The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe is sliding back to methods of violence and intimidation

October 30, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare

The United Nations torture investigator warned yesterday that Zimbabwe's
fragile coalition Government could collapse, saying that his expulsion from
the nation showed that President Mugabe and his party continued to hold "the
real power".

Manfred Nowak, who was detained on Wednesday night when he arrived in
Harare, blamed Mr Mugabe for blocking his entry and said there was evidence
that torture was once again being used to stifle dissent. He said he would
recommend that the UN Human Rights Council should take action against

Mr Nowak had been due to spend a week in Zimbabwe to investigate allegations
of human rights abuses. He was originally invited by Patrick Chinamasa, the
Justice Minister, in February, and then by Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime
Minister, but was told at Harare airport that he did not have security

The visit was supposed to signal a willingness by the new Government to
address the claims of human rights abuses under the rule of Mr Mugabe. The
President formed a unity government eight months ago with Mr Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) but the Prime Minister has since
refused to work with his adversary and has accused Mr Mugabe of reneging on
his promises.

After Mr Novak returned to Johannesburg, he denounced his treatment as "a
very alarming signal about the power structure of the present Government".

He said: "It sheds a clear light as to where the real power is lying in this
unity Government ... There are certainly some parts of the Government who do
not want me to assess the current conditions of torture. There are strong
indications that this was just not done by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
without at least the knowledge of President Mugabe."

He added: "There are alarming reports of violence in rural areas; of
intimidation and torture."

Ephraim Masawi, a spokesman for the President's Zanu (PF) party, denied that
Mr Mugabe was involved in the expulsion.

Mr Novak has joined a growing number of people expressing anxiety at a
renewal of violence and intimidation against supporters of Mr Tsvangirai and
human rights groups after a period of relative calm.

Amnesty International warned that "Zimbabwe is on the brink of sliding back
into the post-election violence that marred the country last year", when
soldiers, police, intelligence agents and Zanu (PF) militiamen murdered at
least 100 MDC supporters and tortured thousands to ensure that Mr Mugabe won
the presidential run-off election. Mr Tsvangirai withdrew and Mr Mugabe was
declared the winner of a one-man race that was dismissed overwhelmingly as a

A week ago, a group of heavily armed police raided an MDC house in Harare,
claiming that they were searching for weapons. They forced the caretaker to
dig up the garden with his hands but did not find anything.

Two days later the chairman and chief executive of the National Association
of Non-Governmental Organisations, an umbrella body of the country's
charities, were arrested at Victoria Falls airport. They were accused of
holding an illegal political meeting and held for two days before being
released on bail.

On Tuesday there were two abduction attempts on other MDC officials. One
escaped when she screamed for help but the transport manager, Pascal
Gwenzere, was dragged out of his township home by armed men in civilian
clothes. He is still missing.

A day later two officials at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network were
arrested in a village in the remote northwest of the country where they were
holding an election education workshop. They were charged with holding an
illegal meeting.

Teachers in rural areas have been reporting the redeployment of Zanu (PF)
youth militias in schools. The incidents, which were once rife, had become
sporadic since the unity Government was formed.

Recent events have raised fears that the lull in violence will be
short-lived. "What we are seeing now was exactly how the violence began in
the campaign for the presidential run-off elections between March and June
last year," Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the MDC, said. "We are beginning
to see the formation of another storm of violence."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN Envoy's Bid to Gatecrash Foiled - Herald headline

The Herald (Harare)

29 October 2009

THE United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Mr Mafred Nowack last night
tried to gatecrash into the country as the Sadc Troika arrived to review the
Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations last


Author: juhlman
Fri Oct 30 03:08:11 2009
Gatecrash? The man had an invitation from the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe? On
whose authority was he denied entry? Funny the Herald calls it
"gatecrashing", they spout the idiocy their lords tell them to.........

Yes, we all know, ZANU-Poof/Mugabe............

Funny, the Herald calls itself "the Newspaper of the Government of
Zimbabwe", I thought that the Prime Minister was part of the Government of

But as we all know, he isn't, the JOC/CIO and Politburo of ZANU-Poof is the
real goverment of Zimbabwe.......

"Total Empowerment!"

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bad Manners From a Dictator

OCTOBER 29, 2009, 6:19 P.M. ET

The U.N. is outraged at Robert Mugabe's rudeness.
The United Nations is shocked that its torture inspector has been deported
from Zimbabwe. "I think I have never been treated by any government in such
a rude manner than by the government of Zimbabwe," Manfred Nowak huffed on

The special rapporteur for the U.N. Human Rights Council says he is alarmed
that an invitation extended to him by Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's nominal
prime minister, was disregarded by Robert Mugabe's immigration officials.
This is not, he protests, in the spirit of February's shaky power-sharing
deal between Zimbabwe's dictator and his democratic challenger.

Forgive us if we can't work up the correct degree of outrage at Mr. Nowak's
treatment. Mugabe has been abusing, dispossessing, murdering and most
recently starving his domestic "enemies" for the better part of 30 years.
For much of that time, he was garlanded in so many Western honors it almost
seems surprising he didn't win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Even now, despite ongoing EU sanctions, he is being courted at the highest
levels. Last month Brussels sent a high-level delegation to Zimbabwe, led by
Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht, for talks that included Mugabe. And
earlier this month, Madrid said it would use its turn at the rotating EU
presidency next year to push for more talks between Brussels and Harare.

Meanwhile, Mugabe's abuses remain unchecked, including attacks on members of
Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change and invasions of still more
white-owned commercial farms. But, of course, this is nothing more than what
dictators of Mugabe's ilk always do. The wonder of it is that the West keeps
knocking on his door, seeking to reason with a man who treats them with the
contempt they probably deserve.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sadc Team Seeks to Avert GNU Meltdown

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:10
      A SPECIAL Sadc team started meetings with political players yesterday
in a bid to prevent the country from sliding back into political repression
and economic meltdown.

      The meetings, which were due to culminate in critical encounters
between the Sadc team and main political leaders who include President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara today, would give clear indications about the future of
Zimbabwe's troubled inclusive government.

      The Sadc team is led by Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister Oldemiro
Baloyi and includes Zambian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fashion Phiri
and his Swazi counterpart Lutho Dlamini.

      Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao and South African facilitators
to the Zimbabwe dialogue, Frank Chikane and Mojanku Gumbi, are also part of
the fact-finding mission.

      Salomao said the Sadc team was in Harare to review the implementation
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

      Zimbabwe is going through a fresh political crisis after Tsvangirai
and his ministers from the MDC pulled out of power-sharing, citing Mugabe's
failure to implement the GPA and the dispute over a series of outstanding

      Of late repression has been intensifying after months of a reprieve
since the unity government was formed in February.

      The Sadc team yesterday met representatives of political parties and
diplomats as part of its consultations.

      The group met Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey
Bimha, Sadc diplomats, negotiators from Tsvangirai's MDC, Mutambara and his
smaller MDC faction, and several stakeholders.

      After the meetings yesterday, the Sadc team will today meet Zimbabwe's
three main political leaders, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara. It would
also meet European diplomats and officials from the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee.

      After yesterday's meeting, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said his
party had tabled its issues.

      "We made our presentations and representations on the issues that are
of concern," he said.

      Sadc chairman, DRC President Joseph Kabila, was expected to arrive in
Harare last night after failing to make it on Wednesday to push for a quick
resolution of the problem.

      Kabila's intervention, and the presence of South African officials,
would highlight the gravity of the political crisis in Harare and determine
whether the unity government can be saved from a looming break up. - Staff

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutasa Must Testify: High Court

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:24
      A HIGH Court judge has ruled that Presidential Affairs minister
Didymus Mutasa must testify as a defence witness in a case where a white
commercial farmer is facing prosecution for refusing to vacate a farm in
Mashonaland West. Justice Bharat Patel on Tuesday dismissed with costs
Mutasa's application to bar a lower court from compelling him to testify as
a defence witness.

      In his judgment Patel said the former Lands minister should testify in
the criminal case where commercial farmer Robert Mckersie faces prosecution
before a Chinhoyi magistrate for allegedly contravening the Gazetted Lands
Act by refusing to leave Chapungu Farm in Mhangura.

      The judge said Mutasa's evidence would be relevant to the case.

      Mckersie's defence is that he was given an offer letter by Mutasa
which constitutes the requisite "lawful authority" entitling him to remain
in occupation of the farm without contravening the Gazetted Lands Act.
      Mckersie claimed he returned his offer letter to Mutasa to correct a
spelling error of his name. The letter was never handed back to him.

      "He now wants the applicant (Mutasa) to testify on his behalf by
confirming that the offer letter was in fact originally issued to him,"
reads Patel's judgment.

      However, Mutasa's reasons for refusing to testify were that the
evidence sought by Mckersie did not constitute a valid defence to the charge
and was therefore irrelevant and inadmissible.

      The minister also said he could not be compelled to divulge matters
involving land allocation as these were privileged by dint of public policy
and public interest and that he was only being called as a witness in order
to degrade his character.

      Patel threw out Mutasa's arguments. The judge said where an offer
letter is lost or destroyed, the evidence of the issuing authority or other
public official may be necessary in order to establish that the letter was
in fact issued to the occupier concerned at the relevant time.

      Patel adjudged: "Such evidence would undoubtedly constitute the
requisite lawful authority and a valid defence against a charge of
contravening Section 3. Having regard to the foregoing, I am satisfied that
the testimony required from the applicant (Mutasa) as to whether he did or
did not issue an offer letter to the fourth respondent (Mckersie) in
relation to the land in question is highly relevant and clearly admissible
for the purposes of the fourth respondent's acquittal or conviction under
Section 3."

      "Moreover, given that such evidence is to be elicited from the
applicant in relation to what he himself did or did not do vis a vis the
fourth respondent as the authority responsible for issuing offer letters,
there can be no question of him having to divulge any official secret or
other confidential information inimical to public policy or the public
interest. I am therefore quite unable to perceive any logical basis for the
privilege claimed by the applicant on the facts of this case."

      Patel said as for the degradation of Mutasa's character, there was
nothing meaningful in the founding papers to substantiate the apprehended
attack on his character.

      "Ultimately any such apprehension must be weighed against the
constitutional right of every accused person to be afforded a fair criminal
trial as enjoined and guaranteed by Section 18 (3) of the constitution and
in particular the right "to obtain the attendance and carry out the
examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf", reads the judgment.

      Patel said Mutasa failed to establish a basis for justifying the
interim relief that he sought and that the High Court could not interfere
with the subpoena issued by the Chinhoyi Magistrate's Court by barring
Kutayi Ndudzo (magistrate) or any other magistrate from compelling Mutasa to
testify at Mckersie's criminal trial.

      Mutasa was ordered to pay Ndudzo costs he incurred on legal
practitioner and client scale.

      "I am not persuaded that his (Mutasa) approach to this court was so
unjustified or unnecessary as to warrant a punitive award of costs," said

      Initially, a warrant of arrest was issued against Mutasa by Ndudzo on
October 6 after he failed to turn up at Chinhoyi courts to testify.

      The warrant was cancelled on October 9, the day Mutasa made an
application to the High Court for him not to testify in the case.

      Mckersie's case resumes on November 4.

      Meanwhile, in a similar case a Mutare provincial magistrate Billiart
Musakwa granted Mutasa's application not to testify as a defence witness in
a case involving another white commercial farmer, Alan McGregor.

      Musakwa ruled that compelling Mutasa to give evidence in the trial of
McGregor was a way of attacking the land reform programme and exposing the
minister to ridicule and belittlement.

      Wongai Zhangazha

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF's Politburo Orders Harare Polls

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:03
      ZANU PF's politburo last night ordered the party's Harare province to
hold elections next Saturday, despite reports that the restructuring of the
province was far from being complete. Party deputy spokesperson Ephraim
Masawi said the politburo was satisfied with the work of a co-coordinating
committee tasked with sorting out the province that has been dogged by
infighting and factionalism.

      "Harare provincial elections will be held next Saturday," Masawi said.
"The politburo has ordered the elections."

      But sources in the politburo had earlier on told the Zimbabwe
Independent that the restructuring of the province might not be completed in
time for the December congress.

      The sources said Harare was likely to attend the congress as observers
with no voting rights as they did at the Youth and Women's leagues
conferences, where they almost fought each other over which faction should
be allowed to attend the meetings.

      Infighting between Hubert Nyanhongo and Amos Midzi, who are both vying
for the provincial chairmanship, has affected the restructuring exercise.

      Because of the infighting the province has gone for more than a year
without a provincial executive.

      The politburo member said: "We have not yet concluded the
restructuring exercise. The exercise goes on. The problem with Harare has
always been about individuals wrestling for power. The problem at the
moment, it seems, is on tribal lines with the Zezurus saying Harare is their
capital and they will not let a Manyika or Karanga take control of the

      The elections had initially been pencilled in for August following the
cancellation of the results of the previous poll held in December last year
by the politburo, due to intra-party violence by the feuding factions.

      Nyanhongo had defeated previous chairperson Midzi in a fiercely
contested election that saw the two main factions led by retired army
commander General Solomon Mujuru and defence minister Emmerson Mnagagwa
seeking to gain control of the metropolitan province.

      The politburo member said one of the biggest impediments to resolving
the power struggle, which might spill into the Zanu PF congress, was the
politburo, which was also deeply divided on factional lines.

      Insiders at the party headquarters told the Independent that the
succession race to replace the late Vice-President Joseph Msika was also
affecting the exercise with factions trying to coerce party chairman John
Nkomo to favour their side in exchange for a nomination for the
vice-presidency post.

      A person needs the support of at least six of the 10 provinces to be
nominated vice-president. So far four senior members, Naison Ndlovu, Cain
Mathema, Ambrose Mutinhiri and Obert Mpofu have openly declared their
interest in the post.

      Meanwhile, Zanu PF supporters from the party's district coordinating
committee 3 (DCC), which includes Rugare, Kambuzuma, Warren Park,
Dzivaresekwa and Mufakose high-density suburbs, were protesting yesterday at
the party headquarters against what they described as a biased restructuring

      The supporters told the Independent that 16 districts have been set
up, with Midzi's supporters and some 23 districts in Nyanhongo's stronghold
being excluded.

      When Mugabe arrived for the politburo meeting, the supporters sang
songs denouncing the Midzi faction and politburo member Tendai Savanhu.

      Faith Zaba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New Twist to VP Battle

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:20
      THE Zanu PF succession race to replace the late Vice-President Joseph
Msika has become messy with senior party officials trying to outmanoeuvre
each other in a bid to block national chairman John Nkomo's ascendancy.

      The struggle over Msika's replacement  took a new twist yesterday,
widening divisions in Zanu PF ahead of the crucial congress in December.

      The fight over who will take over has become more confusing with plots
and subplots emerging.
      The Zanu PF politburo last night intervened and resolved to bring all
10 provinces into the fray to ensure that Msika's successor is nominated
alongside other members of the presidium bringing a new dimenson to the

      Prior to this,  the battle to succed Msika had been fought only in the
Matabeleland provinces. The politburo decision - which emphasises seniority
in the party hierachy - will give Nkomo a major boost.

      The politburo agreed that the vice-president and chairperson's posts
will go to ex-PF Zapu officials.

      The provinces were given a deadline of November 14 to submit their
nominees to the party.

      Naison Ndlovu, Cain Mathema, Ambrose Mutinhiri and Obert Mpofu have
publicly declared their interest to succeed Msika, while Nkomo has said
according to Zanu PF's constitution, a person is nominated by the provinces.

      While some senior politicians are trying to stop Nkomo from taking up
the shared number two spot in the party, others want to form an alliance
with him in exchange for his position if he gets the six or more nominations
from the 10 provinces.

      However, forming such an alliance, Zanu PF insiders said, could lose
him the support of those in the Matabeleland provinces and former PF-Zapu
members who feel there is an unwritten agreement stating that the chairman's
position is reserved for the former PF-Zapu.

      Zanu PF insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent that the faction led by
retired army commander Solomon Mujuru asked Mutinhiri to throw his hat into
the ring to scuttle Nkomo's efforts, while another group which was part of
the so-called Tsholotsho plot is campaigning for Naison Ndlovu to take up
the post.

      Mpofu is said to be more of a spoiler than a serious contender.

      The fight has also taken a new twist with former senior PF-Zapu
officials this week disowning Mpofu.

      The senior members, who occupied top positions in PF-Zapu at
Independence and before the 1987 Unity Accord, told the Zimbabwe Independent
in separate interviews that as far as they were concerned, Mpofu allegedly
deserted the party during the liberation struggle in the 1970s.

      Mpofu, the senior officials said, was never a member of PF-Zapu at
Independence in 1980 and therefore he should not even be eyeing the
vice-president post as it was reserved for the most senior surviving member
of that party.

      One official in the Zanu PF politburo, who preferred anonymity,
challenged Mpofu to produce his PF-Zapu membership cards from before
Independence and after.

      The official said they did not know much about Mpofu until 1987 when
he was appointed non-constituency MP by Mugabe.

      "We didn't know him after Independence," said the top official. "Some
of us can produce our cards we got in Lusaka and also after Independence.
Where are his cards? It is clear that he joined Zanu PF in 1980 and we were
in Zapu and we didn't know him, we knew our members.

      "He is just a spoiler who knows that he does not qualify. He was just
a small boy when we joined politics. By shouting at senior Zapu members, he
is creating enemies and digging his own grave."

      Another senior member, who also preferred anonymity, said Mpofu
allegedly disappeared in the 1970s when he went to India and only emerged
after Independence.

      "As far as we were concerned, he deserted the struggle and he left
Zapu in the 1970s. Otherwise, how do you explain the fact that he was
elected into the Zanu PF provincial membership in Matabeleland North in
1980?" he said.

      The official said Mpofu should not vie for the vice-president's post.

      "The question is where was he after he went for his Zipra training and
where was he after India? The ones that were sponsored by Zapu came back and
we had a list of them. He hides behind (retired army commander General
Solomon) Mujuru because he trained with him," he said. "But where did he go
after that training? Maybe he can tell us which highest position he held
while in Zapu. I think the general public will be interested to know this."

      What irked former senior PF-Zapu members were statements made by Mpofu
at a Zanu PF election victory celebration in Nyamandlovu when he attacked
some of the candidates vying for the post. He said they never won a ward
election in the constituencies and do not even have the support of their

      However, when the Zimbabwe Independent contacted Mpofu, he said he
never threw his hat into the race but only said that if people wanted him to
be vice-president, he would gladly take up the post.

      He declined to give a short profile of his political life. He also
declined to react to assertions that he was never a PF-Zapu member after

      Mpofu said: "No one has said anything to me about it. How can I talk
about something I cannot determine - which I cannot also pre-empt? I don't
want to discuss these issues - I am not a Zanu PF spokesperson."

      According to his curriculum vitae he submitted to parliament, Mpofu
said he joined the liberation struggle in 1967 and went through military
training in Morogoro in Tanzania in 1968. He said he operated in (Sipolilo)
Guruve, Deka, Binga, Kazungula, Hwange, Tsholotsho and Lupane areas.

      There is a gap in his political career from there until 1987, when he
was appointed non-constituency MP.

      But according to a profile by an online publication, which said it
interviewed Mpofu, the minister was quoted saying Zapu awarded him
sponsorship in 1973 to pursue academic studies up to 1980.

      In 1980 Mpofu was reportedly elected onto the Zanu PF Matabeleland
North provincial executive and rose to become a member of the central
committee and the politburo.

      Mpofu worked as a line manager at Zimbabwe Newspapers in Harare in the
mid-1980s. He was then appointed general manager of Zimbabwe Grain Bag (Pvt)
Ltd, a manufacturing company established by Zanu-PF in Bulawayo.
      Meanwhile, the former PF-Zapu officials also said people like Mathema
might expose themselves after declaring an interest.
      They said Mathema allegedly rebelled against the Zipra command and was
rescued by the British High Commission and sent to London where he was based
until 1980.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

RBZ continues quasi-fiscal projects

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 22:14
      ZIMBABWE'S troubled financial system is exposed following revelations
by the IMF that the Reserve Bank has continued to channel statutory reserves
to finance quasi-fiscal projects, which has rendered it incapable of backing
up banks.

      According to a report made by a visiting IMF team this month, the
central bank has continued to utilise "unencumbered international reserves"
further eroding dwindling state coffers.

      The negative position, the report stated, means that the RBZ was
US$38,6 million short of assets required to bail out banks in the event of a
liquidity crunch.

      "The RBZ has used foreign reserve assets to fund its operating
expenses, withdrawals of foreign currency amounts and debt service, as well
as payments on behalf of the government," the report states. "The total
value of fund outflows is reported to have been $45,5 million between
end-December 2008 and end-August. The RBZ also accumulated $40,3 million in
arrears on operating expenses during the first nine months of 2009."

      Out of the fund outflows made between January and August this year,
US$16,3 was pumped out to finance supraministerial activities that included
financing troubled airline, Air Zimbabwe, paying presidential scholarships
and financing diplomatic missions.

      The report further revealed that the central bank accrued operating
arrears in salaries, debts to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, pensions,
communications and courier services.

      The report also paints a bleak picture of the economy in 2010.

      "The macroeconomic outlook for 2010 is subject to significant
uncertainty, and the balance of risks to the outlook is slanted to the
downside," the report said. "On the downside a possible deterioration in the
political situation, a potential emergency of liquidity or solvency problems
in the banking system, or insufficient progress in maintaining the rule of
law and enforcing property rights could undermine growth."

      The report added: "In addition, a possible sudden stop to capital
inflows, higher than expected domestic credit growth or an adverse
terms-of-trade shock could trigger a disorderly balance-of-payments
adjustment with a concomitant negative impact on the financial system
stability, revenue and growth."

      The Bretton Woods institutions however projected that Zimbabwe's
economy could record a "higher-than-projected export commodity prices and
capital aid inflows" which could trigger a 3% economic growth.

      Bernard Mpofu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zesn Employees Arrested Over Workshop

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:31
      TWO Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) employees were arrested
on Wednesday evening in Dete, Hwange, for holding a public outreach workshop
on the constitutional reforms without police clearance. The two, Thulani
Ndhlovu and Ndodana Ndhlovu, were arrested despite the fact that the police
were present throughout the workshop.

      Ndodana Ndhlovu was subsequently released but Thulani Ndhlovu was
yesterday still in police custody and being charged with contravening
Section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), which Zesn and many
other civic and human rights groups want to see repealed.

      "We have in the past also criticised partisan policing and this latest
arrest is a worrisome continuation of the same trend," said Zesn chairperson
Tinoziva Bere. "At the time of this statement, Thulani has been transferred
to Hwange police station and lawyers have been deployed by Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights to attend to the matter."

      The arrest came barely five days after the arrest of National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) board chair Dadirai
Chikwengo and chief executive Officer Cephas Zinhumwe in Victoria Falls on
similar charges.

      Chikwengo and Zinhumwe appeared in court on Tuesday and were released
on US$100 bail each.

      "These developments are very disturbing as they drastically undermine
efforts of building confidence in national processes which Zesn had despite
its concerns been willing to give a chance," Bere said. "Such action on the
part of state institutions and actors against legitimate and lawful citizens'
participation make one wonder why all of a sudden the police are
particularly keen to monitor the activities of civic organisations.

      Faith Zaba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Audit Lifts lid on More Government Corruption

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:37
      THE Comptroller and Auditor-General has made more shocking revelations
that expose gross abuse of state resources, with government vehicles being
taken away by top government officials and state assets, fuel coupons and
cash being misappropriated.

      In her report for the first quarter of 2009 financial year tabled in
parliament last week the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri
showed how rampant corruption is in government.

      In addition to the cars being possessed by ministers and their
deputies and permanent secretaries, the report revealed that state assets
such as laptops, computers, fax machines, cell phones and spares of cars
were stolen but no police reports were made.

      A total of 14 vehicles donated to the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare by the Reserve Bank in 2008 were neither recorded
in the vehicle register nor the donations registered. Vehicle registration
papers were not produced and therefore the report said specification details
of the vehicles were not known to the ministry.

      "No authority to accept donations was availed for audit. Vehicle
registration papers were also not produced. Accordingly, specification
details of the said vehicles not known to the ministry thereby rendering
their identification impractical in case of a dispute whilst under the care
and use of the ministry," reads the report.

      Former Labour minister Nicholas Goche is alleged in the report to have
taken a pool vehicle, a Toyota Prado SDF108, without authorisation from the
cabinet office authority.

      Former transport minister Christopher Mushowe, the report said, took
three vehicles, while his deputy Hubert Nyanhongo also took three cars and
the former permanent secretary another three vehicles when they left the

      Industry and Commerce former minister Obert Mpofu took possession of
two vehicles, while his deputy Pheneas Chihota took one which he was
entitled to buy and former permanent secretary took four cars before leaving
the ministry. The report said there was no authorisation given.

      In Masvingo, out of 12 vehicles sourced from the central bank, the
province could only account for one which had been reportedly allocated to a
medical doctor who has since absconded.

      Former information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and his former deputy
Bright Matonga were said to have taken computers, fax machines and two
laptops which were donated by the central bank.

      Chiri's report further revealed that funds received from the Ministry
of Finance by the Ministry of Public Service meant specifically for rentals
were diverted to other use.

      "The ministry was granted an amount of US$6 249 from Ministry of
Finance specifically for settlement of rentals to Richard Ellis on February
11 2009 yet only US$4 250 was paid reserving the balance of US$1 999 for
non-specified urgent matters," the report read.

      In addition, seven computer processing units had missing components
reportedly stolen and no inquiry or police report was made to establish the
circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the parts.

      Gross misuse of fuel coupons was recorded in the ministries of
Education and Finance.

      In the Ministry of Education, a physical fuel coupons count was
conducted and the quantity of fuel coupons on hand as at April 23 was 175
litres diesel.

      However, Chiri said the records indicated that the quantity of fuel
coupons should have been 475 litres, made up of 175 litres of diesel and 300
litres of petrol.

      In the Ministry of Finance, 100 litres of petrol and 50 litres of
diesel could not be accounted for by the transport officer.

      Turning to mismanagement of funds, there was a discrepancy in the
Ministry of Finance between the amount recorded as having been received from
the accountant general's office and what was recorded as having been
disbursed by the accountant general and also what was in the letters of

      For instance in the month of January the cash register recorded US$211
603 while the accountant general's register recorded US$157 573 and R14 100
and the letters of disbursement showed US$340 375-55.

      In February, US$87 466 was recorded in the cash register, while the
accountant general's register showed an amount of US$69 748 and letters of
disbursement had US$642 916,62.

      "It is recommended that the above differences be investigated and the
correct position to be reflected in the official records," recommended the

      The Ministry of Energy was accused of making payments amounting to
US$1 030 without authorisation and the vouchers were neither stamped nor

      On the Ministry of Health, Chiri said she was concerned about the cash
shortages and depletion of hospital infrastructure.

      Gwanda district hospital was said to have stocked expired drugs dating
as far back as 2000 at the time of audit.

      At Ingutsheni Hospital government has been prejudiced of over US$3 200
as a result of paying salaries to eight former employees during 2007 and
2008. It was alleged that there had been a verbal authority conveyed by the
office of the provincial medical director.

      Tsholostho district hospital recorded a cash shortage of R3 441.

      On the Ministry of Higher Education, US$950, 91 was paid in December
2008 to AMC Dalmer Chrysler SA (Pvt) Ltd by Harare Polytechnic on behalf of
the ministry.

      In addition, the ministry borrowed coupons amounting to US$585 from
the polytechnic. At the time of audit no refunds had been made.

      In the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Registrar General's revenue
collections were kept in safes because they did not have foreign currency
bank accounts.

      When auditors visited the Registrar-General's Offices at Makombe
building, $252 648, 25 and R87 844 was found in the safe.

      The Ministry of Local government in Matabeleland North failed to
account for US$815.04 and R250 out of the US$1 615 and R250 grants allocated
to the province for Independence Day celebrations, while a total of US$1 570
advanced to 11 of the ministry's top management officials travelling to
Bulawayo and Gweru during the period of March 5 and March 7 remained
outstanding at the time of audit.

      A payment of US$512 recorded in the Ministry of Information described
as lunch and dinner for two was made to the Ambassador hotel and the
description of the payment was given as "burial of a hero" without stating
or identifying the hero and the names of the beneficiaries.

      Wongai Zhangazha

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

White Farmers Must Also be Considered -- Jomic

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:26
      THE Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) has written
to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy
Arthur Mutambara -- the principals of the global political agreement
(GPA) -- to consider former white commercial farmers when issuing 99-year
land leases.
      Responding to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent on the
implementation of the GPA, Jomic said it recently wrote to the principals
and line ministries requesting updates on what they were doing to comply
with provisions of the power-sharing pact signed in September last year.

      Jomic has also launched investigations into allegations of fresh farm
occupations and disruptions.

      "The Jomic subcommittee on land is engaged in ongoing investigations
on what is happening on the farms," the committee said. "It has also asked
the principals to the GPA to consider former white commercial farmers when
issuing 99-year leases."

      The move to consider white farmers for the land leases came in the
wake of heightened tenure worries on farms as more farmers face uncertain
futures countrywide.

      The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) this week said several farmers were
being forced off their land and expressed fear that this would affect
agricultural output.

      The farmers union in a statement said: "Productive commercial farmers
continue to be prosecuted by the Attorney-General's office. Currently this
figure stands at 152 farmers. Several other farmers are facing forced
evictions, illegal possession of farm equipment and materials in the
presence of both beneficiaries and government authorities.  This is clearly
in violation of the terms of the global political agreement."

      The impact of the prosecutions and occurrences countrywide, the CFU
said, would have a disastrous impact on the summer cropping programme.

      "The CFU therefore calls upon government to immediately stabilise the
current situation as a matter of urgency.  This call is made in the
interests of the nation as a whole," the union said. "As commercial farmers,
we are prepared to contribute to Zimbabwe's food self-sufficiency, but can
only do so given the opportunity. Full production of commercial farmland
would alleviate the necessity for the constant importation of essential food
to Zimbabwe."

      It called upon government to clarify whether or not white commercial
farmers had any role to play in the future of food production in the

      The CFU said in 2007 farmers were told that land was available on a
one-man-one farm and non-racial basis and were encouraged to make
applications to the Ministry of Agriculture through A2 application forms.

      "Approximately 800 applications were made but to date no individual
farmer has received confirmation or rejection of their application," the CFU
said. "It is a well-known fact that a substantial amount of agricultural
land has been abandoned and unutilised during the course of the fast track
land acquisition programme.  However, Zimbabwe's commercial farmers, who are
very highly rated internationally, and who have the knowledge and experience
in high volume and high quality commercial production, are being denied
access to their farms."

      As a result of alleged fresh land occupations, the General Agriculture
and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) reported that over 60 000
farm workers were made homeless since February 2009.
      The labour union estimates that between 80% and 90% of farm workers
lost their jobs since the 2000 chaotic land reform programme.

      Chris Muronzi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NGOs Slate Unity Govt

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:22
      NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisations (NGOs) have given a thumbs-down to the
inclusive government's performance since its formation in February. In a
declaration, directors of 120 NGOs who met in Victoria Falls at the weekend
for the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) 2009
Directors Summer School expressed concern at the failure by the unity
government to address critical issues.

      The declaration read: "We the leaders of 120 Non-Governmental
Organisations working to enhance social, economic and political development
in Zimbabwe . are concerned about the growing list of challenges yet to be
addressed or resolved by the inclusive government and thus requiring
immediate attention - especially in regards to social service delivery,
transitional justice, promotion and protection of human rights,
constitutional reform and institutional reform."

      The NGOs also noted a concern that the inter party crisis signalled by
the disengagement of the MDC-T from Zanu PF, had risen at a time when
Zimbabwe required cohesive, accountable and democratic government to respond
to the predicted drought and the resurgence of the deadly cholera outbreak.

      The declaration also noted its disappointment with the inactivity of
the global political agreement and the parties' continued unwillingness to
perform their mandate and protect the people.

      It also castigated the inclusive government's failure to be
accountable and transparent to the people about developments surrounding the
MDC-T's disengagement.

      The declaration resulted in the arrest of Nango chief executive
officer Cephas Zinhumwe and board chairperson Dadirai Chikwengo on Sunday
for violating a provision of the Public Order Security Act (Posa) that bars
organisations and individuals from holding political meetings without police

      Zinhumwe and Chikwengo were on Tuesday released on US$100 bail each
and will be back in court on November 25 for routine remand.

      As a result of the arrests, Nango on Wednesday snubbed a conference on
law reform organised by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.

      "These arrests demonstrate the extent to which Posa is an incredibly
bad law and how it is a serious deterrent to freedom of association and
freedom of assembly," Fambai Ngirande, Nango communications manager, said.

      During deliberations at the Victoria Falls conference, Chikwengo said
she was taking over as chairperson of Nango at a time the inclusive
government was struggling.

      "I am coming in at a time when our baby (inclusive government) is
failing to survive in the intensive care and relying on a machine," she
said. "It is sad to note little progress has been made in the
(implementation) of the global political agreement."

      Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras said that
civil society was being excluded and was not respected by partners in

      "The biggest problem is that MDC do not consult civil society in
political decisions while Zanu PF do not accept and understand the role of
civil society," she said.

      Petras said that the continued lack of rule of law and lack of reforms
since the formation of the inclusive government meant that civil society
would have to maintain their role as watchdog of the state.

      "We as civil society are not here to make friends. We should remain
watchdogs. Just because there is a political agreement does not mean we stop
speaking when something is not going right," Petras said "I am not going to
compromise on freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of the

      Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association director Emilia Muchawa said
government had not managed to open up space for citizens to operate.

      "The inter party agreement was meant to open up space. but we have
seen shutting down of space in other areas." Muchawa said. "Even though we
have an inclusive government polarisation still exists"

      Meanwhile, delegates at the conference expressed anger at the presence
of Central Intelligence Organisation spies to monitor the deliberations of
the NGOs.

      One of the delegates, Edison Chiota, said at the meeting: "What do we
do when we have uninvited guests at our meeting? I love to have my
grandfather and aunt with me but I do not need them to follow me to my

      Kudzai Kuwaza

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Air Zim Flight Diverted After Power Cuts

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:34
      AN Air Zimbabwe flight from South Africa on Sunday was forced to
divert to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo after failing to land at
Harare International Airport due to intermittent landing systems failure
triggered by electricity cuts. The airline's chief executive officer, Peter
Chikumba, who was aboard the daily UM362 flight to and from Johannesburg,
yesterday confirmed the incident.

      The flight was redirected to Bulawayo after the Civil Aviation
Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) systems failed to grant pilots permission to
land because the runway had no lights.

      Passengers aboard the plane spent several hours in Bulawayo before
flying back and arriving in Harare after midnight when the problem was

      "I can confirm that there was a flight delay, but the Civil Aviation
Authority can best explain reasons for the divert (to Bulawayo)," Chikumba
said in a telephone interview with the Zimbabwe Independent.

      Caaz runs all airports in the country.

      The authority's general manager, David Chaota, last night confirmed
the incident saying there "is a problem on the runway and of power supply".

      "There are serious challenges on both power and runway lights and we
are working on them," Chaota said. "According to our plan, in two weeks time
we should have a solution on the runway problem, but for power it's a 2010
issue because we are engaging other players like Zesa."

      He said the flight "was on hold" for 30 minutes before it was diverted
to Bulawayo.

      Sources at Harare International Airport said the plane was diverted
after generators at the terminal failed to power the airport after scheduled
electricity load-shedding by Zesa. The power utility last week embarked on a
two week load-shedding programme expected to cut power by 250 megawatts.

      The flight's delay, sources said, came after a South African Airways
flight was "recently" forced to divert to Bulawayo airport, prompting
concerns of Caaz's preparedness to host international airlines.

      "Our aviation is facing serious problems," said the source.
"Passengers scheduled to arrive in Harare early ended up arriving at 1am due
to the flight delays. South African Airways has also experienced similar
problems and this is not desirable for the industry."

      Caaz recently won an award which "merits International Gold Star for
Quality in the realm of customer satisfaction, innovation and technology as
established in QC1OO Total Quality management control".

      Meanwhile, unlike in recent years where the national airline struggled
to remain operational due to fuel problems that hit the country, Air
Zimbabwe is currently seeking US$750 million capital to renew its aircraft
fleet and hanger fire protection system.

      If a potential deal sails through, government could surrender 60%
shareholding of the struggling airline to a private investor.

      Bernard Mpofu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Is ZB Cooking the Books?

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:37
      ZB FINANCIAL Holdings chief executive officer Elisha Mushayakarara has
come under fire from the board amid suspicion he could have sanctioned
cosmetic accounting at the financial services group, businessdigest can
reveal. Non-executive director John Nhavira, in correspondence to hand, has
accused Mushayakarara of turning a blind eye to illegal, hard-to-detect
tricks that made earnings look a whole lot better than they are.
      "Basically, the gist of my argument is that in order for financial
statements to reflect the institution's operations and financial conditions
in terms of 36b means indicating the long term and current assets and
liabilities. In the extreme going so far as to show net current assets,"
said Nhavira in correspondence to Mushayakarara, which was copied to all
board members.
      "Net current assets may be an extreme which has not happened before
and may not be necessary. The basics at least as previously reported in this
market as they had been displayed in the power point presentation does seem
to satisfy the issue of 'reflecting .financial condition'."
      Mushayakarara is also accused of board contempt. According to
documents dated August 26 the week the financial result were unveiled to the
public, Mushayakarara called the financial institutions directors on short
notice to adopt the financials but did not give them the actual financial
      ZB spokesperson James Hove confirmed the correspondence saying:
"Indeed a board member wrote a letter to our group chief executive, Mr Elias
N Mushayakarara and copied to all board members expressing concerns about
the accounting treatment of a number of issues during the process of
consideration and approval of the group's half-year financial results for
the period ended 30 June, 2009."
      ZB says concern raised centred on the appropriateness of proposed
accounting treatment of the group's insurance operations -- ZB Life and ZB
reinsurance -- particularly the life assurance business.
      "Accounting standards extant at the moment provide two methods of
treating insurance operations on consolidation of financial statements. The
first option is to show the gross position of the assets, liabilities and
profit or loss. This option shows the total assets, liabilities and profit
or loss of both the group and policyholders' funds. Transfers to the
insurance fund of the policyholders' assets, liabilities and profits or
losses are then effected leaving a net position reflecting the group's
assets, liabilities and profit or loss position," said Hove.
      Another option the group considered is to show the shareholders'
assets, liabilities and profit or loss.
      He said: "The policyholders' assets, liabilities and profit or loss
are then shown by way of a note to the accounts. You will appreciate that
both methods will result in the net position being the same. The board
adopted the net reporting position and the performance of the policyholders'
funds was shown as a note to the published financial statements. This
accounting treatment was deemed to be the fair and accurate."
      ZB says there was no intention or attempt "to conceal, misrepresent or
cover up anything regarding the performance of the Group."
      Instead, insiders say Mushayakarara and his executives took the board
through a power point presentation of the financials and considered the
accounts adopted.
      "The change then, when read together with the clauses in the Companies
Act gives the impression of concealment. Cosmetic or creative accounting in
the suggested manner as proposed, that is simply listing assets and
liabilities; it is in my view concealing the financial condition of the
institution," alleged Nhavira.
      "If this was not the case, there would be no incentive to change.
Cosmetics by nature hide, conceal and designed to deceive the beholder that
the face presented is without blemish, that there is no acne, black spots or
wrinkles," he said.
      According to the correspondence, Mushayakarara was warned of jail time
should it be proven that he sanctioned "cooking of financial books".
      "The penalties, as you may have seen are one or two years in prison.
The question to be addressed therefore is that shall we take the risk, are
we prepared to stand before a judge and defend our assumed position and
categorically state that the change as envisaged was not designed to conceal
or to deceive the public?" Nhavira asked.
      In earlier communication, Mushayakarara was accused of pursuing a
Machiavellian principle at the bank - the means justify the ends - and was
accused of leading the group towards a scandal such as Enron and Century
bank where executives connived with auditors to mislead the market and
      "However, I fear that 'Machiavellian' principles are leading us to
'Enron' and 'Century Bank' practices. In both these instances, the
management and board 'knowingly' concealed or falsified material matters
concerning their institutions. In our case the board was placed in an
invidious position - to connive in the concealment of the true state of the
institution's financial state - all in the name of Machiavellian
 principles," Nhavira alleged.
      "Machiavellian principles are by nature unethical and immoral. All
those who practise such principles always end badly because they contain
within them the seeds of their own destruction," he said. ZB confirmed that
a board member had raised concerns over proposed accounting treatment but
denied wrong doing.
      The group says its life assurance business in question has never had
an adverse actuarial report.
      The ZB spokesperson added: "Existing accounting standards provide for
two methods of disclosing assets and liabilities; either separating current
and non-current portions of the balance sheet, or as a listing in order of
liquidity. The group adopted the former approach after it was felt that such
disclosure would provide better information to the readers of the financial
      The financial services group says all issues raised by the director
where addressed and is pleased with its accounting practices.
      "The group complies with International Financial Reporting Standards
("IFRS") and consults widely when there is need," ZB said.
      ZB Financial Holdings interim results for the interim period saw its
flagship ZB Bank posting a loss of US$$1,5 million while ZB Building Society
posted modest profit at US$91 000.
      Intermarket Banking Corporation made a loss of US$7 200.
      The group's reinsurance business, ZB Reinsurance saved the day with a
pre-tax profit of US$1,71 million and achieved an underwriting profit of
US$1,4 million.
      Commenting on the results Mushayakarara said banking operations were
largely subdued during the interim period as a result of the unavailability
of liquidity and the rapid turnover on customer balances which made it
difficult to structure longer-term products desired by businesses.
      Mushayakarara added that the group's life assurance business "largely
remained inactive" for the half year under review owing to the generally low
levels of disposable income obtaining across the economy.
      He said: "The re-insurance, business on the other hand, enjoyed better
fortunes as businesses reviewed their insurance portfolios in anticipation
of increased production."
      ZB life Assurance posted a loss of US$5,1 million after distribution
to minority shareholders emanating from the fair value loss on the
Mashonaland Holdings stock on the ZSE.
      ZB Financial Holdings in June had announced that it planned a private
placement. A signal which analyst said showed that the financial sector was
cracking silently under the weight of dollarisation or more importantly the
minimum capital requirements for the financial industry.
      Analysts also said it could signal that government which is the major
shareholder in ZB Financial Holdings with a 67% equity holding was willing
to dilute its stake, perhaps in a very significant way.

      Chris Muronzi/Paul Nyakazeya

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Turf Wars That Could Destroy Investor Confidence

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:35
      THE current spell of political uncertainty in the country could not
have come at a worse time. Investor confidence had improved considerably
following the crafting of reasonable economic policies early this year. Both
the private sector and government hosted several investor conferences within
and outside the country aiming to attract capital.

      At all of these meetings, key politicians in the country pledged to
work towards sustaining the economic revival. Even some known sceptics were
beginning to warm to the new government as it scored some modest
achievements in the first six months albeit with known squabbles within.

      A recent survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
revealed that on average capacity utilisation improved from below 10% in
2008 to 32, 3% by August. Some companies that had closed shop altogether
resumed operations while those that had not re-opened yet were hoping to do
so soon.

      The recovery story which a year ago seemed a pipe dream has been
slowly becoming a reality. Early this year the economy was projected to grow
by 3, 7% but the estimate has since been reviewed upwards to 7%. This is
because some sections of the economy have so far recovered faster than was

      The effects of the positive outturn in the real sectors also filtered
onto the stock market.

      Equities had a positive bias until a fortnight ago when the
disagreements within the inclusive government mutated into a crisis. From a
dip of US$1, 2 billion in March the market capitalisation peaked at US$4,3
billion this month driven by foreign buyers.

      With locals being net sellers the market had largely been supported by
foreign investors who were piling into heavily capitalised counters in
anticipation of an economic turnaround.

      It is believed that above 80% of the trades on the stock exchange
after dollarisation have been coming from foreigners.

      The remaining 20%, estimated at US$1million per week, are trades by
locals. New money from domestic investors on the market is still negligible.
Instead, most of the trades by locals are switches from one counter to
another plus sales of shares mainly to foreigners to raise liquidity.

      Value of trades has been averaging US$1m daily and this is above
average for an economy whose gross domestic product (GDP) is projected at
US$3, 4 billion for the year as a whole. In fact this makes the ZSE the
fourth most active market in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa, Nigeria
and Kenya.

      It is a no-brainer that if the political standoff is not resolved
quickly and amicably the country could experience another spell of capital

      This is not desirable considering the effort that was put in to retain
old capital and to attract new money. This time around the capital flight
could be more severe as the country would have proved that redemption is
beyond its current capabilities.

      While it takes one wrong decision to destroy market confidence it
takes a much longer time and more effort to rebuild it when it is lost.

      The costs of lost confidence are usually much higher and more painful
to bear. For instance corporate deals that were currently under
consideration will most likely be put on hold until the dust settles. Few
investors would dare to risk their money where political tension is high.

      This would be a major setback to companies that were hoping to attract
new funding from existing and potential investors. Several listed companies
had lined up rights offers in a bid to raise funds for working capital and
expansions of their operations.

      Others had reached advanced stages with private placement arrangements
to prospective investors in exchange for cash.

      All these initiatives may amount to nothing if the political tension
is not quickly diffused. If the companies fail to raise capital they will
not be able to expand capacity usage. Tax revenues which hitherto have been
rising will decline again in the process hampering service delivery by

      More people will be laid off while products may disappear from the
shelves once more. In the end everyone will be a loser.

      The uncertainty surrounding the survival of the unity arrangement has
been at the heart of the performance of the stock market for months now.
Risk averse investors were buying on recovery prospects while those
unconvinced about the "inclusive" arrangement did not bother coming in at

      Those who invested, say, in March when prices were low, have so far
amassed high returns. However if the environment deteriorates further, all
these gains could be quickly wiped out. Investors, being rational beings,
usually do not wait until they have lost everything.

      The normal thing is to cut losses and move on. Losing capital at this
point will be akin to moving back ten big steps after everyone celebrated
two forward steps achieved since a coalition administration was formed.

      Ranga Makwata

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt Revenue set to Increase -- Biti

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:33
      FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has projected a rise in government
revenue next year, despite the current dwindling of monthly revenue he said
had reached a "plateau". Biti told parliament last week that monthly revenue
generated since June had remained stagnant, signalling a budget deficit for
the current fiscal year.
      This means government would fail to generate US$1 billion targeted in
the revised national budget, piling more pressure on the fiscus following
the dollarisation of the economy in February.
      He said plans to increase revenue in a "shallow budget" of US$1,3
billion was a reflection of lack of meaningful foreign direct investment in
the economy.
      "Our income has averaged from US$4 million per month in January 2009
to $25 million in February, $40 million in March, to a high level of $98
million in June," Biti said.
      "But in June we reached a plateau. We have failed to break the $100
million mark. In June we were $98 million and in September we collected $90
million. So we have reached a plateau vis-a-vis our collection and in the
budget that we are currently working on right now, we are actually working
on modest figures of estimates of collections of $110 million per month,
which we will give you a shallow budget of $1,3 billion, which is why
Honourable Mangoma (Economic planning minister) is correct when he says we
just have to have investment in this country otherwise we are sunk."
      Dogged by the current economic problems, the Finance minister said any
plans to service the US$5,7 billion external debt using the current revenue
inflows were far fetched.  Government requires over US$60 million for wages
and pensions each month apart from other expenditures.
      "So if our unvalidated debt is $5,7 billion, it means assuming that we
are living on water and air and God's grace, we are required to pay that
debt for six years and clearly that is not sustainable," Biti said.
      Plans by the treasury to effect the 30% increase in budget could be in
line with far reaching tax proposals made by the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) for the November national budget for 2010. The industrial
body is among other tax reforms pushing for an increase in value added tax
from the current 15%, a move that is likely to see a surge in consumer
      "We recommend an increase in the rate of VAT to 17.5% and a sharp
reduction in the number of exempt products to compensate for revenue loss
under other tax heads. This will revert to 15% once revenue generation has
improved," reads the CZI input to the national budget.
      "The due date for VAT payments should revert to the end of the month
following the month which VAT is accrued to encourage credit creation in the
      Apart from the tax reforms industry also recommended the creation of
an "Independent Budget Office" to "oversee the budget from a non-partisan
      The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce is against plans to increase
VAT to improve revenue generation. Instead it recommends that government
should lower taxes.
      "In order to then increase the revenue base the following
recommendations are being made. Review or reduce all taxes - VAT, Pay As You
Earn, corporate tax etc to stimulate demand by attracting more players and
compliance," the ZNCC said.
      Government, the ZNCC further recommended, should also consider flat
rate on excise duty.

      Bernard Mpofu

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZMDC Defies Marange Mining ban

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:30
      ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is going ahead with
mining at its Marange Diamond Mine in direct contempt of a High Court order,
business digest can reveal. Documents to hand show that ZMDC management
ignored the court ruling barring the company from mining in the area after
African Consolidated Resources (ACR) sought a court order in an ownership
dispute over the diamond fields in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands.
      The documents show that after the High Court ruling on September 29 it
was business as usual at ZMDC. Management has continued to mine in the area
to date.
      ZMDC produces an average 1 300 carats of diamonds a day, according to
      This follows the ruling by the High Court confirming the ACR"s claims
registered in its name on the Marange diamond fields, a development which
would have created problems after ZMDC occupied the area.
      Instead, ACR is opting to partner government in the mining project but
government is not keen to have the group aboard.
      ACR CEO Andrew Cranswick announced: "As soon as the joint venture
achieves physical possession of the claims its immediate priority will be
the establishment of full security as soon as is practicable.  Thereafter
the company hopes to make further announcements in respect of its intentions
to establish a mutually beneficial operation as the situation develops."
      ACR acquired the  claims  in early  2006  but was  evicted  in October
2006 forcing the company to  institute legal action  in the High  Court.
      There are problems pertaining to the country's diamond mining
following the events which unfolded at the Chiyadzwa diamond field since
      This has led to a continued focus on the country's diamond mining
which is still in its infancy and there are threats that the country would
be suspended from the Kimberley Process.
      ACR said in the last three years, they have attempted to work with all
elements of the Zimbabwe government to agree on a joint venture.
      In its annual report published in July this year, ACR noted that the
issue of the Marange diamond fields had remained topical in the world news.
      Operations on the diamond fields in Manicaland led to a recent visit
by the Kimberley Process review   team.
      "This   review   has   led   to dissatisfaction with the status quo
and the company has stressed that tenure needs to be resolved in order to
enable formal mining so that Kimberley Process compliance can be achieved.
      "The company is pleased to note the security of tenure evidenced by
the High Court judgment, and hopes that the security and transparency of
operations that the joint venture intends to put in place will be recognised
by the Kimberley Process," added ACR.

      Chris Muronzi

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

IMF Funds Tug-of-war Enters Legal Arena

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:28
      TENSION between Finance minister Tendai Biti and Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono over control of government financial levers has turned into a
legal dispute on who has authority over the recent US$510 million financial
aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Last week saw Biti and Gono
upping their campaigns to claim custody of the Bretton Woods institution's
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) disbursed last month to stem the global
economic recession.
      The funds came after a G20 meeting in March generated US$262 billion
to assist global economies. Zimbabwe received US$510 million worth of SDRs
while China and South Africa received US$30 billion and US$2 billion
      Asked by Mutare Central MDC-T legislator Innocent Gonese about
government's policy regarding financing of trade rates under the IMF during
parliamentary questions without notice time last week, Biti said the
treasury had the mandate to disburse the funds.
      He said the International Financial Organisation Act of 1980 gave the
minister "sole authority" over the funds.
      "This Act prescribes that the Minister of Finance is a governor of
Zimbabwe's fiscal agent to both the World Bank family and the IMF," Biti
argued. "It is very clear Section 7 subsection 2 that the Minister of
Finance is the authority on the issue of SDRs. However, the bank (central
bank) is the bank and that is reflected in both the International Financial
Organisation Act and in Section 49 of the RBZ Act."
      The SDR is neither a currency, nor a claim on the IMF, but rather, it
is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members.
      Holders of SDRs can obtain these currencies in exchange for their SDRs
in two ways - either through the arrangement of voluntary exchanges between
members or by the IMF designating members with strong external positions to
purchase SDRs from members with weak external positions.
      In addition to its role as a supplementary reserve asset, the SDR
serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international
organisations though this role is slowly diminishing with increased regional
cooperation especially within Europe.
      In a clear attack on Gono, Biti told MPs that: "This money was given
to every country and no one can wake up one morning and say I looked for
this money, I need to be congratulated."
      Parliament, Biti further argued, "would propose what to do with the
SDR next month" at the presentation of the national budget.
      Government sources said Biti was likely to allocate a large portion of
the funds towards infrastructural development, much to the disgruntlement of
indigenous farmers eyeing the lion's share.
      Apart from the global crisis, Zimbabwe currently with a -9% current
account and an invalidated external debt of US$5,7 billion requires foreign
direct investment and an estimated US$10 billion to stimulate economic
      The state controlled daily, the Herald, last Friday "revealed" that
the central bank boss should be in charge of the funds.
      The newspaper quoted the soon to be amended Reserve Bank Act as the
legal instrument granting the central bank control over state reserves.
      "The bank shall establish and maintain an international reserve which
shall consist of all or any of the following assets (i) the entitlement to
make reserve tranche purchases from the International Monetary Fund and (ii)
the holdings of Zimbabwe of Special Drawing Rights of the International
Monetary Fund," reads the Act.
      "The bank shall, to the best of its ability, maintain the
international reserve at a level which, in the bank's opinion, will be
adequate for the execution of the monetary exchange rate policies of
Zimbabwe and for the prompt settlement of the country's international
      While it is not clear when the funds would be injected into the
economy, the Finance minister seems to be aware that interest on the SDR
could jump from the current 0,26% to higher levels. A higher figure would be
reminiscent of the 1980s when the non-concessionary funds attracted 5,5%
interest during the late Finance minister Bernard Chidzero's era.
      "I have no doubt in my mind that this current low rate of interest
that is levied on the SDRs is going to go up," Biti said.
      Meanwhile the House of Assembly referred the proposed changes to the
Reserve Bank Act to the legal committee after the first reading. The
amendments would see existing central bank powers being clipped.

      Bernard Mpofu/Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'Disengagement' Sends Down Shivers

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:25
      THE partial disengagement from government by the MDC-T may scare away
investors who had shown keen interest in the country, economic analysts have
said. The MDC-T disengaged from the government a fortnight ago citing
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's refusal to fully consummate the global
political agreement (GPA) signed last year and resolving of outstanding
issues of the deal.

      Analysts who spoke to businessdigest said the partial withdrawal had
the potential to plunge the country into deep economic and political
crisis - worse than what was experienced last year.
      A Kingdom Bank analyst who requested anonymity said the disengagement
of the MDC-T would have a negative impact on the economic recovery process.
      "The year 2008 was not good for the economy because both local and
foreign investors had no confidence in the country," the analyst said. "When
the global political agreement was signed and the inclusive government
incepted in February this year, investors started coming in with the hope
that things such as the rule of law, property rights and human rights would
be restored."
      Since the formation of the unity government, Zimbabwe has hosted
several investment conferences with the aim of luring foreign investors.
      Though showing willingness to invest in the country, investors have
been cagey over the political situation and the current crisis would put a
huge dent on investment prospects.
      Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Obert Sibanda said
investors had started trickling in, but the MDC-T partial pullout would send
the wrong signal.
      Sibanda said: "Investors were coming because of the political
stability that had begun prevailing in the country. It had started giving
them confidence. Any sign of collapse creates a lot of panic among potential
investors who may have started showing interest in investing in the country.
      "A lot of investors have been enquiring about the position in the
country and the future and we keep assuring them that this is a passing
phase. Some had already started querying long before the disengagement
following some pronouncements in the media."
      The Kingdom Bank analyst said the situation has made investors to
trade carefully.
      "Investors who had adopted a wait and see attitude are beginning to
see that the fear they had was right," the analyst said. "They are beginning
to realise that anything can happen. Issues such as the Nestlé and KML have
indicated that there is still no guarantee of a conducive business
      He added: "The only changes are the exchange control regulations;
these allow capital movements but this has shown that it is not in
isolation, it is not a guarantee for a safe investment destination to
potential investors. It is like an amber sign at the robots, investors are
proceeding with caution."
      Sibanda appealed to the GPA principals to resolve their differences
      "We need to put the country first before personal interests," he said.
      Government had projected that by December capacity utilisation in
industries would reach 60%.
      According to the 2009 Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
manufacturing report, the manufacturing sector is in a recovery mode as it
accounted for 14% of export shipment.

      Jesilyn Dendere

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Investors Baulk at Zim Risk Factor

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:07
      POLITICAL risk remains the major deterrent factor to those interested
in buying stakes in local companies looking for possible suitors, analysts
have said. Faced with liquidity problems and low productive capacity, local
companies look for salvation beyond the country's borders, offering
potential investors varying stakes in the firms.
      However, the negotiations have yielded nothing to date.
      At times negotiations start but mid way through it is announced that
the deal has fallen through or in other cases it has taken until forever to
conclude the deals.
      Three of the high profile deals which surfaced this year include the
R167 million worth of stake that South Africa's Shoprite wanted in OK, the
sale of Ariston by Delta and the upping of investment levels in TM
Supermarkets by Pick n Pay.
      These have been on the table for some time and in some instances there
is confusion as to where the negotiators are heading as the case of OK and
Shoprite where what is said in South Africa is different from what is said
in Zimbabwe.
      An analyst with an investment bank said while there are many factors
inhibiting the conclusion of the deals, political risk remains the biggest
threat to any meaningful progress.
      "There are many guys who are interested in investing in Zimbabwe but
the question which they always ask is how long would the Government of
National Unity last.
      "Their fear is that if the GNU fails, then we may be going back to the
Zimbabwean dollar era and all those things related to that period of time,"
said an analyst from an investment bank.
      This has been made worse by recent developments when MDC-T, a partner
to the Global Political Agreement, "disengaged" from government three weeks
      Apart from the political risk, there are other factors which have also
contributed towards the breakdown of negotiations or lengthy discussions.
      There is what analysts have called the ownership and control factor,
where managers of some of the business courting possible suitors are also
the owners of the firms and are not prepared to have their shareholding
diluted to an extent where they do not have a say.
      "In terms of the modern corporate structures, there are institutional
investors who come into a company and buy a stake. By agreement these
investors may let the managers continue running the business but when
relations turn sour they may decide to call the shots and this is what local
managers do not want," added the investment analyst.
      As such the local managers-cum-owners are prepared to part with only a
fraction of their stake so that they remain in charge of the decision-making
in the business, but this would not be enough to spur the business.
      At times the stake these managers-cum-owners dangle is not attractive
enough for the investor to take the risk.
      This has been the case with most of the smaller transactions which
have been going on since the beginning of the year.
      Negotiations have also stalled over the proper pricing of local assets
as the international investors say the value has dropped significantly while
shareholders think otherwise.
      Most foreigners are attracted to the local assets because they think
they have been run down and are now very cheap.
      Local shareholders, on the other hand, argue that they have held on to
the assets at a time when the country was going down and thus are not
prepared to part with them for any value which is lower than what they think
they are worth.
      "In some cases, negotiations have stalled over prices  and we have to
be honest, there are managers who are not correctly pricing their assets and
that is why it takes so long to conclude," added the analyst.

      Leonard Makombe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Muckraker: A Political Horse well Worth not Backing

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 19:11
      IT is a fascinating commentary on Zanu PF's internal politics that one
of the most unpopular politicians in Matabeleland has thrown his hat into
the ring in the current contest for the vice-presidency. Mines minister
Obert Mpofu has announced that he will be a candidate despite the fact that
he is not only hugely unpopular in the Matabeleland provinces, he is
ineligible in terms of the 1987 unity accord.
      That agreement was very clear: Only ex-Zapu members qualify for the
      That excludes Mpofu. He got into bed with Zanu PF in 1987.
      After what appears to be a flirtation with Frolizi, Zapu awarded him
sponsorship in 1973 to pursue his academic studies in India where he secured
a BCom degree in 1980. But in that year he was elected to the Zanu-PF
provincial membership in Matabeleland North.
      He was appointed non-constituency MP in 1987. In 1990 he was elected
MP for Bubi-Umguza representing Zanu-PF. In 1995 he was again appointed a
non-constituency MP, suggesting that at key junctures in his career he was
dependent upon patronage.
      The "distinguishing" elements of his career include a spell as GM of
the Bulawayo-based Zanu PF company, Zimbabwe Grain Bag, and blowing the
whistle on Willowgate. He also worked for Zimpapers.
      He wreaked enormous damage on the economy when he ruled at the end of
June 2007 that all prices should revert to their June 18 levels. This was at
a time when inflation was close to breaching the 5 000% mark and increasing

      So why does Mpofu think he qualifies? Very simply he is a favourite of
President Mugabe. He is seen as doing the president's bidding in
Matabeleland. You can imagine how that goes down in that part of the
country! Furthermore, he is not exactly highly regarded by the other
candidates who see him as an intruder in the regional pecking order.
      It will be fascinating to see how his candidacy progresses. There won't
be too many wagers placed on this particular horse.
      We were pleased to see the other candidates telling Didymus Mutasa to
get lost when he attempted to interfere. They have it sown up among
themselves, with a bit of jostling here and there. When push comes to shove,
John Nkomo, whose hobbies we gather include ballroom dancing, will quickstep
up to his rightful inheritance.

      We often wondered how Tafataona Mahoso was able to get away with the
daft claim that the MDC drew up Zidera. Anybody even remotely interested in
US politics would know that Congress does not invite foreigners to draft
their legislation. That was an urban myth invented by Mahoso and propagated
within the ranks of his party by undiscerning spokesmen.
      Now he has a helpmate in the form of Gabriel Chaibva who, like several
MDC-M members, really belongs in Zanu PF.
      Chaibva on ZTV last month repeated the story that MDC leaders had
drawn up the legislation. Mahoso quoted Chaibva approvingly in one of his
interminable rambles last week.
      And where had Chaibva got his information? From Mahoso of course!

      Mahoso was distraught last week about what he sees as an "anti-land
redistribution campaign" in South Africa.
      "For instance, one Mondli Makanya (sic) wrote in the Sunday Times of
October 18 an opinion (piece) called: 'This isn't Zimbabwe, so let's ditch
the myth of land-hungry masses'." Black South Africans wanted jobs, not
land, Makhanya pointed out.
      This was of course heresy to the spitting Mashoso who denounced (and
misspelt) Makhanya, claiming that "as usual the white racists hire an
African to spread the myth that Africans do not want their land back."
      He forgot to mention that Makhanya is the editor of the Sunday Times,
which is run by Avusa, a black-owned company, and has a circulation of
several million.
      Amazing isn't it that Mahoso can propagate the racist myth that behind
every successful or outspoken black is a white man!

      Muckraker is not too keen to take issue with sensible Herald
commentator Funny Mushava, but as he repeats another urban myth, this may be
a good time.
      "Zimbabweans made it clear at the March 28 2008 elections. the
government that they want," Mushava wrote last Sunday. "By not giving one
party an absolute majority they were telling the politicians that they do
not want a dominant political party as had been the case with Zanu PF since
      Is this really true? Were Zimbabweans saying that?
      This particular urban myth is designed to comfort Zanu PF in its loss.
We often see it wheeled out. But what Zimbabwean voters did was to remove
Zanu PF's majority. They said quite clearly they didn't want a continuation
of Zanu PF's misrule. They didn't set out to create some parliamentary
balance. That may have been how things turned out, but it wasn't a conscious
decision by the voters. How could it have been? Mostly they wanted to
protest against conditions wrought
      by the ruling party. They wanted something better. Isn't that the

      Muckraker was interested to see a letter in the Sunday Times regarding
Pick 'n Pay's interest in Zimbabwe.
      "In my opinion it is not a safe venture to invest at the moment,"
Kudzai Maweni wrote. "The government is too unpredictable. How do you all of
a sudden become confident as an investor in a government that is controlled
by a party that has no respect for property rights or, at the very least,
chooses to ignore them when it sees fit? These are the same people who once
implemented a price freeze in a hyper-inflationary environment. Need I say

      Finally, we were interested to note that while an MPLA delegation was
in Harare last week expressing its solidarity with Zanu PF and taking a
swipe at white farmers, a court in Paris was
      hearing the most shocking evidence of corruption involving senior
French politicians and Angolan officials.
      This involved the sale of oil to France and the supply of weaponry to
      Needless to say, none of this was reported in the Herald!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Eric Bloch: Perhaps History Does Repeat

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 19:08
      A STORY is currently doing the rounds, with pronounced biblical
shades. Can it have foundations in truth, with history repeating itself? "In
the year 2009, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Zimbabwe, and
said: 'Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see
the end of all flesh before me, for such wickedness cannot, and shall not,
continue. Therefore, Noah, thou shalt build another Ark, and save two of
every living thing, be it bird or beast, along with a few good humans.'

      "He gave Noah the plans, saying: 'You have six months to build the Ark
before I will start the unending rain for forty days and forty nights. Make
thee an ark of Zimbabwean timber; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and the
length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its breadth shall be fifty
cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Build the ark with haste, for you have
only six months before I shall release the flood and obliterate earth's

      "Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah in his yard, in
very great distress, weeping intensely with great tears pouring from his
eyes, but the Lord could not see an ark. 'Noah!' He roared, 'I'm about to
start the rain. Where is the Ark?'. 'Forgive me, Lord', begged Noah, 'but
things have changed.'"

      "'I could not begin to construct the Ark without a building permit. I've
been arguing with the inspectorate about the need for a sprinkler system in
the Ark. Further, my neighbours claim that I've violated the neighbourhood
zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard, and exceeding the height
limitations. I had to go to the city council, and to the Local Government
ministry for a decision, and the weeks and weeks went by, despite the
absolute urgency of the matter.'

      '"Then Zesa demanded a deposit, far beyond my means, for its future
costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the
passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told Zesa that the sea would be
coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it. Getting the wood was
another problem.

      There's a ban on cutting local trees, without governmental consent,
because the Environment ministry says that it will upset the balance of
Zimbabwe's ecological system. Although I very promptly made the necessary
application, in triplicate, and paid the massive application fees, in United
States dollars, and have repeatedly enquired of the ministry, I still await
the wood cutting permit. I have tried to convince the ministry that I need
the wood to save us all from extinction - but no go!'

      "'When I started getting the animals, the SPCA prosecuted me. The
Zimbabwe Republic Police insisted that I was confining wild animals against
their will. They argued that the accommodation is too restrictive, and that
it is cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

      And then the Transport ministry said that it would take six months
after completion of the Ark to plan a route to the sea. I told them that
that was not necessary, for the sea would be coming to my back yard. They
threatened to have me committed!

      Then the Environment department intervened yet again, ruling that I
couldn't build the Ark until I had arranged and conducted an environmental
impact study on your proposed flood.'

      "'I am also still trying to resolve a complaint and demand of the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry on how many affirmative
action persons must be included in the Ark building crew.

      And the Home Affairs ministry insists that I provide a list of the
people who want to work on the Ark, so that it can be verified that they are
not from non-designated groups.

      Moreover, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and the
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), in a rare instance of
collaboration, are insisting that I hire only union workers with
Ark-building experience, paying them wages based upon the Poverty Datum Line
(PDL), even though I don't have sufficient funds to pay such wages.'

      '"To make matters worse, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has
seized all my assets, claiming that I am trying to leave the country
illegally, with the national wealth of endangered species, and without tax
clearance. And the CIO and the Politburo claim that your instructions to me
are naught but a diabolical scheme to bring about regime change, a plan to
dispossess Zimbabweans of their lands and their rights, and to recolonise
Zimbabwe, so they have raised endless obstacles to my constructing the Ark.'

      '"So, please, please forgive me, Lord, but it will take at least ten
years for me to finish the Ark that you want me to build, and with the
never-ending hurdles constructed by the authorities, the inordinately great
bureaucracy and red-tape, and intensely great governmental authoritorism, it
might take very much longer.'

      "Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a magnificent
rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and amazement,
and then he asked: 'You mean that you are not going to destroy the world?'

      "'No,' said the Lord. 'The Zimbabwe government has beaten me to it.'"

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

President Making Unlawful Appointments

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 18:42
      PRIOR to Amendment No14 of the Constitution, which was promulgated in
1993 (Act 4 of 1993), appointments to senior positions in the police force,
the defence forces and the prison service were made by the President (Robert
Mugabe), acting on the advice of the Commissioner of Police, the commander
of the relevant branch of the defence forces or the director of prisons, as
the case may be.

      Accordingly, it was the head of the police, army, air force or prison
service who made the determination as to whom should be appointed or
promoted to a particular rank to fill a vacancy and he advised the president

      The president was required to act on the advice given to him. However,
there was a provision enabling the president to give the commissioner, the
commanders and the director-general directions of policy to achieve a
suitable representation of the various elements of the population.

      Amendment No 14 made significant amendments. In relation to the police
force, it was to be under the command of the Commissioner of Police (now the
Commissioner-General) who would be appointed by the president, after
consultation with such person or authority as may be prescribed by an Act of

      The constitution also provides that the Act is to make provision for
the administration and discipline of the police force, including the
appointment of persons to offices or ranks in the police force and their
removal from office or reduction in rank. Similar provisions apply in
relation to the defence forces and the prison service.

      The Commander of the Defence Forces, and every commander of a branch
of the defence forces, will be appointed by the president, after
consultation with such person or authority as is prescribed by an Act of

      That Act must also make provision for the administration and
discipline of the defence forces, including the appointment of persons to
offices or ranks in the defence forces, their removal from office, reduction
in the rank, etc.

      The Commissioner of Prisons is also appointed by the president, after
consultation with the person or authority prescribed by Act of Parliament,
which Act also must make provision for the administration and discipline of
the prison service, including the appointment of persons to offices or ranks
in the prison service, their removal from office, and reduction in rank.

      The Police Act provides, in relation to the appointment of the
Commissioner-General of Police that the president must act in consultation
with a board consisting of the chairman of the Police Service Commission,
the retiring Commissioner-General, if he is available, and one or two, if he
is not available, other members appointed by the president from among the
permanent secretaries of ministries.

      The Act goes on to provide that the president may appoint, by
commission, any person to commissioned rank and may promote any officer to a
higher rank or reprimand, suspend, reduce in rank or discharge any officer.

      There is the qualification that, when exercising the power to appoint,
promote, reprimand, reduce in rank or discharge any person, the president
must have due regard to, but shall not be bound by, the advice of the
minister, tendered after consultation with the Commissioner-General.

      In the case of the defence forces, the provisions of the Defence Act
are similar to those in the Police Act.

      The Commander of the Defence Forces is appointed by the president
after consultation with the minister.

      Likewise, the Commander of the Army and the Commander of the Air Force
are appointed by the president after consultation with the minister.

      In tendering any advice or making any recommendation in relation to
any such appointment, the minister must act in consultation with a board
specifically appointed for the purpose.

      The board consists of the chairman of the Defence Forces Commission,
the Secretary for Defence, the retiring Commander, if available, and one or,
if he is not available, two other persons appointed by the president.

      The president appoints, by commission, a person to a commissioned rank
and may promote or temporarily appoint any officer to a higher rank. When
exercising his power of appointment or promotion, the president must
consider the advice of the minister tendered after consultation with the
appropriate commander.

      In the case of the prison service, the powers of the president are
very similar. The Commissioner of Prisons is appointed by the president,
after consultation with the Minister of Justice.

      Before tendering advice on the matter, the Minister of Justice is
required to consult the Prison Service Commission. The president may, by
commission, appoint any person as a commissioned officer, and may promote
any commissioned officer to a higher rank or reprimand, suspend, reduce in
rank or discharge any commissioned officer.

      When appointing or promoting a commissioned officer or exercising any
other powers referred to above, the president is required to pay due regard
to the advice of the minister, tendered after consultation with the
Commissioner of Prisons.

      It can be seen that the president, in relation to the uniformed
forces, has complete control as to who will be promoted and who will be
overlooked. It is not surprising that the top brass (or should it be
top-gold now?) will only salute the president.

      In the case of the public service, the president does not have such
sweeping powers of appointing/promoting officials.

      Chapter VIII of the constitution deals with the Public Service.
Section 73 establishes a public service for the administration of the
country and provides that an Act of Parliament shall make provision for the
organisation, administration and discipline of the public service, including
the appointment of persons to posts or grades in the public service.

      Section 77 provides that the power to appoint persons to hold the post
of Secretary to the Cabinet or secretary of a ministry shall vest in the
president, after consultation with the Public Service Commission.

      Section 15 of the Public Service Act provides that, subject to Section
11 of the Act, the appointment of members of the public service and their
assignment or promotion to officer or posts in the public service will be
effected by the Public Service Commission, in consultation with the head of
ministry concerned.

      Then section 18 provides that when considering persons for appointment
to, or promotion within, the public service, the commission must have regard
to the merit principle, that is, the principle that preference should be
given to the person who, in the commission's opinion, is the most efficient
and suitable for appointment to the office or post concerned.

      It appears that the president is not happy with the limited role he
has in relation to appointments or promotions to senior posts in the public
service. It does not give him the same authority as he has in relation to
the uniformed forces.

      The Secretary to the President and Cabinet has directed the Chairman
of the Public Service Commission that any appointment or promotion of an
officer to the post of deputy director, or to any more senior post, must be
submitted to the Secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet for
approval by the president.

      The effect of that direction is that the Public Service Commission
ceases to be the authority which has the discretion to appoint persons to
the post of deputy director or above.

      It may only make a recommendation and then it is the president that
makes the actual decision as to whether or not the person in question should
be appointed. Section 11 of the Public Service Act provides that the
president may give general directions of policy to the Public Service
Commission and that the commission must take all necessary steps to comply
with them.

      However, a direction that all appointments or promotions to a post of
deputy director or above must be referred to the president for his approval
can hardly be described as a general direction of policy. It is an unlawful
direction which has the effect of amending an Act of Parliament.

      The fact that the Chairman and the members of the Public Service
Commission comply with the direction from the President's Office, without
insisting that it is their duty to comply with the rule of law, is a serious
indictment of their professionalism.

      Section 11 of the Public Service Act also provides that if the Public
Service Commission fails to carry out any duty imposed on it by the
Constitution or the Public Service Act, the Minister of the Public Service
may direct the Commission to take such action as he considers necessary to
rectify the matter.

      The Public Service Commission is clearly failing to carry out its duty
to make appointments to posts of deputy director or above. It is allowing
the president to make the appointments, which is unlawful.

      The administration of the Public Service Act has been assigned to the
Minister of the Public Service. He is responsible for ensuring that the
Public Service Commission complies with the provisions of the Public Service
Act and the rule of law. He must direct the Public Service Commission,
forthwith, to cease its unlawful practice of referring promotions and
appointments to posts of deputy director or above to the president.

      George Smith is a retired High Court judge.

      By George Smith

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Disengagement Exposes GPA

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 19:58
      THE paralysis in government business as a result of the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC's decision to disengage over what it sees as Zanu PF's
failure to consummate the global political agreement (GPA) has brought to
the fore the inadequacies of the deal and the type of leaders we have in the
country. Since the GPA was signed in September last year Zimbabwe had been
slowly creeping out of its decade-long political and economic crisis
authored by President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's disastrous policies.

      The gains of the newly found peace and economic stability that were
being driven by the inclusive government are now in reverse gear following
the MDC-T's decision a fortnight ago to partially pull out of government,
although they claim to have disengaged from Zanu PF, not government.

      Two cabinet meetings have since been held in the absence of Tsvangirai
and ministers from his party. This clearly means government business is at a
standstill because almost half of the cabinet ministers have withdrawn their
services. Any decisions made by Mugabe and his ministers cannot be enforced
and can be deemed illegal.

      Many questions on the benefits of the disengagement have been asked,
but satisfactory answers are not forthcoming from the MDC-T.

      What is not in dispute is Mugabe and Zanu PF's unwillingness to
resolve the outstanding issues in line with Sadc's January 27 communiqué
that outlined the sticking points of the agreement.

      But the MDC-T's decision was hasty and the reasons advanced were not
sufficiently compelling given that the party had in September resolved to
consult its members and Zimbabweans at large on whether or not to remain in
government. The consultations are apparently still going on-going.

      The current fight is not about moving the country forward, but power
relations between Mugabe and Tsvangirai. We agree with former Finance
minister Simba Makoni's view last week that the MDC-T had disengaged from
Zanu PF because it wanted to have "jobs for the boys" and not policies that
can deliver real change for Zimbabweans.

      "The people want stable and permanent jobs, economic development,
repair of dilapidated infrastructure, food, functioning health and education
systems and social support networks. The people want their dignity and
respect back," Makoni said.

      This may be considered harsh on the MDC which has been credited with
building confidence in the market and stabilising the currency. But this
goodwill is threatened as long as the fight with Zanu PF fails to resonate
with national aspirations. We believe that there are critical issues that
have not been dealt with by the inclusive government which are critical to
national development.

      Besides the outstanding issues of provincial governors and the
appointments of Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister, central bank
governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, there are more
sticking points Mugabe and Tsvangirai have never bothered to deal with.

      While Mugabe and Tsvangirai accept that a new constitution is
inevitable, their commitment to the process is questionable. The process has
also been hamstrung by financial problems.

      According to the GPA, the parties to the deal agreed to give priority
to the restoration of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe by leading
the process of developing and implementing an economic recovery plan.

      To that end the parties committed themselves to working together on a
full and comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy,
which would urgently address the issues of production, food security,
poverty and unemployment and the challenges of high inflation, interest
rates and the exchange rate. They agreed to establish "a National Economic
Council composed of representatives of the parties and of the following
sectors: manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism, commerce, finance,
labour, academia and other relevant sectors".

      Almost eight months after the formation of the inclusive government
and a year after the GPA was signed, the economic council is yet to be
incepted when it should be the engine for economic recovery.

      The current impasse could have been avoided if the inclusive
government had adhered to the GPA and put in place the periodic review
mechanism in terms of Article XXIII. The parties agreed to constitute a
committee composed of two representatives from each party to review on an
annual basis progress on the implementation of the priorities and objectives
set out in the GPA.

      The committee would have made recommendations to the parties and the
new government on any matters relating to the agreement, more particularly
on measures and programmes that may be necessary to realise full
implementation of the deal.

      Another outstanding issue that has largely been ignored by Mugabe and
Tsvangirai is that of national healing, cohesion and unity. When is the
programme going to be operationalised and what period of Zimbabwe's
chequered history would be covered?

      The three issues we raise above are far more important in moving the
nation forward than the bullfight for power between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Candid Comment: Time for Zuma to Stand up to Mugabe

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 19:56
      AS the Zimbabwe crisis nosedives once again it should be noted that
the Jacob Zuma administration bears a particular responsibility for what has
gone  wrong with the power-sharing agreement the Zimbabwean political
parties entered into eight months ago. It is therefore under a special
obligation to take action to resolve the crisis.
      This responsibility stems from the fact that it was interim President
Kgalema Motlanthe who pressured the leader of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai into
entering the power-sharing government with President Robert Mugabe, even
though Mugabe had still not honoured a range of critical issues in the
political agreement he had signed four months earlier.
      Former President Thabo Mbeki brokered the agreement on behalf of Sadc
in September 2007. But then the victorious Zuma faction of the ANC forced
Mbeki to step down after Polokwane and Motlanthe took over as interim
president to keep the seat warm for Zuma. So it fell to him as head of the
country then holding the chairmanship of Sadc to play the lead role in
ensuring that the agreement was implemented.
      Tsvangirai was reluctant to enter into the power-sharing government
because Mugabe was playing games. First it was discovered that the printed
document presented to Tsvangirai for signing at the ceremony had been
surreptitiously altered in several critical respects from the version to
which he, Mugabe and the leader of a small breakaway faction of the MDC,
Arthur Mutambara,
      had accepted in the negotiations.
      Mugabe had also blatantly violated a range of vital aspects of the
agreement by unilaterally reappointing Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, both diehard Mugabe loyalists and kingpin
figures in continuing efforts to manipulate the treasury in Zanu PF's favour
and, together with the partisan security forces, harass the MDC and its
      Mugabe had also failed to disband the notorious Joint Operations
Command of military, police and intelligence chiefs and place them under
civilian control, as the agreement required.
      Tsvangirai, realising that the devil was in these details that kept
coercive power in Mugabe's hands, wanted Sadc to ensure full compliance
before committing himself to the power-sharing government. But Motlanthe,
growing impatient at the long delay, put pre sure on him to quit stalling
and join the power-sharing government - telling him in effect that he could
sort out the details later when he was in power as prime minister and able
to build a
      working relationship with Mugabe.
      In any case, he reminded Tsvangirai, Sadc was the guarantor of the
agreement and there was a joint monitoring committee called Jomic to oversee
the  process. This was the height of naivety. Anyone who had watched the
workings of tricky Mugabe over the years, during which he has rigged at
least three national elections, violated property rights, ignored the rule
of law and committed many human rights atrocities, should have realised he
could not be trusted to honour the letter, nevermind the spirit, of a deal
such as this.
      But Tsvangirai thought the Zuma crowd, represented by Motlanthe at
this point, would be a tougher and more reliable guarantor of the agreement
than the limp-wristed Mbeki had been. After all Zuma's big ally, Cosatu, had
been grievously abused by the Mugabe government when a delegation paying a
fraternal visit to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions was arrested,
      insulted and unceremoniously thrown out of the country in 2004.
      That must have given Tsvangirai reason to believe he could expect more
from the Motlanthe-Zuma-Cosatu-SACP axis than his dismal experiences with
Mbeki. So he reluctantly agreed and went into the power-sharing government -
the terms of which Mugabe has continued to violate ever since.
      Tsvangirai has put up with Zanu PF's continuous harassment for eight
months. He has tried to put the best face on an intolerable situation
because the MDC's participation in the government was bringing at least some
relief to the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe. But precisely because of
that Zanu PF has been stepping up its harassment lately, fearing that the
MDC was gaining
      increasing popular support.
      Things reached breaking point a fortnight ago after the indictment to
the High Court of the MDC-designated Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Roy
Bennett - whom Mugabe has consistently refused to swear in - on charges of
terrorism. Outraged, Tsvangirai suspended his party's participation in the
unity government and called on the Sadc countries to intervene.Even as
Tsvangirai calls on the guarantors to intervene Mugage is treating them with
contempt, saying he will not yield to any pressure nor give away any aspects
of Zanu PF's authority.
      To emphasise Mugabe's disdain for Sadc and the unity deal, 50 armed
police raided a house in Harare used by the MDC's out-of-town leaders last
Friday night, ransacked the premises, seized documents and dug up the garden
ostensibly in a search for weapons of which there were none. There were also
reports of troops carrying out violent raids against MDC supporters in the
rural areas across the country over the weekend. It seems clear Mugabe doesn't
believe the Sadc leaders have the political will to deal firmly with him. He
has faced them down before and he reckons he can again.
      The Sadc "troika" responsible for monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe
is in Harare for negotiations on the crisis. But ultimately it is South
Africa that has the clout in this region. It is up to Zuma to prove Mugabe
wrong and show that he is prepared to honour his obligations as
      guarantor and deal firmly with the errant president. Doing that is not
as difficult as Mbeki's apologists used to imply. No need for threats of
force or sanctions or other such unrealistic posturing. Just a simple
warning that if Mugabe doesn't implement the GPA fully and tries to rule
alone, South Africa will not recognise his government. It will regard him as
the head of an illegitimate regime.
      Botswana's President Ian Khama has already done that. - Business Day.

      Sparks is a veteran South African journalist.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor's Memo: Leaders' Corruption Unmasked Again

      Thursday, 29 October 2009 19:34
      HATS off to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for once again
unmasking the corruption inherent among our rulers. Thanks to the
Auditor-General's special report on ministerial accounts for the first
quarter of the year we now know that our rulers find nothing wrong in taking
government vehicles (some of them took four each) and making them their own.
In other countries this brazen exhibition of executive delinquency is
considered theft of state property.

      Those caught with their hands in the cookie jar are investigated,
charged and tried. In most cases the culprits resign in shame and are forced
to return the loot. But we live in a society where corruption has become so
endemic that exposes on graft are regarded by the general public as
commonplace infringements which should not stir popular indignation.

      It is common practice for motorists to give a policeman a bribe to
escape being ticketed or for learner drivers to offer an examiner at the VID
an inducement to get a driver's licence, notwithstanding driving

      To many Zimbabweans today, the 'inducements' and 'thank yous' paid to
public officials do not constitute acts of corruption. It is now a way of
life. It is fast becoming part of our culture. We are dangerously in denial
about corruption.

      Politicians caught with their fingers in the till appear unaffected by
revelation of their nefarious deeds.

      The report by the Auditor-General in spite of its damning contents
therefore means very little to the political leadership of this country.

      If it meant anything, then a minister -cited in the report as taking
possession of two ministerial vehicles - would have refrained from bidding
for the vacant position of vice-president. He has without any shame or worry
thrown his hat into the ring to contest for that very powerful position.

      He can confidently ask: "What's all this fuss about two cars when
colleagues in high office have expropriated farm property and equipment
worth millions of dollars? Why should I buy a tractor when it can be grabbed
from the farmer next door? Who has ever been arrested in this country for
stealing a whole crop of fruits or maize? Are these not acts of valour; an
extension of the revolutionary spirit that liberated this country? Why
should I then be arrested for just driving away two vehicles?"

      But this is state delinquency writ large. The report provides
irrefutable evidence of systematic looting of state resources and private
property by public officials. Sadly, our law enforcers are impotent in these
instances even when evidence abounds.

      This should be a godsend opportunity for the Anti-Corruption
Commission to flex its muscles and demonstrate its relevance. The
parliamentary committee on public accounts has promised that heads would
roll but that is hardly reassuring. We wait to see who will take the
perpetrators to the guillotine first!

      All the tough talking by the public accounts committee is most likely
to amount to nothing as long as there is no deliberate policy in this
country to fight corruption in high places.

      The failure to deal with corruption, especially the type revealed in
the latest audit of ministerial accounts, has a huge bearing on governance
in this country.

      A minister who grabs state vehicles cannot be trusted to efficiently
run a public office because he/she is dishonest. The same is true about all
those who stole tractors and other farm machinery in the name of land
reform. Good governance is built on a strong foundation of integrity which
is lacking in a big way among our rulers.

      Many now have careers blighted by violence, theft and corruption and
this is reflected in the way this country has been governed. It's been a
crazy tale of bungling and ineptitude.

      The government cannot continue to hide behind the false notion that
this country is hurting more from sanctions than issues to do with bad

      We have to ask ourselves what preceded the other: bad governance or
sanctions? The truth is that the targeted sanctions were a response to bad
governance in Zimbabwe. Real evidence of that misgovernance can be found in
successive reports by our own Auditor-General.

      The contents of the report have been ignored with contempt over the
years, hence the parlous state of our economy.

      It is appropriate at this point in our history to start drawing up a
roll of infamy for our rulers. Their misdeeds must be documented and
exposed. The acts of infamy must be analysed against our leaders' so-called
liberation credentials to determine their contribution to the development of
this country.

      We deserve better leaders as a nation. We cannot continue to be ruled
by bad politicians whose only claim to leadership are liberation war scars
and not competence and integrity.

      By Vincent Kahiya

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim farmers being prosecuted, evicted

By Michael Hamlyn

One hundred and fifty-two of the estimated 400 white farmers remaining in
Zimbabwe are currently facing prosecution, according to a media statement by
the Commercial Farmers' Union circulated here on Thursday.

Last week five were found guilty of remaining on their farms and ordered to
vacate their properties. They were also given fines of around US$300.

"A total of 12 farmers and 34 workers have been convicted to date,
heightening insecurity in the agricultural sector countrywide," the
statement said. "Farmers who continue to occupy and use their farms face
prosecution and imprisonment."

According to the statement there has been a dramatic scaling up of violence
against the few remaining Zimbabwean commercial farmers and their workers,
and it is cause for great concern, both for food security in Zimbabwe and
for the region.

Farmers are being driven from their farms by beneficiaries who have been
fraudulently allocated the farms on the basis of a previous listing of their
farm(s) in a Government Gazette, the existence of an offer letter issued at
the sole discretion of a minister or land officer in favour of the listed
farm(s) in question, fraudulently generated offer letters, or taking the law
into their own hands.

"The beneficiaries are from all walks of life including government ministers
or related families, force officers [army, police and the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO)] and senior businessmen," the Union said.

"The prevailing unjust legal position is such that, if a matter can be
classified as 'political', as is the case with all matters relating to land,
then the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) refuse to carry out their
constitutional duties, leaving commercial farmers and farmworkers
unprotected by the law."

Deon Theron, the president of the union, said: "Owing to the ongoing
violations of commercial farmers and their workers, the prosecution threats
and lack of security of tenure, the majority of commercial farmers will not
be able to plant crops this season.

"The estimated tonnage of maize, the staple food crop, for the 2009/2010
season is just 500,000 tonnes from 2,043,000 tonnes in 2000."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coalition government deal near collapse

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tensions rise as U.N. official is refused entry, blames Mugabe


JOHANNESBURG | A power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe and a top rival that envisioned an end to torture and famine has all
but collapsed.

The latest blow came Thursday when Zimbabwe blocked a U.N. torture
investigator Manfred Nowak from entering the country.

Mr. Nowak had been invited to Zimbabwe by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who is a close ally of Mr. Mugabe.

But as Mr. Nowak and two other officials transited Johannesburg on
Wednesday, they received word that the visit had been postponed and not

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai then issued a fresh invitation from his
office and the group flew to the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, where it was
denied entry.

"We arrived there late Wednesday, and we were met by a man who claimed he
was from the United Nations office in the city," Mr. Nowak told The
Washington Times. The official was apparently a state security agent.

"We were separated from the other passengers and were then told that we
would not be allowed to enter the country," Mr. Nowak said. "Prime Minister
Tsvangirai and our local U.N. staff tried to help, but we were escorted to
the VIP lounge and told we would be put on the first plane out on Thursday

"I believe that the order to prevent us entering the country came from
President Mugabe. Clearly, he feels that it is not a good idea for the U.N.
to investigate allegations of torture in Zimbabwe," Mr. Nowak said.

Ephraim Masawi, a spokesman for Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front party (ZANU-PF), told the Associated Press that
allegations Mr. Mugabe was involved in barring Mr. Nowak were "not true."

Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. In recent years,
the nation's economy has collapsed amid a state-sponsored campaign of terror
against opponents and widespread famine in a nation that once exported food
to much of southern Africa.

The power-sharing agreement followed a disputed 2008 presidential and
parliamentary election. With Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) capturing the most seats and the presidential contest headed for a
runoff, Mr. Mugabe's government unleashed a campaign of beatings and torture
by ZANU-PF militia and state security officials, according to hundreds of
eyewitness accounts.

In February, a deal negotiated by regional leaders created the new post of
prime minister for Mr. Tsvangirai, while Mr. Mugabe remained head of state.

While the unity government has brought hyperinflation under control and seen
a return of goods to once-empty shelves in city stores, it has been marked
by tension between the two parties.

But tensions have grown so bad that Mr. Tsvangirai announced earlier this
month that he was "suspending" cooperation with government and ministers
from his party stopped attending Cabinet meetings.

This week, the daily newspapers - which, along with all TV and radio, are
controlled by the state - reported that Mr. Mugabe planned to replace the
absent ministers with members of his party.

Ministers from several neighboring countries met in Harare with senior
members of MDC and ZANU-PF in an effort heal the rift.

Joey Bimha, the top civil servant in the ZANU-PF-controlled Foreign
Ministry, said Mr. Nowak had been told he could not come because officials
were engaged with Mr. Tsvangirai's Cabinet boycott, according to the AP.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

GNU - Rewarding the Villain and Punishing the Victim


If there lived a spine eating ogre for which survival means feeding on a constant supply of protein derived from the spinal cords and backbones of fearless men, that ogre would be emaciated and die of starvation in Zimbabwe.


The Government of National Unity (GNU)’s cohesion is strained by the lack of genuine power sharing. Mugabe is not going to voluntarily relinquish authority; it has to be taken from him, only by men with cast-iron backbones.  As with all progressive democratic societies whose governments are held together through loose coalitions, the collapse of such alliances due to ideological discord triggers an immediate call for fresh elections.


If free and fair elections were to be held for a village headman in Zvimba, Mugabe’s “ancestral” home, based on recent opinion polls, Mugabe would lose.


Mugabe lost the presidential election; ZANU (PF) has a minority in parliament and the unity government has set a bad precedent for Africa’s democratic roadmap. A GNU renders election results pointless, wastes scarce resources and breeds closet dictators within the opposition which had the people’s irrevocable mandate to remove tyranny.


The cycle of remunerating and appeasing dictators to avert further chaos must now cease and men with moral fiber and stainless steel vertebrae must now lead and take this fight to the end.  Mugabe intimidates the populace and uses violence each time his political fortunes are threatened and menaces rural folk with incendiary remarks, feigning to revert to the bush war should the opposition come to power.


Democracy is not an event but a process and the opposition is merely part of that progression.


The GNU is illegitimate and illegal without the opposition and must be officially dissolved once the other party to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) withdraws. The GPA ought to then be nullified and Zimbabweans should return to UN supervised polls to elect a leader in a “winner takes all” democratic contest. 


Zimbabwe will relapse into lawlessness in the absence of accountability and today marks another broken milestone on the treacherous road to elusive social equality and justice. According to a ZANU (PF) spokesperson, Mugabe has withdrawn an unprecedented invitation to a UN independent expert on torture at the last moment.


According to the United Nations, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, Mr Manfred Nowak, is now unable to compile a report on ZANU (PF)’s humanitarian abuses. Subsequently, United Nations human rights expert, Manfred Nowak, was prevented from entering Zimbabwe on Wednesday and was deported, after spending the night at the airport on the orders of ZANU (PF). Under Zimbabwe's coalition agreement, the foreign ministry is controlled by Mugabe. What does ZANU (PF) have to hide so desperately that it would rather provoke a demarche?


To add insult to injury, Minister of Information, Webster Shamu, was quoted as saying, “The MDC boycott, which began on October 16, was affecting the government's work in preparing for a new farming season and its efforts to turn around the agriculture-based economy after years of recession. His Excellency (Mugabe) may have to consider appointing ministers in an acting capacity to key ministries for the sake of a successful agricultural season and general economic turnaround.”


What a revelation—fifteen days before the official commencement of Zimbabwe’s rainy season, Shamu inadvertently discloses that the government is unprepared for the forthcoming agricultural season. These preparations (draught power, fertiliser, fuel and seed) should have been in place a year ago, not two weeks before planting starts.


These disingenuous comments come from a minister, whose government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s quasi financial activities wasted precious time and squandered scarce funds, corruptly importing Chinese chalk dust, passed onto to the hapless new farmers as fertiliser. Its cabinet embarked on a futile medieval expedition of extracting diesel from rocks in a clairvoyant’s cave. ZANU (PF) even justified the shortage of cereal production by blaming a monkey for sabotaging the power supply to Zimbabwe’s only ammonium nitrate fertiliser manufacturer thus affecting agriculture.


The propensity for ZANU (PF) to blame everyone but themselves for Zimbabwe’s ills is manifesting itself again. The opposition, the perpetual fall guys, will now be held liable for imagined sanctions, droughts and the looming shortage of cereals and the dearth of investors.

Every morning in my village, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

“It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running”. -- African Proverb

Phil Matibe –



Back to the Top
Back to Index