Moses Mudzwiti Published:Sep 10, 2009
ZIMBABWE'S powerful trade union federation has warned the government that
its affiliates might soon embark on massive strikes.
Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, said
yesterday : "Civil servants are demanding better salaries. If their demands
are not addressed soon, they will embark on collective industrial action."
Matombo said the federation had been patient with the new government but
"six months was long enough".
He said teachers were still on strike .
Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government has forced doctors to end their strike
without paying them more, by threatening them with dismissal.
September 11, 2009
Mike Campbell in mango orchard on Mount Carmel Farm
By Our Correspondent
HARARE – Zanu-PF politburo member Nathan Shamuyarira says the continued disturbances at Mount Carmel Farm outside the town of Chegutu are too minor to warrant the amount of publicity they have constantly been receiving in the press.The farm was invaded in April by a group of war veterans who said they had been assigned to do so by Shamuyarira.
One of them, Lovemore Madangonga, otherwise known as Landmine Chimbambaira, the leading figure in the invasion, claimed to be related to Shamuyarira. Chimbambaira is the Shona word for landmine.
The farm belonged to Mike Campbell (74). Before the disturbances, Mount Carmel was one of the largest mango producers in the country.
The farm has witnessed some of the worst disturbances and crimes allegedly committed by Zanu-PF supporters since the resurfacing of commercial farm invasions in February this year.
The crimes have ranged from assaults, abductions and theft to arson of late.
There reports late Thursday that two large explosions were heard on Mount Carmel Farm on Tuesday, less than a week after the Campbells’ homestead was burnt to the ground.
Farm workers who heard the explosions say they saw dust billowing into the air above the trees shrouding the ruined house. They say they observed army personnel in the vicinity.
Earlier in the week, a reporter was told by a group of the invaders on the farm that an arms cache had been discovered and that Campbell would be arrested.
Shamuyarira, now well into his 80s, was said to have last been seen on the farm in 2007, arousing suspicion that Madangonga could have used Shamuyarira’s name to commit the alleged crimes while advancing his own interests. .
But when The Zimbabwe Times telephoned Shamuyarira on Wednesday, the former information and publicity minister accused the media of continuously covering the alleged goings-on on the farm without seeking his comment.
“None of these people (journalists) have contacted me on that score,” Shamuyarira said.
Asked if he was aware of the crimes allegedly being committed on the farm Shamuyarira was evasive. He insisted that issues were being blown out of proportion.
“There is nothing happening on that farm,” Shamuyarira said, “It is lots of hot air from people who want to create news.”
Asked if it was true he had sent Madangonga to invade the farm on his behalf and if he knew him at all, Shamuyarira refused to answer both questions.
He also refused to answer any further questions.
“I have no comment on that,” he said. “Why don’t you look for news elsewhere? I am sorry, I cannot give you the news that you want.”
Mount Carmel is among the farms which have been invaded by Zanu-PF supporters in the name of the land reform programme which started in 2000.
Campbell, his wife Angela (67) and Ben Freeth, his son-in-law, were abducted on June 29, 2008, the day President Robert Mugabe was sworn in as President following the disputed June 27 presidential run-off election.
They were allegedly beaten viciously for hours and later forced at gunpoint to sign a piece of paper stating they would withdraw their case from the SADC Tribunal.
Campbell is the first Zimbabwean commercial farmer to successfully take his case to the SADC Tribunal after the government had passed legislation in 2005 which decentralised land ownership and barred the local courts from hearing any land disputes.
Attempts to take over the farm by the self proclaimed new owner intensified early this year when the war veterans beat up Campbell’s workers before breaking doors to the farm house while demanding that everyone should vacate the farm “in five minutes”.
Freeth watched in horror when his home was gutted last week in a raging inferno suspected to have been started by the invaders.
According to Freeth, his tractors and fire-fighting equipment had all been seized by the invaders, making it virtually impossible to fight the blaze.
The fire also destroyed three workers’ cottages and a linen factory, which employed 60 women on the farm.
The police have allegedly been barred by their superiors from investigating the offences.
The farm is situated outside the farming town of Chegutu, some 100km west of Harare. It produces mangoes, oranges, maize, sunflower and cowpeas. Freeth says Mouth Carmel used to produce 600 tonnes of mangoes, 400 tonnes of oranges, 200 tonnes of maize and some 100 tonnes of sunflower every year.
It also produced beef and milk from more than 600 cattle.
by Andrew Moyo Friday 11 September 2009
HARARE - Two Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) executives forced a
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company to buy them US$31 400 worth of
vehicles at the height of cash shortages last year in exchange for unlimited
access to the local currency, auditors have said.
The report dated June 16, 2009 that was prepared by KPMG for the board
of AICO Africa - a privatised state company formally called COTTCO - said
the company bought two Toyota vehicles for the RBZ officials in exchange for
easy access to banknotes that were in severe short supply last year.
"In July 2008 two motor vehicles (Toyota Hilux models), valued at
US$15 700 each, were acquired for two RBZ officials in exchange for Zim
dollars cash," the report by KPMG said without naming the RBZ officials.
The audit report, which is understood to have been swept under the
carpet by authorities at AICO, says the deal was not sanctioned by the
company's board but had the blessings of the group's chief executive
officer, Happymore Mapara.
"There was no agreement in place in respect of these transactions and
no other documentation could be provided (to auditors). The transactions
were, however, authorised by the group CEO," the report said.
Mapara was yesterday said to be out of the country while efforts to
get a comment from the RBZ failed.
The audit report said various other deals entered into between the RBZ
officials and Mapara last year - the first one valued at US$18.3 million and
the second valued at US$25.5 million, which all benefited AICO at the
expense of the public - were coined up by the RBZ officials.
RBZ workers were among the biggest beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's
decade-long financial crisis as kleptocracy among the central bank's upper
ranks reached alarming levels, with officials taking advantage of the then
rampant money printing to line their pockets.
Several of them have since been hauled before the courts after their
actions were later exposed.
Economists and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) blame RBZ
Governor Gideon Gono who became the country's chief banker in December 2003
for compounding Zimbabwe's economic crisis through quasi-fiscal activities
that saw the central bank pump trillions of dollars into financing President
Robert Mugabe's populist projects and political programmes.
They say printing money was fuelling inflation, which at more than 231
million percent was the highest in the world and long queues for scarce
banknotes became a routine feature at banks.
Hyperinflation and the shortage of banknotes were the most visible
signs of a severe economic crisis blamed on Mugabe's policies and seen in
shortages of food and every essential commodity.
New Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the RBZ has been operating
outside the law and promised to reform its operations to restore credibility
to the central bank. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Friday 11 September 2009
JOHANNESBURG - Police and customs officials at the Beitbridge border between
South Africa and Zimbabwe have been accused of seizing campaign materials
from political parties not linked to the government of national unity after
declaring that Zimbabwe is now "a two party state only".
The claim was made by the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the
Matabeleland Freedom Party (MFP), both of whom assert that they have
repeatedly had their goods confiscated.
Thulani Dhlamini, a member of the ZAPU branch in Johannesburg said that, in
a recent incident, he and other party officials were detained for 18 hours
by Zimbabwe customs officers, police and the Central Intelligence
Organisation after they tried to import 135 T-shirts into the country.
ZAPU is the part of former liberation stalwart Joshua Nkomo who merged it
with ZANU PF in 1987. It has now been resuscitated under the leadership of
Politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa.
"We did the right thing and declared the small parcel of T-shirts and party
leaflets at customs and that's where the problem started," he said.
"The shirts were still in our minibus, but a customs officer at the desk who
had not seen them said they weighed 30 kilogrammes and needed a duty of R3
210. That was more than we paid to print the clothes."
Dhlamini said they decided to leave the package with customs, and were given
a pass to enter Zimbabwe.
"But at the gate, they stopped our vehicle and opened every suitcase and
carry bag. Each of the 14 people in the car had one or two T-shirts for his
personal use and these were seized," he said.
The vehicle and occupants were taken to Beitbridge police station where,
Dhlamini says, "the questioning was intense and we were asked to give
details of our political and private lives, going right back to the schools
we attended 20 or 30 years ago. And every official we dealt with refused to
give us his or her name."
"We are all professional people with jobs, so we had only left Jo'burg after
work on Thursday August 13 and we reached the border by 3am. We were finally
released at 5pm on the Friday, without charge. But they kept all our
materials, including 500 pamphlets."
Dhlamini said that a senior police officer at Beitbridge had threatened them
"He made it clear that only materials for use by the ruling ZANU PF and MDC
parties could enter Zimbabwe and we should apologise to him for our error.
If not he would lock us up for the weekend and we would appear in court on
The ZAPU team gave verbal apologies, their passports which had been
confiscated were returned, and they continued to Bulawayo without further
In Johannesburg, the ZAPU chairman for Sandton, Thami Meah Dungeni, said
that one of his members was recently ordered to remove her top by customs
"There at the gate she was told to take off her ZAPU T-shirt and surrender
it," he said. "Luckily she had another white blouse underneath."
Dungeni said that the matter had grown worse in recent months.
"The number of reports we receive has increased lately and it seems high
time that a full investigation was launched into the state of affairs at all
Zimbabwe borders," he said.
David Magagula from the Matabeleland Freedom Party supported the ZAPU
allegations, saying that his members faced harassment if they tried to enter
Zimbabwe wearing any party symbols. Sometimes, he said, they are warned that
Zimbabwe is now "a two party state".
"If you have a cap, a T-shirt, even a badge, they will stop you and search
your bags," he said. "We have had no reports of beatings or assault, but the
goods are usually taken unless people pay a bribe. It always starts with the
customs officers which surprises us because they report to (finance
minister) Tendai Biti who was a long time in opposition and knows what it is
like to be abused."
Magagula said that in rural Matebeleland, police and members from president
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF often shouted at MFP supporters.
"They will say we are undermining the government of national unity, yet if
we are now a democratic country then surely there must be space for everyone
and their views," he said. "I would personally defend the right of any
Zimbabwean to support Mugabe, Tsvangirai or the leader of their choice. I
thought that is what we have been fighting for."
Magagula said he used to think that the problem stemmed from his party's
calls for greater regional autonomy, both in Matebeleland and other
"Now I am not so sure," he said. "We hear reports from ZAPU and even some
civic groups that, unless you are linked to either the MDC or ZANU, you are
labelled some kind of enemy."
At the insistence of the MDC, a special parliamentary committee of enquiry
has been set up to examine the situation at all of the country's border
posts, and an inspection team is expected to visit Beitbridge this month.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, asked for and was sent a written copy of the
allegations contained in this story and has said he will look into the
matter. - ZimOnline
(CAPE TOWN) - South African President Jacob Zuma said Thursday he would
continue to urge the EU to drop sanctions against Zimbabwe as the bloc's
Swedish presidency Sweden dug in its heels on lifting penalties.
"We are saying both of us understand where SADC comes from and where the EU
comes from. But we are saying precisely because of that we need to engage so
we can try and persuade the EU to lift sanctions," said Zuma.
He was addressing journalists after talks with Swedish Prime Minister
Fredrik Reinfeldt who is on his first state visit to South Africa and the
first head of state to visit the country's new administration.
Reinfeldt has said the European Union will not lift sanctions despite calls
by the Southern African Development Community to do so.
"We are here of course to listen and we know the importance of President
Zuma and SADC to get the global political agreement respected and fully in
Zuma said lifting sanctions would help push forward the process of reaching
stability in Zimbabwe.
"Part of what has to happen is that a way should be opened for that
agreement to work and one of them is the sanctions," Zuma said of the unity
deal between Mugabe and his former rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
"Once you have got sanctions there are things you cannot do in Zimbabwe, but
if the sanctions are not there you give more scope for that agreement to be
implemented. That is the point we are making," said Zuma.
Reinfeldt and Zuma agreed an EU visit to Zimbabwe this weekend was perfect
timing and would allow the delegation to reflect on the situation and see
what is happening on the ground.
"I think it is important for the EU... to get it from the horses mouth... so
the EU could weigh its decision in relation to the decision what to do next
in Zimbabwe," said Zuma.
President Robert Mugabe has blamed the restrictions targeting him and his
allies for his country's woes although Zuma said Zimbabwe's problems existed
before the sanctions.
"I don't think sanctions started the problems in the economy I think it was
the Zimbabweans who undermined their own system. That got the economy in
JULIUS BAUMANN Published: 2009/09/11 06:19:00 AM
ZIMBABWE will not play an official role in the Soccer World Cup after talks
with Match, the Fifa-appointed hospitality agency, collapsed recently.
Match has been tasked by Fifa to secure 55000 rooms for the event. Due to
the limited number of available rooms in SA, Match has had to look elsewhere
to sign up enough rooms, including Mauritius where it has signed up 3200
Match and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority had been in discussions to sign up
800 rooms in and around Victoria Falls with the intention of setting up a
satellite venue, or Matchville, where soccer fans would be based during the
tournament. The fans would then be flown into SA for matches before
returning to Victoria Falls.
However, the parties could not agree on when Match would confirm bookings
and when any unsold rooms would be released back into the market.
"Match said they would release unsold rooms back in the market 60 days
before the tournament. We felt that was too late as most of the fans,
sponsors and teams would have finalised their plans and our rooms would sit
empty. As it is we would have had to turn away our regular customers,"
Shingi Munyeza, chairman of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and CE of hotel
group African Sun, said yesterday.
Munyeza said that with more than 6700 hotel rooms in Zimbabwe, the country
is the second-biggest provider of hotel rooms in the region and it would not
be bullied into unfavourable terms.
Vivienne Bervoets, senior accommodation manager at Match, said the contract
issued to the Zimbabweans was the same one that had been used for all
"For a number of reasons we cannot agree to amendments. Among these would be
the fact that it would put the hotels that originally signed the contracts
to assist in bringing the World Cup to SA at a disadvantage," Bervoets said.
Both sides are unlikely to resume talks. Munyeza said there are many other
opportunities for Zimbabwean hoteliers.
"The biggest opportunities are to accommodate companies which are bringing
groups to the World Cup. However, we will also look at hosting teams taking
part in the tournament as well as fans," Munyeza said.
Bervoets also confirmed that new talks were unlikely.
"The window of opportunity for this initiative is now closed as we are now
in the operational phase."
So far Match has secured 40500 rooms out of the 55000 required. Bervoets
said Match would release unsold stock into the market in two phases on
December 31 and April 10.
"There is no guarantee to the hotels and they are aware of this and neither
should they expect to be 100% full all of the time ," Bervoets said.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 22:18
FORMER Information Minister and independent Tsholotsho North MP
Jonathan Moyo has written to Zanu PF seeking re-admission into the party he
described in 2007 as a "dead duck on the shelf, only breathing from evils of
state security and the abuse of funds".
Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo confirmed last night that Moyo submitted
his letter to secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa three weeks ago
after Vice President Joseph Msika's funeral.
Of late Moyo has been writing long articles in the state media
viciously attacking both formations of the MDC and showering praises on
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
"Yes, he wrote to VaMutasa three weeks ago after Vice President Msika's
funeral," Nkomo said
Nkomo said the matter will then be presented to the politburo, which
will refer it to him as party chairman and head of the disciplinary
Moyo will then be hurled before the disciplinary committee.
However, sources in the politburo told the Zimbabwe Independent that
Moyo, if re-admitted into the party would have to start at cell level.
"What happened in 2000 (fast-tracking of Moyo into the central
committee and politburo) is not going to happen again," a senior Zanu PF
politburo member said. "He will have to start at cell level and rise through
the ranks like everyone else. He is not going to start at the top, that is
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa (pictured) yesterday said he hoped
Moyo's appeal would receive a favourable response from the party.
"If indeed it is true, I would like to say welcome home to him," said
Chinamasa. "He has done so much for the party. I hope that his application
would be favourable. I worked well with him, as you know. He made immense
contribution to our fight against imperialism and neo-colonialism. He ranks
among the patriots in the party."
Moyo fell out of favour of Mugabe when he allegedly masterminded the
infamous Tsholotsho Declaration in November 2004 to re-arrange the Zanu PF
presidium. Mugabe blocked his nomination into the central committee and
dropped him from the politburo.
He was subsequently expelled as a cabinet minister and from Zanu PF in
February 2005 after he stood for parliamentary elections as an independent
candidate, defying a party decision to reserve the Tsholotsho seat for a
female candidate. After his expulsion he turned against the party and
President Robert Mugabe whom he served as a chief propagandist.
Just in December last year in an interview with Reuters, Moyo
denounced Zanu PF calling it a "tribal clique" with no respect for democracy
and has often said the party was full of geriatrics clinging to power.
He played a pivotal role in championing Mugabe's propaganda against
the MDC between 2000 and 2005.
Moyo was responsible for crafting the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, which caused suffering among journalists through
unlawful incarceration and closure of newspapers such as the Daily News and
Moyo's rise to one of the most powerful positions in Zimbabwe was
unprecedented. He came to the fore of the Zimbabwe's politics during the
drafting of the rejected 2000 government draft constitution, as
spokesperson. Once the draft constitution was rejected, Mugabe appointed him
to his cabinet as Minister of Information in the President's Office and he
was appointed to the central committee and then the politburo.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 22:11
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma kept the Zimbabwe issue alive
during this week's heated Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
summit meeting in Kinshasa at which President Robert Mugabe pulled out all
the stops to bury the matter.
Zuma's performance behind the scenes in a club of leaders bound by
regional solidarity ensured Zimbabwe remained a burning issue despite
spirited efforts by Mugabe to consign it to the backburner.
He raised the issue with the new Sadc chair, DRC President Joseph
Kabila as soon as he arrived in Kinshasa on Sunday evening, in his official
speech, during protracted closed sessions and in his press briefing shortly
before departing on Tuesday night, Zuma raised the issue in detail on his
report on Zimbabwe in which he said there was need to clear outstanding
In the process Zuma's push gave Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
whose team was unable to mobilise effective support, a new opportunity to
re-organise his strategy to fight for more power within the unstable
Diplomatic sources close to Zuma's delegation said Pretoria was
convinced the Zimbabwe impasse could be cracked if there was a sustained and
measured push on the outstanding issues. They said Mugabe could be moved on
some remaining issues, although the weak link was that Tsvangirai's hand in
government was not strong enough to help the concerted effort to force his
rival to budge.
Sources said this was Zuma's conclusion when he visited Harare and
held talks with leaders of the coalition government last month. He even
insinuated in the meeting with Tsvangirai and MDC leaders the problem was
that the power relations - upon which the resolution of dispute hinges on -
still favoured Mugabe who relies on the army, police and intelligence
services for backing.
Sources said Mugabe frantically lobbied to block Tsvangirai and the
MDC in Kinshasa by appealing to his allies in the region to ensure Zimbabwe
was not on the Sadc official agenda. They said Mugabe roped in his
traditional allies from Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and
DRC. Kabila, who was helped by Zuma to organise the summit, only dealt with
the Zimbabwe issue in his press conference after the closure of the summit.
Sources said Mugabe also benefited by default from the absence of
leaders from Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius and Seychelles. These countries,
including Malawi, were represented by foreign ministers who had limited
leverage to push a head of state.
South Africa and Botswana - which stood firm in Tsvangirai's support -
wanted the Zimbabwe issue discussed and resolved once and for all. DRC,
Lesotho and Madagascar, which is suspended, are however compromised as they
are also considered trouble spots in the region.
Sources said that was why Mugabe managed to prevent Botswana from
coming into the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security where President
Ian Khama would have given him problems. Sadc leaders demanded that Khama
and Mugabe be excluded from the organ due to their war of attrition.
The Sadc organ is chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza who
is close to Zanu (PF) than the MDC, while Kabila, a Mugabe ally, chairs the
summit. Next year Mugabe's allies, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba
and Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika are taking over critical
positions. Pohamba will be Sadc chair, while Wa Mutharika might be AU chair.
Despite Mugabe's manoeuvres, sources said Zuma pushed the Zimbabwe
issue via other channels. The problem for Zuma, diplomats said, was that
there seems to be an agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai that the
inclusive government was working.
Senior MDC officials are getting increasingly uncomfortable with
Tsvangirai's line. This started mainly during Tsvangirai's visit in June to
Europe and the United States and has been fuelling the MDC's below the
surface succession struggle. When Tsvangirai returned from Europe and the
US, the MDC released a statement which rebuffed everything he had said
during the trip.
The MDC's position paper submitted to Zuma during his visit to Harare
and which was also updated for the Sadc summit paints a picture that there
are far more problems in the inclusive government than Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, who meet every Monday to discuss government issues, have
The MDC's series of issues in dispute include the chairing of cabinet,
Constitutional Amendment (N0. 19) Act, rule of law and selective application
of the law including arrests and detentions of MPs, provincial governors,
appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana, swearing-in of deputy Agriculture minister Roy Bennett and
general issues of political reforms. The issue of Zimbabwe's purported
withdrawal form the Sadc Tribunal, which Zuma confirmed was discussed, has
also become explosive.
Zanu (PF) is largely complaining about sanctions and foreign radio
On his arrival in Kinshasa, Zuma went to a meeting Kabila. "I
discussed with him the agenda of the summit and outstanding issues which
needed to be focused on," Zuma told journalists.
Zuma also mentioned Zimbabwe in his official speech, calling for the
removal of remaining "obstacles". He gave Tsvangirai a hearing when other
Sadc leaders were slippery. Tsvangirai said he was pleased with Zuma's
"speedy familiarisation and energy with which he applied himself to the
Zuma told journalists at the end of the summit at his Guest House that
issues, including the Sadc Tribunal matter, were raised with Mugabe
"frankly" and Sadc leaders "demanded quicker implementation" of the
Dumisani Muleya in Kinshasa
Thursday, 10 September 2009 22:04
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC's national council will tomorrow hold a
crisis meeting in Bulawayo amid pressure to disengage from the inclusive
government. The party wants to coerce Zanu PF to make concessions on the
outstanding issues of the global political agreement (GPA).
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesperson, yesterday confirmed the
council meeting saying it would assess the "status and health" of the unity
government and will "fashion a way forward".
"We are going to look at progress and the lack of it on the
implementation of the GPA," he said. "This week's Sadc summit will be a
He declined to comment on pressure by the majority of the party's
national council members who want tomorrow's meeting to resolve that the
MDC-T disengages from government.
Tsvangirai recently said his party reserved the right to disengage if
outstanding issues were not resolved.
Impeccable sources in the MDC-T told the Zimbabwe Independent that
Tsvangirai would be under "immense" pressure in the meeting to carry out his
threat and coerce Mugabe to, among other things, rescind the rehiring of
central bank governor Gideon Gono and the appointment of Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana and swear in Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister.
National council members, the sources said, were bitter that this week's
Sadc Summit did not deal with the sticking points and wanted the party to
flex its muscles tomorrow.
Council members, the sources said, were blaming Sadc for siding with
President Mugabe and Zanu PF at the expense of the generality of Zimbabweans
and wanted the MDC-T to disengage from the unity government formed last
"We are saying Sadc and Zanu PF's signals are that of discomfort and
disinterest in the GPA," a council member said. "We need to step up our
play. We need to disengage and remind Zanu PF that they need the GPA more
than us. It is Zanu PF that was dirty and needed to be cleansed with the
The council members said as guarantors of the unity deal, Sadc should
have taken a tough stance to force Mugabe to resolve the host of the
"Sadc offered Mugabe blind solidarity by calling for the lifting of
sanctions when they know that they can only be lifted if the GPA is fully
consummated," another national council member said. "There is need for
transformation of Sadc from a trade union of leaders to a union of people.
There is absolutely no need for leadership solidarity."
Thursday, 10 September 2009 21:53
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
deputy Arthur Mutambara -- the principals to the global political
agreement -- will meet "very soon" to give direction and rationalise the
constitution-making process, a cabinet minister said yesterday.
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga told
journalists in Harare that the principals wanted the process to remain on
Matinenga said although he could not disclose the date Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Mutambara would meet, the principals appreciated "the urgency
of the matter".
"The three principals are meeting soon to discuss the process of
efficiency, taking into consideration the disruptions and the inefficiency
that characterised the stakeholders meeting (in July)," Matinenga added.
He said contrary to media reports that the constitution-making process
had ground to a halt, it was on course.
The assurance came amid claims from Zanu PF officials that the process
might not be completed until 2013.
Zanu PF has attributed the delay to lack of funds and a fight over the
process between the parliamentary select committee and the administration of
parliament and Matinenga.
The process, which was initially expected to end within 18 months from
the setting up of a the select committee in April, has been moving at a
Matinenga said the process was "irreversible". He revealed that there
were German donors who have expressed interest in funding the
Asked if the donors would not set conditions on the financial aid,
Matinenga said all the money will be deposited with the Treasury which would
determine how it should be used.
"There is no need to worry," Matinenga said. "All the money from
donors will be put in one common Treasury basket and it will be accounted
for by the Treasury depending on the priorities."
Matinenga also said his ministry has appointed a special committee to
oversee the constitution-making process.
"The constitution-making process is still alive," Matinenga said. "The
ministry has come up with a special committee that should be viewed as a
purpose-made vehicle for the constitution-making process. The committee's
aim will be to monitor the efficiency capacity of the process and to
strengthen the policy role."
Thursday, 10 September 2009 21:23
TENSION is mounting within the deeply divided Zanu PF as different
factions gear up for a fight to control the party's youth and women's
leagues at congresses starting today and next Friday respectively.
The battle is between the factions led by kingpins, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, regarded as a tough man worthy of the nickname "Ngwena"
(Crocodile) within Zanu PF's inner circles and retired army commander
Solomon Mujuru, who is not interested in becoming president but who wants to
be the power behind the throne, controlling its incumbent.
The third camp, supposedly aligned to President Robert Mugabe with
Saviour Kasukuwere and Nicholas Goche pulling the strings, has gone into a
marriage of convenience with Mujuru, to block the ascendancy of Mnangagwa's
group, sources said.
The heated succession battle has moved to the youth wing's conference
that starts in Harare today and the women's league conference scheduled for
next Friday, as Zanu PF prepares for its congress in December.
The jockeying has of late been taking place at all levels of the party
and it was even evident at elections to choose provincial leadership for the
women and youth wings.
Dirty and underhand play is being used to discredit opponents at
whatever cost. One thing is certain: the battle for supremacy will be
fierce. The two main camps mirror the political divide between Mugabe's
Zezuru sub-group, which occupies the Mashonaland Central, East and West
provinces and the most populous Shona group, the Karanga, which mainly
occupies Masvingo and Midlands provinces in the south and who have roped in
Battle lines have been drawn at the youth congress, with Kasukuwere
trying to push his list of people, including his brother Tongai, into top
positions. However, there seems to be fierce resistance among some ordinary
delegates who believe that Tongai intends to rise on his brother's ticket.
A top official in the youth league told the Zimbabwe Independent that
ordinary voters were likely to reject some names being proposed by
Kasukuwere's camp, whose list was leaked to youths during accreditation
"Kasukuwere thinks that since he is in the youth league, he has a lot
of influence. He also thinks that he can use money to get his line-up in,"
the official said. "But unfortunately the ordinary members, who are the
voters, know that "madhara madhara" (the bigwigs) are Ngwena (Mnangagwa) and
his people. It is common knowledge in Zanu PF that Mnangagwa is the man with
the power at the moment. The names being proposed will not be accepted
While, Shurugwi South MP Annastancia Ndhlovu, backed by Kasukuwere and
Goche, is now being challenged by Tionei Dziva and Farai Machaya, also from
Midlands and said to be in Mnangagwa's camp.
According to a line-up circulated yesterday at Zanu PF headquarters,
the deputy secretary position would go to Midlands, finance to Mashonaland
Central, administration to Matabeleland South, security to Mashonaland East,
commissariat to Mashonaland West and external affairs to Manicaland.
Tongai Kasukuwere and a Kanengoni would fight it out for the finance
position, while sons of Deputy Public Service Minister Andrew Langa and
former deputy foreign affairs minister Abedinico Ncube want the
Kadoma Senator Chiratidzo Gava's son Mike is being fielded for the
commissariat, while Manicaland-based musician Joshua Sacco wants external
The youths in Zanu PF's 10 provinces have only nominated Mugabe and
are still to nominate other members of the presidium, with Masvingo having
publicly said that they no longer want Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo at the
helm of the party.
Meanwhile, fireworks are also expected at the women's league congress
with a clash between Mutoko South MP and politburo member Olivia Muchena,
Mutoko North MP Mabel Chinomona and Marondera East MP Tracy Mutinhiri for
the deputy secretary position.
Sources in the league say, although Chinomona was Mutoko district's
choice, she was now being outmanoeuvred by Muchena, who is using her
Muchena is in the Mujuru camp, while Chinomona has the backing of
Although Oppah Muchinguri is not up for election, because her position
of secretary for the Women's League is by appointment, she has reportedly
clashed with Vice President Joice Mujuru, who sees her as a threat to her
Muchinguri has, however, said she was not vying for Mujuru's position
of vice president.
But the tension is so obvious at any Zanu PF gathering and there are
reports of Mujuru trying to put down Muchinguri at every occasion.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 21:12
CABINET will meet to deliberate on Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa's
decision to write to the Sadc Tribunal alleging that Zimbabwe had pulled out
of the regional judicial body, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said this
Tsvangirai told the Zimbabwe Independent that there was no cabinet
resolution or decision to withdraw from the Sadc Tribunal.
Last week, Chinamasa wrote to the court indicating that the government
has decided to pull out of it.
In the letter Chinamasa declared the court "unlawful".
However, Tsvangirai speaking for the first time on the issue, said
Chinamasa's letter was null and void since the minister was not given the
green light by cabinet to write to the Sadc Tribunal.
Tsvangirai said in the absence of a cabinet resolution authorising
Chinamasa to write to the regional body, cabinet would meet and seek an
explanation from Chinamasa.
"The truth of the matter is that this issue was not discussed in
cabinet and Chinamasa had no authority to write to the Sadc Tribunal and in
this government, there is no ministerial policy alone, all policy is
government policy and has to be agreed to by cabinet, so cabinet will meet
to decide on what action to take against Chinamasa," Tsvangirai said.
He said as far as government was concerned, Zimbabwe was still a
member of all Sadc organs unless and until cabinet and the all-inclusive
government decided otherwise.
"We have not seceded from Sadc and all its organs and no discussions
and decisions have been taken for Zimbabwe to leave any Sadc organs. We are
still a full member of all Sadc organs," Tsvangirai said.
In his letter to the Sadc Tribunal, Chinamasa said government would
not be bound by any decisions already made, or any future rulings by the
Chinamasa's letter followed a judgment passed by the regional court
last November in support of Zimbabwe's beleaguered commercial farmers who
had approached the court to seek redress after they were displaced from
"As we are unaware of any other basis upon which the Tribunal can
exercise jurisdiction over Zimbabwe, we hereby advise that, henceforth, we
will not appear before the Tribunal and neither will we respond to any
action or suit instituted or be pending against the Republic of Zimbabwe
before the Tribunal," Chinamasa wrote.
More than 70 farmers took government to the Sadc Tribunal and in a
landmark ruling the regional court backed the farmers, a move that incensed
The Sadc tribunal ruled that Zimbabwe's land reform programme was
illegal, racist and discriminatory.
The tribunal ordered the Zimbabwe government to protect the farmer's
right to their land.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 21:08
SOUTH AFRICA Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says there is no point
in devoting all efforts in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis on President
Mugabe because of his "advanced" age.
Speaking in his country's House of Assembly on Wednesday, Motlanthe
said focus should be on getting the Zimbabwean economy pumping again.
He said: "President Mugabe is of an advanced age. It is not very
helpful to devote all our efforts to dealing with him as an individual."
Analysts say Motlanthe comments could be a reflection that his
country's focus on Zimbabwe could now be on the post-Mugabe period.
Motlanthe defended Sadc's call to remove sanctions against Zimbabwe
saying the regional bloc took "a very responsible approach" towards the
country and its efforts to revive the economy.
He said the calls to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite
were not aimed at protecting the 85-year-old Mugabe, but to ensure that the
troubled country attracts "necessary" investment.
Motlanthe added: "Mugabe is an individual. The lifting of sanctions is
meant to attract necessary investments into Zimbabwe so that economic
recovery can take effect. We know that, once political stability returns,
the region can only benefit from that development."
The South African government had taken its cue on sanctions from the
political parties of Zimbabwe, said Motlanthe.
"The answer, in short, is that continued calls for sanctions would
serve no useful purpose. (They) would not serve the ordinary people of
Zimbabwe," he said.
Mugabe blames sanctions imposed by the European Union and other
Western countries for Zimbabwe's economic ruin.
But Mugabe's critics argue that the sanctions were targetted at Mugabe
and Zanu PF officials.
The sanctions involve an extensive travel ban and a freeze on
foreign-held bank accounts.
Motlanthe said his government told Zimbabwean political parties that
human rights violations would not be tolerated.
"We have spelt out that when (British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown and
(US President) Barack Obama and the EU want progress, these are the issues
the Zimbabwean political leadership ought to address to ensure that
investors come to the party," he said.
Motlanthe added that the Zimbabwean parties should realise that this
was their last chance to "pull themselves out of the morass".
Meanwhile, a top European Union team would be in Zimbabwe this weekend
to work on smoothening relations, the first such visit since 2002.
Swedish International Development Co-operation Minister Gunilla
Carlsson and EU Aid Commissioner Karel De Gucht are expected in Harare today
and would hold meetings tomorrow and Sunday with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, President Mugabe, ministers and representatives of
In a statement, De Gucht said the meetings were meant "to discuss the
way forward towards the normalisation of EU-Zimbabwe relations".
The weekend visit comes three months after the EU and Zimbabwe held
their first official talks since 2002, with the EU promising to fully
restore ties once "sticking points" to the Global Political Agreement are
But analysts doubt Mugabe would iron out outstanding issues with
Tsvangirai and Mutambara, relating to the appointments of central bank boss
Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and provincial governors. Also
unresolved is the refusal by Mugabe to swear in Roy Bennett as deputy
Agriculture minister, and the continued farm disruptions.
The EU also wants an end to politically motivated violence and for the
security services to come under government control.
The bloc is also demanding the restoration of the rule of law,
opening up of media space and more transparency in the financial system and
key reforms to the central bank.
Tsvangirai in June embarked on an international tour looking for
assistance to help Zimbabwe emerge from years of economic crisis
characterised by runaway inflation.
Head of the EU Commission delegation to Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal, last
week told delegates to the Zimbabwe Farmers Union annual congress in
Esigodini, Matabeleland South, that EU would fund the country's economy once
the GPA is fully consummated.
In the meantime, he said, the EU would provide "transitional" funding.
"The EU is increasingly supporting Zimbabweans in tune with Zimbabwe's
priorities (the Sterp) with transitional funding. The EU is to that respect
implementing a vast short term strategy of which the main part goes for
agriculture/ food security," said Marchal.
The short-term strategy was announced in June during Tsvangirai's
three-week tour of Europe on his re-engagement mission.
"Full normalisation is what Zimbabwe needs. For that to be possible we
have to positively conclude EU-Zimbabwe dialogue, then massive EU assistance
can be offered to Zimbabwe," he said.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch yesterday said sanctions against
Zimbabwe should not be lifted until rights violations end in that country.
"The sanctions debate is a red herring since none of them prevent the
country from moving forward," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at HRW,
in a statement. "Power sharing will only work when repressive laws are
repealed and human rights irreversibly improved. Sanctions must not be
lifted until then."
Chris Muronzi/Nqobile Bhebhe
Thursday, 10 September 2009 21:02
PRECIOUS, who routinely misspells her name, is a 15-year-old Form II
student at a secondary school in Matabeleland South Province. Her
communication skills are non-existent. Her response to questions is usually
in two phrases: "Akula" (there is nothing) "angazi" (I don't know).
At Precious' secondary school, 149 students enrolled in forms 1 to 4
share two classrooms and had only two teachers before two interns joined
towards the end of last term. The two classrooms have potholed blackboards
and floors. There are no desks and benches to talk about. For every
subject taught, there is only one worn out textbook per 40 students.
A third of the students at this school travel no less than eight
kilometres every school day to get to school. They are invariably hungry
and tired by the time lessons commence.
At year-end, an average of 14 schoolgirls drop out of school due to
pregnancy. In the majority of cases the boys who are responsible for these
pregnancies will themselves have dropped out of school either at Grade 7 or
after failing to register a single pass at 'O' Level.
The teachers who are attempting a difficult task with limited
resources have no accommodation at the school. They too walk for five
kilometres every day to get to school. Their miserable working conditions
could be ameliorated if they had basic teaching apparatus like manila
sheets, magic pens, chalks, plan books etc.
The role of teachers in any country, particularly a developing one
like Zimbabwe, is crucial. Teachers hold the future of the country in their
hands. The success or failure of a country to produce a competitive and
sustainable human resource base is dependent on the whole education system
of which teachers are a pivotal element. It is self-evident therefore that
teachers need to operate under conditions in which intellectual nourishment
is assured. Teachers should be exposed to information, as they are the
one-stop source for knowledge that our students desperately require. Their
conditions of service should ensure this. Decent remuneration for teachers
should be a priority, fiscus realities allowing.
Precious' school can be found in many parts of Zimbabwe, particularly
in rural areas. This is a national disaster. We have already lost a
generation of Zimbabweans who have lost out on education. The cost to our
country is enormous. How are we ever going to catch up with the rest of the
world that is moving ahead so fast as it produces daily in its classrooms
youngsters who enhance the competitive edge of their countries as they
invent one technological gadget after another?
Some of our kids who live in provinces that border South Africa have
had problems viewing schooling as a source of prestige. Their teachers
cannot attain the material status that has been achieved by "injiva" who
come home from down south driving the latest Navaras. The "mansions" that
these "injiva" have built push teachers further away in the status
rankings. And yet we all know that "successful" as these people might seem
to be, they cannot be our youth's role models.
As South Africa's own economy begins to experience both internal and
external pressures our people cannot hope to find the same kind of relief
that they have received in the past by seeking refuge down South. In one
village alone, near Precious' school, 23 young people have come back from
South Africa after failing to get jobs in the past 12 months. I am raising
all these issues for one reason only: to beg Zimta to help stem the national
disaster in our education system by calling off the strike.
One need not go into the merits or demerits of the teacher's demands -
that is a moot point. Nor should one raise the issue of the country's
economic realities - that too is a moot point. What is the real issue in my
view is that we risk in all this ending up with a backward country where the
Preciouses of Matabeleland South do not have a snowball's chance in hell of
being anything else other than ignorant mothers at a young age. Ignorant
mothers invariably give birth to ignorant children who in turn raise their
own ignorant families.
I plead with Zimta to call off the strike because all of us as
citizens of this country have to take responsibility for its rebirth -
particularly during this interim period when the normalisation of our
country should take precedence over everything else. Industrial action is
the stuff democracies are made of, no one disputes that. However, at this
juncture our motivation should be to give Precious a fighting chance to make
it in this difficult world: education helps in this regard.
I plead with Zimta to go back to the classroom and robustly engage
parents to also take interest in the education of their children. It is
true that some parents are already bearing a heavy load for their children's
education - that is commendable, all of us have to play our part. These are
our precious children after all, this is our country's future and these are
We are all angry in our country. We have been angry for a long time.
Some do not like the current political arrangement in the country, others
like it, some are indifferent. For the sake of our children, we have one
common objective: their education. The negative debate about why Zimta now
calls for a strike when it did not do so in the past is a mere reflection of
the polarised past we come from. That is not a useful discourse. The
reality is that Zimta represents a constituency that feels aggrieved, and it
is an important constituency at that.
Finally, I plead with Zimta to call off the strike because the damage
to the future of our children as well as to our country's recovery
opportunities will be such that this country might not be competitive again
for a long, long time.
Paul Themba Nyathi is MDC director of elections. He writes in his
By Paul T Nyathi
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:20
WITH four days shy of celebrating the first anniversary of the
historic Global Political Agreement (GPA), the inclusive government is
showing little commitment to the constitution-making process.
Analysts say there are deliberate moves from all the political parties
in the unity government to scuttle the constitutional reform process.
The process has stalled with Zanu PF and the MDC formation led by
Morgan Tsvangirai resorting to mudslinging.
Finger pointing has become the order of the day, with Zanu PF and the
MDC-T throwing mud at each other, in the process confusing millions of
Zimbabweans who have been promised a new constitution by the end of 2010.
MDC-T has blamed Zanu PF for deliberately delaying the process by
putting spanners in the works at every stage, while Zanu PF says the delays
are from the MDC-T which controls parliament that administers the process
and the ministry of Finance, which is supposed to provide the funds.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said Zanu PF was
not the only actor in the process.
"The accusations that Zanu PF is the cause of the delay are totally
untrue," said Mutasa. "It is the MDC-T through the parliament administration
that is deliberately causing the problems that are delaying the process but
instead it is accusing Zanu PF, as if it is the major player.
"They are busy accusing Zanu PF instead of saying there is no money.
The Finance minister who is supposed to source the money is (Tendai) Biti
from MDC. If they wanted, they should have made money available through the
Zanu PF is still to submit the names of the seven chairpersons for
some of the thematic committees and 254 names for the thematic
sub-committees and also its nomination from civil society, which according
to co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T MP) is stalling other stages of
Mwonzora said: "I am sure Zanu PF is able to supply us with a list of
patriotic Zanu PF members. We have not received that list. We can't do a
haphazard outreach programme. It would be irresponsible for the thematic
committees to move without captains. It is sensible to supply the names. It
does test the sincerity of the party."
According to its timetable, the select committee has only managed to
organise a stakeholders meeting in July, which was chaotic because of
disruptions from Zanu PF supporters.
The public consultations are supposed to be completed by November,
four months after the stakeholders meeting, and the draft of the
constitution is supposed to be tabled within three months of completion of
the public consultations to a second stakeholders conference. Consultations
had been scheduled to start on August 25.
The whole process, according to the GPA, is supposed to take 18 months
before a referendum is held, paving the way for free and fair elections.
Tsvangirai in his maiden speech to Parliament on March 4 said: "The
signing of the Global Political Agreement on September 15 2008 signified the
soft-landing of the Zimbabwe crisis and the commencement of a process that
is irreversible and will lead to a new constitution and free and fair
President Robert Mugabe has pointed out that the constitution-making
process was one of three priority areas outlined in the Short term Emergency
Recovery Programme, which is supposed to cover the period February -
December 2009. The other two are social protection and stabilisation.
Despite these pronouncements from all the political parties that
constitutional reform is a priority, the situation on the ground tells a
No funds have been set aside by the government for the process. In
fact, the inclusive government is broke. It has no money to finance most of
its activities, let alone the constitution-making process, yet Zanu PF and
the two MDC formations agreed a year ago that the drafting of a new
constitution was high up on their list of priorities.
Mwonzora admitted that no funds were set aside by the government to
fund the process. A total of US$4,2 million is needed for the outreach
programmes and to hire 165 cars for select committee members and 860 teams
across the country.
Government has only disbursed US$350 000, which was used for the
stakeholders conference in July.
"Regarding the commitment of the government, there is no doubt.
However, it is important that there be a specific budget item for the
constitutional project. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It is important
that the select committee be fully resourced both materially and financially
in order for it to carry out its mandate fully," Mwonzora said.
"I don't know how they planned to resource the project - the fact that
it was not a budget item shows gross omission in our view on the part of the
Analysts told the Zimbabwe Independent that not budgeting for the
process showed that there was little commitment to ensuring that it is done
within the 18-month timeframe outlined in the GPA.
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional
Assembly believes that all the parties were to blame and were not committed
to drafting a new constitution within the timeframe agreed upon.
"Zanu PF is openly speaking about no donor funding needed and are
demanding that sanctions be removed first before a new constitution,"
"And Tsvangirai has not made the constitution an outstanding issue. So
I don't see that there is commitment. It is clear from what is happening.
The MDC leadership has not shown any commitment. It's an attempt from both
sides to delay. MDC wants people to think it is Zanu PF to blame, Zanu PF
will play bad boy. They want to use this to prolong the inclusive government
to the five years."
Madhuku pointed out that if the MDC-T was committed, it would have
been pushing for the process to move.
Analysts said recent statements by Tsvangirai when he described the
delay as "self-evident deliberate stalemate on the constitution-making
process" were weak and fell far short of the robust calls before the
formation of the inclusive government.
A prominent lawyer in civic society said the 18-month time frame was
now a "pipe dream" because organisers had already failed to meet their
targeted period for each stage of the process.
He said the fact that there are conflicting statements from the two
co-chairpersons from Zanu PF and MDC-T points to the confusion surrounding
Mwonzora said statements by the war veterans and war collaborators
that sanctions should be removed before government can embark on a
constitution-making process raises serious questions of commitment.
The lawyer said the slow pace in reforming legislation like the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Public Order and Security Act
and the setting up of institutional bodies like the Zimbabwe Media
Commission and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were indicative of the
"Maybe this is all a sign showing that they are jittery about where
they will be when the process is finished. Some people don't even want to
think about losing their seats," the lawyer said. "Blaming Zanu PF for
stalling is not enough. You (MDC-T) should also be showing us that you are
committed. By now MDC-T should be doing outreach programmes in rural areas
explaining the process instead of going around the country doing 10-year
The question, which the lawyer said should be posed to MDC-T, is
whether it is doing anything to prepare its members for the process.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:52
THE inclusive government has crafted a new programme that will replace
the Short Term Economic Recovery Plan (Sterp) and the 100-Day Plan in a bid
to stabilise the country's battered economy.
The new programme dubbed the Government Works Plan has already been
approved by the Council of Ministers and is set to be launched and adopted
at the beginning of next month.
The programme that is expected to run until September 2010 will
concentrate on addressing five fundamental areas and draws its input from
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by the three main political
parties last year.
The five key areas that the all-inclusive government will prioritise
in the coming 12 months are the restoration of international relations,
economic stabilisation, restoration of the rule of law through amending bad
laws, the completion of the constitution-making process and the restoration
of social services.
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, told a stakeholders meeting in
Gwanda on Wednesday afternoon that after the revival of the economy, the
government through the Government Works Plan was now aiming at stabilising
"After reviving the economy, we are now talking about stabilisation
and the Government Works Plan that we are introducing will address issues of
food security, social services, water and sanitation, the issue of freedoms,
the finality of the land issue through conducting an audit and the
restoration of international relations," Tsvangirai said.
He said the main aim of the Government Works Plan was to increase the
country's economic growth.
"The focus of the government as from now is to increase the country's
economic growth and that will happen through achieving broad-based targets
that include addressing the issue of freedoms by amending bad laws and
restoring Zimbabwe back to the family of nations. We need to see food
security and agricultural growth happen," he said.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Gorden Moyo,
speaking on the same issue said under the Government Works Plan, the
government has come up with a structure to monitor ministries.
"The government has come up with a structure to monitor government
ministries and the evaluation structure has to be approved by all government
structures before it is adopted," Moyo said.
There have been concerns that some ministries are not performing at
all while others have done tremendous work since the all-inclusive
government was set up.
There have been calls for a monitoring system to be used to evaluate
the performance of each ministry and Moyo said the structure they are
working on will do that.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai told reporters after the meeting that the
outstanding GPA issues will now be dealt with by the Sadc troika and will
not be referred to any special summit on Zimbabwe.
"The Sadc troika will now be responsible for monitoring the
outstanding GPA issues in Zimbabwe and there will be no summit to discuss
those issues," Tsvangirai said.
The statement by Tsvangirai clears the air on the outstanding issues
after press reports from Kinshasa in the Democratic republic of Congo had
indicated that a special summit to discuss outstanding GPA issues will be
held in Mozambique in the next three weeks.
"The troika has been tasked to deal with the outstanding issues and I
am confident that they will deal with the issues," Tsvangirai said.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:30
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) which has become government's
main source of funding as external support remains elusive surpassed its
revenue collection target for the second quarter after amassing US$209
million to take total collections in the half-year to US$286 million.
Zimra had targeted to raise US$194 million during the second quarter
of the year, but a strong performance in value added tax (VAT), with a 58%
positive variance, and US$61 million contribution from customs duty ensured
the target was surpassed.
"We anticipate that the third and fourth quarters will see the country
economically improving and hence more income for employees will be
realised," Zimra chairman Dr Gibson Mandishona said.
Collections in the second quarter stood way above the US$75 million
collected in the first quarter of the year.
VAT totalled US$87 million against a revenue target of US$55 million
largely as a result of rising capacity utilisation by firms, especially in
May and June.
The revenue collection authority said the fact that VAT on local sales
surpassed that on imports was evidence that the economy was picking up quite
In addition, Zimra said the rise in pay as you earn resulted in an
increase in disposable income and consequently more VAT revenue inflows.
"Although some challenges are still prevailing in the economy, the
remaining half of 2009 promises to be an improvement on the first half,
especially if the inclusive government succeeds in implementing its recovery
programmes," Mandishona said.
Customs duty contributed the second biggest chunk to the total second
quarter revenue despite a US$294 000 negative variance, but was expected to
do much better as activity in the economy gathered momentum.
Individual tax weighed in with the third biggest contribution to
second quarter collections at US$36 million, 28% above expected levels while
company tax and excise duty each contributed three percent.
Both company tax and excise duty failed to match collection targets
falling short of expected levels by 76% and 60% respectively. VAT
constituted the largest chunk to total collections for the half-year to
June, accounting for 40% of the US$286 million collected in the period.
Customs duty maintained second spot in contributions to second quarter
revenue at 32% while the individual tax head came third with a 16%
contribution to revenues collected in the first half of the year.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:23
THE inclusive government has since its inception struggled to get
financial assistance to fund its operations. Despite efforts to drum up
support, funds remain elusive.
Instead, strife has slowly been building up especially in the civil
service as the government fails to pay what the workers are demanding. With
the increasing signs of discomfort, one is tempted to wonder if crippling
strikes are inevitable. Teachers are threatening industrial action while
doctors recently called off a stayaway citing "humanitarian'' reasons.
Despite an improvement in monthly revenue collection to US$90 million
in August, a further 300% increase in revenue is required to meet current
wage demands. The Finance minister appears to have aptly described the fix
they are in when he said "we have no fiscal space" to manoeuvre within.
Indeed the options are limited.
Traditional methods of raising funds have been hamstrung. Taxes, the
backbone of revenue, have not been yielding much. This is because individual
and company incomes remain depressed owing to the slump in economic
activity. Perhaps this was the motivator in adopting the "eat what you
gather" approach. A concept aggressively adopted by the local authorities
and the police to capitalise on income from fines. Even utilities and
academic institutions have become strict on collecting service fees, much to
the chagrin of the masses.
Add to that, the other option of domestic borrowing through the
issuance of bonds and Treasury Bills is equally not feasible. Apart from a
financial system that has become mistrusting over the years, illiquidity
remains a major challenge. The savings and investment rate at less than 5%
of GDP is dismal. Recent figures show that as at June the financial system
was sitting on deposits of US$705 million, 98% of which are demand deposits.
Not only is this a pittance when compared to the Treasury's thirst estimated
to be about US$8,5 billion, the nature of the funds make borrowing
Printing money for "bailout packages" is out of the question, and we
all know why. This leaves the 'beggar's bowl', foreign aid. While we had all
hoped that it would by now flow in avalanches, very little has come into the
government coffers save for the recent IMF Special Drawing Rights allocation
However, while the government struggles it seems not enough is being
done to tap other sources. One such source is capital inflows. This refers
to an increase in the amount of money available from foreign sources for the
purchase of local capital assets such as shares, money market instruments,
buildings, land and machines. It usually flows to countries with strong
financial liberalisation, lower taxes and controls, attractive interest
rates or asset prices and stable currencies.
Notwithstanding its resources, Zimbabwe currently offers arguably the
best returns in the world in terms of interest rates and potential upside in
assets. Sadly, and not surprisingly, we have so far failed to attract these
funds. This is largely because our investment policy and regulations remain
repulsive, inconsistent and hostile to foreign capital inflows.
Even friendly countries within the region like South Africa and
Botswana have remained aloof, preferring instead to negotiate more friendly
concessions before they can provide the long-promised credit lines. Sticky
points in the bilateral investment agreement continue to hold back inflows.
Worse still, it appears that the country has been failing to reach an
agreement with the South Africans since 1992 when the last investment
protection agreement expired.
Indigenisation issues also remain a stumbling block. While empowering
locals to own resources is commendable, perhaps a re-look at the process is
necessary. The economic recovery efforts require policy to focus more on
getting cash injections and not the current scrambling for ownership and
expropriation of private investments. One is forgiven for thinking that the
process is motivated by self-interest.
For instance, recently, mining authorities emphasised on 50:50 joint
venture partnerships with investors interested in mining diamonds. Going by
the last Monetary Policy Statement, foreign investors are only allowed to
buy up to a 40% stake in any local company. Facts on the ground show that
many companies are struggling to recapitalise and that everyone is looking
to borrow from someone to get things going. Most shareholders of listed
companies are not able to follow their rights if approached.
The question is who among us will take up the other 50% or 60%, given
that manufacturing, mining, commercial farming or even power generation and
rehabilitation of roads are all capital intensive ventures whose out lays
stretch into millions, if not billions, of dollars?
A more workable solution would be a waiver of all these restrictions
for some specified years, say, up to 20 years depending on the projects
payback. Providing investors some time to recover their cost, earn some
profit before regularising ownership. An address to land ownership laws is
also urgently needed.
While it is important to protect the country from adverse shocks, we
have too many harsh restrictions and controls on foreign investors. Until
they opened up to international trade China, Japan and at some point Hungary
were all reduced to just observers of global growth. Today many African
countries remain poor despite sitting on some of the richest endowments in
Given that the stock of money available to the private sector in an
economy is directly related to economic activity and subsequently national
income, incentives should be offered to attract capital. With blanket rules
we will miss the goal.
By Ronald K Nyawera
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:21
Murray & Roberts chief Canada Malunga has ideas about where the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) money should go -into construction and
infrastructure development. And naturally his company would get a lion's
share of the allocation.
Although Malunga was humouring the market while presenting the group's
financial results this week, he clearly has an idea of what to do with the
funds unlike officials in government.
Last Friday, Zimbabwe woke up to the good news that the IMF had
finally loosened its purse and released over US$500 million to the
economically troubled nation.
But the bad news as it turns out is government and the central bank
are divided on what to do with the money.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti does not want to touch the money while
central bank chief Gideon Gono could perhaps spend it all in an hour judging
from his comments. While Biti wants to exercise caution in dealing with the
money, Gono has a shopping list ready.
For instance, Gono believes the money could lift capacity in industry,
import machinery, do another round of farm mechanisation, recapitalise
perennial loss-makers like NRZ, fund chemical and fertiliser companies,
engage in mining exploration and a litany of other wishes.
Gono said: "We can use the money to import capital equipment, import
raw materials for industry, for capacitating NRZ, Hwange, the telecoms
sector, and payment of the IMF outstanding debt of US$140 million so that
Zimbabwe is not in arrears. But not for payment of salaries by government.
Sectors we have recommended to benefit from the funds are agriculture and
firms that produce fertilisers and chemicals locally, the manufacturing
sector, mining sector including SME's, tourism, infrastructure, mining
exploration and power generation sector. No consumption spending or
importation of luxuries, groceries etc, that we are saying NO to. But the
ultimate decision lies with the Ministry of Finance, cabinet and
stakeholders. My role is advisory."
He claims Biti is working around the clock to make sure some of the
money goes to the Short Term Economic Recovery Programme (Sterp) and is
engaging stakeholders with a view of aligning priority areas in an
But Gono's wish list is a marked departure from Sterp - an economic
policy document adopted by the government - clearly spelling out a roadmap
and all the knitty-gritties of what needs to be done to get the economy
pumping again. At this rate, analysts say Gono and Biti could sit around
staring at the neatly stacked money in the safe until they agree on what to
do with it while a clear economic recovery document sits gathering dust on
Biti argues: "We would be contracting debt when our balances of
payments and our debt burden is very fragile. We have less than US$2 million
in import reserves. Our arrears account for 150% of gross domestic product.
There is no way we can take that (loan) up in the context of the arrears and
the deficit. It would be very imprudent."
But Gono's adviser Munyaradzi Kereke is itching for the money to be
disbursed. He says Zimbabwe has no choice but to take the money no matter
the alleged repercussions to the country.
"We continue to await directives from government on how to deploy it.
It is really unfortunate that as a country and at very senior levels we are
publicly almost saying we do not want IMF funding because it's an expensive
loan while the reality of the matter is the SDR's already deposited in the
RBZ account are sitting as a costless asset on which we are paying zero
interest," he said.
Kereke says government should "get real" and not expect free funds.
"If this is an unsustainable loan then we are saying Zimbabwe wants
money for free. Please let's be real," said Kereke.
The allocation is a general provision to IMF members that are
participants in the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) department in proportion
to their existing quotas in the Fund, which are based broadly on their
relative size in the global economy.
The SDR is an interest-bearing international reserve asset created by
the IMF in 1969 to supplement other reserve assets.
Zimbabwe needs US$8,4 billion this year to revive industry, restore
health and education facilities.
Mugabe fired former Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa years back for
sticking to what the aged leader described as "textbook economics" while the
people suffered. Mugabe argued that there was nothing wrong with resorting
to the money printing to save the people. Against such a background, where
Mugabe believes that conventional economics can be traded for political
mileage, analysts see the aged leader intervening on the IMF funds debacle
in defiance of Biti's textbook economics to curry favour with the would be
beneficiaries of the funds.
The last tranche of US$104 million did not get to Zimbabwe because the
country has outstanding debts with Bretton Woods institution.
But even with over US$400 million in the bag after the IMF escrowed
the balance, Zimbabwe still doesn't have a plan for the money. Maybe the
money should go to Malunga's Murray & Roberts after all.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:15
THE Employer's Confederation of Zimbabwe will hold its congress next
week, to focus on providing a decent working environment in a recovering
economy and boosting worker's morale.
The congress to be held over three days starting next Wednesday comes
at a time when most employers and workers are at loggerheads over
unfavourable working conditions including low wages.
This is evidenced by the failure by most national employment councils
to reach minimum wage agreements.
Emcoz director John Mufukare told businessdigest this week that the
congress will be held in Victoria Falls to find ways to motivate workers
through decent work.
"Achieving competitiveness on the back of low wages alone is not a
sustainable business strategy as underpaid workers are not motivated,"
"To ignite our economy, we need a fired up workforce. To fire up our
workforce we must practise decent work," he said.
Mafukare said decent work is based on four pillars which are promotion
of ILO labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work,
creation of employment, strengthening of social protection and social
He said that this could only be achieved through increasing formal
employment which has been drastically reduced over the last decade due to
company closures and retrenchments caused by economic decline. The recovery,
Mufukare said, from the financial doldrums will be negated by the low morale
of workers due to unfavourable working conditions.
"The green shoots of economic recovery that are beginning to become
evident in Zimbabwe are in real danger of withering on the back of
industrial relations instability," he said.
The congress, he said, is expected to come up with concrete ways of
implementing the decent work agenda for achieving competitiveness.
He said the outcome of the congress will be shared with organised
labour with a view to having informed collective bargaining and negotiation
for the remaining quarter of the year.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will open the congress and speak on
how the government was addressing political challenges to business
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will have a dialogue with
business on how the government can assist them to become competitive again.
Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa is expected to give her vision on how the
Tripartite Negotiating Forum can ignite productivity and competitiveness.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:09
ZIMBABWE will next week hold its first international mining conference
in Harare to come up with investor-friendly legislation to revive the
under-performing sector and increase foreign participation.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu
said the two-day conference slated for next Wednesday and Thursday will
present significant opportunities to all potential investors.
"There has never been a better time than now for investors to gain
access to good mineral resources in the country," Mpofu said.
Mining accounts for about 4% of the GDP and 16% of total annual
foreign currency receipts.
Mpofu said topical issues to be discussed at the conference include
the country's mining industry investment climate, mineral resources, mining
and indigenisation legislation and strategies for the recovery of the
"The two days will provide a great opportunity for all of us who are
interested in mining to share ideas on the latest developments in the
sector. It also provides a platform for colleagues and stakeholders in the
mining sector to network with a view to accelerate investment in Zimbabwe,"
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will give the opening address, while
President Robert Mugabe will officially open the conference after Tsvangirai's
Over 700 foreign and local delegates are expected to attend.
"Over 200 foreign delegates have registered, we expect the number to
increase to 300 by September 16," Mpofu said.
Several international mining executives, among them Tanzania Chamber
of Mines president Emmanuel Jengo, South Africa's Public Investment Corp
chief executive officer Fidelis Madavo and former chief executive officer of
Harmony Gold Bernard Swanepoel are expected to attend.
Major minerals in the country are gold, platinum, asbestos, chrome,
iron, platinum group of minerals, nickel, copper, and coal.
With the exception of chrome and nickel, production output of all
other minerals declined between 1998 and 2008, as mining houses either
scaled down operations or closed shop altogether as a result of the harsh
The liberalisation measures introduced this year and the 100%
retention of foreign earnings policy, as well as increased dialogue on
investment and shareholding, are restoring confidence in the mining sector.
This has allowed closed mines to reopen and resume operations, particularly
in the gold sector.
"The ongoing reforms in the operating environment and good geology
make Zimbabwe's mining sector an attractive investment destination," Mpofu
Notwithstanding the above concessions, production in the mining sector
will remain subdued as some mining houses such will remain closed for the
better part of the year owing to viability challenges associated with the
global financial crisis.
As a result, mining output is expected to record a decline of 11,2% in
Thursday, 10 September 2009 20:15
IT is disheartening to see that the much-needed constitution-making
process has stalled, with political parties bickering on issues that can be
described as self-serving and not in the interests of the majority suffering
Lack of progress in coming up with a people-driven constitution is a
serious violation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The agreement has a clear road map and timelines for the
constitution-making process that must be adhered to. What our political
leadership seem to forget is that we are trying to come up with a sound and
democratic constitution for the future of our children and generations to
come. If we all accept that this is the ultimate objective, then narrow and
partisan interests should not be allowed to cloud the process of writing a
new constitution for Zimbabwe.
The GPA, signed by the three political formations in September 2008,
says that a select committee of parliament - comprised of representatives of
the parties - shall be set up to drive constitution-making. This is very
clear and no other interpretation must be sought. The constitutional select
committee is a sub-committee of parliament and reports to the Standing Rules
and Orders Committee, the supreme decision-making organ of parliament.
Talk about referring differences over constitution-making to the
principals is a sure sign of parliament abdicating on its responsibility.
Parliament should simply assert itself and deliver on what it has been
mandated to do. Decisions made by the select committee are binding even if
some of the members decide not to attend meetings. Personal views by
individual members must be treated as such and not be allowed to derail the
process. Any differences must be resolved during meetings of the select
committee and the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.
Among its terms of reference, the select committee shall:
Set up such subcommittees chaired by an MP and composed of members of
parliament and representatives of civil society as may be necessary to
assist the select committee in performing its mandate herein;
Hold such public hearings and such consultations as it may deem
necessary in the process of public consultation over the making of a new
constitution for Zimbabwe and
Convene an all-stakeholders conference to consult stakeholders on
their representation in the sub-committees referred to above and such
related matters as may assist the committee in its work.
According to the time frames spelt out in the GPA, the public
consultation process shall be completed no later than four months of the
date of the all-stakeholders conference. We all know that the chaotic
all-stakeholders conference was held on July 13 and 14. Almost two months
down the line, the setting up of 17 sub-committees is yet to be finalised.
Why there has been such a delay boggles the mind especially after the select
committee agreed on a formula for setting up the committees. I am told that
in addition to the sub-committees, there will be 70 outreach teams, each
comprised of 12 members tasked with gathering public views and submitting
the data to the sub-committees. These teams have to be set up and members
trained in the methodologies of data collection and analysis. This training
will not be an overnight event. Without sufficiently trained outreach teams,
we should forget about a meaningful public outreach programme and ultimately
a people-driven constitution-making process. These delays mean the select
committee has only two months left to carry out public outreach and comply
with GPA time frames. I am saying two months assuming that the setting up of
sub-committees and outreach teams is finalised now. Indications however are
that the process of setting up these important structures is way off from
I would also want to highlight that the process of selecting civic
society representatives to sit on the various sub-committees must fully
involve the civic society groups themselves. It does not appear to be the
case at the moment. The GPA says an all-stakeholders conference shall be
convened "to consult stakeholders on their representation in the
sub-committees... and such related matters as may assist the committee in
its work". The all-stakeholders conference in July dismally failed to do
this. What is needed now is for civic groups supporting the
parliamentary-driven process to organise themselves and come up with names
for each sub-committee. The select committee has no authority whatsoever to
reject the list from civic society. The ratio of 70% civic society and 30%
MPs for each sub-committee must be adhered to.
The other issue of major concern are the conflicting statements
emanating from the constitutional select committee itself regarding the
process of writing a new constitution. Co-chairpersons are issuing different
statements at different times, leaving people confused. Why the select
committee cannot agree on a common statement to be issued to the nation is
mind-boggling. The correct practice is for the select committee to agree on
the statement and have a spokesperson communicate the correct message to the
nation. A couple of months back there was an advertisement in the press for
a professional media and information firm to handle communication business
for the select committee. Sadly, it would appear the matter is no longer
being pursued. Engagement of a professional outfit to handle communication
and publicity would have made a huge difference to the process. Surely, we
cannot continue with this unprofessional and haphazard handling of the
crucial communication and publicity function.
One of the major reasons being cited for the slow progress is limited
financial resources. My view is that Finance minister Tendai Biti must
prioritise constitution-making in his budgetary allocations. This is such a
critical issue whose bulk funding must come from Treasury. Donor funding
should only complement the resources made available by Treasury. The
constitutional select committee must seriously engage Biti on the matter
without further delay. I am surprised why parliament recently approved the
supplementary budget without making sure that there were adequate resources
allocated for constitution-making.
There have also been statements to the effect that constitution-making
should only happen when sanctions have been removed. Call them sanctions,
restrictive measures or whatever name, Article IV of the GPA is very clear
on this issue. It says that "all forms of measures and sanctions against
Zimbabwe be lifted in order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the
challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe"; and that the parties "commit
themselves to working together in re-engaging the international community
with a view to bringing to an end the country's international isolation".
Implementation of the GPA is therefore a collective effort and that no
provisions take precedence over others. All must be implemented concurrently
and it is the duty of all political formations to implement the GPA in
letter and spirit.
Zimbabweans have suffered a lot over the years. The GPA brought hope
for the suffering to end. A new constitution is a key element of the GPA
that is required to contribute to the creation of a conducive environment
for free and fair elections and the emergence of a democratically elected
government with a clear mandate to govern. The current arrangement is
temporary and cannot be a long-term solution to the political crisis. So
those who have been given the responsibility to lead the process of writing
a new constitution must not let the nation down.
In line with the principle of separation of powers, parliament must
forge ahead with constitution-making without interference from the
executive. Yes, the executive can be consulted, but they should not be
allowed to control the process. In any case, several executive members sit
on the Standing Rules and Orders Committee. These include Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and ministers
Patrick Chinamasa (Justice), Advocate Eric Matinenga (Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs), Welshman Ncube (Industry and Commerce), Emmerson
Mnangagwa (Defence) and Biti. Even the Chiefs Council is represented through
its president, Senator Fortune Charumbira. So there is absolutely no need to
refer matters to the executive or principals because their voice is already
adequately represented in the highest decision-making organ of Parliament.
Politicians must remember that they are voted into office by the
people. Zimbabweans are tired of endless squabbles among political parties.
John Makamure is the Executive Director of the Southern African
Parliamentary Support Trust based in Harare.
By John Makamure
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:28
AIR Zimbabwe and its chief executive officer Dr Peter Chikumba are no
strangers to publicity, often in paid-for newspaper supplements
commemorating the diminutive doctor "scooping" some award or other as local
businessman/executive/entrepreneur of the year.
But last Monday brought a double dose of press exposure for the
troubled airline, effectively exploding the myth there's no such thing as
We read - oddly enough in the pro-government Herald - of "chaos at the
airport" the previous day as passengers originally booked on the London
daylight flight on Sunday, August 23, denied seats and told to turn up for
the Wednesday night service (also over-booked), were furious on again being
refused a place on the Sunday, August 30 flight and had "turned rowdy"
An AirZim duty manager, refusing to be named, denied any rowdiness:
"There were no scenes like that at all," she said. "If there were, we would
have called the police and that did not happen."
She did, however, refer any further questions to the airline's PR
spin-doctors who (conveniently) weren't on duty. At least those not on
forced leave weren't on duty!
As frequent flyers know, the problem is AirZim has stopped Friday
night Gatwick flights, so would-be passengers on that service must be
shoehorned into the other two flights. The situation is always problematic;
during school holidays it is a nightmare.
You know that and we know it, but apparently AirZim chairman Jonathan
In a lead story published that same day in the prestigious South
African-based Tourism Update Online we read:
AirZim has denied media reports it is in a financial mess. Chairman
Jonathan Kadzura told TUO he could not comment on people's "dreams"
insisting the airline was not insolvent.
"Reports in the news are malicious lies. The airline is doing very
well despite the challenging economy. The whole industry has been hit by
recession, not just AirZim," he said.
Kadzura's comments are a direct contradiction of reports that hundreds
of Air Zimbabwe employees are set to lose their jobs to mitigate the airline's
significant financial losses over the past several years.
"If we do not do anything about it, the business will collapse. The
situation we are in today as an airline and as a country is not best for
business," Chikumba was quoted as saying in one report.
"We are restructuring to provide clients with better service," said
Kadzura. He could not, however, explain how cutting 500 jobs, a third of AZ's
1 500 workforce, would improve service.
Kadzura also denied allegations the airline had cut flights to Dubai,
Kinshasa and Luanda to save money. "We have not cut any frequencies at this
point. We are doing the best we can to sustain all frequencies," he said.
There has been no service to Kariba, Hwange, the Lowveld or Masvingo
for perhaps two years, despite acquiring Chinese planes reportedly
specifically for those routes. A much vaunted highly publicised service to
Brussels, capital of the European Union, via Belgium's former colony, the
DRC, never got as far as a debut flight, nor did an improbable but widely
trumpeted service to Iran "five-times weekly" as part of the Zanu PF
government's laughable "Look East" policy.
In a recent interview Chikumba said: "To succeed. I should be able to
call (Richard) Branson (Virgin Atlantic Airlines boss) to invest in AirZim,
I should be able to call Strive Masiyiwa (Econet), Shingi Munyeza (African
Sun), and Nigel Chanakira (Kingdom) to invest in our business. They will not
invest until they get the assurance that their investment would be safe."
For starters, Chikumba will have to convince the Zimbabwean businessmen to
travel on AirZim planes, especially the MA60s.
In recent years AirZim has abandoned servicing Mozambique, Durban,
Cape Town, Mauritius and Windhoek (Namibia) regionally; Cyprus, Greece and
Frankfurt in Europe. There is too much talk of turnaround at AirZim and the
results are showing. The airline is spinning out of control.
Talking of spin, government was last week embarrassingly economical
with the truth about the country's withdrawal from the Sadc Tribunal on the
spurious reasons that its constitution was not proper and therefore illegal.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, The Herald said, had written to
the court informing it of the decision to pullout because its formation was
not ratified by two-thirds of the regional member states.
This turned out to be nothing; just a yarn spun by Chinamasa and the
Zanu PF half of the inclusive government as a pre-emptive strategy to stop
the Sadc Summit from discussing and coming up with a firm stance on Zimbabwe's
deliberate disregard for the tribunal's ruling last November against the
eviction of 78 white commercial farmers from their properties, and that it
pays full compensation to those already forced off the farms.
The same court ruled that the chaotic land seizures of 2000 were
discriminatory, racist and illegal under the Sadc Treaty, which give birth
to the Sadc Tribunal.
Why Zimbabwe began to question the legality of the Sadc Tribunal at
this juncture is quite puzzling. Is it not the same Chinamasa who dispatched
Deputy Attorney-General Civil Division Prince Machaya and the coordinator of
the Zanu PF created Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice Advocate Martin Dinha to
Namibia last year to mount the government defence against the 78 farmers? So
the court became illegal after government lost the case?
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights were dead right last week when
they asked why Zimbabwe seconded Justice Antonia Guvava to sit as a judge on
the Sadc Tribunal if it were illegal.
What is more shocking though is a minister of justice quoting sections
basing a far-reaching decision of this sort on a repealed law. What do you
have to say about this Patrick?
The US Congressional delegation was in Zimbabwe last week and the
motive of the visit was "questioned" after "their impromptu last minute call
on President Mugabe at State House" on Thursday "just as they made their way
to the airport".
The Herald, quoting an anonymous source that most Zimbabweans now know
has an office in Munhumutapa Building, claimed Mugabe was surprised that the
delegation had arrived at State House and wanted to see him.
Out of courtesy, we were told, Mugabe met the delegation.
What was unacceptable in this Herald fiction is that Mugabe's
spokesperson George Charamba confirmed this construction.
"Clearly, the Congressmen did not have the president on their
schedule. The meeting was incidental to their mission in Zimbabwe," Charamba
said. "The visit seems to have been focused on one party in the GPA. Their
visit to State House was a self-fulfilling one and even the president was
The US Embassy's Public Affairs Officer Tim Gerhardson has since
written to the Herald editor William Chikoto expressing the mission's
"concern about the inaccurate and irresponsible" article headlined "US
Congressional team's visit raises eyebrows."
Gerhardson sought correction of the distorted information on the
Congressional visit, but at the time of penning this article, the newspaper
was yet to correct the blatant lie of the unscheduled visit.
Below is part of the US letter to Chikoto.
"The US Embassy submitted Diplomatic Note number 227/09 to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe (with copies to the
Offices of the President and the Prime Minister) on August 14, 2009,
requesting meetings for the delegation led by Representative Meeks with the
President and Prime Minister.
"In addition to the Note, officials of the US Embassy met with and
talked with staff from the Minister of Foreign Affairs on several occasions
before the delegation arrived and sought Ministry assistance in scheduling a
meeting with President Robert Mugabe.
"While awaiting the delegation's arrival, the Chargé of the Embassy of
the United States of America discussed the delegation's interest in meeting
with the President with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and explained the
delegation's fixed departure time. Efforts to schedule the meeting
continued throughout the time the delegation was present in Harare.
"We find the assertion in your article that it was an "impromptu last
minute call" on President Mugabe grossly inaccurate and would like this
impression corrected for the benefit of both your readers and professional
So you see what Information, Media and Publicity Minister Webster
Shamu means when he claims to the world that the state controlled media are
newspapers, television and radios of record.
It is interesting for the minister to explain to Zimbabweans how media
organisations' registration laws operate, especially as to who gave
H-Metro - a new Zimpapers publication - a license to operate. Are there
separate laws of registration for public and private entities? Is there
fairness in all this exercise?
But our only comfort comes from the fact that the first instalment of
the H-Metro was as not only uninspiring but also absolute drivel. Who in
their right minds will believe that Macheso will hook up with Akon in a
duet? Singing what? Not 'konvincing' is it?
As if that was not enough, the paper carried pictures of scantily clad
young ladies taking part in the latest edition of Big Brother Africa. This
was a grotesque lie. For the record, at the launch of the reality show there
were no female contestants in the house, but two guest prominent South
African ladies who left the house after 24 hours.
At the launch of the paper last week, Information minister Webster
Shamu had this to say about this sort of journalism.
"The great temptation with this niche in the publishing industry is to
push for sensation at the expense of truth, accuracy, fairness and balance."
This rule was broken at launch!
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:24
MOST Zimbabweans are inherently honest. However, even the most honest
become dishonest when their children are crying from hunger.
Distressingly, that is increasingly so in Zimbabwe today. With more
than 80% of the population desperately struggling to survive on incomes far
below the poverty datum line (PDL), and over two-thirds of those not even
having income equating to the food datum line (FDL), (the minimum necessary
for survival without sustaining malnutrition), it is not surprising that
crime is becoming more and more pronounced.
The paucity of incomes of most Zimbabweans is of such overwhelming
magnitude that ever greater numbers can perceive no opportunity of staying
alive other than to resort to crime in general, and corruption in
The intensity of the survival struggle has increased exponentially
over the past decade. Zimbabweans, with very rare exception, are strong
adherents to the extraordinary, admirable "extended family" culture. They
are imbued with a sense of obligation to fend for any and all, even most
remotely related, who are in need. In a study conducted in 1991, it was
assessed that the average income earner was wholly or partially supporting
himself and six others. A recent study concluded that in the economically
debilitated Zimbabwean economy, the average income earner is wholly or
partially supporting himself and 19 others.
This is a consequence of mass unemployment, with almost 90% of the
employable population being without gainful formal employment. It is also a
consequence of the HIV and Aids pandemic, Zimbabwe having an estimated 500
000 Aids orphans, and innumerable Aids widows. Moreover, with average life
expectancy in Zimbabwe having more than halved in just over a decade, there
is an ever-greater number of children deprived of parental support, and
therefore dependant upon other relatives, and yet those relatives invariably
already have a greater number of dependants, without concomitant resources
to sustain them fully.
As a result, the ever-increasing numbers -- in desperation -- turn to
crime, no matter how reluctantly they do so, perceiving no other means of
funding themselves, their immediate, and extended families. Not only does
need become their justification for doing so but also very often, they
convince themselves that doing so is not untoward, for they recurrently
perceive the magnitude of the corruption that permeates much of the
Zimbabwean political hierarchy. (Whilst, of course, not all of the high
echelons of power are corrupt, nevertheless the perception is that that is a
characteristic of very many, for the magnitude of the wealth of some is
awesome and so great that there is an inevitable assumption that such
pronounced enrichment, in less than a generation, could not have been
attained wholly by legitimate means).
The corruption that prevails in Zimbabwe is very diverse, covering a
broad spectrum of crime. It ranges from middle and senior management (in
both public and private sectors) accepting backhanders, commissions,
kickbacks, gratuities, and so forth for ensuring that contracts are awarded
to those providing such largesse, and that goods and services are sourced
from them, to misappropriations of goods and funds.
It includes unauthorised and untoward usage of assets of employers,
such as the immense extent that governmental and private sector enterprise
motor vehicles are illegitimately used to provide public transport by way of
pseudo-provision of taxi and unlicensed commuter omnibus services. The
varied consultation techniques include the unauthorised usage of telephone
services at the expense of employers, the expropriation of office supplies
such as pens, pencils, stationary, envelopes, toilet paper, cleaning
materials, tea, coffee, sugar and the like. And it includes the theft of
manufacturing inputs and of manufactured stocks, the issuance of fictitious
expenditure vouchers and of falsified invoices, misappropriation of receipt
books, falsification of travel and other expenses, and much else.
Over and above the consequential decimation of the moral fibre of
Zimbabwean society, the corruption pandemic was a very major constituent to
the destruction of the economy, and is a major retardant to the
desperately-needed and critically- awaited economic recovery. Although there
were many causes of the horrendous, world-shattering, hyperinflation that
prevailed in Zimbabwe in 2008 -- including government's pronounced
profligacy and endless printing of money, the gargantuan decline in
industrial productivity, the near-total collapse of agriculture, the intense
illegal trafficking in foreign currencies, and much else -- one of the main
contributors to that hyperinflation was corruption.
The costs of the widespread corruption very significantly increased
the production and operating costs of businesses, resulting in massive
compensatory price escalations. Those costs also impacted substantially upon
the working capital requirements of virtually all enterprises. Similarly,
corruption-generated costs exacerbated state deficits, and intensified the
losses of most parastatals. And the intense prevalence of corruption added
to the many deterrents of much-needed foreign direct investment (FDI).
The need to address this chronic national ill was recognised many
years ago, when government enacted anti-corruption legislation, including
the creation of the Ministry of Anti-Corruption. But the reality is that has
not contained corruption. Insofar as is apparent to the populace at large,
neither that legislation, nor that ministry, has done anything meaningful to
curb and contain corruption. Save for a very few, very isolated, instances,
no actions have been taken against any within the political hierarchy,
within the corridors of government, or within parastatals, to bring Zimbabwe
from its current pronounced pursuit of corruption to its impressively high,
moral and ethical behaviour of the past.
No action appears to have been taken against police officers that
demand spurious, unreceipted spot fines from motorists for mythical
offences. There are no indications of actions against corrupt politicians,
and equally corrupt members of the public service. Personnel of parastatals
appear to be immune from the resources of the Ministry of Anti-Corruption.
Instead, with rare exception, the legislation is invoked only against those
seen as politically unacceptable, and against a few in the private sector
who have attracted the malevolent attention of those with political
influence or connections.
If real economic recovery is to be achieved for Zimbabwe, and if
Zimbabwe is to be restored to its previously high and admirable moral,
ethical and internationally recognised levels of compliance with the laws
and norms of justice, it must vigorously arrest the corruption epidemic.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:58
SADC leaders cowardly ducked the Zimbabwe issue at their summit in
Kinshasa, DRC, on Monday and Tuesday, leaving President Robert Mugabe
emboldened in his defiant refusal to implement remaining GPA provisions and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gutted.
The result of this outcome is predictable. Given the delicately
balanced power relations in the inclusive government, the internal power
struggles will continue. The battle is going to get nastier before it
Tsvangirai and his party had vigorously campaigned for Sadc leaders to
tackle the outstanding GPA issues in Kinshasa to clear the deck and allow
government to focus on economic reconstruction. The MDC's feverish campaign
was brave but hopeless - it had no realistic chance of succeeding largely
because Mugabe had behind the scenes lobbied effectively to expunge Zimbabwe
out of the agenda. Most of the Sadc leaders were by alliance or default on
This enabled him to dodge scrutiny, although it did not solve anything
at the end of the day. He was just buying time and postponing problems. The
issues won't go away until they are confronted and settled. The sooner
Mugabe realises this, the better. Mugabe and Tsvangirai need to seriously
engage and resolve matters on their own without being unduly influenced by
demagogues around them who are mainly driven by self political interest and
personal agendas. Their fight at Sadc summits and other fora have become
embarrassingly messy encounters. The wear and tear on themselves and other
stakeholders is now evident.
The view of many delegates to the summit, including journalists, was
that the long-drawn-out Zimbabwean saga was increasingly becoming a shaggy
dog story. Zimbabwean leaders should not squander the current opportunity to
resolve the situation because the consequences of failure may be ghastly.
Besides, regional and international goodwill will sooner rather than later
The Kinshasa summit was supposed to be a watershed but fizzled out
into a damp squib. Delegates and diplomats on the sidelines of the summit
had raised the alarm three days before the summit, saying Zimbabwe had been
knocked off the agenda. Mugabe, working with his allies on the premise of
regional solidarity, threw the issue out the window days before.
By the time the summit started it was clear Mugabe had succeeded in
wriggling off the hook. The MDC was left with a mountain to climb and in its
bid to ascend it crashed. Belated attempts by the party to push for an
extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe - a daring effort - were not going to
succeed because Sadc leaders had taken a position to pass on the issues to
the troika. This was a plausible excuse to avoid dealing with Zimbabwe
If it were not for South African President Jacob Zuma's approach,
Zimbabwe would have simply disappeared off the Sadc radar. Zuma's role was
crucial. Apart from ensuring the success of the summit through logistical
support for the DRC, Zuma kept the Zimbabwe issue alive in his fairly
forthright report to regional leaders which ensured Sadc remained interested
in the issue. In his speech, Zuma not only mentioned Zimbabwe, but also said
remaining "obstacles" must be removed.
Before his departure on Tuesday evening, Zuma gave a press briefing in
his Guest House at the African Union City where he told journalists that
issues on Zimbabwe were raised "frankly" with Mugabe. He said the Sadc
troika would review the six months of the inclusive government and address
outstanding issues. This would in a way keep the matter under regional
Mugabe and Tsvangirai's camps were heavily armed for the Kinshasa
battle. They had roped in civil society groups on both sides to reinforce
their positions. They had reports and dossiers to buttress their arguments.
All together, Zimbabwe had at least 45 delegates on its official list. South
Africa, which has got bigger resources, had much fewer delegates.
Even if Mugabe managed to get Zimbabwe out of the official agenda, the
issue, as exhausting as it has become, still dominated debate in formal and
Mugabe, using the advantage of incumbency as head of state and access
to regional leaders, smuggled his sanctions "outstanding issue" onto the
Sadc communiqué, while the MDC, undermined by lack of an equal opportunity
to present its case, had all its demands shunted aside and forwarded to the
Mugabe also managed to influence who was going to be on the Sadc organ
of defence, politics and security by blocking Botswana from coming in. With
the AU chairmanship going to Malawi next year, Mugabe clearly seems to have
put his ducks in a row. The MDC needs to go back and reorganise after being
left scattered and in disarray in Kinshasa.
Give all this, it is difficult to see how the Sadc troika - comprising
Kabila, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia and Zuma or the Sadc organ
of defence, politics and security, which has Mozambican President Armando
Guebuza, Rupiah Banda of Zambia and Swazi King Mswati, would resolve the
Zimbabwe situation when they allowed Mugabe wriggle out.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:56
THE inclusive government embarked on a constitution-making process
some four months ago.
For some people a new constitution was seen as an enabling tool to
hold free and fair elections within two years, while to others in civic
society it was an opportunity for a people-driven process to replace the
Lancaster House Constitution, which critics say has been manipulated by
President Robert Mugabe and his party to hold on to power. But to another
group of people resisting the reforms, a new constitution is seen as a
weapon to limit Mugabe's powers.
A new constitution was a key demand of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai in joining the inclusive government with Zanu PF. And true to the
Global Political Agreement, a parliamentary select committee was set up in
April and entrusted with crafting a new constitution.
The inclusive government was seen as a transitional arrangement, until
a new constitution is in place.
But up to today, not much has been done except for holding the
all-stakeholders conference in July, which was chaotic, with disruptions
from Zanu PF supporters.
Politicians have been known to think that their constituents are
gullible, but pretending to be committed to a process is tantamount to
taking a peaceful people for fools. Zimbabweans are beginning to wonder if
the setting up of the select committee was meant to hoodwink them into
believing that the inclusive government was truly committed to the
Factors on the ground show that the government might not be serious
after all and the select committee on the constitution is now frustrated by
the lack of movement.
It is not clear up to this day how government plans to fund the
process. The real source of funding remains a mystery four months after it
started the process.
The constitution-making process will cost a total of US$11,2 million
and only US$2 million has been received from UNDP. What we know is that
Treasury has no money for the project. Why it was even launched is beyond
anyone's comprehension because the inclusive government knew then that it
did not even have a cent to fund it.
Where is Finance Minister Tendai Biti expected to get the funds when
he does not even have the money to pay civil servants or fund key service
areas such as education, health, water and sanitation? The country does not
have money to import electricity and is currently looking for farming
The government's major task at the moment is to turn around the
economy. Zimbabwe needs US$10 billion for its emergency short-term economic
recovery programme and has raised more than US$1 billion, mostly in lines of
credit from other African countries.
It recently received US$500 million from the IMF.
During his revised budget speech, Biti said the country must do only
those things that Treasury can pay for from what it receives through taxes.
Responding to teachers' demands for a salary hike, the Finance
minister said government could not "draw water from stones" and that the
economy was not performing. One would like to believe that there must have
been a plan 'B' when the GNU launched the reform process, otherwise where
did they expect Biti to get the money.
Maybe, the government expected donors to pour in the funds. But
factors on the ground show that donors were not willing to fund the
inclusive government until it created a democracy and improved human rights.
Announcing the 25-member Parliamentary Select Committee, Speaker of
the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo said the "constitution-making process
will require substantial financial and human resources". He called upon all
"progressive forces to join hands" with government in funding the process.
Donor funding is already a problem with Zanu PF, which has stated that
it will not allow foreign resources into the process.
So far, appeals for financial aid for the process have been made to
the European Union, Usaid, UNDP and donor countries like Germany and Sweden.
But only UNDP has responded with the US$2 million, part of which was used to
hold the all-stakeholders conference. Right now, the select committee does
not have offices, cars, materials, phones and they have not been paid their
It cannot start the outreach programme because the US$4,2 million
required for the consultations is not available. Lack of commitment,
especially from Zanu PF, is shown through its unwillingness to submit names
for the thematic and sub-thematic committees. Even if it claims to be
committed, why does it not just simply give the committee the list so that
it can at least set up the thematic committees and start preparing the
people for training?
Meanwhile, the MDC formations do not seem to be doing anything to
reach out to supporters to prepare them for the constitution-making process.
Zanu PF has been holding meetings with their MPs, simplifying the
Kariba draft for their constituents.
But the delay and their unwillingness to commit to the process show
that there are deliberate moves to prolong the inclusive government by all
MDC-T deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada was correct when he
said the process should not be allowed to take more than two years and that
extending the GNU should be a decision from the people through a referendum.
If a government can violate the constitution by not holding
by-elections in close to 15 constituencies, what makes people think it will
live up to its promise to finish the constitution within 18 months and
thereafter hold free and fair elections?
The politicians have to be reminded why they occupy those positions
and that they should not get too comfortable and relaxed.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:32
THE annual Sadc Summit that ended in the DRC on Tuesday was a big
betrayal to the people of Zimbabwe as the regional bloc's leaders once again
showed that they were toothless bulldogs.
Instead of taking President Robert Mugabe head on for adamantly
refusing to resolve outstanding issues of the global political agreement
with his partners in the inclusive government, Sadc even had the guts not to
put the country's crisis on the summit's agenda.
That the crisis was not on the agenda is quite instructive of how Sadc
leaders view Mugabe's partners in the inclusive government -- Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara. They have no respect for
It is the same regional bloc which in January cajoled Tsvangirai to
join the unity government despite resistance from his chief negotiator
Tendai Biti and also set out the sticking points of the GPA. But on Monday
and Tuesday the leaders did not see it fit to deal with outstanding issues.
The bloc even did not honour its commitment to review the GPA after six
Biti should be feeling vindicated and telling Morgan: 'I told you we
should not have formed the inclusive government before the outstanding
issues were resolved'.
The summit once again showed the true colours of the regional leaders.
For the umpteenth time, they failed the people of Zimbabwe by not
taking a strong stance against Zanu PF's intransigence and raping of
They deliberately decided to protect and defend the ageing Mugabe
instead of telling him in his face to adhere to the GPA and respect the rule
of law, justice and human rights.
Instead of dealing with the deadlock between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on
key political appointments and ongoing concerns over human rights abuses,
among an array of other issues, the summit called on the international
community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.
This is an issue the international community said rests on the full
consummation of the GPA, which is under threat because of Mugabe and Zanu PF's
It is now crystal clear that Sadc's call would remain hollow until
Mugabe plays ball to the international community's satisfaction.
Saying the outstanding issues should be dealt with by the Sadc Organ
on Politics, Defence and Security was not only a betrayal, but a breach of
the bloc's decision during an extraordinary summit in Pretoria in January
that the GPA would be reviewed by the bloc after six months.
Despite a clear setback on the aspirations of Zimbabweans to see
finality on the outstanding issues, Tsvangirai remained rather
unconvincingly optimistic that a resolution to the deadlock on the sticking
points would soon be reached.
"Now that the Sadc troika is specifically vested with the matter of
Zimbabwe, it is my hope and belief that it will deal with all outstanding
issues as a matter of urgency," he told journalists in Kinshasa.
A few months ago I wrote in this column that Sadc had betrayed the
people of Zimbabwe, killed their aspirations and hopes by adopting a
velvet-glove approach to the political crisis in the country.
Since the inking of the GPA last year, it became evident that the
majority of Sadc leaders were more uncomfortable with Tsvangirai than they
are with Mugabe by putting pressure on the premier to join an inclusive
government in which he would be a junior partner.
Sadc has failed to provide direction on the litmus test for the
restoration of legitimacy.
The Sadc leaders should have been firm on Mugabe by demanding that a
resolution be found so that the work to rebuild the country continues in
There is no need on the part of the Sadc leaders to pull punches.
We hope Sadc leaders will soon come to their senses and see the need
to have the outstanding issues resolved.
South Africa Deputy President told his parliament on Wednesday that a
special Sadc Summit could take place to help ensure accountability among
Zimbabwe's political protagonists.
"Sadc leadership... has decided that the Sadc secretariat should on an
ongoing basis ... monitor resolution to all these outstanding issues and
that if that does not produce the desired results an extraordinary summit
will be convened focusing specifically on ensuring that more fillip is added
to the processes of moving Zimbabwe forward," Motlanthe said.
Let's hope this will materialise soon.
No Consistency in Minister's Stance
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:51
THE Commercial Farmers Union wishes to reply on behalf of its affected
members to the Herald report on September 2 of a change in the Zimbabwe
government's position regarding the legality of the Sadc Tribunal.
We do not know if the minister involved, Patrick Chinamasa, had duly
consulted with the inclusive government and had authority to take the action
or make the statements he has made.
Without authority naturally he will be personally responsible for any
The Tribunal record shows that this minister has previously accepted
that the government of Zimbabwe is bound by the Tribunal's rulings, at
international level, and must respect them.
The argument he has now advanced for his revised view is based on
implying unwritten extra rules into the Sadc Treaty.
He claims that under these unwritten rules the Tribunal Protocol
adopted by the Summit in 2000, and the agreement amending the Sadc Treaty
adopted by the Summit in 2001, and the amendment to the Tribunal Protocol
adopted by the Summit in 2002 have all not yet come into force or effect.
If that is accepted, Zimbabwe unavoidably must also pull out of all
new Sadc institutions created by its agreement in 2001, including its organ
on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation and other bodies that it is
still participating in.
Zimbabwe should also revert to being represented in the Council of
Ministers by its Finance minister or of Economic Planning, and not by its
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In the absence of this, we respectfully suggest the minister's new
posture cannot be taken seriously.
We inform readers that all legal advice we have received, all
documents filed with the Tribunal by the Attorney General's Office until
now, and the independent legal opinions we have seen, do not support the
minister's belated change of stance.
With respect the Minister seems to be clutching at straws.
The Commercial Farmers Union.
Sadc Deflates Hope for Democratic Reform
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:48
THE Southern African Development Community's (Sadc) predictable stance
on Zimbabwe on the just- ended summit held in the Democratic Republic of
Congo leaves a lot to be desired. Despite the calls from the MDC and civic
groups to have Zimbabwe tabled at the summit, the guarantor to the troubled
coalition government dismissed the Zimbabwean crisis as less pressing.
The decision not to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the Kinshasa summit
leaves Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF as the victors at the expense of the people
Mugabe and his party will continue to enjoy the status of a problem
child in the absence of a checks and balance system in the implementation of
the Global Political Agreement between the three political parties.
Six months after the formation of the coalition government, its full
implementation has been stalled by Mugabe's refusal to reverse the
appointment of the Reserve bank Governor and the Attorney General, and
swearing in of Roy Bennett as the deputy minister of Agriculture.
Although these are the pressing issues from the Movement of Democratic
change's point of view, as succinctly noted by Irene Petras director of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), "democratisation remains a
Since the formation of the coalition government, no repressive laws
have been repealed.
Draconian laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act are still intact. The public is
starved of objective news and information and left to receive vitriol and
Zanu PF propaganda from the state media. The apparatus of violence which
manifested during the period preceding the June election period still
remains intact. There is no genuine effort towards reforming state
The plight of prisoners in state prisons is cause for concern.
Zimbabwe Prisons Service is currently operating below the minimal standards
set by the United Nations amidst fears that prisoners are dying of
starvation, diseases and torture.
It still remains to be seen if Mugabe and Zanu PF have genuine
concerns for the people of Zimbabwe that surpass their narrow partisan
interest in this marriage of convenience at a time when Zimbabwe is in need
of a visionary leadership. The disruption of the all-stakeholders
constitutional convention at the Harare International Conference Centre by
Zanu PF thugs is a testimony of party politics at the expense of the nation
as a whole.
Foreign aid and investment will remain elusive as long as the
government fails to guarantee the rule of law, respect human rights,
exercise good governance and honour property rights under bi-lateral
agreements with other member states from the region.
The refusal by the Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to honour the
ruling by the Sadc Tribunal in favour of 78 white farmers facing eviction
under the chaotic farm invasions set a bad precedent on the part of the
Not only does it further dent the country's battered image on the
failure to uphold the rule of law, but it also undermines the integrity of
Sadc as a body in its endeavor to finding solutions to African problems.
What Zanu PF does not understand about the targeted sanctions is that,
it is they not the MDC, who need to rebuild a credible brand, convince the
world that they have now repented from their oppressive rule and are now
sincere about democratic reforms.
Readiness to accept the people's right to choose leaders of their
choice is also a critical pre-requisite in restoring donor confidence.
Restoration of Human Rights
Sadc Leaders let Zim Down Again
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:44
SADC leaders have once again let the people of Zimbabwe down by
the stance they took at the regional summit in Kinshasa, the DRC this week.
The people of Zimbabwe were expecting that Sadc leaders would
take a tough stance against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF who continue
to disregard basic human rights issues in order to maintain a tight grip on
Zanu PF and Mugabe were rejected by the people in the March 2008
elections but are still clinging to power just because some of the Sadc
leaders are protecting Mugabe.
It was sad to note the Sadc leaders' unwillingness to take a
decisive and conclusive stance on the Zimbabwe issue. The human rights
abuses, farm invasions and the failure to fully implement the Global
Political Agreement are just but a few issues that require Sadc's full
The decision has left the people of Zimbabwe -- who were hoping
for a better future -- dejected and pessimistic about the future of the
Zanu PF is going full throttle in celebrating the failure by
Sadc to chastise them and will use this endorsement to continue trampling on
the rights of the people of Zimbabwe. This is all because the Sadc leaders
have been silent on bringing Mugabe and Zanu PF to book on their actions.
The regional bloc has failed to stand on the side of the suffering
Sadc leaders should take the collective blame for failing
Zimbabwe at this crucial time.
It is high time that Sadc leaders were bold and stopped playing
along to Mugabe's tune.
Border Harassment Deters Tourists
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:35
ON a visit to South Africa recently, we were harassed on our
return at the border by young children and beggars wanting to either guard
our car or ask for money.
At the South African border, there are no such people loitering
about the border post which clearly shows that the traffic control and
security personnel on the Zimbabwean side are not doing their job.
The same can be said for Forbes Border post with the same
scenario on the Zimbabwe side and yet, one has no problems on the Mozambique
Whilst these individuals may be desperate to make a living, it
is hardly a compliment to our efforts in promoting tourism and being
"tourism friendly" to be accosted by such persons who are not only annoying,
but also intimidate visitors - both local and foreign.
Quite honestly, it is a disgrace and urgent attention to this
complaint should be made to enforce discipline and order at these border
posts as they are the first or last impression of visitors to our country.
Needless to say, one still has to queue for bridge toll fees,
then immigration, then road access fee and then customs. Our industry must
take a firm stance in this regard and demand that action be taken to show we
really want to encourage tourism and get our industry and country back on
SMS The Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 10 September 2009 19:36
CAN all those calling for the removal of the "illegal" sanctions
please list them so that we all may know.
IT seems that Zimbabweans are in a dilemma. They agitate for
Robert Mugabe to go but offer no viable replacement. They should be sure
before they throw themselves into the frying pan.
DURING the 1970s Ugandan state broadcasters would start off with
the statement: His Excellency Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, President of
Uganda, Conqueror of the British Empire, Victorious Cross, Member of the
Excellent Order of the Source of the Nile, Distinguished Service Medal,
State Combat Star, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and many other
honours and titles he had heaped on himself. ference to Robert Mugabe.
JOSEPH Chinotimba must engage a producer and become our next
Mukadota, Shogo, Mutirowafanza or be the local version of Mr Bean. We have a
shortage of real comedians on ZBC. Chinotimba is political satire
personified. I urge any producer who he approaches to ignore his "shonglish"
and partisan vitriol. We need people like him in the democracy we are
ZBH management are just not serious. How can they attempt to
launch a second television station when they are failing to run ZTV fully?
The government should license other players.
THERE is never any Econet network reception from Macheke to
Nyanga. Econet should rectify this promptly.
WE thank the IMF for the bail out package they have given to our
country. We just hope God will keep on intervening and sanity will prevail
again in our government's structures.
PART of the US$500 million we are getting from the IMF should be
used to pay off all Zesa debts and revive its power stations.
I APPRECIATE Tendai Biti's call for an investigation on NSSA's
activities. Pensioners are being robbed by such organisations. The
investigation should look at the organisation's records from 10 years back
IT is insulting to our intelligence when we hear Finance
minister Tendai Biti claiming to have no money to pay civil servants
reasonable salaries when he gives US$30 000 each to our 210 MPs, 93 senators
and 70 plus ministers including the junior ones for the purchase of top
notch vehicles. It seems that those are his priorities.
GIDEON Gono should seriously consider retiring as RBZ governor
because his relevance has withered away. It's better for him to go on his
I BELIEVE that Gideon Gono has truckloads of already printed Zim
dollars on standby in the event of its reemergence.
CAN a losing MP -- Patrick Chinamasa -- from a losing party Zanu
PF represent us and make decisions on behalf of the government such as
pulling Zimbabwe out of the Sadc tribunal? Why do we still have this kind of
HARARE hospital recently bought five dialysis machines and it is
clear that the new blood in government -- especially those who won the March
2008 elections -- are the ones who are properly apportioning resources so
that everyone can benefit.
Change for life.
THE Labour ministry along with the Public Service Commission
must hasten the reappointment of civil servants. They are taking too long to
process our papers -- in some cases taking more than five months. How do
they expect us to survive?
Hungry civil servant.
WITH the way public officials such as Harare mayor Muchadeyi
Masunda are spending the tax payer's money on luxury vehicles, who can blame
the West for giving us humanitarian aid.
I CANNOT understand transport operators' justification in
charging US$4 for the Harare to Shamva trip. They should desist from milking
IT seems that Econet is ripping us off on the text messages. Of
the 15 text messages one is supposed to send after buying a US$1 recharge
card, it seems only five of the message actually get delivered and there is
WHAT is the point in our cellular networks having millions of
subscribers when we are failing to make use of basic services such as SMS
let alone phone?