by Clara Smith Thursday 04 February 2010
HARARE - Chaotic scenes erupted in Zimbabwe's Parliament yesterday forcing
the House to adjourn prematurely after a legislator proposed a motion to
urge Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to call on Western nations to lift
sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his top allies
Legislators from Tsvangirai's MDC party rose in protest, banged on benches,
booed and jeered after a legislator from Mugabe's ZANU PF party moved to
introduce the motion calling Tsvangirai and his party to campaign for the
lifting of the visa and financial sanctions.
Not to be outdone, ZANU PF MPs shouted back at their MDC counterparts,
jeering and calling on their coalition partners to accept responsibility for
the punitive measures imposed on Mugabe and 200 senior members of his party
by the European Union (EU) and the United States (US).
MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said the notice of motion was against the
spirit of the power-sharing agreement but his ZANU PF counterpart Joram
Gumbo insisted that they would force a debate on the motion when Parliament
The furore started when MP Kudakwashe Basikiti rose and read a motion:
"Calling upon the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to engage the
EU, UN and the United States and United Kingdom governments to urgently and
unconditionally remove illegal sanctions that were imposed on the people and
government of Zimbabwe which they called for as confessed by British MP,
The shouting and jeering continued for about 30 minutes, with MPs resisting
efforts by the Sergeant at Arms and Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo to
force them out of the House.
MDC MPs chanted anti-ZANU PF slogans, and sang: "ZANU yaora baba (ZANU is
rotten)". ZANU PF MPs responded by hurling abuse at the MDC MPs.
Unable to control the commotion, Khumalo, who was chairing in the absence of
Speaker Lovemore Moyo, prematurely adjourned the House to today.
Gumbo later said in an interview that ZANU PF would not backtrack on the
motion, promising "vigorous" resistance to any efforts to stop the motion.
"As far as we are concerned the notice was tabled and debate will follow. We
are not going to abandon it at the whims of the MDC. Tomorrow we expect to
raise the matter again and there will be fireworks if the MDC attempts to
stop us," he said.
Gonese said the motion was provocative. "It is against the letter and spirit
of the global political agreement. Remember I had to shelve my own motion on
the June 2008 on violence after ZANU PF engaged us. We kept the motion in
abeyance until the First Session ended. We don't expect them to behave as if
they own this country."
Last week, following disclosure by British foreign secretary David Miliband
that London would lift the travel and financial sanctions on Mugabe and his
associates on guidance from the MDC, ZANU PF said it would not make further
concessions in ongoing power-sharing talks with the MDC until Western
nations lift the sanctions.
The talks to resolve outstanding issues between ZANU PF and the MDC have
dragged on since the former foes agreed to join hands last February in a
coalition government that has been credited with stabilising the country's
economy to improve the lives of Zimbabweans.
South African president and the region's appointed mediator in Zimbabwe
Jacob Zuma is expected to step into the fray should the Harare parties
formally declare a deadlock in the talks. - ZimOnline
by Special Correspondent Thursday 04 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister (PM) Morgan
Tsvangirai are locked up in a fresh power struggle after the former
instructed government ministers to report to his two vice-presidents
by-passing the Premier - a clear breach of the former foes' power-sharing
The global political agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the Harare coalition
government splits powers between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The GPA - itself a source of incessant squabbling between the two rivals
over its implementation - specifically charges Tsvangirai with overseeing
formulation and implementation of government policies and requires ministers
to "report to the Prime Minister on all issues relating to the
implementation of such policies and plans".
But Mugabe's chief secretary Misheck Sibanda in a circular to Cabinet
ministers and their permanent secretaries said Vice President Joice Mujuru
and John Nkomo - all from Mugabe's ZANU PF party - will assist the veteran
leader to run the government.
The January 25 Circular No. 2/2010 reads: "I am directed to inform you that
in the inclusive government, Honourable Vice Presidents will continue to
assist His Excellency, the President in the general supervision and
management of the administration of government business just as the
Honourable Prime Minister is assisted by deputy prime ministers."
Sibanda's circular does not spell out whether ministers are expected to
continue reporting to Tsvangirai and if so, who takes precedence over the
other, the PM - who is also deputy chairman of Cabinet - or the two
But a closer reading of the document shows it is a well-calculated move to
isolate the PM's office, leaving Tsvangirai - with all his powers given him
by the Constitution and the GPA intact - but no one to supervise and no
means to execute decisions.
Permanent secretaries are the chief executives of government ministries and
having them report directly to Vice-Presidents leaving out Tsvangirai
effectively renders the PM a lame duck unable to influence and direct
formulation of government policies or their execution.
Sibanda's circular says Mujuru supervises all social and agricultural
ministries, in addition to overseeing the implementation of programmes to
enhance productivity in the agricultural sector; implementation of the
indigenisation and empowerment programmes including women empowerment in
gender equity programmes.
Mujuru will also supervise Zimbabwe's strategic public utilities and
continue to chair the Cabinet committees on honours and awards, state
occasions and national monuments and parastatals.
According to Sibanda, Nkomo will oversee ministries in charge of the
economy, finance, mines, industry, energy, international cooperation,
tourism and natural resources management.
Nkomo will also chair the Cabinet committee of rural development as well as
supervise bilateral and investments promotion agreements, land reform, local
government, sport and recreation programmes.
If Sibanda's circular is followed to the letter, Tsvangirai would virtually
become a 'titular Prime Minister' whose presence in or absence from the
government will be of no consequence.
But the PM's office immediately rejected the attempt to emasculate
Tsvangirai with the former opposition leader's chief secretary Ian Makone
accusing Sibanda in a memo of attempting to engineer a usurpation of the
powers of the Prime Minister.
In a letter dated January 29, Makone reminds Sibanda of the powers and
duties of the PM prescribed under the Constitution and in the GPA. Makone,
who copied his response to Sibanda to all ministers and permanent
secretaries, said Tsvangirai and his two deputies will share supervision of
all government ministries.
Makone wrote: "The deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara supervises the
infrastructure and security cluster while deputy prime minister Thokozani
Khupe, supervises the social and rights cluster. The Prime Minister
supervises the economic cluster.
"To avoid further confusion, I have been directed to circulate this letter
to all ministries and heads of ministries as a corrective measure to clarify
any misconceptions that may have been created. Members of the Council of
Ministers are requested to take note accordingly."
There were indications last night that ministers from Tsvangirai's MDC party
will ignore Sibanda's circular, with the PM's office understood to be now
saying it is not aware of the circular by Mugabe's secretary.
However ignoring Sibanda's circular might turn out to be only a political
gesture that will have little real impact on the ground because permanent
secretaries - who run government departments - were appointed by Mugabe and
are most likely to abide by instructions from the President's office.
It remains to be seen how the latest wrangle in Zimbabwe's troubled
coalition government will play out.
The government that completes a year in office this month is also mired in
dispute over a host of outstanding issues from the GPA, chief among them
Mugabe's refusal to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his top
allies to head the attorney general's office and the central bank.
Mugabe has also refused to appoint members of the former opposition MDC
formations as provincial governor and to swear in Tsvangirai all Roy Bennett
as deputy agriculture minister.
On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies.
Zimbabwe's unity government has been able to stabilise the economy, end
hyperinflation and shortages of basic commodities.
But analysts fear unending bickering between the parties and the
administration's failure win significant financial support from Western
countries could in the long run render the coalition ineffective or, in the
worst case scenario, cause its collapse. - ZimOnline
A FURIOUS Johannes Tomana accused the defence of "caricaturing him and
demeaning his office" as tempers flared in the ongoing treason trial of
MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett.
The exchange of harsh words between the attorney general and Bennett's
lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa followed a ruling by presiding judge, Justice
Chinembiri Bhunu that emails allegedly exchanged by Bennett and key state
witness Peter Hitschmann could be used as evidence in the trial.
After the ruling Mtetwa then produced made-up emails in Tomana's name while
cross-examining Hitschmann apparently to demonstrate that it was possible to
create an email in anyone's name and send messages posing as that person.
But this proved a step too far for the attorney general.
"If those documents are being produced to attack the person of the AG, they
should be excluded. They are being used for the purposes of embarrassing my
officers and me.
"This is not my trial, neither am I a witness in this case. From the
beginning the defence has been trying to drag the person of the AG into the
case. There is no need to caricature the person of the AG. That is an
impermissible manner of proceeding with such a serious case.
"On record, I have complained about the intemperate language used by the
defence. By now, it is quite clear that the circumstances under which the AG
has been forced to carry this State burden lacks insulation provided for
under the powers of the AG," Tomana said.
Still, Mtetwa would not be cowed.
"The problem with counsel for the State is that when he enters this
courtroom he considers himself the AG and not just a representative of the
"Even if you are a professor, doctor or whatever, when you are in court you
get the same treatment as others. Mr Tomana is at par with me when he is in
court and he does not get preferential treatment from the court because he
"You cannot stop the accused person from demonstrating the fakeness of the
documents. How do you expect him to prove his case?" she hit back.
Bennett faces charges of possessing dangerous weapons and inciting
Hitschmann to commit acts of insurgency, an offence that can attracted the
death penalty if convicted.
The trial continues on Monday when Justice Bhunu is expected to rule on the
admissibility of the defence e-mails.
By NOZIPHO MASEKO
Published on: 3rd February, 2010
HARARE – In a clear sign of a total disregard for Zimbabwean law, Attorney
General Johannes Tomana has said prosecutors are free to oppose bail and
even over rule magistrates as long as they are acting according to ‘law’.
He said there were instances when prosecutors had invoked section 121 of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act in circumstances they felt a magistrate
might have misdirected himself in granting a suspect bail.
The section allows a person to be remanded in custody even if bail has been
Tomana said this while giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the state
of justice delivery in the country.
The committee chaired by Masvingo Urban House of Assembly representative Mr
Tongai Matutu (MDC) also received evidence from chief magistrate Mrs Hlekani
Mr Matutu asked whether prosecutors were maliciously invoking the section or
were trying to cover up their failure to convince presiding magistrates to
rule in favour of the State.
“We have a general position or directive that we must be stringent on
serious cases because we fear that accused persons might commit other
offences when granted bail. “I told prosecutors to make independent
decisions based on facts and on the law. “I can not rule out malice,
corruption; the officers are human beings so it is not an issue we can give
one answer to. A lot of things feed into that,” said Tomana.
Asked by Chitungwiza South legislator Mr Misheck Shoko (MDC) to comment on
the relationship between his office and that of the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
Mr Tomana described it as polarized and should be improved.
“The relationship should be complimentary, it should be cordial . . . embers
of the LSZ are not in agreement with the manner they perceive the AG is
running the office and it doesn’t help the beneficiaries of justice
“There is polarisation. We spend most of our time arguing over issues that
are not relevant, there is need to inquire on what is really happening.”
Commenting on what became of the Attorney-General Bill that sought to make
the office autonomous, Mr Tomana said he sought to resuscitate it but
nothing positive had come out of his efforts.
He said the bill was withdrawn from Parliament before debate over
disagreements on who should report to the other between the AG and the
“I joined office when the bill was already there. I tried to resuscitate it
but everything was going on well until it was felt that it should be held
after the constitution-making process and I don’t see the rational for
that,” he said.
He denied reports that some judicial officers were getting undue pressure to
hand down judgements favourable to the State or risk losing land they got
under agrarian reforms.
“The answer is not to give them security of tenure because that would apply
to everyone who got land. If a judge risks losing land that is wrong
“There are many cases whose judgment has been against the executive, but
nothing has been done to the magistrate. I have not heard about that,” said
Mr Tomana also said there was need to improve conditions of service for
people working in the justice delivery system so as to short-circuit
Chief magistrate Mrs Mwayera said some magistrates were tenants of people
who would eventually appear before them as accused persons and could
compromise justice administration.
Mrs Mwayera said there was need to operationalise the Judicial Services Act
that places magistrates under the Judicial Services Commission.
“The independence of the judiciary would be enhanced by the removal of
magistrates from the Judicial Service Commission. The empty promise to
remove them from the civil service has not helped.
“The ministry has lost many experienced and qualified personnel owing to
unattractive conditions of service.”
The ministry retained a percentage of money paid in fines but could only
cover some administrative expenses.
by Clara Smith Thursday 04 February 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's farm workers' union will this month ask the SADC
Tribunal to order Harare to stop rights abuses against farm labourers who
the union says have borne the brunt of a violent drive by supporters of
President Robert Mugabe to seize the few remaining white-owned farms.
Impeccable sources told ZimOnline that the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) took the decision to approach
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal after repeated
attempts to persuade the Harare coalition government to protect farm workers
"A position (to approach the SADC Tribunal) has been taken, and what is
remaining is for our lawyers to finalise the legal aspects of the
application," said a union official, who spoke on condition she was not
GAPWUZ information officer Tapiwa Zivira declined to take questions on the
matter saying: "I have no authority at the moment to confirm any such
Both Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa - hardliner allies of Mugabe who have backed farm invasions
before - were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
But Chinamasa has previously said Zimbabwe is not bound by Tribunal
judgments because it no longer recognises the regional court, a position
shot down last week by High Court Bharat Patel.
Patel, who was hearing an application by a group of white farmers to have
last year's ruling by the Namibia-based Tribunal outlawing Mugabe's
controversial land reforms registered and enforced in Zimbabwe, said Harare
was bound by the judgments of the regional court.
But the judge declined registering the Tribunal order saying its enforcement
would be against public policy in Zimbabwe. The white farmers have said they
will appeal against Patel's ruling at the Supreme Court.
Tribunal judgments must be registered with the High Court to be enforced in
GAPWUZ says farm workers have suffered the worst from Mugabe's chaotic and
bloody land reforms which saw more than 90 percent of Zimbabwe's white
farmers driven off the land and their properties parceled out to blacks.
A report released by the union last November chronicled cases of gross
rights violations including torture and murder committed against farm
labourers by mobs of war veterans and supporters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
The report said a new wave farm disturbances that began almost immediately
after formation the formation last February of a unity government by Mugabe
and former opposition leader now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had by
last November rendered over 4 000 farm workers jobless and homeless.
The majority of workers on white commercial farms are originally from
Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and have nowhere else to go once evicted from
the farms that are their home and place of work.
Zivira described the situation of former workers displaced from commercial
farms as dire. "They are risking disease, hunger and death everyday and the
more we delay in getting them assistance the more grave their situation
becomes," he said.
The decade-long farm invasions which Mugabe says were necessary to ensure
blacks also had access to arable land that they were denied by previous
white-led governments have been blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food
Once a net food exporter Zimbabwe has avoided mass starvation over the past
decade only because international relief agencies were quick to chip in with
food handouts. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Thursday 04 February 2010
HARARE- Zimbabwe has begun a crop assessment exercise to gauge food
requirements, amid reports that the country might have to write off some of
the maize crop after a prolonged dry period.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the food assessment exercise was being
carried out in conjunction with the United Nations' Food and Agricultural
"We have begun the crop assessment programme," said Made, adding, "In some
areas, the crop is now a right off because there were no rains."
The assessment due to be completed in about two weeks time will establish
the potential food deficit and help the government and relief agencies
determine how much food aid is required.
Made said his department informed the Ministry of Finance about four months
ago to import maize to build a strategic reserve of 500 000 tonnes of the
staple grain as a precaution but the advice had not been heeded.
He said: "In October last year, the permanent secretary (of agriculture)
wrote to the permanent secretary of Ministry of Finance to make provisions
for 500.000 metric tonnes of maize for strategic reserves but they never
Biti was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Although the country has recorded some rainfall over the past week, the
rains have come too late with crops in several parts of the country said to
be under severe stress and wilting.
Zimbabwe has faced food shortages for the past decade which critics chiefly
blame on President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often bloody farm
The land reforms, which Mugabe says were necessary to correct a colonial
land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and banished
blacks to poor soils, saw white commercial farmers expelled and their farms
parceled out to black villagers who lack financial resources and skills to
maintain production. - ZimOnline.
Plainclothes police and university security guards detained Zinasu President
Joshua Chinyere, Secretary General Grant Tabvurei, Treasurer Zivanai
Muzorodzi and Education Secretary Artwell Chidy
Gibbs Dube | Washington 03 February 2010
Police in Harare, Zimbabwe, arrested 10 university students on Wednesday
including four officers of the Zimbabwe National Students Union or Zinasu as
they conducted a meeting with students on the campus of the University of
Zimbabwe regarding tuition fees and accommodation problems.
Plainclothes police and university security guards detained Zinasu President
Joshua Chinyere, Secretary General Grant Tabvurei, Treasurer Zivanai
Muzorodzi and Education Secretary Artwell Chidya, sources said.
Zinasu spokesman Wisdom Mugagara said six other students were arrested and
beaten up by the security guards and police before being locked up at the
police station in the Avondale section of the Zimbabwean capital.
Mugagara said the union had sought assistance from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights in obtaining the release of the students.
Meanwhile, a rival Zinasu faction has elected a new leadership led by
President Tafadzwa Mugwadi of the University of Zimbabwe and Secretary
General Kurai Hove. The Mugwadi-led Zinasu faction opposes the
parliamentary-led constitutional revision process, the Chinyere faction
04 February, 2010
FRANCISTOWN - The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism has called
for the release of its officers, who were arrested by Zimbabwean police two
Speaking in an interview, the deputy permanent secretary responsible for
natural resources in the ministry, Mr Edmond Moabi said the arrest was
He said Zimbabwe should consider that the officers strayed their way into
their country as the demarcation border line dividing the two countries was
Mr Moabi said Zimbabwe should pardon the officers bacause they committed a
genuine mistake and they did not intend to harm anybody, adding that game
scouts usually patrolled along the border line.
He said his ministry was in constant touch with the Department of Wildlife
and National Parks (DNWP) regional coordinator in Kasane who visits the
officers and also accompanies them to court appearances.
On their state of well being, he said the regional coordinator told them
that the officers had expected that they would be released Monday after
appearing in court but due unavailability of witnesses, the case continued
to Tuesday hence more disappointment.
He also said upon their release they would assess the officers and see if
they could need any kind of help, especially counselling.
On when will they be released, the deputy permanent secretary said it
depended on the law and the availability of witness to speed up the case;
therefore he could not say when they will return home.
The three male officers based in Kasane and aged between 27 and 34 years
were arrested after crossing illegally into Zimbabwe while tracking down
lions which had killed two cows in Lesoma.
They have been in prison in Victoria Falls since January 19 and their case
was scheduled to continue on Tuesday.
He said Zimbabwean police also confiscated a government vehicle and two
firearms the officers had with them.
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
A woman from Zimbabwe living in Belfast has been left stateless after losing
a judicial review against a decision to confiscate her British passport.
Beatrice Alstrid Burnett took the case after her passport was confiscated by
immigration officers at Belfast International Airport in August 2008.
Checks revealed she had obtained the passport with a fake birth certificate.
She had given up her Zimbabwean citizenship the month before her passport
Burnett, who must leave the UK, was employed by Belfast City Council through
a recruitment agency.
She claimed to be entitled to the passport because her father had been a
However, she later admitted that she had got the passport using a false
Burnett made an application for the passport to the British High Commission
in Pretoria, South Africa, in March 2008.
In her application, she used the false birth certificate to back up her
claim that she was the daughter of a retired dentist who had been born in
Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Burnett, who had been living in Belfast since December 2007, was stopped by
an immigration official at the airport after returning to Belfast, via
Paris, after visiting her fiance in the United States.
She had given up her Zimbabwean citizenship the month before her British
passport was confiscated and has subsequently been left without a state.
A barrister acting on Burnett's behalf had argued that she was entitled to
the passport because she had not known her birth certificate was false and
had obtained it in good faith.
She said her client only found out from her family that the British-born
dentist was not her father at a later date.
However, last month, the Court of Appeal in Belfast dismissed this on the
basis that she was never entitled to the document in the first place.
Passing judgement, Lord Justice Girvan suggested the woman should apply to
the Zimbabwean authorities for assistance in getting her citizenship back.
By Gerald Chateta
Published: February 4, 2010
Harare - Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation senior management has bought
itself top of the range vehicles at a time its employees are complaining of
receiving reduced salaries, with the company having also failed to air
programs on its proposed and much publicized second television channel TV2.
The management announced the development at a weekend long outing of senior
managers and board members in Nyanga last weekend.
ZBC‘s top four managers,Happison Muchechetere(CEO),Tarzan
Mandizvidza(General Manager News and Current Affairs), Allan Chiweshe(GM
programming) and Retired Brigadier Elliot Kasu(GM Finance and
Administration) bought themselves a Mercedes Benz S350,and three Toyota V8.
The vehicles are parked at the company headquarters Pockets hill in Harare
waiting for an official commissioning.
One board member who requested anonymity said the management was on a
He accused the company’s senior management of bribing the board members by
hiring expensive Mercedes Benz vehicles to the meeting venue for them to
endorse the purchasing of the four expensive vehicles.
“We thought the meeting was going to address workers and production issues
which are currently not good looking, but these issues were not on the
agenda and only came as other arising issues as the issues of management’s
benefits and allowances took centre stage.
“We thought we were going to map the way forward for the proposed television
station,” said the board member.
Workers at the state broadcaster said their salaries for last month were
reduced for unspecified reasons.
“We were expecting a salary increase last month but instead we received
reduced payments. The management is short changing us,” said some workers.
On the Christmas Eve ZBC Chief Executive went on a talk show on SFM and
announced that TV 2 was going to be on air on Christmas day. He went on to
state that it would be on a digital platform.
Highly placed sources at the broadcasting station’s Pockets hill studios
said there were no programs to be aired on the ZTV 2 owing to resource
The Broadcasting station is failing to produce quality programs on the one
television station which is operating, forcing viewers to resort to
satellite televisions, mainly SABC and BTV.
ZIMBABWE Cricket has named former rebels Andy Blignaut, Doug Marillier and
Sean Ervine in its provisional squad for the West Indies tour later this
The three were part of the 13 white players who rebelled against what they
claimed was intimidation and racial bias in selection before they were
booted out between 2004 and 2005.
It had previously been reported that Blignaut, 31, who last played
international cricket in 2005, was trying to make a comeback.
He had been in discussions with the Matabeleland Tuskers franchise and has
been seen in the nets at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
Marillier has been concentrate on his family's real estate business since
leaving the game while Ervine forged a successful career with Hampshire
scoring three hundreds in last season's English county championship.
Ervine is said to have been signed to play domestic cricket for the Southern
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is pencilled to leave for the Caribbean on February 23
to play five ODIs against the West Indies starting on February 28 in
The call up of the three players is meant to strengthen Zimbabwe's team as
they prepare for a return to Test cricket which the country has not played
since a voluntary withdrawal in 2006.
Former skipper Heath Streak is the bowling coach, Dave Houghton is also part
of the coaching team while another former skipper Alistair Campbell is
chairman of the influential cricket committee and also chairs of the
Elton Chigumbura, Sean Ervine, Doug Marillier, Goodwin, Greg Lamb, Sean
Williams, Forster Mutizwa, Trevor Garwe, Raymond Price, Chatara, Tawanda
Mupariwa, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Brendan Taylor, Nyumbu, Vusi Sibanda,
Dion Ebrahim, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Taurai Muzarabani, Greg
Strydom, Garvin Ewing, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu,
Edward Rainsford, Chamu Chibhabha, Prosper Utseya.
The Corrupt Role of NGOs, Donors and Civil Society in the Zimbabwean Crisis (Trading The Soul of The Change Movement for Pieces of Silver)
The Franklin Pierce Law Center in its IP Mall: Traditional Knowledge publications define Civil Society as follows:
"Civil society refers to the arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values.
In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between state, civil society, family and market are often complex, blurred and negotiated.
Civil society commonly embraces a diversity of spaces, actors and institutional forms, varying in their degree of formality, autonomy and power.
Civil societies are often populated by organisations such as registered charities, development non-governmental organisations, community groups, women's organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations, trades unions, self-help groups, social movements, business associations, coalitions and advocacy group."
The same publications also define the concept of a non-governmental
organisation as follows:
"A non-profit making, voluntary, service-oriented/development oriented organization, either for the benefit of members (a grassroots organization) or of other members of the population (an agency). (World Bank).
A non-profit group or association organized outside of institutionalized political structures to realize particular social objectives (such as environmental protection) or serve particular constituencies (such as indigenous peoples).
NGO activities range from research, information distribution, training, local organization, and community service to legal advocacy, lobbying for legislative change, and civil disobedience.
NGO's range in size from small groups within a particular community to huge
membership groups with a national or international scope. [UNEP]"
It is important to define what exactly is civil society and what is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) is so that the following analysis of the interaction between the political organisations in Zimbabwe and these formations can be truly unraveled.
It is important to note also that the MDC is a political formation which now finds itself in government and with the real possibility of being the governing party in the not too distant future, if their own predictions are to be believed.
Zimbabwe is a nation has just (30 years) come out of one of the most protracted wars of independence the earth has ever seen. I use the word just very deliberately as it is now some 70 years after the holocaust and the Jewish people are still tracking down and punishing their oppressors something that black Africans have long been discouraged by various forms of persuasion including corrupt payments to existing and emerging African leadership. Estimates vary from 30000 to 50000 people who died during the liberation struggle.
The population of Zimbabwe holds its sovereignty so dearly, close to its heart, that it is disheartening that a Robert Mugabe or a Tsvangirai uses national sovereignty as a political football. The donor community has used civil society and NGOs in Zimbabwe for a variety of purposes all of which serve interests other than those of Zimbabweans.
The operative words in the definitions of civil society and NGOs are voluntary, service-oriented, development, shared interest and values, and most importantly non-profit. These organisations can take the form of grassroot organisations with members being the focus of value migration from donors to the intended beneficiaries (the ordinary citizens).
OBJECTIVES OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND NGOs in ZIMBABWE
The strategic objectives of civil society and NGOs in and effort to transmit value to the down-trodden population of Zimbabwe should embrace advocacy for constitutional reform and organizing peaceful resistance to repression and other forms of restriction of individual and societal liberties. The quest for a new people driven constitution in Zimbabwe is central to this objective. The freedom to choose a leadership that is responsive to the people's needs should be a fundamental objective of civil society and NGO backed revolutionary crusade.
The crafting of a national vision and values system coupled to people driven transformational agenda should be the focus of not only the change movement by of all donors, civil society and NGOs. The rule of law is not achieved whilst in government but it is also demonstrated during the period of the struggle for people's power. Therefore it is common cause that civil society should demand of its components total transparency and accountability both in actions and in the distribution of resources. Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe have failed the people of Zimbabwe mainly because there were no democratic structures to hold them accountable to the people of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean parliament has always been a rubber stamp for Zanu PF and its president, there was never any debate apart from eulogising Mugabe as the second Christ. The objective therefore should be to foster a culture of constructive dissent. There should be a culture of transparency in the lead up to the inevitable change from the Mugabe regime. Civil society and NGOs should demand of those who seek to rule Zimbabwe in the near future to embrace the culture of accountability and transparency.
In the light of the above discussion an attempt will now be made to highlight some of the failures of civil society and NGOs and why they should now be discouraged to further undermine the struggle of the Zimbabwean people.
The donor community has accepted the classic definitions of civil society and NGOs and applied it to Zimbabwe as if Zimbabwe was a normal society. The concept of voluntarism does not exist in the context of the chaotic Zimbabwean socio-economic environment. Most entrepreneurial and sharp academic brains in Zimbabwe could not find employment in the public sector or the non-existent private sector.
The only available foreign currency based entrepreneurial activity was the NGO and Civil Society sector. Instead of being a voluntary service oriented non-profit sector this sector graduated into a huge profit based industry whose source of competitive advantage was the speed at which the organisations could wood wink unsuspecting western donors into parting with their taxpayers' funds. The end result has been the betrayal of the reason why civil society and NGOs exist, which is to garner socio-politico-economic value on behalf of an oppressed people.
There is not one leader in the change movement whose individual net worth has not dramatically improved since the escalation of the Zimbabwean crisis with the formation of the MDC in 1999. Granted, Zanu PF has been looting state coffers and development aid for the past 30 years. It cannot be said to be right that corruption is justifiable as long as it is not done by Mugabe. Civil society, the donor community and NGOs need to realize that very little of what they have donated have reached the people of Zimbabwe.
The leaders of opposition parties have their children at private schools and universities abroad on the very same resources made to facilitate the struggle of the Zimbabwean people. Leaders in the so-called unity government who have never been gainfully employed in their lives now boast luxury German sedans and a multitude of luxurious suburban houses. These so-called leaders have holiday houses in places like Cape Town and other exotic places around the globe. People based in Zimbabwe, selling out on the people's struggle, have set themselves businesses in Botswana and South Africa.
So-called human rights campaigners on behalf of Zimbabwe, like Eleanor Sisulu of South Africa, have enriched themselves no end. It is a real shame that people who do not understand the struggle of the Zimbabwean people have gone out and got monetary resources on behalf of Zimbabweans and have enriched themselves to obscene levels.
The MDC and the democratic change forces in Zimbabwe got AU$15million from the Australian government, US$5million and 30million British pounds in 2008 to contest the Zimbabwe general elections.
These are public figures that Howard, Bush and Blair gloated about as funds necessary to facilitate the demise of the Mugabe regime. In late 2009 Tsvangirai failed to settle a hotel lunch bill in Masvingo. Printers and others support services for campaign support for the MDC were paid late. Simba Makoni abused party vehicles, fuel and funds using them for personal gain.
The west has donated a vast amount of money to the constitution making process where the leaders of that process are pocketing copious amounts of money. The Zimbabwean crisis has long lost its value as the epitomy of the struggle for freedom of the oppressed masses of Zimbabwe but a very vibrant self-enrichment programme for donor sharks based in Zimbabwe, US, South Africa, Botswana, Canada, New Zealand and other countries.
Individuals who cannot provide any meaningful contribution to humanity have found themselves a very lucrative pastime: crying crocodile tears on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe and getting paid for it. A simple audit of estates of the individuals who lead all these mushrooming Zimbabwe crisis NGOs should show the donors how much of their investments actually reach the people of Zimbabwe. A huge chunk of their donations are destined for the pockets of the few and not the people. One would like to be introduced to any poor NGO functionary involved with the Zimbabwean crisis.
BREEDING A GENERATION OF BRAIN DEAD WESTERN FUNCTIONARIES
Whilst civil society and NGOs together with the donors think they are getting rid of the rot Mugabe has visited upon Zimbabwe they need to be aware that they have started breeding a far more corrupt culture in the ranks of the change movement. Money is changing hands midnight and no auditing of the movement's accounts is done. This culture is going to be transferred into the Zimbabwean fiscus. Already elements of that are beginning to emerge with the introduction of corrupt language like "takiya kiya - we have made a plan" or "nhasi haulume - you are not eating" from the Finance Minister on serious matters of national resources distribution. This comes from the culture that civil society and NGOs is inculcating into the Zimbabwean political leadership. The culture that's says: you do not have to account for anything to anyone. I am deeply disappointed with the complicity with which donors dish out resources in the name of the common Zimbabwean and then fail to hold people accountable for those resources.
It can be argued that auditing of the movement's account may open up the movement to Zanu PF propaganda tactics, but how do you let the people know what you have done with the resources meant for them? What effective programme has the MDC done for the people of Zimbabwe except using the people to access power for personal benefit? The whole issue about the outstanding issues is about jobs for pals and nothing to do with the real change mandate. The change movement mandate was very simple: get a new pople driven constitution, get free and fair elections and implement a democratic transformational agenda to have a better life for the ordinary Zimbabwean. These issues are note even on the outstanding issues list; they are there by inference if at all.
The preceding argument against transparency is not convincing. The more plausible explanation is that these NGOS and civil society are well aware that there is misuse of resources by the change movement functionaries. This is kept low as leverage to later champion an agenda that keeps Zimbabwe in check in case the Zimbabwean people would want to keep issues such as land distribution and economic liberation on the agenda. These issues cannot be a success in Zimbabwe in case Africa catches a fire, a revolutionary fire. The idea then is to lure the current leadership into the evil web of corruption and blackmail presenting Zimbabwe with a mirage of progressive democratic leadership yet the manufacturing process of a brain dead crop of compromised leadership is well and truly underway. It cannot be that civil society, NGOs and donors are not aware of the abuse of donor funds by leaders of the change movement. Clearly this is an investment whose return is the ability to produce a malleable and docile leadership amenable to compromising the revolutionary transformational change agenda necessary for a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. No organisation will wantonly throw resources at a process from which it does not gain. The Zimbabwean nation must rise to the realization that a political dummy is being sold to the nation.
PART OF THE NON-DEMOCRATIC HISTORY OF ZIMBABWE
Donor nations and organisations that participate in the nurturing of this corrupt leadership should bear in mind that they are entrenching themselves deeply in the annals of Zimbabwean history as farmers of corruption and non-democratic tendencies. Their inability to report people who abuse the resources meant for the Zimbabwean people has meant that the name of Zimbabweans has been fraudulently abused for the benefit of a few. There are people who, and organisations which, will not be able to survive should Zimbabweans have a stable and prosperous nation. Where will organisations like Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe and the flamboyant Eleanor Sisulu be if Zimbabweans are at peace? The same people could not hold Morgan Tsvangirai to account as he is seen, in the NGO community and civil society, as a source of donor funds. The only survival strategy that these organisations know of is that of remaining in Tsvangirai good books. It is common knowledge that once Tsvangirai or the MDC labels an organisation or individual Zanu PF, political extinction becomes but a reality. This is the reason why the dictatorship tendencies evident in the MDC today are a foretaste of what's to come should it be a reality that indeed the MDC is in power.
That Mugabe and his regime should be removed is common cause. What should never be a consideration for Zimbabwe is to allow evil of the same or even worse magnitude, as what has been experienced in the last 30 years, to take root again. Civil society, non-governmental organisations and the donor community have let down themselves and Zimbabwe down. These parties will forever be seen as having prolonged the suffering of Zimbabweans and having been facilitators of a succession plan for a dictatorship; they are breeding as sizeable pool of corrupt, inconsiderate, incompetent, affluent and insensitive successors to Robert Mugabe.