and urged Zimbabweans to be patient.
The MDC-T said it was "frivolous and mischievous" to claim that the
draft constitutional amendment had the input of all the three political
parties. The party said it was not privy to the contents of the draft.
"We have never seen the draft and we are surprised that such key
the way forward are being communicated through the media," the party
said. "As far as we are concerned, the draft that has been sent to Mbeki is
a Zanu PF document with Zanu PF perspectives. Our draft is also ready and
will be sent to Mbeki for consideration."
It said the final amendment to be tabled in parliament should be
inclusive of the three main political parties' views.
Mbeki -- who confirmed receiving the draft amendment -- has since
summoned negotiators of the three political parties to South Africa next
week to deliberate on the proposed law, but the MDC-T said it would not
attend the meeting.
Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary-general and chief negotiator, was
quoted in a weekly newspaper yesterday saying his party would boycott the
meeting until Sadc rescinds its resolution compelling Mugabe and Tsvangirai
to core-manage the Home Affairs ministry.
Biti said its other demands, like provincial governors' posts and
appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, should also be met.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T has denied reports that the party was divided
with some senior members planning to oust Tsvangirai with the assistance of
a South Africa-based Zimbabwe businessman.
Instead, the party said it was Zanu PF that has been rocked by
divisions with disgruntled former PF Zapu members pulling out of the
"Just a week ago Zapu members broke away from Zanu PF. Zanu PF is
trapped in a series of setbacks and misfortunes which they hope to see
replaying themselves in the MDC," reads a statement from the MDC-T. "Zanu PF
suffers from three decades of the same leadership and is trapped in a
succession crisis as Robert Mugabe continues to succeed himself."
By Lucia Makamure/Loughty Dube
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:22
ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo last weekend failed to persuade
ex-PF Zapu members from breaking away from the ruling party.
Nkomo was tasked by the politburo to convene a meeting in Bulawayo
last Saturday and convince the former Zapu members from splitting from Zanu
PF, but the indaba failed to bear fruit.
During the Saturday meeting, Nkomo also failed to make public a report
of an inquiry into circumstances that led to the convening of a meeting at
White City Stadium three weeks ago by party "rebels" who intended to
announce the split from Zanu PF and the revival of Zapu.
While Nkomo was presiding over a meeting at Davies Hall, Zanu PF's
Bulawayo headquarters, former Zapu members were holding their own at Stanley
Square strategising on how to repossess property the late vice-president
Joshua Nkomo-led party used to own in the early 1980s. The government
subsequently confiscated the property.
A fortnight ago Zanu PF appointed a three-member commission of inquiry
to assess the state of the party in Bulawayo where rebels said they wanted
to revive Zapu because government was neglecting them.
The probe team was made up of deputy politburo secretary for women's
affairs Eunice Sandi, and central committee members Callistus Ndlovu and
The three produced a report which they presented to the party a week
Nkomo was on Saturday expected to discuss the report with the party
members but did not table it even in closed meetings with politburo and
central committee members.
In his public address Nkomo sounded defiant and warned that Zanu PF
has faced a similar rebellion before, but always emerged stronger.
"This is not the first time that Zanu PF has faced such a crisis and
each time it underwent the trying times, it emerged stronger," Nkomo said.
"There is need for unity in the party. We have to leave a firm legacy so
that when we are gone those remaining will always look up to us."
However, Zanu PF sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that the report
presented by the probe team revealed that the entire Matabeleland leadership
was backing the pullout from Zanu PF.
"The report presented to Nkomo was explicit that former PF Zapu
leaders were supporting the idea of a pullout and it was necessary for Nkomo
to first consult Mugabe before making the findings public," said one of the
The sources said in the closed meeting Nkomo implored Zanu PF members
in the region not to join the PF Zapu group, which has said it would hold a
convention in December before a party congress to choose its leadership
early next year.
Information and Publicity minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, however, said
Nkomo was still studying the report.
"The report was not presented to the party members because the
national chairman (Nkomo) is still studying the report and it will be
presented to members through party structures," Ndlovu said.
Already six members of the party's Bulawayo provincial executive have
left Zanu PF. The six include Effort Nkomo (secretary for information and
Ndlovu (secretary for security) and Tryphine Nhliziyo (secretary for
Former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa is one of the
coordinators of the revived Zapu.
Meanwhile, members of the revived PF Zapu on Saturday resolved that
government should return property it seized from the party and have since
reconstituted the board of Nitram - a company that used to run the party
Former Zipra commander John Gazi is now the chairman of the Nitram
PF Zapu members have also split from the Zimbabwe National Liberation
War Veterans Association and have since formed their own Zipra Veterans
Association led by Colonel Ray Ncube.
The revived PF Zapu members have threatened to evict the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) from Magnet House in Bulawayo, a building
they said was owned by the party.
Former war veterans leader Andrew Ndlovu, one of the leading figures
in PF Zapu's revival two weeks ago told a meeting that they intend to take
Magnet House back from the CIO.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:19
THE Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has threatened not to mark
this year's public examinations unless the government pays teachers in
The move by the country's largest teachers' representative
organisation will further worsen the already crumbling education system that
was dogged by strikes throughout the year as teachers pressed for better
salaries and working conditions.
Teachers initially boycotted the invigilation of the November 'O' and
'A' level examinations until the Reserve Bank intervened with generous
Zimta national executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu told members of the
association's Matabeleland North province in Bulawayo this week that they
should not mark examination scripts unless and until
their salaries and allowances were paid in hard currency.
"It will be stupid for us to take part in the marking of these
examinations, if ever I can call them examinations at all," Ndlovu said.
"The government should pay us in foreign currency since most businesses are
now charging for services and goods in foreign currency and that is the only
logical way forward."
He said Zimbabwe teachers, who were earning an average $1 million
monthly, were the worst-paid professionals worldwide. He said the government
had reduced them to beggars.
"Teachers in Zimbabwe are living in extremely poor conditions, we are
living on less than one US cent a day which is unacceptable. Our salaries
are ridiculously low and cannot even cover transport costs," Ndlovu said.
"How does our employer expect us to report for duty under such
Zimta is demanding that a junior teacher should earn at least R12 000
or US$2 500 monthly.
Ndlovu also took a swipe at teachers who took part in the invigilation
of Grade 7 examinations and called them "sellouts" because Zimta had
declared 2008 a non-academic year due to intermittent strikes.
Education experts said pupils in public schools attended full classes
for less than 30 days throughout the year.
Another teacher organisation, the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ), also vowed to boycott marking the November examinations.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said marking the examinations
would legitimise them when pupils did not learn much during the year.
"We won't waste our time and energy marking these futile examinations.
Students did not learn anything this year and I do not remember our members
invigilating any examinations this year, so what are we going to mark?"
asked Majongwe. "As far as we are concerned, there are no examinations to
talk about. The government is ignoring the simple reality that the system is
down and we do not want to be used as a shield to aid it."
Education ministry permanent secretary Stephen Mahere could not be
reached for comment on the latest development.
Meanwhile, riot police on Tuesday thwarted a protest march by medical
workers in Harare to protest against the country's collapsing health
The police blocked a march by more than 700 hospital workers who
attempted to leave Parirenyatwa Hospital to present a petition to the
Minister of Health, David Parirenyatwa, at his offices at Mukwati Building
in the city.
The marchers comprised doctors, nurses, nurse aids and general workers
from Harare, Parirenyatwa and Chitungwiza hospitals.
Health workers, like teachers, have been on strike for the greater
part of the year pressing for better remuneration and working conditions.
By Henry Mhara
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:19
THE advice by MPs, civic society and medical personnel not to transfer
water management from city councils to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
that was ignored by government three years ago has come back to
haunt it as the state battles to contain the deadly cholera outbreak.
One does not need to travel far from Harare's city centre to realise
the devastating impact of the fatal water-borne disease.
A 15-minutes drive to house number 6042 Tsoka Road in Glen Norah B
high density suburb reveals the sorrow that has engulfed the Dziruni family
which is still coming to grips with just how painful it is to lose loved
ones to a preventable and treatable disease like cholera.
The family is in anguish, mourning the death of their two daughters -
Maria (24) and Bridget Dziruni (21) - who succumbed to cholera on November
12 at Budiriro Polyclinic.
It takes a considerable time for Mike Dziruni, an uncle to the girls,
to narrate their tragic deaths.
Mike, who was with the girls during their illness until death, still
does not understand or believe that cholera could be so cruel.
Maria and Bridgette were staying in Glen Norah with their grandparents
after their parents died about 10 years ago.
What started as a normal day on November 11 turned to be the worst
Mike can remember in his life.
He remembered: "Maria was the first to fall sick and that was around
4pm. She was vomiting and discharging a watery liquid. I took her to
Budiriro Polyclinic because we suspected she had cholera.
"Upon arrival she was given sugar and salt solution and three hours
later, the nurses injected her intravenously (commonly known as drip)
because her condition was getting worse."
Mike said before Maria - who left behind a two-year-old daughter
Praise Tanyaradzwa - got sick she had spent the day at home and not visited
any of the cholera affected areas.
"I strongly believe that it is the water that we drink and the raw
sewage that flows in the streets that made her sick. We don't have regular
supply of water and when it comes it will be dirty. The sewage and the
uncollected refuse have seen flies hovering all over and at times you see
worms," Mike said.
After five intravenous injections, Maria still showed no signs of
improvement and when the nurses took her to another room and told Mike not
to follow, he knew something was wrong.
"They took Maria to another room and just told me to wait outside. I
could tell that things were not okay," he said.
Little did Mike know that things were also not okay at home. When he
left with Maria to the clinic Bridgette, Maria's sister, complained of
stomach pains and was vomiting.
At 8pm she decided to go to the clinic for treatment.
Mike said: "I bumped into Bridgette at the clinic when I was taking
the sugar and salt solution to Maria. She came by herself and I thought she
had followed to see how Maria was doing. I was shocked when she told me that
she had come to seek treatment because she also was not feeling well."
He helped Bridgette obtain a medical card and she was given salt and
sugar solution the whole night as they sat on the benches available in the
"In the morning, Bridgette was not feeling any better and she still
had not been given any drip and I had not been told anything about Maria's
progress since she was taken into another room. I decided to go back home
and get their clothes so that they could change and also inform other
relatives of the situation," Mike said.
When he returned to the clinic, Mike said Bridgette's condition had
worsened and an order was given that she be intravenously injected.
"We put her in a wheelchair, but a problem emerged when a nurse could
not find the right vein for the injection. She passed away while they were
still searching for a vein," Mike said.
He said when the other relatives went to check on Maria's progress at
around 1pm they found out that she was already dead.
Mike said: "Maria could have passed away way before 1pm, just that we
weren't told and there was so much going on. It is very painful to lose two
relatives in one day.
"Worse still on the day of the funeral it took the health workers some
time to come and spray the coffins. They arrived just when we were about to
leave for the cemetery. We had spent the whole night with the corpses. What
good does it do?"
He added: "Government iri kutikanya (government is failing us). Right
now we do not have water and rivers of raw sewage are flowing in our streets
from Muroro Road. They send us text messages that we should eat hot food,
boil water but we do not have electricity to do so. Electricity is cut off
early in the morning and comes back in the evening at around 11pm. Firewood
is very expensive and we get only $500 000 from the bank. How is it possible
then to have hot food regularly or boiled water?"
Another member of the family who preferred anonymity said she was
saddened by the way some members of the community were isolating them.
"People point fingers when they pass our home and at times you can
hear them saying "pamba apo pane cholera" (that house is infested with
cholera) and even if we meet them in the streets they don't greet us, they
say "imi muri vecholera kaimi". They don't know it can also happen to them,"
Zinwa is accused of failing to supply clean potable water and deal
with sewer blockages since its took over water management from councils
three years ago. The authority said lack of foreign currency to buy water
treatment chemicals and water pipes was affecting its operations.
By Lucia Makamure/Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:14
FOLLOWING the Sadc summit in South Africa which urged Zimbabwe's
political protagonists to urgently form an inclusive government with the MDC
formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu PF co-managing the Ministry of
Home Affairs , Arthur Mutambara of the smaller group of the MDC had several
interviews putting across his views.
Mutambara raised a number of issues that need to be interrogated and
put into proper political contest because they are misleading and display
his continued lack of political judgment on the nature and genesis of the
twin crisis of legitimacy and governance that the country has been grappling
with for close to a decade now.
The politician's lack of political judgment is expressed in his views
of the ruling by Sadc, the importance of ministries, his use of uncivilised
language against his opponents and reporters, the analogy of the agreement
to the 1979 Lancaster House one, is among other things that he has raised so
Firstly, Mutambara says although he does not agree with the Sadc
ruling, that decision should be respected because doing otherwise would be
tantamount to fighting against 15 Heads of States. He further argues that
one cannot go to the African Union (AU) and later on to the United Nations
(UN) without the support of Sadc.
It is not disputed that Sadc heads of state made a decision but the
question is whether that decision is legitimate and serves the best
interests of the people of Zimbabwe who went to the polls in March and
showed that they want to be governed by the combined MDC formations through
the results of the parliamentary, rural and urban council polls. The two MDC
formations out-polled Zanu PF and the first round of the presidential poll
which was largely free and fair and undisputed was a referendum on Mugabe's
popularity before he went on the rampage against his perceived opponents in
the June presidential election run-off.
My point is that any agreement or ruling by anybody on the crisis in
Zimbabwe that does not reflect that Mugabe is no longer fit for purpose is
unacceptable. The decision by the Tsvangirai formation to dispute or
disregard the Sadc ruling is therefore legitimate because the regional body
missed the point by a very wide margin.
Mutambara should not attempt to tell Zimbabweans that Sadc is holier
than thou to the extent that it should not be opposed when it makes an
illogical decision about our country. He should also know that the MDC can
still proceed to the AU and UN without Sadc but based on the facts of its
refusal to agree with Sadc. In the normal way of an appeal process, Sadc is
like a Magistrate's Court, the AU the High Court and the UN the Supreme
Court and the MDC has a right to exhaust all remedies before it comes back
to the people of Zimbabwe for a political solution to the crisis. One cannot
make an appeal if they agree with the decision of the lower court and the
idea that an appeal has been made does not mean that one is being
contemptuous of the lower court but simply does not agree with its ruling.
The same applies in this matter, the MDC wants to appeal because in their
considered opinion Sadc erred and they want a higher body to look into its
grievances. They are not fighting Sadc but disagree with it. The outcome of
the appeals is another question.
Would it have been wrong for an opposition party during Adolf Hitler's
time to reject any decision by European governments to support Hitler's
policy of extermination of the Jews if such a policy was made? If it could
have been the right thing to do in that proposition so the decision to
reject Sadc's decision is based on that conceptual analogy.
Mutambara also tries to allude to the fact that by disagreeing with
the co-running of the Ministry of Home Affairs with Zanu PF, the
Tsvangirai-led formation of the MDC is suddenly causing the further
deterioration of the country's humanitarian situation and the suffering of
innocent citizens. He is erroneously attempting to accuse the MDC of being
the problem. This is opportunistic and bereft of political analysis and the
political context of the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Those who argue that the crisis in Zimbabwe is caused by the failure
or refusal by Tsvangirai to be consumed by Mugabe are not being honest about
the political problems affecting the country which lies squarely on Mugabe
and Zanu PF's doorstep. What we see are the consequences of Mugabe's failed
economic and political policies for the past three decades coming home to
roost. It's neither a problem of Tsvangirai nor Mutambara.
Most fundamentally it is my firm view that if the two MDC formations
get into bed with Zanu PF in that proposed government without making
fundamental demands such as the sharing of other instruments of power like
the provincial governors, it will be a celebration of impunity that led the
country to where it is today. If that were to happen and Mugabe gets all he
demands, Emmerson Mnangagwa and those who assisted in the running of the
violent June 27 presidential election would have triumphed and that is not
good for nurturing democratic ethos in our country. That group should never
be allowed to feel that they did the right thing but it can happen when
politicians are quick to embrace what they don't know.
From an idealistic point of view, it is true that there is no ministry
that is more powerful than another. The problem we face in Zimbabwe is not
an idealistic one but an empirical one based on our observation of how
Mugabe has used the security ministries to entrench his dictatorship.
It becomes very difficult to appreciate why Mutambara would want to
deny that the Ministry of Home Affairs has been used for the wrong reasons
by Mugabe against his opponents including him dating back to his days as a
student leader at the University of Zimbabwe in the late 1980s.
To Mugabe, the Ministry of Home Affairs is at the core of his
repressive agenda and electoral survival. He uses it to arrest, assault, and
harass his opponents and most critically to control the voters' roll through
the Registrar-General's Office. Would people like Tsvangirai, Trevor Ncube
and Paul Themba Nyathi have had problems with their passports if the
Ministry of Home Affairs was run professionally and was like any other
ministry? What about thousands of Zimbabweans who have lost their
citizenship through the abuse of that office by the Registrar-General? These
are some of the issues that people who claim to be national politicians need
to grapple with before they put their positions in the public domain.
I also find it difficult to appreciate how Mutambara sought to make an
analogy between the MDC agreement with Zanu PF to the Lancaster House one.
The 1979 constitution despite some imperfections was underwritten by the UN,
the elections were observed and monitored by the UN, the OAU and the
Commonwealth and the result was accepted despite Mugabe's use of violence
against political rivals.
Under the current circumstances, Mugabe does not allow local and
international monitors but limited observers with little say on how his
thugs organise the elections. In any case when Muzorewa lost the election,
he handed over power to Mugabe but now Mugabe does not want to hand over
power to someone in his own party and refuses to concede defeat to the
opposition. After all Mugabe was left in charge in 1980 and could have
directed the country in a proper democratic direction but Mutambara does not
see all this because all he is interested is to attempt to be smarter than
Tsvangirai while confusing things and alienating himself more from the
Ruhanya writes from the University of Minnesota's Law School, USA.
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:07
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai this week met with European Union
officials and came out against the imposition of more sanctions against
Robert Mugabe and his cronies.
Tsvangirai told European Union officials that imposing more sanctions
on Mugabe would be counter-productive and instead urged the European
regional grouping to focus their attention on providing assistance to
Zimbabwe, especially humanitarian and medical assistance.
According to AFP, the French news agency, "Tsvangirai said that,
instead of more sanctions, the country must have emergency humanitarian aid.
He said millions of people need food and medicine to counter the spread of
The EU has blacklisted 172 people linked to Mugabe's government and
four companies believed to financially support Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
The EU also has frozen long-term aid projects in Zimbabwe and imposed an
Contrary to reports that the Zanu PF leadership was angry about
Tsvangirai's trip to Europe, Mugabe's office says the president is
"delighted that Tsvangirai is now doing what we have always asked: that he
show his good faith by asking for sanctions to be lifted..."
While not strictly true that Tsvangirai has asked for sanctions to be
lifted, his comments in Strasbourg, where he attended the EU's International
Day of Development, mark his most significant effort yet to repair what he
himself has called "an element of mistrust between myself and President
Mugabe had demanded that "those who asked for sanctions should go and
ask for those sanctions to be lifted."
This was never going to happen, of course, because Tsvangirai has no
control over Europe or the United States.
However, as the crisis over the talks drags on, the EU and the United
States had signalled that they would be ratcheting up pressure on Mugabe by
imposing more sanctions. They were now considering an even wider net of
sanctions to bring Mugabe's regime to its knees once and for all.
We can then safely say that the prospect of this happening has now
been diminished, if not abolished, by Tsvangirai's latest call for those
additional sanctions not to be imposed.
What is even more interesting in all of this is how this relates to
the announcement by the MDC that it will participate in government once the
necessary instrument to make the GNU legal is signed into law. It marks a
clear progression by the MDC towards participation in an inclusive
government. By making moves to ensure that he can show his negotiating
partner, Mugabe, that he is sincere and committed to the talks and to the
success of any new government, Tsvangirai has also shrewdly ensured that
Mugabe stays his hand and does not go ahead and impatiently appoint a
one-sided government, a move hoped for by some hard-liners in his party.
Mugabe will now have to think twice and give Tsvangirai the benefit of
the doubt that, perhaps, the prime minister-designate is indeed committed to
ensuring that the agreement is realised and a government formed. It means
that there will be no unilateral government by Mugabe. The sign outside the
door now reads "Awaiting Developments". Already, the government of Robert
Mugabe has drafted Amendment No 19 to create the posts of prime minister and
his deputies. The government has also prepared the nation for a long delay
in the setting up of government by saying that people "should be patient.
Setting up a government is not an event but a process." So prepare
yourselves for us not to have a government until after January next year.
It is also instructive to note that Tsvangirai was invited to the
European Union Day of International Development summit in his capacity as
prime minister-designate of Zimbabwe. It points to a new era of relations
between the Western powers and Zimbabwe. And it reinforces the claim made by
Tsvangirai that he holds the key to the unlocking of international aid by
What remains to be seen is if anything comes out of his attendance at
the European Union Day of International Development summit. What deals will
he be able to secure and under what conditions? Once a new government is in
place? There is no doubt that he will be able to secure something, since the
European Union is looking to strengthen his hand in the ongoing talks with
Before this week is out we should know exactly what Tsvangirai's jaunt
has brought Zimbabwe. One thing is certain, though: the New! Improved!
sanctions that had been mooted by the US and the Europe in the last two
weeks, which were heavier and more widespread, will now no longer be imposed
What remains is the battle to actually formulate a government that can
take advantage of this goodwill and harness any gifts Tsvangirai may be
handed, be they moral or financial. Goodwill is being built towards
Zimbabwe, but only a Zimbabwe in which the MDC is part of government.
By Denford Magora
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:00
GOLD producers are demanding that the Ministry of Finance immediately
revokes the Reserve Bank
gold-trading licence and re-issue the permit to the Chamber of Mines
of Zimbabwe (CMZ)
after accusing the RBZ of paralysing the industry through non-payment
of over US$30 million worth of gold deliveries backdating to July last year.
Information to hand shows that gold miners last week wrote to Ministry
of Finance secretary Willard Manungo demanding "alternative payment
arrangements" and the immediate suspension of the Reserve Bank's gold
trading licence that was issued two years ago.
According to the letter, the bank's failure to settle the ballooning
debt has resulted in the chamber engaging the Ministry of Mines and the
chief secretary to the president and cabinet Misheck Sibanda over the
Mining officials this week told businessdigest that their demands were
falling on deaf ears.
"Our proposal is that since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has failed to
meet its obligations as a holder of a Gold Dealing Licence and through its
actions has resulted in the collapse of the gold mining industry in
Zimbabwe, its license should be revoked immediately," read the
correspondence sent last week.
"A new licence should be issued to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe to
coordinate the sales of all gold produced in Zimbabwe."
Under the Gold Trade Act, the Reserve Bank through its subsidiary
Fidelity Refiners and Printers is authorised to purchase the precious metal
from 354 registered gold workings throughout the country.
According to the documents, gold miners also criticised the Reserve
Bank for "consistently enacting" unviable policies that threatened the
survival and growth of the capital-intensive industry. The miners however
urged government to re-capitalise the industry through productivity-based
The combined effect of the regulations, sources said, had resulted in
virtually all mines failing to carry out exploration and development despite
favourable gold prices on the global market.
"In our view, the country should not be losing US$50 million per month
due to the inability of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, who are currently
entrusted with the sole Gold Dealing Licence in the country, to pay
producers for the delivered gold," read the letter.
With payment delays running to nearly two years amid relegation of
Fidelity Printers and Refiners from the London Bullion Market Association
(LBMA) in July, industry players warned that more gold mines could soon shut
The LBMA is a trade association that represents the wholesale over the
counter market for gold.
Last year the country's 21 primary gold producers, 254 small-scale
miners and 81 custom millers produced seven tonnes of gold that contributed
10% of the country's foreign currency earnings.
The figure is estimated to have dropped to an all-time low of 3,5
tonnes amid reports of a 64% drop in output recorded last month and rampant
cases of smuggling at the country's borders.
Commenting on the decline past Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa
said: "Zimbabwe was the only mineral-producing country in the world that has
failed to benefit from high global metal and minerals prices."
"Our industry continues to experience declines in volumes ... despite
the very buoyant mineral prices which prevailed for the past 18 months," he
said in a report in July.
World prices for gold rose from about US$275 an ounce in 2001 to above
US$600 this year. Nickel, platinum and copper prices also soared.
Mining officials who spoke to businessdigest this week also revealed
that so desperate was the situation in the foreign currency earning sector
that 300g of the yellow metal were delivered to government.
This would mean that the sector would have performed below the
mandatory 10 tonnes that guarantees membership of the LBMA. Efforts to get
comment from the Chamber of Mines were in vain while questions sent to the
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono on Tuesday were not responded to despite
being acknowledged by his personal assistant.
However Gono was this week quoted in a state newspaper admitting that
he had channeled payments for gold deliveries to "grudgingly" bail out loss
making national airline, Air Zimbabwe.
"Between January 2007 and November 13 2008 for instance, the Reserve
Bank paid US$302,3 million for grain importation," Gono said. "If
Zimbabweans had fully utilised their land, this money could have served
other critical purposes including the clearance of unpaid balances to gold
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:55
EVENTS unfolding this past week have left virtually everyone without a
clue of how exactly to proceed from here. Every so often new measures are
implemented and yet we still find ourselves in the same (if not worse)
position. Are we, therefore taking the wrong approach in an attempt to
address this crisis? Perhaps a look at how some of the "crises" have been
handled can shed some light.
Last Wednesday saw the reintroduction of the RTGS system which for
many had been a long time coming. At its suspension a few weeks ago, the
system had been largely blamed for fuelling the parallel market rate sinking
the country deeper into the rampant hyperinflationary spiral Zimbabwe seems
unable (or perhaps unwilling) to combat. But the parallel rate continued as
before and perhaps with added gusto.
During last year's cash crisis, a lot of noise was made about
unscrupulous cash barons. Cash limits were introduced which made transacting
for the average Joe a nightmare. Despite the activities of cash barons it
soon became apparent that there just was not enough cash to go around.
Simply put, inflation began galloping away at a rate much faster than one
could churn out notes to support it.
Recently there has been some concern expressed at the performance on
the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. So bullish was the stock market that a one day
gain of less than a hundred percent seemed like a flat trading day. As a
result, owing to the widespread use of the Old Mutual Implied Rate, again
another reason was found for why the parallel rate cannot be contained. And
now be sure to expect a new buzzword that will centre around fraudulent
speculators on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Of course there have been cases of fraudulent players operating on the
stock market, but just like the cash barons and RTGS dealers, the rest of
the country looks set to suffer for their sins.
Take cash withdrawal limits for instance. At current levels they are
hardly useful for anyone as a number of commuter fares have already exceeded
that threshold. So while the limit was meant to have prevented individuals
from holding on to too much cash, now it just seems punitive. The strange
thing however is how much cash one can access walking down any street in
Harare. Of course you have to be holding on to the right commodity.
This week the ZSE has perhaps seen some of its worst trading in a long
while largely as a result of new measures from the authorities. In real
terms some counters on the bourse have become ridiculously cheap. The
requirement that all transactions on the stock market are signed by banking
executives makes it tremendously difficult for anyone to participate in it.
So the bourse continues to plummet.
While this could be hailed as a corrective measure to bring sanity to
the market, it is often forgotten how much prejudice will again occur to the
average (honest) investor and to the companies themselves. If values of
listed firms continue to plummet be sure to expect predatory speculators who
will buy a company for a song only to strip it of its assets and make a
Looking at it more closely, part of the bull run had occurred as a
result of limited options for Zimbabwe dollars. No one else was accepting
the local currency after a decision to partly dollarise the economy. The
increase in cheque frauds occurred primarily because there had been no other
alternative to transact. Before, any high volume transactions would
naturally go through the electronic funds transfer system which by many
counts inherently reduced the likelihood of fraud.
Zimbabweans are going through some of history's toughest times. Last
week this column carried a story on how more and more companies are
resorting to a "care and maintenance" approach where no production is taking
place save for making general repairs to equipment. With everyone struggling
to keep their heads above water, should a few fraudsters spoil the party for
everyone else? After all, the RTGS suspension was meant to quell the
parallel rate but in no way did that move achieve that. Then now the ZSE is
being touted as the creator of electronic money. That too can go but it is
unlikely that the problems afflicting the financial sector will go with it.
At the end of it all, we might just run out of cash barons, RTGS dealers and
stock market fraudsters and guess what, Zimbabwe could still continue on its
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:54
BANKS are reeling from high accommodation rates of 10 000% -- secured
and 40 000% - unsecured by the Reserve Bank which raised the rates to mop up
excess liquidity on the money market.
The Reserve Bank last week raised secured accommodation rates from 8
500% to 10 000% while unsecured were raised to 40 000% from 9 500%.
Banks are paying heavily when they borrow from the Reserve Bank to
cover their daily shortfalls.
The Reserve Bank last week reinstated the use of the Real Time Gross
Settlement (RTGS) system and has since tightened procedures for accessing
unsecured accommodation funds.
Unsecured accommodation is when a bank gets money from the Reserve
Bank to cover its daily shortfalls without tendering security for the loan.
The daily shortfalls happen when there is a mismatch between a bank's
total deposits and withdrawals.
These measures mean that Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono is the only
one who can approve accommodation for any bank.
The high policy rates have created a situation whereby banks are now
vulnerable to the continued existence of high expenditures by the government
and the Reserve Bank because any slow down in their fiscal and quasi-fiscal
activities might "shake" banks and their clients.
The Reserve Bank said all motivations for accommodation must be
accompanied by comprehensive applications written by the bank's chief
executive officers fully explaining the origins and justifications for the
shortfall, supported by documentary evidence.
Banks are also facing declining deposits, with some banks being
accused of using depositors money to buy foreign currency on the parallel
market or investing on the stock market.
As of October 31, about 18,62% of depositors' funds held by commercial
banks was said to be locked up in shares and other non-core investments.
The country's five merchant banks had a total 30,17% of depositors'
funds locked in shares.
The four building societies have poured 16,85% of depositors' funds
into shares and other investments.
Banks economists described the Reserve Bank accommodation interest
rates as "out of synch" with inflationary trends. Inflation is said to be
above the official 231 million percent.
"The rates are too ghastly to contemplate if one takes into account
their effect on bank survival in the event of a money market liquidity
crunch which will force banks to go to the central bank for accommodation,"
a bank economist said.
What initially started as a cash crisis feeding off an unprepared
monetary authority in rapidly absorbing inflationary pressures through the
introduction of higher denominated bearer cheques or further slashing of
zeros has taken an unexpected twist.
It appears to be the making of unethical banking practices within the
financial services sector.
After mounting pressure from a restless banking public since the onset
of the cash crisis late last year, the Reserve Bank is on record saying it
had "lots of money" uncollected in their vaults because banking
institutions did not have the security to access the money to meet their
customer withdrawal requirements.
Most banks are accused of being 'guilty' of violating provisions of
the Banking Act by investing liquid depositor funds into relatively illiquid
speculative investments that put them at risk in the event of a run on
deposits facilitated by a massive increase in daily withdrawal limits for
individual and corporate account holders.
Banks balance sheet show that they have been engaging in more
lucrative non-core business activities to remain viable.
The manner in which most of these financial institutions structured
their balance sheets now puts their very existence at risk because of the
prohibitive interest payments that they will have to make to the Reserve
Bank for accommodating them against a liquidity crunch.
The ordinary man on the street might be probably cursing banking
institutions for engaging in illicit operations that have caused them so
much discomfort as they cannot access their cash.
Cash shortages will persist as banks have little Treasury Bills (TB)
that they can use as collateral when collecting money from the Reserve Bank.
Treasury Bills are issued at 340% against official inflation of 231
million percent will compromise their earnings and force them to scale down
on the amounts they have been procuring in cash in relation to deposits.
While the Reserve Bank has kept the accommodation rates very high,
depositors are languishing with interest rates below 250% per annum.
The Reserve Bank demands 45% of statutory reserves from banks and this
according to officials has seen most financial institutions "hurriedly"
offloading their securities portfolios to improve their liquidity positions.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:41
I THINK the negotiation process between the political parties in
Zimbabwe has gotten out of hand and is now more of a leadership circus.
The Sadc leadership have once again failed as they have many times
before with regards to the Zimbabwean issue.
Allocation of ministries in my view is a peripheral matter. Instead,
the Sadc leadership should have insisted that the Zimbabwean political
leadership discuss issues of substance rather than dwell on peripheral
matter which, once substantive issues of policy, level of authority and
decision making processes have been outlined, will naturally fall away. I am
amazed that it has taken three Sadc meetings, after Thabo Mbeki had referred
the matter to them just to get a decision on ministries, but still no
agreement has been reached.
That tells you something about the capacity and quality of the
political leadership we have in the region. What are we to say of our
leaders who cannot resolve an issue as minor as this?
The political leaders in Zimbabwe have not even begun to talk about
the economic and social policies that will inform this unity government and
hence guide the programme implementation at the ministry level irrespective
of which party is heading which ministry. I think the process by all
accounts has broken down and will not extricate Zimbabwe from its quagmire.
All evidence points to the fact that these two parties cannot and
will not work together. I therefore see this process going on for another
six months leading up to the UN resolution for new elections under UN
supervision. Anything else by Sadc and the AU will unfortunately not yield
any momentous result. So what action can we as Zimbabweans take?
Are we to just sit and watch while our leaders shuffle from one
meeting to the next, issuing communiques? In the meantime, many in Zimbabwe
continue to perish from hunger and disease. Most Zimbabweans today can
hardly put a meal on the table, school children are all back home as the
teachers are on strike, some hospitals have closed and child mortality rates
and women dying after pregnancy have reached unprecedented levels, many
continue to leave the country in their thousands.
The prices of food in US dollars are unheard of anywhere in the world
even for people working and earning in US dollars.
Do any of these political leaders perceive the exigency to get a
solution on Zimbabwe now as a matter requiring an emergency response? Is
there an end to this story of ours where the worst seems unimaginable but
actually happens? Maybe, just maybe, if women were involved and leading in
the current negotiation process on Zimbabwe, perhaps a solution would have
long been found.
Hear ye Oh leaders of Zimbabwe our cries for human dignity and respect
for human lives! I feel the birth pains of many women struggling to feed
their families, care for the many HIV/Aids patients and orphans. I have
seen many children with stunted growth in the rural villages in Zimbabwe due
to hunger and malnutrition.
Lonely, child-heads of households with teary eyes that have lost their
youthful zest for life -- having been thrust prematurely into adulthood.
With no means of survival and no one to care for them, they are vulnerable
and exposed to the vagaries of abusive predators. Their plight is not
anyone's concern. They can wait another day and another meeting. The many
women who have demonstrated for a speedy resolution have their calls go
unanswered, their voices unheard. The many who speak on behalf of the poor
and marginalised are themselves well fed and clothed and their children
attend private schools. The political parties which purport to represent us
have no clue of the suffering of those whom they claim to fight for. They
have never slept on an empty stomach, with nothing in their storeroom to eat
the following day.
They do not know what it is to scout the forests, hills and valleys
days on end competing with baboons and monkeys for wild fruits. They have
never stared into nothingness with nowhere to go and no idea where their
next meal is coming from. They do not know what it is to cross a crocodile
infested river in search of greener pastures to lands afar only to be
brutalised and abused.
So they can afford the endless travels across the borders of the
region from Swaziland, to Zimbabwe and back to South Africa talking simply
about sharing a ministry. Wow! Are we supposed to be impressed by these
tomfooleries of politicians who have lost their identity and do not know who
they are, have no vision of the future of the country and have completely
devoured the legacy of the past?
They certainly have no interest of the people but are engrossed with
either acquiring power or retaining it. The deal is aptly named a "power
sharing deal". That is all that it is. It is about the sharing of power
between political parties and not about serving the people of Zimbabwe.
Hear ye Oh leaders of Zimbabwe our cries for peace and prosperity!
Why are your hearts so hardened and cold, your eyes red scorched with hatred
and anger? Why Oh why Zimbabwean political leaders are you full of greed and
resentment, killing even the milking cows, eating the seeds without seeding
and plundering the fields before the harvest.
A once proud people that could feed themselves with plenty left to
spare now go empty with begging bowls in hand. Why have you defiled the
country and turned each and every one of us into either a thief or a beggar,
despised by all nations? Even those that have remained home, you have
raped, maimed and killed like a bloodthirsty brood of vipers. And yet you
unashamedly sit and dine with other leaders in countries afar and feast
while your people go hungry and many lie dying in deserted hospitals with no
medicines, equipment and staff. Hear ye Oh leaders of Zimbabwe our cries
for basic human rights!
You drive around in fancy cars while many travel on foot or live at
work because they cannot afford busfare. You live in opulent luxurious
houses with many rooms in the leafy green suburbs of Harare lit by
generators and watered by boreholes while many wallow in their faeces and
die of cholera in the poor high density suburbs of Budiriro, Chitungwiza and
Chikonohono. You do your shopping in the best malls of the world in South
Africa, Europe and Asia while many forage and scour the dustbins and dump
sites of Harare for their next meal.
When your children gets sick, they are flown for medical care to the
best hospitals and are served by the best doctors and receive the best
medicines and best nursing care while a sick orphan is simply taken to an
empty local clinic to die. Your children attend the best universities and
schools in the world while many children in Zimbabwe are sitting at home and
the academic year a write off. All this while you claim to be a leadership
that wants to serve the people and want to continue to lead. What a
contradiction in terms. Surely, history will judge you accordingly.
What happened to selfless leadership with a passion to serve the
people? What happened to the mantra "power to the people", or in ANC terms
"the people shall govern"?
I would like to join the call by Botswana President Ian Khama to call
for fresh internationally supervised elections in Zimbabwe now without
further ado. These talks in William Shakespeare's words are "much ado about
nothing". They are going nowhere and will not deliver the desired outcome.
Hear ye Oh leaders of Zimbabwe our cries for democracy now!
After Barack Obama won the US presidency, I am encouraged to believe
that one day the people shall indeed govern in Zimbabwe. May God bless us
Makanza is a psychologist and social commentator based in Cape Town,
South Africa. Her email is email@example.comThis e-mail address is
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:34
MEDIATION in Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks should be brought to an
end and alternative ways found to stem the deteriorating social, political
and economic situation, political analysts have said.
The analysts said the stalemate between President Robert Mugabe and
the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai on the distribution of cabinet portfolios and
other outstanding issues under the September 15 inclusive government deal
were threatening to plunge the country into a deeper crisis.
The MDC rejected the ruling by Sadc last week that it share the Home
Affairs ministry with Zanu PF and has since said it would not join the unity
government before the enactment of Constitutional Amendment No 19.
The party argued that Sadc and the African Union (AU) -- the
guarantors of the unity deal -- must move in to ensure fair and equitable
distribution of ministerial portfolios between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The party also wants Constitutional Amendment No 19 enacted,
provincial governors' posts distributed in terms of the outcome of the March
29 elections, the composition and functions of the National Security Council
outlined, and how permanent secretaries and ambassadors should be appointed.
Political analysts said there was a "real risk" that the mediation process
could become "a never-ending political soap-opera; a tragic one" because the
social and economic situation in the country was deteriorating and people
"There must come a point when both parties agree to disagree and
either decide to move on together or to go their separate ways," said Alex
Magaisa, a Zimbabwean lawyer based in the UK. "At present neither of the
parties seems sure as to what exactly they want to do. It's a ship where
the captains are squabbling, but none of them knows exactly how to avoid the
iceberg in front of them."
Magaisa said even if the impasse was to be taken to the AU, there was
little the union could do to resolve it.
"I have very limited hope that the AU can achieve anything beyond what
Sadc has done," he said. "If they were hard enough and resolute enough to
speak frankly to Mugabe, try to get him on-side, they could do better. For
as long as they tolerate what has happened and what is happening, they will
end up in the same cul-de-sac as did the Sadc leaders."
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure
concurred with Magaisa, adding that the power-sharing talks were now
He said mediation in the talks would not achieve much given the
entrenched positions of Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
"Initially, it was Zanu PF that had deliberately adopted stalling as a
strategy, but it's now desperate to get the process moving at precisely a
time when MDC-Tsvangirai has borrowed the same strategy," Masunungure said.
"MDC-Tsvangirai appears in no hurry to implement the global political
agreement, perhaps counting on the prospect of the economy, society and Zanu
PF itself imploding. In short, it is MDC-Tsvangirai that is now stalling
without explicitly withdrawing from the deal."
He said neither the AU nor the United Nations (UN) had mechanisms to
force the implementation of the September 15 deal.
"This can only be done if Sadc elevates the matter by referring it to
these bodies. Otherwise, they are impotent to act on their own account,"
Masunungure, also director of Mass Public Opinion Institute, said.
He said Tsvangirai now appeared to want the whole "pie and not
fragments" of the inclusive government pact.
He said the MDC-Tsvangirai no longer thinks that the deal was a viable
pact and were now "stealthily" withdrawing.
"The MDC-Tsvangirai is also no longer keen on further
internationalising the dispute by going to the AU or UN and would now rather
domesticate the dispute by taking it to parliament where they believe they
can fight better," Masunungure said. "It seems they have realised that no
matter how strong the lion is, it cannot hope to effectively fight the
crocodile in the water and now wants to take the struggle to where the MDC
thinks it is strongest - parliament."
A two-thirds majority is needed in parliament to pass Constitutional
Amendment No19, which would create the office of prime minister and two
deputy prime ministers. Under the unity government deal Tsvangirai would be
prime minister while the leader of the other formation of the MDC, Arthur
Mutambara, will be deputy prime minister. The other deputy would come from
the Tsvangirai formation.
Political scientist John Makumbe said mediation should not be allowed
to go on indefinitely.
He said the MDC should stick to their demands, with Sadc and the AU
putting pressure on Mugabe to agree to equitable power-sharing.
"The deal was a bad one from the outset," Makumbe, a strong Mugabe
critic said. "The party that lost the election ended up with more power in
government. The MDC demands should be met and they should not waver. On the
other hand, regional and continental bodies must force Mugabe to cede power
to the winner of the elections. The mediation has to come to an end."
Even Tsvangirai this week said the negotiations with Mugabe should not
be allowed to drag on.
"It can't be forever," Tsvangirai said in Strasbourg, France, during a
visit to Europe. "We cannot go on and on and on."
Tsvangirai said the MDC still had confidence in African institutions
to assist in unlocking the deadlock.
"It is not lack of sincerity but lack of leverage (on the part of Sadc
to unlock the impasse)," Tsvangirai said. "Sadc lacks the leverage to bring
to a conclusion the problem in Zimbabwe."
He said he did not believe that the deal was heading for death, adding
that it would take time to implement.
"We are not walking away from the deal as it provides the best
possible means to address the current economic decay that our country is
going through," he said. "But we will not take part in the government until
it reflects equitable power-sharing because we believe the deal is the only
logical process to deal with our situation."
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:32
THE political impasse and general deterioration of the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe requires collective efforts by all stakeholders for a
lasting solution according to the African Commission of Human and People's
Rights (ACHPR) that is currently holding its 44th session in Abuja, Nigeria.
Several commissioners from the ACHPR, Africa's supreme human rights
watch-dog, concurred on the need for a more focused approach to the
political and socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe despite objections from
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
officials. Zimbabwe featured prominently during discussions around the
work-groups on human rights defenders in Africa and freedom of expression
and access to information.
"We would be more satisfied to be allowed to take part in what is
happening in Zimbabwe. Besides what Sadc is doing, it is important for us to
go and see the situation on the ground," noted Commissioner Reine
Alapini-Gansou, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa.
She also added that special human rights mechanisms should be allowed to
input as stakeholders work to resolve the human rights situation and
political stalemate in Zimbabwe.
Commissioners acknowledged the critical roles played by women human
rights defenders such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) and also singled out
journalists who use their right to freedom of expression in speeding up
development and assist the citizenry to take part in a democracy.
Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, the special rapporteur on freedom of
expression and access to information, added weight to Commissioner
Alapini-Gansou's call for a fact finding mission highlighting the
significance of her workgroup saying: "Freedom of expression should be part
of the mission to Zimbabwe as human rights defenders move hand in hand with
The state, led by Nyakotyo, argued that there is no need for a fact
finding mission to Zimbabwe or further engagements through the commission or
Africa Union as Sadc has made a ruling on the contentious aspects of the
political impasse. He said the ruling by the regional body, that Zanu PF and
MDC should co-manage the Home Affairs ministry, set the tone for the
formation of a government that would resuscitate the economy and improve the
human rights situation in the country despite it being rejected by one of
the key principals to the agreement, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The opposition leader expressed shock and disappointment at the
decision reached by Sadc that seemed to ignore the need to share power
equitably between Mugabe and himself. Mugabe already has control of the
Defence ministry and the opposition is advocating for control of the police
as a way to equitably share security organs.
Meanwhile, civic society organisations attending the ACHPR meeting
expressed pessimism on the political agreement and emphasised calls for a
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe and the necessity of broader engagement of
more stakeholders in the talks.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) made interventions during discussions and echoed similar
sentiments on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.
"The signing of the Global Agreement on September 15 2008 brought
optimism of an end to political intolerance and human rights violations.
However, this optimism has since been shattered by the on-going impasse
among the parties to these agreements," read part of a statement by the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. "The shape of the media has remained in a
deplorable state with state media churning out hate speech in both the
electronic and print media."
ZLHR expressed, in its statement, "grave concern at the fact that the
authorities in Zimbabwe continue to exercise repressive behaviour and
continue to take measures which render the situation on human rights
defenders untenable and which serve to further escalate the current
By Hilton Zvidzayi
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:32
IT is November 2008. The fiasco which commenced on March 29 2008
continues in Zimbabwe.
The process lumbers on with no end in sight and no relief for the
struggling masses in the rural and urban areas. But visit the dollar shops
in the smart suburbs of Harare and you might think you are in paradise. The
middle-class blacks and the white diplomats and the white locals exude an
aura which speaks "Crisis? What Crisis? There is no Crisis!"
Africa has about 55 countries, of which maybe as many as five can be
as not being dictatorships. Maybe three of the 50 can be classified
as anti-Western dictatorships. The other 47 are pro-Western dictatorships. A
similar situation obtains throughout the Middle East, South Asia, South
East Asia and South America. Zimbabwe is the foremost of the three African
This situation suits the West and China pretty well -- minerals and
oil are available at knock-down prices. By means of direct
presidential-level corruption, royalty payments and tax levels for
international corporations are at very low rates.
The fact that the people of these 47+3 countries are excessively poor,
have no effective health or education systems, have limited freedom and
human rights is of no great concern to this unholy alliance between the
local dictator-president, the Chinese exploiters and the Western exploiters
(disguised as diplomats and business-men).
How to overturn this immoral applecart? Easy -- create a voting system
which cannot be frauded by Mugabe, Kibaki, Obasanjo, Lansana Conte and Omar
Bongo put together. Implement it in any country. From there on the ball
rolls downhill, the Pandora's box has been opened. The weapon of mass
liberation has been unleashed. The dictator-presidents become yesterday's
men, forced to eke out a meagre existence in the top hotels of London,
Paris, Miami, Saint Tropez, Mauritius and Kuala Lumpur. 50+% of the world's
population are liberated, they have hope, they have a future which promises
freedom and prosperity.
But it has been done. Two years ago I invented such a voting system
designed for national (presidential and parliamentary) elections in the most
difficult conditions in the third world.
Why has the West not rushed to implement this? Why have China and
Britain described the system as "dangerous"? Why has the pro-democracy
organisation International Idea in Sweden stated that the system has
"undesirable implications"? Why are the Carter Centre and the International
Foundation for Electoral Systems hostile?
Maybe Mugabe has got some of it right. Maybe the West are not what
they seem. Maybe their public and their private actions are sometimes
The voting system, or some variation of it, would have blown Mugabe
and Zanu PF out of the water. A plus for the West, but the Pandora's box
would have been opened. The three anti-Western dictatorships in Africa would
be de-materialised. But also would be the 47 pro-Western dictatorships. The
accountants have been busy. They did their sums.
More profitable to suppress this system
and similar systems for as many years or decades as possible. What
about the suffering masses in Zimbabwe and throughout the third world? They
are not white. They are poor. They are expendable. The situation can be
contained. We have done it before. We can do it again.
By Alex Weir: Harare-based freelance software developer. Find his
voting system at cd3wd.com
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:27
IT appears that the many months of juvenile, ego-protective political
wrangling is ending, albeit without achieving the genuine powersharing that
was the declared underlying intent of the Memorandum of Understanding signed
by Zimbabwe's three major political parties on September 15.
Subject to Parliament and the Senate expeditiously enacting
Constitutional Amendment No 19 to give effect to the agreed terms of the
so-called powersharing government, and provided that none of the major
parties retract from their declared resolve to proceed with such
government, then some compromise resolution of the prolonged political
deadlock that has beleaguered Zimbabwe lies imminently ahead.
The new government's first need is to not emulate that which it is
replacing. What is needed is a government that places the interests of the
populace of Zimbabwe first and foremost, ahead of all else. What is needed
is a government that is not interested in self-enrichment, in entrenchment
of power, in pandering to ego cravings, and which is determined speedily to
end the immense suffering and distress that characterises the life of almost
all Zimbabweans (other than the politicians that have held power for all too
What is needed is a government that unwaveringly recognises realities,
and not only does not deny their existence, but is also focused upon
removing all such realities that are unacceptable burdens and oppressions
upon Zimbabwe and its people. These realities presently include that the
once virile, growing economy has been reduced to a point of near total
destruction, and that as a result:
lInflation has soared to quadrillions per cent, greater than ever
endured anywhere else in the world;
lOver 80% of the population is struggling to survive, at levels well
below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), and more than half of those endure
endless hunger pangs and life endangerment through grievous malnutrition,
their available resources being far below the Food Datum Line (FDL);
lMore than half of the Zimbabwean population possessed of skills has
left Zimbabwe to generate livelihoods for themselves, and to access funding
support for their families and other dependants in Zimbabwe. That brain
drain has been of such magnitude that Zimbabwe is severely lacking in
critically needed skills, whilst concurrently family structures have been
lThe infrastructure verges upon the inoperable. Energy generation and
distribution is becoming ever less, impacting most adversely upon commerce,
industry, all other economic sectors, and upon domestic life, as well as
upon the provision of services by parastatals and local authorities;
l Telecommunications are appallingly deficient, erratic and
inadequate, negatively affecting economic activity, and occasioning
frustration and immense inconvenience for all;
lHealth and education services have almost wholly collapsed;
lBanking services are in gross disarray, to the prejudice of all
facets of the economy and of the population as a whole;
lScarcities of essentials are horrifyingly great. Access to maize
meal, bread, milk, cooking oil, eggs, medications, petroleum products, and
numerous other essentials of life is almost totally non-existent, save for
those possessed of, or able to access, foreign currency;
lAlmost all engaged in economic activities, and the majority of the
rest of the population, strive to survive by near-total disregard for rule
of law. Whilst not legally enacted, most commercial transactions are now
"dollarised" in hard currencies, corruption prevails very extensively in
both public and private sectors, and general crime is surging upwards;
And those are but a few of the many ills that now afflict Zimbabwe,
none of which would have been so had it not been for the gross political and
economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe over a very extended period of time, and
particularly so for the last ten years.
Although government would categorically and vigorously deny it, its
concepts of national rulership have consistently been founded upon
never-ending entrenchment of its grip on power, upon self-enrichment, and
upon continuous attribution of responsibility and blame for all Zimbabwe's
ills to the actions (mainly perceived and not actual) of others, such others
including much of the international community, the political opposition, the
ever-shrinking white population, and nature. In its perceptions, the
government that has "ruled" Zimbabwe since Independence was, and is,
omnipotent and infallible, and wholly faultless for all that has ailed
Zimbabwe, and continues to do so.
Now that a new government is to come into being, even though it is a
patchwork one not reflective of the majority will of the people, it must
immediately develop a new plan, even if abhorrent to those in the new
government as were members of the old one. The plan of not only disclaiming
culpability for Zimbabwe's intense problems and difficulties, but of
pronouncedly proclaiming that they were caused by others, allegedly usually
with malicious intent, must be abandoned.
Instead, the new government must intensively work to repair and
eliminate the divide that the previous government created with the
international community, for Zimbabwe's derelict and destitute state is
such that Zimbabwe cannot achieve recovery by "going it alone". To
achieve reconciliation, vituperative castigation must cease, and instead
reconciliation pursued. This does not need subordination and subjugation to
others, but cooperation, collaboration and constructive, non-confrontational
dialogue. And that must be reinforced by ensuring that Zimbabwe speedily
progresses to genuine democracy, and that it unreservedly respects the rule
of law, human and property rights.
Concurrently, the incoming government must urgently remove most
existing economic and fiscal policies, which have proven themselves to be
not only ineffective, but also most destructive. As evidenced for may
decades by every successful economy, deregulation and minimum regulation is
essential, with the economy driven by market forces, instead of by
ill-conceived, authoritarian, economic dictatorship. Fiscal policies must be
aligned to economic means and needs, implemented with total probity.
Conducive, welcoming investment environments are necessary to attract
both Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Domestic Investment, inclusive of
security of investment, meaningful incentives, reliability of
infrastructural service delivery, and a tax regime which is non-oppressive
and regionally competitive. The central bank must be genuinely independent
and autonomous, and not foisted with quasi-fiscal operations which, if
necessary, must be wholly executed by government, but only within its means.
Whilst the land reform programme should not be reversed, it should be
reformed, making it just and equitable, consistent with international law,
and ensuring restoration of the very considerable agricultural production
that prevailed before the poorly conceived, and even more poorly
implemented programme was embarked upon.
Agriculture was the foundation of a very substantive economy, for a
considerable period of time, and could be so again, ensuring not only
economic recovery but also national food security. Concurrently, economic
exploitation of Zimbabwe's vast mineral wealth potential, and that of
tourism, must be strongly facilitated.
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:23
THE state media is doing its best to provide a silver lining to the
dark clouds that hang above the nation. On Friday, November 7 the Herald
carried a front-page picture of a truck with water bowsers parked in
Budiriro. The caption read "Budiriro residents fetch clean water from
bowsers provided by the government and its partners as efforts to tame the
cholera outbreak in the suburb intensify".
This was disingenuous to say the least. The bowsers were supplied by
Unicef and the German Agro Action agency. These were the "partners" who got
a passing mention. The government's role was largely fictional.
But this sleight of hand enabled the Herald to introduce a story on
the injection of US$2 million in medical supplies with the following: "As
water started flowing into several Harare suburbs yesterday."
How many residents of Harare saw water "flowing" into their suburbs
two weeks ago? That was probably something else they saw flowing in their
To what extent has cholera been "tamed" in recent weeks? Even
government's panel-beaten figures for casualties suggest the genesis of an
Last Friday it was announced that an inter-ministerial taskforce had
been set up to combat the cholera outbreak. It comprised "a competent team"
to manage the situation, we were told.
Health minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the taskforce would focus
on mitigating the spread of the epidemic.
And how would it do this? People should wash their hands with "clean
running water", he wisely opined. He didn't say where the water would come
from. Perhaps one of the bowsers in Budiriro!
There was another "sunshine" story in the Herald recently announcing
that Zimbabwe would get US$21,4 million for food production from the World
Bank and Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Why are UN bodies having to contribute to Zimbabwe's survival when the
country used to provide for its own needs and export a surplus to the
region? Are these issues raised when officials hand out these millions? Let's
hope they are not satisfied with deceitful drought-and-sanctions
explanations. You have to be a real dummy to swallow that one!
Talking of which, whatever else you may think about Information
minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, he never fails to entertain.
Last weekend he was quoted by the Standard as saying MDC leaders
should have been arrested to force them into joining a government of
Mugabe was frustrated by delays in setting up a government of national
unity, Ndlovu said, and it was important that measures were taken to compel
Tsvangirai to join the government.
"The government has been lenient and patient with Tsvangirai and this
leniency is not a weakness," Ndlovu declared. "We could have invoked serious
harsh measures and arrested the MDC leadership long ago and gone ahead to
form a government."
That would have been a suitable reaction to Western "interference", he
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa dismissed Ndlovu's statement as the
"rantings of a loser".
"Such statements can only be said by someone who has either lost his
mind or an election," he commented.
What about somebody who has lost both and is about to lose a
This fits neatly with Patrick Chinamasa's claim that Ian Khama's
proposal that Zimbabwe should hold free and fair elections was "provocative".
Now we learn that incarceration is a suitable response to those who
refuse to join Mugabe's cabinet.
Perhaps we should reopen our "Only in Zimbabwe" segment.
Does anybody recall a few weeks ago Gideon Gono saying, in response to
objections, that there would be "no going back" on forex shops?
This steadfastness of purpose did not apply, we presume, to RTGSs.
Is there anything else the good governor would like to tell us
will/won't be reversed before it is/isn't?
Zanu PF's friends have yet to realise there will have to be some
"going back" on a number of issues including the printing of money that is
having such a devastating impact on the economy.
A loaf of bread which cost $320 000 on Monday last week, cost $390 000
last Wednesday and $1 500 000 on Saturday. What it is this week is anybody's
guess. What we do know for sure is that the Zanu PF government is doing
absolutely nothing to rein it in and more than a small amount to fuel it
while proclaiming it's all the fault of Tsvangirai and sanctions.
Have they not woken up yet to the reality that nobody believes them
anymore -- if they ever did? It wasn't Tsvangirai or the British and
Americans who seized productive farms and transformed them into deserts. It
wasn't Tsvangirai or the British and Americans who dispossessed investors
who had brought their money into the country under bilateral investment
Now these same brigands expect Tsvangirai to rescue them from the
consequences of their plunder while they continue to insult him on a daily
basis in their captive press.
Even children have been roped in. One, in the Herald Letters column on
Tuesday, calling himself "Child Parliamentarian", accused Tsvangirai of
fighting a "holly" war against "our liberator, President Mugabe, who has
made us the most literate nation in Africa".
Not apparently in this case!
Perhaps all this abuse helps them to feel good in the wake of popular
rejection. But it won't bring in the bucks.
Speaking of President Mugabe's contribution to literacy, may we please
know where his offspring are being educated? We heard some time ago that
Grace was in the Far East looking for suitable educational establishments
for young Bona, who voted in Harare in the March election, but we have
received no confirmation of what sort of place, if any, was found.
While it could be argued the education of First Family members is a
private matter, that all depends whether public funds are used or not.
Hong Kong, we gather would hold some appeal for the president: It is
British in many of its characteristics but Chinese in ownership and
therefore beyond the reach of the pesky human rights crowd.
But it would be a costly business finding a university in the former
colony and suitable lodgings, not to mention the upkeep of security details.
Whatever the case it would be useful to know, given Mugabe's
charitable role in sending students to Fort Hare, where he has decided to
We gather some of the Fort Hare undergraduates were summoned to
Sandton recently to demonstrate for Zanu PF at the Sadc Summit. But they
were chased off by the more numerous MDC mob.
We drew attention recently to the scandalous decision by Zesa to
refuse cheques from hard-pressed subscribers. We still haven't heard from
Gideon Gono on this score. Now we hear Tel*One is doing the same thing.
A customer calling at their Emerald Hill offices this week was told
their whole computer system was down so they couldn't tell him how much he
owed. And no, they wouldn't take a cheque to cover what the customer might
As the customer's phone has been out of order for several months you
would have thought they would want the money. But no, only cash will do -
even for dead lines!
Remember that little room we speculated about where government
officials meet weekly to think up ways of making life as difficult as
possible for the public? They are evidently still very busy.
The semi-literate Voice carried a piece this week claiming Tsvangirai
was "pursuing other agendas" in refusing to implement the Sadc
resolution.They turned out to be harebrained claims that the MDC-T leader
wanted to bring his "Western handlers" into the country to promote
The article was written by somebody called Tendai Mugabe.
What these clueless scribes at the Voice don't seem to understand is
that most people in this country would welcome Western advisors brought in
so we could have a telephone system that works, safe water supplies,
reliable power distribution and access to our bank accounts.
Zanu PF is unable to ensure even the basics of a stable state like
health and education so until it can do something useful its media
apologists should either put up or shut up. If they all hate Tsvangirai that
much why are they begging him to join their inept government?
An "upcoming" real estate company has been advertising in the Herald
for a secretary. "Good pecks on offer", it assures applicants.
This is presumably a reference to membership of the nearby gym.
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:19
WHEN President Mugabe on September 15 said there were parts of the
power-sharing deal he did not like and parts of the deal that Tsvangirai did
"but there were some things we both liked", we all thought that the
leaders would work to build on common positions and quickly find consensus
on contentious ones.
Events since then have shown that the leaders have instead decided to
amplify areas of contention and make these the subjects of engagement. They
have decided to use these entrenched positions to fortify their mantras
which at the end of the day have little to do with improving the lot of
The leaders on September 15 all agreed on the urgency of halting the
economic collapse, reviving social services and dealing with the hunger that
stalks the nation. These I believe are the areas of agreement which
necessitated dialogue and the signing of the power-sharing agreement.
Morgan Tsvangirai summed up the task to hand: "The new beginning will
be built more quickly with the support of the international community," he
said. "First we will stop the devastating food shortages. The first priority
of this government is to unlock food accessibility. We need doctors and
nurses back in our hospitals. We need teachers back in our schools. We need
to stabilise our economy and restore the value of our money."
Authur Mutambara weighed in with this brave statement: "There's no
longer a ruling party. There's no longer an opposition party. We are now
working together. The hard work starts today. This document that we have
today is simply a framework to resolve that crisis."
Lofty pronouncements indeed, and we believed them!
Mugabe at least was honest on the day. He admitted that he was
uncomfortable with "democracy in Africa" which he thinks is "a difficult
proposition". Look at where we are today.
Two months down the line, there is little to show that unlocking food
accessibility and stabilising the economy are an urgent matter. There is
also no evidence of any hard work by the leaders cooperating to solve the
mess in this country. Instead they have put up shabby displays of arrogance
to show voters how different they are and how much they do not trust each
There is a real danger now that the Global Power-Sharing Agreement
could form a new epicentre of conflict between the MDC formations and Zanu
PF, with devastating consequences for economy. There is evidence that the
collapse of the economy has been steepest since the signing of the
power-sharing deal. We just need to count the zeros which have come back to
haunt the economy since September. There is outright collapse in health and
a cholera outbreak which is the worst in the history of this country.
The parties in the interim have remained locked in attritional combat
for appointments of ministers, permanent secretaries, governors and
Amid the malaise wrought by the logjam, the leaders have put on
deceptive masks of commitment to the dialogue. In France this week
Tsvangirai spoke on the contentious subject of European sanctions in a
manner which appeared to break ranks with his party back home. He did not
exactly attack Western sanctions on Zimbabwe as Zanu PF wants him to do. He
did not call for the lifting of the sanctions but he said further sanctions
were not necessary at this point when food aid was urgently needed. He
pledged commitment to dialogue saying "It can't be forever," he said. "We
cannot go on and on and on."
"We are not walking away from the deal, we support the deal. We
continue to defend the deal.
But it must be a deal that reflects equitable
power-sharing. If we miss the opportunity, then the tragedy for the
country is even too desperate to contemplate."
Tsvangirai will not want to be credited with savaging the talks. He
wants to be a deal maker. He knows that deal breakers never win
negotiations. They just end them.
Mugabe's party on the other hand said it had sent a draft
constitutional amendment to the mediator, former South African president
Thabo Mbeki for his perusal. The bill, among other things, sets up the
office of the PM, deputy PM and nine non-constituency MPs. But the MDC has
charged that it was not party to the drafting of the bill.
That's not the way parties work together. The issue of the
constitution has become another potential deal breaker. There is a real
possibility that the parties are going to add this to the inventory of
issues which have to be dealt with by the mediator. More delays. More queues
at banks, more deaths from cholera and hunger and more zeros.
The tragedy of it all is that as a nation we have watched and cheered
on the three leaders as they go off the rails. We are not demanding better
government but we are content with taking our seat on the grandstand. We
want to see who will win. We have constructed various coping mechanisms as
the economy collapses and we have allowed ourselves to become slaves and
victims of our preferred leaders' whims and caprices.
By Vincent Kahiya
Thursday, 20 November 2008 19:06
IF ever there was any doubt President Robert Mugabe is cornered by
events, the recent Sadc summit in South Africa will have proved he is
indeed pinned down.
Mugabe left Johannesburg early last week crowing, thinking that he had
staged a major diplomatic coup against his MDC rivals, but now reality is
dawning on him. He now understands that he cannot do anything consequential
without his opponents.
The MDC also evidently does not have a viable Plan B, but at least it
can afford to wait and see. Mugabe can't. He is a captive of his own
political delusions and there is no way out for him. He is for all
practical purposes a prisoner of events, marooned in State House without any
legitimate mandate. He lacks the consent of the governed and without a
cabinet and government in place he can do nothing in the form of public
Mugabe and his advisors - if he has any besides the usual hangers-on -
thought they had won at Sadc. However, upon comprehensively reading the Sadc
communiqué, it soon became clear Mugabe can't proceed on his own. If he
does, he would be going nowhere.
The Sadc resolution said since no government was formed in Zimbabwe
after the elections, leaders must go home and constitute one. The summit
decided that the inclusive government be formed forthwith in Zimbabwe; the
Ministry of Home Affairs be co-managed between Zanu PF and MDC-T and the
efficacy of this arrangement be reviewed after six months by the parties
with the assistance of the guarantors, Sadc, the AU and the facilitator
Thabo Mbeki. To give effect to these decisions and the provisions of the
Global Political Agreement, Sadc said parties must, without any further
delay, introduce the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill No 19.
This means Mugabe and Zanu PF cannot fully implement the Sadc
communiqué without the MDC.
First, the term "inclusive government" in this context means the three
political parties working together.
Second, a full cabinet can only be formed if Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara provide lists of their nominees.
Third, a full cabinet can only be assembled if Mugabe and Tsvangirai
agree on Home Affairs.
Fourth, the agreement can only be implemented if a two-thirds majority
is mustered in parliament to amend the constitution. In short, this means
Mugabe and Tsvangirai must first agree.
Mutambara is not a factor in this particular issue beyond the
fundamental requirement for an "inclusive government" which he should be
Last, but not least, parties must agree on implementation mechanisms.
This is where we are now. Mugabe last week claimed on the basis of the
Sadc resolution he was going to appoint cabinet as soon as he arrived home.
His politburo adopted the Sadc resolution and said he must go ahead
and appoint cabinet with immediate effect, with or without the MDC factions.
That was on Wednesday last week. However, nothing has happened.
This is not surprising. Mugabe cannot move on his own. Practically,
Mugabe can appoint his 15 ministers and make them run their own portfolios
and act in the other 16 given to the MDC, but that would be a recipe for
disaster. It would simply mean we would continue without a legitimate
cabinet and government possibly for five years, that is if Mugabe can finish
his term. Mugabe can only be legitimate president by virtue of the
The foolish notion that Mugabe can simply appoint his 15 ministers and
go it alone ignores the gravity of the economic crisis, the starvation of
the masses, the disease afflicting the population, closure of schools,
colleges, universities and hospitals, the shortages of basic commodities and
breakdown of social services, education, health and public transport.
In fact, this ignores the groundswell of public anger and the time
bomb it constitutes.
Mugabe is as crafty a political operator as he is lucky. He is
surviving both because and in spite of himself. He is using effectively
instruments of coercion to hang onto power.
But at the same time, the opposition's failures by acts of commission
and omission are helping him to continue clinging to power.
After the Sadc summit, Tsvangirai as usual went abroad preaching to
the converted. This is the MDC's general problem. It is not dynamic. Its
leaders think inside a box.
They don't understand that as part of a grand strategy it is necessary
to assess what will be the relative roles of internal resistance and
external pressures for disintegrating the dictatorship.
The main force of the struggle must be borne from inside the country,
not outside. To the degree that international assistance comes at all, it
will have to be stimulated by internal resistance. The home front is the
main frontline. The MDC vanguard does not seem to appreciate this at all.
Mugabe has run out of ideas and options, but the problem is that
internal resistance is disjointed and weak. He is stranded and where is the
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 20 November 2008 18:55
THIS newspaper has consistently maintained a sceptical stance as to
whether Sadc was the correct forum to resolve the vexed issue of ministries
between Zanu PF and the MDC.
However, listening to "experts" reacting to the recent summit in South
Africa which decided that the two parties should co-manage the Ministry of
Home Affairs portfolio, we were left wondering who was being led down the
The wringing of hands about Sadc's impotence sounds no more than a
masochistic act; an over-expectation of the impossible. It not only does not
have leverage to enforce its decisions but there is also no precedent
anywhere else in the world where an external agency has decided the
allocation of ministry portfolios for another country. Bearing this in mind,
it is therefore an exercise in futility to take the same issue to the
African Union or the United Nations.
Some commentators claimed Sadc was afraid to confront President
Mugabe. In fact those who are most vocal when he is away like Ian Khama of
Botswana did not attend the summit. In the event, the Sadc decision was that
the two parties should co-manage the ministry.
To us that was a clumsy decision, but one that tells a different story
from the preferred "megaphone diplomacy". It is a story of a region which is
fed up with the leadership circus in Zimbabwe. That is why less than five
heads of state bothered to attend.
It is true, most of them are fed up with Mugabe. They are concerned
about the effects of the economic collapse on their own economies. Indeed,
most believe he is the chief culprit in this messy affair. If they had their
way, they would be happy to see the back of him yesterday. But almost all of
them seem to believe it is not good diplomacy to be shouting at the leader
of a neighbouring country just because you don't agree with him. More than
that, beyond conjecture about the efficacy of such an approach, there is no
evidence that such shouting has worked before.
On the other hand, the same leaders nurse their own grievances against
the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Many of them have not forgotten
how he refused to travel to Swaziland three weeks ago for the Sadc troika
meeting where they were gathered to hear Tsvangirai's side of the story.
Most of the elder statesmen from the liberation movements are not amused by
his cosiness with former colonial masters. As if to rub it in, we understand
US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee made a point of travelling to South
Africa where he conferred with the MDC delegation.
We fully appreciate the MDC's right to choose who it wants to befriend
in the international community. What is however evident is that it is not
making an effort to cultivate friends among its African neighbours except
those who openly attack its political rival. Its regional diplomacy has been
condescending to say the least. It has given itself the moral high ground to
which it expects Sadc and the African Union to come and pay homage.
It has not hidden its contempt for Sadc decisions, from its choice of
mediator in the talks to last week's decision for the two parties to
co-manage the Home Affairs ministry. Thus after accusing former South
African president Thabo Mbeki of favouring Mugabe in the talks, it could not
find a suitable replacement. It ignored the Sadc troika meeting and rejected
the ruling of the full Sadc summit. It is highly unlikely that there will a
different outcome from the African Union which would be honoured by Mugabe
and Zanu PF. Equally, there won't be anything useful from the UN because it
has no mandate.
True to form, after his disappointment with the Sadc ruling,
Tsvangirai lost no time in finding his way to France for "consultations"
with the European Union. This is a direct affront to the same Africans
nations the MDC expects to take its cause to the AU and the United Nations.
Don't they say charity begins at home? We would have expected
Tsvangirai to lobby regional countries before going overseas! Meanwhile, the
party's list of grievances keeps growing without any indication of what
issues are of substance and which ones are bargaining chips. In fact, far
from the MDC pressing its election promise of a lean cabinet of 15
ministries, it is competing with Zanu PF in finding jobs for the boys in
every sphere of government, from permanent secretaries and parastatal heads
We however note that the party is coming closer to home by pushing for
Constitutional Amendment No 19 to give legal effect to the posts of prime
minister and his deputies. It is here that we hope the debate will focus on
substantive issues rather than politicking about cabinet portfolios while
the nation burns. Both Zanu PF and the MDC are expected to show maturity and
respect the House. More than that, they must show they respect those who
elected them. The time to score points in the media as we have observed in
the past few weeks is over.
What the same few weeks have demonstrated beyond doubt is lack of
mutual respect and trust between the two parties. They are therefore unable
to work effectively together. That is an issue which can be resolved through
an election. It is therefore our hope that Amendment 19 will be seen in this
light: as a temporary measure to allow the parties to deal with a new
constitution and other issues listed as priorities for the new government in
the Memorandum of Understanding signed in July.