PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who is coming under growing pressure to
resolve the current crisis or quit, is expected to meet United Nations (UN)
secretary-general Kofi Annan and South African President Thabo Mbeki in the
Gambia in a fortnight.
Diplomatic sources said yesterday a meeting has already been
organised for the three leaders in Banjul on the sidelines of the African
Union (AU) summit from June 25-July 2. Heads of state usually meet during
the last two days of the summit.
"The three leaders are expected to meet in Banjul, the Gambia,
to discuss the Zimbabwe situation and map the way forward," a source said.
"Relevant officials have already made preparations for the meeting.
"It will lay the ground for Annan's expected visit to Harare and
the anticipated Mugabe/Mbeki meeting over Zimbabwe."
UN spokesperson Yves Sokobi said Annan had "expressed interest"
in meeting Mugabe in Banjul. He added Annan had said: "The international
community must not allow Zimbabwe to collapse and should assist."
Annan will be attending the AU summit for the last time before
his term of office expires at the end of the year and sources say he is
determined to sort out the local crisis.
Sources said Mbeki also wants the situation resolved before he
goes in 2009. Last week he dispatched his Intelligence minister Ronnie
Kasrils and top intelligence officials to Harare to arrange a meeting with
While South African Deputy Foreign minister Aziz Pahad this week
said he was not aware Kasrils wanted to lay the ground for a Mugabe/Mbeki
summit, the sources said there were plans for such a meeting.
"We are not aware of any attempts by Minister Kasrils to use his
visit to set up a meeting between our two presidents," Pahad told
journalists. He said Kasrils' trip was just a visit to see State Security
minister Didymus Mutasa.
But Mbeki recently sent Kasrils to London before his trip there
to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The two discussed Zimbabwe for
the second time this year.
Pahad, who again voiced concern about the Zimbabwe economic
crisis, raising alarm over the 1 193% inflation, suggested a policy shift in
Pretoria by saying that South Africa and the international community now
want to "engage with Zimbabwe through the UN".
Mbeki has for six years pursued a "quiet diplomacy" policy which
has however failed to resolve the situation. His recent remarks in London
that everyone hoped that Annan would crack the Zimbabwe problem revealed a
shift in policy.
Annan's expected visit to Zimbabwe has been engulfed in
controversy as Mugabe is apparently trying to block the UN boss from coming
to Harare to prevent putting the Zimbabwe crisis on the UN Security Council
The forthcoming AU summit will end on the day when the African
Court on Human and Peoples' Rights holds its first meeting. Zimbabwe is on
the agenda of the AU's Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights which in 2004
compiled a damning report on the country's human rights record.
On December 5 last year the commission adopted a resolution
censuring arbitrary arrests, detention and forced displacement but the
motion was defeated on legal technicalities at the January AU summit in
Sources said some African leaders were currently pushing for an
AU resolution on Zimbabwe in Banjul. The previous AU summits in South
Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Libya and Sudan failed to tackle the
AU leaders often find themselves divided over critical issues
such as UN reform and even whether a leader whose government stands accused
of human rights abuses should be the chairman of the organisation. There
were deep divisions in the AU before the Khartoum summit over whether
President Omar al-Bashir should be the chair in view of the Darfur
A compromise was however found and President Dennis
Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo became chairman. The AU is proving
to be a toothless bulldog on Zimbabwe like its predecessor, the Organisation
of African Unity. AU chairperson Alpha Konare last year sent an envoy, Tom
Nyanduga, to Harare to assess the
effects of Operation Murambatsvina but he was turned away and
the AU did nothing.
Zimbabwe also snubbed former Mozambican president Joachim
Chissano, who was appointed by the then AU chairman, Nigeria's President
Olusegun Obasanjo, to facilitate a negotiated political settlement in
Zimbabwe but he was also rejected and the AU again failed to act.
WHILE most resettled farmers struggle to access tillage
equipment, Agriculture minister Joseph Made is keeping a fleet of tractors
and an array of farming equipment stashed at his farm in Headlands,
Made, who has been fingered as one of the five ministers who
looted equipment from Kondozi Estate, has at least five state-of-the-art
glass cab tractors and an assortment of implements kept at Tara Farm in
Headlands near Rusape.
The tractors and equipment at Made's farm have raised suspicion
that ministers could be using their political clout to secure equipment from
farms acquired by government under the land reform programme.
Ministers and other top civil servants have been accused of
seizing trillions of dollars worth of equipment and cherry-picking exquisite
farmhouses for themselves at the height of the land grab. Even the First
Lady Grace Mugabe in 2002 acquired a massive 27-roomed, two-storey mansion
built on a hill at Iron Mask Farm in Mazowe, ostensibly as a refuge for
Last year dispossessed commercial farmers said equipment worth
$36 trillion had been looted or vandalised in the chaos that gripped the
farming sector. Ministers and other officials have been at the forefront of
pillaging expropriated farms.
The Independent crew visited Made's Tara Farm on Tuesday and saw
an assortment of equipment stored at the workshop, inviting questions on the
source of the equipment.
Billions of dollars worth of farming equipment ranging from
tractors, a combine harvester, planters, disc harrows and a variety of
machinery used on highly mechanised farms were kept at the farm's workshop
Several of the tractors that are still new and unused occupied
an area of roughly 500-square metres of the workshop ringed by an electric
fence and resembling an auction yard.
The most conspicuous pieces of farm machinery were the several
brand new state-of the art glass-cab tractors and a new combine harvester
amongst other pristine but idle equipment.
Overlooking this display is the ultra-modern and imposing
two-storey mansion built against a hill. The brick-under-tile home overlooks
the workshop area. Although security guards manning the main gate leading
into the workshop and the homestead denied the Independent crew entrance,
arguing that the farm manager was away, the equipment could be seen as you
drive along the perimeter fence.
The discovery of the equipment comes amid mounting pressure on
five ministers, named during a visit by Vice-President Joice Mujuru to
Kondozi Estate, to return equipment looted from Kondozi following its
expropriation in 2004.
There are also reports that the Attorney General's office has
given the ministers up to next week to return the farming equipment
expropriated from the once thriving horticultural concern or face arrest.
Equipment expropriated includes 48 tractors, four Scania trucks,
five UD trucks, several T35 trucks and 26 motorbikes. Several tonnes of
fertilisers and chemicals were also looted from the estate. Highly placed
sources in Manicaland said Transport and Communications minister Chris
Mushohwe had returned some of the equipment he took from Kondozi.
Sources at the estate said the army told a government committee
tasked with assessing the winter crop in Manicaland province and the
utilisation of institutional land under Operation Maguta that Mushohwe
returned a water pump and irrigation pipes to Kondozi last week but was
still illegally drawing water from the farm.
"Minister Mushohwe returned the irrigation pumps on Saturday,"
Colonel Ronnie Mutizhe is said to have told Industry and Trade minister
Obert Mpofu, leader of the committee which toured Manicaland.
BUSINESS at Town House has come to a standstill as government
remains mum on the future of the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission, forcing
the administration to suspend all committee meetings.
The commission's tenure expired on June 9, and government has
not communicated anything, leaving an administration vacuum at council.
Town clerk Nomutsa Chideya confirmed that all committee meetings
have been suspended pending a decision from the central government.
"We have not received any communication from government,"
Chideya said. "We had no option but to suspend committee meetings until we
get a directive from our parent ministry."
Despite the expiry of her tenure, Makwavarara this week reported
for work. She toured Rowan Martin treasury department on Wednesday.
Committees are made up of commissioners or councillors but after
the expiry of their term, they cannot convene any meetings without a fresh
mandate through appointment or elections.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo could not be reached
for comment as he was said to be in Beitbridge.
Government is divided on whether to extend the commission's term
and face a flurry of legal challenges from civil organisations calling for
elections in which government is sure to lose its grip on the capital.
Chombo is understood to have strongly opposed calls for elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission only said it was still
consulting with local authorities on the prospects of elections in Harare
but could not give a specific time-frame.
"Councils are the ones that fund elections," ZEC spokesman
Utloile Silaigwana said this week. "We don't know when the consultations are
going to finish."
As confusion reigns, residents' associations have intensified
calls for a rates boycott and legal actions to pressure government into
calling for mayoral and council elections for Harare.
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), an umbrella body
representing residents, said it has now adopted a double-pronged approach of
legal action and civil disobedience in their pursuit of elections.
"We have filed papers in the High Court," CHRA chairman Mike
Davies said in an interview this week. "Other than the legal action, we have
intensified calls for a rates boycott under the banner 'do not fund your own
"We would also appeal to corporate businesses and other
stakeholders to withdraw their rates as we lobby for elections. Corporates
contribute 70% of the council revenue," he said.
Davies said water disconnections were illegal as water was a
human rights issue. "We will go to court over any water cut-offs," he said.
In 2002 CHRA obtained a Supreme Court judgement forcing government to hold
elections which ushered in the now fired Elias Mudzuri administration.
THE University of Zimbabwe has increased fees by between
90-100%, pushing up the figure to be paid for next semester beginning in
August to around $200 million.
The latest increase means that the fees will jump from the
current $90 million a year to between $150 million and $200 million per
semester depending on the degree programme.
State universities throughout the country are also expected to
increase fees as government is mulling to cede the paying of lecturers' and
staff salaries to universities and not the fiscus.
The increment was announced on Tuesday last week, the same day a
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport and Culture chaired by
Fidelis Mhashu, the MDC legislator for Seke, tabled its findings after
touring Midlands State University, Mkoba and Hillside Teachers colleges,
Bulawayo Polytechnic and several other higher institutions nationwide.
The tour was meant to assess the situation on the campuses and
to get the side of students and the staff on the problems they are facing.
It was mainly prompted by complaints from students and parents after the
government raised fees at tertiary institutions by more than 500% in
"Our findings were that students are struggling to raise the
required fees and actually many dropped out of college. We recommend that
government also raise the grants that are given to students so that they
tally with the fees they are to pay," Mhashu said.
"State grants to students fall far short of what they are to pay
as tuition and accommodation fees."
Currently, students from universities are given $13 million a
semester as grants yet they are expected to pay between $28 million and $90
million a semester depending on what degree programme they are studying for.
MORE than 90 families have been left in the open after their
homes and property were demolished by Harare municipal police early
yesterday morning in a fresh wave of demolitions.
Loice Toringei, a mother of two, said municipal police swooped
on Wednesday giving notices to residents of Glen Norah C home industrial
area to vacate by 10 am yesterday.
"Municipal police came on Wednesday with notices that we must
vacate this area by 10 am this morning. They came telling us to go back
where we came from and never to return again," she said.
"The police swooped on the settlement early this morning
destroying our homes and property and promised to come after three hours
threatening to beat anyone they would find around," Toringei said.
Residents of the area were evicted last year after government
embarked on the much criticised Operation Murambatsvina or Restore Order
which left almost a million people homeless and 2,4 million people without
means of earning a living following the destruction of informal vending
sites and home industries.
Another resident of the area who refused to reveal his name
said: "Government promised to build us homes when they destroyed our homes
last year but nothing has been done. I do not know if government officials
have a heart. This is the work of the devil. This is the second time our
homes have been destroyed."
United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka produced a damning
report on the demolitions in June last year after the government embarked on
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned the
demolitions saying they are a clear violation of human rights.
Meanwhile, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) has
come in to help families that have been affected by the early morning
EFZ has dispatched a team to distribute blankets, soap, plates,
cups and plastic containers for the affected people
Innocent Chingwaru, Programmes officer of EFZ, confirmed that
his organisation had dispatched goods to the families that were affected
yesterday morning saying the organisation always helped vulnerable groups in
society and would continue to do so.
Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe says it has been deeply disturbed
by the government's failure to address the suffering of people and considers
the demolition to be a war on the poor.
The civic group's spokesperson Precious Matambanadzo said: "The
demolitions (yesterday) morning are a complete violation of human rights to
shelter, sanitation and protection against weather."
MORE that 400 retrenchments were officially concluded through
the Retrenchment Board since the beginning of the year, the Employers
Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) has said.
Analysts said the real figure runs into thousands, as many
retrenchments did not pass through the board as firms scaled down operations
or closed down due to the harsh economic environment.
Emcoz, executive director, John Mufukare, told the Independent
that since January, 408 retrenchments were concluded through the
retrenchment board with 98 of them being managers.
"The majority of the retrenchment cases recorded were labour
disputes that went through the retrenchment board, otherwise more cases were
solved on employee/ employer basis," Mufukare said.
Mufukare said the figure of retrenchments is higher than 408
because Emcoz does not have records of cases that were not solved through
the retrenchment board.
Hundreds of employees are losing jobs every month as companies
are embarking on retrenchment exercises to cushion themselves against the
deteriorating macro-economic environment.
There have been massive job losses in the manufacturing sector
where companies are operation at below 25% of their normal capacity due to
foreign currency shortages and the high interest rates.
The have been job losses in the insurance sector where Fidelity
Life Assurance recently retrenched 56 workers.
The group's managing director, Simon Chapereka, confirmed the
lay offs saying the decision was taken in anticipation of a decline in
"We have retrenched 56 workers as we are anticipating a
reduction in the number of policies. As you are aware, the minimum value of
our policy is going to be costing $1 million," Chapereka said.
The retrenchment exercise would result in Fidelity Life
Assurance closing three more branches following the closure of its Kwekwe
Chapereka said that the company anticipates that between 35-40 %
of their clients would not be able to carry on with their policies.
Total Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, which recently acquired Mobil
Zimbabwe, retrenched 64 workers citing a decline in business activity, the
need for rationalisation and duplication of efforts since the two companies
were in the same line of business.
Total public affairs director, Stanley Hatendi confirmed the
retrenchments in a letter faxed to the Independent.
"During the period 2002 to 2005, there has been a massive drop
in business activity making it difficult to maintain overheads and keep
business viable. Since the beginning of 2006, this trend has prevailed," the
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chief executive
officer, Cain Mpofu, said his organisation was yet to compile a report on
any retrenchments being undertaken by different companies but acknowledged
that the were job losses.
"The economic situation in Zimbabwe has made it impossible for
companies to operate at 100% capacity. As such retrenchments have become the
order of the day," Mpofu said.
Oil firm BP & Shell closed down its lubricants blending plant in
Willowvale due to foreign currency shortages which resulted in more than 40
workers being retrenched.
Zesa Holdings is set to retrench workers after the announcement
of its restructuring exercise while Air Zimbabwe is still locked in a bitter
dispute on retrenchment packages with its workers.
GOVERNMENT and the Harare Commission are dragging their feet
over giving the green light for the completion of Kuwadzana library by
refusing to grant Nelson Chamisa, MP for Kuwadzana, permission to complete
the project that was started over a decade ago.
"Since June 2004 I have been holding talks with the responsible
authorities in connection with the library and they promised to look into
the issue but now the building is collapsing without being used," said
The Zimbabwe Independent gathered that last year Chamisa sourced
funds amounting to $2 billion from donors to complete the structure.
"The money I sourced is for the electrification of the library
and also to redo the ceiling and roofing which I'm told failed to reach the
council's specifications," said Chamisa.
"My worry is that the money is losing value every day without
being used. I have books which were donated by various organisations for the
library and certain individuals have pledged to donate computers as soon as
it is officially opened."
According to documents made available to the Independent,
Chamisa met with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo on May 3 to
resolve the issue.
Harare City Council public relations officer, Madenyika
Magwenjere, told the Independent that Chombo referred Chamisa to the
commission since it was a city project.
"Chamisa has been coming to Town House several times to discuss
his intentions of helping the council with funds to complete the library but
the issue has not been discussed by the commission because the MP has not
given us any written document with his proposals," Mangwenjere said
He also said the government had other plans for the building.
"Zimpost approached us with their proposal of buying that
building to use it for postal services. We still have to look into this
issue," Magwenjere said
But Magwenjere admitted that Chamisa was the first one to
approach them before Zimpost and the council is yet to decide on the issue.
THE Bulawayo city council, stung by government's delay in
implementing the Matabeleland Zambezi Water pipeline, is seeking to raise
more than $3,4 trillion to access alternative water sources to supply the
city with potable water, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
The city council last week tabled before a full council meeting
a report compiled by the Future Water Supplies and Water Action committee
outlining alternative sources of water for the city.
The water committee said council needs to embark on three
projects if it is to contain water shortages that have persistently dogged
The three projects that council need to embark on include
connecting Mtshabezi Dam with Umzingwane Dam by pipeline, and to sink 20 new
boreholes while rehabilitating a further 44 boreholes at the Nyamandlovu
The report indicates that council should introduce a water levy
if it is to fund the three projects.
However, the issue of the water levy has caused ructions in the
council with half of the councillors arguing the levy would be another
burden on residents.
The committee resolved that in the absence of a reliable source
of water and the late implementation of the Matabeleland Water project,
council should link up Mtshabezi dam with Umzingwane dam to increase water
Mtshabezi dam was constructed by the government in 1996 and the
council intends to utilise the dam to augment its supply dams.
The committee estimated that the cost of the 36 kilometre
link-up pipeline would cost $ 3 trillion while the construction will cost a
further US $3,4 million.
"Recurrent droughts coupled with ever increasing water demand
has necessitated the linking up of Mtshabezi with Umzingwane dam," the
report said. "In this regard, Zinwa had come up with a proposal to link the
dams up with a pipeline that will be 36,6 kilometres long with a discharge
of 34,6 Mega litres a day which is 23% of the current average water demand
of 145 mega litres a day.
"The cost of the pipeline is estimated to be $3 trillion plus US
$3,4 million with construction estimated to take eighteen months," reads the
The council also said it intends to rehabilitate 44 boreholes at
the Nyamandlovu aquifer at an estimated cost of $80 billion.
The council report says if the Nyamandlovu boreholes are fully
operational they will supply the city with 16 mega litres of water a day
which translates to about 11% of demand.
The council was also wants to drill 10 boreholes in Epping
Forest at a cost of $ 405 billion. The council report says boreholes will
give a total anticipated yield of 10 megalitres of water a day.
The report indicates that the Nyamandlovu and the Epping Forest
boreholes would meet 20% of the city's water demands.
JONATHAN Moyo's $2 billion lawsuits against two senior Zanu PF
politburo members, has been adjourned to November when the two defendants,
Speaker of the House of Assembly, John Nkomo and Dumiso Dabengwa are
expected to testify.
The case which opened at the Bulawayo High Court last month was
adjourned by Justice Francis Bere to Novemeber 28 when Dabengwa and Nkomo
are expected to testify and call witnesses.
The second phase of the case will run from November 28 to
December 8 before a judgement is passed.
In the case, the former information minister is suing the two
senior Zanu PF members for defamation over statements the two made in
Tsholotsho alleging that Moyo plotted a coup against President Mugabe.
The lawyer representing Moyo in the case, Job Sibanda of Job
Sibanda and Associates this week confirmed the adjournment of the case.
"The case has been pencilled in for November 28 and will end on
8 December," Sibanda said.
"We expect that all parties will have presented their case by
He however said if the case is not finalised by then, it could
be re-scheduled to a later date.
The court case has aroused interest in the intricate succession
issue and confidential party correspondence has been produced in court as
The alleged coup plot refers to a meeting in Dinyane in
Tsholotsho allegedly organised and convened by Moyo, together with other
senior Zanu PF leaders, aimed at blocking the appointment of Joice Mujuru as
second vice-president of Zanu PF. - Staff Writer.
THE Attorney-General's office has threatened to imprison staff
members who disclose information to the press without authorisation.
Staff members face jail sentences of up to 20 years for the
In a memo written to members of staff by the head of
administration in the AG's office, Colonel Matazva, the AG said culprits
would be charged under the Official Secrets Act enacted during the colonial
The Act stipulates that leaking information violates pledges
they took not to divulge information without permission.
The memo said that the measure had been necessitated by the
increase in the number of cases leaked to the press in recent months.
Efforts to reach Matazva were fruitless as he was said to be out
of his office.
On Monday Director of Public Prosecutions Loyce Matanda Moyo
could not comment on the grounds that she was busy.
However, sources said the memos were sent out after senior
officers in the AG's office lectured staffers against leaking information to
The officers said of late the AG's office has come under
pressure following the publication of stories on the prosecution of Zanu PF
members, once considered taboo.
"Every one is now afraid to disclose information even to his
workmates. You now mind your own business as some ruling party members think
that this office is fighting them," a source said.
Party cadres who have been charged include ruling party central
committee member Esau Mupfumi and Chipinge South MP Paul Porusingazi who are
facing corruption allegations and Hurungwe senator Phone Madiro and Makonde
MP Leo Mugabe's two sons who have been charged with violence.
Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick
Chinamasa as well as Minister for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement Didymus Mutasa are reportedly facing prosecution for attempting
to defeat the course of justice and violence respectively.
ALTHOUGH major players in the tourism sector recorded profits,
the tourism industry remains under pressure from a six-year economic crisis
and perception problems.
Analysts and stakeholders said while domestic tourism had been
crippled by an erosion of disposable incomes, most players in the sector,
particularly hoteliers, were no longer making significant revenues from
tourist visits, but from conferences.
Zimbabwe, once a major tourist destination, has experienced a
more than 50% decline in tourist arrivals over the past six years.
Contrary to claims and efforts by government, the country's
tourism industry still survives on traditional source markets, with arrivals
from Asian countries making no meaningful contribution.
The government introduced the "Look East Policy", under which
focus was shifted from traditional source markets to the Asian countries.
However, players in the hospitality industry said this dealt a
big blow to the tourism industry, which reports that tourist arrivals from
the East had not made a big impact on their revenues.
While the decline in the tourism industry has continued unabated
over the last five years, neighbouring countries like Zambia and South
Africa had extensively benefited from Zimbabwe's loss.
While South Africa is taking advantage by marketing Victoria
Falls and luring potential tourists to Zimbabwe, Zambia is experiencing a
boom in its tourism industry.
The number of tourist arrivals in Zambia has increased
five-fold, boosting revenue generated by the sector to above US$150 million
Before Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, Zambia had
tourist arrivals of around 160 000 compared to the 610 109 visits received
in 2004, and the figure is expected to increase in response to an aggressive
marketing campaign by the country.
Farai Mutseyekwa, president of the Hospitality Association of
Zimbabwe (HAZ) admitted that the negative publicity was affecting the
"We need to counter the negative publicity," he said.
Mutseyekwa confirmed that most of the tourist arrivals were
still coming from traditional source markets.
"There is actually a decline in the number of visits from the
Asian market," he said.
He said there was potential in the Asian market but there was
need to adopt a proper marketing strategy to capture the Asian market.
Mutseyekwa added that domestic tourism had been negatively
affected by the economic crisis.
He admitted that most operators were now pursuing conferencing
as an avenue to maintain revenue levels as tourist arrivals continued to
"In this environment, the tourism cake is too small;
conferencing is contributing significantly to some organisations," he said.
Shingi Munyeza, CEO of the Zimsun Leisure Group, a Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed hospitality concern, reported an operating
profit of $203,8 billion in the year ended March but expressed concern over
the decline in tourist arrivals.
He said although visits to the group's local hotels from
international markets increased by 5%, foreign arrivals into the country as
a whole continued on a downward trend with a 39% decline in overseas
arrivals and 11% from the African region.
Munyeza said volumes from the domestic market declined by 8% in
the period under review compared to the prior year.
Chipo Mtasa, CEO of the ZSE-listed hospitality concern Rainbow
Tourism Group (RTG), admitted as much, saying that perceptions were
negatively affecting the sector and required immediate attention.
"Perceptions do worry us," Mtasa said in a recent interview with
In her financial report for the year ended December 2005, Mtasa
said the group's hotel occupancies remained depressed at 38% compared to 43%
in the previous year, but recorded an operating profit of $24 billion from a
$455 million loss incurred during the same period the previous year.
Besides the negative perception, she also attributed this to low
Mtasa added that they were in the process of introducing an
office in Livingstone, Zambia, a move that would see the group tapping into
Zambia's tourism boom.
Economic analyst John Robertson said the tourism sector's
contribution to the economy was now dismal.
"Although the authorities don't give clear figures, the
contribution by the tourism sector is US$30 million which is only 15% of the
$200 million it used to contribute," Robertson said. He said operators in
the tourism sector still relied on visitors from traditional markets as the
Chinese had made no significant contributions.
"Most of the Chinese do not spend long in the country and are
not big spenders. Besides, they now have a lot of relatives living here,
whom they can visit," Robertson said.
Apart from the tainted image, Robertson said the fixed exchange
rate coupled with the acute fuel shortages and high prices had become
disincentives to the international tourist, who is faced with over 5 000
He added that domestic tourism was dying due to the economic
crisis, particularly high inflation. According to the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority, a quasi-state body, tourist arrivals declined by 27% in the last
quarter of 2005.
A total of 336 971 tourists visited Zimbabwe during the period,
compared to 463 471 in the comparative period in 2004.
THE government is planning a massive divesture programme aimed
at giving equity in state-owned companies to Chinese investors as it battles
to raise US$2,5 billion under its National Economic Development Priority
Programme (NEDPP), businessdigest established this week.
The move could see the government hive-off key stakes in
parastatals like Tel*One, Net*One, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and
Zesa's subsidiary companies like the Zimbabwe Power Company as well as
participation in private companies like Hwange Colliery in which the
government has controlling stakes.
Sources indicated that the government, which last year suffered
a major embarrassment after Beijing snubbed its request for a $1 billion
loan, had experienced problems getting greenfield projects with Chinese
participation off the ground because it could not provide requested
For example, the US$600 million Hwange Power Station expansion
project has been stalled by failure by the government and the central bank
to provide guarantees on loan from Chinese firm Catic, and a down payment of
US$90 million for the project, the sources said.
Now it is hoping that the Chinese, who have poured billions into
Kenya and Nigeria, are likely to be appeased by stakes in parastatals and
unlock huge lines of credit to spur a turn-around of Zimbabwe's faltering
THE opposition MDC has dismissed as cheap propaganda government
attempts to raise US$2,5 billion in three months to revive the economy,
saying this indicated government authorities lived "in a fantasy world".
"The assertion that the country needs at least US$2,5 billion to
effect any changes in the collapse of the economy that is taking place at
present is probably the only element that has any truth in it.
"What is pure fantasy, however, is the claim that this enormous
sum will be raised by the state in 'cash and investments' in three months,"
the MDC said in a statement.
The government launched an economic blue-print, the National
Economic Development Priority Programme (NEDPP) two months ago under which
it claimed it would raise US$2,5 billion in three months to stabilise the
local currency, fight rising inflation, mobilise savings and ensure food
The MDC statement, issued by a faction of the opposition party
led by Morgan Tsvangirai, dismissed the blue-print as "fantasy economics".
Economic Development minister Rugare Gumbo told the state media
last week that the government had so far raised a paltry US$350 million in
cash under the NEDPP, admitting: "We have not gone very far, unfortunately."
He indicated a shift in focus, from raising cash to securing
investment pledges to make up for the US$2,5 billion the government intended
to raise. - Staff Writer.
GOVERNMENT domestic debt, which had significantly declined since
the beginning of the year, has increased to $21 trillion as at June 2006,
statistics from central bank revealed.
The figure is the highest since January 2003.
This development comes after local economic analysts had warned
that the debt would increase further, from $15,7 trillion in March 2006, due
to hefty salary increments awarded to civil servants by government.
The salary increases were also expected to push up government's
wage bill to well over 50% of gross domestic product.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe statistics, the total
domestic debt stood at $21,06 trillion on June 2 while on May 12 it was
The debt jumped from $16,4 trillion to $21,45 trillion and
$22,35 trillion on May 19 and May 26 respectively.
On February 24, 2006, the domestic debt was $14,2 trillion,
dropping marginally to $13,7 trillion on March 3, 2006.
It had reached a high of $15,9 trillion at the end of last year,
having opened the same year at $3,3 trillion.
Local economists and analysts have always blamed government
borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure without production.
"The debt is likely to increase further as the government needs
$15 trillion to double the police force," economist John Robertson said.
He added that this will result in a further increase of the debt
because the money is borrowed to finance recurrent expenditure.
Robertson added that once government decides to print more
money, as hinted by the authorities, it would aggravate inflationary
The government recently printed $21 trillion to pay up the
International Monetary Fund debt, a move many observers said had helped
stoke inflation, which reached 1 193% year-on-year for May.
The government's domestic debt consists of stocks, treasury
bills and central bank advances.
Last year the total domestic debt grew by close to 1 000%, which
central bank governor described as unsustainable. The government has
resorted to the domestic market to finance its budget due to lack of
financial support from bilateral and multilateral donors. - Staff Writer.
GOVERNMENT is planning to introduce a policy in which new
residential property owners will not be subject to rent control for the
first 10 years in a bid to lure investors into the country's dull property
However, property analysts said rent controls should be phased
They said the policy will not revive the industry as a decade is
not enough for investors to realise good returns on investments.
Since 2000, there has been insignificant investment in the
property market - particularly residential - and the major obstacle has been
Players in the property industry say they are forced by the Rent
Board to charge rentals that are not market-related, making it difficult for
them to operate, particularly in this current volatile inflationary
environment. The Rent Board is a government-appointed body set up to
regulate the property industry.
"The policy is not good enough," Abraham Sadomba, the CB Richard
Ellis managing director, said.
He said even though the policy is still being circulated to
various stakeholders, the fact is investors do not want rent controls at
"Investors will still turn to other investment options where
there are totally no controls," Sadomba said.
He said government should facilitate the increase in the supply
of residential properties by removing controls to lure investors. This would
have the effect of stabilising rentals.
There is a serious shortage of residential properties in the
Sadomba said residential tenants have developed a tendency of
reporting to the Rent Board whenever rentals are increased.
"We are currently increasing rentals for the industrial and
commercial tenants by 80% every quarter and there are no problems," Sadomba
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called for
the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar, saying the current exchange rate had
"There is an urgent need to review the current exchange rate,"
CZI president, Patison Sithole said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Sithole said there was an urgent need for a holistic approach to
Zimbabwe's economic crisis to curtail price distortions and improve
productivity and export growth.
Sithole criticised the volume-based exchange rate system
introduced in January this year by the Reserve Bank, saying the system had
become unsustainable, resulting in the over-valuation of the local currency.
He said the impact of an overvalued currency had been disastrous
to small scale companies.
The central bank in January introduced a volume-based exchange
rate to control the movement of the exchange rate, which had drastically
moved in line with inflation under market-controlled exchange rate regime
that had been briefly introduced following an auction system that had been
widely criticised as ineffective by market players.
Sithole, who declined to give his own views of the ideal
exchange rate under prevailing circumstances, said: "What we should ask
ourselves is: what is the best exchange rate regime under this environment.
(We want) a whole package and not just the right exchange rate at a
Sithole joined a chorus of calls for a devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar from tobacco growers, gold miners and exporting companies
who have said the current exchange rate system was eroding viability and
leaving them in the lurch.
The current exchange rate, critics said, has not taken into
account Zimbabwe's rising inflation, which has ballooned significantly when
inflation levels in major country trading partners has been significantly
Annual inflation is currently at 1 193,5 % year on year for May,
the highest in the world.
The fixing of the exchange rate on the official market has
pushed trade in foreign currency to a thriving parallel market, where the US
dollar is fetching over $320 000.
The rate on the official market is US$1: $101 195.
Many companies have resorted to the parallel market for foreign
currency because of unavailability on the official market.
This has resulted in many companies using parallel market rates
in determining prices.
CZI will hold its annual congress between 26 and 28 July in
Key issues expected to take centre stage at the congress include
the need for investor friendly monetary and fiscal policies, issues of toll
manufacturing to increase industrial productivity, value addition and import
Festo P Kavishe
TANIYA trusted her uncle. He was, after all, her mother's
brother. Family. Each week he would take Taniya to his house for a rare
feast of chicken and rice. On her eighth birthday he even bought her a doll.
Now 13, Taniya's trust - together with her body and spirit - has
been shattered. For five years, this little girl was raped by her uncle. "I
couldn't imagine someone could do this to a little girl," says Taniya's
mother, tears streaming down her face. "Certainly not my own brother. But
maybe I closed my eyes. Maybe I was happy Taniya was eating well. Maybe this
is happening everywhere."
At a time when Zimbabweans are making phenomenal efforts to
absorb 1,6 million orphans, there is a small - but growing - number of
people who prey on the most vulnerable of children. Violence against
Zimbabwe's children is on the rise. Sexual abuse of children has reached
terrifying levels. The impact and incidence of child abuse should shock each
and every one of us to the core, and demand our action. These, after all,
are our children, our future.
Today is the Day of the African Child. No child who has suffered
abuse will celebrate this day. Nor should we.
This year's theme, appropriately, is "Stop Violence against
Children". Incidents of young children, especially orphans, being raped,
molested or brutalised are reported every week in Zimbabwe's media. The
perpetrators, often fathers, uncles, other relatives or neighbours, often go
These children suffer in silence, let down by people and systems
meant to protect them. Unseen and unheard, they bear the physical and
emotional scars of lives shattered and dreams lost, a permanent reminder of
society's failure to offer them a safe environment in which to grow and
It remains necessary in Zimbabwe to create a culture of
prevention of all forms of child abuse. We must mobilise public opinion and
action, galvanise government, civil society, chiefs and communities, parents
and guardians and children themselves to be unequivocal in their
condemnation of child abuse, and step up work to disseminate prevention
Community leaders must play a central role. Fears of reprisal
and families' willingness to reach settlements deepen a culture of silence
and enable the problem to fester undetected and unreported.
Community leaders need to be absolutely explicit in their
condemnation of child abuse. These leaders - with teachers, police, mums and
dads - are the front line in the fight against child abuse. If perpetrators
are going to be stopped, if children are going to have the confidence to
speak out against these evils, then authority figures need to make it
patently clear that child abuse in their communities will not be stomached.
Silence on this issue shelters the perpetrators and is a crime.
The Day of the African Child has its roots in Soweto. Among
Soweto's famous sons are Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Orlando Pirates
and Kaizer Chiefs are from there, as is award-winning musician, Yvonne Chaka
Chaka. "Soweto symbolises courage," says Chaka Chaka. "And courage is what
Zimbabwean children are showing every day."
Thirty years ago, on June 16 1976, 10 000 mostly school children
took to Soweto's streets in peaceful demonstrations. The then-apartheid
authorities responded with force. Armed police lobbed teargas into the crowd
and the students retaliated with rocks. When the mayhem was over, 152
children lay dead.
Fifteen years later, in 1991, the Organisation of African Unity
(the predecessor to the African Union) immortalised the Soweto Uprising by
declaring June 16 the Day of the African Child.
When Africa's presidents memorialised June 16, they were in
effect saying: "Never again will Africa's children be violated or abused".
This resolve needs to be rediscovered and enforced.
Government in Zimbabwe needs to take three important steps.
First, law enforcement and the sentencing of child abusers must be
appropriately harsh so as to act as the strongest of deterrents.
Second, they must continue to be vocal and persistent in their
condemnation of child abuse, particularly at community level. And finally,
government needs to ensure that Zimbabwe's existing - and on paper, strong -
child laws are vigorously enforced. Laws that are not enforced are useless.
Ceremony alone is simply not good enough.
* Kavishe is the Unicef representative in Zimbabwe.
By Magari Mandebvu
THERE is an ancient story about a frog that jumped into a bucket
of water. The owner of the bucket immediately put the bucket on to a very
The frog, feeling uncomfortably hot, jumped up on to the rim of
the bucket and from there jumped to safety.
A second frog did the same in a different place (it may have
been in France or China) and the owner of the bucket put the bucket on to a
very slow fire. The water warmed up slowly.
Frogs are cold-blooded creatures. Unlike us, they can't keep
their blood at a comfortable temperature, so they often welcome a little bit
of warmth more than we do. We just enjoy the warmth, but they need it.
This frog was happy when he noticed the water was getting a
little warmer. His blood temperature rose, so he was able to swim more
vigorously. He couldn't climb the side of the bucket, but that didn't worry
him. He was enjoying his swim.
The water got a bit warmer. The frog swam a bit faster and he
was really enjoying himself.
The water got warmer still and the frog began to feel drowsy.
Do you remember what it was like when we had enough water to
enjoy a hot bath after a hard day's work? You know that when you are sitting
in nice hot water and feeling sleepy, you think more slowly.
The frog didn't think seriously about his situation. It was just
so nice and warm and tempting to slow down and let his eyes close.
The water continued heating up. It boiled for a while.
The last time the storyteller saw the owner of the bucket (and
this is why I said it may have happened in France or China), she was happily
chewing on some very tenderly cooked frog's legs.
Is that just a funny story?
Doesn't it suggest something else? Which of these two frogs is
the average citizen of Zimbabwe today?
The water is already quite hot. They have gone a long way
towards cooking us, and they have got away with it because they did it one
step at a time.
Each step was noticeable, just as the frog could notice the
temperature of the water in the bucket had been raised a few degrees, but it
didn't seem too threatening. Or at least not to us.
Other people may have been beaten up, or tortured, or killed, or
raped, or slammed into stinking overcrowded jails and forgotten. Other
people may have had their homes destroyed, or been banned from earning a
living, and maybe had the tools of their trade stolen. A few even lost big
But it didn't affect you or me very much. The water was a bit
warmer, but not too hot for you or me. So we swam on happily, not thinking
of what the future might hold if things went on like this.
Now the water is near boiling. Our situation is grim, as we all
But, to cheer you up, here is another ancient story about two
They both fell into a bucket of milk.
Frog No1 was not very adventurous. In fact, he was very
conservative. He didn't do anything that his grandfather had not done all
his life - and probably his grandfather's grandfather before him.
If he had been human, he would have been the sort of person you
wouldn't dare (in the days when some of us could afford to eat out
occasionally) to invite to an Indian or Italian restaurant. When he saw the
menu listing all those delicious curries or all those imaginative ways of
presenting pasta, he would have just asked for sadza.
But he wasn't human, he was just a frog dropped in a bucket of
milk and he had never been dropped into a bucket of milk before so he said
to himself: "What is this strange stuff? I've never seen water like this
before. I can't swim in this."
So he stopped trying to swim and very quickly drowned.
Frog No 2 was just as puzzled by this strange white stuff, but,
being of a more adventurous nature, decided that it didn't matter what kind
of strange stuff he had fallen into as long as he could still swim in it. So
he tried to swim.
For a while he swam quite easily, but you know what happens when
you churn milk up. Soon swimming became more difficult because the milk was
Still, the persistent frog kept swimming. Now the milk around
him was so thick that he could hardly move forward, however hard he swam.
At least he was still afloat, so he kept trying to swim. Moving
his limbs became more and more difficult.
But he was a really persistent frog, so he didn't give up.
Eventually, he found he could not move his limbs to swim at all.
Surprisingly, he did not sink. Then he discovered that, although he could
not move his arms and legs sideways, he could pull himself up. He did this
and looked around him.
You can imagine his surprise when he saw that he was floating on
a raft - of butter. His attempts to swim had made all this butter, enough
for him to float on.
He slowly realised what had happened. He licked as much of the
butter off his limbs as he could. He couldn't clean himself up entirely
because frogs are not as well designed for this job as dogs or cats are.
The butter tasted strange, but when he swallowed some, it made
him feel stronger and he realised he was very hungry from all that effort.
This encouraged him to swallow all the butter he could lick off himself. In
the end he wasn't perfectly clean, but he had done the best he could. He was
also fully restored to strength.
He looked around again and decided that his butter raft was
quite firm enough to enable him to jump to the rim of the bucket.
He jumped to the rim and from there he jumped down the other
side. He was free!
Now, when we consider this second story, it offers us more hope.
You would not still be reading this, dear readers, nor would I be still
writing it, if we were not, both of us, more like frog No 2 than frog No1.
Yes, this strange stuff we are still trying to swim in gets
thicker every day. By now it is very thick. But remember frog No1 and frog
No2. One of these days we will find ourselves out of our problems and on a
raft of butter. That will not be the end of our problems: we will still have
to make the jump to freedom.
I am sure frog No 2 found other problems outside the bucket.
There always will be problems in life, but he had solved one very big
problem and this encouraged him to try harder and think more intelligently
about these later problems. I am sure it will be the same for us.
* Magari Mandebvu is a Harare-based writer.
By Phillip Pasirayi
IN 2004 a national convention was held under the auspices of the
Crisis Coalition which among other things sought to reflect on the impact of
economic sanctions and to make recommendations on the role of the
international community regarding the Zimbabwean crisis.
The meeting was attended by members from a diverse cross-section
of Zimbabwean society including representatives from academia, the
diplomatic community, churches, students, civic leaders and political party
spokespersons. There was no representative from government and the ruling
party as they turned down invitations that had been extended to them.
True of the mainstream media and the Crisis Coalition meeting
deliberations, there is no consensus regarding the legality and the impact
of the sanctions and whether or not the sanctions should be lifted.
Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei, who presented a paper titled "The
Impact of Sanctions and Role of the International Community in the
Zimbabwean Crisis" at the conference, asserted that sanctions were having an
unintended negative impact as they were affecting the ordinary Zimbabwean as
much as Zanu PF members who were the targets.
I believe that the sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe's
government are a legitimate tool that the international community uses to
rein in errant members in order to effect policy change.
It is necessary to dispel the myth that has largely emanated
from government that the sanctions are economic sanctions and illegal as
they were not discussed by the United Nations.
We should also locate this debate within the context of the
latest overtures by members of the clergy who have launched a campaign
programme meant to have the sanctions lifted.
Contrary to what we have always been told through state
propaganda outlets that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are illegal, these
sanctions have been imposed on the ruling elite and not the ordinary
It is to the discretion of members of the European Union or the
countries that have imposed the sanctions such as the United States to
define their international relations in a manner that does not seem to
compromise their values or in this case seem to endorse barbarism,
chicanery, vote-rigging and the atrocities that the Zanu PF government has
been associated with.
Through sanctions, the international community defines the
boundaries of that community and the bounds of what is acceptable behaviour.
The reason it is wrong to call for the lifting of sanctions
imposed on Zanu PF at this juncture is that such a move could be
misconstrued to mean that the ruling party is reforming. As long as human
rights violations continue at such alarming levels, it does not make sense
to lift sanctions against members of the ruling elite.
If anything, the sanctions against Zanu PF must be further
tightened to force the ruling party to embrace democratic values and respect
the rule of law.
The international community has sought to assist Zimbabwe
recover from her current crisis through imposing targeted sanctions which
include a travel ban against the ruling elite. The idea of smart or targeted
sanctions as argued by international law expert, Antonio Cassese (2003), is
meant to avoid having the sanctions affect unintended people as blanket
sanctions would do.
Smart sanctions are carefully designed and they in most cases
include a travel ban, a freezing of assets held in foreign land and a ban or
boycott of selected businesses linked to those that are meant to feel the
pinch of the sanctions.
On the other hand, economic sanctions normally entail
restrictions on commercial relations with a target country such as trade,
investment and other cross-border activities. Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe
do not fit this category because they are not blanket sanctions imposed
against Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe continues to export its agricultural products
such as beef and tobacco to the EU and the US.
In order to understand the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and
their consequences, it is best to analyse them through an incisive piece
written by Adeno Addis (2003), "Economic Sanctions and the Problem of Evil",
Human Rights Quarterly Volume 25.
Adeno convincingly argues that sanctions "are a means through
which the international community or any sanctioning community imagines
itself because they are instruments of behaviour modification".
Apart from this instrumentalist or behaviouralist perspective,
sanctions are also imposed in order to define the boundaries of the
sanctioning community and to disassociate itself with "the evil other". This
is called the identitarian perspective.
When the EU slapped the Zimbabwean government with sanctions,
targeting President Robert Mugabe, the US followed suit and targeted senior
Zanu PF members "who formulate, implement, or benefit from policies that
undermine or injure Zimbabwe's democratic institutions or impede the
transition to a multi-party democracy".
In other words, the sanctioning community is defining its values
and at the same time using sanctions as an instrument to effect change in
the formulation and implementation of policy.
The paradox, according to the government, is that the smart
sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe is that instead of hurting Mugabe and his
cronies they are hurting the ordinary people, the majority now living below
the poverty datum line.
But the fact that the smart sanctions have not led to the
anticipated behavioural change on the part of the ruling regime is not
sufficient justification to campaign for the removal of those sanctions. It
is in this light that those people campaigning for the removal of sanctions
against Zanu PF are ill-informed.
Adeno underscores the same point arguing that it could be a
mistake to assume that sanctions do not serve any meaningful purpose if they
do not lead to immediate behavioural change.
Although the international community has an obligation to
respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the people, the primary
responsibility lies with the state. So the argument that it is because of
the smart sanctions that the government cannot meet the human rights of the
citizenry does not stand in international law.
Even in times of crisis, man-made or natural, the state is under
obligation to help people meet their basic rights.
The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
through General Comment No 8 (1997), notes that "the imposition of sanctions
does not in any way nullify or diminish the relevant obligations of that
It therefore follows that Zimbabwe as a state party to the UN
International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is still
under an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil a whole range of
economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to adequate food, the
right to health, right to housing and to an adequate standard of living and
civil and political rights.
As long as the government of Zimbabwe continues on its
self-destructive path, being the main instigator of human rights abuses and
denying people their electoral rights, there is no justification to campaign
for the uplifting of the sanctions.
The sanctions against the rogue Zanu PF regime should only be
lifted when airwaves have been opened, newspapers that were shut down are
allowed to operate, electoral rights are respected, opposition MDC mayors
are unconditionally reinstated and, above all, a new constitution is put in
* Phillip Pasirayi is a Zimbabwean academic activist
By Cde Pfepferere
WHEN we were young and growing up, going into hospital for
surgery (an operation) no matter how minor, was always considered a serious
Then, hospitals were places where people went to be treated and
not to die as is the case these days.
We were often told that if someone was undergoing an operation
they had to be put to sleep (anaesthetised) and that waking up was not
We were also told that forms had to be signed by those being
operated on, or their lawful representatives so that in the event that they
decided to proceed and meet their creator, no fingers would be pointed. In
short, an operation was a response to a crisis, and often a last resort
I have been having this disconcerting sense of déjà vu on the
first anniversary of Operation Murambatsvina, whether Zimbabwe would wake up
from its political slumber. Consistent with most responses to the crises
Zimbabwe currently faces, most government reactions are presented as
It is the military mindset that has seen the implementation of
disastrous operations such as Murambatsvina, Garikai, Taguta, etc over the
course of last year. Contrary to what our current political leadership would
like us to believe, that their politics and ideologies were influenced by
their past military prowess, only a handful of them were ever involved in
actual military undertakings, especially the top brass. The tragedy that we
face today is that we are being served unworkable military solutions to
problems that are of a socio-economic and political nature by folks who have
never been to the frontline, and can hardly tell the barrel from the butt.
The majority of those that have authentic revolutionary and
military credentials either perished heroically fighting for their
motherland, have been totally marginalised from political decision-making,
or have moved on and are doing something productive in life. What Zimbabwe
has had to go through in the past year is similar to a very sick patient who
has repeatedly come under the surgical knife of the same unqualified doctor.
Not only is the doctor unqualified, but he/she is lying that he/she has the
requisite qualifications to perform such an operation, knowing fully well
that they never as much as seen the door of a medical school.
* The author is a Johannesburg-based human rights lawyer and has
used a pseudonym in honour of a freedom fighter killed at St Augustine's
Mission School in 1979.
THE issue of legitimacy of governments and their actions has
preoccupied mankind throughout all its history. And governments have sought
different ways to justify their legitimacy and their actions.
Every leader will claim legitimacy to justify their rule and
define their perception of authority to govern. In modern-day politics
leaders call for elections and winners immediately proclaim themselves
legitimate leaders. Or are they?
Whichever way a person or group of people are brought to power,
they need to legitimise their actions.
Students of history will remember French absolutist monarch
Louis XIV who equated his own personality with the state in his infamous
statement; "L'etat c'est moi" (I am the state).
That was in the 18th Century but leaders today still justify
their actions by the strength and passion of their own beliefs even though
these are personal matters close to their hearts. These personal feelings
are often construed by demagogues to be a law which is then imposed on the
rest of the people.
This quest for legitimacy is oftentimes associated with
institutionalisation of an individual to the effect that the person holding
office cannot do wrong.
Medieval monarchs - and their subjects - regarded their
anointment by the church as a carte blanche to do as they wished. To
entrench this belief system the omnipotent leader would seek ways to justify
attacks on perceived opponents.
"Off with their heads" was the usual solution!
The system continues, suitably adapted, today. The simple way to
deal with dissent is to proclaim their victim an "enemy". Once the victim is
labelled an enemy any action against him is seen as legitimate. Anybody
attempting to defend the "enemy" is labelled as an "enemy" himself.
Drastic measures can be taken in the process of dealing with the
enemy. "Mistakes" as drastic as genocides - remember our own Gukurahundi-can
be justified using political convenience as an excuse. They justify their
actions by saying "we had to do it that way, because it was politically
convenient". This is quite a common way of justifying government failures
and abuses of power.
However, having no practical ways to deal with abuses of power
by government, people just turn away from the politicians in disgust.
This is called stonewalling which governments, including our
own, use to ignore complaints against their actions or raising of
It is a fact that people might not have enough zeal or resources
to go through all the hassle of fighting the government bureaucracy, which
could be a very time-consuming and costly business.
Our government has perfected this art. That is why it has become
normal for residents to live next to heaps of uncollected garbage, to cross
rivulets of sewerage water on their way to work or drive on badly-potholed
roads. To avoid the hassle of fighting such misfeasance by public officials
we pay taxes, rates and levies without standing up to question how they are
We are afraid of being labelled enemies of the state by
criticising the state or speaking out on social justice. We have allowed the
government, parastatals and local authorities to make drastic decisions
about our lives because they feel that it was politically convenient to do
so. Britain became our enemy once President Mugabe declared Tony Blair an
"enemy" and an "unholy man". Zimbabweans were suddenly turned into
passionate proponents of the land reform programme as government sought to
justify its actions, notwithstanding the devastation this has caused to the
Security laws like Posa and of late the Suppression of
International Terrorism Bill have been promulgated because politicians have
told us we are under threat from foreign aggressors.
The continued subtraction of our sacrosanct rights has continued
to take place because the government says it has a legitimate right to
govern by virtue of being elected.
But there is more to legitimacy than just an election victory. A
truly legitimate government is one that can efficiently fulfill its
obligation to provide basic social services like affordable health and
A government should ensure there is potable water for both rural
and urban people. Power supply should be efficient to drive industry and
commerce. The railways system, roads and air travel are pre-requisites for
the proper functioning of industry. A legitimate government works towards
reducing unemployment and not enacting laws to close companies.
Zimbabweans have submitted themselves to government and its
orders and laws through fear, necessity, or as a result of manipulation of
their emotions (hatred or fear of a real or imaginary enemy, expectation of
a receipt of benefits, ruler deification, etc), or just because they
consider it a hassle to deal with the incompetence and abuses of powers by
government officials. That is why we have accepted Zesa's "advice" that we
have to live with the intermittent power cuts during this crucial World Cup
That is how we have legitimised the system. And we have only
ourselves to blame.
SO, Africa is drifting dangerously close to Europe, at a rate of
15 millimetres a year, and the two continents could collide, a visiting
Indian scientific team told us last week.
President Mugabe appears alarmed by this development.
The Indian team is exploring the existence of Gondwanaland, the
continent that once bound present-day Africa and India together. The
expedition seeks to unite the people of Africa and India who were separated
by continental drift, the Herald said.
Mugabe saw the expedition as an opportunity for spreading his
"If they are known, these historical strands that bound
continents and people in the past and exposed constantly may help to build
consciousness of oneness and unity, especially to us who belong to the Third
World," he was quoted as telling the Indians at Zimbabwe House.
There's only one thing wrong with this theory. The continents
drifted apart 265 million years ago. There were no "people" to be separated
then. Just a few dinosaurs roaming the planet.
Solidarity politics is one thing. Rewriting history to suit the
plot is another.
But we can understand the president's need to discover other
dinosaur species that once populated the earth. Given recent newspaper
reports, it seems our own T-Rex carnivores are intent upon sticking around
to witness the historic clash with Europe which could throw up mountain
ranges such as those erupting in northern India 65 million years ago.
Zimbabwe's scientific community has been ordered to minimise the
consequences of continental drift. If possible, they have been told, any
drift towards Europe should be resisted in order to reduce the prospect of
pre-historic eruptions in the corridors of power!
Muckraker was interested in a report to parliament by the
portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs which
recommended that the judiciary should move expeditiously in dealing with
pending cases. Justice delayed is justice denied was their message.
The committee's chairman Faber Chidarikire - a former mayor of
Chinhoyi who it may be recalled kept his head while all about him were
losing theirs - said it was disturbing that some of those currently held in
remand prison would eventually be found innocent.
There is another dimension to this that appears not to have been
considered. Electoral petitions often suffer the same delays as criminal
cases meaning Zanu PF MPs whose election was successfully challenged in the
High Court on grounds of violence or other abuses continued to occupy seats
while they appealed to the Supreme Court.
Why has nobody, and here the MDC and the media are delinquent,
publicised how many cases the opposition won in the High Court but were
denied the seats because the incumbents appealed and were able to continue
occupying those seats right up to the 2005 poll? And why hasn't the MDC made
more of the fact that, given the court verdicts, it probably won a majority
of the popularly elected seats in the 2000 poll?
The answer must be that instead of performing its duty as a
challenging opposition, the MDC would rather fight among itself. This is not
all "water under the bridge" or of only "academic"interest. It is an
important matter of public record.
David Coltart, who is considered one of the more level-headed
spokesmen for the party and an expert on electoral matters, appears to have
been diverted by the internecine warfare in the party. After his recent
article in this paper and subsequent website forays attacking the Tsvangirai
faction for indulging violence, he has now got off the fence, which must
have left him rather sore after such a long sojourn there, and come down
firmly on the Mutambara side which is where he really belonged.
Let's hope he will now return to the electoral beat where his
skills are "sorely" needed. He could perhaps use his parliamentary privilege
to comment on judges who cannot see that by accepting the lease of farms
from the government on a basis where the minister is able to withdraw the
lease at any time, they place themselves in an invidious position and
compromise the integrity of the judicial process.
Why is this subject not getting more attention from the
opposition? Very simply they are not doing their job.
Perhaps that explains why Tsvangirai's press conference last
week failed to "wet" the appetite of the story-dry Munyaradzi Huni. His
expectations of nuggets from Tsvangirai - that he would announce his plans
for the planned long winter of discontent - was "enough to wet my appetite"
wrote Huni. Tsvangirai only spoke for seven minutes. Huni reports that the
MDC leader told reporters that he was not planning to overthrow any
What a disappointment for a reporter whose appetite for humbug
is whetted by his own fictitious MDC treason plots. What is the use of a wet
Huni in this wintry whether (sorry weather).
We should also be looking more closely at whether the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission is fulfilling its duties. The Economist of April 9 2005
reported that in Manyame, Patrick Zhuwao won more votes than were actually
"When the polls closed officials announced (and state radio
broadcast) that 14 812 people had voted in Manyame. But during the count
more than 9 000 extra ballots appeared giving Mr Bob's-My-Uncle an
impressive 15 448 votes out of some 24 000."
We have still not had a satisfactory explanation from the ZEC as
to why there were so many discrepancies in the 2005 election between the
figures given at the end of polling and those reflected in the final count.
And why hasn't the ZEC responded to this paper's questions on preparations
for the Harare mayoral poll? This should be a straight-forward matter for a
supposedly independent body.
On the subject of getting things on the record, Prof Welshman
Ncube gave a very good interview to the Sunday News last weekend. While the
picture revealed he is still waiting to have the operation most journalists
must undergo - having the cellphone removed from the ear - he did manage to
clear up some of the deeply held misconceptions held by the state media.
For instance, asked about the MDC's advocacy of sanctions he
described it as one of the "big lies" that is repeatedly told.
The MDC supported travel bans to protest at the way elections
were run, not economic sanctions, Ncube pointed out.
"We do not believe that banning a militia leaders from visiting
the United States amounts to economic sanctions against Zimbabweans," he
"Again it is one of those unfortunate things that you have a
government that has failed to conduct effective foreign policy blaming
everyone else for its bad relations with the international community."
Still on the subject of foreign policy Muckraker referred last
week to the very large and hospitable reception hosted by the Swedes.
Muckraker steered clear of the reindeer meat and the Swedish proof vodka
(for lying down and enjoying). It is a little-known fact that Sweden exports
more proof vodka to the US every year than Volvos!
What wasn't made clear was a wider diplomatic observation,
brought to Muckraker's attention by another embassy, that if a mission
wishes to have a Zimbabwean official present at its national day, it must
first submit its ambassador's speech a week ahead of the occasion and
include in it a toast to President Mugabe.
Several envoys, we gather, have declined to be treated like
children and are happy to toast "the people of Zimbabwe" and leave out the
author of their distress!
By the way, how many people know Dr Sydney Sekeramayi speaks
The Herald carried remarks made this week by a visiting American
opponent of sanctions, Obi Egbuna, programme director of the Pan-African
Liberalisation (sic) Organisation who said he wants to initiate a "Mugabe
must travel" campaign.
This is a campaign which many Zimbabweans will support. The
further the better. But Information minister Tichaona Jokonya used his
meeting with the visiting British-born campaigner to make a number of
dubious claims including the suggestion that Aippa enjoyed bipartisan
support and that it was far less draconian than the USA Patriot Act.
Could he tell us which American journalists have been arrested
under the Patriot Act? Or which US newspapers have been closed down? Does
the Patriot Act set up a supervisory board appointed by a presidential
official and comprising presidential cronies to regulate what the media can
and can't say?
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Patriot Act is its
provision for wiretaps. But even there, the administration must show
"probable cause" in approaching a judge for permission. Can you imagine the
state in Zimbabwe bothering to get permission for wiretaps?
The next time Jokonya and his sidekick Bright Matonga entertain
a visiting Coltrane Chimurenga-type apologist for their regime they should
explain how their chained and emasculated media interpret patriotism (that
is, Zanu PF can do what it wants); how the country's interests have been
served by a muzzled media that isn't even allowed to question the president's
policies let alone suggest any wrong-doing as US papers do with George Bush
every day of the week!
Then a visit to Kondozi might enlighten the visitor as to
"Zimbabwe's principled stand on the land issue". Perhaps Obi meant principal
Obi evidently didn't see John Nkomo's comment in the Herald on
Monday that farmers who were underutilising their farmers were being
disrespectful to the president. Seeing the number of derelict farms around,
the president's reverence among his peers - who have looted farm implements
and run down farms - has plummeted. That's nuff respect Obi.
Vice President Joice Mujuru has been enjoying her place in the
sun in China away from her usual rural beat. She was scouting for investment
opportunities in the East where she told Chinese business people that
Zimbabwe had put in place incentives to attract and safeguard investment,
the Herald reported. But everyone appears to be jittery with property rights
abuse in Zimbabwe and the bad-customer tag the country has.
On Monday it was reported that Chinese company CATIC, which we
were told is investing in the country's mining and power sector, wanted
assurances that mining concessions would be "legally transferred" to a
mooted joint-venture company. Even the Chinese now know of Zimbabwe's
penchant to transfer property illegally. They also know that Zimbabwe does
not pay its debts on time - even to its friends.
By Dumisani Muleya
THE Zimbabwean political situation remains touch-and-go with no
clues of what is likely to happen in the short-to-medium term, especially
given the current turmoil within the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC
The political crisis, characterised by erosion of the democratic
culture and institutional collapse, is worsened by the economic malaise
which is rapidly widening and deepening. This has left the country in an
undeclared state of emergency.
The unannounced banning of democratic protests by opposition and
civil society movements - except those staged by Zanu PF supporters -
provides the clearest sign yet of a tacit state of emergency.
There are several untested suppositions about what is likely to
happen after the departure of President Robert Mugabe by natural causes or
The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank run
by retired statesmen, last week issued a report on Zimbabwe warning of
possible political instability and violence in the country.
It said Zimbabwe was almost irretrievably hurtling towards being
a failed state plagued by insecurity and chaos. It said the risk of anarchy
was high because of the current political turmoil, economic emergency,
heightened repression and deepening public anger.
The group noted Mugabe's regime is increasingly becoming
"desperate and dangerous" due to its growing paranoia caused by rising
opposition to its policies and international isolation.
While chances of Zimbabwe becoming stateless are very slim,
there are conditions on the ground which provide a hotbed for political
The country is fractured on many fronts. Divisions within Zanu
PF and the MDC are now as profound as the differences between them. The two
parties are reeling from vicious power struggles.
The Zanu PF situation is more scary because of the scamble to
succeed Mugabe. It is not clear what is likely to happen after Mugabe but
there are fears Zanu PF will split into at least two factions along regional
and ethnic fault lines. If that were to happen, it would create a breeding
ground for instability and violence.
Zanu PF appears fragile because of its regional and tribal
anatomy. In the past the party showed signs of volatility and strain,
especially in a state of political flux where shifts and changes in dynamics
were difficult to manage.
Zanu PF camps are already wound up for a fight. The Tsholotsho
episode cast the die. The internal wrangling could yield a powerful group
which may sort out the situation. The defeated group might fall in line,
scatter into a toothless rabble or wreak political havoc unless contained.
In the process, it is possible a new leader would emerge to
unite the factions. A realignment of forces might take place and resolve the
It is however also possible the army might intervene claiming to
be trying to restore order. The danger of military intervention now looms
large given the ongoing militarisation of state institutions.
Napoleonic military leaders invariably emerge in conditions of
instability, claiming to be re-establishing order. The crumbling economy has
created conditions for army involvement in civilian affairs.
As a result, the army and other state security agencies have of
late been gaining influence in civilian institutions.
The military's heavy involvement in the state machinery and
government policy formulation has left it well-placed to seize power if push
comes to shove. Because of a power vacuum developing in Zanu PF, the army
generals are said to be waiting in the wings to outflank politicians in the
ultimate scramble for power likely to break out when Mugabe leaves, in
particular if his departure is sudden.
But it is also important to look at the structure and internal
dynamics in the army to assess possibilities of military intervention. The
top brass in the army - but not everybody - appears involved in Zanu PF
politics and as a result would want the incumbent regime to survive. They
are also part of the political elite and have their interests at stake if
the status quo changes.
However, the middle and lower ranks have not benefited as much.
In fact, lower ranks have been protesting poor salaries and working
conditions, meaning their interests are not well served by the system.
In the event generals want unqualified support to claim
political power, junior soldiers might baulk at supporting a project
designed to preserve a system that has impoverished them.
Besides, the military culture in Zimbabwe, shaped by British
traditions, and not the Russians and Chinese who supported the anti-colonial
struggle, preclude an easy manipulation of the structures to blatantly
support a political cause. There is also the problem of regional and
international factors. Southern Africa does not have a history of military
coups and appears determined to keep that clean sheet. The international
community, including the African Union, is unlikely to tolerate military
rule in Zimbabwe.
In the MDC, it appears the current divide will continue until
the Zanu PF crisis develops enough to shape the direction of national
politics, and by implication the economy. An inter-party realignment of
forces could then occur and a clearer picture of the parameters of party
politics would emerge from the current jungle.
While it is not known for certain what will happen after Mugabe,
what is clear is that the situation in Zimbabwe remains up in the air. A
storm could be brewing on the horizon before the weather clears!
By Eric Bloch
WITHIN three hours of the news breaking last Friday that the
annualised rate of inflation to May had soared to a horrendous 1 193%, I
received calls from seven journalists including from the USA, the United
Kingdom, France and South Africa all seeking comment.
Each had one main question, and that was: can the Zimbabwean
economy ever recover?
On the same day, numerous Zimbabweans were asking the same
question. As they did so, it was very evident that for almost all of them,
the question was virtually rhetorical, and that each believed that prospects
of recovery were non-existent.
It cannot be denied that the Zimbabwean economy has been
appallingly ravaged. Not only is inflation the highest in the world, and
continuing to rise almost exponentially, but the country is also victim to
innumerable other economic plagues, including a monumentally great adverse
balance of payments, with consequentially very pronounced scarcities of
imported essentials, inclusive of agricultural, mining and industrial
inputs, fuel and energy supplies, spares required to keeping ageing
infrastructure operational, critically required medications and other
health-care needs, and a great deal more.
Other economic ills include escalating unemployment, estimated
to exceed 80% of the employable population, massive fiscal deficits, minimal
investment - which contrasts with intensifying downsizing of industrial and
other enterprises and, in a growing number of instances, business closures -
and a vast number of other major economic ailments.
This tragic state of affairs commenced over eight years ago,
triggered by government's foolhardy entry into an immensely unaffordable
commitment of "compensation" for war veterans, exacerbated thereafter by a
disastrously and unjustly implemented, if overdue, programme of land reform,
and by a myriad of grossly destructive policies of a government incapable of
recognising, or admitting to, error, worsened by an obdurate resistance to
rescind or modify catastrophic policies.
It is little wonder, therefore, that a majority of the
economically embattled population have lost all hope, and are rigidly
convinced that the economy has passed the point of redemption being
possible. But that is not the case, as has been evidenced in numerous
instances over history, where countries underwent similar, or even worse,
circumstances, and recovered from them.
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono,
succinctly presented this when he recently delivered an address at the Kyung
Hee University in South Korea.
He said: "All countries have sought to turn around their
fortunes, and yet others remain seemingly trapped in the crevices of poverty
and underdevelopment, then turnarounds are an abstract concept.
"But nothing could be further from the truth . . . during the
USA's first war of independence (1775-1783), the then newly independent
American colonies covered an estimated 80% of their total expenditures
through specially printed paper called 'Continentals', leading to 1 000%
increase in prices during 1779-1780.
"The same USA economy was to endure, yet another epic
confrontation with high inflation during the 1861 civil war, when monthly
inflation topped 40% in March, 1864, or an annualised rate of 5 569%.
"Notwithstanding this, today the USA stands firm, with low
levels of inflation of under 3,5% annually; clearly attesting the vivid
reality that indeed, economies that face difficulties on the back of wars,
civil strife, structural revolutions, such as land redistribution, among
other transitory adversities, can reclaim their glory through implementation
of well-thought-out turnaround strategies.
"An equally telling historical perspective is the staggering
hyperinflation that was felt in Germany soon after World War I, where in a
period of a mere 15 months between August 1922 and November 1923 prices are
reported to have risen by about one trillion percent. Again, through the
striking of the right turnaround chord, today Germany talks of annual
inflation of 1,9% as of March 2006.
"In the post-World War II era, in 1945 China fell into a civil
war between the nationalist group under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists,
under Mao Tse-Tung, which imposed a heavy strain on the budget. Resultantly,
between February 1947 and March 1949, documented cost of living in Shanghai
saw a maximum monthly inflation rate of 919,9%. The China of today has,
however, deservedly sprung into a force the world has come to reckon with,
with average real GDP growth rates of 9-10%, and annual inflation of around
"The developmental and stabilisation paths which Argentina,
Bolivia and Brazil traversed during the mid- to late 1980s are also
noteworthy examples of how what may, per se, seem as intractable
macroeconomic imbalances can be brought in check over very short spaces of
"Between May 1989 and March 1990, Argentina experienced maximum
monthly inflation rates topping 196,6%, while in Bolivia monthly inflation
reached a peek of 182,8% between April 1984 and September 1985. In Brazil,
though somewhat more moderate than other earlier examples, monthly inflation
rose to 81,3% between December 1989 and March 1990.
"Through the vigorous pursuit of well-thought-out macroeconomic
programmes, today the annual inflation rates in Bolvia, Argentina and Brazil
are at low levels of around 5,4%, 11,8% and 6,8% respectively."
Over and above those examples cited by Gono, there have been
many other countries which, during the past 30 years, have successfully
achieved substantive economic turnarounds, including Malaysia, Italy,
Israel, South Korea and, closer to home, Zambia, to name but a few. Clearly,
therefore, positive economic transformation is possible, no matter to what
low levels an economy may have degenerated.
In addressing how the metamorphosis can be achieved, Gono said:
"Transition-economy turnaround strategies must . . . seek to unleash a
multidimensional engine that brings about major transformation in popular
attitudes towards work, configuration of national institutions, acceleration
of economic productivity, the reduction of inequality, as well as the
general improvement in the majority of people's living conditions so as to
fortify stakeholder buy-in.
"The central characteristics in transition economies which also
ought to be taken into account when mapping effective turnarounds are:
* incidence of low levels of living conditions, particularly in
the basic needs arenas of health, food and shelter;
* low levels of productivity (productive ineffiencies) due to
antiquated or a narrow technological base;
* high rates of population growth which also come with internal
stresses to the infrastructure networks of the built environment, such as
water reticulation, health and educational facilities, as well as may other
* high dependency levels on agricultural production and over
concentration of the export basket in primary production;
* revalence of imperfect markets and information asymmetries due
to strained information and communication networks; and
* high dependency levels on external support as well as
vulnerability in international relations."
However, although Zimbabwe's economy can, and will, transform to
one of substance which can sustain the populace properly, and despite the
valid recognition by Gono of some of the necessary characteristics, the
transformation will inevitably be a lengthy one, for an instantaneous total
reversal of the economic ills is an impossibility.
Moreover, that transformation cannot begin until government
itself undergoes a transformation, for without real will on its part,
transformation cannot, and will not, occur. That governmental will must
comprise an ability to acknowledge its errors, and a determination to
correct them. It must drive to real international reconciliation and
collaboration, creation of genuine democracy, restoration of law and order,
respect for Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements,
vigorous containment of corruption, investment facilitation and security,
transparency, non-racialism and non-tribalism, real gender equality, and
Until that will becomes a reality, the economic transformation
desperately yearned for remains a mirage, but ultimately the economy's dire
straits will either force government to change by developing that will, or
will bring about a change of government to one with the will.
THE government this week announced plans to set up a
coal-powered electricity generation plant in Dande, Mashonaland Central. The
project, it has been reported, is a joint venture initiative between Catic
of China and local investors.
This, coming at a time when Zimbabwe has a huge power deficit,
can easily be received as good news but in essence it is prudent to put the
champagne on ice and reflect on our record of implementing projects of this
The Dande thermal plant project could be joining a long
inventory of schemes that have remained on the drawing board and never
implemented, or those being implemented half-heartedly.
It is an addition to the plethora of flops in the implementation
of capital projects in a country where resources are limited, and where
project management by the state is weak. We are as a nation trying our hand
at too many expensive projects in an uncoordinated manner.
The Dande project, it should be noted, is joining at least 10
stalled capital-intensive projects in the power generation sector.
The government has for over a decade been toying with the idea
of a thermal plant at Sengwa in Gokwe North and a hydro-electricity plant at
the Batoka Gorge. The Batoka project, we have been told, will cost the
country US$2,5 billion, twice the total amount of foreign currency generated
by the whole economy last year.
An investment proposal outline for the power sector set out by
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in his January 2005 Fourth
Quarter (2004) Monetary Policy Review Statement lists at least half a dozen
capital projects required to revive the sector and cut back on exports.
Included on the list is the expansion of the Hwange 7 and 8 thermal plants
for US$368 million and the rehabilitation and expansion of the Kariba
hydro-electric station (US$175 million). These are yet to take off because
Zimbabwe cannot raise the requisite down payments as set out in bilateral
Gono's plan in January did not include Batoka and Gokwe largely
because the projects are beyond Zimbabwe's capacity to raise the requisite
The Dande project adds another twist in the tale. The government
has in the last 25 years cherished the belief that rapid infrastructural
development is a reflection of economic growth. It is not. Infrastructure
growth can only translate into economic growth if capital projects are
completed on schedule and then put to good use by communities. That explains
why numerous large-volume dams were built but never utilised for irrigation.
Zimbabwe does not need to implement three turnkey projects at
the same time in the power sector. The country should first demonstrate an
ability to efficiently run and utilise existing plant. Also there is a real
need to co-ordinate government's capital projects to avoid scarring the
landscape with incomplete or abandoned projects.
The government has to justify the commencement of the Masvingo
Road dualisation project two years ago when it has in the last 15 years only
managed to widen 30km of the 440km Bulawayo Road.
Progress on Masvingo Road has been painfully slow with about two
kilometres completed in two years. We shudder to think how long it will take
to cover the 600km to Beitbridge!
On the eve of the 2005 election, excavators and graders went to
work on Mutare Road between Jaggers and Mabvuku turn-off. The project has
been abandoned. Heaps of soil and felled trees are a stark demonstration of
But slow-moving capital projects are the stuff inefficient
politicians feed on. The projects keep communities enthralled and engaged,
presenting a false picture of activity.
This explains the announcement in the past of miracle cures like
the Nuanetsi project in the Lowveld that was expected to produce winter
maize under irrigation. Under the project, government contracted a Chinese
company - China International Water and Electric Corporation - to clear 100
000 hectares of virgin forest in a deal it said would lead to Zimbabwe being
restored as southern Africa's breadbasket. A pie in the sky because the
project has been abandoned after government failed to pay the Chinese
contractors! The Dande project falls in the same basket of wonder projects
which will not end our current crisis but only increase state indebtedness.
IF an old gypsy lady gazed into her crystal ball and proclaimed
to crisis-weary Zimbabweans that the latest in a series of government
economic initiatives would transform their lives for the better by December
this year none would believe her.
Even if the gypsy allowed them to take that rare glimpse into
her crystal ball, and they saw the slightest of evidence for themselves,
they would still have severe doubts.
The odds are heavily tilted against any optimism.
Most Zimbabweans have every reason to doubt the hardships they
have been enduring for more than half a decade could be remedied by a crop
of politicians that firmly hug populist, yet calamitous economic programmes.
They have become used to an administration with a long history
of maintaining its record of disappointing deliveries.
Zimbabweans have witnessed the gradual deterioration of services
in every sphere of their lives to a point where none of their expectations
have been met, while government harps on Utopian promises of "better times
There is no better evidence for their pessimism than the
commonplace collapse of the service delivery system in health, transport and
electricity supply to their homes and other services that a working
bureaucracy ought to deliver with minimum hassles.
Frequent nationwide power blackouts, erratic fuel supplies,
perennial increases in the prices of basic commodities or intermittent
shortages of the same, failure by local authorities to provide essential
services and other annoying inconveniences have done little to reassure
Zimbabweans that things will change for the better.
Acute shortages of electrical power with cuts disrupting
business and manufacturing worsen economic woes of a nation confronted by 1
193% inflation. The unending economic burden has upset normal life among
It has taxed their resilience and even thrown residents in
upmarket suburbs like Highlands back into the Stone Age with chores of
hewing wood and drawing water from the most unlikely of sources.
Analysts say the failure to provide basic service is a serious
indictment on the state's capability to govern.
Crisis Coalition coordinator Jacob Mafume says Zimbabweans are
being held to ransom by a group of people who have failed to carry out their
mandate for the past 26 years.
"They have enriched themselves at the expense of the nation and
now the poor state of the nation is in direct contrast to the personal
wealth of individuals amongst the ruling elite," Mafume says.
He says in a normal situation the central bank governor and the
rest of the ministers would have long ago resigned as a result of their
failure to carry out a simple mandate.
Analysts also say all indicators point to a failed state.
Zimbabwe, others say, is a case study not in state failure, but in the
failures of a state to acknowledge and remedy the devastation it has
inflicted on its people.
"Zanu PF's policies, corruption and repressive governance are
directly responsible for the severe economic slide, growing public
discontent and international isolation, according to a recent report by the
International Crisis Group - a Brussels-based think-tank.
"Unemployment has risen over 85%, poverty above 90 % and foreign
reserves are almost depleted. There are severe shortages of basic consumer
items, and the prices of fuel and food are beyond the reach of many."
The report says more than two million persons are in desperate
need of food and malnutrition kills thousands every month.
Yet in the midst of ubiquitous failure government ministers,
with tacit connivance of the state media, have taken simple routine work and
flaunted it as unparalleled achievement that can anaesthetise a society
fatigued by economic hardships.
Go into any hospital and witness how a serious shortage of
drugs, obsolete equipment and an overworked staff has hobbled efficient
service delivery. In a number of cases high medical fees have consorted to
make treatment unaffordable to the desperately ill. The urban poor and
middle class have opted to seek medical attention at rural clinics and
hospitals even though acute shortages of drugs and material also point to an
irreversible collapse in that sector as well.
For instance, four of the seven districts in Masvingo province
with an estimated population of 1,3 million people are operating without
doctors due to the brain drain.
Government has been long on promises but short on delivery to
review working conditions in the medical field to stem the temptation among
professionals attracted by better opportunities abroad.
Exasperated officials have tried to appeal to the Zimbabwean
professionals' sense of patriotism in an effort to induce guilt in them but
none has paid heed.
The capital Harare, with its piles of uncollected garbage and
pot-holed roads is a microcosm of the nationwide collapse that vividly
illustrates central government's inability to offer solutions.
A state-appointed commission has failed to imitate even the
basic ruse by tomato vendors where they arrange their wares in such a way
that the juicy side faces forward while the spongy side is hidden from
"There is need to improve and mend the pothole-ridden city
roads. Residents pay rates yet there is no water, the sewerage system has
all but collapsed," says Progressive Harare Metropolitan Residents and
Ratepayers Association (Phamera) leader, Munyaradzi Guzha.
"Residents have the right to be furious when service delivery
system is at a crossroads and in a state of confounding chaos."
But the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has been
more precise in identifying the root cause of the socio-political distress.
"Let there be no confusion as to the causes of our situation:
the disintegration of the social, political and economic fabric of our
society as a result of the policies of the Mugabe regime," CHRA chairman
Mike Davies says in a document released last month.
Davies says whatever the shortcomings of our society that
existed before 1997, the blame for the subsequent devastation lies squarely
at government's feet and its policies that promote primitive accumulation by
a parasitical elite that relies entirely upon plunder and patronage while
impoverishing the vast majority.
While Harare literally burns, the emperor and his cronies are
fiddling - this time with their faces directly facing the flames
We're not part of this apostasy
FOR the last three years, concerned church leaders, led by
Bishop Sebastian Bakare of the Anglican Church, have been trying to meet
with President Robert Mugabe to discuss the crisis facing the country,
Last month, the president finally agreed to meet with church
leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council
of Churches (ZCC), two major protestant church umbrella bodies in the
The subsequent visit to State House by these church leaders came
after the ZCC had published a pastoral letter to the nation which spelt out
the causes of the crisis and the people's suffering as "bad governance,
unjust laws, corruption, lack of integrity and the unfair distribution of
This was, therefore, a God-given opportunity for the churches in
Zimbabwe to speak prophetically as representatives of God and the shepherds
of His people.
Zimbabweans, who are mostly Christians, eagerly and hopefully
waited to hear about the result of the meeting. They were deeply
The church leaders somehow lost their nerve. Instead of
chronicling the obvious evil acts of this government and pronouncing God's
judgment on it saying: "Thus saith the Lord", as would be expected of God's
prophets, they allowed President Mugabe to lecture them on how they should
relate to the state.
He told them that the church and the government must work
together as partners to build a legacy of bonding between them.
At the end of the meeting the head of delegation and president
of the ZCC, Bishop Peter Nemapare, in front of national television cameras,
said: "We know we have a government that we must support, interact with and
draw attention to concerns. Those of us who have different ideas about this
country must know we have a government which listens."
Densen Mafinyane, general secretary of the ZCC, also voiced the
same sentiments of support, thus giving comfort to the president, the
government and the ruling Zanu PF. He added insult to injury on the
suffering masses of Zimbabwe by saying the church fully supported the
government and its members were also in need of land so that they could
contribute to the building of Zimbabwe.
He concluded by saying: "Despite the differences the government
and church might have, the two parties must consult and maintain their
We, the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance would like God and the
nation to know that we categorically disassociate ourselves from this
We totally disagree with the tenor and substance of the
sentiments voiced by these leaders. In what way do they support this
government which has shed innocent blood, brutally tortured its citizens and
destroyed their homes and livelihoods and promoted racial hatred?
Were they not sincere when, in their pastoral letter they said
the government was misgoverning? Who has the government listened to since it
came to power? Do they support the evils of Gukurahundi, the violent land
reform programme, Operation Murambatsvina, the militarised Operation Taguta,
Operation Roundup, cronyism, corruption, bribery, state-sponsored violence
and the setting up of concentration camps to hold so-called undesirable
elements. They have no regard of the fact that these are precious souls for
whom Christ died.
As an alliance of like-minded Christians, who feel called by God
to be united in love and to work for peace and justice in Zimbabwe, we
boldly condemn every kind of abuse and every form of keeping the poor in
poverty and creating new poor people.
We count ourselves among the faithful followers of Christ who
refuse to be bought or frightened, but to stand for truth, justice and
righteousness. We, therefore, feel called by God, who is a just God, to
speak prophetically against this government's unjust laws as well as engage
in acts of defiant civil disobedience if need be.
We are not fanatical zealots or demagogues seeking fame, wealth
or power, but patriotic Christians who fear God and love Zimbabwe and her
long suffering people.
We therefore contend that those who went to State House have
betrayed the people and the principles which the true Church of Jesus Christ
stands for. On our part, there can be no partnership with the Zanu PF
government until and unless there is genuine repentance and change on its
part. For what relationship can there be between the light of the gospel and
the darkness which the Zanu PF government stands for.
Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.
Zanu PF's attempt at deception
WHAT I love about Zanu PF is their almost child-like
duplicity. Expect the worst and you will never be wrong.
The latest attempt to hoodwink their critics is the move
to "allow community broadcasts". Oh, how bold and noble this sounds! But
what is the real reason behind it? With Zanu PF there is always the
propaganda reason which is supposed to hide the real reason for any action.
The real reason is that they are becoming increasingly
panicked at the restlessness of the people, and so want to step up the
deluge of propaganda through these community radio stations which will
supposedly be "independent".
However, when it comes to issuing broadcasting licences
these stations will be seen to be about as independent as The Mirror and
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings. Does anyone in their right mind expect that
independent radio stations that broadcast unbiased and truthful news and
views will be allowed? Of course not. This is just another rather pathetic
attempt at deception, which I hope no one will swallow.
Merger is the answer
LAST month I read an article about the possibility
of an alliance between Zimbabwe's smaller parties.
It takes a man to accept his shortcomings and humble
There were talks of a possible merger of small
political parties with the MDC which could make them stand a greater chance
of effecting political change in the country.
If these parties truly want to achieve their
objective,they should put aside their differences and unite to form an even
stronger and bigger MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Let's work for a common goal (to change Zimbabwe's
roadmap) - not personal gains.
Mount Pleasant, Harare.
Exciting part omitted
YOUR letters editor made many changes to my
letter "Enlightened on MDC rift, thanks to Coltart", (Zimbabwe Independent,
What he chose to exclude was interesting. More
disturbing was that the entire final paragraph was excluded. This could only
lead your readers to believe that I condone MDC violence. I do not.
Although you chose to exclude the entire final
paragraph which made some criticism of the independent press, I would be
obliged if you could restore the last sentence. It read: "If Morgan
Tsvangirai has finally succumbed and now chosen to respond to violence with
violence, one cannot wholly blame him after all that the party has endured.
But he is not the leader we want."
It is my belief that the majority of
Zimbabweans want a peaceful, democratic society with a government chosen by
them at properly constituted elections.
They do not want to be intimidated by
violence, whoever instigates that violence. They do not want to be led by
violent people who feel that coercion is the only way to seize and control
power. And they do not want a government chosen for them by South Africa or
the European Union.
* Editor replies: Letters are sometimes cut to
Just a thought
MANY people rejoiced when Zimbabwe paid back
part of its debt to the IMF, but my question is how did we use the millions
of dollars afforded to us in the first place?
Did we better ourselves as a nation using
this money in any way? And did we really need the loan back then? Maybe the
IMF's decision not to grant Zimbabwe another loan is justifiable. It's just
Your source is a bogus architect
By George Mthupha
ON April 13 the Zimbabwe Independent
published an article under the title "Architects forced to charge below set
The Architects Council of Zimbabwe would
like to inform the public that the said article was very misleading,
inaccurate and mischievous in its whole content.
Firstly, the Architects Council is not aware
of such assertions and inquiries amongst member of the Institute of
Architects is to the negative.
Secondly, the said Mr Richard Padzarondora
is not a registered architect. The Architects Council which registers and
keeps records of architects registration has no record of such a person. It
therefore stands that Mr Padzorondora is masquerading as an architect and
should be prosecuted forthwith.
The firm Empire Architects is not registered
either and does not exist. If it does, it is existing illegally. Legal
action is being executed in this respect.
Architects fees are not set by the Institute
of Architects, but by the Architects Council through the Architects Act
which is a public Act.
The statutory fees for architects is not 6%
of the construction cost but are determined on a sliding fee scale from
12-6% of construction cost depending on the nature of the works involved.
The article quotes Harare City Council
building inspectors as being the main culprits. The public is warned and
advised that these inspectors are not architects. It is illegal for them to
render architectural services to the public as individuals.
It is very mischievous to assert that
builders employ architects. Architects are employed by developers and they
in turn supervise builders. The public is hereby informed that it is a
prosecutable offence for any registered architect to charge fees below
It is also an offence for any persons in
Zimbabwe who are not registered as architects in accordance with the
provisions of the Architects Act of Zimbabwe to call themselves, or use the
Members of the public are hereby strongly
advised to seek architectural services from duly-registered architects by
insisting on being provided with proof of their registration or seek advice
from the Architects Council of Zimbabwe and the Institute of Architects of
Zimbabwe at the IAZ/ACZ Secretariat, Conquener House, 256 Samora Machel
Avenue East, PO Box 3592 Harare, Tel/fax: 746826, e-mail
*MG Mthupha is chairman of the Architects
Council of Zimbabwe.