by Harare By Studio 7 Staff
09 March 2006
Zimbabwean authorities expanded arrests of alleged conspirators against the
state to 16 people Thursday, including members of the national police and
the army as well as the political opposition, after seizing a cache of arms
in the eastern city of Mutare.
Observers voiced skepticism on allegations that a coup plot in the making
had been dismantled, and political analysts as well as opposition spokesmen
said it was more likely that the government of President Robert Mugabe was
opening an offensive against the opposition at a time when it has
effectively undergone a split.
At the center of the arms investigation is a man named Peter Hitschmann,
said to have served in the pre-independence Rhodesian military as well as
the armed forces of the post-1980 Zimbabwean state. Sources including the
state-run Herald newspaper and police said weapons including seven Uzi
machine guns, an AK-47 assault rifle, some 25 other small arms, and
thousands of rounds of ammunition were found at his home in Mutare, 260
kilometers from Harare on the border with Mozambique.
An alleged associate of Hitschmann, one Thando Sibanda, has also been
arrested in the wake of the announcement Tuesday of the seizure of an arms
On Thursday the authorities cast a wider net that pulled in a number of
members of the armed forces and the police, state media and official sources
Among officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change being held
were Giles Mutsekwa, MDC spokesman on defense issues, and Manicaland party
chairman Roy Bennett, released from prison in mid-2005 after serving nine
months hard labor for shoving ruling ZANU-PF Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa in May 2004 in the course of a bitter debate on land reform. He
was then a member of parliament.
The MDC's Manicaland youth chairman, Knowledge Nyamuka, was also arrested.
His lawyer, Chris Ndlovu, said Thursday that his client would appear in
court on Friday for arraignment on charges of violating the Public Order and
A lawyer for Mutsekwa, Tafadzwa Mugabe, said he had been trying to gain
access to his client, but that Mutsekwa had been moved from one police
station to another.
The whereabouts and circumstances of other suspects could not be determined
as police spokesmen referred media inquiries to inaccessible higher
Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked opposition
member of parliament and chief whip Innocent Gonese for his view of the
The International Bar Association weighed in on the case, charging that
Zimbabwean authorities have deprived those it has detained of a timely court
Association spokeswoman Gugulethu Moyo told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele
that Harare has often ignored due process when dealing with senior
British human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who Zimbabwe's official press
has accused of financing the alleged plot to overthrow the government,
denied any connection with the alleged conspiracy or with the Zimbabwe
Freedom Movement, an anti-Mugabe group that vowed armed resistance in 2003
but has given few signs of life since.
Tatchell acknowledged providing media liaison for the obscure group three
years ago when it first appeared, but said he is not a member and has no
Tatchell's main cause has been the defense of gay rights in Africa and
elsewhere, but he turned up in Zimbabwe headlines in 2001 when he attempted
a citizen's arrest of Mr. Mugabe on a Brussels street and was knocked
unconscious by bodyguards. He subsequently was arrested in London for
attempting to have Mugabe detained. Yet Tatchell also claims to have raised
money for ZANU-PF in the liberation period.
South African-based researcher Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security
Studies said the timing of the arms seizure was interesting. He told Studio
7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the hue and cry highlights the government's
growing concern that soaring prices and plunging standards of living could
lead to a popular uprising.
March 09 2006 at 11:58PM
Harare - Sixteen people have now been arrested following the discovery
of an arms cache in eastern Zimbabwe, state radio confirmed late on
Those arrested include "top officials from the (opposition) Movement
for Democratic Change and former Rhodesian uniformed and non-uniformed
security forces," the radio said.
The report said the suspects planned to set up "terrorism cells" in
The arrests came after police Monday raided the home of Mutare
resident Michael Peter Hitschmann and uncovered an assortment of rifles,
machine guns, ammunition, radios and teargas. Hitschmann's family runs a
security company in Mutare.
State media has been reporting that the weapons were to be used by the
MDC in attempts to destabilise the country.
Those known to have been arrested include Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) MP Giles Mutsekwa, provincial MDC treasurer Brian James, MDC
activist Thando Sibanda and Knowledge Nyamhuka, the MDC provincial youth
Police on Thursday searched James' homes, a family friend said.
Earlier, the police searched Mutsekwa's Mutare home but found nothing but "a
few papers," according to lawyer Lawrence Chibwe.
He accused state media of "painting a picture of a treasonous
"When you look at the facts as they are, there's nothing"
An opposition spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, has denied the party has
any links with a person or group wanting to bring about change in Zimbabwe
"through the barrel of the gun".
Chamisa said the government wanted to disrupt a key party congress
scheduled for next week. - Sapa-dpa
09/03/2006 22:58 - (SA)
Harare - A senior Zimbabwean judge who fled the country after he was
convicted of corruption two months ago was sentenced in absentia to three
years in prison on Thursday.
Benjamin Paradza, 49, is believed to be on the run in Britain, following his
conviction in January on two counts of corruption for trying to intervene in
the murder case of a friend and business partner.
Paradza, who was arrested in February 2003, became the first judge to be
convicted in Zimbabwe.
Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe handed down a three-year sentence to Paradza,
but suspended one year on condition of good conduct.
But Mutambanengwe said Paradza's flight just before sentencing was proof of
a lack of remorse.
Brought justice into disrepute
"The accused is a judge to whom every officer in the administration of
justice looks to set an example of integrity and incorruptibility,"
"By his conduct, he has brought the entire justice system into disrepute and
a fine would be a mockery of the sentencing process."
Paradza was convicted in 2003 of trying to influence his fellow judges to
release the French passport of Russel Wayne Labuschagne who was awaiting
trial for the murder of a fisherman caught poaching.
Paradza allegedly told a fellow judge involved in Labuschagne's case that he
stood to lose money if his business partner in a safari venture was unable
to travel to Europe. Labuschagne was later sentenced to 15 years in jail for
The high court judge had pleaded not guilty and argued that he was targeted
for prosecution after he delivered judgments that were not in favour of
President Robert Mugabe's government.
In February 2002 Paradza ruled that eviction orders served on 50 white
farmers were illegal and, in January 2003, he ordered the release of the
opposition mayor for Harare, following his arrest for meeting citizens
without police permission.
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 00:40:30 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Mutasa on ZANU PF Refrain
By threatening to physically eliminate MDC leadership and its supporters
Mutasa may shock a few but not the majority Zimbabweans. Most Zimbabweans
find this ZANU PF chorus very predictable and boring. The melodramatic
presentation of "findings" and "discovery" of the arms cache has failed to
make an impression on majority Zimbabweans. Immediately what comes to mind
are the following:
a.. Fictitious charges Rev Ndabaningi Sithole and the make believe drama
intended to provide evidence.
b.. Gukurahundi genocide where innocent civilians where murdered -
apparently for "harbouring" dissidents.
c.. Attempt on Joshua Nkomo (Father Zimbabwe)'s life
d.. Trison charges against Morgan Tsvangirai and
e.. Many episodes that happened outside Zimbabwe, in Zambia and
In all these cases the accused were vindicated only that many are no longer
here to say, "what was that all about?" Well, perhaps it was and still is
all about political survival minus national interests.
I would challenge Mutasa to shoot down inflation and to physically eliminate
unemployment and bring back some semblance of dignity to us Zimbabweans. The
politics of blood - letting is only practised by very premitive regimes of
which there are very few left on this planet.
ZANU PF should face the Nation and tell the truth - that they have failed to
rebuild the economy that they have distroyed single handedly. They make so
much political capital out of the "smart sanctions" by the West. It would be
helpful if they told the people of Zimbabwe what these sanctions are. People
will be shocked to discover that the named ZANU PF are banned from
travelling to the West where they have invested heavily with the ill-gotten
wealth from Zimbabwe. Some actually dis-invested from Zimbabwe and invested
in the very countries they condemn every day. They investments in these
countries are now frozen although we know some houses that are still being
Mr Mutasa and his lot must be reminded that Zimbabwe cannot go it alone
especially when the economy is in the abyss. His brand of politics a far cry
from that of young Zimbabweans. They day of reckoning is around the corner.
Easy options abound - keep printing money and shooting at inflation not
Please send any job opportunities for publication in this newsletter to:
JAG Job Opportunities; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 18 January 2006
CANE FARMER IN TRIANGLE AREA LOOKING FOR A RETIRED FARMER TO OVERSEE CANE
PRODUCTION. POSITION WOULD SUIT SOMEONE LOOKING FOR ADDITIONAL INCOME
TO SUPPLEMENT EXISTING PENSION, AS THE AREA OF CANE DOES NOT SUSTAIN A
PRESENT DAY FARM MANAGERS SALARY.
HOUSE, ELECTRICITY, WATER & SERVANTS PROVIDED.
PLEASE CONTACT: - ANN BRADFIELD email@example.com
CELL: 011211336 OR 091273639 OR BULAWAYO 230615
Ad inserted 12 January 2006
Wanted - Lady with accounting background, computer literate with Excel
Pleasant office environment in Willowvale
Negotiable package and fuel allowance.
Please reply to 091-208566 or 011-207084 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ad inserted 18 January 2006
Manager - Hazeldean Pty Ltd
A position is available for a hands-on manager, with a strong interest in
animal breeding using measured performance, to take on a close working
relationship with the managing director in the running of Hazeldean & its
sheep & cattle seed stock enterprises. The position is at company
headquarters, Hazeldean, located 15 minutes south of Cooma in
The successful applicant will be required to contribute ideas and form
strategies for the future growth of the property & business. Planning &
budgeting are essential skills however a desire for hands on involvement
is equally important.
The position would suit a team player and one capable and willing to take
on more responsibility in the future. We are happy to consider
employment of a suitably qualified or experienced Zimbabwean.
Cooma NSW 2630
THE ZIMBABWE CONNECTION
MOBILE: +61 414 363 006 (international)
0414 363 006 (within Australia)
Ad inserted 9 February 2006
Retired, energetic, fun loving Book Keeper, living in Greendale,
Borrowdale, Chisipite areas in March, for a small Nursery School : basic
administration, reception, books and general helping out.
Please call Debi or Shelley between 8am and 12pm
Ad inserted 9 February 2006
HORSES / MANAGER
A mature, responsible person who is experienced with and passionate about
horses required by one of Zimbabwe's leading safari operators. This
challenging position offers an extremely exciting lifestyle, full board
and lodging and a very competitive salary. The right person should also
be able to get on as well with people as with horses. Please send CV to
Ad inserted 9 February 2006
A vacancy exists for a farm manager on a mixed farm in Tanzania.
Our core business is vegetables for export however various other crops
and livestock operations are undertaken.
The right candidate should have at least 5 years farming experience in
East/Southern Africa, preferably with horticultural experience.
Responsibilities would include daily farm management, record keeping to
Eurepgap specifications, farm security and community liaison.
The candidate should be either single or accompanied without children.
To start immediately.
Package: $1500 per month, medical aid and usual benefits of farm
management positions. Work permit to be provided by the employer.
Company details to be found at www.gel.co.tz
Please send CV to: email@example.com
Nursery School or Infant Teacher
Ad inserted 9 February 2006
Experienced Nursery School or infant teacher wanted for 2nd Term,
Avondale area. English must be first language. Very good working
environment, mornings only, school terms only. Good package for right
person - mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ad inserted 16 February 2006
Looking for a position, family left Zimbabwe
Looking for a position for our maid who has worked for us for 22 years.
She is honest, friendly, very caring and excellent with young children.
She does do basic cooking, housework, baby sitting. She come highly
recommended by us and has been part of the family for many years.
Anyone interested please contact me by email, email@example.com or
Angela Stephens 776451 mornings only, for an interview with the maid,
Ad inserted 16 February 2006
WANTED; Millwrights, Electricians, Diesel Mechanics, Refrigeration
Specialists, Town Planners and Quantity Surveyors
Recruit Global will assist in looking for a job and sponsorship
opportunities for the
right candidates wanting to move to Australia.
Australia is experiencing a major skills shortage in all states, we will
services to assist in, visas, trade recognition
tests, sponsorship, relocation, financial advice.
Contact us today at Aussiemigrant
Ad inserted 16 February 2006
Vacancy for Live-In Housekeeper Companion
The applicant should be a single female, unmarried, widow, or divorced,
and must have a caring nature, and be interested in cooking and the
welfare of an elderly lady.
Free accommodation will be provided in a beautiful period house, circa
1700, own bed-sitting room with television, fridge and microwave and
washbasin, tastefully furnished with bookcases and easy chair, and
adjoining bathroom. Use one of the sitting rooms in the house.
Food will be provided for main meals, as part of the contract.
The Housekeeper will be responsible for the general running of the house,
and its cleaning. She will prepare and cook meals, and do some
shopping. Use of car will be available for this purpose. She will act
as a companion to Mrs H L Franklin who is aged 88 years, a refined lady,
who is a widow.
Mrs Franklin has a Private Nurse who attends to her personal care in the
There will be some laundry work of personal items for Mrs Franklin, at
present all bedding goes to the laundry.
This job would be suitable for someone who requires a comfortable home in
a small village in rural Shopshire. Nearest shops in the village
including a Post-Office, General Stores, Butcher, Pubs, Doctors, and
Anglican Church. Nearest Market Town, Church Stretton, 6 miles South.
Nearest large town, Shrewsbury, 6 miles north. Nearest Railway Station,
either Church Stretton or Shrewsbury.
Shropshire is an Agricultural Country and there is no Industry, the
surrounding countryside is an area of outstanding beauty and cultural
The Housekeeper/Companion will have an average of two half days a week
off and at least two hours per day in either morning or afternoon at
leisure, by mutual arrangement.
Mrs Franklin's son, Mr Howard Franklin lives next door at Dorrington
Court, and is normally around most days and often takes meals with Mrs
Franklin. Mr Franklin is retired, but still travels as a Lecturer in
Cruise Ships several times a year, and does after Luncheon speaking
engagements in Great Britain.
Salary of Five Hundred Pounds Sterling per calendar month and totally
free board and lodging.
Person travelling from Overseas will be helped with their airfare.
The contract as Companion/Housekeeper will be for a minimum period of
eight months, to be extended.
Please apply with details of yourself and any relevant information to:
HOWARD FRANKLIN Esq.
Telephone 01743 718143
Ad inserted 22 February 2006
PARTNER : FARMING OPPORTUNITY ZAMBIA
Ex-Karoi farmer looking for a partner to invest in a promising farming
organization situated 16 kilometers from Lusaka. Currently farming
seed-maize, paprika, soya-beans and vegetables. The farm is 340 hectares
with approximately 100 hectares utilised. Excellent water available for
Interested parties please contact : firstname.lastname@example.org / 096 444 466 (Zambia)
Ad inserted 2 March 2006
RETIRED COUPLE OR SIMILAR, TO LIVE IN SELF-CONTAINED COTTAGE ON GARDEN
SMALLHOLDING 5 KM FROM STELLENBOSCH. LIGHT DUTIES IN MANAGING AND
SUPERVISING GARDEN STAFF AND GENERAL HANDYMAN/WOMAN ACTIVITES ON THIS
SUPERBLY-LOCATED COUNTRY PROPERTY. REMUNERATION BY NEGOTIATION WITH
PRINCIPAL, WHO CAN BE CONTACTED IN CONFIDENCE AT : MINER@MWEB.CO.ZW
Ad inserted 2 March 2006
Looking for someone to fill this position. One side of the company is
Haigar Tyre and Fitment Centre - small company with only 3 on the
payroll. We are looking for an elderly man - probably retired and
looking for something to keep himself busy - he will be required to
basically be there to order tyres, stock, monitor cars that come in for
alignment etc etc; mainly be in the office on the phone - no great
If you are interested please give Darrell Haigh a call on 331726 or 011
220 606. Many thanks.
We are also looking for a reliable driver ?????
Ad inserted 16 February 2006
"Fitter and turner seeking position as handyman, technical sales rep,
stores man etc.
Phone Fred Harmse 091-319272, 882866."
Ad inserted 16 February 2006
I am a hard working, loyal and honest man aged 34 with many years of
valuable work experience looking for employment in a Managerial Role with
the right company. I have been primarily involved in the Plastic &
Chemical Industry with past experience in the Freight Sector (Import /
Export) working my way from the bottom to a top position of Managing
Director for a
successful company in previous employment. I am currently employed and
can be contacted on the following E-Mail Address for further details and
of my Curriculum Vitae: email@example.com
Ad inserted 22 February 2006
Experienced waiter - very well trained also trained by ex owner of
Restaurant in Stock control and Cashier
Smart and well spoken, very good with the public
If any business requires this young and enthusiastic male please write to
Ad inserted 2 March 2006
Young Lady aged 19 years, educated to ZGC level: Diploma in Silvana
beauty academy, Diploma in modeling, and have just completed computer
courses, in excel - word - etc, willing to learn and do anything. Hard
working, out going and enthusiastic. Please contact: Rochelle
Vermaak 091 347 982 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ad inserted 2 March 2006
CONSULTANCY SERVICES OFFERED
I a middle aged, degreed man with extensive experience in:
* Cane Sugar and by-products production/processing.
* Small Scale Edible Oil Milling/Equipment Sourcing, Installation and
* Middle Level Management
* Laboratory processes
* Small Scale Food Processing
* Staff/Operator Training in ALL of the above
* Small Scale food processing for Rural Development
* Beekeeping and Honey Processing.
Also looking for JOINT VENTURE WITH COMPANIES IN SMALL SCALE/ON FARM FOOD
PROCESSING, particularly in Southern Africa.
I am looking for consultancy Opportunities - both long and short term
assignments, and on-going.
Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org; OR 00 +44 07789842285; 00 +44
07849163016; 00 +44 01296620515 for FULL CV.
For the latest listings of accommodation available for farmers, contact
email@example.com (updated 8 March 2006)
March 10, 2006
By Brian Latham
Maputo - Zimbabwe's state-owned electricity generator, the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), could not buy shares in Hidroelectrica
de Cahora Bassa (HCB), officials in Mozambique said yesterday.
The Sunday Standard newspaper last week quoted Zesa general manager for
corporate affairs Obert Nyatanga as saying that the troubled parastatal was
"on the verge" of buying a 25 percent stake in HCB, southern Africa's
largest hydroelectricity generator.
But Mozambique's industry minister, Salvador Namburete, told the country's
state broadcaster that he "knew nothing about the deal. No such arrangement
has been made."
This follows earlier reports in the Zimbabwe press that Eskom had agreed to
buy some part of Zesa's Hwange power station. Eskom also denied this.
Heavily indebted Zesa owes the World Bank $334 million (R2 billion), Zesa
chairman Sydney Gata admitted last week. The troubled utility, which has a
monopoly on Zimbabwe's electricity generation and transmission, also owes
substantial debts to Eskom and the SNEL power utility in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC).
Zimbabwe imports about 35 percent of its electricity needs, mainly from
South Africa, Mozambique and the DRC.
"Zesa owes HCB a great deal of money, but it also owes about $10 million to
Electricidade de Mocambique," said an official from Mozambique's power
transmitter who declined to be named.
"We would never be allowed to cut them off because of political reasons," he
HCB, which mainly belongs to the Portuguese government, exports about 250
megawatts to Zimbabwe, though it is capable of doubling the figure. HCB
could change ownership to the Mozambican government if a $950 million deal
is signed this year.
The company is expected to finance about $250 million, while the Mozambican
government must find the remaining $700 million for the deal to go through.
Portugal will remain with a 15 percent stake in the generator. Neither party
has ruled out private participation in the deal.
Zimbabwe has been plagued by power cuts that have affected mining and
industry. - Independent Foreign Service
By John Reed in Johannesburg
Published: March 10 2006 02:00 | Last updated: March 10 2006 02:00
A rocket scientist would struggle to sort out the divisions plaguing
Zimbabwe's fractured opposition. Arthur Mutambara, a 39-year-old Zimbabwean
exile who holds an Oxford PhD in robotics and mechatronics and has done
research for the US space agency Nasa, aims to do just that.
Mr Mutambara was elected last week as president of one of the two factions
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change now claiming legitimacy
after the party's recent split.
The self-assured scientist - dismissed as a cocky upstart by some
opponents - now wants to challenge Morgan Tsvangirai, the trade union leader
who heads the MDC's main faction, for his title.
"I am the president elect-ed at the congress of a political party that
believes it is the legitimate MDC," Mr Mutambara told the FT yesterday. He
says that he is prepared to stand for election against anyone else who wants
to be MDC president.
The party now faces three options, he says: to patch up its differences and
unify; to "divorce" amicably; or, failing that, to determine in court who
inherits the MDC's name and legacy.
In media interviews, the politician displays an arrogant and hectoring
streak, refusing to answer unwant-ed questions and sometimes referring to
himself in the third person.
A former Rhodes Scholar, his CV includes stints at the management
consultancy McKinsey and South Africa's Standard Bank.
Mr Mutambara's ascent comes at a critical time for the beleaguered MDC, once
one of Africa's strongest opposition parties but today bitterly divided over
tactics and personalities. It coincides with a series of arrests in Zimbabwe
this week of opposition figures. Police have detained at least 10 people,
including prominent MDC members Giles Mutsekwa and Roy Bennet, after
allegedly uncovering an arms cache in the eastern city of Mutare on Tuesday.
Didymus Mutasa, President Robert Mugabe's state security minister,
threatened to "eliminate" opponents seeking to overthrow the government
unconstitutionally. Government critics described the arrests as an attempt
to put more pressure on the opposition.
Mr Mutambara may struggle to make the impact he seeks in politics as
Zimbabwe's internal situation deteriorates. Inflation is above 600 per cent,
and the MDC has lost much of its authority after splitting over the issue of
whether to take part in last November's election for a newly created Senate.
Mr Tsvangirai remains a figure of adulation among many MDC supporters, and
his party's faction plans to hold its own congress on March 18-19.
Mr Mutambara has called Mr Tsvangirai "a Zimbabwean hero", but his rival has
not returned the compliment. Mr Tsvangirai's supporters are ignoring him.
Some members say Mr Mutambara, who has spent the past decade and a half in
the UK, the US and South Africa, is out of touch with his native country.
Others have spun elaborate conspiracy theories claiming that he is an agent
of Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party bent on sowing further division within the MDC.
Mr Mutasa is taking Mr Mutambara seriously enough to have claimed this week
that the exile was a Central Intelligence Agency operative planted in
Zimbabwe by US President George W. Bush.
Mr Mutambara laughed off Mr Mutasa's claim. "I take it as a compliment," he
Friday, 10 March , 2006, 08:06
Kolkata: Dunlop Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Dunlop International (better
known as Dunlop South Africa), proposed to be taken over by the Indian tyre
major Apollo Tyres Ltd, has downed shutters owing to a foreign exchange
The company is heavily dependent on raw material imports. Though
Apollo Tyres has already reached a consensus with Dunlop International on
the proposed acquisition, the takeover is yet to be approved by the
Competition Commission of South Africa. |Budget & your investments: View
stake in Zimbabwe unit
Dunlop International controls 75 per cent in the sole tyre
manufacturing facility in Zimbabwe.
Confirming the news of the closure of Dunlop Zimbabwe, an Apollo Tyres
spokesperson told Business Line that this was the second time the
Zimbabwe-based company had pulled down its shutters in the last six months.
| Go to Sify Business Home page |
On whether Apollo Tyres foresees a turnaround of the company following
the takeover, he said the shutdown was triggered by the fragile economic
conditions in Zimbabwe leading to a foreign exchange crisis and shortage of
"The problem is unlikely to be resolved unless Zimbabwe's economic
condition improves," he said.
According to reports available with the Zimbabwean media, over 820
workers stand to lose their jobs owing to the closure.
This apart, the closure is expected to affect over 30,000 people
engaged in the downstream industries.
When asked whether Apollo Tyres was currently controlling the
management of Dunlop International, the spokesperson said, "Technically we
do not own the company as the competition commission of South Africa is yet
to approve the deal."
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-10
HARARE Town Clerk Nomutsa Chideya has started holding meetings with council
employees in another sign that he has reaffirmed his authority at Town
Last month Chideya was involved in a tug of war for control of the capital
with former city strategist Chester Mhende who was later fired by Harare
administrators for gross insubordination and causing confusion.
"The Town Clerk has begun going round the departments checking on
productivity, customer care and corruption. He has also explained to them
the role of the Town Clerk and that he is council's overall accounting
officer. He has also told them that sometimes he discharges his duties
through the heads of departments," city spokesperson, Madenyika Magwenjere
told The Daily Mirror yesterday.
He said to that end the Town Clerk had already met with employees from the
department of housing and community service and the chamber secretary.
Chideya is yet to meet employees from the health, treasury and works
"He said council shall be ruthless to those engaged in corruption and that
in instances were it is warranted, would call upon the anti-corruption
commission," Magwenjere said.
Harare has been plagued by serious operational problems blamed for poor
service delivery including non-collection of refuse, continuous pipe water
burst and blocked sewers.
On revenue collection, Magwenjere said council employees had been warned
against turning away ratepayer with inadequate money for their bills.
"Workers have been advised that no cent should leave council offices and in
instances were a customer fails to bring enough money, modalities should be
arranged for them to pay off the balance later," he said.
Council's problems have been partly blamed on poor revenue collection that
have seen as many as 200 000 residents not paying for services provided.
Magwenjere said the planned meetings were part of strategies to re-focus
employees towards the attaining goals of the city's turnaround programme.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba has
threatened to set the police on the Zimbabwe Independent and to take legal
action over a story linking him to Zanu PF's Tsholotsho succession scramble.
After angrily refusing to be interviewed, Charamba reacted later
with a letter from his lawyers saying he was bringing in the police on the
issue and would sue for damages unless a retraction was issued of a story
published last week saying he was involved in the Tsholotsho saga.
"I no longer talk to you and you must never phone me again,"
Charamba said when contacted for comment yesterday morning. Efforts to
contact him later failed. He eventually reacted with a letter from his
lawyers threatening to sue the Independent for $15 billion for alleged
Charamba demanded a retraction of the story which said he was
part of the Tsholotsho saga. He denied drafting a speech for prominent Zanu
PF politician Emmerson Mnangagwa who was reportedly the leader of one of the
Zanu PF factions involved in a battle for supremacy with a camp led by
retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru.
Charamba said he had never met Mnangagwa to discuss the
"He (Charamba) further denies hiring a plane for the Tsholotsho
meeting or drafting any speech for Honourable Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
meant to further the alleged succession battle," the letter says.
"Our client has also made a report to the police who are
investigating the matter for possible prosecution for crimen injuria
(unlawful impairing of someone's reputation)."
The 2004 political drama, over which Mugabe has continued to
show signs of continued anger, involved a meeting by six Zanu PF provincial
chairmen at Dinyane High School in Tsholotsho which reportedly sought to
block Vice-President Joice Mujuru's ascendancy.
Despite Charamba's denial, there have been numerous media
reports raising the issues he now seeks to refute. The government-controlled
Chronicle newspaper on December 1, 2004, for instance, carried a front-page
story alleging Charamba had hired an aircraft for the trip to Tsholotsho
through his department. He did not publicly deny the report.
Charamba's authorship of Mnangagwa's speech was first revealed
by his former boss Jonathan Moyo writing in the Independent on December 23
"It is common cause among those who know what happened that
Charamba, Mugabe's press secretary, actually drafted Mnangagwa's speech that
was delivered by (Justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa at Dinyane School on
November 18, 2004," Moyo wrote. "I still have the original copy of Charamba's
draft speech with his handwritten cover note attached."
Charamba further denied he had clashed with ZBC workers. A
letter in the possession of the Independent, titled Unwarranted
Victimisation, written by ZBC national productions head, Douglas Dhliwayo,
to Charamba on June 22 last year shows he had indeed clashed with certain
"Following your telephone conversation in which you accused me
of selling you out to Cdes Webster Shamu, Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and other Zanu
PF senior officials we were working with during the parliamentary elections
publicity campaign, may I humbly state it is very unfortunate that you would
think that way," Dhliwayo wrote.
"You say your reason for punishing me is because I have been
back-stabbing you in order to canvass for favours from ministers Shamu and
Chinamasa, Gula-Ndebele, Ephraim Masawi and Cde Nathan Shamuyarira resulting
in you not getting a ministerial post."
Dhliwayo went further: "I think your statements were uncalled
for when you said I was free to go and report to Cde Shamu and his
colleagues that my plot with them backfired.I wonder why you were interested
in the ministerial post if it was useless as you claim the Cdes to be."
PRESIDENTIAL spokesman George Charamba yesterday refused to
discuss his role in the explosive ruling Zanu PF power struggle publicised
by the dramatic Tsholotsho episode.
Charamba has reportedly been under pressure over the issue which
still provokes fury in President Robert Mugabe.
Yesterday he angrily refused to discuss the issue - which has
claimed high-profile political casualties - despite his former immediate
boss Jonathan Moyo's confirmation that he was involved in attempts to
manoeuvre Emmerson Mnangagwa to power ahead of Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
"I no longer talk to you and you must never phone me again,"
Charamba said before hanging up. Efforts to contact him later failed. Later,
he threatened through his lawyers to rope in the police and sue the
Independent for $15 billion.
Moyo is on record as saying Charamba wrote the speech for
Mnangagwa which was presented in Tsholotsho by former politburo member
Patrick Chinamasa on November 18, 2004.
Mugabe last month lashed out at those involved in the Tsholotsho
affair in a ZTV interview before making a further reference to it last week.
"Charamba wrote the speech for Mnangagwa. After that he gave it
to Moyo on November 16, 2004 who then relayed it to Mnangagwa," a source
close to the episode said.
"The speech was then put on parliamentary stationery because
Mnangagwa was invited to the Dinyane Secondary School ceremony in his
capacity as Speaker of Parliament."
It was said Charamba had met with Mnangagwa at parliament before
that. He denied this yesterday.
Although initial reports said the meeting was organised through
the auspices of Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma, he said this week he was
Zvoma said he was not part of the issue and had absolutely
nothing to do with it.
As it transpired, Mnangagwa did not attend the function because
of a politburo meeting in Harare. Chinamasa delivered his speech.
Mnangagwa had outmanoeuvred Mujuru, whose faction was led by her
husband, former army commander, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, by securing
the support of seven out of 10 provinces.
However, the situation changed when the politburo amended the
ruling party's constitution on the same day as the Tsholotsho meeting to say
one of the two party second secretaries (vice-presidents) should be a woman.
But it was Mugabe who effectively knocked Mnangagwa out of the
race on his arrival home from Zanzibar on November 19 when he directed the
party to vote for Mujuru on November 21.
Sources said Charamba travelled with Mugabe to Matabeleland
North province on November 22 for meetings during which he sensed danger.
"Charamba was present in a helicopter when (former Matabeleland
North governor Obert) Mpofu briefed Mugabe on the issue during their tour of
Matabeleland North," a source said.
"Mpofu gave Mugabe a detailed account about Tsholotsho and
Mugabe was very angry about it. Charamba phoned Moyo who was in Bulawayo to
tell him things were extremely bad."
Sources said Moyo left Bulawayo for Harare in a panicky mood.
Mugabe was said to have shown his anger over the issue during a cabinet
meeting on November 23 and a politburo meeting the following day.
"Mugabe was very angry during cabinet and politburo meetings
that week," a source said.
"Chinamasa came under fierce attack at the politburo but Moyo
survived for the day because he had slipped out of the meeting. Chinamasa
had to apologise during the meeting which ended around midnight."
On December 1, 2004, sources said, the politburo convened again
and it was Moyo's turn for a grilling.
"The meeting boiled over and Mugabe, assisted by the Zanu PF old
guard, led the assault against Moyo," a source said. "I have never seen Moyo
so subdued. He tried hard to fight back but he was cornered.
"Moyo made the situation worse by saying he didn't know Zanu PF
had unwritten rules and was opposed to internal democracy. Mugabe would not
have any of that. He said to Moyo: 'What do you mean? What are you trying to
Party heavyweights Joseph Msika, John Nkomo, Nathan Shamuyarira,
and Gen Mujuru were said to have descended on Moyo heavily. Nkomo was said
to have fired a volley of questions at Moyo, asking: "When did you join the
party, what's your cell, branch, district, where is your card?"
"Shamuyarira worsened matters by saying Moyo was a CIA agent and
noted that the Tsholotsho meeting was a 'well-calculated strategy by this
dangerous young man (Moyo) to destroy the party'. Shamuyarira said: 'It's
now clear Cde President this young man wants to destroy the party from
within'," the source related.
"Moyo reacted angrily to Shamuyarira's remarks, especially his
claims that he was a CIA agent. He hit back, saying 'you speak like the
Shamuyarira of Frolizi fame who was well-known for Tsikamutanda politics'."
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s loss last week in the
Chegutu mayoral polls and in two municipal wards in Bulawayo has given the
ruling Zanu PF party fleeting joy.
No one is certain quite how the fractured opposition expects to
pick itself up by its bootstraps and offer the kind of challenge to Zanu PF
dominance it did six years ago when it was launched.
Zanu PF bigwigs were on hand to beat their breasts saying the
victory reflected a belated realisation by the electorate that the split
opposition was bankrupt of ideas to move the nation forward.
Until last week, Zanu PF had not won either municipal or general
polls in Bulawayo since 2000, much to the chagrin of ruling party leader
President Mugabe who wondered why "the people of Matabeleland had put
themselves in the political wilderness" during a campaign meeting in
Tsholotsho in March last year.
For the past six years Zanu PF has won most by-elections
starting with the Bikita West in 2001 when it employed coercive tactics to
regain lost ground.
The ruling party, in most of these victories, has thrived on
voter apathy. More significantly, the loss by the MDC seems to have
unscrambled the myth that Matabeleland, particularly Bulawayo, is an MDC
"We did not field a candidate because we wanted to disprove
Morgan Tsvangirai's claims that he still holds grassroots support," Job
Sikhala, the secretary for defence and security in the Arthur Mutambara
camp, said of the Chegutu mayoral poll.
"What we wanted was for Morgan to have his cake and eat it.
That is the reason we did not contest."
Tsvangirai's camp participated and lost in the Chegutu mayoral
election at the weekend.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Tsvangirai camp, said their
candidate, Francis Dhlakama, had participated against all advice.
"It was a problem at the local level," Chamisa said.
"We advised Dhlakama not to participate on the basis that he had
been out of office for a long time due to interference by Ignatious Chombo,
the Local Government minister. There were therefore problems for the
electorate to judge his performance because of this."
Mutambara faction spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi admitted the
ward election result was a warning for the party.
"The election result was a wake-up call for the MDC," Nyathi
"I think the electorate has sent a loud and clear message that
we should put out house in order."
Of greater significance too is how newly-elected president
Arthur Mutamba is going to rally the electorate to unseat President Mugabe
in the face of apparent disillusionment brought about by the split.
Mutambara says his aim is not just to oust Mugabe. In an
interview with the Sunday Times last week Mutambara said in the 26 years,
the Zanu PF system had become a culture and Mugabe is just a symbol of that.
"It's not just a political party, it's a way of doing things
that has corrupted and destroyed every sector of society," he said.
"I have had enough of seeing my fellow citizens suffering. The
game is up. I am going to remove Robert Mugabe with every tool at my
Asked if his plans might include a Ukrainian-style mass
mobilisation of Mugabe's opponents Mutambara said he was going to use every
tool he could to dislodge the regime.
"We are not going to rule out anything - the sky's the limit
even if we have to fight elections under the current constitution, we will
build an opposition so strong and formidable that if Mugabe tries to rig
elections, it will be impossible for him to get away with it."
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku
said elections this time cannot be used as a barometer to gauge whether Zanu
PF is gaining support or that the MDC is losing ground.
"It is a tragedy that the MDC continues to contest these
elections leading to the misconception that Zanu PF is gaining support or
that the MDC has lost support," Madhuku said.
"Elections have become meaningless until a proper framework is
put in place so that the results are not pre-determined."
PRESIDENT Mugabe is set to visit Malawi in May amid threats from
civic groups that they would stage protest against Zimbabwe's poor human
rights record, The Nation newspapers reported yesterday.
The paper quoted Malawi Foreign Affairs minister Davis Katsonga
confirming the visit in an interview on Monday, but could not disclose the
real agenda of the tour.
"It is true that the president of Zimbabwe will be visiting
Malawi from 3rd to 5th May. I can also confirm to you that my ministry last
week held the first meeting with other stakeholders over President Mugabe's
tour," said Katsonga.
He added: "As I have said, we only held the initial meeting last
week and we will be meeting again shortly on the same," he said.
Human Rights Consultative Committee chair, Rodgers Newa is
quoted in the report as saying the visit would attract reactions from the
civil society due to the poor human rights record of Zimbabwe.
"Of course I am hearing of the visit for the first time and I
have to consult my partners. However, what I can assure you is that there is
likely to be an activity of protest during the said visit," said Newa.
He said the Malawi civil society is not amused with the record
of serious abuse of human rights perpetrated by Mugabe and his regime. -
THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority has blocked
the distribution of equipment worth over US$60 000 ($11 billion) donated by
an international organisation to Hwange National Park where dozens of
elephants died last year due to water shortage.
The equipment has been lying idle due to differences between the
Department of National Parks and Wildlife and the Zimbabwe Conservation
Taskforce (ZCTF), whom the donors want to implement and oversee the project.
The equipment is for the repair of diesel engines and water
pumps, upgrading of water troughs, repair of National Parks motor vehicles
and cash for the purchase of fuel for the fleet.
ZCTF chairman, Johnny Rodriguez, this week confirmed that the
equipment was still lying idle while cash to implement projects at the park
remained unused due to differences with the National Parks department.
"We received the donations three months ago mainly from America
but we reached a stalemate over the disbursement because Parks wanted to
take charge while the donor wanted ZCTF to take charge," said Rodriguez.
Contacted to comment on the stand-off, Nhema said he was not
aware of the letter from ZCTF and the stand-off but said he had met with
some of the donors.
"As far as I am concerned there are no problems because I met
with some of the donors and they were happy. What I hear from you is news
and the issue of the letter from ZCTF is also news to me," Nhema said.
GOVERNMENT will soon unveil three land tenure systems under
which former commercial farmland acquired for resettlement will be
administered, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Officials in the Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement ministry
said beneficiaries of land reform would be given security of tenure on
99-year leases, 25-year leases and use permits.
Issuing of the three types of tenures is expected to start
within the next six months.
"All land classified as A1 model scheme will be governed by
permits," an official said. "The permits will operate along the same lines
as the communal area type of customary tenure."
The official said all conservancies, trophy hunting safaris and
game reserves would be governed by statutory tenure in the form of 25-year
"A contractual licence will be issued by the state under the
provisions of some enabling regulations," the official said.
He said all land classified under A2, or large scale-commercial,
would be governed by a 99-year lease.
A copy of the 99-year lease agreement in the hands of the
Independent indicates that A2 farmers would be charged rentals for land they
lease from government.
New land beneficiaries will have to go through a rigorous
vetting exercise and be required to produce a convincing five-year
development plan and a production plan for a similar period before they are
allowed to lease state land.
The new requirement could result in non-performing land grabbers
being booted out of the farms they currently occupy.
Government has been agonising over underutilised land seized
from white farmers for years. Some of the beneficiaries acquired large
tracts of land as status symbols or "weekend braai spots" which they have
not been able to put to full production, spawning food shortages currently
In addition to paying annual rentals, the farmers will be
required to pay all levies, fees and charges as may be determined by rural
The new farmers are required to submit a five-year development
plan and another five-year production plan to the relevant planning
authority for approval before signing the lease.
"The development plan should include provision of access roads
suitably sited, constructed and protected against erosion as approved by the
principal director responsible for Lands and Rural Resettlement," the
ZIMBABWE faces yet another grain deficit of more than 1,1
million tonnes this year despite receiving above average rainfall in the
Preliminary assessments by the Famine Early Warning System
Network (Fewsnet) indicate that Zimbabwe is likely to harvest about 700 000
tonnes of maize this season against an annual consumption of 1,8 million
A further 500 000 tonnes would be required for strategic grain
The projected production means Zimbabwe would have to import
about 1,6 million tonnes of maize including the strategic grain reserves to
bridge the two seasons.
"It is still expected that cereal harvests will exceed last year's
drought-affected harvest, estimated at about 700 000 tonnes," Fewsnet's
latest report released on February 20 says.
Fewsnet said the widespread shortage and high cost of farming
inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, fuel and draught power severely limited
the capacity of both smallholders and commercial farmers to increase area
"Reports at the start of the season indicated that agricultural
preparedness in the country was very poor and this has led to failure to
take full advantage of the good rainfall with farmers forced to plant late,
and to reduce planted areas as a result of late acquisition or
non-availability of necessary inputs, dampening expectations for improved
harvests," it said. The report said outbreaks of army worm in some
provinces had resulted in the loss of some 1 000 hectares of crop as a
result of a shortage of spraying chemicals.
"Leeching of soils, waterlogging and a proliferation of weeds as
a result of excessive rains are likely to negatively affect final yields as
well," the report says. Agricultural expert and former MDC spokesman Renson
Gasela projected a maize yield of around 600 000 tonnes, leaving a deficit
of 1,2 million tonnes.
"We know that there was only 30 000 tonnes of maize seed
available for this season," Gasela said.
"If all this seed had been planted, it would have covered 1 200
000 hectares. This would produce at best about 800 000 tonnes of maize, but
the seed was too expensive for many farmers, so not all was bought," he
said. - Staff Writer.
THE inspection of the 2002 presidential poll ballot boxes has
been postponed indefinitely after misunderstandings over election materials
for Bubi-Umguza constituency.
The MDC last year deferred the inspection of the boxes for an
election in which President Robert Mugabe beat the opposition party's
candidate by more than 400 000 votes to January 9 this year.
This was later postponed to February 9.
Terrence Hussein, President Mugabe's lawyer, on Tuesday said the
MDC had postponed the inspection twice this year saying they were still
studying materials in the 20 constituencies covered so far.
Hussein said when the Master of the High Court, Charles
Nyatanga, wrote to the party asking when they would start inspections after
failing to do so on February 9, the MDC responded saying they wanted to
begin with Bubi-Umguza election materials which are at the bottom of boxes
for the other constituencies.
All the ballot boxes are kept in a courtroom at the High Court.
"They have done 20 constituencies. Why can't they do the other
ones? I think they want to
abandon the whole process because they cannot stop on demands of
Bubi when there are still so many other boxes for other constituencies on
top which they can inspect," said Hussein.
Tsvangirai's lawyer Bryant Elliot said no date has been
arranged. "But we should be starting soon. There are some documents that are
missing," he said.
He could not comment further saying the opposition party's
secretary for legal affairs, David Coltart, would issue a statement on the
Efforts to reach Coltart up to Wednesday were fruitless.
On Tuesday, Tsvangirai's spokesperson William Bango declined to
comment saying Coltart was the one handling the matter.
Nyatanga also refused to comment referring all questions to the
Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mude-de surrendered the election
materials to the High Court in May last year.
The release of the materials came a week after the court
reserved judgement in a matter in which the MDC wanted him jailed for five
years for defying seven court orders directing him to do so.
The court subsequently convicted Mudede of contempt of court and
slapped him with a wholly suspended two months jail term plus $5 million
ZIMBABWE last year burnt over 351 million litres of diesel and
petrol to keep the wheels of industry and commerce rolling, in the process
minimising the impact of a debilitating crisis precipitated by a foreign
currency crunch that has hampered fuel supplies.
Indusry statistics to hand show that the total value of the fuel
amounted to US$330 million or $33 trillion at the ruling exchange rate.
The figure is less than half of the US$840m which Zimbabwe needs
for fuel imports annually.
Businessdigest learnt this week that the six major oil
distribution companies sold 85 608 023 litres of petrol through their
service stations, and diesel amounting to 48 016 942 litres.
The fuel sold through service stations was sourced from the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) which, until recently, had a
monopoly in the procurement of fuel offshore.
The six fuel distribution companies - BP, Shell, Mobil, Caltex,
Total and Engen - had complemented Noczim's efforts by importing 62 809 507
litres of petrol and 154 878 461 litres of diesel between them.
This brought the total amount of fuel distributed through the
six companies to 351 312 933 litres.
Businessdigest could not obtain the total amount of fuel sourced
by Noczim, the bulk of which was distributed to government and
quasi-government agencies as well as to farmers under the government's
There has been rampant abuse of the fuel facility to new farmers
as well as to government agencies.
By Dr Alex Magaisa
THE key challenge before the divided MDC centres on how best
they can manage the present conflict without causing further harm to the
aspirations of the democratic movement in Zimbabwe.
In all spheres of life, including commercial, social and
political contexts, participants meet situations of conflict and are
expected to develop techniques of managing conflict. There is a dominant
impression that conflict is always negative.
On the contrary, situations of conflict can be interpreted and
viewed in more positive light. Managed properly, a situation of conflict can
be force for good. The defining question is whether there is the necessary
will to achieve the desired goal.
Properly managed, the current conflict between the MDC factions
can actually produce positive results in the long-term, even though the
dominance of the short-term perceptions of gloom might obscure that vision.
Identify the conflict
In seeking a solution, it is necessary for concerned parties to
identify the key elements of the conflict. The key parts of the conflict may
appear commonplace but it is quite possible that there is more to what is
often stated in the media.
Indeed, there have been indications that the causes of the
conflict pre-date the senate election decision.
In the post-senate election period, there have been a number of
statements, accusations and counter-accusations, vitriolic attacks and so
forth, which have all played a part in influencing judgement and perceptions
of the public but have done nothing to really uncover the real causes of the
The main actors need to be very clear what the problems are, not
only to themselves but also to the public to whom they are ultimately
The public is in a better position to know whether or not there
are chances of resolving the problem and creating unity if they are placed
in an informed position. I do not think there is adequate or clear
information at present and this is causing difficulties in managing the
Choice of forum
The forum that is used to manage conflict is crucial because it
influences the attitude and behaviour of the participants.
In most cases the tribe of politicians consists of individuals
with inflated egos, which is why I have always argued against using the
media as a forum for managing conflict.
The media has a role to play in informing the public and
providing space for critiquing the decisions and behaviour of the
politicians, but it cannot be the sole medium for exchanging views and ideas
on how to achieve desired goals.
The media consists of business players whose key driving force
is to make a profit. News that attracts a wide audience is good news from a
business perspective, regardless of the nature and content of the copy.
I may be too cynical but in politics, the scandals, the sound
bites and the conflicts make big headlines. There are times when issues can
be progressed better through other platforms, even if it means private
arrangements to discuss sensitive issues in order to iron out differences
and reach the desired goal.
Other person's shoes
In managing a conflict, it is also vital to understand and
appreciate the other person's point of view. This calls for a great measure
of tolerance and understanding.
In doing so, both parties need to lay out in clear terms their
points of view and desired outcomes. It helps to exchange roles and step
into the other one's shoes - to see things from his perspective.
In this dichotomy, I fear that most people have chosen to wear
blinkers and see things only from the perspective of the faction that they
belong to or support.
In my view, both sides have genuine points and interests behind
their decisions. It is imprudent to grandstand and dismiss the other side's
standpoint to look strong before the gallery.
The key participants know their strengths and limitations in
this context but I also think that they know that they are better off with
their combined strengths. If they place themselves in the other camp's
shoes, there is good room for beginning to understand the respective
standpoints and therefore reach some common ground.
In managing conflict, it is also crucial to decide clearly and
well in advance on the nature of the desired outcome. It helps each side and
the public to understand the point and extent of divergence.
These outcomes may not always be achieved in the exact manner,
but it is always a good starting point to know the object.
These are some of the hazy and contentious parts of the current
division - what exactly is the desired object of this struggle?
What is the object of the respective faction? Is there a chance
that these objects are in fact similar, and if not, how can they be
reconciled or achieved in common?
In the same vein, it is important to know that in seeking a
solution, you cannot always have your way. You need to bring your six points
to the table, knowing that when it becomes necessary to reach the desired
object you will be prepared to give up at least two of them.
It is a give-and-take situation and this is a well-known tactic
in managing conflict scenarios. If one side insists on having its way to the
exclusion of the other, chances of settlement are very slim.
Key issues not personalities
In most cases focus is lost when people are distracted by
personality battles. Instead of addressing the key issues at stake, on the
one hand people begin to attack the person and on the other hand people try
to defend themselves.
It is important for our politicians and other participants not
to take things too personal. This is not about satisfying personal egos - it
is the people's livelihood and future at stake. It is vital to appreciate
that you do not have to like a person to accept his/her idea. There are
multiple forces that interfere heavily with the process of managing conflict
and they include personality battles. It is necessary therefore, to cut out
the irrelevant bits that take away attention from key issues in order to
make some progress.
Finally, it makes sense to treat each other with respect.
Politics is cyclical and unpredictable. You never know whom you are going to
work with tomorrow.
Friends and allies are not permanent and the one whom you called
an idiot and ugly yesterday, will be a key ally tomorrow.
Those who make the most noise in situations of conflict are
often left on the margins when the main players see reason and get together.
That is why for all their political battles politicians in most countries
maintain a measure of personal respect for each other.
The key, for the MDC factions is for each side to convince the
other of the merits and strengths of their selected position. It is
important to avoid tensions and where necessary compromise must be adopted
to progress the struggle on the fronts where energies are needed most.
* Dr Magaisa is a lawyer and can be contacted at
By Mike Clark
I REFER to the article "Police, war vets surrender loot",
(Standard, March 5), which has prompted me to shed some light on this rather
sensitive and extremely serious matter.
Firstly, I wish to comment and thank the majority of our police
force for their dedicated efforts in defending the laws of our country,
particularly during these extremely difficult and unsettling times.
I would also like to take this opportunity of applauding those
war veterans who showed their respect for law and order by refusing to obey
instructions to demonstrate against the court orders last week.
However, as the article pointed out, Masvingo province went
through some of its darkest hours during early November 2005 when a huge
team of armed police, army, prisons and local government departments
descended on some 18 properties in a convoy of six police and army vehicles
to confiscate farming equipment. This was at a time when our nation was
desperately short of both fuel and food.
Perhaps the author's description of "looting" is far more
appropriate because the government has never compensated anyone for the
equipment, nor has any valuation or offer been made as is required in the
Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act - Act 7/2004.
Furthermore, most of the equipment was actively being used in
either farming operations while some was contracted out to assist many new
farmers with their projects. Several units which were actually preparing
land were called in and delivered to the police stations.
The Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act clearly states
that the acquisition only refers to equipment which is not being actively
used for agricultural purposes. Any objections to any proposed acquisitions
are also required to be heard in the Administrative Court to confirm the
acquisition within a prescribed period.
The farmers who had lost literally trillions of dollars worth of
equipment appealed to the Masvingo authorities but to no avail and therefore
had to seek protection from the High Court of Zimbabwe, at great personal
This resulted in five different judges who had presided over
seven separate cases coming up with the unanimous decision that the seizure
of the equipment was illegal. Loveness Ndanga was ordered to return her loot
within a specified period which apparently expired last December.
So far, the equipment has not been returned to its rightful
owners as was suggested in the article. Some has been sold, auctioned or
dispersed in apparent defiance of the court orders.
An apparent dispute over the stolen equipment was reported in
the media a few weeks ago where a senior war veteran was reported as
complaining that the police and provincial hierarchy had received the bulk
of the equipment, leaving them (war veterans) with very little.
Perhaps he should not complain because as far as I am aware, the
receipt of stolen property is still a crime in Zimbabwe.
Although some equipment was left behind at the police stations
and apparently a (very) few items have been returned there, the rightful
owners or their representatives have been denied access to record it.
There is also an apparent attempt to prejudice those who could
not afford to seek protection from the courts. They have apparently been
informed that only the equipment belonging to those described as uncontested
in court orders may have their equipment returned.
Normally, police should have investigated the non-compliance of
the uncontested court orders but it was left to the rightful owners to again
be placed in the unenviable position where they were forced to appeal to the
courts for further assistance.
Their case against a senior police officer for alleged contempt
is unprecedented in our country's history and is presently sub judice, and
can therefore not be commented on.
All this comes at a very crucial time in our history where very
sensitive ongoing discussions are taking place to resolve the present
impasse. I obviously cannot comment on the political discussions except that
agricultural initiatives are far advanced and encouraging.
While our hungry country is crying out for investment in
sustainable agriculture, how can anyone in their right state of mind
consider any meaningful investment, especially in a province where the rule
of law is now under such intense scrutiny following the illegal seizure of
farm equipment by a team which was headed by a senior police officer?
Why was the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Aspef facility, which
offers preferential interest rates not used instead?
We appeal to the authorities that criminal acts against us no
longer be classified as "political" to defend the alleged perpetrators as
well as to respect valid court orders.
Instead, it is strongly suggested that any interference with
vital agricultural production should rather be termed "economic sabotage"
and investigated accordingly, no matter whom the perpetrators may be.
We are proud to be Zimbabweans and appeal for the lifting of the
unfortunate political mantle which has relegated us to being treated as
"public enemy number one" for the past six years.
We are also appealing for a speedy return of our equipment which
was accumulated over many seasons and remain the most important tools of our
trade, without which our farming ability is severely prejudiced.
* Clark is CFU Masvingo Regional Executive
By Sally Ntombi
I WAS pleased to read that the Zimbabwe Independent took the
recently-elected MDC president, Arthur Mutambara, to task on important
issues following his victory speech.
These are the British and land reform and what they supposedly
I am surprised that even this educated and intelligent man (so I
am led to believe) is so ignorant of
the facts and prefers to follow the fiction articulated by
President Mugabe, Zanu PF and Thabo Mbeki.
This issue is important because, in my view, despite the obvious
need for land reform, Zanu PF's thuggish exercise was simply a tool to
destroy a block of voters whom they couldn't control - farm workers - and a
method of retaining power through patriotism.
The political imperative for survival completely over-rode the
economic imperative to remain prosperous. Having been voted into a
leadership position, one would have expected a person like Mutambara to be
more knowledgeable. It seems not. In this respect, your comments are
appropriate and most welcome.
Would somebody please give us some credible background and
information on him, his family, who he is married to and her background,
what he does in his spare time, why he has been so silent since his student
days, where he has been over the past six years whilst Zimbabwe was being
vandalised, why he supports anti-senate sentiments as regards senate
elections and then stands for a pro-senate faction post. None of us can
follow this logic unless ....
It's the kind of stuff they publish in a Woman's Weekly. It's
also the kind of stuff we need to know, especially as a result of this man
standing unopposed. Why was he unopposed? Why was it such a fait accompli?
It looks too slick, too neat and tidy, too kit-settish for my
liking. There is far too much we do not know and the clinical CV presented
so far is too good to be true. How about taking a deeper look and digging up
what you can? I'm sure you would do us a great service.
LACK of a clearly defined agricultural policy framework has
eroded investor confidence and chances of a quick economic recovery.
Analysts this week said lack of planning and muddled policies undermined
prospects of agricultural recovery.
Vice-President Joseph Msika told a Seed Co field day in Kadoma
last week that government was prepared to work with white farmers as long as
they respected the country's laws and fully utilised the land.
"We cannot remove every white man in this country," Msika was
reported as saying. "We will only respect those white people who respect our
laws and want to live with us."
Msika's statement appears in sync with President Robert Mugabe
and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's calls for an immediate halt to fresh
farm invasions to avert jeopardising efforts to revive the country's food
security and self-sufficiency.
But Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement minister Didymus Mutasa,
the man in charge of the daily proceedings, appears to be reading from a
Evidence on the ground shows that Mutasa is determined to grab
all land after he recently threatened that: "We are still hungry and we want
all our land back and all our land to be used by our own people."
He proceeded to dispatch a team into Mashonaland West province
to establish the exact number of white farmers still on the land and serve
them with eviction notices.
More than 40 of the remaining white farmers are understood to
have been issued with fresh 90-day notices to wind up their operations,
throwing into disarray any planning for the future.
The notices are due to expire in May.
Agricultural experts say the uncertainty in agriculture has not
only adversely affected the foreign investment environment, but thrown
virtually all farmers into a state of anxiety.
Government's failure to come up with a consistent policy
framework has been further exposed by the continued failure of state
projects touted as lasting panaceas to the food insecurity.
In 2002 government launched the Masvingo food initiative,
putting about 1 500 hectares of land under winter maize to alleviate food
shortages. The project failed dismally, producing a mere 6 000 tonnes, only
enough to feed the nation for a single day.
As if that fiasco was not a lesson enough, in 2004 government
embarked on the Nuanetsi irrigation project.
At least 100 000 hectares of virgin land was set to be cleared
for irrigation. The project was sold as the answer to the country's
perennial food woes as it was projected to produce 700 000 tonnes thrice a
Government has just abandoned the project with less than 5 000
hectares cleared and has now roped in the army in yet another ambitious
venture, Operation Maguta.
The army mobilised hundreds of soldiers unaccustomed to
commercial agriculture and deployed units to till the land as a pre-emptive
strategy to forestall potential food riots.
As government groped about from one projected to another,
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was doling out over $6 trillion for the
agricultural sector. The cash largesse appears to have failed, as evidenced
by a food import bill of US$135 million which Gono revealed last week.
An official at the Commercial Farmers Union who declined to be
named said the uncertainty of tenure in the agricultural sector was a major
constraint on committing investment and productivity.
"Land is stock in capital and can only be used to access funds
upon provision of proof of formal documents that one is indeed the holder of
title," the official said.
Those who have been allocated land find it hard to embark on
long-term developments either due to fears that they might be moved out or
lack of resources, as they cannot borrow on the holdings.
Agriculture experts said investment in the agriculture sector
was hog-tied by the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment No 17 that
nationalised all land in Zimbabwe.
"All land in Zimbabwe is now state land, which undermines
property rights and discourages meaningful investment in agriculture," one
The expert said Zimbabwe was regressing by adopting discredited
price controls in an era of free markets and open economies.
Last year Gono proposed a "stick and carrot" command
agricultural framework whereby only highly experienced farmers would benefit
from government support so as to revive the country's flagging agricultural
Under the arrangement, new investors, or skilled former
operators would be given special dispensation and guarantees of
uninterrupted productive tenure of 5-10 years backed by relevant arms of
Farmers said failure to come up with a workable policy framework
to attract investment had forced government to stick its fingers in every
pie in the face of a worsening food crisis.
"Introduction of Operation Maguta was an admission of the fact
that there is no procedure being followed to resolve the land question and
food insecurity," farmers said.
"The army in charge of the operation has nothing to do with
farming. Zimbabwe can only establish itself as the breadbasket of Southern
Africa by creating an enabling environment."
A PARLIAMENTARY portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs
on Tuesday condemned conditions at Harare Central Police Station holding
cells, describing them as inhuman.
Police officers at Harare Central told the committee that
suspects slept on bare floors as there were no blankets and cleaned
themselves with naked hands after using the toilet due to unavailability of
toilet paper. Suspects survived on only one meal a day as a result of food
"I think this is inhuman. If someone is an accused person he
still has human rights. I think it is negative," said committee chairperson
and Zanu PF Bikita West MP, retired Colonel Claudius Makova.
"When we are here as MPs today, tomorrow we may also be here as
suspects," he noted.
Makova exonerated the police for the deplorable conditions
saying these were a result of inadequate budgetary allocations from
A tour of the complex showed that the sewer system was in some
instances blocked causing urine to drip from the fourth floor to the ground.
Cells were suffused with foul odour with some parts of the ceiling falling
Inspector Virginia Chabvuta, officer commanding cells at the
station, said cells and toilets were being cleaned using water only because
there were no detergents.
The officer commanding Harare Central, Superintendent Joseph
Mandizha, said the station was crumbling due to underfunding.
"The whole system is collapsing and needs to be revitalised. We
have not been allocated enough money," said Mandizha.
"We do not have resources and we do not have manpower. It gives
the officers stress, but we do the job. Morale is not very good but at least
they are happy that they have a job to do."
Last October, Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told the same
committee that the police force was "dangerously underfunded".
Chihuri said although the force had requested $27 trillion from
treasury, they were told that there was only $1,7 trillion.
Although the cells, which have a holding capacity of 168, were
said to be less crowded during weekdays, the situation was said to be
different during the month of February and at weekends.
An officer said the cells were overcrowded during February due
to demonstrators, while during weekends it was crammed because of a number
of operations carried out by the police to curb criminal activity.
Police at Matapi in Mbare failed to fool the committee into
believing sanitary conditions at the station had improved when the committee
was chaperoned through pristine cells.
MPs raised concerns that everything had been stage-managed when
they were taken through empty cells and shown blankets, toilets and walls in
Committee member and the MDC Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa said
everything had been stage-managed. "We are not kids who can be fooled by
such a charade," he said.
Inspector Maxwell Mukuze in charge of the police station said
all the suspects had been taken to court and no one had been arrested so far
during that day.
He stunned legislators when he said suspects were having three
meals per day adding that he could not complain about police salaries as
they were "okay".
He also said there was never a time when Matapi police cells
In contrast, suspects at Highlands said they had not been given
food since last week and were surviving on sharing food brought from home
for those who had relatives nearby.
Highlands police, however, complied with Supreme Court's
requirements such as providing flushing mechanisms to toilets from within
the cells and screening the toilets from the rest of the cells to allow
inmates to relieve themselves in private.
At the station, the only female suspect who was in police
custody said since being detained on Monday at 1pm she had not eaten
anything by noon the following day.
The Supreme Court deplored conditions at Matapi and Highlands
after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and Justices Wilson Sandura, Misheck
Cheda, Luke Malaba and Elizabeth Gwaunza toured Highlands during a
constitutional case brought by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
secretary-general Wellington Chibebe who applied to have the cells condemned
after being detained there the previous year.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights last month in a statement
deplored the state of the cells at Matapi police station after police
detained student leaders there. The lawyers said the cells did not have
running water and ablution facilities were broken down. They said those
detained were not given blankets and were forced to sleep on dirty floors.
ZIMBABWE has gained another dubious distinction. Four times it
has been awarded a prize for outstanding performance in agriculture in
recent years. The latest is a gold award offered by a Spanish organisation.
According to a Newsnet report on Monday, two GMB officials, one
of them the managing director, were in Spain for the award. Unfortunately I
was unable to find the citation. We have heard reports in the past of
sponsors requiring payment for such awards.
It is not only a dubious honour, it is also embarrassing coming
at a time when Zimbabwe is relying on food imports and millions of people
face starvation. The award is far different from that given to Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe in 1982/3 for his leadership in the fight against
hunger. Back then we were an exemplary African country.
In 1983 Zimbabwe had lots of competent farmers, it doesn't now;
it had plenty of friends, it doesn't now; it enjoyed a lot of international
goodwill, it has lost everything now. Zimbabwe today is poor, isolated and a
This reversal of fortune has been in inverse proportion to the
country's craving for, and lost stature and consequently influence, in
regional and international affairs. Yet all this could have been avoided
with a bit of elementary planning and foresight in executing the land reform
programme. But as they say, that is now water under the bridge.
The trouble is that we don't seem able to get ourselves out of
the rut of poverty. There is a certain deadly inertia that appears to
enervate even the highest authority in the land. I recall that it was in
July 2003 when President Mugabe said those who had grabbed more than one
farm should surrender the surplus properties. To all intents and purposes,
nothing has happened. Several land audits have been set up to identify who
owns what farm and what they are doing. Nobody has had the guts so far to
name and shame the culprits. This has punctured the myth nurtured over the
years of Mugabe as a leader who brooks no corruption and inspires fear in
his ministers. Clearly no one takes him seriously.
Take Agriculture minister Joseph Made as a case in point.
President Mugabe told the Zanu PF party people's conference in Esigodini in
December that lack of planning was the cause of perennial food shortages. He
fingered him again in the Newsnet interview on his 82nd birthday, along with
a number of other non-performing ministers.
You would expect that to "strike terror" in their hearts. Not in
a thousand years. Mugabe has quietly retreated into his shell at State
House. Occasionally he pokes his head out as his motorcade thunders down
Rotten Row at psychedelic speed to the safety of Shake Shake building.
My point is that the gold award in Spain is a mockery of what
Zimbabwe could be but cannot be so long as no one wants to accept
responsibility for the country's current parlous food situation. We know the
raw truth better than the Spaniards to be fooled by so-called gold awards
when people are starving nationwide.
One thing that I have learnt is that a nation whose political
leadership has lost all sense of shame is a nation in trouble indeed and
bound to get worse. In other countries, Made's failure to revive agriculture
over the past six years would have forced a resignation. Without sufficient
recovery in that sector, the war on inflation is going to be bloody and a
long-drawn out one for therein lies the bulk of the foreign currency we need
to import fuel, medicines, fertilisers and all other chemicals.
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is acutely aware of this. He
has splurged over $6 trillion in the sector hoping that a speedy recovery
there would shore up his own monetary policies. Yet there is evidence of
failure in his admission recently that government had spent a further US$135
million in food imports. Yet in terms of natural resources endowment as a
country, we should be the last one in the region to import food even during
a drought year.
The last time we had a minister doing the honourable thing was
when Edmund Garwe quit after his daughter stumbled upon examination question
papers. Since then that conduct has been condemned as a sign of
spinelessness not befitting "amadoda sibili". So it is that we can proudly
receive worthless awards for agriculture even as the nation spends millions
in priceless foreign currency on food imports. It's a crowning shame.
Ministerial doctorates didn't come from the Third Chimurenga
THERE are still more brickbats being aimed at Professor Arthur
Mutambara for daring to enter the Zimbabwean political circus.
The latest came from Ranga "Simpleton" Mataire of The Voice. His
bone of contention is that when Mutambara was elected to head the MDC two
weeks ago he should have told potential voters how he was going to reconcile
his Western education and experiences with his new role as leader of an
opposition party with the interests of the country at heart.
Mataire complained that Mutambara had "edited" out a huge chunk
of his "biography" in his speech, like being a "cheerleader" when University
of Zimbabwe students "went on the rampage destroying property".
Mutambara's stay outside the country is being portrayed as a
huge political handicap, without Mataire demonstrating how President Mugabe
is a better leader for his 26 years in power.
What Muckraker finds laughable is Mataire's concern about the
influence of Western education on Mutambara. How many cabinet ministers in
Zimbabwe today got their doctorates from Britain or the US? They certainly
didn't get them from the Third Chimurenga.
What makes them any different in their world outlook? Is this a
case of selective amnesia or plain ignorance by a "simpleton" singing for
his supper? Dr Tafataona Mahoso is another product of American education.
What would Mataire make of his case?
Talking of which, the doctor was recently fulminating against
the IMF; that it is "a cruel debt collector". The Voice reports that Mahoso
was furious that the IMF was demanding repayment of its debt from "a country
undergoing an economic revolution".
When did an economic collapse become a "revolution"?
Mahoso said the money Zimbabwe had paid to the IMF was needed
here more than anywhere else to buy chemicals and fertilisers.
"What we are paying back is not what we got or what we bargained
for," fumed Mahoso sagely. "We should look for other sources of financial
But surely even in his new-found luxury Mahoso should know about
something called interest when you borrow money. As for the "bargain", we
would love to hear what it was they "bargained for". It's also interesting
that in suggesting other sources of financial assistance Mahoso doesn't
mention our Chinese friends because no money ever flows from that corner of
the globe despite all the patriotic lies about the "Look East" policy.
Apparently the best story for Mahoso was about heavily armed
Kenyan police who stormed the headquarters of the Standard newspaper and
smashed its printing press. AFP reports that the cause of this senseless
outrage was a story which said President Mwai Kibaki "had held secret talks
with a political opponent".
"Dozens of balaclava-clad officers, carrying AK-47 assault
rifles raided the Standard group's offices shortly after midnight, seizing
computers and transmission equipment for the independent Kenya Television
Network," says AFP.
In his comments in the Sunday Mail Mahoso reminded us that soon
after coming into power Kibaki sent two officials from his Ministry of
Information to Zimbabwe to "learn our approach to media policy and media
regulation" so that they could always anticipate issues instead of reacting
We don't need to labour the point that they appear to have
learnt their lesson well. What they did to the Standard is what happened at
the Daily News offices in Harare and there is no chance that the
perpetrators of that crime will ever be brought to book. With a bit of
Mahoso's prescient media laws, the Kenyan authorities could follow up their
dastardly deed by closing down the paper altogether.
Nathaniel Manheru appears vexed by the Zimbabwe Independent's
rebranding exercise. Our new masthead represents a "confession of possible
shareholder changes and affinities with the British Independent,
identifiable by the fish-eagle", he inventively tells his few remaining
"The Zimbabwe bird had no appeal for them and that is as
nationalist as they are. I hope Mahoso is watching and asking questions in
what clearly appears to be a strengthening of the British hand in the local
This puerile conspiracy theory rests upon a false premise: that
the eagle on the London Independent's masthead and the African fish-eagle on
ours are one and the same thing.
This crass ignorance leads Manheru to direct the MIC chairman to
conduct a probe.
There has been no shareholder change at the Independent or
Standard. If Manheru was a well-informed commentator, instead of an
excitable party zealot, he would know that. And why is a fish-eagle any less
patriotic than a Zimbabwe bird?
Only in Zimbabwe's Orwellian media climate do you find a
presidential spokesman instructing a newspaper on what species of bird it
should have on its cover!
It doesn't end there. In the Sunday Mail, Mahoso occupied
seemingly endless column inches lecturing this paper on what stories it
should carry and on which pages. He attacked a "dubious and bogus lead
story" about Aippa which we published on January 6 and suggested an
alternative story carried elsewhere in the paper about journalists killed in
the pursuit of their work would have been more deserving. The British and US
in Iraq were responsible for creating the conditions that led to the largest
number of deaths, he claimed.
Mahoso omitted to declare an interest here. His job is on the
line if government amends the legislation under which his officious
commission operates. Our story on January 6 reported government law officers
as telling the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul
that the government was reviewing Aippa with a view to removing offending
Subsequent communications between the minister and ZUJ
concerning the composition of the MIC would appear to bear this out. Mahoso
failed to mention that salient point while he pursued his batty championship
of Unesco's New World Information and Communications Order, shot down by the
US and UK, among others, because it provided the means by which totalitarian
regimes could regulate their media.
If NWICO had survived, it would of course have provided
international justification for vicious laws like Aippa. As it is, the
Unesco initiative is as dead as a dodo and will not be revived.
But that won't prevent Mahoso hankering after it.
"Events in Kenya on March 2 indicate that media regulation is
necessary on a global scale if we are to be spared the violent and
unexpected clashes which could have been handled by tribunals and courts if
anticipated by law," Mahoso pontificates.
In other words state violence against the free media can only be
prevented by state control!
Manheru meanwhile takes another pot shot at the Independent's
Dumisani Muleya, the target of official bile the previous week.
Muleya is now accused of being motivated by sour grapes in his
comments on the National Journalistic and Media awards.
Muleya is not the only journalist to comment on the shambles at
the awards ceremony and the cronyism which appeared to guide those presiding
over it. We wonder why Manheru feels a parental need to prevent this
criticism. But the real reason for Manheru's bitterness with Muleya is not
difficult to find. Anchoring Page 1 in the Independent last Friday was a
story by Muleya headed "Charamba in hot soup over Tsholotsho".
So, suddenly all is clear.
Zanu PF's victory in the Chegutu mayoral election has come with
the customary noise about people "finally" discovering the truth about the
MDC. The ruling party "romped home to victory", we were told. The
"beleaguered opposition" was "buried" by the winning candidate.
Well, actually, it wasn't quite like that. Zanu PF's candidate
won by 3 236 votes to 2 335. Hardly the burial Webster Shamu was boasting
But let them have their day. Nobody believes an election result
in Zimbabwe any more, be it for president or mayor. If the MDC, fractious
and weakened, is capable of securing 41% of the vote, we can be confident
they would have no difficulty taking Chegutu back in a free poll.
And, as the example of Harare shows, Zanu PF is incapable of
delivering even the most elementary of services.
Shamu said his party's victory was "a fitting birthday present"
for President Mugabe. Was that the campaign pitch used by Martin Zimani we
Shamu also claimed service delivery had collapsed under Francis
Dhlakama of the MDC and promised the "beginning of Zanu PF's development
plan" for the town.
"The former MDC mayor had virtually no programme of a turnaround
strategy," declared the oracle of Chegutu. "We are now going to come up with
a clear strategy to improve service delivery and meet all obligations."
We would like to advise the people of Chegutu to visit Harare
and Chitungwiza to see for themselves the success story of Zanu PF's "clear
strategy" before they start celebrating the dawn of a new day. And of course
Shamu is Minister for Policy Implementation.
By the way the winning candidate's low vote of 3 236 tells us
all we need to know about how much faith people have in the ruling party. In
civilised countries that would be taken as a vote of no confidence.
Isn't it about time, what with all the awards ceremonies going
on, that we had a Most Poorly Performing Parastatal award?
Zesa for instance is still telling customers that it cannot get
to their homes because of fuel shortages. Its faults line is a mission to
get through to. And the staff have evidently not been taught the finer
points of customer relations. You can tell this outfit is run by someone
with close links to the ruling party.
Eric Bloch would no doubt like to nominate Air Zimbabwe but that
would be unfair to several other companies that are vying for the award. The
correlation between poor performance and fawning praise offered on the
occasion of the president's birthday provides a clue as to who the main
So, the MDC has been promoted to the "largest opposition party
in Africa, particularly in parliament" by the government. The claim is being
touted by Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe's head of delegation to a joint EU/ACP
parliamentary assembly session in Brussels where he hopes to get EU
countries to justify their hard-line stance on Zimbabwe.
Nelson Chamisa, who is part of the delegation, will probably be
reluctant to endorse Mzembi's claim that Zimbabwe is a "thriving democracy".
Does the MDC receive coverage in the public media commensurate with its
standing in parliament? How long did it take the courts to hear the MDC's
applications over the conduct of elections in 2000 and 2002?
Zanu PF MPs, found by the High Court to be unlawfully elected
because of violence, inducement or coercion, were allowed to continue
sitting all the way through to 2005 while they appealed to the Supreme
Court, thus shoring up the ruling party's majority.
Mzembi needs to be asked a few simple questions: Where is Joseph
Mwale, the alleged assassin of Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika? How,
with all the state's resources at their disposal are law enforcement agents
unable to bring him to court?
And how come the Daily News bombers continue to roam free?
Forget the Euro MPs. Why have these questions not been asked in
our own parliament?
Muckraker had a chuckle reading a story in the Sunday Mail
titled "Zimpapers devoted to promoting family values". The paper went on to
claim it was promoting family values through its annual "Bride of the year"
Group chief executive Justin Mutasa conceded that staging the
contest cost money, adding "but we believe we cannot put a monetary value to
marriage and strong families".
This might be true of the Sunday Mail. But one wonders what
family values are being promoted by the scatological Manheru.
And what of the indoor "small houses" at Herald House that we
hear so much about on the grapevine?
Remember, Zimpapers bosses last week blocked a parliamentary
select committee from probing the group's family values which include sexual
harassment and battery of female journalists.
The $21 trillion conundrum
By Eric Bloch
WHEN the news broke that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had
printed $21 trillion in order to purchase "free" foreign exchange, enabling
Zimbabwe to settle some of its very considerable, and much overdue,
indebtedness to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), wide-ranging
outpourings of criticism were directed at the RBZ.
Although the IMF commended Zimbabwe for meeting commitments,
albeit belatedly, it was nevertheless condemnatory of the action of printing
money in order to finance the accessing of the critically needed foreign
In like manner, Zimbabwe's economists (or, in any event, most of
them), its captains of commerce and industry, much of the independent media,
and very many others, have been vociferous in their disapproval of the RBZ
actions. None disagree that Zimbabwe needs to honour its obligations, but
most found it unacceptable that it should do so by resorting to the printing
of money. Such a measure, all considered, was unacceptable in the extreme,
although none suggested any other way that, at belatedly short notice,
Zimbabwe could raise the foreign currency needed to meet overdue debt
Without exception, the foundation of the criticisms was that
printing of money, unbacked by gold or other national assets, is a catalyst
of hyperinflation. And, as a general rule, that is the case. However, for
every rule there is an exception and, although many will disagree, the
recent printing of $21 trillion to enable RBZ to buy foreign exchange can
well be regarded as one of such exceptions.
Essentially, money printing fuels inflation in that, with
greater volumes of money in circulation, consumer demands increase, widening
the gap between supply and demand. As the extent of demands increases,
whilst supply remains - at best - constant, prices rise. As a result, it is
normally fully justifiable that the printing of money must be contained.
However, very little, if any, of the recent $21 trillion
printing will have filtered down to the consumer, and therefore the extent
that any of those monies would be chasing after commodities in short supply
was minimal. The recipients of the monies were businesses, NGOs, and like
entities who were possessed of "free" foreign exchange, being foreign
currency which is not subject to mandatory sale to RBZ, but can be held in
foreign currency accounts (FCAs) for usage upon a widerange of approved
purposes, in most instances, and virtually unrestricted usage in some cases.
Those who sold the funds to RBZ will, with very rare exception,
have applied the sale proceeds to the reduction of borrowings, the purchase
of capital goods such as plant, machinery and equipment, or to investment
within the money and the equities markets. Very little, if any, will have
been applied to the purchase of day-to-day consumables, compounding the
scarcities of those consumables and, therefore, triggering yet further
In recent times the foremost components of inflation have
included food, transport and communications, accommodation, education, and
electricity. It is difficult to believe that any of these had their prices,
in the last two months, driven by the fact that suddenly there was a greater
amount of currency in circulation. The price of maize-meal skyrocketed
because of extremely limited availability. That limited availability was not
because consumers were buying greater quantities, but because Zimbabwe did
not produce a sufficiency of the product (thanks to government's near total
destruction of agriculture), and due to mismanagement of imports.
A fortnight ago, a Bulawayo supermarket was selling imported,
refined meal for $975 000 per 10kg bag, as against a normal price of about
$135 000 per 10kg! The printing of money did not drive that price up.
In January and February, transportation costs soared upwards,
and especially so in the case of commuter omnibus fares. That was not due to
any increased money supply in the hands of commuters, but mainly because
petrol and diesel was only available from the black market, at a cost of
about $200 000 per litre of petrol or diesel, being almost 10 times the
In January TelOne, NetOne, Econet and Telecel all raised their
charges, in many instances by as much as 200%. That was not because an
excess of money supply increased demand for telecommunications, and
therefore was not attributable to the printing of money. It was because of
the exchange rate movements in December, and until January 20, and because
of rising operational costs.
Accommodation charges surged upwards since the beginning of
2006. This was very considerably due to increases in local authority charges
for rents, owners' rates, sewerage and refuse removal, water supply, and the
like, by up to 280%. The increased charges were not driven by the printing
In like manner, government and independent schools alike
increased school fees for tuition and for boarding very substantially at the
start of the 2006 school year. Such increases were unavoidable, due to the
overall impact of inflation during the third term of 2005 (which was before
the RBZ printed the contentious $21 trillion, with especial reference to
necessarily increased salaries, massive escalations in costs of imported
textbooks and educational equipment, and immense rises in costs of providing
board to scholars, over and above many other cost increases.
In January, 2006 Zesa announced tariff increases approximating
73%. That was not because consumers were using more electricity, enabled to
do so by there being more money in circulation, due to RBZ's allegedly
irresponsible printing of $21 trillion. Unfortunately, so great is Zimbabwe's
hyperinflationary environment that inflation itself has become the biggest
single trigger of inflation.
The burgeoning inflation drives up salaries and wages, as
evidenced in collective bargaining negotiations, and the overall increases
in operational costs force price increases. Those inflationary forces then
cause yet further inflation, ad nauseum. So it is spurious, in this instance
(and probably exceptionally) to ascribe present escalations in inflation to
RBZ's printing of $21 trillion.
Moreover, even if such money-printing had been inflationary
(which it clearly wasn't), there is justification in pondering whether "the
end justified the means". If the Zimbabwean economy is to recover, an
essential requirement is that it restores its international image of
creditworthiness, of a safe and secure investment destination, of a reliable
trading partner, and of a responsible member of the international
community, that can be trusted to honour its obligations - settling a
significant portion of its arrear indebtedness to the IMF was a very major,
most positive, action on the part of Zimbabwe, which must stand it in good
stead in its embattled drive towards economic recovery.
Therefore, even if the printing of $21 trillion to purchase
foreign currency did have negative repercussions (which is arguable, other
than insofar as economic policy image is concerned) it could very well be
contended that doing so was, as a rare and special exception, justified.
In that event, the wide-ranging criticisms of RBZ for
undertaking printing of monies are unjustified. The answer to the conundrum
as to whether or not the money should have been printed is, therefore, that
it should, but that should not constitute a precedent for "willy-nilly"
printing in the future.
Duped or doped?
IN an effort to shift blame away from himself, President Robert
Mugabe has once again pointed his finger at yet another fall-guy, and says
he was "cheated" into appointing former Information minister Jonathan Moyo
to his cabinet in 2000.
He told party supporters in Chegutu last Thursday that for all
his pretensions to being all-powerful, he was fallible after all.
"Leaders are fallible and can also be easily duped by these
opportunists," Mugabe said.
"But I do not think it will happen again to my government as
happened when Moyo joined us .I was fooled because he came in as a
hard-worker.He rarely spoke in cabinet. He was always writing and taking
notes during cabinet meetings and we do not know where he took them to."
Does Mugabe by any stretch of imagination expect public sympathy
for his confession?
This quest to secure public sympathy to mask incompetence and
failure is preposterous to say the least. We have always been made to
believe that Mugabe is a shrewd tactician firmly in charge of proceedings in
But Mugabe is also a master at apportioning blame. He is quick
to take credit for positives and to blame the men and women around him for
the many failures apparent in his 26-year rule.
Considering the monumental failure of his cabinet, I shudder to
think of how many times the president has been duped into appointing certain
men and women to ministerial positions. In the case of Moyo, Mugabe without
doubt found the professor extremely useful in fighting opponents at home and
Moyo was useful as long as he did not have ambitions which
threatened the established order. After the Tsholotsho debacle, Mugabe woke
up from his reverie to discover that he had been "misled".
So, was he wrong in appointing Moyo by believing those who
misled him? Or did he know that appointing the professor was a maladroit
move but he did it anyway for political expediency? Either way, it is Mugabe
who has a problem here.
As an omnipotent political player with pretensions of
omniscience, it should not have taken him half a decade to realise that Moyo
was a fraud.
In 2000 he appointed Nkosana Moyo to his cabinet of technocrats,
heaping kudos on the team which in addition to the two Moyos featured Joseph
Made and Simba Makoni.
Nkosana Moyo, disillusioned by mounting repression and policy
inconsistencies, fled the country in 2001 and resigned by a faxed letter. He
quickly became a target of presidential abuse.
Nkosana "grew cold feet", Mugabe told us in July 2001. "I do not
want ministers who are in the habit of running away. I want those I can call
amadoda sibili . people with spine. Our revolution ... was not fought by
cowards. If some of you are getting weak-kneed, tell us and we will continue
with the struggle."
His amadoda sibili are still soldiering on and blundering big
time and President Mugabe is aware of it. In an embarrassing
self-indictment, he told the nation during his recent birthday interview
that his ministers were self-centred and had failed to meet set goals.
Responding to a question on whether his cabinet had lived up to
its name as a development cabinet, he said: "To some extent yes, but to a
greater extent no- no! no! no! There is a lot of self-centeredness that one
sees amongst my ministers. When we talk of national development and a
development cabinet, we would want to see each and every ministry moving
towards the attainment of the goals set."
Asi nhai Gushungo, what have you done about this?
In Esigodini at the Zanu PF congress last December the president
complained about the late delivery of agricultural inputs saying there were
"serious shortcomings in government planning".
But the Agriculture minister for example, whose portfolio has
failed to meet set targets and has been consistently in error since 2000, is
most likely to be retained as minister in any future reshuffle. I do not
want to believe that the president was cheated in appointing an ineffectual
and bungling cabinet team.
As long as he does not act on misfeasance, Mugabe should
shoulder the full blame for the failure of his government to attain its
goals. The president has surrounded himself with deadwood and he seems to
enjoy the smell of the furniture immensely.
Indeed, every now and again he varnishes it.
Duped or doped by the aroma Mr President?
Zanu PF trap set, beware
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was cognisant of the
misunderstanding between the two splinter factions but still went ahead to
release the funds.
Chinamasa was aware that each faction has some sitting MPs;
Ncube's has 22 while Morgan Tsvangirai's boasts 18, meaning funds should
have been split on the basis of parliamentarian representation.
This clearly shows that Zanu PF is trying to weaken the
Tsvangirai faction by depriving it of its dues, which is tantamount to
sabotaging the national congress scheduled for mid-March.
My advice to Tsvangirai is: don't be intimidated by these dirty
tactics. If possible, fill all the vacancies left by the rebel faction
during the congress.
Allow genuine members of the MDC to contest any seat they wish,
provided they are eligible to do so. Remember the MDC has got millions of
supporters who have suffered for the past 26 years. We should not be misled
by a splinter grouping which is being used by Zanu PF.
What has participation in the senate poll achieved to date? What
has it done to stop corruption, skyrocketing prices, inflation, and
deteriorating standards of health and education? The list is endless.
We should not fall into the same trap which snared PF-Zapu.
Where is it now? How many cabinet ministers from it hold powerful posts?
The ball is in our hands.
Food for thought,
Karl Marx could chortle over this
ONCE in a while, organised religion throws up potent
evidence that Karl Marx was right when he said words to the effect that
religion was the opium of the masses.
How else would he react, but with a chortle, at the events
which followed the publication in a Danish newspaper of a cartoon satirising
the Prophet Mohammed?
Marx did not compare organised religion with organised
crime. Someone else did that, their reason being that the former was as
immoral and godless as the latter.
This was an exaggeration, but the deaths of Christians and
Muslims in the aftermath of the publication of the cartoons must make us
What kind of deity condones or even espouses the murder of
fellow human beings over a cartoon? Admittedly, religious adherents have
killed each other over even less controversial incidents.
What we know is that many religious people have an
interpretation of their faith which is totally different from what their
prophets propounded. Christian or Islamic presidents have justified attacks
on their own people on the grounds that it was their duty - perhaps not
their religious duty - but their duty nevertheless to do so.
All over the world, a president can order the razing of an
area which openly opposes his political party in the morning and go to
church in the afternoon to sing praises to his master.
Pause for a moment and wonder why this is so. Humankind is
fallible, yes, but is faith in a merciful, kind and forgiving supreme being
The question was asked by a magazine years ago: Is God
dead? We know what Marx would have said to that question.
Simple stories on inflation please!
ORDINARY people need to understand such issues as
inflation, what exactly it is and how it comes about.
Give us experiences of other countries in history,
such as Germany, that have experienced this phenomenon and how they solved
Once people understand this they will begin to draw
parallels with our situation and understand that it is not a question of
which party has the strongest slogan, but who talks sense.
I am sure among your columnists there is someone who
can tackle the topic in simple language, giving illustrations where
Contrary to what most people think, the Zimbabwe
Independent, the Standard and the Financial Gazette reach many rural folk.
Although all my copies of these papers are handed down to selected people
who read and discuss with others in their villages, topics like this one are
written in high-flown language.
Rural folk need to understand central issues so that
they stop believing that inflation is a kind of virus sent to Zimbabwe by
Tony Blair and George Bush.
The same treatment could also be given to foreign
currency, the role of the IMF, World Bank etc.
Another topic which I am sure readers could take up
is the role and function of a state security organ such as the CIA as
compared to our CIO.
We have been told that every country has a central
security organ but does ours function in the same way as all these?
I look forward to such educative columns aimed at
the barely literate so that they make choices from an informed point.
If such topics do not directly increase the sales of
your newspaper, they will certainly increase readership. I'm certain there
are organisations that care to sponsor such a column.
Compare the prices first
PRICES for medication in pharmacies have
really gone crazy.
On February 27, I went to see my eye doctor
who prescribed FML eye-drops (5mls) for my eye problems. The medication is
manufactured in South Africa.
I took the prescription to my usual pharmacy
that I shall call Pharmacy No 1.
I was shocked to be told that the price is
$8,2 million. I decided to shop around by telephone to see if I could find
it reasonably cheaper elsewhere.
At Pharmacy No 2 the same medication costs
$6,7 million. At Pharmacy No 3 it is going for $5,1 million while at
Pharmacy No 4 it costs $3,5 million. I eventually bought it at Pharmacy No 5
where it was sold at $2,6 million.
While I understand that different companies,
though in the same industry, have different cost structures and therefore
have different pricing regimes, the very wide range in price differentials
is really shocking.
The customer will never, ever, get relief from
the intolerable environment confronting him.
My advice to fellow Zimbabweans: please shop
around extensively before you decide to make a purchase. The differences in
prices for some medication between pharmacies can be wages for some people.
A commission could be good for Kwekwe
RESIDENTS of Kwekwe have been suffering from
the city council's unwarranted and highly-inflated water bills since
A household in the low-density area was
paying an average of $600 000 per month for water but in January it went up
to $200 million or more for some homes.
The surprising thing is that rains have been
falling meaning no one was watering their gardens.
On making enquiries, some of the bills were
slashed to $3 million without any satisfactory explanation.
The office is always inundated with people
making enquiries every month-end such that one spends more than four hours
awaiting his turn, and to make matters worse, one does not get a
The other surprising thing is that since
January, water supplies are cut for most of the day and thus reducing
Rumour also has it that the water is no
longer purified, leaving people prone to diarrhoea.
The water charges are way beyond an average
worker's salary. We do not know where they think people will get that kind
There seems to be gross mismanagement in
Kwekwe. It appears the council is broke, hence the attempt to milk residents
This issue needs to be looked into urgently
before we all die of debt-related stress.
It's possible we might be good candidates
for a commission just like Harare and Mutare, where things have changed for
We surely shouldn't die while the
responsible minister watches.
Confounded by White African
WHITE African from Bulawayo may not have had
the guts to use his real name in his response to my article "Only way whites
can secure place in Africa", (Zimbabwe Independent, February 17), about
whites in Africa at a time of great change.
But it was not difficult to tell that he/she
got very hot under the collar about my views.
That is fine and in the spirit of debate.
What a pity then that he/she got so emotional not in response to any actual
point I had made, but seemingly about raising the issue of why race
relations in southern Africa have never succeeded in going from fraught with
tension, to harmonious.
So worked up was White African, that he/she,
using the Jonathan Moyo-Tafataona Mahoso style of "debate", suggested that I
shut up about the issue altogether and stick to opinions he/she finds
And he/she insinuates that "someone with the
education to know better" should not think for himself, but hold his views
because of anti-white brainwashing over a lifetime!
It was tempting at that point to just
dismiss White African as too emotional about this issue.
But then I may be a little more used to
robustly debating issues on their merits or lack of them than he/she is.
I am not to be told what to talk about or
what opinions to hold by White African any more than I am by state pr
But more importantly, that head-in-the-sand
approach to history and the reality it has left us with, will not make it go
White African decided to ignore what I
actually said and instead got steamed up about the issue of whether one
culture is better than the other, and to get terribly offended at the idea
of whites "integrating fully" into the black African lifestyle/culture.
I did not address this at all, but touched
on the issue of inter-cultural accommodation and respect, and how it would
inevitably shift the other way from now on, though many whites would either
resist the very idea as an insult, or do it very grudgingly.
By refusing to even pay attention to what I
was saying, denying me the credit for being able to think for myself, and
reacting so strongly and emotionally to what thoughts he/she tried to put
into my mind, White African unwittingly gave a brilliant example of just the
attitude problem I tried to describe in my article!
I would like to thank him/her for so
graphically helping me make my point about one reason genuine racial harmony
will remain a mirage in southern Africa for some time to come!
Please help us avoid the 'cleft stick
WE urgently request fuel for the Tel*One
Rutenga-Mwenezi vehicle as workmen cannot attend to faults owing to
The area Tel*One workmen cover is vast yet
they are only given a mere 200 litres of petrol per month, which is
apparently not enough.
Our telephones have been out of order for
longer than they have been working since January 9.
Business associates and friends from Harare
cannot get through to our area.
We can also not make any outgoing calls at
Numerous calls from Zimpost Mwenezi by us to
one technician called Martin and his boss Masakurakwa in Chiredzi constantly
meet with they reply "sorry no fuel".
Phone call tariffs and rentals have been
increased while service delivery has deteriorated.
We appeal to donors, non-governmental
organisations or anyone out there to come to our rescue. Failing that, we
will have to go back to the "cleft stick messenger" of yesteryear.
Yearning for the good times at Textbook
TEXTBOOK Sales was the leading bookseller
and stationer in Zimbabwe prior to its acquisition by government after
Mutumwa Mawere had gone into exile.
Since then, we have had to endure miserable
lives and our conditions of service have deteriorated. Workers holding
important positions are earning paltry salaries of $3,5 million per month.
Nothing seems to be functioning properly;
shop shelves are virtually empty and there is no restocking. Sales staff are
not doing what they should be doing: visiting schools and companies
marketing company products.
We are told there is no money, but what
baffles us is why government would acquire a company and then claim lack of
funds. If there was no money to run the company, why acquire it in the first
Workers find it difficult to accept that
lame excuse of lack of funds and are prepared to embark on some action which
may embarrass the government unless something is done urgently.
The government should have let private
companies take over the company, instead of giving workers some false sense
We wonder why the acting managing director
holds meetings with accounting staff every week
instead of strategising with regional
managers who are well-versed with the selling and marketing of company
products? Because Textbook Sales is a retail organisation, workers believe
that regional managers, branch managers and sales representatives should
always be involved in the formulation of plans for the way forward. Accounts
personnel cannot, and should not play that role.
We look forward to the time when Textbook
Sales will regain its market share and revert to its envied status of the
leading bookseller in Zimbabwe.