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Mugabe names successors

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has reportedly named four top Zanu PF
officials as his possible successors in a recent conversation with South
African President Thabo Mbeki.

Reports this week indicate that Mugabe two weeks ago spoke to Mbeki
about the ongoing talks between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change to resolve the country's worsening situation
and in the process delved into his leadership succession.

The reports say Mugabe noted that there were four serious candidates
to succeed him, senior Zanu PF politburo members Emmerson Mnangagwa, John
Nkomo, Sydney Sekeramayi and Simba Makoni.

The notable omissions from Mugabe's list are Vice-President Joice
Mujuru and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, both widely touted as
potential successors. Mujuru, whom Mugabe during the Zanu PF congress in
2004 publicly anointed as the next president, has fallen out with her boss
over internal squabbles.

The president's spokesman George Charamba exploded yesterday when
asked to clarify reports that his boss had indicated to Mbeki potential

"Don't waste my time on such speculation and rumour-mongering," he
said angrily. "I want serious journalistic enquiries, don't waste my time on
such issues. You can go and write what you want."

Earlier, Charamba had refused to discuss with another Independent
reporter his recent controversial briefing to state editors which has irked
senior government officials, including his superior, Information minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

The briefing - which touched on intensifying infighting and deepening
divisions in government and the ruling Zanu PF - sent shockwaves through the
party and angered officials who are now loudly complaining behind the

The reports said Mbeki asked if it was possible for Mugabe to indicate
who his successor would be so that South Africa and other countries could
help to facilitate a smooth transition and support that person to prepare
for future responsibilities. The reports say Mbeki wanted to know if there
were no credible successors to Mugabe in Zanu PF and he was told that there

Gono's name continues to crop up during debates on who will take over
from Mugabe.

Mnangagwa and Nkomo were in 2004 named by Zanu PF spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira as possible successors to Mugabe in an interview with a South
African journalist. The Independent published the recorded details of the
interview, although Shamuyarira tried in vain to deny it.

The reports say Mugabe said Mnangagwa could be his successor but was
unpopular with the voters and so was Nkomo. The two are not elected
officials. Mnangagwa was defeated in the past two general elections by the
MDC, while Nkomo has avoided elections apparently in fear of defeat. It is
further claimed Mugabe said although there were people who want Makoni to
take over from him, the problem was that he had failed in previous
government assignments.

The succession story doing the rounds in the corridors of power
further says Mugabe said Sekeramayi was his preferred choice because he was
cool, calm and collected, but if he advanced his name in the party there
would be outrage because he has no grip on the shifting dynamics of
leadership in the party. In the end, it is understood, Mugabe indicated that
was why he has to stand as the Zanu PF presidential candidate in next year's
polls to hold the party together.

Mugabe has publicly said that he needs to remain as the Zanu PF leader
to prevent his divided party from disintegration due to factionalism and
infighting. The power struggles in Zanu PF are intensifying ahead of the
party's extraordinary congress in December, a stage-managed elective

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Zanu PF, MDC sign new constitution

Zim Independent

THE ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
have agreed on a draft constitution which emerged from ongoing talks to
resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, it has been confirmed.

The final draft constitution - a product of intense negotiations by
the two parties both in Zimbabwe and South Africa - was signed by Zanu PF
negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, and MDC delegates Welshman
Ncube and Tendai Biti, as well as the South African mediator and chairman
Sydney Mufamadi on a houseboat provided by the state at Kariba on September
30. The event was described as "cheerful".

However, Zanu PF and the MDC have not yet agreed on changes to the
electoral laws, security legislation, and media restrictions. The parties
are still haggling over these issues, sources said, as time runs out before
elections next March.

The talks, expected to formally end on October 30, are now way behind
schedule. Negotiations will now resume on October 29 and run up to November
2. More meetings will be held after that.

"We have agreed on the new draft constitution, but we have not reached
an agreement on the electoral laws, security legislation, and media laws
because the issues at stake are complicated and there are disagreements," a
source said. "We haven't discussed the political climate. There is some
progress but there are also hurdles on the way."The deadline will now
certainly expire with an agreement only on one item on the agenda, the
constitution. The other remaining four agenda items are not yet settled. The
negotiators are now also discussing an economic rescue package to bail out
the crumbling economy. Donors met two weeks ago in the Netherlands to
discuss aid for Zimbabwe tied to talks.

Sources said the new draft constitution, a hybrid document from three
different drafts - the government-sponsored draft of 2000, the National
Constitutional Assembly's draft, and the Zanu PF/MDC document of 2003/2004 -
would be taken to the negotiators' principals and their parties for approval

After that it would then be implemented in terms of agreed
transitional mechanisms if endorsed. Negotiators have been discussing
transitional procedures in the event that their principals and parties
approve the draft. Chinamasa is expected to brief a Zanu PF politburo
meeting on progress in the talks so far on Wednesday next week. MDC
delegates are expected to also brief their party soon.

Sources said the talks are now at a critical stage because the new
draft will either be endorsed or rejected by the parties and their leaders.
The 2003/2004 Chinamasa/Ncube draft was rejected by the parties.

This is where the real problem lies, sources said. The Zanu PF
politburo, chaired by President Robert Mugabe, on September 5 took a
position that although they should make concessions in the negotiations,
they would not agree to a new constitution, especially before the elections.
MDC leaders have been claiming there would be a new constitution before the

Zanu PF also resolved that it would make a few insignificant
concessions which would not affect its grip on power and disturb its
preparations for the elections in March next year.

Evidence that Zanu PF is now playing games with the MDC mounted this
week when the ruling party asked for the postponement of talks ahead of the
deadline. In reaction, the MDC is now threatening to pull out of talks if
repression - as shown by sweeping arrests of opposition activists this
week - continues. MDC leaders now say that Zanu PF is negotiating in bad
faith, something they were in denial about only a few weeks ago. - Staff

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Fury as Sibanda bounces back

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure/ Loughty Dube

A FACTION of war veterans opposed to the return to Zanu PF of Jabulani
Sibanda has demanded to meet Vice-President Joseph Msika and party chairman
John Nkomo, among others, amid reports that the ex-combatants leader's case
will be top of the agenda of the politburo meeting on Wednesday.

Sibanda was expelled from Zanu PF in 2004, but bounced back under
unclear circumstances to spearhead President Robert Mugabe's campaign to be
endorsed as the ruling party's 2008 presidential candidate.

In a letter dated October 10 to Msika, Nkomo and war veterans board
vice-chairperson Dumiso Dabengwa, the ex-combatants' re-organising committee
chairperson Andrew Ndlovu and Bulawayo ex-freedom fighters committee
secretary, a T Dube, said the former Zapu heavyweights should explain how
Sibanda bounced back into the party.

"After meeting as a committee and consulting with other provinces we
felt the situation is highly sensitive and needs a political solution
through meeting with Vice-President Msika and Zanu PF national chairman
Nkomo," wrote the war veterans.

"We also wish and pray that the war veterans board be present at such
(a) meeting to shed light on programmes of the war veterans."

The Ndlovu and Dube faction claim that allowing expelled individuals
like Sibanda to spearhead Mugabe's campaign was a violation of Zanu PF's
constitution and protocol.

"It is felt that even the security of the presidium and the party at
large is compromised," reads the letter. "We feel that the Unity Accord
itself (between Zanu PF and PF Zapu) is threatened if the expelled elements
who are bent on confusing the party leadership are allowed to thrive and
organise support in the name of the party."

It was not clear from the letter when the war veterans wanted to meet
Msika, Nkomo and their board.

However, the Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that the
Sibanda issue will be high on the agenda of the politburo and would be

Sources said Sibanda was brought back into Zanu PF by a camp of the
party led by Rural and Social Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to drum
up support for Mugabe ahead of Zanu PF's extra-ordinary congress.

"We expect the politburo meeting to be explosive given that the party
leadership is divided on Sibanda," a source in the politburo said. "It is
now common knowledge that Nkomo and Msika don't want Sibanda back in the
party, while Mugabe's position is not clear."

Msika and Nkomo have publicly ostracised Sibanda and ordered him to
stop campaigning for Mugabe because he was expelled from Zanu PF.

However, Sibanda continues to organise "solidarity marches" throughout
the country drumming up support for the ageing Mugabe.

The sources said Sibanda was roped in to scuttle plans by another camp
in Zanu PF led by retired army general Solomon Mujuru that want Mugabe to
step down and be succeeded by Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Sibanda was expelled from the party for his alleged participation in
the Tsholotsho Declaration reportedly meant by the Mnangagwa faction to
re-arrange the presidium.

Apart from the Sibanda issue, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa would
update the politburo on the ongoing Sadc-sanctioned talks between Zanu PF
and both formations of the MDC.

Chinamasa and Labour minister Nicholas Goche represent Zanu PF in the
talks, with the MDC having its secretary-generals Welshman Ncube and Tendai
Biti as its negotiators.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating the talks.

Zanu PF and the MDC have so far agreed on Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment No18 under the auspices of the talks and the proposed law has
since been passed by parliament and now awaits presidential assent.

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Power cuts hit Harare

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

LARGE swathes of Harare have been in darkness since Tuesday as Zesa's
ability to generate and import power has plummeted due to failure to service
debts and foreign currency shortages.

Two thirds of the city is thought to be without power causing massive
losses of refrigerated food, something most households can least afford to

The power outages which hit the greater part of the low-density
suburbs, including the Avenues and northern and eastern suburbs, were
worsened by vandalism of distribution cables which the state-owned utility
cannot replace because it is broke.

The outages, which had been mainly restricted to residential suburbs
this week spilled into the city centre bringing to a standstill operations
at the Passport Office and private hospitals while business at suburban
shopping centres has been badly affected.

The loss of power had by yesterday started affecting water supply in
parts of the northern suburbs as booster pumps could not function. A source
at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals said the giant institution, the country's
largest referral centre, did not have power on Tuesday resulting in the
postponement of operations. Operations at the Avenues Clinic and Baines
Avenue Maternity Hospital were also adversely affected by the power loss.
Embassies and United Nations agencies offices in the Belgravia and Alexandra
Park areas were also without power.

Zesa faults department has told consumers in Braeside, Cranborne,
Eastlea and Hatfield that it may take a "few weeks" to replace vandalised
transformers and cables. Old people's homes in the areas affected were also
hard hit. Many such homes forbid the use of candles or gas for safety

Internet service provider Mweb - based in Avondale - yesterday
informed its clients that it was cutting off browsers at night as the
company could no longer afford to run its diesel generator at night.

Zesa's official explanation has been that an increase in theft of
cables and vandalism of substations has resulted in a number of substations
catching fire at a rate which the power utility cannot cope with.

However, sources within the power utility said equipment breakdowns
and theft problems were minor factors. The current shortages, they said,
were mainly due to problems caused by reduction of generation capacity and
reduced imports due to unpaid debts. They said instead of increasing
electricity generation capacity, Zesa was closing some of its thermal power
stations because of its failure to procure spare parts due to lack of
foreign currency.

"Over the past two months Hwange Thermal Power Station has not been
generating any electricity," a source said.

Mozambique last month reduced power exports to Zimbabwe citing unpaid
debts. The supplies to Zimbabwe were reduced from 300 megawatts to 195
megawatts over a staggering debt of US$35 million, forcing Zesa Holdings to
increase load-shedding by 50 %.

Zesa acting spokesperson Shepherd Mandizvidza on September 29
confirmed the debt has resulted in the reduction of power supplies from
Mozambican power utility Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa.

Mandizvidza on that occasion said Zesa had engaged HCB of Mozambique
with a request to access
300MW, up from 150MW. In
principle the deal was agreed on but is currently being thwarted by
the increasing debt, now over US$35 million.

Zimbabwe imports 40% of its power needs: 100 megawatts are from the
Democratic Republic of Congo, 300 megawatts from Mozambique and up to 450
and 300 megawatts from South Africa and Zambia respectively.

Power supplies have become erratic with blackouts lasting more than 10
hours. Families are unable to cook or bathe and perishable goods are being
lost to the crisis at a time when Zimbabweans are running short of money and

As of yesterday Zesa officials were saying the blackouts may persist
into next week.

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Lawyers take police commissioner to court

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

THE High Court is set to hear an application by the Law Society of
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and seven individual lawyers
seeking an order prohibiting the Commissioner of Police and members of the
Zimbabwe Republic Police from hindering legal practitioners from gaining
access to their clients and carrying out their lawful duties.

The applicants are, among other things, are also seeking an order that
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri should cause an investigation to be
conducted into the criminal conduct of members of the ZRP who earlier this
year assaulted lawyers in the course of their duties and were contemptuous
of court orders.

The two bodies are also seeking a declaration of rights due to lawyers
under domestic and international law which they allege were violated by the

Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi are cited as first and
second respondents respectively in the application filed by Sternford Moyo
of Scanlen & Holderness on behalf of the two bodies and seven lawyers who
were allegedly assaulted by the police.

The respondents failed to file opposing papers within the time
provided for in the rules of the High Court and were consequently barred.

This meant that they could not be heard by the court except in an
application to lift the bar.

The applicants then set the matter down for a default judgment on
September 12 but the respondents on that day filed an application for
removal of the bar.

Moyo said the matter was thus postponed by consent to allow for the
application for removal of the bar to be considered after which the
respondents would file their opposition papers to allow for the matter to be
argued on its merits.

He said the High Court was yet to set a date to hear the arguments and
he was also yet to receive the opposition papers from the respondents.

The court application arises from the alleged assault of lawyers by
police in March and May this year.

According to court papers to hand, lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Colin
Kahuni, Tinoziva Bere, Mordecai Pilate Mahlangu, and Peter Carnegie Lloyd
were assaulted following a peaceful demonstration to protest against the
alleged earlier assault on fellow lawyers Alec Muchadehama, Andrew Makoni
and Harrison Nkomo by police while in the course of carrying out their

On March 13, Makoni served a court order at the offices of the
Criminal Investigation Department's Law and Order Section where one
Assistant Commissioner Musarashana Mabunda is alleged to have contemptuously
torn the court order into pieces, squeezed the pieces into a ball and threw
it at his face.

Mabunda allegedly further threatened Makoni.

On March 11, Nkomo was allegedly assaulted with a baton stick by
police officers at Machipisa police station in Harare where he had gone to
enquire about the whereabouts of his clients - members of the Movement for
Democratic Change who had been arrested.

This prompted other lawyers to meet outside the High Court building
along Samora Machel Avenue on May 8 to discuss the arrest of their

While at that meeting, they were ordered by members of the ZRP to

As they dispersed, a number of them were assaulted.

A group of lawyers, including Mtetwa, the President of the Law Society
of Zimbabwe, were unlawfully bundled into a truck, taken to an open place in
Eastlea, ordered to lie on their stomachs and were severely assaulted.

A number of them sustained serious injuries necessitating treatment at
a Harare hospital.

In the founding affidavit the applicants argued that the ZRP does not
acknowledge its obligation to ensure that lawyers are able to discharge
their functions and assemble and associate without physical attacks,
harassment and intimidation.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police does not appreciate or accept the right
of members of the Law Society, as a professional body, to collective freedom
of expression and assembly, particularly the right to gather and discuss the
law, administration of justice and the promotion advancement and protection
of human rights.

"Members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police do not appreciate or accept
that they are not entitled to regulate or disperse meetings of the Law
Society of Zimbabwe, a professional body incorporated in terms of an Act of
Parliament," reads part of the affidavit.

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Police embarrass minister over play

Zim Independent

by Loughty Dube

THE police on Friday evening gave the Minister of Information and
Publicity Sikhanyiso Ndlovu a taste of his own government's repressive laws
after they cancelled the premiere of a play where he was supposed to have
been the guest of honour.

Ndlovu was invited to the launch of the controversial play Overthrown
and was supposed to address the audience before the premiere of the play but
failed to officiate after police cancelled the activities for the evening.

Ndlovu was also expected to meet the actors backstage but by the time
he arrived at the venue of the play police had already dispersed people who
had come to watch.

Police who arrived at Amakhosi before Ndlovu's arrival had told
organisers of the event that they should have sought permission from the
authorities to stage the play under the Public Order and Security Act

Overthrown was written by Stanley Makuwe and directed by Cont Mhlanga.

The play is about the economic and political situation affecting the
country and kicks off with corpses in a mortuary that complain about the
delays in their burials.

The corpses blame the president for all their problems and decide if
the living are failing to deal with him then they will assassinate him.

The corpses march to State House and manage to assassinate the

Mhlanga said police had cleared them to go ahead with the play and was
shocked to be told on Friday evening that the play would not go ahead.

Mhlanga said police from the Law and Order section had attended
rehearsals of the play the entire week and had said they had no problem with
the contents.

"It is surprising that the police on Friday evening came with a
changed story because we were cleared by police on Monday and even during
the rehearsals we had senior police officers who watched the rehearsals of
the play and they had indicated that the play could go ahead as there was
nothing offensive about the play," Mhlanga said.

He said the police however later on apologised and alleged there was a
communication breakdown among themselves over the cancellation of the show.

"The police later said the play was meant to go ahead and they said
there was a communication breakdown among themselves, so we have to look at
another date for staging the show," Mhlanga said.

When contacted for comment on why the police cancelled the show Ndlovu
said police had informed him that a section of the crowd at the venue was
becoming riotous and for security reasons the police said they had to cancel
the show.

"The police told me that there was a problem with a section of the
crowd so they had to cancel the play for security reasons but the organisers
have understood that and they have told me that that they will reschedule
the play because as government we accept criticism as long as it is
constructive we do not block people from expressing themselves," he said.

Overthrown becomes the third theatre production to be blocked in
Bulawayo after police stopped the premiere of The Good President in June
this year and Everyday Soldiers produced by Mhlanga and Raisedon Baya
respectively .

The play however is expected to go ahead this week on Saturday after
police apologised to Ndlovu and said there was a communication breakdown
over the matter.

But Mhlanga in his weekly e-mail communications said the decision by
the police had left the minister embarrassed.

"The police moved in at Amakhosi Theatre to close down the play
Overthrown by Stanley Makuwe at 6.30 in the evening leaving the Minister of
Information Sikhanyiso Ndlovu embarrassed. He arrived at 7.15pm to find that
his audience and the artists that he had come to engage with had been
dispersed by Officer Mabhunu of Mzilikazi Police station."

According to Mhlanga, in his own words Mabhunu said: "Mhlanga I was
sent by my bosses that I should come and tell you that the play must not

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UN official urges EU leaders to engage Mugabe

Zim Independent

Kuda Chikwanda in Berlin, Germany

A UNITED Nations (UN) representative in Germany has urged European
leaders to stop avoiding President Robert Mugabe and engage him in dialogue
as this would guarantee poverty eradication in Zimbabwe.

UN Millennium Campaign representative in Germany Renée Ernst said the
current stance of piling pressure on Mugabe was only serving to make more
Zimbabweans suffer while the 83-year-old leader revelled in the luxury of
benefits accorded to him as head of state.

"We have to talk to him, we can only solve problems by talking to
leaders like Mugabe," Ernst said. "I believe in diplomacy. I know that it is
the people who are suffering right now. Mugabe has his own resources, he has
his pockets full and he will not starve but unfortunately it is the people
who are starving right now."

Ernst was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the UN-organised
campaign against poverty.

She encouraged Western leaders to engage to reevaluate their position
on Zimbabwe.

Ernst said the global community had reached the halfway mark in terms
of time required to attain the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals

"We should spare no effort to achieve these goals. Time is running
out, we have reached the halfway mark in terms of time but poverty has not
been halved. We should evaluate our support to non-governmental
organisations (NGO's) which help the people," she said.

The Berlin event was held at 100 different locations across Germany as
over 90 countries worldwide commemorated the day by mobilising people to
gather and speak out against poverty and inequality.

Ernst said there was nothing the UN could do to force the Mugabe
administration to meet set UN MDG targets.

"We cannot enforce anything. Zimbabwe is a special case, it is a place
I would almost equate with places engaged in war right now," Ernst said. "We
can try and put pressure as the UN but I hope it's only a matter of time
before a guy like him (Mugabe) stops his awful policies of abusing his
people. Surely Zimbabwe is not doing its (MDG) work."

The global body set eight millennium development goals to be reached
by 2015.

They are the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; achieving
universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowerment of
women; reducing child mortality; combating HIV and Aids, malaria and other
diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global
partnership for development.

Last year the Stand up, speak out campaign saw 23,5 million people
standing up and demanding an end to poverty and thus setting a new world
record. It is held annually on October 16 and 17.

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Anglican Church fires Kunonga - declares vacancy

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

THE Anglican Church's Province of Central Africa has expelled the
bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, and declared his post vacant after he
withdrew the diocese from the province alleging rampant homosexuality in the

In a letter to the controversial Kunonga on Tuesday, the Dean of the
Province of Central Africa and also bishop of Northern Zambia, Albert Chama,
said he would soon appoint a vicar-general to act as the head of the church
in the capital.

The province is made up of Anglican churches in Zambia, Botswana,
Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Chama told Kunonga - a staunch Zanu PF supporter - that his purported
withdrawal of the diocese from the province was "unconstitutional and
un-canonical" as it was tantamount to "altering the structure and the
essence" of the church.

"Consequently the heading of your letter stating 'formal withdrawal of
the Diocese of Harare from the Province of Central Africa' is unacceptable
and misleading," Chama wrote. "We, however, as the Dean of the Province of
Central Africa accept and acknowledge that you and some of your supporters
have by notice of your letter severed relationship with the Province of
Central Africa."

On September 21, Kunonga wrote to the former Archbishop of Central
Africa, Bernard Malango, saying he was withdrawing the Diocese of Harare
from the province.

"I declare that the See of Harare is with immediate effect vacant and
in accordance with Canon 14 (1) I shall be appointing a vicar-general to
hold office whilst the necessary steps are taken for the holding of an
elective assembly to elect the next bishop of the Diocese of Harare," Chama
told Kunonga.

He said Kunonga should hand over the church's property to the
vicar-general to be announced in due course.

The Province of Central Africa last week filed an urgent High Court
application to compel Kunonga to surrender the church's property and divest
himself of the rights of being a signatory to the Diocese of Harare's bank
accounts and investments.

But Kunonga in his answering affidavit said the matter should not be
heard in a secular court, but must go through an ecclesiastical trial.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Council of Zimbabwe (ACZ) in pastoral letter
on Tuesday denied that homosexuality was rife in the church as alleged by
Kunonga and the bishop of Manicaland Elson Jakazi.

"The Province of Central Africa upholds Lambeth Conference 1998
Resolution 1.10 which rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with
scriptures and calls upon the faithful to minister pastorally and
sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation," reads the pastoral
letter signed by ACZ chairperson, Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi.

He said Kunonga and Jakazi's allegations were grossly exaggerated and

"Mudslinging is taking place and hurtful comments are being said about
certain bishops," Tawonezvi added.

However, the Province of Central Africa is yet to take action against

Kunonga's predicament was triggered by his letter of September 21 to
Archbishop Malango withdrawing the Diocese of Harare from the congregation
alleging that the church was failing to censure some bishops involved in
homosexuality. Malango has since retired.

Bishop Jakazi reportedly also threatened to withdraw the diocese from
the province on the same grounds raised by Kunonga.

"Our communion has been guided by nothing else than the moral doctrine
of Christ, which was one based on the premise that we hold primary the
fundamental canons of faith which are indeed in the sacred scriptures,"
wrote Kunonga. "It is our fear and reverence of these that made us to
seriously weigh our susceptibility when faced with a threat of compromise
and breach of the said in the face of what our province was and is facing
now, homosexuality."

Kunonga said homosexuality had become an issue in the church, adding
that unlike what members of the Synod and Episcopal bench wanted people to
believe, it was not a "matter of desktop" contemplation, but a matter of
"faith and conscience".

"Knowing very well your own position against homosexuality, it is
frightening to us the level of advances this scourge has reached and it is
fast coming as you are retiring. This has urged us to pull out as a
diocese," Kunonga said.

He wrote that the diocese was worried by the position taken by Bishop
Trevor Mwamba of Botswana regarding the issue of homosexuality and its
damaging implications on the province. Kunonga alleged that Mwamba had made
a number of public statements since June 2006 sympathetic to homosexuality
and the Diocese of Harare had "refused to be represented by him and will not
accept him as a diocese".

Mwamba responded promptly to Mutasa's letter in his capacity as a
bishop of the Province of Central Africa and a lawyer.

He advised Mutasa that as far as the constitution and canons of the
province were concerned all property in the province belonged to the
Province of Central Africa.

Mwamba said a diocese seeking to break away would alter the
combination of the Province of Central Africa. He said alteration of the
province could only be possible under the church's fundamental declarations.

Mwamba wrote that there would be need for a proposed amendment, which
would have to be provisionally approved by the provincial synod having been
okayed by the synod of each diocese in the province and confirmed by the
provincial synod by a two-thirds majority of those present.

The outcome would have to be endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury
as not affecting the terms of the communion between the Province of Central
Africa, the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

"This has not been the case with the Diocese of Harare," Mwamba
averred. "The decision taken by the bishop of Harare is tantamount to a

He said the next logical thing for Kunonga to do was to resign from
the church.

On October 1, the retired Bishop of Manicaland Sebastian Bakare wrote
to Chama saying the issue of homosexuality raised by Kunonga and Jakazi
never arose in the church.

"The fact that the issue of homosexuality has never been an issue or a
topic of discussion in the congregations of the diocese makes one assume
that it was a mere smokescreen for a hidden agenda, namely to form a new
province together with the Diocese of Harare for reasons best known to
themselves," Bakare wrote.

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PPC on verge of shutdown

Zim Independent

PORTLAND Holdings Limited (PHL), a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange listed Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), could shut down due to lack
of raw materials. The company does not also have the foreign currency to
import spares for some of its plant equipment.

The situation at PHL's worsened in June after government ordered
businesses to reduce prices.

Government pegged the price of a bag of cement at $170 000 at a time
when the actual price was around $1,5 million.

Investigations by businessdigest revealed that the company was
battling with lack of clinker, an important raw material used in the
production of cement.

Scores of workers quit last month after the company slashed their
wages to reduce production costs.

The company cut the wages from between $6 million and $7 million to
between $3 million and $4 million.

Colleen Bawn Mine, the company's main supplier of clinker, is also
facing serious viability problems.

The mine is understood to be exporting the little clinker it is
producing at the moment.

No comment could be obtained from the PHL managing director Trevor
Bernard. His secretary said he was too busy to attend to journalists.

"I am sorry Mr Bernard is in a meeting and he doesn't have time to
attend to journalists on that issue," said the secretary before hanging up.

PHL workers committee chairman, Saviors Mbedzi, confirmed that more
than a hundred skilled workers quit last month over low salaries. He said
most of the workers had been absorbed by construction companies in South
Africa which is preparing for the 2010 World Cup. He said production at the
company has been reduced drastically.

"After the salary cuts and with no sign that the situation might
improve, scores of workers left workers for South Africa to joined several
construction companies that are building stadiums and other facilities in
preparation for the 2010 World Cup," Mbedzi said. - Staff Writer.

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ZABG wants Hodges charged

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

THE Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) has recommended that criminal
charges be laid against group treasurer, Andy Hodges, who quit last month
following the discovery of a questionable transaction that he tried to push
through the bank for alleged personal gain.

Hodges resigned on September 24 after it was discovered that he was
allegedly using the bank systems to make margins on foreign currency
transactions between clients under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s
twinning arrangement.

"The bank believes that criminal charges should be laid against Hodges
because these are serious allegations of fraud and parallel market
dealings," said a source in the bank.

The RBZ is currently carrying out an investigation and is expected to
make a decision anytime soon. businessdigest however understands that ZABG
has since written to the central bank recommending criminal proceeding. In
the letter to the central bank, ZABG, said there were valid grounds to
proceed with criminal charges because the case involved both fraud and
parallel market dealings.

It said the fraud arose from the fact that Hodges had given the
clients varied foreign exchange rates in order to make a profit from the
transaction. It said Hodges had betrayed the trust bestowed in him by both
the bank and its clients.

It is alleged that Hodges used a parallel market rate of US$1:$300 000
in the transaction between a locally owned mining company and a small firm
which wanted the funds to import agricultural equipment under government's
mechanisation programme.

Internal investigations have since established that Hodges, who had
negotiated the twinning arrangement, was going to make a "profit" of $4
billion dollars out of the transaction.

The deal was worth $70 billion. An amount of $66 billion was going to
be transferred into the account of the mining company while the remainder
would go to Hodges' account. Both accounts are held at ZABG.

Last week Hodges, who had been with ZABG since its formation,
vehemently denied that he had been forced to resign insisting he quit for
personal reasons. "I'm not at liberty to reveal reasons for my resignation.
Just know that I resigned for personal reasons, nothing more."

businessdigest can also reveal that the decision to recommend criminal
charges was reached after further investigations discovered that apart from
the $70 billion deal that eventually forced him to resign, Hodges had made
an equally questionable transaction in August.

The probe found that Hodges allegedly pushed through a deal worth $75
billion dollars using a parallel market rate of US$1:$250 000 in August.
That deal involved the sale of US$300 000 between the same companies that
were part of the $70 billion deal.

The twinning arrangement involves partnering exporting and importing
companies for easy foreign currency management and distribution.

The twinning arrangement can be used when a company needs to buy raw
materials, fuel and payment of debts. All transactions under the twinning
arrangement should be approved by the central bank and done at the official
exchange rate.

"The other problem is that it would seem that both transactions were
properly approved by the central bank," the source said.

Although ZABG was not prejudiced, its bosses were concerned that
Hodges, who ran a strategic division in the bank, was using his position to
negotiate parallel deals that put the institution at risk.

The bank is also concerned that Hodges had used its systems to push
through a personal deal.

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'New prices still too little'

Zim Independent

Jesilyn Dendere

THE recent price reviews announced by the National Incomes and Prices
Commission (NIPC) are not enough to encourage manufacturers to produce more
commodities to reduce the current shortages, a local business organisation
has said.

The Harare Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce, said the profit margins approved by NIPC were out of
sync with the inflation figures.

Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that
year-on-year inflation went up to 7892,1% for September .

"NIPC has caused shortage of goods in shops," said Oswell Binha,
chairman of the Harare Chamber of Commerce.

Binha said the shortage of basic commodities is likely to persist
unless prices are raised to viable levels.

"We need to have policies that go hand-in-hand with the inflation."

"For example, the margins that were given, are they enough to kick
start business and how are they going to restore productivity that has been
affected by the price controls? A margin that is viable should be put in
place within a given timeframe."

Binha blamed the current shortages on government's failure to
implement sound economic policies that encourage production. He predicted
that price controls will continue to have a devastating effect on the
economy and the supply chain.

Binha said government was focusing on enforcement rather than
consulting business before implementing policies.

"During the recent price controls, literally all state resources were
deployed to enforce these policies," said Binha.

"As an example, the monetary policy statements have declared Zimbabwe's
runaway inflation as enemy number one but there is no matching deployment of
combat resources and drastic action to deal with this enemy." He said there
was nothing positive about the NIPC.

Binha said there was an urgent need to create a business environment
that enabled determination of prices by supply and demand forces. On the
Indigenisation and Empowerment bill, Binha said although its intentions were
noble the timing was wrong.

"Why does it have to be done now when the country is on its knees?"

He said the Bill was weak because it gave the impression that it seeks
distribute rather that create wealth.

"It's more important to create wealth rather than distributing the
little that is left. The Indigenisation Bill is also likely to affect
activity on the stock exchange.

"It is possible that by the time it is implemented, there may not be
anything on the shelves. The government needs to invest in the education of
this Bill."

Although the Bill refers to formation of an Investment Trust it's
funding and modalities still lacked clarity, Binha said.

"As an example, we have been singing the Look East tune, inviting the
Chinese to invest in Zimbabwe. How will you explain this Bill to them
without reinforcing the negative country perception?"

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Zim on the leeward side of the metal price breeze

Zim Independent

Ranganayi Makwata

IN a recent article in The Herald, which on further reading turned out
to be an extract from the recent monetary policy statement, the mining
sector was said to have eclipsed all other sectors in terms of foreign
currency generation during the first eight months of 2007. Of the total
export receipts for the period amounting to US$1,4 billion, US$550,9
million, up from US$467,4 million achieved in the same period last year,
came from mining. The figure could have been higher had "errant" elements in
the sector stopped, or at least reduced the quantities of minerals they
allegedly smuggled out of the country. Players in the industry have always
denied this allegation. Instead they attribute the slow export growth to
non-payment of foreign currency with respect to gold deliveries dating back
to November last year by the RBZ and interruption of production due to power
cuts among other operational problems.

Internationally, metal prices in general, and gold and platinum prices
in particular are unrelentingly setting new record highs. The spot price of
gold rose as high as US$749,30 a troy ounce recently, its highest since
January 1980. And analysts are forecasting it to breach US$800/0z before the
end of the year. The price of platinum, a metal used mainly in jewellery and
auto production, is also on a steep ascendancy hitting a record US$1 409 per
our ounce on the back of increased demand from China, Japan and India.
Interestingly, in typical scenario of one class of investors benefiting from
another's woes, the spike in prices of metals is largely due to the meltdown
of the US dollar as sub prime mortgage problems which hit the US recently
look far from over. Firming international oil prices, brought about by the
geopolitical tension in the Middle East also have a fair share of influence
on metal prices.

Demand for gold has strengthened further to an extent that central
banks such as that in Argentina, which used to sell their gold stocks, are
now net buyers amid fears of a recession in the US. Traders of commodity
futures are mainly taking long positions in gold and platinum in
anticipation of further rises in prices, while mining houses' thrust of
expanding production appear to have been given new impetus by the firming
prices. Investors seem to have engaged in an 'enjoy-it-while-it-lasts' mode
without giving thought to the lesson learnt in the past, from, say, the
dotcom era or the sub prime mortgage boom, that what goes up will eventually
have to come down, in the process claiming a few casualties.

For a country known to have the second largest platinum reserves in
the world after South Africa and an array of exploitable mineral resources,
Zimbabwe was well placed to be among the major beneficiaries of the
commodity price boom. The pity is that it does not seem that the benefits
will accrue soon. Currently, the future of mining houses in the country is
under an ominous pall of uncertainty, with the recently passed Indigenous
Economic Empowerment Bill, yet to be assented to by the president, further
fraying nerves in the sector. Most of these companies have serious expansion
plans which will not be implemented because they are unsure of their future
in Zimbabwe. Pessimism remains high despite the calls by the governor of the
central bank for rational implementation of the empowerment programme to
yield a win-win situation. Equally, his recent generosity, culminating in
various incentives being availed to the sector, though having been much
lauded, is not likely to do much in repairing the damaged confidence.

Notwithstanding the uncertainties in the industry, stock market
investors have recently shown increased interest in resource counters. It is
not clear, however, whether the excitement was ignited by firming
international prices, or the expectation and subsequent announcement of
incentives by the central bank, or both. Metal shares typically run ahead of
metal prices in a bull market because their earnings leverage off it. What
has happened now is that since September 28 the mining index has been racing
ahead of the industrial index in terms of point levels, itself a first since
the 1967 base year for calculation of ZSE indices.

While industrials lost a massive US$140 million of their market
capitalisation between December 31 2006 and October 16, using the Old Mutual
Implied rate for the respective dates of $2,401/US$ and $770,369/US$, the
mining index, consisting of only five counters namely Bindura, Falgold,
Halogen, Hwange Colliery and RioZim, has amassed US$66 million over the same
period. It is important to stress at this point that the bigger chunk, if
not all of these gains were realised from mid September to date.

What these gains mean is that investors who made a decision to be
overweight in mining counters have made a real return (forget about the
inflation measure, we are talking about US$) of 31% since the beginning of
the year. This is a good return in any language regardless of which part of
the world one is domiciled.

First on the podium among the mining counters is gold producer Falgold
whose US$ market capitalisation went up a whopping 490% to US$31,7 million
from a humble US$6,5 million. Hwange Colliery came a surprising second,
gaining 1 771% to US$35,7 million over the same period despite unconvincing
interim results to 30 June 2007. These saw profit after tax being booked at
a negative $46,6 billion amid concern of aged fleet, and cash flow
challenges. However, one would argue that Hwange's challenges are not
peculiar but cut across the entire industry with huge recapitalisation
requirements, unfortunately in the elusive hard currency, being needed

Recently, Lonrho is reported to have acquired 60% of Celsys and 100%
of little known Millpal for a whopping US$5,45 million, which would equate
to 5% of either Bindura or RioZim, resource companies with more definable
assets. No wonder, economist Stigler once said: "Our understanding of
economic life will be incomplete if we do not systematically take account of
the cold winds of ignorance."

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Employees adopt 'survival plans'

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

THOMAS Muchera is a motor mechanic at a local garage in town. His job
is to repair and service vehicles.

His salary has always been far less than what he needs to get through
the month.

To supplement his meagre wages, Muchero used to steal hammers,
spanners and other tools from the workshop to sell.

Unfortunately he was not the only one who was using this "plan" to
survive because eventually the cases of missing tools increased dramatically
until the managers decided they had to do something.

Three months ago his employers installed a security system to stop the
pilfering of tools thus cutting Muchero off from his major source of income.
He had to make another plan to survive.

It didn't take him long to realise that he could make more money if he
stole the garage's clients. This form of thieving is hard to detect because
it benefits the clients too. Who would not want a good service for less?

Ask Muchero how much it costs to service a vehicle at the garage and
you will get obscene figures punctuated with allegations that the managers
there have a bad habit of making huge mark-ups on spares like plugs and
filters. Then he will deliver the killer punch that he is sure will scare
off every car owner: "My friend these people (his employers) will charge you
for oil they have not changed and they will drain your fuel to sell on the
black market." Muchero will deliver this message with a straight face.

Luckily he has the solution to the problem. "Instead of bringing your
car here to be charged an arm and a leg why don't you buy the spares
somewhere in town and I will do the servicing for half the price. I will
come to your home."

This deal is negotiated right on the customer counter of the garage.
It's a deal mutually beneficial to both parties but it's done to the
detriment of the company.

Muchero represents the thousands of Zimbabwean workers who have
resorted to eking out a living through such unorthodox means.

To them the office has been transformed into a place where they do
their deals using company resources.

It is difficult to imagine that there is a worker in Zimbabwe who is
not engaged in some sinister activity or other to survive.

Politicians believe that Zimbabweans are resilient and innovative. The
truth is that most Zimbabweans have neither of those attributes in the true
sense of the words. They are surviving on thieving.

Human resources expert Memory Nguwi believes that as the economic
crisis worsens, most workers are spending less and less time on the core
business of their companies. He estimates that on average, workers are
spending 70% of their time on personal deals in order to supplement their

"Most workers are stealing time from their companies," Nguwi says.
"Half the time they are using company phones to do their own deals.
Sometimes they are chasing their personal debts using company vehicles.

"The result is that productivity suffers but at the end of the month
the same workers expect a full salary. At times they are pushing for salary

People are running their own businesses from their employer's offices,
said Nguwi.

There are others more daring in their survival plans.

Take for example, Nathan Marombe, who is employed as a barman in
Budiriro where he earns $7 million a month. This amount is obviously not
enough to feed Marombe's family of five let alone sustain his long list of

It's difficult to understand why Marombe continues to hang in there
unless you have some insights into his own plan. On busy nights Marombe will
stock part of the fridge with his own beers for sale to patrons. His trick
is to ensure that his beers are the coldest at any time. By the time the bar
owner comes for cash collection in the morning Marombe would have done his
maths and made off with huge earnings from his deal. The rentals, rates and
power bills are paid for by the bar owner who also has to hand a pay cheque
to Marombe every month.

"This guy doesn't pay me well so I have decided to run my own little
bar from his bar," said Marombe who claims to have been doing this for six
months now.

On bad days he makes a profit of $4 million but when the bar is packed
like on Fridays he makes about $8 million. "It varies from day to day but it's
enough to get me by."

Last week he did not have the money to buy his own liquor so he sold
four crates belonging to the bar owner. He then used the proceeds to replace
the stock but pocketed the profits.

"When the owner came I told him that volumes were not moving because
it was almost mid-month. He believed it," Marombe said proudly.

These survival plans are found in almost every sector of the economy.
Workers in the retail sector take advantage of the controlled prices to
hoard commodities to sell on the parallel market.

The allocation in most supermarkets is normally one loaf per person
but with a good "tip" to the till operator the limit can be pushed to as
much as a dozen loaves.

Others are plainly corrupt. A good deal with a till operator and
receipt checker can see a customer leaving the shop with some unpaid goods.
It sounds like an old trick too common to fall for but it does happen.

"It's simple. If you know you are going to buy groceries worth $30
million all you have to do is to pay the till operator and guard $5 million.
At the till you will pay $15 million. In the end you would have paid $20
million for groceries worthy $30 million," a till operator told this
reporter over a drink. Things seem to going on well for him. "I used to
really struggle when I started working but now I am wise."

The word "wise" means tricking the company that gave him his first job
when he came from Zhombe, his rural home, in 2003.

Those in the public sector also make plans. Donald Murisi's net
salary, at least until the recent review, was 10 times short of the income
he needs to feed his family of four.

He required $22 million to get through the month but his net salary as
a clerk at the Companies Registry Office was about $3 million.

"My salary is too little so I have to make a plan," Murisi said. When
Murisi says he will make a plan he is not talking about the obvious project
of rearing chickens to supplement his meagre earnings. No. His plan is at
his workplace. It includes using his government offices to get clients who
want to register companies. He will refer the potential clients to his
partners who operate a company registration firm in town for a share of the
profits. Sometimes he "fast-tracks" applications for company registration
for a fee. When things are really bad, Murisi can be paid to "misplace"
files by people whose companies are under investigation from the police or

Murisi's plan is made possible by the use of company offices, faxes,
computers and phones. Technically speaking that amounts to stealing
government resources.

This practice is rampant in most government departments and it hinges
on the self-justification by the workers that if the government does not pay
them enough they will use its resources to make a living.

Tariro Varidza from the passport office looks like an innocent civil
servant struggling to make a living until you ask her about the process of
getting a passport.

She will tell the person how an application can take as long as two
years to go through. She will then offer her own system which is more
efficient and faster but not necessarily transparent. That also comes with a
fee of course.

This is how Zimbabweans everywhere get by. And it is a sad consequence
of a mismanaged economy.

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Water shortages cripple Byo industry - survey

Zim Independent

Pindai Dube

MOST companies in Bulawayo have been forced to either retrench workers
or scale down operations because of the crippling water shortage in the

A recent survey by the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), a
government investment body, revealed that Bulawayo companies are operating
below 40% of their capacity because of the water crisis.

The survey found that although the city was losing investment
opportunities because of the other economic problems water shortages were
the main reason why investors continue to shun the city as an investment

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) national vice president,
Obert Sibanda, said the situation in the city was now desperate as many
companies were now considering relocating to other areas.

"Most companies, especially those in the manufacturing and
construction sectors, are scaling down operations due to water shortages
while some have retrenched their workers," said Sibanda who is also the
chief executive officer of Reliance Holdings, a construction company based
in Bulawayo. "The situation is deteriorating and there is no solution in

Bulawayo, the hub of economic activity in the southern half of the
country, has battled with perennial water problems for more than two
decades. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) which the business
community had pinned their hopes on has failed to take off due to lack of

Analysts say judging by the progress so far, it is highly unlikely
that the project will be completed any time soon.

A few weeks ago a Chinese company, Chinese International Water
Electrical (CIWE), contracted by the government to construct the
Gwayi-Shangani Dam pulled out after the government reneged on contractual

Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the main component of the MZWP project which
involves the construction of a 450km pipeline to bring water to Bulawayo.
The project was initially proposed as far back as 1912.

"The water crisis in Bulawayo will continue for as long as government
does not give enough funding. Companies will continue to suffer and very
soon many people will lose their jobs," said a senior official in the
Bulawayo city council.

"Water shortage is one of the reasons why Bulawayo is not developing
at the moment. Local investors continue to shun the city because of the
water shortages."

CIWE also pulled out of a contract to lay a 32km pipeline linking
Mtshabezi Dam to Umzingwane Dam, a short-term solution to the biting water

National Blankets managing director, Jeremy Musgrave, said the water
shortages have crippled their operations forcing the company to reduce its
working hours. This means less productivity.

"The city's water situation has crippled our operations and sometimes
we reduce the number of our working hours forcing our workers to go home
because there will be no work for them to do" said Musgrave.

Delta Corporation corporate affairs manager, George Mutendadzamera,
said the critical water shortages in Bulawayo had forced the company to
sometimes stop production.

"Municipal water is not available in Bulawayo to make some of our
products like coke. We can't use borehole water to make coke hence we are on
several occasions forced to stop production because of lack of water," said

A local consortium of private companies in the city recently made an
ambitious proposal to help the industrial areas that are currently receiving
water three times a week. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) board
member and Matabeleland Chamber of Industry (MCI) chairman, Dumisani Sibanda
said companies were also having weekly meetings with the Bulawayo City
Council to map the way forward regarding the water shortages in a bid to
avert collapse of some companies.

"Most companies affected by the water shortages in Bulawayo have come
together and are meeting the city council officials every week to map the
way forward regarding water shortages so that they can keep production
going," said Sibanda. Bulawayo has five supply dams but three of them have
already been decommissioned because of low water levels.

The city consumes 150 000 cubic metres of water per day but according
to the city council only 69 000 cubic metres are currently being pumped per
day. Boreholes which have been providing the city's water needs have dried
up. While huge companies are scaling down, the crisis has given birth to a
new form of businesses. Enterprising youths are now selling water to
desperate resident. Ten litres of water cost about $50 000. While this might
have created a source of income for some desperate people, the real drivers
of the economy, which is the productive sector, continues to take a
battering from the crisis.

Analysts say the only way out of the crisis is for government to
complete the Zambezi water project. The problem though is that the cost of
the project has since ballooned to US$600 million - a figure way beyond
government's means.

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Price blitz fails to lower inflation

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

FIGUES released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) this week show
that the crackdown on prices has failed to curb inflation as government had
anticipated. The numbers show that inflation has started galloping again
with the year-on-year rate for September reaching a new all time high of 7
892,1% gaining 1 389,3 percentage points on the August rate of 6 592,8%.

The month-on-month inflation rate was 38,7% gaining 26,9 percentage
points from the August rate of 11,8%.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood at 7 759% down 149,1
percentage points from 7 908,1% recorded in August. Non-food inflation was
at 8 096,7% which is 1 112,8 percentage points up from 5 983,9%.

"Year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood at 7
759%, 149 percentage points down from the August 2007 figure of 7 908,1%,
while non-food inflation was 8 096,7% from the August figure of 5,983.9
percent," the CSO said. "The month-on-month rate of inflation rose by 38%,
triggered by new economic measures which were put in place to mitigate
against the widespread food shortages which had crippled the country," said
the CSO.

It said the September Food Poverty Line for a family of five stood at
$7,5 million, up 65% on a monthly basis and 18 446,6% on an annual basis
while Total Consumption Line for an average of five persons stood at $22,6
million during the same month.

The country's inflation rate opened the year at 1 593,6% before
increasing to 1 729,9%, 2 200,2% and 3 713,9% respectively in February,
March and April.

The figure rose further to 4 530%, 7251,1% and 7 634,8% in May, June
and July before declining for the second time since March 2005 to 6 592,8%
in August.

Analysts say the trend is likely to continue on the back of excessive
money printing and food shortages.

"Most commodities are found on the black market where they are sold at
exorbitant prices. It does not need an expert to see that the inflation rate
is actually higher if you use the black market prices at which most people
are getting the commodities," said an economist with a local commercial

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A shameful cop-out

Zim Independent

By Allister Sparks

IT is with some reluctance that I take issue with my friend and fellow
journalist Trevor Ncube on a matter concerning Zimbabwe, of which he is a
deeply concerned citizen. But I cannot let his argument, set out in an
article in his own newspapers, the Mail & Guardian and the Zimbabwe
Independent, go unchallenged that personal economic sanctions Western
countries have imposed on key members of the Mugabe administration have
contributed to the mess in Zimbabwe.

The essence of Ncube's argument is that these sanctions have not only
achieved nothing but have been counter-productive. Firstly, because they
have estranged those countries diplomatically from the Zimbabwean government
and so diminished their ability to influence it; and secondly, because they
have enabled President Robert Mugabe to blame the sanctions, rather than his
own policies, for Zimbabwe's catastrophic decline.

Ncube says opposition and civic society groups in Zimbabwe have found
it difficult to rebut that line of argument by Mugabe.

Moreover, "Many on the African continent regard the sanctions as a
white racist response to land reform in Zimbabwe."

Ncube suggests this is why bodies such as the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) have found it
difficult to criticise Mugabe and his policies publicly, "because they fear
being seen as supporting the Western sanctions, that are undeniably
affecting ordinary people, or as puppets of the West".

I find this line of argument, to blame Western sanctions for the
African countries' complicit silence in the face of Mugabe's multiple crimes
against humanity, disingenuous.

It may well be, as Ncube suggests, that these African leaders are
afraid to be seen criticising one of their own who has become a tyrant. But
who is at fault here; the Western leaders who are denouncing the tyrant or
the African leaders who are too scared to raise their voices?

Does ethnic solidarity require tolerance of tyranny because they are
your people doing the bad things? Ask that of Beyers Naude or Braam Fischer
or the thousands of other white South Africans who stood up against

There is a deep and ongoing problem here that has been damaging Africa
since the earliest days of independence, and finding pathetic excuses and
scapegoats will not rectify it. African leaders must summon the courage to
challenge the delinquent leaders among them. Until they do, Africa as a
whole will not acquire the respect it deserves in the international

Mugabe is not the only African leader to benefit from this kind of
racial protectionism. The most notorious was of course Idi Amin, the
"Butcher of Uganda," who ruled over that hapless land for eight years in the
1970s, during which he ran a regime characterised by monstrous human rights

Never once was he criticised by his fellow African leaders, who not
only tolerated his atrocities but allowed him to host a summit meeting of
the Organisation of African Unity in 1975 and become head of the OAU -
resulting in the travesty of Amin's Uganda being appointed to the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Amin was eventually toppled only because he tried to annex a piece of
neighbouring Tanzania, causing President Julius Nyerere to send in his army
and overthrow him. Referring to the Amin phenomenon after his retirement,
Nyerere made the observation that Africa's greatest single weakness was its
failure to confront such tyrants among its own ranks.

Sadly his reprimand has gone unheeded.

There was the thuggish Sani Abacha, who ruled over Nigeria for 13
years from 1985. Not only did Abacha loot his country of some US$4 billion,
he had hundreds of political opponents executed and imprisoned. His
atrocities reached a climax with the execution of the Ogoni activist and
poet, Ken Saro-Wiwa, which resulted in Nigeria being suspended from the

President Nelson Mandela, to his credit, played a role in bringing
about that suspension with a powerful denunciation of Abacha at the
Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Auckland - but later I was to
hear Deputy President Thabo Mbeki offer a veiled defence of the tyrant in an
address in Johannesburg.

There were others, too - Mobutu Sese Seko, the kleptocratic ruler of
the Democratic Republic of Congo (which he called Zaire) for 32 years,
Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who ruled and plundered the Central African Republic
from 1966 to 1974.

None was ever criticised by his fellow African leaders. As Vaclav
Havel once said, he had encountered two types of people during his long
years as a fighter for human rights, a prisoner and eventually Czech
president. There were "those with the soul of a collaborationist and those
who were comfortable denying authority."

By their silence, Africa's leaders have made themselves collaborators
with their continent's tyrants. To blame that silence, that timidity, on
Western sanctions is a shameful cop-out.

Ncube contends that Western policies of sanctions, criticism and
isolation have not achieved anything, and that may be so. But I refuse to
accept that a political leader who has been responsible for the murder of at
least 20 000 political opponents in the 1980s, who continues to beat up,
imprison and even kill anyone who dares oppose him, who has brought his
country down from glowing promise to dire poverty in a handful of years,
destroyed the principle of property rights so as to shatter its economy and
plunge it into the world's worst inflation rate, who has driven a quarter of
his population into economic exile and bulldozed hundreds of thousands of
its poorest urban dwellers into oblivion with his Operation Murambatsvina,
should get away without a word or gesture of criticism from any quarter.

Tyranny cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. And if the African
leaders won't challenge it, someone else must.

Nor do I accept that there was nothing more effective African leaders
could have done about Mugabe other than "quiet diplomacy". Ncube says he
doesn't think there is any discerning observer who believes South Africa
supports Mugabe's policies. Maybe not. But Mugabe has used Africa's silence,
and especially Mbeki's, in a massive propaganda campaign to tell his own
people that the whole of Africa is on his side in his heroic struggle
against the imperialist West - and that is what has saved him so far.

Had Africa, and especially the frontline states of Sadc, raised their
voices in unison to tell him publicly that what he was doing was
unacceptable; I doubt he would have survived it.

At the very least, they could have warned Mugabe last March, when he
began his latest campaign of beating up opposition supporters and throwing
them in jail, that if he didn't stop such an obvious attempt to cripple the
opposition, they would not validate his coming election or recognise his new
government. That he would then be heading an illegitimate regime in their

Don't tell me that wouldn't have had a salutary effect on him.

But they lacked the courage even for that.

* Sparks is a veteran SA-based journalist.

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White farmers continue with legal challenge

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

FARMERS have continued to challenge the controversial Land Acquisition
Act seeking to make government comply with its own laws concerning the right
to seek recourse to the courts and its obligation to pay fair and timely
compensation for the improvements on acquired properties. They are also
insisting that the government observes constitutional provisions barring
racial discrimination.

The farmers - who have challenged the government in both local and
international courts - said in all their challenges they have raised the
three issues which have most marred the land reform programme.

John Worswick, chairman of Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a militant
wing of white commercial farmers who lost their land, said the farmers are
demanding the return of the rule of law, property rights and timely
compensation in terms of damages and improvements.

JAG has filed hundreds of court challenges against the government, in
some cases winning, but the state ignored the judgments.

"We have challenged government in all local courts demanding a return
to the rule of law and reinstatement of property rights so that we can go
back to our farms without interference," Worswick said.

"We are demanding compensation in terms of damages to the farms, loss
of profit during the time when we were disturbed from production,
deprivation of our homes and sources of income. We want government to pay
for relocation costs of both the farmers and their workers."

He said there should be a meaningful resettlement programme driven by
the need for land without politicisation.

"A meaningful land reform that empowers people with title is necessary
for both commercial and communal farming."

Worswick said the farmers were geared to take government to
international courts.

"We are already at the Sadc Tribunal with one case," he said. "We
would soon be taking other cases to the African Union before proceeding to
the International Court in Rome and in The Hague."

Worswick said the violations the farmers were raising were exactly the
same as those raised by the Dutch nationals in their case at the
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in
Washington in 2005. The farmers are demanding that government uphold
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas). Under the
agreement, government had promised to pay full compensation to Dutch
nationals in the event of a dispute arising out of an investment in

Ben Freeth - who has challenged government's land acquisition
programme from the magistrates courts to the High Court, Supreme Court and
is now in the process of taking his case to the Sadc Tribunal - said the
acquisition violated the Constitution of Zimbabwe and many other regional
and international charters and protocols which Zimbabwe ratified.

"We are seeking a declaration that the failure by the government to
comply with its own laws concerning the obligation to promptly and without
unreasonable delay pay compensation for the improvements on applicants'
property is a violation of the Sadc Treaty principles, terms, conditions and
objectives," Freeth said in court papers submitted to the Tribunal. "The
denial of compensation and timing of payment for improvements is
demonstrably unfair, irrational, manifestly unreasonable and offends Article
4 of the Sadc Treaty."

He said the farmers are also seeking to interdict government from
compulsorily acquiring farms without recourse to the due process of law as
promulgated in Constitutional Amendment 17, a development directly at
variance with the principles, terms, conditions and objectives of the Sadc

Freeth said the amendment removed the rights of the aggrieved to equal
treatment before the law; the right to a fair hearing before an independent
court or tribunal; the right not to be discriminated against because of race
or place of origin; the right to protection of property; and the right to
receive prompt, fair and adequate compensation concerning an expropriation
of property by the state.

"The provisions of Section 16(9b) of the Constitution in terms of
which it is specifically enacted that nothing in Section 16 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe shall affect or derogate from any obligation
assumed by the state in terms of any convention, treaty or agreement acceded
to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with
one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations."

Freeth said he was seeking a "declarator" that in its effect and
implementation, the identification of white farmers only is racially
discriminatory and therefore invalid.

He said this contention was based on the facts that from the year
2000, the process of acquiring land for resettlement purposes by the
government was directed solely at so-called white persons, regardless of any
other factors such as their proper use of the land, their contribution to
the national economy, their citizenship, their length of residence in
Zimbabwe or any factor other than the colour of their skin.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says it would continue to engage
the government despite loss of court cases.

CFU vice president Deon Theron said at the weekend that the CFU would
continue negotiations with the government on behalf of its members.

"As CFU we will encourage our members that we keep on engaging with
the government and look for ways in which we can put these cases to
finality," said Theron.

"We don't want to get tied up in individual cases but we want to find
ways of breaking the impasse and make sure that we reach a compromise with

The last remaining white farmers now face an uncertain future after
Chegutu magistrate Tinashe Ndokera last week ruled that those still on
targeted farms after a September 30 deadline to vacate the properties were
in breach of the law.

Any white farmer still on his land would be deemed to be trespassing
on state property, resulting in a number of farmers being taken to court
last week charged with defying the government order to vacate their
properties. The CFU has over the years tried to engage the government over
the takeover of farms without success.

The government has since the beginning of the year given conflicting
signals on the fate of remaining white farmers, with some officials saying
they would be allowed to stay and others saying they would be evicted.

Nonetheless, evictions have continued sporadically.

This has often led to contradictory statements from Vice-President
Joseph Msika and Lands and Land Reform Minister Didymus Mutasa, with the
latter insisting that no white farmers would be allowed on the land after
December 31.

Msika has without success told Mutasa to stop new farm seizures,
arguing that chasing away the few white farmers left in the country was not
helpful to the agriculture sector or food security and was no longer in sync
with the popular mood in the ruling Zanu PF.

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The real terrorists finally exposed

Zim Independent

By Innocent Gonese

THE withdrawal of criminal charges against all but one of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) members and workers who were arrested on
trumped-up charges during the months of March and April has clearly exposed
the Zanu PF government for what it is - a cruel, heartless and tyrannical

The arrests were carried out in a blaze of publicity and the detainees
branded as terrorists. Graphic details were given of the crimes allegedly
committed by the "terrorists" including the petrol-bombing of police
stations, a Zanu PF office, training in banditry, sabotage and terrorism at
the MDC offices and in South Africa and attempted murder.

The public media went into a frenzy in condemning the MDC and accusing
it of causing mayhem and a reign of terror and yet not a single person had
been convicted of any of the allegations levelled against them.

Among the MDC officials arrested were Morgan Komichi, the deputy
organising secretary and a member of the standing committees, Ian Makone,
the secretary for elections, Paul Madzore, the MP for Glen View and
organising secretary for Harare province, and staff members Dennis Murira,
Luke Tamborinyoka, Kudakwashe
Matibiri, Brighton Matimba and Zebediah Juaba.

All the arrested people were subjected to severe assaults and torture
by police officers calculated to induce confessions.

In particular, Komichi, Makone, Mabika and Katsande went through
harrowing experiences. It is simply through the grace of God that these
people are still alive. They were all remanded in custody when it was
evident that the police had grossly violated their rights. They were
unwilling guests at our overcrowded, filthy and uninhabitable prisons which
are straight out of hell.

What is most tragic about all this is that the Zanu PF regime knew all
along that the detainees had no case to answer. The purpose of the arrests
was simply to justify the crackdown on a legitimate political opposition
whose only crime was to take a stand against dictatorship, tyranny and
oppression. The state case hinged upon a fictitious person called Peter
Chidodana, whom it failed to produce after being ordered to do so by the

The police, not satisfied with their unlawful and high handed methods
against the arrested persons, went on to arrest the legal practitioners
representing the accused persons namely Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni,
on spurious charges to frustrate the efforts of the detainees to regain
their freedom. The criminal charges against the lawyers were without
substance and the state was simply abusing the legal process to achieve its
objectives of frustrating the accused persons.

The state deliberately violated the rights of the accused from the
outset, denying them legal representation, access to food and medical
treatment and disobeying court orders. This is unfortunately not the first
time that it has happened but is part of a grand scheme to browbeat the
people of Zimbabwe into submission. The Cain Nkala murder case is
instructive when the state case crumbled like a deck of cards when it
emerged that the video evidence which was displayed on ZTV amidst much
fanfare was in fact wrongfully and unlawfully obtained.

The MDC activists have lost several months of their lives. They were
deprived of their freedom. They were subjected to savage and inhuman
treatment. Their families were subjected to untold anguish and suffering.
But the regime knew all along that they were not guilty of any wrongdoing.
The charges against them have been withdrawn before plea and the state may
proceed against them by way of summons. But we know that this will not
happen because the state does not have an iota of evidence against them.

The Zanu PF government has simply done this because it thinks that it
will get away with it. While the government press devoted acres of space in
its newspapers and hours of prime television time on ZTV to cover the
arrests and court appearances of the MDC members, when it comes to the
dropping of the charges there is deafening silence from the state media.

No screaming headlines this time about the state case which is now as
dead as a dodo. We challenge the state media to give equal coverage to the
withdrawal of the charges which virtually amounts to an acquittal.

The Zanu PF regime lied to Sadc in Dar es Salaam, they lied to
parliament and they lied to the people of Zimbabwe that the MDC harboured

Now that the cases have died a natural death, the only act of
terrorism which turns out to have taken place was the brutal assault,
illegal detention and the torture of MDC members who spent months in prison
for no good reason.

The MDC condemns the actions of the police and state agencies
responsible for the abuse of innocent citizens to achieve selfish political
gains. Apart from the $4 trillion that our members are demanding in damages
from the state, we demand the immediate investigation of the heinous acts of
torture against the detainees and the consequent prosecution of individual
police officers and state security agents involved in the same.

The culture of impunity in our state institutions must come to an end.
Zimbabwe must uphold the rule of law and not just pay lip service to the
ideals of the liberation struggle. We believe that the time has come to put
a stop to this madness. We call upon the regime to accept that fundamental
human rights and freedoms are universal and inviolable. The regime must
ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture.

Legal proceedings for damages against the Minister of Home Affairs and
the responsible officers have been commenced and the law will have to take

* Innocent Gonese is MDC secretary for justice, legal and
parliamentary affairs.

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Sadc parly forum a glorified talkshop

Zim Independent

By Obert Gutu

THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Parliamentary Forum
is an organ that was formed by member states. It has its own constitution
that spells out its basic structures and composition.

The mission statement of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum is to bring
about convergence of economic, political and social values in Sadc and thus
help create an appropriate environment for deeper regional cooperation and
integration through popular participation.

The main purpose of the forum therefore is to strengthen the
implementation capacity of Sadc by involving the representatives of the
peoples. The forum is a regional parliamentary structure for capacity
building within Sadc.

This emanates from the underlining Sadc notion of maintaining a stable
and peaceful atmosphere within the whole region. This can only be done
through regular consultations and collective engagement to manage regional
conflicts as and when they arise.

The formation of the Forum is thus a milestone development towards
regional parliamentary integration. The noble idea is also to foster a
culture of parliamentary democracy within the region.

However, the main problem with Sadc, as is indeed the main problem
with the African Union itself, is that there are numerous high-sounding
notions and protocols on paper whose practical implementation leaves a lot
to be desired.

As Africans, we are always good at "workshopping" and attending
numerous summits as well as drafting numerous protocols. When it comes to
the implementation of these protocols, as Africans, we have dismally failed
to walk the talk.

Within Sadc are found some of the world's most intolerant and
undemocratic regimes. These are regimes where genuine parliamentary
democracy is not practised or observed. These regimes consider parliament as
a mere rubberstamping body; playing to the whims and fantasies of an
all-powerful executive.

All member states of Sadc have however joined the Sadc Parliamentary
Forum which sets out to:

* promote respect for the rule of law and individual rights and
freedoms, including the promotion and development of cooperation in the
economic field in the Sadc region based on the principle of equity and
mutual benefit;

* promote peace, democracy, security and stability on the basis of
collective responsibility and support the development of permanent conflict
resolution mechanisms in the Sadc sub-region and strengthen regional
solidarity and building a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Sadc;

* promote dialogue and cooperation among member states on
socio-economic development issues to enhance economic welfare.

I will be the first person to admit that the goals of the Forum are
quite visionary and altruistic. My humble view, however, is that Sadc is
nothing but a glorified talkshop. Sadc leaders are notorious for embracing
solidarity among themselves with very little or no regard for the interests
of the majority of their subjects.

To Sadc leaders, genuine parliamentary democracy and regional economic
integration are deliberately subordinated to the selfish political interests
of the rulers. Sadc leaders are very quick to close ranks as soon as a
fellow leader is called upon to account for his or her acts of misrule. They
are quick to cry foul and complain that their "sovereignty" is under attack
from Western imperialists. What hogwash!

Sadc leaders have to wake up and smell the coffee! They have to
embrace genuine political and regional economic integration if we are to
compete with similar regional bodies in various parts of the world.

Sadc leaders should address genuine issues such as:

* the extreme xenophobia with which non-South Africans, particularly
Zimbabweans, are generally treated when they visit other Sadc countries such
as South Africa and Botswana. For instance, Zimbabweans are routinely
detained in inhuman holding facilitates such as Lindela, from where they are
deported in humiliating and degrading circumstances. Surely, this type of
treatment is hardly in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Sadc

* member countries within Sadc often engage in what one may call
backbiting and selfish policies. For example, South African businesspeople
have literally taken up all the lucrative business deals in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo leaving out Zimbabwe which bore the brunt of holding
apiece the Kabila regime.

My argument is that within Sadc, there is a general lack of goodwill
and mutual trust. Our leaders say one thing in public, amid pomp and
ceremony, but they proceed to do exactly the opposite!

Little wonder, therefore, that the Sadc region remains a hotbed of
political and socio-economic strife in countries such as Zimbabwe, the DRC
and to some extent Swaziland.

Sadc leaders are expected to go beyond the mere formation of the
parliamentary forum. What Sadc needs is real and effective regional
parliamentary integration.

But first and foremost, the Sadc region and indeed Africa as whole as
represented by the African Union must rid itself of dictatorial and
autocratic governance. One cannot talk of parliamentary democracy on a
regional scale when that has not yet been established on a national level.

Can the government please explain why, so far, it has refused to
sanction the visits by two teams of legislators from the EU-ACP
Parliamentary Forum as well as from the Pan-African Parliament?

Poverty and human suffering continue to plague the Sadc region and
indeed the whole of sub-Saharan Africa mainly because of poor governance.
Sadc leaders and indeed all African leaders should be reminded that they can
never achieve regional political and socio-economic stability in the face of
rampant corruption, human rights abuses, political intolerance and mass

Africans should stand up and refuse to be misgoverned forever. Africa
should refuse to be poor.

* Obert Gutu is a lawyer based in Harare. He can be contacted on

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Vee gives tourists enough game viewing

Zim Independent


ARE things getting so desperate that the state media is now describing
children as "buyers and exhibitors" at the just-ended Zimbabwe International
Travel Expo?

A front-page picture in Monday's Herald purported to show "buyers and
exhibitors winding up business" at the Travel Expo on Sunday. The "buyers
and exhibitors" in this case appeared to be four children.

Couldn't the photographer have found a few more people somewhere?

Still with tourism, we were fascinated to see a Herald report saying
Zimbabwe was trying to "lure" a number of airlines into operating routes to
Harare. Don't we recall the paper's cartoonist Innocent Mpofu celebrating
British Airways' departure because it left Air Zimbabwe as the sole operator
on the Harare-London route?

Just a little too quick off the mark, it would seem.

Organisers of the Big Five concert on Saturday evening got their money's
worth by inviting Botswana pretender Vee to perform.

The tiny performer's dancers lived up to the feral reputation of the
big five by getting into "must" on stage. Muckraker is reliably informed
that foreign buyers trooped out of the Conference Centre auditorium after
the group's antics. That was enough game viewing for one evening!

We see Herald columnist Reason Wafawarova is now pursuing his
sponsored war against the MDC from a address. Does this mean he
is no longer hiding in Australia?

Whatever the case, he has the cheek to call Morgan Tsvangirai a
"semi-illiterate (sic) trade unionist-turned politician" and anyone who
follows him "quiet (sic) naïve".

Wherever in the comfortable West Wafawarova has decided to settle, it
is obviously in a glass house from where he thinks he can safely throw
stones. We just can't understand how such a super-patriot would want to
remain in self-imposed exile when there is a revolution to be fought back

It is interesting to see how the state has been taking advantage of
the current inter-party talks to head off investigations into its human
rights record, but uses its control of the public media to hammer the
opposition with the help of people like Wafawarova who won't live here.

Jabulani Sibanda has been conducting a series of demonstrations by war
veterans in support of President Mugabe's candidacy in next year's
presidential poll. This has raised the ire of the Zapu old guard in Bulawayo
who see him as trespassing on their turf.

The last time they looked he was no longer a member of the party
having got into a spot of bother in 2004 and now suddenly he is holding
aloft a banner, blessed we are told by the president himself, proclaiming
the need for a revolutionary spirit. All very curious.

But Muckraker's interest is more to do with policy than turf wars.
What exactly is it that Sibanda thinks Mugabe has to offer the nation with
another term? What will he achieve that he has not been able to achieve to

Will he stabilise prices; will he improve productivity on the land;
will he secure foreign investment and enhance GDP; will he create jobs; will
he win back donor support; will he run a successful economy?

If Mugabe hasn't been able to do any of these things since he was last
"elected", why does Sibanda think he will do them now?

All those war veterans who are running around waving their fists in
support of Mugabe should explain why they want to make this country poorer
than it already is.

Why don't they want us to have bread and milk and jobs and schools?
Why do they want to condemn us to a life of poverty and shortages?

Perhaps Sibanda could explain.

And still on the subject of war vets, has Joseph Chinotimba ever
explained how he became so rich so quickly in the employment of the City of
Harare? Would it be possible for us to access council files under Aippa?

Come to think of it, has anybody ever accessed anything under Aippa?
What public good does this dubious legislation serve? All it does is empower
the state to close newspapers! And isn't it unbelievable that in the 28th
year of Independence Zimbabwe still only has one TV channel - and a very
inadequate one at that.

A few weeks ago Newshour reported on the forthcoming EU/AU meeting in
Lisbon as a meeting between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean and
Pacific) countries. This distortion continued throughout the bulletin with
no apology or correction the next day.

In the same bulletin they attempted to wheel in Godwills Masimirembwa
for an expert view. Sadly the sound chose that moment to play truant so all
we saw was Godwills silently mouthing at the camera. Perhaps he was
providing a definition of "struck off".

We shall never know.

Muckraker was interested to read the lead story in The Voice this week
which was headed "Congress agenda set". It was all about Didymus Mutasa
sending out invitations.

The report told us the extraordinary congress was due to take place
"in the first week of December". Muckraker's information is that the
congress will take place from December 12 to December 14. The important
part, when resolutions are adopted, will take place towards the end.

This is known to senior Zanu PF luminaries. The Zimbabwe Independent
gave the dates in its front-page stories last week. Yet nobody told the
editor of The Voice who is obliged to refer to "the first week of December".

What is the use of a party newspaper if it can't convey news to its

Somebody should ask Tafataona Mahoso about such emasculated
journalism. He has been raving against Gordon Brown and the Commonwealth in
his column in The Voice.

"For Mr Brown and his government President Robert Mugabe and his
ministers shall never be allowed to visit any white country because they
dared to reclaim land for the African majority of Zimbabwe which British
settlers here had stolen," Mahoso fatuously asserts.

He refers to Britain's "dwindling economic fortunes" even though it
has one of the fastest growing economies in the G8. And he says there is
much to learn from Zimbabwe's "well-timed withdrawal" from the Commonwealth
in 2003 which became "a Commonwealth of shame".

"It is the common shame of having been colonised and brutalised by
racist Britain which qualified and selected the majority of nations to
become members of the Commonwealth."

He seems unaware that all the members had a choice at independence
whether to join or not. Some such as Burma decided not to. Others such as
South Africa in 1961 were booted out.

But Mahoso's version of events, including Zimbabwe's withdrawal, have
been distorted to suit the current theology. Let's bear in mind that
Zimbabwe's membership was suspended following political violence and
electoral manipulation in 2002.

The Commonwealth observer mission made up of many different nations
and headed by former Nigerian head of state Abdulsalam Abubakar found that
the exercise fell well short of democratic standards.

The regime's spokesmen then tried to pretend that the report was not
really Abubakar's work but emanated from Commonwealth secretary-general Don
McKinnon. This forced Abubakar to issue a statement pointing out that he
stood fully behind the report. But this didn't stop Zimbabwean government
spokesmen from continuing to lie about it.

As for Mahoso's claim of a "well-timed withdrawal" from the
organisation in 2003, this, as official spokesmen say, should be "treated
with the contempt it deserves".

President Mugabe made every effort to secure attendance at the Abuja
summit and his ministers and diplomats lobbied hard for Zimbabwe's
suspension to be lifted. They desperately wanted to remain a member. But the
other nations present from the Caribbean, South-East Asia and the Pacific
agreed with Australian Prime Minister John Howard that in the absence of any
change of attitude in Harare it would be difficult to justify Zimbabwe's

What seems to have incensed Mahoso is that many African states joined
the rest of the "club" in arguing against the lifting of Zimbabwe's
suspension. It was indeed a moment of shame - for Zimbabwe, not the

Mahoso did provide some useful commentary in his usually turgid Voice

The following elements were evident in the war in Iraq, he suggests.
"Racist brutality and bigotry.the cultivation of open public hatred against
a whole people, theft and pillage for self-enrichment .all justified through
lies upon lies which are daily broadcast to the whole world."

But couldn't we say the same thing about Zanu PF rule which Mahoso
seeks to justify? Are those not precisely the elements that have led to the
sanctions his regime so bitterly resents? Yet they go on churning out a diet
of "open public hatred" while seeking to justify "theft and pillage for
self-enrichment", all "justified through lies upon lies".

We thank the media professor for bringing that little anomaly to our
attention. And we look forward to having the above confirmed at Congress, on
whatever date they decide to disclose to their captive media.

We were pleased to see the MDC has finally found its voice. The party
issued a statement this week pointing out that the regime had intensified
its violent crackdown against MDC activists and other pro-democracy groups
despite the current inter-party talks. It cited the arrest of Woza women who
had been conducting a peaceful protest.

It also reported that police had summoned MDC Harare provincial
organising secretary Paul Madzore in an apparent attempt to prevent the
party holding rallies.

"Senior police and intelligence officers summoned Hon Madzore to
Harare Central Police Station," the MDC said this week, "alleging that
speakers at an MDC rally in Glen Norah on Sunday had preached hate and
insulted police officers. The police also said they took exception to calls
by the speakers at the rally for the people to note down the names of police
officers who are involved in human rights abuses."

So the public are not allowed to record the names of officers who
assault them? There are a number of cases currently being brought before the
courts by MDC officials who were severely assaulted at police stations in
March. Are they now required to abandon those cases?

"The MDC is dismayed by Zanu PF's disdain of the Sadc-initiated talks
that are aimed at finding common ground between the regime and the
opposition," the MDC statement says. "While the MDC and Zanu PF are engaged
in dialogue in Pretoria, the regime has continued to hound our supporters,
brutally assaulting and attacking them against the spirit of the dialogue
process. We continue to receive disturbing reports from across the country
of violence against our supporters as well as Zanu PF's continued abuse of
food as a political weapon."

Since the dialogue process started, the MDC says, police have turned
down 103 opposition rallies while Zanu PF's "solidarity marches" continue to
take place throughout the country without any police interference.

"The people of Zimbabwe are resilient against a regime that continues
to harass and assault them when it has a constitutional mandate to protect
them," the MDC said.

What is becoming clear is that Zanu PF wants the respectability
offered by an agreement between the main parties but at the same time wants
to continue assaulting and intimidating its opponents so it can "win" an
election. It is unable to see that having it both ways is unacceptable.

Let's hope this point is firmly made when it is time for the
negotiators to discuss the political climate. Currently the climate remains
hot and cloudy!

TA CEO Karikoga Kaseke continues to use the language of Zanu PF but
then can't understand why tourists are reluctant to come here.

"Because of the barbaric onslaught on Zimbabwe in the past six weeks
by some countries in the West led by the United Kingdom, a good number of
our buyers from those markets have withdrawn their participation at this
year's Travel Expo," he was quoted as saying recently.

"We don't care, it's their own funeral, they are drinking poison," he
added, in a distinctly unwelcoming tone.

Kaseke must make up his mind. Is he to provide a professional service
to the tourism sector or is he just a government apparatchik mouthing its
foolish mantras? Let's spell it out for him in a way that he understands:
There will be no tourism inflows so long as Zanu PF pursues a racist agenda
on the land, attacks opposition supporters and adopts policies that will
damage the economy. That is the unpalatable fact he needs to get a handle

Can you imagine a government planning to lure soccer supporters by
building hotels and other facilities ahead of 2010 when it can't even
provide a minimal supply of water and electricity to towns.

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Govt profligate par excellence

Zim Independent

By Eric Bloch

WITHIN the next fortnight parliament will be engaging in nationwide
pre-budget consultative seminars in anticipation of the forthcoming 2008

Concurrently, the Ministry of Finance (or is it the Ministry of
Never-ending Spending?) will be seeking inputs from diverse sectors of
society in general and of the economically active community.

The budget will have to address innumerable factors, ranging from
revenue generation for the state to fiscal policies required to restore life
to an extremely distressed economy, from debt-servicing to national
expenditures and much else.

But foremost, the ensuing year's budget must, albeit very belatedly,
encompass everything that fiscal policies can do to contain Zimbabwe's
gargantuan, catastrophic, hyperinflation.

Government has consistently stated that that is Zimbabwe's greatest
enemy (although it is probably only the second greatest, for the greatest
must surely be government itself), and if that is so, then it is incumbent
upon government effectively to contain and defeat the enemy.

Admittedly, the elimination of hyperinflation cannot be solely
addressed by government, for certain of the inflationary factors are neither
occasioned by government, or within its means to combat them. But, even
though it would be vigorously denied by government, the reality is that it
is the primary cause of the crippling hyperinflation that afflicts Zimbabwe,
and that in addition thereto, it is within government's means to address
most of the other inflationary factors.

Zimbabwe's immense inflation is a result of many different
circumstances, but incontrovertibly one of the greatest is the magnitude of
government's spending far beyond its means.

This is not a new development, but one that has been progressively
developing over years, with government demonstrating total, irresponsible
lack of concern for the consequences of its gross profligacy, for the vastly
escalating quantum of its fiscal deficits and for its horrifically
increasing debts and concomitant burden of debt-servicing.

Government has been reckless in its endless recourse to unsustainable
printing of money and for its recurrent foisting upon the central bank of
quasi-fiscal activities (the most recent being the agricultural
mechanisation programme, with a very high proportion of the largesse of free
equipment issues being to the already wealthy, to those with favourable
political connections, and to those who will not avail themselves of the
productive capabilities of the gifted machinery, but will merely hold it for
so long as necessary until it is "safe" to dispose thereof).

Most of all, in its pursuit of its spending addiction, government
callously disregards the pronounced inflation that occasions.

Government defends itself by contentions that it only spends that
which it has to, for the essentials of the operations of the state and the
wellbeing of its people, but those contentions are devoid of credibility,
and there is much expenditure that could cease without any prejudice, save
perhaps to some of the recipients of the monies expended.

This needs to be a key, primary focus of the Ministry of Finance, and
of the parliamentarians in the forthcoming consultation engagements.

Space constraints do not permit for all the opportunities of
expenditure reductions to be addressed, but the following are some of the
many that should be fundamental to the 2008 budget. Among the greatest of
the expenditures incurred by government is the vast interest that is payable
upon the continuously upward surging debt. But the interest burden would,
obviously, be considerably reduced if government would dispose of the
parastatals and would apply the sale proceeds to the settlement of debt.

It is not the role of government to be in business - its role is to
govern! Moreover, hardly ever has any government been as effective and
successful in the conduct of business than is the private sector.

It is long-overdue for government to dispose of its business interests
in transport (Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Zupco), in
communications (TelOne and NetOne), the media (ZBC, ZTV and Zimbabwe
Newspapers), mining (such as Wankie Colliery), manufacturing (through the
numerous ventures of the Industrial Development Corporation) and much else.

The populace would benefit from undoubtedly enhanced operations of the
enterprises, including those that are operating viably and successfully, and
governmental debts could be markedly reduced, thereby reducing the ongoing
interest charges upon the fiscus.

Another very major expenditure is that incurred on maintaining an
excessively great defence infrastructure. Bearing in mind that Zimbabwe is
at peace with all its neighbours and that its only war is an economic one,
the grossly excessive size of the armed forces is incomprehensible, unless
government perceives that as its only security of retention of power!

Trillions of dollars are expended annually (to a significantly greater
extent than expenditures on health services and education!) upon the army
and air force, which do little other than ceremonial performances at the
opening of parliament, of agricultural and trade shows and the like, save
for involvement in enforcing foolhardy price controls, and assuming
governmental functions through the Joint Operations Command.

Surely it is time to trim the Ministry of Defence and its underlying
arms, and thereby help win the only war that Zimbabwe is actually engaged

Other trimming is also vastly necessary.

With a population of little more than 11 million, how can Zimbabwe
justify having over 50 ministers and deputy ministers as well as nine
provincial governors (who are resident ministers)? Each has a major support
infrastructure of secretaries, administrative and finance officers and other
personnel, large suites of offices, fleets of motor vehicles, housing and
much else at an immense cost to the fiscus and, therefore, to the taxpayer,
and contributing to the governmentally fuelled hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe's ministerial set-up is very much greater than that of most
developed, first-world countries, with considerably larger populations.
Blatantly, the Zimbabwean ministerial structure is naught but "jobs for the
boys" irrespective of the fiscal and ancillary negative consequences.

Of course, government perceives as essential expenditure that which is
likely to preserve support for itself, and facilitate its retention of
power, irrespective of the prejudice and suffering that may result for the

Undoubtedly that was the motivation for the recent announcement of new
houses for all of Zimbabwe's traditional chiefs, and for the distribution to
the same chiefs, only a few months ago, of new, executive-style motor

Presumably that too was the principal motivation for the very costly
and unaffordable distribution of farm machinery and equipment, even if that
distribution was window-dressed and disguised as being targeted to enhance
agricultural production.

One must also ponder whether the president is at such pronounced risk
that it is necessary that wheresoever he travels he requires escorts many
times in number those required by the majority of the world's heads of
state. One must hope that that is not so but, if it is not, how can the
attendant costs be justified?

Zimbabwe could also save much expenditure, and foreign currency
outlays, if it would close many of its embassies, consulates and like
offices around the world. Could not one embassy in Brussels and one in
London cover the entirety of Europe, with similar centralisation of
diplomatic representation in many other parts of the world? In like manner,
would not Zimbabwe's straitened circumstances justify far fewer governmental
travels abroad?

These are but a very few of the many opportunities available for
expenditure curtailment, without prejudice to the population, yielding
massive economic benefits, including inflation reduction. But government's
will to spend is without bounds. It is a profligate par excellence, and
therefore such constructive budgetary measures are unlikely in the extreme.

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Zanu PF not learning from China

Zim Independent

Candid Comment

By Dumisani Muleya

IT has been interesting to follow the National Congress of the
governing Communist Party of China at a time when here at home we are
anxiously waiting for the ruling Zanu PF's extraordinary congress in

In the media we are waiting for the Zanu PF congress with
bated-breath, not because we think anything useful to national development
will come out of it but largely because it offers a string of good copy for
the press. Breathtaking political drama and high-sounding nothings more
often than not accompany such Zanu PF meetings and newspapers like pouncing
on that to make attention-grabbing headlines.

At a national level, the Zanu PF congress is only good as a barometer
of the direction of politics and to gauge whether our collective misery
under the current fossilised regime's suffocating rule will soon be over or

Otherwise, besides this, Zanu PF gatherings are of no use to the

Things appear to be rather different in China, a country Zanu PF likes
aping, even if it does it very badly and hasn't succeeded in emulating.

Although Chinese President Hu Jintao, party general secretary and head
of the military, only managed to promise incremental political reforms in
China as the country struggles to break free from the shackles of residual
Maoist authoritarianism, his opening address in Beijing at the Great Hall of
the People on Monday on the economy was progressive. It was very different
from what we often get and will almost certainly hear from President Robert
Mugabe in his address to his party's congress.

Hu avoided demagoguery and sabre-rattling, although he made remarks
seen as populist grandstanding in a bid to appease the masses in view of the
widening gap between the rich and poor. His focus was largely on his
scientific development concept.

"We must adopt an enlightened approach to development that results in
expanded production, a better life, and sound ecological and environmental
conditions," Hu said. "China is going through a wide-ranging and deep-going
transformation," Hu told 2 200 party delegates.

He promised to address social problems, environmental degradation and
rampant corruption. Hu spoke extensively about his "scientific view of
development", a set of lofty, albeit vague principles which he says are the
basis of a coordinated economic, social and political development.

Hu said the party now wants to increase "per capita GDP" instead of
the overall Gross Domestic Product between now and 2012 when his term of
office expires. This was widely interpreted as a significant policy shift to
address growing inequalities and alleviate poverty.

Hu's address is radically different from what you can get from Mugabe
and Zanu PF at congress. Where Hu proffers economic vision, Mugabe offers
political heroics. Perhaps that's why Hu did not come to Zimbabwe when he
visited Africa. Where the Communist Party provides workable policies, Zanu
PF comes up with scorched-earth policies.

No serious debate and sound economic policies emerge from Zanu PF
congresses, except "grab and run" strategies to plunder the economy. Corrupt
and incompetent party officials are not just left without being held to
account, but are tolerated and given room to enjoy their loot. Some of them
are even rewarded with top positions!

Zanu PF, full of mandarins who consult witchdoctors as opposed to
modernisers guided by enlightened science, is still caught up in frozen
ideological philosophies. It has no credible guiding philosophy, except poor
imitations of failed dogmatic models.

This frozen thinking and lack of dynamism results in the same policies
and the same mistakes being repeated over and over again, predictably with
the same disastrous outcomes.

The other notable difference between the Communist Party of China and
Zanu PF is that in China the congress results in major changes in leading
party organs, including the politburo and central committee. The Chinese
party will elevate younger members that will form the "fifth generation from
2012-2022" of Chinese leaders to the politburo. The old guard will be
retired to pave way for younger leaders and new thinking.

A Communist Party congress is a significant event in Chinese politics
although it nominally decides the new leadership. While the congress
formally elects new leaders, in practice positions are negotiated before the
meeting and congress does not function as a deliberative assembly.

But since the mid-1980s the Communist Party has tried to maintain a
smooth and orderly leadership succession process and avoid a cult of
personality, by having major leadership changes every 10 years.

In Zanu PF top leaders are not removed - except by divine
intervention - and policies are not changed even if they have proved to be a
disaster. For instance, Mugabe has been at the helm of Zanu PF for 30
years - since 1977 - and wants to hang on and his party supports this. The
Communist Party no longer does this.

Currently debate in Zanu PF ahead of congress is not about policies
and leadership renewal, but endorsing Mugabe - despite his calamitous rule -
to contest next year's presidential election and defending his catastrophic
legacy. It's an absolutely bankrupt debate.

The poverty of good leadership, sound policies and even common sense
in Zanu PF is frightening. This explains why we are in such deep trouble.
Why can't Zanu PF learn from its once unreconstructed but now reforming
Chinese ally?


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Cowardice rules

Zim Independent


ZIMBABWE marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
on Wednesday with power cuts and water shortages. From a self-sufficient
middle-income country just 10 years ago, Zimbabwe is today an impoverished
low-income country where even the most basic services have collapsed.
Hospitals and clinics barely function, the nation's flagship University of
Zimbabwe can no longer offer full-time teaching or adequate accommodation,
and inflation at 8 000% this week has eroded the incomes of workers across a
spectrum of health services, education and industry.

Against this appalling background, President Mugabe in all seriousness
thinks he has the answers to the country's problems while various support
groups, oblivious to the misery his policies have spawned, demonstrate on
his behalf. Why they think the people of this country want a continuation of
hardship and the certain prospect of further decline is difficult to tell.

War veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has been leading demonstrations
in support of Mugabe but is unable to explain which part of the president's
record he wants to see repeated.

Ten years ago, before Mugabe gave generous handouts to war veterans
that the fiscus could not sustain, Zimbabwe cultivated and exported a range
of products that earned foreign exchange. That in turn meant we could
comfortably import power and fuel.

Now, with tobacco under siege and horticulture all but destroyed the
country no longer has the means to earn forex. And tourists don't want to
come to a country where the president and his ministers wage war against

Without forex the country can't pay for power or fuel. That explains
the steady collapse of electricity supplies to urban centres. Large swathes
of Harare have been in darkness this week amidst reports that Zesa cannot
pay its bills. This is disastrous for industry and demoralising for the
public at large. But it is a sign of things to come.

In Bulawayo, which has suffered a severe water shortage, Zanu PF is
preparing to elect a provincial leadership. The war veterans have thrown
their weight behind Mugabe but the local provincial heavyweights have
withheld their endorsement.

Of interest here is the way in which Sibanda and his cohorts have
driven a coach and horses through the Unity Accord openly denouncing the
Zapu old guard which regards the region as its fiefdom. Mugabe no doubt
feels his barons haven't delivered since 2000 and need shaking up. This is
the way they do things in the ruling party!

Whatever the case, Zanu PF's internecine struggles are a sideshow.
What matters is the country's plunge into poverty. That is the direct
product of misgovernance at every level. By printing money and spending it
hand over fist to propitiate key sectors Zanu PF has become the chief
generator of hyperinflation. And just when the country needed foreign
investment most, the government has embarked upon what one South African
commentator last week described as "extreme policy options" in the field of

Zimbabwe has become "a laboratory for bad policy in Southern Africa",
he said, something our neighbours have finally woken up to.

In most countries, if the government was offering more shortages,
unemployment and hardship the public would revolt at the polls. But in
Zimbabwe the national discourse is tightly controlled by a suborned public
media which very simply lies about the cause of our national condition. In
these circumstances the public cannot make an informed choice at the ballot

Unless there is a sea change in our political climate we are condemned
to more of the same. That is the tragedy Zimbabwe faces today. And nobody
seems to be able to do anything about it. Instead, thanks to the naivety of
the Portuguese, Mugabe will be allowed to strut upon the international stage
in Lisbon on December 8, where he will make a number of misleading claims,
and then return to a hero's welcome at his party's extraordinary congress on
December 12-14. After that we will live in darkness and fear.

As veteran South African journalist Allister Sparks points out in our
columns today, this is what happens when dictators are indulged by their
regional colleagues and cowardice rules at home and abroad.

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Business as usual

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

By Vincent Kahiya

WHEN negotiations between the MDC and Zanu PF commenced in April we
warned at the time that the opposition was giving away too many concessions.
We also advised the MDC that this could in the end come back to haunt the
opposition in the event that talks fail to move the quest for political
settlement forward.

Dialogue between the two parties has not collapsed (yet). But word
coming out of the MDC leadership is pointing to the possibility of the
dialogue breaking down or at least Zanu PF refusing to honour pledges it has
made to date.

This week MDC information secretary Nelson Chamisa released a
statement in which he accused Zanu PF of "working hard to shrink the
democratic space of ordinary Zimbabweans which Sadc, through the South
Africa-brokered talks, is working hard to expand".

Nothing has changed. "The MDC is dismayed by Zanu PF's disdain of the
Sadc-initiated talks that are aimed at finding common ground between the
regime and the opposition," said Chamisa.

"While the MDC and Zanu PF are engaged in dialogue in Pretoria, the
regime has continued to hound our supporters; brutally assaulting and
attacking them against the spirit of the dialogue process. We continue to
receive disturbing reports from across the country of violence against our
supporters as well as Zanu PF's continued abuse of food as a political

Chamisa's office last week circulated on the Internet pictures of
badly scalded buttocks of an MDC official allegedly beaten by soldiers in

The picture evoked memories of the run-up to the 2002 presidential
poll when Zanu PF supporters used torture to cow opposition supporters.

Chamisa this week implored Zanu PF "to revise (really!) its behaviour
to show its sincerity in the talks".

Fat chance! What can the MDC do to the obdurate Zanu PF if government
backtracks on its promises to amend the Public Order and Security Act (Posa)
which is key to allowing the opposition to canvass support without the
current raft of inhibitions in place? Or perhaps Zanu PF can agree with the
opposition to tipex the offending clauses in the Act but then Zanu PF being
the party it is can still elect to completely disregard the letter of the
law and continue to unleash the police on demonstrators or simply deny the
opposition the opportunity to campaign freely. In this case, what can the
opposition do to make the Zanu PF government "revise its behaviour"?

Here is the demure MDC pleading with the devil to cut his horns and
probably lose his identity altogether. Not so fast.

The opposition could have agreed with Zanu PF negotiators to amend
Posa but creating the level playing field before the election as envisaged
by talks broker Thabo Mbeki requires political commitment which the ruling
party is not willing to practise at the moment.

Welcoming the appointment of Mbeki as broker in April Morgan
Tsvangirai told a press conference in Harare that the South African leader
should begin the process by asking Mugabe to stop all hostilities against
opposition activists before outlining a time framework for the talks.

Levelling the political playing field is a major task that not only
involves amending legislation but more importantly changing the psyche of
the police, the army and the intelligence who have all been ground in the
dogma designed to fight the opposition's supposed regime change agenda. It
involves dismantling heavily politicised institutions such as the police Law
and Order section, riot police and youth militias who are ready to pounce on
the opposition at the behest of politicians.

All this requires a statement from President Mugabe decriminalising
the opposition and refraining from making inflammatory comments akin to
those he uttered after the assault on Tsvangirai and other senior party
officials in March. Zanu PF in other words needs a cultural change.

The MDC agreed with Zanu PF on a timeframe and outline of the talks
without securing a commitment that violence would cease.

But it is business as usual for Zanu PF which has already started
limbering up for greater violent activity.

The government - by allowing the war veterans to march freely in all
provincial capitals while at the same time denying the opposition the
opportunity to hold rallies - has already set the tenor for the 2008
election campaign. Coupled with this, there has of late been a fresh
crackdown on opposition supporters, civic groups and students who have been
arrested at the slightest hint of dissent.

In the face of this latest form of adversity, Chamisa offered words of
comfort and encouragement. "The people are resilient against violence and
repression," he said.

"They want to start afresh. They have seen enough violence in the past
seven years and they do not want to walk the same road again. The people of
Zimbabwe are prepared to make a bold statement against a regime that thrives
on violence, thuggery and intimidation."

What bold statement in the absence of prudent leadership?

As things stand today, the opposition is trapped. It cannot walk out
of the talks it endorsed and placed so much faith in.

Any walk-out should be accompanied by bold action to move the process
of change forward. At the moment there is no Plan B known to the party's
supporters in the event of talks collapsing.

What dialogue can the MDC say it's engaged in if there is no end to
violence and repression? An end to state-sponsored violence should be the
MDC's line in the sand. But they seem unable to say so.

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Zim Independent Letters

Zinwa, stay away from Byo
WE note that the Bulawayo City Council took a stand against the Zinwa
take-over of water and sewer services from the control of the city council.
We also note that the city council wrote and appealed to the relevant
ministries and requested a change of decision on the issue. And we finally
note the government through the Ministry of Local Government has given an
order that the Bulawayo City Council must comply with the Zinwa take-over.

As the MDC, we strongly condemn this take-over. The people of Bulawayo
made representations against the take-over for reasons that have to do with
Zinwa's failure to deliver services where they have taken over.

As a party we condemn the Zinwa take-over and continue to support both
the Bulawayo City Council's stated position and the stand taken by the
people of Bulawayo who elected the current MDC council.

Zinwa's track record is one of failure to deliver clean and reliable
water to residents of all the local authorities where it has commandeered
these water services. Taking over water reticulation from such an
efficiently run council like that of Bulawayo is a travesty.

GJ Sibanda,

MDC deputy president.


Price controls have brought nothing but suffering

ALLOW me to express my great fear towards our policy makers in the
manner in which they have destroyed our economy and dignity as human beings.

Price controls have left shelves empty, the owners cannot bring new
orders because they fear suffering the losses they did when the pricing
madness began.

It is a shame to our nation which was once the bread-basket of Africa.
It is believed that in every shop there is a security agent employed by the
force of the government not at the will of the owner. Price controls were
never meant to address the situation of prices, which were going up on daily
basis, but to fix the owners as they are believed to be in support of the

By so doing they have promoted the black market because every basic
need is found on the street and these people are not even arrested.

So what was the purpose of the price controls? To make people suffer
more? To cause more businesses to shut down or to buy people's votes? Only
God knows.

Preaching what we do not practise - greed, selfishness and
self-centredness has destroyed our beautiful Zimbabwe. God forbid! Open the
eyes of our policy makers so that they can see how they destroyed our trust
and hope in the development of our nation.

Think of all the skilled people who have left, the deterioration of
our education, of our health delivery system to mention a few. Each day
bears a burden upon the mothers of this nation as they think of where they
can get food to feed their children. Price controls have brought pain upon
our lives as ordinary citizens of this nation.



What the Zanu PF congress means for us all

THE article by Trevor Ncube titled "Opportunities out of Zim crisis"
published in your newspaper (Zimbabwe Independent (October 5-11) makes
interesting reading. I sincerely hope that articles like that will help to
stimulate debate on Zanu PF's succession issue because whatever happens at
their congress in December could ultimately have a positive or negative
effect on the future of our country.

Negative effect in the sense that if the congress elects the wrong
person as the party's flag bearer in next year's harmonised presidential,
parliamentary and local government elections, the status quo in terms of the
country's dire economic situation and relations with the outside world is
likely to remain the same.

A positive effect is only possible if the party elects someone who can
help to restore Zimbabwe's battered image and bring back investor
confidence. Ideally, this person should be untainted and without blemish.
That person should also have a cross-cutting appeal in and outside the party
and most importantly should be able to command the respect of the armed

Admittedly, the inter-party rivalry within the ruling party which pits
the Mnangagwa and Mujuru factions against each other presents a real threat
to the stability of the party. With such a scenario beckoning, the emergence
of a compromise candidate becomes a real possibility.

The question is who will that person be? Names like Simba Makoni, and
rightly so, have been suggested as dark horses in the succession race. The
fact that he has a cross- cutting appeal puts him in good stead to be
considered for the top post.

My own view, which is contestable, is that Sydney Sekeramayi is the
real dark horse and could emerge as the compromise candidate.

What sets him apart from the rest of the crowd is the fact that he has
remained one of President Mugabe's trusted lieutenants since Independence.

He is one of the few remaining ministers that has served the
government continuously in various capacities since 1980. Among the
ministries he has headed are Health, State Security and Defence and one can
safely assume that he commands the respect of the armed forces and that the
generals would have no problem in saluting him.

His only blemish is that Zimbabwe got involved in the DRC when he was
the Minister of Defence. He also does not come across as being controversial
and maybe to his credit he has not been linked,at least publicly, with any
of the competing factions in the ruling party.

Ncube's article also addresses the issue of the ineptitude of the MDC
as an opposition outfit and how it cannot be trusted to form a government
because of its alleged links with Western imperialist forces.

In any event, when an opposition party fails to dislodge the ruling
party at the first attempt the chances of ever doing so tend to diminish
with each passing year.

In this regard, the MDC should try to reinvent itself, perhaps, by
assuming a new identity which will create excitement amongst the people. The
idea is to have a party that does not have the stigma of always being
associated with Western governments.

Which brings me to the point that an effective opposition party will,
in more cases than not, always emerge from the ranks of the ruling party.

In Zambia, for instance, the MMD emerged from the labour union which
had close links with the UNIP government. Taking advantage of the euphoria
they had created, the MMD contested in Zambia's first multi-party elections
and defeated UNIP at the first attempt.

In Malawi, the UDF was formed by individuals who were at one time or
the other members of the MCP. The UDF contested in Malawi's first
multi-party elections and managed to defeat the MCP at the first attempt.

Coming back home, nothing much can be said about the current crop of
leaders in Zanu PF. They cannot stand up and challenge President Mugabe on
any issue.

Their very existence depends on the president's kindness, this is why
he continues to rest in the comfort that he is not dealing with amadoda
sibili (real men). This gives him the carte blanche to do as he pleases.

N Mawema,

Mandara, Harare.

In memory of Learnmore Jongwe

By Asher Mutsengi

ON October 23 2002, the nation awoke to the news that Learnmore Jongwe
has passed on while in the hands of the state. I was struck deep with

No informed person could well deny that Jongwe was probably the most
spectacular spokesperson in the history of Zimbabwe's politics.

Like Moses before him, he had the task of leading a people to freedom,
the task of healing the festering wounds of a nation's man-made flaws.

Like Moses he never lived to see the promised land. But he pointed the
way for us - a land no longer torn asunder with intolerance, tyranny, ethnic
strife and poverty.

A land in which strength is defined not by the capacity to wage
violence but by the determination to forge peace - a land in which all
Zimbabweans come together in true patriotic pride. We have not yet arrived
at this longed for place, but he passed on the torch.

I remember not one moment of tragedy, but a short life of great
purpose and achievement.

May it impress upon all of us that the greatest homage we can pay to
Jongwe and all those who have paid with their lives in the struggle for
democracy in Zimbabwe, is to work together for a society based on the
principles of justice and true democracy to which he dedicated his life.

* Mutsengi writes from Canada.

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