Goche speaks on spies Dumisani Muleya STATE
Security minister Nicholas Goche has broken his silence on the ongoing
espionage saga, saying the truth will soon come out on the alleged
undercover work by foreign-hired locals.
Goche said the court
proceedings and further investigations of accused Zanu PF members and a
veteran diplomat facing charges of selling classified state secrets to
foreign agents would reveal the truth.
"People will definitely get to
know what has been happening," Goche said.
"We are still investigating
and the matter is going on in the courts. The truth will soon come
"Investigations are going on and the matter is sub judice," he
Goche dismissed reports that he was involved in the spy
"I don't want to give lies any respect. Those are just lies,"
"I have seen website stories saying I knew about this and
did nothing about it. Those are lies. Who is investigating the matter
"You are a seasoned journalist and I don't think you want us to
discuss such stupid things. I have no personal views on
Zanu PF provincial chairman and MP Phillip Chiyangwa, ruling
party deputy security chief Kenny Karidza, external affairs director Itai
Marchi, Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo
ex-Metropolitan Bank company secretary Tendai Matambanadzo have been
accused of spying for foreign agents in South Africa.
reported in the Zimbabwe Independent on December 23, the five were arrested
- some abducted - and detained by the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO). They have been appearing in court facing charges under the Official
Secrets Act and face up to 25 years in jail if convicted.
Dzvairo, Matambanadzo and Marchi initially pleaded guilty, they have been
trying to change their pleas. However, magistrate Peter Kumbawa last week
dismissed their application for change of plea.
Karidza, who have pleaded not guilty, appeared in court last Friday for a
remand hearing. They were further remanded in custody.
appear in court again on January 24 while Chiyangwa will appear on January
Chiyangwa had judgement reserved last Thursday in his application
to the High Court appealing against refusal of bail. His lawyer, Advocate
Chris Andersen, told the High Court's Justice Charles Hungwe that the state
was accusing his client of selling state secrets to a South African agent
for US$10 000 a month without an iota of evidence.
The case has
drawn South Africa into its murky vortex after it was alleged that an
intelligence officer working for the South African Secret Service (SASS) -
the country's foreign intelligence arm - had been arrested in connection
with the issue.
British and South African media have reported the
arrest of a senior South African "spymaster" who was allegedly lured from
Livingstone to Victoria Falls by one of his Zimbabwean contacts last month
only to realise too late that it was a trap. He has been providing details
of his network, press reports say.
While South Africa's Ministry of
Intelligence Services last weekend denied the country's involvement, saying
only that it had seen media reports linking South Africa to the case,
sources close to the government this week confirmed the arrest of a
high-ranking officer in the SASS.
The sources said they were
confident the arrested agent from Pretoria would be released soon. They
described his work as maintaining routine contacts and said the case was
unlikely to affect relations with Zimbabwe.
Moyo set to lose Patterson Farm Gift
Phiri BELEAGURED Information minister Jonathan Moyo was this week dealt
another body blow after the land task force took steps to repossess his
Patterson Farm in Mazowe in a move seen as retribution for his ongoing
challenge to the party and its leadership.
Having failed to secure
election to the ruling party's 252-member central committee and subsequently
barred from contesting the forthcoming legislative poll in his home
constituency of Tsholotsho on a ruling party ticket, Moyo has now reportedly
lost his Mazowe Farm, which he controversially purchased for $6 million in
The Zimbabwe Independent was yesterday told that officials from
the taskforce, accompanied by Zimbabwe Republic Police deputy commissioner
Godwin Matanga, visited the farm in Mazowe on Tuesday and advised the farm
manager on plans to repossess it, stating that the owner was in breach of
government's one-man, one-farm policy.
Reports that war veterans
then occupied the farm could not be confirmed. Nor could reports that the
farm manager was forced to flee leaving farm equipment and agricultural
produce at the mercy of the war veterans.
Matanga yesterday referred
all questions to Lands minister John Nkomo. Nkomo also declined to comment
on the seizure of the farm saying "those are matters referred to the
Mashonaland Central governor Ephraim Masawi asked the
Independent to call him later saying he wanted to get details from his
provincial administrator but had not done so at the time of going to print
While Moyo's acquisition of Patterson farm has been dogged
by controversy, he has maintained that it is a family farm that he bought
transparently. The source of discord is that the Lands ministry has said
state land could not be sold or bought.
Official records show
that Moyo bought Patterson Farm, described in Agriculture minister Joseph
Made's offer letter dated November 30 2001 as state land, for $6 million.
Moyo used a Jewel Bank cheque drawn on the Westgate branch on July 22, 2002
as payment for the farm. The payment followed a letter written by
Agriculture permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka on April 29 2002 to Moyo
informing him of the cost of the land and the improvements.
Independent heard that officials from the task force told the Patterson farm
manager that Moyo had no lease agreement and the Administrative Court had
not confirmed the property's acquisition. As a result, the title deeds for
the farm - which Moyo initially wanted to buy for a mere $1,8 million - are
still with the farm's legal owner, a company run by a trust.
The move by
Nkomo's ministry to repossess the farm follows unprecedented public tussles
between Moyo and Nkomo over a controversial Tsholotsho meeting convened by
the Information tsar on November 18, which President Mugabe described as
"illegal", to discuss leadership change. Moyo has, through the Chronicle and
Herald newspapers, fired a barrage of criticism tat Nkomo accusing him of
stifling development in Matabeleland and lying over his visit to Tsholotsho
in the company of Dumiso Dabengwa last week.
MDC MP rebukes magistrate in court Loughty
Dube MOVEMENT for Democratic Change MP for Nkayi, Abednico Bhebhe, was
yesterday involved in a slanging match in court with a Bulawayo magistrate
after it was announced a docket on war veterans accused of attempting to
murder him in 2001 had gone missing.
The docket could not be located
when the case came for a hearing yesterday afternoon.
drama in court when Bhebhe rose from the public gallery and exchanged harsh
words with provincial magistrate Cephas Sibanda after the public prosecutor
announced that the docket on the assault case was missing.
who had come to court as the complainant, was furious after the public
prosecutor, Andrew Marimo, announced that the docket for the case could not
be found in Bulawayo.
Sibanda at that juncture announced that the
case would proceed by way of summons so as to allow the police time to look
for the docket in Nkayi.
A livid Bhebhe rose from the benches in the
public gallery and reprimanded the magistrate whom he accused of trying to
cover up the case.
The two exchanged harsh words with Bhebhe accusing
Sibanda of defending a corrupt government.
The two accused
persons in the case, Melusi Ncube and a war veteran only named as Mhoti,
were not present in court. Ncube and Mhoti were arrested after they
allegedly assaulted and left Bhebhe for dead on May 26 2001.
heated verbal exchange that lasted for several minutes was stopped after the
intervention of other court officials and when the magistrate said he would
recuse himself from the matter.
Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent
after the incident Bhebhe said it was unacceptable for the courts to take
sides on a matter that has failed to go for trial for four
"As they are saying, the docket is missing," said Bhebhe.
"Before that the police had told the court that my statements were missing
from the docket and later it was announced that medical reports that were
collected by police from me in hospital could not be located. This points to
sloppiness on either the part of the courts or the police," Bhebhe
Bhebhe said the magistrate was trying to defend a corrupt
government by making it appear that the accused war veterans had no case to
"Until this case is finalised I am not going to rest and even if
the police and the courts make documents disappear this case has to be
finalised," said Bhebhe.
SA firm blows whistle on Mawere/Chiyangwa Gift
Phiri RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is sitting on
explosive information implicating self-exiled mogul Mutumwa Mawere in
illegal foreign currency dealings that include late acquittal of export
earnings, collusion to over-invoice imports and false forex loan
Information from a dossier, which is in the possession of the
Zimbabwe Independent, reveals that contrary to speculation that Zanu PF
legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mawere's business partner in
Africa Resources Ltd (ARL), Zanu PF MP Phillip Chiyangwa, currently held on
espionage-related charges, is Mawere's business partner in ARL, a company
registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Although Mawere denied
any partnership with Chiyangwa in a telephone interview with the
Independent, documents show that Chiyangwa has a significant shareholding in
Mawere's two investment vehicles, Ukubambana/Kubatana Investments and
Endurite Properties. ARL operates three bank accounts, one in London, and
the other two in South Africa: India Bank and Investec Bank in
"I am the sole shareholder of Africa Resources Ltd," Mawere
said. "Chiyangwa has never been my partner. How did he get the authority to
invest outside the country?"
The Independent understands that
attorneys from a South African law firm, Herman van Eeden, passed on
confidential information about ARL's alleged illegal foreign currency
dealings to a top RBZ official during a private meeting in Johannesburg last
Gono's spokesman Fortune Chasi declined to give details of the
meeting saying only: "We deal with all type of sources."
meeting was attended by RBZ informer John Rushton, together with Zimbabwe
Republic Police assistant commissioner Mike Gora, an officer in the economic
crimes unit of the ZRP. Raymon Scheepers, an official from Summit Corporate
Finance, a private South African investigations company that infiltrated
ARL's South African operations, also attended the meeting.
African businessman, Buks van Rensburg, who had a number of dealings with
Mawere's ARL, also attended the meeting. It is understood that Van Rensburg
sold his transport company Coma Transport to Mawere in 2003 before applying
for provisional liquidation after the deal went sour.
The RBZ official
was told that Mawere had not repatriated US$50 million from the sale of
asbestos fibre from Zimbabwe and the money was used to purchase two
companies in Zimbabwe, Schweppes Zimbabwe and Victoria
According to minutes of the meeting, Scheepers told the RBZ
official that Turnall South Africa, ARL's asbestos and cement subsidiary,
had failed to repatriate R22 million. It was also stated that in the
previous year, R30 million was supposed to have been repatriated but only
R1,5 million was. The information was apparently gleaned from Turnall South
Africa's First National Bank account at Wierda Valley branch in
The account holder is FSI Trading, with the branch code
being 26-09-50 and the account number 62047104089. In the same bank are
accounts for Petter Trading, Petter Commodities, Petter Transport and
Logistics, Southern Asbestos Sales, Southern Cotton Sales and Fortress
Travel, all of them ARL subsidiaries.
Sibanda castigates Zanu PF leadership Loughty
Dube SUSPENDED war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda has castigated the Zanu
PF presidium for lacking a Nelson Mandela-style of leadership. Sibanda said
Zanu PF as a party had clear policies but it was being spoiled by leaders
who are bent on clinging to power at the expense of
"There is nothing wrong with the party policies but
something is wrong with some leaders in the party," Sibanda said in remarks
likely to infuriate the leadership and deepen the rift in the ruling
"We have party leaders who think they should die in power and
should never be challenged but that is causing discontent in the
The fiery ex-freedom fighter said the type of leadership
being practised by
the Zanu PF presidium encouraged corruption in the
"We do not have leaders who have the Mandela-style of
leadership, a type of leadership where you lead someone today and then make
and groom someone to lead you tomorrow and then you look back and feel proud
of your achievements and the continuation of party ideals," Sibanda
"There is no respect of the party constitution by Zanu PF leaders
and those people have no future in the country's democracy. They will have
to account to the people for what they have done for democracy in the
country and that day is near," he said.
Sibanda's statements come
at a time when discontent is boiling over in the ruling party ahead of the
crucial parliamentary election in March. The divisions follow purges of
Young Turks and party officials who attended the ill-fated Tsholotsho
meeting last month.
Six provincial chairpersons who attended the
meeting have since been suspended from party activities for five years while
the alleged convener, Information minister Jonathan Moyo, was reprimanded.
He has since been barred from contesting in the Tsholotsho constituency on a
Zanu PF ticket. Instead the seat was reserved for a woman
Sibanda has clashed several times with Vice-President
Joseph Msika, party chairman John Nkomo and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa
who all accuse him of indiscipline.
Sibanda was suspended from
Zanu PF for four years, barred from contesting the party primaries in
Bubi-Umguza and is currently fighting to retain leadership of the war
veterans association after President Mugabe appointed a Dabengwa-led
taskforce to re-organise the association.
Sibanda dismissed recent media
reports that he had fled the country as mischievous and
"Before joining Zanu PF I was a Zapu cadre and when
gukurahundi came and massacred thousands of people in Matabeleland,
including seven members from my family, I did not run away. Why should I run
away now?" Sibanda said.
"If there are battles to be fought, I will
fight them here and if it means dying I will also be here, I will never run
away from depraved people.
"There is no need to run away from people
who are going to die, everyone is mortal and those people who are oppressing
Zimbabweans are going to die and we will get our chance then," said
Govt move set to curtail voting rights Gift
Phiri GOVERNMENT this week announced stringent requirements that are set to
curtail the voting rights of many Zimbabweans in the forthcoming legislative
poll as the registrar-general's office opened the voters' roll for
This came as opposition parties and civic groups stepped
up efforts to have a review of the voters' register, which they said was a
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede announced that urban
dwellers, the opposition party's main supporters, would be required, among
other things, to produce proof of residence. This could take the form of
title deeds, rates receipts, utility receipts or written statements from
landlords or employers.
But many city dwellers do not own
properties as they live in makeshift
structures dotted around the
In rural areas, voters would be required to bring sworn oral or
written statements from their chiefs or headmen, who are now part and parcel
of Zanu PF's campaign machinery. Meanwhile, the RG's office on Monday
published 26 pages in the state-owned Herald newspaper of "persons who
supplied incomplete/incorrect residential addresses when they registered as
Those deemed to have supplied the incomplete or incorrect
information are from Mutasa (484 voters), Harare East (268), Harare North
(136), Hatfield (208), Mbare (1 143), Mufakose (219), Goromonzi (270),
Murehwa North (499), Murehwa South (1 609), Mutoko South (590), Ngezi (235)
and Zvimba South (223).
The notice added: "Please be advised that
failure to report as requested and directed within 14 days from this date
will result in the constituency registrars removing the voter's name from
the voters' roll in accordance with Section 25 of the Electoral Act (Chapter
Political analyst Emmanuel Magade said the RG's office was
trying to disenfranchise many eligible voters.
"That notice was
only published once in the Herald and obviously this is not the most
effective way of notifying the people who provided the so-called incorrect
details as alleged by the RG," Magade said.
"A close analysis of the
details will reveal that the largest number of people who allegedly provided
incorrect details live in known MDC strongholds such as Mbare and the
greater part of Harare. And the RG wants to strike their names from the
voters' roll. It is wrong."
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a broad-based coalition of civic
groups, said the voters' roll would be no different to the one used in the
2002 presidential election, which was condemned as "flawed" by most
"The roll is a shambles," Madhuku said. "Over the years
the RG's office has added more names but not totally reformed the roll. We
have had cases of deceased people appearing on the roll, people being
registered in the wrong constituencies, or others simply failing to find
Mudede announced that his department would prepare the
roll according to the new constituency boundaries drawn up by the
Delimitation Commission. He said presently, Zimbabwe had 5 658 637 eligible
However, Madhuku alleged that it was impossible for the
authorities to compile an accurate roll in time for the March election due
to lack of resources. He said in the absence of an independent electoral
body, the authorities could manipulate the voting process.
could have hoped for a credible roll if the proposed Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) had been appointed. Even if the ZEC were to be appointed
today, I don't think there would be any changes, since its head will be a
presidential appointee, and therefore partial," Madhuku
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network, said this was a "worrying development".
said: "Those questioning the accuracy of the roll are free to go and inspect
it, with the rest of the country, during the inspection period. The (RG's)
office has a mandate to conduct elections, and will do so until such a time
that the new electoral commission is appointed. I cannot comment on
statements alleging irregularities because we have not gone through the
inspection process as yet."
Woza women assaulted after demo Staff Writer ELEVEN
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) members, who were part of a group of 400
activists who took part in a demonstration against Education and Sport
minister Aeneas Chigwedere, were seriously injured and are seeking medical
attention after they were assaulted by police in Harare this
The eleven women were part of a group of 21 who were arrested and
allegedly assaulted by police on Tuesday two hours after the Woza
demonstration had ended.
Woza co-ordinator Jenni Williams
yesterday confirmed that 11 of their members were injured and are seeking
medical attention after they were assaulted by police.
were assaulted with baton sticks and kicked by the police and most of them
sustained injuries during the assaults. The women were taken into an
interrogation room that had a table in the middle and underneath the table
was a pool of blood and the police details interrogating them threatened
that if the women continued with Woza their blood would be added to the
blood under the table," Williams said.
She said most of the women
were yesterday taken to a private clinic where they were treated but were
still awaiting medical affidavits to determine the gravity of their
"Most of the women suffered bruises all over their bodies
but the injuries are more severe in areas around the buttocks and arms,"
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not
aware that the women were injured and promised to investigate the
Primaries expose Zanu PF rigging Augustine
Mukaro ZANU PF'S just ended primaries have exposed the ruling party's
inability to conduct elections without rigging them.
originally set to be completed in a single day on Saturday, spilled into the
week with some results being announced on Tuesday. In at least 17
constituencies, the poll was conducted yesterday after complaints of rigging
and other irregularities forced reruns.
Reports from over 50
constituencies which held elections last weekend indicate that sub-standard
materials such as ballot boxes and ballot papers were used leaving the
election prone to serious abuse.
In Murehwa North constituency, where
Heath minister David Parirenyatwa won the right to represent Zanu PF in the
March parliamentary election ahead of the sitting MP Victor Chitongo, the
ballot boxes were ordinary cardboard boxes. The ballot papers were pieces of
unevenly cut newsprint while the voter verification process involved merely
looking at the party card. There was no equipment to prevent multiple
Chitongo appealed to the national elections directorate
citing irregularities, which included issuance of extra party cards on the
eve of voting and vote buying.
"The sale of old Zanu PF cards was
suspended in October 2004, while new ones got to the district executives
only... The only persons who were entitled to vote were card carrying
members as at October 2004 and those that had access to new ones," Chitongo
wrote to the directorate.
Chitongo said prior to the primary
elections and the night before, hordes of free cards were distributed,
resulting in unqualified voters taking part in the elections. Some of the
people distributing new party cards were discovered at Matututu Centre and
were reported to the police.
"In light of the above irregularities,
it cannot therefore be said that the outcome of the primary elections in
Murehwa North reflect the true will of the people," wrote
The disputed Murehwa North primary was witnessed by more
than eight Zanu PF central committee and politburo members.Ministers Sydney
Sekeramayi, Didymus Mutasa, former ministers Simba Makoni and Kumbirai
Kangai and governor David Karimanzira were among the political heavyweights
who were in the constituency over the weekend.
A number of the
losing candidates complained of abuse of party cards by aspiring candidates.
The cards were either withdrawn from voters or sold overnight to rented
groups aligned to candidates in the central committee and
In Makoni West, sitting MP Gibson Munyoro has disputed
Agriculture minister Joseph Made's victory in the primaries. Munyoro accused
Made of intimidation, bussing in supporters from outside the constituency
and abusing Grain Marketing Board facilities to sway voters in his
The most bizarre report came from Kadoma East where sitting
MP and Labour minister Paul Mangwana allegedly torched ballot papers on
realising that he was on the verge of losing the election.
Masvingo Central there were reports that winning candidate Shylet Uyoyo was
holding on to party cards and denying their release to opposing candidates.
Uyoyo battled it out with Dzikamai Mavhaire in an election that was hotly
contested. Initially, Mavhaire was backing the candidacy of lawyer Eddison
Zvobgo (Jnr). But Zvobgo did not meet the party's minimum requirements and
was therefore elbowed out of the race despite being the most popular
In Harare's Mufakose constituency, there are allegations
that people were bussed from Mbare to vote for Sabina Thembani.
National Parks hikes leases Augustine Mukaro THE
Department of National Parks has hiked wildlife and safari operation leases
by between 350% and 850%, a move which could force a number of operators to
close shop considering the decline in the tourism industry.
spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent said the department was now demanding an
annual rental of between $36 million and $85 million. They said the fee
would be determined by the nature of the camp's business. Some camps operate
on a commercial basis while others operate as recreational facilities. The
recreational facilities charge nominal fees and do not operate on profit
The operators said the new development was communicated to
them during a series of meetings that were held throughout the country in
"Department of National Parks officials held several
meetings with safari operators where the new fees were announced," one
operator from the Umfurudzi Safari Area said.
Operators from the
Zambezi Valley and Chirundu areas also confirmed the development saying it
was communicated at a meeting held at Marongora Lodge in
"In the past we used to pay $10 million per annum in the
first year of the lease term," an operator from Chirundu said. "The fee
would attract a 15% increment each year until the lease term
The operators said if the department enforces the new fees,
they would be forced out because of the lull in tourism
The number of visitors coming into the country has been
on the decrease over the past five years, negatively impacting on safari
A Zimbabwe Tourism Authority report for January to
September 2004 says tourist arrivals slumped by about
"During the period January-September 2004, a total of 1 271 904
visitors visited Zimbabwe, representing a 29% decrease when compared to 1
793 128 visitors during the same period in 2003," the report
"The visitors during the first nine months of 2004 included 254
842 from the overseas market, a 1% decline from 258 150 from mainland
Africa, and a 33% decline from 2003 figures."
Will Zanu PF women deliver? By Ray Matikinye THE
March general election featuring an increased number of women contestants as
the ruling Zanu PF party bids to fulfil a 30% quota to assuage a restive
female constituency, is set for an exciting race.
Even so, public
scepticism is beginning to mount whether most of the women nominees are not
out of kilter with the rigours of election campaigning, unprepared as most
were before the male-dominated Zanu PF presidium delivered the political
benevolence that awarded them 36 constituencies on a silver
Women themselves have begun to doubt the sincerity of their
male colleagues in Zanu PF and have welcomed the decision with apprehension.
Zanu PF Bulawayo Metropolitan provincial Women's
vice-chairperson, Sihle Thebe, said the quota system was ill-timed
though the decision is most appreciated.
"We have serious
internal fighting in Zanu PF," said Thebe. "That alone is a major setback
but there is nothing women can do because the situation is untenable in the
Only a few of the women nominees had campaigned for
the coming election and the onus to win was thrust on them. "Women could not
refuse because men would turn back and say: 'Look, they don't know what they
want,' and wash their hands," Thebe said.
But others have
"I can stand on my own and have done it before
and won," says Stars Mathe, the only female councillor in the Bulawayo city
council. Mathe says women nominated should show their mettle and acumen as
serious politicians and not as mere protégés content with fulfilling the
role of cheerleaders.
Mathe disapproves of handpicking unprepared
women saying such women would fail to acquit themselves in tasks expected by
Former Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial
secretary for information and publicity, Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni, says most of
the women were unprepared for this year's general election and will face a
daunting task trying to convince the electorate to accept them. "Men started
campaigning almost two years ago thereby increasing their visibility among
the electorate unlike the female candidates, who only have less than two
months to mount serious campaigns before the election," he
It also takes a lot of resources to launch an effective
Ndiweni says Zanu PF could have implemented the quota
system in the past when its candidates faced nominal challenges from
fragmented opposition parties and won without breaking
"The coming into mainstream politics of a stronger opposition
Movement for Democratic Change does not guarantee Zanu PF victory even in
what was considered safe constituencies," he adds.
passionate concern among the electorate is the calibre of those women who
will make it to parliament. Some observers argue that the simple gesture of
reserving seats for women in itself is poignant admission that women cannot
make it on their own without male patronage.
Former minister Chen
Chimutengwende disagrees. "There are male candidates who are bad
representatives just as there are some who are good. There are also female
candidates who are excellent and others who are hopeless. So people cannot
judge capability on the basis of gender."
This week's Zanu PF primary
election served to illustrate women's apprehension. Some women candidates
stepped down to clear the deck for male contestants to sail through
unopposed in the primaries. For instance, in Manyame constituency, Bybit
Tsomondo stood down in favour of Patrick Zhuwawo.
women form the bulwark of Zanu PF's support as is always touted, how come
that save for Enita Maziriri who beat Industry and International Trade
minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and three other male contestants by a wide
margin, other women candidates fared dismally against male
In primaries held over the past weekend Edna Madzongwe
and Mavis Chidzonga lost to male contestants in Mhondoro and Chegutu while
Irene Dube and Rita Makwambeni lost to Enock Porusingazi and Freddy Kazama
in Mutare and Chipinge South respectively.
two women have left an indelible mark on the Zimbabwean political scene with
their contributions in parliament symbolising women's
The late heroine, Ruth China-mano, a veteran, gutsy
nationalist and Margaret Dongo, a combative, non-conformist former guerilla
fighter proved outstanding in being able to throw challenges in the faces of
the male-dominatedchamber with incisive contributions.
men schemed to oust her through unorthodox means by pitting her against
Vivian Mwashita, Dongo fought back tenaciously and recovered a constituency
she had been robbed of by a female candidate who had "won" it through male
connivance. She went on to lead the Zimbabwe Union of Democrats, breaking
new ground by becoming the first ever woman in post-Independent Zimbabwe to
lead a political party.
Both Chinamano and Dongo were firebrand
orators, fearless and confident in articulating their concerns as well and
expressing their ideas. Both too were rewarded by being ostracised,
stigmatised and forsaken by their male compatriots for their
The two stand in stark contrast to Murehwa North former MP
Rudo Mungwashu, a former police constable and provincial Zanu PF chairperson
for the Women's League who spent her entire five-year term in parliament
without a single meaningful contribution.
Makokoba member of
parliament Thokozile Khupe says it does not bother her much whether one is
dull or uneducated as long as that person is a woman standing in the
forthcoming March election.
"I advocate for more women coming to
parliament. Over the years, women have been used as campaigning tools by
their male counterparts in every election. Now is the time for women to be
in parliament as well. I totally support the 30% quota for women in
parliament because women work very hard," said Khupe.
Tapera is fast sinking into debt. During the festive season he had to borrow
$1 million to buy farming inputs for his small plot in his rural Zvimba
home. Last week he had to implore his equally pressed relatives to lend him
$5 million to pay fees for his two sons attending a mission school in
Sanyati. The reasons for his near destitution: "My money is locked up in
Trust Bank. And the so-called ZABG has not opened as promised for me to get
money for school fees."
Elsewhere in Gazaland, Highfield, Kizito
Maguta is contemplating closing down his furniture making business, his only
means of survival. "If I don't get my $7 million locked up in Royal Bank to
buy glue and timber then I am done," Maguta says. He too has been living off
friends and relatives. He has kept his fragile business running on borrowed
income. His creditors could soon be haunting him. Tapera and Maguta are
only two of thousands of depositors who have been reduced to destitution by
the sudden closure of their banks by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year.
Their plight is similar to that of thousands of others who have been waiting
in vain for the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG), an amalgam of troubled
banks, to open so they access their money. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono
promised last year that ZABG would open to the public early this month.
Three weeks into January and the depositors are still waiting. Expectations
have given way to frustration. "When is the so-called ZABG going to open?
Rakamboita seyi iro zibank racho risingavhurwe?" quips an angry
Confusion and uncertainty continue to dog the operations at ZABG
with experts saying there is chaos on the ground. They say the project could
hit a brick wall because of administrative and logistical issues, which
management and the central bank are failing to overcome. This week Gono
made an attempt to "clear the air" with a statement which analysts described
as vague and unhelpful. The statement, the first on ZABG since the idea was
mooted, said the project was delayed because of the the legal and technical
process which has taken longer than envisaged to conclude "Regrettably,
arising from insufficient updates to the market and poor communication on
our part regarding this pioneering initiative ZABG), the market and, indeed,
the press has been left with the impression of doubt or lack of confidence
on our part, to see the take-off of the new baby," Gono said.
apologise for any anxiety or inconvenience that this temporary communication
shortcoming could have caused to all our stakeholders including those who
were expecting, in line with my earlier market promises, to get their $5
million or less drawdowns from locked-up monies in distressed financial
institutions under curatorship." Analysts said the statement lacked
substance in that it did not give the depositors a precise date and progress
made so far.
On Monday state media reported that ZABG was going to open
before the end of the month. It said the RBZ would decide which banks would
be brought under the ZABG. However, an expert said it was impossible for the
bank to open this month. Sternford Moyo, a senior partner with Scanlen
& Holdness, said there were still a lot of outstanding issues that could
not be sorted out before the end of the month.
"The signing of the
Troubled Financial Institutions (Resolutions) Act into law does not mean
that the bank will open immediately," said Moyo. "The banks will have to be
declared 'troubled' first and then the central bank has seek confirmation
with the court. After that the shareholders, creditors, depositors and
former directors are given 10 working days to respond." Moyo said before the
judge could confirm the RBZ application, he needs proof that the
shareholders, creditors, depositors and former directors have been informed
of intentions to take over their bank.
"The stakeholders have a right to
challenge attempts to take over their bank. They have to present their case
to the court. If that happens then the process might take even longer," he
said. Jacob Mafume of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the
project was shrouded in secrecy, an issue that did not help the public. He
said people did not have confidence in the project because they were never
consulted in the first place.
"The Reserve Bank did not consult with
depositors, shareholders and creditors before they formed the ZABG," said
Mafume. "People have confidence in issues they participate in from the
start." The bank, Mafume said, now faced the risk of being hit by a serious
deposit fight as soon as it opens.
Analysts also questioned the
constitutionality of the Troubled Financial Institutions (Resolutions) Act,
which seeks to legalise ZABG. The Act was recently signed into law by
President Robert Mugabe. They say the Act contravenes Section 16 of the
constitution, which deals with property rights.
Tendai Biti, a lawyer
with Honey & Blanckenberg, said there was need to look at ZABG in line
with the basic rights in the constitution. "The whole thing is a dog's
breakfast. They are trampling on the people's property rights in an attempt
to disguise their failure," said Biti.
"This is the problem with making
statements under political pressure without enough thought and planning.
Gono has been doing that since he was appointed," he said.
very little planning prior to the announcement of ZABG. In their bid to gain
mileage they raised people's expectations, which they know they cannot meet.
And when they fail they find scapegoats," said Biti.
Trust, Royal, and
Barbican were this week declared candidates for ZABG, but sources say the
legal processes have not yet been completed. The governor added to the
confusion when he said other banks would be allowed to seek alternatives to
Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe, said the
problem was that ZABG had been politicised. "Intentions are not actions.
Action is not progress. Strategies are not actions either. Those who planned
the ZABG did not think about the legal implications and the impact of their
actions on the poor man," Kagoro said.
"In their grand declarations of
national interest some innocent investors have been turned into paupers.
the time of going to press yesterday Zanu PF was still bogged down in
primary elections which began last weekend. The polls seek to select
candidates to represent the party in the March parliamentary
There would be nothing to worry about in all this were it not
for the fact that the current delays could be a foretaste of what to expect
in March. Zanu PF officials have given many reasons for failing to hold their
primary elections in a single day - worrying and interesting at the same
time. Because of the new cards launched late last year polling officers were
not sure who was entitled to vote. The new cards were issued only to
district executives and not ordinary members until the eve of voting,
especially in Murehwa. It was also claimed the party did not have sufficient
manpower to carry out the exercise in one day as originally planned. As of
yesterday, there were 17 constituencies still to hold primaries.
chairman of the Zanu PF national elections directorate, Elliot Manyika,
claimed there were also transport and other logistical problems in accessing
remote parts of Gokwe Central where results were still not known by
yesterday morning. Incredibly, Manyika said they might need helicopters
to ferry voters to polling centres because some roads were impassable due to
Equally puzzling were the delays in the opening of polling
centres in urban areas. State media on Sunday and Monday reported that some
centres opened as late as 2pm in Harare because there were no polling
officers! Then of course there are unbridgeable fissures within the party
which have caused the suspension of voting in Bulawayo and claims of
irregularities and "rigging" in Mutare Central, Murehwa North and Makoni
West. The party ordered a rerun yesterday in Insiza and Gwanda where sitting
MPs Andrew Langa and Abedinico Ncube had been barred as part of the fallout
from the Tsholotsho imbroglio.
There is much to be learnt from this
catalogue of problems. Zanu PF has failed to hold its own elections in a
single day. What capacity does it have to conduct a national election in one
day? Voter turnout was very low in most constituencies in an exercise that
was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the big show in March. How long
will it take polling agents to deal with Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, for
instance, where over 45 000 people reportedly turned out to vote in the 2002
Even if we put the issue of numbers aside, there
is still the bigger moral dilemma that has dogged all Zanu PF elections -
corruption, variously described as "irregularities" or "rigging" by the
While this has often been dismissed in the past because
op-position parties are "bad losers" influenced by their imperialist
sponsors, the same allegations are now coming from senior members in Zanu PF
itself. And we dare say they must know something about their party's
strategies for winning elections.
Victor Chitongo, who lost Murehwa
North, alleged there were hundreds of people who voted when they shouldn't
have. In Makoni West Gibson Munyoro accused his rival Joseph Made of
intimidation and bringing in voters from outside the constituency and of
abusing GMB facilities.
"This is the worst case of vote-buying by a
government minister," declared a disgusted Munyoro in his appeal to
President Mugabe. There were also bitter complaints of vote-rigging by
Rugare Gumbo in Mberengwa East and Kenneth Manyonda in Buhera, which
reflects a widespread pattern of electoral fraud. But the response from both
the elections directorate and the presidium was less than encouraging for
those wishing to contest in March. Manyika said on Wednesday "a careful and
thorough consideration of all the complaints" showed they did not warrant a
rerun. Why should the electorate expect their wishes to get a sympathetic
hearing where the contest is against an opposition party?
There are a
few salutary lessons to emerge from the Zanu PF primary elections. The party
does not have the capacity to hold a national election in a single day. The
culture of violence and fraudulent electoral conduct is too deeply
entrenched to be rooted out by a mere reference to Sadc guidelines on free
and fair elections. Those wishing to challenge Zanu PF should be prepared to
deal with its dirty tactics like vote-buying - called "donations" - and use
of food to lure voters. Tony Blair and the women's quota are a "winning
formula" to mask a leopard that has failed to change its spots. Far from the
acrimony around the primaries proving that there is democracy in Zanu PF, it
reveals that the party is unforgiving of those who cross its path, whether
from within or from the opposition.
IT is said, "Cabbages should not be cooked twice" and, as
this column has previously addressed some facets of Zimbabwe's
ill-conceived, and disastrously implemented land reform programme,
commenting thereon yet again is tantamount to a second cooking of cabbages.
However, a statement by President Robert Mugabe last week provokes such
The president stated with some considerable emphasis that
Zimbabwe would never succumb to international pressures that it should
reverse the land reform programme. That statement is incontrovertible
evidence that yet again the president has been misinformed (in this
instance, presumably by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or by the Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development, or by both those ministries). It
cannot be denied that much of the international community in general, and of
the countries constituting the Commonwealth, those that comprise the
European Union, and the US in particular, have frequently voiced very great
concerns at Zimbabwe's land reform programme. However, based upon
innumerable public statements by many of those countries, upon reports on
deliberations in the legislatures of some of those countries and upon
debates in international fora, it is very clear that most, if not all, of
the international community are not seeking reversal of the land
programme. To the contrary, they support the principle of Zimbabwean land
However, their stance is that land reform in Zimbabwe should be
carried out constructively, should restore agriculture to its former
circumstance as the foundation and mainstay of the economy, and that it
should be pursued with absolute justice and equity. That it does not wish
for reversal of the programme, but supports it (subject to modification) is
irrefutably evidenced by willingness to provide funding, if the
modifications required are effected. Essentially, the international
community's stance on land reform in Zimbabwe is that it should be
progressed in accord with the 1998 Harare Donor Conference, and as was
agreed at Abuja, Nigeria in 2001.
The substance of those accords was that
anyone, whether black or white, was entitled to own land in the country, but
that transferral of land should be governed primarily on a "willing buyer,
willing seller" basis, subject to criteria that no-one should possess more
than one farm, and that such farm should not exceed areas specified
according to the hectarage required for viable, commercial
Key to the accords was that the then registered owners of the
farms should receive market-related compensation for land disposed of by
them for redistribution, and also compensation for all improvements on the
land, and for all equipment, infrastructure and crops taken over from the
established farmers. Also of essence to the agreements was that
redistribution would be effected, on the basis of merit, to those possessed
of all requisite skills and resources necessary for the continuance of the
farming operations. And, equally of essence was that the international
community promised very considerable financial support to enable payment of
agreed compensation, and to assist in providing new farmers the funding and
skills development. Very regrettably, the Zimbabwean government failed to
carry out the negotiated agreements. It justified its disregard for that
which it had agreed to by contending that the international community (and
especially Britain) had reneged on the agreements by not providing promised
funding. But the reality is that it was Zimbabwe that reneged on those
So anxious was government to achieve political mileage from
promising land to the populace that it blatantly dismissed all that it had
agreed to. Having caused some considerable disarray to the economy, and
especially so when it surrendered to war veteran demands which were far
beyond Zimbabwe's means, it needed to demonstrate to a debilitated
population that it was deeply concerned for the well-being of all
Zimbabweans (provided that they were Zanu PF supporters!), and chose to do
so by way of a catastrophic land programme.
international community did not come forth with the financial support
promised in Harare and Abuja, but that was because of Zimbabwe's failure to
honour the agreements, and not because the international community reneged
on the undertakings given by it. So as the government progressively veered
away more and more from the agreements, the willingness of the donor states
to provide the funding became less. Any remaining will to give fiscal support
steadily diminished as government simultaneously berated the international
community for its criticisms of the land programme, and because of the
strongly confrontational stance of Zimbabwe to that community and to the
country's white farmers. Government compounded its alienation of the many
countries that had been prepared to assist by intensified, vilifying
rhetoric, founded upon the spurious contention that whites had "stolen" the
land in the colonial era, and that government was merely returning the land
to the victims of such theft.
That specious allegation steadfastly
ignored that, in fact, only a minuscule portion of the country had been
occupied prior to the arrival of the colonialists. As if those actions did
not suffice, government deliberately ignored all fundamentals of Zimbabwean
and international law by legislating laws which would deprive established
farmers of almost all rights, whilst rendering government omnipotent on land
Moreover, despite a pronounced propaganda campaign designed to
enthuse the population that all were now on a threshold of great wealth
(centred upon a campaign slogan that "The land is the economy, the economy
is the land"), government prevented those expectations becoming realities.
Its actions resulted in the displacement of over 300 000 farm workers and
their families, whilst achieving resettlement for about 115 000 families
Much of its land allocations were nepotistic, being to those with
necessary influential connections, instead of considering the
recipient's suitability to receive and work the land. In expropriating the
farms, government not only ignored the prejudice to the then owners of those
farms, but it also failed to enable those that then settled on the farms to
continue farming operations to an extent equal to, or greater than, the
outputs achieved by the former owners. The new farmers were not given secure
tenure and title to the lands, precluding their usage of the lands to
procure borrowings with which to finance operations. They were promised
operational inputs, but very few of those inputs were forthcoming. The
result was a cataclysmic contraction of the agricultural sector, which
sector was the stimulant of the entire economy. Not only had agriculture
been the field of greatest provision of employment, but it was a very major
generator of foreign exchange, and had immense spending into the downstream
So abysmally was the land programme implemented that within a
few years the production of tobacco shrank from 237 million kg to 65 million
kg, being a reduction in output and in tobacco export earnings of
approximately 72%. Whilst Zimbabwe had been "the granary of central Africa",
producing not only all of Zimbabwe's needs, but also grains for export,
Zimbabwe was reduced to importing food for several years, and still has to
do so, although government dogmatically claims Zimbabwe has food
self-sufficiency. The national herd has shrunk to about 35% of previous
Although other factors have contributed to Zimbabwe's intense
economic decline over the last seven years, the near total destruction of
agriculture is the most significant cause, albeit aided and abetted by years
of fiscal profligacy, alienation of the international community, forfeiture
of access to support from the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank, and pronounced corruption.
Government does not have to give in
to international demands for the reversal of the programme of land
acquisition, redistribution and resettlement, for no such demands have been
made. What it does need to do is to modify the programme, with retrospective
effect. It needs to enable those farmers as were displaced and as wish to
return to the land to do so, and it needs to pay realistic, market-related
compensation for land acquired.
That compensation should be equal to the
value of the acquired farms in 1997, adjusted for subsequent inflation. It
needs to carry out an effective resettlement programme to those who can, and
will, use the land successfully. To enable them to do so, it must give them
assured and transferable title to the land. Government must, upon
implementing the restructuring of the land programme, interact positively
with the international community in order to restore goodwill and to regain
And it must cease its vilification of the white farming
community, including abuses of parliamentary privilege by extreme
confrontation with allegations against members of parliament, such as
characterised the deplorable Roy Bennett affair, with allegations that they
were "thieves and murderers", and the offending minister was not even
reprimanded for so doing. In contrast, it is tragic that government did not
respond positively to offers, a decade ago, of the Commercial Farmers' Union
(CFU), to procure availability of at least 5 million hectares of land for
resettlement, over and above more than 6 million hectares then already owned
by the state. The CFU also offered skills' development and other assistance,
all of which offers were cavalierly dismissed.
It is not yet too late
to bring about an agricultural metamorphosis, provided that the government
discards racism, assures equity, ceases to misconstrue statements of the
international community, and abandons its intractable obduracy.
must have been one of the longest suicide notes in history. Jonathan Moyo's
lengthy denunciation of John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa will have sealed his
fate in Zanu PF whatever steps he now takes to recover his
The impression of a ruling party at war with itself - disclosed
by the Minister of State for Information and Publicity whose job it is to
provide an upbeat image of the party and government singing with one voice -
can hardly have impressed its leaders, already in an unforgiving
The petulant attack on two of his seniors, whom he amazingly
claimed could not match him in terms of length of service to the party and
were therefore the real mafikizolos, demonstrates an extraordinary lack of
judgement for one desperate to claw his way back into official favour. Of
all the leaders of Zanu PF, Nkomo and Dabengwa are among the most respected
- even by their political adversaries. Their restrained and dignified
replies contrasted with the venomous vitriol and threats of retribution that
are a hallmark of the Information minister's public rhetoric.
gratifying to witness such a maladroit statement targeted at Zanu PF's most
senior luminaries. Now they might appreciate the unconstrained ambition of
the man into whose hands they gullibly placed the fortunes of this country
and its media. The private press and civil society have hitherto been the
chief targets of Moyo's unhinged rantings. Now his colleagues understand the
danger of a suborned public media.
For paragraph after paragraph,
admitting no editorial restraint, Moyo was permitted to use the public press
as a platform to attack his critics within his own party. And he had the
cheek to accuse his detractors of "abuse of office" - a field in which he
has considerable expertise. We were also treated to the now customary claims
of "false and defamatory allegations". Only this time the bankrupt rhetoric
was aimed at his own leadership whom he accused of going "too far", a
parameter Moyo has never recognised hitherto.
In the interests of
"justice, fairness and the rule of law, Cdes Nkomo and Dabengwa must now be
held legally accountable for their defamatory political lies in the courts",
he warned. Their reply should be unambiguous: "If you can't stand the heat,
get out of the kitchen." Is this not the same minister who has used the
most abusive language to denounce his detractors? Why should he now, when
the going gets tough, run for the protection of his overworked lawyers? What
a political coward! Nkomo and Dabengwa have been "card-carrying" members of
Zanu PF since the early 1960s. How old is Moyo? Did he join up as a
toddler? Enough of this nonsense. It is time the public media was reminded of
its central mandate: to serve the people of Zimbabwe as a whole, not one
party and certainly not one man. By fighting the private battles of
Jonathan Moyo and affording him limitless space to attack his critics, the
state press has demonstrated the dangers of abuse of power and
unprofessional conduct. But now, at least, the victims are at every level of
Yet by a curious twist of irony, Moyo on Tuesday claimed he
was being "persecuted" for working for the people of Tsholotsho. Shouldn't
it be the private media crying foul against this latter day Saul? He
shouldn't be allowed to get away with this dissembling as a martyr. He is
simply a charlatan and political opportunist who wants to cry louder than
the folkloric Hare when it is his turn to be cooked. He should
be happy that at least he has access to the media, whereas he has always
ensured that his opponents don't have any other "ticket to
When Nkomo denied that he went to Tsholotsho specifically to bar
him from contesting, Moyo was filled with a holy rage. "That's a naked lie,"
he cried bitterly. "It assumes members of the public are stupid and will
believe anything that he says when the truth speaks for itself." Hear the
hypocrite coming out of his shell! So he in fact knows we don't believe his
puerile propaganda and still makes it his daily toil to serve us more of the
same? It's heartening that he can be so thoroughly hurt he wants to shed
tears in public. At least Nkomo has never been so stupid to pretend he was
bigger than the party. Finally, we must thank Moyo, not just for a very
public self-decapitation, but for inviting as many people as possible to the
A suitably airbrushed account of the role of musicians in the
liberation struggle appeared under the silver jubilee rubric in the Sunday
Mail. It featured the role of Cde Chinx, Simon Chimbetu, and Clive Malunga.
But curiously it omitted Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi. We had this
pearl of wisdom from Cde Chinx: "He said some of the hits on his Hondo
Yeminda album were composed in 1979 and (he) was compelled to release them
after the 2000 referendum when the Western powers through the private media
influenced Zimbabweans to vote against land reforms."
could not think for themselves? And who "compelled" him to release his
repetitious album, we wonder? Obviously not the same people who compelled
Zimbabweans to vote "No"! We liked the little piece on Air Zimbabwe in the
Sunday Mail's Brands & Branding supplement. "The national airliner (sic)
has flown high and proud across all the five continents of the world over
the past 25 years and has carved itself a reputation as one of the leading
airlines in the world," we were told. It had become "synonymous with
safety and reliability".
A Mr Lawrence Nyagumbo, interviewed at Harare
Airport on arrival from the UK, was suitably effusive. "As Zimbabweans in
the Diaspora we feel proud to see our national airliner (sic) being popular
with tourist and business executives and just seeing the country's colours
on Air Zimbabwe aircraft makes one feel proud to be from the motherland," he
gushed. We suspect he would be less proud if he had been subject to one of
Air Zim's frequent delays. The airline has four planes now compared to 15 at
Independence when it made a profit - something to think about for the
Another Sunday Mail puff piece last weekend said: "While
some forces of darkness expected an economic meltdown soon after
Independence, the new Zimbabwean government managed to silence its
Yes, it silenced them all right by using the Emergency Powers,
borrowed from Ian Smith, to detain people without trial or regardless of
judicial outcomes. Dumiso Dabengwa was a notable victim. So was Lookout
Masuku. And the economic meltdown certainly came - 24 years later!
is producing these facile propaganda pieces and making state journalists put
them under their bylines? They look as if they are all churned out by the
same Orwellian factory. Come back Nathan and Chen, all is
Muckraker simply can't believe the depth to which people will
grovel in return for political favours. Here is a letter sent recently to
CFU Midlands members by their chairman. "We have received a request to
donate cattle, chickens and mealie-meal to a welcoming reception next week
for the new Vice-President, Joyce Mujuru. "This request has come to us
through the Midlands leadership whom I'm sure you know. "I suggest that
each member pay in 1 million in cash to Bob at the CFU office by the end of
business hours on Monday the 10th January 2005, as we need to secure these
donations from our sector by Wednesday the 12th. "Each individual's name
will be on the list of donors when we present the donations so think hard
before you do nothing. It is a strategy that I believe will ultimately lead
to benefits of sorts in the future. But it is like gambling." Have these
guys learnt nothing in five years?
Still on the subject of economic
fantasising, we wonder what country Lowani Ndlovu is living in. He claimed
in his Sunday Mail column this week that Zimbabwe's economy was showing
"definite signs of recovery". And what are those "definite signs"? "Goods
are now readily available in the shops and the black market has
disappeared," declared Lowani.
He should stop fooling himself because the
foreign currency black market is thriving despite attempts to foist the
Homelink project on Zimbabweans in the diaspora at unrealistic exchange
rates. There is no mealie-meal in the shops and one is luck to find a packet
of Chimombe milk in a supermarket fridge.
Lowani might be excited
about his Zanu PF party as we move towards the election, but ordinary
Zimbabweans are definitely not amused. This disenchantment was evident in
the weekend Zanu PF primary elections where voter turnout was pathetic. For
instance in Kuwadzana there were just over a 1 000 participants in a
constituency with over 20 000 registered voters. So the MDC might yet reap
another "protest vote" in March despite Lowani's claims of economic
Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri has warned politicians
against inciting violence during elections. He said those who wanted to get
to parliament through "bloodshed" would face the full wrath of the law. We
wish him well in his endeavours. Unfortunately much of the violence is being
perpetrated by his own party against its members. Immediate examples that
come to mind are Kindness Paradza and Phone Madiro who missed the primaries
at the weekend because they have pending cases of violence. The party was
not similarly harsh with its secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who
was accused of fanning violence in his Makoni constituency. Chihuri told
the Sunday News President Robert Mugabe was the country's "number one
policeman and his word is our action when he says there should be no
political violence. No other policeman should do anything to compromise that
position." warned Chihuri.
We wish we could have faith in this number one
policeman. Provided he has renounced all his degrees in violence of course.
Meanwhile, we thought the police executed their duties according to the
Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Police Act, not the whims of politicians.
What's going on here Cde Chihuri?
Talking of which, we hope Chihuri
will seriously investigate Labour minister Paul Mangwana who allegedly went
"berserk" and burnt ballot papers in Kadoma East where he was facing a stiff
challenge from Bright Matonga. According to the Daily Mirror of Monday,
Mangwana could not face the prospect of defeat, which would almost certainly
mean a loss of his cabinet post after the March election. If the claims are
true, Mangwana deserves more than party disciplinary action. For a lawyer,
his actions set a very bad precedent for the less sophisticated members of
his party. And how much more thuggery should we expect when the contest is
against an opposition candidate? Let's see Chihuri's claimed impartiality in
action, not just words.
Professor Jonathan Moyo appears to be still fully
in charge of Zanu PF's media empire, if not in person than at least by
remote control. While Moyo's attacks against Zanu PF leaders get pride of
place on the front pages or are prominently laid out on inside pages, the
party chairman's responses are heavily censored and exiled to the papers'
Siberian pages. This week the Sunday News placed John Nkomo's response to his
attack by Moyo over the Tsholotsho debacle after the classifieds on page 13.
That was after running police commissioner Chihuri's interview twice on
pages 1 and 9. The space on page 2 was reserved for a more important story
of baboons wreaking havoc on timber plantations in Manicaland. And what mole
gave Moyo details of Nkomo's trip to Tsholotsho? Just who is in charge at
Zimpapers who appears to be bigger than the party?
For those who
need evidence that state newspapers are assisting Moyo's candidacy for
Tsholotsho despite the allocation of the constituency to a woman, the
Chronicle on Monday reported approvingly on his presentation of $69 million
to pay school fees for gifted pupils from the area.
It reported Moyo as
saying "the persecution he has gone through had strengthened his resolve to
work for the people".
He had been barred from contesting the seat, the
paper said, "despite the fact that (he) had been unanimously chosen by the
party's district coordinating committee in consultation with traditional
leaders and the people.
"He was unanimously chosen largely because he
initiated a lot of development projects in the district," the Chronicle
said. "Prof Moyo is credited with facilitating the construction of the Grain
Marketing Board depot, expansion of the Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road and
sourcing computers, books and construction material for schools in the
district. He has also sourced hospital equipment, rehabilitated irrigation
equipment and facilitated the electrification of schools and clinics." No
doubt there as to whose side the Chronicle is on!
Commenting on the
decision to select a woman candidate, Moyo said: "This just shows that there
is something fundamentally wrong and it is self-evident and it must be
challenged by everyone who loves our region and our country." So much for
Let's give CAPS United three cheers for responding
positively to President Mugabe's "Look East" policy. Unlike local musicians
and business people who still think West is best, CAPS United have recruited
Cheng Lee from China to their club. The Herald says Cheng's parents have
moved to stay in Zimbabwe. Who said sport and politics don't mix?
Radical fuel measures looming Chris Goko ZIMBABWE'S
two fuel procurement agencies, the Indigenous Petroleum Marketers Group
(IPMG) and Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (PMAZ), have been
merged as part of government measures to stabilise the sector, which has
been problematic for six years, businessdigest can reveal.
Marumahoko, the deputy Energy minister, on Wednesday confirmed the
amalgamation, saying it was necessary to build uniformity in fuel
procurement and retailing as well as goodwill in the sector.
groups (IPMG and PMAZ) were merged a few weeks ago and this was done to
level the field in procurement between larger and small companies,"
Marumahoko said. He expressed optimism that the centralisation of operations
would eliminate problems dogging fuel imports in the country.
said Zimbabwe had been able to build on consistent supplies and distribution
of fuel lately because the consortiums were cooperating in many areas, among
them resource mobilisation and tapping from almost similar oil sources, as
opposed to the "fragmented system" prior to the merger.
PMAZ, meanwhile, will retain their names, although they have started holding
Masimba Kambarami, a PMAZ member, confirmed the
merger, while board chairman of the combined group Gordon Musarira could not
be reached for comment on how exactly the entity would
However, people with knowledge of changes in the sector
said further reforms were in the offing, with the government planning to
reclassify fuel import-licence holders.
The companies, it has
been learnt, would be categorised into those with requisite infrastructure
such as service stations, and those with little or no assets at
Of the country's 107 registered dealers, 95% could lose their
operating licences, sources said.
"A number of fuel importers
have emerged and especially over the last two years to capitalise on the
country's perennial fuel shortages.
"Closely analysed, a majority of
them (import licence beneficiaries) have no meaningful investment in the
sector so much so that they have been fingered in speculative trade. It is
in that vein that a probe has been called on whether the country needs more
licences," the sources said.
While confirming possible reorganisation
of the licencing aspect in the sector, Marumahoko would not substantiate
claims that there would be licence cancellations altogether. Energy minister
July Moyo could not be reached for comment as he is on leave.
has since been suggested only 10 import licences would be issued, with a
significant number of losing licence holders being compressed into four fuel
procurement consortiums while the other six licences would be held by the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), the IPMG/PMAZ group and a
Other than narrowing the band of oil sector
players, aggressive affirmative action polices have also been suggested
where established multinational oil companies would cede a significant
portion of their assets to emerging companies.
Zimdollar tumbles Eric Chiriga THE Zimbabwe dollar
depreciated by 18% and 11% against the South African rand and Botswana pula
respectively last month, Finhold's Monthly Economic Update has
"The Zimbabwe dollar fell sharply by 18% against the South
African rand and 11% against Botswana pula on the foreign currency auction
market," Finhold said in the update.
This is contrary to the
government's claim that the country's currency is firming and the economy is
recovering. Finhold said the rejection rate of bids averaged 88% during the
"The total amount of bids fell from about US$62 million
to US$31 million while the total number of bids fell from 2 813 on December
2 2004 to 1 342 on December 24 2004," the finance company
In the update, Finhold said there was more activity on the
international currency markets where the euro set record high levels against
the US dollar and Japanese yen, while the US dollar traded at near record
low levels for the better part of the month under review.
same period the Zimbabwe dollar depreciated by 1% against the US
The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at US$1:$7 500,
R1:$1 500 and BWP1:$1 900 on the parallel market while on the foreign
currency auction the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at US$1:$5 797, R1:$963 and
Finhold added that in the same period of December 2004,
the money market recorded a monthly average shortage of $660
"The money market recorded a monthly average shortage of
$660 billion compared to a monthly average shortage of $93 billion and $266
billion recorded in October and November 2004."
The shortage was
an improvement from a deficit of $943 billion on December
Despite the persistent money market shortages, interest rates
Finhold said interest rates were expected to
fall further as liquidity conditions improve in response to the just-ended
corporate tax payment period and a significant portion of treasury bill
Aren't our disasters 'sexy' enough to
EVERYONE is horrified and saddened by the suffering,
loss of life and destruction caused by the recent tsunami in parts of Asia
As is often the case in most disasters, it is the poor and
vulnerable social groups like women and children that suffer
We should all be grateful that the international community,
including some African countries, have mobilised resources quickly to avoid
further suffering and the spread of diseases in the affected
The British public donated millions of pounds and put
pressure on their government to give more.
The United Nations and
multilateral financial institutions chipped in with some
Racing champion Michael Schumacher, footballer David
Beckham, the cricketing community and non-governmental organisations came in
handy while television stations - CNN, BBC and Sky News - still keep the
disaster in public focus. That is how it should be!
help but wonder why such generosity and compassion for fellow human beings
is not reflected in Darfur and was not evident in Rwanda.
Africa, more than 160 000 people are infected with the deadly HIV every day.
More are dying daily. Isn't that disastrous enough for the same scale of
resource mobilisation, compassion and media focus as we are seeing with the
tsunami disaster? Aren't our disasters "sexy" enough to attract
Perhaps I am being too optimistic. Look, when disaster
struck in that region, there were rich tourists from all over the world
enjoying some fun in the sun. Besides, it is a natural disaster that
happened at Christmas, a time of giving.
Ever wondered why animals
were not affected by the disaster? Who told the animals to rush to higher
through your paper highlight the corruption going on in the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra), which is being perpetrated by our management.
into existence as Zimra on August 1 2001. Two years down the line, our
management decided to sell themselves vehicles at book value, and bought new
vehicles for themselves.
We were to get housing loans from
Intermarket Building Society but management used all the money to buy houses
for themselves in leafy suburbs, leaving us with no chance of owning a house
even in the ghettos.
Zimra advanced personal loans to all staff but
once again our greedy managers took all of it leading to closure of the
Zimra management has never awarded a salary increment
without us going for arbitration. They do not want to see their employees
live a reasonably good life.
Position filling in Zimra is so
scandalous. If you do not know a manager who can stand up for you then you
might as well forget about promotion. Ask any employee of Zimra who is not
in management and they will confirm this. No wonder most employees are
leaving for greener pastures, especially for the Reserve Bank of
In conclusion, these people preach the slogan of integrity,
transparency and fairness. They are not doing what they preach. One day
chickens will come home to roost.
the Law Society of Zimbabwe for exposing an attempt by the government to
rope in lawyers to do the job of law enforcers.
This may sound strange
but there is already legislation to that effect in the form of the
expansively named Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Act
which President Mugabe recently signed into law.
Last week we carried
a story on the Law Society's constitutional challenge to the new law which
compels lawyers to record, disclose and report to government confidential
information gathered from their clients. This, the government believes,
would be a useful front in fighting money laundering and related criminal
A cursory layman's understanding of this law is that
lawyers are being conscripted to act as state agents, contrary to their
client's interests. They are being positioned as whistleblowers on clients
Your legal practitioner is being asked to send
incriminating information about you to the police, which information you
would have given the lawyer in confidence. That same lawyer can still stand
up for you in court because you will never know that he was the
whistleblower. He is not allowed by law to tell you that he is passing on
confidential information to the law enforcers.
So if it is
information regarding a commercial crime, the lawyer can send a claim to
central bank governor Gideon Gono's Whistle Blower Fund and at the same time
secure huge fees from his/her client for legal representation! Can the
lawyer then stand up in court as a witness against his/her client? This is
not practicable but it is not very far from what the law is seeking to
This is a shocking attempt by the government to bolster
the ranks of the police, which have generally been ineffectual in dealing
with cases of commercial felony. We often hear stories of policemen who
arrest suspects on fraud charges the law enforcers have very little clue
about. I remember vividly how in 1999 a politician who is currently behind
bars used to drive around detectives from the Police Fraud Squad ordering
them to arrest certain executives at First Mutual Life. What became of those
cases? Is it that the senior managers at FML were as innocent as newborn
babies or police were led down a garden path by the
The easy way out of this ineffectualness
of the law enforcers, it seems, is for the state to compel lawyers to pass
on information to the police about their clients. This is a disingenuous
admission of failure by our government to adequately equip police to deal
with commercial crime. We have of late seen the police arresting and
detaining suspects in order to investigate a case instead of arresting after
investigating. Laws have been crafted to abet this fundamentally
The Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of
Money Laundering Act is yet another attempt to subvert the legal process by
undermining the role of lawyers whose job is being shifted from defending
clients to incriminating them. Lawyers will not be party to this flawed
process and have decided to challenge the law.
"It is essential
that defence lawyers remain defence lawyers. Setting them up against their
client and conscripting them into law enforcement will make them dis-legal,
essentially dishonest and generally untrustworthy to the detriment of the
legal profession," the Law Society's court application says.
lawyers made another salient point in their application.
"It is not
necessary to turn lawyers into whistleblowers in order to prevent them from
engaging in or assisting in money laundering. If a lawyer believes that he
or she is engaging in money laundering and persists in consummating the
transaction, that lawyer will already be liable to discipline and criminal
"That lawyer will not comply with the reporting and
recording requirements. Only lawyers who would not engage in money
laundering are likely to record, disclose and report. The reports are more
likely to pertain to innocent clients than guilty ones."
added: "Money laundering is not a notorious evil in Zimbabwe. There is no
prevalence of money laundering. There have been no reports of monies to
support terrorism or proceeds from drug trafficking being transited through
Zimbabwe. There have been no prosecutions relating to transmission of money
or the housing of dirty money in Zimbabwe. It is not necessary to interfere
with fundamental rights in order to deal with a problem which is
non-existent in Zimbabwe."
Well said. A bad law can never be used
to fight crime. The most effective law is one where stakeholders have a
sense of ownership and can participate openly in the implementation of the
The Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money
Laundering Act does not fall into that category because stakeholders have
already started to resist its implementation.
The most effective
force in fighting all forms of corruption is the general public and an
incorruptible government, not retrogressive laws.