Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Reporter
Party accuses state of bid to derail congress
STATE security agents yesterday arrested three opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) officials in connection with the discovery of an
arms cache in Manicaland, but the opposition party said this was a ploy by
the government to derail its second national congress scheduled for next
Giles Mutsekwa, a former army officer and the legislator for Mutare North,
was picked up at a Harare hotel and taken in for questioning by police.
Plainclothes policemen also arrested businessman Brian James, the party's
provincial treasurer for Manicaland and Knowledge Nyamhoka, the provincial
youth chairman in Mutare yesterday.
Mutsekwa was transferred to Mutare under heavy guard late yesterday.
The MDC's Manicaland provincial spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya told The
Financial Gazette that state security agents, including policemen, members
of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and some military
intelligence officers raided the party's offices and arrested James.
Muchauraya also reported that the security agents had raided Mutsekwa's
State media reported on Tuesday that security agents recovered an arms cache
which included AK 47 automatic rifles, machineguns, shotguns, pistols,
teargas canisters, flares, thousands of rounds of ammunition and a two-way
radio communication system at the home of one Peter Hitschmann, charging
that "it was a broader destabilisation scheme involving opposition
supporters and army officers."
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday dissociated his party from the
arms cache, saying the MDC had no links with Hitschmann, who, according to
state media reports, confessed to hatching a plot to destabilise the
country. Chamisa charged that the arrest of his party's officials was
calculated to derail the MDC congress, which is scheduled for next week.
"Although the majority of Zimbabweans have lost faith and confidence in
Zimbabwe's electoral process, the MDC's quest for democratic change shall
only be realised through peaceful democratic resistance.
"We wish to place it on record that the MDC does not have any links with the
ZRP special constabulary member, Mr Hitschmann, the so-called Zimbabwe
Freedom Movement or any person or group that seeks to effect regime change
through the barrel of the gun, an armed struggle, violence and
unconstitutional means," said Chamisa.
"The MDC is not a movement of bandits. Our activities are over ground (sic)
instead of underground . . . we don't believe in using guns to communicate .
. . we believe in the power of the people and the pressure of the masses,"
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he could not comment as he was
still waiting to be updated about the arrests by police in Manicaland.
Charles Rukuni Bulawayo Bureau Chief
If it's not govt officials, why don't they stop the rot?
BULAWAYO - I still get goose pimples every time I think of a million
dollars. I know it doesn't buy much today, but I just can't psyche myself up
to think of it as nothing.
You see, I belong to the generation that grew up in the era of pounds,
shillings and pence. When we moved to dollars and cents, this was still real
money, with our dollar stronger than the greenback.
We had only one millionaire in the district, George Nolan, the owner (as we
knew it) of Bikita Minerals.
It was an arithmetic challenge to calculate how Nolan had become a
millionaire. We would sit down, count the number of trucks that delivered
the mineral, how much each load earned and we often came up with the answer
that it must have taken him at least 33 years to become a millionaire.
Thirty-three years was a long period for 10-year-olds. Now I look back and
wonder: Whatever happened?
Now everyone is a millionaire, but that million buys nothing.
I rarely question such things, but I was really shocked when I went to a
service station to look for fuel to find it selling for $215 000 a litre. I
had to folk out $4.3 million for 20 litres.
I started asking myself: when will all this end? How much will fuel cost by
the end of March?
What pained me most was that there was a queue of motorists buying the fuel.
I was quite certain they were as equally disturbed by the price as I was. It
was not that the fuel was cheap. They had no choice.
While some people still think driving is a luxury, owning a car is a basic
right. The fact that 80 percent of the population is poor and can therefore
never dream of owning a car is neither here nor there.
The sad thing is that the government uses this prevalence of poverty to
further exploit the poor under the guise that it is trying to cushion them.
Take the price of fuel, for example. The government tells people that
commuter taxis should not increase their fares because they are buying the
fuel at less than $23 000 a litre. Any motorist or commuter taxi operator
knows that if one waits for this fuel, one will go out of business.
That fuel, like that meant for farmers, is not being sold to the intended
beneficiaries but to chefs who in turn sell it on the parallel market for 10
times the price they would have bought it.
In which other business, except perhaps banking, can one make more than 1
000 percent profit?
But while the government plays rich, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(NOCZIM) incurs a loss of $1 trillion. The taxpayer, that is you and me and
even those in the rural areas who never ride commuter taxis and are still
waiting to be resettled, is asked to pay the NOCZIM deficit.
The same applies to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). It is selling
mealie-meal at ridiculously low prices, which makes one wonder: who is
Most of the mealie-meal is sold during working hours when employees are at
work. It is bought by "makorokoza" (dealers), who do not pay any tax except
perhaps value added tax. At the end of the day the "makorokoza" sell the
mealie-meal to workers at six times the price they would have bought it for.
The GMB makes a loss. And who foots the deficit? The same workers buying the
mealie-meal at an exorbitant price while the "mukorokoza" laughs all the way
to the shebeen.
Though I could not establish the trading deficit of the GMB as it appears it
is no longer publishing annual reports that are usually available at
newspaper libraries, its loss, like that of NOCZIM, must be in trillions.
The GMB is reported to be still selling maize to millers at $600 000 a
tonne, the price of a 20kg bag of super refined mealie meal.
Surely, even bush economics dictates that this does not make sense.
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, in his 2006 budget statement , said that
price controls had led to price distortions, which in turn had resulted in
shortages of basic commodities on the open market.
"It will, therefore, be critical that market-pricing mechanisms be embraced
which are central to ensuring the viability of industry, as well as the
wellbeing of consumers," he said in November.
He added: "The pricing system for all goods and services will be
market-driven, in order to eliminate parallel market dealings . . . The
removal of producer and selling price distortions especially for
agricultural commodities and fuel will result in the efficient and effective
utilisation of resources."
But nothing has been done up to now, four months after the minister's budget
"This makes it difficult to understand why the government is dillydallying
on implementing its own policies. But someone, somewhere must be benefiting
from the system," Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President Luxon
"And since those responsible for making and implementing policies will not
do anything about it, this makes one think they are the ones benefiting,"
They must be.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono aptly summed it up when he blamed "chefs"
for the current rot in the country when he presented his monetary review
policy in January.
"If, as a nation, we do not resolutely stamp out corruption, especially
among us people in positions of authority and influence, us the so-called
chefs . . . we will soon discover, too late, that policy formulations,
implementation, monitoring and decisions have been based on self-interest,
racial overtones, regional and tribal considerations at the expense of the
No one, it appears, is ready to change yet because there are billions to be
Mahoso in flagrant defiance of court order
THE Media and Information Commission board last week held a meeting to
decide the fate of the beleaguered Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
application, but the meeting broke up in disarray.
Impeccable sources said the meeting on Thursday failed to agree amid charges
that it was illegal in terms of a recent High Court judgment that reversed a
decision of the MIC board decision of l8 July 2OO5. Three members of the
board were reported to have joined Mahoso in the meeting with the other
three absent. In terms of Justice Rita Makarau judgment of 8 February 2006,
MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso is barred from presiding over any hearing
called to decide the fate of the application because of his proven bias
against the applicant.
Both the Supreme Court and the High Court have found Mahoso to be biased
against the ANZ, with Justice Makarau barring him from attending any meeting
called to resolve the matter. The MIC Board has until tomorrow to formalise
registration of the ANZ.
Informed sources said Mahoso invited a select three commissioners and, in
flagrant defiance of the court order, tried to decide the fate of the
application, with him presiding. The meeting broke up in disarray with
charges that it was illegally constituted. Mrs Daphne Tomana, a legal
practioner, was reported to have stormed out of the boardroom, saying no
decision could be taken without other board members.
Two other commissioners present were Alphinos Makoni and Rino Zhuwarara.
Those who either boycotted the meeting or were simply not invited were
Pascal Mukondiwa, Jonathan Maphenduka and an S Mlambo.
A commissioner, unaware there was a meeting in progress, spoke to Mahoso on
Thursday on the ANZ case. "He referred me to Justice Makarau's judgment
which is quite explicit: Mahoso is barred from attending the hearing, let
alone presiding over it," the commissioner said. "I am surprised that
Mahoso, who is not a simpleton but a highly educated and intelligent man,
can stoop so low in his judgment. If there is any honour left in the world,
he should resign," he said.
Meanwhile, it was learned yesterday (Wednesday) that ANZ chief executive Sam
Sipepa Nkomo had written to the Minister of Information and Publicity,
Tichaona Jokonya, appealing to the minister to intervene. This followed a
letter to the MIC calling on the commission to fulfil its obligation under
The letter to the MIC chairman was dated February l3 2006, five days after
Justice Makarau's landmark ruling. Mahoso responded tersely, saying the
matter would be attended to in due course.
By close of day yesterday (Wednesday) the minister had not responded to the
ANZ appeal. "We are waiting to hear from him," said Nkomo. .
Justice Makarau's damning judgment which set aside the controversial MIC
decision of 18 July 2OO5, also awarded costs against the Commission.
The full text of the judgment makes interesting reading. Justice Makarau
said she found the issue for determination relatively simple. The Supreme
Court had found Mahoso to be biased, had set aside both the decision of the
Administrative Court and that of the MIC`s refusal to register, ordering the
Commission to consider the application afresh.
The impression created by the litigants was that they were "locked in a
deadly legal battle in which no party will take prisoners." It was a fight
to the finish.
The judge said it had to be determined whether the specific Supreme Court
finding that the respondent was biased avoided the stain of Mahoso's bias or
was tainted by the same.
Mahoso had been less than impressive in his affidavits submitted to the
court. There were no affidavits submitted by the respondent's "retiring
legal practitioners" explaining defaults in those before the court, she
said. Further Mahoso had not explained why he had not observed omissions
when he "deposed to the answering affidavit".
Justice Makarau said considering all information before the court, the
Commission's l8 July decision could not stand, and the application was
remitted de novo.
The applicant, the judge observed, had submitted that the MIC chairman had
considered its application with others on the board. "I must order that the
commission as presently constituted is now disabled from validly considering
the applicant's application." Their decision would be tainted by the bias of
the chairperson as found by the Supreme Court, she said.
"There is merit in the submission of the applicant in this regard and the
respondent is (will be) well advised to take this on board when next dealing
with the applicant's application," declared Justice Makarau.
What this means is that the current board, announced by the minister last
December is barred from sitting to consider the ANZ application. This
ruling, which has not been adequately highlighted in recent reports on the
case, means that the minister must appoint a special board to consider the
IN what ranks as a landmark decision, Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe has
ruled that fugitive High Court Judge Benjamin Paradza will be sentenced in
Justice Mutambanengwe said the runaway judge could not benefit from the
provisions of the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,
which accord accused persons the right to be heard prior to sentencing,
because he fled from the administration of justice.
Section 18 (3) of the Zimbabwe Constitution states that every citizen has
the right to be heard while Section 194 (1) says an accused person has the
right to mitigation before a sentence is delivered.
Both the defence and state counsels, citing these provisions, had submitted
on Tuesday that it would be impossible for any court in Zimbabwe to pass a
sentence against an accused person in absentia, throwing up a legal quandary
for Justice Mutambanengwe.
But Mutambanegwe, who has been recalled for the case by the government from
Namibia where he is now a Supreme Court judge, yesterday said Paradza had
forfeited the privileges guaranteed by the statutes because he had skipped
"I, therefore, consider that an accused who abuses his right to be heard as
the accused in this case has done must not be allowed to benefit from the
abuse and impede the administration of justice," said Mutambanengwe.
Mutambanengwe's decision ranks as a landmark ruling considering that Paradza
is likely to be the only accused to be sentenced in absentia in the history
of independent Zimbabwe.
Paradza, suspected to be in the United Kingdom, fled the country a few days
before Mutambanengwe was due to sentence him after finding the judge guilty
on two counts of corruption.
The fugitive judge allegedly attempted to coax fellow judges Maphios Cheda
and Charles Hungwe to release a passport belonging to a business partner who
was on bail in a murder case.
It was the state's case that Paradza stood to gain US$60 000 from the
After hearing further submissions from both the state and defence counsels
yesterday, Mutambanengwe said he would sentence Paradza today and adjourned
"I will pass the sentence tomorrow (today) after considering all these
submissions," he said.
Paradza faces a sentence of up to 10 years in jail or a fine of $2 million
for all the counts or both prison and fine, according to legal experts.
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
Deputy Youth Develo-pment Minister and Mount Darwin South Member of
Parliament Saviour Kasukuwere has wrested the lucrative Cornucopia Farm
Orchard from Interfresh Limited.
The seizure adds a new controversial twist to the country's muddled emotive
The take over of Cornucopia - constituting 19 percent of Mazoe Citrus Estate
(MCE)'s citrus plantations - might deprive the publicly listed Interfresh of
prime assets valued at over $108 billion plus earnings running into several
billions of dollars.
Interfresh, owner of MCE, also disclosed in its latest financial statements
that the group was anticipating export earnings in the region of US$345 000
from the farm this year.
Kasukuwere, ironically a significant shareholder in Interfresh, defended his
muscling in on the farm yesterday, saying it was about time people realised
that land reform, triggered by the fighters of the country's liberation
struggle in 2000, was a reality "and come to terms with that fact".
"I have always had control of the farm since 2002, but I just decided we
should work together with those (Interfresh) guys," he said.
Sources told of how the businessman-cum-politician "allowed" Interfresh
access to its citrus orchards and assets, which include a
multi-billion-dollar dryer and granary, while he focused on crop production
and cattle farming.
"In 2002, Kasukuwere evicted an MCE employee from the main house on the
farm. He showed the then Interfresh chairman and chief executive officer an
allocation letter but refused to give them a copy.
"The Mashonaland Central governor's office has stated that they do not have
a copy of the allocation letter. He allowed MCE access and control of the
citrus orchards and the dryer. The 100 hectares of new citrus trees were
only two years old.
"In 2004, Kasuku-were fenced off the orchards but still allowed MCE full
access and control of the citrus orchards and dryer, but in 2005, at the
beginning of the season, Kasukuwere claimed ownership of the citrus orchards
and the dryer and demanded payment for the fruit harvested from the orchards
on the basis that he had been allocated the farm and needed to enjoy the
benefits of the ownership," one source revealed.
The source said Interfresh had entered into an agreement with Kasukuwere,
who was allegedly paid for the fruit at the prevailing juicing price. He
also allegedly started charging MCE for the use of the dryer.
"At the end of the 2005 picking season - in July - all MCE employees were
denied access to the farm and he said he was now taking full control of the
"The 100 hectares of new citrus trees were now five years old and into full
production," the source said.
Interfresh chairman Lishon Chipango said he could not comment beyond his
firm's disclosure in the statement accompanying its financials released to
the market last week.
Kasukuwere, who was allocated the farm, said there was nothing wrong with
charging Interfresh for the use of the dryer since he was now paying the
The takeover of Cornucopia adds a fresh dimension to the woes besetting
private companies that have lost vast tracts of land through the
controversial land reforms meant to parcel out land from minority whites to
Agricultural production has hit rock-bottom because of the haphazard
reforms, with tobacco being the worst affected.
The central bank has urged the government to put a stop to the seizure of
productive farms, but the land grab orgies have continued.
Interfresh's board has since requested a valuation of Cornucopia's assets.
The valuation report showed that the depreciated replacement cost of the
dryer, buildings and irrigation equipment was $47.5 billion while the citrus
trees were valued at $58.5 billion, giving a total value of $106 billion.
"The young navel citrus trees on the farm are supposed to generate USD375
000 FOB (free on board) value in their first year of production in 2006. The
farm also houses the granary and dryer used for the entire MCE cropping
programme and storage for the workforce's maize food. The granary and dryer
were valued at a gross replacement value of $44 billion in November 2005,"
read a statement attached to Interfresh's results.
The Interfresh board is also said to have appealed to Mashonaland Central
governor Ephraim Masawi, who was said to be out of his office yesterday,
citing conflict of interest on the part of Kasukuwere and complaining that
his continued occupation of the farm was encouraging other people to go
after the company's orchards.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is once again set to have a serious grain deficit that will further
exert pressure on its meagre foreign currency resources through more
imports, at a time when millers are expected to begin processing yellow
maize to ease the worsening food crisis.
The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural
Service projects a staple maize yield within the 800 000 metric tonne to 900
000 metric tonne range, about half the country's annual requirements despite
above average rains received during the current season.
This raises the spectre of continued food imports, while confirming the
costly effects of poor preparations for what has turned out to be one of the
best seasons in recent years in terms of rainfall.
In a grim projection of another poor grain harvest this year, the USDA said
a six-year-old foreign currency crisis that is currently wreaking havoc in
the country had spawned agricultural input shortages and would result in
another poor crop harvest.
In a report entitled Zimbabwe Grain and Feed Update, the USDA said only 1.3
million hectares had been put under summer crops, much lower than government
projections of two million hectares.
A myriad of logistical constraints and the shortage of fuel to move inputs
in time meant most farmers could not benefit from the full potential of the
rainfall this season.
"The ailing Zimbabwean economy continues to experience persistent shortages
of foreign currency resulting in shortages of critical raw materials such as
seed, fuel, fertilisers and chemicals. As a result, the country was poorly
prepared for the 2005/6 farming season.
"Timely production and importation of critical inputs has been a problem.
Zimbabwean farmers may be unable to take advantage of the good rains in the
2005/2006 cropping season because of the serious shortage of inputs. The
area under corn is estimated at 1.3 million hectares. Corn production is
expected to be between 800 000 metric tonnes and 900 000 metric tonnes. Even
with enough rains, Zimbabwe will not be self-sufficient in corn and will
have to import more food after the May harvest," reads part of the report
The Agricultural Research and Extension Services is yet to report its full
assessment of the crop situation.
USDA said the major reason for the low maize plantings is the shortage of
critical agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, seed and fuel. It said the
country had about 26 000 MT of hybrid maize seed and about 5 000 MT of
open-pollinated seed available against a national requirement of 51 000 MT.
Although there were plans to bridge the gap through the import of 20 000 MT
from neighboring countries, USDA said importation had not taken place by the
end of October due to the shortage of foreign currency.
Zimbabwe, which is in its seventh straight year of economic recession marked
by soaring inflation of 613.2 percent, an energy crisis, a hard currency
crunch and pervasive social hardships has battled with a critical shortage
of fertilizer and crop seeds during the past few seasons, a situation
largely blamed on low inflows of foreign currency to import raw materials.
Aid agencies say half of Zimbabwe's population are living on the margins of
death because of food shortages.
Although the government distributed inputs to an ambitious scheme dubbed
"Operation Maguta"- a command agriculture model that is being implemented by
the army, police and officers in the President's office in which it planned
to plant 200 000 hectares- USAD estimates the area to be only 12 000
"The high inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of the majority of
the Zimbabwean population also contributed to the low area planted.
Inflation rose from 124 percent at the end of March 2005 to close the year
at 585.8 percent in December 2005. Due to the high costs of production,
farmers have had to revise their production targets downwards," the report
said. "Uptake and utilization of land on the formerly highly productive
commercial farms is still quite low and is estimated to be 40 percent. Due
to shortages of fertilizer and chemicals as well as high weeding
requirements, yields may also be affected," it added.
USDA also reported that wheat output is expected to decline to an estimated
95 000 MT against optimum annual domestic consumption of between 350 000 MT
and 400 000 MT because of inadequate tillage, high production costs, late
planting and a shortage of top-dressing fertilizer. Already the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), which has a national monopoly over the purchase,
storage and sale of wheat and maize is rationing wheat to millers while a
bread shortage is imminent.
Reports of the anticipated crop shortfalls come against the backdrop of
reports by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that the country spent about US$135
million in the past year to import grain to feed starving people.
Economic experts say with maize imports at US$250 a tonne Harare will
require another US$350 million for its net import needs.
As levels of food insecurity worsen, grain industry sources told The
Financial Gazette this week that GMB will begin releasing the 3 000 tonnes
of yellow maize donated by President Robert Mugabe's communist allies China
last month to ease food shortages. Traditionally yellow maize is used for
animal consumption and up to now it was being used as stockfeed. But because
stocks of white maize, the preferred staple food are fast dwindling
Zimbabweans will have to put up with the yellow maize, which has
traditionally been imported for human use in drought years.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
FOR Tendai Magara, who moulds foundry products at a factory in the
Willowvale industrial area, the writing is on the wall.
On February 25, the multinational company he works for unanimously scrapped
a 30 percent pay rise and reduced some employees' working week from 40 hours
to 20 hours. In exchange the few remaining workers won a promise that 100
jobs covered by the agreement will remain in Zimbabwe for at least two
years. But, says Magara - a 20-year-old veteran on the foundry line - the
company might resort to a three or even two-day working week or send
production to South Africa.
Magara serves as a good example of the dilemma facing most Zimbabwean
workers in this summer of labour tension and a hostile economic environment.
This situation has shaken not only workers at Magara's workplace. Last month
workers at a timber processing company in the former industrial hub of
Masasa also agreed to reduce working days from five to three after the
company threatened to move jobs to Namibia.
The list of compromises that workers are entering into is endless, with some
even going for months without accessing their wages and salaries. But
workers at Magara's factory and the ones that have foiled the timber company
from packing up bags could well be the fortunate ones, as the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) reports in its latest Manufacturing Sector
Survey Report released last week. The annual survey, which measures the
manufacturing sector's performance, notes that Zimbabwe is losing the battle
against unemployment and its joblessness rate is escalating.
There was a marked drop in employment levels (42 percent) caused mainly by
the escalating economic crisis haunting the southern African nation. The
report captures on a wider scale the fact that manufacturing companies have
reduced their working hours as they failed to secure enough raw materials to
keep their machines running. This drastic reduction in working hours means
that salaries and wages for workers, such as Magara who are still hanging on
to their jobs, are now reduced since they are indexed to the number of
working hours and days. But does Magara have an option?
"I have been here (at the factory) for years and have devoted much of my
time," he laments. "And with the employment rate dropping precipitously
where will I find new employment?" Magara moans.
Moreover, the reduction of workers' wages and salaries comes at an
inopportune time where the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) reports an
upsurge in a family budget of five. The consumer watchdog says it now takes
$28 million for a "family" to see through the month. And just considering
that only on Monday transport fares were once again increased, the March
budget will undoubtedly come in much steeper.
The CZI reports low capacity utilisation in the 200 companies it surveyed
with only 13 percent operating at over 75 percent. It lists the major
constraints that haunted the industry in 2005 as foreign currency shortages,
fuel scarcity, frequent power outages, erraric coal supplies and a breakdown
in the rail network.
"Some people got fed up with problems in the rail sector such that they are
no longer banking on it," said Farai Zizhou, chief economist at the business
body and one of the authors of the report. The CZI also observes that
because business confidence continues to fall in the crisis-sapped southern
African country, there has virtually been no investment flowing into the
country. Because of its frailty, Zimbabwe's economy remains unlikely to
attract or absorb significant foreign direct investment (FDI).
In recent years, FDI has been less than US$10 million annually, down from
US$300-500 million in the mid-1990s.
Meanwhile spiralling inflation has diminished the buying power of troubled
workers. And this is worrying labour unionists as their members whinge about
"The economic crisis is of deep concern to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU)," says Lovemore Matombo, leader of the militant union. "That
is why we have engaged other stakeholders to address issues relating to
Though the informal sector acted as a lifeline for Zimbabweans, it has since
been wiped out and there is very little to talk about of the sector, which
in other countries absorbs those being ejected out of formal employment. And
the blame for the death of the informal sector lies squarely with the
government's decision to bulldoze people's homes and market stalls in an
attempt to "beautify" urban centres. Critics say taking into account the
number of households rendered jobless because of the demolition blitz, the
unemployment rate could now be well above 80 percent.
"The unemployment rate is actually going to be exacerbated in light of the
distortions in the foreign currency market among other worsening economic
factors," says Prosper Chitambara, an economist at the Labour and Economic
Develo-pment Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ).
Considering former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul
Mangwa-na's claim that Zimba-bwe's unemployment rate is only nine percent,
what the ZCTU and the CZI ought to do is to hand deliver their State of the
Manufacturing Report to Mangwana's offices and his residence in case he
Munyaradzi Mugowo Own Correspondent
DZL Limited, the country's biggest milk producer, says it is struggling to
keep pace with milk orders owing to the continued decline in milk volumes
caused by input shortages, but hopes to reverse the trend by helping restock
the depleted national herd.
Anthony Mandiwanza, DZL chief executive officer, said the group's export
volumes fell 24 percent in 2005 due to declining milk production, which in
the period under review fell three percent above 2004 when milk output also
shrank 30 percent.
Mandiwanza said: "The decline in our export volumes should be understood in
the context of a continuous decline in the volume of milk production due to
erratic supply of agricultural inputs. So exports fell as a result of
constrained milk supply otherwise our order books are full. We are unable to
meet milk demand due largely to supply constraints."
The group, which made a net profit of about $500 billion in historical cost
terms, says it hopes to reverse the trend by ramping up dairy production
through systematic dairy cow imports, the first batch of which is expected
in the first quarter of the year.
However, while this may boost export volumes, local milk intake could still
remain subdued by an anticipated depressed local demand due to high
inflation rate expectations which are likely to run down disposable incomes
in the outlook period.
The group's income statement emerged strong on non-core activities due to
close rivalry between turnover and cost of sales, which in the period under
review were about $2 trillion and $1.1 trillion respectively.
Mandiwanza said DZL's gross profit and operating profit margins went down in
2005 against levels attained in the comparable period because of
below-inflation gazetted prices.
"Our adjusted consumer prices were below inflation. Our margins are derived
from cost containment rather than sales," said Mandiwanza.
The group's gross profit margin was down to 36 percent against 43 percent
attained in the comparable trading period, while operating profit margins
also plunged to 22 percent from 30 percent in 2004.
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
CONTINUED power outages being experienced in the country are affecting
production, the Chamber of Mines president Jack Murehwa has said.
Although Murehwa could not give statistics of how production has been
hampered, he said the intermittent power cuts were a serious concern to the
mining sector, especially if they are unscheduled and prolonged. There have
been periodic power blackouts throughout the country because of breakdowns
at ZESA Holdings' power generation plants, foreign exchange shortages and
the falling coal supplies.
ZESA, the country's sole electricity supplier, claims to be in negotiations
to acquire a strategic 25 percent stake in Mozambique's Hidroelectrica de
Cahora Bassa, which would guarantee Harare of additional power supplies.
However, Mozambican Industry Minister Salvador Namburete has said there are
no negotiations between the two power utilities.
Murehwa said four hours of lost production due to a scheduled power cut
equates to around 18 hours of lost production.
"In some instances, the negative effects of power cuts are extremely
expensive and result in serious loss of revenue. There are instances, for
example, where loss of power meant stopping of agitation in settling tanks
at an ore processing plant," he said.
"The sludge in the tanks settled at the bottom of the tanks and this had to
be dug out manually with picks and shovels. While this will be going on,
production will be at a standstill. We are cognisant of the difficulties
being faced by the power utility and we believe they are working on measures
to get on top of the situation. While the difficulties last, communication
between the mines and the power utility would assist in ensuring that the
power cuts are scheduled rather than erratic," he added.
DIFFICULTIES in repatriating foreign currency from Zimbabwe have prompted
Malawian businesses to turn to Mozambique for trade opportunities and a new
bilateral agreement should boost these prospects, a senior Malawi trade
"The problem of foreign exchange repatriation in Zimbabwe has created an
opportunity for most Malawian business people to resort to trading with
Mozambique instead of Zimbabwe," said Harrison Mandindi, acting director of
trade in Malawi's Ministry of Trade and Private Sector Development.
Zimbabwe - once southern Africa's breadbasket - is slowly turning into a
trade pariah as most of its neighbours look to South Africa and elsewhere
for market opportunities due to Harare's worsening economic crisis which
analysts blame on President Robert Mugabe's unpopular policy stance with
Mandindi urged implementing agencies to speed up the process of formalising
requirements of the new pact, saying this was the opportune time for the
private sector to make the most out of the agreement.
He said the trade pact with Mozambique provided for duty- and quota-free
treatment and removal of non-tariff barriers on all products from the two
neighbouring states based on certificates of origin.
Mandindi said the need to conclude the agreement had been necessitated by
increased demand for Malawian products in Mozambique and the new government's
policy of turning Malawi into a mass exporter.
He said the agreement was expected to stimulate trade and boost crossborder
and foreign direct investment between the two countries and provide a
gateway for exports from landlocked Malawi.
Mozambique has port facilities on the Indian Ocean.
The Malawi-Mozambique bilateral trade agreement supersedes the 1959 customs
agreement signed between Portugal and the Federation of Rhodesia and
Portugal is the former colonial master of Mozambique, formerly known as
Portuguese East Africa.
Under the pact, all goods except those excluded from the preferential
treatment list will be required to satisfy the 60 percent local content in
line with rules of origin and a 25 percent allowance for value addition.
Items excluded from the preferential treatment list are sugar, beer,
petroleum products, table eggs, dressed chickens, explosives, firearms,
refined cooking oil, manufactured tobacco and Coca-Cola and
Schweppes-branded drinks. - Nation
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
PRODUCTION has hit rock bottom at perennial loss-maker, the Zimbabwe Iron
and Steel Company (Zisco), on the back of worsening working capital
constraints and falling coal supplies.
Zisco spokesman, Augustine Timbe revealed this week that the country's sole
iron and steel producer's output is now a mere 5 000 tonnes of steel per
month due to coal shortages. Its lifeblood, Blast Furnace Number 4 can
produce up to 2 000 tonnes of steel a day. The furnace contributes 70
percent of production.
"Output has been lower than the anticipated target arising from a number of
factors, mainly inadequate inputs. Chief among them is the low volumes of
coal received from our suppliers, Hwange Colliery Company (HCC)," said
"Despite what we believe are spirited efforts to try and respond to our
requirements, which would be over 30 000 tonnes a month for modest
production, Hwange gave us way less than half of what we require," he added.
HCC, Zimbabwe's sole producer of coal is however, singing a different song.
Clifford Nkomo, the company's public relations and marketing executive,
claimed this week that Zisco was getting enough coal despite the problems
experienced by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed coal miner in the first
two months when they suffered breakdowns.
"The figure is not accurate and for the record we gave Zisco 11 700 tonnes
in January, 7 800 tonnes of coal and 7 000 tonnes of coke in February. We
have more than 20 000 tonnes of coke meant for them right now, which they
can use, but they declined 10 000 tonnes of coke last month," said Nkomo
Zisco, HCC and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) are knee-deep in
crises of varying proportions. Analysts have suggested that an integrated
strategy that takes into consideration each parastatal's requirements is
needed to overcome the challenges once and for all.
While Hwange has struggled to supply sufficient coal to Zisco, the NRZ does
not have enough wagons to carry vital inputs from raw material sources.
Zisco has now taken the begging bowl across the globe seeking to raise at
least $10 trillion in foreign currency to boost its working capital.
Letter from America with Ken Mufuka
BEFORE making my observations on the MDC, I want to clarify the nature of
the struggle that my beloved brothers of both wings in the MDC find
In an insightful observation, Professor Stanford Mukasa, has described an
African neo-colonial as a set-up where a bunch of blacks seize power from
whites and perpetuate the same European injustices, except that now, the
bwanas (chefs) are black.
I was once asked to spend a day with Bishop Abel Muzorewa while he was
visiting South Carolina. Zimbabwe's Mukuru was then at the zenith of power
and most Zimbabweans worshipped the ground on which he walked. But the
Bishop, in a religious analytical turn of mind, spoke to me about shame. A
group of people that knows no shame has no bounds as to what they can do.
At that time Willowgate and the Housing Scheme scandals were water under the
bridge. What the Bishop was trying to teach me was too deep for me at the
time. It is deep in Christian theology, and the rule is called anomie
This is the situation in which the MDC finds itself, knocking their heads
against a Bauhessian anomie of an opponent that changes the rules of the
game with every whistle.
The last two general elections showed clearly that the monster knew how to
count backwards and sideways, and this time did not even bother to announce
the rules as they were changed. In that situation, Morgan Tswangirayi, who
grew up in the desperate world of trade unionism, was better able to grasp
the nuances, I believe entirely by intuition, rather than by complicated
thesis. He was, for example, intuitively correct in realising that the
people were tired of elections, knowing how the electoral commissioners
practiced lion mathematics.
But in a cabinet of intellectuals and historians, the leader cannot simply
argue that he is correct, and that events will prove him right. Arguments,
precedents, and theoretical frameworks must convince these intellectuals. To
make matters worse, there was always a subdued disrespect for his intuitive
leadership anyway. That would explain his susceptibility to flattery by a
non-legal kitchen cabinet, presumably of trusted warriors from prior days in
the trade union. Unlike Nelson Mandela, he was not a towering figure, he was
merely pare inter pare.
The disagreement was handled badly on both sides. A marriage can survive
many trials and tribulations as long as the disagreements are handled
privately. Once these disagreements are exposed to the Herald newspaper, as
well as to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, vested interests in the
destruction of the MDC will have a field day.
I was afraid that the Bulawayo section might go the way of ZAPU. In ZAPU we,
the loyal Shonas, found ourselves more and more losing the gravity towards
Bulawayo, in a party that was supposed to be national. Eventually the
Ndebele label overwhelmed us and we became a minority party. In order to win
an election, one needs to win Highfield and Harare province because of the
demographics. One can win all the seats in Matabeleland and still come up
with 15 percent of the national seats.
By bringing in Dr Arthur Mutambara, the Bulawayo group has thrown out the
Bulawayo label, a sure prophecy of death.
At the moment, I think they have an edge in that Tswangirayi has a few
tricks he must learn. A leader in his position cannot have private meetings
with scoundrels like Ari ben Menashe. He must realise that everything he
does is now an open book.
The criticism by Bishop Pius Ncube should be taken seriously. It is that the
MDC has been led by the grassroots rather than by the leadership. That of
course is true of the trade union style. When facing a Bauhessian monster,
whose kiss is poisonous, whose smile is treacherous, whose breath is fatal,
and his embrace is more crushing that the python's embrace, the leader
cannot afford to wait for feedback from the grassroots.
Mutambara has three clear advantages. He understands clearly that his life
is forfeit. In fact the MDC desperately needs a martyr. That is good. He
also understands that he must lead from the front. He also understands
clearly that the British and the Americans are treacherous. We have no
friends in this struggle. That also is good.
THE surprise entry of Professor Arthur Mutambara into the fray that has
pitted MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai against his former acolytes, deputy
president Gibson Sibanda and secretary general Welshman Ncube, was on the
basis of a woefully wrong assumption on his part on the essence of the
Referring to the two factions of the once vibrant party as the pro-senate
and the anti-senate factions is both a terminological inexactitude and an
exercise in self-delusion. The conflict pre-dates the October 12 fallout
over participation in the November 2005 senate elections. It would be more
accurate to refer to the MDC, on the one hand, and to Ncube's
anti-Tsvangirai breakaway faction of the MDC, on the other.
The crusade to oust Tsvangirai from the leadership of the party has festered
for three years and he has been aware all along. The perceived weakness of
his leadership partly derives from his failure to deal with this palace
coup. In reality, the senate issue merely thrust into the public domain an
internal power struggle which has simmered since 2002.
The legitimate Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, elected on an MDC ticket and
deposed by ZANU PF, now studies at Harvard University. He says Tsvangirai
received ample warning of the machinations within the party's top executive
to topple him.
"For some reason best known to him Tsvangirai did nothing about it," Mudzuri
says. "The senate issue was only the last straw."
The first hint of a possible split within the MDC surfaced when Colonel
Lionel Dyke, a former top-ranking officer in the Rhodesian army contacted me
in 2002. I was then editor of The Daily News, now banned. In two meetings he
revealed details of a new political initiative seeking to broker a unity
pact between ZANU PF and the MDC. I was accompanied to the second meeting by
a witness, just in case.
Now a wealthy entrepreneur, whose landmine clearing organisation has won
lucrative contracts in the trouble spots of the world, Dyke identified the
leaders of the negotiating teams as the powerful ZANU PF politician,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Speaker of Parliament, and Ncube, acting for the
MDC. The names of retired army commander, General Vital Zvinavashe, and MDC
secretary for information, Paul Themba Nyathi, were mentioned as well.
Dyke said he had been assigned to solicit the backing of The Daily News,
then Zimbabwe's largest daily newspaper. He said contingent to the scheme,
which allegedly enjoyed the blessings of both London and Pretoria, was the
sidelining of both President Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai lacked the
qualities to enlist the support of the army, it was suggested. While both
Mnangagwa and Ncube were quick to distance themselves from his assertions,
Dyke has, significantly, not backed down.
The response of The Daily News was to splash details of a United Nations
report which linked Mnangagwa to "blood diamonds" in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo.
Two years later in December 2004 President Mugabe ruthlessly descended on a
perceived revolt within ZANU PF, dealing a severe blow on Mnangagwa, long
regarded as his successor, and mercurial former information minister,
Jonathan Moyo, following the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration.
On the MDC side, as 2005 drew to a close, Ncube relentlessly manoeuvered to
dislodge Tsvangirai from leadership.
Mutambara says his current task is to re-unite Ncube and Sibanda with the
mainstream MDC. It is no easy task, though, to unite a viable political
entity which has a countrywide support base with what, to all intents and
purposes, remains a political pipedream. Ncube does not seem to command a
following even in his own ethnic catchment area, where he may be reviled as
a sellout who insinuated publicly that ethnic groups other than the majority
Shona have no legitimate claim to leadership positions in Zimbabwe. His
candidates lost in two wards in council elections in Bulawayo over the
weekend. The mainstream MDC lost mayoral elections in the city of Chegutu.
Since the High Court dismissed the rebel faction's challenge of Tsvangirai's
leadership of the MDC Mutambara is, in fact, stuck with what, technically,
is an illegally constituted faction. Its credibility and viability are
undermined by serious ideological and organisational contradictions - his
own personal ideological prevarication included.
Mutambara says he opposes the senate elections, yet he accepted leadership
of a faction whose very quintessence is adherence to the resurrection of the
Senate? He publicly praised Tsvangirai as a hero yet he finds solace among
rival politicians who mercilessly castigate him as a blundering dictator.
Another contradiction revolves around the on-and-off pursuit of an MDC-ZANU
PF unity pact, spearheaded by Patrick Chinamasa of ZANU PF and Ncube,
representing the MDC. This futile exercise seeks to re-entrench the
one-party dictatorship that the opposition party set out to eradicate in the
first place. Zimbabwe needs a viable opposition, not an opposition which is
co-opted within the structures of ZANU PF. This was the folly of the unity
agreement which derailed Dr Joshua Nkomo's PF-Zapu as a viable opposition in
1986. Nkomo's largely ethnic following was based in Matabeleland. Now Ncube
seeks to deliver the MDC's nationwide following to ZANU PF.
There has always been a perception that Ncube is the lynchpin of Thabo
Mbeki's disastrous Zimbabwe policy. Now there is a view that Mutambara's
emergence as Ncube's Shona leader was endorsed by Mbeki in pursuance of an
elusive government of national unity.
Mutambara embarrassed Ncube when he professed synergy with Tsvangirai, who
has steadfastly opposed any accommodation with ZANU PF. At this crucial
stage of his entry into the world of active politics Mutambara must be
To Page 16
seen to practice what he preaches. Otherwise, he runs the risk of being
dismissed as another ambitious opportunist. Apart from that, despite his
excellent academic qualifications, his quest for top-level entry into
politics in a country from which he departed as a young student could easily
alienate him from those who value patience, humility and experience as
excellent attributes. Miracles are
known to happen but rarely do they come about by design or through clever
Apart from his involvement in student activism at the University of Zimbabwe
Mutambara is of unknown political pedigree. In any case, resort to rocket
science or robotics does not seem to be the answer to Zimbabwe's current
problems, notwithstanding the fawning adulation of journalists who are
awestruck by high-sounding academic titles. Mutambara, no doubt, immediately
realised Tsvangirai's bedrock of support, hence his sudden about-turn at the
congress. In suddenly presenting himself as an admirer of Tsvangirai,
Mutambara sought to mitigate the damage caused by his own strategic
miscalculation in accepting the presidency of the rebel faction.
During the 2000 general election the newly formed Zapu 2000 failed dismally
to attract support. The party presented itself as a champion of the
aspirations of the people of Matabeleland. It drew its support almost
exclusively from Bulawayo. By voting overwhelmingly for the MDC, while
rejecting Zapu 2000, the people of Matabeleland demonstrated their
abhorrence of ethnically divisive political agendas. Mutambara must now
convince potential supporters outside Matabeleland that his breakaway
faction is not an ethnic initiative.
Hard-core supporters of Ncube may never forgive Mutambara for coming to
their congress as a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. Ncube obviously
approached Mutambara on realisation that Tsvangirai enjoyed greater
grassroots support than him.
A nobler agenda for Mutambara as arbitrator in the gratuitous dispute
between Tsvangirai and Ncube would have been to engage in the process of
adjudication from a neutral position, and not while embedded with Ncube and,
more damningly, while flaunting his own presidential ambition. Any
peacemaker who seeks to be the major or sole beneficiary of his mediation
undermines his own stature, legitimacy and credibility. Mutambara runs the
serious risk of relegating himself to leadership of an irrelevant
Meanwhile, if Tsvangirai genuinely has the welfare of the MDC and of the
nation at heart he must evaluate his own position. If there is sufficient
evidence to suggest that, notwithstanding his grassroots support, he has
become a liability to the struggle then he must prescribe an appropriate
medicine, cognizant of the fact that it takes a great man to sacrifice self
The traditional MDC attitude that the party is "the exclusive preserve of
the founding fathers and mothers", which allegedly was perpetuated by Ncube
and former information secretary, Paul Themba Nyathi, in order to isolate
Tsvangirai from an infusion of other competent politicians has rendered the
party moribund. The MDC congress on March 17 provides Tsvangirai with an
opportunity to demonstrate to critics that he can rebuild the leadership of
the fragmented party by bringing in new blood and expertise. But he should
primarily view himself as leading a struggle against a despotic regime, as
opposed to being a president in waiting.
Tsvangirai, Mutambara, or whoever becomes the future leader of Zimbabwe must
have the capacity to build a national rescue team that is broad-based. That
person could start, for instance, by retaining Gideon Gono as governor of
the Reserve Bank, if consensus is that he is Zimbabwe's most competent
economic turn-around strategist, given a free hand by an enabling
administration. Callisto Madavo, formerly of the World Bank and now with
Georgetown University in Washington DC, would be another prime candidate.
Such leader must have the capacity to rally around him some of Zimbabwe's
more progressive politicians - Simba Makoni, Tendayi Biti, Roy Bennett,
Daniel Shumba, Oppah Muchinguri, Elton Mangoma, Dzikamayi Mavhaire, Francis
Nhema, Thokozani Khuphe and David Coltart, to mention a few.
Bankers Mthulisi Ncube, Nigel Chanakira, Julius Makoni and entrepreneurs,
Strive Masiyiwa, Chemist Siziba, Mutumwa Mawere and Nkosana Moyo would be
valuable in rebuilding Zimbabwe's ailing economy.
War veterans Solomon Mujuru, Dumiso Dabengwa, Freedom Nyamubaya, Wilfred
Mhanda, and Margaret Dongo would represent the interests of those who made
sacrifices for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
Civil society leaders and academics, John Makumbe, Much Masunda, Lovemore
Madhuku, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Brian Raftopolous and journalist Francis
Mdlongwa, to mention a few, would be assets in spearheading the new
The former town clerk of Bulawayo Mike Ndubiwa, lawyer Washington Sansole,
and former University of Zimbabwe vice chancellors, Gordon Chavhunduka and
Walter Kamba or his wife Angeline - or both - would infuse the wisdom of
Youthful political activists such as Brian Kagoro and Daniel Molokela would
be strategic players. Building a team along these lines would entail
co-opting apparently progressive Zanu-PF elements outside the structures of
the ruling party.
The man or woman charged with overseeing the economic turn-around programme
would earn the highest salary, higher than that of the president. The
minister responsible for charting a progressive and equitable land policy in
the national interest would be another key player.
If Tsvangirai fails to present a new team of such diverse talent and
influence he could ultimately go down in the annals of Zimbabwe's political
history simply as the man who dared to challenge Mugabe's authoritarian
regime and spearhead a drawn out process of political change.
For the MDC to bring about change in Zimbabwe the party must itself go
through a process of internal transformation. Tese ngatichinje maitiro - let
there be national political transformation. The process of change should
start with acceptance by the Zanu-PF ruling elite that Zimbabwe belongs to
all its citizens. The process should incorporate realization by Matabeleland
region that not all Shona people were cheerleaders as Five Brigade committed
the Gukurahundi atrocities.The majority of the more than 300 MDC supporters
who died at the hands of Zanu-PF between 2000 and 2005 were not from
Willie Musarurwa of the Sunday Mail who became the first of many editors to
be fired by government after independence was not Ndebele. Neither were most
of the rest. The former Mayor of Gweru, Patrick Kombayi, is not Ndebele
either. He challenged former vice-President Simon Muzenda as an election
candidate in the city in 1995 and nearly lost his manhood when he was shot
by a CIO agent and a Zanu-PF activist. MDC leader, Tsvangirai's driver
Tichaona Chiminya, and party supporter Talent Mabika, who were brutally
butchered by another CIO agent and another Zanu-PF activist in Buhera in
April 2000 were not Ndebele.
Some of the Zanu-PF leaders who have caused untold hardship and strife in
Zimbabwe are Ndebele, former ministers Enos Nkala and Jonathan Moyo being
notable examples. Zimbabweans should not be divided by Zanu-PF's
ethnic-orientated diversionary tactics. It is as irresponsible and
mischievous to visit the sins of one man, Robert Mugabe, on 11 million
Shonas as it is to blame today's Ndebele nation for the predatory raids by
their forefathers into Mashonaland.
I lived in Bulawayo in the 1980s. There was peaceful and harmonious
coexistence throughout the week between Shona and Ndebele in the city.The
residents rode to work on the same buses. They shared a mug of beer in Phata
Phata, Mathonisa or Congo Beerhalls. Once in a while Nkala flew down from
Harare over the weekend and delivered an inflammatory speech at a rally,
causing instant ethnic clashes.
Sections of the donor community active in Zimbabwe that willingly or
otherwise find themselves sponsoring initiatives with a potential to
engender ethnic division - evidence of this abounds - do a great disservice
to the national interest of Zimbabwe. They should support only those
projects that rally Zimbabweans together in unity against the tyranny of
The congress of the anti-Tsvangirai group was the climax to a strategic
plot, going back, not to October 12, 2005, but to 2002 after Tsvangirai lost
the presidential election. As the day of the congress drew close exhortation
from the anti-Tsvangirai section of the media - the vast majority - became
high-pitched. On the day of the congress they, however, fell silent.
This is the barometer by which the failure of the internal plot to topple
Tsvangirai or the prospect of Mutambara embarking on an easy passage to
State House shall be measured. The refusal of former MDC secretary for legal
affairs, David Coltart, to serve under Mutambara was an indication of the
direction of the wind.
But the last word goes to political commentator, Dr John Makumbe.
"Their worst enemy is the local media," he says. "Once ZTV, the Herald and
the Chronicle dance to your tune, you are finished. It reflects badly on
(Geoffrey Nyarota can be contacted at email@example.com)
PEACEFUL co-existence depends on a readiness to tolerate differences and the
existence of a social structure and political culture in which areas of
interaction are open to groups who are bitterly opposed on other matters.
But the polarised political culture obtaining in Zimbabwe today means that
even that most fundamental of truths - that a person is a person - can be
openly denied and people can be publicly labelled according to the special
argots which serve as the new languages of oppression. "If he or she does
not speak our political language he or she cannot have the same intrinsic
value as a human being as ourselves!"
But where tolerance exists, people accept the right of others to differ.
Tolerance demands a frame of mind in which one is willing to grant others
the right to look different, to think differently and to express themselves
It cannot be denied that Zimbabwe today is engulfed in a tide of irrational
rather than rational propaganda. Rational propaganda is in favour of action
that is consistent with the enlightened self- interest of those who make it
and those to whom it is directed. These appeal to reason by means of logical
arguments based on the best available evidence fully and honestly presented.
But what we see in this country today is non-rational propaganda that is not
consonant with anybody's enlightened self-interest.
This type is dictated by impulses that are below self-interest and therefore
offers false, garbled or incomplete evidence, avoids logical argument and
seeks to influence its victims by the mere repetition of catchwords,
epithets and furious denunciations of scapegoats. It cunningly associates
the lowest passions with the highest ideals so that even the most appalling
resorts to crudity and barbarism come to be touted as matters of principle
and patriotic duty.
We have in our midst nowadays self-anointed arbiters of patriotism who
cannot feel "macho" or politically visible and important enough unless they
have insulted or taken a pot-shot at someone who sees things differently
But to paraphrase the Bible, "as a man thinketh, so is he and as he
speaketh, so is he." How can a person who is not even capable of expressing
a simple concept such as a difference of opinion in a decent and civil
manner be motivated by anything other than self- interest and material gain
in espousing high political ideals such as democracy, justice and freedom
which he violates at the very basic level of speech? The tragedy is that
some of these foul-mouthed and power-seeking bigots who cannot do without
their daily or weekly doses of vitriol also hold positions as national
policy implementers and promoters.
But can a bureaucrat or politician who is a wife batterer, a male
chauvinist, a child sexual abuser, a misogynist (hater of women) or a rapist
be expected to genuinely embrace and promote the policy of gender equality?
This is a particularly pertinent question to ask today as Zimbabwe joins the
rest of the world in commemorating International Women's Day.
The day, designated by the United Nations to highlight the need to promote
international peace and women's rights is being marked in Zimbabwe this year
under the theme: Women in Decision Making.
A number of organisations, under the auspices of the Women's Coalition and
with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and the
Ministry of Gender, Women's Affairs and Development, are calling for an end
to domestic violence and the enactment of an anti-domestic violence statute.
The country's vice president, Joice Mujuru, whose appointment to the second
highest position in the land has been hailed as a victory for women, has
strongly condemned gender -based violence.
But despite having a clear and noble cause, these women's organisations have
nevertheless seemed to be hitting their heads against a brick wall for a
number of years. At this time of the year they insert advertisements in
newspapers and on radio and television. In addition, they organise the
"Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Violence." However, as they
themselves have admitted, their efforts are being sabotaged by the
unwillingness of the police force to regard the battering of women as a
serious crime for which perpetrators should be prosecuted. It is a private
domestic affair, they say.
This hands-off attitude is however not limited to the law enforcement
agents. Another level of official indifference can be detected by the fact
that crimes such as brutal murders of women, wife battering, rape and child
sexual abuse tend generally to be regarded as "women's issues" against which
Vice-President Mujuru and Minister Oppah Muchinguri should speak out. There
is usually a deafening silence from the male government ministers. The men
of power know how to keep women and their issues in their place.
Has anyone ever wondered as I have, why only Vice-President Mujuru is
officially accorded the homely and wifely honorific "Amai Mujuru" when no
males in the corridors of power are publicly referred to as "Baba", "Sekuru"
The expression of unacceptable views seems to raise more indignation among
male officialdom than the taking of a woman's life and the violation of her
rights as a person. This raises the question, how committed is the
government to its much touted policy of gender equality?
As they say, actions speak louder than words. Some official actions have
tended to contradict government rhetoric on its commitment to promoting
gender balance in all spheres of life. Not long ago a report appeared in the
press about a permanent secretary who escaped prosecution for battering his
wife through high-level intervention on his behalf. So, when is wife
battering not wife battering? All that happened to another permanent
secretary accused of sexually abusing a minor girl was being transferred
from the ministry to another cushy job. And Minister Aeneas Chigwedere's
indignation after discovering the mass sexual abuse of girl pupils at
Macheke high school last year was limited to transferring the responsible
officials who should have been fired for their gross dereliction of duty.
National priorities and values are so adulterated by political expediency
and the fight for self-preservation that a murderous supporter is more
valued than a harmless dissenter. I will probably get more flak for
expressing these views about these injustices against women than the male
perpetrators of gender violence and sexual abuse referred to above, some of
whom will not hesitate to cast the first stone! Mark my words.
Not long ago, the following headline appeared in a daily paper: "SMALL HOUSE
KILLED" .It was about an incident in which a woman stabbed her husband's
mistress to death. It deserved to be condemned in the strongest possible
terms but there was deafening silence even about the objectification of the
victim in the press report. In the face of official hypocrisy and double
standards, the women's organisations fighting for gender equity face an
uphill battle to overcome entre-nched prejudices, which will persist
regardless of what laws are enacted.
John Dewey was once quoted as saying: "A renewal of faith in common human
nature, in its potentialities in general and in its power in particular to
respond to reason and truth, is a surer bulwark against totalitarianism than
a demonstration of material success or a devout worship of special legal and
political forms . . . "
ZIMBABWE, whose economy is stuck in the deep end, continues to
suffer bruising setbacks to its desperate efforts to reintegrate into the
broader community of nations.
Forget the government's much-vaunted "Look East" policy where
the country has only been getting nothing more than high-sounding "good"
words. And it is not difficult to see why. The international community has
certainly noticed the glaring policy contradictions coming out of the
More-often-than-not, government ministers never sing from the
same hymn sheet on key policy issues, giving one the impression that they
are not only confused but they also confuse for Zimbabwe as well.
Take the emotive land issue for instance which has already run
into a wall of negative investor sentiment, reducing potentially one of
Africa's wealthiest nations into an economic basket case. A few months ago
it was reported but it has not been denied that Didymus Mutasa had said that
all remaining commercial white farmers should be booted out of their
". . . Operation Murambatvsina should also be applied to the
land reform programme to clean the commercial farms that are still in the
hands of white farmers. The government will not hesitate to take their farms
to resettle the black people who failed to get land during the
redistribution exercise . . . They are similar to the filth that was in the
streets before Murambatsvina," Mutasa was quoted as saying by a local weekly
To a neutral observer, the import of what Mutasa said was that
the controversial land reform initiative, far from being a vehicle to
achieve black economic empowerment and address historical injustices, is
being cut and welded into a weapon to settle racial scores. In other words,
it is now government policy to practise reverse racism - the lowest form of
bigotry and prejudice - which itself belongs to history's septic tank.
Suffice to say that the implications of Mutasa's comments become more acute
and sharper given that he is not only the all-powerful Minister of State
Security, Land, Land Reform and Resettlement but also an important voice in
the inner circle of the ruling ZANU PF!
Only last week another senior member of the party and
government, Joseph Msika, was quoted as saying that white farmers should not
be removed from their farms purely on the basis of the colour of their skin
because the land reform programme was based on the principle of
one-man-one-vote. "Our policy is not to drive all whites out of their
farms," Msika told a Zimbabwe Farmers Union congress in Bulawayo.
Which raises more questions than answers. What is the government
policy as regards white farm ownership? Can there ever be more confusing
signals from the Zimbabwean government to the international community and
risk averse foreign investors with whom the country is seeking a deeper
rapprochement? What message is the government sending out with these
contradictions? Do they know anything about perception? This is
unbelievable, defies logic and it ought never to have happened. It is a
grotesque blunder by the government which does not help the increasingly
ostracised Zimbabwe's case.
Although ZANU PF politicians, who we doubt ever pause to take
stock of the problems that have produced poison-tipped arrows aimed at the
heart of the economy, do not want to admit it, it should not be forgotten
that the shine disappeared from Zimbabwe as an attractive investment
destination precisely because of differences over the form, style and
approach of the land reform exercise. There is luminous evidence of this.
Indeed land-related issues are at the core of the country's
problems today be it concerns over law and order issues, violence, judiciary
matters, adverse publicity, donor stand-off, country risk and low foreign
This can only mean therefore that inconsistent and contradictory
policy statements over the same issue will inevitably complicate the
situation under the still unfolding economic crisis. It casts a pall over
Zimbabwe's commitment to mend fences with the international community. This
means that a return to a normal relationship with investors will be
difficult and lengthy - giving another twist to the screws on the economy.
This makes life difficult for those who find themselves at the sharp edge of
delicate economic turnaround efforts. The earlier the government realises
that contradictory policy pronouncements scare away circumspect investors
Perspectives with Jonathan Maphenduka
MANY years ago I sat on the banks of the Congo River in Brazzaville,
daydreaming. But what has that to do with Mzarabani? Everything, of course,
if you are a water fanatic like me.
The Congo is navigable for one thousand kilometres from Brazzaville to
Kisangani. That is a very large volume of water by all standards.
You see, this was in the days before the Osborne Dam in Odzi saved the
Middle Sabi from extinction. The days before someone came up with the idea
of building Tokwe-Mukorsi to boost agriculture in the lowveld, the days
before the pipedream that is the Gwayi-Shangani lost its wall to a flash
Moreover, plans for the grandiose Kariba-Kudu pipeline scheme were still a
closely guarded secret in the corridors of failed planning.
With those Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project people making so much noise,
it was not politically expedient to announce Kariba-Kudu (Kudu is in Kadoma
District for those who do not know) to placate the MZWP with a pipeline from
Kudu Dam, down the line of rail to Upper Ncema! This would have made the
much-vaunted MZWP redundant. That was the original plan, but now all that
So I sat on the banks of the Congo, an arm's length from the Soviet Union
Embassy, day-dreaming and imagining what all that water rolling to the
unknown ocean could do to agriculture back home. All you needed to do was to
talk to our cooperating SADC partners, hire a civil engineer and his
Caterpillars to blaze a canal from Brazzaville to the source of Save River
near Dorowa, and you would be home and dry! But now I know better . . . and
this is where Mzarabani comes in.
A friend of mine tells me the place is great for cotton, and I know from
experience as a new farmer that where cotton grows, anything else will grow
and that a clever new farmer can produce grade cattle, what with all that
maize stover and residue from sugarcane presses to supplement veld grazing.
For cotton growers I can lend a hand by persuading my uncle to come out of
retirement to advise. He helped set up the Gatooma Cotton Research Station
and is a founder-member of the Commercial Cotton Growers Association. He is
only 82. I see that Vice-President Joice Mujuru has already given the idea
of moving the capital of Mashonaland Central from Bindura to Mzarabani a
head start by setting up that spanking new cotton ginnery at nearby Mt
Darwin to take cotton from the new capital. Farmers will not have to take
their produce to Kadoma, what with all these black market people pushing
fuel prices beyond the reach of most people.
With all those floods that affect Mzarabani every rainy season the place
must be swarming with those nasty mosquitoes and their equally nasty cousins
the tsetsefly. But we have ready answers to the problem . . . Is David
Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, not a Mzarabani
home-boy? As for the tsetsefly problem, we can always borrow John Madzima,
the veterinary surgeon, from Zvimba. But we need money to buy spraying
equipment and things to deal with the mosquitoes, and gauze to catch the
tsetsefly. We need foreign currency to do it, don`t we?
With the building and construction industry in its doldrums following the
decline in the Garikai-Hlalani Kuhle programme, there should be no shortage
of surveyors and architects to work out a lay-out plan for the new capital,
complete with a site for a state university for Mzarabani.
Meanwhile, civil engineers and their caterpillars will be busy constructing
a canal the size of Mazowe River to take flood waters away from Zambezi`s
natural course to wherever it is required. The first stage of the canal will
extend to Mazowe River to clean up all those stinking puddles in the system
brought about by the drought. This will give those remaining in Bindura a
taste of good potable water.
The canal will then be extended to Kunzvi Dam in Murehwa to be extended,
with the blessing of Chief Mangwende, to Ruwa. The people of Mabvuku can use
bowsers to help themselves, damn Sekesai Makwavara`s stinking water. That
water is for those in rocky Whitecliff where they must be having nightmares
trying to trench the granite to lay on sewers and water mains.
Talking about rocky Whitecliff reminds one of Patmos, that barren island in
the Aegean Sea to which the Romans exiled St John and he found peace to
write his classic, the Book of Revelation. The Greeks who live there survive
on fishing but must import everything else including water, to sustain life.
This reminds one of the goodness in urban agriculture that will come with
Mzarabani. Whitecliffers who find life unbearable out there will be welcome
to the new capital - only if they are industrious enough to make the new
capital an envy of the country. Mzarabani will have no place for the lazy.
Building a new capital is a back-breaking feat. You need lots of resources
to succeed. There is one thing in favour of Mzarabani Town Development
Committee's (MTDC) project. The country has a glut of idle labour. Why not
round up those Border Gezi graduates, like we did with those nasty street
kids who were once a source of so much shame? The graduates, except a few
who are in the "black-booting industry", can be seen in street corners
guzzling opaque beer at seven in the morning while their grandmothers are
already on their way home from the market. These young people need to learn
how to apply their training doing some productive work for the country's
There are also all those makorokoza (gold panners) who must be giving
Francis Nhema sleepless nights damaging the environment and channelling
their illicit gold to the black market. There is a lot of profitable work
for them in Mzarabani to develop a truly great urban agricultural centre.
The MTDC will give them chunks of land to turn them into honest billionaires
in no time.
Some visionary pioneered an urban agricultural industry that has left
permanent sweet memories in this country. He built the Triangle-Chiredzi
sugar industry as we know it today. The Portuguese, in neighbouring
Mozambique, did it in Chokwe where they constructed a mechanical bridge,
complete with a gate valve across a massive river, to divert flood waters to
irrigate the vast Chokwe Valley. After they left, Lonrho's Tiny Rowland came
in with his millions to continue. With the Zambezi floodwaters and Mzarabani
better things can be achieved.
Admittedly the MTDC is faced with numerous other pressing problems. We will
need electricity to light up the new capital, keep the motors whirring to
pump water and service a whole lot of new commercial and industrial
activities in the frontier town. We have it on authority that there is a
crisis looming, what with the foreign currency crunch and SADC having no
spare supplies to give us.
On the foreign currency problem we have appealed to the authorities for
support. Why not send Sydney Gata to Kuwait, alone on an unscheduled Air
Zimbabwe flight to Dubai, to land in Kuwait City with a begging bowl? We
supported the country against Saddam in l990 after all, and our Look East
policy must work. Has Iran not donated television equipment to the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings to prove it?
While he is there he might as well visit Teheran and see if he cannot get
our friends to donate a few caterpillars and tractors for our
Zambez-Mazowe-Kunzvi-Ruwa pipeline project. While Sydney is at it, he will
have to worry about his poetic licence to blame South Africa for our
electricity supply woes. Moreover, while he is away he will not be haunted
by the l4-year-old Batoka ghost. From Kuwait all we need is a grant to pay
for a four-month supply of electricity to see us through the winter, now
only two From Page 14
months away. That should be enough to enable us to find $600 billion in
foreign currency to import supplies that our SADC partners do not have!
Meanwhile, we will start negotiating with Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi for
us to activate our riparian rights option to utilise our share of the
Zambezi. They cannot stop us, you know, because there is that international
convention that guarantees our rights to draw the water. We will talk to
them only as a gesture of good neighbourliness.
Denis Norman, then Minister of Energy and Power Development, warned the
country in l993 to expect the current problems and advised the government to
forestall the current crisis by going ahead with Batoka on its own. Batoka
had been scheduled for commissioning sometime in 200l to give Zimbabwe l 600
megawatts, still enough in 2006 to make the country self-sufficient until
Zambia felt the need to claim its share of the output.
When Frederick Chiluba's MMD government came to power in l990, it announced
it was not going to participate in the construction of Batoka, and
immediately withdrew funding, pleading poverty. Instead of going ahead with
the project, the government of Zimbabwe retreated and has not taken another
look at the project since l994.
Meanwhile, Zambia, which did not need Batoka and still does not, started
developing the 750MW Lower Kafue hydroelectric plant to bolster dwindling
supplies from the Upper Kafue scheme. To compound Zimbabwe's problem, Zambia
is now demanding an additional share of assets of the Central African Power
Corporation which owned the Kariba hydro scheme. The country is demanding
US$70 million to settle the issue. Zambia appears determined to use Batoka
as a lever to get the money. Zimbabwe can only go ahead with Batoka with
Zambia's cooperation as the damwall must extend to its territory.
Zimbabwe cannot afford to wait any longer, although going ahead with the
project now will not yield solutions to the current supply bind which
threatens a catastrophe.
The government has been too busy chasing wild geese in the region to find
time to attend to strategic needs of the country. In at least one notable
area, the procurement of fuel, the government abdicated its responsibility,
exposing the economy to the whims of a corruption-driven black market which
cannot be allowed to continue any further now without crippling the economy.
The fuel supply situation has rudely pulled the economy down to its knees,
the economy has long ceased to exist in a state of panic and awaits
intervention of a miracle to restore a semblance of order for survival.
Confusion rules the roost with contradictory statements from government on
the power supply situation. Even more disturbing are persistent reports of
breakdowns at Hwange and Kariba with government completely helpless to find
working long-term solutions.
In the short-term the country faces a catastrophe this winter when demand
for electricity will shoot up without sources of supply in the region and
foreign currency to pay upfront. Coal production at Hwange is declining with
the shortage of foreign currency to bring in spares to repair plant and
machinery. The mine`s dragline, Hwange's lfeline, is reported to be crippled
with continual breakdowns, bringing production levels tumbling down. The
country faces a black winter.
No Holds Barred with Gondo Gushungo
Government at it again as . . .
I HAVE always said that when some of the government ministers in Zimbabwe
take a position, 99 out of a 100 times, the people automatically take or
believe in the opposite one and know that they are right. There is a reason
Zimbabweans have always known that some of government's bewildering
decisions are informed by voodoo economics discussed in some dark room at
the ZANU PF headquarters. I will explain.
Priority attention was this week trained on the confusion, panic and
speculation in the mining sector after Mines Minister Amos Midzi announced
that government intends amending the Mines and Minerals Act. Objective: to
facilitate a 51 percent indigenisation of foreign-owned mines.
In the language of the minister, which was delivered with what I can
describe as the warm personal charm of a millipede, 25 percent of the 51
percent equity would be on a "non-contributory basis". Players in the sector
were understandably apprehensive because in simpler terms, this means
Coming when the economy is still struggling to shrug off the feel-bad factor
and just when everyone thought that the disastrous land reform exercise was
the last shock to hit the economy, the latest move was always bound to cast
a dark cloud of uncertainty over the economic outlook. My argument is not
It has always been difficult not to pass-off the accelerating economic
meltdown as a function of negative policy changes by government. The
catastrophe of the land reform, which is mirrored through the shrunken state
of the economy, is a case in point.
Economic experts are aware of this. When they made their predictions for the
shape of the economy in 2006 they projected a modest turnaround in the
second half. However, they did not have an idea how far government would go
with its controversial "plans" for the mining sector. Which is why if they
were asked to make another prediction, even if they are wary of speaking too
soon, many will bet on another crisis on the basis of Midzi's intentions in
the mining sector. They are only too aware that Midzi's proposals will
create problems for the sick economy just as the first land identification
(and not designation) notices did in the last quarter of 1997.
Now the first question I have for Midzi and his colleagues who have the
habit of breathing mildew at everything fresh and fragrant is; have you
learnt anything from the deeply embarrassing mayhem of the land reform
debacle, which has condemned the economy to bumping along the bottom? Is the
idea to simply mimic the rules of other countries just because they have
been tried and tested?
Most importantly, what is the bottom line - by which I mean; will the
country be better off after the proposed new mining regulations, which Midzi
announced with unconcealed satisfaction? These are important questions whose
answers are not very obvious.
Although he is susceptible to the magic influence of populist decisions,
Midzi must surely know that his proposals are a recipe for disaster for
Zimbabwe. Just like the controversial land reform before it, the
after-shocks and economic fall-out of the move on the mining sector will be
And the timing of the whole exercise beats me. It boggles the mind, coming
as it does at a time when there is an urgent need to reactivate the stricken
economy through the attraction of foreign direct investment.
What message is the latest move, which proves beyond reasonable doubt that
government, is to a large extent the architect of the country's problems,
sending to investors out there? That they should become accustomed to the
thought that any day may be the last for them in the country and should
therefore review their Zimbabwean-related risk management practices?
Why should the government scare away investors with the bogeyman of
compulsory acquisition of their assets? Can anyone still be in doubt as to
the reasons for Zimbabwe's state of siege, high country risk and declining
foreign direct and domestic investment?
And I thought that the investors in the mining sector invested in the
country on the basis of binding contracts. What becomes of those agreements?
Or is the government saying the agreements are not worth the paper they are
written on and that they can be altered at the drop of a hat in line with
the vagaries of the country's political temperatures? If this is the case,
how then does Zimbabwe hope to attract the much-needed infrastructural
investment - the real lifebelt that could turn the tide for the economy?
Last but not least, what are the implications of such a move on the
incipient process to re-engage the broader international community? Indeed,
how does Zimbabwe hope to shed its rogue state stigma?
A lot is said by the unsaid. And what Midzi, who knew very well that his
announcement would provoke growing concern among the obviously anxious and
nervous mining sector foreign investors, was saying in his address to the
Chamber of Mines was that those who cannot stand the heat should get out of
the kitchen and government or indigenous Zimbabweans will just take over the
So, when the mining sector players decide to cut their losses and finally
stampede for the exits, as they inevitably will, rather than yielding to
arm-twisting tactics, will the cash-strapped government be able to back its
calming words with cash? For how long has Implats been searching without
success for a credible partner to buy the 15 percent it should sell to local
black investors under its special mining lease agreement with government?
Not only that but have there been takers for the 20 percent stake in Anglo's
Unki project? Not that I know of.
Agriculture is going to hell in a handcart. And so will mining if the
country adopts Midzi's proposals. In fact, we are going to see, in the
mining sector, casualties like we did in the parastatals sector where ZANU
PF loyalists inherited companies in fine fettle but reduced them to such
hotbeds of corruption and greed that you can literally grow mushrooms on
There is also the question of who will benefit among the black people when
experience from the government's stop-go privatisation programme or land
reform shows that influential politicians with the ethical sense of a pack
of jackals are always the biggest beneficiaries.
There are so many unanswered questions which makes it a national
embarrassment. I used to wonder why the Zimbabwean government has become a
common butt of jokes even in the spit-and-sawdust pubs of Mabvuku in Harare,
Makokoba in Bula-wayo, Hillbrow in Johannes-burg etc. But not anymore! What
with ministers who have the habit of breaking the rungs of any ladder they
put their feet on?
What opportunism, Arthur?
EDITOR - Call it the Zimbabwean professorial curse. Arthur Mutambara loves
Morgan, he is his hero. He believes the senate vote should have been
boycotted to illegitimise the regime. He orders in his acceptance speech
that all those who hold senatorial positions should relinquish them.
He was still voted the faction's leader, never mind that his philosophy is
at variance with the faction he is joining.
Well we wait to see whether that order will be obeyed. Not that I think he
is needed in the other faction, no. Zimbabwe's problems are not due to lack
of professors, no. Rather, doctors and the so-called professors have wrought
most of the problems Zimbabwe is facing now.
I wouldn't ululate for the coming of "King Arthur" on the political scene.
Rather it is a question of so many cooks spoiling the broth, as he seeks the
attention he thinks he deserves.
We have so many professors, doctors and scientists here in America at NASA,
where he spent some of his time after England, but up to now, we don't even
know their names. None of them is in the White House. Why? America goes on,
they don't even need a doctor in the White House.
The mystification of professors and doctors in Zimbabwean politics has to
end if we are to move foward. Just imagine the "doctors " we have had in Zim
politics and would you think we will have the problems we are having today.
No miracle is needed in Zim. The country just needs common sense solutions,
like any other - where there are no professor leaders.
Funny! Arthur agrees with Morgan, but joins the other faction! Why? Because
there is a leadership vacuum in the other faction. What opportunism! Funny!
He assumes leadership, then he will be introduced to the people. Indirectly,
the faction agrees they are no good as leaders, they have to hire one when
push comes to shove.
How then can Morgan be expected to be effective surrounded by such an
unprincipled bunch of people? How can a party go to any election against the
wishes of the people it represents? I believe whatever his weaknesses as a
human being, Morgan was stabbed in the back.
I sympathise with the poor guy. He is principled, has got a sense of
direction - which is what is needed in a struggle of this nature. It's a war
of attrition. It can take years, and leaders have to remain steadfast. I am
happy that Morgan has remained focused so far. Credit to him.
It's time brains came into play
EDITOR - Soko Murehwa gives a rather weird acid test for Arthur Mutambara's
leadership qualities. The man is merely an individual who has political
ambitions, not a multibillionaire!
Besides, how many of you guys in the diaspora have bought even a goat for
Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has to be applauded for his work but I think it's time
for him to give others a chance and maybe take on an advisory role. Trade
union tactics were fine as a stepping stone to politics when the party was
formed but they do not seem to be working in today's political scenario.
I am sure all intellectuals out there will now comfortably join the party
and contribute meaningfully with an academic at the helm (no slight
After all, the brawn of the past elections never solved anything - it's time
brains came into play, so Welcome Dr Mtambara. Welcome indeed.
Arthur Mutambara, the professors and the poor
EDITOR - He went out of the country for about 15 years and held a very
successful career in foreign lands, until such time they called him
Professor Mutambara. We are happy as Zimbabweans on the way he raised our
flag out there and all those who have worked with him will never dare look
down upon us. I personally will give him credit for that.
Surely as we argue and debate over his entrance into local politics at
national level, no one can dispute that he acquired his education in a rare
field while most local professors have majored in sociology, arts and
agriculture. I also assume he has money because he worked at a high level in
stable economies and also established a top company again in a stable
While I am not against his having stayed out of the country for so long,
what I want to know is what has he done for the ordinary men in Zimbabwe?
What establishment has he set up in Zimbabwe and how many people are
employed by him or his companies?
Ladies and gentlemen, professorship is a title that falls on a person with
some high level education and it is entirely upon that person to use it
productively. To show his concern for Zimbabwe, he must have at least done
some work on the ground that people would identify with, but I presume he
felt that it was risky to do business in Zimbabwe and probably less
profitable than it would have been outside. It is these learned guys who
must put our country on the map, not just show up when there are vacant
I have realised a problem with Zimbabwean professors. They fight so hard for
personal interest and recognition through the manipulation of the vulnerable
through philosophies adapted over years of education - and it is unfortunate
that we continue to fall prey to these political opportunists on the basis
of their education. With such an education, what stops them from founding
big corporations locally to boost the supply side of the economy and reduce
non-activity and unemployment?
A person who aspires to such a lofty post must be of high selfless calibre
with demonstrable attributes like Strive Masiyiwa who settled outside the
country but has interests back home that are benefiting millions of
Zimbabweans and contributing immensely to our GDP. His company runs
community projects and a trust for orphaned children.
Mutumwa Mawere is another multi-billion contributor to the nation's cause,
with his companies at one time employing around 19 000 people, although he
has unfortunately fallen out of favour with the state, which I think was
Mutambara's worst fear.
These are just a few, but there are more, without PhDs but they have managed
to champion the cause of the poor man. I am not at all suggesting that the
two names mentioned above are supposed to eye the top job. I am only
describing what a person with a heart for his country can do - this is real
patriotism. You can help the poor, not by giving them fish, but by teaching
them how to fish.
Create jobs and help people to move on and this has to be demonstrated
before attainment of incumbency because we do not feed on deceitful oratory
skills that are never fulfilled.
The professors have not done much to ease the plight of the poor. What they
know best, and practice best, is to be spin-doctors. Now they are raising
trivial issues like how uneducated Morgan Tsvangirai is. But I believe the
struggle is about indomitable will and not the level of education as it
education can be misused to serve selfish interests. This is why I still put
my bet on Tsvangirai.
I ask the professors how long it will take to repair the damage Prof
Jonathan Moyo caused to the nation? To the feuding MDC factions, reunite to
champion the cause of the masses. We want to see an amalgamation of the two
factions - the "professors" and the "uneducated". God bless David Coltart
for his initiative to unite the factions.
It is a reality though that Tsvangirai was arrested for backing the
students' cause headed by Mutambara around 1989, and he continued to move
on. Not so long ago he was a major threat to ZANU PF for the top post. In
1989 it was just a student movement and in 2000 it was an opposition party
posing a big threat, which Mutambara has joined, unfortunately after it has
The only time Mutambara can have any impact is when the two factions have
been re-united and a proper ballot to chose the leader is upheld and
definitely not by appointment after one outspoken candidate has been talked
out of contesting.
Now is the time we need the Mutambaras
EDITOR - I am a black Zimbabwean living abroad. I am an aspiring material
scientist and have high hopes of playing my role in the development of
I have had a chance to talk to many non-Zimbabweans about the situation in
Zimbabwe and we are agreed that imperial legacy is to blame for all the
problems we are having. We all agreed that President Mugabe's legacy didn't
help things either but to foolishly believe that President Mugabe's
departure will solve our problems is totally naive.
Morgan Tsvangirayi has done a lot to shape the future of opposition politics
but his party does not have what it takes to solve our problems. Let me
highlight a very interesting scenario in Japanese politics. During the
bubble era, not many people were interested in national politics. The
economy was booming and everyone was happy. Then came the depression.
Everyone started being actively involved in national politics. Why? The
Economics and politics are intertwined. If President Mugabe were to go today
and the MDC comes into power, what next? That's when we need people who can
think and plan ahead. Arthur Mutambara would be a good example of such a
Why did George Weah lose elections in Liberia despite being everyone's
darling? He did not have what it takes to be a president. How can Tsvangirai
handle other presidents when he is easily fooled by a gook like Ari
Ben-Menashe? Food for thought!
Zimbabweans might be desperate but all those factors come into mind when it
comes to voting. To the MDC factions, my advice is to stop the infighting
and take this as a golden opportunity to fight the tyranny of ZANU PF, and
make corruption history!
Baba Kudzie naKuda