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Tsvangirai fraud probe complete

Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:11

Faith Zaba

A TEAM of detectives has completed investigations into fraud charges against
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and a close relative Hebson Makuvise,
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Germany, on allegations of misappropriating US$1,5
million in public funds meant to buy the premier’s residence in an up-market
Harare suburb.

Impeccable sources in top government circles told the Zimbabwe Independent
this week that the docket was now with the Commissioner-General of police,
Augustine Chihuri.

An officer in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), which carried
out the investigations, said:  “Investigations are now complete and the
docket is now with the commissioner-general who is just waiting for the
go-ahead to arrest the prime minister.”

Cabinet ministers and senior government officials are normally arrested only
after President Robert Mugabe has consented. CID chief superintendent Alison
Nyamupaguma was leading the investigations team into Tsvangirai’s fraud

However, police spokesperson assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
declined to comment on the matter. “For now we are not commenting on the
matter,” was all Bvudzijena would say yesterday.

A fierce battle is raging behind the scenes between the law enforcement
agents, securocrats, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Zanu PF over the
issue. Information obtained this week shows that deep divisions have
emerged, with the securocrats and law enforcement agents pushing for
Tsvangirai’s arrest, while some Zanu PF politburo members were arguing that
arresting the premier while the country was preparing for elections would be
tantamount to committing political suicide.

Another battle is also reportedly brewing between RBZ governor Gideon Gono
and law enforcement agents, who want the central bank to be the main
complainant against Tsvangirai. However, sources said Gono was reluctant to
do so.

Gono played a central role in negotiating with President Robert Mugabe for
the release of the US$1,5 million for Tsvangirai’s official residence. The
case has attracted the interest of the Joint Operations Command (Joc), which
brings together army, police and intelligence chiefs. Joc wants Tsvangirai
arrested, although some of its members fear this could trigger political
upheaval in the country ahead of elections which could propel him to power.

One ministerial source said: “The docket is ready and it’s with Chihuri, but
the problem is that we are in a dilemma – to arrest or not to arrest. There
are two arguments over the issue. We have the securocrats pushing for his
arrest and arguing that politics aside, the man should face the music if he
committed fraud, while another group is saying arresting him now might not
be a good idea considering that we are going for elections next year. It
will be viewed as political persecution. We also have Gono, who should be
the complainant but he is resisting.”

Allegations are that Tsvangirai and Makuvise misappropriated US$1,5 million
released by the RBZ in 2009 to purchase the house located at No 49 Kew Drive
in Highlands. The house, a double storey mansion, is currently under
renovations to ensure it meets standard quarters for a premier.

Tsvangirai is accused of double-dipping by taking money from the RBZ and
Treasury for the same project. Allegations are that besides the US$1,5
million, close to US$1 million could also have been released from state
coffers for the purchase and development of the same property.

The sources said Tsvangirai had already overshot his budget of US$1 million
with the figure thought to have more than doubled by now. After the
formation of the inclusive government in February 2009, there was a
legitimate expectation on Tsvangirai’s part that the prime minister would
move to State House, which was home to former president the late Canaan

Since Mugabe moved out of Zimbabwe House to his privately-owned home in
Borrowdale, Tsvangirai expected to move into either State House or Zimbabwe
House, but the president apparently blocked the move.

Tsvangirai requested funding from Mugabe to buy a house after he was denied
access to the two state residences. When the MDC-T temporarily withdrew from
government in October 2009, the premier’s residence was part of the issues
he raised with Mugabe, over and above the outstanding GPA issues and lack of
communication between him and the president.

Although Tsvangirai wanted US$3 million, Mugabe approved US$1,5 million for
the project. This came days after the MDC-T ended its boycott of cabinet and
government following a Sadc troika summit in Maputo, Mozambique to deal with
the problem.

The paper trail of the movement of the US$1,5 million through banks shows
that the money was transferred from the RBZ in November 2009 into a holding
CBZ bank account. Makuvise then moved the money from the CBZ account to a ZB
Bank account. US$140 000 was withdrawn from the ZB account and used to buy a
residential stand, allegedly for Makuvise.

From ZB Bank, the funds were again transferred into Makuvise’s personal
account at BancABC and later into the account of a prominent Harare law firm
held at Interfin. The law firm has previously represented Tsvangirai.
Several withdrawals were subsequently made over the past two years.

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Zim influence in decline — China

Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:09

Owen Gagare in Beijing

CHINA has acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s influence in the Sadc region has
weakened over the last decade, but says it would continue to nurture its
relations with Zanu PF with which it has a special relationship dating back
to the war of liberation.

The deputy director in the African Department of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, in charge of relations between China and Zimbabwe, Xiao Nan, said
although China had a government to government relationship with Zimbabwe,
the ruling Chinese Communist Party identified more with Zanu PF than other
political parties in the country because of relations forged during the
fight for liberation.

China trained Zimbabwe’s liberation fighters and also assisted with weapons.
“China and Zimbabwe have good government to government and people to people
relations. There are also good relations between the two parties (Zanu PF
and the Chinese Communist Party). Relations were established during the
liberation war, so there is a special relationship,” Nan said.

Nan, who was attached to the Chinese embassy in Harare between 2001 and
2005, admitted that Zimbabwe’s influence in Sadc and Africa had been on a
downward spiral although President Robert Mugabe was still influential.

He said Zimbabwe remained important to China adding that his country would
want to keep it by its side alongside other African countries. “We think
Zimbabwe is a very important country. Maybe 20 years ago, it was number one
in Sadc, but from 2000, Zimbabwe’s economy has not developed well. Maybe in
future, when its economy improves it will become influential again,” he

Zimbabwe, once considered the bread basket of Southern Africa, is struggling
to extricate itself from a decade-long economic crisis triggered by the
country’s chaotic and controversial land reform programme and bickering
between Zanu PF and the MDC formations, among other reasons.

Sadc and the African Union have had to intervene in an effort to find
solutions to the country’s political crisis. Nan said his country supported
Sadc’s mediation efforts in Zimbabwe and had used its veto power in the
United Nations Security Council to block sanctions being slapped on the
country in 2008 because it believed Sadc and the AU had the capacity to
handle Zimbabwe’s problems.

He said China could have also used its veto power to stop the resolution for
a no-fly zone in Libya, but did not do so because African countries in the
UN security council were in favour of the resolution.

“The African countries, South Africa and two other countries in the security
council (Nigeria and Gabon) were in favour of the UN resolution, so
considering the African countries’ attitude, we didn’t resist. On African
issues, we value the opinion of Africans and when we used our veto power to
block sanctions on Zimbabwe, Sadc and the AU were also against sanctions.”

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Banking sector attitude wrong –– Kasukuwere

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:58

AS the government intensifies its indigenisation and empowerment drive
buoyed by the just ended Zanu PF conference which gave the controversial
programme thumbs up, Zimbabwe Independent senior political editor Faith Zaba
(FZ) spoke to Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere (SK) to get more clarity on the policy.

FZ: Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono says indigenisation will only benefit
the elite. Zanu PF supporters at their conference also raised these
concerns. How will you ensure the well-connected are not the only
SK: The community share ownership scheme and our commitment to broad-based
policies basically speak for themselves. If anybody criticises that, I think
I can take the criticism but as far as we are concerned we are doing
whatever is humanly possible to ensure that the broad masses of our people
significantly benefit.

FZ: When you talk about a community, what exactly are you referring to?
SK: We are talking about a defined geography and people in a given area and
when we say benefit, it’s development in a given area –– roads and
education. We refer to assets to be built in a given area for common use by
people in terms of irrigation, development, agriculture and so on.

FZ: How does the community-share ownership scheme work? Do they get
SK:  They will benefit from the dividends, contracts, direct participation
in the business itself because community directors will be on the main
board. We are trying to inculcate a business spirit in our people by
ensuring they steward the success of entities operating in their community.
Worker empowerment schemes, we have launched, speak volumes about our
broad-based policy. Workers have become key drivers of entities they work
in. Schweppes is one such example. It should move from 30% production to 70%
because of worker enthusiasm. There is also the Meikles share scheme. I don’t
see in all these schemes where we have benefited the elite. Criticism can be
justified but one has to look at who is criticising as well as their track

FZ: What are you doing to ensure these trusts are not manipulated or
hijacked by politicians?
SK:  The structures are watertight, very clear and the statutory instrument
spells out the role of the community. We are undertaking massive capacity

FZ: Who runs the community trusts?
SK: They are run by the communities through their chiefs, Rural District
Council chairpersons, CEOs, women and youths, and trustees representing
community interests comprising an accountant, a lawyer and a member of the
qualifying business.

FZ:  Some say this is an election gimmick by Zanu PF to try and woo voters?
SK: Absolute nonsense! This is a fundamental national policy. It is not just
about elections; it is what we believe in and what we stand for. Development
is about people. We can’t stop developing our people just because there is
an election. In fact, if anything, we have chosen to deliver.

FZ: Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada recently said your actions
are not reflective of government decisions and are mere individual actions.
SK: You know he was in Perth (Australia) and I understand where he was. He
had to speak their language. He is one of those few people who firmly
believes in empowerment but might have a straitjacket to deal with his
political structure which makes it very difficult for him to be flexible. No
sane Zimbabwean can oppose empowerment of his own people, unless they are

FZ: Do you have cabinet backing to cancel licences?
SK: It’s not about green light from cabinet; it’s about the roles and what’s
contained in the powers of a minister; what I should do and what the law
permits me to do.

FZ: President Robert Mugabe said it was not a one-man show.
SK: He is correct. Funny enough everyone then turns around and said he was
clipping the wings of the minister. What the president was saying was that
all of us must be involved. Wouldn’t it be a pleasure to see each and every
minister articulating empowerment even if you are in Perth? Each and every
ministry must carry out an indigenisation and empowerment policies. So what
the president said is that this is not Kasukuwere alone who must be carrying
out this responsibility, it is all of us.

FZ: But most people took Mugabe’s statement to mean that you should deal
with compliance, while the implementation should be done by the responsible
SK: Unless you are now the president’s spokesperson. I don’t know what you
want me to say about that interpretation. It is what you are saying. I don’t
think I need to add anything to what the president said. He spoke to all of
us. We held discussions with the president –– we know what he is saying.

FZ: You have a dysfunctional inclusive government where ministers from one
party strongly support the policy and others saying different things. Are
you getting support from MDC ministers?
SK:  What is new about that? MDC-T is known for speaking different
languages. We are used to that. It is double standards.

FZ: But in your cabinet meetings, is the support there?
SK: In cabinet and meetings on government business, there is nobody against
indigenisation. The fact that individuals cannot defend themselves when they
are in front of certain crowds is not for me to defend. Who amongst them has
ever brought to my attention, let alone to parliament and say let’s repeal
this legislation?

FZ:  When you were in Bulawayo there was talk about resuscitating industries
in the city. Which industries have you identified and at what stage are you
in offering assistance?
SK: I sit on that cabinet committee and I can give an example of the Cotton
Printers Company which we successfully made sure is owned by management and
workers. We want to make sure the DIMAF (Distressed and Marginalised Areas
Fund) is made available to companies to resume operations. We want to ensure
indigenous players are supported in Matabeleland to claim their stake in
businesses and become drivers in the economy of Bulawayo and the greater
Matabeleland region, particularly in agriculture. It is critical that the
correct individuals are identified to turn around the fortunes of Bulawayo.

FZ: US$40 million was to be disbursed to distressed companies in Bulawayo.
What has happened to that money?
SK: It is somewhere between CABS and the Ministry of Finance. I think
political soccer is being played there.

FZ: But is US$40 million enough?
SK: The minister of Industry and Commerce has said we need lots of funds to
resuscitate the entire national economy, but the US$40 million is a good
start if it had been pumped in. By now, we should be seeing some benefits
across industries in Matabeleland. It is not enough and I don’t know how
much is adequate, but I’m sure the spirit is there to resuscitate industries
and ensure that our people are drivers of the national economy in future.

FZ: On youth development programmes; what do you have in place to assist the
SK: Youths are key in the national economic revolution. It’s their energy,
as well as education that we must fully exploit to grow the country’s
economy. We have highly educated people with skills, many of whom don’t have
a place to exercise what they have learnt. We don’t want these youths to end
up turning against us because we are not being responsible. I am pleased to
say facilities have been obtained. We have support coming through the
budgetary system; we have the CABS facility and our ministry is finalising
with Stanbic Bank on another tranche of US$20 million. By the end of this
year, we are looking at around US$40 million which will be available for
disbursement across the country. Whilst that is not enough, I think it will
go a long way in at least giving hope to our young people.

FZ: Concerns have been raised that these funds will only benefit Zanu PF
SK: Young people aged between 18 and 35 will benefit. You can never tell by
age which party you come from. I think the most critical thing is that young
people in Zimbabwe must be supported.

FZ: On the banking sector, is it not already indigenised given that they are
currently more indigenous banks and financial institutions operating in
SK: They are not and their attitude is all wrong. You can tell from the last
AMA bills (Agriculture Marketing Authority), the lack of support and total
disregard of the office of the deputy prime minister. We need to support
agriculture as the mainstay of our economy because about 78% of our people
live off the land. There is a reluctance to lend to farmers, ignoring
challenges that face our nation. The banking sector will be nicely tackled
next year.

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MDC-N to fire 5 defectors

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:56

Brian Chitemba

FIVE MDC legislators who defected to a splinter group led by Deputy
Prime-Minister Arthur Mutambara are likely to be fired from parliament by
the Welshman Ncube-led faction.

The five MPs include deputy Speaker of parliament Nomalanga Khumalo, Mkandla
Zinti, Maxwell Dube and senators Kembo Dube and Dalimuzi Khumalo. They
joined the Mutambara faction and could lose their seats since they were
elected on the MDC-N ticket.

Plans are now underway to take the MPs before a disciplinary committee
before they are recalled from parliament, according to MDC-N organising
secretary Qubani Moyo. “Effectively, the MPs represent no one in parliament
because they were elected by the people on an MDC ticket and not Mutambara’s
group,” said Moyo. “Therefore, we want the five MPs fired from parliament.”

The five MPs and their new faction argue that Ncube was not an elected
member and hence had no mandate to fire them from parliament. Former MDC-N
legislators, Abedinico Bhebhe, who is now the MDC-T deputy organising
secretary, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu, were also fired from the party
and parliament for bringing the name of the party into disrepute.

Moyo said Mutambara and his group were fading into political oblivion
because the Ncube executive was chosen by party members at the MDC third
elective congress in January.

Mutambara, who voluntarily stepped down to pave way for Ncube as MDC
president, later somersaulted after he was asked to relinquish the deputy
prime minister’s post for the new leader.

President Robert Mugabe also refused to swear in Ncube. Moyo said Ncube’s
MDC was focusing on building grassroots structures countrywide in
preparation for elections expected next year.

“The country is now in an election mode, so we are leaving no stone unturned
in mobilising our power base. The fight for the DPM’s post is not as
important as luring the voters,” he said.

Last week, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha ordered
Mutambara to stop masquerading as a principal in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) and also to stop acting as president of the smaller faction
of the MDC led by Ncube. Mutambara has appealed against the ruling at the
Supreme Court seeking to overturn the High Court judgment.

Moyo said Mutambara was in limbo and his political career had reached sunset
levels because Ncube was the legitimate MDC president as was decided by
congress and confirmed by the recent High Court judgment.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Mutambara were fruitless as his
mobile was not reachable.

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MDC must follow procedure — Gumbo

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:53

PARLIAMENT last week debated two motions which divided the House resulting
in a walkout by Zanu PF MPs. The motions were calling for reconstitution of
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) board and revoking of two radio
licences granted to Zimpapers and AB Communications, as well as the firing
of clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma for incompetence.

The motions were moved by MDC-T MPs Settlement Chikwinya and Brian Tshuma.
The Zimbabwe Independent political reporter Paidamoyo Muzulu (PM) spoke to
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo (JG) about the motions.

PM: There was heated debate in the House this week with Zanu PF and MDC MPs
crossing swords over two motions introduced by MDC-T legislators. Did Zanu
PF have a caucus position on the Baz and Zvoma motions?
JG: There was never any caucus on the motion. We don’t call a caucus to
panelbeat our members on how they should debate. We want them to be free and
talk with the national interest unlike from an ideological blinkered
position. We normally don’t take positions on motions. We did not take a
caucus position on Chikwinya or Tshuma.

PM: But you walked out on the Tshuma motion as a party?
JG: No I stood up on a question of principle that procedures must be
followed. We do not debate on issues that are unprocedural. On Baz our MPs
debated freely... The unfortunate aspect on Chikwinya’s motion was the
winding up. It took us by surprise because the (Information) minister
(Webster Shamu) had not responded. The minister had written to parliament to
say he was not available this week to comment.

PM: You are in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC). What really
happened in the SROC with  regards to the Baz appointments?
JG: We have in the past done everything together in the SROC. After doing
our duty we referred the names to the minister for appointment. There was
proof that the Speaker had written to the minister confirming the names.
(VimbaiChivaura, Clemence Mabaso, GeofreyChada were approved by the SROC
while Kindness Paradza and Benson Ntini were also on the list sent on August
4  2009, but not approved.)

PM: And on the motion to fire Zvoma?
JG: As Zanu PF we did not agree with the recommendations. We can’t agree
with allegations before they are put to the accused and before we get a
response. We find it difficult to take a position.

PM: But Tshuma in his motion raised four specific issues the clerk failed to
do, namely conducting the election of Speaker in August 2008, unprocedurally
and unilaterally deferring the sitting of the House on March 22 2011,
declining advice from the Attorney General on the status of Moyo as MP after
the Supreme Court’s quashing of his election as Speaker, and expunging of
some material from the Hansard of March 29 2011 without the authority of the
JG: I was not around when the expunging was done. When I came back I heard
the stories about altercations between Zvoma and (Tendai) Biti.

PM: I was there in the House and I can confirm the clerk making the order,
what do you say now?
JG: The Hansard keeps a verbatim report of proceedings in the House. If
there was reason to remove the contribution, that was unprocedural. We don’t
condone such an action. He is not privileged to do that. The Hansard cannot
be expunged. That’s why the speaker asks people to publicly withdraw any

PM: Then what is your problem in supporting that motion?
JG: The only problem as Zanu PF is the question of procedure. We are not
saying Zvoma is right. We complained that things were not right in the first
election. Jonathan Moyo then appealed to the High Court. The error was in
favour of the MDC and they did not raise any issues then. By that time they
supported Zvoma. Now that things have turned against them they are fighting

PM: What did you expect the motion to say for you to support it?
JG: They should have followed the correct procedure. If they had a case
against Zvoma, the allegations should have been brought before the SROC. The
motion should have sought the approval of the house for the SROC to
investigate Zvoma. The SROC would have appointed a committee or body of
inquiry and come up with a conclusion that would have been referred to the
House for debate. It’s not the role of parliament to give terms of
reference. That is the role of the SROC. It’s a question of procedure.

PM: And your questions about the Speaker’s neutrality in presiding over the
JG: It was wrong for the Speaker to preside over the matter. After private
consultations, he recused himself. The matter was done at party level. This
was not a new motion. It had been on the shelves for four months. The
correct procedure is to grant Zvoma the right to reply before convicting
him. Why the hurry? It’s now a political matter not an administrative
matter. That’s why as Zanu PF, we said we would not allow ourselves to be
used on the matter.

PM: What is the way forward then?
JG: Whether Zvoma is right or wrong he has been let off the hook because of
procedure. It is a dead motion. The same as Baz because the minister did not
respond to the issues raised. This is the position, unless if they decide to
act as MDC and fire Zvoma. For the record, parliament is not made up of MDC

PM: Where do these acrimonious motions leave the inclusive government?
JG: I don’t think the inclusive government would be affected. The MDC will
have to learn how to handle matters procedurally. The inclusivity we have is
not an option. The majority support the GPA. We will continue to support the
actions of the coalition government. It is in the interest of Zimbabwe that
we remain in the coalition. It brought peace, economic recovery and I
believe we should try to build on these successes.

PM: What happens if the MDC insist that Zvoma be fired?
JG: I would caution that people should not take a political position. It’s
unfortunate that the clerk was adjudged to have been aligned to a political
party (Zanu PF). It sets a wrong precedent that the majority can choose its
senior parliament officers. Let’s not politicise the civil service, it would
be unfortunate to do that.

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Zanu PF casts deep shadow over Zuma

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:45

Brent Meersman

THERE were probably many occasions this past year, but nothing quite like
ex-trade unionist, now ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe’s speech last
week at Zanu PF’s congress, to move one to repeat EE Cummings’ laconic
observation: “A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a
man”. Mantashe pledged the ANC’s outright support for an election victory
for Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, offering to assist the party with strategy,
messaging, and electioneering. It sounds all too proper for a Zanu PF
campaign. Though glad of the support (since Zanu PF has on votes lost the
last couple of elections), I’m sure Minister of Defence Emmerson Mnangagwa
was scratching his head wondering what use he could make of the ANC’s
bourgeois election campaign techniques of polling and focus groups.
Mnangagwa’s party simply unleashes State terror squads and sets up torture
camps. A “killer campaign” in the US does not mean the same thing as it does
in Zimbabwe.  GOTV (Get Out the Vote) is done with a truncheon, not a phone

Or perhaps it is the ANC, looking ahead that hopes to learn more from Zanu
PF about stuffing ballot boxes, starving the electorate into submission,
suppressing the media, and beating up opposition leaders. One recalls
Mantashe lashing out at Cosatu for holding a civil society conference last
year. Spooked by shades of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe,
he accused the unions of plotting “regime change”. Like Zanu PF the ANC has
more than once said it will not accept an electoral defeat.

So the ordinary people of Zimbabwe struggle on, desperate and invisible,
while the moribund African nationalist liberation parties steal the food and
the money, and grow all dewy eyed for past glories as they assemble at Zanu
PF’s congress (their Manguang, riven as it is with factionalism, corruption
and a succession debate looming ever bigger as Mugabe’s political general
paresis loosens his grip on power).

Forgotten too was history. The ANC, with the notable exception of Thabo
Mbeki, had always sided with Zapu (Soviet-backed) and not Zanu PF (China
supported). In fact Umkhonto weSizwe (armed wing of the ANC) veterans have
testified to exchanging fire in the bush war with Zanu cadres.
Post-liberation Mnangagwa, connected to the notorious Fifth Brigade which
perpetrated the Gukurahundi (the ethnic massacre of more than 20 000 Zulu
descendants in Matabeleland), presided over the torture and detention of the
ANC’s entire military command in southern Zimbabwe.

South Africa has never played a straight brokerage in Zimbabwe. The
continued suppression of the presidential report on the 2002 election is
telling enough. Mbeki’s controversial “quiet diplomacy”, which a famous
satirist observed was so effective you couldn’t hear the people scream, was
de facto surreptitious appeasement.

In an interview with a Zimbabwean academic, Mbeki, utterly oblivious to its
implications about his impartiality and good faith, said Zanu PF
intelligence furnished him with transcripts of phone taps and surveillance
of the MDC’s internal discussions while negotiations were underway for the
power sharing agreement. This was proof for Mbeki that the MDC was part of
some international conspiracy. Imagine if apartheid national intelligence
had fed De Klerk all the ANC’s internal discussions during Codesa?

Sources in the state intelligence and Zanu PF told  The Sunday Mail that
Mbeki, while paying lip-service to resolving Zimbabwe’s political crisis was
clandestinely collaborating with Mnangagwa to assure the latter’s
succession. The plan was to have a clause in the new constitution that
allows the sitting president to appoint a successor who will then rule for
the remainder of the electoral term without calling a general election.
Perhaps this is why there is suddenly such haste to rush into elections now.

The latest developments cast a deep shadow over Zuma’s credentials. Some
have urged him to recuse himself.

Mantashe, unnaturally, sees no contradiction. Zuma will simply wear his
president of South Africa, Sadc hat, and not his president of the ANC hat,
when in Zimbabwe. One presumes Mantashe is merely being disingenuous, though
the possibility exists that he is simply brain-dead. After all, the Zanu PF
youth are petitioning on behalf of Julius Malema and those who have been
calling for Mantashe’s blood.  Mantashe also seems to have forgotten how in
2008 he was talking of a “coup” in Zimbabwe when the election results were
allegedly being manufactured by Zanu PF and Mbeki stood by Mugabe. How can
one not think of EE Cummings’s statement?

Zimbabwe, if it ever was, is not a foreign policy predicament; it is a
full-blown domestic problem. Not only the grievous refugee situation inside
South Africa, but the fact that South African businesses in Zimbabwe are
being indigenised or confiscated. 

By pledging allegiance to Zanu PF, the ANC has once again ignominiously
sided with the old, backward-looking recidivists. Worse still, identifying
itself as a kindred spirit to a party that is a world pariah and under
sanctions, a party that has been God’s gift to every Afro-pessimist on the
planet, is an exceptionally damaging move for Zuma, for South Africa’s
dwindling international standing, and it will hurt the economy.Brent
Meersman is the author of  Reports Before Daybreak and Primary Coloured
(South Africa).

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Malawi duplicates Zimbabwe crisis

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:37

By Elias Mambo

LONG winding queues snake around every service station in Malawi as
motorists hunt for the scarce commodity. The scenes are reminiscent of
Zimbabwe before the formation of the coalition government in 2009 with
motorists queuing for what seems like an eternity.

The queues tell of the true story of a Malawi on fire. They tell a story of
shortages, corruption, aggressive youth militia, mediocrity and duplicity in
the political discourse of the country’s leadership. Actually, the whole
story reads like a novel authored in Harare.

Political analysts in Malawi wonder how a country with an economist as
president could slide into such unprecedented economic turmoil where there
are no essential medicines in hospitals, rampant fuel and foreign currency
shortages, and virtually no learning and teaching materials in public

Impoverished Malawi is presently locked in a diplomatic row with its former
colonial master and biggest donor Britain over a leaked embassy cable which
referred to President BinguWaMutharika as “autocratic and intolerant of

That leaked cable led to the expulsion of Britain’s ambassador to Malawi
Fergus Cochrane-Dyet. The actions of the self-styled “Ngwazi”, which in the
local Chichewa language means a God-given leader, are a reflection of
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who is a close ally of WaMutharika.

Analysts are drawing parallels between Mugabe and WaMutharika, who has been
criticised for a series of increasingly autocratic moves seen as restricting
political freedoms.

Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into dire straits by expelling white farmers in a
chaotic fast track land reform programme resulting in the European Union
withholding funds. Like the case of Zimbabwe, soon after the expulsion of
its ambassador to Lilongwe, Britain reacted swiftly by kicking out Malawi’s
representative in London and suspending aid worth US$550 million.

This freeze has dealt a body blow to the budget of a country which has for
long relied on handouts, and intensified a dollar supply crunch that is
threatening the Kwacha’s official peg at 175 to the United States dollar.

Prompted by the fuel shortages and soaring costs of imported goods,
Malawians took to the streets in July to protest against WaMutharika’s rule.
His government responded with brute force leaving 20 people dead in the
ensuing crackdown.

These scenes mirrored Zimbabwe in 1998 when riot police, armed with batons,
shields and automatic rifles, fired teargas at demonstrators who had used
bricks and logs to block streets and intimidated others to stay away from
work in demonstrations against the rising cost of food stuffs.

Reuben Chilera, director at the Excutivewrite, a political think tank, said:
“We are almost a Zimbabwe, both in the economy and in political governance.
There are similarities in terms of their president (Mugabe) and WaMutharika.

They’re both using a heavy hand in terms of their governance, in terms of
how they want to rule. And also disregarding other branches of government —
the judiciary, the legislature. Like Zimbabweans, Malawians right now are
frustrated. Malawians are disgruntled in terms of how the country is being
governed, how the economy is moving.

They want to have more voice. Malawians are distressed by what they see as
the hypocrisy of their government, which came to power denouncing the
corruption of the previous regime, but rapidly became embroiled in scandals
of its own.”

Mutharika, who came to power in 2004, has been subject to intense criticism
for expelling rivals from the ruling party, expanding presidential powers
and signing laws that have restricted protests, media freedom and lawsuits
against the government.

These moves have alienated foreign donors. Long fuel queues, failure to pay
civil servants, badly run municipalities, power blackouts, forex and water
shortages, rising costs of living - all these have been experienced by
Zimbabweans before.

Echoing Mugabe’s anti-West rhetoric “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again”,
Malawi seems to be marching headlong toward disaster and it is high time
Sadc acted to avoid another Zimbabwe.

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‘Insolvent’ Rainbow Tourism faces liquidation

Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:17

Constantine Chimakure

RAINBOW Tourism Group (RTG), the country’s second largest hospitality
company, is “technically insolvent” and faces liquidation if it fails to
urgently raise US$15 million to retire an expensive short-term debt,
complete hotel upgrades and re-align operating structures.

Confidential documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week reveal
that RTG management and board were seeking shareholders approval to raise
the US$15 million through a US$10 million sale and lease back of Bulawayo
Rainbow Hotel to NSSA and a US$5 million rights issue.

The proposed recapitalisation of the group, however, is under threat after
the single largest RTG shareholder, property magnate Nick van Hoogstraten,
declined to approve it citing corruption and mismanagement at the
hospitality group.

Van Hoogstraten has a 36,5% stake in the company, which needs 75% approval
from the shareholders to embark on the recapitalisation exercise. RTG FD and
acting CEO Paschal Changunda yesterday confirmed the group wanted to
recapitalise and was weighing four options. He denied the group was
technically insolvent.

“It’s not true that we are technically insolvent. Since dollarisation in
2009 we have not recapitalised,” Changunda said. “We need fresh capital. We
have four options we are looking into and we hope by the first quarter of
next year our shareholders would have agreed on something.”

In a letter dated November 16 to Van Hoogstraten, Corporate Excellence
Financial Advisory Service, a company contracted by RTG to come up with a
rescue package, said there was “urgency in implementing the
recapitalisation/restructuring process” to repay “expensive short-term debt
and reverse the technical insolvency”.

“Subject to an independent professional property valuation, the sale and
lease back is expected to raise US$10 million,” wrote the advisory company.
“The sale and lease back agreement may have a buy back in favour of RTG.”

On the US$5 million rights offer, the advisory company said it would be
underwritten proportionately by the major shareholders and was meant to
“introduce permanent capital into the business in view of current high

“The proceeds of the capital raise will be utilised to retire the expensive
short-term debt,complete critical hotel upgrades, and realign operating
structure to current environment (staff and operating costs),” wrote
Corporate Excellence.
But Van Hoogstraten in a letter dated November 22 to the financial advisory
firm said he would only consent to the capital raise once a meeting of major
shareholders was convened and also if an option to buy back Bulawayo Rainbow
Hotel was in place.
“I do not agree that the reason for the current financial state of the
company is due to ‘capital erosion due to the hyperinflation period’,” Van
Hoogstraten said in the letter he signed on behalf of Hamilton & Hamilton
Trustees Ltd. “The company has been
To Page 2

brought to its knees by incompetent, self-serving, and in some instances
corrupt directors and managers. No shareholder with a brain would give the
same persons control of further monies. Corporate governance and competence
has not existed at RTG for many years.”
The property mogul has been trying for years without success to oust the RTG
management led by CEO Chipo Mtasa. He has also failed to get a single seat
on the group’s board.
Corporate Excellence replied to Van Hoogstraten’s letter on November 29
assuring the shrewd businessman that for the buyback of Bulawayo Rainbow
Hotel, RTG would have the right of first refusal to repurchase the hotel in
the event of NSSA deciding to sell during or after the initial lease term.
The financial advisory company also informed Van Hoogstraten that the RTG
board had agreed “in principle to co-opt three directors to be nominated by
yourself subject to ratification by shareholders at the next annual general
meeting” in recognition for his “significant shareholding and in the
interests of the company”.
“As indicated in our previous correspondence, this transaction is critical
to the immediate requirement of restructuring RTG’s balance sheet in order
to repay expensive short-term debt and reverse the technical insolvency,”
Corporate Excellence said.
But Van Hoogstraten would have none of that.
“The right of first refusal is of no benefit to RTG. There must be an option
in the transfer for RTG to buy back the property at the same price,” said
Van Hoogstraten in a letter dated December 2. “It is not right that an
existing shareholder (NSSA) takes advantage of the current weakened position
of RTG – this would be a very clear conflict of interest.”
He also said that had NSSA and the Ministry of Tourism not supported the
“Econet-sponsored” board in June, RTG “could not have been defrauded”.
“In particular, NSSA and the ministry voted against our nominated directors
at the recent (and previous) AGMs and must now accept some responsibility
for the current situation at RTG,” said Van Hoogstraten.
At the AGM in June, Van Hoogstraten had proposed Shingirayi Chibanguza,
Alexander Hamilton, Ian Haruperi and Maximilian Hamilton be appointed to the
board. However, it was mostly those in the Econet–Afre–NSSA axis that were
appointed. They were chairperson Tracy Mpofu, Trynos Kufazvinei, Godfrey
Manhambara, Shadreck Vera, Krison Charairo and John Gould.
Econet has since sold its stake to NSSA, but it is still represented on the
“The suggestion that we may now nominate three directors, whilst welcome, is
a case of too little too late and will need to be considered carefully and
be supported by legal safeguards,” Van Hoogstraten said. “I will not agree
to any sale and lease back deal without prior sight of the legal
documentation, especially as this is my field of expertise.”

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Interfresh deal gets shareholders’ nod

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:12

INTERFRESH shareholders approved the sale of the group’s Graniteside
property to Innscor Africa at a cost of US$5, 8 million to enable the group
to retire its short-term bank debt of US$4,4 million.

The shareholders present, totaling 343 411 987, all voted for the resolution
although concerns had been raised by other shareholders over the valuation
and whether or not there had been any takers for the property besides

CEO Lishon Chipango told the meeting that an agreement had been put in place
with Innscor although there had been a number of offers submitted. Chipango
added that CB Richard Ellis had valued the property at US$5,5 million.

After clearing the debt, the group will use up to US$1 million to purchase a
smaller head office. Chipango said that the group was looking at a number of
property options that are there but none had been confirmed.

Some of the operations will be transferred to Mazoe Citrus Estates. The
remainder of the proceeds would be used for working capital, he said. The
disposal will have an impact on the group’s financial position with total
debt being reduced to US$5 million from US$9,4 million.

It would also reflect a new property cost of US$1 million and an additional
cash balance of US$400 000. The transaction would have an effect on the
group’s statement of comprehensive income. Based on the level and cost of
borrowing at the end of October 2011, the annualised cost of total debt
would be reduced from US$1,4 million to US$500 000.

Interest cover would also be expected to improve. In the first half of the
year the company announced it had secured US$5 million six-year loan for
both working capital and capital expenditure.

The group received UD$5 million funding from IDC South Africa at a cost of
9%.  Of that amount US$2, 5 million had been put into capex and the rest on
working capital.
The other US$2,5 million has been set aside as working capital chiefly to
rework the distribution channels.

The group also indicated that a balance sheet restructuring, reduction of
both short-term borrowing and reduction of effective cost of borrowing was
in progress.

–– Staff Writer.

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AMA agro bills fail to entice market

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:10

Reginald Sherekete

THE recently floated Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) bills failed, yet
again, to entice the market with the tender raising only US$17,7 million
from the required US$50 million, despite the special features placed on the

The AMA agro bills had received special features which included prescribed
asset status, liquid asset status and tax exemption status. But the market
continued to shun the AMA agro bills with the tender only receiving total
bids of US$31,9 million, an indication of the tight liquidity in the market.

Bids attracted rates as high as 19,75% with the lowest at 10%. The average
weighted rate of the allotment was 11,27% which fell way below the average
annual rates which average 18% currently prevailing in the money market. The
liquid asset status meant that holders of the bills, especially banks, can
access overnight accommodation from the central bank to cover their
positions so that they can meet their obligations.

The prescribed assets-status was crafted to attract institutional investors
like pension funds and insurance companies since they are required to hold a
certain percentage of their portfolios in government bonds.

Despite a tax exemption, a first since dollarisation in 2009, this failed to
tickle the market. The government, through AMA, intended to raise money to
finance agriculture. It was forced to extend the first tender of US$50
million to December 15 after the financial advisor –– CBZ Bank –– indicated
that potential bidders needed more time.

Despite the extension, the market still showed no appetite for the agro
bills which have a tenor period of 360 days. “With a tenor of 360 days, the
market is not keen to buy into these AMA agro bills considering the
prevailing market forces where the demand side of money is outstripping the
supply side,” an analyst said.

Government, which is seeking to raise US$100 million, is expected to be back
on the market with another tender this week.  Out of the US$100 million to
be raised, US$56,2 million will  finance communal, A1, A2 and commercial
farmers’ input requirements, while the remainder will be used to clear
liabilities from last season.

Government plans to direct US$21 million to the Grain Marketing Board to
settle its arrears with farmers for maize deliveries made last season.
Another US$18,6 million will go towards clearing liabilities to seed and
fertiliser firms that were not paid for supplies under government-backed

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Liquidation: AirZim’s sole option

Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:59

Paidamoyo Muzulu / Wongai Zhangazha

NATIONAL carrier Air Zimbabwe’s (AirZim) survival depends on only one
option; going into liquidation and starting on a clean slate. The airline is
facing a US$134 million debt overhang and the growing need to restructure
its bloated 1 400 staff complement.

AirZim has withdrawn from the lucrative Johannesburg and London routes amid
fears its planes could be attached over long overdue debts owed to various
creditors. The troubled airline had a plane impounded in London over a
US$1,2 million debt.

Fears abound that other creditors may follow suit. After the London episode,
it dawned on management that for the first time in the chequered history of
the airline that things cannot continue as before and hence the decision to
suspended flights to South Africa.

AirZim’s crisis has largely been self-inflicted. There has been a distinct
lack of clarity on the part of management on how to turn around the airline’s
waning fortunes, weak commercial ethics, maladministration and use of the
airline for political patronage and cronyism.

The airline’s staff of 1 400 against five planes on its books, of which only
three are operational, means there are 280 people to one jet; nearly treble
the aviation acceptable average of 85 workers to one plane.

The airline has been battling to restructure both its balance sheet and
rationalise its workforce in the last year without adequate funding. The
decay at the national carrier was clearly exposed during the
hyperinflationary era between 2007 and 2009 when AirZim charged sub-economic
fares and had the audacity to open new long haul routes to China and Dubai,
which proved to be a financial disaster. At one point, AirZim exercised some
extraordinary extravagance by flying a single passenger to Dubai.

The government, the sole shareholder, has not helped the situation by taking
political instead of commercial decisions in managing the airline through
the board. The airline’s planes are frequently commandeered to carry
President Robert Mugabe on frequent foreign trips leaving paid-up travelers
stranded at airports.

This has invariably dented the airline’s credibility since it’s unable to
stick to its schedule and created inherent debts for the company as it is
forced to rebook clients or put them up in hotels until they get connecting

AirZim’s unenviable position has been worsened by its ageing fleet with
planes averaging plus 20 years and greatly in need of replacement. This has
created lopsided competition against other regional airlines like South
African Airways, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines.

Former Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe boss and Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority CEO Karikoga Kaseke is convinced that AirZim should restructure
its workforce at all levels, acquire a new fleet and be privatised for it to
remain viable, among other things.

Kaseke said: “Airbus A340-500 or Airbus A340 are too big for AirZim because
you need about 250 passengers on each flight to break even. Therefore, it’s
better if they acquire the Boeing 737-400 or the new generation Boeing
737-800 for regional routes. The 737-200 they currently have should be
parked and used as cargo planes.”
Kaseke said AirZim could not be restructured in its present form and needed
a complete overhaul.

“There are lots of advantages to liquidating AirZim than reviving it.
Currently, Airzim has a bad tag which cannot be just wished off. We should
liquidate AirZim as of yesterday,” Kaseke said.

Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from the successful restructuring of South
African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and British Airways.
These companies invited strategic partners, joined alliances to leverage
their businesses and injected massive funding.

Kaseke’s arguments buttress the MDC-T’s national council meeting resolution
that called for the liquidation of AirZim and subsequent privatisation of
any successor airline.

“The party resolves that Air Zimbabwe Private Limited as it is defined right
now should be shut down and closed immediately. A new Zimbabwean airline
that partners with a foreign investor should be formed that will take over
the whole staff at Air Zimbabwe,” the MDC-T national council resolution

Acting AirZim CEO Innocent Mavhunga agreed that the airline should be
restructured along the proven Kenyan example. Mavhunga said: “We should go
along the Kenya Airways model with shareholding ratios being decided by the
government. This would naturally look at staff rationalisation in line with
the size of the fleet, and more importantly, bringing in new competences and
skills from the new recruits.”

It remains to be seen whether government is ready to restructure AirZim and
other perennial loss making state owned enterprises, which include GMB, NRZ,
NetONe, TelOne and the Cold Storage Commission among many others.

Kaseke added: “An airline cannot be run by a government. Gone are those
days. Yes the government may have some shareholding in the successor
company, but that will not mean it can run the affairs of the airline but
leave it to management to run it properly and efficiently.”

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MuckRaker: Judge not Cde, lest you also be judged

Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:04

ABOUT 60 families in the Arda Transau area of Marange were recently holed up
in houses without roofs after strong winds blew the roofs off, owing to poor
workmanship by the Chinese, reports the Daily News. Mines and Mining
Development minister Obert Mpofu had declared that the houses constructed at
Marange were of “world standard”.

“You have seen what the companies (at Marange) have done, the kind of
settlements in Chiadzwa right now are compared to nothing anywhere in the
world,” said Mpofu rather confusingly.

However, the Chinese-owned Anjin Investments’ relocation co-ordinator Romeo
Daniel Mutsunguma said the roofs had been poorly secured by the company’s
construction arm.

“There has been a lot of cutting down of trees in this area as people seek
alternative sources of energy as well as clearing of land for other
purposes,” Mutsunguma said.

“That process has seen close to 60 houses having their roofs blown off by
strong winds as the nails used in securing the roofing materials were the
wrong ones,” he added.

“We have since reinforced the roofing sheets with proper nails to avoid
similar mishaps again. We have also deployed a maintenance expert on site so
that he can attend to the problems as and when they arise,” he added.

Is that not what they should have done in the first place? Last time we
checked, they were no recorded tornados in the Chiadzwa region. We wonder if
these houses were ever inspected before being occupied.Is that what our
rulers mean when they say “all weather friends”?
We are sure the occupants of the houses were not amused.

Muckraker was amused by President Robert Mugabe’s righteous indignation over
“promiscuous” cabinet ministers. He said adulterous relationships were
wrecking the marriage institution.

Speaking at the wedding of his niece, Chipo Matibiri, and George, son of
Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development minister Nicholas
Goche, Mugabe said several ministers have embarrassed themselves through

He said a certain minister from one of the MDC formations was caught
red-handed last year after he was involved in an accident while travelling
with his girlfriend. “We are concerned with the behaviour of our ministers.
Some time ago, there was a minister, not from Zanu-PF, though, who was
caught with a girlfriend somewhere in Kadoma,” he said.

“When you marry in the church, the law binds you to have one husband or
wife. When you do anything else, it is against the law.”
Indeed promiscuity should be deplored, as the president has done. However,
he should not take the moral high ground lest attention is also given to his
own indiscretions.

The good book says judge not lest ye be judged.

Meanwhile a new fashion stable, House of Gushungo, whose label is President
Mugabe’s signature, has “hit the capital by storm”, ZBC gushed last week.

If we are to believe ZBC, the label is likely to send a shiver through the
fashion houses of Milan and Paris.

The clothing stable is set to “redefine” the country’s fashion industry
which is mostly dominated by foreign clothing labels, we are told.
This, according to ZBC, is because the “contemporary line appeals to today’s
modern men and women, offering style, comfort and a splash of attitude”.

Label boss Nicholas Munyonga said they saw it fit to celebrate President
Robert Mugabe’s achievements in style.

“We decided to come up with something that is long-lasting, something that
will last forever and in honour of our president,” he said.
We are not so sure of the long-lasting part given their inclination to Look

Austria has closed its embassy in Harare as part of cutting cost. As a
result, outgoing Austrian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Maria Moya Goesth, paid a
courtesy call on Vice-President Joice Mujuru to bid farewell.

In an interview with ZBC after meeting Mujuru, Goesth said various foreign
missions have been affected.

She also clarified that the closure of the embassy was not as a result of
souring of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“This has nothing to do with the bilateral relations between the two
countries but it is part of a series of closures due to the financial
crisis, of which no country is competely immune,” she said.

However ZBC was not impressed, keen on getting a sound bite from the
ambassador about the “illegal” sanctions the European Union (EU) has imposed
on President Mugabe and his acolytes.

“Just like her counterparts from Western countries who have denied the
existence of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, Ms Moya Goesth also continued to
sing from the same hymn book as the EU, preferring to call them restrictive
measures which will only be lifted if certain unspecified conditions are
met,” ZBC moaned.

Unspecified? The EU benchmarks for the removal of sanctions are as clear as
day. Among them is the restoration of the rule of law, respect for human
rights, media freedom and institutional reforms.

They have been spelt out by the bloc ad nauseam and yet ZBC has the temerity
to say they are unspecified.

“Zimbabwe and Austria have not quarrelled in any forum but Vienna joined
other EU members in slapping Harare with illegal sanctions,” adds ZBC.
“This came after Britain internationalised its bilateral dispute with
Zimbabwe after the country embarked on the agrarian reform to correct
colonial imbalances.”

The only thing “illegal” here is a supposedly national broadcaster parroting
the views of a former ruling party.

Jonathan Moyo seems to suffer from selective amnesia, particularly on what
he has said before about President Mugabe and Zanu PF.

In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa at Zanu PF’s conference in
Bulawayo, the Tsholotsho North MP and Zanu PF Politburomember said “someone
somewhere has a sick mind that he (President Robert Mugabe) is not well, but
God has been on his side and he remains well”.

Again he seems to have forgotten saying Mugabe was suffering from “throat
cancer”, according to the WikiLeaks disclosures.

In one of the cables, former US political and economic officer Glen Warren
in the Harare embassy quotes Moyo also saying that Mugabe was determined to
run for re-election against the advice of his physician.

Moyo has not denied the cables and even urged his Zanu PF colleagues to own
Who has a “sick mind” then, we wonder?

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi both met
bloody ends as the West and Western-backed rebels took on their brutal

Their deaths, together with Saturday’s demise of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il,
showed that 2011 has not been a good year to be a despot.
The death of Kim Jong-il might not have been caused by commandos or a people’s
uprising but it did happen in 2011, thus adding his name to a long list of
dispatched tyrants and terrorists.

Throughout the year we learnt some strange facts about these men, their
lives and deaths. Can you match the fact to the leader?

1.Which regime put an Internet blackout on the country just hours before one
of the biggest planned protests?
2. Which former leadersparked downloads of an unexpectedly popular ringtone
made up of recordings of his words?
3. Who would send out for cans of Coke and Pepsi while in hiding?
4. Which son of a deceased leader set a national trend with his unusual
5. Which toppled leader kept a hoard of pictures of former US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice in his mansion?
6. Which leader has his blood-splattered face printed and posted by news
organisations worldwide following his death, only to find out it was a fake?
7. Which of these was not one of Kim Jong-il’s titles?
8. A passion for gold, which Gaddafi offspring kept a gilded mermaid-shaped
sofa in their own likeness found by rebels in a mansion house in Tripoli
9. Which leader did the flamboyant South African businessman Kenny Kunene
dress up as to celebrate his 41st birthday?
10. We learnt a thing or two about leaders’ bathroom habits. But which,
according to state propaganda, never needed to urinate?


1.    Egypt
2.    Hosni Mubarak
3.    Osama bin Laden
4.    Kim Jong-un
5.    Muammar Gaddafi
6.    Osama bin Laden
7.    Leading Light of
8.    Aisha Gaddafi
9.    Muammar Gaddafi
10.    Kim Jong-il

Power FM listeners, on Monday afternoon, were stunned upon hearing of the
news of the death of Kim Jong the Second. The announcer was mistakenly
referring to Kim Jong-il.

The announcer should find solace in the fact that she is not alone in making
that mistake. The New Yorker states that in his presidential campaign former
US President, George W Bush, also “mistook the third syllable of the late
Kim’s name for a roman numeral and called him Kim Jong Two”.

We suppose that is preferable to “Queen Elizabth the eleventh” which we got
from ZBC in the early 1980s.

No marks to Barclays which managed to have only one working ATM in Avondale
on Wednesday, one of the busiest days of the year. The long winding queues
said it all. This was not a bank that had its customers in mind.

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Dabengwa’s hypocrisy exposed

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:47

Brian Chitemba

DUMISO Dabengwa’s claims that he pulled out of Zanu PF to revive Zapu
because of widespread violence in the run-up and aftermath of the 2008
elections, which left several thousands homeless and hundreds dead, maimed
and missing, has exposed the hypocrisy which Zimbabwean politicians have for
the electorate. Dabengwa is a former Zanu PF politburo heavyweight who
served in that role since the December 1987 unity accord signed between
President Robert Mugabe and the late Joshua Nkomo, collapsing Zapu into Zanu

Although Dabengwa championed the revival of Zapu after the election defeat
of his preferred presidential candidate and former fellow Zanu PF politburo
member, Simba Makoni, he had been in the wilderness politically for close to
a decade since he had failed to win a seat in Bulawayo since 2000.

Since the formation of the MDC in 1999, the writing was on the wall for all
former senior Zapu cadres in Matabeleland, particularly in Bulawayo and
Matabeleland North.

After failing to win a seat in the 2005 parliamentary polls, Dabengwa
probably realised that his fate had been sealed and the only way to
resurrect his relevancy in Matabeleland would be to dump Zanu PF.

And so it came as no surprise when he openly backed the presidential
aspirations of Makoni. This paved the way for him to formally leave Zanu PF
because he had betrayed the party’s highest decision-making body outside of
congress by turning his back on Mugabe, who had been officially endorsed.

However, a closer analysis of events shows that Dabengwa and his colleagues’
revival of the party they had willingly collapsed into Zanu PF was a matter
of sour grapes.

Besides being perennial losers in parliamentary polls, the benefits of
continuing to serve Zanu PF were fast slipping because all former senior
Zapu leaders literally served at the pleasure of Mugabe, who continued to
appoint them non-constituency MPs in order to give them ministerial

This move was beginning to cause fissures in Zanu PF since the likes of
Dabengwa and present former Zapu leaders serving in government andin Zanu PF
cannot deliver the Matabeleland vote, yet they continue to hold senior
positions without the mandate of the people.

While Zapu claims that it merged with Zanu PF on December 22 1987 to end the
Gukurahundi killings which left an estimated 20 000 people from Matabeleland
and parts of Midlands dead, the question Dabengwa and his colleagues need to
answer is why it took them over 21 years to realise that the unity accord
was dysfunctional.

Dabengwa termed the killings, maiming, disappearance and intimidation of
people in the run-up to the 2008 presidential run-off poll as genocide in
his speech celebrating what would have been Zapu’s golden jubilee.

This genocide was the reason Dabengwa gave for pulling Zapu out of Zanu PF.
This is laughable when compared to the infamous Gukurahundi massacres.
Dabengwa himself served a jail term during those disturbances and yet he
gladly accepted to serve his former jailers after the signing of the unity

This leaves critics questioning Dabengwa’s sincerity. If Dabengwa is so
sensitive to  the Gukurahundi genocide, why did he agree in the first place
to serve a party with a well documented history of violence, even against
its own cadres?

If he was as principled as he now wants people to believe, he should have
declined to serve in the unity government from 1987. In fact, that accord
ushered in a new constitution which gave Mugabe uncontested powers, and yet
Dabengwa quietly served.

Dabengwa was in charge of the police as Home Affairs minister in 1998 when
the government used brute force to crush demonstrations against food price
hikes. Why didn’t he quit government in protest against the government’s
heavy handedness then?

So was the revival of Zapu in the genuine interest of its marginalised
former cadres or a push for personal political ambitions by whipping up
people’s emotions?

Political analyst Nyamutatanga Makombe said Dabengwa, like any other
politician, was using the issue of violence as a currency to trade for
political mileage.

“They (politicians) raise concerns on crimes against humanity when it’s only
politically convenient instead of approaching the issue in a sober manner,”
said Makombe.

Makombe said the unity accord was justified since Nkomo wanted to save
innocent blood shed by the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade, but
attributing the Zapu revival to the 2008 violence was hypocritical.

“Dabengwa was no longer a Zanu PF member by June 2008 because he backed
Makoni in March. Both Makoni and Dabengwa expelled themselves from Zanu PF
way before the March harmonised elections, so Dabengwa is not sincere in
claiming that the Zapu revival was forced by the June violence,” Makombe

But Dabengwa, a former Zipra intelligence supremo, said the late
Vice-President Joseph Msika also approved the Zapu revival through a
consultative congress in December 2008 before an endorsement congress in May

Zapu spokesman Methuseli Moyo said it was obvious that his party had joined
the unity accord because that was the only way it could save the lives of
ethnic Ndebeles.

“Every Zimbabwean is indebted to Zapu for signing the unity accord,” said
Moyo. “Otherwise the country could have gone into a full-scale civil war.
Simply, Zapu had no option but to join Zanu. What else could Zapu had done?
Dabengwa was leader of the Zipra intelligence unit, and not a Zapu leader
exactly by then. Like he always says, he was commandeered by Nkomo against
his will into the unity accord. There was no way Mugabe and Zanu PF would
have signed the accord if key military figures like Dabengwa remained

Moyo said Zapu hoped they would influence Zanu PF positively to end
political violence although it was in vain. The period between 1988 and
2000, Moyo said, was the most peaceful and there was a lull in political
killings and abductions.

“Who was the minister of home affairs during this period? It was Dabengwa.
When he left government and the home affairs portfolio in 2000, all hell
broke loose,” said Moyo.

Makombe questioned the role played by Dabengwa to discourage the violence
which escalated between 2000 and 2008 when he was part of the Russian-style
Zanu PF politburo.

Moyo was adamant that the 2008 violence led to the Zapu pullout saying the
“mini-genocide” convinced Zapu that Zanu PF would not change its violent

“We revived Zapu because we have always been Zapu, even during the unity
accord it was always known that Dabengwa and others were Zapu. Zapu is a
brand name which has obvious political advantages at home, in Sadc and
internationally. Also, there are outstanding issues such as Zapu properties
and Gukurahundi which only Zapu can resolve. Again, Zapu is the mother of
politics in Zimbabwe and the founder and authentic liberation movement of
Zimbabwe whose name and objectives must never die. The people also said they
wanted their Zapu and not a new party,” Moyo said.

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Zanu PF poll plot foolhardy

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:30

ZANU PF has finally let the cat out of the bag! The party wants President
Robert Mugabe to dissolve parliament to make way for fresh polls early next
year with or without a new constitution. The move would be against the
spirit and letter of both the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by the
three parties in the inclusive government and Constitutional Amendment No
19. And this will certainly trigger a constitutional crisis.

In an interview with the state media, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa
accused the MDC-T of stalling the constitutional review process to delay the
polls to end the wobbly inclusive government. As a result, Chinamasa opined,
Mugabe would be forced to dissolve parliament.

While Chinamasa claimed that Zanu PF was committed to polls under a new
constitution, it’s apparent that his party wants the polls under the current
muddled circumstances which favour it.

“It is very possible for the president to call for elections and there is no
provision that prevents him from doing that but it is our desire as Zanu PF
to see the constitution-making process concluded so that we hold elections
under a new constitution,” Chinamasa said.

“We won’t entertain any stalling of the process; as a party we are committed
and we urge the MDC parties to do the same.’’ Before Constitutional
Amendment No 19 and the inception of the inclusive government, Mugabe had
the sole constitutional prerogative to dissolve parliament and call for
fresh polls within 90 days, but the scenario is now different.
Constitutional Amendment No 19 clearly states that Mugabe can only dissolve
parliament after consulting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

It would be foolhardy for the former firebrand trade unionist to agree to
the dissolution of the House and to early polls before a new constitution is
enacted and real reforms are implemented.

Just last weekend, the MDC-T resolved that there should be a new
constitution and reforms before fresh elections. “Our members are going to
go for elections after the completion of the constitution-making process,
the referendum, drafting of a new voters’ roll, media reforms, completion of
legislative reform, the conclusion of outstanding issues at the dialogue
table on security sector realignment and staffing of ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission),” Biti told a press conference after a meeting of the MDC-T’s
national council on Saturday. “And also after the compliance by Zimbabwe on
the Sadc electoral guidelines on free and fair elections and putting in
place of mechanisms to ensure that violence will not be a factor in the said
election, that is what the roadmap suggests.”

Mugabe and Zanu PF are desperate for elections because the current
environment enables them to use state machinery to campaign, intimidate
voters through violence and rig the whole electoral process.

The party has nothing to offer the electorate and Mugabe’s quest for
political papacy is a disaster for Zanu PF and the country at large. Zanu PF
politburo member Jonathan Moyo rightly observed when he was still in the
“political wilderness” in 2007 that Mugabe had and has no agenda save to die
in office.

The mercurial spin doctor wrote: “Although President Robert Mugabe has of
late been displaying bravado by ruthlessly attacking in public some Zanu PF
contenders for his 27-year tainted rule, such as Joice Mujuru, and
unleashing violence against opposition politicians in police cells while
giving the impression he is still like an invincible lion, the inescapable
home truth visible to all and sundry is that he is now behaving like a
cornered rat whose quandary is that every escape route it tries is a

“This became clear after his astonishing yet revealing indication last week
that he is set to dissolve parliament in the next few months to enable him
to yet again stand for re-election under controversial circumstances that
are certain to widen and deepen Zanu PF divisions.

“At best, the threatened dissolution of parliament which has angered Zanu PF
MPs is designed to give Mugabe assured campaign assistance from the ruling
party’s parliamentary hopefuls who would be forced to support his divisive
candidacy in joint presidential and parliamentary elections he wants to call
well before the expiry of his current term in March 2008.

“But there could be another sinister agenda to resuscitate Mugabe’s dead
2010 plan. “In effect, Mugabe does not want to be succeeded by anybody. Zanu
PF factional leaders who imagine that they are Mugabe’s preferred successors
are living in a fools’ paradise because Mugabe does not want any successor.
“This is because in his book there will never be a vacancy for the
presidency as a long as he is alive.”
Well said Jonathan!

By Constantine Chimakure

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AirZim must prepare for privatisation

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:28

NATIONAL airline Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) has once again been in the news — for
the wrong reasons. Just last week the cash-strapped flag carrier had
its Boeing 767-200 impounded by a United States firm, American General
Supplies, in London over an overdue US$1,5 million debt for aircraft spare
parts leaving passengers stranded. While like any other business AirZim has
been plagued by difficulties, its collapse has reached unacceptable

For far too long the national carrier has been left to pursue a disastrous
business model and develop a reputation for poor customer service
characterised by delays and abrupt flight cancellations.

It is struggling to cope with a choking debt of US$140 million and
privatisation or liquidation seems to be the only way out of the quagmire
AirZim finds itself in. Over and above this huge debt, the airline has a
staff complement of 1 400 manning just three operational planes.

The national carrier was once a well-run and profitable airline with
dependable flights on both its domestic and international routes, but
rampant corruption and mismanagement have flown the airline into an abyss.
Over the last 31 years, President Robert Mugabe has abused AirZim by
disrupting scheduled flights through his commandeering of planes for his
endless foreign trips, including several personal ones.

Being wholly state-owned worsened the situation in that senior government
officials have continued over the years to manipulate AirZim. The airline
has had a number of management changes, which have all played their part in
grounding the flag carrier.

Present AirZim acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga recently
conceded that even the best management would come a cropper at the airline
as long as the government retained its current grip. Because the airline is
wholly state-owned, it was also forced to embrace the disastrous “Look East”
policy with dire business consequences. Since it introduced direct flights
to Beijing and Dubai, AirZim has been slowly flying itself into oblivion.

No sooner had it started flying East that it begun to take off three
quarters empty. The classic was when the airline flew to Dubai with just one
passenger. Even a commuter omnibus would not leave the rank with a single
passenger on board, but not AirZim. Such constant senseless decisions are
what have driven AirZim to the verge of bankruptcy.

It has become the norm for the national carrier to fly loss-making routes
resulting in it incurring huge unjustified costs. As a result of the huge
accumulated debts, the national airline has now been forced to dump its two
most lucrative routes — the Johannesburg and London routes — for fear of
having the last of its three operational planes impounded. These two routes
were AirZim’s main source of revenue and we wonder how it hopes to secure
any cash inflow now that it has suspended flights to the destinations.

It does not make business sense to justify continued flights to Lusaka and
to the DRC while suspending service to the most lucrative routes to avoid
paying up. With such bad decisions continuing to dominate AirZim on a daily
basis, it’s high time the government recognised AirZim’s importance as
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the world by allowing private investors to help
transform the flag carrier into a modern operation.

Our main argument for privatisation is that government has proved beyond
reasonable doubt that it is motivated by political pressures rather than
sound economic and business sense. On the other hand, non-state entities
have a profit incentive to cut costs and be more efficient.

A private company has pressure from shareholders to perform efficiently and
make money because if performed inefficiently as AirZim, it could be subject
to a takeover. AirZim doesn’t have this pressure which is why it has been
easier for it to be inefficient.

There is no way a privatised AirZim would have retained 1 400 employees with
just three operational planes and an astronomic debt. Government seems
reluctant to get rid of surplus workers because of the negative publicity
involved in job losses, particularly with the current election talk.

We urge the coalition government to start laying the groundwork for suitable
conditions for privatisation, such as a stable and predictable environment
for investment and a well-developed institutional and regulatory capacity,
improving regulatory frameworks, strengthening the financial system,
enabling increased competition and improved governance.

These would ensure that not only AirZim, but all other loss-making and badly
run state-owned enterprises, such as the GMB, CSC, NRZ, NocZim, NetOne and
TelOne, among others, are resuscitated for them to start making a meaningful
contribution to the economic growth of Zimbabwe.

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Postal voting: Govt must be pro-active

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:04

By Zesn

THERE are ways to vote for persons who cannot be present personally in their
constituencies and wards on the designated voting days. The more traditional
way is postal voting, and the other is special voting. This article analyses
both and makes recommendations for their broader use to increase access to
eligible voters and greater security to prevent manipulation of these forms
of voting. Simplification of procedure

The amendment will restrict postal voting to people (and their spouses) who
are outside Zimbabwe on government business. One development is that the new
changes simplify what were previously elongated and bureaucratic procedures
for postal voting. The process was also opaque, which made it susceptible to
rigging.  A significant development is that electronic communication is now
permitted to facilitate authorisation for postal voting.

As with all electronic communication, however, security mechanisms are
necessary to reduce the risk of abuse and manipulation. It is a requirement
to use official electronic mail addresses, authentication by the sender’s
electronic signature. The email must also be printed in hard copy. Rather
than leave it open to interpretation it is necessary to provide a
legislative definition of what constitutes an “official electronic mail
address” for the avoidance of doubt.

All postal voting applications must be chronologically recorded. The chief
elections officer must keep a list of all postal ballot papers issued and
relevant details of the person to whom they were issued. All of this must be
made available for free public inspection which should enhance transparency.
The voters’ roll for each constituency should record clearly that specified
individual voters have been allowed to use postal voting. Such persons, once
they have voted using postal or special voting, should be recorded in such a
manner that they cannot vote again in their wards.

Too restricted

Whilst the simplification of the special procedure will help to expedite the
process, it is apparent that both postal and special voting remain too
restricted in scope and reach. For example, there are persons who may
genuinely be out of the country on non-government business — such as on
temporary business, working or seeking medical treatment. Zimbabwe has
thousands of persons who work for international organisations — as
contracted staff of both inter-governmental and non-governmental
organisations — without necessarily being designated as being “on government

The problems with the restriction are evident where business persons
accompany government on a trade mission, for example to China. Unless the
businesspersons are designated as being outside the country “on government
business” they will be unable to use postal voting whilst their government
counterparts can.

In addition, there are now literally millions of Zimbabweans living abroad
who may be eligible to vote. All these persons are denied the vote simply
because they cannot be physically present in the constituencies on polling
day. If there were no restrictions, the registered voters in the diaspora
would potentially be able to vote in this way.

There has been much clamour for the so-called diaspora vote in recent years.
It has already been noted in previous articles how Zimbabwe lags behind
other countries in the region such as South Africa and Mozambique which
permit diaspora voting and in the case of Mozambique, it has taken active
steps to register voters in the diaspora to ensure that they exercise their
right to vote. Zimbabwe needs to adopt a similarly open approach to ensure
it has a truly representative government.

Zesn acknowledges that there are risks involved in broadening the postal
voting facility but rather than close the door completely, the solution
would be to introduce secure mechanisms to ensure that votes are authentic
and immune to tampering.
Voting by soldiers

It is also noted that special voting is restricted to electoral officers and
members of the “disciplined forces” who are responsible for performing
security duties during election days. This refers to members of the police
and defence forces who will perform duties during polling days. Accredited
election observers will also be eligible to apply for special voting. The
applicants must demonstrate that they will be away from their constituencies
on electoral duty. Special voting will take place in advance of the main
election at special polling stations that are designated by the commission
and will be open to observation by accredited observers. Voting at these
special polling stations will be conducted over two days in order to
minimise disruption to security duties.

Zesn notes that voting by members of the defence forces and the police has
always been contentious because it has traditionally been shrouded in
secrecy and there have been allegations that junior members who constitute
the majority of these forces are commanded to vote in specific ways. Voting
in barracks is itself very contentious as it is not a suitable venue for the
expression of free will. The lack of proper observation of such voting
processes has also been criticised in the past. To the extent that the
designation of district voting centres for such special voting will be done
by the commission, this is a useful development.

No voting in barracks

In particular, voting must not be conducted in barracks or police stations.
The process must be subject to the same scrutiny by electoral officials,
election agents and observers as voting at ordinary polling stations on
polling days.  It is important that members of the forces vote in peace and
with knowledge that they are not required to follow the orders of their
superiors. Transparent voting procedures and scrutiny of the process are,
therefore, important supporting mechanisms.

The special voting procedure, like postal voting, is too restricted to
specific categories. It could easily be used to cover vulnerable groups such
as the elderly or persons who may be too ill or unwell to attend at polling
stations during polling days. In fact both postal and special voting could
be used to facilitate voting by persons with disabilities who would
otherwise struggle to compete with others on polling days. It is a fact that
the long distances and limited means of transportation in rural areas in
particular make it extremely difficult for the elderly and sick to exercise
their voting rights.

State must be pro-active

It has been recognised by the courts in other countries in the region, such
as South Africa where the Constitutional Court held that the right to vote
is one that requires the state to take a pro-active approach that enables
voters to fully enjoy its existence. It is arguable that where it is
impossible or difficult for persons to enjoy that right, this could be a
violation of individuals’ political rights as guaranteed under Section 23A
of the constitution.

It is recommended that just as the state has made special procedures for
those who cannot be physically present on government business, it must also
account for the voting rights of those who cannot be present by reason of
old age, disability or general infirmity. At present the voting procedures
which effectively limit the participation of the aged could be seen as
discriminatory on the grounds of ageism and therefore potentially in
violation of the constitution. It is recommended that special and postal
voting procedures be set out at law to enable the elderly, disabled and ill
to exercise their voting rights.

In conclusion:

Zesn urges the extension of postal voting and special voting to cover other
persons who are eligible to vote but are not presently within the categories
stated in the law. It is recommended that as a security measure, tamper-
proof envelopes should be used in postal voting to prevent fraudulent

Further to the recommendation on diaspora voting, Zesn urges a
reconsideration of postal voting to allow Zimbabweans in the diaspora who
are eligible to vote to use it.

Zesn recommends that consistent with the recognition of the right to vote in
the constitution, the state must take a pro-active approach that enables
voters to fully exercise their right to vote regardless of their location
and physical or mental condition.

It is reasoned that just as the state has made special procedures for those
who cannot be physically present on government business or because of duties
on polling days, it must also account for the voting rights of those who
cannot be present for any other legitimate reason including, but not limited
to, old age, physical incapacity or generally ill-health.

Special and postal voting should be extended; there is also need for
security mechanisms to prevent manipulation and rigging. There is need to
exercise extra vigilance in the election observation process.

Comments: /zesn@africaon

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Jomic: Our toothless bulldog

Thursday, 22 December 2011 15:34

THE role of Zimbabwe’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic)
is increasingly coming in for criticism due to its failure to ensure that
the three parties in the inclusive government (IG) fully implement the
power-sharing pact.

It has been dismissed by political analysts as a “toothless bulldog” because
of its inability to deal with the numerous violations of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). However, the committee has dismissed these
criticisms saying there is a misconception about its mandate and the power
at its disposal.

Jomic, which comprises four senior members from each of the two MDC
formations and the former ruling party Zanu PF, insists it is carrying out
its mandate as specified in Article XXII of the GPA — the principal function
of which is to ensure the implementation of the agreement in its letter and
spirit. It is also supposed to serve as a catalyst in creating an atmosphere
of mutual trust and understanding between the parties and in promoting
dialogue between them.

However, in the past three years, it has become increasingly clear that the
will of the principals, especially President Robert Mugabe, always prevails
and recommendations from Jomic are largely ignored.

With no powers to summon a person who breaches the GPA and forced to rely on
persuasion to deal with offenders, it is little wonder that Jomic is widely
perceived as emasculated.

In view of escalating politically-motivated violence in the country,
non-fulfilment of 24 agreed GPA issues, hate speech in the state press and
continuing harassment of independent media, the question on the minds of
many Zimbabweans is whether Jomic is still relevant or has become a white

It is generally agreed that the biggest mistake made during the creation of
Jomic was its composition. How can Zimbabweans expect those implementing the
GPA to be the ones to check on their compliance?

The ideal situation would have been to set up a committee made up of
apolitical people, mainly from civil society, working closely with an
impartial police force and Attorney-General to ensure the arrest and
prosecution of perpetrators of violence.

To make matters worse, there is no law or Act of Parliament that backs Jomic
in any way — so Jomic simply cannot enforce any decision. I believe that
turning the body into a statutory organ would give it enough muscle to
enforce its decisions and have effective oversight over the implementation
of the GPA.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jomic believes it is still relevant
and that no institution has done as much to ensure that Zimbabwe does not
slide back into chaos. For example, in an effort to end politically
motivated violence, Jomic has set up inter-party liaison committees at
provincial and district levels.

MDC-T supporters who were forced to flee their homes in Chimanimani earlier
this year by Zanu PF activists returned home in October after Jomic’s
intervention. Jomic has also organised inter-party weekly meetings in Harare
to find a solution to end the violence that has rocked the capital city and
Chitungwiza in the last few weeks. Jomic also organised the anti-violence
indaba on November 11 between the three parties’ top leadership.

Jomic has said it will meet with Police Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri to discuss why there is selective application of the law by the
police, allegedly in favour of Zanu PF supporters. It is also planning to
talk to the Information minister to discuss the issue of hate speech and the
state media’s partisan approach.

But Jomic still has to deal with the implementation of the 24 agreed — and
outstanding — issues. And the political parties remain deadlocked over these
remaining issues.

It is a classic example of what is wrong with Jomic. It can talk and point
to violations. It can bring the parties together to discuss issues. But that
is all.

By Faith Zaba

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