Thursday, 27 November 2008 21:51
THE Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd (KMAL) saga has deepened after an
investigation team probing allegations of externalising foreign currency hit
a brick wall during a high-powered mission to South Africa recently.
This has left KMAL rocked by boardroom wrangling between chairman John
Moxon and chief executive Nigel Chanakira.
The Reserve Bank, which is part of the probe, has now initiated a
process to recover the allegedly externalised funds. This followed dramatic
events earlier this month in South Africa after the probe team entailing
Reserve Bank, police and local consultants ran into cat-and-mouse games with
South African company executives, lawyers, police and court officials in a
bid to get to the bottom of the matter.
The South African Reserve Bank also declined to play ball. The
investigation was resultantly aborted after encountering the difficulties,
which included threats and intimidation between lawyers and police.
KMAL is facing a series of allegations of salting away funds,
*That the company externalised to South Africa US$18,6 million and
R21,2 million as shown in its 2007 annual report;
*That it disposed of its 25% shareholding in TM Supermarkets (Pvt) Ltd
to South Africa's Pick 'n Pay worth R30,6 million but failed to remit
proceeds in violation of the exchange control regulations;
*Disposing of 4 548 939 shares in South Africa's giant conglomerate
Mvelaphanda Group valued at R52,7 million without necessary exchange control
*Failing to remit a dividend of R11,6 million due from its investment
*Transferring US$3,7 billion from its books via its subsidiary in the
Virgin Islands to Mentor Holdings Ltd owned by Moxon's close business
associate Steven Levenberg through misrepresentations;
*Transferring Euro 10,3 million through its subsidiary in the Virgin
Islands to Coolbay Investments (Pty) Ltd on the basis of distortions.
Coolbay, owned by Moxon, accessed the funds through Cape Grace Hotel Ltd,
also incorporated in the Virgin Islands, by misrepresenting facts;
*Investing in M-Southern Foods and Galnor Foods, South African
companies, without Reserve Bank approval;
*Failing to account for US$26 million after the company (then Meikles
Consolidated Holdings and later Meikles Africa Ltd) had raised US$68 million
through an IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
Official documents say there is a prima facie case of breaching
exchange controls and possible fraud.
"Preliminary investigations have revealed potential exchange control
violations involving transactions by or between Cape Grace, Coolbay, and
Mentor, all of which are based in SA," official documents say. "These
transactions were processed through Afrifocus, Nedbank, Investec, M-Southern
Foods, Unity Trust and Standard Bank."
Information gleaned from official documents obtained in South Africa
shows that the local central bank will give Moxon through KMAL a specified
period to answer to allegations levelled against him and the company.
After that the exchange control department of the Reserve Bank will
demand repatriation of funds which run into millions of dollars.
"The most likely penalties for identified violations of Exchange
Control Regulations, Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996, will be to liquidate
KMAL's local FCAs or garnish the company's future foreign currency earnings,
until externalised amounts have been fully recovered," documents say.
"Another option would be to expunge the Reserve Bank's 'official debt'
with KMAL, using the company's funds which were maintained at the bank and
were to be released to KMAL's investments into the region. The 'official'
balance owed to KMAL
as at November 24 was US$32 835 908."
KMAL's problems started recently when Moxon wanted to force out
Chanakira at an aborted EGM. The EGM was blocked by the courts.
After the fight broke out, things went from bad to worse. Chanakira
spilled the beans by opening a case of externalisation of funds to the
The police, Reserve Bank and BCA Consulting (Pvt) Ltd commenced
investigations into the matter which involves KMAL and a number of South
The South African companies involved include the Mvelaphanda Group,
owned by businessman and politician Tokyo Sexwale, Afrifocus Securities
(Pty) Ltd, Nedbank, Investec, Standard Bank, M-Southern Foods, PKF Chartered
Accountants, Pick 'n Pay, Cape Grace Hotel, Mentor, Coolbay Investments,
Unity Trust and Galnor (Pty) Ltd.
The investigation team -- which was in South Africa from November
9-17 -- included Detective Inspector Boniface Magocha and Detective Sergeant
Emmanuel Busho from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Charity Kadungure and
Susan Kabungaidze from the Reserve Bank and BCA Consulting's Shepherd
Nhondova, Budhama Chikambi, Joanna Mambeu and Antiock Kurauone.
Their contact persons were officials at the South African Reserve
Bank, who included Charles Nevhutanda (head of exchange control), Alexander
Allis (exchange control investigations), Elijah Mazibuko (also exchange
control), Ross Hooper (senior manager operations and finance) and Thys
Basson (senior manager investigations).
The Zimbabwean team's contact person in the South African Police
Service was Captain Madela Hlatshwayo and Interpol officers.
Documents say the investigation was aborted after Hlatshwayo had been
threatened by Mentor and Coolbay lawyers at the Randburg Magistrates' Courts
on November 15 when he was applying for authority to interview and obtain
company records in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act to assist the probe.
Interpol and the South African Reserve Bank did not help much, it is said,
and the investigation was grounded.
This forced the Zimbabwean team to try to secure interviews and
records without subpoenas, an approach which did not yield the required
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 27 November 2008 21:45
ZANU PF and the two MDC formations have agreed on Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment (No 19) Bill to pave way for the implementation of the
power-sharing agreement which provides for the post of prime minister and
deputy prime ministers.
This followed initial haggling in Pretoria this week between the
parties battling to finalise the issue to allow for the formation of an
The Bill will amend the constitution to substitute the Chapter on
Citizenship to make it more comprehensive. It will also make specific
provision for the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. It
also provides for the appointment by the president of the chairperson of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and of members of the Anti-Corruption
Commission. This must be done in consultation with the Committee on Standing
Rules and Orders.
It would further provide for the appointment and function of a
Zimbabwe Media Commission, and finally it makes certain transitional
amendments pursuant to the agreement between Zanu PF and MDC leaders.
In more detail, the individual clauses of the Bill provide as follows:
Clause 1 sets out the Bill's short title, Clause 2 defines a couple of terms
for the purpose of this Bill and Clause 3 seeks to substitute Chapter II of
the constitution (citizenship) by another making it more comprehensive.
Clause 4 seeks to correct certain cross-references contained in
Section 41 of the constitution (which previously cross-referred to members
of the House of Assembly only) to make them clearer. For instance, that the
"anti-defection" provisions of Section 41(1)(e) apply to elected senators as
well as MPs.
Clause 5 seeks to omit from Section 57 (2) of the constitution the
incidental reference to the Committee on the Standing Rules and Orders, for
which fuller provision is to be made under Clause 6.
Clause 6 seeks to include a new section in the constitution which
makes specific provision for the appointment and functions of the Committee
on Standing Rules and Orders. For the period during which the inter-party
agreements subsist, the composition of this committee will be as specified
under sub-clause (2) of this clause.
Clause 7 provides that the appointment by the president of the
chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must be done in
consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
Other amendments will fix the term of members of the commission at six
years (renewable for one more consecutive term) and specify in broad terms
the qualification of members of the commission.
Clause 8 provides that the appointment by the president of the members
of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must be done in consultation with
the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
Clause 9 provides for the appointment and functions of a new media
commission to be called the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Clause 10 seeks to amend the interpretation section of the
constitution by revising the definition of "Committee on Standing Rules and
Orders" in conformity with the amendment made under Clause 6.
Clause 11 and 12 will insert a new section and schedule in the
constitution providing for certain transitional amendments in connection
with the new (but possibly temporary) office of Prime Minister and other
matters pursuant to the agreement.
Since it is proposed to hold a referendum on a new constitution within
two years, this office may fall away or be retained, depending on the
outcome of the referendum. If the referendum rejects the new constitution,
or agreement is for any reason terminated, the constitution will continue in
force as if not amended by the schedule.
Clause 13 anticipates any legal challenge grounded in Section 31E of
the constitution to the validity of anything done pursuant to the exercise
of the functions of a vice-president, minister and deputy minister between
the date when parliament was dissolved on the 29th March, 2008, and the date
when the Bill becomes an Act.
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:42
DEPUTY Minister of Science and Technology Patrick Zhuwao has been
accused of plotting to unseat his uncle President Robert Mugabe after
falling out of favour with him over political developments in Mashonaland
But Zhuwao yesterday denied that he was fighting his uncle.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that Zhuwao was on Tuesday
accused of working to oust Mugabe from power during a heated Zanu PF
provincial coordinating committee meeting held at Orange Grove Motel in
Chinhoyi after he called for the election of youths into the party's
Zhuwao's plea, the sources said, angered Zanu's provincial women's
league treasurer identified as Amai Mubi who interrupted the Zvimba East
legislator and fired a barrage of accusations at him.
"Mubi said it was now common knowledge at the Mugabe family level that
Zhuwao was plotting to oust the president," according to one of the sources
who attended the meeting.
"Zhuwao was stunned and stopped addressing the meeting."
The source said Zhuwao and his brother, former Makonde MP Leo Mugabe,
have fallen out of favour with the pro-Mugabe villagers in the Zvimba
communal lands who alleged that the siblings were working against the
84-year-old veteran leader.
President Mugabe hails from Zvimba.
Leo and Zhuwao are the sons of Sabina, Mugabe's sister.
The sources said Zhuwao was heard before the coordinating committee
meeting grumbling about Mugabe's decision to allocate the Science and
Technology ministry to the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC under the power-sharing
agreement signed on September 15.
The sources said Zhuwao initially eyed the Zanu PF Mashonaland West
chairmanship, but after the scene with Mubi, the legislator did not forward
his name for the post.
Zhuwao backed John Mafa who went on to win the chairmanship on
Wednesday against former Zimbabwe ambassador to China, Chris Mutsvangwa, in
an election reportedly marred by vote buying.
The deputy minister yesterday declined to comment on what happened
during the coordinating committee meeting, but denied there was bad blood
between him and Mugabe.
"A supposition on my part that President Mugabe should leave office
Zviroto zvezviroto (it's a dream of dreams)," Zhuwao said.
He said as a national youth leader he was pressing for the
implementation of a Zanu PF constitutional requirement that youths above 30
years should graduate into the main wing of the party.
"The process of graduating our members above 30 years into the main
wing is poised to see the old guards losing positions they have been
holding," Zhuwao said.
Sources said grain, fertilser and seed were used as inducements in the
Mashonaland West elections while 10 000 litres of fuel allocated to Zanu PF
province for party business was allegedly abused during the campaign.
"All the people who were elected into the provincial executive lack
the academic stamina and relevant experience to run the party," a senior
Zanu PF official said. "Their advantage was that they had a grip on the
electorate because of the inducements they offered. Unlike other provinces
that elected capable people, Mashonaland West will be run by villagers."
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:41
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for nationwide
protests next week against the low maximum bank cash withdrawal limits
imposed by the Reserve Bank.
Lovemore Matombo, the president of labour confederation, told
journalists in Harare yesterday that the protest would be on Wednesday.
He implored workers and the public to take part in the protests.
"December 3 2008, that is next Wednesday, is the day when workers and
the generality of the public will throng banks and demand unlimited
withdrawal of their money," Matombo said.
He said the decision to protest against the central bank was arrived
at during the ZCTU's general council meeting in Masvingo on Tuesday, which
deliberated on the problems faced by workers.
"The general council also noted that various labour forums which were
held in all six regions of the country had resolved that a nationwide
protest be organised, where workers will express their anger towards the
current monetary policies being promoted by the central bank," Matombo said.
He said the situation in the country had reached levels which were now
beyond the comprehension of the generality of ZCTU members who were being
forced to queue daily, some even sleeping outside banks for days, to get a
paltry $500 000 from their hard-earned salaries.
Matombo said as a result of the cash limits many people have died of
treatable diseases like cholera and dysentery after their banks failed to
approve their bulk cash applications on time.
"As workers we have always called on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
remove the cash limit, but the central bank seems not to be taking us
seriously," Matombo said.
The country's largest workers representative body also attacked the
central bank for authorising a number of selected shops to trade in foreign
currency when most workers were not paid in hard currency.
Meanwhile, more than 500 National Constitution Assembly activists on
Wednesday held a protest march in Harare calling for the setting up of a
transitional government to address the urgent needs of the people.
The NCA chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, said the march was successful.
"The demonstration was a success because of the big turnout and the police
didn't have the capacity to deal with the huge crowd," Madhuku said.
Madhuku said the NCA would join the ZCTU in its Wednesday protest
against the RBZ.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:37
THE morning of Thursday June 3 will remain etched in the minds of many
people at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka, Masvingo, for decades to come.
Engraved by the horror of political violence that engulfed the area
around 3.30 am.
Guns reportedly rattled for over 30 minutes before they went silent,
leaving the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC's office in the district of about 40
000 people ablaze, two activists dead and eight others nursing serious
The dead -- Washington Nyamwa from Ward 19 and Chrison Mbano from Ward
18 -- were burnt beyond recognition after the office was torched by
suspected Zanu PF militia, state security agents and war veterans in the
countdown to the June 27 presidential election run-off.
The injured were first treated at St Anthony's Mission Hospital, five
km from the growth point, and those seriously burnt were transferred to
Harare for specialist medical attention at private hospitals.
One of the survivors of the attack, Kudakwashe Tsumele, told the
Zimbabwe Independent how he cheated death on the eventful night and suffered
Almost seven months after the savage attack, Tsumele is still
bed-ridden and suffering from multiple wounds on his hands, stomach and
"Zanu PF thugs wanted to kill us for supporting Tsvangirai," Tsumele
told the Independent at his rural home on Sunday. "I survived by the grace
of God. The attack was the height of political violence since the March 29
elections when we voted for Tsvangirai ahead of Mugabe."
Tsumele said on the fateful day he and nine colleagues were guarding
the party office when about 10 suspected Zanu PF activists armed with AK-47
and FN rifles arrived and broke down the door.
"Four of the Zanu PF thugs entered the office and when one of my
colleagues tried to escape he was shot dead. We were ordered to lie on the
floor, sprinkled with petrol and torched. They then rushed out of the
office," remembered the emotionally charged Tsumele. "We were engulfed by
fire. I managed to get out of the office and remove my clothes that were in
flames. By the time I got to the hospital, I had suffered serious injuries."
While Tsumele was on his way to the hospital, another colleague was
burnt beyond recognition just outside the office.
Because of the degree of the burns, the 23-year-old Tsumele was
transferred to Harare where he spent six months receiving specialist medical
attention at a private hospital.
"What is painful is that when I returned home I heard that tension was
high in this constituency (Zaka Central) despite that the MDC won," he said.
"Zanu PF youths militia is threatening to 'finish us off' and they said they
are waiting for an order from the powers that be to carry out the dastardly
Another survivor of the attack, Edson Gwenhure, said since his release
from hospital two months ago Zanu PF activists approached him and threatened
him with death.
"Tension is high," Gwenhure said. "We don't know what Zanu PF is
planning for us. Though the torture bases were dismantled, some of the
soldiers, youth militia and war veterans who terrorised people during the
campaign are still in the constituency. They said they are waiting for
orders from above to deal with us."
Gwenhure's face and fingers were disfigured and he lost the greater
part of his left foot.
He can hardly walk and has since abandoned his bicycle repair job at
the growth point. Life has become unbearable for him because he no longer
has any source of income.
The constituency MP, Harison Mudzuri, told the Independent that there
were fresh reports of Zanu PF intimidation and that tension was high between
the supporters of the two political parties since the one-man run-off.
"I must admit that there were no violent cases reported to me since
June 27, but there are fresh reports of intimidation of supporters by Zanu
PF youth militia and war veterans," Mudzuri said. "We are afraid that if the
power-sharing deal fails to be implemented our supporters will be targeted
He said he was reliably informed that Zanu PF militia intended to
launch an operation code-named Makasaina chibvumirano (you signed the
agreement) once the pact fails to hold.
"Our supporters are living in fear of the operation, but we are united
that Tsvangirai should only agree to a genuine power-sharing deal," said
Mudzuri, who is also the spokesperson of the militant Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe.
Intimidation or no intimidation, violence or no violence, Tsumele and
Gwenhure are bitter and yearning for revenge.
"What is painful is that no one was arrested for what they did to me
and my colleagues," Tsumele complained.
He said Tsvangirai should not be party to the unity government with
Mugabe as long as the 84-year-old fails to cede "real" power to the former
firebrand trade unionist.
"We are saying Tsvangirai should wait even for the next five years for
a fresh election and finish off Mugabe," Tsumele said. "The government of
national unity as presently proposed still gives our tormentor more power
than Tsvangirai who won a free election on March 29. Why enter the unity
government when you will become a junior partner?"
Even Gwenhure said MDC supporters were prepared to endure the current
economic hardships for another five years if Mugabe is not prepared to cede
power to Tsvangirai.
"After the June 3 attack we became more resolute that we will do
whatever is in our capacity to ensure that Tsvangirai gets real power,"
Gwenhure said. "No matter the amount of suffering Zimbabweans will face, we
will not compel Tsvangirai to be party to a government in which he has no
Mudzuri said the MDC wanted reparations for the violence that dogged
the June run-off.
"We will not adopt the biblical Jesus saying that God forgive them
(violence perpetrators) because they did not know what they were doing," he
said. "We are saying God forgive them because they knew what they were
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:34
THE judgement by the Supreme Court this week dismissing a Danish land
suit against the government has shown that any foreign investment in land
will not be protected by the law, defence lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri has
The Supreme Court dismissed a constitutional lawsuit brought by Danish
farmer Kim Bikertoft, former owner of Nyahondo Farm (Pvt) Ltd in Chinhoyi,
who challenged the acquisition of the farm under the controversial land
Uriri argued that the farm could not be acquired by Retired Brigadier
General Walter Tapfumaneyi as it would be a breach of the Bilateral
Investment and Protection Agreement (Bipa) signed between Zimbabwe and
Denmark in 1996.
The agreement states that foreign land investments of Danes should not
be expropriated except in the public interest, on the basis of
non-discrimination, carried out under due process of law, and against
prompt, adequate and effective compensation.
The judgement has also been interpreted to mean that the government
has failed to respect the Bipa which should afford protection of investments
by Danish nationals.
However, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku sitting with Deputy Chief
Justice Luke Malaba and Justices Paddington Garwe, Wilson Sandura and
Misheck Cheda as a constitutional bench, dismissed the appeal. They said
detailed reasons for the ruling would be provided in due course.
Uriri commenting on the judgment said: "The judgement in other words
implied that foreign land investment in the country is not protected by the
law. the state can expropriate the land."
This, he said, was as a result of Section 16 B of the Constitution
that was amended in 2005 to prohibit a person from challenging the
acquisition of land by the state.
"But the rules of natural justice demand that a man be heard. A man
must be heard," said Uriri.
Bemoaning some of the provisions of the Zimbabwe Constitution, Uriri
said they had exhausted all approaches to justice in the country and now
looked forward to take the case further.
"The way the Zimbabwean Constitution is amended is not consistent with
the Sadc Charter. Since we have exhausted all approaches, the advice I have
been given is to make a specific declaration to the Sadc Tribunal that
Zimbabwe acts in accordance with international law," he said.
He said even though the Danish company was entitled to compensation
and interest, there was no indication that this was going to be done soon.
Uriri said if one approached Section 16 (B) of the constitution
literally, the judgement would be correct.
However, Tapfumanyei, through his lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa said the
acquisition was lawful under Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 17.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:30
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) this week issued an ultimatum
on behalf of Harare residents to the water parastatal, Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa),
giving it a week to account for the funds it received from the central
bank to deal with the water and sewage crisis in the city.
In a letter sent to Zinwa's chairperson on Wednesday, the lawyers said
many Zimbabweans were faced with the threat of cholera and other diseases
such as diarrhoea due to water shortages. They said the ailments were
continuing despite the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and government
had on several occasions provided the water utility with significant sums of
money and other forms of assistance to enable it to respond to the water
shortages and sewage management.
"In the premise ZLHR, on behalf of the residents of Harare, calls upon
Zinwa to .immediately give an account of Zinwa's expenditure and use of the
monies given to it to respond to the water and sewage crisis," reads the
The human rights lawyers in the same letter ordered Zinwa to
immediately provide Harare residents with up to date information on the
situation of water supplies in their areas, and to ensure the provision of
clean water to all residents of Harare.
The lawyers said they will take legal action if Zinwa fails to meet
its demands by December 1.
"Should Zinwa fail to take the action highlighted above with immediate
effect, with progress being evident no later than December 1, we shall have
no option but to proceed with legal action against you as advised by our
clients and residents of Harare," the lawyers said.
They also said failure by Zinwa to fulfil its statutory obligation had
led to many residential areas across Harare, especially areas such as
Budiriro, Glen View, Mabvuku, and Chitungwiza going for months without
constant water supplies.
According to the letter, the little water that residents have been
receiving from Zinwa is in fact unhealthy as a result of Zinwa's failure to
refurbish Harare's water supply system.
The lawyers accused Zinwa of unethical conduct for dumping untreated
sewage into Lake Chivero - Harare's main water source - and for billing
residents for monthly water consumption when in many cases they have not had
water supplies for months.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:30
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC says it will approach multilateral
institutions to pressure President Robert Mugabe's government to release 15
activists the party claims are in police custody after their arrest earlier
The move to engage international bodies by the MDC comes after police
have defied a High Court order to release the activists. The party also
petitioned in vain the acting Attorney-General Barat Patel on the matter.
The activists, according to the MDC, were still unaccounted for after
they were arrested in pre-dawn raids on their homes in Banket, Mashonaland
Nelson Chamisa, MDC spokesperson, told the Zimbabwe Independent this
week that the party had no option but to engage Sadc, the African Union (AU)
and other international bodies to intervene.
"The MDC has done all in its power to have the activists released
without any success and the only option left will be to knock at the doors
of multilateral institutions like Sadc and the AU," Chamisa said. "We have
to put pressure on the Sadc and the AU to put pressure on Zimbabwean
authorities to release our activists. As a party we are also demanding the
respect of the human rights of our activists."
The MDC said the continued detention of its activists was a "major
threat" to the party's power-sharing negotiations with Zanu PF.
The party activists have been held for almost 30 days without access
to their lawyers or families.
A High Court ruling on November 11 ordered the urgent release or the
immediate appearance in court of the activists, but the police have defied
Chamisa said the continued illegal detention of the activists was a
violation of the power-sharing agreement the two MDC formations signed with
Zanu PF in Harare on September 15.
The MDC listed the missing members as the party's women's assembly
chairperson Concillia Chinanzvavana, her husband Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, and
Zvimba South District chairperson Fidelis Chiramba.
Chiramba stood as an MDC senatorial candidate for Zvimba in the March
The other activists are parliamentary candidate for Zvimba North in
the same elections Ernest Mudimu, Zvimba South youth organiser Fanwell
Tembo, deputy provincial secretary Terry Musona, and the wife of MDC Zvimba
South youth chairperson Collen Mutemagawo, Violet Mupfuranhehwe.
Mutemagawo and Mupfuranhwe's two-year-old child, who was abducted
together with his parents, is also missing. So are activists Lloyd Tarumbwa,
Pieat Kaseke, Gwenzi Kahiya, Tawanda Bvumo, Agrippa Kakonda and Larry Gaka.
Kakonda and Gaka are from Chitungwiza.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:28
ZANU PF will hold its provincial elections in Bulawayo tomorrow amid
serious divisions in the party over the revival of PF Zapu and the decision
by most members of the current executive not to seek re-election.
The party chairperson in the city, Macleod Tshawe, said he would not
seek re-election when the polls take place at Zanu PF's provincial
Tshawe's pullout comes at a time when six members of his executive
have left Zanu PF to join the revived PF Zapu.
The six include secretary for information and publicity Effort Nkomo,
secretary for administration Tryphine Nhliziyo and secretary for security
Sources in the party said members of the current executive opted out
of the elections after a commission of inquiry set up by Zanu PF to
investigate events leading to the revival of PF Zapu accused them of
plotting to desert the party.
Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo this week did not disclose the
full contents of the commission of inquiry report, but briefly said the
probe revealed that the organisers of a recent PF Zapu meeting wanted to
"embarrass" Vice-president Joseph Msika when they invited him address their
"The commission of inquiry established that the entire executive was
involved in setting up structures towards the revival of PF Zapu and the
current members of the executive will therefore not stand in the elections,"
one of the sources said. "There is a crisis in the party as most senior and
experienced leaders have declined to contest for party positions."
Tshawe told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that he would not seek
re-election because of family and business commitments.
"I am not standing for re-election as the Zanu PF provincial
chairperson because of pressing family and business commitments and I am
happy to say I have contributed enough to Zanu PF since my election in
2004," Tshawe said.
He confirmed that his executive had called for meetings on the revival
of PF Zapu to appraise Msika on the problems former cadres of the party were
Zanu PF national commissar Elliot Manyika said the polls would go
ahead, but declined to shed light on political developments in the province.
Party sources said politburo and central committee members from the
province were working on a plan to stop war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda
from becoming the chairperson of the province.
"The crisis the central committee and politburo members face now is to
come up with the right people who are respected in the province to take over
the provincial leadership and they are struggling to find the people as
everyone capable of leading is moving over to PF Zapu," another source
said. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:22
TAPIWA Nyamutsime cannot help but reflect on how the year 2008 has
been for her and her family.
Light showers are falling as she trudges back home after tilling a
small patch of land allocated to her by war veterans in Epworth,
Harare, after lying that she was a staunch supporter of one of the
candidates vying for Zanu PF's provincial chairmanship of the capital on
Her $800 000 rent for November, like that of others backing the
candidate, was paid for as part of the campaign and vote buying.
However, the benefits from the campaign do not comfort her at all,
instead they bring more misery to her and wishes that 2008 comes to an
Nyamutsime, living positively with HIV and Aids since 2001, is bitter
that 2008 was a deception in the fight against the pandemic.
She is of the strong view that there is nothing much to celebrate on
World Aids Day on December 1.
Nyamutsime blames the hardships she encountered during the course of
the year on the political situation in the country, especially the countdown
to the June 27 presidential election run-off which was littered with
violence reportedly perpetrated by state security agents, Zanu PF militia
and war veterans.
The bloody campaign was meant to secure victory for President Robert
Mugabe against MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai who had out-polled the veteran leader
on March 29, but failed to secure the mandatory votes to win the presidency.
Nyamutsime was one of hundreds of residents of Epworth who were
displaced by the political violence. The displacement affected her normal
supply of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) from a local clinic and this adversely
affected her health.
"My displacement was a challenge," Nyamutsime said. "I was worried so
much, because I needed to register again in Dzivaresekwa where I was staying
with relatives to have access to ARVs. I went for some days without a normal
supply of the drugs."
As she was trying to come to grips with her displacement, the
government dealt her another heavy body blow.
On June 4, the Social Welfare ministry suspended humanitarian
organisations from carrying out their activities.
Among those suspended were HIV and Aids organisations and this
affected mostly poor people living with the pandemic, as they were left with
no access to free ARVs and food.
The suspension of the organisations pulled back the fight against the
scourge at a time when the country's prevalence rate was declining.
Zimbabwe boasts of achieving a decline in the HIV and Aids prevalence
rate from 18,1% to 15,6% over the past four years. In 2001, the rate was
26,5% and it went down to 18,1% by 2003.
Government hospitals have few supplies of ARVs, while the few
humanitarian organisations that were operational could not cope with the
large numbers of people who sought assistance.
Most vulnerable people affected were in Manicaland, Mberengwa,
Masvingo and some parts of Matabeleland North and South.
The biggest problem that faced people living with HIV and Aids was the
lack of food rich in nutrition, a requirement for them before taking their
Emma Kundishora, the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society secretary-general,
said food was needed for ARVs to work effectively.
"Without a full stomach many of those on ARVs are now choosing to
default on their treatment as they cannot cope with the debilitating side
effects," Kundishora said recently in Kadoma where her organisation was
A 55-year-old woman, Antonia Tsikira, of Rimuka who is living with HIV
and Aids, said she had not taken the ARVs for days after failing to secure
food and as a result her health had deteriorated.
The government lifted the ban on humanitarian organisations on August
29, but this did not help much as the damage had already been done.Zimbabwe
is facing an acute food crisis.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World
Food Programme (WFP) food-insecure persons in rural and urban areas will be
3,8 million by December.
This is expected to go up to at least 5,1 million people between
January and March next year.
The signing of the September 15 political agreement between Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and the leader of the smaller formation of the MDC Arthur
Mutambara is yet to bring hope to people infected and affected by HIV and
Aids as the parties are still embroiled in arguments on forming the unity
The plight of those living with HIV and Aids was worsened by the
recent strike by doctors, which saw a number of wards being closed and
patients being discharged, at times without treatment.
Moreover, the shutting down of a number of opportunistic infections
clinics in Chitungwiza, Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals, which provided
services to people living with HIV and Aids, worsened the situation.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not helped matters. The maximum daily
withdrawal limit of $500 000 is not enough to buy a loaf of bread, let alone
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have since taken up a case of
a woman living with HIV and Aids against the central bank and a commercial
bank that denied her access to money in her account she intended to use to
The woman - whose identity is protected - tested HIV positive in 1998
and used to buy ARVs using bank certified cheques or cash.
However, as from November 18, the price of the ARVs was pegged at $706
million payable in cash at most pharmacies.
With the maximum daily cash withdrawal of $500 000, the woman would
have to spend at least 1 412 days (almost four years) withdrawing the total
amount required for her drugs. In the meantime the prices would be going up
due to the hyperinflation.
Nyamutsime only hopes for the best and that Zanu PF and MDC would stop
form an inclusive government immediately. She celebrates World Aids
Day in tears and agony, but still optimistic that the government will take
their plight seriously.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:11
RE-APPOINTED Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono might not meet the next
January's deadline that brings an end to the bank's involvement in
quasi-fiscal activities despite promising an end to the supra-ministerial
interventions, analysts have said.
Analysts said delays in forming an inclusive government and the
absence of a national could force Gono to perpetuate quasi fiscal activities
aimed at bailing out the heavily indebted government. This week President
Robert Mugabe gave the incumbent Reserve bank governor the nod to see
through another term in office amid weeks of speculation over his fate.
But analysts said although Gono's re-appointment would inspire little
international and local confidence, his new lease of life at the helm of the
bank would not introduce new monetary measures that would guide the country
from the decade long economic recession.
With annual inflation now over the official 231 million percent,
critics blame the Gono for stoking inflation through quasi-fiscal
interventions in his just-ended first five-year term.
Accepting re-appointment of the second term Gono said he would cut his
seemingly erstwhile involvement on quasi-fiscal matters.
"With effect from January, 2009, therefore, the Reserve Bank will be
focusing on the core businesses of inflation control and financial sector
stability," Gono said.
"Under the new thrust, it would be expected that all our parastatals,
local authorities and all government departments and ministries will fully
discharge their statutory mandates without the need to rely on the central
bank for assistance."
Expressing skeptism in Gono's remarks, University of Zimbabwe
political science professor Eldred Masunungure said the Reserve bank could
continue with its "ill-advised policies".
"He should not have undertaken the policies in the first place,"
Masunungure said. "In my view those were outside his jurisdiction. The fact
that he is abandoning them is however salutary bearing in mind that he
should have started carrying out the policies."
"It will be extremely difficult to stop those activities given the
ongoing delays in forming an inclusive government and the absence of a
national budget. I do not see the talks being concluded in January. I think
that will be very optimistic and in the absence of a budget the Reserve Bank
may be compelled by default to intervene," he said.
Masunungure said the establishment of a new institution tasked with
rounding up the current quasi-fiscal activities would usher in new but
concealed quasi-fiscal activities by the Reserve Bank.
"The Reserve Bank has merely the created creature-an invisible conduit
for new quasi-fiscal operations. My fear is that the quasi-fiscal activities
will continue but hidden under the institution. The Reserve bank has become
habituated in carrying out quasi fiscal activities," Masunungure said.
Sources also said the re-appointment of Gono could also introduce a
contentious issue to the ongoing negotiations over the formation of an
inclusive government between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leaders-Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
Former university of Zimbabwe economics professor Rob Davies however
described Gono's statement as mere rhetoric. Gono made the same remarks when
he presented last year's first quarterly monetary policy that also resulted
in the establishment of Fiscorp - a wholly owned Reserve bank subsidiary
tasked with carrying out quasi fiscal activities.
Since its formation the Reserve bank has undertaken programmes such as
the Farm Mechanisation, Basic Commodities Supply Side Interventions, the
Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility and the Parastatals and Local
Authorities Re-orientation Programme.
"This is not the first time that the governor has said he would cease
quasi-fiscal activities," Davies said. " He made similar remarks when
Fiscorp was established but nothing much has been said about it since then.
Its mere rhetoric."
ZB bank group economist Best Doroh said Gono's decision to stop
quasi-fiscal activities was commendable if fully implemented.
"This indicates good indications on the part of the bank and we hope
that this promise will be fully implemented. In my view these activities had
been contributing to inflation through credit creation," said Doroh.
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:09
THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has been on a tailspin, plummeting by over
82% since Monday last week to Wednesday this week. Many investors have lost
their money on the market in more or less the same fashion that has gripped
global markets. Many shares have collapsed, including heavyweights such as
Old Mutual. Businessdigest reporter Paul Nyakazeya (PN) this week
interviewed economist Brains Muchemwa (BM) on what has been happening on the
PN: Can we conclude that the bubble has finally burst after measures
taken by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week?
BM: It is very difficult to evaluate statistically and it may remain a
PN: Why would you imply the bubble has not burst when the stock market
has plummeted by such proportions?
BM: A bubble bursts when investors make huge losses in real terms.
Look at what has happened in the major global housing markets and regional
bourses such as the JSE down 58% in real terms, the Lusaka Stock Exchange
down 28% in real terms and the Botswana Stock Exchange down as well 58% by
What has happened on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is far from being a
real bubble bursting because no one knows the fair value of the exchange
rate. And taking the Old Mutual Implied Rate to be the proxy, the market
goes up and down with it. Hence really very few recorded real losses from
that perspective. However, in nominal terms the bubble has burst for those
that bought at the peak mid-November, but surely a serious investor should
not worry about nominal values in a hyper-inflationary environment.
PN: Going forward, is the market likely to recover in the short-term?
BM: The lessons for 2003-2004 and 2006 are clear to us. The market
will remain bearish only by the extent to which the Reserve Bank will be
maintaining a very tight liquidity position in the market.
All asset price buoyancy is largely a function of excess liquidity.
Look at how prolonged periods of soft monetary policy by the US Federal
Reserve buoyed the Dot Com bubble in the early 2000 and the sub prime
mortgage bubble to 2007. And locally of course how excess liquidity has
buoyed nominal house and stock market prices in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
What we need to understand is that the central government and related
institutions resort to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for funding in the face
of the persistent high budget deficits, and the sources of government
revenue, largely tax from corporates and pay-as-you-earn, are dwindling
fast. Therefore liquidity will soon be coming back into the market and the
upward rally, net of the margin of rogue trading, will begin.
PN: Why would investors continue to pile on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange and shun other investment markets?
BM: Investors are looking at value creation and convenience of
investment. The economy is dollarised, and many companies no longer sell by
cheques or RTGS, and are demanding the scarce cash and foreign currency.
Hence the goods market is not easily a tenable alternative for households
and corporates with excess cash balances. Therefore anyone with Zimbabwe
dollars is faced with options of the money market with negative real
returns, the property market that needs loads of money to enter or the
convenient local bourse. That is why the stock market has many favorites,
and of course it's not a bad attitude to have a saving culture as a people.
PN: There is a general view that most assets and listed companies in
Zimbabwe are trading at excessive discounts today. What's your view?
BM: That is a general view, as you have said. Look at it from this
perspective. An asset is trading at discount if one is confident they would
realise better value in a reasonable foreseeable future when the true value
becomes known to the market.
In my view there are no assets trading at a discount in Zimbabwe. The
market values reflecting on the assets are taking into consideration the
state of the economy, the economic, political and business risks, the
prospects of future earnings, current consumer demand and more importantly,
the opportunity cost of capital in a global environment. Hence investors are
taking all relevant available information to arrive at the fair value we see
tagged on companies today.
Of course there are some listed companies that are trading below the
replacement cost, but still the issue comes to the exchange rate that one
uses among the many that exist. No one knows where the exchange rate will
settle when there is stabilisation and that makes the argument of fair
values difficult to conceptualise unless the stock market starts trading in
PN: Is there merit in the ZSE trading in US dollars?
BM: If there is merit in OK, Edgars, National foods and Delta, for
example selling in US dollars, why not then trade their values in that
currency if possible for ease of valuation?
PN: What do you take of the performance of foreign currency licensed
BM: The eventual stabilisation and predictability of US dollar
cash-flows will improve earnings, but for selected counters largely in
Services sector companies will be the last in the chain to enjoy the
benefits as the Zimbabwe dollar which is being rejected by some quarters
will continue to dominate their cashflows and balance sheets.
PN: After events that happened last week, what would be the best
investment strategy on the stock market?
BM: With excessive inflation and acute market volatility, it is very
difficult to consistently beat alpha. And besides, crystallisation of value
is usually mythical on the stock market because of the rapid loss of value
that once existed on the market. So my advice is largely for one to identify
quality counters today and stick to them until the economy stabilises.
Active trading is very dangerous in a market with acute volatility.
PN: There has been a global meltdown because to the after-effects of
the US sub-prime mortgage market crisis. How safe is southern Africa and
Zimbabwe in particular?
BM: Southern Africa is suffering largely from its commodity backed
currencies that have taken a tumble as commodity prices have taken a huge
The tumble in currencies has instigated withdrawals of carry-trade
related portfolio investments, creating second round pressure on currencies
thereby creating more volatility and weakness
we see today on the rand, pula and kwacha.
Zimbabwe is slightly immune because we are not so open an economy.
However, because the country leans heavily on remittances from abroad, the
credit crunch out there is affecting incomes of Zimbabweans working abroad,
and eventually the inflows will be thinning out. That creates a slowdown in
economic activities here.
PN: After this crisis, what could be the next crisis on the markets?
BM: It is very difficult to predict crises, but the fuel coupons
crisis could be the next. Fuel coupons are replacing the payment system as
more people and business are demanding payment by these ahead of local
currency. Anyone who can issue a fuel coupon has become an issuer of choice
and value, and that could become another pyramid to crumble as rogue trading
schemes are much more possible if the speculators descend on the scene big
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:08
THE delay in forming a government of national unity by the country's
three main political parties aimed at solving the political crisis and the
adjournment of parliament is likely to affect the announcement of the
For the first time since Independence in 1980, the country was likely
to go into a new year without the announcement of the national budget which
is traditionally scheduled between the last week of November or first two
weeks of December.
With the current hyperinflationary environment, some economic analysts
were questioning if it made sense to announce a national budget in Zimbabwe
dollar terms at the rate the local currency was losing value against major
currencies. International laws however do not allow Zimbabwe to present a
national budget in US dollars.
Analysts who spoke to businessdigest said the delay in crafting and
announcing the national budget which is a reflection of a country's "health"
was a recipe for a national disaster.
ZB Bank group economist Best Doroh said it was imperative to come up
with a national budget under the current economic environment.
"We are not sure how government ministries would operate without these
allocations, service delivery will further deteriorate and the absence of
the national budget will make it difficult to come up with meaningful
projections," said Doroh.
In the absence of balance-of-payments support from multilateral
institutions, Zimbabwe has been funding its budget since the turn of the
As revenue dwindles because of harsh economic conditions, expenditure
has recorded an upward trend as government failed to live within its means.
This has necessitated the need for supplementary budgets which are usually
10 times larger than the original budget because of inflation.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure however said the budget had not
been a key instrument in public policies for the past three years.
"It (budget) has been overtaken by other interventions like the
quasi-fiscal activities by the Reserve Bank even if it is announced, it
would be quickly consumed by inflation," Masunungure said.
"It will not make sense to present a budget now because all it will be
are figures on paper hard to put into practice. Two months down the line
most ministries will have exhausted the money they would have been
allocated," he said.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, said
there were no consequences linked to the delay in announcing the budget
because President Robert Mugabe and his allies have never been serious about
"To them (government) the budget is just a legal process concerned
with figures and not really about where the money is going to come from,"
Analysts said poor allocation of funds or no funding at all leads to a
whole lot of inflation drivers as Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono had
embarked on funding quasi-fiscal activities.
"The Reserve Bank has been funding all ministries through its
quasi-fiscal activities which calls for more money printing, a move that is
highly inflationary," Madhuku said.
Some analysts however said announcing the national budget under the
current economic environment was a non event because of the high inflation
Kingdom Bank economic analyst Witness Chinyama said the absence of
essential tools for the formulation of policies such as the national budget
lead the economy to be run by piecemeal arrangements and crisis management
By Jeslyn Dendere
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:08
WHILE global markets are selling their shares because of the financial
crisis, a buying fever has gripped the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange following the
"riot act" read by the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last Thursday,
Imara Edwards financial services said.
The stock market fell sharply this week following monetary policy
measures introduced by the Reserve Bank meant to curb fraudulent speculative
behaviour that had gripped the market.
Gono said it was because investors were abusing the two trading
session structure of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange to "buy and sell" shares
that were not backed by actual credit balances in their bank accounts.
For instance, an investor would instruct a broker to buy shares of
certain listed companies in the morning call-over and order the sell of part
of those shares during the afternoon call-over, thereby making huge profits
as share prices would have increased by a massive percentage.
As there would be no money in the investor's account, part of the
profit would then be used to pay for the shares that would have been
Imara said the perverse market behaviour was explained by
hyperinflation and the increasing 'dollarisation' of the Zimbabwean economy,
with the exception of its domestic financial markets and the public sector.
John Legat, head of Imara Asset Management, who is based in Harare
said: "In local currency terms, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has been
going ballistic in line with hyperinflation and money creation. The ZSE was
up 56 436% in October."
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono last week said: "You
only need to look at the madness that has been going on at the stock
exchange and the fictitious, obnoxious and artificial wealth that was being
created in an environment where fundamentals have actually not improved. My
warning to those who are playing on the stock exchange is that if you play
with fire you know what happens."
Imara manages and markets a range of investment funds with equity
holdings in various African jurisdictions, including Zimbabwe.
"Daily moves of over 200% on the ZSE index are now normal. On some
days, individual stocks have risen by 100 000%.
"Fundamentals on individual stocks have largely been ignored as
individuals and institutions are investing in the stock market regardless of
risk as it is one of the few places left where Zimbabwe dollars are accepted
as currency," said Legat.
"Rather than have Zimbabwe cash balances in a bank wasting away,
investors are instructing their stock-brokers to buy anything liquid," said
Earlier this month, the government slammed insurance companies and
pension funds, which make up more than 80% of ZSE's investors, for
preferring to invest in the stock exchange rather than the government.
Insurance experts said to punish them, the Reserve Bank introduced a
statutory requirement that from the end of this month, they would have to
invest between 30% and 35% of their assets in prescribed government assets.
Failure to comply would result in "very serious remedial measures".
There are suggestions that ZSE should become dollar-denominated, along
with many other parts of this rapidly dollarising economy.
With the introduction of foreign currency shops and fuel stations, the
move towards doing business in hard currency is spreading like wildfire.
Employees are starting to ask for salaries to be paid in hard currency
as they are unable to easily access Zimbabwe dollars from the banking system
and most goods are available only in foreign currency shops and on the black
market, both of which require real money.
While the partial dollarisation has provided some breathing space for
Zimbabweans with access to foreign currency it has created dual pricing on
every good and service.
Prices in US dollars are actually higher than those in local currency.
Meanwhile Old Mutual plc, has delayed its dividend payment to Zimbabwe
shareholders because of the problems in country's banking system.
The insurer noted the failure of the banking system to handle the
number of zeros in processing the transactions which amounts to $453
trillion per share for its interim period which is due today.
"The banking system in general is having difficulties with the size of
the numbers involved," Matthew Gregorowski, a spokesman for London-based Old
Mutual, said in a statement. "It was a temporary processing issue" which
would be solved soon, he added.
According to Kingdom Stock Brokers (KSB) trade on the money market is
apparently stagnant because of the recently administered cheque limits and
the persistent Real Time Gross Settlement system challenges that have
affected the entire settlement system.
NMB Bank Ltd that was suspended from the clearing house on
Saturday was readmitted on Tuesday. This effectively means the bank
was out of the clearing house for one day.
Asked for comment on the circumstances surrounding its suspension, the
bank said: "It was common knowledge that when one of the commercial banks
was taken out of the clearing house on the morning of 17 November 2008, we
became a victim of the contagion effect. The suspended bank owed us $195
quintillion in clearing settlement. The suspension of the one bank affected
two other banks that failed to settle with us an amount of $121 quintillion.
One of the said banks has since paid us $103 quintillion."
NMB was in surplus on Tuesday when it was readmitted to the clearing
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:03
THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) said it has observed acts of insider
trading on the local bourse which was causing some counters to inflate,
depress or cause fluctuation of shares.
In a statement to the Reserve Bank and Ministry of Finance signed by
ZSE chief executive Emmanuel Munyukwi and chairman Seti Shumba yesterday,
the local bourse said it would investigate all reported cases as it was a
"The ZSE committee has also observed, with concern that there are some
relatively large institutions which have capacity and strategic
macroeconomic information which is used to inflate, depress or cause
fluctuations in the prices of securities in breach of the Securities Act
(Chapter 24:25) Section 96 (2)," said ZSE.
"This is considered a very serious offence and will be subjected to
investigation in order to determine complicity under the securities Act,"
the stock exchange said.
The ZSE committee said it had not yet ruled on the issue of defaulting
members that were revealed by the Reserve Bank last Thursday.
"It (activities on the stock market) was simultaneously escalated to
the public domain as the report was being brought to the attention of the
committee," the ZSE said.
The ZSE said the procedures as prescribed in Rule 11.01 for bringing
this issue, as well as other complaints about members, has not been varied
"The ZSE committee has a primary duty to appraise the discovered
evidence and then set out to prove the breach. The committee must then
follow procedures as laid down in rules 11.01-11.12," said the ZSE.
The stock exchange committee said it would consider the question of
final re-admission of any defaulter in two different classes according to
rule 11.12 namely (i) Cases of failure arising from default of clients or
from other circumstances where no bad faith or breach of the rules and usage
of the exchange has been practiced. (ii) Cases marked by indiscretion and by
failure to exercise reasonable caution on the part of the defaulter.
"The ZSE Committee will examine any such evidence provided in
investigating the matter through normal channels," the ZSE said.
The stock exchange committee also said it will call for all
participants to be subjected to interviews regarding the circumstances of
the alleged breach and weigh the evidence to establish the underlying
motives for suspicious conduct and behaviour by the members as innocent,
negligent or fraudulent.
"The quality of the evidence must be such that it is admissible in
open court so as to provide a successful prosecution and ultimate conviction
if the need arises," the ZSE said.
The committee said it shall ensure that the rules of Natural Justice
are applied and observed by taking all reasonable steps to ensure that every
person whose interests are likely to be affected by the exercise of the
functions is given adequate opportunity to make representations in pursuit
of fairness and any probabilistic outcomes in terms of the rules. Commenting
on purchasing and settlement risk, the ZSE said a precedent was observed in
the current difficulties in which bank cheques were dishonoured.
"This put the entire marekt at risk as there was no longer any
guarantee, even by the designated authorities in the bank that their own
paper and what they have signed for can be rendered disabled. Therefore no
other paper will be acceptable to stockbrokers for the purchase of shares,"
ZSE said the recently introduced measured of further securing
liability on the proceeds of the cheque by getting the bank chief executive
to undertake the endorsement has disabled the whole system.
"The banking system itself appeared to be struggling with deposits and
end of day balances and the zeroes. They cannot establish cleared effects
and the whole industry has been rendered as defaulters," ZSE said.
According to ZSE the main operating bank Stanbic has admitted that
they have a back log of unprocessed deposits for stockbrokers going back to
October this year. This will continue to feature as "uncleared effect".
"This has the effect of disabling the account which can no longer be
used for settlement purposes. Most accounts are also therefore in default,"
the stock market said.
The RTGS system has not been fully restored and will be currently
limited to five transfers per day.
The stock market said the banking system also appears to be struggling
to handle the range of figures.
"Removing a fixed set of zeroes on the top end will result in the loss
of data as the lower cash end of the range," said ZSE.
The local bourse said there was a significant level of settlement risk
in trading. It said it therefore was prudent for the participating brokers
to reduce this level of risk by managing the volume of activity being
"Any exposure under current conditions would worsen overall market
risk," ZSE said.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 27 November 2008 20:04
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe's use of an outdated software resulted in
contract line subscribers being migrated to the "Business Partna" package.
Because of foreign currency shortages, the software, which is
responsible for the billing system and which has a lifespan of five years,
was used for nearly 10 years.
Econet now require US$2,5 million for a new billing system, which
would enable the company to revert to it old set-up.
Speaking to businessdigest, Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni
said after being advised that the system could not be repaired after passing
its lifespan, the mobile telecommunications company had only two choices,
switch contract lines off completely, or put subscribers on the Buddie and
"The billing system was collapsing, it meant all contract subscribers
would be off air. We then decided to migrate them to Business Partna," said
"The supplier had told us that they would not be able to provide any
spares to keep the outdated equipment running and the solution was to
purchase a new one. Shortage of foreign currency could not allow us to
upgrade the software," he said.
Mboweni said when they have money to improve the entire network they
would "easily identify the contract subscribers and restore their status".
He could not give a timeframe as to when the entire network would be
improved as there were other competing issues needing attention.
"We know we should have alerted the contract subscribers before the
migration but the situation was beyond our control. We were throwing every
resourse to the heart of the network which is the switch," Mboweni said.
"We are dealing with an era of crisis. The work that we have done at
the heart of the network is significant. What we have done here is a way of
averting disaster, it is part of a journey but we have hit a hard patch," he
Contract line user accounted for 5% or about 50 000 of total
subscribers, while Buddie and Liberties platforms make up 95%.
Mboweni added that Econet had other activities more critical to the
survival of the network that also require urgent attention and investment.
This means any new funding raised would not be deployed immediately
into the acquisition of the new billion system given the Business Partna
customers can be serviced on the pre-paid platform.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:45
RESIDENTS in the suburb of Glen Norah reported a disquieting spread of
cholera in the area this week, with more than four people dying in Glen
Norah B, as of November 20.
The state-run Herald newspaper featured an article which alleged that
"Cholera is under control" while people continue to have no access to clean
tap water and to die from cholera.
It is paradoxical that this mishap comes at a time when the state is
desperately propagating untrue information in a bid to cover up the
statistics and magnitude of the epidemic.
The pandemic whose nucleus in Harare is Budiriro suburb is
distressingly spreading to other neighbouring residential suburbs and is
also wreaking havoc across the country, thus exposing the government's
disaster management and preparedness incapacity and the need for help.
Suffice to say the cholera pandemic must be declared a national disaster .
Zinwa, the government parastatal responsible for water provision and
sewer management has, despite the resources it received from the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), failed to meet the residents' clean tap water
The government has also failed to timeously act on the Zinwa
failure -- that is -- reversing the disastrous decision of the water and
sewer takeover and return the management of these to the local authority.
These failures, coupled with the collapse of the country's public health
sector, have resulted in the massive infections and deaths from cholera.
The Combined Harare Residents Association demands that the government
acts responsibly by relieving Zinwa of the sewer and water management duties
and return them to the Harare local authority.
The residents cannot bear another day of Zinwa failure, government
laxity and the cholera pandemic.
CHRA will continue to rally the residents around demanding quality
service delivery and a responsible leadership.
We stand by the cholera victims and hold Zinwa and the government
liable. The residents shall continue to seek recourse for their violated
Farai Barnabas Mangodza,
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:41
THERE has been a lot of debate in the media, of late, relating to what
exactly the term "power-sharing" means and entails. The main thrust of this
article is to clarify the obvious and in some cases, deliberate, distortions
and untruths peddled by the state media on the subject of power-sharing.
A power-sharing government is one in which two or more political
parties join hands in forming and running it. The ratio of power-sharing is
entirely determined by the preceding agreement between the contracting
political parties who agree to enter into a power-sharing government.
What is patently clear is that there is no precise formula for a
power-sharing government. There is definitely no one-size-fits-all approach
to the formulation of a power-sharing government. Each power-sharing
government is unique and indeed, peculiar, to its own specific and special
circumstances. Put differently, the model of a power-sharing government
adopted in country A is not necessarily suitable for country B.
The power-sharing agreement signed by Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe
and Arthur Mutambara on September 11, 2008 and solemnised amidst much
regional fanfare on September 15 underpins the need for the country's two
major political parties, namely the MDC-T led by Tsvangirai and Zanu PF led
by Mugabe to share power equitably and fairly. There is nowhere in the
memorandum of agreement where any one political party is described as the
dominant political entity and thus, the party that will literally invite
other political parties to join it in forming a so-called all-inclusive
My understanding of the 9/11 agreement is that it forms the global
framework on which an all-inclusive government is to be formed. It is
therefore preposterous and indeed, fallacious, for Zanu PF to perceive
itself as the "dominant'' political party that should unilaterally determine
the parameters and ramifications of an all-inclusive government in Zimbabwe.
The 9/11 agreement conceptualises a government in which the MDC formations
and Zanu PF share power equally. More importantly, the agreement has the
outcome of the March 29 harmonised elections in which Tsvangirai emerged as
the winner of the presidential electoral contest as its bedrock.
It is beyond debate that Mugabe was beaten hands down by Tsvangirai in
the March poll. A sham election was held on June 27 in which Mugabe competed
against himself and won "resoundingly''. One does not have to be a rocket
scientist to appreciate the overwhelming lack of legitimacy of the charade
that took place in Zimabwe on June 27.
Surely, if Mugabe "won'' the June 27 election run-off fairly and
legimately with over 85% of the total valid votes cast as announced by the
thoroughly discredited and partial Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), then
why didn't he proceed to quickly form a government as the overwhelming
"winner'' of the presidential election run-off? The mere fact that Mugabe
has not formed a government nearly five months after "trouncing''
Tsvangirai during the June 27 run-off election speaks volumes about the lack
of legitimacy of that particular election "result". The annals of history
have recorded the murderous campaign perpetrated by Zanu PF that preceded
the June election run-off. This one-man "election'' received unprecedented
and universal condemnation from even the Sadc observer mission, the
Pan-African Parliament observer mission and the AU observer mission. This is
the main reason Thabo Mbeki found it necessary to broker the power-sharing
agreement of 9/11.
In normal electoral dispensations, an overwhelming winner of a free
and fair election can never be compelled to share power with a loser. It
will really be up to the winner to show his magnanimity by inviting the
loser to join him in government. And we all know that it is not within
Mugabe's political DNA to invite electoral losers into his government!
Tsvangirai is, therefore, perfectly within his rights when he demands
that there must be genuine and equitable power-sharing between himself and
Mugabe before he can join the so-called all-inclusive government.
Mugabe and Zanu PF have absolutely no right to unilaterally dictate
the terms and conditions of the power-sharing government. By unilaterally
apportioning cabinet portfolios as done by Robert Mugabe some few weeks ago,
the need for Tsvangirai to be more careful in his dealings with Mugabe
cannot be over-emphasised. As Tsvangirai has repeatedly said, it is better
to have no deal than to have a bad deal. The people of Zimbabwe spoke on
March 29 and who are we to ignore the wishes of the voters who chose
Tsvangirai to be their president?
The 9/11 agreement should not and indeed, cannot, be taken as a
substitute for the people's choice as reflected in the outcome of the March
elections. If anything, Tsvangirai should be applauded for exhibiting true
statesmanship by agreeing to have Mugabe, a clear loser of the legitimate
March presidential election, remain as head of state!
Power-sharing is not and can never be an easy thing to do in politics.
Political parties, rightly so, contest for political power to enable
themselves to form governments. Thus, it is always going to be very
difficult and painful, for electoral winners to form coalition governments
with electoral losers. Even in Kenya, the situation is not all that rosy.
Raila Odinga was forced to share power with Mwai Kibaki in order to avert a
major catastrophe in Kenya. But recently and especially after the outcome of
the Waki Report was made known, things have really been on a knife-edge in
Kenya. Justice Philip Waki's report is basically an analysis of the causes
and effects of the post-election violence in Kenya between December 2007 and
And now some politicians in Odinga's political party are crying foul
alleging that the Waki Report is a witch-hunting exercise meant to tarnish
their image by labelling them ''warlords'' who masterminded the
post-election violence. There is even talk of bringing those politicians
implicated by the Waki Report to trial at the International Criminal Court
at the Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity.
This clearly shows the need for Tsvangirai to enter a power-sharing
government only after ensuring that the rug will not be pulled from under
his feet once he blindly enters into a government that is dictated by the
whims and fantasies of Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
All important issues such as the promulgation of Constitutional
Amendment No 19, the equitable distribution of cabinet portfolios,
governorships, senior diplomats and senior civil servants as well as the
composition and operations of the National Security Council, have to be
clearly and unequivocally canvassed and agreed upon before Tsvangirai can be
sworn in as Zimbabwe's new prime minister. Nothing short of this should be
acceptable. Power-sharing doesn't mean rushing into an
improperly-constituted government simply because the people are suffering.
Fortunately for Tsvangirai, the majority of the people understand the basis
of his reservations and certainly; he remains arguably the most popular
national leader in Zimbabwe at the moment.
By Obert Gutu: MDC Senator for Chisipite and member of the party's
National Legal Committee.
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:38
LEGAL experts this week said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa had no
constitutional obligation to consult both formations of the MDC before
crafting the draft Zimbabwe Constitutional Amendment No19 Bill to give
effect to the September 15 power-sharing deal.
They however said it would have been "politically correct" to have the
input of the two parties to demonstrate the spirit of the global political
agreement (GPA) brokered by recalled former South African President Thabo
The government announced last week that it had drafted the Bill and
sent it to Mbeki, a move that drew a hue and cry from the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC which insisted that it should have participated in its
crafting. The party rejected the draft and drew up its own.
The Bill will give legal effect to the GPA and will create the office
of prime minister and two deputies.
Talks on the constitutional amendment opened in South Africa on
Tuesday with MDC-Tsvangirai insisting that the negotiations should not be
narrowed to the Bill, but should deal with outstanding issues, among them
ministerial portfolio allocations, appointment of governors, ambassadors and
permanent secretaries and composition of the proposed National Security
The MDC demands are contrary to the ruling of Sadc earlier this month
that the only sticking issue was the allocation of the Home Affairs
ministry, which the regional bloc said should be co-managed by Zanu PF and
Sadc also ruled that the constitutional amendment be crafted, taken to
parliament and passed to enable President Robert Mugabe to constitute
"forthwith" an inclusive government.
Legal experts said arguing over where the amendment Bill should have
originated from was just politicking, because the power-sharing pact did not
specify who had the mandate to draft it.
Constitutional law expert and also chairperson of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Lovemore Madhuku, said Chinamasa had no
constitutional obligation to consult the MDC in crafting the Bill.
"There was no constitutional requirement on who should have drafted
the Bill, but politically it was wrong for Chinamasa to draw up the Bill
without any input from the MDC," Madhuku said.
He said the two political parties would need to work together for the
Bill to get through parliament, as neither of them had the mandatory
two-thirds majority in the House.
Madhuku added that Zanu PF and the MDC-Tsvangirai were wasting time
debating the origin of the Bill and having protracted disputes on its
contents when parliament should iron out its flaws.
"The politicians are wasting time debating about the contents of the
Bill at this stage as the parliamentary process, which will come later, will
remedy any defects in the Bill," Madhuku argued.
Terrence Hussein, a Harare legal practitioner, agreed with Madhuku
that the government had no legal obligation to consult the MDC formations on
the drafting of the constitutional amendment.
He argued that the GPA was not enshrined in the Constitution of
Zimbabwe and, therefore, had no legal effect.
"Zanu PF did not have any legal obligation to invite the MDC in the
crafting of the Bill although they had a political obligation," Hussein
said. "Politically it would have been ideal for the two parties to work
together in drawing up the final draft of the constitutional Bill."
A parliamentary legal services NGO, Veritas, is of the opinion that
there should have been a combined drafting of the Bill and this should have
started immediately after September 15.
"What is happening now seems a time-wasting method of producing the
Bill, with the country in dire extremity and without a proper government,"
the lawyers said. "It is extraordinary that representatives from all three
parties were not pulled in to draft the Bill together, as according to the
GPA the substantive terms were already agreed upon by the party
The lawyers said pending the formation of the inclusive government,
the Bill could be introduced in parliament in terms of the constitution.
The Bill can be introduced in parliament by either of the two
vice-presidents or alternatively by Chinamasa who, in the absence of the
inclusive government, has been the caretaker Justice minister.
The lawyers said another choice would be for Tsvangirai to be
immediately appointed prime minister.
"The GPA specifies only one ministerial appointment before the
introduction of Constitution Amendment No. 19," said the lawyers.
Article 20.1.3 of the GPA states that: (The President) "shall
pursuant to this agreement, appoint the prime minister pending the enactment
of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19".
Article 20.1.6 (3) specifies that the prime minister will be
Minister of Information Sikhanyiso Ndlovu last week said: "A Bill
cannot go to parliament if it is not approved by Cabinet" and the Bill would
have to be presented and steered through parliament by the new
MDC-Tsvangirai minister responsible for constitutional affairs. But
constitutional law experts said if government sticks to the line that
ministers and Cabinet have to be appointed before the Bill is taken to
parliament, it would lead to another impasse between MDC-Tsvangirai and Zanu
"The MDC-Tsvangirai has stated categorically that they must have a
mutually-agreed Constitution Amendment No 19 passed into law first before
accepting ministerial and cabinet posts. In view of the delay and past
disputes they must have legal authority before accountability," Veritas
According to the lawyers, there is no constitutional or legal
requirement for prior cabinet approval of a Bill before it goes to
The lawyers said there had been a long-standing internal government
administrative practice under which all government Bills were taken for
approval to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and Cabinet itself before
going to parliament.
This practice, however, did not have the force of law. The experts
said the constitutional procedural requirements make it unlikely that the
Bill would become law before the middle of January, even if the parties
reach agreement on its wording this week.
"The Bill must be printed and gazetted as required by section of the
Constitution, and this would take until the end of November or early
December," said the experts.
After the Bill has been gazetted, 30 days have to elapse before it is
taken to parliament.
During the 30-day period the Bill must be referred for consideration
to the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee, but since parliamentary
committees were still to be set up this would have to be done when
parliament resumes sitting.
During this time the Bill will be made available for public scrutiny
and the relevant portfolio committee should call for written representations
from the public and arrange stakeholder meetings and public hearings.
A report from the portfolio committee must be presented during the
second reading of the Bill in parliament.
Once it is before parliament, the Bill should be debated in both
Houses, which under normal rules of procedure would take at least two weeks
although if the parties are in agreement motions to fast-track it could be
passed, and it could sail through the House of Assembly and Senate within a
After being passed by parliament, the Bill would then have to be
signed into law by the president.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:51
REAPPOINTED central bank governor Gideon Gono will still find it
difficult to endear himself with key players in the economy even after
announcing this week that he will cease all quasi-fiscal activities (QFAs)
and concentrate on the core business of the Reserve Bank - controlling
inflation and policing the financial sector.
His opponents say the QFAs are responsible for propelling inflation
into the stratosphere, decimating the local currency and ravaging the
economy. Despite serious petitioning and lobbying by the opposition MDC and
business leaders to have Gono taken out of the Reserve Bank, President
Mugabe renewed the governor's tenure this week. The renewal of Gono's term
is definitely going to annoy business and the MDC-Tsvangirai, especially its
secretary-general Tendai Biti who at one time described Gono as an economic
There is no doubt that the MDC-Tsvangirai - which is angling for the
Finance ministry in the proposed unitary government - is not prepared to
work with Gono. On Wednesday MDC leader and Prime Minister-designate Morgan
Tsvangirai fired warning salvos at Mugabe over the reappointment. Tsvangirai
said the renewal of the term showed "lack of good faith". He denounced Gono
as "the architect of Zimbabwe's economic collapse". He said Gono "has
blatantly plundered the national treasury to fund Mugabe's party and its
Even in a lesser role Gono's reappointment is set to open yet another
front and heighten conflict between Zanu PF and the MDC. He is now a
political battlefield on which the feuding parties will contest for power
and influence. There is already a battle raging between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai over appointment of Zanu PF provincial governors in areas the MDC
dominated in the senatorial and parliamentary polls. Mugabe's appointment of
Gono is a controversial undertaking. Gono is now in an invidious position in
which he will always be viewed as a symbol of Mugabe's defiance and his dead
man's grip on power.
In this battle, Gono has to make difficult choices of openly
proclaiming allegiance to the failed Zanu PF aristocracy or assuming a more
neutral position which is in line with his new pronouncements of sticking to
core business. But he will always find it difficult to disentangle himself
from the cobwebs of the Zanu PF conundrum. In fact his activities at the
central bank are going to be determined by the politics in the country.
As long as there is no political settlement, Zimbabwe will not get
balance-of-payments support and production in industry and on farms will
remain depressed. In that case the government will continue pressing Gono to
run the printing press. Gono should be aware that the solution to
eliminating the cash economy and resultant money supply growth is beyond his
capabilities. At the beginning of his first term as governor, he took the
battle to fight inflation as a personal struggle which he wanted to win at
all costs. He made bold declarations about the perils of losing the battle,
the most famous one being "failure is not an option".
That he has lost the battle -- and the plot - is very evident but we
will not fault his religious zeal to want to see inflation brought down to
single digit levels. Even after declaring that he would avoid QFAs, his
statement this week does not disguise the fact that he still wants a piece
of the action. He wants to see growth in mining and other foreign currency
He wants to see Zimbabwe attract foreign investment and to ensure
developmental projects take root once more. Gazing into the horizon he said:
"The outlook period will see an unprecedented vigour in mobilising foreign
exchange through the strategic deployment of the country's natural
resources, as well as those parastatals' assets and shareholdings that are
amenable to private sector participation."
But he has to mend fences with miners, especially gold extractors whom
the central bank has not paid for gold deliveries. The same goes for maize
and wheat farmers who were promised payment in foreign currency for
deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board. Exporters and a large section of
the banking industry will also not celebrate his reappointment. Depositors
queuing for the worthless $500 000 at banks do not have kind words for Gono
The soiled image of Zanu PF has rubbed onto him and he has an arduous
task to launder that. In the event of the unitary government succeeding,
Gono has a huge task to remove the tag of unwanted governor in government
circles. Judging by the current state of this economy and the task to hand,
it will be difficult for Gono to save Zanu PF from political demise. He was
appointed as the face of change in the Zanu PF administration five years ago
but was immediately handed a poisoned chalice. He gulped it down and his
image as change agent quickly evaporated. Can he rise above the zeros to be
a trusted handyman?
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:51
SOUTH African president and Sadc chair Kgalema Motlanthe this week
made a significant turn in his country's approach towards President Robert
His remarks this week contrast with those of his predecessor Thabo
Mbeki who appeared to be more indulgent.
On Sunday, Motlanthe called for the speedy implementation of the
September 15 global political agreement (GPA) and insisted that Prime
Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputies be sworn in
Twenty-four hours later, Motlanthe removed the gloves and announced to
the world that Mugabe and his regime lacked legitimacy and, as such, it was
imperative to constitute a government of national unity as a matter of
urgency to deal swiftly and firmly with a worsening humanitarian crisis in
"We agreed that with regards to Zimbabwe the next step really is to
ensure that we unblock the impasse for them to take (Constitutional)
Amendment 19 through the senate and the assembly, so that Mr Tsvangirai
could be sworn in as prime minister and (Arthur) Mutambara as the vice-prime
minister and Mugabe as the president, so that once the three of them have
been sworn in they can then form an inclusive government," Motlanthe said on
The following day he said: "Unless the root cause of the political
absence of a legitimate government is not solved the situation will get
worse and may implode or collapse."
While the South African stance is likely to hurt Mugabe very deeply
because recognition by his peers is something on which he has traditionally
placed premium value, it reaffirms the notion that the June presidential
election was a sham.
This also means that Africa's powerhouse, which is also a neighbour,
is now challenging Mugabe's legitimacy.
Motlanthe's pronouncement came in the wake of his country's decision
last week to withhold the R300 million aid it had promised Zimbabwe after
the formation of a government of national unity for agricultural recovery.
Mugabe should understand the meaning of the South African president's
The mere fact that Sadc has endorsed the global political agreement
between the country's three major parties confirmed that the generally held
position in the region is that no single party could form a government
without the support of the other parties.
Mugabe has been basking in false glory that Sadc and the African Union
(AU) recognised him as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe after his
military-like campaign, which resulted in him winning "resoundingly" the
June one-man run-off.
It is patently clear that Sadc and the AU have accepted that there is
no legitimate government and the outcome of the March 29 elections did not
give the mandate to govern to any single party.
In such circumstances, the only resolution Sadc could pass was to
encourage the parties to come to some arrangement along the lines contained
in the GPA and proceed to form a government that is inclusive.
The role and status of the Zanu PF ministers, some of whom are no
longer relevant because they lost the elections, exposes the illegitimacy of
With Sadc and the AU's realisation of Mugabe's lack of legitimacy,
Zimbabweans expect the regional and continental bodies to take a bold stance
against the 84-year-old leader and goad him to be sincere in the
Regional leaders should be united in confronting the Zimbabwe crisis
and tell Mugabe to play ball and make sure there is successful
implementation of the GPA.
Motlanthe, Botswana President Ian Khama and the late Zambian leader
Levy Mwanawasa, were the only regional heads of state to speak out against
Mugabe's government, but the most worrying thing is that they never did it
in the formal forum of Sadc.
Zimbabweans should never anticipate a major shift in Sadc's position
on our crisis even after the regional bloc's chair has said Mugabe and his
current government lack legitimacy.
Some of the Sadc leaders have since 2000 exhibited sound and fury, but
with little in the form of substance.
Why don't they do it in the formal forum of Sadc, where decisions are
firm and binding? Everyone should be sceptical when leaders use the media
platform and yet avoid the formal forum to tell it like it is.
One hopes those media statements can be transformed into formal
language and action. Zimbabwe needs to move forward, not to remain trapped
in the current political paralysis.
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:32
IT is almost incomprehensible that government should bar three
worldwide prominent persons of the stature of former United Nations
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, past United States President Jimmy Carter,
and Graca Machel, wife of the world-revered Nelson Mandela, from visiting
Zimbabwe. Not only is it blatantly evident that none of them have any
political axe to grind on Zimbabwe, but also that their intended visit was
wholly and solely intended to assess the present humanitarian needs in
Zimbabwe, undoubtedly with the underlying motive of thereafter
facilitating the provision of aid to address those humanitarian needs.
There can be no credible or justifiable reason for government to
obstruct and prevent the intended evaluation of the humanitarian needs
crisis that is prevailing, and intensifying daily, save and except if
government fears exposure that the culpability for the inordinately
pronounced humanitarian crisis lies fairly and squarely with government.
Clearly the governmental hierarchy has so very much to hide that it
considers it an untenable risk to allow persons of the stature of Annan,
Carter and Machel to see the factual circumstances.
Government has long deluded itself that skills of its Ministry of
Misinformation and Duplicity are of such great magnitude that Zimbabweans
and the world at large could endlessly be duped into believing the plethora
of spurious and specious contentions that the circumstances of the
Zimbabwean people were only minimally as grievous as Zimbabwe's enemies
contend, and that such circumstances are wholly due to the malevolent
intents and actions of those enemies.
But government must have recognised that if persons of the renown and
integrity of Annan, Carter and Machel witnessed the realities, and made
those realities internationally known, the old maxim of "the truth will out"
would materialise. Thereafter, any governmental denials would be devoid of
Moreover, government's foolhardy action, against the best interests of
the grievously embattled populace which government is supposed to care for,
cannot achieve government's objective of truth concealment. The calibre of
the trio who intended to visit Zimbabwe in order to see for themselves is
such that they are not so easily deterred. Instead they now intend to
conduct their investigation from South Africa, and they can readily access
authoritative information from the millions of Zimbabweans living there.
Almost all of them are there in order to generate support for their
dependants at home, who are struggling to survive under extreme straitened
circumstances. They will also be able to gather considerable factual and
well-informed information from the Zimbabwean diplomatic corps. In addition,
undoubtedly many of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in
Zimbabwe will send emissaries to brief these three eminent persons of the
harsh facts of Zimbabwean conditions, and of the monolithic humanitarian
crisis that is erupting ever more strongly in the distraught Republic of
Unquestionably the international investigating team will become aware
l Millions of Zimbabweans barely exist on the threshold of intense
starvation, malnutrition, ill-health and the debilitating repercussions of
extreme hunger pangs, and very many are dying from resultant ill-health. The
primary cause of these disastrous conditions has been government's
continuous destruction of the economy through massive mismanagement,
ill-conceived excessive regulation, punitive taxation, uncontained
corruption, collapsed infrastructure, constant deterrence of investment,
alienation of the international community, and very much else.
The consequential pronounced poverty is exacerbated by an equally
pronounced insufficiency of food. Government has reduced agriculture to near
total destruction. Maize production has declined, in eight years, from two
million tonnes to only 500 000 tonnes, which is only marginally more than a
quarter of national need. Similarly distressing production levels apply to
other key crops, such as wheat.
lThe majority of the employable population is unemployed within the
formal sector, due to the gargantuan contraction of that sector in
consequence of the governmental destruction of the economy.
Instead, those formerly employed in the formal sector, now strive,
inadequately, to generate some livelihood form informal sector operations,
ranging from cross-border trading, black marketeering in currencies and
commodities to much else, including gold panning, illicit diamond dealing,
and many other crimes. However, these alternative occupations fail, with
some exceptions, to generate a sufficiency of income to raise those so
engaged above the poverty datum line (PDL);
lThose circumstances are exacerbated by those in receipt of any
income, no matter how inadequate, having to support an ever greater number
of dependants, due to the wide-ranging, poverty, and due to the
repercussions of HIV and Aids;
lThey are further exacerbated by the hyperinflation which has soared
to levels of quadrillions percent;
lFew can access needed medical care, with most hospitals being almost
inoperative due to mass emigration of doctors, nurses, and other health care
professionals, and with almost all medical equipment being in appalling
Much of the humanitarian aid that has heretofore been given to
Zimbabwe has either been applied to pursuit of political objectives, being
distributed only to those favoured for their actual or promised political
support, or has been diverted for personal gain of a politically influential
few. These are but a few of the facts that the international trio will have
become aware of from their visit, and will undoubtedly still be
comprehensively appraised of, albeit externally of Zimbabwe.
With usual political duplicity, the Zimbabwean government has denied
that it has barred the intending visitors from coming to Zimbabwe. Such
action was denied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi. However, this was clearly nothing but a semantical
interpretation of the terminology "barred from entry", for the hard fact is
that the trio were refused entry visas, on the trumped-up contention that
there had been no prior consultations with government on the "timing and
programme" of the visit.
In other words, government wanted time to arrange a rigged tour for
the international investigative trio, in order to mislead and deceive them,
partially refuting allegations of a humanitarian crisis, and partially
ascribing any humanitarian crisis to the evil machinations of others, with
government being blameless.
Once again government has put itself ahead of the needs of the people,
for by preventing the visit, in order to protect its hallucinatory image,
much aid which would undoubtedly have been forthcoming to ease the ills of
the Zimbabweans will now not be forthcoming.
In addition, by its foolhardy and attempted self-protection action,
government will have further worsened the economy, for now even more of
the country's grossly inadequate foreign exchange resources must be applied
to food and other humanitarian need imports, instead of funding of other
economically critical imports, and by creating yet another massive blemish
to Zimbabweans tarnished image, to the prejudice of investment and other
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:28
ZIMBABWE did not "bar" the Elders trio from coming here, claimed
Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi on Saturday after they had told
South African media in Johannesburg that they had been refused admission.
It was not true the group - Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, and Graca
Machel - had been barred, Mumbengegwi said. Their visit had merely been
"postponed" because Kofi Annan had not made "prior consultations" on the
"timing and programme" of the visit.
For the record, readers should know that Jimmy Carter's security team
had been denied visas ahead of his visit, according to reports in South
Africa. And Thabo Mbeki told the trio the Zimbabwean authorities would not
issue visas in time for their visit. This was after his intervention.
But the Zimbabwean authorities engaged in all sorts of semantics to
justify their refusal to admit the three. All kinds of daft aspersions were
made as to their motives. The Sunday Mail allowed an unnamed "local
political commentator" to occupy 18 paragraphs to insult the group with
childish claims that they were "humanitarian tourists" coming to "certify
the death of Zimbabwe" following the crash of the local currency.
In particular the "local political commentator" appears to have taken
exception to their proposed meeting with women's organisations and
humanitarian and trade union groups, among others.
"These are people who had the final document in their briefcase" prior
to their visit, the "commentator" suggested.
If this "commentator" could be afforded 18 paragraphs to spout his
ridiculous views, surely he warrants identification? Or does he not have the
courage of his convictions?
The government had shown willingness to address the humanitarian
crisis through signing a memorandum of understanding with the World Food
Programme that will see the WFP assisting with grain imports worth US$500
million, the "commentator" said.
This followed what Mumbengegwi claimed was "a thorough humanitarian
These claims are of course spurious. It was the UN aid agencies that
conducted the audit. And it is their efforts that have prevented mass
starvation so far. The government has done virtually nothing to address the
crisis believing, as the "commentator" reveals, that it is all part of a
grand conspiracy against the Zanu PF government.
The Herald carried a similar juvenile "plot" story on Tuesday.
Now the people of Zimbabwe will be denied humanitarian relief that the
visit of the Elders would have fast-tracked into the country.
Donors have been dragging their heels to date but it was expected aid
flows would increase following the visit of the Elders who could draw
international attention to the seriousness of the situation. Only a
high-level visit of this sort could have achieved that.
The Elders could come once a mutually agreed date had been decided,
So obviously this was not an urgent matter for government. They were
standing on ceremony and confirming the international community's impression
of a rogue regime that doesn't give a damn about the fate of its people.
That is how the story was reported around the world.
What surprises us in all this is the "guilt by association" imputed to
Graca Machel in Tuesday's Herald. We didn't know until then she was on the
regime's hit list. We can understand them gunning for Annan whom they loathe
and detest because he declined to fall for their Africanist pretensions. Or
even Jimmy Carter who appointed Andrew Young to help bring about Zimbabwe's
Independence in 1977-9 but then, like everybody else, became disillusioned
with Mugabe's excesses.
But Machel: what has she done apart from humanitarian work for
children in the neighbourhood?
It is a good indication of the regime's fading appeal that it is
lashing out at African leaders who no longer apologise for them.
Are they finally getting the message: that they are an embarrassment
"We take strong exception to any suggestion that there are those out
there who care more about the welfare of our people than we do," Mumbengegwi
declared on Saturday. But isn't that the simple truth: Hasn't this episode
confirmed just that?
Also revealing was South Africa's announcement on Thursday that it
would withhold R300 million in agricultural aid until a new power-sharing
government was in place. The disillusionment in the voices of South African
government spokesmen was palpable.
"This aid will not be transferred until such time as a representative
government is in place," Themba Maseko told journalists.
"Our major concern is that we missed the planting season."
This was a loan touted by the government here as a rescue package.
It will not now be forthcoming. And there were Zanu PF apologists
suggesting that the party's do-nothing, say-nothing strategy was an act of
cunning statecraft when compared to the MDC's noise. Not so cunning now, it
would seem. There has been a mould-breaking shift in policy after the Mbeki
Raila Odinga, one of the regime's favourite betes noir, has broken
ranks with African leaders this week by calling for international
peacekeepers to be sent to Zimbabwe.
"Because there is no legitimate government in Zimbabwe, the AU should
consider sending a peacekeeping force," Odinga said in a report in the
London Times. "This is what is going to send a strong signal to one Mr
Odinga was himself a victim of election-rigging, when President Kibaki
was declared the winner of a disputed poll in Kenya last year, the paper
"To many African leaders the situation in Zimbabwe has returned to
normal," Odinga said. "This is because these leaders carry the same baggage
He added: "Mugabe was a freedom fighter who spent many years in jail,
but I don't believe that when you are a freedom fighter you acquire a title
deed to own the nation."
Now watch the government rotweilers bark at him. It will make a change
We were interested to see Mabasa Sasa's Herald piece on Monday
lecturing the MDC-T on the need for accommodation rather than confrontation
when responding to Constitutional Amendment No 19. There should be no
bellicosity in dealing with a measure that benefits the MDC-T more than Zanu
PF, we are told.
There is also a message here that cabinet is the fount of all
authority and there was no need for the government to negotiate anything
outside what was agreed on September 15. If the MDC-T wasn't careful,
especially in trying to renegotiate the agreement, they could find their
draft "dying a quiet and ignomious death".
This is the tenor of remarks coming from ruling-party propagandists
that we have seen in recent months and indeed this piece bears more than a
passing resemblance to Manheru's recent contributions to the Herald
including the salacious references.
The MDC-T needs to remind Zanu PF publicists that the September 15
agreement was not a gift from a generous government but the price of
electoral defeat. While Mugabe's coterie may be in denial about this,
pretending they could all make a glorious come-back the next time - as if
the nation is begging to be
punished again! - the truth is that Zanu PF is a dead-beat party that
needs the agreement to hang on to power.
The MDC-T is wisely exercising caution in granting this lease on life.
The last thing it needs to listen to are the pompous lectures of political
failures who think they can educate the party in political manners.
We heard all this preaching when Mugabe got a ringing reception in
parliament a few months ago. "How shocking," all his acolytes chimed. "They
need to learn appropriate public deportment."
The MDC-T has nothing to learn from Zanu PF. That includes suspect
dossiers being hawked around the region that Sadc leaders have seen before.
We can hear their yawns from here.
Does anybody recall the Cain Nkala affair? What happened to that
investigation, who got accused of promoting terror, and what was the outcome
The Pan Africanist Congress, which has been steadily losing support in
South African elections because of its endless internecine squabbling, has
been expressing solidarity with another bunch of losers, Zanu PF.
A representative of the party, Mziwake Dlamini, told the Voice that
"Having gone through a struggle, President Mugabe and Zanu PF are fully
aware that Zimbabwe did not come on a silver platter, so whatever decision
they make is good for the country as they would not want to see Zimbabwe
being colonised," he said. "Zimbabweans should cherish the leadership of
President Mugabe as he has shown he has the people at heart."
The paper is at least good for a laugh!
It also contains amusing little contributions by old-guard Stalinists
whose views are headed "Let's accept SSC as guiding star".
Those not familiar with this particular "guiding star" may be
fascinated to know that SSC stands for Scientific Socialism and Communism.
Would you believe that in 2008 Zanu PF is still churning out this
It is not difficult to understand that situated in the midst of this
putrid propaganda is Tafataona Mahoso who has a regular column in which he
claims "Journalists (are) misleading people on economic turnaround".
He doesn't mention what misleading he is doing but here is an example:
"The value of the inter-party talks is that the people have refused to fall
into the violent struggle which the sanctions were meant to trigger.
Otherwise we are at war. And even after Sadc and the AU endorse a
settlement, the original instigators of the MDC formations and of sanctions
may want to keep the sanctions on. The people and the state should be
prepared for such a possibility."
He is right. If Zanu PF continues to be driven by a reactionary clique
around Mugabe that persists in adopting policies that thwart recovery and
further damage the economy, and with it people's livelihoods, then there is
every likelihood that the US and EU will refuse to lift sanctions.
The people are only too
aware of the danger of Mahoso's party hanging onto power which is why
they voted to throw the whole rotten bunch out in the March election.
Mahoso uses "the people" as some sort of weapon but blithely ignores
the fact that the people spoke in March and it was to say to hell with the
sort of views Mahoso and his ilk are trying to perpetuate.
Harare mayor Much Masunda is no doubt struggling with a multiplicity
of problems at Town House. But he should have one of his officials
investigate the rubbish collection department.
Last week a City of Harare garbage collection truck drove into Milton
Park and proceeded to collect rubbish from outside a Chinese restaurant. It
ignored the bags situated outside homes in the area and drove off having
fulfilled its singular task. Meanwhile, the bags are still lying around and
haven't been collected for weeks. City of Harare rubbish collectors have
made it clear to residents of the area: If you want your rubbish collected
you must pay us.
So what are the rates for?
The Herald on Wednesday carried a front-page story on how Zesa was now
accepting cheques following calls by Gideon Gono for public-sector service
providers to do so.
"Zesa U-turn on cheques" the story was headed.
The trouble is this was not true. They were, as of Wednesday
afternoon, still refusing to accept cheques at their headquarters on Samora
Customers were told tellers were yet to receive a directive from their
managers. People trying to pay by cheque were turned away.
The Herald published an internal memo dated November 25 from Zesa
acting group CEO ET Chikwenhere to the head of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution Co, which is responsible for billing,
instructing his staff to accept cheques.
But on Wednesday Zesa staff were refusing to obey both their own CEO
and the governor of the Reserve Bank!
Only yesterday did they start accepting cheques, and these had to be
for the exact amount, not future estimates. Clearly, Gono's word is not Zesa's
Thursday, 27 November 2008 19:24
THE government of President Mugabe is haunted by two issues, that of
legitimacy and that of being found to be in the wrong.
The two issues once again instructed the state's decision to block the
visit to Zimbabwe by three members of a team of Elders led by former UN
secretary-general Kofi Annan.
Government spin-doctor went into a spin this week to justify the
decision not to let in the team which wanted to assess the extent of the
humanitarian needs in the country. The visit had been "postponed" because
the team had not made adequate consultations with the Zimbabwean
authorities, was the main reason proffered. The truth was however soon
apparent. The Zanu PF government feared that a "damning report was in the
offing" from the team. Such a report was part of a regime-change agenda by
the United States and Britain.
This is the major source of our predicament. The rulers of this land
have clung to the self-fulfilling belief that all the ills bedevilling the
country have been caused by exogenous factors mooted by evil conspirators in
the West. Zanu PF politicians are afraid of losing power and the opportunity
of gorging royally at the trough. It is important to remind President Mugabe
and his cohorts that Zimbabweans do not need a visit by the Elders to
pronounce a low score on the Zanu PF government.
The average Zimbabwean today knows that this country is led by
flunkers whose handiwork is evident in the humanitarian crisis that has
befallen this nation. The government is so much afraid of international
condemnation as if it expects sympathy from its long-suffering citizens. We
are fed up with the regime's stubborn delinquency in attending to the huge
crisis facing us. Zimbabweans are not interested in the regime's ability to
score points against the West. They are not interested in the tired mantras
of nationalism and sovereignty. They want food. They want to access their
salaries from the bank without inhibition. They want efficient and
affordable service in hospitals. They want to remove the obstacles
preventing them from having a decent way of life. They want regime change
yesterday as confirmed by the March elections results.
So it is insulting to the intellect of Zimbabwean who voted against
Mugabe in March to suggest that the regime-change agenda is a foreign
project. It is a Zimbabwean process which has been given fresh impetus by
the failure of the state to expeditiously contain the deadly cholera
pandemic wreaking havoc in Harare's southern suburbs and large parts of
The regime's failure to provide Harare and other urban centres with
clean potable water has resulted in this medieval disease haunting us in
modern times. How embarrassing for a regime that credits itself for taking
"strides in providing healthcare".
Treatment centres which have been set up to cater for cholera victims
do not have adequate drugs. At times, the centres have turned away patients
because of inadequate supplies of basics like gloves, buckets and
ingredients to makes the salt/sugar solution. Aid agencies have come in
handy to provide water, bedding and drugs but the problem requires greater
mobilisation of resources.
There is all the evidence that the government does not have the
resources to contain the outbreak. The country has no capacity to feed
itself, care for the elderly and young children.
Poor healthcare and a failing social security system have seen the
life expectancy of women dropping from 60 to just 34 in an 18-year period.
Men are expected to live to the age of 37. There is a rapid increase of
child mortality due to breakdowns at referral hospitals. According to the
2007-2008 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report
Zimbabwe has fared badly in almost all key human development indicators.
There is ample evidence of a sharp decline in lifestyles. We are getting
Zimbabwe needs help urgently yet our leaders don't appear to mind the
country losing lives daily in the name of safeguarding national sovereignty.
The Elders' visit was an opportunity for the state to harness more resources
from the international community to save our desperate situation. There is
nothing embarrassing about it because there is an international appeal
already out for assistance. But donors have been lethargic relative to the
needs on the ground. On the other hand, Zanu PF is bereft of any plan to
rescue the situation other than shouting for the lifting of sanctions.
There is such a thing as a failed state and Zimbabwe today can safely
be called one. President Mugabe's bag of tricks is fast emptying. In the
past three years, he thought he had a plan but this has failed as well. It
went like this: "Where money for projects has not been found, we will print
Can he print money to fight cholera, hunger and poverty stalking the
nation? Not any more. His time is up. He must go.
By Vincent Kahiya