Thursday, 24 September 2009 22:59
EMBATTLED Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited (KMAL) chief executive
officer Nigel Chinakira collapsed on Sunday and was airlifted the following
day to South Africa, amid reports that the battle to control the blue chip
company was taking its toll on his health.
High Court documents in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, which
were used by Chanakira's lawyers - Dube, Manikai and Hwacha (DMH) - to block
an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of KMAL yesterday for two weeks,
revealed that the banker was hospitalised at the upmarket Milpark Hospital,
The nature of his illness was not disclosed, but it was said he had
broken down due to cumulative stress and psychological pressure.
The EGM was meant to implement five de-merger resolutions agreed at
KMAL's last shareholders meeting in June.
Among the resolutions were the ouster of Chanakira and his appointees,
Callisto Jokonya and Busi Bango, from the KMAL board to clear the way for
the finalisation of the de-merger between Kingdom and Meikles.
In a founding affidavit lodged with the High Court, Chanakira's wife
Carol prayed to the court to postpone the EGM for two weeks because her
husband had "substantial interest" in it and had "fallen ill and is
Chanakira and his wife are directors of Valleyfield Investments (Pvt)
Ltd, an investment vehicle with about 6% shareholding in KMAL.
"I noticed that 1st applicant (Nigel) was becoming quite unnerved and
excitable," read Carol's affidavit.
She said she became worried about Chanakira's health and had to leave
Johannesburg where she was staying to be with him on Saturday.
"Although he was clearly in a bad state, he did his best to hold up,
but on Sunday 20th September, his condition deteriorated to a degree where
he was sedated and then airlifted to Johannesburg on Monday," Carol
Chanakira wrote. "I would not wish to state the full facts of this to the
court, suffice to say that he continues to receive good medical treatment
and we are hopeful for his recovery in due course."
The wife attached to her affidavit a letter by Dr Peter Hsu of
Milpark Hospital confirming Chanakira's health condition and location.
"This is to certify that Mr Chanakira is admitted to Milpark
Hospital," the doctor, a nephrologist, wrote. "Due to medical reasons he
will not be able to attend the board meeting. We will continue with
investigations and treatment for the next couple of days."
A nephrologist is a physician who has been educated and trained in
kidney diseases, kidney transplantation, and dialysis therapy.
In a supporting affidavit to that of Carol, a partner in DMH - Canaan
Dube - said Chanakira fell ill before he had a chance to review a draft
application challenging the holding of the EGM.
He said the lawyers had scheduled a meeting with Chanakira on Monday,
but efforts to locate him were in vain.
"We first received reports from Messrs Mtetwa and Nyambirai that Mr
Chanakira collapsed on Sunday
evening and was airlifted urgently to a hospital in Johannesburg on
Monday morning, and with a request for us to confirm with 1st applicant
(Nigel)'s wife or brother, the terms, meaning and impact of discussions
between Mr (Tawanda) Nyambirai and 1st applicant on Sunday," read Dube's
Sources close to Chanakira said of late the banker had shown signs of
stress and on the Sunday in question behaved strangely at a church service
at the Celebration Centre in Borrowdale.
The sources said Chanakira attended the church unusually dressed in a
tracksuit bottom and a T-Shirt and it is said that during the service he
became delirious before he was escorted out of the church.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 22:52
THE Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited extraordinary general meeting
failed to take place yesterday after an interdict by the High Court ordering
that the EGM be held after Nigel Chanakira has recovered or appointed
someone to act on his behalf.
This followed the successful application by Chanakira's lawyers from
Dube, Manikai and Hwacha before Justice Karwi yesterday morning,
interdicting the proceeding of the EGM because Chanakira is hospitalised in
An EGM was called to deliberate on changes to the board of KMAL, which
would see the ousting of three directors namely Chanakira, Callisto Jokonya
and Sibusisiwe Bango.
A sizeable number of shareholders showed up at the venue of the EGM
which was scheduled to start at 10 am and registration started despite the
fact that KMAL directors had not turned up.
An announcement was then made a few minutes after 10asm, telling the
shareholders that the EGM could not go ahead because of the court order.
All questions were referred to the EGM chairman Muchadei Masunda who
was not at the venue.
Investigators BCA Consulting, Budhama Chikamhi and Cleopas
Mukungunungwa, had on Sunday written to Masunda, in his capacity as the KMAL
chairman, advising him that the EGM could not go ahead without the approval
of the investigators since the company was specified.
This was challenged by Masunda who in his response to the notice on
Tuesday argued that the appointment of the investigators was in the first
Masunda also argued that even without looking at the validity of the
investigators' appointment, their summary of the provisions of the
Prevention of Corruption Act as stated in the notice were
To Page 2
Holding an EGM of shareholders is not an act or activity covered by
the Prevention of Corruption Act, pointed out Masunda.
"The prevention of Corruption Act grants to you no powers to issue a
directive as you are attempting to do in the fifth paragraph of your letter
and therefore, I will not comply herewith," said Masunda in response to the
letter from the investigators.
The investigators had in the letter directed that Masunda as "chairman
of the board of KML, a specified person, prepare, circulate and publish a
notice whose contents shall be approved by the investigators, calling off
the EGM set for the 24th of September."
The investigators had also said that there was evidence that there
were cases of "bad faith, connivance and outright misrepresentation on the
part of some board members of KML".
They went on to say that there were some instances where issues were
referred to John Moxon for implementation by Masunda without the
In his response, Masunda said the accusations were defamatory not only
to himself but also to other persons who were mentioned in the notice.
""I record my resentment of the suggestion that I have, at any time,
acted other than in the interests of the company, or in a manner likely to
promote the interests of any group of shareholders to the exclusion of the
interests of the company, or other shareholders," said Masunda.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 22:16
CONTROVERSY continued to plague the Zanu PF Women's League with some
members alleging vote-rigging in the hotly contested election for the
positions of secretary for commissariat and secretary for national security.
A top women's league official told the Zimbabwe Independent that Shuvai
Mahofa won that election, not Olivia Muchena.
"Ask the department of security at Zanu PF where 400 votes given to
Muchena came from? From our investigations, Muchena only had about 800 votes
and Mahofa 1 064 votes. They stole that election from Mahofa. A lot of our
members are very angry," the source said.
"The matter has been brought before the department of security and the
President (Robert Mugabe) is aware of it. It is now up to the top leadership
to decide what to do. Hopefully, the result will be reversed."
However, Zanu PF secretary for security Nicholas Goche dismissed the
reports saying Muchena won by more than 200 votes.
"The vote counting was done in front of everyone, with the assistance
of the police. Nobody protested -- if there was a problem, the issue should
have been raised there and then. I have not seen any report about that -- I
am not aware of such allegations," he said.
The two positions were tightly contested with both Mahofa and Muchena
wanting the position of the secretary for commissariat.
A secret ballot had to be ordered after the election for that position
degenerated into fistfights.
Muchena was declared winner with 1 274 votes for the powerful post of
commissar and Mahofa had to settle for the secretary for security post.
Police had to be called inside the conference venue at the City Sports
Centre to restrain factions who were quarrelling over the posts.
Several women allegedly aligned to Women's League boos Oppah
Muchinguri were assaulted with folded chairs by security details and
delegates from the camp led by Vice President Joice Mujuru. The group of 40
women from Manicaland had allegedly tried to force their way into the
conference venue. Two of them were seriously injured and rushed to hospital.
Another Women's League executive member said the problems were caused
by men, who wanted to influence the outcome of the elections.
Mugabe in his closing remarks at the conference also accused men in
the politburo and central committee of causing the violence.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 22:02
THE MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai will today hold an
extraordinary national executive council meeting to set up teams to consult
people on whether the party should remain in the inclusive government or
pull out. The meeting comes after a series of consultations and feedback
rallies with its supporters around the country on the progress and the
challenges facing the inclusive government.
According to MDC sources, the teams will be led by the party's 12
national standing committee members who will carry out consultations in the
party's 12 provinces.
"Each standing committee member will have a team that he or she will
lead and this is what the meeting (today) will deliberate on. The list of
the people involved is still being worked on.
The teams are expected to start consultations on October 1," said the
The standing committee comprises of the party's president Morgan
Tsvangirai, vice president Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Lovemore Moyo,
secretary general Tendai Biti, deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma,
national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, organising secretary Elias Mudzuri,
national women chairperson Theresa Makone, deputy organising secretary
Morgan Komichi, national youth chairperson Tamsanqa Mahlangu, treasurer Roy
Bennett and deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada.
They are also expected to discuss outstanding issues in the inclusive
The consultative meetings are in line with resolutions made two weeks
ago in Bulawayo by the MDC National Council, which resolved that the party
should engage its structures and the people of Zimbabwe within a specified
period to ascertain the sustainability of the inclusive government as a
vehicle for real change and democracy in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai last week said the party would abide by the resolution made
by the national council and would engage the people on the way forward.
He pledged that the MDC would seriously consider the outcome of the
people's views in the consultations as they were the real owners of the
Global Political Agreement.
Last weekend there were rallies across the country and 39 ward
consultations in six provinces.
Some of the rallies were held at Nyamhunga Stadium in Kariba where Roy
Bennett was the guest speaker, Gaza Business Centre in Buhera North where
Chamisa gave a key note address and in Gokwe Gumunyu, which was addressed by
Meanwhile, there seems to be confusion surrounding the use of the
Kariba draft constitution in the constitution-making process with the main
political parties issuing contradicting statements on what has been agreed
In a statement that appeared to suggest attempts to quicken
constitutional reforms that have to date moved at a snail's pace,
constitutional affairs minister Advocate Eric Matinenga said President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara met last Thursday and agreed to drop the Kariba document
because of the polarisation it had caused within the ruling coalition.
He said: "Due to the unfortunate polarisation brought about by
reference to the Kariba draft, neither party to the inter-party agreement
should seek to promote the draft at the expense of other constitutional
material it being accepted that the draft will be open to study and scrutiny
just like any other constitutional material available."
Tsvangirai repeated Matinenga's claim at an MDC caucus meeting on
However, interviews with senior Zanu PF officials revealed that they
have not ceded to pressure from the MDC-T to use the draft as any other
reference documents, like the National Constitutional Assembly draft and the
rejected 2000 draft constitution.
One top official said: "There is nothing like that. As far as Zanu PF
is concerned the Kariba draft is going to be the basis for the
On the day of the said meeting of the principals, Mugabe told the
Women's League conference at the City Sports Centre that: "We go by the
Kariba draft constitution that was signed by our people. There are
signatures of all the three parties on every page of the Kariba draft we
"No one is disallowed from participating - but from our side we expect
the three to use the Kariba draft," he said.
Zanu PF MPs intend to block any draft constitution that is not based
on the Kariba document.
The issue of whether to use the Kariba draft as the reference document
for constitutional reforms is fast emerging as the biggest threat to
Zimbabwe's unity government that is in its seventh month in office.
Civic organisations and the MDC have criticised the Kariba draft
constitution, saying it leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers
that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after the formation of a power-sharing
Matinenga said the principals also agreed to grant autonomy to a
special parliamentary committee to lead the constitution reforms. The draft
constitution will be put before the electorate in a referendum expected
towards the end of next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will then be
brought before parliament for enactment.
Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is
expected to call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government
Wongai Zhangazha/Faith Zaba
Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:21
CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) have been under security threat for
the past 10 years as calls for democracy have been met with restrictive
laws, socio-economic and targeted political violence, a study by the country's
National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (Nango) has revealed.
The findings of the study titled Civil society security scoping were
recently made public by Nango.
"The past decade has seen increased and open harassment of CSOs and
their members as calls for democracy were met with socio-economic and
political violence," Nango chief executive officer Cephas Zinhumwe said in
"Through targetted violence and restrictive legislation such as the
Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, Interception of Communication Act and the Private Voluntary
Organisation Act, among others, civil society operating space has shrunk by
According to the study, nearly all CSOs in the country were living in
fear and insecurity leading to self-censorship, paralysis of programmes,
muzzling of free flow of information, brain drain and demobilisation.
The level of risk and insecurity, the study said, varied from sector
to sector and also depended on the nature of programmes and activities of a
particular organisation and individuals within an organisation.
The study revealed worsening relations between CSOs and government
with the former being accused of pursuing a regime change agenda. In June
2008, a blanket ban was imposed on all NGOs stopping them from conducting
"The ban was interpreted differently with some CSOs closing shop after
receiving the ban or being forced to close by Zanu PF youths and war
veterans," reads the study.
Repressive laws and paraphernalia of other draconian laws, the Nango
study revealed, were being used to curtail civic activities.
Apart from the repressive legislation, other threats identified
included the political impasse occasioned by the disputed March and June
2008 elections, unavailability of funds for programmes, direct attack on
individuals, threats to assets and infiltration.
The study also revealed that CSOs had difficulties in accessing their
local and foreign currency after the central bank in February 2008 ordered
them to open foreign currency accounts with the bank for better monitoring.
"Unbeknown to them, the RBZ intended to put the money to some other
use," the study said. "CSOs found themselves unable to access foreign
currency for programmes. Zimbabwe also faced a cash crisis that resulted in
the CSOs being unable to access local currency for programmes."
Physical harm of staffers was also cited by the study.
"Individual staff members and activists face harassment, abduction,
arrest and threats of their well being. Activists were abducted without
trace in November and December 2008 only for the police who initially denied
having them in custody to bring them to court in late December 2008.
Among those abducted was human rights activist and director of the
Zimbabwe Peace Project Jestina Mukoko.
"Various court orders granting the activists access to medication or
release were ignored. CSOs no longer have faith in the justice system as it
is now prone to party politics. Some activists, especially those in the
human rights sector, have had to flee to neighbouring countries or go
underground for fear of reprisals," the study read.
The government, Zanu PF, militia, war veterans, civil servants, the
army and the police were identified as the greatest threats to CSOs. - Staff
Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:20
SENIOR government and business leaders from Zimbabwe and high-ranking
officials from key departments of the UK government will tomorrow hold a
conference on investment, international development and migration management
in London. The one-day Zimbabwe Diaspora Investment Conference, which is
being hosted by the independent Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface
(ZDDI), will be held at the University of East London.
The chief executives of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and Zimbabwe
Investment Authority (ZIA) Emmanuel Munyukwi and Richard Mbaiwa,
respectively, will discuss the investment opportunities that have opened up
in Zimbabwe following the establishment of a unity government.
The business leaders will also address the policy and legislative
framework impacting on economic investment in Zimbabwe today as well as the
efforts being currently expended towards resolving outstanding challenges.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Gorden Moyo and
Director of Policy and Implementation in the same office, Lazarus
Muriritirwa, will explain the unity government's Diaspora engagement and
economic and regulatory policies.
The head of the Zimbabwe Unit in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (FCO), Rob Denis, Rob Shooter from the Department for International
Development (DIFD), and Dee Bourke of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will speak
on the British government's Zimbabwe policy in the context of its newly
unveiled proposal to link migration management to international development
ZDDI chairman Alex Magaisa said: "The economic and political crisis in
Zimbabwe drove many of its nationals into exile, including a large
proportion of its skilled human resources. The establishment of a government
of national unity has, quite expectedly, captured the attention of the
Zimbabwean Diaspora and raised hopes that perhaps a window of opportunity
has now been opened for them to invest their skills and capital towards the
rehabilitation of their country.
"Likewise, international investors and development policymakers are
also sizing up prospects for engagement with Zimbabwe. This conference is
therefore an invaluable opportunity for everyone to engage with key policy
drivers from the Zimbabwean and UK governments on the crucial themes of
investment, migration management and international development."
ZDDI is an independent, non-partisan development platform launched in
September 2006 by Zimbabweans living in the UK.
Its key objective is to share ideas, skills, experiences, networks
and financial resources of the Zimbabwean Diaspora for the reconstruction
and development of their country.
The organisation also facilitates debate and discussion among
Zimbabwean Diaspora groups and between them and their host government in the
UK. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:16
MINE WORKERS have been awarded a minimum wage of US$140 for the third
quarter by arbitrator and lawyer Arthur Manase. The arbitration was prompted
by a wage deadlock between mine workers and the employer body, the Chamber
The chamber had said they were only prepared to pay a minimum wage of
US$80, a reduction from the previous minimum wage of US$100, while the
mineworkers were demanding a minimum wage of US$200.
The mine workers had wanted US$174 plus US$26 to cater for uniforms,
school fees, medication and other clothing items.
Manase however awarded the workers US$120 plus US$20 to cover items
such as safety clothes, fees and medication for the third quarter covering
the period between July and September 2009.
Manase ruled in favour of the mineworkers that wage negotiations were
to be held quarterly. The chamber had wanted the minimum wage to be set for
the remainder of the year.
President of the Associated Mine workers Union of Zimbabwe Tinago
Ruzive, however, said that the chamber had agreed to pay only US$120 arguing
that they provided workers with uniforms and therefore would not pay the
The mineworkers' boss said that although they had not been awarded the
wages they had anticipated, it was an improvement from what they had been
"This is not what we really wanted but half a loaf is better than
nothing," Ruzive said.
The stage is now set for another bruising wage negotiation for the
fourth quarter that covers the period between October and the end of the
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe director John Mufukare said there
was a need for employers and workers to agree on wages without resorting to
"Arbitrations are not the way to go," Mufukare said "At our congress
last week, we resolved to hold a summit with organised labour as quickly as
possible to agree on a remuneration policy that will make the country
He said there were instances when an arbitrator awarded a minimum
wage for a particular national employment council and all employers in that
sector applied for exemption, defeating the intended purpose of arbitration.
Mufukare said that they wanted to propose a minimum wage for each of
the 46 national employment councils. The wages would be increased on the
basis of productivity within each sector.
"We believe that decent work is the match that will light up the flame
to fire up the economy and we sincerely believe that we cannot get the
economy going without taking labour with us," he said.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:14
THE Harare Magistrates' Courts will soon hear an inquest into the
death of a Zimbabwean man whose family is accusing a law officer in the
Attorney-General's (AG's) Office of being involved in his alleged murder.
Innocent Maningi was found dead in the early hours of August 28 last year
along Simon Mazorodze Road, Harare, in what police initially thought was an
A postmortem later revealed that Innocent could have been murdered.
Maningi died after he had just returned from Sweden to attend his
father's funeral in Hwange.
Sources in the police confirmed that a docket has been forwarded to
the Harare Magistrates' Courts for an inquest.
According to police documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent,
Maningi was last seen alive in the company of Mutangadura on August 27 last
Maningi , his mother and sisters bumped into Mutangadura, who was in
the company of three friends at Jameson Hotel where the family was having
The deceased and the law officer allegedly exchanged greetings as
they had known each other before the deceased went to Sweden.
Mutangadura and his three friends allegedly introduced themselves to
Innocent's family as employees in the President's Office, the documents
After the refreshments, Maningi 's mother Patience Chiripo and her
daughters left him with Mutangadura.
Mutangadura is famous for prosecuting high profile cases like those of
MDC and human rights activists accused of banditry.
According to documents, CR100-2/08/08 both at CID Homicide and Mbare
traffic, Maningi was found dead along Simon Mazorodze road close to Lobels
factory at 4am on August 28 2008.
Initially, it was suspected that his death could have been caused by a
road accident but a postmortem by a Dr Nereyda Gonzalez of Harare Central
hospital on October 3 2008 proved that his death was due to haemorrhage
shock, avulsive cut on the abdomen and thorax. He advised police to
investigate the case.
According to the postmortem, Maningi also had "multiple lacerations
on all viscera (internal body organs), a six centimetre cut on the chin,
fracture on the manilar and mandibula (facial fractures), fractures on the
teeth, 10cm cut on the neck (right side), eight centimetre cut on the
parietal (right side of the brain), cut on the left lower limbs and left
enguinal region (testicular injuries) and bruises on the face and head."
The deceased's family's account, according to the police documents, is
that on midnight on August 27, Innocent called one of his sisters using
Mutangadura's number and told them that he was having drinks with him.
This is, however, contradicted in Mutangadura's affidavit of December
12 2008 where he said he had drinks with Innocent until 7pm at the hotel and
left for his home in Waterfalls where they continued drinking whisky while
watching the 8pm news.
Mutangadura claimed that Maningi left his home at 9pm with half a
bottle of whisky, adding that was the last time he saw him. He said he only
learnt of his death the following day.
However, police say they found a full bottle of whisky at the scene of
Maningi 's family, according to their sworn affidavits, were demanding
to know why Mutangudura had introduced himself to them as an employee of the
President's Office when he was a law officer in the AG's Office.
The family did not understand why Mutangadura - who claimed to be
Maningi's friend - did not attend his funeral and kept his distance from the
But in his affidavit, Mutangadura said he could not communicate with
Maningi's mother because she suspected that he had a role to play in the
death of her son.
Police investigations sucked in Maningi 's girlfriend based in Sweden,
Josephine, who gave a statement through Interpol on September 24 2008 on
messages and phone calls she received from Maningi through Mutangadura's
Elvis Dzingai, Maningi's relative, in a sworn in statement to the
police on August 29, claimed that a male adult he knew told him that Maningi
had been killed the previous night by four adults who wanted US$6 000 from
him which they claimed he owed them.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:36
POOR price offered by grain buyers is likely to affect the total maize
production during the 2009 - 2010 agriculture season and the projected 2,4
million tonnes of the crop is very difficult to achieve if the price issue
is not resolved. Farmers have not disposed off their crop from the last
season citing very poor prices being offered and it would require attractive
prices for them to sell their grain.
This has affected the country's strategic grain reserves as very
little grain has been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board whose silos are
empty - yet there should be grain cover for at least two to three years.
Farmers are arguing that the current floor price of US$265 per tonne
of maize would see them making a loss since it cost them more than US$300 to
produce a tonne of maize last season.
However, the total production cost per tonne is likely to be lower
this season since there has been a general drop in the price of inputs in
the last seven months.
Last year, farmers were buying a bag of fertiliser at more than US$55,
and there was massive shortage of the commodity and now it has gone down to
US$27 and is currently readily available.
While there has been a drop in prices, it would not bring much joy to
the farmers as they do not have the financial resources to meet the
production needs for the coming season.
This is mainly because farmers have not been able to sell their crop
citing poor prices and there is virtually nothing that is coming from the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Paul Zacharia confirmed that there was
a crisis in the marketing of maize in the country as farmers were holding on
to their grain.
"Many farmers still have their crops on the farms and we have been
encouraging them to keep the grain for the coming season.
"Land preparations for the maize crop have been going on but there are
problems there since banks are not doing anything towards funding of the
crop yet maize production would require loans and there is no credit that is
coming," said Zacharia.
These problems could have been solved if companies were to offer
inputs to farmers and recover their money when the crops are sold.
This is a very high risk area because their investment would be at the
mercy of the vagaries of the weather and there are no clear laws protecting
Lessons from the cotton industry where companies pour in money only to
see others coming in to reap by offering very high prices would dampen the
prospect of many contractors coming in.
"A scheme was launched two weeks ago where farmers receive seed and
fertiliser but this is not enough as the farmers also need chemicals.
"These schemes are likely to give some problems as the production cost
remains very high," added Zacharia.
There are always problems with contract farming in an environment
where there are no tight regulations or protection of investment as this
makes it open to manipulation by players who are risk averse but would then
pounce on the farmers after harvests.
Another problem is that there is no full protection of the farmers as
they have to honour their obligations which may mean parting with their crop
at a price which is very low.
Failure to increase maize production would add to the precarious food
security situation in the country. Only when the country is able to meet its
own grain requirements would food security be guaranteed.
Zimbabwe has not been food secure for close to a decade and it has
been relying on imports to meet the deficit at a time when the country was
faced with serious foreign currency shortages.
A total of 2,2 million tonnes of maize are required each year to meet
the total consumption in the country and should the 2,4 million-tonne target
be met, then the country would record a surplus for the first time in more
than a decade.
Even if the price of maize produced in Zimbabwe were to be within the
levels acceptable to the farmers, it remains to be seen how the millers
would respond to this as they currently prefer imported grain to locally
grown maize which is expensive.
The landed cost for imported maize from South Africa is around US$140
per tonne compared to the US$265 which local farmers would need.
Zimbabwe was once known for being one of the largest grain producers
in the country but things have changed in the last decade to the extent that
there was a time when the country was forced to import maize meal when most
Zimbabweans faced starvation.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:29
PERHAPS nothing better proves the notion that words are the assault of
thought on the unthinking than the confused and confusing reaction of some
jittery political quarters to the lead story published two weeks ago by this
newspaper on September 11 that this writer was rejoining Zanu PF. A telling
example of the reaction came from Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an MDC T
affiliated NGO, which placed an expensive half-page advert in some national
newspapers claiming that it was hypocritical for this writer to rejoin Zanu
PF given his criticism of its leadership in an article published by this
newspaper on March 7, 2008, 22 days ahead of the March 29, 2008 harmonised
elections which this writer won in Tsholotsho North as an independent
candidate for the House of Assembly.
What is confused about the reaction is that, despite purporting to be
a human rights and democracy NGO, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - and by
extension the MDC T - has a problem with this writer's exercise of his right
to freedom of association enshrined and protected in our constitution.
What business is it to Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition or anyone else
that this writer is rejoining the very same Zanu PF party he has previously
criticised? On what binding democratic and human rights grounds does this
writer's criticism of Zanu PF's leadership or policies ahead of the 2005 or
2008 general elections mean that he cannot rejoin it in 2009?
Even stranger is that the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has the
audacity to even ask this writer that, given his criticism of Zanu PF before
the March 29, 2008 elections, what has now changed for him to rejoin Zanu
If this dilettante question was genuine, which it is not, this writer
would refer its peddlers to the perennial wisdom of the great economist
James Maynard Keynes who said of himself: "When facts change, I also change
my opinion and what do you do?"
Decisions on political affiliations are based on a balance of
principles, strategies and tactics. Principles are enduring and this writer's
principles have never differed from Zanu PF's. Differences have been on
personalities, strategies and tactics which change with facts. As such,
political writings or statements and even scientific theories are not
biblical gospels but simply opinions that are depended on ever changing
A lot has changed in our national politics not only since 2005 but
also particularly since the March 29 2008 elections whose inconclusive
outcome threw up very serious dangers that caused nationalists to regroup
behind Zanu PF and against hostile foreign interests and their local
political agents to safeguard the gains of the liberation struggle.
So yes, the facts on the ground have radically changed and this writer
is accordingly restoring his original political affiliation without changing
his principles as an expression of his inalienable freedom of association.
Maybe it is too much to expect Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the
MDC T to understand that freedom of association is a fundamental and thus
unqualified human right but what is particularly confusing though is that
their American creators and funders in Usaid who should know better also do
not understand this principle despite always claiming that the US government
is committed to supporting human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.
How will we have human rights and democracy in the country if those
who purport to be leading their promotion under the cover of political and
media reforms do not understand that neither democracy nor human rights will
be achieved unless the freedom of association is respected and defended for
all Zimbabweans by everyone at all times and in all circumstances?
Only charlatans who are running fake and phoney human rights and
democracy NGOs will dare do what Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has by
attacking this writer's exercise of his freedom of association to rejoin
But because Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is an American creature of
Zidera (the so called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act), the
question that must be interrogated is whether American taxpayers actually
know that their Embassy in Harare is abusing their hard earned dollars to
fund and entrench political intolerance in Zimbabwe for purposes of
supporting the MDC T under the Zidera guise of human rights and democracy?
This question of the confusing American funding of confused NGOs like
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to support political intolerance in Zimbabwe on
behalf of the MDC T is made more urgent and fundamentally critical by
growing revelations that American taxpayer dollars have also been poured
into the so called World Bank Multi Donor Trust Fund to underwrite what
turns out to be an MDC T parallel government in the Office of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai whose incumbents are earning scandalous monthly top up
salaries ranging between US$700 and US$7 000.00.
Although there have been vehement denials from both the World Bank and
the MDC T about the existence of a parallel government whose nucleus is in
the Prime Minister's office, the matter has refused to die not only because
the evidence that is now in the public domain is hard to ignore but also
because official responses from the World Bank and the MDC T have raised
more questions than they have provided answers.
For example, the MDC T issued an official statement last Friday
charging that media reports of a parallel government in the Prime Minister's
office are mischievous allegedly because the Prime Minister is the head of
the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The MDC T's allegation that Prime Minister Tsvangirai is the head of
government is not only false but also foolish because everyone knows that
the apex of government in Zimbabwe is the Cabinet which is constitutionally
chaired by its head, President Robert Mugabe with Tsvangirai as deputy
Anybody who believes that as deputy chair of Cabinet Prime Minister
Tsvangirai is the head of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe needs
to have their head examined by a competent psychiatrist unless of course
they mean that he is heading a sinister parallel government.
Besides all this, and particularly putting aside the top up salaries
of up to US$7 000 being paid to regularised and even higher amounts paid to
unregularised civil servants in the Prime Minister's office and the shadow
offices they run in Harare and Bulawayo, the one screaming signature and
symbol of the parallel government is the Prime Minister's newsletter.
It is now quite clear that this controversial newsletter, which always
refers to Prime Minister Tsvangirai as head of government when the
Constitution of Zimbabwe is clear that he is not, is actually an "official"
publication of the parallel government.
The fact that the Newsletter is funded from the opaque and
unaccountable World Bank Multi Donor Trust Fund, as opposed to the real
Government's Consolidated Revenue Fund, puts paid to the existence of the
parallel government run from the Prime Minister's office.
Jonathan Moyo is independent MP for Tsholotsho North
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:50
A KPMG audit report into AICO Africa Limited operations alleges
rampant financial maladministration and corruption at the company. At the
centre of the alleged maladministration and corruption is group chief
executive officer Happymore Mapara.
But, Mapara yesterday denied the allegations against him and blamed
the auditors for incorrectly presenting the report on the businesses of
The KPMG audit report dated June 16, 2009 shows that the company
bought two Toyota vehicles for Reserve Bank officials in exchange for easy
access to Zimbabwe dollars that were in short supply last year.
"In July 2008 two motor vehicles (Toyota Hilux models), valued at
US$15 700 each, were acquired for two RBZ officials in exchange for Zim
dollars cash," the report read without naming the central bank officials.
"There was no agreement in place in respect of these transactions and no
other documentation could be provided to auditors. The transactions were,
however, authorised by the group CEO."
But Mapara yesterday said the audit report was badly written and that
it failed to capture the real facts.
"The report (audit) is badly written," said Mapara. "The auditors
failed to capture all the facts which we had supplied. The money for the RBZ
officials was wrongly debited into our account, and we provided all the
papers to that effect but still the auditors went on to write the report
that way. I did not pay RBZ officials for the Zim dollars."
The audit said various other deals entered into between the RBZ
officials and Mapara last year -- the first one valued at US$18,3 million
and the second valued at US$25.5 million, which all benefited AICO at the
expense of the public -- were structured by the two RBZ officials.
The audit also says that AICO bought Salamax Trading (Proprietary)
Limited for the primary purpose of procuring AICO's operating requirements.
It gets all the financing from AICO.
Salamax is incorporated in South Africa and its accounting function is
currently outsourced to a South African accounting firm, Professional
Accounting Services. The company contributed 0,3% to the group's revenue
during last year; however, as all sales were to the group companies, this
was eliminated on consolidation.
Prior to its acquisition, Salamax was a dormant shelf company. The
company was purchased from Professional Accounting Services and is wholly
owned by Yutican, a subsidiary of Cottco international limited.
The audit showed that significant amounts of money were frequently
transferred into Salamax although the registration process of the company
was yet to be completed.
It also cites Nancy, who is allegedly a very close friend of Mapara as
the sole director of the company and is the sole signatory on the bank's
accounts and is also responsible for maintaining the company's accounting
"Given the current status of the company's (Salamax) statutory and
registration documentation, the group may have no legal claim to any of the
company's assets," the audit reads.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:48
FREDA Rebecca Gold Mine is next week expected to resume commercial
production after it recently completed its first phase of refurbishment.
Oliver Baring, the chairperson of Mwana Africa, the holding company for
Freda Rebecca Mine and Bindua Nickel Corporation, told shareholders last
week that the refurbishment programme had been completed and the mine
remained on schedule to commence full-scale commercial production before
"Mining has begun and the primary crusher entered commissioning in
mid-August 2009 and the milling and leaching circuits were commissioned from
9th September 2009," said Baring.
The mine was put under "care and maintenance" in 2006 as a result of a
number of challenges. It was forced to close as operation expenses weighed
heavily on the company and also as a result of the Reserve Bank's failure to
pay for gold delivered.
Resuming production, according to Baring, entailed overcoming a number
of "technical and logistical hurdles".
Tasks which have so far been achieved include the successful
commissioning of the number one milling circuit, and the refurbishment of
Freda Rebecca has also completed the removal of water from the mine
shafts as well as rehabilitating the workshop facilities.
Water wells up in disused mines and removing it is one of the major
challenges which, has to be undertaken before resuming production.
"A limited number of additional mining vehicles have been purchased
and delivered to site. The installation and commissioning of additional
local switchgear, carried out by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
has increased the reliability of power supply to the mine," Baring said.
"For the first time, Freda Rebecca is able to draw power from the same
reliable source as Bindura Nickel Corporation's nearby smelter. Freda
Rebecca continues its recruitment programme to identify and employ skilled
individuals in line with its staffing requirements, and has been successful
in attracting skilled labour both from within Zimbabwe and from abroad."
The mine has a potential to produce 30 000 ounces of gold annually
after the completion of the first phase of refurbishments.
This figure should increase 66% to 50 000 ounces if the mining company
completes the anticipated second phase.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:46
ZIMBABWE'S information and communication technology (ICT) sector still
has a long way to go before it matches what is offered by players in
region. While there are signs that there is still life in the local ICT
sector, it has to grow by leaps and bounds to get to the level of
counterparts in the region.
In most cases, the players in the sector have been reduced to
retailers of software and hardware developed or manufactured from the region
or the Far East.
Exhibitors at this year's ICT Africa Expo, which ended yesterday, said
they would need up to three years to catch up with players in South Africa
This is a result of almost a decade of stagnation in the sector as the
country was faced with an ever-deepening economic crisis. The introduction
of the multiple currency system and policy changes were expected to spur
growth in the sector but so far, it is very lukewarm.
It was largely expected that the suspension of duty on all ICT gadgets
would translate into an increase in their availability on the market at a
lower cost but this has not been the case as yet.
"We have been getting a lot of enquiries from those interested in
buying gadgets such as computers, printers, consumables and even software
but these have not translated into purchases," said one of the exhibitors.
"What we have seen is that in most cases, these enquiries are made
specifically for price comparisons and the potential buyers are most
probably getting the gadgets from South Africa. We hope that with the stable
currency and the suspension of duty, we would be able to make inroads into
the local market."
Most of the products on the local market originate from South Africa
with another significant percentage coming from China and Japan.
Local providers could benefit from the firming of the rand as it would
mean paying more in United States dollar terms. However, it may take long
before the locals start benefiting from the movement of the rand as the
currency is also very volatile.
Popular software which is offered locally includes accounting,
anti-virus, operating systems and business applications. -- Staff Writer.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:45
ZSE-listed agricultural inputs manufacturer, Zimplow, could have made
more money in the first half of the year if the central bank had continued
with its farm mechanisation programme. Chairman Oliver Chidawu says the
group achieved "exceptional performance" last year, helped by massive demand
from the central bank.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono ordered over 100 000 ploughs during
the mechanisation programme and Zimplow as the largest player in the
industry got a huge share of the order, among other farming implements.
"The group results for the half year ended June reflect profit after
taxation of US$283 000," he said. "The profit could have been higher had
group sales volumes been at the same levels of last year."
Chidawu says what could have been an otherwise "quiet" year is showing
signs of recovery buoyed by private sector distributors.
"It is worth mentioning that the local market which we expected to be
very quiet throughout 2009 is starting to show signs of recovery as private
sector distributors, which were badly affected during the price control
era, strive to re-establish themselves."
Chidawu added: "This is very encouraging and Mealie Brand is offering
credit to selected customers to facilitate this development. The local
market decline against the prior year can be attributed to the exceptional
performance in the prior year as a result of the RBZ mechanisation exercise.
The mechanisation sales came during what is normally a very quiet off-season
Sales however fell 62% in the same period compared to last year,
Chidawu said. CT Bolts' sales also suffered in the group's bolts division.
Volumes fell 65% compared to last year while sales units were 15% down.
Zimplow hopes CT Bolts and Tassburg will contribute 50% to the group's
turnover going forward.
"When Zimplow took over CT Bolts, it was envisaged that the
traditional business that is now Mealie Brand would only contribute roughly
half of the group turnover," he said. "With prospects of an economic
recovery in Zimbabwe now growing, this vision should become a reality in the
next few years as the fasteners business recover."
Turnover stood at US$2 million while profit after tax was US$147 949.
Basic earnings per share (EPS) stood at 5 cents.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:43
IN his conclusion at the just ended mining indaba, Chamber of Mines
chief Victor Gapare had a few words for all delegates, particularly those in
government; stop talking and start doing something. Aided by a PowerPoint
presentation, the chamber chief took the delegates into the future of mining
and back into its past.
With output graphs and illustration for various sub-sectors from gold
to ferrochrome dating back to 1990, the figures showed an industry in
trouble and desperately in need of capital.
But did Gapare really knock the point home in government? Will
bureaucrats walk the talk? Time will tell.
Gapare highlighted the need to attract investment in mining and the
need to straighten out the legislation relating to mines ownership, and
showed delegates how the wheels of Zimbabwe's once vibrant mining sector
At the same conference, President Robert Mugabe and other government
officials again claimed that Zimbabwe was a safe investment destination.
This was despite reports that farm occupations were escalating.
How did the wheels come off?
Gapare gave a myriad of causes ranging from mines being forced to
surrender foreign currency at sub economic exchange rates by the central
He cited the RBZ's failure to pay gold producers as having led to the
total collapse of the sector coupled with unstable monetary policies.
The industry saw limited capital development as a result of foreign
currency shortages that resulted in serious capital consumption.
Now, "virtually all mining operations urgently" require
recapitalisation, he said.
In addition, power shortages, sub-economic tariffs charged for
electricity and failure on the part of government to invest in additional
capacity despite projections in early 1990s showing there would be a power
shortage in the future.
A shortage of skilled manpower also worsened the plight of mines
during the turbulent decade with artisans leaving for better paying jobs
Analysts say even if Zimbabwe hosts a million investment and mining
indabas, the country cannot attract serious investors before instituting
major political reforms as stipulated in the Global Political Agreement.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Mugabe are still to
iron out outstanding issues relating to the appointments of central bank
chief Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and provincial
governors, among others.
Former chamber of mines chief Ian Saunders and now CEO of New Dawn
Mining Corporation, a company with a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
and trading under title 3DM, recently gave the Zimbabwe Independent an
insight into investor perception on Zimbabwe.
He said: "Currently, 3DM is performing a little lower than
expectations. Certainly with some of the political and economic issues being
unresolved there is some hesitancy on the part of certain investors to
aggressively invest in Zimbabwe. Once these matters are resolved we see a
very bright future for 3DM."
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara admits government is lacking
credibility because of failure to halt farm invasions and uphold the rule of
He said: "For you to be trusted, credible to investors, we must
resolve that matter (outstanding issues) because if we don't, we lose
credibility. How can we convince investors if we don't respect our own
What does the mining sector need?
Gapare believes road and telecommunications infrastructure in mining
areas needs improvement and supported by a stable macro-economic environment
to allow long term planning through supportive fiscal policies.
Apart from that he said there was need for reliable infrastructure
such as electricity and recommended that Zesa and its subsidiaries must be
allowed to raise capital internationally since government has no money to
The chamber believes that empowerment laws must not inhibit growth and
development of the local mining sector and that Zimbabwe needs to examine
experiences in other countries like Turkey, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania,
Zambia, Australia, Canada that embarked on such policies.
The Zimbabwe government wants laws compelling foreign shareholders to
surrender 51% shareholding in mines to blacks as part of its empowerment
Gapare argued that laws "must be crafted in a way that attracts
exploration and development" from current and new investors.
He said: "What is needed is a political and economic environment which
helps them to raise money to develop their mineral rights."
But analysts say Gapare's dream might never be realised judging by the
disharmony in government. Mugabe has been threatening to takeover land from
the remaining farmers despite his claim that he will protect the sanctity of
Investors, particularly from South Africa, have since demanded
commitment from Mugabe in the form of bilateral business agreement, before
committing any investment.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:43
COMPANIES are likely to report better results in the second half of
the year as the benefits of a stable currency start to show, analysts have
Not much was presented by companies which released results for the
first half of the year and in many of the cases they posted losses.
However, there was change in tone as most of the outlook summaries of
the results which were released showed that there was optimism which had
replaced the exasperation exhibited in the previous reporting periods.
In many cases, the companies which released results paid tribute to
the stable political environment and policy initiatives though they
continue to bemoan the lack of liquidity on the market.
Results released in the past month were not exciting mainly as
companies reporting for the period ending June had to deal with two months
(January and February) when the use of the local currency was still the
This was a time when there were massive price distortions - a
nightmare for business.
Now that the use of multiple currencies has taken root, companies are
expected to start making reasonable profits.
For most companies, the first half of the year was a period for
adjusting to the new operating environment which was characterised not only
by changes in the currency but also policies.
In its report for August, Datvest Asset Management said the investor
focus has shifted from asset-based valuation with latest inclination
expected to centre on what the respective assets are generating for the
"It is the deployment of various assets by management towards revenue
generation that will be rewarded by the market," Datvest said. "The mere
calibration of challenges encountered over the period will not keep the
capital streams flowing as investors will be delighted to see nice numbers
or at least have clarity of the new business models relevant for the
Whereas the use of multiple currencies has brought stability to the
economy, there has been continued drop on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on a
month on month basis.
This could be a case of the market rediscovering its real value.
The industrial index declined 7,7 % to close the month of August at
137,06 points while the mining index softened 13,37% to close the month at
Total value traded for the month amounted to $39,8m down $9,7 million
on the previous month's $49,5m.
"It is very possible for one to buy into the notion that certain
counters were running ahead of fundamentals in terms of earnings expectation
as investors picked stocks with assumptions that traditional winners would
be ahead of their game in a more stable economic environment," Datvest said.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:10
Our political army generals were at it again last week and on Monday!
Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio
Sibanda and the head of 2 Brigade, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba,
last week claimed that Zimbabwe was undergoing an asymmetrical warfare aimed
at regime change.
The belligerents, Sibanda and Nyikaramba claimed, were foreign-based
pirate radio stations and NGOs; and the generals said the army should remain
"Our country is undergoing asymmetric-type of war where all means are
used to achieve set objectives by our detractors," Sibanda told a study
seminar of the army in Harare last Monday. "Zimbabweans must be aware and
clearly understand that war is not only about guns and bullets. Zimbabwe's
detractors are using some NGOs and pirate radio stations to spread false and
hate messages that will lead to rioting, despondency and eventually cause
Nyikayaramba told the same seminar that: "There are so many
instruments which are used in asymmetric warfare and we, as the 2 Brigade,
were tasked to equip our army officers with knowledge so that they do not
only protect the country with guns."
Not to be outdone, Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin Chedondo
on Monday said NGOs must stick to their core business and not dabble in
politics because soldiers will not sit back and watch outsiders "meddling"
in the country's internal affairs.
"The Zimbabwe National Army is highly trained and we will not sit by
and watch them threaten our hard-won peace and independence," Chedondo
cheekily said. "As the last line of defence, the ZNA will not be threatened
by anyone, they (people engaged in subversive activities) should respect our
sovereignty. It is every Zimbabwean's duty to help defend their motherland.
This current asymmetric warfare is not meant for the army but the nation at
large. This war is not only about regime change, but it is aimed at
eradicating our Zimbabwean values and legacy which is firmly found in our
repossession of the land."
Thanks to the generals for showing us how asymmetrical this war is. It
is lopsided, unfair and embarrassingly tilted. Imagine one group attacking
using pens and pirate radio stations whilst another is holding its position
and firing live bullets. The winner in this instance is obvious.
This is a good advertisement by the generals of the extent of
politicisation in the military establishment. The world is now watching
keenly to see what Chedondo means by not sitting back and watching.
The generals have shown no regard and respect for the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) that ushered in the inclusive government. Their public
outbursts call for urgent security reforms to ensure commanders adhere to
the doctrine of being apolitical as entrenched in the Defence Act.
The GPA clearly states that government institutions and organs - the
army included - should "strictly observe the principles of the rule of law
and remain non-partisan and impartial".
Since last year, we have seen and observed army generals making
political pronouncements without being censured by the powers that be.
These are the same man who vowed alongside Police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri and Prison Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi that they would
not and would never salute Morgan Tsvangirai if he won the presidential
election run-off against President Robert Mugabe.
What the men in uniform must understand is that if their boss had
opened up the media space, pirate radios would not exist. The exposure by
NGOs of violation of civil and political rights, stifling of the media and
selective application of the law cannot and should not be seen as
subversion. In a democracy, we should tolerate divergent views and not
The behaviour by army generals makes Zimbabwe and Sadc's case for
removal of international sanctions difficult. The international community
has put benchmarks to be met by Zimbabwe before the sanctions are lifted,
but little has been done to fulfil the conditions.
Little has been done in liberalising the media, legislative reforms,
security organs reforms, upholding of human rights and the resolution of the
sticking points of the GPA.
Muckraker would urge the military to do a survey to find out what a
Zimbabwean in the rural area will more likely run away from: a soldier or a
small shortwave radio.
The United States assistant secretary for African affairs, Johnnie
Carson, last week put it succinctly that his country had enormous amounts of
respect for Sadc and what it stands for, but differ with the regional bloc
on when and how to lift sanctions.
"We reserve the right to lift those sanctions when we want to do so
and when we see progress," Carson said. "We have sought to engage on
Zimbabwe. We would like to see Zimbabwe not being a drag on Sadc and the
region, and we would like to see a return to democracy. We do not believe
that the global political agreement has been implemented and that we do not
believe enough has been done."
Indeed enough has not been done because of Mugabe and Zanu PF's
Carson added: "We think it is premature to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe's
leaders. And we think it is important not to let the economic advantages
that Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti bring to the case to be exploited and
used by Robert Mugabe and others to secure their further control on
government. We will continue to dialogue and talk with Sadc and others, but
we still think insufficient progress has been made, and to remove that
pressure may in effect allow for economic gains, but not in effect change
the dynamics of the political strangulation that Zanu PF exercises on
political control and power."
We hope those with ears have heard!
It was interesting to hear Mugabe, who is also First Secretary of Zanu
PF, bemoaning the "growing" factionalism in his party at the Women's League
Conference last week. This is not the first time that he has complained
about factionalism in Zanu PF. But why has he not done anything about it
and if there is so much factionalism in his party, why has he always tried
to portray Zanu PF as a strong revolutionary force?
We know the answer. Mugabe has benefited from these divisions and
confusion over his succession? How many times have people read about Mugabe's
about-turns and new twists in the succession saga? But all this confusion is
caused by Mugabe himself. Mugabe is undoubtedly using the confusion to hold
on to power. One minute, he is pushing for Vice President Joice Mujuru to
succeed him and next, there are reports that she has fallen out after
accusing her of trying to stampede him out of office. In the same vein,
Emmerson Mnangagwa appears like he might now be the chosen one and then
next, there is talk of a third faction aligned to Mugabe, with Saviour
Kasukuwere and Nicholas Goche pulling the strings. He has been playing
Mnangagwa and Mujuru with the deft skills of master puppeteer.
Mugabe needs to put his house in order. Factionalism is not new in
Zanu PF and can be traced as far back as 1963. Then it was the
Chinese-trained versus the Russian-trained, intellectuals versus others, one
ethnic group versus another. As long as Zanu PF continues to have an unclear
succession policy, the battle for supremacy will continue to dog the party.
Talking about factionalism, there was drama last week at the Zanu PF
Women's League conference when mothers and grandmothers fought each other.
What made the whole scene ugly was that the battle was not theirs to fight,
but a culmination of manipulation by men in the party's politburo. It was
quite a sight when about 15 women started assaulting a group of 40, mainly
elderly women from Manicaland province, with chairs just outside the venue
at Harare City Sports Centre. The women, allegedly aligned to Women's League
boss Oppah Muchinguri, were assaulted when they tried to force their way
into the conference venue where elections to choose a new executive were
being conducted. In the tents outside the venue, women aligned to Muchinguri
and Olivia Muchena from the Mujuru camp fought each other. The women hurled
insults and obscenities at each other as they tried to outdo each other. The
women danced and sang derogatory songs, denouncing rivalry factions.
Hundreds of delegates who attended the conference were caught up in the
stampedes that broke out. According to Muchinguri, some women sustained
broken limbs while some were admitted to hospital.
What lessons are they trying to teach the younger generation?
We think quite highly of local sports journos, but we also believe
some would do well to curb their enthusiasm in the interest of separating
facts from fiction and PR. We don't have many sporting heroes in the country
and that perhaps explains why there appears to be a concerted attempt to
make superstars out of mediocre players, some of whom have
flopped spectacularly abroad.
Evans Gwekwerere was indeed a hit at Dynamos a couple of years back,
thanks to his then blossoming goal-scoring skills. But when the South
African rand called young Gwekwerere obliged, joining premiership side
Moroka Swallows, he was "offloaded" - soccer's equivalent of being
retrenched, - he joined FC AK (a first division team) and then Jomo Cosmos,
then also a first division team. In May he claimed to a South African
publication that he had secured a two-year contract with a Vietnamese side!
The rest, to borrow a tired cliché, is history. Ask even a part-time soccer
fan and s/he will probably tell you that Gwekwerere was a mega-flop in South
Muckraker was thus surprised to learn in the Herald that Gwekwerere
was now a "key man" at DeMbare, despite not having played for them for about
three years. And what's more, he was plotting a move to Europe in January,
"to either Belgium or Russia", when he failed to go to Vietnam, currently
ranked 146th, 26 places below Zimbabwe?
Not so fast: Is this not the same bloke who failed to make it in the
lesser South African league and Vietman? We think he stands a better chance
of playing in Aruba, or maybe Guam!
In the same issue was a match review of the DeMbare-Caps Utd
derby. "Harare was virtually at a standstill," it read, "as the two giants
battled for supremacy at the ceremonial home of football before 18 954 fans
who had paid their way in, according to official figures."
If 19 000 fans at Rufaro Stadium, a 35 000-seater, can bring Harare -
with a population of about two million - to a "virtually standstill", we
pray that the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium does not reopen any time
Would it not "virtually" grind business in Zimbabwe to a halt when
Muckracker was last month dragged - kicking and screaming - by a
colleague to watch a DeMbare/Caps derby. It was a mouth-splitting yawn!
Muckracker has no plans to attend another overhyped Harare derby any
time soon: not unless someone aims a nuclear missile at his head!
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:07
WITH uncharacteristic foresight government has recognised that of
Zimbabwe's diverse economic sectors, the one which can most rapidly be
expanded is mining, and that such expansion can be a major catalyst for
critical economic recovery. To that end, three major mining conferences
have been held in the last four months. One was staged in London, one in
Johannesburg, and two weeks ago a third was held in Harare. All had
substantial attendances from mining houses, and other investors, from many
parts of the world.
That there was considerable, real interest was unsurprising, for
Zimbabwe has a considerable wealth in many minerals including gold,
platinum, nickel, diamonds, chrome, iron, coal, methane gas and much else.
Although it had a virile mining industry for many years until the
governmentally mismanaged economy plunged to abysmal depths, most of the
country's substantial mineral wealth was yet to be exploited.
Attaining a marked growth in mining production would yield substantial
inflows of greatly needed foreign exchange, create meaningful additional
employment for a populace which is predominately without gainful formal
employment, generate extensive downstream economic activity and be a source
of considerable fiscal inflows into the bankrupt exchequer.
It is little wonder, therefore, that government has placed a high
focus upon trying to motivate extensive mining sector investment.
Regrettably, however, it grievously tempered the widespread, intensive
investor interest by its ongoing failure to recognise that one of the
prerequisites for the conversion of that interest into actual investment is
that investors seek credible assurances of investment security.
Such assurances are an absolutely essential element of an investment
conducive and welcoming environment.
Although there have been major strides towards making Zimbabwe an
attractive investment destination, including extensive relaxations of
exchange controls, the demonetisation of the then worthless Zimbabwean
currency and its replacement with a basket of sound international
currencies, and some reduction in the bureaucracy attaching to foreign
investment, some great deterrents remain in place to investor's need for a
meaningful sense that their investments will be secure and ongoing. And
these deterrents were exacerbated by unrealistic, naïve statements to the
conferences by some of Zimbabwe's uppermost political echelon, especially so
at the Harare conference.
Participants were told that fears of expropriation of mines were
wholly misplaced. They were informed that because government had acquired
all farms, pursuant to its land reform policies, there was no implication
that at a future date Government would implement a like policy in respect of
However, the investor attendees were not convinced. Concurrently with
their being given that assurance, farm invasions were continuing unabated
and generally in a violent, destructive and abusive manner, totally
unhindered by the so-called guardians of law and order.
Moreover, government endlessly made reference to the mining resources
being Zimbabwean assets. The fears of the potential investors were also
intensified by their awareness that Zimbabwe continues to dishonour the many
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) to which
it is a party, and by knowledge that conclusion of a Bippa with South Africa
is being frustrated by Zimbabwe's unwillingness to incorporate land
Intensifying the concerns of those attending the conferences, and
thereby eroding their evident interest, is government's dogmatic stance on
the issue of indigenisation and economic empowerment, and its intended
amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act. The state's declared intent is
that not less than 51% of all mines should be owned by indigenous
Furthermore, although in various statements by the President, the
Minister of Mines and the Minister of Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment that the Zimbabwean investors would have to contribute their pro
rata share of equity in the mines, and that the foreign investors can freely
select their indigenous investor partners, the legislation is studiously
It is unrealistic to expect foreign investors to provide capital,
technological "know-how', and other inputs, and yet be junior partners
subject to the whims and fancies of the majority shareholders.
Few, if any, of the potential investors have any quarrel with the
principle of indigenisation and economic empowerment, but they are unwilling
to be dominated by others. Admittedly, government has suggested that
investors can apply for partial or total exemptions from the provisions of
the legislation, but concurrently intimated that such exemptions, if
granted, would be for a period of time not necessarily aligned to the life
of the mine.
And, adding insult to injury, government requires that in addition to
an array of taxes payable by the mining ventures, substantial mining
royalties must also be paid, further eroding return on investment.
Yet another concern impeding investor confidence is the continuing
abysmal service delivery of parastatals in general, and of Zesa, TelOne, and
National Railways of Zimbabwe in particular. That service unreliability
very pronouncedly impairs operational viability of mines, and therefore
places investment viability at great risk.
Similarly, the successful conduct of mining operations is recurrently
at risk as a result of the intense confrontationalism of labour which,
driven by undeniable hardships as a result of the distressed economic
conditions of the past eleven years, make irrational, unreasonable wage
demands beyond employers' means.
The potential investors also harbour great reservations as to investor
security as long as political instability and inadequate maintenance of law
and order continue to exist.
They witness the recurrent evasion of some of the elements of the
Global Political Agreement, such as the endless delay in swearing-in the
MDC-T nominated Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Roy Bennett, the endless
belittling by state owned media of the two MDC parties, and other defaults
in implementation of the GPA.
They also witness the frequent arrests of politicians, more often than
not for extended periods without proceeding to trial, and other undeniable
symptoms of disregard for international norms of justice, and of a
contemptuous failure to maintain law and order.
Zimbabwe has a major opportunity to accelerate its critically needed
economic recovery, with a key factor being foreign investment into many
economic sectors, but first and foremost into mining. However, that
opportunity is being extensively squandered by the endless failure to
consider, and to address effectively, the justified concerns and
expectations of investors.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:57
THE Stockholm syndrome is a term used by shrinks to describe the
behaviour of kidnapping victims who, over time, become sympathetic to their
This term was first used after a 1973 six-day hostage incident in
During a bank robbery, several people were held captive in the bank,
and when authorities finally came to their rescue, several hostages resisted
And more worryingly, during the trial many of the victims refused to
testify against their captors.
Back home, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who appears like he is
being held hostage by President Robert Mugabe in the unity government,
refuses to take on Mugabe, even though he is clearly being taken advantage
He assured Western leaders on his EU and US trip to re-engage the
international community in June that all was well in the unity government,
courting the anger of MDC officials at home who felt that their leader was
economical with the truth.
The Stockholm syndrome -- a common survival strategy for victims of
interpersonal abuse -- has been observed in battered spouses, abused
children, prisoners of war, and concentration camp survivors and incest
Now, it seems the syndrome can be found in Zimbabwean politics and
hopefully shrinks will one day come up with a name for the Mugabe and
Mugabe says he has met his side of the bargain as outlined in the GPA
and will not budge for anyone, let alone the European Union (EU).
He said: "They (EU delegation) thought things were not working, yet we
did all the things we were asked to do under the GPA, timeously even."
But the unilateral appointments of central bank chief Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana are still outstanding issues.
Mugabe refuses to swear in Deputy Agriculture minister designate Roy
Bennet into office. Several MDC-T MPs have been arrested on various criminal
Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa is
continuously being undermined by Zanu PF's Nicholas Goche, who believes he
is the one responsible for parastatals' such as Netone and Telone.
Mugabe has appointed provincial governors unilaterally among other
acts not in line with the GPA. The unity government is still to form human
rights, electoral and media commissions a year after the signing of the GPA.
The constitution making process is struggling to take off after its
chaotic launch which was disrupted by Zanu PF members in July.
Analysts see Mugabe's hand in the delays in the constitution-making
process and setting up the commissions.
The state is still to open up media space and Tsvangirai and MDC-T are
being subjected to hate speech by the state-run media.
Propaganda against the MDC is at its peak at Herald House and the
national broadcaster, ZBC continues to undermine Tsvangirai and his
Contrary to the GPA, Mugabe and Zanu PF believe it is Tsvangirai's
mandate to lift sanctions. The agreement merely acknowledges the need to
have sanctions of any kind removed but does not mandate the premier alone to
have the sanctions lifted.
Land seizures are escalating all over the country at a time when
Zimbabwe is trying to attract foreign investment.
While state publisher, Zimpapers, has launched two dailies, H-Metro
and Midlands Chronicle, without a licence, other publishers cannot do the
same and are awaiting the setting up of the Zimbabwe Media Commission to
The army continues to take political positions and some of its chiefs
have saluted the premier once.
Army commanders are issuing statements that the continued broadcast of
pirate radio stations amounts to "warfare" and issued another chilling
statement this week that NGO's must stay out of Zimbabwe's politics or else.
But why is Tsvangirai continuing to allow this abuse? Will Tsvangirai
walk out of this union with Mugabe if push comes to shove?
John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer,
doubts Tsvangirai and his party would exit government if the people demanded
such a move.
He said: "I doubt whether Tsvangirai and his team would adhere to the
views of the people if told to get out of government."
MDC chairperson of the Women's Assembly Theresa Makone is of the view
that the party should pull out sooner rather than later.
She said: "There is continued marginalisation of women who are not
Zanu PF, so when will this end. It is rather better we pull out than
continue to be abused, raped willy-nilly by Zanu PF people. I say let's pull
Analysts believe Tsvangirai will be reluctant to disengage from
government but will be hauled before the coals if he does not bow to party
Others believe Tsvangirai will stay as long as possible while Mugabe
and his officials continue running the show like there is no binding
agreement between them. Zanu PF continues to make unrealistic demands such
as the lifting of sanctions and an end to pirate radio broadcasts, an area
the MDC has little influence over. All evidence that the GNU is failing, is
there for all and sundry to see, analysts say.
After meeting the EU delegation a fortnight ago Mugabe claimed to have
told them: "I said don't talk about them (sanctions) being targeted
sanctions. The sanctions are real."
Tsvangirai believes there are challenges in the implementation of the
GPA, but believes it is working.
He said: "We want to see the full implementation of the agreement and
that is why we have taken the issues to Sadc. However, there has to be
progress. The pace of the GPA has been slow but I am sure the three
political principles will be able to sit down and solve the issues."
South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says his government
told Zimbabwean political parties that human rights violations, such as
beatings and kidnappings would not be tolerated.
He said: "We have spelt out that when (British Prime Minister) Gordon
Brown and (US President) Barack Obama and the EU want progress, these are
the issues the Zimbabwean political leadership ought to address to ensure
that investors come to the party."
Motlanthe added that the Zimbabwean parties realise that this was
their last chance to "pull themselves out of the morass".
Mugabe seems to have turned a deaf to Motlanthe's advice.
"Instead of discussing sanctions, they were talking about Tomana and
Gono and I said munei navo (what have you got do with that),"said Mugabe in
Swedish International Co-Operation minister Gunilla Carlsson, who was
part of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, says there is need for full
implementation of the agreement.
Carlsson said: "We would like to engage with the government of
national unity in Zimbabwe. But of course, we are concerned by the fact that
there has been no progress on some issues included in the global agreement."
Observers say the lifting of sanctions depends on whether Mugabe will
sack Gono and Tomana and introduce tangible political reforms in line with
Government is still to free the airwaves and Tsvangirai is concerned
about propaganda emanating from the state media.
He says: "The distortion of the political reality by the state media
presents a real and credible threat to this inclusive government and its
stability to impact positively on the lives of the people."
The premier says his party took the decision to participate in the
unity government to enable the people to rebuild their lives again.
"We in the MDC took the firm decision to participate in this
government to give the people of Zimbabwe hope and an opportunity to retain
their dignity and to restart their lives," he said.
Analysts say Tsvangirai must be firm with Mugabe, who has taken him
for a ride from day one.
MDC crisis meetings began over the weekend and saw the party going
back to the masses on whether the opposition should pull out of government.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:47
THE past four weeks saw a lot of activity as the international
community tried to push Zimbabwe's lethargic government of national unity
to move forward and implement the full Global Political Agreement signed a
As usual, Sadc was a big disappointment as it failed to stamp its
authority on matters that it created for itself.
It has always been difficult for other nations to go past Sadc and
adopt policies or offer assistance without Sadc. Many times Sadc's silence
or pronouncements on Zimbabwe stopped nations outside Africa from doing
something about the situation in Zimbabwe.
South Africa, during the days of former President Thabo Mbeki, also
acted as a buffer for President Robert Mugabe by blocking any attempts to
table and discuss the problems in Zimbabwe.
Although the Mugabe government's excesses and human rights violations
were there for
everyone to see, South Africa's behaviour at the UN succeeded in
giving the impression that Zimbabwe was a victim of both former colonial
power Britain and the US.
African nations continue to behave as if they do not know what the
real problem in Zimbabwe is.
I have therefore come to the conclusion that the world wishes us well
but not Sadc, especially South Africa, because these two continue to
In November last year, about 80 white commercial farmers rightfully
took their case to the Sadc Tribunal and won an order barring the government
from compulsorily acquiring their land without paying compensation.
The court further ordered government to compensate those who had lost
their land under Zimbabwe's violent land reform programme since 2000. But
Mugabe steadfastly refused to abide by the court's rulings, which he says
are in conflict with the country's land acquisition laws.
Early this month, Zimbabwe "formally" withdrew from the jurisdiction
of the Sadc Tribunal. This was obviously a move to blunt and avoid being
held accountable for the two judgments passed against her by the
One would have hoped that problems of law and order, human rights, and
instability - a member state such as Zimbabwe is going through - would be of
primary importance when Sadc summits are called but in their last summit a
few weeks ago, Sadc did not even mention the issue of a member state
refusing to adhere to agreed protocols. In fact, heads of state spent time
trying to avoid discussing the Zimbabwean issue all together.
But Mugabe has done it before.
Several years ago, he refused to implement the Sadc Principles and
Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, something he continues to do to
this day. And in 2002, Zimbabwe was suspended by the Commonwealth and
Mugabe, to avoid humiliation, decided to withdraw Zimbabwe from the
Because of human rights abuses, violence, corruption, economic plunder
and other transgressions, the international community, minus Africa of
course, imposed travel bans on Mugabe and his close associates. This was
an effort to force them to stop the abuse of people and to stick to
law and order.
During the recent Sadc Summit in the DRC, African leaders had the
audacity to ask European and Western governments to lift those sanctions
against Mugabe and his cronies as if things were back to normal. They did
not say anything about how Mugabe was violating Sadc protocols.
"Significant progress has been made under the auspices of the
inclusive government," South African President Jacob Zuma told fellow
leaders. "We are all encouraged by how the three parties put their
He added: "These achievements signalled to the people of Zimbabwe, the
region and the world, that the Zimbabwean political leadership was ready to
collectively tackle the political and the socio-economic challenges facing
But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had a lot to say and complain
about, only to be shut out.
As Zuma was saying this, farms were being set on fire in a bid to
force the owners off the land and three MDC activists were allegedly
murdered in a spate of violence in the month leading up to and during the
On the day the Sadc Summit opened, Tsvangirai's MDC reported that its
activists had been murdered in incidents linked to renewed political
violence. It identified the deceased as Godknows Mtshakazi (33), who was
reportedly beaten to death by four soldiers at a township in Shurugwi,
Midlands. His crime: playing a popular MDC song in a bar.
Edwin Chingami (32), who during last June's violence had fled Zimbabwe
ironically to South Africa for protection, was allegedly murdered by Zanu PF
supporters upon his return home.
Reports say that another MDC activist, Joseph Munyuki, died recently
at Masvingo hospital where he had been receiving treatment for injuries
sustained from a brutal attack by a known Zanu PF supporter.
As this mayhem was going on, there was also a marked, simultaneous
increase in farm invasions. Mugabe's speech to the Zanu PF Youth League
conference did not help matters either.
Murray Pott, a white farmer from Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland
West, is recovering from serious injuries after a brutal beating by invaders
last Tuesday. He was allegedly attacked on his farm by suspected Zanu PF
youths trying to take over the farm.
"Once people have offer letters (to take over a farm) and they are
valid, that's it. The farm is not yours anymore," said Mugabe at the youth
congress. "Please don't resist. If we hear about any resistance, we will
stop pleading. I will just send the police to drive them away. If they
thought they would be saved by the inclusive government, that is a lie."
Last Wednesday, less than a week after making this statement, Mugabe
is reported to have told businessmen at a mining investment forum that
potential investments would be safe in the country. He claimed this was
because his government respected "the sanctity of property rights and
the rule of law in all its dimensions".
Meanwhile, 115kms from where Mugabe was delivering his speech, South
African farmer, Louis Fick, was watching his 4 000 pigs, 14 000 crocodiles
and several hundreds of beef cattle starve in Chinhoyi, as he tried to fight
off a deputy Reserve Bank governor who is trying to grab the farm. The next
day, Tsvangirai spoke at the same mining investment conference Mugabe had
addressed the previous day.
He reportedly told the investors that the coalition government would
implement rational mining royalties and taxes and deregulate mineral
marketing to attract as much as US$16 billion in investment by 2018.
But six days before his speech government had used an extra-ordinary
gazette tofreeze the assets of the Meikles Group that owns the world famous
Meikles Hotel among several other big companies.
Just how does anyone help Zimbabwe.
The world appears to be at a loss as to what to do. Mugabe is
hoodwinking the world using innocent citizens as bait. Does he really want a
solution in Zimbabwe?
How long will the world, especially Africa, stand by and watch these
gruesome happenings in Zimbabwe?
There has to come a time when our conscience takes over and Africans,
especially Zimbabweans, must get up and fight for their emancipation.
In Zimbabwe, we long proved that colonial oppressors were much better
than a black government and all African leaders must be ashamed of such a
Relying on foreigners won't do anymore. - The Sunday Standard
By Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:24
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office has failed to adequately
dispel with hard facts allegations that it has created a
"government-in-government" whose officers are paid handsomely by
international organisations, among them, the multilateral financial
institution, the World Bank. The failure to be open on how the office is
operating has given credence to accusations first made by independent
lawmaker Jonathan Moyo that Tsvangirai has a parallel structure in his
office whose mandate is to further MDC interests.
Apart from his Munhumutapa offices, the premier reportedly has two
other offices in the capital and another one in Bulawayo whose rentals,
services charges and staff are not paid by the treasury. The offices are
reportedly manned mostly by none civil servants allegedly receiving salaries
of between US$700 and US$7 000 -- salaries way, way above the US$150 most
government workers earn.
This, Jonathan Moyo argued, was a threat to the life of the inclusive
The Prime Minister's Office and MDC spokespersons have worsened the
situation by giving conflicting statements on the matter. Their reactions to
the allegations were not coordinated and leave a lot of unanswered
questions. Initially, Minister of State Gorden Moyo admitted during an
address to the Bulawayo Press Club earlier this month that the World Bank
was paying salaries for some workers in the Prime Minister's Office, but
adamantly denied the premier had set up parallel structures
"It is a scheme of government.We are getting (human) resources through
a scheme of (provision of) technical assistants through the World Bank.
These people are being paid through the World Bank," he was quoted saying.
But last week he was singing a different tune. Minister Moyo denied
categorically in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent that workers in
Tsvangirai's office were being paid by the Bretton Woods institute.
Moyo said: "The Prime Minister's Office has a staff compliment of only
11 people of which only three have had their appointments and contracts as
government workers formalised by the Public Service Commission. These three
receive government salaries like all other civil servants while those who
are awaiting appointment are struggling like other Zimbabweans.
"For the record, there is no arrangement for the World Bank to pay
civil servants in the Prime Minister's Office. The only scheme that I know
is that of technical assistance. This facility of technical assistance by
the World Bank is available to all government ministries.
"To date, the Prime Minister's Office has benefited from this facility
through the consultants seconded to organise and facilitate the two
government retreats. I think you will need to talk to the World Bank itself
to get clarification."
Under a normal situation, technical assistance of any nature from any
institution, organisation or country should be done at the request of the
government, but in this case it is not clear who approached the World Bank.
Was it the Prime Minister or the whole government's decision to approach the
The funding the World Bank made public is for a needs assessment "in
anticipation of future work that would have to be done, once the right
conditions are in place, in key areas to help jump-start an economic
revival -- agriculture, mining, tourism, energy, public finance management,
etc" and I am not sure if this also covers operation of the Prime Minister's
The bank is on record as saying the right conditions have not yet been
created for the World Bank to re-engage on a full-fledged economic
development programme with Zimbabwe and humanitarian assistance currently
provided to help the poor in the country is being channelled through NGOs
and aid agencies.
While Minister Moyo was firing blanks and contradicting his earlier
statement, the MDC information department went into overdrive and instead of
addressing the allegations with empirical evidence and facts, it decided to
The department continued to argue that Tsvangirai is the head of
government and, therefore, could not form a government that is parallel to
the one he heads. If one reads the global political agreement carefully, it
is clear that the premier is not the head of government by the virtue that
he does not chair the cabinet.
Tsvangirai is aware of this. That's why he tried and failed to have
the cabinet handbook amended to get the authority to head government.
Reports abound that some ministers from Zanu PF do not even report to him
because they argue that he is not the one who appointed them.
"The real scandal is the attempt by the Public Service Commission to
undermine the Prime Minister's Office by failing to formalise the
appointment of staff in the Office of the Head of Government. This scandal
is an attempt by Zanu-PF, through its sidekicks, to undermine and soil the
image of the Prime Minister's office through falsehoods and fiction, the MDC
The information department further did not help their cause by making
counter-accusations that the only shadow government is being run by a known
"civil servant in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity who
continues to peddle hate speech in the public media and to sow divisions by
maligning ministers and officials of the" inclusive government. Two wrongs
do not make a right!
What is needed is transparency and accountability in the running of
the Prime Minister's Office. Without openness all sorts of accusations will
be thrown at the office and some of them will stick even if they are false
or half truths.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:23
PROSPECTS of a successful transition leading to free and fair
elections under the inclusive are fast receding as the parties involved in
the unstable coalition intensify internal power struggles while in the
process destabilising the fragile arrangement.
If the inclusive government crumbles the consequences for the country
would be ghastly. The failure of the arrangement would derail the
anticipated transition which should be anchored on a new constitution and
possibly plunge Zimbabwe back into the dark era of repression or lead to
It could also sidetrack transition and create a Hobbesian state of
nature where everyone is against everyone! Under these conditions the
country would be gripped by continual fear and the ever-present danger of
violent death of those opposed to the current rulers, as well as mass
The dream of political and economic reforms would be shattered. The
minimal gains of recovery would be fast reversed and accelerated economic
meltdown which reached its peak last year, with hyperinflation scaling
stratospheric levels, would return. Even under the multicurrency regime life
would become unbearable, particularly if the economy shifts back to
Hardliners in all the parties involved in the inclusive government
claim they do not care even if this government fails but the problem is that
such bluster and bravado does not offer serious political options. If the
inclusive government falls an open political warfare between the rival
parties - with attendant consequences - becomes inevitable. The hardliners
would light the fire but run away.
There is no viable alternative at the moment. In the current
circumstances if the inclusive government collapses things could deteriorate
terrifyingly. That is why the current political developments are worrying.
Instead of the political principals putting their heads together to
tackle whatever threats to the inclusive government remain, they stoking the
fires. They seem completely oblivious of what the consequences of their
actions might be.
President Robert Mugabe continues to fuel divisions through his
belligerent words and deeds. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC
are also stirring up the situation via veiled threats of pulling out of
government. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara albeit now quiet had been
adding fuel to fire in his own way.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF lackeys has been waxing lyrical about sanctions
and are refusing to make concessions on anything. Last night Mugabe was
expected to rattle on about sanctions and other complaints on CNN while he
is refusing to address disputed issues back home. His address to the UN
General Assembly would also be laden with the same rhetoric.
Mugabe on Wednesday said he was giving the US President Barack Obama's
administration time to lift sanctions its predecessor imposed on his regime
due to human rights abuses, killings of opposition supporters and a burning
dispute over the chaotic and often violent land reform programme. Mugabe
said in New York sanctions were the main outstanding issue. This is what he
told the recent Sadc summit in Kinshasa and a visiting European Union
Mugabe also dug in over the issue of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
This is entirely unhelpful. It's the sort of intransigence which could
collapse the inclusive government in the end. Mugabe might be beginning to
take things for granted but the situation could soon progressively
deteriorate to crisis levels, leaving the government teetering on the brink.
While Zanu PF is digging in on sanctions and the Gono and Tomana
issue, the MDC is fuelling the situation by threatening to pull out. The
result can only be more instability in the government and around the
country. The Gono issue has particularly become polarising. Gono and Finance
minister Tendai Biti are locked in a fierce war of attrition which is
gravely destabilising the government.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai should urgently sit down and discuss these
issues before political events take their own uncontainable course.
The problem is that Mugabe and his party are no longer prepared to
concede even an inch of political ground and have to all intents and
purposes given the MDC a Hobson's choice. It's now a take it or leave it
approach. Once relations start to deteriorate to those levels the expected
transition would dissolve into chaos.
Events are gathering pace in that direction. The MDC's National
Executive meets today to finalise its consultation teams and logistics to go
around the country asking people whether they still want to be in the
inclusive government or not. The MDC's move followed Sadc's failure to deal
with their complaints against Mugabe.
What is going to follow now would be touch-and-go developments. If the
MDC gets the feedback that it must pull out, what will happen? Of course, it
is unlikely the MDC would want to withdraw now without a Plan B but given
the dynamics of the current state of flux and the volatile power struggle,
anything can happen. The danger of renewed instability is looming.
Thursday, 24 September 2009 19:11
IT is becoming increasingly apparent that 85-year-old President Robert
Mugabe does not plan to stand down any time soon. Anyone with hopes about
him stepping down or announcing his retirement at the Zanu PF congress in
December, must now know that Mugabe wants to remain at the helm of the party
for a long time and to be its sole presidential candidate in the next
elections, which will be held after the constitution-making process.
When asked if he would consider stepping down, Mugabe told journalists
after meeting with an EU delegation two weeks ago that: "You are asking a
regime change question. I am still young."
In 2003, Mugabe hinted in an interview with the state broadcaster that
he would quit by 2008, but, as is emerging now, he is in no hurry to go.
Two years later in April 2005, Mugabe reaffirmed that position. He was
quoted by the Herald in an interview with Indonesia's Jarkata Post newspaper
saying: "I have said it before that when my term ends I will retire. I still
have to do three years.but it is my intention to retire" adding that "I will
never groom a successor. We will never do that. We will never make that
Since then, he has stifled open debate on the succession issue. His
argument is that it is up to the people and he would only step down when his
supporters decide so. To make matters worse, the succession debate remains a
taboo in Zanu PF. Conferences for the youth and women's leagues were silent
on the issue and Mugabe even tried to quash the divisions that came out at
the two meetings.
He indirectly told delegates to shun the "two or three sides" which
were fighting for supremacy. He told them to remain united and described the
divisions as "ruinous". Mugabe has not taken kindly to those people who have
shown their interest in taking over. He has taken great offence at anyone
who has tried to stampede him out of office. In the past, he accused some of
his Cabinet and politburo members of waiting at the door (to the presidency)
"like a witch".
Although Mugabe at one time permitted little debate on the succession,
he, at the same time moved swiftly to destroy politically anyone who
declared a personal ambition to succeed him.
Vice President Joice Mujuru, together with her husband Retired Army
Commander General Solomon Mujuru, tried it.
Mujuru, who in 2004 seemed like the chosen successor, fell out of
favour when it became increasingly transparent that her husband's camp
wanted Mugabe to retire as soon as possible.
General Mujuru, who thought he had won the fight to raise his wife to
the highest post in the land, now knows that the wait is going to be very
long or might never be, depending on when Mugabe finally decides to step
Six chairpersons felt Mugabe's full wrath after reports of an alleged
'coup plot' designed to make the powerful defence minister Emmerson
They were suspended from the party in 2004. Whoever wants to oppose
Mugabe is almost reminded of the downfall of Dzikamai Mavhaire, who was
suspended from the party in 1998 for calling for Mugabe to go. Only years
later was he allowed to return. He lost his provincial chairmanship, his
position in the central committee and was readmitted as an ordinary member
of the party after the five-year suspension. Mavhaire's closest ally, the
late Eddison Zvobgo, was dropped by Mugabe from government in 2000 for his
criticism of his ruling style and for suggesting he retires. Zvobgo, who
never hid his own presidential ambitions, died in 2004 at the age of 68 .
One Zanu PF official once said: "Only divine intervention can change
It is true because I can't think of anyone, be it kingpins Emmerson
Mnangagwa or his rival Mujuru, who can dare stand up and tell the congress
that he or she no longer wants Mugabe as the party leader.
As long as he does not announce his retirement or resignation, "the
young old man" is not going anywhere. The problem in Zanu PF is that
everyone is trying to protect their own interests. Remember, some members
have been engaging in illegal and corrupt activities and are afraid that the
president might have their dossiers.
Mugabe allowed corruption to flourish knowing that he could one day
use it against them. Even in the central committee, which is the best
platform to discuss such issues, no one can dare to raise the succession
issue. Free debate in Zanu PF is almost impossible but it would be in Mugabe's
interest to encourage debate on the succession issue.
What happened at the Women's League conference should be a warning
that Mugabe needs to sort out his succession. If he is so worried about
divisions reversing the country's "hard-won Independence", he should allow
the congress to choose his successor to take over when he does retire.
If elections at that level can degenerate into fistfights because of
factionalism, what will happen if suddenly there is a vacancy at the
presidency? Kunotofa vanhu (Someone will die).
Unfortunately for Zanu PF, Mugabe has perfected divide-and-rule
tactics that fuel factionalism in the party. Mugabe has been switching
support among the presidential contenders.
General Mujuru and Mnangagwa are probably the only two people powerful
enough to risk standing up publicly to challenge Mugabe. I dare them to
stand up at the party congress and tell Mugabe to honour his earlier promise
to retire now.