lMinister faces prosecution
A PARLIAMENTARY committee is baying for Industry and International Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu's blood and calling for his prosecution for giving
false evidence before Parliament.
The committee plans to press the Minister of Finance to make public a report
naming top politicians that looted state-owned steel maker Ziscosteel.
The portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and International
Trade, which is investigating the collapse of a US$400 million management
deal between Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL) of India and Ziscosteel,
accuses Mpofu and the permanent secretary in his ministry, Christian
Katsande, of misleading the committee and committing perjury when they
testified under oath before it.
The committee had been scheduled to table a major report yesterday, but
lengthy debate on the Domestic Violence Bill pushed the tabling off
yesterday's roll. However, The Financial Gazette has obtained the report,
which reveals that the committee found how GSHL was chosen out of nine
bidders without due diligence, that the Zisco board was in the dark about
the deal, and that management at the steelworks had raised the alarm over
US$145 000 worth of deals agreed between GSHL and Stemcor, a South African
Saying it doubted the credibility of Mpofu's testimony, the committee urged
Parliament to "invoke provisions of the appropriate legislation relating to
false evidence before a Committee in regard to the contradicting, false
evidence given to the Committee by the minister."
The committee found that procedures were not followed in choosing GSHL as a
partner for Zisco, and reveals how Mpofu had professed ignorance about
relevant legislation governing such deals. The powers of the Zisco board,
which was supposed to represent the shareholders' interests, had been
"usurped" by the ministry which signed the GSHL agreement.
Mpofu had told the committee of the existence of "a thick file which if you
see it, you will be shocked", that he said he had asked Anti-Corruption
Minister Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana to "hold on to" so as not to scare
However, the committee's report says in later testimony when he was asked to
name the culprits, Mpofu said: "I am not aware of anybody and even the
report that is being referred to was done long before I came . . . I am not
aware of any individual MP - I even included myself - that could be
benefiting. It was just a supposition because we are dealing with a national
asset which touches on all of us."
The report says, the "committee was deeply concerned that it had been
deliberately misled by the minister." When the committee made efforts to lay
its hands on the document, it was tossed between Mangwana's ministry and the
Finance Ministry, under which the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
"The committee strongly suspects that the report referred to by (Mpofu)
exists and contents of the report are consistent with the minister's
submission that the contents are quite shocking. It is also the committee's
considered view that, contrary to the minister's view of shelving corrupt
activities during negotiations with investors, culprits must be brought to
book as part of the solution to Zisco's problems."
The committee will recommend that "the Minister of Finance avails the
National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) report to Parliament for study
and if need be take appropriate action with a view to curbing corruption in
The NECI led investigations into the corruption at Zisco, but its report has
been shrouded in secrecy. While Mangwana initially raved about bringing to
book those named in the report, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has
denied the existence of any such report.
Investigations by the committee revealed that GSHL was awarded a contract
against a background of multi-billion dollar lawsuits pertaining to
agreements in Nigeria and the United States of America where the company had
entered into steel deals which it had failed to honour
The report adds: "The implementation of the contract was unplanned,
improper, and highly questionable. There were no provisions for evaluation
and monitoring mechanisms that were put in place by both parties, a
situation that gave GSHL free rein in the whole deal."
One source added yesterday: "The committee wondered whether proper
procedures were followed in the declaration of steel that was exported to
Botswana, Zambia and other points in Southern Africa. We wonder whether
proper declaration procedures in the form of CD 1 forms were followed in
GSHL was supposed to inject US$400 million into the project as new working
capital but this did not happen.
Njabulo NcubeChief Political Reporter
THE government has justified its brutal suppression of the planned September
13 protest marches by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) by
declaring that the motive of the trade unionists - who were allegedly
tortured while in police custody - was to unseat President Robert Mugabe
through violent demonstrations.
In a three-page response to the International Labour Organisation, the
Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Lancaster Museka,
said the ZCTU leaders had no right to engage in an illegal demonstration.
The ILO had sought the government's response to the torture allegations.
Museka, however, did not say anything about the torture of the unionists,
who included ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo, secretary-general Wellington
Chibhebhe, first vice president Lucia Matibenga and others. They were all
seriously injured when they were arrested as they prepared to lead a march
into the streets of Harare to protest against the harsh economic environment
and other issues affecting workers.
Medical reports obtained by The Financial Gazette last month confirmed that
the activists were brutalised while in police custody. The police brutality
has been roundly condemned the world over. Police, who defied a magistrate's
order to probe the assault, have claimed they used 'minimal force' on the
"A few politically inclined individuals in the ZCTU
leadership called for the said demonstration in collaboration with the
oppositional political party (MDC) and other quasi-political organisations
such as the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the National Constitutional
Assembly. This demonstration was indeed meant to provide a litmus test to
the proclaimed MDC policy of unleashing a "wave of demonstrations" in their
bid to unconstitutionally remove the democratically elected Government of
Zimbabwe. It is in this respect that the demonstration ceased to be a
workers' activity and thus was subject to the laws of the land governing
political demonstrations," said Museka. "It is prudent to note that in
refusing to sanction the demonstration, the regulating authority took
cognisance of the fact that the MDC, which was a party to the said
demonstrations, had recently experienced near fatal internal violent
skirmishes. It was therefore in the internal interest of the common good
that the regulating authority did not grant permission for this
demonstration to be undertaken. Those aggrieved by the decision of the
regulating authority had judiciary recourse to the decision at their
disposal as provided for by the law governing such matters," he said.
Issues cited by the ZCTU as necessitating the scuttled workers' protest
included the need to link wages and salaries to the Poverty Datum Line
(PDL), availability of antiretroviral drugs and the reduction of income tax
for the generality of the impoverished workers. But Museka said these issues
should have been discussed at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, a grouping
involving government, business and labour which has been dormant over the
past few months due to sharp differences, especially between the government
The government accuses the ZCTU, which gave birth to the MDC in 1999, of
negotiating in bad faith and working in cahoots with the main opposition to
unseat it. "I wish to point out that the issues cited as the reasons for the
demonstrations are within the purview of the social dialogue process and
some are indeed under consideration by the same process. It is therefore
mind-boggling to note that one party to a process would elect to pursue a
confrontational course of action over matters that all parties are earnestly
preoccupied with", said Museka. "It is clear from the foregoing that ZCTU
had no cause for the demonstration. This, in my view shows the political
nature of the ZCTU leadership as they intended to demonstrate over issues
which can be raised in appropriate social dialogue initiatives."
The ZCTU leaders' lawyers have given notice of their intention to appeal to
the Supreme Court to establish the constitutionality of the Criminal
(Codification and Law Reform) Act under which their clients were charged
with respect to the foiled demonstrations.
The presiding magistrate is expected to rule on the matter when the
unionists' trial resumes on December 4.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has too much power and it must be curbed, church
leaders have said, in one of a raft of recommendations that have drawn the
ire of hardliners within the ruling ZANU PF.
Although government spokesmen and media say publicly that they "welcome" the
document, titled The Zimbabwe We Want, the initiative has angered senior
ZANU PF officials, one of whom described the church effort as " reformist
The "vision document" makes controversial recommendations ranging from a new
constitution - already rejected outright by President Mugabe as
"non-negotiable" - to allowing white former commercial farmers to return to
the land, the repealing of repressive laws and curtailing the powers of the
"There is broad agreement that the powers enjoyed by the President under the
current constitution need to be circumscribed. The main differences are in
the manner and extent of the circumspection," the church leaders said.
Despite public shows of support for the "national vision document", a senior
ruling party official said yesterday that its contents would be discussed at
a meeting of ZANU PF's politburo. The official predicted that the politburo
would reject "much of the document, which by my own assessment is really
awash with reformist nonsense."
The church leaders deplored what they called the erosion of tolerance in
Zimbabwe but conceded that their failure to speak out against ZANU PF
repression had exacerbated the problem.
"Political intolerance has unfortunately become a culture in Zimbabwe. The
trading of insults, violence with impunity, lawlessness and hate speech have
unfortunately been a characteristic of inter- and intra-party politics."
The document says Zimbabwe "must celebrate a culture of tolerance of
dissent, political plurality and willingness to accommodate political
The church leaders offered a definition of patriotism that is in sharp
contrast to that of ZANU PF, which largely sees patriotism as loyalty to it.
"Patriotism does not mean that we develop uniformity in our thinking,
culture or political party. Citizens should be able to constructively
criticize their government without fearing that they will be accused of
Also likely to be highly contentious is the recommendation that former
commercial white farmers should be allowed back onto the farms.
"The fast-track land redistribution programme created new forms of
alienation because of its overtones. Let us admit that many of those white
people were born and bred in Zimbabwe and know no other country other than
Zimbabwe as their homeland."
The possibility of white farmers going back to the land has already been
dismissed by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa in remarks to The
Financial Gazette last week: "We are taking land from white people, and then
the same white people are applying for land. So which land are they applying
In remarks seen as critical of an offer by the church to use its
international networks to help Zimbabwe re-engage the international
community and end its isolation, President Mugabe said: "It must be stated
and restated that the Zimbabwe we want must be our Zimbabwe together. We
must have it, own it, and keep it. It cannot be the Zimbabwe we want if we
give it away so easily, under whatever guises."
It emerged this week that there were already tensions between the church
leaders because of differences over their approach to relations with
government. One casualty was likely to be Bishop Trevor Manhanga, head of
the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and a key member of the church
grouping responsible for the document. There are reported to be divisions
within EFZ, with sources saying Manhanga would face an uphill struggle to
retain his post at the EFZ annual general meeting on November 14.
The divisions came to the fore this week in a teleconference interview with
leaders conducted by London- based SW Radio Africa, when Manhanga described
as a "big lie" claims by critics that the document had been foisted upon the
church by ZANU PF.
Matabeleland Roman Catholic Diocese leader, Archbishop Pius Ncube, a
consistent anti-government critic, called the document "a rushed business",
but said he endorsed it in the absence of an alternative strategy to
confront ZANU PF.
"Zimbabweans are desperate; we are looking for every possible way. So we are
saying if this document can be a road map towards peace then perhaps half a
loaf is better than nothing," said the cleric.
Bishop Levee Kadenge, of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, who leads a
splinter pressure group, the Christian Alliance, said the vision document
had aspects that were similar to some objectives of his own group, but
complained that the larger church groups "continue to exclude us and to call
Meanwhile, the faction of the opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai will
hold a national executive council meeting this weekend to discuss its
reaction to the churches' initiative.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said: "Unlike Mugabe who makes
decisions without consultation, Mr. Tsvangirai has first to hear what other
members of the national executive say and feel about the document."
'We'll soon have the same problem in telecoms that we have in power'
A NEW law that came into effect yesterday giving state phone company Tel*One
monopoly over international traffic could force Zimbabwean mobile service
providers to charge international outgoing calls in foreign currency, the
head of the country's largest telecoms company has warned.
A statutory instrument gazetted in March, compelling mobile phone companies
to route their international traffic through Tel*One, was due to come into
Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet Wireless, warns that this could see
subscribers paying for international calls in forex.
"Currently, making an international call is a right enjoyed by every
customer, and we need to keep it that way. If we allow this statutory
instrument to proceed without amendments, then only a privileged few will
have access to international calls," Mboweni said this week.
Operators are concerned that, because of termination rate arrangements with
foreign operators, Zimbabwean operators will now no longer have access to
foreign currency to pay overseas networks.
"There will be complete chaos and people will either face blackouts on
international calls or have to pay in foreign currency. We will have the
same problem in telecoms that we currently have in power," Econet spokesman
Sure Kamhunga said.
He said that whenever a subscriber on a network in Zimbabwe makes an
international call to a subscriber on an overseas network, the Zimbabwe
subscriber pays the home network for the call in Zimbabwe dollars, but the
home network still has to pay the international network to which the
receiving subscriber overseas is connected, what is called a termination
rate, and this is charged in US dollars between networks.
On the other hand, when a
person in Zimbabwe receives an international call, their home network
charges the operator that sent the call in US dollars. At the end of each
month, the operators then exchange invoices for calls made between their
The operator whose customers made the most calls pays out the difference to
its counterpart. Operators generally try to get a balance in the flow of
traffic between them to avoid any net payout.
"If you divert traffic destined to our customers away from us to come
through Tel*One, then we will be pushed out of the settlement system
completely," Kamhunga cautioned.
If this happens, Zimbabwean operators would either be cut off, or forced to
charge their local customers in foreign currency for international calls.
The new law gives Tel*One sole access to the forex earned on the incoming
calls to other networks, but will only pay them in Zimbabwe dollars.
However, the mobile operators will not be able to pay other networks for
international calls made by their customers to those other networks
Said Kamhunga: "There is no precedence for such an arrangement, and it is
dangerous in a country where there is no foreign exchange."
CEO Mboweni also said contrary to perceptions, Econet did not make a lot of
its money from international calls, saying these only accounted for less
than 10 percent of revenue.
"We are a public company and this information is available for anyone to
see. The Reserve Bank knows exactly how much we make, and it's not that
much. What is important about the income we get from international incoming
calls is that it is used to offset the foreign currency obligations we get
each time a customer makes an international call. If we did not have that
off set mechanism our customers would have to pay for international calls in
foreign currency," said Mboweni.
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday lodged a formal
complaint to Speaker of the House of Assembly, John Nkomo against a motion
moved by Makonde legislator Leo Mugabe calling for the ouster of the top
leadership of the labour body.
Two weeks ago, Mugabe, backed by Zhombe legislator Daniel McKenzie Ncube,
served notice to move a motion to ask the Labour minister to use his powers
to remove the current ZCTU leadership, which has frequently clashed with
"It has come to our attention that the two mentioned Honourable Members of
Parliament intend to table a motion in Parliament condemning the ZCTU and
asking the responsible Minister, the Minister of the Public Service, Labour
and Social Welfare to interfere in the affairs of the ZCTU," reads part of
the ZCTU letter of complaint to Nkomo, written by secretary general
Wellington Chibhebhe. The ZANU PF legislators accuse the ZCTU leadership,
which has been a thorn in the flesh of the government in the past six years,
of financial irregularities.
They also accuse ZCTU leadership of paying its president Lovemore Matombo
unauthorised salaries. In the motion, they call for Matombo and his
executive to be replaced.
"The motion contains factual and legal inaccuracies. What is disturbing is
that our input on the scandalous allegations has not been sought. We do not
know where and when the said report by the Investigator was published as a
public document. We are not aware whether the publication, if any, was
lawful. The Minister called the ZCTU leadership on the 31st of August 2006
and read out the Executive Summary to them. The Minister undertook to
convene a meeting within two weeks to enable the ZCTU to respond to the
allegations raised by the investigator. The Minister did not convene such a
meeting up to today," said Chibhebhe.
The ZCTU secretary general said Parliament could not proceed with the motion
as it had not approached the ZCTU leaders to hear their side of the story.
"The Honourable Members of Parliament have taken the liberty to gratuitously
condemn the ZCTU without giving them an opportunity to respond; this is
against the rules of natural justice. The Honourable Members of Parliament
are also instigating the arrest of the ZCTU leadership. This is most
unfortunate, coming from Honourable Members of Parliament. Innocent members
of the public may fall prey to the Members of Parliament's motion and start
thinking that something has seriously gone wrong with the ZCTU. ZCTU has no
way of putting across its side of the story in Parliament. It is unfair to
just condemn without giving an opportunity to the affected party (ZCTU) to
"The Minister and Police should know what to do without being instigated. As
matters stand, the ZCTU, its Secretary General and two others have been
arrested in connection with the matters they raised. They are appearing in
Court facing various charges. The matters raised are therefore subjudice. As
ZCTU understands it, it is a criminal offence to discuss matters that are
subjudice. It is our hope that the Honourable Members of Parliament raising
the motion are aware of the doctrine of separation of powers and further
that their actions are likely to undermine the courts of law in determining
matters pending in court."
Chris Muronzi Staff Reporter
GLOBAL Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL), the Indian firm that controversially
managed state-controlled Ziscosteel for months without a signed contract
because of official foot-dragging, suffered another setback in May when the
government rejected its takeover bid for Hwange Colliery Company Limited
(HCCL) , The Financial Gazette has established.
Market sources told this paper this week that, after landing the management
contract for the Midlands steel company, GSHL began preliminary talks in may
to buy government's 38 percent stake in the country's largest coal miner.
British investor Nick van Hoogstraten, who claims the shares held by
government were his gift to Zimbabwe years ago, is said to have been
instrumental in blocking the talks. A deal struck between the government at
the handover of the equity is said to bar the sale of the shares at any
time. The businessman owns 30 percent of HCCL.
"That (GHSL bid) happened a few months ago but basically (GSHL) wanted to
buy the government's shares and were talking to the Ministry of Mines and
Industry about that. The talks were at a very preliminary stage, but after
some time it just died," said a source.
HCCL MD Godfrey Dzinomwa was unavailable for comment.
GHSL announced a management contract with Zisco earlier this year, but
withdrew from the deal citing government delays in awarding it a formal
contract. Government officials have claimed GHSL left after failing to get
assurances on coal supplies to the steelworks.
Sources say GHSL's planned acquisition of the Hwange stake had been an
attempt by the Indian investors to secure coal for Zisco, which they were to
run for 20 years under the management deal.
It emerged at a recent Parliamentary hearing that after the Indian firm took
over management at ZISCO, coal supplies to the plant dropped sharply,
prompting unsubstantiated accusations of sabotage.
Following the Indians' pullout, Industry and International Trade Minister
Obert Mpofu told Parliament he was still hopeful of salvaging the deal.
Mpofu, who blames the collapse of Zisco on rampant pillaging by senior
government officials, said fresh negotiations with GHSL were critical as the
parastatal needed investor support in the form of capital and management
Rangarirai Mberi Business Editor
SADC hopes world will forget Zim
EVERY family has one. You know, that barmy uncle everybody prays will not
make it to the family reunion?
Everybody hopes he stays away, as he always manages to do or say something
that soils the family's reputation. But, out of good manners, nobody ever
asks him to either get himself together or stay away. The best to be done is
to lock up the drunk in the garage and hope none of the guests notice.
Which is what SADC leaders must have felt as they watched Zimbabwe belatedly
sign a trade protocol last week.
While the rest of the region climbs on the commodity price boom and
democracy to lift their people from poverty, Zimbabwe, like the black sheep
of the family, is determined to go its own way - but still wants to benefit
from the increasing prosperity of its siblings.
But since the region has given up on trying to sway Zimbabwe off its path,
leaders now appear only to be seeking ways to manage the damage.
SADC head, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, said the region wanted
to be taken as whole bloc, and not be judged on the actions of one member.
"We should not be seen in the light of just the one member state out of 14,
(so) that people will use that as a pretext not to invest in our region
because one member of the family is unacceptable to them," Mosisili said.
But just like other leaders, he appears not to have an idea as to how to
lessen the drama uncle's harm to the family name.
Ten SADC countries agreed a protocol that would harmonise the region's
business laws, coming a step closer to economic integration. SADC sees a
free trade zone by 2008 and a customs union by 2010, creating a single
currency and cutting red tape to attract investment.
However, it is clear that Zimbabwe's poor economic numbers will badly dilute
the region's key economic indicators, but leaders have taken the decision to
ignore Zimbabwe and concentrate on convincing foreign investors that the
contagion from a member economy will not corrupt the entire region.
But the SADC protocol has a fatal flaw. Unlike the EU's Eurozone, SADC is
not demanding membership to the proposed union on the basis of agreed
performance targets. Membership to the club will not be a reward for
discipline as is the norm elsewhere. Instead, SADC will just cross its
fingers and drag its baggage along.
This is probably because SADC has tried everything to set Zimbabwe right -
from Thabo Mbeki's R1.7 billion carrot-on-a-stick to Festus Mogae caressing
Zimbabwe's ego - without success.
So regional leaders are now only looking to manage, as opposed to actually
solving, the problem of having an errant relative among their number.
Mbeki was probably right when he told his critics that shouting at Zimbabwe
would only result in his ultra-sensitive neighbour shouting back, achieving
But on the other hand, convincing the world that Zimbabwe will not hurt the
vision for an integrated economy is a hard sell, and Mosisili betrays SADC's
frustration, pleading with the world not to say "because of member X we will
not invest in SADC."
So what is SADC hoping for here? That the world, and Zimbabweans in
particular, forgets that there is a little black spot on the SADC map? What
will they do? Hide Zimbabwe in a secret closet, much like Rochester's mad
wife was kept hidden in the attic in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre?
It's not hard to see what makes Zimbabwe look like the town vandal. The
numbers, key in any such currency union, don't lie.
South Africa's main inflation measure came out last week at 5.1 percent,
while inflation in Zambia is down from 18.3 percent last year to 8.2
percent. Angola averaged 23.2 percent in 2005, and was down to 12.3 percent
Against the US dollar, the rand is trading at R7.5, the Zambia Kwacha at
around K4000, and the Angola Kwanza at 80.37. The Zimdollar is $250 against
the US dollar on the official market, but trades at $1600 against greenback
on the black market, the main forex source for industry.
While the last SA rate hike took its repo to 7.5 percent, Zimbabwe's key
policy rate reached 800 percent, went down to 300 percent on July 31 and now
stands at 500 percent.
In his just published memoirs, former Botswana president Ketumile Masire
criticises what he calls the "political and economic destruction of
Zimbabwe", saying Zimbabwe "never trusted" his government.
Far from not making the region's Zimbabwe strategy look any better, Masire's
remarks show that while neighbours realise the extent of the crisis, they
have made the decision to leave Zimbabwe to its own vices, and hope that
everybody else does the same.
It's an arrangement that suits President Robert Mugabe just fine, but one
that places the credibility of the region's plans for a Euro-style single
economy at risk.
Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is preparing to challenge
the commission running the affairs of Harare over the 2007 budget to be
tabled by the end of this month.
CHRA, an advocacy group representing Harare residents, said the budget would
be illegitimate, as it would have been drafted by what it says is an illegal
commission, led by Sekesai Makwavarara. CHRA argues that there were no
consultative meetings held with the residents, whose interests the budget
The Supreme Court and the High Court have on three different occasions
declared the Makwavarara-led commission illegal, rulings that activists say
render all operations under the authority of the commission illegal. Another
case to test the legality of the commission is before High Court Judge
Lawrence Kamocha, in which the former HCC town clerk Nomutsa Chideya is
challenging the authenticity of the commission after it recommended his
dismissal. "What is disheartening is that the due process of consultation
has not been exhausted and it boggles the mind whose interests are being
reflected in this new budget. The Harare City Council is riding on the
fallacy of representative democracy where they mislead the nation that the
budget is created in the spirit of addressing the needs of the suffering
masses of the city of Harare," CHRA said this week. CHRA argues that a
commission's tenure of office is stipulated as six months, after which
general elections are held, and should not be determined by the consecutive
extensions imposed by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
However, council spokesman Percy Toriro said preliminary consultations had
been conducted and more consultations would be undertaken after the
presentation of the consolidated budget to be unveiled soon.
"Residents are more interested in the consolidated budget. Consultations
should start in a week or so after the budget has been presented. The budget
is currently before the committees. Residents want to know the impact of the
budget on their lives," Toriro said.
Toriro would not be drawn on the possible size of Harare's budget.
Notion that religious leaders deserve special attention misplaced
THE churches in Zimbabwe have had a number of instances where they have
decided to attempt intervention in national politics after independence in
The most notable of these attempts was made in the aftermath of Gukurahundi
when the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in partnership with the
Legal Resources Foundation produced an all-important report on the arguably
genocidal tendencies of the Mugabe government.
The second most notable instance was that of the catalyst involvement of the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches in mooting the need for constitutional reform
in Zimbabwe. And now of late, has been the church assuming the role of
mediator in the context of Zimbabwe's political and economic quagmire in two
forms, that led by the Christian Alliance and the other led by the Heads of
Denominations in Zimbabwe.
In the latter instance, the churches are seemingly keen on playing a
bridging role between two belligerents, the ruling ZANU PF party and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), with the intention of ensuring that
some solutions to the political and economic crises are etched out by way of
Without a doubt, this makes for interesting politics if one was to study the
importance and significance of the churches in political transformation
processes. There are a number of issues, stemming from the foregoing that I
would like to address in this particular article. The first being that of
what the churches in all of their actions believe are the issues that need
to be addressed in Zimbabwe. The second being the issue of where they think
their legitimacy to engage either ZANU PF or the MDC on behalf of the
Zimbabwean masses stems from and the third relating to the evident divisions
that the churches seem to have on the issue of the nature of their
intervention, with one school of thought keen on engaging the government
directly, and the other more interested in a 'civil society' based approach.
The churches in Zimbabwe began to have a say in the contemporary political
and economic crises in Zimbabwe largely after the intervention of the clergy
from South Africa in attempting to broker talks between the ruling ZANU PF
party and the MDC. Bishops, pastors, priests and reverends under the
umbrella of numerous religious groupings all issued statements either
supporting/congratulating the ruling party on its victory after the 2000
elections or alternatively calling for processes of national reconciliation
The churches clearly had already taken sides. Some were bent on courting the
patronage of the Mugabe government by holding and hosting national days of
prayer at which officials (including President Mugabe) would regularly
officiate. Others took a more anti-government slant, but mostly as
individual clergypersons (Archbishop Pius Ncube). Those that were
pro-government supported issues such as its radical land reform programme
whilst those that were anti-government condemned a myriad issues such as
unfair elections, Operation Murambatsvina among others.
The latest initiative by the Heads of Denominations in Zimbabwe while
seemingly pro-government in its act of engaging and holding a semblance of a
convention that President Mugabe attended, is clearly not in line with the
political parroting of ZANU PF.
It talks of issues concerning constitutional reform, bad laws that need
redress, the necessity of reviving the economy, all done in the diplomatic
language of courtship. In fact its document, entitled The Zimbabwe We Want,
apart from its emphasis on issues concerning patriotism and sovereignty,
reads like most documents produced by anti-government civil society
organisations, albeit with the reactionary response from Mugabe, the man
they were courting to buy into their agenda.
The Christian Alliance, in its hosting of the Save Zimbabwe Convention,
clearly addressed similar issues in its resolutions but also had the added
measure of producing what it called a Democracy Charter, a document that is
much more forthright in its analysis of Zimbabwe's situation and
significantly calls for democratic change that is driven from the masses as
opposed to that orchestrated by those in power at present.
When the semantics of what the churches hope to achieve are placed aside, it
is imperative that one asks where they feel, or think they derive their
mandate to do all of this from. The Save Zimbabwe Convention clearly wants
it to derive both from a religious premise as well as a consultative process
with civil society as representative of Zimbabweans.
The Heads of Denominations make no direct reference to a consultative
process. They feel that their mandate is derived solely from God, and mainly
a Christian understanding of God. It is clearly the right of any grouping to
speak on whatever matter they so choose, even in Zimbabwe. In this sense, it
is applauded that whether they be from the Christian Alliance or Heads of
Denominations, the churches have decided to share their opinions on matters
There is however the problem of the legitimacy of the churches in attempting
to broker political change, especially in the processes that the Heads of
Denominations have decided to undertake. The premise that simply because
they are church leaders they deserve the ear let alone the voice of everyone
is thoroughly misplaced. The struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe is one that
is premised on secular values, as a departure point, holding dear the right
of everyone to believe in whatever God they choose to believe in and not
placing on a pedestal the religious sections of society as saviours of this
So when the Heads of Denominations declare their mandate to be from God, it
is all well and good, except that it does not let them have the mandate to
either attempt to wrest leadership of political change from the people by
way of religious acclamation. Neither is it prudent, in the politics of the
struggle for democratisation, for the churches to attempt to become leaders
of grand coalitions when not only a number of secular ones already exist,
but also when the churches have been largely by-standers in the struggles
that the people have borne in the last seven years. To hear all those church
leaders preach about the need for democracy now is reminiscent of persons
that came out of the blue to attempt to claim leadership of the struggle for
Zimbabwean independence at Organisation of African Unity head of states
It is my considered view that Zimbabweans should not over celebrate the
churches, let alone the church leaders' attempts to take over the processes
of political change in this country. Some of the church leaders should in
effect be investigated for their roles in perpetuating the evils of the ZANU
If anything, the churches are only a part of the struggle for democracy in
Zimbabwe, not its primary leaders. That role belongs to the people of
As such, the church must stop trying to place its fingers in every political
pie and in the process attempt to hijack the people's struggles for freedom.
Analysts say Mugabe's response ominous
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's insistence that some aspects of his government's
rule are "non-negotiable national interests" has cast serious doubts on his
commitment to the latest church-inspired initiative to resolve Zimbabwe's
political and economic crisis through dialogue.
Church leaders drawn from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches
have, in their discussion paper titled: The Zimbabwe We Want proposed the
drafting of a new constitution as part of a process towards a "national
vision" for the country presently in its seventh straight year of
In a bold challenge to President Mugabe and the ruling ZANU PF's policies,
the clergymen also propose the setting up of an independent land commission
to ensure the fair distribution of farms and a review of tough media and
security laws that have been used to muzzle the media and opposition groups.
The church leaders specifically mention the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
which they say have contributed towards the stifling of freedom of the media
and suppression of the opposition. Since AIPPA's promulgation in 2001,
government has closed four privately owned newspapers including the popular
Daily News and its sister weekly The Daily News On Sunday.
However, political analysts were this week pessimistic over the church
initiative's chances of success.
They said although he described the document as a "veritable talking point",
President Mugabe has only embraced the church initiative to divert attention
from divisions plaguing his party due to the internal battle to succeed him
when he eventually decides to relinguish office.
President Mugabe was swift to reject some of the church leaders'
recommendations contained in the 44-page document, saying some aspects were
He effectively ruled out the drafting of a new constitution as an urgent
matter to address Zimbabwe's problems, insisting that the constitution
hammered at Lancaster House in 1980 which has been subsequently amended 17
times, was a truly homegrown one which only needed to be amended when
A new constitution is one of the central themes of the vision document.
"There could never be another constitution so dear, so sacrosanct,"
President Mugabe said in his address at the unveiling of the document last
Friday. "True, there might be amendments necessary to make, let us say so
but to say this is not home-grown is as if the British imposed this on us,"
said President Mugabe, adding that
non-negotiable interests should inform the process initiated by the clergy.
"It must be stated and restated that the Zimbabwe we want must be our
Zimbabwe together. We must have it, own it, and keep it. It cannot be the
Zimbabwe we want if we give it away so easily, under whatever guises. It
must be independent, it must be sovereign, and it must be a free country,
which is not fettered by foreign domination. In other words, our vision must
be of a Zimbabwe whose right to exist, whose right to grow its own way,
carve and create its own future, must be recognised and respected. The
Zimbabwe we want cannot be the one that allows its resources to be owned
exclusively by foreigners, indeed, one that allows its non-renewable
resources to be scooped and shipped to far-away countries for no real
benefit to her people."
Analysts said President Mugabe was yet to demonstrate commitment to the
ideals laid out in the document, beyond paying lip service.
They added that his rejection, outright, of the drafting of a new
constitution indicated his reluctance to change his present skewed economic
and political policies that have kept him in power for the past 26 years.
"The intentions of the document might have been well-meant by the church but
with Mugabe already digging in his heels on some of the proposals, it seems
like dialogue of the deaf," said Ernest Mudzengi of the National
Constitutional Assembly, a civic society organisation campaigning for a new
"We don't see any commitment whatsoever. In fact we think he has hijacked
the church initiative to suit his own political machinations," said
Mudzengi. "The document suggests open debate among other things but ZANU PF
is not known for open dialogue. Mugabe has something up his sleeve," added
Takura Zhangazha, another political analyst, concurred.
"Mugabe is playing politics with the clergy. He wants to be seen as being a
very accommodating and engaging person yet he knows deep down he is not in a
hurry for constructive engagement. He is worried about his survival and that
of ZANU PF. Period," said Zhangazha.
"The document is dead in the water. It will gather dust like other
well-thought out initiatives before it. What do you make of his clear
rejection of some of the proposals," added Zhangazha. "It is a document that
has no action and way forward. Mugabe is fully aware of this. He is just
playing with the church leaders and it fits well with his populist politics
and political machinations."
William Bango, the spokesman for Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the main
camp of the MDC, said: "Mr Tsvangirai can't immediately comment on the
discussion document as the national executive committee is yet to discuss
it. Mr Tsvangirai has first to hear what other members of the national
executive say and feel about the document." Tsvangirai's national executive
council is scheduled to meet in Harare this weekend.
Previous attempts by the churches to create a platform for dialogue among
country's political groups flopped, with President Mugabe and ZANU PF
accusing the opposition of negotiating in bad faith.
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
AN American company has incurred the wrath of United States government
authorities for violating the targeted sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe's
ruling elite by selling a top of the range Massey Ferguson tractor to
Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Minister, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed AGCO, which is based in Duluth, Georgia,
manufactures the Massey Ferguson brand of tractors.
Mangwana, who has also acted as Information and Publicity Minister since
June when Tichaona Jokonya died, is among a group of 77 Zimbabwean
government officials, including President Robert Mugabe, on Washington's
sanctions list, which was initially drawn up after the controversial
presidential election in 2002. The US government refused to endorse the
election, saying it was neither free nor fair.
Impeccable sources told The Financial Gazette yesterday that the tractor
manufacturer proceeded to supply the vehicle to Mangwana after the US
government had impounded the US$60 000 paid by the minister. President
George Bush's administration tightened the screws on Zimbabwe's government
and ruling party officials with an Executive Order signed in March that
targeted the assets of those "who have formulated, implemented or supported
policies that have undermined Zimbabwe's democratic institutions."
It is reliably understood that AGCO has admitted to the US government that
it supplied the tractor to Mangwana, saying it had an obligation to deliver
the goods in accordance with an agreement of sale.
Mangwana told The Financial Gazette he had received his tractor through a
local dealership with links to the US firm.
"I have got my tractor and I am farming like it's nobody's business," said
Mangwana. "I got the tractor on the basis of the legal argument that I had
bought it from a Zimbabwean registered company which directed me to deposit
the required foreign currency in a US account. I think when they saw my name
they confiscated the money. I never went to the US looking for a tractor. I
dealt with a Zimbabwean firm."
Penalties for violating the Executive Order or regulations issued pursuant
to the Executive Order range between US$250 000 and US$500 000 for firms,
while individuals may be imprisoned for up to 10 years for a criminal
violation. Civil penalties of up to US$11 000 per violation may also be
Washington has for the past six years accused President Mugabe and his
government of systematically undermining the nation's democratic
institutions, resorting to violence, intimidation and repressive means,
including legislation, to stifle opposition to its rule. However President
Mugabe, who attributes Harare's economic meltdown to the targeted sanctions
imposed by the US, Britain and the European Union, accuses the west of
collaborating with the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change to
oust him from power.
AIR Zimbabwe is to introduce an additional flight into China, the world's
fastest growing economy, in response to what officials at the national
airline say are increased traffic volumes to the Asian economic giant.
The additional service to China will take off from Harare and land in
Guangzhou, capital of the Guangdong Province in Southern mainland China, and
one of the most important centres of industry and foreign commerce in China.
Air Zimbabwe is already operating a flight into Beijing, which makes a
stopover in Singapore.
Although the airline still awaits landing permits from China, Air Zimbabwe
expects authorisation shortly to establish a twice-weekly service between
Harare and China.
Air Zimbabwe spokesperson David Mwenga told The Financial Gazette that the
airline is responding to increased traffic into China from the region, where
the airline has code share agreements with other regional airlines.
"We are opening a new operation to Guangzhou because there seems to be
reasonable traffic into the Chinese city," said Mwenga. "Research indicates
that it is a very busy commercial centre. The majority of people we are
carrying out of Lilongwe and other regional destinations will connect from
Beijing to Guangzhou for shopping. So it's ideal to fly to Guangzhou."
Guangzhou, which has express rail and road links to Hong Kong, boasts the
largest population of overseas Chinese businesspeople.
Air Zimbabwe introduced flights into Dubai, Singapore and China in 2005 as
part of the government's "Look East" policy after falling out with Western
countries. Harare says establishing links with the Asian community will help
revive its bed bound economy.
In return, China has conferred Approved Destination Status (ADS) on Zimbabwe
under which Beijing allows Chinese tour operators to organise tours to a
counterpart country while the counterpart government allows Chinese tourists
to travel into its territory on a special group visa. This policy has had a
significant impact on the Chinese outbound tourism market in other countries
conferred with ADS status.
Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe will resume operations into the Mozambican capital
Maputo and port city Beira in December using its 737 aircraft, which
recently underwent repairs in Germany after it developed an oil leak in
July. The airline, which last flew to Beira in the early 90s, is also set to
resume flights to Luanda, the Angolan capital, a business destination that
is also increasingly attracting tourists.
THE hunt for a new managing director for Zimbabwe's troubled steel maker,
the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), is confirmation of the
government's failure to save a US$400 million Indian deal from collapse.
Zisco has appointed a human resources agency to fill an opening for the
position of group managing director, who the agency says would be
responsible for "strategy formulation, planning and leading this strategic
The new MD would replace Lalit Kumar Segal of Global Steel Holdings Limited
(GSHL), the Indian company that had controversially secured a 20-year
management contract with the government-controlled company, once one of the
country's main foreign currency earners prior to independence in 1980. The
agreement was expected to significantly boost production and save over 5 000
But due to political interference by government officials, who also wanted
to benefit from the hefty investment, GSHL opted out of the US$400 million
deal and recalled Segal, leaving production manager Alois Gowo to act as MD.
Following the Indians' pullout, Industry and International Trade Minister
Obert Mpofu told Parliament he was still hopeful of salvaging the deal.
Mpofu, who blames the collapse of Zisco to rampant pillaging by senior
politicians and some government officials, said fresh negotiations were
critical as the parastatal needed support from GSHL in the form of capital
and management skills.
But the search for a new MD now clearly puts to rest all efforts by
President Robert Mugabe's government's to resuscitate the collapsed deal,
one of the biggest foreign investments seen in recent years in Zimbabwe.
The collapse will obviously also hurt Zimbabwe's already battered image with
international investors, especially given allegations that corruption and
interference caused GSHL's pullout.
Rangarirai Mberi Business Editor
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono has just raised the stakes in his
increasingly bitter war with "speculators".
It's a war in which neither side is willing to yield any ground, determined
to be the last one standing, puffing away at a Cohiba cigar in victory.
If the latest statements out of the central bank are any indicator, the gulf
in opinion between monetary authorities and market players is getting ever
Last week's measures by Gono to stiffen already tough measures by
introducing a new bond, the Economic Stabilisation Bond (ESB), and extending
the financial sector stabilisation bond (FSSB) was an escalation of a war
that has raged for close to three years.
Opinion between the warring parties has never been more contrasting than it
is now. On one side is the central bank, which blames the speculators for
stoking inflation. And on the other hand are the punters, who say their
actions are meant to shield their wealth from that same inflation, which
they in turn blame on central bank policy.
It's a battle where one action by either side always attracts an emphatic
reaction from the other. For instance, when Gono first introduced the
five-year bond, the stock market lay low for three days, while RBZ officials
enjoyed a cigar or two in triumph.
But then, analysts sent out a flood of notes to investors, scolding them for
overreacting, and the market replied with a 9 percent gain. Now, it was
those speculators that had been piling up on stock in those few days of ZSE
decline that were lounging on the balcony, puffing away at their own cigars
The sentiment among the speculators is that Gono is unlikely to win the war
against the stock market as long as inflation expectations - more than the
numbers themselves - remain as grim as they are.
But the attitude at the RBZ, in contrast, is that it is these speculators
that are building pessimism into inflation expectations so that they feed on
the resultant rush into assets such as equity.
So last week, while the stock market was drifting rudderless wondering what
to make of the rate swings on the money market or the new thrust from the
RBZ, Gono drove a stake into the ZSE with his new police moves. And as it
watched the stock market fall 8.9 percent last Thursday, another cigar or
two must have been lit at the central bank to celebrate at least this phase
of the war.
Gono said the new bond showed that the bank "remains deeply concerned with
the current and projected high levels of liquidity on the money market, as
this militates against our low inflation objective."
The outlook to the end of 2006 "and beyond" was that of high liquidity
levels, he said, warning of further "appropriate corrective and pre-emptive
measures, whenever necessary."
Clearly, Gono's strategy now is to make himself even more unpredictable, in
order to discourage speculators from going in too deep on "speculative
assets" that would reflect to the public where the market thinks inflation
is headed. It's a tactic that his critics say could work, but perhaps not so
much in the long term.
As long as every new release of inflation data represents a new knock on
confidence, the RBZ's task will always be tough. From now on though, it
appears that every time there will be a further hit on confidence, the risk
of new, perhaps even more drastic policy moves would also increase.
The downside of the conflict is the collateral damage being suffered by
other sectors of the economy, with an increasingly unstable interest rate
outlook the prime concern.
This is because either side believes itself to be right, and is determined
to be the last one to light up a celebratory cigar.
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
RELIGIOUS leaders in Zimbabwe have been investing considerable time and
effort of late into cultivating a cozy and evidently mutually beneficial
relationship with the government of President Robert Mugabe.
A few months ago, some church leaders were said to be spearheading efforts
to help build bridges between the Zimbabwean government and Britain, the
European Union and their allies.
In June, the men of the cloth were said to be working towards brokering a
truce between President Mugabe, the EU and the United states after many
years of a one-sided war of words in which most of the verbal waterfall
emanated from Zimbabwe. These efforts however, fizzled out when diplomats
from the countries regarded as Zimbabwe's enemies questioned whose interests
the clergymen represented. To make matters worse, Britain, which has been
cast as the villain responsible for all this country's problems, denied the
existence of a bilateral dispute between it and its former colony. British
officials pointed out that the ball was in Zimbabwe's court and that the
problems bedevilling this country could only be solved by Zimbabweans
Undaunted, the church leaders embarked on another initiative in July when
Reverend Peter Nemapare who was at that time president of the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches (ZCC) and Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Evangelical
Fellowship in Zimbabwe led a pilgrimage to State House to assure the
President of their support. This does not seem to have endeared the
clergymen to the generality of suffering Zimbabweans.
Nemapare lived to rue the day he was shown on television laughing
exuberantly after the head of state had taken a swipe at the man who must be
his least favourite cleric, Archbishop Pius Ncube of the Matabeleland
Diocese of the Roman Church. Nemapare was voted out of office soon after the
State House meeting after ordinary ZCC members complained about not being
consulted on the moves the church leaders were taking.
In August we had the equally questionable spectacle of churchmen from the
north who were guests of their Zimbabwean religious counterparts, descending
on Harare to make a grovelling but meaningless apology for the sins
committed by their ancestors during colonialism. Earlier Nemapare had led
the way in organising a highly politicised ZANU PF-backed National Day of
Prayer during which President Mugabe nevertheless ordered the church leaders
to leave politics to politicians and concentrate on saving souls.
Last weekend, Zimbabwean church leaders unveiled their most ambitious
project so far when they launched what is being touted as the "National
Vision Document" which calls on Zimbabweans to debate issues such as land
reform, human rights, governance, reconciliation, the economy and the
constitution. The church leaders seem oblivious to the preposterousness of
imposing their initiative on the electorate when it is a product of their
collaboration with the ruling party. The document, which is a godsend to the
propaganda-propped government, cannot be regarded as a national blueprint
simply because it is the exclusive work of church leaders who are
sympathetic to ZANU PF and are most likely beneficiaries of its extensive
patronage system. There is no way an authentic document embodying the
aspirations of all Zimbabweans can be produced without exhaustive
consultations with all stakeholders.
The church leaders involved in this subterfuge should ask themselves why the
government of Zimbabwe is prepared to listen only to them when it has done
everything under the sun to close democratic space and crush dissent in all
other respects. These clergymen must surely be aware of the heavy-handed
manner in which the government has dealt with opposition party and civil
rights activists who have tried to promote the ideals the nation is now
being urged to focus on in the church-initiated blueprint.
Have these church leaders ever heard of the National Constitutional Assembly
and its campaign for a new democratic constitution? If they are genuinely
interested in the welfare and interests of all Zimbabweans, why have they
never thrown their weight behind such efforts? Why have they maintained a
deafening silence and passed by on the other side when leaders of opposition
parties, the trade union movement, the NCA and other civil society groups
have been subjected to harassment, unjustified arrest and police brutality
for trying to draw attention to the same issues underscored in the so-called
national vision document?
As I write this, all believers in genuine democracy and fair play must once
again be enduring a frustrating sense of déjà vu as the ruling party
grandstands and gloats about its victory in "free, fair and peaceful" local
government elections last weekend that were anything but free, fair and
peaceful. In the run-up to elections to elect a mayor for Kadoma for
example, suspected ruling party supporters reportedly stoned the residence
of the Movement for Democratic Change candidate, Jonas Ndenda. The Zimbabwe
Election Support Network has condemned the violence. If these church leaders
are genuinely interested in promoting democratic governance, human rights
and reconciliation, for the benefit of all Zimbabweans, why do they not
speak out when such flagrant abuses of the electoral process designed to
tilt the scales in favour of the ruling party are reported?
Electoral irregularities were not limited to Kadoma during last weekend's
elections. Widespread abuses including intimidation, vote-buying and the
placing of obstacles in the way of opposition parties were reported in other
districts. The ruling party allegedly used chiefs and headmen to do some of
its dirty work. In many instances, the opposition party was prevented from
holding campaign rallies either through the withholding of police
authorisation or other subterfuge. Some opposition candidates were reported
to have been hauled before kangaroo courts for violating traditional customs
before being told they could not hold rallies.
In spite of all these irregularities, however, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
officials and ruling party apologists have not missed an opportunity to
pronounce the elections free and fair. They are quick to claim that ZANU PF
has regained ground in former MDC strongholds supposedly because the people
have realised the opposition party can not do anything for them, never mind
the fact that only the government has access to tax revenues to enable it to
implement development projects.
The Bible says, "The truth shall make you free" but these church leaders
have consistently chosen dishonestly to cast their lot with the government
rather than the oppressed, poor and downtrodden. It is clear that by
deliberately turning a blind eye on unfairness, injustice and human anguish
in favour of a scratch-my-back-and-I-scratch-yours relationship with the
ruling party and government, these churchmen are looking out only for their
own material interests. Being so seriously compromised, they have neither
the mandate nor the moral authority to formulate a vision for the nation.
The document they have produced can only be a propaganda tool for ZANU PF
and should accordingly be referred to as such.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
November 2, 2006
Posted to the web November 2, 2006
THIS week I am departing from well established practice in this and many
other columns published in the independent press in Zimbabwe and
encroaching, tongue-in-cheek, onto the jealously guarded territory of the
state-owned media by writing something positive about the performance of our
While I am a firm believer in fairness and justice, I must point out that
since the advent of Zimbabwe's current economic and political crisis it has
become no easy task to identify any action, policy or achievement on the
part of our government that can be cast in positive light as being wholly in
the interests of the generality of the long-suffering citizens of the
It is my other firm belief that praise showered on government on account of
some positive achievement, never mind how minute, has the potential to
become an incentive to greater measures of success if the will is still
there on the part of the government to accomplish success. Very few human
beings do not aspire to bask in the glory of achievement and praise.
Unfortunately, politicians sometimes demand praise and respect for failure
or mediocre achievement.
Reporters Without Borders, an international organisation that fights for the
freedom of the press and freedom of expression, as well as ensuring
protection of journalists by denouncing human rights breaches, has released
its index of press freedom for 2006. It is in this report that the
government of Zimbabwe has achieved a modicum of success by steering the
nation from somewhere near the bottom of the list of the world's worst press
freedom offenders to a somewhat healthier position.
By moving 13 positions from 153 with a score of 64.45 percent to position
140 with a 50 percent score in terms of press freedom violations, Zimbabwe
appears to have achieved minute achievement in terms of press freedom
practices, although our nation is still nowhere near the top of the list,
among the world's leading upholders of freedom of the press and of
expression. For one desperately scouting around for at least something on
which to praise the government of Zimbabwe in a spirit of fairness and
balance, this microscopic success will have to do.
The latest index is based on events relating to press freedom violations
between September 1 2005 and August 31 2006.
Top of the list, in terms of general absence of violation of press freedom
is Finland with a score of 0.50 percent, while the worst offender is North
Korea with an incredibly high score of 109.00 percent. The top echelons of
the list have constantly remained the exclusive territory of countries such
as Finland, Iceland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia and
On the African continent the best performer in terms of liberal media
policies is the poor West African nation of Benin, with a score of only 5.50
percent, while the worst press freedom offender is Eritrea in the Horn of
Africa, at position 166 out of a total of 168 surveyed countries.
In what will obviously be a long journey towards the top of the list, an
event unlikely to happen during the life of the current government, Zimbabwe
made modest gains by moving 13 places from 153 to 140. This does not
necessarily mean that there has been an improvement in the performance of
government or the Ministry of Information. The apparent improvement could
reflect a decline or deterioration in adherence on the part of other
governments to good press freedom practices.
The Reporters Without Borders index measures the state of press freedom in
the world and reflects the degree to which journalists and news
organisations enjoy press freedom in each country, vis-a-vis the efforts
made by the state to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.
"Each (country) has a ranking and a score which together sum up the state of
press freedom there," the report says. "A country can change rank from year
to year even if its score stays the same, and vice-versa."
Reporters Without Borders assesses every kind of violation directly
affecting journalists, such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and
threats. The news media in general are assessed for violations such as
censorship, confiscation of issues, physical searches of premises and
Also measured is the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for
such violations. The government of Zimbabwe must score highly in this
regard, in so far as it has harassed, threatened, arrested and subjected
journalists to violence with arrogance and total impunity. This is
particularly true of the era following the ascendancy of Professor Jonathan
Moyo in 2000 to the office of Minister of Information. Remarkably, Zimbabwe
reached its peak in terms of press freedom violations in 2002, two years
after Moyo assumed office and embarked on a harsh regime of suppression of
press freedom and harassment of journalists.
"Eritrea (132nd) and Zimbabwe (122nd) are the most repressive countries of
sub-Saharan Africa," the 2002 report declared. "The entire privately-owned
press in Eritrea was banned by the government in September 2001 and 18
journalists are currently imprisoned there. Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe is notable for his especially harsh attitude to the foreign and
In Zimbabwe a large percentage of the privately-owned press, including The
Daily News was to be banned in September 2003.
The latest report covers the period from September 2005 to August 2006.
Remarkably, the period when the general image of Zimbabwe in terms of press
freedom violations appears to have improved marginally dovetails with the
period immediately following Moyo's unceremonious fall from the position of
extremely powerful Minister of Information. Moyo inherited a modest office
from lackluster former minister, Chen Chimutengwende, and transformed it
into government's most powerful portfolio.
If I had not personally observed the rabid performance of Moyo during this
period and personally suffered the harsh consequences thereof, I would
attribute this to coincidence. But I fear that as a result of such a
charitable disposition I might be subjected to a hail of abuse, especially
by fellow media practitioners who became victims of wanton abuse,
depredation, deprivation and wholesale humiliation.
Moyo's wholly devastating legacy will remain indelibly etched on the media
landscape of Zimbabwe for years to come, or until a change of government
results in a new era of more liberal media policy.
While authoritarian regimes are eager to control the press, in reality all
that is required for any government to effectively control the media is that
the elected politicians deliver on their election promises, that is by
ensuring that the majority of citizens benefit from good governance, genuine
freedom, justice, fairness, sustainable economic development, peace and
prosperity. In that Utopian situation, any newspaper that consistently
publishes scandalous false-hoods about a genuinely popular government runs
the risk of being deserted by readers, without the intervention of the
The Reporters Without Borders report also takes account of the legal
situation affecting the news media. Penalties for spurious press offences,
the existence of a state monopoly in certain areas and the existence of a
regulatory body are also taken into account.
Zimbabwe's repressive legislation, such as the Access to Information and the
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), enacted under Moyo, and the Public Order
and Security Act (POSA), effectively undermine the image of Zimbabwe.
The report also takes account of the main obstacles to the free flow of
information on the Internet, an area in which the Mugabe government is said
to be currently developing a keen interest.
"We have taken account not only of abuses attributable to the state," the
report states, "but also those by armed militias, clandestine organisations
or pressure groups that can pose a real threat to press freedom."
For as long as the army, the police, the Central Intelligence Organisation,
the Green Bombers, the war veterans and a host of ruling ZANU PF politicians
and militants have free rein in threatening journalists and interfering with
the free flow of information and the free access of the public to that
information, Zimbabwe will remain relegated to the lower ranks of the
Reporters Without Borders index.
If the truth be told, it is not only governments that pose a threat to the
free flow of information. Organisations such as Reporters Without Frontiers
and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) should seriously consider the
scrutiny of the activities of media personnel who pose an equally serious
threat to the free flow of information.
In this regard the reported unceremonious departure of one Innocent Muchemwa
Kurwa from the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, where he was a senior
executive, brings to an end the era of destructive management practices
which consigned the once proud Daily News to oblivion, with a little help
from the government.
Kurwa was the side-kick of former chief executive Sam Sipepa Nkomo, also
ignominiously booted out recently, as the latter dismantled a company that
others painstakingly built over the years. Watch this and other spaces.
Saying of the Week:
"It has become apparent that some within our ranks have become professional
purveyors of the politics of division and disunity." -- ZANU PF national
chairman, John Landa Nkomo, condemning the controversial comments recently
attributed to ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira on the Gukurahundi
massacres in Matabeleland back in the 1980s.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
November 2, 2006
Posted to the web November 2, 2006
National Agenda With Bornwell Chakaodza
FOR those of us who have been following the circus at Town House on a
continuing basis for the past two years, Sekesayi Makwavarara and her team's
appearance before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and
Communication last Monday serves to underline once again the pressing and
imperative need for this semi-literate woman to go.
Not only for the sake of Harare ratepayers but for the ZANU PF government as
well. Wilful refusal to accept the real will of Harare residents through the
dismissal of the democratically elected MDC-led council is bad enough.
Filling the vacuum so created with an incompetent, greedy and clueless
political turncoat is even worse.
It was clear from their Monday meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee that Makwavarara, Stanley Mungofa, the acting Town Clerk and
Michael Jaravaza, the director of works were ill-prepared and generally
ignorant about what was taking place on the service delivery front in the
city. It was a display of a total failure of leadership, period! Indeed, the
whole episode showed an incredible incompetence.
The latest debacle on the part of this commission purporting to run the
affairs of the City of Harare is but one in a series of events that have had
a cumulative effect -- the sort of effect which has led people to wonder why
the government has remained acquiescent and unmoved thus far.
I think it does raise grave governance issues when a government, though
having the power and the ability to act, fails to do so. To put it bluntly,
Makwavarara's antics are truly stupefying. And why to date the government
has not been induced or jolted into action boggles the mind.
It is clear to everybody that in showing Makwavarara the door, the
government has nothing to lose but only this woman's irrelevance! Harare is
a cosmopolitan city which requires competent, respected and credible people
to run it. And given the high level of education in the Zimbabwean
population as a whole, there are plenty of people who can qualify for
Above all, it is the seat of the national government. Such a city is
naturally in need of men and women who aspire to leadership not because of
what they can get out of such positions but because of what they are willing
to give of themselves for the good of the city. Sekesayi Makwavarara is a
far far cry from this.
Harare is not like a small village in Mashonaland West Province where both
Makwavarara and Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, hail
from. A village idiot can attempt to run Mamina Growth Point in that
province but not cosmopolitan Harare.
Is there any wonder therefore that the encounter with the Parliamentary
Committee on Transport and Communication engendered in Sekesayi Makwavarara
more ignorance and confusion than understanding and insight.
But for the life of me, what I fail to comprehend is the endemic ignorance
and general confusion which was equally so evident in the other two fellows
namely Mungofa and Jaravaza. Could it be to do with the fact that both men
are in their jobs in acting capacities. Whatever it is, there is no escaping
the fact that there is a crying need -- and responsibility -- on the part of
the government to clean up the mess it has created at Town House.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committees can only expose wrongdoing and highlight
the problems bedevilling the departments of government and parastatals. They
do not have the powers to do anything beyond that. It is the Cabinet and
ultimately President Robert Mugabe himself who has to take the bull by the
horns and act on the recommendations and information coming from the
Chombo has proved to be a lame duck when it comes to dealing with
Makwavarara at Town House. If the President chooses to do nothing about the
goings-on at Town House, then nothing happens. It is as simple as that
despite the heroic efforts of the Combined Harare Residents Association
There is a perception out there -- perhaps the word myth is the correct
one -- which talks about the supremacy of parliament when in fact, in
practice, what we should be talking about is the supremacy of cabinet. That
is why I am putting a lot of emphasis on cabinet and President Mugabe
himself in terms of making decisions and taking action. Charging Makwavarara
with contempt of Parliament will not make an iota of a difference to the
crisis that we are going through in Harare.
The supremacy of cabinet over parliament despite the doctrine of the
separation of powers involving the executive, parliament and the judiciary
is plain to see. Consider this! Nearly 100 percent of the bills come from
cabinet. The budget is imposed on parliament by the Minister of Finance.
Very little input, if at all, comes from parliamentarians. By and large,
what Members of Parliament merely do is to rubberstamp these things. In any
event, the party whips are always on hand to ensure compliance from MPs.
So strong have cabinets become that most parliamentarians spend most of
their time accosting ministers and always attempting to please them. I know
what I am talking about because I observed thesethings at close range when I
was Director of Information for the Government of Zimbabwe for the better
part of the 90s. Yes, on paper, Portfolio Committees do get involved in
monitoring and producing reports on government ministries and parastatals
but what happens thereafter is the prerogative of government.
That is not to say of course that the committees do not play an important
role. They do. Getting involved and producing reports on government
departments and quasi-government departments is in itself important and
worthwhile. But in the last analysis, meaningful power in terms of action
rests with the cabinet and the head of state and government.
It is in this context that the people of Zimbabwe need a government whose
political will to tackle this country's problems is firm and strong. Any
government which extols the virtues of silence and inaction in the face of
such non-delivery of services like we are experiencing in Harare at the
moment is not worth its name at all. Even things like sovereignty and
national pride that President Mugabe never tires to talk about do not mean
much when people are hungry and have nothing to eat.
Sovereignty and national pride become meaningful and gain respect and
acceptance at home and abroad as a direct result of national economic
prosperity. In the absence of economic prosperity and general well-being,
they are just but empty words, just a mirage.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize the fact that a far as the seemingly
never-ending Harare City saga is concerned, the ruling Zanu PF party needs
to become part of the solution and not to continue being part of the
problem. Harare rate payers are entitled to ask: what is so special about
Sekesayi Makwavarara that the ruling party suddenly becomes impotent when it
comes to do what has to be done? It is not in the interest of government to
remain mum in the face of such a leadership meltdown in the capital city of
the country and the seat of government for that matter.
The least that Harare residents expect in the absence of a popularly-elected
executive mayor and councilors is a competent chairperson, competent
minister of local government - both of which are lacking at the moment - and
of course serious political will to tackle the deep-seated problems that are
currently affecting this once upon a time sunshine city.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
November 2, 2006
Posted to the web November 2, 2006
I DON'T believe in tempting fate. Which is why I would not normally risk
speaking too soon. And the most prudent thing for me would have been to
hedge my bets on the likely government reaction to the document: The
Zimbabwe We Want: Towards a National Vision for Zimbabwe prepared by a group
of church leaders.
But I have no strength to resist the temptation. I feel, at the risk of
speaking too soon, compelled to comment. Not because the document --
prepared by what has widely been dismissed as political pawns used to buy a
government whose political star is on the wane some breathing space -- makes
compelling reading. No. Far from it because what they said about the
country's politics -- the constitution, human rights, electoral laws and
governance among other issues has been said before by civic
organisations,opposition political parties and the international community,
all of whom have run into a brick wall.
I am commenting because of the ruling ZANU PF government's likely reaction
to the sections of the document talking about the need for political
tolerance, contentious laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the
need for a home-grown domestic constitution which has become so deeply
AIPPA and POSA, the source of the insidious kind of suppression Zimbabwe
experiences today, are highly contentious for very obvious reasons. Among
the most vital concerns in the world today are the questions of access to
information and the right to free expression as a cornerstone of the ongoing
efforts to build and strengthen democracy and expansion of political
True, after their first public meeting with President Robert Mugabe sometime
this year, critics argued that the church leaders kowtowed perhaps a bit too
much towards the ZANU PF government position on a number of key issues. They
are perceived as lapdogs of the ZANU PF government's diversionary and
wool-over-the-eyes tactics. Thus their document is seen as neither national
in character nor representative of the aspirations of the people.
There is no denying however that those issues they raised regarding the
constitution and human rights are not only pertinent but also of legitimate
public concern. And failure to address these issues means the continued
stifling of democratic space in the country.
Thus I can never over-emphasise why the issue of political and
constitutional reforms attracts priority attention. Constitutional and
political reforms are even seen as key to mending fences with the
international community, which has always impressed upon Zimbabwe the need
to deal with the country's internal politics as a prerequisite towards
building bridges. To the extent that within civic society and the
international community, the ZANU PF government, arrogant enough to think
that it is the only capable political force in the country, is accused of
being too slow with political reforms.
Be that as it may, it deeply saddens me to say that all the recommendations
of the church leaders are going to fall on stony ground. I will explain.
First, ZANU PF, a party of yesterday's people known for its dogmatic
approach to such issues, is simply incapable of reform. And the betting is
that reform won't come any time soon because nothing induces flexibility in
this extremely rigid party.
Second, President Mugabe has already expressed his point of view very
strongly, in a way that gives a fascinating if not disturbing insight into
ZANU PF's thinking about the contentious issue of constitutional reforms. He
thus set the tone for an emphatic rejection of such reforms by the ruling
ZANU PF whose uniformity of views centres on what President Mugabe says. And
it therefore remains a tendentious issue that touches off strong and
Lastly but by no means least, as with most things in life, timing is
everything. This should be particularly so in politics where contrary to the
laws of physics, any pressure encounters a strong reaction. What exactly do
ZANU PF has been in some pretty tight corners. And as would be expected it
is behaving like the proverbial cornered animal. This has tended to
accentuate the birthmark of the politics of the ruling ZANU PF -- whose
primary concern right now is to lose as little as possible from a political
point of view -- intolerance of opponents and hatred of compromise.
Yes, the ruling party can hide its worries over the chorus for
constitutional reforms behind an air of insouciance. But the fact is, it is
worried sick. And it will not compromise anything that threatens to erode
its power base. ZANU PF will only do so when the spirit moves. Thus the
church leaders are spitting into the wind if they think that they can
convince the government to contemplate, let alone, speed up political
Here I am reminded of The Financial Gazette editorial comment of July 13,
2006, which said that engaging the Zimbabwean government is like having a
dialogue with the deaf! The relevance and aptness of that comment cannot be
lost on any keen follower of Zimbabwean politics. I am not for a moment
suggesting that Zimbabweans should just sit back brooding over the futility
of concerted efforts to make Zimbabwe the country we want where every
citizen enjoys personal freedom. It is just that I know from experience how
futile it is.
And perhaps most telling was President Mugabe's remarks on Friday last week
when he darkly hinted: "Two days ago, I confessed to the church leaders that
I find the phrase home-grown confusing . . . It was after the war that we
got the British to preside over a conference to transfer power to the
majority. It was not a British constitution. It was not a constitution
foisted on us by the British, no. We demanded one man, one vote, that's what
we got . . .
"We have made far-reaching amendments, all of them prompted by our desire to
have a constitutional instrument that would be responsive to the overarching
need to transform our society for greater social justice. We removed certain
clauses in order to simplify and speed up the process of making laws for
speedier and deeper transformation for the Zimbabwe we hoped for.
"We also reformed the executive both to abolish titular presidency and
consolidate national unity. Above all we changed clauses in the constitution
we read as impediments to the much desired land reform programme . . . As I
said, all these changes were neccessited by the needs felt by Zimbabweans in
their transition from colonialism to full independence . . . They were
home-grown constitutional changes . . ."
In a few words, President Mugabe was saying constitutional reforms are
neither necessary nor desirable. Need I say more?
CORRUPTION continues to eat into the very fabric of Zimbabwean society. It
is endemic in the system. And smoking guns are lying everywhere.
This can be seen through the comprehensive sector-specific analysis of
corruption prepared by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe not so long ago. The
analysis shows a stupefyingly complex pattern of deceit, fraud and
criminality in almost all sectors of the economy.
Government acknowledges that the situation as regards corruption demands
immediate and tough remedial action. But despite the empty rhetoric about
its unshakable commitment to deal with corruption, it continues to fold its
arms. There isn't that political will to take the anti-corruption fight to
its full expression.
That is why, despite incontrovertible evidence of corruption, cases such as
the abuse of the War Victims Compensation Fund, the VIP Housing Scheme, the
deplorable multiple farm ownership racket, looting of farming equipment
under the land reform exercise and the abuse of the black economic
empowerment initiative where the government navigated without a compass,
were all swiftly swept under a thick carpet. And just like the contents of a
closed book, the culprits in all these cases remain unknown to the
generality of the populace but a handful of top government officials when
naming and shaming them would have gone a long way in helping the
As if this was not enough, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has
reportedly suspended members of an audit team that compiled a damning report
on ghost workers at the Ministry of Higher Education and how senior
officials in the ministry allocated themselves and their wives more cars
than necessary in a flagrant abuse of their offices.
Why the shameless attempt to cover up for the misdeeds of influential and
powerful politicians known to be corrupt to the dregs of infamy? Shouldn't
the auditors have blown the whistle instead of abetting and masking
corruption in total disregard of the ethics of their profession? How
widespread is this practice of arm-twisting auditors in government? Indeed,
how many of these auditors are being forced to help the various government
departments to cook the books and shade the truth?
These are some of the burning questions that government has to address if it
is to be seen to be serious about fighting corruption. True, almost two
years ago no less a person than President Robert Mugabe said that the
much-vaunted anti-corruption drive would be taken to its full expression -
meaning no one should be immune from prosecution despite their political and
social standing. Thus, to a visitor from Mars, government is approaching the
issue of corruption with missionary zeal, sincerity and commitment.
But dare we say blessed are the believers because we know better. In any
case, public statements and their elaborate tones count for nothing
particularly in Zimbabwe's case where the evidence on the ground indicates
that contrary to the official bluster, there are many more sacred cows than
Zimbabweans might have bargained for. That is why the government stalls
every time the ZANU PF upper echelon is implicated in corruption cases or
why the names of the so-called big fish that have been netted in the
anti-corruption dragnet cannot fill the back of a postage stamp! What other
explanation could be there for the government dragging its feet over
We have said it before and we will say it again. The anti-corruption drive
has failed dismally because, according to the ruling ZANU PF government, the
identifiable harm to the ruling party of taking the bull by the horns as
regards corruption, outweighs the public interest. The controversial ZISCO
corruption report which has since disappeared into thin air and the secrecy
surrounding the abuse of US$268 million meant for fuel procurement in 2004
are just but two cases in point.
Thus people, as we have said time without number, will always see the
government's anti corruption drive for what it is - window dressing for the
public's benefit. Fortunately this fools no one any more. Not even the
proverbial man in the streets whose wont is to blindly believe government
rhetoric. They have had enough of the bluster and have learnt to ignore it
as nothing but empty rhetoric.
The shame surrounding Zim
EDITOR - I want to disagree with Wilberforce Majaji who is trying to
challenge my opinion. It is very wrong for someone to assume that everyone
must fall into the same way of thinking as them on all matters.
This is only an insight into how "ZANOIDS" reason and the way they govern.
You can do some research into some of these things and you will find that my
opinion is supported by around 45 percent of Zimbabweans.
It is very irresponsible for a government like President Robert Mugabe's to
fail to control anything from domestic affairs to top government affairs. A
good example is the government's piecemeal policies which will never curb
the ever rising cost of living and inflation. It is failing to bring to book
those who are responsible for the mess that our economy is in.
This is the shame surrounding our Zimbabwean government yet someone like
Majaji fails to see through his veil that the government has failed. Majaji
may fume but the simple question is: Which Rhodesian minister ever got away
with messing up like Zimbabwe's ministers do today? And how was the
commitment to duty like during this era?
Today no one is committed to their work and the government has failed to do
away with such people. Look at most government departments - they are full
of corrupt officials but nothing has ever happened to stop all this.
Does it mean that I as a Zimbabwean should go on embracing the gospel of
independence when my kids are dying of hunger? Does anyone eat the word
"comrade" in their house?
We need real comrades who do not mess our economy but who give us the right
to ask why the administration in our beloved country has failed us when we
elected them to power.
What I know from history is we all fought for this country's inependence and
not a few "chefs" as we are being made to believe these days. We elected
them to power and they have to do as we demand.
Thus the reason why I am comparing Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. I repeat: "If
Zimbabwe was good we were not going to say this about Zimbabwe".
Lost hope on ZANU PF
A way out of our problems
EDITOR - Zimbabwe has a way of out of its present problems. The people and
government of Zimbabwe must and should allow multiple parties to exist, just
like in South Africa which has learnt from our mistakes and is now
After all Zimbabwe and South Africa have the most advanced infrastructure in
Africa, so Zimbabwe should not be in the position it is in today. It is very
obvious to all now that the present government has sabotaged our beautiful
country. They must be made accountable for this abuse of power.
Mutasa's wings need clipping
EDITOR - The fact that our country is on a downward spiral to becoming a
failed state is indisputable. With such tired ministers like Didymus Mutasa,
who have a propensity of shooting themselves in the foot, one fears the
worst. Asked about the fate of white farmers in Karoi, Mutasa was quoted as
saying, "Anybody with no permission to farm will be prosecuted".
Do people like Mutasa know what they are doing? Are we not killing the goose
that lays the golden egg? When South Africa was under apartheid, Thomas
Mapfumo once sang that "Botha anotaura seakasika munhu . . ."
And Mutasa is behaving exactly like that! In a new Zimbabwe with a new
beginning and with a new constitution, Parliament should be given powers to
vet, grill and confirm ministers. People like the disastrous Mutasa should
never be appointed to such offices.
Polokwane, South Africa
ZINWA must be disbanded
EDITOR - The continuing circus that is the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
(ZINWA) should be cause for great concern to urban residents of Zimbabwe,
particularly in Harare. The reshuffling of the ZINWA board on October 25
2006 by Minister Munacho Mutezo was clear confirmation that ZINWA has failed
to perform, even to the low standards expected of parastatals. Mutezo
ordered the water authority to urgently address the water woes being
experienced in Harare. Yet again the regime demonstrates its centralist and
commandist attitude, hoping that by issuing orders the situation will be
rectified despite the fact that our water woes arise from a combination of
bad policies and partisan political interference as well as technical and
CHRA believes that these manoeuvres by the regime are intended to deceive
residents into believing that something is actually being done to address
their concerns yet the minister is incapable of taking progressive action to
promote the interests of residents.
ZINWA was created to provide yet another site of patronage for ZANU PF
apparatchiks, not to provide added value to our lives. We appeal to
Parliament to take steps to expose the charade at ZINWA and to call for its
immediate disbandment. CHRA is opposed to the commodification of basic
services and especially to the de facto privatisation of our water resources
for the enrichment of a few individuals. The water system belongs to Harare
and must be returned to its rightful owners. This debacle illustrates yet
again that the government is incapable of addressing our problems but is
more concerned with ensuring that residents do not have any control over
their lives. From the denial of our constitutional rights to the alienation
of our resources, it is clear that ZANU PF is aggressively re-asserting
itself as the de facto master of the city.
Information Officer, CHRA
Just what the doc ordered!
EDITOR - There is only one nation on earth willing to do business in the
wastelands created in the wake of their own foreign policy - the Chinese are
coming. They will replace every last business. They will replace every last
manufacturer and they will supply everything you need.
Don't worry about the destabilisation of our economy, the strong Chinese
colonial force will rescue us from starvation and enslave us into the cycle
of perpetually producing huge volumes of produce for their economic machine
for miniscule marginal benefits to our own people. Just what we needed.
Welcome to the deserts of tomorrow.
You are no saint, Enos Nkala
EDITOR - Are we cowards Mr Enos Nkala? Many people died following your
rather unwise comments during your time as a minister. I don't think you
have any right to call anyone a coward.
You were instrumental in the death of your people in the 80s (everybody
knows when) and yet you have the nerve to call us cowards. Maybe you are
right we should have dealt with you first. Please keep quiet and stop this
Mgcini Dube KaMcezuka
Love or loathe him, Mugabe an enigma
EDITOR - President Mugabe is an enigma or else how can one man outlive,
outtalk and outsmart his opponents the way he does?
The man is an enigma and loathe him or love him, he has muzzled the
opposition into submission, flown to New York several times and is still the
President at over 80 years old.
In 2000 I thought Morgan Tsvangirai would be safely esconced at State House
by now tavakuto chinja maiitiro! Seka zvako iwe. Never underestimate the
willpower of this man. Nobody loves power more than he does and if only we
could translate this energy into economic, social and political affairs we
would long have found the solution to our problems.
EDITOR - Not too long ago Zimbabweans heard from Martin Majaji crying foul
with his anti-white rhetoric but he prefers to live comfortably in the
United States where most of the citizens are white. Now we get Wilberforce
Majaji writing from the USA blowing the ZANU PF trumpet. I just wonder who
exactly these Majajis are?
Coming back to Wilberforce, he has the audacity to rubbish people who do not
share his love for ZANU PF, defending its dismal record of governance in the
last 25 years. Obviously Wilberforce does not have any leg to stand on as he
is blinded by the realities of extreme hardship which currently persist in
Zimbabwe today, which he pretends cannot be compared to the good old days.
Going by his response to a previous writer's letter it seems it is
Wilberforce who is mentally deranged and naive, pretending that economic
conditions in Zimbabwe have never been too bad. There are no excuses for
ZANU PF's appalling record, Wilberforce, and there are glaring differences
between how the Rhodesians cleverly crafted the economy under mandatory
sanctions and how ZANU PF destroyed the economy through corruption.
Obviously Wilberforce does not know there is a huge difference between
mandatory economic sanctions which were imposed on Rhodesia and the ad hoc
sanctions imposed by a few selected countries on a handful of ZANU PF
politicians who are instrumental in subverting the rule of law and who are
corrupt. There were no prolonged shortages of the very basic needs in
Rhodesia - petrol, bread and every other necessity was readily available and
at affordable prices too. Yes Rhodesia did have South Africa as a lifeline
but so does Zimbabwe. We have many more but really is there anything left in
Zimbabwe that can be usefully traded. Even if there is, where does the
foreign currency end up? I bet in the pocket of our rich and famous whose
cause you seem to be championing, Wilberforce. I find it rather strange that
you and Martin are still living and enjoying the comfort of the USA, perhaps
Zimbabwe is not good enough for you.
How dare Nkala call us cowards?
EDITOR - This is an open letter to Enos Nkala. How dare you call Zimbabweans
a bunch of cowards? You are no saint sir! I have not forgotten that you once
wined and dined with the clique you are disowning today. I need not remind
you of the indelible suffering which visited innocent citizens of
Do you think you can wipe out your heartlessness with a mere newspaper
interview? If you are seeking atonement for the atrocities you presided
over, ie Gukurahundi, then you are using the wrong forum. The biggest coward
is you, Enos.
Using the independent media to articulate your warped views will not endear
you to Zimbabweeans. Demonstrate to me that you are not a coward by
publishing the so-called 'tell-all' book or else keep it zipped!