Gono/Mawere battle Vincent Kahiya A WAR of words is
raging between Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Mutumwa Mawere over the
nationalisation of the self-exiled tycoon's business empire.
a charismatic exponent of indigenisation, has launched a scathing attack on
Gono, accusing him of masterminding the take-over of his businesses by
government and of playing "Godfather" in illegal foreign currency
In an interview this week, Gono strongly rejected the charges
and accused Mawere of insincerity.
The Zimbabwe Independent can
reveal that despite the current row, last year Gono and Mawere were writing
each other cozy e-mails in which they accused the media of trying to drive a
wedge between them.
The letters were prompted by an article published
in this paper last June in which Mawere attacked Gono for acting like a
policeman, prosecutor and judge. But despite reassuring missives between the
two, their relationship was souring in the wake of the
Mawere has alleged that relations with Gono became
strained in 2000 after the CBZ, which Gono headed at the time, purchased
US$2 million from Mawere's Shabani Mashava Mines (SMM) to procure
Mawere said he discovered that Gono was operating a slush fund
to which he was crediting proceeds from fuel deals. He alleges that Gono
sought to use his (Mawere's) name in "fraudulent" activities by indicating
on a bank document: "Pay Mawere/Hilary $10 million".
referred to SMM chief executive Hilary Munyati.
"I then contacted
Gono to investigate what was at play in the transaction," said Mawere. "I
met with him and showed him the document and asked him to explain the
brokerage account and why my name was on the document.
apologised," Mawere claimed, "for the use of my name but I demanded that SMM
be refunded the money diverted by CBZ to the brokerage account. Initially
Gono refused to refund the money. He finally relented and refunded $10 000
000 to SMM in 2003. Hilary can confirm this because the cheque was delivered
The relationship between the two worsened after this
"I think he thought I was going to expose CBZ's secret
brokerage account where billions of dollars could have been siphoned. When
he became governor, I knew it was going to be revenge time but I did not
know he could go to this extent," said Mawere.
Gono this week
admitted that SMM availed US$2 million to CBZ.
He said at the time
the deal was negotiated the exchange rate was US$1:$38 but the rate moved to
US$1:$55 at the time the money was paid out. He said when it came to paying
Mawere the Zimbabwe dollar equivalent of the forex availed, he demanded to
be paid at the higher exchange rate.
"Mawere came to me fighting to
be paid the difference," said Gono. "We had a number of meetings with him
and eventually I authorised that he be paid. This is the reference you see
on the documents that you have," Gono said.
"We were handling
transactions for the procurement of fuel and like any bank we charged a
fee," he said.
"Every bank operates this. You can call it a
commission account or slush fund but there is nothing irregular here. Every
bank operates such an account. It is a technical account which if portrayed
in a certain way can project certain negativities."
aside as "madness" allegations that he operated a slush fund at the CBZ
whose proceeds he used to build a "100-bedroomed" mansion, as claimed by
Mawere, and to pay his cronies in government.
"I have not wanted to
lend dignity by commenting on accusations that border on madness. My request
to those peddling such lies is for them to retreat to the remaining corner
of dignity and truthfulness," Gono said.
"I would challenge anyone
telling these lies to swear by the Bible that this is the situation," he
Mawere is an angry man after the loss of his companies,
including the giant asbestos miner SMM, to government. He is also wanted by
police on charges of externalising forex worth $300 billion. He blames Gono
for his misfortunes.
Curiously, documents to hand show that Mawere in
June last year wrote to Gono disavowing a story in the Independent in which
he attacked Gono. In an emotional response written in Shona two days later,
Gono expressed his consternation at the contents of the
"Ndinotenda nemashoko ako mwana waamai. Ichokwadi kuti
ndanga ndichishushikana mupfungwa nokuedza kutsvara ndangariro dzangu kuti
ndinyatsoyeuka kuti patakatadzirana ndepapi asindichishaya kupaona kana
kuparangarira. (Thanks for your message. It is true that I have been
troubled and searching my thoughts to remember where we clashed but I
failed)," said Gono.
In the letter, Gono said the last time the
two met Mawere wanted help from the governor to reconcile him with two
Gono also claimed that he had received information that Mawere
was plotting to harm his reputation in Zimbabwe and abroad.
Mawere in his response said there were people trying to drive a wedge
"My concern remains that someone out there seems to
enjoy separating us," he said. "It is clear that someone is spinning for a
benefit that is not in the national interest."
Zim gets SA maize Godfrey Marawanyika ZIMBABWE has
imported 13 187 tonnes of maize from South Africa, official figures from
Harare's biggest trading partner have revealed.
released on February 4 by the South African Grain Information Service
indicate that Harare has so far imported 11 830 tonnes of white maize and 1
357 tonnes of yellow maize.
The figures reveal that Zimbabwe has imported
more than half of the 23 018 tonnes of maize exported by South Africa to
Agricultural minister Joseph Made on Tuesday refused
to comment on the latest import data from South Africa simply saying "I
wouldn't know", before terminating the interview.
government has persistently said the country does not need food assistance,
independent observers such as the World Food Programme and the Famine Early
Warning System Network (Fewsnet) have said at least five million people are
in need of food assistance.
In its January report Fewsnet classified
Zimbabwe amongst priority-need nations - namely Somalia, Eritrea and
Ethiopia which need food assistance.
The report said that in Somalia
there are about 1,8 million people in need of food, Eritrea 2,2 million and
Ethiopia 8,2 million.
"Staple food availability is declining as the
market prices continue to rise," the report said.
and the Grain Marketing Board monopoly are exacerbating the situation. While
cereals are still available in urban areas, continuing erosion of real
incomes makes them unaffordable to many."
The government has since
dismissed the Fewsnet report saying that it was part of the hostile
propaganda against the country by the US.
Mawere courts Mugabe over faltering fortunes Vincent
Kahiya IN a desperate bid to save his business empire from expropriation by
the state, magnate Mutumwa Mawere last year wrote to President Mugabe
seeking dialogue on his predicament.
"I have written this note in the
hope that dialogue can begin so that the real issues of concern to Zimbabwe
can be addressed," he wrote to Mugabe in June last year.
attempt apparently failed to mollify the authorities as government has since
enacted legislation to take over Mawere's business empire spanning the whole
In a faxed letter seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, Mawere
explained his acquisition of Shabani Mashava Mines (SMM) and the effect of
government's attempt to take over the business.
Mawere said part
of his problems emanated from a "misunderstanding" with the "Midlands
This provides useful evidence that his
predicament is politically-motivated.
Government sources this week said
there was a feeling in Zanu PF that Mawere was not willing to share proceeds
from his business empire despite the assistance he received from
Mawere in the letter said his Africa Resources Ltd (ARL)
acquired the asbestos mines from T&N plc for US$60 million in a deal
that was structured offshore in 1996. He said ARL paid an initial US$37
million, leaving a balance of US$23 million. The servicing of the debt was
done through facilities with three local banks until 1998 when the Reserve
Bank withdrew support to the financing banks.
Mawere said he
sought funding from KBC Bank of Belgium with a government guarantee "that
you (Mugabe) played a pivotal role in facilitating". The loan was paid up in
2002. Mawere said through the acquisition, SMM then stopped paying annual
dividends of up to US$15 million to T&N plc. But he said since the
acquisition, no dividends have accrued to ARL.
Despite servicing the
loan, Mawere said SMM shares were still held by T&N and that attempts to
transfer them had "been a cause of frustration to me
He said politicians in the Midlands province
believed that he had abandoned plans to localise SMM, which is incorporated
in the British Virgin Islands.
"A misunderstanding then occurred with
the Midlands political leadership who may be behind my current predicament,"
said Mawere in the letter.
"They are of the opinion that ARL has
since acquired the shares from T&N plc and my commitment to localise the
company in the manner explained to you have been abandoned," he said.
Sadc troika snubbed Dumisani Muleya SOUTHERN
African Development Community leaders who planned to assess electoral
conditions in Zimbabwe last month were unable to proceed with their mission
when authorities in Harare proved reluctant hosts.
said this week that a Sadc troika comprising South African President Thabo
Mbeki, Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili, and outgoing Namibian
President Sam Nujoma had been expected to meet President Mugabe on January
17 in Harare in connection with the election, but were unable to fulfil
"The Sadc troika leaders had been due to meet Mugabe
on January 17," a diplomatic source said. "It seems that the meeting was
arranged when Mugabe met with Mbeki during his visit to South Africa for a
relative's wedding early last month.
However, the trip was
aborted when the leaders failed to secure a confirmation from Harare,
diplomats said this week.
Mbeki's spokesman Bheki Khumalo said
yesterday he was not aware of the abortive meeting.
month went to Tanzania to attend Zanzibar's independence anniversary
celebrations. He later hosted Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa in
Mbeki, Mosisili and Nujoma currently comprise the troika of
the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, which deals with elections
in the region. Mbeki is the chair.
Under Mosisili's chairmanship,
the organ is said to have engineered the Sadc principles governing
democratic elections, which Zimbabwe is now struggling to comply
The principles were adopted during a Sadc summit at Grand Baie
in Mauritius last August. The Sadc troika was tasked to visit Zimbabwe to
assess whether or not it was complying with the election
The guidelines urge member states to "establish
impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral
bodies" to run elections.
They also encourage Sadc nations to
safeguard freedoms of association, assembly, and expression as well as
access to the public media by all political parties.
states are also required to take "all necessary measures and precautions to
prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging, or any other illegal practices
throughout the whole electoral process".
The Sadc principles have put
Zimbabwe in the spotlight because of its skewed political landscape and
profoundly flawed electoral process.
After the failure of the Sadc
troika leaders to secure an appointment with
Mugabe, Sadc then decided to
send a technical team, including legal experts, to assess the
However, the team has also had difficulty obtaining the
green light to come to Zimbabwe. Sources said the team was expected to
feature a pro-minent South African lawyer, Kgomotso Ditsebe Moroka, who
hasbeen honour-ed by Mbeki's office for outstanding contributions in the
"upliftment of society".
South African Foreign Affairs director-general
Ayanda Ntsaluba said last week the technical team was still awaiting
clearance by Harare.
"Zimbabwe has not given clearance for the team
and we are a bit concerned. However, they have in the past given us the
assurance and there is no reason to believe that they will not be consistent
now," he said.
Zanu PF, MDC mum on agendas Ray Matikinye THE two
major contestants in national polls to be held in six weeks time seem to
have adopted a stance akin to boxers reluctant to come out of the dressing
room for a top-shelf fight.
Both Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) have yet to make their manifestoes public for the electorate to
make an informed choice when they cast their votes. Zanu PF will market its
wares when it officially launches its campaign this weekend while the MDC
has slated the unveiling of its manifesto for next week.
ruling party has resumed its charm offensive to spit and polish its image
six weeks ahead of elections with a number of vote-catching
"We cannot disclose our campaign strategy, especially in
the wake of the MDC announcing its participation in the election," chairman
of Zanu PF's election directorate, Elliot Manyika, told his party
publication, The Voice, last week.
Manyika said Zanu PF had
various strategies that would be announced when his party officially
launches its election campaign. The manifesto is expected to dwell on the
"success" of the land redistribution programme, a hard-to-achieve economic
turnaround programme, and the glorification of past successes in health and
Government has already begun dusting down several project
blueprints, stalled due to lack of funds because of economic stagnation over
the past five years.
A welter of uncompleted multi-billion dollar
projects around the country could make it difficult for Zanu PF to explain
its latest election promises to voters. The ruling party has spent an
inordinate amount of time since the 2000 election attempting to convince its
supporters that international sanctions imposed for its failure to uphold
human rights were the source of national economic woes.
Tokwe-Mukorsi dam, often touted as a panacea for drought-prone Masvingo
province's perennial water problems, needs an additional 114 million euros
(about $890 billion) to complete. Completion of the dam will kick-start the
Nuanetsi irrigation estate spanning more than 100 000 hectares. A palm
project at Rutenga started in 1982 turned into a dismal failure despite
abundant water for irrigation in the nearby Manyuchi dam.
Bank governor Gideon Gono appears to be a willing election agent for the
ruling party. Last week the RBZ took over the financing of the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Project as government's major vote-catching initiative in
Matabeleland where a restive electorate has proved reluctant to vote for
Zanu PF in the recent past.
Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo
announced in a statement government's plans to resettle 400 000 people in
the next five years despite evidence that the programme is making little
headway in satisfying land hunger among those who are genuinely landless. In
the manifesto for the 2000 election Zanu PF said it would resettle 150 000
Both Zanu PF and the MDC have yet to announce their
campaign strategy. An MDC weekly presidential message has, however, provided
some pointers along what lines the opposition party will
"Our vision is that of a new Zimbabwe whose focus shall be
on food security and jobs. A new approach is urgently needed for the nation
to move out of the current humanitarian crisis. Our goal is to transform our
political culture, to roll the nation back to the ideals of the liberation
struggle, to extend basic freedoms and to put together all aspects of our
nation into a single unit," Morgan Tsvangirai says.
On the other
hand, the MDC has not been able to combat the propaganda blitz from the
state-controlled media and shake off the often repeated "imperialist puppet"
tag which its opponent has seized on at every turn.
"Both Mugabe and
Tsvangirai are imperialist puppets," says Paul Siwela of the opposition Zapu
Freedom Party which advocates a federal system of government. "Mugabe is
crying for Tony Blair to pay whites for the land taken away from them by the
government while Tsvangirai says he would return land to the whites. Neither
of them consider compensating the indigenous blacks who were dispossessed
without compensation in the first place," Siwela says.
ZABG mired in confusion Shakeman Mugari THE Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has extended the curatorship of Royal and Barbican
banks for two months, raising further doubts over operations of the Zimbabwe
Allied Banking Group (ZABG).
The RBZ issued a statement yesterday
announcing that Royal and Barbican's curatorships had been extended to
This means the two banks are still under the management of
their curators despite another statement earlier indicating that the banks
had been absorbed into ZABG.
The extension indicates that the new
bank project has not yet started. ZABG has been entangled in controversy
emanating from RBZ governor Gideon Gono's failure to consult with the
shareholders of the banks.
Gono himself issued two conflicting
statements in his fourth monetary policy
statement on January
"I am pleased to announce that Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
opened its doors on the 24th of January, 2005 and the public are encouraged
to carry out normal banking business with this renewed national pride," Gono
He later made a u-turn in the same statement when he announced that
the bank would open its doors on January 31. "Even if it means opening on 31
January at midnight, we will do so," said Gono.
of Royal Bank have since taken the RBZ to court challenging its ZABG project
which they said was illegal. Trust Bank, which was also swallowed by ZABG,
has challenged the move. Barbican is understood to be in the process of
filing its own litigation against the central bank.
Trust and Royal
are arguing that their assets were taken over without proper consultation
with the shareholders.
MP challenges Posa Loughty Dube A BULAWAYO High
Court Judge on Monday reserved judgement in an application by opposition MDC
member of parliament Thokozani Khuphe challenging sections of the Public
Order and Security Act (Posa).
Khuphe in her court application cited the
officer-in-charge of Law and Order in Bulawayo as the first respondent,
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as the second, and Attorney-General
Sobusa Gula-Ndebele as the third.
Khuphe is seeking a declaration that
the holding of private meetings does not constitute an offence under Section
4 of Posa.
However, on Monday Bulawayo High Court Judge Nicholas Ndou
reserved judgement on the matter.
Members of the police Law and
Order section arrested Khuphe two weeks ago while she was having a private
meeting with about 40 members of the MDC at her restaurant which was closed
Khuphe together with her supporters were taken to Bulawayo
Central police station where they were detained the whole day before being
taken to court the following day. They was remanded out of custody on $100
000 bail each.
Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda Associates, the lawyer
representing Khuphe, told the Zimbabwe Independent that they were still
awating the handing down of the judgement in the matter.
still awaiting judgement but we made it clear that the holding of a private
meeting does not constitute a crime under Section 4 of the Public Order and
Security Act when we presented our heads of argument to Justice Nicholas
Ndou on Monday," Sibanda said.
In her affidavit to the High Court
Khuphe argued that as a politician she had the right to call such a private
meeting without notifying the police.
"Whilst I admit having convened
a meeting at my business place, this meeting was by all accounts a private
meeting. The meeting started off uneventfully at the appointed
"It was whilst the meeting was deliberating on item "C" that
members of the police force barged into the building, forcing the door open.
Pandemonium ensued as some of the people thought they were under attack,"
reads Khuphe's affidavit.
Khuphe charged that the current
interpretation of Section 4 of Posa means that Zanu PF should notify the
police whenever it holds its weekly politburo meetings.
said Khuphe's meeting was not open to the public and Khuphe was only
addressing members from her constituency.
"She did not need to
invite the police since the meeting did not compromise public order in any
way," he said.
Zimra gives individuals tax-collecting power Shakeman
Mugari ZIMBABWEAN taxpayers are now obliged to withhold 10% of what is
charged by retailers or service providers who fail to prove that they pay
tax to the government, according to a new Income Tax Act
For example, a taxpaying company or individual buying a loaf
of bread for $4 000 can ask the supermarket or retailer to produce a tax
clearance certificate. If the supermarket does not have one the customer is
allowed to withhold $400 which must then be remitted to the
In short, customers can deduct 10% if the supermarket cannot
prove that it has been paying tax to the government.
statement issued mid-January allows the customer to act as tax collector on
behalf of the government.
The jury is still out on how this plan will
work but that's how Zimra intends to curb tax evasion.
wants to use the same law to bring more people into the tax net, especially
informal sector traders.
"Please be advised that with effect from 1st
January, 2005, section 80 of the Income Tax Act (Chapter 23:06) has been
amended such that all persons who enter into contracts with quasi-government
institutions and taxpayers who are registered with the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority, are required to submit evidence that they have furnished a return
under section 37 of the Income Tax Act," Zimra said.
fail to produce evidence that they have furnished such a return will have
10% withholding tax deducted from the amount due to them."
clearance certificate is proof that a company's tax payments are up to date.
The directive means that Zimra has given companies and even the man on the
street the right to collect tax on its behalf.
It is a deal based on
the belief that every man is honest enough to remit to Zimra what he will
withhold from a supplier or retailer who fails to prove that they have been
paying tax consistently.
However, experts say the law cannot be
practically applied. Economist and accountancy expert Eric Bloch said the
law would have to be further amended to be applicable.
practical because that means if you buy a soft drink from a shop that does
not have a tax clearance, you have to deduct 10% of the price of the drink.
But one has to give that 10% to Zimra and that's impossible," Bloch
"The law would have to be amended again because it's just not
practical," he said.
The tax revenue figures have been on an
inflation-induced increase over the past few years but their real value has
THERE were celebrations in the state media after government barred
Cosatu from entering Zimbabwe "without following procedures" last week. It
was the second such phoney achievement after the October debacle. Never
mind the mythical "procedures" that should have been followed. The Cosatu
delegation said they wanted to meet their counterparts in the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions. It dropped its earlier request to meet civil
society in deference to concerns by its alliance partner, the ANC.
would have been fine had Cosatu not included in its itinerary the phrase
"fact-finding mission". That rekindled the paranoia that has become the
hallmark of the Zanu PF government since the illegal seizure of white
commercial farms and the "daylight robbery" of the 2000 and 2002
The maladroit action against Cosatu just ahead of the election
ominously reminded us of another self-inflicted wound - the expulsion of a
European Union observer mission led by Pierre Schori before the 2002
presidential poll. That was the beginning of the major fallout with the
international community that haunts Zimbabwe to this day. More importantly,
that action marked the start of the violence that characterised President
Mugabe's controversial re-election and intensified Zimbabwe's isolation. The
consequences of government's actions in the Schori and Cosatu cases are
similar - bad publicity that could easily have been avoided and a lot of
sympathy for those fighting for human rights and free elections in
Recently government courted the same unsavoury publicity by
trying to bar British journalists who wanted to cover Zanu PF's so-called
National People's Congress. Once they were allowed into the country they
shamed all those who had lied about their intentions when their feared
arrival turned out to be a low-key media event. We are repeating the same
error with Cosatu and the country is manifestly not benefiting from the
latest spat as people ask what Zimbabwe has got to hide? Zimbabwe is going
into the election with its image sullied by its new tag as an "outpost of
tyranny" and government is apparently spoiling to prove that it deserves the
label despite its protestations to the contrary.
The spectre of
Schori is refusing to go away. By refusing Cosatu entry into the country,
the government has already set benchmarks for the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission on who not to invite to monitor elections. It is now doubtful
whether the commission will be independent enough to stand its ground when
it comes to inviting election observers.
The trouble is, whatever the
dictates of propaganda to put on a brave face and scoff at the whole world
about sovereignty, Cosatu is in no mood for plea bargaining and is getting
all the limelight while Zimbabwe gets the mud. South Africans who had been
inclined to give President Mugabe's regime the benefit of the doubt have
been shamed into silence.
Needless to say, we didn't hear the same
nonsense about "procedures" from Pretoria when a ZCTU delegation decided to
meet their Cosatu counterparts in the South African town of Musina. The
question that now needs to be asked is whether after the fall of the
apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994 Zimbabwe has become the new bastion
of repression in the region calling for another grouping of Frontline States
to deal with a rogue neighbour? Has the region moved forward or regressed
since the advent of democracy in South Africa, or alternatively, since
Zimbabwe embarked on its lawless land reform programme five years
Attempts by the state media to tar Cosatu by linking it to the
United States will not help redeem the country's image. Cosatu's progressive
credentials are too well established for all but the most gullible consumers
of state propaganda to swallow the line that it serves as a Trojan Horse of
It is significant to note that it is not only
the perceived imperialists and neo-colonial forces who have spoken out
against the democratic deficit in Zimbabwe. The African Union has now
adopted a damning report on Zimbabwe produced by the African Commission for
Human and People's rights. We now await the AU's verdict on the Zimbabwean
election - if the continental body is invited to monitor the
The plain truth is there is an evident democratic shortfall that
needs to be addressed before the region can fully realise its potential.
Army and intelligence officers will be supervising polling, the voters' roll
is a mess, the public media is partisan while vast swathes of the country
remain no-go areas for the opposition.
Celebrating the expulsion of
Cosatu is like celebrating an own goal. Yes, Zimbabwe scored. But it was the
IMF executive to meet over Zim Godfrey
Marawanyika THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board will on
Wednesday review Zimbabwe's position on debts to the fund.
will either result in Harare getting another stay of execution or losing its
membership to the Bretton Woods institution altogether.
has lost its voting rights because of failure to settle debts on
The meeting comes at a time when relations between Harare and
the international financiers seem to be improving if comments by Abdoulaye
Bio Tchane, the director of IMF for Africa department, are anything to go
On his visit to Harare and subsequent meeting with President Robert
Mugabe in November last year, Tchane described his discussions with the
Zimbabwean leader as successful.
After the meeting Mugabe said
that he was prepared to work with the fund on condition that it did not
dictate the terms on how Zimbabwe should run its economic
On July 8 last year, the IMF board decided to postpone a
recommendation for compulsory withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the IMF, providing
the country with another chance to improve its co-operation with the fund in
terms of payment and economic policies.
By the end of last year
Zimbabwe had increased its debt payment from a quarterly amount of US$1,5
million to US$30 million by December. Of that amount, US$22 million was paid
to the IMF whilst US$8 million was paid to the World Bank.
Violence hots up Gift Phiri A WAVE of political
violence in Zimbabwe, underscored by an attack on people leaving an
opposition rally in Nyanga this week, is expected to intensify in the final
seven weeks of an already bitter legislative poll campaign.
the Zimbabwe National Army allegedly assaulted 15 Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) members attending a campaign rally addressed by a party
candidate, Douglas Mwonzora, in Nyanga last Sunday, the party
Hundreds of followers of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF
reportedly ambushed the opposition supporters after the rally, where the
incumbent opposition candidate vowed that the MDC would end a "reign of
terror" if it took over power.
The incident capped a week in
which police arrested Zengeza MDC candidate Godrich Chimbaira, militants
attacked an opposition office in Bulawayo and self-styled liberation war
veterans killed a white farmer in Musonzowa, Banket, and forced his family
to flee their farm.
The opposition MDC poses the strongest challenge
to Mugabe's bid to extend his 25 years in power in the March 31 general
"The violence is likely to continue right up until the day
before elections," Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civic groups, said. "The MDC still
has a million opportunities to withdraw from this election. Zanu PF will
continue using violence in its bid to hold on to power."
Sunday, Harare North MDC candidate Trudy Stevenson battled to hold her first
rally of the year in Hatcliffe Extension when more than 100 supporters of
Zanu PF invaded the venue, determined to disrupt the proceedings. While the
ruling party militants, believed to be Zanu PF candidate Nyasha Chikwinya's
supporters, attempted to attack Stevenson's sympathisers with sticks and
stones, police moved in swiftly and quelled the violence.
no injuries as there was a heavy police presence headed by Officer
Commanding Borrowdale, Chief Inspector Nhamo.
Two weeks ago Kuwadzana
MP Nelson Chamisa and Thokozani Khuphe, the MP for Makokoba, were arrested
for holding meetings in their constituencies.
"MDC lawyer Alec
Muchadehama said that Chimbaira was called to the Chitungwiza Police Station
on the pretext that some MDC youth had been involved in violence. This
turned out to be untrue and he was arrested on arrival," MDC spokesman Paul
Themba Nyathi said.
"The arrests of MDC officials and members are a
clear indication to all the people of Zimbabwe that Zanu PF is afraid of the
MDC's growing popularity," Nyathi said. "Its flagrant use of the police
force as a weapon to suppress the people's party is unquestionable evidence
of the crumbling Zanu PF's growing fear of the people."
opposition party accuses the governing Zanu PF of intimidation and planning
to rig the vote, criticisms echoed by the United States and European Union
which have imposed personal sanctions on Mugabe and his inner
At a rally on Monday in Umzingwane, Mugabe warned against
what he claims are attempts by Britain to gain a foothold in Zimbabwe
through the opposition.
Meanwhile, the deposit charge for candidates
wishing to contest the forthcoming poll has shot up by a staggering 2 000%
amid loud protests by the main opposition which is charging that the move
was a clear attempt by the governing Zanu PF to bust the party's election
budget and hamper its campaign.
According to a Government Gazette
published last Friday, it will now cost $10 million to obtain a copy of the
voters' roll and all candidates wishing to contest the general election will
have to fork out $2 million, an increase of 1 000% and 2 000%
The new charges were "clearly an attempt to exclude our
people from taking part in the democratic process", said Nyathi. "The MDC is
not as well-endowed with resources as a party that helps itself to the
contents of the state coffers," Nyathi said in a reference to the ruling
More trouble for Chiyangwa Gift Phiri DEPOSED Zanu
PF Mashonaland West chairman Phillip Chiyangwa - expected to appear in court
today for his routine remand hearing on espionage charges - could find
himself in further trouble amid reports this week that he could be slapped
with a further charge of externalising US$200 000 between 2001 and last
The Zimbabwe Independent heard yesterday that police in Harare were
preparing a docket on the fresh charges.
Chiyangwa's new charges
follow the publication of a story in the Independent two weeks ago revealing
that the embattled entrepreneur moved US$200 000 out of the country on the
pretext that he wanted to invest in Namibia. However, nothing came of the
supposed investment, it was revealed, as Chiyangwa reportedly withdrew the
money which had been deposited in a Namibian bank.
this week heard that the police's Serious Commercial Crimes Unit had
prepared a docket on charges of externalisation and they were rushing to
complete investigations into the case before Chiyangwa's trial for espionage
The Independent was told that police were planning to go to
Namibia to interview a number of people who handled the transactions.
Sources said there was a possibility that the police would seek assistance
from their Namibian counterparts.
"The police would like to
charge Chiyangwa while he is still inside," a source said this
The ostentatious Zanu PF tycoon is in remand prison awaiting a
High Court judgement on his bail application. Chiyangwa, who faces up to 20
years imprisonment if convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act, is
expected to appear at the magistrates' courts today for a routine remand
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique, Godfrey
Dzvairo, banker Tendai Matambanadzo and Zanu PF external affairs director
Itai Marchi, who were facing similar charges, were on Tuesday jailed for a
maximum of six years each.
RBZ acts on capital flight Godfrey Marawanyika IN a
bid to staunch investment flight from Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank has
tightened regulations for firms that wish to pull out of the country so that
remittances are paid over a 20-year period instead of the current 72 months
The latest changes are with effect from last
Contained in an RBZ document titled, "Exchange Control
Guidelines on Foreign Exchange Transactions", the new regulations apply to
companies that invested in the country and are in the process of winding
down their operations.
Current exchange control regulations state
that disinvestment proceeds arising out of post-May 1993 are freely
Investors may remit offshore any capital plus
appreciation as well as dividends in full, and when they
Under exchange control, capital appreciation is remitted
through 4%, six-year government bonds.
"Accelerated remittance is
possible where there is localisation (15%) (sic), discount (75%) to the
company's net asset value and dividend savings," the exchange control
guidelines say. "Where the above is not met, the remittances will be made
through the 4%, 20-year government external bonds."
Over the past six
years Zimbabwe has experienced massive capital flight because of the hostile
operating environment which was worsened by the shortage of foreign
The situation was exacerbated in 2002 by company and farm
invasions that generated a lot of international hostility for violating
President Robert Mugabe has declared 2005 "a year of
The RBZ said to facilitate the pull-out, documentation such
as the date when the investment was made, details of how the foreign
investment was funded as well as receipts of funds in foreign currency
through normal banking channels, would be required.
companies are also expected to submit their latest audited financial
statements, an agreement of sale where the disinvestment is by way of sale
of shares, providing names of buyers and indicating whether the shares are
being disposed of "at par or at a premium or at a discount".
RBZ said capital account transactions are still to be liberalised, adding
that all applications pertaining to the receipt or payment of capital
transfers/acquisitions/disposal of non-financial assets or transactions
associated with change of ownership must apply to the Exchange Control
The committee considers and makes decisions on
all applications relating to the capital account.
state that investors may only remit the initial "capital outlay
On mergers and takeovers, the RBZ said information
pertaining to issues such as details of ownership structure or control of
the merging entities should be submitted to exchange control
The exchange control authorities must also be given
details of the share acquisitions to facilitate the merger and change of
directorship, annual reports of the merging entities, their market share,
which should be supported by a letter from the Anti-Monopolies and
The RBZ said any offshore borrowings and
cross-border investments will require prior exchange control
Analysts said that the new developments are meant to
ensure that resources remain in the country and stop capital flight, as
investors will now have to wait for 20 years to get their
"This might result in other potential investors adopting a
wait and see attitude but the directive is also meant to ensure that the
country does not release foreign currency to pay firms that are pulling out
of the country," said a bank economist who requested anonymity.
Muleya THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s decision last
week to contest the March general election after initial threats of a
boycott elicited mixed reactions from political analysts and civil society
leaders. Whilst some analysts said the controversial decision was pragmatic
under the prevailing circumstances, others said it showed the MDC was in a
sticky situation. The MDC suspended participation in polls in August last
year pending the implementation of the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) principles on democratic elections. The Sadc elections
protocol urges member states to "establish impartial, all-inclusive,
competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified
personnel, as well as competent legal entities including effective
constitutional courts to arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the
conduct of elections". The regulations also encourage Sadc countries to
safeguard freedoms of association, assembly, expression and campaigning, as
well as access to the media by all political parties. Member states are
also required to take "all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the
perpetration of fraud, rigging, or any other illegal practices throughout
the whole electoral process". The Sadc principles put Zimbabwe in a tight
spot because of its skewed political landscape and flawed electoral process
ahead of the forthcoming election set for March 31. Zimbabwe's 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections were hotly-disputed amid
allegations of violence, vote-rigging, and fraud. The election results led
to still ongoing legal battles. The controversy over the electoral outcome
also led to the country's isolation from the international community. This
further worsened the current economic crisis, underlined by a political
impasse and a sea of other troubles besetting the nation. In a bid to
comply with the Sadc protocol, the ruling Zanu PF recently railroaded two
pieces of legislation through parliament to govern the electoral
process. The legislation resulted in the establishment of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC), which will run all elections, and introduced new
voting procedures. Voting will now be done in one day instead of two;
translucent ballot boxes will be used and counting of votes will be done at
polling stations and not the national command centre, which critics say is
the rigging headquarters. Despite the introduction of the ZEC, a
statutory and not constitutional body, the old electoral agencies still
remain and will effectively run the poll. The discredited
Registrar-General of Elections' Office, Elections Directorate, Delimitation
Commission and Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) will still be
involved. Analysts say the ZEC, whose claim to being autonomous is
questionable, is susceptible to political pressure and manipulation because
Zanu PF can always amend the law as and when it wants to ensure the body
fulfils its interests. Initially, the ZEC was supposed to be a
constitutional body to replace the ESC but Zanu PF failed to effect the
change when the MDC proved uncooperative. This meant that Zanu PF
proceeded unilaterally to introduce the ZEC and define its mandate without
adequate consultation. The body becomes a Zanu PF creation instead of being
a parliamentary initiative whose legitimacy is not in doubt. Although the
MDC was involved in the appointment of members of the ZEC, most of them are
widely seen as Zanu PF cronies. In particular it has voiced protests about
its chairman, Justice George Chiweshe. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the
ZEC was facing a litmus test of impartiality. "The commission has an
intricate task to separate itself from past practices and show that a fresh
electoral management system is possible," he said this week. "That can
only happen if the commission discharges its duties without fear or favour.
The commission needs to check on the impact of Zanu PF's bureaucratic
dominance on the management and administration of the election." While
the MDC gives the commission, which operates within the broad hostile
political environment, the benefit of the doubt, it also runs the risk of
getting trapped in the convoluted elections tangle. Although the
opposition is on record as saying the reforms are cosmetic and piecemeal, it
still wants to participate in a flawed process - for the third time! But
for practical purposes nothing has changed. The MDC admits in its Sadc
principles compliance checklist dossier that there is little, if any, real
observance of the regional bloc's election protocol. So why then did the
MDC decided to enter the election race? The party said the problem was that
it was in a Catch-22 situation: damned if it did and equally damned if it
didn't. Analysts differed on the decision taken. Some said boycotting
the election would have simply rendered the party completely irrelevant and
put it under threat of disintegration. Others said by entering the poll
the MDC showed it had learnt and forgotten nothing from the recent history
of contesting rigged elections, which only serve to lend a veneer of
legitimacy to stolen victories. Critics say both arguments sound realistic
and sustainable, but one should surely be more realistic than the
other. University of Zimbabwe political analyst Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei
said: "It was the only option they (MDC) had. But I think Zanu PF will have
an edge in the election because of the skewed playing field." National
Constitutional Assembly chairman and commentator, Lovemore Madhuku, said the
MDC decision was as "shocking" as it was unhelpful. He said the MDC had
fatally shot itself in the foot through the unviable resolution. "It was a
very unfortunate decision. I'm shocked that the MDC would take such an
irresponsible move," Madhuku said. "Contesting the election under protest
will not help anything except to legitimise a flawed electoral process. The
MDC will lose the election because of the current hostile political
conditions." Madhuku said the decision was ridiculous and a mockery of the
MDC's initial position. "What has changed now in terms of the situation
on the ground? Nothing. The MDC decision is a just mockery of their initial
principled position," he said. "Actually, the MDC seems to be now
chickening out of the real struggle for fundamental democratic reforms in
Zimbabwe." Asked what a boycott would achieve, Madhuku said the search for a
solution to the current crisis should be broad and holistic. "We have
always said that the MDC can't win any election under these conditions," he
said. "If we were in the MDC position we would simply tell (President Robert)
Mugabe that we will not contest the election until you create a conducive
environment. We will not legitimise an election which is flawed and will
possibly be rigged." Madhuku's solution: "Zimbabwe needs a fundamental
constitutional review first and foremost. That will deal with electoral
framework issues and other broad contested issues. It will also address
critical issues of governance, transparency and accountability." Madhuku
said undemocratic arrangements such as Zanu PF's in-built and guaranteed 30
seats would also be scrapped in levelling the playing field. "At the moment
how does the MDC win an election when Zanu PF starts off with 30 seats
already in the bag? They will obviously lose and then what? It's just a
Economic curse of faulty telecoms MANY are the causes of
Zimbabwe's economic morass. They range from the government's near-total
destruction of agriculture, which has always been the country's foundation
of its economy, to its equally foolhardy and catastrophic alienation of the
majority of the international community. They include the dissuasion of
international tourism to patronise Zimbabwe, achieved through the prolonged
breakdown in law and order. They also include the government's grossly
excessive regulation of the economy, which is a great deterrent to
investors. The economic distress of the last seven years has also been
attributable to almost worldwide perceptions (not without foundation) that
Zimbabwe is governed by a dictatorship, instead of being a genuine
democracy. The absence of absolute democratic freedom is a great demotivant
to international investment and trade. Inflation too has played no small
role in bringing the economy to its knees, with the critical upsurge to
hyperinflation levels having been almost wholly due to fiscal profligacy and
pronounced corruption. In turn, all those and many other factors have
combined to stimulate a massive "brain drain" from Zimbabwe, with the result
that the economy is severely lacking many of the essential skills required
to keep the wheels of commerce and industry, agriculture, mining, tourism
and other economic sectors turning. But these are not only contributants
to economic decline. They also contribute to the intense difficulty of
reversing that decline. There are numerous other catalysts of the immense
collapse of the economy, and some of those are also among the very great
barriers to be overcome if economic wellbeing is to be restored. One of
the foremost of the obstacles that needs to be surmounted is the
overwhelming inadequacies of Zimbabwe's telecommunications, which have
become the curse of almost all that are economically active and who strive
to revitalise their operations to viable levels. Almost the only facet of
Zimbabwean telecommunication services that operates with any degree of
reasonable reliability is the belated rendition to subscribers of accounts
for payment for the abysmal services provided, and the disconnection of
service if such accounts are not paid timeously (usually being necessary
within 24 hours of receipt of the account, either due to delayed dispatch of
accounts, or due to tardy mail delivery services). Virtually nothing else
within the telecommunication services works effectively. Making a
subscriber trunk dialling call from any place in Zimbabwe to any other, or
further afield within the region or internationally, is a Herculean
undertaking. Invariably, an engaged signal is forthcoming after dialling
only area code and the first three digits of the required destination. This
can recur endlessly, and especially so during business hours. The result
is that every user of the telephone wastes many hours with constant
redialling, the economic value of which is unquantifiable on a national
basis, but must be immense. Billions and billions of dollars must be forfeit
annually as a consequence of the prolonged endeavours necessary to make
telephone calls, and there are also very numerous examples of business
orders and contracts lost due to delayed telephonic communications. Of
course, the problem is not confined to the services of the state's
telecommunications' parastatal, TelOne, for to varying degrees it applies to
the cellular telephone services available in Zimbabwe as well. That is
particularly so of a publicly listed cellular telephone service which,
in its early days, provided its subscribers with a spectacularly effective
service. Regrettably, that is something of the past. Invariably any
attempt now to make a call on that network results in a signal on the screen
"network busy" or a metallic female recorded voice claiming that "the number
you have dialled is no longer in service", although it is irrefutable that
such number is in service, save that the network is denying access to it,
and denying it any access to other subscribers. Over the last three years
there have been repeated apologetic advertisements in the press from that
network, stating that it would be undergoing an upgrade of its
telecommunications' infrastructure but, instead, the service is going
continuously from bad to worse. One must also ponder on the extent to which
its profits are swollen by the inadequacies of its services for, although it
must undoubtedly be losing considerable revenues due to unconnected calls,
equally when a subscriber is fortunate enough to achieve a connection, his
call will invariably be terminated precipitously before expiry of the time
period which correlates to the minimum charge. All too often, it takes at
least three calls to conclude one short conversation, although those three
calls will be spaced well apart, due to the network deficiencies. However,
ultimately the network company benefits from the charges for three calls
whereas there should (based upon aggregate duration of the calls) only have
been the minimum charge for one. In fairness, the economic losses are not
solely due to the inadequacies of the telecommunication system or the
maintenance of those systems. They are exacerbated by the prolonged delays
that invariably characterise requests for landline repairs. It appears
that, as a general rule, it takes at least a fortnight, and often very much
longer, for TelOne's maintenance crews to respond to a breakdown call.
Usually the excuse for the extended reaction time is a lack of
transport. Not only is the subscriber greatly inconvenienced, but the
supposed service provider sustains a loss of income, in the absence of
telephonic traffic while service is out of commission. However, that is not
always the case, for there are instances where despite there being no
service for as many as four or more months, TelOne unhesitatingly continues
to charge line rental. That is not completely different to the cellphone
networks, who charge full monthly rental even when one receives one-tenth to
one-quarter of the required service - the remainder of the subscriber's time
being frustratingly and fruitlessly expended upon recurrent redialling of
required numbers, without achieving connection. If Zimbabwe does not
rapidly enhance its telecommunications to provide reliable and effective
continuing service, all the endeavours of the government and the Reserve
Bank to turn the economy around will be hampered, and the turnaround reduced
- for poor communications are not an investment incentive, and fuel losses
of trade opportunities, while occasioning tremendous losses of valuable,
irreplaceable time of the scarce skills resource still available in
Zimbabwe. Similar consequences will partially also arise if Zimbabweans do
not adapt to constructive usage and communication of telephone
MANY are the causes of Zimbabwe's economic morass.
They range from the government's near-total destruction of agriculture,
which has always been the country's foundation of its economy, to its
equally foolhardy and catastrophic alienation of the majority of the
international community. They include the dissuasion of international
tourism to patronise Zimbabwe, achieved through the prolonged breakdown in
law and order. They also include the government's grossly excessive
regulation of the economy, which is a great deterrent to investors.
The economic distress of the last seven years has also been attributable to
almost worldwide perceptions (not without foundation) that Zimbabwe is
governed by a dictatorship, instead of being a genuine democracy. The
absence of absolute democratic freedom is a great demotivant to
international investment and trade. Inflation too has played no small
role in bringing the economy to its knees, with the critical upsurge to
hyperinflation levels having been almost wholly due to fiscal profligacy and
pronounced corruption. In turn, all those and many other factors have
combined to stimulate a massive "brain drain" from Zimbabwe, with the result
that the economy is severely lacking many of the essential skills required
to keep the wheels of commerce and industry, agriculture, mining, tourism
and other economic sectors turning. But these are not only
contributants to economic decline. They also contribute to the intense
difficulty of reversing that decline. There are numerous other catalysts of
the immense collapse of the economy, and some of those are also among the
very great barriers to be overcome if economic wellbeing is to be
restored. One of the foremost of the obstacles that needs to be
surmounted is the overwhelming inadequacies of Zimbabwe's
telecommunications, which have become the curse of almost all that are
economically active and who strive to revitalise their operations to viable
levels. Almost the only facet of Zimbabwean telecommunication services
that operates with any degree of reasonable reliability is the belated
rendition to subscribers of accounts for payment for the abysmal services
provided, and the disconnection of service if such accounts are not paid
timeously (usually being necessary within 24 hours of receipt of the
account, either due to delayed dispatch of accounts, or due to tardy mail
delivery services). Virtually nothing else within the
telecommunication services works effectively. Making a subscriber
trunk dialling call from any place in Zimbabwe to any other, or further
afield within the region or internationally, is a Herculean undertaking.
Invariably, an engaged signal is forthcoming after dialling only area code
and the first three digits of the required destination. This can recur
endlessly, and especially so during business hours. The result is
that every user of the telephone wastes many hours with constant redialling,
the economic value of which is unquantifiable on a national basis, but must
be immense. Billions and billions of dollars must be forfeit annually as a
consequence of the prolonged endeavours necessary to make telephone calls,
and there are also very numerous examples of business orders and contracts
lost due to delayed telephonic communications. Of course, the problem
is not confined to the services of the state's telecommunications'
parastatal, TelOne, for to varying degrees it applies to the cellular
telephone services available in Zimbabwe as well. That is particularly so of
a publicly listed cellular telephone service which, in its early days,
provided its subscribers with a spectacularly effective service.
Regrettably, that is something of the past. Invariably any attempt now
to make a call on that network results in a signal on the screen "network
busy" or a metallic female recorded voice claiming that "the number you have
dialled is no longer in service", although it is irrefutable that such
number is in service, save that the network is denying access to it, and
denying it any access to other subscribers. Over the last three years there
have been repeated apologetic advertisements in the press from that network,
stating that it would be undergoing an upgrade of its telecommunications'
infrastructure but, instead, the service is going continuously from bad to
worse. One must also ponder on the extent to which its profits are
swollen by the inadequacies of its services for, although it must
undoubtedly be losing considerable revenues due to unconnected calls,
equally when a subscriber is fortunate enough to achieve a connection, his
call will invariably be terminated precipitously before expiry of the time
period which correlates to the minimum charge. All too often, it
takes at least three calls to conclude one short conversation, although
those three calls will be spaced well apart, due to the network
deficiencies. However, ultimately the network company benefits from the
charges for three calls whereas there should (based upon aggregate duration
of the calls) only have been the minimum charge for one. In fairness,
the economic losses are not solely due to the inadequacies of the
telecommunication system or the maintenance of those systems. They are
exacerbated by the prolonged delays that invariably characterise requests
for landline repairs. It appears that, as a general rule, it takes at
least a fortnight, and often very much longer, for TelOne's maintenance
crews to respond to a breakdown call. Usually the excuse for the extended
reaction time is a lack of transport. Not only is the subscriber
greatly inconvenienced, but the supposed service provider sustains a loss of
income, in the absence of telephonic traffic while service is out of
commission. However, that is not always the case, for there are instances
where despite there being no service for as many as four or more months,
TelOne unhesitatingly continues to charge line rental. That is not
completely different to the cellphone networks, who charge full monthly
rental even when one receives one-tenth to one-quarter of the required
service - the remainder of the subscriber's time being frustratingly and
fruitlessly expended upon recurrent redialling of required numbers, without
achieving connection. If Zimbabwe does not rapidly enhance its
telecommunications to provide reliable and effective continuing service, all
the endeavours of the government and the Reserve Bank to turn the economy
around will be hampered, and the turnaround reduced - for poor
communications are not an investment incentive, and fuel losses of trade
opportunities, while occasioning tremendous losses of valuable,
irreplaceable time of the scarce skills resource still available in
Zimbabwe. Similar consequences will partially also arise if Zimbabweans do
not adapt to constructive usage and communication of telephone
ZANU PF and its supporters are clutching at straws to win
legitimacy in the next election. And they are having to search in all the
corners for some positive comment to prove to the world that they are ready
to embrace civilisation. This week it was Lowani Ndlovu who landed the
elusive gem from South African government spokesperson Joel
Netshitenzhe. Commenting on the political situation in Zimbabwe, Netshitenzhe
said there were some "positive developments that give us hope that Zimbabwe
should come as close as possible to the protocols that have been agreed by
Sadc". This was twisted by Lowani as a ringing endorsement of the changes
government has made ahead of the election in March. But Zimbabweans and the
world will be looking for concrete steps, not cosmetic changes, to accept
that there has been change at all. Zimbabweans want a return to civilisation
so that they can choose their leaders without being intimidated by Zanu PF
militia and roguish war veterans. In any case, if everything is normal
and Zimbabwe is a peaceful country why is the Zanu PF government so
terrified of a Cosatu visit? What do they have to hide?
Head of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Justice George Chiweshe should be wary of
making tendentious statements about the forthcoming election. He reportedly
told the Sunday Mail that they are ready for the poll because the "machinery
has always been in place". The role of his commission is to be an impartial
arbiter in the election. Nobody has faith in the system that has been used
by Zanu PF to rig the election over the years. Nobody trusts the
registrar-general's office and the way it has handled the voters'
roll. Chiweshe claimed there was "nothing new about such elections" and there
was enough time for his commission to get everything right. We hope he is
not condemning the commission he chairs to irrelevance before it has even
started its work. We thought the idea of an independent commission was
proposed precisely because there were glaring inadequacies in the current
electoral mechanisms! It's time to get real and address those concerns
instead of endorsing a system that even Zanu PF itself acknowledges is
fraught with shortcomings. Otherwise there would have been no need to ask
parliament to pass an Act to deal with these issues.
Information minister Chen Chimutengwende has a dream. He wants to build a
nirvana out of Africa's checkered history through what is called the United
New Africa Global Network. In a half-page advert in The Voice this week,
Chimutengwende says they plan to transform Africa into a united socialist
state that will be "powerful, anti-racist, anti-capitalist,
anti-imperialist, socialist, independent, self-reliant, incorruptible,
prosperous and democratic". This destination will be achieved through
pan-Africanism and socialism through class struggle as advocated by Kwame
Nkrumah of Ghana. We wonder if Chimutengwende has ever heard of the fall of
the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the beginning of the end of the great socialist
experiment in the Soviet Union. Why does he believe Zimbabwe needs to
reinvent the socialist wheel when even countries such as China are embracing
capitalism and free-market economics? We also wonder who is funding this
anachronistic outfit. Socialists are not known for their generosity unless
it is the supply of firearms.
The Voice's columnist Don Muvhuti is
evidently part of this threadbare legacy. He appears confused about which
MPs are Zanu PF and who belong to the opposition MDC. In an article
titled "No room for spies in parliament" in this week's issue, Muvhuti said
in an effort to recolonise Zimbabwe, imperialists had created an opposition
to serve their interests. They had created spies under the guise of
democracy and freedom of expression, he claimed. It is our duty as society,
declared Muvhuti, "to prove the enemy wrong by voting MDC out of the next
parliament. The moral we will be getting across is that being a
parliamentary opposition does not give the persons involved the freedom to
indulge in espionage and treasonable activities against their society. That
sort of disloyalty to society can be punished with a complete ban at the
ballot box." Does he know something we don't? Which party has three of its
officials in prison for selling state secrets and two others awaiting trial?
Does one become an opposition MP as soon as he commits a crime and is facing
trial? The following day the Herald led with a story on Philip Chiyangwa
losing his chairmanship of Mashonaland West province because of the spying
charges that he is facing. We hope Don Muvhuti had the chance to read it and
get his facts right.
We should be forever grateful to the Herald for
the subtle disclosures, though inadvertent, of the ruling party's modus
operandi in the run-up to the election. On Tuesday the paper ran a story
titled "Zanu PF blasts Tutu" in which it was alleged Zimbabwe's enemies were
out in full force to discredit the March election. Among them was Archbishop
Desmond Tutu of South Africa who said Zimbabwe made a mockery of the
continent's commitment to good governance and freedom. For his pains, he
got a rebuke from Zanu PF mandarin Didymus Mutasa who said Tutu was "a
vassal of imperialism". Cosatu was also among those accused of defending
"white interests". By attacking Tutu and Cosatu like this, Mutasa is simply
holding his party up to public ridicule in South Africa. It is a measure of
how isolated Zanu PF leaders are that they can't grasp that. When US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated the obvious - that Zimbabwe was
an "outpost of tyranny" - there was an outbreak of contrived nationalist
hysteria. Zimbabwe was under attack ahead of the election, we were
told. One of the "attacks" on Zimbabwe by the US was the claim that half
the country's population would need food aid in the next two months. That
stirred the wrath of unnamed "analysts" who said the US government was
making a "devious attempt" to force the Zimbabwe government to allow
non-governmental organisations to distribute food in the rural areas, "a
move aimed at helping the MDC to penetrate these traditional Zanu PF
strongholds". What further proof does one need to show that some places in
Zimbabwe are no-go areas for the opposition because they are considered Zanu
PF strongholds? So communal lands have become "restricted areas" the way
they were during the war? And the opposition can't campaign there because
the Zanu PF militia and war veterans have been stationed there as enforcers
to ensure NGOs don't penetrate these areas on behalf of the MDC. We need
that detail for the record.
Every day brings a new revelation about
Zanu PF's inability to understand the requirements of democracy. On
Monday the Herald carried a story headed "Reclaim Masvingo Central". The
exhortation came from the chairman of the 21st February Movement, Walter
Mzembi, who said Zanu PF members in the province should join forces and
wrest the seat from the MDC. He said the party had an obligation to win
back Masvingo Central as "a worthwhile birthday present" for the
president. Nothing here about improving service delivery or benefiting the
electorate. The president had on many occasions expressed "dismay" over the
loss of the seat, we are told, and wanted it "reclaimed". Reclaiming
Masvingo would "fulfil the president's long-held desire that Masvingo retain
its one-party status that it held in the 1980s", Mzembi
said. "Zimbabweans were blessed to have a leader like President Mugabe," the
fawning Mzembi gushed, "whose legacy of economically empowering his people
by defending national sovereignty were ever going to rank him as one of the
greatest African leaders in history." Is Mzembi aware that per capita GDP
is lower than it was in 1975? What sort of empowerment is that? And we were
interested to see that he donated $15 million at a Zanu PF fund-raising
dinner held in Masvingo over the weekend. ZFTU vice-president Joseph
Chinotimba pledged $2 million. This is a profitable way of doing business,
isn't it? Zanu PF sets up an organisation claiming to represent workers,
permits it to go on a lawless rampage extorting money from companies, and
then receives the proceeds as a "donation" to its election fund. Despite
talk of one-party domains, Zanu PF has of late been frantically advertising
its "compliance" with the Mauritius principles on the conduct of elections.
At every opportunity it flags its adherence to the Sadc protocol. So here's
a challenge. Let's see President Mugabe go on TV to give an assurance that
everybody's vote is their secret; that contrary to what his militias have
reportedly been telling susceptible rural voters, Zanu PF does not have any
means of telling how people voted. And there will be no penalties for
communities where the MDC does well. We're sure Zanu PF will have no
difficulty taking up that challenge given its much-advertised commitment to
the Mauritius terms! And when the Sadc technical team does finally get the
green light to come and test compliance, it should look at the Herald's
editorial on Monday, "Voters won't be fooled by MDC", to see the extent of
abuse of the public media by the incumbent party.
On the same page
somebody called Maria Kwindi confessed to spending six months in the UK
"mixing and socialising" with other Zimbabweans. That evidently included a
little freelance spying on behalf of the ruling party. She reports that MDC
meetings are poorly attended and that it was hypocrisy for the MDC to want
postal ballots when Zanu PF leaders were banned from the UK and therefore
couldn't campaign there. She doesn't mention that MDC leaders are banned from
campaigning in many parts of Zimbabwe. Nor Homelink's attempts to take money
off Zimbabweans in the UK while they are denied the right to vote for those
who will make use of their funds!
We were intrigued by Joel
Netshitenzhe's reference to the technical team that Sadc was "planning" to
send to Zimbabwe ahead of the election. Is that the same technical team that
has been cooling its heels over the past few weeks while Zimbabwe's leaders
try to make up their minds whether they want it here or not? The Herald's
report on Tutu, referred to earlier, omitted the following observation by the
archbishop: "I don't know what happened there," he said about Zimbabwe,
"because I'd always held President Mugabe in the highest possible regard,
until something peculiar happened and I don't know what it is. And we've got
to say what is happening there is not acceptable. Say it in as friendly a
manner as possible, but it is some thing we should say for the sake of all
of us. It is not acceptable not to allow freedom of association, freedom of
speech." We know what "happened there". It was the prospect of political
mortality after the 2000 electoral defeats. And have you noticed the
mind-insulting way the state media talks about the "protest votes" of that
year as if people are not allowed to protest against the way the country is
being run when they vote! Let us also take this opportunity to record the
obstacles which Tobaiwa Mudede is helpfully putting in the path of people
trying to register as urban voters. Is he constitutionally entitled to make
it so difficult for people to register? No wonder that technical team is
being kept waiting. Their first port of call, the voters' roll, is being
nicely stitched up, just as it was in 2002, while they are waiting to hear
if they will be admitted.
After ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe's
remarks about the "anomaly" of MDC officials having to seek police
permission to communicate with their followers, it should be interesting to
see what he thinks of 13 MDC members reportedly being arrested and fined
because deputy Foreign Affairs minister Abednico Ncube thought he was
"insulted" when they gave him the open-palm salute. Nothing better
illustrates the abuse of the law to thwart the opposition's right to free
expression. By the way, apart from ordering the arrest of MDC members, what
exactly does Abednico Ncube do?
New fuel body emerges Chris Goko REUBEN Marumahoko,
Zimbabwe's deputy Energy minister, says he is confident of a more stable and
restructured fuel industry after overseeing the creation of a unified fuel
procurement agency, the Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe (PMZ).
was formed out of the recent merger of the Indigenous Petroleum Marketers
Group and the mainly multinational-dominated Petroleum Marketers Association
The merger was carried out to obtain some measure of
parity in fuel procurement and distribution, and this is part of
government's efforts to stabilise the oil sector.
that although his ministry was greatly involved in setting up PMZ, it would
maintain its independence and they had since approved a 13-member board for
the new consortium.
"I am sure it (PMZ) will succeed because these
are the big players in the sector," he told businessdigest this
"We encouraged them to constitute a board and we are happy with
the outcome. In the selection process, we looked at experience and other
Gordon Musarira, the Country Petroleum
proprietor, chairs the PMZ board, which has six key sub-committees given as
administration, allocation, audit and inspectorate, finance and procurement,
legal and policy as well as special interest.
Among the key
committees, Total's Stan Hatendi heads administration with Chris Kwaramba of
Pierefux Petroleum on the audit and inspectorate committee, Masimba
Kambarami serving the legal and policy side and Wedzera's Eric Nhodza
heading the finance and procurement committee.
Royal Oil's Chris
Pasipamire is vice-chairman of PMZ while Robert Zhuwawo of Temisa has been
assigned to the special interest committee, which presumably deals with
empowerment and other pertinent issues.
PMZ has since appointed Muzi
Ukwela as chief executive and Marumahoko said he was happy that the group
had managed to bring into the country "relatively cheaper" fuel as well as
maintain steady flows of the product.
He said that were it not for
insufficient foreign cash resources, whereby the sector was getting less
than US$10 million weekly, the fuel supply situation could easily get back
to the pre-1999 level.
Zimbabwe consumes US$40 million worth of
liquid fuels monthly, but weekly fuel allocations at the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's foreign currency auctions have been averaging US$6-7
Marumahoko stressed that government had no intention of
delving into fuel procurement any more, meaning a proposed joint venture
between private oil companies and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) is imperilled.
"Government has no role to play in fuel
procurement (for national retailing)," he said, adding fuel companies should
have enough confidence to go it alone.
The deputy minister said
Noczim would remain a bulk procurer for state departments and strategic
stock holdings, and the level at which government was also involved in the
fuel sector related to provision of storage facilities at its Msasa
Marumahoko also said they had no intention to cancel as many
as 100 operating licences because government was happy "with the number of
licences out there".
Meanwhile, a three-month tender and fuel
supply system has been adopted albeit on a pilot basis.
to Marumahoko, PMZ had identified one bulk procurer who would supply the
country with the product. The tender could be reviewed at the end of the
He said the PMZ and government were, however,
hopeful of extending the supply period to half-a-year in order to put in
place a more predictable and sustainable supply arrangement.
stressed though, that the basis of awarding lengthy tenders was
prices, proven competency in fuel supply and ability to work with
the Zimbabwean authorities.
THE number of
tourists visiting Zambia has quadrupled since foreigners began to shun
neighbouring Zimbabwe four years ago, boosting revenues from the sector to
US$153 million last year, officials said on Tuesday.
"There is a tourism
boom in Zambia, which is partly because of the problems Zimbabwe is facing
with the international community," a senior Treasury official told Reuter at
an African tourism conference in Lusaka.
"Tourists (prefer) to visit
Zambia compared to Zimbabwe now," he added.
Zambian Tourism minister
Patrick Kalifungwa told the conference that tourism was one of the southern
African nation's three top growth sectors.
Zimbabwe used to be one of the
region's main tourist destinations, but its hotels and game reserves are now
struggling to attract foreigners from outside the continent.
former British colony launched a controversial land reform programme in
2000, seizing white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless
That helped spark its worst political and economic crisis
since Independence in 1980, as agricultural output contracted sharply and
western donors halted credit lines.
Kalifungwa said Zambia had
embarked on a vigorous marketing campaign to attract tourists and hoped to
receive one million visitors a year by 2010.
A total of 610 109 tourists
visited Zambia last year compared with 577 526 in 2003, he said. This
compares with about 160 000 tourists four years ago, according to government
"The country recorded tourism receipts of $152,8 million in
2004 compared with $148,8 million in 2003 and we see our tourism industry
growing further," Kalifungwa said.
Zambia's economy is expected
to grow by 6% this year, compared with 4,6% in 2004, spurred also by
expansion in agriculture and mining.
Good rains, farm reforms and the
arrival of white commercial farmers who fled Zimbabwe have helped Zambian
agriculture and the country is keen to cash in on its potential for offering
safari holidays for foreign tourists.
Official estimates are not
available, but based on Zambia's gross domestic product data, tourism now
accounts for nearly four percent of the economy.
Most of Zambia's roughly
10 million people still live in abject poverty and like most of southern
Africa, the country is in the throes of a raging HIV/Aids pandemic that is
killing off much of its workforce.
One of the main tourist
attractions in Zambia - also accessible from Zimbabwe - are the Victoria
Falls, listed by the U.N agency Unesco as one of the world's seven
Thousands of tourists also visit Livingstone town, 500 km
south of Lusaka, to see the spot which Scottish explorer David Livingstone
visited nearly 150 years ago.- Reuter.
metaphors can be quite entertaining.
I recall in 2003 when a Labour
legislator in Britain startled colleagues by using what she admitted was a
"very dangerous metaphor" against Prime Minister Tony
Summoned for a private chat with the prime minister, she spoke
of her weariness with his charm offensive.
"He must think I am a
fool if he thinks I will fall for his promises of a place in the government.
He is like a serial adulterer who keeps promising his mistress he will leave
his wife but never does," she said.
That was definitely over the top.
But such tales provide useful soundbites for the media.
Mugabe is a master of the metaphor. It is his strong point, especially when
he addresses unsophisticated rural folk. The president can be quite
entertaining when he is in this mode.
At the beginning of the week he
did not disappoint the crowd in Umzingwane in Matabeleland South. Zanu PF is
desperate to win back votes from constituencies in Matabeleland provinces
lost to the opposition MDC in 2000. It was metaphor time
His metaphor of a husband trying to win back the love of a
runaway wife astutely captured a fascinating phenomenon in Zanu PF politics.
This is what the president had to say to the Umzingwane folk:
2000 the vote was by and large 'No'. But if a man is rejected by a woman, if
he is still in love with her, as we believe we are still in love with you,
he will come back again. Is she going to say no?" said Mugabe.
I am laughing and joking, very jubilant and hopeful that this time I will
give her the ring.
"Well there it is. I will come back again although
this is not the time for the second attempt. After the launch of our
election campaign on Friday (today), that will be the time we will be coming
to talk to you in a serious way and we will establish whether our destiny
will be together," he said.
The metaphorical man in Mugabe's little
story appears to be really in love with this adulterous woman who is now
sleeping with the enemy. The man is even prepared to offer her a ring. He
needs her back. But the sincerity of the man is in doubt here if Mugabe was
correctly quoted by the state media.
"But we would want the people to be
with us. Give us the necessary support. It is that oneness that we require
and it must be demonstrated once every five years," said Mugabe. There are
the husband's true colours.
He only makes approaches to the cheating
wife with the intention of making up once in five years! Here is our
It is also hard to tell what the man has been up to
all along and why the woman ran away in the first place. The smitten lover
is careful not to blame the woman for leaving the matrimonial home. He is
aware of his own shortcomings, especially his battery of the poor woman
during the early years of the marriage.
Didn't the infatuated man
admit at one point that the wife-beating was an "act of madness"? Sanity
restored, he is coming back.
As Mugabe promised the people of
Umzingwane, he is coming back with a proposal and hopefully to win the heart
of the Matabele belle. She was cheated in 2000 and 2002 by this grotesque
suitor who convinced her to leave her husband of many years, so the story
Mugabe's current charm offensive in Matabeleland is not
new. Its ardour however hots up close to elections.
that he is serious this time around, RBZ governor Gideon Gono was on site to
tell us that work on the Gwaayi-Shangani Dam - an important phase of the
Matabeleland water project - should be finished by 2007.
That is the
dowry. But the Matabele belle would like to know what happened to
Zimbabwe/Malaysia Holdings which in 2003 said it had secured a $41 billion
loan from Export and Import Bank of Malaysia. She needs to know why this
suitor did not sign the US$600 million deal in Malaysia in July last year.
What was the explanation by the way?
Some say Mugabe had not taken to
Malaysia his technical people, including then Water and Infrastructural
Development minister Joyce Mujuru.
"The project requires much more
discussion. Our Ministry of Water is also not here. The deal will be done in
the future," Mugabe told Malaysian media.
They are still discussing it we
So when the suitor comes back, he needs to be asked all
these questions. He also needs to be asked when he will procure desks and
chairs for rural primary schools. Surely you do not want to hold computer
lessons while sitting on a goatskin or a brick!
In all this can
the true husband please stand up?
*Meanwhile, I am still waiting for
a response from Harare Commission chairperson Sekesai Makwavarara.