But negotiators from the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
said little progress has been made in talks with President Robert Mugabe's
longtime ruling ZANU-PF, and that a deadlock in the discussions should be
Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 11 February 2010
A member of the South African facilitation team which left Harare this week
after two days of consultations with parties in the Harare unity government
on issues troubling the power-sharing arrangement said Thursday that her
team was "comfortable" with the situation and ongoing negotiations.
But negotiators from the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said little progress has been made in talks
with President Robert Mugabe's longtime ruling ZANU-PF, and that a deadlock
in the discussions should be declared.
Political sources said mediators representing South African President Jacob
Zuma who were in Harare from Monday to Wednesday put pressure on all
negotiating sides to come to agreement, but without apparent results.
ZANU-PF representatives in the protracted talks reportedly told Mr. Zuma's
team they were under strict party orders not to make further concessions
until Western sanctions have been removed. Negotiations were to pick up
Monday, though MDC sources said it was unlikely anything would change.
South African facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser on
international relations to Mr. Zuma, told VOA Studio 7 that mediators remain
positive but want to see a conclusion to the negotiations soon.
The governing partners are haggling over the appointments of Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana as well
as the swearing-in of MDC provincial governors and MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett
as junior agricultural minister, among many other issues.
More optimistic than some, political analyst Zenzo Nkomo told VOA Studio 7
reporter Ntungamili Nkomo the South Africans are experienced mediators and
have a good chance of producing results despite seemingly irreconcilable
differences between ZANU-PF and the two MDC formations.
by Tafadzwa Mutasa Friday 12 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's shaky government looks increasingly likely to being
split right through the middle as the two main coalition partners tussle for
political power, analysts warned, saying the divisions threaten to derail
crucial reforms and throw the whole administration into a gridlock.
Political analysts however said the uneasy alliance between President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) was not about to crumble yet.
Mugabe last week issued a directive to all Cabinet ministers to start
reporting to his two vice presidents John Nkomo and Joice Mujuru, altering a
constitutional reporting structure in government.
Tsvangirai immediately rejected the directive, declaring it unconstitutional
and wrote a counter directive to all ministers to disregard the directive.
A constitutional amendment passed last year puts Tsvangirai in charge of
overseeing the formulation of government policies set by Cabinet and states
that all "ministers will report to the Prime Minister on all issues relating
to the implementation of such policies and plans".
Political analysts said Mugabe's directive was not only tantamount to
usurping Tsvangirai's powers and put brakes on reforms, but could be a sign
of frustration that his populist and hardline policies were being blocked by
"ZANU PF is backtracking on the global political agreement but more
importantly Mugabe realises that he and his two deputies have nothing to do
and the Prime Minister is doing all the work," John Makumbe a political
"But we are faced with a situation where we clearly have a dual government
because of the two centres of power which will inevitably lead to a gridlock
of government operations," Makumbe said.
The two rival parties are engaged in a bitter dispute over how to equally
share executive power, the appointment of senior government officials and
the removal of Western sanctions.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of refusing to swear-in party treasurer-general Roy
Bennett as deputy agriculture minister, appoint five provincial governors
from the party and end the tenure of the attorney general and Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe governor.
Mugabe in turn says Bennett would be sworn in only if he is acquitted of
terrorism and banditry charges and that the MDC should lobby its allies in
the West for the removal of sanctions imposed on his inner circle and
convince what he says are pirate radio stations to stop broadcasting
"propaganda" messages into Zimbabwe.
Relations between the two parties have been rocky at best but were strained
further this week after Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere from Mugabe's party gazetted
regulations spelling out how foreign and white-owned businesses would have
to cede majority stakes to blacks within the next five years.
The rules have rattled foreign investors, especially companies in the mining
sector who on Wednesday started closed door meetings with the government to
seek clarification on the regulations.
Tsvangirai, whose MDC party has ridden on the promise of investor friendly
policies, said he was not informed of the rules and declared them null and
void, further exposing the lack of cohesion and growing fissures within the
"It is clear there is no cohesion between the partners in government and we
are on the verge of sliding back to a time when we had no government in
place," John Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant said.
Zimbabwe's economy registered its first growth in 2009 after a decade in
freefall marked by hyper-inflation and although it is still in a delicate
stage of recovery, it was expected to register higher growth this year in
anticipation of increased foreign investment inflows.
This may never happen with the continued squabbles hurting Zimbabweans the
The country's majority cautiously welcomed the unity government last year,
with the hope that it would reverse unemployment of over 90 percent, deliver
badly needed social services and guarantee political freedoms.
That hope may be quickly fading away and the first signs of growing anger
were seen last week when government employees went on strike.
"We never liked this arrangement (unity government) in the first place but
it was the only option. Although things are better off, there are no jobs
and people are really struggling," said Aaron Makunike, 36, who was
retrenched from a commercial bank in November.
ZANU PF had until March 2008 enjoyed uninterrupted rule since independence
from Britain and is still finding it difficult to share executive power,
political commentators said, adding that the MDC had naively underestimated
ZANU PF's bureaucratic tentacles after nearly three decades in power.
The government needs to put a united front at a critical time when civil
servants have gone on strike to demand higher pay and with the country
facing looming food shortages after a failed agriculture season due to
The administration risks paralysis at a time the government needs to
confront looming food shortages after most crops succumbed to prolonged dry
Analysts said if unchecked, the divisions could escalate, with ZANU PF
ministers reporting to Mugabe and those from the MDC taking orders from
But none of the parties wants to be blamed by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) for the failure of the uneasy marriage,
analysts said, adding that this could keep bickering coalition together
until the next elections.
"It's going to limp along with more disagreements and some things being
implemented to appease SADC," Makumbe told ZimOnline. "So it will continue
running so that it remains standing and because it will be the only game in
town," he said. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondents Friday 12 February 2010
HARARE – The European Union (EU) on Thursday said it will continue to
support efforts to revive Zimbabwe’s economy and providing humanitarian
assistance despite sanctions the bloc slapped on President Robert Mugabe and
his ZANU PF party inner circle in 2002.
"The EU restrictive measures have been there since 2002, but they are not
directed at the population of Zimbabwe,” the EU food security co-coordinator
in Zimbabwe Pierre-Luc Vanhaeverbeke told reporters in Harare at the
unveiling of a US$13 million grant to support Zimbabwe's agriculture for the
next three years.
The grant which will be channelled through the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is meant to boost production capacity of
mostly small scale farmers across the country through training and buying
inputs such as seed, chemicals and fertilizer.
“EU has released quiet a substantial assistance to Zimbabweans since we
strongly feel that the stabilisation and eventual resuscitation of
agriculture is crucial . . . EU is not certainly going to abandon the people
of Zimbabwe in their time of dire need. We strongly feel that the
stabilisation and eventual resuscitation of agriculture is crucial to the
overall economic development of Zimbabwe," Vanhaeverbeke said.
“This project is part of the EU's initiative to see Zimbabwe moving from
food aid to food security."
Once a regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has suffered persistent food
shortages since 2000 when President Robert Mugabe embarked on controversial
land seizures displacing white commercial farmers and replacing them with
under-funded and poorly skilled blacks, mainly of his ZANU PF party.
FAO country representative Gaoju Han described the EU grant as a positive
"The project that is being officially launched today is valued at 9.2
million euro (US$13 million), and a timeframe of three years," said Han. "In
addition to thanking the EU for this generous contribution, the extended
multi-year timeframe is a positive development which will allow for better
planning towards recovery activities (as opposed to one-year funding in the
Under this new facility, FAO will work towards the improvement of
agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe and to reduce the dependency of
vulnerable communal households on humanitarian assistance, he said.
"There are two pillars within this project, that is, the continuous
promotion of conservation agriculture (CA) and the coordination of
According to FAO, conservation agriculture has potential to boost cereal
production margins to 1.5 million tonnes this year and the grant would also
ensure the sustainable use of soil, water, nutrients and proper utilisation
of farm power to boost yields.
“Our principal objective is to improve agriculture productivity and
consequently reduce the dependency of vulnerable rural communal households
on humanitarian assistance. Priority would be equipping small scale farmers
with requisite technical skills to improve production levels,” said FAO.
More than 130 000 farmers are expected to benefit by year end from the
programme that was initiated in 2004 targeting 5 000 farmers.
Since 2002, the EU has not been giving direct aid to Zimbabwe because of the
sanctions imposed over allegations of gross violations of human rights and
election irregularities by Mugabe’s party. But the veteran leader argues
that the West imposed the sanctions as punishment for his land seizures that
target white farmers. – ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Friday 12 February 2010
HARARE - CITES officials on Thursday said poaching was a regional problem
and not confined to Zimbabwe alone, although they said they have heard
"rumours" of illegal hunting by the country's military and senior
CITES boss Willem Wijnstekers, who jetted into Harare late Monday
accompanied by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora's chief enforcement officer John Sellar, met with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
during his four-day visit to Zimbabwe.
The CITES secretary general also met Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
Environment Minister Francis Nhema, Police Commissioner General Augustine
Chihuri and other senior government officials over rampant poaching
decimating wildlife in the southern African country.
Wijnstekers told reporters that his visit was meant to probe "what was on
the ground and talk to the responsible agencies on increasing (numbers) of
"It's a regional problem affecting South Africa, Mozambique, you are not
alone," he said adding that he was pleased that various arms of government
realised the poaching problem in the country.
"We can do ourselves better if we work together."
Sellar however said they had heard "romours" of the poaching involving the
"There are romours that the military and politicians were involved in
poaching, but we are not worried who is behind it, but that a rhino has been
poached. I was assured that those involved have been arrested and are before
The visit by the CITES officials comes after a report in December by
TRAFFIC, IUCN and three other wildlife organisations said Zimbabwe and South
Africa have the highest incidences of poaching on the continent.
Nhema attributed the increase in poaching to the sophisticated equipment
that is being used by poachers who are supported by international
syndicates. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Friday 12 February 2010
JOHANNESBURG - The new chairman of Zimbabwe's electoral commission will
oversee his Herculean task to overhaul the country's skewed electoral system
from his Namibian base, he told ZimOnline this week.
Former Harare High Court Judge Simpson Mtambanengwe, who sits on the
Namibian bench after retiring from his Zimbabwean job in 2004, was last
month named by the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as chairman-designate of the new Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC).
"I have accepted the position in principle and I am awaiting further
notifications because they are still in the process of finalizing other
issues," said Mtambanengwe by phone from the Namibian capital Windhoek.
"I shall be working from here because I have a fulltime job but if the need
arises needing my attention then we will see."
The new ZEC is part of several commissions including one to oversee the
media and another to take charge of human rights issues that are part of
reforms that Zimbabwe's power-sharing government must implement to re-shape
and democratise the country's politics that has been characterised by
violence and gross human rights violations almost from independence from
Britain in 1980.
But Mtambanengwe, who replaces a pro-Mugabe former military officer and High
Court Judge George Chiweshe as head of Zimbabwe's electoral management
authority, faces by far the toughest job running elections in a country
where every major vote over the past decade has produced a contested result.
Mtambanengwe would not be drawn to disclose details about how he plans to go
about democratising Zimbabwe's electoral system that the opposition says
gives Mugabe the privilege of being referee and player on the electoral
field. "We will see when we get there," was all the judge would say when
asked about the task ahead.
Respected in Zimbabwe and in the region after helping reform the Namibian
judiciary system after that country's independence in 1990, Mtambanengwe has
worked as acting Chief Justice of the Namibian Supreme Court. He also
chaired the body that oversaw Namibia's elections held recently.
Mtambanengwe briefly returned to the Zimbabwean bench in 2006 to preside
over the corruption trial of then Harare High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza
who he found guilty and sentenced to three years in jail. However Paradza
did not serve the sentence after skipping the country before sentence.
Paradza's lawyers had argued during trial that the charges against their
client were meant to punish him for embarrassing the government after he
(Paradza) in 2003 freed an opposition mayor who had been arrested for
holding an illegal political meeting.
The government denied that the corruption case against Paradza was
Other people lined up to serve with Mtambanengwe on the new electoral
commission are two members of the old ZEC Theo Gambe and Joyce Kazembe, who
was deputy head of the discredited commission.
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair general manager Daniel Chigaru, University
of Zimbabwe law professor Geof Feltoe, a P Makoni and S Ndlovu and Pastor
Godwill Shana, who is a former chairman of Transparency International
Zimbabwe complete the list of ZEC commissioners. All are yet to be formally
appointed to their new jobs.
The old Chiweshe-led ZEC is accused by the former opposition MDC of rigging
the March 2008 election to block outright victory by Tsvangirai against
Mugabe in a presidential ballot that the MDC-T leader won, but with fewer
votes than required to avoid a second round poll.
Mugabe's supporters then unleashed a ruthless campaign of violence to force
Tsvangirai to withdraw from the second round presidential poll that analysts
had strongly tipped the former trade unionist to win.
The two rivals were later forced by the regional SADC alliance and the
African Union to agree to form a government of national unity that includes
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads the smaller formation of
the MDC. - ZimOnline
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:38
IT will be a task of Herculean proportions for the sanctions imposed on
Zimbabwe to be revoked quickly even if the country meets the democratic
benchmarks set by the United States, Britain and their Western allies,
political analysts have said. Calls for the removal of the embargoes have
continued to grow against the backcloth of the gains of the one-year-old
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have been joined by Sadc and
the African Union in calling for the removal of the sanctions. Even Mugabe’s
bitter archrival and now premier, Morgan Tsvangirai, wants the embargoes
removed, albeit piecemeal.
The argument is that Zimbabwe’s political risk has been drastically reduced
and that the removal of the sanctions would open avenues for multilateral
loans, grants and lines of credit to revive the vegetative economy.
The inclusive government has since its inception last February failed to
raise a staggering US$8,5 billion to shore up the economy.
The US, Britain and their allies in the European Union (EU) have set
benchmarks the inclusive government should meet if sanctions are to be
scrapped, among them the restoration of the rule of law, respect for human
rights, media freedom and institutional reforms.
The EU member states will meet in Brussels next Saturday to decide on the
sanctions amid reports that member states were divided on the issue –– some
are calling for the lifting of embargoes on state firms while others want
targeted restrictions eased.
The EU imposed sanctions on 203 key Zanu PF and government figures allegedly
involved in violence and human rights abuses and 40 companies associated
with the individuals and their sources of finance. Tsvangirai agrees that
certain benchmarks have yet to be met and that it was up to Western capitals
to decide the course of action to take on the sanctions, but says there was
a case for easing targeted sanctions against Mugabe and members of his inner
“It (reduced political risk) is a very positive signal to those who doubt
that they have anything to benefit from this inclusive government,”
Tsvangirai said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos a
His deputy, Arthur Mutambara last week said: “Sanctions should have been
removed yesterday to pave way for investment. We need investment, not
Political analysts this week said the removal of sanctions would only be
beneficial to the country if it was done simultaneously by the EU and the
EU embargoes, they argued, may not take long to scrap, but the US would need
to repeal the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) of 2001,
which would be a Herculean task.
The Act was passed by Congress as part of the US’s “support to the people of
Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful, democratic change, achieve
broad-based and equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law”.
The US sanctions were last year extended by a year by President Barack Obama
through an executive order. The US Embassy Office of Public Affairs told the
Zimbabwe Independent that for Zidera to be repealed it had to go through
either the House or Senate and must subsequently be introduced in the other
Hearings would be conducted in each of the bodies and if the proposed repeal
is upheld by both houses it would then be abrogated.
“Note that even without repeal of Zidera, removal of bilateral debt relief
restrictions and support for removal of multilateral debt relief
restrictions and multilateral financing restrictions can be implimented upon
a presidential certification that certain conditions have been met,” the
The conditions to be met are the restoration of rule of law, election or
pre-election conditions, land reform and the military and police being
subservient to government.
“Without these conditions being met, the president can waive restrictions if
he determines it is in the US interest to do so,” the office added.
The office said it was difficult to give a timeframe as to when sanctions
can be lifted if the benchmarks were met.
“It could be as little as two or three months depending on what else
congress is doing,” the office said.
The office said there were two types of restrictive measures: restrictions
prohibiting US citizens and businesses from doing business with specially
designated individuals, including parastatals; and travel restrictions.
“These restrictions are pursuant to a presidential executive order, last
renewed by President Obama in March 2009. The president has the power to
revoke the executive order, in which case there would be no restrictions on
anybody, or to lift restrictions on specific individuals,” the office said.
Travel restrictions were imposed by presidential proclamation. The US
Secretary of State determines whom they apply to. The president has the
power to withdraw this proclamation.
Political commentator Alex Magaisa said both the US and the EU needed to
appreciate the delicateness of the situation in Zimbabwe and note the
progress that has been made since the inception of the inclusive government
to decide the process and speed at which they should lift the sanctions.
Magaisa argued: “Like all coalitions, ours is a sensitive one, which as we
have seen most recently, responds immediately to external influences.
Sanctions are more than about punishing wrongdoers; they are also a
mechanism to encourage good conduct. As such, when there is any positive
response, it becomes necessary to review the relevance and utility of the
He argued that the removal of sanctions at any given time did not indicate a
point of finality.
Magaisa added that with the untapped resources in Zimbabwe, there was no
doubt that many countries were thinking of a constructive engagement with
the inclusive government. The international media reported this week that
the EU was divided on the embargoes issue and that it was most likely that
some targeted sanctions would be struck off.
Some countries reportedly led by the Netherlands and the UK were of the view
that the restrictions should remain in place, while others headed by Germany
and Denmark were pushing for the easing of the measures in a bid to force
Mugabe to play ball in the ongoing negotiations to put finality to the
outstanding issues of the global political agreement.
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:08
TALKS to tackle outstanding issues of the global political agreement have
deadlocked, amid reports that facilitator - South African President Jacob
Zuma - will arrive in the capital at the weekend to push for fresh elections
by April next year.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday told the Zimbabwe Independent
that his party wanted finality to the talks and was ready to "park" the
outstanding issues and go for elections to resolve the country's decade-long
political impasse. "Outstanding issues should not inhibit progress," the
premier said. "We are waiting for a report from the negotiators whom we have
asked to conclude the talks. If there are any outstanding issues we will
park them and proceed."
Tsvangirai's sentiments are in line with what Zuma said last month and came
after a stalemate in negotiations which resumed on Monday and ended on
Wednesday. They were supposed to unlock the logjam on the outstanding issues
of the global political agreement (GPA) with both Zanu PF and the MDC-T
digging in their heels.
Tsvangirai said a new constitution should be enacted by October followed by
fresh elections six months later.
Zuma's facilitation team - made up of former South African ministers Charles
Nqakula and Mac Maharaj, and the president's international relations advisor
Lindiwe Zulu - which flew into the country on Monday to assist in the
negotiations - left Harare on Wednesday morning empty-handed.
The latest talks, which were held in the Rainbow Towers Hotel's presidential
suite, reportedly cemented polarisation between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
The parties were deadlocked on the rehiring of central bank boss Gideon
Gono, appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and provincial
governors, and the refusal to swear-in MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett
as deputy Agriculture minister.
Zanu PF wants sanctions lifted and "pirate" foreign radio broadcasts stopped
by the MDC-T before it can concede to some of its demands.
The sources said Zuma's facilitation team would brief him on the stalemate
before he flies to Harare tomorrow to meet President Robert Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara to map out a way forward.
"There was no iota of movement on any of the outstanding issues," one of the
sources privy to the talks said. "There is now cementation and consolidation
of polarisation because Zanu PF and the MDC are digging in."
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesperson, told the Independent yesterday that
the party's national executive had met on Wednesday to receive a report on
the negotiations and were not impressed.
"We received a report from our negotiators and it would appear there is zero
movement and progress-free development on the talks," Chamisa said. "As a
party we are demanding finality, closure and conclusion on these talks. We
don't want to keep Zimbabweans in suspense and anxiety. We are holding
everyone to ransom."
Efforts to get comment from Zanu PF negotiators - Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche - were in vain at the time of going to press.
The sources said Zuma was expected to announce a deadlock on the outstanding
issues on his visit and then press for fresh elections.
The sources said Zuma met Tsvangirai on the sidelines of the World Economic
Forum in Davos a fortnight ago and informed him that regional leaders were
proposing an election to end the country's political impasse.
Tsvangirai reportedly bought the idea.
Mugabe last December told the Zanu PF congress to gear up for fresh
elections and is today expected to tell his party's central committee
meeting to prepare for polls next year.
Both Zanu PF and the MDC-T have lined up rallies throughout the country to
explain their positions on the constitution-making process and the
Thursday, 11 February 2010 22:44
LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo and Information minister Webster
Shamu (pictured) are leasing out their farms to former white commercial
farmers, Mashonaland West secretary for lands and resettlement Temba Mliswa
In a letter dated January 21 to the Zanu PF politburo in the possession of
the Zimbabwe Independent, Mliswa implicated Chombo and Shamu in the scam
involving senior Zanu PF officials subletting more than 30 farms in the
Mliswa also said Chombo and Shamu were multiple-farm owners.
The lands secretary promised to expose all multiple-farm owners in the
province and also those subletting their pieces of land to whites in a
report he will present soon to the party leadership.
“There appears to be a cartel of our supposed members who are in favour of
and have been supporting the white farmers. In my findings I have found that
most of those that are involved in this cartel are legislators in their
areas and they should be strongly reprimanded,” reads Mliswa’s letter.
“The audit which has been suggested in the land reform exposes the
leadership,” he said.
Mliswa said it was unfortunate that those in the higher echelons of the
party were flouting its resolutions agreed upon at congress last December,
which said offer letters, leases and certificates of occupation should
indicate both names of spouses.
The congress also resolved that sub-letting would not be tolerated and that
the party should enforce its policy of one person, one-farm.
He said the report he would present would detail the names of those with
multiple farms and the names under which those farms were registered.
Mliswa, who was reinstated in the proavincial party structures together with
the provincial chairperson John Mafa and his deputy Frank Ndambakuwa on
Wednesday, said he had been suspended because of the report which will
expose multiple-farm owners in Zanu PF and together with their close family
members who are leasing out farms.
He said his suspension was an attempt to silence him and suppress what he
described as a damning report.
Mliswa alleged that Chombo and Shamu were engaging former white farmers from
Chegutu and Zvimba who were instrumental in the damning judgment from the
Sadc Tribunal which ruled that Harare should halt its land reform programme.
Mliswa told the politburo that his family had been threatened through
telephone calls and he had had suspicious cars unregistered driving past his
Land and Rural Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa has warned resettled
farmers subletting farms to former white commercial farmers that they risked
losing their land.
When contacted for comment, Chombo said whatever Mliswa was alleging was
nothing new as he had over the years been accused of having as many as 15
Chombo said Mliswa should bring these issues to the party leadership with
evidence that he owned those alleged farms.
“There is nothing new about what he is saying. He must prove what he is
saying because I have been accused of having as many as 15 farms,” said
Shamu yesterday refused to comment.
Meanwhile, Mafa, Mliswa and Ndambakuwa were reinstated on Wednesday at a
meeting attended by the acting national political commissar Richard Ndlovu
and two other politburo members Oppah Muchunguri and Absolom Sikhosana.
Thursday, 11 February 2010 20:04
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy statement a fortnight ago
instills a somewhat cautious optimism on the pace of economic recovery.
There have always been worries and talk about Zimbabwean banks not doing
enough to let credit flow into the economy, more or less the same worries
that gripped the world after global banks suddenly slowed on lending after
the sub-prime mortgage market crisis induced recession.
Governments around the rich world responded through "quantitative easing",
flooding the markets with liquidity to ease banks' worries of liquidity
crunch. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) still worries today that
hastened withdrawal of this fiscal support to the markets could jeopardise
the global recovery process.
Of interest therefore to Zimbabwe is the rate of credit creation in the
economy, and in particular, the ability of banks to generate loans from the
deposits at hand, measured by the loan-to-deposit ratio.
Total bank deposits are currently sitting at about US$1,3 billion, with the
loan-to-deposit ratio at 49%. The general perception in the economy is that
the banks are taking a very cautious approach towards lending and they
should instead let credit flow more freely into the thirsty economy.
Understanding the behaviour of the banks would be very important in creating
and stimulating the right policies that will support the commendable
economic recovery process the country is currently enjoying. What exactly is
the position of regional countries on the ability of banks to create loan on
their balance sheets, and are Zimbabwean banks so much off the mark? Let us
look across Africa and see if we can draw any important lessons on this
Across the Limpopo, South Africa sits on about US$321 billion in deposits,
with loans at US$306 billion, thus giving one of the highest loan-to-deposit
ratios in sub-Saharan Africa at 95%.
The structured finance market, which doesn't exist in Zimbabwe, is active in
South Africa. Globally, securitisation has brought about the ability of
banks to increase liquidity and spread risk, implying more loans can be
generated on bank balance sheet. For now let us pay a blind eye to some of
the challenges of securitisation that emerged from the sub-prime mortgage
market crisis where greedy originators tricked the markets, and indeed
Securitisation is dead in the Zimbabwean markets, which means therefore that
banks have to keep a closer eye on both liquidity and credit risks as assets
sit permanently on their balance sheets until they mature.
Looking at it closely reveals that in fact there aren't any meaningful
assets to securitise because the asset classes in the market are too narrow.
Impliedly, it would therefore be dangerous for banks to have high
loan-to-deposit ratios because they cannot repackage and sell these on the
secondary market to generate liquidity and spread risk.
Expecting Zimbabwean banks to quickly follow the South African model and
shore up the loan-to-deposit ratio to around 90% or thereabout may be
expecting too much. Although this high loan to deposit ratio existing in
South Africa hit the banks hard during 2009 when by June 2009 impairments
had reached US$18,5 billion due to slowdown in economic activities, the
South African banks continue to create more value in loans ahead of the
traditional liquid assets, with the liquid asset ratio at only 5%.
A rather efficient loan distribution mechanism exists in the South African
economy where private households account for the greatest chunk of credit,
taking up 38% of the total loans. The manufacturing, mining and agriculture
sectors take up only 4%, 3% and 1,5% of total loans respectively.
Across the Zambezi, Zambia's deposits stood at only US$3,1 billion in
October 2009, with a loan to deposit ratio of only 57%. Although having
witnessed strong GDP growth of above 5% for the six years to 2008, the depth
of the financial markets remain very shallow in Zambia, just like Zimbabwe.
The shallow markets have constantly resulted in the poor transmission of
monetary policy in influencing real economic activities on the ground.
Resultantly, Zambia's borrowing rates have remained very high and
prohibitive. The excessive credit spreads reveal huge underlying
inefficiencies in the market borne out of inherent high credit risk in an
economy whose fortunes correlate strongly with the swings in copper prices.
It is important to note that key developments have taken place in the
Zambian market, which overall is good for the development of the credit
The central bank's aggressive liquidity sterilisation exercise that
responded to the influx of donor funds and high copper prices then in the
2004-2008 period in order to tame inflation has moderated. Subsequently, the
yields on government paper have come down significantly from about 18% in
December 2008 to about 9% currently.
This has somewhat reduced the past overbearing influence of the government
crowding out private sector borrowers, and the loan-to-deposit ratio should
therefore be expected rise from the current levels, whilst the liquid asset
portfolio, which makes up 19% of total assets, should be coming off as banks
should now be pursuing the lucrative credit markets.
However when evaluated against its GDP, Zambia's deposits to GDP at only 20%
reveal a huge challenge in the ability of the local financial institutions
to influence growth at the household level, and that explains why consumer
credit in Zambia from micro-finance companies is among the highest in the
world at around 10-15% per month, whilst credit from mainstream banking at
around 25% is high considering the inflation and yield curve dynamics in the
The important lesson we are drawing from Zambia is that the current economic
stability in Zimbabwe may not necessarily imply reduced cost of credit and
efficient market pricing mechanism. A lot of work still needs to be done at
the policy level to avoid market failure, and that starts with the need to
understand the importance of a secondary market.
When one then compares Zimbabwe to South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya
etc, there is definitely an anomaly on the low loan-to-deposit ratio that is
peculiar to Zimbabwe. Kenya, with about US$12 billion deposits on a US$35
billion GDP, has a loan-to-deposit ratio similar to Tanzania at around 68%.
The issues affecting the flow of credit can therefore be summarised as
follows: First, credit risk is still very pronounced in Zimbabwe at the
moment, and banks wouldn't want to buy into economy-wide risks that much
yet. Banks would argue that quality borrowers are very few, and because of
the depressed markets, the securities being offered by most of the borrowers
would be so difficult to turn into cash when push comes to shove.
With the banking sector now having to contend with tough capital
requirements, rising impairments out of exuberant lending may claim scalps
in the boardroom.
Only foolish shareholders would subsidise management inefficiencies and
imprudence manifesting in high loan-loss ratios. Second comes the absence of
a risk-free liquid asset portfolio in the Zimbabwean financial market, and
that ties up well with the nonexistence of lender-of-last-resort
functionality due to poor capitalisation of the central bank.
This compels the banks to keep more of the cash close to the chest. Third,
we have the deficiency of a strong market pricing discovery system due to
the absence of a yield curve and the defunct secondary market for credit
This puts a lot of risk on loans, more so when trying to generate liquidity
on bank balance sheets in times of need.
Lastly, the country risk, on the back of huge debt level, is still very high
and the international banks' country exposure limits remain low.
Brains Muchemwa is an economist.
Thursday, 11 February 2010 20:02
PRICES of residential properties are distorted because potential sellers use
comparative methods instead of proper evaluation. Property analysts said
most residential properties and stands on the market were not priced
correctly because sellers were comparing their properties with similar ones
in classified sections of newspapers or on the internet which in most cases
were not correctly priced.
A comparative method is when one has a five-bedroomed house in Avondale
which they want to sell while a similar property in the same area is being
advertised in the media for about US$90 000 then sell their house using the
Property analyst Andrew Chifamba said such sellers were speculators who
inflated eventual prices. Bona fide estate agents do proper evaluation.
Property analysts said a number of aspects are taken into consideration
before a residential property is sold for the correct price.
"The classified section and the internet are just guides. Sellers should
talk to a number of estate agents and find out the prices of residential
properties whose sales were concluded if they are to peg the correct price,"
Chifamba said there were a number of properties that have been on the market
for more than five months because they were not priced correctly.
"The most difficult sellers are those who bought or built their houses at
inflated prices in or before 2008. With the economy stabilising, they will
sell their properties for much less than
they bought or built them," said Chifamba.
Meanwhile listed property counters proved to be a durable investment in a
recession, judging by their performance in January when compared to other
Four of the seven properties-linked listed companies which traditionally
have been favourites for long-term investors achieved an "attractive
performance" showing the benefits of increased scale which allowed them to
be in the same league as blue-chip counters such as Econet, Innscor, Delta
or Meikles Africa.
Dawn properties share price rose by 31% to 1,7c from 1,3c. Murray and
Roberts was up 26% from 17,5c to 22c. Willdale moved from 0,25c to 0,31c a
24% increase. Larfarge rose 5% to US$1,10 from US$1,15.
Three counters however were in the red during the period under review with
Pearl Properties going down by 13% to 2,6c from 3c, Mashonaland Holdings
eased by 11% from 1,8c to 1,6c. Pretoria Portland Cement Company was down 7%
from US$2,75 to US$2,55.
"Property counters performed well across the board when compared to other
sectors. While margins are likely to remain under pressure their order books
have remained healthy and there are plenty of large-scale projects as the
construction industry is improving," an analysts said on Wednesday.
While a growing number of pundits have all but declared the property market
healed, the latest evidence on the stock market and distortions in housing
prices paint a different picture.
The downward correction in property prices since dollarisation has in fact
enhanced affordability, making it possible for more buyers to participate in
the market. The reduction in costs is not the only aspect contributing to a
buyer's market; the increased availability of homes for sale at estate
agents and in classified section of newspapers is also giving homebuyers
Market analysts however said as long as liquidity does not improve, the
property market was likely to remain generally subdued during the remainder
of the year.
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:48
IT has always amused us how state-controlled newspapers are obliged to
prefix their reference to issues such as sanctions with words such as
"illegal" when they are not illegal at all. This is to satisfy the whims of
their besieged political masters who would like Herald readers to believe
there is a conspiracy to bring about regime change. There is of course a
conspiracy, but it involves the people of Zimbabwe.
Another usage has now crept in which we are seeing on a daily basis and that
is "widely discredited".
If sanctions are so "widely discredited", why is the former ruling party so
obsessed with their removal? We also have the daft suggestion that Britain
"influenced" the other EU countries to put these measures in place.
Anybody remotely familiar with EU politics would know that anything the
British propose is likely to be opposed by the French! Getting 27 states to
agree to a common policy is impossible without buy-in at all points. So the
image of an overweening Britain leaning on its European rivals is a tad
remote from reality.
Morgan Tsvangirai is "coming under intense pressure" to have the sanctions
lifted, we are told.
Is it Tsvangirai coming under "intense pressure" or Zanu PF? What have they
done to warrant the lifting of sanctions which they alone are responsible
EU foreign ministers will be meeting in Brussels in two weeks to review
their "common position". They are likely to lift some measures such as those
relating to Zimbabwean companies. But because of ongoing land seizures and
the glacial pace of reform on the constitutional and media fronts, there is
unlikely to be much change in the status of President Mugabe and his
immediate circle. Members of Woza were once again arrested last week, not
the sort of thing that endears Zimbabwe to its "detractors".
The media should make it abundantly clear that there has been no reform
whatsoever in their sector. A media commission has been formed but it is
paralysed by indecision. No new licences have been issued to newspaper
groups while the so-called public media remains in the hands of a
reactionary clique which still hasn't come to terms with its rejection by
voters in the 2008 election.
Which makes Kudakwashe Bhasikiti's resolution on sanctions so ridiculous.
The people voted in 2008 for MPs who had no time for Zanu PF's blandishments
on the sanctions issue. If a majority in the House of Assembly were elected
on a platform which repudiated the government's lame excuse for failure,
blaming precisely those countries that were keeping Zimbabwe fed, why does
Bhasikiti think they will have changed their minds by now?
The people have spoken. And they haven't changed their minds as the
reception Bhasikiti received when proposing his motion revealed. The House
let him know exactly what it thought of Zanu PF's dishonesty over the
sanctions issue. It's a basket case.
Meanwhile, the state press refers to the US sanctions Act, Zidera, as
"draconian". Wouldn't that be a more appropriate description for Posa, the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and numerous other measures
passed by the old regime to fortify its dictatorship? Are these not Zanu PF's
sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe? The Herald should stop these silly
labels. Instead of giving an enlightened lead on policy reform, the state
media is behaving like Izvestia in its last days as a public organ. How do
they think they will be remembered when the rotten gang at the top has been
And by the way, it would be useful if those commenting on Zidera were able
to get Congressman Barney Frank's name right. It is not "Ben".
We are pleased to hear that Obert Mpofu has been disgorged of the vehicles
he took with him when he left his last ministry. We have yet to hear from
his former permanent secretary on his four vehicles.
"It is no longer an issue," Mpofu told the Standard, lambasting the press
for pursuing this fundamental issue of accountability.
And then there were those hundreds of youths all with the birth date of
April 18 1980 recruited without authority.
This is how Zanu PF wants us to remember them: Greedy and rotten to the
And still they occupy vast column inches in the "public" press denouncing
Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti in the redundant language of the Jurassic
By the way, what steps has Biti taken to ascertain the author of that
scandalous article in the Herald 18 months ago, purportedly by Biti
preparing for a transition -- that was described by a judge as good bedtime
reading -- in other words fictional? Despite it being a transparent forgery,
Biti was arrested on the basis of it and charged with treason. Who penned it
and why did the Herald publish such a dubious document containing errors
Biti would never have made?
And then there was the assault on Nelson Chamisa with an iron bar at the
airport and the theft of his laptop. What has he done to ascertain
responsibility for that episode? Is it not in the public interest to know?
Meanwhile, the Registrar-General's office is still refusing to give the MDC
an electronic copy of the voters' roll. This is an obvious breach of the
GPA. Yet the MDC says nothing.
Let's welcome Reg Austin to the Human Rights Commission and hope he gets to
the bottom of these episodes of human rights abuses and political
obstruction that have so tarnished the nation.
The South Africans, by the way, have reportedly offered to clean up the
voters' roll with funding from the British and Americans. But the RG's
office has declined the offer.
The story is as yet unconfirmed. But it is extraordinary how much damage
well-placed individuals can do to democratic prospects. Godfrey Majonga is
currently refusing to accept applications for licences because, he claims,
the administrative structures are not in place. A statement will be made in
due course inviting applications. No application will be accepted before
then, he says.
Does he really need to wait for instructions before proceeding? Why doesn't
he take charge and start work?
We were sorry to hear of the man who lost US$85 000 to a con artist.
Regional magistrate William Bhila spoke of the "stupid superstition" that
led a Harare man to surrender the proceeds of the sale of his house, car and
property to pair of bogus prophets.
Bhila chided the victim for believing their claim that an evil snake was
about to destroy his whole family.
We should be circumspect here. Is this not the same "stupid superstition"
that led to senior politicians and police officers buying the claims of a
young woman that diesel flowed from a rock in Chinhoyi?
Congratulations to the Herald for publishing a photo of Ben Freeth taken
some months ago after he had been severely assaulted by farm invaders in
Chegutu. It was important to publicise the criminal assault that as far as
we know nobody has been charged with.
Lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa was quick to accuse Freeth of contempt of court for
remarks the farmer, who has now lost his farm, allegedly made about Justice
Bharat Patel in online publications following Patel's ruling in the Sadc
Whatever the merits of that issue, it was useful for diplomats and others
currently under pressure to lift sanctions to see the consequences of
depredations by "war veterans".
The article was headed "White farmers attack judje (sic)".
A documentary film Freeth had made on his own experience of the land
invasions was widely seen abroad to critical acclaim.
The documentary was "full of falsehoods", the Herald's correspondent Fidelis
Munyoro charged without a scrap of evidence. You can bet he was rushing to
"judje" before seeing it. But there, next to Munyoro's article was the
picture of a battered and beaten Ben Freeth to illustrate just who was
Well done guys. Another own goal!
We noticed the prominence given by the Herald to Copac's advertisement
dismissing claims in the Standard that there had been irregular payments to
MPs. Funding from the Zimbabwe Institute was essentially for supporting the
independent secretariat and facilitating the training of thematic
committees, we were told. ZI support has been in the form of direct payment
to service providers.
This is well and good. It is important to have this correction. But there
was something missing here. The Copac advert made reference to inaccuracies
in the Sunday Mail edition of January 24 and the Standard of January 24 and
The Herald report omitted the reference to the Sunday Mail.
Still with matters of clarification, it was useful to have a statement by
Gapwuz, the agricultural and plantation workers union, on record recently.
They called for an end to the chaos on the farms "which continues to destroy
the livelihoods of farm workers".
"Gapwuz neither condones nor encourages the current attempts to deliberately
take over farms by way of murdering, attacking and intimidating workers and
their employers," it says.
Fresh farm disturbances have reportedly rendered over 4 000 farm workers
homeless since the formation last February of the GNU.
We have heard recently about the importance of public policy on the land
issue. What part of public policy, we ask, is the eviction of thousands of
workers who happened to be born in Malawi or Zambia?
No doubt we will soon be feeling the consequences of Zimbabwe's clumsy
diplomacy over the issue of the Botswana wildlife officers arrested for
entering Zimbabwe illegally. We will not comment here on the merits of the
case. But what we can say is that we see the urgent need for participation
by all three GNU partners in foreign policy-making so the last-ditch
loyalists in Munhumutapa Building don't completely isolate us.
In an editorial yesterday the Herald woke up to the need for good relations
with Botswana - a bit too late for that.
We note the statement from Botswana that their phone calls to the Foreign
Affairs ministry went unreturned. And Botswana's foreign minister Phandu
Skelemani said their vice-president, Mompati Merafhe, had been unable to
speak to President Mugabe about the issue in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of
the AU conference. Foreign minister Simba Mumbengegwi was unable to arrange
an interview, we gather, because the president departed earlier than
Botswana's frustration with Zimbabwe's maladroit moves resulted in the
response that Zimbabwe should withdraw its defence and CIO attachés from
Gaborone and that these posts would be "frozen and never to be filled".
That's what happens when you try to settle scores. Can any of this be said
to be in Zimbabwe's interest? It looks like another own goal!
On the subject of settling scores, how many people have now been acquitted
in the courts or had their charges dropped before plea? The number is
mounting: Pascal Gwezere, Mordecai Mahlangu, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, Alec
Muchadehama, and Ransome Makamure have all had charges dropped or been
Several are prominent lawyers. Makamure is an MP. It is a shocking roll call
and, as in the Botswana case, the state, thinking it would teach them a good
lesson, has itself been taught a lesson in common sense!
Finally, can the editor of the Herald tell us who Chris Mbanga is. Any
relation of Wilf?
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:46
IT is indisputable that the Zimbabwean economy is recovering. The state of
the economy today is significantly different to that which prevailed a
little over a year ago. However, it is also indisputable that the economic
recovery is a very long and slow one, and that there continues to be much
which continues to ail the economy. It cannot be credibly contended that
the economy has fully recovered, or even that the recovery so far achieved
is considerable in extent, when over 85% of the population struggle to
subsist on incomes below the poverty datum line, and more than half of the
population is under-nourished and suffering pronounced malnutrition, with
incomes below the food datum line. The harsh fact is that when an economy
has been whipped and beaten for over 12 years, it cannot be transformed
Of the innumerable constraints upon economic recovery, one of the foremost
ones is the scarcity of resources within the money market. In relation to
the economy’s needs, funds within the majority of the banks and other
financial institutions are minimal. Almost every entity within commerce and
industry, the mining and tourism sectors, and other economically engaged,
has a critical need to access funding. Many of them have a substantial asset
base, including properties, plant and equipment, and other assets, but have
a grievous lack of working capital, let alone the capital necessary for the
refurbishment, rehabilitation, replacement and upgrading of those assets.
This lack of working capital, for most, was occasioned by very considerable
operating losses in 2008, when the extreme hyperinflation (greater than ever
previously experienced, anywhere in the world) not only eroded consumer
spending power and therefore greatly reduced sales volumes for most
enterprises, but also increased operational costs exponentially.
Thereafter, capital resources were further extensively diminished by the
demonetisation of Zimbabwe currency.
The demonetisation was very necessary, in order halt the hyperinflation, and
for other reasons, but nevertheless also had the very negative consequence
of further decimating the working capital available to Zimbabwean
Although, in 2009, the manufacturing sector of the economy experienced a
relatively impressive growth in productivity, from under an abysmally low of
less than 10% of capacity, to approximately 40%, that was still far short of
needed productivity levels to attain comprehensive economic recovery.
Similarly, most other economic sectors (with the very prominent exception of
agriculture), did not realise fully their potential, albeit that they did
experience some growth, whilst no significant growth was attained in
In order to achieve such potential, virtually every enterprise has a chronic
need for working capital injections. The funding was (and continues to be)
necessary to enable timeous purchase of operational inputs, to effect
payment of wages and other operational costs, and in order that customers
could be accorded credit terms. Provision of credit has generally been a
prerequisite for enhanced sales, as wholesalers, retailers and other
distributors have been as greatly subject to cash availability limitations
as were, and are, their suppliers.
Where normal economic circumstances prevail, businesses in need of working
capital either seek funding from investors, or resort to the money market.
However, there are very few in the domestic market as have the cash
resources to effect investments, and the limited numbers that are so
possessed very understandably seek investments which are on exceptionally
favourable terms, exploiting the fact that there are more in need of
investment than there are investors. This, of course, is a major deterrent
to those who are soliciting investment. Foreign investors are also
presently few and far between. Although there has been a great influx of
foreign investors evaluating opportunities and potential in Zimbabwe, most
are not yet willing to effect the investments, whilst they are poised to do
so as soon as they consider that the right investment environment prevails.
They perceive the prerequisites of such environment to include political
stability (the first step thereto being the belated full implementation of
the Global Political Agreement and real progress towards formulation and
adoption of a genuinely democratic constitution). They also require that
there be genuine, evident, respect for property and human rights, and for
full implementation of law and order, concurrently with unequivocal
commitment to Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.
With there presently being limited opportunity to procure working capital
through recourse to investment funding, most desperately pursue the
alternative of seeking finance from the money market. But, with a few
exceptions, the market has relatively minimal resources. On the one hand,
the market’s ability to access international lines of credit is immensely
restricted; for most potential providers of such credit facilities apply the
same criteria as do foreign investors, in assessing the risk factors. Those
criteria presently deter most from providing credit lines, for the
perceptions are (validly) that political stability does not yet exist, and
that there is recurrent evidence of absence of respect for property and
human rights, and for law and order. In such instances as limited facilities
are granted to the money market from abroad, they are generally of very
On the other hand, inflows into the money market from local sources are also
considerably less than required to enable provision of working capital needs
to Zimbabwean enterprise. The amount of money in circulation is extremely
small, as compared to that required for a virile economy. This is
exacerbated by the extent that the populace in general and businesses in
particular, do not use the banking system. Aware of the extensive scarcity
of currency, many are fearful that if they deposit their inflows into the
banks, they will not thereafter be able timeously to withdraw them as and
In consequence, the financial sector is under severe constraints in making
advances to the Zimbabwean enterprises which necessarily crave working
capital injections. Moreover, to such limited extent as the banks and other
financial institutions are able to make facilities available, they commit
themselves to the provision of those facilities for exceptionally short
periods of time. This is usually of little benefit to intending borrowers,
for the funds are required for a sufficiently long time to source and obtain
of inputs, to use those resources, effect deliveries of the resultant
outputs, and receive payment for those deliveries.
Whilst there are still a divers range of economic recovery obstacles, most
of which require political will to resolve, the straitened circumstances of
the money market is a major one of those obstacles. That market’s
illiquidity greatly hinders Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, and must be very
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:29
ON February 11 2009, the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as the
Prime Minister of Zimbabwe to form the inclusive government. This
development followed the signing of the Inter-Party Agreement between the
two formations of the MDC and the then ruling Zanu PF party in September
The signing of what is referred to as the global political agreement (GPA)
and the consummation of that agreement brought some hope of reforming the
state after years of human rights violations. The history of these
violations threads from the Gukurahundi period through every
post-independent national election and protest to the electoral farce of
June 27 2008 which actually reinvigorated the talks after President Robert
Mugabe's election was disputed by both domestic and international actors on
the basis of egregious human rights violations and other electoral
malpractices by Zanu PF and its surrogate state security agents.
In my understanding the GPA is a stopgap measure meant to bring sanity to
Zimbabwe's political environment after the human rights violations committed
by Zanu PF and state security agents. It has a clear mandate to deliver
constitutional, media, security service sector and law reforms as well as
bringing socio-economic stability after almost a decade of recession. The
parties to the GPA also agreed to bring law and order in the country as well
as justice to victims of human rights violations.
In this regard, the inclusive government of Zimbabwe is a transitory
arrangement. It's not permanent. Simply put, the role of the inclusive
government is like that of Biblical Moses whose role was to deliver the
children of Israel from bondage, oppression, hunger and slavery to the
promised land of Canaan where they could enjoy their fundamental freedoms
including the pursuit of happiness. Zimbabweans have been facing unjust
persecutions, human rights violations, hunger, unemployment and poverty from
the then Zanu PF regime. They want the restoration of their rights and
dignity as espoused in the GPA.
If the inclusive government fails to play this Moses role as is currently
the case, more than a year after its consummation, then Zimbabwe needs a
Joshua and this Joshua should be the holding of free and fair elections
supervised by Sadc, AU and the UN with no role whatsoever for the military
and other Zanu PF surrogates responsible for the past electoral frauds.
In my view, in order to interrogate the work of the inclusive government as
a transitory agent, there is need to understand what a transition entails,
the types of transition and the one currently in place in Zimbabwe. This
will assist people to realise why this kind of transition is failing or
A transition refers to a regime change or simply a change of governance. A
regime change is a change in the institutional structure of a given country.
It is the formal and informal organisation of political power, and of its
relations with the broader society.
A regime determines who has access to political power, and how those who are
in power deal with those who are not. It should be a government of and with
citizens and not a government without citizens as was the case with the Zanu
PF regime. That's why there was need to change that regime so that it could
be a regime of and with citizens. There is nothing criminal about citizens
working towards regime change. Regimes should be periodically changed using
There are basically three types of transitions. Transition through
transaction; this happens when the authoritarian regime initiates the
process of democratisation of its body politic but remains a decisive
political actor throughout the transition although opposition political
parties and other players are part of the process.
The second one is transition via extrication. Scholars of transitions point
out that this type of transition occurs when the authoritarian regime is
weakened but not as significantly as is the case in the transition by
defeat. However, in this situation, the authoritarian regime has less power
to negotiate as in transition by transaction
Transition via regime defeat involves a decisive defeat of the authoritarian
government leading to the end of authoritarian rule and the establishment of
a democratic government
From these three types of transitions, Zimbabwe is experiencing transition
by transaction where the two MDC formations led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the one led by his deputy Professor Arthur Mutambara and
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party are in a compromise agreement
following the signing of the GPA in September of 2008. The regime has more
comparative power in relation to its partners. That's why the outstanding
issues can only be resolved at the pleasure of Zanu PF.
As a result of the kind of transition currently in place where Zanu PF
controls the state through the Central Intelligence Organisation, the army,
the police and the prison services, the reforms necessary to make sure that
there is a transition to democratic rule in Zimbabwe can only happen at the
pleasure of Zanu PF and its autocratic system which has not be decisively
shaken. The refusal by Zanu PF to deal with outstanding issues in the GPA
such as the appointment of provincial governors as well as the disputes over
the appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General, the
continued disruption of the Constitutional reform process and the failure
until recently to swear in members of independent state commissions like the
Zimbabwe Media Commission all point to the comparative power that Zanu PF
has in this arrangement.
A proper transition to democratic rule should come up with new values, new
democratic institutions and a fundamentally new political culture premised
on the rule of law and the protection of citizens' civil and political
liberties. In my view, Zimbabwe is yet to realise such things in the media,
security service, constitutional and the general governance framework since
the consummation of the inclusive government. This is because the oppressive
system of Zanu PF is still in charge of the state.
Zimbabweans, therefore, need to appreciate that the inclusive government
born out of the compromise agreement by the political parties involved can
virtually stall the transition and compromise the democratisation agenda
relataive to transitional justice issues and other broader human rights
issues such as the exercise of civil and political liberties as well as
social, cultural and economic rights
In my view, there is need for civil society organisations and the reform
wing of the inclusive government to concentrate on democratic consolidation
and broaden democratic struggles and refuse to be blinded by the
constitutional reform process as the only avenue of democratising Zimbabwe.
The process of consolidating democracy entails the strengthening democratic
institutions (especially the rule of law and protection of civil and
political liberties), extending democratic processes and preventing
Political institutions and civil society need to be infused with democratic
practices, for example by the empowerment of civil society organisations to
increase popular participation and make it more difficult for elites to
manipulate democratic institutions.
Authoritarian political discourses need to be rejected and authoritarian
political actors such as Christopher Mutsvangwa, Jonathan Moyo and Tafataona
Mahoso need to be neutralised by profiling democratic intellectuals and
political activists. There is need to have restrictions on the scope of
policy-making powers by for example advocating for the exclusion of
authoritarian lawmakers from the defence and police budgets to make sure
that the taxpayer dollars are not used to fund oppression and abuse of human
rights by security forces
Consolidation means that democracy has become routinised and internalised in
political behaviour. No groups pursue unconstitutional, illegal or
undemocratic means to achieve their aims. Elites and the wider public accept
democracy as the preferred means of governance and deciding on political
succession. Civic actors and other democratic players should intensify the
struggle to see the emergence of a democratic political culture in which
trust, tolerance and compromise are the dominant political forms.
Democratic consolidation also requires having civic and political players
prepared for a broader democratisation agenda, not piecemeal reforms. They
should work to ensure that the values associated with the stability of a
democracy such as moderation, cooperation, bargaining and accommodation
exist among the political players. Moderation and accommodation simply imply
toleration, pragmatism, willingness to compromise and civility in political
Ruhanya is a human rights researcher.
By Pdzisai Ruhanya
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:52
CIVIL servants are on industrial action. Besides a few blacklegs the strike
seems to be universal. Many a time strikes are premised on greed but this
cannot be said of the present civil servants' strike. When workers believe
they are producing a lot but their employer is unwilling to share, they
usually go on strike to demand higher wages. In most cases the workers lack
a global picture of their company's performance. They may not be aware, for
example, of the many costs the company incurs in procuring raw materials or
transporting products to the market. They might even fail to appreciate the
huge impact simple overheads have on the bottom line.
Unlike in industry where workers can quantify with a great deal of accuracy
what they produce, civil servants provide services which are difficult to
measure. But without them government cannot function. This is why it is rare
for them to ever, as a whole group, go on strike.
A lot is amiss in the civil service but few appreciate the humiliation that
people feel when they are as grossly underpaid as are our public servants.
For the record Harare City Council pays its street sweepers higher wages
than government pays its middle managers. The young men who make bricks in
Manyame river near St Mary's township in Chitungwiza make more money than
civil servants. Flea market stalls at Mupendzanamo in Mbare are more
rewarding than the air-conditioned offices in Mukwati Building.
Without undermining the dignity of the street sweeper, the brick maker and
the vendor, natural justice demands that remuneration be determined by
certain standards which are placed in a continuum according to the
contribution they make to the wellbeing of the employer. Hence the permanent
secretary, who in Zimbabwe generally holds a doctorate and is the chief
executive of his or her ministry naturally should be paid a higher wage than
the humble worker who makes his tea.
One thing outstanding about the current action is that the civil servants
are not angry or bitter; they are just being sane. They are not throwing
stones; they are just putting their payslips on the table for all to see.
The response from the powers that be was predictable - there is no money to
up your salaries! And to add insult to injury, a ridiculous amount was
announced as the increment commencing only in April.
But can we put the civil servants' strike in another perspective?
A year ago the government of national unity was inaugurated. We all remember
the swearing ceremony at State House, but how many remember what happened
immediately afterwards? I will remind you: the new ministers made a bee-line
for the CMED premises to grab their limousines. There was one notable
exception: David Coltart didn't.
Besides the Mercs, the ministers also got luxurious off-roaders, which were
either Prados or Land Cruisers and a further third car. All put together the
vehicles each minister got were worth about
US$150 000 putting to rest the lame excuse that there is no money to
increase the public servants' salaries.
There is no doubt the ministers deserve all these and other perquisites such
as housing allowances and chauffeurs (or do they?). But look at the sheer
gap between what the ministers draw from the fiscus and what their servants
in the ministries get! Taking home US$150 after four weeks of toil while
your boss raked in a thousand times more at a go is good reason for anger.
During Kamuzu Banda's reign in Malawi, the old ogre only allowed a Land
Rover each for his ministers and parliamentarians. His reasoning was that
there was no justification for a people's servant to live in the lap of
luxury while his constituency wallowed in abject poverty. Examples such as
this put into proper perspective our leadership's profligacy and their
hypocrisy when dealing with lesser mortals such as those who make their
It is not only this manifestly selfish depravity on the part of our
leadership which has spurred the present crisis but also the corruption
which has made them grow richer and richer every day while their subjects
have become poorer and poorer. The civil servants know their bosses'
lifestyles, they know how many farms they own, they know how many houses
they have and how many other cars they have accumulated in their dubious
business deals. People who were living in extreme penury only recently have
suddenly become contenders for space in Forbes Magazine. You can tell by
their massive midriffs and the concertinos of chins that now decorate their
This week it has been reported that a huge consignment of diamonds has gone
missing. The civil servants know their value and who is going to benefit
from that heist. It is not the nation at large but a select few members of a
criminal gang that resides in our corridors of power.
The heart of the matter of all this is misgovernance! Our government is not
functional; it has been in a state of decay since the turn of the century,
after having stagnated in the 1990s. Our civil service was turned during
those years of decay and stagnation from a professional workforce into mules
who have been used to administer decisions meant to entrench a decadent
regime rather than uplift their own wellbeing. Now instead of the smart
pin-stripe-suit-clad, briefcase-wielding young urban professional we have
bribe-taking, basket-carrying vendors in government corridors. Only a free
and fair internationally supervised election will put an effective
government in place and the sooner this is done the better.