September 14, 2012 in News
ZANU PF cabinet ministers and other senior government officials, who are
multiple farm-owners, continue to defy President Robert Mugabe’s order to
surrender surplus landholdings in line with their party policy, as it
emerged this week many of them are still clinging onto more than two farms.
Report by Elias Mambo
Following its defeat in a constitutional referendum and in a bid to ward off
mounting political and social discontent, Zanu PF launched a controversial
land reform programme beginning 2000 in which thousands of white commercial
farmers were violently evicted from their farms in a programme Mugabe
claimed was aimed at resettling landless people throughout the country.
However, most of the prime land was taken by senior Zanu PF officials who
now own more than two farms each but are failing to utilise the land which
in some cases has become derelict or lies fallow.
Mugabe’s repeated calls for his party officials to follow the
one-man-one-farm policy and limiting farm sizes according to their
agro-ecological region have largely been ignored. His lieutenants who
grabbed several thousands of hectares of properties are still stubbornly
clinging to them.
The situation is complicated by the fact that Mugabe’s family reportedly
owns many farms, some say over a dozen, something which runs against the
grain of his party policy.
As a result, Mugabe’s cronies have ignored his June 30 2011 deadline to hand
back extra farms to the state. Observers say this has embarrassed Mugabe who
has staked his reputation and election victory on the speedy transfer of
land to majority black Zimbabweans.
Mugabe and his party are currently resisting a government land audit which
has been agreed upon.
The Zimbabwe Independent has been carrying out a verification process on who
owns what from the land reform programme and information gathered shows
ministers, senior civil servants and top Zanu PF officials are still
clinging onto the farms they grabbed through violence and intimidation.
This comes as the Zanu PF politburo on Wednesday condemned the recent
invasions of the Save conservancy in a heated meeting in which Mugabe
lambasted “greedy” party officials who continue to hold on to multiple
Top government officials have been fingered in different official audits as
multiple farm-owners ignoring the one -man-one-farm policy and restrictions
on farm sizes, a move which underlines the failure of the land reform
According to information gathered by the Independent, those who still own
multiple farms include Senate president Edna Madzongwe with six farms, Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo (five), Home Affairs co-minister Kembo
Mohadi (four), Mines minister Obert Mpofu (three), Information and Publicity
minister Webster Shamu (four) and Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere (two), among others.
Madzongwe was given an offer letter for Stockdale farm (750 ha) but is said
to be the owner of Aitape farm (2000ha), Couburn Estate (560ha) and Mpofu
farm (450ha), Bourne farm (445ha) and Reyden farm (1340) dotted around the
Chombo has five farms namely Allan Grange (3000ha), Oldham (400ha), Maple
leaf, Glentwyn stand one, and Shingwiri (1600ha) in Chegutu.
Other Zanu PF members who are clinging to or had more than one farm include
the late Sabina Mugabe (three), Leo Mugabe (three), Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa (two), Grace Mugabe’s late brother Reward Marufu (two) and
retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena (two).
Mugabe’s family, including close relatives, reportedly own more than 12
farms. Since the controversial land reform programme commenced, several land
audits were commissioned and on numerous occasions blocked by Zanu PF
ministers and war veterans, arguing the process was a witch-hunt targeting
senior party officials and other beneficiaries of the widely criticised land
Early this year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai urged government to carry
out the long-overdue land audit. Tsvangirai and the MDC-T were reacting to
reports that the Zanu PF land reform department led by Chombo and Lands
minister Herbert Murerwa wanted to undertake a countrywide land audit,
notwithstanding the fact that Murerwa is required to do the same process for
Murerwa is still to undertake a national land audit in terms of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). According to Article 5.9 of the GPA, government
should conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, for
accountability and elimination of multiple farm ownership.
The GPA also seeks to ensure Zimbabweans who are eligible to be allocated
land and who apply are considered irrespective of race, gender, religion,
ethnicity or political affiliation.
September 14, 2012 in News
PARASTATALS continue to perform dismally with the majority of
state-controlled entities making losses amounting to millions of US dollars
in 2011 due to undercapitalisation, high overheads and lack of customer
Report by Brian Chitemba
According to a report presented to cabinet recently by State Enterprises and
Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo, the companies were struggling to perform
because of cash-flow problems, inability to attract investors and access
lines of credit due to unattractive balance sheets.
Parastatals which recorded huge losses include the National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ), Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Industrial Development
Corporation (IDC) and TelOne, while those performing well only managed to
make marginal profits.
The report showed the NRZ recorded revenue of US$91,6 million in 2011,
representing a 17% increase from US$78,4 million in 2010. But of the
revenue, more than US$45 million was gobbled up by administrative and
general expenses while finance costs were US$4,4 million.
NRZ, which requires over US$2 billion to resuscitate operations, recorded a
loss before tax of over US$60 million with low capacity utilisation, high
overheads and operational inefficiencies cited for poor performance.
“The available number and state of locomotives, wagons, coaches and other
critical equipment is insufficient to meet the demands of the productive
sectors of the economy,” reads the report.
The report revealed GMB has not posted a profit in the past decade due to
sub-economic prices the company was charging which were not supported by a
The parastatal’s 2010/11 first quarter management accounts show the value of
assets amounts to US$150,7 million compared to total liabilities of US$19,9
million, indicating the firm was technically solvent but sits on a huge
asset base comprising properties, plant and equipment which cannot be
converted to cash.
“Sub-economic prices charged by the GMB translated into disinvestment
resulting in inadequate working capital. The introduction of the
multi-currency system worsened the situation as no additional capital was
injected into the GMB,” the report reads.
GMB’s poor performance was attributed to undercapitalisation, lack of
logistics fleet to collect grain and lack of lines of credit.
Although fixed telephone operator, TelOne realised total revenue of US$158,9
million in 2011, the company still recorded a US$7,5 million loss.
The company is failing to perform due to a US$285 million debt inherited
from the disbanded Post and Telecommunications Corporation, while an
outdated billing system compounded the situation. Some of the major problems
facing TelOne are shortage of skilled human capital, particularly switching
technicians for both analogue and digital systems while power outages affect
the uptime of exchanges countrywide. Obsolete equipment is also a problem.
IDC recorded US$153,3 million from the sale of group products while gross
profit stood at US$32 million and after-tax losses were at US$10,9 million
Agribank struggled throughout 2011 due to lack of liquidity to enable it to
underwrite meaningful business and generate positive earnings.
The State Enterprises and Parastatals ministry said recovery of parastatals
was premised on good corporate governance and restructuring under the
framework adopted in 2010.
September 14, 2012 in News
ORDINARY Zimbabweans have been reduced to mere spectators in the country’s
protracted constitution-making process as their input has been virtually
ignored although they are the key stakeholder.
Report by Staff Writer
The Copac draft is under dispute with Zanu PF demanding that its 266
proposed amendments be incorporated into the draft.
The MDC formations insist only the Second All-Stakeholders Conference and
parliament can amend the draft since all three parties participated in
The MDC-T has launched a “Yes Vote” campaign even before the draft is
debated by an all-stakeholders’ conference where the public’s views would be
heard through civil society and interest groups. The other MDC has also
launched a “Yes Vote” camp.
But Zimbabweans have not been afforded the opportunity to see if their views
were properly captured and attempts to persuade them to reject or accept
the draft suggest the process is compromised by party political positions.
Development analyst Maxwell Saungweme described the MDC-T’s “Yes Vote”
campaign as ill-advised and premature saying it goes against principles and
dictates of public participation in issues concerning the people.
“It’s really hard to imagine that the MDC-T could rush into launching such a
campaign without first taking the draft to their constituents and
stakeholders,” said Saungweme.
“Even authoritative sources like Freedom House and Afrobarometer in recent
surveys have clearly shown that the majority of Zimbabweans have not yet
read this draft. There are areas of concern such as devolution which a good
number of Zimbabweans are concerned about that are not addressed by this
draft,” he said.
Governance analyst David Takawira said the move by the MDC-T makes them
“We won’t move forward without the three parties agreeing,” said Takawira.
“The strategy is not doing the leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) any good given the
fact that tomorrow he would be forced to make a major climb down from the
current position, which would further put citizens into a frenzy of
confusion and his leadership and judgment into question.”
The National Constitutional Assembly’s Blessing Vava believes it was rather
ambitious for the MDC-T to launch a “Yes Vote” campaign.
“The MDC parties never wanted participation of the people of Zimbabwe in
writing the constitution and their “Yes Vote” campaign is a declaration that
they are only concerned about themselves and not the interests of all
Zimbabweans,” said Vava.
Saungweme concurred with Vava saying the launch demonstrates how the MDC
parties’ leadership is obsessed with dictating issues and policies to people
through “top-down” approaches instead of going through the consultative
Saungweme said this move could prove costly to the parties because there are
many reasons why people should vote “No” against the draft constitution as
it falls short of the expectations of the majority.
He also said people wants to know how the millions of dollars were used by
the political parties since they are still bickering at the end of the
According to estimates, US$50 million was spent on the process.
September 14, 2012 in News
CABINET has approved a raft of interventions aimed at easing Bulawayo’s
perennial water shortages where consumers currently go up to three days in a
week without water.
Report by Staff Writer
Water Resources and Development minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on Tuesday
tabled a report in cabinet on the Bulawayo water situation, which the
municipality is pushing to be declared a national disaster.
Nkomo said cabinet discussed progress on the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipelink
which is a short-term solution to the water woes.
The city’s supply dams are drying up while Mtshabezi Dam is 100% full but
underutilised, and a pipeline link to Umzingwane Dam would alleviate
Bulawayo’s water problems in the short term.
The pipeline project has been on the cards for more than two years but has
been delayed by lack of funding and political bickering.
Nkomo said cabinet would push for the project to be completed without
He also proposed the rehabilitation of 26 aquifers in Nyamandlovu as well
as 110 boreholes dotted around Bulawayo. These can supply an additional 30
000 cubic metres of water. The city consumes an average of 120 000 cubic
metres a day.
On the declaration of Bulawayo as a disaster zone, Nkomo said the situation
was not critical enough to warrant such a move. The Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Project, on the cards for over 100 years, is touted as a permanent
solution to the water challenges.
As the water crisis escalates, MDC-T’s top brass in Matabeleland convened an
emergency meeting last Friday to craft strategies to ease the shortage.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe summoned Nkomo, State Enterprises and
Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo, Agriculture deputy minister Seiso Moyo,
senators, MPs and councillors to discuss the water problems which may worsen
the deindustrialisation of the city.
Seiso Moyo tabled a report on the drought situation around the country with
special focus on Matabeleland South where 300 000 cattle face starvation due
to lack of pastures.
September 14, 2012 in News
ABOUT two million Zimbabweans will require food aid during the 2012/2013
agricultural season because of poor rainfall patterns and limited access to
Report by Staff Writer
According to a recent Zimbabwe 2012 Consolidated Appeal report compiled by
the World Food Programme (WFP), the country’s food security remains unstable
as the government has failed to subsidise indigenous farmers who benefited
from the land reform programme, under which white-owned large scale
commercial farms were expropriated for resettlement purposes.
As a result, poor harvests have characterised every season since the chaotic
land reform programme in 2000.
About 1,6 million people are receiving food aid in the current season and
WFP country director Felix Bamezon said his organisation was gearing up to
meet the rise in demand for food assistance countrywide.“Our field staff is
already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty
granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet,” said
Bamezon. “To meet the increased needs, WFP and its partners will undertake
food distributions with regionally procured cereals as well as imported
vegetable oil and pulses.”
The food crisis comes at a time the Meteorological Services Department has
predicted drought during Zimbabwe’s traditional farming season from October
2012 to around March 2013.
Meteorologist Barnabas Chipindu advised farmers last Thursday to plant
drought-resistant crops to minimise the impact of poor rainfall as another
severe drought looms.
Areas that would be severely affected by the drought include Matabeleland
provinces, parts of Masvingo and Manicaland, the meteorological department
In an effort to alleviate the food shortages, government has struck a deal
with northern neighbour Zambia to import 300 000 tonnes of maize.
Ironically, the bulk of the imported maize is being produced by former white
commercial farmers evicted during the land invasions.
Mandivamba Rukuni, founder and executive director of Wisdom Africa
Leadership Academy, has urged government to invest in agriculture to
alleviate food insecurity.
“The government has to invest much in this sector so that such a scenario
can never be experienced,” Rukuni said. “Malawi is one of the poorest
countries in Africa, but its government is investing 15% of its budget in
maize production because it is a food security crop.”
September 14, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s failure to officially open the fifth and last
session of the current parliament before the next elections is seriously
affecting operations of the legislature which has only met for two days
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
The House was reconvened to pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill. It also met last month to ratify the
US$150 million loan for upgrading the Victoria Falls International Airport
in time for next year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation General
Senior parliamentary officials confirmed they were in limbo as they expected
Mugabe to gazette the official ending of the fourth session and the start of
the last session.
Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma confirmed the legislature was waiting for
Mugabe to issue the necessary notices.
However, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba refuted the charge that
Mugabe was delaying the opening of the fifth session.
“Mugabe can only open parliament at the invitation of the House’s
administrative staff and they have not done that,” Charamba said.
Section 62(1) of the constitution reads: “Subject to the provisions of
subsection (2), the sessions of parliament shall be held in such place and
shall begin at such time as the president may, by proclamation in the
Veritas, a lawyers’ grouping that monitors parliament, says the delay by
Mugabe may be motivated by his inclination to call for snap elections.
Mugabe is toying with the idea of calling for early general elections after
the High Court gave him a 30-day extension from the end of August to gazette
dates for by-elections in three constituencies which are subject to a legal
September 14, 2012 in News
EUROPEAN Union countries are moving to normalise relations with Zimbabwe as
the country’s political situation has improved under the current coalition
Report by Staff Writer
Zimbabwe suffered diplomatic isolation and pariah status when the EU, United
States, Australia and New Zealand imposed targeted sanctions against the
country’s political leadership and businesses associated with Zanu PF in
2002 after violent and disputed presidential elections.
Britain, Denmark, Switzerland and Australia played leading roles in
isolating Zimbabwe and in the West’s decision to cut millions of dollars in
Denmark closed its embassy in Harare and halted all aid to the country
through the Danish International Development Agency, which had poured in
more than US$750 million since 1995.The EU recently moved to lift the
restrictions after the coalition government sent a bipartisan ministerial
re-engagement committee to Brussels to mend fences.
The Danish government is now seeking to improve diplomatic relations with
Zimbabwe and last week launched a US$12 million Credit for Agricultural
Trade and Expansion fund in partnership with UKaid.
The fund is aimed at facilitating the raising of capital for lending to the
country’s agricultural sector.
Denmark’s charge d’affaires Ketil Karlse told the Zimbabwe independent his
country is also formulating a budget mission to provide recommendations and
outline areas for a three-year continued programme (2013-2015) for Danish
support to Zimbabwe in three components: private sector development in
agriculture, rehabilitation of infrastructure and good governance, and
democracy and human rights.
“Denmark has scaled up support for Zimbabwe very dramatically in just a few
years and last year alone, we committed around US$40 million to development
programmes and we have seen tangible results,” said Karlse.
Switzerland, which had also cut imports from Zimbabwe, mainly agricultural
products as well as exporting machines and pharmaceutical to the country
through the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation in 2002, has also
made a comeback.
The Swiss government’s aid has risen significantly, especially in the health
care sector through the provision of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/Aids
patients, as well as facilitating the training of public health workers in
the country’s remote areas.
Australia became one of the first countries to commit to rehabilitating
Zimbabwe’s water, sanitation and health infrastructure by commissioning
US$10 million in aid after the formation of the coalition government in
September 13, 2012 in News
THE current political trends obtaining in Matabeleland as well as calls for
different systems of governance and policies, including devolution of power,
should be understood as offshoots of a much more nuanced political
environment cultivated over the past 32 years, mainly because of
over-centralisation of power in Harare.
Report by Brilliant Mhlanga
But how and why do the people of Matabeleland continue to find themselves in
this political context?
Matabeleland now suffers from a marked generational crisis. In order for us
to understand these emerging generational differences there is a need for a
delineation of the existing generational groups. These groups are many, but
only two key and quite active generations emerge here: the generation of
“in-betweeners” and the young generation.
The former is a generation that witnessed Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle,
but was quite young to participate or was simply not as politically
conscious so they chose to abscond, most of them are now in their mid-40s to
Then the younger generation is composed of those who may have also witnessed
the liberation struggle, but were very young and are in their early 40s or
The in-betweeners is a group of non-achievers. Most of them now believe it
is better to compromise with MDC-T, Zanu PF or Harare just for them to eat.
But they use different political positions that never get explained to the
extent of turning them into useless clichés. Their aim is always to sound
quite complicated and complex with a view to confuse the people. They are a
generation that sees the messianic opportunities out of situations, possibly
because they are used to being beneficiaries of other people’s toil.
They cannot build structures and run them because they are divisive too and
they like power. Their approach is always incremental and in some cases
quite residual too; they like benefiting and continuing with inherited
But the tragedy of generational crisis manifests itself in very different
One thing for sure is that the generation of in-betweeners, which merely has
no history of fighting any cause, in reality a generation of harvesters, is
also characterised by people who are generally not achievers at personal
level. It is composed of people who are used to vegetating.
Even the civil society movements they ever associated with were
state-aligned. But they did not improve their circumstances from thereon.
And their grievances are formally located in their quest to exchange roles
of quarry and hunter with their oppressors. This is neither a generation of
transformers nor that of change agents like the current young generation,
which genuinely wants real change.
The generation of in-betweeners is a generation of scavengers — those
hunter-gatherers who are prepared at a moment’s notice to inherit a dead
So theirs is banal revolution. Even their revolutionary discourse is merely
an echo, and laced with clichés. Nothing more. They have since ceased to
live with principles and so they merely exist. Even when the national
project took a knock, they never questioned it. In fact, most of them did
not even notice the turn of events, as they were busy enjoying their
unquestioning role of being passengers in a national bus going nowhere.
Their failure was also caused by their pre-occupation with the newly
attained middle-class status whose actual meaning most of them had not yet
discovered, let alone grasped. This is a generation that is so steeped in
the politics of labelling and mislabelling, continuously accusing each other
of being agents of the oppressive system. This political development shows
the extent of political warping and their entrenched psychology of
oppression, which now is on autopilot.
When you engage most of them on challenges of the national project, the bad
birth-mark Zimbabwe was born with, their response is usually that, “… the
people of Matabeleland lack a leader like Joshua Nkomo or a mosaic leader
who would take them forward”, and yet fail to understand that they are the
same people who should have taken the region forward a long time ago.
And so by missing that opportunity it meant that they, in their blindness,
helped the generation that had witnessed and fought the liberation struggle
to turn into neo-colonial mode and to further entrench itself in power and
interpellate the violence of the ejected coloniser, thereby creating an
inevitable generational collision with the generation that would follow
them — the young generation of real change-makers.
Having said that, my analysis of the generation of change-makers is quite
different. The generation of change-makers is very well-informed, read,
daring, but sometimes irrational, as is the nature with most young people.
However, this is a generation that is prepared to learn and to take risks,
which is a hallmark of all revolutions and moments of rupture.
A silent conflict has been raging between the generation of change-makers
and that of in-betweeners as they contest for space and relevance in the
politics of Matabeleland. But because their focus, causes and ideological
outlooks are different, it is not easy for these two generations to
complement each other. The generation of in-betweeners think it is time for
them to eat before they fall by the wayside — thus celebrating the
“castrated logic” of an MDC-T, Zanu PF or Harare-engineered “messianic”
But as a group of scavengers, they can find a meal in every carcass. So most
of them tend to publicly present very radical discourses on Matabeleland
when in reality they do not even mean it. Actually, in the event of a
genuine revolutionary crusade or real moment of rupture, they would not even
be prepared to join because their limited scope tells them that they have
more to lose. In fact, their thinking has been that in the event of a
rupture they would assume political leadership positions and roles while
consigning those they consider to be much younger to the vagaries of the
But the young generation of change-agents is quite revolutionary and very
much prepared to see the struggle materialising into tangible emancipatory
projects. And so this struggle will continue until the generation of real
change agents is able to claim its space and mantle from the generation of
scavengers who are prepared to compromise for food to be quickly placed in
their empty stomachs.
So these emergent generational challenges can be likened to some kind of
“puppetry politics” — all of it played for the good of Harare and with the
aim of maintaining Zimbabwe in her current configurations; as a state and
with the people of Matabeleland continuing to subsist as subjects and second
Dr Mhlanga is a human rights activist and an academic from the University of
September 8, 2012 in News
A SYNDICATED fund, led by private equity firm Global Emerging Markets (GEM),
has put up US$1 billion to enable Zimbabwe’s government to assume commercial
banks’ non-performing loans and rescue depositors in the affected banks, the
Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Report by Our Staff Writer
Presenting his state of the economy address yesterday, Finance minister
Tendai Biti said his ministry was working with a foreign private sector
partner to raise money to bankroll a 10-year bond issue, which will enable
the government to clean the troubled banks’ balance sheets and pave way for
the restoration of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ)lender-of-last-resort
function. The bond will most likely be issued by Zimbabwe Resolution
Corporation (ZRC), an entity to be created for the purpose.
Under the structure proposed by GEM, seen by the Independent, banks would be
allowed to sell their non-performing loans (NPLs) to the ZRC under
commercial terms, assigning collateral and all other rights attached to the
In turn, ZRC would be funded through the issuance of long-term tax-free
bonds, guaranteed unconditionally by the Finance ministry. Government would
raise a levy of 2% of total risk weighted banking assets, for a period of 10
years, to create a sinking fund for ZRC. As banking industry assets
increase, the levy would be reduced over time.
Although Biti would not be drawn into naming the foreign partner who would
support the bond issue, authoritative sources disclosed that GEM, the firm
that also underwrote mining company RioZim’s capital-raising exercise
earlier this year, had put in place the US$1 billion syndicated facility.
Some of the targeted investors making up the syndicate are Afreximbank,
pension managers PIC, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, international
sovereign wealth funds, Nssa, domestic banks and domestic depositors.
The sources say GEM submitted a proposal and subsequently reached an
agreement with the Ministry of Finance to help in reforming the banking
system, which faces systemic risk owing to the high levels of non-performing
loans. Biti said the bond would be issued following an Act of Parliament.
His ministry was in the process of crafting a draft bill in consultation
with various stakeholders.
The ministry will also set up a special purpose vehicle to take over debts
accumulated by the RBZ since the days of hyperinflation, in line with
International Monetary Fund recommendations.
Biti said bad loans accounted for as much as 80% of some banks’ loan books.
September 14, 2012 in Politics
JUST when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai thought he had rode out of the
ferocious Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo storm after the High Court gave him a
reprieve on Wednesday, yet another woman, Nosipho Regina Shilubane
(pictured) from South Africa yesterday filed an urgent application at the
Harare Magistrates’ Court in another bid to stop his wedding to Elizabeth
Report by Brian Chitemba/Wongai Zhangazha
Judgment was reserved to today — just 24 hours before the wedding — putting
Tsvangirai on tenterhooks. The premier has been walking on a minefield,
getting caught up in a series of damaging sex scandals with different women
locally and outside the country.
Tsvangirai’s lawyer Innocent Chagonda could not immediately comment on the
saga which has intelligence fingerprints and hallmarks of a sting operation
all over it. Shilubane (35) through her lawyers Manase & Manase Legal
Practitioners, yesterday pulled another shocker as she objected to
Tsvangirai’s exchange of vows with Macheka, saying she was astounded to
learn about the union as the premier had also promised to walk with her
down the aisle.
In her court papers, Shilubane gave salacious details of how she gallivanted
and romped with the Tsvangira in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Seychelles and
For good measure, she also attached photos of her in purported amorous
company of the prime minister, frolicking on pleasant Seychelles beaches
with a relaxed Tsvangirai clad in blue shorts with a matching beach shirt.
Shilubane said she was “very much” in love with Tsvangirai and wanted him to
“finish issues with me, that is his proposal of marriage”.
According to the papers, Shilubane was introduced to Tsvangirai on September
5 2009 in Johannesburg at the Monte Casino shopping complex by her pastor
Lazarus Muriritirwa from the Gospel Assembly Church.
“He said there was a friend of his who wanted to meet me. I only got to know
it was Tsvangirai when I went with his pastor to his hotel room in Pallazio
Hotel in Fourways, in the Monte Casino Mall. When we were introduced at his
hotel room, he asked his pastor and his son Edwin Tsvangirai who were
present on the day to give us some privacy and we remained the two of us in
the hotel room,” reads Shilubane’s affidavit.
Tsvangirai then allegedly told her he was a widower looking for a new bride
to marry and had approached the pastor to find a suitable woman for him,
triggering a chain of events and loves scenes.
Shilubane’s claims add fuel to an already burning fire as Tsvangirai has
been linked to a string of women since the death of his wife Susan in March
2009, including Bulawayo businesswoman Aquillina Pamberi, Loretta Nyathi,
US-based Zimbabwean doctor Arikana Chihombori and his late wife’s sister
Leah Mhundwa, among others.
Shilubane said: “He told me that he wanted to start a relationship with me
and that I could go home and think about it and if I was willing and
interested I could return the next day and we would talk. He said he had
other things to do since it was son’s birthday and he was having a party for
Before he left, Tsvangirai gave her his business card with his name and
details and “the number at the time was 0027718972979 although he
subsequently changed his numbers numerous times thereafter, inclusive of the
following numbers 00263772383532 and 00263772383593,” she said.
According to Shilubane, Tsvangirai phoned the following day and asked her if
she had been to Zimbabwe, to which he replied she had only visited the
country for a church conference.
“He said he wanted me to come to Zimbabwe. I agreed that I wanted to date
him and I would like to see him and visit Zimbabwe. So he bought me an
aeroplane ticket and that was on the September 18, 2009 via British
“I stayed at my pastor’s house in Borrowdale and he would come after work to
see me. I stayed in Zimbabwe from September 18 2009 to September 20 2009. We
made love for the first time on Saturday September 19 2009 at the pastor’s
house in Borrowdale (and) I returned to South Africa on the September 20
2009,” she said.
Shilubane said after her first visit to Zimbabwe she returned to South
Africa and Tsvangirai phoned her and asked her where she was staying, to
which she told him Yeoville in Johannesburg, down the notorious Hillbrow
full of Zimbabweans and other foreigners.
“He expressed disgust and shock and he said: ‘How can you stay in that
hellhole; you need to get a nicer place in a nice location where I can come
and see you in uptown area. I looked for a place and I found a town house in
a place called Buccleuch in Johannesburg North near Sandton at No 53
Northfields, Fife Street Buccleuch.”
“R(rands) 13 000 were (sic) deposited into my Standard Bank account No
026640473 by Morgan, I paid for the place and moved into the new place at
the end of November 2009,” she said.
The romance blossomed, Shilubane said, as they communicated daily on her
mobile 0027726854436 and in November of 2009 Tsvangirai told her that he
wanted to go with her on a holiday.
She said the holiday was from December 28 2009 to January 10 2010 during
which they could not take their hands off each other, as “we were intimate
throughout the holiday period and we always had unprotected sex all the
times as he had asked me to go on family planning medication as he said he
did not want to have any more children”.
Shilubane said she continued communicating with Tsvangirai after the holiday
everyday and whenever he travelled aboard he would pass by South Africa and
“I would go to whichever hotel he would be in and we would be intimate and
make love two or three times on each occasion”.
On November 2010 she went on holiday to Gaborone, Botswana, with Tsvangirai
and on December 27 2010 they went for another “love cruise” in Singapore for
two weeks until early 2011. Shilubane attached photos of the holiday of the
two on a boat called “Legend of the Seas”.
She also claims in January 2011 Tsvangirai said he wanted to be serious with
her and “throw me in the kitchen” – local lingo for marrying – after which
she introduced him to his two children as her boyfriend.
Tsvangirai would go see her on numerous occasions with his motorcade and
sometimes he would even come with South African Police Services motorcade
In February 2011, Tsvangirai proposed to marry her, with the wedding
ceremony to be held in Zimbabwe, she said.
“I accepted his marriage proposal and I told him he needed to pay lobola as
per our Tsonga custom. He promised he would do that and he tasked me to go
and speak to my family to arrange a date. Which I did and was set for early
January 2012,” she said.
Shilubane said throughout 2011 Tsvangirai would go to South Africa and at
times she would see his friends Ian Makone, and his aides Wallace and Edgar
Gobvu to whom she would be introduced as his fiancée and future wife.
However, she says Tsvangirai started “acting funny” at some point. “Morgan
started acting funny when stories and issues of his numerous women started,
first there was a woman called Loreta Nyathi, then Aquilline Pamberi and
then Locardia Tembo. Every time I asked him about these stories he would
deny them and I always believed his explanations as we were in love and I
never thought that Morgan could have such a character as every time he
professed undying love for me and he never seemed to be such a chauvinistic
man he poses himself to be,” she said.
She said Tsvangirai did not turn up in January 2012 and gave the excuse that
he was dealing with government business and reconvened the date to end of
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week President Robert Mugabe on
Monday during a meeting advised Tsvangirai to carefully handle his private
life amid the storm brewed by Karimatsenga. Mugabe is said to have “given
notes” to Tsvangirai on how to manage his marital life since he was a high
In a press statement released last night by the Prime Minister’s
spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai said the two interdicts to stop
his wedding were a clearly “well-choreographed” move “replete with malice
He said his lawyers had opposed both objections to his wedding to Macheka.
“The latest claim, for example, has sought to wrongfully allege that the
complainant had engaged with Prime Minister Tsvangirai. This is false. Some
of the claims are part of a grand political scheme to besmirch, to malign
and to soil the image of the Prime Minister for political gain,” he said.
“Today’s claim was lodged with the newspapers before it was served on the PM’s
lawyers and with the magistrates’ court. There are those who have obviously
sought to dip political fingers in a social pie.”
September 14, 2012 in Business
BUSINESS tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten has reportedly moved part of his
stake in agro-industrial group CFI Holdings into a nominee account.
Report by Our Staff Writer
Well-placed sources say Van Hoogstraten, also a shareholder in Rainbow
Tourism Group and Hwange Colliery Company, moved over 10% of his
shareholding to his EFE nominees.
He owns just over 14% of the group through various investment vehicles which
include Messina Investments and Zimcor.
Although the change could be a temporary strategic move, the market is rife
with speculation that the stake could have been off-loaded to a high-profile
CFI continues to struggle, particularly with regards to financing. The group’s
inability to attract appropriate funding has hamstrung the company’s efforts
to re-tool its aged plant and equipment in the poultry business, while
depressing capacity and hence efficiencies and margins across the business.
CFI requires more than US$20 million to recapitalise its operations. The
company has been financing operations and new projects through disposal of
non-core assets and loans secured primarily from PTA Bank.
To date, CFI has raised about US$4,3 million from the sale of non-core
assets. It boasts a huge asset base compared to other listed companies.
The company, currently trading on a cautionary on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, has engaged potential investors to take up a 48% stake in its
poultry business, Crest Poultry, and an agreement is expected to be reached
It is widely believed that a South African-based businessman with old links
to CFI is the front-runner for the business. The group said it had narrowed
potential funding and technical partners to three.
The conglomerate is also talking to other strategic partners about investing
in its retail arm, Farm & City and Victoria Foods.
Analysts say that access to cheaper and more stable long-term funding would
help the business take advantage of volume growth at Agrifoods and Agrimix,
while a lasting solution is required to plug the gap created by increased
power outages at the hatcheries.
Analysts say low capacity utilisation at Crest and Suncrest leaves money on
the table, adding rise to imports of poultry products into the country.
Addressing the funding issue and balancing the equation would leave Vetco in
better stead and also leave Farm & City with improved performance since
funding would be available to develop the supply chain and improve inventory
The problems in the flour milling unit at Victoria are largely exogenous
with the only way management can reposition the business being importation
of cheap flour rather than mill expensively.
Zimbabwe’s wheat growing industry has basically gone to the dogs, taking the
milling industry with it.
CFI is also disposing of its Beira Grain Terminal and its 14% stake in
CFI operates three divisions: poultry, specialised and retail.
Poultry includes animal health unit Vetco, Agrifoods and Agrimix and the
poultry businesses Hubbard Zimbabwe, Glenara Estates, Crest Breeders and
Suncrest Chickens. Specialised comprises milling and snack foods operation
by Victoria Foods. The group operates Farm & City with branches around the
In the six months to March, turnover for the group was up 16% to US$55,4
million spurred by increased demand for hardware and agro-inputs in the
retail division. Volumes in the poultry division were unchanged and the
specialised division registered a decline in volume.
In terms of contribution, poultry put in 50%, specialised 13% and retail
The group reported a loss of US$1,24 million, which was worse than US$486
901 in the comparable period and a reduction from the US$4,51 million in
September 14, 2012 in Business
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti last week presented the state of the economy
report for August, a review of the performance of the economy so far in the
year. Unsurprisingly, the report was essentially a confirmation of the bad
news the nation already expected; unmet revenue targets, a widening trade
deficit, a disappointing agricultural season and a financial sector
beleaguered with non-performing loans. Below par revenue performance is
particularly worrying as the country is faced with important projects like
the constitutional referendum which will need funding.
Embarrassingly, the solution proffered involves taking a begging bowl around
the region. Interesting as that is, what stuck out most in the minister’s
address is the proposal for the resolution of the high levels of
non-performing loans in the banking sector.
Alarmingly, it was revealed that non-performing loans average 8% of deposits
for the whole banking sector but are as high as 50% if the top four
international banks are excluded.
Not only is this figure unacceptably high, but it is way higher than what
banks reveal in their financial results. It is no wonder authorities have
been spurred into action. If their figures are correct then a banking crisis
Banking is a confidence game and a run on banks will inevitably erupt if
depositors feel their money is in danger. As a proactive response, the
Ministry of Finance and alternative investment firm GEM Group, are mulling
the establishment of a US$1 billion fund which will acquire the banking
industry’s non-performing loans to protect depositors and restore
This would be done through the creation of the Zimbabwe Resolution
Corporation (ZRC) which would be jointly owned by the ministry and GEM and
run by the latter. ZRC would be funded through the issuance of a US$1
billion 10-year bond. Banks would then sell their non-performing loans to
ZRC at commercial rates and cede all rights attached including claims on
The establishment of ZRC is a noble cause and a timeous one given that there
is a real risk of a banking sector crisis. However, there are certain
aspects of the structure of the proposal which perhaps need further
The first aspect which may need rethinking is that the bond which will fund
ZRC will be guaranteed by the Ministry of Finance. Given how strained
government finances are, it is highly unlikely that such a guarantee will
instil confidence in potential investors and hence the bond issue may have
Government has been in arrears on payments to international financiers for
years and is also failing to settle local suppliers on time. At half-year
arrears due to local suppliers reportedly stood at US$179 million.
Government cannot therefore fail to settle that amount and be expected to
guarantee US$1 billion. They simply do not have the financial muscle to back
When a similar structure was put in place in Nigeria where they established
the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, the Nigerian government had the
capacity to pay. Even then there was a public outcry on why government was
bailing out errant banks.
In Nigeria following the aforementioned public outcry, a sinking fund funded
by the banks themselves was created to offset some of the cost to the
Similarly, a sinking fund will also be established locally to offset the
cost to ZRC. This sinking fund will be funded through a 2% levy on each bank’s
risk weighted assets. A negative aspect of such a structure is that the levy
“punishes” those banks with more assets and those with better quality
assets. Ironically, these are likely to be the banks with less
non-performing loans and they will bear the cost of their peers’ errant
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for the proposed bond issue is the sheer quantum
of funds to be raised. In the Zimbabwean context US$1 billion is a lot of
money. Put into perspective, it would dwarf any single investment made into
the country in recent times.
If investors were not willing to bring money into the country to fund
business, will they now fall over each other to buy the lowest quality
loans? One of the lead investors listed is Afreximbank.
Afreximbank already has exposure to the Zimbabwean banking sector and may
well be uninterested in further exposure. The proposal did not mention
whether the potential investors had already been approached and if so what
their response was.
Other target investors mentioned include South Africa’s Public Investment
Corporation, Development Bank of Southern Africa and National Social
Security Authority. Sovereign funds, local banks and private sector
investors have also been listed as potential investors.
A potential pitfall for ZRC is the possibility that if the amount raised
falls short of the targeted US$1 billion, then there may be favouritism in
the disbursement of the fund. The proposal which has been distributed so far
does not yet give much detail on exactly how the funds will be applied. If a
small amount is raised and distributed clandestinely then the whole project
may fall into disarray.
ZRC is definitely an ambitious project, perhaps bordering on the impossible.
Should the project come to fruition, then it would be a good thing for the
sector and the country as a whole. The involvement of GEM whose track record
in Zimbabwe is soiled by their failure to deliver on promises to raise US$45
million for mining company Rio Zim certainly does little to instil
confidence. If they pull this one off, then certainly that will prove their
Assuming ZRC is successful in cleaning up non-performing loans in the
banking sector, the exercise should be followed up with an exercise which
will rid the industry of the practices which are responsible for the bad
loans to begin with.
In Nigeria this included blacklisting some bank executives. The same may be
needed in our market.
Whatever method is used, ultimately bankers’ behaviour needs to be reformed.
Another poser is how banks, particularly the smaller ones that cannot profit
much from non-interest income, will make profit in a post-clean-up world.
Lending will have to be more prudent and perhaps banks will be forced to
rationalise operations to remain profitable. Ultimately banks will have to
fight for the few quality borrowers in the market and the ensuing struggle
for survival may result in bank mergers and Zimbabwe losing its “overbanked”
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
THE debate over the Copac draft constitution has gone on for the past few
weeks with the state media, both print and electronic, supporting the
unilateral amendments Zanu PF made to the agreed document now dividing the
public and coalition government.
Report by Gee WekuMazowe
Zanu PF has justified these amendments, arguing the people’s views in the
national report had been overlooked during the drafting process. However,
what was captured in the so-called national report does not in any way
reflect the views of the people during the outreach programme for a number
The Copac outreach programme started in the rural areas, with the intention
to end the exercise in urban areas. But after completing the outreach
programme in the rural regions and upon moving into the urban areas, the
exercise failed to take off smoothly amid political clashes and disruptions,
mainly by Zanu PF hooligans who did not want the urbanites to express their
views. As a result many people in urban areas were left out of the loop.
More than 50% of the country’s population which is dominated by young people
now generally resides in urban areas. Most of the youths, the bulk of the
voters, who live in urban areas are important in shaping the future of the
country. This is one reason why those who analysed the collected data argued
they could not use quantitative analysis of the data. To do so would have
meant giving the data collected from the rural areas more weight than it
Secondly, in the run up to the rural outreach programme, Zanu PF, which
right from the beginning wanted to control the process, content and the
output, mobilised its structures, war vets and youths to go around coaching
and intimidating people, telling them what they should say during the
outreach programmes — rigging the process.
A few individuals were selected and made to memorise what they were going to
say during the outreach programme. Villagers were also told the majority of
them would remain quiet during meetings as only a selected few individuals
were supposed to contribute in the stage-managed contributions. Anyone who
dared contribute when they had not been authorised to do so would be
punished afterwards for expressing themselves without permission.
In some areas the outreach programme continued for a number of days but the
same people went around repeating the same things they had been coached to
say. This cannot be said to have been a genuine effort to capture the views
of the “people” as Zanu PF planted its Kariba draft ideas and views that its
leader wanted reflected in the national report and hence the new
The two MDC formations have argued that since Zanu PF claims it has
incorporated the people’s views into its own draft, which it now wants the
three parties to adopt, why not take both the Copac draft and the Zanu PF
draft to the referendum. Surely if Zanu PF correctly incorporated people’s
views, voters will choose its draft.
Zanu PF is opposed to this because it knows given a choice people will not
vote for its draft. That is why those who are making so much noise, claiming
Zanu PF has aligned the national and Copac report are unwilling to subject
both drafts to the referendum and are in fact even denying that their
wholesale changes amount to producing a different draft.
Zanu PF’s fears are understandable: if people vote in secret they will this
time get an opportunty to truly express their real position on the new
The problem is Zanu PF bigwigs seem to now believe that they own the country
and can do whatever they want with it, including imposing a constitution.
They even now call themselves “revolutionary or liberation party”,
insinuating they are the only legitimate embodiment and expression of the
people’s hopes and aspirations.
Zanu PF needs to be reminded that Zimbabweans collectively and in their
diversity fought for this country to ensure democracy and one man-one vote.
So why should a small section of society be allowed to take away the rights
of citizens, including their right to decide what sort of a constitution
they would want and who should rule them?
We also have a situation where war veterans think that since they went to
war to liberate this country they are entitled to hold special views and the
nation to ransom. They need to be reminded that there are millions of
children, who have equal citizens’ rights like them, who were born after
independence and who are now eligible to vote but might have different views
War veterans should also be reminded that they fought the war together with
the masses; if the people did not support them by feeding, clothing and
giving them vital information and protection they would not have won the
struggle that way.
Now the same war veterans are taking those masses for granted by beating and
threatening them with death for merely expressing divergent views to theirs.
Is that the democracy which Zimbabweans fought for? Is that what people died
for during the liberation struggle?
It should also be made clear that in drafting this current constitution, we
are looking at the future rather than at the current situation. The
constitution-making process cannot and should not be about protecting or
removing anybody from power. It should not be about short-term and
electoral-driven interests, but national interests — the future of the
country and its people.
The current Copac process and the resultant draft are a result of
compromises between the three political parties involved. That is common
cause. All contentious issues were referred by the negotiators to their
parties for a position and it is therefore puzzling why Zanu PF now disowns
what its team agreed on and appended their signatures to. Should we conclude
Zanu PF Copac negotiators did not consult their party on important issues to
get direction or they consulted but ignored their principals?
A constitution is designed to limit the exercise of state power and this is
what the Copac draft seeks to do. Hiding behind the misleading national
report, which contains views of one party that manipulated the outreach
programme, can hardly be the best way to produce a well-thought-out and
durable constitution in a global and changing environment, particularly
given the report is just a clear sham.
WekuMazowe followed the Copac process closely. He writes in his personal
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
FAMILIAR with the hustle, bustle and congestion of their city, Harareans
travelling into the town centre were greeted by an eerie silence on
Wednesday morning. The reason was simple: The police had marshalled their
resources to launch a ruthless, nay brutal operation aimed at ridding the
city of the menace of touts and rank marshals.
Report by Stewart Chabwinja
The operation had magic bullet efficacy. Gone were the all-too-familiar
“Mbare, Mbare, Mbare!” cries, or “DZ yese!, yese DZ!” from touts who have
become an integral, if acutely annoying, part of life in the city.
There were no customer wars in which touts literally fought over, or dragged
commuters into their kombis; no “Formula One” driving stunts. Ditto traffic
congestion –– at least for the most part.
It was a job well done by the police on the surface of it –– never mind how
long the sanity will last.
Yet the police’s action raises pertinent questions, not least being to what
extent is their motto “Pro lege, pro patria, pro populo” (for the law, the
nation, and the people) still their guiding principle?
What is shocking about this sorry affair is that it eventually took the
assault of soldiers by the touts who had become a law unto themselves to
rouse the police from their slumber.
The cops were content to fold their arms and watch despite a deluge of
recent media reports suggesting thugs and their bosses, allegedly aligned to
Zanu PF, had taken over the city’s taxi ranks and were living large on the
proceeds of extortion –– illegally collecting protection fees from kombi
The ZRP’s hands-off approach was epitomised by Harare police spokesman Chief
Inspector James Sabau who had the gall to declare the police would not
interfere because it was the bus operators who initially invited the
“They (kombi operators) should find a way of dealing with their rank
marshals,” Sabau declared.
A wake-up call indeed. To imagine all along the public thought the police
had a duty to be proactive in the interests of their duty of maintaining law
Two weeks ago a Zanu PF chairman was assaulted by touts for confronting them
after they increased their illegal fees, and banned some buses for leaking
information to the media.
A tout was even quoted as saying: “We have more power than the police.”
Clearly the Zanu PF thugs were becoming a Frankenstein monster, but police
remained largely uninterested.
Sabau again: “We intend to meet all stakeholders this week… come up with a
tangible solution… There is an outcry now because the touts increased what
they charge hence (Kombi operators are) calling for our help.”
Then last Friday rank marshals assaulted two soldiers in uniform at a city
bus terminus after they tried to defend commuters. Come Sunday, about 20
soldiers indiscriminately beat up touts, rank marshals and the public at a
commuter omnibus rank in vengeance.
That finally did it for the ZRP. After the soldiers were assaulted, the
police launched its anti-tout operation, arresting 308 rank marshals and
touts in the crackdown in the central business district.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka sang a fresh tune: “The exercise is
simply to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order in the city. We
received numerous complaints from commuters, shoppers and people doing
business in town to do with the behaviour of the touts and that’s what
So the police were acting in the public interest after all. Then,
unwittingly, Mandipaka’s dead giveaway: “It’s uncalled for, for members of
the public to attack uniformed forces,” he said. “It’s not good.”
But did it have to take attacks on soldiers for police to do their job?
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
“EVERY man got a right to decide his own destiny, and in this judgment there
is no partiality. So arm-in-arm with arms we’ll fight this little struggle,
cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.
Report by Dingilizwe Ntuli
firstname.lastname@example.orgBrother you’re right, you’re right, we go fight, we’ll
have to fight, fight for your rights. Natty dread it in a-Zimbabwe; set it
up in Zimbabwe; mash it up in a-Zimbabwe; Africans a-liberate Zimbabwe.
Divide and rule could only tear us apart. In every man chest there beats a
heart. So soon we’ll find out who is the real revolutionaries. And I don’t
want my people to be tricked by mercenaries.”
These are the unmistakable lyrics of the late great Bob Marley from his song
Zimbabwe which he belted out on Independence Day on April 18, 1980. When
Marley and the Wailers were invited to perform, it’s said the first official
words uttered in Zimbabwe, following the raising of our new nation’s flag
were, “Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Marley and the Wailers”.
This tune had inspired the new country’s freedom fighters during the
protracted bush war which led to Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain on
April 18, 1980.
Marley considered himself a freedom fighter through his revolutionary music.
Since that historic night at Rufaro Stadium in Harare, a host of prominent
Jamaican reggae artists have flocked to our country and the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority even sponsored popular dancehall artists like Sizzla and Cocoa Tea
to perform in Zimbabwe in a bid to help spruce up the country’s image.
The musicians have celebrated President Robert Mugabe as a principled and
courageous freedom fighter.
Sizzla even said Mugabe was one of his “fathers from Africa”.
But Sizzla’s “father from Africa” stoked a diplomatic tiff with Jamaicans
last week when he stereotyped them as a country of drunkards perennially
hooked on marijuana while giving a “distinguished lecture” at the Research
and Intellectual Expo 2012 at the University of Zimbabwe.
“In Jamaica they have freedom to smoke mbanje, varume vanogara vakadhakwa
(men are always drunk) and universities are full of women. The men want to
sing and do not go to colleges, vamwe vanobva vamonwa musoro (some are
dreadlocked). Let us not go there,” said Mugabe, oblivious of the outrage
his sentiments would provoke. Were Marley alive today, what would he be
Jamaican Foreign Affairs minister AJ Nicholson was angered by Mugabe’s
statements and demanded an apology saying such comments were inappropriate,
especially coming from a head of state, and even suggested that Mugabe
return membership in the Order of Jamaica, which was conferred on him during
a state visit in 1996 if he felt it was awarded to him by drunkards.
Had it been the Jamaican Prime Minister who branded Zimbabweans as lazy, the
island would have been accused of pandering to Western stereotypes.
Do all Jamaican men smoke marijuana, spend the whole day drinking alcohol or
prefer singing to working? Certainly not! While there may be some
inconvenient truths about Mugabe’s observations, it is the undiplomatic
manner he expressed his observations that seem to have angered most
Jamaicans were quick to remind him that for a man who has been in power for
32 years and ruined his country, he should shut up. They reminded Mugabe
that their island has achieved more than Zimbabwe in the international arena
considering its size.
Who can forget the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt ,being unleashed at the
Beijing Olympic Games in 2008? Bolt shattered the 100m, 200m and 4X100m
relay world records with lightning dominance and won the same events at this
year’s London Games. Mugabe knows that Bolt is the only sprinter to retain
the three Olympic sprints in succession.
They also reminded Mugabe that Jamaica proudly upholds democracy and the
rule of law and while it might seem to Mugabe that their men are lazy,
Jamaican women have actually advanced way beyond the stage where they are
treated as second-class citizens.
This is not the first time Mugabe has drawn such widespread criticism for
reckless and unprovoked utterances. In 1992, he came under fire from the
Jewish community for declaring that white farmers were so “hard-hearted, you
would think they were Jews”.
He issued an apology following an outcry and explained that he had used a
Shona expression which when directly translated sounds offensive.
Mugabe also made xenophobic and disparaging remarks about Mbare residents
branding them “totemless” and elements of alien origin after they rejected
his Zanu PF in the 2000 elections.
For a leader who always postures as the legitimate voice of Africans at home
and the diaspora, Mugabe’s remarks exposed his poor and reckless sense of
judgment and hypocrisy. He must apologise to Jamaicans for hurting their
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
TOMORROW is supposed to be Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s biggest day
since he lost his first wife Susan in a car accident in 2009, as he weds new
spouse Elizabeth Macheka, but it now appears it might also be a day of
Instead of it being a day of popping champagne corks, celebrating life and
enjoying with family, friends and relatives, it might prove to be a moment
when the consequences of the premier’s mistakes or misdeeds catch up with
After riding out a disorienting storm prompted by his estranged “wife”
Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo last week in her bid to stop his wedding to
Macheka, Tsvangirai yesterday found himself in the middle of another sex
A South African woman, Nosipho Regina Shilubane, popped up from out of the
blue, claiming she had also been promised marriage by the prime minister,
hence his wedding to Macheka must be stopped until the air has been cleared.
Even without Tembo’s dramatic bid to stop the marriage to Macheka,
Tsvangirai’s wedding was still going to be scandal-ridden, given how he was
last year involved in a public row with the woman he “married” for just
about a fortnight before dumping her, citing all sorts of grounds including
Quite apart from that, Macheka is the daughter of Zanu PF central committee
member and former Chitungwiza mayor Joseph Macheka.
This has provoked controversy in certain circles.
Interestingly, Tembo was also coming from a Zanu PF-linked family, amid
fears Tsvangirai would be compromised politically, right from his bedroom to
the office where he is reportedly swarmed by teeming state agents in one
form or another.
To make matters worse, Tsvangirai has since the death of Susan been linked
to a harem of other women, including Arikana Chihombori, Aquilina Kayidza
Pamberi, Leah Mhundwa and Loretta Nyathi, among others.
And all of sudden Shilubane emerged from the woodwork yesterday –– just 48
hours before the wedding!
There are many compelling issues of public interest which arise out of this
saga: Tsvangirai’s personality, his temperament and judgement; not to
mention his ability to organise himself and run his life.
So who is behind this Hollywood-style drama? There are also career-related
issues at stake, including public trust, opinion, voters and elections, and
ultimately the question: is he fit to govern?
It is quite possible –– in fact it is as clear as an azure sky of deepest
summer –– that there are some dark forces behind this spectacle. Spooky
forces are almost certainly pulling the strings behind this tragi-comedy.
Intelligence services are almost unquestionably involved. There is a script
behind the theatre. “Honey traps” and sting operations have been used since
time immemorial by intelligence operatives.
However, this argument is not sustainable because it wholly ignores the
issue of Tsvangirai’s character and judgement.
It also presupposes he was not an active participant in all these affairs.
Yet it is clear he has been involved by choice.
One is tempted to empathise with Tsvangirai.
He is largely a good guy but has serious limitations as a politician and
leader. Of course, politicians in general are associated with dirty
politics: political scandals involving power, sex and money –– and yes,
Sex scandals can be destructive. In some cases, these scandals are so
damaging, they can destroy careers, or even bring down governments.
They have brought down powerful politicians, movie actors, football stars
and musicians all over the world. This is obviously something of an
oversimplification: every politician’s scandal is different, and no one
overarching theory can explain exactly how each plays out.
Indeed, some politicians have had their careers ended by such incidents as
Tsvangirai is facing, while others have survived, and even gone on to become
more popular than before.
Some find that voters are more forgiving than we expect, while others have
been able to convince the public their accusers are politically motivated
and have sinister agendas.
At the same time, some stories are simply too devastating to survive. But
there are some contexts that determine whether a damaging event becomes
That said, the question here is: Will Tsvangirai survive this series of
salacious sex scandals? If he does, is he fit to govern?
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
BATTLE lines around the stormy debate focusing on the constitution-making
process are clearly drawn as preparations for elections next year gather
Starting last week, the Zimbabwe Independent began serialising articles
written by MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti — who is
a lawyer by profession — on the controversial constitution-making exercise.
Does it protect the people against imperial power?
The Copac draft deals with imperial power in four respects. The first is the
creation and definition of citizenship that is broad and inclusive.
Citizenship is acquired through birth, descent and registration.
The definition of citizenship by descent is wide and more importantly all
citizens have equal rights. Another issue dealt with decisively is the
question of citizenship in respect of third or fourth generation Zimbabweans
born from great or grand parents that came from Sadc countries as immigrant
workers, the so-called aliens from Nyasaland or Blantyre. The Copac draft
now makes these so-called aliens citizens of Zimbabwe by birth.
The second and more decisive issue is a comprehensive Bill of Rights
providing for both first generation and socio-economic rights. The Bill
provides for exciting rights such as the right to personal security, the
right to life, equality and non discrimination, the right to demonstrate and
petition. In Article 4.7 the Bill provides for comprehensive rights for
arrested and detained persons which are revolutionary in our law whilst in
Article 4.24 it bestows comprehensive political rights on citizens.
With regards to rights to education and health, the state is obliged to
provide a basic state-funded education and access of basic health services
including reproductive health services.
The third and most important manner in which this constitution protects the
people is by creating a democratic and accountable president. The mischief
that we have lived with as Zimbabweans is that for the last 32 years this
country has been run by an imperial president who has had more powers than
the philanderer Henry the VIII. President Robert Mugabe has and still
exercises such autocratic de facto and de jure powers that make many
imperial presidents envious. He makes laws, appoints judges, appoints
government and its officials, dissolves parliament willy-nilly and has
absolute control of the securocrats.
The Copac draft creates an executive president who shares power with
cabinet, who cannot make policy without cabinet, who does not substantively
appoint judges, who cannot dissolve parliament, who cannot unilaterally
declare war or a state of emergency. It creates a president that does not
have immunity for any crimes or omissions committed during his or her term
Furthermore, it creates a president and a cabinet that can be recalled by
This is a new concept for Zimbabwe and for Zanu PF. This is why the biggest
cry from Zanu PF has been against this new democratic president.
The fourth manner in which this constitution protects the people is by
creating a security service that is subordinate and subject to the
constitution, parliament and an elected executive. That constitution even
creates a public complaints body against the omissions and commissions of
the security services which include the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO). More importantly, security chiefs, like the president, are now
subject to a limited tenure of office of two five-year terms. There are
limited terms of offices for permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals and
those heading government bodies.
Does it establish and protect a clear separation of powers and authority in
the state structures?
Indeed, the Copac draft creates traditional organs of state power that is to
say judiciary, legislature and executive.
However, unlike the current constitution, where one office and one
individual totally subordinates the other chambers, the same is not the
case. There is a judiciary consisting of a Constitutional Court, Supreme
Court, High Court and other courts. Judges are appointed nominally by the
president but only from a list provided by parliament following a process of
public interviews. There is a legislature consisting of a Senate and the
Unlike the present position, the president does not have the power of
unilaterally dissolving a parliament save when an election is due. The
existence of executive commissions such a public service, police and
correctional service commissions, which are more structured than now also
reinforces this doctrine of separation of powers.
Does it create independent institutions, particularly those which create a
bulwark against power and big government?
Yes it does. This constitution creates important institutions in our law
which include an independent anti-corruption commission, auditor general,
gender commission, human rights commission, media commission.
The most important commission is arguably the National Prosecuting Authority
that is created to ensure that the prosecution of criminal justice is
“de-Zanunised” and depoliticised. This is an important break with the past.
It is thus not surprising why Zanu PF is fighting against this clause.
Another important commission is the National Peace and Reconciliation
Commission which, among other things, will deal with our past and our future
given the periods of hard and soft genocides we have seen in this country
from Gukurahundi to the death of General Solomon Mujuru, just to mention a
Again not surprisingly, Zanu PF does not want this.
Does it articulate the developmental aspirations of the people?
Yes. Firstly, one of the founding principles of this constitution is that of
equality and inclusivity. A nation cannot develop when other citizens are
innocent bystanders and onlookers. By creating strong and clear provisions
dealing with the issue of gender equality, the Copac draft makes women
central players in our discourse. The gender provisions in this constitution
even go farther than those in the South African constitution.
Secondly, by creating a devolved state, which now operates through the
mediums of provincial and metropolitan councils, the Copac draft is
recognising the right of communities to manage their affairs and to further
— To be continued next week.
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
THE Jamaican community must be feeling somewhat aggrieved by President
Robert Mugabe’s recent remarks pouring scorn on the role of Jamaican
men.Report by MuckRaker
Giving a lecture in the capital Mugabe showed no gratitude for the numerous
Jamaicans who have backed his policies.
“In Jamaica they have freedom to smoke mbanje, men are always drunk and
universities are full of women,” Mugabe said. “The men want to sing and do
not go to college,”’ he was quoted as saying by the Daily News.
“Some are dreadlocked, let’s not go there.”
Several prominent dancehall artistes have been to Zimbabwe where they heaped
praise on the Zimbabwean leader. Sizzla, Red Rat and Buju Banton are among
the performers who have visited in recent years. But despite their support
for the president, there is no reciprocity.
Rastafarians consider mbanje the “wisdom weed”.
Does this mean Sizzla who was given a farm will be a little wiser when
trotting out his “wise” opinions on Mugabe’s regime in future?
The Jamaican press reports that Mugabe’s comments provoked a storm with the
country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator AJ Nicholson
saying: “We strongly reject the suggestions contained in the news item.”
The Jamaica Observer quotes him saying: “Jamaican men and women from all
walks of life have made valuable contributions to national development and
have made their mark on the world stage, be it in the field of politics,
diplomacy, medicine, science and technology, or sports and culture, among
The minister said the country took “immense pride in the acknowledged
contribution that Jamaica has made to the liberation of southern Africa and
was gratified that nations such as South Africa and Zimbabwe enjoy the right
to choose their own destiny”.
“We need not remind that Jamaicans such as Marcus Garvey, Michael Manley,
Bob Marley and Dudley Thompson have advocated for and inspired generations
of our brothers and sisters both in Africa and in the African diaspora. We
believe that our contribution to the promotion of peace and social justice
is recognised and appreciated by all well-thinking people across the globe,”
Reggae artiste Cocoa Tea was also peeved by the statements, reports the
Jamaica Star, saying he performed alongside fellow artiste Fantan Mojah in
Zimbabwe last October.
“That statement is not a true reflection of us as a people. Jamaicans are
way better than that and we are leaders but everyone is entitled to their
own opinion. Sizzla is an educated artiste who has his degree for example. I
don’t really know how (Mugabe) came up with that conclusion,” he said.
Fellow artiste Tony Rebel was more scathing: “That statement was meant to be
an insult but it’s actually a compliment because the Jamaican culture is so
influential. Why he found it necessary to include Jamaica in such a
distinguished lecture (I don’t know). I wish him the best of health and hope
he is not getting senile because he is over 80 years old and he needs to
find a successor.”
There you have it!
Of late ZBC has been giving Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) leader Kissnot
Mukwazhi generous airplay. His party’s policies curiously echo those of Zanu
Mukwazhi has become a recognisable face on ZBC parroting Zanu PF policies
and views despite masquerading as an “opposition” party leader.
In February ZDP said it had suspended operations as a standalone political
movement and would work closely with Zanu PF “after realising that the
revolutionary party is the only movement with a developmental agenda for
With elections looming Mukwazhi has now emerged from the woodwork to give
the impression opposition parties are in agreement to Zanu PF’s ruinous
“Voices in opposition to the Copac draft constitution continue to increase
from various interest groups and political players within the country,”
crooned ZBC recently referring to outfits like ZDP and their ilk.
Mukwazhi also lambasted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for criticising the
bias of the state-controlled media in Zanu PF’s favour, saying it
“demonstrates his ignorance on the role and operations of the media”.
ZDP also bleated the Zanu PF mantra on security sector reform saying they
were attempts by the MDC-T and its handlers to weaken Zimbabwe and “effect
illegal regime change”.
This week Mukwazhi was on television again saying he concurred with Zanu PF
that elections should be held this year without a new constitution.
Cde Kissnot is truly giving Zimbabweans a kiss of death. No pun intended!
The Herald is rapidly running out of serious commentators. Instead it
publishes silly articles by half-baked political scientists who are nothing
more than camp followers of the Mugabe regime.
On Tuesday the paper published something bizarre by Prof wa Mutika who we
are told is a US-based Ugandan political scientist.
He doesn’t appear to have benefited anything by living in the States. His
article was a childish apologia for the regime. “President Mugabe has
single-handedly raised the profile of the southern African country,” he
Indeed he has. It is now a byword for misrule. “He is no doubt a hero for
all rightful thinking Africans and any sound-thinking African leader should
emulate his leadership style.”
Perhaps he means Michael Sata, Yahya Jammeh or King Mswati?
And who do all these pungent pundits love to hate? Raila Odinga of course as
well as Morgan Tsvangirai. They are all “stooges”.
Russia and China are described as “world political fair players. Odinga is
described as “nothing other than preserving white supremacy”.
Is this the best the Herald can do? And none of its journalists seem to mind
working for a press that is a captive of a partisan regime. No objection to
this crude propaganda and the complete abandonment of professional
Meanwhile, Thabo Mbeki has been complaining about Western intervention in
Libya. What he doesn’t say is Western nations pleaded with the AU to do
something about Col Gaddafi’s imminent attack on his own people. They only
acted when Africa failed to take decisive measures to head off the carnage.
As we warned some months ago, the lickspittle crusade is now on full
throttle mode with elections looming on the horizon. Not to be left out was
Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge furnishing President Mugabe with as
much adulation as his vocabulary could muster.
Introducing Mugabe at the official launch of the Research and Intellectual
Expo 2012 in Harare, Mudenge described him as a “colossal figure, a fountain
of knowledge and wisdom, a teacher, father, fearless and consistent
Mudenge was not done, further stating that, “He has been rated one of Africa’s
all-time greatest men”.
Mugabe shook his head, NewsDay reports, while the auditorium burst into
‘Small houses” should have been counted separately in the just-ended
population census since they might not be that small after all, according to
According to the Daily News Mugabe said: “Here in towns we have the
so-called small houses. I do not know whether they are that small.
“Perhaps during the census they should have asked (people) whether you are a
small house or not… you would not have obtained the truth I am sure.”
We remember not too long ago a “small house” which wound up in State House.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, something Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai is finding out the hard way.
Tsvangirai’s jilted lover Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo filed an urgent
application in the High Court throwing the marriage slated for tomorrow in
jeopardy. Although the judge gave him relief, it’s really not yet over.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka has been in firefighting mode
accusing the Central Intelligence Organisation of trying to destroy his boss’s
reputation ahead of elections next year.
Whether the accusations are true or not Tsvangirai’s conduct has been less
Let’s hope the premier finally settles down after a very adventurous
The Herald reports that rank marshals known as “Mandimbandimba” last week
severely assaulted two soldiers in uniform at the Charge Office bus terminus
in Harare after they came to the rescue of commuters who were being
One of the touts seized the soldier by the collar, while others dragged him
by the hands.
“They then took him to a food court across Angwa Street where nearly 20
touts head-butted, slapped, punched, spat in his face and threw him to the
The rank marshals also assaulted Zanu PF chairman for Chadcombe-Msasa
district Itai Badze after he confronted the touts for increasing the fees
they collect from kombi crews.
Despite the rampant lawlessness perpetrated by the touts, police
spokesperson Chief Inspector James Sabau could only say those beaten up
should report to the nearest police station.
“People who are assaulted have to report to the nearest police station or
police officer. I would be able to comment if the soldiers had lodged their
complaints with the police.”
One member of the “Mandimbandimba” is quoted by the Herald boasting that
they have more powers than the police.
“He cannot do anything to us because even some kombis belonging to senior
members in government are paying us. The people know that we exist and they
do not have powers to chase us.”
The touts have grown rich overnight building mansions in leafy suburbs of
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has called on his party’s
provincial administration to investigate the issue since the touts are
aligned to Zanu PF, yet nothing is being done.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF Harare province youth chairperson, Jim Kunaka, who has
been linked to the Chipangano militia group denied any links to the group
saying he was in fact a “victim” of political violence.
In an interview with the Financial Gazette Kunaka, however, threatened to
“baptise” those who did not support Zanu PF.
Taking over where Mudenge left off, Kunaka said President Mugabe should die
“He must stay on and never leave power. Even if he spends his whole life in
power, it is okay …Even if he lives to be 150 or 200,” he said.
The Standard reports that war veterans, led by Joseph Chinotimba, last
Friday stormed Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Walter Mzembi’s
offices demanding an explanation as to why the recent allocation of
conservancies to a few politicians was being resisted.
Chinotimba is one of the 25 Zanu PF politicians who were recently issued
with 25-year hunting permits despite owning another farm in Mashonaland.
His sense of entitlement to the conservancy emanates from his claim that
whites evicted his family from the Save Valley in the 1960s.
Meanwhile, the Financial Gazette stated that President Mugabe has been
“shocked” by the extent of asset-grabbing in Masvingo by Zanu PF
heavyweights following complaints raised by traditional chiefs he met
We hope his “shock” will translate into action.
Desperate times call for desperate measures so the saying goes, something
former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema can attest to. After being
the butt of internet jokes and parodies Malema has formally taken ownership
of a parody Twitter account.
Malema in 2010 previously threatened to “shut down” the social network
following rampant tweets from the many satirical Julius Malema Twitter
The ANC youth league then issued a grammatically bizarre statement calling
for the “closer” of Twitter.
“The ANC Youth League has in [sic] more than one occasion reported these
impersonators and hackers, yet no action has been taken against them by the
Twitter administrators. We will now approach the relevant authorities to
report these hackers and call for the closer [sic] of Twitter,” ranted the
ANC youth league.
After being kicked out of the ANC and in the political wilderness, Malema
has been forced to go to Twitter to seek an audience.
Since taking over the @Julius_S_Malema feed, the account is littered with
vitriol and typos.
One of his first tweets declared: “No surrender! No retreat! #ASIJIKI and we
are not frightened by threats of those who are loosing [sic] ground.”
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
LAST week the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti delivered a state of the
economy report for July and August 2012 as an update on fiscal and other
macro-economic developments since his mid-year fiscal policy review two
Report by Eric Bloch
Biti noted that “Zimbabwe’s economy remains depressed, with funding
challenges for the private and public sectors”, albeit there is a
“prevailing stable macroeconomic environment and some output improvements in
sectors such as mining”.
Apart from that reference to the improvement, he also cited stability of
inflation, at approximately 4%, as a positive. In so doing he did not
concede that the rate of inflation on certain absolute essentials key to the
constrained expenditures of low income-earners is significantly greater,
with attendant continuing hardships for many of Zimbabwe’s economically
oppressed population. Biti justly voiced concern at continuing public
He disclosed that state revenue inflows were US$257, 4 million in July,
against a target of US$271,2 million, and in August totalled US$269,2
compared to anticipated revenues of US$280,7 million. Thus government
collected approximately US$25,3 million less than it expected, adding to its
Also of major concern is that financial sector deposits rose by a niggardly
US$0,05 billion in July to US$3,64, resulting in continuing severe liquidity
constraints. He was also justly concerned that that sector’s lending ability
remained minimal and generally of a very short-term nature, while interest
rates continue to be exceptionally high — in some instances 30%.
The minister recognised that ongoing primary economic challenges include:
lContinuing revenue underperformance on the part of the state, and
consequential underfunding of various urgent government programmes
(including agriculture, infrastructure, census and other social services);
Lack of liquidity constraining banks from adequately funding productive
Low foreign investment and therefore low capacity utilisation, and high
levels of unemployment;
Continuing high national debt overhang, a major contributor to the inability
to source new financing.
Biti noted that as at August 30 2012, tobacco sales amounted to 144 million
kg at an average price of US$3,66 per kg, compared to sales in the same
period of 2011 of 131,9 million kg at an average price of US$2,74 per kg.
Total tobacco sales revenues were at US$526,6 million, against US$360,9
million last year.
By mid-August an estimated 304 112 tonnes of seed cotton had been delivered,
being 9% greater than anticipated, and grain deliveries were 63 278 tonnes,
of which 63 158 tonnes were maize, 80 tonnes were wheat and 40 tonnes were
small grains. All these volumes were far below national needs.
The mining sector has continued to be a substantive performer, with gold
production for the seven months to July 2012 at 7 799,5 kgs, the performance
being enhanced by a significant rise in international gold prices. In his
review, Biti did not address other areas of mining sector production as he
was still awaiting the relevant data.
The review further noted the ongoing decline in electricity generation which
in July fell to 1 058MW, against 1 104MW in June. Zimbabwe’s inadequate and
highly erratic energy generation continues to be a major hindrance to
performance of almost all economic sectors, especially for the
manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors.
Reverting to the subject of Zimbabwe’s exports which are critical to any
major revival of the economy, Biti disclosed details of export performances
in the eight months to August 2012, the greatest performer being the mining
sector which generated US$1580,4 million, followed by exports of tobacco at
US$273,9 million, other agricultural exports of US$190,1 million and
manufacturing exports of US$177,6 million. Total exports were at US$2,24
billion but imports were more than US$5,1 billion.
As the minister was only addressing Zimbabwe’s actual financial outturns in
the first eight months of 2012, his view did not address any policies to be
pursued to enhance the economy in general, and the state’s financial
circumstances in particular, and it must be anticipated that doing so will
be a key element of his 2013 budget statement due to be presented to
parliament in the next 10-12 weeks. However, the economy is in such a
fragile state, with ongoing hardships and suffering for a majority of the
populace. Government needs to pre-empt that statement through diverse,
urgent actions including:
Creation of a conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment thereby
creating employment opportunities, enhanced exports, import substitution and
increased fiscal revenue inflows. This requires considerable modification
of Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and economic empowerment policies, political
stability, reconciliation with the international community, fiscal probity,
and meaningful investment incentives.
Privatisation of parastatals so that they reduce fiscal outflows.
Heavy curtailment of unproductive state expenditure including reduction of
travel costs, minimisation of bureaucracy and corruption, and a substantial
reduction of the public service.
Intensified efforts to obtain international debt forgiveness.
Marked changes to import duties in order to protect Zimbabwean enterprises
from competition from imported products caused by excessive export subsidies
provided to many manufacturers in the Far East.
Were these — in addition to various other new fiscal policies — to be
effectively pursued, real economic upturn would be achieved.
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
ALTHOUGH restrictions have traditionally been imposed on civil servants
engaging in political activity to ensure public confidence in the
impartiality of the civil service, Zanu PF and the MDC-T are battling for
the heart and soul of the professional bureaucracy ahead of crucial
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
Zanu PF is fighting to perpetuate the spurious claim that it is the
legitimate representative of the poor, while MDC-T is trying to sustain its
own dubious assertions that it is a workers’ party.
This has brought the issue of improving civil servants’ salaries and working
conditions to the fore, with both parties trying hard to endear themselves
to the workers despite clear evidence that government has no resources to
adequately remunerate public servants.
Even though there is no money to pay government workers, the two parties
have been fighting to win over the support of the country’s 230 000-strong
public service, particularly after the formation of the coalition government
in February 2009.
Initially, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also MDC-T leader,
endeared himself to struggling civil servants in his inaugural speech at the
Glamis Arena in Harare soon after he became premier committing himself to
resume paying public workers’ salaries and benefits, which had fallen away
during the economic meltdown.
Tsvangirai announced the voucher system of payment, introduced by the Zanu
PF government to counter skyrocketing hyperinflation, was being scrapped and
civil servants were going to be paid in cash henceforth.
The restless civil servants and the security services in particular, were
resultantly calmed down as the coalition government promised to usher in a
new era of political and economic stability. Security forces were on the
brink of rioting when the inclusive government was formed due to government’s
failure to pay them. There had been disturbances, with disgruntled soldiers
involved in riotous behaviour in central Harare.
After initially accepting the resumption of paltry salaries in 2009, civil
servants — the following year, June 2010 — started demanding a pay rise, but
Treasury could not afford, let alone sustain it.
The burden of explaining the lack of money fell on Finance minister Tendai
Biti, also MDC-T secretary-general, and suddenly close relations that had
been seemingly forged at the creation of the coalition government began to
get uneasy and later sour.
Biti, realising government could not afford salary increments, blamed the
opaqueness surrounding diamond revenue inflows and the 75 000 ghost workers
on the civil service payroll for affecting fair remuneration.
Relations between government and civil servants slowly began to deteriorate
while restlessness intensified. The MDC-T was on the back foot as it runs
both Treasury and the public service portfolios.
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF quickly seized the opportunity, accusing
the MDC-T of blocking workers’ demands and of being anti-working class.
Mugabe publicly ordered Biti to review civil servants’ salaries in a
populist bid to gain their support even though he knew there was no money.
Biti initially resisted, leading to clashes not just with Mugabe, but also
Tsvangirai who wanted to be seen as sympathetic to workers.
Due to pressure from Mugabe, civil servants’ salaries were eventually
improved from US$100 to an average US$250 a month in January 2010, leaving
the impression the MDC-T was against the workers.
Mugabe and his party officials continued to demand further reviews of civil
servants’ salaries, piling pressure on Biti.
However, last week Biti, who continues to stick to his guns, found himself
with the unenviable task of informing civil servants they might not receive
annual bonuses because of scarce cash inflows.
The announcement triggered fears of a strike by civil servants. The MDC-T
seems aware of Zanu PF’s role in this issue and this week released a strong
statement urging government to stop politicking and address the civil
“It is disturbing Zanu PF continues to dabble in selfish politics by
blocking minister Biti’s proposals to raise money from the diamonds proceeds
in order to make a respectable salary package for the civil servants a
living reality,” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.
In July, Biti revised the country’s economic growth projection downwards and
warned that revenue inflows were generally performing below target.
He said Treasury had only collected targeted revenue in March and June
simply because these are the months corporates paid their quarterly taxes.
The minister continued to complain about lack of transparency and
remittances of diamond revenues and government’s foreign trips.
Political commentator Dewa Mavhinga said government should stop playing to
the gallery, but concentrate on fixing the economy.
“Political grandstanding on the issue of civil servants’ salaries is very
easy, but the central issue is that Zimbabwe’s economy is not performing,”
said Mavhinga. “It is plagued by massive corruption and leaks of its
precious resources like diamond revenues where there is little or no
accountability to enable proper planning and distribution of resources in a
way that benefits the nation.”
However, development specialist Maxwell Saungweme said both parties should
just work on improving the conditions of workers than blaming each other
since they are part of the same government.
Saungweme said: “Zanu PF, together with its MDC partners in the coalition
government, should take the blame for allowing conditions of service for
civil servants to plummet under their watch while they are part of a bloated
government with many useless ministries. It’s a government that buys
expensive vehicles for ministers while its civil servants don’t earn enough
money for bus fare for them to commute to work every month.”
The politicisation of civil servants’ salary and hijacking of trade unions
by political parties have created a situation in which civil servants’
salary and working conditions issues have given parties convenient political
campaign platforms, while workers continue to suffer. Resultantly, civil
servants have become political pawns on the electoral chessboard.
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
THE Zimbabwe National Youth Services Graduates Association petitioned the
High Court to compel President Robert Mugabe to proclaim dates for
by-elections in all the vacant parliamentary seats. This follows an
extension granted to Mugabe by the High Court to proclaim the dates for
by-elections in the three constituencies of Nkayi South, Lupane East and
Bulilima East by October 1.
Report by Phillan Zamchiya
What we need to do here is to extend the nuance. What will Mugabe do or not
do? What really is the politics at play here for the MDC-T, MDC and Zanu PF?
Strictly speaking, Mugabe will not be in contempt of court if he announces
by-elections in the three constituencies as ruled by the Supreme Court, but
he is most likely not going to do that. This is because of the electoral
politics at play.
If by-elections are held in the three Matabeleland constituencies, it is
definite that Zanu PF will be defeated. Never mind the current Freedom House
and Afrobaromoter surveys showing an increase in Zanu PF’s support base, the
margin is insignificant to translate into winning the three seats. No doubt
Zanu PF obviously expects to lose in these three constituencies, but the
party is not prepared to deal with the defeat’s psychological impact a few
months before crucial general elections.
Losing those three by-elections might have a significant psychological
effect and bearing on voters’ choices and voting patterns in the elections
next year, much to the detriment of Zanu PF, which is likely to be on the
On one hand, the MDC parties would not mind by-elections in just the three
constituencies. Why? First, this will provide an opportunity to humiliate
Zanu PF. Second, there is so much uncertainty as to who is who in
Matabeleland between the MDC-T and MDC with both parties claiming popular
support. MDC-T won the most seats in the region during the last elections
followed by MDC and Zanu PF although margins between winners and losers were
often wafer-thin. Thus, by-elections will be an important popularity
barometer for both political parties.
Even though recent political surveys point to a massive decline of support
for not only the MDC, but smaller parties in general, there is no clarity in
recent surveys as to whether the outflow is leading to an inflow to larger
parties. So by-elections provide a reality check as a re-strategising
opportunity for all parties.
If Mugabe calls for by-elections in all the vacant seats, this might work
for the image of Zanu PF, but it will also work for the image of MDC-T. Only
MDC will be dented by this move because it is still working to stretch its
For the two bigger parties, by-elections will have no serious political
consequences. Why? Taking a micro-focus on the 16 vacant lower house
parliamentary seats, the status quo in terms of balance of power in
parliament is not likely to change. The MDC-T loss of support indicated in
political surveys is not likely to affect the fortunes in parliament.
In the same breadth, Zanu PF gain in support is insufficient to wrest
parliamentary seats from MDC-T. Even if one is to go by the Freedom House
report, which shows the most significant decline in MDC-T support, the party
would still retain most of its parliamentary seats if by-elections were to
Let me illustrate with the five vacant seats in the lower parliamentary
house which were previously held by the MDC-T. These are Makoni Central,
Mabvuku-Tafara, Matobo North, Gutu South and Emakandeni-Entumbane
parliamentary seats. Even factoring in an 18% loss of support for the MDC-T
and a 14% gain by Zanu PF as indicated on average in the Freedom House
survey, the MDC-T remains certain to retain the four constituencies and will
need a simple game-changer to maintain all.
Of course, MDC-T would retain the four seats with a lower margin, but it is
a first-past-the-post electoral system. For example, based on the Freedom
House survey, in Makoni Central, MDC-T vote might decline from 7 069 in
March 29 2008 to 5 789 while Zanu PF’s vote might rise slightly from 4 035
to 4 600 which is not enough to wrest the seat. The same trend applies to
all the other four constituencies.
However, in Matobo North, Zanu PF might defeat MDC-T by a slight margin. The
loss of support indicated by Freedom House would mean Zanu PF’s votes in
Matobo will increase from 3 102 in March 29 2008 to 3 536 votes compared to
MDC-T’s decline from 3 503 to 2 873 votes. The overarching message is that
MDC-T will still win the majority of its seats in the by-elections because
loss of support is insignificant to upset the balance.
On the other, given that the Freedom House survey points to a rise in Zanu
PF support, the party will thus retain eight of the vacant seats that
previously belonged to it. These are Mutare North, Bindura North, Guruve
North, Mt Darwin East, Shamva South, Marondera East, Mwenezi West and
In summary, the by-elections will retain the hung parliament and will
provide no solution to the coalition government arrangement. Politically,
holding by-elections in just the three Matabeleland constituencies will
leave Zanu PF badly bruised, whereas by-elections in the entire 28 vacant
seats will demoralise MDC and as for MDC-T, either way things will remain
more of the same. The by-elections will not deliver the psychological boost
Zanu PF wants, but will be of no major harm either.
A possibility that could flow from this logic is that Mugabe can resort to
risk-taking behaviour synonymous with his rule to call for general elections
using the by-elections as a justification.
However, this is unlikely to find takers in Sadc and that is Zanu PF’s
Realistically, Mugabe might then be forced to go back to court and argue
that general elections, after all, are imminent within reasonable time, as a
way to put closure to the by-elections issue. This is the most likely
scenario, although some in Zanu PF clearly want Mugabe to call for general
elections using the by-elections pretext.
Dr Zamchiya is Crisis Coalition Regional Co-ordinator (South Africa). He
writes in his personal capacity.
September 14, 2012 in Opinion
IN this seventh part of his article, Derek Matyszak looks at the
complexities of the contentious Zanu PF succession matrix and how it was
influenced by the now dissolved Disrict Co-ordinating Committees (DCCs). He
argues that the disbanding of the DCCs, still existing at law, poses a
conundrum for the party’s succession politics.
Report by Derek Matyszak
If Zanu PF is to rely upon its electoral process for the replacement of
President Robert Mugabe, as it seems it ought, certain practical
difficulties present themselves.
The electoral process requires that all 10 PCCs (provincial coordinating
committees) submit nominees for “election” to the presidium by congress. The
PCCs, as has been outlined, are large and unwieldy bodies. They comprise the
provincial executive council and provincial members of the central
committee, national consultative assembly, executive committee of women’s
league, executive committee of the youth league, MPs and, until recently,
chairpersons of district coordinating committees (DCCs).
Many of these bodies are comprised of other components of the party
structure. Annexure B expands each of these so that the highly complex
nature of PCC is apparent. Each PCC thus usually comprises as many as 100 to
110 members. In theory, the composition of the PCCs makes them extremely
democratic bodies, and the large number of members drawn from disparate
sectors of Zanu PF structures ought to make it extremely difficult for any
individual to exert political pressure upon a PCC in the selection of the
nominee for “election” as president by congress.
However, this is both the forte and foible of the PCC. It will require
particularly astute, efficient, and active political commissars at of all
levels to ensure that delegates to the PCCs are properly identified and
attend the special electoral conferences of the PCCs. Furthermore, since the
PCC comprises elements of other party structures, it is necessary that these
structures are in place and properly formed when it becomes necessary to
convene each PCC as an electoral college. This is by no means certain given
the current state of Zanu PF’s internal politics.
The elections of the DCCs, for example, were particularly fraught. Several
elections were annulled, or postponed as a result, and on one occasion
police had to disperse rival supporters by firing shots into the air.
The politburo specifically cited the “divisive” nature of the DCC elections
as the reason for the dissolution of this component of the Zanu PF
structure. It has been suggested that these elections were hotly contested
and controversial because of the influence the DCCs have in the PCCs which,
as the electoral college, are central to Zanu PF’s succession politics.
However, as is seen here, the chairpersons of the DCCs did not constitute a
large component of each PCC.
There was only an average of nine DCCs in each province.
However, as the engine room of Zanu PF’s organisational structure, the DCCs
wielded an influence far beyond mere voting numbers. The DCCs played a key
role in subduing the rural electorate prior to the presidential run-off
election of 2008. The chairpersons of DCCs appear to have established
fiefdoms in the areas under their control. The requirement that the PCCs
must ensure each administrative district has at least one member appointed
to the central committee makes it probable that the appointee was the DCC
Control of the DCCs was thus seen as the route to enormous political
influence within Zanu PF.
The disbanding of DCCs poses a conundrum for Zanu PF succession politics.
All DCC chairperson were part of the PCCs. If these PCCs meet as an
electoral college to choose the nominee for president prior to the
ratification of the dissolution of the DCCs by congress, the question arises
as to whether the chairpersons of the DCCs should still be included as part
of the PCCs.
The Achilles’ heel of any electoral process which relies upon an internal
electoral college is that it is susceptible to challenge on the grounds that
the college making the selection was not properly constituted. Even prior to
the dissolution of DCCs, it is obvious PCCs were particularly vulnerable to
such a charge. If DCC chairpersons are excluded from PCCs prior to the
ratification of the necessary constitutional amendment by congress, this
will provide a glaring opportunity to assert that their exclusion
invalidates the proceedings of the electoral college. In a contested
nomination process, an allegation that merely one of the PCCs was not
properly convened, and its nomination thus invalid, is likely to effect the
determination of who are the nominees with the highest votes for purposes of
being reconsidered by the 10 PCCs as outlined earlier.
The practical difficulties do not end there if the intention is that the
selection of the nominee for Zanu PF president is to be put forward as the
nominee “of” Zanu PF as state president under Section 28(3)(b) of the state
The nominee who wins the vote of six provinces must be elected by congress.
But extraordinary sessions of congress may only be convened on 42 days (six
weeks) notice. Furthermore, as noted earlier, it is unclear whether an
extraordinary session of the National People’s Conference must be convened
to “declare” the party president as the party candidate for state president
as required by section 31(3) of the party constitution.
Recall that the parliamentary electoral college must make its choice within
90 days of a president’s demise, and that the Clerk of Parliament must call
for nominations 14 days before the election. This means that the
parliamentary electoral college may convene no sooner than 14 days, and no
later than 76 days, after the demise of a president.
Accordingly, within this timeframe the PCCs must convene, submit their
nominations, and resolve resubmit nominations in the event of a contested
process; the congress must convene and “elect” the person so nominated — a
process which might be protracted given the ambiguities as to the elective
power of congress in this regard; and the national people’s conference may
need to convene to declare the party president “elected by congress” as the
candidate for national president.
It is thus unlikely that Zanu PF will be able to select a candidate for the
parliamentary electoral college within the requisite timeframe if this
process is followed, particularly if the Clerk sets an early election date.
The role and power of the Clerk will thus be extremely important and
possibly decisive. It is worth noting here that the Electoral Act only
attends to a situation where there are competing candidates or a single
candidate. It does not deal with a situation where no nominee has been put
forward within the requisite timeframe.
If Zanu PF’s constitution is followed, therefore, the selection of a single
candidate to replace Mugabe is likely to be difficult. The Supreme Court may
be extremely busy over this period.
Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional
expert and researcher with the Research and Advocacy Unit.