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Zanu PF fights over VP posts

Friday, 21 October 2011 10:02

Dumisani Muleya

A BATTLE is looming within Zanu PF over the two positions of vice-president
as it becomes increasingly clear that the draft constitution expected to
emerge from the current constitution-making process is going to recommend
that the country’s national executive structure must have a president and a
vice-president running the government.

This comes as Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo this week spoke out on the
issue of President Robert Mugabe’s contentious succession issue and his
candidacy in the next elections, as well as the WikiLeaks saga and the
recent death of retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru.

The veteran nationalist said the politburo was the exclusive forum for
discussing such issues in the party.

Tensions in Zanu PF over Mugabe’s succession are likely to escalate after
disclosures that  Copac’s expected draft constitution would say there should
be a president and deputy president, changing the current arrangement of two
vice-presidents. A draft national report compiled by the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (Copac), which is driving the current
constitution-making exercise, says the country must be run by a president
with the assistance of a deputy or vice president.

This will have a profound impact on Zanu PF which has two second secretaries
(vice-presidents) who have always been appointed in that capacity in

Zanu PF’s structure of having two-vice presidents is rooted in the 1987
Unity Accord between Zanu and Zapu which ended the civil strife of the

There has been a serious debate, particularly before the 2009 congress, as
to whether this arrangement — which guarantees two positions in the Zanu PF
presidium to former Zapu officials — must remain or be abandoned. The
agreement came under threat when Zanu PF secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa challenged Simon Khaya Moyo for the chair. Moyo beat Mutasa,
saving the party from internal strife over the issue.

Informed Zanu PF sources said this week the issue of two vice-presidents has
now erupted in the context of the ongoing constitution-making exercise. Two
major factions have emerged around the issue, one demanding that Zanu PF
must now have one vice-president and the other saying the current structure
must remain. The group which wants change to scrap the issue of two
vice-presidents, also informed by the party’s model of ethnic balancing,
argues this is antiquated and was encouraging tribalism and marginalisation
in the party.
Senior Zanu PF officials, especially those who are not from Zapu, say this
arrangement must go because it has outlived its purpose and helps to
entrench ethnic politics in the party.
They also say it blocks competent candidates from taking up the two
positions, while ensuring former Zapu officials cannot rise to become Zanu
PF and the country’s leaders.
“It’s high time we must get rid of this archaic arrangement. It has outlived
its use and purpose and must go,” a senior Zanu PF politburo member said.
“The problem is that it encourages ethnic politics and ensures competent
candidate may not easily rise to top positions. We have to think and move
beyond that.”
However, senior former Zapu officials are fiercely opposed to changing the
issue. They want the arrangement to remain, saying removing it would
destabilise the Unity Accord and reopen old political wounds.
“We can’t afford to change that because it’s one of the pillars of the Unity
Accord. If we abandon that, then it will effectively kill that agreement and
open old political wounds at a time when the country needs national healing
and reconciliation at various levels,” another senior politburo official
“It’s very easy to say the Unity Accord is now irrelevant but if you listen
to the angry debate about Gukurahundi it tells you that we still need that
agreement and to keep it means respecting all its aspects including having
two vice-presidents.”
Zanu PF – which has two second secretaries who are also state
vice-presidents – has proposed to have a president without a prime minister
in the new constitution.
“We need an executive president who shares executive authority with the
cabinet and no prime minister as this results in an endless unproductive
contest for power between the president and the prime minister that results
in a weak state in which neo-colonialism can thrive,” Zanu PF says in its
position paper.
Currently, if the Zanu PF leader wins elections he has to appoint two
However, the MDC-T wants a president and prime minister. While the president
would be directly elected, the premier would be appointed by the president.
“The MDC wishes to restate that it has spent its life fighting an
all-powerful omnipotent executive president. The president should be elected
directly by the people,” the party says in its position paper. “The
president appoints a prime minister from an MP whose party commands the
majority in parliament.”
Gumbo, one of the longest-serving Zanu PF officials, said while Mugabe was
likely to be endorsed as candidate at the party’s Bulawayo conference from
December 6-10, said it was up to the people to decide on the issue. He said
in terms of the Zanu PF constitution, Mugabe is the candidate as matters
stand because he was elected by congress in 2009 and endorsed by conference
in Mutare last year, “but much will depend on what happens at conference”.
Last week another senior Zanu PF politburo member Patrick Chinamasa said it
would be ill-advised for his party to dump Mugabe as candidate because “we
can’t change the captain in the midst of a storm” or “when the ship is under
threat of being ship-wrecked”.
Recent WikiLeaks disclosures that most senior Zanu PF officials want Mugabe
to go and that the long-serving ruler was suffering prostate cancer have
intensified demands for him to step down before the next elections. The
Bulawayo conference, which Mugabe said would be “just as good as a congress”
is seen as a potential watershed gathering for Zanu PF.

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Chinamasa rejects 2008 election violence probe

Friday, 21 October 2011 09:57

Paidamoyo Muzulu

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa blocked South African recommendations
supported by the international community calling for an independent probe
into election violence in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election
Chinamasa revealed this soon after presenting the Zimbabwe human rights
report to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review
Session in Geneva, Switzerland last week. The report received 177
recommendations on how to improve Zimbabwe’s human rights record.

However, from the 177 recommendations, Chinamasa accepted 81, put a further
65 under consideration and outrightly rejected 31 which called for a probe
into the 2008 election violence. The then opposition MDC-T claimed that over
200 of its supporters were killed, thousands maimed and displaced during the
countdown to the run-off.

The draft report of the working group on the Universal Periodic Review said
Zimbabwe rejected out of hand the recommendation from South Africa calling
on the country to “investigate all credible allegations related with the
presidential elections in 2008, particularly in the areas of torture,
arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances”.

Chinamasa further rejected Zambia’s recommendation to “consider amending the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) legislation in order to bring it in
line with the Paris Principles.”

Zanu PF has on several occasions rejected recommendations by civil society
and parliament to investigate cases of political violence in the country
since the bloody 2000 elections.

Chinamasa has already moved a motion in parliament reinstating the Bill on
the order paper after it lapsed in the last session at the second reading

Legal analysts have said the proposed Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill falls short
of the internationally recognised Paris Principles on how national human
rights institutions should be composed and function in order to curb abuse.

They said although the proposed Bill was welcome, it does not meet
international standards stipulated in the Paris Principles of 1991 in its
present state.
The Paris Principles advocate the Independence of human rights commissions
and place no time frame or limit cases the body can deal with. It also calls
for the commission to table its own reports in parliament or to other
international bodies.

Veritas, a local lawyers grouping, said the proposed Bill had a narrow
mandate as opposed to a broad mandate envisaged by the Paris Principles.
“The only human rights violations which the commission is empowered to
investigate are those which infringe the Declaration of Rights in the
constitution or an international convention which has been ‘domesticated’ as
part of Zimbabwean law.  Most of the human rights conventions and treaties
to which Zimbabwe is a party have not been domesticated,” said Veritas.

“There is nothing in the constitution or the Bill which ensures adequate
representation of human rights activists among the nominees submitted to the
president by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  There is nothing
to say that the procedure by which nominees are selected must be transparent
or consultative,” Veritas said.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice chairman Douglas Mwonzora
agreed with Veritas that the proposed Bill was bad in proscribing the time
limits of cases the commission can deal with.

The Bill further falls short in the composition of the commission where the
calibre and diversity of candidates is not guaranteed.
This shortcoming has been highlighted by some analysts who witnessed the
political horse trading in the Standing Orders and Regulations Committee
during the interviews and subsequent appointment of present committees in

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‘Zanu PF open to Mugabe succession debate’

Friday, 21 October 2011 09:53

FOLLOWING Zimbabwe’s appearance before the United Nations (UN) Human Rights
Council Universal Period Review (UPR) session last week in Geneva,
Switzerland, Zimbabwe Independent Assistant Editor Dumisani Muleya (DM)
interviewed the country’s head of delegation, Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa (PC), on the process and other issues including President Robert
Mugabe’s protracted succession power struggle.
Below are excerpts from the interview on Monday last week.

DM: Minister Chinamasa you have just finished presenting Zimbabwe’s national
report to the UPR session. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon has said the UPR
process has “great potential to promote and protect human rights in the
darkest corners of the world”. What is your assessment?
PC: We were active in the processes that led to the introduction of the UPR.
We supported them strongly and as such we think the UPR process is very
useful. All countries are treated equally, so there is no situation of
bigger powers bullying smaller countries. We are all subjected to open,
objective and impartial scrutiny every four years.

DM: This is the first time for Zimbabwe to be reviewed since the UPR was
introduced in 2006.  How do you rate the country’s performance on human
rights issues?
PC: We have done so many issues and areas. Like our report, which is a
result of an extensive multi-sectoral consultative process which included
workshops involving all stakeholders, says the country has a constitution
and put in place independent institutions, legislation and policy frameworks
aimed at protecting and promoting the human rights of its people. The
current constitution provides for a Human Rights Commission and a
justiciable Bill of Rights. We have laws to advance and protect human rights
in the areas of education, labour, health, women and children affairs, etc.

DM::  Minister, although that is generally true, the trouble is the
government does not uphold the constitution and its own laws, let alone
human rights. That is why we have a poor human rights record. What are you
doing to improve the situation?
PC: We have done a lot of things to uphold human rights. We have signed
international treaties, conventions and protocols in that regard, while we
have formulated and operationalised a number of policies and strategies
which, despite the illegal sanctions, have registered a measure of success.

DM: What successes are you talking about minister in this case? Can you give
PC: For example, Zimbabwe has adopted the National Programme of Action for
Children, the National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children and
other things. We have victim-friendly units at police stations, hospitals
and the courts. The police have complaints desks to deal with cases of
ill-treatment and mishandling of cases by officers. We have a number of
independent commissions, including the one on the media.

DM: If government is serious, as you claim, in trying to protect and uphold
human rights why has Zimbabwe not ratified all the outstanding human rights
treaties and their optional protocols, for instance the UN Convention
Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment or the
International Convention For the Protection of All Persons Against Enforced
Disappearances and several optional protocols?
PC: As I said during the session, those issues are still under
consideration. We are still examining some of them and besides we are also
appealing for resources to study and identify gaps and close them. We have
no ideological position against ratifying them.

DM: There were calls during the sessions that the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission (ZHRC) must be expeditiously given legal teeth for it to start
functioning. What is happening around this issue and will this commission be
effective at all?
PC: We had agreed on the Human Rights Commission Bill with the other parties
in government, but they are now reneging. It is difficult to deal with
people who change like the weather. They did this on the Kariba
constitutional draft, ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) and the electoral
reforms. Now it’s this Bill. They are just not reliable and this is stalling
these processes.

DM: But the other parties say the Bill in its current form seems to be
designed to protect perpetrators of human rights abuses before the inclusive
government by imposing a cut-off date. There are also some of the provisions
of the Bill which are unconstitutional.
PC: We are very disappointed with the attitude of the MDC parties because we
had negotiated all these issues and reached an agreement, but they are now
reneging. It’s difficult to work with people like that.

DM: Zimbabwe has had serious human rights violations and your party, Zanu
PF, has mainly been blamed for that. Why have you allowed political violence
to become so endemic and persist for such a long time?
PC: All political parties in Zimbabwe are responsible for violence. There
has been inter-party and intra-party violence. Parties are all responsible
for inter-party violence, but then some parties also have intra-party
violence. It’s a big problem.

DM: Zanu PF has been blamed for political violence well before some of the
current parties, like the MDC formations, were there. What’s your comment?
PC: There was no political violence in Zimbabwe before the MDC was formed.

DM: Minister, there was political violence during the 1990 elections and
even worse before that in 1985 against Zapu during the Gukurahundi era which
the French raised here.
PC: In 1990 it wasn’t serious. Before that some of these things have
something to do with history and the British are the ones who introduced
violence among us!

DM: Why does the government or state security organs, at least judging by
testimonies of victims mostly given in courts, continue to torture suspects
in detention when it’s clearly unlawful to do so? There are many examples of
this, including the Jestina Mukoko one.
PC: We don’t have a policy of torture as a government like the Bush and
Blair governments. If anyone claims to have been tortured they have a right
to sue relevant authorities and the perpetrators. If Jestina has any
allegations of torture she must institute legal proceedings. That’s the way
to go.

DM: On the elections issue, where are we? What is happening in the GPA
processes and when will the elections be?
PC: We have agreed on the roadmap and now we are implementing it. The
constitution-making process is on, although the MDC parties are stalling it,
and elections will be held after that.

DM: You said earlier this year “we need to start talking about elections
next year or in 2013” because it was not possible to hold the polls this
year and your party, the politburo to be specific, rebuked you after that.
Have you changed your position?
PC: I’m not changing anything. Initially I said elections could be held next
year or possibly in 2013. I believe this is still the situation that
elections could be held next year. I mentioned 2013 as a possibility.

DM: With President Mugabe as a candidate
next year or in 2013, do you think Zanu PF will win the elections?
PC: We will win because we have a clear ideology, policies and programme
unlike the MDC parties whose only agenda is “Mugabe must go”!

DM: But President Mugabe and Zanu PF have an appalling record of failure?
PC: We brought Independence and recorded a lot of achievements in education,
land reform and indigenisation. People know our record and will vote for us.

DM: Given that President Mugabe is 87-years-old and there are reports he is
not well, is Zanu PF willing to consider a fresh and relatively younger
candidate in the next elections?
PC: First of all I would like to say the issue of the candidacy of President
Mugabe is an internal matter -- it should not concern outsiders. But where
we stand now the president is our candidate for future elections. The
president has indicated the next conference, in Bulawayo, would be a
mini-congress where we will confirm him as candidate. It’s an internal
matter but we will put our best foot forward and President Mugabe is our
best foot. We can’t change the captain in the midst of a storm.

DM: Why is your party afraid of leadership renewal? Can’t you find anyone in
Zanu PF to lead the party?
PC:  We will not change the captain when the ship is under threat of being

DM: Minister, don’t you think President Mugabe must retire after serving for
31 years without a break and now 87? Is it not high time Zanu PF resolves
the Mugabe succession issue?
PC: As I have already said, we will put our best foot forward. He has been
there for such a long time because he is principled, constituent and speaks
for the majority. I must say the politburo is an open forum. Colleagues who
want to raise the issue (of Mugabe’s succession) are free to do so. Why do
they only raise it with you in the media? Debate is not suppressed in the
On leadership renewal, the majority of members of the politburo are young
people. They are people, for instance, who have nothing to do with Dare
reChimurenga (Zanu PF’s War Council during the struggle for liberation).
Some of them were not even connected with the liberation struggle. They may
not be the kind of youths that you want but they are there. That’s
leadership renewal.

DM: What is your comment on WikiLeaks disclosures on Zimbabwe? Also
connected to WikiLeaks, what was your role in the judicial purges after 2000
and what’s your view on multiple farm owners.
PC: I think those WikiLeaks things must be taken with a pinch of salt. On
the other issue, I was not involved in the removal of judges but my
understanding is that they resigned on their own. On multiple owners, I don’t
think it’s a big problem but we must insist on the one man, one farm policy.

to be specific, rebuked you after that. Have you changed your position?
PC: I’m not changing anything. Initially I said elections could be held next
year or possibly in 2013. I believe this is still the situation that
elections could be held next year. I mentioned 2013 as a possibility.

DM: With President Mugabe as a candidate  next year or in 2013, do you think
Zanu PF will win the elections?
PC: We will win because we have a clear ideology, policies and programme
unlike the MDC parties whose only agenda is “Mugabe must go”!

DM: But President Mugabe and Zanu PF have an appalling record of failure?
PC: We brought Independence and recorded a lot of achievements in education,
land reform and indigenisation. People know our record and will vote for us.

DM: Given that President Mugabe is 87-years-old and there are reports he is
not well, is Zanu PF willing to consider a fresh and relatively younger
candidate in the next elections?
PC: First of all I would like to say the issue of the candidacy of President
Mugabe is an internal matter — it should not concern outsiders. But where we
stand now the president is our candidate for future elections. The president
has indicated the next conference, in Bulawayo, would be a mini-congress
where we will confirm him as candidate. It’s an internal matter but we will
put our best foot forward and President Mugabe is our best foot. We can’t
change the captain in the midst of a storm.

DM: Why is your party afraid of leadership renewal? Can’t you find anyone in
Zanu PF to lead the party?
PC:  We will not change the captain when the ship is under threat of being

DM: Minister, don’t you think President Mugabe must retire after serving for
31 years without a break and now 87? Is it not high time Zanu PF resolves
the Mugabe succession issue?
PC: As I have already said, we will put our best foot forward. He has been
there for such a long time because he is principled, constituent and speaks
for the majority. I must say the politburo is an open forum. Colleagues who
want to raise the issue (of Mugabe’s succession) are free to do so. Why do
they only raise it with you in the media? Debate is not suppressed in the
On leadership renewal, the majority of members of the politburo are young
people. They are people, for instance, who have nothing to do with Dare
reChimurenga (Zanu PF’s War Council during the struggle for liberation).
Some of them were not even connected with the liberation struggle. They may
not be the kind of youths that you want but
they are there. That’s leadership renewal.

DM: What is your comment on WikiLeaks disclosures on Zimbabwe? Also
connected to WikiLeaks, what was your role in the judicial purges after 2000
and what’s your view on multiple farm owners.
PC: I think those WikiLeaks things must be taken with a pinch of salt. On
the other issue, I was not involved in the removal of judges but my
understanding is that they resigned on their own. On multiple owners, I don’t
think it’s a big problem but we must insist on the one man, one farm policy.

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Chiyangwa’s return linked to Zanu PF power struggle

Friday, 21 October 2011 09:53

Brian Chitemba

THE return of Philip Chiyangwa to the helm of the Affirmative Action Group
(AAG) has been linked to the muffled Zanu PF succession debate with young
turks led by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere cultivating the
empowerment lobby as their power base.
Some Zanu PF politburo members told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that
the ouster of Supa Mandiwanzira was part of Zanu PF’s complicated succession

Chiyangwa, who was re-admitted into Zanu PF as an ordinary member in
Mashonaland West, is reportedly working closely with the ambitious
Kasukuwere in the succession race.

Kasukuwere is reportedly spearheading a third force in the battle to succeed
Mugabe. For over a decade, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa have been at the forefront of the succession race, and it
was only recently that the military and its chief General Constantine
Chiwenga displayed a deep interest in the succession debate.

“The young, rich and ambitious politicians in Zanu PF led by Kasukuwere want
to build their political empire using the AAG and the indigenisation
programme. They calculate that the indigenisation policy could give them a
leap over other factions and that is why there is drama at the AAG. It’s all
about the Zanu PF succession race,” said a senior Zanu PF official.

Kasukuwere, who is the driving force behind the controversial indigenisation
policy, was exposed by WikiLeaks as one of the young turks who wants Mugabe
to step down. Kasukuwere reportedly told former US ambassador to Zimbabwe
Tom McDonald in November 2000 that Zanu PF required urgent leadership

Among those also reportedly working with Kasukuwere is fellow politburo
member Tendai Savanhu. Savanhu, who is the AAG’s founding secretary-general,
has been tasked by Chiyangwa to investigate corruption allegations levelled
against the ousted AAG executive led by Mandiwanzira.

Kasukuwere is also working closely with party youths and women in a bid to
bolster his faction.
“If anyone wants to be nominated for the presidency, there is need to
capture the youths and women. They are a critical constituency,” said the
Zanu PF official.
Kasukuwere has tolerated the random grabbing of buildings belonging to
whites and Indian-born businessmen by the youths in Bulawayo.
Chiyangwa has also been visible in Bulawayo where he recently donated US$500
for a patient at a local hospital. He was accompanied by Zanu PF Bulawayo
youth chairman Butho Gatsi, a move that sparked anger among provincial
leaders who wanted Chiyangwa to brief them on his visit.
Repeated efforts to get comment from Kasukuwere and Chiyangwa were
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo declined to comment on the issue.

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Mutsekwa accuses Zanu PF of asset-stripping

Friday, 21 October 2011 09:52

Paidamoyo Muzulu

NATIONAL Housing minister Giles Mutsekwa has accused the former Zanu PF
government of asset-stripping, particularly of houses in urban areas before
the inauguration of the coalition government in 2009.
Government-owned houses have been severely depleted in the last decade to
the extent that the coalition government resorted to renting accommodation
for new ministers from the MDC formations.

Even Prime-Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is still residing at his personal
residence three years after assuming the premiership. 

President Robert Mugabe has the exclusive use of two state residences while
ministers from Zanu PF have assumed permanent status in other government

This development prompted Mutsekwa to launch a probe into current stocks of
government properties and results show that some properties were sold to
senior government officials.

Mutsekwa told the Zimbabwe Independent that the disposal of government
properties was carried out mainly after 2000 when political winds of change
started blowing with force.

“The previous government around 1990 deliberately started allowing the
houses to be bought by sitting tenants,” said Mutsekwa. “There is nothing we
can do about it now,” he said.

Mutsekwa also revealed that at Independence in 1980, government had more
than enough houses for senior civil servants and ministers.

“Government used to have more than enough properties. These houses were
spread all over the country, particularly at provincial and district
centres. Each ministry had a specific allocation of houses, but along the
way the houses began to be sold to sitting tenants,” Mutsekwa said.

He said the former minister responsible for national housing, Ignatius
Chombo, had allowed non-civil servants to occupy government houses, and in
some instances approved the disposal of them at discounted prices.

“There were people who were occupying government houses even when they had
left the civil service. The former Ministry of Local government, Public
Works and National Housing was the custodian of all government houses,”
Mutsekwa added.

Chombo could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press

Mutsekwa could not, however, avail the schedule of all properties disposed
of by government since the 1990s.

The abuse of government houses was once highlighted after former Information
minister Jonathan Moyo’s dismissal from government in 2005 when he was
ordered to surrender the Gunhill Villa he stayed in.

Moyo applied to the High Court to be given time to sort out alternative
accommodation before his eviction.
Chombo on his part approved the disposal of properties in leafy suburbs such
as Highlands to selected politicians.
In the early 2000s, Chombo approved disposal of a Harare City Council
Highlands property to Harare commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara at
40% of its market value.

He had earlier approved Nomutsa Chideya’s package, which included a council
house after his dismissal from the Harare City Council.  
In a related issue, government has begun construction of government
accommodation for senior civil servants and ministers. The government built
flats in Willowvale and promised to continue the projects across the

A number of flats and some plush residences in Harare were built for senior
civil servants, but the properties were mainly allocated to
politically-connected non-civil servants in the 1990s.

A judicial inquiry into the Civil Servants Housing Scheme showed that people
like First Lady Grace Mugabe had accessed funding to build mansions even
though she was not a civil servant.

Zimbabwe currently has a housing backlog of about 1,2 million units.

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Africa faces tough decisions over GMOs

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:52

Wongai  Zhangazha

THE mention of the words genetically modified organism  (GMO) normally
attract frowns among Zimbabweans.
In some cases, it sparks a certain level of panic, especially among
small-scale farmers.

While the internationally held notion is that genetically modified crops and
high technology farming could help combat food insecurity in Africa,
Zimbabwe is among the African countries which have taken a cautious stance
on GM seeds.

Over the past years Africa has been devastated by famines that have left
millions dead.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says in the horn of Africa, more than 13
million people are affected by a severe drought that has led to food
emergency while rising food prices added millions to the nearly one billion
people worldwide who suffer from chronic hunger.

In Zimbabwe, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs said food security was a “pressing issue” in August.
Due to extensive crop failure caused by constant dry spells and lack of
other food or livelihood, districts like Binga, Kariba, Mudzi, Umzingwane
and Zvishavane required immediate food assistance.

These challenges have caused a serious setback towards the achievement of
the first millennium development goal to eradicate extreme poverty and
hunger by 2015.

With rising food insecurity in most parts of Africa and the world’s current
population of about seven billion people is expected to double in the next
50 years, and GMOs have been proposed as one of the ways to cushion the
world from a serious food crisis.

At a Hunger Summit in the US state of Iowa, African farmers and leaders were
encouraged to start making use of genetically modified seeds which provide
more robust resistance to pests, are drought resistant and produce high

Professor of the practice of international development at Harvard Kennedy
School, Calestous Juma said biotechnology could lead to increased food
security and enhance nutrition.

“In agriculture, biotechnology has enabled the genetic alteration of crops,
improved soil productivity, and enhanced natural weed and pest control,”
said Juma. “Unfortunately such potential has not been tapped by African
countries,” said Juma.

So far, South Africa, Egypt and Burkina Faso are the only countries on the
continent that have embraced biotechnology.

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton this week said there was a need to find
new and innovative ways to get food “in the hands of more people and people
should re-commit to ending food hunger” as her government embarked on a
“Feed the Future” initiative.

Through the “Feed the Future” programme, the US government is working with
partner countries, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders
to improve access and availability to nutritious food.

So, does Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa need the genetically modified
However, Zimbabweans and the rest of Africa in general are still cautious
about the technology.
The Zimbabwean government does not approve the commercialisation and
planting of GM crops and requires all GMO grain products to be milled before
being imported into the country.

Professor of Agronomy at Biosafety Institute for Genetically modified
Agricultural Products at Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Jeffery Wolt told the Zimbabwe Independent beliefs that GMOs caused obesity
as well as cancer were just fears by people.
“We have done evaluations and we see no reason why these crops should not be
considered safe because the risks are negligible,” said Wolt. “We cannot
find any evidence of harm,” he said.

A report titled “Should Zimbabwe commercialise the production of GMO Crops”
released by Hivos and the Zimbabwe Organic Producers and Promoters
Association last month stated that genetic engineering alone cannot save the
world from hunger and malnutrition but could be one of many strategies and
technologies that could be pursued to feed the future.

The report further states that government needs to make informed decisions
based on a number of considerations that include the science of genetic
technology, the potential benefits and risks.

At the Hunger summit, philanthropist Howard Buffet cautioned that advanced
Western technology is not a universal solution to fighting hunger in
developing countries and just distributing the GM seeds in Africa could be

“We need most appropriate solutions for every level of the farmers in
Africa,” said Buffet. “We need credible assessments to be taken seriously.
We fail with our ideas because we assume that what works here (America),
Asia and somewhere else works in Africa. You can’t just take technology and
think this is going to be great. This is going to work for everybody,
everyplace,” said Buffet, who is the son of billionaire Warren Buffett.

The younger Buffet has collaborated with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to
fund the development of biotech seeds that could be used in Africa,
including drought-tolerant maize seeds.

“Seed is only part of the solution,” said Buffet. “Soil is more important.
Simply distributing seeds without a soil fertility plan will eventually be a
disaster,” he said.

Buffett said encouraging poor African farmers to adopt US farming methods
could push them to abandon the crop diversity their families have long
depended on and switch to growing just one crop, such as maize and that
could leave their families vulnerable if the crops failed or prices of the
crop collapsed.

An organic farmer based in Maryland, Joan Norman, said some GM seeds were
not tested for safety to environment and humans.
As the GMO debate rages on, the number of malnourished people across the
world, especially in Africa, continues to soar.

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Zanu PF obstinacy leading towards disputed election

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:30

Paidamoyo Muzulu

ZIMBABWE seems poised for yet another disputed election as Zanu PF blocks
all legislative reforms in cabinet and parliament prompting the MDC-T to
issue a thinly veiled threat to boycott any poll called before
implementation of agreed Global Political Agreement (GPA) stipulations.
Zanu PF and the MDC formations signed the GPA in 2008 compelling the
coalition government to implement minimum democratic legislative reforms
aimed at leveling the electoral playing field before holding any fresh

Zanu PF is blocking media reforms, electoral reforms and security-sector
reforms, among other issues it’s stalling on.
Three years after the signing of the GPA, no amendment to these laws has
been instituted in parliament.

The MDC formations have been arguing that the laws, as presently crafted,
favoured Zanu PF since the police only disrupted MDC rallies, but provided
security at Zanu PF gatherings.

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are on record vowing not to assent to
any further reforms except completion of the draft constitution and
subsequent referendum unless targeted sanctions were removed.

Zanu PF senators have blocked the Posa Amendment but have expressed a
willingness to support Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa’s electoral

The Zanu PF senators have openly declared that they would block debate on
the Posa Amendment Bill that is steered by MDC-T backbencher Innocent

Zanu PF senator for Mount Darwin Alice Chimbudzi revealed that Chinamasa had
instructed them not to debate the Bill sponsored by Innocent Gonese as a
Private Member’s Bill. This is the first time that such a Bill has been
moved in parliament.

Chinamasa told a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Switzerland
last week that Zimbabwe was not going to implement any changes to Posa,
Aippa or the security sector.

“There was too much reference to Posa and Aippa, especially from the Western
group,” said Chinamasa. “These two pieces of legislation are not inventions
by Zimbabwe and they are there to stay. These pieces do not violate any
fundamental freedoms as long as their letter and spirit is followed. On
security sector reform, Zimbabwe will not even entertain the recommendation.
Reform for who? For what? How dare they recommend that to those who fought
against colonialism and all its ugliness,” said Chinamasa.

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai told his supporters in Marondera last
weekend that Zanu PF did not want change because it feared that it would
lose elections.

“The inclusive government, having achieved economic stability, service
delivery and some reforms, has stopped operating,” said Tsvangirai. “We have
stopped because Zanu PF is refusing to go any further so some of the
agreements cannot be fulfilled because Zanu PF has realised that every
clause of the agreement they fulfill will mean an end for them,” he said.

As the call for elections rings louder, it is becoming clearer that the
political protagonists are nowhere near finding common ground.
Some political analysts believe that the elections would not be credible.

Political observer Hopewell Gumbo said: “Never, even with the full
implementation of the GPA, Zimbabwe needs healing first so that people feel
the necessary freedom for a free and fair election.”

Another Harare-based analyst Charles Mangongera said it was impossible to
hold a credible election without the amendments in place.
“With the amendments to Posa stalled and Zanu PF now dithering on reforms of
all institutions, I do not think it will be possible to have a free and fair
election,” Mangongera said.

“Most state institutions are still heavily militarised and the
infrastructure of violence is still in place. The prognosis for a free and
fair election is therefore bleak,” he said.

Without these reforms and with time running out, the chances of another
coalition government after the next election are not farfetched.

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Inflation to close year above target

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:13

Reginald Sherekete

INFLATIONARY pressures took itstoll in the month of September 2011 with the
year on year figure peaking to 4,3% on the back of increases in prices in
both food and non alcoholic beverages and non food components of the
Consumer Price Index (CPI).

But with the current momentum, the annual inflation rate is expected to be
well above the targeted range of between 4%-5%.

The statistics released last week by Zimstat show that there has been a
general increase in household rates including water and electricity which
went up by 1,69% from the month of August 2011 and on a year-on- year basis
going up by 7,18%.

This was mainly attributable to tariffs hikes by local authorities and Zesa.

This resulted in the month-on- month inflation jumping by 0,8% in September
2011 from an average of 0,1% in the previous month.

In the mid-year budget statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti indicated
that a moderate inflation rate of between 4%-5% is targeted for 2011,
anchored on continued use of multiple currencies and increasing production
capacities of industries.

During the first half of 2011, year on year inflation declined from 3,5% to
2,9% in June 2011. But the trend reversed in the second half with inflation
jumping to 3,3% in July and peaking at 4,3% in September 2011. But the
inflation outcome is still in line with the Sadc and Comesa inflation
targets of single digit levels.

“In the outlook, indications are that inflation will remain below 5%,
assuming limited impact from exogenous shocks such as fuel prices and rand
appreciation as well as containment of domestic costs particularly the wage
bill,” said Biti

But in the frontline the battle has turned out different for Biti. The
reintroduction of import duty on some basic commodities like maize meal and
cooking oil has backfired for Biti with commodities prices increasing.

A report from the African Development Bank (ADB) last month indicated that
the price hikes, if not reversed, could militate against the achievement of
the year-end inflation target of 4%.

“There is need to address these price hikes given that the import duty
reintroduction was aimed at protecting local producers against cheap imports
in a bid to support local industry,” said ADB.

The rand has devalued from a rate of R6 against the US$ to current levels of

Price increases in South Africa to maintain purchasing power parity will
only lead to imported inflation for Zimbabwe since it is a huge importer of
basic commodities from its neighbour.

The fuel and lubricants inflation has gone up on a year on year basis by
8,14% in the month of  September.  With the unrest in Libya, Arab nations
and  the Middle East coupled with the global economic meltdown, prices of
oil will remain high.

Zimbabwe being a downstream economy will have to bear the full wrath of such
pressures with fuel prices currently hovering above US$1,40 per litre as
compared to prices of US$1,15 at the beginning of the year.

High fuel prices impact on the cost of production in many industries which
are now more dependent on the use of generators in the face of erratic power

This cost is directly passed on to the consumer of the final product.

With demand for fuel expected to increase during the festive season,
analysts say this will put pressure on the prices. There is usually a
shortage of supply during this peak period and fuel stations usually take
advantage of the situation by increasing prices.
Biti’s inflation target of below 5% seems also to have been taken off route
following the 2011 civil servants remuneration reviews. The annualised
employment cost bill now amounts to US$2 billion.

Despite earlier salary reviews, civil servants may also push for an annual
bonus in the next month and if awarded, this would induce demand due to the
high spending power resulting in suppliers of products and services riding
on the wave by increasing prices.
If the current monthly inflation average of 0,45% since the beginning of the
year is maintained to year end, the annual inflation is projected to be
But given other factors expected to come at play during the last quarter,
which coincides with the festive hype, the inflation rate is projected to be
well above 6%.

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Zim to clear US$260m Federation-era debt

Thursday, 20 October 2011 16:43

By Nqobile Bhebhe

GOVERNMENT has agreed to clear decades long debt with Zambia for the shared
Kariba infrastructure, paving the way for both countries to co-operate in
constructing the 1 650 megawatt (MW) Batoka hydropower station.

The power project, first mooted in 1993, wasmeant to be a joint venture
between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Lack of funding and reluctance by the Zambian
government to start the project delayed its implementation.

Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada said
the debt issue was extensively discussed during cabinet sessions, adding an
agreement was reached to finance the debt.

Mashakada said the project had  been stalled over the assets at Kariba.

Zambia, according to Mashakada, said they would not partner Zimbabwe until
the asset debt accrued during the Federation-era was cleared.
The amount owed is estimated at US$260 million.

“The Zambians told us that for them to co-operate on the Batoka project,
Zimbabwe should clear the federation-era debt. We discussed this matter in
cabinet and agreed that we should pay them (Zambians) the principle amount
only and not the interest, then we can start cooperation in building the
Batoka,” said Mashakada.

However, he would not say when the decision was reached, the payment
modalities and how the government is set to raise the money as the economy
is currently facing liquidity constraints.

But he said the power project was “key to solving energy challenges”.

Batoka is situated 50kms downstream of Victoria Falls and would provide 800
MW of hydro power generation capacity for each of the two countries.
Construction of the power station was expected to resolve the country’s
power shortages which have disrupted the country’s frail  economy.

Zimbabwe’s industries and households have suffered incessant power cuts that
have disrupted the normal functioning of the country’s economy which is on a
recovery path after a decade-long economic crisis that ended with the
adoption of multi-currencies in 2009.

The situation has triggered frequent protests from power users with several
mining firms installing generators to keep production online.
Mashakada said his ministry, in conjunction with Energy and Power
Development ministry, has approved four power thermal projects to ease
electricity shortages.

A consortium made up of Utho Capital, KPMG and ATC was recently awarded a
Zesa tender to oversee financing of two projects that would bring on board
an additional 900 MW through the expansion of Kariba South and Hwange at a
cost of more than US$1 billion.

A total 300 MW would be augmented to Kariba South to lift capacity to 1 050
MW from the current 750 MW. The expected investment in this particular
project is US$300 million.

The Hwange Power Station project would see an additional 600 MWgenerated
after the installation of two new thermal units at a minimum cost of US$770

The consortium would also go into transmission contracts with ZETDC.

In the Kariba South extension project, existing and extension assets are to
be housed in a single entity, separate from Zimbabwe Power Corporation.
The projects should be complete by 2016.

In the long-term, Zesa was looking at the Gokwe North project at a cost of
US$2,24 billion with a year 2017 timeline. Once complete, the project would
add 1 400 MW to the grid.

At a recent mining conference, a Zesa board member Simba Mangwengwende said
the cost of the hydropower station has doubled from US$2,5 billion when the
project was conceived in 1993.

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Muckcacker: What will they do when Mugabe goes?

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:34

ZANU PF members cannot afford to replace President Robert Mugabe ahead of
elections, Patrick Chinamasa told the Zimbabwe Independent last week. It
would be like changing the captain of a ship in a storm.
“It’s an internal matter,” he said, “but we will put our best foot forward
and President Mugabe is our best foot. We can’t change the captain in the
midst of a storm.”

Chinamasa said it would be “suicidal” for Zanu PF to replace Mugabe when the
party was facing the danger of running aground.

So why is the party in danger of running aground? Is Mugabe the only person
who can provide navigational safety –– after all those years of disaster?
Is there no other figure in Zanu PF who can manage the nation’s affairs? Is
it a completely useless party? And what will they do when he actually goes?

How really pathetic that the party needs the supervision of an 87-year old
ruler because nobody else can provide leadership. And what on earth is
someone doing captaining a ship at 87? Asking for trouble it seems. And is
that really their best foot?

As for Chinamasa who has been affiliated to Mugabe for 20 years, why has he
just realised there is a shortage of skills in his party? Are there really
no fresh faces capable of rejuvenating the party? And if not, why has nobody
been given the chance to climb the party ladder so there are younger people
in place when the time comes?

Let’s hope the new constitution doesn’t reflect these arthritic positions
for which we have Eddison Zvobgo to thank. We remember only too well
Amendment No 7 of 1987.

On the subject of institutional failure we had Godwills Masimirembwa posing
as a political analyst in the Herald on Tuesday, castigating Morgan
Tsvangirai for betraying “the people’s aspirations”

This followed Tsvangirai’s belated criticism of the Indigenisation Act.

Zanu PF zealots like Masimirembwa have been suggesting there can be “no
going back” on the Act but of course parliament can do what it likes when
the time comes. It can repeal bad laws.

Masimirembwa, let’s recall, was an absolute disaster when he was in charge
of Prices and Incomes. He contributed in no small way to the country’s
nose-dive in 2007/9.

He still evidently adheres to the bankrupt policies that got us into this
fine old mess.

He spoke this week to the Herald about the importance of nation-building.

“We build nations through ownership of our resources,” he said. “That is the
bedrock of the Zanu PF philosophy and ideology…”

Let’s look at those resources that form the “bedrock of Zanu PF’s ideology”
and “the people’s aspirations”.

What has happened to Arda, Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe,
CMED, Zupco, and of course the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation which
Masimirembwa heads, all of them shining advertisements for Zanu PF’s rule!

And by the way, Masimirembwa claims every country prospers on the basis of
its ownership of resources.

He doesn’t seem to understand that prosperous countries succeed on the basis
of investment as much as ownership. That means cultivating the economic
environment in which investors can thrive. Zimbabwe doesn’t have that
environment. In fact, reading the remarks by Rugare Gumbo and Masimirembwa,
in the Herald on Tuesday, one could be forgiven for thinking that there is a
deliberate campaign to keep investors at bay.

Then there was Phillip Chiyangwa who said the liberation war was fought to
bring “political, economic and cultural independence”.

Does that include huge swathes of property accumulation across the capital?
And can Chiyangwa itemise those aspects of the liberation war he contributed
to? Does anybody remember?

We seem to recall him in a BSAP uniform.

These spokesmen for a derelict and bankrupt party should shut up before they
completely discredit indigenisation just as they did land reform. As we said
last week indigenisation is already being characterised as a help-yourself
campaign. It must be one of the first laws to be repealed when we have a
democratic government and the people’s oppressors are booted out.

Our thanks to Hogarth of the South African Sunday Times for providing the
following insight.

The columnist remarked how interesting it was to see Zimbabwe’s
ever-shrinking economy had not blunted the spending power of its elite.

Hogarth had the pleasure of sharing a business class cabin on a flight from
Singapore to Johannesburg with Grace Mugabe in August.

“She was comfortably ensconced in business class,” he said, “with her
diamond-encrusted specs and gold-flecked highlights while four terrified
flunkies scurried around stowing bits of luggage at her ever-unsmiling

“Her people’s annual per capita income,” Hogarth noted, “is now less than
US$200; her excess luggage on this flight was several times that amount!”

Muammar Gaddafi is still in hiding at the time of going to press. It must be
fairly cramped down there in whatever foxhole he has chosen –– and a tad

The colonel, we are told, has no control over his flatulence so is prone to
breaking wind without prior notice. He then looks around the room grinning
like a naughty school boy expecting his audience to join the giggling.

This was all very well in his desert tent where he was competing with
camels, but in the confines of his current underground retreat, it wasn’t
funny, a visiting diplomat disclosed.

So Morgan Tsvangirai is taking up the South African ambassador’s complaints
regarding the occupation of South African-owned farms. He will then raise
the matter in cabinet, we are told.

This is all very well, but why is Tsvangirai so helpful when rushing to the
assistance of South Africans but does nothing to help Zimbabweans who have
suffered the depredations of Zanu PF land occupants since the inclusive
government? When was the last time we heard him condemn these delinquents?

Please Morgan, your country needs you. Let’s hear your voice.

We can’t help feel there are a number of MDC-T luminaries who are unable to
make the connection between agricultural output and national prosperity.
They are happy to have their Mercs and drive around like Zim 1 while the
country goes down the plug-hole.

We were interested to read the president’s remarks in Lilongwe
congratulating Zambian Vice-President Dr Guy Scott on his appointment.

Mugabe said there was nothing surprising about his colour. In Zimbabwe, he
said, there were five whites in cabinet at Independence.

The “right-wing” media claimed Mugabe and his government were anti-white, “a
perception the Western media peddled in a bid to brand land reform a racist
clampdown on white farmers”, the president said.

So what do you call a campaign which deprives nearly 4 000 farmers of their
livelihoods on the basis of their colour?
Most of those had received a “certificate of no interest” from government.

And what would you call the vicious attack on Ben Freeth and his
father-in-law at Chegutu in 2008? Many more farmers were savagely beaten and
several, like Mrs Olds and her son, murdered.

We are delighted that Guy Scott has found his way to the top of the heap in
Zambia but he needs reminding that while the NDP was a genuinely non-racial
party, its successor is sadly as racist as it gets.

‘We have had demonstrations of peaceful elections, the most recent one being
in Zambia, that is the only way you can build peace, and that is the way to
go,” Mugabe said.

The irony was clearly lost on Mugabe who does not seem overly concerned with
practising what he preaches to others.

In his own country he has made it clear that the bullet is mightier than the
pen, yet he can pontificate about the peaceful transfer of power.
In the not too distant 2008 Mugabe allowed his supporters to unleash a wave
of terror after losing the first round of elections.
The MDC believes over 200 of its supporters were killed in that period,
whilst thousands were displaced.

Mugabe cannot lecture others on the peaceful transfer of power until he does
the same in his own country. If he thinks there was “nothing odd” in the
appointment of Scott in Zambia, why then has he refused to appoint Roy
Bennett to the
post he had been allotted by his principal?

Mugabe always prides himself on being consistent. We beg to differ.

Mugabe received “a deafening applause”, in Maputo, the Herald told us when
he said if Samora Machel was still alive he would have said what is
happening in Libya was wrong. That sounds strange when neither the current
Mozambican president nor his predecessor have commented on it.
As for Kenneth Kaunda’s description of Mugabe as “an angel”, he must have
been having a delusional moment. Time for that white handkerchief to come

Meanwhile, Zanu PF leadership in Mabvuku-Tafara says the party will not
entertain the imposition of candidates ahead of the forthcoming general

This was said at a rally held at the Godwills Masimirembwa Foundation in

Ironically Zanu PF Central Committee members took a swipe at aspiring
candidates who want to use unorthodox means for political mileage, saying
such conduct will not be tolerated.

Masimirembwa said his “foundation” promotes Zanu PF ideologies and policies
such as the indigenisation drive.
Masimirembwa also said the “foundation” is engaging nearby Lafarge (Pvt) Ltd
in a move that seeks to ensure that Mabvuku-Tafara residents get a slice of
the cake from the cement manufacturing giant in line with the indigenisation
and economic empowerment drive.
Clearly the “foundation” has been set up to fleece already struggling
companies to line politicians’ pockets and cover election costs.
If it is a genuine philanthropic organisation, why does it need to “engage”
other companies to fund its activities?

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Budget: Essential policy issues

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:32

By Erich Bloch

THERE are many critical economic policy issues that need to be addressed in
the 2012 National Budget, if the slight economic recovery and growth
attained since 2009 is to be built upon and developed.  Substantive economic
growth is an absolute requirement if Zimbabwe is to address successfully the
pronounced poverty which afflicts the overwhelming majority.

It is very commendable that Finance minister Tendai Biti, and a few of his
colleagues, astoundingly managed to halt the avalanche of economic ills and
collapse that bedevilled Zimbabwe until 2008. Nevertheless the economy is
still ailing, resulting in endless misery and suffering for millions of
Last week, this column addressed a few of the critical budgetary policies
that the minister should incorporate in the budget, and which should be
vigorously pursued and implemented. Concurrently there are others which he
has foreshadowed but which he should very seriously reconsider, as they
could be severely counterproductive.

However, there are many others which he needs to initiate, if the
forthcoming budget is to stimulate the economy. Key to the policies which he
should discard is his declared intent to raise the levels of royalties and
income taxes payable by the mining sector.  On the several occasions when he
has declared his intent, he has sought to justify doing so by stating that
that sector is reaping vast wealth, but is contributing minimally to the
fiscus.  Biti has been strongly supported by the Mines and Mining
Development minister Obert Mpofu, and by Youth Development, Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere.  They have been
grossly misinformed.  The reality is that the mining sector is, directly and
indirectly, a major contributor to the fiscus and to addressing very many
national needs.

Admittedly, heretofore most mining enterprises have paid relatively little
income tax.  Although they have very considerable gross revenues from the
disposal of the minerals mined, they are confronted by substantial operating
costs, which diminish their net earnings. They have also been expending very
considerable sums on development and on infrastructural enhancement.
However, over and above the direct taxes that they do pay, they contribute
substantial amounts to the exchequer –– directly and indirectly –– and meet
many expenditures which would otherwise be payable by the state.  They pay
for registration of mining rights, and pay royalties on the minerals mined;
at rates which are already significantly commensurate with those prevailing
elsewhere in the region.  They pay withholding taxes on management and
directors’ fees, and on dividends, they pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on the
goods they buy as well as customs duty on most of their imports.

They also employ many, resulting in Pay as you earn inflows to the fiscus.
The mines’ expenditures, and those of their employees, benefit the
downstream economy resulting in direct and indirect tax enhancement to the

Bearing all that in mind, the minister should now bury his intent to
increase royalties and taxes payable by the mining sector.

There is great regional and international interest as well as will, to
invest into the mining industry. Such investment would be a huge stimulant
to economic growth, job creation and fiscal inflows.  Increased imposts ––
as well as the counterproductive indigenisation policies –– are major
deterrents to that investment waiting to happen.  Biti must remove that

Biti also needs to intensify his pursuit of monetary stability.  He deserves
approbation for his necessary assurances that Zimbabwe will rigidly adhere
to the prevailing multi-currency regime, until the economy’s stability is
wholly assured (with minimum Gross Domestic Product growth of 9% per annum
for three successive years).  Because so many politicians have prevaricated
and not honoured innumerable assurances given, Biti must reiterate again.

In order to minimise inflationary exploitation, Biti must initiate
regulation to enforce compliance with official exchange rates.  How can
diverse government departments justify applying a rate of US$1: Rand10?
Another essential measure to assure investor confidence in Zimbabwe’s
monetary stability is to restore viability to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ).  To that end, government must assume the RBZ’s debts and should issue
medium-term, interest-bearing bonds which should be accorded prescribed
asset status rendering them tradeable.  Not only would this be a positive
step towards restoring the RBZ’s wellbeing, but it would also benefit the
numerous enterprises whose working capital resources were denuded by the RBZ’s
inability to settle debts.

Another RBZ-recovery measure which Biti could pursue is the recapitalisation
of the central bank by enabling private sector investment into its equity.
This was the case for many years for the South African Reserve Bank.

A revitalised RBZ will not only impact favourably upon investor confidence
and upon perceptions of the population in general. It would also convey
positive influences upon many of the international institutions with whom
Zimbabwe needs to be interactive.  These, and many more, are essential
measures Biti needs to address in his budget.

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Globalisation, democracy and the African agenda

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:28

This is an edited version of a paper presented by South African Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela, at Sapes Trust Policy Dialogue Forum on
September 22 in Harare.

THE German thinker Friedrich Hegel (1770- 1831) was the first to give us the
all-important understanding of the relationship between freedom and
necessity. In other simple terms, to Hegel, “freedom is the appreciation of

I want to take this discourse out of the realm of the individual into the
collective of society, into the nation state.

We are talking about the freedom we have as we decide what kind of society
we want to build, what economic model we want to pursue, what form of
political system we want to craft for ourselves, what type of state-to-state
relations we want to enter into, which multilateral institutions we want to
engage, and with what objective?

We are trying to establish the nexus between the concept of freedom and the
concept of necessity.

The Heritage Illustrated Dictionary of the English Language explains the
concept of necessity in the following words:

“Something needed for the existence, effectiveness, or success of something
(else). A requirement. Something that must inevitably exist or occur. That
which is dictated by invariable physical laws or strict social requirements.
That which is dictated by constraining circumstances.”

So when we say freedom is the appreciation of necessity we actually mean
that freedom is the appreciation of the existence of those things that are
necessary for the achievement of other desired outcomes.

I want to tackle two powerful forces or trends that impact on our countries
and societies today. The first of these forces is centripetal; ie it is
pulling inwards, pulling part of the traditional authority and sovereignty
of the state inwards and downwards towards civil society, local communities
and independent institutions. We see the trend in the greater activism of
charity organisations, human rights groups of one sort or another,
organisations that take care of the aged, the homeless and vulnerable
children, independent media institutions, trade unions, etc.

The effect of this development is that part of the traditional authority and
sovereignty of the state is being surrendered and dispersed downwards from
government to civil society in one form or another. One way of looking at
this trend is to be positive and see it as the widening and deepening of
democracy, a democracy that allows the greatest number of people to be
actively involved in the collective activity that leads to the betterment of
their political and socio-economic condition.

This positive way of looking at this trend is often engendered by the
realisation and acceptance that governments neither have all the answers nor
the omnipresence to deliver adequately to the people. It is the acceptance
that, especially given the complex demands of the modern world, the people,
through different formations, shall seek to wrestle from their government
part of the authority and sovereignty in order to help better their

This trend is enduring. It might stutter, it might be halted for a period,
but it can only move forwards and not backwards. Its forward march shall
continue to happen irrespective of our will or consciousness. For us who sit
in the hallowed chambers of our governments, we had better appreciate this
necessity, confront it, constructively mitigate its negatives where we can,
and ride the crest of its positive elements to a better future of greater

What is evident is that the traditional conception of exercising political
and civil authority and sovereignty is getting more diffused. This is a
demonstration that political and civil authority and sovereignty is today
going beyond the realm of governments and party-political frameworks.
Of course there is another way of looking at this development; ie as a
threat to the traditional authority and sovereignty of government, as
something to be combated by all means possible. This way of looking at this
development is also motivated by different considerations, some are real,
but others are the result of the failure to appreciate necessity.

Some of the real concerns, especially in the developing countries, are that
some of these civil society organisations are nothing else but fronts of
external powers that are designed to promote the cultural, political and
economic agenda of these foreign powers. History is replete with examples
where civil society organisations were but fronts of powerful external
powers. Certainly we all have to be vigilant against such dangers.

However it is also important to note that one enduring way of mitigating the
danger of foreign manipulation is for us who sit in governments to realise
and accept the limitations of government and our party-political frameworks
and thus accept that we might have to seek alliances with genuine democratic
civic formations of the people in order to deliver on our mandates. We have
to be prepared to surrender part of the authority and sovereignty downwards
to the people so that the people themselves become direct and active
participants in the betterment of their condition.

The second of these two forces is centrifugal; ie the force pulling part of
the authority and sovereignty of the state outwards and upwards towards
multilateral institutions like  Sadc, AU, UN, WTO, IMF, etc. Increasingly
the nation state has been compelled to surrender part of its authority and
sovereignty and subject itself to the governance of these institutions.
These institutions set governance structures and rules of engagement for all
nations. Often the nation state has to abide by these rules or suffer the
consequences of non-compliance.

This trend is enduring, inexorable and happens irrespective of our will or
consciousness. Indeed there are times when it might stall or stutter or even
collapse but it does come back in one form or another, sooner or later. This
is the trend of globalisation of the institutions of governance driving us
into, and at the same time necessitated by the fact that we live in the
global village.

We can cast our minds back to the year 1776 when Adam Smith (1723 – 1790)
wrote his seminal book, Wealth of Nations. He made a point about the
shipping route around the Cape that I consider one of the most fundamental
observations about the enduring phenomenon of globalisation.

“The discovery of America and that of a passage to the East Indies by the
Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded
in the history of mankind…What benefits and what misfortunes to mankind may
hereafter result from those great events no human wisdom can foresee. By
uniting in some measure the most distant parts of the world, by enabling
them to relive one another’s wants, to increase one another’s enjoyments,
and to encourage one another’s industry, their general tendency would seem
to be beneficial. To the natives, however, both of the West and the East
Indies, all the commercial benefits that can have resulted from those events
have been sunk and lost in the dreadful misfortunes which they have
Apart from the natives of both the West and East Indies we can surely add
those of Southern Africa. We all know what tragic misfortunes arose out of
those voyages of discovery for the people of our region — those misfortunes
lasted for centuries of slavery, colonialism, dispossession, extermination
of the indigenous communities, and so on.

The two events that Smith has referred to represent one of the oldest
examples of globalisation and the first stirrings of global governance
straddling the West Indies, Africa and the East Indies. As these voyages
were starting, the Khoisan people of South Africa, the kings and the
subjects in the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, the Kingdom of Mapungubwe, those who
inhabited the dense forest of the Congo, the nomads who found delight in the
massive and fascinating red sand dunes of the Namib desert, or indeed those
who perched their abode on the top of Thaba Bosigo, were completely unaware
of the rudimentary forces of globalisation that were later to engulf their
lives. That inexorable march has continued up to this day.
It is this understanding of the connection between freedom and necessity
that is fundamental to human development and preservation. For us who might
not appreciate, or are not fully aware of or are not sensitive to these
forces, we are likely to utterly ignore them, or fight them with all the
vigour in our power. Indeed we might put up a formidable fight and manage to
stall or halt the impact of these forces on our societies. The danger to us
however is that the march of these forces is inexorable.

On the other hand those who appreciate, or are fully aware of and sensitive
to the operation of these forces are best equipped to position themselves
strategically in order to engage with them. It puts them is a better
position to identify and isolate the negative aspects of these forces, to
mitigate those they cannot eliminate and to ride the crest of the positive
elements they bring along. That is what gives them greater freedom.
These are the choices that as nations, at all times, we are called upon to

I must hasten to add that we should make a difference between an
all-pervasive naturalistic determinism from what we call the appreciation of
necessity. The former suggests we all have no choices to engage, mitigate
the negatives, and indeed ride the positive elements brought about by the
powerful social and economic laws. The latter suggests we do.

However there are overarching characteristics that push us all, both as
individual nations and as humanity towards a common goal. That is why the
means of production, the factors of production and the form of preservation
of societies have moved in varied ways, inter alia, from primitive society,
to hunter-gatherers, to feudalism, to capitalism. Over the centuries and
over the decades there have been many attempts to divert this march without
much lasting success.

If we look at our topic of discussion for today; ie Globalisation, Democracy
and the African Agenda, we shall realise that we have touched only on the
first two aspects — democracy and globalisation. We still have to situate
the African agenda in this whole milieu.
Continued next week.

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Matabeleland cries out for pragmatic politicians

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:37

By Qhubani Moyo

THE provision of US$40 million for the resuscitation of Bulawayo industries
was always going to cause problems. Firstly, most of the Matabeleland
political players in government who presided over the deliberate
marginalisation of Matabeleland were bound to resist any move aimed at
resuscitating Bulawayo’s industry. Secondly they were bound to want to claim
ownership in the event of it succeeding.
This deliberate systematic marginalisation by a clique in Zanu PF for their
political gains was meant to suffocate the region and push its people to all
levels of desperation such that at some stage they run back and seek
political patronage from Zanu PF.

This fascist and Maoist strategy of starving people to submission
unfortunately did not produce the desired results, as the people of the
region instead chose a political route out of the mess and voted against
Zanu PF in the region. The watershed election of 2000 which saw the booting
out of perceived regional giants like Dumiso Dabengwa, the late Thenjiwe
Lesabe, Obert Mpofu, Simon Khaya Moyo and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu to name but a
few was a clear demonstration by the people of the region that they were not
prepared to play tomfoolery by allowing retrogressive leaders to continue
claiming reign in the region.

However even though the  region  booted some of these people out of
parliament and government Zanu PF realised that they were more vulnerable
and therefore could be used against their own people hence the selection of
a loyal few into positions in government purely on the benevolence of
President Robert Mugabe. If their actions are a measure of their job
description and terms of reference one would be forgiven for thinking that
the key deliverable was to fix the people of Matabeleland so much that they
would even regret who they are.

It is common knowledge that the allocation of farms and hunting concessions
at the exclusion of most people from the region was presided over by Mpofu
as Governor of Matabeleland North Province. Right now multitudes of people
in the region speak of how they were deliberately excluded from benefiting
from prime land in Umguza because they were viewed as politically incorrect.

The major beneficiaries of the prime land were mainly people from
Mashonaland who were known to be closely linked to the establishment and as
a result an island of people with no interest in the region was planted in
the heart of the region for the sole purpose of diluting the votes that
represent the true aspirations of the region. This was also done in areas
like Debshan Ranch in Insiza where the Governor of Matabeleland South
literally planted a legion of people from Mashonaland in large numbers so as
to dilute the pro-Matabeleland elements. This has benefited Mpofu and people
like Andrew Langa whose parliamentary victories in those areas are out of
manipulation of the fears of the constituents who are told that if they vote
with the pro-Matabeleland sentiment they will be ejected and returned to
their places of origin.

Not only does Mpofu exclude his own kith and kin out of prime land, but he
has cases to answer regarding the closure of industries. At the time when he
was the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Mpofu presided over
the closure of most companies especially in Matabeleland. While Zanu PF will
use the usual cliché of sanctions, the truth of the matter is that as
minister in charge of industry he saw many companies relocate from
Matabeleland, some only to reopen with ownership by people from outside the
region. This was done despite the fact that there were locals who were
putting some strong bids for those companies but were deliberately excluded
from clinching the deals. Mpofu, as Minister of Industry and International
Trade, made himself a successful businessman and a shining example of how
some public officials work for themselves and not the masses.

It is thus shocking to learn that Zanu PF is behaving like a vulture with
regards to the US$40 million released for the resuscitation of distressed
companies in Bulawayo. The initiative which is led by the Minister of
Industry and Commerce Professor Welshman Ncube (pictured left) has shown
that Matabeleland politicians should stop complaining but act. The huge
windfall which will undoubtedly reposition Bulawayo as an industrial giant
comes a few months after yet another great achievement by the Ncube in
signing the Essar deal that has brightened the revival prospects of steel
giant Zisco. The Essar deal, the single biggest investment in the country in
the last decade clearly demonstrates that Zimbabweans can move mountains
with politicians like Ncube who talks less but deliver.

Ironically Ncube’s two major recent national scoops have the effect of
correcting the mess that Mpofu created and yet for some strange reason Zanu
PF thinks he should be the overseer of the distribution of the US$40
million. How strange that he who destroyed and failed to serve the region
can suddenly be overseer of such an important initiative. Why didn’t Mpofu
provide funding for resuscitation of the industries when he was still the
minister in charge of industry? Even now as Minister of Mines if he is
committed to Matabeleland why is he not supporting distressed mines in the
region from being taken over by non-locals?

Zanu PF should stop taking people of Matabeleland for granted by making
childish pronouncements. This is not the time for politicking and credit
should be given where it is due. In the same manner that we acknowledge that
Mpofu presided over the collapse of companies in Bulawayo, Zanu PF should
accept that Ncube is superintending over the revival of these companies.
Unless we get to those levels of maturity the country will not move forward.
There is an old adage that failure is an orphan while success is everyone’s
child. The people of Matabeleland are not fools; they know who those who are
working for them and those working for themselves.

Politicians from Matabeleland should stop megaphone diplomacy and provide
practical solutions to problems bedevilling the region. The tangible
delivery by Ncube on the industrial front is a clear testimony that with
leaders who are visionary and pragmatic the region can get back on track
and, as for Zanu PF, they have to take initiatives and not feast on other
people’s prey. Bulawayo can now reclaim its legendary name

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CandidComment: Budget 2011: Biti’s acid test

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:49

THERE has been much that has been said about the upcoming budget to be
announced by Finance minister Tendai Biti next month. Given the general
scarcity of hard funds in the economy, this is where we will need to see
Among one of the things that are not a  priority, but have tended to
sidetrack budgetary issues, is the issue of compensating  bank account
holders of the amounts frozen in Zimdollar accounts. Let the debate around
that remain merely academic for much of the foreseeable future. If that is
ever to happen, let it be at a time when our economy has settled down.

The most crucial point at which conversion of Zimdollar accounts into hard
currency accounts was needed was upon transition into the multi-currency
system. At that time, we all desperately needed hard currency and somehow
most were resourceful enough to come up with the foreign exchange, that is
if they didn’t already have it hidden in their drawers and other hiding
places. For others, it meant selling the family silverware at a song in
order to make the new start. That was the pain of adjustment.

Many will remember the artificial asset price bubble upon transition as the
majority assumed the farcical prices of the hitherto era were there to stay.
Of course all asset prices took a knock and people could only gawk at how
they became so cheap and yet there was no money to buy, reminding one of the
famous stanza of the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner; “ Water, water
everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”

Perhaps the coming budget is the real acid test for Biti as he grapples with
allocating the ever scarce resources against such huge demands. His response
will signify whether his aspiring-to-rule party is one that bites the bullet
for the good of the economy or is one that buckles to populist tendencies.
We believe that elections are now more of a reality next year going forward.
In the previous single party government, this was always the time to splash
around money in order to appease the electorate. We shudder to even think
that if elections are to be held next year, from where will the money come?

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission once estimated that it would need US$80
million. Given the spendthrift spirit that pervades elections, this is
likely to be far less than what would actually be spent. Given the crucial,
do-or-die nature of that election, anything upward of US$200 million would
not be surprising. Then we have the real sector demands. Already this week,
we saw the Mutare business community demanding a distressed companies fund,
similar to the US$40 million that was earmarked for Matabeleland. In all
likelihood, other provinces that feel neglected, such as the politically
powerful Masvingo and its half sister Midlands might also make similar

The traditional real sector representative bodies have been holding
consultative meetings with the Finance minister or members of his team over
what areas they feel need priority. Agriculture needs money for inputs and
for prompt payment of farmers if this sector is still to survive. Miners
this week said a cap should be put on interest rates charged by banks (at
last, someone has dared to speak openly against these all powerful shadowy
figures). On the other hand the manufacturing sector has had the blueprint
industrial policy approved by cabinet, but this needs money to implement.

Council workers are on strike, demanding pay increases and hapless AirZim
wants in excess of US$140 million to revive itself.  Biti, like the Ancient
Mariner, “cannot choose but  hear”, all the demands made on his portfolio.
This is the time to see whether he will meritoriously fit the bill of
Finance minister.

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Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:50

LATEST reports that the nose-diving Air Zimbabwe is losing US$3,5 million a
month while its crippling debt has ballooned to about US$138 million
demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt something must be done urgently to
resolve the situation.
The story of Air Zimbabwe’s precipitous decline and the general collapse of
the local aviation industry are emblematic of the dramatic deterioration of
the country from a relatively prosperous nation to a basket case.

It bears testimony to President Robert Mugabe’s leadership and policy
failures which have impoverished the nation and reduced it to ruins before
the inclusive government came in 2009 to pick up the pieces.

The airline, now technically insolvent, has of late been hit by a wave of
strikes, dismissals of managers, resignations, retrenchments and departures
of pilots.

Air Zimbabwe CEO Innocent Mavhunga on Tuesday told a parliamentary portfolio
committee on state enterprises and parastatals, chaired by Zvishavane-Runde
MP Larry Mavhima, the national flag carrier was collapsing. His evidence
showed the airline is going down irretrievably.

“Our cost of operating the business sits at about $6 million to $7,5
million,” Mavhunga said. “Our income is between $2,5 million and $3,5
million. So simple mathematics would tell us there is a deficit averaging
$3,5 million to $5 million every month.”

Mavhunga said the airline’s debt profile is currently $137,7 million. Of
this debt, $112,7 is owed to local creditors. He said part of the problem
was that government forced the carrier to charge in local currency during
the Zim-dollar era while costs were in hard currency. He also blamed
sanctions for Air Zimbabwe’s troubles. According to Mavhunga, the airline
has had a spectacular turnover of 12 successive CEOs in the past decade who
all failed to rescue the carrier from the morass. Given this messy state of
affairs, government, the sole shareholder, must move quickly to decisively
tackle the situation. The process must be transparent and accountable given
Air Zimbabwe is a public enterprise. A thoughtful and creative approach is
needed to deal with the situation. Tourism minister Walter Mzembi recently
suggested Air Zimbabwe should not be closed because it would be
“self-destructive and politically and morally wrong”.

“A national flag carrier is a brand, portraying the image of the country,
the dignity, the value, the ethos and the meaning of the country and
normally has the country’s flag insignia printed on it. Its arrival at any
international airport announces the arrival of the country and what it
stands for. It is the pride of the nation,” Mzembi said.

The minister and those of his ilk want government take over the debt or
negotiate a debt take-over by a potential strategic partner like what
happened to Ziscosteel in the Essar deal. It is hoped debt restructuring
would enable the airline to restore a healthy balance sheet and attract
strategic partners or investors. If the Essar-like deal could be struck,
then the better but that would be difficult given the rotten state of Air
Zimbabwe. The airline is in a shambles and the state of its aircraft,
operations and financial position make it a hard sell and renders its
purported “national branding” role untenable. Direct government funding is
out. How can government take over Air Zimbabwe’s debts and pour more money
down the drain when there is clear evidence public funding of the airline
failed in the past.

Government should not use taxpayers’ money to subsidise mismanagement and
corruption in the name of rescuing a national flag carrier for the sake of
“national pride”. It’s not about ego but viability.

Ideally, Air Zimbabwe should be a national brand but the trouble is that it
is now a symbol of national failure. That is why many Zimbabweans are not
proud of flying Air Zimbabwe. Mavhunga actually complained government
officials are shunning the airline.

Despite its good safety record, Air Zimbabwe, now a damaged brand, must
quickly enter into a strategic partnership or simply be liquidated.

This has happened before in other countries. Liquidating a national flag
carrier is not new. Zambia liquidated its Zambia Airways in 1995. The
national flag carrier in Japan, Japan Airlines, filed for bankruptcy
protection last year. Urgent measures must be taken at Air Zimbabwe.

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Editor'sMemo: Flexibility, rapport key for BEE success

Thursday, 20 October 2011 17:48

With Constantine Chimakure

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last Friday exhibited rare, but commendable,
pragmatism when he launched the Zimplats-facilitated US$10 million
Chegutu-Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust under the
controversial economic indigenisation and empowerment programme.
Mugabe discarded the populist rhetoric he peddled in recent months to
nationalise Zimplats, among other mining entities, and preached the need for
partnership in empowering locals.
This about-turn by Mugabe is a pleasant surprise since the implementation of
the programme, so far, has sent jitters down the spines of both investors
and would-be investors. The opacity surrounding the policy has seen stocks
tumbling on the local bourse.  The MDC-T has since disowned the
indigenisation programme and has come up with its own empowerment project:
Investment, Jobs and Upliftment. The modalities of this programme are still
a matter of conjecture.

What is clear is that there is need for flexibility and rapport if the
empowerment programme is to succeed.

The flat-earth mentality and one-size-fits-all approach that Indigenisation
and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has tried to railroad through
will lead nowhere. There are lessons to be drawn from the Zimplats case. A
rigid approach is a recipe for disaster. As well, different companies and
economic sectors have equally different and peculiar circumstances that must
be dealt with on a case by case basis.

In this process, it would be foolhardy for us as a nation to go it alone. It’s
common cause that we have serious challenges and shortcomings in the arenas
of capital, machinery and to some extent skills. All these challenges have
to be taken into consideration in coming up with empowerment thresholds and
credits for different companies and economic sectors.

Due care and attention should be taken to ensure that the Zimplats Trust,
and others lined up, are not  hijacked by political gladiators in Zanu PF to
prop-up the party ahead of the anticipated elections next year or in 2013.

It is evident from recent developments that Zanu PF intended to use the
empowerment drive to attract the electorate. Community trusts would most
probably be dangled by Zanu PF to “buy” itself back into the rural areas
where it lost significant votes in the March 2008 polls.
There is no doubt that the next elections will be fought on the platform of
economically empowering the majority. That is why there is now a discord in
the inclusive government between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.

The MDC-T’s ineptitude was once again in the public glare last week when the
party disowned the current programme and came up with its own project.
This is after MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai defended the indigenisation
programme earlier this year at the World Economic Forum

While the MDC-T is entitled to draw up an empowerment programme of their
own, as a partner in the inclusive government, they should have been part
and parcel of the government policy. They should rather have tried to refine
the policy and not rested on their laurels. It is a reality that Zimbabwe
needs to create jobs for the unemployed, but it is also a reality that they
should be able to participate in economic activity.

Given the skewed structural power in favour of Zanu PF in government, it
does not require a rocket scientist to see that as long as the MDC-T is not
in power its proposals will remain a dead letter.

The MDC-T has not helped matters by changing the goal posts at the eleventh
hour. Zanu PF has set its sights on the ballot, and they will do anything to
lure the electorate using the indigenisation programme, especially the
community trusts to win back rural votes.

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