October 26, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe flew to Singapore for a medical check-up this week
after attending a World Energy Forum in Dubai, provoking fresh speculation
about his failing health and uncertain re-election bid next year.
Sources said Mugabe, dogged by old-age complications and ill-health, has
once again gone to seek specialist treatment in the Far East for an
undisclosed ailment and is due home this weekend.
Reports say he is suffering from prostate cancer which has metastasised and
spread to other parts of the body.
His health and old age are fuelling a messy succession battle in Zanu PF,
now divided into two rival factions. Fears are that Mugabe, whom doctors
have reportedly said must retire, might falter in the middle of campaigns,
sparking a major crisis in Zanu PF which is likely to degenerate into chaos
upon his exit.
Mugabe’s absence forced the postponement of graduation ceremonies at
Zimbabwe Open University and the National University of Science and
October 26, 2012 in News
ZANU PF bigwigs Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Mashonaland
Central governor Martin Dinha and Lands and Resettlement minister Hebert
Murerwa, are embroiled in a nasty fight over lucrative citrus farms in
Guruve Rural District Council and other local authorities.
Report by Brian Chitemba
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent Dinha wrestled eight citrus farms and
allegedly parcelled them out to his close associates under the guise of
repossessing under-utilised farms.
The farms were allocated to the local authorities in the province at the
height of the controversial land reform programme, but a decade later Dinha
unilaterally re-allocated the vast plantations to his business cronies.
At the centre of a storm is Marimambada Citrus Farm which was owned by
Guruve Rural District Council which Dinha allocated a close colleague,
Sydney Gwaze, through the Mashonaland Provincial Lands Committee. Dinha
chairs the lands committee in his capacity as provincial governor.
Dinha issued an offer letter to Gwaze to immediately takeover the vast
Marimambada farm on April 12.
The Guruve District Council has launched a fierce battle to regain control
of the citrus farm which was the local authority’s cash-cow as it was used
as collateral to access credit facilities to finance capital projects.
The council approached Chombo and also filed papers in the High Court to
reverse the reallocation of the property. Chombo opposed the seizure and
confronted Dinha seeking return of all grabbed assets. He also engaged
Murerwa who signed the offer letters at the instigation of Dinha, who
indicated that the farms were under-utilised.
Although Chombo could not be reached for comment, Dinha defended his stance
and vowed never to reverse the citrus farm grabs, saying the Mashonaland
Provincial Lands Committee was in agreement that the plantations were
under-utilised by councils.
“The lands committee decided to re-allocate the farms because councils were
running down the properties,” said Dinha. “We directed that eight farms be
repossessed and allocated to serious farmers because we can’t sit and watch
councils failing to produce,” he said.
He said the lands committee was due to meet to deliberate on the raging
dispute over the repossession of the properties.
Sources said the citrus fruit farms were major sources of cash for the broke
councils and the move by Dinha to re-allocate them has left the local
The seizure of the citrus farms is seen as part of an asset grab by senior
Zanu PF officials, some of whom are currently wreaking havoc in the Save
October 26, 2012 in News
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has courted controversy by allegedly pushing for the
eviction of more than 50 resettled farmers close to her orphanage in Mazowe
to make way for a game park.
Report by Elias Mambo
This is the second time Grace has had resettled farmers forcefully evicted
in Mazowe after first kicking farmers out to make way for the construction
of her orphanage last year.
Residents were furious that Grace invaded already developed and legally
acquired land to erect her orphanage instead of looking for virgin land like
that they were forcefully relocated to. The evicted families have expressed
outrage that they were not given alternative plots but were just being told
to go back where they came from.
“We have been around this place for a long time only to be told to leave
without being offered alternative land or compensation,” said a disgruntled
farmer speaking anonymously. “How does she expect us to build our homes
without compensation? The Mugabes have a penchant for grabbing. They grabbed
farms and now it is our land. We do not know where to go now because we left
our original villages years ago.”
Last year some residents who bought stands in 1998 were issued with eviction
letters and promised alternative accommodation and compensation, but nothing
has materialised to date. Even Justice Ben Hlatshwayo has also been a victim
of eviction by Grace.
Regis Chikowore, a director in the Media, Information and Publicity
ministry, said his office is not aware of the evictions.
“Our office is not aware of such evictions but if there is anything going
on, the affected farmers have to seek advice from their provincial
resettlement board,” said Chikowore. “I think they were issued with notices
a long time ago,” he said.
Many resettled farmers are now facing fresh evictions spearheaded by chiefs,
Zanu PF politicians and senior government officials countrywide.
Last month Mugabe and the Zanu PF politburo were forced to intervene after
senior party officials, war veterans and army generals invaded the Save
October 26, 2012 in News
UPROAR in the constitution-making process triggered by President Robert
Mugabe’s plot for principals to hijack the exercise for personal political
agendas is fuelling widespread conflict in the volatile situation.
Report by Faith Zaba/Owen Gagare
Cross-party alliances are emerging between negotiators and Copac members to
stop Zanu PF bigwigs in their tracks.
The explosive emergency is already catching the attention of Sadc leaders
and facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma who sprung into action
on Monday after MDC leader Welshman Ncube boycotted the opening session of
the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference over deputy premier Arthur Mutambara’s
presence in the programme.
Diplomats told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday Sadc was closely
monitoring the political and security situation in the country as
implementation of the polls roadmap and preparations for free and fair
elections reach a critical stage.
Following his attempts to cajole Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to help him seize control of the
constitution-making process, Mugabe’s actions have inadvertently triggered a
revolt within Copac by leaders of the two MDC parties angered by covert
efforts to sabotage the process which has taken more than three years and
gobbled about US$50 million.
More than US$1 million was further spent this week alone at the conference.
Ncube, still frozen out of discussions on the constitution-making process
despite a Sadc resolution to include him and not Mutambara, has been
hectically lobbying behind the scenes to form a broad alliance to oppose the
Sources say Ncube, who is also the Industry and Commerce minister, has
managed to rope in MDC-T chief negotiator Tendai Biti, who is also Finance
minister, Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs Eric
Matinenga and MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, among others, to fight
Mugabe’s plot to hijack the process.
MDC-T leaders are dismayed Tsvangirai could well be part of plans by
principals to take over the Copac process, although the premier has feebly
distanced himself from the initiative.
Efforts to get comment from Tsvangirai to clarify his position were
unsuccessful as he was out of the country. But senior MDC-T officials,
including Biti, Matinenga and Mwonzora, have made it clear they are opposed
to the idea of principals taking over the process to change or rewrite the
Ncube and his allies are arguing the constitution-making process cannot be
taken over by government or cabinet like Mugabe wants because it is a
parliamentary process under Article VI of the Global Political Agreement
The article deals with the constitution-making process and mandates Copac to
take charge of the process until it is debated in parliament and subjected
to a referendum.
Mugabe, hoping to effect wholesale amendments to the draft, has been trying
to rope in Tsvangirai and Mutambara to assist him in his agenda.
Mugabe wants to restore diluted presidential powers in a bid to recover lost
influence through wholesale amendments to the draft ahead of elections. Zanu
PF changes were fiercely resisted at the stakeholders’ conference this week.
Earlier this month Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara summoned Matinenga —
whom they want to be the pointman in the process after sidelining or
disbanding — to inform him of plans to form a cabinet committee to oversee
the constitution-making exercise, but he rejected the task, saying it
violated the GPA.
Matinenga this week confirmed being summoned. He said principals must not
interfere with the process.
“I am sure the principals will meet to discuss, but I hope they do not meet
to interfere with the process,” he said.
“I sincerely hope when they do meet, it will be within the parameters of
Article VI. We are simply saying we should adhere to the constitution — we
have made rules and we must abide by those rules in letter and spirit.”
However, an undeterred Mugabe this week told delegates at the conference
that principals will have the final say.
Mugabe’s plan has, however, caused further rifts within the coalition
government with Ncube, Biti, Matinenga and others joining forces to thwart
Information at hand shows in fact the majority of Copac members, MPs and
some senior officials within Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC are resisting attempts
to allow principals to rewrite the draft constitution and have the final
“We will fight them, the principals. We will not allow the process to be
taken away from Copac,” one MDC-T official said.
While none of the Zanu PF officials will be able to stand up to Mugabe in
public, they are supporting MDC leaders behind the scenes.
Biti told the Independent: “There is no one outside Copac that has powers to
amend that draft. If there are any misgivings, let the people of Zimbabwe be
the referees, let them decide. As far as we are concerned, let us not
rewrite the GPA, let us not incorporate what is not there.”
He added: “This process is bigger than the principals and Zanu PF’s chaos
faction, the clique of hardliners. As MDC, we have a resolution and we will
just go back to the national executive council. We are not going to
re-negotiate the draft.”
He said amendments would only be made on clauses whose proposal was
unanimously agreed on.
Faced with resistance, Mugabe is said to be now mooting plans to move the
constitution-making programme to the Attorney-General’s (AG) Office, thus
making it a government process.
Sources say Mugabe plans to assign AG Johannes Tomana and top judges to take
over the re-drafting process. Names suggested include Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku and Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau as they were involved in
the botched 1999-2000 constitutional commission process.
After the stakeholders’ conference, Ncube remained adamant Mugabe and his
fellow principals must not be allowed to unilaterally overhaul the draft,
saying it must now go to parliament and then referendum without amendments.
He said this was in line with the GPA and Sadc resolutions on the issue.
“There is a Sadc Maputo resolution to that effect,” Ncube said.
Part of the Sadc Maputo communique reads: “Summit resolved that if there are
any difficulties with regard to the constitution and implementation of
agreements, the facilitator should be called upon to engage the parties and
assist them resolve such issues, bearing in mind the timeframes and the
necessity to hold free and fair elections.”
Sources said when Zuma spoke to Ncube on Monday to persuade him to remain in
the constitution-making process, he also indicated Sadc was closely
monitoring the situation and was ready to intervene in terms of the GPA, its
facilitation mandate and resolutions and also as a guarantor of Zimbabwe’s
October 26, 2012 in News
SENIOR cabinet ministers are set to meet on Monday to discuss the 2013
national budget as part of Finance minister Tendai Biti’s on-going budget
Report by Brian Chitemba
The ministers will discuss ways of mobilising resources to fund the new
Biti will present the budget on November 5 and has been on a whirlwind tour
of provinces to get input from various stakeholders.
This week, Biti visited Midlands, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South.
He will also meet with bankers and economists in Harare next week to discuss
issues raised by various stakeholders during his consultations.
Biti told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday the main issues raised centred
on politics, the economy and elections.
He said increasing elections talk has created a “great sense of anxiety”
among most Zimbabweans.
“It is very clear there is a pervasive sense of anxiety about politics and
elections across the country. People are anxious about what will happen
next, particularly after elections.
People are exhausted by predatory national politics. They say they want
peace and stability so that they can move on with their lives,” said Biti.
He said people in Matabeleland frequently raised the issue of devolution
even though it is not a budgetary matter. Matabeleland residents believe
devolution of power would address the much-talked about marginalisation.
Biti was pleased though people in Matabeleland now showed a sense of unity
with other Zimbabweans because he felt before, they exhibited serious
alienation and marginalisation.
“I came here for similar consultations before and it almost felt like you
were in another country when you arrived here (in Bulawayo) because of the
way people felt about their situation,” he said.
October 26, 2012 in Politics
ZANU PF’s Global Political Agreement negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche are in hot soup for their role in the succession-inspired
running-mates clause in the contested Copac draft constitution as it emerged
this week they were the architects of the controversial provision which has
infuriated President Robert Mugabe.
Report by Staff Writers
The running-mates clause has intensified Mugabe’s succession battle after it
became evident Zanu PF factions, led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, are escalating the fight.
Fresh information gleaned from Zanu PF insiders this week shows it was in
fact Goche –– and not MDC-T chief negotiator Tendai Biti as initially
thought –– who proposed the clause.
The latest information is also contrary to the generally-held belief that
the proposal was part of Mnangagwa’s grand plan, working with Chinamasa, to
force Mugabe to anoint a successor.
Sources said the clause was proposed by Goche at the Copac retreat in Nyanga
in July and was only endorsed after all negotiators, including Chinamasa,
consulted their principals. The draft states if the president dies or
resigns, the first vice-president takes over.
October 26, 2012 in Politics
ZANU PF hardliners have clandestinely embarked on a countrywide tour to meet
villagers and urge them to vote “No” in the referendum if the draft
constitution is adopted in its current form.
Report by Elias Mambo
The hardliners are allegedly led by influential politburo members and are
working closely with controversial Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
analysts and Zanu PF apologists Claude Mararike, Tafataona Mahoso and Vimbai
Chivaura is spearheading the rural outreach programme in preparation for the
party’s “No” vote campaign if the draftis not overhauled. His team has been
issued with vehicles acquired by Zanu PF for its planned election campaign
Chivaura, Mararike and Mahoso have constantly castigated the Copac draft
saying “no Zimbabwean, who has known the suffering of what vana vevhu (sons
of the soil) went through in rescuing this nation from servitude and
prostration to white subjugation and humiliation, can read this document
without feeling scandalised and outraged” by its contents.
The group has rejected the draft constitution, claiming it is a “highly
personalised and politicised treacherous legal document aimed at retiring
President Robert Mugabe”.
Sources who attended one of the meetings in Masvingo said Chivaura’s team is
dismissing the draft as an attack on the integrity of the people of Zimbabwe
whose views they claim were mainly neglected.
They are also alleging Copac is a “regime change weapon”.
However, Chivaura refuted the allegations when contacted for comment, saying
he is a lecturer and his duties entail educating and informing people.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa could neither confirm
nor deny reports that party hardliners had dispatched a group to rural areas
to campaign for a “No” vote.
“There are so many groups we hear are doing a lot of things and claim to be
part of Zanu PF and that group is not the party,” said Mutasa. “Zanu PF will
go by what Mugabe, the only party leader, said to everyone at the Second
All-Stakeholders’ Conference.” he said.
At the conference Mugabe warned delegates that principals, not Copac or the
people, would have the final say in the constitution-making process, laying
bare his intention of hijacking the exercise to advance his and party
Zanu PF wants all of Mugabe’s imperial powers whittled down in the Copac
draft restored in the new governance charter. However, the two MDC
formations insist no amendments would be made by political parties since the
draft was approved by all party representatives after in-depth negotiations
and consultations between the management committee and party principals.
October 26, 2012 in News
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti says government would soon send an SOS to
several Western countries and other global donor organisations for money to
fund the referendum and elections as the country was broke and could not go
Report by Staff Writer
Biti told a 2013 national budget consultative meeting in Bulawayo yesterday
the country lacked the financial resources to fund the crucial elections and
Western countries should help to foot part of the bill.
The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has already indicated
it needs about US$104 million to successfully organise a referendum to test
the draft constitution which would pave the way for make-or-break elections
“The 2013 budget is the crucial one in the lifespan of the inclusive
government because it’s a pre-election budget,” said Biti.
“However, we do not have adequate resources to fund the elections on our
own…. countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway and China as well as the
United Nations have an obligation to fund the elections, in as much as they
fund our education and health sector. We will soon approach them for
assistance,” he said.
Biti to check on US$100m request
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti travels to South Africa today to make a
follow-up on the South African government’s US$100 million budgetary support
pledge to Zimbabwe.
Biti is to engage his South African counterpart Pravin Gordhan as a follow
up to their previous meeting in September.
“Tomorrow (today) I will be travelling to South Africa and I will use the
opportunity to make a follow up on that (budgetary support) issue,” said
Biti. “I will phone my counterpart to check what is going on. I should have
done that by now but I haven’t because of budget consultations.”
Sadc heads of state and government pledged to provide support to Zimbabwe’s
Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme at an extraordinary summit held at
the Lozitha Palace in Swaziland in 2009.
At that summit South Africa pledged to explore a number of possible support
measures for Zimbabwe, including budget support grants, lines of credit and
export credit facilities.
October 26, 2012 in News
MDC-T Harare supporters have warned the party of widespread voter apathy if
it fails to uphold its resolution to subject all aspiring legislators to
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
The supporters said current councilors and most MPs should not be re-elected
because they had dismally failed on the service delivery front.
“If the party imposes them (councilors and MPs) on the people, there will be
apathy (and) it will cost the party dearly in the next elections,” warned
the supporters in a letter to the party.
In a bid to protect their current seats from internal rivals, senior MDC-T
leaders had come up with a controversial confirmation method to circumvent
open primaries ahead of general elections. Under the confirmation process,
the party’s constituency structures would be asked to affirm the incumbent
to be the party nominee by a majority vote, while primary elections would
pit all aspiring candidates against each other.
The supporters suggested aspiring candidates should be over 35 years old,
own property and be resident in the constituency they seek to represent. The
candidates should also have five “O-Levels”, political experience and be
The supporters demanded that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai immediately
addresses their concerns because the party’s current calibre of councillors
and MPs was completely out of touch with their constituencies.
Read the letter: “The people in most constituencies do not know their MPs,
councillors and senators because some of them have not held report-back
meetings since 2008. The people are bitter in rural areas, some were
injured, some lost relatives and property was destroyed and not even their
MPs, senators or councillors have visited to console them. We have observed
that they are busy with their personal businesses.”
The supporters said the method used in 2008 whereby prospective candidates
volunteered instead of being nominated after stating their vision should
never be repeated.
The residents also pleaded with Tsvangirai to visit grassroots branches,
wards and districts in person and not listen to party structures which raise
issues of protocol each time they demand a meeting with him.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed this week the party’s standing
committee had ruled that the party’s heavyweights would be subjected to
primaries following a meeting at the party’s headquarters in Harare last
October 26, 2012 in News
THE Copac Second All-Stakeholders’ conference held in Harare this week was
reduced to a mere talk-shop with delegates failing to resolve the imbroglio
dogging the controversial draft constitution, providing the clearest
evidence yet that the constitution-making process is a charade.
Report by Brian Chitemba
The two-day indaba, which gobbled up US$1,2 million on top of the close to
US$50 million already spent, ended with a deadlock.
Zanu PF stuck to its position in a bid shred the Copac draft by introducing
a raft of alterations to maintain the constitutional status quo ahead of
crucial elections next year.
The two MDC formations also maintained their positions, leaving the process
locked in stalemate, while creating an opportunity for President Robert
Mugabe to intervene to hijack the exercise.
Insiders say Sadc is also moving to intervene.
Conference delegates compiled reports highlighting their positions in 18
thematic chapters but the issues would only be resolved by the principals.
The same contentious issues, including presidential powers, judiciary,
devolution of power, dual citizenship, security sector reforms, the proposed
National Prosecuting Authority, role of chiefs, and independent commissions,
which dominated debate in the run-up to the conference, remained unresolved.
Some observers have questioned the logic of wasting close to US$50 million
in a moribund economy to write a new so-called people-oriented constitution
when the principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, intend to determine
the outcome in moves aimed at protecting their narrow political interests.
Although Zimbabweans expressed their views during the outreach programme,
most of what they raised has been ignored by the three parties battling for
political space ahead of elections.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent Mugabe and Tsvangirai had already
agreed that all contentious issues would be negotiated by a cabinet
technical committee to be chaired by Mutambara and comprising ministers from
Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC and other officials, a move which has sparked outrage
This is part of a wider plot by Mugabe to hijack the constitution-making
process from Copac to push through his party’s politburo amendments designed
to restore his executive powers ahead of polls.
Last week, Mugabe met Tsvangirai and agreed to form a cabinet committee to
spearhead an implementation mechanism for all agreed Global Political
Agreement (GPA) issues. Although Mugabe has blatantly declared principals
will have the final say, Tsvangirai has said party leaders will only provide
guidance despite persistent claims of collusion at the top.
But MDC leader Welshman Ncube, who is also Industry and Commerce minister,
refused to endorse the proposed committee, arguing the constitution-making
process is a wholly Copac-driven process and has nothing to do with cabinet.
Ncube boycotted the official opening of the stakeholders’ conference on
Monday after Mutambara was smuggled into the programme as one of the
The Sadc facilitation team led by South African President Jacob Zuma’s
international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu intervened and persuaded Ncube
to attend the thematic committee debates.
Sources said Zulu phoned Zuma who had a conversation with Ncube in which he
firmly emphasised the regional block would not tolerate efforts to hijack or
collapse the process which is central to free and fair elections next year.
Zuma, sources said, would ensure the writing of a new constitution is not
hijacked by individuals while undermining the GPA and elections
Afetr speaking to Zuma, Ncube said he would lodge a formal complaint with
Sadc highlighting the continued violation of the GPA by Mugabe.
Although Mugabe declared the principals would have the final say on the
draft constitution, Article VI of the GPA stipulates that a parliamentary
select committee, in this case Copac, would lead the process.
While Copac is celebrating successfully convening the stakeholders’
conference, political pundits insist the constitution-making process has
become a farce.
About 70% of the 1 200 conference delegates were drawn from civil society
with the majority invited by political parties, resulting in most of the
non-governmental organisations boycotting the indaba. Civil society groups
are mere window-dressers.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora however defended the process.
“Delegates submitted their feedback on the draft in the form of reports
which are now with Copac. The select committee shall soon be meeting to
deliberate on the way forward for the process,” said Mwonzora.
“Now that the draft has been presented to the stakeholders, the next stage
will be the production of a report on the constitution-making process, which
includes the draft constitution for debate in parliament. After the debate
in parliament, Zimbabweans will be expected to vote in a referendum to
decide,” he said.
October 26, 2012 in News
ZIMBABWE’S leading medical aid societies, Premier Services Medical Aid
Society (Psmas) and Cimas have been accused of straying from their core
business of providing medical insurance and venturing into provision of
Report by Herbert Moyo
Doctors are complaining that this venture is threatening the viability of
private medical practitioners and short-changing clients.
Sources said the two medical aid societies’ provision of hospital services
is not in keeping with their mandate of simply providing health insurance to
“They have been using their financial muscle to acquire their own hospitals
and laboratories resulting in competition with doctors. This has seen the
societies refusing or delaying to honour payments for members who choose to
visit facilities they don’t own,” said a doctor who requested anonymity.
Some medical laboratories in Harare currently display notices informing
Cimas and Psmas members to pay cash for all services due to the on-going
Psmas reportedly bought the Medical Centre in Harare for US$7 million last
month and immediately sought to hike rentals by 67% as a way of
consolidating its market position.
The move will affect more than 40 doctors who have been renting the facility
where they provide various services, including X-rays and tests for chronic
conditions like cancer, diabetes and HIV/Aids.
Reads a letter written by Dr Christopher Pasi who leads the tenants
occupying the premises: “The 67% increase is an attempt to destroy the
viability of the medical profession. It amounts to profiteering given that
inflation is at 5% per annum.” The letter was addressed to the permanent
secretary in the ministry of health Dr Gerald Gwinji and President Robert
Mugabe’s special health adviser Dr Timothy Stamps.
Pasi dismissed claims medical aid societies were providing medical services
to cushion their members against exorbitant charges by doctors.
“That was just a convenient argument they made to enter the fray but once
they were in they started to charge the same tariffs we charge.
For example, West End hospital which is owned by Psmas will charge the same
tariffs as any other similar grade hospital,” Pasi said.
The doctors also argued that patients no longer have the freedom to choose
specialists of their choice as they are forced to go to facilities owned by
the medical societies knowing they would not make excess payments.
October 26, 2012 in News
THE final session of the current parliament will be officially opened on
Tuesday and is set to be dominated by the 2013 national budget, conclusion
of the disputed constitution-making process and the referendum ahead of
elections expected next year.
Remove by Paidamoyo Muzulu
The official opening would restore long-awaited activity in the House which
has been sitting on an ad-hoc basis since July as the coalition government
partners continued to haggle over implementation of outstanding Global
Political Agreement reforms.
President Robert Mugabe has signalled that the country would rush all
outstanding reforms so that elections be held in March next year.
Mugabe said this at the official opening of the constitution-making exercise’s
Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference in Harare on Monday.
Senior MPs confirmed the delay in opening the final session leaves little
room for concrete debate on issues except the executive’s agenda likely to
be centred on elections.
An MDC-T member of parliament’s Standing Rules and Ordinances Committee that
decides the House’s itinerary said that MPs may not have much time to debate
issues such as the constitution.
A Zanu PF MP concurred the legislature has been reduced to a mere
rubber-stamp of the executive as political parties ready themselves for
“Elections are now the number one issue on the agenda and hence most of the
time available would be spent on passing enabling legislation,” the MP said.
Parliament sat on an ad-hoc basis to deal with urgent matters like
ratification of the US$150 million Chinese loan to finance preparations for
hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in
Victoria Falls in August next year.
Only five bills were handled by the House in the previous session
October 26, 2012 in Business
THE total number of airlines flying in and out of Zimbabwe are expected to
reach 13 by November this year as more regional and international carriers
scramble for Zimbabwe’s runways.
Report by Staff Writer
With the country’s national airline, Air Zimbabwe, struggling to recover
from a myriad of operational problems, one of which is its US$150 million
debt which continues to balloon, international airlines have seen an
opportunity to grow their business in Zimbabwe.
According to statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe
(CAAZ), 11 airlines are currently landing at the Harare International
Airport while an additional two are expected by November.
Air France-KLM is the latest expected to resume flights to Zimbabwe on
October 29, after a 13-year absence. The airline will fly an Airbus A330-200
from Amsterdam direct to Harare three times a week.
From within the region, LAM Mozambique will introduce a Harare-Beira and
Harare-Maputo flight on October 30.
The 11 airlines currently touching down at Harare International Airport
include South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Botswana, Ethiopian
Airways, BA Comair, Air Namibia, South African Airlink, TAAG, Emirates and
Zambezi Airlines. Emirates introduced the Harare route in February while
Zambezi Airlines resumed in May.
Fresh Air, the Zimbabwe registered airline which recently entered into a
joint venture (JV) agreement with South African low cost carrier, 1time
Airline, is set to take to the skies on November 2, with its first flight
departing OR Tambo International Airport en route to Victoria Falls Airport,
Zimbabwe. South African Airways leads on frequency, with almost 20 flights,
Kenya 11, South African Airlink 11, Emirates 5 and Namibia 4 flights per
A number of airlines have been applying for operating licences to fly routes
that Air Zimbabwe has long been failing to service.
Domestic tour operators have applied to service the local routes but there
have been complaints the Zimbabwe Air Services Board has been giving permits
for unprofitable routes, reserving lucrative routes such as Harare-Victoria
Falls for the struggling national flag carrier.
Some of the companies which applied for permits to service both local and
international routes include Beks Safari, Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe and
Chinese firm Anjin. If the airlines are licensed they would join Phoenix Air
and Fresh Air.
In February, Sol Air was licensed to service the Harare– Kariba-Victoria
Falls–Kariba- Harare route, the Victoria Falls –Buffalo Range-Victoria Falls
route as well as the Harare-Beira, Harare-Maputo and Harare–Tete regional
Sol Air financiers and advisors say the company faces collapse unless it
secures lucrative domestic and regional routes, which are reserved for the
struggling Air Zimbabwe.
October 26, 2012 in Business
Prudent management of finances for individuals, companies and even nations
demands that reserves be held to provide a cushion against unexpected
changes in circumstances.
Report by Collins Rudzuna
For individuals, one would still need money for things like rent and food,
in the event of losing a job. Companies would still need to pay salaries and
other costs even if sales temporarily dry up.
For countries, foreign-exchange reserves are held to protect against
external crises and assure lenders that the country is able to meet its debt
Although there is no standard cast in stone on how much reserves a country
should hold, a common rule of thumb is that reserves that can cover three
months’ worth of imports are generally adequate.
Countries with export-based economies such as China, Japan and Saudi Arabia
are able to maintain large reserves which would be able to cover more than
two years’ worth of imports. These large stashes of foreign currency usually
allow these countries to influence exchange rates to keep their exports
Other countries typically target to maintain a few months’ cover. America,
the issuer of the world’s reserve currency, the United States Dollar, does
not need as big a buffer as other countries do. Its holdings can go as low
as a month’s cover without causing concern.
In its Article IV consultation report on Zimbabwe released in September, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that Zimbabwe was holding
international reserves covering only 10 days of imports.
Effectively, the country had no cushion against external shocks. Not only
was the cover maintained inadequate, but there was no foreseeable solution
to the situation. As it currently stands, government does not seem to have
any feasible strategy to increase reserves over time.
To build up reserves would require either sustained current account
surpluses or substantial capital inflows.
So how dire is this situation and to what does it translate?
Firstly, for a country which is highly dependent on imports for critical
supplies such as food, medicines and fuel, it means that in the event of any
interruption in foreign currency inflows, we are only covered for 10 days!
That is a very vulnerable position to be in.
As a nation we are surviving from hand to mouth.
Another reason why it is not desirable to maintain such low reserves is that
this affects the creditworthiness of the country. In the eyes of potential
lenders, a country with low reserves is highly likely to default on debt
Zimbabwe is already US$10,7 billion in default on its debts and the country’s
creditworthiness has been compromised. Increasing our reserves and perhaps
making token repayments would signal to financiers that the country is on a
path to recovery.
It is unrealistic to expect Zimbabwe to achieve a reasonable balance of
payments surplus in the short term as there are many structural adjustments
that need to be made for this to be possible.
One of these is to improve the balance of trade by boosting exports and
minimising imports. Exports can be boosted by increasing productivity and,
therefore, output. This is especially so with exporting sectors such as
To achieve this, a significant amount of capital inflows is required, either
as debt or foreign direct investment. This brings us back to the issue of
having policies which attract investors. To date, most major mining houses
have not reached their full operating capacity and lack of capital is their
number one impediment. Mining products already constitute 66% of exports and
have potential to contribute more if production is increased.
Another way to deal with low reserves is to decrease imports. In doing so,
it should be borne in mind that the country is heavily reliant on imports of
food, clothing, fuel and other basic necessities which cannot be done away
Decreasing imports would therefore have to be done in a methodical way which
targets those imports which are not essentials and which could be
substituted with locally-produced goods. Increasing import duty on such
goods is one way of discouraging their importation. Grey import motor
vehicles are perhaps the most often cited example of undesirable imports.
Curtailing their importation would need to be accompanied by the
establishment of a reliable and safe public transport system.
In the long term, even food imports could be substantially reduced through
increased agricultural production. In fact, increasing agricultural
production would then feed into the manufacturing sector, reducing input
costs and making them more competitive relative to imported processed foods.
Zimbabwe has been self-sufficient before in food production and adopting the
right policies can get us back there. Agricultural technology has improved
greatly and there is potential to surpass even the previous production highs
and have enough surpluses to export.
Although not an immediate concern since the country is in default anyway,
negotiating for debt amnesty is another way of avoiding future obligations.
Applying for relief as a ‘Highly Indebted Poor Country’ under the IMF-World
Bank joint programme would be one way to do it but so far government is
reluctant to take this route.
There is urgent need to address the low levels of reserves in the country.
Hopefully it will not take an unexpected event to wake up the responsible
authorities to this fact. Given the current state of world economics it is
not inconceivable that shocks may happen anytime and it is better to be
prepared in advance.
October 26, 2012 in Business
ZIMBABWE’s agricultural production faces a costly slump next year as the
2012-2013 farming season lies in disarray due to failure by government to
disburse funds for the timeous purchase of inputs, Commercial Farmers’ Union
(CFU) president Charles Taffs told businessdigest this week.
Report by Gamma Mudarikiri
In an interview, Taffs said the cash-strapped government failed to
adequately fund agriculture in the past year while its debts to seed and
fertiliser companies continue to soar.
“Seed houses are owed significant amounts, principally by government and
this has a knock-on effect on their ability to support growers for the
coming season,” Taffs said.
He warned of an impending shortage of ammonium nitrate (AN) and other
nitrogenous fertilisers, but added that the challenge was being mitigated by
the importation of urea and other substitutes.
“However, this will push prices up and therefore affect viability of
farmers,” Taffs warned.
The shortage of AN locally is a direct result of the removal of electricity
subsidies to Sable Chemicals who are the manufacturers of the fertiliser,
resulting in significant scale-back of operations.
Taffs said a serious maize shortage is looming in 2013 owing to the droughts
in countries like Brazil and reduced production of grain in the United
States, which he said will push global maize prices up as demand for grain
“It is a huge disaster that will worsen the humanitarian situation in the
country as government will not sustain imports of maize at such high
prices,” he said.
October 26, 2012 in Business
CHISUMBANJE-based ethanol producer Green Fuel says it requires US$20 million
in fresh capital to expand operations in the event government approves an
impending mandatory 20% ethanol blending on petrol.
Report by Taurai Mangudhla
Green Fuel general manager Graeme Smith told businessdigest during a tour of
the US$600 million ethanol plant there were indications government would
soon approve a 20% mandatory blending policy.
If that happens, Billy Rautenbach’s company would have to raise new capital
to bankroll a “minor” expansion exercise. The Chisumbanje ethanol plant is
the biggest in Africa.
He said the company has the human resource, equipment and enough cane at its
disposal to support the 20% blending requirement.
“It’s basically what we have got and just expanding it and we are talking
figures of around US$40 million,” Smith said.
“We only need to increase the number of mills. We will increase the number
of boilers so that we increase steam and we will be able to put a second
generator and extend the distillery,” he added, saying every vehicle in the
country can use E20 (petrol blended with 20% ethanol) without any
Green Fuel currently has capacity to produce enough ethanol to meet demand
for 10% mandatory blending which it has been pushing for.
However, the company is awaiting legislation that compels fuel dealers to
blend their petrol with 5% ethanol after government gave the nod to the
arrangement in principle.
“As you reported yourselves they (cabinet) have agreed to the 5 % mandatory
blending. However, that has not been implemented as yet, so we have stock
that we are unable to move at the moment,” said Smith.
In the company’s view, approval of the proposed mandatory policy is dragging
on account of “misconceptions” of viability of the product.
“In certain sectors of government they don’t have a clear understanding of
the benefits of this to the country so the DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Authur
Mutambara) is exposing this to the entire cabinet and to the inclusive
government so they understand what the benefits of this plant are and what
it can do for the country,” said Smith.
October 26, 2012 in Business
ENVIRONMENT minister Francis Nhema has dismissed allegations that the
construction of West Properties’ US$100 million Mall of Zimbabwe in the
plush Borrowdale area is threatened by environmental concerns.
Report by Staff Writer
This comes as environmentalists, in partnership with Borrowdale West and
Dandaro residents who live near the proposed construction site, as well as
the city fathers, have raised concerns and are pushing to block the
multimillion-dollar property venture on environmental grounds.
Earlier this week, businessdigest learnt the Zimbabwe Environmental Law
Association (Zela) is seeking to block the construction project.
Zela research consultant Allan Chaumba said the environmental law group is
currently concluding internal consultations that will inform the final
course of action.
In an interview with businessdigest this week, Nhema said the project was
lawful as long as it satisfied the Environmental Management Agency (Ema)
Nhema’s remarks follow West Properties managing director Mike van Blerk’s
statement that construction of the country’s biggest mall will start earlier
than the initially planned June 2013 despite an outcry by “pseudo
environmentalists” whom he says are ill-informed and are misrepresenting
West Properties remains defiant, announcing plans to go ahead and build a
hospital, office park, and cluster houses on the open space.
Van Blerk said the proposed development was approved by Harare City Council
in October last year.
Van Blerk said the project would now be completed in October 2014 instead of
April 2014 due to delays in securing an environmental impact assessment
clearance from Ema.
Ema is expected to certify the project by end of month, said Van Blerk.When
completed, the 68 000sqm mall would be the biggest mall complex in Africa
outside South Africa
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
ON September 21, 2012, the Executive Board of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) concluded Article IV consultation with Zimbabwe. Find below an
abridged summary of its findings.
AFTER a prolonged period of economic and political crisis, Zimbabwe’s
economic stabilisation and recovery began with the end of hyperinflation in
2009, supported by the formation of a coalition government, a favourable
external environment, the adoption of a multicurrency system and cash
budgeting, and the discontinuation of quasi-fiscal activities by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
The economic rebound is moderating following a period of robust growth, with
real gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 9,5% during 2010–11,
sustained by strong external demand for key mineral exports and continued
recovery in domestic demand. Real GDP growth in 2012 is projected to slow to
5%, reflecting the impact of adverse weather conditions on agriculture,
erratic electricity supply, and tight liquidity conditions.
Mining production is expected to benefit from the lifting of restrictions on
diamond exports from the Marange fields as a result of certification by the
Kimberley process. Inflation slowed to 4% in June 2012 from 4,9% in December
2011, reflecting in part some moderation in imported goods inflation.
The external position remained precarious, albeit with some recent
moderation in the current account deficit. Despite higher exports, the
current account deficit widened to 36% of GDP in 2011 (from 29% of GDP in
2010), due in part to a spike in imports associated with some one-off
The deficit was financed by debt-related flows, arrears, and a drawdown of
special drawing rights (SDR) holdings, as uncertainties regarding policy
implementation continued to affect foreign investment flows. Usable
international reserves remained very low at 0,3 months of imports at
end-2011, amplifying the country’s vulnerability to shocks.
The current account deficit is projected to narrow to 20,5% of GDP in 2012,
as the 2011 import spike is reversed and exports continue to expand.
Zimbabwe remains in debt distress with total external debt estimated at
US$10,7 billion (113,5% of GDP) at end-2011, of which 67% of GDP are in
The large debt overhang remains a serious impediment to medium-term fiscal
and external sustainability.
The public finances came under pressure in 2011 and early-2012.
Despite better-than-expected revenue performance, central government
operations recorded a cash deficit of 0,6% of GDP in 2011 and domestic
arrears accumulation of about 1% of GDP, due mainly to two salary increases
that raised employment costs by 22%, crowding out social and capital
investment. The effect of the salary hikes was compounded in early-2012 by
an increase in employee allowances and unbudgeted recruitment.
Fiscal pressures were exacerbated by significant underperformance of diamond
revenues during the first half of 2012. In response to the fiscal slippages,
in July the government announced expenditure and revenue measures, as well
as a reassessment of diamond revenue flows. The measures include a hiring
freeze, suspension of a number of diamond-revenue-financed projects,
increases in excises on fuel, and enhanced monitoring of the mineral
The financial regulatory framework is being enhanced after a long period of
forbearance, but financial system vulnerabilities persist.
The banking system is recovering from a recent liquidity crunch, following a
period of rapid credit growth funded by unstable short-term deposits, but
liquidity remains relatively low and unequally distributed across banks.
The RBZ raised the prudential liquidity ratio from 25% to 30% by end-June
2012. Some banks, particularly the small ones, show weak capitalisation,
insufficient liquidity, and low asset quality, reflecting unsound lending
practices and poor risk management. The situation of three troubled banks
came to a head in mid-2012, with the RBZ placing one in recuperative
curatorship and two surrendering their licenses.
In August 2012, the RBZ announced steep increases in the minimum capital
requirements to be phased over a two-year period.
The medium-term outlook, under an unchanged policy scenario, is for growth
to moderate to average some 4%, although constraints on energy supply and
weak competitiveness may pose a challenge to achieving these rates.
Foreign investment is likely to be hampered by a poor business climate,
uncertainties over the implementation of the indigenisation policy and
political instability, while domestic investors may face difficulties
accessing long-term credit. A vigorous programme of structural reform and
strengthened macroeconomic management would allow the country to sustain
higher rates of growth.
Executive Board Assessment
Executive directors welcomed Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and stabilisation
in recent years. Progress has however been uneven, and the impact of adverse
weather conditions on agriculture, an uncertain political situation ahead of
elections, and a difficult global environment pose further risks to the
To achieve sustained and inclusive growth, directors stressed the importance
of full commitment to policies focusing on strengthening fiscal management,
reducing financial sector vulnerabilities, and improving the business
Directors urged the authorities to fully implement the measures announced in
the mid-year fiscal policy review, and take additional measures if
necessary, to address earlier slippages and close the financing gap. They
underscored the need to rebalance the expenditure mix, especially by
containing growth of the wage bill, to create the fiscal space needed for
increased social spending and public investment. Improving public financial
management would help reinforce expenditure control.
Directors emphasised that enhancing transparency in the diamond sector,
including timely finalisation and implementation of the Diamond Act, is key
to strengthening revenues and reducing fiscal pressures. They noted that a
prudent medium-term fiscal framework remains critical for restoring fiscal
Directors welcomed actions taken to strengthen the financial regulatory
framework and address systemic liquidity. Noting recent bank failures and
persistent vulnerabilities in the banking system, they called for more
proactive banking supervision and enforcement of prudential regulations,
focusing on banks with low liquidity buffers and high risk exposures.
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
AS the media war hots up, the Herald’s editor is encouraging attacks on the
private media claiming deception and falsehoods.
Report by MuckRacker
“Read the private media and they never praise President Mugabe regardless of
any good he does for the nation; that would be inimical to the purpose they
were founded and funded for,” writes Herald columnist Panganai Kahuni.
“People also find the attempt at agenda setting by the local private press
Do they Panganai? What about journalists who are so brainwashed they can’t
criticise the president at all despite his record of failure. He is not only
head of state but head of government who sets policy for the nation as a
whole. But columnists in the Herald are not allowed to point to his many
failings as a ruler.
The Herald itself is not permitted to draw attention to these failings
except always putting lipstick on a pig.
Instead we read lickspittle accounts of his achievements by people like
Kahuni who don’t understand that the duty of the public media is to perform
a watchdog role in society, not a pathetic praising-singing role which any
fool can do.
The private press on the other hand when performing its role has to face an
array of repressive legislative measures designed to silence inconvenient
This is all OK with the public media which doesn’t have a mind of its own.
The best they can do is refer to “national readership surveys” by way of
But instead of serving the public, the public media serves as a partisan
organ for the party that lost the last elections.
They find nothing unethical about that. As for us never praising the
president, Kahuni should find something praiseworthy Mugabe has done and
write to us.
We will then consider it for publication.
Zanu PF fear formula
Then we had Patrick Chinamasa’s shocking comment that the army would not
accept an electoral victory by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. It was
followed soon after by similar sentiments by Rugare Gumbo and Douglas
Nyikayaramba was quoted in the Herald saying the “interests of these
political parties are against Zimbabwe’s sovereignty”.
“It is futile for a government to prepare and maintain a military force for
physical defence only, but only to find the state structure collapsing from
within because of subversion or economic failure or an ideological
Nyikayaramba has made such remarks before. But now we have the Minister of
Justice and Legal Affairs and Zanu PF spokesman –– who by the way are
unelected –– saying the army would not accept Tsvangirai.
Gumbo said the outcome of such a poll could be “messy”.
In other words, whoever the people of this country choose as their leader,
it would not make any difference. Nyikayaramba and his military messengers
will repudiate it on the specious grounds that foreigners meddled in the
electoral process or attempted to reverse land reform.
This is a tried and tested Zanu PF tactic: invent a threat and then use it
as a means to arrest people.
Here again the gullible state media assists by taking the non-existent
We recall the arrest of MDC MPs in 2000 who were incarcerated for a year in
Bulawayo on the spurious grounds that they were involved in the kidnapping
and murder of Cain Nkala.
In the witch-hunt that followed, David Coltart’s election agent, Patrick
Nabanyama disappeared and was never seen again.
Mugabe called those arrested “terrorists” and the Herald gave it front page
It was one of several episodes where a large group of people were picked up
and held and accused of killing Zanu PF supporters and the charges were
later dropped because they wouldn’t stand up in court.
Justice Sandra Mangwira slammed the police for their clumsy investigation.
‘High level’ summits
It seems no conference or summit goes unattended by President Mugabe and
this week he was gracing the World Energy Forum in Dubai.
The “high level” conference was expected to “explore the roadmap towards a
cleaner, safer and sustainable global energy system for the benefit of all
nations” crooned the Herald.
In June Mugabe’s 92-strong entourage’s jaunt to the ironically named
Sustainable Development summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil gobbled up US$7
Last year Mugabe also took a bloated delegation to yet another “high level”
conference on youth in New York.
Mugabe was among only a handful of heads of states to the conference mostly
attended by senior government officials.
Clearly the plea made by Finance minister Tendai Biti for a reduction in
foreign travel by government officials, which has blown a US$45 million hole
in the fiscus, fell on deaf ears.
The Dubai visit was also juxtaposed with yet another visit to Singapore.
Irony writ large
Zanu PF has urged its delegates to the Copac second all stakeholders
conference to be “exemplary and disciplined” in order to successfully
conclude the final phase of the constitution-making process, ZBC reports.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the delegates should remain calm even in
the face of “extreme provocation” as they know of people who have been hired
to disrupt the process.
He said the delegates have a national responsibility to craft a constitution
which will be used by many generations to come.
Ironically the chaos which engulfed the first all stakeholders conference in
2009 was caused by Zanu PF with the party’s officials, including Saviour
Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwawo, being accused of leading the disturbances.
Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo’s opening address was drowned-out by
Zanu PF activists who chanted party slogans and danced into the centre of
the auditorium, egged on by war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba.
The Zanu PF officials threw missiles at delegates while Chinotimba danced on
a table, rendering the conference a farce.
Now Gumbo would have us believe the other parties might hire people to
disrupt the constitution-making process when it is clear they emanate from
The High Court dismissed a last-minute attempt by a Danny Musukuma who,
despite being a Zanu PF delegate in the all stakeholders conference, wanted
to block it claiming Copac had acted in contempt of court after it failed to
furnish him with a hard copy of the national statistical report.
Not so civil servants
Meanwhile registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede and three top police officers
were also registered as Zanu PF delegates at the conference.
NewsDay reports Mudede was listed as delegate number 200 while Police
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena and Assistant Commissioner Edmore
Veterai were delegate number 346 and 347 respectively.
The other senior cop set to attend the conference on a Zanu PF ticket is
Officer Commanding Harare Province Assistant Commissioner Plaxedes Gezha,
registered as delegate 345. There you have it.
No work ethic
One of South Africa’s most distinguished business leaders, Russell Loubser,
JSE CEO and former SAA board member, has said South African business leaders
are ignoring the crisis unfolding around them.
In a public lecture at Wits University Loubser had withering criticism for
former ANC youth leader Julius Malema who he called “an arrogant racist with
no work ethic”, according to Business Day.
Malema, who is facing money laundering charges, is a leading proponent of
nationalisation of mines. Loubser lambasted “brainless talk about
nationalisation”. He singled out Malema when he spoke about a general
dropping of standards and the rise of a poor work ethic that hinged on
redistribution rather than value creation. This was not in the tradition of
Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo, he said.
Asked to reply, Malema said he was not going to respond to people “trying to
In the wake of ratings downgrades by Standard & Poor’s, Loubser said
confidence in South Africa could not be built in a climate of corruption,
violent industrial action and undermining of the judiciary.
Former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya, who was slapped with a life ban by the
football mother body over her role in the Asiagate scandal, has said the
verdict was “sexist” because the match-fixing was taking place well before
she assumed the position in March 2007.
Without an inkling of remorse Rushwaya told the Sunday Mail: “I feel like
they have made me an easy target because I am a woman, but this began way
before I was in office and I just fell into the trap.
What a pathetic excuse that is. It is similar to Herald Sports Editor Robson
Sharuko’s puerile attempt to hide behind retired Justice Ahmed Ebrahim’s
association with Alpha Media Holdings as a public ombudsman.
“However, I accepted being the scapegoat and I have dusted myself while
moving on with my life,” Rushwaya continued.
Rushwaya has since renewed her threat to become a politician.
“I am back to square one,” she said. “I no longer harbour any political
ambitions, whether in Gutu East or South, or anywhere,” Rushwaya had said.
“I am turning to God and becoming a born-again. I intend to go for pastoral
training at a Theological College.”
It seems her pastoral ambitions have not borne fruit judging by her decision
to once again try her luck in the murky world of politics.
If her record at Zifa is anything to go by, all we can say to the electorate
is be afraid, be very afraid!
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
AFTER having passed the test of legitimacy by fulfilling the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) Clause VI obligation which requires that it be
tabled at a stakeholders’ conference the time has come for the rest of
Zimbabwean citizens to have the final say on the draft constitution.
Report by Qhubani Moyo
The time for politicians in whatever capacity to peddle any form of
influence in the process is over. Politicians have had their time and the
principals had their time as well.
It is on public record the draft constitution that was signed by the
management committee and later the Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac)
was approved after wide consultations and agreement by the three principals
Professor Welshman Ncube, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President
It is further known that the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference was part of
the process of ensuring stakeholders are appraised on what is contained in
the draft constitution.
It is now time for the rest of the citizenry to have their own bite of the
cherry. This is why it is important to fulfil all the parliamentary and
legal processes before proclamation of a referendum.
It is against this background the people of Zimbabwe should understand that
national processes cannot be left to a select few.
Leaving three individuals to make a final decision on the supreme law of the
land, which is supposed to stay for posterity is dangerous.
I find it retrogressive there are people who want the final product of a
national process to be determined by three individuals, among them a
well-known dictator who is guilty of ruining the country and the livelihoods
of so many Zimbabweans through misrule.
The pronouncements by Mugabe during the opening of the conference clearly
confirm reports during the past few weeks that principals want to subvert
the role of parliament and in the process usurp its powers.
This is not only a blatant violation of the GPA, but a serious mutilation of
the doctrine of separation of powers because Copac is a parliamentary
process and the executive should let it run its course under the direction
Most importantly, it is a serious and blatant violation of the Sadc Maputo
resolution on the matter around settlement of the Zimbabwean political
question and the role leaders of political parties.
Mugabe’s thinking, which unfortunately seems to have found purchase from
Tsvangirai, is that the draft should be concluded by principals. It is
strange some people see this as a workable solution because our continued
relegation of national processes to a few individuals, kills the spirit of
collectivism and democratic decision-making.
When you suggest that let the millions of Zimbabweans decide on what is best
for the country, some prefer that one or two individuals can decide their
destiny on their behalf. This is the situation that has become a culture in
this country and Mugabe has studied the thinking process of Zimbabweans and
is using our docility to dupe and outmanoeuvre the nation.
This is why he keeps Arthur Mutambara as his poodle so that at all times he
parrots what Mugabe says as he sings for his supper. Mutambara is just an
imposter, nothing more!
Mugabe is also trying to manipulate Tsvangirai to be a passive but willing
participant in his grand scheme of things.
The main reason why Mugabe will insist on the principals approach — with
principals defined as those individuals who signed the GPA thereby excluding
Ncube from the process — is because he has defined a political constituency
he does not want compromised.
Mutambara has no constituency and whatever he does he does it for his
personal interests, hence Mugabe knows that and continues to manipulate him
this way. Mugabe’s strategy is to have a decision-making forum that excludes
Ncube, but has his poodle and Tsvangirai whom he is also trying to recruit.
In that forum of principals, Mugabe and Mutambara will undoubtedly gang up
That is why Mugabe does not want Ncube .
Most importantly, however, it should be the people of Zimbabwe who should be
the final arbiters because no single group or a few individuals can claim to
represent millions of Zimbabweans in collectivity and diversity. The next
stages of the process should be about the power of the people to make
decisions through their representatives in parliament and later through
their vote in the referendum.
The draft constitution produced by Copac remains the only meaningful and
credible compromise that the country could produce under the circumstances
and the deadlock at the conference proves beyond any doubt that there is no
substitute to the Copac draft.
Attempts by some of the delegates at the conference to use the forum as a
drafting platform could not work as it was met with resistance since as it
was signed by all the parties in government under the instruction of their
party presidents. The stalemate literally at all thematic committees
reflected without doubt that we have to put the Copac draft to the people
through a referendum and let them decide.
Moyo is director of policy and research in the MDC led by Professor Welshman
Ncube. He is contactable on email@example.com
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
SINCE Zimbabwe embarked on its ill-conceived land reform programme in 2000,
its agricultural activity has been semi-moribund.
Report by Eric Bloch
Farmers endowed with great expertise and necessary capital resources to fund
their operations generated immense productivity, making Zimbabwe the
“breadbasket of the region”.
So great was the crop output that Zimbabwe was able to satisfy national
needs for maize, wheat, sorghum and many other agricultural outputs, as well
as export surplus to neighbouring countries.
The bountiful production provided employment for more than 300 000
agricultural workers, and created downstream employment in those
manufacturing operations that value-added the crops produced.
However, with the pursuit of the land reform programme, the majority of the
experienced and financially-secure farmers were evicted from the land.
The land was then allocated to so-called “new farmers”, most of whom lacked
the necessary in-depth expertise, and financial resources. Consequently they
could not timeously fund the purchase of essential inputs ranging from seeds
to fertilisers and chemicals; neither could they afford energy supplies nor
maintain irrigation systems.
As a result, agricultural productivity declined and Zimbabwe became
dependent on importation of essential foodstuffs.
At the same time most of the much-experienced farm workers lost their
employment, becoming poverty-stricken. Admittedly, in the last few years
there has been an increase in agricultural output, but it still falls far
short of the levels of production that prevailed prior to the disastrous
land reform programme.
Key to productivity decline is the inadequacy of funding available to new
farmers. Whilst their predecessors could supplement such funding in addition
to borrowing from banks and other financial institutions, the new farmers
cannot do so.
That inability to access funds for productive, farming operations is due to
lack of collateral security, a world-wide prerequisite to support
borrowings. The previous farmers were able to encumber their farms in favour
of lenders, thereby giving the lenders the security necessary to assure
recovery of monies lent. The ability of the pre-2000 farmers to provide
security was founded upon title to the ownership of their farms.
In contrast, with effect from 2000 all right and title in and to the land
was vested in the state. New farmers who settled on the land were not
accorded any ownership rights, only being entitled to occupy and work the
farms by virtue of 99-year leases (although government reserved the right,
in many of the leases, to terminate them on three months’ notice!).
Belatedly, and with great reluctance, government eventually recognised that
monumental constraint upon agricultural productivity. When opening
parliament in late 2011, President Robert Mugabe stated legislation would
shortly be tabled before parliamentarians to restructure the farm leases in
a manner as would accord new farmers leases with collateral security to
extend to lenders.
However, nearly a year later, no such legislation has been enacted. Only a
few weeks ago, Mugabe said reversion to the issuance of title deeds, or
modification of leases would under no circumstances be considered, hence new
farmers are facing the 2012/2013 agricultural season with the same appalling
illiquidity constraint that has impaired agricultural production for many
Last week the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU), whose membership comprises new
farmers, issued a statement urging that under no circumstances should
government change its policy on the 99-year leases. The ZFU emphatically
stated that doing so would be prejudicial to new farmers, for they would
then use the lands, or the leases, as collateral to access funds from the
financial sector, whereupon the lenders would undoubtedly dispossess the
borrowing farmers of their occupancy and operational rights.
The ZFU was in fact implying new farmers would not productively use their
borrowings, and therefore fail to service their repayment obligations and
lose the land they occupy. One inevitably draws the conclusion that by so
doing, ZFU believes that even if accorded necessary funding, members would
not use the funds procured in any productive manner, and would fail to meet
Such scepticism of the fiscal morality and probity of its members is
shocking, and seeks to discourage government from pursuing a key initiative
necessary to ensure the recovery of agriculture.
If agriculture is to be restored to its former glory, it is essential Mugabe
and government disregard ZFU’s death wish, and take swift action to enable
new farmers to source funding essential for their operations.
Ideally, Zimbabwe should reinstate title deeds for rural land, albeit
possibly with a constraint that transfers can only be effected in favour of
those who are alluded to as “new farmers”, and barring transfer to anyone
already possessing title deed vested rights of land usage ( One Man, One
Farm.) Nevertheless, many politicians and their associates already have
usage rights on several farms.
In the alternative, if reversion to title deeds is unpalatable to
government, the leases should be modified to assure their continuity for 99
years, and to accord them ready transferability to alternative lessees,
whilst again entrenching the “One Man, One Farm” restriction.
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
SINCE the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008
and the setting in place of the inclusive government in February 2009,
Zimbabwe has been stuck with the inevitable consequences of a dysfunctional
Report by Tony Reeler
An early civil society discussion of the GPA and the coalition government
made forthright comment how well the arrangement was “working” one year on,
noting “working” may mean all sorts of things.
These observations are as true today as they were in 2009.
But whether political parties pay attention to civil society or not, it was
increasingly evident through 2009 and 2010 that the inclusive government was
becoming increasingly dysfunctional and unable to develop policies to move
the country out of the political stalemate.
Thus, in 2010, two independent civil society organisations undertook
analyses of the deadlock and came up with different (but not markedly
different) sets of conclusions.
The first, by the Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), argued there were three
plausible scenarios that might be considered: withdrawal from the GPA, early
elections, or an extended power-sharing period preceding a new election.
SPT argued that only the third scenario — an extended power-sharing period
preceding fresh elections — could have any value for developing stability in
The second report, by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), took a slightly
different approach in its analysis, but concluded in agreement with SPT,
that the problem was the opposition by Zanu PF to real reforms and its
determination to hold onto political power.
In retrospect, the SPT view has come to pass: Zimbabwe has come through an
extended power-sharing period, but it is not evident that much power has
been shared nor whether there have been any appreciable reforms, and most
evidently the constitutional process has been bogged down seriously.
The Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, held in
Zambia on March 31 2011, strongly stated the need to move the process more
determinedly, stating the need for the constitutional process to be
completed and a road map for elections to be set in place.
This decision was endorsed later the same year by the Sadc summit in
Sandton, South Africa, despite trivial arguments by Zanu PF that “noting” is
not the same as “endorsing”, a claim quickly dismissed by Tomaz Salomao, the
executive secretary of Sadc.
There has been little compliance with the troika’s decisions, either from
Sadc or the Zimbabwean political parties.
Zanu PF kept pushing for early elections, the MDC parties kept trying to
push the Sadc reform agenda, and the constitutional process kept stalling
and re-starting, but there was little attempt at the kinds of reforms that
are needed for decent elections.
Nonetheless, Sadc has continued to press for constitutional reform and the
development of a clear roadmap towards elections, while Zanu PF has
continued to press for early polls without any commitment to the kinds of
The latter’s attempts hit the hard road of reality in Luanda in June, when
it became clear to all just how much support Zanu PF has now lost in Sadc.
However, as a number of Zimbabwean civil society groups have continuously
pointed out, the obsession with the constitution by everyone, except Zanu
PF, has been missing a central issue: constitutions do not guarantee
reforms, reforms guarantee constitutions.
The concern for the restoration of national institutions was first expressed
by RAU in August 2011, with the point being strongly made that priority must
be accorded to security sector governance (and not security sector reform,
which is a much longer and involved process), reforms of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, local government, traditional leadership, the justice
system, and the opening of the media before any effective roadmap for
elections can be considered to be in place.
So, with the fixed constitutional deadline for the dissolution of parliament
in June 2013, the implications of the lack of reform and impasse over the
constitution, it is perhaps time to think more creatively about how to
unblock the Zimbabwe crisis. The latest date for election to be completed
will be October 2013.
Recent discussions between Zimbabwean civic society and Kenyan colleagues
examined the processes in both our countries since 2008, and, in the light
of comparisons of the two countries, it seems that a number of steps should
now be considered in respect of Zimbabwe.
Firstly, it is apparent that “personalised “politics” (and mainly about the
persons of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai)
dominate the political landscape in an unhelpful fashion, but the major
problem is not personalities, but the “political culture” in Zimbabwe and
not merely the actors.
Personalities are not unimportant, but it is the “commandism”,
“winner-takes-all”, and “elitism” that bedevil Zimbabwean politics.
Secondly, it is not clear that this is the “constitutional moment” that can
move Zimbabwe into a process that will deliver the kind of “constitution as
a national autobiography” which will reflect both the history and the
aspirations of Zimbabwean citizens.
Constitutions should come from a national desire to codify the values and
vision of a society, whereas we currently have a process in which
constitution-making is rather a process for gaining political space among
Thirdly, since it is increasingly evident that the best that can be hoped
for is an interim constitution, the question must shift to elections and
what will be the “organising question” for elections.
Is the question for elections in 2013 the resolution of who will hold
political power, or is it what will be the next steps in ensuring Zimbabwe
moves decisively towards a real transition?
Fourthly, the issue of reforms ahead of elections, and the desperate need to
restore national institutions to being law-abiding and politically
impartial, needs to be given very serious attention.
Unless there is a determined effort to bring the army, police and a wide
number of state institutions under full civilian control, no elections can
be made safe.
So, perhaps it is time to bite the bullet and shelve the matter of a new
constitution until we can resolve the problems of our political culture,
discuss widely what a new political culture might look like, and decide upon
what process we need in order to move towards a proper “constitutional
In this, we might draw lessons from South Africa in the 1990s and Kenya
since 2008, and learn from both our own mistakes and those of other
countries, for Zimbabwe is certainly not the first African country to
struggle with the transition from the politics of liberation to the politics
of a citizen-empowering democracy.
Reeler is director at the RAU, an independent research organisation.
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
AS widely expected the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the
constitution-making process held in Harare this week turned out to be a
theatre of political battles between rival parties in the inclusive
Report by Owen Gagare/Elias Mambo
Although there was no violence and intimidation as happened during the first
conference held in July 2009, there was political drama of a different
nature, showing heightening tensions between the main players.
The first meeting brought together representatives of political parties,
civil society organisations and other groups to identify issues which should
be covered in the new constitution.
However, the 2009 conference was rocked by confrontations and violence
mainly between Zanu PF and MDC-T supporters.
It took principals at the time, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy premier Arthur Mutambara, to address the nation
on state television to cool down tempers.
The conference this week did not have those scenes of violence, but took
South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team stepping in to help
break an impasse over the involvement of Mutambara as a principal and by
insinuation a political leader.
MDC leader Welshman Ncube boycotted the opening ceremony in protest over the
inclusion of Mutambara who, with the aid of Mugabe, has clung onto his
position in government despite losing to Ncube at the party’s congress in
January last year after withdrawing and conceding defeat in public.
The Mutambara saga –– particularly Mugabe’s cryptic position on it –– is
open to various interpretations.
Mutambara is a pawn in Mugabe’s political chess game which involves
maintaining the original principals team and running rings around
Tsvangirai, while keeping Ncube, a difficult customer, at bay.
Professor Eldred Masunungure of the University of Zimbabwe said Mugabe is
sceptical of Ncube given the MDC leader has strongly stood up to him.
“Mugabe does not trust Ncube because he has always stood up to him on a
number of issues, including embarrassing him at international gatherings.
Besides that, Mugabe never really warmed up to Zuma’s mediation and given
Ncube’s family links to Zuma, he suspects if he attends these principals’
meetings, chances are he will divulge something to Zuma,” Masunungure said.
“Mugabe took advantage of the power struggle and decided to stick with
Mutambara who is moderate and has nothing to lose in the GPA.”
Whatever Mugabe’s calculation on Mutambra, he is getting entangled in what
could end up as a costly affair for him come elections, especially in the
southwestern region of the country and some parts of Midlands province.
Ncube is reaping the dividend of apparent victimisation and that has given
him momentum in his strongholds.
It is not known though whether he will keep the wind in his sail.
While the issue initially appeared like a storm in a teacup, it has now
developed into a huge crisis, not just for the party involved, but also for
other Global Political Agreement (GPA) parties, government, principals and
even the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Zuma.
Although the Mutambara saga exposes Ncube’s strategic and tactical
shortcomings as he could have averted a crisis by allowing his predecessor
to finish his term as deputy prime minister, it also betrays a plot between
the original principals who seem to have a hidden agenda.
While Mugabe has come out in the open to block Ncube, Tsvangirai has
remained silent, perhaps understandably so given their deep political
differences and mutual hostility.
What has now complicated the situation is Sadc’s move to recognise Ncube as
the legitimate principal ahead of Mutambara and directing Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to involve him in all issues to do with the GPA.
Although Mugabe and Tsvangirai have resorted to splitting hairs on the
issue, they have largely sidelined Ncube for as yet unclear reasons. Against
this backdrop, several questions arise, not least why Mugabe and seemingly
Tsvangirai prefer Mutambara over Ncube, and who is ultimately benefiting
from all this.
Some suggest Mugabe, who thrives on divide-and-rule tactics, is the
immediate beneficiary as Ncube could cause serious problems for principals.
So to avoid problems, principals closed ranks and shut Ncube out.
However, in the bigger scheme of things, Tsvangirai might be the ultimate
loser as alienating Ncube earns him the sympathy vote in Matabeleland, a
move which erodes the premier’s original power base.
This indirectly benefits Mugabe, an also-ran and no-hoper in those regions.
But Mugabe could have benefitted more by embracing Ncube who could checkmate
Tsvangirai for him in Matabeleland, which, together with Masvingo and
Manicaland, are likely to be the battlegrounds in the next elections.
Ironically, he has alienated Ncube but without deriving serious political
capital from protecting Mutambara who has no constituency to talk of.
Jabusile Shumba the programme manager (public policy) at the Institute of
Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe said Mugabe had successfully widened
divisions among his rivals.
“The Mugabe regime thrives and survives on divide-and-rule strategies. The
man created factions within his own party so that his subordinates keep on
fighting while he remains in power while he claims stepping down would
create chaos,” said Shumba. “He is doing the same here.”
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
How many times do we have to remind each other of some of these self-evident
facts and realities?
Report by Dingilizwe Ntuli
But given Zimbabwe’s senior officials and military commanders’ brazen
contempt for the country’s constitution, laws, and indeed the rule of law,
it has to be done even ad infinitum.
The traditional role of the armed forces the world over is primarily to
defend their country’s territorial integrity from foreign aggressors.
On certain but rare occasions, the military can also serve as backup for the
police in maintaining internal security as well as protecting citizens and
It is critical the military leaves the remit of democracy to an elected
government and also respects the rules of the democratic game, and its own
role in it.
Not so in Zimbabwe.
Our defence forces have long abdicated that role by openly dabbling in party
politics in support of Zanu PF and this has severely damaged the prestige of
the security institutions and that of our men and women in uniform.
Although our military has slowly been losing its bearings since Independence
in 1980, the past decade will go down in Zimbabwe’s history as the period
the armed forces openly transferred their allegiance from the country’s flag
to their commander-in-chief President Robert Mugabe and his party, while
undermining national interest.
Senior military commanders have shown brazen disrespect for servicemen and
women and their families by ignoring the importance of political neutrality
in their quest to defend Mugabe and their personal interests.
The military has been used to campaign for Zanu PF, intimidate, harass and
even beat up opposition party supporters in furtherance of a vile
Our senior military commanders have been tempted by the endless
possibilities of lining their pockets through patronage provided by Zanu PF
to continue supporting the party. Some of them are now filthy rich but can’t
honestly account for their ill-gotten wealth.
Although the rank and file may have largely remained disciplined, their
commanders’ loyalty has become deeply-entrenched in Zanu PF to the extent of
making constant unlawful statements bordering on treason, threatening to
reverse election outcomes that do not retain Mugabe and Zanu PF in power.
We know that senior commanders fear possible prosecution for human rights
violations and also want to protect their riches acquired mainly through
Zanu PF patronage, but they have now gone too far.
Major-Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo and Trust Mugoba have
publicly vowed to defend Mugabe and Zanu PF and the military hierarchy has
remained silent when the constitution, Defence Act and other laws are being
violated with impunity.
Those who don’t want to abide by their professional codes of conduct must
simply resign and became politicians if they so wish.
They must not abuse tour security institutions and public resources to
always intimidate and threaten citizens. It’s wrong and it must be condemned
by all serious, right-thinking and responsible citizens.
Which brings me to the reckless remarks attributed to two senior Zanu PF
officials, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and party spokesperson Rugare
Gumbo who warned of a bloodbath should Mugabe lose elections.
What on earth do Chinamasa and Gumbo think they are doing? How irresponsible
can leaders get? Besides, why waste money and time holding elections in the
first place if Mugabe is not allowed to lose?
Why not just declare Mugabe president for life and allow citizens to react
While Chinamasa and Gumbo have exposed themselves, the main point remains
that armed forces and intelligence services must stay out of politics and
elections. We are tired of their illegal interferences and pathetic
They have no role whatsoever to play in partisan politics. If they doubt
this they must go back and read the constitution, Defence Act and relevant
rules and regulations. No more excuses please!
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
THE Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference held in Harare this week ended in a
predictable deadlock, with the three main political parties involved in the
Global Political Agreement simply maintaining their positions and digging
There was no agreement or movement, except an understanding that the process
must now go to the next step –– which is parliament.
However, the principals, particularly President Robert Mugabe, want the
process to go to their level for them to resolve disputed issues to suit
their political designs.
The impasse is now mainly on Zanu PF’s proposed amendments to the draft
constitution calculated to restore curtailed presidential powers and assist
Mugabe in his problematic re-election bid next year.
Over the years, Mugabe has largely remained in power partly because of the
imperial powers he wields. Without sweeping controls, he would be gone by
now. The Zanu PF politburo, after a series of day and night meetings lasting
close to 50 hours, recently overhauled the signed draft and demanded
The main objective is to restore presidential powers, not improve the draft’s
So after Mugabe failed to convince his fellow principals to meet and resolve
the impasse before the second stakeholders’ conference, the politburo
resolved the draft would be taken to this week’s meeting where Zanu PF was
to push for changes even though everybody knew that was going to fail.
Realising this would not work in a conference situation with thousands of
delegates, Zanu PF negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche,
basically duped their counterparts from other parties at a recent management
committee meeting, telling them they also didn’t want the draft to be
changed at the conference but without saying why.
It then transpired later the reason Zanu PF negotiators took that position
was part of Mugabe’s grand strategy of ensuring the deadlock remained to
allow principals to intervene to overhaul the draft to suit their political
and elections agendas.
That is why Mugabe has of late been holding meetings with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy premier Arthur Mutambara, cajoling them to
agree to a strategy to take away the constitution-making process from Copac,
a parliamentary body, to government or cabinet to sideline MPs, negotiators
and MDC leader Welshman Ncube, among others. Zanu PF had before the
conference tried to destabilise the situation by positioning its surrogates
to challenge the process in the courts, although that dismally failed.
The plot was to assist the party to push through its amendments using the
contentious Copac national report.
When the conference met amid a rising tide of problems and controversy, it
became impossible to resolve the deadlock. Even the format of the conference
was designed to ensure it becomes a mere talk-shop. The idea is that this
will then be taken to the principals –– precisely Mugabe’s plan.
In the end the conference predictably became a sheer waste of time and
resources, just like the whole Copac charade through which parties are
fighting for political space and leverage ahead of crucial elections next
October 26, 2012 in Opinion
THE last part of Africa to be decolonised, the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc), remains one of the most peaceful.
Report by the International Crisis Group
Yet, despite comprehensive protocols and agreements, Sadc faces acute
challenges characterised by tensions between member states, resource
deficits, citizens’ exclusion, social discontent and limited internal and
Regional security co-operation requires adept infrastructures underwritten
by political commitment; but the organisation’s secretariat appears
powerless to ensure policy implementation.
It must develop an effective common security policy framework, improve
coordination with international partners, harmonise and clarify its role
with other Sadc structures, broaden engagement with civil society, ensure
member-states commitment to African Union (AU) efforts on human and people’s
rights and build capacity for evaluation and monitoring.
As long as national sovereignty prevails over regional interests, however,
the success of Sadc mechanisms, notably in conflict resolution, will remain
The region faces a range of evolving peace and security threats, cyber and
technology-driven security threats, and socio-economic unrest.
Beyond efforts to respond to these challenges, policy implementation
capacity and information and response mechanisms are urgently required. Sadc’s
intervention in Madagascar and Zimbabwe has exposed the region’s limited
capacity to enforce agreements it has brokered.
Ad hoc and under-resourced mediation imposes additional burdens and
responsibilities on the mediators.
Civil society engagement in Sadc processes in the two countries has been at
best tangential, confirming the gulf between the regional body and its
Madagascar and Zimbabwe cases also highlight that structural governance
deficits and politicised security sectors exacerbate conflict. Sadc’s
mediation efforts reveal the complexities and challenges of dealing with
unconstitutional changes in government, contested elections and violations
of the region’s electoral code.
A fragmented approach to crisis and the absence of a common policy hinder
security co-operation. Member states pursue detached objectives without a
consistent set of principles and policies in this area co-ordinated at the
This reinforces their reluctance to cede authority to a Sadc centralised
Regional commitment to the rule of law suffered from the decision of the
Sadc heads of state and government to confine the jurisdiction of its
tribunal to interpretations of treaties and protocols relating to disputes
between member states. The decision removes the right to individual
petition, and without an alternate explanation from Sadc’s leadership, can
be considered a reversal of previous gains in human security and people’s
Sadc is keen to establish a mediation unit led by “elders” appointed by
consensus between member states and supported by a credible and efficient
resource team. Though the framework and operational methodology were
approved in 2010, the organisation is yet to implement them.
Regional conflict resolution efforts must incorporate military diplomacy
options to address growing security sector influence in conflicts and their
potential resolution. The establishment of national committees in each
member state will buttress civil society participation in Sadc policy
formulation and implementation, as mandated by the treaty.
A culture of political solidarity among member states remains, fostered by a
common liberation struggle history and a stated commitment to
non-interference in the internal politics of others. This has inhibited
effective preventive diplomacy and provided justification for non-engagement
in cases of potential conflict and security threats.
Despite the establishment of an early warning system in 2010, it is not
clear if and how Sadc utilises the conflict signals arising in the region
and how best this infrastructure could be enhanced.
Decision-making is consensual and rests solely with the heads of state and
government and ministerial committees. The secretariat is expected to
function as Sadc’s implementing arm, but lacks capacity and the authority to
enforce decisions and is not empowered to engage in independent diplomatic
action to address conflict situations.
The Sadc Standby Force has demonstrated its readiness for deployment,
successfully conducting joint exercises, though it needs further
strengthening to expand its humanitarian and disaster management roles. It
has not fully incorporated a civilian component, which is necessary to
provide for human security as specified by the AU.
Sadc has no post-conflict reconstruction programme or security sector reform
policy framework to underpin sustainable peace. This reflects the prominence
of bilateral over multilateral security co-operation, as well as varying
geopolitical interests, the exclusive alliance of countries with liberation
struggle history and sensitivities regarding possible hegemonic domination.
South Africa’s role and potential in this regard are particularly pertinent,
as are its relations with Angola, the second most influential Sadc member.
Foreign partnerships around peace and security are disjointed and are not
tied to a coherent strategy to build infrastructure and capacity. This
manifests in the misapplication of resources and competing interests among
Sadc’s international co-operating partners. The organisation should support
the implementation of the regional coordination platform for international
partners, and consider how best to broaden engagement beyond traditional
donors and partners.
The inter-governmental status of Sadc limits the enforcement and monitoring
of member states’ compliance to its peace and security framework. Although
political solidarity exists, relations between some of the regional leaders
are fragile, even fraught, which has negatively affected sustainable
regional security co-operation.
However, compared to other challenges on the continent, Southern Africa is
regarded as relatively peaceful. This affords it an important opportunity to
build and consolidate its peace and security capacity.