The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing views, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Thousands still without proper shelter in Zimbabwe

Channel Africa

The United Nations says living conditions have worsened in Zimbabwe, where most of the 700-thousand people who lost homes in mass evictions last year are still struggling to find shelter
Source : reuters
Fri, 02 June 2006, 0:00

The United Nations says living conditions have worsened in Zimbabwe, where most of the 700-thousand people who lost homes in mass evictions last year are still struggling to find shelter. UN housing expert Miloon Kothari says most of those displaced by President Robert Mugabe's May 2005 eviction campaign remain homeless in resettlement

camps. He has severely criticised the international community for what he calls a "shocking" lack of pressure on Zimbabwe. With apparent reference to South Africa's stance on Zimbabwe, Kothari said leaders cannot practice quiet diplomacy with no results.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe, Annan row boils over

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

Dumisani Muleya
The diplomatic row between President Robert Mugabe and United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan over a doubtful meeting to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis escalated this week with the world body recalling its envoy in Harare for consultations. The quarrel over the Annan visit has left the government in disarray as officials issue contradictory statements. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba last week said Annan’s invitation had expired and was now "stale" although he seemed to be backtracking in remarks in the press yesterday. Charamba’s boss, Information minister Tichaona Jokonya, said yesterday on the Voice of America that Annan was still welcome to come. His position is similar to that of deputy Foreign minister Obert Matshalaga who said in parliament on Wednesday that Annan’s invitation still stands. Jokonya and Matshalaga’s remarks were consistent with those of deputy Information minister Bright Matonga last week, showing that Charamba reflected Mugabe’s isolationist thinking. Sources said the popular view in government was for engagement, not digging in heels and burying heads in the sand.
Annan - who indicated this week he was still coming to Harare despite attempts to block him - called United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country resident representative Agostinho Zacarias to the UN headquarters in New York for talks over the Zimbabwe situation. The UNDP, a UN development agency, has five areas covering its mandate in Zimbabwe, namely democratic governance, poverty alleviation, crisis prevention, energy and environment, and HIV/Aids. Diplomatic sources said Zacarias left on Monday for discussions on how to move forward in view of rising tensions over the Mugabe/Annan meeting. The move came as Tanzania, whose former president Benjamin Mkapa is trying to arrange a meeting between Mugabe and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, also summoned its ambassador to Harare, Retired Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita, for consultations as well. Jokonya confirmed Mkapa was mediating between Harare and London, as first revealed by the Zimbabwe Independent last week. Mugabe has said he wants to "build bridges" with Blair. It is understood that Mugabe believes a meeting with Blair might open the way for Zimbabwe to climb out of international isolation and start economic reconstruction.
Sources said the church leaders who recently met with Mugabe were also helping Harare to "build bridges" with the European Union. The church leaders met EU and Tanzanian officials on Tuesday to discuss ways of resolving the local crisis. The clergymen also had a meeting yesterday at a local hotel over the same issue. Regional church leaders are part of the process. Mbita, who left the country on Sunday, is expected to be replaced by a new ambassador as Dar-es-Salaam seeks to push for a resolution of the current situation. Sources said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was getting impatient with the Zimbabwe situation which has been on the regional agenda for six years. Sources said Mugabe, who initially invited Annan last September to assess the impact of Operation Murambatsvina, now wants Annan to persuade the United States and EU to drop targeted sanctions against him and his ministers as one of the conditions for talks. The sources said Mugabe has tasked Jokonya, who together with Mbita got the Mkapa mediation underway, to engage UN political affairs under-secretary Ibrahim Gambari on the sanctions issue before there can be any dialogue with Annan. Jokonya told VOA he had been in touch with Gambari and suggested the removal of sanctions was key to a Mugabe/Annan summit.
Gambari met with Foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in South Africa in April in a bid to arrange an Annan visit. Gambari also met with South African President Thabo Mbeki who said Annan was now the main hope for the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis. Mbeki, who has been trying for the past six years to find a breakthrough on Zimbabwe, had talks with Blair last week over the crisis after similar discussions with Blair and Annan in South Africa recently. South African officials have of late been speaking openly about the Zimbabwe crisis, showing growing displeasure. Mbeki’s deputy, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said this week South Africa could do little to protect itself from the consequences of an economic collapse in Zimbabwe, suggesting the issue had to be resolved urgently. "I don’t even know if we can shield ourselves in that way because we cannot really close our border for instance," she said. "What South Africa can do is to give Zimbabwe the best support possible to be able to reconstruct if something like that were to happen. But I don’t think we can really shield ourselves. We cannot keep Zimbabweans out of South Africa." South African Foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said no one could force Zimbabwe to change its policies. "There is a problem, there is a challenge, but I do not have all the answers about how to solve Zimbabwe. I think equally none of us has all the answers. The answers lie in the Zimbabweans’ hands," she said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Disquiet brews over Madhuku's third term

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

By Phillip Pasirayi
THE machinations by Dr Lovemore Madhuku and his mutilation of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) supreme law to allow him to run for a third term in office was contemptuous and a serious indictment of civil society in Zimbabwe which has always purported to fight for democracy and good governance.       

Civil society exists and operates on the basis of transparency and as an example to governments on democracy and the rule of law. In other words, civil society is a bulwark to democracy. This runs contrary to what we have witnessed in the past few weeks at the NCA, an organisation founded on the basis of fighting for a new political order in the country that is based on the rule of law supported by a new democratic constitution.

The mutilation of the NCA constitution by Madhuku to satisfy his own personal agenda and cling to power despite the expiry of his term has thrown the entire civil society into a serious quandary.

This move has eroded civil society’s legitimacy in criticising the government of President Mugabe for amending the country’s constitution a record 17 times to consolidate its grip on power despite having been rejected by the people.

There are a few issues that shed light on the consequences of the latest developments at the NCA or the so-called Bumbiro House.

The most obvious implication of Madhuku’s stranglehold on power is that he or the NCA no longer have any legitimacy to demand that Mugabe relinquishes power on the basis of a long incumbency.

There are a lot of parallels that we can draw between Madhuku and Mugabe regarding their insatiable desire for power and the misplaced thinking that they are the only people who can better fight for whatever cause they are fighting.

The democratic deficit in Africa can largely be explained in terms of long incumbency when leaders refuse to relinquish power on such preposterous arguments that “the people want me to stay”.

This is the same argument that we had before in countries like Malawi where Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda declared himself life-president because he thought the people wanted him to stay in power.

The same goes for Zambia under Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Kenya under Daniel arap Moi. Such a bid has suffered a major setback in Nigeria.

This is the same argument that Mugabe has used to stay in power for 26 years. Many people remember that when the Third Chimurenga started, we were told that the president would not leave office until many challenges, most notably the colonial land imbalances, had been resolved.

We were told that Mugabe would not be retiring from politics until he delivers Zimbabweans to their “promised land”.

Madhuku argues that it’s not yet time to change the leadership at Bumbiro House because the NCA must be led by people who have the capacity to tackle government on a new constitution. This kind of thinking resonates with the thinking in Zanu PF where the office of president is regarded as a “strait-jacket” that no-one else can occupy except Mugabe because of his liberation war credentials.

This point was emphasised by former commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, police chief Augustine Chihuri, Commander of the Airforce, Perence Shiri and Commissioner of Prisons, Paradzai Zimondi who addressed a joint press conference just before the 2002 presidential election and announced that the presidency was such that no one without liberation war credentials could occupy.

We can conveniently borrow this warped thinking into the kind of predicament we face in civil society and argue that Madhuku is perhaps the only one within civil society who is endowed with the academic and activist credentials that make him the only suitable candidate for NCA chairmanship. This is absurd!

As argued by University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Eldred Masunungure: “People should learn to observe the principle of limited terms. The longer one stays in power the more he becomes tempted to abuse the power.”

At the core of democratic governance is the idea of a limited term of office which is meant to allow dynamism, leadership renewal and imbue organisations with new strength, new tactics and fresh ideas.

Past leaders of the NCA such as Tawanda Mutasa, Tendai Biti, Morgan Tsvangirai, Brian Kagoro, Thoko Matshe, Bopoto Nyandoro, Grace Kwinjeh, Welshman Ncube and Isaac Maphosa  respected the NCA constitution by stepping down after the expiry of their terms of office.

We expected Madhuku to respect and understand the principle of constitutionalism that the NCA is championing rather than resorting to the language that Mugabe uses that “the people want me to stay”.

Organisations by their very nature outlive their founders and leaders and as such, Madhuku should not be determined to lead the NCA as long as the organisation exists.

The argument that a fresh mandate for Madhuku will give him the chance to fight for a new democratic constitution and increase pressure on the government is weak and a mere smokescreen.

Questions can be asked as to why Madhuku thinks that he can only contribute meaningfully to the NCA cause as chairperson and not in any other capacity if he is sincere about fighting for a new democratic constitution?

John Makumbe founded many organisations including the Zimbabwe chapter of Transparency International and Crisis Coalition and he continues to participate in the activities of these organisations, not as chairperson but as an ordinary member.

Only last month, he was arrested whilst on a Crisis Coalition assignment but he is not the chairperson of the organisation or occupying any position on the current board.

The re-election of Madhuku was characterised by mayhem as people queried his eligibility for another term in office. We hear that drunken youths assaulted those that were opposed to Madhuku’s third term bid. Such reports are a sad development within civil society that is expected to provide the best examples of good leadership and transparency and respect for the rule of law.

Civil society must not use thugs to maintain their grip on power as doing so will only be an endorsement of  similar tactics by the ruling Zanu PF party that uses youth militia and war veterans to intimidate voters during elections.
Underlying the notion of the rule of law is the idea of predictability of the rules.

Rules must not be changed to suit the interests of one individual or a particular group of people. The rule of law requires fairness, openness, equality and justice to prevail over individual whims. The NCA has failed to stand the test as it has thrown away all that it was formed for. The kind of legacy that Madhuku is leaving within civil society must be resisted by all persons committed to seeing democracy triumph over tyranny in Zimbabwe.

The implications are serious because the NCA is a big conglomeration of several organisations representing churches, labour, youths, students, women and farmers. There must be concerted efforts to stop further damage to the founding principles of the NCA which are a limited term of office, constitutionalism, rule of law, accountability and transparency.

What we are witnessing is a travesty of the very principles for which the NCA was formed because of an individual’s thirst for power.

There are many leaders within the rank and file of the NCA who can lead the organisation and scale new heights. It is less convincing that the leadership of Madhuku is a cut above previous leaders.

The major NCA victory that is the No Vote during the February 2000 constitutional referendum was won by Thoko Matshe and not Madhuku. If ability is judged on the basis of the number of people that the leadership has managed to mobilise on the streets to demand a new, democratic constitution then the previous leadership of the NCA fared well in that regard. Civil society must stand up and defend the very principles on which it is founded that selfish leaders like Madhuku are in the process of rolling back. At the moment the NCA cannot speak on behalf of Zimbabweans for a new constitution because it is led by an undemocratic and illegitimate regime that is hell-bent on clinging on to power. 

*Phillip Pasirayi is a Zimbabwean academic activist based in the UK.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe hints at way out of law

News24 (SA)

Ngezi - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Thursday hinted that mining companies might buy their way out of a new draft law giving the government 51% ownership, a proposal that has shaken the mining sector. Mugabe was speaking on a tour of the Ngezi platinum mine owned by the local Zimplats unit of Impala Platinum, which on Thursday announced a plan to invest $2.5bn over 10 years to expand production in Zimbabwe. "It is government's policy that Zimbabweans should derive greater benefit from their resources...hence the principle we enunciated of 50/50, or 49/51% shareholding in favour of the state of Zimbabweans," Mugabe said. "This is what has frightened some of you and I don't see why you should be frightened," Mugabe said, adding that companies that "plough back" some of their earnings to Zimbabwe could already be satisfying the intent of the new law. "The applicability of that (ownership) principle will certainly take into account all that you have done and all that you will be doing in the future," he told a group of managers from Implats and Zimplats at the mine. The draft law unveiled in March detailed plans to give the government a 51% stakes in mining firms, including 25% without payment. Analysts said the proposals looked certain to batter the sector, which has become a top foreign exchange earner after the collapse of agriculture and is one of the few bright spots in an economy mired in recession. Mining accounts for about 4% of gross domestic product, but contributes over 40% of all foreign currency inflows in Zimbabwe.
Zimplats chief executive Greg Sebborn said in a presentation to Mugabe the company wanted to increase platinum production to 1 million ounces per year within 10 years and planned to pump $2.5bn into its expansion programme. Zimplats had already announced that it had reached a deal with the government to release some mining rights in exchange for a combination of cash and credit - a move likely to take it out of the firing line if the new ownership law is applied. Mugabe, who in earlier speeches on the mining issue has sounded uncompromising on ownership, on Thursday said his government only sought to maximise Zimbabweans' own benefit from the country's rich natural resources. "So don't dread us. We are not there to frighten away investors, we are not there to take away that which is not ours. If you have carried out any indigenisation programme that is acceptable to us you do not need to fear anything," he said. Foreign mining companies with interests in Zimbabwe include Anglo Platinum (Angloplat), the world's biggest platinum producer, number two Impala Platinum (Implats), Aquarius Platinum and mining giant Rio Tinto Plc.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murape shortlisted for Namibia

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

JOHANNESBURG - Nomadic Zimbabwe born-coach Shepherd Murape has been
shortlisted for the vacant Namibia national team job raising hopes that the
former African Wanderers and Manning Rangers gaffer might take over ahead of
the COSAFA Castle cup in July.This comes after revelations that former
Orlando Pirates coach Kosta Papic is out of the race for the job as he did
not apply and did not attend interviews last week.
Murape who has also had stints with Qwaqwa Stars, Real Rovers, AmaZulu,
Moroka Swallows, Black Leopards and Orlando Pirates is currently coach of
Namibia top league side Walvis Bay Blue Waters.
The Zimbabwean, who has also coached in Botswana and in his native country,
was short-listed last week along Zambia national team assistant coach, Ben
Bamfuchile after attending interviews.
Murape has previously coached the Brave Warriors in Namibia in 1994 and the
Namibia Football Association could be tempted to bring him back again with
the announcement expected to be made within the next two weeks.
The only impending factor for the NFA is finances with coaches like Kosta
Papic understood to be worth R70 000 a month an element that has left the
Namibians with little option but to go for the likes of Murape whose salary
demands they can meet.
At the moment caretaker coaches are David Snewe, Brian Isaacs and former
Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Ronnie Kanalelo who have assembled a
provisional squad ahead of the COSAFA Cup. - CAJ News

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Total in salary dispute

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

Paul Nyakazeya
A SALARY dispute has erupted at oil company Total which took over Mobil Oil
Zimbabwe in December last year. Sources indicated that Total's management
was refusing to award former Mobil workers a 300% salary increase backdated
to March.
The move by management is meant to dodge payments running into billions of
dollars in a retrenchment exercise set to start this month.
According to correspondence in the possession of businessdigest, Total wants
to retrench half the workforce of the merged operation.
The two oil companies have a combined staff of over 270 people.
Following a deadlock over salaries, Mobil employees in February sent a
petition to Total's regional director, Momar Nguer based in Paris, to
resolve the dispute.
Nguer visited Zimbabwe to discuss the matter on April 5.
He promised the workers that they would be given salary increases backdated
to March, but sources indicated that local management decided no increases
would be awarded to former Mobil employees.
Mobil Oil Malawi director, Lamuel Tsikirayi, who was appointed as "change
management and projects" consultant, has been accused of aligning himself
with Total management in a dispute he was hired to resolve.
The matter is now being handled by the Ministry of Labour.
But as the drama unfolds, two managers are said to have appointed a new
eight-member management structure for the amalgamated organisation with
effect from June 1.
"This is to advise that the business undertaking of Mobil Oil Zimbabwe (Pvt)
Ltd will be transferred to Total Zimbabwe (Pvt) effective June 1 2006,"
reads an internal memo to all Mobil and Total employees.
"As a consequence all employees of the company will with effect from the
same date automatically become employees of Total Zimbabwe on the same terms
and conditions applicable immediately prior to that date and with no loss of
accrued entitlements and benefits."
The new management structure includes Mary Mazhude (human resource manager),
Sevious Mhaka (audit manager), Peter Mukawu (business development manager),
Baba Diallo (finance manager). They are all from Mobil.
The other managers are from Total and comprise Stanley Hatendi (strategy,
public and special projects manager), Allen Mushaninga (HSEQ manager),
Phillippe Savariau (Operations manager) and Stephene Lapauw (marketing
Total Zimbabwe took over as the major shareholder of Mobil Oil Zimbabwe in
This was part of a deal that affected Mobil's controlling shareholder
ExxonMobil's operations in 13 African countries, namely Chad, Djibouti,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique,
Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia.
The agreements cover ExxonMobil's motor fuels, lubricant aviation and marine
petroleum products businesses.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Trading resumes on ZSE

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

Paul Nyakazeya
TRADE resumed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) yesterday after an
eight-day shutdown following a stand-off between stockbrokers and the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) over the payment of Value Added Tax (VAT)
backdated to 2004.

Though some shares changed hands, stockbrokers said investors had adopted a
wait-and-see attitude on the stock market until a lasting solution between
the fighting parties was reached.

"The situation was not the same. It could take a while before investors have
confidence on the (stock) market," said a broker with a commercial bank.

He said there was no guarantee that trade had resumed permanently as Zimra
still insisted on VAT payments backdated to 2004. Stockbrokers have resisted
the decision.

They warned that VAT tax payments could lead to a spate of company closures
and loss of confidence on the local bourse.

The stalemate started on April 24 when Zimra wrote letters to stockbrokers
and Securities companies asking them to supply information on VAT and other
taxes paid backdated to January 2004.

"Recent audit work in a number of organisations in your line of business has
indicated low compliance," Zimra said.

"This has led this (investigation) division to carry out a wide audit and
study of operations and taxation of stockbrokers," wrote Zimra in one of the

Zimra requested stockbrokers to supply VAT registration numbers and the
amount they are supposed to pay from January 2004 to 30 April 2006.

The Zimbabwe Independent understands that no submissions were made by
stockbrokers as per Zimra's request.
On May 23 ZSE chief executive Emmanuel Munyukwi responded  to Zimra advising
them that the stock market had appointed Kudenga & Co Chartered Accountants
as their tax consultants and that all tax correspondence be forward to them.

A meeting held between stockbrokers and the ZSE on May 24 discussed at
length the possibility of Zimra garnishing brokers' accounts, with brokers
expressing fears that their business would not be able to sustain such
demands as they would have to close immediately thereafter.

Yesterday Finance minister Herbert Murerwa said brokers had misinterpreted
the law and pending the court's judgement they should comply with Zimra. He
said the tax would be charged on the 2% brokereage commission.

This also means investors would be taxed via a three-tier system, stamp
duty, withholding tax and VAT.

"Following discussions between Zimra and representatives of the ZSE
regarding the impasse that had resulted from the stoppage of trade an
agreement has now been reached that stockbrokers resume trading with
immediate effect and should pay VAT," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Outcry over fake toothpaste

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

ZIMBABWE, grappling with a six-year economic crisis, has been flooded by
counterfeit toothpaste bearing the Colgate brand name.
This comes against a background of reports that at least 14 containers of
counterfeit Colgate toothpaste were on the high seas headed for Zimbabwe.
Minutes of a stakeholder meeting organised by the Standards Association of
Zimbabwe (SAZ) indicated that there were three common counterfeit Colgate
brands on the market, most of them originating from the Far East.
These had been discovered after a public outcry forced Colgate-Palmolive
Company (CPC) to seize about 98 cases of the fake Colgate toothpaste at the
end of March at a wholesaler in Harare.
The SAZ meeting, chaired by SAZ managing director, Maureen Mutasa, revealed
that of the three samples collected for testing by SAZ, two of the
counterfeits were unsafe and did not eliminate bad breathe.
Instead, the two counterfeit products "cause bacterial infection leading to
bad breath", a study into samples collected by SAZ showed.
"The two unsafe samples had excessive levels of yeast and other bacteria
with one containing large numbers of Stapylococcus aureus. the unsafe
samples did not have the normal mint flavour typical of toothpaste," SAZ
said in a notice issued this week.
Stapylococcus aureus is a bacteria that causes ear and chest infection.
SAZ's meeting with key stakeholders was aimed at trying to find a resolution
to a looming health crisis that could be triggered by the use of
counterfeits, which could also damage the image of the Colgate brand.
Stakeholders included the Ministry of Health, CPC, the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra), the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe and the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe which said it had received numerous complaints from the
public on the counterfeit products. As a result, SAZ says it will embark on
a feasibility study to determine how it can get involved in the import or
export quality control or certification of goods following a public outcry
on the quality of imported goods, particularly from the Far East. - Staff

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CHRA calls for Harare elections

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

Reagan Mashavave
LOCAL Government deputy minister Morris Sakabuya says elections for the city
of Harare must be held soon after the expiry of the Sekesai Makwavarara-led
commission's tenure of office on June 9.

"Government's position is that if elections are due then they must be held
and it is not a Harare situation alone but in all other district councils
where elections are due," Sakabuya said.

Sakabuya said his ministry was not responsible for organising elections,
saying such questions should be directed to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) on what plans they had in place for mayoral elections for

ZEC spokesperson, Utloile Silaigwana, was yet to respond to questions faxed
to him on Wednesday.

Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo last year ruled out elections for
Harare but hinted that they could be held in 2007.

Two years ago Chombo promised that Harare mayoral elections would be held in
August 2006.

Harare has been run by a government-appointed commission since the dismissal
on allegations of mismanagement and indiscipline of MDC executive mayor,
Elias Mudzuri in April 2004.

Mudzuri's victory in the first mayoral elections did not go down well with
the ruling Zanu PF party, which felt under threat from the opposition.

Chombo also fired MDC mayors Misheck Shoko from Chitungwiza and Misheck
Kagurabadza from Mutare.

Pressure has been mounting from residents for Chombo to fire the
Makwavarara-led commission after disclosures of profligacy and incompetence.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has piled pressure on
Chombo to hold democratic elections for councillors that have a mandate from
city residents.

CHRA chairperson Mike Davies said they had already started to conscientise
residents to boycott paying rates until their demands for elections have
been met.

"We still stand by our demands for Harare to hold elections to appoint
office bearers that have the mandate of the residents," Davies said.

"The appointed commissions have been doing nothing to solve erratic water
supplies, fix burst sewer and water pipes, fill potholes, collect refuse and
attend to non-functioning street and traffic lights."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimsun sooths away pain

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

ZIMSUN is a hotel and leisure organisation comprising over 13 hotels and
resorts dotted around the country, a timeshare operation in Mozambique as
well as holding the lease and operating business of the Grace Hotel in
Rosebank, South Africa.
The group has a dominant position in Zimbabwe's premier resort, Victoria
Falls. The group is now known as Zimsun Leisure Group with strong emphasis
on leisure after repositioning of the group in 2002.
Full year results Turnover for the year was up 308% to $176,2b (F2004:
$43,2b), despite occupancy levels falling from 42% to 38% as a 2% increase
in international and regional arrivals failed to offset a 6% decline in
domestic volumes. Of the total sales figure $78,9b was forex-denominated.
The domestic/foreign arrivals mix shifted from 75/25 to 70/30. REVPARs
increased by 264% to $249317. The Grace at Rosebank performed in line with
expectations though occupancies at 53,5% remained largely unchanged with
REVPARs increasing by 8%.
Net operating costs increased by 320% to $162,8 billion as a result of
rising utility costs. The impact of the overvalued exchange rate was
apparent as operating margins fell to 7,6% from 10,4% in the prior year.A
$997 million loss at Hwange Safari Lodge due to illegal resettlement issues
as well as declining drive-through volumes due to the fuel crisis and lack
of air transfers to the area, also worsened operating profit performance.
The group recorded an equity accounted loss of $45 billion due to problems
with outsourced food and beverage operations as well as an increase in net
finance costs of 270% to $4,8b. All this translated to attributable earnings
of $8,7 billion for the year (F2004: $3,4 billion). No dividend was
The balance sheet reflected higher gearing at 9,6% compared with 2,6% the
previous year, this attributed to funding of the Grace at Rosebank
transaction. However, cash flows were strong with cash generated from
operations at $16,3 billion (F2004: $6,9 billion).
The group enjoys a dominant position at the country¹s premier resort,
Victoria Falls with about 50% of Zimsun's revenue generated from there.
Management has been aggressive in consolidating Zimsun's position in the
prime location Zimsun receives commission on every guest the group brings in
for all leisure activities occurring in Vic Falls (such as water rafting).
Zimsun has a franchise tie-up with international brands. City hotels are
branded to Holiday Inn, Elephant Hills to Intercontinental and VictoriaFalls
to Leading Hotels of the World.
The franchise tie-up lends the group a good image with international
travellers. The group's chain of hotels has a strong business profile with a
significant number of occupancies coming from business travellers. Aided by
a strong business profile, the group's tariffs are higher and the proportion
of occupancies at discount rates are minimal, consequently increasing
average room rate.

The tourism industry is cyclical with peak period August to November.
However the peak period is in the group¹s favour as the peak is out of phase
with the Northern hemisphere peak season. The business's main drivers are
overall occupancy, room rate (US dollar denominated (offering an opportunity
of an exchange rate play) and foreign component of total occupancy. Marginal
cost of each guest goes down progressively once past break-even point. Any
slight increase in occupancy levels (especially an increase in the foreign
mix) from current levels will be beneficial.
The local tourism environment remains challenged with international and
regional visitor arrivals to the country down 18% y-o-y as both perception
and an overvalued exchange rate make visitors seek more palatable
destinations. Domestic tourism is likely to remain under pressure as
disposable incomes continue to shrink in real terms.

Going forward, the group continues to explore its regional management
contracts initiatives. - Staff Writer.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Make way Mr President!

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

WE understand President Robert Mugabe is a hero who fought for his country
but his popularity has declined significantly over the years as  the
suffering of the generality of the citizens worsens.

I used to adore Mugabe as my hero as a kid and understand it was the same
with many other people. But how he has degenerated into our worst enemy!

I advise my president to go now before things really get worse, as they will
inevitably. Does he want to go down in the annals of history as the man who
presided over destruction of the country?

The economy is in a free-fall; inflation is the highest in the world.

Large companies like Olivine Industries have shut down or relocated, there
is no direct foreign investment, we have now turned the biggest importer of
food, not the biggest exporter like we were seven years back.

His friends are now the small, inferior and less-developed nations like
Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania and Malawi.

His policies are not working and have largely failed  while his current
cabinet ministers have realised that if they can't line their pockets with
him in power now, by looting our resources, then they won't get another
chance to be rich in the future.

We need new blood and fresh ideas in our leadership. We have suffered
enough. Enough is enough, zvakwana!
Oskido, Cape Town,
South Africa.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We're down, but not out

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

THE 504 votes garnered by MDC pro-senate faction candidate Gabriel Chaibva in Budiriro were just  a signal to Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai that Professor Arthur Mutambara is here to stay.

The party’s Harare province salutes all supporters including the 504 heroes of democratic change for braving the tense atmosphere to vote for Chaibva who had campaigned for only 24 hours.

The playing field in the by-election was tilted in favour of Zanu PF and the MDC faction led by Tsvangirai who have since rubber-stamped Mugabe’s autocratic rule for the sake of getting into power.

Police and pro-Tsvangirai militia derailed the MDC campaign programme in Budiriro when they defaced Chaibva’s posters.

The police and the CIO pounced on Mutambara’s convoy when he embarked on a road show in the constituency to drum up support for the MDC, 24 hours before the election.

The arrest of Mutambara, Chaibva and others was a strategy by the Mugabe regime to stop the unstoppable hot character in Mutambara from making inroads into the constituency.

The 504 voters were mobilised in less than 24 hours and street commentators like Geoff Nyarota and Bornwell Chakaodza want the people to read a lot out of the 504 voters. They are jealous of Mutambara’s rise to fame.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe’s people held several rallies ahead of the by-election but they garnered 7 000 and 4 000 votes respectively.

These are not encouraging figures when we consider that they campaigned for two months each while Mutambara campaigned for only an hour before police stopped his road show.

Harare is now focusing on the 2008 presidential election. We are down but not out for now.
Kurauone Chihwayi,
Harare Province.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: 'Zim to Support Indonesia'

The Herald (Harare)
June 2, 2006
Posted to the web June 2, 2006
ZIMBABWE will assist Indonesia in the wake of a devastating earthquake that rocked that country last weekend killing thousands and leaving many people homeless, Vice President Cde Joice Mujuru said yesterday.
She was speaking to journalists soon after signing a condolence book in memory of the victims at the Indonesian Embassy in Harare. "Our relations with Indonesia are warm and Zimbabwe has to come up with all the necessary assistance especially moral support during this sad moment," said Cde Mujuru. Indonesian Ambassador, Mr Hupudio Supardi, thanked the Government and the people Zimbabwe for showing sympathy to Indonesia.
"I would want to express my Government and the people's appreciation for the Government of Zimbabwe for showing special sympathy and condolences expressed through Vice President Madame Mujuru," said Mr Supardi. He said the Government of Zimbabwe had done the same two years ago when his country was devastated by massive tidal waves (tsunami) that killed thousands other people in Indonesia and left many people homeless. The weekend death toll has risen to 6 243 and thousands more people require humanitarian assistance, said the diplomat.

"We have received quite substantial assistance from many parts of the world especially in form of medical supplies and food," he said. "What the victims now need much is temporary shelter and my Government is working hard to provide shelter for those whose homes have been destroyed by this natural disaster." In her condolence message, Vice President Mujuru, who was dressed in all black as a sign of sorrow, expressed sadness on the catastrophe that fell on Indonesians and hoped that the international community would assist the victims.
"On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe, and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to express my deep sympathy and sorrow over the loss of life in the wake of a devastating earthquake in your country on May 27, 2006. We share with you the tragic losses occasioned, yet again by nature's unpredictable changes," wrote Cde Mujuru in the condolence book.
"It is our cherished hope that the people of the Republic of Indonesia will once again recov er from this setback with the usual determination to move forward. We also hope that the international community will take the challenge to assist the victims in their hour of need. We wish you every success in your endeavours to normalise the lives of the grieving masses of Yogyakartar." Yogyakartar is the area worst hit by the earthquake.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: 'Insurance Sector Should Continue to Fight Fraud, Corruption'

The Herald (Harare)
June 1, 2006
Posted to the web June 2, 2006
THE insurance sector should continue to invest resources in the fight against fraud and corruption in the industry, delegates attending Insurance Council of Zimbabwe conference agreed this week.
ICZ was already working on the database while consultations with various stakeholders were in progress. "The database is currently being designed and stakeholders are going to assess how the database would be accessed by people," said ICZ. The database licence was also being processed, said ICZ. The database will contain a record of criminals who have been blacklisted by the industry.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a yet to be announced insurance company in preparation for the launch of a product called Bancassurance. ZABG retail banking executive Mr Gift Madhlayo said Bancassurance was a symbiotic business relationship between a bank and an insurance company whereby the former sells insurance on behalf of the insurer and the bank earns commission.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt raids stock market

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06
HARARE - A desperate Zimbabwe government, hard-pressed for cash, has raided the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) demanding Value Added Tax (VAT) on all brokerage incomes received on the bourse since 2004, a move that analysts say gives a graphic illustration of the Mugabe administration’s "policy deficiencies."
The intelligence-led swoop on the ZSE, accused by government of failing to remit VAT for two years, was expected to raise a Z$15 trillion windfall for government.
Official sources said the raid was the brainchild of the recently formed shadowy Cuban-style Zimbabwe National Security Council (ZNSC), chaired by President Mugabe and made up of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Joint Operations Command.
It is believed government is attempting to raise cash to bankroll the recent hefty salary increase for civil servants, grain and electricity imports.
President Mugabe's administration has in recent months sustained its expenditure by printing money, a move that has fuelled Zimbabwe's stratospheric inflation, the highest in the world according to the IMF.
Striking stockbrokers vowed they would not comply with the new tax-regime because they were given earlier assurances by government that the tax would not apply to them.
This is not the first time that there has been a tax deadlock on the bourse between stockbrokers and government.  Last year, stock market dealers faced-off with government over a capital gains tax that was introduced by Finance minister Hebert Murerwa during the 2006 national budget.
Authorities were later forced into a major policy climb down after a two-week lull on the ZSE, making concessions that eventually pushed through a withholding tax on dividends of 15% per individual shareholder, deducted at source.
It is understood that army general Constantine Chiwenga joined the negotiations last last week, although it was not clear whether he had entered the fray as a broker or an interested party. Mugabe recently assigned him to oversee the quasi-government tax collector ZimRA amid allegations of embezzlement and corruption by top taxmen.
ZSE CEO Emmanuel Manyuke and ZimRA director general Gershom Pasi would not comment.
The ZSE is one of the few remaining sectors of the Zimbabwe economy that is still working following years of skewed economic policies by government that have led to sustained negative economic growth over the past six years. - CAJ News

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Reclaiming the legacy of liberation

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

By Alex Magaisa
IN the seemingly endless quest to define its future, Zimbabwe continues to be haunted by its difficult and traumatic past. Opinion is divided over the relevance of the past in the context of the present struggle to dislodge a tyrannical regime and establish a democracy.

In particular, the liberation struggle of the 60s and 70s remains hotly-contested territory as current political actors lay different claims and some question the necessity and relevance of these claims.

The question as to whether or not the liberation struggle is relevant in the current discourse, is one that invites deeply divided opinions and sometimes causes emotional tension depending on each person’s platform.

Should the liberation struggle feature at all in the current struggle for democracy? Or is it simply a thing of the past, irrelevant and ready to be buried in the archives? Is making reference to the liberation struggle a sheer waste of time representing nothing but misplaced priorities?

It is common cause that the liberation struggle paved the way for an Independent Zimbabwe. It may seem strange to some that people in Zimbabwe could question references to that important part of the country’s history. It is important therefore to put things into context, and understand why people in Zimbabwe have developed an indifferent attitude towards the liberation struggle and Pan-Africanism in general.

People who question the rhetoric in relation to the liberation struggle do so not because they disrespect the struggle itself or those who made sacrifices at the time, but because it has been trivialised by those who purport to be the exclusive custodians of its legacy.

It is the way the legacy of liberation has been handled that has caused people to view those who make references to it with considerable suspicion and at times even disdain.

The ruling party appears to have succeeded in monopolising ownership of the struggle, thereby alienating a large section of the population, now too embarrassed to be associated with anything to which Zanu PF lays claim.

Because of a band of selfish individuals Zimbabweans are no longer comfortable to identify with a defining process of their history. And with that the values and principles for which men and women sacrificed their lives, values and principles to which people should refer as they map their future, have been trivialised. But let us explore why people are no longer comfortable with this epic period.

The challenge for those who wish to use the liberation struggle within the current political landscape is to sell the idea differently and make it relevant to the struggle. The task is to differentiate the approach from that which has largely led to people’s indifference and dismissive attitude.

First, the liberation struggle has been largely privatised under the current regime. At each opportunity the history of the struggle has been represented through the lens of Zanu PF.

The lens permit only narrow and short-sighted vision, which is selective. An interesting and thorough assessment of the treatment of history and related issues has been given elsewhere by Professor Terry Ranger, eminent scholar on Zimbabwean history. The result however is that other participants have been deleted from the pages of history, their contribution downgraded not because they did anything wrong against the nation but because they fell out of line with the current Zanu PF regime.

Zanu PF has succeeded in making everyone believe that it is the rightful custodian of the liberation struggle legacy. This has fed into the perception that any person who speaks about the liberation struggle is therefore a Zanu PF sympathiser.  Unsurprisingly, many people who should rightly take pride in the struggle have become disillusioned by what appears to have become a personal project of the few selected ones.

Second, the liberation struggle has been manipulated to justify monopolisation of political space. It has been argued that participation in the liberation struggle is a prerequisite for national leadership. For example, prior to the 2002 presidential election, the leadership of the military forces declared that they would only swear allegiance to a person who participated in the struggle, thereby tacitly disqualifying Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC candidate.

Indeed, in institutions and organs of the state including parastatals, liberation struggle credentials seem to take precedence over managerial ability. This monopolisation of political and economic space on the index of participation in the struggle has alienated those outside of the ruling party. Worse, it has alienated and sidelined the younger generation who were too young (and most were not born) to have participated in the struggle but are now eligible on other points of merit to take senior positions in the public sector.

Unsurprisingly, the young men and women see the liberation struggle as a tool that is used to deny them space by a selfish older generation. For them the liberation struggle has become a hindrance rather than opening gateways, hence the scepticism being expressed by the younger generation. Their energy and potential is lost in the process.

Third, the liberation struggle has been used as the basis of justifying some of the worst human rights violations in recent years. In order to claim legitimacy for their actions, Zanu PF has defined its agenda as a continuation of the liberation struggle.

In recent years this has been symbolised by identifying the chaotic and predictably destructive land invasions as the Third Chimurenga.

People complain that there is no democratic culture, no tolerance and the state is behaving worse than its colonial predecessor. The economy has never seen harder times. This has riled and alienated most people who have borne the brunt of the clampdown and economic deterioration. Indeed some people have begun to question the essence and purpose of the liberation struggle itself — even arguing that in economic terms, life was better before Independence.

Only a minority in political leadership has enjoyed the fruits of liberation, leaving the bulk of the suffering people to question whether it was worth the pain in the first place. Not surprisingly, many people feel less attachment to the liberation process, instead seeing themselves as being currently engaged in a liberation struggle of their own.
The same issues arise in relation to Pan-Africanism. It sounds right from a theoretical perspective. However, this concept has been much abused and has become meaningless to the majority of the people on the continent.

Various dictators have used it to justify their positions even if it meant sacrificing the rights of the people. Because of its tangled history and failure to make positive change to their lives, people tend to view it with distrust and are sceptical when someone uses the concept.

The cynical go on to say that they do not eat Pan-Africanism — they too need the bacon and sausages on the breakfast tables of those who pontificate about Pan-Africanism.

It is not because the concept is wrong on its own, but it has been tainted by association and is meaningless when it has not delivered people from their misery.

People see it as a way of justifying solidarity between the leadership of African countries, which does not translate to the people on the ground. It is seen as support between the leadership without the necessary accountability. It is worthless when Pan-Africanism excludes holding each other to account.

It is a shame that Zanu PF has succeeded in privatising the liberation struggle, which in truth was national effort, with different actors, each playing a crucial role. Did they not say that they were the fish and the people were the water?

It is a shame that people have been made to distrust anyone connected to, or who refers to a key period in our history. Each year across the world, nations gather to remember those who sacrificed their lives for liberation.

They never forget. They take pride in it. They recall the values and principles that made men and women leave the comfort of their homes and families to go into battle. Each year they gather as a constant reminder of the values that they should hold dear and safeguard.

Zimbabweans too must never forget. In that period lies the very key to freedom that everyone is looking for. They did not sacrifice their lives in vain. I do not think that we should succumb to the prevailing dictates and feel ashamed or embarrassed about the liberation struggle. It is a shame that we are now so embarrassed to talk publicly about the liberation struggle. It is a shame that we now treat with suspicion anyone who makes reference to the liberation struggle.

One of the key challenges for the future is to restore lost pride, to excavate the values now buried in the privatisation project and make them relevant for the future. The truth is that the story of the liberation struggle is not simply that of the lion alone but one in which all other animals, great and small, were participants.

The fact that the lion monopolises the story should not deter the other animals from claiming their spaces.

Whatever the difficulties, it is not right for people to give up their right to own what rightfully and legitimately belongs to them. It may have been trivialised and therefore appearing meaningless, but it is certainly not worthless.

The challenge for those who talk about it is to demonstrate its relevance and to differentiate it from the privatised commodity that has been created by the current system.
*Dr Magaisa can be contacted at


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Seizure of assets raises host of issues

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

I REFER to your article “Mawere speaks on Mnangagwa fallout”, (Zimbabwe Independent, May 19).

The comments attributed to Mr Edwin Manikai confirm my worst fears that the government of Zimbabwe has been outsourced to individuals with ulterior motives. 

While I understand your interest in drawing Mnangagwa into my predicament, I find it unfortunate that you chose not to focus on the ramifications of what Manikai, as a principal in his own right, said. 

As background, you are aware that I was arrested in South Africa in May 2004 following an application by the government of Zimbabwe to extradite me on charges of externalisation and fraud.  At the time, I thought the allegations were informed by investigations undertaken by the government.  However, the charges were dismissed by a magistrate in June 2004 after the government of Zimbabwe failed to substantiate them. 

Notwithstanding the dismissal of the allegations in South Africa, I was subsequently specified under the Prevention of Corruption Act and all companies deemed to be under my control were also specified.  However, the specifications did not achieve the desired result of expropriating my assets and making me, in Manikai’s words, “a bad loser”. 

You will be aware that a presidential decree was promulgated by (Justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa in September 2004, paving the way for the takeover of my assets and the appointment of Mr (Arafas) Gwaradzimba as administrator and Manikai as the legal advisor. 

You will also be aware that this action was unprecedented in Zimbabwe whereby a decree was passed, targeted at one individual and the state machinery then used by well-connected individuals to undermine the property rights of another individual. 

To date, I have been the only victim of the State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act and the existence of this legislation threatens the rights of all Zimbabweans and hence my interest in writing this letter to ensure that all the people who have property interests in Zimbabwe are fully aware of the possibility that if they are deemed to be “unscrupulous, greedy and vicious”, they risk losing their properties. 

What is more scary is that if we assume that all the actions leading to the expropriation of my assets were done in the name of the state, a private individual like Manikai is allowed to claim credit without the public being afforded an opportunity to understand his authority and competency to represent the government. 

It appears that Manikai was allowed to ignore the central questions raised in your article about the link between Smoothnest and Zanu PF.  In addition, your article failed to address the apparent use of public funds to support Zanu PF’s political activities.  If the allegations are correct that Manikai was used by Zanu PF as a front to raise funds using a shelf company, what are the implications on corruption, and why has this matter not been investigated by an independent party? 

While Manikai’s footprints are in many places including ZSR, Zimsun, Smoothnest, First Bank, NDH, ZABG, Cottco, Finhold, Intermarket, Shabanie & Mashaba Mines (under state administration), it is not clear what his role is in respect of Zanu PF.  It is important that the public is informed about the role of Manikai in Zanu PF and his interest in my affairs. 

I am still to be advised about the ethical implications of a lawyer making defamatory statements about me, particularly in view of the fact that he is the chief legal officer representing the government of Zimbabwe and SMM in the contested expropriation of my assets. 

To the extent that the application to set aside the reconstruction order is still pending before the High Court of Zimbabwe, it is important that you put the statement by Manikai “above all, he is a loser, a very bad loser and a cry baby” into context.

In what way am I a loser if the matter has not been determined in court? What does Manikai know that the public does not know about the merits of my application to set aside the reconstruction scheme? 

It is important also to inform your readers that Manikai is now representing Chinamasa in the legal proceedings after the Attorney-General refused to represent the minister on grounds that the reconstruction order was issued without merit. 

While I respect Manikai’s personal views about my character, it is unacceptable that as a lawyer he accepts the proposition that an alleged greedy person has no constitutional rights in Zimbabwe. 

If one were to accept that Manikai is somewhat connected to the Tsholotsho group, it is important to locate his comments within the general framework of the actions of the state.  If we accept the proposition that individuals can settle their personal scores using the state machinery then Zimbabwe is in real danger of reducing itself to a banana republic. 

If anything, Manikai’s comments confirm that Zimbabwe is no longer a country that respects property rights and acknowledges the fact that corruption only applies where Zanu PF is not an interested party. 

I believe that it is in the national interest that this matter be exhaustively debated in order to protect the integrity of the institutions of government and to ensure that individuals are protected from the abuse of power by those that are well-connected.  

It is not for me to say whether Manikai has any links with Mnangagwa, but it is important to establish in what context Manikai would make the allegations that I had “sour grapes” when he has nothing to benefit from my persecution. 

Manikai also makes the allegation that I have messed myself up without explaining the relevance and how the state becomes an interested party in my personal affairs. 

He further makes the statement that “I have nothing against him but he must have a conscience”.

It is important that you establish how my conscience becomes material in the construction of the state’s actions against me personally and against companies alleged to be owned by me. 

If Manikai has strong personal views against me, is it justifiable that he becomes a professional advisor to the government?

It would also be of interest to establish who appointed Manikai and whose interests he is serving by targeting me for what appears to be personal reasons.

I sincerely hope that you will publish my letter not only because the expropriation of my assets raises a host of legal, constitutional and empowerment issues, but it has political and personal dimensions that have to be exposed in the hope that future generations will be protected from the actions of a government that has lost direction and moral compass. 
Mutumwa Mawere,
South Africa.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Comment was right, MDC Budiriro victory rings hollow

Zimbabwe Independent 2/6/06

JORAM Nyathi’s “Candid Comment” (“Wish they were all like VP Mujuru,” Independent, May 26) was a frank and honest analysis of the sad reality of opposition politics in Zimbabwe today. The Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC decided to participate in the Budiriro by-election even though they had resolved never to participate in any election under the current framework.

That the MDC won by a convincing margin despite the apathy, confirms they knew Budiriro was one of their strongholds and therefore would help boost self-confidence while humiliating the weaker faction led by Arthur Mutambara.

Nyathi’s article rightly pointed out that the election in Budiriro was less about bread and butter issues, but more about political grandstanding aimed at showing muscle and consolidating control.

There is no doubt that Zanu PF has no support in urban Harare. President Mugabe’s attempts to sweet talk voters by donating computers on the eve of the election was therefore going to convince only the most gullible. The real fight for control was between the two MDC factions.

I do have some sympathy for the Mutambara faction, but given their poor showing at the polls, I am not sure if they have any future on the rough turf of Zimbabwe’s skewed political landscape.

They were always disadvantaged from the beginning by a perception that they dared to challenge Tsvangirai, who has managed to build a strong and unquestioning following around himself, in the same way Mugabe did in the early years.

Their second perceived weakness was that the main faction leaders are from Matabeleland, a fact used by the main faction as the reason why they should not get support.

It is worrying that even opposition politicians have also resorted to the use of tribal and divisive politics commonly used by Zanu PF in the early years of Independence.

But what is more distressing is that, in the 21st century, there are still many people who buy into this kind of tribal garbage and retrogressive gibberish.

So weird has our politics become that even Margaret Dongo, arguably one of the finest MPs Zimbabwe has ever produced, lost to a previously unknown MDC Harare Central candidate in the 2005 general election. Dongo happened to belong to the “wrong” side.

Elsewhere in the world, people are elected on the basis of solid principles and consistent policies; in Zimbabwe it is mobocracy and political manipulation that carry the day.

The unpalatable truth is that the MDC by-election victory in Budiriro signifies nothing and is largely an empty victory. Apart from giving the psychological satisfaction of having defeated Mugabe and Zanu PF, the victory will not translate into anything meaningful until the MDC stops thinking about personal empire-building and point-scoring and starts addressing real issues.

Capitalising on the shortcomings of the present government is not enough, because even when the economy is turned around people will still need a strong and vibrant opposition to ensure transparency and accountability.

The MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, also unwittingly confirmed the hollowness of his party’s victory. His press statement, issued just after the election results were announced, did not say anything new.

Apart from borrowing Zanu PF’s empty rhetoric that “the people have spoken” and reminding people of how Zanu PF brought high inflation, unemployment and skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, Chamisa did not address how the MDC was planning to use the victory to address any of the people’s concerns.

No one expects the MDC to bring down inflation just because of a by-election victory because the MDC is not in government.

But even out of government, there are several things that the party can do to show it has a capacity to achieve greater things when in government.

By way of example, the city of Harare is still run by an illegal commission that was appointed after Zanu PF fired elected MDC councillors.

If the MDC is planning to organise countrywide mass protests, I am sure they will find it easier to organise a rates boycott to force government to call for elections in Harare.

People still pay rates for services to the city of Harare every month and surely cannot wait until Tsvangirai becomes president in 2008 or 2010 to have this issue resolved.

Zanu PF has repeatedly accused the MDC of being a bad loser by crying foul only for those elections they lose, while happily accepting those favourable to them. By saying the “people have spoken”, Chamisa is implying the MDC has confidence in the electoral process in Zimbabwe.

This is inconsistent with the well-publicised party view that elections are always rigged by Zanu PF.
Unfortunately, in our world, political consistency and integrity are luxuries most people can do without.
Hudson Yemen Taivo,

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: 'State Prefers Projects That Go Down to People'<

The Herald (Harare)
June 1, 2006
Posted to the web June 2, 2006
Government prefers development projects that filter down to the ordinary people and help them become productive, Vice President Joice Mujuru said yesterday.
Cde Mujuru was being briefed over the recent donation of 50 000 euros by the Embassy of Greece for the construction of an opportunistic infectious diseases clinic at Chivhu General Hospital. The money was donated through the Chikomba Development Association. "We should try to make our people busy. Chikomba is one of the poorest districts in the country. "When you get such a gesture, people should take it with both hands and use it properly," said Cde Mujuru. The Vice President said for years, it has always been a pleasure to work with the Greek government.
She said people talked about HIV and Aids but the thinking must go beyond that because poverty and lack of resources were also fuelling the pandemic. The people of Chikomba were involved in chicken rearing projects and the task left now was to look for international markets. Greek ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Dimitri Alexandrakis said his country would always support Zimbabwe. "This is the beginning of the co-operation. We kno w that these are trying times for Zimbabwe but this donation shows that the people of Greece are with the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
Part of the funds would also be used to buy anti-retroviral drugs, home-based care kits and support HIV and Aids programmes in Mashonaland East Province.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cartoon : Gallows to Zimbabwe

Ref the farmer selling gallows to Zimbabwe. Here is the Mac cartoon from the Daily Mail:

" I'm not one to turn business away, George. but I reckon you should try a marriage guidance counsellor first."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP
Back to the Top
Back to Index