By Tichaona Sibanda
25 November 2011
For the first time in the history of the shaky inclusive government,
consumers and the business community are singing the same tune, after the
national budget announcement on Thursday.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti presented the 2012 Budget in Parliament,
setting next year’s spending allowance at US$4 billion.
He said the economy is expected to grow more than nine percent in the coming
year, after more than a decade of mismanagement by the previous ZANU PF
Simon Muchemwa and Lionel Saungweme, our correspondents in Harare and
Bulawayo, spoke to many people who said they felt that for the first time
the budget catered for the poor and focused on empowering youths and women.
‘A number of people are saying it is smart, others say it is well
constructed, a well thought out budget, because it recognizes the need to
uplift the lives of the poor,’ Muchemwa said.
Biti allocated more resources to rural electrification, water and sanitation
services. Government also plans to sink boreholes at all rural schools to
improve water supplies and cut the distance women travel to water sources.
Muchemwa added: ‘While many described the budget as a courageous and bold
one there were rumblings from certain quarters with strong links to ZANU PF,
as they have benefitted a lot from deals associated with ministries that
used to get the lion’s share of the budget.’
Saungweme told us a number of residents in Bulawayo were pleased by the fact
that the budget is pro-poor and might be able to assist many in Zimbabwe.
‘People in Bulawayo are saying under the circumstances under which the
inclusive government operates, the budget had met their expectations. They
are worried though that what Biti announced might not be implemented by
those who do not want to see the MDC shaping the economy of Zimbabwe,’
ZIMBABWEANS across the divide have hailed Tendai Biti as the country's best Finance Minister since independence following his brilliant work stirring the country from a decade of unprecedented economic decline under President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists amid reports that in Parliament yesterday, computer-shy Zanu PF officials were bamboozled by power-point Budget presentation and left shell-shocked and dazzled.
Promise Mkwananzi -The Secretary General of the MDC-T Youth Assembly started the posting on his Facebook Wall by saying:
Tendai Biti has proved to be one of the best finance ministers ever in this country. He has done so under a difficult inclusive government full of intransigencies. Imagine how much more he will do under a purely MDC government?
The response to that has been an overwheming approval:
Pardon Maingehama: Simbi yebasa
July Judza Mwadzingeni: true, I do agree 100%
Louis Chihata: Sure biti is one of africas best finance ministers. As students we thank him for his effort in financing students
David Mugadzi: That's great if we are able 2 appreciate what have been done.
Arnold Batirai: Tendai Biti is a hardworking minister
Albert Mthokozisi Ndiweni: Yah SG it seems u takng a leaf frm the "SG"...u r a gud stdnt huh!!!!
Mzala Tom: Biti, Ncube and Coltart are doing fine!
Trevor Mhunga: Its true, I'm Zanu PF through and through. Our family is total Zanu PF, but I must say Biti has been brilliant.
Nyasha Mukangaya: Ko MDC ine simbi dzebasa wani.
Neverney Nyamazungu: He is a man enough. usadhere MDC
Donnemore Majukwa: You can say that again Promise Mkwananzi, he is being ambitious and optimistic but he is facing the challenging tasks of finding more ways for government to earn money while taming its profligate spending. If we could have more people like him in all the sectors Zim economy would boost in all angles and become what it was some 15 years ago. Im Proud of him.
Madzibaba Clem: kuti Minister of finance ndokuti TB
Laque Mhlanga: For sure
Musindo Dunira Hungwe: it wld appear our country is inclined to having lawyers handle the finances...dr chris kuruneri....baba vachinamasa..n now hon biti...i must say sg i do agree with u..biti has been a revellation...
Melissa Mudege: Where was Biti ol ths time. Dat guy z jus gud man
Mandlenkosi Moyo: He is one of may be five people in the current government who have brains and know how to use them.
Melissa Mudege: @moyo,hu are è other 4?
Mlindelwa Mancitshana: kuti Biti ndokuti Tsvangirai.
Mandlenkosi Moyo @Melisa: I said "may be 5". I did not say definitely 5. Even though I guess David Coltart, Nelson Chamisa and Welshman Ncube form part of the group.
Terry: As a Zanu PF supporter myself, I must say lets give credit where is is deserved. Biti has done a tremendous job.
Chris Chiwara: I think for any minister to work or any politicians to seriously work the conditions have to difficulty because when free they relax and misappropriate public finances . This inclusive gvt has checks and balances in the form the two parties though it should across key gvt arms.
Melissa Mudege: Wow i lyk dat i had dat in mind nd Bobo was my 5th
Jowan Mashasha: Biti is the BEST!!
Mandlenkosi Moyo: @Melissa I think Bob, Mudenge, Mumbengegwi, Sekeramayi, Munangagwa have brains but they just do not know how to use them. Morgan has charisma and can rally people for a cause. The rest is dead wood, no brains but just floating with the tide.
Tawanda Moyo: Biti and Coltart are the government's only reasonable people. The rest are just greedy.
Donald Muguyo: Remember this trash from Jonathan Moyo a few months ago: "Biti’s ‘kiya-kiya’ performance treacherous" - "It is against this backdrop that the sub-text of Minister Biti’s mid-term budget speech, which was truly a “kiya-kiya” performance, should not be left without scrutiny. Indeed, even his market-based text which has been hailed by some sections of the economy, with the notable exception of trade unions, did not live up to the expectations of the wider community, not least because it was sterile, unimaginative and predictable.
As already indicated, there were two notable aspects to Minister Biti’s speech. On the one hand, there was the more dominant and inflammatory sub-text which formed the running political thread of his presentation and which was clearly anchored in his position and role as the secretary-general of the MDC-T with undisguised ambitions for higher office.
On the other hand, there was the less prominent but unmistakably sterile text which was rooted in Mr Biti’s ministerial responsibilities. This second aspect addressed the surface of formal economic issues without dealing with their substance, especially with regards to absent measures that are urgently needed to alleviate the continued suffering of the majority of Zimbabweans whose lives have been reduced to that of hunter-gatherers by Minister Biti’s policies or lack thereof.
The plight of the rural poor and the urban unemployed who make up the overwhelming majority in our country and who have no chance of accessing any of the circulating multi-currencies favoured by the Minister of Finance was conspicuous by the absence of its mention in the mid-term fiscal policy whose text read like a self-indulgent elite manifesto."
Likhwa OkaNcube: where are e funds & budget 4 civil servants pay? this man has failed to lobby support & funds 4 the poor zimbabweans to get gud salaries... nx!
Melissa Mudege: @mandlenkosi kikiki *pdn* u made me laugh hnstly
Likhwa OkaNcube: what has Mr Coltart done 4 e Arts & culture in zimbabwe, virtually nothing, so how can u say he is gud... he has done well in education, not everywhere..
Bright Ravaz Maravanyika: Biti is Super but I think there hv to be a mechanism to remove the other dead rubbers in the government .Kune vanongonzi varimo.
Mandlenkosi Moyo: @Likhwa Biti does not generate funds, but he collects and distributes. He is doing a splendid job in that regard. People like Obert Mpofu, Made, Muzembi are the ones that generate funds. Culture is constrained by POSA. People cannot exhibit or develop what they want hence its development is stifled. Under the conditions David has done a great job.
Cleyland Mtambirwa: Truth is biti is a crisis worker he wont achieve wht he has achievd without fytn some evil forces,he nids the gpa to perfom,in a pure govt he wont perform as much
Melissa Mudege: @mandle èy i lyk è use of ur weds mmm u gud hnstly.
Likhwa OkaNcube: @mandla, he is busy distributing funds 4 MP's cars & allowances, yet we suffer as civil servants... abt Coltart, wat abt arts? POSA does nt stop him from supporting & comming up wit better ideas on how 2 promote culture in Zimbabwe... read POSA & u will understand
Tawanda Moyo: ZANU PF ministers are useless, every one of them. Only a few MDC Ministers are of any worth.
Mandlenkosi Moyo: @Likhwa someone tried to be innovative and display some art work at the gallery of Bulawayo. He was arrested, harassed and the gallery closed for some time. The ministry had encouraged and supported the idea, but POSA said no ways. I understand that civil servants are suffering but do you think that if the money given to ministers (who are also civil servants by the way) was given to the rest of the civil servants would help you guys in any way? Its about meeting budgeted that we are judging his performance on.
Tendy Kasawaya: @Tawanda:there's Francis Nhema,Walter Mzembi,Edward Chindori Chinenga and Paddy Zhanda who care more about the well-being of this country as opposed to their counterparts who to this day dont know the difference between Government and Zanu PF
Tawanda Moyo: Thieves!
Tapiwa Chimsoro Chimbangu: He is a strong man 4rm the start of GNU,chief negotiator he puts ZANU.pf in the corner. Can some1 help about the Duty free of the importation of goods especially clothes & electric ware,i ddn't manage to listen 4rm the man himself T.B.
Tapiwa Rashai: his biggest challenge is to issue a treasury directive to maximise collection of revenue then his budget will work
Mandlenkosi Moyo: I guess maximizing revenue collection is still a challenge as you say, but the sooner everyone realizes that for a government to exist in a stable environment revenue collection has to be maximized. It is failure to intergrate systems and put in place controls that has led to a larger than life crisis in Greece, Italy and Portugal. I guess because the largest number of business people who benefit from an incoherent revenue collection system are the politicians themselves, that shows their reluctance to improve revenue collection as it will affect them as well.
Munyaradzi Majoni: Support Biti's approach but his stance on failure to increase civil servants salaries is ill-advised
Brighton Musonza: The guy has been brilliant. Awesome! All hail Biti!
Phillip Pasirayi: The Secretary General, Hon Tendai Biti has done a wonderful job. It is TB and Hon Nelson Chamisa who led the MDC during the 2008 election crisis. It is Biti who declared that Tsvangirai had won the election and that "the international community must intervene now in Zim to avoid another Darfur, another Burundi and allow Tsvangirai to form the next government".The SG was charged with treason but he came back to Zim even when he knew that he would be arrested. Biti has played a prominent role in the dialogical politics of the inclusive government as the MDC chief negotiator. The former Zinasu leaders are doing a wonderful job for our country.Long live the union!
Brighton Musonza: Now its upon Jonathan Moyo to crawl out of his hole and take off his hat for Tindo. All hail Biti!
In the Comments section below, please give us what you think about the job done by the Finance Minister Tendai Biti and other cabinet Ministers so far.
Opening remarks by Finance Minister Tendai Biti while presenting the 2012 budget at the House of Assembly on Thursday, November 24:
"Development requires the removal of major sources of unfreedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance or over-activity of repressive states.
Despite unprecedented increases in overall opulence, the contemporary world denies elementary freedoms to vast numbers –– perhaps even the majority–– of people."
Mr Speaker Sir, the crafting of the 2012 Budget was a daunting task, given the triple ‘demons’ of a highly-charged political environment, insatiable fiscal demands on the State and a highly volatile global financial environment.
This is more so in 2012 where, in addition to our traditional ‘elephantine’ demands, the obligations of monetising the Peace Process, particularly the Constitutional Referendum, are unavoidable.
Mr Speaker Sir, the demands on the Budget are so large visà-vis the resource envelope such that in the words of Oliver Baloyi, ‘tawanzisa mbambo padehwe reshindi varume we’ [we have put too many people on a squirrel-hide mat gentlemen].
Thankfully Mr Speaker Sir, through the grace of God, I have the pleasure of moving a Motion in terms of Standing Order No. 94(1) of the Esteemed Rules of this August House that leave be granted to bring in a Bill in connection with the Revenues and Expenditures of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the fiscal year January––December 2012.
Mr Speaker Sir, this Motion is brought in compliance with the provisions of our Law. Section 103 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, read together with Section 28 (1) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19], obliges the Minister responsible for Finance to prepare and lay before Parliament, on a day on which Parliament sits, before or not later than 30 days after the start of each financial year, Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of Zimbabwe for that financial year.
Mr Speaker Sir, it has been a long, lonely and bumpy road that we have traversed since 16 February 2009 – exactly 1,013 ‘tortured’ days to date.
Mr Speaker Sir, it was evident from the very first day of the Inclusive Government that the State of our Economy was parlous and atrophying, demanding that difficult, but strategic choices had to be made, which were both curative and palliative.
Those decisions, Mr Speaker Sir, were made through the Government Work Programme and the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP), representing the first step towards the economic rehabilitation of our country.
The tough decisions made in the nascent days of the Inclusive Government brought material dividends which included the following:
• Improved capacity utilisation in the productive sectors of agriculture, mining and manufacturing, from averages below 10% to around 30-50%;
• Improvement in public service delivery, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, transport, health and education sectors;
Following the implementation of policy measures to stop economic haemorrhage and melt-down, Government, in STERP II and the 2010 Budget, increased attention on capital formation and overcoming the overall infrastructural deficit.
Under STERP II and the 2010 Budget theme “Reconstruction with Equitable Growth and Stability” we, thus, in this period increased the share of public resources allocated towards Public Sector Investment Programmes (PSIP) and other public works.
Mr Speaker Sir, Honourable Members will recall that the extensive consultations we carried out last year in preparation for the 2011 Budget had highlighted the high level of despondency, alienation and reification over public affairs amongst our people.
Clearly, the majority of our citizens felt that they were excluded and that they were innocent bystanders in an economic environment that was perceived as neither fair nor inclusive, prompting the theme of our 2011 Budget - “Creating a Fair Economy: Shared Economy, Shared Development, Shared Transformation”.
Doing justice to this, however, remained constrained by the confines of the little fiscal space we have, further challenged by a disproportionally high wage expenditure allocation consuming over 60% of our resources and that way compromising expenditures towards human capital development, social delivery and capital formation.
Our work in the last 35 months, executed under the various thrusts of stabilisation, reconstruction and creating a fair economy, has been intended to stop the haemorrhage, stabilise the economy, reconstruct and graduate it towards sustainable rapid growth. We had to catch up with the rest of Africa that had shown us a clean pair of heels in the preceding 15 years.
Mr Speaker Sir, consultations and preparations for the 2012 Budget benefitted from the guidance offered by the issuance of a Pre-Budget Strategy Paper which Treasury prepared in August 2011.
The extensive consultations saw Treasury teams receive views of our people throughout the country, that is from Nyamaropa to Nyamandhlovu, Chiendambuya to Chimhandamabgwe, Chirimuhanzu to Chivi, Nerupiri to Nembudziya, Zibhowa to Ziyaminya, Muzokomba to Muzarabani, Forty Four to Fort Rickson, from Dotito to Dongamuzi.
In this regard, allow me, Mr Speaker Sir, to thank the hundreds of people that we interacted with. These ranged from captains of industry and their chambers, the CZI, ZNCC, Chamber of Mines, to trade unions, including the ZCTU, ZFTU, and Government Staff Associations.
Mr Speaker Sir, ordinary individuals also had opportunity to input into the Budget Consultative process. Hence, we were able to listen to the likes of Brighton Murimi, Pardon Mudzimu we met in Murehwa, Oliver Baloyi, Sylvester Chin’’anga, Tichaona Sithole we met in Zaka, Nation Ndlovu, Mainos Dube we met in Gwanda, Eric Bloch, Donald Khumalo and Calvin Ncube we met in Bulawayo, to name a few.
Mr Speaker Sir, the 2012 Budget consultative process would have been incomplete in the absence of the engagement of Parliament and its Committees, including the Budget, Finance and Investment Portfolio Committee.
Mr Speaker Sir, allow me, therefore, to express my appreciation for Parliament’s invaluable contribution to the Budget consultative process.
The inputs of the Budget, Finance and Investment Portfolio Committee, and all the Honourable Members of the House of Assembly and the Senate who were able to either attend or input into the Pre-Budget Seminar for Members of Parliament held in Victoria Falls over 2-5 November 2011 were invaluable.
In particular, I would like to pay a special appreciation to your leadership and guidance, Mr Speaker Sir, as well as that of Madam President of the Senate, throughout the Pre-Budget consultative process.
Overall, our Budget Consultative public outreach programme was as enriching as it was humbling. The fact of the matter is that our people know what they want and are able to recognise patronising ‘top down’ approaches in development issues that treat them as subjects and objects of policy and not shareholders and crafters of the same.
In this regard, it did not matter whether we were listening to our Traditional Leadership at Chibhanguza Hotel in Murewa or to ZAPU veterans in Gwanda.
Secondly, Mr Speaker Sir, once again the sense of alienation and despondency remains high. There is a clear anti-Harare sentiment out there. The feeling is that everything happens in Harare and that to be a true and participating citizen of Zimbabwe one must be domiciled in Harare–– ‘everything is in Harare and Harare is everything.’
Furthermore, Mr Speaker Sir, there is overwhelming self-evident frustration over the seemingly endless and on-going political discord and disunity within our country.
Mr Speaker Sir, the harsh reality from our consultations is that we are a small dual enclave economy, arrested by unevenness, inequality, poverty and under-development.
There is stagnant accumulation and total absence of linkages between the means of production and the means of consumption. In short, ours is a rent-oriented economy dominated by underproduction, informalisation and self-induced policy distortions.
Mr Speaker Sir, implementing the Medium Term Plan’s (MTP) vision of “Enhancing a democratic developmental State anchored by a growing and transforming, socially just economy” would go some way towards answering some of the economic concerns being raised by our people out there.
Rallying around such a unified common vision, underpinned by the implementation of programmes guided by the compass of the MTP, launched on 7 July 2011 is, Mr Speaker Sir, an imperator to addressing the prevailing development deficit.
In this regard, we have an obligation to shift Government resources from corrosive recurrent expenditure in favour of inclusive and pro-poor growth areas - a difficult task given the legacy issue of a high and disproportionate share of wages in overall Budget expenditures.
We have to live our motto: “We eat what we kill”, avoiding fiscal sclerosis of unbudgeted expenditures, whether it be on account of wages, travel, support to ailing parastatals, among others.
Expenditure management and fiscal control requires discipline and deep appreciation that nations, like ordinary households, cannot live beyond their means without paying a price.
The penalty for fiscal indiscipline being macro-economic destabilisation, debt overhang and economic disequilibrium – in short, the dark days of our lost decade where we virtually rewrote every downside economic statistic.
Quite clearly, it is important that the top leadership of our Government remain at the forefront of fiscal prudence and discipline in this economy. Without their oversight and enforcement, their discipline and their wisdom, this economy will fail.
Equally, this Parliament must carry out its Constitutional duties, as an overseer of the cataleptic omissions and commissions of the Executive. Civil society, ordinary citizens and the Press must also play their part in ensuring that national assets, including the Consolidated Revenue Fund, are not pillaged through corruption, clientelism, or bad decisions.
• Attending to the issue of capital formation through Public Sector Investments, with special emphasis on completing outstanding capital projects as opposed to green fields;
• Redesigning the financial services sector to promote savings, financial deepening, viability, sustainable finance to the business sector, as well as reduction of financial sector vulnerability;
• Monetising the Peace Process, in particular the Constitutional Referendum, National Healing and the GPA democratisation imperators;
In short, Mr Speaker Sir, we intend to focus on attaining both, growth that is pro-poor, broad based across all sectors and, a pattern of growth that moves us towards structural transformation.
More critically, Mr Speaker Sir, we intend, within the confines of the limited fiscal space we have to create and support an environment conducive for investment that addresses issues of equity and equality of opportunity across the country. Harare cannot continue to be the sole development centre of the State.
Recent global developments paint a gloomier outlook for the world economy, with some of the bigger economies, most notably the Euro zone and the USA, experiencing even deeper crises into the last half of 2011 and into 2012.
The crisis also comes at a time when parts of Asia are experiencing devastating natural disasters, while the Middle East and some northern parts of Africa are coming to terms with impacts of socio-political unrest.
Therefore, global economic growth is now projected to slow down to 4% in 2011 and 2012, from over 5% in 2010. However, this growth will be uneven, with weak growth of about 1.5-2% in advanced economies, moderate growth of around 4.5-6% in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and relatively high growth rates of around 8% in parts of developing Asia.
Slowdown in global economic activity also poses risks of large and abrupt capital outflows from emerging economies, including Zimbabwe. This will likely trigger slow-down in financial lending, commodity prices and export realisations. Banks with underlying vulnerabilities related to excessive credit, might experience systemic risks.
Mr Speaker Sir, it is also pertinent to point out that in general terms, Sub-Saharan Africa is coping better with the present global financial crisis than it did with the previous ones of 1975, 1982 and 1991.
Core to this has been the existence of pre-crisis macro-economic policy buffers and the adoption of counter cyclical fiscal policy responses–– key lessons for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to growing global financial uncertainties is not small, given that our current account deficit is to a large extent financed by inflows of short-term capital.
Furthermore, to the extent that our recent growth pattern has been commodity driven, prolonged sluggish global growth would exert harder policy options for our economy.
In order to navigate this storm, Zimbabwe should adopt fiscal responses that anchor trade competitiveness and strengthen fiscal policy effectiveness in dealing with both global and domestic shocks.
In short, it is important to continue executing an anti-cyclical macroeconomic policy framework, whilst at the same time creating fiscal space to finance critical infrastructure and social expenditures.
Furthermore, our limited access to external financing necessitates that we employ strategies for re-building fiscal buffers. This is precisely the reason why we continue to maintain the SDR as a reserve.
However, this is not enough. Productivity and equilibrium must be increased so that we are better able to protect ourselves against external shocks.
High food and energy prices also underscore the need for Zimbabwe to improve social safety nets and building of reserves and fiscal buffers–– all of which require exercising prudent fiscal discipline.
Diversification should also be pursued to avoid over-reliance on a few commodity exports and markets, that way creating scope for developing countries to reduce the impact of shocks.
[CLICK HERE to read full budget statement]
by Staff Reporter
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti blasted the lack of financial discipline among
cabinet colleagues as he revealed that foreign travel costs by ministers had
soared to an “unacceptable” US$45 million.
Presenting the 2012 national budget to Parliament on Thursday, Biti said
foreign travel by ministers and principals in the coalition government
continued to be “a cancer” in the management of public finances.
“With regards to foreign travel, this continues to be a cancer in the
management of our public resources. Between January (and) September, 2011,
an unacceptable sum of US$45.5 million, representing 1,2 percent of the
total budget had been spent on travelling,” Biti said.
He admitted that measures put in place to control the expenditure –
including stripping ministers of aides on foreign trips – had so far failed.
“Government has tried to prescribe measures to restrain travel outside the
country, thereby containing travel expenditure. However, there still remains
a lot to be done, especially a change in culture and self-financial
discipline at all levels,” he said.
Biti said treasury was under pressure from some ministers for increased per
diem rates when travelling on government business, and appealed to the
coalition government principals for help in bringing the expenditure under
He told MPs: “Treasury is always under pressure from some cabinet ministers
over per diem rates in excess of the thresholds set, as well as being
accompanied by security aides on every business trip.
“Accounting officers in line ministries are also confronted with rising
domestic travel bills emanating from both official and private travel of
ministers and deputy ministers.”
Biti he would propose a review of the “terms and thresholds for domestic
travel” for ministers and deputy ministers” to help curb what he described
as “wasteful expenditure”.
Harare, November 25, 2011 - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti has
resisted moves to budget for an early election saying doing so would be a
simple act of dragging the country to an election whose outcome would be
Biti did not give in to political pressure from principals in the coalition
Government for elections next year when he only allocated US$30 million for
"The issue of elections is not about resources or whether we have a budget
for that or not. The issue is about commitment that the principals
themselves have agreed on. They have to agree on a roadmap first to those
elections," said Biti.
For Zimbabwe to hold a round of harmonized elections the country needs
"The roadmap has signposts and such sign posts include the constitution
making process with signatures of people, a new voter’s roll with signatures
of the people. Those things are there in black and white in the Global
Political Agreement”, said Biti addressing business community on Friday.
Biti said once the political party principals have agreed to an election, he
can organise the resources even if it means doing so in just a day.
The Movement for Democratic Change's secretary general and finance
minister's move will see elections being held earliest in 2013 after the
expiry of current term.
Biti was largely expected to make a budgetary provision for elections
scheduled for next year but his budget remained silent on the matter.
By Roadwin Chirara
Friday, 25 November 2011 09:54
HARARE - Civil servants have failed to get a Christmas cheer from Finance
minister Tendai Biti’s $3,4 billion 2012 budget after he announced that
government will not be awarding any salary increases.
He consoled workers in general, however when he increased the bonus tax free
threshold from $500 to $700 with effect from this month.
The decision not to award salary increments comes after government succumbed
to mounting pressure in July and awarded its workers a pay rise despite the
country reeling from a $9 billion debt and a $700 million budgetary deficit.
“Recurrent expenditures continue to be skewed towards employment costs,
which were orignally budgeted at $1,4 billion, but are now projected at
around $1,8 billion or 63 percent of the total budget following the salary
and wage review for civil servants affected in July 2011,” Biti said.
“The bill for employment costs, which averaged $121 million per month in the
six months, rose to the current monthly average of $161 million, against the
2011 Budget provision of around $113 million.”
The minister announced a marginal review of the salary tax free threshold
from the current $225 per month to $250 per month.
“Government supports a progressive income tax system underpinned by a tax
principle of equity and fairness whereby low income earners bear a lower tax
“Raising the personal income tax-free threshold and performance related
awards from the current $500 to $700 with effect from 1 November 2011,” the
The minister said fringe benefits for the 235000-strong civil service will
be exempted from paying tax.
“In order to ensure equity and fairness amongst employees, fringe benefits
are subject to tax in the hands of the recipient. However, housing and
transport allowances paid to the civil servants, service employees are
exempt from tax, in recognition of the current low salaries,” he said.
Biti maintained duty on basic commodities such as cooking oil and maize-meal
while customs duty was introduced on pre-packed rice and salt with effect
from January 1, 2012.
“The re-introduction of customs duty on basic commodities, in particular,
cooking oil and maize meal, has positively impacted on the operations of
manufacturing companies. The milling industry, for example, has doubled
capacity utilisation from 21 percent to 46 percent and also employed a
significant number of people,” the minister said.
A five percent customs duty on flour with effect from January 1, 2012 was
“The marginal increase of duty on flour should not translate to a higher
price of bread as millers are expected to import wheat duty-free. Government
will, therefore, continue to monitor the price of bread to ensure that there
is no abuse,” he said.
Biti increased royalty payments by platinum and gold mining firms.
“I, therefore, propose to increase the royalty on gold and platinum from 4,
5 percent and 5 percent to 7 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in order
to maximise the contribution of mineral resources to the fiscus. This
measure takes effect from 1 January 2012,” he said.
Revenue collections from royalties during the period under review amounted
to a paltry $44,1 million, compared to sales of $1,7 billion. The resource
rent collections are, thus, not commensurate with the value of the minerals
extracted, especially in view of the surge in international prices of
precious metals,” the finance minister said.
Government last week started paying out staggered bonuses to uniformed
forces while other government employees are scheduled to receive their 13th
cheque in December.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned that government’s salary
increments threaten the country’s 9, 3 percent growth forecast as it put
pressure on its coffers.
Nov 25, 9:52 AM EST
By ANGUS SHAW
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Two Zimbabwe commercial radio stations were issued
licenses to compete for the first time with the sole government-owned
broadcaster loyal to the president, Zimbabwe's state broadcasting authority
But the independent Media Institute of Southern Africa said the new stations
were not fairly chosen because the licensing decisions were made by
officials appointed by the information ministry controlled by President
Robert Mugabe's party.
Zimbabwe Newspapers, publishers of the main pro-Mugabe daily Herald, will
launch a Talk Radio channel. The second channel, ZiFM, is controlled by a
black empowerment campaigner and stalwart of Mugabe's party who says it will
go on air within six months.
A coalition deal with the former opposition in 2009 called for an end to the
three-decade monopoly of Mugabe's Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. No commercial
broadcast licenses have been issued since independence from colonial-era
rule in 1980.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on Friday described the licensing
decisions as an unacceptable betrayal of the power sharing deal.
"This is a sad day for the media and showcases the brazen and deliberate
undermining" of Tsvangirai's authority in the coalition, his spokesman Luke
ZiFM is owned by a media firm headed by Supa Mandiwanzira, also a one-time
journalist and presenter at state television. Mandiwanzira was named by
Mugabe's party as a likely parliamentary candidate for elections proposed
next year, Tamborinyoka said.
Zimbabwe Newspapers is a private company listed on the Harare stock
exchange, but the government has owned the majority stockholding since the
1980s when Mugabe's party took a tight rein on its journalists.
The southern Africa media institute, which campaigns for media freedoms,
said the legal status of the new licenses was in doubt. It cited
irregularities in the appointment of the board of the Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe, the body that issued the licenses.
The board is chaired by Tafataona Mahoso, former head of the state media
commission that enforced draconian media curbs before the formation of the
coalition between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Zimbabwe's government coalition was
formed after violent and disputed elections in 2008.
For nearly a decade, Mahoso was widely described by critics as Mugabe's
media "hatchet man."
The independent Harare-based Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe said Friday
the selection of just two of several wide-ranging applications for private
broadcasting licenses was not carried out transparently and broadcast laws
governing the powers and membership of the authority weighing in Mugabe's
favor needed reform.
"Until we have an independent broadcasting authority and democratic
broadcast laws we will continue to have this sort of conflict," said Takura
Zhangazha, head of the council.
By Reagan Mashavave (AFP) – 5 hours ago
HARARE — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office Friday slammed the
awarding of Zimbabwe's first independent radio licences to companies aligned
with President Robert Mugabe as a "farce".
Two licences were handed late Thursday: one to a company owned by a vocal
supporter of Mugabe; the other to a state-run media group regarded as his
"Yesterday's granting of the two licences is the final nail in the coffin of
media plurality in Zimbabwe. It is unacceptable," Tsvangirai's spokesman
Luke Tamborinyoka said.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), whose members have been the
subject of a fierce dispute between the president and the prime minister,
granted the licenses to Zimpapers and to AB Communications, owned by Mugabe
backer Supa Mandiwanzira.
Tamborinyoka said the announcement "is a farce that flies in the face of
true media reforms and media plurality in Zimbabwe."
Zimpapers publishes The Herald newspaper, a media vehicle for Mugabe's
Mandiwanzira was once a journalist on state television, who is now a
businessman with close ties to ZANU-PF. Tamborinyoka said Mandiwanzira has
been mooted as a ZANU-PF parliamentary candidate.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai had agreed to name new members to the BAZ, but the
announcement came before the changes were made, the spokesman said.
Media in Zimbabwe have operated under strict rules for the last decade, with
several newspapers forced to shut down while local journalists and foreign
correspondents have been deported and harassed by police.
Media reform remains one of the key disagreements between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, who accuses the 87-year-old of riding roughshod over reforms
agreed to in their ruling unity pact.
The country's state-run media were key propaganda tools in the flawed 2008
polls with Tsvangirai subject to regular attacks before the pair formed
their tense power-sharing partnership in 2009.
"The radio licences given through the partisan BAZ were predictable. It was
clear that the licences would be given to ZANU-PF apologists," said Douglas
Mwonzora, spokesman for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
"The BAZ is clearly an illegitimate body, it must be reconstituted. Clearly
the the airwaves have not been freed, this has maintained ZANU-PF's grip on
the broadcasting sector," he told AFP.
Zimpapers are set to operate Zimpapers Talk Radio while AB Communications
will open Zi Radio in the next six months.
They will be the first private radio stations in Zimbabwe, which has no
independent television and bans foreign journalists from permanent work.
Several radio stations such as Voice of America and Radio Voice of the
People broadcast into Zimbabwe via shortwave, but do not operate from the
Voice of the People, one of the unsuccessful applicants, has also seen its
Tabani Moyo, an advocacy officer for the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA), said the licences will not change government's hold on the media.
"The licensing of Zimpapers Talk Radio is set to raise eyebrows on whether
the radio station will truly be independent... considering that the
government has a controlling stake in Zimpapers," Moyo said.
"Former broadcast journalist, Supa Mandiwanzira, who was taken to task over
his alleged links with ZANU-PF, is the majority shareholder and CEO of Zi fm
stereo under the AB Communications stable."
Moyo said the awards were set to "question the sincerity of government's
calls for Zimbabwean journalists manning foreign-based stations to return
home and legalise their operations".
By Alex Bell
25 November 2011
Harare residents are said to be on high alert as cases of typhoid in the
capital continue to grow, with hundreds of people under observation for the
The Harare City Council has this week reported that an estimated 500 cases
of suspected typhoid are being dealt with after the first confirmed cases
were hospitalised earlier this month.
Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said on Friday that
the rate at which the disease is spreading is “alarming and frightening,”
explaining how areas like Dzivarasekwa, Glen Norah and Budiriro have had no
clean water for weeks. He told SW Radio Africa that residents in these areas
are almost entirely dependent on boreholes for water.
Shumba added that dilapidated sewage systems across the city means there is
more dirty water than clean, saying “residents are on high alert because of
a possible risk of cholera.” Cholera, which killed thousands of Zimbabweans
in an outbreak in 2008, is similar to typhoid in that it is spread most
easily through dirty water.
The Council has said that it will sink new boreholes in the high-density
suburb of Dzivarasekwa, where the first confirmed typhoid cases originated
from. But Shumba said these delayed reactions are not good enough.
“The Council is creating an impression that they are on top of the
situation, but in reality they are failing to handle it. They have really
failed to put the mechanisms in place to prevent this kind of disease from
spreading,” Shumba said.
Shumba meanwhile welcome efforts by the government to intervene, after
Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Thursday announced that almost US$40 million
has been set aside in the national budget for water and sanitation. In his
budget speech in parliament Biti said: “Most local authorities are still
struggling to provide adequate water and sanitation services to residents on
account of infrastructure that has surpassed its lifespan.” He said the
money provided by the government would go towards rehabilitating this
But Shumba insisted it was the Harare City Council that needs to be held
accountable for the state of the water works in the capital. He said it is
the Council’s failure to maintain the infrastructure and adequately respond
to these issues that has created the problem.
He added: “The Minister’s intervention is timely and we commend the
ministry. We hope it will go a long way.”
By Lance Guma
25 November 2011
The state media continued to put pressure on Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, over the mystery surrounding his alleged marriage to a Harare
At the centre of the confusion are denials by Tsvangirai that he married
wealthy commodity broker Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo and instead paid
‘damages’ for getting her pregnant out of wedlock.
The state controlled Herald newspaper has been attempting to ridicule the
Prime Minister in its coverage of the story. On Friday they claimed Tembo’s
family sent a delegation to meet the Prime Minister, his Chief Secretary Ian
Makone and spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka, seeking clarification.
SW Radio Africa has however been told ‘blackmail’ is taking place behind the
scenes, with attempts to embarrass the PM into marrying her against his
will. A source in Tsvangirai’s party told us there were people trying
consolidate their influence and control over the PM by ‘donating women to
‘This has been a long term project driven by some individuals to get their
person into Tsvangirai’s ‘kitchen’. They think if he marries their person
this will give them control of both the Office and the Kitchen.” We were
told Tsvangirai had been resisting advances from Locadia for some time
before eventually caving in.
It was also alleged that Locadia’s sister, Biata Beatrice Nyamupinga the
ZANU PF MP for Goromonzi West, was ‘conniving’ with several MDC-T officials
to ‘corner’ Tsvangirai into marrying her sister. Beatrice is receiving a lot
of publicity from the state media while commenting on the matter.
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya has also accused co-Home Affairs Minister
Theresa Makone of working behind the scenes to influence Tsvangirai into
On Thursday SW Radio Africa spoke to Makone, who said: “I refuse to be
involved in the Prime Minister’s private life. When he wants to involve me
in this particular matter he shall approach me, when he hasn’t approached me
as he has done so far, then it means he does not want me to get involved.”
But a credible source who is close to the Prime Minister has alleged that
Makone was present at the traditional ceremony where Tsvangirai paid
‘damages’ to the Tembo family. “She was there representing Locadia as a
friend,” the source told us. The source was also adamant Tsvangirai did not
On Thursday Tsvangirai’s spokesman said the PM will be issuing a statement
‘in due course’ clarifying the confusion over his marriage. We have been
told by other sources that the statement will be issued next week. Until he
does clarify what happened the state media will continue to use the matter
to attempt to ridicule him.
Journalist Innocent Chofamba Sithole told SW Radio Africa the story was
‘deeply embarrassing’ for the Prime Minister, as it came so soon after other
revelations that he had fathered a son with a 23 year old Bulawayo woman.
“His life as a father and a role model are tied up with his public role as a
political leader. What he does has implications on his ability to be a role
model for people trying to survive the AIDS scourge,” Chofamba said.
Commenting on the lack of a statement clarifying the matter, Chofamba said
it appeared, “the Prime Ministers team are trying to skirt the controversy
that this development throws up. It is a moral minefield.”
Asked if the matter could impact on Tsvangirai’s popularity ahead of
elections Chofamba said: “Apparently politics or elections tend to be about
purely power considerations and I doubt the sexual behaviour of political
leaders would weigh much in the matrix.”
Harare November 25, 2011 – Zanu-PF legislators on Thursday afternoon turned
the parliament gallery into a dancing hall before the 2012 budget
presentation by Finance Minister Tendai Biti when they sang songs
congratulating Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for his ‘new marriage’.
A few minutes before the budget presentation when Prime Minister entered the
house Zanu-PF legislators stood up and started to cheer up on the Premier
“Mukuwasha auya,mukuwasha auya ,tambirai mukuwasha wedu auya”making
Tsvangirai feel uncomfortable.
Feeling disturbed by the noise and the cheering up Tsvangirai quickly took
seat near his party’s organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and started
talking as if he was no hearing what the house was singing.
To add petrol on fire Zanu-PF legislator for Goromonzi Beater Nyamupinga
Sister to Tsvangirai’s ‘new wife’ Locadia Karimatsenga who was seated at the
other wing of the gallery walked down to where Tsvangirai was seated and
shook him hands.
“Maiguru avo mavaona, vakunokwazisa mukwasha wedu”the legislators shouted
with joy,again this time with a lot of noise which echoed the whole gallery.
Prime Minister is said to have married a businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga
Tembo in a traditional ceremony on Monday, and paid a bride price of
US$36,000 and 10 cows.
His first wife, Susan, died when they were involved in a car crash not long
after he had joined President Robert Mugabe in a unity government in 2009.
He on Thursday however denied that he ever married the sister of Zanu-PF
legislator, Locadia Karimatsenga on Monday at a ceremony held in Christon
Bank near Mazoe.
Instead his aides say he had only gone there to pay damages for impregnating
Karimatsenga who is carrying twins.
Reports say MDC sources said Tsvangirai might have been pressured to pay
damages for impregnating Karimatsenga and as he was doing so he was trapped
when the whole event was turned into an actual marriage ceremony.
The premier is said to be very unhappy about the whole incident which
started on Friday when Karimatsenga suddenly turned up at his Strathaven
home to become a live in lover.
Tsvangirai’s camp insist that the Karimatsenga family rushed to inform the
media of the “marriage” to make sure that the Prime Minister would not “come
out of the relationship” easily.
Despite the denials by the Tsvangirai camp, Zanu-PF MP for Goromonzi Beater
Nyamupinga all but firmly confirmed the marriage.
The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment in the Mail & Guardian’s
bid to make President Jacob Zuma release a report on Zimbabwe’s 2002
elections when it sits in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The publication is using the Promotion of Access to Information Act to get
the report by two South African judges.
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe retained his position in that election
over opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The judges, Sisi Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke, observed the elections at
the request of former president Thabo Mbeki.
Khampepe is a judge in the Constitutional Court and Moseneke is deputy chief
justice. They both recused themselves when the court heard the matter in
The publisher of the Mail & Guardian asked for the report in June 2008 but
the president would not release it on the grounds that it contained
information given by Zimbabwean officials in confidence.
The report was to be used by the president for policy formulation.
The Pretoria High Court granted an order compelling the president to make
the report public.
The Supreme Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by the presidency against the
high court order and the presidency approached the Constitutional Court.
The matter was heard in May and the Mail & Guardian submitted that it did
not agree that the judges were diplomatic envoys – another reason cited by
the presidency to not hand over the report.
The Mail & Guardian believes the report is important because it will help
determine whether Mugabe remained in power legitimately after 2002.
JASON MOYO HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Nov 25 2011 06:34
Campaigns to nationalise Zimbabwe's resources are normally associated with
Zanu-PF. But amid a spike in foreign interest in the country's diamond
wealth, it is the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that now
wants alluvial diamonds nationalised to protect the industry from looters.
Eddie Cross, a senior economic adviser to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and an MDC MP, has controversially proposed that all alluvial diamond
deposits be taken from private, mainly Chinese, investors and handed to the
Zimbabwe's diamond wealth could be worth as much as $70-billion and, his
party estimates, is able to produce $4-billion each year. But the country is
receiving only a fraction of this as the companies licensed to mine diamonds
in the Marange fields are declaring much less than they are making,
according to Cross.
The MDC has control of most economic ministries, including the treasury, but
it has been kept in the dark about how the diamond money is being handled.
"The solution to all of this is a proposal made to Cabinet last year that
the whole of the Marange deposits should be nationalised formally and
brought under government control," said Cross. "Everyone who is currently on
site extracting diamonds formally and informally must be removed, the area
fenced and guarded by the armed forces."
Zanu-PF has reacted angrily to the proposal. "I will not allow him to
destroy the mining sector with such strange ideas," Mines Minister Obert
Mpofu said. If the MDC persisted with it, he said, Zanu-PF would push for
the nationalisation of the entire mining industry.
The MDC said senior Zanu-PF officials were opposed to the proposal because
they were enriching themselves by making private deals with foreign miners
in exchange for rights to the fields and protection.
The government has controversially granted licences to at least three
companies owned by the country's intelligence agency, the police force and
the prisons service. The companies were formed specifically to extract
diamonds from Marange.
State of the coalition
In a recent report to South African President Jacob Zuma on the state of the
coalition, the party said it feared the security forces were using diamond
money to fund repression.
Since a decision by the Kimberley Process certification scheme allowing
trade in Marange diamonds, Indian buyers and miners from China have been
descending on Zimbabwe.
Prince Mupazviriho, secretary for mines, said fresh groups of foreign
investors had recently signed agreements for access to diamond mining and
"We signed transactions estimated at between $700-million and $750-million
with investors eager to do mineral extraction and beneficiation," he said.
But Western buyers remain opposed to the Marange diamonds, which, they
claim, are tainted by rights abuses. Global diamond trade network RapNet has
warned its members against buying Marange diamonds, and De Beers has said it
will not buy the stones, which, it says, are of poor quality.
The government admits it is still to secure the fields, which have been
overrun by thousands of illegal miners and dealers.
"There are massive leakages at the border posts, but policing of the border
is not the responsibility of the mines ministry. We believe our diamonds are
being clandestinely smuggled out of the country," Mpofu said.
Following the Kimberley decision Mpofu declared that Zimbabwe would never
beg again. "We are going to shock the world. We are going to unleash our
But critics say the country is not realising the full potential of its
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has complained that a total of $300-million
from diamond sales remains missing. Zimbabwe has a diamond stockpile of
4.5-million carats, worth $2-billion, that is ready for sale. Biti has had
to revise the $3.4-billion budget for 2012 to account for the potential
diamond windfall. But the cloud over the accounting of the diamonds puts
this in doubt.
An auction of 900 000 carats, worth $45-million, that attracted buyers from
around the world last year, had left the government with only a third of the
proceeds, said Biti.
Moses Mare, a member of a Parliament committee on mines, said the state-run
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, one of several state companies
mining the 600 000 hectare fields, was remitting just 10% of its Marange
"In some cases, the companies operating in Marange are in the hands of
security forces and, therefore, it is impossible to have any kind of
transparency and accountability," said Mare.
By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Friday, 25 November 2011 14:01
HARARE - The poor are likely to be hardest hit by the effects of climate
change, as it emerges that Zimbabwe still has not adopted a mitigation
Experts said this at a climate change workshop organised by the Community
Technology Development Trust (CTDT) this week.
Household food security for small scale and subsistence farmers, who
constitute the majority of the country’s population, was at risk.
“The fourth assessment report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) states that Africa will suffer the most from the impacts of
climate change. This is worsened by the levels of poverty and low levels of
unpreparedness due to our socio-economic status and weak infrastructure”
said the acting secretary for environment, Chemist Gumbie while addressing
the workshop in Harare.
Climate experts said Zimbabwe’s lack of a policy on dealing with climate
change policy was damaging.
The experts said this was affecting the country’s ability to benefit fully
from new funding opportunities to start greening projects.
Gumbie, however, said government is in the process of formulating a national
climate change strategy.
“The government of Zimbabwe views climate change as a serious issue. The
government has initiated the process of formulating a national climate
change strategy with the guidance of the office of the President and
cabinet,” he said.
Emmanuel Mashonjowa of the University of Zimbabwe said rural farmers are
being left out in the climate change debate due to lack of information.
“Major challenges in dealing with climate change are often lack of knowledge
about present day climate risks,” Mashonjowa said.
In a survey done by Mashonjowa, farmers in Murehwa, Chiredzi and
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe are noticing changes in climate patterns particularly
rainfall and temperatures.
An IPCC research revealed that temperatures are expected to rise by 1,7 to
2,5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and by between 2 to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100.
In an explosive and at times emotional interview with Lance Guma, the co-Minister for Home Affairs, Theresa Makone, responds to allegations that she is causing chaos within the MDC-T by meddling in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s private life.
Makone admits she is close to Tsvangirai, as his late wife Susan was her close friend, but angrily denies involving herself in his affairs with other women. She said she does not control the PM and has no ambitions to take his post at any time. Her life’s work, she said, is dedicated to helping women in Zimbabwe.
Interview broadcast 24 November 2011
Lance Guma: Good
evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining us on this special programme.
Yesterday we ran a story on the alleged marriage of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and we spoke to political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya who had in his
analysis blamed the co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone for getting the
Prime Minister in this mess, accusing her as he said of meddling in his private
affairs. I’m happy to report that we have the co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa
Makone joining us on this programme. Thank you so much for your time.
Theresa Makone: Thank you very much Mr. Guma for calling me.
Guma: Now I’m sure
you have had the chance to look at the report and see the allegations made by
Mr. Ruhanya. What would you like to say in response?
Makone: What I would like to say takes the whole day so I shall try and be as brief as I can. First of all I don’t know what Pedzisai Ruhanya’s problem with me is. I don’t know him from a bar of cheese and he seems to particularly enjoy taking a dig at me at every turn.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe is turning 60 next birthday and so am I. I do not know what a 60 year old man is doing listening to Minister Makone for what to do with his private life. How do I meddle in someone’s life to the extent that I would want to ruin his life? And in this case, concerning women?
The Prime Minister and I have got a relationship which does not include meddling in his private affairs. I am married to Ian Makone, I have known my husband for the last 37 years. I have known the PM and his wife for up to ten years to the time of Mai Tsvangirai’s death and now almost 12 years with the Prime Minister.
We do not involve each other in our private lives. We involve each other to the extent that we want and there are boundaries in that relationship. The Prime Minister has never allowed me to go into that area of his life and Ian and I have never allowed him to go as far as our private marital matters are concerned.
So if the Prime Minister was at all ever being influenced by myself, then the Prime Minister’s life should be mirroring mine and so I really don’t know. I, when I got married to my husband I was not pregnant, thirty seven years ago, and I had just left university as a 24 year old, I was not pregnant my child was born long after my white wedding and I’ve got no other things that anyone can pin on me which are of an immoral nature of any kind.
I’ve got no other relationships in private or in public except with my husband so what is it that Ruhanya is saying about me, what does he know about me? I think Mr. Ruhanya really needs to get his head read and in fact I can tell the world now, I am actually going to sue him and I’ll sue him to the last cent because I think this man is getting carried away because I have never responded to all his accusations and now I am sick and tired.
The Prime Minister leads a private life and I’m not part of that life. He has never introduced the subject to me and I’m not going to discuss the subject with him. If he talks to me about it, I will give him my opinion as far as things stand right now but I have got nothing to do with anything that he does with his private life.
Guma: In the story that we did and in the interview we had with Mr. Ruhanya concerning the alleged marriage to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, Mr. Ruhanya had indicated that part of the problem was that Ms Tembo is either a friend or relative of yours. Would you like to respond to that?
Makone: So what? So what? Whether she is a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, so what? So what has that got to do with me if she is going to have a relationship with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe? Her relationship with me at any level, and I know a lot of people, they can have their relationship with the Prime Minister which has got nothing to do with my relationship with them.
So really it does not matter and I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. I know you Lance. To the extent that I know you, I’ve never influenced your life and you have never influenced mine. So how do you say because people know each other, therefore they have got a relationship, therefore what they do in their private lives actually impacts one on the other. That is ridiculous. I know many people and she is not a stranger to me.
Guma: I suppose
the suggestion there is that the fact that you know her might have meant you
introduced her to the Prime Minister, I think that’s the allegation being
Makone: Well he can say what he likes and I don’t have to reveal or tell the world how the two met because it’s really none of my business. It really is none of my business and I refuse to get involved with the Prime Minister’s private life. I refuse to get involved with the Prime Minister’s private life. I refuse to get involved. I don’t want to get involved because when he wants me involved in this particular matter, he shall approach me. When he hasn’t approached me as he has done so far then it means he does not want me to get involved.
Guma: Mr. Ruhanya
aside, I’m sure over the years you and your husband have received these sort of
accusations before, it’s not the first time, it has happened a lot. Several
other MDC-T officials that we have spoken to have made the same type of
accusation. What’s behind this Mai Makone?
Makone: You know I think it is a problem of proximity. There is no question that I was Susan Tsvangirai’s best friend and that, I have paid for with my political life. People have got this natural hatred, I don’t know if you can call it hatred or jealousy of anyone who happens to get close to a leader, any leader I think in the world and it just happens that Susan and I had something in common.
Like I told you just now I’ve been married to Ian for 37 years and Susan was married to her husband for close to 32 years up to the time she died and from that point of view as African women and the way we conduct our private lives, we had a lot in common. So we struck that friendship on a moral and spiritual level that no-one can take away from us and that obviously brought me closer to the Prime Minister than most people because I had that personal relationship with Susan.
And obviously once I got close to Susan, it followed that my husband would become part of that circle because he is the only friend and husband that I’ve got. There is no-one in this nation who can actually say that they’ve ever been close to me enough to come to my home or myself going to their home.
I don’t have those kind of friends, in fact I don’t have that kind of a life, but this is the first time that I had a friend that became so close that she came into my home and I went into her home and our children became friends and with her passing on there was no-one ever to replace her and she will never be replaced because I’m just very busy, I don’t have the time and I don’t have that in common with a lot of people.
So if people hate that little bit then it is really their very serious problem because there is nothing I can do about it and there is no way the PM can write off ten years of that very close relationship which has got nothing to do with politics. Absolutely nothing. Whether or not I was going to stay in politics or move out of politics, that relationship is now there and there is nothing that can destroy it.
So people can write and say what they like. They can say that we influenced the Prime Minister – well if we influenced the Prime Minister, then it follows that he influences us. So if he is influencing Ian and I to live the kind of life that we do as husband and wife, then he is doing a good job so what are we doing interfering with his life so that it ends up on the public domain?
I want people to understand that even in a close relationship there are boundaries, there are areas where you don’t go into each other’s lives and who he marries is his business. If he introduces me to the person that he has married or he wants to marry or that he will marry, that will be my privilege but so far he has not done that and I don’t want to even go there because he has not broached the subject with me.
When he does, I
will then respond to him but before he does I’m not going to get involved. And
it’s no good saying Mai Makone’s got something to do with it, for a start people
are saying that he cannot think, that he is led by the nose by myself so if
people think that he cannot think how does he end up being the Prime Minister of
the Republic of Zimbabwe and being the leader of the biggest party in the
Guma: Help us with this Mai Makone – this was a nightmare story for journalists to report on, the alleged marriage with Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo and then we had other reports that no actually it wasn’t a marriage it was just a ceremony to go and pay damages. Would you like to help us clarify this because it’s still a source of confusion.
Makone: I would not want to comment. Lance I’ve just said I don’t want to discuss the Prime Minister’s private life and please respect that. I actually do not want to discuss his life. I’m not a journalist and if journalists are having a nightmare, it’s actually their problem. If they want information, they must look for other sources.
This source has
got no news to give, absolutely none. I choose what I want to say or what I want
to discuss and these are personal things of the Prime Minster that I do not want
to go into. I do not have authority to discuss his life because he has not
authorized me to discuss his life.
Guma: We received an email yesterday soon after we ran the initial story and like I explained to you, several allegations being made by several other people other than Mr. Ruhanya and one email had suggested that you were a very ambitious, go-getting woman and that you actually have ambitions to be the next president sometime in 2016. We were even told there’s what is known as Project 2016 that you are spearheading within the party and rallying structures around you. Would you like to respond to that accusation?
Makone: That is really wonderful that people actually think that I have the potential to lead any party let alone this mammoth party called the MDC. Let me tell you something, I did not want to get into politics until my own life was affected economically. If I had the choice right now and the country was normal, I would rather be doing what I was doing and I was a successful business person.
And I have had to sacrifice everything that I ever wanted to do because of the ruin that was brought upon me by the mismanagement of the economy by Zanu PF. So I am now the leader of women in MDC. Surely, surely, at my age this is really something to write home about, this is something to be proud of? What do I want to do, starting to fight for 2016 and by the way by that time I think I will be going towards my 65th or 66th birthday, what will I still be wanting to achieve?
Are we saying that there are no people in this country that can run this party or are we saying that the Prime Minister himself will have outrun his time? Well let me tell you something, I honestly believe that if we went into elections now, Morgan Tsvangirai would win the elections and more than that he will run this country for the next ten years after elections.
The Prime Minister and myself have got an age difference of six months so we are practically the same age, so when it is time for him to go home it will be more than time for me to go home as well. I have no ambitions to become even the secretary general or organiser or anything in the standing committee.
That position that I occupy as the leader of women in the MDC for me is the highest privilege that I can ever attain. If people see me working very hard and not staying at home and campaigning for my party with every free hour that I’ve got, it is because I would like to see the MDC one day becoming the government.
Because if I don’t do that, if I don’t do my job as the chair of women, then I will have let down Zimbabwe, I will have let down the women, so if people think that I am doing it for myself then they’ve got another thing coming. They are going to wait for a very long time and Theresa Makone does not want or does not even aspire to become the president of the MDC so let them talk.
Let them create whatever they want to create. They want people to think that I am fighting my president, well apart from being my president, like I told you, we have a strong family bond dating back to the year 2000 which cannot be broken, no matter the malicious rumours, those I have heard from, from people who actually want to do that and they want to hide behind my back they must just forget it, it’s not going to happen.
Guma: Now my final question for you Mai Makone, they say sometimes perception is more prominent than reality so although you have explained your side of the story many in the party continue to have this negative impression of you and I think you even remember from the last interview I had when we had the whole issue with Didymus Mutasa’s son, some in the party actually say you are too close to Zanu PF, what do you want to say to them when they are listening to this interview?
Makone: Well I really don’ know what I should say. How close am I to Zanu PF? What makes them think that I am close to Zanu PF? What have I done or what do I say that says I am close to Zanu PF? Those same people go out of their way to marginalize all the work that I do every single day for my party. They do everything to make it impossible for me to function as I should and they fought as hard as they could to make sure that I do not emerge at Congress.
They spent a lot of money canvassing against me but you know what? The women told them to go to hell and I won resoundingly against their better judgement so the people that matter to me are the women of Zimbabwe that I interact with, that I work with at the grassroots level who know where my heart is, who know my passion for the freedom of Zimbabwe.
Those people and their ambitions can go exactly where they belong. Lance I am thoroughly unimpressed, nothing is going to stop me doing the work that has been assigned to me by the women of Zimbabwe which is to be the chairperson of the National Assembly of Women of the Movement for Democratic Change, nothing else.
Zimbabwe, that’s the co-Home Affairs minister and the MDC Women’s Assembly
chairperson Theresa Makone joining us on this special broadcast. Thank you so
much for your time.
Makone: Thank you Lance.
Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
SW Radio Africa – on line 24 hours a day at www.swradioafrica.com and daily broadcasts on 4880 kHz in the 60m band between 7 – 9 pm Zimbabwe time. Twitter : Facebook : RSS feed You can now get SW Radio Africa on the Tunein Radio smart phone app.
Question Time looks at the confusion surrounding reports that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had married long term girlfriend Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo. Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya blames co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone for meddling in Tsvangirai’s personal love life. In a hard hitting interview he says Makone should focus on her duties as a minister.
Interview broadcast 23 November 2011
Lance Guma: This week the media was ablaze with the story that the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had paid thirty-six thousand US dollars in lobola for a new wife in Harare businesswoman Locadia Tembo. Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka however denied this, setting into motion a lot of confusion and speculation around the matter.
Political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya early this year advised Tsvangirai to settle down, arguing that history has shown the wives of political players are sources of stability or instability to their husbands. Mr. Ruhanya is my guest on this special edition of Question Time. Thank you for joining us.
Pedzisai Ruhanya: You’re welcome.
Guma: Now the media provided a lot of evidence that Tsvangirai had gone to the Tembo family to pay something but his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka denied there was a marriage. Starting off point – what did you make of this whole story?
Ruhanya: I think I totally agree with Tamborinyoka. Those who understand our tradition know what damage means and for the Prime Minister to go and pay damage to someone with a 16 year old child and someone who has been married before, someone who was a divorcee is not what our culture says.
So when I read the story and I critically looked at what Tamborinyoka is saying, then I understood that there was no marriage, that the marriage was still-birth because the Prime Minister, as I understand him cannot go to pay damage to someone who is that age having been married before and has a child from a previous marriage.
What it indicated to me is that he was simply accepting something that he could have erred in the process but actually was denying that there was a marriage and that he was not prepared to co-habit with the lady.
Guma: Okay so what we know right now is that she is seven months pregnant, so are you saying given her age and the fact that she already has a 16 year old, Tsvangirai was not even obligated to go and pay those damages?
Ruhanya: Because if it is true that she is pregnant, it’s an acceptance maybe to say that he is responsible for the pregnancy but not to take the individual as his wife because if he was going to marry, there was no need to pay damage, damage for what?
Damage in our culture, ha, ha, means either that the individual was a virgin, the individual has been disturbed from her schooling or other activities but you cannot damage someone who has been married before and someone who has a child. So the damage that is being paid here is acceptance of what has happened and with an indication that they are not going to marry.
Guma: Okay so where has this come from – that Tsvangirai has married because there was quite a lot of heightened publicity around this, we saw all the state media papers covering this?
Ruhanya: If you look where this issue has come from, there are several sources. One source is the family who have come out clearly that Tsvangirai has married; the other source is the behavior of the state media which to me was very curious because if Tsvangirai had actually married and married an individual who’s solid, they would have lampooned Tsvangirai, they would have attacked Tsvangirai, they would have tried to do everything to soil that marriage but to show that there’s something that is very, very sinister about this whole arrangement, they are celebrating it, they are giving it good coverage which is very, very dubious.
The behavior of the Herald, the behavior of the state media as far as this marriage is concerned, to me is dubious to the extent that this marriage never happened. So there is the state media, there is also I think the role of the intelligence doing the bidding for Zanu PF to put Tsvangirai into bad public position and also the family to pressurize Tsvangirai and to blackmail Tsvangirai into doing what he doesn’t want.
And also there is a key factor, a key figure in this whole melee and this key figure is Theresa Makone. This woman (Tembo) is related to Theresa Makone, this woman is a friend of Theresa Makone and the MDC and anyone who does not see the hand of Theresa Makone is not being faithful to themselves. This woman is a source of instability in the MDC in the long run, in the short run and probably in the future of the party if they are not careful about her machinations.
Guma: So how should the Prime Minister’s office have handled this particular matter because there is a school of thought that perhaps if they had been more forthright in explaining the true circumstances of this, this could have been avoided?
Ruhanya: I think Tamborinyoka has done a good job; only that he has done it in a very intelligent manner. I must applaud Tamborinyoka for the way he has handled the matter. Anyone who listened to Tamborinyoka, anyone who has followed what Tamborinyoka has said is that there is no marriage and Tamborinyoka is the spokesperson of the Prime Minister.
He cannot go public to say that there is no marriage when the marriage takes place. So people should listen carefully and critically analyse what Tamborinyoka is saying. What Tamborinyoka is saying I have come to the conclusion that what Tamborinyoka is saying is the fact that there is no marriage, that it is still birth and I suppose there must be blackmail activities behind the scenes from the CIO, from the state media and particularly Theresa Makone.
Theresa Makone should do her job as a public figure and an elected member of parliament, a national executive member of the MDC and should move out of the private, personal activities of the prime minister because she is cooking rotten food around.
Guma: What’s her interest if you allege that she is doing this and…
Ruhanya: Obviously to control, to control the prime minister. The Prime Minister Mr. Tsvangirai has immense public support, immense public sympathy and he is the figure, the face, the driver of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe and if elections were to take place in a free, fair environment, despite all these machinations, Tsvangirai is definitely going to occupy State House, he’s going to win elections.
So she thinks that she can be minister of Home Affairs, she can be, she is over-ambitious. The post that she holds currently does not deserve, she does not deserve it but she thinks that because of her closeness to the Prime Minster and all that kind of stuff she is there, not by merit but because of her political machinations.
What is she doing as minister of Home Affairs that you know, going to Matapi (police station in Mbare) to remove (Didymus) Mutasa’s children. Her traces, her linkages, the thread of Theresa Makone to Zanu PF is as clear as a goats behind and she is behind all this fuss.
Guma: Why would Tsvangirai, given a situation where maybe some of his officials are saying exactly what you are saying about Theresa Makone, why has he not acted? Why, does he owe Theresa Makone anything?
Ruhanya: This is for him to explain, hah, this is for him to explain but if he’s not careful by the time he realizes it, by the time he explains it, he could be political history. He needs to be very careful on issues to do with romance, on issues to do with his private life.
The most important thing that the prime minister must know is that he is a monumental political actor in Zimbabwe. He has contributed immensely to the democratization agenda and it is in the public view that Tsvangirai is the next president of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
So we will look at his private and his public activities because he is such a huge political player. People, a person who, where people have put their hopes to deliver us from the evils of the regime.
So those people like Theresa know that Tsvangirai, given free, fair elections will be the president of the Republic so they want to control him but we should not only blame Theresa, we should also give a caution to the prime minister, that he has to look at the people around him and see whether they are good for purpose or they are not good for purpose.
I can argue, I can write a thesis, I can write a PhD thesis to say that Theresa Makone is not fit for purpose.
Guma: Let’s look at the whole issue surrounding this particular matter. I’d like to contrast this with the response that I got from the Prime Minister when I interviewed him several weeks ago when he seemed to imply that his private life is just that – it’s private. Can we really separate his private life and his public life as the prime minister or a future president whichever way you…
Ruhanya: Of course we do agree that any politician has a private but you see there is a thin line between the private and the public especially if you are a public figure of that monumental life. The same applies to President Mugabe, we look into their private life because what they do influences everything that happens in the public domain. So we cannot hide under the issue of privacy, he has to be accountable, he has to be responsible and this is the time to be.
Guma: Let me just clarify a few things that have happened; I’m sure listeners who are listening into the programme would like to know – it was initially reported thirty-six thousand was paid in lobola, we are now told it’s actually under ten thousand US dollars. The state media had also reported that Tsvangirai went to the Tembo homestead, we are now told that is not true. The prime minister was nowhere near…
Ruhanya: Those issues tell me that there’s an underhand, that there are people who want to use this issue to destroy the prime minister. All the lies about money, the thousands, all the lies about him going there when they know, the state media know through the CIO that the prime minister was never there, they know through the family he did not pay that amount and that family did not say that they were given thirty-six thousand by Tsvangirai.
So allowing these lies, these half-truths to go around, particularly by the state media and some journalists who do not want to check facts and just write 36000, laziness in some journalist shows that there’s a hidden hand to think that Tsvangirai can be destroyed but I think that this is an issue that cannot destroy Tsvangirai but Tsvangirai must learn lessons from such kind of activities.
I think he is beyond this kind of disruption. The good thing is that he has good people like Tamborinyoka who is insisting on the truth and I think the line that is taken by Tamborinyoka must continue as it is, except that in fact they maybe in future need to say one or two things but Tamborinyoka has been doing and is doing a fantastic job. The prime minister did not marry.
Guma: Let’s look at Tsvangirai’s private life – obviously a lot of people are, he’s coming in for some serious criticism, this is now on record I suppose the second woman he has got pregnant in two years I think, people are looking at that obviously and asking questions.
Ruhanya: Yah but there’s no evidence that he impregnated the other woman or even this one. We are yet to find out. Those are speculations, the prime minister has never come out and said that he has done that. But there is an issue around his marital status which needs to be addressed. This is the critical matter. These issues about impregnating this and impregnating that one, is not factual, we don’t have…that kind of evidence.
Guma: Why is it important for Tsvangirai to get married? You made this argument…
Ruhanya: Not to get married?
Guma: Yah to get married yes.
Ruhanya: To simply settle down or to control his zip. It is important for him to control his zip as prime minister, not that he should marry, because we are not saying, it is not for us to say he should marry or he should not marry but he should behave in a manner that does not question his behavior as a politician, as a public figure. That’s what we are saying.
Guma: You did make the argument previously that women are a source of stability or instability depending on what sort of character they are and you even drew comparisons with the late Sally Mugabe and her effect on Mugabe. What would be the importance of a stabilizing figure for Tsvangirai?
Ruhanya: It’s important because the family of a public figure, of a monumental character like Tsvangirai, matters. Let me give you an example: the late vice president Nkomo had a wife, the late Mama Mafuyana did she ever have a scandalous story?
Ruhanya: Not that we know, so she was a stabilizing. We never heard about her shopping, her this and that and when she passed on people were really touched. That is what we expect. Even Mai Muzenda, what is it that you can say about that woman? Very little that you can. Those are the kind of individuals that you expect.
With the marriage to a public figure comes responsibility. Look at that how that appears on New Zimbabwe dot com, that woman, that Locadia woman, that is not in good taste for the poor in good taste for a country with economic problems such as Zimbabwe so to those people, those things matter.
Guma: Now we are told and this again is speculation but maybe you might have information on this, this whole issue about Locadia is creating some fissures within the MDC and there are various competing interests, what do you know about this?
Ruhanya: Ah I don’t think I have got any information but what I know as a matter of fact, people talk about it but they don’t want to confront it, Theresa Makone must extricate herself from the alleged role that she plays behind the scenes to do with the private life of the prime minister and she must do her work as a public figure and not think, because we hear that when she’s drunk she says that the prime minister is always in her pocket. How does a prime minister, a president of a whole political party go into a pocket of a political hoodlum like Theresa Makone?
That is overzealousness that we cannot accept but also the prime minister has a responsibility to make sure that he does the correct thing, it is not only about Theresa Makone but it is also his position and he should be seen to be controlled by some dubious elements within the party.
Guma: So what happens from here Mr. Ruhanya because this issue seems to be very messy now? Should the MDC come out and clarify this matter once and for all?
Ruhanya: I don’t think the MDC should come out, I think the prime minister will handle his case, his family will handle that case and I think Tamborinyoka is doing a good job.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s Question Time. We were joined by political commentator Pedzisai Ruhanya looking at the issue around the reported marriage of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and subsequent denials by his office that in fact no marriage took place. Mr. Ruhanya thank you for joining us on the programme.
Ruhanya: You are welcome.
To listen to the programme:
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Last updated at 5:38 PM on 25th November 2011
Being a ruthless dictator can be a lonely business - as highlighted in a new TV advert by Nando's.
The chicken restaurant chain's amusing commercial stars some of the world's most dreadful dictators - and highlights how Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is quickly becoming the sole member of the club.
The 46 second advert uses look-alike actors to show Mugabe in happier times with other tyrants including executed Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Scroll down to see the
Nostalgic: The advert starts with Mugabe looking sad after forgets about recent events and sets a place at the table for his fallen fellow dictator Gaddafi
Memories: Mugabe is seen sitting down, alone and upset,
in his palace garden (left), before cracking into a huge smile as a pair of
white gloves cover his eyes (right)
Last Dictator Standing starts by showing the Zimbabwean leader laying a lavish table for a festive supper at his palace.
Mugabe carefully lays out a place setting for Gaddafi as he slips into nostalgic memories of his friendship with the tyrant.
Several soft focus scenes then show the smartly-dressed pair larking around and enjoying a playful water fight, during which Gaddafi uses a distinctive golden machine gun.
To the cheerful sounds of the song 'Those were the days', Mugabe then remembers moments of fun spent with other hated leaders.
The next scene shows him and Saddam Hussein stripped off to just shirts, ties and swimming trunks as they gleefully make 'sand angels' in the desert.
A slow motion sequence then depicts Mugabe giggling as he pushes South Africa's apartheid-era president PW Botha on a swing.
Happier times: The white gloves belong to Gaddafi, and Mugabe remembers of the water fights they used to have
Power weapon: Gaddafi has a gold water pistol as he does battle with Mugabe
Battered: Gaddafi sprays Mugabe in the face in this scene of the advert
Finally the despot is shown driving through Africa on the back of a tank with former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin as the pair re-enact Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's famous romantic pose from the hit movie Titanic.
The advert ends with the happy times fading to a shot of Mugabe alone, looking bored and lonely at his dinner table as he realises all of his former friends have now gone. A pay off line says: 'At this time of year, no one should have to eat alone.'
The commercial was released yesterday by the South African chicken restaurant chain, which has branches in more than 30 countries. Its timing has sought to capitalise on what has been a tough year for many dictators.
Gaddafi's 42 year rule of Libya came to an end following the fall of Tripoli in August to the country's rebel army. The tyrant spent several weeks on the run before being caught and summarily executed in October. The other dictators shown in the commercial also all had remarkable falls from grace.
Hussein was executed in 2006 after being convicted of mass murders carried out during his 24 years of power in Iraq.
Botha led South Africa throughout most of the 1980s and was one of the world's most controversial figures as the head of the apartheid regime.
Known for his intransigence and willingness to use military power to crush protest against his regime, he stood down in 1989 after suffering a stroke and died in 2006.
Amin is still remembered as one of the world's most brutal leaders after becoming infamous in the 1970s his suppression of minority groups during his eight years as president of Uganda.
The monstrous figure was responsible for up to 500,000 murders and widespread human rights abuses before he was forced into exile in 1979. He died in 2003 in Saudi Arabia.
Best of friends: Mugabe and Saddam Hussein, stripped down to their underwear, enjoy creating sand angels in the desert
Ecstasy: The despotic duo make faces at each other as
they cavort in the sand
Slow motion: A further sequence depicts Mugabe giggling as he pushes South Africa's apartheid-era president PW Botha on a swing
Mugabe stands out from the advert as the one dictator still in power. The former liberation hero has enjoyed three decades of rule in Zimbabwe but has become infamous for his autocratic government.
In recent years he has seen the complete collapse of his country's economy, orchestrated human rights abuses and increasingly resorted to violence as a political tool.
His ruling Zanu-PF party is currently preparing for fresh elections early next year at which many fear the tyrant will launch a fresh wave of terror on his people.
The Nando's advert is the latest in a string of commercials in which the chain has sought to make light of recent news events. The commercial has received mixed reviews from the public since it was uploaded yesterday onto Youtube.
Action: The final scene shows Mugabe on the back of a tank with former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, re-enacting Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's romantic pose from Titanic
Lonely: The advert ends by flashing back to Mugabe, realising the fate of his former friends, sat at his dinner table
The vast majority of those posting comments have praised the company for its sense of humour. But some have accused the chain of cashing in on conflict.
One poster, VerguenzaAjena00, wrote: 'Lovely, lets all make fun of all the mass killing of innocent lives implied in removing those guys from their countries while we eat comfortably some fu**ing chicken.'
Shato9820 wrote: 'Funny as it is...its the most stooopid market idea from a food chain I've encountered. Nando's you do not gain new customers by involving yourselves into highly political polarising divisive issues.. You only lose some of the ones you had!'
And TadRaunch added: 'This is sick, but I have to admit that I did laugh.'
COURT WATCH 1/2011
Veritas is launching a new e-bulletin – Court Watch. It will include summaries of key constitutional and human rights cases as well as information on the functioning of the judicial system.
We are sending this inaugural bulletin to our regular mailing list for Bill Watch, but if you do not want to receive Court Watch bulletins, please reply to this bulletin by clicking on “Reply” and typing “unsubscribe” in the subject line of your reply.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and Zimbabwe’s final court of appeal. The Supreme Court Act puts it this way in section 26(1): “There shall be no appeal from any judgment or order of the Supreme Court.” [Before Independence there was a final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.]
The Supreme Court is established by section 80 of the Constitution, which forms part of Chapter VIII of the Constitution which deals with “The Judiciary”.
The court’s jurisdiction – its powers and functions – is set out in the Constitution, in the Supreme Court Act and in other Acts of Parliament. In exercising this jurisdiction the court may find itself dealing with a wide variety of cases – whether civil or criminal, and including cases raising issues of constitutional law, common law, statute law, customary law, labour law, water law and administrative law.
The Supreme Court is Primarily a Court of Appeal – Not a Trial Court
With one important exception, the Supreme Court is not a “court of first instance” – i.e., not a court in which cases are started. It is primarily a court of appeal, whose responsibility is to hear appeals from lower courts, which means that it hears cases that have already been decided by lower courts and that it must decide whether the decisions of the lower courts should be confirmed, changed or reversed. So the typical Supreme Court case is one in which the party who failed in the lower court tries to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse or alter what has been decided in the lower court. In a criminal appeal the person appealing may be either the person convicted by the lower court or the Attorney-General for the State where the accused person was acquitted. The only cases which can be initiated in the Supreme Court are those in which the applicant feels that the Declaration of Rights has been, is being, or is likely to be contravened [see below].
Appeals to the Supreme Court
Appeals reach the Supreme Court direct from the High Court and other courts such as the Labour Court , the Administrative Court and other specialist courts such as the Special Court for Income Tax Appeals. At present appeals from the Labour Court make up more than half the Supreme Court’s caseload. Appeals from magistrates courts do not go direct to the Supreme Court. They must be taken first to the High Court. But a further appeal to from the High Court to the Supreme Court is possible, so a case starting in the magistrates court may eventually reach the Supreme Court.
[Note: if a constitutional point is raised by the defendant’s lawyer in any court, including a magistrates court, he or she can ask for that point to be referred to the Supreme Court – see more details below – and for the case to be adjourned while this is being done.]
Appeals from customary law courts do not go direct to the Supreme Court; but they can get there via intermediate appeals at magistrates court and High Court levels.
How an Appeal is Dealt with by the Supreme Court
When hearing appeals the Supreme Court does not ordinarily conduct the sort of court hearing in which witnesses are called to give evidence and cross-examined. The judges who will hear the appeal are provided with the written record of the evidence given in the lower court, and the lower court’s reasons for its decision and also with written “heads of argument” [summaries of the arguments in point form and in logical order, and listing any legal precedents that will be invoked] from the lawyers representing the parties – the appellant [the person appealing against the decision of the lower court] and the respondent [the person[s] wanting the decision of the lower court to stand].
At the hearing itself the parties are usually represented by legal practitioners, although in civil appeals appellants are entitled to argue their appeals in person if they wish. In a criminal appeal, on the other hand, the appellant does not have a right to appear before the court in person unless he or she has been granted leave to do so by a judge of the Supreme Court. [The reason is that if criminal appellants were allowed to appear before the court in person, convicted prisoners might be tempted to file frivolous appeals simply to get out of prison and enjoy their day in court. South African law used to be the same as ours in this respect – but in 1996 their Constitutional Court ruled that it was unconstitutional because their constitution specifically gives a right of appeal in criminal cases.]
At the hearing the judges listen to the arguments of the parties for and against changing or confirming the lower court’s decision. Both sides will present their arguments, and the judges will put questions needed to clarify points being made. Occasionally the court’s decision will be announced on the spot at the end of the hearing with full reasons given orally in the form of an ex tempore judgment; sometimes the court will announce its decision and say that its written reasons will be given later. It is more usual, however, for judgment to be “reserved”, in which case both the decision and the court’s reasons for the decision will be handed down at a later stage in the form of a written judgment. [The question of delays in handing down written Judgments and the implications of these delays will be dealt with in a later Court Watch.]
The Supreme Court Sets Legal Precedents for All Other Courts
Zimbabwe follows the doctrine of precedent, under which a court must decide a case in accordance with the law as decided by a higher court in an earlier case in which the facts were not materially different – and should usually follow legal rulings of courts of equal standing. As the highest court in Zimbabwe the Supreme Court’s decisions are binding on the High Court and all other courts – but not necessarily on the Supreme Court itself. So while the Supreme Court reserves the right to say that an earlier Supreme Court decision was wrong and should not be followed in future, the High Court and all other courts are bound to follow Supreme Court decisions until the Supreme Court sees fit to change them.
The Supreme Court as Constitutional Court
The Supreme Court acts as a constitutional court. Unlike South Africa, Zimbabwe does not have a separate Constitutional Court. Constitutional cases reach the Supreme Court in three ways:
· by direct application to the Supreme Court by a person alleging a contravention of the Declaration of Rights set out in the Constitution [this is the only type of case that does not reach the court as an appeal from or referral by a lower court]
· in the course of an appeal from a lower court in a civil or criminal case
· if, before concluding a case before it, a lower court refers a possible contravention of the Declaration of Rights to the Supreme Court for its decision [the Constitution states that if a possible contravention of the Declaration of Rights arises in the course of proceedings in lower court, the court may in its own discretion refer the point for decision by the Supreme Court – and must do so if one of the parties so requests, unless the court considers the party's request to be “frivolous or vexatious”.] There have been a large number of such referral cases in the last two or three years – for example, the celebrated case involving the unlawful abduction and subsequent detention and torture of Jestina Mukoko, and the WOZA case about the misuse of the Public Order and Security Act to interfere with peaceful demonstrations; these cases were referred to the Supreme Court by magistrates hearing criminal proceedings. Other referred cases are still awaiting hearing.
Composition of the Supreme Court
Minimum number of Supreme Court judges required by the Constitution
Under the Constitution there must be at least four permanent Supreme Court judges – the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and at least two other permanent judges of the Supreme Court. There is no maximum number, and the minimum four may be supplemented by other permanent judges and acting judges. This allows the number of judges to be increased when the volume of Supreme Court work so requires. But it is not necessary for all the judges of the Supreme Court to sit in each and every case [see Composition of the Supreme Court for different types of cases below.]
Present numbers of judges of the Supreme Court
At present there are eight Supreme Court judges:
· Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
· Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba
· four permanent judges [Mr Justice Paddington Garwe, Mrs Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, Mrs Justice Vernanda Ziyambi and Mrs Justice Rita Makarau]
· two acting judges [Mr Justice Misheck Cheda and High Court judge Mr Justice Yunus Omerjee. Mr Justice Cheda was recalled from retirement to act for a limited period and will complete his assignment at the end of 2011. High Court judge Mrs Justice Ann-Mary Gowora will act as a Supreme Court judge with effect from 1st January 2012].
Two of the permanent judges are currently fulfilling other duties outside the Supreme Court – Mrs Justice Gwaunza has been serving as a judge on the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague; and Mrs Justice Makarau is acting as full-time chief executive of the Judicial Service Commission, following the Commission’s assumption of overall responsibility for the administration of all courts except customary courts.
Composition of the Supreme Court varies for different types of cases
It is not necessary for all the judges of the Supreme Court to sit in every case coming before the court. The Supreme Court Act lays down a general rule that the court is properly constituted to hear a case if it consists of three judges, at least one of whom must be a permanent Supreme Court judge; in other words, a Supreme Court bench must never consist of acting judges only. But the Act goes on to make different provision for different types of case, as follows:
For constitutional cases – in a case involving a question of the application, enforcement or interpretation, or an infringement, of the Constitution, the Chief Justice or the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs may direct that the case must be heard by five or more judges, of whom at least three must be permanent Supreme Court judges. In practice all constitutional cases are heard by five judges.
For appeals from the High Court – these must be heard by at least three judges, i.e., the general rule applies.
For appeals from other courts – appeals from other courts, such as the Labour Court, the Administrative Court, or the Special Court for Income Tax Appeals, may, if the Chief Justice so directs, be heard by two judges, at least one of whom must be a permanent Supreme Court judge.
Cases involving difficult or important questions of law – in such cases the presiding judge may ask the Chief Justice to increase the number of judges originally assigned to the case, for example from three to five.
When Supreme Court Judges May Sit Alone
Supreme Court judges also have judicial functions that do not involving sitting with colleagues in court. These are functions that are conferred by law on “a judge of the Supreme Court” as opposed to functions conferred on “the Supreme Court”. In such cases a judge acts singly and does not necessarily sit in open court – instead he or she may sit “in chambers”, meaning in his or her office. Examples of functions that are conferred on judges of the Supreme Court in this capacity are:
· Hearing appeals from decisions of High Court judges on bail – a recent example of this was when seven persons, charged with murdering a police officer in Glen View in May 2011, appealed against the decision of High Court judge Justice Uchena denying them bail [Deputy Chief Justice Malaba declined to hear the appeal on the procedural ground that the accused persons had not obtained leave to appeal at the High Court level.]
· Granting or refusing the Attorney-General leave to appeal against the discharge of an accused person at the close of the State case – a high-profile example occurred last year, when Chief Justice Chidyausiku heard, and dismissed, the Attorney-General’s application for leave to appeal against the High Court’s discharge of Senator Roy Bennett on serious arms-related charges under the Public Order and Security Act [POSA].
Supreme Court Judges also Constitute the Court Martial Appeal Court
Courts martial are established under the Defence Act to try members of the Defence Forces – the Army and Air Force – for offences in terms of that Act. They do not form part of the civilian judicial hierarchy topped by the Supreme Court. But the judges of the highest court martial, the Court Martial Appeal Court, must be Supreme Court judges appointed to the Court Martial Appeal Court by the Chief Justice [Defence Act, section 73, which states the court must have at least two judges]. The Chief Justice is also responsible for making rules of court governing the procedure applicable to the Court Martial Appeal Court.
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