Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
Diesel n’anga claims another scalp
REGISTAR-General Tobaiwa Mu-dede faces potentially embarrassing obstruction
of justice charges for allegedly harbouring Rotina Mavhunga, the Chinhoyi
spirit medium who duped government officials to part with $5 billion after
claiming she could conjure refined diesel from a rock.
A letter seen by The Financial Gazette this week, written by the prosecutor’s
office in Chinhoyi to the Harare Central Investigations Department’s
Homicide Division, directs the police to investigate Mudede and to produce a
The letter is copied to the Attorney General.
Court records seen by this paper also show that in denying Mavhunga bail
last month, Chinhoyi magistrate Ngoni Nduna questioned why Mudede had not
been charged for protecting a wanted person.
On the day of judgment on the bail application, the officer investigating
the case revealed for the first time that Mudede had shielded Mavhunga from
Up to that point, police had only referred to the Registrar General as “a
high ranking government official”.
The records show that the magistrate denied Mavhunga bail on account of her
links with Mudede, whom he said could facilitate the woman’s escape.
Court papers also show that the prosecutor, Herikiya Maromo, made an
application to have Mavhunga’s state of mind ascertained in terms of the
Mental Health Act.
The prosecutor said the accused might have a split personality, as evidenced
by her use of a string of different identities - Rotina Mavhunga, Nomatter
Tagarira and Changamire or Sekuru Dombo.
Defence lawyers opposed the application, saying their client’s
constitutional rights were being violated. The prosecution deferred the
application pending the determination of the matter by the Supreme Court.
The Financial Gazette reported last week how government plied Mavhunga with
$5 billion, a farm, and other services while pursuing her claims that a rock
could produce diesel if she pointed her “sacred stick at it.”
She faces allegations of fraud, or alternatively charges under the Criminal
Law (Codification Reform) Act for being a “criminal nuisance.”
According to the state, the saga began last year when Mavhunga, and a group
of gold panners still at large, came across a container of diesel at
Muningwa Hills in Chinhoyi after which they connived to convince government
officials that it was flowing from a rock.
Many speculate the diesel tank could have been left there in the years
leading up to independence.
According to court records, Mavhunga connected a hose from the container to
the foot of the hill, dazzling the gullible with mystical incantations –
which must have been a signal to her sidekick to open a tap - as the liquid
However, when the diesel finally ran out, according to court records,
Mavhunga would buy more from passing truckers to continue her con.
“As a result of this misrepresentation by the accused, the whole country’s
interests and government interests at large resulted in the government of
Zimbabwe committing human and material resources into the issue, which later
turned out to be false,” court papers say.
“As a result of this misrepresentation, the accused unlawfully solicited and
received food, money, services, a farmhouse and a farm from the government
of Zimbabwe, knowing well that her claims were false.”
So convinced was government, that it sent in three different teams of senior
officials to secure what they must have believed was the solution to years
of fuel shortages.
The first team comprised State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi. A second
team was made up of Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya, Science and Technology
Minister Olivia Muchena and Mines Minister Amos Midzi.
Yet another committee, led by deputy Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga, and
including security forces, government officials, supposed academics and
traditional leaders, had also once been rushed to the site.
Government’s n’anga shame has blown the lid on how deep the belief in
superstition and sorcery among the country’s political leaders runs.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
MORGAN Tsvangirai has called a special meeting of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) national executive on Saturday as he battles to
manage the fallout from his decision to disband his faction’s women’s
Insiders at Harvest House, the headquarters of the Tsvangirai camp of the
MDC, said yesterday differences persisted despite the election of a new
women’s executive in Bulawayo at the weekend.
Theresa Makone, the wife of Ian Makone, the faction’s secretary for
elections, replaced Lucia Matibenga, the former head of the women’s
The sources said the divisions were so serious that Tsvangirai had embarked
on a nationwide “meet the grassroots” tour to placate restive constituents
disillusioned by his leadership.
Tsvangirai has since Monday held meetings with provincial assemblies in
Chitungwiza, Kwekwe, Gweru and Bulawayo.
According to a schedule seen by The Financial Gazette, he will have met
assembly committees in all 10 provinces by the end of the day tomorrow in
time for a potentially explosive national executive committee meeting in
Harare at the weekend.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction, confirmed the MDC
leader had been on a drive to meet “grassroots structures”.
He said a national executive meeting was scheduled for Saturday “to discuss
critical issues affecting the party and the nation.”
Said Chamisa: “Saturday will give the party leadership from all the
provinces the perfect platform to reflect and debate on critical issues
affecting the party and the country.”
“The MDC, as a democratic institution, has sufficient mechanisms to deal
with both internal and external challenges that are fairly inevitable in
such a mass-based organisation,” said Chamisa.
MDC insiders say on top of the agenda of Saturday’s meeting, is the emotive
issue of the ouster of Matibenga, a founding member of the party.
On Tuesday, Sekai Holland, a senior and founding MDC official, alleged in a
statement that Tsvangirai was presiding over the isolation of women.
Holland said initially there were 10 women in senior positions as proposed
by the Women’s Assembly after the March 2006 Congress, but after the MDC
abolished deputy secretary portfolios, “four articulate, solid professional
women,” had been lost, leaving only two females out of 15 shadow ministers.
The election of the new women’s executive in Bulawayo was characterised by
clashes between Matibenga’s supporters and those of her rivals.
Lovemore Moyo, interim chairman of the Tsvangirai camp who oversaw the
elections, alleged the violence could be attributed to people bussed in to
disrupt the proceedings despite a High Court order authorising the polls.
How he handles the latest controversy will be a litmus test for Tsvangirai,
whose party has been weakened since the October 2005 split and faces the
threat of further division just months ahead of crucial national elections.
The opposition has been at its weakest since its failure to reach a pact
earlier this year to contest elections as a coalition.
The party split into two factions over participation in senate elections.
Although Tsvangirai led a group that supported a boycott of the elections,
it ironically now faces infighting over its support for the 18th Amendment,
which expands the senate.
Apart from the Matibenga controversy, the meeting on Saturday will also
deliberate on the SADC mediation process, escalating violence against
opposition supporters and the worsening economic crisis.
“By far the most critical issue is the deteriorating economic conditions and
suffering of the average Zimbabwean due to the high cost of basic
commodities, as well as the violence against ordinary party members and
civic groups in relation to the dialogue taking place in South Africa,”
The opposition has been angered by President Robert Mugabe’s denial of
charges of the perpetration of violence against his opponents.
ZANU PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could, as
early as this weekend, announce further agreement on key constitutional
reforms, including limited presidential terms and amendments to media and
security laws, sources involved in the talks said this week.
As a deadline set by the mediator, South African president Thabo Mbeki, for
the completion of the talks elapsed yesterday, sources privy to the talks
reported that a deal was on the cards and could be announced as early as
Mbeki had set an October 31 deadline for the conclusion of the current phase
of the negotiating process, before he could present a report to the Southern
African Development Community by the first week of this month.
The regional bloc appointed him to the role of mediator in March after
political tensions increased and outrage was expressed globally following
the battering of dozens of opposition leaders, including Morgan Tsvangirai,
the MDC leader.
Negotiators from ZANU PF — Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa — and
Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti representing the MDC, left for Pretoria on
Tuesday morning for meetings to conclude the talks.
After much haggling and heated debate over the past six months, it is
understood the parties are now close to agreeing on a draft constitution
whose key features would include a Bill of Rights and the limiting of
presidential tenure to a maximum of two terms of five years each.
On the electoral front, the ruling party has flatly rejected proportional
representation, and seems to have had its way by rejecting the MDC’s demand
for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, estimated to be about four million, to be
allowed to vote.
The MDC’s call for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to be
re-constituted in time for next year’s elections has also yielded the
desired result. Although the crucial delimitation committee – previously
picked directly by President Robert Mugabe - has been hived off into the ZEC
under amendments agreed in September, the MDC accuses the commission of bias
towards ZANU PF.
But the MDC believes, according to insiders, that it has won an important
battle by forcing through a limit on presidential terms.
The party apparently believes a limit on terms will eventually compel
President Mugabe to leave office.
“The MDC (both factions) feels it has won something by forcing ZANU PF to
agree on the limitation of presidential powers and a new Bill of Rights,”
said an opposition party insider.
This would rekindle debate that took place in 2000, when a state-sponsored
constitutional draft carried provisions imposing a two-term cap on
Had government not been defeated in the subsequent constitutional
referendum, President Mugabe could not have stood for a fresh term in 2002,
legal experts said at the time.
Also expected to have been agreed at the end of the latest talks yesterday
were significant media law reforms — the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) -
which the MDC alleges unfairly restrict the opposition’s access to public
media and infringe on freedom of expression.
It is understood ZANU PF negotiators have agreed that there is no need for
statutory regulation of the media, but that this should instead be
undertaken by a “voluntary media council” that, however, would still be
accountable to the Minister of Information and Publicity.
The talks also included discussions on the death penalty, sources say, with
ZANU PF rejecting the MDC’s proposal for its abolition, saying capital
punishment had no place in a democratic society.
However, the two parties are still deadlocked on demands by ZANU PF that the
MDC campaign for the lifting of Western sanctions imposed on President
Mugabe and scores of members of his government and party.
“There has been deadlock on the issue of sanctions. The MDC has stated
categorically that it has no powers to have these revoked, as the sanctions
were put in place by Western or European parliaments,” said one person
familiar with the negotiating process.
Although there was concern that the deadline had passed with no public
announcement on a firm agreement, Tsvangirai’s senior foreign policy advisor
Elphas Mukonoweshuro said the importance of the talks mean this was less
about deadlines than it was about “ensuring that agreed positions are
understood by all sides and that they will not be revisited. In the course
of discussions it has become apparent that they cannot be rushed to meet the
Biti is expected to report back on the talks to the Tsvangirai faction
during its national executive committee meeting on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Gorden Moyo, executive director of pressure group Bulawayo
Agenda, told The Financial Gazette that AIPPA and POSA he believes could be
amended by the beginning of next month so that President Mugabe can take a
“trophy” to the European Union-African Caribbean and Pacific countries
summit in Lisbon and show the world that his government is transforming.
Several EU countries have threatened to boycott the summit if President
Mugabe is allowed to attend. African countries have, on the other hand,
insisted they will not attend the summit if President Mugabe is barred.
“The amendments will not be about real change,” Moyo said. “(President)
Mugabe wants to tell the world that there are African solutions to African
problems. He wants to tell the world that he is transforming so that the
international community can lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
INFORMATION Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says Media and Information Commission
(MIC) chairperson Tafataona Mahoso, who was declared to be biased by the
courts, would not preside over an application by The Daily News for
On Tuesday, Ndlovu reconstituted the MIC board, retaining two members from
the previous outfit - Mahoso and Pascal Mukondiwa - and announcing five new
members, Chinondidyachii Mararike, Charity Sally Moyo, Edward Dube, Tendai
Chari and Ngugi wa Mirii.
Mahoso and Mukondiwa were part of the previous board, which according to a
number of court rulings, could no longer be trusted to handle an application
by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), for the registration of its
two banned titles, The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.
"He (Mahoso) will not preside over the case. The MIC has a lot else to do
besides The Daily News issue, and he is doing that work tremendously well,"
Ndlovu said yesterday.
Asked by The Financial Gazette how he intends to deal with the newspaper's
case, Ndlovu said he would make a public announcement at the right time.
"Wait, the time will come. He (Mahoso) can recuse himself and the other
members can deal with the matter. We are totally in agreement with the court
judgment (on Mahoso's bias). I am a law-abiding citizen and I will not go
against decisions made by the courts," Ndlovu said.
A 2005 Supreme Court ruling said the MIC could not hear the newspaper's case
because of Mahoso's bias against the ANZ. And in a further judgment
delivered in May this year, High Court judge Justice Anne-Marie Gowora
specifically said Mahoso could not preside over the matter.
The judge said she was surprised that despite the 2005 ruling by the Supreme
Court that remarks made by Mahoso prior to the hearing of the ANZ
application could have created apprehension in the minds of any reasonable
person that justice would not be served, the Minister of Information had not
made any effort to put in place a separate legal structure that would permit
the application to be heard and determined by an impartial body.
The judge said: "The commission's chairman, having been found wanting by the
Supreme Court, has been effectively disabled from determining any further
applications involving the applicant."
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
ZANU PF legal secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa has poured water on debate over
President Robert Mugabe's succession by declaring that the President will
not face a challenge to his leadership at the ruling party's extraordinary
congress in December.
Mnangagwa has also defended Jabulani Sibanda, the controversial war
veterans' leader regarded as his ally, saying the former Zanu PF chairman
for Bulawayo province's status in the ruling party may only be discussed in
Mnangagwa, who is acting Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, told The Financial Gazette after a central committee meeting held
at the ZANU PF Headquarters in Harare last week that the special congress in
December would endorse only President Mugabe.
"In terms of the ZANU PF constitution, we have to convene the extraordinary
session of congress that will deal only with matters for which it will have
been convened. There are legal issues that have been arising in the party
and that is what we are going to address at congress," Mnangagwa said.
"We had a congress in 2004, and our next congress was supposed to be in
2009, but in between the congresses, we have this extraordinary congress,
which is necessary in order to declare the President of the party elected at
the last congress as the party's candidate. That candidate will be endorsed
In addition to confirming President Mugabe's candidacy, the December
conference will also ratify Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18,
passed by parliament in August with the support of the Movement for
Democratic Change. The amendment merges the electoral calendar, scheduling
presidential, senatorial, parliamentary and local government elections on
the same day.
Mnangagwa said the central committee did not discuss suspended Zimbabwe
National War Veterans Association chairman Sibanda, and congress was
unlikely to hear matters pertaining to the controversy.
"Comrade Sibanda is not on our agenda. As far as I am concerned he had a
dismissal confirmed by the central committee but he made an appeal to an ad
hoc disciplinary committee of the party. His lodging of the appeal suspends
the effect of the expulsion. His case will only be dealt with at the normal
ZANU PF congress in 2009," said Mnangangwa.
He said he was not aware of any duties that Sibanda had been conducting on
behalf of ZANU PF.
"As far I am concerned, he is a leader of a war veterans' welfare
organisation registered under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare,"
But Sibanda has, in the name of ZANU PF, been holding marches throughout the
country to push for President Mugabe's endorsement as the party's candidate
in next year's elections.
Sibanda's sensational return to the ruling party has angered senior party
officials who have demanded an explanation from President Mugabe on why the
controversial war veterans' leader was conducting the campaign when he was
expelled from ZANU PF.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff reporter
A TOP law officer who prosecuted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has been
acquitted on corruption charges after Harare magistrate, Peter Kumbawa,
ruled that the state had failed to prove its case against him.
Kumbawa acquitted Levison Chikafu, the Manicaland Area prosecutor on Monday,
without putting him on his defence on the grounds that at the close of its
submissions, the state had failed to establish a prima facie case against
Thirteen witnesses, including Mutare magistrate Billiard Musakwa, prosecutor
Mike Tembo and businessman Hlanganiso Matangaidze gave testimony in the
Chikafu, who was represented by the president of the Law Society of
Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa, was arrested in April this year on allegations of
At the time, Chikafu told The Financial Gazette that he was being victimised
for having prosecuted Chinamasa and calling for the arrest of National
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa in connection with a 2004 political
This week, Chikafu said: "I feel betrayed by some of my colleagues at the
Attorney General's office. They accused me of being aligned to the (Vice
President Joice) Mujuru faction." Turning to whether he would remain in the
Attorney General's office, he said he would make a decision after meeting
Chikafu shot to prominence last year after he led a series of legal
proceedings against political heavyweights when other prosecutors shied
He ruffled Mutasa's feathers at one point when he said in court that the
Minister's "wings must be clipped".
Last year, Chikafu wrote to the police, directing them to investigate four
Cabinet Ministers accused of stripping the once lucrative Kondozi Estate of
In the latest case he was handling, he had been pushing for the arrest of a
Central Intelligence Organisation operative, Joseph Mwale, the alleged
mastermind in the killing of two aides of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in the violent run- up to the 2000 general election.
POLICE recruits are now required to undergo national service training before
they can be enlisted into the force, The Financial Gazette established this
week, as Parliament heard of a dismal financial crisis in the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP).
Recruits who underwent police training at Ntabazinduna near Bulawayo
beginning in May were told that in order to secure employment, they needed
to produce a national service training certificate.
Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri however, said it was not the force's policy
to demand national service certificates from recruits.
The police are said to be recruiting every month, although deputy police
commissioner William Sibanda told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Defence and Home Affairs that the ZRP is struggling to buy uniforms for its
"There is a serious shortage of uniforms. We cannot buy shorts and T-shirts
and people are having to be trained in their own clothes," said Sibanda.
He was giving testimony on whether police were prepared for elections next
But even amid the financial crisis, new recruits are still filing in.
The recruits from Ntabazinduna maintained they were told that all trainees
who had not undergone national youth service training would be required do
so if they are to graduate after their police training.
"The majority of recruits went for national service. Less than 20 recruits
had not and were told last month that they will only graduate after going
for national service," a recruit said.
Police training takes six months, while the duration of national service is
A parliamentary report on the national youth service training programme
tabled in June recommended the temporary closure of youth camps, saying
legislators had been "horrified" by the living conditions there.
The report was compiled after tours of the national youth service centres
and vocational training centres by members of the youth and gender
parliamentary committee, chaired by ZANU PF Gutu South Member of Parliament
(MP) Shuvai Mahofa.
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
"IF anyone tries to remove President Robert Mugabe from power, we will march
in the streets and we are prepared to remove our clothes in support of his
candidature in next year's elections," said Oppah Muchinguri, leader of ZANU
PF women's league at a meeting held at the party's Harare headquarters early
Now that President Mugabe has all but secured his nomination as the party's
presidential candidate in next year's elections the public has,
disappointingly, been deprived of the chance to see Muchinguri and her band
of backers express their support for the veteran politician in the
threatened colourful manner.
After securing endorsements from the ZANU PF central committee and the
politburo last month, President Mugabe has taken the sting out of the ruling
party's December extraordinary congress, which had been expected to be
ZANU PF women's league, just like the war veterans, is a useful cog in the
party's scheme of things.
In 2004 the league was used to block Rural Housing Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa's ascendancy into the presidium by throwing its weight behind
Gender activists had applauded the ZANU PF wing at the time for awakening
from deep slumber to campaign for critical positions in the party's
Events of recent months have, however, sent confusing signals amid concern
that Muchinguri and her followers might have lost the plot along the way.
The ZANU PF women's league's seemingly fanatical support for continued male
dominance ahead of the December extraordinary congress represents a
dichotomy in what the grouping aspires for.
Its declaration of support for President Mugabe is a smack in the face for
Vice President Mujuru whose appointment to the number two spot was once
touted by the league as a victory and proud achievement for the wing.
Naturally, one would have expected the women's league to throw its weight
behind its trailblazing torchbearer but alas.
When Mujuru was appointed vice president in 2005, she exuded confidence and
presented a picture of someone capable of carrying the weight of the country
on her shoulders.
Her elevation occurred at about the same time that South African President,
Thabo Mbeki, appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as vice president, replacing
Jacob Zuma, who was facing corruption allegations.
Mujuru's rise had sparked debate on whether Zimbabwe was ready for a female
president, and whether Mujuru was the right candidate.
But three years down the line, the same constituency that backed Mujuru
appears to have had a change of heart at the least expected time.
What has happened to make the league change its mind and ignore the
crusading call to "support other women" for elective office that is often
made by Muchinguri?
Is it not too odd for the same women that clamoured for increased female
representation in the corridors of power at a ZANU PF Women's League
national congress held in 2004 to now turn their backs on Mujuru?
The league's preparedness to take a retrogressive step by accepting a return
to the pre-2004 scenario of an all-male presidency raises questions about
its commitment to its declared determination to fight for gender equality.
Undoubtedly, feeling betrayed, and abandoned by her comrades, Mujuru has
been obliged to seek support mainly from the business community, a move that
is unlikely to improve her chances of making it to the top.
Despite some deep-seated divisions and petty jealousies within the women's
league, it is by far the largest constituency within ZANU PF followed by the
youth league and the war veterans.
The big question to ask is whether these women have used their clout
appropriately to influence the outcome of the succession issue in the
direction they have chosen.
The league's unexplained U-turn on the prospects of a woman president
inevitably leads to questions of the calibre of its members and whether they
are independent thinkers ready to take the bull by the horns on matters of
The impression set so far is that the women's league is being used as pawns
in political games still dominated by men.
Despite the valid argument that women comprise the majority in Zimbabwe and
therefore, are entitled to a greater say in national affairs, by letting an
opportunity to put this into practice slip through their fingers, they have
set the clock back many years.
Now, with their credibility dented, they will have to go back to the drawing
board and start afresh to argue for a dispensation that they had won.
"There is no doubt women are capable of leading but they suffer from
intra-party dynamics and politics. The processes are not open; there is just
no intra-party democracy. However, women need to support each other and try
to clear their way and rise above cosmetic positions. If a woman is in high
office, that position should be protected," said Rindai Chipfunde, Zimbabwe
Election Support Network national director.
"The party's policies lack quotas to promote equal representation. They do
not favour women, campaigning for key positions needs funding, and usually
funds are channelled to campaigns for male characters."
Petty and unnecessary power struggles have apparently been allowed to cause
women to lose sight of the big picture.
There seems to be a rivalry between Mujuru and Muchinguri, the two most
powerful women in the party.
In September, at a ZANU PF women's league meeting in Plumtree, Muchinguri
was quoted as threatening to push for the ouster of Mujuru.
The bad blood between the two leaders is, according to speculation within
ZANU PF circles, a consequence of the emergence of various camps jostling
for positions in the succession battle.
Mujuru and Muchinguri are said to belong to different factions.
Muchinguri was reported to have taken an apparent swipe at Mujuru, accusing
her indirectly of being preoccupied with the struggle to succeed President
Mugabe at the expense of espousing women's issues.
Muchinguri said: "There are some women that we put on top to represent women's
interests and needs but they have failed and continue to be linked to coup
plots and the succession issue every day. We will ask them to step down at
the coming party congress in December."
But if Muchinguri's threats are to be taken seriously, will another woman
candidate rise up to take over from Mujuru, or even President Mugabe in the
The field of hopefuls, however, is not too impressive.
A close look at these leading female politicians reveals that all of them
owe their positions to President Mugabe.
Edna Madzongwe is regarded as the second most powerful woman in Zimbabwe
after Mujuru. She is a Mugabe loyalist appointed to head the controversial
Senate as a way to buttress the veteran Zimbabwean leader's grip on power.
Madzongwe swapped the deputy speaker of Parliament post she had held since
1995 for the senate presidency in 2005. She served two years as deputy
minister of education from 1993. Before that, she was a Member of Parliament
(MP) for Mhondoro in Mashonaland West.
But despite her celebrated background, her political muscle is yet to be
felt. So far, she has seemed to stand out only because of her farm seizures
in the Chegutu area.
Thenjiwe Lesabe was once regarded as the "iron lady" of ZANU PF politics,
and at one time touted as a possible successor to the late "father Zimbabwe"
Vice President Joshua Nkomo.
But since the Tsholotsho debacle - she would have been one of the two vice
presidents under a structure pushed for by the Mnangagwa faction - she has
been pushed into obscurity.
Abigail Damasane, the deputy minister of Women's Affairs, has been carving
for herself a place in ZANU PF politics through her enthusiastic praise
singing and dancing.
She, however, does not seem to have the kind of profile to rise above a
ministerial post and make it to the top.
Muchinguri, though, remains the strongest contender for Mujuru's post. She
has strong liberation struggle credentials and has been an MP since 1980.
In spite of the political shenanigans, it is a fact that women continue to
be under-represented in decision-making positions since independence.
The barriers to women's equal representation are many and stem from poverty,
cultural values and practices, the burden of caring responsibilities and the
political cultures and structures.
Despite these barriers and constraints however, the crucial question is
still whether there are enough women of the right calibre to make a
difference in the way the country is governed
Africa File with Mavis Makuni
The presentation of the inaugural Mo Ibrahim Foundation Award for good
governance in Africa to Mozambique's former head of state, Joachim Chissano
last week, is bound to revive debate across the continent on whether those
leaders already set in their corrupt, murderous and tyrannical ways can be
swayed by monetary incentives to turn over a new leaf.
Chissano received the award during an Africa Governance Forum in Burkina
Faso where heads of state in Africa were challenged to address the issues of
transparency, legitimacy and participation. Leaders in attendance were
Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and
the Prime Minister of Algeria Abdelaziz Belkhadem. The leaders participated
in a dialogue under the theme, "Building the Capable State in Africa", with
representatives of civil society, journalists and business leaders from 30
"The Ougadougou Summit is for us an opportunity to remind the international
community about the importance of additional support to accelerate progress
towards the Millennium Development Goals", Compaore, the president of the
host country told delegates. Kagame, who hosted last year's edition of the
Forum remarked that the region had made considerable progress, recording
rising economic growth rates, increasing democratic space for civil society
and the media and holding democratic elections.
"The creation of the capable state in Africa is long overdue. These
discussions have been going on for a long time. It is now time to translate
these discussions into actions", Kagame said.
The presence of former Mozambican president Chissano must have given the
Forum a particular dimension, because after receiving the inaugural award
for good governance, he personified the kind of African leader needed to
translate the important themes the delegates deliberated on into actions
beneficial to the people.
Receiving the accolade on October 24, Chissano said the time for military
juntas and life presidencies was over and leaders must embrace globally
accepted democratic principles. The former Mozambican head of state, who
chairs the African Forum, which consists of former heads of state, said
these elder statesmen were vehemently opposed to dictatorships.
"Increasingly African states have renounced the culture of military and
single party rule and presidency for life. I stand before you as clear
testimony to the emergence of this political form of governance." It must
have taken considerable courage for Chissano to utter those words while
enjoying the hospitality of a man who could be said to be guilty of some of
the ills he deplored.
Compaore, who has been in power for 20 years, came to power after a coup in
which his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, was killed. He won a fresh term after
a landslide victory in 2005, meaning that by the time he completes his
current term he will have been in power for 27 years.
The destiny of Togo, a country that shares a border with Burkina Faso, has
been in the hands of one family for the past 40 years. Current president,
Fuare Gnassingbe succeeded his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in 2005
after being in control as head of state for 38 years.
Chissano and other leaders opposed to dictatorships and life presidencies
are not likely to win the favour of many heads of state in their bid to
drive home the message of the need for a new style of leadership in Africa.
A list of the 25 longest serving leaders in the world ( excluding those who
are deceased) compiled by The Weekend Economist, is dominated by presidents
and prime ministers from Africa.
Out of the 25 names on the list, 16 are African heads of state and only nine
are from the rest of the world. The African line-up is headed by Omar Bongo
of Gabon, who has been in power for 40 years followed by Colonel Muammar
Gaddafi of Libya who has clocked 38 years.
The next rung consists of Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola and Teodoro
Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guniea who have been in power for 28 years.
They are followed by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe with 27 years under
his belt, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak (26 years) and Paul Biya of Cameroon whose
tally is 25 years.
The rest, whose incumbencies have lasted between 16 and 21 years are Yoweri
Museveni of Uganda; King Mswati III of Swaziland, Blaise Compaore of Burkina
Faso; Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia; Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan,
Idriss Derby of Chad; Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Isaias Afewerki of
Eritrea. From the foregoing, it can be seen that the number of leaders who
are reluctant to leave power voluntarily is still very high and it is
debatable what impact Mo Ibrahim's awards will have.
When the Egyptian-born tycoon first mooted the idea of rewarding African
heads of state for good governance and as an incentive for them to
relinquish power voluntarily, it received the enthusiastic endorsement of
former South African president Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, immediate past
secretary general of the United Nations ands ex United States president,
Bill Clinton. Some observers however, expressed reservations about the
potential for such a scheme to influence corrupt leaders who are already
filthy rich from stealing from their nations' coffers.
"The people who are doing badly and are killing their own people or stealing
state resources are going to carry on doing it", Paul Smith of Africa
Confidential was quoted as saying. Other observers noted that the prize
money offered by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation was "peanuts" to some of Africa's
corrupt dictators who have driven their countries to penury by regarding
them as personal fiefdoms. These are leaders who are accountable to no one
and who have imposed a culture of impunity.
And given the prevalence of dictatorships and authoritarian rule, which have
retarded development and puaperised the populations of many African
countries, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation is likely to rapidly run out of
candidates who genuinely deserve to be rewarded. Given this scenario,
Chissano's declaration in Burkina Faso that African states have renounced
military and one-party rule seems somewhat over-optimistic. It seems he will
have to do more across the length and breadth of Africa if as the first
recipient of the Mo Ibrahim award, he is to be seen as its ambassador and
drive the good governance message home to incumbent leaders who have already
more than exceeded the generally accepted two-term limit in office.
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
I had a good laugh recently upon discovering that a young colleague had
bought a loaf of bread in a bar at four times its gazetted prize.
All this emerged after I had remarked on the grocery items on his desk,
which included a packet of margarine, with a view to establishing where he
had found them.
It was in the course of explaining where he had stumbled upon each item that
he described how after a long time of not eating bread, he could not believe
his luck when he found it being sold in a bar. It is an unmistakable sign
that things are not normal when small talk revolves around the trials and
tribulations of sourcing basic commodities. I have been stopped by perfect
strangers countless times when I have walked down a street holding a scarce
commodity such as cooking oil, sugar or milk. They all wanted to know where
I had got the stuff so that they could rush there too. I have in turn often
found myself stopping perfect strangers to make similar enquiries about
items they were holding.
Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu announced at the end of
September that by the end of October, Zimbabweans would be able to shop
normally once again after the anarchy and disappearance of goods sparked by
the government's crackdown against the business community during which it
imposed an arbitrary pricing regime that did not take any economic
fundamentals into consideration. Ndlovu said supermarket shelves that had
become empty would be overflowing with goods once more. His pronouncements
have proved to be untrue.
Shopping for basic commodities still calls for the patience of Job and the
investigative skills of a secret agent. Patience means that if you have no
meal-mealie and your family is starving, you should soldier on indefinitely
until the day you join a long, winding queue of similarly desperate
householders outside a supermarket in the hope of being lucky enough to get
a packet. Minister Ndlovu can argue that things have "improved" and store
shelves are groaning under new stocks but that does not quite tally with the
realities on the ground.
I have entered supermarkets with shelves stacked with nothing but potato
crisps, dried vegetables (mufushwa) tea leaves, maputi or bars of soap. The
shelves look full alright but consumers need a normal variety of basic
Families cannot subsist on patato crisps, maputi or ice cream. They need
proper foods such as bread, meal mealie, milk, meat , rice etc. It is no use
for the authorities to pretend that things have normalised when they are
still dire and people are suffering. The price war has done nothing to ease
the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans as government declared it would.
Instead, the crackdown has made things much worse than anyone would have
imagined four months ago. Not only can basic goods not be found on a
regular, reliable basis but when they appear once in a blue moon, the prices
are stratospheric - not affordable as the government vehemently declared
they would be after its crackdown. It is the same consumers that the
government claimed to be rescuing from exploitation by unscrupulous and
unpatriotic businesspeople who now have to shoulder the burden of costs
passed on as firms try to re-captalise.
The firms were bankrupted by the decree on prices, which was big news when
it was imposed but about whose disastrous consequences very little is now
heard. The starving population needs to know what the government is doing to
restore a modicum of normalcy. It is not sustainable for whole families to
live on snacks and food from the takeaway sections of supermarkets where a
small portion of sadza and meat or sausage costs almost a million dollars.
How many meals can an average worker have at that price?
A few shops are genuinely full of goods from South Africa, which cost an arm
and a leg. One wonders if this is what Ndlovu had in mind when he announced
that shops would once gain be full. A big problem with our authorities is
their nonchalance when dealing with situations affecting the generality of
the people. They ignore the truth and speak as though they live on another
planet. This imperviousness is immoral and inexcusable when bread and butter
issues affecting the masses are at stake.
The Member of Parliament for Gokwe-Chireya, Leonard Chikomba was quoted in
yesterday's issue of a state newspaper hailing the government's efforts to
"stabilize" prices. "The consumers , who had suffered under (sic) the hands
of unscrupulous businesspeople, who willfully increased prices of
commodities beyond the reach of the majority of the people, feel relieved,"
he said. Does the legislator and all others who wear the same blinkers know
what they are talking about when they recite these insensitive mantras?
The government may have embarked on the "price war" in the hope of
disproving some projections on inflation that it found threatening as Ndlovu
once admitted, but it sacrificed the welfare of consumers in the process.
The government needs to acknowledge that its intervention has backfired and
come up with long-term strategies to remedy the situation. It is a
dereliction of duty for the government to pretend that all is well when its
actions have caused untold suffering for the people, which is becoming more
unbearable by the day. This is not an issue that can be swept under the
IN his biography of Sir Peter Carew -a controversial figure in the Tudor
re-conquest of Ireland, John Hooker coined the adage; "the more cooks, the
While Hooker lived 150 years ago, his rendition of the popular ancient
proverb, "too many cooks spoil the broth," rings true for Zimbabwe.
The country's broth has not only been spoilt by its many cooks but has
become poisoned in the process.
One cannot help but conclude that the duplicity of the many public officers
driving the country's economic agenda is driving business into the ground.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had last month laid a foundation upon
which industry's revival was to be anchored after a thoughtless price slash
directive had emptied supermarkets shelves.
And when industry was beginning to set its manufacturing processes in motion
in response to the RBZ measures, which are aimed at stimulating production,
a chorus of disapproval has emerged from some sections of government that
might put off track the central bank's efforts.
The discord within government's policy implementing agencies is nauseating
to say the least and the silence from the powers-that-be can be taken to
mean a tacit endorsement of actions undermining the elusive social contract
in particular and economic revival initiatives in general.
This week, Godwills Masimirembwa, whatever that means, began his tenure at
the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) breathing fire and
A lawyer-cum-consultant, Masimirembwa renewed familiar threats of sterner
action against "errant" manufacturers indexing prices at official, oops,
illegal parallel market rates.
The new NIPC chairman has quickly struck the official line, claiming there
are companies trying to hold government at ransom by applying for price
adjustments that are based on exchange rates obtaining on the parallel
Masimirembwa said the commission cares not about where manufacturers access
their foreign currency requirements, adding the only source of hard currency
he knew was the official market.
That, coming from a man who has already requested for additional manpower to
bolster the NIPC's compliance teams, points to more dark days for the local
industry whose capacity utilisation has never been this bad.
With industry still gasping for breath after being squeezed hard by the June
price blitz, unorthodox methods of fighting the inflation monster could
easily undo the RBZ's efforts.
It is no secret that foreign currency inflows into the country have suffered
a heavy knock after the previous backers of the country's stop-go economic
reforms pulled the plug on Harare citing its intransigence on policy
The demise of agriculture, tourism and more recently the uncertainty in the
mining sector precipitated by the impeding empowerment laws has meant that
the little foreign currency trickling into the official purse has to be
channelled towards critical sectors, primarily health and energy.
To keep the country going, the consumers of this scarce resource who cannot
meet the grade are scrounging for it on the parallel market. It is this
ingenuity that has sustained the country's economy to this day.
It would be suicidal to attempt to drive an economic revival programme from
A thriving parallel market will continue to coexist with the rich menu of
exchange control regulations for as long as government escalates its
obsession of controlling what it does not have.
It would help maters if the NIPC restricts its role to that of complementing
other economic agencies by working towards striking a balance between
viability and affordability. Politicking should be left to politicians.
The NIPC must be seen to be professional. Objectivity should be its
overriding principle at all times. It is through a win-win approach devoid
of emotions that the social contract can be given wings to fly the country's
economy back to prosperity.
It is a tragedy that instead of discharging their mandates diligently, some
civil servants are shutting their minds completely from the realities on the
ground to please their political masters.
And therein lie Zimbabwe's problems.
When government ejected David Govere from the NIPC chair, we warned that the
businessman had done nothing wrong. His offence, in our view, was his
failure to read his principal's lips. Government is content with a
commission that panders to its whims with no regard for economic
Govere's error of judgement when he took up the high-pressure job was a
grave one and what then followed is now history.
In our opinion the new NIPC chairman might also not last the distance
despite striking the right political chord.
While his style blends well with the government's electioneering strategy,
it lacks the momentum to carry it beyond the March 2008 elections.
After the harmonised elections Masimirembwa would be lucky to escape being
thrown into the political dustbin in which the ruling ZANU PF discards those
who swallow - hook, line and sinker - its election ruse, which is: the end
justifies the means.
Mutambara our only hope
EDITOR-During the liberation war of the 1970's, I was a very young guy
growing up in Njelele, Dewe village in Matobo District.
The comrades who were fighting the racist white regime told us that they
were not fighting a white man as a person, but were fighting the system
whereby the majority black Zimbabweans, did not own land and were denied
equal opportunities with white men.
Come elections in 1980, ZANU PF under the leadership of President Robert
Mugabe, won the elections and formed the government. Those of us in the
south-western parts of the country, truly speaking did not enjoy the fruits
of independence since President Mugabe unleashed his Fifth Brigade known as
Gukurahundi on us. It dawned on me that the elections of 1980 only changed
colours not policies. A white dictatorial regime was replaced by a black
dictatorship one. The policies remained the same.
The state of emergency remained in force just as LOMA remained with a new
name POSA. ZANU PF went on to amend the constitution to give President
Robert Mugabe executive powers. Now he has been declared (unofficially) life
president. Dissenting voices started being crushed: Tekere, Makoni, Welshman
Mabhena and others fell by the wayside. Anyone who dared to challenge him
was dealt with in a harsh way. Think of six ZANU PF chairpersons who were
fired together with Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Chinamasa, Mnangagwa and others were demoted.
When President Mugabe, again wanted to increase his term of office to 2010,
the other group of ZANU PF protested and now they are wanted out. The better
devil is now the Mnangagwa group, which is going to bed with him. The Mujuru
group, which was Mugabe's sweetheart, is now out of favour because they are
trying to put sense in him to step down because the country is in ruins.
All I am saying is that as long as you are President Mugabe's "yes" men, you
are welcome in ZANU PF, but should you differ with him, you are the enemy of
the party. Is that democracy? Is that what our brothers died for during the
liberation war? So ZANU PF's definition of democracy is "never differ with
the president of the party" because if you do so, you are then an enemy as
evil as Blair, Brown, Bush and the MDC. And also about 15 million
Zimbabweans would be sacrificed; all the country's resources will go towards
protecting a single man's interests at the expense of the masses. Just think
of constitutional amendments 17 and 18, which are all serving President
Mugabe's interests. Now the question is: Is President Mugabe the right
presidential candidate? The answer is a big NO.
In 1999, progressive Zimbabweans, sat down and decided to form a political
party which will wrestle power from ZANU PF democratically. Those people
were Morgan Tsvangirai, Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube. Job Sikhala, David
Coltart, Learnmore Jongwe, Tendai Biti, Gift Chimanikire, Isaac Matongo,
Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Lucia Matibenga, Roy Bennet etc. They had
a dream for Zimbabwe; they wanted to put an end to ZANU PF's misrule. They
wanted Zimbabweans as a people to decide their own destiny. That was then,
what then happened which led to the MDC split?
The reason why MDC split is because it was ZANU-fied. Different views were
then not tolerated. Anyone who innocently advised Tsvangirai about his
shortcomings was regarded as a ZANU PF spy, CIO or someone who wanted to
wrest the presidency from him. Was there any difference now between ZANU PF
and MDC? The leader was then more preoccupied with his position than the
people's needs. The senate elections were not the cause of the split, but
the leadership split because Tsvangirai and others were drifting from
democratic values and principles just because of positions. They were
behaving like ZANU PF. Then there was no reason to remove ZANU PF and
replace it with Tsvangirai because they all have degrees in violence and
To drive a point home, do you know that Professor Welshman Ncube was once
beaten up by thugs at Harvest House? Trudy Stevenson, Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Job Sikhala and many others were beaten up by
Tsvangirai's thugs. Look at Tsvangirai's boys, especially Lovemore Moyo, had
he won the Matabeleland South chairmanship under the new MDC, was he going
to rejoin Morgan Tsvangirai's faction? No, he went there because he had lost
to Moses Mzila Ndlovu. What about Gift Chimanikire, had he won the
presidency of the Pro democracy group, beating Professor Mutambara, was he
going to defect? No. These are people who just want to rule Zimbabwe.
When they split, Tsvangirai and Chamisa vowed not to enter any election
until there was a new people driven constitution, but immediately after that
they started participating, what hypocrisy is this? Now The UK MDC
(Tsvangirai) is dissolved, women's assembly is also dissolved. Ladies and
gentlemen is this democracy? Is Tsvangirai the best presidential candidate?
Since he started beating up opponents before being voted into power, what
will stop him from unleashing soldiers, police, CIO and his militia on his
For sure Tsvangirai and President Mugabe are birds of the same feather,
let's not have another Chiluba or Muluzi in Zimbabwe. Let's look for a
better president, Zimbabwe deserves better.
The Mutambara MDC formation differed with Tsvangirai because of his lack of
democratic values. Also, Tsvangirai was scoring own goals: remember the Ben
Menashe issue, the South African government issue of cutting power to
Zimbabwe. When Welshman Ncube specifically advised the then president, he
was labeled all sorts of names. He was also accused together with Vice
President Gibson Sibanda of harbouring presidential ambitions, which he
denied and he has never submitted their names for nomination. The party then
nominated Professor Mutambara, who was then elected President of the party,
(the Pro-democracy MDC formation).
In his acceptance speech, Professor Mutambara told Zimbabweans that he was
willing to work together with other progressive Zimbabweans to bring about
democratic change to the country. He even offered to step down so that there
could be elections between him and Tsvangirai. He also told Zimbabweans to
work together and forget tribal and regional politics. Professor Mutambara
has Zimbabwe at heart, he abandoned his lucrative career outside the country
to come and save Zimbabwe. For the sake of unity, Mutambara even offered
that the Tsvangirai formation takes the Presidency while his pro - democracy
formation takes the deputy position for the 2008 presidential elections, but
because of his selfish considerations, Tsvangirai refused.
As a patriotic Zimbabwean, I urge each and every Zimbabwean to rally behind
Professor Mutambara's MDC during the coming elections in 2008.
I think that each and everyone of us has proved beyond reasonable doubt that
Zimbabwe neither needs President Mugabe nor Tsvangirai. It needs Professor
Please NCA, WOZA, Crisis Coalition, Save Zimbabwe, Human Rights Lawyers, War
Veterans, Collaborators, MDC(Tsvangirai) members, ZANU (PF) members,
Jonathan Moyo and supporter, let's rally behind Professor Mutambara to save
History will judge us harshly should we fail to save ZIMBABWE, because of
tribal, regional and personal interests.
The media can also shape the future of this country. Zimpapers, ZBC, The
Financial Gazette, The Independent, The Standard, The Zimbabwean, Studio7,
Mail & Guardian, Zimonline etc., are you guys sure that you are rallying
behind President Mugabe? Are you sure, you are rallying behind Tsvangirai?
Can these two gentlelmen save our beloved country?
Never, because they are just two sides of the same coin.
Now is the time to rally behind Professor Mutambara so that he can lead us
to the promised land (Canaan). His MDC has never shifted goal posts or
indicated left to turn right, his party is principled. We need all
Zimbabweans to remain united against President Mugabe and Tsvangirai because
2008 is our last chance. If President Mugabe wins, hunger will continue to
affect us and if Tsvangirai wins, POSA, AIPPA and security agents will be
unleashed upon us all.
(MDC Pro-democracy Formation) Nkulumane District, Bulawayo Secretary for
Information and Publicity. NB: I am writing in my personal capacity as a
CMED pretests against the law
EDITOR-The nation needs to know the true position of the so-called pretest
introduced by Christopher Mushowe, the Minister of Transport and
This is despite being well and reliably being informed about the legal
position. What prompted me to write was an article in The Herald of October
12, 2007 in which the CMED director was informing the public on developments
taking place to improve the illegal service. The article was either an
indication of collusion or fear of the minister.
The Driving Schools regulations gave birth to the Driving Schools and
Driving Instructors. The law requires them to be registered and operate
under known terms of reference. They are required to use registered and
certified vehicles for training and subsequent reference of applicants to
VID. The vehicles and activities are insured in terms of law.
The CMED is a statutory body introduced by an act of parliament. It was once
a government department which was transformed into a private company whose
mandate is clearly spelt.
The mandate does not include the recently introduced driver pretesting. The
mandate is to hire transport and heavy duty equipment mostly to government
departments. They do not have anything called pretest assessor in their
Government departments have perennial transport problems yet they are busy
misappropriating resources to the minister's illegal venture. They also
diversified into passenger transport illegally.
How can one minister have two institutions in his portfolio performing the
same function. This must obviously be duplication and unnecessary taxing of
The minister cites corruption for his actions though I dispute this. You
remember EASYGO Driving School. It was getting stiff competition from other
schools hence came up with a monopolistic position of pretest. Was there no
corruption when Cde Mushowe personally forced CMED to form EASYGO, by then
he was claiming high fees by driving schools. Is he now happy with driving
school fees? Something is certainly fishy.
What is the position in case of an applicant who is involved in a traffic
accident with an assessor or VID during a test? Are they covered by the
insurance and in terms of the law? It is quite apparent that the minister is
colluding with CMED enforcing the CMED and prospective drivers to follow an
illegal process for best reasons known to them.
Law abiding citizen
Why should we pay more for same water?
EDITOR-Would someone at ZINWA please explain, preferably in one syllable
words, why, because I live in a low density area, I am paying five (yes
five) times the amount per cubic metre of water than those in high density
The water I drink is not of superior quality; it comes from the same source,
has the same percentage of chemicals and is pumped by the same pumps. There
is absolutely no justification for this and it reeks of elitist thinking by
the ZINWA heads. Living in a low density suburb does not mean we can be
ripped off, just because ZiINWA presumes or thinks that we are rich - a lot
of us are not.
Low density householders and tenants, add your voice to this call and get
this rip-off corrected now..
Time to UNITE.
Layman's guide to Zim inflation rate
EDITOR-In January this year, government doctors went on strike to pressure
the government to improve working conditions and have their salaries hiked
by 8 000 percent.
And how much were they earning? Around Z$56 000 per month...
As I write (October 2007), a cigarette on the streets now costs $70 000).
We shall overcome!