The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 11:54
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF are refusing to concede the Ministry
of Home Affairs to the MDC because they believe the opposition party is
plotting to destabilise the country.
The allegations by Zanu PF against the MDC now lie at the heart of the
deadlock in the distribution of ministries.
Sources said Zanu PF last week told Sadc troika leaders heading the organ on
politics, defence and security that the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai
was training militias in a neighbouring state, meaning Botswana, to
destabilise the country.
Political tensions rose dramatically between Zimbabwe and Botswana this week
ahead of the crunch Sadc summit on the crisis. President Ian Khama on Monday
called for fresh elections in Zimbabwe to resolve the stalemate, provoking
an angry reaction by Harare which described his remarks as an "extreme act
Zanu PF's claims of the MDC's subversive plot were contained in a document
presented to the regional leaders who met in Harare last week in a bid to
break the impasse over ministries.
Zanu PF alleged that the MDC was plotting acts of banditry to destabilise
government and oust Mugabe. Sources said this is what Mugabe and his party
will present at this weekend's extraordinary Sadc summit on Zimbabwe at the
Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The meeting was called to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of key
ministries, particularly Home Affairs. Although the Sadc troika last week
said only Home Affairs remained unsettled, the MDC said there were 10
ministries in dispute.
Sources said Zanu PF would provide documents "proving" their claims of the
MDC's plot of subversion and insurgency to justify why it would not let go
of Home Affairs. The ministry has the police, immigration and customs, and
national registry departments under it.
Some of the documents on MDC's alleged banditry have already been presented
to Sadc leaders at previous summits. The documents claim that the MDC is
"fomenting and perpetrating acts of violence against Zanu PF".
Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa has insinuated that Western
intelligence services have decided to turn Tsvangirai into a warlord like
the late Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.
Chinamasa first made these allegations in public on the day of talks on
Monday last week. Since then the state media have been intensifying the
allegations that the MDC was morphing into an insurgent movement like
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday dismissed the allegations as
"It's typical of Zanu PF when they have a sinister agenda and under
circumstances of desperation. As usual they concoct charges, create false
stories to justify targeting and victimisation of their political
competitors," Chamisa said.
"They have done this many times before. They did it against Joshua Nkomo and
Zapu, against Ndabaningi Sithole and his party, against Edgar Tekere and Zum
and of course against Tsvangirai and the MDC. But all their allegations
always end up being shown to be false."
Chamisa said it was "preposterous" to claim Tsvangirai and the MDC want to
be like Savimbi and Unita.
"Why on earth would Tsvangirai, the most popular politician in the land who
defeated Mugabe in March, want to be like Savimbi?
Why would the MDC, when it beat Zanu PF in elections in March, want to be
like Unita when it controls parliament and local municipalities?
The whole issue is ridiculous propaganda."
Chamisa said Tsvangirai and the MDC had no reason after "winning free and
fair elections in March" to resort to banditry. "If anything, it's Zanu PF
which might want to entertain that because they have no support among the
people," he said.
"Rebel movements are usually illegitimate groups which however think they
have a legitimate cause. The MDC is obviously not like that. Maybe Zanu PF."
During the 1980s, Mugabe and Zanu PF accused Nkomo and Zapu of all sorts of
crimes, including insurgency, subversion and treason. Most top Zapu leaders
were dismissed from government, arrested and tortured on charges that were
later thrown out by the courts. Nkomo accused Mugabe of making the
allegations to justify a crackdown on Zapu which led to the massacre of at
least 20 000 civilians.
A series of similar allegations against Sithole, Tsvangirai and many other
Zanu PF opponents have also been found by the courts to be false. The MDC
leader has faced treason charges but was acquitted in all cases.
The charges usually include plotting a coup or assassinating Mugabe and
hence treason, subversion, banditry, insurgency and other such serious
In 1981, the chief whip of Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front Wally Stuttaford was
arrested and tortured on allegations of plotting a coup after conducting
talks with Zapu on forming an alliance to oppose Zanu PF in parliament.
The charges against him --- like all others including Dumiso Dabengwa and
Lookout Masuku - were dismissed by the courts.
By Dumisani Muleya
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 11:39
THE MDC and Zanu PF this week embarked on a diplomatic offensive in the
region ahead of Sunday's Sadc Summit in South Africa
where regional leaders are expected to come down hard on President Robert
Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai to remove the deadlock
on allocation of cabinet portfolios.
Sources in both parties told the Zimbabwe Independent that teams of senior
politicians have been dispatched into the region and the continent.
The MDC leadership, the sources said, was lobbying regional leaders to back
its position for an equitable power-sharing with Mugabe.
Tsvangirai this week held talks with the presidents of Botswana and South
Africa, Ian Khama and Kgalema Motlanthe respectively, on the political
crisis in Zimbabwe.
Motlanthe is the current Sadc chairperson and will preside over the Sunday
summit while Khama has been highly critical of Mugabe's rule since the March
29 harmonised polls.
The sources said Tsvangirai met African Union chairperson Jakaya Kikwete in
Tanzania on Wednesday, while MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti was yesterday
expected to lead a team of party officials to Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana.
Thokozani Khupe, Tsvangirai's deputy, travelled to Zambia and another team
of officials was sent to Mozambique.
"The party has been on a mission to engage regional and African leaders and
the countries we have covered so far include Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique
and Tanzania," one of the sources said. "The party intends to visit all the
Sadc countries, including those hostile to us."
Tsvangirai is expected to travel to Swaziland and Lesotho before the Sunday
summit while Biti would travel to Angola and Namibia for further lobbying.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, yesterday said his party does not
discuss its strategies with the media.
"The only engagement and lobbying we will do is on Sunday at the Sadc summit
in South Africa and I will not pre-empt anything on the party strategy,"
Chamisa said. "We will engage the regional leaders in Pretoria over the
weekend. President Tsvangirai has not been issued with a new passport, but
he will attend the summit."
On the other hand, Zanu PF has reportedly dispatched its legal secretary
Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday on a diplomatic charm offensive in the region
to counter that of the MDC.
Mnangagwa has since visited Angola where he reportedly held meetings with
President Josť Eduardo dos Santos. He has also held a meeting with Kikwete.
He was expected to meet embattled DRC president Joseph Kabila.
Sadc leaders are expected to adopt a tough stance against Mugabe and
Tsvangirai and force them to compromise on power-sharing because they feel
that the impasse is now becoming a major threat to regional stability.
The South African government yesterday said it would take a firm position on
Zimbabwe on Sunday.
"The failure of the parties to agree is something that is becoming a major
political hindrance to the stability that we desire in southern Africa,"
South African cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko told reporters in Pretoria.
"We are indeed taking a very firm position as government that the parties
understand the urgency of finding a settlement."
He said it was South Africa's view that the regional leaders must take
urgent steps to make sure a political solution was found.
"This is becoming a matter of extreme concern to us and we will be taking
quite a hard stance to make sure that agreement is reached," Maseko added.
Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling party, on Wednesday said
the 15-nation regional bloc should pressure Zimbabwe's rival leaders to
clinch a deal.
"I think Sadc must put its pressure more strongly to these colleagues
because what happens in Zimbabwe has an effect on the region," the ANC
president said. "I think the region should say to the Zimbabwe leaders that
enough is enough. You must resolve this matter; you can't leave South Africa
without resolving this matter. That is what I am expecting."
By Constantine Chimakure/Loughty Dube
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 11:34
FRESH divisions rocked Zanu PF Harare province this week with over 100 war
veterans, ex-political detainees and war collaborators petitioning President
Robert Mugabe to dismiss chairperson Amos Midzi for his alleged "history of
counter-revolutionary activities" and failure to lead the party to victory
in the March elections.
In the petition, the Zanu PF activists pleaded with Mugabe to expel the Zanu
PF provincial executive council led by Midzi whom they accused of
incompetence and reducing the party to a laughing stock.
They asked Mugabe to appoint an interim provincial executive council.
The activists also wanted Midzi and his council to be removed for failing to
endorse Mugabe at the 2006 Goromonzi annual people's conference as the party's
sole presidential candidate for the 2008 elections.
Knives are out for Midzi, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, for
also failing to come up with a campaign programme for Zanu PF for the 2008
"(Midzi must be expelled for) failure to assist Zanu PF candidates during
the campaign period leading up to the 29th March elections, despite being
availed with motor vehicles and fuel for the party," the petition read. It
also said Midzi should be expelled "failure to support His Excellency the
President during the opening of parliament leaving the opposition to
embarrass and humiliate His Excellency the President and first secretary of
They said the Harare province was to blame for the heckling of Mugabe at the
September 15 signing of an all-inclusive government agreement.
They said the Harare province was to blame for the heckling of Mugabe at the
September 15 signing of an all-inclusive government agreement between Mugabe
and leaders of two MDC formations - Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara -
because it failed to mobilise Zanu PF members to attend the ceremony.
"The failure was deliberate and meant to ensure that the party remains weak
and disorganised in Harare," the petition read.
The petitioners claimed that Harare province executives were buying votes to
ensure their victory in November 30's provincial elections.
The province was accused of failing to comply with the party's constitution,
regulations and guidelines. Instead "it was falsifying records of cells and
branches of the party so as to ensure that the elections of the district
executives scheduled for November 8 will be in their" favour.
The petition read: "Members of the party are being hoodwinked by the
provincial executive committee which is dishing out money and goods to
branch and district executive members under the false guise of poverty
"The project is highly selective targeting those occupying the top six
positions of each branch or district. The objective is to buy their votes.
Party members are being exploited and abused because of the economic
hardships in the country," said the petitioners.
Midzi yesterday declined to comment on the petition.
Sources in Zanu PF claimed the petition was signed at the behest of Harare
South MP Hubert Nyanhongo and chairperson of the National Incomes and
Pricing Commission chairperson Goodwills Masimirembwa.
Nyanhongo is eyeing the chairmanship while Masimirembwa reportedly wants to
be a member of the provincial executive.
On Wednesday hordes of Zanu PF youths attempted to forcibly close the party's
Nyanhongo recently said Zanu PF in Harare was full of traitors and sellouts
and they should be dealt with before the conference in Bindura in December.
The legislator declined to comment on the matter.
Masimirembwa last month was reported to have said Zanu PF should flush out
leaders who were not backing Mugabe, especially in Harare. This was
reportedly in apparent reference to Midzi.
However, yesterday he denied singling out Midzi, but blamed the whole
Masimirembwa said: "I never singled out Amos Midzi. It was a complete lie.
What I can confirm as to have said was that the general performance of
Harare province during the March 29 election was very bad, just to get one
seat won by Nyanhongo."
By Wongai Zhangazha
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 11:26
DISGRUNTLED former PF Zapu members are expected to meet in Bulawayo tomorrow
in a bid to revive the party that signed a unity accord with Zanu PF in
Sources close to the move to reanimate the party said they wanted to leave
Zanu PF because it had failed to address the concerns of the Matabeleland
Last week, a meeting called by the ex-PF Zapu members failed to take place
after Vice-President Joseph Msika who was expected to be the guest of honour
failed to turn up at White City Stadium.
"The meeting last week was sabotaged by people like (Information minister)
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, but we are reviving PF Zapu soon," a former senior member
of PF Zapu said. "We are having a meeting this weekend to map out the way
Last Saturday's meeting was attended by the former PF Zapu's military wing
Zipra's intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa, Zanu PF politburo members
Ndlovu and Thenjiwe Lesabe, and Bulawayo provincial chairperson McLeod
Former Zipra cadres, however, called for a private meeting after Msika
failed to turn up and expressed anger that the Zanu PF government was
sideling them.The Zipra members have since formed their own war veterans
organisations - Zipra Veterans Association - chaired by retired army Colonel
The ex-PF Zapu members said they were also not happy because President
Robert Mugabe did not consult them when he entered into negotiations with
the two formations of the MDC.
By Loughty Dube
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 11:02
THE trial of Buhera North MP Advocate Eric Matinenga accused of inciting
political violence in his constituency, opened in Mutare this week with his
lawyer accusing the state of using trumped up charges to punish him for his
According to the state outline, Matinenga paid and incited MDC youths to
unleash terror on Zanu PF supporters in his constituency ahead of the June
27 presidential election run-off.
The state alleged that on May 28 MDC supporters attacked several homesteads
belonging to Zanu PF members in Gwebu village and the assailants accused
Matinenga of complicity.
On May 31, Matinenga, a leading Harare lawyer, allegedly visited the
homestead of MDC-Tsvangirai chairman for Ward 3 in Gwebu village, Mbambata
Nkomo, where about 30 party youths were gathered.
Matinenga was allegedly seen by Blessed Masiiwa and Timothy Mhuruyengwe
giving money to the youths before driving away.
The same day, the state alleged, Matinenga went to the homestead of another
MDC official in the same village, Tapfumanei Muindisi, where about 60
supporters had gathered.
"The MDC supporters, who appeared very excited, greeted the accused as he
disembarked from his motor vehicle," the state averred. "The accused was
heard uttering words in substance and to the following effect, "mirai
muzvikwata zvenyu semashandiro amuri kuita (stand in your groups in which
you are operating)."
The state further alleged that Matinenga was observed by Masiiwa and
Mhuruyengwe going to his vehicle from where he took a cardboard box and
started to dish out cash to the MDC supporters.
"After dishing out money the accused was heard uttering words in substance
and to the effect that rambai muchiita basa semaitiro amuri kuita (keep on
carrying out your work like you are doing)," the state alleged.
However, Matinenga's lawyer, Tinoziva Bere, said the allegations were a
creation of certain institutions of the state to persecute and punish his
client for his political views and for his legal challege to violence,
torture and repression led by the army in Buhera.
"The accused is not aware of the alleged acts of violence against the
claimed victims, but is aware that several of his supporters were attacked,
arrested, detained and unlawfully tortured and then handed over to the
police to be charged prior to and after May 31," read Matinenga's defence
Bere submitted that his client sought a High Court order against the army
after the abduction and the torture of innocent civilians in his
constituency by members of the armed forces.
"It is the same violations that forced him to attend Buhera Police station
on May 31 to represent innocent victims of the aforesaid torture who were
being illegally detained," Bere told the court.
The trial was adjourned to November 25 by magistrate Hlekani Mwayera.
Meanwhile, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) leaders Jenni Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu who have been languishing in remand prison for three
weeks were on Wednesday granted bail by the High Court.
The two would, however, have to abide by stringent bail conditions imposed
by the court, among them, the duo should remain within a 40 km radius of
Williams and Mahlangu can only leave the city after getting written consent
from a Bulawayo magistrate. The duo would also have to report to the police
twice weekly and should reside at their given addresses.
The two were granted $ 200 000 bail on Wednesday but were only released from
Khami Maximum Security Prison yesterday.
Williams and Mahlangu were arrested three weeks ago after they led a group
of women protesting against the humanitarian crisis in the country and the
political impasse caused by the failure by Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations to reach an agreement on the distribution of ministries under the
unity government deal signed on September 15.
The two are jointly charged under a section of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly "disturbing the peace, security
or order of the public".
They initially applied for bail a fortnight ago, but the state opposed the
application arguing that two had the propensity to commit similar offences.
Williams and Mahlangu are not new to the courts. They have been arrested
several times for leading peaceful demonstrations against deteriorating
living and human rights standards in the country.
Williams is a recipient of the United States State Department International
Women of Courage Award which she received from Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice in March 2007. Local and international human rights groups
condemned the arrest and detention of the two women activists.
By Loughty Dube/Lucia Makamure
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:58
THE state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) group has stopped the
publication of its monthly magazine Trends and the weekly vernacular tabloid
Umthunywa due to critical shortages of newsprint.
The shortage has serious affected the group's operations as their
newspapers - The Herald, The Saturday Herald, The Chronicle, The Saturday
Chronicle, The Sunday Mail, The Sunday News and Kwayedza - have been reduced
to shadows of their former selves.
The Bulawayo Zimpapers general manager, Sithembile Ncube, told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week that the shortage of newsprint was affecting the
company and has forced the group to scale down operations.
"The shortage is affecting the whole print industry, including us, and there
is nothing much we can do about it," Ncube said. "We have since scaled down
our operations, as you can see our papers are getting thinner and thinner
The media house confirmed that Trends and Umthunywa were temporarily out of
The country's leading newsprint manufacturer, Mutare Board & Paper Mills
(MBPM) said it was failing to produce adequate paper due to shortages of
fuel and raw materials in the country. The situation, the company said, was
compounded by the erratic electricity supply.
"Every industry is struggling in the country, but we are trying our best to
supply our market," MBPM sales supervisor Josphat Manjeya said. "There is
shortage of fuel, raw materials and the power supply is unreliable so we are
operating under abnormal conditions."
He added: "We are importing almost everything, so our prices will obviously
be high. Some of our customers didn't approve our cash prices for newsprint
and that is the reason we have resorted to the fuel coupon payment system."
A tonne of newsprint at MBPM now costs 740 litres of fuel and that is
settled through coupons.
Zimind Publishers, which publish the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard,
import their newsprint from South Africa because of unreliable supplies from
"There is a serious shortage of newsprint in the country so we import some
from South Africa to supplement the little we get from MBPM," Zimind chief
executive officer Raphel Khumalo said. "We cannot solely rely on them
because they are also facing problems just like everyone in the country."
The ever-rising cost of newsprint has forced media houses to increase cover
The constant upward review of cover prices has negatively affected newspaper
sales since the daily cash withdrawal limit had stagnated at $ 50 000 daily
before this week's increase to $ 500 000.
By Henry Mhara
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:52
TEARS might have dried for Ross Wynard but memories of the pre-June 27
presidential election run-off violence are still fresh.
He has nowhere to go and the railway station has become his home and that of
his two sons aged 15 and 13.
His clothes are worn out and his face looks haggard --- tired from knocking
on one door after the other, from humanitarian agencies to embassies and MDC
offices in a bid to find a decent shelter and food for his family.
Wynard, a widower, claims that he was displaced by war veterans from a
Mhangura farm where he worked as a labourer for attending an MDC victory
celebration party at Chipungu Farm after the March 29 elections.
Wynard is a bitter man. He is angry over the current political developments
in the country and accuses the MDC of selling out after signing an
all-inclusive government deal with President Robert Mugabe and the leader of
the smaller faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.
He says the MDC-Tsvangirai party has abandoned its supporters.
Wynard said: "I went to the MDC offices and raised my problems, but did not
receive much assistance. Just passing through the security guys at the
offices is a hassle. I feel like they have abandoned me. At times we are
told to go to certain churches to get help and at the churches we are told
there aren't anymore political victims.
"I am not happy with the deal, I feel we sold out. Right now Zanu PF is
campaigning strongly in their constituencies giving their people land and
food to try to weaken the MDC. At their local meetings they tell people that
there is no way they can unite with Tsvangirai."
He says after the war veterans chased him away, he sought temporary
sanctuary at the MDC headquarters at Harvest House with other political
However, at the offices there were not enough resources to look after the
increasing number of victims.
"I was the one who mobilised people to go and seek assistance at the
American Embassy. We were taken to a hideout in Glen Lorne and we stayed in
tents. They fed us and kept us well," he said.
Wynard claimed that they later left the hideout in the first week of July
when helicopters hovered over the area.
"When the first helicopter flew past people became suspicious. We were
afraid that someone could have leaked information to the authorities and
when a second helicopter flew past the area we agreed that it was no longer
safe to stay at the place. Everyone was given $ 1 trillion ($ 1 000
revalued) for sustenance and we left in different directions."
With his family, Wynard said, they headed for Epworth where he ganged up
with other victims of political violence and formed a group - Friends for
"I was staying in a place called Greenfields or Kumadonoro and I have been
trying to mobilise resources to look after my family but things have not
been easy. Zanu PF supporters would harass us, especially for refusing to be
aligned to a certain camp like Tongogara or Hunzvi," he said.
Wynard claimed that people wearing Zanu PF T-shirts evicted him from his
Epworth home last week.
Harare Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, whose 27-year old wife Abigail was
murdered before the presidential run-off by suspected Zanu PF members, said
he wanted perpetrators of political violence brought to book regardless of
their political affiliation.
Chiroto said: "We don't want to lie to each other that we have forgiven
them. In my case I want those who murdered my wife to be arrested. If this
happens everything else can be resolved and people can live peacefully."
The deputy mayor was bitter that police were yet to carry out investigations
into the death of his wife.
Chiroto said: "I know the people who killed my wife and I know those who
beat up people in Hatcliffe and they are around and are free. Some of them
even brag that "PaChimoi pakaurayiwa vanhu vakawanda imi mochema one" ("A
lot of people were killed at Chimoio during the liberation struggle and you
are crying for only one person.").
"Soon after my wife's death her mobile line was still operating. Someone was
using it. I would call it and someone from the other end would answer. I
went to Borrowdale police station and asked them if they could do a
follow-up on such a lead by at least getting a print out from the mobile
company. But nothing has been done."
MDC MP for Zaka Central Harrison Mudzuri who held a rally last week at Fuve
clinic and Four Miles said victims of political violence in his constituency
were still grieving.
He said: "Nothing has been done in terms of rebuilding huts that were burnt
or destroyed during the violence. Most of the people still do not have
proper places to stay.
"As a party we have managed to give them food and blankets and at times some
temporary shelter and there are sad cases in Ward 18 of people with no
He said the police were mum on the four MDC activists who were petrol-bombed
at Jerera Growth Point a few days before the run-off.
"Five cases of murder were reported in the whole constituency. Police are
saying that they are waiting for the conclusion of the talks for them to
act," Mudzuri said.
A Zanu PF supporter from Midlands who spoke on condition of anonymity said
he also wanted justice to take its course because MDC activists murdered
some members of his party.
Zanu PF claimed MDC killed two of its supporters in Mutoko, burnt four
homesteads in Mayo resettlement area in Manicaland while four of its
supporters were murdered in Bikita and Cashel Valley, among other reports of
According to the Zimbabwe Peace Project a cumulative 20 143 incidents of
political violence were recorded by the end of September. According to their
records from January to September, 202 murder cases were reported with June
recording the highest number of 78.
No murder cases were recorded in January and February while March had seven,
April 27, May 47, June 78, July 15, August 21 and September seven.
The report states that in April 149 people were either kidnapped or abducted
while in June the number decreased to 133.
The number of assaults increased from 219 in March to 771 in April and 804
in June. After the elections the figures decreased to 285 in August and
slightly increased in September to 348.
Over 150 people were tortured in April and 102 in June and 78 between July,
August and September.
By Wongai Zhangazha
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:47
PRESIDENT Mugabe has now seen the backs of two of his arch-enemies, Tony
Blair of Britain and this week George Bush.
There could be a measure of self-gratification for Mugabe but no bottles of
champagne will be popped.
In fact nothing is on ice because the wily octogenarian knows that there
will be no let-up from the new administration of President-elect Barack
Obama's election was celebrated loudly on the African continent because of
his Kenyan roots and because of the new hope he brings to world politics.
Africans believe Obama's view of the continent could reshape US foreign
policy to help solve a myriad of problems in their countries.
But their celebrations should be tempered with reality on the ground. As for
Mugabe, Obama is not exactly a godsend. He, together with the Congressional
Black Caucus, stand accused of sponsoring the Zimbabwe Democracy and
Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) in 2001. Only this year, he attacked Mugabe's
hold on power, accusing him of stealing the recent election and using
violence against his own people. That ain't the way to treat a black
But African leaders should understand that the election in the US was fought
on the battlefield of ideals; and largely American ones. It is not
surprising therefore that Republican John McCain and Obama laboured to show
the electorate how their policies differed from each other although they
shared a common position on Africa. The conclusion: Washington's foreign
policy, whether under McCain or Obama, was always going to be an extension
of President George W Bush's projects on the continent.
The ascendancy of Africa in US foreign policy under Bush reflected not only
the continent's growing importance to US national interests but also his
determination to join overarching compassion with resources. This is the
underlying theme in the Bush administration's overall legacy, his supporters
A Heritage Foundation backgrounder published last week said this
presidential election provided an opportunity to reflect on US policy and
programme interventions in Africa under Bush.
"The next president of the United States will soon decide which efforts have
borne fruit, which programmes require modification, and what new approaches
will shape the growing ties between the US and Africa," said Thomas M Woods,
a Senior Associate Fellow in African Affairs.
President-elect Obama is therefore likely to travel an all too familiar
path. The variation to policy is likely to be the speed at which he would
move to tackle the age-old African issues of human rights, conflict,
disease, hunger, corruption, and poor economic performance. It should also
be noted that on McCain and Obama's inventory of priority areas, Africa did
not feature anywhere prominent. There are problems on the home front for
Obama which could further push Africa down on the to-do list.
"I would do anything in my power to stop this terrible affliction," said
McCain about appropriating US$ 300 million plus to help fight Aids in
Africa. "But we have corrupt governments; we have organisations that don't
treat the people. So before I spend our taxpayers' money on that, I would
have to make sure that it would go to the recipients and those of these poor
people who are afflicted with this terrible disease. Frankly, in a lot of
parts of Africa today I do not have that confidence."
Obama on the other hand in March last year co-sponsored the Bill to amend
the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to bolster public health efforts in
sub-Saharan Africa. That Bill has not yet been voted on. Obama told the
media at the time that as president, he had plans to expand the President's
Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) by providing at least US$ 1 billion
a year in new money.
There was also convergence between McCain and Obama on the issue of
democratisation on the continent. Under Bush, the US in 2004 established the
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to focus on democracy promotion. The MCA
emphasises delivering foreign assistance based on a country's commitment to
ruling justly, embracing open economic systems, and investing in the health
and education of its people.
The country's compact concept focuses on identifying individual countries
that display a measurable track record of democratic values and investing in
them according to the country's own development priorities.
To date, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has signed compacts with
seven African countries for US$ 2,4 billion. Both Obama and McCain expressed
support for continuing the MCC.
But as Woods observes, the next president should not confuse democracy
building with generic notions of good governance. Many of Africa's more
effective and economically reform-minded leaders, from President Yoweri
Museveni in Uganda to President Paul Kagame in Rwanda, have demonstrated
autocratic tendencies. Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa's most populous
countries, fall short of democratic standards.
For US foreign policy, the issue of democracy-building in Africa will always
loom large during the next four years with Thabo Mbeki being forced to
resign from office in Africa's perceived strongest and most influential
democracy, South Africa; south Sudan preparing for an election and then a
referendum, Zimbabwe in the throes of great conflict and economic malaise,
Kenya wrestling with power sharing, and post-conflict Liberia undertaking
its second democratic election.
In Zimbabwe for example, the Zidera, now commonly regarded as a sanctions
Act, declares it is US policy to support the people of Zimbabwe in their
struggles to effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and
equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law. It sets trade
restrictions which will only be lifted if the rule of law has been restored
in Zimbabwe; there is a level electoral playing field; the government of
Zimbabwe has demonstrated a commitment to an equitable, legal, and
transparent land reform programme based on the International Donors'
Conference on Land Reform of 1998 (a big task) and when there is
professionalism in the army and the police. On the other hand, the US
government has supported civic groups fighting for the democratisation
process in Zimbabwe.
The case of Zimbabwe - especially viewed in the context of the MCC and the
Zidera - should be a key test case for the new administration's strategies
to establish good governance on the continent. The Act has failed to
dislodge Mugabe from power and has not provided civic groups with the
necessary teeth to fight the Zanu PF dictatorship. Zimbabwe stands out as a
dark stain on the continent's scorecard because of the embarrassing failure
by its leaders to reach a political settlement in a country where inflation
has rocketed beyond the stratosphere to over 233 million percent. Is it time
for a change in tactics for the new leadership?
This week MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told Al Jazeera television: "I think
that for Africa we are looking forward to working with the next president of
the United States in attending to some of the critical African questions
that we are facing.
"In particular, of course, Zimbabwe is a case, it has been in this pariah
status for so long, and we hope we can work together to deal with the
problems that Zimbabwe is facing."
The big question is how is Tsvangirai going to attract the attention of a
new leader faced with a failing economy, a discredited foreign policy and a
huge task to display competence in dealing with domestic problems?
By Vincent Kahiya in Atlanta Georgia
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:31
ALL efforts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to solve the current cash
problems in the country seem to be hitting a snag.
The Reserve Bank on Wednesday increased the daily maximum cash withdrawal
limit for the tenth time this year.
In August alone the bank reviewed withdrawal limit three times, a
development which left the market and economists wondering if the bank was
in control of the fiscal and monetary issues. They also wondered why the
central bank was repeating the same exercise but expecting different
On August 1, Gono increased individual withdrawal limits from $ 100 billion
(old currency) to $ 200 (new currency).
On August 7, he increased the withdrawal limit from $ 200 to $ 300. A
statement attributed to him said the withdrawal limits had been increased as
a tribute to
Zimbabwe's fallen heroes. The commemoration of the country's Heroes' Day was
on the Monday. He was back in action again on August 22, increasing the
withdrawals from $ 300 from $ 500.
The Reserve Bank on Wednesday announced that daily cash withdrawal limits
had been raised from $ 50 000 to $ 500 000 for individuals, while companies
will now access $ 1 million, up from $ 10 000.
The Reserve Bank has imposed withdrawal limits to promote the use of plastic
money in an effort to contain money supply and parallel market rates which
rise when there is so much cash on the market.
The use of plastic money has not taken off at the anticipated levels as the
country's telecommunications network, which is meant to support the movement
of transactions, is unreliable. Use of cheques is shunned by retailers and
manufacturers because of high inflation.
Long queues have been experienced at banks since October last year. Some
banks are making inadequate cash requests from the Reserve Bank as they do
not have treasury bills which are needed by the Reserve Bank as collateral.
Economists say the main reason for the shortage of cash on the market was
high inflation running at well over an official 231 million %.
In a statement the Reserve Bank said the upward review of withdrawal limits
followed the introduction of $ 100 000, $ 500 000 and $ 1 million notes.
The new notes are the 22nd, 23rd and 24th introduced by the Reserve Bank
this year alone.
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is pleased to announce the introduction of $
100 000, $ 500 000 and $ 1 000 000 bank notes, which will come into
circulation with effect from November 5, 2008," read the statement.
Ironically parallel market dealers had the new $ 500 000 note on Monday,
November 3, when it was scheduled to be released two days later. Some
commercial banks had the note by Wednesday midday.
The Reserve Bank last reviewed withdrawal limits on October 10 from $ 20 000
to $ 50 000 when the $ 50 000 note came into circulation.
Withdrawal limits for companies had stayed at $ 10 000 per day as a way of
encouraging companies to use alternative non-cash means of payment such as
cheques and various forms of plastic money.
But the unreasonable limit, coupled with the Reserve Bank's decision to
suspend the Real Time Gross Settlement system (RTGS), has instead seen many
businesses close their doors, unable to pay their bills or their staff.
But the move, supposedly to make life easier for the average Zimbabwean, has
prompted mass outcry amid the collapse of the economy.
Although cash withdrawal limits are being reviewed upwards more regularly
than previously, sharp price hikes that follow each review have frequently
rendered any new limit inadequate only a week after its introduction.
The digital money supply now appears to be way beyond the control of the
Reserve Bank or anyone else; the creation of new money to pay essential
state bills must be significantly less than the expansion of money supply
coming from the equity markets and the arbitraging between exchange rates
that seems to dominate the "dealer" economy.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has been describing the Reserve
Bank's maximum daily withdrawal limits as a joke.
Gono has increasingly come under fire for imposing a limit on cash
withdrawals, a situation that has resulted in many people making repeated
trips to the bank to withdraw cash that in many cases is hardly enough to
cover the cost of travelling to the bank.
The ZCTU, the country's largest labour federation last months wrote to the
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono asking him to do away with the pegging of
the maximum amount one is allowed to withdraw from their bank account.
Independent economist John Robertson said monetary reforms being pursued by
the Reserve Bank would remain futile in the absence of substantive
strategies to shore up the country's battered economy.
"There should be increased production in all major sectors of the economy.
He (Gono) is addressing symptoms as opposed to the root causes," he said.
By Paul Nyakazeya
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 31
Friday, 31 October 2008 10:52
INDUSTRY has blamed power struggles between mining authorities fighting for
control over diamond deposits in Marange for the estimated US$ 1,2 billion
lost through diamond smuggling, businessdigest has learnt.
According to presentations made by industrialists at the just ended
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress, the Reserve Bank, the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) are currently engaged in a war of attrition
over the control and pricing of controversial precious stones in Chiadzwa,
resulting in minimum proceeds gained from the gems.
Instead CZI recommended government to streamline the institutional framework
of the mining sector, which accounts for about 40% of the export revenue.
"There is a dogfight between the country's institutions over diamond pricing
and the granting of mining concessions," said a top business executive who
spoke at the congress. " The area is currently under the control of the
President's Office and the Reserve Bank which is granting licences for
exporters. This setup could cause confusion when politically linked
businessmen manipulate the system to acquire mining licences.
Lack of proper institutional, orderly and legal framework for diamond miners
has also resulted in the country losing at least US$ 1,2 billion per month."
ZMDC - which is the government's investment arm, reportedly acquired 20
hectares of the estimated 70 hectares endowed with the diamonds although it
is understood to be struggling to make viable explorations. Business also
criticised the parastatal for failing to ringfence the mining area resulting
in massive pillaging of diamonds by illegal small scale miners and suspected
politically connected people.
MMCZ, which is legally mandated by the government to market minerals to the
international market is reportedly blaming the central bank for undermining
its authority in the pricing of diamonds.
"The Reserve Bank wants the sector to be treated like the gold sector," he
said. Government purchases gold deliveries from producers under a support
price facility that has been criticised by the gold miners.
Efforts to get a comment from the ZMDC and MCCZ were in vain. However,
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last week blamed illegal miners for the
The chaos has since turned bloody in Marange amid reports of fatal shooting
incidents and alleged human rights abuses on illegal diamond miners by the
police. The diamond fields in the Chiadzwa area have attracted thousands of
people to the eastern border town of Mutare since their public discovery two
years back. Last year the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono estimated that
at least US$ 400 million was lost to diamond smuggling.
A leading gold producer recently urged government to streamline bureaucratic
challenges in the mining sector blaming them for promoting divestment in the
capital-intensive sector. - Staff Writer.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 10:42
THERE is something intriguing about the history of political agreements in
our small country of Zimbabwe.
I mention this in light of the furore surrounding the allegedly doctored
agreement between Zanu PF and the MDCs, the elaborately entitled Global
Political Agreement (GPA) signed on September 15 2008.
I struggle to understand why it is endowed with that lavish title. Someone
has to educate me on what is "global" about the political agreement. Our
politicians seem to get unusually excited when they refer to the "global"
part of the title.
Listening to the brouhaha over the alleged changes made to the GPA (I use
the title reluctantly) the history student in me could not help but recall
that this may not be the first time that a momentous agreement has been the
subject of such disputes. It seemed to me that ours is a nation built on
very shaky foundations as far as political agreements are concerned.
But, perhaps, out of sync with the reaction in opposition circles thus far,
I think this episode also provides an opportunity for the opposition to have
honest self-introspection about the way it handles its duty of care toward
its millions of supporters and sympathisers. But more on that later.
Let's take a long trip into our history, for an occasion when an agreement
has been the subject of disputation over allegations of unilateral and
fraudulent changes. We might see that fraud, deceit and unscrupulous
behaviour are hardly a novelty in our tired country.
There is, in particular, an uncanny resemblance between the so-called GPA
and the agreement that paved the path to the colonisation of the land that
we now call Zimbabwe (the Rudd Concession), in as far as there is deceit and
trickery. I rely, rather shakily, on my rudimentary understanding of history
so I stand corrected. The point of similarity that is drawn is only limited
to the allegations of deceit and doctoring of agreements.
Charles Rudd negotiated an agreement on behalf of his business associate,
Cecil John Rhodes, with King Lobengula. At the time Lobengula dominated (or
was thought to dominate) a large part of the area which Rhodes so coveted.
It was thought, rather wishfully (and wildly so, it later appeared) that a
second Rand lay somewhere north of the Limpopo. This was after the discovery
of rich gold deposits on the reef around Johannesburg.
The Rudd Concession, as it is commonly known, was signed in October 1888,
which is 120 years ago. Rhodes had also, apparently, enlisted the services
of Dr Leander Starr Jameson to persuade King Lobengula to sign. Jameson is
said to have had some leverage over Lobengula because he had apparently
treated the king for gout. Having been relieved from such a predicament, it's
probably natural that the king regarded Jameson as a good man, whose word he
The meaty part of that deal however, and of relevance for current purposes,
are the allegations of deceitful conduct by Rhodes and his friend Rudd in
their dealings with Lobengula. Apparently, they had made assurances to King
Lobengula that only a few white men would undertake mining activities in his
land. However, it is alleged, this clause was omitted from the papers
documenting the agreement which Lobengula signed. A few extra clauses were
also added, it is said, such as that the mining companies could do anything
that was deemed necessary for the fulfillment of their operations. The true
meaning of the agreement was not fully availed to the king, until later.
By the time King Lobengula discovered the fraud and the extent of what he
was purported to have given away, it was rather late in the day. He tried
various ways to neutralise and counter the effects of the Rudd Concession.
For example, he granted in 1889 a parallel agreement to a German
prospector - what became known as the Lippert Concession. But even this came
to naught as Lippert was later bought out by Rhodes.
King Lobengula even sent envoys to Great Britain with a letter to Queen
Victoria, protesting against the doctored agreement. He is said to have
written, "A document was written and presented to me for signature. I asked
what it contained, and was told that in it were my words and the words of
those men. I put my hand to it. About three months afterwards I heard from
other sources that I had given by that document the right to all minerals of
my country ."
In a dramatic description of his situation at the time, King Lobengula is
famously quoted as having remarked: "Have you ever seen a chameleon catch a
The chameleon gets behind the fly, remains motionless for some time, then he
advances very slowly and gently, first putting forward one leg and then
another. At last, when well within reach, he darts his tongue and the fly
disappears. England is the chameleon and I am that fly."
Those words in the agreement and the deceit that accompanied them had paved
the way for the colonisation of King Lobengula's lands. The king tried to
put up a fight but the Maxim gun was much too powerful against the assegai
and shield. After all, someone remarked rather smugly, "We have the Maxim
gun, and they have not".
And now, 120 years later, we have yet another agreement, the so-called GPA,
between Zanu PF and the two Siamese twins of the MDC. We hear, long after
the event, complaints that Zanu PF fraudulently doctored the original
agreement signed on September 11 2008. It is alleged the document signed at
the lavishly dressed formal ceremony on September 15 omitted and added some
clauses that do not reflect the original. The MDCs are evidently unhappy.
There have been accusations and counter-accusations, each shifting blame to
If correct, it obviously shows bad faith on the part of Zanu PF. But that's
just one side of the equation, one, it must be said, that is easy to
deplore. It is easy to see why the flurry of castigations has been targeted
at Zanu PF. There is another side, however, one that those of us who share
sympathy and support for the opposition are often more reluctant to question
because it is inconvenient, perhaps embarrassing too. It is characteristic
of our approach when we deal with leaders on this side of the fence, the
opposition. There is always a tendency to look for somewhere to place
blameworthiness; to shift it from our shoulders even when there are apparent
failures and neglect on our part. We are scared to question these shortfalls
lest we are castigated and consigned to the compost heap of "Zanu PF
But question them we must. These leaders aspire to sit in high places and
might well assume the mantle of leadership soon. They are going to be
negotiating and entering into agreements of all types, some complex and
others very simple. They are going to deal with very crafty persons, perhaps
craftier and more cunning than Zanu PF. They will still have to deal with a
cunning Zanu PF.
But how, it has to be asked, is it that they participated in a public
ceremony signing a document that is quite clearly a sham?
One thing is clear: they did not read it before appending their signatures.
They did not do due diligence, notwithstanding the outstanding legal and
accounting brains at their disposal; people who have drafted and signed
countless documents in their professional lives; people who know that the Ts
must be crossed and the Is must be dotted. These are people trained and
experienced enough to have an eye for detail. Yet this document, the one
that carries the hopes of millions, was left in the hands of a party to the
agreement, a crafty party whose cunning ways are legendary. And they just
signed, believing the crafty party was acting in good faith!
To be fair to King Lobengula, he had none of the legal expertise at his
disposal. He dealt with the folks who came to him in good faith and some had
been good to him. He had little cause to doubt their sincerity. All the
knowledge of the pen and paper was weighed heavily against him and he relied
on them. What the episode shows us is that this world has crafty people who
will do everything possible to gain advantage over others. They cannot be
trusted with documenting agreements. It is important always to keep a
watchful eye because any slip up can be used to your disadvantage.
But what defence do our current leaders have?
Simply blame the crafty party whose ways require no introduction?
Chinamasa and Zanu PF were wrong to doctor the agreement, if indeed they did
that as alleged. But surely, that does not exonerate the opposition leaders
No, gentlemen, you have fought the good fight and you continue to do so
against all odds and you must be commended, but on this one you need to
raise your hands and admit there was a weak link. In any corporate circles
the lawyer would rightly fear that a client might just slip away. Supporters
will back you to the hilt because they like you and sympathise with your
situation. They understand what you are up against and they will stand with
you come what may. But it does not mean that you should bury your heads in
the sand and pretend that you did not make mistakes on your part.
Acknowledge that you are in bed with a crafty partner and be vigilant at all
Remember that in 1979 at the Lancaster House talks, it is said Mugabe and
Nkomo had agreed to contest as the Patriotic Front. By the time Nkomo woke
up on the morning after the talks, Mugabe had allegedly vanished to
Tanzania. Of this Nkomo says in his book The Story of My Life on p206, "That
was the end of our agreement to talk, broken not by me but by Robert Mugabe
and the leadership of Zanu ... I and the fighters and followers of Zapu had
If Zanu PF does eventually concede the Ministry of Home Affairs, look very
closely gentlemen and make sure that the document does not say Ministry of
lMagaisa is available at wamagaisa@ yahoo.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:36
MY current condition of post-GNU insomniac behaviour has a direct
correlation with the lethargy of civil society in Zimbabwe in the face of
For some, this lethargy is gross misrepresentation of reality. They would
prefer hard terms like "moribund", "paralysed", "lifeless", "brain-dead" or
any other context that were it to be applied to the human medical condition,
there would be no other choice than switching off the life-support system.
And yet I have had a revelation that Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and to
a limited extent, Arthur Mutambara - the three musketeers of Zimbabwe's
version of the
Broadway blockbuster "Zimboloosers" - have detached themselves from the
mainstream political command module to a breakaway unit now totally lost in
constricted democratic space. The consolation for the hapless people of this
nation is my gift to perceive the encrypted emissions beyond the microscopic
pixels of the subconscious.
The spirit takes me to Africa Unity Square in Harare's central business
district, adjacent to Parliament Building. For seven days beginning December
1 2008, more than one million Zimbabweans from all walks of life have braved
the scorching summer heat and chilly spring nights in search of a historic
Small tents, umbrellas, stools and discarded fast-food packets are strewn
about the patchy green lawn, while vendors of fruits, recharge cards, drinks
and sweets mingle freely with the carnival crowd in pursuit of legitimate
self-enrichment. Somewhere next to Third Street opposite Old Mutual Centre,
a philanthropic citizen has set up a first aid tent where those in medical
distress are treated by volunteers. In the centre of the garden, the
perpetual fountain has been switched off, where the splatter of untreated
Harare water has been replaced with a circular stage of bright lights and a
10k sound system.
I am convinced that this multitude includes school children, lawyers,
construction workers, doctors, soldiers, footballers, housewives, members of
the Apostolic church, bus drivers, bank tellers, nurses, teachers, college
lecturers, street children, factory workers, carpenters, members of
parliament, chiefs, policemen, telephone technicians, government workers,
prison guards, pilots, farm workers, company executives, messengers,
secretaries, receptionists, curious tourists, journalists, ZBC news readers,
night club disc jockeys, shop keepers, pharmacists, architects, council
workers, welders, pastors, bishops, traditional healers, spirit mediums,
pensioners, commercial farmers, security guards, radiographers, football
coaches, advertisers, models, cross-border traders, stone carvers, florists,
domestics maids, gardeners, diplomats, municipal police, councillors,
mayors, cricket players, golfers, school masters, chancellors, waiters,
barmen, bus conductors, taxi drivers, flea-market traders and secret service
My vision is recurrent, troublesome and mentally engaging. Of particular
interest is a speech alternately recited on the public address system by a
representative group of 14 people: a business person, a worker, an
unemployed person, a disadvantaged person, a scholar, a policeman, a doctor,
a company director, a traditional healer, a school child, a pastor, a
soldier, an NGO leader and a civil servant.
With irritating redundant frequency, each speaker begins by saying: "My
fellow countrymen, this is the beginning and the end of Zimbabwe's first
Civolution." It is always followed by a deafening sound of ululations,
whistles, shouts and a mass of white flags flapping nonchalantly above a sea
of heads. My heart beats faster as I look around the multitude, whose faces
beam with pride tinged with high self-esteem and unprecedented confidence.
As I surge forward to take a closer look at the speaker, someone tugs at my
sleeve and when I look back, a soldier clad in new camouflage winks at me,
smiles and gestures me to the direction of the last speaker.
"This, my fellowmen, is the penultimate hour of our Civolution. We can look
back with pride at the preceding six days and nights, when you, the citizens
of this country, have forfeited the comfort of your homes, the security of
your jobs and the fruits of your investment, to come in peaceful solidarity
with the awakened forces of civil power. For the first time in 28 years, the
people of this country have converged in defiant disregard of the forces of
tyranny and oppression. They have ignored the hypocrisy of the
principalities of political trickery that have toyed with our hearts, minds
and souls since March 30 up till September 15 2008 in a deceptive game
"Today as we speak, the cabal unholy trinity of Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert
Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara are holed up in some hotel with pretenders to
the throne of African nationalism claiming to represent our interests and
yet in pursuit of self-aggrandisement. For the past six days in this venue,
speaker after speaker has disowned these three men, appealing to you to once
again put your own agenda forward to define your own destiny through new
"You have demanded that political greed be neutralised with civil unity and
popular satisfaction through a new system of governance - the Civolution.
Speaker after speaker has pointed to that house - parliament building - and
stressed that its occupants must today emerge from a cross section of civil
society that has braved the hot sun and chilly nights to disown the three
products of a fictitious democratic system that we have been subjected to
for almost 30 years."
"My fellow countrymen, those three are not negotiating on your behalf, but
parcelling out spoils and sweat of your moral and political support for
their own individual good. They pretend to grieve over your poverty, your
aspirations, your needs and desires, yet their political radar is locked
onto selfish ends. We are told the hiatus is on who takes the Ministry of
Home Affairs. My fellow countryman, while Mugabe wants to retain this
ministry as an instrument of perpetual repression, Tsvangirai's covetous
desire for it is to exert a measure of vengeance over his enemies."
"Today, my fellow countrymen, we stand on the verge of deliverance, as we,
in unity with our brothers in the army, police, prison, factories, civil
service, schools, homes and offices, advise those three that they are no
longer the chosen representatives of the people. We are our own
representatives. We are the Civolution and from tomorrow, we will bestow the
new powers of governance on those that you will choose today."
My vision is recurrent, troublesome and mentally engaging.
lRejoice Ngwenya is a Harare-based writer.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:31
TODAY we witness growing criticism not only of the MDC but of Zimbabwean
political parties in general - a criticism that goes beyond Mugabe and his
Admittedly, I share the belief that such criticism helps create conditions
for a healthy democracy in that it provides the tools for checks and
balances. The need for checks and balances stems from the dangers of
entrusting power in the hands of an individual or a few individuals because
of the possible abuse of such power.
Whilst I agree with the notion that it is normal for any movement which
seeks to mobilise representation of previously excluded political
communities to coalesce around a single leader, this has a disadvantage in
that it precludes the creation and adherence to well established democratic
political structures and systems.
I submit that it only serves to create a leader who wields immense prestige,
whose right to make policy on behalf of the party/movement virtually goes
unchallenged and thus helps in the creation of a dictatorship. This is a
lesson that Zimbabweans have learnt from Mugabe's regime and indeed a lesson
learnt elsewhere in Africa - a lesson that must be thrown in the dustbin of
leadership if Zimbabwe is to create a democracy and yet it is showing its
ugly head through intolerance from the MDC in the face of criticism.
Of course like in any emerging democracy intolerance tends to prevail even
within those political parties guided by democratic principles. It is
therefore not surprising that the MDC, a social democratic party, harbours
some elements which are intolerant to criticism including at the party's top
leadership. This intolerance is partly due to the political orientation
experienced by the majority of MDC membership from Zanu PF by virtue of
belonging to the later party in the past. Indeed most MDC members including
its top leadership have been once members of Zanu PF hence this monster of
"embedded intolerance". But most of all this is a function of the need for a
crucial domestic regime transformation which Kathryn Sikkink calls a "spiral
In this model, a new generation of political leaders has to be socialised
into an environment in which the acceptance of criticism is the norm. Indeed
the Zimbabwean environment has to be transformed into one in which
democratic values are a norm if democracy is to succeed. The "spiral" of
domestic change in this case starts with rhetoric commitment to democracy
and its values and ends with the socialisation of a new generation into a
world in which democratic values including tolerance are regarded as a norm.
I submit this is not an easy task for Zimbabwe given the political history
of the country.
Indeed the political and socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe can be sought
from the political philosophy of Zanu PF, which has helped mould Mugabe as
one of the worst dictators of Africa. Admittedly, there are a number of
reasons that contributed to the creation of a dictatorship in Zimbabwe and
in Mugabe in particular. These include inter alia the Zanu PF constitution,
unabated praises of a single leader coupled with political naivety among
Zimbabweans, entrenched nepotism and the Zimbabwe constitution.
On the other hand while Zanu PF emerged in the 1960s as a nationalist and
mass party aimed at fighting against colonialism and racism in Rhodesia, the
MDC emerged as a result of the failure by the Zanu PF government to govern
Zimbabwe "justly, transparently, honestly, fairly and equitably". The MDC is
therefore a political party that seeks to address the various concerns
regarding the governing of Zimbabwe that include the inability of the
economy to meet basic needs of Zimbabweans, disempowerment of people and the
breach of the rule of law, human right abuses, lack of progress with respect
to the land issue, rampant corruption and unaccountability, and the absence
of a national constitution framed by and for the people. The MDC has emerged
as a broad based political party dedicated to the "promotion and advancement
of human rights and to setting up a government based on the principles of
freedom and good governance."
Thus the MDC is a social democratic party that believes in the empowering of
the people through increased participation in democratic structures that
operate on the basis of transparency and accountability to effect
development. The party unlike Zanu PF, aims at an open democracy in which
national government is accountable to the people through the devolution of
Unlike the Zanu PF party that forces people through violence to give it the
mandate to govern, the MDC seeks the mandate of the people to govern through
free, fair and direct elections. The biggest question that needs to be
answered is whether the MDC is living by its word as entrenched in the Party
I submit that there are a number of developments in the MDC that help reveal
the party's derailment from its founding social democratic principles which
are enshrined in its constitution. These include:
lThe MDC leadership is trying to maintain complete and total control over
MDC and Zimbabwe. The continued violation of the MDC constitution serves as
evidence that suggests that the MDC is becoming a personal and private
entity. Such continued violation of the MDC constitution and people's will
without any challenge indeed makes the top leadership more powerful, as was
the case with Zanu PF that steered Zimbabwe into disaster unchallenged.
lThe MDC leadership does not take well to criticism to the extent that
dialogue with the leadership becomes impossible. The leadership does not
understand why people should be allowed to criticise it. Criticism of the
MDC leadership be it at cell or national level is unacceptable. To allow
criticism or different opinions, to negotiate or compromise, to recede to
due process are signs of weakness. I submit that all these are signs of
lJust like in the Zanu PF party, the MDC leadership run and maintains a
patronage system within the party - a patronage system that is oiled through
corruption largely in the form of the appointment of relatives and close
confidantes and associates to positions of leadership in the party and
ultimately in government if the chance arises. As a result the leadership
has become so obsessed with securing its position that it has invented a
game of orchestrating leadership coups within the party where it feels
threatened and insecure, eg the Matibenga saga and the UK and Ireland Tapa
executive saga. To this extent, the leadership fails to realise that
democracy is a necessary condition to eradicate corruption, even if the
democracies themselves are not immune from it.
lThe result of such a patronage system in the MDC is that it has managed to
crowd out ideas towards the struggle for democracy leaving the party with
little choices in difficult times. At the same time, the leadership cannot
reinvent itself because so many others depend on it and it in turn must
depend on so many others. As a result, the leadership has stopped learning
because buffoons who rarely dare tell it what it does not wish to hear
surround it. It is deceived on a daily basis and it has become ignorant of
its party and the basis of its support. It is fed unrealistic information so
that it and its expectations become unrealistic.
l Zero consultation of the people and interested stakeholders on the
negotiations for power sharing with Zanu PF resulting in the MDC leadership
signing a flawed agreement that serves the interests of Zanu PF. One cannot
rule out the fact that self serving interests and individual power interests
were paramount in propelling the MDC leadership to go to bed with Zanu PF.
There is no doubt that such developments within the MDC are an indication of
a political party that is heading towards "normative entrapment". A
situation in which the MDC leadership made/make promises which it seems
opportune or in their interests at the time to make but without the
intention to keep. Such a Machiavellian thinking and approach might lead to
the creation of yet another dictatorship. If this is the case then the MDC
leadership has to be advised that the promises made to people if not
delivered will come back to haunt them at a later time, when those to whom
promises were made eventually call them in.
As such criticism should be seen by the MDC leadership as an indication that
today Zimbabweans are not like the Zimbabweans of yesteryear when Zanu PF
took people for granted. Zimbabweans have grown out of their political
naivety and are seeking for a true democracy and will not tolerate anything
that derails the realisation of a democratic Zimbabwe.
lZhuawu is a Zimbabwean political scientist based in the United Kingdom. His
e-mail is email@example.com
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:29
HEALTH and environmental experts have said the rising death toll from the
cholera outbreak in Harare and other parts of the country is a clear
indication that the government does not have the capacity to deal with the
The state media earlier this week reported that nine people have died at
Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital since the first reported
outbreak, while the independent media put the death toll at much higher than
Human Rights doctor Douglas Gwatidzo said it was clear that the government
has failed to contain the epidemic as people were still dying from the
contagious disease three months after the first outbreak.
He said: "The government simply doesn't have the ability to handle the
situation. They are only applying intervention methods instead of dealing
with the causes of the problem."
Government has set up a cholera clinic at Budiriro 1 Polyclinic and a ward
at the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital in an effort to contain
Gwatidzo said the government could never be on top of the situation unless
there was an improvement in water supply in urban areas and the unblocking
of sewer pipes.
On Tuesday, the Herald published a map illustrating the water situation in
Harare metropolitan with areas like Budiriro, Mabvuku-Tafara and Haig Park
marked under areas with perennial water shortages.
The water management body, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, according
to Gwatidzo, is to blame for the cholera outbreak because it has failed to
supply water consistently.
"There is no better way to deal with this crisis than identifying the source
of the problem, which we all know, is Zinwa's incapacity to deal with Harare's
water management and correcting it," he said.
Gwatidzo said areas like Mabvuku have not had water since February and this
will aggravate the epidemic as people would be forced to use water from
He added that public hospitals could not deal with cholera cases as they
have been paralysed by critical staff shortages and the non-availability of
Since last month many doctors and nurses have not been reporting for duty
citing poor remuneration and working conditions.
"Doctors are not going to work as they can no longer watch their patients
die while their hands are tied by the failure of the state to provide drugs
and other medical supplies," Gwatidzo said.
A Harare-based environmental lawyer and head of research at Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association, Shamiso Mutisi, concurred with Gwatidzo's
argument that at the moment the state has neither the financial capacity nor
the human resources to deal with the outbreak.
Mutisi pointed out that in order to deal with the crisis the government
needed capital to repair the pipes that supply water to the various urban
areas in Harare as well as water treatment chemicals.
Mutisi said: "Without any scientific proof one can see that the water we are
getting from Zinwa has a green pigmentation which is evidence that it is not
being treated and is not safe for human consumption."
He added that people living in low-income areas were faced with a double
blow after contracting the highly contagious disease as public hospitals,
which used to cater for them, were turning them away because doctors and
nurses were on strike.
The executive director of the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development,
Noma Neseni, said the government on its own lacks the capacity to deal with
the outbreak as a lot of money was required for the treatment of water and
repair of water and sewer pipes.
"The government on its own cannot deal with the crisis as it lacks the
financial capacity needed to deal with the root cause of the crisis; which
is lack of water treatment chemicals and the repair of water and sewer
pipes," said Neseni.
Neseni said the only way forward would be for the business community to join
hands with the government and avail funds to help Zinwa acquire water
treatment chemicals as well as repair pipes.
She said the water is being contaminated by leakages from blocked sewer
pipes, which flow into the water body.
Another environmental expert, Webster Muti, said what makes water safe or
unsafe is an intricate balance of many factors. He said these factors relate
to the purification, storage and distribution stages of the water supply
"It is a fact that Harare is producing less than 60% of its water
requirements due to the overwhelming demand and of the 60%, at least 20% is
lost due to burst pipes. This makes the quantity of Harare water supply
inadequate," Muti said.
The overwhelming demand affects the purification process of the water in
that the "residence time" of the untreated water in the treatment plant is
reduced to less than half the intended time.
Residence time is the average time water spends in a treating plant.
According to Muti this reduced residence time affects the stabilisation
processes for various water treatment chemicals to the effect that there is
short-circuiting of the treatment process from the water treatment plant to
the body of the consumer.
Muti said the fact that there are unintended residual chemicals whenever the
water is treated is a real health hazard.
This short-circuiting is noted when one allows a sample of tap water to
settle in a clear container, one will see a collection of sediments at the
bottom of the container and this is evidence of incomplete sedimentation
The tap water has an unfriendly odour and taste, which shows that the
removal of dissolved organics from the water is incomplete and the organics
are persistent right to the consumer.
The presence of these dissolved organics, Muti added, raise concerns when
the water is chlorinated as the organics and the chlorine will form the
much-dreaded chloro-compounds that are linked to carcinogenic tendencies.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:10
I CAME back to Zimbabwe on Sunday after being away for a few weeks.
Although I was expecting the Zimbabwe dollar to have slipped further, I was
not prepared for the shock I had as I ran around organising myself again.
On Monday at the bank, I was informed that US$ 100 would buy me $ 50 000 -
which is a rate of 500-1.
The few people in the bank were complaining bitterly, and saying openly they
would go onto the street instead. This means that the street rate there was
50 000 - 1, or 100 times the bank rate!
Meanwhile there was no water, no electricity and no telephone landline at my
house again - but both electricity and phone later came back on.
Water for the high density areas of Glen View and Budiriro has been handed
over to the Civil Protection Unit because of the increasing incidence of
One wonders whether any of the negotiating "principals" has talked to
ordinary people trying to cope with the daily struggle for survival
I can only pray that Sadc manages to resolve the impasse over the
power-sharing agreement this weekend, so that we can begin to return our
poor country to something like normality.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:25
IT is common cause (even to an obtuse government which only believes that
which it wishes to believe), that Zimbabwe's economy has been progressively
declining since late 1997.
(Of course, even though government acknowledges that deplorable reality, it
vigorously and vehemently refutes any and all suggestions that the ongoing
economic demise has been, and is being, caused by it.
Instead it resonantly and endlessly attributes Zimbabwe's economic ills to
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, George Bush, the European Union, many Commonwealth
states, and to government's political opposition and to economic sanctions
which, prior to 2008, did not exist, save and except in government's devious
and exculpatory mind.
Nevertheless, whatsoever the real causes of the continuing contraction of
what was once a virile, growth economy (and those causes are almost totally
actually attributable to government, to its acts of commission and omission,
to its convictions of omnipotence and infallibility, and therefore to its
inability to recognise error, or to admit thereto), the tragically harsh
fact is that now the economy is no longer merely shrinking, and becoming
less and less of substance, but it is actually on the threshold of imminent,
almost absolute implosion. Whilst the catalyst for the potentially
forthcoming implosion has been government's obdurate mismanagement of the
economy, now the consequential trigger is being armed by the populace in
general, and the business community in particular.
Underlying the trigger, which is the all-encompassing negation of value of
Zimbabwean currency, and therefore the combined official and unofficial
dollarisation of the economy, is the most horrendous, monstrous inflation
ever experienced, not only in Zimbabwe, but anywhere in the world.
Until 2008, as Zimbabwe increasingly became the victim of hyperinflation,
economists could "play down" the intensifying of that hyperinflation by
drawing attention to the very considerably higher levels of inflation that
prevailed in Germany in 1992 to 1924, in Hungary, in 1946, in Italy and in
Israel in the 1970s, in Bolivia, Brazil, and in Mozambique and in Zambia at
the time of the millennium, and shortly thereafter. But now Zimbabwean has
soared to all-time high levels, according Zimbabwe the unenviable status of
the highest-ever sustained inflation.
The renowned and very highly respected Professor of Applied Economics at the
Johns Hopkins University in the US, Prof Steve H Hanke has, in the absence
of any authoritative Consumer Price Index (CPI) and inflation data from
Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office (CSO), developed a new Zimbabwean
hyperinflation index. He is one of the world's leading experts on
exchange-rate regimes, and has created the Hanke Hyperinflation Index for
Zimbabwe (HHIZ), derived from market-based price data. Based upon that
index, the annual inflation rate was, on August 1, 2008, 391 000 000% (three
hundred and ninety-one million%). Within two months it had risen to 1 800
000 000 000% (one comma eight trillion%), and only three weeks later it had
soared to 10 200 000 000 000 000% (ten comma two quadrillion%)! These rates
of inflation are derived from market-based price data.
With such cataclysmic levels of inflation, beyond the ability of all but a
very few to comprehend and relate to, Zimbabwean currency no long has any
meaningful value. Whatsoever currency may be in a person's possession has
lost the substance of value within days, if not hours, and hence none wish
to be possessed of such currency, whether in cash or in the bank. Therefore,
any in receipt of Zimbabwean currency are most anxious to dispose of it
forthwith, be it for consumable or other goods (if they can find anyone
willing to accept Zimbabwean currency for such goods) or for investment into
enduring assets. However, in like manner, few are willing to dispose of
goods, or disinvest from assets, in exchange for Zimbabwean currency which
is depreciating with cataclysmic rapidity.
To all intents and purposes, Zimbabwe's currency is now the United States
dollar, the South African rand, the Botswana pula, and the British pound,
reinforced with diverse other international currencies of standing and
repute. In terms of law, only those licensed and authorised by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, being the recently established Foliwars retailers and
wholesalers, and licensed vehicle service stations, may conduct their trades
in foreign currency but, in reality, almost without exception all businesses
are demanding that payments be made in acceptable foreign currencies or, in
the alternative, in Zimbabwean currency based upon exchange rate conversions
from "pegged" foreign currency prices.
However, those conversions have to be effected at rates of exchange
prevailing in the unlawful, alternative foreign currency markets, and not
the specious manipulated, government-favouring, interbank rates, And, in
those foreign currency markets, the rates are surging upwards continuously,
driven by the immense disparity between supply and demand.
The upward surge in rates is reinforced by so many using Old Mutual Implied
Rate (OMIR) as a guide to realistic rates of exchange. The OMIR is
determined by a correlation of the price of shares in Old Mutual on the
London Stock Exchange with the price of the shares on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange. However, whilst a year or more ago OMIR was a very realistic guide
to fair, inflation-related, exchange rates, and to the adjustments necessary
to compensate for inflation, that is no long so, for the prices of the
shares are no longer driven primarily by inflation, but by other factors.
This is loudly emphasised by the extent that Old Mutual share prices have
fallen on the London Stock Exchange, reactive to the current global economic
crises, and to political developments, whilst those prices have surged
upwards in Zimbabwe. The local price escalation is due to the fact that in
the prevailing hyperinflation environment none, or very few, wish to dispose
of shares for cash, whilst many are anxious to dispose of cash for shares,
resulting in demand vastly exceeding supply, with resultant almost
continuous rises in price.
Those price rises in Zimbabwe, concurrently with falling prices in London,
reflect in the OMIR. On October 23, 2008 the OMIR was 28 126 531 891, 46.
Within two trading days it rose to 105 026 256 564, 14, then on the
following day briefly fell to 70 398 738 454, 60, and only three days later
had soared up to a gigantic 3 907 567 059 432, 98. As horrifically great as
is Zimbabwean inflation, it is not that great and, therefore, OMIR is no
longer a realistic inflation barometer. But it is still being used as a
major guideline to exchange rate movements, and is therefore impacting
rapidly upon the costs of all imports, and upon the foreign-currency
prescribed, or pegged, domestic market prices.
This is causing a self-perpetuating, continuous rise in inflation to such a
monolithic extent that, unless sense and reason very soon prevails in the
private sector, as well as the overwhelming need therefore in the public
sector, Zimbabwe's economy will totally implode, as a direct consequence of
intensifying dollarisation mania.
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:17
A SHOCKING report appearing in the New York Times on Monday claimed that the
government of Zimbabwe spent US$ 7,3 million donated by a prominent
international organisation to fight killer diseases on other things and has
failed to honour requests to return the money.
The actions by Zimbabwe have deprived the organisation, the Global Fund to
Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, of resources it needs and damaged
efforts to expand life-saving treatment, said its inspector-general, John
Parsons. He said Zimbabwe's actions also jeopardised a more ambitious $ 188
million Global Fund grant to Zimbabwe, due for consideration by the fund's
Parsons said Zimbabwean officials claim they had not repaid the money
because they did not have enough foreign currency. But Health minister Dr
David Parirenyatwa yesterday promised to clear all outstanding obligations,
which he put at around US$ 6,5 million, over the next seven days. Reserve
Bank governor Gideon Gono pledged support.
"The breakdown of trust between the Global Fund and Zimbabwe's government
comes at a time of widening humanitarian crisis and casts further doubt on
the willingness of Western donors to invest heavily in rebuilding the
economically broken nation as long as Mugabe is in charge," the New York
Parsons said in an interview on Sunday that last year the Global Fund
deposited $ 12,3 million in foreign currency into the Reserve Bank. He
declined to speculate on how the $ 7,3 million it was seeking to be returned
had been spent, except to say it was not on the intended purpose.
Should any of this come as a surprise?
Civil society has repeatedly argued that the Reserve Bank is playing a
questionable role in funding President Mugabe's political survival. Now
everybody can see how. The victims in this story are the poor and the
Sikanyiso Ndlovu, asked about the missing millions from the Global Fund,
accused the organisation of having standards.
"They always want to put certain standards and concoct certain things to
make us look bad and horrendous in international eyes," he said.
Parsons pointed out the human dimension of the Reserve Bank's failure to
hand over the money for disease fighting.
"The Global Fund has brought in large quantities of medicines that can cure
malaria, but has been able to finance the training of only 495 people to
distribute them safely instead of the planned 27 000," he told the New York
"There were 2,7 million cases of malaria among Zimbabwe's 12 million people
in the World Health Organisation's most recent estimates. The drugs expire
by the middle of next year, and it would be criminal if we can't use them
because of these problems," Parsons said. "They've got quite a short shelf
We only wish the same were true of Ndlovu!
Evidence of just how destructive Zanu PF can be emerged this weekend with
the news that one of the country's most productive farms has been seized by
allies of President Mugabe.
The Sunday Telegraph reported last weekend that Doug Taylor-Freeme, one of
the country's most respected farmers, had his property at Romsey, one of
Zimbabwe's few remaining productive farms, invaded by allies of Mugabe last
week despite half the country teetering on the brink of starvation.
Romsey, the Sunday Telegraph reports, has the only productive fields for
miles around in the once-fertile Makonde South district, 90 miles north of
Harare. Now it is under threat from Chief Nemakonde, a strong supporter of
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, whose land grab is being supported by local
"He has already taken over five formerly white-owned farms in the district,
all of which are derelict after his efforts at planting failed," the paper
says. "Taylor-Freeme (43) tried to continue his work after the demands
started. But on Thursday evening, when he was planting a new crop of maize
for the summer season, police arrived at the farm to enforce the wishes of
Chief Nemakonde that all work be stopped. With five million people in
Zimbabwe currently in need of United Nations food aid, even one of the
police force admitted to the Sunday Telegraph that he felt the effort was
'Before he forced his way on to Mr Taylor-Freeme's land last week, Chief
Nemakonde, who is in his late 60s and has several wives and scores of
children, sent men to torch a field of winter wheat stalks. meaning there
will be no hay for cattle.
"Mr Taylor-Freeme, one of just a few surviving white commercial farmers of
the 4 000 whose land was targeted for seizure in 2000, said that he had been
informed by local officials that a High Court order to evict the chief would
"Some local police do not support this," he said. "So they had to send men
from Harare, and even they don't like what they have to do, to stop me
planting and prevent our community from coming on to chase the chief's
people away again. So I am going back to the High Court seeking an order of
contempt but this takes time, and meanwhile planting is paralysed."
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe failed to pay Mr Taylor-Freeme about £50 000
from his 2007 tobacco and wheat crop, which he was forced to sell through
government agencies," the Sunday Telegraph reports. "While he has survived
in part due to European Union aid intended to boost regional food
production, he is particularly anxious because he has taken out loans of
about £250 000 which he has already used to buy seed, fertiliser and fuel
for his 800 acres. Even some local Zanu PF activists have sided with the
farmer, conscious of how desperate the country now is for food."
"He must be allowed to plant," one said.
We would add that this is an emblematic display of Zanu PF's capacity to
damage the economy. Here is a farmer who has done everything to work within
the framework of government policies being hounded off his land by Mugabe's
supporters acting in contempt of court orders and regardless of agricultural
Last week we heard Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi calling
on ambassadors posted here to report "accurately" on local affairs. We
suggest they include this episode in their reports as government holds out
its begging bowl asking other countries to feed our population because we
are no longer able to.
Readers may be interested in remarks on Zimbabwe made by Botswana's
President Ian Khama in his state-of-the-nation address to parliament in
Gaborone on Monday.
Khama said: "We remain serious-ly concerned about the failure to form a
government that is widely accepted by the people of that country. We are of
the further view that it is important for all Sadc member states
to uphold the regional standards they have collectively and voluntarily
adopted. We strongly believe that the one viable way forward in Zimbabwe is
to have a rerun of the presidential election under full international
sponsorship and supervision. That way a repeat of the past runoff
presidential election, which was declared by regional and international
observers to be neither free nor fair and was characterised by intimidation
and violence, can be avoided. It should be unacceptable for ruling parties
to seek to manipulate election outcomes to extend their stay in power, as
this is bad for democracy on our continent."
Indeed. All he is stating is that Sadc should abide by the principles it has
set itself, hardly a revolutionary position but one the Zanu PF regime has
Patrick Chinamasa was up in arms this week over Khama's speech, claiming
that "evidence" of MDC violence had been passed to the Botswana authorities.
Why should Khama be expected to believe this claim when nobody in Zimbabwe
Khama's principled stance on Zimbabwe is like a beacon shining across the
muddy waters of fudge and betrayal. The people of Zimbabwe will know who
spoke out in defence of the exercise of their rights when the chapter on
this sad episode of our history is eventually written.
We have heard much recently about the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority's attempts
at changing the way people abroad see Zimbabwe. It is called "image
In other words, instead of telling the truth about repression and misrule,
writers are expected to come here and proclaim the wonders of Zimbabwe's
For instance, we had security officers boarding a flight that was just about
to leave Harare airport and arresting a journalist who was charged with
practising his profession without a licence.
We don't know whether he was writing about Zimbabwe or not. What we do know
is that crass behaviour by the state of this sort plays very badly around
the world and confirms an existing impression that Zimbabwe is a repressive
state where people are not free to express their views and journalists are
dragged off aircraft.
It will be interesting to see how the authorities "manage" this particular
The same goes for the clumsy handling of Africa Sun Hotels CEO Shingi
Munyeza who was picked up last week and accused of getting the pricing wrong
on his hotels' beverages.
The hotel company has to change the prices every day to cover costs. You can
imagine what a nightmare this must be for any management. Munyeza's group
has invested heavily in Zimbabwe, in the region, and across the continent.
What will people think when he is treated as a criminal for getting his
daily price list wrong in a country where everything is dictated by the
state's pricing police?
But that is the state we are in. And we expect visiting writers to produce
puff pieces about how wonderful everything is. Unfortunately, people from
places like Russia where the media is still rigidly controlled, are happy to
Viewers of RT (Russia Today) on the DStv network will get some sense of
this. They told us this week for instance that the BBC has revealed that
Georgian forces fired on innocent civilians in the recent conflict. Of
course nobody actually remembers that particular "revelation". But British
academics were interviewed to say that of course the BBC misled the public
at the beginning of the war but are wiser now!
We had somebody from the University of Kent at Canterbury giving a hostage
to fortune in this way. It is exactly like watching ZTV!
Two of Zimbabwe's real heroes, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu of
Woza, were finally granted bail on Wednesday. They had been held in
appalling conditions for heading a peaceful protest.
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) this week joined the growing
list of South African civil and student bodies condemning their detention.
"We are very concerned about the welfare of these two courageous women,"
said Eddie Makue, SACC general-secretary, quoted by SW Radio Africa. "It is
ironic that those who are working for peace are charged with disturbing it,
while those with the power to promote a true and just peace seem to have no
interest in doing so," he said.
Did you see how quickly the US election results came out?
When Zimbabweans went to bed on Tuesday night America was still voting. When
we woke up on Wednesday morning the results were known. Obama had won and
McCain had congratulated him.
One hundred and fifty million people had voted in 50 states.
Was George Chiweshe watching?
We still haven't been told why Zimbabwe's constituency results were released
in dribs and drabs when all the ballots were already in. And why it took
five weeks to be told the outcome of the presidential poll.
Caesar Zvayi had an article in the Herald on Monday on the role of
Zimbabwean folklore. He compared the tales of hare and baboon to "Disney's"
Tom & Jerry.
A reader of an Online site was quick to point out that Disney had nothing to
do with Tom & Jerry.
"Since the Herald never bothers itself with facts, the following should be
pointed out," he said.
"Tom & Jerry" are a cat & mouse cartoon produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer.
They have no relation to the Disney Company and were thought of originally
as an alternative product to Disney's Mickey Mouse.
"If the Herald cannot even get the very first 'fact' they use in an article
correct, it shows how little else they bother to print is based on fact."
That's all for now folks!
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 09:13
THEY cheered, they danced in the streets, they screamed their hearts out and
even cried in celebration of Barack Obama's dramatic victory as the first
ever black president of the United States which sent him to the White House.
It was a historical moment that seized the attention of the world like the
release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. Even Mandela this week joined the Obama
The Obama victory symbolised a social and psychological revolution in the
US. But what does it mean for other people, besides Americans?
First, Obama did not win because of the colour of his skin. Nor did he win
in spite of it. This must guide us, especially in Africa, that race or tribe
should not be the overriding factor in voting for leaders.
Obama won largely because of himself, shifting social dynamics of his
transforming society, conditions on the ground and his fresh messages.
The "Audacity of Hope" carried Obama to a sweeping victory which left his
supporters and rivals mesmerised. Trending against insurmountable historical
odds, he was voted for, as he said, by "young and old, rich and poor,
Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay,
straight, disabled and not disabled".
Obama won on his own terms, strategically and symbolically. It was a
multicultural, multigenerational movement that shattered centuries-old
racial barriers and ushered in an age of new hope, not just for the US, but
the world at large.
For the US, the Obama victory is historic and transformational. It marked a
dramatic shift from the politics of race and hatred to the politics of ideas
The Obama win thus changed the way the world looks at the US and gave hope
that the country could still play a constructive role in international
relations. The US's reputation abroad has been damaged as much by
institutionalised racism as by George Bush's militaristic administration.
The world expects Obama to change this. Obviously Obama is aware of a crisis
of expectations that he might suffer because everyone wants him to change
just about everything wrong in the world.
Obama, as he said, will take over in the midst of "two wars, a planet in
peril, the worst financial crisis in a century". The good thing is he is
alive to the fact that the "road ahead will be long and our climb will be
Obama's victory proved democracy allowed to roll can change the world.
The system is not perfect, but offers the best opportunity to right present
and past wrongs and transform the world. It proved to all and sundry that
with hope and hard work, nothing is unchangeable.
Even science has proven nothing is static. Mountains and other natural
physical features subjected to particular conditions and processes do shift.
How then can social conditions and human mindsets be unalterable?
Coming under the banner of change, Obama's win gives hope to all those
struggling for different forms of change around the world.
Almost certainly it would have given hope particularly to the oppressed
people in Africa, Asia and other notorious outposts of tyranny scattered
around the globe. Africa, including Zimbabwe, must learn something from
Obama's win. It must learn and accept democracy is the best form of
governance there is at the moment. It must also accept modern politics are
no longer about race and tribe; they are about issues.
In Africa, racism is no longer the problem in politics but tribalism. Many
writers, including George Wittman, have shown how the politics of tribe in
Africa have badly damaged the continent's prospects of development and
Tribalism south of the Sahara remains the dominant political force, and with
it poverty, starvation, disease, exploitation and genocide, still holds back
the region's development.
Ethnic conflicts or tensions hold sway and strike at the foundations of
unity, peace and stability, ingredients of progress and success.
Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, denounced the African tribal system,
saying it was one of the main factors undermining the continent's march
towards independence and development. It was his view that the colonial
rulers had manipulated the continent through tribal rivalries.
All over Africa, from the north to the south to the west and east and in the
heart of the continent, tribal structures and prejudices continue to be used
mostly by dictators to manipulate politics and control the lives of the
The pervasive culture of tribalism, which thrives on intolerance, hate and
discrimination, defines most Africans' lives and supersedes anything that
other civilisations including Christianity and Islam have introduced.Tribal
blocs and practices have now been co-opted into what passes for democratic
processes and sometimes nothing wrong is seen in tribalism by those who
practise and benefit from it.
Tribalism has become more an impediment to democracy than other practices
such as religion or class in Africa. Ethnic or clan identity and bonds are
used as a major tool of political mobilisation, more so than ideas and
programmes, during elections, mainly by dictators, hence their disastrous
leadership and policy failures.
The Trouble with Nigeria by Chinua Achebe explains this in detail. It is
high time Africa discards primitive practices and embraces democracy.
The Obama victory teaches us that the time for the politics of race and
tribe is gone. Africa must rise to the occasion and embrace democracy based
on viable policies and leadership capabilities, not tribal agendas.
By Dumisani Muleya
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 08:52
IT does appear that the nastier the humanitarian situation gets in Zimbabwe,
the more petty-minded we must be.
There was a report in the Herald on Wednesday about MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai travelling to Botswana on an ETD. Tsvangirai had been quoted in
the Standard saying this year should be declared "a non-agricultural season".
Tsvangirai had to use an ETD because the Registrar-General's office has
refused to issue him with a passport. It is irrelevant to me that Tsvangirai
refused to use the same document two weeks ago to travel to the Sadc troika
meeting in Mbabane, Swaziland, to discuss the petty project of "key"
ministries. Some said he needs a diplomatic passport. Others argued with
disarming opportunism that the refusal to issue Tsvangirai with a passport
was now part of the talks. It showed that Zanu PF was not sincere about the
But that is to miss the point - which is that there has been no convincing
explanation for denying Tsvangirai a full passport. We know it is a
privilege and remains the property of the Zimbabwe government, but given his
position as one of the key stakeholders in the political dialogue, he enjoys
privileges above ordinary, unelected Zimbabweans.
It has to be acknowledged that he is the leader of one of the contending
political parties in the country. It is sham to try to convince us that it's
all to do with a shortage of paper. This explanation is an attempt at cheap
subterfuge, to give the impression that the RG's office is free from
political manipulation. It is not. That's why state institutions should be
beyond the grasping clutches of political parties.
Which brings me to my point: that the passport incident makes Zanu PF
political leaders not only petty-minded but vindictive too. In denying
Tsvangirai a passport, they turned what was a simple domestic,
administrative issue into political capital for opportunists at home and
beyond. It is bungling of the worst order and gave a hostage to fortune.
They may have some other reasons for their decision, but they fly in the
face of logic. After the initial signing of the MoU, most of us expected our
political leaders to get closer together in the interest of national healing
and cooperative engagement. Instead they have drifted further apart, abetted
in this treacherous betrayal of the poor by selfish individuals in their
It has been alleged that Tsvangirai is being denied a passport on suspicion
that he will use it to campaign for more sanctions on the government as part
of "international pressure" to force President Mugabe to cede more power.
This might well be true, but it might also not be the case. Why not give him
the benefit of the doubt?
People should judge him on the basis of what he says when he goes abroad,
not what government suspects he will do or say.
The rational thing would be to let him have his passport and let him speak.
He should be convicted by his own words. Denying him a passport on the basis
of what he might do or say amounts to convicting him before he commits the
On the other hand, you would expect the MDC itself to react with
judiciousness and maturity. Forget it.
I have no illusions that even if Tsvangirai had gone to Swaziland nothing
would have come of it. There is no meeting of the minds. The MDC now wants a
fresh presidential election. Zanu PF is afraid of losing. People are tired,
angry and hungry. The country is broke. Yet by going to Mbabane, Tsvangirai
would have demonstrated his humility and showed that he respects the Sadc
heads of state who had given him the platform to state his case, the same
people whose advice and cooperation he might require as he tries to chart
his way into the wider world as a new leader in government.
But these guys will not pass an opportunity for histrionics over the
smallest incident of slight because they believe we don't think and that we
might not realise that they have been unfairly treated. So there was an
attempt to blackmail everybody by blowing an individual's passport issue
into a national crisis more pressing than food production.
Yet this could have been avoided by simply giving Tsvangirai his passport.
He has as much right as all other politicians to travel. He has as much
freedom of expression as every Zimbabwean. It is an incident which gives a
patina of relevance to the vexing deadlock over "key" ministries when people
If the fear is that he will say the wrong things to the wrong people once he
gets his passport, isn't the solution to get the wrong things corrected
instead of turning this banal passport issue into a national embarrassment?
In any case, by issuing the passport to Tsvangirai the government does not
forfeit its right of ownership. It can withdraw it if it can be proved in a
competent court of law that it has been abused in a way which threatens
Let's draw a line between trivial party issues and the national emergency
which Zimbabwe faces as a result of the political stalemate.
So I could not understand it when prime minister-designate Tsvangirai said
let's declare this year a non-agricultural season. Declare it to whom and to
Is he aware that he is no longer an opposition leader and should be
proposing solutions to the national crisis?
That calls for more responsibility; which makes him part of the solution and
part of the problem why we have no functional cabinet eight months after the
After parliament declared the food security situation a national disaster,
we expect the political leadership to assume their role and call for a
mobilisation of resources to feed the poor and for the cropping season. We
boycott the season and do what instead?
The global financial recession means there will progressively be fewer
donors for those who fail to produce. Climate change also means there will
progressively be lower world food stock reserves to go round.
By Joram Nyathi
The Zimbabwe Independent
2008 11 07
Friday, 07 November 2008 08:38
'IF THERE is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where
all things are possible,
who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who
still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,"
President-elect Barack Obama told his vast audience in Grant Park, Chicago,
on Tuesday night.
"It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in
numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and
four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed
that this time must be different, that their voices could be that
"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and
Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight,
disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we
have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red
states and blue states," a reference to the electoral map that saw him and
his (blue) Democratic party romp home to an unambiguous victory.
"It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this
date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America."
Obama has, rather like our own election verdict in March, broken the mould.
He has shown that an African-American president can be the choice of all
John McCain, in his speech in Arizona, made reference to Theodore Roosevelt's
invitation to the great educationalist Booker T Washington to dine at the
White House a century ago and the outrage that caused. African-Americans
today, he observed, must be experiencing a great sense of pride and
satisfaction over the outcome.
Obama's rollcall of diverse minorities together forging the majority he now
presides over was emblematic of his compaign. It was this inclusivist
approach that has done so much to advance his cause. He didn't pose as the
standard bearer of any particular group, instead making it clear that he
stood for all constituencies and for all people.
By striking this note he was able to capture states that had been solidly
Republican for 40 years but favoured change. To the Democrats' traditional
support base among the teeming "blue" states of the north-east and organised
labour, he recruited a middle class instinctively conservative but prepared
to change the voting habits of a lifetime.
To his banner fell Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Florida, states that George
Bush scooped up in 2000 and 2004.
In the face of this burgeoning army, the bullying religious right evaporated
like a paper tiger, abandoned even by McCain.
McCain failed the one last chance he had - in the television debates. Like
Nixon in 1960 his inability to make a decisive impact in millions of homes
across America lost him the election. A war hero who tried to exploit his
opponent's inexperience, McCain failed to land the punch that mattered. A
nation weary of the Iraq morass declined to get fired up by his "expertise".
What significance, if any, does this hold for Zimbabwe?
Firstly, it deprives the bigots in power of the race card they depend upon
for so much of their fulminating. Obama is so obviously his own man and can
hardly be portrayed as a creature of Wall St which has felt the fire of his
The outcome was a complete repudiation of the Bush presidency just as ours
was a repudiation of Mugabe and everything he stood for in March.
Bush was beholden to the powerful oil lobby, personified by Dick Cheney.
Obama is keen to shake things up across the board - and in the boardrooms.
Zimbabwe will find a formidable critic in the White House. There will be no
reprieve for the targets of Washington's sanctions so long as Zanu PF's
misrule persists. Obama is an inspiration to Africa, Zimbabwe's rulers a
And whereas Bush was content to leave matters in the hands of his point man,
Thabo Mbeki, Obama will be keen to speak out on the consequences of
repression and dictatorship.
But first Obama will want to tackle the economy. The financial crisis
empowered Obama just as it disabled McCain. But Obama was headed for victory
in the first place. Now he will have to demonstrate every political skill he
has in managing the crisis on Main St and fashioning a consensus on the
change he spoke so eloquently about.