Friday, 13 January 2012 09:02
THE tripartite partners in the inclusive government — Zanu PF and the two
MDC formations — are set to cross swords once again when terms of office of
the country’s service chiefs expire at the end of this month and February,
the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
The MDC-T told the Independent yesterday that police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine
Chiwenga’s terms expire at the end of the month, while Prisons Services
Commissioner retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi, Air Force commander Air
Marshal Perence Shiri and Zimbabwe National Army commander
Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda’s tenures all expire at the end of
According to a document prepared by the MDC-T, Chihuri, who took over from
Henry Mukurazhizha in 1991 as acting commissioner before assuming the
position on a full time basis in 1993, has had his contract renewed 13 times
since his first term expired in 1997.
The document revealed that Chihuri’s current term as commissioner-general of
the police commenced in January 2008 and would expire at the end of January
together with Chiwenga’s contract.
“The effect of the provision of Section 18 of the Interpretation Act is such
that the change of title from Commissioner of police to
Commissioner-General of police is immaterial,” the document says. “The
Commissioner-General’s tenure of office therefore is covered by the
provisions of the Police Act.”
“According to Section 6, the Commissoner-General’s term of office expires at
the end of four years. Thereafter, the Commissioner-General may be
re-appointed by extending his period of service for 12 months at the end of
which in the absence of the letter of appointment extending his services, he
ceases to be Commissioner-General of police.”
In separate interviews yesterday, MDC-T and the smaller formation headed by
Welshman Ncube said they would fight Mugabe legally and politically if he
renewed the service chiefs’ contracts or if he made new appointments without
consulting other players in the inclusive government.
MDC-N deputy president Edwin Mushoriwa and MDC-T secretary for security
Giles Mutsekwa said Mugabe should consult Tsvangirai on either new
appointments or renewal of the contracts as underlined by the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) which gave birth to the present inclusive
The GPA stipulates that the president should consult the prime minister when
making key appointments.
Mutsekwa said they would not allow Mugabe to disregard the GPA by making
He said the expiry of the contracts gave the inclusive government an
opportunity to get rid of the service chiefs, who have in the past made
“People like Chihuri, whose term is about to expire, should not have their
contracts renewed because they have failed to integrate themselves into the
new dispensation,” said Mutsekwa. “They have refused to be part of the
future of Zimbabwe. The only wise thing is that as soon as their contracts
expire, they should refuse to have them renewed. They must find a different
profession. They must just move into politics because they are already
practising politics, while putting on uniforms,” Mutsekwa said.
Mutsekwa added that Mugabe had no authority to renew the contracts without
agreeing with other parties in the inclusive government.
“This is going to generate a lot of debate and if he makes unilateral
decisions, we will take the matter to Sadc, but first we will take him on
locally before taking the matter to the region. We will wage a legal battle.
We would want these issues to be resolved in the country. We have all the
arsenal to fight this. We will wage a war on all fronts- legally,
politically and regionally,” he said.
Mutsekwa said his party was not targeting the service chiefs for personal
reasons but for their involvement in politics.
He said because of his selective application of the law, Chihuri did not
deserve to have his contract renewed.
Mushoriwa said: “Our position as a party has always been that the government
needs to work in line with the GPA which states that appointments should be
done in consultation with other parties and we must come up with a consensus
and we just pray and hope that Mugabe does that.The challenge is that we
have a Zanu PF and Mugabe who have always made unilateral decisions. If they
do it again, we will approach Sadc because that will be a breach of the
The service chiefs have proved to be loyal to Mugabe and have been effective
in the political assignments he has given them. The service chiefs fought
fiercely to keep Mugabe in power during the 2008 elections.
Mugabe views the service chiefs as loyal to him and this has been evident
through statements they have made in the past vowing not to support anyone
without liberation war credentials.
Chiwenga, who is referred to as “Zim 2” by his inner circle, is on record
declaring that he would not salute anyone who beats Mugabe in an election.
He attacked MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader
Simba Makoni as “sellouts”.
Similar threats were made by Chihuri and Zimondi in 2008, while the late ZDF
chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe made such pronouncements in the run-up to
the 2002 presidential poll. The statementsamounted to intimidating voters to
vote for Mugabe.
Other high-ranking military officials have also declared that they would not
salute anyonewho didn’t participate in the liberation war. Notorious among
them is Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, who said Tsvangirai would never
rule this country. Nyikayaramba was recently promoted to his current rank in
what observers have said is reward for his loyalty to Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Friday, 13 January 2012 08:58
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe may hit back at South African President Jacob Zuma
for his tough stance against him in GPA negotiations by backing Jean Ping’s
candidacy for the chairmanship of the African Union Commission ahead of
South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
South Africa announced in September 2011 that Dlamini-Zuma, a former Foreign
Affairs minister and ex-wife of Zuma, is challenging Ping for the powerful
position. The tenure of the French-speaking Ping, a former Gabonese Foreign
minister who has been chairman of the AU Commission since 2008, ends this
month. He is eligible for a second term.
The Commission serves as the AU’s administrative branch and as a secretariat
of the Pan African Parliament. It implements AU policies and coordinates the
body’s activities and meetings.
Sources said current AU chairman and Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro
Obiang Nguema, who was in Zimbabwe this week, supported Ping and had
canvassed Mugabe for his support. Nguema reportedly asked Mugabe to use his
influence to convince other Sadc nations to back Ping.
African leaders will vote using the secret ballot for the holder of the
powerful post at the end of the AU summit set for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at
the end of this month.
Dlamini-Zuma enjoys the backing of Sadc although a number of countries in
the region, including Zimbabwe, are unhappy with the way South Africa — a
member of the United Nations Security Council — handled the Libyan crisis
which culminated in the overthrowing and subsequent execution of long-time
dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Togo and Morocco are the only other African countries in the UN Security
Council, but South Africa, which is the current chair, is considered more
influential. The three countries supported the imposition of a no-fly zone
in Libya resulting in Nato bombing the oil-rich country.
Relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe have been frosty in recent years
and deteriorated after Zuma replaced former president Thabo Mbeki as the
Sadc-appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis. Zuma quickly
departed from Mbeki’s “quiet diplomacy” by adopting a tougher stance against
Mugabe. Zuma rallied Sadc to block Mugabe’s push for early elections without
full implementation of the GPA when he gave a damning report on the
Zimbabwean situation at the Sadc Troika Summit in Livingstone, Zambia, in
Mugabe felt belittled by Zuma at the Sadc Livingstone and Sandton,
Johannesburg gatherings after Sadc leaders departed from the norm and
publicly condemned Zimbabwe. Sadc demanded that all GPA partners put an end
to violence, come up with an election roadmap and ensure that all GPA
provisions were fulfilled prior to holding elections.
South Africa further infuriated Zimbabwe when it campaigned against Zimbabwe’s
bid to be elected to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission in 2009,
although Zimbabwe landed the post.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba, however, said Zimbabwe like other
Sadc countries, would back Dlamini-Zuma for the AU commission post unless it
was convinced that the bloc had a weak candidate.
Charamba said: “We have a requirement in Sadc, a binding position, which
works out as follows: If any member of Sadc is going for a certain position,
no other Sadc country can compete against that member. Secondly, no member
of Sadc can support a candidate outside Sadc, although South Africa violated
that position by not supporting Zimbabwe’s bid for the Human Rights
“In fact, South Africa decampaigned Zimbabwe, which was against the AU
position because Zimbabwe’s candidacy had been endorsed by the AU. Our
position is that we will support Dlamini-Zuma. Dlamini-Zuma is running for
Sadc and I know for a fact that our foreign minister has been campaigning
He added: “Until we discover that our candidate is not strong, which we
haven’t done, we will continue supporting. If we discover that our candidate
is not strong, like in the previous term when we supported Ping, we will sit
down as Sadc and choose which candidate to back. Sadc always votes as a
However, Charamba conceded that Zimbabwe was unhappy with the way South
Africa had handled the Libyan crisis saying most African countries shared
the same feelings.
“It’s not just Zimbabwe, the greater part of Africa was not happy. They took
a position outside the AU and South Africa has since acknowledged that they
were wrong,” said Charamba.
Ping has also been harshly criticised over his handling of the crises in
Ivory Coast and Libya. In each case, the continental organisation was
divided and Ping’s mediation attempts were seen as largely ineffectual.
Nguema’s visit also resulted in Zimbabwe and Equitorial Guinea signing a
Memorandum of Understanding on special co-operation “that will create
mechanisms for bilateral co-operation and debt settling”.
The MDC formations on Wednesday said they knew nothing about Nguema’s visit
and suggested that the visit was a private affair.
Charamba said the visit was a matter between two heads of state adding it
was normal for the host not to structure a programme when a colleague
indicates they are visiting, “because you don’t know what he wants”.
He said the two countries had not signed any deals, but MOUs, which are
statements of intent. He said respective ministers would be involved when
agreements were being thrashed out.
There have also been reports that Mugabe took advantage of Nguema’s visit to
ensure that Zimbabwe was not part of the AU agenda at its forthcoming
meeting and also to brief him on the progress made by the inclusive
Friday, 13 January 2012 08:49
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Finance minister Tendai Biti are headed for a
clash after it emerged this week that the two are deeply divided over the
fate of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) boss Gershom Pasi amid
indications that prospective replacements would be interviewed soon.
Sources close to the developments told the Zimbabwe Independent this week
that Pasi, who is said to be related to the FirstFamily, has been assured by
Mugabe that his term of office would be extended.
But Biti has refused to extend Pasi’s term.
Relations between Biti and Pasi deteriorated after the latter reportedly
refused to take orders from the treasury boss.
Well placed sources in the ministry said Pasi’s exit from Zimra was
The Revenue Act Chapter 23:11 states: “Without the authority of the
Minister, no person shall be appointed as Commissioner-General and no person
shall be qualified to hold office as Commissioner-General if he is not a
citizen of Zimbabwe or ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.”
Biti is empowered by the Act to decide Pasi’s fate after his term of office
expired in October last year. Pasi has been working without a contract since
Although Biti is said to have initially agreed to extend Pasi’s term of
office last year, differences over tenders for fiscalised registers saw the
minister changing his mind.
According to sources, the tenders were awarded to people who are reportedly
close to Biti or to MDC-T, a development that triggered a stand-off between
Biti, however, denied parcelling out tenders to people close to him or those
Biti said: “That is a bloody lie. I don’t even know who did the tender
process. The problems with Zanu PF is they think what they do is what we
On the issue of Pasi’s term, Biti confirmed his term of office had expired.
“His contract expired. After a contract expires, you call for an interview
and the best man gets the job,” said Biti.
The sources said Biti has been making visits to Zimra offices countrywide
without the knowledge of Pasi, a sign analysts believed showed he was
determined to see Pasi out.
Pasi would not be drawn to comment on the issue and referred all questions
to his corporate communications team.
“I cannot comment. Please talk to the corporate communications people,” said
Pasi, who has been at the helm of Zimra since 2001, enjoys Mugabe’s
Sources said a clash is looming between Biti and Mugabe when the president
returns from his annual leave early next month over the decision to let Pasi
Zimra chairman Sternford Moyo told our sister paper, Newsday, that matters
of employee contracts were confidential and could not be discussed through
Pasi was appointed Zimra boss after the amalgamation of the then Department
of Taxes and the Department of Customs and Excise in 2001.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:45
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, whose continued stay in power despite failing
health and advanced age is increasingly becoming a catalyst for internal
divisions within Zanu PF, is in a dilemma over finding his ideal successor,
Zanu PF insiders revealed this week.
In separate interviews with the Zimbabwe Independent, top Zanu PF officials
said Mugabe’s decision to hang on to power was an indication of a leadership
crisis in Zanu PF rather than his desire to protect the country against
imperialism as he claims.
Mugabe, who turns 88 next month and has been Zimbabwe’s only leader since
Independence in 1980, will be seeking to extend his 32 years in power after
Zanu PF endorsed him at its annual conference in Bulawayo in December as its
presidential candidate for polls expected after the constitution-making
process either thus year or early 2013.
The party insiders said Mugabe, who had indicated in 2004 that he would
retire in 2008, was having problems finding an ideal successor amongst those
interested in the top post.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have
been vying for the top post. There is also a “third force” emerging being
referred to as the Generation 40, which has been quietly positioning itself
as an alternative to the rivals. A group of generals in the army disgruntled
by Zanu PF’s failure to resolve the issue are reportedly also pushing for
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga to take over from
The sources said a certain section in Zanu PF wanted him to serve his full
term, which expires in 2013, giving him time to sell his successor and
implement the indigenisation and empowerment programme and conclude the land
But the sources pointed out that Mugabe’s dilemma was to find a candidate,
who has political clout and is sellable to the grassroots level.
“A lot of people are asking why there is this push for elections this year,
when we might lose and what is their interest (the people pushing for
elections). We don’t want another disputed election — we can’t go back to
2008. If we are not careful we will have another 2008 on our hands,” said
one politburo member.
“A lot of us feel that we should wait until 2013 to allow the party to
implement the indigenisation programme and sort out the land reform
programme. We think that the president should serve his full term and this
will give him time to anoint his successor and sell him to the electorate.
“If the two programmes are implemented properly so that they benefit
ordinary people, we should be able to sell that person to the electorate.”
Another politburo member close to the First Family said: “The problem he has
at the moment is who to choose to succeed him. Who among those interested
has the political clout to take over and who among them is sellable to the
electorate — the grassroots, business, regional and international
communities? He wants to ensure Zanu PF’s continued survival.
“There is also the issue of trust. You don’t want someone who will sell you
out to the ICC (International Criminal Court). That is the dilemma that the
president finds himself in right now.”
While another group believes that this is just an excuse to stop discussions
on the complex succession issue.
They believe that Mugabe should open up debate on his successor if the party
is to win the next elections.
“If people are allowed to choose who should succeed Mugabe, we will find
someone. You can’t tell me that there is no one in Zanu PF able to take
over — that can’t be true,” said one top official linked to Mujuru’s
Infighting in Zanu PF is intensifying as it dawns on the main factions that
elections might be held in 2012 when Mugabe is still fit to stand as a
But if the elections are pushed to 2013 when they are constitutionally due,
Zanu PF officials said it would not be practical or reasonable to field
Mugabe as a candidate largely due to old age and ill-health.
If elections are held in 2012, the party’s plan is to secure victory using
Mugabe, and then press him to resign and hand over power to a successor.
The officials said the succession debate can no longer remain a taboo after
the US cables revealed that most senior party leaders wanted Mugabe to go.
Mugabe is set to battle it out with 59-year-old Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai at the polls, which would be a replay of the 2002 and 2008
contests, which were a close shave for him.
Mugabe told his supporters last month that he will not retire until after
what his party calls “illegal sanctions” are removed.
“Sometimes there have been calls that I must retire but as long as there is
still a lot of work to be done… I cannot leave you on your own in the
deep-end,” Mugabe said.
Referring to the targeted sanctions, he said: “I cannot say I am now on the
shore that would be a demonstration of loss of confidence in myself and an
act of complete cowardice. I am not a coward.”
This came after explosive revelations in United States diplomatic cables by
whistleblower website WikiLeaks last year, which showed that Mugabe’s close
allies are desperate for leadership renewal in Zanu PF.
The faction led by the late retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru
wanted Mugabe out. The Mujuru faction tried but failed to remove Mugabe as
the candidate at the party’s extraordinary congress in December 2007, where
former politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni, who later quit in
frustration, were geared to mount a surprise challenge against their leader.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:40
ZANU PF’s allegations of gross irregularities in the drafting of a new
constitution are part of its attempt to replace Copac-appointed drafters,
particularly Justice Moses Chinhengo.
Chinhengo crossed swords with Zanu PF for passing judgments against the
state in farm invasion cases at the turn of the century while serving as a
High Court judge. He is presently a High Court judge in neighbouring
Zanu PF and its affiliates, such as the war veterans and war collaborators,
have fired broadsides at principal drafters, Chinhengo, Brian Crozier and
Priscilla Madzonga, and called for the disbanding of the parliamentary
process for allegedly including issues that were rejected by the people
during the outreach meetings. The major issues include land rights, dual
citizenship and homosexuality.
In a well choreographed move, the public media have jumped on the bandwagon
and are publishing alleged Copac internal documents on views gathered from
the outreach programme. Biased analysts and commentators have been roped in
to rubbish the ongoing drafting process.
A Zanu PF insider said the party was against the drafters’ conduct,
particularly Chinhengo, whom they had no faith in from the onset.
The source said: “Zanu PF was against Chinhengo’s appointment as a drafter
and preferred Simbi Mubako, but they were convinced by Paul Mangwana to
accept him. However, the unfolding events are forcing a relook at the
drafters, especially their leanings to the British. The backlash would also
sweep away Mangwana.”
Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that pressure from Zanu PF
to replace the drafters has been mounting since December.
“Initially in December 2011 we received such calls from Zanu PF to replace
the drafters. However, we have resisted such orders to accommodate former
Zanu PF ministers or MPs and ambassadors like Simbi Mubako as drafters. The
team of drafters is the best we have and were chosen for their impartiality.
We cannot afford to hire political appointees to come and promote narrow,
parochial party interests in a national document,” Mwonzora said.
Mangwana could not be reached for comment.
Zanu PF politburo member and strategist Jonathan Moyo penned in his latest
installment in the Sunday Mail that the constitutional review process should
be disbanded and accused drafters of subverting views of people gathered
during the outreach process.
Moyo wrote: “The die is therefore now cast. Elections will be held in
Zimbabwe this year in accordance with the constitution, but without any
reference to the Copac process, because that process has become irrelevant
and useless after being hijacked by the drafters and those behind them who
want to smuggle alien provisions that are detrimental to the views of the
people as gathered during the Copac outreach process.”
However, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo on Tuesday conceded that while the
party was unhappy with the drafters, it was not seeking their dismissal.
“The drafters are not doing what they are expected to do,” said Gumbo. “They
have considered including issues such as homosexuality, dual citizenship and
land against the views of the people. The drafters have to follow the people’s
views and we at no time discussed their removal. We are not interested in
firing people,” Gumbo said.
Chinhengo resigned from the bench in February 2004 after passing a series of
landmark judgments against the state. In 2002, he ruled against President
Robert Mugabe’s proclamation against the holding of mayoral elections in
In passing judgment on the land question in April 2000,Chinhengo ruled: “The
farm invasions are illegal. (The) Police commissioner therefore had a clear
public duty to enforce the order of the court, remove the illegal occupiers
and give the affected farmers a protection of the law.”
Chinhengo further ruled and ordered the police commissioner should remove
invaders at Ian Kay’s Chipesa Farm in Marondera. He also ruled against
Jonathan Moyo’s application in 2001 to gag the Zimbabwe Independent from
publishing his alleged fraudulent activities at the American Ford Foundation
Chinhengo’s resignation was filled with political speculation, since most
judges then were being hounded off the bench on allegations of supporting
white interests. Among the notable judges who resigned then were Chief
Justice Antony Gubbay and Justices Fergus Blackie, James Devittie, Michael
Majuru and Sandra Mungwira.
Meanwhile, Copac spokesperson Jessie Majome said the committee was going
ahead with the drafting of the supreme law in the Eastern Highlands.
“We have not officially been told of any complaints or threats to pull out.
Currently, we are going ahead with our mandate after we sorted out the
misunderstandings that had been made in the public media of late,” Majome
The constitutional review process is behind schedule having faced a number
of obstacles ranging from funding to political differences. The coalition
partners frequently get stuck in their entrenched political ideologies and
are not ready to compromise even when it seems the logical thing to do.
Zanu PF and the MDC formations have made the constitutional review process
another battleground for supremacy as they prepare for elections to end the
current coalition government.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:38
ZIMBABWE has started working with international financial institutions and
development partners, among them the British government, in looking at ways
to qualify for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
Zimbabwe owes US$7,4 billion to both foreign and local creditors, and more
than half of that debt was accumulated between 2003 and 2009, treasury
Most of the money was spent on quasi-fiscal operations that were meant to
protect President Robert Mugabe’s government, which was under siege from the
opposition MDC since 2000.
Zimbabwe defaulted on debt repayment from 2002 resulting in its suspension
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank lending
The Bretton-Woods institutions’ actions have further worsened Zimbabwe’s
liquidity crunch with the country failing to access cheap offshore funding
because of its low credit rating and political risk.
The British embassy first secretary for politics and communications in
Harare Keith Scott confirmed the talks, but said they were conditional on
Zimbabwe implementing the 2008 GPA in full and the holding of credible
Scott said: “The government of Zimbabwe is working with the international
financial institutions and with donors, including the United Kingdom, to
clarify the exact amount of Zimbabwe’s indebtedness and establish its
eligibility for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
Initiative. The United Kingdom supports this work. But debt relief can
only be given once Zimbabwe has completed its political transition through
Zimbabwe owes Britain just over £155 million. This comprises £114,9 million
owed to the UK Export Credit Guarantees Department, £9,8 million to the
Department for International Development (DFID) and £30,6 million to CDC (a
development finance institution run by DFID).
Scott said Britain had not released any fresh money to Zimbabwe as loans,
but is concentrating on providing grants through United Nations agencies for
“All British bilateral aid is given to Zimbabwe as grants, not loans and
does not therefore add to Zimbabwe’s debt,” said Scott.
“British aid funds do not pass through the government of Zimbabwe, but are
channelled through UN agencies, international NGOs, or private sector
Britain’s assistance is expected to top £80 million in the 2011-12 financial
year, the highest level ever extended to Zimbabwe in a single budget. The
support is intended for livelihoods, infrastructure and essential services.
The debt cancellation would go a long way in easing Zimbabwe’s sovereign
debt burden that currently stands at US$7,4 billion. The debt has been
steadily piling up with interest as the country continues to default on
The British loans contracted over the last three decades, according to the
2012 Blue Book, were spent on equipping the army, reviving Ziscosteel and
developing irrigation infrastructure across the country.
The single largest loan was a US$30,4 million loan contracted in 1997 from
UK/Berliner Bank AG for constructing the new Harare International Airport
terminal. The debt was due in 2009 and has since ballooned to US$65,6
million including interest and other charges.
The Ziscosteel debt constitutes nearly a third of the debt inclusive of
interest (US$53,71 million), according to figures contained in the 2012 Blue
Book for government expenditure estimates during the current year.
The coalition government is still haggling over what course to follow on
managing its debt.
The Finance ministry and the Reserve Bank are solidly behind the HIPC route,
while some argue that this would further open the country to western
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:36
WITH the ongoing confusion in the constitution drafting process, the
Zimbabwe Independent reporter Elias Mambo (EM) spoke to National
Constitution Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku (LM) (pictured) about the
EM: What do you think are the reasons for the ongoing stalemate and lack of
progress in Copac?
LM: There is one fundamental reason for the stalemate which is the
domination of political parties. The process is spearheaded by political
parties and they are bound to be driven by partisan political factors. The
framework that sets up Copac are three parties with different interests,
therefore each party will want to spearhead its political agenda. Whatever
happens, it will end up with a Zanu PF/ MDC wrangle. That’s why there is
need for a people-driven process that is led by an independent commission.
EM: What do you mean by people-driven constitution given an example of the
South African constitution where people were not involved yet it is one of
the best constitutions in the world. So why involve everyone?
LM: By people-driven, we mean a process that is genuine, a process which is
independent of the political parties themselves, a process that allows the
people to express their legitimate views, a process where there is a fair
amount of understanding that there was free expression and aspirations
EM: How do you see this process given that Zanu PF seems no longer
LM: It’s not Zanu PF that is no longer interested; it’s the whole Copac
group. It’s very unfair to blame Zanu PF. It’s only that Zanu PF is
forthright; they speak faster than other players. The whole group has no
interest. They do not meet their deadlines and it has taken them three years
to complete a task that was supposed to take 18 months. Arguments they make
show lack of seriousness and their argument is taken over by other
EM: With the way things are, is it not clear that the constitution-making
process has failed?
LM: Yes, the constitution-making process has failed. In fact, it failed a
long time ago. Our problem was to allow a failed process to go on as if it
was succeeding. We still think the Copac team must be disbanded and put a
team that is independent. It’s not too late to disband Copac.
EM: Given this scenario, elections or no elections without the constitution?
LM: Elections are not necessarily dependent on a new constitution.
Government has a five-year life span. If we reach 2013, then we must have a
debate to say what authority will govern the country. If there is no
constitution, then we must produce a dialogue for a proper governance of the
EM: Then what do you think is the way forward for Zimbabwe?
LM: The ideal thing, the best thing is to disband Copac, or they must
complete whatever they are doing then we take it to a referendum, if
rejected then we start again properly.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:35
A FIERCE clash has erupted between the Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’
Union (ZUCWU) and local authorities over late payment of salaries with the
former attacking council officials for awarding themselves hefty incentives.
Several municipalities countrywide have over recent years failed to pay
salaries on time, resulting in crippling industrial action.
Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Redcliff councils, among others, have been
locked in bitter wars with workers over poor and late remuneration.
In a bid to muzzle the workers, the councils have resorted to firing workers’
union representatives on charges of incitement.
The Bulawayo City Council has struggled to pay salaries on time and was two
months in arrears. Although it has settled the arrears, it has again emerged
that delays would be experienced this month.
ZUCWU secretary-general Moses Mahlangu said municipal workers were
disgruntled because the employer’s perpetual delay in wage payments was in
sharp contrast with the high-end lifestyle of council bosses who shower
themselves with luxury vehicles and handsome packages.
Management at the Bulawayo council bought themselves top-of-the-range
vehicles in 2011 while workers were struggling to get their salaries.
The situation is the same in other councils where ceremonial mayors are
enjoying cruising in the latest SUVs.
Mahlangu said councils could not fire workers for striking in protest over
breach of contract and he referred to Section 104 (4) of the Labour Act
which provides for workers to strike without giving any notice.
For example, the law stipulates that workers can strike if the workplace is
hazardous such that it threatens the safety of employees. They can also
strike where the existence of a trade union is threatened.
The Gweru City Council has dismissed two workers’ representatives while
others are yet to appear before a board of inquiry on allegations of
inciting workers to strike. The same scenario is prevailing at the Shurugwi
Town Council where trade unionists are facing charges of participating in an
“In all cases, the workers are being persecuted for asking for their
salaries which were long overdue and there was no one to address their
concerns as councillors and officials were said to be attending meetings in
Victoria Falls,” said Mahlangu.
Mahlangu said councillors were now using their powers to settle political
scores with council workers who belong to different political parties or
“As if this is not enough, the urban councils deduct union subscriptions and
don’t remit them to the union. The union leaders have also remained silent
for fear of victimisation.”
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:30
ZIMBABWE faces a major humanitarian crisis with the Agricultural Technical
and Extension Services (Agritex) and other farming organisations projecting
a 1,5 million tonne maize deficit in the 2011/12 agricultural season. A
survey by Agritex estimated that 247 000 hectares of maize was planted
countrywide by December 31 last year, down from 379 993 in the previous
The development means Zimbabwe is only likely to harvest about 346 000
tonnes of maize against a consumption of two million tonnes, unless the crop
planted this month does well -- which is highly unlikely according to
Zimbabwe produced about 1,5 million tonnes of maize in the 2010/11 season,
marking a third consecutive annual increase, despite recording a deficit of
about 500 000 tonnes which saw people in the country’s southern provinces of
Masvingo and Matabeleland South and some parts of Manicaland and Midlands
requiring food aid.
More people are, however, likely to require food aid this agricultural
season since projections show that harvests may decline by as much as 60%.
The hectarage under small grains, such as sorghum and millet, also declined
from 136 131ha to 130 944ha, putting the country’s food security further at
risk at a time neighbouring countries have stopped grain exports.
About 45 000ha of cotton had been planted by December 31, down from 107
727ha in the previous farming season while land planted with soya-beans went
down from 13 674ha to 5 079ha.
Tobacco production is also set to go down after 39 393ha was planted, down
from 43 545.
Farming organisations have attributed the decline in hectarage to a
combination of factors, among them, the late onset of the rains, lack of
agricultural support by the government and financial institutions as well as
lack of security of tenure resulting in farmers failing to access private
Commercial Farmers Union president Charles Taffs said the nation should
brace itself for a big disaster this year.
“About 247 000ha had been planted by 31 December and using an average yield
of 1,4 tonnes per hectare, we can expect to harvest about 346 000 tonnes. We
consume two million tonnes, so how are we going to address the shortfall?”
“Fine, there has been a lot of subsidised seed going around in recent days,
but we don’t expect much from maize planted after 15 December. It’s a
disaster, because we are the worst prepared in 50 years.”
Taffs said the humanitarian situation was aggravated by the fact that South
Africa was also importing maize and wheat, while Malawi was experiencing
economic problems which have affected its agriculture resulting in the
country suspending exports.
Zambia was expecting a reduced harvest and has stopped grain exports to
build its reserves.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Donald Khumalo said the country
was likely to have a deficit of about 1,5 million tonnes although he
believed Agritex could have overestimated the hectarage put under crops.
“We have basically lost direction as a country and we are not approaching
agriculture with the seriousness it deserves. Right now we are in January
and the farmers are rushing to collect seed and fertiliser from the Grain
Marketing Board depots. Why now, why not in October?” said Khumalo.
“We don’t expect those that are planting now to have meaningful harvests,
unless they have irrigation.”
Khumalo said there was need for the government, donor community and
financial institutions to work together to ensure productivity on farms.
“The donor community should support the black person on the land. There are
people who are still mourning for loss of land, but we are saying let’s move
on, let’s support the people who are on the land for the good of the
country,” Khumalo said.
Paul Zakariya, Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director, said: “Crop
hectarage sharply declined in part due to the late onset of rains and the
late disbursement of inputs to farmers. It is strange that at this time of
the season GMB is still distributing inputs. Maize hectarage planted between
November and December declined by about 50%, compared to the same period
“This means yields will also go down sharply. Another factor that led to a
reduction in hectarage is obviously the inadequate funding availed to
farmers by government and other supporting stakeholders. As a result of the
prevailing liquidity crunch, contracting firms have failed to generate
sufficient resources required to fund the agricultural season which needs no
less than US$2 billion to realise full potential.”
Most communal farmers failed to purchase inputs on time citing the failure
by the GMB to pay them for the grain delivered during the last agricultural
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:16
WHAT defines a youth and who should define what a youth is? Moreover who
should represent the youths?
All these questions are pertinent in Zimbabwean politics where youths are
not afforded the opportunity to represent their aspirations.
The World Health Organisation defines a youth as someone between the ages of
15 and 34 years while the United Nations General Assembly says it’s persons
between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
There is still a strong belief that the youths need a lot of handholding,
and hence the deliberate move to sideline them in the political and business
worlds. Youths are only visible in the entertainment industry where they
perform protest music and dress rebelliously because politics doesn’t play
much of a role in that industry.
While Zimbabwean youths are often ignored, not taken seriously and
considered as time-wasters, they are only recognised during election time
when they are mobilised to do the dirty work. Even in their own spheres,
they are controlled by senior leaders who are not in touch with new dynamics
in their lives.
While the elders are necessary for mentoring purposes, total control of the
youths and “over aged” youth leaders should be condemned.
Following recent outcries by Zanu PF that their 60-year- old youth leader
Absolom Sikhosana should go, the youths quickly turned to social network
Facebook to debate who the appropriate people to represent the youths should
The youths argued that such a person should be well versed with matters and
issues that concern the youth of today.
UpfumiKuvadiki, a group of youths which wants to take over Harare’s parking
car lots, said the real reason older people did not want to step aside and
give the youths a chance was mistrust and fearthat the youths would outsmart
UpfumiKuvadiki spokesperson Alison Mudariki said there was a serious problem
with the way things were being handled in parastatal boardrooms.
“The reason UpfumiKuvadiki was formed is to ensure that young people get to
participate in economic activities and break the usual norm. But it’s a
challenge to get economically empowered. Economic independence cannot be
achieved without political independence,” said Dakarayi.
He said even in parliament the youths were not properly represented and this
created a lot of loopholes in whatever laws are made.
“Laws are crafted by people who don’t have any knowledge of our challenges,”
Dakarayi said.“How do you expect those people to represent the youths? In
politics, and I am talking of all parties, we want to see young people being
represented. It’s not always the case. Their lives are determined by the
powers that be.We have seen that there is a problem in terms of generational
mix. We are left out. The truth is that there is mistrust, a lack of
confidence between our elders and the youths. It is a serious problem with
the leadership across the political divide. Even in parastatal boardrooms,
there is a lot of suspicion and lack of trust that young people cannot
handle things. In politics and the corporate world, we are not given the
opportunities and instead are led by old people.”
While the MDC formations’ youth wings are led by Solomon Madzore (35) from
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party and Gideon Mandaza (29) from the
Welshman Ncube led-party, they have also complained that they are mostly
needed when it comes to arranging benches and organising music at rallies.
David Takawira, a social commentator, said the generational clash was not
necessarily about mistrust but the issue goes beyond that.
Takawira said: “Youths are often branded as a homogeneous group. They are
thus viewed as violent, lazy and, to a greater extent, not fit to take
responsibilities. Old people think one young person represents all of us,
which is wrong.Given the historical understanding of young people in our
country, it is important to start a process of re-engaging old people in
proper dialogues and also to exhibit maturity. There is also need to change
certain behaviours that give youths a bad name.”
Blessing Vava, a youth activist with the National Constitutional Assembly,
said his organisation believed in the People’s Charter of 2008 which states
that because the youths represent the present and future of our country and
that all those in positions of leadership nationally and locally must remain
true to the fact that the country shall be passed on from one generation to
“The youth shall be guaranteed an equal voice in decision-making processes
that not only affect them but the country as a whole in all spheres of
politics, the national economy and social welfare. The youth have the right
to associate and assemble and express themselves freely of their own
prerogative,” reads the charter.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 15:53
ZIMBABWE exported 144 million kgs of flue cured tobacco valued at US$393,1
million last year, from 86 815 tonnes valued at US$250 million in the prior
year, owing to improved stock and increased capacity utilisation by tobacco
processors, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said.
TIMB said Zimbabwe the Far East now accounted for 45% of the country’s
exports, up from 26% previously.
“The major player is China, which has recorded an annual intake of almost 58
million kg, up from 18 million kg consumed in 2010,” said TIMB.
The European Union, which increased its annual tobacco intake from Zimbabwe
by 5% last year, lost 14% of its Zimbabwe tobacco to China.
“This is attributed to anti-tobacco campaigns affecting the regional bloc
and sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe,” TIMB said.
The Middle East and Africa lost their share of Zimbabwe’s output by 3% and
1% respectively between 2010 and 2011.
TIMB said permits to import almost 20 million kg of foreign tobacco were
issued as at December 31 last year.
“The actual tobacco received will be ascertained after the annual stock
reconciliation exercise at the end of January 2012. However, current records
indicate more than 6 million kg has since been re-exported to various
destinations,” said TIMB.
Of the 2011 tobacco import permits, 57% were for product from Zambia, Malawi
29%, India 6%, South Africa 3%, Tanzania 2%, China, Uganda and Zimbabwe 1%.
TIMB said the industry failed to meet last year’s projected target output of
177 million kgs of tobacco, owing to crop losses of up to 31% at the farms
and 21% during the re-handling process.
The tobacco selling season officially closed in August, with mop-up sales
stretching until the end of September.
TIMB said drought and re-grading of tobacco impacted negatively on the
projected target as 132 million kgs of tobacco were auctioned, raking in
US$360,3 million. The balance of output was from contract farming.
“During the current marketing season, tobacco farmers’ crop was affected by
intermittent rains, forcing them to embark on the re-handling exercise
which, however, accounts for 21% in losses,” TIMB said.
“Other weather-related conditions on farms affected the golden leaf,
accounting for 31% of losses. It is against this background that
agricultural experts are calling for extensive educational campaigns on
tobacco growing and handling to ensure that the forthcoming season will not
record high tobacco losses,” TIMB said.
Tobacco is one of the country’s top foreign currency earners, accounting for
26% of the country’s gross exports last year.
Tobacco farmers last year got cash payment for almost all their deliveries
after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased the cash payment threshold from
US$2 000 to US$10 000 per sale.
Farmers who delivered less than 4 000kg of the golden leaf in one go
received their payment in cash.
The US$10 000 threshold applied for every single sale made.
Farmers with more than 4 000kg could split their sale into two within the
same day and still get US$10 000 per sale.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:29
THE opening of the ANC’s centenary campaign has seen Bloemfontein, the venue
of the celebrations, bedecked by huge banners praising those leaders who
supported the movement during its long struggle for freedom.
There were portraits of Fidel Castro, Samora Machel, Sam Nujoma, Kenneth
Kaunda and other luminaries of the nationalist struggle, past and present,
with the names of their countries and their flags emblazoned on them.
Zimbabwe was distinguished by our flag and the words “Zimbabwe Thank you”
inscribed below. Accompanying this banner was a giant portrait of Joshua
Zapu’s role in supporting the ANC, during the Wankie campaign for instance,
has been largely airbrushed out of Zimbabwe’s narrative of the events. Not
in South Africa, it would seem, where “Father Zimbabwe” is seen as having
played a major role as a partner in South Africa’s struggle for freedom.
Joice Mujuru has been representing Zimbabwe at the celebrations while
President Mugabe was vacationing in the Far East. No doubt Joice will brief
him on some of the more interesting aspects that she saw during her visit.
Caesar Zvayi covered the opening events for the Herald. He must have been
the only commentator that failed to mention the corruption and misrule that
has characterised South African politics in recent years. The arms scandal
has been emblematic of that. South African TV networks drew attention to bad
management in local government that has led to riots.
Head of the breakaway Anglican church, Nolbert Kunonga, has declared his
support for Zanu PF. While this is hardly news, it is worth recording for
his double standards. The MDC-T’s policies, he said, were completely
divorced from national aspirations.
“We are not choosing man but principles and values they embody,” he
“Who is fighting against homosexuality, who is giving people land?”
No clues as to who that may be. But what of Kunonga’s policies? Are they not
divorced from national aspirations? Do you ever hear anybody going around
saying “Kunonga is right on the land issue”? Don’t they point out that he is
a recipient of land patronage who parrots what Zanu PF wants him to say? And
where did he get his obsession with gays?
The answer is simple. He is a creature of the party known for its violence
and patronage. He is directed in all that he says and does. He is a product
of Zanu PF’s mantras as his latest statement reveals. As for his claim that
the MDC-T is evil, what can we make of a prelate who bans fellow Anglicans
from their churches and denies them the right to worship there?
Kunonga “hailed” Zanu PF’s determination to come up with solutions to
challenges besieging the country, the Herald reported. He was addressing a
gathering of 200 people at St Augustine’s mission.
And what may these “solutions” be? The same “solutions” Zanu PF has failed
to implement over the past 30 years? If he wants to see a good example of
political manipulation and administrative failure he need only look around
Last week we published in this column some interesting colour pictures of
Harare as it once was. Included was Charter House which we understand now
houses the offices of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
When Tsvangirai arrives for work, we are told, his aides block the public
from getting in his way. They have to stand still or move out of the way to
give the PM unimpeded access.
If this is true it is disgraceful. Tsvangirai should be conducting himself
as a man of the people, not an imitation Mugabe. This goes for the motorcade
he wants to invest himself with “for security reasons” but in reality so he
can enjoy the trappings of power.
Ironically, where he has the right to exercise some real authority, as in
chairing cabinet when the president is away, he has been blocked from doing
so. Only one person can do that job apparently.
Jonathan Moyo spent a large part of his Sunday Mail column this week
providing what was supposed to be a change of suffix around those close to
“Whereas all along the ‘T’ suffix in MDC-T was thought or understood to mean
or represent ‘Tsvangirai’, it now turns out that in some pretty influential
quarters it means ‘Theresa’ (Makone). In other equally influential quarters
the ‘T’ in MDC-T stands for ‘Tembo’ (Locadia) while some elements within the
party’s religious wing say it actually stands for ‘TB’ (Joshua) who has been
abusing God’s good name to promise Tsvangirai bad political lies.”
Needless to say, nobody except the author is responsible for what in the
Sunday Mail passes for humour. But we did have a chuckle over the dead
donkey without which no Moyo column is complete. It’s got something to do
with Tsholotsho, we gather.
Anyway, we look forward to more jokes from Prof Badluck Jonathan next week.
Zanu PF chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, attended the inauguration of Nicaraguan
president Daniel Ortega this week. Ortega marked his third term as Nicaragua’s
president during an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday. Speaking ahead of his
departure for Nicaragua, Khaya Moyo said the invitation extended to
President Mugabe demonstrated the closeness of the Sandinistas to Zanu PF in
scope and ideology.
“This invitation coming as it does on the heels of the ANC centenary
celebrations here serves to demonstrate the closeness of the liberation
movements not only regionally but globally,” he said.
“We have to close ranks by constantly being in touch with each other, and
sharing notes,’’ Khaya Moyo added.
We hope Cde Khaya Moyo will also take a cue on how the elections in
Nicaragua were conducted. While there were some complaints about the
electoral process, international election observers –– including the
European Union –– said the process they had witnessed had been free of any
major problems, and activity at the polls was calmer than many people had
anticipated with no major cases of violence.
Meanwhile the regime in Harare has slammed the door on EU observers citing
the issue of “illegal” sanctions as the reason. Would it not be prudent to
invite them so as to prove that the people of Zimbabweans love Zanu PF as
The Herald reports that communal farmers in Guruve are crying foul, alleging
rampant corruption in the allocation of fertilisers under the presidential
input scheme at Guruve’s Grain Marketing Board depot.
A councillor for Ward 10, Maplan Kaseke, said those who heard of the
fertiliser scheme first benefited the most, with many “non-active” farmers
getting bags of Compound D.
“We were here for the whole day and some were getting as much as 200 bags
each and what pains us the most is that some of the beneficiaries came from
as far as Mazowe,” he said.
“We saw a politician from Mazowe ferrying his fertilisers yesterday.”
Last Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, the Herald states, commuter
omnibus crews that accessed the fertilisers were selling the product on the
open market for as little as US$10 per bag.
“Even if you go to the bus terminus, you will see kombi drivers and their
conductors selling fertilisers for US$10,” said one farmer.
Ward 5 Councillor Matthew Mpfurutsa also claimed that fertilisers were
distributed on Sunday and Monday last week, which were public holidays,
without the knowledge of farmers.
“The Inputs Committee should have liaised with village heads, chiefs and
councillors on the allocation formula so that everyone would have been clear
on who is getting what,” he said. “Instead, they allocated their friends
first before calling other farmers. What is even more shocking is that there
was no formal communication to the farmers about the fertilisers.”
Why are we not surprised? That is “empowerment” according to Zanu PF. The
needy and deserving fall by the wayside while the well-connected take the
Meanwhile ZBC reports that Muchadeyi Masunda has “shocked the nation” by
praising his team of poor performing councillors, adding that he will not
resign because he still has a mandate from the people.
“While the general consensus in many quarters is that the city fathers
should shape up or ship out, Mr Masunda remains adamant that he will not
resign despite his council’s dismal failure,” adds ZBC.
Since when has ZBC been concerned about the “general consensus”? They have
been burying their heads in the sand for all these years, supporting an
antiquated and unpopular regime.
“While the general consensus is that councillors have chosen to enrich
themselves through corrupt activities at the expense of ratepayers, their
boss has chosen to close his eyes and see no evil,” ZBC observes.
Harare City Council does deserve to be criticised for failing to deliver.
However, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s efforts to frustrate
their efforts cannot go unmentioned.
Among Chombo’s exploits is the blocking of the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation project aimed at constructing low-income houses in Mbare.
Still with ZBC, CEO HappisonMuchechetere recently said the national
broadcaster would continue promoting local cultural values through films.
Muchechetere made the remarks after receiving a film titled History of
Joseph from the Iranian Embassy Cultural Centre.
Muchechetere said television has the power to shape society, adding that ZBC
will continue preserving Zimbabwe’s cultural values through films that are
Since when have Iranian films become local Cde Muchechetere? It’s news to us
that we share the same cultural values with Iran.
The Iranian Embassy Head of Culture Centre, Mohammad Assad, promised to work
with ZBC and bring more films which promote good cultural values.
The film, which we are told was produced at a cost of US$11 million,
explores morality, politics, history of prophets and love, and is expected
to hit the small screen soon.
If we are to believe ZBC then viewers will be waiting with bated breath for
the screening. Fat chance!
Muckraker was surprised by the uncharacteristic blunders in a Sunday Times
online story which claimed that the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s
widow, Johanna Nkomo, boarded a luxury train to attend ANC celebrations in
Bloemfontein, South Africa, last Saturday.
Entitled “Blue Train luxury for ANC party”, the story claimed that R1
million was splurged to book the luxurious hotel-on-rails to ferry VIP
guests from Pretoria to the ANC’s centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein on
“The train, with 29 spacious suites, left Pretoria at 11am on Friday with 58
guests –– including the former first lady of Mozambique, Maria Neto, and
Johanna Nkomo, widow of Zimbabwean liberation struggle hero Joshua Nkomo ––
and pulled up at Bloemfontein station just after 7pm.”
Firstly Maria Neto was the former first lady of Angola, not Mozambique. And
Johanna Nkomo died in 2003 and is interred at Heroes Acre.
We know President Mugabe has returned from his sojourn in the Far East
because he was pictured on the front page of the Herald “sharing a joke”
with his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema who was on a
visit to Zimbabwe.
Thanks to the BBC which screened a documentary on Simon Mann and his merry
gang on Sunday we now know more precisely the character of the guy and the
methods by which he dealt with his uncle when he seized power in 1979.
The uncle was brutally tortured while being held upside down in an iron
cage. That was to dispossess him of his supposed magical powers.
He was the subject of a show trial before being executed. It would be
interesting to know what took six hours to discuss at State House. What are
these “close links” we hear about other than arresting Mann and his
associates? Could it have anything to do with payment for fuel supplies? We
saw reference to a mechanism for debt-settling in the MoU.
Also support for Equatorial Guinea’s industrialisation programme. This didn’t
include a visit to Bulawayo where Obiang could have seen industrialisation
Zim-style. And what about Shingi Munyeza’s hotel project which Obiang’s
regime handed over to the Chinese?
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:22
ONE of the many deficiencies or inadequacies of the Zimbabwean economy is
the magnitude of value addition opportunities to the country’s diverse
primary products, that have either never been pursued or, if at all
undertaken, has only been so to a minuscule extent. A few of the many
examples of the failure to effect extensive primary product enhancement
Approximately 80% of Zimbabwean cotton is subjected only to ginning before
being exported; 10%is exported as yarn; 5% as fabric and hence only 5% is
converted into finished products such as garments, sewing threads, and other
At least two-thirds of Zimbabwean timber is disposed of in plank condition,
instead of being converted to furniture, doors, flooring or other end
Platinum is exported in its mined, wholly unprocessed state, as also is the
case (until recent legislation halted it) in respect of chrome, and
similarly, most of Zimbabwe’s comprehensive range of minerals;
A very high proportion of Zimbabwe’s tobacco, and of numerous other
agricultural products, is also exported either in raw state or subjected to
only a minimum of processing and enhancement.
In consequence, export earnings are minimised instead of being beneficiated
as a result of the value-addition that could readily have been effected
prior to export. Concurrently, as some of the exported primary products are
required, after appropriate value-addition, by Zimbabwean manufacturers or
consumers, Zimbabwe has to fund more imports than would otherwise be
required. In addition, in respect of many of the primary goods exported, a
high proportion of transportation costs is attributable to the waste which
exists whilst the products are in their primary state, impacting negatively
upon the earnings of the product producers.
As a major contrast to these adverse consequences of primary products being
exported without prior value addition, resorting to appropriate
manufacturing enhancement within Zimbabwe of such products not only obviates
them being subjected to those costly disadvantages but, in addition, some
very major additional benefits accrue from doing so, inclusive of:
Enhancement of export values and, therefore, of trade balance inflows into
A few existing enterprises, either already engaged in some limited value
addition to primary products, or able to diversify into so doing, would have
expanded operations, not only enhancing their viability, but also employing
more Zimbabweans, thereby helping to some extent (even if relatively
minimal) to counter the prevailing mass unemployment. Concurrently, value
addition opportunities would stimulate development of new enterprises, also
yielding employment opportunities, and significant downstream economic
Costs for local manufacturers who depend upon imports of value-added
products of a like nature to those which would be available to them if
Zimbabwe effected value-addition would diminish, thereby partially enhancing
the viability of their operations and partially rendering their finished
products more price-competitive in export markets and available at lesser
cost to domestic consumers;
As a result of enhanced profit performance of existing and new enterprises,
there will be
significantly improved revenue flows within the economy in general and to
the fiscus in particular, the enhanced fiscal inflows emanating from a
combination of direct and indirect taxation.
It is very commendable that government, which is generally myopic to
Zimbabwe’s essential needs and how to address them, has recognised the
critical need for Zimbabwe to maximise value-addition opportunities, and to
reap the many benefits that would accrue therefrom, albeit that in common
with the state’s usual inability to recognise necessities timeously, it has
done so very belatedly. Some commendation is due for it having finally
recognised the reality of the desirability and need to motivate
value-addition to Zimbabwe’s primary products.
However, as is almost always, very regrettably and counter-productively the
case, government has yet again sought to address a key issue (which
value-addition motivation unarguably is) by adopting a draconian,
overly-dictatorial, and counterproductive strategy. Some months ago,
without any meaningful prior consultation, it imposed an absolute ban upon
the export of unprocessed chrome. In making that bar to exports, government
cavalierly disregarded that the enterprises in Zimbabwe engaged in the
processing of chrome had very limited production capacity and hence could
not acquire any more volumes of chrome than they had had been doing prior to
the export ban.
The result was disastrous for chrome producers, almost all of whom lacked
the capital resources to stockpile their mined chrome and therefore had to
discontinue operations, with concomitant dismissal of employees, loss of
contribution to the downstream economy, reduced foreign currency inflows,
and diminution in the direct and indirect inflows to the fiscus.
Unable to learn from its errors, as Government has irrefutably proven over
many years, it has now declared the intent to bar exports of unprocessed
platinum, which is foremost in Zimbabwe’s mineral exports. This will
undoubtedly have like disastrous consequences as those sustained by the
chrome mining sector.
Instead, government should determinedly resolve to recognise and acknowledge
its errors of judgment, and consequential misguided and counterproductive
policies and legislation, and alternatively should address how the creation
of domestic value-addition resources can best be achieved, and then should
vigorously and intensively pursue such constructive measures. Thereby,
government would beneficiate the economy, and hence Zimbabwe’s people,
instead of effectively hastening the worsening of the economy.
Amongst others, such measures must include the creation of a conducive
investment environment (including, where necessary, modification of the
Indigenisation and Empowerment legislation, respect for and compliance with
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements and enhancing
access to capital resources, concurrently with credible assurances of
minimised state interventions in operations, be those interventions direct
At the same time, comprehensive, inclusive, incentives should be established
to motivate the development of value-addition processes, be they in respect
of Zimbabwean minerals production, that of agriculture, or other products.
Incentivisation, motivation, and facilitation, are far more effective than
seeking to attain objectives by domination and by harsh, counterproductive,
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:11
THE continued collapse of state enterprises is a sad indictment of the
present coalition government which seems undecided over whether to privatise
or completely adopt China’s command economic system.
While President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF have parroted and successfully
implemented their Look East policy politically, they have deliberately
ignored the Asian giant’s stringent management strategy of parastatals.
National carrier Air Zimbabwe’s collapse is the latest in a long list of
failed parastatals in the past decade, among them, Ziscosteel, Zupco,
NetOne, GMB, TelOne and NRZ. The disintegration seems irreversible unless
the government immediately liquidates and privatises all state entities and
allows able investors to take over the operations of these enterprises.
The coalition government came into office with many promises of reviving the
country’s ineffective and loss-making parastatals, but not a single
improvement has been made at any of the enterprises. Instead, their
destruction has been accelerated as politicians seek to benefit from the
crumbs of the once thriving entities.
Out of the 10 state companies placed on the privatisation/commercialisation
list, only steelmaker Ziscosteel has found a taker. However, negotiations
have been long and cumbersome, and are yet to be finalised nearly a year on.
Ironically, all the parastatals enjoyed a monopoly and had healthy balance
sheets at Independence in 1980, but they have progressively crumbled as a
result of continued maladministration due to political patronage. The lean
AirZim structure ballooned after 1980, and at one point the airline employed
1600 people to man 11 planes. The once proud flag carrier now has just three
operational jets and a staff complement of 1 400.
The airline faced excessive interference from the government with planes
being commandeered to fly Mugabe and his entourage on his perpetual foreign
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told parliament last month that the
government may be forced to adopt Chinese policies in managing state
enterprises. Mutambara said cabinet was seized with ensuring that
parastatals were profitable and Zimbabwe could learn from China.
“In China for example, there is a fine, thin line between inefficiency and
sabotage. So, if you are a head of a parastatal and you are inefficient, you
can get shot because you are sabotaging the economy,” Mutambara said.
His utterances confirmed the government’s indecision on management of
But can Zimbabwe successfully follow the successful Chinese management
Soon after the spectacular failure of the Cultural Revolution, China altered
its course and embraced capitalism, albeit without private ownership.
Nationalised state corporations had to operate on purely commercial lines
with management and staff meeting agreed production targets.
China then pursued a deliberate policy of identifying and nurturing
academically talented students for future employment as company executives.
The training was as meticulous and rigorous, leaving little room for
failure. This was in addition to strict accountability imposed on state
In the last quarter century, China has grown from a poor military superpower
to the second largest economy in the world after the United States. China
now has the largest US dollar reserves and plays a crucial role in funding
developmental programmes in Africa and the rest of the developing world.
The country’s conglomerates, such as information technology companies
Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE, and construction giants Sino Hydro have extended
their reach across the globe. China has further strengthened its foothold in
the financial services sector by buying a vital stake in South African
banking giant Standard Bank, which has footprints in many African countries.
Zimbabwe could start by initially taking action against failed parastatal
managers and set up a pool of competent and accountable crop of managers. No
parastatal manager has ever been fired for inefficiency since 1980. Instead,
most have been rewarded with golden handshakes at the end of their tenures
while the rot continued.
If the government does not want to relinquish control of parastatals, maybe
it should identify prospective managers and send them to China to learn that
country’s state entities’ management style.
Since the two countries enjoy warm political relations, some successful
Chinese executives could be seconded to local parastatals to train and
implement practical turnaround policies that worked in the communist state.
The bottom line is that the government should desist from its policy
wavering and borrow best practices from around the globe and blend them with
local conditions to create a hybrid policy suitable for Zimbabwe.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:07
By Kudakwashe Matibiri
A simple definition of kleptocracy is: “a government run solely for the
benefit of those who run it”.
Kleptocracy can also be defined as a form of government by those who seek
their status and personal gain at the expense of the governed. While the
definition and behaviour of kleptocracy is simple, the resultant
consequences of its manifestation in a society are monumental and, to say
the least, very tragic.
A political system that evolves to a kleptocracy presents the worst form of
government that human beings can dream of and to live under it is surely a
curse of biblical proportions.
I contend that Zanu PF, as a political entity in the body politic of
Zimbabwe, is now an advanced and mature kleptocratic regime and its demise
is imminent. The reasons are simple and can be found in the DNA of this
Kleptocratic regimes the world over are by nature and design very unstable
and when you have a kleptocratic regime caught up in a succession quagmire
and clearly unable to reproduce and perpetuate itself then you have a very
serious national problem.
As the options available for the kleptocratic regime to survive another day
dwindle, it tends to be more and more arrogant, aggressive, ruthless and
Kleptocratic regimes tend to make very un-strategic decisions at every
corner because they are lost in a time warp and are still of the illusion
that the power retention strategies and rent seeking behaviour they employed
then are still applicable now, violence being one of them. Only a
kleptocracy slowly and surely graduating to a mafiocracy can embrace
violence as a survival tool and accept the same as a value in a highly
evolving society dominated by technology and common sense.
The survival mode of a kleptocracy is dominated by a fierce struggle for
resources by those who cling to it by whatever means. The distribution of
resources under a kleptocracy is done through veins and capillaries of
patronage. Their continued hold on state power is done through the
appointment and promotion of likeminded agents of kleptocracy in the police
force, the army and any security arms of the state.
Kleptocratic regimes will target even the justice delivery system of a
country and plunge the same into a state of unconstitutional order where
even a constable can bar the prime minister from exercising his
constitutional mandate and a full Home Affairs minister can be sent
scurrying for dear life in the full presence of its functionaries
masquerading as officers responsible for law and order.
They can, as has happened in Zimbabwe, create extralegal security arms in
the militia in case they fail to totally call the security forces to order
and command when the need arises.
All these repressive machines are answerable to the system and not to the
generality of the people. They seek at every corner to promote the interests
of the system at the expense of the electorate. The men and women who
preside over these repressive institutions are carefully selected on the
basis of blind and ignorant loyalty and they surely come to accept that only
the preservation of this kleptocracy and the furtherance of its interests
can guarantee them another day in the office, and another meal on their
table. Such is the tragedy of patronage. The recent “promotion” of Brigadier
Douglas Nyikayaramba to Major-General is a clear case in point.
It is not surprising then in a country like Zimbabwe that in spite of the
clear provisions of the constitution, the Minister of Finance, who is
mandated to oversee all the revenue inflows and outflows of the country,
actually gets to be “given” proceeds from our rich diamond fields in
No one knows how much is being realised from the sale of these diamonds.
This area is dark. It is equally not surprising that farming inputs get to
be acquired and distributed on political partisan lines outside the
knowledge of the Finance minister who is supposed to oversee the national
These are clear survival tactics of a kleptocracy bent on power retention at
With such a precarious arrangement, kleptocractic regimes will stutter on
without any vision for the future nor love for it. Thus, they never give any
regard for effective policy formulation to tackle issues of health,
education, infrastructure provision and other basic services that a
responsible government should provide.
The simple reason why they are found wanting in these areas is that the
bureaucrats or more aptly the “selectorates” who run government departments
in a kleptocracy have neither the craft competency nor the technical
wherewithal to appreciate the demands and dictates of modern statecraft.
They are there primarily to oil the wheels of the kleptocracy.
It is this failure on the part of the regime to keep in touch with the
people that will prove to be its greatest undoing.
Sooner rather than later, as has happened in Zimbabwe, artificial poverty
will set in. The health delivery system will collapse, the education sector
will collapse; infrastructure will collapse; agriculture will collapse and
basic service delivery will be a thing of the past.
Put differently kleptocratic regimes take nations back in history where
diseases like cholera and dysentery are prevalent and kill people like
flies, schools have no textbooks, people have to travel long distances on
foot because the road network has all but collapsed under decades of neglect
and poor planning.
When a government fails on this front, then it has failed the test of its
The people of Zimbabwe will never forget the loss of dignity and life and
the resultant erosion of brand Zimbabwe at the hands of this vampire regime.
The reality of the situation is that the people know their enemy. The next
election will not be about abstract issues; it is a very simple decision
that the people of Zimbabwe are going to make.
It is going to be a decision between the past and the future, between good
and bad, between yesterday and tomorrow, between the status quo and change.
The people of Zimbabwe will not vote for a regime that embraces violence as
its survival tactic; they will not vote for a regime which they perceive to
be corrupt and insensitive to their needs; they will not vote for a regime
which they associate with murder, rape and gross abuse of human rights and
surely they will not vote for a regime which is advancing to the future in a
backward motion, whichever way you look at it.
This is why I contend that the Zanu PF kleptocracy will end in the next
election both from within and from without because it has outlived its
usefulness. It just has to be changed as a national and historical
The tragedy of this system is that it has exhausted all the avenues to a
resurrection that it is faced with one possibility: demise.
Zimbabweans do not even need to go the Egyptian or Libyan way. They do not
even need to learn anything about the so called Arab Spring. After all, our
circumstances are totally different.
Zimbabweans are faced with a moribund dictatorship that is caught up in a
time warp. It’s a dictatorship lost in the jungle of progress. It is a
dictatorship surrounded by a population clamouring for change. It is a
generation socially networked and on the global platform; it is a generation
that knows it can do better and will not be hoodwinked by stories from
They know that they deserve better than this because they have lived the
full consequences of this kleptocracy. This kleptocracy has violated the
economic, political and civil liberties of the people. This kleptocratic
regime has vitiated prospects of foreign direct investment and has
drastically weakened the domestic market. It has virtually relegated all
citizens to second class and with this denigration human dignity and quality
of life has been compromised.
The survival of this kleptocracy in the next watershed election therefore
lies somewhere between nil and zero. The people of Zimbabwe should gear
themselves for a new Zimbabwe and real change.
lKudakwashe Matibiri is the founder member and Chairperson of the Apex
Council, a political think tank in Zim.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:06
THE independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is a critical
issue in the management and conduct of elections. The commission has the
role of an umpire in the elections and for that reason must exercise its
powers fairly and impartially, treating each contestant equally and without
fear or favour. Unfortunately, the ZEC and its predecessor, the Electoral
Supervisory Commission have been blighted by criticism of bias towards the
former ruling party, Zanu PF.
The performance of the commission in the 2008 polls in particular left much
to be desired given the inordinate delays in releasing the presidential
election results and its recognition of the result of what was essentially a
sham June presidential run-off election notwithstanding the allegations of
extreme violence in the lead up to that election. Critics of the commission’s
performance argue that the reason for its biased and compromised performance
is that it was essentially held captive by Zanu PF.
For example, through the president, the ruling party had the power to
appoint commissioners and the government controlled the commission’s
financial resources. Its normal functions, like voter registration, were
also outsourced to other bodies such as the Registrar-General’s Office, also
severely criticised for its bias towards the party. Politicians also had
powers to control certain procedures such as the accreditation of election
observers which meant contestants in an election had the power to choose
monitors that suited their agenda. This, among other weaknesses, exposed the
Commission and left it at the mercy of politicians who could easily
A key weakness is that the status of the body that runs elections has never
been given due respect and recognition. This is a body that is responsible
for the most important political process in the country. As such it must be
recognised as having the same or similar status to arms of the state such as
the judiciary. Indeed, the independence of the commission is as vital as the
independence of the judiciary and similar principles and rules applicable to
a judiciary should be imported, with necessary modifications, to apply to
A starting point is that the commission must be given exclusive control of
the electoral process so that there is no dilution of its authority.
Zesn therefore recommends that the commission must be given full control of
the registration of voters and the maintenance of the voters’ roll. This
should not be shared with the Registrar-General’s office.
Second, on the accreditation of voters, political interference must be
minimised by giving full control to the commission as the gatekeeper of the
election observers’ accreditation process and the object of ministers to
observers should not be given special status. Contestants in elections
should never be given the liberty to choose who monitors their performance.
This must be the exclusive power of the referee, in this case the ZEC.
The appointment of commissioners (and their removal from office) is critical
factors in determining the independence of the Commission. Prior to the
current inclusive government that emerged from political negotiations, there
was excessive control of the process by the president and the ruling party.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:04
By Dinizulu Mbikokayise Macaphulana
CHIEF among the many challenges that confront the African continent are
three evils that African thinkers and intellectuals must urgently find
durable solutions to. These are the vicious scramble for Africa’s oil,
diamonds and other rich pickings by Western countries and corporations;
venal genocidal tyrants who maim and kill civilians to remain in power; and
treacherous political puppets bent on auctioning the freedom and sovereignty
of Africa back to former colonial powers under the guise of ushering in
human rights and democracy.
2011 saw a spectacular manifestation of these enduring evils across the
troubled continent of Africa. The gruesome murder of Libyan strongman
Muammar Gaddafi, the violent overthrow of Ivorian dictator Laurent Gbagbo,
the humiliating downfall of arrogant Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak, and the
continuing menace of Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe are but some of the
happenings of the past year that are strongly symptomatic of the triple
evils of imperialism, tyranny and political puppetry that punctuate the
unfortunate political and economic condition of Africa.
As these three prominent evils escalate, the ordinary people of Africa
continue to sink deeper into the dark mire of poverty, disease and
pestilence, throwing a stubborn challenge before African thinkers and
progressive leaders who must produce fresh insights and inspire strategies
to navigate the continent out of the three-legged dilemma.
At the time Libyan rebel forces that included Al qaeda fighters, backed by
Nato gunships and snipers were closing in on Gaddafi, two African presidents
had a fierce public argument on the now late African political maverick.
Paul Kagame of Rwanda charged that Gaddafi “had to be stopped” because he
was not only a tyrant but also a sponsor of other despots across the
continent. But with volcanic vehemence, Museveni of Uganda opined that
Gaddafi was a gallant Africanist whose resistance to Western imperialism was
legendary and therefore he deserved survival.
In a way both leaders had a point, but as I write Libya is being ruled by a
loose coalition whose loyalty and political puppetry to Western countries is
blindingly obvious. Presently, millions of oil barrels are being siphoned
away from below the feet of deserving Libyans to Western capitals, for next
to nothing. Again tyranny, imperialism and puppetry have left the Africans
in Libya poorer.
In the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo who refused to hand over power after
losing a presidential election to Alassane Outtara was violently removed and
arrested by forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, backed by many French special
forces equipped with tankers and stealth helicopters. No one can win a prize
for guessing that even after replacing a cruel tyrant, Ouattara rules over
Ivorians as a proxy of the French, former colonisers of the Ivory Coast.
Poor Ivorians have been removed by a French puppet from the pan of tyranny
and delivered back to the fire of imperialism.
After the toppling of Mubarak political chaos, corruption and unemployment
which sparked the uprising in Egypt continue to escalate, even as the
deposed tyrant goes on trial for crimes against humanity and graft. While
the ruling guard has changed, life remains a nightmare for ordinary
Egyptians who continue to suffer poverty, disease, pestilence and the
scarcity of political freedoms. The human rights and democracy that the
leaders of the uprising promised remain a pipe dream and a remote
In Zimbabwe, aging and ailing Mugabe is preparing for another presidential
electoral showdown against his rival Morgan Tsvangirai this year. Tsvangirai’s
support from Britain was publicly confirmed by the then foreign secretary
David Miliband in 2010 who announced Britain’s backing of the MDC-T.
What ordinary Zimbabweans will reap from the impending elections is clearly
more scars, dead bodies and disappointment as once again a violent tyrant
battles to retain power.
The political parties that stand for the interests of Zimbabweans remain
under-funded and ignored by the media while Mugabe and his Zanu PF fleece
Zimbabwe’s diamond wealth to fund their partisan activities at the expense
of the schools and hospitals that are in a deplorable state of disrepair.
In a shockingly revealing book, Cry Havoc, self-confessed British dog of war
and soldier of fortune, Simon Mann, narrates with brutal candour how a
former British Prime Minister, in league with the CIA and some international
oil barons, funded him and other mercenaries to violently dethrone Obiang
Nguema, dictatorial ruler of the oil rich Equatorial Guinea.
In the coup that was foiled in 2004, Nguema was to be replaced by Severo
Moto, a puppet who had already signed contracts to confirm how he was to
allow the mercenaries, international oil barons and Western countries to
access oil concessions and other rich business deals in Guinea. The human
rights and democratic interests of the poor people of Guinea were not an
issue at all but oil for Western expansionists, oil corporations and
Former ANC official and veteran Journalist Andrew Feinstein in his recently
published book, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, reveals how
Western arms merchants in pursuit of mega profits sponsor wars, from the
invasion of Iraqi to the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The cunning gun-runners even supply weapons to both sides of the warring
groups to maximise their profits while they ignore international regulations
and embargoes on the sale of weapons. In this cruel business, African civil
wars become a fertile opportunity for testing newly manufactured weapons to
measure their suitability and value.
Clearly, the long suffering people of Africa are at the mercy of enduring
Western imperialism; caught in between the rock of tyranny and the hard
place of treacherous puppetry.
This is the stubborn challenge that stands before Africanist thinkers and
strategists who must urgently generate ideas and novel visions that will
help recover Africa from the triple evils. A new generation of African
leaders who love and fear the people must arise and stand on the shoulders
of legends like Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel and Thomas Sankara to rescue
Africans from imperialist, tyrannical and treacherous forces.
Dinizulu Mbikokayise Macaphulana is a Zimbabwean writer based in Lesotho.
E-mail: email@example.com .
Thursday, 12 January 2012 15:28
“IT’S a bittersweet victory,” said William Gumede, a distinguished South
African academic, about the hundredth anniversary of the African National
Congress (ANC), which opened with an enormous party in Bloemfontein on
Sunday. “This is our tipping point. From here things will go downhill. No
liberation movement has moved upwards from this point.”
It’s a grim prognosis, but Gumede, author of Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for
the Soul of the ANC, insists that South Africa is no exception to the rule.
“Every African country thought it was exceptional. If you look at the
archives of Nigerian papers at the time they got Independence (1960),
everyone in Nigeria, in Africa and indeed the world over thought they were
exceptional. No one wanted to criticise them.” But then it all fell apart.
It has not fallen apart yet in South Africa. Eighteen years after Nigeria
got its Independence, there had been a terrible civil war, the generals were
already ruling the country, and the average income was lower than it had
been in late colonial times. Whereas 18 years after the end of apartheid in
South Africa in 1994, it is still a more or less peaceful democracy, and the
living standards of the poor have at least not declined.
But maybe that was just because South Africa was fortunate to have an
extraordinary generation of leaders: men like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu
and Oliver Tambo who were intelligent, incorruptible and dedicated to
democracy. Without them at its head, can the ANC be trusted? A lot of people
Mandela chose Mbeki as his successor because he trusted him to keep the
government clean and democratic, but there was already something wrong
there. However saintly Mandela was, the way he imposed Mbeki as leader of
the ANC, and therefore president of the country, was considerably less than
Mbeki turned out to be more autocratic than Mandela had hoped, but his
overthrow in an internal ANC coup in 2008 was hardly a triumph for
democracy. Of the two men who played the biggest roles in organising that
coup, one, Jacob Zuma, is now president of the ANC and the country, while
the other, ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, spends all his days
plotting to take his place.
Zuma, a man who has faced multiple charges of corruption and rape,
miraculously emerges unscathed from the courts each time, and his
co-conspirator in the main corruption case, Shabir Shaik, has just been
released from prison for “medical reasons”.
Malema, an accomplished demagogue, has built his popularity among the poor
black majority on barely disguised racial incitement against whites,
mixed-race people and other minorities.
Politics is a tough old game in every country, but there is a systemic
problem here: the ANC doesn’t do democracy well. Gumede put his finger on it
when he pointed out that the ANC, like other African parties that fought
liberation wars, had a military structure. “They tended to centralise; there
was not much internal democracy. When they came to power they couldn’t break
away from this culture, which undermined internal democratic processes.”
Dozens of heads of state and an estimated 100 000 ordinary South Africans
flocked to Bloemfontein to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the ANC.
They honour it because it brought freedom to the black majority in South
Africa without destroying the country’s democratic institutions in the
process. South Africa still has free elections, free media and a justice
system that is free from government influence (most of the time).
But that has been relatively easy up to now. The ANC still enjoys mass
support because of its heroic past, so it has won every national election so
far without having to break the democratic rules. The question is: what will
it do when it can no longer win without breaking the rules?
That day is probably not very many years off. The ANC’s share of the vote
has been falling steadily, partly because of its perceived corruption but
largely because almost two decades in power will erode the popularity of any
political party. The election in 2014 will probably be the last in which it
can hope to win a parliamentary majority honestly.
The most important crisis in South Africa’s history will occur when it loses
the election after that. Only if the ANC then goes meekly into opposition
can we conclude that South Africa really is an exception to the rule that
liberation movements don’t do democracy.
The rule doesn’t mean that Africa is doomed eternally to political
oppression and corruption. A number of African countries have passed through
that long tunnel and emerged at the other end as flawed but generally
law-abiding democracies: Kenya, Zambia, and Mozambique, for example. But it
would be much better not to go into the tunnel at all.
The ANC will really deserve the admiration of the world if it can leave
power without a fight. At the moment, the odds on that happening are no
better than even.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:25
A CONSTITUTION is supposed to be an identity of the very society it serves
and one of its fundamental objectives is to strengthen civil unity by
creating a communal framework of rules of the game.
Constitutional experts believe that the constitution must enjoy a legitimacy
which is broader and deeper than that enjoyed by any specific organ of
government or any specific policy or piece of legislation. Societies
emerging from a conflict usually draft a new way forward by crafting a set
of wide-ranging rules that seek to bind all members of society and all major
groups within it to an agreed and acceptable constitutional system.
Although such an arduous exercise is more often than not fraught with
disagreements that make it difficult to find specific words which would
strengthen the ability of the constitution to serve as a civil and political
basis unifying the entire population, the ongoing drafting process in
Zimbabwe has been reduced to a mere circus. We refer to it as a circus for
lack of a better word because circuses, by their very nature, are a form of
entertainment driven by a travelling unit of clowns who give performances.
A constitution is supposed to provide elements of the civil religion of our
country, but alas, it looks like real clowns from across the political
divide have actually been deployed to Copac. We thought this body charged
with the responsibility of preparing a new, people-driven constitution
before Zimbabweans take to the polls was filled with sincere, serious and
sober-minded individuals, but the daily bickering accompanying unfolding
events has convinced us that the wrong people are attempting to drive this
Copac has been mired in controversy from the beginning with political
parties mobilising their supporters to lobby for the parties’ positions at
the more than 4 000 outreach meetings.
Having now realised that most of the views party supporters were coerced and
coached into voicing at the outreach meetings could not be translated into a
constitutional document, Zanu PF mouthpieces have taken to the state-owned
media where acres of space has been allocated to rubbish the
They want to convince us that the actual drafting is fraught with
irregularities and should be stopped. In fact, chief Copac accuser Jonathan
Moyo said the process had become a “dead and already stinking donkey”. He
accused the two MDC formations of using the exercise to subvert popular
views gathered in public hearings. Moyo charged the constitution-making
process as being an MDC delaying tactic to fend off early elections.
Why does Moyo want to smell stinking donkeys on the people’s behalf? The
stench will be determined by people Moyo is purportedly speaking for when
the so-called donkey goes for a referendum. If their views are ignored, the
people will cover their noses and give the draft short shrift.
We need not remind Moyo that Zimbabweans previously rejected a draft
constitution of which he was a major driver. Then we had Jacob Mudenda and
Godwills Masimirembwa — members of the Zanu PF technical team in Copac —
lamenting the abolition of the death penalty and the expansion of the
definition of citizenship by birth to include citizenship by descent and
allowing dual citizenship for Zimbabweans who acquire citizenship by birth.
They complained that this would allow descendants of our former colonisers
to automatically assume Zimbabwean citizenship. They also questioned why
English, Shona and Ndebele were stated as the only official languages.
Maybe Mudenda and Masimirembwa should have asked when was the last time
those other languages were taught in schools? Even at Zanu PF gatherings,
English, Ndebele and Shona are the medium of communication. Are they
accusing their party of marginalising minorities? The bottom line is that
these lamentations have nothing to do with what the drafters have done or
have not done. The real issue is about our politicians trying to avoid
elections while hardliners in Zanu PF prefer elections under the old
constitution which highly favours them.
Zanu PF fears that a new document would curtail the power of the executive,
particularly the president, and hence diminish the patronage system. On the
other hand, ordinary legislators from across the political divide would feel
cheated by polls held before their five-year term is up. After all, their
tenure was cut short by two years when elections were held in 2008 and they
do not want to experience a similar scenario since most of them are unsure
whether they would be retained should polls be held early. The drafting of
the constitution should go ahead and only the general populace should decide
its fate in a referendum, not political parties.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:24
BESIDES ensuring the resolution of the worsening political cacophony in the
inclusive government, more attention should be paid to the retrieval of our
national airline, Air Zimbabwe, from the precipice.
The airline, which has become both a national failure and embarrassment, is
saddled with a debt of nearly US$150 million. This has resulted in the
impounding of one of the few remaining planes in the United Kingdom as well
as the failure to pay retrenched workers their packages, among a plethora of
difficulties that have plagued Air Zimbabwe.
Clearly it should not have deteriorated to the abyss it now finds itself in.
It is easy to trace the myriad problems bedevilling the airline to the abuse
meted out by politicians who went on free junkets at the expense of the
airline’s viability as well as a bloated staff of more than 1 400. Among
them are a staggering 200 engineers to service less than 10 planes! To add
to the mess is a board that was not appointed because of its knowledge
of running an airline, but because of political patronage.
While Air Zimbabwe is in desperate need of funding, no sane investor is
going to commit resources to the airline’s revival in its current state as
it would be tantamount to throwing money into a bottomless pit.
Those pointing a finger at Transport minister Nicholas Goche for this mess
are either doing so for political expediency or out of sheer ignorance.
Goche has been merely an undertaker of an airline that has suffered
continuous decline for more than 30 years. He is a mere minister, not a
Can the moribund airline be revived? The answer is an unequivocal yes. But
painful measures will have to be implemented.
Air Zimbabwe has to be liquidated and its liabilities assumed by the
government as part of its sovereign debt. A new airline has to be
incorporated with a leaner structure. The restructured airline should be run
on strictly commercial lines without interference from politicians. It must
be run by a competent board that understands international financing, which
is the hallmark of successful airlines the world over.
It has been demonstrated that an airline can still be successful even if
government enjoys 100% ownership. This is clearly demonstrated by the wholly
government-owned Ethiopian Airlines. It is run purely on commercial lines.
Ethiopian Airlines is rated as one of the continent’s leading carriers,
unrivalled in Africa for efficiency and operational success, turning profits
for almost all the years of its existence.
It serves 62 international destinations and is one of the airlines in the
world operating the newest fleets.
Our proposed new Air Zimbabwe could also benefit from a public/private
partnership, of which the success story of Kenya Airways can attest.
The Kenyan airline was wholly-owned by the Kenyan government until April
1995 and it was privatised in 1996, becoming the first African flag carrier
to successfully do so. Kenya Airways is currently a public/private
partnership. The largest shareholder is KLM (26%), followed by the Kenyan
government which has a 23% stake in the company.
Kenya Airways is widely considered to be one of the leading sub-Saharan
operators. The carrier became a full member of SkyTeam in June 2010, and is
also a member of the African Airlines Association since 1977.
Zimbabwe can also have a similarly successful airline but there is need for
a commitment from government to ensure its success. We have lost our
national currency due to disastrous bungling. We cannot afford to lose our
national airline as well.
Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:21
INFORMATION emerging on the state of one of Zimbabwe’s best known
manufacturing firms, Cairns, makes sad reading. Indeed, the state of affairs
at Cairns may just be the tip of the iceberg.
In terms of brand recognition Cairns, or indeed its sub brand Willard’s may
rank as the Titanic of Zimbabwean brands. Yet in spiteof this the Cairns
ship has clearly sunk. And the iceberg that has struck this giant? Well, let’s
say it’s a composite. Analysts have cited forces exogenous to the firm such
as lack of liquidity on the market and the attendant high interest rates. In
an attempt to raise working capital the company borrowed.
But the funds were expensive, and so it began to choke. As we’ve said,
Cairns are not the only one in that dilemma. There are many in a similar
position in the manufacturing sector. They’ve just not come to the surface
yet. Again, beyond its control, Cairns’ products were subject to price
controls in the “lost decade” and therefore operated unviably for such a
long time. To illustrate how ridiculous the price control system was for
many, Air Zimbabwe was at some stage flying people to London for the
equivalent of just US$100 or less. Whereas the airline had a proud safety
record for more than 50 years, this accolade can now be bestowed on it for
the simple reason that it doesn’t fly anymore. How safe can you get?
Again, there are several firms that are still reeling from the effects of
price controls. In fact, price controls are one of the main legacy issues
of the lost decade that are still dogging our economy.
And while expectations are that companies should by now have shed these off,
one has to realise that you cannot just shake off in two or three years the
effects of 10 years of economic decline.
However, internal issues for many Zimbabwean firms include the inability to
seize opportunities on the export markets. And in terms of the pinpointing
foreign demand for Zimbabwean products one doesn’t need to invest in
expensive market research; just look at what is being smuggled out of the
country. In the case on Cairns, many of its products were smuggled to
Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. In the years that foreign currency was
difficult to obtain, this was one way of keeping afloat (until of course our
beloved central bank helped itself to most companies’ foreign currency
Again, after Zimbabwe’s military misadventures in neighbouring states there
was missed opportunity to capitalise Zimbabwean brands that had been
introduced by our army. But most of all Zimbabwean companies have to
recapitalise by coming up with foreign partnerships that not only centre on
finance but also include technology transfer. If not, the Cairns example
will just be a case of one down, many more to go.