By Thomas Chiripasi
27 October 2005
Top officials of Zimbabwe's currently divided Movement for Democratic Change
have opened talks to try to resolve a bitter and embarrassing internal
dispute over whether the opposition should run candidates in the senate
election set for November.
Faction leaders also ordered subordinate officials and the rank-and-file to
desist from violence and tone down rhetoric in the quarrel, which has
sparked some clashes.
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, who insists the party must boycott the Nov.
26 election of a restored upper house, and Secretary General Welshman Ncube,
leader of a faction that has defied Mr. Tsvangirai in nominating 26
candidates, met in Harare with other members of the party's Top Six, a
semi-formal steering committee.
The senior officials agreed that Mr. Tsvangirai and his spokesman, William
Bango, would speak for the anti-election faction, while all statements from
the camp which has moved to field candidates were to come from Deputy
President Gibson Sibanda.
After extending olive branches, the factions agreed to meet again Friday to
address more substantive issues, like how to reconcile the 26 candidates
nominated this week with Mr. Tsvangirai's threat to expell those politicians
from the party.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bango said party officers and members of the rank and file
were told to avoid acrimonious statements and to eschew all violence or
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from the MDC's Harare press
Earlier, reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke
with MDC National Council member Sekai Holland who said the opposition
divisions went beyond the senate elections issue. For one thing, said Ms.
Holland, there was never meant to be a National Council vote on Oct. 12 when
the factional split emerged.
Some political analysts say the MDC may have lost a significant following
because of its public bickering over participation in elections for the
senate, restored by the ruling party through constitutional amendment
legislation which the opposition opposed.
Other argue that the MDC and Mr. Tsvangirai could be strengthened by the
Studio 7 reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele sought the views of political experts
Joseph Kurebwa, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, and
Jessie Majome, a lawyer and spokesman for the National Constitutional
Assembly. She said the MDC retains strong support, but picked a bad time to
let its internal divisions flare.
October 28, 2005
By the Editor
It is extraordinary to see the lemming-like propensity which
opposition parties on this continent have for self-destruction. And now the
same is happening in Zimbabwe.
After overcoming the huge hurdles that President Robert Mugabe has
always placed before his would-be opponents, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) came within a whisker of winning the most contested seats in
its first election in 2000.
It has being going downhill ever since. Of course that has mostly been
because a startled Mugabe has been driving it downhill. He mobilised all the
large resources of the state to do so, from shutting down opposition papers,
to invading farms to cut off the MDC's economic lifeline, to simply beating
the hell out of MDC politicians.
And so ultimately the fate of the MDC is Mugabe's fault. It
demonstrates that Zimbabwe is not really a democracy, though it pretends to
be one. It is an ironic truism of such quasi-democracies that you can only
have as much democracy as the real power allows you.
Nonetheless the MDC has hastened its own demise by poor leadership and
here Morgan Tsvangirai must accept most of the blame. He showed appalling
judgment in allowing himself to be entrapped in a treason trial which sapped
much of the party's energy and resources.
He also failed to exploit the huge popular anger at Mugabe's Operation
Murambatsvina this year to raze shacks and informal businesses.
And now Tsvangirai has precipitated what looks like the imminent
disintegration of the MDC by overruling a decision by its national council
to participate in senate elections next month. That
has driven most of his lieutenants into open rebellion.
Tsvangirai may be right that it is pointless for the MDC to persist
with parliamentary politics when Mugabe merely rigs elections against them.
He appears ready to lead the party on an extra-parliamentary course of
mass action, a risky but perhaps ultimately inevitable option. But he is
nonetheless obliged to respect the opinion of the majority or risk
comparison with Mugabe.
The alternative is the chaos now ensuing.
The Herald (Harare)
October 27, 2005
Posted to the web October 27, 2005
The High Court yesterday overturned the decision by TelOne to fire 1,254
workers who went on strike a year ago after management refused to implement
an arbitrator's award of a salary increment.
The court found the strike was legal since the disposal order granted to
TelOne was nullified on appeal.
Thus, the firm could not initiate disciplinary action against the workers
purely for going on strike.
The workers struck in October last year after management refused to award
them an increment as recommended by an arbitrator in March of the same year.
This was after both the workers and management failed to reach an agreement
following an internal dialogue which had been recommended by the Labour
Earlier the company, which was cited as the respondent in the case, had
successfully sought a disposal order declaring the strike illegal, had the
order rendered ineffective on appeal by the workers.
A certificate of no settlement was then issued paving way for the workers to
embark on a lawful collective job action, which did not go down well with
In haste, the management conducted disciplinary hearings, which resulted in
the workers being suspended and subsequently fired without benefits.
But the workers - through the Communication and Allied Services Workers'
Union of Zimbabwe - petitioned the higher court to set aside the findings
Justice Rita Makarau found the TelOne decision to fire the workers to be
unlawful since the strike was legal.
"In my view, it is in this regard that the respondent (TelOne) erred," said
The Labour Act provides that, subject to the provisions of the Act, all
employees, workers' committees and trade unions have the right to resort to
collective job action to resolve disputes of interest.
The Act does not only have provision for the issuance of disposal orders
during illegal strikes, but also gives protection to employees engaged in
lawful collective action.
Therefore, workers who go on lawful strike could not be liable for breach of
contract and their employment could not be terminated on the grounds that
they engaged in a lawful collective action.
Justice Makarau found that it was grossly irregular and TelOne's decision to
fire the workers flew in the face of the express letter of the law.
"It is not permissible. It seeks in vain to make the code (of conduct)
superior to the provisions of the Act under which the code is registered,"
In fact, she said, TelOne's code of conduct was not compatible with the laws
The code of conduct, she said, was essentially part of the terms of the
contract of employment between the employer and employees, therefore it
could not override the law of the country.
Justice Makarau said the disciplinary hearings conducted by TelOne were a
nullity as nothing lawful came out of them even if the company met all the
requirements of the code and the law.
"They have to be set aside as being grossly irregular.
"The disciplinary proceedings by the respondent against its employees who
engaged in the collective job action of October 6, 2004 are hereby set
aside," said Justice Makarau.
In their petition, the workers had sought to quash the decision by the
company to use its code of conduct to discipline the workers on the basis
that it was grossly unprocedural, tainted with bias and that it had set up
an incompetent body to enforce the code.
TelOne, however, argued that after the Labour Court discharged the show
cause order, the parties were at large to dispose of the dispute using other
TelOne had also argued that it was not barred by any law from dealing with
its workers under the company's code of conduct.
Mr Tendai Biti of Honey and Blankernberg appeared for the workers, while Mr
Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha represented TelOne.
We note that all national elections the MDC party has participated in to date have neither been free or fair.
We note that participation in the 2005 parliamentary election was one with a heavy heart after the regime failed dismally to comply with guidelines of basic fair election standards as set out in our Restore Document. We also note that at the time the regime also dismally failed to pass the SADC Election Guidelines and Principles as agreed in Mauritius on the 18th of August 2004.
We note that the decision to participate in the elections in 2005 was reached after extensive consultation and that not every single member of the MDC supported the move to participate although consensus was reached to do so in the end. We further note that it was a good thing to witness democracy at work.
We conclude that it was a mistake to participate in the parliamentary elections given the background and the shortcomings we documented as a party in our post election report.
We note that nothing has changed and the regime still fails the litmus test. The Senate issue is unique in that it is an additional expenditure by a regime on an economy already in the morgue. We also sadly note that it is only an instrument of furthering patronage in the regime's gravy train in their effort to appease the loyal but failing political deadwood.
Given this background and in view of the 33-31 vote we see the benefit of collation of opinion and acknowledge the supremacy of people views as a strong basis for democracy. As a democratic party we value each individual's personal choice and understand the beauty of being outnumbered makes democracy an efficient mediator. We also understand that under the circumstances, it is also necessary to stage a rebellion to safeguard national interest. This is the view we understand the President saw fit to exercise. It is our hope that the President and those in favour of participating move past this democratic expression of views by the simple majority in equal stride with the President's courageous stand to boycott. Their ability to work together through this despite their differences is what is going to make the MDC a stronger party. One only has to look at the glee the regime's mouth piece, The Herald, has b een displaying over this. They have given this more coverage than they gave us during the entire 2005 election! A break up of the party is exactly what the regime wants by highlighting our differences rather than our similarities.
To avoid falling into the regime's trap we encourage the President and the opposing leaders to shame the regime by showing our true democratic colors. We urge you to show that in MDC we can have different views and opinions without ending up like Mavhaire, Tekere and others in Zanu who were thrown out for having different views.
We changed our ways! We are not Zanu! We can differ on opinions but can still work together. The enemy is out there and smiling with each difference. Our strength is in our diversity of opinion and that is why we became Chinja!
Lastly we take this learning curve as a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our "checks and balance" of power within the party and ultimately within the proposed national constitution. This has just become the test case for us to look at and debate the power of "veto" by a sitting President at the coming National Congress.
Acting Secretary General
Tel: 214 458 6066
MDC-Dallas, Texas Branch
By Jefrey Gogo and Brian Benza
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is holding consultations with key stakeholders
in connection with the introduction a new currency next year, as announced
in the Third Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement last week.
"We are currently holding consultations with Government on the idea of
introducing a new currency as these issues are of national importance.
"In the past we have talked about introducing just a new note but it has
since been overtaken by the idea of a new currency.
"The currency has more to do with the relative value of our money in
comparison to our trading partners whereas new notes would just be an issue
to do with the design of the money," said an RBZ official who refused to be
The new currency will be valued in terms of purchasing power parity with the
intention of easing the money circulation and need for higher denominated
notes due to hyperinflation.
"I would not want to talk like the authorities have already rubber-stamped
the idea but I am sure we are going to try and equate a unit of the new
currency to, for example, the prevailing price of a loaf of bread," said the
If the idea is approved by the Government, it will greatly reduce the amount
of cash that people have to carry around for transaction purposes while a
currency might psychologically breathe new confidence into the economy.
Earlier indications were that the central bank had already started printing
new notes to replace the bearer cheques currently in circulation.
But the governor took everybody by surprise when he announced the central
bank would next year introduce a new currency when presenting his Third
Quarter Monetary Policy Review Statement.
"As previously announced that the RBZ was working on the introduction of a
new currency, we are pleased to give notice that this will be done in the
new year 2006, at a date to be announced once consultations with relevant
stakeholders have been finalised," said Dr Gideon Gono.
Zimbabwe's currency has traditionally consisted of a mixture of cents and
The coins ranged from one cent to one dollar while notes were available in
the following denominations: $2, $5, $10 with $20 as the highest
However, due to changes in the economic situation brought about by the
Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap), the country was prompted to
introduce new notes in four denominations - $50, $100, $500 and $1000 -
between 2001 and 2003.
The introduction of the new notes gradually saw the unofficial phasing out
of the coins as the value of the dollar continued to depreciate against most
A crippling notes' shortage between May and September 2003 resulted in the
introduction of bearer's cheques in three denominations - $5 000, $10 000
and $20 000 - initially for six months.
Since the cheques proved an effective remedy for the cash shortages, the
central bank extended their lifespan first to December 2004 and subsequently
to December 2005.
The extension was expected to give the RBZ enough time to work on the design
and printing of new notes as a precursor to the phasing out of the bearer
The Herald (Harare)
October 27, 2005
Posted to the web October 27, 2005
Managing Director of the United Nations Common Fund for Commodities,
Ambassador Ali Mchumo, arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday to assess progress of
projects funded by the UN agency.
He will also be briefed on new project proposals and their budget
The Fund, an inter-governmental financial institution, benefits many
countries by financing development of commodity producers.
Addressing journalists in Harare soon after arrival, Mr Mchumo said he was
looking forward to hear areas where the Fund could assist Zimbabwe.
"I am looking forward to hear new projects, which the Fund can assist and I
will also be moving around the country to assess the projects we have been
funding," said Mr Mchumo, who was voted into office last year.
"I very much appreciate of what the Government of Zimbabwe and its people
are doing for the development of their country and we hope to work together
in identifying the projects and commodities that needs funding."
Mr Mchumo said the Fund seeks to create buffer stocks where farmers, for
example, would deposit their produce in a national warehouse and would be
allowed to borrow from financial institutions using produce as collateral
The produce stored in the warehouse would be released in times of shortages,
The projects to be funded, said Mr Mchumo, should be capable of being sold
within the region and not produce peculiar to a certain country.
The Fund seeks to address the issue of pricing and how to add value to
commodities produced, said Mr Mchumo.
The diplomat said developed countries that contribute the bulk of the source
of funding of the organisation does not dictate the operations of the Fund.
"This is not an opportunity for developed countries to dictate to small
nations since the donors have no say on where or who should benefit from the
Fund," said Mr Mchumo, a Tanzanian.
"There have been no attempts by these developed countries to influence the
operations of the Fund. The money is primarily for poor countries and they
can not say these monies should be given to Zimbabwe or Zambia."
The organisation also gets money from subscriptions contributed by the 106
Zimbabwe is one of the paid up members, said Mr Mchumo.
The Fund was negotiated in the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) in the 1970s and was concluded in 1980.
It became operational in 1989 and in 1991 the executive board approved the
first commodity development project.
By May 2005, the Fund had approved 211 projects with an overall cost of
By Joseph Katete
Last updated: 10/28/2005 05:46:38
THE Miss Tourism World finals hosted by Zimbabwe early this year were an
unnecessary expense and would not be held again in 2006 as scheduled, a
government official said this week.
Addressing a press conference at the launch of a new pageant, Miss Tourism
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer, Karikoga
Kaseke said government had resolved not to host the pageant again.
"After holding the Miss Tourism World we sat down and tried to find out
whether there were any tangible benefits for holding such an event and it
was very difficult to quantify them (the benefits)," said Kaseke.
Zimbabwe had to pay US$2 million to the pageant licence holders led by John
Singh host the event.
Apart from that, it had to bankroll the travelling, accommodation and meal
expenses for more than 80 models, scores of regional and international
journalists as well as Miss Tourism World officials, who came for the event.
Many Zimbabweans were not aware of Miss Tourism World pageant, until late
last year when the country won the bid to host the beauty contest ahead of
Thailand and China. Zimbabwe became the first African country to host the
pageant. The event was held on February 26 at the Harare International
A call to Singh on Thursday wasn't immediately returned.
Although Zimbabwe has said it is not going to hold the Miss Tourism World
pageant in Harare, recent press releases from the Miss Tourism World
Organisation suggested that preparations to host the event were underway.
The title-holder of the Miss Tourism World is Miss Czech Republic, Zuzara
Putnarova (18) who was crowned in Harare.
The reigning national beauty queen Oslie Muringai, who finished a
commendable second princess represented the country - Daily Mirror
The UK Herald
BILLY BRIGGS October 28 2005
BRITAIN expressed concern to Malawi yesterday that the process of impeaching
President Mutharika was affecting the running of the country and could
adversely impact its relations with the international community.
An open letter from Britain, France, Germany, Norway, US, South Africa and
the EU Commission, said the current situation could affect the African
state's stability and urged its politicians to redouble their
The letter also raised concern over the devotion of the national assembly to
the impeachment proceedings and the almost "total exclusion of the ongoing
At the same time, Malawi has been cleared of allegations of supplying Robert
Mugabe's regime with tear gas bought with UK aid money. An investigation by
the UK government found there was no substance to claims it was flouting
sanctions by supplying Zimbabwean police with the gas - which has been
linked to at least 11 deaths, including five babies, during a recent
incident in Zimbabwe.
The former British high commissioner to Malawi wrote to the UK government
expressing concern at the nation's purchase of tear gas worth £500,000, as
such a large order rang alarm bells.
The allegations were denied by the Malawian government in June, and
yesterday, the Department of International Development (DFID) said an
investigation had shown there was no evidence of misuse of aid money from
Amnesty International called yesterday for an independent inquiry into how
Zimbabwe obtained tear gas.