Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:57
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC yesterday suspended talks with Zanu PF
on the allocation of cabinet posts until the facilitator of the unity
government, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, intervenes.
Tsvangirai, prime minister-designate in the inclusive government, said
apart from Mbeki, Sadc and the African Union (AU) should also come in to
resolve the impasse as guarantors of the deal signed on September 15.
Speaking to journalists at his Strathaven home in the capital,
Tsvangirai said after engaging with Zanu PF at both the negotiators' and
principals' level, there was a deadlock on the allocation of ministries.
"There has been no progress made on this entire section as ministries
can only be negotiated comprehensively and not individually," Tsvangirai
said. "It is not true to say that we are left with two ministries (Finance
and Home Affairs) to negotiate as any agreement reached on those two
particular ministries would have an effect on the allocation of the rest of
He added: "In this regard we have declared a deadlock and therefore
the process cannot move forward except in the presence of the facilitator
President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba claimed on
Saturday that there were only two outstanding ministries to be allocated
after the 84-year-old leader met with Tsvangirai and the leader of the other
formation of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.
"The global political agreement we have is guaranteed by Sadc and the
African Union and therefore in the event of a dispute or deadlock, as we
have now, the matter should be taken to Sadc and the AU in order for them to
assist us," Tsvangirai said. "We have communicated this position to the
African Union and to Sadc as well as to the facilitator and have confidence
that our African brothers will do everything in their power to ensure that
this issue is resolved with speed."
The MDC leader said Mbeki would soon come to Zimbabwe to mediate the
dispute and scoffed at Zanu PF pronouncements that there was no need for the
facilitator to intervene.
"There is no need for concurrence of all parties that there is a
deadlock and that the facilitator should intervene," Tsvangirai said. "Once
one party says there is a deadlock, the facilitator should come in."
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick
Chinamasa yesterday on the MDC's suspension of talks were in vain as his
mobile phone went unanswered.
Tsvangirai said in the allocation of ministries, the MDC was informed
by the desire to ensure a fair power-sharing arrangement that would allow
the new government to deal with the current economic crisis and at the same
time guarantee basic freedoms and democracy to the people.
Tsvangirai said another outstanding issue was that of provincial
governors, which Zanu PF said were not included in the inclusive government
He said: "We have not yet deliberated on the outstanding issue of the
allocation of governors. This issue remains outstanding considering that as
negotiating parties we agreed that the allocation of governors must be in
the spirit of the result of the election on March 29.
"There is still an outstanding issue of omissions made in the signed
agreement at the signing ceremony.that had been agreed and initialled by all
parties when we signed the original agreement on September 11. We are
assured that the facilitator will sort out this problem and provide an
updated document to the general public."
Turning to another issue, Tsvangirai said the MDC had "watched with
dismay" the lack of a paradigm shift in Zanu PF.
He alleged that there was continued use of hate speech in the state
media, "trumped up charges" against secretary-general Tendai Biti, MPs and
members of the party's structures, and discrimination on the basis of
political affiliation in the rural areas.
Tsvangirai said that Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo was
interfering with the work of MDC-run councils and was also threatening them.
He said Zanu PF lacked sincerity and commitment to work with the MDC
as demonstrated by the government's failure to issue him with a new
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:49
THE main political parties that recently signed a power-sharing
agreement have been rocked by internal divisions over the deal.
Sources said the deal has become a poisoned chalice for Zanu PF and
the two MDC factions led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara. It is
said the three parties are now reeling from internal squabbles fuelled by
the power-sharing agreement.
Zanu PF is understood to be experiencing divisions on at least three
levels. Sources said President Mugabe's key ally Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was
on the periphery of the negotiations, is not happy with the agreement
because he expected to secure one of the initial three posts of deputy prime
minister. Before the final agreement was signed there was a proposal to have
three deputy prime ministers from each of the negotiating parties but this
was later reduced to two.
Sources said Mnangagwa now wants to take charge of security portfolios
to compensate for his loss. It is said he wants to be in charge of either
the Ministry of Defence or Home Affairs, while overseeing the department of
state security, now under Mugabe's office.
Mnangagwa's followers who campaigned for Mugabe, particularly during
the presidential election run-off, are also said to be disgruntled because
they are unlikely to get government posts in view of the limited positions
Mugabe has on offer for them after the agreement with the MDC.
The Zanu PF faction led by retired army commander General Solomon
Mujuru is also said to be angry that his members were likely to be purged
from government structures for not campaigning and in fact opposing Mugabe's
continued leadership under the guise of the deal.
Mugabe has already fired warning shots across the bows of the Mujuru
faction by dropping one of its bigwigs, Ray Kaukonde, as Mashonaland East
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is said to be also unhappy because the
imminent arrival of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister has
overshadowed her and co-vice-president Joseph Msika.
The deal says executive power would now be shared between Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and cabinet, leaving Mujuru and Msika out of the loop.
Sources said Msika and his former PF Zapu colleagues are also restless
over the agreement which they think undermines the 1987 Unity Accord between
Zanu PF and the now defunct opposition that was led by Joshua Nkomo.
Msika and a number of PF Zapu bigwigs across the nation are said to
have met recently in Bulawayo to review the agreement and resolved that
there was need to petition Mugabe on the issue. If he did not respond
positively, former Zapu cadres would regroup and re-launch the party.
Veteran nationalist Dumiso Dabengwa, a former Zapu luminary and its
intelligence supremo, quit Zanu in February, saying he could no longer work
with Mugabe and his party. Another senior Zanu PF official linked to the
Mujuru faction, Simba Makoni, resigned from the party in February and
challenged Mugabe in the March presidential poll.
Sources said there was also a group of dissatisfied Zanu PF members
which included ministers, deputy ministers and governors who would lose
their positions to MDC members.
The MDC led by Tsvangirai is also divided over the deal. It is said
the party was fractured since the signing of the deal because the
negotiators were not happy that their leader signed the deal without their
consultation. Tsvangirai signed the deal without going back to his team to
hold consultations on the final agreement. As a result the party now finds
itself having to address issues that should have been dealt with before the
signing. Tsvangirai confirmed this to journalists yesterday without being
asked the question.
"There is still an outstanding issue of omissions made in the signed
agreement at the signing ceremony on the 15th of September that had been
agreed and initialled by all parties when we signed the original agreement
on the 11th of September 2008," he said.
Sources said the MDC negotiators were unhappy that Tsvangirai rushed
to sign, leading to errors in substantive issues and now the need to revisit
the agreement. Apart from this, sources also said Tsvangirai's "kitchen
cabinet", an informal group of loyalists who make backroom decisions widely
blamed for splitting the party in 2005, was now pushing for the finalisation
of the distribution of ministries and securing their positions so that they
could jump onto Mugabe's gravy train.A source said the senior MDC officials
and "kitchen cabinet" members were "scrambling with indecent haste" for
posts to access the "S-Class Mercedes Benzes, free fuel and other benefits".
"As we speak Tsvangirai's main 'kitchen cabinet' officials have been
given keys to the whole west wing of Munhumutapa Building and they have been
there to see the offices."
"They are shopping around for cars, furniture, curtains, computers and
other office equipment. They are stampeding for their new positions and
benefits. Having seen the Speaker of Parliament in his brand new S350
Mercedes Benz, they can't wait for their own cars."
This group is now pushing for a quick resolution of the deadlock and
this has brought them into conflict with the mediators who are demanding a
"fair and honest deal".
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:47
SEVERAL journalists were on Wednesday barred by MDC president Morgan
Tsvangirai's security guards from entering his Strathaven home where the
prime minister-designate was scheduled to hold a press conference.
The journalists were blocked from attending the conference after
failing to produce accreditation cards from the Media and Information
The MDC is on record as criticising the creation of the MIC under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the licensing of
journalists by the commission.
The press conference was later deferred to yesterday.
Tsvangirai's guards claimed that there were instructions from the
"top" not to allow in journalists without the MIC accreditation cards.
Attempts by journalists to explain that they were not accredited
because they worked for newspapers and radio and television stations the
government deemed hostile were fruitless.
The guards pushed and shoved the journalists.
Stanley Gama, a freelance journalist, yesterday expressed
disappointment at the harassment he suffered at the hands of Tsvangirai's
Gama said: "Journalists are at times harassed to cover MDC functions
where they use the same repressive media laws which they denounce. With the
power-sharing deal coming in, protection of media practitioners is
A journalist who preferred anonymity said the security guards asked
him for his MIC card and when he told them that he did not have one and was
about to leave, the party's spokesperson Nelson Chamisa saw him and called
him back to attend the conference.
"It was no big deal, it was just a misunderstanding by ignorant
guards," he said.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalist President Matthew Takaona said the
barring of journalists from attending the conference reflected badly on the
future of the media environment in the country.
"If the journalists were truly barred then media law and media reform
under an inclusive government look very bleak," Takaona said.
Chamisa yesterday said it was not the party's policy to be hostile to
He said: "It was wrong and we have now corrected the situation. We
will make sure that in future it does not happen again." -- Staff Writer.
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:45
THE MDC has approached former Reserve Bank governor Kombo Moyana to
return to head the central bank after the formation of an inclusive
Sources in the Morgan Tsvangirai-headed MDC said the party's economic
advisors recently met Moyana and requested him to replace Gideon Gono, whom
the party blames for accelerating the country's decade-long economic crisis.
The MDC, sources said, want Gono to leave because they say he would
fail to implement policies to reconstruct the economy under the
The Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that the MDC has been
piling pressure on Gono to leave the central bank at the end of his first
five-year-term next month.
Gono has said he is ready to go anytime if asked to. It is said Gono
would go into private business if he is kicked out. He has interests in
finance, real estate, agriculture, stock markets and the media. Sources said
he has been promised a job by an international financial organisation should
he be removed.
The MDC's move to headhunt for Moyana for the central bank's top job
came after it reportedly shortlisted deputy Reserve Bank governor
responsible for financial markets, banking operations and national payment,
Edward Mashiringwani, to replace Gono.
Moyana, sources said, is also being backed by senior Zanu PF members
aligned to former army general Solomon Mujuru.
Sources said reformists in Zanu PF and the MDC wanted an end to Gono's
term in office, blaming his fiscal policies for the deepening economic
crisis. Gono has been attacked for printing money and fuelling inflation. He
has however said he was doing it on orders from above.
He recently said he would continue to print money because of "the
prevailing extraordinary economic circumstances". Gono's advisors have of
late been citing the global financial crisis and interventions by
governments as a justification of his own activities.
Moyana became the first black deputy governor of the central bank in
His 10-year tenure at the bank was marked by a widely supported
economic plan known as "Growth with equity" that yielded a double digit
annual inflation figure of around 20% but a stable local currency.
However, Gono -- seen as President Robert Mugabe's personal banker ---
could survive the axe and serve a second term because the president appoints
central bank governors.
During Gono's tenure as Reserve Bank chief, inflation has galloped
from three digits in December 2003 to a record unofficial high of 231,1
million % in July. In June it was 11,2 million %. Critics accuse him of
implementing populist quasi-fiscal policies.
His advisors say Gono's tenure should not be compared to those of
Moyana and his successor Leonard Tsumba because "the political, social and
economic circumstances they operated in are very different".
If Gono is booted out, he would be the first governor since 1980 to
have only served one term. His predecessors Moyana and Tsumba both served
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:43
ZIMBABWE'S delicate power-sharing pact faces fresh obstacles after
Zanu PF resolved to cling to 10 provincial governors' posts and to revisit a
clause in the agreement barring by-elections for a year.
On the other hand, the MDC also wants the deal altered to state that
President Robert Mugabe would make appointments and important policy
decisions only after agreement with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. In the
current agreement, Mugabe only needs to consult the prime minister.
Another obstacle is the delay in gazetting Constitutional Amendment
No19, which is necessary for the implementation of the pact.
The amendment would create the post of prime minister and deputy prime
ministers and would expand the numbers of MPs in both the House of Assembly
In terms of the law, a constitutional amendment should be gazetted and
debated publicly for 30 days before it is introduced and passed by
parliament. Mugabe would then sign it into law.
The unity government deal signed on September 15 is in limbo as a
result of wrangling between Zanu PF and the MDC over the allocation of
Zanu PF wants to retain control of the "key" ministries of Defence,
Home Affairs, Finance and Foreign Affairs, a move the MDC-Tsvangirai has
rejected saying it would reduce it to a junior partner in the unity
Tsvangirai's party has since declared a deadlock and has communicated
with the broker of the deal, former South African president Thabo Mbeki,
Sadc and the African Union to intervene and resolve the impasse.
Impeccable sources in Zanu PF said the party's central committee on
September 17, two days after the power-sharing deal was inked, resolved that
the 10 provincial governors appointed by Mugabe on August 29 should remain
The central committee, the sources said, agreed that the issue of
governors was not contained in the pact signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the
leader of the smaller formation of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara.
"It was agreed that there was no legal basis to remove some of the
appointed governors and appoint MDC members to fill the posts," a central
committee member said. "The issue of governors is not part of the agreement
and the MDC cannot demand even a single post."
Nicholas Goche, a Zanu PF negotiator in the talks, told the party's
official mouthpiece, The Voice, last week that the party will not share the
posts with the two MDC formations.
"As long as that issue (of governors) is not in the agreement, there
is not any change that is going to be made in that respect," Goche said.
"All the provincial governors will execute their duties as they are mandated
without any obstacle."
He denied that some governors would be axed to make room for those to
be appointed by the two MDC formations.
Zanu PF's resolution on the governors, the sources said, would cause a
battle with Tsvangirai, who insisted that the posts be distributed among the
three parties based on the outcome of the March 29 harmonised elections.
Tsvangirai yesterday said the issue of governors was omitted from the
agreement and the MDC informed Mbeki about it.
"We have not yet deliberated on the outstanding issue of the
allocation of governors," Tsvangirai told journalists at his Strathaven home
in the capital. "This issue remains outstanding considering that as
negotiating parties we agreed that the allocation of governors must be in
the spirit of the result of the election on March 29."
He added: "There is still an outstanding issue of omissions made in
the signed agreement at the signing ceremony on September 15 that had been
agreed and initialled by all parties when we signed the original agreement
on September 11. We are assured that the facilitator will sort out this
problem and provide an updated document to the general public."
Sources said the central committee resolved that by-elections should
be held whenever a parliamentary seat became vacant despite a clause in the
power-sharing agreement that sought to block the polls.
The parties agreed on the clause after considering the divisiveness
and confrontational nature of elections and also out of the need to allow
the deal to take root.
The clause read: "Cognisant of the need to give our people some
breathing space and a healing period, the parties hereby agree that for a
period of 12 months from the date of signing of this agreement, should any
electoral vacancy arise in respect of a local authority or parliamentary
seat, for whatever reason, only the party holding that seat prior to the
vacancy occurring shall be entitled to nominate and field a candidate to
fill the seat subject to that party complying with the rules governing its
Soon after resolving to have by-elections, Zanu PF immediately tasked
its commissariat department to prepare for a by-election in Chegutu
senatorial constituency vacated by Zanu PF member Edna Madzongwe after her
election as President of the Senate.
Zanu is also preparing for by-elections in Matobo South and Guruve
North House of Assembly constituencies. Matobo fell vacant after MDC member
Lovemore Moyo was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly while Guruve
North became vacant following the death of Zanu PF's Cletus Mabharanga.
The sources said Zanu PF was confident that the two formations of the
MDC would agree to scrap the clause.
"There was a strong feeling that the clause infringed on the right of
individuals and political parties to elect leaders of their choice and
contest elections," a Zanu PF central committee member said. "There were
fears that government will be taken to the Supreme Court and lose a
constitutional challenge on the matter."
Zanu PF was yet to engage the two MDC formations on the matter.
Sources in the MDC said the party wanted the unity government deal to
be altered on the powers of the president.
The sources said the pact should state categorically that Mugabe would
make key appointments only after agreeing with the prime minister.
"We want the word 'consult' in the agreement referring to Mugabe to be
replaced by "agreeing". Consulting means just that," a senior member of the
MDC said. "They (Mugabe and Tsvangirai) should agree on all key government
The sources said there was potential for conflict on the issue because
the MDC was now trying to reduce Mugabe's powers.
More hurdles, the sources said, lay ahead of the implementation of the
Failure by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to appoint a cabinet after
several rounds of talks, the sources said, has raised doubts over whether
the power-sharing deal could stand the strain given the three rivals'
mistrust of each other.
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:41
ZIMBABWE'S state universities this week failed to re-open for the last
semester of the year due to a combination of factors, among them a shortage
of staff, industrial action by lecturers and budgetary constraints.
The University of Zimbabwe, the National University of Science and
Technology (Nust), Midlands State University (MSU) and Chinhoyi University
of Technology (CUT) were supposed to re-open on Monday.
Last week, the UZ said it would re-open despite facing serious water
problems, shortage of academic and non-academic staff, and the failure to
release students' results from the previous semester.
However, the university failed to re-open and notices to that effect
were plastered all over the campus.
Nust, MSU and CUT also deferred re-opening.
The re-opening of the state universities has been postponed on several
occasions because of a strike by lecturers pressing for better salaries and
UZ acting director of information and public relations Daniel
Chihombori this week could not give reasons why the college did not re-open,
but emphasised stakeholders were "eager and working hard" to have the
Sources in the Higher Education ministry said state universities were
last week ordered by government to re-open despite the problems they were
facing. However, the order was rescinded after the universities cited
budgetary constraints and a lecturers' strike.
Efforts to get a comment from Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge
were fruitless at the time of going to print.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) this week
bemoaned the absence of a substantive Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture in their salary negotiations with the government.
The ministry has no substantive minister after President Robert Mugabe
appointed Aeneas Chigwedere provincial governor for Mashonaland East.
Negotiations between the parent ministry and the teachers' union have
been going on since teachers embarked on an indefinite strike at the
beginning of September.
"Our last attempts indicated that a substantive minister with a clear
mandate was needed for negotiations to proceed," Zimta said. "Until a
minister is appointed, negotiations are virtually at a standstill. Currently
there are no negotiations taking place despite the fact that we have put
across our issues through the National Joint Negotiating Council."
Education ministry permanent secretary Stephen Mahere, however, said
negotiations were still in progress.
"There has never been an impasse between the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture and its teachers. The ministry continues to dialogue with
the members of teachers' organisations on matters of mutual interest in
education service delivery," Mahere said.
Teachers' unions are pressing for their salaries to be pegged in
foreign currency to cushion them against biting inflation.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe wants teachers to be paid
an equivalent of US$1 200 using the interbank rate.
Teachers have vowed never to return to work despite being awarded a
salary increment of between $62 000 and $91 000 this week.
They were initially paid between $11 000 and $15 000 a fortnight ago.
By Wongai Zhangazha/Thando Mpofu
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:36
THE European Union (EU) foreign affairs ministers will meet on Monday
to review targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his
Speculation was rife that the EU could relax the sanctions it slapped
on Mugabe after the disputed 2002 presidential poll after the signing of the
September 15 all-inclusive government pact.
The EU last month said the sanctions would remain in place until it
was satisfied that the power-sharing deal was working.
Britain's foreign secretary David Miliband this week said sanctions on
Zimbabwe would be debated when the foreign ministers meet in Brussels on
Miliband, however, said the sanctions would stay until Mugabe forms an
The foreign secretary told parliament that the positive momentum built
up when Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to a power-sharing deal was "fast
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been deadlocked since the signing of the
deal on the allocation of cabinet posts.
"Until a new Zimbabwean government is appointed and that government
shows by their action their commitment to reform, EU targeted measures will
remain in place," Miliband said.
Miliband, however, said Britain's humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe
The EU sanctions include a ban on the sale, supply or transfer of arms
to Zimbabwe, on any assistance concerning military activities, and on the
supply of any equipment capable of being used for internal repression.
The sanctions also include a visa ban and an asset freeze on people
who have committed human rights violations, and violations of freedom of
speech and assembly in Zimbabwe.
Over 100 Zanu PF officials, among them Mugabe, his wife Grace and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, are barred from travelling to
any EU country.
The United States, the EU, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand have
since 2002 maintained visa and financial sanctions on top officials of
Mugabe's government as well as an arms embargo against Zimbabwe.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:32
SHUMBA Street in Dzivaresekwa is dirty, busy and colourful.
Children in green uniforms, others in red and white, blue and brown
can be seen strolling down the road as they walk towards their respective
It is now 8am, but most of them do not seem to be bothered by time
although under normal circumstances they should be in class by 7.30am.
They let time pass, after all there is nothing to hurry for.
The school bell that used to ring signalling commencement of lessons
ceased tolling a long time ago.
On arrival at their schools, the pupils do not head to the classrooms,
but for the playgrounds where they engage in various games until somebody
remembers that there are children at school.
The teacher arrives at 9am (she is early today) and the pupils are
called into the classroom.
Not much time is wasted in the classroom and the pupils are given
loads of work to do in English, Mathematics, and Shona before the teacher
leaves to do personal errands.
The pupils are left to figure out for themselves how to tackle their
schoolwork. The moment the teacher leaves the classroom, the pupils shove
their books into their satchels and rush back to the playground.
They do not seem to be bothered by the absence of their teacher. They
are happy that they are left to play, unaware of the consequences it has for
them in the long run.
At least this class is lucky their teacher comes to check on them.
Other classes are not attended to at all.
This for a long time has been the way most primary and secondary
schools have been run in the country.
Children go to school to play and return home with empty brains.
Ten-year-old Nyasha, a pupil at Gillingham Primary School in
Dzivaresekwa, said he does not mind repeating Grade 6 next year because he
had not learnt much throughout 2008.
"My teacher just comes and goes. She gives us work to do, sometimes we
revise it, sometimes we don't. But most of the time we will be playing in
the grounds," he said, boasting that his peers refer to him as JJ Okocha
when playing football.
A Grade 1 pupil this week said she was going to school just for the
sake of it. She was not learning anything because of the absence of
teachers. Most parents have resorted to sending their children to private
tutors, some of whom are not qualified or do not have knowledge of the
structure of the syllabus -- leaving the children more confused and
A qualified teacher said she had abandoned her job because of poor
remuneration and has turned to buying goods at auctions and reselling them
for a living. She vowed never to return to school until her demands for a
better salary and working conditions are met.
"I am a Grade 7 teacher, but today I did not go to work. I find it
better to sell my things and get the money that I can't get at work," said
the teacher who asked for anonymity, pointing to a pile of goods she was
selling. "Look at that curtain over there. I am selling it for $12 000 and
that is the money I get at the end of the month as a salary. This business
is doing quite well for me."
She said there was chaos at schools as Grade 7 students -- who were
supposed to sit for their examination this week -- were yet to be advised of
the dates by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec).
"Even if they were to write, what would they write? These children did
not learn anything and who will invigilate them? We are not going to
school," she said.
Recently 'O' Level pupils sat for fashion and fabrics and food and
nutrition practical examinations without statements of entry. Some of the
pupils had to be called from their homes to come and write the examinations
because they were not informed of the dates in advance.
Zimsec public relations officer Ezekiel Pasipamire confirmed that
pupils sat for examinations without statements of entry as they were still
to distribute them nationally. He said Zimsec was yet to set dates for Grade
7, and for 'O' and 'A' level examinations.
"The dates for Grade 7, 'O' and 'A' level examinations have not been
finalised yet," Pasipamire said. "The examinations are going to be delayed
and some of the reasons for the delay are beyond our control, as you know
this year we had elections."
About two months ago, Zimsec employees went on strike and warned that
the industrial action if not resolved swiftly would affect the 2008
examinations. However, the warning fell on deaf ears.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), a militant labour
union for teachers, said its members would not return to schools until their
salaries and working conditions are improved.
Teachers went on strike on September 2.
The union said a teacher's salary in August was equivalent to R33,
meaning that teachers were spending less than US$1 a day. It said the
average salary in the Sadc region was R7 000.
"Teachers are asking to what depth of poverty they should sink before
government acts," said PTUZ in a statement to mark World Teachers Day.
"We remain steadfast in our demand for a minimum salary of US$1 200
converted to Zimbabwean dollars using United Nations rates. We are happy to
report that finally teachers have gathered enough courage to insulate
themselves from any amount of heat."
An estimated 30 000 teachers have deserted schools in the past two
years frustrated by many years of neglect and threatened by the "highly
contagious poverty" associated with employment in government, the PTUZ said.
The union said contrary to the common belief that teachers have left
to teach in neighbouring countries, many were employed abroad as trade
assistants in industries, some were domestic workers and others were still
within the country.
"You only need to go to Cheziya Growth Point in Gowke to see a senior
and experienced teacher who is now a rank marshal and countless others
trying their luck in Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland while others have
turned to prostitution," the union said.
The union said close to 20% of the teachers were either sick or on
sick leave owing to the HIV and Aids pandemic and this was affecting the
According to a 2002 United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural
Organisation survey, Zimbabwe will by 2010 lose a cumulative 55 000 teachers
to HIV and Aids at best. In a worst case scenario, 60 000 teachers would
The PTUZ said in the past eight years, every school in the country had
lost an average of three to four teachers to the pandemic.
"Our demand to the new government is simply that a 'Teachers Treatment
Action Campaign' must be formed as a matter of urgency to address the
serious HIV and Aids-related challenges teachers are facing," the union
It said Grade 7, 'O' and 'A'level examinations revealed another
academic drama in the country.
"As we speak the examinations authority (Zimsec) has not given
students statements of entry to show the candidate's details and examination
timetable. The marking of the June examinations was only completed two weeks
ago as teachers boycotted marking due to poor fees paid to them by Zimsec,"
the union said.
"It is our well considered view that the 2008 academic year for
primary and secondary education should be set aside and that the 2008
examinations should be cancelled. After setting aside the academic year all
students should repeat their current grades."
The PTUZ suggested that there be no intake for Grade 1 and Form 1 and
L6 pupils in 2009.
It challenged the government to appoint a committee to assess the
state of the students' preparedness for the 2008 examinations if it doubted
Because of the country's chaotic education system, many people have
wondered whether Zimbabwe would be able to attain the United Nations
Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:07
IN their few and scattered moments of excitement, MDC supporters
normally chant the classic "Zanu Yaora baba", which foreign journalists
incorrectly translate as Zanu PF is rotten.
The proper translation is that Zanu PF is decayed. What the MDC song
misses is the fact that the state itself is decomposing or rather is in the
last and highest form of decomposition.
The announcement this week that Grade 7 students will not sit their
exams is indeed proof of this degenerate state. The fact that the University
of Zimbabwe has not reopened for the September semester and that in the
majority of schools countrywide, students have not attended classes for the
whole year, is indeed as unacceptable as it is a measure of the grandiose
failure of this regime.
Perhaps the saddest thing is the fact that all exam classes at Grade
7, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level may actually not sit in the year 2008
and would have to repeat in 2009. At the core of the crisis is the state's
failure to pay teachers and lecturers adequate salaries and the state's
failure to provide books and other materials to schools.
The collapse of the education system is indicative of the general
collapse and retreat of the state. That same decay is found in the health
sector, where our people are suffering the indignity of feudal diseases such
as cholera and tuberculosis. No wonder our life expectancy is now 34 for
women and 37 for men; statistics that are only rivalled by Somalia and Sudan
on the African continent.
This must be judged in the context of the fact that at least three
million of our people have to receive food aid and currently 40% of the
rural population are surviving on wild berries, competing with donkeys and
other animals for access to the same. In some areas, chiefs and headmen are
fining villagers who let loose their animals to the detriment of the supply
side of chakata and other fruits.
Our people in the urban areas continuously tango with endless banking
queues, the product of an erratic, dishonest, inconsistent, psychopathic
monetary policy being brewed at Samora Machel Avenue.
The pursuance of eclectic, half-understood, haphazard, ill-baked
monetary measures by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono have done more harm
to this country than 28 years of Mugabe's rule. The printing of money and
the vicious assault on the Zimbabwe dollar by unleashing RBZ agents to buy
money on the black market has ensured the death of the half-baked measures
the very same governor is attempting to execute. The net result is inflation
that in real terms exceeds 200 million %, and a Zimbabwe dollar that is not
worth the cost of printing the same, a banking system on the verge of
collapse and a Frankenstein economy that knows no description in modern
In short, the RBZ has redefined economic failure and economic
bastardisation. They have shown that there is no such thing as a breaking
point or tipping point in African economies. That collapse is as elusive as
the horizon. You can see it but you can't touch it.
However, it is the collapse of the public education system that is
unpardonable, cruel and totally criminal. Education is at the core of the
dignity and decency of any nation. Education is that fundamental
foundational matrix that a new future and a new Zimbabwe can be built. This
regime understands this more than anyone else, which is why in the first
decade of Independence it spent in real terms 3% of its GDP investing in
education. The result was massive enrolment of students and extensive
capitalisation, particularly in the rural areas. The net product is that in
Africa, Zimbabwe, with a literacy rate of 85%, is second only to Tunisia and
has more degreed citizens per capita than Kenya, Ghana or Nigeria.
Sadly, the crème de la crème of our education system has been sucked
up in the diaspora. You will find a Zimbabwean at the UN, at Goldman and
Sachs and at virtually every decent university in the world.
That this regime can therefore be allowed to kill the education system
is unacceptable. Moreso when one considers that the majority of these
pedagogy terrorists have their children in schools and universities outside
What is indeed most unacceptable is the fact that for five years Gono
has been allowed to run amok, dabbling in quasi-fiscal activities. These
activities have seen him become the de-facto prime minister of the land. In
2008 alone, he has spent over US$150 million in the farm mechanisation
programme. He also spent millions of dollars bankrolling the Zanu PF
campaign in the March 2008 election. In short, his hands have been seen
everywhere where clientelism is an issue. For instance, he spent huge
amounts buying the judiciary vehicles, generators and satellite dishes.
Thus, Gono could easily have saved the 2008 education year if he so
wished. That however could not happen for three reasons. Firstly, there is
no immediate short-term benefit for Zanu PF. Secondly, teachers and their
ilk are perceived to be MDC territory. Thirdly, his children are not in the
Gono aside, the fact of the matter is that this regime has failed.
Central to the failure is of course the limitations of nationalism.
We have made the point over and over again that nationalism has a
limited agenda; that of the national question captured in the slogan
one-man, one-vote. Beyond the national question, nationalism is out of
depth and is limited. Moreso when it is the inheritor of the little enclave,
gatekeeping colonial state totally corrupted by the vagaries and avarice of
Faced with the frustration of failing to transform the colonial state
during the national democratic stage of the struggle, nationalism
degenerates and decomposes into neo-patrimony, clientelism, the imperial
presidency and patronage. In short, it converts the state into a rogue state
where violence, corruption and personal accumulation become vehicles for the
continued reproduction of the state.
The Abhurian State, so brilliantly described by Ngugi wa Thiongo in
The Wizard of the Crow, which state had been fore-written by Chinua Achebe
in A Man of the People, Sembene Ousmane in The Last of the Empire and Ayi
Kwei Armah in The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born. At that stage, the
highest level of decomposition, nationalism needs to be saved from itself or
it will take the nation with it.
That is exactly where Zimbabwe is at the present moment. Zanu PF needs
to be saved from itself or it will annihilate the construct that Zimbabwe
The September 15 2008 agreement must thus be seen in this context; an
attempt to save Zanu PF from itself so that Zimbabwe can be saved. Sadly,
Zanu PF, which can't see beyond its nose and is on autopilot to ultimate
self-destruction, continues to frustrate that agreement by refusing to
consummate the same and more importantly by making demands that will reduce
the MDC to an innocent and disinterested bystander in that cabinet.
For us in the MDC, we are fully aware of the historical duties on our
shoulders and will do everything to save this agreement. However, our
elasticity is only marginal.
By Tendai Biti
Tendai Biti MP is MDC Secretary-General.
Thursday, 09 October 2008 10:28
Zimbabwe's annual inflation raced to a record 231-million percent in
July, up from 11,2-million percent the previous month, deepening a severe
economic crisis, official figures showed on Thursday.
Central Statistical Office data showed that on a monthly basis, prices
shot up by 2 600,2%, compared with 839,3% in June, largely driven by high
prices of bread and cereals.
The Southern African nation is in the throes of debilitating economic
turmoil, which many Zimbabweans had hoped would ease following a landmark
power-sharing deal signed between President Robert Mugabe and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month.
The World Bank says Zimbabwe has the world's fastest shrinking economy
for a country not at war.
Thursday, 09 October 2008 20:32
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has declined to evaluate
Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Product outlook this year in its latest World
Economic Outlook report as the country's economy continues to worsen at an
According to the report which projected the GDP outlook of several
countries, the IMF said it was not in a position to evaluate the country's
GDP growth this year because of the rate the economy was declining.
The Bretton Woods institute has rated Zimbabwe, whose inflation is at
231 million %, as the world's fastest shrinking economy.
"IMF declined to evaluate Zimbabwe GDP growth this year," was as brief
as the evaluation of Zimbabwe went.
GDP is the total amount of the country's production. Due to the
economic meltdown, Zimbabwe's production sector has sunk to its lowest ebb.
The IMF report said world growth would slow down amid the most
dangerous financial shock since the 1930s.
"There will be no growth in many advanced economies until at least
mid-2009, and global economy expected to stage modest recovery later in
On an annual basis, global growth is expected to moderate from 5% in
2007 to 3,9% in 2008 and 3% in 2009," said IMF.
The IMF last month said it had paved way to work with Zimbabwe's new
power-sharing government but then said the country's leaders first need to
make clear commitments to rescue the economy.
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the signing of the
power-sharing accord between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara was a chance to reverse the economic
crisis, where inflation was now above 200 million %.
"We stand ready to discuss with the new authorities their policies to
stabilise the economy, improve social conditions, and reduce poverty,"
Strauss-Kahn said in a statement.
But Strauss-Kahn said the new government needed to show it was willing
to implement credible policies to put the economy on a sound footing.
"I encourage the government to take steps to show clear commitment to
a new policy direction and to seek the support of the international
community," he added.
Such a strategy would also help put Zimbabwe in better standing with
the international community and restore ties with the IMF.
Zimbabwe's GDP has been on a steep decline over the past 10years.
Production in agriculture, mining and manufacturing has more than halved
since the political crisis started in 2000, and a recent industrial survey
shows that manufacturing industry is operating at less than 30% of capacity.
Shops are empty and because of declining foreign currency inflows, the
Reserve Bank has "legalised" the use of foreign currency for paying for
goods and services.
Zimbabwe is now a highly polarised society economically, with a thin
veneer of extremely wealthy entrepreneurs, including government ministers
and officials, policemen and military officers and well-connected business
people, known generically as "chefs", enjoying luxurious lifestyles while
the rest of the country's populace live on less than one US dollar per day.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 09 October 2008 20:29
JOSPHAT Zulu stares in awe at the empty supermarket shelves in
In one corner there is shoe polish he needs for his eight-year-old son
who attends a school nearby and it costs $60 000.
With the onset of the rainy season imminent, he desperately needs the
He has no savings and his employer -- government -- cannot pay him
Even with R100 reportedly being paid to gardeners, Zulu knows that it
would be ludicrous for him to part with a month's earnings for a tin of
Alternatively he can make a trip to town where he can find the same
product for $8 000 on the thriving parallel market. But soaring transport
costs could also limit his movements.
Zulu's ordeal represents the plight of millions of Zimbabweans facing
the brunt of hyperinflation now estimated to be over a trillion%.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week blamed Western imposed
sanctions and the recently suspended electronic money transfers for
promoting price distortions on the market.
The suspension of wiring money has resulted in increased use of
cheques as a form of payment. Long queues of withdrawers at banking halls
continue to be a common feature despite promises by monetary authorities to
restore normalcy to the financial sector.
Last week, the central bank reviewed maximum daily withdrawals to $20
000 from $1 000, an amount which is not enough to meet a week's transport
However, industry warns that this decision to suspend electronic
transfers could stifle foreign currency supplies for the manufacturing
sector, now reportedly operating at 15% capacity utilisation.
With such a low productivity level, this means that the country is now
importing virtually all fast moving consumer goods to meet local demand
against a backdrop of suppressed export activity and foreign currency
The central bank last month registered hundreds of retailers, among
them OK Zimbabwe, TM supermarkets and the Spar brand, to sell imported
products in foreign currency at 30% mark-up of cost price.
An observation by businessdigest this week revealed that the mark-up
translated to almost three times the price of the same product from its
source. A 2 litre bottle of vegetable cooking oil that cost R24 in South
Africa is priced at US$9 (R75) locally.
"The major cost in any product in Zimbabwe is foreign currency,"
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya said. "The
Real Time Gross Settlement scheme was the most open market rate that
provided foreign currency. We fully understand though that it was abused and
we will soon engage the RBZ on this."
He criticised the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) for
ordering price slashes to those obtaining on September 26.
"Price controls should be loosened. Inflation, perception, and cost of
money and value of money determine pricing. Any law that keeps business
unviable is against the Companies Act - and that law will not hold water
anywhere in the world. That is where we have differences with the NIPC,"
He said reports of a political deadlock between President Robert
Mugabe, Prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy designate
Arthur Mutambara were also threatening price stability.
Tsvangirai's MDC this week attacked Zanu PF for "insensitivity" to the
country's worsening economic problems.
"In short, there is national paralysis. Zanu PF does not seem to
appreciate the magnitude of the crisis in the country. The whole nation is
hanging characterised by anxiety, uncertainty and speculation," said the MDC
in a statement.
A new hyperinflation index propounded by United States-based monetary
reform expert Steve Hanke claimed that year-on-year inflation for September
reached 2 trillion % on the back of unbridled money supply growth by the
central bank. Last released official figures for June indicated that annual
inflation was just over 11,2 million %.
"Zimbabwe is the first country in the 21st century to hyperinflate. In
February 2007, Zimbabwe's inflation rate topped 50% per month, the minimum
rate required to qualify as a hyperinflation (50% per month is equal to a 12
875% per year). Since then, inflation has soared," said the Johns Hopkins
"As of 3 October 2008, Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate was 2 trillion
The last official inflation data were released in June and are
hopelessly outdated. The RBZ has been even less forthcoming with money
supply data. The most recent money supply figures are ancient history,
"With absent current official money supply and inflation data, it is
difficult to quantify the depth and breadth of the still-growing crisis in
Zimbabwe. To overcome this problem, we developed the Hanke Hyperinflation
Index for Zimbabwe," Hanke said.
This model, according to Hanke, is derived from "market-based price
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mangudya distanced
banks from underhand foreign currency transactions through electronic
transfers. Instead he blamed rampant informal sector trading for the price
He said: "The economy is now highly informal. In my view, parallel
activity now accounts for 80% of the foreign currency trading with the
remaining 20% being of the formal sector. Banks being formal account for
The official inter-bank exchange rate introduced in May became dormant
barely a month after its introduction amid reports of "fixing" rates by the
Former University of Zimbabwe economics professor Rob Davies said Gono
had failed and should resign.
"Gono's monetary policy has proved to be ludicrous and he should
resign," Davies said.
"Unless he stops printing money, prices will not stabilise. Export
performance is very bad, so people have to charge premiums for using the
little foreign currency they have."
He said competition among recently licensed retailers would only
stabilise prices if export performance improves.
A report compiled by the United Nations Development Programme last
moth said "dollarisation" could threaten domestic financial reforms, adding
that the central bank should be freed from political manipulation.
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 09 October 2008 20:27
WHILE the country's three political parties continue to haggle over
cabinet posts, inflation has risen to 231 million %.
The failure by the country's three parties who have been accusing each
other of jeopardising the process to agree on cabinet posts and coming up
with a long term economic plan has resulted in increased speculation and
increase of prices of goods and services.
An outline agreement signed on September 15 has stalled over key
cabinet posts, while Zimbabweans endure the world's fastest price rises,
shortages of food, foreign currency and crumbling infrastructure.
How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe? The price of bread, like everything
else, soars almost daily.
For untold numbers of Zimbabweans, bread, milk and meat have become
unimaginable luxuries. In fact, to be seen with these basics one would be
associated with the country's elite. Such is the desperation of the
All are casualties of the hyperinflation that has roared to 231
million % in July from 11,2 million %, a 219,8 million percentage point
According to figures from the Central Statistical Office released on
Wednesday, month on month inflation rose by 2 600,2% compared to 839,3% in
June, largely driven by high prices of bread and cereals.
What it means is on average goods in July this year were about 231
million times as expensive as they were 12 months earlier.
"If you need something and have cash, you buy it. If you have cash you
spend it today, because tomorrow it will have lost its value by almost half.
Normal horizons do not exist here. People are living hand to mouth," said
economic consultant John Robertson.
The month-on-month rate rose 1 760,9-percentage points on the June
rate of 839,3% to 2 600,2%. Bread and cereals were the main drivers.
Meanwhile while global markets remain in turmoil, the bullish local
bourse continued to surge to greater heights with benchmark industrial index
breaching the one billion point-mark on Wednesday.
The industrials, which opened the week firm, maintained the up trend
adding 22,32% to close at 1 185 979 384,90 points. The minings followed suit
increasing 24,86% to settle at 1 494 804 835, 35 points.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 09 October 2008 20:22
FOREIGN currency earners and companies could soon pay enormous amounts
in rates and commission for foreign currency transactions following the
gazetting of a new statutory instrument defaulting all taxes paid after the
introduction of the official interbank foreign exchange rate.
Under Statutory Instrument 135C/2008 gazetted last week, tax
remittances paid using the fixed rate of $30 000 against the United States
dollar now present a tax exposure or liability to employees and companies to
pay more due to the backdating of the piece of legislation to May.
"The rate at which the Zimbabwe dollar may be exchanged for the United
States dollar shall be: In the case of the payment by any person of any tax,
duty or charge that is denominated in US dollars or in any other foreign
currency denominated under the Exchange Control Order, 1996, interbank rate
of the day before the day on which the tax, duty or charge must be paid,"
read the Statutory Instrument.
"This direction shall be deemed to have come into operation on May 1,
2008. In any other case, the interbank rate of exchange prevailing on the
day of the transaction concerned. The maximum commission, fee or charge that
may be levied on any foreign exchange transaction shall be zero comma five
per centum of the total nominal value, expressed in Zimbabwe dollars, of the
foreign exchange concerned."
Before this law a foreign currency earner who earned US$103 on Monday
was eligible for the tax-free bracket of $15 000 using the interbank rate
for the day. But the same amount attracted minimum tax charges the next day
due to movements on the exchange rate that pegged the amount at about $17
Generally companies remit tax to revenue authorities by the 15th of
the month after processing of salaries.
Harare Chamber of Commerce chairman and tax expert, Tendai Mavima said
changes in the day of processing income tax and movements on the interbank
rate could present cumbersome challenges for companies in calculating tax
'The statutory instrument seems to legalise the Zimra directive," said
"But the challenge is that in terms of the Zimra memorandum the
interbank rate is used on the day of processing the payroll. However the
statutory instrument refers to the rate on the day before day of payment -
there is need for clarity on that."
Law experts said this new development could trigger a streak of
constitutional challenges after if emerges that initial compliance with the
Zimra directive is in "default" with the law.
Analysts also criticised government for bungling income tax management
policies saying the Statutory Instrument was also laden with "drafting
This law analysts said was published well after revaluation of
currency in August, which makes the new exchange rate used for government
departments and parastatals questionable.
Before gazetting of this new law, some companies were challenging the
Zimra directive on tax remittances for lacking a legal footing to make it
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 09 October 2008 20:13
IT takes about 30 minutes to push a wheelbarrow on a bumpy road full
of potholes for residents of Cowdray Park in Bulawayo to get water from
In Meyrick Park, Harare,residents have to endure the agony of trekking
half an hour in searing heat and queue another half an hour at the rapidly
drying streams in Cotswood Hills to fill their pots, backets and jerry cans
with "unclean water".
For most women in Emerald Hill, Grendale and Hatfield, drained by
daylong energy-sapping gardening work and other domestic chores, the
suffering is longer and more distressing.
Children born in some parts of Mabvuku and Budiriro 4 and 5 some five
years ago have not seen running water from their home taps. This week a
"miracle" was witnessed in Mabvuku: there was running water from the taps.
The dire consequences of dried up valleys and streams have seen
residents competing with livestock for fresh water in the marshy land.
As the heat increases this summer, seasonal streams from where
multitudes of the country's less privileged who cannot afford to sink a
borehole, used to draw water have since dried up and water, which is
supposed to be a necessity, has turned out to be a pricey luxury good.
This is the depressing reality of the acute water shortage in
Zimbabwe. The local authorities and consumers are looking on helplessly as
water bills by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) fail to tally
with the harsh realities of the current crisis that has ignited bitterness
between neighbours and friends wrangling over water.
Angry residents in Harare lay part of the blame for the water cuts on
the controversial takeover of water management by Zinwa.
But Zinwa says the poor supply was because of the dilapidated
infrastructure it inherited from the city council and the frequent power
cuts by the national power utility Zesa.
Minister for Water Resources and Infrastructural Development Munacho
Mutezo said the increased water shortages was being caused by disruption of
electricity, as power is needed to pump water from the main reservoir into
"Generators do not have the capacity to pump water past three or four
reservoirs before it reaches residential areas," said Mutezo.
On why some residents in Mabvuku have been without water for years
Mutezo said: "Those areas (Mabvuku) are a bit out of town and located on
high places. In order for water to reach those destinations it has to go
through four or five tanks without any disruptions.
"Water in such areas needs to be pumped in tanks for as high as 150
metres. If there is a power cut during the process the water level will go
down flowing back to the first tank. When the situation normalises the water
level has to be pumped to levels as high as 150 metres and that will be for
four or five tanks."
Mutezo said apart from the power cuts, water supplies were also being
affected by the procurement of purification chemicals from Zimbabwe
Community health workers have raised concern that the resolve by
residents of Chitungwiza and surrounding areas to fetch "dirty" water for
home use could explain the declining sanitation practices and resurgence of
cholera that has so far claimed nearly 20 lives and infected about 60 other
"If water is life, we must learn to treat it not as a commodity to be
sold to the highest bidder or as an entitlement to the privileged, but as an
essential component of human existence. We must learn not only the methods
and habits of sharing equitably, but also the technologies and values of
protecting the environment that makes fresh water available to us," said the
World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement.
Most people in Zimbabwe are living on less than five litres of water
per person daily. According to the WHO, a human being should live on at
least 20 litres of water a day.
A catalogue of pitiable planning compounded by low technology and
resource constraints have ironically made residents desperate for fresh
water. There are rising concerns that improper management of water resources
could constrain the much-touted campaign for national food security. So bad
is the situation that the Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa advised
mourners and people at a gathering not to shake hands in the absence of
water following a cholera outbreak recently.
"I advise people not to shake hands at funeral gatherings if there is
no water. If they are to do so they should rub charcoal on their hands to
avoid spread of cholera and other diseases," Parirenyatwa said.
Director of health services, Mike Simoyi, noted a permanent solution
was required to remove all risk without residents having to take special
Sewers need to be fixed and all residents need access to clean, safe
water. Moffat Ndlovu, the Bulawayo town clerk, even proposed a water train
to bring water from the Zambezi River in the north of Zimbabwe, around 400
"We are actively pursuing the idea of a water train to bring the
precious liquid because our current supplies will be exhausted by October,"
said Ndlovu to the Zimbabwe Independent.
The water would be purified in Bulawayo before it is distributed to
the city's 1,5 million residents, the report said.
The Combined Harare Residents Association said Harare's glamour and
infrastructure were deteriorating because of lack of clean and reliable
Yesterday the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development said it had
petitioned Zinwa supported by 4 726 signatures from companies in Bulawayo,
Chitungwiza, Harare and Mutare over the deteriorating water problems.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:05
PEOPLE say: "Only black people know what black people face, and only
black people can figure out how to change it.
We have to get our own struggle together first, and go forward from
But many people who came into the liberation struggle movements were
prompted by their direct experience of oppression.
But that experience alone cannot illuminate the deeper sources of
this oppression and the potential pathways to eliminate all this.
No matter how hard people have tried, "getting it together" as a
people it cannot happen under this system. At every stage since its
formation, the development of the black nation has been deformed and
subjugated within the larger US oppressor nation, and the same essential
dynamics are at work today, in new forms.
At the same time, there are different classes - people with
different social positions and outlooks - among black people.
Whilst there is a shared oppression among black people -- even this
oppression is experienced differently by people occupying different
positions within the overall society -- there is no one unified outlook
representing all black people. No "black" or "African" ideology can be
attributed with representing all black people in some special and unique
way, apart from other oppressed people - and any claim to such an ideology
and attempt to put this forward as representing all black people, will only
lead to the outlook of the more bourgeois forces holding sway, as this is
more in line with and in many ways is reinforced and supported by the
functioning of this system and the outlook and the means of molding public
opinion that are served and controlled by the dominant bourgeois ruling
Nationalism also leaves unaddressed the whole question of the
emancipation of women, which can only be achieved together with the eventual
abolition of exploitation and oppression.
Ironically, coming just from within the desire to assert the rights of
the black nation is too narrow a framework even from which to break this
nation out from under the domination it faces today.
It is only coming from the farthest horizons of the socialist future
that the streams of struggle against all of these forms of oppression can be
powerfully linked together in revolutionary struggle.
It is also only the revolutionary proletariat, with a solid core that
understands that its emancipation as a class requires the abolition of all
forms of oppression, that can lead such a revolutionary struggle.
From The Oppression of Black People, the Crimes of This System, and
the Revolution We Need, Revolution #144, (October 5, 2008).
Thursday, 09 October 2008 19:47
ALTHOUGH the milliard of Zimbabwe's doom and gloom merchants continue
to have their endless prognostications of Zimbabwe's continuing demise,
nevertheless increasingly there are those that foreshadow an
imminent start, albeit slow, to a transformation of Zimbabwe from a
country of horrendous political divide, of dictatorial domination in
contradistinction to democratic rule, and from the most appalling economic
malaise that has afflicted the population for all too long to a progressive
economic upturn and recovery, notwithstanding that inevitably the
metamorphosis will be an agonisingly protracted one
However, amongst those who positively perceive that the very long
awaited change will shortly commence, there is a major divergence of view as
to the key catalysts and elements that are prerequisites for that change.
There is almost absolute accord that, first and foremost, there must be a
major change within the political environment.
Virtually all are agreed that there has to be a genuine interaction,
collaboration and unity between the diverse political groupings that prevail
in Zimbabwe. That political interaction must be wholly directed at restoring
wellbeing to the struggling, distressed and oppressed masses of Zimbabwe who
are battling to survive in a country subjected to the most pronounced
hyperinflation to have afflicted any country in the world in more than 30
years, whose suffering is a composite of lack of basic and essential
foodstuffs, minimal -- if any -- income, inaccessibility to basic
healthcare, homelessness, prohibitive costs of education, and much else.
Malnutrition, ill-health, gross deprivation, broken families, fear of
an oppressive and dictatorial government and its minions, and much else, is
the lot of the majority of Zimbabweans today. Hence, there is a near
unanimous belief that the first and foremost need to bring about the long
and anxiously awaited change is that either the present government must be
replaced by another, being one that is driven and motivated by a real and
benevolent concern for the lot of the populace or, as a less-favoured but
nevertheless reluctantly acceptable alternative, by a government of national
unity encompassing the diverse political groupings of Zimbabwe, and driven
wholly to bring about positive transformation in the best interests of the
Notwithstanding these hopes and desperate desires and expectations,
there is a widespread recognition that Zimbabwe's economy has been subjected
to such gross demolition and destruction that it cannot recover without
substantial international support. Most believe that the economy is beyond
redemption if that redemption is to be wholly pursued by Zimbabwe without
very substantial assistance and support from the world at large. Thus, most
believe that the foremost and fundamental essential of a Zimbabwean economic
recovery is a flood of international financial aid and support.
In contradistinction, a minority view is that not only should Zimbabwe
"go it alone", but also that it is readily able to do so. Moreover, many of
that minority contend that recourse to international aid and support would,
to all intents and purposes, result in a subjugation of Zimbabwe to a level
tantamount to recolonisation of the country.
Over and above therefore posing the question as to whether acceptance
of international aid could be prejudicial to Zimbabwe's autonomy and
independence, the question is unavoidably also whether, on the one hand,
acceptance of such aid is essential for economic recovery and, on the other
hand, whether acceptance thereof would be so disadvantageous as to outweigh
Insofar as the first of those questions is concerned, the answer is
that if the aid and support is
forthcoming unconditionally (save for possible repayment obligations),
and that such aid and support is given without any strings attached other
than as would be normal and usual in a commercial environment, then it
cannot credibly be argued that Zimbabwe's independence and sovereignty would
in any manner be at risk.
As to whether disadvantages would flow from acceptance of
international aid (if given unconditionally, save for normal and usual
commercial obligations) to an extent as would negate the benefits flowing
from such aid, and possibly exceeding those benefits, the answer must be
categorically in the negative. Aid given willingly and without any
obligations other than to use such aid exclusively for agreed specific,
nationally beneficial purposes, cannot possibly be disadvantageous, save and
except if Zimbabwe then becomes so dependent and reliant upon such aid that
it cannot survive once the aid ceases.
But Zimbabwe must also recognise that no matter how greatly diverse
countries in the world, and bodies such as the Bretton Woods' institutions
(International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others) are desirous of
facilitating a Zimbabwean recovery, they neither have the resources, nor the
desire, to provide unlimited support to Zimbabwe. Having Zimbabwe as a
permanent dependent is understandably wholly unacceptable to them. Moreover,
the current economic crises afflicting USA, the United Kingdom and most of
the European Union, and others, must inevitably constrain the extent of
support that can be extended to Zimbabwe.
In the short-term, international support for Zimbabwe is essential. In
particular, there is a desperate need for humanitarian aid, bearing in mind
the millions that are grievously under-nourished, the immense debilitation
of the nation's healthcare resources, and the near-total collapse of much of
Also of critical importance for a transitional period of time, is
balance of payments support, for that would assure a sufficiency of foreign
exchange to meet Zimbabwe's essential needs, thereby eliminating the endless
sourcing of essential foreign exchange, at intensely pronounced premiums,
from the unlawful alternative markets.
Those horrendously excessive exchange rate premiums are the biggest
single cause of the gargantuan Zimbabwean hyperinflation, now measured in
billions%! The scarcity of foreign exchange is also a key contributant to
the ongoing decline in productivity in almost all economic sectors, further
grossly fuelling inflation.
But as important as international humanitarian and developmental aid
and balance of payments support are to the recovery of the Zimbabwean
economy, of even greater impact is the need for very considerable domestic
and foreign direct investment (FDI), for that investment not only enhances
inflows of foreign exchange, but also is a very major economic stimulant.
It creates much-needed employment, major downstream economic activity,
fiscal inflows, acquisition of state-of-the-art technologies, access to
international markets, and very much else.
Thus, in the pursuit of the urgently needed, soon to commence,
economic recovery, at
least as great an effort must be made, if not even more, to attract
and facilitate investment, as must be the pursuit of international aid.
Thursday, 09 October 2008 19:44
THE article; Politics and Prejudice: Plight of Zimbabwe Women by Alex
Magaisa which appeared in the Zimbabwe Independent (September 12 2008)
arouses deep questions for the soul and the entire human family.
It was a detour by Magaisa from his ordinary topics, a detour that
forced us into collision with questions we would otherwise avoid, questions
of prejudice against women, our society's daily tendencies that have a
genocidal effect of robbing the world of half the gifts of the human race,
half the insights of the human race, half the meaning of human life and 100%
of the fruits which only the other specie knows how to bear.
The tragedy is deeply engraved in our society in every corner, from
the brutality of the work place, where what we produce is more important
than what we become, to the oppressive romance of the bedroom, where the
family system consumes those it purports to care for, conditioning parties
to embrace oppressive romance as the legitimate order of affairs. This is
the place where, even if the law is present, it is as infertile as the
members it wishes to defend.
This is forbidden talk because very few of us men are ready to
honestly disengage our tyrannical attitudes, even those who during the day
are "warrior-human rights defenders".
Consider this: all that a man knows when he comes home from work is to
throw his jacket on the sofa and hungrily goes after his conjugal
privileges, with no restraint or thought for the consequences. It is
entirely a woman's business to swallow tonnes of chemicals to deal with
whatever is coming.
A friend called me on the phone the other day, fuming that his wife
was pregnant. I thought it was a case of infidelity. On further inquiry, he
informed me that he was the father, but hey, "it is too early and the other
kid is still too young". I lacked the credentials to advise a married man,
but the thought of having him force his beloved wife through an abortion was
nothing I could take.
He was the father and because of a universally accepted bedroom
culture, he had enjoyed his conjugal privileges and left the duty of
protecting to the woman, who somehow missed it and is now in danger of being
forced by that same bedroom culture to further mutilate her body which
already is bleeding from the corrosive effects of tonnes of chemicals she
has been forced to swallow since she entered that marriage.
And yet the society has conditioned women from an early age to see no
evil, hear no evil; to accept a blatantly evil state of affairs as
legitimate. It is okay for a woman to undergo sterilisation but when the
same procedure is suggested for a man, he fumes that "you want to make me a
woman". Many a woman have found themselves in an undesirable situation after
having mutilated their bodies, the marriage refuses to work and she walks
into another relationship, which unfortunately cannot take off because she
is now unable to give birth.
Chemistry has developed chemicals mainly for women. Chemicals for men
are either unknown, unavailable, expensive or simply unpopular because they
call for equal participation by both species in planning. These chemicals,
which we force our women to swallow everyday are not made in heaven. They
are made by fallible human beings who have admitted that they have negative
effects on the human body. In short, they kill, slowly but surely. If much
is investigated, because of commerce, much is concealed because the industry
is making billions in profits. The same brutal principles of commerce find
their way into the bedroom; what we produce is more important than what we
I remember Sally (not her real name), my former student. She was
beautiful as she grew up, the darling of the family. The moment she entered
marriage, she began making sacrifices she never thought she would ever make.
In no time, her once beautiful body began to balloon in reaction to
chemicals only God knows where from. The doctor recommended one chemical
after the other. Her sacred body reacted violently to this invasion, but
all for love, she silently bore the pain of self-mutilation. Fat crowded
her kidneys and blocked her arteries. The doctor said she died because of
Does it matter what it was? It could be cancer, kidney failure, high
blood pressure. It could be even an unannounced killer, lying quietly in
the contours of the female veins, being fed everyday, waiting for the day to
How many husbands do sit and contemplate the murders they commit
everyday in the name of love?
I long for the day when the truth will see the light of day.
What am I saying? Does all prejudice stem from bedroom politics? No.
But we will do well if we are honest from the word 'go', if we are ready as
a society to confront a kind of tyranny that lies in a place where the law
of the court is sterilised by the law of love. Then from there, from a
unified rear base, we can take the battle to the streets. Joan Chittister
says, "Whatever happens to the heart is the beginning of a true revolution."
It follows; what happens to the family sets big things in motion.
These traditions have become a taboo to even talk about. But are they worth
breaking? Can they be broken?
They can be broken and they are worth breaking. They are breaking
everyday. If we fail, then we continue to loose half the gifts of God to
the human family. Most women are opting out of the family system, because
they cannot sacrifice anymore. Magaisa notes that most women are opting out
of public life, because the cost is more than what they can pay.
This is proof that as a society we have succeeded in our failure to
look at women not simply as "sexual instruments in a sex hungry world whose
interests are more biological than spiritual". (Joan Chittister: In Search
But the challenges of modernity go beyond the traditional notions of
gender oppression. Most talented women who may as well make a difference in
influential boards and in public life are opting for professions weaved
around their families because of what Margaret Driscoll terms the
"inflexibility" of old professions. The result is what Sylvia Ann Hewlett,
an American economist, calls "the hidden brain drain". This inflexibility is
man-made and can surely be dealt with unless the society is convinced that
the effects of the hidden brain drain are not that bad.
I am convinced it is everyone's calling, from the bedroom to the
boardroom. We cannot afford to blame it all on culture or economy. While
Sadc leaders rejected criminalising marital rape, in Rwanda women are making
history by taking over the parliament. The Rwandan precedence means that we
can pass over from an era where we fight the fabric to a new era where we
have to change the fabric.
According to a study released on September 18 2008 by the UN
Development Fund for Women, in the past decade, more women have entered
politics than ever, now accounting for 18,4% of parliament members
worldwide. Much of the increase was driven by women realising
that they needed to attain power rather than just lobby for change,
rightly noted the woman who spoke at the ceremony for the study release.
We are not without hope that we can recover from the genocidal effect
of anti-women practices of the past and the present. Culture is not immune
to reform. If it can be done in Rwanda, it is possible in Zimbabwe.
By Dzikamai Bere
Thursday, 09 October 2008 19:34
THE haggling over the distribution of cabinet posts between President
Robert Mugabe and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC under the unity government
deal is a precursor to more clashes as the parties' differences come into
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and the leader of the smaller formation of the
MDC - Arthur Mutambara - have been deadlocked on the allocation of "key"
ministries since the agreement was inked on September 15.
Political analysts this week said even if the issue of cabinet was to
be settled, the road to implement the agreement would be bumpy because the
deal was built on shaky foundations.
The analysts said there were several areas of potential conflict in
the pact, especially between Mugabe's Zanu PF and the Tsvangirai-led MDC.
University of Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masunungure
said although he was optimistic the pact would stick, the key problem was
that it was "like a fragile flower, it needs very careful handling otherwise
it will break".
He said the issues of sanctions, land and external interference were
very sensitive, if not sovereign areas for Zanu PF, while matters related to
freedoms and liberties, political violence and security of persons and the
media were the major focus of the MDC.
"Attempts by the MDC to rationalise or streamline things related to
the first set of issues are likely to rock the boat," Masunungure said.
"Similarly, lack of progress with regard to the latter set of matters will
frustrate the MDC and lead to tension and even a break-up of the fragile
Senior law lecturer at the University of Kent at Canterbury, Alex
Magaisa, was of the opinion that the main point of conflict between Zanu PF
and the MDC would be on the various policies that the new government would
"The ideologies of the two parties are different and they will have to
work extremely hard to pull together otherwise there will be clashes at
every turn," Magaisa told the Zimbabwe Independent. "If Mugabe insists on
non-bookish economics, and the MDC seeks to return to the 'books', there
will be collisions."
He said Zanu PF wanted to maintain its grip on power and monopoly over
the state, but this would not work when there is another party which also
has a legitimate claim to space in government.
Magaisa said the battles over power, especially control of state
institutions like the police, army, central bank, public media and
parastatals, would continue.
"A key area of conflict will also be foreign policy - Mugabe will not
change his hostile stance towards the West and the West is unlikely to
change its hostile stance towards Mugabe," he argued. "Meanwhile, Tsvangirai
will try to build on his cordial relations with the West, which Mugabe will
see as a direct insult and threat. So, unless they find common ground and
thaw the relations, this conflict will blight the government."
Masunungure and another political scientist Michael Mhike agreed that
the West, which backs the MDC, was not happy with the land clause in the
pact that states that Britain is responsible for compensating former white
commercial farmers who lost their properties during the chaotic 2000 land
"There is little doubt that the Western axis is unhappy with the land
clause, but they also realise (or should realise) that going back to the
pre-2000 period is both untenable and dangerous," Masunungure argued.
"Rationalisation of the land question is the best they can hope for
under the circumstances. It is all a question of give-and-take and the
Western nations have to accept this bitter reality and I think they will in
the long run."
Mhike said the land question has been at the heart of the dispute
between Mugabe and the West and the unity government pact seemed to have
endorsed the line that Mugabe has maintained over the years -- placing
obligation at the door of Britain, the former colonial power.
"That the MDC is party to this part of the agreement must have come as
a bit of surprise, especially when you consider that some of the prominent
backers of the MDC were farmers whose property was forcibly taken during the
land reform exercise," Mhike said. "But I also think that the Western
countries realise that, realistically, things can no longer return to the
Mhike added that overall, the unity government agreement to Western
powers does not represent the "regime change" position they are pushing for
"They have to appreciate that unlike other states where regime change
has been swift the version obtaining in Zimbabwe may be slow and more
painful," he said.
The political analysts said how to implement national healing would
also be a source of problems between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai reportedly wants perpetrators of political violence to be
prosecuted while Mugabe insists on a blanket amnesty. Mutambara's party
recently said the three parties have to decide on national healing, but
insisted it must not be retributive and on the other hand government should
not be seen to be encouraging impunity.
Masunungure said national healing needed a collective effort by both
political and non-political actors, especially the church.
"Transitional justice is an unavoidable facet in this matrix, but this
cannot be undertaken in the short-term," he said. "Transitional justice is a
medium and long-term project."
Magaisa agreed that national healing was a process, rather than an
"Zimbabwe has not healed nationally from the days of colonialism and
the liberation war," he argued.
"National healing has to encompass a broad spectrum of issues and
should not be restricted to dealing with problems that occurred between 1999
He said there were other chapters in the history of the country - the
war of liberation and the Gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s - which needed
to be acknowledged. And issues arising, such as public apology, justice,
compensation, truth and reconciliation needed to be dealt with more
"A piecemeal or biased approach focusing on a single set of wrongdoers
simply recreates the boundaries of dispute, which does not help matters,"
But while the all-inclusive government deal seems fragile, the
analysts were agreed that since its signing on September 15, the country has
Mhike said: "The nation has clearly moved forward at the realm of
intention though not yet in practice. But even in practice, tensions have
dramatically subsided and the nation is no longer enveloped in fear as was
the case prior to September 15. The agreement has opened new opportunities
for engagement though the current impasse needs to be unblocked before the
momentum is lost."
Magaisa concurred with Mhike arguing that while the economic situation
may be getting worse, from a political standpoint the fact that Mugabe sat
down to negotiate and still shows that there is no other option other than
accommodation with the MDC was indicative of the changing times.
"This would not have been foreseen in March, let alone last year this
time. This is about change-management, which students of business will know
very well," he said.
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:03
THERE have been two critical developments in South Africa since the
fall of Thabo Mbeki two weeks ago.
Renowned cleric and Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he
might not vote in next year's elections. The second is that the ANC is not
only losing its parliamentary majority but that it has also sullied an image
it earned over the past 92 years as a principled liberation movement.
Tutu's announcement that he will not be voting is significant not
because of his single vote; it is its symbolism which is critical: that one
of the leading lights of the darkest phase of the anti-apartheid struggle is
so disgusted by the manner ANC president Jacob Zuma and his gang have so
abused the democracy for which the ANC fought for so long that people have
lost faith in its ability to offer moral and principled leadership.
That is the view of many senior ANC members who don't buy into the
ethnic arguments favoured by the Zuma camp to colour his political rivalry
with Mbeki or the neo-liberal polemics about Mbeki's despotism.
There are people looking more closely at the character and image of
Zuma and asking themselves whether he embodies the values with which South
Africa would want to be associated?
Such people worry that democracy has betrayed them; that it is failing
to deal with deeply felt moral and ethical misgivings about Zuma's
suitability to raise the stature of the republic. Zuma faces grave charges
of fraud, corruption, and racketeering. He was acquitted of rape but as ANC
leader he has pandered to the ANC Youth League as it threatens all the
nation's institutions which have made the exercise of democracy possible.
For people like Tutu, the ANC has lost its core values of ubuntu which gave
it a distinct identity.
(And where are the rich beneficiaries of the BEE programmes to defend
Mbeki's legacy? Reading through South Africa's major papers, you would think
all he ever did was invent HIV and deny its link to Aids.)
The advocates of a weaker ANC should be wary in their celebrations.
While it might be good for democracy, a divided ANC evokes memories of its
bitter and often violent rivalries with the UDF, IFP and PAC before majority
The big irony of a divided ANC is however that it has debunked a most
cherished axiom of Reverend William JH Boetcker in defence of free
capitalist enterprise, that "you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the
strong" or "help the poor by destroying the rich".
The Democratic Alliance and South African Communist Party, among
others, can be strengthened by a weakened ANC; the MDC can reap the benefits
of a divided and weakened Zanu PF as we saw in the March 29 elections; and a
majority of formerly marginalised Zimbabweans could only be empowered by
possession of natural resources rather than the "trickle-down" from a few
super-rich white commercial farmers. For in essence what is to weaken or to
destroy a dominant organisation or enterprise but to reduce or take over
completely its share of the market!
What lessons are there from Polokwane for Zanu PF and the MDC?
That leaders can be changed at congress if you have men and women with
spine. That decampaigning the party clandestinely can only lead to the
current "compromises" and "humiliations" which have come to haunt Zanu PF
and hold the entire nation to ransom.
Failure to have amadoda sibili rise up to challenge Mugabe last year
and the deepening schisms mean that Zanu PF has been so weakened it is
unlikely to survive as we have known it once Mugabe leaves the scene. Unlike
the ANC which still has a brave and identifiable cadre of heroes of the
struggle, we don't seem to have any such candidates in Zanu PF.
While Zuma may not be the best person for the highest office, the ANC
is not short of clear alternatives to meet the bill. Whereas in the ANC you
have men and women who can talk in their own right, in Zanu PF everyone must
speak for and on behalf of the first secretary of the party. As a result it
would be hard once Mugabe leaves for anyone to start trying to build a
credible profile in the name of Zanu PF.
The lesson for the MDC is also that you can capitalise on the
divisions in the ruling party to win elections if you are organised. Victory
does not come from apocalyptic prophecies of violence or electoral boycotts.
There is also a limit to what foreigners promising "financial bailouts" can
do; the turmoil in Europe and the US is a salutary and timely reminder that
those promising us heaven on earth and preaching the virtues of market
forces are no less fallible than we are.
The MDC also faces an invidious identity crisis in its relations with
the US. It is not about its leader Morgan Tsvangirai playing golf with
Ambassador James McGee, but its umbilical connection to the Republican
chariot, making it a two-faced creature, at once Republican and Democrat.
It is the MDC which should play the prosecutorial Democrat role by
raising the charge sheet against local Republicans over human rights
violations, service delivery, lack of food and power and calling for change,
yet it maintains a comradeship with the Republicans while Mugabe and Zanu PF
play Barak Obama and the Democrats. Is the MDC impervious to "change" taking
place in the US?
By Joram Nyathi
Thursday, 09 October 2008 21:01
THE announcement this week that the government is deferring the
writing of Grade 7 examinations to the end of the month epitomises the
unprecedented level of state dysfunction as a result of the political
paralysis that has affected the economy over the past decade.
The falling education standards are taking root when the country's
main political protagonists - President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF and the
leaders of the two MDC formations Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara -
are haggling over cabinet posts under the unity government agreement they
inked on September 15.
Among the objectives of the inclusive government once it becomes
operational is to revive the education and health delivery systems and above
all the economy.
The amount of work to hand is enormous for the proposed unity
government. The mess in the schools and in the health sector marks the low
point we have plumbed as a nation. The new government which has to start
from a point of immense disadvantage is required to make pragmatic and
timeous decisions to rescue the country from further collapse. But haggling
in the last three week does not inspire confidence. The failure by Zanu PF
and the two MDC factions to form a cabinet casts doubt on the ability of the
government to deliver for the nation. This fight for cabinet posts could be
a precursor to more battles ahead between the political players in the
The leaders are wasting valuable time on the allocation of posts
instead of focusing on key policy issues that the government will pursue
It scarcely matters who holds what portfolio when the policy of the
government is unclear. What they should be haggling over right now are
policy issues rather than which party holds which portfolio.
It's an unnecessary cosmetic fight which only gets prominence because
it is all about egos.
The two main parties (MDC-Tsvangirai and Zanu PF) are still
diametrically different on fundamental issues to do with land reform, the
running of local authorities, indigenisation and opening up of the economy.
The situation on the ground is desperate and it is selfish and potentially
fatal for our leaders to be involved in these attritional battles when
children cannot write exams, half the country is without water and
electricity and when companies continue to close daily. Common ground should
be found to move Zimbabwe forward. The interest of common people should be
respected more than positions in government.
Another future hurdle will be on foreign policy. Mugabe has
demonstrated that he will not shift his hostile stance towards the West and
would like the unity government to continue with his "Look East" policy - a
move the MDC would not countenance.
Tsvangirai and his party, according to their policy document, would
want to re-establish relations with the West hoping to attract the
desperately needed lines of credit, balance of payments support and foreign
The arguments around which party should land which post has been
reduced to simplistic levels which pre-suppose that individual ministers
will implement their respective party policies independently of government.
That is fatuous to say the least. Under the unitary scheme, the minister
will still be accountable to the Council of Ministers, Cabinet and to
Progress and development will be achieved through clear government
policy guiding the operations of individual ministries. The Minister of
Local Government for example cannot achieve much if portfolios dealing with
water and electricity are dancing out of tune. Equally, the Ministry of
Finance will be redundant if Agriculture, Industry and Mining ministries are
pulling the other way.
The haggling happening now could set a bad precedent for future
activities of government, especially in the implementation of policies.
Mugabe is still to be convinced that he bears some responsibility for
the state of the economy. He also still has to be convinced that the old
style of governance will not work in the current circumstances. He still
believes that his cabinet is more patriotic and nationalistic than any
candidate that may come from the opposition. He holds the view that
sovereignty is more secure if Zimbabwe remains under his control. He will
need to be persuaded that power can be shared without sovereignty being
But sharing power is not a simple game of dishing out positions to
individuals. It is shared responsibilities and achieving a common
understanding of the extent of the work to be done. It is conviction that
Zimbabwe is bigger than parochial and sometimes discredited party dogmas. It
is common sense.
Thursday, 09 October 2008 19:26
MUCKRAKER rarely bites the hand that feeds him, which is why the
largesse extended by the diplomatic community at national-day functions
mostly goes unremarked in this column.
We are grateful for what we get.
But the Republic of Korea's national day celebrated last Thursday
night was an exception. The generous hosts invited more than they could
adequately cater for and the result was a melée as hungry and parched guests
seized on the limited refreshments available. We will try and avoid the word
stampede but it was certainly a crush.
It was a hot night and the air-conditioning couldn't cope as hundreds
of people poured into Meikles' Stewart Room. Waiters carrying trays of beer,
wine and soft drinks were mugged as soon as they appeared. The food tables
looked as if a swarm of locusts had moved over them. No sooner was food set
down than it was devoured. People "sampling" the traditional Korean fare had
evidently come for dinner!
The speeches were mercifully brief. But deputy Foreign Affairs
minister Reuben Marumahoko chose this occasion to launch a gratuitous attack
on the independent press, accusing it of "discouraging" the populace by
criticising the inter-party talks. We should all rally round the political
accord, he insisted.
We wish Obert Matshalaga had been kept on in this job a while longer
instead of being parked in Home Affairs, the gulag for ex-Zapu members. At
least he wouldn't embarrass his hosts as the present incumbent felt
compelled to do with his clumsy remarks.
Don't these ministers understand that they are addressing audiences of
diplomats and business and civic leaders who don't share their
unsophisticated views of the independent press and who cringe as they
stumble over every line and nearly every word in their utterly predictable
and formulaic speeches?
Apart from asinine remarks of this sort, exactly what value does the
nation get from Marumahoko and other deputy ministers? Answers on the back
of a postage stamp please.
Echoing Marumahoko last weekend, we had the Sunday News telling people
they should not be "distracted by retrogressive media reports coming from
some sections of the gutter press whose agenda is to see Zimbabweans
perpetually at each other's throats."
This was somewhat rich coming from one of a stable of papers that
glossed over the atrocities committed by marauding gangs in the election
period and even pretended that the violence emanated from the MDC. Even now,
as parties struggle to open up the media to democratic discourse, we have
state papers unable to express a view without saying "We agree with
How pathetic! Have they once said they don't agree with President
Mugabe? Could they ever say that? But we liked the report in The Voice that
the president "unruffled the feathers of the Western architects of
imperialism". Who ruffled them in the first place?
Please, let's have less about "unruffling feathers", "retrogressive
media reports" and other nonsense such as "discouraging" the people and more
about who is really responsible for the shocking mess we find ourselves in.
Bread went up this week from $1 000 to $7 000 and nobody said a word.
But a rare word of praise for Gideon Gono this week for forcing banks
to reduce charges that were hiked to astronomic levels last week. They
reflected "arbitrary pricing practices devoid of any economic justification",
Indeed they do. The callous disregard for customers by banks which
pillaged people's accounts when they were unable to withdraw their funds is
one of the more disgraceful episodes of the current crisis.
Thousands were gathered on the pavements for days at a time trying to
access their accounts while the banks were busy helping themselves to the
funds entrusted to them. This was as unethical as it gets and Gono should
enforce his threat to deal with errant banks who are so flagrantly
The bankers argued they needed to keep their staff in the manner to
which they have become accustomed. Purleez!
The public should learn from this experience and confine their
holdings to those banks with the lowest charges in future. They also need to
find other ways to bank their money.
Can you believe some banks were charging $40 000 monthly
administration fees (Barclays) and $300 000 for a cheque book!
A letter published in the Herald on Tuesday suggested that there was
"no way a president who won a resounding mandate from universal adult
suffrage could be at par with an appointed prime minister who did not submit
himself to that process".
The letter, written by one Tinei Zata, reflects the official Zanu PF
line that the party "won" the presidential poll.
"Similarly Zanu PF by virtue of prevailing in the popular vote is
getting the lion's share of ministries," Zata says.
Zanu PF officials are on a mission to recover lost ground. That
includes misleading readers of the Herald. Zanu PF obviously didn't prevail
in the popular vote. The combined opposition won more seats. And it won
those seats despite the ruling party's electoral manipulation and violence.
All the levers of state power were placed at the disposal of Zanu PF. But
voters decisively rejected the party of failure and greed.
As for the presidential poll, there is hardly a country in the region
that recognised Mugabe's "victory" as a legitimate outcome.
Zata speaks for Mugabe's coterie of officials who are still in denial.
But in revealing remarks to the Central Committee last month, Mugabe spoke
of Zanu PF's "humiliation" at the polls.
"If only we had not blundered in the harmonised election we would
not be facing all this humiliation," he told them.
Who are we to believe? Suspect letter-writers or the president?
British ambassador Andrew Pocock makes some useful points in his
contribution to the embassy magazine, Britain and Zimbabwe. He says any new
administration must be committed to change that takes Zimbabwe from its
current insoluble crisis to a stabilised and reforming future. That will
require good faith, he points out.
"The Zimbabwe government has so far shown no good faith," he says.
"The terror campaign between the polls and the farce of June 27 stand in
The test of action, not appearances, is what is needed, Pocock says.
"To ask not what the new administration looks like but what it does.
Zimbabwe's friends -- regional and international -- will put this question
in the form of macro-economic reform, violence and human rights, the rule of
law, political space and free constitutional debate. Zimbabwe cannot emerge
from the blight of Zanu PF rule without international engagement," Pocock
says. And re-engagement will be determined by how a new administration
Here in the media, the Standard editor stands charged with publishing
an opinion piece by Arthur Mutambara which criticised the state and the
judiciary in the election period. The state is dragging its heels in pursuit
of these charges, thus ensuring the newspaper loses time and money.
Mutambara faces similar charges.
Anybody claiming Zimbabwe has a free press or that the Zanu PF leopard
has changed its spots should follow this case so they can see exactly how
far we have to go as a country in shedding the burden of repression. Above
all we must extricate the state media from the sinister clutches of the same
people who order the arrest of journalists and use their captive press to
attack Morgan Tsvangirai and others pledged to effect change.
How can we continue to harbour in our midst a media that is hostile to
change and believes the nation should be punished for supporting the
Now that the regime understands that it is impolitic to attack
Tsvangirai with quite the same gusto as in the past it has switched its
focus to opponents of the Castro regime in Cuba such as Amando Valladares.
His account of incarceration in one of Castro's prisons received wide
coverage after his release.
This is held up by Zanu PF publicists as an example of Western
hypocrisy at a time in the mid-80s when political prisoners in El Salvador
were walking around with video cameras recording evidence of "torture" of
their colleagues by the military regime. They were also able to organise
petitions from their jail cells.
Instead of us disputing these claims and counter-claims, it might be
useful to take a look at Kevin Woods' account of his detention in a Harare
cell. He was held in solitary confinement for five years, he writes, most of
it without clothes or a blanket. Appeals for his release by Nelson Mandela
fell on deaf ears.
Whatever we may think of people like Woods who organised the murder of
political opponents, the fact is his jail conditions were worse than
anything the Salvadorean regime could inflict on their captives. This was
not something that happened thousands of miles away in the Caribbean but
right here on our own doorstep. It was cruel and unusual punishment by any
definition. And it was not some previous regime. It was this one.
Don't you just pity Joseph Chinotimba?
In Saturday's Herald we saw a picture of the former City of Harare
security officer, commander of the chaotic land invasions which brought this
country to the point of begging for food, looking forlornly at some,
presumably, seriously vandalised aluminum irrigation pipes and fittings. A
sparse caption did not make it at all clear what the photo represented.
In Monday's Herald a picture-less story tells us the scarecrow
look-alike in his trademark ragged straw hat (now managing director of his
own security company) has had 100 aluminum irrigation pipes stolen from
"his" Mazowe farm.
Chinos, bringing a prickly tear to many readers' eyes, bleats that the
estate was just about ready with its winter wheat preparations and he
appeals to Gideon Gono to replace the missing pipes so the country can enjoy
the grain, of which he was confidently expecting a bumper crop.
Something wrong here, surely?
Winter wheat, as any professional farmer or indeed country dweller
will tell you, should have been out of the lands by the end of August and,
as summer has only just begun with a vengeance, it's far too early to begin
"prepping" for the next winter cereal season.
We wonder why Chinos' security company wasn't deployed to protect the
Mazowe farm's crop and moveable assets. Maybe the fact a humble security
guard is now on a mind-boggling and inflation-stoking guaranteed minimum pay
of $7,5 million for the first fortnight of October has something to do with
But if you under-insure, self-insure or don't insure, you must stand
your own risks. Chinotimba - probably banking on his dreadful reputation for
the gratuitous violence wrought on the dozens of white farmers he,
personally, so pitilessly dispossessed for his Zanu PF masters over several
years -- did not properly protect possessions "acquired", along with his
re-distributed land holdings, from a grateful party.
So why should the Reserve Bank (meaning you and me, the taxpayer) or
any other organisation make good his loss?
Especially when he unconvincingly alleges the stolen equipment was
being used to grow a crop which should have been harvested well over a month
before the claimed theft. As friends of ours on the loss adjustment side of
insurance would say: "Something smells very fishy here."
And, Muckraker adds, it isn't Mazowe bream fillets!
Thursday, 09 October 2008 19:21
IS it not amazing how parties founded on the platform of democratic
reform easily stray from the cause and adopt the methods and psyche of the
Events at MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's residence in Harare this week
On Wednesday the party called a press conference at Tsvangirai's
residence in Strathaven at very short notice, only to block journalists at
the gate because they did not have accreditation. I am informed that
security personnel at the gate pushed and slammed the gates in the faces of
journalists who had arrived without the required documentation, a Media and
Information Commission card.
The roughs said they had instructions from the top not to let in
journalists who did not have a card. The poor hacks, most of whom have been
denied accreditation by the MIC because they work for perceived hostile
media, pleaded in vain to be admitted into the press conference. Even those
accredited journos who could not produce the card were treated the same.
The incident is not only unfortunate but smacks of hypocrisy on the
party of the MDC which has advocated media pluralism and has often attacked
Zanu PF for closing media space. On Wednesday I spoke to a number of the
journalists who had been denied entry to the PM's residence. These are young
men whom I had also met on the road during Tsvangirai's campaigns prior to
the March polls. They were welcome to attend rallies in Masvingo, Mutare and
They were at the time considered useful. Their stories - gathered
under very difficult circumstances sometimes - were posted on news sites and
weblogs. They highlighted repression and the violence that gripped the
nation after the March polls. They told the Zimbabwean story to the world
and provided in graphic detail the beating of citizens in the name of
national sovereignty. The journalists, albeit unaccredited, were useful to
the opposition then. But yesterday's events cast a pall over the MDC's
Lest I am accused of crucifying the MDC on the basis of just one
incident, I will also refer to recent events when journalists were
reportedly beaten up by suspected party security at the MDC headquarters at
Harvest House because they were considered undesirables. But this week's
events are more egregious and inexcusable because they took place at the
residence of a party leader who claims to believe in diversity and
And also this is a party with an information department staffed by
former scribes who know most journalists, including those not accredited by
the MIC. In fact during Tsvangirai's road shows, one or two of the
unaccredited journos travelled in official vehicles of executive members of
Is the party also aware that the MIC -- which has continued to operate
despite various amendments to Aippa which renders it redundant - does not
even have stationery to produce press cards for journalists?
Anyway, since when has the party started to worship the idols of media
I do not want to believe that this is now the new order in the party
or that it is a sign of things to come.
This transitional period, notwithstanding the crippling delays in
forming a government, should be an opportunity for the party to demonstrate
that it is different from the Zanu PF way. It is only too easy for the party
to mimic traits of the oppressor.
Advice to the MDC is that it should not launch its tenure in
government on the same discredited rails travelled by Zanu PF which in 1980
quickly adopted instruments of oppression from the Rhodesian regime and used
them against the people in an independent Zimbabwe. The use of the Law and
Order (Maintenance) Act to deal with dissent in the post-independent
Zimbabwe is a case in point.
Currently, I am not convinced that the wording in Article 19 of the
agreement between Zanu PF and the MDC formations is enough to ensure that
there will be a sea change in the media environment to allow pluralism and
greater access to information. The danger is leaving instruments of media
repression intact and the new government conveniently forgetting about
exorcising the ghost of Zanu PF's totalitarianism.
But as media, we are watching this ball as closely as we have watched
it being miskicked by Zanu PF. Last month, I wrote in this column of the
danger of the MDC being invited to Zanu PF's orgy of debauchery by accepting
trinkets and trappings of riches in this impoverished nation.
Elsewhere in this edition we give an update on this unfolding saga.
The toys which have been dangled in front of the fascinated party officials
are too good to refuse. Did I spot the Speaker in a spanking new Mercedes
Benz S class behemoth this week? We cannot wait to see the scramble for
motor vehicles by MPs and the new ministers and of course the PM's
Thursday, 02 October 2008 19:25
WITH an allegedly "unified" government hopefully becoming functional
shortly, Zimbabweans and the world at large have an increasingly great
expectation of major policy changes to bring about an economic recovery,
gravely needed and very long overdue.
In the unity accord signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, a
few weeks ago, the three parties agreed "to give priority to the restoration
of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe", and recognised that the
"unity" government would necessarily have to "lead the process of developing
and implementing an economic recovery strategy and plan".
They emphasised their recognition of the role that would have to be
played by government in achieving an economic transformation by committing
themselves, within the signed agreement, "to working together on a full and
comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, which
will urgently address the issues of production, food security, poverty and
unemployment, and the challenges of high inflation, interest rates and the
Amongst the innumerable issues that must necessarily be addressed, if
economic recovery is to become a reality, is the urgent rehabilitation and
enhancement of much of the Zimbabwean infrastructure as is required for
effective economic activity. That infrastructural rehabilitation and
enhancement need relates especially (but not exclusively) to energy
generation and distribution, air, rail and road transportation, water
management and distribution, and telecommunications. Zimbabwe's resources in
these critical areas of supply of economic (and sociological) essential
needs are dismally debilitated and incapable of servicing current national
needs, let alone the considerably increased requirements of a future growth
The common denominators between the diverse entities responsibilities
for the energy, water, transportation and telecommunications service and
supply in Zimbabwe are that, save for two providers of cellular telephone
services, all such entities are wholly owned by the State. All those
enterprises are parastatals, none of them are meeting the present needs of
Zimbabwe, their infrastructures are aged, operationally grossly inadequate,
subject to horrendously frequent breakdowns, and far behind the
technological advances achieved and used in most other countries.
Many of those common denominators are by-products of others, foremost
of which are that all of the parastatals would, if they were private sector
enterprises, verge upon the criminal, with frequent incurring of debt
without reasonable expectations of servicing debt. That
under-capitalisation, compounded by lack of foreign exchange, hinders
infrastructural upgrades, let alone timeous and effective maintenance,
repair and refurbishment. The parastatals are also afflicted by ongoing
losses of skills (in common with most other economic sectors), and an almost
total inability to replace the lost skills, resulting in a continuously
increasing lack of requisite technological resources.
Yet another of the very major retardants of the operations of the
parastatals is that their managements are not accorded the degree of
decision-making autonomy and independence necessary for effective business
administration, control and development. Instead, pen-pushing civil servants
set upon empire building and preservation unduly intervene and impose
decisions upon managements. This is exacerbated by the extent that
government in general, and some ministers in particular, have over the years
utilised their authority over parastatals to progress governmental political
objectives or self-centred materialisation.
Admittedly, this sad state of affairs has in no manner been unique to
Zimbabwe, but is in common with not only prevailing conditions in various
other countries (and especially those operating as quasi-dictatorships), but
also was the case in the past in numerous first-world, developed economies.
Almost without exception, those countries as have successfully
resolved the ill-effects upon their economies, did so by partial or total
privatisation of those parastatals.
Such privatisations were very successfully effected in France (
inclusive of its automotive industries, rail transformation and
telecommunications), in the US over more than 70 years (inclusive of
immensely successful privatisation of media services, telecommunications,
rail transportation, energy generation, and much else) and, with a few
exceptions, in the United Kingdom, where the most pronounced successes were
in telecommunications, provision of utilities, and certain rail, air and
road transportation services.
For almost 17 years Zimbabwe has talked of privatisation, including
such intended action having been one of the planks of the Economic
Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) of 1991, and the establishment of a
Privatisation Agency in the late 1990s. Regrettably, to a very major extent,
the only action has been talk, rather than action of substance. There have
been a few very notable exceptions, and the successes of those exceptions
should be added motivants to government vigorously to pursue privatization.
The privatisation of Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Reinsurance
Corporation (Zimre), and Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd, as well as government's
partial disinvestment from some of its banking interests (ZB Bank and CBZ
Bank), evidence the merits of privatisation, whilst the failure of most
existing parastatals to service national needs is in sharp contrast to those
privatisation successes. Amongst the many that urgently need privatisation,
wholly or partially (but then at least substantially) are Zesa, Zinwa,
TelOne, NRZ and Air Zimbabwe.
If such privatisation would be on the basis of partial disposal of
equity to international strategic partners, partial disposal by equity
listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, and partial disposal to management
and employees of the enterprises, the entities would access much needed
capital, state-of-the-art technological inputs, new operational equipment
compatible with, and enhancing of, existing equipment resources, and skilled
personnel, whilst markedly improving prospects of retaining the services of
such competent management and staff as may still be in the employ of
Concurrently, government would be relieved of very considerable
direct, and indirect debt, and in some instances would even benefit from
fiscal inflow in exchange for its divestment from the parastatals, thereby
providing greatly needed funding to reduce, to some extent, government's
In addition, in some instances, Zimbabwe would also benefit from some
foreign exchange inflows, which are very greatly needed.
The time is now for government to discard the prolonged dislike of
parastatal privatisation (despite many pretences to the contrary), and
intensively, rapidly and effectively to pursue such privatisation, which is
very long overdue.
Zimbabwe's official inflation rate has surged to 231m per cent as the
opposition appealed to South Africa's former president, Thabo Mbeki, to rescue
the historic power-sharing deal he brokered last month with President Robert
Mugabe. Hyperinflation has contributed to widespread food shortages, prompting the
World Food Programme to launch an appeal yesterday to feed 5 million
Zimbabweans, some of whom it said are reduced to living on wild fruits. It said
more than 80% of the population was surviving on less than £1 a day, and nearly
half of all Zimbabweans were chronically malnourished. The latest official inflation rate, for July, is 20 times higher than a month
earlier. But independent economists who have accurately estimated the true rate
in the past say that inflation this month will run into the trillions. That has
forced the government to allow shops this week to begin accepting US dollars and
the South African rand, because the Zimbabwe dollar is all but worthless. Those shops still selling in local currency raise their prices two or three
times a day. Some price in "units" and display an ever rising rate of Zimbabwe
dollars per unit. But finding cash is almost impossible because the government
cannot afford to print notes to keep pace with inflation, and the bank limit on
daily withdrawals is far less than the cost of a loaf of bread. Millions of Zimbabweans now bypass money altogether and barter what they can
grow for other essentials. Others have almost no food, after another
catastrophic crop failure largely attributed to the economic crisis and the
seizure of white-owned farms. The WFP yesterday appealed for $140m to feed 5 million Zimbabweans, half the
population. "Millions of Zimbabweans have run out of food or are surviving on
one meal a day and the crisis is going to get much worse," said Mustapha Darboe,
the WFP regional director. The latest inflation figures and deepening food crisis will increase pressure
on Mugabe to stop stalling over the composition of a new power-sharing
government with the prime minister designate, Morgan Tsvangirai. The president
has insisted on keeping control of all key cabinet posts, including security
ministries such as the army and police, as well as the finance portfolio, even
though foreign donors have stressed that there will be no aid to revive the
economy unless it falls under Tsvangirai's control. Tsvangirai said yesterday that the talks were deadlocked and called for the
intervention of Mbeki, who was forced to resign as South Africa's president last
month. "We have asked him to come over and he has said he will come over," he
said. Tsvangirai added that he retained confidence in the agreement. "We are
confident about the potential of the deal," he said. "In the process of
implementation we have hit an impasse, but not on fundamental contents of the
deal." "Unfortunately no progress has been made ... to bring the Zimbabwean people
to the beginning of the path of recovery. Instead the economic crisis has
worsened. We now live in an environment characterised by hunger, starvation, and
we are days away from seeing people dropping dead on the streets." Mugabe signed what he called a "humiliating" agreement surrendering many of
his powers only because his government had no solution to the problems
afflicting Zimbabwe, and that has not changed. Its attempt to curb inflation
with enforced price reductions only drove trade on to the black market. The central bank removed 10 zeros from the currency in August after rapid
devaluation forced it to print Z$100bn notes that were worth only 8p on the
street when it was scrapped. But the new currency continued the free fall as it
dropped from about Z$100 to the pound two months ago to Z$2m to the pound last
week. Severe cash shortages had meant that many people could at least use
electronic bank accounts as a means of payment, using a parallel market rate.
But the government blocked such transfers last week, claiming they were used for
illicit exchange deals.
• People soon to drop dead on streets, says Tsvangirai
Zimbabwe's official inflation rate has surged to 231m per cent as the opposition appealed to South Africa's former president, Thabo Mbeki, to rescue the historic power-sharing deal he brokered last month with President Robert Mugabe.
Hyperinflation has contributed to widespread food shortages, prompting the World Food Programme to launch an appeal yesterday to feed 5 million Zimbabweans, some of whom it said are reduced to living on wild fruits. It said more than 80% of the population was surviving on less than £1 a day, and nearly half of all Zimbabweans were chronically malnourished.
The latest official inflation rate, for July, is 20 times higher than a month earlier. But independent economists who have accurately estimated the true rate in the past say that inflation this month will run into the trillions. That has forced the government to allow shops this week to begin accepting US dollars and the South African rand, because the Zimbabwe dollar is all but worthless.
Those shops still selling in local currency raise their prices two or three times a day. Some price in "units" and display an ever rising rate of Zimbabwe dollars per unit. But finding cash is almost impossible because the government cannot afford to print notes to keep pace with inflation, and the bank limit on daily withdrawals is far less than the cost of a loaf of bread.
Millions of Zimbabweans now bypass money altogether and barter what they can grow for other essentials. Others have almost no food, after another catastrophic crop failure largely attributed to the economic crisis and the seizure of white-owned farms.
The WFP yesterday appealed for $140m to feed 5 million Zimbabweans, half the population. "Millions of Zimbabweans have run out of food or are surviving on one meal a day and the crisis is going to get much worse," said Mustapha Darboe, the WFP regional director.
The latest inflation figures and deepening food crisis will increase pressure on Mugabe to stop stalling over the composition of a new power-sharing government with the prime minister designate, Morgan Tsvangirai. The president has insisted on keeping control of all key cabinet posts, including security ministries such as the army and police, as well as the finance portfolio, even though foreign donors have stressed that there will be no aid to revive the economy unless it falls under Tsvangirai's control.
Tsvangirai said yesterday that the talks were deadlocked and called for the intervention of Mbeki, who was forced to resign as South Africa's president last month. "We have asked him to come over and he has said he will come over," he said.
Tsvangirai added that he retained confidence in the agreement. "We are confident about the potential of the deal," he said. "In the process of implementation we have hit an impasse, but not on fundamental contents of the deal."
"Unfortunately no progress has been made ... to bring the Zimbabwean people to the beginning of the path of recovery. Instead the economic crisis has worsened. We now live in an environment characterised by hunger, starvation, and we are days away from seeing people dropping dead on the streets."
Mugabe signed what he called a "humiliating" agreement surrendering many of his powers only because his government had no solution to the problems afflicting Zimbabwe, and that has not changed. Its attempt to curb inflation with enforced price reductions only drove trade on to the black market.
The central bank removed 10 zeros from the currency in August after rapid devaluation forced it to print Z$100bn notes that were worth only 8p on the street when it was scrapped. But the new currency continued the free fall as it dropped from about Z$100 to the pound two months ago to Z$2m to the pound last week.
Severe cash shortages had meant that many people could at least use electronic bank accounts as a means of payment, using a parallel market rate. But the government blocked such transfers last week, claiming they were used for illicit exchange deals.
by Cuthbert Nzou Friday 10 October 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party on Thursday rejected opposition
calls for African mediators to help end a deadlock over the formation of a
unity government, plunging a September 15 power-sharing agreement deeper
Chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe's party Patrick Chinamasa said
there was no need at this point for ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki
who brokered the power-sharing deal or the regional SADC alliance that
mandated him to do so to get involved in the dispute over sharing of cabinet
"Our position is that we should continue negotiating until we reach a common
ground," Chinamasa told ZimOnline. "We will try to reach out to the MDC
(opposition party) so that we continue negotiations."
Chinamasa spoke after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai formally declared a
deadlock in the talks and said his party had approached the SADC (Southern
African Development Community), African Union (AU) and Mbeki for help to
break the impasse.
Tsvangirai said several rounds of talks in recent days between the MDC, ZANU
PF party and a break away faction of the opposition led by Arthur Mutambara
had failed to break the deadlock over distribution of ministries in a unity
government. The MDC leader said talks could not continue without the
involvement of Mbeki.
"We have declared a deadlock and therefore the process cannot move forward
except in the presence of the facilitator (Mbeki)," Tsvangirai said.
"We have communicated this position to the AU and to SADC as well as to the
facilitator and have confidence that our African brothers will do everything
in their power to ensure that this issue is resolved with speed."
Zimbabwe's three biggest political parties entered the deal following
parliamentary elections in March won by the MDC while Tsvangirai also
defeated Mugabe in a parallel presidential vote. The opposition leader
however failed to achieve an outright victory to avoid a second round
Tsvangirai withdrew from a June 27 run-off election in protest against
state-sponsored violence against his supporters and leaving Mugabe to win
the vote uncontested.
The West and some African governments refused to recognise Mugabe's
re-election and the veteran leader was forced to agree a power-sharing deal
that keeps him president. But he has to cede some of his powers to
Tsvangirai, prime minister in the unity government.
Mutambara will serve as deputy prime minister.
Tsvangirai said the power-sharing deal was still holding despite the
deadlock over Cabinet posts. He also said Mbeki had indicated that he would
soon travel to Harare although the opposition chief declined to say when
exactly that would be.
However the insistence by ZANU PF - which has also refused to acknowledge
that there is deadlock over sharing of Cabinet posts - that Mbeki should not
get involved raises questions as to how or when the dispute over ministries
will be resolved.
Crisis-weary Zimbabweans had hoped a power-sharing government would
immediately begin work to reverse an economic crisis that plumbed new lows
on Thursday when the government Central Statistical Office released fresh
figures showing annual inflation at 231 million percent, the highest rate in
A prolonged delay to form the unity government could eventually lead to the
fragile power-sharing deal unraveling. - ZimOnline
October 9, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - The MDC has abandoned plans to seek the prosecution of alleged
human rights abusers among President Robert Mugabe's top officials,
including the military chiefs.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the power-sharing agreement reached
between his party and Zanu PF on September 15 was primarily premised on
resolving the deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe and should not be
mistaken for "a witch hunt".
Tsvangirai was addressing journalists in Harare Thursday during which he
declared a deadlock in the current negotiating process while calling on SADC
Under the deal, the MDC has come under criticism for failing to stand for
thousands of Zimbabweans who were brutally killed by security forces and
vindictive pro-Mugabe militants out to defend the octogenarian leader's
iron-fisted grip on power.
More than 20 000 people have been killed since the Gukurahundi era in the
early 1980s when Mugabe unleashed his notorious North Korean-trained Five
Brigade troops to track down armed insurgents suspected to have been loyal
to then opposition leader and now late Dr Joshua Nkomo.
The power sharing agreement is silent on the prosecution of human rights
abusers, a situation that has riled human rights organizations and further
put to question Tsvangirai's supposed compassion for the victims.
The MDC leader feels the current economic problems affecting Zimbabweans are
already a handful and any effort to resolve them must not be hindered by a
parallel process to seek the prosecution of alleged human rights abusers.
"Let everyone be assured that in this agreement there is no witch hunt,"
said the MDC leader.
"We are not negotiating in order to have a retributive agenda. We are
negotiating so that people can work together to deal with the problems we
Tsvangirai feels there was no need to declare a blanket amnesty for human
rights abusers in the deal.
"My understanding is that we are negotiating a deal that is meant to satisfy
both Zanu-PF and the MDC," he said.
"The issue of amnesty has not arisen because there is no need for that. We
are negotiating as political parties, a settlement that is going to allow
MDC and Zanu-PF to work together in solving the problems."
The MDC leader, who is now Prime Minister-designate, endeared himself with
sections of the Zimbabwean electorate during his presidential campaign this
year when he openly said his government would prosecute human rights
His latest statement is a shift from that position.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has accused Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa of
being too preoccupied with blaming his party for the current impasse in the
talks at the expense of more critical issues.
Chinamasa told the press early this week the MDC was prejudicing the talks
by issuing public statement indicating lack of progress in the talks.
Chinamasa said this was both erroneous and a violation of the pledge of
secrecy stipulated in the talks by former South African President Thabo
Mbeki during his mediation process.
"The MDC is prejudicing the talks by trying to negotiate in public,"
Chinamasa was quoted as saying in the press this week, "That will not assist
the process. That's a sure way of collapsing the negotiations."
But Tsvangirai denies this.
"We don't negotiate in public," Tsvangirai said, "We only come to inform the
public as to the stage where the negotiations are.
"I don't agree with Chinamasa because Chinamasa is always in a blame game.
"This is not a blame game when people have no food and they are suffering.
Let's stop this blame game. Let's get on with the spirit of the agreement,
let's implement the power-sharing agreement, and let's be reasonable."
The MDC leader insists the public has the right to information on what is
taking place on the negotiating table and the cause of the delay in
concluding the process.
Chinamasa raised the ire of the MDC leader when he declared Mbeki should
keep his distance from the current impasse as the parties were still
negotiating among themselves.
"I don't agree that the negotiations have stalled," Chinamasa said, "They
will continue. I don't see the need for a facilitator. We must keep talking.
The facilitator is not going to run this country."
But Tsvangirai feels Chinamasa went beyond his limits as a negotiator.
"No party should hold the mediator to ransom," he said.
"There is no where in the negotiating process which says that the mediator
can only come into the dispute only on the concurrence of both parties.
"Once there is a reported deadlock, the facilitator has the right to come
and try to adjudicate. So in this case, Zanu-PF cannot stop the mediator
from coming if the other party says there is a deadlock."
October 9, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Hordes of villagers and so-called war veterans invaded eight
commercial farms in Masvingo yesterday , one of them owned by the former
provincial governor Willard Chiwewe, in a fresh wave of farm invasions.
The latest invasions have shocked even government officials.
The invaders, who targeted white-owned farms during the height of the farms
invasions back in 2000, are not sparing those farms owned by black
Zimbabweans whom they accuse of multiple farm ownership, such as Chiwewe.
Ganyani Farm, owned by the former governor and resident minister for
Masvingo, was yesterday invaded by villagers who immediately started parcel
out pieces of land amongst themselves.
The invaders vowed to remain on the property unless the former governor gave
some of his farms to landless Zimbabweans.
Chiwewe is a known multiple farm owner. While the government policy renders
ownership of several farms illegal, many government officials are known to
own multiple farms.
A spokesman for the invaders, who requested anonymity, said they had invaded
Chiwewe's property to show that the move was not racially-motivated, adding
that they want the land issue to be resolved.
"We know he owns many farms and our point is that we should share the little
land that we have," said the spokesman.
Chidza Farm owned by John Bolland was also invaded yesterday. The villagers
accused the white commercial farmer of racism. While the invaders drove
Bolland's cattle from the farm they unsuccessfully tried to evict him from
the farm house.
Chidza Farm specializes in cattle breeding and is so successful that it was
spared from acquisition by the government during the land reform programme.
Police in Masvingo yesterday confirmed the invasions in Masvingo East
commercial farming area and warned villagers from taking the law into their
"We are warning people not to invade farms since they know the proper
channels to follow if they genuinely need land," the officer commanding
Masvingo Assistant Commissioner Mekia Tanyanyiwa said ineptly.
"We have received reports that about eight farms have been affected. Some of
the farms are owned by blacks".
Zimbabwe's food production took a nose dive in 2000 when President Robert
Mugabe, with the backing of former freedom fighters and his supporters,
embarked on a land reform programme which saw thousands of productive white
commercial farmers being pushed off their land.
Since then the country has faced serious food shortages. Some villagers are
forced to rely on wild fruit and edible tree roots to survive.
The fresh invasions have shocked even government officials with the outgoing
minister of state security and land reform Didymus Mutasa expressing shock
over the move.
"I have not heard about that and it's shocking to hear about it," said