Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
...as presidium race is thrown wide open
THE ruling party's top brass will fight for survival at ZANU PF's tricky
extraordinary congress penciled for December as it emerged this week that
the four positions in the presidium would be contested ahead of next year's
Previously, the common understanding had been that only President Robert
Mugabe would have to battle to retain his post, which would earn him the
ticket to represent the ruling party in next year's presidential race whose
other contestants could be the two Movement for Democratic Change faction
leaders - Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
It has now emerged, however, that President Mugabe has successfully pushed
to have his two deputies, Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru (pictured) and the
national chairman, John Nkomo, who make up the presidium, do the same
Fresh details obtained this week show that since ZANU PF failed to reach a
consensus at last year's party conference held in Goromonzi, vis-à-vis an
automatic Mugabe candidacy, backers of the veteran nationalist have explored
the possibility of having elections for the entire presidency.
Instead of masterminding President Mugabe's exit, ZANU PF insiders say the
other members of the presidium would have to work flat out on their
continued survival at the apex of the party.
The Financial Gazette can report that lieutenants fighting in President
Mugabe's corner in the succession race have consulted a number of leading
lawyers ahead of the preparation of a final agenda for the special congress.
The group of "loyalists", is set to push through an agenda based on opinion
given by the lawyers that other members of the presidency should also seek
fresh terms, as all four were elected at the same time.
Earlier it had been suggested that the special congress had been called to
discuss a sole item on the agenda, interpreted at the time to be the
election of the party president and candidate for presidential poll next
year, which will run concurrently witih the parliamentary and local
Mujuru had been quoted by state media, while on a visit to Cuba, as saying
the special congress had been called to elect her party's presidential
But ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira hinted at a wider agenda, which
could include having all members of the presidency submit to elections.
A meeting of the politburo next week will discuss proposals on a final
agenda. The party's constitution says the central committee is responsible
for drawing up the congress agenda. The special congress will strictly
discuss only matters put down on the agenda. ZANU PF secretary for
administration, Didymus Mutasa, yesterday declined to offer any immediate
comment on the issue.
However, Shamuyarira told the ZANU PF mouthpiece, The Voice, that the agenda
would include the election of members of the presidium, as is the case at
any other congress.
"Election of the presidency in the past has been done through the provinces,
they are asked to identify candidates they want then the results from each
province are announced at congress," Shamuyarira said. "This special
congress will follow the same pattern."
Allowing elections for the two deputies' posts could stoke tensions even
further within the ruling party.
ZANU PF last elected its leadership in 2004, and the next congress was only
scheduled for 2009.
It was at the last congress that President Mugabe risked causing disunity
within his party by backing Mujuru for one of the two deputies' posts left
vacant by the death of Simon Muzenda. This was at the expense of Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the former ZANU PF secretary for administration who had secured
the support of the required six out of 10 provinces to bag the post.
But it now increasingly appears that it is Mujuru's position that is on the
line, with new alliances being formed to isolate her.
Remarks made in recent weeks by allies of President Mugabe have seemed to
Oppah Muchinguri, who has led the ZANU PF Women's League in backing
President Mugabe, was quoted last month as telling a gathering of members of
the wing that leaders who had been elected to champion the interests of
women had failed them.
And during a recent solidarity march in support of President Mugabe,
controversial war veteran Joseph Chinotimba appeared to aim some barbs at
Mujuru: "Who are you to want to be the President, when Mugabe, Msika, and
Nkomo are there."
Jabulani Sibanda, who is chairman of the war veterans' association and is
heading President Mugabe's campaign, this week, said he planned a "million
man march" in support of the President.
"Those who claim to be ZANU PF but refuse to endorse President Mugabe are
sellouts," Sibanda declared.
Recently, Sibanda laid bare the divisions in ZANU PF by criticising what he
said were "internal reactionary forces within our own party."
Msika, believed to have initially decided against seeking another term, has
been sending mixed signals about his future.
In a speech in Parliament after the passing of the 18th Amendment last
month, he alluded to his departure from the political scene, saying the
agreement between ZANU PF and the opposition was his legacy.
But a short while later, he said he would "soldier on until the day I am
buried in my grave".
Previously, he has said he would quit only when President Mugabe does so.
Mutasa, who has previously expressed an interest in being vice president,
this week, said he was "one of several people" lobbying for President Mugabe's
But the same senior ZANU PF sources report that to frustrate Mutasa's
ambitions, a ZANU PF faction opposed to him has earmarked Manicaland
provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu to challenge him for the Makoni North
parliamentary seat, should the party decide to conduct primary elections.
Chigudu is said to have held a number of meetings in the constituency,
"under the guise of performing his duties as governor", during which he is
said to have been sharply critical of the lack of development in the area.
Analysts, including former ZANU PF secretary general Edgar Tekere, told The
Financial Gazette that despite discontent within the ruling party over
President Mugabe's leadership, no one had "the guts" to stand against him in
Acclamation, as opposed to consensus, that is required for decisions taken
at the special congress, will also work in favour of President Mugabe.
The ploy was used to good effect at a central committee meeting in March
this year when Elliot Manyika, the ZANU-PF national political commisar,
smothered any debate on President Mugabe's future by leading songs in his
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
THE Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has been holding meetings with State
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of land reform, on the
eve of a court judgment today key to the future of the remaining white
While the negotiations are underway, Senate President Edna Madzongwe has led
a new wave of evictions, this week invading for a third time Stockdale farm
in Chegutu, which had been held by farmer Richard Thomas Etheridge, despite
a fresh court order issued last week barring her from the property.
A High Court judge ruled last Wednesday that Etheridge should be allowed to
stay at the farm pending a ruling by the courts on a challenge to a law the
government is using to force farmers off the land by barring them from
seeking redress through the courts.
However, on Tuesday, a group of 17 people working for Madzongwe arrived at
the farm to force Etheridge's eviction.
Madzongwe's actions are part of the new evictions to hit farms since the
expiry last week of a grace period for white farmers remaining on gazetted
Yesterday, the CFU held the latest of a series of meetings with Mutasa,
seeking protection for its members.
"The CFU has been meeting with Mutasa seeking, among other things,
protection for the remaining white farmers. But they appear to be hitting a
brick wall. Mutasa is digging his heels in," said a source privy to the
Mutasa declined to comment.
Today, Chegutu magistrate Tinashe Ndokera will decide whether 11 farmers,
some of an estimated 40 white farmers still clinging on to land, should have
their case referred to the Supreme Court.
The group was arraigned for allegedly resisting eviction from the farms.
The group was hauled before the magistrate on charges of breaching the
Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act.
Under this law, which repealed the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from
Eviction) Act, it is an offence to occupy or to continue to occupy land
without lawful authority after it has been gazetted in accordance with
section 16B(2)(a) of the Constitution.
But lawyers say provisions that bar farmers from approaching the courts for
redress are unconstitutional.
Ahead of the ruling, new invasions and evictions are continuing.
In earlier court battles, Etheridge claimed Madzongwe forcibly occupied his
farm in June after Mutasa had served him with a notice to vacate the
property by August 30. He successfully obtained interim relief from the High
Court, ordering Madzongwe to vacate the property.
"(Madzongwe) and all other persons claiming occupation of the property
through her and any other person not being a representative, employee or
invitee of applicant (Etheridge), forthwith vacate the property," the order
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
A SENIOR Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) officer has allegedly defied Vice
President Joseph Msika's orders to vacate a disputed farm in Karoi,
insisting he holds legal title to the land.
The case, which involves influential ZANU PF members, highlights the brewing
conflict between political leaders and senior army figures over land in
The local Member of Parliament (MP), Reuben Marumahoko and Chief
Kadzangarare are said to have reported the invasion led by army officers, to
Msika then wrote to ZNA Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, instructing him to
stop the officers from occupying the farm. But in spite of this, Major
General Nicholas Dube proceeded to occupy Grand Parade Estate in Karoi,
arguing that he had an offer letter issued to him in 2004 by the Minister of
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa.
The previous owner, Andrew Stidolph's application challenging the take-over
of his farm was dismissed by the High Court.
A letter jointly signed by chiefs in the Mashonaland West province to Lands
Minister Didymus Mutasa, recommending that 11 white farmers be spared, was
shown to The Financial Gazette this week.
In his application filed in the High Court on October 2, Stidolph sought an
interdict against the Ministry of Lands and Dube.
Stidolph states in court papers that, using members of the army, Dube
invaded his farm on September 21 and turned it into a virtual mini barrack.
"On that date a convoy of nine government vehicles summarily arrived at
Grand Parade, apparently to ascertain why it was that I was still on the
farm and why my son James had planted tobacco," says Stidolph.
He claims that Marumahoko had authorised his son to plant tobacco. But Dube's
lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa of Antonio and Associates, in opposing papers, said
Stidolph was relying on unlawful authority to claim ownership of the farm.
"He alleges that the MP for his area, Reuben Marumahoko had encouraged him
to stay on the farm amid assurances that he would be protected from
eviction. Marumahoko has been accused of protecting white farmers and
alleged instances of corruption have been cited in complaints," said
Justice Susan Mavhangira dismissed Stidolph's application, saying:
"Regrettably, many former commercial farmers in unlawful occupation of
Gazetted Land are now resorting to deliberate delaying tactics in order to
prolong their stay on their previous properties. It is clear, from the cases
before me at least, that farmers are deliberately overstaying the cut -off
HARARE lawyer Terrence Hussein has labelled George Charamba a "liar" and
threatened to sue the Information and Publicity permanent secretary for
defamation if he does not prove allegations he has made about the legal
Last week, Charamba, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, said Hussein, who
is representing a private company challenging the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH)'s monopoly, should be barred from the matter as he was privy
to certain confidential information after representing the government in an
On Monday, Hussein wrote to the Attorney General's Office threatening to
take legal action against Charamba.
In an affidavit for a constitutional application filed by Ndabenhle Mabhena
and his company, Manala (Private) Limited, challenging ZBH's monopoly on
broadcast frequencies, Charamba said it was unprofessional for Hussein to
represent the applicant in the matter as the lawyer had helped in the
crafting of the Broadcasting Services Act.
"It is surprising that Mr Hussein, for reasons best known to him, has
decided to exploit the information given to him in confidence and such a
thing should not be allowed as it gives rise to a conflict of interest of a
serious nature," Charamba's affidavit reads.
"Indeed, there is a serious conflict of interest in this matter and Mr
Hussein and his practice should recuse themselves, failure of which this
matter should be dismissed."
However, Hussein said when Charamba formally files a complaint against him,
as directed by the court, he would in turn provide the same court "with a
response that will show that the maker of those allegations has a propensity
for singing hopelessly out of tune for his supper."
He described Charamba as an "untruthful person."
In his letter to the Attorney General Hussein demands that Charamba
provides, within five days, "a copy of the retainer agreement for services
between Mr Hussein and second and fourth respondents (Information Minister
and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe); a list of court matters with
citations of the cases it is alleged Mr Hussein acted for second and fourth
respondents; the exact particulars of the confidential information Mr
Hussein has used in this matter that is detrimental to the second and forth
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
CIVIL servants' unions are under pressure from members after they accepted
salary adjustments that left earnings still below the poverty datum line
Cecilia Alexander, president of the Public Service Association (PSA), the
union representing government workers, has confirmed tensions remain high
despite last week's deal, which staved off a potentially crippling public
With the PDL estimated at $16.7 million by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe,
sources in the public service said civil servants, who started accessing
their salaries on Tuesday, are pressing their leaders in the PSA and the
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA), which represents the majority of the
country's teachers, to review the decision to abandon industrial action. PSA
and ZIMTA last Thursday agreed to call-off a strike after the government
tabled a 422 percent salary hike.
But teachers and other civil servants told The Financial Gazette that the
Salary Services Bureau, which runs the civil service payroll, had deposited
sums ranging between $10 million and $14 million as back pay, inclusive of
housing and transport allowances.
The new basic salaries are worth less than R200, which on Tuesday fetched
$16 million on the flourishing parallel market.
The PSA's Alexander said while they had decided to call off the strike,
which had been set to begin on Monday, government workers were still not
happy with what they were awarded. "We appreciate what the government has
done, but it is far below the PDL," said Alexander, adding that the PSA
hoped to engage the government again on salaries soon .
ZIMTA president Tendai Chikowore refused to comment on the issue, but
Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of rival Progressive Teachers Union
(PTUZ), said teachers were appalled by the government's offer.
"About 75 percent of teachers did not report for work this week because of
the peanuts that they have been given," said Majongwe. "We called off the
strike for the security of our members after being sold-out by our
counterparts in ZIMTA." PTUZ had demanded a monthly salary of at least $42
million while ZIMTA, like the rest of the civil service, demanded minimum
salaries in line with the PDL.
A sharp spike in the prices of most goods and services has greeted the
increment awarded to civil servants.
Transport costs have gone up by 50 percent over the past week, while the
price of beer doubled.
Majongwe warned of a renewed exodus of teachers, especially mathematics and
science teachers, to neighboring South Africa where they are in high demand.
"Our books show that we have lost over 2000 teachers to South Africa since
the beginning of the year. As PUTZ, we can foresee a situation whereby these
low salaries will drive out even more teachers and other civil servants."
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai is visiting the United States of America
to explain to supporters in the Diaspora why the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) supported the 18th amendment to the Constitution, party
Tsvangirai is accompanied by exiled former legislator for Chimanimani, Roy
Bennett, who is the national treasurer of his faction of the MDC.
Tsvangirai was this week scheduled to address a forum at St Thomas
University in Houston, Texas.
The MDC confounded even its staunchest supporters when it agreed to endorse
Amendment Number 18, which empowers Parliament to choose a successor to the
President should the incumbent retire mid-term.
MDC officials said Tsvangirai would use his visit to Texas to clarify the
party's position regarding the controversy.
The MDC leaders will also brief supporters on progress in its push for the
right of Zimbabweans living out of the country to vote. The Zimbabwean
Diaspora is estimated at four million.
The MDC is also pressing for a new Constitution to be agreed on after the
2008 polls. The opposition, which is conducting closely guarded negotiations
with ZANU PF, has demanded that Zimbabweans living in other countries be
allowed to register and vote in the 2008 polls.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction, said of the MDC leader's
latest trip abroad: "He is in Texas together with Bennett as part of the
party's strategy to keep the Diaspora informed on the political developments
in Zimbabwe. They will use the visit to also talk about the non-resident
vote as well as the post-Robert Mugabe era."
From Texas, Tsvangirai will travel to Europe before returning home. In an
interview with the Houston Chronicle on Monday, Tsvangirai compared Zimbabwe's
serious food shortages and economic chaos to the bloody conflict in Darfur,
Sudan, and called on the international community to prevent another similar
humanitarian disaster. "We are talking about real critical life and death
issues here," he said.
BULAWAYO - Council is to consider allowing residents to dig graves for their
relatives if they want to avoid the current delays caused by the shortage of
The council had contracted private operators to dig the graves but they have
not been able to meet demand as they are frequently deserted by employees
because their remuneration is too low.
The contractors have in turn argued that the fee they are paid by the
council is too low.
The contract to dig graves for the council was first
awarded to Simultaneous Investments in 2001. The company operated until
August 2004 and was not prepared to renew the contract.
Opassum Trading took over in September 2005 but it terminated its contract
in August because the money it was paid by the council was unsustainable.
Speaking at the full council meeting last week Stars Mathe, the councillor
for Cowdray Park, said the council should seriously consider allowing those
residents who wished to dig graves for their relatives to do so because the
delays they faced were too costly for them.
She said she had heard that some people were being asked to wait for as long
as one week before they could be allocated a grave.
This made the funeral very expensive as they had to keep the body in a
mortuary and feed mourners until the burial.
Mathe said some of the residents had pleaded with her to be allowed to dig
the graves themselves as this would take them a matter of hours and thus
help them save costs.
Executive mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said the council's management should
look into the issue and see how best it could be handled.
The council's executive committee had heard that none of the contractors
hired by the council had ever
managed to meet the demand
Their major complaint was that the bid price was quickly eroded by inflation
and as a result they were usually short of money to ensure quality service.
There were 805 burials in August up from 747 in July.
Following the departure of Opassum, the council had allowed its health
department to hire 50 people as contract workers to dig the graves.
As an incentive the workers were to be paid additional money per grave if
they exceeded the agreed number.
The council was, however, not able to recruit the 50 workers it needed
because the money it paid was not attractive enough.
Public health sector under-funding hits low-income earners hardest
THE future has looked bleak for two-year-old Tanaka Gunda since he developed
hernia early last year.
An operation could not be performed at the time, because he was yet to be
weaned from the breast.
Then just as Tanaka was ready for the operation, the local hospital ran out
But full of verve like all innocent young souls, he is not deterred by the
ailment. Yet, the more he tries to play, the more the bulge on his groin
"We have been going to Harare Central Hospital since July and been
repeatedly told that there is no anaesthetic and the operation cannot be
done," says Tanaka's mother, whose husband walked out on his family when the
child became sick.
"When I went back to the hospital last week, there were 40 other children
who had the same ailment and needed to be operated on. We were told to
continue phoning and enquiring, or buy the anaesthetic and other medication
The minimum fee for a minor operation performed by a private doctor is no
less than $22.8 million.
"My son has been going through hell and is not happy like children of his
age should be. I cannot afford a private doctor, as I am not employed. I
only came to Harare to have my son treated," she said.
Public hospitals are the only providers of affordable health services for
the majority of Zimbabweans.
But of late, as public health service delivery continues to crumble,
patients, save for those with life-threatening conditions, are being turned
away from hospitals across the country.
An acute shortage of essential drugs has resulted in public hospitals being
barely functional, at the best of times.
To confirm how grave the situation has become, officials at Parirenyatwa
Hospital in Harare recently put up a notice at the entrance urging patients
being admitted there to bring their own linen and even medication.
A worsening shortage of staff has deepened the quagmire.
A state doctors' strike, which has been on-and-off since last September, has
exacerbated the staff crisis.
Even as doctors toned down their latest strike threat to allow salary
negotiations to be undertaken, long, winding queues formed at hospitals of
patients waiting to be seen by the skeleton staff holding the fort.
Zimbabwe's qualified and experienced medical personnel have, over the years,
shunned the public sector because of poor salaries and have left in droves
in pursuit of greener pastures either in the private sector or abroad.
The recent breakdown of dialysis machines at Bulawayo's Mpilo Central
Hospital reflects the extent of the crisis and throws light on how
mismanagement is contributing to the decay.
The machines enabled more than a million people in the city to receive
life-saving treatment. The hospital also catered for patients referred from
Matabeleland North, South and Masvingo.
Fifty-four machines sourced three years ago by Vice President Joice Mujuru
through her private company, Dandito, are yet to be installed, due to
bickering between the government and the Swedish donors over their
In Harare, 10 of the 18 dialysis machines at Parirenyatwa, the country's
largest referral centre, broke down a month ago.
A kidney patient yesterday told The Financial Gazette that about 150
patients at Parirenyatwa were only getting an average of an hour on dialysis
instead of the recommended 4-6 hours.
"What is appalling is that patients are being told to import their own
dialysis equipment. A crisis is building and yet the government is not
allocating foreign currency to the health sector," the patient said.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, meanwhile, has been making promises to
tackle the crisis.
"We are working hard as a ministry to ensure that the two machines at Mpilo
are repaired while at the same time we want the 54 dialysis machines donated
by the Swedes to be installed and operational," said Parirenyatwa.
Problems of under funding in the health ministry mirror a wider economic
crisis in the country, reeling from an inflation rate of over 6 000 percent,
and needing to provide food aid for an estimated 4.1 million of people.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
ANGRY is a term used by Christians to describe the rage with which believers
are pursued by the devil, who is said to be indignant because his remaining
days are "too few".
But last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono used the
term to describe the country's unrestrained inflation, almost admitting it
had shattered his dream, and disturbed his song.
"I never dreamt that we would get to these levels of inflation," Gono, who
joked about the return of the three zeros slashed off the country's currency
last year, said.
"But I am not deterred," he went on, suggesting a deceleration of inflation
in the medium term.
But analysts are not convinced Zimbabwe's inflation is in a rage because its
days are "too few".
In fact, they said, inflation is likely to be prolonged by a habitually
profligate state, likely to increase its spending further ahead of key
elections next year.
"It's a delicate balancing act," said David Mupamhadzi, group economist with
the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), discounting any immediate
prospects for a slowdown in inflation because of "structural rigidities in
Zimbabwe is grappling with its worst economic recession in history,
characterised by runaway inflation, currently nearing 7 000 percent, and
acute commodity shortages - another recipe for inflationary pressure.
In his mid-term monetary policy statement last week, Gono, who has
previously likened the country's inflation to HIV, the virus that causes
AIDS, admitted the high levels of inflation were emanating from fiscal
overspending and excessive credit expansion.
Credit to the government recorded an annual growth of 6 553.5 percent, from
$81.5 billion in July 2006 to $5.4 trillion in July 2007.
The growth in net credit to the government from the domestic banking sector,
Gono said, was reflective of the government's increasing reliance on the
domestic market to finance the budget deficit.
This is against the backdrop of dwindling capital account inflows and
general underperformance of the country's productive sectors.
"As at the end of July 2007, cumulative government domestic debt amounted to
$ 8 050.3 billion. Treasury bills continue to be the main vehicle through
which the government is borrowing from the domestic market accounting for
99.4 percent of the total government domestic debt," said Gono.
Reflecting the reliance of the government on domestic funding for its budget
deficit, broad money supply maintained its upward trajectory, escalating
from 1 638.4 percent in January 2007 to a massive 17 073.1 percent in July
"Greater focus is being put in arresting further expansion of money supply,
so as to complement the supply side interventions underway," Gono pledged.
Apparently, he has promised to dole out huge sums of money to the productive
sectors at concessionary rates to spur productivity.
Previously, companies have diverted such concessionary funding to the stock
market, where returns have spectacularly beaten inflation over the recession
Gono slashed the interest rates under the Agriculture Sector Productivity
Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) from 50 percent to 25 percent.
Farmers also received a maize delivery bonus, "to deliberately promote the
viability of maize farmers", Gono said.
Tobacco growers, one of the only remaining foreign currency earning sectors,
would also receive delivery bonus schemes reflecting production costs and
reasonable allowance for favourable returns.
Gold miners had local dollar gold prices reviewed upwards, with backdated
increases for three months prior to the monetary policy statement.
Dairy farmers were promised a "tailor-made programme".
The farmers - who have now become heavily dependent on cheap fuel from the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe - would also continue to get the fuel, but
this time, Gono said, revolving facilities would be put in place against
which farmers would access fuel against contractual agreements to effect
charges against their future produce to pay for the fuel in foreign
Farmers producing targeted crops such as maize, wheat, soya and sugar beans
will be earning foreign currency under an import parity programme unveiled
Critics have warned against an early celebration, saying cheap funds would
not immediately translate into good harvests, or increased productivity.
Mupamhadzi said: "The biggest assumption of the monetary policy is that
availing funds at concessionary rates should result in an increase in
production, which should in turn improve supplies and dampen inflation."
"The availability of cheap funds could be a step in the right direction.
However, there are structural rigidities in the economy, which can adversely
affect the ability of companies to increase production in the short term."
The structural rigidities, Mupamhadzi pointed out, ranged from petrol,
diesel and coal shortages, power cuts and the flight of skilled labour.
But, Gono submitted, most critics were just spectators in a bullfight,
unaware of the hazards and the hard work of his office.
"It is only the bullfighter in the arena of the game
. . . who understands and fully appreciates the hazards of taking the bull
by the horns," Gono said.
And he has been in the ring with a "very angry and formidable" monster
called inflation for close to four years.
His South African counterpart, Tito Mboweni, was this week reported to have
described him as "brave" and likened him to good people who show "themselves
in action and not words".
President Robert Mugabe also praised Gono this week, describing his monetary
policy interventions as "too good".
"We thank you Mr Gono," Mugabe said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe's crisis has spawned a spectacularly rich class of citizens,
especially among the political elites and their cronies.
Meanwhile, Gono remains in the ring for the bullfight with that "very angry
and formidable" inflationary beast.
But when that thunderous roar of cheers is heard, will it be for Gono or the
scourge in the ring, long declared the country's "enemy number one"?
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
BY the time presidential elections are held next year, a decade would have
passed since the delivery of one of the most daring speeches in Parliament.
Dzikamai Mavhaire, now ZANU PF Masvingo senator, declared to a shell-shocked
House: "The President must go."
Mavhaire, who was a close associate of maverick former Justice Minister
Edison Zvobgo, made that statement, which incurred President Robert Mugabe's
fury, while moving a constitutional review motion in accordance with a
resolution passed a year earlier at ZANU PF's conference held in Mutare.
"One scholar I read just yesterday wrote many years ago that the 'problem of
presidency in Africa is that founding presidency ultimately becomes a
presidential monarchy," Mavhaire said. "We believe that we are not a
monarchy, we are a government. Honourable members will agree with me that we
must remain a democratic republic. What I am proposing is that the President
Seconding Mavhaire's motion, ZANU PF Mkoba Member of Parliament (MP) at the
time, Frederick Shava, urged President Mugabe not to seek re-election,
saying it was not proper for the President to continually "succeed himself."
Shava said: "I think it is important that we do not turn individuals into
institutions by prolonged longevity of their terms of office.I feel that it's
important that we give a final period to this office of President."
A month later, on March 26 1998, Cyril Ndebele, then Speaker of Parliament,
disclosed that Vice President Joseph Msika, who was chairman of ZANU PF's
disciplinary committee that year, had told him that President Mugabe had
been "greatly angered" by his (Ndebele's) failure to censure Mavhaire for
In the end, Mavhaire paid a heavy political price. He spent years out in the
cold, only finding his way back into the fold last year through the Senate,
the seat of grateful and cowed politicians.
Shava also spent years in the political wilderness. He is now Zimbabwe's
ambassador to China.
Nearly 10 years after the historic debate sparked by Mavhaire's motion,
pressure is again mounting on President Mugabe from within his party and
externally to pass on the Presidential baton.
World headlines proclaiming "Mugabe's endgame", particularly after the
battering of his political opponents in March, have suggested an imminent
departure for the veteran leader.
But after about 50 years of outmaneuvering his opponents, is it likely, as
many reports suggest, that the December special congress of ZANU PF holds
some surprise that could end his rule?
President Mugabe is a shrewd political schemer, as underscored by his
ability to have prevailed so far when governments elsewhere have failed to
survive lesser economic crises than that seen in Zimbabwe over the past
All who have challenged the Zimbabwean head of state since 1980 have fallen
by the wayside, or have seen their influence diluted in compromise deals
that always left President Mugabe stronger: Abel Muzorewa, Joshua Nkomo,
Ndabaningi Sithole and Edgar Tekere.
Even Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
challenged the President in 2002, was almost toppled as leader of the
opposition two years ago over his strategy on participation in elections, a
row that resulted in the MDC splitting and strengthening President Mugabe's
In the rough and tumble of international politics, President Mugabe has also
avoided what his critics anticipated to be certain trouble from the Southern
African Development Community, and kept former United Nations Secretary
General Koffi Annan at bay although the UN boss was under pressure to act on
Any censure from these two sources would have spelt doom for the President's
With all this history, is there a possibility that President Mugabe faces
his waterloo in December?
Tekere, a former ally and now strident critic, on Monday said opposition to
President Mugabe's candidature within ZANU PF was weak, and that his
archrival had a clear run to the next polls.
"Opposition to (President) Mugabe within the party is weak and incoherent.
(President) Mugabe is like the person who climbs up a tree and says 'I will
never come down'," Tekere said.
There are two reasons why President Mugabe will be retained, according to
Tekere: his patronage system, and his fear of prosecution for alleged human
"There are so many people in ZANU PF who say if (President) Mugabe goes I
will be finished. Some of those who were appointed as ministers deserve to
be garden boys, but keep those posts through patronage," Tekere said.
The one-time ZANU PF secretary general said there was "mammoth corruption"
in the country involving those in influential positions, people who do not
wish to lose those benefits. To Page 42
Accounts of the Parliamentary debate of 1998 sparked by Mavhaire's remarks
show concern over the patronage system is not new.
Former ZANU PF Mutare South MP, the late Lazarus Nzarayebani, cited it as
the reason a group of legislators was attacking Mavhaire for calling for
President Mugabe's resignation.
Aeneas Chigwedere, then Hwedza MP, told Parliament that Mavhaire had been
pursuing "politics of regionalism", and accused him of wanting to use
legislators as pawns in ousting President Mugabe.
However, Nzarayebani lashed out at Chigwedere, calling him a "mad man"
seeking to be noticed so he could be appointed to Cabinet. Sure enough,
Chigwedere was later appointed Minister of Education.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure agrees with Tekere's assessment of what
is likely to happen at congress.
"I have no doubt, I am almost definite, very confident that he will sail
through almost effortlessly," Masunungure said.
He said President Mugabe's "storm-troopers" - war veterans, chiefs, the
women's league and the youths - were working flat out to ensure there would
be no opposition.
He said war veterans, led by Jabulani Sibanda, could well have been promised
more lucrative benefits if their patron won.
"Those opposed to Mugabe may not even get the opportunity to make their
candidacy known," said Masunungure. "They certainly would be victimised (if
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
BERTHA Chimandi, a housewife and mother of three, enjoys preparing food for
her two primary school daughters, but it is making that food during the late
hours of the night that bothers her.
Almost every day of the week, power supplies to her residential area in
Mufakose are cut off by the country's power utility.
The frequent power outages have caused Chimandi and her family an unbearable
nightmare: because half the time power is restored late at night, she has to
wake up and start preparing food for her daughters' breakfast the following
morning, and for lunch packs to carry to school.
"I have no choice but to wake up at these odd hours to prepare food for the
children. Otherwise by the time I wake up in the morning there won't be any
electricity. This is just too taxing," Bertha grumbles, frowning with
Her plight epitomises that of millions of Zimbabweans who have to contend
with countrywide power blackouts by power utility ZESA that have left
households and industry metaphorically groping in the dark.
The frequent power outages, caused by the declining capacity of ZESA's aging
power plants, and diminishing power imports due to the scarcity of foreign
currency, are taking an unprecedented toll on the manufacturing industry,
the farming community and other business sectors already grappling with a
severe economic crisis now in its seventh year.
Hardest hit are miners, who have been failing to cash in on a boom in global
mineral and metal prices because of production constraints, worsened by the
Although Zimbabwe is endowed with vast mineral reserves, such as platinum,
gold, diamonds and coal, the erratic power supplies are increasingly
hampering production at the country's mines.
"It is affecting mines seriously and production is grinding to a halt," says
Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa.
Murehwa says miners were spending most of their production time mopping up
flooded mines, filled by underground water when pumps stop running because
of the power cuts.
"Rather than producing, mines are spending time pumping out flooded mines.
It is a horrible situation and we are losing revenue," Murehwa says.
To underscore the dismal performance of the country's gold mining sector,
once the mainstay of the mining industry, gold deliveries to Fidelity
Printers and Refiners declined by 24.2 percent from 6.6 tonnes during the
period January to August 2006 to 5 tonnes during the comparative period in
Besides miners, the country's embattled industrialists are grappling with
reduced operational capacity, also largely precipitated by the daily power
cuts but exacerbated by foreign currency shortages.
"The damage they (power cuts) are causing is so significant. You can't talk
of manufacturing without power. Energy is the backbone of the manufacturing
industry," says Callisto Jokonya, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe
ZESA chief executive officer Ben Rafemoyo blamed the frequent power cuts on
unreliable supplies from regional power utilities.
Rafemoyo disclosed that Mozambique's Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa had
recently reduced power supplies to ZESA to 100MW from 300MW.
"We are concerned about the power supply situation, (which) is a combination
of coal shortages, plant availability and the impact of reduced access to
imports," Rafemoyo said.
He said locally generated power would only increase around December after
refurbishments at its Hwange Power Station, backed by Nambia's power
utility, which has lent ZESA US$40 million for the programme.
Economic analyst Daniel Ndlela warned that in the absence of meaningful
investment in the energy sector, the country's industrial sector might
"The power shortage is going to continue because we are not paying regional
suppliers. We are bound to continue with power cuts as long as we manage the
crisis this way," Ndlela said.
Besides electricity cuts, Zimbabwean miners and industrialists are under
pressure from increasing operating costs, which have been influenced largely
by rampant inflation, currently at close to 7 000 percent year on year.
RETAILERS have reported an improvement in commodity supplies after a chaotic
government crackdown on businesses triggered commodity shortages and
resulted in empty supermarkets shelves.
Retailers have since July been battling to restock after manufacturers cut
down on production, citing raw material shortages and viability constraints
triggered by a government blitz on companies that forced prices down by at
least 50 percent.
Willard Zireva, the chairman of the Retail Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ),
told The Financial Gazette this week that retailers had recorded an increase
in product supplies from manufacturers.
"There has been an improvement, which is noticeable. We now have more
products to sell than we had before," Zireva said.
Zireva, also the chief executive officer of OK Zimbabwe, one of the country's
leading supermarket chains, said he was hoping the improvement in supplies
would be sustained.
"As distributors, we have spoken to suppliers who have indicated that they
are seeing an improvement as well," said Zireva.
The RAZ boss, who fell victim to the price blitz after he was arrested in
July for allegedly flouting the government enforced price freeze, said goods
were selling fast because of panic buying by consumers.
Under the price crackdown launched mid-July, several business executives
were arrested and charged with violating the price control laws.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono has labelled the blanket price cuts
irrational and a threat to business viability.
Gono last week pledged to ensure that basic commodities would soon be
available on the market after promising producers concessionary funding to
spur production and improve output.
But that pledge has been met with scepticism in the market.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
THOUSANDS of farmers got a shot in the arm this week after the government
moved in for the second time in four months to address the critical shortage
of farm equipment, which was weighing down its agrarian reforms.
Under the programme, launched on Monday, small-scale farmers received 50 000
animal-drawn ploughs, 70 000 animal-drawn harrows, 70 000 knap-sack
sprayers, 45 000 scotch carts, 20 000 animal drawn cultivators and 1 000
Farmers under the commercial A2 farm model will share a total of 1 200
tractors, 50 combine harvesters, 800 ploughs, 800 disc harrows, 300
planters, 200 boom sprayers, 200 fertilizer spreaders and 200 hay balers.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said eight
further phases of the programme would be launched until 2010.
The programme, Gono said, is meant to end Zimbabweans' penchant for talking
"For a long time, there has been a void of practical and sensible
interventions, and instead, what we have seen are eloquent problem
descriptions, excellent excuses for doing nothing, and very limited
proffering of workable solutions," he said. "Where solutions have been
proffered, no implementation took place," added the RBZ boss.
President Robert Mugabe, who was the special guest of honour, said the
programme would end what he said was Zimbabwe's position as the "laughing
stock" of the region.
"Without doubt, the equipment and implements I have just enumerated will
further increase the capacity of our farmers in a way that should
realistically move us closer to government's vision of a Zimbabwe that is
more than self-sufficient in food security," President Mugabe said.
But critics fear the phenomenon of the "cell phone farmer", the endless
chaos on the farms and worsening power shortages could torpedo government's
The availing of farm equipment has been undertaken against the backcloth of
declining agricultural production in the past seven years, which government
critics attributed to the fast-track land reform exercise.
But political analysts and agricultural experts who spoke to The Financial
Gazette this week said while President Mugabe's passionate plea to the new
farmers to up production was important in light of the serious food
shortages, continuing farm invasions - which have worsened over the past two
weeks - and the entry of part-timers into the sector, would wreck any
chances of a real revival.
President Mugabe, aware of criticism that the programme is an extension of
his patronage system ahead of polls next year, said even his opponents stood
to benefit: "Whether you are ZANU PF or MDC, tose tinodya (we all eat)
Renson Gasela, opposition Movement for Democratic Change shadow minister for
agriculture, who attended the launch, said the mechanisation programme, if
run properly, would raise production. But he warned that the exercise could
be dealt a body blow by absentee landlords and continuing invasions.
"As long as we allow invasions and give implements to cell phone farmers, we
are in trouble; production will not increase significantly," he said.
Eldred Masunungure, professor of political science at the University of
Zimbabwe, said while a political dimension could not be ruled out with
elections on the horizon, there was urgent need to retool
farms, many of which were stripped of equipment by both white farmers and
invaders at the height of the land seizures.
"It is laudable that President Mugabe is seen to be addressing the
de-mechanisation on the farms, but this is only but one dimension of solving
the multifaceted problems bedeviling the sector," he said.
"The country needs to address the chaos that we read about every day playing
out on the farms. As long as we have disruptions on the properties, his plan
to increase production by supplying implements could come to nought."
Experts said Zimbabwe's ability to secure enough power to irrigate crops, in
the event of poor rainfall, would determine the season's success.
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo earlier this year said the winter wheat
crop had been written off after power cuts disrupted irrigation of the
Last week, Mozambique announced it was cutting power supplies to Zimbabwe
because of an unpaid debt.
Gono noted this concern when he said key to farm recovery would be the
guaranteed supply of inputs such as seed, fertiliser, fuel and chemicals,
whose provision he pledged to help improve.
A response offered by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to a
consumer's complaint, which was published in the letters section of the
September 27-October 3 issue of The Financial Gazette shows that in the
prevailing anything-goes malaise within the country, inefficiency is now
proudly brandished as a valid excuse for shoddy service.
In replying in last week's issue, to Lovemore Magaso's complaint that ZESA
was fleecing consumers through unjustified electricity disconnections, the
power utility's Corporate Communications Department exposed a serious lack
of strategic and innovative thinking at the Authority in times of crisis.
ZESA's self-congratulation and exoneration for failing to send bills to
consumers timeously shows that the managers do not subscribe to the
principle that "the customer is king", which President Robert Mugabe
stressed at Harare International Airport when he arrived from New York last
Magaso's complaint that the power utility rushes to disconnect power
supplies despite the fact that it would not have sent the hapless consumers
the latest bills is echoed by millions throughout the country. As a result,
ZESA's attempt to trivialize Magaso's complaint by implying that he, as a
consumer, is to blame for not receiving a statement of his account on time
is a pathetic attempt to shift the blame for inefficiency at the parastatal
The Corporate Communications Department gave a number of lame excuses to
justify ZESA's failure to manage its billing system efficiently. Chief among
these, we are told is the cost factor. What exactly does that mean? Are we
being told that consumers must be penalised for the paper shortages,
technical faults and postage costs the department cites as some of the
constraints causing delays in the mailing of bills? If it is the case that
ZESA can no longer afford to send out bills and expects consumers to be
either soothsayers or waste long hours in queues to inquire about their
accounts, why does it still need all those millions of employees in its
It stands to reason that if ZESA has abolished some functions in its billing
system, there should be a corresponding reduction in staff and the consumer
should not be burdened with paying for a redundant bureaucracy. In fact, if
ZESA is no longer sending bills because of paper shortages and the high cost
of postage, the savings should benefit the long suffering consumers in some
form. What form, the Corporate Communications Department may ask. One main
benefit should be that just as ZESA expects consumers to bear with it with
regard to the constraints it is facing, it should be equally accommodating
ZESA's vindictive rush to disconnect consumers' power supplies when it knows
it is the one that fails to send out bills on time is unjustified. It is the
responsibility of managers to realise that they have to come up with
innovative ideas to cope in crisis situations. They must be able to use the
available resources to maximum effect to make up for systems that are no
longer effective. ZESA management needs to start doing this if it is to
dispel the widespread perception that its frenzied electricity
disconnections are a fund-raising ploy.
In order to cut off the electricity supplies of consumers who are penalised
despite ZESA's admission that its billing system is shambolic, the Authority
has armies of workers who visit the residences of alleged defaulters to
effect the disconnections and deliver relevant documents. These teams visit
affected households not once, but twice, first to disconnect and then to
reconnect electricity once the poor consumers have coughed up the hefty
financial penalties. ZESA allocates resources in terms of fuel and man-hours
for these work gangs to go out every day to perform a negative function -
depriving consumers of an essential service.
Why can't the ZESA management turn the problem into a public relations
opportunity and a win-win situation? Have the power utility's managers ever
heard of thinking out of the box? Instead of sending teams out into the
community to disconnect electricity and then back again to reconnect, why
not have these employees deliver bills? It makes far much better sense to
let the hundreds of workers who drive out everyday to deprive customers of
an essential service perform a more positive role and enable consumers to
pay their bills on time.
The suggestion by the Corporate Communications Department for consumers to
use its e-billing facility can only complement an established and sound
system, not replace it. But even then, the truth is that the overwhelming
majority of households do not have access to computers and the internet.
Those who have these facilities in their homes cannot use them sometimes for
weeks on end because of the frequent power outages that are not related to
the non-payment of bills.
The conditions that the power utility expects consumers to abide by as
stated on the official ZESA billing forms are unnecessarily punitive
considering that the parastatal cannot even meet its part of the accounting
bargain as expected in any business transaction. One of the conditions is:
"Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority reserves the right to issue interim
electricity accounts or accounts based on average consumption for various
reasons e.g. faulty meters, locked premises where consumers are consuming
power and other factors." The final condition on the page is a threat that:
"Electricity supplies will be disconnected at any time without further
notice if account remains unpaid after due date."
What ZESA does not state under those conditions is why the onus should be on
consumers to guess what they should pay when it is the utility's
responsibility to present statements detailing consumption. ZESA has a legal
obligation to deliver bills to consumers and as long as it has not decided
to forgo payment it should not try to shirk this responsibility by citing
shortages and the inability of the postal service to deliver mail on time.
That is none of the consumers' business.
The ZESA management should come up with alternative ways of getting bills to
consumers instead of spending their days twiddling their toes in their
air-conditioned offices. Managers are paid to think and steer the operations
of the parastatal in an accountable and transparent and efficient manner.
They have no right to earn their lucrative salaries for throwing their hands
into the air and victimizing the people they are supposed to serve .
An efficient billing system is one of the basic principles of accountability
and good corporate governance. But if, as it seems, ZESA is quite happy to
pass the buck and force consumers to pay for its failure to meet this basic
business obligation, then God help us all.
Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
THE latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TICPI)
shows that African countries are among the most corrupt in the world, with
only one, Botswana, featuring in the top 50 "cleanest" nations.
The TICPI defines corruption as "the abuse of public office for private
gain" and measures the incidence of corruption among a country's
politicians and public officials.
Thirty countries out of the total 193 nations of the world are not included
in the survey due to a lack of sufficient data.
A score of 10 means a country is squeaky clean while 5.0 is considered
the borderline figure
distinguishing countries that do not have a serious problem from those
experiencing an epidemic of the cancer.
In the latest ratings, countries such as Algeria, India, Japan, Lebanon,
Mauritius, Slovenia, etc, are shown to have improved their ratings although
most still scored well below the median 5.0. The United States is among
countries whose ratings have dropped during the survey period despite having
a score of 7.3.
The list shows that the cleanest countries in the world with an almost
perfect score of 9.6 each are Finland, Iceland and New Zealand followed by
Denmark (9.5), Singapore (9.4) Sweden (9.2) and Switzerland (9.1).
The next rung consists of Norway (8.8) Australia and Netherlands (both 8.7),
Austria, Luxembourg and United Kingdom (all
8.6). Canada scored 8.5, Hong Kong 8.3, Germany 8.0 and Japan 7.6.
France and Ireland are tied at 7.4.
Superpower the United States is in a three-way tie with Chile and Belgium at
7.3. The only other country to have once held superpower status, Russia,
languishes at the bottom of the corruption heap with a score of 2.5 the same
performance as Nepal, Benin, Gambia, Guyana, Honduras, Phillipines, Rwanda
The least corrupt country in Africa is Botswana although it is rated only
just above the borderline mark at 5.6 falling in the same category as
Botswana performs better than Africa's economic powerhouse, South Africa,
which has a score of 4.6 and ties with Tunisia.
The gravity of the
problem of corruption in Africa is underscored by the fact that only
Botswana features in the top 50 least corrupt countries at slot number 37.
South Africa and Tunisia are 51st on the list.
The country with the fastest growing economy in the world, China is,
however, also one of the most corrupt, recording a score of 3.3.
It is in a 10-way tie with Brazil, India, Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, Peru, Saudi
Arabia and Senegal.
Zimbabwe with a score of 2.4 is in an eight-way tie with Burundi,
Azerbaijan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Transparency International rates Haiti with a score of 1.8 as the most
corrupt country in the world.
The most corrupt countries in the world in the one to 10 slots (more on the
list because of ties) are: Haiti, Myanmar, Iraq, Guinea, Sudan, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Chad, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Equatorial Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire,
Cambodia and Belarus.
Rwanda, which has one the most tragic recent histories because of the 1994
genocide in which more than one million people were butchered, fares better
than some other African countries with its ranking of 2.5.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, seems to be unfairly saddled
with the image of being the most corrupt nation on the continent. With a
score of 2.2, it is tied with Sierra Leone, Angola, Congo Republic and
Some countries such as Afghanistan, Liberia and Somalia are not included in
the ratings because of lack of adequate data.
The 10 most corrupt heads of state in the world who have stolen up to US$35
billion from their nations are also rated.
Top of the list is former Indonesian president Mohamed Surhato who is
believed to have embezzled between US$15 and US$35 billion.
The list includes some dictators who are now deceased such as Ferdinand
Marcos of the Philippines, Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Jean Claude
Duvalier of Haiti.
Africa is represented on the list by former strongmen Mobutu Sese Seko of
the former Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) and Sani Abacha of
Mobutu is said to have looted more than US$5 billion during his 32 years of
autocratic rule while Abacha plundered from his nation's coffers to the tune
of US$2.5 billion in a much shorter period.
The fact that there are currently no incumbent African heads of state on the
list does not mean that the pillaging has abated.
According to recent press reports, the World Bank estimates that about US$40
billion is stolen from Africa by corrupt leaders every year and is stashed
in foreign bank accounts.
It is estimated that about 25 percent of the gross national product of most
African countries is lost this way.
The World Bank (WB) and the United Nations recently announced the setting up
of a system to help developing nations, including those in Africa, recover
assets stolen by corrupt leaders and secretly sent overseas.
"There should be no safe haven for those who steal from the poor", says WB
president, Robert B Zoellick, who is spearheading the project in
collaboration with United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
GOVERNMENT'S plans for an ambitious economic revival programme, to run well
after presidential and parliamentary election in March next year, could
still fail to inspire an economic rebound due to traditional hurdles that
have resulted in the failure of previous reform programmes, analysts said.
The Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS), the successor to the
National Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) to be launched
between 2009 and 2013, is still at the formulation stages.
But a transitional economic programme to run during the election year will
be put in place while the finer details of ZEDS are being worked out,
Economic Development Minister Slyvester Nguni said last week.
Nguni said ZEDS would be a medium term strategy, integrating macroeconomic,
structural, sectoral and social considerations to lay out a set of wealth
creation and poverty reduction measures.
"ZEDS will be a vehicle for meeting the basic socio-economic needs of
Zimbabweans as enunciated in the 2015 Millenium Development Goals (MDGs),"
The MDGs that will anchor ZEDS include the eradication of extreme poverty,
the fight against HIV and Aids and the promotion of gender balance.
Nguni claimed the blue print, which will the 10th such policy in 27 years,
has been designed to absorb any shocks that could be posed by the dynamic
Nguni said government had realised that exclusion of communities in crafting
policies had resulted in the failure of past programmes.
This time, a nationwide consultative process would be undertaken to create a
viable economic rescue package under ZEDS.
The idea, he said, was to understand the priorities of rural communities and
incorporate them in the national budgeting processes.
However, during the implementation of the NEDPP, government made similar
overtures to business, but was the first to violate the pact by unilaterally
dumping the policy before its shelf life was over.
This left many of the legislators who attended the first of the consultative
meetings in Harare last week not sure if government had the capacity to deal
with the crisis that has devastated the economy.
"I see in my mind the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP),
Zimprest (Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation), the
NEDPP and the First and Second Five-Year Economic Development Plans," said
Mabvuku opposition Member of Parliament Timothy Mubawu.
"My question is that what have you learnt that will give me the confidence
that ZEDS will deliver? I do not see you coming up with anything new but
reproducing pieces of the previous documents," he said.
President of the Chiefs Council Fortune Charumbira claimed there were
"policy evaporations" in all the failed economic blueprints.
This had led to a situation where ministries took ownership of the policies
at the expense of the majority.
"You have come up with plans and consulted people, but then their priorities
and ideas disappear in the final draft and nobody comes back to explain to
them. What we see in the policies is references from university textbooks,
which mean what we said, did not matter," said Charumbira.
"Remember that after five years, the economic situation will be different
and ZEDS will be irrelevant. We need an emerging strategy approach,"
Charumbira reminded the minister.
The Financial Gazette had a brief chart with the Permanent Secretary for
economic development Judith Kateera after the presentations.
"There has been a very weak link between economic programmes and the
national budget so we have said our budgets should fund what people say.
Most programmes had a short-term implementation timeframe. So there is merit
in moving the economy from short-term to medium-term planning to give the
policy room to steer development," Kateera said.
The Growth with Equity Economic Plan (1981), ESAP (1991), the Poverty
Alleviation Programme (1994) and Zimprest (1996-2000) were all medium term
plans but all failed to inject life into the ailing economy.
Infact, the country's Gross Domestic Product has declined by between 30
percent and forty percent since 2000.
The poverty levels have escalated from 55 percent in 1995 to 72 percent in
2003. The poverty level could now be close to 90 percent.
Hospitals are struggling to procure critical drugs due to foreign currency
shortages, while the education system has gone into the intensive care.
Raw sewerage is now gushing at every street corner in the high-density areas
because local authorities are broke.
Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector has collapsed due to growing levels of
Output collapsed by seven percent in 2006 alone, in contrast to a growth of
3,2 percent in 2005.
The question is: What is the wisdom of having to come up with a programme to
be implemented after 14 months, and having a stop-gap policy measures in
between now and 2009? Is the crisis still too mild to trigger urgent policy
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
THE spectre of diminishing food output and expensive fuel imports that has
haunted Zimbabwe for close to a decade has become a spot of bother among
policy makers and scientists, who are now scrambling for measures to curtail
the catastrophic consequences of the crisis.
Last week oil prices increased to US$80 per barrel, further throwing
landlocked Zimbabwe into a complex situation.
Analysts say the increase in international oil prices meant that apart from
the growing demand for food imports, the fuel bill would surge, requiring
more financial resources for petroleum imports.
But the recent discovery of biofuels could be a silver lining on a dark
cloud for the country.
"Biofuels are a very new development worldwide but with the escalation of
international fuel prices, biofuels provide a cheaper alternative source of
energy," Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences president Christopher Chetsanga told a
conference in Harare last week.
The biofuels, Chetsanga said, were not only attracting attention in
Zimbabwe, but had recently attracted the attention of policy makers
worldwide due to the rapid increase in international oil prices.
Bio-fuels extracted from Ethanol and Jatropha are at the centre of plans by
the country to emulate the Malaysian and Cuban examples on fuel production.
"It is important for Zimbabwe to engage in the development of biotechnology
energy crops such as Jatropha, soyabeans and sugarcane so that the country
can quickly work towards reducing the amount of fuel that it is importing by
systematically replacing it with biofuels," said Chetsanga.
"Cuba is already working with a Jatropha variety that can yield 1 500 litres
of biodiesel per hectare. This is a good model for Zimbabwe to emulate. As a
country, we cannot afford to delay using biotechnology to meet our strategic
development needs," he said.
However, energy analysts say Zimbabwe and Cuba are at
different stages of economic development.
Zimbabwe, battling a seven-year economic recession characterised by high
inflation and foreign currency and fuel shortages, may not afford the costs
of new technology for biofuel plants, given the pressing need for food
imports to prevent starvation.
Science and Technology Development Minister, Olivia Muchena, said despite
lack of resources, government had made an undertaking to allocate at least
0,5 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product to biotechnology research,
development and application. "The challenge is on the private sector to add
another 0,5 percent to make it one percent," Muchena said.
Finealt, a government-owned company, has proposed to construct a biodiesel
plant, which is expected to produce 300 000 litres per day.
If the Finealt plant finally starts functioning, it would require sufficient
raw material stocks.
Government has demonstrated no capacity to develop the Jatropha plantations.
Major focus in the development of biofuels had been on the empowerment of
communal and small-scale farmers to produce the seed because the volatile
economic environment in the country has discouraged critical offshore
Private investors, analysts said this week, are generally attracted to
investment that brings in quick returns.
This is the reason why it could be critical for government to take interest
in the development of the Jatropha plantations that the Ministry of Science
and Technology Development is spearheading.
Zimbabwe guzzles about 3,5 million litres of fuel per day. For the biofuels
to meet this target, production should be on a large scale.
An outgrower programme mooted by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe to
plant 5 000 hactares of Jatropha in every province could be a positive
And analysts see the success of biofuel projects as a possible catalyst for
the creation of downstream industries.
Chetsanga said biofuel production could benefit the economy because the
sourcing of energy crops from farmers will benefit the resources-poor rural
There is, however, concern that as some energy crops are also food crops,
their use in biofuel production may compromise the food needs of the
"This concern can be met by using biotechnology derived energy crops with a
high biofuels yielding capacity," said Chetsanga.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has cancelled its annual
national congress scheduled for December due to an economic turmoil and a
price blitz that threw most of its members into the lurch.
Most of its members are still smarting from a July price blitz that forced
prices down 50 percent, triggering massive commodity shortages that have
turned out into a huge embarrassment to the government.
"We have postponed it (congress) to assess the impact of the price slash
first," Joseph Malaba, the CZI chief executive officer, confirmed to The
The CZI annual congress was supposed to have taken place in August. Members
have used the annual ritual to reflect on industry concerns, map the way
forward and elect new office bearers.
Industry sources said captains of industry were walking a tight rope: having
the congress now would create unnecessary tension between industry - already
accused of working with President Robert Mugabe's enemies to effect regime
change in the country - and the political leadership as the current
environment presented real prospects for a charged debate on the country's
governance and its cost to the economy.
The polarised and tense political environment in the country made it a very
difficult proposition to hold the annual congress, an industry source
"It's extremely difficult to openly engage in critical dialogue," the source
A number of the confederation's members are still counting the losses of the
government crackdown on industry, undertaken principally to reign in
inflation, said by former US ambassador to have been cruising towards the
1.5 million mark and presenting the prospect of a regime change in the
The CZI last year held its annual congress in July in Bulawayo under the
theme "Building a Framework for Sustainable Economic Recovery".
It was not immediately clear if it was the membership that had lobbied for
the cancellation of the annual congress, or if it was the leadership that
had come up with the idea.
Effectively, if the congress is going to be held next year, this would be
within five months of the 2008 annual general meeting, which would be held
in July or August.
There were indications the CZI leadership could be forced to hold the
cancelled congress concurrently with the one for 2008, or force the 2008
congress further down the year to December.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
. . . as NIT disburses funds to Harare alone
INDIGENISATION and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana has intervened to
prevent irregularities in the disbursement of state funds by the National
Investment Trust (NIT) to distressed companies and small and medium scale
enterprises, The Financial Gazette has heard.
Mangwana says government policy had not been adhered to by the state
empowerment agency during the distribution of the funds.
An investigation carried out by the ministry had revealed that the bulk of
the government allocations to NIT had been doled out to companies in Harare
and not evenly distributed across the whole country.
The value of the funds were not revealed but the Minister told parliament
recently that close to 80 percent of all government disbursements to the NIT
for lending purposes had been taken up by companies in the capital.
"When I got into the ministry (in February) I discovered that the NIT was
disbursing most of its funds to businesses in Harare alone," Mangwana said
while answering questions from a parliamentary portfolio committee.
"I asked why 77 percent of the NIT's funding was being given to Harare
companies alone with only eight percent (going to) Matabeleland and four
percent (to) Manicaland."
"I said this is not what we want, lets distribute the funds equally. It is
merely ensuring that government policy is followed," he said.
In March last year, the NIT, a government agency, which warehouses shares
for empowerment purposes, unveiled a $1 trillion empowerment fund to bail
out 53 distressed companies from collapse due to the volatile economic
Last year, the agency estimated that at least two million people would
benefit from its Money Market and Real Estate funds, a policy intervention
to solve the entry of people into the property market.
But analysts this week said the agency, which has largely depended on
handouts from the National Social Security Authority and government, has not
been given sufficient recourses to monitor and follow up on overdue
This could be the reason why there were high concentrations of disbursements
in the metropolitan cities.
At least 100 companies have been recapitalised by the NIT in the past two
The trust was set up in 1996 to help promote business initiative through the
funding of viable business projects.
From Proceedings of the ZIMCODD August 2007 Nation
For more than two successive decades, the economy of Zimbabwe is in circular
cumulative decline, with life expectancy falling from the maximum of 62
years in 1987, to 57 years in 1992 and 37 years in 2005.
On 1-2 August 2007, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)
convened a Conference on Zimbabwe's policy and development prospects. The
conference, which attracted the participation of many government and civil
society actors, was historic in terms of its wide participation, the
inclusive character and depth of its deliberations, its wide-ranging
analyses and recommendations. This paper addresses, in the context of the
ZIMCODD Conference, issues of concern around Zimbabwe's economic development
policies and future development prospects. The key points of reference here
are the values and goals that guided liberation on the African continent.
These are summarily cited here in terms of the redress of inequalities in
land and asset ownership, economic growth and development, nation-building
and democratic governance.
The Conference noted that, for Zimbabwe to experience a breakthrough, there
is urgent need for progress in the direction of (a) resource redistribution
and equity, (b) a new culture of accountability, transparency and democratic
values in public resource management, and particularly, (c) new, visionary
and innovative policy approaches (beyond mere liberalisation), that
prioritise and link population needs to local resource capacities and growth
With the unfolding of the 21st century, economic policy pronouncements in
Zimbabwe are attracting great interest amongst a population eager to see
bread on the table. The population is eager to understand the root causes of
current problems, as therein lie the clues to a lasting solution. Since the
attainment of political independence in 1980 to date, Zimbabwe has
implemented more than 30 financial and economic plans and programmes,
including annual, and 18 month state budgets, medium term fiscal and
monetary policy reviews and statements. In fact one of the latest, the
mid-term monetary policy review statement by the Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono on October 1 2007, was also just about a month after the
mid-term fiscal policy review statement by the Minister of Finance.
The mid-term monetary policy review statement, in its analysis of policy
problems, chiefly identified 'supply-side constraints,' 'political
interferences in monetary and economic management' and 'sanctions imposed by
detractors opposed to the land reform'. It ended with agricultural and
marketing incentives for an emergent class of landowners. In its analysis of
the situation ZIMCODD was however, more explicit in its condemnation of the
failure of human development policy on the continent. The conference noted
that Zimbabwe, among other southern African countries, had failed to
transform the region's rich endowment of land, agricultural, mineral, forest
and fish resources, into wealth to benefit the more than 80 percent of its
population presently trapped in deepening poverty. Following the market
reforms in the 1990's the Government of Zimbabwe introduced many policy
innovations such as the Community and Cooperative Development Fund, The
Small Scale Enterprises Development Fund, the Ministry of Community and
Cooperative Development, the Model A and Model B land resettlement
programmes, in addition to other macroeconomic programmes such as the
Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST).
But these policies largely resulted in the accumulation of both domestic and
foreign debt, and also to the long term situation whereby the state is
dependent on global financial and political structures, including states.
This trend helps explain why costly struggles against colonialism, and years
of different types of policies and development programs in the region are
not duly rewarded in the form of sustainable human and economic development.
Thus in 2007, policy developments in Zimbabwe cannot guarantee an
economically secure, egalitarian and democratic country. A skewed
macroeconomic environment has eroded wages and workers are generally exposed
to the vagaries of the market. Inflation in Zimbabwe is the highest in the
world outside a war zone, and basic commodities continue to be in short
To be continued next week.
Masimba Manyanya is a member of the Zimbabwe Economics Society. These
articles are coordinated by Lovemore Kadenge who can be contacted on email
GOVERNMENT announced this month the arrival of 1000 tonnes of wheat, which
was enough to produce bread for the country for 18 hours.
The average wheat consumption two months ago (that is July 2007) was 1500
tonnes of wheat per day, approximately 10 000 tonnes per week moreso after
the Price Cabinet Task Force had reduced the price of bread and raised its
consumption leading to high demand and a short lasting party.
In desperation to replenish wheat stocks, the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
liased with its traditional suppliers to locate 36 000 tonnes of wheat in
Beira and Maputo while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was organising another
18 000 tonnes in South Africa through Intshona.
This scenario would have given a total of 54 000 tonnes of wheat
barely enough to last for five weeks to dovetail into the next wheat
This chronic shortage of bread, which is affecting not only
households, but schools, hospitals, armed forces, hotels and the entire
catering industry, would have been avoided.
The baking industry, now laden with recently negotiated labour costs, high
costs of packaging and diesel/paraffin costs, which have increased ten times
since July has asked for a wholesale price of
$90 000 per loaf and to retail the bread at $100 000 per loaf.
This pricing accommodates a flour price increase from $6 million per tonne
to $10 million per tonne to maintain viability of the milling industry.
The shortage of wheat has created bread scarcity, creating ripe conditions
for politicians and unscrupulous business people to wrestle the little wheat
out of GMB and to mill it and ultimately sell flour at $200 million per
tonne when the regulated price is only $6 million per tonne.
Traditional millers and bakers have simply been watching this situation and
are bewildered and dumb-founded that while the President is preaching price
sanity, some in his own inner circle people are driving the price of flour
and bread crazy such that in the high
density suburbs a loaf of bread is selling for between $450 000 and $600
000. The same people have been known to drive the price of cement, sugar,
cooking oil, fuel, bread, fertilizer, seed and most basic commodities
through the roof.
Wheat from the new harvest is expected to come wet and in drips and draps,
leading to even more bread shortages and sky rocketing prices.
What is even more worrying is that the 54 000 tonnes of wheat identified
would cost just over $15 million US dollars and the failure by government to
mobilise this type of money is an indication that the country is in serious
foreign currency shortages as confirmed recently by the central bank
Governor who said he could not pay the tobacco farmers $20 million US
dollars after the delivery of the crop to the auction floors.
The next maize harvest is expected in May 2008 while that of wheat is
expected in October 2008. Until then everyone in Zimbabwe has to brace for
tougher times with chronic food shortages and skyrocketing prices.
Even the recently announced working capital package for basic commodities
(BACCOSI) is likely to have no impact due to the combined effect of foreign
exchange shortages and price controls obviously worsened by the March 2008
election demands. Inflation reduction targets will therefore remain a pipe
dream for the foreseeable future.
This shortage scenario is leading to the destruction of formal businesses in
milling and baking while promoting speculators and traders as well as
massive de-industrialisation. It should be noted, however, that the central
bank governor has fought hard to retain the integrity and viability of the
The current capital erosion and deindustrialisation will take years to mend
and with the opening of borders under the Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa and the Southern African Development Community, Zimbabwe
will be easily reduced to a trading country.
Tourism has its champion in Minister Francis Nhema, Health has its
representative in David Parirenyatwa while Agriculture now has a strong
voice in Minister Rugare Gumbo but sadly no strong voice, champion or
representative exists for the manufacturing industry at policy or Cabinet
level and this sector is so vital for the turnaround and economic prosperity
of this country and with an attitude, from those directing this key ministry
of fighting their own constituency, rapid de-industrialisation is certain to
David Govere is the senior vice president of the Employers Confederation of
Zimbabwe and group chief executive officer of Harambe Holdings.
POWER utility ZESA Holdings is hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons
ZESA has cut the image of a problem child in the boardrooms of regional
power utilities - Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, Eskom and Snell - whose
account could have been long condemned into the black book had it not been
for the camaraderie, which exists among the utilities' principals.
In spite of the spirited attempts to present a rose-tinted picture of the
situation at ZESA, its ineptitude has become too glaring to be swept under
What is also coming out clearly is that the magnitude of the power crisis
blighting the country's economy is now beyond ZESA. It now calls for
concerted efforts from everyone concerned.
Unless ZESA expunges its niggling debts with the regional power utilities,
the situation is likely to worsen, putting the much-vaunted economic
turnaround off the rails.
But it should not end with retiring ZESA's external obligations. It must
extend to cover the revival of power generation projects, which have been on
the backburner since the 1990s and ensuring that the parastatal operates
viably before preparing ZESA for part-privatisation.
While there is no need to press the panic button as yet, we feel no amount
of incentives can reinvigorate industry without including ZESA and coal
producer, Hwange Colliery, in the equation.
Scheduled and unscheduled power outages are having catastrophic effects on
industry, particularly agriculture, which should reboot the country's waning
Mining has been the worst hit, suffering serious plant damages owing to the
power cuts. Several mining houses may not recover from the losses incurred
despite the firming international prices.
In agriculture, half the winter wheat crop is a write-off. Tobacco, Zimbabwe's
single largest foreign currency earner is in no better situation.
Tourism, which has been the only bright spot, is counting its losses.
Intermittent electricity outages have damaged electrical appliances for
hotels and retailers, who are struggling to restock following the moratorium
on price increases.
In order to make up for the lost production, companies are resorting to
night shifts, but because load shedding is not being restricted to peak
periods, this is just a stopgap measure.
The general public has been suffering in silence, venting its frustration by
resorting to wanton tree-cutting and causing extensive damage to the
What is more frightening is that patience among ZESA's regional partners is
wearing thin at the least expected time.
Mozambique this week threatened to reduce power supplies to ZESA citing
Harare's failure to meet its commitments. The camaraderie, it would appear,
is no longer a factor.
The tragedy in the electricity generation sector, ZESA to be precise, is a
consequence of years of inaction on the part of government. It has its roots
in lost investment opportunities.
Opportunities that could have resulted in increased power supplies were not
taken up and by the time the country's bureaucrats smelt the coffee,
potential financiers had lost interest, taking their investments to
destinations where foreign direct investment (FDI) is literally worshiped.
The country's electricity situation should not have been this severe had the
powers-that-be made it possible for ZESA to tie the knot with any one of the
19 suitors that were keen on increasing output at Hwange Power Station in
the mid 1990s.
Similarly, the situation could not have been so severe had ZESA received the
necessary support to partner Rio Tinto and the National Power of UK to
develop Gokwe North power station.
In both instances, it was politics, which got into the way.
Opportunities wait for no one, particularly where it concerns FDIs, which
get attracted to freer economies.
Poor pricing, dramatised by the July price cuts, has also been at the centre
of ZESA problems. For a long time now, the utility has been charging
sub-economic tariffs, leading to a situation where ZESA cannot replace
ageing plant and equipment let alone expand current capacity.
Zimbabwe is capable of producing up to 90 percent of the country's
electricity requirements, but sadly this has not been the case because of
red tape and bureaucratic bungling.
Of the 2000MW needed to meet local consumption at peak times, ZESA is only
producing less than half that. The country has become heavily dependent on
imports at a time when it is wafer thin on foreign currency reserves.
And yet ZESA could have increased its hydro and thermal power supplies,
leaving it with excess to export. We wonder if sanctions and the alleged
interference from Britain and the United States are to blame!
It is vital for the powers-that-be to revisit several power projects that
are gathering dust in bottom drawers in word and in deed.
But before they can do that, they need to put a human face on the impeding
indigenisation laws to make it possible for foreign investors to fund these
But as Gideon Gono, the central bank governor rightly put it recently,
"recipients of this advice are at liberty, without offence or obligation, to
accept in full or in part, or differ wholly or in part with such advice."