Fri 24 March 2006
HARARE - Negotiations between Zimbabwe and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) of
South Africa for a US$1 million loan facility have virtually collapsed after
Harare failed to prove it was able to pay back, authoritative sources told
ZimOnline on Thursday.
They said the RMB also chickened out of the proposed loan deal because
the bank was unhappy with the gold claims that Zimbabwe was offering as
"RMB turned down government's request for a loan because of the
security offered by the state," said a source at the Ministry of Finance
that together with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) took part in
negotiations with the South African bank.
The source, who requested not to be named, added: "The bank was
concerned with land seizures that have continued unabated with sometimes
land where mines are located being taken. It was also unsettled by recently
proposed mining laws that will see mining firms forced to shed off 51
percent ownership to the government and local business people."
President Robert Mugabe's government has said it will introduce new
laws to force foreign-owned firms mining energy minerals, platinum and
diamonds to cede 25 percent shareholding to the state for free and to sell
another 26 percent stake to the government over five years.
Foreign-owned firms mining gold, emeralds and other minerals will be
required to cede 51 percent shareholding to the government and black-owned
companies over a period ranging from two to seven years, according to the
draft law that has caused anxiety among investors.
RMB spokesperson Peter Gent confirmed that the bank was not
"currently" in loan negotiations with Harare but would not disclose further
details on the matter citing client confidentiality.
Gent - whose RMB is reported to have also been involved in an advisory
capacity in still to be concluded negotiations for a US$500 million loan
from the South African government to Harare - said: "Rand Merchant Bank is
not currently in any loan negotiations with the Zimbabwe government.
"For reasons of client confidentiality we are unable to provide
further comment relating to this."
Zimbabwe Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said Harare was in
discussion with several South African banks and indicated that RMB was among
such banks. But Murerwa would not spell out progress on negotiations between
the government and RMB saying he could not do so "at this stage".
"We are in contact but I cannot divulge more details at this stage,"
the Finance Minister said.
Zimbabwe's central bank and officials at RMB confirmed last September
that they were in negotiations for a loan facility for Harare but did not
divulge details of their discussions or what the loan was intended to be
ZimOnline however revealed that Zimbabwe wanted to use the money to
buy food and fuel in critical short supply in the country because there is
no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
Zimbabwe is grappling an acute foreign currency and economic crisis
that began in 1999 when the International Monetary Fund withdrew
balance-of-payments support following differences with Mugabe over fiscal
policy and other governance issues.
The crisis worsened after Mugabe launched his farm seizure programme
in 2000 that destabilised the agricultural sector, the country's biggest
employer and largest foreign currency earner. - ZimOnline
Fri 24 March 2006
HARARE - A call by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for mass
protests against President Robert Mugabe resonates among the majority of
Zimbabweans and has dramatically raised the country's political stakes but
could well fail if the opposition movement remains divided, analysts said.
Tsvangirai, who was re-elected president of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) last Sunday, warned Mugabe - Zimbabwe's
sole ruler since independence in 1980 - that his more than two-decade rule
was nearing its end.
The former trade unionist's call was endorsed by churches, student and
civic groups on Wednesday but analysts said bringing all the anti-Mugabe
forces together would be critical to launch a bold offensive on the 82-year
old President, a cunning political fox in his heyday.
Mugabe, who labels Tsvangirai a puppet of the West, is increasingly
relying on the country's security forces to stifle opposition and dissent to
his controversial rule, which analysts say has reduced the former
breadbasket of the region into a begging nation.
"I assure you that 70 percent of Zimbabweans are grossly unhappy about
the situation they are in and there is growing anger against the government
and the ruling party leadership," Heneri Dzinotyiwei, a leading University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) political commentator said.
"But the challenge is to (craft) an approach where we have a popular
movement not identifiable with a certain party or individual," he told
Dzinotyiwei said there were many inside Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party
who were fed up with the veteran President but did not necessarily support
Tsvangirai. There were many others outside both ZANU PF and the two MDC
factions who equally wanted to see an end to Mugabe's rule.
"The challenge is how to bring all these people together under a broad
opposition movement. It can be done and I have no doubt the government will
not have a response if this scenario were to happen," said the respected
Economic analysts say although Zimbabweans have largely been cowed by
Mugabe's tactics of routinely deploying riot police and the military to
crush street protests, a crumbling economy has fanned public frustration
with the government.
Zimbabwe is battling a six-year recession dramatised by acute
shortages of foreign currency, fuel and food while the rate of joblessness
is around 80 percent and the world's highest inflation rate of 782 percent,
scaled in February.
The economy is seen worsening over Mugabe's controversial policies
that started with the arbitrary seizure in 2000 of white-owned commercial
farms to resettle blacks.
Analysts say worsening food shortages and general economic hardships
would continue to feed into the anger of the majority, who have been
impoverished over the years.
"It is going to be a sudden explosion of mass anger because we are
reaching the threshold of the people's patience," Eldred Masunungure,
chairman of the political science department at the UZ said.
"Without legitimate avenues of expressing discontent, it may be a
basis of a groundswell of mass anger that may break into the open and
becoming violent without necessarily being backed by any political force,"
Civic groups that met in Mutare on Wednesday included the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) that campaigns for a new and democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe National Students
Union, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Women Coalition and
Analysts said Tsvangirai's reputation is now on the line and will be
judged on whether he will deliver on his call but they added that the MDC
chief looks completely focused on Mugabe and not on a rival MDC faction,
which recently broke away and denounced his leadership in a bitter dispute
over tactics on how to tackle Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
"Such a programme will need good organisational skills, courage and
self-drive. He has put his reputation on the line and it has to work because
it could damage his standing," Masunungure said.
But the government is not sitting idly, and analysts said it could
have been rattled by Tsvangrai's weekend support and is now raising the
stakes against the 54-year old Tsvangirai by lining ministers, ruling party
officials and the police who have threatened to crush any dissent.
In a warning published on Wednesday, Mugabe's ZANU PF party warned
Tsvangirai anti-government protests could lead to bloodshed and boasted that
if it comes to war, only itself had the experience.
Calls in the past by Tsvangirai and his MDC for mass revolt have
fizzled out with only a handful of people heeding such calls while the army
and police have always been more than ready to prevent people from taking to
the streets against the government.
But Dzinotyiwei said: "In history nobody has been able to predict how
anti-government protests end but people realise the conditions we are living
in are not sustainable. Whether the bubble will burst will be seen in the
days ahead." - ZimOnline
Fri 24 March 2006
BULAWAYO - Ntokozo Tshuma thought her long-cherished dream of owning a
decent house was finally becoming a reality when she was allocated an
incomplete house in Bulawayo's Cowdray Park suburb under a reconstruction
programme initiated by the government weeks after its controversial home
demolition campaign last year.
But Tshuma - a 35-year old mother of two who previously lived in
cardboard and plastic shack at a squatter camp just outside Bulawayo - this
week told ZimOnline that life was slowly turning into a terrible test of
endurance at her new "dream home".
"For starters, none of us here has running water," said Tshuma, heavy
disappointment easy to detect on her weary face.
She added: "We still fetch water from a communal tap as if we are on a
mining compound and we have no electricity too. Government officials tell us
to be patient but for how long when we are living like this?"
But water and electricity are only two items on a long list of basic
commodities and facilities that Tshuma says must be put in place to make
Cowdray Park habitable.
And according to her, the first requirement was that the government
should return and complete the houses.
"If this is the government's idea of a proper house, then God help us
all," says Tshuma with a sweeping wave of the hand at her house that has no
doors or window panes - only yawning gaps which she must cover with plastics
to keep the rain and wind out.
When President Robert Mugabe last year ordered the demolition of
shanty towns and informal businesses kiosks, he said the exercise was only
for the good of the people as his government would build new and better
homes for all displaced families.
The United Nations, which sent a special envoy to probe the home
demolitions, said in a report that at least 700 000 people were left without
shelter or means of livelihood by the urban clean-up exercise.
The world body, which together with western governments, international
and local human rights groups condemned the home demolitions as a violation
of human rights, also said another 2.4 million people were indirectly
affected by the clean-up exercise.
To assuage international outrage, Mugabe's government then launched
Operation Garikayi (Operation Stay well) in July under which it said it
would build houses for everyone whose home was demolished.
Economic experts warned that the Harare government - already battling
to raise cash to import food and fuel - would not be able to mobilise
resources to build enough houses for all the people it had made homeless.
Soon enough the government was to discover that critics of the
ambitious housing programme may have had a point when last year companies
contracted for the project downed their tools over nonpayment, delaying
With state coffers in such a parlous state, there was little hope that
government alone could finance its much-vaunted housing reconstruction
programme. The government eventually gave up and late last year began
allocating incomplete houses to homeless families and ordering them to
finish the building of the houses on their own.
But recipients of the government's half-built houses say they do not
have money to finish construction, let alone install infrastructure such as
electricity and proper roads that the government in its haste to impress the
international community had neglected to put.
"My husband keeps us going by doing odd jobs here and there since the
company he worked for down-sized," said Chipo Mlalazi, also a resident here
at Cowdray Park.
"We can ill-afford to buy cement, window and doors frames essential
for construction. We just do not have the money . we really wonder where the
government expects poor people like us to get the money to finish building
the houses," she said.
According to Blazio Ngwenya, who is an estimator with one of the
largest construction companies in Bulawayo, the average cost of building is
at least US$700 per square metre, a huge figure for most of the families who
received unfinished houses from the government. Like most Zimbabweans many
of the families live on less than US$1 per day.
Ngwenya said: "Building materials are quite expensive these days. This
is made worse because prices of building materials keep changing on a daily
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, who led the government's
home building operation, was not available to take questions on the
matter. - ZimOnline
Fri 24 March 2006
HARARE - A new judge brought in to hear the bail application of Peter
Hitschmann, accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe,
dismissed the application on Thursday.
High Court Judge Alphas Chitakunye denied Hitschmann bail after
allowing the state to alter charges to strengthen its case which was facing
collapse after an earlier court freed Hitschmann's co-accused because of
lack of convincing evidence.
One of Hitschmann's lawyers, Johannes Zviuya, told ZimOnline that they
will launch an appeal to the Supreme Court challenging Chitakunye's ruling,
especially his decision to allow the state to change charges to save its
Zviuya said: "This morning the AG's (Attorney General) office smuggled
the records of the altered charges into the High Court files. We argued
(against the move to alter charges) but the Judge accepted the new facts on
the charge sheet.
"At that stage, the Judge said Hitschmann did not deserve bail and the
application was dismissed."
It was not possible to get comment from AG Sobuza Gula-Ndebele on the
Chitakunye, appointed to the bench after Mugabe purged independent
judges, took over the case after fellow Judge Charles Hungwe recused himself
because the AG's office objected to his handling the matter.
The AG's office argued that Hungwe could not hear Hitcshmann's
application because he had already presided over the bail application of
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party defence spokesman Giles
Mutsekwa who, along with five other activists of the party, was also facing
charges of plotting to murder Mugabe.
Hungwe granted Mutsekwa bail and strongly criticised the police and
secret agents for using intimidatory and unprofessional tactics during the
investigation of the case.
A magistrate's court subsequently freed Mutsekwa and the five other
MDC activists saying the state had failed to produce evidence linking the
accused to the alleged crime.
The collapse of the state's case against Hitcshmann's co-accused would
have left the court with little option except to set him free - that was
until Chitakunye permitted the state to alter charges.
The state is now accusing Hitschmann of illegal possession of
dangerous weapons. Although Hitschmaann is a registered arms dealer, he
would still need to obtain a ministerial certificate to possess certain
kinds of dangerous weapons. The state could easily secure conviction if it
can produce evidence that Hitschmann owned such weapons without the
Initially the state had accused Hitschamann of illegal possession of
weapons that could be used to commit banditry, sabotage or terrorism. It had
charged that Hitschmann, a former soldier in the white settler army before
independence, was planning and in collaboration with the MDC activist to use
the weapons to kill Mugabe and to commit acts of banditry. - ZimOnline
By Violet Gonda
23 March 2006
Analysts have warned of worse things to come if disastrous policies
being implemented by the government are not changed. Economist John
Robertson said the economy is in very bad shape mainly because of the rapid
level of inflation. But he added, "Inflation itself is only a symptom of
other bigger problems such as scarcity of goods and scarcity of foreign
currency, caused by the reduced volumes of exports."
Observers have said the economy has to be the government's biggest
embarrassment but it constantly has to justify what it has done by claiming
that the policies have been in the interest of the population. The
economists said, "The government's only looking backwards to explain what it
has done and it has not provided any forward looking plans."
He said the effects of this disabled economy should be a source of
massive embarrassment for the Mugabe regime, which cannot raise the money it
needs from taxes or from loans. Lending institutions no longer have the
savings that the government requires to close the gap between revenue and
The ruling party claims inflation is 780%. Robertson said the
government figures are not too far off but if nothing is done to address the
problems it could go up to a figure that is well above 1 000% in the coming
The analyst said the inflationary rate for February was very high if
we are to measure from month to month; "Prices on average were 27% higher
than they were in January. That is a level of inflation that many developed
countries would not experience in even 10 years and we had it in one month."
The extent to which prices are changing has resulted in people paying
millions of dollars to buy ordinary goods. In her weekly email update author
Cathy Buckle said a simple shopping trip to a supermarket has become an
exhausting and depressing event. She wrote; "As I stood waiting for my turn
I looked at the prices of things and it is like being in cuckoo land. A 500
gram packet of "value" bacon costs more than I paid for my entire house just
five years ago! A single egg now costs twenty five thousand dollars and a
friend told me that he had bought his two thousand acre farm a few years ago
for the price of two eggs and half an egg shell!"
John Robertson said the biggest note Zimbabwe has at the moment is
Z$50 000 which works out at 50 American cents at the official exchange.
"That means with one Z$50 000 notes I could have bought 2 houses when I
bought my house back in the 70s for Z$25 000."
Critics have said the answer to this problem has to be the
establishment of a democratic government.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 March 2006
It is not news to Zimbabweans that food prices are so high that
desperate families sometimes go for days without anything to eat. And it is
certainly not news to those on the ground who are witnessing the reality of
it or suffering through the consequencies. It is their individual stories
and experiences that best illustrate the extent of the food crisis in
The Reverend Dr Martine Stemerick has been very actively involved with
The Providence Caregivers and Orphans Trust, an organisation that helps the
most vulnerable in areas of Matabeleland. She told us a shocking statistic
that clearly shows why so many are now dying of hunger. She said children in
the programme are being fed a high protein mixture of maize and soya bean
known as "bota". A 5 kg bag of this crucial mixture is now selling for
Z$800,000. That is almost a million dollars for a 5 kg bag. The children are
raised by widows who are also part of the programme. With each widow taking
care of an average 5 to 6 kids, one meal of bota porridge for a family unit
now costs nearly Z$ 6 million. Dr Stemerick said these food prices are
forcing the Providence programme to assist the most desperate of the
The most vulnerable, who are the elderly, infants and those affected
by HIV and AIDs, are reported to be "dying like flies" as Dr. Martine
Stemerick told us this week. She was very emotional and deeply concerned
after having spoken to Bulawayo Archbishop Pius Ncube. He told her the
church in Bulawayo was no longer able to feed all the families that show up
daily crying for help with everything from rent to school fees. What is most
heartbreaking is that those who visit the Archbishop desperately seeking
something to eat, need it then and there having not eaten for days. She said
areas like Lupane and Avoca are devastated.
Southern Africa's food security warning organisation, FSEWS, has said
Zimbabwe will harvest only 600,000 tonnes of maize this season, while the
country consumes an annual average of 1.8 million tonnes. That is just over
a third of what is needed. The report said we will have to import 1.4
million tonnes of maize, 200,000 tonnes of wheat, 40,000 tonnes of sorghum
and 6,000 tonnes of rice to avert widespread deaths related to hunger. The
maize alone would cost at least US$350 million. The money is simply not
there, and choices will have to be made.
As one villager said, 'we are dead.'
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Jethro Mpofu
Last updated: 03/24/2006 03:48:00
A STORY is told that a drunken husband came from a bar and beat his wife
black and blue.
Naturally, she became angry but could not, for some reason, fight back. When
the husband had gone back to the beerhall in the morning and the little
children were playing around as usual singing, dancing and jumping, the
noise annoyed the angry mother and she gave the little ones a thorough
They became angry, but they did not know what to do about it. When a
neighbour's hungry dog strayed into the yard to search for bones and other
left overs the little kids stoned the dog and injured it. The dog was hurt
and obviously angry. He vented the anger on the cat that was passing by, he
sank his teeth deep into the poor cat's skin.
In turn, the cat vented his anger on the rats and the mice that were to be
It is a story about the sad and the sorry cycle of violence, abuse and
oppression. I am not going to suggest in this article that Zanu PF is our
national husband or father. I only seek to demonstrate that the abuse that
the current government has put us through has turned all of us Zimbabweans
into angry and sometimes helpless victims who are more than willing to be
victimisers ourselves. We have become the Fanonian "Wretched of the earth"
who are the oppressed whose 'permanent' propensity is to become oppressors
in our own right. The volcanic temper, the angry words and fierce threats
that Robert Mugabe and his apologists throw at the opposition, the
accusations and the labels manufactured by the regime to defame their
enemies, real and imagined - we the citizens, especially in the opposition
political parties and civic organisations have swallowed and internalised
We have perfected the art of labelling each other and blaming each other,
even when it only serves to compromise our potency at deconstructing the
regime. This is the reason why a mere internal debate and difference of
opinion over a policy or a strategy within a political party will lead to
the formation of factions and camps.
While diversity of opinion, multiplicity of views and plurality of
organisations are important ingredients of the democratic process and
experience, duplicity is a bad negation. I think strongly that in these days
that we are living through, where the regime is suffering huge but concealed
cracks, where actually the regime is gripped by panic and fear and they are
behaving like the biblical "guilty ones who flee even when no one pursues",
Zimbabweans need to observe the fact that this is the time where weaknesses
of other organisations must be compensated for by the strengths of others.
It is the time that constitutional lobby groups, political parties, women's
organisations, students organisations, church organisations, traditional
organisation and other entities including the civil service should see that
our suffering is common and that we will all need to contribute a blow to
the fight against the regime and the process of coming up with a new
democratic and acceptable constitution for our country. My humble
contribution in this article is that every Zimbabwean, whether in the ruling
party or the opposition, within our borders or in the diaspora, has a role
to play in the liberation of Zimbabwe from this Tyranny.
Out of a certain measure of suspicion, fear and anger Zimbabweans generally
have come up with a strong idea that it is no use trying to convince the
Zanu PF leadership or their followers that there is a Zimbabwe beyond Mugabe
and Zanu PF, and that there is life outside Zanu PF. I seek to argue that
the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe that are currently working for and with
Zanu PF still have a chance to rescue themselves from the sinking ship and
assist the others in the opposition and civic society to reconstruct the
economy and the country. It is actually said that being in the Zanu PF
leadership ranks is like ridding a hyena (Impisi/Bere), you do not dare
dismount, if you dismount you are lunch for the cruel creature. In my
ordinary judgement, more than half of the people that occupy Zanu PF
leadership ranks today are not in agreement with the policies and the
programmes of the party and the government.
It is the fear of losing the farms that they have been given, and also some
of them have acquired huge loans and other financial favours using the
patronage and influence lines of the party, some of them given their age, it
is a mere wish to win a place at the heroes acre that is keeping them in
there. Mostly, the fear of being ejected from those corners of comfort and
security is the one that is keeping these mostly helpless Zimbabweans
hostage in the party. The opposition need to open up their communication
lines and other verandah's of political negotiation to these citizens who
may easily turn out to be assets in the deconstruction of the regime. Our
political intolerance, which sometimes becomes something akin to political
superstition which leads us to believe that anyone who is in Zanu PF or also
has been in Zanu PF cannot constructively contribute to the re-invention of
Zimbabwe is a political weakness and it is unstrategic to say the least. For
the men and women currently leading Zanu PF, it may be one of the greatest
services to Zimbabwe if they can heed the call of common political wisdom
and enjoin themselves into revolutionary conspiracies with the opposition
and other constructive forces.
One of the situations, where Zanu PF have tried actually to monopolise
history and sometimes play hide and seek with a national heritage or even to
bribe history has been the issue of reducing liberation war veterans to a
Zanu PF militia and terror force. It is in the interest of Zimbabwe and the
interest of the liberation war veterans of all sheds to begin to re-orient
themselves and see themselves still as soldiers and cadres in the ongoing
struggle for a better Zimbabwe. That Zanu PF has tried to bribe, to abuse
and misuse these brave men and women should not blinker us to the fact that
liberation war veterans can still decide as individuals or as organisations
to act on the fact that the Zimbabwe that we are in is not the Zimbabwe that
they went to the bush to fight for. They can still come clear that they also
like any other Zimbabweans are not satisfied with the lives that they are
leading and they also need to work with others in the fight for a new
Currently, Zanu PF are engaged in mocking the struggle for the emancipation
and empowerment of women in Zimbabwe and elsewhere by dangling Mai Joice
Mujuru before everyone trying to package and market her as an example of how
the government is committed to recognising and empowering women. Here is a
very wrong model being touted as a role model for all women. Our hard
working sisters and mothers who have endured the burden of a dying economy,
the pain of starving families and the disintegrating family unit cannot be
presented through an unwanted process of promotion by patronage and not
merit. I think it is commonsensical that only leadership chosen and
appointed by Mugabe in Zimbabwe will be an appendage and extension of his
undesirable rule. It will be the perpetuation of the same political culture
that Zimbabwe is tired of. It is important for the women in Zimbabwe to be
their own "King makers" and the shapers of their own leadership. To have
some "King makers" imposing their "queens" as leaders for our country will
be a betrayal on our part and unwanted elongation of the unwanted Mugabe
Yoweri Museveni in his useful book What is Africa's Problem? observes that
"often, in Africa instead of young people being at the fore front of the
struggle for social justice, they are at the fore front of the struggle for
privileges. Your mission (as youths) is to understand the politics of your
country and of Africa in general, in order to discover negative and positive
politics". It cannot be put better.
The youth in Zimbabwe need to take a front seat in the struggle for a better
future. The archaic statement that youths are leaders of tomorrow should be
thrown out of the window. Youths need to stamp their mark on the national
corridors of power and influence today and not tomorrow. Youth
organisations, student's organisations and other youth groupings should
understand that as long as the mass of youths in the country remain as
spectators while our fathers and mothers vote unwisely we will be auctioning
the future of our country to the lowest bidder. We should turn it into a
fashion and a rule that all youths in our neighbourhoods and organisations
are registered as voters. Our fear of the establishment, our anger with the
regime and our hatred of the present situation is futile as long as we do
not vote. We end up becoming a whole generation of angry and protesting
youths who cannot change their situation.
In conclusion, our fear, hatred, anger and frustration should not become
impediments to political strategic action and process. To successfully
dislodge Zanu PF we need everything and everyone at our disposal. Every
Zimbabwean has a role to play in the liberation of the country from Zanu PF.
The men and women of conscience in Zanu PF have a role to play in helping
dilute the regime and empower the general opposition. Our suffering should
now inspire the liberation war veterans to assist in the recovery of our
country from Zanu PF abuse.
The women's movement should once again rise as before in the liberation
struggle and invest their energy and efforts in the reconditioning of our
country. The student's movement and other youth entities should also take
the challenge of being counted as those who would not let the country die.
More importantly the constitutional lobby organisations like the NCA must
broaden their fronts and ensure that we do not make the monumental mistake
of putting politics and political parties before democratic laws and
Jethro Mpofu is a former university student leader and political activist.
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Dr Alex Magaisa
Last updated: 03/24/2006 04:28:22
ONE of the key rallying points of the current struggle is the campaign for a
new Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is widely believed that the current
patchwork that we call a constitution is fundamentally flawed and therefore
requires urgent reform.
This idea of the campaign is correct and commendable. My concern however, is
that it targets a change of the set of rules under which the country is
governed without placing similar emphasis on the culture and norms that
define the attitude and conduct of individuals between themselves,
organisations and the state. It is a note of caution suggesting that the
success of a new constitutional order depends not necessarily on the beauty
of the new legal rules that are established but on the behaviour, norms and
socio-political culture in the society.
In short therefore, the article urges the deployment of attention and
resources towards cultivating a local constitutional culture as a
pre-requisite for the success of the constitution. Without the
constitutional culture the spirit of constitutionalism cannot be sustained.
The growth of this culture starts at the very basic unit of society to the
highest organs of the state. To that end, the family, the village,
neighbourhood, local community, civil society organisations, political and
non-political organisations, commercial and non-commercial organisations all
have a role in cultivating this constitutional culture, which supports
constitutionalism. It is not mere adherence to rules that matter but whether
those rules encapsulate the values of a given society and lived and
experienced by the citizens. This bundle of factors determining whether or
not there is a suitable constitutional culture is what leading scholars have
called "social capital". Instead of expecting the constitution to save the
people from misery, it is the people who have an obligation to save the
constitution from failure.
I have previously used a similar argument in relation to corporate
governance in the economic marketplace - arguing that in most cases issuing
voluminous codes on corporate governance does not automatically mean that
there will be an improvement in corporate governance. Instead there must be
focus on other ways, usually non-legal ways of changing the long established
norms, culture and conduct in the marketplace, which often differ from one
country to another. Laws on their own do not change that - and other
approaches must be sought.
The current approach assumes in part that the constitution can work as a
tool of social engineering, that is, as an instrument of changing the
political culture and conduct of the leadership towards the citizens and
democracy. It is argued that a key fault in the current constitution is that
it centralises power in the executive arm of government. However, it also
assumes that if a new constitution is promulgated the political leadership
will have the right attitude and inclination to conduct themselves in ways
that further the goals of the constitution. The assumption that the
political leadership will submit to the constitutional limitations simply
because a new constitution has been promulgated is inaccurate. It also
assumes that the citizens will have the desire, capacity and resources to
serve and defend the constitution. A new constitution does not equate to a
new constitutional culture.
Indeed a constitutional culture is not automatically and instantly triggered
by the emergence of a beautifully crafted constitution. Developing social
capital to grow the constitutional culture is a long-term issue and
unsurprisingly it is often unattractive to politicians seeking immediate
political power. It is also a remote incentive for people who are struggling
to get by under admittedly very difficult socio-economic conditions.
Politicians tend to focus on the tangible document - the constitution. But
we must also talk about these unpopular, less-eye catching issues and place
them in the marketplace of ideas for people define their agenda for change.
But how then can the requisite constitutional culture be developed? The key
thing is that it is an organic process, which simply needs to nurtured and
encouraged. The Constitution is a testament of the values cherished and
protected by a society over a period of time. It is therefore important to
have a good appreciation of the constitutional history of the nation. This
history is vital because it shows us the values that have been cherished and
advanced at each stage of development and therefore shapes the future
direction. Constitutional culture is at the same time local and
international - local in that it grows out of the needs and experiences of
the Zimbabwean people and global in that there are common threads that can
be identified in all societies across the world based on the idea that at
the centre of all political struggles is the desire for human dignity and
In essence, therefore the creation of a constitution is part of the
political struggle. If it is correct that constitutions are products of
political struggle there three key points that follow from this
First, every constitution ought to reflect the values, ideals and goals of
the society engaged in political struggle. A constitution is therefore
likely to be unique depending on the experiences of that particular society.
They key here is for society to identify and entrench its values in the
constitution - in other words, the values that the constitution protects
cannot be prescribed from outside and cannot be divorced from the values of
the living communities. The values to which a society aspires define the
conduct and attitudes of individuals that is essential for cultivating the
constitutional culture. Close observation shows that Americans always refer
to their values, as do the British, the French or other societies that have
had long recorded constitutional histories. Our values do not have to equate
to those of any other country, but they must be defined nonetheless.
Second, because it is part of the political struggle constitution making is
necessarily an on-going process. My concern is that the current approach
seems to have given the impression that the creation of a new constitution
is an achievement that will guarantee good governance and everyone will live
happily ever after. The reality is that constitution making will not stop on
the day a new document replaces the current one. It is worth remembering in
the history of modern Zimbabwe there have been several episodes when the
constitution has been changed. It is easy to forget that the pre-colonial
societies had their own constitutional arrangements as did the colonial
society afterwards. Constitutional historians therefore have a key role to
play in the constitution-making process. In essence, citizens must be
prepared that constitutional struggles will continue, albeit in different
forms over the course of time.
Third, by virtue of it being a political struggle, there will inevitably be
victors and losers at every stage. The losers at every stage will continue
to seek change. But winners at one stage may become losers at another point
depending on the changes in societal values influencing interpretation of
the constitution. Values and goals also change over time and with that
rights are either gained or lost. Historically disadvantaged people such as
gays, women, black people, ethnic minorities have at different times in the
course of history gained rights as societal values in different places
changed. But it is not the Constitution that changed the values - the
changes in those values most likely helped to transform society's views and
therefore political and legal interpretations of already existing rights.
Civil society organisations, political parties and all organisational units
need to engender the constitutional culture at local and national levels.
Indeed, at the very basic unit of society - the family - that is where
values emerge and we have to start from there in developing the culture that
supports constitutionalism. One cannot emerge from a family unit in which he
or she tramples the values that he or she wishes to preach at the national
level. The children's behaviour, attitude and conduct are defined at the
family and local level. They grow up to become leaders in society and their
conduct is shaped by the values they learn from an early age. If he grew up
knowing that nothing can be obtained without paying a bribe or taking unfair
advantage of another person, how can he be expected to act differently when
he assumes a position of power? Individuals and organisations and that
govern in traditional and modern institutions need to cultivate the culture
of tolerance, free-speech, fairness, competition among other values. Civil
society leaders have to start the process internally in order to make an
impact when they preach the word of the constitution and democracy.
Similarly, the leadership of political parties fighting for democracy has to
realise that its conduct and attitude toward rules, political institutions
and other people is as important as the document that it continually talks
about. How they respond to dissent, competition and diversity and how we
deal with minorities or those that disagree is part of the process of
building that culture.
I hazard to add that for all its weaknesses the current constitution is not
exactly the primary problem. Rather, it is the conduct and behaviour of the
incumbent leadership, indeed any leadership that behaves similarly that is
at fault. And this deplorable conduct occurs with or without the presence of
rules. As I have argued before when closely analysed, the constitution has
simply been a tool to legitimise actions but has not necessarily been the
main driver of the actions of the leadership. Experience shows that conduct
that is patently unconstitutional has been permitted over the years - even
in the face of clear constitutional safeguards. So rules in themselves are
not the problem. A good example of the irrelevance of rules in this context
is in relation to the judiciary:
The leadership could violate the constitution and yet the judiciary fails to
do anything about it regardless of the presence of constitutional powers and
obligations to safeguard the constitution. We must recall that even the
much-criticised judiciary has always acted under the current constitution
and at one point was one of the best in the Commonwealth. The constitutional
rules have not changed in any fundamental way - but the conduct and attitude
of political actors towards the judiciary has changed most probably causing
the judiciary to change as well by retreating to the margins. The rules have
not changed but the values, character, ideals and conduct of the principal
actors have changed. We can have a constitution with all the best
safeguards, a constitution with the most beautiful clauses but if the men
and women who exercise power and make decisions have no will to change their
conduct because they subscribe to different values, then that constitution
will remain ineffective.
I must end by acknowledging the efforts of the various groups, both
political and non-political, that have played roles in raising awareness
about the day constitution. Certainly, more people know about the
constitution in 2006 than they did in 1996. However, a lot more needs to be
done to promote constitutional literacy as part of cultivating the
constitutional culture. From primary school, children have to know about the
constitution and its importance in the governance of the country. When we
talk about a new Zimbabwe we often restrict our vision to an escape from the
current malaise. In reality, a new Zimbabwe will emerge over a long period
of time. It may never be realised in our lifetime but let us look ahead 20
or more years - and hope that generations to come will look back and
acknowledge that a firm foundation was laid for them.
The idea of constitutional culture as argued in this article demonstrates
that the struggle for constitutional change is not and must never be the
exclusive preserve of lawyers endowed with drafting and advocacy skills. It
requires us to tap from other disciplines, which best capture the values and
the softer aspects that define the conduct and behaviour of people in
relation to each other and institutions. It also involves calling upon ideas
and wisdom from both traditional and modern institutions at local and
national levels. It requires every individual to participate at the most
basic level because the people themselves are the constitution for the
constitution is no less than living practice - not just a set of carefully
crafted words on a document stored somewhere in the official cabinets. The
law alone will not change the situation - we have to look beyond the law in
building and nurturing the requisite constitutional culture. The fight for
the constitution must continue but with a necessary eye toward the issues
discussed briefly in this paper.
Dr Magaisa is a lawyer and can be contacted at email@example.com
Despite a crackdown on dissenting voices in Zimbabwe - where President
Robert Mugabe has ruled for more than 25 years - censors have allowed a
controversial play to complete its run in the capital, Harare.
Pregnant With Emotion, featuring some of the country's best-know figures in
the arts, is about a child that refuses to be born until there is a change of
It has played to good audiences for two weeks and there are plans to tour the
country next month.
The political satire was written by stand-up comedian Edgar Langeveldt and
Raisedon Baya, who scripted Morons - a play that was banned two years ago.
Marwei, played by Thembi Ngwabi, is 13 months pregnant and her unborn child -
symbolising Zimbabwe's future - refuses to leave the womb until the country's
problems are solved.
Each time the unborn child predicts the unhappy events about to befall its
parents, Marwei slaps her backside and holds her stomach in searing pain.
Marwei's husband Noah, played by Mandhla Moyo, is a civil servant and strong
supporter of the government and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
But he loses his job and they are evicted from their home in last year's
government slum demolition campaign, Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out
"What kind of father kicks the children out of the house in the middle of a
cold night?" poet Chirikure Chirikure asks, as the couple prepare to sleep on
This commentary is accompanied by the music of a mbira, a traditional thumb
piano, played by well known music star Chiwoniso Maraire.
"Whilst we are hungry, they feast. They are on the other side of the river
and our eyes are now open. They are wide open," she says during the piece.
For Maraire, the image of the unborn child and the suffering that awaits it
is very powerful.
"There's a lot of beauty in this world but there's also a lot of madness in
this world. When you're a parent you do kind of ask yourself, was it wise to
bring children into this existence?" she says.
After losing their home, the couple are visited by a messenger from the
spirit world who tells Noah that his problem is fear.
"A fear to face the truth; a fear to die; a fear to do the right thing. Your
enemies prey upon that fear Noah - they feed on it," the spirit says.
He leads Noah into a symbolic battle with the nation's leadership in which he
fights for the mukombe, a wooden ladle used in ceremonies where chiefs
"We know you suffered and we thank you but you have been paid enough,
rewarded enough, compensated enough for your pain now it is time to pass the
mukombe around," the leader is told during the battle.
Zimbabwean theatre companies have tackled sensitve issues before, but for
director and producer Daves Guzha, this production is a watershed.
"For the first time we have come we've decided to talk about the actual
problem," he said.
"Whether it's within the Zanu-PF system or within the [opposition] MDC
system, we're just saying the problem is leadership."
Pregnant With Emotion has also been given extensive coverage in the state-run
This, and the fact that the censorship board has allowed the play to complete
its run in the capital, suggests that Zimbabwe's restrictive climate is
Despite a crackdown on dissenting voices in Zimbabwe - where President Robert Mugabe has ruled for more than 25 years - censors have allowed a controversial play to complete its run in the capital, Harare.
Pregnant With Emotion, featuring some of the country's best-know figures in the arts, is about a child that refuses to be born until there is a change of leadership.
It has played to good audiences for two weeks and there are plans to tour the country next month.
The political satire was written by stand-up comedian Edgar Langeveldt and Raisedon Baya, who scripted Morons - a play that was banned two years ago.
Marwei, played by Thembi Ngwabi, is 13 months pregnant and her unborn child - symbolising Zimbabwe's future - refuses to leave the womb until the country's problems are solved.
Each time the unborn child predicts the unhappy events about to befall its parents, Marwei slaps her backside and holds her stomach in searing pain.
Marwei's husband Noah, played by Mandhla Moyo, is a civil servant and strong supporter of the government and the ruling Zanu-PF party.
But he loses his job and they are evicted from their home in last year's government slum demolition campaign, Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish].
"What kind of father kicks the children out of the house in the middle of a cold night?" poet Chirikure Chirikure asks, as the couple prepare to sleep on the street.
This commentary is accompanied by the music of a mbira, a traditional thumb piano, played by well known music star Chiwoniso Maraire.
"Whilst we are hungry, they feast. They are on the other side of the river and our eyes are now open. They are wide open," she says during the piece.
For Maraire, the image of the unborn child and the suffering that awaits it is very powerful.
"There's a lot of beauty in this world but there's also a lot of madness in this world. When you're a parent you do kind of ask yourself, was it wise to bring children into this existence?" she says.
After losing their home, the couple are visited by a messenger from the spirit world who tells Noah that his problem is fear.
"A fear to face the truth; a fear to die; a fear to do the right thing. Your enemies prey upon that fear Noah - they feed on it," the spirit says.
He leads Noah into a symbolic battle with the nation's leadership in which he fights for the mukombe, a wooden ladle used in ceremonies where chiefs are anointed.
"We know you suffered and we thank you but you have been paid enough, rewarded enough, compensated enough for your pain now it is time to pass the mukombe around," the leader is told during the battle.
Zimbabwean theatre companies have tackled sensitve issues before, but for director and producer Daves Guzha, this production is a watershed.
"For the first time we have come we've decided to talk about the actual problem," he said.
"Whether it's within the Zanu-PF system or within the [opposition] MDC system, we're just saying the problem is leadership."
Pregnant With Emotion has also been given extensive coverage in the state-run media.
This, and the fact that the censorship board has allowed the play to complete its run in the capital, suggests that Zimbabwe's restrictive climate is changing.
WATER IS LIFE! WATER IS A BIRTHRIGHT!
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has received numerous
reports of people having their water disconnected for non-payment by the
City of Harare.
CHRA would want to set the record straight on this issue.
Water disconnection is illegal, no matter the circumstances. The
realisation of one's legal rights and duties establishes an accountable and
democratic society that respects the fundamental constitutional liberties of
Citizens should reclaim their birthrights. Fear will not solve your
problems. Be brave and use the power in your hands.
HAVE YOUR WATER RIGHTS BEEN VIOLATED?
High Court judge Justice Gowora, ruled in case Number HC 5948/05 (Tracey
Maponde versus the City of Harare) that it is illegal to disconnect water
for failure to pay.
This ruling followed an urgent court application by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, on behalf of Maponde challenging the action of the District
Officer for Hatcliffe when he sent people to disconnect her water for
non-payment of $3 million in rubble charges.
In a consent order, Justice Gowora granted Maponde's application to have her
water reconnected and for the City of Harare to compensate her $200 million
for the destruction of her two-roomed cottage which was built with council
approval. Her water was immediately reconnected.
A. WHAT TO DO WHEN CITY OF HARARE ATTEMPTS TO DISCONNECT YOUR WATER FOR NON
CHRA lawyers have advised us that a person's water cannot be disconnected
for non-payment of any other municipal service like penalty, supplementary
charges or any other such charges as may be charged by the City of Harare.
Below are the steps to follow when your water is disconnected for any
reason. Ensure that all residents and workers at your property are aware of
the following steps;
1. Before they cut off your water, demand to see their identity
and you must first demand to see the letter of disconnection from the
District Officer of that particular area. The letter must specify that you
have failed to pay your WATER BILL. There should be written notices before
any action is taken against you.
· According to Section 279 (2) on (Liability to pay rate) of the
Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), "if on the date on which a rate becomes
due and payable, the owner primarily liable has failed to pay that rate, a
demand in writing may be served on him requiring him to pay the amount
stated therein within fourteen days (14) of the service of demand."
· Section 279 (3) (a) further states that "if the owner primarily
liable for a rate fails to comply with the demand referred to in Subsection
Two (2), then any person who at any time during the period in respect of
which such rate was fixed and levied, (a) is the occupier of the property
concerned shall, if a demand in writing is served on him by the council, be
liable for such rate together with any other unpaid rates in respect of such
property, not exceeding the amount of any rent in respect of such property
due by him but not yet paid at the time of the demand and shall thereafter
continue to pay such rents to the council until the amount of the unpaid
rates has been paid off."
2. Advise whoever is sent to disconnect your water that their action
is illegal and would be in contempt of court if they proceed to disconnect
3. Use the law to stop the City of Harare from abusing its authority
and engage CHRA or your lawyer to demand what is yours at law and by nature.
B. IF YOUR WATER HAS BEEN ILLEGALLY DISCONNECTED;
· Contact your District Officer quoting the High Court case referred
to above and request immediate reconnection.
· If request is not complied with advise the District Office that
you and CHRA will take legal action.
Become part of the broad-based movement of the forces of change in Harare
to ensure your basic human rights are respected. Unite with your CHRA
counterparts to rally around this issue and set Harare free. We have the
power of numbers to change the system of local governance in Harare
CHRA for enhanced civic participation
P. O. Box HR7870, Harare
CHRA Website: www.chra.co.zw Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Mobile Numbers: 091 924 151, 011 862 012 and 011 612 860
Thursday March 23, 2006
A media lawyer who defended Daily Telegraph and Guardian journalists in
Zimbabwe has been honoured with an Index on Censorship freedom of expression
Beatrice Mtetwa was among those whose "outstanding contribution" to
defending or promoting free expression was honoured last night at a ceremony
hosted by Anna Ford in London.
The Index on Censorship law and campaigning award went to Ms Mtetwa, a
well-known media and human rights lawyer, who has been working to defend
journalists detained in Zimbabwe. She is regularly threatened and has been
Ms Mtetwa secured the release of Daily Telegraph journalists Toby Harnden
and Julian Simmonds, who had been charged with working in Zimbabwe without
accreditation following their critical reporting of the presidential
She also defended and won acquittal for Andrew Meldrum, the Guardian's
former correspondent in Harare, after he was illegally abducted and expelled
Index's whistleblowing award was given to former Chinese Communist party
official Huang Jingao, who caused a national sensation on August 11 2004,
with an open letter which complained that his efforts to investigate and
prosecute corruption were being thwarted by high-level party and government
officials who were protecting one another.
Communist Party authorities replaced Mr Jingao with his deputy and in
November 2005 he was sentenced to life in prison.
The Guardian-sponsored Hugo Young award for journalism was handed to Sihem
Bensedrine, the editor of the banned online Tunisian magazine Kalima.
Mr Bensedrine, the secretary general of the Observatory for Defence of
Freedom of the Press, Publishing and Creation and the head of the National
Council for Freedom in Tunisia, has often been harassed by officials and was
once briefly imprisoned for "defamation" after discussing Tunisian
corruption on a London-based Arabic TV station.
Two books by French journalist Jean Hatzfeld - Into the Quick of Life: The
Rwandan Genocide, The Survivors Speak and A Time for Machetes: The Rwandan
Genocide, The Killers Speak - won the book award for 2006 for breaking the
silence on one of the most devastating episodes of human extermination in
Turtles Can Fly by Bahman Ghobadi won the film award. Set in Kurdistan in
the days leading up to the US invasion of Iraq, the story centres on a group
of children struggling to survive in a landscape where there are more
landmines per square metre than anywhere else in the world.
Index on Censorship was founded in 1972 by the poet Stephen Spender in
response to a plea for help from Soviet dissidents facing show trials in
Moscow and was founded on the principle that freedom of expression is a
fundamental human right.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
March 23, 2006
Posted to the web March 23, 2006
Scores of Zimbabwean deportees have been stranded in the town of Beitbridge,
across the border from neighbouring South Africa, with no funds to make
their way home.
"The Beitbridge border post is crowded with deportees. Even though numbers
vary from time to time, there are about 2,000 people being deported from
South Africa on a weekly basis, giving a total of 8,000 per month," said
Mohammed Abdiker, the chief of the Geneva-based International Organisation
for Migration (IOM) in Zimbabwe.
Thousands cross the border to South Africa every month, driven by the need
to escape the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, where inflation has risen to 782
percent and unemployment is over 70 percent.
Despite the fact that "undocumented migrants", most of them aged below 30,
have usually had to settle for poor wages across the border, with the threat
of deportation always imminent, they either plan to re-enter South Africa or
have settled for a life in the border town.
Shepherd Boriondo, 26, left for South Africa in early June last year, after
his second-hand clothes business in the capital, Harare, was destroyed by
the government's Operation Murambatsvina, which was undertaken to get rid of
informal settlements and traders deemed 'illegal'.
Boriondo ended up as a farm labourer for a South African employer, who, he
claimed, paid him a pittance. When he was rounded up with other undocumented
migrants on the farm over a month ago, it was rumoured that their employer
had tipped off the police to avoid paying them their wages.
"The police and immigration officials have stopped bothering me because they
know my situation and they cannot help me in any way. But it is not my
intention to remain here, and I feel I should return home," said Boriondo,
who earned his keep by cleaning a shop in the border town.
Others say Beitbridge has become their new home. "What should I return home
for? Even though I am suffering here, I feel it is better to remain in
Beitbridge," said Teckla, 19, who had worked as a housemaid in the South
African capital, Pretoria.
"I think I can raise enough money to live comfortably in the near future
and, who knows, even start my own business here," she said optimistically.
Teckla has taken to prostitution and her clientele comprises cross-border
truck drivers. She said she had twice contracted a sexually transmitted
disease because the drivers insisted on unprotected sex, but added, "Who
cares? We are all going to die after all."
Some of the deportees, like George Munemo, 21, who had braved the
crocodile-infested Limpopo River that marks the border between South Africa
and Zimbabwe on three previous occasions, said they intended to cross to
South Africa again, "when the time is ripe".
A reception and support centre at the Beitbridge border is expected to open
shortly to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwean migrants deported
from South Africa.
Abdiker said the centre, set up by IOM in collaboration with the Zimbabwean
and South African governments, should have become operational in February
but a lack of electricity had delayed the opening to early May.
"The centre will help the deportees with food rations, transportation, basic
healthcare and information on human trafficking and migration, on a
voluntary basis. There will also be a child reception centre to cater for
children without parents," he said. It will also help deportees reintegrate
by providing them with grants, loans and inputs to take up subsistence
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, 23 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Despite the ruling ZANU-PF party's threats of
a violent confrontation, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) plans to go ahead with street protests over the government's
failure to address the crumbling economy and mounting food shortages.
ZANU-PF's secretary for Information and Publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira,
warned this week that calls for civil disobedience by MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai were irresponsible, and that the security forces would deal
ruthlessly with any law-breakers.
Local media reported Shamuyarira as saying, "ZANU-PF alone has the gruelling
experience of war, and strongly urges the armchair talkers to shut up. War
is not like a picnic or a dinner party: it is blood, sweat, injuries and
Tsvangirai, a 54-year-old former trade unionist, told IRIN on Thursday that
he was unfazed by the government's threats, and added that strategic
planning for the mass protests, expected to be held soon, were underway.
"What could one expect of a brutal regime such as ZANU-PF?" asked
Tsvangirai. "Since the MDC came into existence, Mugabe has subjected us to
all kinds of torture, and his officials have even threatened to physically
eliminate us. But we are not moved, and mobilisation for mass action is
The opposition leader urged President Robert Mugabe to abdicate power and
create an environment conducive to a new dispensation.
Civic groups, such as the National Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, have backed Tsvangirai's call for peaceful street
Public demonstrations require police permission and past attempts to mount
street protests have largely flopped.
Meanwhile, the crackdown on the opposition continued at the weekend, when
police raided the MDC's offices in the second city, Bulawayo, in search of
"arms of war and other subversive material", but found none.
The latest clampdown follows the discovery of an arms cache earlier this
month at the home of a former pre-independence Rhodesian army member, Mike
Peter Hitschmann, in Mutare, 260 km east of the capital, Harare.
The state claimed Hitschmann and the MDC were involved in a plot to
overthrow the ZANU-PF government and assassinate Mugabe. Although
prosecutors have since dropped charges against four MDC members who were
arrested, Hitschmann and two police officers are still being held as
White commercial farmers, who government believes form an integral part of
the MDC support base, have now become the latest targets of the probe. Under
the government's fast-track land reform programme, which began in 2000, most
of the country's white commercial farmers, who owned 75 percent of the
productive land, were removed from their farms to make way for landless
Zimbabweans who had been crowded into overused communal areas during
Some members of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which mainly represents
the remaining small white farming community, told IRIN that their properties
had been ransacked in the past few days by a security unit comprising
members of the army and the police, who said they were looking for weapons
"Almost all of us have had our farms searched. The police told us they had
information that because we are angry about the expropriation of our farms
by the government, we have weapons that we intend to use to kill President
"But, truly speaking, this is pure harassment and it shows how paranoid our
government has become. It's shocking how the discovery of petty arms from
one white man will raise suspicions that the whole white community has
weapons for sinister agendas in their possession," commented a farmer in
CFU President Douglas Taylor-Freeme said he had received "a few reports"
from members of his union, but did not want to elaborate.
Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of Security, confirmed that investigations into
the alleged plot to overthrow the regime were ongoing.
"We have said it before, and we reiterate that no one with a hand in this
plot [to kill Mugabe] will be spared," he told IRIN. "Our security forces
are busy at work and investigations are continuing ... Whether one is a
farmer or an ordinary person, if they are singled out as a suspect, they
will surely be interrogated."
The Herald (Harare)
March 23, 2006
Posted to the web March 23, 2006
GOVERNMENT will, this year, put more effort on ensuring that hospitals are
properly managed through assigning specialist administrators rather than
doctors to run them.
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said in the
past medical doctors carried out administrative work, but the Government now
employed full-time administrators in all hospitals to ensue that doctors
gave their full attention to patients. "Doctors are good at treating
patients, but they are not trained in administration. So we have decided to
let them concentrate on their primary role and leave the running of
hospitals to administrators," Dr Parirenyatwa said.
Dr Parirenyatwa was touring Murehwa District Hospital to assess the new
infrastructure and equipment that was recently acquired. The hospital took
delivery of a washing machine for laundry and an auto-grill for
sterilisation of linen. Construction of two wards with a total of 66 beds
and a mortuary that can hold 12 bodies was recently completed.
Dr Parirenyatwa hailed the removal of health ministry staff from the Public
Services Commission to the Health Services Board, which was enabled by the
ratification of the Health Services Act. The move would enable health
practitioners to negotiate their own conditions of service separately from
other civil servants.
The Herald (Harare)
March 23, 2006
Posted to the web March 23, 2006
The cost of consulting healthcare specialists have continued to rise beyond
the reach of many, leaving only a few Zimbabweans managing to access them.
Surveys conducted by The Herald showed that where possible people are
foregoing specialist healthcare services, no matter how crucial they might
be. Some of the specialist service providers that have taken a knocking
include gynaecologists, paediatricians, ultrasolologists and opticians,
whose charges are ranging between $2 million and $6 million per visit for
cash-paying patients. These charges are far beyond the reach of most
ordinary Zimbabweans, most of whom, earn less than $10 million per month.
Even those on medical aid are practising caution when it comes to seeking
specialist treatment. This is because what is awarded by medical aid
societies is in some instances far less than what is charged by most
specialists. If for instance one owes a medical specialist $20 million and
their medical aid society is only willing to pay $11 million, he has to pay
Some pregnant women who spoke to The Herald said gone were the days when
women would go for scans to confirm their pregnancies or know the sex of
"I will find out the sex of my baby when I first see him or her, which is at
the time of delivery. It is only those who have too much money that can
still spend their money on such things," Mrs Tsitsi Musa of Harare said.
Other pregnant women said they had since done away with visits to
gynaecologists. "I used to go to my gynaecologist during my first two
pregnancies but in this last pregnancy I have just been going to the clinic
and there has not been any problem," Ms Clara Chivhunga said. Other
specialist service providers being shunned are opticians and paediatricians
with people saying they would only go to them when it became absolutely
An official with a leading medical aid society said even those on medical
aid had cut down on visits to the opticians and paediatricians. "In the
past, some people were always paying visits to these specialists because
they could do so at no cost but now that a co-payment of at least $600 000
is being demanded with each visit, people no longer do that. "Those with
babies actually now prefer taking them to their local clinics where all
babies below five years are treated for free," the official said.
23 Mar 2006 15:14:00 GMT
Source: CARE - USA
Ellinos Mazorodze was running a small country store eight years ago in
Zimbabwe's Zaka District when CARE workers approached him about joining a
new program. They explained he could make more money while helping nearby
farmers become much more efficient.
It sounded too good to be true, but Mazorodze signed up. As the aid workers
explained it, CARE would help Mazorodze obtain credit from suppliers
enabling him to purchase in bulk. In turn, he would help nearby farmers do
the same. Farmers also would be spared the costs of traveling long distances
to the big suppliers in order to purchase seeds, fertilizer, poultry feed
"Farmers used to go to the city by bus," Mazorodze says. "Sometimes they
would go all that way for nothing because the suppliers might be out, or the
price might have shot up. For some farmers this was costing them a lot of
money. Now they can place their orders with me and just bring their
wheelbarrows here to pick up their orders."
Mazorodze, 51 years old, says the CARE project, called the Agent program,
has proved a godsend. "When I started, I had one shop with about 6000 Zim
dollars in stock. We had about 15 farmers as customers. Now, we have six
shops serving more than 500 farmers and our stock is worth $2.5 billion Zim
What CARE did for Mazorodze, it did for 13 other small store owners in the
Zimbabwe province of Masvingo. CARE then helped the 14 agents ban together
into a Business Management Organization (BMO) to increase their leverage
"We were able to negotiate much better rates with the suppliers," Mazorodze
said. "But our plan for the future is to build a warehouse and cut out the
middle man altogether. This way, we make more money and the farmers save
The BMOs have also started a rotational savings and credit association among
themselves. Each member contributes an identical amount each month, and then
they take turns in receiving the bulk of that money to spend however they
like on their businesses.
While CARE had to guarantee the suppliers' lines of credit in a few cases,
the project proved such a hit that the farmers were able to provide their
own collateral, according to Gabriel Pise, the project manager for the Agent
program. "This really does benefit the whole community. We help to build the
economies of chronically poor rural areas - both by building the capacity of
the small businesspersons and by lowering the costs to the farmers."
The Herald (Harare)
March 23, 2006
Posted to the web March 23, 2006
Prices of building materials are spiralling, hitting hard the budgets of
both individuals and construction companies.
What is disturbing is the fact that the prices are increasing at a fast
rate, making the costs so prohibitive that individuals and construction
companies are struggling to start or complete their building projects. A
snap survey of prices of major building materials shows that the cost has
gone up three-fold in the last three weeks. Common clay bricks now cost
between $25 million and $30 million for a thousand units, a bag of PC 15
cement is going for $1,4 million, while river sand and pit sand are between
$5 million and $6 million per cubic metre. Fittings such as plumbing,
lighting, window frames, locks, hinges, floor tiles and painting, have also
Added to these, is the cost of transporting the building materials, which
has been worsened by the price of fuel. Suppliers of building materials are
citing different reasons for the high costs. Those in the cement industry
say the cost of securing foreign currency to import raw materials required
in the manufact ure of cement is very high. Despite factoring in the
imported components in the manufacture of cement, we still feel that the
price is unrealistic. It is also difficult to understand how bricks -- which
are made of ordinary clay, which is available locally -- should cost that
much. There are other costs like electricity, salaries and fuel to look at,
but these should not push the prices up to such unrealistic levels. We
believe it is time to look at alternatives.
The manufacturing of the new low cost micro-concrete roof tiles by the
Government-owned Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre
should give us important lessons. There is high demand for these new tiles,
which have brought huge savings to those who are building. The technology
used to manufacture the tiles is simple and they are almost 50 percent
cheaper than conventional tiles. The other advantage is their lightweight,
which results in considerable savings on roofing timber.
We believe that the co untry should also find an alternative to, for
example, common bricks by simply using technologies that are not new. It is
possible to improve on farm bricks and make them more durable by designing
brick moulds and kilns to the standard and approval of the Standards
Association of Zimbabwe. There are a number of buildings in Harare that were
constructed many years ago using ordinary farm bricks. The buildings are
still intact and looking good. What is important is to ensure that the
building material used is durable and that the construction can stand
hailstorms and winds. We urge suppliers of building materials to charge
realistic prices and desist from being driven by the desire to make super
profits at the expense of others, particularly the ordinary people.
23 Mar 2006 18:09:13 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, 23 March (IRIN) - Providing cheap goods to African consumers
is one way China is making inroads into the continent, but on a more
fundamental level China is also engaged in a scramble for African resources
to feed a roaring economy, expected to overtake Britain's as the fourth
largest in the world by the end of 2006.
Herbert Chinembiri owns a small stall in a downtown Johannesburg flea market
where he sells ostrich eggs and carvings to tourists visiting South Africa -
practically everybody else sells goods made in China.
Across the street is the 'Asia City' shopping complex; down the road is
'Oriental City'; both supply the traders and are stocked with everything
from low-priced clothes and shoes to televisions and household appliances -
all imported from China.
"I don't know what we would do without the Chinese," said Chinembiri,
"Finally, now there are things we can afford."
In the 1960s and 1970s China's engagement with Africa was politically
driven: doctors, engineers, teachers and weapons were sent to support newly
independent countries and liberation movements. Today Chinese officials
touring the continent are flanked by businesspeople and bankers.
Western concern over China's renewed interest in Africa appears to be
twofold: Beijing provides an alternative to the supposed consensus built
around governance and development policies, giving China an "unfair"
advantage in competing for the continent's resources.
"Under Western pressure for economic or political reform, China offers an
alternative source of support. China's aid and investments are attractive to
Africans, precisely because they come with no conditionality related to
governance, fiscal probity, or the other concerns of Western donors," the
US-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said in a report released in
In a strategic overview, the CFR also noted: "American interests are not yet
seriously threatened. But the United States does have to recognise that the
United States, and the Western nations altogether, cannot consider Africa
any more their 'chasse garde' [private hunting ground] as the French once
considered Francophone Africa. There is a new strategic framework operating
on the continent and it demands new ways of operating."
AN AFRICAN WELCOME
From flea markets in Johannesburg to towering oil platforms off the coast of
Nigeria, China has clearly established a presence in Africa.
During a meeting on Africa-China cooperation at the last World Economic
Forum in Switzerland, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza said China's
interest in Africa was "very welcome" and that cooperation had resulted in
"dividends for both parties".
China's relations with Africa have evolved from the ideologically driven
solidarity of anti-colonialism and the Cold War to pragmatic,
market-oriented economic engagement.
"In the 1950s China developed a very solid relationship in the freedom
struggle against the colonialism of many countries, providing moral and
material resources. Then, when in the 80s and 90s economic and social
development became more important, China adjusted its policy accordingly,"
the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Liu Guijin, told IRIN.
China-Africa trade has rocketed, reaching approximately $35 billion in 2005
after growth rates of 50 percent in 2003 and 59 percent in 2004, fuelled
mainly by the rise in Chinese textile exports and Beijing's demand for
African oil and minerals.
According to Dr Christopher Alden, Senior Lecturer in International
Relations at the London School of Economics, "China explicitly stated they
were going to shift their focus away from ideology in 1996. The turning
point was clearly when China went from being a net oil exporter to being a
net oil importer in 1993."
As a result of "marginalisation and Western disinterest", Africa was an
underdeveloped but rich source of supply. The eastern giant has been willing
to buy stakes in corners of the continent deemed less profitable or "too
difficult" by the West.
"China has always depended heavily on the Middle East, and that still
remains the main source of supply," said ambassador Guijin. "But China is
diversifying to secure its supply, and now imports energy from countries in
Africa such as Angola, Nigeria and Sudan. In these countries China is
working hard to make sure that energy cooperation is win-win and mutually
It first established a presence in Sudan's Muglad oil fields a decade ago.
By 2005 it was buying between 50 and 60 percent of Sudan's oil exports -
about seven percent of its consumption needs. China has invested more than
$8 billion in joint exploration contracts in Sudan, including the
construction of a pipeline from the southern oilfields to the Red Sea with a
tanker terminal at Port Sudan. An estimated 10,000 Chinese are working in
West Africa, with its attractive sweet crude, is a relatively new sector.
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the state-owned oil
company, is active in Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Gabon and Angola. On 9
January it announced that it had taken a 45 percent stake in an offshore oil
and gas field in Nigeria for $2.27 billion - CNOOC's biggest overseas
acquisition so far.
"The West, in their development, has also consumed from many countries. With
1.3 billion people - 22 percent of the world's population - it is only
natural that China consumes a certain amount of energy," commented
As the world's largest user of copper, Beijing has reportedly invested
nearly $170 million in Zambia's mining sector, one of the main producers,
buying the Chambezi copper mine in 1999, now one of the biggest Chinese
mining operations on the continent.
The country has also become increasingly active in the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC), investing in copper and cobalt mines, with road
infrastructure to facilitate exports; it is helping Ethiopia build the
continent's biggest dam; it will launch a communication satellite for
Nigeria in 2007; and introducing a new anti-malaria drug in Uganda.
Strengthening cooperation with developing countries through economic and
technical support has become a key part of China's foreign and economic
policy. It has long had a substantial overseas aid programme, but the
Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development does not count this as
'official development assistance'.
Trade, investment and aid ties with Africa are being strengthened through
various bilateral and multilateral forums, such as the Asia-Africa Summit
and the China-Africa Business Council, a joint initiative with the UN
Development Programme to support China's private sector investment in
Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.
In a significant step underlining its growing role, China has contributed
military personnel to UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and DRC since 2003.
Some Western analysts regard China as a competitor, and are not always
comfortable with its growing influence in Africa. "Just like the West, the
thrust of the Chinese engagement in Africa is that of resource extraction,"
Ambassador Guijin takes a different view. "It seems that China understands a
little better the situation in, and needs of, African countries. China is
the biggest developing country in the world, and Africa has the biggest
concentration of developing countries in the world. We also share the same
bitter experience of being bullied and oppressed by the West," he commented.
"China is willing to share its experience, to exchange ideas and knowledge,
but we do not regard our mode of development as the only option; we do not
advise African countries to blindly copy the Chinese model."
TURNING A BLIND EYE TO GOOD GOVERNANCE?
Some analysts have pointed to China's apparent willingness to overlook
issues of human rights in the countries it does business with.
"Governance is an important issue here. African states have committed
themselves to NEPAD, a new agenda on Africa. They too ought to be, and
indeed are, concerned about the Chinese presence - it has the potential of
throwing a spanner in the works of the move towards greater accountability
of African governments and the governance agenda," Alden noted.
China's move into Sudan's oil fields in 1997 coincided with a break in
diplomatic ties with Western governments over Khartoum's human rights
record, and it has provided Khartoum with diplomatic support in the UN
Security Council, particularly over Darfur, where Sudan has been accused of
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), China gave the Sudanese government
financial and military support "even as it was engaged in massive ethnic
cleansing in Darfur, [and] Beijing successfully watered down UN Security
Council resolutions threatening sanctions against Khartoum for its Darfur
Concern has also been raised over China's links with oil-rich Angola, which
has been under pressure from Britain's Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative and the Publish What You Pay campaign by a coalition of NGOs to
allow greater scrutiny of its accounts.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been pressing Angola to improve
the transparency of its oil sector and make fiscal reforms, holding out the
prospect of membership in the fund and access to lending.
Angolan oil accounts for 13 percent of China's crude imports, with Beijing
the second-largest consumer of Angolan oil after the United States. In 2004,
China provided the Angolan government with a cruical $2 billion oil-backed
The credit has been earmarked for reconstruction and development projects in
Angola, still recovering from almost three decades of civil war. But
according to Jose Cerqueira, an independent Luanda-based economist, the
terms of the agreement are highly advantageous to China, with 70 percent of
projects to be allocated to Chinese contractors.
"In the short term we see more Chinese people on the streets [of Angola],
but in the long term we need to rethink what the consequences would be if
all African countries strayed from the Washington Consensus [a set of
policies and market-oriented reforms championed by neoliberal economists]
and World Bank and IMF imposed discipline," Cerqueira observed.
Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, commented during a trip to Nigeria
in February, "What matters to the West is not the fact of China's
engagements in Africa, but that such engagement should support the agenda
which President Obasanjo and the African Union have set for this continent:
support for democratic and accountable governance, for transparent business
processes, for economic growth and effective poverty reduction, for human
rights and the rule of law."
China's position is that its policy is one of "non-interference" in another
country's domestic affairs - just as it expects others not to interfere in
"We follow five basic guidelines of peaceful coexistence in our relations:
mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity; mutual
non-aggression; non-interference in each other's internal affairs; equality
and mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence - and these also apply to
Africa," said Guijin.
"That does not mean China does not care about what happens in countries like
Sudan and Zimbabwe. We have been actively advising these countries, based on
our own ideas on what to do, and try to exert some pressure on a different
level," he added.
Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe has turned to China for
economic aid in a 'Look East' policy, in response to the suspension of
financial support by western governments and the IMF.
"Democracy and human rights are common goals of humankind and we don't
believe in embargoes - that just means that the people suffer. From a
practical consideration, embargoes and sanctions can't solve problems, just
like armed invasion cannot solve problems," Guijin commented.
But Mugabe, desperately in need of a financial lifeline, reportedly came
away with much less than he had hoped when he visited China in 2005.
"This means that for the Chinese there are limits to their engagements: they
are not willing to commit themselves wholesale to a regime that is violating
all economic and political rationale. In the end, Zimbabwe can hardly pay
for the things China sells them. It is not a good market," suggested Alden.
"China's Zimbabwe presence is not that strong economically; now it is mainly
focused on humanitarian assistance," said Guijin. "China is playing a
positive and responsible role."
In the past decade it has become a tradition that the Chinese foreign
minister's first overseas trip of the year is made to Africa. On 11 January,
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing set out on an eight-day tour of six African
The visit, preceded by the release of the 'China African Policy' paper, took
the minister to Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Libya and Cape Verde to
sign aid and trade deals, debt write-offs and cooperation agreements.
Li attended the official opening of the Chinese embassy in Senegal, which
was closed after it recognised Taiwan in 1996. Senegal broke off relations
with Taiwan in October 2005, and Li announced debt cancellation worth $18.5
million, with $3.7 million for the construction of hospitals, roads and
The new Liberian government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, another
country to ditch Taiwan, received $25 million for reconstruction and the
offer of a $5 million interest-free loan.
While China officially upholds a policy of non-interference, there seems to
be at least one political demand: adhering to the one-China policy and
withdrawing recognition of Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade
"In the early 90s there were still more than 20 African countries that
recognised Taiwan, now there are only six," Alden pointed out.
AFRICAN MANUFACTURERS HURTING
While China's engagement with Africa has been welcomed at a
government-to-government level, on the ground it can be a different matter,
with Chinese exports criticised for driving African manufacturers out of
In Southern Africa the textile and clothing industry has been particularly
hard hit. Incentives provided by the African Growth and Opportunity Act
meant the sub-continent was able to export to the lucrative US market, but
in 2005 the World Trade Organisation stripped away the quotas on Chinese
exports, allowing them to monopolise the American and European markets.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has protested that
booming Chinese textile imports cost the country thousands of jobs, and last
year turned up the pressure on major local clothing retailers to sign an
agreement committing them to buy at least 75 percent of their stock from
China contends that it took the painful step of restructuring its textile
industry in the 80s and 90s, closing hundreds of inefficient factories
and firing workers while investing heavily in new plants, giving it the
competitive edge it enjoys today.
Beijing's response to South Africa's concerns has been an agreement on
voluntary restraints on textile exports. "At the same time, China has
committed itself to share experiences in the textile industry, to train
textile workers, to enhance capabilities and become more competitive, and to
develop joint ventures in the sector," said Ambassador Guijin.
"These are very positive, forward-looking steps but, in a final analysis, a
sector cannot rely on government protection forever. This is the era of
globalisation - they have to become more competitive," he maintained.
South African market stall owner David Mtshaii shared the ambassador's
views. "How can [COSATU say everybody should buy South African] while their
own shirts say 'made in China'?"
"Why can't South African producers make the same product for a competitive
price? The Chinese have to pay for transport, pay duties and pay taxes to
get the product here, and still it is cheaper. It is bad for the people
working in the textile factories, but they have to move on or become more
Ambassador Guijin insists that Western criticism of Chinese policy in Africa
is unfair. "Many African countries see China as a counterbalance to the
heavy domination of social and economic development of Africa by the big
powers, mainly in the West. China has always been advocating for African
countries, for more representation and a louder say in the world."
Rhetoric aside, many analysts think the issue is one of national interest,
and African countries should determine where their advantage lies and drive
the best bargain for their people.
According to Alden, "In the end, China is just another investor and Africans
need to clearly weigh opportunities and opportunity costs in dealing with
China, or any other state, or any other company."
The Herald (Harare)
March 23, 2006
Posted to the web March 23, 2006
AFRICA needs to be in charge of its information dissemination channels so
African news is told from the continent's perspective to counter the
predominantly Eurocentric views peddled by the Western media, the Minister
of Information and Publicity, Cde Tichaona Jokonya, has said.
Africa needs to organise itself, the same way Europe and America had done
through seemingly private corporate bodies whose purpose was to dominate the
global media and discourse. Cde Jokonya was giving a lecture at the Zimbabwe
Staff College on "The Role of Information in Developing Countries with
Special Emphasis on Zimbabwe".
"We have even allowed these dominant powers to buy into our small media
institutions so these small institutions become mere relay stations of the
global networks which are owned exclusively by the West," said Cde Jokonya.
"They even set up relay stations which they end up using to subvert our
neighbours. They even use our own FM frequencies to re-broadcast programmes
from BBC and other networks, programmes which often undermine the continent
and its strategic interests. Africa needs to take charge of its airwaves and
be in control of its word."
Cde Jokonya said the American media was clear on its goals, in that once the
United States deployed its sold iers and flag to a war zone, Press freedom
ceased to exist as they were prepared to misrepresent facts in media
reportage to advance the country's economic interests. "We in Zimbabwe are
very clear: We are Zimbabweans first and journalists much later in life. We
cannot sacrifice the country on the altar of the so-called media freedom. To
do so will be to pity the plumage and forget the dying bird. Zimbabwe first.
Her sur-vival first. Her interest first," he said.
Zimbabwe plays a respected and influential role in the Non-Aligned Movement,
the second largest grouping of nations after the United Nations, yet Britain
and America would want the world to believe that the "international
community" was shunning the country. "The international community in all
these contexts has been invariably the United Kingdom and the United States;
and even on closer analysis, it is Mr Tony Blair and Mr George Bush, the two
countries' Prime Minister and President, respectively," he said.
It was now common knowledge that ordinary Britons and Americans did not
support the war against Iraq and the two leaders were getting increasingly
isolated, with their ratings plummeting by the day. "Today Zimbabwe is
supposed to starve because the BBC and CNN say so. Today Zimbabwe is
supposed to have 'grabbed white-owned land' because understandably angry
Blair says so. Today Zimbabwe has no Press freedom because elites of the
Western world say so.
Zimbabwe is supposed to be an autocracy because (Australian Prime Minister
John) Howard, Bush and Blair say so," said Cde Jokonya. "We have allowed the
world to be appropriated and used against us. It is not about Press freedom,
it is not about democratic rights, it is not about truth." Cde Jokonya said
Cabinet had approved the setting-up of a local bureau by an Arabian media
organisation, Al Jezeera radio and television station, because gone were the
days of exclusive Western news dominance. He said the vision of a joint
newspaper project investment between the Zimbabwean and Namibian
governments, The Southern Times, was to have a voice for the region in which
each of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries had a
stake. It is envisaged that news content carried by the newspaper would be
from a Sadc perspective and from an African outlook.
Social commentator Crisford Chogugudza wrote an article in the Financial Gazette entitled ‘Politics of ethnic balancing no longer relevant’. Lance Guma tracks him down to his North London base and asks him to explain the thinking behind that argument. Chogugudza says we should not have a scenario now synonymous with Zimbabwe where, for example, it’s a given that the Vice Presidency in any political party is reserved for Ndebele speakers. The country needs a different culture where anyone can be anyone and tribe is not a factor in anything. Its time for us to be one Zimbabwe.