TEXT only 29 August 2013

Zimbabwe beyond salvage? Part 2 by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013

BEYOND SALVAGE?  By Godfrey 28 August 2013

(Part one published 22 August)  |  PART TWO

Now What?

After the tears, the frustration, the disappointment, the hurt, the congratulations, the backslapping, the consolidation of power and all kinds of emotions, Robert Mugabe starts his seventh and definitely his last five year term in office. He is 89. This therefore becomes the most defining moment for Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will either spiral down the well trodden African road of failure and lawlessness or defy the curse and rebuild. Either option depends on what Mugabe chooses to do and how Zimbabweans collectively and individually react to his policies. The last election was one Mugabe had to win. He did. Yah, he cheated, but then, now what? The cry of disappointment by the majority is naturally understandable. The congratulatory backslapping by the controlling minority should be expected. They pulled a fast one. But then the tears must dry and dry very fast they must. There is work to be done and done by all of us. Race is inconsequential. What Zimbabwe has is known, Robert Mugabe. But behind the scenes, are brilliant albeit egotistical strategists, who have, for the past three decades turned their energy inwards, studied Zimbabweans, experimented on them and fought a quiet and undeclared war against their own. The results have been fascinatingly pleasant for the powerful. No matter how far the envelope is pushed, Zimbabweans won’t push back. Their deduction: since the war of independence, Zimbabweans seem to have abdicated their duty to actively participate in shaping their own political future. With enough pressure brought to bear, Zimbabweans will defer all issues political to Robert Mugabe and gang.  Though this may be a simplified assessment of political assertiveness or lack thereof 2000 ante, the apparent reactive malaise Zimbabweans suffers today is real. The root causes are not that simple. They are noteworthy. Mugabe played a very invaluable early and consistent role in the political and socio-economic experimentation of Zimbabwe. In the process he managed to grab every opportunity that was presented to him. He consolidated his power. In 1987 Mugabe became the Executive President, abolished the 20 parliamentary seats reserved for whites and piled up power on himself. He brilliantly assumed the new position immediately after signing a unity accord to stop the violence in Matabeleland with Joshua Nkomo, the head of ZAPU then. Hitherto, the office of the president was largely ceremonial. It was held by Canaan Banana.  To accumulate all the power, he then abolished the office of prime minister, a position he had held since independence. He topped it all by abolishing the senate in 1990. Mugabe started his power grab, by mesmerizing a young independent nation with his excellent oratory skills, complemented by use of or threat of use of force where he thought it necessary. Except between 1983-1987Gukurahundi, in Matabeleland where wanton violence was brutally applied resulting in an estimated 20 000 civilian deaths and ultimately the unity accord, the use of force was sparingly and strategically applied. The world at large chose to pay a blind eye. Although the country was generally peaceful or rather intimidated, every election period was accompanied by targeted attacks and destruction of property of known and suspected members of opposition parties. Ordinary people had to buy ZANU PF cards to protect themselves from being accused of belonging to an opposition party. Attending ZANU PF rallies was forced. Mugabe continued with what Muzorewa had started in 1978, giving names to years so as to instill a sense of belonging. For Mugabe, continuation of such was a no brainer, because it was very similar to what the Chinese, his backers during the armed struggle did and still do. For example 1980 was christened Gore Remasimba Evanhu or Umnyaka Wamandla Abantu, Year of the People; 1981 Gore Rekutsigira Masimba Evanhu, Year of Consolidating People’s Power; 1982 Gore Reshanduko, Year of Transformation; and 1983 Gore Rekugutsa Ruzhinji, Year of Meeting People’s Needs.  How much power devolved to people in 1980 is a question worth exploring. Vanhu in Shona or Abantu in Ndebele generally means people, inclusively, but relative to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic and racial makeupvanhu/Abantu and its singular munhu/muntu could be used to mean a black person. As such the title was apt, if limited to mean the assumption of power by black people from white Rhodesians. Political power was indeed transferred from Ian Smith to Robert Mugabe in 1980. The economy which had continued to grow, despite a trade embargo imposed on the Smith regime by the United Nations, thanks largely to South Africa and Portugal which continued to trade with Rhodesia, briefly remained stable and largely in the hands of white citizens. However, economic growth slowed down after independence, partly because of investor diffidence, trepidation and flight by whites who feared retribution, but mainly because Mugabe experiment with socialism and corruption the policy of reconciliation notwithstanding. Not all of the policies that Mugabe implemented were bad, especially if one looks at the initiative of empowering the majority. Mugabe is a former school teacher. He made education a priority because education empowers. An ambitious project to educate black Zimbabweans was started as soon as he got in power. Although it was criticized by some economist because the country was financially ill prepared for such, the education policy was a success, relative to African standard. Primary and secondary education at government owned schools was made free and mandatory. Many schools were built. Adult literacy was encouraged and a lot of adults including the current vice president Joyce Mujuru went back to school. As a result, Zimbabwe attained the top position of literacy in Africa, a pride many Zimbabweans boast of, however empty, economically. The education priority was a double aged sword. It also enlightened the people. Mugabe was very poor in running the economy. He overly regulated commerce and implemented price controls. True there were some economic sabotage by apartheid South Africa and ill will by Smith sympathizers who wanted Mugabe to fail, but such efforts did not and could not have brought the economy to its knees. Mugabe’s economics was just poor. Resultantly, economic growth stagnated and started to plummet in the 1990s. Well before Greece, Zimbabwe initiated its own form of austerity measures to grow an economy which was failing to absorb its graduates. The Economic Adjustment Programme (ESAP) was implemented with the approval of the African Development Bank and the World Bank. Reviews are mixed but it largely failed, maybe not because of the economic principles propagated, but because corruption found fertile ground in Robert Mugabe and his underlings. Gone were the days of naming and shaming corrupt leaders. For example, in 1988 Mugabe was forced by public outcry to appoint Justice Sandura to investigate corrupt practices of motor vehicle sales involving some of his ministers and some people in high office. The scandal was dubbed Willowgate after Nixon’s Watergate. The ministers who were netted resigned. One of them, Maurice Nyagumbo a well respected liberation war hero was so contrite that he committed suicide. But by then the seeds of corruption had sprouted. The very same reporters who broke the story, Geoffrey Nyarota and Davidson Maruziva were removed from their posts as the editor and deputy editor of Chronicle, the newspaper that had unearthed the story. Geoff Nyarota writes in his autobiography, Against The Grain, that the fearsome Enos Nkala who was the defense minister then, ordered their removal because Nkala was implicated in the scandal and Nyarota and Maruziva were on his trail. The findings of the Sandura Commission were shelved and have been gathering dust since then. The resignation of ministers who were implicated was a very successful gimmick to deflate public outrage. Other than Dzingai Mutumbuka, who made a wise decision to sever political ties with corruption, most of them made political comebacks. For example one of the culprits, Frederick Shava, is the current ambassador of Zimbabwe to China. Enos Nkala remained Mugabe’s blue eyed boy until his death just this past Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Another, Callistus Ndlovu remains very powerful within ZANU PF. In Zimbabwe, corruption begets loyalty, a handsome reward and high office with Mugabe’s blessings. Thus, corruption thrives and the economy suffers. The naming of years was a fallacy. None of the goals were met. In fact the opposite happened. None of the power devolved to the people. Mugabe has taken it all and consolidated it in his hands. Education, which perhaps was one of his early achievements, has drastically deteriorated, and those who were fortunate enough to be educated are unemployed. Many have immigrated to foreign lands. None of the people’s needs have been satisfied. Added to the equation is one of the most overlooked but very critical factor. The young educated men and women who came of age during Mugabe’s rule were nearly wiped out by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Although the first known case of AIDS was reported in 1985 the impact was not felt until the end of the 1980s and beginning of 1990s. In 1997 the epidemic is reported to have picked up at 27% of a population of 12 million. The economy was in shambles. It was exacerbated by Mugabe’s 1996 decree to pay ex-combatants gratuities from unbudgeted funds. He worsened the situation by military adventurism in the Congo, a step considered by many to have been taken to prove his ego against Mandela who was the SADC chairman then and to rob the Congo of its mineral wealth. Mandela had called for a peaceful solution to the crisis. The military intervention in Congo further strained state coffers. It did not pen out as expected. Laurent Kabila who Mugabe supported in the civil war was killed just short of four years after assuming the Congolese presidency. His son Joseph Kabila, maybe a Mugabe enthusiast, but he is too young to parrot his father and he has real practical challenges that he needs to meet everyday rather than be dictated to by Mugabe. Other than some reported self enrichment by the likes of Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe did not benefit any from the Congolese war. The Zimbabwean infrastructure and medical services broke down. People who had for years been intimidated to submission found themselves fully occupied with very pressing and immediate concerns; food, death and poverty. The population of young energetic adults drastically dwindled. Those who could leave the country left and those who remained either succumbed to HIV/AIDS or were recruited into National Youth Programs where they were brainwashed under the tutelage of the likes of the late Border Gezi and turned into militias. Predominantly the impact of HIV/AIDS cannot be overemphasized and cumulatively, with the economic disaster and political repression the malaise that Zimbabweans suffer today settled. It is not an in born behavior but a condition necessitated by conditions on the ground. No excuse. Although scattered all over the world, Zimbabweans can and must regroup and this means all Zimbabweans, black, white, Indian, colored/mixed, etc. because five years will soon be yesterday and a hands off approach will not deliver. The broken record to divide on the basis of race, region and whatever else will be played. Within the realm of corruption, racism and impunity Mugabe created an illusion of separation of powers. He ignored the legislature when it was functional. He launders his regressive policies with a judiciary mirage. The courts sanitize his abuse of power. As much as it was a dismissive statement, Mugabe’s comment on why he was insisting on holding elections on July 31st is revealing. He said he was afraid that if he did not hold the elections as ordered by the court he would be arrested. Go figure. Not to be outdone is Judge Chinembiri Bhunu, who just last week, ordered the Attorney General to arrest the lawyer representing Tsvangirai in one of his many ill fated court challenges. The reason for the order to arrest was, the papers the attorney filed in court asserted that the courts were not independent of the executive because Mugabe appointed judges without consulting with the Prime Minister, as agreed upon in the 2008 Global Political Agreement. Ironically, ChinembiriBhunu, means Notorious Boer. Bhunu is corrupted Zulu for Boer, and in Shona, the dominant indigenous Zimbabwean language, mbiriis notoriety or two, but chi- is a derisive prefix. How fitting. The judge is notoriously pro Mugabe and not particularly smart or concerned with core principles of justice. Sorry I digress. I couldn’t resist. Zimbabwe can benefit more from the economic competitiveness between China and the USA, if only pure economic principles are put in place.  Unfortunately, Mugabe’s “look east” initiative is a marriage of spite, augmented by the ego to prove to the west that he has an alternative and the west is not indispensable. Very misguided. Not a single American or British went hungry or died because Mugabe started looking east. The same cannot be said about Zimbabweans.  Zimbabwe has deposits of uranium, gold, diamonds and God knows what else. She can get a top dollar for her wealth. Unfortunately, she is short changed, because Mugabe needs China more than China needs him. The Chinese dump their cheap goods and services in Zimbabwe for prime minerals that she needs. Mugabe has created this cult like following which is one of the most dangerous legacies he may leave behind. Remember Zimbabwe is a country run by individuals who were duped by Rotina Mavhunga, a “spirit medium,” to believe that refined oil can come from a rock. In 2009 Didymus Mutasa, Sydney Sekeramayi and Kembo Mohadi, three very senior ZANU PF leaders among others, rushed to Chinhoyi to peg new found wealth from a “rock that oozed oil,” refined oil. Mugabe is to those who worship him, an oracle who should be glorified. Tony Gara, the former mayor of Harare, called Mugabe “God’s other son.” Joyce Mujuru, the vice president and many other boot lickers have said Mugabe was appointed by God to lead Zimbabwe and he will rule forever. They actually believe he is immortal. He acts it. He has ruled for 33 years and counting. At 89 he has jet black hair, and wrinkleless face. Thanks to hair dye and Botox, but who can you tell? His followers are convinced he does not age because he is God’s anointed son. He needs to be demystified before Zimbabwe becomes another North Korea, where the “great leader” Kim ll Sung is mystified as the Eternal President of the Republic of North Korea even though he died in 1994. The North Korean calendar was changed to coincide with his year of birth. He was succeeded by his son Kim Jong- il, who assumed the title of Dear Leader, later changed to Supreme Leader because the term president was retired with his father.  In 2011 he died. Posthumously, he was declared the Eternal General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Eternal Chairman of the National Defence Commission. His son, Kin Jong Un continues the circus. Mugabe’s sons are too young to rule, but the cult he created has laid eggs which must not be allowed to hatch. Where McCarthyism sees communist, Mugabeism sees imperialist in every dissent, street corner, under the bed and in every free thinking independent intellectual. Now Mr. President this appeal is to you. Stop it. Just for a moment forget about us and think about yourself. Sorry, my mistake, you forgot about us, Zimbabweans long back, when you decided that power trumps up everything and the accumulation of power and wealth is all that matters. Unshackle yourself from this addiction. I hear you are a Christian, a Roman Catholic, I might add. You even attended Pope Francis’ inauguration. I need not remind you of your own mortality. That was done enough just this past week when three of your compatriots, Enos Nkala, Kumbirayi Kangai and Mike Karakadzai passed on. We are never taught to gloat over someone’s death, but people have suffered enough and some gloating is going on right now. We don’t want to do that when your turn comes. Stop the suffering of the very same people you once wanted to liberate from oppression. Your salvation is in your own hands. I have lately learned that this world we live in has a tendency of outliving us all. You can take whatever you can out of it but it always has the last laugh. Maybe a flashback in history is advised. At one point the boy Tutankhamen was the most powerful king in the world. He thought he could go with his power and wealth. He tried. But it was all in vain. The only thing that is yours to protect and guard very jealously, is your integrity.  Show some, now that you have been given a chance to redeem it. Your children Mr. President, don’t put a curse on them. Allow them to be their own persons. Maybe, they may follow in your footsteps on their own merit without them being discredited or discriminated against, because their father is cruel. Mr. President, things have drastically changed since you took office 33 years ago. The telegram is no longer the fastest means of communication. Technology has taken the world by storm and there is no stopping it. The kids and many adults are technologically advanced and no matter how much you may wish to or try, you cannot stop an idea. I could have said a revolution but this great word has been abused by the likes of you to lose its meaning. You may delay it, but the longer you delay the less the chance of it ending well for the delayers. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia,Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi of Libya, the people you, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, knew very well can attest to this. It is not because of American or British influence that people want to be free. It is a human condition, plain and simple. You know it. You fought Smith, didn’t you? Mr. President, we were taught about how Europe underdeveloped Africa. We are very familiar with the slave trade and slavery, the petition of Africa, colonialism and segregation. We analyzed all these historical events and we always talk about them. We say never again to such. We are also now talking about how African leaders under develop Africa. How do you think you will fair? I am very aware of your anti imperialist rhetoric. Please save your breath. Just take a long and objective look for now and stop politicking and assess yourself. Mr. President, you are one of the most formally educated leaders ever. After the 2000 haphazard land invasions and the abuse of human rights that followed, you were put on targeted sanctions, mainly travel bans to Europe and America, what you call economic sanctions. Compare yourself with your predecessor, Ian Smith. For 16 years he was under a trade embargo and yet the economy grew. I know you will refute this by fermenting your own facts, but again it is not about us for now. Have a long look at yourself and be true to yourself. You have a great opportunity to get right what you messed up over the years. At least set the tone. via ZimbabweSituation Facebook

Agricultural show a waste of time by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Agricultural show a waste: farmers | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza Farmers are not benefitting from the Harare Agricultural Show as non-agricultural exhibitors take precedence, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union has said. ZCFU President Wonder Chabikwa said there were too many exhibitors that were not involved in farming. “It’s an agricultural show in name only. The bulk of the exhibitors are not agricultural,” he said. The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, which manages the show, last week revealed that it had registered 745 commercial and industrial exhibitors compared to last year’s 750. In the livestock and agricultural produce sectors, ZAS said it had 295 and 360 exhibitors while in home-industries there were 300 entries. ZAS said its main aim was to accommodate exhibitors from all walks of life and engage foreign companies based locally. Regional and international countries at the show include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, South Africa and Israel. Economist John Robertson said the quality of local exhibitions was affected by the collapse of the local manufacturing sector. “These days all we have are people acting as agents of imported goods where we used to have local manufacturers. We used to have local luxury goods, footwear, household goods and machinery but now the show is dominated by imports,” Robertson said. The show is running from August 23 to 31 at the Exhibition Park.

Long-term strategies for banks by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Long-term strategies for banks | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza The local operating environment remains risky for banks and has compromised the prospect of sustainable long-term growth, according to recently released financials. “We continue to focus on sustainable growth in the long term ensuring our value proposition adapts to the changing needs of our customers,” Barclays Bank Chairman, Anthony Mandiwanza, said in his bank’s financial statements. He highlighted a number of challenges in the macroeconomic environment. “The Balance of Payment economic indicator continued in the negative territory with some economic analysts projecting the trade deficit to close 2013 at close to $3 billion against an estimated $2,6 billion for 2012,” he said. Other issues of concern include low Foreign Direct or Portfolio Investment inflows. According to the midterm fiscal policy review exports for the first half of the year, imports were just over 50 percent of GDP. Economist Erich Bloch told The Zimbabwean there were two areas that were critical to the wellbeing of local banks. “Firstly the population needs to be convinced that we are not going to re-introduce the Zimbabwean dollar anytime soon. Secondly, we need to modify indigenisation laws. Foreign and international lenders do not want to give loans to banks they fear could be taken over,” he said. President Robert Mugabe and senior members of Zanu (PF) mentioned their desire to bring back the local currency during the campaign period. John Robertson, an economist, said the indigenisation requirements were isolating local banks. “For the banks to recapitalise the capital has to come from outside,” he said. Robertson said mergers were a possible solution but there were significant hurdles to achieving this. “We have a very large number of banks. We need to make them fewer and bigger because we don’t need so many. This is difficult because the banks cannot afford the retrenchment costs that come with creating mergers. The current labour laws are unreasonable and are holding back the consolidation of banks,” he said. Threats to the banking sector come amid a poorly performing Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Mnangagwa prepares to take over from Mugabe by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Mnangagwa prepares to take over from Mugabe — Nehanda Radio By Itai Mushekwe Outgoing Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who as State Security Minister led the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) during the Gukurahundi Massacres, is now favourite to become the second President of Zimbabwe. The late Vice President John Nkomo, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa (who led the CIO during the Gukurahundi Massacres) and President Robert Mugabe High level intelligence and army sources have told Nehanda Radio that it is now just a matter of time before the ailing 89 year old Mugabe hands over power to the Midlands Province godfather. Mnangagwa has been seen “very frequently” at State House since Zanu PF’s controversial poll victory, where he is said to have been conducting a series of “closed door meetings with Mugabe”. The country’s security chiefs, namely Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, Constantine Chiwenga and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) boss, Augustine Chihuri are allegedly backing Mnangagwa, and have made their position known to Mugabe. Nehanda Radio has also received intelligence, about “security meetings” taking place between Mnangagwa, Chiwenga, Chihuri and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), presumably to plot the trained lawyer’s entrance into executive power. Mnangagwa is also the only out-going minister, who has continued working despite there being no new cabinet announced to run the affairs of the country. Officials close to the President’s office, which is an extension of the secret service say the shrewd politician is reporting to work at Defence House, prompting speculation that Mugabe is likely to keep him as defence minister. There are also indications that Mugabe might appoint him into an equally powerful ministerial portfolio, but Mnangagwa appears to have settled well in defence, where he has been reportedly scheming his pathway to Munhumutapa Building for the past four years. It is also coming to light for the first time in the public sphere from our informants, that Mnangagwa played a pivotal role in the appointment of Chiwenga to the post of ZDF commander, in December 2003, using his muscles of the legislature, as Speaker of Parliament that time, to put forward Chiwenga’s name as successor to his predecessor the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe. Mnangagwa was Speaker of Parliament, from July 2000 until April 2005. Chiwenga in a way, would like to return back the favour to the long-time serving minister, by backing his ambitions for higher office, sources said. Zvinavashe had retired from the powerful post, deciding to venture into business, farming and politics with his eyes set on replacing the late Vice President, Simon Muzenda as VP. However, it later turned out that Zvinavashe had been “tricked” into retirement by Mugabe to neutralise him, with a promise to take up the vice presidency, which never materialised. Current VP Joice Mujuru, then a minister for water development, sprung from her minor ministry to become the country’s first female VP in 2004, on the ticket of lobbying for fair representation of women in the Zanu PF presidium. Again Mugabe played a smart puzzle at the time, to keep Mnangagwa in check and deny him early ascendancy to the top, in what became popularly known as the Tsholotsho saga, where many Zanu PF provincial chairmen sympathetic to Mnangagwa were suspended and former information minister, Jonathan Moyo booted out of cabinet and Zanu PF over his involvement. It would appear Mnangagwa was looking into his future political fortunes, when a decade ago he allegedly touted Chiwenga then the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander to fill the ZDF shoes, and his political fortitude might just bear fruit, our sources say. Further reinforcing, news on Mnangagwa’s looming ascendancy are revelations that, the late Zanu PF founder member Enos Nkala, who died last week told Mugabe that Mnangagwa is the only party cadre who can “fit his shoes well”. Nkala dismissed vice president Joice Mujuru as “very weak and susceptible to manipulation”, according to an operative who overhead Mugabe and Nkala’s conversation when the Zanu PF leader visited Nkala in Hospital recently. “The media keeps getting it wrong, Amai (Mujuru) has no chance,” said the operative. “We know that the president is tipping Mnangagwa, but does not want to make it obvious, as a way of keeping Zanu PF united in this post-election period. Nkala told him that ED (Mnanganga’s nickname among intelligence officials) is the only cadre who can fit his shoes well. Mugabe was made to understand that Zimbabwe requires, a combative and strong leader, and that Mnangagwa was likely to continue with his political doctrine, compared to his main rival for the top job.” With a litany of crimes against humanity to his name, including the Gukurahundi Massacres and the June 2008 murders, Mugabe is also keen on a strong leader who will be able to grant him immunity from prosecution. Nkala, a former defence minister himself gave a local newspaper an interview in May, in which he effectively endorsed Mnangagwa for his choice of successor to Mugabe. “I think Mnangagwa. Well he knew what he was doing, he had a programme for his own leadership and I think if he were given the opportunity to put that programme into operation, he would have done very well,” said Nkala. Mnangagwa’s chief rival, VP Mujuru, who hitherto was in a fairly comfortable lead and favourite to take over from Mugabe, has all but recently shot her own political foot by reportedly making remarks a fortnight ago, in a private weekly newspaper that “God might decide to call him”, in apparent reference to Mugabe. The Mnangagwa camp seized on her remarks to insinuate, that she was impatient for power and was wishing the passing away of Mugabe, something the veteran leader is said to be “very angry” about, although he has kept his emotions hidden to himself. “We know that the President will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him, he has taught us a lot and how to lead the party. Zanu PF will never die because President Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party,” Mujuru said at the family’s Beatrice farm. The remarks were made during a memorial service for her late husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru, who perished in a mysterious fire thought to have been orchestrated by his political enemies. Government, has however ruled out any foul play, despite efforts by the family to make an independent inquiry into the death. There are many other factors and merits, pointing to a Mnangagwa presidency in the waiting, such as the fact that the outgoing defence minister was heavily involved with Nikuv International Projects. We understand it was through Mnangagwa’s alleged contacts with Israeli Intelligence, that through him Zanu PF roped in the firm to help it manipulate the outcome of the July 31 elections, by inflating and stuffing the voters roll with non-existent voters to give Mugabe a 61 percent electoral pass mark. According to its official website, Nikuv International Projects (NIP) was established in 1994, as one of the subsidiaries of the Formula Group, the largest software group in Israel. “NIP acts as an integrator of large Information Technology projects in international markets, focusing on projects for governmental sectors,” says the company’s site. “NIP initiated activities in the African continent in 1994 in Nigeria, and has since expanded its activities to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana and Angola in IT and additional areas like agriculture and security.” “Mnangagwa has used an intelligence strategy to make sure that we stay in power,” said a Zanu PF politburo member. “We did not experience bloodshed, nor violence like in the 2008 election. This one was smart, and we have Ngwena to thank for this achievement. Zvana Mujuru kurota uko, she did nothing at all for this victory.”

Mbeki speaks on Zim polls, chaotic land reform by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Mbeki speaks on Zim polls, ‘chaotic’ land reform – NewsDay Zimbabwe by Everson Mushava FORMER South African president Thabo Mbeki says MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was wrong to prematurely withdraw his presidential election petition, saying the court challenge would have provided the regional bloc, Sadc, with an opportunity to scrutinise the alleged irregularities. Mbeki made the remarks during a Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute presentation at the University of South Africa in Pretoria last Friday, a day after attending President Robert Mugabe’s inauguration in Harare. He said Tsvangirai withdrew his petition when Sadc was still to make a determination on the way the elections were conducted although the regional bloc had subtly endorsed the polls as “free and peaceful”. Mbeki said the regional bloc had wanted to use Tsvangirai’s evidence as a case study for future elections in the region. “The MDC-T decided to go to court to contest the elections and suddenly they withdrew,” Mbeki said. “Personally, I was pleased that they submitted the petition. I was pleased that it would give us the opportunity to scrutinise the election. I was disappointed when they withdrew the petition because it denied us the opportunity to do so.” Mugabe won the polls by 61% votes, but Tsvangirai immediately challenged the poll outcome citing several irregularities. The MDC-T leader later filed a Constitutional Court application challenging Mugabe’s victory, but withdrew the petition arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had denied him access to the poll material which he wanted to support his case. “But I later understood why they withdrew the petition. They made various allegations and did not provide the court with written evidence,” Mbeki said. However, the Constitutional Court prosecuted the petition and dismissed it. Mbeki also took a swipe at Mugabe’s chaotic land reform programme, saying the Zanu PF leader had “set a bad example which we don’t want any country in Africa to follow”. “The way the land reform was done offended other players in the world. I told them (Mugabe and Zanu PF), they could not listen; they did what they wanted with their own country. They set a bad example which we don’t want any country in Africa to follow. So they must pay a price. I think this is the reason why, apart from diamonds, there is too much attention on Zimbabwe.” he said. The former South African leader also blasted the West for refusing to endorse the Zimbabwean polls when Africa had done so, claiming such actions were tantamount to undermining the integrity of Africa. “Yes, indeed there were problems, but we did not need Washington, Brussels and London to say Africans were wrong in endorsing the elections. I know why the special interest in Zimbabwe, a small country by any standards. Zimbabwe has been on the frontline in calling for Africa to determine its future. It’s high time Zimbabwe should be supported in order to put to an end to that African contempt.”

Hwange mine workers down tools by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Hwange mine workers down tools – DailyNews Live by Ndakaziva Majaka Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed coal producer Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCC)’s mine workers went on strike Monday over unpaid salaries. Jemister Chininga, the company’s acting managing director, yesterday confirmed that the employees, who claim they are owed five months’ salaries, had downed tools. “Yes we are experiencing demonstration problems at the site,”Chininga told businessdaily, before asking if he could be contacted later as he was going into a meeting in which the labour issue was on the agenda. However, Chininga was unavailable when contacted later while the company’s secretary Thembalami Ncube refused to comment referring all questions to the group’s public relations manager whose mobile phone was unreachable. Some of the striking employees said they will not report for duty until they get their salaries. “We’re on strike and will not work till we’re paid the fruits of our labour. “For the past five months we have been coming to work without being paid. Enough is enough,” said one employee who preferred anonymity. The employee also claimed that HCC planned to slash the outstanding salaries and dismiss those taking part in the stay-away. According to reports, HCC recently suspended 520 workers over share-issue disputes. This comes as the coal miner recorded a $3,1 million net profit in the year to December 2012, down 26 percent from prior comparable period. The group’s performance was weighed down by increased finance costs which went up more than two-fold to $4,1 million from $1,8 million. During the period under review, debts increased to $31, 6 million from $24,9 million. Turnover reduced to $104,2 million compared to $107,9 million achieved in the previous year on the back of a 25 percent decrease in sales volumes. This followed the unprecedented reduced uptake of coal by the Zimbabwe Power Company. Total coal sales dropped to 1,9 million tonnes compared to 2,5 million tonnes in the comparative period. Export sales, however, grew by 28 percent to 260 803 tonnes against 203 096 tonnes the previous year. Consequently, export revenue grew to $26,1 million, contributing 25 percent of turnover, compared to $13,4 million the previous year. Coal sales, including breeze, were 228 201 tonnes, up by 205 percent from the previous year, while the bulk of the coke sales were from South Africa and Zambia. The company said operations continued to be affected by archaic mining equipment, resulting in increased operating costs. HCC recently acquired from South Africa equipment valued at $6,35 million through a short -term funding facility with a major customer. The equipment was commissioned last year in December and had significantly improved operations at Chaba pit where it was deployed.

Mutambara withdraws leadership wrangle petition by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Mutambara withdraws leadership wrangle petition – DailyNews Live by Tendai Kamhungira Former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s allies have withdrawn a Supreme Court appeal, which sought to nullify the party’s 2011 congress that saw Welshman Ncube elected president of the breakaway MDC formation. Jobert Mudzumwe, chairperson of an MDC faction headed by Mutambara, together with 12 others had asked the High Court to reverse Ncube’s ascendance to the party’s top position. However, High Court judge, Bharat Patel dismissed the application, forcing Mutambara’s party members to file a Supreme Court appeal against the ruling. Mutambara rose to the position of Deputy Prime Minister on the back of his position as MDC president. He resisted efforts to remove him from the post to make way for Ncube, arguing that he was still the legitimate president as the matter was still pending before the courts. Lawyer Obey Shava told the Daily News yesterday that the appeal had been withdrawn, because it had since been overtaken by events. Dismissing the party members’ application, Patel said Mudzumwe had failed to establish any contravention of the MDC constitution by Ncube during the 2011 congress that ousted Mutambara from the party presidency. Mudzumwe and the MDC members had argued in their application that the congress was convened and conducted in violation of the MDC constitution. They said convenors of the congress failed to send notices of the congress to all provinces and districts also argued that there were defects in the nomination process for congress elections, adding that the polls were not procedurally conducted because the national chairman was absent from the process. Mudzumwe, who was then the acting chairman of the MDC, snubbed the congress.

Zimbabwe Sails Close to Economic Rocks by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via IPS – Zimbabwe Sails Close to Economic Rocks | Inter Press Service By Jeffrey Moyo With the time for empty promises and electioneering now over, there is a crisis of expectation; promises were made to the people and it is now payback timeFor President Robert Mugabe to defeat the opposition in the Jul. 31 election by hook or by crook may have been a walk in the park, but beating the economic crisis will be another matter. The stock market fell 11 percent the day he was sworn in, the biggest fall in a day since 2009. Fears are rising that the policies of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) will further scare away foreign investors. “Zanu-PF’s current policy mix is in conflict with the needs of investors, and at present Zimbabwe is the least attractive investment destination worldwide,” John Robertson, director of the Robertson Economic Information Services told IPS. “Any proposition that an economic turnaround can be launched by the new government will depend upon the speed at which improvements can be brought about in the population’s purchasing-power, depending upon a recovery in employment.” According to Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation Act of 2007, foreign-owned companies are forced to cede 51 percent of their shares to local people. But economists warn that the indigenisation policy is driving investors away. “Foreign investors are obliged to bring in 100 percent of the capital, bear 100 percent of the risk, provide 100 percent of the technology, and in turn settle for 49 percent of the equity and pay taxes,” independent economist Kingston Nyakurukwa told IPS. Mugabe’s policies have been a particular blow to agriculture. Agriculture provided employment for 60-70 percent of the population before the 2000 land reform programme that enforced greater local ownership of farms. Agriculture used to contribute 15-19 percent to the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product before the reforms. “President Mugabe presided over the seizure of productive commercial farms, rendering a blow to agricultural production. And when agriculture performs poorly, the rest of the economy suffers,” independent economist Agrippa Ndlovu told IPS. Zimbabwe is now a net importer of agricultural products. “Industrial and agricultural exports fell drastically between 2000 and 2008 owing to unfortunate political developments, particularly the 2000 commercial farm seizures, followed by a series of disputed elections between 2002 and 2008,” economist Tony Lewis told IPS. Zimbabwe has had no grain reserves for more than a decade following the eviction of white farmers, despite promises by Mugabe of a return to food self-sufficiency in 2010. Zimbabwe’s economy shrank significantly after 2000, resulting in widespread poverty and 80 percent unemployment. Zimbabwe currently exports precious metals like gold, platinum and ferroalloys, and also cotton, textiles and clothing, and tobacco, but to limited trade partners due to sanctions imposed by western countries. Presenting the 2013 mid-term fiscal policy review on Jul.10, Zimbabwe’s finance minister in the former government Tendai Biti said the earlier expectation of 5.6 percent growth by this year end would not now be possible. The estimate has been reduced to 3.4 percent. Investment in this Southern African nation rose after the formation of the coalition government in 2008, resulting in foreign direct investment rising from around 50 million dollars to nearly 400 million dollars between 2008 and 2011. But now there are new uncertainties. “I am really not sure what to do now because President Mugabe may go ahead with his moves to indigenise the remaining foreign-owned companies; I am really scared of his economic policies,” 53-year-old Jamah Fakuh from India who trades in glass told IPS. “With indigenisation, Zanu-PF aims to transfer the majority share of any business operations to black Zimbabweans without financial compensation, which favours Mugabe loyalists,” economist Admire Dziva told IPS. Godfrey Kanyenze, director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, a non-governmental economic consultancy organisation, said huge challenges lie ahead for Mugabe’s government. “With the time for empty promises and electioneering now over, there is a crisis of expectation; promises were made to the people and it is now payback time. Poverty is endemic and there are massive debts of over 10 billion dollars that need to be addressed,” Kanyenze told IPS. Hyperinflation had made the country’s currency almost worthless in 2008. The economy stabilised in 2009 after conversion to the dollar as currency, and the formation of a coalition government between Zanu-PF and two opposition formations of the Movement for Democratic Change. Under the four-year coalition government Zimbabwe’s economy grew nine percent in 2010 and 2011, and five percent in 2012. Not everyone is convinced that Mugabe’s government can bring an upswing back after the further decline expected this year. “Economic growth may wane if there is no political resolution which identifies a legitimate regime,” economist Christopher Mugaga told IPS.

Zim, Zambia sign Vic Falls OSBP to expedite clearance during UNWTO by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Zim, Zambia sign Vic Falls OSBP to expedite clearance during UNWTO | The Zimbabwean  by Zivai Maenzanise Zimbabwe and Zambia have signed the Victoria Falls One Stop Border Post Bilateral Agreement to expedite clearance and create a seamless border for the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly co-hosted by the two countries. The agreement was signed by the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe and his Zambian counterpart, President Michael Sata. While the signing agreement is limited to the period covering the UNWTO conference which runs from August 24 to 29, a permanent arrangement is under development. The Victoria Falls Border Post bilateral initiative is a reflection of the continued strengthening of the political and economic ties that exist between the two countries. It will be operational for 24 hours, thereby providing significant improvements to cross border management for both commercial traffic and travellers from both countries to reduce waiting clearance times. Border authorities from both countries will also perform joint controls and enforcement in one place. The benefits that accrue from this arrangement include elimination of duplication of border agencies interventions, reduction of clearance for both cargo and travellers as well as the reduction of transaction cost. This becomes the second One Stop Border Post bilateral agreement between the two countries following the Chirundu One Stop Border Post signed on December 5, 2009. The Chirundu OSBP is the first of its kind in Africa and now a flagship in SADC and Africa. It has seen a huge improvement in the movement of goods between the two countries and has since won the SADC accolade as the first such OSBP to be implemented in Africa.

6 things Dr Livingstone would love about Victoria Falls today by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via 6 things Dr Livingstone would love about Victoria Falls today | Africa Geographic Magazine Blog Written by Paul Steyn for Africa Albida Tourism It was 200 years ago that the famous explorer, Dr David Livingstone, took his first breath of air. To mark the occasion I was huddled around a bar room table in Victoria Falls listening to historian Russel Gammon reflect on the Scottish explorer’s enigmatic life. Gammon’s warm voice filled the silence of the room as I listened carefully to the amazing stories that made up Livingstone’s years in Africa. I thought that the current atmosphere around his bicentenary birthday could have been what made the stories seem all the more relevant to me. However it could have also been the whiskey I was sipping or the fact that I had already spent the better part of a week doing some exploring of my own. Whatever it was, each time Gammon mentioned the Zambezi I was instantly able to place myself in Livingstone’s shoes; battling my way up and down unknown rivers in search of the African dream. Reflecting on the days before, I couldn’t help but think that if David Livingstone were still alive, he would really love Victoria Falls as it is now. There’s so much to do and being the adventurous type himself, he would really enjoy some of the activities on offer. 1. Canoeing on the upper Zambezi Livingstone spent much of his time in Africa battling his way up the Zambezi. He was in search of a steamboat route that would deliver what he called the three Cs (christianity, commerce and civilisation) into the African interior. He did not know it at the time but he was up against terrible odds, particularly when attempting to get past the Kabora Basa section of river in Mozambique. This massive gorge was completely impassable with the technology of the time and his funding from the British government soon dried up. I think, given the pain and suffering he incurred trying to make it upstream, he would really appreciate the relaxed paddle through the Kazuma National Park. I paddled 15 kilometres down the course of the river to just above Victoria Falls. At one point I was quietly drifting along the bank watching a troop of baboons play in the tree above me, when down strolled a big bull elephant for an afternoon drink. In the distance I could see the spray from Victoria Falls drift nearly a kilometre up into the air. This is why Livingstone loved Africa. 2. Walk along the falls To see Victoria Falls for myself was a reminder of why this discovery became such a big notch on Livingstone’s belt. It’s nothing short of remarkable. The river was flooding at the time and the amount of water that was tumbling over those falls was impossible to describe in any way other than scientific terms – which would be about 500 000 cubic metres per minute! There is a paved walkway extending out to a number of viewpoints that practically puts you in the falls. If you remember the feeling of playing outside as a child during a sunny downpour, you would have some idea of how it is to stroll along the forests adjacent to that torrent. 3. Tram ride and bridge tour I caught the evening tram taking in the colonial atmosphere as it chugged through a nature reserve to the famous Victoria Falls bridge. I think this bridge would have blown Livingstone away. For someone who spent so much of his time fighting up rivers in search of a trade route to the sea, a simple bridge over the impassable Batoka Gorge would have been quite miraculous. The history of the bridge, presented theatrically by a gentleman pretending to be the French architect George Imbo, reveals how incredibly complex this job was. I was left amazed by the progress and ingenuity of those colonial pioneers that were on a mission to realise Cecil John Rhodes’ dream of creating a train route from Cape Town to Cairo. 4. Bridge Jumping David Livingstone was a risk-taker. So I have little doubt that he would be one of the first people to raise his hand if asked to dive head first over the Victoria Falls bridge, with only a rubber cable preventing him from plunging to possible death. Bridge jumps, swings and zip lines from one side of the gorge to the other are also on offer and, although I did not have the time to do all the activities, I think that even Livingstone would get his full share of thrills from spending a day there! 5. The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Comfort may have been an issue 200 years ago but it is certainly not today. I have no doubt Livingstone would enjoy revelling in the comfort and luxury of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for a few days. With so much to do in the area, there is no better base to relax. Offering incredible views of the bush and the opportunity to go on guided game walks and drives, it is here where he would have felt most at home. I would recommend Russel Gammon’s history talk to anyone with an interest in history and even to those who don’t. History puts travel into context and I really felt that the story made my experience of Victoria Falls far richer. If Livingstone was around to hear it, I hope he would be happy with Gammon’s interpretations of his life, because I was riveted by all of it. The Livingstone Legacy Livingstone’s body lies in England next to that of Charles Darwin, but his heart literally lies in Africa. It was buried under an Mvula tree that is now the site of his memorial. His two most loyal African friends; Sussi and Chuma, carried his body a full 3 000 kilometres to the coast so it could be shipped back home to England. There’s a profound respect for the man, not only by travellers, but also by the local African people. He was a towering figure in African history and a ferocious advocate of the end of the slave trade. He touched many of the people he encountered on his journeys and inspired individuals from all around the world. Dr Livingstone uttered what I believe to be the best travel quote of all time, ‘I will go anywhere, provided it be forward’. This always inspires me on to new experiences. Of all the birthday presents I would give to Livingstone (that is if he were still alive today), I believe the gift he would most appreciate would be simply to explore more of Africa. . . and never stop exploring.

Zimbabwe win in style by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Zimbabwe win in style  by Afp, Harare A sturdy 85 from Hamilton Masakadza and a crucial late cameo from Sean Williams saw Zimbabwe record their first one-day win over Pakistan since 1998. Chasing 245 in the first one-day international of a three-match series on Tuesday, Masakadza laid the platform before Williams finished the job with an unbeaten 39 from 23 deliveries as Zimbabwe won by seven wickets with 10 balls to spare. Although Misbah-ul-Haq held the Pakistan innings together in his 50th consecutive ODI as Pakistan captain, he was left to lament his decision to bat first at a venue where the pitch generally improves as the day goes on. “We misread the pitch – it was looking like it was going to be slow in the second innings, but I think it was slow in the first innings and played better in the second,” said Misbah. “Still I think Zimbabwe really deserved it – they played really well and played better than us. There was no panic in their batting line-up and they did it comfortably.” Misbah finished unbeaten on 83 and shared in a 99-run stand for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez, who made 70, but with Pakistan’s middle and lower order failing to fire they could only manage 244 for seven. SCORES IN BRIEF PAKISTAN: 244 for 7 in 50 overs (Jamshed 27, Shehzad 24, Hafeez 70, Misbahul 83 not out; Vitori 2-42, Chatara 2-32) ZIMBABWE: 246 for 3 in 48.2 overs (Masakadza 85, Sibanda 54, Taylor 43 not out, Williams 39 not out; Ajmal 2-44) Result: Zimbabwe won by 7 wickets. Player-of-the-match: Hamilto Masakadza.

NRZ workers boycott Karakadzai burial by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via NRZ workers boycott burial | The Zimbabwean by Staff Reporter National Railways of Zimbabwe workers boycotted the funeral of their general manager, Mike Karakadzai, who was buried at the Heroes Acre in Harare. Karakadzai died in a car accident last week near Shangani Mine. NRZ workers who spoke on condition of anonymity accused the late general manager of running down the parastatal. “There was no way I was going to attend Karakadzai’s burial on an empty stomach. I have not been paid for a month,” said one of the workers. “When we ask for our money, we are told that the company does not have money. Where has all this money come from to hire transport to the funeral? Never in the history of NRZ have workers and their families suffered as much as they have under the leadership of Karakadzai,” said another worker. About four years ago, police arrested a state media journalist after she wrote an article alleging that Karakadzai addressed workers with a gun on the table. Speaking at his burial at the weekend President Robert Mugabe defended the appointment of retired soldiers to public institutions. “We are a militarised party so it must not come as a surprise that we assign people from the military to run public institutions,” said Mugabe.

Marange to lead world gem production by ZimSitRep – 08-28-2013
via Marange to lead world gem production Local bank, AFRASIA Kingdom, has said the Marange diamond fields will become the world’s largest diamond producer based on the region’s projected 16.9 million carats output for this year. In its weekly economic commentary, AFRASIA Kingdom said world diamond output was expected to increase this year. “According to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation projections, Marange diamond fields are expected to produce 16.9 million carats in 2013, which would make the project the largest in the world in terms of carats produced annually,” the bank said. “Zimbabwe is the fourth largest diamond producing nation in the world, and the Marange fields represent almost all of the nation’s production.” Although, global diamond production was expected to increase, Letseng mine in Lesotho was estimated to produce stones with an average value of US$2,191 per carat, making it the world’s richest on an average per-carat basis. “However, Letseng is only estimated to produce 85 000 carats this year, worth $186 million,” said AFRASIA Kingdom. “Australia’s Argyle mine, while famous for producing over 90 percent of the world’s fancy pink diamonds has the lowest average value per-carat output in the world. “Unpopular brown diamonds, most of which are classified as industrial quality, account for the majority of Argyle’s production bringing down the mines average carat value to only US$25/carat.” Russia is presently the largest diamond-producing nation in the world with production in 2013 expected to reach more than 33 million carats worth about US$3.4 billion. “State run diamond company ALROSA accounts for approximately 95 percent of all Russian production,” the bank added. “After Russia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest diamond-producing nation in the world. “Artisanal and small-scale miners account for most DRC production, and a third of DRC’s diamonds are believed to be smuggled, making quantifying production very difficult.”

Zim elephants a jumbo problem? by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via Zim elephants a jumbo problem – Times LIVE by Schalk Mouton The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority said in an article in the Zimbabwe Gazette last week that the country’s elephant population was 100 000 strong and becoming too large to manage.  (original article in FinGaz at http://www.financialgazette.co.zw/zim-in-conservation-dilemma/) Zimparks spokesman Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the elephant population – the third-biggest in the world – was putting a strain on the resources in the country’s parks and the animals were becoming easy targets for poachers. “Law enforcement requires operational equipment such as patrol kits, uniforms, radio communication kits, vehicles, boats, tracking equipment [eg GPS],” said Washaya-Moyo. “Currently, most of the existing field equipment is old and obsolete. Poachers are getting sophisticated. In some situations poachers are using hi-tech gear including night-vision equipment, veterinary tranquillisers, silencers and helicopters.” Washaya-Moyo said that, unlike in other countries, Zimparks was not funded by the government. The parks authority currently owned a stockpile of 62 374.33 tons of ivory worth $15.6-million (about R159.5-million), which it was not allowed to export as it is bound by regulations from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). “The authority is therefore saying elephant ivory in store represents animals that are already dead. Why should we not use the dead to look after living animals?” she asked. Conservationists in Zimbabwe are, however, sceptical about the numbers of elephants quoted. The last comprehensive elephant census in the country was done in 2001, when their largest population, in Hwange National Park, was counted. Elephant estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s elephant database from last year indicates an estimated 76930 animals in the country with only 47366 being “definite”. “Any figure of elephant numbers is a spurious guess,” said Sally Wynn, spokesman for the Zambezi Society. Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said the parks authority was trying to spread “propaganda” to get Cites to allow an ivory sale. “A couple of months back the numbers of elephant in the country were between 40000 and 45000 and that was sustainable. Now [the number of elephant] is 100 000. How do they come up with those figures?” he said. Cites banned the commercial sale of ivory in 1989, but in 1997 allowed Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to sell their existing stock of ivory to Japan in 1999 and allowed a second sale that included South Africa in 2008. Daphne Sheldrick, a conservationist based in Nairobi, last week said about 36000 elephants were killed in Africa last year, and elephants could be extinct in 12 years.

Mugabe’s Inauguration Puts Fawning Parastatals And Business On Parade by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via RadioVop Zimbabwe – Mugabe’s Inauguration Puts Fawning Parastatals And Business On Parade By Simplicius Chirinda On August 23, 2013, something profound happened at the National Sports Stadium. It was the day that President Robert Mugabe was inaugurated back into office to serve his seventh tenure since 1980 but that was not the measure of profoundness on the day. Yes, he was surrounded by his fellow octogenarians from Southern African countries but it is the manner in which all of them lined up to congratulate him that caught the eye. The routine was not exclusive to the National Sports Stadium as a flurry of messages congratulating President Robert Mugabe on his re-election in local media followed unabated up to today. It has since become a mini-boom for the newspaper industry. The privately owned Daily News newspaper saw first an opportunity to make money out of Mugabe. It led with a Robert Mugabe inauguration congratulatory supplement. Quite unusual for a newspaper that is usually critical of the Zanu PF leader. Several other newspapers followed suit. So did radio and television stations. With each advert costing anything between $150 and $1 000 it was a huge boon for the media industry as almost all state parastatals including those struggling to justify their existence kowtowed to Mugabe with congratulatory messages. It was like a stampede as no one in central government and the parastatal community wanted to be left out in conveying their congratulatory messages despite the shoestring budgets they operate under. This time around even private players and churches that are usually not swayed into this political game had no option but to also line up with congratulatory messages to the dear leader. Leading the salivating messages have been the Benza Brothers who must have used a fortune just to have their congratulatory voices head the most. Most visible were the Benza Brothers now famously known as the “Mutasa twins” because of the numerous adverts that they have been flighting in the newspapers and on the state run television station, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation since Mugabe was inaugurated. “Congratulations makorokoto amhlope- the Benza Brothers join Zimbabweans from all walks of life including youths, students, men, women, people with disabilities, older citizens, civil servants, workers and everyone else in congratulating His Excellency, the Head of State and Government, Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and First Secretary of  Zanu PF Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe following his resounding victory in the just ended 2013 harmonised elections. We wish you all the best once more as you guide the nation to prosperity,” said the Benza brothers in their congratulatory message issued across all media. Even some long forgotten bodies took the opportunity to swing back to life. “The chairperson, councillors and secretariat of NAMACO would like to extend their warm congratulations to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe on resoundingly winning the just ended presidential election,” read a message flighted in weekend newspapers by the National Manpower Advisory Council (NAMACO). And the usual suspects were in their obvious element. “Mbada Diamonds board, management and staff congratulate the first Secretary of Zanu PF, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, His Excellency Cde Robert G Mugabe and Zanu PF for their landslide victory during Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections,” read a message by Mbada Diamonds, a company for long accused of failing to remit the much needed diamond revenue to the national treasury. Marange Resources could not be left out in the battle for the diamond giants. “The chairman, board, management and staff  of Marange Resources wishes to congratulate His Excellency, Head of State and Government and Commander in Chief and the entire Nation on his inauguration as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe following a resounding victory in the 2013 harmonised elections held on July 31,” Marange Resources wrote in its media advert. Obert Mpofu, famed for being Mugabe’s ever obedient son’s Ministry of Mines and Mining Development wished well saying, “We wish you well in charting Zimbabwe to greater heights.” However, it was quite telling that ministries presided by outgoing MDC-T ministers had their messages signed off by permanent secretaries and not the outgoing ministers. Other light weights such as the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) were also in the mix. “The President, Mr Wonder Chabikwa , the National Executive and members of staff of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union  congratulate Cde RG Mugabe for being the elected president of the republic of Zimbabwe. May God continue to guide you leading the nation,” the farmers group said.

SADC to expedite introduction of UNI-VISA by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via SADC to expedite introduction of UNI-VISA | The Herald THE SADC community is likely to expedite the adoption of  a new streamlined visa system after the regional bloc yesterday further committed itself to the introduction of the UNI-VISA system. This was the major outcome of the Ministerial Roundtable meeting that was held here at the UNWTO General Assembly yesterday. In an interview, outgoing Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Engineer Walter Mzembi said the UNWTO was impressed by the stance taken by the SADC community on a facilitative visa system. “We brought in the SADC chair Dr Joyce Banda wearing the hats of the entire 14 SADC member states. “I think she had a powerful policy statement that was tabled during the Ministerial round table which surprised even the UNWTO secretary-general, because after she spoke he said ‘you are speaking our language so what is the problem.” Malawian President Joyce Banda, who is also the chair of SADC, arrived at Victoria Falls Airport yesterday morning ahead of the Ministerial Roundtable meeting. Minister Mzembi said at policy level, Zimbabwe, Zambia and SADC on general had shown their commitment to opening their borders to facilitate tourism. He however lamented what he termed “bureaucratic inertia.” “The problem is on implementation and again we state what we want to see as politicians, the guys who draw us back normally are the bureaucrats and essentially what we want to see going forward is more and more of these statements at the highest level . “What President Mugabe said yesterday was a very fundamental statement to say that ok you have opened the borders between Zambia and Zimbabwe for this UNWTO, why cannot this happen everyday. “If a President says that he is basically telling you to start moving immediately. We don’t want to see us regressing to the pre-UNWTO General Assembly days when these borders were closed for certain people between certain hours, or people cannot move because there is no facilitation for free movement. “Otherwise the bureaucrats and their systems are slowing down the process. It’s bureaucratic inertia that is at play here,” he said. Officially opening the UNWTO General assembly during the weekend, President Mugabe said there was need to make open borders a standard. “The type of seamless border between Livingstone town and Victoria Falls town that has been put in place for purposes of this conference should become the rule rather than the exception, for all adjacent touristic border communities throughout SADC, and ultimately throughout Africa. Africa can only benefit from increasingly behaving like a single common market,” he said. Southern Africa is already making some strides into the implementation of a UNI-VISA for the region through work that is being done by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA). It is anticipated that introduction of the UNI-VISA  in the SADC region can create positive economic benefits for the performance of those countries, particularly in terms of job creation, financial impact, fiscal revenue and growth in national Gross Domestic Product.

Miners keen to engage government over growth by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via Miners keen to engage government over growth by Business Day THE Chamber of Mines has said mining companies will soon engage with the government to pursue “growth and development” in the sector. “Members of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe are ready and fully committed to play their part in working with the new government to grow and develop the sector and ensure that its full potential is unlocked,” said Alex Mhembere, the Chamber president who is also CEO of Zimplats. Mining, a major contributor to the country’s economy in the past three years, is facing headwinds and experts say investors in the sector are concerned by unfriendly policies and high taxes. This has resulted in foreign investment in the sector declining and exploration projects being put on hold, they say. South Africa’s powerhouse mining groups, Impala Platinum, Aquarius Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Metallon Gold, all have significant operations in the country. Other major international mining groups that have exposure to the country include Rio Tinto and gold miners Caledonia Mining Corporation and New Dawn Mining. Indigenisation agreements signed by the mining houses are likely to be reversed in favour of new statutes ruling out monetary compensation for empowerment transactions. President Robert Mugabe said after his seventh inauguration on Thursday that “our policy is indigenisation, it was the centrepiece of our election manifesto”, and singled out mining and the financial services sectors as key focus areas. “The mining sector will be the centrepiece of our economic recovery and growth. It should generate growth spurts across sector, reignite that economic miracle which must now happen,” Mugabe said on Thursday. He said the mining sector had “shown enormous potential, but we are far from seeing its optimum. We need to intensify the exploitation of existing deposits.” Mhembere said “the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe takes note of the president’s focus on mining as pivotal in the economic transformation agenda”. A mining executive said mining groups had limited options but to toe the line of Mugabe and Zanu PF on policy issues. Zimbabwe has vast deposits of minerals such as platinum, gold, diamonds, nickel and copper. The platinum miners have in the past few months faced increased pressure from the government to set up a refinery inside the country although Mhembere has previously said that power supplies should be guaranteed first and output boosted

Peace Caravan to Continue Promoting Peace in Zimbabwe by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via Peace Caravan to Continue Promoting Peace in Zimbabwe  by Irwin  Chifera A local civil society organization, Artists for Democracy Trust in Zimbabwe, says its peace-building project, dubbed the Peace Caravan, will continue to target troubled communities in a bid to stop politically-motivated violence. The project, launched ahead of the July 31 national elections, will now become a permanent feature as artists use musical shows and exhibitions to promote peace. Prompted by disturbing violent scenes in past elections in the country, Artists for Democracy Trust in Zimbabwe mooted an idea that saw 25 popular musicians such as Jah Prayzah, Suluman Chimbetu, Weutonga and the late Chiwoniso Maraira getting together to promote peace in various communities ahead of the disputed July elections. The artists called for peace Tuesday and at a meeting to review their project, they agreed at least Zimbabweans voted peacefully with far less violence incidents being recorded. ADZT officials and some musicians who took part in the campaign commended each other for a job well-done saying their efforts contributed to the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed before the polls and after. Musician Edith Weutonga performed at many peace shows and helped produced a peace album ‘Moyo Munyoro’ which was distributed for free by ADZT before the elections. Another artist, Christine Ndoro, said though the elections were peaceful, there is simmering anger in some communities over the outcome of the polls, adding that is why it is necessary for ADZT to continue providing a platform for peace building in the country. Weutonga said political violence has become endemic in the country, noting that it is important for everyone to play a part in maintaining peace all the times. Elections in the country have long been marked by violence with the worst being recorded in 2008. ADZT director Stanley Kwenda told VOA Studio 7, the Peace Caravan project and other efforts by politicians, independent groups and the unity government were crucial in making sure the July 31 harmonized elections were generally peaceful. Kwenda said the organization will continue running the program and use more artists to ensure there is everlasting peace in the country. The musicians were commended by many for preaching peace and promoting peaceful elections. During the campaign they also produced the album, Moyo Munyoro. The album has four tracks – Peace, Our Peace Runyararo and the title track Moyo Munyoro – which denounces violence and calls for unity and peace in Zimbabwe.

Will Zanu PF Govt Push for Zimbabwe Media Reforms? by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via Will Zanu PF Govt Push for Zimbabwe Media Reforms? by Gibbs Dube via VOA Zimbabwe As Zanu PF got a fresh five year mandate to extend its 33 years in power, following recent elections which the party won by an overwhelming majority, there are fears that President Robert Mugabe’s government may not implement a wide range of media reforms initiated by the previous unity government. Some critics argue that a constitutional clause guaranteeing media reform will only remain on paper as Zanu PF has failed since independence in 1980 to open up the media landscape, especially the airwaves – a critical element in the country’s democratization process. Zimbabwe’s new constitution guarantees media freedom though there are laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act which critics say curtail the free-flow of information in the country. And with a new Zanu PF government in power, media advocates, opposition parties and some stakeholders believe that President Mugabe’s party now with a two thirds parliamentary majority can scrap constitutional provisions guaranteeing media freedom. For political analyst, Nkululeko Sibanda of Huddersfield University in London, the future of the media now looks bleak in Zimbabwe following Zanu PF’s re-election. Mr. Sibanda says nasty conflicts within Zanu PF over the succession of its 89 year old leader may force the government to control the media for its own benefit. “It’s bleaker than it has been before given the ideological base of Zanu PF where propaganda in the media is central to hiding its evil deeds be it arrests, be it political, corruption and so forth,” he said. Sibanda said there is a possibility of constitutional changes especially if the Zanu PF succession issue turns nasty. “In order to protect the incoming person and to protect (President Robert) Mugabe, we are likely to see quite a few amendments including those mostly relating to the media.” His views are echoed by Thabani Moyo, Advocacy Officer of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, who says media reforms initiated by the MDC formations and Zanu PF while in power, had given the country a ray of hope about the opening up the media landscape for independent entities. “”Unfortunately the party that is coming into power can actually overturn the gains of media freedom that are explicit in the constitution and the need for access to information and the need to protect journalistic sources and artistic creativity. We are heading for challenging times,” he said. And for Mathew Takaona, a member of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, there is no reason to worry about the Zanu PF government even if it fails to institute immediate media reforms. “Now the elections are over and I am sure there is a little bit of freedom to do some of the things that people were afraid to do before the elections. So, I am sure some people may have enough courage to say now it’s the time to give the people more freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” said Mr. Takaona. Raphael Khumalo, Chief Executive of Alpha Media, which owns four independent newspapers, agrees, saying the Zanu PF government won’t repeal constitutional provisions guaranteeing media freedom. Khumalo says media freedom is largely determined in Zimbabwe by ministers of information. Although a remarkable number of independent newspapers were registered under the unity government, little was done to open the airwaves to private entities. But John Masuku of the Voice of the People radio station, which applied for a licence and was denied by the unity government, has not lost hope. At least for now, he may be right as Psychology Maziwisa, Zanu PF’s deputy information officer, dismisses claims that the former liberation party will repeal a constitutional provisions guaranteeing media freedom. Zimbabwe has one national broadcaster and at least two so-called independent radio stations which are run by the state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers Group and Zanu PF parliamentarian Supa Mandiwanzira. For now, indications are that Shortwave Radio Africa, the Voice of America’s Studio 7 and 1st Television will continue to broadcast from abroad for the next five years.

State media increases sanctions spin by ZimSitRep – 08-27-2013
via State media increases sanctions spin | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell The state media is ratcheting up its spin on the targeted sanctions situation in Zimbabwe, blaming the measures for everything from hyperinflation to the cholera epidemic. ZANU PF has for years been using the presence of the restrictive measures, targeted specifically against Robert Mugabe and members of his regime, as the scapegoat for the country’s numerous problems. And in the wake of the party’s electoral ‘win’ in last month’s polls, the rhetoric about the measures and the so-called damage they have done, has increased. The Herald newspaper has been leading the spin campaign, publishing an article on Tuesday that voiced support for Mugabe’s threats to seek retribution for the sanctions. Speaking at a funeral on Sunday, Mugabe threatened ‘tit-for-tat’ against US and British companies in Zim, because of the sanctions still in place.The Herald turned to ZANU PF’s pet ‘analyst’, Jonathan Moyo, for ‘expert’ opinion on the sanctions issues, who told the newspaper that ‘tit-for-ta’ was a “well-established diplomatic principle in international relations.” “The illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Britain and her allies are against the principle of mutual benefit and they are based on the false notion that international relations are one way traffic when in fact it is two way traffic. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. If they slap sanctions on us, it is rational for us to respond in the same currency,” Moyo was quoted as saying. The Herald article went on to blame the measures for the loss of jobs and livelihoods in Zimbabwe, the collapse of the currency and economy, “sanctions induced” hyperinflation, and even the cholera epidemic of 2008. Respected independent economist John Robertson moved to counter this spin, telling SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that it was the destructive policies of the ZANU PF government that led to hyperinflation, the collapse of the economy, and the other problems that followed. “Hyperinflation was caused by the incredible level of indiscipline of the Central Bank and its efforts to justify and bolster the various measures by the government, which were so damaging to the country’s productive capacity,” Robertson said. He explained that hyperinflation “was the result of a sequence of events that started with the land reform programme, which led to the collapse of the agriculture sector, which was the most important and most profitable sector in Zimbabwe.” “The reason for the collapse in financial terms was because of the removal of the collateral value of the land. The land was previously pledged by land owners as collateral, but with no market value on the land (after land reform) because it then became land that belonged to the state, the land could not support loan applications from new farmers,” Robertson said. He continued: “The Reserve Bank was obliged to fill in the gap and provide inputs and financial support to the new farmers. So the Reserve Bank was responsible for generating vast amounts of money that was handed over in support of efforts to make land reform successful, but it still wasn’t successful.” The economist went on to say that using ‘sanctions’ as the scapegoat for issues like the cholera epidemic was a “twisted piece of logic.” “Sanctions are not applicable in this story…these sanctions did not affect the economy directly. It was lack of earnings from the exporting companies (which collapsed after the land reform programme) that meant there was a shortage of money. The lack of money was because we were no longer earning it. All of these were affects of land reform, not effects of sanctions,” Robertson said. In April 2013 Water Resources Development and Management minister, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, told delegates at a two-day Zimbabwe Water Infrastructure summit that it was now common for drinking water to be mixed with sewage effluent in urban areas, exposing residents to diseases such as cholera. He said: “The sporadic water supply in urban areas is largely due to old infrastructure not able to satisfy demand. There has also not been systematic investment in new water sources. There are frequent instances of sewage mixing with potable water.” Nkomo said the dilapidated infrastructure led to the cholera outbreak of 2008-2009, which killed more than 4,000 people. ZANU PF has put no resources into repairing this infrastructure, despite the vast earnings from the diamond mines, controlled by the Chinese, the military and ruling party chefs.