Nelson Banya News Editor & Njabulo Ncube Chief Pol
lArthur Mutambara's dream scuttled?
THE crisis in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could take yet
another turn, with party president Morgan Tsvangirai charging that the
congress scheduled to be held in Bulawayo this weekend by a rebel faction is
not an MDC event as it violates the party's constitution and is in contempt
of a standing High Court ruling that upheld his leadership of the party.
Tsvangirai's lawyers yesterday wrote to Coghlan and Welsh, the Bulawayo law
firm which represents the MDC's breakaway faction, advising against the
continued use of the party's name.
"We request that you advise your clients to refrain from these continued
violations and especially also, to advise them that the gathering intended
for the 25th and 26th February 2006 is not an MDC congress on account of
being a nullity," reads part of the letter, written by Tsvangirai's lawyers,
Dube, Manikai and Hwacha.
They cite the rebel faction's failure to acknowledge Justice Yunus Omerjee's
ruling that the MDC national council set aside Tsvangirai's purported
suspension from the party last December. They also cite a series of
violations of the MDC constitution in terms of the provincial elections in
the run-up to the congress.
"The court made it clear that Mr G. Chimanikire and any others may not act
in the name of the MDC without lawful authority. Such authority rests in the
national council. The High Court did find that the national council which
confirmed the illegality of Mr Tsvangirai's suspension was fully
constituted. Your client and others in common purpose, have continued to act
in defiance of the logic and principle of the High Court.
"Your clients have repeatedly published, yet falsely, that our client Mr M.
Tsvangirai is suspended or dismissed from the party. In defiance of the
judgment, your clients have purportedly organised meetings in the name of
the MDC. Your clients have now also published adverts calling for an "MDC
congress" to be held in Bulawayo on the 25th and 26th February 2006."
According to Article 6.4.1 (a) of the MDC constitution, the secretary
general convenes and organises the meetings of congress and the national
conference in consultation with the president, under the supervision of the
national council. Tsvangirai's lawyers said this did not happen.
They also pointed out that all elections within the party were to be
supervised by the national chairman, but this would not be so as the
incumbent, Isaac Matongo, would not be at the weekend gathering in Bulawayo.
"We understand, too, that your clients claim to have arranged "provincial
elections" for the youth and women's assemblies. This was done without
notice to and or even the participation of the National Youth chairperson or
his deputy and the women's assembly chairperson. The said elections are null
"Office bearers sprung from these illegal activities have no right to
participate as such in any meetings, conferences, congresses or other
activities of the MDC."
. . . As Chimanikire throws tantrum
Chief Political Reporter
GIFT Chimanikire, the enraged deputy secretary-general of the MDC pro-senate
faction yesterday fired another salvo at Arthur Mutambara, who is tipped to
take over the reins of the splinter opposition grouping, saying he will not
"step down for an expatriate who does not know the price of bread here."
A defiant Chimanikire, who has cast his eyes on the faction's presidency
since the infamous October fallout, revealed yesterday he had resisted
pressure from colleagues in the inner circle of the grouping to make way for
the radical former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader.
"I can't step down for an expatriate," he said. "He (Mutambara) is being
imposed on the congress by some of my colleagues who spoke to him at the
weekend and I understand during their trips to South Africa in recent times
as well. The whole process moves away from the democratic processes of the
party. The values and principles of the party, which I, together with
like-minded members cherish, are being eroded."
Mutambara, analysts said, has been given an early taste of the bitter side
of the country's politics and should be prepared for the worst as the
pro-senate group goes to its inaugural congress at the weekend.
An accomplished academic and scientist, Mutambara announced his entry into
mainstream politics on Sunday and is likely to shrug off the token challenge
from Chimanikire whom party insiders said has been de-campaigned by some
officials of the Gibson Sibanda-led breakaway grouping.
Chimanikire's outburst contradicts statements by the faction
secretary-general Welshman Ncube that the entry of Mutambara had not created
any fissures in the party.
In a parting shot Chimanikire said: "I believe it is an issue of money, not
principle, to settle for Mutambara. I think he has a few more bucks than me.
It is my belief money changed hands during their meetings but Welsh and
others have denied it. They don't know him but only what they have read in
the papers about his days at university and his robotics training."
Mutambara yesterday declined to comment at length, preferring to send a
"I have nothing to say to you except the press statement I sent you. Ask
Welshman, Morgan Tsvangirai, Daniel Shumba and the UPM (United People's
Movement) about the conditions that I have put across," said Mutambara in a
brief telephone interview.
THE same phrase is heard all the time from almost all Zimbabweans whether in
the urban or rural areas: "They are all rotten".
"They" are Zimbabwe's current political parties - the ruling ZANU PF party,
both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the recently
formed one-man outfits - all seen in the public eye as corrupt, self-serving
and a confused bunch of people who are motivated much more by the need to
feather their nests than by a sense of what is good for Zimbabwe.
They are in it not because of any ulterior motive of wanting to change the
Zimbabwean society for the better but because of what they can get out of
it - period!
The words of the late political scientist Masipula Sithole continue to ring
true when he said in his book Zimbabwe: Struggles within the Struggles: "We
dismiss as nonsense and idle talk any suggestions that the leaders in the
liberation movements are ambitious, self-seeking and power hungry. We accept
that they are. That is why it is they and not others who are so involved and
so risking." Well said my brother Masipula! May your soul rest in eternal
The truth is plain to see. How else can one explain the full-blown political
paralysis that has engulfed us right across the board? ZANU PF is totally
clueless as to how to take the country out of its political and economic
quagmire. It is na´ve in the extreme to assume that the current government
is in the driving seat. Driving what - when to all intents and purposes the
country has collapsed.
Zimbabwe has gone off the rails completely and the government remains locked
in a confused mode unsure which way to turn, how to respond to the so-called
challenges and what solution to try next. Even the driver of a scotch-cart
would not behave the way this government is behaving!
Zimbabwe has currently the highest annual inflation rate in the world and
the substantial and frequent price increases (on a daily basis) of goods and
services bear testimony to this.
As Zimbabweans, we have been totally devalued in the eyes of the world as a
result of having the most worthless currency on the continent. Thank God, we
are not in a war situation but hold your breath: Ours is the world's fastest
collapsing economy outside a war zone.
Amidst all this, our government continues to be simply observers of our
terrible human condition instead of finding a solution to this crisis.
It is indeed a very sad reflection of the men and women who yesteryear were
so dedicated to the fight for freedom and democracy and led the country's
revolution (some, not all) but are now part of the problem the people of
this country are facing.
In terms of acknowledging and diagnosing the problem, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono remains as oasis of sanity in an otherwise
desert of political madness and economic despair. In truth, all Gono can do
is to offer a few bandages but the cure for the disease lies in the
It is one thing to acknowledge a problem, but it is quite another to have
the political will to solve it. And that is where the ruling party comes in:
to surrender their personal ambitions of remaining in office in the interest
of the country.
The problem with ZANU PF is that the leadership couldn't care less what
people say or write. They consider themselves above the law and not
accountable to anyone. This is the real epidemic. I am sure the freedom that
Gono has, particularly the one he displayed when he presented his Monetary
Policy Review Statement on January 24, can be distressing.
What a burden to bear that the government not only allows the central bank
governor complete freedom but also couldn't care less what he says. This is
Gideon Gono rightly identified corruption and unaccountability of
politicians as the biggest problems facing this nation and its people.
Government ministers and senior officials of ZANU PF have spoken out against
these evils and yet everybody in this country knows that those politicians
who speak loudest against corruption are themselves the most corrupt.
It is talk, talk and talk without any action being taken. There is no
spotlight on corruption either from government or the media. There is no
powerful deterrent. There is neither the political will nor the cameras and
independent reporters to deal with and investigate the cancer of corruption
that has taken root in the Zimbabwean society in a big way.
The Anti-Corruption Ministry and the Anti-Corruption Commission are but an
empty shell. The responsible minister, Paul Mangwana's time is largely taken
up by his love of theatre and rhetoric.
Even the moral exhortation and admonition by President Robert Mugabe is not
having any effect. If the President managed to give the appearance of
standing above corruption, he also seemed to condone it by his inaction and
the appointments he makes.
The fight against this monster called corruption is not so much in danger
from those who deny its existence as those who, professing to believe in the
fight, are willing to take no action against the evil for their purposes.
And taking action includes holding to account and dealing with ministers and
officials who have openly displayed despicable conduct.
A number of ministers and officials in government have pursued their wayward
paths with impunity. They couldn't care less. They think that they are
masters of the people not servants. Names which immediately come to mind
include Ignatius Chombo, Aeneas Chigwedere, Tafataona Mahoso and the
illiterate and clueless Sekesayi Makwavarara. Many more have gone to sleep.
The political paralysis and the struggle for spoils have not been confined
to the ruling ZANU PF party alone. Although blatant in ZANU PF because they
are the party in power, the pursuit of spoils and personal interests has
been at the heart of the disintegration of the opposition MDC.
All is not well in both factions. Who can blame Zimbabweans for now
regarding their politicians as people engaged in nothing but unpleasant
squabbles for power?
Recent developments in both factions show clearly how individuals who
indulge in the politics of tribe and clienthood can take attention away from
the politics of socio-economic transformation for their own selfish ends.
In the pro-Senate faction we are witnessing a political nonentity in the
name of Arthur Mutambara being parachuted into the country to take over the
leadership of that faction. I am all for student politics but not when there
is some mature and hard work to be done. Besides, the man has been so far
removed from the theatre of the suffering of the majority of Zimbabweans
that I would not be surprised if he addresses the Bulawayo congress in a
language as unfamiliar as the Latin of the Catholic Church - come this
Neither is Gift Chimanikire a suitable candidate for the faction's
leadership. Of course, he is marginally better than Mutambara but he is a
pale shadow of Morgan Tsvangirai, the other faction's leader. Chimanikire
neither possesses the stature nor the wherewithal of leadership. Clearly,
there is a massive drought of leadership in the so-called pro-Senate camp.
To all intents and purposes, we might be saying goodbye to Welshman, Gibson,
Fletcher, Gift and others unless they are co-opted into ministerial
positions by Zanu PF in the not too distant future and in that event they
will be in it for themselves not for the people of Zimbabwe.
To me, MDC under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai still retains the
initiative (albeit tenuously) for the opposition in its efforts to create a
new model opposition party. Unfortunately, once again, it is an open secret
that Tsvangirai's faction is riddled with tribal and regional fights for
positions lending credence once again to the widespread belief that these
guys entered politics to have life without scarcity rather than for the
general well-being of Zimbabweans. Matabeleland wants the position of
Vice-President. So does Manicaland. And so fort and so forth. Again, another
classic case of conflict and scramble for power and positions.
The point has also to be made that Tsvangirai is not without his weaknesses
and shortcomings. He has dictatorial tendencies. True, any leader has to be
ruthless at times but becoming another dictator is anathema to most
Zimbabweans. Democracy is about deep debate, differences of opinion and the
ability to voice it freely. Differences of opinion can and should exist side
by side peacefully. The former East German leader Erick Honecker attributed
his own downfall in 1989 to lack of internal democracy in the Communist
Party, lack of open discussion and crude media propaganda. Clearly,
Tsvangirai has a lot of work to do in terms of addressing his own weaknesses
as outlined above if he is to keep his leadership in a democratic and
sustained way. To say that 'Without me there is no MDC' as Tsvangirai said
is to push looseness of language to unacceptable limit. I can sincerely say
to him: As great a fighter for democracy as you are, you certainly goofed on
that occasion. The last thing that we want to see in this country again is a
whole national movement like the MDC reduced to the biography of the leader.
We have had enough of that!
Given the foregoing, things are obviously not looking good on the political
front let alone the economic calamity facing this nation. Instead of leading
us in a bold drive for national renewal, politicians are busy studying their
own interests. We can only watch from the terraces where the money is going.
Obviously, the victims of this struggle for spoils are the people of
Zimbabwe. No wonder that the Zimbabwean people have lost faith not just in
all political parties but also in many other institutions. The confusion
that has descended on Zimbabwe in recent years has given rise to mass
apathy, indifference and the feeing of powerlessness. The only redeeming
factor is the extraordinary and truly remarkable resilience and
determination that Zimbabweans are showing in the face of justifiable
despair. The spirit is to move on with life despite what the Mugabes and
Tsvangirais of this world are doing.
Be that as it may, one lesson I have learnt over the years is that nothing
endures forever. I know for sure that Zimbabweans remain optimistic about
the promise and reality of the transition from the present confusion and
political paralysis to democracy, political stability and economic
turnaround. With inflation and much else assaulting us on a daily basis, the
temptation is to give up but I think the Zimbabwean people have the will and
the determination to keep going.
A new dawn for Zimbabwe might not be that far off.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
Decision to give Ncube faction MDC allocation
THE anti-senate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction says it will
decide how to respond to the treasury's parcelling out of $8 billion to a
breakaway faction at its national congress to be held next month, broaching
fresh hostilities in the fragmented party.
After meeting at its two-day national council indaba held last weekend in
Harare, the anti-senate group led by former trade unionist Morgan Tsvangirai
said it would make a determination of the eventual beneficiary of the annual
grant meant to assist political parties at its second national congress set
for March 17 to 19.
"MDC supporters and members constitute the bulk of taxpayers," William
Bango, Tsvangirai's spokesperson, told The Financial Gazette yesterday. "So
a determination will emerge at congress where people will decide their
A dissident splinter group of the MDC, which is fronted by faction
secretary-general Welshman Ncube and now based in Bulawayo, recently laid
claim to $8 billion budgeted as part of state funds allocated to major
political parties under the Political Parties (Finance) Act and vowed not to
share the funds with the anti-senate group.
Political parties, which obtain significant votes in legislative elections,
are entitled to government funding under Zimbabwe's Political Parties
(Finance) Act. The law also outlaws political parties from soliciting for or
receiving foreign funding.
In spite of a split in the once formidable opposition party, which posed the
fiercest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 26-year rule, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa defended the government's decision to award the
annual grant for opposition parties to the breakaway faction led by Ncube,
telling state media that the government was blind to the break-up of the MDC
when it parcelled out the funds.
Political observers say parcelling state funds to a faction of the
leadership that broke ranks with Tsvangirai and at one time attempted to
secure legal judgment against the anti-senate MDC but got rebuffed by the
courts is meant to further the divisions in the once impressive opposition
Bango said the parcelling of state funds into the coffers of the pro-senate
group was not isolated from the row in the administration of the party's
properties and assets, which the anti-senate faction charges is being
dishonoured by the pro-senate camp.
He however cautioned that Tsvangirai was not losing sleep over the
parcelling of state funds to the Ncube camp.
"Mr Tsvangirai believes money isn't the hearts and minds," Bango said. "He
(Tsvangirai) considers that political issues are better articulated by
people who are driven by the need to serve and not the need to make money.
Money is not part of the issue. His issue is how to find ways to resolve the
national crisis, a position which will benefit the majority of Zimbabwe," he
Insiders who attended the national council indaba said the meeting also
instructed the leadership of the party to seek an amicable separation from
the activities of the breakaway group.
"We do not want to waste time and resources on a futile scrap that just
leaves people confused and does nothing about the crisis confronting the
country and its people. As far as the MDC is concerned, it is long past the
time when the breakaway group should form a new political party and decide
on its own agenda and programme," said an insider who attended the meeting.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
Ncube MDC faction seeks a national look
BULAWAYO - The pro-senate faction of the Movement for Demo-cratic Change
(MDC) has always been referred to as the Welshman Ncube-led faction.
Rarely was it ever called the Gibson Sibanda-led faction. Yet Sibanda was
the MDC vice-president and de facto leader of the faction.
More surprisingly, the faction is now frantically looking for a leader. A
particular leader, to be precise.
Though the faction's management committee has said the post of party
president is open to anyone, the situation on the ground seems to indicate
that the group is not just headhunting for an academic - but a Shona as
So far, all candidates reported to be vying for the post of president to be
contested at the faction's congress scheduled for this weekend are Shona.
This has fuelled speculation that the faction, which was labelled a
breakaway group by people mostly from Matabeleland, may be more interested
in striking a regional balance to portray a national outlook.
The leading contenders for the post of president are Arthur Mutambara, a
former student leader who is now a renowned academic; Gift Chimanikire, a
former trade unionist and deputy secretary of the MDC; and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Glen Norah and the
faction's parliamentary spokesperson.
"They are desperate to get a Shona, but he has to be a reputable leader,"
political scientist John Makumbe said. "Gift Chimanikire had discredited
himself by opposing (Morgan) Tsvangirai. No one trusts him now."
The MDC split into two factions last year in the run-up the senate elections
when one group decided to contest and the other, led by party president
Tsvangirai, called for a boycott.
Tsvangirai's faction will hold its congress next month.
Makumbe and other political observers said party secretary-general Ncube was
still the power behind the throne in the pro-senate faction. He was
therefore looking for someone pliable, someone he could manipulate and
control, he charged.
"Chimanikire is not that kind of person. Besides, he is not an academic. In
fact, if he is not careful, Chimanikire might be kicked out of the
leadership completely," Makumbe said.
He said Misihairabwi-Mushonga was a non-starter. She was clever and educated
but she was not astute, he added.
"She likes to think of herself as the Joyce Mujuru of the MDC but she is
only fooling herself. She is not a mobiliser or a crowd puller," he said.
Makumbe said Mutambara had the right qualifications but those trying to sell
him were banking on his record of more than 10 years ago when he was a
"How many MDC supporters today remember him? Besides, the record of
academics in Zimbabwean politics is not that rosy. Look at Welshman Ncube
himself and Jonathan Moyo: what have they done?" Makumbe said.
Another political commentator, Lawton Hikwa, said: "I cannot say academics
have failed. President Robert Mugabe is an academic and he has led this
country for more than two decades. I must say, however, by agreeing to
stand, Mutambara has already taken sides. He cannot claim to be neutral
because right now we do not know which is the legitimate MDC."
Mutambara was quoted by a local daily as saying the MDC needed a new
leadership that was not tainted by the current disagreement to facilitate
Makumbe said Mutambara and Ncube were kidding themselves that they could
challenge President Mugabe. Ncube had already admitted that he could not
lead the party and was therefore looking for a surrogate, he added.
"Mutambara isn't a mobiliser. He doesn't have the charisma. He is a
technocrat. But their worst enemy is the local media. Once ZTV, The Herald
and The Chronicle dance to your tune, you are finished. It reflects badly on
"People want someone who is harassed, harangued, ridiculed by the media and
by Mugabe, not someone who is pampered," Makumbe said.
Another political observer said the opposition was playing into the hands of
ZANU PF because it would not be able tackle the ruling party if it remained
splintered as it was.
"The way I see it, we are going back to the situation in the 1960s, the days
of the ANC and ZAPU (African National Council and Zimbabwe African People's
Union), when party squabbles were the order of the day and parties simply
split because of differences over leadership," the observer said.
Stanley Kwenda Own Correspondent
A FLURRY of messages congratulating President Robert Mugabe on his 82nd
birthday might have come as a boon to the struggling media industry, but it
also provided useful insights into how politics dictate business in
It was like a stampede as no one in central government and the parastatal
community wanted to be left out in conveying their congratulatory messages
despite the shoestring budgets they operate under.
But if one counts the cost of advertising today, then a significant chunk of
the taxpayer's money was used just to wish the President many more years.
Though there is nothing wrong in wishing President Mugabe any good on his
birthday, critics this week asked whether it was necessary to go that far
when a simple verbal birthday message could have done the trick.
Analysts said the impending Cabinet reshuffle could have motivated the
fanaticism that characterised the past week. What has puzzled many was the
extent to which even underperforming government bodies were prepared to use
taxpayers' money, given that most of them are surviving on subsidies from
It was the struggling companies that are directly feeding off taxpayers'
funds which were at pains to splash messages in all the newspapers in praise
of the President, in the process draining substantial amounts of money which
could have been better used elsewhere in a country facing numerous problems.
An A3-size advert now costs about $106 million. Multiply that by seven
newspapers and you get $742 million, which could make a lot of difference in
some people's lives.
This amount, for example, could have paid a month's salary for more than 100
Zimbabwe Progressive Teachers Union president Raymond Majongwe said there
was need for all economic leaders to refocus their priorities in the face of
a deteriorating economy and do away with politics of patronage.
"There is really no point in spending amounts close to a billion on
splashing the President's face in the newspapers, which we all know and is
in good health. The economy is in shambles and that money could have been
used for better purposes, like purchasing antiretroviral drugs and
rehabilitating the crumbling infrastructure," said Majo-ngwe.
"These messages have been there for a long time and if they were meant for
the President he could have had enough of them. Now there are some people
who just want to get themselves closer to the President by spending billions
on these adverts," said a political analyst who requested anonymity.
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe and the Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said this week the "demeaning" attack
on a Financial Gazette columnist by The Saturday Herald's columnist
Nathaniel Manheru in his latest article was shocking and "outrageous".
The two media organisations said Manheru's article, which was in response to
Makuni's opinion article entitled Mbeki's failure only prolongs our misery,
transcended the limits and confines of freedom of expression as guaranteed
in the constitution and went "beyond the bounds of decency and fair comment".
Manheru, believed to be President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson and permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Information, George Charamba, claimed that
Makuni's opinion "is a case of PMT (Pre-menstrual Tension) senselessness,
adding that Mbeki should not be bothered by comments made by one "menopausal
"The media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe and the Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) would like to express shock at the
outrageous, chauvinistic comment targeted at the Financial Gazette columnist
"Mavis Makuni in The Saturday Herald's issue of 18 February 2006.
"Nathaniel Manheru's opinion piece: The Otherside entitled Muleya/Makuni:
The deep scar of colonial enslavement, misgovernance, was a dehumanising and
blatant attack which went beyond the right to freedom of expression and
"Such comments are not only unethical but expose Manheru's bigotry, which is
unacceptable in a civilised society . . .
"Manheru has a right to his own opinions but he should address the issues
raised by Makuni instead of the unprofessional and unwarranted attack on the
personhood of the author. It is such biases and prejudices that entrench
negative stereotypes of women as lesser and incapable beings," said MISA and
The two media bodies said Manheru's comments " expose a mindset that is
demeaning of women and their status as equal to men".
Manheru's comments come at a time when the government is empowering women
and other democratic nations are accommodating women into influential
In her article, Makuni commented on the failure of South African President
Thabo Mbeki to solve Zimbabwe's political problems, courting Manheru's ire
as a result.
Nelson Banya News Editor
Factions again jostling for control of province
RETIRED army general and ZANU PF's most senior politician in the volatile
Masvingo province, Vitalis Zvinavashe, has been dragged into the incessant
factional wars that have threatened to destabilise the ruling party.
Zvinavashe, who became a senator when the upper chamber was reintroduced
late last year, accompanied ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika to
Masvingo over the weekend, ostensibly to meet the provincial leadership
there. However, members of the interim ZANU PF executive led by Samuel
Mumbengegwi allege that Manyika had been prodded to rap, or even dissolve
the executive for failing to acknowledge the leadership of central committee
members from the province.
"The old man was put under pressure from certain central committee members,
who were elected by the fired Daniel Shumba-led executive, to have us rapped
or even dissolved for alleged insubordination.
"He did try to tell us to respect the senior leadership in the province, but
ultimately, he rebuffed them when he released a statement to the press
saying he was pleased with the progress the interim executive has made. So
we are going ahead with uprooting all the fake structures they had set up.
We are also doing away with all of Shumba's people from within the party's
structures," the provincial executive member, who declined to be quoted,
Although the province's factional figureheads Eddson Zvobgo and Simon
Muzenda are both late, the factionalism has persisted in the province. The
Zvobgo faction, whose fortunes had been on the wane since the late ZANU PF
legal supreme was taken ill, has been on the ascent since the death of the
Zvobgo loyalists-Dzikamai Mavhaire, Walter Mzembi and Eddison Zvobgo
(Junior) now hold sway in the province, while those belonging to the other
faction - former governor Josaya Hungwe, higher education minister Stan
Mudenge and Shuvai Mahofa were caught up in the infamous Tsholotsho
conspiracy one way or the other.
"You will realise that the current central committee members were nominated
by the fired executive and what has gotten into the way of a cordial working
relationship is the Tsholotsho issue. Also, you will realize that Shumba is
back in the province with his new party, is ZANU PF prepared to commit
political suicide and allow his former supporters and associates to fight
him?" the ZANU PF official said.
Contacted for comment, Mavhaire professed ignorance over the alleged
manouvres to unsit his executive over the weekend.
"I am not aware of that. All I know is what has appeared in the press. Thank
you," Mavhaire said yesterday.
Efforts to contact both Manyika and Zvinavashe proved fruitless yesterday.
Munyaradzi Mugowo Own Correspondent
ELECTRICITY tariffs will shoot up by over 200 percent early next month in a
development that might stoke the inflation flames.
ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata said the tariff review - the second in
two months - had been approved by the government.
He said: "We are going to announce a tariff next week. Our tariffs have been
frozen since 2004 but costs have not been frozen."
Economist John Robertson said the tariff hike would only provide a
negligible reprieve to the country's sole power utility, which faces the
major challenge of shaking off a huge external debt overhang of over US$330
million incurred largely through electricity imports.
"The tariffs ZESA was charging were far too low to allow them to pay for the
electricity they import and this has created a severe debt burden, which
will make life difficult for the new board. The board would be justified to
ask for more, but this will increase industry's costs of production and
accelerate costs," Robertson said.
According to current statistics, for every kilowatt-hour of electricity
produced at an average cost of Z$1.386.20 per kilowatt-hour, ZESA charges
In the 12 months to December 2005, the parastatal incurred an estimated
operating loss of about Z$8 trillion attributed to inflation, sub-economic
pricing and high wage costs, which account for over 55 percent of ever
falling total revenue.
Audrey Chitsika Staff Reporter
THE country is facing acute shortages of stockfeed resulting in producers
hiking prices of live stock products and by-products in the past two months.
Successive drought years have seen persistent shortages of maize in the
country, which have threatened not only the livestock industry but has left
more than four million people in need of food aid. Manufacturers of
livestock products have turned to expensive imported substitutes to cushion
themselves from the raw materials shortages.
Leading food processor and distributor, National Foods (Natfoods), confirmed
the hardships in accessing raw materials needed to produce stockfeed. A
Natfoods public relations consultant, Linda Musesengwa, said the critical
shortage of the complete stock feed has led to the company selling and
distributing concentrates to avert a livestock crisis.
She added that farmers had to add maize to the concentrate to make a
complete feed for their livestock.
"National Foods is currently distributing concentrate. The farmers then add
their own maize to make the complete feed," said the Natfoods consultant.
"The shortage of complete feed is due to the overall shortage of maize in
The gap in the supply of stock feed has also resulted in shortages of chicks
for breeding, resulting in the increase in prices of chicken products.
A survey in most retail shops revealed that the price of chicken and eggs
have gone up by more than 100 percent since January this year.
The cost of a kilogram of chicken now exceeds $350 000, up from $150 000 at
the beginning of the year, while a single egg has gone up from $2 500 to $12
Currently, efforts are underway to boost the production of soya and maize,
major components in the manufacturing of products such as cereals and stock
"It is difficult to give an exact figure for prices of stock feed for all
animal types because they are periodically reviewed in line with input
costs," they said.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
Zimsun boss blasts meddling for airline's woes
ONE of the country's leading tourism personalities, Shingi Munyeza, has
pointed an accusing finger at politicians for the disintegration at the
troubled national airline, Air Zimbabwe.
In a hard-hitting delivery at the launch of the national airline's summer
schedule in the capital last week Munyeza, who said that Harare
International Airport should become southern Africa's second largest hub
after Johannesburg upon full implementation of a turnaround strategy, placed
the blame for the chaotic administration of the national airline on
"In order to achieve this objective, the economic objective should supersede
political objectives in the running of the airline," Munyeza told the
traveling public at the unveiling of an ambitious flight programme, which
entails servicing again some of its abandoned routes such as Kariba and the
Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route.
"At the moment economic objectives are secondary to political objectives,"
Munyeza said since the tourism industry's fortunes are inextricably tied to
those of the national airline the crisis rocking the national carrier had to
be resolved for the good of the industry, the airline and the travelling
public. He said the troubles at the national carrier, which included an
erratic supply of fuel, had resulted in it losing credibility and
reliability among stakeholders.
Air Zimbabwe has had its fair share of air travel headaches with frequent
fliers bemoaning fuel shortages, flight delays and cancellations.
Owing to extended periods of mismanagement and undercapitalisation, the
national flag carrier, which is struggling to shrug off the inefficiency
associated with state-owned enterprises, has been hit by a cocktail of
tribulations, which include a sharp fall in passenger numbers while its
board members have constantly been guests of the central bank begging for
Late last year the airline broke aviation records by cruising more than 6
000 kilometres with a lone passenger in its maiden trip to Dubai.
Munyeza decried the ongoing crisis at the national carrier, saying it had
resulted in the cancellation of 20 percent of its international routes. The
airline's routes have shrunk from 15 international destinations to nine,
while regional destinations have also dropped.
In 1999, when tourism was at its peak 34 airlines were landing in Zimbabwe
but this number has since collapsed to 14.
In his prescription Munyeza said Air Zimbabwe could take a leaf from some
successful regional turnaround strategies such those undertaken at South
African Airways and Kenya Airways.
These airlines boast of a new fleet of aircraft, have increased seat
kilometres, and have introduced new profitable routes.
Munyeza said once Air Zimbabwe embraces some of the strategies employed by
these two airlines, it will successfully turn around its fortunes and be
restored to its former glory.
The Zimsun boss revealed that tourism industry players had obtained
permission from the central bank to liquidate foreign currency accounts
after the prescribed 30 days to finance fuel procurement for Air Zimbabwe.
"A steady supply of Jet A1 fuel in Zimbabwe will save fuel consumption
costs, cut landing fees, reduce take-off time and cut the length of the
flight as it will now be a direct flight with no stopovers," said Munyeza.
The introduction of electronic-ticketing at Air Zimbabwe, which now accounts
for 38 percent of tickets sold worldwide, must be speeded up, as it will
drastically reduce costs, he said.
Nelson Banya News Editor
THE recent suspension of ZESA Holdings company secretary Timothy Sain on
allegations of sexual harassment has opened a can of worms at the power
utility and spawned counter-allegations of deep-seated corruption targeted
at the corporation's powerful executive chairman, Sydney Gata.
Although indications this week suggested Gata could rescind Sain's
suspension, with both parties' lawyers due to meet either today or tomorrow,
the episode has opened up a rare insight into the goings-on in the company,
which has gone for almost three years without a board superintending its
affairs. A new ZESA board is now expected early next month.
Leaked documents from within ZESA point to three main allegations -
profligacy in the face of dwindling cash resources to maintain equipment,
favouritism and nepotism - against Gata.
Top of the charges is the purchase of a top-of-the-range Toyota IMV truck
worth $8.5 billion for Gata, "without ministerial approval in the absence of
The vehicle was purchased for the executive chairman from Dyna Motors on
February 3/4 2006 using funds paid by Zimbabwe Alloys for the use of power.
Other allegations relate to the re-hiring of executive director, corporate
affairs, Fortune Sambo, who left ZESA in 2003.
"Fortune Sambo was retrenched and paid a full package, including a motor
vehicle, in 2003. As soon as he left, he was back within a week, engaged as
a consultant, initially earning $400 000 per hour and, until recently, $1.3
million per hour.
"He has now been reinstated as executive director (designate) - corporate
affairs. This is despite the fact that the position, when it arose, was for
internal candidates only," another document alleges.
Currently, ZESA has a general manager responsible for corporate affairs -
Obert Nyatanga - and it remains unclear if the setup will remain so. It has,
however, emerged that Nyatanga has instituted a $23 billion lawsuit against
members of ZESA's internal audit department.
ZESA sources said Nyatanga's future at the company was now uncertain, "as he
appears to have fallen out with the powers that be".
In his suit, Nyatanga is claiming $9 billion from the chief internal
auditor, Obson Matunja, "for incriminating (crimen injuria) my name by
ignoring reason, falsifying facts, documentary evidence, causing
despondency, hate, panic and fabricating information that senior managers
did not travel or travelled to external destinations with the sole objective
of bringing my name into disrepute and intentionally seeking to
professionally terminating my career I have struggled to build over
twenty-two years of working experience."
Nyatanga is also claiming $14 billion - $7 billion each - from Evelyn Mhona
and Alois Makamure, staff in the audit department, for alleged complicity in
efforts to incriminate him over travel allowance abuse.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Gata declined to comment on Sain's
suspension, saying the matter was still sub judice.
He also declined to comment on allegations surrounding some recent
appointments made at ZESA, saying Energy and Power Development Minister
Michael Nyambuya would make a full statement on March 1.
"I cannot comment on that. The minister will make the announcement on the
first (of March). Mashaya zvimwe zvekunyora here, kana kuti muri Gata press?
G-A-T-A not gutter, lest you think I'm insulting you," the ZESA strongman
The power utility has in the past been bedevilled by problems emanating from
the messy dismissal of the immediate past chief executive officer,
Mavis Makuni Own Correspondent
A great deal has been said about the need for the people of Africa to find
solutions to their own problems instead of accepting those prescribed and
imposed by Western institutions such as the World Bank and the International
It may seem academic to ask the question, but who are the people of Africa?
Is it bureaucrats and the ruling elites or the people of a country as a
Will these home-grown approaches and solutions work if they are not owned by
the people as a whole but are imposed by those with vested interests to
protect? These questions beg answers if the homegrown dispensations
advocated by leaders are to evolve in a transparent manner with the
participation and input of the people.
Take corruption for example. This cancer is the fastest growing industry in
Africa and is spinning out of control. A story published in the press last
week suggested that fighting the scourge was even spawning more corruption.
It was reported that Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had
been forced to act after fraudsters masquerading as members of its staff had
swindled people out of large sums of money. The conmen forced people to pay
"hush" money to forestall investigations into non-existent cases. It is no
longer a question of who will guard the guards but how many guards there are
The alarming reality is that ordinary people already impoverished by the
greed and avarice of the powerful and influential are the same people who
must pay bribes to access services that they are entitled to.
The Global Corruption Barometer, which is based on a Gallup poll conducted
for Transparency International last year, shows that the impact of
corruption on personal and family life is most dramatic on the poor. "When a
poor young mother believes that her government places its own interests
above her child's, or that securing services like that child's basic health
care requires a hand under the table, her hope for the future is dampened.
But embedded corruption can be rooted out when people join together to
change the system that facilitates it", according to the Barometer.
And therein lies the problem for most African countries. How do the people
join together to fight corruption when they are denied freedom of speech and
expression and when a corrupt and repressive environment is the best
guarantee for the survival of undemocratic and tyrannical regimes?
According to the book Government by the People by James MacGregor Burns,
J.W. Peltason and Thomas E Cronin, democracy is based on the individual's
right to speak freely, to organise in groups, to question the decisions of
the government and to campaign openly against it. "Only through free and
uncensored expression of opinion can the government be kept responsive to
the electorate.", they say.
Needless to say, the above concept is anathema to repressive and despotic
regimes on the continent. They will make a great show of opposing corruption
rhetorically at the very same moment they are strengthening the oppressive
machinery that enables the ruling elites to plunder national resources
through extensive patronage networks. Transparency International chief
executive, David Nussbaum has said: "Like a bad disease, corruption is often
predictable, preventable and curable. The Global Corruption Barometer offers
a harsh diagnosis but effective treatment is at hand."
Events show that despite the unmistakable rampancy of corruption on the
continent, governments are simply not ready to take the bitter medicine
necessary to cure the cancer. There seems to be an invisible hand that
renders anti-corruption campaigns impotent. What is happening in Kenya is a
case in point. The departure of Daniel Arap Moi after 25 years in power
should have enabled Kenyans to make a fresh start with a "clean" government
under Mwai Kibaki. What has emerged is that the ministers in Kibaki's
administration have learnt the tricks of the corruption trade at lightning
speed, considering how many of them are embroiled in the controversy sparked
off by anti-graft troubleshooter, John Githongo's investigation. Even more
disturbing are the death threats that have been made against Githongo which
forced him to seek refuge in Britain.
This shows that spearheading an anti-corruption drive or investigation is a
dangerous, even potentially fatal pursuit. The tribulations of
troubleshooters like Githongo could eventually mean that there will be no
takers for the job , thus playing into the hands of corrupt governments
that, in any case, secretly loathe to end the status quo.
Transparency Internation-al's Nussabaum has said ,"The fish rots from the
head. When a government is corrupt at the top, the power to make fundamental
reforms lies in the hands of those least likely to do so."
During his 82nd birthday interview on television Zimbabwe's President Mugabe
conceded openly for the first time that corruption was rampant within
government. However, he said the consolation was that there were many
African countries "walking with Lucifer" and Zimbabwe was not alone.
If African governments are serious, they should stop accepting corruption
and their unwillingness to tackle it as a rallying point for solidarity.
Leaders should ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption ,
which came into force last December. The provisions of the convention can
help nations to retrieve assets stolen by dictators, prevent money
laundering and enhance accounting and auditing standards in the public and
private sectors. "Complacency is corruption's best friend, Nussbaum has
said. "Signing the document and taking part in the photo opportunity is not
enough. Leaders must now complete the ratification process and focus on
No Holds Barred with Gondo Gushungo
THANKS to the Editor-in-Chief, Sunsleey Chamunorwa, who wrote this column as
a labour of love last week. From now on, yours truly will be writing the
I believe that journalists should be in the eye of the storm when it comes
to issues of legitimate public concern. To that end I have decided to zero
in on the protracted suffering of the residents of the erstwhile sunshine
city - Harare, where everything has virtually fallen apart.
The Harare City Council has put the residents through as excruciating
torture as any one can be exposed to. This should be blamed squarely on the
shoulders of two people who see the problem besetting the city of Harare
through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe - Ignatius Chombo and Sekesai
Makwavarara - two hearts that beat as one.
Chombo, the Local Government Minister has, alongside his kindred spirits
Joseph Made and Aeneas Chigwedere, given credence to the general perception
that ZANU PF touches nothing it does not dehydrate.
Since his interference in the affairs of the city, which has been
characterised by double standards, hypocrisy, arrogance and contempt, the
capital city has caught some degenerative disease! Indeed, the messy
situation in Harare leaves a painful impression, to say the least. Even the
Zimpapers titles whose editorials are usually characterised by malevolence
and mendacity can no longer gloss over the goings-on at Town House.
Zimbabwe has never, in its short independence history, had a local
government minister like Chombo who thinks himself the first man in more
than 2 000 years to know anything about the management of local authorities.
Nor has it ever experienced municipal failures as it does now.
The reason for the deplorable state of affairs is not far to see. It is
because the minister's priorities are: one ZANU PF, two ZANU PF and three
ZANU PF, if you know what I mean. This is why he has interfered with and
numbed whole municipalities with the enthusiasm of a newly enrolled boy
scout demonstrating his knot tying to his indulgent parents. To Chombo, who
has been throwing his weight hither and thither, it is an article of faith
that ZANU PF should control urban councils. This is why he has gone to the
ends of the earth, deposing elected mayors and councils, and replacing them
with hand-picked ZANU PF charlatans. Unfortunately the consequences of
Chombo's meddling will make themselves felt in the country for years to
come. It has severe and long-term consequences that are not borne by the
government but by the residents of the city.
In Harare, playing God at Town House, Chombo cursed us with Makwavarara, a
politician of monumental littleness who by some cruel twist of fate or is it
strange streak of political fortune, found herself at the helm of the
capital city even though it would seem that what she knows about civic
matters can fit on the back of a postage stamp.
The woman could not even implement a ready-made turnaround programme for the
city, which led to the hiring of the since fired Chester Mhende, the one who
speaks with a plum. Talk of hiring a coordinator of a coordinating
Makwavarara's ineptitude in dealing with the problems of Harare shows that
she can hardly be trusted to organise a booze-up in a brewery. But with
Chombo - to whom it does not matter a brass farthing what the residents of
Harare have to endure - sitting in the catbird seat, that is
inconsequential. What with the backing of the ruling ZANU PF, arrogant
enough to think that it is the only capable political force in the country?
The omnipotent Chombo knows that Makwavarara is a dead weight on the
operations of the Harare City Council. But she keeps her job until the cows
come home. If this is not taking the politics of patronage to a whole new
disgusting level, then I don't know what is. Which is why she must have
grinned like the cat that got the cream when Chombo unbelievably waxed
enthusiastic and lyrical about her supposed qualities in Parliament last
"We inherited Ms Makwavarara from the MDC who must have seen certain
qualities in her. She decided to align herself with the progressive ZANU PF
after she foresaw the confusion that is now engulfing the MDC," gushed the
obviously charmed and smitten Chombo.
Holy dancing and whistling Jesus Christ! Some of the antics of Zimbabwean
government ministers would be laughable were it not for the gravity of their
implications on people's lives. What qualities is the minister talking
about? The provision of services in Harare is now worse off and continues to
deteriorate under the stewardship of Makwavarara. Even Chombo, in his
egoistical imagination, knows that the collapse of service delivery has
accelerated under Makwavarara. The before and after comparisons provide
ample evidence to this effect. If reason consists of seeing things the way
they really are, why then doesn't Chombo see Makwavarara for what she is - a
bull in a china shop. Does Chombo still have an iota of honour and shame?
Does he have any time for remorse?
Suffice to say that there are no prizes for guessing what qualities Chombo
was talking about. But to the residents of the city who have run the whole
gamut of emotions from A to Z over her incompetence, the qualities that
Chombo harps on certainly do not have anything to do with the mayor's brief
at Town House.
Granted, I don't know any more about the country's politics than a pig knows
about Sunday. But even though he has spiritedly but unconvincingly denied
it, don't Chombo's excesses at Town House smack of an obsession with
planting ruling party charlatans in positions of influence irrespective of
whether they are suitable or not? There is a clear, straightforward,
absolute goal: ZANU PF must control urban councils at all costs! That is the
primary motive. Forget the fašade of altruism displayed by Chombo.
It is sad though that Chombo's political behaviour at Town House is a
reflection of the gap between Zimbabwe's stated democratisation intentions
and what should be its new values, on one hand, and the anti-democratic
nature of some senior politicians in the ruling ZANU PF and government.
When will he be able to see beyond parochial political interests? Does it
ever occur to him that the people of Harare are fed up to the back teeth
with his actions and those of his sidekicks in the city?
lsome suburbs in Harare have been reduced to sewage farms where residents
have had to swat at disease-carrying flies that buzz around them and their
lscores of people have succumbed to cholera and dysentery at a time when
even a single death from such diseases is one too many;
lHarare has been turned into cardboard city where scores of people sleep in
the open even if it is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey;
lresidents have been paying for non-existent services, just to mention but a
Or am I expecting too much from Chombo and company. Why should he worry and
care about the common spirits when ZANU PF is firmly in control of the
capital city? Hasn't it been observed before that the rights of the common
people are the last thing anyone remembers when a system collapses?
Which is why Leslie Gwindi told us recently in a very matter-of-fact way
that we have to continue turning our pockets inside-out for non-existent
refuse collection services. Or why Makwavarara went on a $30 billion junket
in Russia and saw nothing wrong with sinking a whopping $35 billion in
curtains and furniture for the mayoral mansion!
And the all-important poser: when did she last urge a full-court press for
civil rights, fair housing and a new generation of services in the city?
Vagoni zvavo! Hameno chokwadi.
"TO some extent yes but to a greater extent no - no! no! no! There is a lot
of self-centredness one sees among some of my ministers . . . " said
President Robert Mugabe in a rare moment of candour as he responded to a
question on whether his so-called development Cabinet has lived up to
Admittedly, the President spoke with unwonted openness. However, to many,
this was not the most apt and opprobrius remark given the gravity of the
situation and the implications of the ministers' incompetence and bloated
self-interests. They would have wanted the President to use adjectives such
as conceited, self-absorbed and incompetent.
Be that as it may, we still feel that this was a tacit admission by
President Mugabe that the unprecedented and accelerating economic meltdown
as well as the abject poverty and misery marking the nation are a damning
indictment of the Cabinet. The current Cabinet, which to all intents and
purposes should be called the "passenger Cabinet", might not necessarily
have caused the socio-economic difficulties but it is as sure as hell
responsible for aggravating them.
Although he did not mention anyone by name, the President left very little
to the imagination. From what he said, he had in mind the country's most
notorious political liar, Joseph Made under whom the collapse of Agriculture
has seen the country being reduced to a basket case, Herbert Murerwa and
Rugare Gumbo of the key ministries of Finance and Economic Development
respectively, Amos Midzi of Mines and Mining Development and Obert Mpofu of
Industry and International Trade, among others
Most importantly though, President Mugabe - who should be blamed for
recycling the same old uninspiring faces in Cabinet - expressed exasperation
and lack of confidence in his lieutenants. And rightly so because they could
not get the job done. The Cabinet, some of whose corrupt and
influence-peddling members are only good at speaking of patriotism in such a
way that the very word becomes impure, has failed dismally. Zimbabwe is
worse off than it was when the Cabinet was appointed after the March 2005
Parliamentary elections. With such a strong signal of discontent from the
head of state therefore, one would think that these ministers would do the
honourable thing and resign so as not to waste the nation's time and
resources. But no, that is alien to them. They would rather be carried out
Which means that, as we pointed out in our editorial of November 3, 2005,
entitled No Musical Chairs, Please, there is an urgent need for a complete
overhaul of the Cabinet because continuing with the current one would be
ruinous for the country. Still there is a fork ahead on the road:
lIt is either deeper reforms where President Mugabe overcomes the inertia of
ZANU PF's encumbering politics of the liberation struggle - which is now of
the past and is not going to be a rallying point for the future.
For Zimbabwe to have a strong, resolute and competent Cabinet comprising
flexible, courageous and evolutionising politicians, appointment to Cabinet
should not be determined solely by the candidates' war credentials or the
positions they hold in the ruling ZANU PF, which seems to be the case at the
This entails a decisive rapture with tradition where the President should
drop from Cabinet even so-called ruling party heavyweights who have become
part of the furniture in the government offices they occupy, their political
A myth has been propagated of how certain supposedly politically powerful
individuals could, if they were fired from ZANU PF and the government,
destroy the ruling party. This probably explains why the ZANU PF government,
in a case of not wanting to risk the ire of some of these powerful
politicians, prefers them in its tent nodding in agreement rather than
outside spilling the beans. We however refuse to accept the mystique of
these politicians. In short, it is high time President Mugabe tried in his
Cabinet, intellectual spark plugs that are free of political strings and
partisan obligations. Not the likes of Minister Made whose intellect has
been of no more use than "a pistol packed in the bottom of a trunk" if one
were attacked in a robber-infested slum.
lOr the President may pursue deeper conservatism where he moves around the
same deadwood with which Zimbabwe has been stuck as if it is something the
country's historical situation prescribed. This approach, whose consequences
on the nation would be too ghastly to contemplate, spells personal disaster
for President Mugabe. With the current crop of Cabinet ministers he will, as
sure as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, bequeath a
terrible legacy to Zimbabwe. An economic turnaround will probably not come
sooner than the end of the third millennium. And it is not difficult to see
why. The "well-educated" Cabinet has proved beyond reasonable doubt that no
one in Zimbabwe ever knew so much that was so little to the purpose.