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Zanu PF intensifies military patronage

October 12, 2012 in News

THE appointment of retired Major-General Mike Nyambuya to head the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board last week underlined
government’s continued deliberate militarisation of key institutions despite
concerns from various stakeholders.

Former senior security personnel have been deployed to parastatals and key
state institutions in a move largely seen as an attempt by President Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF to entrench patronage and loyalty, given the military’s
often crucial interventions in propping him and his party up during

The security sector is credited with masterminding the June 2008 bloody
presidential run-off in which Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out citing Zanu PF’s
terror campaign in which 200 MDC supporters were allegedly killed.

Key parastatals and strategic public institutions in which ex-military
personnel hold sway include the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ),
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and

Other money-spinning companies in which the government has a stake such as
Mbada Diamonds and Anjin, exploiting diamonds at Chiadzwa under shady
circumstances, are also under the firm grip of ex-military chiefs.

The secretariat of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which plays
arguably the most crucial role in the country’s electoral process, has been
dominated by military officials since 2000 with the likes of army
chief-of-staff (quartermaster) Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba and
Justice George Chiweshe once heading the organisation.

In a suspicious move, Nyikayaramba was reported to have retired from the
army to become chief elections officer at the then Electoral Supervisory
Commission in 2002 and 2005 polls, only to return as commander of 3 Brigade
in Mutare after his “mission” at the elections body had been accomplished.
Zec’s current deputy chief elections officer is Utoile Silaigwana, a retired

Zanu PF rivals say Zec secretariat is staffed by state security agents
deployed to manipulate election results.
Even on the diplomatic front, former security personnel have been deployed
to head foreign missions.

Among ex-military commanders deployed at Zimbabwe’s diplomatic missions are
ambassador to Cuba retired major-general Jevan Maseko, ambassador to Kenya
and former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director-general retired
Brigadier-General Elisha Muzonzini, and the ambassador to Tanzania retired
Major-General Edzai Chimonyo. The CIO itself is headed by retired
Brigadier-General Happyton Bonyongwe, while Zimbabwe Prison Services is
under retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko is also an
ex-military man. The ambassador to Mozambique is retired Brigadier-General
Agrippa Mutambara.

Retired soldiers like Colonel Christian Katsande, now the deputy chief
secretary to the president and cabinet, and retired Colonel Joseph
Mhakayakora, a director in the ministry of construction, have also been in
public administration for years. The ministry of health’s permanent
secretary is retired Brigadier-General Gerald Gwinji.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, director of the newly formed Zimbabwe Democracy Institute,
says militarisation of the state is “a well-defined strategy to reward Zanu
PF-aligned former security personnel who assist their oligarchical party to
maintain its hegemonic hold on power”.

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Military escalates poll drive

October 12, 2012 in Politics

THE military is intensifying its subtle campaign for Zanu PF and its leader,
President Robert Mugabe ahead of elections next year particularly in
Masvingo and Manicaland provinces — which are emerging as battlegrounds —
where the polls could be won or lost.

Report by Owen Gagare

Zanu PF insiders say a study of the situation by the party strategists and
their security establishment backers shows Mugabe and his loyalists are
confident of maintaining their grip on Mashonaland and Midlands provinces,
while targeting the populous Masvingo and Manicaland — areas won by the
MDC-T during the last elections.

The MDC-T also controls urban areas and Matabeleland provinces.

Informed officials say after studying the last elections’ voting patterns
and current trends Zanu PF, buoyed by recent opinion polls which say the
party is recovering while its rival the MDC-T is declining, believes it
needs to launch a serious and sustained assault on Masvingo and Manicaland
to stand a real chance of winning.

Recent weeks have seen a surge in military deployments in those regions
which hold the balance.

Although Matabeleland remains an MDC-T powerbase, Zanu PF has not been
trying to seize the region back as it faces massive rejection there.
Instead, the MDC led by Welshman Ncube has gained momentum, setting the
stage for one of the most dramatic elections in Zimbabwe’s history.

Latest information shows Zanu PF is escalating its campaign in Masvingo and
Manicaland using state security forces, para-military groups and chiefs. The
party’s mobilisation committee last week decided that various campaign
methods have to be adopted to change the situation on the ground before

In a desperate bid to reverse the tide in Masvingo and Manicaland, the
military is organising clandestine meetings with chiefs and other
traditional leaders to mobilise their subjects to support Zanu PF ahead of

Over a period of months now the army has been gradually deployed into rural
areas, Zanu PF’s strongholds, to lay the ground for Mugabe and his party’s
national campaigns. The military is currently active in Masvingo and
Manicaland provinces.

Traditional leaders in Bikita, Masvingo province, have reportedly been
ordered to attend meetings at the army headquarters in Masvingo in the
latest move by security forces to step up their mobilisation manoeuvres.

Masvingo, the biggest province in Zimbabwe by population and constituences,
was for months under siege from security forces and war veterans led by
Jabulani Sibanda.

MDC-T provincial information director for Masvingo Honest Makanyire last
week told civic society leaders in Bikita, local chiefs and headmen received
a circular from local district administrator Edgar Seenza advising them to
attend the meeting on October 12 at 4 Brigade army headquarters in Masvingo.

A section of the letter from the district administrator’s office, dated
September 30, reads: “To all chiefs and headmen — Invitation to attend
traditional leaders’ day at the Officers’ Mess at HQ 4 Brigade. You are
expected to attend the meeting.”

Traditional leaders in the area told civic leaders the move was part of the
military’s broad agenda to mobilise support for Mugabe and Zanu PF ahead of
the referendum on the constitution and elections.

Well-placed sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week security chiefs
were planning to meet chiefs from Manicaland at Chief Murahwa’s homestead on
October 27, while a similar meeting would be held at Chief Mugabe’s
residence in Masvingo.

The military is already on the ground in Manicaland doing community work
which sources say was part and parcel of a strategy to show a more human
face of the security forces while simultaneously infiltrating the villages
to get votes.

Securocrats, under the banner of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), are
Mugabe and Zanu PF’s pillar of support. They have, however, shifted from the
bloody open terror campaign they embarked on in the 2008 presidential
election run-off to rescue Mugabe, who had lost the first round of polls to
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the harmonised elections three months
earlier, to subtle methods.

Instead, the military has now resorted to subtle intimidation by sternly
warning chiefs of the possibility of war if Zanu PF lost.

They have also been warning party heavyweights of the dangers of imposing
candidates and fuelling factionalism ahead of the make-or-break polls. JOC
was behind the recent dissolution of Zanu PF’s district co-ordinating
committees after disputed and bitter internal elections.

Top army officers who have been campaigning for Zanu PF in Manicaland
include army chief-of-staff Major-General Martin Chedondo, Air Vice-Marshal
Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General Herbert Chingono,
Brigadier-General Mike Sango, 3 Brigade commander Brigadier-General Eliah
Bandama and members of the provincial JOC.

Police Deputy Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga heads the team.

The Zanu PF commissariat department has already been militarised with Air
Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena retiring from the Air Force to head the division
alongside former CIO director internal Sydney Nyanhongo.

The military has proved loyal to Mugabe and was pivotal in keeping him in
power in the 2002 and 2008 elections, although its role in politics and
elections has been significant since 1980.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesman Colonel Overson Mugwisi and Zimbabwe
Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira could also not be reached
for comment.

Mugwisi was said to be attending a funeral while Charumbira did not answer
his phone.

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Politburo rejects election ambush

October 12, 2012 in Politics

THE decision-making Zanu PF politburo has rejected an ambush proposal by the
party’s commissariat department to hold potentially-explosive primary polls
next month to clear the path for crucial general elections next year.

Report by Faith Zaba

Senior Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent last night the
politburo, at a meeting yesterday, rejected secretary for commissariat
Webster Shamu’s proposal for primaries next month after the Second
All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the contentious new constitution.

“The issue was tabled from the blue, but it had no takers because of the
short notice, lack of rules, regulations and acceptable timeframes. Most
members felt it was like putting the cart before the horse,” a senior
politburo member said.

“It was like an ambush and such things invite suspicions. It’s as if there
are people with hidden agendas. The prematurity of the proposal was

Politburo officials said primaries could not be announced as if they were a
“football tournament” when they are a political process.

“Some people were wondering whether that is why some of our colleagues were
already running around when official campaigns for primaries have not yet
started and when it’s clearly not allowed,” the official said.

Another official said the proposal smacked of a “veiled factional agenda”
because it was mainly known by leaders of the camp led by Vice-President
Joice Mujuru and not those aligned to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two factions are battling to outmanoeuvre each other and gain ground in
a bid to produce a successor to President Robert Mugabe. As reported in the
Independent two weeks ago, Mnangagwa’s faction received a boost after
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga insinuated at
the minister’s birthday

party on September 15, at Sherwood farm on the outskirts of Kwekwe, he
backed Mujuru’s rival.

Even though the Mnangagwa faction seems to be on the ascendancy, it was
recently stopped in its tracks after walloping the Mujuru camp in the
chaotic and acrimonious internal district co-ordinating committee elections

The DCC polls were marred by infighting linked to succession power
struggles, intimidation and vote-rigging. This led to disbanding of the
critical structures, a move which has left those affected consumed with

“The primaries proposal was not going to fly because it was driven by a
factional agenda. The Mujuru faction wanted to ambush the Mnangagwa group so
that it can win the primaries and produce most of the candidates for
parliamentary polls,” an official said.

“Their manoeuvre was however blocked because primaries have to be done
properly, not as a strategy of waylaying rivals to fulfil some succession

Besides primaries, the politburo also discussed the second all-stakeholders’
conference on the new constitution and using 99-year leases on land as
collateral, among other issues.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed the issues were discussed, but
could not give details.

“Shamu presented a commissariat report and it was agreed that there was need
to intensify mobilisation ahead of elections and the referendum,” Gumbo

Gumbo said the party would soon decide dates for the party’s primary
elections, but was reluctant to explain further.

“All I can say is that there are indications or suggestions that we hold the
primaries in November,” he said before the politburo meeting. After the
meeting he was reluctant to comment on the issue.
The central committee meets today, but the issue of primaries is unlikely to
be adopted.

Politburo insiders said the Mujuru faction wanted primaries next month to
wrong-foot the Mnangagwa camp.

“We are already preparing for primary elections ahead of elections next
year,” one official said. “But Mnangagwa, who is legal affairs secretary, is
yet to come up with the rules and guidelines for primaries.”

Sources said Mnangagwa was however not in the politburo when primaries were
discussed, almost confirming the ambush plot.
Gumbo said the politburo also tackled the second all-stakeholders’

“We discussed the way forward on the all-stakeholders’ meeting and agreed
that we will push for our amendments to be included in the draft. This we
will do in the thematic committee meetings and I believe we will get our way
because it will be very difficult for them to ignore our amendments because
they are in line with the national statistical report.”

Dr Hope Sadza and Professor Phinias Makhurane, the two civil society
representatives in the Copac steering committee, will chair the plenary
session at the conference.

Gumbo said the Zanu PF central committee would discuss issues related to the
all-stakeholders’ conference, referendum and elections.

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Academics launch think-tank

October 12, 2012 in News

LOCAL academics have launched a new public policy think-tank, the Zimbabwe
Democracy Institute (ZDI), in a move they say is aimed at filling a critical
policy research gap that has emerged in the country over the last decade.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

Kent University law lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa chairs the new institute’s
board, which includes emerging academics Sibongile Mpofu of the National
University of Science and Technology, journalist and communications advocacy
specialist Rashweat Mkundu, development specialist Dr Phillan Zamchiya and
Phillip Pasirayi who is based in the United Kingdom.Former Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition officials Pedzisai Ruhanya, a media studies PhD
candidate, and Dewa Mavhinga head the secretariat.

Magaisa confirmed the formation of the new think-tank saying “there is
something in the pipeline and I was approached to assist with intellectual

Mavhinga said the institute is an independent and neutral public policy
think-tank based in Zimbabwe to generate, produce and disseminate innovative
ideas and cutting-edge policy analysis on good governance and respect for
human rights in the country. He said ZDI would fill a gap left by existing
institutes which have failed to provide policy alternatives.

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Clash over Mudenge

October 12, 2012 in News

THERE was drama in Masvingo last week when Zanu PF heavyweights were locked
in a bitter war of words while deliberating on the hero status of the late
Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge.

Report by Brian Chitemba

Mudenge collapsed and died in his hotel room in Masvingo last week Thursday.
Sources said the meeting held on his hero status was divided along factional
lines with officials aligned to Mudenge, who was loyal to Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction, pushing the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial
executive to automatically recommend that he be declared a national hero.

As a result officials aligned to Mnangagwa’s faction led by former governor
Josaya Hungwe and Chivi North MP Titus Huruva, clashed with those linked to
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who included politburo member Dzikamai
Mavhaire, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and Masvingo governor Titus

The sources said Mavhaire declared that Mudenge did not deserve national
hero status for unspecified reasons, but his group was blocked by Hungwe who
said conferment should be automatic.

A furious Mavhaire then reportedly stormed out of the meeting.

Mavhaire is famous for his “Mugabe must go” call in parliament in 1997 which
led to him being expelled from Zanu PF.

Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo
confirmed the Masvingo row but declined to divulge details.
“We may not know what happened behind the scenes but my intervention was to
urge them to work in harmony and reach an understanding,” said Gumbo. “I
told them to write to the secretary of administration (Didymus Mutasa) and
request (that) Mudenge be declared a national hero.”

Mudenge was no longer that active in Masvingo politics due to ill-health. He
joins the list of Zanu PF gurus who died in office despite years of visible

These include vice-presidents Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika,
as well as then Harare governor David Karimanzira, among others.

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DCCs threaten Zanu PF elections

October 12, 2012 in News

THE Zanu PF politburo’s resolution to disband District Coordinating
Committees (DCCs) has returned to haunt the party as members of the
dissolved structures have threatened to disrupt primary elections by
refusing to cooperate with sitting MPs.

Report by Elias Mambo

Tensions are rising in Masvingo, the Midlands and Manicaland as the party
continues to leave former DCC members in the political wilderness. Some
former DCC members told the Zimbabwe Independent in an interview this week
that they feel betrayed by their party which has failed to co-opt them into
existing structures as promised.

“We have been the glue that sticks people to the party but now we have been
discarded,” said one disgruntled former DCC member.“Zanu PF may rubbish our
disgruntlement but the effect will be felt in the forthcoming elections.”

The former DCC members complained the politburo rushed to disband them
without a solution on how to integrate them into other party structures
since they were elected and not appointed. Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo
acknowledged the disgruntlement of the dissolved DCC members but warned the
party would discipline errant members.

“We are very much aware of such indiscipline but the party is clear on the
fact that former DCC members cannot be automatically co-opted into party
structures unless vacancies arise,” said Gumbo.

The Zanu PF politburo hastily disbanded its DCCs structure accusing them of
fanning factionalism, as main faction leaders Vice- President Joice Mujuru
and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa jostled to wrest control of the
structures viewed as crucial in the raging succession battle.

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MDC-T big shots to avoid primaries

October 12, 2012 in News

IN a bid to ring-fence their current seats being eyed by internal rivals,
senior MDC-T leaders have come up with a controversial confirmation method
to circumvent open primaries ahead of general elections.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

The party, which claims to value democracy as one of its founding
principles, would resort to a mixture of a method of confirmation for
sitting MPs, and primary elections – the standard practice – for
constituencies in which it does not hold seats.

Under the confirmation process, the party’s constituency structures would be
asked to affirm the incumbent to be the party nominee by a majority vote,
while primary elections would pit all aspiring candidates against each

Over the last few months MDC-T bigwigs have been mulling various options to
ring-fence their positions, including changing constituencies to safer ones.

The party has lately been struggling to contain deepening factionalism
within its ranks and has been accused by “Young Turks” of shielding senior
officials from potentially stiff contests through suspensions and other

MDC-T recently expelled 12 councilors on corruption charges but they
maintain they were fired for their ambitions of challenging senior officials
for the right to represent the party in the national elections expected next

Disgruntled party members said the two methods seek to protect senior
officials including secretary-general Tendai Biti, national organiser Nelson
Chamisa, national executive committee member Elias Mudzuri, women’s assembly
chairperson Theresa Makone and Local Government deputy minister Sesel

“The party wants to protect some senior members and the plan is to initially
forego party primaries in constituencies where there are sitting MPs,” said
a senior party official. “This prompted the recent firing of some of the
ambitious councillors, who want to become MPs, on charges of corruption.”

MDC-T national spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the dual selection
process, but denied it was designed to protect senior party officials from

“The party has deliberately put in place a dual process of selecting party
representatives,” said Mwonzora. “Sitting MPs would be subjected to a
confirmation process initially and if they fail to get a certain threshold
they would be subjected to primary elections”
However, Mwonzora could not elaborate on how the confirmation process would
be held or how many members in a constituency would attend meetings for a
decision to be binding.

Some sitting MPs, including Chamisa and Mudzuri, are said to be considering
leaving Harare constituencies in favour of their rural home constituencies
to avoid problems.

A recent MDC-T internal report titled “Corporate Governance and Service
Delivery Audit of 10 Selected MDC-run Local authority Councils” which was
used to fire the 12 councilors confirms some were fired for being

The report reads in part: “Some became ambitious and sought to topple
sitting members of parliament at the very earliest opportunity. This bred
conflict in the party structures eg Harare East, Warren Park and Hatfield.”

The report cites expelled Harare Ward 28 councilor Xavier Vengesai as an
example of an “ambitious and undisciplined” member who was employing youths
in his ward using his position , thus creating a base to topple Biti as
Harare East MP.

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Battleground regions emerge

October 12, 2012 in Politics

WITH the clock ticking inexorably towards make-or-break elections slated for
the first half of next year, Manicaland, Masvingo and the three Matabeleland
provinces – which traditionally harbour deep-seated hostility towards Zanu
PF over centralised authority in Harare and marginalisation – are emerging
as key battlegrounds likely to decide the outcome.

Report by Faith Zaba

A close examination of the forthcoming elections and attendant dynamics show
the polls would be won or lost mainly in the three provinces.

For the two main political parties, Zanu PF and MDC-T, and their respective
leaders to win, they would need to put their ducks in a row there.

Given Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe thrive on the rural vote and are
almost guaranteed to hang onto their Mashonaland strongholds, the MDC-T and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would have to hold fast in their urban
fiefdoms and regions like Masvingo, Manicaland and Matabeleland to stand a
chance of winning.

If Zanu PF regains Masvingo and Manicaland, while maintaining other areas it
would win. If MDC-T loses these two and Matabeland it would be gone. The
Midlands remains under Zanu PF although it is potentially up for grabs.

If the MDC-T and Tsvangirai retain the Matabeleland – no go area for Mugabe
and Zanu PF – that enhances their chances of winning. But if they lose there
and the MDC and its leader Welshman Ncube wins, a new situation, which
favours Mugabe and Zanu PF by default as it helps them contain the MDC-T and
Tsvangirai, arises.

Prospects for another coalition government will loom large.

Senior Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC officials say Masvingo, Manicaland and
Matabeleland would be the battlegrounds.

“These three regions or five provinces, if you like, will largely determine
the outcome of the elections. As Zanu PF we are comfortable in the three
Mashonaland provinces and to some extent Midlands, but we need to retain
Masvingo and Manicaland to win,” a senior Zanu PF official said.

“Matabeleland is not important to us as we can’t win there but what happens
in those areas affects us a lot. If the MDC-T and Tsvangirai have a free
run, that keeps them strong, which really makes Masvingo and Manicaland

Zanu PF has for months now been working on the ground in Masvingo and
Manicaland. The deployment of the military there shows how seriously the
party wants to seize the decisive regions.

An MDC-T official said: “We will fight to keep Masvingo, Manicaland and
Matabeleland as they are key to the equation.”

Loss of support in populous Masvingo and Manicaland provinces with 26 seats
each in the House of Assembly was central to Zanu PF and Mugabe’s defeat in
the 2008 March elections.

In Manicaland, Zanu PF won a mere six of the 26 seats, while in Masvingo it
only did marginally better with 11 seats to MDC-T’s 15.

Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai in the first round of the 2008 presidential
election after getting 43,2% of the total vote to Tsvangirai’s 47,9%, while
Mavambo/ Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni polled 8,3%.

Close to 1,196 million voted for Tsvangirai, with Mugabe getting 1,08
million – a gap which makes Masvingo and Manicaland critical to the outcome
even though changes in other provinces could also affect the results.

Matabeleland, which holds the balance of power, will be a battlefield. Ncube
and the MDC are preparing for what one of their officials described as
“Battle of Stalingrad” around Bulawayo and other Matabeleland provinces.
Tsvangirai and the MDC-T would also naturally fight to keep their decisive

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Mandiwanzira defends new radio stations

October 12, 2012 in News, Politics

ZIMBABWE’S two newly-registered commercial radio stations, StarFM and ZiFM,
yesterday staged a spirited defence of their controversial licencing, saying
they were committed to offering a platform for citizens in their cultural
and political diversity to express themselves freely.

Independent Dialogue: Brian Chitemba

StarFM is owned by state-controlled Zimpapers, while ZiFM is run by
journalist-cum-businessman Supa Mandiwanzira who is linked to Zanu PF.

Contributing to the Independent Dialogue Series on the topic Deregulation of
the Airwaves in Zimbabwe: Reality or Fiction organised by the Zimbabwe
Independent in Harare yesterday, the two station bosses defended the
licences they were controversially awarded saying they got them purely on

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s awarding of licences to the
stations sparked widespread criticism with losing bidders, among others,
questioning the government’s sincerity in opening up media space to genuine
private players.

Mandiwanzira passionately defended his station arguing he secured the
licence on merit and not political considerations, adding ZiFM was a
commercial radio station wholly owned by his family trust. He said it was
not aligned to any political party.

He also said ZiFM focused more on “infotainment” and meeting the demands of
advertisers and its listeners instead of propping up any political party.

Mandiwanzira argued democratic space in Zimbabwe had increased with the
licensing of his station and Star FM because people now had other platforms
to air their views.

“We applied for a radio licence as AB Communications and we got the licence
after going through the processes,” said Mandiwanzira. “We didn’t get the
licence because we belong to any political party.”

He said the country’s democracy was flourishing although it could not be
compared to that of the United States and Britain given varying historical

StarFM general manager Admire Taderera said the electronic media has
experienced far-reaching changes in 2012 with the coming in of two radio
stations, showing significant strides were being made towards deregulating
the airwaves.

He also defended his station arguing it had interviewed over 60 politicians
of different political persuasions who freely aired their views.

“The launch of StarFM on June 25 2012 is a step towards plurality because we
are engaging every Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation,” said

“Over the past 32 years if one was passionate about broadcasting it was all
about ZBC, StarFM has changed the terrain of media plurality.”

In contrast, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director Takura
Zhangazha said the licensing of ZiFM and StarFM was a tentative beginning
towards the liberalisation of the airwaves because expectations were that
more commercial and community stations would be licensed.

“It’s progressive that the two radio stations exist, but are they a genuine
departure from ZBC or are they following the same line?” he asked.

Zhangazha said the radio stations should focus more on balanced and ethical
reporting of news stories rather than playing more music.

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Legislators humiliated at hotels

October 12, 2012 in News

LEGISLATORS this week endured the embarrassment of being barred from
checking in at Crowne Plaza Hotel and Holiday Inn in Harare over non-payment
of their accommodation bills by parliament.

Report by Herbert Moyo

The MPs were left fuming after being told on arrival from their bases
outside Harare that they could not be checked in despite their bookings as
the hotels try to recover outstanding food and accommodation expenses from
the legislature.

Although hotel officials refused to comment, sources told the Zimbabwe
Independent Holiday Inn is owed more than US$90 000 while Crowne Plaza is
owed US$8 000.

Accommodation rates for Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn in Harare range from
US$160 to US$185 for a standard room per night. However, MPs sometimes get
special rates.

Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo said 56 of the 58 legislators booked at
Holiday Inn were turned away over outstanding bills and only she and Chivi
North MP Tranos Huruba checked in after paying for their own
accommodation.Khumalo accused parliament’s authorities and the executive of
demeaning legislators in the eyes of hotel staff “who are after all part of
the electorate”.

“These people who evict us are part of the electorate who vote us in and
look up to us for leadership,” said Khumalo. “How are they supposed to
respect us and trust us to carry out our mandate if they are going to be
witnesses in such activities that embarrass and demean us,” she asked.

Magwegwe MP Felix Sibanda said he was forced to secure his own accommodation
“somewhere at a US$50 (a day) lodge where there was no water” after being
barred from checking in via a phone call while on his way to Harare.

Sibanda took a swipe at the executive accusing it of deliberately
undermining MPs and their functions by perpetually underfunding the

“They are neglecting our welfare while the executive and judiciary are
well-catered for with cars and allowances,” said Sibanda. Mbizo MP
Settlement Chikwinya also confirmed the problem.However, Clerk of Parliament
Austin Zvoma professed ignorance over the crisis when contacted for comment.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” said Zvoma. “The service
providers communicate directly with us not through the press.”

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Chrome mining on the brink of collapse

October 12, 2012 in Business

ZIMBABWE’S decision to lift the ban on raw chrome ore exports will not be
enough to save the country’s chrome miners, as the industry teeters on the
brink of collapse due to deepening viability challenges, experts have said.

Report by Taurai Mangudhla

Recently, Mines deputy minister Gift Chimanikire announced government’s
plans to lift the ban on chrome ore exports for another 24 months to allow
companies to clear stockpiles they had accumulated since the policy had been
reinstated in April 2011.

The lifting of the ban, also meant to protect small-scale chrome miners,
most of whom are indigenous, comes with a tax on sales to facilitate local
beneficiation, which is currently too low to warrant the embargo.

The nature of the tax is yet to be specified and analysts say it will be a
further barrier to viability of the battered industry, especially given the
low prices of raw chromium, which have averaged between US$165 and US$185
per tonne since August, from a peak of US$230 per tonnne in May.

Local mining expert and immediate past president of the Chamber of Mines of
Zimbabwe (CMZ), Victor Gapare, said the idea of charging a levy on chrome
ore exports to be channelled towards building smelters in future needs to be
interrogated in relation to the prevailing low market prices.

He said any additional levies would make chrome mining unviable and
ultimately defeat the purpose of its miners to export raw ore.

“At the moment, chrome ore and ferrochrome prices are at relatively low
levels and it’s difficult to see how chrome ore producers can be viable if
an additional levy is imposed on them. A levy on the chrome ore will have
the same effect as the banning of chrome ore exports due to economics,”
Gapare argued.

While he agreed there was need to develop adequate smelting capacity, he
maintained there was also need to provide adequate utilities to support the
beneficiation projects. The country’s biggest chrome smelter at Zimasco,
together with other smaller smelters, did not have the capacity to process
all the chrome ore produced in the country.

Gapare said smelters required an incredible amount of uninterrupted and
affordable power supply, hence the need for government to come up with a
long-term solution to its power deficit of around 800 MW.
Zimbabwe’s power costs, which are arguably the highest in the region after
government increased tariffs by 37% in September last year, are prohibitive
to new and viable beneficiation projects, the former Chamber of Mines
president pointed out.

“It follows then, that any intention to build more smelting capacity must
take into consideration availability of power (and) the cost of the power is
also a critical factor in the economics of smelting,” he said.

At an international level, chrome ores tend to move from countries with
higher electricity costs to countries with lower or subsidised electricity
costs as in the case with China, which has become a major producer of
ferrochrome despite it not being a major producer of chrome ore.

As a result of China’s competitive advantage in terms of electricity costs,
South Africa for instance, recently increased its chrome ore exports to the
Asian country significantly.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe’s largest ferrochrome producer, Zimasco, says
its mining fee expenses have gone up more than 10-fold after government
increased mining fees, ground rentals and levies by up to 5 000 % effective
January this year.

Zimasco group mining executive Reason Mandimika said the ferrochrome
producer, which used to pay US$96 000 a year before the new fee structure,
was now required to pay US$11 million.

Mandimika said the increase had an impact on pricing models and viability of
the business.

Last month, Zimasco abandoned its tributor system and stopped buying ore
from the small-scale miners working its claims, saying operations had become
too costly.

The company also slashed wages for its staff, citing high utility costs and
mining fees and taxes.

In July, Zimbabwe Alloys Limited (Zim Alloys) said it had about 60 000
tonnes of ore when the embargo was introduced last year and was now selling
its ore at a loss to avoid losing more value.

“We lost about 35% of the stock due to weather conditions. Because of the
heat and rain, some blocks disintegrate to fines and they are unusable,” Zim
Alloys finance manager Kudakwashe Mahobele said.
ZimAlloys has not been spared by the mining fee review as it is now required
to pay US$1,5 million annually in mining fees and ground rentals for its 1
200 claims.

Other small to medium-scale chrome miners as Dakota Mining Company (Private)
Limited have also succumbed to challenges bedevilling the sector.

Dakota, which was liquidated, put up its US$1 million worth of chrome ore
deposits in the Mazowe area for sale.

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Biti walks tight budget rope

October 12, 2012 in Business

ANOTHER year is about to pass and we now eagerly await the presentation of
the 2013 national budget by the Finance minister Tendai Biti on November 15.

Report by Peter Gambara

The Ministry of Finance recently rolled out a programme of consulting the
public on crafting the budget.

Over the past year we have seen many people including fellow ministers
accusing Biti of failing to provide enough resources for a host of demands.
However, it must be understood that what Biti tries to do at national level
is like what most low and medium income households go through every month.
Such households, faced with inadequate funds, have to prioritise.

After paying rent, most households are very careful about what food items to
buy; sometimes they chose to delay payment of electricity bills so that they
can raise enough school fees that month.

There have been situations with such families where a younger sibling is
asked to postpone starting tertiary education so that the parents can first
finish paying fees for the elder brother or sister.
This juggling by households is the same balancing act Biti has to perform at
a national level.

Biti has always stuck to his philosophy of “we eat what we kill” and now
that his ministry is consulting on the budget, let us make our input before
the budget is presented. In doing so let us suggest how he can improve the
“kill” from US$3,4 billion that he worked with in 2012. Surely he cannot
increase Pay As You Earn as the incomes for most workers are just too low.

Civil servants have actually indicated that their salaries are below the
poverty datum line and need a review. Most workers in the private sector
have to go without salaries or wages for many months as their companies are

A drive through most companies in the industrial areas today will reveal a
subdued situation. Most industries are a pale shadow of what they used to be
in the 1980s and 1990s.

Looking into the horizon, this situation might actually be with us for a
long time to come. The market’s illiquid state makes the recovery of these
industries very difficult. It therefore goes without saying Biti cannot
increase company tax, for doing so would simply drive them over the edge.

An increase in Value Added Tax would simply increase the prices of most
basic commodities when the average earnings of our workers are still meagre.

Biti can however play around with increasing customs and exercise duty on
some goods, but generally it just means the consumer will end up paying
more. The increase in exercise duty on fuel during the mid-term fiscal
policy review statement led to an upward trend in the fuel prices and the
trend seems to be persisting. The minister must ensure that if any lobby
group approaches him on that he consults all other stakeholders.

This leaves Biti having to look at the minerals like diamonds and platinum
as an option. So far the contribution of these minerals has not been
significant. Whilst a few of the diamond companies like Mbada Diamonds have
been visible in making remittances and social responsibility programmes,
including supporting local soccer, the same cannot be said of the rest of
the mining companies. The performance of the economy though seems to move in
tandem with how the agriculture sector performs.

During consultations Biti will get all sorts of grievances including the
water crises in Harare and Bulawayo which has gone out of control. Some
households now have to go for over two weeks continuously without water.

Can Biti please provide some resources in the 2013 budget for these
municipalities or Zinwa to fix the problem. We hear Morton Jaffrey
waterworks in Harare were designed for just a million households, but with
the expansion of Harare, Chitungwiza and surrounding areas, surely the
infrastructure can no longer cope.

The suggestion by Water minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo that municipalities
provide the first 6 000 litres to households free of charge elicited some
startling disclosures from the Harare municipality officials who claimed
this would deprive them of at least US$750 000.

That means the municipality is making over a $1 million dollars from selling
water to residents. The question that arises is: where is that money going
to and why can’t we use it to fix the recurrent water works problems?

The second issue concerns water charges to farmers. A lot of farmers have
abandoned growing wheat due to a host of problems including unreasonable
water charges. Can the Minister consider scrapping charges for irrigation
water that is drawn from farm dams and boreholes for 2013 as a way to
encourage farmers to use the water?

Zinwa can still make its money from selling treated water to urban dwellers.
While most low and medium income families have just one breadwinner and have
to balance their needs against their incomes.
The same should apply to our government.

While we appreciate they do not have enough resources to meet the country’s
needs, people do not expect the same cash-strapped government to be
extravagantly buying expensive cars for ministers and MPs every now and then
when taxpayers are suffering. Biti’s budgetary balancing act must address
key national issues to maintain and sustain economic and social recovery.

Gambara is an agricultural economist and consultant with AgriExpert. He
writes in his personal capacity.

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Cotton farmers at risk from pesticides

October 12, 2012 in Business

Cotton farming has been a vital cog in Zimbabwean agriculture. It has
dominated the local agricultural industry for almost a century.

Report by Peter Makwanya

Any talk of farming at any level, by any one, evokes images of cotton and
the successes it brought about. There has been quite a number of players who
came into the Zimbabwean cotton industry, trashed the environment and

Cotton-growing companies in Zimbabwe and the world over have serious
shortcomings on issues of environmental and business ethics.

Concerns such as land use, exploitation of workers and the use of
pesticides, environmental and health implications cannot continue to be
mystified. Conventional cotton farming is adversely destroying the
environment and affecting the health and well-being of thousands of farmers
in Zimbabwe.

Ethics in general refer to personal code of conduct based on respect for
oneself, others and the surroundings. From the environmental point of view,
ethics can be defined as a discipline that analyses issues regarding people’s
moral obligations to future generations with respect to the environment.

A deeper analysis on the conduct of cotton companies in Zimbabwe reveals
that they pay lip service or have a palliative approach to the fundamentals
of ethical considerations. By failing to adhere to environmental ethical
obligations, they have also failed not only themselves but their ethical
business practices.

Cotton companies cannot claim to be ethical if they violate the basic rights
of farmers, ignore health, safety and environmental standards.

These are the issues that have a heavy bearing on the sustainable
livelihoods of the farmers they claim to have at heart.

For centuries, cotton companies have been quietly pocketing enormous profits
from exploiting the unsuspecting rural farmers. The question is: For how
long are they going to play tomfoolery with farmers? For how long are they
going to continue deceiving farmers with their glib?

Research by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Programme (WHO), provides a
shocking account that between 1% and 3% of agricultural workers around the
world suffer from acute pesticide poisoning, with at least one million
requiring hospitalisation each year. These figures equate to between 25
million and 77 million cotton farmers around the world.

Why cotton? The reason is that cotton amounts to 16% of global pesticide
release; more than any other crop in the world. Cotton farming is also
considered the “dirtiest” due to the heavy use of insecticides, the most
hazardous type of pesticides to human and animal health.

To cotton companies (this is not assumed knowledge) already have
comprehensive information regarding this. As such, what are they doing about
it? Do they have insurance cover for their beloved farmers or is there any
cotton company-owned hospital that treats people suffering from suspected
poisoning from cotton cultivation related diseases?

Zimbabwe is one of the 16 African countries that use not “extremely
hazardous” but “highly hazardous” cotton chemicals. It is therefore clear
that in Zimbabwe there are people suffering from chronic effects of
long-term pesticide exposure, which include impaired memory and
concentration, severe depression and confusion. This is long-term in the
sense that, toxic agro-chemicals first applied 50 years ago now pollute the
country’s land, air, food and drinking water.

This means that cotton chemicals that were applied in 1962 are beginning to
have their effects felt now. These chemicals are causing substantial damage
to humans and the environment.

Women and children, who mostly participate in cotton cultivation, are prone
to dangers of pesticides because of their vulnerability. Hazardous cotton
pesticides are known to contaminate rivers and are a threat to fresh water
resources. About 99% of the world’s cotton farmers live and work in
developing countries, where there are low levels of safety awareness, no
access to protective apparatus, illiteracy and chronic poverty.

Zimbabwe, because of its status as a country “that is failing to develop”
can be classified as part of the 99%. It is common knowledge that Zimbabwean
rural cotton farmers often store pesticides in their bedrooms or near
foodstuffs. As a result, reports of suicide cases have appeared in numerous
editions of the print media.

Due to poverty, carelessness or ignorance, some rural communities end up
using these pesticide containers for water storage. The situation becomes
more dangerous when drinking water is not treated, as is the case with the
majority of Zimbabwean rural communities.

Research shows that hazardous pesticides applied to cotton can potentially
contaminate both cottonseed oil and cottonseed derivatives in animal feeds.
In simple terms, it means the hazardous chemicals can affect the whole food
chain; therefore, human beings, animals and the environment are not spared.

It is also clear from the environmentalists’ point of view that ethical
practices are normally resisted by some sectors of the society, including
cotton companies.

Events of the 2012 cotton marketing season, where farmers got a shocking raw
deal from cotton companies, which announced buying prices when cotton was
overdue for sale, is not sustainable. Buying prices should be announced in
advance so that farmers who intend growing cotton may do so out of choice
and economic considerations.

Cotton farming is a high-risk job which is very exploitative. This past
farming season we have in Zimbabwe witnessed thousands of the rural poor
working for little, or no reward at all.

In fact, they have been relegated to the dustbin of the farming discourse.
Sometimes we witness cases of misplaced priorities by these cotton
companies, where a company sponsors rugby, which is considered an elitist
sport in Zimbabwe, while ignoring construction of roads in the rural areas
where the cotton is grown.

The rural constituencies have served these cotton companies in good faith,
but they have to destroy the environment in order to construct make-shift
roads so that cotton companies can have easy access to their loot.

Some communities do not have basic educational facilities such as decent
classrooms. Children learn under freezing conditions in winter and in
sweltering and suffocating heat come summer while their major and only
important stakeholder is watching.

There are also capable and scholarship-deserving students from these
impoverished communities who fail to go to universities, not because they
are dull, but due to lack of funding. They have been dumped and loathed by
the exploitative cotton companies.

Indeed, it is not cotton companies’ sole responsibility to undertake these
social obligations, but these same rural constituencies have nurtured cotton
companies to what they are today.

To reduce environmental damage and compromising the health of their major
stakeholders, cotton companies must engage in research to find out which
organic cotton species are suitable for sustainable farming, depending on
available variables. The advantage of growing organic cotton is that it does
not require the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

Organic cotton farming does not poison the environment or the people
involved in the production. If cotton companies in Zimbabwe have proved
through research that organic farming is not suitable in our situations,
then they must ensure that agro-chemical companies sell recommended
pesticides only. They should allow the selling of pesticides bearing the
labels of manufacturing countries and companies. The chemical products
should have genuine eco-friendly certifications.

Farmers need to have constant training, awareness and education programmes
in chemical handling and better pest management techniques. Protective
equipment should be readily available and affordable too. The brush and
bucket spraying technique is highly contagious, so in that regard sprays
should be cheap as well.
Lastly, ethical business practices are eco-friendly and sustainable as they
regulate the behaviour of all businesses that operate in the supply-chain
such as contractors, suppliers, distributors and sales agents.

Makwanya is a climate change communicator who writes in his own capacity and
can be contacted on: or

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Flaws in treasury bill Tender — Bankers

October 12, 2012 in Business

BANKERS this week denied snubbing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s
maiden tender of US-dollar denominated treasury bills floated last Wednesday
which failed to raise the targetted US$15 million.

Report by Clive Mphambela

Well-placed sources disclosed that the RBZ had taken the TB issue’s failure
as a slap in the face and upon results of the tender last Friday, summoned
banking sector executives to a meeting in which RBZ governor Gideon Gono and
Finance minister Tendai Biti accused the bankers of hindering their efforts
to bring back tradable paper onto the financial markets.

The authorities are now said to have raised the ante by mooting compulsory
purchase of the instruments in future.

However, in various interviews with businessdigest this week, senior bankers
revealed that they were not against the re-introduction of paper, but there
were significant flaws with the inaugural treasury bill tender that needed
to be ironed out before another one could be successfully floated.

“Whilst there were consultations held between the RBZ, treasury and market
players, bankers were not given enough time to give feedback during the RBZ’s
consultative process. The results of the tender, which should not be
regarded as a failure of the market at this stage, is purely a result of
inadequate consultations on the part of stakeholders before the issue,” a
senior banker who declined to be named said.

The bankers said the design of the treasury bill was faulty, given that the
paper is supposed to be free of default risk.

The bankers said the risk-free status of the bills was in question because
of the government’s perceived poor creditworthiness at the moment, and its
inability to print money.

“With the cash budgeting system, it is likely that in future funds may be
unavailable to meet maturing instruments,” a bank executive said.

He added that the absence of a repurchase window for the bills at the RBZ
meant the instruments were non re-discountable and could only be exchanged
for cash on the interbank market, making them purely a secondary market

A senior treasury dealer with a major bank told businessdigest that the
concept of averaging the tender rate and allotting bills at the average rate
was unfair on market participants, as the approach ignored the particular
needs of each of the participating banks and ultimately killed off
enthusiasm in the instruments.

“When a bank tenders for the bills, it does so on the back of its particular
circumstances, regarding its liquidity or underlying customer order book. By
issuing bills at the average rate for all bidders, one can find that the
bank will have lost money immediately on a market to market basis on any
assets purchased, should the average rate be above the banks bid rate. A
bank will also lose money should its average cost of funds be above the
allotment rate. Going into the tender with such an unknown variable
introduces an unacceptable trading risk for the bank,” the dealer said.

He argued the allotment of bills at an average rate defeated the whole
purpose of tendering and the whole concept of the treasury bill rate
becoming a benchmark market rate.

The whole idea of restricting the tender to participation by banks cuts out
other potential investors such as pension funds and insurance companies
which have large amounts of funds to invest.

“The TB tenders should be opened up to a wider audience as ultimately, the
pension funds and asset managers are the ones that are mobilising longer
term savings which can be channelled into Treasury Bills,” he said, adding
that banks would maintain their agency role.

A senior RBZ official said the bankers had unfortunately sent the wrong
signal to the authorities and this might result in a regulatory backlash.

“We had a meeting with the bankers following the failure of the inaugural TB
tender and emotions were very high,” the official said. He said the
authorities were clearly disappointed by the lack of support from the banks,
given the huge cash piles that were sitting in bank vaults and in their RTGS

“It was pointed out at the meeting that one bank has been sitting on an
average balance of US$67 million for over two years on their RTGS account
and these are idle funds that are earning zero interest for the depositors.
In addition, some banks are sitting on up to US$400 million in
non-productive vault cash in notes. This is a serious situation that needs
redress,” the RBZ official said.

“The same banks that are tendering for government treasury bills at
ridiculously high rates of interest are sitting on huge customer deposits at
zero percent and the powers that be will be forced to come up with
interventions to correct the situation,” he warned.

Banks have come under fire for failing to pay significant interest on
deposits and savings. This has been cited as the main cause of the slowing
growth in savings in the economy despite low inflation levels. The bankers
have previously blamed the absence of medium- and long-dated quality money
market instruments for the absence of a vibrant secondary market and the
lack of a visible market yield curve for interest rates.

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Record production at Blanket mine

October 12, 2012 in Business

Caledonia Mining’s Blanket mine saw its gold production rise 33% to 12 919
ounces in the third quarter to September 30 2012, a record since the first
year of the company’s recorded production in 1906. This compared to 9 743
ounces in the same period last year.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

Caledonia is an Africa-focused mining and exploration company with an
operating gold mine in Zimbabwe, two platinum-nickel exploration projects in
South Africa and a cobalt-copper exploration project in Zambia. Blanket mine’s
total gold production in the nine months ended September 30 also increased
by 33% to 33 643 ounces, compared to 25 331 ounces recorded in the same
period in 2011.

The group said it was targeting an increase in production to 40 000 ounces

Blanket mine has 18 brownfield exploration projects close to its current
site. The group said its immediate focus would be on the GG and Mascot
Project Area. The GG satellite project is seven kilometres from Blanket
while the Mascot satellite project is 42km away.

The mine’s reserves and resources are above 750m and can support 14 years’
production at 40 000 ounces per annum. Caledonia is one of the foreign
mining companies in Zimbabwe required to meet government’s 51%
indigenisation requirements.

CEO Stephan Hayden earlier this year said the country’s indigenisation
compliance requirement would not significantly disturb operations at Blanket

Caledonia in June this year signed an agreement with the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) to transfer 16% of
Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe.

The agreement was in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding
Caledonia signed with the government in February this year.

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IMF annual meeting no picnic for Zim

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

THE annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings will be held
in Tokyo, Japan, this weekend, according to the hosts, amid uncertainty
facing the global economy.

Report by Itai Masuku

On the economic front, the global uncertainties stem from the recession
which peaked in 2008. Although it may not have equated to the great
depression of the 1930s, it certainly got many of the world’s economists,
business and political leaders thinking: “Hey, if this could happen in the
21st Century, what could happen next?”

The assumption, of course, being that in the 1930s, people were less
prepared to deal with such developments, but in high-tech C21, advanced
economic modelling could anticipate such downswings, unlike the disputed
Kondratiev theory on economic boom and bust, and allow preventive steps to
be taken.

On the political front, the ghost of 9/11 in the US continues to haunt the
world, with the US becoming more militarily aggressive by engaging in
pre-emptive strikes against perpetrators of terrorism, perceived or real.

This has resulted in an unfolding new world order (I hate that phrase),
characterised by Anglo-American-led unilateralism. It is this that has seen
the political disintegration of the Arab regional economic hub whose impact
is yet to be fully understood.

It is not clear whether this is to be followed by similar fall-outs in Asia
and Latin America.

Backwater Africa is never really part of the equation, except insofar as its
resource endowments are in the interest of the world’s major players.
Conspiracy theorists believe it’s part of a wider plot to impose a global
economic order that sustains south-north economic prosperity.

Back to Tokyo. Zimbabwe, of course, will be represented by its Finance
minister Tendai Biti and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, who will compare
notes with their counterparts from all over the world. We understand that
the state of Zimbabwe’s economy will attract some attention at the meet.

The country has enjoyed a love-hate relationship with the IMF stemming from
its failure to repay arrears and controversial land reform programme in
2000. The IMF argues this has disrupted agriculture, traditionally the
backbone of the country’s economy, and therefore its ability to settle
accounts with the IMF.

Zimbabwe’s debt is reported to be US$10,7 billion and last month the world’s
lender-of-last-resort said it would not cancel any portion of it. The Fund
listed Zimbabwe, along with countries such as Somalia and Sudan, as failing
to service its debts.

Biti and Gono therefore go to the meeting with their tails between their
legs following the Fund’s snubbing of their request for debt clemency.
However, a window of opportunity still remains, the Heavily Indebted Poor
Countries (HIPC) route, which some authorities abhor.

They argue HIPC conditions will place it at the mercy of the IMF.
Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you default with creditors.

Unless Zimbabwe comes up with its own Marshall Plan to resuscitate its
economy, which must include accounting for its diamond revenues, it is less
likely to come up with a debt repayment strategy that meets the expectations
of its creditor. This has implications on this country’s voting rights and
access to further WB and IMF funding.

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Living in a police state

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

ENERGY minister Elton Mangoma was held by police for three hours on
Wednesday and later released on charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe
over statements he made at a rally several months ago.

It is alleged Mangoma, who is also MDC-T treasurer, shouted “Mugabe chifa,
Mugabe chibva (Mugabe die, Mugabe go)” during the rally. Wishing people dead
is morally wrong, but certainly not a hanging offence.

Mangoma is by no means the only person who has been arrested over charges of
insulting or ridiculing Mugabe. Many people have been picked up over similar
allegations, including for waving, signalling and joking about the president
in a manner authorities and police consider objectionable.

Some have simply been assaulted by security details. Even lawyers have not
been spared. Harrison Nkomo was once arrested under Section 33 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for making “dangerous public
utterances likely to cause disaffection” against Mugabe.

Nkomo had allegedly said: “My friend can you go and tell your father
(Mugabe) that he must go because he has failed to run this country. Tell him
we have suffered enough in this country.”

This, police strangely claimed, was likely to demean his office as head of

Repressive pieces of legislation usually used to silence Mugabe’s critics
include the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), General Laws Amendment Act and the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as they criminalise making
utterances that may “engender feelings of hostility or cause hate, ridicule
or contempt towards the head of state or his office”.

Criminal defamation is one of several relics of colonial laws still being
used to stifle debate and criticism of public officials. The arrest of
Mangoma and citizens as well as journalists, over and above relentless
political seizures and detentions of ordinary Zimbabweans all over the
place, is unacceptable.

First, such arrests confirm Zimbabwe is a police state. Second, they stifle
free flow of information and ideas, the lifeblood of any democracy. Without
free flow of information and criticism there can be no viable or sustainable

Since 1980, Zimbabweans have endured all sorts of horrors at the hands of
security forces. This clearly shows Zimbabwe is a police state.

The arrest of Mangoma and others shows freedom of expression remains
endangered in Zimbabwe. Freedom of expression, including press freedom,
plays a critical role in fostering democracy and respect for human rights.
Put differently, it is the cornerstone upon which the very existence of a
democratic society rests.

If Zimbabwe is to develop as a free, democratic and prosperous society, it
is important for people to express themselves without fear and undue
restrictions. Police must not play a political role in society — being used
as an instrument of terror and repression.

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Tsvangirai should stop denials

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

IT was commendable for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to apologise to the
nation two weeks ago in Bulawayo for his sexual indiscretions while
purportedly searching for a new wife, as it went some distance towards
repairing the damage he has inflicted on himself.

Report by Faith Zama

“It was a genuine search for a new wife and therefore I would like to
apologise to those that were inconvenienced; it was not my intention to hurt
anyone,” Tsvangirai told supporters at his party’s 13th anniversary in

Even though some felt the apology was too little too late, Tsvangirai had at
least succeeded in giving the impression he was remorseful and was taking
full responsibility for his lapses.

Given his high position and profile as a top public official — a premier who
shares executive powers with the president — it was important for him to
apologise and show contrition.

So the prime minister, emerging from the storm which had engulfed his
personal and political life, was right to make an apology. Many people were
ready to somehow forgive him and move on, while others of course were

However, that credit now seems to have been wiped out by his remarks 10 days
down the line.

In what amounts to reversing his apology, Tsvangirai told The Guardian (UK)
this week he was a victim of a smear campaign by his state-sponsored

“I had two or three relationships and that was blown out of proportion,” he

Well, we don’t know whether there was a smear campaign against him or not,
but that is wholly irrelevant. And, of course, his claims to have had only
one or two relationships are simply not true. That is besides the fact that
even if they were true, it was still bad enough for him to do that. Such
sort of remarks only show he has retreated to denial and excuses for his
scandalous behaviour.

No one is an angel here or is pretending to be, but Tsvangirai must
understand he is a national leader and senior public official, so he can’t
defend himself by making claims of a set-up or saying his scandals were
exaggerated. He can’t even credibly deny what he was doing amounts to

Worse still, he can’t seriously say those criticising him are worse off as
they have a string of girlfriends or kids all over the place. That’s a poor

He is a public official who must lead by example, especially in a society
like ours plagued by HIV and Aids.

If anyone doubted the prime minister doesn’t get it on this issue, consider
what he incredibly went on to say to The Guardian: “If two consenting adults
have a relationship, what is wrong with that? I didn’t go and rape somebody.
I didn’t go and take somebody’s wife.”

This is shocking, to say the least. So for him the only moral benchmark he
uses is adulthood and mutual consent. He has no problem with multiple
relationships and using and dumping women like diapers as long as they are
consenting adults?

It gets worse when he refers to rape and adultery. Does it mean that for him
to appreciate whether he was right or wrong he has to lower the moral
benchmark to the base of adultery or rape? So it means unless he commits
adultery or rape, he would not see anything wrong with bed-hopping?

Tsvangirai has been linked to a string of women, children outside marriage
for whom he is currently paying maintenance, and even worse, polygamy since
the death of his wife, Susan in March 2009.

Only recently, he was forced to technically cancel his high-profile wedding
to Elizabeth Macheka because a Harare magistrate ruled he was still
customarily married to Locardia Karimatsenga-Tembo.
Look, this is a really hectic and damaging lifestyle, especially for a
person of his status and of his age, with grown up children. That is why he
is clutching at straws.

Tsvangirai must do the right thing: Stop making excuses and take
responsibility for his actions. The measure of a good leader is ability to
take responsibility, make amends and move on.

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Mugabe and his bagful of tricks

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

FOR 32 years since he came to power, President Robert Mugabe has
consistently outwitted his opponents and detractors through various
strategies and tactics ranging from persuasion to violence to secure his
continued reign.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Mugabe has used whichever methods he deemed fit at different junctures of
his rule — uninterrupted since Independence in 1980 — including amending the
constitution, manipulation of laws and state institutions, gerrymandering,
vote-rigging and state brutality when cornered.

After coming to power in 1980 following a protracted liberation war and
bruising power struggles with Zanu PF, Mugabe, who left a trail of political
and even bodily casualties on his way to the top, instinctively became
obsessed with ruthless consolidation and retention of power.

Faced with a tricky situation recently over by-elections, Mugabe pulled one
of the many tricks up his sleeve in a bid to manipulate the issue to his

He turned to the courts last week and won a stay of execution allowing him
to defer by-elections in three vacant constituencies the Supreme Court had
ordered he should proclaim poll dates for, initially by August, later in
October and now in March next year.

Analysts say while on the surface it appeared Mugabe had lost several rounds
in the by-elections case, in reality the situation fitted his political
designs. The situation fitted in snugly with his strategy to hold early
elections next year before implementing outstanding reforms as outlined in
the Global Political Agreement (GPA), while his age and deteriorating health
still permit.

Former legislators Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu had
successfully dragged Mugabe to court to force him to call for by-elections
after they lost their seats when they were expelled from the MDC led by
Welshman Ncube. The Supreme Court ruled in their favour and gave Mugabe up
to the end of August to proclaim the dates before he got a reprieve up to
October and finally until March next year when he intends to call for
general elections.

Mugabe hopes to manipulate the ruling to fulfil his and Zanu PF’s agenda of
holding early elections, while he can still sustain a rigorous and
energy-sapping campaign.
Mugabe would be 89 by the time the next elections come and his health might
even deteriorate further, hence fears that he could falter in the middle of
the do-or-die polls.

Analysts say the last week’s court ruling allowing Mugabe to call for
by-elections in March next year while subsuming general polls into that,
largely abets Zanu PF’s expedient political agenda.

In an analysis titled “Does Chiweshe’s ruling measure up”?, directors of the
Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit Derek Matyszak and Tony Reeler said
the High Court ruling on the matter was flawed, indicating politics and law
can be in direct conflict, putting politicians and judges in an invidious
position in handling such situations.

They said “the granting of the extension to this date for the three
by-elections is a violation of the principle of the separation of powers
established by our constitution.”

“The president is already in breach of the law in having failed to call for
these by-elections and others that are over due. The excuse that this could
not be done because of financial constraints has rightly been rejected by
the Supreme Court as simply a delaying tactic and abuse of the court’s
process – as was the first application for an extension of time within which
to call for the by-elections,” Matyszak and Reeler said.

“The legislature has decided where a vacancy arises in parliament, the
president must set the dates for a by-election within 14 days. It is not for
the judiciary or the executive to decide the will of the legislature does
not require compliance.
“It is not for the courts or the president to decide which laws can be
ignored out of political expediency – though unfortunately this is not
atypical of the modus operandi of both in present day Zimbabwe.”

Alex Magaisa, a law lecturer at the University of Kent in the United
Kingdom, said: “The High Court cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision. The
fact is there cannot be any proper legal ground for effectively reversing a
higher court’s decision. The judge of the High Court should have declined to
hear the matter on the basis that he does not have jurisdiction in the

However, constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku had a different view.

“The president went to the High Court to merely request a stay of the
execution of an order granted in the Supreme Court, not to challenge or
appeal against that decision so there is nothing amiss about that. The
Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to stay the execution of its own order,
but the High Court can do so,” Madhuku said.

Analysts say whatever Mugabe’s manoeuvres, elections should not be held
without key political reforms.

In terms of the Sadc-sponsored GPA, Zimbabwe should hold free and fair
elections guided by regional benchmarks, the polls roadmap and an array of
reforms, including a new constitution.

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Stan Mudenge: Profile of a historian

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

ZIMBABWEAN history is poorer today with the loss of Dr Stanislaus Isaak
Gorerazvo Mudenge. Indeed, the country’s guild of historians (and
archaeologists) has been robbed of a pioneer who blazed the trail of what
could really be termed the academic history of Zimbabwe.

Report by Gerald Mazarire

His passing on takes with it the wealth of experience and knowledge that
made him a fount of critical themes and subjects in Zimbabwean history.

I have known Mudenge mostly through his academic work and had very little
contact with him except on a couple of occasions when we met. Each time he
left a lasting impression. My first meeting with him was a huge surprise.

He knocked at my door in the History Department of the University of
Zimbabwe and told me he was completing a book project on the vaRozvi and had
been told that I had copies of the works by Harald von Sicard and NJ van
Warmelo, two colonial ethnographers who had written extensively on the
pre-colonial people of southern Zimbabwe and northern South Africa, that he
wanted to borrow.

This led to a passionate exchange that lasted for almost four hours. Each
time he stood, paced up and down the office, gazing for moments on end into
the horizon through the first floor window as he went through my humble
personal library.

I took volumes of notes as he directed me to one source or another and
referred me to this or that historian. I had never encountered this much
history of the vaRozvi coming from anyone other than a written source. I
knew Mudenge’s classic thesis on the Rozvi Empire and the Feira of Zumbo
which he had defended way back in 1972, and it was evident the man had not
stopped researching, he had done even more!

“This time I have prepared you a bomb young man … zvenyu zvekutamba zviya
(not your games),” he threatened. His well-known The Political History of
Munhumutapa, a legend by my standards and a favourite with my students for
its clarity of argument and resourcefulness based on a wide range of
sources, was perched somewhere on my desk, clear evidence of its centrality
in my teaching. I thought for a moment this would flatter him but he was

“That book was a pure accident”, he said to my amusement. “After I did my
thesis, I realised I had gathered so much data on the Mutapa State from the
Portuguese sources I used than on the Rozvi on whom they had comparatively
little to say; that is how I then decided to write on the Mutapa and I was
surprised by the book’s impact … I still owe this country a history of the
Rozvi and I am almost finished.”

We struck a note. I was in the process of writing my doctoral thesis and
pursuing some Karanga families in southern Zimbabwe and I had occasion to
show off some preliminary findings to Mudenge, some of them Rozvi off-shoots
breaking apart and forming ruling lineages and these intricate details
tickled his fancy. And so the sparring started as we shared sources, argued
and laughed; but he took me through the paces like a coach, Rozvi
archaeology, its weaknesses, Rozvi historiography, the problems and his new
discoveries including references of files in different archives whose access
numbers he knew from the top of his head. I said to myself, goodness me this
man is just a genius! He took possession of a draft of the thesis in its raw
state and the meeting ended on this happy note.

I talked to Mudenge as if we were buddies who had known each other for
years, but more importantly, I was humbled that he treated me as a fellow
historian and midway through the conversation he had elevated me to a
counterpart in a different academic epoch and our verbal scuffles turned to
generational matters affecting our fraternity as Zimbabwe’s younger crop of

What was our methodology, impact and legacy? He emerged triumphant of course
when he proudly stated that his generation had not only broken new ground in
the use of different sources such as oral traditions and contemporary
literary accounts to produce a new kind of history for Zimbabwe that became
directly relevant at that critical stage in the local struggle for
self-determination, but that as a generation they pioneered the publication
of this high quality research in various journals and textbooks.

Their work confronted and even defeated the racial censorship of the
Rhodesian Front and became the foundation of new curriculum in schools in an
independent Zimbabwe. With this challenge he bade farewell and I walked him
out to the car park.

I reflected on this encounter with Mudenge on my own. It was a huge
revelation. It is true he belonged to a group of Zimbabwe’s first
professional historians who defended their PhDs on various subjects of
Zimbabwean history between 1971 and 1972. The most successful was the group
from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of
London. These included Mudenge himself, Professor Ngwabi Bhebe and Hoyini

To this group one could add David Beach who was British but moved to
Rhodesia in the 1960s. This trio was a unique combination that had trained
under Professor Richard Gray and invariably worked on pre-colonial topics
related in one way or another to their places of origin in Zimbabwe.

Mudenge worked on the Rozvi because, as he proudly stated, he was a mukwasha
waMambo, the descendant of Zimuto Govere, the Rozvi mambo Tohwechipi’s
son-in-law; Bhebe on the role of religion in western Zimbabwe and
Ndebele-Shona relations in the buffer zone of Mberengwa, his homeland, and
Bhila working on the Manyika in eastern Zimbabwe where he hailed from.

The result was cutting-edge research which went on to set the standards of
Zimbabwean history in the areas that they worked.

Prior to their coming, much of the research on the history of local people
had been done by anthropologists based at the Rhodes Livingstone Institute
in Zambia or by colonial officials in Rhodesia. Although a History
department had been established at the University College of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland (UCRN) when it opened in 1957 the first lecturers in the
department were mostly European expatriates encountering African history for
the first time and were actually experimenting with new research topics in
Zimbabwe’s history coming up with their first collection of preliminary
findings in 1966; a book titled A Zambesian Past.

Mudenge, who became a history student in this department at this time, was
to be caught up in the increasingly volatile politics of anti-UDI
demonstrations against Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front regime and was detained
in 1966.

After this, whatever could have emerged of historical research at the
University of Rhodesia was severely compromised by this highly racialised
atmosphere. How could research on African history thrive at a university
under a racist regime?

While this question haunted many, pockets of black Zimbabwean historians
were qualifying with doctorates around the world, especially in the United
States and other parts of Britain, and this slowly grew into a sizeable
crowd in the 1970s to include such people as Mutero Chirenje, David Chanaiwa
and Elleck Mashingaidze, among others. None of them were able to come back
to work at the local university where they would be humiliated under
existing laws to work as Teaching Assistants under white lecturers with
lesser qualifications.

This is why, for instance, both Mudenge and Bhebe ended up in Sierra Leone
at the then prestigious Fourah Bay College, before trekking down to work in
Southern Africa at the campuses of the now disbanded former High Commission
territories’ university, the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Most of their research found expression in the very successful journal
Rhodesian History in which Mudenge published his seminal article An
Identification of the Rozvi in 1974. This journal bore the critical mass of
research done by what had become a self-motivated multi-racial community of
historians directly engaging each other’s work although they could not
gather under one roof in Salisbury.

Younger scholars like Julian Cobbing, Ian Phimister, Barry Kosmin, Iden
Wetherell, Richard Mtetwa, Chengetai Zvobgo and Misheck Sibanda had joined
the fray turning the whole decade of the 1970s into the golden age of
Zimbabwean historical research.

While the aforementioned contradictions persisted, the department started to
train its own crop of doctoral students.

Amid these challenges, Mudenge was one of the few Zimbabwean historians who
raised the bar of research by exploding several myths of Zimbabwe’s past,
taking no prisoners in the process. For this reason, his work has stood the
test of time.

Stretching the length and the bar of research by exploding several myths of
Zimbabwe’s past, taking no prisoners in the process. For this reason, his
work has stood the test of time, stretching the length and breadth of the
historical spectrum; he challenged established dating systems used by
archaeologists to determine the age of important sites such as Khami. He
debunked the “trade stimulus” hypothesis popularised by fellow historian
David Chanaiwa which attributed the rise of local states to the role of
foreign trade and Mudenge’s innovation totally overhauled existing knowledge
of the Mutapa economy, religion and politics from the popular versions
championed by earlier writers like Donald Abraham and WG Randles. All this
work he showcased in such high quality journals as the Journal of African
History and the International Journal of African Historical Studies. Mudenge
was however not content with being on the receiving end of African
scholarship either. He believed scholarly research on Africa by Africans
should not be controlled by academic cartels out there; it should be brought
home to Africa.

In pursuit of this dream he not only established the Institute of African
Studies at Roma University in Lesotho but began publishing an equally
successful journal called Mohlomi. While in Lesotho too, Mudenge ran a
successful fundraising campaign for the Zanla war effort raising thousands
of dollars. By 1980 Mudenge had a formidable academic profile and held an
important position in the executive of the Pan-African Association of
African Scholars having been part of the contributors to the massive Unesco
project on the eight volume General History of Africa in 1979.

So for me, Mudenge’s profile as a historian was exemplary. He had proven
beyond doubt and despite all the odds what a Zimbabwean historian could do
in the colonial period. In fact his profile makes him a professor of history
by any international rating, a title he got in Lesotho but one he has never
liked to use.
In politics again, it looked like Mudenge had lived yet another illustrious
life, permanent secretary, United Nations permanent representative, Foreign
Affairs minister and Minister of Higher Education.

What baffled me was his continued commitment to active historical research
despite his new non-academic commitments. It has always been an unwritten
law that the mark of a true academic is the ability to complete and publish
a single-authored book that is not a revised thesis.

Mudenge completed two book projects while he was a full-time diplomat: the
aforementioned Political History of Munhumutapa and Christian Education at
the Mutapa Court. In the latter he was able to trace the sons of Munhumatapa
that were sent to Goa for higher education, one of them becoming the first
ever Zimbabwean to earn a doctorate way back in the 17th century. Mudenge
characteristically organised a diplomatic visit to the station they were
trained at and their burial sites in Goa in the company of President Robert

With his passing on, the challenge is how to complete the projects that he
had started, chief among them to get the Rozvi book published for it was
already completed. His family would be pleased to know that he remains the
undisputed authority on that subject and his was going to be the first
complete study ever of vaRozvi.

Equally, Mudenge and Bhebe had successfully resuscitated the Unesco project
to convert the eight volume General Histories of Africa to pedagogical use
in primary and secondary schools which resulted in the international
conference held in Harare in 2011. As this was only the first stage, the
project must not only be completed but be seen to pursue his dream to
pedigree Zimbabwean scholarship in general and historical research in
particular, as second to none internationally. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Mazarire is a post-doctoral fellow at Stellenbosch University’s
Department of History.

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White-collar crime ails economy

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

AS often stated in this column, there are many causes of Zimbabwe’s severe
economic problems.

Eric Bloch Column

Most of the economic morass stems from the ruling politicians’ penchant for
pursuing destructive policies. These range from deterring much-needed
foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic investment, to gross fiscal
mismanagement and abuse.

We also have counterproductive taxation measures, recurrent confrontations
with other countries (most of which could provide developmental aid),
negative policies in assuring enterprises, residents and tourists of
security. There is also failure to resuscitate fiscus-bleeding parastatals
plus destruction of the agricultural foundation of the economy. These are a
few of the contributors to the decimation of the economy, and the
concomitant misery for the Zimbabwean majority.

Another economic affliction is the growth of corruption and white-collar
crime in Zimbabwe. (I recall travelling from Bulawayo to Harare on a then
operational Air Zimbabwe flight, sitting next to a leading Zimbabwean

He asked why I was travelling to Harare, to which I replied that I was going
to attend a conference on corruption at which I would make a presentation.
The politician replied: “That’s a very good thing, for by now there are
only two honest people left in Zimbabwe.” My response was, “Really? Me and
who else?”

Not all Zimbabweans are dishonest and corrupt, but the number guilty of such
practices is increasing all the time.

Most Zimbabweans are inherently honest and seek to avoid corrupt practices,
but tragically this is progressively changing. There is no greater trigger
to the abandonment of honesty and of recourse to crime than when one’s
children are often crying from hunger. Many children suffer from
malnutrition, and cannot access healthcare and decent education due to their
parents’ plight.

In desperation, the poverty-stricken turn to crime and corrupt practices. At
the same time, there are many who are increasingly determined not to join
the ranks of the impoverished, thus they resort to accumulating great
wealth. These are mostly politicians, corporate executives, managerial
personnel, and others who have found opportunities of circumventing
provisions of law.

Aiding and abetting the growing tendency to corruption is that to an
increasing extent, the principles of good governance are being disregarded
by government, its parastatals and other business enterprises. There is
mere lip service to governance principles as less and less are observing the
principles. In part this is attributable to the brain drain suffered by
Zimbabwe over the past 15 years, motivated by the declining economic
environment, and the deterioration in central and local government services.

Consequently, senior and management personnel were replaced by inexperienced
personnel with limited knowledge of the fundamentals of good governance and
management. Due to cost containment necessitated by distressed economic
circumstances, many enterprises could not afford the services of external
auditors, whilst others cut the operations of internal audit departments.
This created an enabling environment for white-collar crime.

Within the public sector, highlights of corrupt practices include the
disclosure that government had about 40 000 “ghost workers”.

These were alleged, non-existent persons in the employ of various
ministries, whose salaries are enjoyed by those who created the fictitious
workers. This major white collar crime was exposed only after external
auditors had been engaged by the Ministry of Finance.

If the amount allegedly paid to each such imaginary public servant was a
basic salary of US$150 per month, this would mean the perpetrators were
stealing US$6 million a month (equating to US$72 million dollars per annum),
a significant contributor to government’s fiscal deficits.

Other white collar crimes include those by many in government, parastatals,
and those private sector enterprises who evade prescribed purchasing
procedures. They ensure supplies and services are sourced from suppliers who
secretly pay the perpetrators of the procedural evasions secret, undisclosed
commissions; such amounts are concealed in the prices charged.

Even when prima facie tender procedures are applied, the culprits often
manage to circumvent or distort those procedures, ensuring tenders are
awarded to pre-selected suppliers who pay them hidden “gratuities”.

Often, those who resort to such white collar crimes are of high social
standing, intelligence and authority, both in the public and private
sectors. They find ways of committing undetected fraud, embezzlement and
insider trading. In so doing they exploit state-of-the-art technologies
(especially computer systems), falsify paperwork and abuse positions of

Consequences of corruption include inflated fiscal deficits, greater losses
for parastatals and many private sector enterprises, often resulting in
their liquidation. This also has the effect of increased prices to
consumers, thus stimulating inflation.

The magnitude of white-collar crimes and their consequences are yet another
deterrent to investors, and a major contributor to continuing economic

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MuckRaker: Lethargic police prove Tsvangirai right

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

Police do not selectively apply the law and do not target MDC-T members, new
police spokesperson Charity Charamba said. According to the Herald she said
this “while quashing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s claims that police
were partisan”.
A more accurate account would have been that she said this “while attempting
to quash” Tsvangirai’s claims. Addressing supporters in Zaka, Tsvangirai
said the role of the police was being compromised. He accused the police of
arresting members of his party for political violence. He also said MDC-T
members were victims of violence unleashed on them by Zanu PF.

Charamba however claimed the force was impartial in discharging its duties.
She said the police have zero tolerance to crime and Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri would confirm that. But Tsvangirai insisted the police
were not arresting Zanu PF members who were assaulting and killing MDC-T

“People were burnt by Zanu PF members and some were assaulted and their
assailants were known,” he said. “They are actually boasting of committing a
crime. Are the police still in existence?” he asked. “What is the role of
the police?”

“The law only applies when an MDC member is accused of committing a crime,”
Tsvangirai said. “There are 29 young people who are rotting in prison and
their crime is that they are MDC. Why should we have selective application
of the law when we are saying we are one?” he said. Enough said about the
first Charity.

Uncharitable Charities

Another Charity, Dr Charity Manyeruke who lectures in the Department of
International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe, said Tsvangirai’s
claims were baseless.

“We know the international community has cleared Zimbabwe of any violence
hence they gave the go-ahead to host the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation general assembly.

“We should not have people lying that there is violence when we can’t hear
or see it,” she said. “We can’t continue with these lies of violence when it’s
not happening.”

Not happening? What planet is she living on? What happened to Talent Mabika
and Tichaona Chiminya? And more recently to Tonderai Ndira? As for the UNWTO
general assembly, when did it clear Zimbabwe of violence?

For these Charities the mantra seems to be “see no evil, hear no evil, speak
no evil”!

Conspicuous by absence

As if to buttress Tsvangirai’s assertion, the police were conspicuous by
their absence last week when war veterans besieged Finance minister Tendai
Biti’s offices, grounding government business to a halt in at least four

The veterans held government workers hostage, barring anyone from going in
or coming out, reports the Daily News.

A bemused Biti slated the police and the army for not taking action saying
they are always fast to respond to civil rights protests by human rights
groups such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and yet very slothful in dealing
with the war veterans’ lawlessness.

Newly-appointed Harare provincial police spokesperson Tedious Chibanda has
clearly taken his predecessor’s lethargic cue, declining to comment on the
incident and referring the Daily News to the national police spokesperson.

“Those issues are commented on at national level, we do not talk at
provincial level,” Chibanda unhelpfully said.

Asked to comment on the issue, national police spokesperson Charity Charamba
said she was off-duty while her deputy Oliver Mandipaka said call after an

Evasive ‘war vet’

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association leader Jabulani
Sibanda was afforded a chance to put to rest speculation he was born in 1970
and thus too young to have fought in the liberation war.

Surely his interview with the Sunday Mail would bring closure to the
lingering question of whether Sibanda was the revolutionary he claimed to be
or just a charlatan.
The youthful looking Sibanda claimed to have joined the liberation struggle
in 1976 although conceding to be “very young at that time”.

When probed on how old he was when he joined the war, the “irrepressible”
Sibanda was, however, very tame and evasive. “I was old enough to make that
choice,” was Sibanda’s feeble reply.

“I don’t want to be forced to talk about personal issues,” he added. “I am
not in this position in a personal capacity.”

Asked who he trained with during the war, Sibanda gave yet another ambiguous
response. His former colleagues were either retired or their whereabouts are

“Some of them are still serving today like Brigadier Ncube. I think he is in
Mutare or somewhere. I also trained with Brigadier Matiwaza, he must be a
retired brigadier by now,” Sibanda claims.

To the question of which areas he operated from during the war, Sibanda
could only say:

“I cannot give the whole situation saying this happened here and so on.”
“I am just content with what I am telling you” was the lame rejoinder.

When the interview meandered beyond personal issues, the vitriolic Sibanda
emerged with all guns blazing threatening to mete out retribution to
“corrupt” Zanu PF officials.

Despite a shadow hovering over his credibility as a war veteran, Sibanda
still demands to be taken seriously.

‘Sharpening strategies’

Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo believes his party’s conference to be held
in Gweru in December will “sharpen its strategies and ensure a resounding
victory” in next year’s elections.

A “giant” 5 000-seater conference centre is under construction in Gweru in
preparation for the December meeting, the Herald reports. The facility will
be equipped with “modern technology”, whatever that means.

The US$6,5 million project spearheaded by Zanu PF provincial
vice-chairperson Larry Mavima is on course “despite the illegal sanctions
imposed on us”.

According to Mavima the project signalled the “renaissance of Zanu PF”.

This “renaissance” continues unabated despite practical collapse of Zanu
PF-run companies. The Financial Gazette reports that workers at Zanu
PF-owned Jongwe Printers were up in arms against management over unpaid
salaries. Workers at another Zanu PF-run company, Catercraft, said they had
not been paid for the past six months.

So much for renaissance!

Poor grasp of history

We are surprised at George Charamba’s poor grasp of modern African history.
He told the Herald, gullible as ever, that Uganda was “one of the first
countries in Africa to gain Independence”.

He was accompanying President Mugabe to Uganda’s golden jubilee Independence

In fact the following countries gained Independence before Uganda (1962):
Sudan (1956); Ghana (1957); Nigeria (1960); Tanzania (1961); Congo Kinshasa
(1960); Congo Brazzaville (1960); Gabon (1960); Cameroon (1960); Togo
(1960); Central African Republic (1960); Chad (1960); Mali (1960); Guinea
(1958); Sierra Leone (1961); Morocco (1956); Tunisia (1956); Ivory Coast
(1960); Niger (1960); Mauritania (1960) and Senegal (1960).
Clearly many African nations were independent before Uganda.

President Mugabe also needs some help with other facts. He told mourners at
Stan Mudenge’s funeral that when there was a logjam over the land issue in
the Lancaster House talks the British went to the Americans for help with
compensation which the US agreed to.

They contributed “significant amounts” the president told us.
In fact it never happened. The Americans at no stage agreed to support land

Wooden moves

Finally we were amused by the Mail&Guardian’s story on the Born Free Crew’s
new video which features President Mugabe. The idea behind the videos,
reports the M&G, is to bridge the huge gap between the 88-year-old leader
and the young, urban voter.

“But with his co-stars leaping enthusiastically around him, Mugabe manages
only a few reluctant, wooden moves, his grey designer suit out of place next
to the bandanas and mohawks of the Born Free Crew,” reads the M&G.

“Shot in Mugabe’s office in the capital Harare, the video shows him standing
to attention while the singers salute him. They then surround him, dancing
and throwing their arms around his shoulders as if he was one of their own.
When they finally coax him into a dance, he carefully, if seemingly
reluctantly, kicks one leg and then another, wearing a wide grin.”

Fawning man of the cloth
Zanu PF politburo member Tendai Savanhu recently handed over groceries to
vulnerable groups living at Matapi Hostels in Mbare.
Savanhu visited the beneficiaries of his largesse accompanied by a Pastor
Alwyn Bizure of Adonnai Ministries.

The fawning pastor said Savanhu’s gesture showed Zanu PF was putting God’s
word into practice and has a “God-fearing leadership that is obedient and
One wonders if those at the receiving end of Zanu PF brutality in Mbare
share the pastor’s sentiments.

Bippa subject to govt’s whims

The Herald carried a story this week in which Mines minister Obert Mpofu
told some Russian visitors that “we have been subjected to very destructive
media. The Western media has been hostile to us because we wanted to use our
resources for our people”.
Shouldn’t this read: “The international community has been very critical of
us because ministers are helping themselves to public resources and in the
process undermining the economy?”

The Russians should know the Bippa they signed is not worth the paper it is
written on because Harare will tear it up when it suits it.

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Mugabe outwits Mujuru, Mnangagwa

October 12, 2012 in Opinion

IN the penultimate instalment of his article tackling the Zanu PF
constitution and succession, Derek Matyszack looks at how Mugabe has
resorted to unconstitutional strategies to cling on to power, his insecurity
over diminishing support and how he cunningly countered those positioning
themselves for his job.

Report by Derek Matyszak

The unconstitutional actions by Robert Mugabe and the centralisation of
power at the top echelons of Zanu PF’s hierarchy have caused considerable
disgruntlement in the Emmerson Mnangagwa (secretary for legal affairs) camp
at lower levels of the party structure.

It is significant that, despite the pressure brought to bear, only six
provinces eventually endorsed Joice Mujuru as the nominee to be elected by
the December congress of 2004.

Four provinces — Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, the Midlands and Masvingo —
remained obdurate, also refusing to nominate John Nkomo (who would complete
the Ndebele/PF Zapu balance) as national chairman, and persisting, in line
with the Tsholotsho principles, to nominate Patrick Chinamasa (a Manyika)
for this post. The defiance from the Bulawayo provincial coordinating
committee (PCC) was complete, with the province refusing even to nominate a
woman as vice-president as the other rebellious provinces had done in
accordance with the directive from the politburo. They also refused to
nominate several of Mugabe’s preferred candidates to the central committee.

An infuriated Mugabe and members of the politburo exerted extreme pressure
in a vain attempt to try to bring the Bulawayo PCC into line. Further
indications of Mugabe’s insecurity within the party emerged in graphic
fashion two years after the Tsholotsho saga. The saga, and Mugabe’s apparent
anointment of Mujuru as the chosen successor at the congress, led Mujuru to
believe that her time was at hand and that Mugabe would not stand for
election in 2008. Mugabe indeed signalled that he did not wish to stand for
election in 2008, but not in the manner that those seeking to occupy the
presidency wished.

Never enthusiastic about facing the electorate, either nationally or within
Zanu PF, Mugabe proposed the “harmonisation” of parliamentary and
presidential elections to avoid going to the polls alone. While there was
general consensus within the country that elections be harmonised, the
understanding was that the parliamentary election due in 2010 would be
brought forward to coincide with the presidential election due in 2008,
rather than the converse.

Mugabe, however, aware of his diminishing support within the party as a
candidate in 2008, sought,with the support of the securocrats, to postpone
the presidential election until parliamentary elections were due in 2010.

Although Mugabe’s plan to extend his term of office had been rebuffed by
both the politburo and central committee, he presented the scheme to the
Zanu PF national people’s conference held at Goromonzi in December 2006.
Following intensive lobbying by both the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions,
Mugabe found no takers for his proposal. To avoid embarrassment to Mugabe,
the conference took the unprecedented step of not passing any resolutions
and indicated that the suggestion had been referred to the PCCs. In the wake
of this humiliation, Mugabe apparently sent emissaries to the provinces to
gauge his support as party candidate for the earlier election which he would
now have to contest in 2008. Seven of the 10 were reportedly opposed to his
candidacy with three uncommitted.

Mugabe’s view that his defeat in Goromonzi was part of Mujuru’s bid for the
presidency appears to have been consolidated following the publication of
Edgar Tekere’s autobiography A Life Time of Struggle. Mugabe claimed Mujuru
had plotted with Ibbo Mandaza, the publisher of the book, to denigrate his
role during the “liberation war” to further her presidential ambitions. He
launched a scathing attack on Mujuru during a February 2007 interview on the
occasion of his 83rd birthday.

Mugabe stated: “The Tekere/Mandaza issue, ah! they are trying to campaign
for Mujuru using the book… you can’t become a president by using a
biography. Manjevairasa (they have lost the plot). They don’t realise they
have done her more harm than good.

Somewhat paranoid sounding, Mugabe added: “The way to any post in the party
is through the people. It is not through n’angas (witch-doctors). Others are
using biographies. We do not take notice of that but we move along the path,
the people’s way.”

Further evidence of Mugabe’s insecurity over this period is manifest in his
decision to convene an extraordinary congress at the end of 2007. The main
purpose of the congress was to affirm Mugabe as the party presidential
candidate for 2008, which, given that this is a routine duty of the people’s
conference, could hardly be said to justify the need to bring together the
reported 10 000 delegates to the congress.

To the extent that Mugabe had been “elected” to the presidium by congress in
2004, and declared party candidate for national elections by successive
national people’s conferences, this move, if not outside the provisions of
the Zanu PF constitution, and procedurally flawed, ought certainly to have
been viewed as superfluous. It had no other purpose other than for Mugabe to
counter those positioning themselves for his job.

Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional
expert and researcher with the Research and Advocacy Unit.

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