Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
Opposition leader gives his side of the story
FACING the strongest internal challenge in years and with more questions
being asked about his leadership style, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai has come out all guns blazing, insisting he
is still in full control and has his eyes set firmly on next year's
The backlash from Tsvangirai's sacking of Lucia Matibenga as head of the
party's Women's Assembly, and her subsequent replacement by Theresa Makone,
the wife of one of his top advisers, has caused alarm among opposition
supporters and key allies in civic society.
The controversy has sparked intra-party violence and raised the spectre of
new divisions in the opposition, already severely crippled by the October
2005 split that has minimized the MDC's chances of dislodging ZANU PF from
Tsvangirai's decision, which ignored recommendations made after an internal
inquiry and the advice of the national executive council, has once again
exposed his leadership to intense scrutiny.
But in an exclusive interview with The Financial Gazette this week,
Tsvangirai was defiant, saying he would not allow what he called "the
Matibenga sideshow" to distract him from "the main goal" of fighting
President Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF in polls scheduled for March next year.
The MDC's participation in the elections is however, conditional.
Speaking on the row for the first time, days after surviving a threatened
rebellion by senior lieutenants irked by his decision to ignore their advice
not to oust Matibenga, the MDC leader shrugged off criticism that he had
become increasingly autocratic and that his style of leadership had reduced
the opposition party to its weakest point since its formation eight years
"Far from it, the MDC is as united as it can ever be," Tsvangirai insisted,
when asked to respond to suggestions that power was slipping from his grip.
"Our leadership, based on the principle of collective responsibility, is
firmly in charge. Any suggestions to the contrary are the figment of the
imaginations of those bent on destroying the people's project towards a new
Zimbabwe. What you see is vibrant intra-party democracy, which tolerates
divergent views on those matters affecting the party."
Officials have reported that at last Saturday's national executive meeting,
held at a private venue and not the party headquarters at Harvest House as
usual, Tsvangirai was humiliated after being forced to climb down on the
The MDC leader, however, insisted the reports were a "gross exaggeration" by
He maintained that the MDC national standing committee did not violate the
party's constitution when it dissolved the women's assembly headed by
The former trade unionist alleged that people on the payroll of state
security agents and ZANU PF were "peddling falsehoods" to ruin his
reputation ahead of the elections.
"The problem is that, suddenly, so many people have become MDC
constitutional experts," he said. "The majority of them have never read the
MDC constitution. You see, if the national council, through the national
standing committee had, as suggested, blatantly violated the constitution in
the dissolution of the assembly, then the High Court would obviously have
set aside the decision and interdicted the congress. But it didn't. The fact
of the matter is that the national council resolved that at the conclusion
of the inquiry (into the affairs of the women's wing), the leadership must
make a decision."
That inquiry, as reported by The Financial Gazette, in fact recommended that
the party's leadership must "change its attitude towards the assembly, be
accommodative, and resource it accordingly."
On his backing of Theresa Makone, Tsvangirai said in terms of the
constitution of his party, the national executive or the National Council
did not have the powers to either endorse or reject elected officers of
Women's and Youth Assemblies.
While acknowledging that the meeting was highly charged, he however, said
the national executive resolved that any further discussion of the
extraordinary congress of the Women's Assembly would take place when the
faction's chairman, Lovemore Moyo presents his report on what transpired.
In his report, Moyo backs Tsvangirai's decision, and says that at three
meetings of the national council and the women's wing held since July,
members, including Matibenga herself, had conceded that the Women's Assembly
"was largely dysfunctional due to bad relations between the members of the
Under party rules, Moyo's report, says, Tsvangirai was entitled to take
Tsvangirai maintained that Makone and the 19- member executive, consisting
of eight officers directly elected at the Bulawayo congress and the 11
provincial chairpersons, were the bona fide leaders of the Women's Assembly
"until removed by the women themselves during an ordinary or extraordinary
He denied that his support for Makone was based on her close friendship with
his wife, Susan, or because Theresa is the wife of his close associate and
elections director, Ian Makone.
Critics say Makone is part of a "kitchen cabinet" Tsvangirai has
increasingly tended to depend on for key policy decisions, thus sidelining
formal party structures.
But he said: "Firstly, you need to understand that the issue, from the point
of view of the party, is not about Lucia Matibenga or Theresa Makone. We do
not manage the party with the objective of either pleasing or hurting
individuals, but in the best interests of the party as a whole. The party is
bigger than any individual, and that includes myself. It is about the
performance of an organ of a party or its officers as we prepare for the
2008 elections, subject of course to a free and fair environment. Matibenga
is a respected member of the party, and she will remain so."
He said the MDC, which had procured more than 40 new Isuzu vehicles in
preparation for the elections, was "ready for an election tomorrow".
"The level of suffering of the majority of our people cannot be extended by
any day longer. People have no food, jobs, transport, drugs, water and
power. The list is endless. We need to resolve the national crisis now,
rather than later. This can only be done by creating the necessary
environment for a free and fair election where Zimbabweans can freely choose
a government of their choice, which can then immediately resolve the myriad
economic problems besetting the country," he said.
But his bullish remarks about the election are clouded by suggestions that
his faction's participation would be conditional.
Before any elections, and after the conclusion of negotiations being
brokered by Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, there would be need
for "a healing period during, which an agreement on the electoral
environment arising out of the Southern African Development Community
facilitated talks would be put to a practical test, a test that ZANU PF must
pass", he said.
"We need to rebuild the shattered confidence of our people, confidence that
it is still possible to effect democratic change through a secure ballot."
ATTORNEY General (AG) Sobusa Gula-Ndebele's world collapsed around him on
Tuesday after he was arrested on allegations of abusing his office by not
prosecuting former NMBZ Holdings deputy managing director James Mushore who
fled the country in 2004.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday confirmed Gula-Ndebele's
arrest saying it was in connection with assuring Mushore, whom he met at a
Harare restaurant in September, that he would not be prosecuted if he
Gula-Ndebele, an ex-officio member of Cabinet, is alleged to have met
Mushore, who is currently in remand prison facing several counts of
externalising foreign currency and one of violating the Immigration Act,
knowing fully well that the police had issued a warrant of arrest against
the top banker.
The AG is being charged under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act for
what police sources say was the criminal abuse of office.
Police on Tuesday recorded a warned and cautioned statement from the AG
before releasing him.
"The Attorney General Mr Sobusa Gula Ndebele was charged yesterday (November
6, 2007) for contravening section 174 (1) of the Criminal Law (Cordification
and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 for doing 'anything contrary to or inconsistent
with a duty as a Public Officer' A warned and cautioned statement has since
been recorded from him.On September 19 2007 Mr Mushore flew into the country
from the United Kingdom. During his stay Mr Mushore met and discussed with
Mr Gula Ndebele at a restaurant in Harare. At this meeting it is alleged
that Mr Gula-Ndebele gave Mr Mushore the assurance that he would not be
prosecuted if he returns home. On October 5 2007 Mr Mushore flew back to the
United Kingdom. Mr Gula Ndebele was aware at the material time that Mr
Mushore was on a warrant of apprehension when he discussed with him,"
Sources yesterday said the police are also keen on unpacking the nature of
the relationship between Gula-Ndebele and Mushore who skipped the country in
2004 through an undesignated point.
Mushore is facing six counts of contravening Exchange Control Regulations
and one of violating the Immigration Act.
Since 2004, police have been hunting for Mushore and three other NMBZ
executives - Francis Zimuto, Otto Chekeche and Julius Makoni - who also
allegedly fled to the UK.
Mushore's car, a Mercedes-Benz, was found parked in Kariba when he allegedly
escaped in April 2004 through Zambia, en route to the UK.
Police alleged that Mushore, Makoni, Zimuto and Chekeche had set up a money
transfer office under the name LTB Money Transfers, which was manned by NMBZ
Bank employees in the British capital, London, without a licence from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
It is also alleged that LTB Finance House was set up for the personal
benefit of the former NMBZ top brass.
The foursome allegedly used the money transfer office to mop up foreign
currency from Zimbabweans working in the UK. About £3 million and US$2
million was allegedly siphoned from Zimbabweans living abroad with their
relatives at home getting the equivalent in Zimbabwean dollars at illegal
parallel market exchange rates.
Mushore appeared in court for his first remand days after his arrest.
Sources said the AG's office had declined to prosecute Mushore after a
standoff with the arresting officers, hence the delay.
Gula-Ndebele is a retired army colonel who was among the country's feared
military intelligence supremos in the 1980s.
After independence, he practiced as a lawyer, establishing the law firm
Gula-Ndebele and Partners Legal Practitioners.
He is a former chairman of the Electoral Supervisory Commission.
Of late, press reports suggested frosty relations between Gula-Ndebele and
his boss, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa. The two clashed after the AG's office authorised the minister's
prosecution last year on charges of attempting to defeat the course of
It has also been reported that there are plans by the Justice Ministry to
dilute the powers of the AG and bring some of the function of the department
under the control of the Justice Minister.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
A SENIOR government official has revealed why government officials ignored
advice that a rock could not produce refined diesel.
A strong belief in spirit mediums convinced top officials, including members
of the Presidium to authorise expenditure of $5 billion in taxpayers' money
on a woman who claimed to have powers to cause diesel to flow from a rock.
The advice was given by a number of people, including Cabinet ministers, who
had expressed scepticism over Nomatter Tagarira's claims, that she could
induce diesel from a rock at Muningwa hills in Chinhoyi by pointing her
"sacred stick" at it.
The Financial Gazette established this week that police have recovered $3
billion of the $5 billion that government paid to Tagarira alias Mavhunga
alias Sekuru Dombo.
In an interview yesterday, Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange, who is
believed to have been one of a group of senior officials involved in selling
the diesel story to President Robert Mugabe, confirmed that advice for the
government to proceed with caution were ignored.
"There are reasons (why the advice was ignored). The government and the
President believe in African culture, we believe in spirit mediums.
"She said the diesel was coming from our ancestors, so we had to pursue it,"
"The second reason is the current fuel problems. If we had not pursued it,
she was going to blame the government."
The other reason was that in the initial stages, those who were sent to
collect samples from Tagarira came back with "pure diesel", but it later
turned out that the fuel was not coming from the rock.
Instead, it emerged that diesel bought from truck drivers was poured into a
tank rigged with pipes, from which Tagarira drew the fuel, thus duping
government officials into believing that it flowed from a sacred rock.
Samkange said if prosecutors asked him to be a state witness in Tagarira's
trial, he would be keen to testify against her as she had taken the
government for a ride.
In addition to the $5 billion the government also gave Tagarira a farm, a
farmhouse and food among other rewards.
Court documents seen by The Financial Gazette this week show that police had
recovered $3 billion of the amount showered on the n'anga,
On Tuesday, Tagarira appeared at Chinhoyi magistrates court and was remanded
Resplendent in new prison garb - distinguishing her from other detainees -
she seemed crippled with fear as she walked into court.
She faces charges under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act for fraud
or alternatively, for being a "criminal nuisance."
The state says in court papers that as a result of the misrepresentation by
the accused, national interests were compromised, resulting in human and
material resources being wasted.
Magistrates' strike spreads
THE wheels of justice have ground to a halt as a strike by magistrates and
other judiciary officers to press for better remuneration and conditions of
service spreads countrywide.
The strike, which began last week when magistrates boycotted the courts, has
spread after other judiciary staff joined the industrial action.
Government's offer of a basic monthly salary of $141 million for regional
magistrates and $29 million for provincial magistrates has been rejected.
As a result of the work stoppage, suspects are being held in police cells
for long periods, a lawyer at the Rotten Row Magistrates' Courts said
At the Harare High Court, only civil cases were being handled, officials
Beatrice Mtetwa, president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, which represents
lawyers in private practice, said the society's members had been seriously
affected by the strike.
"It is proving costly for clients as lawyers are spending precious time in
the courts where nobody is attending to them," said Mtetwa.
"Our members were caught unawares, but when we embarked on our public
demonstrations a few months ago, we had the courtesy to inform government
workers of our impending action. It is creating a serious backlog in a
situation where there is already a long-standing backlog."
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) echoed the concerns over
the crippling strike, calling on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Patrick Chinamasa to address the grievances of the striking
magistrates, prosecutors and support staff.
"Those already in prison cannot be released and trials have had to be
postponed," said Innocent Gonese, legal secretary in the Morgan Tsvangirai
camp of the MDC.
"Justice delayed is justice denied and the people who will suffer the most
are accused persons who are presumed innocent until proven guilty."
Chinamasa could not immediately comment yesterday.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
ALBERT Matapo, the alleged ringleader of a group accused of plotting a coup
against President Robert Mugabe's government, will testify for the first
time in court tomorrow.
Matapo is expected to give evidence on his travels to the United Kingdom
(UK), which the state alleges were undertaken in contravention of Zimbabwean
In June, President Mugabe alleged that the British government was behind a
plot to overthrow his government.
Matapo and six others deny treason charges arising from allegations that
they plotted to depose the President from power and replace him with Rural
Housing and Social Amenities Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Police have since conceded they have no evidence of Mnangagwa's involvement
in the alleged coup.
Matapo's lawyer, Charles Warara, confirmed yesterday that his client would
"The state is alleging that he travelled without any documentation. Beyond
that, they are not saying anything," he said.
Warara said his client went to the UK to promote the government's Homelink
programme. meant to mobilise foreign currency from Zimbabweans in the
diaspora to ease a biting foreign currency crisis in the country.
Last week, the alleged coup plotters failed to appear in court due to a
strike by magistrates and prosecutors. Staff at the Master of the High Court
and clerks of court countrywide have also joined the strike. It is feared
the strike could delay Matapo's testimony.
The seven suspects allege that they were seized by state agents at a
building in Harare's central business district while planning to form a
Proceedings related to the case have previously been held in camera after
the state said prominent individuals would be named.
The state also said police would make more arrests, but no more suspects
have been arrested so far.
A deadline to come up with a trial date by October - when the state expected
police investigations to have been completed - has since lapsed.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWYO - A faction of ZANU-PF in Bulawayo led by mostly war veterans has
threatened that there will be chaos at the party's special congress in
Harare next month if the issue of elections in the province is not resolved
The faction, known as Ghodhi, said the elections that were allegedly held in
the city were a sham as they involved only one faction called Petition,
which is loyal to local members of the ZANU PF politburo.
"The national political commissar Cde Elliot Manyika is going to be
embarrassed if he endorses the election results because we are going to
attend the congress and show the party who has the support of the people," a
spokesman for the Ghodhi faction said.
Manyika could not be reached for comment.
Provincial elections for Bulawayo were originally scheduled for April 29 but
they had to be cancelled after it emerged that there were two factions
within the province, one of which had been locked out of Davis Hall where
the elections were to be conducted.
Manyika called off the elections and a taskforce, led by his deputy Richard
Ndlovu, was set up to restructure the party.
Interim executive spokesman Effort Nkomo said the restructuring exercise had
been completed and elections had already been conducted at branch and
He said those who were crying foul had "excluded themselves" from the
Ndlovu had repeatedly refused to comment on the restructuring exercise
saying he wanted to brief his bosses first.
Members of the Ghodhi faction said they would contest the results because
the elections had not been conducted according to the party constitution.
They said Ndlovu had failed to unite the two factions and had instead
aligned himself with the Petition faction.
"As far as we are concerned the last democratic elections in the province
were held in July 2004. Themba Ncube was elected provincial chairman but was
suspended after the Dinyane meeting.
"Two factions attended the 2004 party congress, one led by George Mlala who
was interim provincial chairman and another led by Isaac Dakamela who had
been appointed by members of the politburo from the province. Delegates from
both factions were properly accredited. How? We don't know. So it has been
an open secret that Bulawayo has two feuding factions," the spokesman said.
Six provincial chairmen were suspended from the party following the Dinyane
meeting, which was allegedly organised to oppose the appointment of Joice
Mujuru as vice-President. The meeting also allegedly sought to remove Joseph
Msika and John Nkomo from the presidency and replace them with Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Patrick Chinamasa.
The spokesman for the Ghodhi faction challenged the interim executive
currently running Bulawayo province to produce minutes showing that
elections had indeed been conducted because as far as they were concerned
the Petition faction did not have enough members to set up electoral
"According to the party constitution, you have to establish an electoral
college before any elections. You need an executive of at least 21 people at
cell level. You need not less than 50 people to elect the cell executive.
"After that you need not less than 300 people to elect 102 members of the
branch, and not less than 600 members to elect the executive of a district.
The Petition faction does not have enough members at these levels to form an
electoral college. So, how did they elect executives?"
The spokesman said the elections had been bulldozed by members of the
politburo from Bulawayo who included Dumiso Dabengwa, John Nkomo and
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu because they wanted to protect their
"All along they thought that the central committee was going to be dissolved
at the special congress, so they wanted members who could vote them back
into office," the spokesman said. "But now there is only one item on the
agenda, to endorse President Robert Mugabe as the party candidate."
He, however, said the situation was very dicey because the entire central
committee could still be dissolved if any member called for the dissolution
and this was supported by more than six party provinces.
This was quite possible as some people felt that President Mugabe should
step down at the congress and make way for a new leadership.
The Petition faction supports those that want President Mugabe to step down
while the Ghodhi faction is spearheading President Mugabe's re-election
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
Nearly half of 18-to-20 year olds not registered to vote
IT is often said that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. But as urban
youths grow increasingly disillusioned with the status quo in Zimbabwe, it
has become difficult to apply this sweeping dictum.
Youths, especially in urban areas, have been reluctant to register as
voters, suggesting an increasing loss of confidence in existing political
processes as an avenue through which to resolve the economic and political
crisis that has left many of them unemployed.
Yet, because youths have been reduced to depending on the state, they are
vulnerable to exploitation by powerful politicians who use them in election
There are too many youth organisations in the country. On one side are
social clubs that steer clear of politics, while on the other are youth
organisations mainly geared to give their leaders a way to earn a living
through a variety of causes that attracts financial support.
Speaking at a national youth meeting in August, deputy Youth and Employment
Creation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said youths must be partners in nation
"The youths are an important stakeholder in nation building," said
Kasukuwere. "Our aim is to see that every youth in Zimbabwe has an equal
opportunity and equal access to socio-political and economic empowerment, as
you are aware that the government is a signatory to many conventions, which
seek to protect the child at all levels of our society," he added.
But this does not seem to be the case.
Many young people are more interested in getting a decent job than being
involved in politics.
As the economic crisis escalates, the priority for many youths is to queue
outside the Registrar General's offices - not to register as voters, but to
obtain passports and join the exodus to greener pastures.
There is a strong feeling among youths that they have no future in a country
that no longer rewards academic achievement and has deliberately decimated
the middle class. It pays more for the youths to peddle drugs and dabble in
parallel market activities that have become the major source of foreign
currency, fuel and other basic commodities than to be employed full time.
Today's youths, according to Thabani Moyo of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
(CZC), are a "lost generation".
"There is voter apathy among the youth who are regarded as the lost
generation. They are preoccupied with issues of unemployment and see the
political process as a dirty way of expressing themselves," said Moyo, the
CZC spokesperson, which has launched a campaign targeting young voters.
"The campaign is an alternative way of spreading the messages about voting.
It is targeting the youth and rural voters who are traditionally seen as
detached from the political processes."
The coalition uses music, dance and poetry to attract the attention of the
A voter survey conducted in 2001 by Target Research, an independent polling
agency operating in southern Africa, found out that youths between the ages
of 18 and 20 were not enthusiastic about voting, contrasting with strong
interest among voters aged 31 and above.
The survey, which sampled 3 013 nationally representative potential voters,
was commissioned by The Financial Gazette ahead of the 2002 presidential
The survey report said: "The age groups who exhibited the greatest interest
in exercising their vote were those aged 31 to 35 (93 percent) and those
between the ages 21 to 25 and 36 to 40 (91 percent of each group).
"People aged 18 to 20 years and those over 60 yeas were the most likely age
groups to be unsure of whether they will vote or not. Forty-two percent of
the 18-20-year-olds who intend to vote in the 2008 elections will not do so
because they are not registered."
No corroborating data was available from the Registrar-General's office.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which conducts voter
education, says it has not been able to get such statistics.
"Attempts to get statistics by age groups have not been successful. We have
only those, which have been made public," said Tsungai Kokerai, ZESN
She conceded ZESN did not have youth-specific programmes.
An economic crisis, coupled with growing disillusionment with both ZANU PF
and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have made it impossible to
sustain the same level of interest in politics among youths, as was evident
in 2000 when the MDC almost pulled a surprise against ZANU PF in the general
Malcolm X once stated that any one who wants to know the future of any
nation should look at the character of its youths.
Several initiatives designed to guide youths in nation building have turned
out to be programmes of indoctrination aiming to promote particular
One such programme is the national youth service programme, under which
youths undertaking the training ended up being abused.
A parliamentary report released in May, detailed how youths and soldiers
fought for food and how female trainees lived in constant fear of being
sexually abused by instructors.
Shame Makoshori Shame Makoshori
A NASTY incident occurred at Chivakanenyama Business Centre, about 40
kilometres west of Magunje Growth Point in Hurungwe last Saturday.
A poisonous snake bit 26-year-old Tinashe Chaparadza, one of the
hunger-stricken villagers who slept at the centre waiting for electricity to
mill their staple grain.
A victim of chronic fuel and power crisis gripping the country, Chaparadza
could not receive medical attention until late Sunday because there was no
fuel to take him to hospital in time.
Chaparadza is one of the many victims of the escalating fuel crisis, which
has had far-reaching implications on all sectors of the economy.
Rural communities have been cut off the mainstream economic system owing to
inadequate electricity and fuel, blamed on foreign currency shortages.
The effects of the erratic energy supplies have been catastrophic across the
mining, tourism and manufacturing sectors. The rural transport system has
been paralysed as well, leaving commuters stranded.
Commercial cargo carriers, for example, have replaced conventional buses on
the 204-kilometre stretch between Harare and Karoi. It is the same story
along other major highways.
Only recently, a commercial transport vehicle ferrying fuel caught fire
along the Harare-Mutare Road, burning passengers on board beyond
Farmers are also among the worst-hit. Fuel for farmers during the 2007/2008
agricultural season was promised under various facilities but farmers say
they are still to receive the precious liquid.
Industrialists have advised government that the solution to the fuel crisis
lies in respecting the principles of supply and demand, letting fuel prices
to adjust according to available demand.
But the Energy Ministry, headed by retired army general Mike Nyambuya, has
been hesitant in lifting the cap on fuel prices fearing it would stoke the
But despite controlling the pump prices, motorists are buying petrol and
diesel for as much as $1 million per litre on the parallel market, far more
than the gazetted $60,000.
Zimbabwe uses between 3 million and 3,5 million litres of fuel a day to
power its ailing industries.
At current international petroleum prices, this translates to about US$300
million per month, but the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has failed to
generate the foreign currency required because it has kept prices stagnant
amid rising oil prices on the international market, which hit US$90 per
barrel last week.
A retailer at one of the country's rural business centres Thomas Mamombe
said following government's U-turn on price controls, companies had battled
to restock because they could not afford the high transport costs, or their
capital has been rendered inadequate by the wave of price increments
effected by producers.
"If you purchase one tonne of sugar the profit is swallowed by high
transport costs," Mamombe said. "In the end you find that it is better not
to restock than drive yourself into losses."
Basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, salt, matches, paraffin, soap,
meat, farming implements and spares and agricultural chemicals have vanished
from rural markets.
Previously a perennial breadbasket of the region with bustling retail and
beer outlets, consumers now brave the heat, rib cages threatening to spill
out of their chests to endure the long walk to rural shopping centres
hunting for the critical commodities to save their families from
Their broad smiles expose the yellowish teeth affected by the shortage of
toothpaste, and men and women say life is tough.
"There is no salt in the shops," a woman told The Financial Gazette last
Sunday. "If it was a shortage of sugar we would not care. But life is
unbearable without salt. Retailers tell us that goods are not delivered
because suppliers have no fuel, or they cannot afford the high cost of
transport to go and purchase their stocks," she said.
During the conversation, her malnourished three months old baby, Chipo
cries, apparently in protest of the harsh conditions she has been exposed to
in the mid afternoon heat, her bruised face affected by the corrosive
effects of malnutrition.
Her mother notices how startled this reporter is and was quick to intervene.
"We do not like this life," she said, pointing to the child.
"But what do you do when grinding mills cannot run because there is no fuel,
or the electricity powered mills are down because power comes for two hours
"The children will not eat. You see the effects for yourself," she added.
With inflation fast approaching the 8 000 percent mark and a family of six
people now requiring at least $21 million per month, goods have become
unaffordable and the middle class has also succumbed to the skyrocketing
Last month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono unveiled a
financial package under the Basic Commodities Supply-Side Intervention
Facility to promote a quick return to normalcy in the supply side of
The funding will be administered by commercial banks at an all inclusive
interest rate of 25 percent per annum but did not address the high costs of
transporting goods from major cities.
Some goods are slowly returning onto supermarket shelves in metropolitan
centres, but word has not reached rural businesses, more than one month
after the facility was launched.
AGRICULTURAL Minister Rugare Gumbo says the government will next week
announce substantive heads to lead the embattled Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Gumbo told The Financial Gazette yesterday that the government had finalized
the selection of the two new chief executive officers (CEOs) who will be
announced next week.
The new CEO for ARDA will replace former authority boss Joseph Matowanyika
who was fired by Gumbo three months ago after reports that he had failed to
save the collapse of the parastatal's Chisumbanje sugar estates where 1 000
hectares of sugar cane had been written off due to severe moisture stress
The substantive CEO for grain parastatal GMB will succeed Samuel Muvhuti,
who has led the GMB in an acting capacity since the suspension of Martin
Muchero on allegations of misconduct. Muvhuti has also applied for the post.
Gumbo, who is reported to have effected radical changes at the Ministry of
Agriculture since taking over from Joseph Made in February, said the
government had identified the suitable replacements, which the boards of the
respective parastatals would announce.
"We should, together with the board, be announcing the new CEO for ARDA
before the end of next week," Gumbo told The Financial Gazette on the
sidelines of a media briefing on the country's preparations for the
2007/2008 agricultural seasons.
"We will also announce a substantive chief executive for the GMB," he said.
Turning to the preparations, Gumbo said government was fighting to bridge a
20 000 tonne deficit of seed maize, which could affect farmers.
The government had been under pressure from seed maize producers who have
shunned producing enough seed due to low incentives and protracted
negotiations over the pricing issue.
But Gumbo yesterday undertook to double the price of the seed maize to
encourage more farmers to produce enough and beat high demand.
During the 2007/2008 agricultural season, Zimbabwe had budgeted that farmers
required at least 50 000 tonnes of seed maize but figures provided by the
ministry indicated that only 30 000 tonnes were in stock yesterday, leaving
a shortfall of about 20 000.
"Seed maize farmers want viable prices. We want to formulate a policy where
the price of maize seed is probably double the price of commercial maize,"
"Seed maize producers should go ahead (with planting) as we work out the
price," he added.
Producers were this year paid $26 million per tonne by seed houses, which
sold to distributors at $65 million per tonne while the retail price of seed
maize had been $78 million per tonne, the statistics showed.
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
As violence flares up at Watermount Estates
A MHANGURA farmer has been granted a peace order against Member of
Parliament (MP) for Makonde and President Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo
Mugabe, who is alleged to have made threats against her and interfered with
her farm operations.
Nomhle Mliswa, a sister to fitness trainer and Saltlakes Holdings group
chief executive officer Themba Mliswa, had applied for an order seeking to
interdict Mugabe in his personal capacity to stop interfering with
operations at Summerhill Farm in Mhangura where she is settled.
A Chinhoyi Magistrate identified in court documents as T Katehwe granted
Mliswa an order interdicting Mugabe and his accomplices to stop interfering
with operations at Summerhill farm.
"The applicant has on the balance of probabilities, successfully proved that
the respondents have conducted themselves in a manner that has breached her
peace. The application is granted.
"The respondents are interdicted personally or through agents or employees
from threatening, harassing or interfering with the applicant or her
employees or anyone else acting through subdivision 2, Summerhill farm,
Mhangura," said the magistrate.
Myles Hall, a commercial farmer, was cited as the first respondent while the
legislator for Makonde was cited as the second respondent with the officer
in charge of Mhangura Police Station Inspector Mushonga Chiware listed as
the third respondent.
Mliswa had filed an application seeking to interdict the respondents and
their employees and anyone else claiming ownership of Summerhill farm
through them from harassing, damaging and generally, interfering in any way
with the applicant, her employees and anyone else acting through her at the
Mliswa stated in her application that due to the utterances of the second
respondent, she had received several death threats. Mugabe is said to have
declared that he had certain privileges to exercise certain powers in terms
of the law of Zimbabwe in his official capacity as an MP.
In making the ruling, the magistrate took into consideration the fact that
the applicant holds an offer letter in respect of Subdivision 2 of
Summerhill in Makonde.
In his opposing papers, Mugabe, said Mliswa's offer letter lacks
"The problem with applicant's offer letter is one of legitimacy. Its
validity is disputable."
Meanwhile, there were violent clashes on Monday at Watermount Estates, along
the Harare-Mutoko highway.
Charles Mukwamba, who is believed to be a senior Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) officer, invaded the farm under the stewardship of an
association fronted by Antony Parehwa.
According to Parehwa, Mukwamba invaded the farm on Monday with the help of
about 50 youths brandishing pellet guns.
"I am told they scaled the farm perimeter fence. Mukwamba had two pistols
while his boys had pellet guns. They started stoning the farm manager's
house before our workers managed to escape. Most of them are being treated
for injuries sustained during the attack," said Parehwa.
"Mukwamba is said to have flashed cards boasting that he was a CIO operative
and no one could stop him. But I got this land in 1997 under the willing
buyer willing seller arrangement."
The farm grows soyabeans, sorghum and maize.
Mukwamba, however, said he has an offer letter.
He said: "I have an offer letter and all I will do is to wait for those who
will come to attack me and my workers as they did with the help of some
hired people from Mabvuku on Monday," said Mukwamba.
Mukwamba is said to be working in cahoots with Petronella Kogonye, a chief
lands officer in the Lands Ministry, who threatened to take over the farm
Kumbirai Mafunda Kumbirai Mafunda
NMBZ Holdings Limited is the subject of a hostile takeover after British
tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten disposed of his remaining shareholding in
the commercial bank and speculation grew of a new investor bidding for
control of the institution.
Van Hoogstraten has confirmed selling eight percent of his shareholding in
NMBZ, made up of 120 million shares valued at $2.3 trillion in a transaction
brokered last Friday by Lynton-Edwards Stockbrokers.
The brokerage itself is said to be the target of Russia and
Africa-specialist Renaissance Capital. But director Murray Lynton Edwards
could neither deny nor confirm the reports when reached for comment.
Van Hoogstraten now controls about two percent of NMBZ after selling the
eight percent at a special bargain price of $19 000 per share. The price was
at a $2 000 premium on the counter's closing price for the day.
"I am reducing my holding in NMBZ to nil because the bank doesn't need my
assistance anymore; plus the price (share price) had become ridiculous," Van
Hoogstraten told The Financial Gazette on Tuesday.
The British tycoon disclosed that he would completely dispose of his
remaining shareholding in NMBZ before the end of the year.
"I will be selling the remaining two percent in the next three to four
weeks," said Van Hoogstraten.
Van Hoogstraten failed in a previous attempt to take control of the bank.
But earlier this year, he told this paper that a smaller stake in the bank
helped him "sleep easier".
While Van Hoogstraten would not reveal the identity of the buyer, fmi
Holdings, owned by TA Holdings chairman Shingai Mutasa, is being named as
the most likely suitor. Reports say fmi is in fact buying more NMBZ stock.
The Financial Gazette reported two weeks ago that NMBZ shareholder Yusuf
Ahmid, who, through his Palisades and Kurper investment vehicles, controls a
large interest in NMBZ after underwriting the bank's last rights issue,
could have held talks over a possible share swap deal with Mutasa and a
group of private investors.
fmi is an investment company involved in the construction of Joina Centre in
Market watchers say fmi's involvement might signal the entry of TA into
NMBZ. Mutasa has significant interests in both TA and fmi.
TA is invested mainly in hotels and insurance. But an investment in the
banking sector has looked likely for TA as it restructures its investment
TA recently divested from Econet, an investment that had accounted for 9
percent of its quoted investments, and bought into the Cotton Company of
NMBZ has always been the subject of takeover speculation since its four
founding directors - Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche, Francis Zimuto and James
Mushore - fled the country in 2004 over foreign exchange allegations.
Mushore returned home last month only to be arrested on charges of violating
the Immigration Act and exchange control regulations. Mushore is currently
on bail awaiting trial.
The directors are said to collectively own over 35 percent of NMBZ through
family trusts, and formed an alliance with Ahmid in 2005 to block a van
Hoogstraten takeover bid.
Early this year, NMBZ lost about US$7 million through a fraudulent
transaction resulting in the central bank canceling its authorised foreign
currency dealership licence.
Subsequent to that, its managing director, David Hatendi, who was left to
hold fort following the departure of the four directors, tendered his
resignation - creating a leadership vacuum at the apex of NMBZ.
NMBZ traded $11000 weaker yesterday, having risen $8000 to $39 000 on
Tuesday on the speculation.
TA, which rose $1.65 million to $2.65 million on Tuesday, eased to $2.5
million per share yesterday.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
Even when he can't be seen, Emmerson Mnangangwa is in the water, somewhere
EMMERSON Mnangagwa, the former ZANU PF secretary for administration who
rarely came out to speak on party business after the eventful ruling party
congress of 2004, which saw the ascendancy of Vice-President Joice Mujuru
and the suspension of six provincial chairmen who backed his failed bid for
the vice-presidency, has suddenly emerged as one of the most visible backers
of President Robert Mugabe's re-election.
The Rural Housing Minister, whose name keeps propping up in the race to
succeed President Mugabe, has risen from obscurity to kill the confusion in
the run up to next month's ZANU PF extraordinary congress, which had
generated expectations of a probable palace coup.
After the marches by the war veterans in support of President Mugabe had
failed to quell the jockeying for the top position in the party, the former
Speaker of Parliament who doubles up as ZANU PF's legal secretary intervened
to set the record straight.
He said: "We had a congress in 2004, and our next congress was supposed to
be in 2009, but in between the congresses, we have this extraordinary
congress, which is necessary in order to declare the President of the party
elected at the last congress as the party's candidate. That candidate will
be endorsed in December."
Critics however, said Mnangagwa's role in silencing undeclared Presidential
ambitions that were simmering in the party, laid bare the existence of
factional fights within the ruling party.
They argued Mnangagwa, a lawyer by training, had technically pre-empted a
bid to challenge President Mugabe at the extraordinary congress linked to a
camp aligned to retired army general Solomon Mujuru.
There has been no love lost between Mujuru and Mnangagwa, those familiar
with the intrigues in ZANU PF say.
The duo is linked to factions waiting in the wings to succeed President
Mugabe, who at one point invited members of his party to debate the issue
openly only to have a change of heart after the jostling for the highest
position in the land had threatened to tear apart the party.
In 1997, President Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa to head a team negotiating the
intended sale by the Zimbabwe Iron and Smelting Company's then shareholders
of the ferrochrome producer to government.
The negotiations were, however, disrupted by an unexpected announcement by
Mujuru that he and a consortium of local businessmen known as Nyika
Investments had acquired a 27 percent stake in the company, ahead of
This angered the President, who nullified the deal.
Since that bitter episode, Mujuru and Mnangagwa have appeared to always work
from opposing sides.
In 2004, although Mnangagwa had shrewdly secured the support of the majority
of provinces to land the post of vice president, he lost the position to
Joice Mujuru, wife of the retired army general, after President Mugabe
virtually blocked him after linking him to what was then described as the
It was alleged the parties to the arrangement plotted to stage a palace coup
against the President.
This year, Mnangagwa has once again found himself at opposing ends with
Mujuru, aligning himself with the President in the face of an apparent push
for a new leader.
The question many now ask is whether Mnangagwa's own leadership ambitions
can be advanced through his strategy of forging what three years ago would
have been an unlikely alliance with President Mugabe.
Jabulani Sibanda, an ally whose disputed status in ZANU PF Mnangagwa has
defended in an interview with The Financial Gazette, has campaigned
stridently for President Mugabe and more importantly for Mnangagwa's own
ambitions, has stalled the momentum Joice Mujuru had built after 2004.
By delaying President Mugabe's departure, Mnangagwa can regroup after the
bitter setbacks of the past three years, and prepare his backers for a
But Edgar Tekere, former ZANU PF secretary general, believes Mnangagwa's
strategy will not work.
"Mnangagwa should just forget it. On his own, he will not achieve anything,"
Tekere said this week.
He points out how President Mugabe has raised Mnangagwa's hopes previously,
only to disappoint him.
However, political analyst Eldred Masunungure disagrees.
It is more likely, he says, that President Mugabe will reward Mnangagwa this
time around for backing him in the face of both internal and foreign
pressure to relinquish power.
Critics say after losing to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s
Blessing Chebundo in both the 2000 and 2005 general elections in Kwekwe,
Mnangagwa's only hope for saving his career was to align himself with the
After all, his critics are quick to point out; it was President Mugabe who
appointed Mnangagwa a non-constituency Member of Parliament and Rural
Housing Minister in 2005, when his political star seemed to be on the wane.
"After defeat in 2000 and 2005 in the same constituency, it showed that he
had a narrow independent political base. He had little room to manoeuvre. It
is the most prudent action he could have taken under the circumstances,"
"In 2004, he got burnt and got demoted in both the politburo and Cabinet.
Last time he was punished, but this time he expects to be rewarded. I have
little doubt he is positive about a reward."
Both his losses were not without incident. In 2000, Chebundo claimed he
barely escaped death after ZANU PF supporters abducted him, doused him with
petrol, but failed to light a match.
His staunchest supporters always read more into his setbacks than others do.
After his 2005 defeat at the polls, a letter to President Mugabe from an
election campaigner, Pedzisai Mafuke, which went unreported, sensationally
claimed the election had been rigged by senior army and police officials
opposed to Mnangagwa.
The letter bitterly protested at how the Delimitation Commission
controversially shunted large numbers of peri-urban voters who would have
voted for Mnangagwa, into the neighbouring Silobela constituency, just three
days before polls.
The letter claimed a senior police official had openly spoken against
Mnangagwa during a visit to Kwekwe, because he had "not forgiven Mnangagwa
for the Vashandi-Wampua episode in Mozambique".
"I can say that Kwekwe was lost to the MDC because some very senior people
within the party sponsored and manipulated the situation in favour of the
MDC to score points in their vendetta against Mnangagwa."
The Mujurus had "retired to bed in a celebratory mood once they had heard
Mnangagwa had lost", the writer said.
There are divergent views on what a Mnangagwa presidency would look like.
His critics harp on his record in the 1980s, saying his role during the
dissident crackdown proves his "hard man" reputation.
One critic this week cited a statement attributed to Mnangagwa in 1983, when
tensions were building between the government and Joshua Nkomo's PF ZAPU:
"Blessed are they who will follow the path of government law, for their days
on earth shall be increased. But woe to those who will choose the path of
collaboration with the dissidents for we will certainly shorten their stay
Mnangagwa denies playing any role during the crackdown, and has described
himself as being "as soft as wool."
Others delve into his commercial interests for clues as to what he stands
for. Mnangagwa was described as "the architect of the commercial activities
of ZANU PF" in a United Nations report in 2001 on the operations of the army
and businessmen in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
An internal ZANU PF probe into its financial affairs in 2005 was said to
target Mnangagwa unfairly, but he emerged unscathed.
His rivals play up his reported links to Billy Rautenbach and John
Bredenkamp, the "Two Dutchmen", rival businessmen many say have vied to have
Mnangagwa's ear over the years.
Mnangagwa was instrumental in facilitating Bredenkamp's return to Zimbabwe
in 1982, but The Financial Gazette has exclusively reported how Bredenkamp
blamed Mnangagwa for his legal troubles last year.
A strong bond had been forged when Mnangagwa helped Bredenkamp to gain
access to the lucrative DRC mining industry after Rautenbach fell out with
Laurent Kabila. But after the Congolese leader's January 2001 assassination,
Mnangagwa helped Rautenbach regain favour with the new government in
Mnangagwa was apparently angered by Bredenkamp's overtures to the Mujuru
camp, it is alleged.
Yet, others note his impressive record as Speaker - he led progressive
reforms of the archaic institutions of Parliament and made it more open - as
a sign he would back democratic reforms.
Mnangagwa was born in 1945 in Mnangagwa village, Zvishavane. He was only a
teenager when, as part of a group called the "Crocodile Gang" - comprising
William Ndangana, Victor Mlambo, James Dhlamini and Master Tresha - he
executed a string of daring attacks against the Rhodesian regime.
His association with the group earned him his current nickname, "Ngwena".
The attack he is most famed for is the blowing up of a locomotive in
James Dhlamini and Victor Mlambo were later to be hanged for the killing of
a white farmer, Peter Obeholzar, at Nyanyadzi in Chimanimani.
In January 1965, Mnangagwa was captured by Police Inspectors Beans, Bradshaw
and Smith while at Michael Mawema's house in Highfield. He confessed to the
bombing of the locomotive after being tortured and was convicted under the
Law and Order Maintenance Act.
According to one account, "he was tortured severely, resulting in him losing
his sense of hearing in one ear. Some of the torture techniques involved
being made to dangle head down from the ceiling.
The severity of the torture made him unconscious for days."
Mnangagwa was represented at the trial by JJ Horn of Scanlen and Holderness,
who successfully pleaded against an execution on the grounds that his client
was under age. After medical tests confirmed he was under 21, he was
sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
He served the first year at Harare Prison and was later transferred to Grey
and Khami Prisons in Bulawayo.
He was then deported into the custody of his parents in Zambia.
At the 1977 Chimoio Congress, he was elected special assistant to the
president and member of the ZANU national executive.
This meant that he was head of both the civil and military divisions of
ZANU. His number two was Fox Gava (now retired general Vitalis Zvinavashe)
who was head of security in the Military High Command but was his deputy in
the Central Committee's security department.
Mavis Makuni, Own Correspondent
Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, is an unusual African politician in a
number of respects.
He came to power late in his life and won presidential elections in his
country in 2000 at the age of 74. At the beginning of this year, at the ripe
old age of 81, he began his second and final term after being re-elected
with an increased majority. Senegal's constitution limits presidential
tenures to two terms.
The Senegalese constitution also guarantees media freedom and this is
evident through the lack of censorship and thriving media diversity. The
country, which has a population of 11 million has 20 daily newspapers and
foreign publications circulate freely.
Senegal, a former French colony, is regarded as one of Africa's model
democracies, although poverty is still widespread and unemployment is high.
Wade is a staunch advocate of democratisation and supporter of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
He has crusaded vigorously against corruption in the public sector and
warned upon his re- election in February this year that culprits would be
brought to book. Shortly after Wade came into power in 2000, he received a
baptism of fire when a Senegalese vessel, the Joala, capsized off the coast
of Gambia, Killing 2 000 passengers. But despite such crises, the head of
state has remained focused and humane.
An almost-hard-to-believe story about Wade was published in the press at the
weekend. It was about the Senegalese president's pledge to reduce the number
of ministers in his cabinet and slash government salaries, including his
own. He was taking this rare move in solidarity with ordinary Senegalese who
are struggling with high food and energy prices. In a televised national
address, Wade announced his government's plans to table an emergency bill in
parliament authorising the salary reductions in a bid to lessen suffering
among the poor.
He was quoted as saying: "At a time when important fringes of our population
are suffering in their daily life from the negative effects of the rise in
world oil prices on their households, I have decided as president to set an
example." It is almost unheard of for an African government to be so
responsive to the plight of the people when it has not been responsible for
bringing about the dire conditions causing the hardships. What is more
common is for corrupt governments whose bad policies have brought once
thriving countries to their knees to thumb their noses at the impoverished
and starving populace.
Instead of showing any solidarity with the suffering masses as Wade's
government has pledged to do, regimes that are impervious to the plight of
the people tend to commit more abuses and excesses to exacerbate human
suffering. It is at such dire times that such governments maintain bloated
cabinets and bureaucracies as more relatives and cronies are brought to the
feeding trough. The gap between the rich and poor widens and ostentatious
consumption among the ruling elites becomes more pronounced.
Could the clue to Wade's more humane approach be the fact that he attained
power late in life when he had mellowed and was wiser? Wade was a veteran of
opposition politics when he became his country's head of state in 2000. He
first contested a presidential election in 1978 and stood in four subsequent
polls in which he lost, only winning at the fifth attempt.
He denounced the Socialist Party, which had been in power since independence
in 1960 as being riddled with corruption and cronyism. "The first great
objective of my political life was to get rid of a system in Senegal.
Midnight has struck, the system is dead", he declared upon his election as
president. Wade had a chequered political career before attaining power. He
was imprisoned for political reasons and served a number of times in a
coalition government. During one of these stints in the 1990s, Wade reported
directly to his political rival and predecessor, Abdou Diouf, an experience
that no doubt taught him to subordinate personal sentiment to national
In response to an interactive BBC World Service programme shortly after Wade's
election in 2000, Cisman Mohamud, who described himself as a Somali living
in Finland said: "The fact that Abdou Diouf accepted defeat knowing that he
could, like many African leaders do, cheat and stay in power was a watershed
in African politics. To me, whether the new president is better than Diouf
is not the point. The point is: power can still change hands at the ballot
box. Presidents accepting defeat and handing over power to opposition
leaders is a rarity in Africa." It is even more of a rarity for the
in-coming head of state to make gesture such as the one Wade has made.
ZANU PF might laugh all the way to the polling stations come March next
year, should the blundering Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) continue to
trip itself at each and every political turn.
After its inception in September 1999, the MDC cut the image of the biblical
Moses on a mission to deliver the millions of desperate Zimbabweans from
ZANU PF's vice-like grip on power to a new political dispensation where all
the tenets of freedom are guaranteed.
Events of recent weeks have changed all that.
Very few people still believe the fractured opposition party has what it
takes to wrest power from the arrogant ruling party in spite of the
overwhelming evidence of ZANU PF's misrule and failure to deliver on its
All the examples touted by ZANU PF as its post independence successes have
ricocheted into signposts of bad governance. For instance, the critical
skills nurtured after independence in 1980 are deserting the country in huge
numbers, with the education and health sectors, which are on the brink of
collapse, being the worst hit.
Budget deficits are widening with each passing year, exports are drying up
while capacity utilisation in industry has declined to below 15 percent.
The country now has the dubious distinction of having the highest inflation
in the world at nearly 8000 percent with poverty and unemployment estimated
in the region of 80 percent.
Yet the government continues to hide behind a finger, blaming everything on
sanctions, drought et-al.
But not even the diehard backers of its patronage system still have
confidence in what remains of the health and education systems as evidenced
by the inexorable rise in the number of officials seeking treatment outside
the country and those whose children are enrolled at foreign institutions
for their education.
Instead of taking advantage of a well of disenchantment right across the
country, the MDC has become its own worst enemy. By splitting right through
the middle in October 2005 and entangling itself in endless in-house
squabbles, the opposition will count itself lucky to avoid total humiliation
at next year's harmonised polls in its current state.
Its endorsement of the controversial 18th Constitutional Amendment - a plan
by ZANU PF meant to clear the way for President Robert Mugabe's safe exit -
has also shaken the opposition's alliance with civic society, which was one
of its building blocks at formation.
More recently, the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC has been mired in
fresh controversy over its undemocratic decision to dissolve Lucia Matibenga's
executive of the Women's Assembly and parachuting a pliant one headed by
Theresa Makone, wife of the former trade unionist's adviser and close
Surely, the MDC does not need all this controversy if it is to entertain any
hopes of eclipsing ZANU PF in the forthcoming elections.
Should the MDC fail to find common ground within the remaining few months,
voter apathy might turn out to be the only real opposition against ZANU PF.
The MDC might want us to believe it has fallen victim to the divisive
machinations of state security agents, which is true to some extent, but
such has been the political terrain for opposition parties in Africa where
incumbents hold on to power at all costs.
At the end of the day, it is the political astuteness of opposition leaders,
which distinguishes successful opposition parties from pushovers.
As it is, Tsvangirai has not given any plausible reason as to why his
faction could not embrace the Arthur Mutambara camp. The only excuses given
so far betray his leadership as selfish and non-strategic.
The MDC is also still to state its position on whether it will participate
in next year's elections. In the previous plebiscite, the party left it
until it was too late to launch a meaningful campaign, something that
contributed to its poor showing.
It has also struggled to regroup after the October 2005 split, a situation
that, if it continues, will split the opposition vote at a time when it
really needs to confront ZANU PF as a united force.
In view of this disarray, it is not surprising that there are calls for a
Third Force, in itself an admission that the MDC has failed.
But again, a third force for the sake of a third force, which is not bound
by a clear ideology, will not help matters.
Had it remained intact, the main opposition party could have had ZANU PF on
the ropes, but its chances of making it next year are now remote as the MDC's
centre cannot hold anymore.
While the MDC's strength lies in having sharp legal minds, this has become
its major weakness as well. There does not appear to be a meeting of minds
in the interpretation of the party's policies and constitution.
SHOCK swept through the real estate market last week after an estate agent
owned by prominent lawyer and businessman Honour Mkushi hiked rentals by a
hefty 7 000 percent this month, despite a government moratorium on price
increases, which also affected property rentals.
Players in the real estate industry said the move by Mkushi, former Zimbabwe
Newspapers chairman, had surprised players and shocked tenants.
"We're waiting to see how the government will react to this, in view of the
central bank's onslaught against inflation," a furious businessman told The
Tenants saw the rental hikes as an attempt to sabotage government's efforts
to fight inflation.
Most said they had not been increasing prices due to the government ban on
price hikes and were only reviewing prices in line with approvals by the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission.
"They (Mkushi's property companies) are renting offices in town and demanded
Richard Ellis to reduce rentals in July in line with the government's price
blitz but have not done the same for their tenants, despite appeals. In
fact, they tell us to go wherever we want and indeed the Rent Board refused
to act on our issue last time we raised a complaint," a tenant at one of
Mkushi's properties said.
A manager at Richard Ellis, a property evaluator and estate agent, confirmed
having reduced rentals for the 11th floor of Social Security Centre, the
office premises rented by Mkushi's law firm, Sawyer & Mkushi Legal
Practitioners, and housing his property companies.
But he refused to discuss details.
Rentals for eight shops at Strathaven Shopping Centre went up from $9.2
million per month per shop, effected in July despite the government ban, to
$650 million per month per shop with effect from Thursday last week.
Properties at the same center managed by Richard Ellis with the same sizes
as those owned by Mkushi are attracting rentals lower than $9.2 million per
Mkushi also owns a block of flats, Sao Paulo in the Avenues area, which are
used as offices, as well as in Greendale and Norton, some 25 kilometres
outside the capital.
The letters announcing the rent hikes were served on the tenants on Tuesday
Mkushi was unavailable for a comment when contacted at his offices.
His personal assistant said he would return calls after his scheduled trip
to the USA.
Matters Legal with Vote Muza
This week I begin the discussion by tendering an apology for having
incorrectly advised in last week's article that the Indigenisation and
Empowerment Act does not provide for a right of appeal.
Section 20, short as it is, lays down the steps that an aggrieved person can
take in pursuit of recourse. Thus, within 30 days from the date one gets
notified of the Minister's disapproval of a deal, one may lodge an appeal
with the Administrative court. Such noting of an appeal shall not, pending
determination of the appeal, suspend the decision appealed against.
Circumstances giving rise to an appeal needs to be further unpacked. First,
an appeal can only occur pursuant to a Ministerial disapproval of a deal.
Secondly, an aggrieved party can only be a foreign owned business or an
indigenous person or organisation. What can the Minister say no to? An
empowerment deal can be disapproved if it is phoney, deceitful or not in
compliance with a maximum percentage of equity required by law. Further, a
deal can be turned down merely on the basis that the Minister is unhappy
with the indigenous partner settled for by a foreign business. The appeal
process therefore facilitates in reversing biased or corrupt Ministerial
Section 7 of the Act establishes the National Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Board. Five functions are there to be served by this Board and
u to advise the Minister on indigenisation strategies.
u to advise the Minister on measures for implementation of the objectives of
u to administer the empowerment fund
u to oversee compliance with the empowerment charter.
The first two functions are materially similar and I am clueless as to why
Parliament saw it necessary to spend taxpayer's money on an organisation
with such narrow functions. This Board shall be made up of seven members and
it has power to appoint a Chief Executive Officer. As is the case with many
local statutes, the Minister is empowered to appoint "after consultation
with the President" members of this board. One sees here, an opportunity
created for the Minister to reward praise singers, cronies, patronage
seeking deadwood, relatives and other beneficiaries of tribalism and
Because affirmative action is a national project that is meant to benefit
everyone without regard to gender, tribe or political affiliation, a
representative body like this one must be constituted by people from all
political persuasions. It would therefore have been ideal for these Board
members to be appointed by the Minister in consultation with Parliament and
not the President. Such a process would ensure transparency and avoid the
usual "jobs for friends" that has become the hallmark of government and the
ruling party in recent years.
One major aspect of the Act is found under Section 12 and this is the
National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
The major purposes of this fund are to finance share acquisitions, as well
as to assist employees to get into share schemes. Various methods are
provided for to boost this fund's coffers. For example, an Act of Parliament
may provide that money shall be appropriated from treasury for purposes of
the fund. Donations, loans and other forms of financial assistance may also
be offered to this body. The most notable and controversial form of fund
raising is that of levies, provided under Section 14 (c).
A Statutory Instrument may be created to provide for matters of relating to
the levy, and such matters involve, the persons responsible for payment, and
for collection, the manner and times at which the levy shall be paid,
collected and remitted, the period the levy shall be imposed and imposition
of interest or surcharges for late payments. Payments of levies shall only
be restricted to businesses and not natural individuals. Worth to note is
that this special statutory instrument shall be presented before and
approved by a resolution of Parliament.
Whether this fund will be put to good use that benefits our national economy
remains to be seen? In order to put the affairs of this fund under constant
check, the Act should have provided that regular reports be presented to
Parliament, and not to the Minister. The cases of the National Social
Security Fund, as well as the National Aids Council, that administer the
Aids levy, and where funds have only benefited top management make me have
doubts about whether this empowerment fund shall serve any meaningful
purpose other than to fatten the pockets of those running it.
I also note that several businesses that shall be required to comply with
the Act are registered in foreign lands. It follows therefore that any
changes in shareholding and any consequent payment for shares shall have to
be in the form of foreign currency. Since the Act is silent on the issue of
foreign currency, and importantly how the fund shall raise it, I am again
clueless as to how locals shall be expected to raise millions in foreign
currency to purchase stakes?
It is my considered view that since foreign currency is a central issue in
many acquisitions of foreign businesses, it is imperative that pragmatic
mechanisms are put in place to ensure that locals intending to partner
foreigners have easy access to hard currency. Since our economy is presently
in the doldrums and unable to generate much needed foreign currency, I doubt
that many empowerment deals shall easily succeed.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
8 November 2007
Posted to the web 8 November 2007
STATE-RUN National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has tightened the screws
on leakages in the petroleum industry that have led to exhorbitant fuel
price on the parallel market by introducing a new arrangement, which will
put all fuel payments under the microscope.
Details of the new arrangement sent to 49 oil companies by Noczim chief
executive officer Zvinechimwe Churu suggest a marked departure from the
laisez-faire manner in which the sector had previously operated to a tighter
regime in which the parastatal will poke its nose into the banking details
of industry players.
Churu informed the oil companies that Noczim had reached an agreement with
Stanbic Bank, a subsidiary of Standard Bank of South Africa, for them to
operate special Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) that would be administered
by the state-run parastatal.
Each company will administer its own account and provide weekly schedules to
Noczim showing the product and volumes required paid for by their respective
The oil companies will look for suppliers of fuel while Stanbic would effect
payments to the suppliers upon instruction by Noczim.
Companies purchasing fuel will deposit the total foreign currency price into
the oil importer's FCA and after making their reconciliations, the suppliers
would be required to deliver the fuel. Noczim would be advised of the
quantities of the product required and the total amount transferred into the
In a letter addressed to the 49 companies on September 5, Noczim boss Churu
said companies had to comply with the arrangements to increase oil supplies
and save the failing economy.
"Please may you ensure that you comply with this arrangement and ensure the
nation gets the much needed fuel," Churu said.
Among the companies that have signed the Stanbic deal include Bioil,
BP/Shell Marketing, Comoil, Cost Oil, Duze Oil, Nerryy Investments, Paroan
Trucking, Warengate, Country Petroleum, Power Fuels and Total Zimbabwe.
While the new arrangement looks good on paper, it means that industry
players would have to walk a straight corporate governance line.
Most oil companies had become dependent on the illegal foreign currency
market and the so-called free funds to keep their customers going. A heavy
lid had always been kept on these transactions, which will now be lifted
once Noczim starts to comb through their FCAs.
Analysts fear that unless Noczim facilitates the sourcing of foreign
currency at the official price, some oil companies might fall by the
wayside, worsening the chronic petrol and diesel shortages in the country.
The new arrangement, they said, has all the ingredients of strenuous
monitoring and proper administration although it lacks details on how fuel
imports would be financed.
Captains of the industry told The Financial Gazette this week that they were
sourcing their fuel requirements from the parallel market.
"We are buying from the open market at the ruling price of $1 million per
litre," Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya
said. "I do not want to call it a parallel market (but) we need to behave
correctly if we are to get fuel because at government's prices we will not
get anything. We need to appreciate the tools of demand and supply," he
International oil prices where rampaging last week, reaching US$96 per
barrel at a period when Zimbabwe is battling with acute shortages of foreign
Most oil companies had not been purchasing new stocks due to biting foreign
They would certainly require substantial aid to kick-start operations.
Reports of MDC divisions exaggerrated
EDITOR-The worsening economic crisis and its effect on the ordinary
Zimbabwean was the major issue that came up for discussion at the MDC
national executive meeting on Saturday.
Contrary to wishful media reports of a fall-out within the ranks of the MDC,
there was consensus on all the matters that were up for discussion,
including the issue of the Women's Assembly. The MDC national executive set
aside discussion on this matter until the national chairman gives a
comprehensive report on what transpired at the extra-ordinary Women's
Congress in Bulawayo. Media reports of cracks within the MDC represent the
fanciful delusions of the regime and its surrogates who are working overtime
to plot and sponsor confusion within the democratic movement. We note with
concern the deliberate efforts to tarnish, to malign and to soil the image
of President Morgan Tsvangirai and other leaders in the party. The MDC shall
not be swayed into an unnecessary side-show, which is intended to divert
attention from the real issues affecting the ordinary man and woman.
The MDC has never preoccupied itself with individuals but with issues. We
are a united family of democrats and we have openly debated our issues. This
frankness and open debate has kept alive the internal democracy that we will
continue to nurture and protect.
On Saturday, the national executive members expressed their concern over the
plight of the ordinary Zimbabwean in light of the worsening economic crisis.
The national executive spent time deliberating on the crisis facing the
country as well as the continued violence against the MDC and the civic
movement, which continued to work against the spirit of the dialogue
currently taking place in South Africa.
The MDC remains resolute and firm on its founding principles of open debate
and dialogue. We remain alive to our national obligation to be the midwives
in delivering a new Zimbabwe with jobs, food, health and education. We are
pre-occupied with pressing national issues and our responsibility to deliver
a new Zimbabwe.
It is against this background that the national executive immediately went
into a retreat to debate and polish up the party's policies and programmes.
Our policies are a clear testimony that we have solutions to the current
crisis. The MDC's policies provide the answers to key challenges in the
economy, in health, in mining and in education. We have workable policies
and programmes that can rescue the economy and restore our lost dignity as a
nation and as a people.
We have to recover the lost years and usher in a new era of tolerance and
hope. We have to start afresh as a nation. We have to rebuild the economy
and bring back the lost glory and pride of being a Zimbabwean.
We call upon Zimbabweans to watch out for false reports that are intended to
derail the party and the democratic movement. The machinations of those who
have a death-wish for the MDC and its leaders will continue to fail. The MDC
remains a united family of committed people who want to see meaningful
change in this country. The nation should be wary of the invisible external
hand that will always seek to sow confusion among us.
A New Zimbabwe, a new beginning. Now is the time!!
MDC can still redeem its lost dignity
EDITOR-The MDC - even though it has made a serious error in dining with the
treacherous ZANU PF - can still redeem its lost dignity by pulling out of
the talks with ZANU PF.
The previous several fatal and near fatal attacks on its members can be used
as reasonable grounds for withdrawal from the talks. Zimbabwe does not owe
its allegiance to anyone - including the SA despot Mbeki [Read the Sunday
Times (SA) for any information regarding this wannabe-never be Madiba].
We know how Mbeki has failed to follow in the footsteps of our black hero
Madiba by wanting to silence the media.
In this respect, I agree with a Fingaz writer who questioned the
practicality of being umpired by a biased referee. Mbeki's credibility has
become highly questionable. It's like appointing a schizophrenic person as
mediator. After all, anyone who appoints a drunkard to his or her cabinet
should seek psychiatric help.
The suggested abolition of executive mayoral posts by ZANU PF is a new
strategy to counter the fact that they will lose mayoral polls to the MDC.
The opposition should not take part in those talks because they are giving
everything but receiving nothing. They should also beware of ZANU PF trying
to tie those amendments to something all democratic forces want such as
media laws amendment. The fact that up to now there is only one TV channel
and one daily newspaper churning out ZANU PF propaganda is another aspect,
which should be used to justify the MDC's withdrawal from the talks.
If they decide to open up the media towards elections then it will be too
late because justice delayed is justice denied. Morgan Tsvangirai should
call a press conference this week and announce the withdrawal from the talks
because we are not gaining anything.
On another note I hope too that as the MDC name implies there should not be
an imposition of leaders in the party. Matibenga should be given a chance to
be elected or rejected via a democratic process, and not be sidelined by
The fact that people support someone does not mean that we also share the
same political views with their wife.
Urban Councils Act needs overhaul
EDITOR-The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development
Ignatius Chombo has announced governments' plans to amend the Urban Councils
Act (UCA) Chapter 29:15 and remove the post of Executive Mayors. The plan
has also been endorsed by the ZANU PF central committee recently.
Presenting his report to Parliament Minister Chombo argued that there was no
tangible evidence to show an improvement in the quality of service delivery
offered by local authorities since the Mayors came into being.
The post of Executive Mayor was created in 1995 following a repeal of the
act that established the UCA 29:15. The government argued then it was
creating the post of the executive mayor in response to the continued
deterioration of service delivery in local urban councils. The mayor was
supposed to be the point person in the management of services for local
authorities. He/she would manage the urban council and would shoulder the
responsibility of making sure that quality services are provided. Sadly,
local authorities have not been left to operate and independently implement
programmes without interference from central government.
The Ministry of Local Government has continued to meddle in the affairs of
local authorities. The MDC controlled 12 mayoral posts by 2002 but it now
has eight. Three from Harare, Chitungwiza and Mutare were unlawfully
dismissed on charges of incompetence. The other post was lost in a
by-election. The government had earlier targeted to control urban voters
through mayors and to consolidate its hold on power but as the influence of
the opposition grew so did its interference. Local authorities thus failed
to perform their duties owing to failure to implement development
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) thus views the move to
change the Urban Council's Act 29:15 to scrap mayoral posts as lacking
strategy. The removal of mayoral posts will not improve service delivery in
Harare or any other local authority. The Association is also against the
repeal and continued piecemeal amendments of UCA 29:15.
In view of the continued downward trend in the quality of municipal services
CHRA recommends a holistic overhaul of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter
29:15) as opposed to piecemeal amendments. The act in its current form has a
lot of structural defects and weaknesses. It gives the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Development sweeping powers to interfere
with local authorities. It leaves room for manipulation to feed into party
The association is committed to the reform of local governance in Zimbabwe.
This shall be done through advocacy directed at the Parliament of Zimbabwe,
the Ministerial Cabinet and various stakeholders interested in the
development of local governance. CHRA will continue mobilizing residents and
conscientising them on their civic rights and how to demand them. CHRA
continues to advocate for enhanced civic participation in matters of local
Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer,
Combined Harare Residents Association
Parks and Wild fines!
Editor-The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority's fishing permit charges
during the past month were $200 000 per day, $1 500 000 per week and $4 000
000 per month.
It deliberately disregards the charges laid down in its own regulations
(Statutory Instrument 94 of 2007) which are only $10 000 per day, $50 000
per week and $150 000 per month.
It is plainly guilty of illegal profiteering. As a result thousands of
ordinary people in the rural areas are being deprived of the chance to
supplement their meagre diets through fishing. The Authority even imposes
illegal fines over and above these illegal permit charges, on fishermen.
The responsible officials should be ashamed of themselves.