The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Passport office extends working days

November 4, 2012 in Local

THE Central Registry Office has, with effect from last week, extended
working days for the application of passports in an attempt to meet high
demand for the travel document.


The office has put up notices at Makombe Building, advising members that
passport submission and processing “will be done on Saturdays from 8am to
1pm effective November 3 2012 until further notice”.

However, yesterday only a few people could be seen applying for passports
because most people were not aware of the change.
According to the notice, the move was necessitated by the need to meet the
high demand for passports.

An official at the passport offices, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the notice came late yesterday, such that the office had no time to
notify the general public of the development.

“The relevant officials will notify the public through various media since
the notice was issued out late yesterday,” said the official.

The official could not shed more light on whether the move would only apply
at the head office or at provincial registry centres as well.

Efforts to get a comment from the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede were
fruitless, as he was said to have gone for a haircut.

The central registry office has over the years come under fire for failing
to cope with high demand for passports.

An ordinary Zimbabwean passport costs US$50 while other regional countries
charge less than US$30 for the same document.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CCZ concerned about quality of bulk water

November 4, 2012 in Local

THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has raised concern over the quality
and price of bulk water being sold by many companies in and outside Harare.

Report by Our Staff

A recent survey carried out by the consumer watchdog said some of the
companies were drawing their water from dams, rivers and boreholes.

“Asking the water suppliers, they all indicated that they sourced their
water from boreholes, sadly no one can vouch for that and that leaves
consumers vulnerable to drinking unsafe, untreated water sourced from
potentially unhygienic conditions,” CCZ said in a statement.

The CCZ added there were suspicions that companies were taking water from
the Harare City Council tapes, which many residents no longer drink because
of numerous safety concerns.

“There are concerns as to the cleanliness of the water, the tanks used to
move the water and the cleanliness of the processes the water undergoes
before its final destination — the consumer,” CCZ said.

The organisation said the shortages of clean, safe water have reached
“seismic” levels and urged municipalities to honour their duty of ensuring
that consumers have sufficient water.

The fact that local authorities were failing to supply clean water to
residents has given rise to an illegal water sector where some unscrupulous
individuals are starting companies to trade in the precious liquid.

“It appears to us, there is a free-for-all situation in the water market
where certain individuals and or companies are profiting from the water
situation to make a quick buck at the expense of desperate and unsuspecting
consumers,” said CCZ. “It concerns us from whose permission the companies
are selling water and why at such high prices! Whose companies are they?”

CCZ found that the companies were charging between US$60 and US$120 for 5
000 cubic metres of water both within and outside Harare.

“The charges by the water suppliers are not only ridiculously high, but
morally reprehensible in an environment where the vulnerable have a right to
protection through low cost tariffs.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Zanu PF election rant a pipedream’

November 4, 2012 in Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said elections will be held next March
with or without a new constitution.


But this immediately drew the ire of his political foes, who accused him of

Addressing hundreds of Zanu PF delegates at the party’s headquarters
yesterday, Mugabe reiterated his disdain for the inclusive government,
imploring his supporters to vote “properly” so his party can rule
unilaterally again.

“We will go for a referendum, but what I can tell you is that we will go for
elections in March with or without a new constitution,” he told the wildly
cheering supporters.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed
Mugabe’s statements on the election, saying dates were yet to be agreed.

“Zimbabwe will have new elections at a date yet to be agreed on and with a
new constitution,” he insisted.Setting the date for an election is
process-driven. we first have to have reforms then conduct an election.”

Mugabe has, for the past two years, been itching for an election, but at
every turn, he has been thwarted by the two MDC formations and Sadc, who
insist on having political reforms before polls ahead.

Tamborinyoka was dismissive of Mugabe’s latest statements, saying for the
past three years Mugabe has been speaking about having an election daily,
but this had not happened.

He, however, said the inclusive government cannot go beyond the end of next

MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube was equally dismissive, saying Mugabe was free
to express his hopes and wishes, but this did not translate to national

“He (Mugabe) is free to tell us what he wishes, but that does not mean his
wishes are superior to anyone’s. Coming up with a date for an election is a
collective decision and Mugabe’s views are contrary to that spirit,” he

Dube also insisted on having reforms before any elections were held.
Meanwhile, Mugabe, at the launch of a presidential agriculture input scheme,
made an impassioned plea to his Zanu PF party members to desist from
violence during the election.

“Let us not embarrass ourselves by spoiling our certain victory by engaging
in violence,” he said to loud cheers.Let us be clean. We are mature. let us
set an example for the whole African continent by being disciplined. No
violence please. elections are not a boxing or wrestling match.”

Mugabe has made several such pleas, often falling on deaf ears, with
political foes saying such statements could be insincere.

He also took a swipe at Finance minister Tendai Biti whom he accused of
failing to fund the agriculture sector.

He said if need be, Biti should borrow money to fund agriculture, the
country’s economic backbone, as all countries borrowed money.

Mugabe said the Marange diamonds could not sustain the country, as America
had an embargo on Zimbabwe’s diamonds, hence the non-performance of the

Biti has already revised the country’s 2012 Budget downwards, citing lack of
revenue from the diamond sector.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Acrimony in GNU worrying: Analysts

November 4, 2012 in Politics

TEMPERS flared at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference a fortnight ago,
with MDC leader Welshman Ncube boycotting the opening ceremony in protest at
the speaking arrangements that seemed to favour his nemesis, Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara.


This was the latest twist to the almost two-year-old wrangle between the two
professors over the control of the MDC.

The incident has raised questions on why President Robert Mugabe seemed to
be taking sides with Mutambara while shutting out Ncube.

Despite Sadc recommending that the MDC leader be allowed to attend meetings
of the principals, Ncube has found himself out in the cold several times.

Mugabe has always preferred to meet Mutambara and MDC-T leader, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

“He (Mugabe) is disdainful of us,” Ncube said when asked recently.

“He is tied at the hip with Mutambara. It is clear that he (Mugabe) has a
strong personal attitude against me and the party I lead.”

Several theories have been bandied about on why Mugabe was reluctant to
include Ncube in his meetings, chief among them being that the MDC leader is
perceived as being too close to South African President Jacob Zuma, who
leads the mediation process.

Zuma and Ncube are in-laws.

“It is a matter of trust,” University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred
Masunungure said.

“Mugabe never warmed up to the Zuma mediation. Ncube being a close relative,
Mugabe may be suspicious of him attending principals’ meetings.”

Ncube, Zuma relationship trivial: Hikwa

National University of Science and Technology lecturer Lawton Hikwa said the
relationship between Zuma and Ncube was inconsequential.

“I would not buy that myself. Ncube’s relationship with Zuma cannot be an
issue,” he said.

“That is just speculation.”

This is a view that Ncube himself seems to hold, claiming that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai could actually have a direct and easier route to the South
African President. “That is not relevant contextually. I have no greater
access to Zuma than Mugabe. they are Presidents and can call each other any
time,” the MDC leader said.

“Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, as a matter of fact, access Zuma directly.”

Hikwa added that Mugabe’s hands were tied since the power tussle between
Ncube and Mutambara was pending before the courts.
He said while it was clear Ncube was a political principal: “Mugabe had no
choice but to recognise Mutambara as a principal in the government”.

‘Essar deal worsened mugabe-ncube relations’

Another theory for the frosty relationship between Mugabe and Ncube is the
MDC leader received a kickback from Essar to facilitate the deal between
Zisco and the Indian company.

Already some parliamentarians have questioned the deal, but Cabinet finally
authorised it after a very long delay.

As if to back that, those that are pushing the theory claim Ncube was
donating bicycles made in India to his party supporters. But the MDC leader
shot back, describing that claim as “absolute nonsense”.

“The bicycles were bought from a factory in Norton. Let us not be judged by
their standards,” Ncube said insinuating that those who were saying that,
had become accustomed to corruption and could not fathom that some people
could work professionally, without being bribed.

‘Boycotts won’t help’

While relations between Mugabe and Ncube were reportedly cold, political
analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the MDC leader’s boycott last Monday was

Despite Mutambara’s presence, Ncube should not have left, he said. “Ncube
does not have to be offended,” he said. “He (Ncube) is supposed to be in
there and he should be. let them throw him out if they have to.”

This was a view shared by UZ lecturer Charity Manyeruke who said boycotts
have never produced any results in Zimbabwe. “The President is not closing
out Ncube, but he chose to boycott,” she said.

“The reality is that Mutambara is also a principal, as a GPA signatory, and
Mugabe cannot afford to avoid him.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zaha appeals to government for more land

November 4, 2012 in Community News

THE Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (Zaha) has appealed to the
government to make land available for residential accommodation in
peri-urban areas as most councils no longer have land for such purposes.


Addressing journalists at a briefing in the capital last week, Zaha
president Killer Zivhu, said during the hyperinflationary period, a number
of city councils throughout the country sold land in exchange for sundries
such as fuel and working capital finance to individuals and housing

“This situation has worsened the housing backlog as people cannot afford
land in urban areas. It is against this background that we urge the
government to make use of peri-urban areas to address this plight,” he said.

A 2010 Zimbabwe Millennium Development Goals report estimates a shortage of
one million urban housing units, with this figure likely to increase due to
an increased urbanisation rate, estimated to be between 5 to 6%.

Zivhu said his association in collaboration with property development
company, DATCO Group had since made available 1 200 serviced stands in
Kadoma to prospective home seekers.

Under the arrangement, Zaha members pay 1% of the total cost and receive
house keys while the rest of the money is payable over 10 years.

He said the association in collaboration with ZABG Bank was also targeting
to secure more than 500 000 stands for low-income earners and people
involved in the informal sector by end of next year.

DATCO Group general manager Desire Mutovo said all stands were council
approved while demand for stands was very high.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

One million children not in school—Report

November 4, 2012 in Community News

FOR the second year running, Zimbabwe has topped Africa’s literacy tables,
but an estimated one million children in the country are out of school, it
has emerged.


The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 says 92%
of adult Zimbabweans were able to read and write.

But the Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart said there
was no reliable data on children out of school in the country due to a
critical shortage of resources and skilled personnel.

“The ‘out-of-school’ children, numbers are still not known, but could be as
high as another one million children,” Coltart said at the launch of an
education assistance evaluation report in October.

The Zimbabwe National Strategic Plan for the Education of Girls, Orphans and
Other Vulnerable Children 2005-2010 says soaring unemployment rates,
spiralling school fees, mass labour migration and high HIV and Aids rates of
the past decade were key factors that caused the rise in the number of
school drop-outs.

The report was compiled by the ministry of Education and UN agencies.
The report also says there has been a steady decrease in numbers of children
attending primary and secondary school since 2005.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report 2012 says of the 11 251
households sampled nationwide an estimated 14% of children of primary
school-going age are not in school.

The highest numbers were recorded in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North
and Matabeleland South.

The assessment recommended that the government prioritise areas with the
highest rates.

“The government and its development partners should develop policies and
intensify efforts to better resource programmes such as the Basic Education
Assistance Module to ensure universal access to primary education for both
boys and girls,” said the report. “Priority in this regard should be given
to the Matabeleland districts where the highest proportion of children were
not in school.”

A welfare organisation, Children First is running a one-year out-of-school
study group programme aimed at helping youths aged 12 to 15 years to get
back into formal school.

The programme is funded the United States Agency for International

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Foreign investors push the bourse to US$4bn

November 4, 2012 in Business

MARKET capitalisation on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) was back at US$4
billion last month driven by the participation of foreign investors after
over a year below the mark, according to officials from the bourse.

Report by Our Staff

Market capitalisation represents the aggregate value of a company or stock
and is obtained by multiplying the number of shares outstanding by the
current price for a share.

It is one of the yardsticks used to measure a company’s performance.
ZSE data showed that market capitalisation was at US$4 033 762 069 up from
US$3 822 796, the ninth highest point since the use of multi-currencies in

The market cap had breached the US$4 billion mark in January last year and
reached an all-time high of US$4 267 499 484 five months later.

It went on a retreat before picking up in the last three months.
Foreign investors were the major players on the bourse after buying shares
worth US$23 713 412,66 and sold shares worth US$9 875 938,67.

This means they contributed over 80% to turnover for the month.

The total value of shares that exchanged hands during the month was US$37
860 867,70 up from US$30 227 959,94 recorded in September.

The stock exchange shows the health status of the economy and its
performance is being closely followed by investors.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

RBZ to auction US$30 million Treasury Bills

November 4, 2012 in Business

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to auction US$30 million Treasury
Bills (TBs) on Tuesday in a move that would result in more liquid
instruments being used in interbank placements.

Report by Ndamu Sandu

The auction of the short-term negotiable instruments issued by the
government through the central bank to finance government short-term
requirements would be held at the central bank at 10am.

The auction comes more than a week after US$9,85 million was raised from the
91-day paper.

The amount to be raised is double what was intended to be netted last

Standardbusiness was told on Friday, banks would bid for the paper after
getting a tongue-lashing by the monetary authorities last week.

Last week Tuesday banking executives and Treasury heads of banks were
summoned to the central bank where they were told to support the TBs.

One foreign bank shunned the TBs at an auction held last Friday, attracting
the ire of the monetary authorities.

The bank is sitting on over US$300 million in idle funds, Standardbusiness
was told on Friday.

“Banks have been saying that they need TBs and they are in place, but one
bank chose not to support them, which is not only unfair but selfishness on
the part of that institution,” one banker said last week.

“It raises unnecessary pressure on banks.”

Indeed pressure was exerted with Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere saying the banking sector would not
be spared from the indigenisation crusade, as it does not want to support
the country’s economic activities.

“TB (Finance minister Tendai Biti) has failed to raise money from TBs. Where
is the supply side? If the supply side couldn’t work why didn’t it work in
terms of the TBs,” Kasukuwere questioned in reference to supply side model,
seen as an alternative to empowerment in the banking sector.

Although the use of the money raised through TBs could not be established,
as Biti’s phone went unanswered last week, the Treasury boss told this paper
last month that TBs would be used to finance capital projects.

Biti has been under pressure from civil servants who are clamouring for a
review of their salaries amid fears he could concede and divert the funds to
recurrent expenditure.

Biti said then that Treasury was also mindful of the fact that “one of the
things that killed the country is debt and the total absence of fear of
contracting debt”.

Zimbabwe’s total external debt is pegged at well over US$10 billion and the
country has no capacity to settle it.

Biti has indicated that revenue generation is unable to meet the country’s
growing financial needs.

In his mid-term Fiscal Policy review, Biti slashed the 2012 budget to US$3,4
billion from US$4 billion attributed to the underperformance of the diamond
revenue, among others.

In a normal economy, all banks work in unison, making it possible for the
financial system in the country to operate efficiently.

Banks with excess liquidity assist those in deficit positions using TBs as
security. In addition, the central bank, as lender of last resort,
accommodates banks in deficit by offering them overnight funds secured by

Before the return of the TBs, any bank facing liquidity mismatches had to
solve the problem alone as the troubled institution would be unable to
approach other players due to the absence of security.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Local consortium to acquire stake in Unki

November 4, 2012 in Business

A consortium of indigenous investors is set to acquire a 10% stake in Unki,
a unit of Anglo American.

Report by Our Staff

This is as part of the platinum miners’ move to comply with the
indigenisation legislation.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act states that locals should
have a controlling shareholding in all foreign- owned companies operating in
the country.

According to a plan announced last week, the Tongogara Rural District
Community Share Ownership Trust would get 10%, employees (10%), a consortium
of indigenous investors (10%) while the National Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) would have 21%.

The 51% controlling shareholding is valued at US$142,8 million.

According to the plan, the transaction value has been arrived at after
deducting an indigenisation discount of US$312 (53%) in recognition of the
sovereign ownership of resource from the company’s value of US$592 million.

This is the first time that a consortium of local investors is in line to
buy shareholding as in previously announced plans, only employees, community
and NIEEF had benefited.

The transaction would be consummated via a loan from the platinum miner to
be repaid through the waiver of dividends due to locals for 10 years. The
loan is available at an interest rate of 10% per annum.

According to the plan, the local consortium, community and employee trusts
would have one director each on the board.

NIEEF would appoint three directors.

All shares that would have been issued to the community trust, employee
trust and NIEEF, would be pledged as security until the loan advanced for
its acquisition is repaid.

The indigenisation legislation has been blamed for unnerving investors who
are much needed in reviving the economy.

According to the medium-term plan, the government wants investments to
contribute 20% to gross domestic product from the current 4%.
Finance minister Tendai Biti announced in July that the government had
agreed to exempt new investors from complying with the clause that states
that at least 51% should be given to locals in a charm offensive to lure

On Thursday, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere said he was merely enforcing the law and would not stop
until the economy is fully indigenised.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Majority employed in informal sector — Zimstat survey

November 4, 2012 in Business

THE majority of people in Zimbabwe are employed in the informal economy,
according to a survey carried out by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency

Report by Our Staff

The informal economy refers to activities and income that are partially or
fully outside government regulation, taxation and observation.

“The currently employed population aged 15 years and above, was estimated to
be 5,4 million and of these, 84% were considered to be in informal
employment, 11% were in formal employment and 5% were in employment not
classifiable,” reads a section of the survey.

The survey is intended to provide useful information for formulating
policies on employment, macro-economic monitoring, as well as incomes
support, among others.

Zimstat carries out a Labour Force and Child Labour Survey (LFCLS) after
every five years, with the last one having been conducted in June 2004.

The survey was due in 2009, but as a result of the economic problems that
befell the country then, it was not possible to conduct through instruments
that had been developed at a stakeholder workshop in 2008.

The 2011 LFCLS was carried out from the June 9 to 29 last year.
Last year’s LFCLS estimated that around 69% of the informal sector employees
were in the broad age group of 20 to 39 years.

According to the survey, the distribution of the informal sector employees
by industrial sector showed that the largest number of employees were in the
wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles,
thereby constituting 52%, followed by other services and manufacturing at
14% each.

The distribution of the informal sector employees aged 15 years and above by
highest level of education completed, showed that 85% of the informal sector
employees had primary or secondary level of education.

Experts say Zimbabwe’s high unemployment rate, pegged at well above 80% due
to the sustained decline in economic production levels, has been cited as
one of the key underlying reasons behind spiralling informal sector

A significant number of traders in the country’s informal economy sell a
variety of products depending on location.

For instance, at most furniture manufacturing complexes like Glen View 7,
traders sell commodities ranging from timber, adhesives, paints, nails and
all hardware needed, providing convenience to manufacturers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Air Zim gets lifeline

November 4, 2012 in Business

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, is ready to co-operate with Air Zimbabwe in a
massive boost for the national flag carrier struggling to find friends in
the skies.

Report by Ndamu Sandu

Pieter Bootsma, KLM executive vice-president Marketing, revenue management
and network, told stakeholders at a breakfast meeting last Tuesday that the
airline stands ready to help once Air Zimbabwe is back in the skies. Air
Zimbabwe resumed domestic flights last week while international flights were
set for today.

“If Air Zimbabwe is back in the air, we are ready to co-operate with it. We
are ready to find synergies between our two airlines and see how we can grow
the market jointly.

“We believe in strategic partnerships. We believe in connections. We believe
in friendships, which is one of the true values of KLM,” Bootsma said.

KLM resumed flights to Zimbabwe last Monday after 13 years and will fly into
the country three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

It would also offer 11 weekly flights to Harare via Nairobi in partnership
with Kenya Airways.
Bootsma said partnerships would drive the airline forward, adding that its
partnership with Kenya Airways had created a hub in East Africa.

KLM was joined in the partnership by Mozambican airline, LAM, which also
pledged to work with Air Zimbabwe. LAM commercial manager Claudio Banze said
the airline was “here to stay” after resuming flights to Zimbabwe last week.

“We hope that very soon we will announce not only LAM flights, but LAM
flights in code-share with Air Zimbabwe,” Banze said.
Analysts say the country has to sort out the high-landing fees so as to
attract more airlines to Zimbabwe.

Airlines flying to Zimbabwe have raised concern about the high-landing fees
charged by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

Bootsma said high fees would be a major determinant on whether or not it
increases direct flights to Zimbabwe.

Calculations made by Standardbusiness showed that KLM would pay over US$1
600 in fees alone per flight.

The calculations were made using fees on the CAAZ website.
KLM would pay inbound navigation charges of US$113,6, landing fees of US$1
130, docking fee of US$290 (assuming it has two-hour turnaround) and
navigation fees of US$113,6 per flight.

Adding handling fees of US$2 000, means that KLM has to pay US$3 647,2 for
every flight to Zimbabwe.

The fees, according to experts, work against efforts of luring airlines.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Let’s uphold the sacredness of life in all its forms

November 4, 2012 in Opinion

If we are truly to be at the service of justice, then it is important to
recognise that the first victim of abortion is the unborn child whose life
has been deliberately ended.

Report by Catholic Bishops

Taking the life of a child in the womb is as unjust as taking the life of
any human being.

The Catholic Church speaks out against abortion because it acknowledges the
human rights and dignity of all people.

To wilfully destroy life is an unspeakable crime against an innocent and
defenceless gift from God.

The church’s defence of life is based on the intrinsic value and inalienable
rights that each individual has. Because we are made in the image and
likeness of God, this gives to each life a divine property. Human life is
thus untouchable and those who destroy this gift are attacking the creator

From the first to the last, the message of scripture is unambiguous, the
very foundation of human dignity and human rights is to be found in God’s
creative plan and purpose. The Catholic Church thus has a duty to incarnate
this message in every culture and in every constitutional and social system.

The logic of abortion begins in the mentality that underpins the concept of
contraception. Abortion becomes yet another form of contraception and a
means of disposing of what is considered inconvenient and challenging.

This naturally leads to a move to dispense with the sick, disabled and the
elderly. With the willing complicity of many governments throughout the
world, colossal means have been used against people, at the dawn of their
life or when thought to be a burden on national medical resources. It is for
this reason that the Catholic Church has consistently stood against abortion
because it degrades human rights and dignity.

What the church teaches is consistent with the whole Christian teaching
about the rights of the innocent to live.

Without it, no other human rights are secure. Long before science was able
to reveal the stages of development within the womb, the Catholic Church had
regarded the unborn at all stages of pregnancy as possessed of a distinct
new life, which no one could willingly choose to destroy.

As our understanding increased, the church began to defend life from the
moment of conception. From the moment the father fertilises a living cell
from the mother “the adventure of a human life begins”. Each new life is the
life not of a potential human being, but of a human being with potential.
The moment of conception begins the life story of each person and so it is
to be protected. No human law can thus legislate for the deliberate killing
of a human being and “there is no obligation in conscience to obey such

If we speak of human rights then the child in the womb has rights no matter
whether we choose to call this child a neonate (newly born), a foetus or
embryo (child within the womb).

The Catholic church is clear — human rights are not arbitrary and there
should be no interference with the natural development of the child in its
mother’s womb. Not even the parents have this right since the child is an
independent life.

We acknowledge that people find themselves facing difficult and confusing
situations. Young girls find themselves used sexually by older youths or men
and deserted when found to be pregnant. There are cases of rape and
occasions when the pregnancy could injure the mothers’ health. The pressure
to terminate can be great, but we cannot use murder of the innocent as a
solution to an unwanted problem.

Pre-abortion counselling, practical guidance and medical help during
pregnancy, a safe place to deliver and the appropriate adoption advice are
all measures that we, as the Catholic Church, ought to see as our
contribution to eradicate a culture of death.

Adapted from Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference pastoral letter

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Indigenisation: Sharing a few crumbs

November 4, 2012 in Opinion

When it comes to populist policies such as indigenisation, you cannot
question the craftsmanship and frothing passion of its most avid political

Report by Lance Mambondiani

It’s a zero sum game; foreign shareholders and the private sector have been
bullied and marched into submission and the rest of us have to
unquestionably believe in the sincerity of state paternalism as a
redistributive force with the capacity to deliver people from inequality and
out of poverty.

If this is the only economic policy in town, the question is; in its current
format, will the indigenisation policy change lives of ordinary Zimbabweans?
Will it create jobs, reduce poverty or spur economic growth?

BEE — ‘Black elite enrichment’
Like land redistribution, there is little argument about indigenisation as a
justifiable imperative — the country’s economic transformation requires a
restructuring and democratising of ownership and control of the economy by
empowering the historically oppressed to play a leading role in the
mainstream economy. Several African countries have attempted different
empowerment models with mixed results. Of course very few of these have been
as combative and headline-grabbing as ours.

Evidence across Africa suggests that almost consistently, empowerment models
which focus on redistribution have benefited distributional cartels
consisting of those in power at the expense of ordinary people. The policy
has succeeded in replacing a foreign capitalist with a black one with no
real impact on addressing inequality.

A very small cake to indigenise
As a pathway to economic growth, the indigenisation agenda appears feeble
and deficient. The policy’s major weakness is its central focus, the
requirement that all companies with a share capital above US$500 000 (or a
specified threshold) should arrange for 51% of their shares or interests to
be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.

In this regard, the policy is fixated on the redistribution of the past.
Changing who owns 51% of a company may alter the ownership structure
(perhaps from white to black), it offers little incentives on creating new
jobs to address the high levels of unemployment.
Besides, after years of economic collapse, the private sector has been
decimated and has shrunk to the size of a cup-cake.

In terms of revenue, corporate income tax accounts for less than 3,2% of
gross domestic product (GDP). Unlike land redistribution, indigenising the
private sector is unlikely to trigger any movement on the poverty Richter
scale in Dotito. An effective economic policy should focus on empowering the
80% unemployed through an equitable business environment which supports
entrepreneurship, small businesses and integration of the informal sector
into the mainstream economy.

A threat to foreign direct investments
Where it fails to create jobs, the indigenisation policy has been a
catastrophic success in deterring foreign direct investments (FDI), crucial
to stabilising our current account deficit.

Despite improvements in the economy since Government of National Unity
(GNU), our external position remains precarious.

Current account deficit widened to 36% of GDP in 2011, financed in large
part by debt-related flows, arrears, and a drawdown from the SDR. Zimbabwe
has lived with an underlying balance-of-payment problem for the past 50
years. Without substantial foreign investment inflows, sustainable economic
growth is near impossible regardless of how well the economy is integrated
or indigenised.

The indigenisation policy has a potentially destabilising effect
Although there are other factors, the policy has contributed significantly
to a polarised business environment, poor investor confidence and weak FDI

Since the IEE Act was enacted, net FDI figures (as a percent of GDP) have
recorded an all time low, with negative inflows at -25,9 in 2009, and -21,1
in 2011. The uncertainty and inconsistency around the application of the
policy has affected investment decisions particularly for new investments
across the productive sector.

Empowerment through sustainable jobs

The essence of economic empowerment is in spreading benefits of economic
growth to everyone, making economic growth more inclusive and sustainable.

The majority of the previously disadvantaged groups are not necessarily
comprised of people interested in owning shares in companies.

Their main focus is on getting good jobs (sustainable jobs), improving their
skills (skills development), starting and running their own businesses
(preferential procurement and enterprise development) and simply living a
better life.

An effective empowerment model should put together policies concerned with
economic transformation through interventions which look beyond equity

Some lessons can be learnt from countries such as Malaysia, India and Sri
Lanka. Malaysia’s experience with its New Economy Policy implemented between
1970 and 1990 is the most well-known example on how to successfully
implement a broad-based economic empowerment programme by growing the
economy to achieve greater integration.

In an economic context such as ours with enormous challenges of economic
development, government policy and funding priorities should be focused on
urgent issues such as creating jobs, education, infrastructure and health as
a form of sustainable empowerment.

The catalyst for the 1997 economic crisis was the controversy around the
land redistribution exercise, the recovery achieved since GNU should not end
with an equally combative siege on businesses.

Dr Lance Mambondiani is an Investment executive at Coronation Financial and
a researcher in Development Economics.
He teaches International Finance for Development and Financial Markets &
Corporate Governance at the University of Manchester. He can be contacted on The view expressed in this article, first published
on New Zimbabwe.Com are personal and do not necessarily reflect the
position of Coronation Financial.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parties should rise above partisan interests

November 4, 2012 in Opinion

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai has made
disturbing declarations that they will not allow incumbent councillors and
MPs to face other competent officials from within the rank and file of their
party during elections.

Report by Precious Shumba

This position is disturbing because the majority view of voters across the
breadth of Zimbabwe is that most councillors running urban and rural local
authorities have become entrenched in corruption that they have ceased to
serve the interests of ordinary residents.

At the same time, the Zanu PF leadership has indicated that they are in the
process of developing procedures for holding primary elections to choose
candidates who will stand against other political parties in harmonised
elections scheduled for March 2013.

Now that election talk is being repeated by political parties, this is a
time for the citizenry to demand and occupy their space to determine who
gets to represent them in elections, given that political parties are coming
up with regulations and procedures on behalf of the people, a clear
testimony that they do not trust them to choose their own representatives.

The MDC-T position on the selection of candidates for elections has to be
interrogated from three critical viewpoints which will help us understand
the merits and demerits of their chosen methodology.

Firstly, the party should satisfy itself that serving MPs and councillors
have the endorsement of their respective constituencies, rather than use a
tired excuse that these are known and can help the cause of the party in

Secondly, the decision should be informed by the performance of incumbents,
within their respective constituencies and wards as individuals, and their
performance as a collective within council or parliamentary committees, in
full council and parliamentary deliberations.

The third viewpoint is that those being nominated for election should meet a
certain standard, determined by the citizens, informed by historical
experiences of the significance of an office, otherwise citizens will endure
a nightmarish five years under the leadership of incompetent, corrupt and
ignorant officials, whose selection was manipulated in the first place.

Voters know what they want in a leader and should have the right to make
their views known by their leadership.

But it should not be the responsibility of the national or provisional
leadership to declare that such leader will not be challenged, hiding behind
party constitutional loopholes which do not put a maximum period of service
for MPs and councillors, yet advocate for two-five year terms for the
president of a political party.

All leaders should be endorsed through a formally-adopted system that has
popular support and is understood by the membership.

It must be transparent, accountable and with a conflict resolution mechanism
that guarantees redress of challenges. There has to be one system for all
candidates on the same level of office — councillors, MPs, senators,
vice-presidents, and presidents.

Imposing candidates is one of the reasons why Zanu PF has an old guard that
is too powerful to be opposed by low-ranking officials. President Robert
Mugabe is unable to control them, given their lengthy stay in Parliament and

The tragedy of this kind of decision-making by political parties on
candidates selection is that it protects certain interests, mostly economic
for short terms, but this will ultimately destroy the party, and erode
public confidence.

Loyalty by the membership should be towards the values and principles of the
party and not the narrow political and economic interests of well-fed
officials, wanting to be permanent councillors and MPs.

Some of these incumbents who have engaged in corrupt practices, getting
kick-backs on tenders and have enjoyed a very comfortable life, are the ones
who are at the forefront demanding changes at the helm of their political
parties yet they do not want to open up the system to democratic competition
by winning or losing in a transparent process.

The MDC-T has to listen to communities, just as Zanu PF, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn
(MKD) and the MDC have to pay attention to what the ordinary people are
saying regarding their officials holding public office.

Failure to heed the demands of communities for genuine involvement in
decision-making processes within their political parties, means they will
express themselves in an unpredictable way through the ballot, voting for
other candidates than those from their preferred party owing to
disgruntlement— or they will choose not to participate in elections thereby
reducing chances of winning against formidable opposition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe sows discord in GNU

November 4, 2012 in Opinion

There is discord once again in the inclusive government as divergent views
have emerged from President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai on the way forward regarding the contentious constitution-making
process and scheduling of impending elections.

Mugabe told Parliament last week that the elections would be held in March
2013 and that co-principals in the Government of National Unity (GNU) were
agreeable to the date.

He also told delegates to the second all-stakeholder’s conference last month
that the principals were the final authority to decide on the constitution
and not Copac.

As reported in NewsDay on Thursday and the Zimbabwe Independent on Friday,
Tsvangirai has refuted that there is consensus among principals on the two
critical issues.

This ruse by Mugabe is not surprising at all. He has always wanted elections
held on his terms, but he knows the perils of holding another sham election.
He is worried about his legitimacy.

There is all the evidence that Mugabe is haunted by the issue of political
correctness as leader.

Since the violent and highly controversial election of 2008, Mugabe has
battled the ghost of illegitimacy as leader after voluble accusations that
his retention of power was a direct product of vote-rigging and a violent
crackdown on political opponents.

What has appeared to give Mugabe a measure of legitimacy during the tenure
of the GNU has been the figure of Tsvangirai appearing by his side.

He has exploited this uneasy relationship to present a fašade of a working
political environment in which he agrees with his arch opponent on critical
issues, notwithstanding their very divergent political views. He expects
Tsvangirai to nod through this duplicity in the name of political consensus.

Mugabe requires Tsvangirai’s stamp of approval for the current subterfuge.

This should not be allowed because we know that the ultimate goal is to have
a constitution doctored to suit Mugabe’s power retention scheme. Reforms of
the security establishment and media laws have remained outstanding.

Tsvangirai should never lend himself to this dangerous project because he
must abide by his commitment to democratic governance.
Mugabe should be reminded that bully-boy tactics can never substitute
popular support.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Constitution-making lacking clarity’

November 4, 2012 in Opinion

After observing the proceedings in the run-up to, and during the just-ended
Copac’s Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference held last month, the Zimbabwe
Peace Project, Zimbabwe Election Support Network and Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights and the Independent Constitution Monitoring Project (ZZZICOMP),
considers it appropriate to express its preliminary observations on this
national process.

Report by ZZZICOMP

ZZZICOMP notes that accreditation of delegates was decentralised to
provinces and this assisted in speeding up the process of registering

While there seemed not to be challenges with the accreditation of political
party delegates from the parties to the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
inclusivity of other political parties was questionable.

In addition, a high-level of political interference from all three political
parties to the GPA was observed during the accreditation of civil society

Although this was eventually (although not fairly) resolved, this adversely
affected the ability of the civil society to adequately and independently
prepare for and participate in the conference in a non-politicised and
non-partisan manner.

It is necessary for both political parties and the broad civil society to
disentangle themselves and understand their roles as this
constitution-making process continues, failing which they will continue to
do a disservice to the broader population, who have issues which may be
peripheral to objectives and priorities of the three political parties in
the government.

The accreditation of observers was centralised to Harare, however.

While international observers experienced no challenges with accreditation,
local observation groups experienced considerable challenges, including a
restriction on numbers of observers and an atmosphere of distrust and lack
of co-operation by Copac staff, which was only resolved after the
intervention of the three Copac co-chairpersons.

While ZZZICOMP had 420 observers registered during previous stages of the
constitution-making process, this was reduced to two initially, and after
negotiations, was raised to a mere 10 observers.
This proved to be a challenge for detailed observation of each thematic
breakaway session and the general rollout of the Second All-Stakeholders’

Zzzicomp hails violence-free conference

The conference was held in a generally peaceful environment.

ZZZICOMP commends Copac and delegates for generally conducting themselves in
a courteous manner that was free from the violence which characterised the
first All-Stakeholders’ Conference held in 2009, in which some delegates and
observers were assaulted resulting in a premature adjournment of

However, ZZZICOMP still recorded incidences where some delegates resorted to
intimidation, harassment, heckling and issuing verbal threats against other
delegates, as they squabbled during the thematic breakaway sessions and for
expressing dissenting views. Such an environment is hardly conducive to the
expression of citizens’ voices and choices since it involuntarily induces
fear. Whether real or perceived, fear muzzles freedom of expression.

‘Political differences must be set aside’

ZZZICOMP acknowledges the role played by the principals to the GPA, who
through their remarks denounced violence and emphasised tolerance during the

This attitude could have had a bearing in exorcising the demons of violence
out of some delegates.

ZZZICOMP regrets the initial boycott of the proceedings by Welshman Ncube’s
party, as a critical constituency of this national process, but commends the
Sadc facilitation team for its interventions to ensure their participation
in the thematic breakaway sessions.

We urge all political players to put aside personal differences for the good
of the country as we proceed to the final stages of the constitution-making

ZZZICOMP observers and those from other civil society organisations were
subjected to some form of discriminatory screening by security teams manning
the entrances before they could access the main Harare International
Conference Centre auditorium despite presenting their accreditation tags to
Copac personnel.

Incidents of coaching of party delegates by all three political parties in a
bid to safeguard their political party aspirations were rampant. For
example, pamphlets entitled: “Keypoints to note at the conference”, were
parcelled out to some delegates and they constantly referred to or read from
these notes verbatim during discussions on thematic issues.

The coalition government needs to be reminded that a constitution is not
written merely for the generation that exists at the time of it being
authored, but for unlimited and perpetual posterity and not for rulers who
would be intoxicated with excessive power.

It is critical for Copac to provide clarity in this regard, so as to reduce
tensions and opportunities for political manipulation.

Mindful of the provision in Article VI of the GPA, that the
constitution-making process is not a political process, but a process for
citizens of Zimbabwe, ZZZICOMP appeals to Copac to increase
confidence-building measures in the process and publicly outline the roadmap
that should finally lead to a referendum.

Back to the Top
Back to Index