The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Independent

CFX mulls rescue plan
Vincent Kahiya/Conrad Dube
TROUBLED CFX Financial Services, the holding company for collapsed CFX Bank,
is mulling a rescue package that could see major shareholders and depositors
being invited to take up shareholdings in the closed merchant and commercial
units while the rest of the shareholders and depositors are paid off.

The plan, authored by CFX group CEO Wilson Gwatiringa and distributed to
major shareholders this week, proposes to seek liquidity support from the
Reserve Bank to pay off the minor shareholders and small depositors.

The group's subsidiaries, CFX Bank, CFX Merchant Bank and CFX Asset
Management were put under curatorship on December 17 after it was discovered
that there was a $115 billion hole in the company's accounts. Frank Kuipa
was appointed curator.

CFX Financial Services was created out of a merger between CFX and Century
Bank in September.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands that if the Reserve Bank agrees to bail
out the bank, the rescue plan could be set in motion immediately with the
commercial bank re-opening its doors on April 1.

There are also plans to save CFX Merchant Bank by turning large depositors
into shareholders. But the merchant bank is owed $67 billion by the
commercial bank. Gwatiringa however believes that the merchant bank can
weather the storm if it receives liquidity support.

On CFX Asset Management Company, Gwatiringa has proposed that it holds
preference shares in exchange for its $7 billion exposure to the commercial

An alternative plan would save the merchant bank and the asset management
company by rescinding the merger with the former Century Bank. This would
inevitably result in the liquidation of CFX Bank.

The Gwatiringa plan depends largely on the willingness of large depositors
to stay in the group as shareholders and the willingness of the RBZ to offer
support. For the large shareholders this could be the route to take.

"Preliminary computations as per the attached paper show that depositors and
creditors will salvage approximately 36% of what they are owed by the
commercial bank," the plan says.

Gwatiringa raised the possibility of CFX going into Zimbabwe Allied Banking
Group if his proposals are not accepted.

The Independent this week got access to a confidential RBZ report on CFX
which revealed that a management cartel at the closed bank created
fictitious client accounts for temporary adjustment to mislead auditors.

The cartel, according to the report from the RBZ probe, was crafted in such
a way that various due diligence exercises conducted by Imara Corporate
Finance, KPMG Accountants and Corporate Excellence (Pvt) Ltd failed to
unearth these fraudulent business practices.

The purpose of the RBZ investigation was to determine the true condition of
the bank in light of concealment of operating losses by management.

CFX management misrepresented the true condition of the bank which was
achieved through the manipulation of the system-generated income which was
showing accumulated losses of $115 billion.

The manipulated management accounts reflected an accumulated profit of $9
billion instead of the accumulated loss of $115 billion.

The bank had also created a fictitious asset base of $49 billion, which
arose from the fact that a foreign currency position of $72,7 billion was
not backed by a corresponding Zimbabwe dollar equivalent, the report says.

"Total deposits exceeded interest-earning assets by $124 billion as at 31
October 2004 without a corresponding increase in non-interest bearing
assets. Given that the losses of $115 billion were unreported for ten
months, there is a high possibility of attempts to conceal fraud," the RBZ
report said.

The report says the accounts were temporarily adjusted to mislead internal
and external auditors. In his internal report, CFX IT manager Henry Mazimbe,
who has been arrested in connection with the saga, indicated that he was
under pressure from the financial accountant, Calvin Mutombeni, to
manipulate interest computations in the live system.

The RBZ report says: "The financial accountant acknowledges creating a list
of client accounts that he gave to the IT manager for adjustment in equation
and claims that this was as per the finance director's instructions, and
that these adjustments had been done.

"This was achieved by value- backdating some transactions in selected client
accounts using an internally developed appendage to the equation software

The executives involved were the former managing director Garainesu Shoko,
finance director Onias Ndlovu, Mtombeni, assistant accountant Joseph Kwidini
and Mazimbe.
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Zim Independent

No going back on Tsholotsho
Staff Writers
INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo's bid to appeal against his exclusion
from the Zanu PF primary elections in Tsholotsho will not succeed once the
central committee adopts the decision to reserve the seat for a woman
candidate, the ruling party's secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa
said yesterday.

Moyo has appealed to Zanu PF's National Elections Directorate against the
decision to reserve Tsholotsho constituency for a woman, thereby
disqualifying him.

Mutasa said the ruling party had only received Moyo's faxed appeal yesterday
although a story appeared in the Herald yesterday morning reporting on its
contents. He said the party would provide an "appropriate response".

"We have only received the appeal today (yesterday)," Mutasa said. "The
central committee will deliberate on the positions taken by provinces and
once adopted by the committee, nobody can appeal. Moyo has just presented
his appeal to us today and it will be looked into by the elections
directorate and it will come up with an appropriate response before the
central committee meets."

Senior members of the Zanu PF Women's League yesterday said they would not
tolerate any reversal on Tsholotsho.

"As women, we will not allow rules to be bent for one man," a politburo
member in the Women's League said.

"This decision has to be respected and men must give women a chance."

In his appeal to the chairman of the Zanu PF National Elections Directorate,
Elliot Manyika, Moyo said the manner in which Tsholotsho had been set aside
for women was unfair. He said he met the party's criteria to contest the
primary elections as a current member of parliament, a former member of the
central committee, a former deputy secretary for information in the
politburo and as a current member of the party's national consultative

Moyo has fallen out of favour with the party leadership since hosting the
ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting, allegedly to try and block Joyce Mujuru's
elevation to the post of vice-president ahead of Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Five provincial chairmen who attended the meeting have since been suspended
from holding any party position for five years.

Meanwhile, war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba this week said he would
disregard Zanu PF's nomination process, insisting he was still the candidate
for the Glen Norah constituency. He was disqualified at the weekend.

The Harare provincial coordi-nating committee barred Chinotimba from

contesting primary elections scheduled for January 15, reserving the seat
for former Harare commissioner Cleveria Chizema.

Chinotimba ignored the disqualification and submitted his papers for vetting
directly to the national elections directorate and politburo.

Chinotimba confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that he had submitted his
papers to the politburo for vetting after the provincial coordinating
committee indicated that Glen Norah was reserved for a female candidate.

"As far as I am concerned, I am still an aspiring candidate for Glen Norah
until the politburo and the people of my constituency reject me," Chinotimba

"People of Glen Norah should stay calm because I am still in the race to
represent them. I have submitted my CV directly to the national commissariat
for vetting," Chinotimba said.

"All those who are claiming that they are already candidates are lying
because the national commissariat and politburo are yet to confirm their

Chinotimba said there were a number of candidates who were unfairly treated
and had forwarded their CVs directly to the national elections directorate.

Sources in Zanu PF said Manyika had been overwhelmed with com-plaints from
constituencies throughout the country. They said over a dozen candidates who
felt robbed by both the party's new requirements and reservation of seats
for women had either written or sent emissaries to make representations to
the politburo and national commissariat on their behalf seeking the reversal
of the nomination process.

"There is serious disgruntlement among party activists following the
exclusion of aspiring candidates who had spent millions of dollars in
campaigning and assisting the electorate in the constituencies," sources

They said most incumbent MPs who were imposed as candidates had failed
dismally over the past five years and efforts to remove them were quashed by
the stringent guidelines set by Zanu PF two weeks ago.

Only members of the provincial executive, na-tional consultative assembly,
central committee and "clean" sitting MPs are eligible to participate in the
primary polls.

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Zim Independent

Govt witch-hunting 'troublesome' teachers
Loughty Dube
THE government has embarked on a witch-hunt to sniff out organisers of a
teachers strike that nearly disrupted national examinations in October last

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has in the last two weeks been summoning
hundreds of teachers to appear before a committee at Mhlahlandlela
government complex in Bulawayo to explain their role in the "illegal"

The majority of the teachers who have appeared before the probe committee,
chaired by the Matabeleland education director, Dan Moyo, have not received
their salaries for the past three months for allegedly taking part in the

According to sources, over 200 teachers have appeared before the probe team.

Moyo refused to shed light on the matter and referred questions to PSC
chairman Mariyawanda Nzuwa, who could not be reached for comment.

About 800 teachers in Matabeleland had their salaries suspended on
allegations that they took part in an illegal strike called in October last
year to press for an 800% salary hike.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has described the latest
action by the government as a vindictive witch-hunt.

"The Ministry of Education should stop the witch-hunt and punishing people
unnecessarily because the interrogations they are holding are illegal. The
exercise the teachers undertook was a legal channel that was conducted
nationwide," said PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe.

He said the PSC and the Ministry of Education had not come out in the open
on the matter and said initially names of teachers who allegedly
participated in the strike were compiled by the President's Office.

Majongwe said it was puzzling why Matabeleland teachers alone were being
targeted when teachers went on strike nationwide.

The affected teachers have not been paid their salaries for three months.

"This whole exercise smacks of tribal politics. The strike was nationwide
and it is shocking why only Matabeleland is a target. The teachers should
just attend the kangaroo sessions they are summoned to and we will take
action from there," Majongwe said.

A teacher who appeared before the probe team told the Zimbabwe Independent
this week that the interrogators were interested in finding out the
ringleaders of the strike in Bulawayo.

"It appears that those who will provide names of ringleaders will be
re-instated on the government payroll and some innocent teachers are going
to be victimised," said the teacher, speaking on condition that he was not

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Zim Independent

Chiefs 'empowered' to prop up Zanu PF
By Ray Matikinye
THE recent displacement of a family in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe (UMP) district
in Mashonaland East from the area by Chief Tedius Matambanashe for allegedly
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will be seen
as a disturbing consequence of government's decision to repose wide-ranging
legal powers in the hands of traditional leaders.

Reginald Marongedza's family of eight was evicted from its homestead and
banished from the area because relatives had misrepresented his political
affiliation to traditional leader Matambanashe.

But Marongedza (29) maintained that envious relatives had fingered him to
enable them to gain a piece of land he had inherited.

"They have taken my land and my livestock are being kept at a friend's home.
They are jealous because I occupy a very big piece of fertile land and own
many beasts," he told a local daily.

In the early 80s when government established village community courts as an
adjunct of the grassroots legal system, one such court in rural Mount Darwin
ruled that a villager compensates his neighbour with an ox-drawn cart and
eight head of cattle for letting his dogs maul the neighbour's goat.

Although the community court system was disbanded due to incompatible
judgements, two decades down the line government is keen to revive an
amended traditional justice system.

In October last year Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo announced
the upgrading of chiefs' status, giving them powers to preside over cases
with a monetary value of up to $100 million.

"Chiefs' powers have been eroded over time and government has since agreed
that these powers be restored," Chombo told a ceremony at Brunapeg, 14km
from the Zimbabwe-Botswana border. "The decision to upgrade their juridical
status is just one of the initiatives to empower them."

Chombo said the Traditional Chiefs Act would be amended to establish chiefs'
provincial and national courts of appeal to hear appeals by litigants.

He declared: "Gone are the days when customary cases were taken to the
criminal courts."

Social scientists are worried that the new arrangement could scuttle fair
administration of justice, particularly among simple peasants whose security
of tenure in communal areas is often dependent on the whims of traditional

More importantly, the complex array of land tenure relations in the communal
areas is underpinned by the fact that although the chiefs act like feudal
lords, this class of mediators is made to believe they are owners of the
land yet the state effectively has title to all land.

Some chiefs have uncodified laws, quaint rules and regulations pertaining to
the areas under them. For instance, a chief in the Bota area of Bikita
demanded from bereaved families a hindquarter from every beast slaughtered
to feed mourners. In other areas peasants are fined for burying their dead
without having made prior notification of the deceased's illness to the
chief. There is a host of petty dos and don'ts that affect peasants.

Law experts have questioned the ability of chiefs to dispense justice,
considering that they were not trained in law.

"There is no way they can handle those cases because they (chiefs) are not
trained in law," said constitutional law expert and lecturer Lovemore
Madhuku said. "You cannot just emerge from chieftainship to practising law.

"It's a political strategy by Zanu PF to give chiefs powers to campaign but
at the expense of justice," Madhuku said.

He said the increase in jurisdiction was a mistake.

MDC secretary-general and law expert Welshman Ncube said chiefs should not
work parallel to formal courts.

"Chiefs were appointed to deal only with customary and traditional cases,"
Ncube said.

He said any disputes outside the customary law and proper courts should be
handled within the traditional framework. "It would be fundamentally wrong
for chiefs to deal with cases outside customary law."

Claude Mararike of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of
Zimbabwe says although there is need to improve the role and operations of
chiefs, greater caution should be taken to prevent abuse of any authority

"Chiefs are unable to operate effectively because of the dualism of using
Roman Dutch Law as the basis of our legal system and the traditional system
of government which has been in place for a long time," he says.

Mararike warns of latent problems. "There could be serious problems unless
the traditional system of government is clearly separated from the political
party system whereby chiefs are expected to act in a partisan way," he says,
adding: "Chiefs would be more comfortable if they were not used as tools by
political parties and politicians."

Traditional chiefs in Zimbabwe have unwittingly become hatchet men for the
ruling Zanu PF party, acting as coercing agents during elections.

Government is keen to reward the chiefs for their role in frog-marching
poverty-stricken peasants in rural areas to polling booths so as to
determine their voting patterns.

So far, the Traditional Chiefs Act has reposed the maintenance of law and
order in traditional chiefs' hands in their areas of jurisdiction. It is in
the process of being amended to allow judgements passed at the chiefs'
traditional court to become incontestable in the magistrates' courts, unlike
in the past.

The Rural District Councils Act was amended as well to restore powers to
allocate land in resettlement areas that were taken away from tradition
chiefs in 1982 when rural district councils were established.

Few traditional leaders have legal training to dispense modern forms of

Mararike said the institution of chiefs needs to be reviewed to ensure that
it moves with the times.

"Young, educated and professional men should be appointed as chiefs
otherwise the current crop would need support staff to dispense justice
without biases among rural communities," Mararike said.

Analysts say government has diminished the institution of chiefs by
transforming them into political tools for the ruling party just as it would
wish with all civil servants.President Robert Mugabe is willing to sacrifice
Zimbabwe's economic wellbeing by pampering traditional chiefs more to retain
their support than respect for their aptitude to dispense justice, they say.

Expressing the chiefs' gratitude and at the same time exposing fears that
the expedient largesse could cease when Mugabe goes, president of the Chiefs'
Council, Chief Jonathan Mangwende, implored the ageing leader to maintain
his grip on power.

"We made a splendid job of campaigning for you during the presidential
election and my colleagues are disturbed by rumours that you want to retire.
We want you to stay," Mangwende told an annual chiefs' conference in
Bulawayo last year.

They have since been issued with vehicles at heavily subsidised prices that
will be fuelled by money from peasants fined for numerous offences over
which chiefs now enjoy jurisdiction.

Most of the chiefs have also had their homesteads electrified and boreholes
sunk to make them as amenable to Zanu PF's whims as possible.

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Zim Independent

Imminent split moves MDC on elections
Itai Dzamara
PRESSURE from the international community and its local support base has
forced the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to review its position on
participation in the March election.

The Zimbabwe Independent has established that there were plans by "dissident
party members" in the MDC - supported by local business people - to launch
another party to contest the election if the MDC boycotted it.

Sources involved in the deliberations to form a new opposition party this
week revealed that members of the MDC leadership opposed to the election
boycott would defect to the new party.

The new party, sources said, would target the support base of the MDC,
mainly the urban electorate and middle class. A possible leadership
structure involving some MDC senior officials had already been mooted but
plans were scuttled recently when the MDC assured the diplomatic community
and leaders in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) that it
would participate in the election.

The Independent can also reveal that during the Christmas holidays Botswana
president Festus Mogae and representatives of President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa convinced the opposition party that it should contest the election.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube admitted the balance tilted in favour
of participation as against a boycott.

"There has been a lot of pressure and some people both from our local
support base and the international community are urging us to participate,"
he said. "The majority want us to participate but we still should continue
calling on Zanu PF to implement the Sadc (Mauritius) protocol so that we can
have a better electoral framework. We will announce our position soon but we
continue putting pressure on Zanu PF."

Mogae met Tsvangirai during a private visit to Victoria Falls over the
festive season to brief him on the deliberations he had with other Sadc
heads of state. He reiterated that the common position was for the MDC to
participate in the election or risk losing its relevance.

Meanwhile, the state media has started coverage of opposition parties
following what sources at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings said was a
directive from the Zanu PF information department to open up.

Zanu PF secretary for information Nathan Shamuyarira said the ruling party
wanted opposition parties to have coverage in the state media as a way of
implementing the Sadc protocol.

"We have always stated our commitment to implementing the Sadc protocol and
that is why we agreed at our politburo meeting to have the media covering
all parties as well as call for a violence-free election campaign period,"
Shamuyarira said.

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF 'Young Turks' splurge millions of dollars
Staff Writer
SEVERAL Zanu PF "Young Turks" who were left in the cold ahead of the party's
forthcoming primary elections spent millions of dollars campaigning for
seats that they will not now be able to contest.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week established that millions of dollars used
by the young politicians to win support had been wasted as they will not
feature in the party primaries scheduled for next week.

The majority of Zanu PF "Young Turks" were barred from contesting in the
party's primary elections after attending the ill-fated Tsholotsho indaba,
while a sizeable number failed to meet the party's stringent new conditions.

Party sources told the Independent that most of the Young Turks spent over
$100 million each campaigning in their respective areas.

The sources said one Masvingo mogul who was barred from contesting in the
province for allegedly attending the ill-fated Tsholotsho meeting spent
close to half a billion in "development projects".

"The politician and businessman poured in over $500 million in projects in
Masvingo but has now been stopped from contesting and his removal from the
constituency has given his opponents who put in nothing in campaign money
the advantage," said a source.

However, the biggest loser is President Mugabe's spin doctor, Jonathan Moyo,
who pumped well over $1 billion in campaign funds into Tsholotsho.

Moyo's fame in Tsholotsho began in late 2002 when he started making computer
donations to schools in the district and followed that up with donations
worth millions of dollars to district hospitals.

He moved a gear up by personally sponsoring a $50 million annual football
tournament while at the same time he started numerous projects in the
district that included bursaries for school children and market-gardening
projects, among others.

Eddison Zvogbo Jnr, son of the late maverick veteran politician, also spent
millions of dollars in Masvingo Central but was overlooked by the provincial
co-ordinating committee who ordered that he should apply to the Zanu PF
national elections directorate to be considered

Businessman and property developer, Jonathan Gapare, was left out of Chivi
South after he spent over $300 million in development projects in the area
over the last three years.

Contacted to comment on his being left out by the party Gapare said he was
not bitter but will still continue supporting development issues in the

"I have appealed to the National Elections Directorate but the issue that we
were vote-buying is not true because I have been developing Chivi South for
the last three years.

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Zim Independent

South African firm sues RBZ
Gift Phiri
A SOUTH African law firm that acted as a conduit for information between a
"whistleblower" and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is instituting legal
action against the central bank for allegedly withholding its client's
payment after helping the police nab a high-profile businessman and
political figure.

The law firm, Herman van Eeden based at 41 De Havilla Crescent at Persequor
Technopark suburb in Pretoria, alleges that the RBZ is withholding more than
$2 billion, about 10% of the estimated prejudice that the state suffered as
a result of alleged fraudulent activities by the Chinhoyi-based tycoon who
has since been arrested based on the information the law firm supplied to
the bank.

Although it was not possible to obtain comment from Van Eeden, a senior
partner in the law firm confirmed yesterday that lawyers were processing a
legal suit against the RBZ for reneging on its promise to pay its client's
bounty. The senior partner who cannot be named for professional reasons,
told the Zimbabwe Independent that the law firm acted as an "agent" in
channelling information supplied by the whistleblower, who did not want to
be identified.

"But they are now in breach of the contract and we are resorting to legal
action to recover what is owed to us on behalf of our client," the senior
lawyer said.

Gono's spokesman Fortune Chasi on Wednesday said he was not aware of any
litigation or threats to sue the RBZ.

"We don't operate on the basis of making promises we don't fulfil," Chasi

The Independent understands that the law firm handled information provided
by the whistleblower on Cecil Muderede, a former Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) operative, who is out on bail, jointly charged with Irvin
Mereki and Terence Mutasa for externalising more than US$1,3 million and
R700 000.

Muderede is also facing 21 counts of defrauding the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) of 7 915 metric tonnes of grain valued at more than $63 million at the
time. The Independent understands that at the time of his arrest, Muderede
had just bought a building and properties firm, Posso Brilhante Properties,
from a South African businessman, Sergio Gomes. He had also bought a
transport firm in South Africa called Nemini for which he had deposited R1,5
million. He had used 20 000 metric tonnes of maize as surety for the
purchase of the transport company. He has since lost both firms after his
arrest. Gomes, through his lawyers, Hauptfleisch Legal Firm, repossessed the
transport company when Muderede defaulted on his monthly premium, a
condition that was part of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Muderede now risks losing his Mabelreign-based transport company, CRCM
situated at 3 Faber Road. The Zimbabwe Republic Police's economic crimes
unit has already impounded Muderede's Ford vehicle, registration number
PF2557-GP, as the investigations into his operations continue.

Police have also impounded a computer, which is understood to have been
thoroughly frisked for any valuable information.

The Independent understands that when police searched Muderede's Mabelreign
transport company, they stumbled on information that implicated beleaguered
Telecel chairman James Makamba in illegal foreign currency dealings,
prompting his arrest. It is understood that police found documents showing
money transfers done from Muderede's Absa account to a Telecel account in

Muderede would sell maize to a company in South Africa called Industrial
Commodity Holdings owned by one Piet Greyling. The company would then resell
the maize to the GMB. The GMB paid the company in foreign currency. To avoid
detection, Muderede would transfer his money from his South African bank
account to New York and then back to Zimbabwe under the name Oakleen
Investments, Muderede's investment vehicle.

The Independent understands that all this information was passed on to the
head of investigations at the RBZ, one Retired Major Santu, who is
understood to have since left the central bank.

The RBZ set up the Whistleblower's Fund "to pay for quality information that
assists in exposing violations of standing exchange control regulations".
The fund, in a monetary policy statement delivered in December 2003 by Gono,
said payment to whistleblowers had been pegged at 10% of the recovered value
and would be paid in foreign currency "for use as they see fit".

Back then Gono said under-invoicing or transfer pricing at the shop floor,
false forex loan repayments, deliberate or late acquittal of export
earnings, collusion to over-invoice imports were among some of the
"unethical behaviour and conduct which will earn whistleblowers some foreign
exchange bonuses".

A communication centre has since been set up in the RBZ for reporting
illegal foreign currency dealings.

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Zim Independent

Severe grain deficit looms
Itai Dzamara
ZIMBABWE faces a severe grain deficit again this season due to poor planning
by government and lack of inputs and draught power among newly resettled

This is evident in all main farming areas where vast swathes of land have
remained fallow while early maize is turning yellow due to an acute shortage
of ammonium nitrate fertiliser.

There was also a serious shortage of tillage power last year despite claims
by government of tractors coming into the country from China, France and

The District Development Fund and Arda do not have foreign currency to
procure spare parts for thousands of tractors at their various depots.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) managing director Kwenda Dzarira said the
combination of seed and fertiliser shortages and prohibitive prices had
affected most farmers this season.

"The outlook of any agricultural season is determined at the end of the
rainy season. We are aware that inputs have not been enough. The available
seeds and fertiliser are not enough and the prices are too restrictive for
most farmers," he said. "There was a breakdown at Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe
where we expected the bulk of our fertilisers (to come from) and this
affected us heavily."

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Doug Taylor-Freeme said the
assessment by the union reflected another year of a serious shortfall.

"It's not looking good at all. Inputs are in short supply and the confusion
surrounding the land reform still haunts productivity in the farming
 sector," Taylor-Freeme said. "We are likely to have lower harvests than
even last year due to the effects of all these negative factors."

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for agriculture, Renson
Gasela, said his projections were that there would be a decline in the
quantity of grain from this year's harvest compared to last year.

A survey done by the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture last
year concluded the country had a huge grain deficit despite government's
claims that there was a bumper harvest.

The parliamentary committee established that about 340 000 tonnes of maize
had been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board by October compared to
claims of over 2,4 million tonnes by government.

The country requires 1,8 million tonnes of maize for annual consumption plus
another 500 000 tonnes for strategic reserves.

It has since emerged that government, which had repeatedly told donor
agencies to take their assistance to "hungrier people elsewhere", is
accelerating grain imports.

The South African Grain Services this week released figures indicating that
Zimbabwe is importing up to 8 000 tonnes of maize a week. The Zimbabwe
Independent established late last year that government had placed an order
for a gross of 300 000 tonnes of maize.

The country has been experiencing food deficits since Zanu PF supporters and
war veterans embarked on farm seizures in 2000.

White commercial farmers were chased off their productive properties which
were subdivided into tiny plots for subsistence farming.

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Zim Independent

Moyo at it again
Gift Phiri
INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo is suing Munn Marketing (Pvt) Ltd for
$100 million for allegedly distributing in Zimbabwe the Sunday Times of
South Africa - a paper he is also suing for carrying an allegedly defamatory

Moyo in summons served last month said the article insinuated that he did
not care about the people of Matabeleland and their history.

In his court papers lodged with the High Court, Moyo stated that Munn
Marketing should be held liable for circulating or distributing the Sunday
Times which carried the article "which contained within it offensive and
defamatory statements". However, Publications Distributors, and not Munn
Marketing, distribute the Sunday Times in Zimbabwe.

The Sunday Times story at the centre of the storm was a front-page splash
under the headline "Mafikizolo Moyo feels wrath of dictator scorned" and was
carried in the December 5 issue. The author of the story quoted an interview
he said he had with Moyo in 2000.

He wrote: "For the record, I asked the professor in 2000 how a person from
Matabeleland who would have been affected in one way or another by the
massacres was now the most violent apologist for, if not post soldier, of
Mugabe. He said that what happened in his home province had been nothing but
a necessary government intervention against treasonous elements from the

Moyo, through his lawyers Muzangaza, Mandaza & Tomana, said the words
attributed to him were "false" as he never had discussions with the writer
of the article concerning the issue of the Matabeleland uprising, where more
than 20 000 civilians were massacred by Mugabe's North-Korean trained 5
Brigade during insurgency in the early 1980s.

"The words in the said article were understood by members of the public to
mean that the plaintiff did not care about the people of Matabeleland and
their history," Moyo said in his court papers. "The portion of the article
so complained of gave the impression that plaintiff, a minister of state,
did not appreciate the pain brought to his countrymen and kin during the
uprisings in Matabeleland."

Moyo also charged that the article implied that he was a "bootlicker" and an
employee of the president, "when it is common knowledge that plaintiff is a
member of the government and serves the government of Zimbabwe".

"The aforesaid statements were wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff and

intended to damage him in his reputation and fair name," said Moyo.

At the time of going to press Munn Marketing were communicating to Moyo's
lawyers that they were not involved in the distribution of the Sunday Times.

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Zim Independent

NGOs vow to continue despite Bill
Itai Dzamara
NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organisations (NGOs) involved in issues of democracy, human
rights and media advocacy have said they will continue operating until
government uses the NGO Bill to ban them.

The NGO Bill awaits President Robert Mugabe's assent after opposition
resistance in parliament failed to stop the ruling party from pushing it
through last year.

The Zimbabwe Independent this week established that donors from Europe and
the United States have frozen further assistance to local NGOs due to the
uncertainty brought about by the Bill.

The NGOs now hope to be accredited by government in line with the provisions
of the NGO Bill before they can get funding from the international

However, local NGOs involved in democracy, human rights and media advocacy
fear they may be denied accreditation. National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku's personal assistant Ernest Mudzengi said
they were already suffering from the withdrawal of funding by international
donors but would continue operating.

"The issue of donor funds is one problem that has been created by this
 Bill," said Mudzengi.

"It will be difficult to operate without funding but we are not going to
stop fighting for a new constitution. We will use all means possible to
survive for the sake of democracy," he said.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) chairman, Reginald Matchaba-Hove,
said they were weighing their options in the event that the Bill was signed
by Mugabe.

"We are operating as if all is normal because it hasn't been signed into
law," Matchaba-Hove said. "But we are totally opposed to the Bill. It is
retrogressive for the people of Zimbabwe. We are considering measures to
take in the event that it becomes law."

Media Institute of Southern Africa chairman for the Zimbabwe chapter

Thomas Deve also said they would remain in operation.

"We are still operating and waiting for the next step by government. We are
still surviving on the funds we already have," he said.

Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZimRights) director Munyaradzi Bidi said they were
still operating.

"We have to continue fighting for the upholding of human rights. It is clear
the Bill is draconian and we have made our statements clear regarding its
effects on the nation," he said.

Implementing partners working with the United Nations World Food Programme
retrenched more than half of their workforce in Zimbabwe late last year. The
NGO sector employed more than 10 000 people before the clampdown.

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Zim Independent

Byo man missing in Thailand tsunami
Staff Writer
A PROMINENT Bulawayo businessman is missing, presumed dead, after the
devastating tsunami that tore through Thailand's beach resorts on Boxing

Steve Le Roux (58) and his business partner Clive Baron (68), both
Zimbabwean, were staying at the upscale Princess Island Resort at Koh Phi
Phi near Phuket on Thailand's south-west Andaman coast when the giant wave
struck on December 26, flattening the resort complex.

Baron, who was badly injured, was airlifted to a Bangkok hospital on Monday.
He had been on a respirator for several days. Le Roux is among the thousands
still unaccounted for. His sister in Cape Town, Sue Le Roux, has been told
by South African medical authorities to assume he is dead. DNA samples have
been sent to Thailand.

Sue Le Roux said her brother, who together with Baron owned Cinderella
Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd in Bulawayo, a prominent clothes manufacturing
company, had spoken to the family on Christmas Day, saying he was having a
relaxing holiday.

Baron, who was out walking near his hotel when the tsunami struck, was
knocked unconscious. His lungs were filled with water, doctors said. His
legs had been crushed and his body was covered with bruises. He had been
rescued by locals and taken to a clinic. From there he was moved to a
hospital and then airlifted to the capital.

At one stage he faced amputation of the most badly injured leg. But doctors
have been fighting to save it, friends say. His hospital care in Thailand
has been "six-star", they said.

"He is like a brother to us," Sue Le Roux said of Clive Baron. "Steve and
Clive had been business partners for over 40 years. He was like a brother to
all Steve's three sisters. We are only grateful we didn't lose both of

Sue Le Roux said friends and colleagues in Bulawayo had been wonderful. She
thanked them for their "prayers and support".

"We love Clive dearly and know he will pull through," she said.

Cinderella Manufacturing, currently closed, is due to reopen later this

Former Bulawayo mayor Dr Eugene Gordon said the loss of Steve Le Roux was a
blow to the Bulawayo business community.

"Steve was highly-respected and very popular," Gordon said. "He was an

unassuming person who did a lot of charity work that is not generally
 known," he said.

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Zim Independent

Zim's domestic debt shoots to $3 trillion
Eric Chiriga
ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt, which stood at $590,5 billion in December 2003,
had ballooned to nearly $3 trillion by November 5 last year.

Figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)'s weekly economic highlights
show that the country's domestic debt was $1,4 trillion at June 25 2004,
$2,5 trillion at August 27 and $2,8 trillion at September 24. The debt stood
at $346 billion in December 2002.

Analysts say the domestic debt will continue to soar because of the need to
fund various imports such as electricity, grain and providing financial
support for newly-resettled farmers.

They said the high interest rates coupled with increased borrowing that tied
up a high percentage of the nation's resources would continue to be a burden
on the fiscus.

"This is an interesting figure considering that the government also wants to
give $3 trillion to agriculture," John Robertson, an independent economist,

Robertson said this would double the debt because government will have to
borrow the $3 trillion.

"Besides the increase in the domestic debt, borrowing by government results
in crowding out of the business sector," he said.

"Government borrows money to pay wages and recurrent expenditure and this
increases inflation unlike the business sector which borrows money for
productive purposes."

When he took over as RBZ governor in December 2003, Gideon Gono said the
current debt overhang had an adverse impact on money supply and, therefore,
efforts to fight inflation.

He said treasury and monetary authorities and the private sector were
engaged in active discussions over the idea to ring-fence this debt and come
up with innovative instruments to deal with the entire outstanding domestic

Gono then proposed a special facility bond where government issues a
zero-coupon bond which investors purchase at a discount.

He also proposed a weighting system to determine the discount factor for the
said bond.

The governor said government, together with the private sector, would
request friendly countries to issue foreign currency-denominated bonds in
international capital markets. The foreign currency raised would then be
sold to the RBZ and the local currency used to extinguish domestic debt
while the foreign currency with the RBZ could then be used to repay part of
the foreign debt or meet the country's import requirements.

Zimbabwe's balance of payments position has remained weak largely as a
result of poor export performance and continuing importer demand.

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Zim Independent

      ZABG touches off furore
      Shakeman Mugari

      SHAREHOLDERS of banks that have been merged into the Zimbabwe Allied
Banking Group (ZABG) are seeking legal advice to protect their endangered
stakes in the institutions.

      This threatens the ambitious project whose launch is already behind

      The shareholders who look set to lose billions of dollars in assets in
closed banks are understood to be ganging up against the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) for a serious legal dogfight to save their equity from being

      Jeffrey Mzwimbi, former chief executive of Royal Bank, which is set to
be part of ZABG, yesterday said shareholders of the collapsed banks should
be protected.

      "In our case, we are not very sure how the ZABG will function," said
Mzwimbi. "We have not heard or seen anything from the Reserve Bank but our
rights as shareholders must be protected."

      He said shareholders would consider legal action if they lost their
rights in the bank. The banks have already started to seek legal opinion on
the issue, which could defer the launch of the bank.

      ZABG was formed by the central banks to take over collapsed banks. To
date Royal, Time, Trust and Intermarket form the amalgam. The government and
the central bank will be shareholders in the project. However, shareholders
of the banks want to know what will happen to their investments.

      The next two months are likely to see the shareholders taking the
central bank and government to court over a number of technical issues. At
the time of going to press some shareholders were meeting to discuss their
options, which analysts say are limited to the courts.

      Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Barbican, CFX and Time Bank were put under
curatorship by the central bank after it was discovered that they were
facing serious liquidity problems.

      The problems for most of the banks were caused by a serious lack of
prudent banking practices which saw them accumulating non-performing insider
loans which had been given to directors and senior managers.

      Attempts were made to save some of the banks through the Troubled Bank
Fund. The RBZ poured more than $400 billion into some banks, which still
collapsed anyway.

      Shareholders are worried that the formation of the new bank could see
them losing their shareholdings and assets to government.

      The shareholders were allegedly not given a chance to decide the fate
of their banks. They were not consulted by the central bank when the
decision was made to merge the banks.

      The shareholders want to know the effect the ZABG would have on the
value of the shares they originally held in the banks. They also want the
central bank to carry out a valuation of the banks' residual assets before
they are taken over under ZABG. These would then be used to decide the value
of their shares.

      A lawyer who represents one of the closed banks said although papers
had not been filed with the court, chances were that the shareholders would

      "We have not yet sued but what the shareholders really want is an
explanation of what is going on. They have just lost a fortune through the
takeover of their banks and the logical thing is to seek an explanation,"
said the lawyer.
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Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

      New products

      IT is amazing to think that the Zimbabwe Independent will be turning
nine in four months' time. How time flies when you are enjoying yourself! We
have not exactly come of age - to employ an over-used cliché - but we are
proud of our accomplishments to date, especially our contribution to
national discourse in business and politics.

      We have accomplished this largely due to the support of our loyal
readers and advertisers. It is incumbent on us therefore to keep improving
our product to offer more quality reading.

      The paper has gone through various phases of development in the past
nine years from the black and white editions of 1996-7 to the introduction
of full colour in 1998. The paper was rebranded in 2001 to assume the
current masthead before the introduction of businessdigest towards the end
of 2002.

      We reach another milestone this year with the promotion of Teldah
Mawarire to the post of chief sub-editor with effect from January 1. She
becomes the first female journalist to occupy that important newsroom
position. She joined us in 2003 and has displayed immense zeal and
resourcefulness in page layout and design and updating the ZimInd website. I
wish her well in that challenging position we have been struggling to fill
since the elevation of Joram Nyathi to managing editor two years ago.

      Businessdigest also welcomes Chris Goko as senior business reporter
where he joins the hardworking team of Godfrey Marawanyika, Conrad Dube and
Shakeman Mugari who have enabled us to secure a lead in covering Zimbabwe's
banking saga.

      We are looking forward to another exciting year as we continue to add
value to the paper. One way of doing that is to introduce new sections and
from next week we will be launching an exciting new product for our
international readers and Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

      The Independent Auto Trader will offer a platform for the motoring
industry to display and market its products including the latest motor
vehicles, accessories, parts and services. The full colour section will
offer a pictorial classified section for commercial, light passenger and
luxury models on sale.

      We also promise to provide candid commentary on new models and advice
on vehicle purchases. For auto-traders, this is a new showcase worth testing
to market your products.

      Next week will also see the launch of a new property section to be
known as Independent Friday Property. In the past three years, the industry
has taken a severe knock from the hyperinflationary environment and the high
interest rate regime which suffocated mortgage financing of residential
properties and new developments. But there is evidence - albeit marginal -
that the sector is rebounding on the back of retreating inflation. In the
face of immense adversity new property developments in the form of office
parks, cluster houses and new residential areas are taking shape.

      The Independent Friday Property section will provide property
developers, estate agents and private sellers with an opportunity to display
properties on offer.

      Again we will offer space for adverts accompanied by colour pictures.
We will also work with estate agents' bodies and property developers to
provide a guide to both sellers and buyers.

      A bonus to advertisers in our new sections and the rest of the paper
is the launch of the digital Zim-Independent next week, which will replicate
the print version of the paper but in electronic form. The Zimbabwe
Independent will now be available through subscription in PDF format -
including all the stories, pictures and advertisements. This is different
from our normal on-line version which does not show editorial layout or
adverts displayed in the print version and which does not carry all the
paper's stories.

      This is an exciting product in that subscribers with Internet access
will be able to read the paper on their computers before the paper hits the
streets here at 6.00am.

      Advertisers are also assured of greater mileage as they can now reach
the diaspora without paying an extra cent.

      We will strive to provide the electronic paper to the majority of
international subscribers earlier than the time the normal Independent
website goes up.

      An added value of the e-paper is that it can be downloaded in whole
onto a laptop or palmtop to be read in areas where there is no Internet
access. In fact, once downloaded, subscribers do not need to continue
connected to the Internet, which should reduce telephone costs.

      The service will also give subscribers the opportunity to download
stories, pictures or adverts of their choice instead of the whole paper.
There is also provision to blow up text or pictures for easier viewing.

      Thus a subscriber travelling out of Harare before sunrise on a Friday
can download the digital-Zimind and read it on the plane or at a lay-by on
the highway. That's a bigger read.

      We cherish your criticism and advice which has been coming through
letters to the editor and the feedback platform on our website. Let's
continue building this product together.

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Zim Independent

No respite for crisis-hit Zimbabwe
Gift Phiri

ZIMBABWE'S future in 2005 looks bleak, or uncertain at best, as Zanu PF
wages a "real war" to win its greatest electoral challenge in the March
general election.

Analysts say the ruling party's fortunes will depend largely on how the
increasingly unpredictable President Robert Mugabe manages the growing
pressure on his 25-year-old government ahead of legislative elections.
Besides rising intra-party political violence, Mugabe has stepped up
political repression against his opponents and recently pushed through
parliament despotic security laws threatening jail terms for journalists who
report falsely. Analysts believe the former guerilla leader could still
alter policies that have contributed to Zimbabwe's slide into recession and
put him on a collision course with most of the international community.

"On the facts at hand, the future looks bleak or uncertain at the very best,
but that does not mean that hell is unavoidable," political analyst Emmanuel
Magade said. "Politics is not a mathematical equation, and it's still
possible that Mugabe could realise that his current strategy is not a
winning strategy," he told the Zimbabwe Independent.

To begin with, a raft of repressive legislation has been passed that would
be the envy of ruling parties elsewhere which are seeking re-election. The
Public Order and Security Act, passed in January 2002, and amended late last
year, gives officials the power to ban political rallies. It has also
criminalised statements deemed to undermine the authority of the president,
insult him or spark feelings of hostility towards him, thereby sounding the
death knell for the average opposition stump speech. Already three people
have been arrested in the past two months for "bad mouthing" Mugabe, even
where the remarks would be considered fair comment.

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, passed in March
2002, and also amended recently, has restricted the activities of the
private press by requiring journalists to obtain accreditation from a
government-appointed Media and Information Commission. "Local journalists
risk criminal charges if they try to speak the truth," says an
Internet-based activist group, Sokwanele, which means "enough". "Besides,
where would they publish? Most dissenting media voices have long been shut

In addition, a Non-Governmental Organisations Bill passed by parliament last
month bans foreign human rights groups from working in Zimbabwe. It also
prohibits local NGOs dealing with human rights and issues of good governance
from receiving foreign funding.

As money to finance these organisations' activities is scarce in Zimbabwe
itself, the Bill could force many local NGOs to close their doors -
including several that deal with voter education. This prompted the European
Union to note in a statement issued on December 22 that the NGO Act, which
still awaits Mugabe's signature, "could have a significant negative impact
on the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe".

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Bill, also passed last month,
empowers the newly created commission to decide which organisations should
be allowed to raise awareness amongst voters. The establishment of the ZEC
was apparently intended to bring Zimbabwe into conformity with a set of
electoral guidelines adopted in August 2004 by the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc).

Among other things, these stipulate that impartial institutions should
supervise polls, that all parties should have access to public media and
that campaigns should be free of political harassment. In November, the
government-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) refused to accept
adverts from the opposition MDC despite guarantees of payment. The ZBH also
routinely condemns the opposition. The New York-based Human Rights Watch and
others point out that the way in which ZEC commissioners are appointed still
gives government too much say over who sits on the body.

"They (Zanu PF party) have put everything in place to win the elections,"
says Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly, a body
which lobbies for constitutional reform in Zimbabwe.

The MDC has threatened to boycott the March election if government fails to
fully comply with the Sadc electoral guidelines and principles. Party
officials say a final decision on whether to contest the poll will be taken
later this month.
But "there is more to gain by not participating and mounting a campaign to
build a mass movement", observes Madhuku.

Brian Raftopoulos, one of Zimbabwe's leading political analysts, says Mugabe
is facing such massive domestic, regional and international opposition that
he would not be able to get away with a violent election campaign or
"It would be suicidal," he said. "But I believe that Mugabe can, in his own
interest, in the interest of his party and in the interest of Zimbabwe, stop
listening to the hawkish advice of young opportunists and intellectual
mercenaries in his court."

The 14-nation Sadc has publicly backed Mugabe's leadership but analysts say
there is tough talking behind the scenes to try to persuade him to comply
with regional and international norms.
Zimbabwe's economy has been crippled by a shortage of fuel and foreign
exchange, while a drop in agricultural output is threatening a food
shortfall. Inflation is at 149,3%, while interest rates are above 100%.
Without international donor support, Mugabe has little chance of resolving
the country's economic problems, analysts say.

The European Union and the United States have slapped Mugabe and his cronies
with targeted sanctions while the Commonwealth, a grouping of mostly former
British colonies, has suspended Zimbabwe from the club.

Mugabe, who will be 81 next month, launched his bid for his ruling Zanu PF's
re-election last year with a fiery declaration that the legislative vote
would be an "anti-Blair election". Mugabe said his ruling party would wage a
"real war" against his political foes in the main opposition MDC.
His government has proposed amendments banning independent observers,
forbidding private voter education and denying voting rights to millions of
Zimbabweans abroad. The government has also bulldozed a security Bill
through parliament, which critics say contains sweeping powers to suppress
the opposition ahead of the poll.

But the opposition MDC still poses the strongest challenge to Mugabe's Zanu
PF since it came to power when the former Rhodesia gained independence from
Britain in 1980.

Analysts said Zimbabweans could only secure their future by braving
political violence and throwing out Zanu PF in the March election.
"We enter the year 2005, a year which could change the political and
economic fortunes of this beautiful country if the people are courageous in
their choice of leadership," Magade said.

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Zim Independent


Global spotlight shifts to Zimbabwe

THERE is no mistaking the panic on the part of government as the March
election date inches closer by the day. Nowhere is this more evident than in
the state media which apparently has been ordered to blow the trumpet each
time some change to the electoral rules is made.
"Compliance" is the name of the game. The whole world must be made aware of
how far government is complying with the Sadc principles and guidelines on
the conduct of democratic elections.

The past four years have not been an electoral Elysium despite the feigned
nonchalance about world opinion. It has been four years of shame.
The stigma of illegitimacy will take a long time to exorcise despite the
bluster about Zimbabwe's post-Independence record of conducting polls. We
are hearing the chorus of compliance with the Grande Baie protocol to wring
endorsement from critical neighbours who have just had their own elections.

It is what still has to be accomplished to win legitimacy that is proving
hard to achieve. The five general elections in quick succession last year
demonstrate that the region is no longer willing to be associated with the
violence and manipulation that has become the norm in Zimbabwe.

The elections in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi were
conducted relatively peacefully under the auspices of independent
supervisory institutions. It was as if all the countries were trying to show
Zimbabwe the road map to international acceptability and economic growth.

That means the international spotlight will now be firmly on Zimbabwe to see
if we have learnt anything from our neighbours who have endured so much over
the years in the name of African solidarity. The judgement of our election
will be more brutal because of past experience of coercion and other forms
of electoral irregularities.

The militarisation of the electoral process has not been lost on the
international community. The use by the ruling Zanu PF party of the youth
militia to harass and terrorise the opposition is an obvious abuse of power.
The use of food as a campaign tool amid grain shortages is another.
All this is not helped by government's refusal to grant the opposition space
in publicly funded media to campaign - an egregious breach of the Mauritius
process. At the same time the police are using the Public Order and Security
Act (Posa) to deny the MDC their right to campaign or even meet.

Add to this cocktail a murky voters' roll and you have a problem even before
the dates of the election are announced.

The state media have been making much of the passage of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Act and the Electoral Act as signalling a levelling of
the playing field and compliance with the Sadc principles. But both Acts
ensure key electoral players are beholden to President Mugabe. Moreover,
Mugabe already enjoys the advantage of incumbency despite questionable
Both Acts were passed by parliament despite adverse reports of the
Parliamentary Legal Committee. In other words, the Acts themselves are of
dubious constitutionality.

The same applies to the NGOs Bill which will infringe on constitutional
rights by denying to civil society its right to engage in electoral
education and enhance democracy.

But the real test of whether Zimbabwe can make the transition from an
illegitimate government to an internationally acceptable one is the role of
the militia and the military in the election - the level of violence before
and during the election period.
So long as the Zanu PF youth militia prowl the townships and communal areas
together with war veterans intimidating and harassing potential voters, we
have a huge problem. The two have already declared parts of Mashonaland
West, East and Central no-go areas for the opposition. This is a serious
handicap for an opposition that has been denied access to the state media
and doesn't have any media voice of its own.
The opposition should weigh its options very carefully not to give legality
to daylight fraud by taking part under protest. Zimbabwe doesn't belong to
Zanu PF and every party should enjoy equality before the law. People must be
able to choose their leaders without fear or favour. This is the message the
MDC should make clear to Sadc leaders pushing for its participation in the
March election.

The opposition should meanwhile fight for unfettered access to the public
media. It's not an issue for bargaining. ZBH is not financed by Zanu PF, but
by Zimbabweans.
The opposition should also fight for the repeal of vile statutes like Posa
whose sole purpose is to stymie their political activities and give the
police undue influence in determining electoral outcomes.

Of late dubious political analysts have been roped in to claim that Zimbabwe
has some of the best electoral laws in Africa and beyond. Has the system
been put to test in an election?
That is for Zimbabwean and international observers to say, not for the
government to beat its own chest about. Government is trying to blackmail
the region to endorse its insincere reforms so that whoever challenges them
is labelled a tool of the British.

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Zim Independent

Eric Bloch Column

Failed measures of economic empowerment
Eric Bloch
IN the last 2004 issue of the Zimbabwe Independent, this column addressed
the very negative, counter-productive policies that are the mainstay of
Zimbabwe's economic empowerment of the black population. The column
recognised that during the pre-Independence era, very pronounced hindrances
existed to almost any endeavour of those constituting the majority
population engaging themselves in economic activities, with virtually the
only exceptions being employment in non-managerial roles (in most cases)
within the diverse sectors of the economy, and the operation of "tuckshops"
in high density areas.

In particular, they could not own land, and could not lease business
premises within the central business districts of Zimbabwe's cities and
towns. Similarly, they could not obtain trading licences other than for some
limited business activity in the quasi-ghettos of the high-density areas.
With such recognition of the gross inequities of the past, the column
contended that there is a very great need for constructive economic
empowerment to be pursued vigorously. However, the Zimbabwean approach has
been an abysmal failure, with the only newly empowered being - with rare
exception - those endowed with influential connections within the political
environment, those who became flagrantly enriched with corrupt practices,
and those who were able to disregard good and sound, ethical economic
fundamentals. Of course, there are pronounced exceptions, including the many
black professionals in the avenues of law, accounting, finance, medicine,
insurance and various others. However, in relation to the size of the
populace as a whole, the numbers that are economically empowered, lawfully
or otherwise, are minimal.
This appalling and unacceptable situation needs to be addressed, but not in
the manner that government has pursued to date. Government's over-riding
approach has been that the much needed and very necessary economic
empowerment should be achieved by a heavy-handed, often draconian,
redistribution of existing wealth.

It has sought to disregard the basic principles of international law, human
rights, morals and ethics by expropriating thousands of farms, breaking them
up into unrealistic, non-viable operational units, and redistributing them
to a favoured few (less than 150 000 out of a population of over 12
million), without giving them title to the land, and ignoring the recipients'
lack of resources and, in many instances, their not being possessed of
requisite skills. The result has been that those recipients have, with some
exceptions, not been economically empowered, and concurrently the entire
economy was brought to its knees and most of the nation impoverished.
Despite the pronounced failure of the land programme (no matter the endless,
incredulous contentions of government and its propagandists that the
programme has been a tremendous success, although the evidence on the ground
refutes those contentions), government is now contemplating similarly
disastrous forced transferral of equity in the mining sector and in commerce
and industry to the indigenous population. The result has been to create yet
another major deterrent to both foreign and domestic investment.

Government has clearly not learnt from its mistakes and also does not
appreciate that breaking-up a cohesive entity does not necessarily preserve
viability of the entity's operations. In contrast to the normal mathematical
rule, the sum of the parts does not necessarily equal the whole!

Most of all, government has very evidently failed to understand that not
only does taking wealth from some and giving it to others not grow the
economy, and merely transfers it from some to the others, but it also
invariably results in shrinkage of the economy. Redistribution renders the
rich poor but usually does not make the poor rich. The best way to benefit
the nation is to create new and additional wealth, much of which should be
by facilitating economic empowerment of those previously deprived of
The need for economic empowerment is a characteristic of most on the African

Amongst the continent's countries seeking to achieve it is South Africa.
Rather than tackling the issue without due analysis, evaluation and
consideration, it established a high-powered Black Economic Empowerment
Commission (BEE) to study in depth how best to achieve the greatly needed,
wide-ranging economic empowerment. Under the very able chairmanship of the
renowned Cyril Ramaphosa, very extensive research was carried out, including
much dialogue with all sectors of society, and study of over 100
publications and submissions.

The BEE Commission concluded its task by the issue to government and to the
private sector of an extremely comprehensive report. The prologue to that
report suggests that its contents present "South Africa with an opportunity
to break the cycle of under-development and continued marginalisation of the
black majority from the mainstream economy". It further states that the
strategies proposed in the report are "integral to the success of" South
Africa's Reconstruction and Development Programme, and that "at the same
time it will launch South Africa on a course of sustained and even
spectacular rates of growth". In 72 pages, it then strives to identify
positive measures to achieve those objectives, and space constraints
preclude this column giving due justice to it.

At the outset, the report states that BEE "must be implemented in a
coordinated and integrated manner.Accumulation strategies to expand the
identified growth sectors will have to go way beyond increasing the size of
the current narrow economic base. They must be accompanied by measures to
increase access to productive assets for the majority of the population and
appropriate support to ensure sustainable use." The key components of the
Integrated National BEE strategy include:
*An investment for growth accord between business and government aimed at
reaching an agreement on a concrete strategy to lift the country's levels of
fixed investment and economic growth;
*The design and implementation of an integrated human resources development
*Implementation of the integrated sustainable rural development strategy and
the creation of an agency to streamline and co-ordinate funding and other
in rural areas, including land reform;
*A national procurement agency located within the Department of Trade and
Industry aimed at transforming the public and private sector procurement
*A National Black Economic Empowerment Act, being enabling legislation aimed
at creating uniformity in policy and establishing the necessary
institutional support and instruments with which to drive the BEE strategy.
The Act should.facilitate deracialiation of economic activities in the
public and private sectors;
*An enabling framework aimed at improving access to finance for households
and businesses through disclosure and reporting requirements in the banking
sector and targets to encourage service delivery.
*Streamling and co-ordination of public sector funding initiatives.
Thereafter, the BEE Report addresses the various economic sectors. Amongst
other recommendations, the BEE Commission recommended a public sector
restructuring programme which "must aim to improve delivery of services and
enhance the rollout of infrastructure to underdeveloped and rural areas",
which include:
*Retrenchments should be avoided at all costs;
*Aggressive training and skills development programmes must be introduced;
*Management should have the responsibility to facilitate financial and
non-support for employees starting their own business;
*Management should have the responsibility to seek alternative employment
for workers in the event that redeployment and retention options fail;
*A fixed percentage of restructuring proceeds should be earmarked for social

The BEE Commission argues that "every form of black equity participation can
be an effective instrument to drive empowerment", but that "to realise the
objective of effective black equity and management participation, the State
will have to play a facilitative role through the provision of favourable
and preferential funding mechanisms and information, support and independent
advisory capacity. To increase the equity and management participation of
black entrepreneurs, the following measures should always be considered:
discounts, deferred payment terms, and new BEE founding mechanisms including
claw-back, earn-in and vendor funding".
To improve the livelihoods of the rural poor, the BEE Commission called for:
*Establishment of a framework for targeted initiatives that meet the needs
of rural communities, aimed at breaking the cycle of under-developed and at
stimulating rural economies;
*Improving the economic and social position of woman in rural areas through
specific programmes;
*Increasing levels of food security;
*Provision of increased access to schooling and adult basic education and
training, including promotion of skills development and entrepreneurial
capacity within schools, tertiary institutions and SME support agencies;
*Giving rural communities real ownership of productive assets by increasing
access to financial services and through land reform programmes;
*Technical support, marketing and product development to rural communities
to ensure productive utilisation of land.

Instead of trying to achieve the very necessary black economic empowerment
by expropriation and destruction, Zimbabwe's government should strive to
develop economic growth through constructive economic empowerment strategies
and facilitation, and could well take a leaf out of South Africa's book.

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Zim Independent

The real enemies of the state

IN view of the oft-repeated claims that the MDC is a sellout party
manipulated by Britain, recent charges of espionage against Zanu PF members
are more than revealing. If for nothing else, at least for the allegations
of involvement by senior government officials and embassy staff abroad.
The revelations are damaging for a government claiming to embody the values
of the liberation struggle and whose mandate is to "defend the national
interest". Next time we feel the hot air of "sovereignty" we shall know what
to expect!
Chinhoyi MP Philip Chiyangwa and four other important individuals who
included the ambassador designate to Mozambique were detained by security
personnel on allegations of espionage in mid-December.

The Zimbabwe Independent carried the story on December 23. The state media,
however, no doubt acting on instructions from government, declined to say a
word about this episode until a week later when the Herald dramatically
announced "Spy ring busted". This followed the appearance in court of some
of the accused.
The paper had remained mum despite the fact that its photographer was
assaulted while attempting to cover an earlier court hearing.
Why does the Herald regard it as in the public interest to withhold
information from the public regarding one of the country's most notable
politicians? Why did it collaborate in the cover-up?
What made this case so shocking was the fact that the men were held
incommunicado since December 16 with their lawyers being denied access to
them. This breach of constitutional rights was made evident to the
magistrate who nevertheless agreed to the state's request for an in-camera
hearing. Morgan Tsvangirai's treason trial was held in open court.

Despite the Herald's efforts to work up national indignation over the "spy"
charges, the fact is the five are being charged under some of the less
serious provisions of the Official Secrets Act concerning the passing on of
classified information.
This is a measure that the Law Reform Commission gave its attention to in
the mid-1990s. Provisions of the Act were seen as incompatible with the need
for the public to be kept properly informed. As one minister told a press
freedom workshop, publication of the number of cups of tea he drank could be
deemed a contravention of the Act.
In any case, the brash and garrulous Chiyangwa could hardly be regarded as
suitable spy material. His life is an open book.

Whatever the case, the fact that the state media concealed this episode from
the nation which was abuzz with rumours demonstrates beyond doubt the
muzzled and dissembling role the government media plays in the nation's
life. What sort of access to information is this? We all recall official
attempts to keep Laurent Kabila alive several days after his death!

The diversionary claims by the state media to blame imperialist enemies will
simply not wash with a very sceptical public. Let the authorities get to the
bottom of the whole sordid affair so we know who the real enemies of the
state are. So far it's turning out that both government and the ruling party
have a lot of skeletons to hide in that copious cupboard of theirs.

"Exhaustive investigations are in progress to net all the people who have
been compromising national security by selling classified information to
foreign powers, some of whom have publicly declared that they want to remove
the government in Zimbabwe," warned a Sunday Mail source. "There are going
to be a few surprises," he continued darkly.

In Geneva a Foreign Affairs employee, Erasmus Moyo, was allegedly at the
centre of operations in Europe. He apparently eluded his handlers at the
airport as he was being taken to a plane home. According to the Mail report,
Moyo hid somewhere in the "air terminal". Others, we are now told, are
hiding in the cabinet. Some are even citizens of imperialist powers. Can
anybody be trusted?

Finally, the most obvious point. What does the state think it is doing
illegally holding individuals for over two weeks only to charge them with
minor infringements of the Official Secrets Act? And why did the Minister of
State Security say he did not know about the detentions? Is this not part of
his remit?

More cynical or conspiratorial observers might suggest this episode has
successfully taken the spotlight off Jonathan Moyo and his alleged sins.
However, Moyo's wish to stand on a Zanu PF ticket in the Tsholotsho
constituency has been fatally wounded, at least for now. He has become the
victim of the party's affirmative action. Now only women will be allowed to
contest in the March election, leaving Moyo to lick his festering wounds
from the infamous Tsholotsho meeting of last year. Let's hope he will
continue the generous donations in the province. Alternatively, he could
consider a sex change.

Incidentally, a lady talking during a phone-in programme on SFM on Tuesday
between 8.30 and 9am complained bitterly about lack of democracy in Zanu PF.
She said they wanted Moyo to represent their constituency "because he was
bringing development to the region. Now they say they want a woman. Who
chose her?" she fumed.
Another casualty of Zanu PF intrigue is war veterans leader Joseph
Chinotimba. He lost the Highfield seat to the MDC in a 2003 by-election. He
didn't lose hope. He has formed a housing cooperative under his name. He
recently also launched a soccer tournament to which he donated a whole kit.
That is in addition to zhing-zhong shoes, clothes and bicycles worth
millions he donated in the constituency recently in a bid to win the race to
parliament. He also promised the electorate free medical treatment. But Zanu
PF second guessed him out of the race. The delimitation commission has
combined the constituency with Glen View and Chinotimba has been left in the

Between 2.30 and 3.00pm on Monday Muckraker was a victim of irrelevant
programming on SFM. We missed the name of the programme, hosted by one
Kudakwashe Hove. We wondered as we listened why the concern about skin
cancer, ultraviolet rays and sunbathing? But the assault on our ears was
Just before closing the programme for the news at 3.00pm the weather expert
on the programme was asked: "Is there a chance of Zimbabwe experiencing an
ice age any time in the future? This is in light of the tsunami disaster in
southeast Asia."

Whatever the requirements of local content, surely the Department of
Information can do better than this. Hove said next week they would be
discussing "global tectonics". This is the "study of the earth's crust and
the forces affecting it", according to the Collins Pocket English
Could Hove in any way be part of Zimbabwe's disaster preparedness committee?
Or just part of the disaster?

On the same station on December 26 there was what amounted to wanton
violence on the Queen's English (or "the Queen's language" as state media
commentators love to call it). Ellen Mkaka read a news item on the death of
Zanla commander Josiah Tongogara. He was described as one of the
 "principled" fighters who did not have "malicious" presidential ambitions.
What kind of ambition is malicious? Any, it would seem!

The MDC being a creature of the detested colonial era is opposed to
elections precisely because of that," declared the delusional Lowani Ndlovu
this week in the Sunday Mail. This declaration was made in support of claims
that liberation movements brought democracy and restored the dignity of
Africans. The MDC was allegedly against elections because it was opposed to
this era of "milk and honey" that was ushered in by the Unity Accord of
Like everything else in Lowani's increasingly illogical arguments, he didn't
say why, if the Zanu PF government was so popular, so many Zimbabweans were
leaving the country. He didn't say why we have perhaps one of the greatest
number of displaced professionals for a country not at war. He didn't say
why the same professionals left the milk and honey at home to work in the
lands of our former oppressors.
That would be an inconvenient admission of failure of the archetypal African
And how does a party formed in 1999 become "a creature of the detested
colonial era"? At the
December Zanu PF congress Enos Chikowore complained that Zimbabwe's new
farmers were failing to match the production levels achieved by white
commercial farmers from Independence up to 1999. Is this a solecism or are
Zanu PF officials hinting at something we missed in the official media?

A ll is evidently not well in the state press. Following the mortal blow
delivered to the Master of the Dark Arts by his patron, there appears to be
dissension in the ranks. The Herald and Chronicle were in such a hurry to
denounce the Financial Gazette's "false" story on the minister's resignation
that they overplayed their hand and had to be chastised by George Charamba
who pointed out that Moyo had not disputed the disciplinary action taken
against him by the presidium and politburo.

The stories had sought to emphasise the grassroots support Moyo had in being
nominated by Tsholotsho for the central committee before his name was
removed by the presidency.
Describing the Herald and Chronicle's stories in defence of Moyo as
"untoward, partisan and quite overboard", Cde George said the report was "a
straight story falling outside an editorial comment and based solely on
unnamed sources. It thus amounts to unwarranted editorialising, itself quite

Since when has "unwarranted editorialising" or "partisan" stories ever
worried the Office of the President, George? Why this sudden concern for
professional standards when, as far as we know, Mahoso's commission has
never once raised a complaint against blatant editorialising in
government-media stories, even when slipped into court reports? The "zealous
advocacy" which Charamba complains of is surely part of the state editors'
job description!

The Herald helpfully added the charge of "confusing the nation" to the list
of the Fingaz's sins. Who is confusing who here?
"Prof Moyo has since instructed his institute legal action
against the Financial Gazette," we are informed.

That is of course the most stupid thing he could do. If the Fingaz story is
indeed untrue the newspaper will suffer the consequences in terms of
diminished credibility. If on the other hand Moyo sues the Fingaz and refers
the case to the MIC he will quickly transfer public sympathy to the paper
and have the whole issue of his standing as a minister raked over in court.
Is he somebody in whom it can be said the president has shown confidence
Then there is of course the matter of Aippa being used as a personal
instrument, precisely the impression Moyo and Charamba have been trying -
unsuccessfully - to avoid. They are pretending Aippa is a national project,
even going to the extent of claiming the opposition endorsed it!
How will yet another press prosecution look as the election looms? Why, by
the way, is the Bulawayo state media referring to the Fingaz as "Gono's
paper"? Is it official now?

Muckraker was interested to read Willard Chiwewe's account of the Unity
negotiations of 1987, published in the Sunday Mail last month. Chiwewe was
secretary to the talks at the time, we are told. He said one problematic
area had been the new party's logo. PF Zapu wanted a bull while Zanu PF
wanted the cockerel.
"But because these were negotiations for a purpose to unite the country," he
said, "the two political parties agreed to use the name Zanu PF and the
Jongwe logo."

Now that's not our understanding. We thought the two sides agreed on a new
logo featuring the Great Zimbabwe conical tower. Zanu PF however reneged on
this agreement and unilaterally kept the Jongwe. Can anybody involved please
Chiwewe says that what struck him about the Unity Accord is that it was
achieved "without the benefit of an arbitrator or middleman".
President Canaan Banana, who featured prominently at the time in getting the
two sides together, has now - in true Stalinist tradition - been airbrushed
out of the picture. He only gets a mention in Chiwewe's account as being
present at the signing ceremony. He was also removed from all but one or two
of the advertisements published last month commemorating the event. Even
where he was present in the picture, he wasn't named.
But the bit we liked best in Munyaradzi Huni's account of Chiwewe's hitherto
undiscovered role in the unity talks was when "Cde Chiwewe looked straight
at me with 'a talking eye' that seemed to ask: 'Young man, do you really
know what you are talking about?'" Most people have that look every Sunday,

Talking of airbrushing, how is Nathan Shamuyarira's history book coming
along? Why no news on that front? Muckraker would welcome a statement from
our illustrious media guru as to what exactly he has been doing all this
time. Will there be a chapter on how to manage Young Turks?

Finally, had anybody heard of Miss Tourism World before last week? Whose
calendar of events is this fixture on and where has it been hiding?

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Zim Independent


Is it true only Zanu PF card-holders will vote?

MAY you on behalf of the Gwanda South constituency check with authorities
running elections in the country whether it is true that all those without
Zanu PF membership cards will not be allowed to vote in the March election.

This disturbing misinformation is being peddled by some notorious war
veterans who are bent on instilling fear in people in an attempt to cow the
community into voting for the ruling party.

It does not matter how many times Zimbabweans have had the opportunity to
vote, most of the rural people still don't know their rights and some
unscrupulous people are capitalising on their ignorance. Added to that is
the element of fear of the ruling party thugs that seems to be confusing
these rural folks.

There is great need for voter education if these elections are to be taken

Please may the ruling party explain its position on this and point out who
might have been behind it. We are tired of dirty politics and need tangible
development now.


Gwanda South.

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Zim Independent


Shameful lies

ZANU PF lies about cameras taking pictures of who is voting for the
opposition is an unforgivable, shameful lie.

In the previous election the lie was heeded by ignorant rural folk. Zanu PF
has started again this time with the lie that they can detect the
finger-prints of those who have voted for the opposition.

Such intimidation and lying makes people angry and foments hatred. Why on
earth would a grown-up human being - an asapiring leader for that matter -
tell a shameful lie of that nature? Please spare us these shameful lies and
learn to win fairly.

We have already seen through this ruse and advise those who devised it to
forget it.

It's possible to still win and become a loved leader - clean and smart. We
will all then respect you for that.

Play Clean,

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Zim Independent


Mugabe setting stage for party's death

MANY comments have been passed on Information minister Jonathan Moyo over
the failed Tsholotsho Declaration.

Many have also hailed President Mugabe for purging attendants of the
meeting, in particular Moyo. What many fail to see is that Moyo has plainly
shown what might become the fate of Zanu PF in the post-Mugabe era.

As a Zanu PF supporter, I have seen things that not many have seen. The fact
that the president has always barred talk of succession means that the whole
nation - including those in the party - were left to guess the desires of
the leader.

Many have always been of the opinion that the president wanted to be
succeeded by Emmerson Mnangagwa and many still do.

That the meeting was organised and attended by so many influential
individuals who knew fully well the consequences of going against the
president shows that they thought that they were conforming to his wishes.

It is this mentality that might destroy our party in the post-Mugabe era: a
culture of secrecy where certain things are not allowed to be discussed. In
the same vein, I can see the same problem with the MDC; do they have a
succession plan or not? If they don't, we shall become a country of purges.

The president should come out in the open. If he says "the people should
decide", let them; six out of the 10 chairmen had spoken only to be
silenced. If he wants to personally name a successor, then let him come out
and say so, not leave the party fumbling in the dark.

Many are currently saying that Teurai Ropa (Joyce Mujuru)'s appointment is
just a dummy to fool people so that Mnangagwa can take over come 2008 after
both the president and vice-president Joseph Msika have stepped down.

This culture of secrecy and fear by the leaders and of the leaders must end
if the party is to move ahead.

David King,


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Zim Independent


New boundaries a big farce

Dear Editor, THE report recently produced by the Delimitation Commission
appointed by President Robert Mugabe is laughable and worth throwing into
the dustbin.

Imagine two constituencies being merged and two others being split just like
that, without affecting the boundaries of other constituencies in the same

The new constituency boundaries were discussed in Zanu PF meetings and were
known to many people well before the commission started work - thanks to the
comrades in Zanu PF who have been generous enough to leak such information.

Zanu PF thought it could win the 2005 parliamentary election by reducing the
number of MDC seats in the next parliament by merging constituencies in the
areas deemed to be MDC strongholds and splitting those constituencies where
it thinks it has a comfortable majority.

Some simple arithmetic will prove the point: How many people were registered
in each of Mbare East and West constituencies in the 2000 parliamentary

How does the total of the two constituencies added, compare with other
Harare constituencies? Split the number of registered voters in Mudzi in the
2000 parliamentary election and compare the result with the number of
registered voters in any other constituency in the same province.

Zanu PF, through the Delimitation Commission, has justified their rigging by
saying that there has been migration by people into and out of some
provinces, but how do they expect all people who have migrated out of Harare
to have come from Mbare East and West constituencies alone to justify
merging the two constituencies into one?

By splitting Mudzi constituency into two constituencies, Zanu PF is trying
to make the world believe that all people who have migrated into Mashonaland
East province settled in Mudzi hence the reason to split it into two. But
how does the world see this? This is daylight cheating and everyone can
clearly see Zanu PF's intention.

Zanu PF knows that it will not win a free and fair election and is therefore
trying out all the dirty tricks.

This is some of the evidence that the MDC should take to Sadc and other

relevant bodies to prove that Zanu PF is trying to steal the election from
the MDC again.

Benjamin Chitate,


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Zim Independent


      Long-term focus the solution to MDC woes

      I AM a Zimbabwean currently living out of the country but in touch
with people at home.

      I am shocked and surprised that the MDC is contemplating to
participate in the next general election, hoping to spring a surprise and
romp to victory.

      Let me however be frank. The MDC will be lucky to snatch at least five
seats. It's not that people do not support or sympathise with the
opposition, but the reality is that people have lost hope in removing the
Zanu PF government under the current election system and constitution.

      In the last two elections, people did all they could to get rid of the
"Taliban government" and attain change they were yearning for, but to no

      In the meantime, the opposition has been completely shut out and
people have been denied access to the alternative medium that gave it a
voice while massive propaganda has been peddled against it.

      Let me predict that there will be massive apathy by the people
especially in the opposition strongholds because people will only
participate in an election whose results they can influence. Remember former
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would always win 95% of the vote in his "caged

      The Zanu PF government is so desperate to have the MDC participate in
the coming elections so that they legitimise their hold on power.

      Since when has Zanu PF been so courteous in parliamentary debates to
include the opposition's concerns when implementing new legislation?

      Even the government's mouthpiece, the Herald, has been calling for the
participation of the opposition. Despite public postures that they do not
care if the MDC does not participate, in reality they yearn for the
opposition to come on board.

      The ruling party is trying to create a semblance of democracy in the
period leading to the elections including allowing "British" journalists to
come into the country and allowing the opposition access to the media.

      Surely, the opposition cannot market its product in one month, having
been shut out completely for a year and being bombarded with an avalanche of
propaganda on a daily basis for the last five years.

      The opposition needs to be clear on its position pertaining to
participating in the elections instead of sending incoherent signals as has
been the case. It should specify the conditions they need to be in place at
least six months before the elections.

      In the meantime, I advise the opposition to concentrate on developing
its grassroots structures and have a long-term focus instead of adopting a
"quick-to-power" syndrome which has destroyed many parties in the country.
Change will eventually come, just be patient.

      Taurai Muzondi,


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Zim Independent

      New AG should protect basic rights
      By Beatrice Mtetwa

      THE appointment of Sobusa Gula-Ndebele as the principal legal advisor
to the government of Zimbabwe has been welcomed with great expectations not
only by the legal profession in Zimbabwe, but also by all law-abiding and
fair-minded citizens who would like basic rights enshrined in the Bill of
Rights respected.

      It is the hope of all law-abiding citizens that our brand new
Attorney-General (AG) will seek to restore Zimbabwe to that league of
African nations that have been pioneers in the protection of basic rights
such as the right to full protection of the law regardless of one's
political beliefs, the right not to be deprived of personal liberty outside
provisions of the law, the right to the freedoms of conscience, expression,
movement, assembly, association and the right not to be discriminated
against on any grounds.

      The new AG has been appointed the government's principal legal advisor
at a time when the rule of law and the general administration of justice is
at an all time low with virtually every aspect of the Zimbabwean legal
system having broken down to some extent. Although much has been written
about the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, the AG has, for reasons
that are difficult to understand, largely escaped criticism as a contributor
to such breakdown. This is despite the fact that the AG wields considerable
constitutional clout, particularly in criminal prosecutions and the
rendering of legal advice to the government of Zimbabwe.

      The office of the AG is a constitutional creation just like that of
the judiciary. Like judges upon appointment, the AG has to take the oath of
loyalty to "be faithful and bear true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the
laws of Zimbabwe". It is hoped that our new AG will at all times seek to be
guided by the oath of loyalty which obliges him to bear allegiance to the
country and its laws, and not to individuals and politicians. The
constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe, and in theory overrides all
other laws that are inconsistent with its provisions. It is hoped that
Gula-Ndebele will at all times seek to uphold all provisions of the
constitution, particularly the fundamental rights enshrined in the
Declaration of Rights.

      In terms of Section 76(4) of the constitution, the AG has the sole and
exclusive power "to institute and undertake criminal proceedings before any
court, to take over and continue criminal proceedings, to discontinue at any
stage before judgement is delivered any criminal proceedings he has
instituted". The AG also has the power to require the commissioner of police
to conduct certain investigations and to report to him on any matter in
which the AG believes might constitute a criminal offence or suspected
criminal conduct and the constitution obliges the commissioner of police to
".comply with that requirement". In the exercise of these powers, the
constitution makes it clear that the AG ".shall not be subject to the
direction or control of any person or authority".

      From these provisions from the supreme law of the land, there can be
no doubt that the AG wields considerable independent power that should not
be interfered with by anybody. Yet we have witnessed in the past four to
five years, an unprecedented assault on the individual freedoms provided for
in the Declaration of Rights. We have not, in the past five or so years,
heard of any AG who has refused to approve repressive legislation that is
inconsistent with provisions of the Declaration of Rights. Instead, we have
seen the AG's office mounting spirited defences to legislation that clearly
offends against the most basic rights in the constitution.

      In the past four to five years, we have not seen the AG declining to
prosecute hopeless criminal cases such as the treason charges against Morgan
Tsvangirai, the spurious charges against Kumbirai Kangai and his then
permanent secretary, the long incarceration and subsequent prosecution of
those falsely accused in the Cain Nkala murder case, the persecution and
prosecution of the Daily News and its directors, and a host of other cases
that could not pass even the first hurdle before a judiciary that has been
forced to deal with cases that ought not to have been brought before the
courts in the first place.

      We are currently witnessing the prosecution of those allegedly
involved in so-called spying activities and yet the AG does not appear
concerned that the suspects were held incommunicado for periods in excess of
those provided for by law before being brought before the courts. Instead,
the war cry from the AG's office and those law officers that appear on his
behalf has generally been a chorus of "we shall appeal against this
 decision", "we are studying the decision and are considering an appeal", in
circumstances where a professional AG's office should go back to the drawing
board in an endeavour to avoid future similar embarrassing prosecutions.
These are evidently embarked upon with the hope that the judicial officer
will understand the political context of the case and will therefore
accordingly convict in the assurance that an appeal cannot possibly succeed
given the general belief that the Supreme Court is sympathetic to the

      Given the very clear and unambiguous constitutional powers given to
the AG, it is surprising that his office has largely escaped criticism in
the erosion of the rule of law. In terms of the constitution, no prosecution
can take place unless the AG or his representative is satisfied that there
is a lawful basis for such prosecution. The AG is obliged by law to embark
on a prosecution for no other reason than that he or his representative is
satisfied that on the facts presented to him, there is a prima facie case
justifying a prosecution.

      One would think that this basic and simple legal principle should
present no problems to those highly educated and experienced officers in the
AG's office. Regrettably, the reality on the ground is that the majority of
so-called high-profile or politically motivated prosecutions are embarked
upon in complete disregard of the AG's powers as set out in the

      Suspects are routinely placed on remand on the flimsiest of grounds
and officers in the AG's office routinely oppose the release of suspects on

      The reasons for such opposition sometimes include such inane grounds
as police opposition to suspects being released on bail. This is despite the
fact that the AG is constitutionally bound to exercise his prosecutorial
powers without direction or control of the police, politicians or any other

      Why, therefore, has the AG escaped criticism in the erosion of the
rule of law? Why have judges and other judicial officers taken the flak in
circumstances where cases that were brought before them ought not to have
been brought in the first instance? Why have judges and magistrates been
fodder for columnists in the state media when they do what every respectable
court would do by acquitting persons who ought not to have been prosecuted
in the first place? And why have persons who have suffered malicious and
politically motivated prosecutions where there clearly was no evidence not
sued the AG? After all, there is precedent for such legal suit made way back
in 1989.

      Why are judges and magistrates who are forced to sit through mountains
of irrelevant evidence in the politically motivated prosecutions made to
carry the can when they acquit and discharge accused persons who should
never have been arrested in the first place, let alone prosecuted? Why do
such columnists not attack the AG for embarking on hopeless prosecutions in
the first instance?

      While I cannot speak for the columnists in the public media, I can
safely state without apology that the AG's office has been more than
complicit in the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Law officers have
been happy to take instructions from politically connected individuals, from
members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and from other senior personnel in
other organisations such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with complete
disregard of the constitutional provision that the AG shall not be subject
to the direction or control of any person or authority. Where prosecutions
have taken place and suspects are properly acquitted, it has become common
that the AG's office pronounces that an appeal will be lodged.

      Demands that the law officer or prosecutor who would have conducted
the prosecution write a report of such acquittal in order to explain to
politicians why the acquittal would have occurred in the first instance are
now normal occurrences. It is such reports that then incite columnists in
the public media to unfairly blame the judicial officer who would have heard
the case.

      In short, the last four or so years have seen the AG surrender
wholesale the constitutionally protected powers that he has. He has given
these to the police, politicians, and a host of other bodies that are seen
to hold political clout. Whilst one might understand the actions of an
acting incumbent whose substantive appointment depends on "toeing the line",
the appointment of Gula-Ndebele should serve as a lesson that "toeing the
line" does not always produce the desired result. It is the hope of all
right thinking and law-abiding Zimbabweans that our new AG will at all times
"be faithful and bear true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the laws of

      It is hoped that the observance of the laws of Zimbabwe will be
consistent with the basic provisions of the Declaration of Rights as
enshrined in our constitution and all other international and regional
treaties, declarations, etc, signed by our government. And it is hoped that
bearing true allegiance to Zimbabwe will not mean blind allegiance to
individual interests and that it will mean bearing allegiance to all the
peoples of Zimbabwe regardless of their political, social, economic, racial
and educational status. It is also hoped that the new AG will allow officers
in his office to once again reclaim the professional independence that any
self-respecting lawyer should be allowed to have. Anything short of this
will not restore the Zimbabwean judiciary to the glory that it once enjoyed
from the early 80s to the year 2000.

      *Beatrice Mtetwa is a Harare-based human rights lawyer.

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Zim Independent

      From haughty Moyo to folk hero Gono
      By Chido Makunike

      CHIDO Makunike continues his appraisal of the performance of public
officials in 2004.

      Jonathan Moyo: Haughty, arrogant and embittered Mugabe propagandist
who delighted in throwing his weight around, seeming to enjoy spreading his
deep-seated misery everywhere.

      Began 2004 on a high note, enjoying the catharsis of having a highly
placed forum to vomit his generalised anger at anybody and everybody.

      Ended the year humiliated by the same Mugabe who had given him enough
rope with which to hang himself, in an unprecedented case of political
suicide. A man with more pride and a sense of honour and principle would
have resigned, but Moyo is an opportunist with so few options now he will
have to take anything Mugabe throws at him.

      From being the man everybody in the Mugabe regime wanted to be in good
books with for his cynical, ruthless abuse of the state media, he has become
a pariah no one dares be associated with. What Moyo threw around has come
back around rather quickly!

      All his silly games and convoluted scheming, his frequent childish
temper tantrums were all cries for help from a wounded soul who is desperate
to gain some attention and sense of importance at virtually any cost.

      A pathetic individual whose folly will provide lessons on foolishness
for generations to come.

      Sekesai Makwavarara: Politician who has provided an amazing example of
the depth of cynicism in Zimbabwean public affairs. Became a Harare ward
councillor on an MDC ticket, mouthing all the widely-shared
anti-establishment mantras to do so. Then after feeling which way the winds
of patronage were blowing, shamelessly did a high-profile Jonathan Moyo-type
flip flop into the ruling party.

      Pretext for government deposing MDC city council was non-performance,
but Makwavarara is conspicuously absent from the frontlines of the
innumerable crises bedevilling the council. She has no comments to make
about workers not paid their salaries or continuing deterioration of
services, preferring to only pretend to be chief executive in lightweight,
ceremonial ways. As the municipality stumbles from day to day, the highest
point of her tenure so far has been to parcel out donated Christmas presents
to various children's homes. A sad commentary on the depths to which
politics has sunk in Zimbabwe.

      For agreeing to be used the way she is being done, she now enjoys the
use of two luxury official vehicles assigned to her, a built-up expropriated
farm given to her and protection from having to be subjected to voter
opinion for at least several years. In return for being an obedient
figure-head, rarely has a politician "achieved" so much in so short a time
on the basis of so little!

      Emmerson Mnangagwa: A mixed year for this master schemer. Many point
to how he lost the second vice president's position to Joyce Mujuru in the
last few weeks. But it is forgotten that he achieved the amazing feat of
even being considered a strong contender for the position when the year
began with rumours that he was the main target of the anti-corruption
gimmick Mugabe mouthed off so loudly about for a while. Reports of various
official bodies sniffing around him circulated, but none of them had enough
evidence or guts to bite into this man who knows where all the Mugabe's
regime's skeletons are tucked away.

      Some say being moved from Zanu PF politburo's administration portfolio
to that of legal affairs was a demotion, but seen in the context of the
rumours of earlier in the year, it could be said that the fact that he
retained a position at all in the politburo is a sign that this cool cat has
nine lives, of which he has only used a few! The many efforts within Zanu PF
to trip him up will continue, but given this consummate insider's probable
intimate knowledge of the bloody sins of the founding fathers and many
others within the regime, I think he is quite safe. His potential to
single-handedly do great harm to the ruling regime by what he knows is his
greatest protection, so I was somewhat surprised that he recently stooped to
uncharacteristic, nauseating boot-licking of Mugabe in an effort to position
himself as front runner for the now filled vice-presidency. Is purportedly
ruthless master schemer Mnangagwa growing soft and weak?

      Obediah Musindo: I am fascinated at how the Mugabe regime likes to
have a thin veneer of religious approval for its existence. To this end
every year some willing preacher-man is given a lot of exposure and official
favour in return for "anointing" the regime as being righteous and fully
approved by God, who of course the flavour-of-the-year pastor is thought to
have a more special connection to than anyone else.

      This year's such preacher-man is Musindo, whose outfit seems to have
done rather well for itself for "blessing" the actions of the ruling regime
and singing praises to its head. Is an alarmingly large component of
religion in Zimbabwe a shallow, cynical business or am I revealing wicked,
"heathen" tendencies by even asking such a rude question?

      Gideon Gono. Dominated 2004 as few public officials have done,
officially as Reserve Bank governor, but unofficially as virtual prime
minister under Mugabe. Became a folk hero for reining in high-flying bankers
and others who made overnight fortunes from speculation and rubbed it in the
public's face by arrogantly flaunting it.

      Spent most of 2004 basking in the glow of Mugabe's approval, the state
media dutifully, uncritically almost deifying him, which the
publicity-loving Gono revelled in. Stepped on many powerful toes in many
ways, with many lurking in the wings hoping contradictions between past and
present actions, or between words and deeds, may yet bring him down. We have
many examples of how high stature under Mugabe can in the long run be a
double-edged sword!

      Many are sceptical about accuracy of end-of-year inflation figures,
but he is widely given credit for indeed reducing the rate of price
increases and generally being a breath of fresh air in his conduct as a
public official.

      But how much further inroads can he make into dealing with the
symptoms of economic problems brought about by a repressive, unimaginative
and internationally isolated regime?

      Tafataona Mahoso: Old-school ideologue who was given the
influential-sounding position of keeping tabs on the ethical and
professional conduct of the media. Under Jonathan Moyo's inspiration, some
newspapers considered politically incorrect were taken out for very flimsy
reasons, with sekuru Mahoso expected to play the difficult role of
justifying the closures to a sceptical public.

      Began the year looking like a powerful new bureaucrat of the system,
but as time went on the hypocrisy of the application of the new laws he
operates under merely made him look like another sad example of a willing
functionary who does as he is told in order to survive an imploding economy
in which the options are few and dwindling. A prolific writer, but being a
columnist for the ruling party's paper while half-heartedly trying to also
act as if he were a neutral media-professionalism arbiter has left sekuru
Mahoso looking embarrassingly compromised in a way that is not at all in
keeping with the ubuntu he is always preaching about!

      Morgan Tsvangirai. A good year personally for him because he escaped
his ruthless chief opponent's efforts to dislodge his neck from the rest of
his body, using the pretext of thin treason charges.

      Went on a long Mugabe-type junket around the world to celebrate
escaping the hangman's noose, causing what sounded like jealous carping
about the globe-trotting from the internationally isolated ruler, as well as
wider questioning on whether this was the best way to use his time a few
months before an election. His party's coyness about whether or not they
will take part in the election increasingly looks like confused indecision
rather than a clever ploy to put pressure on an unpopular regime that
favours an electoral process stacked against the opposition.

      Retains significant sympathy and under-dog support from a large part
of the electorate that is tired of a repressive and impoverishing ruling
regime, but has mostly failed to transcend the repressive climate to be a
truly inspirational leader.

      Zimbabwe's free-fall under Mr Mugabe continues unabated, but the
multi-faceted drama is fascinating to watch.

      *Chido Makunike is a regular contributor to the Zimbabwe Independent.

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Zim Independent

Zanu PF/MDC show is not a choice
By Denford Magora
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe would have us believe that the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) is dead and buried. Only last month, at the Zanu
PF national congress, the president stood in front of masses of his
supporters to declare that the MDC's 15 minutes of fame were now up.

The president, I am afraid, is gravely mistaken. The MDC is in existence
today because of the failures of his party. Moreover, the MDC will remain in
place as long as his party fails to deliver.

Inaction and disinterest in policy matters from Mugabe started in 1993,
leading the Economist magazine to speculate that he was about to step down.
Instead, the president had put the country on automatic pilot, an
unforgivable sin for any elected leader.

Mugabe sat on the sidelines on the real issues affecting the people who had
voted him into power. He chose to rely on ministers to steer the state,
oblivious to the fact that the ministers themselves had also put their
responsibilities on autopilot.

No one was taking charge and it was a free for all. The president turned a
blind eye. People struggled with issues like employment, health, transport
and even basics like food.

Zimbabwe, instead of developing, witnessed an unprecedented assault on the
forces of progress. True development - not the wells and boreholes type -
was stymied at every turn.

This country, which got a television service before South Africa did, still
finds itself with only one free-to-air TV station and no satellite network.
We have to import DStv from South Africa.

The examples of the ruling party's failures are numerous. Inflation was

allowed to reach the highest levels in the world while the president's party
was, at best, a mere spectator and, at worst, an active participant in
fuelling the monster.

Still, the president and his ministers and his party insist on believing
that governing the country is about making speeches. It is not. Action is a
concept that the ruling party needs to pursue not only when it feels
threatened but all the time in order to uplift the lives of our citizens.
Land alone is not an elixir that will cure all our economic ills.

So, Mr President, the MDC will continue to be in place and to attract people
as long as housing is treated with the cavalier attitude that Ignatious
Chombo currently shows with a vengeance. The MDC will continue to exist as
long as people have to wait for two or three hours after work to catch a
lift home; as long as they have to wake up at 5am in order to be at work by
eight; and as long as the Grain Marketing Board continues to behave not as a
grain buyer but an arrogant bully.

Yes, the MDC will continue to exist as long as the people feel that Zanu PF
acts only when its interests are at stake.

This criticism has nothing to do with imperialist running dogs, unless a
homeless Zimbabwean has now become an imperialist running dog. It has
nothing to do with sabotage of the land reform unless demanding that the
government finds a lasting solution to our perennial transport blues is now
sabotage of land reform. No.

This criticism has to do with broken promises. It has to do with empty
speeches and pronouncements. Threats to deal with land-grabbing buffoons
within the upper reaches of Zanu PF have proved to be just that: threats.
Threats to dismantle corruption have proved as hollow as the space between
Joseph Made's ears.

From experience, then, Zimbabweans have learnt not to trust the government
of President Mugabe. They have also learnt not to trust his party. And who
in their right minds would, given the broken promises and the ineptitude?

If the president wants more examples of his party's ineptitude, then he
should consider this: Didymus Mutasa is employed in a specially created
ministry that is supposed to get rid of corruption. And how did the new
minister go about his job? The nation remembers that the man went to press
to ask corrupt people to own up and hand themselves over to his ministry.

Perhaps we will be lenient," said the minister. If there ever was an example
of ineptitude, then this is it. It's like the police sitting in their
offices, appealing to thieves to come and hand themselves over to the law.
Fat chance. But the president and his party seem to think this is how such
an important ministry should be run.

Then you have an acting Finance minister who thinks that a Public/ Private
Partnership policy means calling on the private sector to "join hands" with
the government. The attempts by Herbert Murerwa are so nakedly half-hearted
that I am willing to bet my bottom dollar that the man will still be issuing
exhortations to the private sector three years from now, if he is still in

Until Mugabe finds ministers with a passion for developing Zimbabwe and not
lining their pockets and throwing their weight around, the MDC, whether in
its current ineffectual guise or not, will continue to exist.

One thing Mugabe and Zanu PF need to know is that, today, they appear
stronger only because the MDC appears weak. Zanu PF is not strong in its own
right and that is fact. People are finding themselves with no choice because
the MDC/Zanu PF show is not a choice.

Just as the MDC assumed that it was strong because Zanu PF was weak, now the
roles are reversed. But with a strong opposition, a tireless and visionary
alternative leadership, Zanu PF would be wiped off the face of the earth in
a heartbeat. It has been unresponsive to people for too long.

So, to answer the president, the MDC will not disappear or be "dead and
buried" as long as he insists on promoting mediocrity over merit, as long as
he puts loyalty to the party above national interests.

Here is the true fact of the matter: Zanu PF has been given a new lease of
life today not because of its visionary policies, not because of its
credentials when it comes to caring about the welfare of home seekers,
commuters and food seekers. No. The party is strengthened only by the power
of incumbency. This is complemented by a paralysed opposition that is busy
picking its teeth while the country burns. That is not the foundation upon
which Zanu PF should be building its claim to leadership of this nation
beyond the silver jubilee of Independence.

*Denford Magora is a Harare-based marketing executive
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Zim Independent

Polls-equal-democracy mantra wrong
By Blessing-Miles Tendi
THE early 1990s were a period of profound enthusiasm for multiparty
democracy in most of Africa. The centralist or communist one-party system
was steadily challenged by the diffusion of the idea of multiparty electoral

The work of local forms of civil society and international financial aid
agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB)
brought about the transformation from single-party to multiparty democracy
in post-Cold War Africa.

Internally, African civil society, particularly church groups, brought
active lobbying and protest to bear on reluctant single party governments in
Zambia and Malawi, for example, resulting in the introduction of multiparty

Externally, international financial donor agencies like the WB and IMF
attached conditionality to the disbursement of financial aid. The adoption
of multiparty democracy became a pre-requisite for African states seeking to
access international donor support.

However, a decade after the euphoria and tumultuous change brought about by
the advent of multiparty democracy on southern Africa's political landscape,
critical problems remain. During the 1990s - and even today - there was a
tendency to reduce the concept of democracy to the staging of multiparty

If an African state turned its back on the one-party system in favour of
"regular free and fair multiparty elections", it was labelled a democracy by
international governments and aid donors, and therefore qualified for
international donor support. But such reductionism was highly misinformed.

Staging a multiparty election does not make a given state a democracy. The
enactment of laws in line with the general will, protecting human rights,
respecting the rule of law and good governance are some of the other
important ideals now identified with democracy.

Nevertheless, the erroneous belief that the holding of multiparty elections
is tantamount to being a democracy seems to have seeped into the political
thought and vocabulary of southern Africa's political elite.

It is commonplace for the Zimbabwean political elite to dismiss allegations
that Zimbabwe is not a democracy on the basis that since Independence in
1980 it has never failed to hold multiparty elections in accordance with the
Zimbabwean constitution. But Zimbabwe falls far short in upholding other
democratic tenets such as freedom of the media.

Elections in poorer southern African countries like Malawi and Mozambique
are far too dependent on external resources. Independent electoral
commissions to efficiently administer multiparty elections have yet to find
a foothold throughout southern Africa except in the more mature democracies
of Botswana and South Africa.

The right of all political parties to have equal access to public media
continues to be violated in Zimbabwe and Namibia where the ruling parties
receive the majority of public media attention. When the opposition in these
two countries does receive the attention of the public media it is mostly to
demonise and ridicule the opposition.

In Angola, regionalism largely influences how Angolans vote with the Angolan
leader Eduardo Dos Santos consistently drawing his main support base from
northern Angola, for example. Needless to say, credible elections still seem
very far off in post-conflict Angola.

Some of southern Africa's multiparty systems have ceased to be competitive.
They have come to be dominated by a single mammoth party commanding the vast
majority of seats in parliament, as evidenced by the 70% majority support
South Africa's ruling African National Congress secured in April 2004.

Over the past 10 years, the number of political parties competing in
national elections in southern Africa has not declined significantly.
Smaller political parties are still not receiving the NO vote from the

This electoral trend indicates a failure of southern Africa's multiparty
democracies to stabilise. Stabilisation is crucial for democratic
consolidation. The multiparty system of any existing mature democracy today
is characterised by stable and institutionalised political parties with a
history or tradition.

These characteristics act as stabilising agents for a multiparty system.
They prevent the degeneration of a multiparty system into a chaotic matrix
of political parties with little or no sound political agenda. A feature
that tends to unnecessarily split the electorate's vote.

The splitting of the electorate's vote increases the possibility of the
manipulative rise to power of undemocratic forces. Had the opposition in
Malawi's national election of May 2004 fielded only one candidate to face
the eventual winner, Bingu wa Mutharika, the opposition's single candidate
would have defeated Mutharika. For Mutharika only secured 35% of the votes
in Malawi's 2004 presidential election.

In addition, the fact that the authenticity of results of multiparty
elections in southern Africa is always violently disputed on the streets
reflects not only an absence of effective electoral conflict management
mechanisms but also a lack of confidence in the electoral systems

South African President Thabo Mbeki recently commented that "next year,
2005, elections within the Sadc region will be held in the DRC, Mauritius,
Tanzania and Zimbabwe. We are certain that these elections will confirm the
excellent track record our region achieved this year (2004), concluding with
no manipulation behind the scenes to ensure the ruling party is re-elected."

In light of the problems facing democracy in southern Africa, Mbeki's
comments require further justification.

*Blessing-Miles Tendi is a Zimbabwean based in the UK.
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