by Own Correspondents Friday 26 February 2010
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's High Court on Thursday upheld a ruling by the
SADC Tribunal outlawing neighbouring Zimbabwe's land reforms, paving way for
white farmers who lost property under President Robert Mugabe's
controversial reforms to file for compensation in South African courts.
Zimbabwe's High Court in a ruling last month refused to enforce the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal judgment, while Mugabe has
said the regional court's order to stop farm seizures and compensate white
land owners for lost property was "nonsensical and of no consequence".
But yesterday's ruling means farmers can attach Zimbabwean government-owned
property in South Africa such as Air Zimbabwe jets as compensation for lost
farms, said the AfriForum group that filed the Pretoria application on
behalf of farmers, Louis Fick, Michael Campbell and Richard Etheredge, who
lost land in Zimbabwe.
"We succeeded in getting an order that the SADC ruling be recognised in
South Africa. This means that the ruling has been registered, is now
recognised and can be enforced here as it has become part of South African
law," said AfriForum official Willie Spies.
"Our next move then is to start findings of ways of attaching the property.
We will use South African civil procedures to sell those assets and provide
restitution to the farmers," he added.
The Tribunal in November 2008 declared Mugabe's land reform programme
discriminatory, racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty.
The Tribunal directed the Zimbabwe government not to seize land from the 79
farmers who had appealed to the Namibia-based court and said Harare must
compensate those it had already evicted from their farms.
Mugabe ignored the Tribunal ruling while his supporters have stepped up a
campaign to drive Zimbabwe's few remaining white farmers off the land.
And Harare High Court Judge Bharat Patel last month ruled that Zimbabwe was
bound by rulings of the regional court but said the order on farm seizures
could not be implemented because it was against public policy.
Blocking the Tribunal order, Patel said its enforcement would effectively
undo Mugabe's land reforms of the past decade, with all white farmers who
lost land expected to use the judgment to claim their properties back.
The Harare judge said this would require the government to evict tens of
thousands of black families resettled on farms seized from whites in order
to return the land to lawful owners, a move he described as a "political
enormity" with potential to cause upheaval in Zimbabwe.
There was no immediate reaction from Harare to the latest threat to Mugabe's
land reforms that he has said are irreversible and were necessary to correct
a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and
banished blacks to poor soils.
Critics blame the chaotic and often violent reforms for plunging Zimbabwe
into food shortages after Mugabe failed to support black villagers resettled
on former white farms with inputs to maintain production. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Friday 26 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's government is earning only US$100 million per month, 65
percent of which goes to wages, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told reporters
on Thursday, painting a grim picture of the state coffers at a time civil
servants are on strike for improved salaries.
"We highlighted our economic and political challenge and meagre resources,"
Biti said at a press conference, after meeting directors from the African
Development Bank (ADB). "We have meagre resources not exceeding 100 million
per month, of which 65 percent goes towards wages."
Civil servants downed tools three weeks ago but the industrial action has
not shutdown all public departments with many workers continuing to report
The civil servants have asked government to pay $630 a month for the lowest
paid worker from the current $120. But the cash-strapped government has
offered $122 in February which would be raised to $134 in April, saying it
does not have money to fund any significant wage hikes.
Biti said that some unnamed donors are willing to offset the country's $5.4
billion foreign debt, provided the inclusive government comes up with a
common position about how to manage the debt.
"I am in constant touch with the donors and I have no doubt that they will
put money, I can put my head on it. They will help us, once there is a green
light from government that we will follow this route (either to mortgage
minerals or be declared Highly Indebted Poor Country)."
The debt is unsustainably high for a government that is living from hand to
mouth and is in need of more external funding to finance reconstruction of
the country's collapsed economy, said Biti from Prime Minister Moran
Tsvangirai's MDC party.
"There is nothing as embarrassing as failing to settle your debt," he said.
ADB dean Hassan Khedr, who was part of the delegation said he was aware that
the government was divided on what route to take.
"We understand that there is still divided opinion related to whether to be
classified as HIPC country in order to be eligible for this kind of support
(debt cancellation) or to use our own resources," said Khedr.
Last month Biti said the southern African country had run out of options on
how to service its debt which is now hampering the coalition government's
efforts to resuscitate the country's economy ravaged by a decade-long
Zimbabwe, once one of Africa's most vibrant economies, is said to owe $138
million to the IMF, $676 million to the World Bank and $438 million the ADB,
among other lenders.
However, the power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Tsvangirai says it needs more loans - $10 billion in total to revive the
economy and generate revenue before it is able to repay what it owes. -
February 25, 2010
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The MDC has called upon the police to arrest Zanu-PF youths who,
during a street march they organized Wednesday against western imposed
sanctions, threatened to deal with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
"The Zanu-PF threat on party President and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
is a blatant attack not only on his person and office, but a reprehensible
criminal act that threatens the inclusive government and the Global
Political Agreement (GPA)," said the MDC in a statement posted on its
official website Thursday.
"The MDC takes these threats seriously as several attempts have been made on
the life of the Prime Minister."
The MDC further called on SADC and the African Union to intervene in what it
said was an apparent attempt by Zanu-PF to torpedo the country's unity
agreement brokered in 2008 by the two organisations.
"We call upon SADC and the African Union, the guarantors of the GPA, to
intervene and resolve this blatant criminal act which may well be the
beginning of deliberate efforts to scuttle and kill a regional initiative
which had brought hope to the people of Zimbabwe," said the MDC.
The march on Wednesday by hundreds of Zanu-PF youths followed a decision by
the European Union recently to extend by a year a travel ban and asset
freeze on President Robert Mugabe and 196 other individuals, mainly members
of his Zanu-PF party, who are accused of human rights violations.
The sanctions also target 31 companies, including banks, said to have
shareholding by people with links to Zanu PF.
During the march, the protesters waved placards some of which carried
messages such as, "sanctions are evil", and "we will defeat sanctions".
They also sang and denounced Tsvangirai, who is accused by Zanu-PF of having
invited the sanctions on Zimbabwe.
One of their songs went something like: "Tsvangirai ndiye ari kukonzera
masanctions, ngaarohwe tsvimbo mumusoro (Tsvangirai is the cause of the
sanctions; he should be dealt a blow to the head)."
They gave Tsvangirai a period of one month to somehow negotiate the removal
of the sanctions imposed by the West on President Mugabe and the leadership
of his party.
"It is inhuman for Zanu-PF to issue such a threat at a time when the Prime
Minister is absent from official duties as a result of an operation on
injuries sustained on 11 March 2007," said the MDC statement.
"It is immoral, un-African and inhuman to make the threats a week before the
memorial service of his wife, who was killed in a suspicious accident which
may well have been an attempt on his life.
"Morgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. This is a litmus test
for the police and the security forces as the nation waits to see the arrest
of the hired street urchins who threatened to take "action" on the Prime
Minister of the country, the undisputed winner of the 29 March 2008
It was however unlikely that the police would heed the MDC calls. The
Zanu-PF marchers were, in fact, officially escorted by police officers in
The country's police force has in the past been accused of being partisan
towards President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.
When the protesters arrived at the Zanu-PF headquarters at the end of their
march, they were addressed by the party's secretary for information Rugare
Gumbo and youth secretary Absalom Sikhosana, who were sent by President
Mugabe to thank the marchers for their protest.
At the time, Mugabe was chairing a politburo meeting within the Zanu-PF
The MDC accused the Zanu-PF leadership of inciting the youths.
"These youths were publicly incited by Politburo members Rugare Gumbo and
Absalom Sikhosana; clear evidence that the party's supreme decision making
body is an accomplice in this criminal act," the MDC statement said.
"All those persons implicated in this dastardly act must immediately be
brought to book."
It is unlikely that the police will take any action against those who issued
threats against the Prime Minister.
by Tendai Maronga Friday 26 February 2010
HARARE - Disillusioned by the performance of an "expert witness" he had
called to testify in the ongoing trial of MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett,
Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana now intends to call yet another
expert, a move the defence team is vehemently opposing.
Beatrice Mtetwa who is representing Bennett said the move was no longer part
of "prosecution" but was tantamount to "persecution".
Tomana on Tuesday called in Perekai Denchort Mutsetse to buttress the state's
assertion that emails that were allegedly printed from the computer of
Mutare arms dealer Peter Michael Hirschman that implicate Bennett in a plot
to assassinate President Robert Mugabe were authentic.
But under cross-examination from Mtetwa, Mutsetse, who claimed he is a
provincial engineer for Africom based in Mutare, stunned the court when he
said he had never heard about computer hackers, leading the defence to tell
him that he was not a computer expert but a cable layer at Africom.
On Thursday Tomana told Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that he intended to bring
in another information technology (IT expert) to testify but Mtetwa objected
to the move saying it was equivalent to persecution.
"We object to the bringing in of this new expert. This is no longer
prosecution but persecution. It is quite clear that the state is now
building its case in line with the proceedings. They are now prosecuting in
order to convict which is inadmissible," said Mtetwa.
Justice Bhunu reserved his ruling to Monday when the trial is expected to
Bhunu will also make another ruling on whether the state can bring TelOne
security officer Forgive Munyeki to testify on the impact the destruction of
a microwave link in Melfort would have caused to the country.
Tomana argued that the microwave link was clearly part of the state case
against Bennett and therefore the evidence from Munyeki would prove that
there indeed is that link and is an "essential service institution capable
of being sabotaged".
But Mtetwa challenged the evidence saying it was immature and could only
come after the AG has led evidence in court clearly stating that there was a
conspiracy between her client and Hitschmann as is alleged in the email
communications that are in court as exhibit 13.
"Exhibit 13 is not before the court to prove the veracity of its contents.
The evidence of the contents of exhibit 13 must be led before this witness
can be called. We respectfully submit that the evidence is irrelevant at
this juncture and extremely prejudicial to the accused," said Mtetwa.
Prosecutors say Hitschmann implicated Bennett in 2006 when he was arrested
after being found in possession of firearms, claims the gun dealer denies
saying he was tortured into making the confessions during interrogation at a
military barracks in March that year. - ZimOnline
Feb 25, 2010 11:52 PM | By Moses Mudzwiti
Zimbabwe Cabinet ministers in the previous regime have been fingered in a
damning report that accuses them of looting state assets ahead of the
formation of the unity government last year.
The special report, compiled by the parliamentary committee on public
accounts, has unearthed "shocking abuse of public funds and state assets".
The committee recently completed its audit of state assets, an investigation
prompted by assertions last year by the auditor-general that certain
ministers had looted their ministries.
Among the anomalies unearthed was that 10000 youths were on the government's
payroll for no other reason than that they belonged to President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Evidence shows that all the youths were born on the same day - April 18
1980, the day Zimbabwe attained its independence from Britain.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu made off with two top-of-the-range state
vehicles, according to the report. He has also been fingered in the
disappearance of diamonds belonging to the state.
MP Felix Sibanda, a member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change, described Mpofu's actions regarding the vehicles as
"theft". He said the mines minister should no longer be entrusted with the
According to the report, at least 423 ghost names were duplicated on the
government payroll and civil servants would withdraw salaries for the
non-existent youth officers and expropriate the money for their personal
Another government department, that of the registrar-general, headed by
Tobaiwa Mudede, was found to be still paying 22 employees salaries long
after they had ceased to render services to the department.
Neither Zanu-PF nor the unity government has responded to the report.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 23:56
THE administration of justice is under threat after it emerged the Zimbabwe
Prison Services (ZPS) does not have vehicles to transport remand and
convicted prisoners to jail. Florence Ziyambi, the director of public
prosecutions in the Attorney-General's Office, confirmed to the Zimbabwe
Independent the transport blues.
"There is a serious transport problem," Ziyambi said in an interview last
week. "I heard the Zimbabwe Prison Services confirming this in a meeting.
The problem is not only in small towns, but everywhere."
At times, she said, the police would be called in to assist ZPS in
transporting convicts and remand prisoners.
"Those who have been further remanded in custody cannot be ferried to the
prisons because of transport problems and the police have to be called to
chip in and ferry the prisoners," Ziyambi explained. "I understand that fuel
is also a problem. However, the best people to talk to are from the prison
Efforts to get comment from Prisons Deputy Commissioner Washington Chimboza
were in vain yesterday, but he was recently quoted in the state media
bemoaning the lack of transport in the ZPS.
Judicial service sources told the Independent that transport problems have
forced courts around the country to decline new cases.
The sources said the ZPS ordered its officials to stop transporting
prisoners in unofficial vehicles as had become the custom.
Sources added that some magistrates' courts in the country could no longer
accommodate prisoners on remand. The situation is so dire that both
convicted and remanded prisoners have had to be accommodated in police
holding cells because of health fears, but the police are not happy with
this, they say.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 23:44
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is caught in a sticky situation over the raging
diamonds conflict, facing an explosive confrontation with the Reserve Bank
and the Supreme Court.
Official sources said Mugabe is sailing close to the wind on the volatile
diamonds dispute after he went along with Mines minister Obert Mpofu's
"unlawful" explanation that gemstones extracted from the contested Chiadzwa
diamonds fields must be kept at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe (MMCZ), not the Reserve Bank. The sources said Mpofu and officials
at his ministry informed the president that the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme requires that diamonds be kept at the MMCZ as opposed
to the central bank. Mugabe seems to have bought into this line which the
Reserve Bank considers illegal in view of the recent Supreme Court ruling on
The owners of the contested diamonds, Africa Consolidated Resources (ACR)
plc, also say keeping the diamonds at MMCZ is "illegal" as it brazenly
defies the Supreme Court ruling.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on January 25 ruled that the 129 400
carats of diamonds initially seized from ACR in January 2007 by MMCZ must be
kept at the Reserve Bank until the finalisation of the appeal on the issue.
ACR is fighting in the courts over the seizure of its diamond claims and
gemstones and the issue is on appeal.
The battle over the diamonds dramatically escalated last week after Mugabe,
in an interview with ZBC on the eve of his birthday, entered the fray,
defending Mpofu's actions considered "unlawful" by the Reserve Bank, ACR and
the Supreme Court.
Mugabe came out publicly suggesting Mpofu's position to keep the diamonds at
the MMCZ is correct even though the Supreme Court has ruled that the
diamonds must be surrendered to the central bank for safekeeping.
Sources said this has angered Reserve Bank officials who are mostly Mugabe
loyalists. It is also said the Supreme Court is anxious about the issue
which has rule-of-law and contempt-of-court implications.
Mugabe in his birthday interview last week revealed that a significant
number of diamonds were stocked at the MMCZ, an act which the Supreme Court
and Reserve Bank consider unlawful.
"I understand we have quite a number of diamonds piled up in the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe offices. They are the ones approved by the
Kimberley Process, not the Reserve Bank," Mugabe said.
ACR is upset by the latest snatching of its gemstones. The London Stock
Exchange-listed miner has written a letter to the Reserve Bank complaining
about the recent confiscation of its diamonds by police. ACR accused Mpofu
in the letter dated February 15 of being involved in the seizure.
It said Mpofu has been claiming that the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme requires that the diamonds must be kept at MMCZ and that keeping them
anywhere else, including at the Reserve Bank, would be a breach of the
"This is completely false," ACR charges in its letter to the Reserve Bank.
"It is only documentation from the MMCZ that is required."
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Deputy Sheriff attached diamonds
from MMCZ and took them to the Reserve Bank. According to the Notice of
Seizure and Attachment, the deputy sheriff delivered the diamonds to the
Reserve Bank for safekeeping in line with the court ruling, but Assistant
Commissioner Freedom Gumbo, accompanied by armed police officers, went to
the central bank earlier this month and "illegally" seized the diamonds.
"The actions of the police were clearly in contempt of court and unlawful,"
ACR wrote to the Reserve Bank. The company said it had complained to
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and other ministers over the issue.
The Supreme Court said last week said the seizure of diamonds was illegal
and in contempt of court. "If anyone has removed the diamonds from the
Reserve Bank, he has done so unlawfully and in contempt of court," it said.
"The diamonds must be returned to the Reserve Bank immediately in order to
purge the contempt. Failure to do so should attract serious consequences."
This leaves Mugabe and Mpofu in a tight spot.
The central bank on Monday told ACR lawyers dealing with the case that if
the diamonds were to be returned to it for safekeeping, it would demand
"total transparency" and would want the diamond valuation committee
comprising the police, MMCZ, Ministry of Mines, ACR, deputy sheriff and
itself to be involved in monitoring the return of the gemstones.
It said it wanted this process because the diamonds which had been valued
and sealed but confiscated by police could have been tampered with.
The fight over the ACR diamonds has compounded an already complicated
situation sparked by the controversial granting of mining to Mbada Diamond
Mining Company, which is a 50/50 joint venture deal between Zanu PF-linked
tycoons and government.
Mugabe has come out supporting Mbada in its fight with ACR, setting himself
up against powerful colleagues in government who support ACR.
Mbada, registered as Condurango Investments (Pvt) Ltd, was formed last year
after the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)'s
wholly owned Marange Resources (Pvt) Ltd signed an agreement with South
Africa's New Reclamation Group (Pty) Ltd. ZMC also signed another agreement
with South Africa's Core Mining and Minerals (Pty) Ltd to extract gems in
Marange diamonds fields. Mbada recently failed to sell 300 000 carats of
diamonds due to the current storm over diamonds.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 23:37
REELING from widening political divisions and tensions following the recent
controversial appointment of its new politburo, Zanu PF is considering
establishing a Council of Elders to restore cohesion within its fractured
Inside sources said the issue was being vigorously debated and was on the
politburo agenda on Wednesday, although discussion on it was postponed after
senior party official Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured), who was due to present
a paper on it, left the meeting prematurely due to other commitments. The
establishment of the Council of Elders, a structure which is common in
several political parties in Africa and elsewhere in the world, is said to
be an attempt to manage uneasy internal relations between the party's old
guard and young turks.
The revived Zapu and the New Patriotic Party of Ghana have councils of
The Zanu PF council would be a mechanism to deal with the growing tensions
in the party which intensified after the recent politburo appointments. In
his appointments to the politburo, Mugabe retained most of the old guard and
failed to renew the aging administrative structure of the central committee
of his party. Only a few new and relatively young members were appointed.
Sources said the council would partly address the infighting and divisions
in Zanu PF. In theory, the council would supervise the party, although it is
mainly going to be a retirement home for aged Zanu PF officials.
"In de jure terms the council of elders will supervise and oversee how the
party functions, but de facto it would be a political parkade where elderly
members who can no longer be involved in active politics would be retired,"
a senior politburo member said.
The Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday discussed indigenisation and
economic empowerment with the party approving proposals designed to ensure
that companies based in Zimbabwe should have 51% local shareholding. There
was also a heated debate on farms.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the discussion on the land
issues. "He (the president) was very angry. He gets really angry when he
talks about corruption and when people don't do things properly.
The president just pointed out that it was not right to lease out farms and
he expects people to be productive when they are given farms," Gumbo said.
"He said that if identified or discovered, those leasing farms will have
them taken away." - Staff Writer.
Friday, 26 February 2010 00:00
A PARLIAMENTARY portfolio committee yesterday threatened to charge NetOne
board chairperson, Callistus Ndlovu, with contempt of parliament after he
failed to pitch up for a hearing, amid growing confusion over which ministry
is in charge of the telecoms firm. Gift Chimanikire, the chairperson of the
committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology, said
legislators were considering charging Ndlovu and fellow board members for
failing to turn up for the meeting to give evidence on the state of affairs
at the debt-ridden company.
"We are concerned by their failure to appear, which will result in us
charging them with contempt of parliament," Chimanikire said after
adjourning the meeting. "Failure to attend next week's meeting shall be
considered as contempt of parliament. We will have to charge the chairman of
the board. He has no authority to withhold information from the public."
The committee, he said, last month wrote a letter to the permanent secretary
of Information Communication Technology, Sam Kundishora, inviting the board
to appear before the legislators.
The letter was copied to NetOne boss Reward Kangai who in turn forwarded it
to Ndlovu who then reportedly decided to seek approval from the Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructural Development headed by Nicholas Goche.
Transport secretary Patson Mbiriri reportedly failed to grant the board the
green light to attend the meeting saying the invitation should have come
through his ministry, not that of Information Communication Technology led
by Nelson Chamisa.
Ironically, Chimanikire said, the NetOne boss last month attended a meeting
called by the same committee after he was invited through the Ministry of
Information Communication Technology.
Chimanikire said the failure by the board to show up could have been a
result of the ongoing fight between the two ministries over control of the
"Whatever argument they have on who controls the company has nothing to do
with the committee. When it comes to committee business, there is no
politicking," Chimanikire said.
The Southerton MP said the aborted meeting was scheduled to raise "serious
concerns" on the "below par performance" of NetOne, which recently slipped
to third place in terms of subscriptions. The government-owned telecoms
company has 500 000 subscribers, trailing Econet and Telecel which have 3,6
million and 600 000 subscribers respectively.
On composition of the board he said: "Some members of the board are from
Zellco and Firstel and we wanted to establish if there is no conflict of
interest." Zellco Cellular and Firstel are telecoms service providers.
The oral evidence, according to Chimanikire, was also expected to extract
the company's 2009 audited results and how much dividend it had declared to
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:56
ZANU PF is seeking the retention of the old executive comprising a
president, two vice presidents and cabinet as proposed in the Kariba draft
constitution. According to the party's position paper on the new
constitution being distributed to its supporters, Zanu PF is against the
current system where there is a president and a prime minister.
The party is distributing a summary of its positions on the 17
constitutional thematic areas and it has also prepared responses to the
different talking points that the committees crafted for the outreach
In response to a question on whether Zimbabwe needed an executive president
or prime minister, the party said: "We need an executive president who
shares executive authority with the cabinet and no prime minister as this
results in an endless unproductive contest for power between the president
and the prime minister that results in a weak state in which neo-colonialism
On the terms of office of the president should serve, Zanu PF is proposing a
maximum of two terms of five years each - the same length as the life of
It said the terms should be effective after the new constitution comes into
Zanu PF said there should not be mechanisms of recalling the head of state
since he or she is directly elected by the people and should be removed
through an electoral process.
It said the president can leave through resignation or impeachment by the
senate after request by two thirds of the members of the national assembly
for serious misconduct or failure to obey, uphold and defend the
constitution or willful violation of the supreme law.
Zanu PF wants the president to continue appointing ministers without
approval of parliament.
It is campaigning for two houses of parliament -- the House of Assembly and
the Senate -- and an independent judiciary.
On non-elected MPs, Zanu PF said 10 seats should be reserved for provincial
governors, 18 seats for chiefs and five seats for those appointed by the
On the appointment of the judiciary, it said the president should appoint
judges and the chief justice in consultation with the Judicial Service
Commission, which would be responsible for appointing members of the
judiciary and fixing and regulating their conditions of service.
It is proposing that there be a Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High
Court, Labour Court, Administrative Court and Magistrates and Customary Law
On citizenship and bill of rights, only children born in the Diaspora would
be allowed dual citizenship.
Homosexuality and abortion, it said, should remain banned, while education,
health, social, economic and cultural rights should be guaranteed.
Media freedom, it said, should be guaranteed with national responsibilities
and limitations "acceptable in a democratic society".
"Media freedom should be included in the constitution within the freedom of
speech and expression as it is a fundamental human right. Freedom of the
press or media should be limited to exclude incitement to violence and
advocacy of hatred which is based on nationality, race, colour, tribe,
culture, sex...," Zanu PF said.
"Media regulation is necessary in the interest of enforcing responsible
reporting and state security and public order. The media should be regulated
through a media commission."
Zanu PF wants the status quo to remain where government owns public media
houses for disseminating information about its processes, decisions and
policies. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:53
AN information technology “expert witness” in the treason trial of MDC
treasurer-general Roy Bennett was this week discredited by the defence as an
amateur who could not give a valid opinion. The defence on Wednesday further
said the expert –– Perekayi Denshad Mutsetse –– did not have appropriate
qualifications as he had only obtained two “O” Level subjects and that his
job at Africom was equivalent to that of a general hand.
Mutsetse was called in by Attorney-General Johannes Tomana to give expert
evidence on e-mails the state says reveal Bennett and arms dealer Peter
Hitschmann’s plot to destabilise the country.
Tomana had told Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that Mutsetse was employed by
Africom as a provincial engineer, but lead defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
disputed that position.
She said Mutsetse was a local area technician, one of the lowest ranks at
The expose’ led Tomana yesterday to ask Bhunu to be allowed to bring in
another information technology expert. But Mtetwa would have none of that.
“It is very clear that the state cannot build this case,” she said in
objection to Tomana’s request. “This is no longer a prosecution but
It emerged during court proceedings this week that contrary to Mutsetse’s
claims, he never worked at the defunct PTC as a technician between 1995 and
1999. Instead, the former parastatal employed him as a general hand between
1996 and 1998.
Mtetwa produced Mutstse’s educational transcripts and certificates and CV to
prove to the court that he was not an expert as he claimed.
Mutsetse claimed to have a certificate in data communication from the
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and another in CCNA from Africa University (AU).
He also said he had a first level technician’s qualification from City and
The “expert” astounded the court when he said he did not know what hackers
and computer forensics were when asked by the defence.
“They don’t exist. Where are they trained? I don’t know them, it’s the first
time to hear of that,” he said.
Mutsetse declined to spell the organisational structure at Africom saying
the issue was confidential.
Mtetwa then said: “Technician LAN (local area network) is the lowest rank in
the entire structure of your organisation. It is similar to that of the
madhaka boy if it is in building. The reason you refused to give the
organisation structure is that the structure does not have a provincial
engineer. Even if it was there you wouldn’t qualify because you don’t have a
diploma and you have no qualifications from the UZ and AU.
“The structure has at the top chief operations officer, a ram of six persons
who are global support managers, implementation engineer, product engineer
network services, product engineer internet services who would have been the
expert in giving information in this court regarding the e-mails, then the
business operations manager.”
When asked what tools as an expert he would use to confirm the authenticity
of the alleged e-mails between Bennett and Hitschmann, Mutsetse said: “I
told the police that the document (bunch of e-mails) was genuine. It is
genuine because it shows the e-mail addresses (hush mail) from the sender to
the receiver. The documents also have https at the bottom showing they were
printed from the original inbox.”
He admitted that he was not present when the e-mails were printed. The
defence yesterday objected to the calling in of Forgive Munyeki, a security
officer with TelOne, as a state witness arguing that his evidence was
irrelevant and speculative.
The state alleges that Bennett and Hitschmann in the e-mails conspired to
destabilise the country, among other things, by bringing down the Microwave
Link at Idhara Repeater Station at Melfort, Goromonzi. Munyeki was expected
to give evidence whether there is a microwave link at Melfort and the extent
of the damage that would have occurred if destroyed.
“Before the witness gives evidence my learned friend must place evidence
before the court to show that the accused was involved in any conspiracy to
destroy the microwave link,” Mtetwa said. “There is no evidence to link the
accused to exhibit 13 (e-mails), and no evidence to prove the truthfulness
of the e-mails. It is clearly dishonest.”
Justice Bhunu is expected to rule on both the objections on Monday.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:58
THE MDC-T says a new constitution must be enacted first, followed by the
creation of an environment that will guarantee security of people, freedom
to campaign, and media reforms before Zimbabwe can hold elections that are
credible, free and fair. In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent
clarifying his party’s position on fresh elections, MDC-T spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa said it would be difficult to hold free and fair elections
without resolving some of the outstanding issues of the global political
He said the country should avoid a repeat of the June 27 2008 bloody
presidential run-off election during which more than 200 MDC supporters were
killed, while thousands others were assaulted and injured.
“If you ‘park’ issues, how do you proceed? ‘Park and proceed, to me does not
mean ‘parking’ outstanding issues. I think it means that on the issues that
we have agreed on, let’s implement and on the issues that we have deadlocked
on, let’s refer them,” Chamisa said. “We have guarantors (Sadc and AU). Our
obligation is to refer the matter so that they can unlock the logjam.”
He said one of the outstanding issues that needed to be resolved before an
election is that of national healing, without which Chamisa pointed out
people would not be able to freely choose their next leader.
This is in contrast to views expressed by the MDC-T leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, who has of late been talking about “parking” of outstanding
issues of the global political agreement (GPA) and proceeding with fresh
elections. This followed talks he held in Davos recently with President
Tsvangirai has even gone as far as proposing that a new constitution be
enacted by October followed by fresh elections six months later.
Zuma, the facilitator of talks between Zanu PF and the MDC formations, has
said Harare should “park” outstanding issues of the GPA and “proceed” with
“The official position that is already agreed on will deal with the issue of
a people-driven constitution that will allow us to put in place the
necessary institutional, technical and legal changes that will facilitate
free and fair elections,” Chamisa said.
“We want an election that will have an outcome, that will be credible and
legitimate, which will breed confidence and stabilisation so that there is
no repeat of the June 27 poll and that there is no violence. We have agreed
that this is a shared journey.”
Chamisa could however not give a timeframe of when fresh elections could be
Even if Tsvangirai wants an election as early as April next year, the
Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution-making process (Copac)
co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) said the earliest Zimbabwe
can have a constitution is May 31 2011 because of the seven months delay in
Although Chamisa accused Zanu PF of using delaying tactics as a tool to
derail or postpone the process, Copac believes that none of the political
parties want an early election.
“The timeframe is part of the outstanding issues. The timeframes are not
being respected with commitment and in practice,” he said.
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) this week said the delay in
the constitution-making process was due to fear of fresh elections in 2011.
“I used to think that it is only this party or the other that did not want
early elections. I was wrong. The constitution-making process is being
connected to elections. There is fear of an early election. These people who
think that their privileges are being threatened don’t want an early
election,” he told journalists at the Quill Club in the capital on Tuesday.
“Where there are people who are maybe holding certain positions, they don’t
want an early election. The constitution is not meant for elections but is
for future generations and narrow sectoral interests are delaying the
While the nature of the polls were not clear, Chamisa said, the issue would
create a heated debate with legislators opposed to fresh harmonised
elections that would once again cut short their five-year terms.
In 2008, legislators’ terms were cut by two years and their current term had
been due to run until 2013.
Sources in Zanu PF say Mugabe would rather want harmonised elections while
Tsvangirai wanted a presidential poll – which was disputed in June 2008 and
culminated in talks that gave birth to the inclusive government last
Turning to the talks on the outstanding issues, Chamisa said they remained
deadlocked with no movement at all.
“Our negotiating team advised me that there is no movement. I think that
there are still in one place. It would appear that our declaration that
there is a deadlock is still the case. There is no willingness to break the
impasse. Our obligation now is to refer the matter to guarantors,” he said.
Zanu PF has resolved that the party’s negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche, must not yield during talks unless the MDC formations
ensured the removal of targeted Western sanctions and stopped foreign radio
broadcasts into Zimbabwe.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:49
A LOT has been said about the MDC-T co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles
Mutsekwa since he assumed office in February last year. He has been accused
of standing aloof when his colleagues from the MDC and civil society were
either kidnapped or arrested and prosecuted. Our reporter Wongai Zhangazha
hooked up with the minister last week in the capital and asked him about the
allegations and his role in the ministry, among other issues. Below are the
Zhangazha: How has your tenure in office been so far?
Mutsekwa: Challenging but at the same time exciting in that I know precisely
why my party deployed me to co-minister this ministry. I have come to
discover that it is one thing to have a minister as the political figure and
another to have staff at all levels committed to change. I think I have
fairly depoliticised the ministry.
Zhangazha: Are you implying that you spent 2009 just depoliticising the
Mutsekwa: No, but there is now cooperation (across the rank and file) and
this has helped me to move to gear number two, to effect changes or reforms
as expected by my party.
Zhangazha: Then what are your challenges, strengths and weakness in
executing your duties?
Mutsekwa: Changing the mindset of my staff has been the major obstacle and
then lack of resources.
I come from a military background so I have always had an insight of
problems or challenges expected.To me (whatever) those were, I would rather
leave weaknesses to observers.
Zhangazha: What is the nature of your relationship with co-minister Kembo
Mutsekwa: The first few months of my assumption of duty were not rosy. There
was suspicion from both sides. As trained military personnel, we appreciate
one thing, that when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers and we
have tried as much as we can to put the people of Zimbabwe first despite our
vast ideological differences.
It doesn’t matter what our parties advise us to do, we meet and agree on how
to run the ministry.
Zhangazha: What is your response to assertions from sections in your party
and the general populace that you are weak, you are overshadowed by Mohadi?
Mutsekwa: You know what, even my colleague Mohadi each time we meet on
Monday says he faces the same criticism from his party that he is
overshadowed by Mutsekwa. That is expected in a ministry that is
co-ministered. I am not overshadowed by anybody.
Zhangazha: Why are perpetrators of political violence in the countdown to
the June 27 2008 presidential election run-off yet to be arrested? Why are
you failing to stop fresh farm invasions and general lawlessness on the
farms? Are you powerless?
Mutsekwa: Perpetrators of political violence are going to be brought to
book. It’s a process. We are going through the records and I am pleased to
say we have all the cooperation from the police. The unfortunate thing is
that the majority of these cases were not properly documented.
As for the farm invasions, I want people to understand that according to the
law, if a person has been given an offer letter, legally that person b comes
the new owner. The problem we have been facing is the authenticity of these
offer letters that are flying around the country. I have had meetings with
Minister of Lands (Herbert) Murerwa and agreed that we need to devise a
clear method on the letters. The method we agreed upon and endorsed by
cabinet is that new owners are to be accompanied by officials from the
Ministry of Lands and that there should be a proper handover-takeover with
the former owners.
Zhangazha: We have received reports from the Commercial Farmers Union that
the police are failing to protect some of the white farmers on land?
Mutsekwa: I agree with you on that situation. It used to happen involving
senior members of the army using soldiers and youths to go and occupy a
farm. Most of the police officers in our stations are juniors and at times
they hesitate to challenge these senior soldiers.
This has been a challenge and we feared a serious confrontation between
police and army would take place. But anybody who is going to be tempted to
violently occupy a piece of land without following due process will be dealt
with severely by the police.
Zhangazha: Why is Joseph Mwale still a free man when the High Court some few
years ago ordered his arrest for the alleged murder of MDC activists?
Mutsekwa: He is still a free man not because I want him to be a free man. I
know the kind of atrocities that Mwale committed — we lost cadres in Buhera
who were going about their campaign. I am one person keenly following the
Mwale incident. The bureaucracy in the system has delayed his arrest.
There could be red tape today but there won’t be red tape tomorrow. With
vigour, we are coming for Mwale.
Zhangazha: One of your colleagues in the MDC, Gandhi Mudzingwa, last year
accused you of not protecting party officials who were and are being
persecuted by Zanu PF. What do you say to that?
Mutsekwa: I sympathised with Mudzingwa. The man was in jail during that
time. However, Mudzingwa subsequently communicated and he unreservedly
apologised for having made that false accusation.
I am doing a lot to protect party officials. I have also managed to have
cars belonging to MDC impounded by the police released.
Zanu PF also accuses me of failing to protect their people against MDC
supporters. We will continue to have isolated incidents and the police are
supposed to handle them.
At times I would not be able to know everything that happens out there.
People should report to the police.
As a minister, I am in charge of policy and policy directives. The
day-to-day operations of the police are constitutionally under the
Commissioner-General of the police, Augustine Chihuri. Constitutionally he
can take directives from the head of state and the Attorney-General.
Zhangazha: So Chihuri is not your subordinate?
Mutsekwa: No, I also give him directives but what I am saying is that he
also gets directives from the Attorney-General and the head of state. It is
constitutionally correct that they give him directives.
In the end we tend to clash on certain decisions but if that happens,
constitutionally the head of state will give the overrule directives. I can
only hope that this will be amended in the new constitution so that the law
does not have conflicting issues.
Zhangazha: What is your comment on police torture of accused persons?
Mutsekwa: It is not always the police who apprehend people. In most cases it
is the CIO or the army and only after they have dealt with them that they
deposit them in police cells for them to be taken to court. The torture
happens when the accused would be in custody of the CIO or the army. The
police will be only called in to do paperwork, but already the damage would
have been done. All these human torture and detentions are not being done by
the police and most of these cases don’t stick in the courts of law.
Zhangazha: This is certainly against the law! What are you doing about it?
Mutsekwa: Indeed they are violating the law. I am having meetings with my
counterparts in the security ministries to solve this issue. I aim to ensure
that our people will never be subjected to inhuman treatment like this
Zhangazha: Any police reforms?
Mutsekwa: A lot is being done but I am not at liberty to disclose this issue
at the moment. It is an issue that was extensively discussed recently at the
last National Security Council meeting.
Friday, 26 February 2010 00:03
ALPHA Media Holdings (AMH), the publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent, the
Standard and NewsDay, have appointed new editors for the newspapers in a
restructuring exercise to position the company for a liberalised media
environment. AMH is the holding company for ZimInd Publishers (Pvt),
publishers of the two newspapers and soon to be launched NewsDay. The
holding company also owns a distribution and marketing company, Munn
Marketing, and a newspaper and commercial printing firm, Strand Multiprint.
AMH chairman Trevor Ncube yesterday announced the appointment of the current
editor of the Independent, Vincent Kahiya, as editor of NewsDay and group
editor-in-chief. NewsDay is expected to be licensed soon by the recently
constituted Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Ncube also announced the branding of the group which will be unveiled to the
market later in the year.
Current Independent news editor Constantine Chimakure takes over from Kahiya
as editor of the Independent. Chimakure is charged with growing the
Independent's investigative role and building a strong business section.
Veteran journalist Davison Maruziva, the current editor of the Standard, has
been appointed head of the company's magazine division.
"At our annual strategy conference last month we identified the magazine
division as a new strategic business unit and Maruziva is the best qualified
person in the group to lead this division," Ncube said. Maruziva's brief
will be to manage current group magazines which now exceed eight and develop
new ones. The publications include Cover to Cover, Quoted Companies, and the
Banks and Banking Survey. Ncube said the market should expect a new offering
of magazines in the near future.
The current deputy editor of the Independent, Nevanji Madanhire, has been
appointed editor of the Standard, while group projects editor Iden Wetherell
is now senior associate editor in the group.
"We are restructuring the company to make maximum use of the talent that we
have internally to position the group for a liberalised media environment,"
Ncube said. "The redeployment has been necessitated by the need to ensure
that NewsDay is appropriately staffed with a mixture of established and new
Current Independent assistant editor Dumisani Muleya will be in charge of
the group investigative team. The appointments are with effect from March
"As part of this expansion and restructuring project, we will be setting up
a cutting-edge investigative team specialising in exclusive stories, as well
as analytic and in-depth reporting," Muleya said. "In the service of the
public interest, we will uncover the good, the bad and the ugly. We will
expose maladministration, corruption and lies. We will go all-out to tell
the truth without fear or favour."
Kahiya, who has been the editor of the Independent for the past six years,
said the restructuring affords him the opportunity to use his experience in
the group, spanning over 13 years, to establish a new product and help grow
the existing publications.
"My new role affords me an opportunity to establish NewsDay as a market
leader in an industry where we are anticipating stiff competition," he said.
At the same time I have a mandate to exercise oversight at the Independent
and the Standard. I believe the new leadership will give the group's brands
Chimakure, who has over 15 years experience in the media, said he was geared
to enhance the Independent's in-depth news coverage and analysis.
"The challenge is enormous, but surmountable," he said. "We will deliver the
Zimbabwe story, the successes and failures, in a dynamic way and using
various media platforms."
Madanhire said: "The Standard is such a great newspaper which veteran
journalist Maruziva has so ably mentored over the past few years. To
continue from where he has left off is always going to be a huge challenge."
The group will be re-branding the Standard to make it the leading family
Sunday paper in the country, Ncube disclosed.
Wetherell said: "We have assembled the 'A team' here to take on the
challenge facing us. Readers need have no worries about their favourite
newspapers. Our flagship, the Independent, will continue to be the
first-class read it has always been, soon to be complemented by a new-look
Standard. NewsDay is geared to be the country's leading daily which will
provide the fresh outlook and robust voice Zimbabwe so urgently needs."
Meanwhile, as part of the restructuring, David Farai Chifamba has been
appointed general manager of Munn Marketing, the distributor of the
Independent, the Standard, the Financial Gazette and over 70 regional and
international magazines. Chifamba holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from
the University of Cape Town and was formerly general manager in charge of
operations at Truworths.
"My vision is to ensure that Munn Marketing is firmly established as a
market leader and distributor of choice, offering superior service-delivery
and product excellence," said Chifamba. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:10
THE inclusive government has performed dismally since it came into being a
year ago and analysts say it deserves a 4 out of 10 mark for the work done
so far. While some analysts and civic society activists were generous in
giving it a 4, others believed that the mark should be as low as 1 because
of lack of commitment in implementing key provisions of the global political
The analysts and civic society activists this week expressed disappointment
with the lack of commitment in implementing key provisions of the GPA.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara signed the GPA on September 15 2008, a pact in
which they agreed to work together to “create a genuine, viable, permanent
and sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe
The principals agreed to restore economic stability and growth, push for the
removal of sanctions, resolve the land issue that has been in dispute for
more than a decade, draft a new constitution, promote national healing and
equality, respect the rule of law and the constitution, and implement
reforms that allow for freedom of expression.
But most of the benchmarks have remained unfulfilled more than a year after
the GPA was inked.
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure described the inclusive government as a
failure, but awarded it a 4 because of improvements on the economic front.
“Using the benchmark of the GPA I would give the inclusive government
between 4 and 5.
It’s a failure but it can be salvaged,” Masunungure said. “However, it is
important to note that it was wishful thinking of many people that the GPA
would deliver us to the Promised Land. Twelve months is too short a time in
history. The GPA is a highly ambitious document made by people who were at
loggerheads for over 10 years.”
He added: “They have done a wonderful job in restoring economic stability
and the capacity to plan by individuals and corporates. That could not be
possible just a year ago. Planning is the essence of life, when it is robbed
because of economic chaos, society eventually collapses.”
Masunungure said if he were to give individual marks to people in charge of
certain sectors, he would award a seven mark to those in charge of the
“However, employment is still lagging behind. The inclusive government is
failing to generate employment for the youth which is extremely high and
more has to be done,” he said.
Masunungure also commended the unity government for restoring a peaceful
political environment and improving social services.
“However, there are areas in the political domain where there are serious
defects, for example the legislative agenda. They are still talking about
amending Posa (Public Order and Security Act) and Aippa (Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act) a year after.” he said. “That
should have been done during the first or the second month of the formation
of the inclusive government. The Zimbabwe Media Commission is not yet
He also bemoaned the failure of government to properly implement the process
of national healing, adding that on that benchmark, government had scored a
“This is one area that has been given low priority. We hardly hear about
this thing. It is in the intensive care unit unless something dramatic
happens. One of the ministers who was responsible for it is now the vice
president (John Nkomo) and we haven’t been told who will replace him,”
He said government has only convened meetings on national healing, but
nothing of substance has happened to achieve transitional justice.
Masunungure said the constitution-making process was also an area that
deserved immediate attention and full commitment by the three principals.
“This process is like a patient who is still alive but at a grievous stage,
severely dehydrated and needs a lot of attention. There is no wholesome
commitment to the making of a new constitution on the part of the three
principals,” he said. “Then there is the fragmentation of the whole exercise
by the government, civil society and the donor community. The constitution
is the core of the GPA and if it collapses the whole GPA will collapse with
On the land issue, Masunungure said this was a total disaster and he gave
government one point.
He said: “Where is the land audit? There are fresh disturbances and
disruptions on the farms. You don’t know really whether these people want
agriculture to collapse. One would need powerful lenses to see whether there
is any movement in this sector.”
Masunungure said there had been advances and regression in as far as the
rule of law was concerned.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku was of the
opinion that the inclusive government had not succeeded as the majority of
Zimbabweans were living below the poverty datum line.
According to economists, 85% of Zimbabweans are below the poverty datum line
which stands at $500.
Madhuku said: “Poverty levels are deepening in the country. A country’s
progress can only be measured by the level of poverty. It is still difficult
for an ordinary person to make ends meet, to find money for hospital and for
“There are no economic fundamentals which help to improve the lives of the
poor. Government does not see the crisis now, they only see progress. But
not everyone is getting hold of the foreign currency so easily.”
He said there was still no rule of law in the country.
Madhuku explained: “Just because there is absence of violence does not mean
there is rule of law. Posa is still there; if you have a demonstration you
will still be arrested by the police. What has actually gone down is the
level of activism, for example, NCA has not gone for a demonstration since
the start of the inclusive government.
“These guys are not following the constitution. Provisions of by-elections
are still not being followed. There are delays in the establishment of a
Zimbabwe Independent Electoral Commission. The inclusive government is
failing to apply existing laws, for example, Mugabe’s cabinet has many
cabinet ministers and this is against (what is stipulated in) the
constitution. The problem is their attitude towards the law, what matters is
not the law but them. It is typical of what the Mugabe government has been
Madhuku said the inclusive government had only implemented 40% the
provisions of the GPA.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, Media Institute of Southern Africa director, concurred
with Masunungure and Madhuku and expressed disappointment at the lack of
commitment to democratise the media space and guarantee freedom of
Ngwenya said: “We just have to look at the defects of the GPA. It clearly
states that the parties will ensure the registration and re-registration of
media under Aippa, the same law that we have been advocating to have
“This is despite promises by the Media and Information minister (Webster
Shamu) to take up recommendations that we made at the Kariba-May conference.
But nothing has been published on that yet, the matter has not been tabled
in parliament and we don’t know what is going on.”
Ngwenya said the gazetting of the ZMC is the only aspect that has been
achieved and it only happened a year later.
On that score, Ngwenya said the inclusive government only achieved 10% of
its intended targets.
Other repressive media laws — for which there have been calls for their
repealing and amending — include the Broadcasting Services Act, Interception
of Communications Act, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and Posa.
“It is now a year after, but there are no reforms to media laws. We still
see harassment of journalists, we have a journalist who fled to South Africa
and another who was detained after covering a march by Woza, all of this in
a space of three weeks. You tend to wonder how many journalists are going
to be harassed and arrested,” Ngwenya added.
The Youth Forum was of the opinion that there was need to see new players in
the media and the successful implementation of the constitution-making
process and national healing, reconciliation and integration agenda.
“We would want to see more community newspapers, radio and even television
stations being set-up at community level as they can play a very important
role in articulating issues and driving development at community level,” the
forum said. “Players in government should also try and ensure that the state
media desists from pushing partisan agendas and start fulfilling its role as
a genuine people’s broadcaster”.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:53
WHERE is the National Incomes and Pricing Commission chairman Goodwill
Masimirembwa when you need him?
Masimirembwa’s role is to compare prices of goods and services in the region
and ensure that the charges were applicable in Zimbabwe.
Low income families have spent an extra US$25 a month between January and
February after a 20,5% surge in the price of basic goods, according to the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
A two-week survey by businessdigest revealed that most retail outlets across
the country have increased the prices of both locally-manufactured and
imported basic commodities.
Sanitary pads are the only items that witnessed a decline during the period
under review. Retailing is a low-margin, high-volume game.
The priority for supermarkets is to get the appropriate stock on and off
their shelves as fast as possible and increasing prices is not part of the
Experts said the rate of food price inflation was making life increasingly
difficult for the millions of families already struggling to make ends meet
under the weight of rising rentals, energy costs, taxes, interest rates and
Some experts are suggesting that retail prices are rising even faster than
wholesale ones despite the issues of supply and demand in the equation.
The price of two litres of cooking oil has increased to US$3,10 this week
from US$2,90 in January, while a 10 kg bag of mealie meal rose to US$5,80
A kg of tomatoes now costs US$1 from US$0,80. A kg of economy beef is being
sold for US$3,50 from US$3,00 while two litres of cool drink concentrate
Mazoe now cost US$3,10 from US$2,70.
But what is the reason for the sudden rise of goods and services?
Could it be the country’s trade rebate structure, firming of the rand,
taxes, response to speculation or it is sheer profiteering? Why has the
Retail Association of Zimbabwe ignored the price trends or do they still
CCZ executive director, Rosemary Siyachitema, attributed the increase in
prices of basic commodities to speculative behaviour on the part of the
“We concluded that the increase for January was caused by speculative
purposes on the part of the retailers as they thought that civil servants
would get a massive salary increment, which was never to be,” Siyachitema
said. “We have witnessed an increase in the prices of basic commodities,
the increases are marginal but they build up with time to become significant
Commenting on the implication of a bad agricultural season on the pricing of
commodities, Siyachitema said it would lead to an increase in the prices of
all basic commodities.
“If there is a bad agricultural season, chances are that we will witness an
increase in the prices of basic commodities,” she said.
Ironically in other sectors, where competition is less intense, prices are
The country’s three biggest supermarkets – OK Zimbabwe, TM and Spar —
increased their average price for a basket of goods by about 15% during the
period under review.
Economist Brains Muchemwa however said the anticipated increase in the
salaries of civil servants was not the reason behind the increase saying
“the retail trade in Zimbabwe was now competitive to such an extent that one
can price themselves out of the market”.
“This business is price sensitive and shop owners cannot independently set
prices. It must have something to do with cost build up otherwise it’s not
justified,” Muchemwa said.
The price of fuel, which is a major driver of the movement of prices of
goods and services, has however stabilised since the second week of January
fluctuating at between US$1,20 and US1,36. Diesel is being sold for between
US1,05 and US$1,10.
Economist David Mupamhadzi said: “Reducing imports could make a difference
since transport costs are high. With parity pricing they (local producers)
can compete on quality.”
In one of his weekly columns, economist Eric Bloch said retail outlets
needed to explain to consumers why prices of goods had gone up when major
inflation drivers had been stable for a long time.
Economist John Robertson said some of the more recent price rises were not
“The rand has been pretty stable against the US dollar for several months so
imported raw materials or packaging should have remained constant,” he said.
Year-on-year inflation rose by 2,9 percentage points on the December rate
of -7,7% to -4,8% in January, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said last
From January to December 2009, month-on-month inflation had been oscillating
between -3,1% and 1 percent after government dollarised the economy.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:49
GOVERNMENT is seeking about US$135 million from two African financial
institutions to deal with the current electricity shortage that has resulted
in increased power rationing throughout the country.
The state has approached the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and
the African Development Bank (AfDB) seeking US$132 million in loans to help
Zesa Holdings deal with the debilitating power shortages by increasing local
DBSA promised to loan US$81, while AfDB pledged US$51 million.
Sources in government said there was panic in government over the constant
power outages that have enormously disrupted business operations.
The country is experiencing the power load shedding after five of the six
electricity generators at Hwange Thermal Power Station packed up a fortnight
Zesa chief executive officer Ben Rafemoyo, speaking in Durban where he is
attending the African Utility Week meeting, confirmed that the country was
close to clinching deals with the two financial institutions.
"We're quite busy entertaining potential investors from all over. The AfDB
and DBSA funding is a sign that other investments will start flowing in,"
Government needs close to US$1 billion to rectify problems affecting the
Hwange power station, while a further US$3 billion would be required to
construct new Hwange power stations.
Zesa has so far managed to fix one unit and was battling to have the other
four back on rail.
Rafemoyo however said the power utility would be able to bring all the units
back into operation by the end of March.
Zimbabwe is currently facing a power deficit of 1 500 MW due to the faults
at Hwange while the country's three other thermal power stations at
Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare are not producing any electricity at all.
The country is relying on 750 MW produced at the Kariba Hydro Plant, which
is producing at full capacity. The other sources of electricity are imports
from Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:38
MICROSOFT chairman Bill Gates could soon be called in to mediate on the
emerging gulf that is dividing Zimbabwe’s inclusive government.
Cabinet ministers and some government bureaucrats seem to be now divided.
But this time it is not on outstanding issues of the global political
agreement the pact that formed the government currently running Zimbabwe.
Instead new media platforms developing at breakneck pace have separated
President Robert Mugabe’s mixed bag of ministers –– those with technological
savvy and the techno-phobes.
For some cabinet ministers clicking is more synonymous with humming along to
Motown tunes than using a mouse. With the same click, others are browsing
music of days gone by on YouTube.
An observation by the Zimbabwe Independent this week shows that most senior
cabinet ministers seem reluctant to be part of new social media, which could
be critical in interaction with their various constituencies.
Ironically, this development emerges at a time when the Office of the
President and Cabinet presented an e-Learning package as a birthday gift to
Mugabe who turned 86 last Sunday.
The gift, according to the office, was in recognition of Mugabe’s efforts to
equip rural schools with computers while some of his lieutenants still dread
using the seemingly alien machines.
Thanks to the “oath of secrecy” taken by civil servants we could not compile
the list of ministers who still write speeches in longhand. A cursory view
of how government officials often make presentations at seminars paints a
picture of computer usage in central government.
The use of e-mail is still limited in cabinet despite its numerous
advantages. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Education minister David
Coltart, Finance minister Tendai Biti, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi,
Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube and Information Communication
Technology minister Nelson Chamisa are among some of the ministers using
social media like Facebook.
On the other hand, ministers that are either “secretive” or yet to catch up
with the new trend include Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster
Shamu, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, National Housing and
Social Amenities minister Fidelis Mhashu, Lands minister Herbert Murerwa,
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Indigenisation minister Saviour
Kasukuwere. Economic Planning minister Elton Mangoma and Small and Medium
Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni both have e-mail addresses but have
not become part of social media like Linkedin or Facebook.
Typical of this new media, some cabinet ministers also have “imposters” on
A Facebook search of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa profiles different personalities not linked to the two.
Perhaps this justifies why some ministers are sceptical in using the
Mzembi says he is an avid user of social media. For him social networking
through twitter, Xing, flickr and StudiVZ can achieve both his government
and political goals.
“I have 1 000 fans offering me advice on tourism plans,” Mzembi said. “I’m
enjoying it (Facebook). I no longer gather people under a tree every week.
We can network through dot.com.”
On fears of the new media, the Zanu PF Masvingo South MP said: “I’m told
they have a downside but I’m yet to see them.”
Chamisa this week launched a four-year ICT strategic plan. He confirmed that
ICT literacy continues to be a challenge both within and outside government.
He said his ministry would however transform society to “digital citizens”.
Government, Chamisa said, would this year contribute to ICT proficiency by
assisting government ministries and departments “upgrade their capacities
and skills by 20% annually”.
On electronic governance (e-governance) which entails the use of new media
in running government business, the ICT minister said government would
“develop and implement functional websites with communication portals for
each ministry by June 2010”.
Websites for some government departments and parastatals were last updated
more than four years ago.
“The ICT revolution is the only revolution that is being led by young
people,” Chamisa said. “All the others like the agrarian were led by the
old. But this one is being led by the young ones.”
These are his words for those not on social media: “If you are not on
Facebook, Twitter, an email address and YouTube, then you don’t exist.”
With 50% of Zimbabwe’s fixed lines in Harare alone and 3G technology
operating only in urban centres, it could take a while before internet
density spreads to the rural areas.
Government, according to the policy document, aims to develop broad-band
fibre optic links to all major cities and towns by December 2014.
The ICT ministry has also set a target of 10% growth in teledensity each
Zimbabwe Open University professor Gabriel Kabanda contends that economic
growth is linked to ICT world. He cited the economic growth of India as
being driven by new technologies.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:34
THE mere mention of the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda)
reminds people of an organisation whose hallmarks are poor production,
looting of livestock and machinery and general maladministration at its
estates dotted throughout the country.
But a visit last week at two of the estates, Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi,
shows a different picture. Massive projects are being rolled out with 40 000
ha of land at Chisumbanje under sugarcane production earmarked to produce
fuel, while wheat is being grown on a large scale at Middle Sabi.
"A year ago it was a fair argument (that nothing is being done at Arda) but
as you can see the same cannot be said about the estates now," Arda
chairperson Basil Nyabadza said. "We are now extracting value from the land.
It is history in the making."
About US$50 million has already been spent on the two projects and in turn
Arda expects to recover US$30 million by year-end.
"We are using the most up-to-date equipment to develop the projects,"
Nyabadza explained. "The projects are being done in phases."
According to the Arda boss, the Chisumbanje project will produce fuel for
the country, with some of it exported.
"Due to the tight fiscal conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe at the end of
2008, Arda designed a programme to unlock the potential of its various
estates," Nyabadza explained.
The investments in Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi are between Arda, on the one
hand and, on the other, Macdom (Pvt) Ltd and Ratings Investment on a
Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis.
Macdom and Rating are groups of local investors led by Billy Rautenbach whom
Nyabadza said had the capacity to bring in foreign currency.
Under a BOT arrangement, a contractor develops a project for a time
sufficient to recover the cost of the establishment and gain profit before
handing it over to the project owner in working order.
Over 5 000 people would be employed under the two projects when they reach
Nyabadza said the Chisumbanje project would be able to contribute over 18 MW
daily to the national electricity grid.
"The Chipinge community should take up ownership of the project as it will
put Zimbabwe on the world map. We are taking a cue from Brazil after I
visited the place with minister (of energy) Elias Mudzuri," Nyabadza said.
Brazil is currently the world's leader in ethanol production. Because of
government subsidies, large sugarcane crops, and high sales taxes on
gasoline, Brazil has built a profitable national ethanol industry. Sugarcane
is grown in the country as the climate presents perfect conditions for its
cultivation and production.
It converts very easily to ethanol, and provides Brazil with huge supplies
of ethanol-based fuels.
Coimex Trading, a subsidiary of Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Coimex, is the
largest producer of ethanol in the world.
Water has been rehabilitated at the Chisumbanje estate which has made all
According to workers at the estate, the two investing entities have repaired
pumps and installed new irrigation equipment and planted a 1 000-ha crop of
wheat at Middle Sabi.
In Chisumbanje, the companies have re-constructed roads, cleared and
levelled land to facilitate sugarcane plantation.
Arda has also embarked on development initiatives in Chisumbanje and Middle
Sabi to empower local farmers.
Over 8 000 ha of sugarcane have so far been planted with the farmers saying
the project would stimulate development initiatives in the area and
transform their living conditions.
"This is a massive investment for the past year. We (Arda) could not
undertake rural developmental initiatives because of various factors, chief
among them, sanctions," Nyabadza said. He did not explain.
Under the first phase, 17 000 ha should be under sugarcane by the end of
"The cane will feed the ethanol factory capable of processing 7 500 tonnes
of cane per day, producing 525 000 litres of ethanol and 18,5 MW of power
daily, sufficient to power Mutare city," he said.
On allegation that Arda had leased vast tracts of land to the two companies
for a song, Nyabadza said everything was done above board.
"We have since invited the parliamentary portfolio committee in charge of
land and water to visit. The development is in three main categories, namely
plantations, livestock and cropping as well horticulture and processing," he
Irrigation facilities at the two estates have been rehabilitated.
Arda was set up to spearhead agricultural and rural development with
increased support to smallholder farmers to facilitate the production of
sufficient high-quality food for the nation and generate employment and
income on a sustainable basis.
The parastatal used to produce major crops and contributed immensely to the
national economy. It produced cotton, seed maize, wheat and beef, among
other operations. In the past, it produced a third of the milk consumed in
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:31
FINANCIALLY beleaguered Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe could continue defaulting
payment of gold deliveries made by bullion producers amid fears that Special
Tradable Bonds re-issued by the bank might not have any takers.
A bond is a debt security, in which the authorised issuer owes the holders a
debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest
(the coupon) or repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity.
Miners are sceptical that the financial instruments which were first
introduced by the central bank two years ago may not mature in six months,
prompting operational problems for the gold miners.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last month “rolled over” the bonds after
it became apparent that the bank had failed to redeem the 2008 bonds which
had a 12-month tenor and 8% coupon rate. The bank has already said “various
other initiatives are being pursued to meet all outstanding obligations”.
But analysts say failure by the bank to recapitalise since last year’s
dollarisation of the economy could make repayment of the gold deliveries a
tall order for the debt-ridden central bank.
Fidelity Printers and Refineries — a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe that was until last year mandated to buy gold from the miners owes
gold miners an estimated US$30 million in gold deliveries. The central bank
which last year admitted it misappropriated funds owed to non-governmental
organisations and miners introduced the monetary instruments in a bid to
Chamber of mines of Zimbabwe president, Victor Gapare this week told
businessdigest that miners were struggling to trade the bonds.
“Gold producers have experienced challenges in trading these bonds,” Gapare
said. “Most producers are holding on to the bonds at time when they are
facing working capital constraints and are unable to convert these bonds
into cash. It is difficult to see any changes to market conditions in the
absence of major capital flows into the country.”
He said following the decision by the central bank to pay gold producers
part of the debt in the now demonetised Zimbabwe dollar in 2008 a few miners
“off-loaded” their bonds to third parties. He added that the aggregate
amount owed to the industry by the central bank could be in excess of US$100
Independent economist Eric Bloch says treasury should “immediately” accord
prescribed-asset status to avoid the “tragic consequences” of non-redemption
of the bonds.
“Merely as a transitional, very short-term alleviating measure, the Finance
ministry should immediately accord the bonds prescribed asset status,
rendering them a somewhat more attractive investment status for insurance
companies, pension funds, and other relevant institutions,” Bloch said.
This, he said would enhance tradability of the bonds, thereby improving gold
producers access to desperately needed funds.
“The bonds should also be classified as acceptable instruments for
settlement to Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of gold producers’ income tax,
PAYE, VAT, withholding taxes, and other tax liabilities.
Every effort must be speedily taken by government to minimise the tragic
consequences of the non-redemption by RBZ of the bonds when due.”
The Commissioner of Insurance and Provident Funds is on record informing
insurance companies and pension funds to “brace themselves to invest in
prescribed assets when government floats the requisite paper.”
Efforts to get comment from pension funds were fruitless but some industry
players expressed concern that the liquidity problems on the market and the
sector’s poor underwriting capacity would make it difficult for the bonds to
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:44
OUR country's current political context as determined by the inclusive
government is now characterised by the politics of default. Expediency and
conservatism in the pursuit of political power has become the main reasons
why the inclusive government exists.
This is not to say that it arguably did not have noble goals when its three
principals signed the global political agreement in September 2008.
On the contrary, the flowery language of the preamble of the GPA, and some
of its clauses point to an understanding of sorts that at least at its
beginning, the inclusive government must be guided by some sort of
These fundamentals were of course determined by what the three political
principals held or still hold dear.
It is generally a given that political leaders of all shades purport to
desire a better life for those that they intend to lead.
And that their pursuit of power is with the intention of implementing what
they consider their better plans to improve the lives of the people and the
country in all of its political, socio-economic aspects.
This would also assumedly apply to the three political parties that are
involved in the GPA and those in civil society that have been co-opted into
supporting it unquestioningly.
They all agreed to a plan whether by default or with deliberate intent that
is now the GPA and the inclusive government.
And as surely as they came up with the GPA plan, there are and have been
others who have differed. The reasons for differing range from raw political
ambition, articulation of ideological or political principles and in some
instances just for the sake of it.
So as it is, it is safe to assume that in its existence the government is
comprised of a group of political leaders that are convinced they have a
particular plan to better the lives of Zimbabweans.
Whether they define their power arrangement as a necessary compromise, it
remains a plan all the same. Those that differ with them must obviously
narrate an alternative that is both realistic and actionable in the
immediate context as well as in the future.
Having said this it becomes necessary to examine the shortfalls of the
inclusive government's plan to improve the lives of Zimbabweans in
comparison with that of those that differ.
The key component of the inclusive government plan is to address the
economic and political crises through a strategy of stabilisation.
The political stabilisation is evidenced by the very agreement to form an
inclusive government. More problematic has been the economic aspects of this
Stabilisation for the inclusive government has meant the liberalisation of
the national economy primarily through dollarisation, embracement of IMF
stipulations and seeking unmitigated foreign direct investment.
Finance minister Tendai Biti's 2010 national budget is the clearest evidence
yet to this and so too is President Robert Mugabe's insistence that it was
Zanu PF and not the MDC that introduced dollarisation.
What the plan does not explore are the key issues of affordability of these
goods and services that seem to have returned to normal.
There is also no examination of the extremely important component of social
At best, the economic stabilisation element of the government's plan is to
pursue an unmitigated privatisation of the country's economy and not address
the problems of social and economic rehabilitation by ensuring affordability
and availability of public services. In other words, the government,
contrary to some of its proclamations, intends to return to a "normalcy"
similar to the period when structural adjustment was being implemented and
never worked in the first place.
Secondly, it seeks to accentuate the politics of the belly in Zimbabwe. This
is evidenced by the manner it continues to handle the diamond mines, the
issue of local government, privileges of parliament and the likely
privatisation of various parastatals.
The alternative to these politics of the belly would mean an active pursuit
of the politics of social democratic transformation with the country's
wealth and human resources utilised for the benefit of all and not the few.
Those that differ with the government's plan differ primarily on the basis
of broadly outlined principles and values. These values ironically are found
in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)'s National Working Peoples
Convention (NWPC) which put forward a political agenda for the
socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was to be embodied by the formation of a workers' party (the MDC) which
would purse social democratic policies in order to improve the livelihoods
of the people of Zimbabwe.
The ZCTU, as far as I know, still holds true to these values. And in this it
has the support of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the
Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu).
Where the NWPC values and resolutions differ with the plan of the inclusive
government is to be found in the political as well as the economic spheres.
The political differences are to be found in provisions and values over the
constitutional reform process. The ZCTU, NCA and Zinasu have particularly
disagreed with Article 6 of the GPA on the basis that it is too motivated by
the pursuit of partisan political interests and therefore not people driven.
On the economic front, the NWPC resolutions make it patently clear that
there are grounds of disagreement.
These areas would include issues concerning the overall economic policies of
The sentiments of disappointment expressed by the secretary-general of the
ZCTU Wellington Chibebe when minister Biti announced his budget in December
last year are but one example of differences.
Another is the high cost of education which Zinasu has denounced and for
which it continues to seek redress.
All of these are indicative of the truth that those that differ with the
plan of the government have alternatives grounded in both history and
political principles that as recently as 2008, have been emboldened in the
Zimbabwe Peoples Charter.
It is imperative that the government's plans for Zimbabwean society begin to
be examined for what they are: promises that can and should be regularly
These challenges must be grounded in an understanding of history, the
present context and a particularly possible future.
Those that differ with the inclusive government must take the issue beyond
partisan or personal narratives. They must ensure that all Zimbabwean
citizens remain conscious of various alternative plans, for both the present
and the future.
Takura Zhangazha can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:17
TUCKED away among the many slavish messages of support for the president on
his birthday was a little advert from the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe. Instead of getting on with its work to diversify the broadcasting
scene, BAZ had clearly decided that it wished to advertise its loyalty to
the Zanu-PF wing of the GNU.
Its message was couched in the redundant language of yesterday. It saluted
Mugabe as "His Excellency, the Head of State and Government and Commander in
Chief of the Defence Forces, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe", an appellation only
found in the fawning state media.
The chairman, board, management and staff of BAZ evidently all see
themselves as "comrades" of the presiden.? Instead of celebrating the nation's
cultural diversity through broadcasting, they want to celebrate their
"cultural identity" through partisan messages.
Should they not be busy issuing licences? How many licences has this lot
issued since its formation 10 years ago? Zilch!
Zimbabwe is the only country in Sadc that has a single broadcaster. And
instead of remedying that disgraceful situation, BAZ board members are busy
spending time and money saluting the president.
So was the Grain Marketing Board, the Rural Electrification Agency, the
Forestry Commission, NSSA, Air Zimbabwe, Zupco, and Zimbabwe Newspapers.
What have they all got in common? One of the state-sponsored gang of
bootlickers was Zinara, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration. Aren't
they responsible for all the pot holes?
Meanwhile, we were rather surprised to read the following message from
Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and President of the Senate Edna
They described Mugabe as "a torch bearer of African self-determination, an
embodiment of black empowerment who encapsulates true African values, an
icon of the emancipation of the black majority from the yoke of colonial
"Revered by friends and foes alike," the message continued," the
consolidation of the gains of the revolution requires that we leave no room
for complacency and that we emulate your illustrious life of dedication and
commitment to justice."
But this was by no means the worst of the praise-singing that went on in the
advertising pages of the state media. The Manica Post took our award for the
most "umble" display of deference ever carried in that part of the media
already weighed down by prizes for hagiography.
President Mugabe had proved to be "a great visionary and revolutionary", we
were told. He was "an object of cynosure held in both veneration and
reverence among other African leaders and in some international circles".
He has "remained resolutely steadfast and as constant as a Northern star."
"Under his astute leadership Zimbabwe has enjoyed a flourishing democracy,
thriving on the cornerstones of a multi-party system, tolerance and
reconciliation around which the egalitarianism is built".
He is an "icon that symbolises indefatigability, for no amount of hate
speech or the smearing mudslinging can blinker and distract him from
championing causes that add value to the world order".
Muckraker would love to know what "journalist" penned this classic case of
purple prose. Cut it out and send it to your friends and relatives abroad so
they can see what Zimbabwean journalism has been reduced to.
As usual Didymus Mutasa rose to the occasion. He described Mugabe as "a
special gift God gave to Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole".
Does God know, we wonder? And in a significant revelation of the way the
tide is flowing, Mutasa added: "I know the young generation will not really
appreciate the person in President Mugabe, but we know better," he said.
At least the younger generation will find something entertaining when they
read the Manica Post! And we loved the description of Mutare as "the Jewel
of the East".
Didn't we read that all the jewels had been stolen?
A Mutare magistrate, Fabian Feshete, last Friday
sentenced Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesperson for Manicaland and MP for
Makoni South, to four months in jail or alternatively a fine of US$400 for
assaulting a friend's housemaid, Precious Zinyemba, inside the Mutare
Central Police Station last August. The MP escaped the jail term after he
hastily paid the fine.
Muchauraya assaulted Zinyemba whom he accused of stealing cash amounting to
about US$12 000 and an undisclosed amount of British pounds from his friend.
Muchauraya and his friend took the maid to the police station for
questioning in connection with the alleged theft.
But in a fit of rage when the police officers appeared to be ignoring his
charge, Muchauraya took the law into his own hands and started attacking the
hapless suspect with a wooden plank right inside the police station. She
suffered a fractured right hand as a result of the assault. This was in full
view of police officers on duty that day.
We find Muchauraya's conduct disturbing considering this behaviour is
characteristic of hoodlums from a certain political party that the majority
of Zimbabweans no longer want to see still governing their country.
This behaviour sends chilling reminders of how MDC supporters and other
"enemies of the state" were literally dragged from police stations and
beaten up by war veterans and their accomplices. Others such as commercial
farmer, Jock Kay of Marondera were not so lucky. Kay was murdered after
being dragged from a police camp where he had sought refuge.
Muchauraya should know better that his party is seen as an alternative to
Zanu PF because it has promised to do away with this Zanu PF culture of
impunity that has tarnished the image of country.
He should also know that such behaviour can only play into the hands of Zanu
PF who are always ready to capitalise on any such opportunities to portray
the MDC as a "violent" party.
The MDC has to be careful with its choice of leaders because Muchauraya's
behaviour, if unchecked, can be its greatest undoing.
So it has now finally dawned on Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon
Gono, that silence is golden.
This is what we have been trying to tell him all these years, that fixing of
the country's economy is not done through dominating news pages of
state-controlled newspapers or radio and television bulletins.
We are glad Gono now knows better that all the media hype about his economic
turn-around programmes were full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
We no longer see him as much as we used to on our television sets assuring
Zimbabweans that this governor would see to it that this and that was done
properly. This governor would provide this and that solution for resettled
farmers to ensure they produced enough food to feed the nation.
We are glad Gono has finally awoken to the reality that no matter how much
you arm-twist the state media into portraying you as a "hardworking"
individual, so long as things are not done properly chickens
will surely one day come home to roost.
Gono finally knows better what is required to turn around the country's
economy. That's why he is keeping quiet. His silence is music to our ears!
We hope Morgan Tsvangirai's surgery went well in South Africa last weekend.
His injuries reportedly resulted from assaults on him and other MDC leaders
at Machipisa police station in early 2007. Asked about what was happening to
his assailants, Tsvangirai said words to the effect of letting bygones be
Is this the right message at this time? Does it not add to the culture of
impunity and encourage those responsible to persist in their activities?
What happened to Pasco Gwezere? Was he not the victim of that same culture
evidently authorised at the highest levels?
Tsvangirai should not jump the gun on this score. Let's have forgiveness by
all means, but let's also have accountability first.
Meanwhile, some of Tsvangirai's spokesmen have been denying that he had any
surgery while in South Africa. It was a private visit, they said. "He is so
robust that he could easily complete the Comrades Marathon," Sibanengi Dube
We wonder which Comrades he was thinking of.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:14
IT is inevitable that, year after year, one must ponder whether the
Zimbabwean government is capable of formulating policies that will enhance
the economy or, in the alternative, if it does, whether it is not bent upon
Zimbabwe's economic destruction. To surmise such incapability or,
alternatively, such malicious intention, is inevitable when having regard to
recurrent enactment of economically destructive legislation, to the grossly
confrontational, endless statements by all of the political hierarchy prior
to the "inclusive" government, and to ceaseless reiteration of those
statements by those who are elements of that government, but previously held
political power exclusively.
No matter how devastatingly disastrous so many of their policies and
statements have been, they persist in repeating them, or pursuing similar
alternative cataclysmic policies, and endlessly expressing views and
intentions which can only devastate the economy further.
Last week this column focused upon the draconian Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Regulations, gazetted on February 12, pursuant to the relevant
Act having been promulgated almost two years earlier, on March 7, 2008.
Although economic indigenisation and empowerment not only fulfills a very
long outstanding moral need, and if done effectively and constructively
would greatly enhance Zimbabwe's debilitated economy, that is only so if
done justly, equitably and economically constructively.
But that is certainly not the case insofar as the Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Act, and its underlying regulations, are concerned.
Not only can they not contribute to Zimbabwe's desperately needed economic
recovery and growth, but they are blatantly racist, totally conflicting with
the declared intents of Robert Mugabe and his then incoming government at
Independence, almost 30 years ago.
Although then claiming to espouse racial reconciliation and harmony,
peaceful and mutually beneficial co-existence, diverse legislation,
political statements, and governmental actions have been at diametric
contrast with those commendable intents.
The reactions to the legislation, foreshadowed and feared by the business
community, economic analysts, and a very notable majority of the populace,
Overnight almost all previously expressed interest and investment intents of
innumerable potential foreign investors disappeared.
The previously extremely great prospects of massive investment into mining,
manufacturing, tourism, and other economic sectors immediately ceased.
All such potential investors were unwilling to be reduced to minority
ownership of investments, despite providing the majority of required
investment capital, transferral of intellectual property, state-of-the-art
technology, and ready access to their markets.
In promulgating the legislation, government in general, and the president
and relevant minister in particularly, have stated the intent of racial
But partnership implies collaboration and joint authority, and yet
government is insistent of indigenisation of each business enterprise being
not less than 51%.
That is not "partnership", but "domination" and "subordination". In his
pre-86th birthday television interview, the president expressed surprise,
amazement and disappointment at private sector and foreign investor
reactions, saying those reactions were devoid of substance.
He emphasised that contention by saying that a 49% holding constitutes a
very substantial and meaningful equity holding. If that is so, why does the
legislation prescribe a 51% indigenous holding? (What is sauce for the goose
should be sauce for the gander!).
Very understandably, there has been very widespread, negative reaction from
all sectors of the business community, including many from all races.
Numerous initial public statements have been made by leaders of various
business sectors, critical submissions made to the minister in some
instances, and such submissions being in the course of preparation by
Foreign investors' reaction has been pronounced, with very many who had had
intents of substantial investment, yielding major employment creation,
shelving their plans and looking for investment opportunities elsewhere.
It was, therefore, very significant that, on Tuesday last week, the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister stated, on Radio Voice of
Zimbabwe, that the regulations were being "shelved", pending extensive
consultations with relevant ministers, including the Economic Development
and Promotion minister.
Whilst such "shelving" is partially commendable, it is deplorable that the
minister's consultation intents are restricted to selected fellow ministers.
Surely it would be constructive and realistic also to consult with the
various sectors that constitute the economy, and with international
investment brokers and advisors, and other relevant, interested parties?
Moreover, does the minister intend to gazette the "shelving" of the
regulations, failing which the effective date of 1 March, 2010 remains
As abysmally catastrophic as the intended indigenisation is concerned, so
too were the president's pre-birthday statements on Zimbabwe's farms.
Instead of recognising that the ill-conceived, grossly mismanaged and abused
programme of land acquisition, redistribution and resettlement had been a
disastrous failure, had empowered very few, and had occasioned a near-total
collapse of agriculture, which was the economy's foundation, the president
waxed eloquent upon that programme, and how it had been the forerunner of
the indigenisation of the economy.
Instead of castigating the ongoing, unlawful, generally violent, farm
invasions, he berated those indigenous as had been accorded farms and were
sub-leasing them to evicted, former white farmers.
He did so in complete disregard for the fact that a significant portion of
the distressingly low levels of agricultural production emanate from those
Displacement of the white sub-lessees will only result in a further decline
in production, and increased dependency upon inputs. Concurrently, that
reduced production will have further economic downsizing effects, due to
lesser inflows to agriculture's downstream economy.
Between the pursuit of impractical, unrealistic, inequitable and unjust
indigenisation of businesses (instead of promoting and facilitating
indigenous new enterprise development) and the ongoing tragic and calamitous
land programme, government not only continues to promote economic decline,
but also wholly alienates critically needed foreign investment, and
endangers the recently achieved slow recovery of good and beneficial
international relations. The state driven economic destruction rages on!
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:06
WHEN the inclusive government was formed in February 2009, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai promised civil servants that he would pay them in hard
currency of their choice. He criticised the idea of paying government
workers in vouchers.
To some of us who had worked closely with Tsvangirai from his time in the
labour movement up to the formation of the MDC in 1999, were never
convinced; we knew his limitations. Come month end, the workers were given
allowances of US$100 instead of real salaries.
To be frank, the workers were patient enough and continued to work although
the Zesa, TelOne and water tariffs were gobbling all their allowances.
To make matters worse, although Tsvangirai has executive powers as enshrined
in the global political agreement and is in charge of all ministers and
policy formulation in the country, nothing was done to force Zesa, TelOne
and "city fathers" to reduce the tariffs to affordable levels.
Instead at a political rally, dubbed "The Lecture Series" at Small City hall
in Bulawayo in December 2009, Tsvangirai rudely told his audience that there
is nothing for "mahala". He said, in Shona: "Hapana chemahara, chamahara
kudziya mushana chete."
This was after Nust students and residents had complained about the high
tuition fees at institutes of higher learning and high tariff charges. He
explained that the fees were firstly pegged at US$9 000 and then reduced to
about US$3 000. Truly speaking, can a civil servant earning roughly US$180
pay US$3 000 fees for his / her child? It is really ridiculous.
Earlier on last year Tsvangirai's proxy spokesman Professor John Makumbe
told another gathering at Rainbow Hotel - organised by MDC-T's sister
organisation, Bulawayo Agenda - that come June 2009 all civil servants
would get decent salaries, courtesy of his MDC-T party. Is US$180 a decent
What is also surprising is the fact that the ministers of the Public Service
(Eliphas Mukonoweshuro), Energy (Elias Mudzuri), Information Communication
Technology (Nelson Chamisa), and Labour (Paurina Mpariwa) all come from the
prime minister's party.
Again the MDC-T won council election in most urban centres in the country,
and their 20 to 30 year-old "city fathers" feel that gold has been found in
local authorities and are now scrambling to fleece them of their meagre
resources. What a shame.
They do not know that being a councillor is a part-time job not full
employment. Even their ceremonial mayors think that they are full-time
employees, yet theirs is part-time work.
They now start work at 7.30am and dismiss at 4.30pm to get more allowances.
It is really embarrassing to say the least. Tribalism is also the order of
the day. They are openly saying that it is time for them to eat with their
I shudder to think what would be of Zimbabwe today had MDC-T won the 2008
It is only one year of the inclusive government, but the level of
corruption, nepotism and tribalism shown by the MDC-T is already scary.
Imagine a government minister employing a son and his father into the same
ministry. Is that not nepotism, if not corruption? Were those jobs
advertised, especially the father's job which is critical to the people of
The prime minister embarks on a party political tour and pretends it's a
government tour to assess food security in Matabeleland and the Midlands. He
thinks that we are intellectual dwarfs.
We saw him going around Lupane with one of his henchmen, Njabuliso Mguni,
the ex-MP who was fired by the MDC-T's rival formation led by Arthur
Mutambara for indiscipline.
Is Tsvangirai telling us that Mguni is now the governor of Matabeleland
North, or provincial/ district administrator? My understanding is that when
on government business, the prime minister should be accompanied by the
governor, provincial administrator, an elected MP or a senator for the area.
It is a shame that the prime minister of the country embarks on selfish
party business masquerading as a government premier.
Whilst we accept that there should be change, the MDC-T is not the change
the country wants. It's like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Madluphuthu Khumalo is a political analyst based in Bulawayo.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:47
WHEN the constitutional debate started to rage in Zimbabwe, a lot of us were
quick to dismiss Lovemore Madhuku and the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA)'s position as based on political rhetoric and abstract suspicions
driven by self-imposition of will and desire. The general instinct was to
view Madhuku and the NCA as throwing spanners in the works in order to
destabilise the constitutional reform process in preference of their own
The MDC-T had worked closely with the NCA; in fact at one time some of the
party senior leadership were in the core of its hierarchy. The sudden show
of political defiance by the NCA against the MDC-T's position on
constitutional reform was viewed as rebellion, outright mutiny and
misdirected political ambition.
In projecting its position, the NCA has clearly objected to the total
control of the constitutional process by political parties in parliament.
This they viewed as an entrenched political over-powering of the genuine
voice of ordinary Zimbabweans in their diversity and quest for empowered
Obviously the NCA has its overtones and excesses, but however there are some
basic truths that they expressed then that seem to have come to the surface.
When the NCA absconded from involvement in what has now turned out to be a
controversy-infested process, many of us felt that they had indeed
subtracted themselves from the history of constitution-making in Zimbabwe.
However, they had otherwise absolved themselves from politically smeared and
manipulated processes veneered as people-serving. If political morality is
to prevail in civil society and political circles in Zimbabwe, then there
must be mass acknowledgement of the NCA's expressed position in cognisance
of what has become reality today.
Some of the issues from the constitutional process that seem to confer
credibility on the NCA's position are as follows.
Firstly, the appointment of thematic committee chairpersons was the preserve
of the three political parties in government.
In appointing their deputies, we were told that these would be provided by
civil society and churches. Interestingly, these appointments were made by
the three political parties as each was given a quota of persons to choose
from civil society and churches.
So as much as the Constitutional Parliament Select Committee (Copac)
informed us that the vice-chairpersons had come from civil society, they did
not reveal that they were selected at the discretion of the three political
parties themselves and not civil society.
So, in essence, the chairpersons are direct political appointees from the
three parties whereas their deputies are from civil society and are selected
by the three parties as well.
In our broad political appreciation, we are aware that there are pseudo
civil society organisations that are either planted or are overtly
supportive of the political parties (mainly the MDC-T and Zanu PF). With
what muscle would the political parties have avoided the temptation to
appoint these deputy chairpersons from the ranks of these aligned civil
The architecture of the thematic areas leadership therefore stinks of
politically indoctrinated marginalisation. Genuine civil society has no
projected visibility in this instance.
When the outreach teams were selected the numerical distortions also reveal
some political mischief that is shameful for people who are entrusted with
leading such democratisation processes.
The National Association of Non-governmental Organisations (Nango, who are
the largest mother body of civil society in Zimbabwe), only had about 33% of
people proposed being finally accepted.
This translates to around 40 people or so. The three main church bodies
(Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference) all contributed less than 20 people
involved in the bedlam-stained outreach process. This number represents
about 6% of the total number of people they had jointly proposed.
From this generalised overview, civil society and churches therefore have
about 60 genuine representations from a universal pool of about 500 team
There are however other genuine bodies outside of Nango and the three church
groupings mentioned but their contribution to the numbers in the outreach
teams is negligible. According to Copac's guidelines, civil society and
churches were suppose to account for 70% of outreach team membership and the
balance was supposed to come from parliamentarians.
This 70% translates to about 350 people yet out of it only about 60 are
genuinely reflective of the number coming from civil society and churches.
This leaves a supply gap of about 290 people, who are all involved in the
outreach teams but most of them seem to be from a dubious proposition.
The constitutional drama however continues and the contentious issue of
rapporteurs aids this theatre.
When the involvement of civil society and churches was initially requested,
there was no clarification of where and from whom the rapporteurs would come
from. It actually turns out that this role is more functional than the
outreach team membership.
Outreach teams have the role of conducting consultations but the rapporteurs
have the focal role of recording proceedings, thereby creating the direct
input to the resultant final constitutional document.
The political parties seem to have left this role for their domination and
the current heckling reveals just how much they each intend to have
substantial control of this decisive role in the total process. Again there
is very limited and sublime visibility of civil society and churches in this
Then there is talk of financial irregularities surrounding the entire
constitutional reform process. It turns out to be very ironic that there was
no mention of the allowance structures for outreach teams during the
three-day training held in January.
Every other logistical attribute was mentioned except the financial matters.
Hence financial matters seemed to be enveloped in superficial secrecy and
People went away on the assumption that modest allowances would be paid to
both civil society and MPs. It however turns out that MP's will likely have
a top-notch allowance package different from members of civil society though
they will be involved in the same process.
This will again exhibit the elitist prominence of our legislators away from
their expressed notion of national service - taken under oath when they were
sworn-in. The constitutional process has toxic potential to be another
income-boosting process for these wrong precedence-setting politicians.
So far, the thematic area leadership, the outreach teams' composition and
the identity of rapporteurs all seem to be weighing in heavily under the
control of the three political parties. The financial irregularities also
convey towards a job-for-the-boys attitude.
Given this matrix and imbalance, I am left with no option but to look back
at the NCA's initial suspicion.
Madhuku saw it coming while the rest of us decided on a paranoid reliance on
this political system.
The next time people are required to drive their own processes they must be
genuinely allowed to do so and if Madhuku is still around at such a time,
please let's attentively listen to him.
Trevor Maisiri is the Executive Director and co-founder of African Reform
Institute, a political leadership development institute based in Harare.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:42
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe turned 86 last Sunday and as per the norm over the
years, he granted an interview to the sole national television broadcaster,
ZTV, where he pontificated on several issues, among them the state of the
inclusive government, Western sanctions, the controversy over the Chiadzwa
diamonds and his favourite subject for the past decade - land reform. Mugabe
made several interesting disclosures that exposed his inability over the
past 30 years to deal decisively with corruption among the rank and file in
his government and Zanu PF. His inability to stop the rot has been the major
undoing of his leadership.
During the interview, Mugabe said he was aware that some bigwigs in his
government and Zanu PF have defied a party resolution by leasing land
allocated to them under the 2000 chaotic land reform to former white
commercial farmers for a fee. He said the heavyweights were charging between
10% and 15% commission of the total value of yield.
Mugabe said he would soon crack the whip on the offenders. I found the
threat from Mugabe laughable if one traces his leadership since 1980.
The threat to take disciplinary measures against corrupt bigwigs has become
a broken record, conveniently played to hoodwink Zimbabweans into believing
that the octogenarian leader was doing something to rein in vice among his
Since Independence, Mugabe has failed to act decisively against corrupt
leaders in his government and party.
The failure has resulted in grand-scale looting and cannibalisation of state
resources by an elite few at the expense of the majority.
Looting and asset stripping by bigwigs has become a way of life in the
country and there is no indication from the powers that be that the rot will
be nipped in the bud any time soon.
Corruption in government has spread on a large scale into the private and
even the informal sectors. The country has been reduced to a nation of
dealers out to make a quick buck from the corridors of power, street alleys
to flea markets.
Even where Mugabe has attempted to deal with the corruption scourge, he has
pardoned the perpetrators. The Willowgate motor scandal is a classic
Despite compelling evidence unearthed by Justice Wilson Sandura's Commission
into the vehicle scandal, the corrupt chefs were let off the hook.
Several audits into the land reform exercise have revealed that some cabinet
ministers and senior government officials and party heavyweights have
multiple farms in utter disregard of the one-man-one-farm policy.
Mugabe has received and not acted on the Flora Buka and the Charles Utete
commissions land audit reports which made recommendations on how to deal
with multiple farm ownerships, maximum farm sizes and tenure systems. The
reports' findings were not made public and are gathering dust in the
In August 2008 Mugabe made a startling revelation when he railed against his
ministers, attacking them for their penchant for self-enrichment at the
expense of the nation.
"The cabinet that I had was the worst in history. They look at themselves.
They are unreliable," Mugabe said at a luncheon to mark the opening of
The public criticism was welcomed by many and hopes were high that many of
the ministers would be dropped from his cabinet, but alas a few days later
Mugabe retained the same cabinet.
It was refreshing to hear Mugabe saying that the inclusive government was
expected to perform better this year.
"We are bound to add on to what we did last year and there won't be any need
for us to find each other, discover each other, any more," he said. "We have
done so and know what we are capable of. We also know the areas where it is
necessary for us to improve - to improve politically; to improve in respect
of getting our unity much more intact and to improve in terms of competence.
But when all is said and done, there is need to ensure that there are
adequate resources to back the programmes of government that we have put in
place, and this is the area where I think there has been a great
Mugabe spoke like a statesman on that point, but for him to claim that the
only outstanding issue of the GPA is sanctions was a dissembling act of the
The ageing leader and Zanu PF should stop their intransigence and
insincerity and fully implement the provisions of the GPA if Mugabe's dream
for more gains this year is to be achieved.
The decision by the European Union to extend sanctions sends a message to
Mugabe that the international community is yet to be convinced that real
reforms to broaden democracy in the country have been undertaken. It is the
international community which should assist the country financially and
morally to extricate itself from the current economic vegetative state.
If we cannot implement our own pact to the full, who can trust us Gushungo?
Thursday, 25 February 2010 20:40
THE erratic constitution-making is predictably getting increasingly
entangled in confusion for all sorts of reasons, including lack of
leadership and cohesion, internal disagreements and shortage of funds. The
political parties leading the process are however trying too hard to put a
gloss on the messy process but it's not washing.
For months on end we have been trying to state - over and over again -that a
flawed process cannot possibly produce a good product. The process is
critical and has got to be clear-cut.
The three political parties driving this defective process are manipulating
it for their own narrow ends, not those of the nation and the public.
Everybody, including those gullible donors who were squandering foreign
taxpayers' funds supporting such a chaotic process, is hopefully beginning
to appreciate this.
A constitution-making process that lacks inclusivity and consensus
automatically lacks credibility and legitimacy. A constitution which lacks
all of these aspects, not to mention accountability, is a worthless
It is very clear that the current political parties involved in this process
do not appreciate the complexities and significance of constitution-making.
They are not interested in gathering empirical and behavioural data about
what the people want in their own constitution. They want to impose their
template on the people.
Constitution-making should be a serious process which produces a long-term
document that determines the framework of government, institutions, how
people are governed and their future.
Instead of acting as forces for good in this process, Zanu PF and the two
MDC factions are collaborating in a nefarious project to shape and determine
people's future without their participation. They are forces of evil.
Political parties and their leaders must recognise the importance of
constitution-making and the role of the people. They need to appreciate that
the process creates institutions in the lives of humans, reflecting the
significance of their history and culture and must therefore be treated
Constitution-making involves the embodiment of the constitutional traditions
of the body politic in appropriate binding rules of the game that properly
reflect the dynamics of the polity and socio-economic distribution of power.
For that reason, it should not be an exclusive process like this one. There
must be broad and coordinated consultations to capture the totality of the
people's views. Constitution-makers often borrow from one another, not only
within the framework of a particular constitutional tradition but across
traditions as well.
Such borrowings were once commonplace and advocated by reformers as a matter
But through a process of trial and error, constitutional designers have
learned the limits of borrowing.
Constitutional architects and designers can borrow a mechanism here or there
but in the final analysis those mechanisms must be integrated in a manner
that is true to the spirit of the polity and civil society for which the
constitution is designed.
The current constitution-making process lacks such dynamism because it is
driven by inflexible and myopic politicians.
Zanu PF has now taken over the process and is pushing for the repackaging of
the Kariba draft by another name.
The MDC-T is now quiet about the Kariba draft after the three parties agreed
on a conspiracy of silence on the issue.
This collusion will make the current constitution-making process worse than
that of the 1999/2000 period.
The 1999/2000 process was well organised and managed but the trouble was how
the mainly Zanu PF commissioners sought to manipulate the people's views to
support their own political and partisan interests. We opposed that process
for that and many other reasons.
The current process is worse in all respects. It is not inclusive, not well
organised and managed, not convincing and lacks even a veneer of legitimacy.
It is in fact a farce.
Above all, the process lacks leadership. There are no credible intellectual
framers of the new constitution, no creative thinkers and no good managers.
Political hacks, opportunists and incompetent administrators are in charge,
hence the chaos and confusion.
A constitution-making process is too critical for the future of a country
and its people to be left in the hands of three political parties and their
surrogates that evidently do not represent the diverse and sometimes
competing interests of a multi-racial and multicultural society such as
Political parties represent a narrow section of society. That is why it is
important for a constitution-making process like this one to be open and
Right from the beginning, people were sidelined in this process. It was
politicians in charge and they will remain in control of the process and the
outcome unless serious changes are made. We need an open, transparent and
inclusive process, not this opaque and partisan approach.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:19
WHEN English comedian Charlie Chaplin found his voice in a great transition
which ended the silent film era, he used sound to great effect to make sharp
political commentary that is as relevant today as it was in the early 20th
century. In his "talkie" the Great Dictator in 1940 Chaplin -- who plays a
double role as a Jewish barber and a Ptomaine dictator Adenoid Hykey --
makes a controversial speech whose sentimental value resonated with the
raging dictatorship in Europe under Adolf Hitler at the time. It was a
message of peace to the whole world from a man the whole world was likely to
This was 70 years ago but the speech is still sadly apt for the world today.
The satirical speech touched at the time on the raw nerve of demagoguery.
The speech will still achieve the same result if delivered to many
communities today, Zimbabwe being one of them.
Part of the famous speech reads: "Dictators free themselves but they enslave
the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free
the world - to do away with national barriers -- to do away with greed, with
hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason -- a world where
science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name
of democracy, let us unite!"
He continued: "Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes - men who despise
you and enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what
to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle,
use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men --
machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You
are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts.
You don't hate, only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural!
Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!"
This observation by Chaplin is poignant to Zimbabweans where there is always
a concerted project by our "liberators" to teach the language of hate.
For a long time, Zimbabweans have been taught to hate opponents. Like the
soldiers Chaplin refers to in his speech, people's lives have been
regimented. Poor villagers are forcibly driven to rallies where they are fed
a diet of hate.
They are drilled in the motions of hating and sometimes translating the hate
into hurting rivals.
For a long time in our history that drill of hate has been propelled by the
slogan: pamberi neZanu PF, pasi nemabhunu, pasi naNgomo, pasi neMDC (forward
with Zanu PF, down with whites, Nkomo, the MDC) and so on.
Proponents of this slogan will argue that it is a mere political gimmick
which has stood the test of time to rally supporters towards a cause.
But the slogan has also been used as a war cry to crush opponents;
physically that is. We all recall the violence that was unleashed on
mabhunu, "Ngomo" and the MDC.
The coming in of the inclusive government last year saw a lesser employment
of the slogan but it's coming back. We are beginning to hear of more and
more instances when the slogan is being chanted to denounce the MDC-T.
This is being done by people who have committed themselves to a process of
national healing. Press reports this week said VP Joice Mujuru and her team
of senior Zanu PF officials in Masvingo province were booed to the rafters
by a crowd that had come to witness the handover of tractors to farmers in
The heckling -- it was reported by the Zimbabwetimes -- started when
politburo members accompanying the VP took turns to chant the pasi neMDC-T
slogan. The crowd was not impressed prompting chaotic scenes at Gibbo
Stadium in the town.
This is not an isolated case. I have been told officials from political
parties and civic groups currently on outreach programmes to explain and
drum up support for their respective parties' positions regarding the
constitution-making process have been receiving the same treatment.
Simple villagers want to hear what the inclusive government has to offer and
not which party can hurl the foulest abuse at opponents. This is the point
that crocodilian politicians in Zanu PF cannot grasp. It is not business as
usual anymore where cheap political gimmicks of hate-filled denunciation win
This was a good advert of the nature of politicians who still believe that
their fortunes lie in making their supporters hate the other side and not
what the leaders can offer to their constituencies. Effective and good
politicians will always be judged by their abilities to deliver positive
change in communities where they live. They are respected because they
respect alternative views and they can present an argument without being
The elections in this country have been fought in a supercharged environment
of hate and brutality. Zimbabweans yearn for change. Canvassing for votes
should be about finding solutions to issues and not hate-slogans and
divisions. Where is the organ on national healing in all this?
I turn to Charlie Chaplin again. "Then in the name of democracy.Let us fight
for a new world -- a decent world that will give men (and women) a chance to
work -- that will give youth a future and old age a security."
by Lloyd Whitefield Butler Jr Friday 26 February 2010
OPINION: Honorable Justice Anthony R. Gubbay, your article: "The progressive
erosion of the rule of law in independent Zimbabwe, Third International Rule
of Law Lecture: Bar of England and Wales, Inner Temple Hall, London,
Wednesday 9 December 2009", refers.
I consider it a prejudiced indictment against the state of Zimbabwe.
First and foremost the Bar of England and Wales exists in a monarchical
setting whereby Her Majesty the Queen rules England by Royal Prerogative.
Justice Gubbay as a legal scientist why did you logically and intentionally
avoid the human rights abuse charges and the crimes against humanity and
nature murderously committed by whites and who where never brought to
The same whites who systemically installed - for the purpose of establishing
the corporate insured 400-year-old European slave trade in African people as
commodities, cargo, forced labour, and intellectual properties - colonialism
and apartheid but again were never brought to justice for their crimes?
Your prejudiced indictment of Zimbabwe on behalf of Rhodesian special
interest does not take into consideration that the country's Defence Forces
Commander-in-Chief President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean people have
always existed in a state of war.
You speak as though there once was a day of justice - a day that Zimbabweans
were compensated for their land and forced labour injustices committed
against Zimbabweans dead and alive?
You state further that on "14 December 2000, President Mugabe, speaking at
his party's congress, disowned the courts. With reference to the land issue
he said: 'The courts can do what they want. They are not courts for our
people and we shall not even be defending ourselves in these courts'." How
Mugabe is correct the colonial law you so authoritatively quote and
recognise as sacrosanct was full of loopholes designed to support white land
Who designed the court system?
As a legal scientist am I to believe you acknowledge that a colonial
government will establish a rule of law that would force them to pay
economically for the crimes they committed? To pay reparations?
You actually believe colonial law is designed to return land they murdered
for? They stole African land, then wrote down on a piece of paper cursive or
typewritten words that the African is to believe giving ownership and
inheritance of their land to foreign landlords?
While under, or just from under, colonial and apartheid rule every African
in his right mind would and should sign any document to relieve oneself from
oppression. Signing under colonial apartheid oppression and duress is
Again you state prejudicially a half truth: "Historical imbalances: The
fast-track land reform programme remains much in force today. In theory it
was meant to correct "historical imbalances", and to hand land to landless
black Zimbabweans, through a one-man-one-farm policy. Pursued in a most
chaotic, ruthless, uncontrolled and violent manner, it has resulted in about
4 500 white commercial farmers being forced off their land, and 350 000 farm
labourers being deprived of their livelihood. The grave atrocities committed
against white farmers are legend."
Justice Gubbay, how did these European farmers acquire this land? How much
death? How much misery, family disruption, culture destruction, and tribal
relocations to the most harsh and uncultivable land?
As a minor reminder: recently Jewish lawyers sued Spain for kicking out
Spanish Jews and stealing their land in 1492 and settled. What is your
excuse Justice Gubbay for landless Zimbabweans?
Also, the Native American Indians were exterminated throughout the Americas.
There are very few Indians left in North and South America because of the
belief in a colonial court system that history has demonstrated favoured
Europeans in their infamous unwritten constitutions and laws that is based
Justice Gubbay, peace be unto you. - ZimOnline
by Edith Kaseke Thursday 25 February 2010
HARARE - Shelton Mandeya readily reveals a fresh wound on his right buttock,
suffered when a group of militia from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF
party attacked his home in Mutoko rural district in May 2008, at the height
of a violent presidential run-off campaign that returned the ageing leader
The wound, which has yet to heal, is a vivid reminder of what Mandeya says
was a vicious campaign by Mugabe loyalists to silence opponents.
But less than two years after Mandeya escaped death by a whisker, Zimbabwe's
top politicians and South African President Jacob Zuma have in recent months
been increasingly talking of fresh elections in 2011 to end a political
logjam in the country's unity government.
Mandeya has every reason to be dismayed, so are thousands of voters who fear
that an election so soon would only see the country spiral into another
cycle of political violence.
"Zimbabweans are not ready for elections," said Mandeya, a former organiser
for former finance minister Simba Makoni, who quit ZANU PF and contested the
March 2008 presidential election under the Mavambo movement.
He later campaigned for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai ahead of the presidential run-off held in June of that year.
"I think there is still too much anger and fear among our people. Many
people, at least that I know, don't believe an election next year is good
for this country or will it be good for the country," added Mandeya.
Restoring economy, jobs
He strikes a chord with thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans who say they are,
for now, more worried about government restoring the economy, creation of
jobs and food security than a vote that could tear the fragile country
Zimbabwe's economy grew for the first time last year but is not yet creating
jobs for a country with unemployment above 95 percent and hopes that the
unity government would improve social services have quickly been dashed
after the administration failed to win financial support from Western donors
who insist on more democratic reforms before they can loosen the purse
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government last February after
protracted power-sharing talks but the union has been shaky, marred more by
tensions over how to equally share power.
The two leaders have on different occasions called for a fresh vote in 2011,
saying this is the only way to resolve the dispute.
At his party's congress in December, Mugabe, who turned 86 this week, told
supporters to be prepared for a vote he said was imminent. Tsvangirai said
this month an election should be held next year because the parties had
reached a deadlock in power-sharing talks.
Pleasing radical constituencies
"This is populist talk meant for their radical constituencies because in
reality none of the parties want an election anytime soon," Eldred
Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer told
"ZANU PF knows they will be beaten hands down in a relatively free and fair
election but the MDC fears that any quick election is likely to be violent.
So there is convergence of opinion that quick elections serve no one's
"But more importantly, Zimbabweans have not healed from the election trauma
of 2008. They need more time to have confidence in the electoral system,
that if they cast their vote it will really count for something,"
Analysts are convinced that elections will be held in 2013, when the next
vote is due and when a new constitution is expected to have been adopted.
The global political agreement is silent on dates for the next elections,
only saying they would follow the writing of a new constitution, a process
that has been dogged by problems from the beginning.
Experts see the process being concluded in 2012 as ZANU PF and the MDC
haggle over what form the constitution should take.
Zimbabwe's elections have been controversial since 2000, largely marked by
violence which the MDC and Western governments have repeatedly blamed on
ZANU PF aligned war veterans and youth militia.
In 2008, the MDC said more than 200 of its members were murdered by Mugabe
loyalists, including those in the military, in a spree that shocked even
regional neighbours who had long openly sided with the veteran leader.
"June 2008 is still fresh in many people's minds. Why don't the government
first improve services and make sure the economy is functioning again,"
60-year-old Mutsa Katsiru, a grandmother of eight, who sells wares at Mbare's
Mupedzanhamo market said.
Just to confirm that political tensions still linger in the country,
supporters from ZANU PF and the MDC clashed over the weekend in Epworth
township, leaving several people injured.
Both parties accuse the other of perpetrating the political violence.
Last month members of the two parties fought running battles in Buhera
district, which saw 10 properties being razed by fire in another case of
There have been reports that MDC supporters in some rural districts were
seizing back livestock they say was forcefully taken by ZANU PF supporters
in 2008, further heightening political tensions.
"Politicians should consult us first because we will tell them that this
peaceful transition period should go on for some time. We are tired of
election violence," Suzan Karonga, a mother of three from Budiriro said. -