Jonathan Moyo could be living on borrowed time. Zanu PF, well known for
dealing ruthlessly with dissenting voices within its ranks, has started
investigating the embattled propaganda chief, on corruption charges, The
Standard can reveal.
Moyo is being investigated for prejudicing the State
of more than $68 million, as well as using the State-owned Agricultural
Rural Development Authority (ARDA) to provide free labour at a farm in
Umguza owned by his mother, Ms Irene Ndlovu. A senior Zanu PF official
yesterday confirmed to The Standard that investigations of Moyo on
corruption charges had started.
Although the composition of the team
investigating Moyo was not disclosed, documents in our possession however,
show that the Matabeleland North Provincial Land Task Force had already
visited the 101.60-hectare Umguzaan Block Farm in Umguza District, which is
owned by Irene Ndlovu to check on the status and farming activities being
According to a report compiled by the taskforce:
"Investigations carried out revealed that the beneficiary of Sub-Division
Seven is Miss Irene Ndlovu, who is the mother of the Minister of State for
Information and Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet,
Professor Jonathan Moyo."
Moyo's curriculum vitae which he submitted to
the Zanu PF Elections Directorate for him to be considered to represent
Tsholotsho constituency also confirms that his mother has a farm in
"My mother is a peasant A1 farmer in Umguza District where she
was resettled in 2003."
The farm is actually a large-scale A2 model
Part of the Matabeleland North Provincial Land Task Force
report says: "Since the farmer was allocated the land in 2003, ARDA has
provided not only free labour but also paid for electricity and water bills
as well as servicing and repairing farming equipment."
equipment that Miss Ndlovu has received from Arda, according to the report,
are electric motors, steel pipes, tiles and shovels while services provided
for free by the public entity included land preparation, discing, ploughing
and harvesting, using Arda fuel.
In addition, the Rainbow Tourism Group
(RTG) group chief executive officer, Chipo Mtasa, has revealed that the
hotel group and the government were prejudiced of more than $68 million
after a company represented by Moyo's wife, let out Sikumi Tree Lodge to the
hotel chain in contravention of the Land Settlement Act whose section 13
prohibits the sub-letting or formation of partnerships on State
The lodge is located on Sub-division Lot Two Dete Farm.
is believed to have passed on the farm to his sister, a Mrs Jacqueline
According to the lease agreement signed on 1 August 2002
between the then RTG CEO, Herbert Nkala and a BA Moyo, representing Eternity
Trading, the owners of Lot Dete Farm, the lease arrangement was supposed to
run until July 31 in 2012.
A search at the Deeds Office in Harare
established that under Eternity Trading's Memorandum and Articles of
Association, the company's directors are listed as Beatrice Ambiyo Moyo,
14262, Garvin Close, Gunhill, Harare, whose nationality is listed as
Kenyan.Beatrice Ambiyo Moyo is Professor Jonathan Moyo's
Jacqueline Mayers, Professor Moyo's sister of 15 Ullswater Drive,
Morningside, Bulawayo, is also listed as a director.
are Innocent Sigudu and Admire Chiwocha.
The lease agreement states that:
"The rental is payable monthly in arrears, 30 days after the end of the
month during which the money is paid by the lessee, to the lessor at Messrs
Muzangaza, Mandaza and Tomana Legal Practitioners.
"The rental for
the period shall be calculated at 10 percent of the total income received by
the lessee from its operation of the camp in respect of safaris,
accommodation, food beverage, transport and general sales of curios, after
sales tax and agents' commission have been deducted."
The RTG CEO, Mtasa
wrote that: "The legal practitioners of Eternity Trading, Muzangaza, Mandaza
and Tomana have now served Rainbow Tourism Group a three-month notice of
termination of lease, effective April 1, 2005."
In Mashonaland Central
province, Moyo is also singing the blues after the land task force was
reported to have embarked on a process to repossess his Patterson Farm in
Mazowe, while war veterans were reported to have briefly occupied the
property but later went away.
Efforts to get comment from Arda chief
executive officer, Dr Joseph Matowanyika, and Moyo were fruitless yesterday,
while Zanu PF spokesperson, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, was not immediately
available for comment.
Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement, under whose ministry ARDA falls, yesterday professed
ignorance about the use of ARDA equipment at the farm owned by Moyo's
"If he is under investigation, as you say, approach the relevant
authorities. They will be able to comment on that. I don't want to
speculate," Made said.
Voter apathy wake-up call for Zanu PF By Rutendo Mawere
and Savious Kwinika
THE record poor turnout that characterised the recent
Zanu PF primary elections countrywide could be a barometer of what the
ruling party can expect in the March parliamentary elections, The Standard
has been told.
The elections, which were riddled with allegations of vote
buying, intimidation and inter-party violence, witnessed what could be the
lowest turnout in an election of such magnitude since
independence. However voting during general elections tends to draw more
people to the polling stations than during party primaries, which in the
case of Zanu PF, appear to reflect the jockeying among aspiring party
candidates. National elections have more resources allocated to them and
supporters tend to close ranks in support of whoever is representing their
It is partly for this reason that the number of people who voted
in the Zanu PF primaries are far less than those that cast their ballots for
the ruling party during the 2000 parliamentary elections, in which President
Robert Mugabe's party nearly lost to opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Analysts believe the
dismal voter turnout mirrored the actual political support Zanu PF commands
in the country.
A comparative analysis of voting patterns in the 2000
parliamentary poll and the recent Zanu PF primary elections indicates a
dwindling support base for the ruling party even in its stronghold, the
Guruve North constituency in Mashonaland Central province
recorded lowest voter turnout with 5 144 people voting compared to 20 513
who voted for the ruling party in 2000. In Rushinga, one of the remotest
areas in the country, 2 282 people voted in 2005 against 20 027, who voted
Only 3 130 voters voted in Mazowe West compared to 14 024 during
the last parliamentary elections.
In urban areas, the stronghold of
the MDC, the number of people who voted was pathetically low. In Harare's
Dzivarasekwa constituency 2 666 Zanu PF supporters voted, compared to the 6
084 in 2000, while Kambuzuma recorded only 1079 compared to 2 572 in the
last parliamentary elections.
Zanu PF supporters in Matabeleland region
will probably be more aggrieved because they were denied the right to choose
candidates of their choice and this could partly account for the voter
apathy during the primaries in addition to the general unpopularity of the
ruling party in that part of the country.
In 2000, Zanu PF recorded 2
864 votes against a mere figure of 311 in Bulawayo East constituency, while
in Makokoba 393 voted this year against 2 196 in 2000 general
In 2000, 5 236 people voted in Mpopoma/Pelandaba against 777
In the recent Zanu PF primary elections, Chipinge South
recorded 12 299 compared to 4 086 in 2000 and Kadoma East, which had 14 288
to 11678 in 2000.
Nathan Shamuyarira Zanu PF secretary for
Information and Publicity,however, denied the voter apathy in the recent
ruling party primary elections would have a bearing on the March
"Voter turnout for primary elections has always been
low even in other countries and this has no implication whatsoever on the
coming March elections," he stressed.
Tsvangirai in SA to meet ANC officials By Kumbirai
OPPOSITION MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in South Africa, where
he was scheduled to meet African National Congress (ANC) officials to brief
them on the Zimbabwean crisis ahead of the March general
Tsvangirai is also expected to meet the South African
Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu)
leaders, powerful bodies in the country's political landscape. William
Bango, the MDC leader's spokesperson, confirmed the visit yesterday. "The
whole world is getting concerned about Zimbabwe and the ANC has expressed
its exasperation with the developments in the country as far as free and
fair elections are concerned." Bango said.
Tsvangirai, who is accompanied
by the party's secretary general Welshman Ncube, national chairperson Isaac
Matongo and treasurer Fletcher Dulini Ncube, left Harare on Thursday
Sources said Tsvangirai would brief President Thabo Mbeki on the
progress, or lack of it, Harare has made in complying with the SADC
principles and guidelines on free and fair elections.
spokesperson Beki Khumalo could not be reached to confirm the meeting and
reports that the South African President is soon to visit Harare to meet
President Robert Mugabe on the political situation in the country.
Tuesday, the opposition leader is expected to address the South African
Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA) of which Mbeki's young brother,
Moeletsi, is deputy chairperson.
Last week, ANC reportedly hit out at
the ruling Zanu PF party for failing to level the political playing
Tsvangirai's trip to South Africa coincided with that of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe, who is also meeting Cosatu leaders.
met Cosatu general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, to discuss how to move
forward should Harare bar a planned Cosatu mission.
Cosatu's spokesperson, said the leaders of the two labour unions conversed
with each other over the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe,
conditions for free and fair elections and reviewed the labour union's
planned visit to Zimbabwe.
The government banned Cosatu from visiting
Zimbabwe, accusing it of having a hidden political agenda.
PRESIDENT Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, who flew in yesterday morning
and immediately went into about four hours of behind-the-door talks with
President Mugabe, emerged to declare that the two ruling parties,
Chama Chamapinduzi and Zanu PF, both facing elections this year were
confident of victory. Speaking during a Press briefing at State House
yesterday afternoon, Mkapa said the two leaders had exchanged views on the
situations in their respective countries.
"This has been a helpful
visit and I am satisfied with the way things went. These short visits are
essential as they give us time to have fruitful discussions," Mkapa
Mkapa said: "You are aware that Zimbabwe is having elections
in March and Tanzania in October and we have talked about this and we felt
confident that we will emerge victorious."
Immediately after the
briefing, President Mkapa, accompanied by his host, and Vice President Joyce
Mujuru, headed for Harare International Airport on his way back to
CHIPINGE - At least 16 villagers from Chipinge South fled their
homes last week into Mozambique after they were brutally attacked by
suspected Zanu PF supporters and youth militia for supporting the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), The Standard has learnt.
villagers, mostly from Mariya and Zamchiya areas, are surviving on wild
fruits, mangoes, bananas and the generosity of Mozambicans, who are also
providing them with shelter. The villagers said the youth militia, who
were allegedly travelling in a truck belonging to the Zanu PF candidate for
Chipinge South in the March parliamentary elections, Enock Porusingazi,
raided the homes of suspected MDC supporters - beating everyone in sight -
even children and elderly people.
The villagers claimed that the
youths numbering about 15, were being driven around in a Mazda B1800 truck
by Porusingazi's chief campaign manager, Simon Mapfumo.
One of the
victims, Olismos Mutseyami of ward 25 in Mariya, who said he spent eight
days in Mozambique told The Standard last week that at least 16 opposition
party activists were still in Mozambique because they feared for their
"Porusingazi is terrorising everyone in Chipinge South and the
police are doing nothing because he has provided them with offices at his
complex. The youth militia is also housed at his complex. He is providing
them with everything," Mutseyami said.
Among the people who fled into
Mozambique were Edgar Nyika, Cadman Chapu, Chimene Chapu, Gultone Maronga,
Austin Mlambo, John Maphakame and Hlabathi.
Mutseyami said Zanu PF
supporters and youth militia raided his homestead while he was away. "On
learning that I was away, they severely assaulted my wife. Right now, she is
receiving treatment daily at Mutare General Hospital as an outpatient,"
His wife, Leslie Mushunje, and three other victims, who
include Itayi Sithole and James Dhliwayo, were rushed to Mutare by other
party members after the assault.
MDC spokesperson for Manicaland,
Pishayi Muchauraya confirmed that some party members had fled into
"We made a report at Mutare Central Police Station because
police down there (Chipinge South) are housed at his (Porusingazi) premises
and they will obviously do nothing about it.
"We have reported
several cases of violence against Porusingazi in the past but it appears he
is untouchable," said Muchauraya adding; "I don't foresee a free and fair
election in March because violence is continuing," Muchauraya
Police spokesperson superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said he had
not received the report on political violence in Chipinge South but promised
to investigate the matter.
Porusingazi could not be reached on his
mobile phone but a secretary at his Mutare office, who identified herself as
Olivia, denied that the violence that occurred in Chipinge South last week
was instigated by her boss.
Mapfumo (Porusingazi campaign manager) denied
involvement in the violence that occurred in Mariya and Zamchiya saying it
could have been just "overzealous" youths from MDC and Zanu PF that had
"That's not true my brother, I am against any forms of
violence. For your own information, I have mediated in disputes involving
Zanu Ndonga, MDC and Zanu PF a number of times," Mapfumo said.
Motorist in trouble for 'blocking' Mugabe's motorcade By
our own staff
ARMED POLICE escorting Presidents Robert Mugabe and
visiting Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzanian yesterday savagely assaulted a motorist
after accusing him of obstructing the Presidential motorcade along Julius
Nyerere Way in Harare.
Mkapa arrived in the capital yesterday
The Standard witnessed the incident in which three armed police
details forced the motorist to park his car, an Isuzu twincab (registration
number 785-003N) in front of Time Bank at the corner of Julius Nyerere
Street and Nelson Mandela Avenue.
Two policemen then began to
interrogate the unidentified motorist, during which time they confiscated
his driver's licence, while another officer could be seen radioing for
A Mercedes Benz emblazoned with the ZRP logo, which was part of the
motorcade immediately arrived on the scene of the incident.
driver of the police vehicle began assaulting the motorist shouting, "Kana
wanga uchiti uchauraya President Mugabe, wairasa. Ungatouraya inini (If you
thought you could kill President Mugabe, you are wrong. I would rather you
One of the police details also accused the motorist of being an
"Tiudze, ndiani akakutuma kuzouraya President, wakapiwa marii?
(who sent you to kill the president, and how much did you get for the
The visibly frightened motorist could only plead his innocence
saying: "Please, I am innocent, I did not even obstruct your
A crowd of about 100 people witnessed the incident. One woman,
who was among the onlookers said: "This man was not even in the way when the
motorcade passed, and the police are just being brutal for
According to the amended Road Traffic Regulations (2002), it is
an offence for the public to say or do anything "within the view or hearing
of the State motorcade with the intention of insulting any person travelling
with an escort or any member of the escort."
The police forced the
motorist into the escort vehicle (registration number G-PHS19), before
whisking him away in the direction of the Central Police Station, while one
of the police details drove the Isuzu. It was not immediately clear where he
took the vehicle.
Efforts to locate the whereabouts of the motorist were
fruitless by the time of going to press. An Assistant Inspector Robert
Chikura, the Controller at Harare Central Police, professed ignorance of the
"I am not aware of the incident, and that man was definitely
not brought here, but it's a good thing that you have the car's registration
number," he said.
The police unit in-charge of VIP protection, the
Police Protection Unit (PPU) could not be reached. Their phone went
State grant to Mutare Council slashed by 70% By our own
MUTARE - THE government has cut the Public Sector Investment
Programme (PSIP) grant to the Mutare City Council by more than 70 percent
throwing into disarray all developmental projects planned for this
Misheck Kagurabadza, the MDC city's executive mayor, said the
Ministry of Local Government Public Works and National Housing had indicated
that it would only avail $8,5 billion of the initially promised $28
billion. "The local government had said it would make available $28 billion
to the council under the PSIP, but made an about turn and said they were
only going to give us $8,5 billion," Kagurabadza said.
He said the
$8,5 billion was inadequate to embark on new capital projects as well as
complete existing ones. The mayor said the council had done its financial
projections and planning based on the initially promised grant.
means we will have to find somewhere to trim expenses and ensure service
delivery does not suffer," he said.
Kagurabadza said due to limited
financial resources, the engineering department - the hub of the council -
did not have any vehicle to carry out its duties, a situation that severely
compromised the council's operations.
He said the council intended to buy
26 council service trucks, tippers for road maintenance and graders for the
refuse dumpsite and a bulldozer.
Mutare City Council last bought service
vehicles in 1994 and most of them are now off the road due to old age and
shortage of spare parts.
"Maintaining some of these vehicles is not cost
effective. Their poor state impacts negatively on the council's timeous
response to residents' calls and requests for service," he said.
Shocking poverty haunts ex-farm workers By our own
THE loss of livelihood of former commercial farm workers due to the
government's controversial and chaotic land reform programme left many
households and orphans vulnerable to poverty and general abuse, a recent
study by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) reveals.
The study by
the Farm Orphan Support Trust Of Zimbabwe (Fost) says the government's land
reform programme left orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) exposed to
extreme poverty and abuse. The executive director of Fost, Lynn Walker, says
82 percent of households surveyed by her organisation indicated that they
relied on farm wages for their food security and other needs.
loss of income has severely hampered the ability of many households to
support these children and fewer extended families are taking in orphaned
children," Walker says.
Fost estimates that there are more than 150
000 orphaned children in former commercial farming areas throughout the
Walker said the girl child was particularly exposed to general
abuse and transactional sex.
"Where the household is headed by a
girl, she will often resort to early marriage in an attempt to support
herself and her siblings. Fost knows of many households where children have
engaged in transactional sex in order to obtain food and other
"Previously, households such as these would have been supported by
the farmer as well as providing shelter and supporting education. Work would
often be found for older household members and for younger members during
the school holidays to enable them to support themselves. These options are
no longer available."
Presently, there are 25 orphaned children on
each farm, according to Fost, the private voluntary organisation that
supports OVCs on commercial farms in the country.
says in 1995 there was an average of one child orphaned on every farm in the
A year later, the figure had risen to three a farm. However, in
2001 this figure rose to an average of 12 and by 2002 it had increased to 17
The study also says more than 72 percent of all vulnerable
households in farming areas are headed by women, 10 percent by orphans while
26 percent of children of school-going age were out of school.
estimated that more than 350 000 farmworkers have been displaced since the
onset of the land reform exercise in 2000.
Most new farmers could not
accommodate all farm workers on farms they took over from white commercial
farmers because they did not have enoughresources.
workers, accused of resisting the land reform exercise and siding with white
commercial farmers, were sent packing together with their former
CIO 'officials' destroy new farmers' crops By Valentine
MORE than 45 newly resettled farmers at Esbank (Chitamba farm)
along Mazowe road recently had their 110 hectares of crops destroyed by two
men claiming to be officials from the President's Office, The Standard has
The farmers, who had planted maize, groundnuts and beans, have
been staying at Chitamba farm since the height of the government-sponsored
land seizures in 2000. Speaking to The Standard last week the farmers
said the two people, Victor Hwacha and a Mr Midzi, who claimed to be Central
Intelligence (CIO) operatives, defied an order from the acting Provincial
Administrator (PA) for Harare Province, Bernard Badu Chahuruva, barring them
from destroying the crops.
The farmers claimed that the two officials
did not produce any offer letters.
In the letter dated 5 January,
2005, a copy of which is in possession of this paper, Chahuruva requested
that the new farmers be allowed to tend their crops.
have since been farming on the land, and at present have a variety of crops
in the ground. This office requests that the settlers be allowed to tend for
their crops until maturity.
"Please bear in mind that the settlers had
acquired inputs through the government inputs scheme and destroying the
crops will not augur well with government's land reform programme," wrote
Lands, Reform and Resettlement legal director, Gilbert
Washaya, had also written to Simon Pazvakavambwa, the permanent secretary in
the same ministry, urging him to iron out the matter at the
"Will your office please investigate this matter and verify whether
the claim is true," wrote Washaya, in a letter dated 5 January this
Simon Pazvakavambwa, was not available for comment last
A Mrs Tsvakwi, the acting secretary, referred all questions to the
minister, who was not immediately available.
Leonard Tsoka, one of
the farmers, said the alleged CIO operatives came to the farm in November
last year and ordered everyone to leave.
"What we need is assurances from
the government that we are going to get compensation and that we would be
allocated a place where we would go and continue with our farming
activities," Tsoka said.
A representative of the farmers, Peter Shumba,
said most of the farmers had received inputs from the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) through the government inputs scheme and it would be difficult for
them to pay back.
"We are demanding that they pay back all our inputs and
compensate everyone," Shumba said.
He said police at Marlborough
Police Station refused to open a docket against the two. As a result, the
farmers last week approached the Police General Headquarters for
"We need to make this a police case because without a record
we can not have the right to seek compensation for our destroyed crops,"
The farmers said Hwacha and Midzi destroyed the crops with
the aid of a former white commercial farmer, identified as Jardim, on the
same day they received the letter from Chahuruwa.
yesterday, Mr Jardim of Chitamba farm said: "It's not me. Why don't you talk
to Hwacha. He is the one who did it. We stopped farming and we are waiting
for a decision from the Land Committee."
Efforts to get Chahuruwa were
fruitless as he was said to have been replaced by a new provincial
administrator, who was expected to start work this week.
Contacted for a
comment last week, Midzi could not confirm whether or not he was from the
president's office but said the farm was being taken over by the
"That is not true because that farm is being taken over by
the government and we did not plant down any crops," Midzi said before
switching off his mobile phone.
Tourism slump hits Masvingo By our own
MASVINGO - THE number of tourists visiting holiday resorts
in Masvingo has drastically declined due to the current economic and
political crisis affecting the country, a government official has
The director of Museums and Monuments in Masvingo, James
Nemerai, said tourism industry in the province had been on the decline since
1999 due to the current economic downturn as well as the political problems
facing the country. "Tourists no longer come in their numbers since the
country started facing economic and political problems.
no longer consider our country as a safe tourist destination because the
economy has been going down,'' lamented Nemerai.
available to The Standard indicate that the number of foreign tourists
visiting Masvingo over the past five years has declined by
About 8 000 foreign tourists visited Masvingo in 1999 but the
number went down to less than 4 000 last year.
Nemerai said tourists
from countries such as the UK, Australia, The Netherlands and New Zealand
were no longer interested in visiting the country fearing for their lives,
especially towards major elections, which are usually accompanied by
As a result, school children, from across the
country, now constituted a large percentage of visitors to resort places in
In November and December last year, 5 333 schoolchildren
visited the Great Zimbabwe while only 878 foreigners, most of them from
South African, Botswana and Namibia visited the monument.
holiday resort operators in Masvingo province also conceded that business in
the tourism industry had taken a knock in the past few years due to the
current volatile political climate and harsh economic environment.
blamed politicians for lack of political will to resuscitate the ailing
tourism industry in Masvingo province.
''Politicians in Masvingo are
not even concerned about the tourism industry. They just concentrate on
fighting for leadership while doing nothing to promote our the tourism
industry. That is why the situation is so bad in the province,'' said a
hotel manager, who preferred anonymity.
He said there was need to market
resort places such as the Great Zimbabwe and the Kyle Recreation Park, which
boast a variety of wildlife, to earn the country the much needed foreign
Another hotel official said the room occupancy rates were
always low towards the time of major elections.
"Actually, at times
the occupancy rate would go down to about 30 percent, a situation which is
not encouraging at all," said the official.
It is feared that the number
of tourists visiting the country will continue to decline as the March
parliamentary elections draw near.
The 2000 and 2002 parliamentary and
presidential elections respectively were characterized by intimidation,
torture and murder, creating an unfavourable climate for foreign
Masvingo province has one of the country's leading holiday
resort centres in the form of Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Kyle Recreation Park and
Lake Mutirikwi, the largest man-made lake in the country.
GMB meets millers over maize shortage By our own
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been holding meetings with
millers during the past few weeks in an effort to find a solution to the
current acute shortage of maize meal affecting the country, The Standard
GMB marketing director, Zvidzai Makwenda, said the
parastatal had so far held meetings with millers since the beginning of this
month in a bid to address maize meal shortages. "We are currently
engaging the millers in general meetings that we are holding and we hope to
find a solution. The position is we are giving millers enough maize but we
don't know where the shortages are coming from," Makwenda
Sources in the milling industry said some companies were
contemplating scaling down operations because of the maize
In an interview with The Standard most millers said they were
processing all the maize they get from the GMB into maize meal.
financial director with Agrifoods, said they were not hoarding any maize
because they milled everything they received from the GMB.
not affect us in any way. We have processed everything that we have
received. If there is anyone who suspects that our milling companies are
hoarding, we are open for inspection. We have a very good relationship with
the GMB. Right now we are actually waiting for some deliveries," the
A director from Simboti Milling company refused to
"I don't want to comment on the matter. I just want to do my
business like I have been doing over the past years. Why did you call me? We
were in a meeting with the GMB recently," she said before switching off her
Most of the country's retail outlets have experienced
shortages of maize-meal during the past three weeks, heightening
apprehension among consumers, who faced chronic shortages of the basic
commodity between 2001 and 2002 after the government had lulled the nation
into a false sense of security over the food situation.
statutory instrument gave the GMB a virtual monopoly over the marketing and
distribution of strategic grain and requires all millers intending to
purchase grain from the parastatal to be licensed.
Violence: Zanu PF's poll trump card By Caiphas
... despite statements by Mugabe and Chihuri against violence
TWO months before the March parliamentary elections, incidents of violence
within the ruling Zanu PF and against the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are on the increase country wide despite calls for peaceful
polls by President Robert Mugabe, The Standard has established.
irony of it all, say some observers, is that most of the alleged
perpetrators of the politically motivated violence are in fact, senior Zanu
PF officials and legislators, raising questions about the sincerity of
statements by Mugabe and police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri declaring
"zero tolerance" of violence. Presently, two Zanu PF legislators and a
traditional chief, a known ruling party activist, are facing charges of
inciting public violence.
Embattled Makonde MP, Kindness Paradza and
Phone Madiro of Hurungwe West recently appeared before the courts on charges
of inciting public violence.
Acting chief Serima of Gutu, George
Chivande, a teacher by profession last week pleaded guilty to inciting Zanu
PF youths to commit acts of public violence in the area.
before Masvingo magistrate Shortgame Musaiona for contravening a section of
the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The State alleges that Chivande
incited the youths to evict a local businessman, Abel Gandidza, from his
shop because of his "undesirable" political affiliation.
day the youths beat up patrons and workers at Gandidza's bar before
deflating the tyres of his vehicle.
A fortnight ago, supporters of two
Zanu PF aspiring candidates clashed in Gokwe Central Constituency,
destroying millions of dollars worth of property. Police arrested supporters
of one of the candidates, Lovemore Mupukuta.
In August last year, the
Minister of Anti-corruption and Anti-monopolies and Zanu PF secretary for
administration, Didymus Mutasa, was also accused of instigating violence in
Manicaland's Makoni North constituency. Several Zanu PF activists, who
supported Mutasa's political rival James Kaunye, were injured during the
The Attorney General's Office said the Zanu PF supremo had a
case to answer. However, six months down the line, the case is still to go
before the courts.
Political violence has not been confined to
intra-Zanu PF clashes. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
has been complaining that its supporters were being harassed by Zanu PF
activists and prevented from attending political rallies.
spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi said Mugabe and his cronies were not
truthful when they called for a peaceful election. He said that if Mugabe
was sincere he should have ordered the arrest of all those who committed
political crimes during the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential
"A leopard rarely changes its spots. What you have to know
is Zanu PF has invested so much in violence and intimidation during the past
five years that it has become its survival tactic," said Themba-Nyathi
adding, "Mugabe has been condemning violence in public but instigates it
under the cover of darkness."
Themba-Nyathi said despite Mugabe's
condemnation of violence, Zanu PF supporters continued to disrupt their
rallies, particularly in rural areas.
Just outside Harare in Epworth,
Zanu PF youths tried to disrupt an MDC rally that was being addressed by
Tapiwa Mashakada, the opposition MP for Hatfield last week, leading to
In Chikomba constituency, the MDC said one of their
supporters, Godfrey Cotton, was last week abducted by a group of 12 Zanu PF
supporters at Chambara Business Centre.
violence against the MDC would increase after Zanu PF's primary elections.
"Today, they are fighting each other but after the primaries they will turn
on us in full force."
In July last year, MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
and other top party officials survived an attack by a group of 200 Zanu PF
militia in Mvurwi after addressing the party's Mashonaland Central
provincial assembly meeting.
Other top MDC officials who were
attacked include the party's national chairman, Isaac Matongo, deputy
secretary-general Gift Chimanikire, national women's organising secretary
Anna Chimanikire and legislator Fidelis Mhashu
Statistics made available
to The Standard by the Zimbabwe Human Right Forum indicate that between
January and September last year, 12 people were killed in politically
motivated violence, 202 were unlawfully arrested while 329 were
Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira could be reached for a
comment while John Nkomo, the party's national chairman was said to be in a
FOUR Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists, including MP for
Makokoba Thokozani Khupe, last week appeared before the Bulawayo
magistrate's court facing charges of contravention Public Order and Security
The four activists appeared before Bulawayo Provincial
Magistrate, John Masimba, and were remanded out of custody to 22 February
2005. State prosecution led by Andrew Marimo alleges that on 16 June 2002,
the four MDC activists along with 200 others convened a political gathering
at a business centre in Longebula, Bulawayo, without police
The four MDC activists were represented by Nkululeko Fuzwayo
of Calderlwood, Bryce, Hendrie and Partners Legal Practitioners.
Movement for Democratic Change could rue its ambivalent approach to the
parliamentary elections due in March this year.
Nearly a fortnight
ago, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC told President Levy Mwanawasa
of Zambia in Lusaka that President Robert Mugabe was rushing this year's
parliamentary elections when these could have been moved to June. He
said: "We do not have sufficient time for free and fair elections. As of now
the electoral process is not fair enough to hold free and fair
Our reading of this statement is that the opposition is
unprepared for March, which has been suggested as the due date for the
polls, and that it would be more comfortable with a postponement to
Tsvangirai's statement is going to be more than welcome among those
in the ruling party and government circles who will see this as a God-sent
opportunity to whittle down the opposition's support by portraying it as a
disorganised party. Even though much more still needs to be done in the
remaining few weeks before March, the government will move swiftly and hope
that the element of ambushing a seemingly unprepared opposition will work to
Also likely to work to the disadvantage of the MDC are
such factors as its own external support and pressure from the region for it
to participate, if only as a way of testing the government's sincerity in
adhering to the SADC protocols on principles and guidelines on democratic
The region's response to the Zimbabwean political crisis has
been to pin hopes on some miraculous intervention in the expectation that
this would save them from having to do anything against a fellow
When regional leaders exhort the MDC to take part in the
parliamentary elections, it is partly out of the belief that the
responsibility for acting will be shifted from them to their observer
missions. The regional leaders' task will become one that is merely informed
and guided by the pronouncements of their respective poll
President Mwanawasa suggested as much when he observed that
foreigners would not solve the political differences in Zimbabwe and added:
"It will take dialogue among Zimbabweans themselves to iron out their
political differences. Dialogue is a political necessity."
of this statement suggests that it could be a diplomatic rebuke of the
opposition by the Zambian leader. Our understanding is that the Zambian
leader was telling his visitors to stay at home and invest more of their
energy in seeking a solution to the political crisis in Zimbabwe. Of course,
the problem with this posture is that it conveniently ignores the fact that
since attempts to broker an understanding between the two main rival parties
in Zimbabwe, the government and the ruling party have fought tooth and nail
to scuttle any real and meaningful engagement of the opposition.
MDC may find itself in a no-win situation, even though it has protested that
it would not wish to participate in a poll whose outcome is
The Public Order Security Act (POSA) and the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), coupled with a blanket
ban by the State media on its political campaign activities are conspiring
to prevent the opposition from being heard, even by their own supporters.
These evils have combined to ensure that the opposition's campaign strategy
is neutralized and its visibility, in terms of meeting the people, is less
The belief in the ruling party is that the March
poll is going to be a one-way election, with the opposition's participation
lending a patina of legitimacy to the whole electoral charade. Zanu PF will
have a reason for holding the polls in March: it would want to combine
celebrations of an electoral victory with the independence silver
But the MDC not only alerted the ruling party by suggesting a
postponement. It could have made a major miscalculation. Unless it has
covered some ground, it is going to be taken for a ride on an unprecedented
scale. In one respect it will have its prevarication to thank for its
electoral misfortunes. This is the excuse the State media is hiding behind
in order to deny it access to the airwaves.
However, if recent claims
by the opposition that it has its moles within the ruling party are not mere
grandstanding, then it should have been aware of what strategies were being
drawn up to prevent it from campaigning, and it should have acted
For strategists in the opposition, the fall out from the
ruling party's primaries could be God-sent in terms of which constituencies
to target and which politicians to win over to their side, because some of
the results of the primaries have left, in their wake, considerable
disaffection, which any alert and organized opposition would capitalize
Galloping unemployment, closure of businesses, an escalation in the
cost of basic commodities, inability to attract more investment and the
consequent lack of job creation, as well as the collapse in the health and
education sectors, would appear to provide any opposition with enough
ammunition to mount a major challenge to the ruling party.
ruling party may want to paper over the cracks, some of the candidates, who
were elected to represent Zanu PF, should be aware that their sell-by date
expired long ago. The purge or rout of the so-called Young Turks might just
drive some towards the opposition, if what really drives them is the good of
The element of youthful candidates was one characteristic
that distinguished the opposition from the ruling party, even though there
was a sprinkling of youthful faces in Zanu PF. The emergence of young people
gave the opposition a youthful and intellectual appeal. However, the present
line up of Zanu PF candidates projects a much older generation of
While the government may not open up the space for an
electoral contest to the opposition, it is likely to do so during the
remaining few weeks before the arrival of invited regional observers and the
actual polling day.
Where are all these Chinamen? overthetop By
IN recent months troubled central Africans have been
told a great deal about how hoardes of Chinese investors will save their
country from economic perdition. Over The Top, though, has yet to find any
real evidence of these Chinese investors.
More to the point,
last time the Chinese came to the troubled central African basket case, they
built a very substantial sports' stadium. This was a wonderful thing for the
country, but it did little for the economy because they brought their own
labour - and their own labour saved money by eating many of the dogs in the
capital's western suburbs. Thousands of western suburbs residents, just
getting used to the idea of egalitarian politics, were deeply troubled to
wake up in the morning and find Rover or Speckles had found their way into a
Chinese cooking pot.
And causing troubled central Africans further
distress, it emerged that the Chinese labourers found the taste of bullfrogs
Knowing that the French also find
frogs make a good meal was little consolation to troubled central Africans
who know, instinctively, that all French people are disgusting
Still, I digress . Word from the ruling Zany Party is that
the troubled central African banana republic is "looking east" for economic
salvation - and that the salvation is on its way in the form of millions of
dollars of Chinese and now Iranian money.
Over The Top cautions
scepticism. So far the dog population has remained unchanged and there is
little sign of massive Chinese investment in anything other than Zhing Zhong
collapsible shoes in flea markets dotted around the capital.
OTT also cautions against buying these Zhing Zhong products. Those symbols
on the sides do not say, "Guaranteed for 12 months" as the salesmen will
They actually say, "Guaranteed to last three minutes, or
until you leave the premises, whichever comes sooner."
the troubled central African regime's eastern brothers saving the energy
sector, the coal sector and the transport sector, no one should hold their
Of course, the troubled central African nation could see
hoards of eastern brethren looming over the horizon, but then the Zany Party
will have to abandon it's "The troubled central African nation will never be
a colony again" slogan.
China, which remains one of the
planet's most despotic and tyrannical regimes, is hardly likely to do
something for nothing.
But there's nothing new there, of course.
Troubled central Africans have developed a cynical and resigned acceptance
that their fair weather friends are now found in rogue states, in the axis
of evil and in straightforward, old-fashioned dictatorships. China, Cuba,
Iran and North Korea top the list and OTT fully expects Burma to join the
register of "cooperating nations" before much longer.
all that investment, if the troubled central African basket case's power
supply is to be rejuvenated by Zhing Zhong products, we can look forward to
considerably more power cuts than we are already used to. Meanwhile the
beleaguered coal mining sector is to be salvaged with plastic Tonka
But never mind, it probably won't happen. For all the talk,
it's unlikely that the Chinese will invest very much at all. After all,
they're clever chaps and despite their adherence to the "property is theft"
philosophy at home, when they're abroad they'll want to know some deranged
Zany Party supporter isn't going to invade their investment and claim it is
his own. It seems likely that the cultural divide will be just too wide for
them. And besides, there's a shortage of dogs in the troubled central
African regime's electricity producing areas - and even they couldn't get
used to eating donkey meat.
sector continues to face an uncertain future. Our general hospitals are
short-staffed. There are no drugs to treat patients and when they are
available, the medications are too costly and beyond the reach of the
majority who are the suffering masses.
But Zanu PF can afford the luxury
of buying chiefs personal cars. Not that it is not a noble idea, but not
when our hospitals have no drugs. As for our education, the localisation of
examinations has all but destroyed our once admired educational system, not
only in Africa, but even beyond. Indeed, we can have academics, professors
and even historians running our education system, but without political
will, there will be no end insight to our problems.
which is agro-based, continues to suffer due to lack of political will.
Zimbabweans have watched as Zanu PF allocated vast tracks of fertile land
among its members in the name of land redistribution. Since then chaos has
reigned, not to mention reduced production experienced since the invasions
began in 2000.
Politics controls every facet of our lives and the sound
implementation of good economic policies is necessary and welcome for the
sound economic turnaround. Politicians make laws for the smooth running of
the country hence the importance of good governance. It is the running of
the State which determines the prosperity of the economy.
watched a lot of economists presenting their analyses over the state of our
economy. I have to admit that the likes of Jonathan Kadzura, Samuel Udenge,
Walter Chidhakwa and David Govere are brilliant people, but they are not
brave enough to point out that all the policies, if not given political
approval will, never bear any fruits.
So as the year begins, let us
be reminded that our economy is in bad shape, never mind the coming down of
inflation, and that it is because there is no political will. Zanu PF as the
administrator of our national affairs since 1980, is fully responsible for
our economic crisis and it is naive for it to point its fingers to the West
when all indications point at its own doorstep.
Politically, the new
year erupted and roared, giving rise to a rude awakening to several Zanu PF
leaders. Those in the know say that if you choose to join that gravy train,
"Tamba wakachenjera (be careful)".
As the election draws close each
passing day, it is the responsibility of every concerned citizen to remember
that the future of this great country is in our hands. If past experience is
anything to go by, violence, beatings, kidnappings and more nasty things are
on the cards.
Zanu PF will force us to buy their cards, wear their
T-shirts, chant their slogans, but let us keep our secret which is our vote
- with us. Let us vote with our conscience.
Of course, the playing
field is not level but the fight should go on to democratise our society.
Let us not allow our votes to be bought.
Those who choose to be owned,
and used by Zanu PF should not cry foul when the tables are turned against
of 5 January, had as its lead story an article about the demonstration by
Zanu PF women supporters over the party's nomination of candidates for
primary elections for the March parliamentary elections.
process was on 2 January, and if a demonstration was held on 4 January 2005,
that does not appear to give ample time for the women to have applied to the
police for a permit to demonstrate as required under the Public Order and
Security Act. None of the demonstrators was arrested, yet it is common
knowledge that when the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and other
progressive forces have applied for permission to demonstrate over any
issue, they are denied permission to do so.
Sometimes the organisers
have gone ahead with the demonstrations as it is a constitutional right for
every Zimbabwean to demonstrate, but heavily armed police have suppressed
This is the uneven playing field which the MDC has
cited before, which is good reason why the party may have to pull out of the
Just as a test, I would encourage the MDC to organise a
demonstration over any issue it feels is not being properly handled, and if
the demonstration is treated differently, it is evidence that the regime of
President Robert Mugabe is not implementing the SADC protocol on
hope the so-called commission running the City of Harare is not responsible
More than a week ago, I received notice from the Post Office
(Zimpost) to the effect that I had been sent a letter with insufficient
postage. When I went to collect the letter from Avondale Post Office, they
said this was what the City Council was resorting to - sending ratepayers
statements without postage and then expecting the ratepayers to pay. In my
case this was $10 000.
Why is it difficult for the City Council to
send its own staff to deliver the statements if it is unwilling to pay
Zimpost? Or is this the work of one lazy council worker, who decided to drop
his work into the post box?
There is supposed to be a meter reader who
goes round all properties; couldn't these people be given the statements to
deliver if council is so hard up?
This is one example of how things
are falling apart, that is apart from all the other horror stories of
neglect and dereliction of duty by council.
Pressure mounts on RBZ to deliver more By Rangarirai
CENTRAL Bank Governor Gideon Gono makes his fifth monetary policy
statement Wednesday under increasing pressure to bring closure to a bank
crisis that now looks to be spinning out of his grip.
Gono will also
be hoping that he can keep up the perception that his "economic turnaround"
remains well on track, but is also expected to announce even tougher
measures to sustain the slowdown in inflation. He will try yet again to win
over a business community that - over a year after he took office - still
cannot figure out whether to love or hate him. Perhaps the most glaring
mistake that Gono has made repeatedly in his last four statements has been
to promise so much on some of his most fundamental tasks. By doing so, he
has placed himself under at times unnecessary pressure to perform magic
tricks. His handling of the banking crisis presents the clearest example of
An ambitious plan to stitch up troubled banks under the
Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group looked to be in serious jeopardy last week
after Gono announced that only half of the eight commercial banks under
curatorship will be included in the amalgamated bank.
But later in
the week, that pressure to perform looked to have pushed Gono into rushing
the opening of Royal, Barbican and Trust - the members of ZABG. The shrewd
central bank Governor hopes that the five-day opening, beginning tomorrow,
will head off suggestions at his presentation that ZABG is dead in the
The rationale for placing banks under curatorship in the first
place was, according to RBZ itself, "to protect depositors and
shareholders". Now, RBZ wants to drain lifeblood liquidity support from the
banks, and has flung the burden to save those banks right back on the
shoulders of shareholders.
According to Gono, shareholders "should have
known or were supposed to have known how their institutions were being run".
They should have prevented banks from falling under, he said.
this angst - clearly triggered by Time Bank's audacious legal challenge
against its closure - makes one clear statement: the banking crisis is far
from over. Still, there are others who believe it is.
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Gono has been able "to clean up
and reform the financial sector". The CZI says: "The Reserve Bank has dealt
decisively with the banking crisis in Zimbabwe. Decisive action takes
tremendous vision and courage."
But Gono is likely to attempt to look
past the stubborn bank problem and dwell longer on the most visible of his
successes so far. He will play up the slowdown in inflation - from 622.9% in
January last year to 132.7% in December.
A forecast of 200% inflation
by December 2004 seemed very ambitious when he made it in his watershed
policy statement of December 18 2003, but Gono hit that target much earlier
than expected. He religiously stuck to a firm line against speculative
activity and curtailed funding to banks and spendthrift
Restraining inflation has been the most important
success of Gono's tenure, and his audience will definitely hear about it
more than once. Still, he will show more caution, aware of the dangers of
too much bullishness in Zimbabwe's ever unstable environment - especially in
an election year.
The economy will wait to find out how Gono plans to
keep the pressure on inflation. Because inflation figures in 2004 were
coming off 2003's high base, steep declines were seen. This will be tough to
sustain this year because of the lower 2004 base. Many therefore expect Gono
to have prepared an even stricter policy for this year.
Productive Sector Funding, under which funding is extended on soft rates to
industry, has kept distressed companies open for business, saving jobs and
slowing down - but not reversing - Zimbabwe's economic decline.
he has his fingers in every possible pie, he invites pressure from all
sectors of the economy - each of them demanding that Gono makes their lives
easier by granting even more concessions.
Already, miners have said they
want a higher price for their gold, with Falcon Gold warning a shut-down is
imminent if there is no big movement on the gold support price. CZI is also
demanding a wholesale review of the dry forex auction.
Eyebrows raised over new ZABG composition By Kumbirai
ECONOMIC critics have rounded off Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono for breaking an earlier promise to merge all failed seven banks placed
under curatorship into the ambitious Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG)
that is yet to open its doors to the public.
The outbursts came after
Gono last week dropped some struggling banks from incorporation into the new
institution. He said only three banks will form the nucleus of yet to be
established ZABG. A statement on Wednesday by Gono says Trust, Barbican and
Royal will be incorporated into the new banking institution; leaving out
Intermarket Banking Corporation, Intermarket Discount House and Intermarket
Building Society, Time Bank and CFX.
All Intermarket Holdings
Limited's subsidiaries have been left out of ZABG pending the outcome of
talks with a potential suitor, widely believed to be Finhold.
has been excluded from ZABG because of a court challenge lodged by the bank
against the central bank contesting its placement under the management of a
Shareholders of CFX - the eighth banking instution to collapse
in as many months - have presented their rescue plan and Fungai Kuipa, the
CFX curator, still has six months to provide remedy to revive the bank
forced to close in December.
"It is a trial and error thing. Gono is
only anxious with coming up with a bank like the Kenya Banking Corporation
(KBC)," says Daniel Ndlela, economic consultant with Zimconsult.
added: "Gono is leaping in the dust because his model of a an enlarged bank
won't work since the closed banks are overexposed."
Critics also drew
attention to Gono's October monetary policy review in which he reassured the
market that he would implement measures that are least disruptive to the
financial sector, the banking public and to the economy.
Mashakada, the opposition MDC's shadow finance minister, says there is a lot
than meets the eye over the feasibility of the new banking
"Gono is in a quandary," says Mashakada. "The marriage
of all insolvent banks is just unworkable."
In one of his earlier
policy reversals, Gono set up a Troubled Banks Fund (TBF) in January 2004
which partially shielded banks from imminent collapse despite an earlier
declaration not to accommodate poorly managed banks.
however backed Gono's plan to resuscitate few institutions saying an
enlarged ZABG would have broadened the institution's liability.
trying to minimise the contagion effect of the insolvent banks," said one
banker, who preferred not to be named.
How independent is the new ZEC? sundayopinion By Elias
THE Zimbabwe Parliament recently passed an Act which creates the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act is now
Law after the President assented recently. But how independent is the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission? In order to answer this question, it is
important to examine what is on the ground.
Currently, there are
four bodies which are associated with elections. These are; The Electoral
Supervisory Commission; The Registrar General of Elections; The Electoral
Directorate and The Delimitation Commission.
The Electoral Supervisory
Commission and the Delimitation Commission are constitutional bodies
established under the present Zimbabwe Constitution. The Registrar General
of Elections and the Electoral Directorate are Statutory Bodies created
under Electoral Law by Parliament. Likewise, the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission is a statutory body created by Parliament.
Electoral Commission is supposed to take over functions currently being
performed by the Registrar General and Election Directorate which are
operating. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has three main functions: It
will prepare and conduct elections of the President and Parliament as well
as elections to the governing bodies of local authorities; and
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is supposed to ensure that
those elections and referendums are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly,
transparently, and in accordance with the law; and to direct and control the
registration of voters by the authority charged with that responsibility
under an Act of Parliament.
The body is also supposed
l To compile voters' rolls and registers;
l To ensure the
proper custody and maintenance of voters' rolls and registers;
design, print and distribute ballot papers, approve the form and procure
ballot boxes, and establish and operate polling centers;
l To conduct
l To give instructions to - the Registrar General in
regard to the exercise of his or her functions under the Electoral Act; and
other persons in the employment of the state or of local authority for the
purpose of ensuring the efficient, proper, free and fair conduct of
elections; and to exercise any other functions that may be conferred or
imposed on the Commission by the Electoral Act or any other
It is clear from what I have said that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission will be subservient to the Electoral Supervisory Commission,
which was appointed entirely by the President. In fact, the Electoral
Supervisory Commission will supervise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It
is the Electoral Supervisory Commission and not Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, which will pronounce the freeness and fairness of the
The notion that you can create a statutory body like the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and retain two Constitutional bodies like the
Electoral Supervisory Commission and the Delimitation Commission both of
which have responsibilities over elections is nonsense to say the least.
According to the current practice, the Electoral Supervisory Commission
supervises the Registration of voters, the conduct of elections and it is
the body which makes a report to Parliament. On the other hand the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission will control the Registration of voters, conducts
elections and reports to the Parliament through the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The requirement that the commission's
report goes to the Minister will compromise its impartiality.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is made up of five Commissioners with the
chairperson being appointed by the President after consulting the Judicial
Service Commission and four other members appointed by the President from a
list of seven nominees submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on the
Standing Rules and Orders.
The new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
members were announced on Thursday January 20, by the Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa. They are High Court
Judge and chairman of the Delimitation Commission, Justice George Mutandwa
Chiweshe who shall also chair the new commission, Mrs. Sarah Kachingwe is
the deputy chairperson, Mrs. Vivian Stella Ncube, Professor George Kahari
and Reverend Jonathan Siyachitema are members of the commission.
forthcoming 2005 Elections provided the opportunity to break with past
practices by establishing a truly independent Electoral Commission. The only
effective way of creating a truly Independent Electoral Commission was by
way of amending the constitution and do away with current Electoral
Supervisory Commission. If there was an issue where there should have been a
convergence of views between the ruling party and the opposition parties, it
was the establishment of a truly Independent Commission. Such a
constitutional amendment would have been supported by all parties in
But the government through the Minister of Justice Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Chinamasa lacked political will to effect
constitutional changes. He rejected what he called "the practice in the
region (SADC) where the so-called independent bodies supervise themselves.
The practice evolving in the region is that the bodies themselves appoint
their own monitors; accredit their own observers and literally supervise
themselves. As far as I am concerned, my conscience is clear we have created
an Independent Electoral Commission" Mr Chinamasa told Parliament on
December 9, 2004.
He went on to argue that "what we have created is a
Mauritian Model. They have two electoral bodies - one which runs the
elections and the other one which supervises", he concluded.
forth-coming elections are not seen and perceived as free and fair by the
participating political parties the legitimacy of the Government elected
under flawed Electoral rules will be questioned, and Zimbabwe will continue
to be isolated by the International community.
What is on the ground
is that Zimbabwe has not embraced SADC Principles and Guidelines governing
Democratic Elections. The weakness of Chinamasa's electoral reforms is that
they do not deal with issue of the Electoral environment. Both the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Act and the Electoral Act do not recognize elections as
a process. Chinamasa and his ilk are concerned with elections as an event.
Yet elections have to be prepared for over a long period of time.
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be truly Independent, it should have
its own infrastructure and not rely on the Registrar General's office and
staff and the Electoral Directorate, which is made up of the army, the
police and the senior civil servants who are highly politicized. There is
absolutely no way one can conduct free and fair elections in a country where
the opposition is denied access to the public media well before the event.
There is inadequate time now and 2005 elections, whether the elections are
held in March or June 2005 for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to do its
work properly and conduct free and fair elections which will be accepted and
recognized by all participating parties and the international community. The
new commissioners of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must acknowledge that
they are members of a body, which is not independent. A body, which is
subservient to the Zimbabwe Supervisory Commission and, a body which has to
rely on the existing infrastructures of the Registrar General and the
To answer the question, "How independent is
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission?" An Independent Electoral Commission by
definition should be independent of the Executive - that is the President
and the Minister. Unlike the Public Service Commission and the Judicial
Service Commission which report to the Minister of Public Services, Labour
and Social Welfare and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs
respectively, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should report not to
Parliament through the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs
but direct to a democratically elected Parliament. Its chairman should be
the one to present the report to the Parliament or its committee. It should
not be supervised by any other body especially the Electoral Supervisory
Commission. It should be supervised by the Parliament itself. The new
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission does not adhere to the letter and spirit of
the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
Elias T Rusike - is a Media Consultant and former Publisher and CEO of the
Financial Gazette. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)'s NewsNet has
directed its reporters to give coverage to all opposition political parties,
except the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), because it has "not
confirmed participation" in the March general elections, The Standard has
The MDC is the only opposition party in the country that
can mount a credible challenge to Zanu PF's 25 years of uninterrupted
The Standard understands that ZBH Newsnet Editor-In-Chief, Tazzen
Mandizvidza, a fortnight ago summoned all bureau chiefs to Harare and
directed them to cover all opposition political parties except MDC, the
party that nearly defeated Zanu PF during the 2000 parliamentary
All ZBC bureau chiefs from around the country attended the
meeting, except Moses Gumbo from the Midlands province, the sources
Mandizvidza confirmed that the station would not give coverage to
Zimbabwe's largest opposition political party because it had not confirmed
whether or not it would participate in the March general
"Our policy is to go for stories and bring them before the
people of Zimbabwe so that they make their own judgement," Mandizvidza
Other than the MDC, the other opposition political parties are
small and do not pose any real threat to Zanu PF. These are the National
Alliance for Good Governance (NAGG), Zanu, Zimbabwe National Congress,
Zimbabwe Youth in Alliance (ZIYA).
By denying coverage to the MDC,
the government has failed to adhere to the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
The guidelines call for non-partisan coverage of all political parties by
the state media.