Loughty Dube/ Pindai Dube
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's succession crisis deepened yesterday as war
veterans and the Zanu PF Bulawayo leadership clashed over a solidarity march
by the ex-combatants in support of Mugabe as the party's candidate in next
War veterans staged the march in defiance of Zanu PF leaders in the
region, who include party Vice-President Joseph Msika, chairman John Nkomo,
and politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. The Zanu PF
leaders have opposed the ex-combatants' march, arguing its organiser, war
veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda had been expelled from the party.
The move which isolates the senior party leader also threatens Zanu PF's
Unity Accord with PF Zapu, which has been the foundation of Mugabe's current
power structure. Mugabe supports Sibanda, also former Zanu PF Bulawayo
chairman, whom he brought back into the party through the backdoor, while
the Bulawayo leaders are opposed to his influence.
Zanu PF Bulawayo province spokesman, Effort Nkomo, two weeks ago told
party supporters that his party will not hold solidarity marches for Mugabe
until his candidacy has been approved by congress. The party leadership in
Bulawayo initially tried to block the war veterans from marching in the
city, but failed yesterday.
"We are a disciplined province," said Nkomo. "Zanu PF has a system
where provinces are called upon to have nominations for any posts that come
our way. That communication has not come to us yet, but when it finally
does, we will respond accordingly."
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial leaders barred the former freedom fighters
from using Davis Hall, the party's provincial headquarters. The war
veterans, numbering about 5 000, were forced to congregate at Stanley
Square, just a stone's throw away from Davis Hall.
The barring of the war veterans from using the party headquarters
highlights growing divisions in Mugabe's succession struggle that have
turned Bulawayo into a new battleground. To show the growing divisions over
Mugabe's succession, no senior party leaders from the province or the
national structures took part in yesterday's march. Conspicuous by their
absence were senior national party leaders Nkomo, Dabengwa, Ndlovu, Cain
Mathema and Joshua Malinga.
Sibanda, who led yesterday's march, has been at loggerheads with
senior leaders following his dismissal from the party in 2004 in the wake of
the Tsholotsho incident. Sibanda was part of a Zanu PF faction led by
Emmerson Mnangagwa which was accused of plotting to oust Mugabe. Sibanda's
war veterans executive was dissolved by a committee set up by Mugabe but the
former combatant has returned to the helm of the association - and
apparently the party - claiming to have been reinstated by Mugabe.
Bulawayo is now divided into two camps with one camp supporting Mugabe's
candidacy while the other camp wants a new candidate to be chosen at a
special congress pencilled in for December 12-14. Sibanda has come out in
full support of Mugabe's candidacy while Bulawayo leaders are opposed to
Some leaders in Bulawayo province have been linked to the Solomon
Mujuru faction, which reportedly wants Mugabe removed at congress. Sibanda
has been rooting for Mnangagwa in the succession stakes. Zanu PF is facing
irreparable damage in Bulawayo where factions are distinct and the fight for
control of the province is intense. Party commissar Elliot Manyika said
early this week Bulawayo must hold fresh elections to replace the current
provisional executive before congress.
Dumisani Muleya/ Constantine Chimakure
THE ruling Zanu PF is at war with itself over the forthcoming special
congress in December that might see President Robert Mugabe tightening his
grip on power or emerging badly bruised by internal fights.
Inside sources said this week the Zanu PF power struggle has
intensified in the run-up to the congress, scheduled for December 12-14,
over which the party is now deeply divided. While Mugabe and his loyalists -
now supported by the faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and the war
veterans - want the congress to endorse him as the party's presidential
election candidate, the rival Zanu PF camp headed by retired army commander
General Solomon Mujuru is anxious to replace Mugabe at the critical
gathering with one of his deputies, Joice Mujuru.
This has left the party split down the middle.
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said earlier this week the
congress would "have the election of the presidency as the main thing",
meaning that Mugabe's position and those of his two deputies, Joseph Msika
and Mujuru, as well as party chair, John Nkomo, would be up for grabs.
However, Mugabe diehards, including war veterans, do not want this.
They want the congress to be convened only to endorse Mugabe as party
candidate. But the sources say Mugabe's loyalists are missing the point that
there is more to the congress than just endorsing the leader because if it
was only about this, there would be no need for an extraordinary congress as
the party's annual conference, which was due in terms of the Zanu PF
constitution, has the power to "declare the president of the party elected
at (the previous) congress as the state presidential election candidate of
Mugabe and his supporters have of late been desperately pulling out
all the stops to mobilise a critical mass to crush the Mujuru camp which is
now retreating. A senior member of the Mujuru camp claimed this week his
group had never opposed nor tried to oust Mugabe.
"We never opposed President Mugabe's leadership of the party. Mugabe
indicated during the 2004 congress he would wanted Mujuru to take over from
him and it was on that basis that we started campaigning for Mujuru to be
the party leader," a senior politburo member in the Mujuru camp said.
"If Mugabe is standing we will back him, but in the event that he
steps down along with Msika, naturally Mujuru should take over. That's what
we are saying."
The climb-down by the Mujuru faction came as General Mujuru himself
told the Zanu PF politburo on September 5 people were lying to Mugabe that
he wanted to oust him from the party leadership.
The retreat is a sign of mounting pressure on the Mujuru camp
hard-pressed to show its moral fibre to confront Mugabe at the congress.
Although the Mujuru faction now seems to be losing ground, it has been
pushing for Mugabe to go since it blocked his bid to extend his term of
office to 2010 at the Goromonzi conference in December last year. The camp
also played a major role in scuttling Mugabe's plan to secure approval as
the party candidate during the central committee meeting on March 30.
In the run-up to that crucial meeting designed to prop up Mugabe as
Zanu PF leader, the Mujuru faction had dramatically raised the stakes in the
power struggle by unexpectedly mobilising key former Zanla general staff
members to tell Mugabe to go, but the president refused to see them.
After that Mugabe went on the offensive. To deal with Mujuru's
faction, he closed ranks with the Mnangagwa camp and the war veterans.
Mugabe had earlier in February expressed outrage at the Mujuru camp,
accusing it of losing the plot and trying to oust him. Mugabe also secured
the support of a retinue of senior party officials such as administration
secretary Didymus Mutasa, commissar Elliot Manyika, and politburo members
Nicholas Goche, Saviour Kasukuwere and Oppah Muchinguri.
While Mugabe's support seems intact, Manyika, Goche and Kasukuwere are
said to be rooting for Simba Makoni to replace Mugabe should he be available
and if the opportunity arises. This complicates matters because the Mujuru
faction also has a soft spot for Makoni. Although Makoni has no power base
to use as a springboard for a presidential bid, he generally has
cross-cutting appeal in and out of the party.
THE Anglican Province of Central Africa has initiated moves to expel
controversial bishop of the capital, Nolbert Kunonga, after he withdrew the
Harare diocese from the province alleging that it had failed to censure
bishops sympathetic towards homosexuality.
Kunonga, a staunch supporter of the ruling Zanu PF government, wrote a
letter to the province's Archbishop and Primate Bernard Malango on September
21 pulling the Harare diocese out of the Province of Central Africa. Malango
has since retired.
The province has concluded that Kunonga's action is of the effect that
the Harare diocese is no longer part of the church. The legal process in
motion is meant to regain control of the diocese.
The province through lawyers Gill, Godlonton & Gerrans wrote to
Kunonga this week asking him to surrender the church's property and divest
himself of the rights of being a signatory to the diocese of Harare's bank
accounts and investments.
"We are instructed that despite your withdrawal from our client you
continue to conduct episcopal duties in the diocese of Harare and
administrative business at our client's premises at Paget House (Harare),"
wrote the lawyers. "We are also instructed that you remain in possession and
continue to use our client's motor vehicles being a Toyota double cab,
Toyota single cab and a Toyota Fortuner."
The lawyers said they were instructed that Kunonga was enjoying access
to the diocesan and provincial bank accounts being an ordinary and a foreign
currency account held by the Diocesan Trust and Central Funds with the
Standard Chartered Bank, Unity Square branch in Harare.
Further, Kunonga, the lawyers said, also had access and was a
signatory to the diocesan investments with Imara Asset Managers and with
Kingdom Asset Management.
"We are instructed that all these assets described above are held in
trust by the Diocesan Trust for the benefit of the diocese of Harare but
remain the property of our client, Church of the Province of Central
Africa," reads the letter.
The lawyers or-dered Kunonga to complete the necessary documentation
to re-move his name as signatory to church investments.
"Following your withdrawal from our client it follows therefore that
you must immediately complete the necessary document to divest yourself of
the rights of being a signatory to the two accounts held by the diocese of
Harare with Standard Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe.
"In the same vein there is no justification for your continued conduct
of Episcopal duties as Diocesan Bishop and any other business at our client's
premises wherever situated and particularly from the Paget House offices,"
the letter reads. "The motor vehicles described above in your use can no
longer be left at your disposal in the circumstances."
The lawyers gave Kunonga up to Tuesday to write to them undertaking to
cooperate with the church to sign all necessary documents relinquishing his
position as a signatory to the bank accounts and investments.
"In that letter you must also undertake that you will immediately
cease using our client's motor vehicles and that you will deliver them to
our client at an address to be given to you," the lawyers wrote. "You must
also go further in that letter to undertake that you will immediately cease
using our client's motor vehicles and that you will deliver them to our
client at an address to be given to you."
The lawyers said Kunonga's failure to respond to their letter would
force them to make a court application to protect their client's interests.
However, Kunonga did not respond to the letter.
Documents in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that
the Province of Central Africa will soon file an urgent High Court
application to force Kunonga to surrender the church assets.
In a certificate of urgency signed by Simon Sadomba of Gill, Godlonton
& Gerrans, the church avers that the assets in question were the sole
benefit of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, which in turn
allocated them to the Harare diocese for use.
"The assets," read the certificate, "are held in trust by the Diocesan
"Following first respondent (Kunonga)'s withdrawal from the church of
the Province of Central Africa, first respondent has no right to remain in
possession of the applicant's assets including the bank's funds,
investments, movable and immovable assets," wrote Sadomba. "Applicant
entertains a well-founded fear that the first respondent will fund his new
ministry with the applicant's resources as he has access to the Applicant's
investments and funds."
The lawyer argued that the continued use of the province's office by
Kunonga "to further his new-found ministry" had deprived the Harare diocese
of its offices, office furniture and secretariat.
"To enable the continued existence of the applicant in the form of the
Diocese of Harare Anglican Church it is inevitable that the first respondent
be urgently interdicted from continued possession of the applicant's assets
and also be interdicted from accessing the applicant's resources by way of
investments and bank accounts," Sadomba argued.
He added that the Province of Central Africa would suffer irreparable
harm in the event that such interdict is not granted.
"Indeed the ministry of the applicant will be severely affected if it
has no use of its office and various materials in its office (and) the funds
and investments are spirited away by the first respondent," Sadomba said.
"No civil action against the first respondent can secure the immediate
refund of these funds and investments. Without the funds the applicant
cannot meet its basic obligations like clergy's salaries and allowances and
Harare Diocese Trust vice chairperson Philip Mutasa yesterday
confirmed the pending court action against Kunonga, but said he was not at
liberty to disclose information on the matter.
Mutasa said: "We will follow the instructions of the province. A
resolute statement will be issued shortly by the province."
PROMINENT lawyer Terrence Hussein who has represented Zanu PF
luminaries has threatened to sue permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Information and Publicity, George Charamba, if he fails to substantiate
claims he made in his answering affidavit in a constitutional challenge to
the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).
Hussein represented a number of Zanu PF legislators who won the
watershed 2000 parliamentary elections and whose victories were later
challenged in the High Court by the MDC.
He also represented President Robert Mugabe when his 2002 presidential
victory was challenged by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claiming the election
Charamba, also Mugabe's spokesman, claimed in the affidavit that
Hussein had helped craft the BSA and should, therefore, recuse himself from
the constitutional case seeking the abrogation of some sections of the law.
"It is surprising that Hussein, for reasons best known to him(self),
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 interests of a
serious nature," said Charamba.
He further argued that if Hussein was allowed to represent the
respondents, this would seriously harm not only the minister but also the
relationships between lawyers and their clients as the protection of clients'
confidential information would play second fiddle to the economic interests
of legal practitioners.
"Indeed, there is a serious conflict of interest in this matter and
Hussein and his practice should recuse themselves, failure of which this
matter should be dismissed," added Charamba.
The threat to sue Charamba comes amid revelations that the Attorney
General (AG)'s office had failed to respond to a letter Hussein wrote in
August demanding evidence on the claims made by the permanent secretary.
Hussein said Charamba's claims are false and gravely defamatory.
"The allegations in our view are seriously defamatory and we give you
(the Attorney General) and your client (Charamba) due notice that unless
they are fully substantiated, we will institute a damages claim," read
Hussein's letter to the AG.
Hussein is representing Ndabenhle Mabhena and his company, Manala
(Pvt) Ltd, in the Supreme Court case in which the applicant is challenging
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ) and Transmedia.
The applicant is seeking an order declaring that Section 38 of the BSA
is inconsistent with Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Section 38
of the BSA states that all frequencies allocated immediately before the date
of the commencement of the BSA would continue to be operational exclusively
In Zimbabwe there are only two VHF (Very High Frequency) television
channels and both of them are held by ZBC. There are also three other
available television channels known as UHF (Ultra High Frequency).
The applicants are arguing that essentially what it means is that when
one wants to start a television station they would have to set up UHF
transmission systems parallel to the one held by Transmedia for VHF
Applicants further argue that it is not an option to go on UHF due to
the funds involved while ZBC is sitting on two VHF channels and using only
The applicants also contends that ZBC is now a private limited company
and there is no justification for it to tax the public in the form of
licence fees. They argue that collecting licence fees from the public is a
ploy to perpetuate and fund the monopoly ZBC currently enjoys.
In response, the government argues that the other VHF channel has been
reserved for National Television which the applicants argue has not taken
off the ground.
The Ministry of Information in its response is arguing that the
retention of frequencies was not unconstitutional because they were
providing a public service.
THE ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
have taken the ongoing talks to resolve the current crisis a step further by
agreeing on outstanding components of the final draft constitution.
This came as it emerged that the Like-Minded Donor Group (LMDG), which
is made up of 10 bilateral donors - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the
Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom and
Australia - met in Holland last week to discuss a proposed economic rescue
package for Zimbabwe in the event that the talks succeed.
Zanu PF and the MDC have amended the agenda of the talks to include a
rescue package item, sources said.
The negotiations agenda has also been expanded to encompass a
transitional mechanism item for adopting the new constitution if the whole
process leads to that.
This is in addition to the five main items - a new constitution,
electoral laws, security legislation, media laws and the political climate -
already on the agenda.
The sources said the donors agreed at the meeting they would provide
an urgent economic rescue package for Zimbabwe via the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) - which is behind the current dialogue between
Zanu PF and the MDC - under the auspices of the World Bank.
Sadc has promised to bail out Zimbabwe but does not have the resources
to do so.
LMDG countries have now resolved to chip in and help the country out
of its economic crisis.
Zimbabwe is facing a deep economic crisis triggered by government's
disastrous policies and gross mismanagement.
The country has no foreign currency reserves to talk about and faces
acute shortages of fuel, electricity, food, drugs, and basic essential
Shops are largely empty and people have resorted to buying from
Zanu PF and the MDC two weeks ago agreed on a new draft constitution
at a meeting in Kariba under the chairmanship of South African President
Thabo Mbeki's envoy, Sydney Mufamadi.
After the agreement, the draft was initialled by Zanu PF negotiators,
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, and the MDC delegates Welshman Ncube
and Tendai Biti.
Mufamadi, the sources said, also initialled the draft as Mbeki is the
guarantor of the document.
Zanu PF and the MDC had already "substantially agreed" on the new
draft before they recently passed Constitutional Amendment No 18 to
introduce controversial political and electoral law reforms ahead of next
year's defining joint elections, although they still had to negotiate
several sticking points in the draft.
The sources said almost all outstanding issues have now been cleared
and the process is moving fast to the next stage.
After this, the new constitution, a hybrid document from three
drafts - the government-sponsored draft in 2000, the National Constitutional
Assembly's draft, and the Zanu PF/MDC document of 2003/2004 - would be taken
to the negotiators' principals and parties for approval. The negotiating
parties are expected to finish the talks by October 30.
Chinamasa is expected to brief the Zanu PF politburo meeting on
October 24 about the progress at that time.
The politburo was initially expected to meet last week, but the
meeting was postponed.
Chinamasa last briefed the politburo on the issue on September 5 where
it was agreed that Zanu PF should only agree to concessions which do not
shake the foundations of its power.
It is said President Robert Mugabe reiterated at that meeting that his
party would not accept a new constitution.
This means that the new draft might actually be blocked when it comes
to Mugabe and Zanu PF as happened in 2004 with the Chinamasa/Ncube draft.
Sources in the ruling party say Zanu PF wants the new draft
constitution to be introduced after the elections, while the MDC wants it
before the polls.
MDC leaders recently publicly claimed that there would be a new
constitution in place before the coming elections without saying whether or
not such a constitution would be implemented ahead of the polls or after.
Sources close to the negotiations said Zanu PF and the MDC held
several meetings between themselves and also under the mediation of South
Africans two weeks ago at different venues in Harare and other parts of the
After dealing with several electoral issues, which Zanu PF says were
very urgent, the parties are currently engaged on other items under "Track
II" in the dialogue.
Track I dealt with changes to the current constitution.
Track II is focusing on the constitution, security legislation, media
laws and political climate, including a range of issues such as the
militarisation of state institutions, the role of chiefs and sanctions.
The MDC expects to get a new constitution and amendments to the
Electoral Act, Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, Local Government Act, and the Traditional Leaders
Act, among other things.
After making concessions on the constitutional amendment, Zanu PF
expects to get backing for scrapping sanctions and foreign radio broadcasts
from stations such as the Voice of America's Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa,
currently broadcasting into Zimbabwe.
LOCAL Government minister Ignatious Chombo has appointed a committee
to probe Chinhoyi executive mayor Ripisa Kapesa on allegations of abuse of
office, amid assertions that the move was part of Zanu PF infighting in
The five-member probe team is headed by acting Harare Provincial
Administrator Justin Chivavaya. It started investigating Kapesa last week.
Kapesa, the Zanu PF Mashonaland West secretary for administration, and
party provincial chairman John Mafa, allegedly belong to a faction headed by
Policy Implementation minister Webster Shamu, which is fighting to control
the province against a camp headed by Chombo.
Shamu and Chombo are both members of the ruling party's politburo -
the supreme decision- making body outside congress.
Chivavaya yesterday confirmed the probe, but insisted it was not
targeted at Kapesa.
"We are investigating Chinhoyi council as a whole. Our terms of
reference were global and if anyone in the council abused office, he or she
will be exposed," Chivavaya said.
However, impeccable sources said Chombo was using his power as Local
Government minister to oust Kapesa and was also reportedly working flat out
to have Mafa and the mayor removed from Zanu PF's provincial executive
during the on-going party restructuring exercise.
"Chivavaya's committee is investigating Kapesa on allegations that he
bought a vehicle without competitive bidding and allocated a commercial
stand to businessman Phillip Chiyangwa without following proper procedures,"
a source said. "Chombo also want the committee to find out how Kapesa hired
his personal guards, amid suspicion that he breached council recruitment
Chiyangwa was allocated the stand to build a state-of-the-art hotel.
A member of the probe team who asked for anonymity said the
investigations commenced last Tuesday when they obtained documents from
Chinhoyi council's heads of departments.
"On Wednesday we interviewed councillors one-by-one on how Kapesa was
running the council and two days later we interviewed the mayor," the member
said. "I cannot give you details on our findings except to say our mandate
is to find out whether or not Kapesa abused his office for personal gain."
Zanu PF sources, however, insisted that the investigation had nothing
to do with abuse of office, but political manoeuvring in the province. -
LAWYERS representing men accusing of plotting a coup against President
Mugabe will next week serve the courts with a notice to apply for no further
remand, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Charles Warara who is representing the six said the notice papers will
be served on Monday.
The six, Albert Mutapo, Nyasha Saluki, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel
Marara, Patson Mupfure and Shingirai Mutemachani, who have been in custody
on remand since May, will appear for a routine remand hearing on Monday and
their lawyers will serve the notice on the same day.
"My clients will be appearing in court on Monday for routine remand
and on the same day we will serve the court with our notice for application
for refusal of further remand," Warara said on Wednesday.
"We shall be filing the notice on Monday in accordance with the court
procedures on filing the application," he said.
Warara said the actual application will be served two weeks later on
October 29 after the two week notice period has elapsed.
"The application for refusal of further remand will be served on
October 29, after the two weeks notice period has passed," Warara said.
Warara added that by the time they serve the application the police
should have concluded their investigations and if no new evidence crops up,
then there will be no reason for the courts to refuse to grant bail. The six
were arrested in May on allegations that they wanted to stage a coup and
replace President Mugabe with Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, police investigations into Mnangagwa's involvement in the
alleged coup are still to be presented before court nearly five months after
the six alleged coup plotters were first arraigned before the courts.
Last week, sources in the Attorney General's office told the Zimbabwe
Independent that the investigators handling the case want the accused men to
implicate two senior Airforce of Zimbabwe commanders.
Also last week the High Court gave the police two weeks to conclude
their investigations in order for the courts to proceed with the bail
application as at the moment there is no physical evidence to link the six
accused to the alleged coup.
WAR veterans backing President Robert Mugabe to remain in power are
lobbying Zanu PF to introduce a parliamentary quota system for the
ex-combatants ahead of next year's harmonised local government, legislative
and presidential elections.
Sources in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
said the Jabulani Sibanda-led organisation wanted the ruling party to have
the quota system in place arguing that they have been marginalised for too
The association is at the forefront of drumming up support for Mugabe
to be endorsed as Zanu PF's 2008 presidential candidate at the ruling party's
special congress to be held in Harare in December.
The association has held several solidarity marches backing the
"The ex-combatants want to use their current closeness to President
Mugabe to push for the quota system," one of the sources said. "They want a
certain percentage of the House of Assembly and Senate seats reserved for
them. They are yet to come up with a figure."
The sources said Zanu PF's politburo, the highest decision-making body
outside congress, will meet on October 24 and would, among other things,
deliberate on the war veterans' request.
"The war veterans issue will be deliberated on during the politburo
indaba. The ex-combatants are of the opinion that it is high time they are
well represented in parliament," another source said. "They think that from
the few ex-combatants in parliament or cabinet, they have not done enough to
represent them. War veterans want to be accorded the same status as women."
In 2004, Zanu PF introduced a 30% parliamentary female quota system -
something the party's women's league had been fighting for since 1999.
Veterans vice-president Joseph Chinotimba yesterday said it was mere
speculation that the former freedom fighters would push for the quota
"As far as I know we are not for the quota system. It is just
speculation," Chinotimba said. "Whoever wants to be a legislator must be
elected by the people after following laid down procedures."
He said there was no need for special circumstances for war veterans
to gain legislative power.
"Admittedly, war veterans are an integral part of Zanu PF, but when it
comes to elections we are all equal to other members," said the self-styled
commander of the 2002 land invasions. "Why should we need the quota system?
Don't try to influence general members of the party to fight war veterans."
In 1997, the association forced government to pay about 50 000 war
veterans a one-off $50 000 each in compensation for participating in the
liberation struggle. It also managed to coerce the government to pay the
combatants monthly pensions.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF has embarked on a re-branding exercise as it
prepares for next year's elections.
Party insiders said Zanu PF was in the process of coming up with a
manifesto and a theme for the 2008 elections.
"Printing of party regalia will be done soon," a source said. "We
expect to have the manifesto and theme of the elections ready by the time we
go to congress."
Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu PF spokesperson, was quoted in the party's
official mouthpiece, The Voice, this week saying he was working on the
THE last remaining white commercial farmers have appealed to the
regional Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Tribunal in an effort
to stop government from expropriating their properties.
Government, using Constitutional Amendment No 17, which effectively
nationalised all land, and the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act
served all remaining white farmers with eviction notices. The majority of
the notices, which have since expired, gave farmers a 90-day grace period to
wrap up businesses and vacate the property from the day of receiving the
notice. Failure to comply attracts a two-year jail term or fine or both if
found guilty. The latest wave of evictions is set to derail Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono's recovery plan since most of the affected farmers had
benefited from the Agriculture Sector Production Enhancement Facility
Over the past two weeks, government has stepped up the enforcements of
the eviction notices, arresting, detaining and harassing farmers.
Eleven of the remaining white farmers in the Chegutu area were
yesterday dragged to court to answer charges of breaching the Gazetted Land
(Consequential Provisions) Act through defying a government eviction order.
Two others were arrested in Karoi a fortnight ago.
The owner of Grand Parade was forced off his farm by the military and
is yet to gain access to the property despite getting a court order allowing
him to remain on the farm until the finalisation of the case. A host of
other white farmers are under siege from the marauding war veterans, militia
and uniformed forces throughout the country. The farmers have accused Zanu
PF top politicians of grabbing one farm after another and running down the
infrastructure at farms in the process.
"Top politicians and the military are the main perpetrators of the
latest wave of evictions," one farmer said. "Chiredzi South MP retired
Brig-General Kalisto Gwanetsa gave one of the last remaining cane farmers in
Chiredzi 14 days to leave his property. The farmer is currently vacating."
Another farmer said in Karoi the military led by a Colonel Mukadlha
invaded Grand Parade taking over irrigation equipment and a newly planted
"Over the past five days the military have denied the farmer access to
the property and have pitched their tent in the tobacco field," the farmer
Justice for Agriculture chairman John Worswick said the farmers last
week appealed to the Sadc Tribunal to stop the planned evictions.
"Sadc tribunal has teeth if it makes a ruling on the case," Worswick
said. "The ruling is enforceable in the country because Zimbabwe is a
signatory to the tribunal." He said the farmers have been failing to get a
fair hearing in the heavily politicised and subverted local courts, forcing
them to opt for the regional tribunal. Worswick said farmers were also
considering approaching the African Commission.
This becomes the second appeal to an international body after more
than 11 Dutch farmers evicted during the emotive land reform programme took
Zimbabwe to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
The Dutch farmers argue that their properties were protected under a
bilateral investment treaty in which Harare promised to pay compensation to
Dutch nationals in disputes arising out of any investments in Zimbabwe. The
final hearing of the case has been set for October 29 to November 1 in
Zimbabwe has Bippa agreements with several EU countries, four of them
ratified by President Robert Mugabe. More than 400 displaced farmers were
protected under these agreements. The trade pact requires government to
protect the investments and properties of other countries from arbitrary
If the farmers win their cases, it could open the floodgates to
similar claims in international courts by white farmers of different
nationalities whose businesses were protected under Bippa agreements but
were still expropriated without compensation.
Farmers' lawyer David Drury said there was no case warranting putting
the farmers on trial and he would be seeking the case to be heard in the
"The farmers are making some constitutional points which have to be
addressed by the Supreme Court which is the constitutional court," Drury
said. "One of the points is that the law discriminates on the basis of race
because only white farmers are targeted and also the issues of compensation
and property rights."
The case has since been thrown out. The trial of the farmers will
start on October 31 until December 31.
ZIMBABWE, which requires 1,8 million tonnes of the staple maize crop
annually, is expecting only 800 000 tonnes from local production with the
remaining million tonnes to be imported from Malawi , government officials
The country also has a wheat deficit of 255 130 tonnes as it expects
144 870 from the winter wheat season production which was badly affected by
power outages and lack of coordination by government and other players in
the sector, according to a parliamentary report.
A total of 480 000 tonnes of wheat is required annually. The country
is experiencing a critical shortage of bread and maize meal, with the latter
being felt more in the southern parts of the country which are further away
from the Mutoko, Kotwa, Murehwa and Marondera depots which are receiving
imports from Malawi.
At least 3,3 million people are in need of food aid, according to
World Food Programme estimates while government estimates that 600 000
families require food aid. Government allocated an additional $800 billion
for the purchase of maize by GMB from local farmers as well as for imports
under the 2007 supplementary budget and the WFP says it is mobilising US$97
million to meet the country's food needs.
Giving oral evidence on the country's food security to the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Land and Agriculture last week,
Agriculture permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka and Grain Marketing Board
acting chief executive Samuel Muvuti said government had stepped up imports
of the two products.
However, they said distribution was being hampered by the
unavailability of fuel for road and rail transport, the poor state of roads
and distance from receiving depots to numerous distribution centres
nationwide. Masoka said maize imports from Malawi were by road and
transporters were at times reluctant to use some routes due to the poor
state of roads while they also intermittently experienced fuel problems back
in Malawi .
He pointed out that out of the 800 000 tonnes expected from local
production, the GMB was expecting to receive 220 000 tonnes as the rest
would be retained by farmers and families for subsistence use.
Muvuti told the committee that the speedy collection of local grain
was also being affected by the unavailability of grain bags which had to be
He revealed that the GMB owed a South African company US$1 million for
grain bag imports as a local company, Grain Bag, had limited capacity
although it was reported to be exporting some.
"So far we have imported 400 000 tonnes of maize from Malawi and we
need to import 200 000 tonnes. A total of 260 000 tonnes has already been
consumed and we need to import 260 000 tonnes which is yet to be contracted
as we are still mobilising foreign currency."
Commenting on current stocks, Muvuti said as of September 24,GMB had
received 164 562 tonnes from local producers comprising small scale farmers
and the corporate sector including Delta, National Foods and Crest Breeders
all involved in contract farming.
He said he expected deliveries to improve following the maize delivery
bonus of $11,4 million per tonne (bagged) announced by central bank governor
Gideon Gono in his mid-term monetary policy statement last week.
THE current law-making process in which the executive initiates
legislation, has proven to be partisan, undemocratic and at times
counter-productive to the nation, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.
The ruling Zanu PF party, with a majority in parliament, has despite
constructive criticism of some Bills by legislators from both sides of the
House, used the whipping system to push laws through.
The executive has thus continued to use parliament to merely rubber
stamp its partisan policies.
This, according to MDC legislator and chairman of the Parliamentary
Legal Committee, Welshman Ncube, has rendered the legislative and oversight
role of parliament null and void.
In an interview this week, Ncube said the executive had through the
whipping system adopted an undemocratic culture of fast-tracking legislation
without due consideration of the input from Parliamentary Portfolio
Committees and relevant stakeholders.
He said this could only be addressed through a complete paradigm shift
by government on the role of parliament in a democracy and the adoption of a
new people-driven democratic constitution.
During the current Third Session of the Sixth Parliament, both Zanu PF
and MDC legislators in the Lower House and the Senate which is expected to
further scrutinise and refine proposed legislation, expressed grave concerns
on some provisions in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill.They
were also unanimous on the shortcomings of the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority's takeover of water and sewer reticulation services from local
authorities, the establishment of the proposed National Health Insurance
Scheme, and the national youth training programme, among other policy
initiatives by government.
However, despite heated debate and well-researched reports and
recommendations by Zanu PF-dominated portfolio committees and input from
stakeholders through public hearings, the Bills have been passed.
Concerns on the Indigenisation Bill and the effect of price controls
by central bank governor Gideon Gono during last week's mid-term monetary
policy, all but confirmed the increasingly unresponsive attitude of
government which has resulted in policy failures.
Ncube said there was need to strengthen the current parliamentary
committee system as there was not much time between Bill presentation and
"There is fast-tracking of legislation," Ncube said. "Committees are
not given enough time to fully reflect on provisions in the Bills and input
towards them. Even if they do, second readings are done within a day and
ministers merely push for adoption of those Bills and in the end we have
"Reports of portfolio committees are often not considered," he said.
"This is the effect of unilateral governance which is hostile to
consultation. This dictatorial tendency is inherent in Zanu PF which depends
more on coercion than opening up democratic space.
"Unless there is a complete paradigm shift in government, we will
continue to have this problem. We must draw lessons from the South African
parliamentary committee system which is well organised. Committees there are
given much more time to critique Bills and the oversight there is much more
intense and more effective than ours," said Ncube
The executive director of the Public Affairs and Parliamentary Support
Trust Michael Mataure said parliamentary reform was a process and there was
need for education and awareness on emerging trends.
Mataure pointed out that the initiation of legislation by the
executive was a common trend the world over except in the United States
where there was provision for private motions by legislators.
"It's common practice the world over that the executive originates
laws, policies and regulations from ruling party manifestos for
consideration by ordinary back benchers who in the majority of cases are not
"The Bills are drafted by legal experts in ministries or through the
Attorney-General's Office and they are often complex for ordinary back
benchers. "However, legislators are expected to make contributions towards
the proposed laws but the executive ultimately determines the outcome
although it is obliged to adopt certain recommendations. This can be
immediately done or in the later stages," he said.
Mataure added stakeholders and general members of the public still had
recourse through the courts if they felt that their rights were violated.
"This is where the courts and the civil society come in to provide
checks and balances. Although the executive is obliged to respond and adopt
recommendations, it must be appreciated that this is a process.
"Our parliamentary system is going through an evolution. The
introduction of portfolio committees to give voice to the public using their
MPs marked the first step towards bridging the gap between the executive and
He pointed out that circumstances and levels of development determined
what issues were critical and the US system could not be compared to the
However, over the years, legislation like the Electricity Act of 2000,
Broadcasting Services Act, Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act have been enacted despite
criticism from legislators and stakeholders.
Earlier this year, officials from the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe told the portfolio committee on Transport and Communications that
the authority was finding it difficult to grant licences to new players
because of the restrictive provisions in the Act.
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings head Henry Muradzikwa confirmed
government interference at the broadcaster when commenting on the Pius Ncube
coverage before the same committee.
During the initial stages of the tabling of Aippa, the late Edison
Zvobgo who was the chairperson of the legal committee, criticised provisions
of the Bill, leading to amendments though the current Act still remains
By Ibbo Mandaza
IT should be of particular interest to Zimbabweans, whose government
had in 2007 to import 400 000 tonnes of maize from Malawi, to know how the
latter was able to produce a bumper maize harvest of 1,5 million tonnes when
the former "bread basket" of Southern Africa could account for a mere 1,3
million tonnes during the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 agricultural seasons. This
is quite apart from a land reform exercise that should have constituted the
foundation for higher agricultural production in Zimbabwe than had been the
case during the heyday of the monopoly of 4 000 white farmers.
For Zimbabwe's financial outlay to the various sectors of agriculture
for the two seasons was a whopping $9 trillion (or about US$36 billion)
compared to the US$12,1 million which the Malawi government allocated
through the Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf) project. Sources say out of
the $9 trillion which was doled out by the Reserve Bank through the Aspef
loan facility over the last two seasons, only $1,5 trillion was recovered.
Considered in tandem with the poor harvest, the extent of wastage in
Zimbabwean agriculture can only be described as monstrous.
The critical point is that the Masaf project is a resounding lesson in
the management of a food production process, with limited financial
resources but an enormous social base in the form of a highly mobilised
peasantry and administered through the local authorities, district leaders
and village wards.
It is a lesson which Zimbabwe would do well to emulate as it embarks
on the 2007/8 season. Reports that a similar project proposal failed to pass
the scant scrutiny of cabinet in Harare a few months ago is, of course,
disturbing. But it cannot be too late to mobilise the requisite support on
the basis of an orchestrated celebration of the Malawi model. Perhaps the
Reserve Bank could quickly study and adopt the Malawi precedent and thereby
modify the monetary policy outline with particular reference to agriculture
and the production of food crops.
Malawi drought (2004-5)
Malawi experienced serious droughts in the 2001/2002 and 2004/2005
growing seasons. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC)
estimated that close to 4,2 million people would need food assistance in the
Out of these, 2,6 million were deemed to be at highest risk. This
prompted the Malawi government, with the support of a World Bank unit headed
by Nginya Mungai Lenneiye, to institute, through the Masaf project, a public
works programme - conditional cash transfers (PWP-CCT) over the months
October-December 2005. The plan was to transfer cash income to vulnerable
households to enable them to buy food and agricultural inputs for the
The PWP-CCT programme
This was an emergency drought relief programme to be implemented
through the Local Authority Managed Projects (LAMPs), a conventional public
works programme which Masaf had been implementing for the past 10 years. So,
how does LAMPs operate?
Beneficiaries are paid a wage which is 20% lower than the market wage;
the local leadership, with assistance from the local authorities (LAs)
select the beneficiaries; only one person per household is eligible to work
under the programme. The conditional cash transfer of 1 000 Malawi Kwacha
(MK) or US$7,20 is made on the basis that a beneficiary worked on a public
works programme for 10 days. Therefore, beneficiaries were to work for eight
hours per day at MK 100 per day so as to enable them, after working on the
programme for 10 days, to buy a subsidised 50kg bag of maize and one 50kg of
So, Masaf allocated US$12,1 million to the LAs for the programme: 80%
of the funds were earmarked for wages; 18% for works; and 2% for
administrative expenses. The programme was meant to benefit 565 281 directly
or 3,1 million, including indirect beneficiaries (5,5 people per household).
Key to the success of this PWP-CCT exercise was also an intensive
information, education and communication (IEC) campaign which preceded it,
and was targeted at would-be beneficiaries, traditional, religious and
political leaders. The staff of the local authorities were also targeted as
the implementers of the programme. The main focus of the messages was on the
design principles, objectives and implementation arrangements of the
programme, including the conditionality thereof. For, it was vital that the
communities understood both the content and import of the PWP-CCT programme.
The LA staff were also very conversant with the design, principles and
procedures of the PWP-CCT. According to a project evaluation report, this
was attributed to the excellent IEC mounted by Masaf just prior to and
during the implementation period. "IEC preceding implementation is therefore
a critical success factor for such a programme," the report emphasised.
Implementing the programme
As has already been mentioned, the total resources available to the
programme were US$12,1 million. This was allocated to all the districts,
based on the population most at risk due to food shortages as estimated by
the MVAC. In turn, Masaf prepared special project implementation and
financial management guidelines. These were provided to every district, all
of which opened special PWP-CCT bank accounts into which resources for wages
and works were deposited. The district administration costs amounting to 2%
of the total PWP-CCT costs were deposited in the normal Masaf district
operational costs bank account.
In addition to the standard cheque-signing arrangement under the
LAMPs, a signatory from the district agricultural office was incorporated
under the programme so as to strengthen the verification system. Also,
special security arrangements were made to minimise the risk of transferring
wages to beneficiaries.
Significantly, wage payments to the beneficiaries were always made on
time, efficiently and there were no cases of "ghost workers". The lesson
learnt was that LAs have the capacity to manage and pay emergency PWP-CCT
beneficiaries on time.
Most of PWP-CCT projects were on road construction but there were some
on agriculture and food security. The projects were supervised by the LA
under the LAMPs, supplemented by Masaf which sent supervision teams to each
LA, to monitor and support the implementation of the PWP-CCT.
By the end of January 2006, Masaf had disbursed US$12,1 million to all
28 district assemblies - a total of 1 838 projects were spread across Malawi's
three regions. These projects directly benefited 504 012 individuals, which
translates to 89,2% of the set target of 565 281 people. As per the design,
after the PWP-CT was over, beneficiaries would get cash transfers under
existing LAP projects, thus raising the number of beneficiaries above 504
012 facilitated by existing LAMP projects. Beneficiaries used their wages to
buy food and seed. Most PWP-CCT beneficiaries were targeted and one the
fertiliser was distributed to the rural area, acquired and used the
government sponsored fertiliser coupons.
It had been feared that the wages would be misused by the
beneficiaries. On the contrary, reports from implementation support teams
indicated that most beneficiaries acquired fertiliser coupons using their
wages. In general, the beneficiaries used the cash earned on food, seed and
fertiliser as these were considered necessities. They were also able to
purchase other items such as soap, second hand clothes, contribute to
payment of house rentals and school fees for children.
With a total of MK2 000 at the end of 10 days, beneficiaries indicated
that they were able to purchase two bags of 50 kg fertiliser and maize seed.
In addition, with relatively good rains experienced in many parts of the
country, beneficiaries said their harvest levels had improved over those
achieved in the previous season. Where improved yields were mentioned,
communities (in eight of the 16 LAs where the exercise was conducted) said
that the money assisted in purchasing subsidised fertiliser, and that this
had contributed to the bumper harvest realised in the 2005/2006 season.
Also, it was reported in nine LAs that the wage per day was adequate
when compared with rates on other sources of employment or piece work,
especially in the rural areas. It is also worth noting that the purchase of
fertiliser was made possible by a parallel government initiative of farm
inputs subsidy to enable low-income groups to access at least one bag and
seed to improve their crop production. Moreover, if there had been no
parallel initiative of the farm inputs subsidy, the cash would not have been
adequate to meet the cost of these inputs.
The outputs of the programme were also significant and contributed to
the improvement of life in the communities. These outputs, produced from the
public works programme, included roads, woodlots and small-scale irrigation
schemes. As a result of accessible roads, the communities mentioned that
they are now able to transport their produce to markets and vehicles were
able to use the road whereas this was not possible previously.
This has enabled easy communication. Communities were therefore happy
with the outputs, especially roads that had been created and were improving
access to other social services. Small-scale irrigation schemes also ranked
highly among the outputs created, as these would continue assisting
households increase their yields beyond the project.
* Mandaza is a political economist.
Independent Sportview By Darlington Majonga
LAST Sunday a friend of mine who is a footballer decided that we chill
at home and watch on television South Africa play Fiji in a 2007 Rugby World
Cup quaterfinal in Marseille.
But before we couched ourselves for the encounter, we felt we had to
tuck into some food and then gulp one or two as the game progressed.
We drove to a nearby restaurant where they were serving what they
termed a special traditional meal: sadza and guru/matumbu (pulverised maize
meal and tripe/casings).
The debate started.
There's nothing traditional about offals, unless cattle in Western
countries don't have tripe, casings and hooves (mazondo), I argued.
But since time immemorial our ancestors have treated such food as a
delicacy, my friend countered.
Unless he meant eating offals has become a tradition for the poor, I
Of course my friend could not say who enjoyed the rumpsteaks, T-bones,
fillets and oxtails.
Tummies full, we rushed home to enjoy the action. Yes, we were ready
to watch those on proper diets slug it out.
By the time the teams went to the break with the Boks leading 13-3, we
had marvelled at the display of power in mauls and scrummages that involved
packs on either side weighing in excess of 900kg.
The second half was another furious display of brawn and brain.
Of course high tackles, some comparable to the clothes-line in
wrestling, could not be avoided as the contest remained close.
Yes, these men were well fed, we agreed with my friend, but on what we
Then skipper Mosese Rauluni broke downfield as Fiji mowed down South
Africa's defence before dreadlocked centre Seru Raibeni, fresh from the sin
bin, set off giant Ifereimi Rawaqa who charged into the corner and was about
to plant a sensational try . . .
Just when he was about to do what he could not have failed - placing
the ball on the ground to complete a remarkable comeback by Fiji - Springbok
winger JP Pietersen unbelievably hauled the 119kg Rawaqa over the touch line
in one of the best tackles seen at the World Cup in France.
None of the two eats sadza, we agreed. And none in either team, we
Maybe they do, but probably small amounts and not regularly.
All my life I have survived on sadza and I sometimes go nuts if I can't
have it for days like has been happening in these days of basic goods
Yet I have no doubt whatsoever that the same maize meal - apparently
only brought to Zimbabwe by white settlers around 1890 - could be one of the
reasons we don't do well in sport.
We tend to eat too much of it.
I'm not an expect in nutrition, but I strongly believe that as long as
we continue eating mounds of sadza - which at times gets you dozing soon
after ingestion - we will never achieve anything in sport.
If any of our athletes want to sprint anywhere below 10 seconds, they
should stop shoving mounds of sadza down their throats. Period.
They could as well ask star swimmer Kirsty Coventry if she can
attribute her Olympic success to a nutrition based on sadza.
Gary Brent will confess those toe-crushers he now bowls at opposition
batsmen are a result of a good nutrition, which I have no doubt includes
Black brothers Byron and Wayne, as well as their sibling Cara, could
have a story to tell about the nutrition that made them a name in world
And little sadza is probably the reason Benjani Mwaruwari is playing
well for Portsmouth in the English Premiership.
Maybe Tonderai Chavhanga, Tendai Mtawarira, Brian Mujati and other
Zimbabwean rugby players can tell us what they eat in South Africa that they
didn't have at home.
Did anyone see Takudzwa Ngwenya, who played for the United States at
the World Cup, expose Springbok star Bryan Habana for pace to score one of
the most sensational tries in France?
When I get the chance to talk to him, I will ask him what he eats:
chicken breasts or soya chunks.
Richard Atkins revolutionised eating habits in the West with his
low-carb diet programmes that at one time had become a craze.
The Atkins diet involves the restriction of carbohydrates in order to
switch the body's metabolism from burning glucose to burning stored body
But then, sportspersons - athletes, cricketers, footballers, rugby
players and so on - don't just want to lose fat but to build body mass as
well as improve their endurance and speed.
Zimbabwean sportspersons want to be as big and athletic as Springboks
Os du Randt, CJ van der Linde or Schalk Burger.
How is that possible?
It's not easy, considering the hardships and food shortages in
But at least sportspersons will not be harmed by attempting to follow
what experts advise.
British nutrition specialist Barry Groves has his own theories on the
best nutrition for athletes.
Groves believes that "carbo-loading" - which involves eating high
carbohydrate meals of such things as bread, pasta and cereals (and sadza)
for a few days immediately prior to a tournament - "is the way to failure
not only for an athlete but for anyone who needs energy to work".
In view of the vast amount of dogma which surrounds nutrition for
athletic performance, you may be surprised to learn that there is little or
no evidence that carbohydrates are an energy food, he says.
Groves says those who recommend carbo-loading don't appear to realise,
among other things, that the body can't store carbohydrates in large
quantities and most people already get more than enough carbohydrates to
fuel their bodies' daily activities.
All carbohydrates, whether they are bread, pasta, sugar or (sadza)
when you put them in your mouth, enter the bloodstream as glucose. And the
bloodstream can only hold so much, he writes on the website Second Opinions.
The body, being a well-run power plant, puts the leftovers in storage
to use in the future if it's needed. Some is stored as a type of starch
called glycogen, but as it can't store much of this, the body turns most of
the excess into fat and keeps it on deposit in the body's fat cells. And we
see it walking around the streets wherever we go, hanging off bodies in a
most unattractive way. Put simply, carbo-loading cannot work simply because
excess carbs are not stored in a readily usable way, according to Groves.
As the Rugby World Cup enters the penultimate round this weekend
following sensational quarterfinal matches that trashed predictions that had
seemed banal, the talk has been about power.
The Springboks hope to employ a conservative approach centred on heavy
forward play as well as kicking.
Argentina have vowed to take the game to the South Africans with a
similar plan evolving around their pack.
England, who meet France in the first semifinal tomorrow, have been
powered all the way by their massive forward pack as well as Johnny
For now we can only enjoy the battle for the Webb Ellis trophy from
France with the hope that one day Zimbabwe will boast powerful forward packs
as well as really athletic backs.
The talent is there in Zimbabwe, but as long as we don't get the
nutrition side right, haulume!
Should it not be criminal for anyone to expect a sportsperson who
chomps away mounds of sadza with a relish of soya mince chunks or covo to
excel in his or her discipline?
ZIMBABWE Allied Banking Group (ZABG) group treasurer, Andy Hodges, has
quit following the discovery of a questionable transaction that he tried to
push through the bank for alleged personal gain, businessdigest can reveal.
Businessdigest can reveal that Hodges, who had been with ZABG since
its formation three years ago, resigned on Monday, September 24, but
officials at the bank say he is on leave. Banking regulations state that
once a treasurer resigns from an institution he should immediately go on
Hodges resigned after it was discovered that he was allegedly using
the bank systems to make margins from foreign currency transactions between
clients under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s twinning arrangement.
Hodges this week denied that he had been forced to resign. "Those
allegations are not true. I just resigned," Hodges said.
When presented with the allegations of the illegal deals, Hodges
insisted: "I'm not at liberty to reveal reasons for my resignation. Just
know that I resigned for personal reasons, nothing more."
The twinning arrangement involves the partnering exporting and
importing companies for easy foreign currency management and distribution.
The twinning arrangement can be used when a company needs to buy raw
materials, fuel and payment of debts.
All transactions under the twinning arrangement should be approved by
the central bank and done at the official exchange rate.
Sources say on September 20 the treasury department got instructions
from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) to transfer funds into an account
belonging to a mining company which banks with ZABG.
The mining company had foreign currency but needed Zimbabwean dollars
to meet its local obligations. Hodges is understood to have organised the
twinning arrangement with an importing company that had local currency but
needed foreign currency to purchase raw materials and agricultural
The total value of the transaction was $70 billion which was divided
in two receipts of $66 billion and $4 billion.
Hodges had allegedly given the clients two different rates for the
transaction. Internal investigations have since revealed that Hodges used a
parallel market rate of US$1: $300 000.
CBZ had instructed that $66 billion be transferred into the mining
company's account but did not state where the remaining $4 billion was
supposed to go.
A source said Hodges, who at that time was in Kariba for a
presentation at a seminar, instructed that the remaining $4 billion be
transferred into his personal investment vehicle called Sasfron Trust.
Hodges said he wanted to use funds to buy some shares under Sasfron
Trust. Part of the amount was supposed to be paid out directly to Hodges
himself while the remainder was to be used by ZABG stockbrokers to acquire
shares under Sasfron Trust.
Problems arose when the transaction was taken to group chief
executive, Steven Gwasira, for approval. Gwasira refused to approve the
transaction after querying why Hodges should receive such large amounts. An
internal investigation discovered that the $4 billion was part of Hodges'
mark-up from the deal.
Although ZABG was not prejudiced, Gwasira was concerned that Hodges,
who ran a strategic division in the bank, was using his position to
negotiate parallel deals that put the institution at risk.
He was also concerned that Hodges had used the bank's systems to push
through a personal deal.
Hodges came back from Kariba on September 22 and tendered his
resignation on September 24.
* Meanwhile businessdigest can also reveal that Hodges is now the
second major shareholder in ZABG after government. Hodges has been buying
ZABG shares over the past six months.
Hodges now holds a 1,9% stake in ZABG while government controls 97%.
Hodges bought the shares from depositors of collapsed banks, Trust and
Royal, whose funds were converted into shares when the financial
institutions were amalgamated into ZABG. Hodges controls the stake through a
vehicle called Farai Trust.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will with effect from next month
carry out audits on all ministries, parastatals and local authorities that
have received money under the central bank's quasi-fiscal operations.
The RBZ will carry out the audits with the help of two local auditing
firms. Businessdigest understands that KPMG and Ernest and Young have been
contracted to carry out the audits.
The first phase of the process will cover parastatals that have
received trillions of dollars over the past three years. Most of the
companies have failed to account for the funds they received from the
Companies that fail to account for the previous allocation will not
get more funds from the RBZ.
"The auditing process will start next month. Most parastatals have
been informed about the process and already some of them are running
scared," said an RBZ official who will be involved in the auditing process.
Analysts say it is highly unlikely that the parastatals will cooperate
with the RBZ auditors especially judging by previous responses to parliament
and government auditors. The central bank has been criticised for fuelling
inflation by printing money in order to fund quasi-fiscal operations.
Presenting his monetary policy last week, Gono defended the
quasi-fiscal activities saying without balance of payment support, it was
impossible to implement liberal policies.
"How do we implement liberal policies when at every turn there are
local and international economic agents whose sole role has now been
prescribed as that of undermining anything and every attempt we make towards
stabilising our economy as part of the political games?", said Gono.
The list of beneficiaries included communal farmers, women and youth
programmes ($1 trillion), local government authorities and the troubled
Zimbabwe National Water Authority ($14,25 trillion). Zinwa and local
authorities will also benefit from a US$5,25 million revolving fund. The
Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (Aspef) has so far
benefited from $3,9 trillion.
Tobacco, cotton, maize and soya bean farmers also got a fair share of
Gono's generosity. Maize farmers will get US$200 per tonne, half of which
will be paid in foreign currency.
"In the event import parity prices warrant higher payments, any
further top-up, over and above the US$200 per tonne will be payable in local
currency," said Gono.
Maize farmers who have already delivered to the Grain Marketing Board
will get bonuses of $5,8 million per tonne. Wheat, barley and soya bean
farmers will get US$250 per tonne.
Gono said 3 000 boreholes will be drilled in the next three years with
assistance of a $200 billion fund.
Gono said the money will come from the Reserve Bank and anyone who
shows that they were interested in "solving" the country's fuel crisis by
planting jatropha trees will benefit from a $200 billion fund.
In industry, manufacturing and retailing companies will access Bacossi
fund from the Reserve Bank at concessionary rates of 25%. This fund will
also benefit small shop owners in the rural areas.
This, Gono said, would improve production. There will also be a US$5
million for the packaging industry.
Mining companies will also access the funds at the same rate in
addition to the increased gold support prices. Backdated to August 1, the
gold support price was increased from $3 million per gramme to $3,5 million
By Nhlanhla Nyathi
THE long-awaited mid-term monetary policy review statement finally
came and as usual Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono, under
very difficult circumstances, managed to pull one or two tricks from his
Whether these tricks will amount to some positive changes to the man
on the street remains to be seen.
The last three months have admittedly been the most horrific for
everyone and moreso for Gono as he tried to balance free market economic
policies in the midst of overbearing political considerations.
He found himself being an apologist on the one hand and an
accommodator on the other for the sake of facilitating progress and finding
Particularly because of the additional challenges presented by the
effects of the price controls on the supply side of the economy, his job
just became that much more intense.
Although addressing the shortage of basic commodities is not part of
his mandate, the governor felt obligated to do something to alleviate the
suffering of the Zimbabwean populace.
Since his appointment, his interventionist strategies in the whole
economy have been justified on the grounds that Zimbabwe ceased to operate
as a normal economy when multilateral organisations severed ties with the
country in 1999.
Gono made it clear that he would not be following economic policy
recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to abandon
quasi-fiscal operations perceived to be inflationary.
To make matters worse, he widened his tentacles through quasi-fiscal
activities by announcing wide-ranging loans to public utility enterprises.
This puts him on a collision course with the IMF and other multilateral
Massive amounts in foreign currency and local currency were made
available to Noczim, Zesa and Zinwa as part of the process of arresting
deteriorating service provision by all public utility companies.
Given that scenario and the fact that Gono has publicly announced that
Zimbabwe continues to be a member of the IMF while lobbying for its
transformation, more or less seals Zimbabwe's fate as an outsider.
It would be foolhardy for the ordinary Zimbabwean to think that the
transformation of the IMF and the World Bank can come at the insistence of
Zimbabwe because it feels disgruntled.
The IMF and other international financial institutions of repute are
controlled by a select group of developed countries who contribute
significantly towards the financial resources required to fund developing
countries. As a result, the veto power to influence decision-making and
policy is vested with those developed countries that bankroll the
Our brothers in the African Union and Sadc might pledge solidarity
with Zimbabwe, but unfortunately cannot influence policy direction adopted
by such institutions as they themselves are recipients of the same funding.
The question that keeps lingering in people's minds is: how does
Zimbabwe survive if multilateral institutions that by our own admission
contributed significantly to the economic development of Zimbabwe in 17
years are to completely cut us off?
What is Gono's approach and does he hold all the answers for Zimbabwe's
Before focusing on the strategy employed by Gono since his appointment
people need to understand the economic and political status of Zimbabwe
prior to and at the time of his arrival in office.
Zimbabwe has gone through a recession for the past 10 years with its
economy contracting by over 50%. Despite the good infrastructural
development inherited in 1980 and subsequent improvements up to 1999,
productive capacity has declined to below 30%.
The consequent impact on inflation and unemployment has been terrible.
Zimbabwe has been compared to war-torn economies and countries experiencing
Multilateral organisations responsible for BOP support, infrastructure
development and other social activities suspended their support in 1999 in
response to the crisis.
Zimbabwe has failed to feed its own people and yet prior to the
economic recession it occupied a respectable position of food security
Gono's presentations seem to suggest that Zimbabwe can achieve an
economic revolution through concessionary loans to the productive sector.
Considerable financial resources have been invested in procuring
farming implements and purchasing inputs at the onset of every farming
season. A significant part of the money has been spent on crafting
quasi-fiscal operations targeted at developmental projects in the productive
sector. The strategy in a nutshell was to empower players in the productive
sector through provision of concessionary loans for working capital
purposes. Maximisation of production as a direct result of the various loans
would boost the economy through exporting excess reserves and reducing
imports through import substitution.
In the absence of support from the IMF, the World Bank, and the
African Development Bank since 1999, the governor's strategy finds
Prior to the suspension of BOP support, the government of Zimbabwe had
various alternatives to finance its activities. After the suspension of
support in 1999, Zimbabwe has operated from domestic resources which have
mainly led to significant money supply growth.
Public utility enterprises and various arms of government get
allocations of foreign currency from the Reserve Bank earned through
dwindling exports of mineral resources, tobacco, cotton, and the tourism
The question then is why Gono's policies have not worked to revive the
During his term, inflation has soared to astronomical levels and the
social structure for many Zimbabweans has broken down. Inflation is
currently at 6 500%.
Does this mean the massive outlay of resources poured by Gono into the
productive sector has just gone to waste with no real returns? What is
The non-responsive nature of the productive sector to the massive
input of financial resources suggests an underlying problem that might have
An analysis of the Zimbabwean economy will show that because the
country went through 10 years of economic recession, infrastructure in all
productive sectors had been seriously eroded so that much of the loans
extended by the RBZ meant for working capital were not adequate to trigger
the anticipated economic revival.
What was required was a recapitalisation of the productive sector
through foreign direct investment and provision of reliable support
activities such as electricity, water and roads.
The mining sector has failed to replace processing plants and
equipment because of the mineral pricing structure in the country.
The foreign currency retention structure has not been viable enough to
sustain the maintenance of the heavily capitalised plants and equipment for
most mining companies.
With depleted plants and equipment, no amount of concessionary loans
in local currency for working capital could trigger the desired gold
To make matters worse, public utility companies entrusted with
providing essential back up services to this sector have also been battling.
Power outages due to Zesa and serious shortages of fuel due to Noczim have
created a whole new dimension to the complexity. Skills shortage has also
been a problem for this sector as most qualified personnel have fled to
neighbouring countries which have better remuneration packages.
The agricultural sector is struggling because of the flawed nature of
the land-reform process. Farming skills and marketing strategies that were
amassed by the country through several generations of white commercial
farmers were lost literally overnight because of the land reform process.
Although the process was a noble and very necessary transference of
land ownership, it led to loss of infrastructure due to vandalism from
unruly elements who had hijacked the process for their own selfish gain.
The overall effect was that our new farmers did not have adequate
resources, skills, and the marketing prowess to profitably access world
In addition, the failure of Zesa to facilitate uninterrupted supply of
electricity for irrigation purposes has rendered several hectares under
Some of the new farmers who have been accessing subsidised fuel from
Noczim have instead sold it on the black market rather than putting it to
agricultural use. Partly because of these reasons, the agricultural sector
has not helped the economic revolution that Gono has anticipated all these
The isolation of Zimbabwe on an international scale has had massive
ripple effects on the tourism sector which has suffered from an
international media onslaught. A once vibrant sector feeding off Zimbabwe's
many natural wonders became the victim of Zimbabwe's isolation.
Despite concessionary funding in this sector, tourist numbers have
continued to decline because of a negative perception of the country. No
amount of concessionary funding can influence tourist numbers unless the
international perception changes.
Like all other sectors, the manufacturing sector has also been on a
downward spiral. Production levels are estimated to be around 30%. The
massive shortage of foreign currency has had a serious problem in procuring
raw materials required for production.
Inconsistencies on the part of Zesa and Zinwa have played a big part
in the fall of this strategic sector. Significant financial resources have
been ploughed into this sector through various loans and facilities to no
The tenacity of the RBZ governor is commendable but the hurdles are
heavily stacked against him. It is very doubtful that the Reserve Bank can
fill the void left by multilateral institutions.
Zimbabwe has limitless natural resources that can be best exploited
through the assistance of multilateral institutions and foreign direct
investment for the benefit of Zimbabweans.
The efficient running of an economy depends on the interaction of
various local and foreign funding mechanisms to effectively harness
unexplored resources for economic advancement.
Multilateral institutions are useful in assisting in developing social
facilities and capital projects of which in part the Reserve Bank had
overlooked because of limits with respect to foreign currency. After all we
have access to Zimbabwe dollars, but the elusive US dollar is in short
supply because of reduced exports.
More loans in local currency to the productive sector mean greater
demand for foreign currency as most of these strategic sectors use a
significant part of imported inputs.
* Nhlanhla Nyathi is an independent financial analyst. He can be
contacted on 0912 250 092.
THE writing seems to be on the wall: President Robert Mugabe will in
December retain the presidency of the ruling Zanu PF at its extraordinary
congress in the capital.
Mugabe - at the helm of Zanu PF since 1975 - has over the past six
months lined up traditional chiefs, mayors, the party's women and youth
leagues and of late war veterans to drum up support for his continued hold
Party insiders say Mugabe's candidacy for next year's presidential
poll was unequivocal and no debate would ensue during the congress on the
matter as Zanu PF's 10 provinces would have endorsed the president ahead of
The insiders added that Mugabe was so feared in the party that no one
would dare challenge his leadership, let alone suggest that the octogenarian
retire from active politics.
Media reports abound that Mugabe's presidency would be challenged at
the congress by a faction in Zanu PF led by retired army general Solomon
Mujuru reportedly wants his wife Joice to take over from Mugabe.
There is another faction in the party backing Rural Housing minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, but that camp is reportedly backing Mugabe's stay in
Political analysts this week said while there was fighting in Zanu PF
over the succession issue, Mugabe was likely to be unanimously elected as
the party's president and first secretary.
Mugabe needs the support of at least seven provinces to retain his
presidency and is reportedly being backed by Mashonaland West, Mashonaland
Central, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands and one of the three
This, analysts said, was despite the fact that there were strong
reservations over Mugabe's leadership style that has seen an unprecedented
This is characterised by high inflation, unemployment of over 85% and
rising domestic and foreign debt.
"No one in Zanu PF at the moment can stand up to Mugabe and tell him
to go," political scientist Michael Mhike said. "I foresee Mugabe
unanimously nominated by all provinces to run in next year's presidential
Mhike said while the Mujuru faction successfully opposed Mugabe at
Zanu PF's conference in Goromonzi in December last year from pushing for
harmonised local government, legislative and presidential elections in 2010,
the camp would not have the stamina to block his candidacy in December.
The Mujuru faction opposed Mugabe until the ageing president with the
support of Mnangagwa and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, three months
later, decided that the polls be held next year.
"The question is: can Mujuru get the support of the provinces to kick
out Mugabe from power? The answer is negative," Mhike said. "One can say for
certain that Mugabe is Zanu PF's candidate in the 2008 presidential
Zanu PF insiders seem to concur.
Party spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira this week told Zanu PF's
official mouthpiece, The Voice, that provinces would nominate the party's
presidium ahead of the extraordinary 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 the congress," Shamuyarira said.
"This special congress will follow the same pattern as the provinces:
they must indicate the candidates they like; the other organs of the party
(central committee and politburo) will also be dealt with in the traditional
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku recently said it was a fait
accompli that Mugabe will represent Zanu PF in next year's presidential
"It is very naïve for anyone to think that there is still a race for
the presidency in Zanu PF. Mugabe is the candidate," said Madhuku, the
chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly.
A senior Zanu PF official who spoke on condition of anonymity said as
Mugabe declared in February, there was no vacancy for the presidential post
as those moving for his ouster were afraid of a backlash from the veteran
"The rule that the presidency is nominated by provinces ahead of
congress presents problems for those harbouring plans to oust the
incumbent," the Zanu PF official said.
"It is common cause that the outcome of the provinces would be known
way ahead of the congress and in the past we know what happened to those who
wanted to rearrange the presidium."
In November 2004, Zanu PF suspended six provincial chairpersons and
war veterans leaders after it emerged that they wanted a new-look party
presidium made up of Mugabe as president and Mnangagwa and former women's
league boss Thenjiwe Lesabe as his two vice-presidents.
Mnangagwa was to replace Vice-President Joseph Msika, while Lesabe was
to fill the vacancy left by the death of Simon Muzenda.
Chinamasa was to come into the presidium as national chairman of the
party, taking over from John Nkomo.
The plot, reportedly masterminded by Mnangagwa and former Information
and Publicity minister Jonathan Moyo, later known as the Tsholotsho
Declaration, saw Mugabe turn on the provincial chairpersons.
They were suspended from occupying party positions for five years
while war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda was expelled from Zanu PF.
Provinces were then prodded into nominating Mugabe, Msika, Mujuru and
Nkomo into the presidium.
"It is this ghost of 2004 that most provinces are afraid will come to
haunt them if they intend to oust Mugabe," the Zanu PF official said. "The
provinces would rather re-elect him than face the music."
It is strongly believed in Zanu PF that Mugabe would win next year's
poll against the opposition and later retire after serving part of his
This would see parliament sitting as an electoral college to elect a
"The real fight between the Zanu PF factions is not to end Mugabe's
tenure in power this year. The factions want to have the majority of their
hangers-on elected in both the Senate and the House of Assembly in
preparations for Mugabe's exit," another Zanu PF official said.
It, therefore, remains to be seen what the outcome of the congress
will be, but it seems Mugabe is still around for the time being.
By Chido Makunike
THE Mugabe government puts tremendous energy into blaming what it
refers to as "illegal sanctions" by Western countries for the Zimbabwean
economy being down on its knees, causing untold hardship to the majority of
The claim is that international aid, credit and investment have
largely dried up on the orders of Western governments, unhappy with change
which took prime land away from white farmers.
When the representatives of the accused countries bother to respond to
these charges, it is usually to say that what have been imposed are merely
limited "targeted sanctions" against members of the ruling elite.
They deny applying any sort of general economic embargo, or seeking to
cause "regime change" by trying to instigate popular rebellion over the
They also point to how they continue to contribute humanitarian aid to
relieve the suffering of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans, despite the
It is quite clear that economically, things have completely spiralled
out of the control of the government.
There is little prospect of any change for the better happening before
next year's expected elections, and it is not at all far fetched to imagine
things might be much worse by then.
Short of improving the situation, therefore, the government finds it
convenient and necessary to latch on to sanctions as an explanation for its
inability to make living conditions bearable.
The hope is that the electorate will find that classic political
explanation ("it is the fault of the Great Enemy") for their economic
plight, and the government's seeming helplessness in the face of it,
convincing enough to avoid a feared thrashing at the polls after almost 10
years of steep decline.
It is not likely to impress a significant number of the voters who
have been fed this line as they watched their lives deteriorate
There are several perspectives from which the Mugabe regime's blaming
sanctions for the economic state of Zimbabwe today is weak.
One major problem of arguing "your suffering is the fault of our
enemies" is to seem to absolve oneself of responsibility.
Yet whether or not there are Western sanctions against Zimbabwe in
place, declared or undeclared, legal or illegal, it is still the
responsibility of a government to reduce or prevent the deprivation of its
people, and to put in place conditions for an improvement in their standard
Sanctions would certainly make this difficult, but they would just be
one more out of many obstacles to success.
The quality of a government can to a large extent be measured by how
well and hard it works around these sorts of obstacles.
A Zimbabwean voter cannot be expected to accept putting primary
responsibility for his economic fortunes on governments in Europe or North
America, over that of his own government.
He or she would be quite justified to say at election time, "if you
find that the sanctions you allege are in place are an insurmountable
barrier to doing your job of running the Zimbabwean economy better than
this, then I am exercising my right to give another group of people a try".
This, of course, is exactly what Mugabe & Co fear many voters will choose to
But instead of working harder to have them lifted, or to more
effectively get around them, the government merely moans louder about the
unfairness and "illegality" of those alleged sanctions.
This merely entrenches the appearance of complete helplessness and
inability to deal with the issue, which is what the average Zimbabwean cares
about at the end of the day, regardless of why and how it came about.
Screaming "illegal" sanctions ever louder, as things get worse,
suggests the authorities have no coping strategies, and have given up.
This is not the kind of image a ruling party that has presided over
almost a decade of very dramatic decline can afford to go into an election
You cannot boast endlessly about your "sovereignty", and at the same
time whine about how your economy's fate is not in your hands, but in that
of your enemies. It must be one or the other.
If we are as "sovereign" as Mugabe never tires of reminding us we are,
then our economic performance should not depend on what any other countries
do or don't do.
If, by crying "sanctions" every other minute, Mugabe and his regime
are admitting that we are a small country whose economic fate cannot be
divorced from the international diplomatic standing of its government, then
we are not quite as "sovereign" as we imagine.
In the latter case, diplomatic action beyond helpless whining is
called for, and yet silly bravado is all we see and hear.
Suppose Mugabe "won" his sanctions argument. Suppose Western
governments said, "You were right Mr Mugabe, we did impose sanctions, and
your fine speeches have made us see the error of our ways. We now hereby
formally lift those sanctions."
Do Mugabe & Co really believe this is all it would take to make money,
goods and investment suddenly flow into Zimbabwe, with no other actions on
their part? Can they really be so divorced from reality that they fail to
understand that there are many other factors which make the typical
hard-headed investor look elsewhere than the Zimbabwe of today for
A question that is not asked often enough: if our economic calamities
are because of sanctions imposed over land reform, why didn't the government
foresee and prepare for them? We are often reminded what tough
revolutionaries our rulers are. In preparation for the wholesale takeover of
farmland, did none of these revolutionaries think for a moment that it would
cause a ruckus, and therefore have short, medium and long-term plans to
prepare for it? Why has the government seemed so surprised by the reaction
its actions have received in Western capitals?
The point here is not that they should only have done what the Western
countries approved of. It is, instead, that on having decided to go ahead
with measures they knew would be disapproved of by economically powerful
countries, they should have had a plan in place to deal with the effects of
how that disapproval was expressed. Or was the hoped for "plan" to talk one's
way out of the disapproval with fiery, populist speeches at the UN? What
naivete for self-proclaimed revolutionaries!
Then there is the issue of sanctions busting. Nothing would have
earned the Mugabe regime the respect of even its detractors more than having
shown particular agility at the "sovereign" ability to get around the
claimed sanctions; to keep things working fairly normally despite them.
Or to at least show prospects of even slight recovery after an initial
dip, which could then have been explained as merely a transitional hiccup as
"the revolution" took hold. This was especially important to show in the
agriculture sector, whose overnight wholesale changes were the genesis for
all that has followed since.
If the government had been able to say, "yes, we know things are hard,
but look at all the successes we are beginning to score in the agricultural
sector, whose taking over caused the imposition of sanctions in the first
place," people's reactions to it would have been very different from what
they are today.
Comparing American sanctions on Cuba with those said to be in place
against Zimbabwe is pathetic, and ill-advised for the Mugabe government.
Cuba has achieved notable successes in areas like agriculture and health
despite decades of outrightly declared, strictly enforced US sanctions.
They have done this through quite innovative approaches we have not
seen our government show in any arena. Cuba's rulers at least give the
appearance of being real revolutionaries, living modestly and wanting to be
seen to be sharing any hardships with the people.
In Zimbabwe the rulership takes great pride in showing off just how
removed from the general populace they are, as if to goad them. So in Cuba
one sees some genuine "solidarity" between the governed and the rulers
whereas in Zimbabwe the rulers delight in emphasising their lordship over
the people, "solidarity" being nothing more than a cheap slogan.
It is a pity our opposition parties are so distracted by so many
peripheral things. A more focused opposition could have made mincemeat out
of the Mugabe government for its attempt to absolve itself of responsibility
for the pathetic state of our country with the weak official excuse of
"sanctions". - Kubatana.net.
By Lloyd Msipa
THERE is an old Chinese proverb that says that "over a long distance,
you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long time, you learn
about the character of your friend". Loosely translated it means over time,
strength or resolve will determine whether one will stand the test of time.
Opposition politics in Zimbabwe have come full circle - from the
politics of confrontation and division to engagement, constructive or
With the recent climbdown by the opposition on Constitutional
Amendment Number 18 to the total dismay of other players like the National
Constitutional Assembly and the Save Zimbabwe Campaign coalition it appears
the opposition in Zimbabwe in its current composition will not succeed in
unseating the Zanu PF government next year or in the future.
A cursory analysis of the strategies employed by the opposition in
Zimbabwe against the government now and in the past reveals major tactical
The opposition used the politics of confrontation when at the time
engagement was more plausible; divisive politics further exacerbated their
strategies rendering them weak and hence less effective to carry out the
mandate confided in them by Zimbabweans in and outside Zimbabwe.
Today they have espoused the politics of engagement when confrontation
or a hybrid of both confrontation and engagement would have been
This approach has significantly reduced their esteem in the eyes of
progressive Zimbabweans and the international community. Yes, some would
argue that either way the opposition had little choice in the matter and
hence the attempt to salvage whatever concession by supporting this Bill was
more appropriate, unfortunately politics is not that simple.
In politics permanent interests take precedence over permanent
friends. To illustrate my point one has to look at the return of politicians
like Emmerson Mnangangwa to mainstream Zanu PF politics as a case in point.
It is in this spirit that as Zimbabweans in and outside cannot be seen
to leave the destiny of Zimbabwe in the hands of a few individuals who
themselves seem rudderless.
Zimbabwe's situation is not only unique but is fraught with
complicated historical and modern problems.
Zimbabwe under the government of Zanu PF represents a challenge to the
efforts of the Pioneer Column in 1890.
The Zanu PF government has in all essence reversed the work begun by
the Pioneer Column led by Cecil John Rhodes and his British South Africa
Company (BSAC) in 1890.
This episode saw the annexation of Zimbabwe by a force (later
christened the British South African Police - BSAP ) consisting of some 480
men together with all the various mining rights and prospects.
The Pioneer Column was set up to exploit the provisions of a treaty of
1888, the so-called Rudd Concession between Cecil John Rhodes's BSAC on
behalf of Queen Victoria and the sovereign power in the region at the time
which was the Matabele King Lobengula.
The Pioneer Corps were officially disbanded on October 1, 1890 with
the formation of the BSAP. Each member was granted land on which to farm. As
we all know the rest is history.
In the modern context the impact of challenging this historical
injustice has got us where we are today.
The challenge that is presented to us as a generation is generational
intervention. The complicated but yet unique situation in Zimbabwe requires
more than just politics of the podium.
The politics of Zimbabwe require an all encompassing approach by all
progressive Zimbabweans who think outside the box. The Zimbabwe problem
cannot be resolved at party politics level.
The Zimbabwean problem demands a United Peoples Patriotic Front. We
need to arrive in our lives at a point of personal resolve. Before we are
political party members we are first and foremost Zimbabweans.
The outcome of the Zimbabwean project will serve as a precedent of
what happens in South Africa and other African countries with regard to the
land issue and the politics of food that go with it.
It is in this spirit that I am particularly wary of the status quo
where we have mortgaged the solution to the Zimbabwean problem to a few
individuals and a fragmented opposition party.
It is important that the people of Zimbabwe come out of their comfort
zones and begin to formulate an all encompassing people's solution to our
Charity begins at home. We cannot be seen to be outsourcing the
solution to the Zimbabwe problem.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for
your country", to borrow from President John F Kennedy. Zimbabwe now more
than ever requires in place before the next plebiscite a new people-driven
patriotic front to serve as a vehicle to our salvation.
* Lloyd Msipa is a lawyer resident in the United Kingdom and can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
ANY Zimbabweans must have watched in awe as government this week
distributed thousands of farming implements to hundreds of farmers of
different categories who have been resettled since the start of the chaotic
land reform exercise in 2000. We silently prayed for the best and hoped that
the rainy season might be as predicted: above normal rainfall.
Then all things being equal, with all this equipment, we might at last
kiss goodbye to the beggar stigma that has dogged Zimbabwe since the first
white commercial farmer was kicked off his land seven years ago.
Unfortunately things have stubbornly refused to be equal.
The very mode of the land reform programme itself - the lawlessness
which accompanied it - appears to have taught Zimbabweans that breaking the
law and ignoring set rules is okay. While the climate has been less kind to
our lot, it has not been the worst culprit in Zimbabwe's failure to feed
Speaking at the presentation of the equipment at Bak Storage in Harare
on Monday, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono made his usual passionate
appeal for hard work and honesty among the beneficiaries of the
Billions of dollars have already been set aside for the programme in
addition to trillions invested in the equipment handed out to farmers. Gono
said there would be enough fuel, fertilisers, seed and other inputs to give
effect to the "mother of all agricultural seasons".
This is where we have our considered reservations: in the past seven
years government has given out millions of dollars to newly-resettled
farmers which have not been accounted for. Some of the farmers have found
themselves displaced before they could repay the money because they didn't
have "offer letters". Productivity has not been a factor.
Others have become, to quote Gono himself on a different occasion,
"serial land occupiers" moving from one farm to the next after ruining or
looting farming and irrigation equipment. In a collusive silence to pretend
that everything was well were it not for the garrulous opposition, these
farmer criminals have been let off with no more than a stricture.
Government has extended further largesse in the form of fuel, seed and
fertiliser which in the past have quickly found ready buyers on the
flourishing black market. Police now report that maize for mealie-meal is
being converted into maputi for the export market while Zimbabweans starve.
Those involved have been treated with a leniency which implies that
people who got land can squander national resources without accounting to
anyone. Many have been accused and arrested for racketeering, but none has
ever received more than token punishment. A one-time provincial chairman of
Zanu PF put it quite poignantly when he boasted that "if you want to get
rich, join Zanu PF".
Lack of skill, irresponsible behaviour and delinquency have done more
to turn Zimbabwe into an object of universal ridicule than have natural
calamities such as drought and so-called Western sanctions.
Zimbabwe has enough agricultural colleges to deal with the issue of
skills shortages, yet it appears that this has not been a priority of the
authorities when talking about national food self-sufficiency.
We have more than dedicated law enforcement agencies to deal with
irresponsible land-grabbers who can't produce, yet there is simply no will
to take decisive action on the part of the authorities. But the biggest
deficiency we have observed is that the readiness to splurge resources on
new farmers is never matched by a willingness to call them to account.
In the past most commercial banks had agro-business departments to
deal with farmers. Although there were fewer luxury 4x4s, those assigned to
these departments did not shy away from travelling to remote farms to ensure
that resources lent to farmers were used in a sustainable way. The former
Agricultural Finance Corporation did the same. This should not be beyond the
capacity of the RBZ.
We are fully aware that it would not be in the best interests of black
economic empowerment to set too stringent criteria such as training,
financial stamina and skills to decide who should get land. But we believe
there are requirements which can be a universal determinant for A2 farmers -
interest and commitment. No amount of money or fuel or free seed and
fertiliser can turn somebody not committed to farming into a commercial
producer. Free resources only increase the temptation to make fast money on
the black market.
We have many examples of Zimbabweans in all facets of the economy such
as Nigel Chanakira (banking), Mutumwa Mawere (mining), Strive Masiyiwa
(telecommunications), Ray Kaukonde (farming) who defied racial stereotyping
to launch business empires without relying on government support. Apart from
being exceptional, they had a commitment to what they invested in. But many
new farmers have given fresh flavour to the cliché that you can take a horse
to water but you can't make it drink. Similarly, good intentions by
government, on their own, don't make committed farmers.
By Joram Nyathi
THERE were two strikes going on simultaneously in Zimbabwe this week.
They have been going on for much longer, and are likely still going on
despite assurances about an agreement. One is by doctors, the other by
There was one remarkable thing about both: save for the initial report
of the imminent strike by teachers, there has been a blanket silence in the
media. This is despite their devastating impact on our lives and the
prejudice on the future of our children.
As usual, there was a belated reaction by government to both. It
reviewed their salaries when much damage had already been done, not to
mention the loss of goodwill.
I don't know if the private sector has been able to match the poverty
datum line, which is what the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was
clamouring for two weeks ago when it called for a two-day stayaway. The call
was ignored partly because the ZCTU has aligned itself with capital from
which workers are demanding better pay. That is the first paradox.
The second paradox is that the more damaging and widespread strike by
teachers and doctors has been less "news" to the media than the ZCTU's
failed industrial action because it is seen as lacking political content.
Comments by deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti on the doctors' strike
are quite revealing if only inadvertent. He said: "There has never been a
day when industrial action has resulted in positive things; we have to talk
and discuss grievances because if you fail to go to work you will not be
fixing the minister but patients."
Put in another way, the "patients" could be our children, not the
minister or government.
No doubt these are self-serving remarks, but useful nonetheless.
They are useful in so far as they demonstrate how short-termism has
destroyed our capacity to think about the future. Many teachers say they
cannot afford to commute to work for the full month on their meagre
salaries. Their transport allowances are a pittance.
Parents appear to understand this more than they appreciate its full
implications on children going to school to play while teachers engage in
private "deals" in town or in South Africa. While "news" is that a strike
called by the ZCTU or the MDC might result in political change, nobody stops
to think that recurrent strikes by teachers mean we are bringing up a
generation of semi-literate "future" leaders.
Opportunities missed by our children while teachers are nursing
grievances over salaries will never return. The same scandal is going on at
tertiary institutions where students have dropped out because they cannot
afford the fees, can't find affordable accommodation or there are no
lecturers. Many young girls have opted to engage in daytime prostitution in
Harare's seedy lodges.
I fully appreciate the plight of teachers, but I am dismayed when a
parent says they have a right to strike anytime they feel like it but thinks
nothing about the future we are laying for Zimbabwe. Is this the generation
which those aspiring to political office are happy to lead, people who
cannot think beyond informal trades - bricklayers, carpenters, prostitutes,
pimps and farm labourers - after a short training stint at Border Gezi
Is it the wish of Zimbabweans that we educate our children just enough
to serve as party militia? When have militia become guardians of democracy,
human and property rights, political tolerance and engines of national
progress which Zimbabwe badly needs?
Like nurses, many teachers and other professionals are attracted to
"greener pastures" abroad which were created by the sweat of humans no less
mortal than ourselves. There, the former coloniser welcomes them with
feigned sympathy but in fact regards them with the contempt of a slave who
is set free but returns to his former master because he can't fend for
himself. Reasons for seeking political asylum have turned some of our
brothers and sisters into creative geniuses about the evils going on in the
I am fed up with people telling me about how everything should be
blamed on the Zanu PF government. I know that. The question is what is to be
done? Do we have to sacrifice the future of our children, and as a
corollary, that of our country, just to "fix" Mugabe? Yet I think something
positive can be done, if only to assume responsibility for our destiny.
In the short-term, I believe parents' associations can fund the
education of our children by subsidising teachers' transport and
accommodation. Looking at the average teacher-pupil ratio of about 1:40,
this shouldn't be much of a sacrifice for your child's future.
Secondly, the private sector can contribute money into these
associations to top up what government pays, after all they are the major
beneficiaries from those skills. People can't be every business' greatest
asset only when they start making profits for organisations.
Thirdly, donors who fund most non-governmental organisations and civil
society groups can also play a vital role. Most of them are involved in
human rights issues, of which education is one. I know some will raise the
usual noise about helping an evil regime. That is hypocrisy. Why should it
be detestable to subsidise local education but morally right to take
Zimbabwean professionals - teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, etc -
trained at a huge tax on the poor? Some kind of human rights there!
At the end of the day, the future of our children is in our hands. It
is that simple.
Vice-President Joseph Msika was reported on Monday as slamming "some
remnants of die-hard unrepentant racists". He said there remained "pockets
of stubborn racists in some parts of Zimbabwe".
He is of course perfectly right. Didymus Mutasa's speech to the ZFU
congress is a good example. There are those cabinet ministers and government
officials who have made it their mission to remove all remaining white
farmers from the land; who have done their best to prevent agricultural
production in many parts of the country; who have made a significant
contribution to the country's economic collapse.
These same national parasites have seized farms that once kept the
country self-sufficient in food but now resemble wastelands. These are the
people who have prevented dairy farmers from producing milk, butter and
We pointed out last week that Msika, who believes he has a mandate to
rule forever, has not in fact been elected to anything by anybody. To his
credit he has tried to prevent some of the worst excesses of land invasions,
and he was almost certainly exempting the Lowveld sugarcane producers from
his hit-list. But his denunciations ignored the obvious fact that primitive
racism is now the official creed of Zanu PF.
It has been used to justify land seizures, political violence and
policies that deter investment. The official press is among the chief
hate-mongers who churn out a daily diet of invective against whites as well
as other minorities. Zimbabwe is now widely seen as a toxic state where
people of European ancestry are unwelcome. Just read state columnists
venting their spleen at the weekend and you get some idea of how vicious
this campaign has become.
But thankfully the poison generally doesn't filter down. Blacks and
whites are today in the same boat, victims of a pernicious dictatorship that
is desperate for scapegoats to justify its damaging policies and incompetent
Don't believe anything the official press tells you about a
"turnaround" in the tourism sector. Tourists don't want to visit countries
like Zimbabwe and Burma because they are ruled by regimes whose brutal
suppression of civic and opposition activists is seen as unacceptable. Who
wants to go to a country where the ruler promises "we will bash them"?
Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) chairman Roger Foster
disagrees. He, predictably, thinks Zimbabwe is safe and peaceful.
"Adverse publicity by the media is affecting Zimbabwe," he said in
Some of the delegates to an AASA meeting were worried about coming
here, he said. They thought there would be no vehicles on the roads. But
there was traffic everywhere.
"There is activity from the airports right up to the hotels," he said.
Indeed there is. He and his members should try driving from the
airport at night along Cripps Road in Mbare and experience the activity
there. Smashed windows and cases grabbed are the standard welcome for
visitors and returning residents alike.
Which brings us to Nelson Chamisa. The Sunday Mail reports that at the
recent ACP/EU joint parliamentary meeting in Brussels Chamisa convinced
delegates that "all was largely well" in Zimbabwe and this "effectively
thwarted attempts by Britain to have Zimbabwe punished".
Britain had planned to use "trumped up claims of rights abuses in
Zimbabwe to have the country excluded from trade and aid packages".
Is it true that Chamisa blocked any moves to have Zimbabwe arraigned
for human rights abuses in the wake of 3/11? He was of course a notable
If the Sunday Mail's version of events is correct, and he has made no
attempt to deny it, Chamisa will have performed a signal disservice to the
cause of democracy. He has allowed Zanu PF to get away with the impression
that the state-sponsored violence that resulted in several deaths in the
period March to May was "trumped-up" and was no longer an issue.
Here we see a serious weakness in the current inter-party talks. Zanu
PF is using the talks to cover its trail of repression and misrule. And the
MDC is collaborating in the process.
The MDC must not be so desperate for agreement that it pretends all is
well in Zimbabwe at international fora. It should do what Zanu PF and The
Voice are doing: speak out.
President Mugabe used his address to the UN General Assembly to
suggest President Bush had no right to criticise Zimbabwe when the US was
engaged in a war in Iraq. We were pleased to see this response by Percy
Ngonyama of Durban in Business Day.
"Many progressive people were extremely pleased when Robert Mugabe
reminded US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown of
the crimes they have committed and continue to perpetrate against humanity
and the downtrodden. However, Mugabe's own crimes against the people of
Zimbabwe should never be forgotten. And we also need not be fooled by the
politically correct anti-Western rhetoric.
"Mugabe bashes British imperialism and colonialism while building
multi-million dollar palaces and being driven around in luxurious
Western-manufactured vehicles when the majority of his people cannot even
afford the basics due to a large extent to Zanu PF's 27 years of plunder,
cronyism, corruption and nepotism.
"While the likes of Mugabe and Mbeki may have mastered the art of
misleading the African poor and appeal to popular sentiments in what one
writer has aptly described as 'talk left, walk right' mentality, they are
just as culpable as their international counterparts. The ruling class in
which Mugabe occupies a prominent position is the real enemy of the masses
and the main beneficiary of all atrocities from wars to environmental
"Furthermore it is extremely misleading to argue, as some 'Africanists'
have, that Mugabe has finally managed to 'teach the white man a lesson',
since the majority of the victims of the ruthless Mugabe dictatorship are
What a neat riposte to the claims of state propagandists. And what a
cheek for the state media to talk about the BBC and CNN blocking out
inconvenient voices. Isn't that exactly what ZBC does all the time?
Talking of junk, what does the Ministry of National Security, Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement think it is doing replying in support of its
minister, Didymus Mutasa, to an article that appeared in last week's
Independent? The paper reported that Emmerson Mnangagwa was due to assume
The ministry described the article as "grossly fabricated and an
inaccurate piece of cheap political opinions, wishes and dreams patched
together to resemble a news item".
It then proceeded to make a number of partisan charges, including the
rather unoriginal claim that the Independent was part of a regime-change
The newspaper, the ministry said, has "no say or influence on
government appointments and demotions. That remains the sole and highly
respected prerogative of the president."
Highly respected, with all that dead wood around?
This childish little lecture, while helpfully exposing the absence of
professionalism in government departments, tells us nothing except that
somebody has been suborned into rushing to defend a minister who appears
unable to speak for himself.
What are civil servants doing commenting on ministerial appointments?
Since when has that been their function? We have seen military figures
making naïve pronouncements upon who they will salute in office, but do we
really want to know the views of some pathetic creature in Mutasa's
It is "gross", we are told, to fail to mention that Mutasa "is one of
the many people who are strongly lobbying and fighting for His Excellency's
endorsement as the sole presidential candidate during the 2008 elections."
In other words he is a lick-spittle. Please pass the sick bag.
A reader has called us to claim a first. He says Zinwa tariffs in
certain categories of consumption represent an increase of 1 million%. He's
got the paperwork to prove it. How does this fit in with price-slashing, he
wants to know?
What we have here is an inefficient and wasteful parastatal foisted on
the residents of Harare and Bulawayo against their will, charging what it
likes without consultation or ability to pay. Imagine pensioners coping with
bills of 700% and more.
It is bad governance at its worst. And, the president tells us, there
is no going back.
Why is everything for him a personal challenge? Why can't he just do
the right thing and have residents participate in decisions directly
affecting them? It's called democracy.
Zinwa is emblematic of everything that's sick about this country:
mismanaged parastatals, failure to provide a service, unaffordable public
sector price hikes (when Zanu PF is claiming it has slashed prices),
arbitrary impositions on residents, and non-consultation at every level.
And now Zanu PF wants to win elections so it can go on doing more of
Reg Rumney, writing in the Mail & Guardian, made a useful point
regarding the empowerment and mining legislation. When the ownership target
is set at 51%, he said, forced transfer is seen as the equivalent of
"Why 51%?" he asked. "Why not 35% which can be seen as effective
control? Why not 49% or 50%? Anton Rupert, founder of the multi-national
Rembrandt, felt that 50% represented true partnership.
"By insisting on 51% or more Zimbabwe will make absolutely certain
that no new foreign investment enters the country," Rumney said. "Since the
country has insufficient capital, that more or less means no investment.
Once again Zimbabwe is experimenting with extreme policy options. Indeed,
Zimbabwe is a kind of laboratory for bad policy in Southern Africa."
Readers will have been intrigued to see a picture in the Sunday Mail
of Zimpapers CEO Justin Mutasa presenting a certificate at a college awards
ceremony in the capital. The accompanying story is headed "Add value to
society through patriotism".
Below is an advertisement congratulating Taremekedzwa Mutasa on her
graduation from the University of Texas in Austin. She graduated with a BSc
in broadcast journalism.
"How wonderful," the ad says. Indeed, wouldn't it be wonderful if we
had a market for broadcasters here. And didn't a single person at the Sunday
Mail think it ironic that Mutasa could lecture graduates on patriotism while
educating his daughter in the US?
This is the sort of journalism the government wants to encourage:
where newspapers don't notice glaring contradictions that should jump off
the page and bite them on the nose.
Another example was President Mugabe's remarks this week about food
"End food shortages" his remarks were headlined in the Herald as if
all it takes is a royal command. "Zimbabwe had become a laughing stock
because of its food inadequacies," Mugabe declared. But he didn't say who
was responsible for those inadequacies in the first place.
All the factors that led to agrarian failure in 2000-2006 can be
witnessed in Mutasa's ongoing farm seizures. Nothing has changed. And just
in case there is any doubt, there was Joseph Made standing beside the
president, perhaps providing one of his crop forecasts.
The Roman Empire, we are told by historians, used to keep its populace
happy by bread and circuses. In Zimbabwe we just get the circuses.
Zanu PF's semi-literate mouthpiece The Voice had an interesting
front-page picture this week of Elliot Manyika. It was headed "He is
mobilising support for the president".
But there was something disconcerting about this picture. His head was
dripping with blood. Is The Voice trying to tell us something or does their
printer need servicing?
By Vincent Kahiya
The judiciary has a key role to play safeguarding human rights and
upholding the rule of law. Our gripe with the judiciary in Zimbabwe has
invariably been prompted by fawning attitudes towards the state which is
only too pleased to see members of the bench reduced to mere appendages of
Judge President Rita Makarau's speech at the police pass-out parade in
Harare two weeks ago is pregnant with the same political commentary that has
littered speeches by ruling party politicians and government spin doctors.
The judge said our police force "continues to be an icon to reckon
with not only on our borders but also indeed the world over".
She said the completion of the curriculum which the officers went
through, including subjects like police duties and investigations, criminal
law, human rights and policing, political history of Zimbabwe and public
order management "empowers the graduates with the right aptitude to meet the
demands of the organisation in contemporary policing".
The judge also spoke about the harmonised elections scheduled for next
"Let me remind you that the harmonised presidential, parliamentary and
local government elections are just around the corner and it is another
opportunity for the country to demonstrate to the whole world our
traditional competence in administering peaceful and democratic elections.
"It is my fervent hope that people of Zimbabwe will not be hoodwinked
and get involved in sponsored violence as wished by our detractors. I trust
and hope that the police, as they usually do, will create a peaceful arena
for all political parties to jostle for positions ."
By employing the language and diction of Zanu PF politicians, Justice
Makarau runs the risk of sailing in the same boat with them. The judge in
her past statements has demonstrated a measure of independence and to some
extent judicial activism.
Despite warning the police graduates to conduct themselves in a
professional manner and to desist from abusing police powers, I felt the
judge lost the plot by insinuating that we have a professional police force
which can be trusted to ensure there is peace during elections.
I want to differ with the Judge President's assertion that the ZRP has
become an icon to reckon with because officers are always being called to
serve on United Nations missions.
If anything, over the years, the competency of the force has
degenerated due to the unsavoury politicisation of command structures. This
has made the police a key instrument in Zanu PF's rule of terror. A
professional police force does not engage in arbitrary arrests of suspects
with no shred of evidence to support their arraignment. But this is
This week the state could not proceed with prosecutions against MDC
officials accused of terror attacks earlier in the year. The officials
arrested in the dozens, had spent months in remand prison as police said
they were still gathering evidence. Eventually they produced before the
court false information that the suspects had been trained in South Africa
and that police officers had gone across the border to investigate.
The "iconic" police failed in court to produce any evidence that they
travelled to South Africa. They could show no evidence of militia training
by the accused and no evidence of petrol bombing.
That is grossly unprofessional conduct which should be frowned upon by
the bench. Then there are the ever-increasing incidents of torture and
assaults on suspects to extract evidence or as a political punishment. This
has not been given due attention by the courts as police officers accused of
torture and assault have continued to use police stations as outposts of
terror on civilians.
Evidence abounds that our police force have fallen short when called
upon to deal with politically motivated cases. Justice Makarau knows about
the number of murder cases that have remained unsolved even though
perpetrators of the crimes are known. The emblematic Joseph Mwale case has
remained in abeyance because the police - with all its competence - cannot
locate the suspect in government corridors.
Also does the Judge President have a view on the executive
congratulating police for bludgeoning opposition and civic leaders in March?
What advice can she proffer to the police on the interpretation of the
Public Order and Security Act, especially sections which deal with holding
of public meetings? Her comments on these issues are key to having a
professional police force.
This was also a good opportunity for the Judge President to remind the
new officers of the importance of respecting court orders which have been
ignored with impunity by the force.
We cannot let the Judge President get away with the belief that the
state machinery has a tradition of running peaceful and democratic
Is this a personal view or the thinking of the whole bench which has
in the past been called upon to adjudicate on electoral challenges where
opposition candidates were shown to be the victims of partisan violence?
It is vital that judges in Zimbabwe uphold the rule of law and
demonstrate a conscientious concern for the Bill of Rights. As it stands the
Zimbabwean judiciary is found wanting by legal monitors at home and abroad.
Justice Makarau's address to the police recruits tells us why.
By Eric Bloch
IN his mid-year Monetary Policy Statement the governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, focused on diverse issues confronting
Zimbabwe's distressed economic environment.
The statement had a number of significant highlights, of which one of
the most meaningful was a pronounced recognition of a need to boost the
viability of exporters. In order to achieve this, the governor announced
three substantive monetary policies.
The first of those was that, with immediate effect, exporter retention
of export proceeds in foreign currency was increased from 60% to 65%.
Undoubtedly exporters in general, and those with extensive needs for
imported inputs, hoped that the mandatory surrender of export proceeds to
the central bank, in exchange for Zimbabwean currency, would be more
Equally undoubtedly, the governor would have liked to accommodate that
desire of exporters, but the chronic scarcity of foreign exchange that
afflicts Zimbabwe inevitably limited the extent that he could relax the
Hopefully, with the effluxion of time, he will be able to do so but,
in the meanwhile he was at least able to accord some slight relief to
exporters, their need for foreign exchange generally being as great as other
Of a very much beneficial impact upon exporters was the introduction
of an overnight investment window at the central bank wherein exporters can
invest the currency conversion proceeds, at a once-off overnight return of
Thus, on the portion of export proceeds as are converted from foreign
currency, being the prescribed minimum of 35%, or such greater proportion as
the exporter may wish, the exporter now receives the official exchange rate,
currently being US$1:$30 000, plus an overnight return thereon of 800%.
Effectively, based on the current official exchange rate, the exporter
therefore receives US$1: $270 000, on surrendered export proceeds, as
distinct from a previous effective exchange rate, up to last month's
mid-year Fiscal Policy Review and Supplementary Budget Statement of the
minister of Finance, of US$1: $15 000. Thus, exporters will now be enjoying
an 18-fold greater exchange rate than previously.
Admittedly, the new effective rate is considerably lower than rates
prevailing in the unlawful alternative markets, but that would always be so,
irrespective of the level of the official rate, for so long as foreign
currency availability does not match demand.
But the rate enhanced belatedly compensates exporters, to some major
extent, for the vastly increased production and operating costs, driven
horrendously upwards by Zimbabwe's appallingly great hyperinflation, and
thereby restores viability to many exporters who were either battling to
survive, or who had no alternative but to discontinue exports and
concentrate exclusively upon domestic market production.
Reinforcing those new measures, the governor further announced that
"to ensure that exporters preserve the real value of their foreign exchange
deposits.all such deposits will earn an all-inclusive interest rate of 12%
per annum in hard currency".
That is a better interest rate than is generally payable for hard
currency deposits in international markets.
Amongst the vast economic ills that characterise Zimbabwe, one of the
greatest is a gross inadequacy of foreign exchange. To some considerable
extent that is because of the minimal extent to which Zimbabwe can access
lines of credit, international loans, balance of payments' support, and the
That non-availability is unsurprising, bearing in mind Zimbabwe's
abysmal image of a very high credit risk. That image is, unfortunately, very
justified, bearing in mind not only the magnitude of Zimbabwe's
debt-servicing arrears, but also that its economy is so emaciated that its
prospects of timeous settlement of future debts are minimal.
The insufficiency of foreign exchange is exacerbated by the paucity of
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Not only is the Zimbabwean economic
environment unattractive to potential investors, but the lack of attraction
is exponentially intensified by the government's determined and rigid
pursuit of all precepts of "command economics".
President Mugabe and others continuously and scathingly disparage
advocates of "textbook economics", and yet they adhere to the textbook
philosophies espoused by Lenin, Stalin, Karl Marx, Mao-Tse-Tung, Fidel
Castro, and others of their ilk, whilst rejecting the textbook philosophies
of Keynes, Friedman, Greenspan and others. Therefore government persists in
grossly excessive regulation of the economy, making investors therein
anathema to most potential investors.
Recently FDI has been further markedly discouraged, by the
ill-considered Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment legislation, worsened
by the racist and scathing comments of the politicians, targeted against
Both these factors are of a key nature to the disastrous lack of
much-needed foreign exchange that grievously constricts the Zimbabwean
economy, and yet an even greater factor is that Zimbabwe's export
performance has undergone major decline. In part, that is due to
governmentally-created, near total collapse of agriculture, but to a
considerable extent it has been because manufacturers, miners, and others,
could not afford to produce for exports.
They were, and are, confronted, by continuously rising costs, but
government's past rigid fixation against currency devaluation precluded
exchange rate compensation for rising costs.
Therefore the new monetary policies are a very significant advance to
address the situation, and the private sector must respond positively,
constructively, and rapidly, by resuming export activities dynamically.
However, it is also necessary that the authorities recognise that
there can be no overnight transformation.
On the rare occasions of previous exchange rate adjustments, not only
were those adjustments usually inadequate, unsatisfactory compromises which
did not realistically address economic needs but, in addition, government
each time expected immediate up-turns in exports and therefore, in foreign
exchange inflows. When they did not materialise, government used that factor
to justify not effecting further currency devaluations.
Regrettably, as absolutely essential as exchange rate movement
correlated to inflation, is necessary, it cannot function as an
instantaneous magic wand.
Now that Gono has courageously sought to address the exporter's
difficulties constructively, those as can export must be given adequate time
to generate the much needed increase in foreign exchange. First, they have
to woo back the export customers that they have lost, and obtain orders from
them. Then they have to source foreign exchange for the inputs needed to
produce the ordered goods, place orders for those inputs, receive delivery
thereof, and then produce the goods. Thereafter the exports have to be
delivered to the customers, payment awaited and in due course, received.
Thus, as admirable and essential as the governor's policies are,
government, RBZ and others must appreciate that the benefits therefrom will
only flow to Zimbabwe progressively, over a period of time.
Free equipment and machinery not the answer
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, are
deluding themselves if they think that doling out farming equipment and
implements is the panacea to hunger and malnutrition mitigation in Zimbabwe.
For this reason, I have compiled some pertinent questions, which I am
sure Mugabe's bunch of bootlickers will be happy to respond to.
* Didymus Mutasa (State Security minister): How do you ascertain
between a genuine farmer and a land-grab "beneficiary" farmer?
* Mike Nyambuya (Energy minister): What provisions, if any, are there
to enable genuine farmers to access fuel in order to run the donated
* Rugare Gumbo (Agriculture minister): Why have the farmers not
received any seed and/or fertiliser, considering that the agricultural
season is upon us?
* Joseph Made (Agricultural Mechanisation minister): Where will the
farmers secure draught-power to till the land?
* Grain Marketing Board: What incentives, in terms of producer prices,
have you put in place to entice farmers to heed your call to produce more?
* Mutasa: What measures have you taken to ensure that the few white
farmers remaining, get on with what they know best, uninterrupted?
* will not hold my breath for answers
from this lot, come harvest time. The reality of yet another failed
season will be
Old man loses it yet again
THE old man has lost it again! Age is catching up with him real fast.
His recent mouthing in New York left everything to be desired. Many were
quick to be hoodwinked by his oratory skills but sadly missing the point
altogether. President Robert Mugabe turned the summit into an invective
show. Any right thinking person was left wondering whether it was not a case
of the kettle calling the pot black.
The following are some of the accusations he made:
* He accused Bush of killing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"He imprisons and tortures at Guantanamo, he imprisoned and tortured
at Abu Ghraib. He has secret torture chambers in Europe," Mugabe said in
reference to Bush
He was right on that score but he lost the plot. Has anyone bothered
to ask who does Bush torture and imprison? He does it to foreigners not his
own compatriots. Was it Bush who imprisoned Lookout Masuku, Dumiso Dabengwa
and Morgan Tsvangirai? Who tortured Luke Tamborinyoka, Gift Phiri etc?
* Mugabe went on to accuse Bush of stealing elections. "He stole
elections," he said. It's an open secret who won the 2002 election in
Zimbabwe. Is it Bush whose victory in a 2002 election is being challenged?
* Mugabe bragged that he had been on the political scene well before
Bush and Blair were known. Not ashamed whatever for having clung on to power
despite his age.
* "They seek regime change; they not my people, seek regime change,"
he went on to say. Did Bush and Blair influence the people of Harare,
Bulawayo, Mutare and all other cities to vote for the opposition? Do these
people not want regime change? People go into an election and there is only
a difference of 400 000 votes, at least according to your results. Can one
beat his chest that he is still wanted?
* "I spent 11 precious years of my life in the jail of a white man, I
lost a further 15 years fighting injustice in my country," Mugabe added.
True he was imprisoned for 11 years, but remember who could not fire a
* Mugabe claimed to protect his people. What people? Who is on record
saying "Bash them" "Chakadashurwa"? Was Chamisa protected, was Patrick
Kombai protected and what about Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya? Does
Aippa, Posa and the Interception of Communications Act protect the people?
* "But I have but one God, he is in heaven," said Mugabe. Is it the
same God we know? It's subjective how many gods are in the world. We all
know what god allows bashing of people.
* "At home, he apparently does not need the congress," Mugabe accused
Bush. Did Mugabe need the parliament to go to DRC?
* "The colonial sun set a long time ago. and Zimbabwe will never be a
colony again," he said. True the colonial sun set but the colonial laws are
still obtaining - Posa is Loma in a new form. Zimbabwe will never be a
colony of Zanu PF.
How irrelevant can any old man get!
What the party has done
I MAY well be wrong but the Indigenisation Bill is expecting foreign
companies and others to sell or give a majority shareholding to indigenous
persons (as defined).
This is a case of forcing companies to do something that they may not
wish to do. Zanu PF is not looking at this from an economic viewpoint but
from a political one.
If the companies do the same thing they will appreciate that
politically they should give/sell the controlling interest in their company
to indigenous persons of opposition parties and not to the persons of the
ruling party which is forcing them into doing this. At least this way there
is a possibility that should the opposition succeed in the next election,
they would consider reversing this legislation.
This would result in the ruling party making the opposition parties
considerably stronger by putting the business sector into their camp, which,
I am sure, was not the intention behind the legislation.
It is equally surprising that the opposition party has not thought
through this and has not been to see the business leaders, possibly they
Be that as it may, I trust that the Herald reporting of the debates in
parliament and the Senate are correct and that the minister is recorded as
saying that the legislation is not racial and is not against whites but is
to correct imbalances created by the colonial regime. This should mean that
all companies created after April 1980, which were created under the present
government, should not be subject to this legislation.
In fact one could go back further to the Unilateral Declaration of
Independence of Ian Smith which was the last time that there was effective
colonial exercise of power.
One also has to question the racial denial if the minister actually
said: "If a white person wishes to start a business he should partner with
an indigenous person". Then follows "we are not stopping anyone from
starting a business, it is not racism to correct wrong things".
What is wrong with being white? Can this be interpreted to mean that a
white child born in 1980 in Zimbabwe should be considered indigenous, the
same as a black child?
The regulations are to be monitored by the minister and maybe he is to
ensure that party or other individual interests are looked after.
The Herald newspaper is making great play on international sanctions
against the country and how this is affecting everyone and the specifically
the poor, and providing samples. If we accept that this is all true then
parties in opposition to the government can claim that these sanctions would
fall away if the present government was elected out of office.
One has to ask - are these good political decisions and what is the
calibre of the opposition parties who are not picking up on these things and
using them to advantage?
Be prepared, change is coming
DEAR constituents and friends
You will recall that I wrote to you in March that the regime has
cracked and that the transition to a free and prosperous Zimbabwe is clearly
visible on the horizon, although it may be some time before we can regain
control of our lives through a new, democratically elected government.
Recent events, although both disturbing and frustrating, have
confirmed this prediction. Zanu PF is fighting among itself - the "coup
plot" is just the tip of the iceberg - but more importantly is busy doing
all its usual nonsense while the country is fallling headlong into serious
You will also recall my suggestion that you link up with friends and
neighbours as we face what lies ahead, because we need to stand together and
help each other.
This reaching out and mutual support appears to me even more important
today, as we enter a period of serious difficulty for most of us. We simply
can no longer cope with these prices. This is the situation today, but what
will it be in a month's time, or by the end of the year?
Clearly the country will no longer be functioning in such a
situation - indeed already it is not functioning properly in many spheres,
as we know. Therefore we have to help each other and make contingency plans,
to be as prepared as we can be for any emergency or unrest. We are not a
country at war, but we are in the kind of situation prevailing in a country
at war, and we need to realise this and plan accordingly.
The good thing about our situation is that we know that it is all part
of the process of change.
Also, be prepared to vote, even if it means using the current
MP, Harare North
Bring proper education back
I AM 15 years old and I have asked my brother to help put this
I am looking forward to writing my 'O'levels next year. However, I am
worried about writing exams under the discredited Zimsec exam system.
As I study, I look at my brother's 'O' and 'A'level certificates and
curse being born late to be educated under such a system. As children we are
taught that old people are wise but I question the wisdom in changing our
system to such a poor system that our education and exam standards are so
pathetic. I pity the children who regard such men as their fathers.
I have a dream that one day a new government will bring in a new
education minister who knows what they are doing. Only then will our
education system be solid and we would be measured against Australians,
Singaporeans, the British and other progressive nationalities.
I have a dream that after Aeneas Chigwedere, my teachers will go back
to being the respected middle class lot that they once were. I urge whoever
takes over from the current regime to go back to basics in as far as high
school education is concerned.
Moyo must be censored
THE Candid Comment contributed by Dumisani Muleya last week made
interesting reading, particularly when he asks, "and what are we
doing?"(about the situation in Zimbabwe).
The reason why we are where we are today as a country is mainly
because of lack of self-respect as individuals and as a nation.
How else does one explain why people can wake up at midnight to do
their laundry and then wake up the next day at about the same time to press
their clothes without having a problem with it? Why is it that ratepayers
have no problem paying bills to Zesa and Zinwa without demanding to know why
the services by these utilities are only available at midnight - when the
intended users are obviously sleeping?
The questions will continue to be asked but if Muleya's question is
asked of the editorial staff at the Zimbabwe Independent regarding why you
give Jonathan Moyo space in your newspaper, I wonder what you people will
have to say.
In my view, this clearly shows lack of respect for your readers as
well as your advertisers who have stood by you through thick and thin.
What kind of Zimbabwe are you hoping to build by giving space in your
paper, our paper, to someone who, as a minister, wished the paper never
existed in the first place?
Muleya is indeed right when he says that the Zimbabwe debate is now
about personalities rather than content. But with Moyo, unfortunately, our
wounds are still fresh! Give us some respect by censoring the former Zanu PF