From: "Justice for Agriculture" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 7:07 AM
Much widespread contention and debate has arisen over the past five years
as to the part played by DROUGHT in the demise of Commercial Agricultural
Production in Zimbabwe and the resultant knock-on effect seen in the
subsequent melt-down of our economy.
Most of what has been put out has emphatically been propaganda, by, not
only the regime, but also various organisations whose self interests and
causes were best served in promoting and supporting this line.
The following comprehensive and thoroughly compelling REPORT deals
conclusively, once and for all, with this propaganda issue. This report
and the findings contained therein should be disseminated as far and wide
as possible. This is the unvarnished TRUTH of the matter! READ IT !!!
THE JAG TEAM
Click here to read the document
Zimbabwe telephone directory is online at
http://www.telone.co.zw/directory.html - you can search by name or by
By Violet Gonda
Last updated: 10/21/2005 13:10:11
PAUL Themba Nyathi wants Morgan Tsvangirai to retract his claims that vote
buying and self interests swung the vote in favour of participation in
senatorial elections when the Movement for Democratic Change's national
council met in Harare last week.
Nyathi, the MDC's national spokesman said he was "distressed" and "hurt" by
the MDC leader's "defamatory" claims after the party's pro-senate lobby won
a clear majority.
Tsvangirai rejected the outcome and sought to impose a boycott - plunging
the six-year-old party into chaos.
Nyathi was stung by Tsvangirai's claims made on SW Radio Africa on Tuesday,
including suggestions that Nyathi and another national executive member,
Renson Gasela, wanted senate seats.
"Unless circumstances change, and they would have to change drastically, I
have no interest (in a senate seat)," Nyathi stormed on Thursday.
"I repeat I have no interest in standing for a senatorial seat for the
simple reason that I have a lot of work that would actually be put into
jeopardy by my standing. If Mr Tsvangirai had the courtesy of asking me
instead of making disparaging remarks, I would have told him my position.
"There was an outcome of a vote in the National Council. I was asked what
happened. My response was... 'the outcome was 33 in favour of participation
31against, 2 votes were spoilt and that the position of the MDC president is
that he does not accept that outcome.'
"Was I expected to tell a lie to say there wasn't a vote or that there wasn't
an outcome which was 33 vs 31? Where is the challenge here, can anybody tell
me what constitutes a challenge if you tell the truth as it is and the
president tells a different view. Where is the challenge on the leader's
Nyathi also rejected Tsvangirai's claims that the national council members
who voted only expressed their opinions and not necessarily those of their
"I'm extremely reluctant to get involved in that kind of discussion given
the amount of intimidation that has been coming directly from the president's
office," Nyathi said.
"I'm too embarrassed and ashamed as a member of the MDC to even talk about
those things and I hope Mr Tsvangirai himself would actually desist from
talking about those things because they put the party in disrepute, because
they are not very helpful in the search for a resolution to this extremely
Nyathi would not engage on whether it was simpler to boycott, insisting that
there was a different dimension altogether and did not want to get involved
in a situation where he might appear as supporting one group or another.
"It's not good enough for democracy for somebody to claim that another group
wants to participate because they want money...they want to participate
because they have been bought by Zanu PF and so on. That kind of language
is, in my view, inimical to democracy. Let's hear both sides. We shouldn't
attempt to block debate by imputing impure motives on those who seek to
participate or those who seek not to participate.
"It's imperative for us as leaders to desist from making statements which
are not very helpful. because those who are bent on creating mischief will
go ahead and spread those rumours.we had it coming, we have ourselves to
blame for failing to protect our integrity."
Nyathi also said the MDC was "wasting time bickering and spending endless
time throwing insults and organising violence against each other."
"Zanu PF is at its weakest. But look at us as a party, are we taking
advantage of this party that is virtually on its knees? Of course not. It is
despicable. It is a betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe; I find it absolutely
appalling that we are doing that kind of thing."
On Thursday, South African President Thabo Mbeki extended an invitation to
the MDC's leaders. All but Tsvangirai from the MDC's powerful "Top Six" flew
to South Africa to meet Mbeki.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said the MDC leader only heard of the
trip as "rumours".
The other five members of the "Top Six" who flew to South Africa were
Professor Welshman Ncube, Gift Chimanikire, Fletcher Dulini, Isaac Matongo
and vice president Gibson Sibanda. They are all known to favour
participation in the senate.
Also Thursday, President Robert Mugabe had a crowd of Zanu PF youths in
stitches during a televised speech. He told the youths Tsvangirai did not
"He doesn't want to be defeated," a cheerful Mugabe said. "In the 2002
presidential elections, he claimed that he was the one who had won. Now he
has been rejected by his own people, but he still won't accept the results."
The group that opposes senate participation has argued strongly that it's a
costly exercise and the money could be better spent on fighting poverty,
improving the health system and creating employment.
However, supporters of participation - mostly from the MDC's stronghold in
Matabeleland - insist that having MDC MPs alongside Zanu PF senators would
be highly disruptive and could weaken the party's hold on secure seats.
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/21/2005 13:10:07
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, was secretly moved from police
holding cells to the comfort of his home following his arrest on smuggling
allegations on Wednesday, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal.
A top cop and relative of President Mugabe was last night named as having
personally intervened to rescue the former Zimbabwe Football Association
boss, although prosecutors gave the impression that he had come from holding
cells when he appeared before a magistrate on Thursday. He was released on
Police sources told New Zimbabwe.com that another of President Mugabe's
nephews, Innocent Matibiri, who is a Senior Assistant Commissioner for the
police went to a suburban police station on Wednesday and got Mugabe out
after he had spent just under 12 hours in custody.
"It's a damning indictment on Zimbabwe's judiciary that we can have one law
for Mugabe's nephew and another law for many other Zimbabwean citizens who
have been abused by the legal system," a senior police source said.
The source contrasted Mugabe's treatment, and subsequent bail, with the
cases of former Finance Minister Chris Kuruneri, businessman James Makamba
and another businessman Cecil Muderede who were held in remand prison for
periods ranging from eight to 16 months on similar allegations.
Mugabe's mobile phone was not being answered last night, and no comment
could be obtained from police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
Appearing before a Harare magistrate with his wife Veronica, Mugabe was
released on $50 million bail. They were also required to surrender their
passports and put down a surety of $700 million pending their next
appearance at the Harare Magistrates' Court on November 9.
Mugabe and his wife are jointly accused of selling 30 tons of flour to
Zambia in violation of tight controls on the trade of basic foodstuffs,
according to their lawyer, Eric Matinenga.
They were not asked to plead to charges of fraud and violating the Grain
Matinenga said the couple purchased the grain legally for a bakery they own,
but did not comment on the charge that they illegally exported 600 bags.
Veronica Mugabe was arrested Tuesday and her husband the following day, he
Leo Mugabe, a quiet but highly influential figure, is regarded as one of the
wealthiest people in Zimbabwe. His mother, Sabina, is President Mugabe's
The multiple farm owner has previously been accused of high-level corruption
and violating the law with impunity.
He gained notoriety in 1999 after acting as an agent in a £33 million
contract for Harare's new international airport, representing a Cypriot
company run by a Saudi millionaire who eventually built the facility.
The Saudi millionaire then helped build President Mugabe's new Borrowdale
mansion estimated to have cost £5 million. No charges were brought against
Leo over the affair.
Additional reporting by Times
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 10/21/2005 12:11:10
ZIMBABWEAN Big Brother loser Makosi Musambasi on Thursday told an
immigration tribunal that she fears "ill treatment" at the hands of "very
brutal security forces" if deported to Zimbabwe.
On the first day of a hearing into a Home Office complaint that she breached
her working visa by going on the hit TV reality show, lawyers for the
25-year-old cardiac nurse also said a legal precedent had been set when a
court ruled last week that Zimbabweans faced possible persecution if
The 25 year-old was pulled over by British cops for not wearing a seat belt
before the immigration services intervened, insisting she had lost her right
to stay when she ditched her nursing job for fame.
Makosi, who schemed her way to third place on Big Brother 6 in the summer,
arrived for the hearing wearing a trendy scarlet jacket over a black skirt
She listened intently as her barrister, Mark Henderson, told the tribunal
she would face "ill treatment" by Robert Mugabe's brutal regime if sent
Henderson said: "To remove my client to Zimbabwe at the present time would
be contrary to both The Refugee Convention and the Human Rights Act because
of the risk of ill treatment that would arise in the present conditions and
at the hands of the very brutal security forces."
He claimed that a legal precedent had been set only last week stating that
no-one should be deported to Zimbabwe at the present time because their
safety cannot be guaranteed.
Henderson also said that the Home Office had failed to follow "proper
procedures" when it gave Makosi notice to quit.
He said: "It did not interview my client or secure any information from my
client about her position. It simply served a curtailment notice."
Makosi was handed over to immigration officials in August after being
arrested by police for not wearing a seatbelt in her cousin's car.
She spent five hours in custody as she was quizzed by immigration officials
and has since told of her fears if returned to her homeland.
She said at the time: "I'm worried and scared. Back in Zimbabwe, I've been
judged for things I've done that African people do not like.
"There are people in my country who believe I've humiliated Zimbabweans by
showing my tits on telly.
"I would love to stay in Britain. I have been saving British lives - and I
could save more."
Makosi lost her right to stay when she resigned from her job as a trainee in
the cardiac unit of High Wycombe Hospital, Bucks.
The hearing continues.
LONDON, October 21 /PRNewswire/ --
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), supported by UK trade unions including
Amicus, will today (21st October) launch a campaign at the House of Commons
to raise funds for millions of women in Zimbabwe who are suffering without
the most basic sanitary products.
Thabitha Khumalo, trade union activist and women's campaigner has flown to
the UK to launch the campaign. She is facing court charges in Zimbabwe, has
been tortured and sexually abused for her political activities.
As Robert Mugabe's leadership plunges Zimbabwe deeper into crisis - basic
goods like sanitary products are becoming a luxury item for the rich.
Thabita Khumalo says,
"Ordinary women cannot afford sanitary wear we are using old pieces of cloth
or newspapers. Consequently we're suffering the loss of our dignity and
serious infections, in some cases leading to infertility. Many women are
facing violence from their husbands who believe these infections to be
Zimbabwean women would have to spend 50% of their monthly salary to be able
to afford sanitary products. The average salary for a Zimbabwean woman is
GBP20 a month with sanitary products costing on average GBP3 a packet with 3
packets needed a month. Unemployment is currently 75%.
The trade union movement and Action for Southern Africa are raising funds
and intend to buy large quantities of sanitary products to send into
The campaign is supported by the comedian Jo Brand, politician Kate Hoey,
actresses Patricia Potter from Holby city and Elizabeth Estensen from
Euan Wilmshurst, Director of Action for Southern Africa says,
"The situation in Zimbabwe may seem complicated to many people in the UK but
the plight of these women is clear. This campaign will enable people to make
a real difference to Zimbabwean women's health dignity and rights."
Simon Dubbins, Amicus Director of International says,
"Amicus alongside other UK based trade unions are committed to working with
the labour movement in Zimbabwe and Action for Southern Africa to raise
funds to buy large quantities of sanitary products to send to Zimbabwe.
Working people in the UK can make a huge difference that can change
someone's life. We are urging people to give generously and help ACTSA to
Notes to Editors:
The meeting will take place at 12.30 Friday 21st October in the Boothroyd
room Portcullis house, Whitehall. Speakers include Kate Hoey MP, Thabita
Khumalo, Secretary of the Women's Advisory Council of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions and Euan Wilmshurst , Director of Action for Southern
Africa. Tabita is available for interview 20th October until 27th October
Distributed by PR Newswire on behalf of Amicus
First Night reviews
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The Times October 21, 2005
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sam Marlowe at Swan Stratford
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Robert Mugabe hardly has an international
reputation as the best-adjusted of individuals; in Fraser Grace's engaging
new play, he's the psychiatric patient from Hell. His paranoia and mood
swings have become so extreme that his wife, Grace, refers to him as "the
Devil", and hires a respected white doctor, Andrew Peric, to treat him.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Analysing Mugabe is a dangerous job. For the
Zimbabwean President believes he is being persecuted by the malevolent
spirit, or ngozi, of a former associate, Josiah Tongogara, who was widely
expected to become the first president of independent Zimbabwe, but died in
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Menace and manners meet in Antony Sher's
production for the RSC's second New Work Festival, as Noma Dumezweni as the
elegant, steely Grace, who sexually usurped Mugabe's previous wife before
her death, politely welcomes David Rintoul's tense, sweating Peric to the
Presidential Palace. Colin Richmond's design, with its creamy carpet and
electric gates, suggests a well-appointed prison that both keeps Grace and
her children in, and enemies out.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A wall beyond the bars is covered with what
could be scarlet blossom, or blood.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† This is the setting for a series of
confrontations - inspired by alleged actual encounters between Mugabe and a
psychiatrist - with a Shakespearean flavour. The President is haunted by his
ngozi as is Macbeth by Banquo. Guilt lurks everywhere: Mugabe's for
atrocities of which only he knows the true extent, Peric's for the voracious
colonialism of his ancestors.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Grace neither demonises nor excuses his four
characters. He allows Joseph Mydell's powerful Mugabe an impassioned account
of black oppression under Rhodesian rule, but doesn't shrink from his
homophobia and hate-fuelled polemic. Dumezweni as his ruthless wife is also
a desperate mother, her anguish betrayed by the rasp in her voice. Peric's
motives are far from pure - he hopes the future of his farm will be secured
in return for his services - and the loyalty of Mugabe's bodyguard
(Christopher Obi) can be bought for the price of a Mercedes.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A more acute sense of life beyond the
consulting-room walls might have sharpened the drama, and a touch of
contrivance sometimes creeps into Mugabe's diatribes and Peric's
psycho-speak. Sher's production is occasionally too self-consciously stagey
in its efforts to overcome the essentially static nature of a play that
centres around talk rather than action. Still, Grace's probing of Mugabe's
mind, speculative but riveting, ensures that this Breakfast offers plenty to
get your teeth into.
Shakeman Mugari/Dumisani Muleya
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday for the first time all but
admitted failure in his war against unrelenting economic decline.
Putting on a brave face as usual and again claiming "failure was not an
option", Gono admitted in the central thrust of his lacklustre monetary
policy statement that economic fundamentals have further deteriorated since
his July presentation.
While maintaining his derailed economic recovery programme was on track,
Gono did not come up with a viable reconstruction model but clung to the
He acknowledged he was losing the battle against inflation - described as
"enemy number one" even though government's policy failures are evidently
the major problem - by revising his forecast for December to a range of
His previous forecast had been for between 50% and 80%.
He said inflation was now expected to fall within the 50%-80% range by
December next year. Analysts have described Gono's initial projection as
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said recently Zimbabwe's inflation
will top 400% in December. Under Gono's tenure, Zimbabwe has achieved the
dubious distinction of having the highest inflation and the weakest currency
in the world.
In a further admission of failure, Gono said a new currency would be
introduced in 2006. The move is usually associated with failed economies.
Brazil, the former Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have
changed currency in the recent past in the midst of economic failure.
The IMF said the economy would shrink by 7% after a 4% decline last year,
and 10,5% negative growth in 2003. Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by a
cumulative 30% over the past five years.
Gono did not make a GDP projection but said regional economies grew by 4,8%
last year compared to 3,6% in 2003. In July he claimed the economy would
grow this year by between 2%-2,5% after climbing down from a 5% growth
The IMF projected a widening of the fiscal deficit, which will fuel money
growth, pushing inflation upwards. It said although monetary policy had
tightened, it has not been consistent.
The IMF said the fiscal deficit would widen to 11,5% of GDP, from 4,7% in
2004, due to greater spending. This expansion is due to a sharp increase in
the government wage bill from 15,5% of GDP in 2004 to about 20% in 2005.
Gono dumped the foreign currency auction floor for a floating system. He
said the auction system would be replaced by a tradable foreign currency
system in which exporters will retain 70% of their proceeds in foreign
currency and the remaining 30% at the official auction exchange rate
determined at the market from time to time.
The auction system failed to curb the parallel market which has flourished
since Gono took over in December 2003. When Gono came in the parallel market
rate was US$1: $9 000. It's now US$1:$85 000. The official rate was US$1:$5
000 but is now US$1:$26 000.
Gono said exports were rapidly declining. This would worsen shortages in the
market and lead to a further crash of the crumbling local currency.
He also adjusted the interest rate, putting it deeper into positive
territory. He increased the rates from 405% to 415% for secured lending and
from 415% to 430% for unsecured lending.
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is locked in
increasingly rancorous political combat, appeared yesterday rigidly
determined to self-destruct.
The very public power struggle within the ranks of the MDC - triggered by a
dispute over the forthcoming senate election - continued unabated after
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday avoided a critical meeting with
The MDC crisis meeting was initially scheduled for Wednesday afternoon
following emergency talks between Tsvangirai and his deputy Gibson Sibanda
who later lambasted his boss for "willfully violating" the party's
Tsvangirai's faction lost the MDC's national council vote by 31-33 on the
senate election debate before staging a coup against the party's
constitution. The MDC leader resorted to martial law-style tactics to
suppress what he sees as a revolt against his leadership.
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube's camp is resisting the assault on the
party's structures and Tsvangirai's attempt to block its candidates from
contesting the poll.
"The meeting failed to take place yesterday," a source said, "because
Tsvangirai decided to go on his anti-senate campaign in Manicaland. "The
party's other five top officials were on their way to Tsvangirai's house
when they were told he was on his way to Manicaland. They were later
informed the meting might take place tomorrow (today)."
After squandering another chance to resolve the crisis, the MDC appeared to
be irretrievably heading for a breakup unless today's meeting produces a
Sources said the situation had deteriorated into a state of anarchy because
central authority in the party has collapsed. The MDC was now widely seen as
being run by parallel command structures.
"No one is really in control," a source said. "Everybody is just muddling
through. Neither faction is yielding ground."
But sources said some of the more thoughtful officials in the Tsvangirai
camp were beginning to realise the crisis was not only damaging individuals
but also the organisation and now needed a quick resolution. The same
applied to some in the Ncube faction.
Due to worsening turmoil, it was no longer clear what the level of support
for each of the factions was at provincial level as almost everyone was now
able to speak on behalf of the party and pass their opinions off as official
Tsvangirai's intransigence persisted even after his camp suffered initial
setbacks this week following a rejection of his appeal to the electoral
authorities for the banning of the Ncube faction's candidates from
The Ncube camp was also not helping matters as it sought to hold fast to its
position, although its process of selecting candidates for the poll ahead of
nomination on Monday had been thrown into serious disarray by the chaos
engulfing the party.
"The longer this crisis remains, the greater the damage to us becomes," a
senior MDC official said last night. "No one will emerge a winner out of
this clumsy power struggle. It's a lose-lose situation for both factions."
DETAILS of suspended Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group CEO and
editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza's exit strategy from the papers that have been
taken over by the intelligence service emerged this week.
Documents show that Mandaza had proposed that his Southern African Printing
and Publishing House (Sappho), now split into two entities and which hold
30% in the Mirror group, should withdraw by selling its interest in the
company through a new agreement of sale.
The Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has taken over the Mirror's two
titles, the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, as well as the Financial Gazette
through an ownership front. The state security agency also has influence in
other media organisations and is trying to expand its tentacles.
Mandaza suggested a valuation of the company and a resale of the 70% of the
Mirror to Unique World Investments and Zistanbal Investments which already
controlled 70% shareholding in the Mirror.
"Unique and Zistanbal will pay the requisite purchase price, based on the
current valuation - which is to be undertaken immediately by a firm of
accountants to be mutually agreed upon by the three parties of the Mirror
group," the documents say.
This would take into account the $924 million paid by Unique and Zistanbal
"plus the interest thereof, calculated on the basis of the dates on which
the monies were variously disbursed in the period August 2003 to late
January 2004 and the applicable interest rates thereof".
"Sappho will then sell the remaining 30% shareholding to a third party,
negotiations with whom are in progress. Obviously, this proposal is neat and
also provides an appropriate business-type framework," the documents say.
"Also, it would be media-friendly and puts a favourable end to the kind of
media speculation that has been attendant to this matter over the last few
The modalities of sale and transfer were supposed to be completed by
September 30 after which Sappho would no longer be a shareholder in the
Mirror and Mandaza's securities and guarantees at the Jewel Bank, the
company's bankers, would be cancelled.
However, the CIO rejected Mandaza's proposal and came up with a different
modality for his withdrawal. They refused to have an evaluation and an
effective resale of the 70%, suggesting Sappho should just sell its 30% to
Unique and Zistanbal and move out.
"Sappho Holdings is (should be) selling the remaining 30% shareholding to
the remaining partners, who will then share it between themselves in
proportion to their existing shareholding," the documents say.
"Thus, Unique (the CIO shelf company) will be entitled to 21%, thereby
increasing its shareholding to 72%, and Zistanbal to 28%, with the cash
transaction being based on an evaluation to be agreed upon."
At a time when Mandaza thought the issue was still being discussed, the CIO
had already finalised their plans and concluded that "Sappho is no longer a
shareholder in the Mirror and will immediately have all its securities
cancelled at the bank, and all monies owing duly paid".
The CIO, however, agreed with Mandaza that the "editorial policy of the
Mirror newspapers has been consistently nationalist and pan-Africanist ever
since their inception in December 1997 and that this is a policy to be
maintained and sustained regardless of the ownership".
Their proposal also indicated that Unique and Zistanbal "will proceed to
appoint new editors of the newspapers as it has been agreed that Mandaza
will cease being CEO and editor-in-chief as from October 1 2005."
TOP Zanu PF politicians are raking in millions of dollars from illegally
sub-leasing hunting concessions, camps and safari lodges on farms they
grabbed under the land reform programme.
Highly placed sources in the safari business said Zanu PF bigwigs who were
allocated safari farms with lodges and camps, proceeded to obtain hunting
concessions and are now raking in millions of dollars from renting out
infrastructure to established operators.
The Safari business brings in huge sums of money, mostly hard currency, paid
by professional hunters and tourists.
In one such case, Tourism minister Francis Nhema and President Robert
Mugabe's nephew, John Mapondera, were reported to have descended on Chikweya
Camp and Forthergill Island in Kariba claiming to be the new owners.
Speculation is rife that Nhema and Mapondera, who already have other
properties through the land reform programme, targeted the camps for no
other reasons other than leasing them out. Camp operators are in the process
of filing papers in the High Court seeking an interdict against the
takeover. The court papers cite Nhema as the first respondent.
The camps, which fall within the National Parks area, have been making up to
US$200 000 each year through bookings by professional hunters and other
Contacted for comment, Nhema scoffed at the allegations saying there was no
way he could be eyeing the camps, which his ministry advertised.
"My ministry through National Parks floated a tender because the lease for
the camps expired in December last year," Nhema said. "Current operators had
an option to renew their leases but they didn't, forcing us to advertise
Nhema said he had no interest in personally owning the camps.
Last month Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo dragged his farm neighbour, Langton
Masunda, to court over the control of Jijima Lodge in the Gwayi River
Nkomo claimed the lodge falls within Lugo Ranch, which was allocated to him,
whilst Masunda, who occupies Volunteer Farm 47,48, and 49 situated in the
same area, has occupied the same lodge.
Nkomo is demanding more than $5 billion for the loss of business for the
period which Masunda has been occupying the lodge and occupational damages
or rentals suffered pegged at $50 million per month.
In 2003 Zanu PF chefs, including the late Enos Chikowore, Kumbirai Kangai,
Patrick Nyaruwata, Philip Chiyangwa, Chris Kuruneri and a number of A2
farmers, were accused of leasing rented farms to FSI Agricom for huge sums
They were demanding $50 million upfront before FSI could start operations on
the farm. They also signed five-year contracts stipulating that further
annual payments were supposed to be on a profit-sharing basis between the
landowner and the land-user, after all the costs have been deducted.
Where the produce was exported, the landowner would receive 5% of the gross
income in foreign currency. Chikowore leased out Gombera farm, Kangai Paarl,
Kuruneri Escortvale, and Chiyangwa rented out Old Citrus in Chinhoyi.
The scheme only ceased when then Special Affairs minister and land
implementation committee chairman John Nkomo announced that it was illegal
for land beneficiaries to lease farms to third parties.
THE Harare City Council has clashed with the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) over the transfer of council water treatment facilities to
Zinwa as the authority takes over the capital's bulk water supply functions.
Sources in the Treasury department said the commission running Harare shot
down a government directive to transfer council workers, liabilities on
water treatment chemicals and other council assets to Zinwa at no cost.
Zinwa, which took over Manyame, Chivero and Seke dams last May, had a
directive to take over raw water pipelines, tunnels supplying water to
treatment plants, the water works and staff involved in water processing
without paying the local authority.
"Zinwa wants to take over Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward Dam treatment
works and associated analytical laboratories," a source said.
"All the staff related to the supply of water and council assets will be
transferred to Zinwa at no cost," he said.
The source said a council delegation led by Sekesai Makwavarara approached
Local Government and Water Resources ministries to raise concerns over free
transfer of ratepayers' assets and impressed on them the need for
compensation, forcing government to call for an evaluation.
"A team of council officials and private evaluators will be set up to
quantify the value of council assets in the water division to be transferred
to Zinwa," the source said.
Sources said although Zinwa agreed in principle to compensate council for
its assets, it has no resources to pay.
Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya confirmed that council was in the process of
valuating its assets to prepare a bill for Zinwa.
"The modalities are still being worked out," Chideya said.
"Zinwa will have to pay for the assets once the valuation is completed."
The fight over assets comes at a time when Zinwa has failed to solve
Harare's crippling water shortages, exposing residents to threats of disease
The water situation has deteriorated to an all-time low in virtually all
Residents said in some places water was available for only six hours at
night when people are sleeping.
"We have resorted to fetching water at night when it comes," Eric Makaya of
Msasa Park said.
"Sometimes you wake up to be told that the water is already gone."
ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) has come under attack for its monopoly
over the airwaves and its disposition to peddle state propaganda as news.
This emerged at a meeting organised by the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (Misa) as part of its campaign to open the "airwaves and reclaim the
Misa chairperson, Thomas Deve, expressed concern over the punitive legal
framework in which the media is operating. He said the ZBH had deviated from
its mandate to serve the public by pursuing a state-tailored editorial
At the Southern Africa Social Forum which opened in Harare on Thursday,
former editor-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Shepherd
Mutamba, expressed frustration with the state broadcaster's monopoly over
the airwaves, which he said denied Zimbabweans freedom of choice.
"The tragedy about Zimbabwe is the absence of a public media serving a full
spectrum of public interest. What is obtaining is a truly state media
propagating and protecting government policy and interests," said Mutamba.
"We have a state media pandering to the whims of government without question
or regret. It is designed to defy basic theories of communication by
disallowing interactive speech except where it suits the piper. In other
words what we have is a monopolistic state media feeding off public coffers
without being made accountable to the public," he said.
Mutamba said the ZBH's brief was to give voice to the ruling party and its
sympathisers. A Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe report recently
revealed that Zanu PF and government were getting unprecedented airwaves
BELOW are excerpts of an interview between President Mugabe (RM) and Sky
News' Stuart Ramsey (SR) in May last year in which the president predicted a
bumper harvest and an imminent economic turnaround.
SR: Mr President, there are a number of issues I'd like to talk to you
about. I'll start first with the political situation in Zimbabwe today. One
of the impediments to substantive negotiations between Zanu PF and the
opposition MDC was the opposition's demand that you step down from office.
Now they have told us that that demand has gone away, do you think it is now
time for negotiations between the two parties to get under way?
RM: Well if there is business to negotiate about we will welcome
negotiations but if there is no business I don't see why we should talk
about negotiations. What I mean is if you have a democratic system running
and if your ruling party, naturally it has its policies and is trying to
effect its policies on the one hand and the opposition on the other, well
the real functions, respective functions of the two are clear. The
government is there to govern, the opposition naturally to keep watch, try
to criticise government as much as possible in the normal way. They are in
parliament, they get their voices heard in parliament, their criticisms are
made there and that's the normal way of running a democratic system.
SR: There are those who say that the election wasn't fair and that they
RM: That's what they say. We say the election was fair. We say all the
African groups pronounced the election fair. There might have been one odd
one which went the way Europe wanted things to go and of course they are a
voice not of themselves, not of our people, that is them to see, the voice
of Europe, the voice of Mr Blair, Mr Bush.
SR: But before the election took place, I remember it clearly, the voter
rolls were confused, people weren't sure where they would vote, which part
of the country they had to vote in.
RM: No, there might have been some confusion here and there but by and large
things were quite correct. I mean we were not running the election for the
first time, we had run elections before and we are very faithful to our
democratic system and the demands of that system. We have held elections
timelessly, every five years and there was very little to learn you know for
this last election. Sure, there might have been hitches here and there and
there are always hitches, not just here but even in democratic countries,
let alone in developing countries and we were prepared to look at the
hitches and to try and correct things as effectively as we could but
generally the elections went quite smoothly.
SR: Can I ask you about another issue, this is the view of the international
community toward you and towards them. Recently at the National Chief's
Convention you described Tony Blair as a colonist who still thinks he owns
Zimbabwe. Surely that isn't really the case.
RM: That's the case. That man, I don't know how Britain came by him. You can
see some of the mad things he has done and the world now is in turmoil.
SR: You don't think that Tony Blair or Britain for that matter considers
Zimbabwe a colony, surely not?
RM: Yes, he does, he does. He doesn't say so but his actions do say so. What
has he not done to try and control how things should go here? He has opposed
us in my election, he has called upon nations to in fact regard Zimbabwe as
a lawless country, a country where democracy is not respected, where there
is no rule of law, where human rights do not exist and all that is a lie.
SR: But he is by no means the only international leader.
RM: No, no, no, no, it is him and .
SR: The Commonwealth wanted you to remain suspended, you've removed yourself
from the Commonwealth. Now why would they do that? They are doing that
because they also have concerns about the rule of law and democracy?
RM: Who is the Commonwealth? Who is the dominant character there? It's
Britain and Britain supported by the other white countries, Australia, New
Zealand, Canada and they call the tune, you see. The Africans try to oppose
but they were not heard, they were ignored. There it is, fine, what is the
Commonwealth just now?
SR: It is not just Britain of course, it is not just Commonwealth, Botswana
has been critical in the past, South Africa and the Sadc nations, another
club that you are a member of.
RM: Critical of what?
SR: Critical of the fact that for example 1,3% of its economic growth in
South Africa didn't happen almost as a direct result of .
RM: No, no.
SR: . 20 to 30 000 jobs didn't happen.
RM: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
SR: Trade declined by R15 billion.
RM: No, we were not the cause of that, we are not the South African economy.
SR: But you were vitally linked to it at one point but now.
RM: Our trade with them has always been good, and they admit it, that in
spite of the sanctions the trade has been rising, rising, rising in terms of
volumes and all of the .
SR: What trade is that? It's declining, not increasing.
RM: The what?
SR: The trade is declining it's not increasing.
RM: No, no, no, you go and ask Irwin, he will tell you that in spite of all
that has, you know, been done to Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe's trade with South
Africa has always been rising, not declining.
SR: Why do you . what are your links with Britain? Why are you unhappy with
Britain to such a degree? You were friends for a very long time.
RM: To tell you the truth we are not unhappy with Britain as Britain, with
Blair's Britain yes, we are unhappy, that is the rulership of Blair, very
unhappy and unhappy, first of all he is a man, I don't know he considers
himself as a super human, he doesn't want dialogue, he doesn't want to talk.
I haven't had any discussion with him except in Scotland during the
Commonwealth summit there. We have asked for discussions, for dialogue-he
won't have it.
SR: Why do you think he won't have it?
RM: He won't have it because he doesn't want to talk to us. We are inferior,
he is a super human, no, and he won't be drawn into any discussions with us,
he has got that stance.
SR: One of the reasons why .
RM: And we have been asking, we are open. We talk to everyone who wants to
talk to us.
SR: Would you like to talk to Britain again, would you make efforts now to
negotiate and to discuss?
RM: We've made enough efforts. If Britain wants to talk we are ready, we
have said so again and again and even the people he has asked to intervene,
Obasanjo, Mbeki, have asked to try and have dialogue with us. There is a
Zimbabwe which some countries would want to regard as a pariah state and
never say any good about it, everything that it does is bad but we are not
bad. Stay here and you will see that our people are free, you will see that
they are able to say things that they would want to say about government,
criticise us as much as possible, there is an opposition, not just the MDC,
we also have small other groups which have not succeeded naturally in
raising members of parliament but they are vocal, they say things against us
and they are not arrested. Also things have been said, bad things, personal
SR: The World Food Programme says that urban food shortages are approaching
critical. A United Nations memo to say that you could reach the level of
tonnage that is being estimated is complete nonsense and quite impossible.
The farms, outsiders say, simply aren't producing enough food. You've got
bread prices that the state media says could go up by 50%.
RM: So what is WFP wanting us to do?
SR: What they are saying is you need food aid and therefore .
RM: We need food aid and not the land to produce, we don't need to produce?
SR: No, they are saying you need to produce more and you need food aid.
You're saying you don't need food aid. In fact last week you were saying you
would produce 2,3 million tonnes which far exceeds anything ever produced
before. You are saying you do need food aid?
RM: We have produced that before.
SR: You are not going to produce it this year though.
RM: We are producing it this year, definitely. Our estimates are there and
they are showing us we will have enough food for the country and with a
SR: 800 000 tonnes the shortfall is estimated.
RM: Why is WFP wanting to feed us when we are saying that .
SR: Because they don't want people to starve.
RM: We are not hungry. It should go to hungrier people, hungrier countries
than ourselves. They need the food and we urge it to go and do good work
SR: When we first arrived here a couple of weeks ago, government ministers
estimated crop production at 1,5 million, many thought that that was a
little high. In two weeks it went up to 2,3, now how did that happen? You
didn't suddenly have a bumper harvest and they'd got their figures wrong.
The fact is, and the view from the outside is that you will get 2,3 million
tonnes but you will do it by buying it from outside, probably from Zambia.
RM: Do you want to wait here until the harvest is over and then you will see
SR: I'd like to come back and see it and I'd like to see.
RM: Well come back, you'll be free, you are invited to come back.
SR: Are you going to be buying food from outside?
RM: No. Definitely no, never. Not this year.
SR: So why are all these estimates wrong Mr President?
RM: From agriculture. We have an agricultural system which is second to none
SR: Had is the argument, not has. It is no longer producing the .
RM: Have, we have.
SR: So why are these estimates so wrong?
RM: The whites who were here were mere actor farmers, ill-educated and we
brought in a system which is much more enlightened than the system they had,
you see. Go everywhere and you will see agronomists, you will see our
Agritex, extension officers who are well educated and they give us these
estimates across the country.
SR: Are you perhaps just believing these estimates because they are telling
you want to hear?
RM: I travel. I travel, I travel quite a lot across the country, there is no
corner of the country I don't know.
SR: You have been applauded by the opposition even for your moves to fight
corruption. Is it not the case that the party has become corrupt under your
stewardship which is why in 2004 it has been adjudged that you are going to
have to move.
RM: Why the party? What are you talking about?
SR: The Finance Minister has been saying .
RM: These are corrupt individuals. I suppose you get corrupt individuals
across the board. You are now telling me that your government is absolutely
pure, without ..
SR: I am not representing our government, I am simply asking questions.
RM: But I am putting it back to you, you have a government in your country
and you get individuals who are corrupt naturally. If you get them it
doesn't mean that everybody else is corrupt.
SR: The chief communications of Zanu PF said to me that it wasn't just ...
RM: Of where?
SR: Of Zanu P F, said it wasn't just a disease it was actually an epidemic
of corruption and it was high time it was addressed. You are addressing it,
but the question still remains, how has corruption been able to develop.
RM: The same way as it developed in other countries, surely you shouldn't
ask that question. Corruption develops, the human being is greedy, in some
cases he wants to enrich himself by adopting irregular methods of attaining
the wealth he desire and this is what happens. There are thieves who think
the shortest way to enriching themselves is by way of possessing that which
doesn't belong to them.
SR: A regular allegation from the outside world is that Mr President, you
are corrupt as well.
RM: Oh come on, come on, come on.
SR: Can I move quickly on to the economy, I know we are running short of
time here. I interviewed the Reserve Bank governor who does seem to be a man
determined to turn things round but he has huge problems. Inflation, 600%,
maybe more, maybe over 1000%. 40% contraction in the economy between 1999
and 2003. You owe the IMF US$273 million and the World Bank and the IMF will
no longer lend you any money. The economy is in a right mess isn't it, Mr
RM: It was, yes. It is now improving, it is getting out of that mess, sure,
yes, with sanctions imposed on us.
SR: The sanctions are mainly imposed upon individual members of .
RM: No, no, no, no. This is a game where you don't understand your Prime
Minister. What did he do? He said personal sanctions because that was the
more acceptable form of sanctions to some of his allies but behind us he
says no to countries, stop your aid and so on and don't invest and so we
have had real sanctions, economic sanctions.
SR: But you don't think your country's own economic mismanagement has been
perhaps compounded by the land reform programme which took away a lot of
RM: No, if anything the land reform programme is going to reinvigorate the
economy, get it to revive. Just now the revival that is taking place is due
to that, to the fact that now this season is a good season and agriculture
is going to yield quite a good percentage of our GDP and so that we will
assist the process. Of course in the financial sector, the measure we are
taking, the monetary policy that has been enunciated and we are getting now
countries that belong to the other world than the Western one, you know,
interested in us and .
SR: Yet the estimates are that there are real concerns about direct foreign
investment isn't there, because of the instability.
RM: We would rather not have Western investment any more and we are going
East with China, we have the Tigers, they are interested, India is
interested and I think we will get the necessary investment coming from
SR: One of your good friends is the Libyan leader, were you surprised when
Tony Blair turned up in his tent shaking his hand?
RM: Yes, yes I was, I was actually surprised and I knew that the idea was
not just to get Libyan oil but also to get Libya to desist from assisting
SR: You think that's his specific attempt to try and stop him.
RM: An attempt, yes.
SR: But it does seem to have worked, the various deals that were put in
place for fuel and . those have been put on the back burner.
RM: No, we are still working together with Libya, he is still a good friend
of ours in spite of that.
SR: What did you say to him about Tony Blair?
RM: About Tony Blair? I said I was surprised that he was meeting with Tony
Blair but of course they are entitled to have relations with Britain. We do
have relations with Britain you know, British Airways, I'm sure you flew by
them to here and they make lots of money flying to Zimbabwe, enabling people
to go to the Victoria Falls. We have nothing against the Britons as such, it
is just this one man who we think is really an anachronism and should never
have been Prime Minister.
SR: President Bush was asked this question recently, has he made any
mistakes? He didn't give a very convincing answer, have you made any
mistakes Mr President?
RM: Yes, I have and that is how I have developed. You develop by making
mistakes that naturally you correct. If you make mistake and don't correct
them then you won't develop at all. But the mistakes must not be in the
majority, form the majority of your thinking, of your actions, of your
deeds, they must be just the exception to the positive, affirmative and
correct actions you take. Otherwise you are a mistaken person the whole way
through and you become devil then. But I don't think I have become that
devil. You judge yourself by firstly your ability to achieve the goals you
set yourself, secondly by ensuring that in your performance you have the
actions, the thinking and the co-operation of others and then you judge your
performance that others also are able to judge you and if your own judgement
of yourself is the same judgement as others make of you, then you are a
happy man. But if you are gong to say I'm right when others say you are
wrong, you will get self-opinionated and that is what the likes of Bush and
Blair are, you see.
SR: President Mugabe, thank you very much for joining Sky News.
RM: Thank you.
SPEAKER of Parliament John Nkomo and a delegation of MPs failed to travel to
Geneva, Switzerland, to attend an Inter-Praliamentary Union (IPU) conference
last week due to lack of foreign currency.
Official sources said Nkomo's team could not travel to the meeting last
Friday because "parliament is broke" and has no usable foreign currency.
The delegation was expected to comprise, in addition to Nkomo, President
Robert Mugabe's nephew and Zanu PF MP, Leo Mugabe, Margaret Zinyemba (Zanu
PF), Job Sikhala (MDC), and Gilbert Shoko (MDC).
Sources said parliament, which has exhausted its budget, could not raise the
required US$1 500 travel allowances for each of the delegates.
"The delegation was supposed to leave on Friday morning for Geneva (and be
away) until October 22," a source said. "Everything was ready, including air
tickets and travel arrangements, but parliament failed to raise US$7 500 for
"Parliament is bankrupt," the source said. "MPs haven't been paid their
sitting allowances for last month as a result. This illustrates how bad the
current economic crisis is."
However, another source said the trip could have been called off for
political reasons. The source said the trip was cancelled because the
government was anxious to avoid a debate on its human rights record.
The IPU, an international organisation of parliaments which provides a forum
for political multilateral negotiations, had tabled Zimbabwe's human rights
abuses on the agenda for debate.
"The real reason why the trip was cancelled is government didn't want Zanu
PF MPs grilled over their party's appalling human rights record," the source
"Authorities also wanted to prevent MDC legislators from speaking out on the
human rights situation in the country."
Zimbabwe has been widely condemned for gross human rights abuses, including
arbitrary arrests and detention of MPs. Dozens of MDC MPs have been arrested
many times. So have journalists and civic activists.
Sikhala alone has been arrested on various offences over 20 times. On one
occasion he was tortured while in police custody. He had to seek medical
treatement abroad after his release. Mugabe promised General Olusegun
Obasanjo in 2003 that Sikhala's torture was being investigated but nothing
has been done. - Staff Writer.
HARARE City Council will once again miss the deadline to submit its annual
budget for approval by its parent ministry, the Zimbabwe Independent heard
Highly placed sources at Town House said council was still in the process of
compiling the estimates figures. Under normal circumstances the budget
should have passed through the processes of stakeholder consultation and be
ready for presentation to the Local Government ministry for approval.
"Council have not even started consulting stakeholders," the sources said
this week. "After consultations and compilation of estimates, Council would
have to advertise the budget and wait for a month to receive objections from
Last month Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo said all local
authorities were expected to have submitted their budgets to the ministry by
Meanwhile, the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission running the affairs of the
city has approved a $2 trillion revised budget for the year 2005 which would
see all rates increase by at least 100%. The increases would be effected at
the beginning of November and at the beginning of next year.
Proposed increases advertised in the Herald yesterday show rentals for
houses in the high-density suburbs rising from $70 000 to $120 000 in
November, then to $204 000 at the beginning of the year.
Burial expenses are expected to rise from the current $500 000 to $881 500
and $1,4 million by November and the beginning of the year respectively.
The commission have also approved the hiking of hospital fees from the
current $40 000 to $80 000 by November. They jump to $200 000 by January
For all other rates and services the commission has approved a minimum 100%
ZIMBABWE'S failure to learn from economic disasters that befell other states
that expropriated land led to its swift slide from a plum investment
destination in 1980 to one of the grimmest places on earth, a recent study
Land seizures after 2000 and total disregard for property rights have
converged to haul Zimbabwe into an economic cesspool contrary to claims by
Harare and aid agencies that blame the drought for the country's economic
woes, the study says.
The study by Craig Richardson, associate Professor of Economics at Salem
College in the US, disproves assertions by the IMF, the UN, and the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which blame
"severe drought" in 2001/2 along with a host of other factor, including
Aids, poor fiscal and monetary policies, and rigid price controls - for
causing much of the food shortages and resulting economic difficulties.
Richardson estimates that from 1999 to 2000, more than US$5 billion in
wealth which included the total revenue from all commercial farm production
vanished from the agricultural sector.
During 2000 the value of the commercial farmland dropped dramatically by
US$5,3 billion and changed into "dead capital" because it lost its value as
With banks now holding worthless titles and unable to foreclose on
properties, 13 of Zimbabwe's 41 banking institutions were in financial
crisis by late 2004, Richardson says.
He notes that before 1997, an average of 1 600 tractors were sold each year
throughout Zimbabwe, with farmland used as collateral.
By 2002, total national sales dropped by more than 1 590 tractors to only
Gross private capital formation, once a healthy 20% of GDP in 1995, fell to
minus 6,7% in 2002 as farming equipment was looted, destroyed, or sold, and
new farmers saw little reason to invest in tobacco barns or tillage
The study shows Zimbabwe's economy contracted by 5% in 2000, 8% in 2001 and
by 12% in 2002, peaking at an estimated 18% in 2003 while inflation
spiralled to 500%, forcing the Zimbabwean dollar to lose more than 99% of
its real exchange value.
Currently the inflation rate stands at 359,29% and is still rising.
"Land reforms alone were responsible for an estimated 12,5% average annual
decline in GDP growth," Richardson says. "Rainfall played a minimal role in
the GDP contraction."
He says of the 15 countries in his study that undertook arbitrary seizure of
property, nine had negative growth rates. These included Chad (- 6,1 %),
Liberia (- 4,0 %), and Zaire (-5,1%).
Richardson says after the revoking of commercial farm property titles, the
aggregate value of Zimbabwean farmland dropped so quickly that the net loss
in one year was nearly three and a half times larger than all the World Bank
aid ever given to Zimbabwe.
This loss in wealth rippled throughout the economy, severely strained the
banking sector, and led to a rapid downward spiral in the economy.
Last month Zimbabwe further consolidated its land seizures by enacting the
Constitutional Amendment Bill No 17, which effectively nationalised all
agricultural land. The amendment curtailed owners' rights to contest the
acquisition of their farmland in the courts.
The study illustrates Zimbabwe's collapse by showing how the damage to
property rights destroyed three key components of the marketplace: investor
trust, land equity, and entrepreneurial knowledge and incentives.
"There are three effects of attenuating private property rights that
ultimately change individuals' perceptions in a drastic way," Richardson
says. "First, there is the loss of trust in the government to enforce the
law, which dramatically affects foreign investors' views of the country.
Second, the loss of property titles dramatically limits the amount of
borrowing and entrepreneurial activity by disrupting the banking sector.
Individuals no longer can offer banks their property as collateral for a
loan. Third, there is the loss in the incentive to pass along
entrepreneurial knowledge, and work initiatives are sharply stymied as well,
since one's investment is not retained."
Richardson says by 1996, Zimbabwe's equity markets on the ZSE were surging
with more than half the top 35 sub-Saharan companies (excluding South
African groups, which are listed separately) coming from Zimbabwe.
More importantly, their combined market capitalisation more than doubled to
$2,6 billion from $1,2 billion. Zimbabwe was one of top performers in the
world's emerging markets and a new favourite of investors.
Yet in 1998, the stock market began to plunge mainly because of loss of
confidence in the government, including the government's publicly stated
intention to acquire commercial farms for resettlement. At the end of 1998,
the value of stocks traded on the ZSE had dropped by 88%.
Foreign investors became increasingly concerned with the Mugabe government's
willful disregard of the law. Between 1998 and 2001, foreign direct
investment dropped by 99%, the study reveals.
GOVERNMENT will go ahead with O and A-level examinations this month although
a lot of question papers have already leaked after exam papers fell off a
vehicle and scattered along Simon Mazorodze road last week.
Eye witnesses this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that exam papers that
were being transported fell off a vehicle at a traffic circle along the
Harare-Masvingo road outside Harare and were picked up by members of the
The vehicle's tailgate accidentally unhinged releasing cartons containing
examination envelopes, sources said.
The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec) tried to underplay the
incident saying the issue could be best discussed after the exams.
Zimsec director Happy Ndanga confirmed the incident but said exams will
proceed at the scheduled dates despite the fact the papers had already
"It is in the national interest that the examination proceeds with minimal
publicity," Ndanga said. "We therefore do not mind discussing the issue
after November 22.
"The situation you referred to in your letter is under control. We are
dealing directly with examination centres. The examination will proceed as
planned, following the original scheduled dates," he said. "Nothing will
change as far as candidates are concerned."
He said everything was being done to safeguard the integrity of the November
examinations and to ensure that candidates were not prejudiced.
The incident has heightened anxiety among parents over the number of cases
of examination paper leaks. This year exam papers have reportedly been sold
in the high-density suburb of Glen Norah and could have been disseminated to
other provinces by now.
Question paper leakages and mix-ups of results have characterised the
running of exams over the past four years since the implementation of a
populist decision by the government to localise O-level and A-level exams in
The continued leaking of exam papers from Zimsec is now a cause for serious
concern and has impacted negatively on the credibility of the local
examinations board. It has raised questions about the integrity of
Zimbabwe's examination system with other countries refusing to recognise
certificates issued by Zimsec.
There have also been instances of serious mix-ups in the issuing of results
with some candidates getting grades in subjects they did not sit for whilst
others failed to get marks for subjects they had written.
HAVING managed to weave his way into Wankie Colliery and the Rainbow Tourism
Group (RTG), British businessman Nicholas van Hoogstraten plans to spend £2
million (about $91 billion at the official exchange rate of $45 500 to the
pound) buying shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), businessdigest
heard this week.
The stock exchange's capitalisation stands at $98 billion. With £2 million
therefore, van Hoogstraten will easily control a number of stocks on the
Market capitalisation refers to the total value of all outstanding shares in
a listed counter.
Van Hoogstraten's investment drive compares favourably with that of Jiao
Ming, a Chinese businessman who was a big spender on the bourse in the late
Old Mutual, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) and Delta now hold about 45% of
the total market capitalisation on the bourse.
The Briton, a savvy businessman, does most of his transactions by fax,
though on a few occasions he visits brokers.
Company executives described van Hoogstraten as a "cunning person, who
changes moods all the time".
Once heralded as Britain's youngest millionaire, van Hoogstraten has not
made a secret of his robust approach to business.
He has homes in Barbados, St Lucia, Florida, Cannes and Zimbabwe and has
reportedly spoken warmly of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whom he once
described as "100% decent and incorruptible".
Van Hoogstraten could not be reached for comment at the time of going to
In the RTG rights issue, he became the biggest individual investor using his
company - Messina Investments - to buy 35 727 640 shares, representing 2,17%
This came after the failure to exercise rights by French group Accor Afrique
and the Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company.
Accor and Laaico have reduced their stake to 9,08% and 3,65% respectively.
Previously, Accor Afrique and Laaico had 34,20% and 13,84% shareholdings
In Wankie, van Hoogstraten is the largest individual shareholder with a
12,66% stake through the same company.
He is also understood to be a significant shareholder in Willoughby
Consolidated, a UK-registered company which has a 1,41% stake in Wankie.
Government has the largest stake of 38% in the coal-extracting firm.
The tycoon triggered shockwaves in the banking sector in August when he
announced that he had a controlling stake in NMB Bank at 20%.
He also has an interest in the group through Edward Nominees.
Analysts said van Hoogstraten's investment - if it materialises - would be a
source of much-needed foreign currency. They also called it a windfall for
the investor, considering the collapse of the Zimbabwean currency.
Van Hoogstraten's land holdings in Zimbabwe were left untouched during the
farm invasions allegedly because of his close connections with Mugabe.
Born in 1946 in Shoreham, East Sussex, as plain Nicholas Marcel
Hoogstraten - the "van" was added later - by the time he was 22, he was
reputed to have had 350 properties in Sussex alone and to have become
Britain's youngest millionaire.
IN a major policy shift, the government has agreed to float the exchange
rate, thus effectively doing away with the RBZ auction system.
The auction system has been in place for 22 months during which it failed to
increase foreign currency inflows.
Insiders at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said they had "struggled" to get
the nod from government to float the currency.
In his third-term monetary policy presentation yesterday, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gonosaid in line with market developments as well as
inflation trends, the auction rate had been allowed to periodically adjust
to support exporters.
"Against this background of incisive inputs from stakeholders, as well as
the growing need for allowance of the interplay of market forces in
promoting allocative efficiencies in the foreign exchange market, it has
become necessary that, with immediate effect, a new foreign exchange
management system be introduced," Gono said.
"Under this framework, which replaces the existing auction system, the
Tradable Foreign Currency System, all exporters will retain 70% of their
export proceeds in foreign currency, and sell the remaining 30% at the
official auction rate determined and announced to the market from time to
Initially, Gono said the rate would be set at the prevailing exchange rate
of US$1:$26 000.
Under the new system, corporate FCA balances would be retained for up to 30
days, after which the unutilised remainder would be liquidated onto the
Holders of free funds, including individuals, embassies, international
organisations and Zimbabweans in the diaspora, can sell their foreign
exchange in the interbank market at the market rate.
However, all importers, save for government and other strategic and social
payments, will access foreign exchange from the interbank market at the
The new policy, which analysts expect to increase inflows of foreign
currency into the formal system, is bound to catch a number of banks unaware
as most of them had long abandoned the use of foreign exchange electronic
Another challenge is to determine the interbank rate.
The International Monetary Fund has said there is need to eliminate foreign
exchange restrictions, multiple currency rates and surrender requirements.
The IMF recommended that as a first step towards unification of the exchange
rate, the official exchange rate should be depreciated substantially by
60-65% based on the June data. - Staff Writer.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono yesterday revised his year-end
inflation targets to 280-300% from the previous estimate of 50-80%. In his
monetary policy statement, Gono set a new target of 50-80% by December 2006.
"The upward trend is, however, expected to slow down during the last quarter
of the year with annual inflation expected to reach levels of 280-300% by
December this year and of between 50-80% by December 2006," Gono said.
The latest revision comes against a backdrop of massive price increases
which have pushed up the month-on-month inflation to 359,8% for September
Gono also blamed the current surge in inflation on the errant behaviour of
some sectors of the economy.
"These targets will be achievable if we all play our part and do not cause
some "tsunamis" in our daily behaviours, our policy pronouncement (and)
"Do not continue to play the parallel market, destroy productive
infrastructure and desist from smuggling out gold and other precious metals;
avoid all actions which will diminish foreign currency inflows," said Gono.
"Avoid actions that will diminish productivity efforts and thus adversely
affect our fight against inflation," Gono said.
He said the central bank was putting in place a tight liquidity management
programme to reduce money supply growth as part of efforts to fight
"Excessive growth in money supply remains a major factor underlining the
resurgence in inflation in the economy and as a firm response to this, the
Reserve Bank has put in place a tight management programme supported by
positive real interest rates to curtail any further inflationary monetary
growth," said Gono.
He said continued increases in prices of basic foodstuffs had been
identified as a major driver of the country's inflation.
"Accounting for 32% of the country's total consumer price index (CPI), the
food component is a major driver which deserves the focal attention of every
Zimbabwean if the inflation scourge is to be tamed," Gono said.
Analysts however warned that the central bank was unlikely to meet its
revised inflation targets due to the worsening economic situation.
Annual inflation ended last year at 132,7% against a revised target of
150%-150%, which Gono had set.
In his monetary policy in October the same year, the governor declared that
inflation was going to slow down to between 30-50% by December this year.
Sensing that he was conquering it, in January this year Gono then revised
the figure to close the year at 20-35%.
On May 19, he was forced to revise the figures again saying it would end the
year at between 50-80%.
He blamed drought for failure to meet the target.
A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report forecast Zimbabwe's
inflation to end the year at 320%. The damning report by the fund accused
the central bank of stroking the figures by printing more money.
It noted that government's expenditure, the Reserve Bank's quasi-fiscal
activities and Operation Murambatsvina were the major contributors to
GOVERNMENT has shifted the onus to revive agriculture and feed the nation to
A1 and communal farmers by supplying them with key inputs ahead of
Presenting his third monetary policy statement yesterday, Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono said government would now shift attention from
commercial farmers and give priority to resettled and communal farmers.
"In a bid to ensure food security, a facility of $1 trillion has been put in
place to support A1 and communal farmers with seeds and fertiliser for
growing maize and sorghum," Gono said.
He said government had difficulties in sourcing foreign currency to import
grain to feed the nation.
"We call upon all relevant arms of government to ensure that these funds are
productively utilised, so as to guarantee food security, as well as
forestall the potential inflationary effects of the disbursements."
Over the past five years food imports have been gobbling up to 45% of
"It is against this background that we urge the nation to ensure that this
season becomes a success, because a repeat of the food deficit we are
experiencing this year will have serious consequences on the socio-economic
and political wellbeing of the country," Gono said.
"For all maize, rapoko, sorghum and other small grains grown and sold to the
Grain Marketing Board, the RBZ is setting aside an import-substitution fund
in the form of an incentive of $2 million/tonne for deliveries between
February and May 2006 and $1,5 million/tonne for deliveries between June and
July. The incentive will be over and above the selling price," he said.
Gono also denounced the current wave of farm invasions and called on the
authorities to take action against the criminals so as to attract
"Our abhorrence against the reported current land invasions stems, not from
diminished patriotism or revulsion towards land reform," Gono said. "We
support the landless people of this country. In so doing we are not blind to
the fact that it was not land for the sake of having it and merely looking
at it that mattered to our liberators. It was not about having vast pieces
of land and using them as braai spots and weekend picnic venues."
He said the liberation struggle and land reform sought to empower
Zimbabweans economically through utilising the land's potential to create
jobs, generate foreign currency and produce food.
"That is how former holders of land used to employ that land; they used the
land to economically empower themselves, their kith and kin, and hence,
became a very powerful socio-economic bloc and political pillars of the
government of the day.
"They also created institutions that ensured financing, logistics, training
and proper land use, surveillance through the extension workers and land
inspectors; things we are not doing efficiently today, hence the low yields
of half a tonne per hectare."
Gono said there was need to get rid of overt criminal practices such as the
recent farm invasions which undermined the gains of land reform.
"Our collective tolerance for such retrogressive acts can only go to condemn
and limit our capacity to attract investment in the key sectors of our
economy," he said.
He also said "successful investment attraction can only be achieved through
unreserved assurance to the international investor community of utmost
security of their assets".
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says total government debt has grown by an
unsustainable 1 037%.
Presenting his monetary policy statement for the third quarter 2005, RBZ
governor Gideon Gono said government debt had contributed to the 249% annual
growth in money supply, which fuelled inflation.
From 1998 to 2004, the average proportion to domestic credit of government
debt was rising from 23%, to 24,6% (1999), 32,4% (2000), 41,6% (2001), 32,5%
(2002) and declined somewhat to 22,4% and 17,6% in 2003 and 2004
It currently stands at 37,5%.
Gono said the increase in the credit to government reflects mainly grain
imports against the background of the current drought as well as fuel
The annual growth in credit in the private sector was 302,5% in August 2004
before declining to 134,4% in December 2004 and 60% in June 2005.
But the private sector continues to command the biggest share of domestic
credit, averaging about 70% of total domestic credit in the late 90s through
The average private sector credit for 2005 stood at 55,3%.
Gono said annual credit to public enterprises grew by 660,6% in August this
year, reflecting disbursements made under the Parastatal Reorientation
Programme and the Local Authorities Reorientation Programme.
Some of the institutions that were given money under the LARP include Air
Zimbabwe, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and National Railways of
Zimbabwe who got $509,4 billion, $73,4 billion and $69 billion respectively.
Gono said annual growth in reserve money that had declined from 383% in July
2005 to 235% in August increased to 285% in September 2005.
"In absolute terms, reserve money growth increased from$6,4 trillion in July
2005 to $7,3 trillion in September 2005," Gono said.
He said the growth in reserve money emanated from the significant increase
in demand, which increased from $4,8 trillion in July 2005 to $6,5 trillion
in September 2005.
PRESIDENT Bingu wa Mutharika has declared a national disaster in Malawi. He
has also launched an international appeal for food assistance for nearly
five million of his countrymen facing starvation.
Malawi recorded a huge cereal deficit this season due to a combination of
drought, a shortage of fertiliser and other inputs.
All this should have a familiar ring in Zimbabwe except for one thing: we
are ashamed to launch an international appeal for food aid because we are
not ordinary victims of inclement weather patterns. We are the proud owners
of our land and part authors of our national catastrophe.
There is another difference. As I was passing by TM supermarket in the Kopje
area on Tuesday, I noticed that people no longer buy maize-meal inside the
shop. They use the dirty sanitary lane facing Speke Avenue behind the shop -
away from the glare of the public.
We have not only bungled national food security, we are also in denial about
the resultant shortages. Talking about food shortage in public carries
nearly as much stigma as being HIV-positive.
I was immediately reminded of President Robert Mugabe's long interview with
Sky News in May last year (see Page 11) in which he denied that the country
faced food shortages or that people were starving. We are living
dangerously; our leaders are living a lie and putting innocent people's
lives at serious risk.
There is an emerging pattern of a president far removed from our earthly
realities. In that interview President Mugabe claimed the country would
produce 2,3 million tonnes of maize and that there would definitely be no
need for imports.
He predicted a bumper harvest and a surplus and told NGOs to take their food
assistance where it was more needed. Zimbabweans did not want to choke on so
much food, he said.
As it turned out, the harvest was less than a million tonnes and the country
has been importing maize ever since. (Incidentally, the interviewer, Stuart
Ramsey, has a standing invitation from the president to revisit Zimbabwe.)
Mugabe followed up that fiction this year in New York with claims that there
were plenty of potatoes and rice to feed the nation. We still don't know the
source of that information, but that is not the issue here.
There is a very real danger of a president who is told what he wants to hear
regardless of the truth on the ground. Those who gave Mugabe those
fictitious figures knew what he wanted to hear. He then proceeded to make
national decisions and pronouncements on the basis of that fiction.
Already, we are being told that this year's harvest is going to better than
last year's in spite of the seed, fertiliser and fuel situation being worse
than it has ever been in the past five years!
Operation Murambatsvina offers us the clearest danger of a president living
in the world of misinformation as opposed to reality. New African magazine
editor Baffour Ankomah stunned Zimbabweans with revelations that the whole
military-style operation was inspired by paranoia, a rumour that there was
an imminent uprising against Mugabe and his government.
The solution was to destroy all possible trouble spots in urban areas. The
upshot was the destruction of hundreds of homes and displacement of
thousands of people countrywide.
It is not for us to dispute Ankomah's claims, except to say that government
has not offered a more plausible explanation for the brutal operation.
Finance minister Herbert Murerwa said there was never a budget for the
operation. The slow progress of Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle bears
testimony to that if any were needed.
So the nation is still in the dark about the motives of those who fed Mugabe
the fiction of a foreign-instigated rebellion. What is now known is that
Mugabe proceeded to act on the basis of that dangerous rumour without
Unfortunately, and more importantly, in so-doing Mugabe was isolated from
the herd the way predators of the wild isolate a buffalo before killing it.
In seeking to achieve absolute power, he has unconstitutionally and
unwittingly yielded that power to sinister forces that have taken him
They have an agenda and information that he apparently doesn't have.
There is a danger of an elected executive president assuming titular status
after ceding all power to security agents engaged in an internecine
succession war, using unorthodox means to shape the destiny of the country.
All this because Mugabe will not admit failure or that the land reform so
far has failed to assure national food security.
The question is: what other misleading information is Mugabe fed every day?
Are these the same intelligence sources that inform him about the
performance of the economy and the fuel situation which he promised two
weeks ago would soon improve?
Is it the same lying sources reporting of progress on Operation Garikai but
will not allow the media to view the construction projects? Why are
thousands of people still living in the open along Mukuvisi River?
I would like to end with Mugabe's evaluation of himself in the Sky News
interview. Asked if he had made mistakes, he answered in the affirmative,
but said his overall score was positive.
"You judge yourself by firstly your ability to achieve the goals you set
yourself, secondly by ensuring that in your performance you have the
actions, the thinking and the co-operation of others and then you judge your
performance that others also are able to judge you and if your own judgement
of yourself is the same judgement as others make of you, then you are a
happy man. But if you are going to say I'm right when others say you are
wrong, you will get self-opinionated . . ."
Indeed, Mr President.
THE low-level conflict that emerged from the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)'s national executive council meeting last Wednesday over whether or
not to participate in the forthcoming election for a revived senate has cast
a long shadow over the party's ability to forge a united front to fight Zanu
The squabbles threaten to tear apart the six-year-old opposition party that
has mounted the sternest challenge yet to President Robert Mugabe's 25-year
grip on power.
An announcement by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai against participation
after the meeting and a countermand by information secretary Paul Themba
Nyathi have confirmed public perceptions of widening divisions in the
opposition movement due to blurred policies.
Tsvangirai, who has in the past been blamed for electoral losses and lack of
leadership qualities, is unwilling to repeat past mistakes that placed the
party at a disadvantage by contesting elections on a lopsided playing field.
"Our reasons for calling for a boycott of senatorial elections are
well-grounded," he said in a statement. "The electoral management system in
Zimbabwe is still a recipe for political disasters. The system breeds
illegitimate outcomes and provides for a predetermined result."
Opposition supporters are as divided as the leaders themselves on how to
deal with the impasse. But Tsvangirai seems to have invested heavily in the
belief that the electorate wants no further collaboration with a system that
is institutionally flawed.
"Given our experience in the past six years, the party's new thrust is to
turn the corner, to chart a new direction against the dictatorship," he
said. "We are engaged in a full-scale organisational programme to build
people power and confidence to take on Zanu PF."
An insider said Tsvangirai had every right to differ with his lieutenants
because the party's constitution mandated him to make subjective decisions
if he felt this was in the interests of the party.
"The buck stops with Tsvangirai. He is expected to take drastic measures to
hold the party together," one insider said. "He cannot be seen to be
repeating the same thing all over again and getting the same result. He is
prepared to be lynched at congress if need be."
Tsvangirai could have taken a huge gamble and put his head on the block by
differing with his colleagues and allowing the standoff to widen the chasm
in the MDC and erode confidence which was slowly rebuilding after a messy
youth revolt following the March election. He is convinced none of his
lieutenants has the wherewithal to call for an extraordinary congress or
break ranks to form a new political party in the short period before the
But party legal secretary David Coltart said he hoped the issue would be
"People should not liken difference of opinion to factional divisions,"
He said the majority of the party's grassroots support was for
"They say they have no other means of expressing their anger against the
government other than going for it just to spite Zanu PF. They also say if
we don't participate we yield ground in areas where Zanu PF has no chance of
winning votes," Coltart said.
This reasoning might be useful in stopping Mugabe from bringing in
†"deadwood" members of the politburo who do not sit in parliament and would
benefit from an MDC boycott.
They could then assist Mugabe in his succession plans. Mugabe is unsure if
the Emmerson Mnangagwa camp will support his retirement plan and so he needs
an acquiescent old guard buttressing him in parliament.
The MDC's taking part in the election could stop serial losers such as
Sithembiso Nyoni from strolling into the senate unchallenged in as much as
it could kill the hopes of Dumiso Dabengwa, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Edgar Tekere
or Irene Zindi of going into the upper chamber.
Other victims could be the candidates for Harare and Chitungwiza who are
likely to stand in urban constituencies where the MDC has a lot of voter
clout and risk losing if the MDC participates.
But Coltart said even then, supporters felt the election was an expensive
farce particularly in the light of the MDC having voted against the
establishment of the senate.
"Whatever decision we take would be a disaster," Coltart said, discounting
speculation that the senate issue would exacerbate discontent in the party.
Analysts say the financial demands of an election campaign, including
supervision and monitoring against fraud, could have persuaded the MDC
leader against participation.
While there are 50 senatorial seats at stake, the poll needs as much energy
and resources as a general election as the number of polling stations
remains the same. The Political Parties (Finance) Act does not cater for
While the ruling party can tap into government resources such as vehicles
and fuel for campaign purposes, the opposition has to finance its campaign
from own resources which have been heavily depleted by protracted court
battles arising from past electoral challenges. Zanu PF can also rely on the
state media to place a gloss on its threadbare propaganda.
Unlike in March, there won't be international observers to monitor the poll.
Zimbabwe Election Support
Network chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said his organisation would not
provide support services due to financial constraints.
"We are unprepared for the senate which will not have any powers. We have
not budgeted for it because it has come so soon after the March election and
we don't see how parties can participate effectively with the current fuel
shortage," Matchaba-Hove said.
By Chido Makunike
IN recent years we have become accustomed to the amazing belligerence
expressed in the statements of public officials in Zimbabwe.
In most normal societies, politicians go out of their way to at least give
the appearance of being persuasive, concerned about, and heeding concerns of
In Zimbabwe however, it seems that politicians and public officials compete
for attention on the basis of how they can defy public sentiment and get
away with it.
For instance, to appear "tough" in an old-fashioned, bullying way seems more
important than to come up with a well-thought-out position on any issue of
public interest and then selling and defending it to the voters on its
The "toughness" that has become an overriding concern to project, even at
the expense of problem-solving, permeates from the very top of the ruling
structure to the bottom.
Many people have spoken out on how the police not only carried out President
Robert Mugabe's universally-condemned Operation Murambatsvina campaign of
official terrorism with speed and efficiency that is unusual for them, but
with great enthusiasm.
At the bottom we had the police doing the actual destruction and beatings
with a puzzling sadism, yet they were socially and economically in the same
boat as their victims.
At the top we had violent, abusive public pronouncements from top police
officials in addition to those from ministers, city council officials and so
There was no logic at all that what they said and how they acted reflected
any sense that they thought of themselves as officials whose primary
responsibility was to the public. Instead, one got the feeling that they
were all competing for the attention of President Mugabe, whose propensity
for violence is well-documented.
They were more concerned about how shrilly they showed their allegiance to,
and support for him by how much they issued negative, corrosive statements
that were abusive and contemptuous of the public, just like President Mugabe
himself often does.
So this negative has become a way of competing for attention from a ruler
his officials know respects the language and the physical expression of
belligerence and violence.
In the media one listens to, or reads the words of Mugabe propagandists like
George Charamba, Tafataona Mahoso and others and marvels at the level of
venom and anger in them, over and above robustly expressed opinions.
If these men are so sure and convinced that their side is right and
supported by the majority, why do they sound so angry and defensive all the
Why do they not seem more calm, secure and confident in their posturing?
Even if President Mugabe's propensity for the abusive language and violence
he is now widely associated with is not new, it has become much worse in
recent years. Part of this is his enraged response to becoming more helpless
to stop or reverse the unravelling of all the things that made Zimbabwe such
a highly-functional country.
When things seemed to be working, and before the majority of Zimbabweans had
turned against him, he could afford to project a facade of a calm and secure
statesman at peace with himself.
But even back then, we would get glimpses of the real person beneath the
facade in his outbursts of violent, destructive rage when he felt humiliated
or threatened by a strong challenge of one kind or another.
Then he would give orders to his goons to unleash their own frustrations,
jealousies and resentments by going out and having a good time beating up
and imprisoning one group or another of citizens.
When he really felt the "disobedience" against him was more egregious than
could be dealt with by such relatively mild means, we had a lot of people
dying, houses destroyed and people's lives turned upside down.
Many people have pondered why a person who on the surface seems reasonably
intelligent, would engage in such behaviour that would attract negative
reactions and inevitably earn condemnation.
Perhaps he can no longer help himself. The seeds of violence and notoriety
may have simply grown too big and addictive to overcome despite whatever
remnants of his rational mind tells him in calmer, more rational moments.
But then one could ask how many rational moments there can be after looking
around at the havoc and destruction he has wrought, the withdrawal of the
respect and sense of importance he craves?
Perhaps raw, negative emotion then becomes the main drivers of one's words
Naturally, after every such episode there would be howls of local and
international outrage. But it was almost like the compulsion to exorcise
this deep well of rage and destructiveness could not be resisted.
It was as if the resultant misery and pitiful pleas for relief from
beatings, destruction and killing campaigns acted like a catharsis, a way to
temporarily relieve a deep, sick and destructive itch.
The protests against these periodic outbursts of rage that have seen so many
perish and suffer at the hands of President Mugabe and his whole apparatus
of power, only seemed to feed the compulsion for importance, notice and
Rather than act as a brake on more excesses, condemnation and international
revulsion seem to only feed the megalomania and recklessness.
It is interesting to reflect on how personal pathologies cannot only consume
and destroy the essence of the person they afflict, but destroy nations as
* Chido Makunike is a Zimbabwean who writes from cyberspace.
By Denford Magora
WHY should the people of Zimbabwe believe anything government tells us,
especially during the Senate election campaign?
Anyone with at least one brain cell can look back to the March election and
examine the promises made to realise that, not only have none of Zanu PF's
election promises been fulfilled, but also that government has made no
effort whatsoever to fulfill them.
If anything, it would appear that government and the ruling party are
actually going around with a hammer in hand, smashing to smithereens any
evidence of putative recovery.
Let us also not forget that the current runaway inflation and
intensification of our hardships started as a result of wanton and wasteful
expenditure by government in the run-up to, and during the March election
when inflation started picking up.
This time around, war collaborators are being given more free money and the
Senate itself will also be a big contributor to the rise in inflation.
Because parties are elected on the basis of their records, let us look at
the promises made in the Zanu PF manifestos and those made by the president
of this country himself during the parliamentary election.
Examining these promises will provide us with a clue as to whether we should
take President Mugabe and his people seriously.
Luckily, Zanu PF provided a summarised list of promises in garish, huge,
full colour adverts which they placed in newspapers as they campaigned.
These adverts is reproduced promised an end to:
* factory closures;
* withholding of commodities;
* price increases;
* "No safe haven" for corrupt bankers and
* no disruption to fuel supplies.
The list also promised "a faster economic turnaround and more foreign
After you have finished laughing, consider this: when Zanu PF placed this
joke in the newspapers in the run-up to the election, we assumed they had a
plan to achieve them.
Inflation at the time was going down and, sure enough, the ruling party, as
soon as it was elected, turned inflation around so that it started
As for the claim that there would be an end to price increases, we know that
prices have shot up to levels unimaginable in the run-up to the March
election. Commodities are still in short supply, withheld by "racists" or
As for bankers not finding a safe haven, we all know how that has
progressed, with some people rumoured to actually have been helped to skip
the country by the ruling party or its functionaries.
And this thing about "more foreign currency inflows"?
As soon as they got elected, the ruling party started telling us that there
was no foreign currency inflows coming into the country.
Not only that, but they also apparently could not do anything about it. So
we had to accept this excuse and forget about the election promise.
After all, it was just a promise made insincerely and everyone should have
known that at the time.
Fuel supplies, disrupted by racists or not, have now completely dried up.
The ruling party also talked about the desire to end sanctions. What they
did not say is that their plan to "end sanctions" consisted of merely asking
(MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai to use his immense power and influence with
the Western powers to get this done.
All these promises were clearly not worth the paper they were written on.
Let us hear no justification about what Tony Blair and George Bush are
doing, and to whom.
President Mugabe and Zanu PF knew their status in the eyes of the world when
they made these promises. Either the promises factored in those challenges
and government had a plan to overcome them, or they were insincere. We all
know what the truth is.
So, what hope is there when our own leaders treat us like idiots with
In the light of these broken promises, why should the educated people of
this country listen anymore to anything the president and his self-serving
friends (or should I call them fiends) have to promise this time?
Faith has been shattered, naturally. Those who cast their votes for Zanu PF
now realise that not only were they led up a garden path, but they were also
used, lied to and taken for buffoons.
It is bloody cheek then, is it not, for the same liars to come back to the
electorate and ask for votes again, and with a straight face?
Would it be too much to expect at least some shame? Remorse? Less
It appears it would be too much to expect indeed.
So, what do we do then?
In the rural areas, the party has fudged the issue so successfully that
villagers now don't know the difference between ineptitude and Blair.
But in the cities, the decay is felt most acutely. The lies are exposed
within a matter of days. It is here that the people should really humiliate
Even those who normally vote for this corpse of a party should be urged to
show their displeasure at being taken for a bumpy ride.
Ideally, the ruling party should get less than half a percentage point of
the urban vote.
Ruling party lackeys at cell, district and provincial levels should all deny
the party their votes. Whether they vote for another party or candidate, or
not at all, is immaterial.
Only this will prove to the insular, out-of-touch leadership of this country
that the people are indeed incandescent with rage.
This government provides nothing for the people now except comic
entertainment. Unfortunately, no nation can survive on comic entertainment
alone. What we need is substance.
On the evidence of these broken promises, any last fig-leaves of credibility
it had, disappeared in the aftermath of the March parliamentary election.
The government can force people to fear it, but it can never force people to
love it as they did in the 1980s. That is gone forever. But it appears that
the ruling party has decided that it is better to be feared than loved.
It's pure Machiavelli, but it is also outdated. This party will live to
regret this decision, as surely as night follows day.
* Denford Magora is a Harare-based marketing executive.
††††† By Bill Saidi
††††† LAST May, the government launched Operation Murambatsvina that
everybody in the country came to know as The Tsunami.
††††† Five months earlier, there had been a massive earthquake on the Indian
Ocean floor and the subsequent tsunami had killed 140 000 people and
rendered millions homeless in 12 countries, the hardest hit of them
††††† Most Zimbabweans made the distinction: theirs was man-made while the
Asian one was what Newsweek magazine called "a monumental humanitarian
††††† But for most, their tsunami, its suddenness, unexpectedness and
deadliness was equivalent to the Asian one.
††††† Initially, the government had no ready label for the campaign. When
the label, Murambasvina/Restore Order was first used, many cynics thought it
too glib. It smacked of the sort of thing people obsessed with gallows or
ghoulish humour - like the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) - are
††††† So, by the time a London-based magazine suggested the CIO had
choreographed the entire tsunami in Zimbabwe, such cynics felt vindicated.
††††† The story went something like this: the CIO told President Robert
Mugabe that they had impeccable intelligence that there was a plan to launch
a march on State House. The idea was to force him to flee into exile.
††††† A number of autocratic leaders, particularly of the former Soviet
states, had been ousted in this manner. George Shevardnadze of Georgia was
††††† To forestall the march, the CIO proposed a terror campaign in the
major urban centres, the stronghold of the opposition MDC.
††††† Mugabe, reportedly one of the most insecure leaders in the region,
readily agreed to the plan. It was not the first time he had acceded to the
††††† Since this exposť from the New African magazine, there have been
spirited flimsy denials by the Information and Publicity permanent secretary
who said the magazine did not speak on behalf of government. This in other
words meant that the magazine, an undisguised mouthpiece of President
Mugabe, lied, and the lie was carried in the state media.
††††† How ironic!
††††† But there is all the evidence that President Mugabe is now hostage to
the security functionaries who have dramatised his insecurity to justify
††††† Operation Murambatsvina fits into this realm and state agents moved
with speed to execute the savage plan with precision.
††††† It was the same readiness to believe the CIO scare tactics which led
††††† The CIO is reported to have made such a solid case for the overthrow
of the government by ex-Zipra dissidents that Mugabe didn't think twice
before deploying the deadly Five Brigade troops into Matabeleland and the
††††† In the aftermath, albeit years later, he admitted the killing of an
estimated 20 000 people, including women and children, was a terrible
mistake. The nation is still waiting for his apology.
††††† For his pains, Zanu PF will never reclaim Matabeleland politically,
ever again. The CIO is also believed to have frightened President Mugabe out
of his wits over the hare-brained demands of the war veterans led by the
late Chenjerai Hunzvi.
††††† Their scenario: if Hunzvi persuaded the ex-fighters to ditch Zanu PF
and make common cause with any opposition party, the ruling party's
political goose would truly be cooked.
††††† Recently, President Mugabe realised the war veterans were not the
political asset that he always thought they were. He acted against them
rather harshly: their leader was recently fired from the party and there has
so far been not a peep from the rank and file members.
††††† But his greatest blunder was probably to succumb to the CIO plot on
the farm invasions.
††††† He had conceded defeat in the constitutional referendum. A few days
later, he told the judiciary to go to hell and unleashed war veterans on the
††††† In the elections that followed, 40 people were killed and this
triggered Zimbabwe's economic slide.
††††† The payment to the war veterans had caused a tsunami of its own in the
billions of unbudgeted expenditure. The dollar plunged in value - and has
still not recovered.
††††† Clearly, if the CIO is now virtually running the government, by
presenting President Mugabe with their own versions of the truth, there
could be a time-bomb ticking under him.
††††† Intelligence services all over the world can take over a country. In
the United States, a book called The Invisible Government detailed how the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) virtually took over the running of the
government from the president. Richard Nixon, before he took office after
his first victory in 1968, he was not too keen on the CIA.
††††† In his book, The White House Years, Henry Kissinger, who served as his
secretary of state, says: "He was determined to run foreign policy from the
White House. He felt it imperative to exclude the CIA."
††††† * Bill Saidi is former editor of the banned Daily News.
Eric Bloch Column
By Eric Bloch
FOR many years government, being unable to acknowledge any capacity of its
own error, has attributed Zimbabwe's distressed economic circumstances to
Britain and its allies in general, and to Tony Blair in particular, to the
minuscule white Zimbabwean population, and especially the former white
commercial farmers, to non-existent international economic sanctions, to its
political opposition, and to climatic conditions. Government has assiduously
sought to shift the burden of blame for decimating the economy from its own
shoulders to those of others.
For a long time, its endeavours to disclaim responsibility for reducing most
of Zimbabwe to pronounced poverty, deceived and deluded the majority of
Zimbabweans. Most were sufficiently trusting, naÔve and gullible as to
believe that government was blameless, and that all Zimbabwe's economic
misery was a consequence of vile machinations of government's enemies,
compounded by the elements.
But even the most unworldly and easily persuadable eventually cease to
believe a never-ending reiteration of the same explanations for their
continuous suffering, begin to query the failure of government to counter
the alleged perfidy of others, and start to ponder whether there is not, in
fact, an element of culpability on the part of government.
Over the past eight years, when- ever government realised that it was no
longer successfully convincing the populace that it was faultless, and that
all the economic ills were solely due to others, and to circumstances beyond
government's control, it has desperately sought new third parties upon whom
it could place blame, even if without foundation. Heretofore it has always
achieved a high rate of success in convincing most that the responsibility
for the economic woes was not that of government, but of others.
This pattern of blame transfer has recurred yet again.
A fortnight ago Zanu PF political commissar, Elliot Manyika, accused the
business sector of sabotaging the economy. He did so when addressing a
representative body of more than 40 industrialists and businessmen, claiming
that the two-fold motives of profiteering and of discrediting government
were the reasons for the supposed actions of the business sector to destroy
In doing so, he was ably aided and abetted by the Minister of State for
Public and Interactive Affairs, Chen Chimutengwende, who stated
"authoritatively" that some industrialists and retailers are economic
saboteurs bent on effecting government change through increasing people's
suffering due to offending price increases. Such increases were, he claimed,
The previously alleged causes of the near-destruction of the economy were
very far-fetched, only readily believable because so many had been
indoctrinated into deep-seated belief that government is omnipotent,
infallible and aware of all and that, therefore, if it stated a cause or
causes for ongoing and intensifying economic hardships, such cause or causes
had to be fact.
But as the economic decline continued and intensified, and government was
perceived to be doing nothing to address it, other than blame others, or by
making empty and false promises of economic turnaround and recovery, the
deep-seated beliefs have progressively worn thinner and thinner.
Hence, it is not surprising that government has found it necessary, once
again, to deflect the ire of the economically oppressed Zimbabweans by
finding others upon whom to place the blame. Doing so has become
increasingly difficult for the ruling party, for over the years it has
blamed so many, without foundation and without effective remedial actions,
that there are ever fewer that can be blamed with even superficial
So, it has focused upon the business community, believing that it can
conjure up credibility by intensive reference to the pronounced price
escalations that have become a daily characteristic of the economy, and a
source of hardships for the majority.
But the suggestion that such price increases are driven by avarice, greed
and orchestrated profiteering is specious and spurious in the extreme. So
too is the contention that the business sector resorts to such price
increases in order to discredit and displace government.
These allegations are far-fetched and ludicrous beyond all credibility. The
reality is that most industries, wholesalers and retailers are desperately
struggling to survive and to stave off liquidation.
The hyperinflation caused by excessive state spending, pronounced
corruption, state-driven decline in agricultural production and numerous
other factors beyond the control of the private sector, impacts upon the
operations of the business sector to as great an extent as upon all
Industry, and the distributive trades are faced by markedly lesser demand
for their production, and their commodities, due to a major decrease in
domestic market purchasing power, and due to lower volumes of exports as a
result of loss of export-market price competitiveness (caused by increased
production costs not for by adequate exchange rate movement).
But the reduction in production is not matched by reductions in operational
costs. Instead, commerce and industry is confronted by the same crippling
hyperinflation as is its customer base.
It is faced with quarterly increases in salaries and wages, with interest
charges on working capital borrowings at over 400% per annum, endless
increases in input costs and in overhead charges. To survive in such an
environment, enterprise has little alternative but to increase prices, and
especially so after it has taken all possible, reasonable actions to enhance
productivity and to contain costs.
If industry cannot achieve productive efficiencies, due to erratic and
inadequate availability of the foreign currency necessary to source imported
inputs, and yet is faced with massively rising costs which are subject to
little opportunity of containment, it is faced with only two options.
One is to discontinue operations and cease to exist, and the other is to
increase prices to enable the rising costs to be funded. That is not
profiteering, it is an act of attempted survival. That is not a political
action to discredit
government, it is an act of self-preservation.
But a devious government, steeped in duplicity which includes self-delusion,
is incapable of accepting unpalatable facts, and therefore misinterprets and
distorts them so as to absolve itself of blame.
Chimutengwende went so far as to destroy any, even remote, possibility of
his contentions, and those of Manyika, being received as factual, by stating
that government does not own or control any industries or service providers,
this being "in line with the free market system existent in Zimbabwe".
Obviously, he said this in order to distance government from the price
increases which it claims are driven by malice and self-interest of the
private sector. It should be brought to his attention (although he should
already know it) that government owns the Industrial Development Corporation
of Zimbabwe Ltd, which owns one of Zimbabwe's leading fertiliser producers,
Chemplex Corporation Ltd, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (Pvt) Ltd, which
is a leading producer of motor vehicles, and diverse other industries.
Government also owns the Zimbabwe Iron & Steel Ltd (Zisco), the Cold Storage
Company Ltd (CSC), and many other industrial enterprises.
Moreover, it owns service enterprises such as Air Zimbabwe, National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
and its underlying companies, and also Tel*One, Zimpost, the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, and 38 other parastatals.
It is of particular relevance that increases in prices and charges of most
parastatals have risen over the last year (and previously) to a far greater
degree than the rate of inflation has risen, and to a far greater extent
than many private sector price increases. Air Zimbabwe's fares go up more
frequently than its aircraft! Electricity charges have soared, as have the
costs of telecommunications and postages (postal services rose in cost by 2
915,2% in the year to August
If the claims of Manyika and Chimutengwende have any substance, then it must
be taken for granted that the state-controlled enterprises, which the
minister claims do not exist, have increased their prices and charges solely
in order to discredit and displace their masters! That surely is as baseless
as were those governmental claims .
WHY is President Mugabe so shy when it comes to hugs? It is very much a part
of the socialist tradition. In the Soviet bloc it used to be kisses as well.
While nobody is calling for a return of that tradition, it is surprising
that the president wriggles like a worm on a hook whenever he is embraced by
a communist-era ruler.
The Herald showed him doing his funny little dance to escape the fond
embrace of fellow demagogue Hugo Chavez. Instead of reciprocating, Mugabe
appears to be saying: "Stop tickling you brute. Let me go!"
But Chavez will have none of it and is determined to thank our leader for
including Venezuela in his list of states under dire threat from Uncle Sam
and his annoying sidekick from across the ocean who were responsible for
"underhand destabilisation manoeuvres". These included limiting the size of
Chavez's entourage accompanying him to the UN conference in New York
This "humiliation" was completely unwarranted, our leader declared. Clearly
the size of presidential retinues is a matter dear to his heart. And, as if
to inflate his importance in such matters, Mugabe declared himself to be the
leader of 14 million people.
What he didn't tell Chavez was that as a result of his disastrous economic
policies and political repression, three million of those 14 million now
live abroad. And they certainly don't count themselves as his people!
One wonders whether Patrick Chinamasa has calculated the damage to
Zimbabwe's image abroad of his maladroit public pronouncements. A few weeks
ago he spoke of the need to "mop up" the remaining white commercial farmers
at the same time that Didymus Mutasa was reported as making all sorts of
threats against them. Violent land seizures followed.
On Sunday the Sunday Mail reported Chinamasa as threatening "drastic action"
against farmers in Mashonaland West who exercised their legal rights in the
courts following a High Court ruling that nullified offer letters received
by resettled farmers.
Those seeking legal redress should not cry foul in the event of government
taking drastic measures against them, he was reported as telling the Sunday
Mail reporter, herself a recipient of government's land seizures.
It would be difficult to find a more emblematic case of bad governance.
Chinamasa was reported in 2000 as among those bringing pressure to bear upon
judges whose rulings government found unpalatable. When they quit he was
quoted as suggesting the new appointees would be more sympathetic to the
state's agenda. He was subsequently embroiled in a dispute over a farm
awarded to his wife.
Now he is threatening "drastic measures" against people exercising their
rights at law. The government must stop blaming bad publicity on the foreign
media. It would be difficult to find a more serious example of misrule than
threatening individuals who seek protection through the courts against
high-handed state behaviour. And it is a wrong-doing entirely
made-in-Zimbabwe. Chinamasa said it and he must be held accountable for the
Flora Bhuka was quoted in the same story as saying resettled farmers should
stay put as her ministry was fully behind them.
So in other words court rulings are irrelevant? It is ministers whose
pronouncements must be obeyed. And then ministers object when Zimbabwe is
branded a lawless society!
Chen Chimutengwende recently provided an example of where the rot lies when
he accused businessmen of sabotaging the economy. Commenting on daily
increases in the cost of goods, he said it seemed "many businessmen have
either adopted the dangerous policy of extreme profiteering or have decided
to deliberately sabotage the economy".
Here is a minister who is part of the problem but cannot see it.
Runaway inflation is the product of incontinent state spending. Handing out
billions of dollars for new ministries that do nothing except provide
sheltered employment for the economically illiterate is a massive spur to
Why do we need a Ministry of Public and Interactive Affairs with a principal
director who is an electoral loser and a whole apparatus of employees,
offices, vehicles and other expensive equipment when it is obvious that its
deadwood minister hasn't got a clue what causes inflation but is happy to
blame the business sector? It is doubtful that he has even read the latest
IMF report on what is preventing economic recovery.
Now he thinks price controls are the answer, a policy that has repeatedly
failed in Zimbabwe as everywhere else it has been tried.
Zimbabwe is cursed by intellectually challenged dimwits who climb aboard the
inflationary gravy train only to make statements that show not only that
they have nothing to contribute to our salvation but are actually intent
upon making a bad situation worse.
Which brings us to William Nhara, principal director for Public and
Interactive Affairs in the Office of the President.
From 2000 to 2005 Nhara was the executive director of the Southern African
Institute for Democracy and Good Governance, his CV, advertised by the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, tells us.
Could the ZITF please tell the public what this institute actually did and
who funded it? It is extraordinary to think that somebody conducting
research into democracy and good governance could stand as a candidate for
It is significant to note in passing that the Minister of Industry and Trade
gets to appoint the ZITF board members. This must surely undermine the
credibility of what is supposed to be a business-driven organisation?
Nhlanhla Masuku is chairman.
We liked the following remarks from the Sunday Mail's business reporter on
inflation: "Some members of the governor's advisory board, who are supposed
to be helping Dr Gono in policy formulation, are not committed as they
openly declared that the inflation targets are not attainable while at the
same time claiming to be fully behind the efforts of the central bank."
So to be a good advisor, it is necessary to ignore the fact that the
governor has got his forecasts wrong and to pretend instead that he has got
What sort of help is that? And how "committed" is it to pretend that the
governor can succeed in a political climate that is sabotaging economic
recovery? The governor's advisors fully back his efforts to bring down
inflation. But like the rest of us, they know it is impossible to do so as
long as Zanu PF continues to throw money around like confetti.
How badly did we need an airshow, for instance, in a period of fuel
shortages? Why were trillions of dollars spent on parastatals that show no
sign of institutional reform? Why are ministries created that add nothing of
value to the nation's performance? How important is it to resuscitate the
senate when it is quite obviously a retirement home for deadwood? Who
approved the purchase and importation of all those luxury vehicles for
cabinet ministers and service chiefs when the government is approaching
international donors for food?
We should at this point apportion some of the blame for our national
problems to UN agencies that will stop at nothing to propitiate the
government. How does the FAO and WHO justify providing a platform in Harare
for President Mugabe to talk about food security when he has done more than
anybody to sabotage food security in the region? How does the FAO justify
inviting Mugabe to Rome where he talks about elections for the senate and
his dispute with Britain which appears to have completely invaded his
political consciousness to the exclusion of all else? What does Mugabe know
about food and agriculture except to jeopardise its production?
We know the FAO will justify the invitation on the grounds that he will be
pressed in the Italian capital by senior UN officials to open the way to
much-needed food supplies. But that sort of diplomacy actually leads him to
believe he has defeated his "enemies" which in turn only compounds his
We must thank the Herald for their funny little story about the US
ambassador last Friday. It brightened our day. The story related how
Ambassador Christopher Dell had been detained by security forces after
"trespassing" into a restricted security zone while walking in the National
Botanic Gardens. An overheated Foreign Affairs spokesman spoke about a
"flagrant disregard by the ambassador for the security laws of Zimbabwe".
The ambassador was "better placed to know the consequences of such
violations", the ministry darkly suggested.
A melodramatic George Charamba then weighed in to spell out what those
"The ambassador must consider himself very lucky that he was dealing with a
professional army," he admonished. "Elsewhere, and definitely in America, he
would have been a dead man."
Perhaps somebody could count how many people have been shot over the years
outside State House because they didn't see the restriction notices and then
compare that figure to the numbers killed outside the White House (zero).
But Charamba should not be denied his moment of high drama. The Herald used
capital letters to describe the sign which it claimed said "NO ENTRY
SECURITY ZONE" -- which provided greater visibility than the sign itself
which was attached to a tree and said something slightly different.
A Sunday Mail cartoon showed the ambassador climbing under a security fence
which he had cut. Like most Sunday Mail material it failed to disclose the
reality that the fence had been stolen. Large parts of the security zone are
now unfenced and anybody can inadvertently walk in there. They might or
might not be lucky enough to see the sign.
Readers of the Herald may want to know why "news" of the ambassador's arrest
was withheld from them from Tuesday to Friday? The incident occurred on the
Perhaps the suggestion that somebody innocently strolling in the Botanic
Gardens could be arrested or open themselves to an even worse fate was not a
suitable disclosure for a week in which the Travel Expo was taking place at
the Sheraton. Charamba's remarks will have done little to lure foreign
visitors to our shores! But why, in reporting the story, did the Herald
ignore the apology the government made to Dell, with the admission that the
army did not know how to treat diplomats caught in such a situation? Might
it have got in the way of their story?
As for Dell's record in Angola, which the Herald twisted in its best
reporting tradition, his mediation in talks between the two sides to the
Angolan conflict won him an award.
This week we had evidence of how government deals with the country's many
crises. This was from presidential spokesperson, George Charamba. Fuel was
flowing in but priority was being given to farmers "so that they take of
your stomach", Charamba told a Standard reporter. "After that we will move
to joyriders," he said, presumably meaning Zimbabwe's harried and tormented
For the avoidance of any doubts about joyrides, Charamba disclosed that the
majority of those footing to work were Zanu PF supporters. That, we assume,
includes him and Bright Matonga.
If all is well as we were told when MDC Morgan Tsvangirai staged his one-man
walk to work, why are Zanu PF voters not being given the freedom trains and
Zupco buses? Surely this can't be a publicity stunt for the international
media to embarrass their government?
As for joyriders, we have one once or twice a week thundering down Rotten
Row in a twelve vehicle motorcade accompanied by foul-mouthed outriders who
threaten to kick the hell out of every motorist who can't find a hole out of
the road fast enough. The drive always ends at Shake-Shake building.
There have been numerous allegations of something thoroughly wrong with
Zimbabwe's prison services. Beatings, torture, starvation and various other
forms of human rights violations. All the proof was there for all to see in
the Herald of Tuesday.
Criminals of all descriptions were left to their own devices in the Masvingo
police holding cells. In the event, two thieving army officers were let
loose on them the whole night.
Some of the victims reportedly sustained grievous bodily injuries during the
beatings during which they were ordered to shout their names and the nature
of their crimes.
Several questions arise from this: where were the prison wardens during this
mayhem? Why were the rogue soldiers allowed to go into the holding cells in
their military gear which they used to intimidate fellow inmates? Is it the
custom that arrested soldiers go into holding cells putting on their black
boots when lesser mortals are almost stripped naked? We hope the authorities
will get to the bottom of this Abu Ghrab without much hypocrisy about what
the Americans and the British are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is locked in mortal
combat over participation in next month's election for the senate. The
centre of conflict is in the top echelons where a battle of wills is being
waged between party leader Morgan Tsvangirai's faction and a camp seen as
led by secretary-general Welshman Ncube.
This follows Tsvangirai's rejection of the decision of the MDC national
executive council - the party's supreme decision-making body outside
congress - to participate in the November 26 poll. Tsvangirai claimed a
deadlock and that he had therefore decided for non-participation.
In fact Tsvangirai's camp lost the vote by 31 to 33, with two spoilt
ballots. A majority of the MDC's 12 provinces also voted for participation.
Among the party's "top six" Tsvangirai was the only one against although
national chairman Isaac Matongo voted with his boss.
Tsvangirai's group is supported by Harare, Chitungwiza, Masvingo and
Mashonaland Central provinces, while Ncube's faction is backed by
Matabeleland, Manicaland and Midlands. Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West
have since indicated they want to vote.
What is at stake is the survival of the party. There have been clashes in
the past for supremacy among rival camps. But Tsvangirai is clearly in the
minority on the senate issue. Instead of taking the loss as a genuine
expression of the will of the people, he has opted to take off gloves
against the entire party and campaign against his opponents, thus playing
into the hands of Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai said it was futile to participate in elections which "breed
illegitimate outcomes". Judging from experience, he said the result of the
senatorial election was predictable. He also said electing members to the
senate would not help his party but was a waste of scarce resources. It was
a "warehouse for geriatrics", he said.
On that score he is dead right as shown by Zanu PF's primaries where failed
politicians are being recalled from semi-retirement for the Last Supper with
However, Tsvangirai's rivals have equally cogent arguments. The MDC in
January took the decision to participate in all future elections in pursuit
of "democratic change". The decision was taken by the national council, the
only body that can rescind it.
Ncube's group reasons that if the MDC boycotts the senate election, it will
be guilty of inconsistency if not frivolousness. It begs the question what
next? Is Tsvangirai now ready to go into the streets after he recently told
the nation public protests were risky as people would be shot by Mugabe's
army? Will he also boycott the 2008 presidential election, if it comes,
since the result is "predetermined"? What is there to lose in the senate
poll that the MDC has not already lost in the lower chamber? If the real
reason for the boycott is a political management system that produces
fraudulent results, what is the MDC doing about it? If they want a new
constitution, at least Lovemore Madhuku and his National Constitutional
Assembly have been more visible and voluble on that front than the confused
The MDC cannot hope to win power through election boycotts. Voters are not
going to sit and wait for the MDC to decide which election it wants to
contest. There is no doubt the party will become irrelevant outside
parliament. Only through representation can it make its views known and
expose the incumbent's policy failures thus making a compelling case for a
chance to rule.
Those in favour of participation say they fear "yielding ground in areas
where Zanu PF has no chance of winning votes".
The infighting has exposed the MDC's fundamental flaws and its lack of
ideological cohesion. The risks of an acrimonious split are very high,
especially given the widely divergent positions of the rival camps. And the
cause of that split, the senate poll, is, to all intents and purposes,
It would be a great betrayal of the cause of democracy for the MDC to break
up over an institution which every fool knows has no national value
whatsoever except to accommodate Mugabe's comrades who lost in past
elections, and then prepare the mat for his own soft landing.
The MDC needs to look where it has come from and where it is supposed to go
to appreciate the magnitude of the damage it is causing to itself and the
disservice to the nation. It needs to focus on the big picture of how best
to confront the regime in a variety of contexts, not tear itself apart over
an upper chamber Zanu PF wants only for short-term political expediency.
Mugabe must love the way Tsvangirai is committing political hara-kiri in
public. He has vowed in the past that Tsvangirai will never rule this
country. Those words are now turning into a sick prophesy.