Thursday, 01 September 2011 20:20
VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru has upped the ante in President Robert Mugabe’s
succession battle, just over a fortnight after the mysterious death of her
husband in a firestorm, showing she is now more determined than before to
fight it out to take over from the ageing and ailing leader.
Mujuru’s move to lay the gauntlet could intensify the succession battle
ahead of Zanu PF’s annual national conference where Mugabe would be up for
endorsement as the party’s candidate in the next critical elections due
either next year or in 2013.
In terms of the Zanu PF constitution, the conference has to “declare the
president of the party elected at congress as the state presidential
candidate of the party”. Zanu PF will hold its conference from December
6-10 in Bulawayo.
The death of the imperious and influential retired army commander, General
Solomon Mujuru, a key figure in internal battles over Mugabe’s succession,
has sparked fresh debate and campaigning around the issue critical in local
Briefings to the Zimbabwe Independent by senior Zanu PF politburo members
this week show Mujuru has swiftly moved to throw her hat into the ring at a
time when the party is embroiled in confusion and uncertainty following the
death of her powerful husband.
Succession manoeuvres within Zanu PF are fuelled by the fact that Mugabe’s
availability as candidate for the next elections remains touch-and-go due to
his old age and ill-health, especially if the polls come in 2013.
Those close to Mugabe in Zanu PF and within state security structures wanted
elections this year when their leader would still be fit but their plans are
now in disarray as the politburo finally accepted on Wednesday that polls
would not be held this year.
The Mujuru family, including the vice-president herself, relatives, friends
and political allies within Zanu PF, suspect her husband, was murdered. The
vice-president has said she finds the death of her husband mystery and
demanded a thorough and professional investigation. This week she said they
are anxiously waiting for the findings of police investigations.
Vice-President Mujuru has not hidden her bitterness about her husband’s
death and close family members told the Independent she has vowed to fight
on despite suspecting foul play in the demise of the Zanu PF political
Senior Zanu PF politburo members say instead of being intimidated and
frightened by the chilling incident, Mujuru has been steeled by her trials
and tribulations and is now bracing for bruising succession challenges
against the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led faction in months ahead. Mnangagwa is
Mujuru’s main rival.
Politburo members say the Mujuru faction is generally rallying behind the
vice-president, even though State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi and
other key camp members like Saviour Kasukuwere, who packages himself as an
alternative symbolising the young turks, are said to be harbouring ambitions
of their own to succeed Mugabe.
Others touted as having ambitions to succeed Mugabe include Zanu PF chairman
Simon Khaya Moyo and Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine
“Following the death of General Mujuru, there have been ongoing
consultations among members of his faction on the way forward. There is
consensus within the faction that Vice-President Mujuru should lead the
group and spearhead its succession operations,” a senior politburo member
said. “The group has other senior party officials like Sekeremayi who can
step in and provide leadership but it was felt Mai Mujuru is better-placed
to take over from where the general left and be our candidate.”
Another politburo official said: “The succession battle is still on and
after the death of Mujuru it is likely to intensify, given the renewed
fighting spirit on the side of the Mujuru camp. Of course, the Mnangagwa
faction will not take things lying down. It’s going to be a bitter power
Mujuru’s remarks this week seemed to confirm that she is prepared to slug it
“I always ask myself how I am going to do the things that my husband was
However, I believe God is going to show me the way. I told myself that a
real soldier should not be found with a bullet at the back. If you are found
with a bullet at the back it means that you were shot while running away,”
she told a delegation from the United Methodist Church at her residence on
“A real soldier should be found with a bullet in the front to show that you
were fighting, that is what I have decided to do.”
Mujuru’s determination to fight for the highest office in the land, which
Mugabe promised her in public indirectly during the 2004 Zanu PF congress,
came as information filtered through that the late general had struck a deal
with senior MDC-T officials to share power in the post-Mugabe era.
It is widely feared Zanu PF would plunge into internal strife when Mugabe
goes and alliances across parties would be critical in determining who
eventually succeeds Mugabe given deep and widening divisions within the
fractured party. Mugabe has said he would not want to quit because he fears
his party would disintegrate. Zanu PF is also further bound to be internally
destabilised by the ill-health of Vice-President John Nkomo, a rather
neutral and composed member of the party’s presidium, who often acts as a
stabilising factor when the party is in turmoil.
Sources said Mujuru had engaged MDC-T officials, including Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, on how they could work together going forward. Although
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka was not available for comment
yesterday, relations between Mujuru and the premier were said to have been
“The Mujuru faction has always had close links with the MDC-T and of late
the late General Mujuru has been working with senior MDC-T officials to
develop a post-Mugabe powers structure that would be mutually beneficial,” a
“This was out of his realisation that going forward, Zanu PF would not
remain intact without Mugabe and alliances would be key in who gets into
power and who doesn’t. Alliances across political parties and inter-party
factions would be a major factor in this.”
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:42
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have given in to pressure from within
the party, the MDC formations, Sadc and the international community to hold
elections after the enactment of a new constitution next year.
Senior Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that Mugabe
somersaulted on the resolution made at the party’s annual conference in
Mutare last December to hold elections this year with or without a new
Mugabe and the politburo’s forced U-turn has thrown the 87-year old leader’s
election plan into disarray.
Politburo sources said Mugabe conceded for the first time on Wednesday that
he could only call for elections once Zimbabwe had a new constitution,
putting paid to the mantra that he could proclaim elections with or without
a new supreme law.
Mugabe and his erstwhile rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
coalition government in February 2009 to end a decade of economic and
political strife, but the government has been continuously dogged by
internal wrangling and sharp disagreements on policy.
Mugabe wanted early elections, saying his GNU partners were letting him
down. However, his supporters in the state security apparatus wanted polls
this year while he was still fit to be a candidate, but pressure has forced
the octogenarian leader and his party to bow down.
Sources in Zanu PF say those close to Mugabe, particularly from the state
security service and party structures responsible for election strategy,
wanted the polls this year when the president is still quite fit.
“The president said he wants early elections but that can only be done after
the new constitution,” said the politburo source. “So it’s obvious that
there are no elections this year since a referendum is expected in January
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed that Mugabe will only call for
polls once a new constitution is in place.
Although the three parties in the shaky coalition government have agreed on
the election roadmap paving way for free and fair elections, the actual
timing of the polls has remained a bitterly contested issue.
If the constitution-making process flops or the draft is rejected, elections
would be held when they are constitutionally
To Page 2
due in 2013.
The source said the politburo also deliberated on the progress of the
constitution-making process, which has been delayed by a lack of funding and
bickering between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.
The drafting of the constitution is expected to start on September 15 after
finalisation of its themes next week.
Zanu PF insiders said the prospect of elections in 2013 was now compelling
Zanu PF to change its strategy and tactics. Mugabe is only likely to be
endorsed by the party as a candidate if polls are held this year or next
Once they are delayed to 2013, senior party officials agree it would not be
practical or reasonable to field him as a candidate mainly due to old age
If elections were held in 2013 and Mugabe was not the Zanu PF candidate,
that would present a serious challenge because the party’s congress to elect
new leaders is only due in 2014.
Zanu PF insiders said that problem could only be resolved by an
extraordinary congress which they feared would be divisive if it came
immediately before elections.
They said that was why politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who is involved in
the party’s elections strategy and has strong links within the state
security structures, had insisted that either the polls be held this year or
They said Mugabe had also ordered politburo members to be at the forefront
of mobilising the party’s collapsing membership amid reports that Zanu PF’s
grassroots structures were shambolic.
Politburo members are scheduled to visit provinces this month to drum up
In Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Zanu PF has been losing members
to the MDC-T, MDC-N and the revived Zapu. It has struggled to win a
parliamentary seat in Bulawayo since the MDC first contested national
elections in 2000.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:39
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been left with no serious challengers in Zanu PF
following the death of retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru
(pictured) in a mysterious fire more than a fortnight ago because the former
army chief was one of the few people who could take on the aging leader.
The only other people who could openly challenge Mugabe have either died or
left Zanu PF.
These include Simba Makoni, Dumiso Dabengwa, the late Vice President Joseph
Msika and Edson Zvobgo.
Mujuru had in the recent past clashed with Mugabe over the timetable for the
departure of the long-serving ruler. Mujuru once called for Mugabe to
immediately quit and make way for his wife Joice, but this angered the
octogenarian leader who felt that this was part of a hidden agenda to
stampede him out of office.
Mujuru’s faction had succeeded to thwart Mugabe’s plan to extend his term by
two years at the party’s 2006 national conference in Goromonzi.
Mugabe wanted to extend his presidential term from 2008 to 2010 without
going to elections.
In the run-up to the 2008 elections, Mujuru worked with Dabengwa and Makoni
to prevent Mugabe from becoming Zanu PF’s presidential candidate for the
Records of politburo meetings between 2005 and 2008 showed that Mujuru and
Dabengwa were among the most vocal members.
Working with his allies in 2007, Mujuru managed to force an extraordinary
congress on Mugabe, but failed to prevent Mugabe from being declared Zanu PF’s
presidential candidate for the elections.
Dabengwa has confirmed that he had tried, together with Mujuru, to meet
Mugabe to convince him to step down but they were conveniently ignored.
Dabengwa and Makoni quit Zanu PF in 2008 after failing to oust Mugabe at the
Makoni left to form his own party and subsequently contested the
presidential poll against Mugabe while Dabengwa and other veteran
politicians such as the late Thenjiwe Lesabe quit to revive Zapu.
The late Zvobgo was another top Zanu PF official who openly clashed with
Mugabe on several occasions.
He was dropped from the government and party office by Mugabe in 2000 for
criticising Mugabe’s ruling style and for suggesting that he retire.
On the other hand, Msika openly challenged women’s league boss Oppah
Muchinguri when she proposed that Mugabe be declared life president.
Although top officials like legal secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice
President Mujuru normally speak out, they hardly challenge Mugabe.
With the death of her husband who was the rallying pillar and key strategist
in her camp, the question many analysts are asking is whether Vice President
Mujuru would have the courage and conviction to stand up to Mugabe.
Mugabe has already declared his interest to contest the next election after
the constitution-making process next year.
Mujuru’s faction wanted Mugabe to step down arguing that he was old, tired
and ill to contest any elections.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:24
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma has expressed his deep frustration at the
exceptionally slow pace of negotiations in the Zimbabwe political crisis and
has sought closer cooperation between the three parties involved for a
speedy resolution to all outstanding Global Political Agreement issues to
break the stalemate.
In his report on the Zimbabwe inter-party political dialogue tabled at the
31st Sadc Summit held in Luanda, Angola, from August 17 to 18, Zuma, who is
the regional bloc’s appointed GPA facilitator, said the failure and slow
pace in implementing key agreements between Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations was the major stumbling block to his mediation efforts.
Although Zuma has previously described the negotiations as “encouraging” and
stressed the importance of patience in the process, and in particular the
necessity of dealing with difficult issues even if this delayed clinching an
agreement, he has now called on the three parties in the coalition
government to help overcome the present disputes and reach a consensus by
showing more flexibility in their positions.
He said a recurring problem throughout the talks was the dispute over key
elements required for free and fair elections such as the rule of law,
freedom of association and assembly, electoral and media reforms.
While disputed issues were referred to the political principals for
intervention, Zuma seemed to express surprise and frustration that
unresolved issues were left to the three principals instead of a wider
cabinet organ to ensure that the GPA was promptly implemented.
The principals comprise President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
“The parties have not established an implementation element within
government to ensure decisions that are taken by the inter-party negotiators
and endorsed by the political principals are implemented by line ministers,”
Zuma said in his report.
“Many of the unresolved matters are shifted to the political principals
which, at times, takes too long before a resolution is found. To that
extent, there are a number of outstanding matters that the political
principals were supposed to resolve.”
Zuma said it was important for the elections roadmap to ensure that all
stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s election process enjoy freedom of speech,
association, movement and assembly, and that the electoral process itself
has all the necessary building blocks in place for a successful and credible
The timing for the adoption of a new constitution ahead of elections has
also remained a major obstacle and has suffered some setbacks since Zanu PF
continuously outlines a series of its conditions for such a move.
The parties have insisted to go on with talks until a lasting solution is
reached, but Zuma is concerned by various disruptions which “continue to
poison the political atmosphere in Zimbabwe and put an unfortunate strain on
the effort to move to the next level where the GPA would be fully
implemented, thus paving the way to a free and fair election”.
These disruptions, Zuma pointed out, made it difficult for the parties to
focus on certain concessionary demands needed to reach a lasting agreement
paving the way for a credible election and ushering in a new government.
“One of the most unfortunate incidents in recent times was when some people
went to the Zimbabwe parliament (on June 23) and disrupted a hearing
organised by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs,
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human
Rights to debate the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill,” Zuma said.
Parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo wrote to police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri requesting for a speedy investigation of the matter, but
Zuma said in his report violence, intimidation, harassment and arbitrary
detentions in the country continued unabated.
He said the political principals had promised to meet the Attorney General,
police Commissioner General and heads of other security organs and the
intelligence service to ensure full commitment to operate in a non-partisan
manner consistent with the GPA. Zuma said no dates have been determined for
Zuma also informed the Sadc summit that reports from Zimbabwe indicated the
presence of conflict in the country and this was sometimes highlighted by
some harsh exchanges between politicians and members of the armed and
The exchanges were triggered by Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba’s
outbursts that Mugabe and Zanu PF should rule forever.
Nyikayaramba had defiantly said the armed forces would not accept, let alone
support or salute, anyone without liberation war credentials.He had further
insisted that elections should be held this year to end the power-sharing
government saying the MDC formations were a security threat to Zimbabwe.
Zuma said this matter was before Jomic but added that it may require the
intervention of the political principals.
He said he would arrange an interface programme with the political
principals to discuss how best to expedite the full implementation of the
GPA and help create conditions for a smooth election in the country.
“It is our view that such interactions will help to move the process forward
and resolve some of the matters that still remain in dispute,” said Zuma.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:23
THE British government’s foreign policy on Zimbabwe is hinged on the premise
that President Robert Mugabe would soon die and is therefore prepared to
have the country governed by coalition regimes for the next decade as long
as there is symbolic change, a leading British academic has said.
Stephen Chan, an International Relations professor at the University of
London, made these remarks at a policy dialogue meeting in Harare last week
where he gave the UK’s perspective on the Zimbabwe situation.
Chan said the UK had downgraded Zimbabwe on its foreign policy priority list
but still kept an interest in what was happening in its former colony.
Relations between the two countries soured in 2000 when Mugabe’s government
embarked on a controversial land grab kicking close to 4000 white commercial
farmers off the land.
“The British are working on the argument that sooner or later he (Mugabe)
would die,” said Chan. “The British would tolerate, endorse and support
coalition governments for the next 10 years. No one wants Zanu PF to go out
Chan said Britain was comfortable with cosmetic changes in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA)’s outstanding issues, such as the draft
constitution, security sector reforms and the actual holding of elections.
“The UK would be reluctantly prepared to accept the Kariba draft, a
convincingly free and fair election, and locally negotiated coalition. And
the military taking a backseat would change the West views on Zimbabwe,”
Chan’s remarks come hard on the heels of the Luanda Sadc resolutions that
the GPA partners should speed up full implementation. The regional bloc
would be seconding a three-member facilitation team to work with Jomic in
implementing the outstanding issues.
The MDC formations are pushing for immediate security sector reforms,
reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission secretariat, electoral
reforms and liberalisation of the airwaves.
However, these reforms have been stalled by Zanu PF which argues that they
should only be implemented concurrently with the removal of economic
sanctions by the EU and the US.
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku recently pointed out that the
outstanding issues were irresolvable and the only solution was for the
coalition partners to work around preparing for elections in 2013.
The coalition government is currently battling to complete the
constitutional review process meant to prepare for the holding of elections
in the first quarter of 2012.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:22
NIGERIAN President Goodluck Jonathan has made a clarion call to African
countries to work together to assist Zimbabwe conduct free, fair and
credible elections for lasting peace and development.
This, he said, would also ensure that the country did not slide back into
the type of crisis that rocked the nation during its last election.
He said this when Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited him in
the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, where he pledged that Nigeria
would support the country and Sadc for conduct of credible elections in
“All African countries have a responsibility to ensure that Zimbabwe does
not go back to the crisis of the past with the consequent loss of lives,”
He said that the only way Africa can achieve stability in governance, as
well as attract the needed direct foreign investment, lay in the conduct of
transparent elections that would stabilise socio-economic development and
ensure that the will of the people reigned. He pointed out that the lessons
of Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire should be employed in Zimbabwe to avert crisis.
Tsvangirai told State House Press Corps that he was in the country to brief
Jonathan on how far Sadc had gone to ensure peaceful elections next year,
and to solicit the support of Nigeria and the African Union (AU) to play
active roles in the conduct of the elections.
Asked how the meeting went, he responded: “The meeting was productive. You
are aware of the situation in Zimbabwe and I have come to brief President
Jonathan on the situation.
“As you know Sadc and AU are both guarantors of the Global Political
Agreement in Zimbabwe. I am just updating him so that they can play a more
active role in ensuring that we can go to the elections next year hopefully
in a free and fair manner so that we put a closure to the dispute in
Zimbabwe.” — This Day.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:21
JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa’s attempt to railroad the Human Rights
Commission Bill through the House of Assembly fell through on Tuesday after
Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga (pictured below) blocked
debate on the controversial legislation because MPs had not been given
enough time to study the proposed law.
The Bill, which is expected to govern the nine-member Human Rights
Commission sworn by President Robert Mugabe in March, went through the
second reading in the House.
Matinenga adjourned proceedings on the Bill after Justice Committee
chairperson Douglas Mwonzora had debated Chinamasa’s motion outlining the
Bill’s principles and what it hoped to achieve.
“This Bill has got profound ramifications for good governance of this
country,” said Matinenga. “I am told and advised that when members were
recalled today, they were made to understand that they would just come in
and the House would be adjourned without any meaningful issue being
He added: “It was felt that it’s necessary, at least, for the House to
transact the business it has transacted but in order to give members the
opportunity to properly debate this very important Bill, the debate must now
Mwonzora had suggested various profound changes to the Bill before the
debate was adjourned, among them constitutional independence of the
commission, non-interference by the minister in recruitment of the
commission’s secretariat and granting the commission a mandate to
investigate cases dating back to 1980.
He said independence of the commission should be guaranteed in the
constitution since an Act of Parliament can be amended easily.
“The provisions ensuring independence should be included in the
Constitution,” Mwonzora said. “A constitutional provision is more durable as
it will not be easily amended to erode the independence of the ZHRC.”
“The committee gathered that most of the people were of the view that the
commission should start investigating cases of human rights violations
dating back to 1980,” he said.
The Bill is likely to stir emotions in the House since suspected Zanu PF
supporters caused the disbanding of four outreach meetings by the Justice
Committee arguing that it would reopen “old wounds”.
Unruly elements disrupted public hearings in Chinhoyi, Masvingo, Mutare and
Many in Zanu PF have voiced their concern that the commission should not be
used to investigate the 1980s Matabeleland and Midlands atrocities.
A report by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Zimbabwe
Legal Resources Foundation stated that more than 20 000 people were murdered
by the Fifth Brigade between 1983 and 1987 before PF Zapu and Zanu PF signed
a unity accord.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:18
SOCIAL activists have described the coalition government as insensitive to
the plight of citizens for spending more money on travel compared to service
The activists have also urged Zimbabweans to start demanding accountability
and transparency from Zanu PF and the MDC formations in the inclusive
government if they wanted social issues addressed.
Most of the country’s services, including health provisions, roads, housing
and sanitation have deteriorated significantly leaving the ordinary masses
Last month alone, more than 67 people lost their lives in traffic accidents.
Although reckless driving was blamed for most of the accidents, the steady
deterioration of the country’s roads, including highways, have also
contributed to the ever increasing carnage.
There is hardly any difference between urban dwellers and rural folk except
that the former are made to pay exorbitant charges for services which are
A survey by the Zimbabwe Independent showed that most Harare residential
areas go without water for days and even months.
Suburbs that have been without water include Avonlea, some parts of
Malbereign, Mabvuku, Epworth and Dzivarasekwa.
The Harare Residents Trust said Greendale, Highfields, Glenview and
Borrowdale also went without water for days.
Gokwe Town Council chairman Lawrence Mudondo bemoaned the persisting water
problems and hoped central government would find a lasting solution soon.
In Chinhoyi, residents in Chikonohono, Gunhill and White City complained
that they had gone for weeks without water and in most cases they had to
travel as far as five kilometers to fetch water.
Harare city fathers have blamed low electricity supply to the Morton Jaffrey
Water Treatment Plant.
On the other hand, Zesa Holdings has made assurances that the problem has
been rectified but residents are being forced to use unprotected water
Load shedding has become part of everyday life in Zimbabwe.
While service delivery has been abandoned, the government seems to have
focused all its attention on indigenisation.
Government officials have spent most of their time squabbling over the
appropriate quotas and implementation of the controversial policy.
While the government focuses on this policy which has largely benefited a
few individuals, ordinary citizens continue to suffer.
Social commentators said the government should also put deadlines on social
services instead of just being bullish on indigenisation.
Social commentator Blessing Vava said the inclusive government was full of
hypocrites who are concerned about making themselves rich.
Vava said: “The culture of our politicians is that of greed and fattening
their pockets and they do not care about the welfare of people. They are
obsessed with wealth accumulation and the reason they raise their voices
high on indigenisation is all about grabbing companies and for their
personal and not for the benefit of the nation.”
Vava said he feared that the indigenisation policy was going to end up like
the chaotic land reform which vastly benefited mostly Zanu PF big wigs while
millions of Zimbabweans remained landless.
“It will be a miracle to hear them talking passionately about the collapse
of our service delivery system because they are not affected in any way. The
only time you hear them opening their mouths is on the eve of a national
election so as to dupe Zimbabweans into voting them back into office again.
It’s high time the people of Zimbabwe start demanding accountability from
our leaders who seem to have found comfort in each other,” said Vava.
Governance trainer David Takawira said the lack of commitment in service
delivery was increasing poverty levels in the country.
Takawira said: “The shocking, despicable state of service delivery in this
country can only widen the gap of poverty. How can one talk about
development at ministerial level when the said minister cannot account for
his or her own actions. The new constitution should speak to public or
ministerial performance based limits. Development cannot be achieved unless
poor people have access to equitable, effective, efficient, and affordable
There is need then for relevant ministries and authorities to undertake
audits looking into measuring operational efficiency, measuring service
quality and the preconditions of efficiency and quality to inform rates.
With this type of diabolical self-centred individuals we can kiss
The Committee of the People’s Charter called on government to reallocate
resources which are being used to purchase luxury vehicles for ministers to
the education and health sectors.
“It’s public knowledge that poverty and corruption remain among the
fundamental challenges that our country faces yet the inclusive government
makes decisions that are as insensitive and as undemocratically
unaccountable as to purchase luxury vehicles in the midst of hunger and
deprivation,” said the charter in a statement.
“It is our considered view that this flagrant misuse of our country’s meagre
resources is an attempt by government to wish away the poverty of the people
of Zimbabwe with shocking arrogance and profligacy. It is also an
unfortunate demonstration of the true character of all the political parties
that comprise the inclusive government, a character that is driven more by
the pursuit of self aggrandisement rather than the interests of the people
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:16
ZIMBABWEAN ministers’ affluent lifestyles and government perks do not match
their approach to public accountability.
Most ministers have failed to answer pertinent questions from MPs with some
questions having spent more than nine months on the order paper and even
lapsing when the House session ends.
Since the formation of the coalition government in February 2009, cabinet
ministers have not missed the opportunity to get the latest Mercedes Saloon
cars, top of the range SUVs and periodic international flights to obscure
But when it comes to responding to policy questions in parliament and
implementing projects under their ministries, they are not as vocal as when
they demand better wheels.
Going by the National Assembly Order paper, by June 15 2011 ministers Sydney
Sekeramayi, Ignatius Chombo, Nelson Chamisa, Elton Mangoma and the late
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro had not answered questions presented in December 2010.
Sekeramayi, who is Minister of State Security, is still to answer a question
posed by MDC-T lawmaker for Mazowe Central Shepherd Mushonga in November
2010 asking whether Central Intelligence Organisation officers were allowed
to hold positions in political parties citing the example of deputy
director-general Elias Kanengoni who had been appointed to Zanu PF Central
Kanengoni has since resigned his position in Zanu PF to concentrate on his
duties as a civil servant.
Equally guilty of the same charge is Energy and Power Development minister
Mangoma and Information Communications Technology minister Chamisa who only
replied to questions asked in November 2010 after nine months in July.
MDC-T Pelandaba-Mpopoma MP Samuel Khumalo had asked Mangoma what was his
ministry’s position regarding Zesa’s actions in forcing unmetered clients to
pay bills in full yet they were not receiving electricity all the time due
to load shedding and the utility’s high energy tariffs in consideration of
general low wages in the country.
Chamisa also took his time to respond to Zanu PF Chiredzi South legislator
Ailess Baloyi’s question on the ministry’s progress in rolling out the
expansion of communication network to rural areas such as Malipati and
Sengwe and how funds from the Universal Services Fund were being utilised.
The ministers’ reluctance was further exposed by the attitude of ministers,
such as Chombo and the late Mukonoweshuro by taking their time to respond to
questions which raised dust on corruption within government.
Local Government minister Chombo took six months to respond to MDC-T
Chimanimani West MP Lynnette Karenyi’s question on whether the minister had
done a due diligence on Augur Investments before signing a multimillion
dollar contractor with the Estonian company to construct the new Airport
The late Mukonoweshuro had become an expert in prevarication on the issue of
civil service human resource and salary audit conducted by Ernest and Young
India in 2009. Mukonoweshuro kept promising to table the audit report before
the House once cabinet had given it the all clear.
However, Finance minister Tendai Biti let the cat out of the bag on several
occasions during his policy statements by stating that the audit had
unveiled 75 000 ghost workers.
The full report is yet to be tabled before parliament.
The three principals in the inclusive government President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara have
all spoken against the ministers’ absence during question time in the House.
However, they have not taken any action against the offending ministers to
show their seriousness.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said MPs were concerned about the ministers’
conduct though there seemed to be some general improvements after the
“We are concerned by the ministers’ failure to attend question time or to
respond to written questions,” Gonese said. “It is disturbing but we will
continue to raise the issue at every opportunity. In the next session we
hope to see some improvement after the prime minister set the standard by
attending Wednesday’s question time and we hope other ministers will follow
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo agreed and lamented the prime minister’s lack
of action in reigning errant ministers.
“The prime minister is the leader of government business in the House and as
such has the responsibility to control the ministers,” Gumbo said. “The
prime minister is failing to supervise and it remains unfortunate that the
ministers are failing to come to respond to questions.”
As the curtain comes down on the third session this week, MPs and the
general public remain hopeful that the ministers would start taking their
responsibilities seriously and account to the taxpayer for their actions. —
This investigation was assisted by the Centre for Public Accountability.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:29
WITH International cricket taking all the attention as Zimbabwe entertain
touring Pakistan, franchises have started to quietly negotiate and sign
players ahead of the domestic season which starts later this month.
Masvingo’s Southern Rocks have re-signed coach Monte Lynch who has since
started identifying the players he will need for the coming season.
The 53-year-old former England batsman is likely to be without national team
regulars Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Craig Ervine, who all
helped his team with the Met-Bank Pro-40 series last season.
The trio has set sights on joining the Harare-based franchise Mashonaland
Eagles who are looking to build a strong side after a poor show last term.
Rocks’ chief executive officer Givemore Makoni confirmed that Matsikenyeri
will not be at their franchise this term as he has had to move back to
Harare for family reasons.
“I can confirm that Matsikenyeri will not be with us this season; we have
since helped facilitate him joining Rocks. Chigumbura lives in Harare and
it’s likely that he may want to move back to Eagles but we have not yet
discussed anything with Ervine on his plans for the new season, said Makoni.
“We had too many national team players at our team last season which
affected our performance in the Logan Cup when the national team players
were away so we have had to shed some of them and look at other players whom
we will have all season. A lot of the signing business will be done next
week as we get closer to the start of the domestic season.”
Rocks have promised a blockbuster signing of foreign player for the popular
Stanbic T-20 serie safter grabbing headlines last season by bringing legend
They are also expecting former Kenya captain Steve Tikolo back as they are
expecting to lose wicketkeeper-batsmanTatenda Taibu and bowling sensation
Brain Vitori who is from Masvingo.
MidWest Rhinos have already made known their intentions for the new season
by signing Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait for the T-20 tournament.
On the other hand Eagles are looking to bring back some of the foreign
players that they had last season with Andrew Hall tipped for a comeback as
is all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate.
At Tuskers most of the players from last season are expected to re-sign for
the franchise with the likes of Charles Coventry and Chris Mpofu leading the
way. The same can be said of Rhinos who should retain national team captain
Brendan Taylor, opening batsman Vusa Sibanda and Graeme Cremer.
But they have also added Steve Marillier who was at Rocks last term.
Mark Vermeulen is likely to be offered another lifeline at Mountaineers but
they are likely to miss out on Tinashe Panyangara who has set his sights on
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:32
GOVERNMENT is not honouring its side of the bargain in a
ground-release-for-empowerment-credits deal with mining companies after it
emerged this week that Anglo Platinum (AngloPlat)’s indigenisation proposal
to sell only 20% equity to indigenous Zimbabweans was rejected.
AngloPlat, the world’s largest platinum producer, had largely complied with
government’s empowerment laws that compel foreigners to dispose a
controlling stake in mines with a net asset value of US$1 or more to
indigenous Zimbabweans.The company wanted government to credit the company
for empowerment credits stemming from a ground–release deal the miner signed
with government years back.
Ground-release entails ceding mining rights to government.
According to sources, AngloPlat said the mineral rights it ceded earned the
company 30% in equity credits.
Government has since formed a mining company in partnership with one of
Zimbabwe’s richest business people –– Billy Rautenbach –– to form Todal, a
beneficiary of the ground-release.
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere (pictured) rejected the AngloPlat
proposal and ordered the company to come up with an “acceptable” and final
Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) also released ground to the government in
exchange for empowerment credits.
Under the agreement, then Mines minister Amos Midzi agreed to give Zimplats
and AngloPlat empowerment credits in exchange for platinum concessions.
Zimplats held a number of lucrative platinum claims in the country’s Great
Dyke region. It agreed to hand over some of the claims to the government on
the understanding that the mining firm would be spared from wholesale
The platinum miner’s credits were said to be equal to about 30% of Impala’s
assets in Zimbabwe and enough to satisfy government’s indigenisation
This disregarding of the ground-release agreements comes after Barclays
Bank, Standard Chartered, six mining companies and five other firms were
given a two-week ultimatum to submit “acceptable” indigenisation plans or
risk losing their operating licences.
Zimplats, Mimosa, Duration Gold Mine, Blanket Mine and Murowa Diamonds are
some of the mining companies that could be affected. A fortnight ago,
Kasukuwere ordered that Blanket Mine’s licence be withdrawn amid accusations
of non compliance with the law but talks between Kasukuwere and officials
from the mining firm last week saw the licence being reinstated.
British American Tobacco, Nestlé Zimbabwe and cotton processor Cargil
Zimbabwe are also affected.
Kasukuwere gave BAT and Nestlé the order to comply or risk losing their
Central bank chief Gideon Gono said banks should not comply with Kasukuwere’s
order drawing the minister’s criticism. AngloPlat now owns Unki, a platinum
mine, after the group sold most of its Zimbabwean investments in the last
decade owing to political and economic uncertainty.
Bindura Nickel Corporation, Freda Rebecca Gold Mine, Zim Alloys, and Hippo
Valley Estates are some of the assets Anglo sold.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:18
ZIMBABWE’S largest mortgage lender by assets, Central African Building
Society (CABS) says its mortgage lending increased by 485% to US$124,6
million for the year ending June 30 2010 from US$21,3 million.
The mortgages issued were mainly limited to low-cost housing developments,
which CABS hopes to maintain until the institution’s loan book expands.
The society recorded a surplus of US$11,2 million for the year ended June 30
CABS chairman Leonard Tsumba said the increase was mainly due to
improvements in net interest income and non-interest income.
“Net interest income increased by 224% in line with increase in loans and
advances and loans to deposits ratios,” Tsumba said.
Tsumba said non-interest income increased by 224% in line with increase in
loans and advances and loan to deposit ratios.
Non interest income increased by 95% largely due to an increase in the
number of transactions through the society’s delivery channels. Operating
costs, however, increased by 16% during the same period.
The economy has remained short of funds for refinancing business activity in
the period under review.
CABS MD Kevin Terry said CABS mortgages would initially be limited to
low-cost housing developments until the institution’s loan book increases.
“The funds are sourced entirely from customer deposits at present, although
we are looking in the international markets for additional funds,” Terry
He said the building society would expand the mortgage facility to medium
and low-density housing, in line with the rate of growth in its loan book.
CABS re-introduced long-term mortgage lending, which had been suspended in
2008 when the country’s hyperinflation eroded both interest income and
The bonds have a tenure of up to 10 years, accruing interest at a rate of
15% per annum.
Eligible borrowers are required to pay 25% of their monthly gross income to
service the loans. CABS says it has also engaged various local authorities
in the country and other stakeholders to establish a partnership for housing
Construction Industry Federation of Zimbabwe (Cifoz) says the resurgence of
mortgage finance could be a drop in the ocean for the troubled industry,
reeling from underfunding despite buoyant government projections.
Cifoz immediate past president and property expert, Daniel Garwe told
businessdigest that the construction industry, which at peak contributed
8,5% to the Gross Domestic Product, was yet to benefit from the emerging
mortgage finance being offered by financial services institutions.
Government, which traditionally funds the bulk of major construction
projects in the country, is said to been failing to float any significant
tenders owing to lack of funds.
“For Cifoz, crafting enabling laws for Public-Private Partnerships could be
critical in attracting foreign investment in a sector currently dogged by
lack of skilled labour and obsolete equipment,” he said.
“Going forward your society remains well positioned to play a significant
role in housing development and financing in future. I have no doubt,
therefore that CABS will remain a major force in the financial service
sector of the country,” Tsumba said.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:11
By Farayi Dyirakumunda
THE fable of the broken glass is an enduring tale of a young boy who
shatters the window of an unsuspecting baker in an act of childhood
mischief. Fearing the baker’s wrath, the young hoodlums swiftly make a run
for it before anyone could spot them. Before long, a small crowd gathers
around the bakery, their attention having been drawn by the loud shattering
noise which has left a gaping hole and glass scattered all over the freshly
As the tale unfolds, the town’s school teacher, who is among the small
crowd, takes a philosophical view to the unintended misfortune that has
befallen the bakery. “Look on the bright side,” suggests the teacher. “After
all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business?”
From there, they deduce a ripple effect; the window repair man will have
more money to spend with other traders, and these in turn will have extra
income to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum.
The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in
ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be that
the boy far from being a menace to society was in effect a key benefactor.
Now and again in the local context, a similar argument has been put forward
regarding the “lost decade”. I recently encountered the debate with a
certain businessman much to my amusement. The argument was that we are
better off anyway, because the economic downturn we endured was a necessary
evil that has created an opportunity to rebuild, re-tool, recapitalise.
Opportunities have now been created for growth, new businesses can emerge
and sectors such as construction and engineering, retail and consumer depend
on such growth opportunities.
The argument seems plausible at first glance. Like the businessman, the
crowd is correct in deducing that the local glass shop will benefit from
this act of vandalism. They have not considered, however, that the baker
would have spent the money on something else if he did not have to replace
The Broken Window Fallacy, as it is known in economics, seems appealing
because we do not readily conceive what the outcome would have been had we
not endured the lost decade or what the baker would have done had the boy
not shattered his glass pane.
All we can see is the gain that goes to the glass shop or the new
investments that seem visible in the market. We can see the new pane of
glass in the front of the store and the labour involved in re-fitting and
painting the shop.
However, we cannot see what the shopkeeper would have done with the money if
he had been allowed to keep it, simply because he was not allowed to keep
it. We cannot see the new set of tyres purchased for his delivery van or
other investments foregone.
Since the winners are easily identifiable and the losers not, it’s easy to
conclude that there are only winners and the economy as a whole is better
The same faulty logic of the broken window fallacy occurs all the time. A
similar thought process was recently applied to the effects of Hurricane
Someone argued that despite the destruction and wreckage caused by Hurricane
Irene, the upside is the economic growth that will ensue from the
reconstruction and employment activity created while rebuilding from the
calamity. Of course, what we do not see is the investments that were never
implemented due to such unintended events, or the decline in economic
activity from the taxes needed to fund the construction at the expense of
investments that could have created sustainable jobs.
Going back to the young boy that broke the baker’s window. We will call him
Charlie. Having discovered his football talent from the unplanned accident,
Charlie goes on to play successfully in a top flight European club and is
paid handsomely. A US$500 000 per week pay cheque exists for some of the big
name players of his calibre with sign-on bonuses worth millions.
Intuitively, to the common man, such figures always seem extravagant or even
obscene especially compared to the general income levels in other normal and
even noble professions.
Developing from there, a common debate often emerges on how you can justify
a million dollar pay check for a football player yet a more important
professional such as a nurse who saves lives on daily basis or a school
teacher who moulds and nurtures our children earns an income much lower.
From that general observation, it seems that some of the services with the
greatest value in use frequently have a low value in exchange, and those
which have the greatest value in exchange often have little value in use.
Surely it should be the other way round! And shouldn’t something be done to
rectify such an anomaly.
Interestingly, this paradox which rages on today, is a classic problem posed
to students of economics and was explored by economists in the 19th century.
It is now commonly referred to as the Diamond-Water Paradox or the paradox
This is the perplexing observation that water, which is more useful than
diamonds, has a lower price.
The interesting observations made by the classical economists and
philosophers presents a useful reference point in our quest to understand
our quandary on the apparent contradiction that although the school teacher
and nurse are on the whole more useful in terms of society’s existence and
well being than a soccer star, the soccer star commands a higher price in
Fortunately for us, the diamond-water paradox is cleared up with an
understanding of marginal utility and total utility. Simply put, it has to
do with utility and scarcity. A simple example can drive home the
explanation. Suppose you’ve come home on a hot summer day and are dying of
You are offered diamonds and a bottle of water and asked to pick one?
You will certainly choose the bottle of water to quench your thirst and at
that point in time you may offer a higher price for the water. This is
because you find water more useful than diamonds; in economics, your utility
for water is higher than that of diamonds.
At low levels of consumption, water has a much higher marginal utility than
diamonds and thus is more valuable. Suppose then, that you are offered more
bottles of water? Having quenched your thirst, your demand for water
decreases and your preference will shift to the diamonds. In economic
parlance, your marginal utility for water diminishes.
It therefore follows that people are willing to pay a higher price for goods
with greater marginal utility. As such, school teachers and nurses, like
water, have enormous total utility, but a lower price because of a low
marginal utility. On the other hand, talented footballers, like diamonds,
have less total utility in the bigger scheme of things, but command a high
price because of a high marginal utility. The soccer star of their caliber
is less plentiful.
But what if you are offered more diamonds! Will your marginal utility for
diamonds also diminish? Yes, but at a lower speed than that of water.
Why? The reason has to do with the demand and supply for diamonds. Its
supply is limited. The demand is, however, high because people buy diamonds
as a way to tell the world that they have money (termed as conspicuous
consumption in economics).
The high demand and limited supply is the reason why the marginal utility
for diamonds decreases at a lower rate than that of water. Hence, diamonds
carry higher monetary value than water, even though we find more use for
water. Such are the rules that men naturally observe in exchanging good and
services for money or for one another.
Farayi Dyirakumunda is an analyst and Director at African Investment
Markets group, a financial services company specialising in advisory and
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:54
By Qhubani Moyo
IN my recent debate on the leadership qualities of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, I argued that while the MDC-T leader is popular he lacks vision
and acumen to take Zimbabwe forward.
The reaction, obviously from Tsvangirai’s supporters who want us all over
again to build a cult of personality around their leader as we collectively
did as Zimbabweans by acts of commission and omission on President Robert
Mugabe, was hysterical. Instead of them raising issues and engaging
intellectually, they chose the easy way out: mediocre responses and crude
insults. Nothing new under the sun, that is now the hallmark of some in our
However, my argument was Tsvangirai, for all his popularity, lacks insight
and good judgment.
He has demonstrated this throughout his career and some of his bad decisions
have come to haunt him and cost him considerably in terms of credibility and
support. The reason why I think we should subject our leaders to scrutiny is
that we need to ensure that before they come to power they should have a
clean bill of health in terms of their vision and capacity to lead.
What would be the point of removing Mugabe, who is a failure, and putting
another leader also bound to be a disaster?
Barely a few weeks after I raised the issue of Tsvangirai’s lack of vision
and poor judgment, more and irrefutable evidence to that followed.
Latest releases of secret United States diplomatic cables in which
Tsvangirai is caught offside again inviting former US president George Bush
to intervene in Zimbabwe under the cover of the United Nations (UN) prove
beyond reasonable doubt the MDC-T leader’s poor judgment.
In two letters to American presidents, the first in 2003 to Bush and the
second to President Barack Obama in 2009, Tsvangirai shows not only lack of
insight and poor judgment, but also a dangerous philosophy which if it had
been allowed to succeed would have reduced Zimbabwe not just to a failed
state, but also a client dominion of western powers with damaging
consequences for national integrity and progress.
Anywhere in the democratic and civilised world, Tsvangirai’s letters would
have been greeted with shock and disbelief by nationalistic and thoughtful
citizens, not only because they were based on a harmful philosophy of
external intervention in domestic issues, but also due to their lack of
astuteness and foresight.
The pillar and foundation of leadership is ability to make judgments in the
best interest of the citizens. Unfortunately, Tsvangirai suffers from a
chronic lack of capacity and poor judgment.
In calling for Bush to intervene militarily in Zimbabwe, under the cover of
the UN and at a time when the US was bulldozing its way into Afghanistan and
Iraq, and also only four years after the formation of the MDC, Tsvangirai
was acknowledging he was incapable of leading the movement for democratic
change in the country.
He was also confirming he is a short distance runner in politics and tires
quickly and thus always wants quick-fix solutions.
Politics is unfortunately for long distance runners but it seems Tsvangirai
is just but a poor sprinter. It should be understood by all serious-thinking
Zimbabweans that national problems require internal solutions because these
are durable and sustainable.
This is proven historically and in recent struggles against dictatorships
all over the world.
The recent examples including the Eastern Europe uprisings against communist
regimes and even more current the North African uprisings (with the
exception of Libya which is what Tsvangirai wanted in Zimbabwe) are a
testimony of how change is achieved through internal resistance. The same
can be said about how South Africans dealt with apartheid and how
Zimbabweans dealt with colonialism.
These were internal revolutions which were spearheaded by the people
themselves and not foreign-engineered struggles for change.
While it is true that there was external support for the nationalist
movements in both South Africa and Zimbabwe, as well as elsewhere in the
region and beyond, the support was technical in terms of training and
providing military weapons and logistics, but the source of the revolutions
was the people themselves.
If you invite foreigners to assist you to remove a dictator the result will
be expensive materially and politically because the foreign power will want
the greater part of the spoils.
They will move to create a satellite or client state in Zimbabwe and that
will be dangerous for the whole Sadc region. Maybe this is the reason why
Tsvangirai has failed to convince Sadc leaders that he is worthy of
leadership because they are afraid he might facilitate formation of a
satellite state that will increase American influence and thus destabilise
Calling for super-powers or emerging super-powers to assist you remove a
dictator through direct intervention would almost inevitably lead to a clash
of different and competing interests and that would be a cocktail for
disaster and never-ending conflict. The end result is the kind of chaos and
conflict that you see in countries like the DRC and Angola (until recently)
where the direct intervention of foreign powers created untold suffering and
What a real leader does when faced with a difficult situation like
Tsvangirai was at the time is to take the bull by its horns and create
internally-rooted solutions. I wonder what Bush, a hawkish president who
left a legacy of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, thank God not in Zimbabwe as
Tsvangirai wanted, thought after reading the prime minister’s letter?
Objectively speaking, I also wonder what right-thinking and fair-minded
Zimbabweans make of Tsvangirai’s letters. Without prejudice, I personally
find the letters incredible both in terms of the philosophy underlying them
and the content.
The point is Tsvangirai must learn to be his own man. He must have his own
sound philosophy and ideas which apply to the local context and can yield
Unfortunately whenever he makes pronouncements on Zimbabwe it is always
about the Sadc must do this or not do that, the African Union must do this
and they are not doing that, the United Nations should do this and South
Africa must do this blah blah.
That can’t be a reflection or manifestation of good leadership. The
underlying factor in all this is that Tsvangirai seeks foreign solutions,
thus sometimes strange and outlandish, and never pronounces his vision and
relevant strategies to deal with internal problems.
A visionary leader who has good judgment will refuse to identify with any
political programme that is likely to create instability and damage to his
Maybe Tsvangirai is right in thinking Zimbabweans want foreign powers to
invade their country to remove Mugabe and create a client state here but I
think he should ask the people first. Let him ask that question and let’s
hear what the people will tell him.
By begging for foreign intervention, Tsvangirai unwittingly boosts Zanu PF’s
propaganda and even lies that he is a puppet and wants foreigners to take
over and control resources of this country. Of course, there is no doubt
Tsvangirai and the MDC-T are funded, controlled and even “hand-held” by
their western handlers, but I don’t agree with Zanu PF’s exaggerated and
malicious characterisation of them.
However, I think Tsvangirai’s admission swollen with pride that his office
is funded by Americans is a tragedy, to say the least. What can we say about
a prime minister who proudly reveals his office is externally-funded and
even begs for funding at a time when he should be weaning himself off his
funders and handlers and becoming his own man?
This proves beyond reasonable doubt my argument that Tsvangirai lacks of
good judgment. The evidence is there for all to see.
Moyo is the National Organising Secretary of the MDC led by Professor
Welshman Ncube. He is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:53
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma’s GPA facilitation in Zimbabwe has been
thrown into fresh doubt following startling revelations from the latest
batch of over 100 confidential US diplomatic cables that were released by
WikiLeaks last Thursday, the Sunday Mail reported.
This is because Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wrote a “sensational”
letter to US President (Barack) Obama in December 2009. It is this document,
the Sunday Mail claims, “that reveals the American leader’s “crucial
dialogue” with the South African leader on his mediation efforts in
The Sunday Mail claims that the letter “has sent diplomatic tongues wagging
across Sadc and within the AU”. Tsvangirai “revealingly” told President
Obama that: “As you are no doubt aware, Your Excellency, we are at a crucial
stage in our efforts to ensure the full implementation of the GPA.
Meanwhile, our political situation remains characterised by intransigence to
frustrate the process of bringing about real change.”
Zuma is apparently exposed by this line: “...the role played by Sadc, in
general, and the mediator President Jacob Zuma, in particular, is greatly
appreciated. I know that you have personally played a crucial role in
helping this to happen, and I encourage you to continue your crucial
dialogue with President Zuma.”
This, the Sunday Mail claims, shows Zuma’s “backdoor” communication with the
US president in support of the MDC-T.
Is that all? One is compelled to ask; Surely the paper’s conspiracy
theorists can do better than that? After the bold headline screaming “PM
exposes Zuma in WikiLeaks letter to Obama,” it was extremely underwhelming
to discover that the “crucial dialogue” between Zuma and Obama was the
It seems to have escaped the Sunday Mail’s notice that Obama and Zuma have
met publicly, on several occasions, to discuss –– among other issues –– the
political problems in Zimbabwe. They should know that in September 2009 as
well as April 2010 the two met and Zimbabwe was among the issues discussed.
Was it not the same Zuma who in March 2010 met then-British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown and called for the repeal of the sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his coterie?
Now the state media wants to discredit him because he refuses to tow the
Zanu PF line of short-circuiting reforms.
In fact the only people exposed by the article are those at the Sunday Mail
for trying to take readers for a ride.
With relations between China and Africa on a crescendo, new obstacles have
emerged to stifle the bond between the world’s fastest-growing economy and
the developing continent, the Sunday Mail claims.
“The plinth of these obstacles is the damaging Western propaganda tailored
to taint the great strides that have been made in cementing co-operation
between China and Africa.
“In Zimbabwe, this propaganda is manifest in many spheres, particularly the
negative sentiments around Chinese expertise. Youths, in particular, have
been at the receiving end of this misinformation, which is literally shoved
down their throats owing to the West’s ever-pervasive machinations, on the
one hand, and the gullibility of our people, on the other,” we are told.
Visiting chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
and vice-president of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and
Disarmament Professor Li Wuwei says Western propaganda provides the biggest
threat to Sino-Africa relations.
Li says the West has painted a picture that China is colonising Africa, “an
accusation that is far from the truth”.
While we agree that the West has a hidden hand in its criticism of
Sino-Africa relations, the raw deal that Africa is getting at the hands of
China is as clear as day. One does not need Western propaganda to see that
the Chinese are dumping substandard products on the African market.
This is in stark contrast to the situation in Europe and the US where China
exports better quality goods. What of the ill-treatment of workers and
dubious labour practices of Chinese companies; is that propaganda as well?
Sino-Africa relations should be founded on mutual respect as well as
benefit. The value extraction should apply to both sides and not one side
Meanwhile fugitive Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was reportedly ready to
start talks to transfer power. His spokesman told the AP news agency
negotiations would be led by Gaddafi’s son, Saadi. His spokesman, Ibrahim
Moussa, proposed opening negotiations in a telephone call on Saturday night.
He also insisted Gaddafi was still in Tripoli despite rumours he had fled to
Just what power does the delusional Gaddafi think he can transfer when it is
patently clear that he has none left? And from which foxhole will he
It is little wonder then the overture was given short shrift by rebels, who
at the time of writing were preparing an assault on the 69-year-old’s home
town of Sirte if he did does not surrender himself peacefully.
But then again dictators never learn. Who can forget the image of former
Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone after being captured at
the presidential residence in Abidjan. Gbagbo had defiantly held on to power
more than four months after losing a presidential election. It was a
pathetic sight to see the once mighty Gbagbo emasculated and his life in the
hands of Alassane Ouattara’s forces.
If only he had attempted to make a negotiated settlement before he lost all
his leverage and dignity.
Now Gaddafi, who only recently was referring to the rebels as “rats paid by
the settlers,” has been mellowed by circumstances. Only last week his
spokesman said that his boss was ready “to resist the rebels for months or
even years”, noting that the nation would not rest until they “throw the
enemy off their domain”.
Gaddafi called his tail-between-the-legs withdrawal from his Bab al-Aziziya
compound in Tripoli a “tactical move” hours after it was seized by rebel
fighters. Let’s give him credit: he has evidently not lost his sense of
While urging his supporters to march towards “martyrdom or victory against
the aggression,” Gaddafi remained hidden and safe from the fighting. How
about leading by example, Colonel?
The Sunday Times reports that former South African president Thabo Mbeki has
accused deposed Tunisian and Egyptian leaders, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and
Hosni Mubarak, of having presided over illegitimate and corrupt governments.
Speaking at a lecture in Stellenbosch last Friday, Mbeki blasted his former
counterparts for having led their citizens with an iron fist and refusing
them the opportunity to choose leaders through democratic elections.
“Both of them (Ben Ali and Mubarak) held onto these positions through what
were described as democratic elections,” Mbeki said.
“The reality, however, is that these elections were not democratic by any
stretch of the imagination, and therefore both presidents and the groups
they led clung to power ... resorting to other means which deliberately
sought to frustrate the will of the people.
“These were fraudulent elections and the maintenance of an extensive
machinery of repression. Many in the Arab world claim that Tunisia had the
most repressive state machinery of all countries in the region, making it
what is correctly described as a police state,” said Mbeki.
“In addition to the monopolisation of political power by a few, this meant
that this tiny minority, as in Egypt, had every possibility to abuse its
illegitimate power to enrich itself by corrupt means.
“At the same time as the ruling groups in Egypt and Tunisia were enriching
themselves, millions among their people faced challenging socioeconomic
conditions, characterised by high rates of poverty, unemployment, and an
unaffordable cost of living.
“This meant that not only were millions languishing in poverty, but also
that the situation was made worse by glaring disparities in standards of
living between the rich at the top and the poor at the bottom of the
proverbial pyramid,” said Mbeki.
If only Mbeki was this candid in dealing with matters closer to home.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema on Sunday took his battle for
political survival to the pulpit, telling congregants the league was being
targeted because it demanded that all people share in the country’s economic
wealth, the Cape Argus reports.
Malema, who this week faced a disciplinary hearing for bringing the ANC into
disrepute and not for the first time, told the congregation at the African
Methodist Episcopal Church in Pimville, Soweto: “There is no crime we
committed. The only crime (we committed was) to say: ‘let’s share’.”
“The youth league is hated and attacked from all angles. Even those who are
supposed to be our liberators are joining the chorus of those that don’t
want to share.”
Amid the prayers, Reverend Tsele Setai prayed that standing before him was a
“people’s” leader. He said the leader and two others were being called
radicals by the “Babylonian” government. “We know that you are there with us
in a fiery furnace; God you will be able to deliver us. Your son Malema is
The less said of this sycophancy the better!
We were amused by the Financial Gazette’s lead story in its August 25
edition. Entitled “Chefs fear for own life” the story was about the furore
in Zanu PF following General Solomon Mujuru’s death.
“In less than five months, the ageing Zanu PF leader has lost three of his
most trusted allies, namely, Edgar Tekere, Mernard Muzariri and now
(Solomon) Mujuru,” the Financial Gazette claims.
We don’t remember Tekere being Mugabe’s most trusted ally.
Finally an easy quiz. You only need four correct out of the 10 questions to
1) How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
4) In which month did Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Atlantic are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI’s first name?
8) What colour is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial aeroplane?
Check your answers below...
Answers to the Quiz
1) 116 years
3) Sheep and Horses
5) Squirrel Fur
9) New Zealand
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:49
OF Zimbabwe’s many circumstances which grievously constrain the economic
recovery so desperately needed to minimise pronounced poverty, misery,
distress and life-endangering constraints of the majority of Zimbabweans is
the extent to which so many in government fervently believe that they are
supreme, far above the rule and dictates of law.
Contempt for the electorate, the arrogant, pronounced disregard for Zimbabwe’s
constitution and its diverse laws prevail amongst many in the political
hierarchy. They believe in their total and absolute supremacy that they are
not accountable to anyone and can unreservedly do whatsoever they may wish,
irrespective that such wishes are in blatant conflict with the principles
and details of law and of the precepts of democracy, genuine national
interest and international norms of good governance.
In recent times, this has been repeatedly and emphatically illustrated by
the actions of the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere in his determination to oust
foreign investor control of Zimbabwean enterprises, concurrently with a
resolve to similarly deprive non-indigenous Zimbabweans of their control of
businesses. He has recurrently issued regulations that are in flagrant
breach of the constitution, and which he had no legislative authority to
Kasukuwere has rigidly disregarded advice as to how to pursue the
indigenisation of the economy and the economic empowerment of the populace
in constructive ways which would advance economic growth and benefit the
beleaguered majority of Zimbabweans.
Instead, he has dogmatically pursued policies which not only cannot achieve
the declared objectives, but also have the inevitable consequence of
economic contraction and intensified hardships for most of the population.
And he has done so in disdainful conflict with prevailing laws.
But Kasukuwere is not the only governmental lawbreaker. According to
diverse reports, only 10 days ago the Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education Stan Mudenge addressed a graduation ceremony at Masvingo
Polytechnic College and advised the young people to take over foreign-owned
firms in order to support the Indigenisation minister.
He is quoted as telling the youth: “You should stop being cowards and move
onto the mines and grab them. The indigenisation policy is meant to benefit
you youths because our generation benefited from the land reform programme.”
The minister queried of his audience: “Why can’t you claim ownership of the
mines in the province — they should be yours,” he said and advocated similar
action by the youth in respect of those banks not owned by indigenous
In advocating such unlawful actions, he also resorted to vitriolic racism,
notwithstanding that Zimbabwe’s constitution precludes racial
discrimination. He told the youth that the liberation war had been fought
in order to take everything from the whites, saying that “the reason we went
to war was to free you (the youth) and take everything from the former
colonialists.” He said that the youth should “take the firms and I know we
can run them and our economy. Why should we continue working for the white
men who grabbed the resources?” (It is also sadly intriguing as to the
foundation for his convictions that all the businesses can be effectively
operated after dispossessing the present owners).
On the one hand, government has often demonstrated its inability to run
businesses viably, as is evident from the catastrophic circumstances of the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air
Zimbabwe, TelOne, and many other parastatals. Government’s appalling track
record of gross business mismanagement is renowned, and the youth that the
minister wishes should unilaterally take over businesses have no capital
resources to fund those businesses.
Nevertheless, the minister has the unadulterated gall or extraordinary
naivety to believe that the youth he was addressing could successfully
manage and run mines, banks and other ventures.
It is inevitable that one must ponder how a minister can promote and provoke
lawlessness, including unlawful expropriation of property, and yet the
authorities in general, and the Attorney-General in particular, fail to
initiate criminal charges against him. Apparently, some can blatantly
espouse and encourage criminal actions, without any let or hindrance.
Equally devastating, and against national interest, Mudenge alleged that the
independent media is deceiving the populace, the youth in particular, by
claiming that the haphazard implementation of the empowerment laws will
result in the destruction of the economy.
The reality, which the minister obtusely ignores, is that the catastrophic
manner in which Zimbabwe is pursuing the necessary indigenisation and
economic empowerment is a major deterrent to investment, both foreign and
domestic. That investment is an indisputable prerequisite for any
substantial, enduring economic growth.
It is essential for large-scale employment creation desperately required by
the several million unemployed Zimbabweans. It is also the primary catalyst
for major downstream economic activity, and for much-needed enhancement of
inflows to the presently bankrupt fiscus.
In like manner, the present tactics of government, and by thousands of
belligerent, law-contemptuous activists in trying to achieve the
indigenisation discourages critically-needed development aid and
international lines of credit to the embattled, illiquid financial sector.
Those tactics have wholly destroyed Zimbabwe’s creditworthiness rating,
rendering it unacceptable as a debtor. This impacts adversely not only upon
the financial sector, but also precludes commerce and industry accessing
essential credit facilities from suppliers, which credit is required to
enable purchase of vitally needed imports.
Zimbabwe’s endeavours to promote investment and to access international
funding have been, and continue to be, totally undermined and frustrated by
actions such as those pursued by Kasukuwere over the past two years, and by
statements such as those made by Mudenge.
This is continuously compounded by the ongoing myopia of many in the
political hierarchy who not only frustrate the effective ways of achieving
meaningful and lasting economic upturn, but also the importance of just and
equitable law, and compliance with that law.
That hierarchy in general, and those ministers in particular, must recognise
realities and replace their vitriol, misrepresentation, incitement to breach
of law, and their intense bigotry, with constructive and effective policies
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:45
THE threatened split of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) last
week reinforces the fact that civil society leaders are not ready to give up
power when their tenure ends.
This has led to the formation of many splinter organisations, subsequently
weakening civil society in the country.
The country’s workers have been complaining about poor working conditions
and low remuneration for the past two years and instead of concentrating on
improving the employees’ conditions, the union leaders are busy creating
their own fiefdoms.
After losing in the ZCTU elections in Bulawayo a fortnight ago, former
president Lovemore Matombo and Raymond Majongwe, who contested the general
secretary’s position, these leading contestants are now bent on leading a
The duo’s move has further diluted the labour unions’ strength and
effectiveness after the formation of the government-backed Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions a few years ago to dilute the strength and
influence of labour.
Matombo and Majongwe’s splinter group comprises 12 unions out of the 33
affiliates that form the ZCTU. They complained that most delegates that
attended the congress were not bonafide members of the ZCTU.
Newly elected ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo has labelled the rebel
group as divisive and lacking the support of genuine unions affiliated to
the mother body.
The 12 rebel unions led by the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe
include the Zimbabwe Energy workers’ Union, Zimbabwe Construction Workers’
Union, Zimbabwe Leather, Shoe and Allied Workers’ Union, Civil Service
Employees’ Association, Zimbabwe Rural District Councils Workers’ Union,
Zimbabwe Graphical Workers’ Union and the National Airways Workers’ Union.
The rebel group has been joined by the Medical Professionals and allied
Workers’ Union, Zimbabwe Scientific and Education Workers’ Union, Mining
General Workers’ Union and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.
“PTUZ was not allowed to participate in the congress because it was in
subscription arrears,” said Moyo. “The four unions that purport to have
joined Matombo and his group are not ZCTU members because their applications
for affiliation are yet to be approved. The 12 unions that they claim to be
disgruntled therefore do not exist.”
However, ousted president Lovemore Matombo argued that his faction has 70%
support of all trade unions members affiliated to the ZCTU.
“Of the total 36 unions in ZCTU, we control 12,” Matombo said, “These unions
have about 100 000 members out of the 160 000 within ZCTU,” said Matombo.
The ZCTU’s split evokes memories of similar splits within civil society in
general over power wrangles. Alfred Makwarimba and Joseph Chitomba lead the
ZFTU and workers in that union have lived to tell the tale. Unlike the
formation of the ZFTU, the ZCTU splintered in pursuit of personal glory and
power by the leadership.
There was no ideological or policy direction debates before or after the
congress. The leaders are therefore seeking power for the sake of power
itself. The further disintegration of trade unions further erodes the
workers’ power to push for better conditions in an economy still tottering
on the brink. Workers have to swim on their own from the deep end against
powerful and sometimes arrogant employers.
A senior employers’ union leader decried the demise of labour unions as
making collective bargaining difficult.
“The ZCTU split will disturb the Tripartite Negotiations Forum meeting
slated for next month simply because we are not sure which group to deal
with,” the leader said.
Political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said the trend was bad for the country and
showed lack of democratic credentials among civil society leaders.
“Democratic principles and values are not easy to live by, even for those
championing democratic governance, hence the squabbles soon after or before
elective congresses,” said Mavhinga.
Mavhinga took a swipe at leaders who manipulated their organisation’s
constitutions to cling onto power after the end of their terms.
“The culture of elevating individuals ahead of institutions and subverting
institutional democratic principles to safeguard individual interests is
deep-seated. It will take time to uproot,” Mavhinga said.
Social and media analyst Earnest Mudzengi agreed with Mavhinga that
organisations should look beyond personalities and remain true to their
“Personalities must be put aside and the founding principles of the union
must be held supreme,” Mudzengi said.
The ZCTU phenomenon is not new to Zimbabwe as exemplified by past incidents
in organisations such as Zimrights and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
Zimrights is still hamstrung from the split of the late 1990s when David
Chimhini was ousted as chairman and he went on to form a new organisation
Zimcet which he said would champion civic education.
The analysts agree that the multiplication of civil society organisations in
the country was bad for development. They argue that this unnecessarily
wasted resources as work was duplicated without achieving much on the
Mudzengi said: “It is unfortunate that the ZCTU has been afflicted by these
divisions and squabbles and this is quite retrogressive.”
Civil society leaders are known to have manipulated constitutions,
controlled lists of delegates attending congresses or as a last resort
contest the outcomes of the elections. This is done with the aim of
entrenching one’s position in the organisation. The retention of power in
civil society at all costs has been linked to control of donor resources and
as a political grooming school.
The emergence of the MDC in 1999 and its role in the current coalition
government has tempted many civil society leaders to join politics.
The MDC leadership comprises former trade unionists, civil society leaders,
student leaders and academics. To many from these institutions, it gave hope
that they can also make it in national politics.
The splits, however, remain a very sad indictment on the careers of those
civil society leaders when they graduate into national politics if they will
ever allow to be removed from power once they assume it. This may be the
crucial moment for civil society to do soul searching and remain committed
to their founding principles to make Zimbabwe a better country.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:42
By Leon Hartwell
THEY say it all started with a mouse. Walt Disney World Resorts (Disney
World) in Florida is not just an amazing experience for kids; adults too
cannot help but marvel at all the things it has to offer. That got me
thinking, what would governments look like if they were run like Disney
Some would nonetheless argue that the two are incomparable, as governments
have more intricate issues to deal with. Even so, Disney World’s way of
conducting business has something to offer for many governments around the
Government bureaucracies would be wonderful places to visit as they would
make planning and crisis management top priorities.
How many times do we have to stand in line at a government department only
to be told that we cannot be helped? Some government departments often go
into complete shutdown during lunch time, whether there are many unsatisfied
clients waiting to be assisted or not. When I recently visited a government
department, the civil servant who was supposed to help me was annoyed
because I was allegedly interrupting her clothing business. In contrast to
this, everything is incredibly well organised at Disney World.
Lines are carefully monitored and when they become too long managers
dispatch more rides (like an extra boat) or an actor dressed as Captain Jack
Sparrow to entertain the crowds.
If governments operated like Disney World, civil servants would gladly
assist us — their clients — and they would be well paid for their good
customer service. Employees at Disney World greet you with a smile and go
out of their way to help you.
Disney World employs approximately 59 000 “cast members” who perform as many
as 3 000 different jobs, ranging from bus drivers to technology experts.
Furthermore, Disney World spends annually more than US$1,8 billion on its
employees and it is considered to be one of the best employers in the world.
On average, this amounts to US$30 508 per employee, but with a wide ranging
salary scale depending on the job. Nonetheless, this is more money than
what was set aside by Zimbabwe’s Finance ministry (US$1,4 billion) at the
end of 2010 for approximately 236 000 civil servants on the government
Additionally, civil servants would be professional, employment would be
based on merit rather than political affiliation, and there would be no
ghost workers. Disney World would not perform well if it employed cast
members based on patronage.
Furthermore, governments often lose their best civil servants to the private
sector (or foreign countries) because of its lack of market competitiveness.
Given that Disney World has a large pool of individuals interested in being
employed by the company, it can recruit the cream of the crop.
In 1994, almost 56 000 people applied for jobs at Disney World, while only 8
750 were successful. Professionalism depends largely on institutional ethics
but it is also reflected by the quality of people that are employed by the
company or government.
Earlier this year, a leaked World Bank report found that 75 000 of Zimbabwe’s
civil servants were unqualified for their jobs while thousands more were
said to be ghost workers.
Following the Disney World model, governments could build a grand network of
infrastructure and maintain it. Beyond the multitudes of rides that Disney
World’s visitors enjoy, one is also struck by the wonder of the perfect
condition of its roads and railways.
Roads inside the parks are steam cleaned every day! In fact, the park
employs around 5 000 people to do maintenance and engineering, 750
horticulturalists and 600 painters.
I was really impressed with the efficiency and effectiveness of Disney World’s
infrastructure (which includes rides, monorails, ferryboats, bus services
and water taxis) spread out over 22 000 acres of land. Disney World spends
US$100 million annually on maintenance alone. Needless to say, it has a
constant supply of water and electricity. Since it opened its doors, Disney
World has only shut down three times and only once due to a power failure at
one of the parks.
If government leaders had Walt Disney’s vision and the leadership skills of
his successors, they could create wealth out of poverty. Some countries
possess vast resources, which are too often mismanaged by governments of the
The result is poverty on top of poverty. Disney World was built on a piece
of land which was largely alligator infested swamp. It took real leadership
and vision to develop the largest and most visited recreational resort in
A recent study revealed that Disney World and its related businesses in
Florida generate US$18,2 billion a year in economic activity (Zimbabwe’s GDP
last year was about US$7,5 billion).
Governments that are run like Disney World would offer us choices, lots of
it. Politicians the world over provide us with a limited policy menu.
Leaders need more creativity and they should be more aggressive in its
Disney World is all about meeting the expectations of its visitors and more.
Take for example the food that their visitors are able to choose from: 350
chefs are employed by Disney World serving 6 000 different types of food!
Finally, tourism would boom once service delivery is great, infrastructure
is well managed, and government has created an environment where people are
Disney World has over 25 000 hotel rooms available and the resort receives
more than 47 million visitors annually. To put this into perspective,
despite the beauty and the marvels of this country, Zimbabwe received only
two million tourist arrivals in 2010.
One could also add that the Disney World police (yes, it has its own police
service and a fire brigade) does not have a reputation for political
brutality, which is an obvious deterrent for potential tourists. Thus,
when I said that governments would be awesome if they were run like Disney
World, I meant that government leaders should plan ahead, they should be
visionary, focus on service delivery and address people’s diverse needs.
It is in a government’s power to create an environment where business and
society can flourish.
More importantly, following Walt Disney’s Mouse, even though developmental
visions cannot be fully completed during the lifespan of individual leaders,
it is important to leave a foundational legacy that successive generations
can build upon.
Leon Hartwell is an independent political analyst based in Harare.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 18:35
ELECTIONS in Zimbabwe have always been marred by acts of violence and
intimidation. As far back as 1980, when Zimbabwe held its first democratic
elections, there were complaints of violence and intimidation. At the time,
the euphoria brought by Independence overshadowed the violence that had
Although the elections were passed as free and fair, the benefit of
hindsight shows that it set a bad precedent which would be repeated in
future elections. Violence and intimidation have almost become part of the
country’s political culture. Elections have become synonymous with violence.
As the world witnessed in the run-up to the presidential run-off election
between March and June 2008, violence claimed many limbs, lives and
property —- causing untold suffering amongst ordinary people.
In the end, violence and intimidation meant the process and result of that
election was severely compromised. The legitimacy of the result was
contested and could not be sustained — and without any viable option, the
political parties ended up negotiating a power-sharing deal under which the
country is currently governed. There can be no doubt, however, that if any
future election is to have legitimacy and universal acceptance, the
cancerous strain of violence and intimidation must be removed.
It is important to critically assess how the proposed reforms to the
electoral laws attempt to deal with this problem and to determine their
strengths and weaknesses.
Code of conduct
The measures against politically-motivated violence include a code of
conduct set out in a schedule of the Electoral Act, with which all political
parties and candidates in an election are expected to abide.
The proposals place responsibility on political parties and candidates
contesting an election to take steps to prevent politically-motivated
violence and intimidation.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) recommends, however, the
necessity of setting out clearly the legal consequences of any failure to
comply with the code of conduct. There must be specific sanctions which
detail the effect of any breaches of that code of conduct on the legality of
A critical question would be whether a breach of the code of conduct affects
the legality of the election. At what point does politically-motivated
violence and intimidation affect the legality of the election? A code of
conduct without specific legal sanctions that go to the core of the election’s
legality can be easily flouted.
The proposals also include a fairly elaborate architecture of policing,
investigating and prosecuting offenders accused of committing acts of
violence and intimidation. This includes the appointment of a Special Police
Liaison Officer (SPLO) and special investigations committee (SIC) for each
province which together will be specifically responsible for the expeditious
investigation of cases of politically-motivated violence or intimidation
within each province.
The appointment of the SPLO would be done by the Police Commissioner General
in consultation with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), the
constitutional body which oversees the protection of human rights. If the
spirit of this clause is upheld, it would mean a more inclusive appointment
process, which in theory may prevent partisanship.
The SIC would be chaired by a person representing the ZHRC and would consist
of the special police liaison officer for the relevant province, two
representatives of each political party taking part in the election.
The SIC will direct the special police liaison officer to investigate cases
of politically-motivated violence and intimidation during elections and may
also take on a hands-on role in the investigations. This multi-party body
would in theory be inclusive and therefore work collectively to deal with
Further, the commission may, following an investigation by the SIC, warn
persons accused of violence or refer the matter for prosecution by a special
prosecutor designated for the purpose by the Attorney-General. They would be
prosecuted before a special magistrate designated by the Judicial Service
Commission. There is also provision for the creation of special police
units to carry out expeditious investigations.
What we have set out above is the theoretical framework as envisaged in the
proposed legislation. On a quick glance, it would appear, in theory, to be a
fairly robust legal structure for curbing and dealing with politically
motivated violence and intimidation during elections. Indeed, if everything
were equal, the mechanisms set up might be expected to yield desirable
The problem, however, is that the theoretical framework has to be
implemented by human agents whose weaknesses may derail an otherwise noble
cause. Experience has shown that it is not enough to have beautiful laws
designed to curb violence. Those laws need to be complemented by
professionally independent human agents charged with implementing those
laws. The structure will therefore succeed or fail depending on the attitude
and conduct of the men and women charged with ensuring the laws work.
Now, although the law requires that the SPLO is to be appointed by the
Police Commissioner General in consultation with the ZHRC, there is no
guarantee that the Commissioner General will not act unilaterally. Indeed,
we have already seen controversy over senior government appointments —
ambassadors, governors, etc which have been done unilaterally by Zanu PF to
the chagrin of its partners in the inclusive government. Challenging those
decisions will be time-consuming and even if successful the result may only
be of academic importance unless the courts decide on the matters
Also, even if the SIC brings matters to the AG’s Office for prosecution,
there is no guarantee that all matters will be prosecuted. Indeed, there is
always the risk of selective application of the law — so that matters
adverse to one political party may be swept under the proverbial carpet. The
AG will argue that the constitution obliges him not to be directed by any
person in the execution of his duties. Therefore much will turn on the
integrity and professional independence of the AG.
Fit and proper test
Yet, evidence shows that holders of the offices of the AG and the Police
Commissioner General have made no secret of their support for and allegiance
to Zanu PF, a key contestant in the elections.
As key players in the enforcement of electoral laws, holders of these
offices are expected to demonstrate impartiality and exercise professional
independence, regardless of their personal political preferences. It is
impossible to see how they can be regarded as fit and proper persons to
exercise the functions required of them by the constitution. It is fair to
say that persons of that calibre are not fit for purpose.
Adverse public statements
It is also against this background that violence and intimidation must be
read in the widest sense to also include partisan use of office by senior
state officials (including, in particular, security officials) who have
constitutional duties to uphold the laws of the state. These prohibitions
should cover the making of public statements that are designed to affect the
outcome of an election or are made recklessly without due regard to their
negative impact on the election process.
There have been instances in the past when senior security personnel have
made statements to the effect that they would not salute certain candidates
even if they won an election.
Such statements may have affected voting decisions, causing fear and
helplessness amongst members of the public, especially because they are made
by senior officers of the uniformed forces in an atmosphere of violence and
intimidation which also often involves members of the security forces. The
law must regard such statements as acts of political violence and
intimidation which must be prohibited, with adverse consequences upon those
who make them.
Finally, if the public is to have confidence in these measures, justice must
be seen in action in real terms.
This means matters must be brought before the courts expeditiously and the
courts must handle the matters on an urgent basis, ensuring that cases are
concluded without undue delay. Perpetrators of offences must suffer
consequences of their actions during the relevant election period and the
more this is visible to the general public, the more itwill inculcate a
culture of accountability and therefore build confidence in the system. It
may also deter would-be offenders.
Election observers will have their work cut out. It is important to
recognise that in an environment such as that obtaining in Zimbabwe, when
the country has been in an almost permanent state of electioneering acts of
violence and intimidation take place in any given period.
It is therefore important that the “election observation” process be read
more widely to include other periods even before official announcement of
the election season. Of particular significance is to keep a watchful eye on
the selective application of the law.
Info@zesn.org.zw or email@example.com
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:09
By Itai Masuku
JUDGING from the flurry of results released since last week, Zimbabwe’s
economic cloud does have a silver lining after all.
However, much of the profitability is coming from the banks for reasons we
have touched on before. Banks are middlemen, and when the middle man is
making more money than the principals, it’s a cause for concern. No wonder
then that in this current scenario, there is an inverse relationship between
the viability of banks and viability of industrial companies.
Far from being a positive development, it is still an unhealthy sign as
there is absolutely no value addition coming from this section of the
Therefore it is not surprising that many of Zimbabwe’s banks and financial
institutions, our equivalent of robber barons, are solidly in the black,
while some in the real sector are still reeling in the red, largely because
of punitive rates. Interest payments wipe out any income that would have
been made before interest and taxation.
No wonder the banks themselves now account for 13% of deposits, as opposed
to mining at a mere one percent, yet mining is the key driver of the economy
as things stand, expected to account for 44% of GDP growth.
To their credit, many of the banks have organised lines of credit with
foreign financial institutions which we hope will ultimately result in
interest rates heading south and longer tenors. One need not overemphasise
the need for low interest rates in order to speed up economic recovery.
The Marshal Plan post World War II was precisely about this. Within a decade
war-torn Europe had reasserted its position as a world economic power, with
Germany as the dominant economy.
In our own small way, we in Zimbabwe are in the position that Europe was
post WWII, even though we were in a war where not a single bullet was fired.
Americans will tell you that there are no better prospects for business as
in a reconstruction era, or rather, an economic recovery era.
And that’s the phase Zimbabwe is in. All this talk about economic growth is,
in the truest sense of the term, hogwash. We are in a phase of economic
And it is that economic recovery that has generally seen the increase in
aggregate demand as reflected in many companies that reported over the past
two weeks. Volumes for many firms have been as high as 56%, something that
would turn any firm in the developed economies green with envy.
Other firms reported turnovers of 136%; impressive, but one hopes that this
is not just a case of slapping price increases on their products, confirming
what an airtime vendor said is the general Zimbabwean business model: people
simply rob each other.
While we are yet to see increased margins across the board, indications are
that as many shed costs weighing them down, finance costs being the
millstone around the neck for a number, the return to viability is around
Of course it will be interesting to see the models companies will adopt, the
interesting one being for instance the TN Holdings and FBC Holdings
question; are these banking groups or conglomerates?
Market sentiment seems to indicate that investors prefer to deal with an
animal that is to them clearly either a Zebra or a horse, not a zorse or a
hebra. Such grey areas may confuse share prices.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:07
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma is a frustrated man and understandably
Since becoming president in 2009, he has been seized with the Zimbabwe
crisis, labouring overtime to ensure a smooth transition from the current
shaky inclusive government towards free and fair elections that would usher
in an undisputed government.
His task, however, apart from being thankless has been made all the more
difficult by the parties’ dismal failure to implement what they have agreed
on in the GPA and through several negotiations that took place after the
inking of the pact on September 15 2008.
Zuma’s report to the 31st Sadc Summit in Luanda, Angola, a fortnight ago,
was a clear indicator of how the facilitator is frustrated by the
helter-skelter pace with which the parties in the unity government implement
“Many of the fundamentals are in place in Zimbabwe for a successful
election,” Zuma said “The problem though is failure and/or slow pace in the
implementation of the agreements between the parties of key elements of
their work toward the full implementation of the GPA.
The parties have not established an implementation element within government
to ensure decisions that are taken by the inter party negotiators and
endorsed by the political principals are implemented by the line ministers.”
Examples of this implementation failure abound. Despite agreeing to media
reforms in September 2008, President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have ensured
that the national broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has maintained
Hate speech in the public media that was supposed to have ended after the
signing of the GPA has, in fact, worsened with the continued increase of
partisan messages on television and radio praising Mugabe and Zanu PF. The
only time other parties are mentioned is for the purposes of denigration and
An agreed land audit to expose multiple farm owners — captured in the GPA —
remains a pipedream nearly three years after the pact was signed. Added to
this, the National Organ on Healing and Reconciliation has remained
ineffectual as incidences of violence across the country spiral unabated.
Who can forget the scenes at Parliament Building where Zanu PF thugs beat up
MPs and journalists in June. Despite the fact that the police were there as
well as the overwhelming evidence of the identity of the perpetrators, not a
single arrest has been made since. If violence can be condoned in
parliament, what about in the streets?
Zuma described the disruptions as “one of the most unfortunate incidents in
The failure to implement agreed issues and reforms explains why Sadc has
resolved that its Organ on Politics, Defence and Security appoint a team to
join Zuma’s facilitation team and work with the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Commitee, which has been criticised for being weak in
carrying out its mandate to supervise the implementation of the GPA. This
has been met with serious resistance form Zanu PF, which has been throwing
spanners in the consummation of the political agreement.
This also explains why the tone of the facilitation team comprising Lindiwe
Zulu, Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula has become more strident in recent
months prompting virulent attacks from Zanu PF apologists. The
confrontations have become so heated that some Zanu PF party members have
called for the removal of Zulu from the team.
As Zuma’s frustrations mount over the continued and prolonged haggling
over agreed issues, it will only be a matter of time before we have a major
showdown between Sadc and the political parties in the inclusive government
especially Zanu PF. Sadc should tell Mugabe and Zanu PF to stop being
intransigent and move the country forward.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 19:05
THE decision by President Robert Mugabe and his advisors to expel the Libyan
ambassador to Harare and all embassy staff because of their support for the
rebels-led National Transitional Council (NTC), which recently ousted vile
dictator Muammar Gaddafi, clearly showed our foreign policy is vastly out of
touch with reality.
The move to banish Libyan diplomats for backing the NTC was not just
delusional, but also unnecessarily put Zimbabwe on a diplomatic collision
course with those now in charge in Tripoli.
Of course there may have been diplomatic indiscretions by Libyan envoys in
terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations during their
understandable euphoria and celebrations after the fall of Gaddafi, but that
did not warrant the overreaction by Harare.
Libyans suffered under Gaddafi’s tyranny for 42 years and the jubilation of
their diplomats all over the world should have been understood in that
More importantly, the remedial action taken by Harare authorities, if ever
there was need for such, should have always been guided by the national
interest and the country’s strategic objectives.
We know some in government are anguished by Gaddafi’s ouster because they
have had close relations with him as their financier and comrade-in-arms,
but that should not blind them into making foreign policy choices driven by
grief and self-serving interest without bearing in mind the consequences of
their actions for the country.
Even though the African Union (AU) and most of its member states do not as
yet recognise the NTC, the decision by Harare to eject Libyan diplomats more
than anything else was an exercise in denial and futility. They don’t want
to accept things have changed and the world is moving on. Gaddafi is now
Their decision is clearly out of touch with domestic and international
realities. It does not serve or advance the national interest. It just
betrays the insecurities and grief of those who sympathised with Gaddafi
despite that he came to power through a military coup and committed
atrocities against his own people.
While there is no question that western intervention in Libya through Nato
after manipulating the UN Security Council resolution 1973 was wrong and
unacceptable, Gaddafi’s regime was abominable. Gaddafi not only brutalised
his own people and committed serious human rights abuses, but also funded
Besides, after seizing power via a military coup, what moral high ground did
he have to protest his own citizens’ revolt against his rule? What basis did
he have to complain about Nato intervention when he also interfered in the
domestic affairs of other countries by funding terrorists, trade unions and
even political opposition?
Nato’s intervention was wrong, but Gaddafi dug his own grave. AU leaders
were also paralaysed and hand-wringing at a time when they should have
grabbed the crisis by the scruff of the neck and led the way. Instead, the
Arab League and other stakeholders like the UN stole a march on them.
The AU’s chronic incapacity and lethargy was partly to blame for the way the
Libyan revolt against Gaddafi was handled. After all, what would you expect
from an organisation chaired by a coup leader? We all know Equatorial Guinea
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, current AU chairman, came into
power in 1979 through a bloody coup.
People out there are sick and tired of dictators, especially those who
brutalise their own people and ruin their economies. That is why we think
Harare’s decision to expel Libyan diplomats was out of touch with global and
local realities and ill-advised. It simply exposed the paranoia, nostalgia
or hangover of those associated with Gaddafi involved in love-hate
relationships with Western and African leaders.
Dictators must learn from history. They must stop being delusional and
clinging onto the disproven myth of infallibility and invincibility. In our
situation, Mugabe has two options left: to crush his opponents and hang onto
power through brute force, or embrace reform and have an honourable exit. We
kindly advise him to take the second route to avoid a Gaddafi-like fate.
Time is fast running out for him.