The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Soldiers threaten to shoot farmer

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Charles Tembo Tuesday 29 September 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe soldiers at the weekend threatened to shoot the
white owner of a farm they have seized after he attempted to enter the
property, ignoring High Court instructions to allow the farmer access to the
farm to collect his belongings, including crops.

A deputy sheriff who had travelled with Charles Lock to his Karori
farm in Headlands district to enforce the court order was also send packing
by the soldiers who have occupied the farm for weeks now in a bid to force
the farmer to abandon the land, crops, farm equipment, livestock, household
property and other personal effects.

Headlands police told Lock there was nothing they could do to force
the soldiers to obey the court order, in yet another example of rampant
lawlessness on Zimbabwe's few remaining white-owned commercial farms.

Lock told ZimOnline that the soldiers told him to, "take your (High
Court) order back to Harare or we will shoot you."

He added: "They said that they would kill me right in front of the
police. The police in turn said they could not help me. We went back to the
district police officer who said there was nothing he could do. In fact he
said the soldiers would shoot me if I returned to the farm."

Top security commanders and senior members of President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party have stepped up farm seizures since the February formation of
a unity government by the veteran leader and his former foe and now Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The coalition government has promised to carry out a land audit to
establish who owns which farm in the country followed by an orderly
programme to allocate land to those who may need it.

But the administration is yet to undertake the land audit, with Lands
Minister and Mugabe ally Herbert Murerwa suggesting two weeks ago that the
audit may never take place because of a shortage of funds to pay for the
exercise.

In the meantime hardliner security commanders and ZANU PF politicians
most of who own several farms each seized from whites continue to grab more
land, disregarding court orders not to do so.

The soldiers camped at Lock's farm are acting on behalf of army
Brigadier General Justin Itayi Mujaji.

In the court ruling Justice Bharat Patel had instructed the deputy
sheriff to ensure that Lock was able to access all his movable assets,
including crops on the farm. The judge barred Mujaji from stopping Lock from
accessing his property

"The applicant (Lock) has full and unfettered right to remove all and
any of the goods, as well as any other moveable assets, including his
equipment and fittings in the tobacco barns, cattle handling facilities,
household and personal effects, from the land referred to above," Patel's
order read in part.

In addition to other valuable property, Lock has about 150 tonnes of
tobacco on the farm, which was grown under contract and financed by
international tobacco companies. There is also about 500 tonnes of maize
that is ready for delivery to buyers such as the government's Grain
Marketing Board.

Disturbances on Zimbabwe's few remaining white-owned commercial farms
that are among the best producing in the country will worsen what
agricultural experts had already said was likely to be a poor 2009/2010
farming season. The season begins in a few weeks time.

Once a net exporter of the staple maize grain, Zimbabwe has faced
acute food shortages since 2001 after Mugabe began in 2000 his controversial
land reform programme that saw experienced white farmers replaced by either
incompetent or poorly funded black farmers resulting in a massive drop in
food production. - ZimOnline.


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Minister, MP clash during commission interviews

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 29 September 2009

HARARE - HARARE - A heated exchange of words between Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC legislator Tongai Matutu marred interviews of
prospective commissioners to the Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(IZEC) by Parliament on Monday.

Mnangagwa raised a point of objection to the interview process after Matutu
had remarked that a member of the controversial Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) Joice Kazembe was being allowed to go "get away with
murder" after she - responding to a question by Constitutional Affairs
Minister Eric Matinenga -said last year's violence-marred elections were
held in a free and fair environment.

"Honourable members should be civil in their questioning," Mnangagwa said,
adding; "How can an honourable member say a candidate who is being
interviewed is being allowed to get away with murder? We should remain
civil."

The question by Matinenga was subsequently withdrawn, but Matutu kept
shouting, "You are allowing her to get away with murder".

After she finished her submissions Kazembe said, "I have taken note of some
remarks made, but I must protest about those remarks."

Earlier she had told the five panelists who were conducting the interviews
that currently the primary elections were problematic as they were biased
towards males compared to women.

The ZEC came under heavy criticism from political and rights groups last
year over the controversial manner it conducted both parliamentary and
presidential elections.

But ZEC maintained that despite cases of political violence, the elections
were conducted in a free and fair manner.

Geoff Feltoe, one of the candidates interviewed yesterday said preparations
to last year's elections were chaotic.

"Preparations were chaotic and clearly that leads to the elections not being
run properly. People must participate free of intimidation and pressure to
allow free competition to take place."

Theophlius Gambe, another current ZEC commissioner said there was no equal
opportunity between men and women noting that the political parties taking
part in elections "generally lack experience on legislation that governs
them".

Some of the candidates whom were interviewed were Evelyn Manyame, Yakayama
Dube, Pretty Makoni, Nancy Saungweme, Stan Mubonderi, Phillip Mazorodze,
Theophilis Gambe, Eliah Njini, Susan Changawa and Naboth Chaibva. Davison
Kaunokanya, Vivan Ncube and Sethimbiso Khupe did not turn up.

The IZEC is part of several commissions to be formed by Zimbabwe's
power-sharing government as part of a raft of reforms meant to reshape and
democratise Zimbabwe's politics.

The other commissions provided for under Constitutional Amendment Number 19
that established the power-sharing government are the Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

Once the commissions and a new constitution are in place the government will
call fresh elections with the whole process that began in February expected
to last between 18 to 24 months.

Rich Western nations have refused to back the Harare government or lift visa
and financial sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle seven years
ago, saying they were not happy with the slow pace of political reforms. -
ZimOnline


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Zim activist sues state

http://news.iafrica.com

Article By: Micel Schnehage
Tue, 29 Sep 2009 07:20
A lawyer acting for Zimbabwean rights activist Jestina Mukoko says his
client is in the process of suing the government for violating her
constitutional rights.

Terror charges against Mukoko and eight others were dropped in the Harare
Supreme Court on Monday.

They were accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

She testified during a bail hearing late last year that she was tortured and
assaulted during detention.

Her lawyer Andrew Makoni said his client would be seeking compensation.

"The matter is pending in the High Court of Zimbabwe. We are hoping the
matter will also be attempted in the high court."


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Widow about to lose farm of 50 years

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk


Written by The Zimbabwean
Monday, 28 September 2009 16:53
HARARE - Hester Theron, a 79-year-old widowed farmer is on the brink
of loosing her Beatrice farm she has owned for over half a century.
Mrs Theron, owner of Fridenthal farm, a dairy and beef producing farm
in Beatrice, has been dragged to court for allegedly refusing to vacate the
property.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Stephanie Deon Theron, son to
the widowed farmer, said the elderly farmer was about to lose what she has
worked for in her life.
"It is like her whole life is being lost. She bought that farm in
1957.
There was nothing on the farm, no electricity. It was just a piece of
ground. At 79, it is difficult to think she would now be supposed to go and
live elsewhere," said Theron.
Theron said the elderly farmer was being prosecuted for remaining on
the farm and ignoring what he says was a fake offer letter which was given
to the new owner, one Chigwedere.
"She is occupying a small potion of the farm but is being prosecuted
for allegedly occupying the whole farm. The remainder of the farm, which
used to produce 200 hectares of maize is now being occupied by settlers,"
said Theron.
According to Theron, the farm produces 500 litres of milk a day from a
head of 400 and varying quantities of beef from a beef herd of 300.
The farm also has 200 sheep and nine breeding crocodiles.
Mrs Theron appeared before the Harare magistrate's court on Monday on
the matter.
She will on 19 October this year go back to the same court for final
submissions in the matter.
Mrs Theron is among the 400 commercial farmers, out of more than 4000
at the onset of Zimbabwe's violent land reform programme in 2000, who have
braved State repression in defence of her property while most white farmers
have simply abandoned the fight.
But it is however less likely she will win the case given government's
hard line stance against white farmers still holding on to their land.
A despaired Theron said if they lose the case, the cattle would all be
slaughtered instantly and sold as beef as they had nowhere else to continue
with their operations.
Theron, 55, was himself pushed off his farm, Zanka farm also in
Beatrice, by gospel musician turned Zanu PF politician, Elias Musakwa in
April last year.
He was dragged to court and later convicted for remaining in the farm.
He was given a six month jail sentence which was suspended for five
years.
When his farm was seized, he moved his cattle, sheep and crocodiles to
his mother's farm and continued with his operations.
At its peak, Zanka farm was producing 5000 litres of milk a day from a
1000 dairy herd. He also had 250 herd of beef, over 400 sheep and 200
crocodiles.
He now remains with 200 herd of cattle.
He lost hundreds of his cattle some of which were stolen, slaughtered
indiscriminately by land invaders, snared, with some dieing through lack of
grazing.
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reforms that he says were
necessary to correct a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best
land for whites and banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging
Zimbabwe into food shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers
resettled on former white farms with inputs to maintain production.
Critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary peasants - benefited
the most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six
farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 20 percent of capacity.


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Switzerland clears Nestlé over Grace Mugabe's milk

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

The Swiss government has cleared the multinational food giant Nestlé of
breaking any laws over its Zimbabwean subsidiary buying milk from a dairy
controlled by Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace.

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Published: 11:14PM BST 28 Sep 2009

The Telegraph revealed at the weekend that Gushungo Dairy Estate sells up to
a million litres of milk a year to Nestlé Zimbabwe's manufacturing plant on
the outskirts of Harare.

The Swiss food giant buys up to a million litres a year from Gushungo Dairy
Estate, controlled by Mrs Mugabe since, according to other dairymen, the
previous white owner was forced by a campaign of violence to sell his
property to the authorities for a knock-down price.

Under the European Union and American targeted sanctions against members of
Mr Mugabe's network, it is illegal to transfer money or make transactions
respectively with Mrs Mugabe.

As a Swiss company, Nestlé is not subject to those rules, but Switzerland
has its own set of sanctions, which also target Mrs Mugabe and which
prohibit providing funds to her or putting them 'directly or indirectly', at
her disposition.

But a spokesman for the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said
the rules only applied to companies in Switzerland itself, and not their
foreign subsidiaries.

Officials had contacted Nestlé headquarters in response to the Telegraph
story, he said. "Nestlé confirmed that no individuals or companies in
Switzerland were in any way involved in the relevant transactions," she
said. "Therefore, no further investigations are planned at the moment."
Nestlé has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the purchases.

Nonetheless, Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of Human Rights Watch, called
for a debate about "corporate behaviour and irresponsibility".


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SADC ponders one currency

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk


Written by Business Reporter
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 05:44
THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) is set to meet and
deliberate on the adoption of a single currency to be used for trading by
member States, Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce, Welshman Ncube
(pictured) has said.

Ncube was quoted by the Africa News at the weekend saying the issue of
adopting a single currency was a collective effort by all member States and
would soon be debated by the ministers of trade and heads of State.

He said the regional trading bloc's ministers of trade and heads of
State deliberated on the issue when they met in the Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and would soon meet to further the issue of adopting a single
currency.

"This issue falls under one of SADC's programmes which saw the setting
up of the Preferential Free Trade Area in 2008, the Customs Union in 2010
and the Monetary Union by 2016.

"We are, however, going to deliberate about rescheduling it (monetary
union)," Ncube said.

The proposed ministers of trade meeting is set for tomorrow and
Wednesday this week with the heads of State scheduled to meet in October.

Both meetings are reported to have been crafted solely for this
contentious issue of a single monetary denomination.

South Africa's central bank governor Tito Mboweni was recently quoted
as saying Southern African countries had fallen behind targets that would
allow them to adopt a single currency by 2016.

"Countries in the region have met 'convergence criteria' on curbing
inflation and government spending," Mboweni said at a conference hosted by
the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa recently.

The 15-member nations of the SADC, a regional trading bloc, agreed to
form a common central bank and adopt a single currency by 2016.

To achieve that, countries were required to reduce their budget
deficits to five per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year and
bring inflation down to below 10 per cent.

Rising food prices and the global financial crisis pushed the targets
out of reach for most countries in the region.

"We are very much behind schedule. Inflation increased at an alarming
rate in 2008 due in part to pressures from food and oil," Mr Mboweni said.

SADC comprises South Africa, Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho,
Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Times of Zambia


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ZimRights urges Zimbabweans to reject Kariba

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk


Written by TAURAI BANDE
Monday, 28 September 2009 16:49
MARONDERA - Zimbabwe's three main political parties do not have the
right to impose a constitution on the country, said Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association official, Fanuel Mafaro.

He said "Members of parliament are messengers of the electorate and
have no mandate to take political initiatives without consulting people who
voted them into office. The people have a final say on how they want to be
governed by present and future governments."
Mafaro called on Zimbabweans to reject any new constitution that was
based on the Kariba draft constitution that was written by President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Premier Arthur Mutambara's MDC formations in 2007.
He added that an ideal democratic constitution was one where authority
was shared among the three main pillars of government which are the
executive, the legislature and the judiciary.
Critics of the Kariba draft have pointed out that the document leaves
untouched the wide powers that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after
formation of the unity government.


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Zesa EXPORTS power to Namibia

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

29/09/2009 00:00:00
     by Lebo Nkatazo

ZIMBABWE is exporting electricity to neighbouring Namibia, despite shortages
locally.

The cash-strapped Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) received a
US$40 million loan in 2007 from Namibia's Nampower for the refurbishment of
Hwange thermal plant which was to be paid back through a power supply
agreement.

It has emerged ZESA exports 150 megawatts monthly to Nampower, but the
Namibians said this week they want more.

NamPower's Managing Director, Paulinus Shilamba, confirmed they are close to
finalising the power supply agreement with ZESA to feed Namibia with an
additional 50 MW, bringing the total power imported from Zimbabwe to 200 MW.

Zimbabwe generates about half of its electricity and also imports power from
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique, but that still is way short
of the national demand.

ZESA has also struggled to pay for imports, with the state-run utility
saying it is owed US$200 million mainly by residential customers.

Zimbabwe's power needs are expected to increase as the economy improves
following the formation of a unity government earlier this year.

Messages left for ZESA CEO Ben Rafemoyo were not immediately returned on
Monday.
Meanwhile, the government has come under pressure to open up the energy
sector for independent power producers' investment.

World Bank country economist Rogers Dhliwayo recently told an energy
conference that Zimbabwe needs to guarantee a return on investment in the
sector.

"It is imperative that power is properly priced to ensure sustainable
private sector participation, and a situation where politicians intervene in
revenue collection is not conducive," said Dhliwayo.


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Remove brigadier from committee: MDC

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk


Written by STAFF REPORTER
Monday, 28 September 2009 17:01
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party wants army
Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba barred from serving as a deputy
chairman of the constitutional thematic committee that will handle issues to
do with holding of elections, sources said.

Nyikaramba was named as a deputy chairman of the thematic committee on
elections, transitional mechanisms and independent commissions, according to
a list published last week by the parliamentary select committee tasked with
leading the constitution making process.
Announcing the deputies last week, select committee co-chairman
Douglas Mwonzora said the appointees were men and women of "high integrity".
However impeccable sources in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
office said the MDC leader had vowed to take up the case with the committee
and establish why it had decided to include a serving soldier as a member of
the committee.
"There have been accusations over the years that government
departments were heavily militarised and now to name a serving army chief
(as a member of the constitutional committee) is highly questionable. The
president and the party will challenge his inclusion in the process as a
matter of urgency," said the source.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa and Information Technology Minister in
the unity government confirmed that the party was looking into the matter,
adding that the party would also challenge the inclusion of controversial
Zanu (PF) member Goodwills
Masimirimbwa as a deputy leader of one of the constitutional thematic
committees.
Chamisa said: "Yes the party is concerned with the matter and we are
looking into it. He is a serving member of the army and I do not know how
and why he should be involved in the process. They are actually a threat to
the credibility and integrity of the whole process. What value are they
bringing to the process?"
Masimirimbwa, who is a deputy chairman of the systems of government
thematic committee, was blocked by Zanu (PF) heavyweights after he attempted
to stand as the party's candidate for Harare South constituency in last year's
harmonised elections.
Brigadier Nyikayaramba was named in a recent document by local human
rights groups as one of the army generals accused of masterminding political
violence in the run-up to the June 2008 second round presidential election
in a bid to cow Zimbabweans to support President Robert Mugabe after he lost
the first round vote to Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe's constitutional reforms have been mired in controversy from
the onset with Zanu (PF) accused of wanting to impose the Kariba Draft
constitution on Zimbabweans that Mugabe's party says was agreed to by the
three main political parties.
Civic organisations and the MDC have criticised the Kariba Draft
constitution that they say leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers
that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a power-sharing
government.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights,
strengthen the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as
well as guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House
Constitution written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter
has been amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the
majority of the amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and Zanu
(PF)'s hold on power.


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Zimbabwe PM inspects water quality

http://english.cctv.com

2009-09-29 10:40 BJT

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai has visited areas in Harare
which are now getting clean water. The inspection came a year after the
outbreak of Africa's worst ever cholera epidemic.

Tsvangirai inspected the installation of new water pipes and the restoration
of running water in the Mabvuku area, near the capital. There was no running
water in this area for more than two years.

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, says some 98-thousand
cases of cholera were recorded following the outbreak in August 2008.

The intestinal infection spreads through contaminated food and water and can
cause severe dehydration and death. Tsvangirai praised the achievements he
observed.

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, said, "This is one of the
sections which had no water for three years, had a big sanitation problem
and cholera problem. I am glad to report that from the work that the council
has done it would appear that they are fulfilling their objective of having
water in every part of the city by end of September which is a very
commendable work."


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Report of the Mbare Residents Trust

Report of the Mbare Residents Trust (MRT) meeting held on the 19th of September 2009 at Stodart Hall from 10am to 12noon.

 

Agenda:

-    Update on the operations of the MRT

-    Discuss problems of high rentals faced by residents 

-    Feedback  from the councillors

-    Plenary

-    AOB

 

1.           Introductory remarks

The Chairperson of the Mbare Residents’ Trust (MRT) Ms Eunice Wakatama gave an opening prayer and introduced the leadership of the organisation and all invited guests. She briefly highlighted the objectives of the MRT for the benefit of new members since this was the first public meeting to be held in Ward 12. She said the MRT aims to represent residents of Mbare to have access to quality services from service providers and elected representatives. As one of the oldest suburbs Mbare faced serious challenges which include overcrowding, uncollected refuse lying everywhere across the suburb, high crime rate, dilapidation of community infrastructure, high rentals and lack of title deeds for most residents.

 

The meeting was also attended councillor Friday Muleya and Mr Chingadeya, representing the vacant Ward 11. There was solidarity attendance by Edington Mugova and Juliet Masiyembiri from Highfield and Glen Norah Residents Trusts respectively, Precious Shumba, the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) Coordinator and Bright Chibvuri, the Publicity and Information Officer. 

 

2.           Presentation by the Coordinator

The Coordinator chronicled the challenges facing Harare residents in terms of service delivery. He said it was surprising to note that not enough was being done to improve the welfare of residents especially on issues that affect them like refuse collection, affordable rentals and access to information on acquisition of title deeds, and the maintenance of community infrastructure.

He said it was unjustified for residents to be forced to pay arrears on their rentals backdated to February 2009 because the city council’s budget was only approved in March 2009. Residents should not be punished for Town House shortcomings, he said.

He urged elected representatives to constantly hold feed back meetings with residents who elected them into office. The city fathers should constantly be reminded that residents are their pay masters and they deserve better services without compromise. Residents have the right to devise ways of protests to service providers like the City of Harare; such as delaying payment of rentals and engaging in passive resistance activities.

 

3.           Feedback from Councillor Muleya

Mr Muleya appreciated the invitation extended to him by the MRT. He chronicled the problems they are facing as councillors at Town House which include failure by the municipal staff to implement council resolutions at the instigation of the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo.

Cllr Muleya said there is serious infighting at Town House because there were some projects which were clandestinely approved between March and June 2008 when the council was not yet in office. These projects include the controversial Airport Road expansion project and the Warren Hills Housing Project. Most officials who want these projects to go ahead have entrenched financial interests in these projects.

High Rentals: The councillor advised residents to pay at least $20 monthly as was agreed by the councillors. He said the council’s billing system was down and there is confusion over the receipting of payments. He urged residents to pay and keep the receipts which could be collated when the operational system becomes functional.

Hostels: He said no hostels were going to be demolished as reported in the State media. Infact, councillors have proposed that renovations be undertaken to improve the conditions of these dilapidated structures which now pose a serious health risk for the occupants.

 

Refuse Collection: Councillor Muleya said council lacks the trucks to remove refuse in Harare. The council had only one truck when they came into office last year but this vehicle has already been grounded because of lack of spare parts. He urged residents to work closely with their elected representatives to confront issues at Town House which have become ‘heavily politicised’ for the council to operate professionally. He revealed how nepotism and favouritism by employees linked to Minister Chombo has affected the council’s administration.

 

4.       Issues raised by residents

Residents were given an opportunity to raise their issues for discussions. Topical issues included unjustifiably high rentals, the 51 percent interest charged on late payments, lack of information on how to obtain title deeds, senior citizens remaining on rented accommodation and absence of refuse collection yet residents continue to be charged for this service.

    

The residents, numbering about 300, demanded that the council should urgently address the issue of title deeds so that senior citizens who have occupied house for more than 50 years and others who want to own their house should be assisted to process their papers by council officials. There is need for council to consider senior citizens to pay reduced rates on services rendered.

 

There is growing concern by residents that the council is reluctant to educate residents on how to obtain title deeds because this will reduce council’s revenue base because residents will only pay for rates only.

 

5.            Recommendations:

a)       High Rentals

-    It was agreed that residents should pay at least $20 every month at their district offices.

-    No council official should refuse to accept any payment by residents.

-    Interest on rentals should be reduced to between 5 and 10 percent since payment is now in hard currency.

 

b)       Title deeds

- The council should carry out civic education on how to acquire title deeds.

- This information should be made readily available at all District Offices and the HRT should play an active role to educate residents on this issue.

 

c)           Demolition of hostels

-    the hostels  must not be demolished but repairs should be undertaken to improve their outward appearance and ensure that toilets  and  the lightning system are functional

-    The council does not have the resources to demolish the hostels and if this programme has to be undertaken the council should first provide alternative accommodation to the affected families.

 

d)       Failure by HCC to implement council resolutions

-    Residents should exercise their power to cooperate with their elected representatives by backing council resolutions which are constantly being blocked or overturned by Minister Chombo before they are implemented.

-    The HRT shall name and shame council officials who stand in the way of the city’s development agenda.

 

6)      Address by Mugova and Mrs Masiyembiri

Mr Mugova highlighted the achievements and activities that the Highfield Resident Trust has undertaken to advance the residents’ agenda. Some of the activities include clean up campaigns and the engagement of the local leadership for funding partnerships. The trust is working closely with other stakeholders such as the police and district officers in the suburb. They have established sub-committees to look at specific issues like health, education, finance and information.

Mrs Masiyembiri commended residents of Mbare for organising themselves and urged them to continue working together to ensure that their movement becomes the beacon of community advocacy. She said in Glen Norah, they have built a very strong residents’ movement that has managed to hold monthly meetings where residents have the opportunity to share their experiences and make their own recommendations.

 

 

7)      AOB

The Coordinator gave the residents a summary background of the establishment of the Mbare Residents’ Trust saying he hand-picked some individuals at the beginning to facilitate the holding of elections for a substantive residents’ structure in Mbare. This interim executive dismally failed to discharge the HRT mandate, and in terms of HRT policies, an interim executive can only exist for a period not exceeding three months but this one had existed for more than six months but still failed to organise residents into a people’s movement. However, other residents organised themselves and invited the interim executive for purposes of organising elections. Ms Eunice Wakatama was subsequently elected as substantive Chairperson for Mbare.

 

Public Meetings: It was agreed that in future residents needed to be informed of such important meetings on time to ensure that more people attend. It was clarified that there was a delay to secure the venue which also affected the notification of residents. The next meeting is targeting 1 000 people.

 

The meeting ended with a prayer by Ms Wakatama. The next meeting will be held on the 24th of October 2009 at a venue to be advised.

Ends//

 

For details and comments on this report please contact Ms Eunice Wakatama on 023 252 622/ or the HRT Publicity and Information Officer 0913 398 033 or email us on mbaretrust@gmail.com or hretrust@yahoo.com

 


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90-day SA visa waiver for Zimbabweans

http://www.weekendpost.co.za

2009/09/29
Khanyi Ndabeni HERALD REPORTER

THE Home Affairs Department has introduced a 90-day visa waiver for
Zimbabweans planning to live in South Africa for less than three months
while they seek jobs.

Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba said during a surprise visit to Port
Elizabeth's refugee centre yesterday that Zimbabweans could now take their
identity documents to the department to register instead of applying for
asylum documentation.

The department had set aside Thursdays and Fridays to attend to
Southern African Development Community (SADC) nationals seeking temporary
residence permits.

He said thousands of SADC nationals entered the country each week,
followed by Asians, Chinese, Bangladeshis, Ethiopians and Somalis.

Gigaba said about 1500 Zimbabwean asylum seekers registered in
Pretoria each week, about 1000 in Cape Town and Durban, and an average of
100 in Port Elizabeth.

Gigaba, who said he was looking at challenges facing refugee centres,
conceded the department had not been paying attention to them.

"Part of the changes that we will make is that of separating the
economic migrants and asylum seekers. In the past, the department had a huge
number of foreigners seeking asylum. A number of them cannot be helped
because of the influx of Zimbabweans in the country and the shortage of
staff in the department.

"In the past few years, we have seen a drop in Ethiopian and Somali
nationals seeking asylum documents while the number of Zimbabweans and SADC
nationals has excessively gone up," Gigaba added.

The Port Elizabeth office had also been earmarked for an upgrade.

"This is due to the number of car accidents happening in the area.
More staff will also be employed in order to speed up the services offered
by the department," he said.


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Amnesty International Welcomes Favorable Zimbabwe Court Ruling in Case of Noted Human Rights Activist Jestina Mukoko

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
PRESS RELEASE
Sept. 28, 2009

Human Rights Organization Urges Government to Drop All Charges Against Human
Rights and Political Activists

(New York) -- Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan made the
following comments on Monday following the decision by the Zimbabwe Supreme
Court to issue a permanent stay of the criminal proceedings against
prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko:
"This is a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe and we welcome
it," said Khan, who met with Mukoko in Zimbabwe this past June while the
organization mobilized to demand that the charges against her were dropped.
"The government must drop all the charges against human rights and political
activists who were targeted for exercising their rights to freedom of
association and expression," said Khan.

Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), was facing criminal
proceedings on charges of recruiting individuals for training as insurgents
or saboteurs. The charges are widely believed to be trumped up by the
previous government to silence perceived political opponents.

"It is high time the Zimbabwean government demonstrates its commitment to
the rule of law and human rights by ending the abuse of state institutions
in pursuit of a partisan agenda," said Khan. "Those responsible should be
investigated and held accountable."
The charges against Mukoko followed her abduction by state security agents
from her home on December 3, 2008. She was detained incommunicado and was
tortured by her abductors together with 23 other human rights and political
activists.

Amnesty International immediately mobilized its worldwide network of
activists when Jestina initially disappeared, calling for her safe and
expedient return. Following her release to a police station in late December
2008 and subsequent incarceration, Amnesty International activists continued
to demand that the Zimbabwe government drop all charges against Mukoko and
all those subject to abusive charges intended to silence political dissent
and demands for human rights.
"I am so relieved. For the first time from the 3rd of December [2008] my
life has become normal [again]," Mukoko told Amnesty International after the
court ruling.

Since her release from custody on bail in March 2009, after spending three
months in custody, Mukoko has been reporting at the local police station in
Norton every Friday. She had to surrender her passport as part of her bail
conditions.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers
in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The
organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the
public, and woArks to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and
dignity are denied.

Please visit www.amnestyusa.org for more information.


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Freedom spurs economic change, prosperity

http://www.zimonline.co.za



      by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 29 September 2009

OPINION: The Africa we see today is partly a product of colonialism as it is
a consequence of post-colonial choices. The link between freedom and
economic change is a causal one.

Out of a population of about 900 million, it is not an understatement to say
that the majority of Africans are not free to make choices about who should
govern them let alone what kind of economic system should be in place to
produce the desired outcomes.

What we do know is that oppressive societies can hardly spur innovation and
encourage human creativity. The colonial state was alienated from the
majority and it would not be entirely incorrect to state that the
relationship between the post-colonial state and its citizens leaves a lot
to be desired.

Only last week, United States (US) President Barack Obama made his maiden
speech at the United Nations (UN) as the first African American president of
the US.

As we all digested and reflected on what Obama said, we have no choice but
to acknowledge and appreciate the enduring legacy of the idea that informed
the creation of the US.

Obama's ascendancy to power was a consequence of the choice made by the
majority of American citizens. Many of the head of states who spoke after
him at the UN cannot claim the same legitimacy.

With respect to the economy, the application of freedom to the individual's
role and capacities in a market economy is normally referred to as economic
freedom. In its proper construction it refers to the right of man to engage
in voluntary economic activities for his/her benefit.

It is built upon personal choice, voluntary exchange, the right to keep what
you earn and the security of one's property rights with minimum or no
interference by the government.

The recent failure of the capitalist system and its surrender to state
intervention has naturally led to a rethink about what kind of society
people should aspire to have.

One in which individuals are left to make their own choices with no
regulation or a society in which the state as an artificial "big brother"
plays a central role in making the kind of choices that are normally
expected from market actors.

Until recently, it was easy for promoters of free markets to cite the
presence of economic success in countries that adopt fewer restrictions on
market forces. Notwithstanding the recent havoc in financial markets, it
would be difficult to argue against the connection between economic freedom
and prosperity.

We have seen many Africans educated at a great social and economic cost make
decisions to offer their services to developed countries where they are able
to attract salaries that appropriately reflect the true worth of the
services rendered.

The labour market in which African professionals play an active part in has
exposed that no amount of nationalistic rhetoric can substitute the hard
economic realities that confront individual suppliers.

The "brain drain" and "capital flight" are two phenomenon that have
characterised the African post-colonial experience. At the core of the
"brain drain" is a genuine attempt by African professionals to demonstrate
that their personal goals cannot be subordinated to national choices.

The flight of skills cannot be reversed by appeals based on nationalistic
sentiments but by an acknowledgement that human beings do and can respond to
favorable economic conditions. If Africa needs to attract skills that are
mobile as history has shown it must offer the same conditions as are
comparable in other markets.

A democratic Africa is more likely to retain the skills of its people than
an Africa led by people who take for granted the needs of their people. The
overall development of the human condition in Africa will always be a
function of its ability to understand the human spirit.

It is difficult to imagine that only over a hundred years ago, not a single
country on earth offered universal suffrage and even the West was dominated
by dictators and monarchies. However, nearly all of those oppressive regimes
have fallen but the trend in Africa suggests otherwise.

A hundred years ago, one-third of the world's population was governed by
colonial powers and today all of those colonial empires have been
dismantled. At the present moment, more than 60 percent of the world's
population lives in some kind of democracy.

Many African critics of capitalism view financial markets as a threat to
democracy. Like many African leaders who see the economic hegemony of the
West over the global financial system as a threat to global stability, the
attitude towards economic actors and their motives in investing in the
continent is at best adversarial and at worst characterised by suspicion.

The more controlled a society is the less its ability to advance its
economic cause. Africans who grow richer are generally more educated and
thus far more reluctant to have others make decisions on their behalf.

Moreover, it is true that when groups who were once excluded from political
discourse suddenly gain a voice, the ruling elite find it increasingly more
difficult to subjugate their citizens.

It is generally accepted that an economic system that is decentralised tends
to create groups that are independent of political power, which then forms
the foundations for political pluralism.

As Africa tries to find its feet in a globally competitive environment, it
has no choice but to introduce democratic reforms because without such
reforms it is unlikely that investment will be attracted let alone the brain
drain and capital flight reversed.

Without economic actors who are free to make their own choices in their
enlightened self-interest, Africa's prospects to lift itself out of poverty
are doomed.

Generally if citizens feel that they are getting security and service that
are worth the money they pay in taxes, they will not leave a country.

On the other hand, generally if businesses feel that they are getting
research, education, and infrastructure worth the money they pay in taxes,
they will not leave the country either.

Where taxes are generally used inefficiently or on things people do not
value, it is normally difficult to inspire human and business confidence.

Any viable state requires a productive and income producing citizenry as
part of a progressive social contract. Accordingly, it will be more
difficult to maintain taxes that people feel give nothing in return.

Many African governments have yet to realise that unless a deliberate
attempt is made to relate tax obligations to service delivery, there will be
no meaningful progress in meeting the development challenges that confront
the continent. Money is normally allergic to unfavorable environments.

The Obama administration has given Africa a unique opportunity to seize the
moment to critically examine the interplay between freedom and economic
change.

Without a free America or at least an America in which for 232 years
citizens on a back-to-back basis have been able to change administrations,
Obama would just be another African American groping in the darkness about
"change" and the "audacity of hope".

If America can produce Obama, it is self evident that Africa's real
potential may lie in people who have been systematically excluded by a few
"wise" Africans in state power. - ZimOnline


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Reclaiming the Zimbabwe narrative

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

Monday, September 28, 2009 12:00 AM
Mthulisi Mathuthu

      THERE is something about the determination of the liberal
community in trying to unseat Robert Mugabe which reminds one of Lady
Macbeth who, towards the end of that Shakespearian tragedy, struggles
desperately to wash her hands clean of Duncan's blood.

       Just as the poor lady, pushed by a sense of guilt over her role
in the murder of King Duncan battled with the invisible blood stains, the
Western world liberals are not only angry with Mugabe over his treatment of
whites but are working tirelessly not just to undo Mugabe but to absolve
themselves from the making and protection of the tyrant they so much adored
but loathe today.

      In her essay The Tragedy of Zimbabwe, Nobel Laureate Doris
Lessing writes: ''Mugabe is now execrated, and rightly, but blame for him
began late. Nothing is more astonishing than the silence for so many years
of the liberals, the well-wishers -- the politically correct. What crimes
have been committed in its name -- political correctness ."

      As Lessing says, the liberals' silence on Mugabe over the years
was so pronounced that it, on its own, easily amounts to a criminal act
which explains the revisionist language from the Cable News Network (CNN)
and the strange characters attendant to the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe.

      Suffice to say that Mugabe's earlier global image as a humane
"conciliator" was hardly the work of the Zimbabweans themselves but a few
powerful liberals from within and abroad who sought to cushion their own
personal space.

      These liberals cashed in on Mugabe's reconciliation gesture,
blowing it out of proportion to mean that their freedom and satisfaction
equalled tranquillity in Zimbabwe. For as long as they could enjoy casino in
Montclair, play golf and fly copters and planes to Kariba - Zimbabwe was
democratic. It didn't matter what Mugabe was doing to other blacks because
he was good to the white folk.

      But as is now known, not only did Mugabe know that his image as
a "good African" hinged on the liberal account of Zimbabwe and on Whitehall's
patronage but he always hated that image although he benefited from it.

      To Mugabe, being a "good African" to white people diminished his
stature as a liberation war stalwart drawing him closer to the likes of
Kamuzu Banda and Mobutu -- people whom, in his mind, were pathetic sell-outs
who lost both the respect of their people and masters with equal measure. He
always wanted to be much closer to his heroes Patrice Lumumba and Kwameh
Nkrumah.

      Mugabe was good as long as he quelled the 1980's land
occupations, and for as long as he denounced apartheid in South Africa
which, despite their earlier support for it, the West wanted to dismantle.

      When South Africa got its independence, Mugabe wasn't of any use
to the Whitehall guys because a better project had emerged south of the
Limpopo with Mandela coming into power. The Whitehall plan was that if
Mugabe's reconciliation worked, that is, ensuring the unhindered prosperity
and satisfaction of the whites, it would then be transferred to South
Africa, a country which meant much more to the British not just because of
their investments there but because of the size of its economy too.

      If the prosperity of a few white businesses in Zimbabwe mattered
so much to the West, one can only understand how much the success of the
many more across the Limpopo had to be secured at all costs.

      That achieved, Mugabe would then be discarded and all the
goodwill will be for Mandela's South Africa and with Zimbabwe dwarfed and
Mugabe redundant, his ouster would not just be welcome but also a workable
idea in the Whitehall scheme of things.

       After-all, Mugabe always kept them on tenterhooks, occasionally
threatening to revoke the hand of reconciliation. In 1992, he had sounded
the alarm bells with the Land Acquisition Act. Despite having left them
alone, Mugabe always harboured ill-feelings about the white farming
community whom he once said were so hard-hearted "you would think they were
Jews". So in the scheme of the Whitehall people, the sooner he was
overshadowed the better.

      But before his departure Mugabe had to be thanked (some might
say bribed) with a royal British Knighthood for not just having protected
the white properties but for having been such a "good African" that even
after the lapse of the 10-year constitutional provision barring the seizure
of land, he had let the white farmers to stay put.

      Granted in 1994, the year Mandela assumed power, the British
Order of the Knight of Bath would serve a double purpose -- to see Mugabe
off with honour and without him grumbling and secondly, to put a lid on his
earlier crimes - like the Matabeleland massacres -- in which Whitehall was
complicit having not only provided part of the training for Mugabe's private
army brigade but gone on to help discourage press coverage of the
atrocities.

      In that way, the past would have been done with and the
Whitehall foreign policy wonks would then proceed to their next project,
this time overseen not just by a "good African" but a saintly one -
Mandela -- for he didn't seem untrustworthy like the quarrelsome Mugabe.

      Incensed by Whitehall's broader plan to replace him with Mandela's
South Africa, Mugabe, who was always conscious of the fact that his rule was
other people's project, decided to rescue himself from this group of "good
Africans" comprised of people he so despised by becoming a "bad African", a
real baddie.

      In Mugabe's thinking, never again should the whites use the
black folk only to dump them -- it is not always the case that the Whitehall
folk are smarter than the African folk.

      Mugabe's sudden rebellion against the Crown seems to have hit
home, and that is why Zimbabwe is forever the centre of global attention
today. He must be stopped at whatever cost to prevent him poisoning other
"good Africans" - from Botswana's Ian Khama through Burkina Faso's Blaise
Compaoré to Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete.

      In Mugabe's thinking, when a white man attacks a black man, that
means the black man is right. It is this "I'm my brother's keeper" approach
to international relations that has earned Mugabe admiration in Africa and
elsewhere, and vilification from western capitals. In his mind, instead of
him becoming pathetic and totally reviled by the black folk because of what
he did to them (the Gukurahundi pogrom, Nleya, Rashiwe Guzha, Patrick
Kombayi etc), they will now praise him for rendering the white folk
pathetic.

      Irked by Mugabe's rebellion and, no doubt feeling embarrassed
and guilty for what Lessing calls the crime of political correctness and
silence on Zimbabwe, the liberal folk have set up many projects to "build
democracy in Zimbabwe" and to revise the account of Mugabe as one who
started off very well but got worse along the way.

      The guilty have stripped Mugabe of his royal honour and the
universities of Michigan, Massachusetts and Edinburgh have had to recall
their honorary degrees granted to the veteran tyrant before 2000. Just
because these honours were granted at the height of obvious crimes against
black people, but which were masked by white prosperity and comfort, the
language has been changed to allege Mugabe's "transformation" from a benign
leader into a monster.

      The revisionist approach transcends into scholarship. Professor
Terrence Ranger, who today is at the forefront of many initiatives to
reverse Mugabe's politics, was until just before 2000 not as visible in the
fight against Mugabe as he is today. In 1995, a time when Mugabe's
malevolence was already clear even to Primary School children, Ranger
received an honorary Dr of Letters from Mugabe as the chancellor of the
University of Zimbabwe. State television showed the tyrant rising to his
feet to cap the don. Ranger smiled and cracked jokes with his friend Mugabe.

      At the time Ranger received his honorary degree, horrific things
had just occurred. State agents had emptied live ammunition on Patrick
Kombayi for opposing Mugabe's deputy Simon Muzenda in the 1990 elections,
Ndabaningi Sithole's Churu Farm had just been seized by Mugabe, Rashiwe
Guzha had just disappeared and Captain Edwin Nleya killed. Morgan
Tsvangirai, a trade union leader then, had been unlawfully detained and
student leaders were in and out of prison. The list is endless.

      Just as the recent Mugabe interview with the CNN showed us, it
is possible that few of these "well-wishers" don't know of the Churu Farm
saga or the story of Guzha, yet they know in detail the story of Mugabe's
goons stealing whisky from the Beatrice country club in 2000.

      Today, Ranger will, I'm sure, not hear of an offer for such an
honour from Mugabe. But the question remains: What changed about Mugabe
which has distanced the early "well-wishers" from their friend? His
anti-gays stance? Intervention in the Congo war and disrupting America's
project there? The assault on the white farming community and the seizure of
their properties? I suggest all the above could be the uncomfortable
answers.

      No doubt, Ranger suffered for Zimbabwe's independence, but why
did he wait until the end of the 1990s to act, convincingly, on Mugabe's
tyranny?

      To the liberals, as the CNN interview showed us, the pillaging
of the Beatrice and Mutorashanga Country Clubs means much more than the
fates of Nleya, Guzha and Tsvangirai. The diligence of characters like R.W.
Johnson on matters to do with Zimbabwe in general, and Mugabe in particular,
since 2000 is as breathtaking as it is suspicious.

      A whole range of literature on Zimbabwe promotes a view of the
country with titles, style and content meant to cast Mugabe in a light that
absolves the "politically correct".

      Almost all the books written by Western journalists about Mugabe
after 2000 have the assault on the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
the commercial farmers as their main thrust. Mugabe's early crimes are of a
lesser value.

      As much as these books dissect and attempt to contextualise
Mugabe's rule and character, they, to a large extent, serve as support to
the revisionist account of Mugabe.

      A few examples might suffice. The Telegraph diplomatic editor
David Blair's Degrees in Violence: Robert Mugabe and the struggle for power
in Zimbabwe, makes for one.

      Much as Blair tries to repudiate the claim that Mugabe was ever
a responsible statesman and goes on to tell us that the Mugabe we see today
is the "real Robert Mugabe", this hits the reader as a rushed assertion.

      The writer seems to want to avoid the trap that many of his
colleagues have fallen into and to shield himself from the accusation of
selective accounting before he tragically does just that.

      No sooner has the writer completed his trick that he plunges
headlong into the same trap, dragging the reader through the same everyday
CNN diet of the assault on the whites and the MDC. The 1980s period is
totally overshadowed and yet it is littered with mass graves, and not scars
which seem to attract more revulsion today.

      Suffice to say, there has not been a single mass grave in
Zimbabwe between 2000 and today and yet the overkill on the drama unfolding
in that country will suggest that an Auschwitz is going on there.

      Heidi Holland's Dinner with Mugabe: The untold story of a
freedom fighter who became a tyrant makes for yet another spectacular
revisionist account. As opposed to fighting for freedom, Mugabe sought power
by any means necessary. He rode on the freedom train to get power. And to
keep that power, he used just as dirty methods as apply to this date.

      Immediately after attaining power, Mugabe embarked on a brutal
Stalinist-style of power consolidation aimed at cowing opponents and
achieving a one party state which resulted in the killing of 20,000
civilians in Matabeleland and yet all these acts didn't register much in the
liberal world because Mugabe avoided disturbing them as a way to win their
trust and their patronage.

      Essentially, Mugabe is more of a terrorist than a liberator. He
has been that for a long time and yet listening to the discourse on Zimbabwe
today, you are left with an impression he only became a baddie post-2000.

      Following the bashing of opposition leaders in March 2007 Mugabe
proudly remarked: "We are called Zanu PF. Check our record when provoked."
This was in line with his earlier threat and instruction to his ruling Zanu
PF party goons in 2001: "We must strike fear into the heart of the white
man -- our real enemy. Let them tremble."

      Yet another interesting liberal account of Mugabe and Zimbabwe
is Christopher Hope's Brothers Under the skin: Travels in Tyranny which
seeks to portray Mugabe as a racist par excellence. Perhaps conscious of the
racial aspects of this revisionist account of Mugabe, Hope seeks to escape
the accusations by twinning Mugabe with the racist apartheid architect,
Hendrick Verwoerd. And yet it will be difficult to cast Mugabe as a mere
racist. Nothing in Mugabe's life to this date helps Hope's line.

      To the contrary, Mugabe's tyranny is something of a dragnet
sucking in everything and everybody on its way. Whatever he may have uttered
against the whites is just as terrifying as any other threat he has issued
against any other person - including Joshua Nkomo's Zapu: "ZAPU and its
leader, Joshua Nkomo, are like a cobra in a house. The only way to deal
effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head."

      Ever an opportunist, Mugabe will stop at nothing to get his way.
If it means crushing children or pregnant women, whites, gays and Ndebeles
or Shona opponents, he will do just that.

       Contrary to the CNN line, Mugabe has, unlike Verwoerd, never
espoused an all-out racist policy but has played the race card (and tribal
of course) to achieve his broader project -consolidation of power. Verwoerd
used his tyranny to enhance his broader racist project. He went so far as to
roll out laws crafted in crudely racist language something which Mugabe hasn't
done.

      Sadly, however, reclaiming the Zimbabwe account for ourselves
will be a difficult task. A whole range of Africans have been sucked into
the liberal revisionist line with the likes of Bishops Sentamu and Desmond
Tutu lining up to cast Mugabe in this light.

       It is not surprising that the CNN and the BBC adore them. Even
Ali Mazrui's 1986 BBC Africans series documentary projects Mugabe's Zimbabwe
as one of the countries whose direction is worth emulating which feeds into
the liberal fallacy that Mugabe was once a democrat. Accounts like Mazrui's
help the guilty lot to squirm off the hook.

      While Sentamu calls Mugabe the "worst racist" he ever saw, Tutu
observed what he terms "a change in character" on Mugabe's part and that is
from being a "good African" into a bad one. For the headline-chasing
Sentamu, to say Mugabe is a racist on the basis of the 2000 onwards horror
show in which a handful of whites were killed is to say the killing of more
than 200 black people does not count.

      Unbeknown to him, Sentamu serves Mugabe well by casting him as a
lesser devil eliminating from his CV the killings of many other black people
before 2000. In the end, Mugabe looks like a victim of propaganda and
Sentamu like a confused primate!

      It might also help if Tutu understands that there was never any
other Mugabe except the one whom he is berating today. In the end, the
Bishop loathes the Mugabe he admires! The same might as well apply to former
US President Jimmy Carter who lavished Mugabe with praises right in the
middle of the 1980s horror in Matabeleland, but is now a leading campaigner
against him.

      Listen to Lessing: "For a while, I wondered if the word tragedy
could be applied here (to Mugabe's Zimbabwe), greatness brought low, but
Mugabe, despite his early reputation was never that, he was always a
frightened little man ."

      And yet in trying to reclaim the account from the liberal grip,
some have fared just as badly as Tutu and Sentamu only that they are
praising their friend Mugabe. African leaders and scholars have lined up to
argue that Mugabe is a revolutionary leader par excellence whose only sin in
the post-independence era was to redistribute land. To buttress this view,
they point to the inconsistencies and double standards such as has been
complained of by many.

      So glaring have been the inconsistencies of the West in its
engagement of the developing countries that some Africans will go to
shocking levels to defend each other in the face of criticism. Under
pressure to disown Mugabe in the face of his retributive politics, the
African leaders have not only dug in but defended him. Perhaps the most
startling defence of the Zimbabwean ruler came from his friend and former
Mozambican President, Joaquim Chissano, in 2001.

      "Mugabe is a master of the rule of law and champions it," he
said at the height of state terrorism in Zimbabwe.

      Just as disappointing has been African journalism. Veteran
Ghanaian journalist, Baffour Ankomah, has, since 1999, used his UK-based
magazine, the New African to promote Mugabe's quarrelsome brand of politics
and to take aim at the rest of Mugabe's critics. More than necessary, he has
visited Zimbabwe, fully sponsored by the state, to do damage limitation for
Mugabe.

      Ankomah deliberately confuses an attack on Mugabe for an attack
on Zimbabwe. He waxes lyrical about Zimbabwe's natural beauty and how wrong
it is to demonise Mugabe and yet he doesn't take time to see the obvious
carnage on the ground. As Pablo Neruda would have said, what about the blood
in the streets Mr Ankomah?

      This opportunistic but determined PR exercise has been carefully
crafted and feeds on the hypocrisy of the international community with the
sole aim of not just promoting Mugabe as a "great African" but of absolving
him from any wrong doing. How dare they West criticise Mugabe when they are
supporting tyrants such as Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Biya of Cameroon,
Paul Kagame of Rwanda -- who without doubt are amongst some of the most
dangerous Africans -- Ankomah and some African scholars ask?

      Mugabe has become the window through which we can see into the
western hypocrisy and yet, upon reflection and given his record in the face
of challenge, it would be an injustice to call him an African hero. It will
be an overstatement to say he is a victim. He is getting the opprobrium he
long deserved, albeit late.

       Clearly, Mugabe wants to be a known as a victim of imperialism
and whenever he has appeared on the world stages he has sought to drive this
line to cheers by some Africans. Much as neo-colonialism is still a factor
in international relations, that on its own hardly takes away the fact that
Mugabe isn't and shouldn't be an African hero.

      On launching his campaign to take land from the whites and to
cleanse Zimbabwe of what he saw to be agents of imperialism, he,
symbolically, dubbed the controversial exercise the "Third Chimurenga",
meaning the third anti-colonial struggle; and that struck a chord with many
pan-African scholars.

      The hollowness of his revolution is echoed by the fact that
however much he tries to sell it as a pro-people exercise, the glaring
reality is that the first and foremost victims are the poor black people who
have been subjected to unspeakable torture, beatings and murder. The 2005
whirlwind demolition of the black urban folk's shacks in the name of
face-lifting provided evidence that Mugabe is one never to care about the
ordinary people. So was the stripping of the many Zimbabweans of migrant
origin's right to vote in the 2002 election.

      His is a "revolution" based mainly on murder, retribution and
revenge. Just as Mugabe never sought inclusive freedom but personal power,
his was not land reform; instead he seized land from the whites with the
sole aim of inflicting pain than to achieve social justice which in his mind
is down the scale.

      To him, the white folk had to feel the reverse pain of loss and
to know that they too can bleed.

      The beneficiaries of the land reform are the cronies and not the
people in whose name the exercise is carried out. Rather than being erected
on reason, the exercise is driven by vengeance. Where it should inspire
pride and confidence, it spawns hatred, fear and destruction.

      Rather than being a revolution, Mugabe's is a socio-politico
Chernobyl and, thanks to earlier Western indifference (or British approval?)
and patronage, the carnage has spread across the globe with Zimbabweans in
exile doing menial jobs.

      The tendency amongst Ankomah think-a-likes has been to say that
just because Mugabe's terror pales in comparison with the rest of the
western client dictators who have never held elections, then the Zimbabwean
leader is wrongfully accused. How daft!

      They say just because Mugabe has allowed some newspapers like
the Zimbabwe Independent and the Standard to operate and also let the
opposition MDC party to operate shows that he is tolerant. Again this is
obtuse because it ignores the fact that Mugabe's tyranny is unique in that
it is sustained by democratic institutions. It might not be as brazen as
Kamuzu Banda's totalitarian project but on scrutiny, one will see that this
tolerance is nothing but a façade.

      As the false portrait of Mugabe as a once progressive democrat
is replaced by that of what David Blair described as "the real Robert
 Mugabe", the "well-wishers" (western media) and the liberals are, like the
poor Lady Macbeth, battling mad trying to wash themselves spotless clean.

      One can almost hear them: "Out, damned spot!" And yet not even
the waters of the Jordan and the "perfumes of Arabia" will suffice.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

How Ghana Did It - George B.N. Ayittey, Ph.D.

http://www.abugidainfo.com/?p=11560
 
September 28th, 2009 

When President Obama visited Ghana in July 2009, he said the choice was based on Ghana’s record on good governance.

The irony was that the NDC government, which just took office just January 2009, obviously could lay claim to that model of distinction. More importantly, those familiar with Ghanaian history in the late 1980s and 1990s would recall that the P/NDC regime was most ferociously resistant to change. I should know because I was one of the architects of change in Ghana. Their credo was “continuity” and those who opposed them were brutally beaten, assaulted and crushed. This was the regime which dumped human waste in the offices of newspapers that were critical of its policies: Free Press in 1992, Ghanaian Chronicle in 1994 and Crusading Guide in 2000. The brutal antics of Fte./Lte. Jerry Rawlings were no different from Africa’s other tyrants.

There have been some 208 African heads of state since 1960. One would be hard pressed to name just 15 good leaders. Take this challenge yourself and see if you can name just 15 good leaders since independence. Even if you can name me 20 good leaders that would mean that the overwhelming majority – over 90 percent – were utter failures. Said the Nigerian student, Akira Suni, “Almost without exception, they (African leaders) are a big disgrace to humankind. Apart from indulging in their usual foolish rhetoric, what have they done to satisfy even the most basic needs of our people” (BBC News Talking Point, April 16, 2001). In an unusual editorial, The Independent newspaper in Ghana wrote: “Most of the leaders in Africa are power-loving politicians, who in uniform or out of uniform represent no good for the welfare of our people. These are harsh words to use on men and women who may mean well but lack the necessary vision and direction to uplift the status of their people (The Independent, Ghana, July 20, 2000; p.2).

The slate of post colonial leadership in Africa has been a disgusting assortment of military fufu-heads, “Swiss bank socialists,” crocodile liberators, quack revolutionaries, briefcase bandits and vampire elites. They amassed power to do only three things: To loot the treasury, to squash all dissent and to perpetuate themselves in office. The exceptions are shamefully few.

The crisis Africa faces is one of monumental leadership failure. Ideology is not particularly relevant. Both pro-West and pro-East leaders have failed their people. Collectively, these leaders have been responsible for the deaths of more than 18 million Africans since independence. This total is more than what Africa lost through the slave trade – from both the West and East African coasts. According to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, corrupt African leaders have stolen at least $140 billion (£95 billion) from their people in the decades since independence (London Independent, June 14, 2002. Web posted at www. independent.co.uk). This type of leadership is a far cry from that which Africans have known in their own traditional systems for centuries. Name one African chief who looted the treasury for deposit in a foreign bank.

“Despotism does not inhere in the African tradition,” said the famed and late British economist, Lord Peter Bauer. Yet, they have become commonplace in post colonial Africa. As of today, of the 54 African countries, only 16 are democratic: Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde Islands, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia. Even then, a strict definition of democracy would eliminate some of them. Thus, political tyranny is still the order of the day for the vast majority of Africans..

Despots have proliferated in post colonial Africa – not so much because of their ingenuity but because of the nature and character of the opposition forces arrayed against them. To be sure, African despots are crafty evil geniuses with a lot of firepower at their disposal. They are brutally efficient at intimidation, terrorism and mass slaughter. Using bribery, they easily co-opt their enemies with government positions and ministerial appointments. They are also very adept at the diplomatic game and spinning crackpot “democracy” theories.

Libya has no parliament, no military institutions, no political parties, no unions, no non-governmental organizations and holds no elections. Colonel Khaddafy describes this as a permanent revolution. “In the era of the masses, power is in the hands of people themselves and leaders disappear forever,” he wrote in the Green Book. But Libyans joke that after 40 years in power, Khaddafy shows no signs of disappearing any time soon (The New York Times, Feb 14, 2001; p.A1).

Just as nonsensical is Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s concept of “revolutionary democracy.” Negasso Gidada was once part of the EPRDF inner circle and was Ethiopia’s first president under the current constitution, but resigned in a dispute with the ruling party leadership in 2001 to become an independent member of parliament. He says revolutionary democracy is a cover for dictatorship. “The ideology (evolutionary democracy), which EPRDF claims to follow from its name, is actually a concept of Marxist-Leninism, which was formulated by Lenin. It is a one party dictatorship.”

However, according to Newton’s Law of Physics, for every force in nature there is a counter-force. A force dominates either because a counterforce is non-existent or weak. African despots have prevailed for decades because the forces of opposition against them are weak or no-existent. These forces are in the main three:

• The Intellectual/Professional class – professors, lecturers, lawyers, doctors, soldiers, students, etc.
• Opposition politicians,
• Civil society groups — editors, journalists, church groups, etc.

These groups, collectively referred to as the chattering class, are often weak, underfunded and argumentative. It is exceedingly difficult to unite them for a common cause. During the struggle against colonialism, it was easy to unite them against white colonialists but not against today’s black neo-colonialists, who are no different – or even worse – in their brutal suppression of popular aspirations for freedom. The result is a conundrum faced by many African countries: A failed leadership that adamantly refuses to reform its abominable political and economic systems to provide more freedom for the people. And an array of opposition forces that is too weak to push for change or reform. But without reform, the country will implode and descend into a vortex of violence, chaos, and destruction: Somalia, Rwanda, Zaire, Liberia, etc. Virtually all of Africa’s failed states would have been saved had their leaders been willing to relinquish, share political power or implement real political reform.

Of the forces arrayed against African despots, the most stunningly disappointing have been Africa’s academics, professors, scholars and intellectuals. What is most amazing is that, there are professors with strings of Ph.D.s, including Agricometriology (the application of nuclear technology to the cultivation of cassava), who can’t even define “democracy” – let alone explain such simple concepts as “rule of law,” “accountability,” or “transparency.” Many of these African scholars and professors acted like intellectual prostitutes, selling off their integrity, conscience and principles to hop into bed with barbarous regimes. Then after being used and defiled, they were tossed aside or worse.

On a continent with nearly 900 million people, one would be hard pressed to name just 15 world-renowned African scholars, thinkers or intellectuals who are in the forefront pushing for change or freedom in Africa. A few come to mind: Professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Chinua Achebe of Nigeria, Professor Ali Mazrui of Kenya, Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Professor Wangari Maathai. Why so few? It is because of intellectual prostitution and collaboration.

Civil society groups have been hamstrung by repressive laws and restriction on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and press curbs. Such groups must be licensed by the government and their licenses can be revoked if they are too critical of the government. Even then, they must seek police permits before then can gather or hold a public rally. Such a restriction may apply to political parties and prevent them from holding political rallies. In Uganda, for example, a political party can legally be registered but it is illegal to hold a political rally of more than 6 people. Imagine.

However, the group that has been most brutally suppressed and traumatized in Africa has been the journalists and editors of the independent media. On May 3, 2007, participants of a workshop organized in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2007, urged the government to adhere, through legislations, policy and practice, to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 29 of the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and to facilitate and invest in training and capacity building of journalists and media practitioners. These two Articles guarantee freedom of expression. The event was jointly organized by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Horn of Africa Press Institute (HAPI) with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNESCO and the UN Country Team for Ethiopia.

The constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but this right is often restricted in practice by invoking the 1992 Press Law regarding publication of false and offensive information, incitement of ethnic hatred, or libel in order to justify the arrest and detainment of journalists. Since the judiciary is not independent, journalists have few guarantees that they will receive a fair trial, and charges are often issued in response to arbitrary events or personal disputes. Laws provide for freedom of information, although access to public information is largely restricted in practice and often limited to state-owned media outlets.

Israel Sboka, publisher and editor-in-chief of the weekly Seife Nebelhal, and Samson Seyoum, former editor-in-chief of Ethiop, both of whom, under persecution, fled the country in December 2000. Professor Asrat Woldeyes and Ato Tesfaye, were gunned down by Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front assassins. Ato Assefa Maru, an unrelenting advocate of freedom of association and individual rights, shot in cold blood by security forces in May 1997. Alebatchew Goji, was beaten and tortured to death while in police custody in July 1994 while Mustafa Idris mysteriously disappeared in 1994.

The state controls all broadcast media and operates the only television station. A 1999 law permits private radio stations, and the first licenses were finally awarded to two private FM stations in the capital Addis Ababa in 2006. However, only one is operational, and is owned by a supporter of the ruling party. Following the November 2005 crackdown, only a limited number of newspapers that do not challenge the federalist constitution or ethnic make-up of the government was allowed to continue publishing without interruption. Authorities largely targeted the Amharic-language private press, banning or shutting down more than a dozen opposition-inclined papers that together accounted for more than 80 percent of total Amharic circulation. Several dozen journalists were arrested alongside politicians and were issued charges ranging from treason to subverting the constitution during the crackdown. Of the 15 journalists who were released during 2007, seven subsequently sought asylum abroad, and the Ministry of Information continued to deny many journalists who were arrested in the 2005 crackdown licenses to resume work on their respective publications, despite previous public assurances they would be granted. Several journalists remained imprisoned and journalists continue to be arrested on charges dating back several years.

Fewer than 10 papers are now publishing in the capital, Addis Ababa, compared to more than 20 in 2005. Most newspapers struggle to remain financially viable and to meet the Ministry of Information requirement of a minimum bank balance in order to renew their annual publishing licenses. In past years, access to foreign broadcasts has occasionally been restricted, a trend that continued in 2007 with the jamming of Deutsche Welle and Voice of America signals. Owing to an extremely poor telecommunications infrastructure, internet access is limited primarily to the major urban areas and was accessed by less than 0.5 percent of the population, but is growing in popularity with the proliferation of internet cafés. But here too the government is cracking down. The government monitors e-mail, and starting in 2006, access to some websites and blogs has been blocked, including news websites run by members of the Ethiopian diaspora who are critical of the government. The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation remains the only internet service provider during 2007.

The Opposition Parties

Quite frankly, the state of opposition parties in Africa leaves much to be desired. In many places in Africa, they are hopelessly fragmented, disorganized and prone to squabbling. In addition, many opposition party leaders lack vision and are driven more by personal ambition and lust for power than the cause for freedom. Even worse, their choice of tactics is often extremely poor.

It is extremely difficult and painful to criticize opposition leaders because of brutalities and the threats to their lives which they have endured. Many paid the ultimate price in their quest for freedom for their people. Nonetheless, the opposition in Ethiopia has been hobbled by a slew of problems which also beset other opposition forces elsewhere in Africa. They would be loathe to admit it but Ethiopian opposition forces have made some serious tactical errors and miscalculations. They are mainly three:

1. Splits, Divisions Within the Opposition Camp
2. Personal Ambition
3. Poor Choice of Tactics

Splits, Divisions Within the Opposition Camp

Nothing delights a tyrant more than to see that the forces arrayed against him are divided. It enables him to play one faction against the other, thereby strengthening his grip on power. Ethiopia has 91 registered opposition parties. Imagine. There have been too many instances in which tyrants have triumphed at the polls because of stupid bickering among opposition parties.

In Zimbabwe, squabbling within the MDC erupted into violence at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in May, 2005. It subsequently led to a split of the MDC into two factions: MDC-T (led by Tsvangirai) and MDC-m (led by Mutambara). This split spelt doom for opposition politics in Zimbabwe which will take a log time to recover. Exactly the same folly occurred in Kenya in 2007.

The Orange democratic Movement (ODM) was formed out of a grassroots people’s movement to push the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum. It was poised to challenge the corrupt and despotic rule of President Mwai Kibaki in the December 2007 presidential elections. But in August 2007 – just four months before the vote – ODM split into two: ODM-Odinga and ODM-Kenya. Imagine. The elections were held and stolen. Kibaki was sworn in barely two hours after the fraudulent results were announced. Violence erupted in the streets. Over 1,000 people were killed and more than 250,000 rendered homeless.

The same spectacle was witnessed in Zimbabwe after the March 29, 2008 elections in which the opposition presented a divided field. This folly was repeated in Gabon’s Sept 1, 2009 presidential election. The process was rigged to ensure that the son of the late Omar Bongo, who had ruled Gabon for 41 years succeeded his father. The son, Ali Ben Bongo, “won” with 41 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Andre Mba Obame, a former interior minister, won 26 percent) votes and the third candidate, Pierre Mamboundou won 25 percent. Obviously, if the two opposition candidates had formed an alliance they would have defeated the Bongo dynasty.

No one single individual or party can defeat an entrenched despot. It takes a coalition or an alliance of opposition forces. Here is the mathematics of it. The despotic incumbent always has some support, no matter how terrible his rule has been because of ethnic loyalty and patronage. Assume that the incumbent has only 30 percent popular support. This means that if you field 10 opposition candidates, they will DIVIDE the opposition vote and none of them will have enough to defeat the incumbent. In the case of Gabon, Ali Ben won with 41 percent of the vote, meaning if the two opposition candidates had fielded one candidate, the alliance candidate would have defeated him. I can tick off similar follies elsewhere in Africa:

• In Kenya ’s 1992 election, for example. President Daniel arap Moi won with only 37 percent of the vote over a divided field. The second place candidate won 32 percent of the total. “President Daniel arap Moi’s Kenya National African Union won 1.5 million votes in 1992, compared with a combined 3.5 million for the opposition” ( The Washington Times , June 22, 1995; p.A18). They repeated this same folly in the December 1997 elections. Kenya’s opposition parties numbered 26, which fielded 13 presidential candidates to challenge Moi. Imagine.
• In Benin ’s 1990 election (only a second runoff election defeated Mathieu Kerekou) and in the Ivory Coast where 42 opposition parties were registered in 1994, although there was some election rigging.
• In Tanzania , 12 opposition parties were formed to challenge the ruling CCM’s monopoly lock on power in 1994.
• In Zambia ’s Dec 27, 2001, presidential elections, the ruling party’s (MMD’s) presidential candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, won with just 29 percent of the vote. “The 70 percent of voters who opposed Mr. Mwanawasa split their loyalty between 10 power-hungry rivals. The withdrawal of one or two of them would have helped Mr. Anderson Mazoka to victory” ( The Economist, Jan 5, 2002 ; p.38).

Beside playing into the hands of the despot, an opposition split also confuses voters and exacts a heavy public relations toll. Well-wishers, supporters and sympathizers outside Ethiopia – both foreign and African — become baffled: Which split or faction to support? To be sure, Zenawi is a monster but how can the opposition be taken seriously when it itself is split? And if the opposition can’t resolve its own differences, how can it resolve those with the Zenawi regime? Currently, 8 Ethiopian opposition parties and two prominent independent politicians are joining forces but they are too small.

Personal Ambition

One reason why it is difficult to united opposition parties into an electoral alliance is that too many opposition leaders are driven by personal ambition or lust for power. Each “educated” fool wants to be the next prime minister or president so it is impossible for them to unite. Instead, they stab each other in the back – the “pull-him-down” syndrome so that his rivals don’t take the seat he covets. Worse, some of the opposition leaders themselves are closet dictators, exhibiting the same dictatorial tendencies they so loudly condemn in the despots they hope to replace. Any wonder Africans have this saying: “We struggle very hard to remove one cockroach from power and then the next rat comes to do the same thing.

Poor Choice of Tactics

The first rule in any war is to “Know the Enemy.” One must know the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy and devise one’s strategy accordingly. One does not fight an enemy on the turf on which he is strongest. One exploits his weaknesses. For example, Africa’s despots concentrate their security forces in their capital cities. Therefore, one does not call for mass protests in the capital cities where the security forces are ensconced. A smart strategy is that which stretches them geographically. Note that all rebel insurgencies start from the countryside where security forces are thinly spread.

Second, one goes to battle PREPARED. Too often, opposition parties scramble to take part in elections without an ounce of preparation. This requires ensuring that the playing field is level; the electoral commission is independent, all parties have access to the state media, an access to polling stations are open and free, etc. If these requirements are not met, ALL – not just one or a few – all opposition parties must boycott the elections. This has never been the case in Ethiopia, where, since 1991 Zenawi has controlled every aspect of the electoral process. Consider this: In the 2008 local council elections, opposition candidates won only 3 of more than 3.5 million contested seats. Was the playing field level? Without a level playing field and electoral reform,
Prime Minister Meles will win the 2010 election for another5-year term.

Part II

Ghana faced exactly the same problems in the 1990s: A divided and squabbling opposition, intellectual prostitution, weak civil society, state control of the media, etc. Rawlings’ era (1981 – 2000) was the darkest chapter in Ghana’s history. It set the country back economically. Fte./Lte. Jerry Rawlings first seized power in a 1979 military coup. His Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) stayed in office for only three months to “clean up house” in 1979. It organized a presidential election which was won by the late Hilman Limann but after barely two years in office, the Limann administration was overthrown by another Rawlings coup on December 31, 1981. He established the Provisional National defense Council (PNDC). At that time, the exchange rate was 2.85 cedis to the dollar and income per capita was $410. In 2000, the exchange rate was 7,200 cedis to the dollar. Back in 1981, Ghana’s income per capita was $410; it was $360 when he left office in 2000 – 19 years later. Even the World Bank, which pumped more than $4 billion into Ghana, said in 2001 that it was a mistake to declare the country an “economic success story.” The difficulties the country faced forced the Kufuor administration to place Ghana in the HIPC intensive care unit.

On democracy and human rights, the P/NDC record was abysmal. When asked about handing over power, Rawlings famously retorted: “Hand over to whom?” According to Amnesty International, more than 200 people disappeared during the Rawlings era. Over 1 million Ghanaians fled to “Agege” (Nigeria) only to be sent back in 1984. Kwesi Pratt, Jr, managing editor of the political magazine, The Weekly Insight, was an early victim of Rawlings’ brutality. He charged that:

Between December 1981 and December 1984, gangs closely associated with the Rawlings regime embarked upon a killing spree. They butchered as many as 246 Ghanaians for the only reason that they dared to differ politically with the self-proclaimed messiah, Flt./Lte. Jerry John Rawlings. Those who were gruesomely murdered included academics, priests, soldiers, policemen, judges and even independent-minded revolutionary cadres. Kwesi Pratt, a fierce critic wrote:

“I can bear testimony to some of these gruesome murders which took place during my detention at Gondar Barracks in the early days of the Rawlings dictatorship. Soldiers loyal to the dictatorship came to the Recce Guardroom every afternoon and selected their victims, who were told to say their last prayers because they would be taken to Agege (Air Force Station) at mid-night. Then at mid-night, the soldiers drove armored vehicles to the Guardroom, picked up their victims and drove away. None of these victims has been seen since thenIn one instance in June 1983, Warrant Offier Adjei Boardi, then a member of Rawlings Provincial National Defense Council, ordered that 6 people who were being held in cells at the Border Guards headquarters be released for ‘fresh air.’ As the six detainees, including Kwame Adjimah, a member of the June 4 movement, stepped out of the their cells, Warrant Officer Adjei Boardi opened fire with his AK 47 assault rifle and killed them all.” (The African Observer, July 19 – August 1, 1999; p.7).

The 19-year Rawlings reign was characterized by extreme cruelty, savage brutality and rampant corruption. Upon seizing power in a 1981 coup, Rawlings, a self-styled Marxist revolutionary, declared a “holy war” against bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption, and proceeded to impose the most stringent controls on the economy. Market women who violated price controls were stripped naked, whipped, their heads shaven and wares confiscated. In addition, scores of markets, portrayed by Rawlings as “dens of profiteers,” were razed to the ground.

In the 1980s, there was little opposition to the PNDC rule because what opposition there was had been brutally crushed. In 1989, the former Soviet Union collapsed, which provided new energy to pro-democracy forces in Africa. Winds of change swept across Africa, toppling a few long-standing autocrats, such as Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.

Those of us abroad warned Western donors against giving money to African dictators. In fact, in 1991, I testified before the U.S. Congress that, after 1992, any loan given to an illegitimate African government constitutes “odious debt,” which the African people shall not consider themselves liable to repay because it was contracted without their consent.” Pressure also built from other sources and Western donors began to add “political conditionality.” In 1992, for example, Western donors withheld aid to Kenya and Malawi until they established multi-party democracy. Facing mounting pressure from both domestic and external sources, the PNDC had no choice but to implement multi-party democracy.

Reluctantly, the Rawlings regime unilaterally defined the modalities of the transition process and set up a National Commission on Democracy (NCD). The Washington-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which went to Ghana under a grant from U.S. AID in May 1992, wrote in their report that, “The transition to democratic rule in Ghana is a process characterized by control. Flight-Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings and the PNDC remain the obvious source of political initiatives, retaining their claim to the last word in decisions that affect the forward movement of Ghanaian policy” (Ghana — Pre-Election Assessment Report, IFES, 1992, 2).
This is exactly the same tactic being employed by the EPRDF regime.

At about the same time in South Africa, the whites and blacks had sat down together to hammer out a transition program under CODESA (Convention for Democratic South Africa). CODESA was not controlled by one side. Oddly, Ghana drew up a program and constitution for multiparty democracy without the participation of political parties, which were then banned. Not surprisingly, almost every important group in Ghana opposed the work of the NCD. In particular, the West Africa magazine wrote: “The NCD is made of persons hand-picked by the PNDC and is chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the PNDC, Justice D.F. Annan. It is not democratically representative or accountable. Members of the NCD have regularly expressed partisan views on what should or should not be part of the country’s political system. Many have expressed doubts that such a body can be expected to impartially collate and distil views of Ghanaians” (13-19 August 1990, 2270).

Despite these criticisms and misgivings about the NCD, the PNDC charged ahead and established a Consultative Assembly to draft Ghana’s constitutional proposals for the Fourth Republic. Then Sections 33, 34 and 36 were clandestinely inserted into the constitution at the eleventh hour without any debate to give the PNDC blanket and perpetual immunity from “any official act or omission [committed] during the administration of the PNDC.” A regime that preached the gospel of “accountability,” “transparency,” and “probity,” according to the World Bank, suddenly refused to be held to the same tests. Ghanaians abroad were disenfranchised at a time when other Africans could all go to their embassies and vote.

There were numerous other problems. The voter register was riddled with inaccuracies. The list suffered from multiple entries, inconsistent name order, failure to record corrections, and ghost entries. No attempt was made to purge the list of voters deceased since 1987 or rectify the other problems.

Despite all these, Rawlings ran for president in 1992, arguing that his previous 11 years in office did not count toward the 2-term or 8-year Constitutional stipulation. He “won” the 1992 presidential election that was so marred by irregularities that the opposition parties boycotted the parliamentary elections. The result was the establishment of a de facto one-party state in Ghana.

Rawlings subsequently won re-election in 1996. Though the vote was not as flawed as in 1992, it entrenched the “Rawlings model of self-succession” in the West Africa, which has experienced more military takeovers than any other African region: A military adventurer seizes power in a coup, organizes fraudulent elections to ward off nosy Western donors and returns himself to power as a “civilian president.” West Africans derided this as “civilianization of military rule.” By 1998, military despots had successfully shed their uniforms and donned civilian clothes as presidents in 10 out of the 15 West African countries.

Rawlings, however, was only half the problem; the other half was the opposition. Recall that, according to Newton’s Law of Physics, for every force in nature there is a counter-force. A force dominates either because a counterforce is non-existent or weak. Rawlings and other African despots dominated the political scene because the opposition was weak or non-existent. Ghana’s opposition was worse than useless.

One of their most unimaginative tactic was the issuance of a series of ultimatums during the Rawlings’ era. More than 15 such ultimatums were issued between 1982 and 1992. “Hand over by such-and-such a date, or else……” Deadlines passed and nothing happened. An opposition leader, who does not have the means of enforcing a deadline, should not issue one. Otherwise, the despotic regime will laugh it off. Besides, it is irresponsible to issue a deadline and not follow through with credible action because it puts the whole population at risk. The paranoid government will tighten security as the deadline approaches, arresting people on the flimsiest shred of suspicious evidence.

The second most useless method of ousting a military dictatorship is through “mass action” such as public demonstrations, rallies and national strikes. Mass demonstrations are not only irresponsible but also betray functional illiteracy of opposition leaders. Just because these strategies worked in the 1950s against the white colonialists does not mean they will also work against black neocolonialists. The problem is lack of imagination and inability on the part of the opposition to adapt strategies to suit changing circumstances. Today, thanks to advances in modern weaponry, the military can mow down a crowd of 10,000 people in an instant. So why present the military with a huge mass of demonstrators, concentrated in one spot?

In the post-colonial era, no military regime has been removed through mass demonstrations. Three ways have emerged. The first is through armed insurrection: Ethiopia, Liberia, Somalia and Uganda. This is not to be recommended since the cost is prohibitive: destruction of the country, the loss of thousands of lives and the production of refugees. The second is through a palace coup but then that does not get rid of the military regime (for example, Acheampong overthrown by Akuffo, Traore overthrown by Toure in Mali). The third is when the soldiers themselves hold elections and return to the barracks.

Massive demonstrations against military regimes may work indirectly but are chancy, costly and ineffective. They result in deaths: 38 in Mali; 26 in Togo; over 200 in Zaire. The deaths often elicit both domestic and international condemnation which puts further pressure on the regime to reform. But the outcome is not predictable. Out of the chaos and confusion, another military adventurer may seize power, as in Mali.

Mass protests or action – as in people’s power revolution in the Philippines in 1989 or the velvet revolution in the Czech Republic in 1992 — have seldom dislodged civilian goat-heads in Africa. In recent years, security forces have attacked and crushed demonstrators in Ethiopia (Sept 2005), Kenya (Dec 2007), and Zimbabwe (March 2008).

Ghana’s opposition parties exhibited all the weaknesses that afflicted Africa’s opposition parties: divisions, disunity, personal lust for power and the choice of poor tactics. When the ban on party politics was lifted in 1992, 9 opposition parties emerged. They were impossible to unite them into an alliance. They were split not only along ideological lines but also within the same ideology. Ghana has had two political traditions: The Nkrumah tradition after Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah and the Danquah-Busia tradition that opposed the Nkrumah tradition. The mantle for the latter tradition was taken by the New Patriotic Party (NPP). However that of the Nkrumah tradition was claimed by 4 opposition parties in 1992. The challenge we faced in Ghana was how to unite the two traditions into a formidable opposition alliance to challenge Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress (NDC, which was derived from PNDC with the “P” lopped off). But we could not unite those in the Nkrumahist camp, let alone unite them with the NPP (Danquah-Busia camp). The squabbling among the two camps was endless.

We tried various tactics to knock some sense into the bickering opposition leaders. We threatened and warned them that their divisions, incompetence and squabbling were adding greatly to the suffering of Ghanaians and the people would hold them accountable. We tried to set up a Supra National Council, made up of 6 eminent and well-respected Ghanaians whose voices would be heeded by all opposition leaders to end their bickering. Outside Ghana, democracy activists, including myself, formed the Committee of Concerned Citizens of Ghana (CCCG). Opposition leade4rs were coming to the U.S. and Canada to raise funds. We made it plain to them that they won’t get a penny from us if they didn’t unite against Rawlings.

The breakthrough came in March 1995 when the Rawlings regime attempted to impose a new tax (VAT) on Ghanaians. Denounced as a “vampire tax,” tens of thousands of Ghanaians poured into the streets in a massive “”Kume Preko” (You might as well kill me”) demonstration. Security forces opened fire on the demonstrators, killing 4 of them. But pro-democracy forces weren’t deterred. Other demonstrations were held in other cities across the country. The organizer of the first demonstration was Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobbey, who was dubbed “Tarzan.” CCCG worked with Wereko-Brobbey to set up a corresponding organ in Ghana called the Alliance for Change (AFC) in 1995, of which I also became a member in order to facilitate interface between the two. The rules were laid out clearly from the outset. No member of either group (CCCG or AFC) was to use the group as a platform to advance his own or partisan ambition. All must hold the nation’s interest supreme above all sectarian or partisan interests. Unfortunately, Dr. Wereko-Brobbey broke this covenant when he tried to use the AFC to advance the political career of Dr. Kwame Pianim. The AFC disintegrated in 1996 – just 8 months before the elections. Needless to say, the disunited opposition parties suffered a severe drubbing at the 1996 polls.

A renewed effort was made to rope the squabbling opposition parties into an alliance for the 2000 elections. We were aided by the deteriorating economy. By the year 2000, Ghana’s economy was in a coma and the World Bank-sponsored Economic Recovery Program (ERP) a miserable failure. Inflation raged at 60 percent; unemployment hovered around 30 percent; interest rates had reached 50 percent and the currency, the cedi, had virtually collapsed. In 1981, the exchange rate was 285 cedis to the dollar and income per capita was $410. In 2000, the exchange rate was 7,200 cedis to one dollar and income per capita $360.

Fed by huge expenditures on security, corruption and wanton wastes, government expenditures had careened out of control. The distinction between government and Rawlings’ ruling party (National Democratic Congress, NDC) funds had vanished and looting was open and brazen. Mr. Vincent Assisseh, the press secretary of the ruling party, built a multi-million dollar empire, acquired several mansions and a fleet of expensive automobiles. Even Rawlings himself, the Marxist revolutionary, cruised around in a Jaguar convertible.

At least 40 percent of World Bank loans and Western aid were squandered. According to Goosie Tanoh, who broke with the ruling regime to form his own National Reform Party, “many grants from Japan, Canada, USA and Britain, given to NDC party functionaries, were misapplied or misappropriated” (The Ghanaian Chronicle, August 14, 2000).

The regime never accepted responsibility for its failures, choosing to blame foreigners and “external factors” for the country’s worsening economic crisis and even corruption. At the United Nations General Session in New York on September 8, President Jerry Rawlings blamed Western countries for much of the monumental corruption in Africa, saying they have a responsibility to curb the menace so as to promote good governance on the continent (Panafrican News Agency, Sept 8, 2000).

Ghanaians, however, never bought this self-serving claptrap. Fed up with rampant corruption and years of economic mismanagement, they vowed electoral retribution at the polls scheduled for Dec 7, 2000. They told the opposition parties that they cared less who was the head of the alliance ticket and would even vote for a goat if it led the opposition alliance. It was a clear message to the opposition parties to end their bickering; else, there would be severe retribution. But the Rawlings regime was determined as ever to hang on to power — out of fear that, else, its gory past misdeeds might be exposed. But any attempt by the regime to sabotage or manipulate the electoral process to keep itself in power would have triggered an implosion. Three months before Ghana’s vote, Ivory Coast had erupted into violence in October 2000 after General Robert Guie stole the elections there – violence that ultimately engulfed the country in a civil war.

Thus, a high state of tension and anxiety greeted Ghana’s Dec 7, 2000 elections. Debarred by the Constitution for a third term, Rawlings had handpicked his vice-president, Prof. John Atta Mills, as his successor. Though they were marred by violence in which 53 people died, the vote count was generally fair and the opposition won control of parliament. But since none of the presidential candidates won more than 50 percent of the vote and a run-off was scheduled for Dec 28. On that day, Rawlings unleashed his military thugs to intimidate voters from casting their ballots. Roadblocks were set up to prevent voters from going to the polls. Commandos invaded Kumasi, the stronghold of the Kufuor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP), to beat up voters. Gun shots were fired and several opposition MPs were assaulted.

When the results started coming in the next day, the opposition candidate, John Kufuor had a comfortable lead over the incumbent vice-president, Prof. John Atta Mills. Would the ruling NDC relinquish power? The country was sitting on pins. In Africa, incumbents generally don’t concede defeat. They are generally removed through military coups, rebel insurgencies or assassination. Of the 190 African heads of state since 1960, only 20 relinquished power voluntarily. Of this number, less than 10 stepped down in a democratic transition; the bulk simply retired after long years in office.

At 7:00 pm, Vice-President Mills telephoned Kufuor to concede defeat and the country heaved a collective sigh of relief. As Albert Nuamah described it, “Ghanaians burst out of their rooms in jubilation. In some places like Tamale in the North both the NPP and NDC members were on the streets jointly jubilating. What a relief! Ghana has been spared great agony!” (The Ghanaian Voice, January 15-21, 2001; p.4). Thus, Ghana managed to pull itself back from the brink.

What or Who Saved Ghana?

The first was the media – in particular the FM radio stations. Notable among them were Joy FM, Peace FM and Radio Universe, to mention a few. In Ghana’s December 2000 elections, the private FM stations were crucial in enforcing transparency. “Live radio, it turned out,is a better and cheaper monitor of elections than the local and international observer teams, whose reports will emerge only after the battle has been lost and won” said The Economist regarding Ghana’s election (”Ghana: Taking Part,” The Economist, December 16, 2000; p.54). As Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, also pointed out, the four most democratic countries in West Africa today — Benin, Ghana, Mali and Senegal — all have private, flourishing FM talk radio stations. “Let’s stop sending Africa lectures on democracy. Let’s instead make all aid, all I.M.F.-World Bank loans, all debt relief conditional on African governments’ permitting free FM radio stations. Africans will do the rest,” he wrote (”Low Tech Democracy,” The New York Times, May 1, 2001; p.A13). The print media also played an important role: The Ghanaian Chronicle, Free Press, Crusading Guide, Daily Guide, to mention a few.

Four individuals also played important roles in easing Rawlings’s NDC out of power. The first was former U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. While hop-scotching around the globe to put out fires, imagine the embarrassment of learning that his own country was on fire! He promised Rawlings the post of a special U.N. envoy on malaria if he stepped down peacefully.

The second person was former Nigerian president, Gen (rtd) Olusegun Obasanjo. He detested Rawlings with every fiber in his body largely because Rawlings was a friend to the late General Sani Abacha (“The Butcher of Abuja”) who tossed Obasanjo into jail in 1996. Obasanjo did much to help the opposition in Ghana.

The third was the late and former president of Togo, Gnassingbe Eyadema. He closed Togo’s border in Dec 2000, preventing Rawlings from importing Ewes, his ethnic group, into Ghana to vote for him. The first country the triumphant President Kufuor visited after his inauguration was Togo to express his gratitude to Eyadema. Kufuor was severely rebuked for doing so since Eyadema was himself a military dictator.

The last but not the least person was Professor Atta-Mills himself. He refused to go along with Rawlings’ diabolical plan. In the event of an electoral defeat, the plan was to call for a national recount – a la Florida – and declare a state of emergency. But by conceding defeat on the air to Kufuor, Professor Atta-Mills pulled the rug from underneath the plan.

Lessons

1. Ethiopia cannot leave the task of establishing true democracy to only the politicians or opposition party leaders. A body which is apolitical needs to be established to hold the country’s interest supreme – above all ethnic, political or sectarian interests. This body must be made of prominent Ethiopians with credibility who have no interest in running for president.
2. To make democracy work, a smart opposition is needed – not the rah-rah noisy type that chants “Zenawi Must Go.” A smart opposition does not fight a despotic regime on the turf on which it is strongest. It exploits its weaknesses. What are the weaknesses of the EPRDG regime? Scratching your head?

Every tyrannical regime is kept in office by certain props. Identify these props and sever them methodically. The external props come in the form of foreign aid and loans. Opposition leaders must draft a letter to foreign donors and creditor that any loan to the illegitimate EPRDF regime will constitute “odious debt” and will not be paid back. Back in 1990 “the main opposition parties warned donor countries and agencies that aid given during the rule of President Hussain Mohammad Ershad would not be paid back.”

“The military junta of President Ershad is plundering public money, and to make that up every year new taxes and levies are being imposed…People will not pay the loans back,” Sheik Hasina Wajed, who heads the Awami League, told a rally here. Donors should help a representative government and not “a government run with the power of the gun,” she said, adding that proper accounts of aid funds are not available. Begum Khaleda Zia, head of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, accused Mr. Ershad and his cronies of hoarding aid in foreign bank accounts and said ‘people will not bear the pressure of paying back the debt,” (The Washington Times, Nov. 7, 1990; p.A2). Two weeks later, the military government of President Ershad collapsed when aid donors withheld funds.
3. Internal props are the intellectual prostitutes. Go after them. Warn them that they will be held intellectually accountable. Send them letters and publish their names at a web site.

4. The “Velvet,” Rose,” and “Orange” revolutions succeeded in bringing change to the Czech, Georgia, and Ukraine republics because the mass protesters had at least one key institution on their side. There are six critical institutions: an independent and free media; an independent judiciary (for the rule of law), an independent central bank; an independent electoral commission, a neutral and professional armed security forces; and efficient civil service. The Rose revolution in Georgia in Nov 2003 succeeded because security forces did not fire on the street protesters. Opposition leaders smartly had women lead the protests, who handed roses to the soldiers to win their sympathy; hence, rose revolution. The Orange Revolution of Ukraine in Nov 2004 succeeded because the opposition forces had the judiciary and some private media on their side. Ukraine’s Supreme Court annulled the election results. Ghana’s revolution succeeded in 2000 because the opposition forces had formed an alliance and also had the FM radio stations on their side. Obviously, Ethiopia’s opposition forces should have at last one key institution on their side: Either the media, the judiciary or the electoral commission. They should consider establishing pirate radio stations in neighboring countries.

Finally, good luck.
________________
The writer, a native of Ghana, is a Distinguished Economist at American University and President of the Free Africa Foundation. His new book is Africa Unchained (Palgrave/MacMillan).


Bill Watch 32 of 26th September [Money Bills passed inJuly still not gazetted]

BILL WATCH 32/2009

[28th September 2009]

The First Session of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe has been prorogued [officially ended] and there will be a ceremonial opening of the Second Session by the President on the 5th October

Update on Independent Constitutional Commissions

Electoral Commission:  28 short-listed candidates for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will be interviewed [open to public observation] by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  [For details see Bill Watch Special of  23rd September.]

Media Commission:  There has been no announcement from the President’s Office on the long-awaited appointments of the chairperson and eight members of this Commission from the list of twelve nominees submitted by Parliament in mid-August.

Human Rights Commission:  These interviews will be on 12th October.

Anti-Corruption Commission:  The CSRO is reconsidering how to proceed, following a reminder that its constitutional role in this case is to be consulted by the President – not to submit a list of nominees from which the President makes appointments.  [Constitution, section 100K(1): “There is a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission consisting of at least four and not more than nine members appointed by the President in consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”]  

Update on GPA One Year On

This month saw the anniversary of the signing ceremony of the Interparty-Political Agreement on 15th September last year.  Although much was made of the significance of this date in the press, there was not a great deal of analysis of what has or has not been achieved in that time.  This can be attributed to the fact the inclusive government was only set up in mid February and although there has been much talk, progress has been slow, with concrete action stalled by the same disputes which caused the five month delay in setting up the inclusive government.  The press instead focused on statements of growing tension and frustration within the inclusive government:-  

·     ZANU-PF insisting that it had fulfilled its part of the bargain and accusing the MDC-T of trying to run a parallel government from the Prime Minister’s Office, using staff paid by donor agencies [denied by MDC-T], and not doing enough to get “illegal” sanctions lifted;

·     MDC-T accusing ZANU-PF of failure to fulfil the agreement by refusing to budge on MDC-T’s “outstanding issues”, treating them as “a junior partner” in the government, not being willing to act in the inclusive government on matters such as law reform, ensuring the National Security Council meets, etc.

MDC-T Warnings of Growing Impatience

The recent MDC-T National Council meeting and Mr Tsvangirai’s address, in his capacity as MDC-T leader, to a Bulawayo rally celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the MDC were used to stress MDC-T’s growing impatience with ZANU-PF intransigence.

MDC-T National Council Resolutions

Resolutions passed [text available on request] recorded that the Council was “disturbed by the continued unfinished and unresolved toxic and disempowering issues associated with the Transitional Government” and included the following:

“1. The party implores SADC and the African Union as guarantors to the GPA, to expedite the resolution of the outstanding issues.

2.  The Party shall consult and engage its structures and the people of Zimbabwe within a specified period to ascertain the sustainability and worthiness of the Inclusive Government as a vehicle for real change and democracy in Zimbabwe .”

Mr Tsvangirai’s Speech to MDC-T 10th Anniversary Rally

Speaking at the Bulawayo rally after the National Council meeting, Mr Tsvangirai said:  “…coalition Governments require certain compromise on policy. However, I am here to tell you today that the MDC has never, and will never, compromise on issues of principle.  For the past seven months we in the MDC have shown respect, conciliation and understanding to Zanu PF and what have we got in return? Nothing.  They continue to act with arrogance, forgetting that it was they who lost the March election and that they are only in this agreement as we formed this Government for the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe . They continue to violate the law, persecute our people, spread the language of hate, invade productive farms, ignore our international treaties and continue to loot our national resources.  This must stop now.…The GPA is not there to be negotiated, it is there to be implemented. There can be no excuse for continued delays or distractions to the full and complete implementation of every outstanding issue.”  [Full text available on request.]

Series of Consultative Rallies - there have been nine major rallies and thirty-five ward consultations throughout the country since then to consult the MDC-T grass-roots on the future of the inclusive government. 

Feedback from MDC-T Masvingo  During the week MDC-T National Council member Tongai Matutu, MP for Masvingo Urban, came out strongly in favour of MDC-T’s withdrawal from the inclusive government because of President Mugabe’s and ZANU-PF’s failure to resolve the outstanding issues.

Plans for more “grass-roots consultations  In an Extraordinary National Executive meeting over the weekend it was planned to set up teams to consult in the parties 12 provinces.  Mr Tsvangirai pledged to consider the outcome of the people’s views as being the real “owners” of the GPA. 

Despite statements of frustration, threats of withdrawal and their embarking on a grass roots membership consultation exercise, the top leadership are simultaneously making statements saying they are committed to making the inclusive government work.

ZANU-PF Stance Unchanged

There has been no progress on resolving the disputes in the inclusive government, as the President has been attending the United Nations General Assembly session where he spoke in the Assembly’s general debate, customarily addressed by Heads of State and Government [text available on request], and then went on to the Summit for Africa and Latin America in Venezuela.  From the tenor of his recent speeches, even on his return there will be little prospect of breaking what seems a critical deadlock by bargaining or compromise.  The President has not been saying that if MDC-T call for lifting sanctions, then he will facilitate law reform, appoint new governors, reconsider key state appointments etc.  He has been saying that his party has fulfilled its obligations and it merely remains for MDC-T to fulfil theirs by ensuring sanctions are lifted.  In ZANU-PF’s district and provincial meetings leading up to the their National Congress in December, emphasis has been on loyalty to Mr Mugabe – with several branches naming him “our Supreme Leader” – and on endorsing his leadership of the party for another five-year term [and therefore for the next Presidential elections].

SADC Organ Troika and Outstanding GPA Issues

The SADC Summit in Kinshasa referred the overseeing and monitoring of the implementation of outstanding issues on the power-sharing agreement to the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.  No date or venue has been announced for a Troika meeting to commence this assignment.  The Troika is chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and the Deputy Chairperson is President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, who were elected to these positions at the Summit and will hold office for a year, until the next regular Summit.  The third member is the outgoing chairperson, King Mswati of Swaziland.  South African President Jacob Zuma will also be involved in discussions, as South Africa’s role as facilitator and guarantor of the GPA continues.  [Protocol establishing the Organ and detailing its  powers outlined in the Windhoek Protocol available on request.].  MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa has said that MDC-T has written to SADC since the Summit requesting urgent action on the outstanding issues.

Update on Parliament

All House of Assembly portfolio committees and Senate and thematic committees have ceased sitting until the commencement of the Second Session.

The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders met on 21st September and decided on interview dates for candidates for the Electoral Commission and Human Rights Commission. 

The Select Committee on the New Constitution has not met for the last two weeks.  It awaits guidance following the announcement that the three party principals have decided that it is to be served by an Independent Secretariat and to have a Management Committee that will include the three principal negotiators of the GPA [see Constitution Watch 10 of 25th September].

Legislation Update

Acts still to be gazetted

The Finance (No. 2) Bill and the Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill, both passed on 23rd July, have still not been gazetted as Acts.  They were signed by the President on 18th September.  The delay in gazetting is deplorable, as these Acts cannot have legal effect until gazetted, meaning that Parliament’s authorisation of expenditure and changes to taxes, etc., are not yet in force.

The Appropriation (Additional) (2008) Bill passed in early April has not yet been sent to the President’s Office by Parliament for the President’s assent.  The hold-up has not been explained.  This Bill was to validate money spent without Parliamentary authority in 2008.  Not gazetting the Bill has no real practical consequences now, but it does mean that constitutional requirements have not been fulfilled.

Bills

The Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009] was gazetted on 25th September [a short routine Bill providing for condonation of overspending by several Ministries during the 2006 financial year]. [[Electronic version available on request.]

The Reserve Bank Amendment Bill was gazetted on 14th August and awaits introduction in Parliament by the Minister of Finance.  Printing of two other Ministry of Finance Bills [Public Finance Management Bill and Audit Office Bill] is nearly complete, and they are expected to be gazetted on 2nd October.

Statutory Instruments

Statutory instruments gazetted recently included:

SI 151/2009 – new fees for registration etc. of private business corporations

SI 152/2009 – new court fees for Supreme Court civil cases

SI 153/2009 – Electoral (Amendment) Regulations, made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC].  These regulations lay down new US dollar amounts to be paid by candidates for election when submitting their nomination papers[Electronic version available on request.] 

SI 154/2009 – new rates for levies payable to the Insurance and Pensions Commission by insurance companies and pension funds [25th September].

 

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.