by Lizwe Sebata and Edith Kaseke Friday 03 October 2008
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's battered currency has plunged to new record lows days
after President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai
failed to break a deadlock over the allocation of key Cabinet ministries.
The Zimbabwe dollar shaved off more than half its value within two days as
the political stalemate between the country's bitter rivals took its toll on
the shattered economy, immediately driving the cost of basic goods and
services beyond reach of inflation-weary Zimbabweans.
Traders were on Thursday exchanging ZW$1 000 000 for a one United States
dollar when using the bank transfer rate, Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS),
up from Tuesday's figure of ZW$500 000 to one greenback when Mugabe and
Tsvangirai failed to agree on the allocation of ministries in a new
government of national unity.
On the black market, US$1 was fetching ZW$4 000, up from Tuesday's figure of
$2 000. One US dollar fetches $140 in the bank.
Zimbabwe has at least three exchange rates with the bulk of foreign currency
traded on the illegal black market and using the RTGS, which is official but
has been hijacked by illegal traders who manipulate the special system to
achieve higher returns than are possible on the normal official market.
Analysts said the weakening of the local dollar is driven by inflation
expectations, wild speculation and uncertainty over the future of a
power-sharing deal that was signed on September 15.
"The weakening of the currency will continue to be driven by speculation and
uncertainty since the market continues to wander in the wilderness in the
absence of a (unity) government to formulate economic policies to reign in
inflation," said John Robertson, an economic analyst.
Shops, when they have commodities, peg their prices using the RTGS rate,
which is way beyond what average Zimbabweans earn.
A stalemate between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over the allocation of Cabinet
posts has been referred back to former South African President Thabo Mbeki,
the mediator of the power-sharing deal. But ZANU PF party says there is no
need to involve Mbeki, raising doubts whether Mugabe's party will cooperate
with the ex-South African president.
The deal, signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, a rebel leader
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, is seen as the
first real step in ending a decade long economic and political crisis in the
southern African state.
Zimbabwe has been without balance of payment support since 1999 after a
policy fallout with multilateral financiers and black market traders said on
Thursday high demand for foreign currency continued to push up rates on the
flourishing parallel market.
"Demand (for foreign currency) is very high and there is also shortage of
Zimbabwe dollar notes. This is why you see (parallel market) rates going up
and the Zimbabwe dollar losing value," a trader at a popular spot along
Julius Nyerere Avenue in central Harare said.
"As long as there is no finality on this Cabinet issue it will be business
as usual. We don't think the current government will have a new economic
policy," the trader, who identified himself only as Sam, said in the local
Zimbabwe has grappled with nearly a decade of a punishing economic
recession, which the World Bank says is the worst for a country not at war.
Hyper-inflation is officially cruising above 11 million percent, but
independent analysts say it is as high as 40 million percent, which has
impoverished a population already hit by shortages of cash, foreign
currency, food and crumbling social services.
United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon said this week Zimbabwe could
need humanitarian assistance for the next coming years after the collapse of
its agriculture sector, the backbone of the once promising economy.
Critics say Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence in 1980 and
who was re-elected in a one-man race in June after a terror campaign against
the opposition, has run down the once breadbasket of Africa with ruinous
policies such as his expulsion of experienced white farmers and replacing
them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.
Food production as plunged since Mugabe's controversial land reforms that
began in 2000 and Zimbabwe has avoided starvation only because international
relief agencies have been quick to chip in with food handouts.
Mugabe denies ruining Zimbabwe and blames hunger in the country on erratic
rains and Western sanctions he says have hampered importation of
fertilizers, seed, and other farming inputs. - ZimOnline
by Patricia Mpofu Friday 03 October 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party yesterday called off a meeting of
its decision making national executive council that sources had said was set
to decide whether the party should pull out of a power-sharing agreement
with President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party.
The agreement signed by Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, who leads a smaller faction of the opposition, looked
increasingly in danger of collapsing this week after direct talks between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai on Tuesday failed to break a deadlock on the formation
of a government of national unity.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed postponement of the national council
meeting but declined to say why it was called off or to say what was on the
agenda of the cancelled meeting.
Chamisa said: "It (meeting) was indeed set for today (Thursday) but has been
Asked whether the meeting had been cancelled because there had been positive
movement on the deadlock with ZANU PF over sharing of Cabinet posts, Chamisa
said: "There has been no movement. We are still in the same position we were
The power-sharing agreement that was brokered by ex-South African president
Thabo Mbeki 15 Cabinet posts to ZANU PF, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and 3
to the Mutambara-led MDC. The deal is silent on which specific posts should
go to which party.
The MDC has accused Mugabe of seeking to control all key Cabinet posts while
relegating the opposition party to a junior role in the unity government.
Following the failure of Mugabe and Tsvangirai to break the deadlock over
Cabinet posts, the MDC called on Mbeki to resume mediation while it also
said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Africa Union
(AU), guarantors to Mbeki's mediation, should also intervene.
But ZANU PF insists there is no need for outside intervention with the party's
chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, saying yesterday that anyone claiming
there was a deadlock over Cabinet posts was not well informed about
Chinamasa said: "I don't know of any deadlock and those talking about it I
am told are not privy to what is going on in the negotiations."
He reiterated that as far as he and ZANU PF were concerned there was no need
to recall Mbeki to help with the allocation of government jobs. "This is a
small matter which can be resolved," he said.
Mutambara, who arrived in Harare on Wednesday after days in China, was
reportedly scheduled to meet Mugabe. But he refused to take questions on the
matter when phoned by ZimOnline.
The power-sharing agreement is widely seen as providing the best opportunity
yet for Zimbabwe to begin work to end an acute recession that is seen in the
world's highest inflation of 11 million percent, deepening poverty amid
shortages of food and every basic survival commodity.
The international community, in particular Western donor nations whose
financial support is vital to any effort to resuscitate Zimbabwe's comatose
economy, has to help rebuild the country but only after assessing
implementation of the power-sharing deal. - ZimOnline
By Ntungamili Nkomo
02 October 2008
Negotiators for Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change
parties held lengthy consultations by telephone on Thursday in an effort to
break a deadlock over the composition of the cabinet for the unity
government the parties agreed to last month, sources close to the
A well-informed source in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF told VOA that
the party has moved toward a resolution of the apparent stalemate by ceding
the Ministry of Finance to the MDC formation of Morgan Tsvangirai,
designated as prime minister.
The source said Mr. Mugabe met top ZANU-PF officials today, among them party
strategist Emmerson Mnangagwa, otherwise rural housing minister, and Patrick
Chinamasa, currently minister of justice, and agreed to concede the finance
The source could not shed light on the disposition of other major
portfolios, such as home affairs, foreign affairs, agriculture and
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said he had no
information as to a concession by ZANU-PF on the critical finance post. Most
observers have concluded that the ministry must end up in MDC hands or
international donors will be reluctant to bring to the country the billions
of dollars required to launch economic reconstruction.
Chamisa confirmed, however, that a meeting of the Tsvangirai MDC national
executive set for Thursday had been postponed. Sources said the meeting had
been called to decide whether the party should pull out of the power-sharing
process due to Mr. Mugabe's failure to name a cabinet in which the key posts
are equitably distributed.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Chinamasa, ZANU-PF's chief
negotiator, as saying offices in the Monomotapa government building were
ready for Tsvangirai.
Political analyst George Mkwananzi told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the statement from Chinamasa suggested that
ZANU-PF is concerned that the hard-won agreement for a national unity
government might unravel
October 2, 2008
HARARE (The Zimbabwean/Own Correspondent) - Under pressure from the security
chiefs to renege on the power-sharing deal signed last month, President
Robert Mugabe has offered cabinet posts to key officials of the Arthur
Mutambara faction of the MDC.
Highly placed sources say such a deal is being struck behind the back of the
mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai. It is an
open secret that Mutambara and his faction were the favourites of
negotiation mediator, Thabo Mbeki, who fell from power in South Africa as
the power sharing deal was being signed in Harare.
For long there have been open lines of communication between Mbeki and
Mutambara's secretay general Welshman Ncube, who engineered the withdrawal
of his faction from the mainstream MDC in 2005.
A highly placed source within Zanu-PF says that upon his return from New
York on Monday, Mugabe was told by the heads of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces,
the Police and the Air Force that two options were open to him. He either
had to renege on the agreement to share key ministries with the MDC or risk
being forcibly removed from office.
There is a widely held perception that the security chiefs, the so-called
Joint Operations Command, effectively usurped executive power from Mugabe
soon after his defeat at the polls by Tsvangirai on March 29. It is they,
it is reported, who orchestrated the seven week delay in the announcement of
the result of the presidential election and the subsequent scourge of
violence during the run-up to the second presidential election on June 27.
"Mugabe is determined to remain as President of Zimbabwe until the day he
dies, but he knows that if he ignores the threats from the generals, that
day could come a lot sooner than he thinks", the Zanu-PF source said.
Aware that the Tsvangirai MDC would have no option but to reject the minor
ministries offered to it, Mugabe is expected to proceed with the formation
of a cabinet of his own.
In the new cabinet key Mugabe ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa will become the
Minister of Home Affairs, while the architect of Zimbabwe's economic
collapse, Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, will become Minister of
To provide the necessary window dressing to placate regional unease over
this move, Mugabe has reportedly enticed the leaders of the MDC faction led
by Arthur Mutambara with positions in the new cabinet.
It is understood that the Mutambara MDC secretary general, Ncube will be
allocated the Ministry of Trade and Industry, while Priscilla Misihairambwi
Mushonga will become the Minister of Communications and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu
will become the new Minister of National Integration, Sport and Culture.
The Zimbabwe Times submitted questions to Mutambara asking him to comment on
these allegations. At the time of publishing he had not responded.
Commenting on this development, a mainstream MDC spokesperson said this
development showed that the leadership of the Mutambara faction of the MDC
was not interested in alleviating the suffering of the people but were
instead focused on lining their own pockets.
"You can predict what will happen when these people climb into bed with the
same people who have raped our county and who have no desire to admit to, or
address, the problems the people are facing" the spokesperson said.
"While this deal will worsen the situation in the country it will serve to
strengthen the resolve of the people and the MDC to finding a lasting
solution to the Zimbabwe crisis", he added.
Millions of ordinary Zimbabweans are facing starvation as the new crop
planting season approaches against a backdrop of a serious shortage seed,
fertiliser and other farming inputs. The economy is in free fall with the
ZImbabwe currency now pegged at Z$1 000 000.00 to US$1.00 only months after
the government removed 10 zeroes from the currency. Inflation now stands at
almost 200 million percent.
October 2, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's money printing project suffered
a major setback as Zimbabweans reacted negatively to the new $20 000 dollar
note introduced only six days ago.
There appears to be a general rejection of the new in preference to the $10
000 note introduced at the same time but which is printed on imported paper.
Some retailers are also refusing to recognise the new $20 000 note.
Zimbabwean banks have operated under siege since Monday as thousands of
cash-strapped depositors have tried in vain to withdraw funds after Gono
announced on that day an increase in the cash withdrawal limit from $1 000
to $20 000.
However, people were disappointed to find the largest denomination printed
on what appears to be cheap paper.
The note does not have a security thread or watermark, leaving people unable
to distinguish fake notes from genuine ones, amid fears that fake notes may
have already flooded the market. Experts say fraudsters can easily reproduce
copies of the $20 000 notes.
Gono this week vowed to continue to print new notes as long as "illegal
sanctions imposed by the West remain in place." He was repeating President
Robert Mugabe's mantra that Zimbabwe's problems have resulted from sanctions
allegedly by Western countries.
However, British foreign secretary, David Miliband last week blamed Mugabe
for Zimbabwe woes. He said the Zimbabwean strongman had simply mismanaged
the economy, and was now looking for scapegoats.
"I am not afraid of printing money and I will continue doing so until those
who imposed sanctions on us lift them," Gono told peasant farmers at a field
day at Mushandike Irrigation Scheme in Masvingo last Friday.
Economists have, however, cautioned Gono - albeit without success - that
printing money fuels inflation, which is Zimbabwe's most serious problem at
Independent economists now estimate Zimbabwe's inflation rate at 55 million
percent although government says the figure is five times lower at 11, 2
The poor quality of the newly-introduced $20 000 could be attributed to a
decision by Giesecke & Devrient, a German company, this year, to pull out of
its contract to supply Zimbabwe with paper to print notes.
The move by the company followed international criticism that the firm was
an accessory to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Critics said the money
printed on the German company's paper was being used to fund terror
campaigns against President Robert Mugabe's opponents.
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had initially said Giesecke &
Devrient's contract was a private matter, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the
German foreign minister, later ordered the company to halt deliveries of the
paper to Zimbabwe.
On his return from the 63rd session of the UN in New York, President Mugabe
lashed out at critics of his government's decision to print more money,
saying the Americans were doing the same.
He was referring to plans by the US government to bail out financially-
stressed mortgage banks to the tune of US$700 billion. Mugabe said the
Americans were going to print the money but only preferred to describe their
own actions as "a rescue package."
October 2, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has with immediate effect suspended
the use of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) as a form of payment following
the abuse of the system by speculators.
Gideon Gono, governor of the central bank, said the system had become an
active vehicle for illicit foreign currency dealings on the parallel market
as well as a convenient excuse by sellers of goods to overprice their
commodities, thus inconveniencing the less privileged.
"The use of the RTGS system for customer payments is hereby suspended until
further notice," said Gono in a statement.
"For the avoidance of doubt there will be no processing of the RTGS payments
through the system with effect from Friday October 3."
Gono said the design of the RTGS system was such that payments and
inter-account transfers must reflect in the recipients' account a few
minutes after effecting the payment, but the system was now being abused
"The victims have largely remained the defenceless members of public who
have to watch in despair as their hard earned incomes are grabbed away from
them through the extractive pricing structure," said Gono.
Gono said cognisant of the need to provide liquidity to facilitate
settlement of clearing house obligations by financial institutions, all
payments from the Reserve Bank to financial institutions and vice versa
would continue to be credited to their accounts electronically. These
include funding by banks for cash withdrawals.
"RTGS systems are by nature designed to handle high value high risk
payments. They enable instant transfer of funds from one bank to another,"
Gono said when complemented with straight through processing (STP), they
facilitated real-time end-to-end processing of payments between customers of
"A major advantage of RTGS systems is that they provide final and
irrevocable settlement through accounts at the central bank, thereby
reducing credit risk," said Gono
The bank was compiling RTGS promptness profile for each bank and would
suspend up to six months banks which were found guilty of delaying the
"Accordingly, therefore, the Reserve Bank will with immediate effect be
compiling customer RTGSs' service promptness profiles for each bank," said
"When a bank is seen to be delaying the processing of customer payments it
will be promptly suspended from using the RTGS platform for a minimum for 6
months or longer, depending on the severity of the ill-practices."
Gono said the public should come with documented examples of undue delays by
banks in processing their RTGS instructions so that swift remedial action is
"Retailers wholesalers, producers and other services providers must
therefore take RTGS payments as good as cash and help the economy
stabilization prospects by avoiding the predatory pricing structure
currently prevailing in multiplicities," said Gono
October 2, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The public has not been made aware of a new cholera epidemic that
has plagued Harare and Chitungwiza since September and claimed 18 lives,
with 80 admitted to hospital as of Thursday.
Human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe have slammed the authorities, holding them
liable for the "alarming and quite unusual deaths" from a preventable
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights accused the government of criminal
negligence saying the deaths were a result of unacceptable failure of
Hospital officials said the death toll had zoomed up Thursday and that they
were battling to contain the outbreak amid fears it could degenerate into an
"We have so far registered a total of 14 deaths here with four other deaths
reported in Harare and 77 cases of the disease reported," Dr Obadiah Moyo,
chief executive officer of the Chitungwiza Central Hospital in the satellite
town just outside the capital Harare, told The Zimbabwe Times.
About 12 people had been reported dead by September 30 and two more
succumbed to the disease over the past two days.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital, in the populous town, is now coordinating an
anti-cholera program in the town, home to almost a million people. The
latest deaths have been recorded in Unit O, which has been cut off from
water supplies over the past one month now.
Other parts of the town are facing intermittent water supplies. Authorities
say the water shortages are a result of power outages that have affected the
pumping of water from the main supply source, Morton Jaffray Works, which
supplies the bulk of the water for both domestic and industrial use.
There are currently 77 cholera patients, including 30 children under the age
of five, being cared for in the hospital, Moyo said.
"Between Monday and Tuesday we received 30 patients," he said. "We are
really snowed under and the patients keep coming."
He said the patients had been quarantined and treated in the disinfecting
basin at the Chitungwiza clinic.
Cholera is caused by intestinal bacteria that trigger serious diarrhoea and
vomiting leading to dehydration. The disease is mainly caused by poor
sanitation. With a short incubation period, it can be fatal if not treated
within 24 hours.
Experts say the number of people infected with cholera could be much higher
than the cases officially reported. The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights
said in a statement the official cholera deaths were grossly underestimated.
"This is but the tip of an iceberg of much more morbidity," said the human
rights doctors. "This has not been communicated to the public."
Some of the infected people hide from health officials, according to local
health authorities in the Chitungwiza neighbourhood, which has been
seriously affected by the epidemic.
"There are a lot of taboos surrounding the illness," said Miriam Maposa who
works at a local health clinic. "Parents do not want to tell the health
officials of cases of infections in their families because of the stigma
associated with poor sanitation in the homes."
The last cholera epidemic in Mabvuku in Harare killed four people and
infected at least four people in March, mainly because of shortages of
A resident of Unit O, in the Seke section of Chitungwiza, Nyasha Muzambi,
who lost his brother to cholera five days before he was to get married,
said: "His bride is devastated and we are taking legal action. We can't
allow this to just go unchallenged.
"We owe it to his young wife who has been widowed because of a preventable
disease. It's just unacceptable."
By Jonga Kandemiiri
02 October 2008
Sources in Masvingo, southeast Zimbabwe, said the Movement for Democratic
Change formation of Morgan Tsvangirai might expel Masvingo Mayor Femias
Chakabuda from the party or force him to resign amid charges he defected to
the former ruling ZANU-PF party as political violence raged in the approach
to June's presidential run-off election.
Chakabuda denied the allegations in an interview with VOA.
The MDC sources said Chakabuda and two other councilors were found guilty of
misconduct by a party commission which completed a probe this week.
The secretary of that panel, Lawson Mapfaira, confirmed to VOA that the
commission was investigating Chakabuda and councilors Daniel Muchuchutu and
Mapfaira added that the panel was scheduled to meet with the three
councilors Thursday evening, but declined to comment further. MDC Masvingo
Provincial Chairman Wilstaff Chitemere also declined to comment on the
matter to VOA.
In an interview, Chakabuda dismissed the allegations as malicious and unfair
to the MDC as well as himself, telling reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he never shifted his political loyalties to
ZANU-PF or attended any of its meetings.
By: Oscar Nkala
Published on 3rd October 2008
Updated 2 hours 39 minutes ago
Falcon Gold Zimbabwe produced a mere 85 kg of gold between January and June
this year, compared with 291 kg during the first half of last year.
Chairperson G Hunter says the severe drop was caused by a crippling mix of
negative factors carried over from the previous year.
"The group continued to operate in an environment characterised by
relentlessly high inflation, serious currency depreciation, increasing input
shortages, incessant power outages and surging skills emigration," Hunter
He states that a power supply deal under which gold-mining companies pay for
power in foreign currency has not saved the group, as outages are still
being experienced, adversely affecting operations.
"While this started off well, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been
unable to meet its commitments with respect to the agreement and power
outages have ensued, further affecting productivion."
Hunter says that apart from power cuts, the much-lowered gold production is
"due to inefficiencies caused by the unavailability of essential stores and
the difficult operating and economic environment".
He says very limited exploration was undertaken in the period under review.
The company operates the Dalny, Venice, Golden Quarry and Camperdown mines,
in Zimbabwe, and Hunter says that it remains focused on the troubled
Southern African country.
However, he warns that the continued operation of the mines will depend on
the timely payment of what the company is owed by the RBZ.
He calls for a regular review of the gold support price, adding that the
gold support price review undertaken in April provided only a temporary
"The flow of our funds from our RBZ foreign currency account has also dried
up as the foreign currency situation worsens in the country. By the end of
June 2008, gold proceeds lodged with the RBZ represented a mere fraction of
what would have been received using a fair international gold price and
exchange rate," Hunter says.
Like many other mining companies, Falcon Gold is pinning its hopes on the
recently signed power sharing agreement, ushering in a new and positive
climate that will bring the economy back on its feet.
Last updated: 10/03/2008 21:43:47
IT IS hardly surprising that more than a fortnight after Zimbabwe's
much-celebrated Rainbow Agreement last month there is still tremendous
resistance to change, exemplified by the failure to agree on the formation
of a new Cabinet.
Change is a difficult thing to deal with. It is hard to accept. We are
creatures of habit and find more comfort in familiar surroundings. Old
timers at the workplace are more likely to say, "ndiwo maitiro atagara
tichiita zvinhu makore ese" (this is how things have always been done),
whenever the new, young manager tries to introduce changes.
Part of it is that people do not know how to deal with change. People prefer
to stick to what they have always known because the consequences are
predictable. Anything new is likely to introduce uncertainty and people do
not like that.
Another part, however, is that people do not wish to lose the privileges,
however small, that they have always enjoyed under the old order. This is
aptly captured in a Machiavelli quotation that I have previously employed in
these pages. Machiavelli said, in his most famous work, The Prince:
"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out,
nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate
a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit
by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit
by the new order . Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking
the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others
only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he runs great danger."
Zimbabwe is at that point where it is faced with possibilities of change;
where there is a chance 'to initiate a new order of things', to use
Machiavelli's words. It is important to recognise that the process of change
in Zimbabwe was always going to be a slow and painful process and is not
going to be a stroll in the park.
We have to understand the critical players in this process and how their
response to change will ultimately affect its success. These critical
players are the people who can be classified into, at least, three
categories in relation to their attitude to change:
First, there are 'change-agents', namely those at the forefront of
initiating and steering change. This category includes the majority of the
poor people who can be referred to as 'change-sceptics' - in that whilst
they badly want change, they have little facility to make it happen and
because they have outsourced it to politicians, they remain highly
Second, there are 'forces of continuity', namely, those in favour of
continuing with the status quo and opposed to change. They have interest in
a new order of things as it provides no guarantees for the privileges earned
under the old order.
Third, is a category of persons that is in between - this group knows that
continuity is unsustainable but it is also doubtful of change and its impact
on their personal positions. There is, inevitably, continuous attrition
between the change agents and the forces of continuity.
The Rainbow Agreement has merely blurred the boundaries between these
categories, especially in making some of the forces of continuity, to become
'reluctant change-agents'. They are not really committed to comprehensive
change but they realise that they have limited options given the poor state
of the country. They prefer a 'mixed grill' approach of the new arrangement,
which entails retention of large parts of the old order and reluctant
acceptance of limited aspects of the new order. This, however, is a
dangerous cocktail that does not inspire confidence and stifles change.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai find themselves in a situation where they are
change-agents, although the former would seem to be a 'reluctant
change-agent'. But even so, both have to confront, in their own ways, what
Machiavelli calls 'enemies in those who profit by the old order'.
On Mugabe's part, the systems of patronage around which governance has been
conducted in the last 28 years depend to a large extent on the maintenance
of the old order. There are, for example, persons who have large and
enormously profitable contracts to supply goods and services to the army,
the police and other key state institutions. There are also persons who get
free seed, fertiliser, machinery, etc under the structures of the old order.
These same people have had unlimited access to cheap foreign currency
through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which they have used to earn
profits of obscene proportions. Indeed, such institutions at the forefront
of the old order, such as the RBZ, which is on dangerous path of becoming
all things to all people, continue against the tide of change to engage in
activities that characterise the malaise at the core of the old order.
There are the people who have thrived and become richer when everyone else
has become poorer. This is what may be called the 'Vulture Class' which is
inextricably wedded to the old order. These persons personify the forces of
continuity that stand in the way of change. Tsvangirai must also contend
with the same forces.
But there is now, in addition to the 'vulture class' of a political type, a
further class of opportunistic business characters, that have adapted to the
abnormal environment and, in the process, found great fortune. This group,
which falls into the third category above, can be called the 'Hyenas',
because like a pack of hyenas, they follow wounded prey and, from time to
time, nibble at the prey's wound, until, after a slow and painful struggle,
it succumbs to the inevitable.
This Hyena class is not entirely anti-change but because it is a beneficiary
of the old order, it is not an ardent supporter of change. They have found
loopholes in the system, which they exploit to their advantage. But whilst
the vultures are no longer bothered to hide their true colours, the hyenas
are very deceptive, often appearing like friends of change but only when it
The truth, however, is that the hyenas can survive in any environment. They
are inconvenienced but comfortable with the old order. Even though they
sense some opportunities in the new order, they are reluctant to declare
their intentions boldly. This is what Machiavelli referred to as those "who
do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience
Until they actually experience the new order, they are more likely to
support the old order. The net effect is that they, too, are standing in the
way of change.
The collective result is that of all the persons, those who are anti-change
or reluctant supporters of change are also the most economically powerful.
They are the men and women who have used the facility of poverty to enrich
themselves and have very little appetite for a new order.
Of the multitudes that support change, unfortunately, most are the poor and
indigent. They have lost much under the old order that they are now so
vulnerable. These are what Franz Fanon referred to as Les Damnés de la Terre
(The Wretched of the Earth). But their support is also lukewarm partly
because of what Machiavelli referred to as the 'fear of their adversaries',
of whom he said had 'the laws in their favour'. The violence wrought on
these communities has, over the years, shown them that they have little
power or protection of the law against the more privileged political elites.
They want change but they remain sceptical. This scepticism can also be a
negative force in the path of change. People need to own change; to be part
of change and to be able to control their own destiny.
Part of the shortcomings of the negotiating process leading to the Rainbow
Agreement is that it was too secretive and, therefore, marginalised the
majority of the people. As such they do not feel they have any ownership or
control over how it should work going forward. They are mere spectators in a
game in which the politicians are the critical players. Politicians must, at
this stage, do everything they can to involve the people in the process of
change. Change is more likely to succeed if participants can feel that they
own the process.
The important point is that all this resistance to change is not unusual nor
is it unexpected. It would be naïve to expect there to be immediate
transformation in the aftermath of the Rainbow Agreement. Many of the
vultures and hyenas are struggling to come to terms with the new reality.
They are re-organising; re-strategising in order to cope with the inevitable
changes. But of course the setbacks do cause worry and provide a fertile
environment for pessimism. But surely, the forces of continuity must, one
day, give way to the forces of change.
Alex Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, The University of Kent. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:33
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is now demanding all key ministries - except
finance - in a move which has left incoming prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai
disturbed by the renewed clashes with his soon-to-be boss.
Mugabe's demands are also jeopardising the prospect of the
power-sharing agreement signed last month with opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) faction leaders. The quarrel over cabinet portfolios
has left the country without a new government almost three weeks after the
deal was signed and three months after Mugabe was controversially sworn in
after his disputed victory in a one-man election race on June 27.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off after defeating Mugabe in March.
Zanu PF also lost the election and control of parliament to the MDC.
Zimbabwe has not had a legitimate cabinet since March when Mugabe dissolved
his old team.
However, prospects of a new cabinet and government are receding as
Mugabe wants to get all key ministries after securing the positions of head
of state and government in the deal. He also managed to get chairman of
cabinet, a position which Tsvangirai initially demanded. Mugabe is also
commander-in-chief of the defence forces and chairman of the influential
National Security Council (currently Joint Operations Command).
Sources said Mugabe on Tuesday told Tsvangirai he was not going to
concede any of the important ministries to him, except probably finance. The
move to let Tsvangirai get finance is said to be strategic in the interests
of economic revival. Tsvangirai has argued that he can't resuscitate the
economy when he is not in charge of vital economic ministries.
The sources said Mugabe is prepared to concede finance although he is
under pressure not to let go from hardliners in Zanu PF and government who
fear that the MDC would use the portfolio to conduct "forensic audits" of
government's appalling financial record and hold to account those found to
have been involved in financial misappropriation and corruption.
The sources said Mugabe also told Tsvangirai that apart from principal
ministries in Mugabe's original wish list that includes defence (as well as
state security which is now only a department in the president's office),
justice and information, Mugabe now wants to grab foreign affairs, local
government and home affairs which were at the heart of the dispute two weeks
Although Tsvangirai's group said all ministries were in dispute,
Mugabe and the smaller MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara say only finance,
local government and foreign affairs are being contested.
Sources said Mugabe indicated to Tsvangirai that he was taking local
government because his party would like to exercise oversight on local
authorities by controlling central government. The MDC controls most
municipalities in the country.
It is also said Mugabe has refused to let go of home affairs, saying
it belonged to former PF Zapu in terms of the 1987 Unity Accord between Zanu
and Zapu. Former PF-Zapu bigwigs, including vice-president Joseph Msika and
Zanu PF chair John Nkomo, recently held a meeting in Bulawayo where it was
said the current agreement undermined the Unity Accord and ex-Zapu leaders
need to fight to keep their original gains. It was resolved that Msika must
engage Mugabe on the issue and this seems to have paid off as home affairs
now appears destined to remain under Zapu control.
The sources said there was a gentlemen's agreement in terms of the
Unity Accord that home affairs would remain under Zapu.
"It was agreed during the unity talks that Zapu will control home
affairs as part of maintaining internal security after the Gukurahundi
debacle," a politburo member said. "Mugabe will not let go of the ministry
to the MDC."
The MDC is said to be disturbed by such arguments since Zapu was never
an issue during negotiations and in terms of the agreement.
Sources said it is also Mugabe's contention that foreign affairs
cannot be given to the MDC because the "president needs to appoint his own
foreign minister". A source said Mugabe would not accept having a foreign
minister from the MDC because that was not in sync with the logic of the
agreement which leaves Mugabe as head of state and government.
"As head of state Mugabe wants to appoint his own foreign minister and
not have one from the MDC who may not articulate policies and issues the way
he wants," the source said.
It said Mugabe might finally yield finance to the MDC although Zanu PF
thinks it has a better candidate in Sylvester Nguni compared to the MDC for
finance minister. Sources said the MDC had rejected this because "in any
case it's not about that but more about who would be able to re-establish
financial relations with the outside world rather who did finance at
college". The MDC thinks Elton Mangoma is a good candidate.
The MDC says this situation has created a deadlock, although Zanu PF
claims there is no deadlock "because initially there were four ministries in
dispute but now there is only one - finance".
The MDC has sounded out Sadc on the stalemate. Sadc on Wednesday
asked South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to request his predecessor
Thabo Mbeki to continue as Zimbabwe's mediator in the allocation of
ministries between rival political parties.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai met on Tuesday but failed to resolve the issue.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the leaders had reached an impasse
and were likely to refer the issue to Sadc-appointed mediator, Mbeki.
Informed sources said that Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomao had
telephoned Motlanthe on Wednesday and indicated to him that regional leaders
had asked Mbeki to continue as the mediator and that Motlanthe should
communicate this to him. Motlanthe yesterday endorsed Mbeki as mediator.
By Dumisani Muleya/Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:31
THE proposed extraordinary general meeting (EGM) by Kingdom Meikles
Africa shareholders led by chairman John Moxon on October 23 to fire CEO
Nigel Chanakira and two other board members could hit a snag as minority
shareholders of the conglomerate are set to launch a massive legal challenge
against attempts to remove the directors.
The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that the small shareholders were
this week seeking legal counsel from lawyer Addington Chinake of Kantor &
Immermann to stop Moxon from calling an EGM to remove Chanakira and
directors Callisto Jokonya and Rugare Chidembo from the board.
Moxon is proposing that the trio be replaced by Marilyn Hugill, his
sister, and South African-based Ashwin Mancha, Jack Mitchell, Fiona Silcock
and Carl Stein, all linked to his family.
The Moxon-linked companies in KMAL include ACM Investments, JRT M
Investments, ASH Investments, FPS Investments and APWM Investments. They
jointly hold 43% of the total issued share capital of KMAL. Econet Wireless
Information to hand shows that the minority shareholders who are
expected to file an urgent High Court chamber application today were also
lobbying the Reserve Bank to intervene because they assert KMAL is a holding
company for a financial institution - being Kingdom Bank - which is governed
by the Banking Act.
They therefore want the High Court to issue a declarator to this
effect. This would mean that no board member of KMAL can be removed without
approval of the central bank, neither can new board members be appointed
without the RBZ's nod.
The minor shareholders also want Moxon to publish a circular to all
shareholders explaining the nature of the conflict in the board. They are
also questioning the appropriateness and impartiality of Muchadeyi Masunda
who has been retained as chairman of the EGM.
KMAL board chairman Moxon is temporarily relinquishing the position
for the EGM to avoid a conflict of interest.
The minor shareholders want the court to stop Masunda from chairing
the EGM because they believe that he has had a long relationship with Moxon
as board member of Meikles before the merger with Kingdom Financial
Holdings, Tanganda and Cotton Printers to form KMAL.
They will also argue that Masunda is an inappropriate chair by virtue
of being mayor of Harare. Masunda is a board member of at least a dozen
companies quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
But it is the quest to remove the directors that has set Moxon and the
minority shareholders on a collision course. The smaller shareholders this
week told the Independent that they had not been furnished with information
on the nature of the conflict between Chanakira and Moxon. They have also
said that they have not been served with the notice for the EGM.
"Other than what we saw in the newspapers, there has been a paucity of
information on what is actually happening in the company in which we are
shareholders," said a CEO of a listed company which holds shares in KMAL.
"We cannot go into the AGM blind and take a decision which could hurt
our businesses. What corporate governance are we talking about here?"
By Vincent Kahiya
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:29
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC yesterday alleged that government was
refusing to renew its leader's passport in a deliberate attempt to bar him
from travelling in the region and beyond to appraise leaders on political
developments in the country.
Tsvangirai, who is prime minister-designate in an all-inclusive
government made up of his party, Zanu PF and the smaller formation of the
MDC led by Professor Arthur Mutambara, is still without a passport three
months after it expired and he applied for a new one.
The Registrar-General (RG)'s office in Harare was reportedly reluctant
to issue Tsvangirai with a new passport or an emergency travel document for
him to visit regional and international leaders to update them on the
impasse between him and President Robert Mugabe on the formation of a new
Sources in the MDC said the RG's office was claiming that it had run
out of materials to produce passports, but senior officials in the same
office said hundreds of Zimbabweans were issued with the travelling
documents after Tsvangirai's application.
George Sibotshiwe, Tsvangirai's spokesperson, yesterday said the
refusal to give the MDC president a passport was a deliberate move by the
state to bar him from travelling.
"There is a deliberate plot in government to prevent Tsvangirai from
accessing regional and international leaders at this very crucial moment for
Zimbabwe," Sibotshiwe said. "It is critical for him to consult with leaders
in the region and internationally and denying him a passport as a Zimbabwean
is an infringement of his human rights."
Sibotshiwe said the delay in issuing the passport was affecting the
party's regional and international diplomatic activities.
"The president has to engage colleagues in the region and
internationally, especially now, to find ways of how he can help to make
Zimbabwe move forward and to appraise them on the progress of the
negotiations," he said.
Tsvangirai applied for a new passport in May after the pages in his
old one had been exhausted.
In Zimbabwe, it normally takes two working days for an emergency
passport to be issued, but Tsvangirai was told on several occasions that
there were no passport materials.
President Mugabe reportedly took an entourage of 54 people to the UN
General Assembly in New York last week.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:27
TWO of the country's leading universities -- the University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) and the National University of Science and Technology
(Nust) -- are expected to re-open next week for the last semester this year
amid reports that lecturers will be on strike and that results of many
students are not yet out.
The opening of the universities has been postponed on several
occasions because of the lecturers' industrial action pressing for better
salaries and working conditions.
While the UZ opens on Monday, there is no water supply at the
institution, and there is a critical shortage of academic and non-academic
Tafadzwa Mugwadi, a political science student, yesterday said: "There
is inadequate staff, both academic and non-academic, at the campus and the
water they promised is not even coming out from the taps."
Students said UZ students lacked critical resources for their studies.
"There is shortage of resources," a student from the veterinary
department said. "Drugs such as anaesthetics for surgeries and antibiotics
are not available. X-ray machines for our practical studies are not
UZ lecturer John Makumbe wondered why authorities wanted the college
to open on Monday.
Makumbe said: "Most lecturers are not coming to work because they do
not have money. There is no water and a lot of toilets are still blocked. It
is impossible to hold lectures in some of the lecture rooms because of the
smell from the toilets. That the boreholes are all rehabilitated and are
working is simply fiction."
"There is total confusion at the UZ; you find students registering
without knowing what their last semester's results were. At the end of the
day it will affect them during the course of the semester."
The UZ acting director of information and public relations, Daniel
Chihombori, yesterday said the harsh economic environment presented serious
challenges to the resource mobilisation process at the college, hence
necessitating the postponement of re-opening of the university on several
He said stakeholders were working flat out to ensure that lectures
start on Monday.
"Most of the (students) results have been published already,"
Chihombori said. "Work on the rehabilitation of boreholes and the
improvement of the water situation on the campus is on-going. The parties to
the problem are working hard to ensure that the institution has adequate and
continuous water supplies."
He said while the UZ has been losing staff, it was continuously hiring
new employees, as well as benefiting from its investment in local and
international staff development programmes.
"We are aware that the university has been facing challenges with
respect to the rehabilitation and/or repair of some teaching equipment
because of lack of spares (not available locally). We, however, are not
aware of the shortage of the specific machines that you mentioned,"
At Nust, the strike by lecturers forced the college authorities to
delay reopening and threatened to disrupt the annual graduation ceremony
Initially, the college was supposed to open on August 25, but the date
was moved to the end of September because of the industrial action, before
it was moved to October 6.
The lecturers are demanding a basic monthly salary of US$4 000 or R31
000 for the least paid academic staff.
Wongai Zhangazha/Henry Mhara
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:25
MDC House of Assembly deputy chief whip Paurina Mpariwa has described
Tsholotsho North legislator Jonathan Moyo in court papers as an
"unprincipled opportunist" who represents everything wrong about present-day
In an opposing affidavit against Moyo's application seeking the
nullification of the election of MDC national chairman Lovemore Moyo as
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mpariwa said the former Information
minister was a "dishonourable member of parliament" who worked against press
freedom and was once involved in a plot to unseat President Robert Mugabe.
Moyo lodged an application in the High Court last month arguing that
MDC MPs had violated the principle of a secret ballot when the party's
national chairman was elected Speaker.
The Tsholotsho North MP accused MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti of
failing to set an example to his fellow lawmakers. He said Biti was the
first to violate the secret election principle after he showed his completed
ballot to MPs from his party.
The MPs in turn, Moyo argued, showed their completed ballots to MDC
vice-president Thokozani Khupe, chief whip Innocent Gonese, Biti, deputy
secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada and party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.
The former minister's application read: "The election of Speaker on
Monday August 25, 2008 was characterised by systematic and scandalous
irregularities never before witnessed in parliament."
But Mpariwa in her opposing affidavit said the challenge against the
election of the Speaker by Moyo was an "unholy project, born of the
machinations of Zanu PF and its friends in the (Arthur) Mutambara group who
are bent on ensuring that the current political status quo existing in this
country continues unabated."
She said Moyo had a long history of treachery which started during the
liberation struggle when he escaped from a training camp.
Mpariwa said: "During the liberation struggle he (Moyo) was the first
successful escaper from Mgagao training camp, Tanzania, only managing to
escape after a second attempt. For a long time he was a known critic of this
regime (Zanu PF) but opportunistically in 2000 he became a minister in the
present regime and was responsible for the total extermination of press
freedom and press rights in Zimbabwe.
"This destroyer of press freedom was later involved in a plot to
unseat the leader and President RG Mugabe, in what was has now come to be
known as the Tsholotsho Scandal in November 2004 (sic)."
Mpariwa claimed that Moyo bounced back into Zanu PF between May and
June 2008 to run the propaganda and information campaign for Mugabe.
She said: "In short, he is a totally unprincipled opportunist
individual who represents everything wrong about present-day Zimbabwe. His
reason for participating in this present application is probably to try and
further ingratiate himself with Zanu PF in the hope that he can be a
She said on the day of voting for the Speaker, it was a requirement to
show the clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma the completed ballot paper.
"It meant implicitly that one would fold the ballot outside the
polling booth after showing it to the first respondent (Zvoma) and then
placing it in the ballot box," Mpariwa said.
She dismissed claims by Moyo that the MDC MPs made a noise as "totally
dishonest and untrue".
"Whilst there was noise in parliament, virtually all members of
parliament made noise including and in particular Jonathan Moyo himself, one
Patrick Zhuwao and Saviour Kasukuwere," she claimed.
She insisted that MPs voted in secret and no one knew how they voted,
adding that Moyo's claims that the MDC legislators showed their completed
ballots to senior party members were fiction.
"Jonathan Moyo, the author of Voting for Democracy, a book that bears
uncanny proximity to Beatriz Mazaloni's Voting for Autocracy, is the new
Geoffrey Archer. I have not seen the video tape being referred to and I
challenge its authenticity and its production thereof," Mpariwa said in her
She said Moyo's allegations were without any evidence or substance.
"This is a completely fictitious construction for a number of reasons,
firstly nobody knows what Hon Biti's vote was. For Jonathan Moyo's
construction to make any sense, he would have to prove that Hon Biti voted
for the second respondent (Lovemore Moyo). This cannot be proved," Mpariwa
"I saw no one displaying any vote to anyone. To make this allegation
against the members of parliament without inviting them to hear their side
of the story is unfair."
Mpariwa said Moyo, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao instead were the ones who had
been boasting in the common room of parliament that they were going to win
the vote as they had "bribed" MDC MPs.
"Members of parliament voted in secret in the polling booth. There is
no one who interceded with the voting process in that polling booth. Each of
these members is an adult and no gun was ever pointed," she said.
Mpariwa said a report in the Hansard was accurate on what transpired
on August 25 and insisted that the suggestion that there was a violation of
the secrecy of the vote was "vacuous".
Mpariwa said that there was nothing unprocedural about the election
that was held and if there was any, members would have protested and refused
She said: "The fact that Emmerson Mnangagwa representing Zanu PF and
Moses Mzila Ndlovu (representing MDC-Mutambara) were gracious in their
defeat, should teach lessons of decorum to the likes of Jonathan Moyo."
Mpariwa said it was at the MDC-Mutambara meeting in Kadoma that Moyo
and Senator David Coltart decided "maliciously" that the election of Speaker
of parliament had to be challenged.
"In fact Jonathan Moyo was bang(ing) tables and declaring that
Lovemore Moyo would never be a Speaker as long as he was alive. Coltart for
instance makes wild and unsubstantiated allegations that the MDC met in the
evening before the vote and force-marched members of parliaments to go and
vote the Speaker. That is totally untrue and without evidence at all,"
The Speaker described Moyo's application as "vindictive, malicious,
opportunistic and totally without foundation".
However, Zvoma in his affidavit said the High Court had jurisdiction
to deal with the case. Moyo is in the process of preparing his answering
affidavit before the court can set a date for the case's hearing.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:22
ZANU PF is facing serious financial problems amid reports that it has
been battling to pay its 500-plus workers since March.
Impeccable sources said the party has since tasked its national
fundraising committee to mobilise $50 billion to meet its recurrent
expenditure, employees' salaries and bankroll its annual conference to be
held in Bindura in December.
The sources said Zanu PF failed to pay its employees from March to
August after it committed funds to the campaign for the March harmonised
elections and the bloody June 27 presidential run-off election.
"The workers were not paid for six months since March," one of the
sources said. "Instead, the party has since June been giving the workers
fuel for resale to sustain themselves and their families."
The sources said directors in Zanu PF were getting 200 litres a month
while the least-paid employees were being allocated 25 litres.
Zanu PF has a credit facility with the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe and it is this arrangement the party is using to source fuel and
allocate it to its employees.
Efforts to get a comment from finance secretary David Karimanzira were
in vain yesterday, but last week he told Zanu PF's official mouthpiece, The
Voice, that the party was in financial difficulties.
Karimanzira, the governor and resident minister of Harare, said Zanu
PF wanted to mobilise $50 billion to meet its day-to-day expenditure, pay
salaries and finance its national conference.
He confirmed that the party was having "challenges" paying its
employees and has over the past "few months" met its recurrent expenditure
"The major challenge still remains on the funding of salaries of the
party workers, other party programmes, especially those initiated by the
commissariat, for example, the ongoing restructuring exercise, 2008 annual
conference in Bindura and the day-to-day administrative expenditure,"
"So it is upon all provinces fundraising committees and the national
fundraising committee to redouble efforts in fundraising activities. The
national fundraising committee is expected to raise $30 billion and the 10
provincial committees $20 billion."
He said as part of mobilising the funds, the Zanu PF finance
department had reviewed upwards the price of membership cards.
The approved new rates for a membership card of a politburo member is
$3 000, central committee member $2 000, national consultative assembly $2
000 and district coordinating committee members $1 000.
Before the presidential run-off, Zanu PF was reportedly facing serious
financial problems and was allegedly bailed out by the Reserve Bank.
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:20
PEOPLE in the southern region of the country are facing starvation as
food shortages have reached critical levels with villagers exchanging their
livestock for maize and other basic foodstuffs.
Reports from Tsholotsho, Binga, Hwange, Gokwe and Gwanda indicate that
there was a food crisis in these areas.
The southern region, made up of the three Matabeleland provinces,
Midlands and Masvingo, are in the drought-prone parts of the country and are
usually the hardest hit by food shortages.
Signs of a looming hunger are evident almost everywhere in Zimbabwe's
countryside where the majority of villagers are dependent on food aid from
An official from the governor's office in Matabeleland North, who
spoke on condition that he was not named, said the food situation was
critical in the province as maize deliveries were very low.
The official said the maize the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) was receiving was not enough to cater for villagers, adding that the
food crisis in the province was a disaster waiting to happen.
"Maize stocks are inadequate and all the GMB depots in the province
have not been receiving maize frequently," the official said. "They (maize
deliveries) have been erratic except for the Bacossi packs that were
supplied to a selected number of villagers long ago."
However, Matabeleland North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu said talk of
food shortages was false.
"The media is imagining all the food shortage stories they are writing
about," Mathuthu said.
"We have maize coming to the GMB on a daily basis and we have records
to prove that there is plenty of food for everyone. All the food shortage
stories are false."
She said the government was importing food and in circumstances where
there were shortages, the deliveries would have been delayed.
In Matobo district of Matabeleland South villagers are exchanging
their livestock for maize and other basic commodities.
Goods that are exchanged for livestock include cooking oil, sugar,
soap and salt.
Zimbabwe's food situation has deteriorated to critical levels with
maize, the staple food for Zimbabweans, being unavailable in shops.
This week, Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai said the country
was facing a "disastrous" food crisis and called for the urgent formation of
a new power-sharing government.
"We need to respond to this crisis with utmost urgency. It is
therefore imperative that a government be formed in the next few days and
begins to implement plans to ensure that our people have food and do not die
of starvation," Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare.
Earlier this year, the United Nations estimated that more than five
million people out of a population of 12 million would require food
assistance in the first quarter of 2009.
The United States-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned
last week that Zimbabwe could run out of cereals by November.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:18
FORMER Finance minister Simba Makoni has moved up a gear in
transforming his Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile movement into a fully-fledged political
party after his national management committee last week adopted the proposed
party's constitution, policies and principles.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that at a joint meeting of the
national co-ordinating and management committees, Makoni said the party, to
be called the National Alliance for Democracy (NAD), would be launched
before year-end. The sources said the NAD constitution spells out that the
party should be rooted in nationalism and Pan-Africanism.
"The ideology and principles of the party are more or less similar to
those of Zanu PF, but make it clear that leadership should be renewable,"
one of the sources said.
"The constitution sets a two five-year term limit for the president
and also espouses the goals and objectives of the party."
Makoni left Zanu PF in February to form the movement claiming that
President Robert Mugabe's endorsement during last December's extraordinary
congress in Harare was unconstitutional. He said Mugabe had manipulated
party structures into closing the door for leadership renewal.
Makoni contested the March 29 presidential election as an independent
candidate against Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and came out a
distant third in the poll.
Denford Magora, the movement's spokesperson, confirmed last week's
meeting, adding that the adopted draft constitution and the proposed
policies and principles have since been taken to the country's 10 provinces
for "further consultation and input" from Mavambo's supporters and members.
He said all provinces, including the three in Matabeleland that
threatened to leave the movement, attended the meeting.
"We are being methodical in our approach because this new party is
owned by the people, just as Makoni himself is owned by the people of
Zimbabwe," Magora said. "We must all play our part in ensuring that Zimbabwe
becomes a truly stable democracy, eliminating all risks that may see us fall
back into a situation where one man can hold the entire nation to ransom." -
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:02
IT is around 3am and 30-year-old Kudzanai Toziva cannot endure anymore
the excruciating pain in his body.
His legs are swollen and he is shivering despite a high body
temperature, his breathing is heavy and he is gasping for air.
His 24-year-old wife Nokhutula looks on helplessly and does not know
what to do except to call close relatives to take Toziva to hospital.
On their way into town they debated on which hospital to take Toziva
to. One relative suggested Parirenyatwa Hospital, but everyone turned down
the proposal arguing that the health institution had serious drug and staff
They later settled for a private hospital.
They drove to Westend Clinic and were confident that Toziva would be
attended to and relieved of his pain.
However, things did not happen as they expected. Instead of Toziva
being admitted they were told that the hospital had no adequate staff to
They carried Toziva back to their car.
With the little cash they had in their pockets they wondered where to
go next as most hospitals were now demanding huge sums of money in cash and
high amounts for a bank transfer or cheque.
The Avenues clinic was their next port of call, but upon arrival
Toziva, who is a medical aid society cardholder, was told that beds were
full and he could not be admitted.
Finally, after moving from one place to the other, Toziva was admitted
at another private hospital in the Avenues area at around 4pm, more than
eight hours since he started feeling the pain.
The hospital said they were ready to assist him, but they needed to
decide first how much he should pay before admitting him.
The millions of Zimbabwe dollars they demanded were outrageous since
the maximum daily withdrawal limit for individuals is pegged at $20 000. The
Toziva family pleaded with the administration to pay in the form of a bank
After consultations they finally agree, but were told that there were
hundreds of thousands of dollars they had to pay in cash.
"I had to ask a friend of mine kuti andipisirewo (do an RTGS of)
US$400 into my account that I could transfer to the hospital's account,"
Toziva's sister said. "I was lucky the hospital agreed because we share the
same bank so it was going to be an internal transfer."
The doctor who examined Toziva said there was excess water in his
body, some of it having found its way into his lungs. The doctor said the
excess fluid had to be removed using a catheter.
It took time for Toziva's family to raise the required money to remove
the excess water and as a result he died on Wednesday. He died a bitter man.
Toziva might have succumbed to complications he experienced, but his
parents still feel that hospitals could have helped him if they had attended
to him earlier.
"People might say one cannot run away from the angel of death, but if
they had attended to my son urgently maybe he would be alive today," said
his mother, with streams of tears running down her cheeks.
The health delivery system in the country, according to a number of
medical practitioners, has "gone to the dogs" as most of the country's major
hospitals are out of drugs, food, functioning equipment and shortage of
Parirenyatwa Hospital, for instance, is reported to have a critical
shortage of medicines.
Most of the time the hospital doesn't have adequate water supplies and
as a result a number of toilets have been closed down.
Posters reading, "no water, use the bucket" can be seen on toilet
doors while some of the toilets are locked to prevent use.
A patient who preferred anonymity expressed disgust at the hospital's
shortage of water saying it was unbelievable that such a big hospital should
be left to operate without a constant water supply.
"Some toilets are said to be out of order. Honestly, how can a big
hospital have toilets not working?" she said.
This week, Heath minister David Parirenyatwa was quoted by the state
media saying drug stocks had improved by between 60% and 70% in the country's
major hospitals. The new stocks include antiretroviral drugs and chronic
ambulatory dialysis kits.
However, the president of the Hospital Doctors Association, Amon
Severeki, said the supply of critical drugs was not even close to enough.
Severeki said: "It is funny because as we speak there are no drugs at
Parirenyatwa Hospital and I am talking about just basic drugs like
antibiotics and vial injections.
"There is a serious shortage. Patients are told to buy the vial
injections at pharmacies, which might be going for $1 million each and
probably one person will need about 50 of them. You can imagine, where will
they get that kind of money?"
A senior medical doctor working at a private hospital who recently
toured Harare Hospital, popularly known as Pagomo, said the standards at the
hospital had deteriorated so badly that the hospital needs to be closed for
The doctor said: "The place is not fit to be called a hospital. The
hospital's tiles have peeled off, some of them are dirty to the extent that
you can't believe that they used to be white. Most of the equipment is not
working and there is no adequate food for patients. That hospital needs to
be closed for renovation. It is in a sorry state."
While women on maternity are given a list of items they have to bring
so that they can be helped to deliver. The list includes 10 pairs of gloves,
a needle, wool or thread, three candles, matches, blanket, sheets, syringe,
surgical blade, BCG injection and umbilical pin.
A lot of people now pin their hopes on the deal that was signed by
President Robert Mugabe and leaders of the two MDC formations -- Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara -- to address the problem of poor health
delivery in the country.
However, people have to wait a little longer as the principals to the
deal are yet to agree on the formation of a cabinet tasked with revamping
the country's social, political and economic state.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:00
A LONG drive along the Harare-Chirundu Road paints a gloomy picture of
the country's state of agricultural preparedness ahead of the summer
With no signs of ploughed land, the once vast evergreen stretches of
prime land in Mashonaland West have been left idle -- which could be a
problem for a country targeting two million hectares for maize production
So troubled is the country's agricultural sector that regional leaders
have called for immediate assistance to the once breadbasket of southern
Officiating at the historic signing of the inclusive government deal
on September 15, former South African president Thabo Mbeki appealed to Sadc
and other African nations to rescue Zimbabwe as a "matter of urgency" to
avoid food shortages.
Despite public pledges by Sadc, experts warn that the 2008/9
agricultural season was destined for doom because of a combination of
reasons, among them a poor transportation infrastructure and shortages of
According to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), the country's
transportation infrastructure and fuel would not cope with the pledged
regional support to re-stock agricultural inputs for the summer season.
Instead, the CFU urged government to prioritise food imports.
"The country has no infrastructure to transport the huge amounts of
inputs required and this could delay the planting exercise which normally
starts in four weeks," a CFU official said. "A lot of effort has to be put
towards food importation in the next six months. There is no chance of
producing much this year.
There is need to put more priority in growing more seed maize this
season. The country's troubled train operator, National Railways of
Zimbabwe, has few coaches to ferry the enormous amounts of pre-season inputs
from neighbouring countries."
Local maize seed companies on the other hand are expecting to produce
18 000 tonnes of seed against an annual national demand of over 50 000
Fertiliser from local manufacturers, sources said, cannot exceed 50
000 tonnes which is enough for 400 000 hectares of maize. Government is
targeting two million hectares for maize production this season. This means
that over 100 000 tonnes have to be imported resulting in the aggregate
locally manufactured inputs and imported inputs only enough for a maximum of
1,2 million hectares.
Agricultural experts, however, are cautious that the importation of
inputs could result in the procurement of sub-standard products.
Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been trying to
address the supply side of inputs through quasi-fiscal undertakings.
Recently the central bank injected US$13 million to improve fertiliser
Shortages in herbicides on the local market could also scuttle
government plans to maximise productivity.
The CFU also lamented the delay by the Reserve Bank in paying the
wheat support price to producers for last year's crop.
"Financing the new agricultural season could be a problem for most
farmers. Wheat producers have not yet received payments from the Reserve
Bank and this will affect our plans to produce more," the CFU said. "The
government has not yet announced the new producer prices for the crop, which
is expected to be harvested in a week or so."
Independent forecasts indicated winter wheat production will drop from
last year's output of 62 000 tonnes owing to a host of problems, among them
electricity shortages to run farming equipment, fuel shortages and payment
delays by the authorities.
Barely 10 years ago wheat farmers produced 270 000 tonnes against a
national requirement of 350 000 tonnes.
Former Grain Marketing Board chief executive officer and MDC secretary
for agriculture, Renson Gasela, said the country was still lagging behind in
preparations for the new season.
He said: "We are not prepared at all. That is why Mbeki made that
important appeal to Sadc to offer assistance as soon as possible. The
centralisation of the distribution of inputs through the GMB or government
programmes like Operation Maguta could negatively affect productivity. GMB
is militarised at the moment.
"This has deprived many small farmers from accessing inputs. What is
required is the decentralisation of distribution and synchronising the
distribution of seed and fertiliser."
Packaging the inputs in "smaller quantities", Gasela said, could also
enable urban growers to easily access inputs at affordable prices and also
minimise reselling of the critical inputs on the parallel market.
Independent statistics indicate that Harare metropolitan residents
produce over 60 tonnes of maize.
Efforts to get comment from Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo were in
vain, but key strategist in the government's Resource Mobilisation and
Utilisation Committee, Misheck Sibanda, last week said the committee had
made "tremendous preparations" for this season.
Experts also warned that a massive exodus of farm labourers to
neighbouring countries like South Africa and Zambia could worsen
productivity on both communal and commercial farms. Commercial agriculture
prior the ill-planned agrarian reform of 2000 was the largest formal sector
employer in the country.
The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
(Gapwuz) last week warned that delays by President Robert Mugabe and the two
MDC formations to appoint a new cabinet could result in a "failed season".
Tapiwa Zivira, Gapwuz information secretary said: "As a union that
represents the interests of the most mariganlised group, the farm workers
and rural communities, we are therefore calling on the three political
parties to quickly resolve whatever differences they have and start working
together for national development.
"Far from delaying economic recovery, the political impasse is
hindering preparations for the coming rainy season and this may mean yet
another failed season."
Before 2000 the commercial sector contributed 75% of grain reserves
delivered by communal farmers, but an emerging trend indicates declining
output by the latter. Statistics show that commercially produced commodities
for last year accounted for 42% of the aggregate produce in 1998.
Government has often blamed natural causes for the poor yields, but it
will have to come up with another excuse if the country experiences a poor
harvest after the meteorological department forecast a favourable rainfall
Meanwhile, the selling season for tobacco closed below the projected
73 million kg that was initially targeted. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
this week said that farmers could meet a target of 70 million kg in the
Experts said there were inadequate seedlings this season. Statistics
by the ZTA indicate that it costs at least US$7 500 to plough a hectare of
Zimbabwe's poor agricultural output has been blamed on the chaotic
land reform the government embarked on in February 2000 after it lost a
A United Nations Development Programme report released last week said
the government must revisit agricultural policies in the "post crisis"
period with a view to completing the controversial land reform.
"The main policy recommendation is therefore to revise the current
land laws to conform to the post-crisis land policy and the agricultural
recovery strategy," the report said.
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 02 October 2008 21:01
THE National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) has ordered
business to revert to September 26 prices or risk being fined or having
their licences revoked.
NIPC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa told businessdigest yesterday that
they had ordered all businesses which had not been given the green light to
hike prizes to abandon the increases.
"A clampdown has started on all shops that are charging prices that
had not been approved by the NIPC," Masimirembwa said.
"Another serious issue that could see many shops being fined or risk
having their licences revoked is having multiple prices," he said.
Masimirembwa said a recent survey by NIPC revealed that most shops
were charging cash prices that were lower than they had approved, while
charging "unjustified" prices for cheque or Real Time Gross Settlement (RTG)
Some shops yesterday were said to be "temporarily closed" following a
tip-off that NIPC officers and police details would be "visiting" their
"Shops are taking advantage of the current cash shortages to charge
cash prices that are below what we would have approved. They will in turn
charge unrealistic prices when one pays by cheque or transfer," Masimirembwa
Masimirembwa said some shops were increasing their prices in response
to the Reserve Bank's maximum daily withdrawal limits and introduction of
higher bank denominations.
Individuals can now withdraw $20 000 up from $1 000, while withdrawals
for companies are up from a mere $1 000 to $10 000. The RBZ also introduced
a new $10 000 and $20 000 which do not have properly crafted security
The cash review by the central bank came against a background of
salary increments for the civil service and increased volumes of foreign
currency trades on the Real Time Gross Settlement system.
However, the new daily limits have been overwhelmed by sharp increases
of prices of basic goods and services that are currently being charged using
a dual pricing system - the cash rate and the point-of-sale rate (commonly
referred to as the swipe rate.) This week's rampant price increases are also
largely speculative following reports of a political deadlock on the
formation of a new inclusive government.
Bankers Association president John Mangudya yesterday told
businessdigest that no amount of daily limits under the prevailing
macro-economic environment would meet daily cash demands unless capacity
utilisation by local manufacturers is resuscitated. Statistics show that
industry is currently operating below 30% of capacity although there is hope
for increased productivity resulting from the licensing of foreign currency
retailers and wholesalers by the central bank.
"The only problem the country's is facing is failure to increase
production," Mangudya said.
"No amount of limit could be sufficient under the prevailing
conditions . . . queues at banks are a result of high inflation. The
propensity to save is diminished under prevailing conditions hence people
often visit banks to withdraw cash."
A bank in central Harare this week used comical means to control a big
crowd desperate to withdraw their cash. They instructed soldiers to mark
everyone on the cheek. Anti-riot police could also be seen keeping watch on
the long winding queues in anticipation of chaos.
Gono speaking at an agricultural show in Masvingo said: "I will not
stop printing money. It is for infrastructural development until sanctions
Meanwhile the public has expressed concern over the security features
on the new $20 000 note amid reports of counterfeits in circulation. A
depositor was this week arrested and later released on suspicion of
possessing fake notes. The bill, unlike other notes in circulation, is made
of poor quality paper and also lacks conventional security features such as
By Paul Nyakazeya/Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 02 October 2008 20:57
THE tobacco-selling season has closed at just over 50 million kg and
year-on-year deliveries to the country's auction floors continue to decline.
Business reporter Bernard Mpofu speaks to Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
president Andrew Ferreira on the future on golden and perennial problems
associated with tobacco farmers.
Mpofu: Initial forecasts predicted tobacco deliveries to be 70 million
kg, but statistics at the close of selling season indicate that the target
will not be met. What went wrong?
Ferreira: Initial forecasts were based on seed sales, where commercial
farmers use 5,5 grammes per hectare while small-scale farmers use 7,5
grammes. The difference is due to the economies of scale. This indicated
that potentially, some 50 000 hectares could be planted. The nature of the
season, difficulty in sourcing inputs (finance and physical) meant that, the
target was never reached.
The excessive rain further compounded this especially in December,
when yield was negatively affected.
Overall potential was again affected by power outages and the
challenge of bringing coal from Hwange colliery-required for curing. The
challenges of real value for tobacco have prompted farmers to hold back
deliveries in the hope that the gap between inter-bank and markets rates
Mpofu: How much tobacco do you expect to be delivered during the mop
Ferreira: I believe as much as 5 million kg could be delivered during
mop up. Tobacco Industry Marketing Board will have more reliable estimates,
as farmers have to submit crop estimates to them.
Mpofu: What is your view on the quality of tobacco that was brought to
the auctions floors during the selling season?
Ferreira: Overall the quality of this year's crop was acceptable to
the trade. The only reservation being the lack of volume.
There is demand for the Zimbabwean crop by cigarette manufacturers,
however this is at a price and as growers, we cannot price ourselves out of
the market by unfair marketing practices.
The playing field for buyers must be levelled and as industry, we have
to get rid of special deals. There are some buyers who are allowed to use
Zimbabwe dollars as payment and hence use the varying exchange rates to
Mpofu: What is your take on the on-going inter-bank exchange rate in
relation to the tobacco pricing system?
Ferreira: My opinion on the exchange rate can be best illustrated by
example: a red mile curing plate made in Zimbabwe is costing $288 000. At
the inter-bank rate this equates to US$2 400 when it should not cost US$65,
which it did in May. A loaf of bread at the current inter-bank rate is US$13
or 4 kilograms of tobacco, when it should be a third of a kilogramme.
Mpofu: Could you please explain the reason why tobacco prices failed
to match those in Malawi for example?
Ferreira: Information at hand suggests that we are receiving above
regional prices. The early price distortions in Malawi were because of
marketshare aspirations, which soon settled and more so, we must realise
that Malawi is dominated by burley tobacco.
Mpofu: What preparations have you made so far for the next season and
what challenges are farmers currently facing?
Ferreira: Preparations for the new season are well behind and farmers
face a number of challenges. The most important being that, very few inputs
are available locally. Those that are available are hugely expensive. Seed
sales are marginally down on last year.
Many farmers are facing a new wave of eviction with violence and theft
at levels rarely seen before.
Farmers are also asking, "Where is the finance for the new season
Labour moral is at the lowest ever. Current viability does not allow
in real terms for any increase in wages or benefits. This is not helped by
the difficulty in sourcing cash.
The country is in a state of "political drift" which inspires no
confidence. This only adds to the vicious inflationary spiral. Hopefully
this is only temporary.
Mpofu: Can you furnish us with the hectarage and forecasts on costs
for the next season? .
Ferreira: All things being equal, we might be able to plant 35 000ha
to 45 000ha, so we have potential of getting up to 70 million kg.
Mpofu: Production continues to decline over the years and you cited a
host of reasons for this trend. What should government do to reverse this
Ferreira: A lot of things need to be done and these include:
A substantial Zimbabwe dollar bonus for US dollar earned,
retrospective to balance the viability differential. One kilogramme of
tobacco at US$3,00 does not even buy a loaf of bread.
The honouring of the 25% foreign currency account retention.
Concessionary funds like the Agricultural Support Productivity
Enhancement Facility or similar packages to be put in place soon in order to
kick-start land preparation. There is a two-week window of opportunity.
The dry land crop must be planted by October 20, especially with the
tremendous increase in aphid population as indicated by the Tobacco Research
Allowing contracting merchants to provide ration packs on the same
criteria as other inputs.
Ensuring that anyone who grew last year is able to grow this year,
with a moratorium on arbitrary evictions.
Providing a bonus and protection for any farmer who produces 10
hectares or more extra seedlings. This can be easily verified.
Mpofu: You have mentioned on numerous occasions that your sector is
reeling from massive labour flights mainly to neighbouring countries. How
best can staff retention be promoted?
Ferreira: Regional producers are paying an average of US$1 per day and
local farmers cannot pay that much.
Unless some of the concerns raised above are met labour problems will
Thursday, 02 October 2008 20:54
THE article in the Herald, September 30, on the RBZ forming a public
transport company leaves a lot to be desired.
I respect and commend the RBZ governor, Dr Gideon Gono, on the
initiatives he is taking to improve not only the public transport system in
Zimbabwe but other sectors of the economy.
However, I question the rationale, planning and strategy used in
developing and implementing the public transport company taking into
consideration that the market is one.
We do not need a second rival from the same owner, being the state in
This company will simply be a duplication of roles. The Zimbabwe
United Passenger Company (Zupco) already serves this purpose.
Public transport has traditionally been defined as any transport
system in which passengers do not travel in their own or private vehicles.
The companies are normally owned and controlled by municipalities or
the central government.
A public transport system usually consists predominantly of rail and
bus services that are subsidised by the government at local level or
national and the mini-bus taxi services, which are unsubsidised.
These three modes do not work in an integrated fashion and usually
compete with one another for commuters. In some cases this competition has
led to price cuts and price wars.
A public transport service needs to provide more than a peak-hour
commuter service, with a limited off-peak service.
It needs to provide an affordable, comfortable, efficient and reliable
service throughout the day. An ideal public transport service should be
comparable to private-vehicle use and not be seen as an inconvenience of
Thus we are clear that the economics behind a public transport system
is it provides commuters with an efficient, reliable, affordable,
comfortable and safe mode of transport at a subsidised price.
It does not mean that public transport companies should operate at a
loss. It means they should operate and be able to sustain the system and
make a profit, which we might want to term a surplus.
We all know that the transport sector either private or public is an
integral sector of any given economy. Indirectly it adds value and provides
a service to people.
As a result, it needs proper developing, planning, strategising and
implementation in order to deliver good service.
Once again the idea is a noble one besides the fact that it's a
duplication of the already existing Zupco.
It has its merits and the competition it will give to Zupco is
healthy. My worry though is the economic sense in how they want to operate
There is no proper public transport planning and strategies for the
long-run of these companies.
Has Gono taken his time to look at why after we inherited Zupco then
known as the United Omnibus Company from the Rhodesian government, Zupco has
failed to provide a reliable service and operate efficiently?
Zupco used to have the largest fleet in the country in the 80's and
early 90's providing a service to both urban and rural areas, but look at it
Is Gono not just creating another Zupco with a different name but
putting the burden on the tax payer who will have to fund the project?
Transport is a very tricky industry. With fuel and oils constituting
33% of running costs, it makes it a delicate business to venture into
especially if that is not your core business and the fact that we import
fuel makes it a risky line not to talk of the spare parts and other related
Operations and productivity of the transport sector make it as
difficult like any other service industry to manage.
Marginal revenue has such an impact on the marginal costs, thus with
every additional revenue your running costs are reduced.
In layman's terms this is with every additional bus you operate,
giving additional revenue, your operating cost is reduced and thus you can
reduce your fares.
This is assuming everything is normal and stable. Numbers in the fleet
play an important part in reducing operating costs, both fixed and variable.
With say 10 buses per city or province and charging 70% of what Zupco is
charging now, the company will do well.
Zupco is currently in trouble because their fares are way too low. The
company cannot break even on that. Zupco claims it has made profits, which
is not true, because they have failed to buy spare parts.
Most of their buses are off the road.This is because of their costing
and replacement value of the fleet, which they failed to take into account
when costing for fares per kilometre.
I am not deliberating on Zupco, but about the rationale of the RBZ
setting up a public transport company as its subsidiary. By setting up this
new company, the RBZ is in fact admitting that Zupco has failed to deliver a
transport service to the public.
Has the RBZ taken time to look at Zupco's mistakes?
They should then use that expertise to help rescusitate Zupco.
There is no need to form another public transport company at this
juncture. Instead, expertise and resources should be channelled into Zupco.
Take note of the following:
*Identify and investigate problems the company had in relation to
strategy, policy, markets, and organisational structure, management style.
*Formulate recommendations and implement lasting actions and
*Ensure successful development of strategies, selection and
*Involve business modernisation.
*Design and manage a service enhancement programme that meets and
exceeds customer satisfaction.
Zupco is capable of providing this service and of even making profits
in the long-run.
The governor should revisit the issue and consider giving Zupco a
capital injection, but only after addressing some of the areas mentioned.
By Collen Ngundu
Thursday, 02 October 2008 20:48
THE scene outside banks does not inspire confidence. Depositors have
this week been pushing and shoving in dense queues outside banking halls in
a bid to withdraw cash.
If there is no queue at a bank it is probably because bank staff have
advised their clients that they were not expecting cash that day from the
For banks such as Barclays, CABS, Beverley and FBC Building Society
their banking halls have been virtually clogged with people since Monday.
"It will probably take three weeks to clear queues at banks following
the latest cash withdrawal limit review, but once prices respond to the
limit, the queues will resurface and will become much longer," a commercial
bank executive said.
"What is urgently needed is to increase production to contain
inflation to reduce demand for cash. Cash reviews are just stopgap measures
in a hyperinflationary environment."
There has been increased demand for cash of late because shops are
refusing both personal and bank cheques and overprice goods when one pays
using the real time gross settlement (RTGS) system or an ATM card.
Economic analysts this week blamed the business community for
contributing to cash shortages as they were demanding hard cash for
transactions that should ordinarily be settled by cheque.
"Business has demonetised cheques as a form of payment. It's the
manifestation of rising inflation which has not been supported by
production," an economist who asked for anonymity said.
"Uncertainty over the cost of the same goods the following day is
forcing most outlets to reject cheques."
The economist said some businesses preferred to be paid through the
RTGS system because their charges were "ridiculously high".
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president John Mangudya said many
banks had long queues probably because of the transitional period that took
place on Monday morning when the Reserve Bank was distributing new notes to
"I am sure that the situation will improve. Whenever there is a
maximum cash review queues become longer," said Mangudya.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono also assured the nation that the
cash situation would improve significantly over the next few days as demand
progressively eases while efforts to tame the challenge have been stepped
"We were never under a misconception neither did we expect that the
backlog in the demand for cash would be cleared in one day, as there is
naturally a physical and logistical limit to what can be achieved in one day
by the cash-dispensing banks," Gono said.
"With the best will in the world, it is just impossible for the banks
to satisfy all their clients in one day. What is certain though is that we
expect the banks to have cleared all queues by mid to end of next week."
The situation on the ground however seems to suggest the opposite and
the public expected Gono to explain how foreign currency dealers had got
bags of the new $20 000 and $10 000 notes by Monday morning before most
banks had received their allocations.
The Reserve Bank has in the past attributed the massive shortages of
cash to the accumulation and hoarding of money by those dubbed "cash
The cash barons comprised, in the main, those engaged in the unlawful
purchase of foreign currencies, either in order to externalise assets, or to
fund imports, and others engaged in cross-border trading operations.
Other cash barons were retailers who found that they could realise
substantial profits by not banking their sales receipts, but instead
accumulating the cash to sell it at a premium to those in desperate need.
Economist Eric Bloch recently said the root cause of cash shortages
was the rampantly spiralling hyperinflation.
"A consumer required over 300 times as much money to buy exactly the
same goods, in exactly the same quantity, as he or she needed to have only
one year earlier," said Bloch.
"Extrapolate that increased currency need by several million
purchasing consumers, and the total cash needed by that buying population
exceeds all currency in circulation."
He added: "Admittedly, some customers pay for their purchases by
cheques, or with credit cards, but the masses of the low-income earners and
those who reside in rural areas cannot access or afford banking facilities.
"Therefore, it must be realistically assumed that at least a half, if
not more, of the total currency that was in circulation was, at any time, in
people's wallets, purses, handbags, pockets, or homes, solely in order to
fund ordinary consumer needs."
He said the most virile part of the Zimbabwean economy is the informal
sector. With unemployment being endemic, the majority of the population has
little or no alternative but to resort to foreign currency deals.
The magnitude of the money held by the general public, for no untoward
reasons, and by informal sector operators, would undoubtedly have
considerably exceeded the sums held by banks, as people have lost confidence
in banks as prices of basic goods and services continue to increase.
Independent economist John Robertson said: "The Reserve Bank is
fighting a losing battle. As long as the inflation remains high, cash
shortages will persist. There is need to address the inflation by increasing
production so that too few goods do not (cost) a lot of money."
Most banks on Monday struggled to meet depositors' demands for cash
withdrawals, while foreign currency dealers had the new notes.
Only FBC Bank, Stanbic Bank, Kingdom Bank and Standard Chartered Bank
had the new notes by Monday morning.
Other banks either started issuing the new notes after lunch or on
Economist and investment analyst Lance Mambondiani said the cash
crisis needed urgent reforms that promote production to ensure goods are
readily available on the formal market.
"All this is a result of high inflation. When the country is indebted
to the extent of 100% of gross domestic product, and 90% of the tax revenues
going towards debt servicing, the current fiscal policy measures will have
to be restructured," Mambondiani said.
He said to achieve that, the country needed to increase domestic
savings, carry out pragmatic tax reforms, turn around state enterprises
towards profitability, boost agricultural productivity, revive industry and
promote austerity measures.
"Pervasive corruption within the civil sector should be an important
focus in arresting state leakages and improving investor confidence," he
He said these measures should provide a framework on which a
substantive economic recovery plan can be constructed to arrest inflation.
"The implementation of the economic recovery plan will not be without
its challenges. Some sectors of the international community have already
raised concern that the architects of the economic implosion are still in
"As a result, neither generosity nor austerity will be delivered as
enthusiastically as might have been a fresh start," said Mambondiani.
MDC deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma this week said the long
queues at banks were an indictment of government policies.
"The repercussions of keeping people's money in banks while inflation
erodes value are far greater than simply increasing the daily limit,"
Mangoma said in a statement.
"The restrictions on daily maximum withdrawals have spawned
corruption, crime and petty theft as people resort to other means of raising
a quick buck to sustain their families."
He said with the critical humanitarian situation in the country people
needed money to feed their families.
"Even the Bacossi programme has dismally failed to address the massive
starvation that has swept across the country. It has failed because people
need more than just cooking oil, beans, soap and mealie meal which are
covered by this programme. They need to pay school fees for their children,"
He suggested that the Reserve Bank regulations to allow selected shops
and wholesalers to sell goods in foreign currency will cause more havoc in
an economy already teetering on the brink of collapse.
"It is unclear where ordinary Zimbabweans will be expected to access
the foreign currency to buy these goods without resorting to the parallel
"It is also unclear how a majority population getting its salary in
local currency will be expected to take advantage of these shops," said
Mangoma said the MDC hoped Zanu PF would move away from its
intransigent position on the distribution of key ministries so that a new
government begins to address the people's basic needs.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 02 October 2008 19:25
WITH an allegedly "unified" government hopefully becoming functional
shortly, Zimbabweans and the world at large have an increasingly great
expectation of major policy changes to bring about an economic recovery,
gravely needed and very long overdue.
In the unity accord signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, a
few weeks ago, the three parties agreed "to give priority to the restoration
of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe", and recognised that the
"unity" government would necessarily have to "lead the process of developing
and implementing an economic recovery strategy and plan".
They emphasised their recognition of the role that would have to be
played by government in achieving an economic transformation by committing
themselves, within the signed agreement, "to working together on a full and
comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, which
will urgently address the issues of production, food security, poverty and
unemployment, and the challenges of high inflation, interest rates and the
Amongst the innumerable issues that must necessarily be addressed, if
economic recovery is to become a reality, is the urgent rehabilitation and
enhancement of much of the Zimbabwean infrastructure as is required for
effective economic activity. That infrastructural rehabilitation and
enhancement need relates especially (but not exclusively) to energy
generation and distribution, air, rail and road transportation, water
management and distribution, and telecommunications. Zimbabwe's resources in
these critical areas of supply of economic (and sociological) essential
needs are dismally debilitated and incapable of servicing current national
needs, let alone the considerably increased requirements of a future growth
The common denominators between the diverse entities responsibilities
for the energy, water, transportation and telecommunications service and
supply in Zimbabwe are that, save for two providers of cellular telephone
services, all such entities are wholly owned by the State. All those
enterprises are parastatals, none of them are meeting the present needs of
Zimbabwe, their infrastructures are aged, operationally grossly inadequate,
subject to horrendously frequent breakdowns, and far behind the
technological advances achieved and used in most other countries.
Many of those common denominators are by-products of others, foremost
of which are that all of the parastatals would, if they were private sector
enterprises, verge upon the criminal, with frequent incurring of debt
without reasonable expectations of servicing debt. That
under-capitalisation, compounded by lack of foreign exchange, hinders
infrastructural upgrades, let alone timeous and effective maintenance,
repair and refurbishment. The parastatals are also afflicted by ongoing
losses of skills (in common with most other economic sectors), and an almost
total inability to replace the lost skills, resulting in a continuously
increasing lack of requisite technological resources.
Yet another of the very major retardants of the operations of the
parastatals is that their managements are not accorded the degree of
decision-making autonomy and independence necessary for effective business
administration, control and development. Instead, pen-pushing civil servants
set upon empire building and preservation unduly intervene and impose
decisions upon managements. This is exacerbated by the extent that
government in general, and some ministers in particular, have over the years
utilised their authority over parastatals to progress governmental political
objectives or self-centred materialisation.
Admittedly, this sad state of affairs has in no manner been unique to
Zimbabwe, but is in common with not only prevailing conditions in various
other countries (and especially those operating as quasi-dictatorships), but
also was the case in the past in numerous first-world, developed economies.
Almost without exception, those countries as have successfully
resolved the ill-effects upon their economies, did so by partial or total
privatisation of those parastatals.
Such privatisations were very successfully effected in France (
inclusive of its automotive industries, rail transformation and
telecommunications), in the US over more than 70 years (inclusive of
immensely successful privatisation of media services, telecommunications,
rail transportation, energy generation, and much else) and, with a few
exceptions, in the United Kingdom, where the most pronounced successes were
in telecommunications, provision of utilities, and certain rail, air and
road transportation services.
For almost 17 years Zimbabwe has talked of privatisation, including
such intended action having been one of the planks of the Economic
Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) of 1991, and the establishment of a
Privatisation Agency in the late 1990s. Regrettably, to a very major extent,
the only action has been talk, rather than action of substance. There have
been a few very notable exceptions, and the successes of those exceptions
should be added motivants to government vigorously to pursue privatization.
The privatisation of Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Reinsurance
Corporation (Zimre), and Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd, as well as government's
partial disinvestment from some of its banking interests (ZB Bank and CBZ
Bank), evidence the merits of privatisation, whilst the failure of most
existing parastatals to service national needs is in sharp contrast to those
privatisation successes. Amongst the many that urgently need privatisation,
wholly or partially (but then at least substantially) are Zesa, Zinwa,
TelOne, NRZ and Air Zimbabwe.
If such privatisation would be on the basis of partial disposal of
equity to international strategic partners, partial disposal by equity
listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, and partial disposal to management
and employees of the enterprises, the entities would access much needed
capital, state-of-the-art technological inputs, new operational equipment
compatible with, and enhancing of, existing equipment resources, and skilled
personnel, whilst markedly improving prospects of retaining the services of
such competent management and staff as may still be in the employ of
Concurrently, government would be relieved of very considerable
direct, and indirect debt, and in some instances would even benefit from
fiscal inflow in exchange for its divestment from the parastatals, thereby
providing greatly needed funding to reduce, to some extent, government's
In addition, in some instances, Zimbabwe would also benefit from some
foreign exchange inflows, which are very greatly needed.
The time is now for government to discard the prolonged dislike of
parastatal privatisation (despite many pretences to the contrary), and
intensively, rapidly and effectively to pursue such privatisation, which is
very long overdue.
Thursday, 02 October 2008 19:17
IF the current power-sharing deal does not collapse due to the
simmering political clashes between the parties to it, President Robert
Mugabe and incoming Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would need to find
common ground and agree to a collective reconstruction agenda.
So far there is no good reason to believe the two have a common
national agenda on anything other than threadbare protestations of unity on
the basis of an otherwise profoundly-flawed agreement that leaves Mugabe
firmly in charge as head of state and government.
Mugabe is also chairman of cabinet and commander-in-chief of the
defence forces. He is further chair of the National Security Council
(currently known as Joint Operations Command) and will be the final
authority on everything which matters in government. The need for him to
consult or sound out Tsvangirai before making appointments is just a silver
lining in a dark cloud.
Tsvangirai, as deputy chairman of cabinet and chair of the Council of
Ministers, is undoubtedly a junior partner to Mugabe. Through irresistible
pressure and deceit he was given a shell of a premier's mantle or a false
impression of power, while Mugabe retained the substance of it by means fair
Tsvangirai will have to manoeuvre in the limited operational space and
if he is buccaneering and dynamic enough he may seize control and be
This may anger a lot of people who appreciate that Mugabe has no
chance of beating Tsvangirai in a free and fair election. But this is the
reality. For the sceptical let's wait until push comes to shove as it
inevitably will. It's just a matter of time.
Some may try to sugar-coat the power-sharing agreement by interpreting
it in a different way or clutch at straws. That's fine, but in the end it is
clear that Mugabe remains in control of the levers of power. This was not
surprising at all considering the gross imbalance in power relations between
Zanu PF and the MDC, but the ultimate disequilibrium is rather too
However, if the deal holds Mugabe and Tsvangirai need to develop a
serious and common reconstruction agenda to rescue the troubled country and
move it forward.
A recent paper by the Centre for International Private Enterprise
(CIPE), a non-profit affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the
four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy, states clearly
what needs to be done in a post-conflict society like Zimbabwe.
In post-conflict societies, reconstruction efforts must focus on
rebuilding and strengthening institutions in addition to providing
humanitarian aid and basic infrastructure. It says:
"The private sector plays a crucial role in advancing reconstruction
and establishing credible institutions in post-conflict societies.
"Institutional and economic reforms must be carried out at the
grassroots level in order to cultivate a sense of responsibility within
local communities and to engage the local private sector and civil society
in meeting specific development needs of post-conflict countries.
"Post-conflict reconstruction is a challenging process for any nation
recovering from protracted violence, and is often looked at with a dose of
criticism and scepticism. It is especially difficult when early hopes for
better livelihoods, economic prosperity, and conflict resolution meet the
realities of political battles, ethnic disputes, misguided policies, social
disorder, and quarrels over key resources.
"Still, post-conflict reconstruction can also be a time for hope. As
reconstruction efforts mount, a unique window of opportunity for reforms
opens up as domestic decision-makers, business leaders, social actors, and
international donors come together in an attempt to create a more positive
future for the citizens of a country emerging from conflict. Seizing this
opportunity to implement real reforms is one of the greatest challenges
facing all actors involved in reconstruction processes.
"Experience suggests one way to approach the complex challenges of
post-conflict reconstruction is to view the process as a balancing act of
providing sufficient humanitarian relief without compromising longer-term
development objectives. These longer-term objectives include developing
institutions -- not government agencies, but political, economic, and social
structures and mechanisms -- that allow free market democracies to take
"The term "reconstruction" as applied to post-conflict countries can
be somewhat misleading. It is often narrowly understood to mean the
restoration of physical infrastructure: rebuilding houses, roads, bridges,
factories, etc. In fact, these projects are often showcased in public
coverage of reconstruction efforts, as they are easy to grasp and
visualise -- one can see a new building where it wasn't before, a government
office with brand new computers on once-empty desks, or a functioning public
utility system that lay in ruins just a year earlier.
"Although this physical element of reconstruction is undoubtedly
important, experience shows it is not sufficient for the sustained,
long-term political and socio-economic development of societies emerging
Equal attention should be paid to the reconstruction - and in many
cases building from scratch - of institutions that underlie functioning
market economies and democracies. Institutions are social, economic, and
political structures that guide human behaviour. These may be laws and
regulations, as well as informal rules of human cooperation, a vibrant civil
society, or independent media.
Post-conflict reconstruction must provide sufficient humanitarian
relief and physical infrastructure without neglecting longer-term
development objectives that can only be achieved through institutional
Thursday, 02 October 2008 19:08
IT was interesting to note President Mugabe's warning in his airport
speech on Monday that: "We should never tolerate interference in the
domestic affairs of our country."
"We will be very strict," he said. "No outsiders will be allowed to
follow parties and politics. Any country which does that declares itself an
enemy of Zimbabwe," he said.
Here is a function of the new cabinet that has already been usurped.
It is up to the new government to decide on who can monitor Zimbabwe's
political process and who can't, not Mugabe. Indeed, it will eventually be
the responsibility of an independent electoral commission.
The whole point of the political accord signed on September 15 was to
remove Mugabe from the day-to-day decision-making process so he doesn't
inflict any further damage on the country.
The people of Zimbabwe have made it clear they want help from the
outside world in reconstruction of the economy, including help from
countries Mugabe calls "enemies".
These are the very same people now being called upon to dig Zimbabwe
out of the hole Zanu PF has dug for us. Certainly the Russians and Chinese
won't be rushing to assist!
The fossilised language of ideological combat continues to occupy the
pages of the state media where columnists are conducting a private war
against the West. That is why there has been no great rush by the outside
world to embrace the new order.
The first item of cabinet business once the new government has been
formed should be to apply a gag to Zanu PF spokesmen so they don't scare off
any more potential rescuers.
Help ease water blues," Zinwa has called upon the public to do. It
wants to see community-based decentralisation of waste water by setting up
small waste water treatment units. This would include schools, housing
cooperatives, and industries, among others.
"Our aim is to advise stakeholders of the considerable water recycling
economic value and then engage them on how to tap the value," waste water
manager, Engineer Simon Muserere, was quoted as saying.
What a cheek! Zinwa doesn't need to advise the public of anything.
It needs to focus on its core business of supplying clean water to the
people of Zimbabwe. Muserere should stop trying to divert our attention with
schemes of this sort. We all recall how this useless outfit was placed in
charge of municipal water systems that worked much better than they do now.
Why were public objections by civil society such as the Bulawayo council
Then there is the torrent of water that has been cascading down East
Road by the Trauma Centre for several months. Why can't Zinwa fix that
Muserere needs to be reminded that under the new political order
wasteful and incompetent parastatals will not be tolerated. That includes
smoke-and-mirror publicity stunts in the Herald.
Muckraker was intrigued by a report in Monday's Herald that deputy
Health minister Edwin Muguti's official vehicle had been used in a spate of
armed robberies. These included raids on gold mines and foreign exchange
dealers. On several occasions, the driver, Rodwell Dube, removed
registration plates and replaced them with fake ones.
In addition to Muguti's Toyota Prado he used a Mazda belonging to the
His activities culminated in a shootout with detectives in the city
centre, we are told.
Detectives said Dube was part of the gang involved in the shootout
with police at Eastgate shops last week. Among the gang is an ex-police
sergeant dismissed from the force for stock theft. He was out on bail
pending appeal against a six-month sentence.
What is missing in this story is any reference to the deputy minister.
Was he not interviewed regarding the activities of his driver and the abuse
of his official vehicle? Was he not aware of the vehicle's frequent absence?
Why didn't the Herald tell us?
Here was public property being abused by a driver whose delinquency
appears to have been overlooked. We don't understand how Muguti missed what
was going on right under his nose?
Ephraim Masawi's Prado was the subject of police investigations this
week and for exactly the same reasons.
Ministers have a responsibility to safeguard public property assigned
to them. How many other officials have allowed vehicles in their care to be
diverted to other uses?
Our hearts went out to the tens of thousands of people who tried to
obtain $20 000 cash from banks this week. There was very simply no money.
Sidewalks along Samora Machel Ave were packed with disappointed customers.
So why didn't the Reserve Bank anticipate this humanitarian disaster
before it happened? Did it not liaise with banks as to the availability of
It is painful to watch Gideon Gono being clever with words in his
public pronouncements and then seeing ordinary Zimbabweans paying the price
of his "cleverness". It is very obviously time for the Reserve Bank governor
to step aside and allow somebody else to do this job.
It was very helpful of the Herald to bring us a picture of President
Mugabe addressing the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. Who could
miss those rows of empty seats?
Perhaps that's because everybody had heard his speech before. The
Security Council, he said, was undemocratic because it was subject to
manipulation by powerful nations. He called for reform.
That is something he has refused so far to give the people of his own
country. And just as the president was speaking, Russia voted with Britain,
France and the US to reinforce sanctions against Iran. That must have caused
some irritation in the Zimbabwe camp!
All in all it wasn't a very fruitful visit for Mugabe. We wonder what
use those other 53 people in his entourage made of their visas, apart of
course from shopping.
We revealed last week that the US embassy said it had issued 54 visas
including for the wife and son. Oh yes, a hairdresser went along too we hear
in case the Iron Mask needed attention.
Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu this week "hailed" the public
media for its "professional coverage" of events during and after the
The public media also "excelled" in its reporting of the president's
speech at the UN General Assembly, he said.
This provided some mirth in newsrooms around the country. Exactly how
can you "excel" in reporting a speech by the president that was foisted on
the media accompanying him? And what is "professional" about denying to
other parties the right of reply to vituperative partisan opinion pieces
carried in the Herald and Sunday Mail?
To date we haven't seen a single article responding to the
antediluvian posturing of Tafataona Mahoso who needs a few lessons in what
makes journalism not simply professional but interesting!
We suspect Ndlovu's daft remarks were designed to attract attention
ahead of the cabinet appointments. Let's see how far they get him.
It's always good when someone in public life admits they've been
wrong...or even slightly wrong.
When Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke
announced, apparently unilaterally, to a stunned local hospitality industry,
that this year's tourism expo - dubbed Sanganai/Hlanganai World Travel and
Tourism Africa Fair - would move to Bulawayo on the grounds that space was
limited at Harare's Rainbow Towers, many if not most of the country's old
tourism hands shook their heads in collective amazement.
Kaseke said the show would be held at the under-utilised Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair grounds, Famona, miles from anywhere resembling a
Harare's space wasn't cramped at all, the experts said, but if that
later proved the case, there was almost limitless exhibition square metres
lying empty 51 weeks annually within walking, if not spitting, distance of
the expo's traditional Rainbow Towers home at Harare showgrounds.
Put all two, three and four-star rooms available spread out across the
sprawling City of Kings and they don't equal the number of beds available at
Rainbow Towers itself.
Harare also has Meikles Hotel, Crowne Plaza Monomatapa, Cresta
Jameson, Oasis, Harare Holiday Inn and countless suburban lodges, guest
houses and b&bs. Most international visitors will fly into and return home
from the capital.
Now Kaseke has told the Herald there is need to put in place a
"mitigation plan" (Plan "B" to you and me!) because of "accommodation
challenges Bulawayo was facing!" (Sound familiar?)
He told the state-controlled paper: "Definitely some people will have
to stay in Harare and Victoria Falls, then fly to Bulawayo, because the
accommodation is not enough.
"All hotels were booked for these celebrations and Sanganai will be 20
times bigger," he said, without revealing what, precisely, was previously 20
e have news for the irascible, short-tempered "KK" (the only man in
the world ever charged with cruelty to crocodiles!). Planes from Vic Falls
arrive in Bulawayo at sunset but there's no room at the inn/hotel/lodge, the
Bulawayo Club, Hotel School, Solusi University or even the lodges in the
Matopos park for anyone who alights there!
Kaseke truly is an amazing chap. Apart from reportedly putting the
elbow on Bulawayo hotel managers to release "freebie" rooms to his cronies
for Sanganai (when they haven't got sufficient beds to sell), he raised
eyebrows by boycotting last year's Zimbabwe Council for Tourism AGM at
Nyanga to squire around a dreadlocked Rasta rapper and booked in Miss
Tourism Zimbabwe and her princesses at the Monomatapa for several
cripplingly expensive months. (They'd probably be still there if the press
hadn't blown the whistle.)
Last Friday, when almost the whole of the Zimbabwe hospitality
industry was en fete for the gala birthday thrash of Cresta Jameson Hotel,
he and 11 praise singers took themselves off to Nyanga to "join the rest of
the world in commemorating World Tourism Day".
Of course they commemorated it by wheedling freebie rooms, food and
drink out of unfortunate Eastern District hoteliers.
Kaseke was thankfully absent at the previous week's Meikles Hotel AZTA
awards spring brunch on the roof garden. When Muckraker's apprentice queried
the non-attendance of the usually glowering functionary, he was left in no
doubt "KK" wasn't invited.
It will be interesting to see which political party gets "tourism" in
the eagerly awaited Cabinet portfolio carve-up.
olice Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri says Zimbabweans should
put aside their differences and work together. All sober-minded people
welcomed the latest developments, he said.
Chihuri said the economic challenges facing the country "were not of
the making of the leadership, but of foreigners who wanted to enjoy the
benefit from the country's resources".
If foreigners want to benefit from the country's resources they will
need to see a stable political situation and sound macro-economic
fundamentals in place. They will also need to know that there is a
professional police force that is non-partisan in the fulfilment of its
duties. That must be an immediate objective of any new government.
The Sadc initiative was spurred in part by pictures circulated at Dar
es Salaam of MDC leaders brutally assaulted at a police station. We are yet
to learn what action has
been taken against those responsible.
As for the economic "challenges" facing the country, there needs to be
complete honesty in facing them. If we persist with the official deceit that
foreigners are responsible for Zimbabwe's self-made mess there will be no
change and no improvement. That needs to be spelt out in large letters for
the regime's apologists.
nd now on a lighter note, we bring you this newsflash. Following the
problems in the sub-prime lending market in the US and the run on Northern
Rock in the UK, uncertainty has now hit Japan.
In the last seven days Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone
belly up and Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.
Yesterday, it was announced that Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will
likely go for a song, while shares in Kamikaze Bank were suspended after
While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cutbacks, Ninja
Bank is reported to have taken a hit, but they remain in the black.
Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report
that there is something fishy going on at Sushi Bank where it is feared that
staff may get a raw deal.
Thursday, 02 October 2008 18:50
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono is reported to have said he is ready
to leave office if anyone wants his job.
He disclosed this at a field day at Chief Fortune Charumbira's Acton
Farm in Masvingo.
"I am even looking for an excuse, I do not need much effort to be
pushed out," he said. "If anyone wants to take my job, let them come
This should have been music to the ears of those Zimbabweans who this
week spent hours in queues waiting for cash at banks after the withdrawal
threshold was raised to $20 000 on Monday. While Gono has invited those who
want his job to come forward because he is ready to leave with the least of
bidding, it does appear that in reality he has become immune to growing
exhortations to quit. He should have been among the throngs outside banks
this week to hear who the public hold responsible for the mess.
No one wants his job because it is tantamount to receiving a poisoned
chalice, which we warned him about when he took office in December 2003. But
depositors, many sleeping in the queues, believe that he is the root cause
of their misery.
Those who have followed his performance as Reserve Bank governor since
his appointment in 2003 have their daggers drawn but appear reluctant to
tackle the formidable foe. Gono is digging in and is not acting like a man
going anywhere soon.
He came into office vowing to clean up the banking sector in which
many banks had forgotten their core business and were risking investors'
money in speculative investments. Despite accusations that Gono used a
sledgehammer to swat a fly, including being vindictive in his handling of
certain financial institutions, at least he managed to restore some
semblance of order.
But the chaos manifesting itself in the cash crunch at Christmas
appears to be returning once again. Gono also came into office promising to
fight inflation, which he declared to be the country's Number 1 enemy. He
famously declared that "failure was not an option" in that war. He was also
sold to the nation as a most able turnaround strategist after the almost
miraculous resurrection of the then Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe where he was
chief executive officer.
At the time of his declaration of war the inflation rate was 621%.
Today at 11,2 million percent people have stopped looking for adjectives to
describe it, except as another world record for Zimbabwe!
Gono has said we are living under extraordinary conditions and it is
therefore not a time for textbook economics when rebutting those who tell
him it is ill-advised to print money to meet excessive government spending
or that he is straying from the core business of the central bank by
engaging in quasi-fiscal activities.
In his speech in Masvingo this week, Gono let us into a bit of the
complex operations of his mind. Sounding like he had just dropped in from
Mars to see for himself what has been rumoured as Zimbabwe's economic
collapse for nearly a decade, Gono remarked: "Zimbabwe's ancestors are
strong. It is surprising to see our economy standing by now."
Then apparently angry that the economy was still "standing", Gono said
he would continue to print money, maybe to spite those who believe his
policies have failed and that he should call it quits.
"I'm not afraid to print money and I will continue doing so until
those who imposed sanctions on us (the West) have lifted them," Gono said.
No doubt even his most ardent supporters must have cringed at this. It
is difficult to see how a Reserve Bank governor who continues to print money
and then thanks the "ancestors" for saving the economy can win the war
against inflation, let alone achieve an economic turnaround.
The least anyone would have expected of Gono was for him to repeat the
Zanu PF rhetoric about sanctions and the need to fund agricultural recovery
under a cash economy.
The Zimbabwean economy is still standing not because but despite
disastrous printing of money. The Zimbabwean economy is still standing not
because of "strong ancestors" but because a strong foundation had been laid
long back to withstand the most brutal buffeting by the storms of President
Mugabe's unplanned and badly executed land reform programme.
It is that foundation of the economy, commercial agriculture, which
needs to be rebuilt before Zimbabwe can reassert its role as the regional
breadbasket. So far Gono's efforts to reduce inflation and achieve an
economic turnaround have failed because he has been tinkering with the
symptoms and forbidden by his "principals" to address the macro-economic
People expect Gono to be telling them that the madness of the past few
years is finally coming to an end. He should be preparing to cede the vast
powers and a myriad other responsibilities the central bank acquired during
the years of madness to a properly constituted government. The least that
this nation expects at the moment is Gono promising us more of the same.
Thursday, 02 October 2008 18:46
PRESIDENT Mugabe has denied a "deadlock" in the sharing of portfolios
under an inclusive government with the two MDC formations.
The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai has objected to what it says are
attempts to treat it as "a junior" partner. There is clearly a problem,
whatever its name.
Part of that problem is Mugabe's uneasiness with democracy which he
feels threatens to destabilise established order. More specifically,
democracy should not threaten those in power. To him, when not properly
guided, people are prone to stray in the name of democracy.
That is what nearly happened on March 29. They needed to be
reoriented, as happened on June 27. Democracy, he thus reasons, doesn't mean
that people should be left alone to do as they please because they are apt
to misinterpret their own interests.
That explains why the inclusive government with the MDC is having such
a prolonged birth. He sees it as a plot to trim his personal authority by
sharing it. It's doubly unfortunate that he must share it with the man for
whom he has abiding contempt, especially because of the MDC's origins and
funding. In that context, for President Mugabe the role of the opposition is
simple -- to oppose, never to rule.
He made his views clear on the day he signed the power-sharing deal on
September 15. Speaking off the cuff, he pointed out that "democracy in
Africa is a difficult proposition". These might be his long-held views, but
they are not helped by arrogant Western donor nations when they openly
declare what they want to see done and whom they want as president. They
give people like Mugabe a credible alibi when they complain about a breach
of the United Nations Charter on national sovereignty.
There is another angle to this animal called democracy which makes
Mugabe particularly uncomfortable. There was South Africa last week with its
model constitution allowing a rowdy mob to run riot and unseat an elected
Mugabe commented that South Africans were free to make their choice.
It was as if he hadn't grasped fully that the man who had just been deposed
had played such a decisive role, not only in defending Mugabe at his own
expense, but also protecting Zimbabwe from a questionable new regime of
sanctions. He may not always agree with Mugabe's policies but Thabo Mbeki
understands better than any leader in the region the centrality of land in
Zimbabwe's crisis. New president Kgalema Motlanthe shares this
It took some sombre reflection away in New York for Mugabe to pour out
his grief over Mbeki's dramatic departure as president of South Africa.
Democracy turned out to be such a heartless monster. "There is a man who has
been in the seat for so many years as the father of the African National
Congress and democracy in one stroke pulls him down," lamented Mugabe.
"Democracy without morality is no democracy for all."
It is not simply the anguished reflection of one who has lost a pal
dealt a cruel blow by mob rule; Mbeki stands as a counterfoil to what nearly
happened to him on March 29. Here was a Mbeki high and mighty and triumphant
in Zimbabwe today; and then ruthlessly brought down the following day back
in South Africa!
Mugabe had praised Mbeki for his mediation in the talks. He said it
was necessary to allow him time to rest before recalling him should there be
a need. It has turned out to be a momentous valediction. They will never
meet again on equal terms. There may not be a replacement for Mbeki who has
the same fortitude to resist pressures to do "something" about Mugabe.
But the terror of what had just occurred to Mbeki went deeper. It
exposed democracy as lacking "morality" if those who exercised it did not
have respect for age, a person's past contribution and the length of a
leader's tenure of office.
Here was the nub.
Mbeki has been in the ANC for 52 years. He served in the presidency
(first as deputy to Nelson Mandela) for just under 15 years and his term of
office would have ended in April next year. Mugabe has been at the helm of
Zanu PF for about 33 years. He has been prime minister and president for a
combined 28 years. This misguided democracy could turn him into history
overnight through the ballot, without people thinking twice that "for so
many years" he was the father of Zanu PF and president of Zimbabwe!
What has happened to Mbeki may turn out, at least in the short-term,
to be a huge blow in the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe, not just because
of his reduced clout as a mediator but by hardening Mugabe's attitude
against those he views as plotting a Mbeki on him. In any case Mbeki's
mediation should have been over with the signing of the power deal.
It is reprehensible immaturity that our political leadership expects
him to appoint a cabinet for Zimbabwe by allocating ministerial portfolios
to the three parties. The quarrel over so-called key ministries of finance,
home affairs, foreign affairs and local government highlights the level of
mistrust which Mbeki can do nothing to remove.
The ministries are key only to the extent that each party believes
they can be used as tools to manipulate rivals and for retributive purposes
outside a legally constituted truth and reconciliation commission. It shows
utter bad faith. Once again our political leaders are failing to give the
nation a vision, and there are many forces crying for precisely this
outcome -- that the power-sharing deal collapses with Mbeki's fall.
By Joram Nyathi