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Politburo supports Mujuru to succeed Mugabe

May 24, 2013 in Politics

VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru has virtually secured a copper-bottomed
guarantee to take over as the next president of Zimbabwe in the event that
President Robert Mugabe resigns, is incapacitated or dies in office,
provided he wins the next elections, it has emerged.

Report by Faith Zaba

Senior Zanu PF politburo members said this week, barring unforeseen events
and circumstances, Mujuru was almost assured of taking over from Mugabe if
she wins the party leadership at congress next year.
A top politburo member said this week the succession issue was virtually
dealt with by Zanu PF’s senior leadership during marathon meetings last year
when the party was discussing the Copac draft constitution.

During the lengthy meetings — which cumulatively lasted 50 hours and at
which Zanu PF made wholesale amendments to the Copac draft constitution —
the politburo tacitly endorsed Mujuru as the likeliest person to succeed
Mugabe by secretly agreeing the most senior official of the party would take
over from the president in the event he leaves office for whatever reason.

The politburo meetings, held between June and September last year, made
extensive amendments to the draft constitution but the most important change
was a provision on succession at the national level.

Realising Mugabe would be 89 and frail, the Zanu PF politburo made a
contingency plan to ensure that his departure for whatever reasons would not
negatively affect the party.

“We proposed the removal of the clause on the running mates and suggested
that when the president retires or dies in office after he is re-elected, he
would be replaced by a person from the same party,” the senior politburo
member said.

“We then agreed as a party at those meetings that the most senior person in
the party will immediately take over as president of the country. We were
all in agreement on that and this is contained in the minutes of those
politburo meetings. This means as things stand Mai Mujuru is the person to
take over because she is the most senior official in the party.”

According to the 54-member politburo’s official ranking revised list
provided to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Mugabe is at the helm of the
party, followed by Mujuru (2), then a vacant second vice-president position
after the death of John Nkomo (3), Simon Khaya Moyo (4), Didymus Mutasa (5),
David Karimanzira (late) (6), Webster Shamu (7), Sydney Sekeramayi (8), Stan
Mudenge (late) (9), Rugare Gumbo (10), Nicholas Goche (11), Emmerson
Mnangagwa (12), Dzikamai Mavhaire (13), Oppah Muchinguri (14), Absolom
Sikhosana (15), Sikhanyiso Ndlovu (16), Obert Mpofu (17), David Parirenyatwa
(18), Saviour Kasukuwere (19), Abigail Damasane (20), Ignatius Chombo (21),
Stanley Sakupwanya (22) Olivia Muchena (23), Sithembiso Nyoni (24) and
Francis Nhema (25).

The politburo also has 10 deputies and 19 committee members.
In terms of the Zanu PF constitution, the politburo should have four members
of the presidium, 19 heads of departments, 19 deputies and 10 committees.
However, the revised list provided for four presidium members, 21 heads of
departments, 10 deputies and 19 committee members.

Another Zanu PF official, however, said while the official pecking order
matters, it could always change after congress or a reshuffle of the
politburo. Although seniority is a major advantage, there have been
instances in the past where junior members, including Mujuru herself in
2004, leapfrogged their seniors. However, Mnangagwa’s allies have dismissed
the hierarchical rankings, saying they were merely for operational purposes
and not for determining the succession issue.

“We have a presidium and ordinary politburo members who are equal in terms
of seniority in the party,” a Mnangagwa ally said. “If we go by the
constitution and the list that would mean Kasukuwere, for instance, was more
senior than the late General Solomon Mujuru, Dumiso Dabengwa, General
Vitalis Zvinavashe and Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai. That doesn’t make

When the new politburo was appointed after the 2009 congress, there was a
public row between Mnangagwa and Gumbo over who was more senior. Gumbo
insisted he was senior in terms of the constitution, while Mnangagwa said he
was higher-ranking than him in practice. Mujuru and Mnangagwa are fighting
pitched battles to succeed Mugabe who seems to be on the cusp of departure.

During last year’s debates on the Copac draft constitution, the original
documents introduced presidential running-mates under the chapter dealing
with the executive. It stated the presidential candidate would nominate two
candidates to contest as running-mates, who in the event of the team winning
would become first and second vice-presidents.

The draft said in the event that the president dies, resigns or is removed
from office, the first vice-president will automatically assume office for
the remainder of his term. This clause was rejected by Zanu PF during the
meetings but a compromise was later reached to introduce it after 10 years.

Instead, Zanu PF inserted a clause that says if the president retires after
his re-election, is incapacitated or dies, he would be replaced by a
candidate from the same party. The politburo agreed privately the most
senior party official would take over, giving Mujuru a major boost.

Given that Zanu PF will hold its congress in December next year to elect a
new leadership, Mujuru’s chances will also depend on whether she will win,
something her allies think is assured given her current traction in the
party succession race.

Although some Mujuru allies wanted a special congress to anoint her, senior
Zanu PF leaders, particularly those aligned to Mnangagwa, have rejected the
move as it would fuel divisions and weaken the party’ election campaigns.
Party officials also say there would be no point in holding an extraordinary
congress after elections because a scheduled one was due next year anyway.

Mujuru and Mnangagwa are going head-to-head across provinces in a bid to
seize control of the structures ahead of congress. Mnangagwa last year
outmanoeuvred Mujuru during District Coordinating Committee elections before
the latter went for broke and got the structures dissolved.

That gave Mujuru space to reo-organise and now a politburo team comprising
her allies is going around the country putting her faction’s ducks in a row,
in preparation for the final assault on power, given Mugabe’s frailty.

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Political deal cutting as MDC-T primaries begin

May 24, 2013 in Politics

THE MDC-T’s long-awaited primary elections commence this weekend amid
accusations that behind the scenes some aspiring candidates are cutting
deals while others have subtly been blocked from contesting against party
heavyweights through the controversial confirmation process.

Brian Chitemba/Paidamoyo Muzulu

The divisive process reignites deep-seated factionalism within the party,
particularly in volatile Manicaland, Masvingo and Bulawayo provinces. The
provinces experienced intra-party violence leading to the 2011 congress in

Fearing a humiliating defeat at the hands of emerging party contenders
during the confirmation process or primaries, some sitting MPs have
strategically chickened out of the race.

Most significant are deputy president Thokozani Khupe and Masvingo Central
MP Jeffreyson Chitando who have stood aside and expect the party to second
them to parliament under the proportional representation system in the new

Among the sitting and senior MPs facing challenges are outspoken Bulawayo
East legislator Thabitha Khumalo, Housing and Amenities minister Giles
Mutsekwa, Luveve MP Reggie Moyo, Mutasa South MP Misheck Kagurabadza and
Manicaland spokesman Pishayi Muchauraya.

Khumalo, whose seat was initially reserved for a woman, is said to be
battling to secure her position against Mandla Nyathi, Tarubereka Mabhena
and Tinashe Kambarami. On the other hand Moyo is fighting it out with
businessman Kidwell Mujuru who was once disqualified but reinstated after
appealing to the party’s national council.

Mutsekwa would have to fight it out against lawyer Arnold Tsunga after
former Mutare mayor Brian James this week said he had withdrawn his
candidature and now supports Tsunga.

James also said he is awaiting the party to clear him to contest against
Kagurabadza in Mutasa South.

Muchauraya will have to battle it out against veteran journalist Geoffrey
Nyarota if he loses confirmation. Other interesting contests in Bulawayo
will pit Pumula MP Albert Mhlanga against Speaker of Parliament Lovemore
Moyo’s personal assistant Artwell Sibanda, and MDC-T deputy organising
secretary Abednico Bhebhe will have to prove his mettle against Nomathemba
Ndlovu in Nkayi South.

Meanwhile State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo will stand
unopposed in Makokoba constituency, while the party’s former youth assembly
chairperson, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, is standing unchallenged for Nkulumane

The same scenario obtains in Harare where most of the standing committee
members are unopposed after aspiring candidates were disqualified. Some of
the major beneficiaries of the disqualifications are Finance minister Tendai
Biti, Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone, Information Communication
minister Nelson Chamisa and Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada.

Information gleaned from inside sources show that ambitious Harare
councillors like Emmanuel Chiroto and Xavier Vengesayi had their
applications turned down on allegations of corruption in council. The two
had shown interest to contest against Biti and Makone respectively.

Sources close to the party say that a decision was reached to allow the
standing committee members not to be contested. However, party president
Morgan Tsvangirai insists there are no scared cows in the party.

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Masvingo thwarts resurgent Mujuru faction

May 24, 2013 in Politics

THE Zanu PF faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru whose current
ascendancy is riding on the party’s restructuring exercise was last week
thwarted in Masvingo where it failed to remove the executive aligned to
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Report by Elias Mambo

However, the Mujuru faction sought to establish a firm grip on structures in
the province by declaring its regional stalwart, Dzikamai Mavhaire,
“godfather” of the province.

By installing Mavhaire, a politburo member, as the godfather of Masvingo
ahead of former governor Josaya Hungwe, sources say “the probe team had to
come up with a different strategy of propping up the Mujuru faction after
failing to dislodge the Lovemore Matuke-led executive”.

Hungwe has been involved in a fight with Mavhaire — who is reportedly
aligned to Mujuru’s faction — for control of the vast province. The
politburo-appointed probe team has come under fire for fanning smouldering

The team, comprising party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, national
commissar Webster Shamu, national secretary for security Sydney Sekeramayi
and secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, was appointed to
investigate the latest incidents of infighting and compile a report on the
state of the party ahead of crucial elections later this year.

It is however accused of trying to position Mujuru to take over from
President Robert Mugabe when he vacates office.

Sources close to the infighting revealed the Khaya Moyo-led team descended
on Masvingo with the aim of restructuring the party leadership after reports
of internal factional fighting threatening the party ahead of national

“The probe team had a line-up of the proposed Masvingo executive which we
rejected because it was aligned to the Mujuru faction,” said a senior Zanu
PF member in Masvingo.

“There were plans to install Mwenezi East legislator Kudakwashe Bhasikiti
and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi to the provincial chairmanship and
vice-chairmanship respectively,” said the source.
The sources also said the probe team wanted to catapult Brigadier Gibson
Mashingaidze and Nelson Mawema, said to be in the Mujuru faction, into the
provincial executive.

Last week this paper disclosed the probe team was under the spotlight after
reports emerged it is purging Mnangagwa’s allies in the provinces and
replacing them with those aligned to Mujuru, in the process laying the
ground for her to take over from Mugabe.
A fortnight ago the Masvingo provincial co-ordinating committee held its
meeting where members agreed to resist any changes proposed by the probe

Last year Zanu PF was plunged into nationwide infighting following its
controversial District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) polls characterised by
intimidation, voting irregularities and ballot rigging.

The DCC elections became a theatre for internal political power struggles as
the main factions battled to seize control of the party and position
themselves to produce a successor to Mugabe (89), now reeling from old age
and reported ill-health.

Mugabe feared succession-fuelled infighting would disrupt his election
campaign, hence the dissolution of the DCCs which had resulted in defeat
across provinces for Mujuru’s faction at the hands of Mnangagwa loyalists.

Sources also say the current outbreak of squabbling in the party still poses
a serious threat to Mugabe’s campaign.

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Poll manifestos: Parties sharpen ideas for battle

May 24, 2013 in Politics

WITH the clock fast-ticking towards make-or-break elections expected later
this year, the main political parties in Zimbabwe are now finalising their
manifestos set to be launched ahead of polls.

Elias Mambo

In many Western countries like the United States and Britain,
well-articulated economic, foreign and social policies often win elections,
but in Zimbabwe, this does not appear to be the case.

There is general consensus that Zimbabweans, most of whom are struggling to
eke out a living in a harsh economic environment, do not take the time to
read the parties’ voluminous documents or listen to policy debates, hence
their vote is based more on the history of parties and charisma of their
leaders, besides what the parties and their leaders generally stand for.

A common political culture by no means suggests that all Zimbabweans think
alike. Some are influenced by history and tend to vote Zanu PF. Others are
worried about the present and future, and tend to vote MDC parties. Some
voters have more negative attitudes toward public officials than others do,
and these largely vote MDC parties as well since they think Zanu PF leaders
destroyed the country.

Analysts say people’s political and social backgrounds and attitudes
determine how they participate, whom they vote for and what political
parties they support. Many factors — including family, gender, religion,
race and ethnicity and region — all contribute to Zimbabwean voters’
political attitudes and behaviour.

Some political observers say the country’s electorate is divided into two
segments, most of whom have a strong loyalty to the party of their choice
regardless of what manifestos they have or their governance record, while
the other group can be referred to as sway voters whose decision is based on
what policies the parties are offering.

While there is general consensus manifestos do little to attract voters,
analysts say Zanu PF’s chaotic land reform programme and indigenisation have
helped the party to survive this far.
After Zimbabweans rejected the 2000 draft constitution backed by the ruling
Zanu PF government, the party embarked on a violent seizure of white-owned
commercial farms and used the land reform programme as its election mantra.

Exploiting a legitimate historical grievance, the party used the land reform
issue and now indigenisation as an instrument to mobilise votes, while
unleashing terror across the country.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the land reform
programme helped Zanu PF to galvanise its support base because the policy
resonated with the poor majority peasants.

“Land reform managed to help Zanu PF to keep on winning those controversial
elections. Although the programme was violent, it resonated with the poor
peasants and President Robert Mugabe won the admiration of the rural folk
because he sought to address issues that affected them,” Masunungure said.

The land reform exercise became Zanu PF’s trump card for the 2000
parliamentary, 2002 presidential and 2005 parliamentary elections and a
combination of the land reform programme and brutality worked for the party.

While Zanu PF used land reform as the centrepiece of its campaign, the MDC,
which emerged in 1999 against a backdrop of growing demands by civil society
and political activists for reform, campaigned on the basis of “change”,
underpinned by the “Mugabe must go!” refrain.
The “change” wave took Zimbabwe by storm as the country reeled from a
political and economic meltdown, particularly in 2008.

Analysts say Zimbabweans who voted for the MDC were not really bothered
about the party’s policies, but were driven by a desire for a new political
order. For the first time, Zanu PF’s hold on power became tenuous in the
face of widespread social discontent and demands for change. It won narrowly
in the 2000 general elections, with 62 parliamentary seats to the MDC’s 57.

As Zanu PF’s land reform campaign lost steam towards the 2008 elections,
with the country experiencing an unprecedented socio-economic crisis, the
party shifted its focus to the controversial indigenisation and empowerment
programme, while the MDC-T promised the masses jobs, economic growth and
resuscitation of social services like health and education.

The MDC-T is under pressure to respond to Zanu PF’s populist policies of
land reform, indigenisation and company seizures which recent opinion
surveys suggest are finding traction with voters, including the middle
classes, largely the bedrock of MDC-T support.

MDC-T’s blueprints, including the initial Bridge, Restart and now Juice were
designed to buttress the party’s ideological position, manifestos and
electoral messages based on its change-rallying call.
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube has also launched its own policy blueprint,

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya, who is Zimbabwe Democracy Institute
director, said the current Zanu PF manifesto which is centred on
indigenisation compares poorly to the MDC-T blueprint centred on jobs.

“Zanu PF’s indigenisation message is not as attractive as the land reform
and cannot be compared to the jobs agenda which will drive the MDC-T,”
Ruhanya said. “MDC-T is cruising on the jobs campaign and this has a bearing
on the common people. The jobs agenda is appealing to the electorate because
people want food on their tables and not promises of (company) shares that
will never materialise.”

Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is estimated at over 80%.
However, as the country approaches elections, Zanu PF is basing its
manifesto on indigenisation which analysts believe will not help much given
its controversial, divisive and corrupt dimensions.

Professor Brian Raftopoulos, director of Research and Advocacy in the
Solidarity Peace Trust, said although indigenisation is still bankable,
complaints of corruption might taint Zanu PF’s manifesto.

“By implementing this controversial programme, Zanu PF has managed to claw
back some space which it lost to the MDCs in the 2008 disputed elections and
increase its support base, but allegations of corruption by a few
individuals in the party has destroyed the manifesto,” Raftopoulos said.

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ZCTU blasts MDC-T policy document

May 24, 2013 in Politics

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has blasted MDC-T’s Agenda for
Real Transformation (Art) policy document launched last weekend as
anti-workers and pro-capital as it seeks to make it easier for employees to
be dismissed and privatise essential services like electricity supply if it
wins general elections expected later this year.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

In its policy document the MDC-T, formerly a close ally of trade unions,
incorporates policies deemed anti-workers, which include free-market
enterprises, deregulation of the labour sector and accelerated privatisation
of public utilities in an effort to streamline government involvement in the

ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said the unions are dismayed by the
proposed policies which would create a worse scenario than is obtaining.

“For the record, trade unions would never allow flexibility where an
employee is dismissed for an act outside his or her contract environment,”
Moyo said.

“If one is convicted of beating a spouse at home then the employer is
empowered to dismiss you; a brawl in a bar will get you fired if convicted.
These proposed provisions are worse than what is available now.”

The MDC-T proposes to privatise and commercialise the 72 state-owned
enterprises, which include the Cold Storage Commission, Arda and Air

“It (CSC) will be sold to the private sector as a going concern under agreed
arrangements that will allow the state to gradually recover its investment,”
the document reads.

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CIO deputy director-internal Kanengoni dies

May 24, 2013 in News

CENTRAL Intelligence Organisation (CIO) deputy director- internal, Elias
Kanengoni has died.

Staff Reporter

Top CIO officials said Kanengoni was rushed to West End Hospital on
Wednesday evening after collapsing upon arrival at his farm in Concession.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. “Kanengoni had gone to
his farm to take a rest after undergoing some physiotherapy in the
afternoon. He was complaining of a severe back ache,” said a top CIO
official. However, when contacted for comment, Information and Publicity
minister Webster Shamu said he would only comment after getting a briefing
on what transpired.

“I am on my way from Chinhoyi and I will get the briefing once I am in
Harare,” Shamu said. “I cannot comment before I am informed of what

Kanengoni together with another CIO operative, Kizito Chivamba, was
convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to seven years in prison after
he shot the late Gweru mayor Patrick Kombayi on March 24, 1990 in an
assassination attempt just three days before general elections.

Kombayi was contesting the Gweru urban seat against the late vice–president
Simon Muzenda.

Kombayi, who at the time was National Organising Secretary of the Zimbabwe
Unity Movement (Zum) led by the late Edgar Tekere, survived the shooting.

Kanengoni and Chivamba were later pardoned by President Robert Mugabe.

According to sources in Zanu PF, at the time of his death Kanengoni had
expressed interest in contesting the imminent general electionsa key
ingredient in complying with democratic benchmarks.”.

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Misa calls for urgent media reforms

May 24, 2013 in News

THE Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter (Misa-Zimbabwe)
has made a passionate plea to government principals to urgently implement
media reforms following the signing into law of the new Constitution by
President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday.

Staff Reporter

In a letter written to Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman Ncube, Misa-Zimbabwe
said there was an urgent need to streamline media laws, media regulatory
bodies and the public media to allow conformity of the new constitution to
other regional and international laws that provide for freedom of the media
and of expression.

Misa-Zimbabwe chairman Njabulo Ncube noted that laws such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Public Order and Security Act,
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Broadcasting Services Act,
Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Interception of Communications
Act, Official Secrets Act and Broadcasting Services Act, among others,
should be repealed because they stifle media freedom.

Ncube said: “Viewed in the context of the forthcoming elections, ensuring
that these reforms are instituted well in advance will not only allow for
increased enjoyment of media freedom, citizens’ rights to freedom of
expression, assembly, association and access to information, but will go a
long way in complying with the Sadc Guidelines and Principles on the Conduct
of Democratic Elections as well as the region’s asserted position on
Zimbabwe’s election roadmap.

“We humbly submit that the urgency of these reforms is of significant
importance ahead of the harmonised elections and thus necessitate increased
impetus towards the realignment and streamlining of the country’s laws,
media regulatory bodies and the public media accordingly.”

Ncube added that: “In making this humble appeal, MISA-Zimbabwe together with
its alliance partners under the auspices of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe
(MAZ), is not only guided by the universally accepted fact on the critical
role played by the media in the enjoyment of fundamental rights, but more so
by the fact that media freedom by its very intrinsic nature, is a key
ingredient in complying with democratic benchmarks.”

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Chiweshe, Guvava join Constitutional Court

May 24, 2013 in News

JUDGE President George Chiweshe and Justice Antoinette Guvava are now acting
judges of the newly established nine-member Constitutional Court that
started work yesterday when it heard a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) application challenging the ill-treatment of people living with HIV
in detention by police and prison officers.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

Chiweshe and Guvava joined Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Deputy Chief
Justice Luke Malaba, Paddington Garwe, Annemarie Gowora, Vernanda Ziyambi,
Bharat Patel and Ben Hlatshwayo to hear the first case brought before the
court since it was established on Wednesday when President Robert Mugabe
signed the new constitution and gazetted it on the same day.

The new constitution automatically elevated the entire Supreme Court bench
to the permanent constitutional court for the next seven years. In the past
the five supreme court judges under the chairmanship of the chief justice
sat as the constitutional court on a case by case basis.

Judicial Services Commission deputy secretary Rex Shana confirmed the duo’s
elevation to the constitutional court as being in line with the new
constitution’s requirements of Section 166 (2).

The clause stipulates the Chief Justice may appoint a judge or a former
judge to act as a judge of the Constitutional Court if their services are
required for a certain period.

Advocate Chadambuka instructed by ZLHR lawyers Tawanda Zhuwarara and
Dzimbabwe Chimbga became the first lawyers to present their case before the

They were representing Douglas Muzanenhamo, an activist living with HIV, who
was denied access to life-saving anti-retroviral drugs after his arrest for
watching videos on the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring refers to revolutions
that took place in North Africa and the Middle East and overthrew
governments in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Chadambuka had a torrid time convincing the court that indeed Muzanenhamo
was denied medication while in police and prison custody after the officer
in charge Harare Central Prison deposed an affidavit refuting the
allegations. Chidyausiku then suggested the applicant seek redress from the
High Court since there were many disputed points in the case.

The court reserved judgment on the case after the state argued the matter
should be referred back to the High Court or dealt with as a civil matter.

The Constitutional Court is expected to hear its second case today when a
Harare man Jealousy Mawarire seeks the court to compel President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube to
proclaim election dates as there may be a constitutional crisis if June 29
elapses without proclamation of poll dates in terms of the law.

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Mugabe trip gobbles millions

May 24, 2013 in News

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will next week gobble millions of dollars when he
takes a huge entourage of more than 50 government officials to attend the
fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad) from
June 1 to 3, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

Report by Elias Mambo

Top government sources said Mugabe is expected to take a high-powered
delegation of cabinet ministers, directors of ministries, their political
aides, personal assistants, national security personnel and specialists from
government departments to a three-day conference that gives an opportunity
for African countries to interact with their Japanese hosts.

The trip, wholly funded by Treasury, is expected to drain millions of tax
payers’ dollars in airfares, accommodation and general upkeep of the
delegation in state-of-the-art hotels in Japan’s Yokohama city.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has frequently warned government should limit
foreign travel to sustainable levels. Mugabe spent more on foreign trips
compared to any official in the inclusive government in 2012. His office was
allocated US$15 million by Treasury and had chewed up US$20 million in six
months, overshooting the budget by 133% by mid last year, according to
sources in the Finance ministry. Most of the money funded foreign travel.

In June last year Mugabe came under serious criticism after blowing more
than US$7 million when he took an entourage of 92 to the United Nations (UN)
conference on sustainable development in Brazil.

In his 2012 national budget proposals, Biti warned against excessive foreign
travel saying the executive had blown US$45,5 million on trips in the
previous year.

Yumi Sakata, advisor at the Japanese embassy in Zimbabwe, said African
governments were encouraged to send as many delegates as they could afford
to the conference.

“There is no limit on the number of delegates, so governments can send as
many people as they can afford so as to have a chance to exchange ideas,”
she said.

Sakata also said Japan launched Ticad to promote high-level policy dialogue
between African leaders and development partners on issues facing Africa,
such as economic development, poverty and conflict.

Ticad is co-hosted by the government of Japan, the African Union Commission,
the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, United Nations
Development Programme and the World Bank. Its stakeholders include all
African countries and development partners.

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Makarau speaks out

May 24, 2013 in News

Zimbabwe Electoral Commiss-ion (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau (RM)
has chall-enged critics who have accused Zec of being run by state security
operatives and incompetent officials to prove it.

Makarau said this yesterday in a wide-ranging interview with Zimbabwe
Independent senior political reporter Wongai Zhangazha (WZ). Zec has come
under the spotlight as Zimbabwe approaches make-or-break general elections.
Find below excerpts from the interview:

WZ: What has Zec done to raise awareness among ordinary people on voter
education on registration and elections?
RM: I would want to believe that we have done quite a bit. Although we would
have wanted to be more on the ground but due to limited funding and a short
time-frame within which to do our voter education we couldn’t. But we
believe to date that what we have done has resulted in people showing a
whole lot of interest in voter registration which has reflected in the
queues that were formed at our voter registration centres. People are
already showing an interest to participate in the forthcoming elections
whenever that date will be. We would want to believe that the interest is
part of the work that Zec has done.

WZ: How much would you have wanted as Zec to do your work?
RM: We submitted a total budget between us and the Registrar-General’s
office of US$21 million, out of which we got US$4 million for the
Registrar-General’s Office and US$500 000 for Zec and that was very
inadequate. So we got US$4,5 million out of US$21 million that we wanted.

WZ: What did you manage to cover from the little that you received?
RM: We managed to cover quite a number of wards. The wards that we covered
were not the entire number of wards in the country. It resulted in us
registering at least 200 000 people throughout the country.

WZ: You said you had limited time to conduct voter registration. What is the
normal period for voter education?
RM: I am informed by the Registrar-General’s Office that before an election
he normally does a three-month voter registration exercise.
The exercise that just ended was done over 21 days. So 21 days compared to
three months you can see the difference.

Normal depends on quite a number of factors. If the Register-General’s
office was constantly updating its records as it normally does then maybe we
would have required a shorter period but we were informed last year there
was no outreach programme to register voters so it means that they have gone
for a whole year without capturing those eligible voters. So we would have
needed a whole lot more than the 21 days.

WZ: There are debates, especially among political parties and civil society,
on the composition of Zec, with one party saying the electoral body is being
run by security operatives. What’s your comment?
RM: This is not the first time that I have heard these allegations. I have
been with Zec since March just before the referendum and so far I haven’t
had any evidence or seen any bias for myself. I have met a very professional
team which I was quite impressed with and I am still impressed with. But if
there are any examples of double allegiance by our staff to some
organisations I would really like to have that information, because we would
want to maintain the integrity of Zec and we would want people to trust it.
So if there is any evidence I would really like to have that, then we can
use it to clean up Zec.

WZ: During the Sadc facilitated negotiations between political parties, Zanu
PF and MDC failed to reach an agreement on the need to recruit a new
secretariat. Do you think there should be a new Zec secretariat before
elections and why?
RM: No, I don’t think so. You don’t change your horses just before a big
event like the elections that are forthcoming. If we were to have a new
secretariat they would need training, they would need experience and I don’t
think we need a new secretariat now. I believe the secretariat I found in
place will be able to deliver even during the elections. We are trying our
level best to deliver. But in the event that there is evidence that there is
any area of incompetence, I would like such evidence to be given to the Zec
as a commission for it to consider.

WZ: How is Zec funded?
RM: Zec is funded mainly by the government, although there are provisions in
the Act that we can also seek donations from others, for example UNDP but
with the approval of government.

WZ: How much has it been given for general elections preparations?
RM: Zero. Nothing at all at the moment.
WZ: We understand that Zec met with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa last
week over funding issues. What was the nature of the discussions?

RM: Yes Zec had a meeting with Minister Chinamasa and we appraised him of
our need for funding. He said they had taken the matter to cabinet, and it
was a matter to be discussed by cabinet how the US$164 million we need for
elections will be raised.

WZ: Over three million people voted for the new constitution. There have
been some critics, especially from NGO, saying the number might have been
inflated. What is your comment on that?
RM: We invite them to be specific. Figures from provincial officers have
been verified and found to be authentic. If they have evidence of their
claims they should come forward.

WZ: When you were appointed some people doubted your impartiality because
you are a former appointed non-constituency Zanu PF Member of Parliament.
Does that compromise your impartiality?
RM: I will let the people judge that at the end of the elections exercise. I
cannot judge my own case.

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Fraudulent sale prejudices pensioners

May 24, 2013 in News

THE Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) could have prejudiced pensioners’ of
their contributions by the sale of its property investment, St Andrews House
in Harare, at half the market price to Associated Mine Workers Union (Amwu)
in 2001, The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

According to a forensic report of investigations by a local audit company,
Five WH Corporate Services (Pvt) Ltd into the affairs of the fund, St
Andrews House, a four-storey building which had a market value of Z$15
million in 2001 was sold for only Z$8 million to Amwu.

Forensic investigations revealed that while the building was sold for Z$8
million a price of Z$13 million was quoted in an application for a loan from
Beverly Building Society which provided the mortgage to Amwu.

Sources said only Z$8 million was paid to the MIPF as a full and final
settlement for the property through the mortgage facility despite a
Memorandum of Agreement between MIPF and Amwu which stated “the purchase
price of the property shall be in the sum of Z$13 000 000 (thirteen million
Zimbabwe dollars only) payable in full upon transfer of the property”.

The investigation report also stated that Beverly Building Society provided
a mortgage facility to Amwu based on allegedly fraudulent documents while
Amwu later resold the building at a profit.
The fraudulent dealings are a cause for concern to pensioners, the report

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‘Zim can have more radio, TV stations’

May 24, 2013 in News

ZIMBABWE has enough frequencies to licence more radio and television
stations despite assertions by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz)
that the frequency spectrum is fully utilised.

Report by Brian Chitemba

The Media and Technology Trust (MTT), a local advocacy group for media
freedom and access to information, says since the analogue system is not yet
fully utilised, the country could capitalise on the usage of the Ultra High
Frequency (UHF) instead of Very High Frequency (VHF) which has a narrow
bandwidth and shorter wavelength.

MTT accuses Potraz of deliberately choosing the VHF which has a coverage
radius of a mere 70km instead of the UHF with a bigger spectrum and coverage
radius of 120km.

While Potraz says the frequency spectrum is full, MTT argues that the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) surrendered band one (channel 3-4)
which used to carry TV1, and this could be used by community broadcasters as
it is still vacant.

MTT says Potraz’s deliberate under-estimation of the frequency spectrum was
in contravention of local, regional and international charters that promote
media freedom and access to information.

These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, African Charter on
Human and People’s Rights, Windhoek Declaration, African Charter on
Broadcasting, Banjul Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in
Africa, Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement, Broadcasting Services
Act and the new constitution.

The licencing of more radio and television stations is being lobbied for by
the MDC formations in the inclusive government, civil society organisations
and media bodies as part of media reforms. The appointment of Baz board
members is also a bone of contention in the shaky coalition government whose
tenure is almost up.

Zimbabwe experienced television broadcasting in the mid-1960s, while South
Africa followed in the late 1970s, but the neighbouring country is now
leading because it chose UHF.

“The argument by Baz that it can only provide a three–tier system of
broadcasting in Zimbabwe when the country has digitised is a clear deception
by a partisan-constituted and run board as digitisation is not an overnight
affair,” says MTT.

“This process requires huge capital investment which Zimbabwe does not have
at the moment. This money is required for awareness raising purposes, buying
digital ready transmitters, paying the persons assisting with technical
expertise as well as ensuring the availability of set-top boxes.

“To this end, MTT’s evaluation of the whole digitisation process progress
points to the fact that Zimbabwe will be nowhere near meeting the
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deadline of 2015 even if a new
and competent government comes into office after the coming elections
because our economy is in a very serious precipice.”

MTT adds that the country does not have resources for digitisation, hence it
should fully utilise the analogue system since it has the capacity to
accommodate the three-tier system of broadcasting without much investment.

The switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting, MTT says, could be
done in phases, while the nation accesses broadcast news which is cheaper
and widely accessible.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently toured Sadc, lobbying regional
leaders to push President Robert Mugabe to free the airwaves and end the ZBC
monopoly as part of minimum conditions for free and fair elections.

The public media stands accused of being Zanu PF propaganda mouthpieces.

Freeing of the airwaves, the MTT says, was critical especially in an
election cycle — pre–election, during voting and post-election — to enable
the electorate to make informed electoral choices.

The latest experience in Kenya where the people went to the polls
well-informed by a three-tier system of broadcasting is a clear example to
emulate, according to MTT.

“We are further awake to the seemingly limited time to implement the issue
before elections are held. We, therefore, submit that no time is limited for
ready-to-broadcast firms, particularly those that were dubiously denied
registration last time, such as KissFM and Voice of the People (VoP),” says

“It is our reliably informed submission that these companies are ready to
broadcast anytime they are given licences. This also applies to already
established community radio stations such as Radio Dialogue, Community Radio
Harare, Kumakomo, Wezhira and Kwelas, among others, as well as 15 radio
stations all working in collaboration with Zimbabwe Association of Community
Radio Stations and Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter,

Government recently licensed two Zanu PF-linked radio stations, Star FM and

“Liberalised airwaves are therefore capable of producing programmes that
discourage voter apathy. Liberalised airwaves can make an informed
electorate,” MTT says.

MTT further notes 84% tele-density offered opportunities to the majority of
community dwellers to participate in national discussions through phone-in
programmes and social media platforms, hence encouraging popular
participation of citizens on issues affecting them.

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Zim struggles to turn human rights corner

May 24, 2013 in News

WHENEVER its democratic and human rights record has been criticised,
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF often retorts; it cannot be condemned for
its abuses because it actually brought respect of human rights and democracy
in the first place at Independence in 1980.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Zanu PF officials say Mugabe’s regime has done well in other areas,
including education, health and land redistribution, apart from purportedly
empowering Zimbabweans.

“Zimbabwe’s literacy levels are at 92% and I am a beneficiary of his
(President Robert Mugabe’s) empowerment initiatives for the girl-child,”
said Vice-President Joice Mujuru last week at the launch of the Food and
Nutrition Policy for Zimbabwe in Harare.

Mujuru then read out a long list of purported achievements under Mugabe’s
reign in education, health and housing among other things, which she said
were evidence of Zanu PF’s commitment to development and respect for human

However, the reality is that there has been widespread systematic human
rights violations in Zimbabwe under Mugabe as they were during the colonial

According to empirical evidence, analysts and human rights organisations
like ZimRights and a host of other local rights groups, as well as Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch, Zimbabwe is one of those countries
where rights to food, shelter, movement, assembly, association and
expression — including media freedom — are still being violated on a
disturbing scale.

Assaults on human rights defenders, civic groups, opposition parties and the
media are still prevalent.

As a result Amnesty International says Zimbabwe’s new constitution presents
a golden opportunity for the country to “break away from a culture of
impunity for human rights violations”.

Mugabe signed into law a new constitution on Wednesday, following a
three-year constitution-making process to replace the Lancaster House
constitution adopted at independence in 1980.

“The new constitution is a positive development with the potential to
increase ordinary people’s enjoyment of their basic rights,” said Noel
Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Africa deputy director.

“Not only is the world watching whether the country has truly turned the
corner on this historic day, but millions of people in Zimbabwe hope that
this new constitution will usher in a new political order where human rights
are respected and protected.”

There has been an increase in human rights violations in Zimbabwe since the
political crisis that started in 2000 and led to millions fleeing the
country to escape political persecution and economic hardship.

In 2008, more than 200 people were killed in state-sponsored violence during
the second round of the presidential elections, while thousands were
tortured, maimed and displaced.

“The next elections in Zimbabwe present a real test for the authorities to
prove their commitment to the declaration of rights in the new
áconstitution,” said Kututwa.

“The real test is whether all political parties and civil society
organisations will enjoy their rights to freedom of expression, association
and peaceful assembly.”

Government has generally responded to accusations of human rights violations
through denials or accusing its critics as Western fronts.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to various international conventions concerning
human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
and has included a Bill of rights in the new constitution.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises that “the
inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of
freedom, justice and peace in the world”, includes civil and political
rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

During the coalition tenure, government formed the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission (ZHRC) under pressure to ensure and maintain respect for human

However, serious under-funding and constant bickering among the coalition
government partners have crippled the implementation of the ZHRC as Zimbabwe
continues to stutter along what University of Western Cape Professor Brian
Raftopoulos calls “the hard road to reform”.

As analysts say, although the question of human rights is very complex,
there are basic or minimum standards expected in reasonably free and
democratic societies.

According to Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) legal
officer, Veronica Zano, human rights have three broad categories, namely
civil and political rights — first generation rights — economic and social
rights (second generation) and environmental, cultural and developmental
rights (third generation).

However, these rights are increasingly converging and becoming interlinked.

“There is a movement away from these rigid classifications to embracing all
rights as being the same,” said Zano. “You cannot talk of enjoying rights of
association and expression when you lack access to shelter, education and

Analysts say Zanu PF has only been willing to implement second and third
generation rights as they do not directly affect politics. Although it has
failed on second and third generation rights, it was not for lack of trying.
But its record of first generation rights is appalling, they say.

Bulawayo-based analyst Godwin Phiri said Zanu PF does not respect and uphold
human rights due to lack of political will and repression. He said
atrocities like Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina show the party’s
blatant disregard for human rights.

Raftopoulos said authoritarianism, lack of political will and a culture of
impunity have resulted in Zimbabwe’s failure to protect human rights.

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Zim lags behind as Africa marks new era

May 24, 2013 in News

TOMORROW Africa celebrates 50 years since the formation of the African Union
(AU), formerly the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), on May 25 1963
withsome countries, including Zimbabwe, reeling from political repression,
struggling economies, poverty and instability.

Herbert Moyo/Hazel Ndebele

It will also be a little more than a decade since the formation of AU, which
seeks to promote “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by
its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.

Consequently, the AU heads of states declared the year 2013 the “Year of
Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance”.

According to the AU, the anniversary is expected to facilitate and celebrate
African narratives of past, present and future that will energise the
continent’s population and use their constructive energy to accelerate a
forward looking agenda.

Analysts say while the founders of the OAU, which included the 32
independent states and liberation movements that attended the founding
summit in Addis Ababa in 1963, completed their mission of liberating the
continent, as Namibia and South Africa became independent during the early
1990s, African leaders have largely failed to ensure democracy and
prosperity in the region.

Although one-party states and long serving dictators have virtually
vanished, the continent is still riddled with serious political problems,
including military coups, civil wars, repressive governments, struggling
economies, corruption, disease and poverty.

The majority of Africa’s one billion population continue to live below the
poverty datum line due to misrule, corruption and legacies of colonialism.
Skewed global economic trade patterns and market upheavals also worsened the

But is it all doom and gloom in Africa? No! The AU Commission chairperson Dr
Dlamini-Zuma says despite all the problems the continent is moving towards a
new era of hope and progress.
“The new millennium, starting with the adoption of the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development and the transformation of the OAU into the AU, marked
the start of a new era for the continent,” she says.

Dlamini-Zuma says Africa has a bright future because it boast a growing
youthful population and an expanding middle class, currently estimated at
355 million, which will spearhead development on the continent.

She says abundance of resources and embracing of the information and
communications revolution will take Africa forward. While some analysts say
Africa has still a long way to go, given prevalent political instability and
conflict, Zuma insists there is progress on all fronts.

“Africa is also making progress on conflict resolution and expanding
democracy, through its Peace and Security, Governance Architectures and the
African Peer Review Mechanism,” she says. “These positive trends took place
in the context of the reawakening of discourse and action on African
development and continental renewal and renaissance.”

However, analysts say conflicts across Africa are still hindering progress.
There has been over nine million refugees and internally displaced people
due to endless conflicts.

Analysts say despite decades of conflict, death and tragedy, coverage of
issues in Africa has often been ignored, oversimplified, or excessively
focused on limited aspects. They say deeper analysis, background and context
have often been lacking. However, there has been good news in recent years.

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to exceed 5% on average in
2013-2015 as a result of high commodity prices worldwide and strong consumer
spending on the continent, ensuring that the region remains among the
fastest growing in the world, according to the World Bank’s latest Africa’s

In 2012, about a quarter of African countries grew at 7% or higher and a
number of states, notably Sierra Leone, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia,
Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Rwanda, are among the fastest growing in the

The World Bank report forecasts that medium-term growth prospects remain
strong and will be supported by a gradually improving world economy,
consistently high commodity prices, and more investment in regional
infrastructure, trade, and business growth.

“African countries will need to bring more electricity, nutritious food,
jobs and opportunity to families and communities across the continent in
order to better their lives, end extreme poverty, and promote shared
prosperity,” said the World Bank’s Africa vice-president Makhtar Diop.

Africa’s Pulse says that recent discoveries of oil, natural gas, copper, and
other strategic minerals, and the expansion of several mines or the building
of new ones in Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, together with
better political and economic governance, were sustaining solid economic
growth across the continent. Research from the McKinsey Global Institute
shows resources account for only about a third of the newfound growth.

“We believe its economy could double by 2020 to US$3 trillion, and we are
getting a clear signal from our international clients that Africa is an
increasingly important market for them,” said Dennis Nally,
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) International chairman.

The African Development Bank projects consumer spending in Africa will jump
from US$680 billion in 2008 to US$2,2trillion by 2030. The International
Monetary Fund says Africa will have the world’s fastest growing economy over
the next five years and “seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies
are African”.

However, analysts say bad leadership, poor government policies and conflicts
could halt or even reverse these gains. Looking forward, it is expected that
by 2020, only four or five countries in the region will not be involved in
mineral exploitation of some kind, such is Africa’s abundance of natural

University of Zimbabwe analyst, Professor Eldred Masunungure said while
democratisation is gaining momentum in Africa, there is still a long way to
go before democracy deeply and sustainably takes root. He also said the AU
needs to show political will and action if it is to lead the political and
economic developments taking place in Africa.

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Trade deficit to widen to US$3 billion

May 24, 2013 in Business

EARLY signs show that Zimbabwe’s trade deficit will widen to more than US$3
billion this year from US$2,6 billion in 2012, an economist has warned.

Staff Writer

UZ Economics lecturer Professor Tony Hawkins said this was because the
country was over-consuming and excess demand was spilling over as increased

“At the same time the economy has become a high cost producer because wages
are rising faster than productivity,” Hawkins said.

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit in the first quarter widened to US$845,51 million
and is expected to widen further as there is generally more importing
activity in the second-half of the year. According to import and export data
from Zimstat, exports in the period amounted to US$813,57 million and
imports totalled US$1,66 billion.

At the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe corporate governance seminar
recently, Hawkins said this year’s exports would be constrained by weak
global demand and soggy prices as well as the binding supply-side
constraint — electricity.

In the first quarter, exports were down 10% and hopes that imports would
continue to slow had been dashed by the first quarter numbers.
Hawkins said trade was one of the two main transmission channels through
which global developments influence economic performance in the country. The
second transmission is capital.

He said the country was missing out on FDI inflows as investors were being
put off by political instability and uncertainty. “This includes the
unknowns surrounding indigenisation and most recently, mineral sales and
mining taxation.”

The economics lecturer said there had been a surge in portfolio inflows,
which pushed the Industrials Index on the ZSE to a record high above the 200
point level.

To finance the trade gap Zimbabwe is unsustainably reliant on foreign
capital – “deeply ironic given the government’s indigenisation policy.”

In the last two years, capital inflows have averaged US$1,3 billion a year —
approximately US$1,75 billion when arrears are included. The bulk of this is
borrowed money — only US$350 million a year is offshore investment.

“And this by an already over-borrowed country (foreign debt is 116% of GDP,
over half of which is in arrears).”
Hawkins said the official figures suggest that almost US$1,7 billion of the
financing gap of US$3,6 billion for the last two years has been funded by
unrecorded inflows, which underlines the crucial role of the informal
sector. The balance was being funded primarily by the accumulation of fresh

Hawkins said the huge figure for omissions in the balance of payments — some
US$830 million a year — could well mask an even larger volume of offshore
borrowing than that currently recorded.

Various policy recommendations have been put forward by analysts who argue
that the current trend on the current account needs to be urgently reversed.
In the short-term the country needs to put in place mechanisms to ensure
that it earns a fair value for its mineral and natural resource wealth.

Analysts say prominence should be given to the establishment of production
facilities that enable the country to weave its own cotton into finished
shirts, process its tobacco into cigarettes, polish its own diamonds and
beneficiate them into high value jewellery, and also refine its own
platinum, among other possibilities which can be explored to add value to
primary products.

Recently Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said government will
by mid-year launch the Leather Sector Strategy because the industry presents
investment opportunities that lie along value addition.

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Zim faces food crisis

May 24, 2013 in Business

THIRTEEN years after its fast track land reform programme, Zimbabwe is still
importing most of its food and is far from regaining its breadbasket status.

Report by Taurai Mangudhla

Analysts have said the discordant land tenure system ushered in after the
reforms remains an albatross around the economy’s neck.

However, President Robert Mugabe appears to ignore that the country needs a
deep relook at land resettlement and the resultant unclear land tenure
system before any attempts to revive farming sustainably can bear fruit.

At the official launch of the country’s Food and Nutrition Security Policy
last week, Mugabe said implementation of the land reform programme has
become the cornerstone of ensuring food and nutrition security as the
majority of people now have access to agricultural land.

However, analysts, critics and most in the agriculture industry feel
otherwise, with Commercial Farmers Union president Charles Taffs saying a
comprehensive approach that tackles pertinent issues in respect of land
reform and a way forward is the solution to Zimbabwe’s agricultural crisis.

“The fundamentals to enable sustainable crop production are just not there,”
Taffs said.

“Why do we keep skirting the issues, we need to sit down and say what has
happened has happened and what can be corrected will be corrected, and once
we do that, all the things like manufacturing will naturally fall into
place,” he added.

According to CFU statistics, the fast track land reform programme, that
displaced most of the 4 500 white commercial farmers, had contributed to the
low agricultural output on the farms today.

CFU immediate past president Deon Theron is on record as saying the land
grabbing and subsequent displacement of productive farmers had heavily
weighed the economy down, costing the country an estimated US$12 billion as
at the end of 2011.

Theron said the figure was reached after considering farm production before
and after the land grab as well as projected foregone production.

He said the economic loss was worsened because resettled farmers had to
re-equip the farms by buying new machinery and other capital equipment to
replace vandalised assets.

Theron said Zimbabwe’s total agricultural output in 2000 was 4,3 million
tonnes valued at about US$3,5 billion, but this had plunged by 73% in 2011.

Economist John Robertson argues Zimbabwe will only have a real shot at
resuscitating its agricultural sector if it relooks at the land reform and
land tenure system. Robertson said new farmers were struggling to expand
their business as they had no access to lending facilities from banks, which
required collateral.

Financial institutions have long said they cannot use the 100-year land
leases given to farmers by government as collateral.

“We need a system that actually assists farmers get lines of credit and the
best system which has been used all over the world is to use the land which
you own and are working on as collateral,” he said.
“Unfortunately, government is saying, ‘we won’t go back to the issue of land
tenure’, but that’s the model that actually works and anything else doesn’t,”
Robertson said.

He added: “ There is no need to put water in your petrol tank because you
know that doesn’t work.”

The economist argued a food and nutrition policy alone was not enough to
turn the country’s agriculture around.

He said a host of policies that promote employment creation and industry
growth should accompany the policy.

“That one policy cannot solve all our problems, and food security and
poverty problems need policies that create employment. Policies like the
Indigenisation Act are not supportive of this, because more than anything,
indigenisation actually kills jobs,” added Robertson.

He said Zimbabwe should also adopt genetically modified organisms (GMO) to
compete on an equal footing with the global market.

Robertson’s argument is in line with the World Banks’ submission that the
country should allow farmers to grow GMO food and cash crops to greatly
enhance its yields and international competitiveness. In its Zimbabwe Growth
Recovery Notes on Agriculture, the World Bank said the move would reduce
pesticide costs and the rate of pesticide poisoning.

Bulawayo based economic analyst Eric Bloch said while the policy was silent
on land tenure, it could be mitigated by provisions in the new constitution
which will allow the 99-year land leases to act as security.

“It is a positive development that the 99-year leases can be negotiable and
used as security,” Bloch said, adding other critical enablers needed to be

“Even if the leases will be used to access loans, financial institutions do
need money to lend so we need a general economic turn-around,” he added.

“Government should also ensure agricultural production is driven by market
forces so that farers get fair prices.”

Bloch’s call for an economic turnaround to enable banks to give funding to
farmers follows Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe vice-president Sam Malaba’s
pronouncements last week that the banking sector is unable to provide
adequate funds to support agricultural production due to lack of long-term
lines of credit.

At the official launch of the Food and Nutrition Security Policy, Malaba
said the total deposits in the banking sector last week were about $3,8
billion, with as much as 87% being short-term transitory deposits.

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Zim shortchanged in mining deals — DPM

May 24, 2013 in Business

THE new Minerals Policy should contain a clause which states that the right
to mine should be linked to payment for the value of the un-mined asset,
according to Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Staff Writer

In a keynote address to the Chamber of Mines’ annual conference, Mutambara
said Zimbabwe had been shortchanged in most of the mining deals it had
entered into because of lack of knowledge on money. He said deals such as
the Essar/Ziscosteel and Zimplats ones should have taken into account the
difference between working capital and equity capital.

Essar was charged US$750 million, which would be used only to pay the debts
Zisco owed as well as provide some working capital, but the Ministry of
Industry and Commerce had not put a value to the resource underground. He
quipped that this was because civil servants, including the minister
(Welshman Ncube) were so lowly paid that they didn’t know about money.

On the Zimplats deal, Mutambara said the company had been given a US$4
billion resource at the time, and invested US$400 million, which was
borrowed from local banks. Yet when they were negotiating for indigenisation
they charged government for the US$150 million for the ground they gave up,
yet they never paid for it.

“They were not charged for the resource underground when they came to invest
in Zimbabwe,”Mutambara charged.

He said overall, the stamp from the Mining Commissioner on claims and rights
does not guarantee ownership, but only gives the investor the right to do a
certain activity. Mines permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho concurred,
saying the stamp would not guarantee ownership as all mineral rights in the
country are vested in the President.

These remarks follow an objection made by Zimplats over government’s move to
seize 27 000 hectares of the platinum miner’s claims.

Mutambara also said government would not pay for indigenised mining stakes
from dividends declared by the company, but would pay from the asset

He said if greenfields are obtained for free, then government should not pay
for anything. Mutambara said the 51% equity empowerment law is the
foundational law which will be followed by government, adding that it was
not possible to use the supply side model to ensure compliance as this was
only a supplement to the equity model.

He said the 51% being asked for by government was too low a threshold as
other countries such as Norway were asking for 93%. “Companies flock to
Norway because 7% of value is a lot of money. Foreign companies should be
grateful for the 49% because it was a lot of money.”

Youth Development and Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation minister
Saviour Kasukuwere told the same meeting that indigenisation of the mining
sector was still work in progress following the signing of most term-sheets.
He said his ministry was involved in negotiations and companies were
committed to the programme, “even though it is in the nature of capitalists
to drag their feet.”

He said the process was irreversible and after agreeing to the principle,
government would proceed to the next level and find consensus on the other
structures of the deal.

Mutambara said overall there must be analysis of the value of the land
before such deals are signed so as to ensure that the country is not
shortchanged. He said private investors know more about the geology of the
country than does government because not much had been done in terms of

He said private investors who know about the geology of a particular area
raise money and list in countries such as Canada and Australia against the

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No return to Zim dollar

May 24, 2013 in Business

PENSIONERS need not fear a sudden and unplanned return of the Zimbabwe
dollar, which could upset savings and reverse current efforts aimed at
growing confidence in the pensions industry, a cabinet minister has said.

Report by Clive Mphambela

Addressing delegates to the 38th annual congress of the Zimbabwe Association
of Pension Funds in Victoria falls recently, Minister of Economic Planning
and Investment Promotion Tapiwa Mashakada said fears of a slide back to the
Zimbabwe dollar were unfounded as the country’s agreed economic blueprint,
the medium term plan (MTP) guaranteed the continued use of the
multi-currencies until 2015.

Mashakada was responding to a representative of First Mutual Life Assurance,
Peter Shonhiwa, who pointed out that the great fear among consumers of
insurance and pension products that the Zimdollar might come back soon was
slowing down the recovery of the sector.

“Very so often, we read reports about pronouncements by people in government
that the Zimbabwe dollar is about to return and this causes fear and panic
among pensioners,” Shonhiwa said.

Mashakada said pension funds should be protected as they play a significant
role in the economic development of the country as they are the core of any
economic development.

He said the pensions industry was a big source of savings and formed the
largest proportion of the deposit base of the banking sector, and therefore
its liquidity.

In addition, the majority of stock market and property investments are owned
by pension funds Delegates asked Mashakada when the full demonetisation of
the Zimbabwe dollar was going to happen as this was contributing to the loss
of confidence in the pensions sector and financial services in general.

In response, Mashakada said: “Government looked at the issue and agreed that
a value be placed on the Zimbabwe currency balances. The exercise was
shelved when validity and accuracy of the Zimbabwe dollar balances was
thrown into question when initially the figures were estimated at US$37
million, only for it to balloon to three times that amount just before the
process was finalised,” Mashakada said.

Another delegate, Wadzanai Phiri, a councillor with Zapf and operations
manager at Marsh Insurance Brokers, said government should shoulder part of
the responsibility for the demise of pensions values as it was responsible
for printing the local currency, which lost value.

“It is unfair that blame for loss of policy values after dollarisation is
being heaped on players in the industry when it was government that played a
major role in the diminution in value of the local currency.” she said.

“Government therefore contributed to the erosion of value for Zimbabwean
pension funds,” Phiri emphasised.

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Disenfranchisement of ‘aliens’ xenophobic

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

IT has been argued that in today’s world where countries are increasingly
racially and culturally diverse, progressive nations are, among other key
indicators, judged by their treatment of minorities.

Candid Comment with Stewart Chabwinja

It is thus baffling Zimbabwe is systematically disenfranchising a
substantial minority, effectively rendering them second-class citizens.

The prolonged battle by the country’s so-called “aliens” to (re)gain
citizenship and voting rights is a serious indictment of the country’s
attitude towards a large chunk of its population some estimate to be well
over a million.

The word “alien”, stamped on the minority’s identity documents, is as
derogatory as it is a misnomer for by definition it refers to anyone who
does not belong in the environment in which they are found; or a person who
comes from a foreign country and does not owe allegiance to the country
he/she is in. How Zimbabwe can call those born within its borders aliens
defies logic.

That the “alien” shambles persists despite provisions in the new
constitution signed by President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday which recognises
citizenship by descent and birth, and contrary to recent cabinet
pronouncements, is testimony to deep-seated official xenophobia.

Zimbabwe has third-generation immigrants and those born in the country, but
of foreign parents falling under the alien branding. They have made and
continue to make indelible contributions to the entire spectrum of the
nation’s endeavours.

The irony of this situation is that millions of Zimbabweans are currently
economic refugees in neighbouring countries and overseas, having fled a
mostly self-inflicted socio-economic crisis wrought by a Zanu PF regime bent
on maintaining its increasingly tenuous grip on power by all means.

The “alien” status, courtesy of the amendment of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe
Act (Chapter 4.1) in 2002 resulted in many people losing Zimbabwean
citizenship, forcing them to identify with the nationalities of their
parents despite, in many cases, never having set foot outside Zimbabwe.

In a 2008 research document titled A Right or a Privilege: Access to
Identity and Citizenship in Zimbabwe, the Research and Advocacy Unit noted
that the long birth certificate which became mandatory in 2001 prior to the
2002 presidential election introduced a new section detailing the country of
origin of parents, effectively stigmatising all those of foreign descent
born in or out of Zimbabwe.

It is quite clear the objective of this requirement was to disenfranchise
all those of foreign origin, including farmers and farm workers perceived to
have voted for the then opposition MDC in the 2000 parliamentary elections
in which Zanu PF was almost defeated.

With high-stakes elections imminent, “aliens” attempts to secure documents
to facilitate voter registration face institutional resistance from a Zanu
PF political elite which dreads payback time.

For a country that purports to subscribe to the founding principles of the
OAU and the AU’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa,
driven by its own citizens …”, Zimbabwe remains woefully out of touch with
the dynamics of its population.

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Mugabe vulnerable in next elections

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

ZIMBABWE’S political playing field is still uneven and heavily tilted in
favour of the incumbent President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

Opinion by William Muchayi

The failure by the coalition government to implement agreed reforms has not
helped the situation. The MDC parties and others cannot afford to boycott
the coming elections in protest as much is at stake.

It means that political parties opposed to Mugabe and Zanu PF have to
squeeze the most out of this hostile environment that favours the incumbent
if at all they wish to defeat him at the ballot box.

How then can the MDC parties overcome this monumental obstacle and enhance
their chances of winning? There is no single answer to this question, but
without doubt, the strategy they will use will play a significant part in
determining the outcome of the elections. Many analysts have dwelt on this
subject before and it is thus familiar among readers.

However, in as much as analysts have criticised the MDC parties for their
failure to come up with a credible, clear and coherent strategy to win at
the polls, it is unfortunate that few of them have come up with ideas as to
what is to be done to end Mugabe’s reign.

Parties opposed to Mugabe and Zanu PF need a grand strategy that is more
robust and effective than Mugabe’s to win. It takes a coalition of
opposition forces to remove a dictator.

History is littered with evidence to back this argument that dictators cling
onto power not much because of their shrewdness or craftiness, but because
of the weaknesses of the opposition. In most cases, the opposition is
hopelessly fragmented, disorganised and prone to squabbling.

Today, Zimbabwe has almost 30 political parties with the addition of Joseph
Busha’s Free Zim Congress which was launched recently. Of late, Lovemore
Madhuku, Raymond Majongwe and Job Sikhala have hinted that they may form
their own political party to add onto this crowded political space. One
would ask, do we need all these parties?

Fragmentation is the curse of African opposition parties and sitting
dictators exploit this to their advantage. In the November 2011 elections in
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there were 25 contenders challenging
President Joseph Kabila. In the end, Kabila outmanoeuvred them all to be
proclaimed the winner.

In 2006, Ivory Coast had 130 political parties, Senegal 77 and Liberia 200.
Mali had more than 159 political parties and Angola had more than 138 in
2008. In the October 2011 elections in Cameroon, there were over 200
political parties and over 50 candidates challenging President Paul Biya.

In all the above examples, the opposition failed to unseat the incumbents
not only because of the uneven playing field, but also due to their
fragmentation and failure to present a united front.

By contrast, a coalition of opposition parties succeeded in unseating Daniel
arap Moi of Kenya in 2002 after many years of failure due to divisions and
the same happened in the 1993 elections in Malawi when ex-president Kamuzu
Banda was removed. Moi and Banda were just as ruthless as Mugabe.

The recent strategic coalition between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his
deputy William Ruto during the Kenyan elections shows the power of alliances
in such situations.

Compare that to what is happening now in Zimbabwe. The endless spats between
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvanggirai, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman
Ncube and Madhuku do not help anyone. The primary focus of all opposition
groups should be to remove the current despotic regime from power and
anything else is secondary. Few, if any, opposition leaders seem to
understand this open secret.

The major problem with opposition groups is failure to advance policy
alternatives to voters. Usually, parties are limited only to emphasising on
their ability to run the government “better” than the incumbent party. That
is a serious flaw in opposition strategy.

Even though the MDC-T and MDC have launched their policy blueprints,
opposition forces in Zimbabwe tend to emphasise human rights issues, while
failing to clearly articulate Mugabe’s failure to deliver in education,
health, economic development and poverty reduction. The opposition should
articulate these issues in a language that resonates with the electorate
whether rural or urban.

An example is the perennial water and power crisis in urban areas. The
electorate has the right to know why the opposition which controls most
urban constituencies, has failed to resolve these problems in spite of
having been in charge for five years.

The opposition should swallow their pride and admit their powerlessness and
at times incompetence to effect change as their role is mainly ceremonial in
the current coalition arrangement.

It is na´ve for MDC parties to claim to have any meaningful power to effect
positive change in the coalition as Zanu PF still dictates policy in most
cases. At the same time, they should be prepared to justify their stay in
this political marriage of convenience as most politicians in other parts of
the world would have quit in protest.

In most cases, the opposition is weak in developing a comprehensive
political vision, leaving the incumbent entrenched in power. Emphasising the
need for alternative policy by the opposition, Phillip Isakpa argues that
“if ruling politicians are failing the people, it is the responsibility of
the opposition to step in, in a credible, robust, articulate, clear and
coherent manner, to provide alternative policy options on how to deal with
the challenges that confront the country”.

This means the opposition should explain their policy alternatives to the
water and power crises in urban areas, education, health care, unemployment
and other crucial issues.

Mugabe is at his weakest since 1980. Factionalism threatens to tear Zanu PF
to pieces as the president has failed to resolve the succession issue. This
chaos should be an opportunity for opposition parties to capitalise on. The
first rule of combat is “know the enemy”, his weaknesses and strengths.

In the next elections, the MDC parties should go for the kill, targeting the
regime’s weak spots. Mugabe is increasingly failing to come to grips with
Zanu PF’s infighting and divisions. He is now old, tired and frail to stamp
his authority on his party.

The opposition should not be like bystanders watching a free boxing contest,
but should reach out to moderate factions within Zanu PF for engagement and
mutual co-operation. By so doing, they would weaken Mugabe’s already shaky
grip on power.

However, caution should be exercised as the MDC groups can be vulnerable to
infiltration by moles from Zanu PF.

The MDC parties should exhaust all possible channels in isolating the
regime. This may seem bizarre, taking into consideration that a coalition
government is in place today in Zimbabwe. Diplomatic recognition is one
external support systems the dictator survives on as well as foreign aid,
foreign loans and other props.

It is a serious mistake for the MDC formations to embrace Mugabe as if he is
a saint today, yet he has not honoured his side of the bargain in the
coalition. Mugabe has not yet reformed and accepted change. No meaningful
reforms have been implemented since 2009.

The brutal murder of Christpowers Maisiri, harassment of human rights
activists and curtailing of freedoms of speech and expression are clear
signs that Mugabe and his party are still on the warpath.

Recent reports that MDC-T secretary for defence and security Giles Mutsekwa
has reached out to the military commanders is positive news in the party’s
quest to negotiate transition with the armed forces.

Mugabe is still clinging onto power largely because of security forces. The
MDC parties should realise that it is largely the top brass in the security
sector who are too close to Mugabe, but as for the lower-ranked forces,
their situation is not much different from that of the ordinary people.

To succeed, a popular movement for change must have the backing of the
security sector as happened in Egypt and Tunisia. The same thing happened in
Georgia in November 2003 when security forces were charmed with roses.

Within the army and the police force as well as the judiciary, there are
many who are sympathetic to the cause of change and MDC parties should throw
an olive branch to them.

If Mugabe managed to work with Rhodesian commander General Peter Walls and
others, what prevents the MDC parties from working with Zimbabwe Defence
Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri, Air Force commander Air Marshall Perrence Shiri and

Mugabe’s old age is a massive disadvantage in his bid to seek re-election.
He is no longer marketable to the electorate. The president is frail and
tired. The MDC parties should capitalise on this and other Mugabe

Besides, the MDC parties must make use of modern technology to the fullest
as happened during the Arab spring revolutions. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp
and many other social media platforms must be used to update others on
election processes and results.

Muchayi is a political analyst who can be contacted on

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June 29 elections — Mugabe bluffing

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

One has to give it to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert
Mugabe, for he has a way of throwing a cat among pigeons.

Opinion by Tabani Moyo

His bluff call for elections by the dissolution of parliament next month has
led to his opponents roving all over the political map in attempts to
checkmate the early holding of the polls.

So immense are the implications of this bluff to the extent that the
investment and business environment is now characterised by anxiety and
uncertainty as the veteran leader continues politcking about elections

Despite concerted efforts by Mugabe and Zanu PF to claim they are ready for
elections around June 29, he in fact does not want to go for the polls by
that much-hyped date.

In unpacking the circumstances that show how Mugabe is not prepared to
proclaim June 29 as the date for the next general elections, I shall expand
on the following points:
Elections will be held after the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO) general assembly scheduled for August this year.
The holding of primary elections and its domino effects.

Sadc and its quest for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Since 2000, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have been fighting to undo the
albatross of legitimacy around their necks regarding the outcome of disputed
election results, human rights violations, endemic corruption and the
authorship of the man-made crisis in Zimbabwe.

The legitimacy crisis has been mitigated by the sharing of political power
through the Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008. For the
first time since 2000, the feuding parties in Zimbabwe were in agreement
that the head of state in Zimbabwe is Mugabe.

This acknowledgement comes with the full knowledge the president would not
squander more years battling with a legitimacy crisis given the fact that he
no longer has the energy, good health or endurance to absorb international
pressure being exerted on him.

Having noted the foregoing, one has to appreciate that the impending UNWTO
conference marks an intersection of orbits between Mugabe’s quest to show
the entire world that he is the legitimate president of the country and the
need for the UN to hold its conference in a peaceful environment, a feat to
be shared by his political contestants, the Southern Africa Development
Community (Sadc) and the general populace.

It would therefore be foolhardy for anyone to waste such a prime opportunity
to be the “president of the world”, so to speak, by going for the gamble in
which one is not sure whether he will emerge as president or general

We must equally understand that the president no longer has the amount of
time that those still younger have to undo his mistakes. Hence, for the head
of state, it’s a high-stakes game where political decisions he makes will
define his legacy.

It’s a life time opportunity for Mugabe that has knocked on his door at the
sunset of his political career.

Above all, since the conference is a tourism sector-related activity, it is
sensitive to processes like elections. Given a choice, which he has, Mugabe
would not trade the conference for elections that can retire him “untimely”.

Suffice to say if elections are held before the tourism indaba and disputes
arise, there is risk that the UN will move the conference to another

On the other hand, Zanu PF is in flames as party stalwarts continue fighting
to succeed the 89-year-old leader. The party is struggling put out the
raging fires in some provinces with the party’s commissariat, administration
and office of the chairperson hoping from one region to the other in
desperate attempts to seal the widening factional divisions.

When you have a party whose intestines are increasingly being corroded ahead
of make-or-break elections, there is a big chance unity of purpose will be
lost and the biggest causalty would be its head. What seems to be cell or
ward, district or provincial attritions will have ripple effects that will
rest on the leader’s doorstep.

It has never been this brazen, to read of factionalism openly unfolding at
politburo level in the presence of Mugabe himself — times are truly changing
and for the worst. The president knows better that when you are in such a
dog-eat-dog situation you don’t expose yourself to gruesome competition. If
he stands to live his bluff, then the end is nigh.

I have no doubt Mugabe understands these dynamics, hence for him to buy time
he will continue calling the polls bluff so that the other parties are
caught up in the chaos of thinking that the election season is now with us.
That is why the other parties are also struggling to hold their own primary
elections. Forget about the legal interpretations of how impossible it is to
hold elections by June, Mugabe is taking his party on a garden stroll he
himself will not take.

If he is clear that his party is ready for elections, why dare all and
sundry that he intends to proclaim the date for the polls? It’s only logical
that those who are ready for it would move tactfully and rope in key
individuals in the process and proclaim the date. But Mugabe is aware that
by the succession politics now playing out in the public domain will likely
repeat the 2008 bhora musango (sabotage).

It makes sense to note that he will not call for elections next month
because he would not be done with extinguishing the inferno in his backyard.

The situation is made worse by the fact that the region is becoming hostile
to MDC parties. They love to be crybabies and forget Sadc leaders also have
the burden of running their own countries. In the process, Zimbabwe is
portrayed as a country on auto-pilot.

However, after everything has been said and done, the region will remain the
guarantor of the government of national unity in Zimbabwe, therefore will
play a significant role in local processes like elections. The region will
not accept June 29 as an election date. Period!

We, as Zimbabweans, are not interested in dates of events, but in the
transformation that national processes should usher in. It is therefore
critical that we depart from the mindset of doing things for the sake of
doing it to fulfill fixtures without paying attention to the realities on
the ground.

If it is a strategy of intimidating opponents — it is not working. It has
only succeeded in creating confusion in commerce and industry. Business has
literally been grounded and investment is being scared away. This has a
lasting negative effect on our livelihoods.

There is a political answer to the holding of the next general elections and
our leadership must show clarity of thought to mitigate both the known and
the unknown consequences of their actions. The next elections must be held
in an environment that enables the country to start rebuilding and moving

Moyo can be contacted on

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Stop deluding yourself, Mr Mandiwanza

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

Industrialist Anthony Mandiwanza is concerned about “distorted”
representation of Zimbabwe and suggests that a “strategic response” is
needed to demystify negative perceptions, according to a report in the
Business Herald on Monday.

By The MuckRaker

Mandiwanza said some misinformed statements about the country reflected
ignorance and stereotypes gripping the nation. He rejected the notion that
Zimbabwe was a failed state.

Zimbabwe doesn’t come anywhere near any definition of a failed state, he

What was needed, he said, was a strategic response to “misunderstandings” on
issues such as indigenisation.

An ideological gap

This project is bound to fail because it is based on a false premise. There
are no misunderstandings.

Zanu PF has embarked upon a programme which seeks to satisfy the greed of a
small coterie of party apparatchiks. Foreign investors should not be scared
away, Mandiwanza said, but should consider partnerships with locals.

We all know what that means: hand over your businesses!

“The policy requires foreign-owned companies to turn over their majority
stakes to black Zimbabweans,” he explained. “We hear simplistic comments
around indigenisation, but fundamentally speaking, this is a conceptual
ideological gap.”

So that’s what it is? An “ideological gap?” The “misunderstanding” on
indigenisation, he says, “is an issue which needs to be properly presented,
forcefully, so that people can understand.”

What people already understand perfectly well is that indigenisation is not
a popular policy. Have you ever seen people marching through the streets
with placards saying “We want indigenisation?”

It is part and parcel of Zanu PF’s damaging populist electoral campaign
headed by a minister who is actually a failed banker who thinks this is a
way to recover popular support. In fact, the MDC is right to promise to
repeal it if they get in because nobody wants it and sees it for what it is;
the product of a self-serving gang of discredited has-beens attempting to
restore their fortunes via smash and grab.

This is precisely what Sadc wanted Zimbabwe to avoid so its contagion didn’t
spread to other states. Yes, there are negative perceptions about Zimbabwe,
and they are entirely self-inflicted.

Zimbabwe gets the reputatation it deserves. It is the reputation of a failed
state. Mandiwanza should stop deluding himself. Once we get a democratic
government, the problem of misconceptions will disappear.
One example is illustrative of the problem. Here we are in the midst of an
economic crisis but resources are found to subsidise an event featuring Miss
Heritage Zimbabwe 2013 and her companion Carnival Queen Zimbabwe 2013. The
pair are honoured with a salute from the presidential guard, we are told,
soon after their crowning at the event last Friday night. What a waste!

Mpofu’s admission

Meanwhile, Mines minister Obert Mpofu has been doing his party proud by
denouncing the corruption that corrodes it at every level.

Speaking in Nkayi, he mentioned in particular the massive looting of farming
equipment and maize donated under Mugabe’s input scheme.
“People did not want to vote for the MDC,” he said, according to NewsDay,
“they did so out of sheer anger after realising lack of leadership among
some of us.”

“President Mugabe loves his people,” Mpofu continued, “but the food and
farming implements he donated have been abused, stolen by some of the cadres
in leadership positions.”

“Some of us have become selfish,” he said, “to the extent that we do not
want to help those who are suffering when we have plenty.”

“Food, seed and maize being donated by the president is being sold or given
to relatives and friends. Instead of getting a bag of maize some are
grabbing 10 leaving others with nothing,” Mpofu said. “This is killing the

Mpofu’s remarks come at an opportune time. Publicists in Mugabe’s coterie
have been suggesting that the land battle has been won and there will be “no
going back”.

This is nonsense. The party in power will decide whether there is any going
back. And given popular revulsion of corruption, the nation will want to see
which individuals helped themselves to land and implements. Who, for
instance, stripped Kondozi bare? Do those publicists around Mugabe really
think they will get away with their ill-gotten gains? They will be held to
account one day.

Tutu incisive

Congratulations to Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his incisive remarks on
Zimbabwe. Quoted in the South African press, he said it was the deliberate
decisions taken by politicians that had caused “the terrible situation in
Zimbabwe, our neighbour”.

Zimbabwe had been a “showpiece country”, he said which was thriving to just
a few years ago.

He wished we could return to those days.

“It seems such utter, utter madness,” he said, “the things they’ve done
there, destroying a very profitable agricultural sector for example by
handing over farms to people who weren’t really able to run them and left
equipment to go to seed.”

Tutu came under sustained fire for those remarks. In particular, the Herald’s
Isdore Guvamombe launched an attack calling him a “numbskull”. African
leaders would be expected at that age to hail land reform, not denounce it,
he said.

What Guvamombe doesn’t seem to understand is history is not on his side
despite his protestations.

“All and sundry in Africa expect such elders to explain how Africans were
dispossessed of their land and dignity,” he claims. “With elders like Tutu,
the youngsters are guaranteed to be led off course.”

So Africa’s elders are expected to go along with Zimbabwe’s damaging and
counter-productive “land reform programme”? If they see their neighbour’s
house burning down, are they expected to set fire to their own? This is
utter folly writ large.

Even if one is a beneficiary of that land patronage, they must still be

Manhanga straying

Bishop Trevor Manhanga has given us a good demonstration this week of why he
is no longer invited to do his Martin Luther King impersonations at embassy
national day parties. He appears to have dropped off the list of countries
which used to admire him so much.

And make no mistake, it was a tour de force. He spoke in the thundering
cadencies of his American inspirers. But since then he appears to have
strayed. He now believes we shouldn’t demand security sector reform.

“It must be clear to the discerning mind,” he wrote in the Herald this week,
“that our service chiefs have gotten a bad rap. The discerning mind will
interrogate the long repeated mantra that Zimbabwe needs security sector
reform as nothing more than an attempt to weaken the very essence of our

Now whose agenda does that sound like?
“To say that those who gave so much to usher in the nation of Zimbabwe are
stumbling blocks to the progress of this nation, is nothing short of
practising selective amnesia at best and gross self-immolation at worst. No
nation worth its salt assaults its security sector with a view to decimating
it and then expects peace. It just is not possible.”

And so he goes on in the vein of what appears to be his new inspirers.

“Where would the DRC be today if our gallant forces had not intervened?” he
wanted to know?

None of this will surprise those who have been following the good bishop’s
career. It has not been a pleasing sight. And somebody needs to tell him
that despite his ringing tones, he is not the man Martin Luther King was and
will not be.

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MDC-T’s shift from slogans to ideas

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

One of the most important characteristics of any group that is developing
towards dominance is its struggle to assimilate and conquer ideologically
the traditional intellectuals, but as this assimilation and conquest is made
quicker and effectively, the more the group succeeds in simultaneously
elaborating its own organic intellectuals and solid policy position.

Opinion by Pedzisayi Ruhanya

In The Ruling Class and the Ruling Ideas Marx and Engels argue that the
prevailing ideas of a given historical epoch are formed by the ruling class
and serve the ruling class. This is contrary to the apparent illusion that
ideas and thoughts form and exist separately from the ruling class.

The class which has the means of material production at its disposal
consequently controls the means of mental production so that the ideas of
those who lack the means of mental production are on the whole subject to
it, postulate Marx and Engels.

In other words, it is difficult to be a ruling class without ideas to
influence economic, cultural and political processes at any historical epoch
of any given society.

My interpretation is that last weekend’s MDC-T policy conference was meant
to show the party’s intellectual capacity, its ability to produce,
reproduce, articulate and re-articulate policy issues associated with its
broad social democratic political ideology.

The conference was also an indication that the coming elections would partly
be a struggle for supremacy of ideas, quantitative and qualitative policies
that address the economic, political, social and cultural problems citizens
are grappling with and the national vision for Zimbabwe that captures bread
and butter issues.

Most critically, it seems that the message the policy conference sought to
drive home was that the coming elections would not be premised on the usual
and now tired opposition “Mugabe must go!” mantra.

It would be a battle of ideas and policies that will seek to show a
difference between the MDC-T and Zanu PF. The policy conference was an
overhaul of the yesteryear mentality that being merely fed-up with an
incumbent authoritarian regime will translate into votes for the opposition.

That is the message that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
secretary-general Japhet Moyo failed to capture when he went on a tirade
against MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti who, in my view, has been one of
the most effective ministers in this coalition government, together with
David Coltart in the Ministry of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture.

Instead of interrogating and bringing labour issues to influence relevant
policy debates, Moyo decided, for reasons best known to him, to attack the
person of Biti — who is also Finance minister — but not the ideas contained
in the policy package. That is why for the first time the
government-controlled media that have consistently attacked Moyo and his
unions suddenly found a partner in him.

What is ironic is that both the labour and economic policies presented at
the conference are pro-labour and seek to revitalise industries and create
jobs that will make the ZCTU as viable as it was during the era of the late
Gibson Sibanda and Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC-T labour policy respects the social contract which among issues
recognises the freedom of workers to exercise their fundamental rights to
organise and to collective bargaining.

It is critical for labour leaders not to go to bed with the government to
protect their constituency, but that safeguard should be based on
issue-articulation than unhelpful personal attacks that fail to give
analytic contributions.

Contrary to Moyo’s ranting, the economic policy presented by Biti’s
colleagues proposes to transform Zimbabwe’s economy from the “dual enclave”
to one that is democratised, in which every citizen fully participates and
achieves their full potential.

This will be achieved through strengthening and sustaining macro-economic
stability, leveraging on the country’s potential in order to attain
efficient, inclusive and pro-poor growth that is capable of generating jobs
and uplifting the standards of living for the people.
The economic policy embraces both commercialisation and democratisation.

There are no value contradictions as espoused by Zanu PF which seeks to
advance liberal market economy policies through state and political party
structures governed autocratically.

These contradictions within and around Zanu PF will not assist the country
in a world that is moving towards both liberal economic policies and

Economic growth on its own does not ensure human development and poverty
reduction unless it is accompanied by rapid growth of productive and
remunerative employment. It is not just the size and pace of economic growth
that only matter, but also the quality and pattern of that growth as the
MDC-T blueprint argues.

The MDC-T says it will ensure that the economy accommodates every citizen,
enabling them to participate as an active player whether in the rural, urban
or informal sector. This will be made possible by creating value and reaping
the benefits of shared growth for a better life.

A social democratic state pursues democratic developmental that gives all
economic players the opportunity to engage in their individual choices while
ensuring the maximisation of the public good.

The central idea is that wealth creation should come before distribution,
something in sharp contrast with Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.

Realising that Zimbabwe has more than 80% unemployment rate, the MDC-T says
if elected to form the next government, it will adopt labour market and job
creation policies that are aimed at rapidly reducing unemployment. In this
regard, it will target to create one million jobs in the first five years.
The key growth drivers for employment creation among other things will be

This sounds very romantic, and that is why delivery on these promises will
be the ultimate test.

Policies as ideas or positions ought to gain traction starting at the level
of everyday experience and only then drawing from more formally structured
statements of principle.

It has been argued that a century’s worth of scholarship in the sociology of
knowledge suggests a few principles for understanding the place of ideas in
social life. First, ideas do not exist as isolated bits that can be picked
up and discarded separately. Rather, they live and die insofar as they are
sustained by their place in broad patterns of thought, in paradigms, systems
of value and in belief.

The policy positions by the MDC-T are an indication that the party has
recruited thinkers and technocrats involved in the production of knowledge
that speaks to the party’s ideology.

In the coming elections, the citizens, through a vibrant, investigative,
robust and independent media, will have an opportunity to interrogate these
policies, put them to public scrutiny and allow citizens to have a
comparative analysis of different political party policies before they make
a choice on the best party to lead them.

What cannot be dismissed about the MDC-T’s policy conference and its policy
papers, never mind contestations on their content, is that the party has
managed to create a counter hegemonic strategic policy package to compete
with its political rivals at the level of ideas.

It has set the agenda for contestation of ideas rather than the usual
name-calling, intimidation, violence and propaganda programmes where others
have distorted history on a daily basis in order to hoodwink the public into
voting for certain political parties despite evidence of clear policy
bankruptcy and failure.

Over the centuries of its expansion and consolidation, capitalism maintained
and organised its leadership through agencies of information and culture
such as schools and universities, churches, literature, philosophy, media
and corporate ideologies.

By having a policy conference to discuss how a state is governed, especially
in the context of the coming elections, the MDC-T seems to be sending a
clear message that ideas run the world and that intellectuals who were
involved in crafting these policy position papers have a critical role in
the future of state politics in Zimbabwe. It also shows that the party is
mounting a future bureaucracy to run the state.

Historically, intellectuals have created the ideologies that have molded
societies; each class creates one or more groups of intellectuals. Thus, if
the democratic contingent wants to succeed in becoming influential, it must
also create its own intellectuals to develop a new ideology that resonates
with subaltern and oppressed groups in Zimbabwe. A state cannot be run
without an organised and coherent ideological or policy framework.

Ruhanya is director for Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

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Election uncertainties scare away investors

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

The wrangling among Zimbabwe’s diverse political parties, numerous political
action groups, the president, prime minister and many others in the
political hierarchy as well as the media as to when the presidential and
parliamentary elections will be (or should be) held is having a grievously
negative impact on the country’s economy, severely worsening its already
very fragile state.

Column by Eric Bloch

The president persists that the elections be held on June 29 2013, the date
constitutionally prescribed for the dissolution of the present parliament.

In pronounced contradistinction, the majority of Zimbabwe’s other political
leaders and their parties, with reason, insist that the requisite elements
for a wholly transparent, free and fair election cannot be created and
assured if it is to be held on that date and therefore, the polls should be
delayed for such period as permitted by the Constitution and as will enable
the elections to be properly and fairly conducted.

Effectively, their demands are that the elections should not be conducted on
June 29 2013, but that they be held not later than October 30 2013.

It is also very evident that the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) is not only supportive of the election date being one which can
assure the propriety of the elections, but is also insistent that this be so
and therefore it is not possible for the elections to be conducted in June.

Over and above the immense sense of insecurity instilled in almost all
Zimbabweans by the unceasing political squabbling over the election date,
there are fears that the elections will not be free and fair.

For some of Zimbabwe’s key politicians endlessly seek to minimise the extent
to which international observers should be allowed to monitor the polls,
which are vital to the country’s future. The grounds recurrently cited as
justification for certain would-be observers to be barred are that such
observers would be representatives of countries which have allegedly imposed
“illegal” international sanctions on Zimbabwe.

In doing so, the opponents of a presence of such observers stubbornly
disregard that there is no “illegality” in the application of the sanctions,
and that if the elections are properly conducted, such sanctions would be
lifted and would cease to exist.

The concerns of most of the populace are intensified by the frequent threat
from leaders of diverse action groups such as the alleged war veterans and
recurrent incidents of apparent involvement in the political arena by some
of the leaders of Zimbabwe’s security and armed forces (who,
constitutionally, should be apolitical).

Their vituperative outpourings and frequent threats fuel intensifying
apprehensive of violence, intimidation and harassment, and especially so in
rural areas.

The further erosion of confidence in the future, occasioned by the extremely
negative vibes as to when and how the elections will be conducted, has
directly and pronouncedly adverse impacts on the economy. Worry and
despondency is not conducive to productivity, which is one of the
prerequisites for the viability of industry and of many other economic
sectors, including agriculture.

Such uncertainty destroys confidence within the financial sector, resulting
in lack of availability of loans and other facilities greatly needed by most
operations in the economy. Similarly, the atmosphere of doubt intensifies
the reluctance of many to keep their funds within banks and other financial

There is an unfounded belief that such limited funds as people may have are
more secure if kept in their wardrobes, under their mattresses, or in their
wallets and handbags. Businesses prefer to hold such cash as they may have
in their safes.

Many fear that the country might not have a democratically-elected
Government in office.

Many are therefore externalising such monetary resources as they are able.
The result is an intensifying monetary illiquidity in Zimbabwe, further
constricting economic activity. Therefore the economy will continue to
decline and it will be foolhardy for Zimbabwe to prematurely revert to its
own currency.

For a very considerable time, potential foreign investors have been
reluctant to commit their resources to Zimbabwe, notwithstanding their
awareness of the stupendous potential for such investment. They have long
recognised the magnitude of opportunity for viable and substantive
investment into mining, manufacturing, tourism, services, and many other
sectors of the economy.

However, ever since the pursuit by Zimbabwe of a land reform programme which
had total disregard for property rights, liability under Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas), and for preserving
and enhancing agricultural viability, potential investors were fearful of
similar inequitable and destructive policies being pursued by government in
other economic sectors.

Such a pursuit would destroy investment security and occasion great losses
for investors, and hence they were reluctant to pursue any of the many
investment opportunities.

The concerns of investors were subsequently intensified by Zimbabwe
embarking on its Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment programme.

Almost without exception, the potential investors are supportive of the
principles of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, but not when it is
founded on investment and asset expropriation, deprivation of investment
security, and imposition of indigenous participation without availing the
investor the opportunity to select his or her own indigenous co-investors.

Now the hullabaloo over when and how the elections will be conducted, and
associated disquiet as to whether such elections will yet again be devoid of
law and order and will not be democratic, free or fair, has provoked even
greater reservations by potential investors as to whether or not to pursue
opportunities here.

For economic recovery to be comprehensive, investment is essential, but
Zimbabwe continues to create concern barriers for the much-needed

Zimbabwe’s economic wellbeing is also contingent upon alleviation of its
gargantuan overdue foreign debt. It can only achieve that by a combination
of debt-rescheduling, and debt-relief.

To a great degree that relief can only be obtained under the Heavily
Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) convention, but uncertainties on elections are
a major barrier to seeking and being granted HIPC relief, or any
rescheduling of debt.

The international community will not entertain any representations for such
measures to be granted unless convinced that Zimbabwe is genuinely
conducting unequivocally proper, free and fair, elections.

The current election hiatus does not provide that conviction. Similarly,
Zimbabwe greatly needs, in order to spur economic recovery, international
developmental aid, over and above the welfare aid presently given to address
the inadequacies of food availability, healthcare, and education. But that
development aid will not be forthcoming to any significant extent until
proper elections are held.

For great economic recovery to be realised, the first and most urgent need
is for elections to be timeously held, but not with such undue haste as
precludes their proper conduct.

It is blatantly evident that legitimate elections cannot conceivably be held
within six weeks as sought by the president and his political party, but
equally that necessary actions must be vigorously and intensively pursued to
ensure internationally acceptable elections within the next four months.

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May 25: Charity begins at home

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

AS the mother continent marks the golden anniversary of Africa Day tomorrow,
it would be amiss not to delve into the significance of the founding of the
African Union (AU), formerly the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which
in essence is the cause for reflection on May 25.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Like any human being at the age of 50, independent Africa has surely come of
age. Whether the coming of age coincides with the wisdom normally associated
with that is a subject to debate.

The greatest irony is that, even though this date has behind it the idea of
African unity, it is only an official holiday in five countries, including

We pose the question: does this mean the other 49 member states feel there
is nothing to celebrate? We wouldn’t blame them for doing so, for,
notwithstanding the harsh impact of slavery and colonialism, the continent
has been a failure among nations due to the ineptitude and greed of its

Our West African elder brothers have been renowned for political strife that
included military coups, brazen dictatorships and gross economic

Nigeria, the continent’s largest nation in terms of population, made
headlines for all the wrong reasons with the Biafra war in the late 1960s
and continues to do so. Ethiopia, where the OAU was founded and is still the
headquarters of the successor AU, sent shockwaves around the world when
images of famine were beamed across the globe some years ago.

Not to be outdone, young Zimbabwe, barely two years old, embarked on one of
the most ruthless episodes of post-colonial massacres when it unleashed the
notorious North Korean-trained 5 Brigade in south-western parts of the
country, code-named Gukurahundi.

Although the rest of the world was quiet about Gukurahundi (and many were
misinformed) with the passage of time, the US dubbed North Korea one of
three countries that formed the modern-day axis of evil.

Interestingly, the architects and perpetrators of Gukurahundi still roam the
steets scot-free. Its senior leaders are in the running for presidential
office while army officers involved are among the country’s military top
brass today.

And yet Zimbabwe, in spite of the toxic and divisive politics of its
political leadership, is one of the countries that fervently marks this day.

Charity begins at home. You cannot claim solidarity with the rest of the
continent while your own house is on fire. In typical African culture, your
neighbours may not speak, but they know the truth. When they need to talk
among themselves, they will as the Shona-speaking people do, make you feel
important by asking you to slaughter the goat “desperately” needed by the
gathering during deliberations.

Zimbabwe has given itself some self-importance as a champion of Africans’
rights, be it the right to land or empowerment. But its neighbours in the AU
are exasperated by its failure to accord its own citizens basic human
rights, such as civil and political liberties, that is freedom-oriented
rights and security-oriented rights.

If this persists, then the country will be unable to take advantage of all
the positive indicators of a new era of prosperity dawning on the continent.
Africa is marching on while Zimbabwe lags behind.

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Mugabe’s bid to airbrush dark legacy

May 24, 2013 in Opinion

WHENEVER President Robert Mugabe speaks in public these days, if he is not
involved in political polemics and campaigning, there is always a hint of
atonement — clues that he wants to make amends for his mistakes on the cusp
of the sunset of his controversial political career.

Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Mleya

On Wednesday, in an off-the-cuff speech at the signing ceremony of the new
constitution at State House in Harare, he again struck a conciliatory tone,
sounding like someone delivering a valedictory speech yet making it clear he
is still around.

In measured tones, Mugabe spoke about history, the Lancaster House
constitution, Independence, nationhood, justice and equality, political and
economic power, civil and political liberties, tolerance, peace and the
media, among other things.

Despite his cynical remarks about journalists, the delivery was worlds apart
from his usually sabre-rattling speeches. This time around, he sounded
rather reflective and mellow, discounting traces of bellicose rhetoric and
combative politics.

The question is: why is Mugabe doing all this? Is it to deceive the nation
and give the impression he is changing ahead of watershed general elections
or to show he is getting better with age like fine wine?

One can go on: Is it an attempt to atone for his excesses in power and leave
a more positive legacy of unity and peace? Is it a Machiavellian move to win
hearts and minds, including those of rivals, or a bid to airbrush his dark

There can’t be copper-bottomed answers to this sort of enquiry because it’s
only him who knows the truth, but a candid assessment of his remarks,
gestures and pointers can help to illuminate the debate.

Mugabe’s legacy has often been embellished by some, yet oversimplified by
others, or excessively focused on limited aspects.

Deeper analysis, background and context, has often been lacking, distorting
the history of his politics, his contribution and legacy.

Zimbabwean historians — and academia in general — have a responsibility to
write about him, set the record straight, not as praise-singers or cynical
critics, but incisive scholars guided by intellectual enterprise, public
interest and the need to enlighten.
What of the Mugabe legacy itself? How will he be remembered when he is gone?

Without confining oneself to a binary framework, there is the good, the bad
and the ugly on his balance sheet — advocates of Mugabe’s rule will always
put forward what they claim he has achieved during his 33-year reign so far,
while his critics say it is nothing but a disastrous failure.

Mugabe’s supporters claim the most enduring positive legacy of his rule is
his achievements on the social service delivery front, particularly on
education. Zimbabwe’s literacy rate is the highest in Africa, they always

They also note his social programmes and land reform exercise uplifted the
subaltern majority. For instance, his government gave priority to human
resource investments and smallholder agriculture, resulting in a rapid
improvement in social indicators.

Despite his warped socialist vision and command economic policies, the
economy started off well as he tried to bring the poor to the centre of
national development. That was it.

On the flip side, Mugabe’s critics say after 33 years in power, he failed to
build Zimbabwe as a sustainable democracy and viable economy.

Instead, the country has regressed and he will almost certainly leave it in
a shambles — with record unemployment, inequalities, corruption, poverty and
social exclusion as well as divisions on racial and ethnic lines. That is
besides his legacy of repression, brutality and appalling human rights

Overall, whatever the arguments and justifications, Mugabe’s legacy is
unedifying to say the least. The evidence is there for all — with eyes — to

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