September 7, 2012 in Politics
THE controversial Copac draft has left Zanu PF divided and in turmoil after
the foiling of an internal plot to remove President Robert Mugabe using the
Report by Faith Zaba
Party insiders said the manoeuvres, similar to the Tsholotsho debacle of
2004, were meant to either bar or weaken Mugabe, leaving him vulnerable
ahead of elections expected next year.
Sources said the moves were thwarted by Zanu PF hardliners led by politburo
member Jonathan Moyo, whose suspicions were heightened after the first draft
proposed an age limit of 70 for a presidential candidate and term limits
disqualifying anyone who had already served a maximum of 10 years.
Ironically, Moyo was involved in the Tsholotsho plot.
They said it became clear to the hardliners after the first draft that some
Zanu PF Copac members, who included Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and Patrick
Chinamasa, were working with the MDC formations to try and deal with Mugabe’s
succession through the constitution.
A politburo technical team, comprising its chair and party legal secretary
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Moyo, Labour deputy minister Monica Mutsvangwa, former
Matabeleland North governor Jacob Mudenda, State Enterprises deputy minister
Walter Chidhakwa, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairperson
Godwills Masimirembwa, Women’s Affairs minister Olivia Muchena and a Dr
Hove, were mandated to supervise the constitution-making process and ensure
that Zanu PF positions were incorporated in the draft.
Mnangagwa also chaired a politburo committee to supervise the process. New
information obtained by the Zimbabwe Independent this week shows Zanu PF
negotiators Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche took a lot of liberty in making
critical decisions without consulting the leadership, which resulted in the
party making wholesale amendments in June and recently to the draft in six
politburo meetings lasting 50 hours.
The sources said the leadership was consulted on most sections of the draft,
but there were certain clauses influenced by attempts to deal with the
Mugabe succession issues. It has now emerged the technical committee had
rejected sections on the executive and presidential powers, which have been
whittled down in the draft, condemning Mugabe to what loyalists claim is a
clerical position. Mnangagwa’s team, the sources said, was also not
consulted on the running mates issue.
“We were shocked about the running mates,” said one politburo member. “Even
the president asked in one politburo meeting where that clause came from. As
far as I know, the technical committee was just as shocked as the president
about the running mates.”
Zanu PF created structures to deal with constitutional issues, but still the
plot against Mugabe thrived. Initial attempts to insert an age limit of 70
years in the first draft that would have disqualified Mugabe, 88, led to the
hardliners coming up with a 29-page document, most of which was incorporated
into the draft. However, the negotiating teams, Copac co-chairpersons and
some Copac members from the three parties, agreed to the new draft which
diluted presidential powers.
The politburo rejected the draft, restoring the status quo in which Mugabe
retains his sweeping powers. Mugabe is expected to meet Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube on Monday to discuss Zanu PF’s
September 7, 2012 in Politics
MORE wrangling looms in the coalition government between President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the appointment of
provincial governors whose terms expire early next month.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
According to the Provincial Councils and Administration Act, terms of
provincial governors shall not exceed a period of two years.
The country’s 10 provincial governors were unilaterally appointed in October
2010 by Mugabe for two-year terms despite their appointment being one of the
outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.
The appointments resulted in Tsvangirai suing Mugabe in the High Court for
failing to consult him as outlined in the GPA. The MDC-T approached the High
Court on November 24 2010 seeking a reversal of the re-appointments arguing
they were unconstitutional.
Tsvangirai’s court papers said Mugabe was aware he could not appoint
provincial governors without consulting him.
However, Mugabe cited Rule 18 to dismiss Tsvangirai’s accusations. It reads:
“No summons or other civil process of the court may be issued out against
the president or any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of
the court granted on court application being made for that purpose.”
In July, Mugabe lost his appeal in the Supreme Court meaning he must now
answer on the merits of Tsvangirai’s argument.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party stands by its position
that any appointment without consulting Tsvangirai is illegal.
“The unilateral appointment of provincial governors by Mugabe was null and
void and thus illegal,” said Mwonzora. “We therefore still insist the Prime
Minister must be consulted in any re-appointment in accordance with the GPA.
If not, then the appointment will be unrecognisable,” he said.
However, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said his party was not bothered by
the re-appointment of governors.
“As a party, we will not put our gear into political reverse by allowing
ourselves to be swayed from political work which is focused on elections,”
said Dube. “Governors do not have any budget they implement. They are the
least important issue in the GPA. He (Mugabe) can go ahead and appoint and
we will let him enjoy his very last re-appointing powers.”
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe is going to repeat
what he has done before in appointing provincial governors.
“The Provincial Councils and Administration Act is clear that the terms of
the governors expire after two years,” said Madhuku. “However it is quite
clear what will happen. Mugabe is very predictable. He will go ahead with
what he wants to do. The constitution stalemate should be an example to show
how Mugabe behaves.”
September 7, 2012 in Politics
STARTING this week the Zimbabwe Independent will be serialising articles
written by MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti — who is
a lawyer by profession — on the controversial constitution-making exercise,
focusing on the process, content and output. Biti is publicly wading into
the stormy debate at a time when battle lines around the issue are clearly
drawn and preparations for elections next year are gathering momentum.
The debate around the new constitution has become bastardised and
resultantly is now wallowing in mediocrity and ignorant adulteration.
Incoherent narratives and non-germane issues have been brought to the
forefront, clouding the substance around the constitution-making process,
while generating untold public confusion and undermining serious debate on
the content of the draft constitution.
In this regard, the hardline and chaotic faction of Zanu PF must take a fair
share of blame and full responsibility for hijacking the constitution-making
process in pursuit of power-crazy political and schismatic agendas at the
expense of the nation. Zanu PF’s factionalism is partly responsible for
disrupting this process.
A scorched earth policy is now being mercilessly pursued to fulfil party
political and factional agendas. The “chaos faction” in Zanu PF now
dominates the public media, in particular the columns of the Herald and
Sunday Mail, while shallow and clueless “analysts” hold sway at ZBC TV and
radio stations disseminating propaganda packaged as analyses.
The private press too, consciously or unconsciously, has worsened the
situation by allowing itself to be sidetracked to sideshows like the issue
of running mates which is not a fundamental in this constitution-making
Great responsibility too must be taken by the academia and civic society who
have remained mute in the debate, thus failing to articulate and examine
even in the slightest terms the content of the draft constitution and what
it means for Zimbabwe.
As a result, the majority of our people remain in the dark on issues at
stake. At least in Matabeleland the people are clear on the issue of
devolution and attempts by Zanu PF to annihilate this demand in its
reactionary proposals are being fiercely resisted.
Most people having been watching Zanu PF shenanigans in the last three weeks
and their endless day and night meetings, have come to the simple conclusion
that if this party is rejecting the Copac draft when their signatures are on
it then it means it must be supported by the majority. It is an unscientific
way of decision-making, but one which in the black and white scenario of
Zimbabwe works well.
But let’s highlight the key milestones of the Copac draft that was signed on
July 18 2012. In doing this, let me underscore from the onset the
fundamental point that the constitution of any country is primarily a
contract between and among citizens on how they want to be governed. It thus
represents the highest codification of the social contract.
In making this point, it should also be understood that like in any other
contract, the bargaining positions of the contracting parties is a key
consideration. In short, in addition to being a contract, it is also a power
document representing at all material times, the dominant interests in the
Modern constitutions negotiated under more democratic matrixes, thus, have a
more liberal orientation reflecting the victories of the working people
against power and abuse.
The whole history of modern constitutions starting with the Magna Carta, the
American Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution are
predicated on that. In general terms, constitutions are the outcomes of
revolutionary protests against power and its abuse thereof. The same is true
of the American constitution of 1787 as it is true of the Zimbabwean
constitution of 1979 and the South African constitution of 1996.
Thus, if a constitution is a product of a struggle, the question that arises
is, does it create a new legal and political order and does it represent a
break from the past? In short, does it bring a new beginning?
There are six principles we must use to judge the Copac draft and should it
pass this criteria then it must be an acceptable document. These principles
Does it break with the past and establish a new order?
Does it protect the people against imperial power?
Does it establish and protect clear separation of powers and authority in
Does it create independent institutions, particularly, those which are a
bulwark against power and big government?
Does it articulate the developmental aspirations of the people?
Does it create mechanisms for state and generational succession and
Breaking with the past and establishing a new order
The current Zimbabwe state is largely based on a culture of violence,
corruption and political predation, which in any event form the nucleus of
Zanu PF’s DNA. But the preamble to the Copac constitution makes very clear
the need to create a new Zimbabwe underpinned by the values of democracy,
rule of law, hard work and the supremacy of God.
More importantly, the Copac draft, in its founding provisions, seeks to
create a new Zimbabwe founded on uncontestable principles that are a
departure from the current autocracy and vicious cycles of predation.
The founding principles include the supremacy of the constitution above any
individual organ or law; the rule of law; fundamental human rights and
freedoms; gender equality; good governance; orderly transfer of power
following elections and recognition of all languages as official languages
More than anything else, the many new concepts and layers that this draft
seeks to introduce such as devolution and independent commissions underscore
a break from the past.
— To be continued next week.
September 7, 2012 in News
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s planned wedding on September 15 could be
jeopardised by an urgent application in the High Court today by his jilted
lover Lorcadia Karimatsenga Tembo to block the ceremony.
Report by Brian Chitemba
Tsvangirai is set to tie the knot next week on Saturday with fiancée
Elizabeth Macheka, the daughter of Zanu PF central committee member and
former Chitungwiza executive mayor Joseph Macheka, at an exclusive venue in
Harare’s plush Umwinsidale suburb.
The Zimbabwe Independent yesterday confirmed President Robert Mugabe would
attend the wedding and host regional leaders after the event.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Mugabe was “invited as a
colleague who is also a family man and husband”.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said Tembo’s urgent application
could be part of a sting operation by the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) to destroy his boss’s reputation ahead of elections next year.
Tsvangirai publicly terminated his customary marriage to Tembo, 12 days
after paying lobola for the 39-year-old Harare businesswoman on November 21,
citing CIO and Zanu PF infiltration into his private life.
Tembo is closely related to Zanu PF Goromonzi West MP Beatrice Nyamupinga.
Tamborinyoka yesterday said Tsvangirai was already aware of the court
application, likely to be filed today in the High Court.
“Two CIO operations — Operation Blackhawk and Operation Spiderweb — are
financed to the tune of US$100 million to cause maximum damage to the person
of Morgan Tsvangirai,” said Tamborinyoka. “Today it’s a lawsuit; tomorrow
(today) they want to file an urgent application to stop the wedding, but the
people’s resilient dream will not die. The embodiment of that dream will
march this country to the promised land.”
Karimatsenga has already approached the civil court demanding US$15 000
monthly maintenance from Tsvangirai, claiming he is handsomely paid and
could afford the amount.
The commodity broker insists she is still customarily married to Tsvangirai
and critics say it is on this basis she plans to disrupt the wedding.
The maintenance case was filed while Tsvangirai was in the United States
attending President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party convention.
Tsvangirai is currently paying maintenance for a 23-year-old Bulawayo-based
woman Loreta Nyathi, whom he impregnated in 2010, just a year after the
tragic death of his wife Susan in a car crash.
Tsvangirai had six children with Susan.
He has also been linked to several other women, including Bulawayo
businesswoman Aquilina Pamberi.
September 7, 2012 in News
MBARE-BASED Zanu PF youths have confirmed that the notorious Chipangano
militia that has terrorised MDC supporters and commuter kombi operators in
Harare has the backing of senior party officials.
Report by Staff Writer
Despite senior Harare Zanu PF officials disowning the terror group,
Chipangano members who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent on condition of
anonymity yesterday, said the group has been in existence since 2000 with
its major objective being to deal with perceived Zanu PF enemies.
The group’s members said former Mbare MP Tendai Savanhu, who lost to Piniel
Denga of the MDC-T in 2008, provided the gang with resources to sustain its
terror campaigns on behalf of Zanu PF. Savanhu has denied links to
Chipangano. Zanu PF Harare youth chairperson Jim Kunaka was in charge of
deploying the gang’s rank marshals at Harare’s commuter ranks although he
has also denied such links.
“Kunaka has a say in almost every rank that operates in Harare. A marshal
can’t operate at a rank without his approval,” said one gang member.
There are about 6 000 commuter kombis operating in Harare and rank marshals
collect US$1 per trip. Those who don’t comply are violently barred from
operating from the ranks
September 7, 2012 in News
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz)
has threatened to withdraw operating licences of operators who disconnect
other operators over interconnection disputes without its approval.
Report by Staff Writer
This emerged in the ongoing legal battle between giant mobile operator,
Econet and NetOne over the unilateral disconnection of the latter over a
US$20 million interconnection debt. Potraz wrote a directive on August 28
2012 warning operators about interconnection fees.
“Any unapproved disconnection constitutes a material breach of your licence
conditions and may result in withdrawal of the licence,” the directive
Econet lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa filed heads of arguments with the High Court
arguing that “once applicant had expressly contended that there was no
agreement between the parties, respondent (Econet) was entitled to take the
action it did”.
NetOne lawyer Advocate Ray Goba argued that Econet did not follow due
September 7, 2012 in News
INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube has dismissed allegations that
he received bribes from the Essar Group to facilitate the Indian company’s
takeover of Ziscosteel as malicious and cheap propaganda.
Zanu PF and MDC-T MPs brewed a shocker in parliament this week, alleging
Ncube received substantial inducements from Essar to influence its US$750
million takeover of the former giant steel maker.
Industry and Commerce parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson and
Buhera North MP, William Mutomba (Zanu PF) tabled the report in parliament
on Tuesday alleging corruption marred the Essar deal.
Ncube said the deal was done with utmost transparency and integrity
following a public tender process which was overseen by a technical team
that later made recommendations to the Industry and Commerce ministry.
Ncube and his team then assessed the recommendations before forwarding them
to President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
He said Essar was awarded the tender on the basis of it agreeing to take
over the Ziscosteel debt and inheriting its workforce. It was also the only
company with a strong balance sheet compared to other bidding entities, he
Mugabe accepted the Essar bid after it was discussed in cabinet five times
and also scrutinised by the Attorney-General’s office.
Ncube said the parliamentary committee was also furnished with documents and
explanations proving everything was done above board.
“It’s extremely unfortunate and malicious for the committee to make such
defamatory remarks,” said Ncube. “We are aware that there are elements who
want to derail the deal at all costs because they preferred other companies
instead of Essar.”
The legislators further alleged that money realised from the sale of ore
from Bimco was deposited into the Industry and Commerce ministry account
instead of the Ziscosteel account, but Ncube scoffed at the allegations,
saying they were simply false.
September 7, 2012 in News
THE future of Zimbabwe’s civil society organisations is set for a major
squeeze as the European Union (EU) shifts its aid policy towards Zimbabwe
because of the Eurozone crisis which has resulted in the bloc slashing more
than half a billion euros off international aid budgets.
Report by Tendai Marima
The EU recently announced resumption of direct aid to government and lifting
of targeted sanctions after a 10-year freeze.
The EU imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 and increased aid to civil
society organisations with the Southern African Trust noting that funding
sharply increased from US$270 000 to US$17,65 million between 2000 and 2004
because of the political situation.
EU aid to Zimbabwe currently stands at about US$120 million annually and has
been mainly distributed through international NGOs, but the recent
re-engagement of the government by the bloc would see aid money going
directly to government.
Acting EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Carl Skau said on Wednesday the EU is
currently in discussions with government to decide which projects would be
funded from 2014.
“The EU suspended appropriate measures end of July and we now have the
opportunity to directly support government,” said Skau. “We are now engaging
with the government to identify what the priorities are for that which will
be significant considering the needs of Zimbabwe.”
However, McDonald Lewanika, director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an
amalgamation of more than 350 local NGOs, was confident civil society groups
would survive the EU policy shift.
“It’s almost a given that there’s going to be an impact on civil society
organisations in the normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the
EU,” said Lewanika.
“It’s not a simplistic cause-and-effect scenario where civil society
organisations are going to collapse because the EU is providing direct aid.
Some groups will not be affected.”
September 7, 2012 in News
STATE Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo has threatened to
fire parastatal boards and CEOs who fail to meet set targets by year-end,
six months after they signed performance-based contracts with specific
Report by Staff Writer
Parastatal boards and CEOs have long been accused of receiving hefty
packages despite poor performances, before being forced to sign
performance-based contracts in June.
Moyo said this week boards signed performance-based contracts with line
ministers while CEOs and general managers signed contracts with their
respective boards to ensure turnaround of ailing state entities.
Although they signed the performance-based contracts in June, Moyo said a
six-month evaluation would be done and those found wanting would be fired.
“It’s a way of making sure the boards and CEOs are working,” said Moyo.
“Board members are paid sitting allowances and their core business is to
direct and give guidance to CEOs. In turn, CEOs have no time to idle around;
gone are the days when they would hang their jackets in the office and
disappear without working.”
The new performance-based contracts, Moyo said, are meant to bring sanity to
parastatals which have been severely underperforming and on the brink of
total collapse, in addition to being a drain on the fiscus.
“The parastatals are draining the fiscus. Only a fool can believe that
parastatals are performing,” said Moyo.
However, economist John Robertson criticised the performance-based contracts
saying they would be ineffective policy because CEOs are arguing that the
government is not playing its role in providing financial resources to turn
“The CEOs who are accused of failing to perform are also accusing the
government of failing to fulfil its mandate. Therefore, the policy won’t
achieve anything because there is going to be a lot of excuses,” he said.
Economic commentator Eric Bloch said the performance targets would stir CEOs
and boards members to take their duties seriously.
“The performance contracts are a common feature in the private sector so it
should be in the public sector. It’s a noble policy,” he said. But in a
parastatals performance report compiled by State Enterprises Restructuring
Agency, the companies showed slow growth with capacity utilisation
increasing from 30% in 2009 to about 60% in 2011.
September 7, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is reportedly mulling a major shake-up of the board
of trustees of the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) after kicking out
former Home Affairs minister and Zanu PF politburo heavyweight Dumiso
Report by Tendai Marima
DTZ was established in 1989 by veteran nationalist, the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo and Mugabe, and has diverse business interests, the latest
being commercial diamond mining.
Dabengwa, who served on the boards of the American and British-registered
corporation and its subsidiary gold and diamond mining firm DTZ-Ozgeo, was
replaced earlier this year without explanation.
DTZ-Ozgeo is set to become Zimbabwe’s newest commercial diamond miner after
recently announcing its readiness to enter the market by the end of the
DTZ-Ozgeo is presently mining diamonds at Charleswood Estate, which was
expropriated from exiled MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett. The company
has produced 7 000 carats since 2007. The company’s tax returns dated May 10
2012 seen by the Zimbabwe Independent show Dabengwa was removed as a
director on May 2 and replaced by Nkomo’s daughter, Thandiwe Barbara Nkomo.
In an interview this week, Dabengwa confirmed being informed of the
termination of his DTZ-Ozgeo directorship in a letter from DTZ chairperson,
Vice-President John Nkomo.
“I’m not on the board of DTZ-Ozgeo anymore, but I was not informed if I was
still on DTZ,” said Dabengwa. “I don’t even know if I am there; I heard
through the grapevine I had been dropped from the board of DTZ-Ozgeo, but I
was never consulted. I was first told by one of the directors (of DTZ-Ozgeo)
and then I received a letter from John Nkomo saying I had been substituted.
He didn’t give a reason.”
DTZ-Ozgeo is a 60/40 partnership between DTZ, Russian government company
Ozgeo, also known as the All Russian Foreign Economic Association on
The Penhahlonga-based mining company was incorporated on January 27, 1994
and Mikhail Ivanovitch Nikulshin, head of Russia’s foreign state enterprise,
and Dabengwa were appointed as its founding directors on the same day.
Dabengwa was one of the first trustees appointed by Mugabe when DTZ was set
up on June 12, 1989. It is understood the current board consists of
Environment and Natural Resources Management minister Francis Nhema, who was
married to Joshua Nkomo’s daughter, Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya
Moyo, State Security minister Sidney Sekeramayi, ex-Masvingo governor
Dzikamai Mavhaire and vice-presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo.
Mavhaire is believed to have been appointed after he played a central role
in the government’s acquisition of Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi.
DTZ acquired the 862 000-acre ranch for Z$15 million in a forced sale from
South Africa’s Imperial Cold Storage. The amount was a mere fraction of its
DTZ is among other projects currently involved in game and crocodile farming
on Nuanetsi and Bio-Energy (Pvt) Ltd, an ethanol plant jointly owned by Zanu
PF and Billy Rautenbach, who also owns the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant.
According to the DTZ Trust deed, Mugabe has the power to unilaterally
appoint or remove trustees without explanation.
DTZ-Ozgeo is believed to have mining rights to 425 000 hectares of land, to
prospect for various minerals and is also suspected of taking over a 4 000
hectare gold and diamond claim in Chimanimani that had been granted to
Although the true value of the Chimanimani find is still unknown, Botswana
Diamonds claims Chimanimani’s gems are of “higher value” than those in
Marange whose industrial diamonds average between US$60- US$120 per carat on
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
THE fourth mining indaba since the adoption of multicurrencies takes place
next week against the global backdrop of growing resource nationalism, a
drive towards more sustainable mining methods, and a push for transparency,
accountability and overall good governance not only by mining companies but
by business as a whole.
Report by Itai Masuku
An impressive array of speakers has been lined up for the meeting, drawing
from major mining personalities within the region and Africa wide. The
conference takes place just after the Global Competitiveness Report for
2012/13 which lists South Africa as the most competitive economy in
sub-Saharan Africa and Zimbabwe is nowhere near.
The question remains, why does Zimbabwe still remain uncompetitive? The
standard answer to this can be political, economic and social risk, with the
politics being the forebear of the other two. On the issue of resource
nationalism, in particular, the country’s controversial indigenisation
programme pops up. But it’s not indigenisation itself that is a problem.
Resource nationalism and its Siamese twin sovereignty have been around since
our ancestor Adam was in the Garden of Eden. He was master of his territory
until, we are told, he sold out his sovereignty to the serpent. “A man’s
home is his castle,” goes a well-known saying. So we simply cannot wish away
resource nationalism, which world mining conglomerate Anglo American
Corporation’s chairman Nicky Oppenheimer admitted at a mining indaba in
South Africa earlier this year was once again reaching a crescendo among
A close friend in the mining industry pointed out that countries such as
India did more than Zimbabwe’s demand for 51% of equity in mining companies,
embarking on full scale nationalisation. Coal India, wholly-government
owned, is one of the most successful mining companies, we are told.
The Malaysians, for instance, long established Vision 2020, which has seen
the former single export economy grow into one of the kingpins of the South
East Asian economic tigers. There was political communication that enabled
these people to rally around a common vision. The plan was sold to the
people, so that they bought into it.
For Zimbabwe, many programmes are foisted upon the people, and though they
may sometimes be good, they fail to find support because they are partisan
and poorly communicated. But usually, they are driven by greed and serve a
small clique, or collections of small cliques to the exclusion of the entire
nation who are confined to the role of observer.
Thus Zimbabwe is a very divided nation, and a kingdom divided against itself
will not stand, the holy writ tells us. The divisions start from black and
white, Shona and Ndebele and other ethnic subdivisions, and ultimately, Zanu
PF versus MDCs and the attendant factions of these political groupings. What
does this mean?
Well, it appears our political leadership has failed us, and has really been
responsible for turning us into a more fractious country that is not bound
by a solid common vision.
Resource nationalism must be all-inclusive; for a nation is a collection of
several racial and ethnic groups. And it must not be partisan, none of this
situation where only people from a particular political party benefit from
They are national, not party resources. We hope that the upcoming indaba
will not be a platform for Zimbabwe to showcase its divisions in front of
the potential investors, who go away more anxious and continue to sit on the
fence. Then we wonder why all the truckloads of mining equipment that we see
traversing our roads are not destined for Zimbabwe, but for regional
countries such as Zambia, Malawi and DRC? Let’s get our mining act together.
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
THERE seems to be an ill wind that blows no good within the MDC-T. The
labour-based party has of late been making headlines –– albeit for the wrong
Report by Stewart Chabwinja
Recent events suggest the party is hamstrung by lack of focus, coherence,
unity-of-purpose and –– most importantly –– leadership paralysis.
Senior officials of the party have been making public statements on a
variety of burning issues, only for the party to dissociate itself from the
same, leaving the officials and party with egg on their face.
Only last weekend MDC-T deputy organising secretary Abedinico Bhebhe told a
rally in Matabeleland South the party had made too many concessions in the
Copac draft, and encouraged party members to vote “yes” in the referendum as
the constitution would be reviewed if the party assumed power.
Hastily, as a damage-limitation measure, the MDC-T rebutted Bhebhe’s
utterances, saying it had no such intentions. Suffice it to say, it is not
the first time an MDC-T official has claimed they intended to use a new
constitution to get into power, after which they would rewrite the
This latest episode is microcosmic of a growing MDC-T problem in which the
party appears disjointed and rudderless, coming as it does hot on the heels
of reported clash between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and party
spokesman Douglas Mwonzora over the Freedom house survey.
Mwonzora was reportedly reprimanded after his dismissive remarks on the
damning survey which says the MDC-T’s popularity is plunging.
Now, more than at any other time in its brief but quite dramatic history,
the MDC-T needs strong, focused and decisive leadership. The party, much
like fellow unity government protagonists Zanu PF, is at the crossroads. The
imminent crunch elections are a make-or-break affair where defeat could be
terminal, relegating the party to the national scrapheap of has-beens like
Zum, Zanu Ndonga and Zapu.
The MDC-T thus needs all hands on deck to help steer the democracy ship
through the stalled constitution-making waters, reform process and election
strategy and campaigns. But instead, we have a party that sometimes appears
to be on auto-pilot, going through the motions of maintaining a challenge to
Zanu PF’s toxic hegemony.
As the constitution-making process hobbles towards finality one way or the
other and crucial elections beckon, Tsvangirai –– still the face of the
protracted pro-democracy struggle –– appears increasingly distracted by
personal issues at a time he needs to keep his eyes fixed firmly on the
political ball, or risk a Zanu PF recovery. Indications are that the PM’s
12-day visit to Japan, Australia and New Zealand cost the
constitution-making exercise 10 days as principals were required to peruse
the draft and make their input.
His current visit to the US means the principals can’t meet to discuss the
politburo’s amendments to the contested Copac draft.
Yesterday, yet another twist to Tsvangirai’s love life was splashed in the
media, with “ex-wife” Locadia Karimatsenga claiming US$15 000 in maintenance
while declaring the two were still customarily married. Fighting the claim
in the courts or drawing up a settlement would be an unwelcome headache. The
PM has also been linked to several other women, including Loretta Nyathi
with whom he has a child he is maintaining.
One can only imagine how much of his time the PM is expending in sorting out
such private but damaging distractions, including issuing damage control
press statements, to the detriment of his demanding duties as MDC-T leader
and Prime Minister. And preparations for his wedding slated to coincide with
the signing of the Global Political Agreement –– September 15 2008 –– add to
his onerous to-do list, as the arrangements are certainly demanding.
To compound matters, Tsvangirai has occasionally left crucial meetings to
attend to private business; a case in point is the recent Sadc Summit in
Maputo which he left prematurely to fly to South Africa on personal errands.
Having marched thus far on the journey towards genuine democracy in Zimbabwe
in a leadership capacity, those who have invested hope in the MDC-T as the
only viable alternative to Zanu PF –– which it still largely remains –– must
be wondering if the party is about to stumble just when the finishing line
in sight. Tsvangirai, as indeed his entire party, must refocus himself to
the arduous pro-democracy campaign for which he has made many sacrifices in
order to take Zimbabweans to the land of “change” the MDC-T promised.
No doubt Tsvangirai might have his own explanations for his shortcomings and
indiscretions, but as the saying goes, “Leadership is about taking
responsibility, not making excuses.”
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
IF the recent Freedom House public opinion poll survey is anything to go by,
then the outcome of the next elections is very difficult to predict even
though President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF, given their fascist record
and economic failure, are generally not electable in a genuinely free and
Without political violence, intimidation and coercion, as well as
manipulation of the process and results in one way or another –– their
electoral mainstay –– there is simply no way Mugabe and Zanu PF can still
win peaceful and credible elections. The security state is now their pillar
of support and last line of defence. Without that, Mugabe and his party will
simply collapse under the pressure of electoral challenge, especially if
opposition forces don’t split votes, like a deck of cards.
However, it is important to pay more attention to scientific findings than
unempirical public sentiments alone, no matter how suspicious and
unconvincing they might be. It is also crucial not to forget Mugabe and Zanu
PF still have residual support on the ground to mount a rearguard battle
despite losing elections in March 2008.
Yet the findings of the Freedom House survey clearly show we must exercise
caution in reading new political trends, possible voting patterns and
predicting the next election results. In terms of the declared survey-based
support, it appears the MDC-T has been plunging in support, dropping from
38% to 20% in 2010 and 2012, respectively, in a short space of about 18
months. In contrast, Zanu PF has experienced a dramatic recovery, climbing
from 17% to 31% in the same period.
However, the survey had an important rider or qualification. “It is
essential to bear in mind that a total of 47% of the respondents did not
declare their voting intentions in this 2012 survey,” it says. “The
percentage includes those who declared their vote to be their secret.
Analyses in the rest of the report show that this undeclared category does
not veil a systematic party orientation. Rather, should these persons vote
in the next elections, their support is likely to be diffused across party
Similarly, the findings are not direct indicators of election outcomes ––
they are snap shots in conditions of fluidity confirmed in declared support
for all the political parties, both major and minor.
This is very important. What this simply means is that no party can claim to
have a commanding majority on the ground now in terms of popular support
when almost half of potential voters are undecided. This shows that the next
elections will be up for grabs, never mind that on a level playing field
without rough play and dangerous tackles Mugabe and Zanu PF cannot possibly
win fairly. These findings point to the volatile political dynamics of this
transitional period Zimbabweans are grappling with. We are in a state of
flux, anything can happen in short period of time and things are
The inclusive government era shows this. Whereas Zanu PF was deeply
unpopular in 2008 due to the political and economic meltdown and the MDC-T
was riding on the crest of a wave of popular support, the timeout since
February 2009 has produced unimagined situations.
The credit which has accrued to the coalition government for resuscitating
the economy and restoring political stability is strangely going to Zanu PF,
the very same party which had caused turmoil in the first place. This sounds
illogical because the MDC-T must be reaping the peace dividend, not Zanu PF.
Those are the vagaries of politics. Quite apart from this, one would have
expected the MDC-T popularity ratings to rise or at least remain steady but
they are plunging largely because of the party’s leadership and policy
failures, coupled with ineptitude and corruption, according to the survey.
But the volatility of the situation arises from this: “Zimbabweans are
showing the evidence of having been torn in all directions in the
People are not sure on what to believe and how to relate to shifting
political and economic circumstances. They vacillate between appreciation
for improved economic conditions and condemnation of the inclusive
They leap from great anticipation that the next elections will bring more
definitive change to the reality of their politically tormented sides. They
proclaim free and fair elections are in the offing, yet express fear
violence and intimidation are looming. The survey illuminates these complex,
nuanced and evolving positions Zimbabweans hold today, showing it is
difficult to say what will happen in the next elections.
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
IN the final instalment of the latest Global Witness report, Financing A
Parallel Government? which makes interesting revelations about Chiadzwa, the
report identifies more companies controlled wholly or partially by members
of the Zimbabwe intelligence service.
The report sheds light on activities unfolding at Marange diamond fields,
detailing who is involved and the intricate networks comprising the Chinese
and Zimbabwe security forces dealing in diamonds, cotton and property
GLOBAL Witness has seen no evidence to suggest the Central Intellegence
Organistion (CIO) has any role in Hong Kong company, Sino-Zim Diamond Ltd,
nor that the beneficial owners, directors or staff of Sino-Zim Diamonds Ltd,
Orient Treasure International Trading, or Samicor had any knowledge of any
CIO involvement in Sino-Zimbabwe Development.
Eighty percent of Sino-Zim Diamond Ltd is owned by MIL Company Ltd, also
registered in Hong Kong at 27/F, 8 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong. The two
directors of MIL Company Ltd are Lo Fung Hong of the Queensway syndicate and
Moshe Hallak, an Israeli citizen. Hallak is also a director of five other
companies registered in Hong Kong: Moshe International, Worldpro
Development, Shine Star, Time Express, and LLD Asia.
Four of these are owned by a variety of BVI-registered entities. The fifth,
LLD Asia, is wholly owned by LLD Diamonds Ltd, registered in Israel.
The other director of LLD Asia is Moshe Leviev, Lev Leviev’s brother. Global
Witness has seen no evidence to suggest that Moshe Hallak, Moshe Leviev or
Lev Leviev, or any staff or directors of their companies, were aware of the
role of the CIO in Sino-Zimbabwe Development.
MIL Company Ltd is in turn owned by two companies registered in the British
Virgin Islands: Alero Ltd and Goal Achieve Holdings Ltd. The registered
address for Alero Ltd is Drake Chambers, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
The registered address for Goal Achieve Holdings Ltd is PO Box 957, Offshore
Incorporations Centre, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Goal
Achieve Holdings Limited’s company number is 1511954, and it was
incorporated on 28 November 2008, by Offshore Incorporations Limited, a
company formation agent.
Sino-Zim Development Pvt Ltd
The other 20% of Sino-Zim Diamond Ltd (Hong Kong) is owned by Sino-Zim
Development Pvt Ltd, registered in Singapore. The directors of this
Singaporean company are: Masimba Ignatius Kamba, Lo Fong Hung, and Alain
Fanaie. Kamba gives his registered address as 7th Floor, Chester House,
Corner of 3rd Street and Speke Ave, Harare. Fanaie is CEO of China Sonangol,
another of the Queensway syndicate companies. It should be noted that Fanaie
joined in late 2011, after the events described in this report. There is
nothing to suggest that Fanaie was aware that Kamba was a member of the
CIO, or aware of the role of the CIO in Sino-Zimbabwe Development Pvt Ltd or
Sino-Zimbabwe Development Pvt Ltd.
There is one record of a financial transfer between the Singaporean and
Zimbabwean companies, further evidence of a link between the two companies.
According to the 2009 accounts of Sino-Zim Development Pvt Ltd on November
16 2009 US$50 million was deposited into the Zimbabwean bank accounts of
Sino-Zim Development Pvt Ltd (the Singaporean company), to be held in trust
for Sino-Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, the Zimbabwean company. This sum of
money is not mentioned in the 2010 accounts of Sino-Zimbabwe Development Pvt
Ltd. Otherwise the Singaporean company was dormant in 2010.
British Virgin Islands
Sino-Zimbabwe Development Pvt Ltd is owned by Strong Achieve Holdings Ltd
(30%) and Star Delight Holdings Ltd (70%), both registered in the British
Virgin Islands, also at PO Box 957, Offshore Incorporations Centre, Road
Town, Tortola. The memorandum of association for Sino-Zimbabwe Development
Pvt Ltd states that Lo is the authorised signatory for Star Delight
Holdings, and Kamba is the authorised signatory for Strong Achieve Holdings.
Strong Achieve Holdings has company number 1525656, and was incorporated on
March 23 2009 by Offshore Incorporations Limited.
The fact that Kamba, someone who Global Witness believes is a member of the
CIO, is the authorised signatory leads us to believe that the company is
partially or wholly controlled by the Zimbabwean CIO.
Star Delight Holdings is ultimately owned by companies in the Queensway
syndicate (China International Fund, Dayuan International Development, New
Bright International Development) and Lo Fong Hung and Veronica Fung Yuen.
Star Delight Holdings has company number 1532737, and was incorporated on
May 21 2009, again by Offshore Incorporations Limited.
Lev Leviev and Queensway syndicate
Leviev is a diamond magnate well known for helping to break De Beers’ hold
on the diamond market, particularly through his interests in the Angolan and
Namibian diamond sectors.
The US-China Economic & Security Review Commission’s report on the Queensway
syndicate, describes how Lev Leviev’s companies purchased 10% of a Queensway
syndicate company, Artfield Group Limited, and sold several New York
properties to China Sonangol, including the old JP Morgan building on Wall
Street. In May 2011 Leviev sold his 18% stake in Alrosa Co Ltd’s Catoca
diamond mine in Angola to China Sonangol.
Although Eliezer Nefussy, Grant Rau, Eli Sher, Moshe Hallak, Moshe Leviev
are associated with Lev Leviev’s companies, there is no evidence that they
or Lev Leviev had any contact with Zimbabwe’s CIO, nor that they had
knowledge of off-budget financing provided by Sam Pa to the CIO, or
knowledge of the presence of CIO members as directors of Sino-Zimbabwe
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was once again in his element at the recently-held
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, posturing about democracy and
slating the West for intervening militarily in conflicts under the guise of
what he called “ill-defined” concepts such as the “responsibility to
protect” and “humanitarian intervention”.
Report by MuckRaker
He called on NAM to push for the democratisation of global politics and
economic governance institutions.
Any political changes, said Mugabe, have got to be democratic and peaceful.
“You can’t attain democracy that way because if a group manages to overthrow
an existing government it also will in turn be overthrown surely by another
group revolting against it,” he said.
A classic case of do as I say and not as I do considering the violence and
intimidation orchestrated by Zanu PF in elections since 1980 culminating in
the presidential runoff in 2008 which, according to the MDC-T, killed 200 of
their supporters and displaced thousands.
While Mugabe abroad touts himself as a democrat, at home he sings a
Just before the widely discredited presidential run-off elections in 2008,
Mugabe said: “We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X.”
Mugabe even vowed not to cede power even if he was trounced in the elections
saying: “We will never allow an event like an election to reverse our
The West, Mugabe said at the NAM summit, are hypocrites for accusing Iran of
making nuclear bombs while they possess the same.
“The irony is that it is countries that have nuclear weapons themselves that
are making the loudest noises in accusing Iran of allegedly having the
potential to make nuclear bombs. How hypocritical?” he says.
How about a leader who shouts the loudest about democracy abroad while
crushing it at home? Is that not also hypocrisy?
Zanu PF mandarins can’t hide their exasperation with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s jaunts to Western capitals. After the furore over Tsvangirai’s
visit to Canberra the green-eyed monster reared its head once again this
week following the premier’s trip to the Democratic Party’s convention in
the United States.
Tsvangirai has come under fire from “analysts” for choosing to attend the
convention while ignoring a “crucial” principals’ meeting at home to discuss
issues of national interest, ZBC bellyached on Wednesday.
“The constitution-making process is now at the level of principals who were
expected to, among other things, discuss amendments made to the Copac draft
Constitution by the Zanu PF politburo in the wake of recent admissions by
Copac that it deviated from people’s views,” stated the Herald.
Tsvangirai “hurriedly” left for the US, the Herald tells us, “leaving his
written response on the Zanu PF amendments to other principals”.
This is despite MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora in the same story saying
the premier had gone to the convention at the invitation of the Democratic
Party with the “full” mandate of his party.
“It is President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who are trying to rewrite the
Global Political Agreement and refusing to take that document to the Second
All Stakeholders’ Conference,” retorted Mwonzora, adding that there was no
need for principals to meet to discuss the Copac draft.
Undeterred, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba laid into Tsvangirai
accusing him of favouring foreign interests ahead of national issues. This
glaring irony, however, wasn’t going to stop Charamba’s incendiary
“His interest is always outward, it is never inward,” said Charamba whose
boss has paralysed government operations on countless occasions over
“routine” medical checkups and private visits to the Far East, never mind
These days Charamba has taken on the unenviable task of explaining Mugabe’s
whereabouts each time he goes to the Far East as the rumour mill around his
health swirls. His standard refrain when asked about his boss’s whereabouts
is “He is not yet in the country. When he arrives, we will let you know”.
Every time Charamba opens his mouth he unwittingly advertises the need for
professional civil servants in the country, not partisan loud-hailers.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has lost none of his political
Responding to Archbishop Desmond Tutu who had withdrawn from a leadership
summit in Johannesburg because of Blair’s presence, the former PM’s office
put out a cogent statement.
“Obviously Tony Blair is sorry the archbishop has decided to pull out from
an event that has been fixed for months and where he and the archbishop were
never actually sharing a platform.”
A skilled put down. Not too much and not too little. Then of course we have
to consider Blair’s record as a successful prime minister in terms of the
standard of living of his citizens. Unfortunate though that Tutu, who we all
respect, chose to speak from a platform in South Africa on issues of
governance. What the South Africans know about governance looks dangerous,
as events over the past few weeks illustrate. He should have withdrawn from
that one as well!
In fact this latest statement reminds us of the archbishop’s tussle with his
rulers over the exclusion of the Dalai Lama not so long ago. The Chinese got
a moral lecture on that one as well. The archbishop is qualified to give it.
Hardly a year in power Zambian President Michael Sata’s regime has created a
climate of intolerance to dissent mirroring its southern neighbour. This has
prompted civil society organisations in Zambia to warn Sata against copying
the leadership style of President Mugabe, “as this could have dire
consequences for the country”.
“Those in power must also stop emulating the Mugabe-type of leadership,
which is aimed at harassing and intimidating political opponents,” read the
statement from the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution
of Disputes (Saccord).
“It is disheartening to slowly realise that those in power here now have
taken up bad lessons from Mugabe’s leadership, which took that country to
The Zanu PF virus is spreading northwards.
On the subject of the Chinese we were interested in an article in Business
Day on investment in Africa. “Chinese investment in Africa is a tale often
told in superlatives. Detractors say the Chinese investments amount to
neo-colonialism while promoters claim it is the continent’s best chance of
an economic renaissance,” the newspaper says.
“The subject of the debate is one of the great myths of our time. China is
present in Africa, but a large investor it certainly is not,” the paper’s
Kobus van der Wath comments.
A senior official from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce noted that
investments in African countries represent only 4% of China’s global
investment portfolio, a tiny proportion of an already tiny value.
“Chinese investment in Africa is still lower than holdings from companies in
Switzerland and the Netherlands and trails by a large margin the holdings of
first world countries such as the US, UK and Germany.
“Put simply, the Chinese are not, from an investment view at least, the
Africa heavyweights that much of the West considers them to be.”
So how come the Chinese are so visible in Africa? The short answer is
“projects”. The activities of the Chinese construction companies have
mushroomed over the past decade to a point where Chinese contractors now
deliver almost 40% of annual project construction contract value in Africa.
The prolific growth has been driven primarily by two factors. The ability of
Chinese contractors to do work at far lower cost than Western companies for
infrastructure projects, and the willingness of state-owned banks to provide
low cost loans for infrastructure projects around Africa. On occasion the
project owners may be Chinese but in most cases they are owned by African
governments. It is a model that has worked well to win contracts and spread
Chinese influence but the China Daily reflected a growing realisation in
China that the model was nearing its sell-by date.
Traditional chiefs in Chiredzi have demanded that government reverse the
indigenising of the Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked public clashes
between cabinet ministers and has seen the European Union mulling renewed
economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Chiefs Tsovana, Gudo and Sengwe have called for the withdrawal of the leases
saying: “We the chiefs and our people are disgusted that the people who are
supposed to lead us are the same people who are championing our downfall by
grabbing all opportunities presented by our party indigenisation programmes.
“The same people now being allocated our conservancies are multiple
beneficiaries of sugar cane plots as well as ranches and farms,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, former Gutu South MP, Shuvai Mahofa, allegedly
sent a letter to the owners of Savuli Ranch in the conservancy saying
“please deposit at least US$20 000 from this year’s hunting in my account
before Saturday August 13 2011 for my up-keep”.
SW Radio Africa reports that the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has issued
a public warning that illegal hunting activities are already taking place at
Save Valley Conservancy, as the “indigenisation” of the hunting sector
Ironically Environment minister Francis Nhema directed that owners of the
wildlife reserve take on the 25 individuals who are mostly senior Zanu PF
officials. The effects this so-called partnership is having on the flora and
fauna on the wildlife reserve is clearly peripheral.
The chiefs said their hope is to see government’s wildlife-based land reform
benefiting the whole community of Chiredzi and not political figures and
some unknown generals who are repeated beneficiaries of the land reform
programme, reports ZBC.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi recently deplored
the continuous benefiting of the same people through the land reform
Legal and constitutional expert Alex Magaisa couldn’t have put it more
succinctly when he said: Typical acts of primitive accumulation by a greedy
and gratuitously corrupt caste with a voracious and uninhibited appetite
under the criminally misused guise of indigenisation and empowerment.
Meanwhile the Sunday Mail has uncovered “startling revelations” that some
former white farmers, especially those in South Africa, are working with
some MDC officials to flood the local market with cheap GMO products in a
bid to “sabotage” the land reform programme by “killing” the market for the
The Sunday Mail quotes “highly-placed industrialists who spoke on condition
of anonymity for fear of victimisation” saying they had unearthed a
clandestine plot by former white farmers, especially those in South Africa,
to undermine the land reform programme.
“There is a well-orchestrated plot to discourage newly resettled farmers
from farming. The former white farmers, mainly in South Africa, have ganged
up with their MDC colleagues who have import licences to bring in cheap GMO
products into the country,” the highly-placed sources said.
Zanu PF is doing a good job of sabotaging the land reform all by itself.
They don’t need much help!
The Chronicle carried an intriguing story this week. It quoted a number of
people who had not been included in the census. A resident of New Lobengula
said he was not counted because he was at work througout the enumeration
period. A resident of Old Magwegwe said she was not counted because she was
at a church meeting in Mzingwane. ZimStat director Wahington Mapeta said his
agency had anticipated some people would not be at home during the
And here’s the crunch. Residents who were not counted were told to report to
census officials at Magnet House.
Magnet House? So “census officials” were actually those guys at the building
with a dubious ancestry!
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
ZIMBABWE needs to restore fiscal viability and probity, ensure substantive
growth of the mining sector, rehabilitation of the manufacturing sector, and
reinstate a comprehensive, and fully serviceable infrastructure among many
Report by Eric Bloch
However, among Zimbabwe’s foremost requirements is a substantive recovery
and growth of the agricultural sector. Such a development is key to
reducing poverty afflicting the majority of Zimbabweans. It is essential
for a meaningful recovery of the economy and a prerequisite to national
Some will contend there has been substantive recovery in agriculture,
although that recovery was severely constrained by adverse climatic
conditions that prevailed during the 2011/2012 agricultural season.
Supporting that contention, they focus almost wholly on the attainment of a
tobacco crop of approximately 140 million kgs, considerably greater than
achieved during the preceeding 10 years, notwithstanding that the crop was
still substantially less than the 237 million kg crop of the 2000/2001
And, insofar as the relatively miniscule output of other crops, they state
categorically that inadequate production was solely a consequence of the
drought suffered by much of Zimbabwe during the last season.
This circumstance, they state, was the reason for the poor volumes of maize,
sorghum, winter wheat, cotton, tea, coffee, and sugar crops, notwithstanding
that before Zimbabwe’s agricultural decline, greater yields were
consistently produced, even in years of drought (thanks to the then efficacy
They also ignore that Zimbabwe’s national herd is less than 36% of the herd
a decade ago.
It cannot be gainsaid that negative climatic conditions can severely impact
upon agricultural production, but equally it cannot be denied that before
the transformation of government policies on the agricultural sector, much
was effectively done to minimise the consequence of adverse climatic
That included constructive water resources management, including
minimisation of siltation of rivers and dams, as well as consistent
availability of energy to operate irrigation systems.
Equally, it is incontrovertible that Zimbabwe is greatly dependent on a
highly productive agricultural sector. Agriculture employed over 300 000
people and hence provided a livelihood for almost two million Zimbabweans.
Agriculture was a foremost generator of foreign exchange earnings, producing
crops enabling it to export substantive volumes making Zimbabwe the
bread-basket of the region. Not only did agriculture generate substantial
inflows of foreign exchange, but in addition, foreign exchange was not
required to fund importation of agricultural commodities.
In sharp contrast, Zimbabwe now has to expend substantial amounts of its
extremely limited foreign exchange resources. Much of the inadequacy of
those resources stems from the absence of inflows from agricultural exports.
Moreover, many industrial inputs previously produced in Zimbabwe now have to
be imported, at high cost, in order to meet local needs, and to keep the
relevant industries operational.
The greatest contributor to the immense decline of Zimbabwe’s agriculture
was the foolhardy manner in which government pursued land reform.
It drove experienced, fully capitalised farmers from the lands,
notwithstanding the very considerable amount of unutilised lands that could
have been allocated to aspiring new farmers.
It concurrently applied its redistribution of lands in an ill-considered,
haphazard fashion, to many inexperienced people devoid of adequate capital,
and other resources, for viable operations and productivity.
All too often, the recipients of redistributed land were accorded such land
solely because of their political linkages with total disregard to whether
they had the knowledge, the resources and the will to utilise the land
Moreover, the political regime had (and still has) an absolute, foolhardy,
fixation that all rural lands must be owned by the state, in perpetuity and
that, those accorded the rights of occupancy and usage of the lands should
only be accorded such rights by way of so-called 99-year leases.
It is significant that, 12 years after the institution of the land policies,
remarkably few of the said leases have been reduced to waiting, being only
marginally in excess of 3% of the number of leases said to have been granted
(to more than 4000 new farmers).
Moreover, although the tenants are bound by the leases for almost a century,
government has the right to terminate the leases on three months’ notice.
Furthermore, the leases are non-transferable and, as a result, cannot be
utilised as collateral in order to secure the borrowings needed to fund the
This circumstance continues to prevail, despite a statement by President
Robert Mugabe to parliament, approximately 10 months ago, that the leases
would be modified to accord them collateral value.
All these ills have been exacerbated by recurrent failure by government to
ensure timeous availability of essential agricultural inputs, including
seeds, fertilisers, and chemicals, and by repeated failures to ensure
viability of producer prices for those agricultural commodities as
mandatorily had to be sold to prescribed state enterprises, and prolonged
delays in payments being effected by those enterprises.
In addition, agricultural production has also been severely constrained by
recurrent non-availability of energy required to assure the operation of
irrigation systems and other essentials of many agricultural
infrastructures, and by failures on the part of the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) to maintain water availability by containing siltation in
rivers and dams.
If the intense poverty that afflicts communities is to be reduced and the
curtailment of the importation of agricultural products government must
ensure the agriculture sector’s recovery. In order to do so, it must
restore property title, assure land ownership to those who will
constructively utilise the lands, and ensure leases have collateral value by
according reasonable ability of cession, transfers, and general
Concurrently, it must substantially reduce the monopolistic status of its
agriculture-related parastatals, and assure timeous and constant
availability of electricity, and inputs. Should this be vigorously pursued,
agriculture can again become the foundation of the economy and become a
major contributor to the restoration of national wellbeing.
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
THE MDC-T’s signing of the September 15 2008 Sadc-facilitated Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and its subsequent entry into the resultant
coalition government was a turning point in its short but dramatic history.
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
The labour-based party found itself facing divisions as its allies in civic
society, business and the working class, as well as supporters, debated
whether to go or not into the triumvirate coalition.
Those who opposed the move to join the inclusive government argued that if
the party went in the contagion effect of sharing power with the discredited
Zanu PF would erode its credibility and hence support base. They argued
joining the “gravy train” would damage reputation of the MDC-T as a party
claiming to be fighting for a democratic, transparent and accountable
government. They feared the party would be tainted, not just by association
with a failed regime but also by lack of delivery and corruption, among
other problems which characterised Zanu PF rule.
Those who opposed the idea of going into a unity government strongly felt
the MDC-T would lose its ideological identity and character during a risky
political marriage with a party whose philosophical core and ideologues were
unable or unwilling to embrace reform.
The sceptics also pointed out the unity government was a godsend for Zanu PF
as it would give the embattled and faction-riddled party the breathing space
it badly needed to reorganise and reinvent itself so that it could come back
a much stronger party in the next elections widely expected next year.
The same group further argued the MDC-T thus risked handing Zanu PF — which
in 2008 lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since
Independence in 1980 and only managed to save itself from disintegration
after President Robert Mugabe stormed back to power through a campaign of
terror – a new lease of life.
The inclusive government thus gave the comatose party, choking in the heat
of a political and economic meltdown, characterised by unprecedented
hyperinflation and one of the fastest shrinking economies in the world
outside a war zone, a respite. This was particularly welcome to Mugabe and
Zanu PF given that political instability had begun to manifest itself in
dangerous ways as demonstrated by security forces rioting in the streets of
Harare, and an increasingly restive population fed up with a worsening
The group which opposed the coalition idea was clear the move would only
help to revive Mugabe and Zanu PF. It was under no illusions about that.
However, there was another school of thought — which eventually carried the
day — that insisted entering the coalition government was a golden chance
for the MDC-T to neutralise Zanu PF and destroy it from within. This group
argued going inside was a great opportunity to seize power from within
through an array of measures including taking control of key institutions
and agencies of government. In the process Zanu PF, which has virtually
collapsed into the state, would be neutralised and denied access to state
resources to support its operations.
The MDC-T, it was said, would move into strategic institutions and
positions, taking over and introducing reforms which would create a reformed
state and conditions for free and fair elections.
Besides, the opportunity of joining the coalition government was seen as
critical because it would offer the MDC-T and its leaders apprenticeship in
government to gain necessary experience and prepare for the future.
This was further buttressed by the illusion of power which MDC-T Morgan
Tsvangirai was given through the GPA which allowed him to share executive
authority with Mugabe, hold Council of Ministers meetings and supervise
ministers, while leading government business in parliament. Tsvangirai was
also Mugabe’s deputy in cabinet, meaning in theory if the president was not
there he would chair government’s highest policy-making body and preside
over meetings making important decisions.
In all this labyrinth of representations, theories, philosophical and
practical considerations, there was also a group which pushed a moral
argument that the MDC-T must go into government for the sake of the
long-suffering people who had endured horrors of political repression and
economic collapse. This argument was persuasive as it was not political but
ethical and based on morality.
So enter the coalition government the MDC-T did.
However, three-and-a-half years down the line the MDC-T is now paying a huge
price. Those who opposed going in are now feeling vindicated. Those who
pushed for it are unable to justify their move. And those who put moral over
political considerations are beginning to appreciate how the world of
The political price the MDC-T is now paying is huge. This is worsened by its
leadership and policy failures in government. The party’s numerous excesses,
mainly on corruption and personal aggrandisement by its leaders, are
beginning to seriously damage its image and wear away popular support.
Some of the MDC-T members in public office – like predecessors Zanu PF – are
now case studies of rags-to-riches tales or monuments to failure.
This has dashed hopes of real change among trusting Zimbabweans. Instead of
a paradigm shift in public administration, MDC officials just took a ride on
the gravy train and seem to be enjoying the trappings of office, flashy cars
and posh houses.
On joining the unity government the MDC-T promised to make its public office
bearers declare their assets but this has not helped to prevent corruption.
The only “stern” action the MDC-T has taken to date is the recent expulsion
of 35 councilors from its ranks across the country on charges of corruption.
Following the damning Freedom House public opinion survey on elections,
which said the MDC-T’s popularity since joining the coalition government was
plunging, secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti – who was among
those who feared going in was suicidal – acknowledged there is a problem.
“The MDC’s presence in government brought its own contradictions. The first
was that internally, a clear chasm developed between the grassroots party
and its members seconded into government. Suddenly, one group was now
driving Mercedes Benzes and on the face of it now on par with the Zanu PF
effigy of power and corruption,” Biti wrote in a local weekly last week.
MDC-T’s tainted image has become a topic for study among political
According to the Freedom House survey comparing statistics for 2012 to those
of 2010, the MDC-T support base has declined from 38% to 20% while its main
rival, Zanu PF, has gained ground from 17% to 31%.
Freedom House, among other factors, cited corruption in public office by
MDC-T officials and dissatisfaction with some leaders as reasons for its
support decline in the last two years.
“Leadership fatigue and battles, along with the MDC-T in office often being
exposed as comparable in corruption to Zanu PF helped complicate the MDC-T’s
early years in a joint-but-dominated power. This dented its popular
standing,” Freedom House says.
Given all this, it is clear the MDC-T is paying the price for joining and
enjoying the gravy train ride.
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
AS preparations for the forthcoming elections hot up, Zimbabweans will
increasingly become anxious and speculative about their future which looks
Report by David Matumbike
The topical debate on what the future holds has been going on for some time.
It was key before the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a
culmination of protracted negotiations and contestations between the parties
to the agreement as they fought for control of the future by seeking to
secure an electoral framework that would tip the political scales in their
Not surprisingly, Zanu PF prefers to maintain the status quo in the
electoral framework, while the MDC formations want fundamental reforms. This
has led to difficulties being experienced throughout the life of the
inclusive government so far. Fortunately, the GPA was guaranteed by the
African Union (AU) on behalf of the entire international community, with
Sadc being assigned by the AU to ensure effective implementation of the
agreement and a peaceful transition to democracy in Zimbabwe via free and
Sadc’s performance on this assignment can only be measured by peaceful, free
and fair elections and smooth handover of power to the next government, not
by the number of communiqués it has released.
Sadc has therefore anchored its efforts to deliver on its mandate by
insisting on a roadmap which creates conditions for free and fair elections.
There are two broad reforms that will have a telling, although not
across-the-board, effect on the creation of the necessary conditions for
free and fair elections, plus a smooth transition. These are constitutional
and institutional reforms.
Two key elements of these reforms have a particularly strong bearing on the
electoral environment created by the changes.
It is clear that very little reform has taken place at an institutional
level and it is also highly unlikely that whatever reforms will take place
between now and the next elections will meet the minimum requirements for a
conducive electoral environment. My assertion is based on practical
However, pressure continues to mount for expeditious delivery of reforms
before elections. There has been debate in some circles on how long the GPA
can actually subsist as people are wondering what would happen if the
necessary institutional reforms were not in place in time for expected
elections next year. Evidently, the constitutional reform process has
demonstrated the protracted nature of contestation between the political
parties fighting to govern this country.
Both the process and content of the constitution are highly contested
terrains as the political parties battle for political space and advantage
on the one hand, while the discordant voices of civil society organisations
fight for various interests on the other.
Meanwhile, the citizens are left as spectators in a process which should be
theirs. Present indications are that Zimbabwe may end up with a
party-oriented rather than a people-oriented constitution as a result of the
flawed Copac process before elections.
It is not surprising the outcome of this constitutional process has been the
production of a number of drafts and proposed “amendments” which in the end
will make the final draft bear close resemblance to the original Copac one
or the Kariba draft.
While the MDC parties approved the final Copac draft, Zanu PF is still
grandstanding through rhetoric about the “people’s views” to justify its
continued demands which will make the new constitution worse than the
current Lancaster House one. Whatever Zanu PF’s agenda, the only thing that
comes out of a Copac process is a party-oriented rather than a
It is baffling how, to all intents and purposes, Zanu PF is so arrogantly
pursuing a constitution to suit its political and electoral agenda, not to
serve the people and national interests. Zanu PF is being myopic and blind
because it may actually end up the victim of its own bad constitutional
Zanu PF for some time now has been working on the constitutional provisions
that relate to the time beyond the next polls, and seeing itself in that
time not as an opposition party, but as a ruling party.
Meanwhile, MDC-T has accepted the Copac draft on the basis of the
improvements on the electoral provisions. It is paying less attention to the
other provisions including those of interest to Zanu PF. From the MDCs’
viewpoint, any amendments Zanu PF makes giving more powers to the executive
would also benefit MDC in the event it is elected into office.
Zanu PF’s amendments do not seem to focus on the proposed electoral
provisions. It would seem Zanu PF’s emphasis is not on the elections, but on
what happens after.
One would have thought Zanu PF would try to make amendments to the Copac
draft to ensure electoral provisions are tilted in its favour, but that does
not seem to be the case. It would appear the party is not focusing on the
forthcoming elections because in its opinion it has already won the next
polls which it wanted held as far back as last year. What is Zanu PF’s basis
for such confidence? It’s obviously something which we do not know.
Quite apart from the Freedom House findings, which actually show that almost
half of the voters are undecided, Zanu PF has always been seeing itself in
power beyond the forthcoming elections. But the question is why does Zanu PF
see itself in power after the forthcoming elections? Has it already won the
While Zanu PF might look like it is reading from Comical Ali’s handbook on
propaganda by a sinking regime, it would be naïve to assume the party is
just being funny. So has Zanu PF already rigged the elections? Did it
actually rig polls in the past? Does Zanu PF know something we don’t? Or
worse still, perhaps something that the Freedom House doesn’t know?
While this might sound cynical, we should nevertheless cast our votes
despite our disappointment with the outcome of the constitutional process
and our greatest fear of an unexpected outcome in the forthcoming elections
coming true. Such an outcome would perpetuate the enduring myth of rigged
past and future elections. As responsible citizens, it is our duty to vote
whether or not the election is at risk of being rigged.
Suffice to say, what I remember from playing a board game is that a bait is
not always what it seems. Why would Zanu PF focus more on executive powers
rather than electoral issues whereas it would seem to me that the most
important section of the supreme law at this juncture is the electoral
As they say, it is illogical for a hyena to leave meat behind!
In the highly unlikely event of this happening, you can rest assured there
is no threat to its prey. Food for thought.
We might be celebrating the electoral provisions in the constitution, but it
may be more prudent to hold our breath until after the elections, and better
still only after ensuring that provisions of our final constitution are
better than just Zanu PF proposals so that the people become the victors
regardless of who will be in power after elections.
Matumbike contributes opinions to newspapers. He writes in his personal
September 7, 2012 in Opinion
IN the sixth part of his article on the contentious Zanu PF succession
problem, Derek Matyszak takes a closer look at the process of electing the
presidium and the “poorly-drafted” clauses of the party’s constitution that
guide this controversial exercise.
Elections for the presidium With the structure of Zanu PF set out, it is now
possible to consider electoral processes for the presidium (president, vice
presidents, and national chairman) under the Zanu PF constitution.
The relevant clauses of the Zanu PF constitution in this regard are poorly
drafted, and, in places, the wording has possibly been deliberately chosen
to obscure the true effect of these clauses.
The kernel of the process appears in section 32, which provides that the
presidium: shall be elected by congress directly upon nomination by at least
six (6) provincial coordinating committees (PCC) of the party, meeting
separately in a special session called for that purpose; Provided that if in
respect of any position being contested no candidate succeeds in securing
the nomination by at least six (6) provincial coordinating committees, the
candidates having the highest nomination votes, shall be referred to the
provincial coordinating committees for fresh nomination. This process shall
be repeated until it yields a candidate who commands the nomination by at
least six (6) provincial coordinating committees.
The candidate, who through this process attains the nomination by at least
six (6) provincial coordinating committees, shall stand nominated for
election directly by congress. For the avoidance of doubt, each provincial
coordinating committee shall act as the electoral college for the purpose of
arriving at the nominations. The yawning gap in these provisions is that the
term of office of those “elected directly by congress” is not explicitly
These provisions must be read with section 22 which establishes the
Subsection 22(6) is as follows: There shall be a presidium consisting of the
president and first secretary, two vice-presidents and second secretaries
and the national chairman, who shall preside over proceedings of congress as
directed by the president and first secretary of the party; provided that
following a dissolution of the central committee immediately preceding the
election of a new central committee in terms of Section 32 of this
constitution, the presidium established under this section shall continue in
office until the conclusion of the business of congress.
Considering the importance of the issue, one would expect a clause setting
out when, and under what circumstances the central committee is to be
It is only clear that the extant central committee is to be dissolved
immediately prior to the election of a new central committee. There is
nothing, however, to indicate that the election of a new central committee
must take place every five years during each ordinary session of congress.
Notwithstanding this lack of clarity relating to tenure, it is apparent that
in terms of the procedure set out in section 32, each PCC convenes for the
particular purpose of nominating a candidate to the presidium.
If a candidate receives the nomination of six of the PCCs, the nominee is
then “directly elected” by the congress. Where no candidate is nominated by
six PCCs, the candidates with “the highest nomination votes” are referred
back to the PCCs for fresh nomination. The practice is that the PCCs ensure
that the special conferences for this purpose take place prior to congress.
This process raises several questions. First, with several nominees, the
split may render the interpretation to be accorded to those with the
“highest nomination votes” problematic. Does the phrase refer to the votes
of provinces or the votes of delegates within the PCCs?
In the former instance, if there are four nominees proposed with the support
of four, three, two and one of the 10 provinces, is it the top three, or
only the top two, that are referred back to the PCCs? What is the situation
if the nominations split 4:2:2:2, or 4:3:3 with three nominees? Which are
the highest of these? Second, what is the meaning to be accorded to the
notion that the candidate securing the nomination of six provinces is
elected directly by the congress?
The term “election” suggests that Congress has a choice. If there is only
one nominee for “election” put forward, as the process provides, what is the
choice given to congress? Congress essentially endorses or ratifies the
choice made by the PCCs rather than elects the candidate. Yet the
constitution is silent as to what is to happen if congress refuses to make
the endorsement or ratify the candidate. The congress is often referred to
by Zanu PF officials “as elective”.
Does the congress thus have the power to suggest an entirely different
candidate for election “from the floor” who has not, as the constitution
seems to require, been nominated by the PCCs? The Zanu PF constitution
contains no special provisions to deal with the contingency of its president’s
The only clause of relevance is section 43(1) which stipulates that one of
the vice-presidents will “deputise and exercise any or all of the functions
of the president and first secretary in his absence or at his request”.
However, it is stretching these provisions to suggest that the deputising of
the president’s functions extends to being the party candidate for the
position of president of the country in terms of national electoral laws.
Even if this were the case, in the absence of a “request” by Mugabe, how the
choice is to be made between the two vice-presidents is not indicated. The
top three members of the Zanu PF presidium also currently occupy the same
posts provided for in Zimbabwe’s state constitution.
In the event of Mugabe’s sudden demise, the state constitution stipulates
that the vice-president who last acted as president, or who has been
specifically chosen by Mugabe to do so, will assume power in the
It is possible that, if Mugabe indicates a preference under the state
constitution, this will be taken to constitute “the request” for purposes of
the Zanu PF constitution, but there is no legal requirement that this be so,
and the issue may be a point of contention between the two Zanu PF
There have also been suggestions, from some of those considered to be
pretenders to the throne, that the ranking of the members of the politburo
“in order of precedence” under the Zanu PF constitution sets the order of
precedence for succession to the presidency.
However, what is intended by the “ranking” of the members of the politburo
under the Zanu PF constitution, and what privileges are intended to be
conferred by holding a higher ranking, is not indicated by the Zanu PF
constitution. There is certainly nothing to indicate that the person holding
the highest ranking must succeed the president in the event of his sudden
demise. — To be continued next week. l Matyszak is a former University of
Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional expert and researcher with the
Research and Advocacy Unit.