Mon Feb 26, 10:27 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe is to start a
two-day visit Tuesday to Namibia where he will hold talks with his
counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba and sign a series of bilateral agreements.
Mugabe, under mounting pressure at home over the collapse of the Zimbabwean
economy, will be making a rare foray outside Harare by travelling to
Windhoek for his first visit there since the veteran Namibian leader Sam
Nujoma stood down in 2005.
Nujoma and Mugabe, who both led their countries after they gained
independence, were close allies but relations with Pohamba have been cooler.
Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said the visit would
symbolise the enduring friendship between the two southern African nations.
"It's a further strengthening of relations between our two countries which
date back even before our independence," he told AFP.
"The visit is partly to share and exchange ideas on issues affecting both
countries, and the continent as a whole, as well as to sign protocol
agreements in areas of industry and commerce."
By Lance Guma
26 February 2007
After 3 months of what it calls 'fruitless' negotiations with government,
the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) says it will call for a class
boycott starting next week Monday. An extraordinary general council meeting
of ZINASU has met and set out several demands for government to meet. The
students want their payouts reviewed to meet the new tuition fee structures,
an improvement in accommodation and food standards and salary increases for
lecturers in universities and colleges around the country. The national
student body also demanded a resolution to the current economic and
political crisis, which they say is at the core of their problems.
ZINASU president Promise Mkwananzi said government seemed reluctant to act
on their demands and the class boycott will only end when these are
resolved. Mkwananzi says they are greatly encouraged by the strike action by
doctors, nurses and teachers adding that this showed government only
understands the language of confrontation. The lowest paid teacher earned
Z$84 000 a month before their strike action but under a new offer accepted
by the unions, Z$528 000 per month is the new minimum. Mkwananzi said the
government wants to abandon its social responsibility of providing education
in Zimbabwe and shift the burden to poor parents already struggling to
survive the economic crisis.
A government hike in tuition fees meant students at universities had to fork
out over Z$566 000 a semester despite their payouts being Z$1000 per term.
Only recently it was reported that the Central Intelligence Organisation was
sponsoring a splinter students union called the Zimbabwe Congress of
Students Unions (ZICOSU) to try and undermine the work of ZINASU. A
suspected CIO operative, Kingston Magaya, leads ZICOSU and he wasted no time
in fuelling the speculation by attacking ZINASU for allegedly working with
the opposition. Mkwananzi said the moves showed how desperate Mugabe's
regime had become in trying to destroy the students movement.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Tuesday 27 February 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Zimbabwe's central bank could allow the local dollar to slide in
March as part of the government's contribution to a tricky "social contract"
with business and labour, ZimOnline learned yesterday.
Authoritative sources within the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said bank
governor Gideon Gono was expected to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar in the
coming three weeks to appease the business sector which has clamoured for an
adjustment of the exchange rate as a way of restoring viability.
"Besides the devaluation, there is really nothing else that the government
can bring to the negotiation table when the social contract comes into force
in March," said a senior RBZ official, who declined to be named because he
did not have Gono's permission to disclose such information to the Press.
The official noted that Gono would want to be seen to be negotiating in good
faith and would, therefore, offer the devaluation as the carrot with which
to keep the business sector in the negotiations.
The quantum of the devaluation is being worked out, with one school of
thought favouring a free-floating exchange rate and another group preferring
a semi controlled exchange rate in which the local dollar is allowed to
slide but within a limited range.
Those in favour of the free-floating exchange rate want the Zimbabwe dollar
to trade at the same level on both the official and parallel markets.
The exchange rate is currently pegged at 250 Zimbabwe dollars against the
United States dollar on the official market but trades at more than 7 000
Zimbabwe dollars to one American greenback on the illegal but thriving
parallel market and where the bulk of foreign currency is traded.
No comment could be obtained from Gono yesterday.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), regarded as the voices of industry and commerce,
prefer a market-driven exchange rate which they see as the only way of
boosting export earnings and easing foreign currency shortages.
"We believe that the correct price is what those who have foreign currency
are willing to sell for. The market price is over Z$5 500 per US dollar.
This will make us viable in exports and labour rates regional where we have
lost skilled labour," said CZI president Callisto Jokonya.
ZNCC president Marah Hativagone said devaluation of the local currency would
achieve better results if accompanied by measures to revive the export
She said: "We must address the forex supply side before devaluing otherwise
devaluation on its own would be a futile exercise."
It was not possible to get comment from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions on possible devaluation of the local currency. The labour union that
is part of a Tripartite Negotiating Forum with the government and business
has in the past urged monetary authorities to ensure adequate measures to
cushion already hard-pressed workers from the effects of a devaluation of
The Zimbabwe dollar has crashed in the past two weeks as the market gears up
for anticipated devaluation. The local unit was quoted at around 7 000 to
the US dollar on the parallel market yesterday, down from about 5 000
against the American greenback on 9 February.
Gono refused to devalue the local unit when he released a much-awaited
monetary policy statement on 31 January, and instead opted for a social
contract among business, labour and the government.
His argument for refusing to devalue was that such actions had failed to
yield results in the past and that the gravity of Zimbabwe's economic crisis
now required the creation of consensus among key stakeholders.
One of the outcomes of the social contract - which has been criticised by
the country's main labour body and business organisations - is the freezing
of wages and prices.
President Robert Mugabe has opposed previous moves to devalue the Zimbabwe
dollar, labelling such efforts "bookish economics" that could not solve
Zimbabwe's problems. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 27 February 2007
JOHANNESBURG - The International Bar Association (IBA)'s Human Rights
Institute on Monday condemned the three-month ban on political rallies and
protests in Zimbabwe saying the ban undermined the people's right to freedom
President Robert Mugabe's government last week banned rallies in
Harare following violent clashes between the police and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Highfield suburb in Harare.
The IBA said the ban breached Zimbabweans' constitutional right to
freedom of assembly.
"The government of Zimbabwe has again undermined the guarantees of
human rights and the rule of law by preventing the citizens of Zimbabwe from
exercising their fundamental right to free assembly," said Mark Ellis, the
IBA executive director.
The IBA said the ban showed a "complete disregard" of people's rights
to freedom of assembly as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe.
The IBA is the world's leading organisation for international legal
practitioners, bar associations and law societies.
Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a civic group
that is fighting for a new, democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, said it
will continue staging street protests despite the blanket ban imposed last
In a statement released to the media on Monday, the NCA said
Zimbabweans must ignore the ban if they are to free themselves from Mugabe's
"As NCA we will continue to . . . fight for a democratic constitution
and a new governance system with a non-partisan police that respects the
rule of law and protect the citizen's rights.
"The NCA will not recognise the authority of a partisan police force
and we urge all citizens to ignore such dubious orders from misguided
elements of the brutal police force," said the statement.
Under Zimbabwe's tough Public Order and Security Act, political
parties and civic groups must first notify the police before staging any
The NCA has however consistently ignored the law in the past to stage
street protests in urban areas to demand a new, people-driven constitution
for Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 27 February 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government and local human rights groups are scheduled
to meet next month to resume discussions on the setting up of a statutory
human rights body in the country.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s Harare office is brokering
the talks that appeared to falter last year after non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) demanded that President Robert Mugabe's government
first repeals repressive security and media laws before they could back the
move to set up the proposed National Human Rights Commission.
A sarcastic communiqué sent to human rights groups by the National
Association of NGOs advising them of the consultative meeting with
government appeared to suggest the rights movement's attitude towards
proposed commission has not changed.
The NGOs association wrote: "The National Human Rights Commission gravy
train continues to rumble in 2007 this time with the announcement of another
UNDP brokered civil society-Government of Zimbabwe consultative meeting
scheduled for March."
There was no immediate indication from the association whether human rights
groups will attend the March meeting while Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa was also not immediately available for comment on the matter.
But the government has not repealed the Public Order and Security Act and
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that human rights
groups had said it should scrap from statute books before they could
The government has in recent days also intensified a crackdown against the
political opposition, arresting some of its leaders and banning it from
holding political meetings and protests.
The African Commission on Human and People's Rights has in the past
condemned human rights abuses in Zimbabwe while major Western nations, donor
organisations and financial institutions have ostracised Harare for its
failure to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law - charges
Mugabe and his government deny. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
23 February 2007
The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe said Friday
that it will seek arbitration in its dispute with employers who are offering
only a 100 percent increase in wages to the union's 200,000 extremely
Most farm laborers earn just Z$8,000 a month, US$32 at the official exchange
rate of Z$250 to the American dollar, but only about US$1.15 at the
prevailing parallel market exchange rate which in recent days has tumbled to
Z$7,000 to the greenback.
The wage paid farm laborers does not even represent 2% of the Z$566,000 that
the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six needs each month to
purchase food and other essentials of life, representing the country's
"poverty datum line."
Haggling over farm wages has dragged on for three months. Workers want
Z$70,000 a month, which employers, mostly the so-called new farmers
allocated property under the country's land redistribution program since
2000, say they cannot afford.
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union General Secretary Gertrude
Hambira told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the union has written to the National Employment Council in a first step
By Carole Gombakomba
26 February 2007
Lecturers at the University of Zimbabwe went on strike on Monday demanding
higher salaries and allowances, joining instructors and non-academic staff
at institutions in Bulawayo, Gweru and Chinhoyi who have been on strike
since January 30.
Salaries of the University of Zimbabwe lecturers and non-academic staff
range from some Z$790,000 down to Z$37,000. They are seeking an across the
board increase of 1,600% in salaries and allowances to offset annual
inflation running at that rate.
Association of University Teachers President James Mhlaule tells reporter
Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that University of Zimbabwe
lecturers decided to join the national strike only after exhausting all of
the available venues for negotiation, including through the parliamentary
committee on education.
From Bulawayo, President Benjamin Njekeya of the Zimbabwe State University
Union of Academics said lecturers at the state universities in Bulawayo,
Gweru and Chinhoyi remained on strike while seeking to engage university and
Classes were scheduled to resume today at the Bulawayo and Harare
institutions, he said, but the strike made it unclear when classes would
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Students Association is urging students to
boycott classes March 5 to protest "incessant" rises in tuition and lodging
fees. The student union expressed concern about deteriorating standards and
low teacher pay.
In primary and secondary education, some private schools have doubled
tuition fees. Parents of children at Saint Georges College in Harare who
were paying Z$915,000 a semester must now come up with Z$1.7 million
(US$243) in term tuition fees.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
26 February 2007
A top Harare official has warned the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
against organizing a two-day national strike in early April, as it proposes.
The trade union's national executive council decided on the action in a
weekend strategy session.
The ZCTU said it intends to organize such a two-day strike every three
months to protest the deterioration of living standards for workers.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa was reported to have warned the labor
body against organizing the proposed two-day stayaway on April 3 and 4.
The ZimOnline news agency quoted Mutasa as saying that labor leaders "want
to start a war and we are more than prepared to deal with them." Last
September, 30 officials of the ZCTU and the Movement for Democratic Change
were alleged to have been severely beaten by police and security agents
after they tried to stage a protest.
ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government's warning will not prevent
the union from speaking out on the national crisis or from organizing
By Blessing Zulu
26 February 2007
Officials of the faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said Monday they will file papers
in high court Tuesday challenging a three-month ban on rallies imposed by
police last week.
Police have also imposed a partial curfew in parts of Harare under the
authority of the Public Order and Security Act, much criticized as an
The opposition will also ask the high court to find police in contempt of
court for using force to disrupt a planned rally in Highfield, Harare, on
Sunday, February 18, despite an order from the court saying that the MDC
rally could go ahead.
Police last week outlawed rallies in all of Harare Province and in the
Harare satellite town of Chitungwiza. Though no notices have been issued for
other areas, the two MDC factions have also been barred from holding rallies
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the Tsvangirai
faction's recourse to the high court would keep pressure on the government
of President Robert Mugabe.
THE massive fish deaths in Lake Chivero due to de-oxygenation, compounded by
excessive pollution, indicates the gravity of the ecological disaster on
Harare's principal water supply dam. There have been several incidents of
fish deaths in Lake Chivero and its feeder tributaries Nyatsime, Marimba and
Manyame in the past and no consistent and meaningful, practical measures
were taken to improve the ecological conditions that are responsible for the
Zimbabwean scientists have since 1952, when Lake Chivero was created, made
several studies on the lakes ecology. They also made important
recommendations to the government and the City of Harare on how to improve
the quality of water, reduce pollution levels and enhance the ecological
conditions on Lake Chivero, the source of drinking water for more than three
million people now.
The last major work on the ecology of Lake Chivero was in 1997 by Prof
Ngonidzashe Moyo, formerly with the University of Zimbabwe's Department of
Biological Sciences, and other scientists drawn from the field of chemistry,
freshwater biology, engineers, urban planners and environmental studies.
In the compilation titled: Lake Chivero: A Polluted Lake scientists gave
invaluable information on the status of pollution in Lake Chivero and its
catchment area, the causes and impact of pollution and possible solutions to
enhance the ecological conditions of the lake were suggested. This project
came after more than a million fish died over a four-week period in Lake
Chivero in 1996 as a result of de-oxygenation worsened by ammonia toxins.
In the wake of the disaster, the government banned commercial fishing and
recreational activity for a period of 10 weeks, stepped up pressure on
Harare City Council to upgrade sewage treatment plants, tightened pollution
laws and embarked on a campaign to raise awareness on the need to reduce
pollution in rivers.
However, over the years, a combination of factors have led to an increase in
the discharge of sub-standard sewage effluent into rivers that feed Lake
Chivero. Industrial effluent discharges are rising, leading to an increased
level of various heavy metals in the lake. Rapid urbanisation, both within
the Greater Harare area, dormitory towns and outlying communal areas, has
worsened the pollution of the lake.
Moyo, now a freshwater biologist at the University of Limpopo in South
Africa said fish deaths could be triggered by seasonal turnover that mixes
the lakes water layers. When the surface temperature drops sharply, the
upper layer, that is less toxic becomes colder and denser than the bottom
layer, which then rises to replace the denser layer.
More often than not, the bottom layer will have more toxins that kill fish
upon inversion. Moyo suggests that episodes of oxygen deficiency have become
increasingly severe due to excessive pollution of the lake.
The discharge of sludge, the product of water clarification with aluminium
sulphate at the Morton Jaffray water works, which contains high
concentrations of aluminium has led to the accumulation of deep layers of
anoxic sludge in the Manyame River bed which are often deposited in the lake
when rains come.
Moyo concurs with the findings made by Prof Christopher Magadza, a fish
biologist, in 1996 that the flushing of this sludge deposit into Lake
Chivero may have been responsible for the fish deaths. Biologists say
changes in the water chemistry of the lake have led to the deterioration of
The main indicators include high concentrations of heavy metals and other
pollutant, massive water hyacinth infestation that removed nutrients from
the water and locked it up as plant biomass, high levels of compounds like
ammonia and others, eutrophication of the lake and density of the blue-green
algae which produce toxins that have caused the seasonal outbreaks of
gastronomic diseases in the city. Sources in the water-engineering sector
say it is now becoming increasingly difficult for the city's water to reach
WHO standards. This is a sensitive and controversial issue for politicians
who often keep the lid tight.
The flight of skilled engineers, freshwater biologists, fish pathologists,
ecologists and other environmental experts to other countries has worsened
Zimbabwe's capacity to respond to ecological disasters. Conducting
environmental impact assessment, developing and applying water quality
systems, the polluter-pays principle, self-regulation, providing economic
incentives, public participation and tightening regulation and enforcement
can enhance water quality management and pollution control.
"Water is a basic right, we are all entitled to clean water. It's sad if no
special attention is given to Lake Chivero because this is what millions of
people survive on," said Moyo.
Nam News Network/ New Ziana
By JAMES KIRCHICK
The New York Sun
February 26, 2007
This past Saturday, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe celebrated his 83rd
birthday by throwing himself a lavish, $60,000 party in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Mr.
Mugabe's backers, though, claim to have raised over $2 million for his
party. The money raised for his birthday, partly through deductions from the
salaries of grossly underpaid civil servants, is enough to "supply 300 AIDs
sufferers with anti-retroviral drugs for a year in a country where only
50,000 people out of 500,000 infected have access to them," according to the
Meanwhile, mass starvation, skyrocketing unemployment, and the world's
highest inflation rate have driven 3 million to 5 million Zimbabweans - an
exceptionally high number considering that the country's total population is
about 14 million - to neighboring countries, mainly South Africa.
While the world's attention remains transfixed on the supposed Palestinian
refugees, a far more dire, and actually genuine, refugee crisis exists in
southern Africa due to the disastrous seizure of private farms enacted by
Yet the world community does next to nothing to help the refugees from
Zimbabwe. On a weekly basis, South Africa actually deports thousands of
Zimbabweans back to their country, where many are later imprisoned and
tortured. The complete abandonment of Zimbabwean refugees and the
simultaneous indulgence of the Palestinians supports the contention that the
United Nations serves as a political tool for the Muslim world as it did for
the Soviets during the Cold War.
A year after the Arab world declared war on Israel, the world body
established the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian
refugees in 1949. All the rest of the world's refugees, irrespective of the
origination of their plight or the privation of their circumstances, fall
under the jurisdiction of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In 2006, the Unrwa budget was $462 million while the Unhcr budget was $1.4
billion. The Palestinians, most of whom cannot even claim the status of
"refugee" in international law, receive about a quarter of the U.N. budget
allotted to refugee affairs. The Unhcr's definition of a refugee is an
individual who, "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted . is
outside the country of his nationality."
Unrwa, however, defines refugees as either those who were "in Palestine
between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost both their homes and means of
livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict," or the
"descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948." Due to this special
definition, less than 5% of those Palestinians deemed "refugees" by the
agency would be considered refugees in any other conflict.
Of all the world's refugee populations, the Palestinian Arabs are least
deserving of our sympathy. Never mind the international aid that has gone
into the bank accounts of Yasser Arafat and his associates, but this is a
people killing each other in an internecine civil war. A dispossessed
people, perhaps, but they are a people who have turned that dispossession
into a decades-long terrorist campaign against a democratic member state of
the United Nations.
Nothing like this can be said about the refugees of Zimbabwe. Last year, I
spoke to many of these refugees, hundreds of whom are sheltered in squalor
at Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church. While Palestinians have an
entire U.N. relief agency dedicated to their perpetual "refugee" status,
these men, women, and children would be living on the streets were it not
for the generosity of their Christian brothers.
Some of these refugees are political opponents of Mr. Mugabe and are afraid
to talk to journalists. Zimbabwean intelligence has sent spies to refugee
enclaves in South Africa to silence the refugees and bring them back home to
meet their fate - imprisonment, house arrest, or death.
I had to meet with the church's minister, Bishop Paul Verryn, before I was
allowed to speak with anyone. Mr. Verryn interviews every refugee who
streams into his church and provides for them solely through donations he
receives. "If this worked properly," he said of South Africa's response to
the refugee influx, "we should provide a room with a bed and a basin, proper
cleaning facilities . This is like a slum in here," he said of the church's
condition despite his efforts to maintain it.
Every night, hundreds of people sleep head to foot on crowded floors. The
church's small staff does its best to operate a makeshift jobs program. They
drive Zimbabweans to government offices where the refugees can obtain asylum
papers, and they set up nurseries for children and sewing and cooking
classes for women. Imagine what could be accomplished here were the United
Nations to devote just an ounce of the political willpower or money to this
crisis that it dedicates to the Palestinians.
What should be done?
Dismantle the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. Use its $462 million to
establish the United Nations Zimbabwean Refugee Agency, and alleviate a real
refugee problem - the one that Robert Mugabe has inflicted on the Zimbabwean
people. Then, perhaps, will the United Nations live up to its reputation as
the protector of the world's refugees, rather than being the political pawn
of the Muslim states using the Palestinians to discredit Israel.
By Tererai Karimakwenda & Violet Gonda
26 February, 2007
The Crisis Coalition has been conducting public provincial meetings around
the country bringing together community leaders such as pastors, teachers
and activists to discuss ways of resolving Zimbabwe's ongoing political and
economic crisis. So far successful meetings have been held in Rusape and
The Coalition reports that the Masvingo meeting took place this past
Saturday and was attended by at least 256 opinion leaders. Crisis officials
said the participants made 5 resolutions aimed at pressuring the Mugabe
regime for change, and they are:
1- The current protest actions taking place countrywide must be sustained.
2- Pro-democracy groups must widen their outreach to rural areas.
3- Say no to the unconstitutional extension of Robert Mugabe's term of
office to 2010.
4- Reject ZINWA's takeover of water services in Masvingo.
5- Embrace the Save Zimbabwe campaign's resolution of unified action on
confronting the multi-national crisis.
Public meetings in other provinces have yielded similar results. It seems
Zimbabweans across the country are opposed to Mugabe's continued tenure and
believe civic groups and activists should all unite and speak with one voice
against human rights abuses and lack of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile a showdown is looming between the country's largest workers union
and the government. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) announced
this past weekend there would be work boycotts during the first week of
April. This is after the government failed to address their demands for
better working conditions. The labour union had given the regime until 23rd
February, but the only response was from the State Security Minister who
reportedly threatened to crush the voices of dissent.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
26 February 2007
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not restore Zimbabwe's voting and
related rights that had been imposed on the country as a result of the
regime's outstanding US$129 million in arrears.
The Washington based IMF executive board met on Friday to discuss the
country's debt and expressed concern over the deteriorating economic and
The MDC's chief representative in the United States Dr Handel Mlilo said
everyone, including the government, knew the IMF would not be making any
policy changes on Zimbabwe. He said authorities in the country have failed
to undertake any of the policies recommended by the IMF.
A statement issued by the IMF after the meeting noted that Zimbabwe's
payments towards settlement of its arrears have been minimal and so its
arrears have further increased. Mlilo reiterated that there have been no
positives from any of the IMF's requests to the government of Zimbabwe.
Instead inflation has rapidly accelerated while shortages of food, fuel,
basic consumer goods and essential agricultural inputs remain acute.
Mlilo said the only way out for the regime is to agree to many policy
changes - from its fiscal policies to its ability to respect property rights
and the rule of law. He added; 'All institutions that are stubborn and
resistant to change will end up in the dustbin of history and that is where
Zanu (PF) is going. Without change they are doomed.'
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
26 February 2007
On Thursday this week the so-called 'Social Contract,' outlined by Reserve
Bank Governor Gideon Gono in his last policy review, is due to go into
effect. The plan calls for a trial period of four months during which
salaries and the price of basic goods would be frozen in an attempt to
control inflation which has reached 1600%. But as of Monday evening, just 48
hours before implementation, the government had not secured any agreements
from the parties that need to consent to this "contract." Economic Professor
Tony Hawkins said there had been some informal talks that yielded no results
and trade unions and businesses were against the plan. And he said there was
no great enthusiasm for it among government officials either.
So can government force this social contract on the people? Hawkins said the
authorities can only impose a price freeze but had no real power to affect
other elements, particularly to do with salaries. But forcing a price freeze
would not provide any lasting solution either. According to Hawkins,
businesses would stop producing within a few weeks to a month due to
inflation. He said the only thing government should do is to stop printing
money and spending it.
Hawkins also commented on statements made by Robert Mugabe over the weekend
that teachers and other civil servants should get more money. The professor
wondered where government would get the money to do this since there are
already serious shortages of funds. Pointing to another situation, Hawkins
said last month Gono announced that an agency would be created to market
Zimbabwe's gold and diamonds. Then last week in an interview, Mugabe said
diamonds will be nationalized. Hawkins saw these statements as a sign that
government is confused about what to do. He said: "There is no plan, no
strategy and cohesive policy."
Earlier this month several other top economists slammed Gono's idea of a
social contract saying it was not likely to have any effect on inflation.
Freezing salaries at their current levels while inflation continues to soar
would not fix the economy.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
February 25, 2007
Posted to the web February 26, 2007
Ozius Kapariki, a one-time rank marshal at a local bus terminus is now
driving around in a spanking, new Mercedes Benz, not a Brabus or an S600,
but a Mercedes, nevertheless.
It screeches to a halt at the city's bus terminus where he used to yell
until his voice was hoarse, calling out for urban dwellers to board commuter
buses to their homes after a hard day's work.
All that is in the past now for Ozius. He is now the centre of attraction,
the envy of many at the rank, as he plays loud music from the car radio,
obviously showing off his new acquisition.
This is a common scene in Mutare today, where the rags-to-riches legend is
being played out every day, where most once lowly-regarded people have
become millionaires overnight, thanks to the recent discovery of diamonds in
the Chiadzwa area of Marange, about 80km south-west of Mutare.
Many people are now the proud owners of top-of-the range motor vehicles,
while others have bought houses, among other properties, after picking up
the diamonds from the dry area of Marange.
The new crop of millionaires is set to confront the police, who say they are
more than keen to investigate the origin of this new wealth from the
Zimbabwe version of a new Klondike.
Former Anti-Corruption Minister, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, had promised his
ministry would descend on those who cannot fully and accurately account for
their "sudden bonanza".
"Touts who used to push carts in Mutare are now driving brand-new cars,
including the latest Mercedes Benz," said Mangwana, with undisguised
All who cannot account for their newly-acquired properties will face the
wrath of the law, he said just before he was moved to head the Ministry of
This would be under "Operation Mari Wakaiwanepi? (Where did you get all that
money from?)" yet to be formally launched.
He said some of the people could have amassed their wealth by illegally
dealing in diamonds and other precious stones such as emeralds and gold.
The police have also backed the imminent operation, saying they were only
waiting for the formal launch of the operation, before impounding the
vehicles, whose owners fail to provide satisfactory answers.
Manicaland police spokesperson, Brian Makomeke, confirmed they would soon
launch an all-out campaign to check on the origins of newly-purchased
vehicles from November 2006 to date.
But there will be resistance: the people of Mutare say they will resist such
"We cannot allow that to happen," fumed Rosemary Mutandiro of Sakubva, in
Mutare, who recently bought a Toyota Camry from South Africa, "since it
would be like saying someone has to remain poor. Have they (officials) been
asked about the origins of their wealth?"
She said if there was any action to be taken, then it had to start from the
top, with government officials, who she says have been in the forefront of
siphoning diamonds from Marange.
Rodrick Chishanyi of Zimunya, outside Mutare, says the exercise should be
conducted countrywide and not just in Mutare alone, as some illegal diamond
dealers came from areas as far afield as Gweru, Bulawayo and Shurugwi.
As the clampdown on illegal diamond dealing continues, Zimbabwe's roads have
become a nightmare for motorists, with police road-blocks and check-points
after every 50km along the highways
According to the police, at least 60 000 people have been arrested for
dealing in precious materials, since last October; while about 10 000 were
arrested and tried in Manicaland.
They were arrested under Operation Chikorokoza Chapera.
GOVERNMENT, through the CMED (Private) Limited, is seeking the
DaimlerChrysler franchise to distribute Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Zimbabwe
where Zimoco currently enjoys a virtual monopoly.
CMED is, in turn, Zimoco's largest domestic customer, accounting for about
90 percent of its business.
Herald Business has it on good authority that CMED has made submissions to
the Germany-based vehicle manufacturer spelling out its intentions.
Although details remained sketchy by the time of going to press, Herald
Business can reveal the Government-run institution has started upgrading its
workshop with a view to meeting DaimlerChrysler's strict standards.
CMED managing director Mr Davison Mhaka last Friday confirmed the
developments although he was not at liberty to go into detail.
"Yes, I can confirm that, but you know there are some processes that we have
to go through and it is still premature to say much. You can get more
details from the Ministry (Transport and Communications)," was all he was
prepared to say.
Herald Business, however, understands that CMED is keen to become Zimbabwe's
second DaimlerChrysler franchise holder or alternatively enter into a
partnership with Zimoco.
But observers said it was "unlikely" CMED would succeed in its bid, paving
the way for "a possible partnership with Zimoco".
Zimoco is said to have pledged to assist CMED in upgrading the workshops,
suggesting that it was ready to go into partnership with the parastatal,
wholly owned by Government, than risk the prospect of a rival in its own
"It will be a great threat to Zimoco in the sense that if the deal sails
through, it would have lost its biggest customer," said one source.
CMED currently imports Mercedes-Benz vehicles through Zimoco, reportedly at
much higher prices than direct imports.
According to CMED insiders, the average price for a Mercedes-Benz luxury
vehicle sold by Zimoco was in the region of 55 000 euros or US$78 000. The
same car would cost US$38 000 less if imported directly from Germany.
Transport and Communications Minister Mr Christopher Mushohwe noted the
parastatal would save a fortune if it cut out the middleman and imported
Mercedes-Benz vehicles directly from Germany.
"These are the options that we have, either to have CMED obtaining its own
franchise or getting into partnership with Zimoco," said Mr Mushohwe last
Efforts to get a comment from Zimoco managing director Mr Bob Crossly were
unsuccessful as he was said to be out of the office.
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
NATHAN Shamuyarira announced a few years ago he was writing Robert Gabriel
It's highly unlikely that the man is stuck. Shamuyarira was a great editor
of The African Daily News in the 1950-60s.
He could be hardly lost for words, although allowances have to be made for
his health, which is not at its best these days. Hale and hearty he is not.
His and Lawrence Vambe's editorials for the pioneering daily newspaper were
treasured as great works of literature by many students of English at the
We can be sure that his biography of Mugabe will be a well-polished piece of
writing, although there is no chance of it not containing the sort of
starry-eyed adulation that every student brings to the life story of their
It might be better written than Edgar Tekere's A Lifetime of Struggle, which
is an autobiography, apparently authored largely by Ibbo Mandaza.
This partnership has landed both men in hot soup with Mugabe, who can be
quite acerbic when criticized.
The aftermath of the book's publication has unleashed a season of
tit-for-tat among Zanu PF leaders, with the most serious being Mugabe's
apparently intemperate language during his 83rd birthday interview with the
If anyone excised parts of it because of their explosive content, then it
could not have been anyone at ZBC-TV. It could have to be someone far more
senior, and only with Mugabe's approval.
Joice Mujuru's absence at Mugabe's birthday shindig at Mkoba Stadium in
Gweru ensured that the tit-for-tat season would not end soon.
Mugabe is at the center of it, if only because no historian could ever write
the history of this country or of the struggle without mentioning his role
in great detail.
It is acknowledged that he is something of a Johnny-Come-Lately. By 1975,
most of the groundwork had been laid. Years before, in the 1940s and 1950s,
people such as Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole, George Nyandoro, James
Chikerema and Paul Mushonga - not to mention fringe agitators such as
Charges Mzingeli - had sparked the people's consciousness to their plight
vis a vis the white settlers.
What may confront Shamuyarira as he tries to chronicle, faithfully and
truthfully, what Zimbabwe under Mugabe has turned out to be is how not to do
a Mao Zedong on him.
The founder of the People's Republic of China occupies an unforgettable role
in that struggle. Yet, in the end, posterity has been forced to acknowledge
that his heroism was tragically flawed.
In February 1989, a member of the Central Advisory Commission to the
Communist party wrote in an official Peking newspaper, the Guangming Daily,
that "Mao was a great man who embodied the calamities of the Chinese people,
but in his later years he made big mistakes over a long period, and the
result was a great disaster for the people and the country. He created a
Mugabe spent time in China during the struggle. He has always expressed
admiration for Mao and the Chinese people. Relations with that giant country
today remain very cosy, although it must be recognised that the People's
Republic, on its new path of "enlightened capitalism", is less than content
with its relationship with Zimbabwe.
Already, it would seem, Beijing is beginning to sense how Mugabe may have
fallen into the Mao syndrome: he too may have created a "historical tragedy".
Any faithful chronicle of Zimbabwe's descent to its present abyss of
Nowhere-lessness must begin and end with Mugabe's eccentric manipulation of
events. It must begin with Gukurahundi; the evidence is very porous that
Joshua Nkomo was at the head of a PF-Zapu campaign to overthrow the
government led by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe.
Moreover, there will always be disagreement at the highest level in Zanu PF
over whether the surrender to the excessive demands for compensation of the
Chenjerai Hunzvi faction of the war veterans was not premature or slightly
Also, there cannot be any solid evidence, now or in the foreseeable future,
that all the white commercial farmers had armed themselves to the teeth to
resist forever the equitable redistribution of the land.
There seems to be scant evidence that the process of dialogue over the
subject had been exhausted.
The political element, represented by the emergence of a strong opposition
party, must be examined more seriously as being the crux of the decision to
unleash the bloodthirsty war veterans on the commercial farms.
These three events and how Mugabe handled them must be examined more closely
if we are to understand fully what drove this man to sacrifice so much of
the work of the freedom fighters - without them the liberation would not
have been achieved.
Shamuyarira, by now, has probably reached the point in his Mugabe biography
where it is clarified how what had appeared to be a glorious future for the
country turned into the nightmare that we are embroiled in today.
Many historians will also be searching for clues in the biography as to
which of his colleagues Mugabe considered his inner circle, people in whom
he confided his innermost secrets, his fears and anxieties.
From the outside, Mugabe seems to have no such people close to him. It was
always thought by some that Sally Mugabe may have enjoyed this status.
Tekere, in his book, punched a huge hole in that theory, although Mugabe has
done little to confirm it, evidently out of respect for the woman he must
have loved at one important time of his life.
James Chikerema, a relative of Mugabe and a long-time critic of his
politics, was blunt in his characterization of him as someone of a volatile
temper and an eccentric disposition.
Chikerema and his lifetime political soulmate, George Nyandoro, obviously
had more confidence in Joshua Nkomo than they did in Mugabe.
The three of them came from the same province, Mashonaland West, but
politically the other two were quite adamant that they found Mugagbe
After much controversy, Nyandoro was eventually buried at the Heroes Acre.
Mugabe himself must have known that it was Nyandoro's wish not to be buried
at the acre; he knew too that Chikerema felt the same way. After his death,
he was buried in Zvimba. Mugabe's explanation, long-winded and - to some
people - completely unnecessary, seemed designed to appeal to those
relatives of both men who must have thought he had taken this political
grudge too far.
Shamuyarira's biography will probably reveal, perhaps for the first time
ever, how Mugabe's political life was influenced by his relationships with
In this respect, he may have had something in common with the Great
Helmsman. Mao was not attached to just one woman in his life. The woman
accused of leading The Gang of Four, during his last days, was probably the
fourth wife with whom he had a lasting relationship. He divorced one of them
in rather acrimonious circumstances.
Nothing in his biography casts any light on the relationship between his
politics and his love life.
Most people preoccupied with politics are quite often offhand in their
relationships with women: John F. Kennedy and Marylin Monroe, for instance.
I was amazed to discover that, Pericles, one of the great political leaders
of ancient Greece, eventually married a woman who ran a brothel. She was a
great woman, intelligent and educated, but still a Madame.
In his biography of Mugabe, I hope Shamuyarira can trace for our benefit the
moment at which the president developed a system of government which led us
to the "historical tragedy" which is unfolding today.
What is vital is for Mugabe, Shamuyarira and all the other people who
consider themselves to be the leaders of this country to accept is that our
present predicament was entirely avoidable.
To all his contemporaries, Mao's tragic Cultural Revolution in the 1960s was
ill-advised. People, some of them innocent, were killed, or their
reputations ruined irretrievably. At the bottom of Mao's intention was to
reassert his leadership of the Communist Party.
In truth then what drove The Great Helmsman was to preserve his status as
the Father of the Revolution, at all costs, even if meant committing the
historic tragedy that his successors today are still trying to erase from
China has not been entirely rehabilitated. It still has traces of Mao's
regimentation of a society marching to the same martial music and singing
the same revolutionary songs, probably as sung by the people in the Long
Mugabe is forever lapsing into a history of the struggle, during which his
animation is almost catatonic. It's tragic that he shows none of this
animation when he is talking about how much life ought to be improved for
It may not happen soon, but if the tit-for-tat craze unleashed by Tekere's
book and Mugabe's TV interview does not end in the implosion predicted many
years ago for Zanu PF's eventual disintegration then there yet may be a
chance for Mugabe to avoid the historical tragedy of finally destroying the
potential for success that this country started off with in 1980.
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, February 26 -- When does foreign aid serve to prop up a dictatorship? This question was raised earlier this year at the Executive Board meetings of the UN Development Program, concerning UN aid in North Korea. But the question appears to similarly arise in the wake of an announcements Friday and earlier this month concerning expanded programs in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe by the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF.
Mugabe's long descent from participant in the Zimbabwean independence struggle to dictator is widely known, certainly to the senior leadership of UNICEF. The UN commissioned a report by Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, head of the UN's Nairobi hub, on Mugabe's mass eviction in 2005 of 700,000 perceived political opponents, called Operation Muarambatsvina / Take Out the Trash (or, "Drive Out the Filth"). Virtually none of the families evicted were re-housed, according to follow-up reports.
Earlier this month, Mugabe's government announced a ban on all protests for at least the next three months. Also earlier this month, on February 15, UNICEF and Mugabe's Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare issued a joint press release about a "historic national partnership" in which 21 Mugabe-approved "non-governmental organizations signed agreements with the Zimbabwean Government and UNICEF to advance a National Action Plan." The UNICEF press release included a quote from the Mugabe regime agency's permanent secretary, identified as " Mr. L Museka" --
“Let me say congratulations to the 21 organizations whose proposals were approved,” said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Mr. L Museka. “OVC programming is a collective responsibility, which is achieved when we work with all stakeholders, as displayed today.”
When the Mugabe government controlled newspaper The Herald wrote its story on the partnership with UNICEF, it used the Minister's full first name, Lancaster Museka, and quoted him that "My ministry, with the support from the monitoring and evaluation sub-committee of the Working Party of Officials, is finalizing a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system."
As UNICEF knew or should have known, Mr. Lancaster Museka has previous been involved in shutting down any foreign or independent, not-Mugabe-supporting NGOs, and in justifying the beating of union activists who oppose Robert Mugabe. The Financial Gazette of November 2, 2006, reported that the Mugabe
government has justified its brutal suppression of the planned September 13 protest marches by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) by declaring that the motive of the trade unionists -- who were allegedly tortured while in police custody -- was to unseat President Robert Mugabe through violent demonstrations. In a three-page response to the International Labour Organization, the Secretary for Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare, Lancaster Museka, said the ZCTU leaders had no right to engage in an illegal demonstration. The ILO had sought the government's response to the torture allegations. Museka, however, did not say anything about the torture of the unionists, who included ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo, secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe, first vice president Lucia Matibenga and others. They were all seriously injured when they were arrested as they prepared to lead a march into the streets of Harare to protest against the harsh economic environment and other issues affecting workers...
"A few politically inclined individuals in the ZCTU leadership called for the said demonstration in collaboration with the oppositional political party (MDC) and other quasi-political organizations such as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the National Constitutional Assembly. This demonstration was indeed meant to provide a litmus test to the proclaimed MDC policy of unleashing a "wave of demonstrations" in their bid to unconstitutionally remove the democratically elected Government of Zimbabwe. It is in this respect that the demonstration ceased to be a workers' activity and thus was subject to the laws of the land governing political demonstrations," said Museka.
UNICEF's partner Lancaster Museka is not only the author of this crackdown justification submitted to the UN-affiliated ILO, he is also responsible for shutting down NGOs, leaving only Mugabe supporters for UNICEF to now work with. As reported by the Daily Telegraph of July 19, 2004, under the headline "Zimbabwe charities face being outlawed" --
Zimbabwe's human rights groups and aid organizations are in increasing danger after the government threatened yesterday to use banning orders and arrests to force them to register with the state. The threat appeared in the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper, a week before laws controlling non-governmental organizations are due to be presented by President Robert Mugabe to the last session of parliament before a general election next March. All NGOs have had to be registered since 2002. But the Sunday Mail quoted Lancaster Museka, the permanent secretary in the welfare ministry, as saying: "Any organization found operating without registration will be closed and employees arrested." His statement followed threats from Paul Mangwana, the welfare minister, that there was "too much room for NGOs to engage in politics". The proposed law will make it illegal for hundreds of human rights groups and community organizations to continue to operate.
So not only is this UNICEF "partnership with NGOs" limited to those NGOs which pledge support to Robert Mugabe and / or ZANU-PF -- also, UNICEF's main partner, quoted in UNICEF's own press release, is a Mugabe operative involved in shutting down monitors of human rights, including presumably of children's rights. Rights first?
The comments about NGOs of UNICEF's partner Lancester Museka were not idle threats. As reported by the expatriate Zimbabwe Independent of December 3, 2004 --
"A Swiss charity, Medair, on Tuesday said it was pulling out of the country after government refused to renew work permits for its expatriate staff. Medair communications officer Severine Flores told the Zimbabwe Independent: "We were a WFP implementing partner. We are disappointed at having to leave Zimbabwe at such a critical time. Medair provided up to 90,000 children in 150 schools with at least one daily meal. Very often it was the only meal they would get that day." Medair was banned from distributing World Food Program (WFP)-supplied food aid in August. The non-governmental organization (NGO) had applied for the renewal of work permits for its expatriate staff, but the applications were refused. Flores said they had received no explanation from the authorities. "We were just not desired to be there, regrettably," she said. It was not possible to obtain comment from the Ministry of Social Welfare, as the permanent secretary, Lancaster Museka, had not responded to written questions he requested from the Independent.
Mr. Museka is not the only one not answering questions. On February 23, UNICEF and the German government announced a new $27 million program to assist orphans in Zimbabwe. Inner City Press that day approached Germany's permanent representative to the UN and asked about the press release and grant. "I haven't read the press release yet," he answered. A staffer from the German mission later called Inner City Press, but has not provided any substantive answer yet, 60 hours after the German Ambassador was asked.
Inner City Press had in January asked UNICEF to describe its programs in Zimbabwe and five other dictatorial countries. Last week, a month after the questions were posed, a one-page description of Zimbabwe programs was provided, including, as is pertinent here:
UNICEF employs 67 staff in Zimbabwe, comprised of 54 national and 13 international staff... UNICEF is the lead agency in Zimbabwe's response to an orphan crisis, reaching 100,000 OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) in 2006. In order to scale up the response for OVC and implement the National Action Plan (NAP) for OVC, a Programme of Support (PoS) for the NAP for OVC was developed. This PoS establishes a mechanism for donors to finance OVC interventions, with UNICEF serving as the manager for pooled donor funds and CSOs as the implementing partners. The PoS is based on a pooled fund mechanism, where donors contribute to a common basket where funds are directed straight to NGOs, in support of the NAP for OVC.
Questions emailed on Friday to UNICEF's contact on the press release were returned on Monday, with a request to wait another 10 days for comments. Here were the questions:
Subj: Q from reporter at UNHQ re Zimbabwe, German gov't contribution, Mugabe gov't, thanks
To: jelder [at] unicef.org
Mr. Elder --
...Interested in your press release about the German government's contribution to assist UNICEF's work with orphans in Zimbabwe. That the work, and the contribution, are laudable goes without saying. But I wonder if you could comment on what steps UNICEF takes to ensure that its work does not prop up or help maintain the Robert Mugabe government, particularly at this time. What is behind the timing of this particular contribution? Also, any detail on the pooled fund mechanism, and the NGOs funded by it (and these NGOs, or some of these NGOs, relations with and/or opinion on the Mugabe government). How could you characterize relations between the Mugabe government and UNICEF in Zimbabwe? Is UNICEF concerned about the human rights and now ban-on-protest issues, and if so, does that concern lead to any actions? Any response you can send will be appreciated, as you're the contact listed on the press release.
This was responded to 60 hours later, on January 26, with a request to wait an additional 10 days for responses. (The reason given is also laudable -- Mozambique -- but still, an agency's contact on a press release ought to be able to bring about a response to a release-triggered question in less than 60 hours, it would seem.) Inner City Press will run the responses when received. Certainly there are always balancing acts and trade-offs to be made. But they should not be swept under the carpet, they should be discussed, debated, explained. Developing.
Feedback: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 02/26/2007 23:21:10
THE head of the Zimbabwean chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) has quit over links with the intelligence services.
Thomas Deve resigned last week from the media watchdog after learning the
organisation's board of trustees had decided to suspend him over a New
Zimbabwe.com story linking him to the Central Intelligence Organisation
In his letter addressed to the chairperson of the board of trustees, Tim
Nyahunzvi, dated February 10, Deve offered to resign.
Deve wrote: "I acknowledge that we discussed the two sets of allegations
over lunch on Tuesday, 6 February and gave you my reaction. I offer to
resign. My personal matters should not be allowed to stall progress for
MISA, an organisation that I cherish so much.
"I do not doubt that you are acting in the best interest of the organisation
and that my resignation from NGC (National Governing Council) will go a long
way in allowing everyone to focus on what MISA stands for."
Nyahunzvi confirmed Deve had resigned, having admitted he was a close friend
of President Robert Mugabe's press secretary, George Charamba.
Nyahunzvi confirmed that our story, revealing how Deve and Charamba had been
recruited by the CIO while at the University of Zimbabwe, and how they
remained close to this day, had prompted the board to suspend him.
"As a board we wrote a letter to him, giving him an opportunity to respond
to those allegations. His response then came last week when he offered to
resign," Nyahunzvi said.
However, a statement issued last week by Loughty Dube, MISA's deputy
chairman, has no mention of the complaints raised in Deve's resignation
Dube said adding Deve was resigning due to his work commitments.
"Thomas Deve," Dube said in a three-paragraph statement, "is heavily
involved in the World Social Forum activities, regionally and
internationally and had to spend a month in Kenya, in January 2007, on
"Thomas says he remains a committed member of Misa-Zimbabwe and will be
available for duty in the near future. Thomas is one of the longest serving
members of the Misa-Zimbabwe National Governing Council, having served in
the capacity of Treasurer and his current term would have been his second
and last as Misa-Zimbabwe chairperson. He is one of the few remaining senior
journalists in Zimbabwe having worked for SAPES, the Zimbabwe Mirror as well
as the banned Daily News before moving into the NGO sector.
"On behalf of the Misa-Zimbabwe Trustees, members, National Governing
Council and Secretariat, I extend my gratitude to Thomas for his leadership
of Misa-Zimbabwe in the past three years and wish him well in his future
Additional reporting by Standard
By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Last updated: 02/26/2007 22:53:03
AS PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe celebrated his 11th birthday (as he described it
i.e. 8 plus 3), the state of the nation ought to have been in his mind and
there can be no better concern for any head of state than the economic,
political and social challenges that confront the country.
I read the article, "RBZ pacifies restive judges", published by the Zimbabwe
Independent on 23 February 2007 with great interest not only because it
comes on the back of a commitment by the RBZ Governor, Dr. Gideon Gono, that
the RBZ had stopped quasi-fiscal operations, but because the implications of
the RBZ donating assets to the judiciary circumventing the budgetary process
in resource allocation poses a threat to the quality and independence of the
It was reported that the donation by the RBZ was in the form of 30 vehicles,
30 laptops, and 30 desktop computers that included Toyota IMV trucks. This
came on the back of the complaint by Judge President Rita Makarau last month
about the lack of resources available to the judiciary and the implicit
threat that if there is no intervention, Zimbabwe should not expect an
Instead of the government responding by frame-working the resource
requirements of the judiciary in conjunction with other sectors, the RBZ
responds with real resources without any disclosure on the source of the
funds. If Judge Makarau's prayer is answered in a month, how should other
equally deserving departments of government access resources? Is the Makarau
formula, a harbinger to how the government should be responding to the needs
of the governed? What is so special about the judiciary that the RBZ would
come to the rescue?
This led me to locate the role of the judiciary in the post-Mugabe era.
Could it be that a compromised judiciary may be handy to any political
aspirant who may have something to hide?
What is interesting about the story is the denial by the Minister of
Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs that the donation was in response to
Justice Makarau's complaints about poor conditions for judges. This is what
the Minister is reported to have said: "Yes we got the cars and the
computers which we will be distributing to the judges soon. In fact, some of
them already have their cars. There is nothing sinister about the donation
from the central bank because those are state funds they are using."
It is not clear from the Minister's statement under what construction would
the use of state funds outside the budgetary process be classified as a
donation? Who is donating to whom and for what benefit?
Minister Chinamasa then proceeded to say that his ministry was planning to
train the judges in the use of the computers. There are about 45 judges in
A number of troubling questions emerge from the conduct of the RBZ and the
contradictions raised by the Minister's response. If the computers are part
of the capital expenditure program of the Ministry, then it is not clear why
would the funds be treated as a donation? Who procured the computers? Were
state procurement guidelines used in the procurement process? Who supplied
the computers? What is government policy on donations of hardware by
quasi-state actors? Who approved the donation at the RBZ? What was the role
of the Ministry in the donation arrangement?
It was also reported that the issue of equity emerged when labour court
judges also demanded that they benefit from the donated vehicles. In other
words, they were legitimately questioning why if state resources were used;
only a select few were targeted as beneficiaries. Having been a victim of
Makarau's judgment in a matter in which my company sued the Minister of
Justice, it occurred to me cynically that I should not have expected any
justice when the Judge President is a beneficiary of an opaque governance
and resource allocation scheme.
I could not help but wonder whether the speech by Makarau was orchestrated
to generate the kind of response that we now see where no-one can accuse the
RBZ of interfering in the resource allocation process through quasi-fiscal
activities, when it is now common cause that to get justice in Zimbabwe, you
need to placate the judiciary. It confirms that where things fall apart, it
pays to threaten the executive.
While the RBZ Governor has made the stand on devaluation that there will not
be any devaluation unless there is a social contract to provide a framework
for managing the hyperinflationary environment, it is surprising that he
could not tell Makarau that they also should wait until the political and
economic crisis is resolved through a social contract before the so-called
donation can be made.
I can only pity those that may appear before any of the beneficiaries of the
computers and cars in a case involving the Governor of the RBZ and the
Minister of Justice. Can you really expect that these judges will forget
where their car keys came from? Equally, can you expect the Makarau gang to
join the regime change chorus? It is true that justice purchased is an
enduring threat and cancer to any Republic established on the doctrine of
the separation of the three pillars of the state. I shudder to think what
would happen if citizens were to match the donations to the judiciary that
we now see coming from the government through the RBZ.
I think that the actions of the RBZ on the financing of the judiciary should
open a window for Zimbabweans to debate on what kind of Republic they should
have. Yes, 27 years after independence, we find that the President through
his cabinet is failing to manage the state to the extent that donations
become a substitute for a budget. Where is the Minister of Finance? Where is
the CEO of Zimbabwe? Who should be culpable for the state of affairs? In the
words of our founding fathers, may be donations are necessary to fight the
diabolical policies of Blair!
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New Zimbabwe.com every Monday. You
can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org