Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:00
STATE security agents and Zanu PF hardliners are stoking the on-going strike
by civil servants in an effort to wreck the fragile inclusive government,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has alleged. The claims come
after reports that state security agents, Zanu PF officials and traditional
leaders in rural areas were last week urging civil servants to join the
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said there were “third force elements”
that were politicising the strike by civil servants for political mileage at
the expense of national development.
He said while the MDC-T, which has its origins in the labour movement,
understands and appreciates the plight of workers, it was concerned about
the Zanu PF hand and the use of the state security apparatus.
Chamisa said Zanu PF was taking advantage of the current plight of workers
to portray the MDC-T as having failed to improve the lives of ordinary
Zimbabweans since the formation of the inclusive government a year ago.
“We note with concern the politicisation of a genuine plight of civil
servants by our colleagues in Zanu PF,” Chamisa said.
“The matter has since migrated from being a purely labour issue to a
political matter, which is unfortunate.”
He said Zanu PF through the state media was blaming the MDC-T for failing to
stop the on-going strike although both parties were part of the Government
of National Unity.
Chamisa said if diamonds from Chiadzwa in Manicaland province were not being
looted by some Zanu PF politicians, Zimbabwe would manage to pay all civil
servants with revenue generated from their sale.
Zanu PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi said he could not comment on the
issue as the party was restructuring.
“Just wait and see who will be the next spokesperson for the party.
“I might be moving from my current position,” he said. Indeed he was. He is
in the commissariat.
Zanu PF was preparing to choose new members of its politburo on Friday, when
Chamisa said Zanu PF’s hand in the strike was also evidenced by the
organisations aligned to the former ruling party who were castigating the
MDC-T over the job action through the state media.
The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions last week blamed MDC-T for failing
to award salaries to civil servants.
The state media has also accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of
“reneging” on his promises made on February 11 last year when he became
Prime Minister to pay wages in US dollars.
In some parts of the country, the MDC-T said, traditional chiefs loyal to
Zanu PF were threatening those who had turned up for duty, instructing them
to stay at home until further notice.
MDC-T Manicaland provincial spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya said some
traditional chiefs in Mutare West were also threatening teachers who were on
duty last week.
“We have information that traditional chiefs in Bocha area in Mutare West
are threatening teachers so that they join the strike,” Muchauraya said.
Last week prison officers in Harare told The Standard that they were
surprised when they got orders from their superiors to attend a civil
servants’ meeting, where they resolved to go on strike.
The officers said they were told to attend the rally in plain clothes.
“We had never heard or seen senior officers in the prison services
encouraging workers to go on strike,” said a prison officer who preferred
anonymity. “Of course, they also need money but this was unprecedented.”
Efforts to get a comment from ZPS spokesperson Elizabeth Banda were
Eyewitnesses last week said there was pandemonium at several schools in
Highfield on Wednesday after a group of uniformed soldiers “passed through”
Mhofu Primary School.
Teachers and pupils ran for cover fearing the soldiers had come to beat them
up because they were teaching while other civil servants were on strike.
A senior teacher at the school confirmed the commotion.
“There was commotion here after reports that soldiers were beating up
teachers at Mhizha but when we tried to find out we discovered that it was
just a rumour,” said a senior teacher at the school.
However, some parents and pupils at Mhizha insisted that soldiers had been
present at the school.
Several schools in Highfield including Mhizha and Chengu primary schools
sent pupils home after reports that soldiers were instructing teachers to
join the strike.
Army spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwizi professed ignorance of the
incident but promised to investigate.
“I am hearing it for the first time and we are going to investigate,”
“It could be other people who were hiding under the name of soldiers to make
teachers and other people join the strike.”
Earlier in the day, a Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) truck had been
sighted at the schools urging teachers to join the strike.
Zimta has been calling on teachers to join the industrial action.
Civil servants began the strike a fortnight ago, demanding that their wages
be increased from $150 to at least $630.
The government has said it does not have the money to meet demands by civil
Efforts to get a comment from civil servants’ union leaders were fruitless
as they were said to be away drumming up support for the strike.
On Friday they were in Mutare.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:43
CIVIL society groups tracking the performance of the unity government say
the one-year-old marriage of convenience has not delivered on its promises.
Zanu PF’s President Robert Mugabe and leaders of MDC formations Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
re-ignited hopes among Zimbabweans that their long suffering could be a
thing of the past when they joined forces in February last year.
But the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (Cisomm) in a report released on
Friday said the coalition had failed to resolve the land question,
transitional justice, human rights and institutional reform.
Progress on the drafting of a new constitution, a key result area for the
transitional government has also been very slow.
Cisomm says instead the unity government has become a “talk-shop”.
Although acknowledging, the improvements on the economic front, the groups
said there were too many unresolved issues impeding progress.
One of the major concerns was the continued harassment of human rights
defenders and political activists by the police as well as the selective
application of the rule of law.
Cisomm also expressed concern on the lack of independence of the judiciary
and the “continued persecution of human rights defenders by Attorney-General
On media reform, the groups said although the Zimbabwe Media Commission had
been constituted, the media environment is still not free.
Dzimbabwe Chimbga, the Cissom chairman, said the inclusive government had
“By and large we can say that most of the targets and benchmarks the
government of national unity set out to do have not been met,” he said.
“The main issue for us is in Article 6 of the GPA which provides for the
writing of a new constitution.
“That process has been slowed down with a lot of problems and is well behind
the time frames set out in the agreement.”
Chimbga said bickering by the coalition partners had affected policy making.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika said the Joint
Monitoring Committee (Jomic) — an interparty organ set up to ensure
adherence to the GPA — had also failed dismally.
However, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Elton Mangoma
who attended the launch said the assessment was very harsh.
Mangoma, who is one of the MDC-T negotiators in the failing talks with Zanu
PF and MDC, accused the groups of speaking from a comfort zone.
He described the unity government as a “breath of fresh air to many of our
supporters who were under attack in the rural areas”.
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:42
MUTARE - Zanu PF Manicaland chairman, Mike Madiro's double standards over
the land issue were exposed after he tried to blame white farmers for the
chaos in the province's commercial farming areas. Madiro, who recently
evicted more than 30 families from his farm, was told to stop the blame game
at a Joint Monitroing and Implementation Committee (Jomic) meeting in Mutare
on Sunday as his "hands were not clean".
The newly elected Zanu PF chairman looked shocked after MDC-T Manicaland
chairman Patrick Chitaka rapped him for being a hypocrite.
Chitaka said Madiro had caused a lot of suffering to many people he evicted
from his farm.
Some of the families evicted had worked on the farm for years before Madiro
took over from a white commercial farmer, Charles de Kock.
Madiro had told the highly-charged meeting that white commercial farmers
were to blame for the chaos in farming areas as they were denying genuine
new farmers the opportunity to move onto the land.
He charged that the white farmers were trying to drive the landless people
in the country into perpetual poverty.
"White farmers are using delaying tactics when it comes to the issue of land
and the new farmers are impatient, that is why you are seeing the chaos and
the alleged invasions in the farming areas," Madiro said.
However, Madiro could not finish his statement as his voice was drowned out
in boos from participants at the meeting meant to reconcile the country's
major political parties.
Chitaka did not have kind words for Madiro, accusing him of hypocrisy after
he evicted landless families from his farm. Madiro dumped the more than 30
families on the roadside along the Mutare-Harare highway near Odzi late last
Chitaka was given the platform to speak after Madiro. He said the Zanu PF
chairman was one of the people to blame for the chaos on farms.
"You are also to blame for the chaos (because) you evicted more than 30
families from your farm and dumped them on the roadside without food or
anything," Chitaka said to applause from people who attended the meeting.
"You are the last person to try to show sympathy."
The families who were evicted had homes set on fire and were stranded for
months in the open along the Mutare-Harare road.
At least 52 children were also victims of the eviction.
Wilton Farm was seized from De Kock at the height of the chaotic farm
De Kock was a major producer of baby corn, wheat, maize, soya beans, and
tobacco, mostly for the export market. He was also cattle rancher.
BY JOHN MAKURA
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:29
MEDIA groups have described the arrest last week of distributors of The
Zimbabwean newspaper as demonstration of the unity government's insincerity
about media reforms.
On Friday, publisher and editor of The Zimbabwean newspaper, Wilf Mbanga,
said two directors of Adquest - their new distributors - were arrested on
February 10 and charged with contravening the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23, which criminalises the publication of "falsehoods
prejudicial to the state".
The previous day, said Mbanga, three Adquest drivers had been arrested and
taken to the Law and Order Section at Harare Central, where they were
separated and questioned for three hours.
"They were made to sign statements and were then released, without charge,"
he said.† Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka yesterday said he was still
to get information on the incidents.
But Mbanga confirmed the arrest of Barnabas Madzimure and Fortune Mutandiro.
He said the two were charged with writing and publishing false statements in
the newspaper's January 10 edition, under the headline Mnangagwa plots fight
back: talk of new splinter group.
The "false" statements were about an alleged meeting of some Zanu PF
officials in Gweru on Christmas Day last year.
"The charge is, with all due respect, ludicrous and is in my view calculated
to harass and intimidate the distributors of the newspaper," Mbanga said.
He said Madzimure and Mutandiro had nothing to do with the distribution of
the newspaper of January 10. At the time, Mbanga said, the paper was
distributed by Publications Distributors.
Adquest only started distributing the paper on January 14.
"This is not consistent with the press freedom promised by the government of
national unity," Mbanga said.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe
chapter director, said the incident betrays the government's lack of
commitment to media reforms.
"The whole incident exposes the fallacy of media reform rhetoric," Ngwenya
"It reminds all of us that we are still stuck in the old mode of intolerance
of alternative sources of information.
"It shows that all this talk about media reforms is just mere politicking."
Co-ordinator of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) Andrew Moyse
said the incident shows the government's lack of commitment to media
"It just shows the lack of sincerity this government has about reforms.
"It exposes the vindictiveness of the people in government and their
determination to hang on to all sources of information," Moyse said.
Last month, a correspondent for The Zimbabwean newspaper, Stanley Kwenda,
fled the country claiming that he had been threatened with death by a senior
Mbanga said the police action had all the trademarks of the era of media
persecution that characterised Professor Jonathan Moyo's tenure as Minister
of Information when several newspapers were banned and journalists harassed
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:07
IT is enough to unsettle most people to imagine receiving as many as 1 000
text messages on their mobile phone every day. And when the messages so
received are exactly on the same subject, the ensuing discomfiture can be
This is the "torture" the co-chairpersons of the Constitution Parliamentary
Committee (Copac) face for allegedly ignoring demands by women for a 50-50
representation on committees spearheading the revision of the country's
Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) - an umbrella body of women's groups in
the country - last week took the campaign to cyberspace through the launch
of a "Text 'Em Campaign."
The coalition is urging people to send short messages (SMS) to three Copac
co-chairpersons, Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and
Edward Mkhosi (MDC) voicing their displeasure.
"The committee promised us that they would put in place systems to ensure
that there is a 50-50 representation between men and women in the process,"
WCoZ national co-ordinator Netsai Mushonga said.
"Since this is not happening, we have resolved to text the co-chairpersons
asking them what happened to their promises."
Women's organisations and female legislators last month petitioned Copac
demanding the inclusion of women in influential committees leading the
Women, Gender and Community Development minister Olivia Muchena said
committees and outreach teams leading the process were gender biased.
WCoZ published Mangwana, Mwonzora and Mukhosi's telephone numbers to
kickstart the campaign.
They want each of them to receive at least 1 000 messages a day from
"In dismissing our petition, Mwonzora labelled it a Zanu PF agenda aimed at
derailing the process," Mushonga said. "What we are seeing here are men from
Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC conniving to exclude women in this process."
Copac's management committee has one woman out of 10 while the steering
committee and the select committee have three out of 10 and nine out of 25
The gender disparities have also been noted in the chairpersons of the
thematic committees and their deputies.
Of the seven chairs from Zanu PF, only one is a woman. The MDC-T seconded
three women out of seven chairpersons, while the MDC's two chairpersons are
Political parties also influenced the selection of civil society
representatives to deputise thematic committee chairpersons.
Of the seven deputies seconded by Zanu PF, only two are women while MDC-T
and MDC seconded four out of seven and none out of two respectively.
While Mkhosi was unreachable for comment, Mangwana and Mwonzora said the
women's campaign could be in vain as they were misdirecting their concerns.
"Our policy as Copac is indeed 50% but we do not select these
representatives," Mangwana said. "It is the political parties and the civic
groups which seconded people to us.
"We did our best as far as advocating for equal representation but the
stakeholders brought something else and we as Copac had no powers to reject
what was brought to us.
"The women should be talking to the stakeholders as Copac will not be able
to change these things."
Mangwana said some of the problems lay with society as women could not be
found among such groups as priests or pastors, for example.
Mwonzora said Copac actually scored high in as far as including women in the
process was concerned.
"Copac made sure that all the female parliamentarians participate in this
process but they are only 18% of the total legislators so that reality made
it impossible for us to achieve 50% as we could not blow up the figures for
them," Mwonzora said.
"Women have a very good case of under-representation but the source is not
Copac but their political parties.
He said women were also under-represented in most civic groups'
decision-making positions and this had a direct impact on the names
forwarded to Copac.
Mushonga said women were not letting up on their campaign and would continue
sending the messages.
But Mwonzora described them as a "nuisance aimed at disturbing me, my peace
and my business".
However, it seems the campaign was off to a poor start with Mangwana saying
he was yet to receive any message and Mwonzora confirming receiving two.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:05
BULAWAYO - A short-term water project aimed at alleviating the already
biting water shortage in Zimbabwe's second largestcity has taken off, two
years after it stalled due to funding constraints
But the laying of a pipeline from the Mtshabezi Dam in Matabeleland South is
underfunded by more than US$18 million. The pipeline will link the idle dam
estimated to be 99% full to Bulawayo's fast diminishing water sources that
are also located in Matabeleland South.
Water Resources Development and Management Minister, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, on
Thursday said the money released by the government a fortnight ago would
only cover a quarter of the project.
"The estimated total project cost for works under the contract is US$25
million," Nkomo said in an interview.
"The project was allocated US$7 million in the 2010 national budget leaving
a deficit of US$18 million.
"The Finance ministry recently gave us part of the US$7 million and the
money was used to buy pipes for the project that cover about two
The inadequate funding means that there would be no quick-fix to the city's
water shortages that are escalating even before the end of the rainy season.
Council announced two weeks ago that it will soon stop pumping water from
two of its four supply dams because they were running dry.
According to the latest council report, the supply dams are 50,84 % full and
would last for 14 months.
"The supply dams are currently pegged at 50.84% representing a depletion
period of 14 months. . .raw water network has been designed such that should
the depletion period be lower than 21 months, the city should engage in
water usage restrictions" reads part of the Future Water Supplies and Water
Bulawayo's old suburbs of Magwegwe and Makokoba have been facing serious
water shortages since last year.
"We are now used to this situation where we only get water for about an hour
at midnight," said Enesia Sibanda, a mother of two from Old Magwegwe.
"It's only by God's grace that we have not been affected by cholera because
sewage also flows into our homes since sewer pipes are always bursting."
Council blames sewer pipe bursts and water shortages on piping and sewer
systems which need urgent rehabilitation.
A feasibility study conducted by the Bulawayo Sewerage Task Force (BSTF)
last year revealed that council needs about US$20 million to replace the
aged sewer systems.
Another report by the local authority's Municipal Procurement Board said a
further US$10 000 is required urgently to rehabilitate the water treatment
plants to ease water shortages.
Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo confirmed water and sewerage flow problems at the
city's old suburbs emanate from aged water treatment plants and sewerage
But he referred The Standard to Engineer Job Ndebele who said he needed
authority from the town clerk's office.
Nesisa Mpofu, the BCC senior public relations officer, demanded questions on
the matter to be emailed to her office on Thursday.
But she had not responded by end of day on Friday.
The government says the only solution to the region's perennial water
shortages is the renamed National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
However, critics say the project that was first mooted in 1912 will not be
completed in time to save Bulawayo.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 13 February 2010 18:04
THE loss-making National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) is smarting from
"questionable leakages" of fuel in transit, in what insiders said was an
indication of corruption. Some of the fuel, which is lost through leakages
during storage at service stations, is significantly higher than accepted
industry variances, a senior official admitted last week. The leakages have
seen the company recording revenue losses in "thousands of US dollars".
The problem is widespread at all new Noczim service stations.
In one such example on August 6 last year, a truck destined for a Noczim
service station in Kwekwe was loaded with 29 759 litres of fuel.
Initial reconciliations at off-loading confirmed that 59 litres of petrol
had been lost along the way, but further checks established that 1 120
litres could not be accounted for after the fuel had been off-loaded into
the service station tanks.
But in a development that has raised the suspicions of some Noczim insiders,
the reconciliations for the month of August last year did not take note of
An internal memo dated November 12, 2009 said Kwekwe service station alone
had recorded losses amounting to 7 507 litres of petrol from 23 deliveries.
Similar losses were recorded in Gweru, where 7 723 litres of diesel and 4
471 litres of petrol were lost in 17 deliveries.
Noczim director of Marketing and Distribution, Krispen Mashange although
confirming that investigations had been launched after a realisation that
the Kwekwe loss was "abnormal as it exceeded the industry acceptable
tolerance levels of +/-0.5%," said the problem had been traced to the
"calibration" of new service stations.
Mashange said the problem was "common at our new service stations that have
not yet gone through re-calibration".
However a memo seen by The Standard dated September 2, 2009 says: "The
losses incurred are not consistent. Of the 17 losses recorded only three
Despite calls from within the company for the matter to be thoroughly
investigated, no arrests have been instituted.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 13:51
THE International Organisation for Migration last week gave the government
communication equipment that is set to improve the response to disease
outbreaks in remote areas. Zimbabwe is currently battling with outbreaks of
cholera and measles that have claimed thousands of lives throughout the
The donation, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department
(ECHO) is part of a broader project on Cholera Emergency Surveillance and
Response in border areas including Hurungwe, Mbire, Mt. Darwin, Mudzi,
Mutare, Chipinge, Chimanimani and Chiredzi.
The equipment will be used to bridge the communication gap between rural
health centres and district hospitals.
One of the major challenges encountered during the August 2008 - July 2009
cholera outbreak that claimed over 4 000 lives was inadequate communication,
"This resulted in slow reporting, slow responses, and diminished capacity at
the rural health facility level to respond and treat cases, due to the
difficulty of relaying their supply needs to the district level," the IOM
said in a statement.
"Revitalizing the radio communication system will improve surveillance and
reporting capacity, while providing a longer term solution to the current
The project would also help in the provision of supplies and human resource
support, construction of pit latrines at border posts with poor water,
sanitation and hygiene infrastructure.
The ECHO support will also provide cholera case management refresher
training for primary health care staff as well as training for members of
the community and leaders on health and hygiene promotion.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the equipment on Monday, IOM chief of
mission Marcelo Pisani said their intervention sought to support the
activities of the Migration Health Unit.
The unit supports emergency health interventions targeting migrant
"This equipment will not only help strengthen emergency response efforts at
the district level, but also serve as a step towards rebuilding the country's
national disease surveillance system, improving communication in 10 border
posts and approximately 50 health centres throughout eight border area
districts," said Pisani.
"As high population mobility has the potential to lead to wide spread
transmission of certain infectious diseases, it is therefore essential to
incorporate strong public health interventions targeting this vulnerable
population into the overall national strategy in order to mitigate potential
risks and to allow for efficient and effective response and control efforts
addressing the emergence of diseases of public health concern."
Pisani said his organisation was committed to safe internal and external
migration of people.
In the past decade, Zimbabwe has experienced a huge influx of people seeking
greener pastures in neighbouring countries.
Pisani said the "irregular migrants" and other mobile populations tend to be
overlooked in the surveillance for communicable diseases and chronic
Health and Child Welfare Welfare minister, Henry Madzorera who received the
donation said although the health delivery system was on the road to
recovery, it still needed support from donors.
"Our health delivery system is no longer in coma. It came out of the coma,
the intensive care unit, and it is now out of hospital," said Madzorera.
"But it remains in high dependency unit. We still have some areas that we
still need to work on such as effective reduction of epidemiology diseases
and improving primary health care system."
He said the government had managed the current cholera outbreak better than
in 2008 because of improvements in the health sector and support from
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 13 February 2010 13:49
A four-member delegation from Tanzania is in Zimbabwe to study how the
country administers the Aids levy. Zimbabwe has used the National Aids Trust
Fund (NATF) - funded through the levy that came into place in 2000 to
implement one of the most successful campaigns against the pandemic.
The Tanzaanian delegation, being hosted by the National Aids Council (NAC),
arrived on Sunday and has held a series of consultative meetings with NAC,
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ministries of Finance and Health and Child
Welfare, the Zimbabwe Aids Network (ZAN), the Zimbabwe Business Council on
Aids (ZBCA), among other Aids service organisations.
The East African country is exploring ways to broaden its domestic funding
for its HIV and Aids programmes and is consulting Southern African Community
(Sadc) countries that have developed their own home grown interventions.
Tanzania Aids Commission director of finance, administration and resource
mobilization Bengt Issa heads the delegation.
The delegation also has Beldon Chaula, a principal research officer in the
Tanzanian Revenue Authority, Tadeo Augustine, a Policy analyst in the
Tanzanian ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and Deo Mulalemwa, an
Issa said the study would help them develop sustainable domestic funding
mechanisms to reduce their dependence on donor funding.
"We have huge funding gaps in our HIV and Aids response," she said.
"Ninety five percent of our funding is from donors and we feel this is not
"We need to explore ways in which we can harness local resources and that is
the reason why we are visiting Zimbabwe to learn how the Aids Levy, which
has been documented as a best regional practice by Sadc, has been
administered and also look at the impact it has made."
The delegation had closed door meetings with the National Aids Council
management, the Aids and TB Unit under the ministry of Health and Child
Welfare, ZAN and ZBCA.
The delegation also visited health institutions in Mashonaland Central to
appreciate the impact of HIV and Aids in a rural environment.
The visit by the Tanzanians comes at a time when Zimbabwe, which also has
huge funding gaps and is dependent on donor support-particularly from the
Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria and the Expanded Support Programme
(ESP), is exploring the possibility of collecting the Aids Levy through the
Value Added Tax system.
Under the current dispensation, only people in formal employment and the
corporate sector contribute three percent of taxable income on Pay AS You
Earn and Corporate Tax respectively.
Fifty percent statutorily goes towards treatment while the other half covers
costs for other interventions.
Nothing is being harnessed from the informal sector where huge transactions
This has left a small fraction of the population, which is not well paid,
bearing the burden of the pandemic.
The Aids Levy, which is the only domestic source of revenue for the HIV and
Aids response, is thus expected to fund prevention, treatment, care and
support and mitigation programmes, coordination, administration, monitoring
and evaluation, among other emerging needs.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:55
THE honeymoon could soon be over for top earning parastatal bosses following
moves by government to review their salaries against the performance of the
Government is desperate to pacify civil servants who downed tools last
Friday protesting against poor pay.
The crippling strike has thrown the spotlight on some utilities who pay
their employees as much as US$5 000 a month.
Civil servants are also demanding that the government must force Zesa,
TelOne and municipalities to reduce their tariffs.
Professor Welshman Ncube, the Minister of Industry and Commerce last week
said government was working towards reviewing the tariff and salary
structures at state enterprises to lessen the burden on industry and
Ncube said "it does not make any sense" for utilities to continue charging
Zimbabweans earning poor salaries exorbitant amounts to finance their top
officials' hefty salaries.
"The government has directed that there ought to be a general review of
tariff structures used by some utilities,"said Ncube who was officiating at
a ceremony to commission a Bakers' Inn plant in Harare.
"Some of these utilities, for example, electricity are a major cost driver
in industry operations.
"Entities such as Zesa and Hwange have salary structures, which have no
relationship with their operations.
"How can they pay themselves salaries of $4 000 and $5 000 in an economy
such as ours and pass the cost to people who earn $100?
"That doesn't make sense, which is why we feel there must be a
rationalisation of some of these things."
Ncube said government was concerned about high charges levelled by local
authorities as well as electricity and water utilities, adding that these
were behind industrial unrests which could reverse positive developments
recorded since the formation of the inclusive government.
Civil servants want their salaries raised from a minimum of US$120 a month
National Bakers' Association (NBA) president Brumwel Bushu conceded that low
salaries for ordinary workers were affecting sectors like the baking
"We want government support in terms of accessing long-term financing.
"We are also asking the government to ensure that our consumers access
money, otherwise our products will not get to people's homes," Bushu said.
Striking civil servants have expressed concern that their counterparts at
parastatals are drawing better salaries.
"While as government we have no desire to attempt any price control, we have
a responsibility to ensure that those who provide these services do so in a
way that makes sense, pegging tarrifs at reasonable levels," Ncube said.
Zesa chief executive Ben Rafemoyo said he was "not comfortable to discuss
this issue with the press" because there had not been any official
communication to that effect.
"It is indeed a very important subject which I believe can best be debated
in a formal way," Rafemoyo said.
"I hope our principals will create room for people to sit down and discuss
so that any points of misinformation are explained and also that any
decisions taken will not affect the economy at large.
"Sub-optimum tariffs as was in the past will negatively impact on operations
and the country's capacity to attract investment."
Ncube urged employees in both private and state entities to be patient with
their employers as they try to improve their revenue generation capacity.
"We are painfully aware as government of the challenges that remain.
"The capacity of industry to pay wages is greatly constrained, and that of
government is even more constrained, since the government does not produce
anything," he said.
"Industry needs time to re-equip, to re-establish itself.
"The government also needs time to do all the things it is enjoined to do.
"We must all acknowledge that the situation is improving by the day."
He congratulated Bakers' Inn on its latest achievement and urged other
companies to follow suit as efforts to fully revive the economy continue.
The bread maker on Wednesday officially launched its US$1.4 million plant in
Harare as part of its project to increase production to 225 000 loaves a day
A similar line was installed in Bulawayo on the same day and is expected to
be officially launched in April.
A third plant will be installed in Harare by June this year.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:52
DIRECTORS of Time Bank have sought intervention of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono to help them re-open the institution.
They accuse the banks’ registrar of frustrating their efforts to re-open the
bank after it successfully challenged the cancellation of its licence.
Time Bank was placed under curatorship in 2004 and had its licence cancelled
by banks’ registrar Norman Mataruka in 2006.
The Administrative Court then gave the bank a life-line by validating its
licence last August.
In a February 5 letter to Gono Time Bank alleged that Mataruka is
frustrating the implementation of Gono’s directives for the bank to re-open.
“It is sad that close to four months down the road none of the things that
you asked Mr Mataruka to do has been done, yet on our side as Time Bank, we
have prepared and presented a time-framed business plan, which unfortunately
Mr Mataruka literally threw out, without taking into account your
†directive,” wrote Takura Tande, Time Bank’s managing director.
“Our understanding, Mr Governor, was that we mutually chose to avoid
wrangles at the courts, by recognising the already existing court order
which validated Time Bank’s licence.”
Tande said RBZ had taken a decision of constructive reconciliation so that
the sector moves as a team but said all the “this spirit is being frustrated
day in day out by your Mr Mataruka, who now seems to be taking a mysterious
personal line of attack on Time Bank”.
Tande proposed that RBZ allows Time Bank “to continue carrying out limited
banking services whilst the ongoing delicate negotiations with our new
partners are concluded to beef up the bank’s capital base”.
“In the spirit of progressive reconciliation, we are also appealing that you
formally present those commitments of support that you gave us verbally in
respect of moratorium on statutory reserve payments and a grace period on
capitalisation,” Tande wrote.
This month the bank said it was offering personal loans to civil servants in
preparation for full banking services once they had resolved their matters
with the regulator.
Tande told Gono that they had advised the registrar about their intended
banking services before flighting adverts in newspapers.
Tande was unavailable for comment.
Contacted for comment, Munyaradzi Kereke, Gono’s advisor said: “We are
having very cordial and progressive discussions with the relevant
stakeholders of Time Bank.
“However, it would be ill-advised for the regulator to pre-empt those
discussions in public.”
The development at Time Bank is a serious blow on RBZ’s efforts to make
peace with players in the banking sector.
RBZ has said that Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) will be returned to
its previous owners.
ZABG is a merger of three failed banks: Trust, Royal and Barbican.
Last year, Time Bank successfully applied for a restoration of its operating
licence at the Administrative Court.
In his landmark ruling last August, AC president Herbert Mandeya criticised
then Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa’s decision to support Mataruka in
de–registering Time Bank without giving its owners ample time to respond to
The court ruled that the registrar had failed to comply with the Banking Act
which says that cancellation of a licence cannot be effected until the
period within which an appeal may be lodged has elapsed or unless the
banking institution had consented to its cancellation.
“Having notified the curator (Tinashe Rwodzi) on May17, 2006 of his
(Mataruka) intention to cancel Time Bank’s registration, the registrar
should have, in accordance with section 14 (3)(a)(i), waited for 30 days –
the period within which an appeal may be lodged with the minister in terms
of section 73 (2)(a) – before canceling Time Bank’s registration.
“Instead, the registrar cancelled Time Bank’s registration after a mere two
days,” the judge said.
The court said that “had the minister (respondent) properly applied his mind
to what the registrar did against the statutory requirements set out in
sections 14(1), (2) and (3) of the Banking Act… he would not have confirmed
what the registrar did”.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:49
THE tourism sector is projected to grow by 10% this year underpinned by
heavy investment to renew the product, Tourism and Hospitality Minister
Walter Mzembi said on Friday.
For the past 10 years, the sector had not witnessed major investments as the
political and economic crisis took its toll on the industry.
The formation of the inclusive government last year brought in stability
into the sector but the product needs a major overhaul to compete with the
best in the region.
Mzembi told stakeholders that at the beginning of 2009, the tourism industry
was declining but by the close of the year, the industry had registered a 4%
".the growth phase must be underpinned by a stimulus package. We need
investment in order to grow," he said.
Mzembi spoke as the industry is undergoing fine-tuning ahead of this week's
tourism investment summit.
The meeting, Africa investor Pan African Tourism Investment Summit, runs
from tomorrow up to Wednesday and brings together international authorities
involved in commercialising legacy projects from previous World Cups and
major sporting events with investors, project promoters and city planning
Mzembi said 10 cabinet ministers from Africa will grace the summit as well
as a number of financial institutions that are expected to offer lines of
credit to the industry.
Local financial institutions are not offering long terms loans due to
liquidity constraints leaving businesses to scout for money across the
This week's summit is a the brainchild of last year's stakeholders meeting
that resolved that for growth to be achieved in the industry there is need
for a stimulus package to provide the much needed capital to renew the
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:41
THE European Union (EU) has scaled up efforts to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's
battered agricultural sector through the announcement of a 9.2 million Euro
(US$13 million) funding scheme to assist smallholder communal farmers with
inputs and extensions services.
While maintaining restrictive measures against President Robert Mugabe and
his inner circle, senior EU officials said the bloc would now concentrate on
programmes that directly benefit ordinary citizens.
Head of the EU Delegation in Zimbabwe Xavier Marchal said the new scheme,
which will run over the years from 2010 to 2012 was inspired by their
conviction that "the stabilisation and eventual rehabilitation of the
agricultural sector in Zimbabwe is crucial to its economic revival".
"Agriculture is a critical dimension of economic recovery," said Marchal in
a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the fund in Harare on Thursday.
"Moving away from a narrow humanitarian perspective, reviving agricultural
production is central to rebuilding food and livelihood security, thereby
avoiding Zimbabwe's dependency on large scale food importation.
"This new project is part of the EU policy aiming at moving this country
from food aid to food security, helping to build self-reliance at
However, Marchal pointed out that their goodwill to ordinary Zimbabweans was
still "implemented in line with EU restricted policy towards Zimbabwe".
EU food security co-ordinator for Zimbabwe, Pierre-Luc Vanhaeverbeke, said
despite the sanctions, they won't abandon Zimbabweans.
"This is an up-scaling of what we have been doing over the years in
Zimbabwe, it is of direct benefit to the population of Zimbabwe.
"We are not going to abandon the population of Zimbabwe," Vanhaeverbeke
The funds, to be disbursed through the United Nations' Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO), will see an additional 80 000 households across the
country getting assistance in terms of inputs.
In the 2009/2010 farming season, about 176 000 smallholder farmers
nationwide received inputs from under the EU Food Facility.
The scheme targets mostly farmers who use conservation agricultural methods
which require minimum tillage.
Conservation agriculture, which has transformed food production in countries
like Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, is widely recommended in Zimbabwe.
The multiple benefits, according to the FAO and those supporting the idea,
include increased yields, efficient use of seeds and fertiliser, water
harvesting and preservation of the environment.
The FAO representative for Zimbabwe, Gaoju Han said the fund will go a long
way in improving agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe, which was almost
grounded by the government's chaotic land reform exercise.
"Under this new facility, FAO will work towards the improvement of
agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe and to reduce the dependency of
vulnerable communities on humanitarian assistance," Han said.
The money will be used to purchase such inputs as fertiliser and seed, as
well as supporting training of farmers and extension work.
"FAO will contribute to the production, analysis and dissemination of
agricultural and food security information to the benefit of decision makers
in the various fields of humanitarian, policy and private sectors," added
Although critics have blamed the government's often violent land
redistribution exercise for the collapse of agricultural output, Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ngoni Masoka said their major
challenge was lack of resources.
He ducked questions on the volatile exercise, saying it fell under the
Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.
"We need resources; issues of resources need to be addressed. In terms of
planning we are always far ahead than other countries in the region, but
issues of resources are a major hindrance," Masoka said.
Under its Global Food Security programme, the EU has contributed more than
$170 million to agricultural development in Zimbabwe.
The bloc also provides funding for agriculture, health, education, human
rights and governance.
The government, through Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, has already
admitted that the food situation is very bleak this year, and has
recommended the importation of 500 000 tonnes of maize.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:37
THE Commissioner of Insurance, Manett Mpofu says players in the industry
would be "immoral" if they fail to honour their obligations to
Mpofu's remarks came against a background of reports that policyholders were
being told to start all over again as their contributions were eroded by the
hyperinflation of 2007-2008.
"We are aware of the turbulent environment we are emerging from but it would
border on the immoral side to simply tell policyholders that their money
paid as premiums over a number of years simply disappeared into thin air,"
Mpofu was the guest of honour at a function last Friday where Nyaradzo
Funeral Assurance awarded certificates to 178 policyholders with paid up
Nyaradzo became the first company to achieve such a feat since independence.
Besides making insurance firms respect the contracts entered into with
policyholders, Mpofu's remarks will force policyholders to demand their
Mpofu said the recovery of the insurance industry hinges on companies
meeting their end of the bargain.
"If we are perceived to be reneging on our promises, then the recovery and
restoration of confidence we are hoping for in our industry will simply
remain a pipe dream," she said.
In the hyperinflationary period of 2008, a number of firms were demanding
fuel coupons as premiums.
But following the introduction of multi-currencies last year, a number of
funeral assurance companies were telling policyholders to start afresh.
Observers say in the era of multiple currencies, insurance firms should live
by the covenants entered between them and policyholders.
Other than the confidence crisis dogging the sector, the insurance industry
is also suffering from low disposable incomes, which has seen policies being
regarded as a luxury.
But with capacity utilisation peaking up in industries, analysts see an
uptake in policies by companies and individuals.
Zimbabwe's economic decline over the past few years have resulted in a slow
down in economic activity, low industrial capacity utilisation,
undercapitalised business operations, high unemployment, and therefore
suppressed demand for goods and services.
As a result of the economic depression, the first half of 2009 has seen most
insurance customers deliberately opting to limit their spending on insurance
to only their strategic assets, at minimum levels of cover.
The awarding of the certificates means that policyholders will no longer pay
Phillip Mataranyika, the Nyaradzo chief executive officer, said the company
had lived up to its commitment made when it opened its doors to the public
in 2001: living up to its promises.
Mpofu said funeral companies should take a leaf from Nyaradzo and avoid
treating clients as commodities.
She said the companies must show compassion.
The insurance sector spent the better part of 2007-2008 locked in government
bonds giving returns of 340% per annum at a time annual inflation had
breezed part 231 million %.
Prescribed asset ratio is the proportion that long and short-term insurance
companies are required by law to invest in government guaranteed bonds and
Treasury Bills whose interest rates are generally unattractive
The prescribed assets ratios were waived in July last year to give the
industry breathing space and build the base to underwrite more business.
In his 2010 budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti reintroduced the prescribed
assets ratio citing the improvement in the economic environment.
Pension funds are supposed to have 7.5% of their portfolio in government
bonds while long term and short term insurance companies should invest 7.5%
and five percent respectively.
Mpofu said the insurance and pension industry should support government and
business to raise funds through investing in prescribed assets.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:32
A myth has been residential among the blacks in Zimbabwe that black business
persons do not plan for the continuity of their enterprises after they die.
It is further believed that the blacks' entrepreneurial family background is
most unfavourable for the business sustenance because members of an
entrepreneurial family have negative experiences of endless economically
precarious entrepreneurial work.
Do black entrepreneurs have a business succession plan? Is the common
negative cultural assumption that a known succession plan (among family
members) is a recipe for the death of the owner/founder true?
According to Grant Thorton LLB Management Series: "Ninety percent of all
businesses in Canada are family-oriented yet succession of these businesses
often just happens rather than being planned. Some 70% of family-run
businesses never make it to the second generation and 90% never see a third
generation despite the genuine desire by most owners to see continuation in
The state of affairs needs to be verified in the Zimbabwean environment. One
of the beneficiaries of political independence in 1980 was the black family
in Zimbabwe. The black family businesses have encountered difficulties such
as rising global competition, high taxes and harsh economic and financial
problems as was experienced by the ethnic Korean population in the US.
Other challenges include the complexities of family business dynamics such
as ownership, succession, family harmony and solidarity.
Zimbabwe does not have much prior research on family business dynamics.
Approximately 80% of the businesses in Zimbabwe are classified as family
businesses and are mainly small to medium sized.
Family businesses are increasingly becoming the dominant form of business
enterprise in developed and developing economies where they play a pivotal
role in the economic and social spheres. Their number is bound to grow
greatly in the near future as a result of the rationalisation process taking
place in many corporations in the country as well as the gospel of black
empowerment preached by the government.
The stagnation and harsh economic environment affecting Zimbabwe's formal
sector to create new jobs is forcing people to be enterprising. Family
businesses are and can offer great opportunities for economic growth.
Do these black family businesses have a succession plan for sustenance once
the founder/owner is gone? Researchers emphasise the role that past
experiences in business plays in creating low rates of business ownership
among blacks. They identify lack of black traditions in business enterprise
as a major cause of low levels of black ownership. The lack of black
traditions in business argument relies on a strong generation old link in
business ownership. The link may be strong due to the transmission of
general business or managerial experience in family owned businesses, the
inheritance of family businesses and the correlation among family members in
preference for entrepreneurial activities. Other researchers support the
assertion that the probability of self-employment is substantially higher
among the children of the self-employed.
The survival and longevity of the black family business is cause for concern
if it must be a major contributor to the social and economic well being.
International research has estimated that only 14% of family businesses make
it beyond the third generation. In South Africa only one in four family
businesses survived to the second generation while one in 10 makes it to the
third generation. The cost of business failure has adversely affected the
social and economic growth in Zimbabwe. The high failure rate among first
and second generation family businesses is attributed to the inability to
manage ownership and succession.
The key steps to ensure a successful succession transfer plan are:
commitment to pre-planning; awareness of potential issues; knowledge from
informed advisors and communication to all interested parties.
In a study carried out in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces to identify how far
succession strategies have been implemented by the black family businesses,
variables such as: Personal and Estate Profile; Business Financial analysis;
Family and Business Mission Statements; Business Strategic Plan; Wealth
Enhancement; Successor analysis; Successor Development; Advisor
Co-ordination; Quarterbacking and Board of Directors were identified as key
to business succession.
The study involved organising a family succession retreat for five family
businesses to discuss the passing of a business from one generation to the
next. The retreats were to be attended by all mature family members involved
or not involved in the business, including in-laws. Some of the issues dealt
with included: passing of the torch; estate and transfer taxes; future
income for parents; fairness and equality for family members who are in
business and outside and stages in succession to the business.
The study revealed that 60% of the respondents were engaged in wholesale and
retail. Only 20% of the families were engaged in manufacturing while 60% and
20% were engaged in farming and food services respectively. Zimbabwe has
recently gone through a land reform programme hence most of the people in
other businesses are also involved in farming since they have benefited from
the government land reform programme.
Almost all the businesses were owned by sole proprietors while a fifth were
owned by a corporation/company. Ninety five percent of the respondents were
male while only 5% were female. Half of the respondents were aged between
50-59 years while a quarter were aged between 40-49 years.
Fifteen percent of the respondents were aged between 60-69 years while only
10% were in the 30-39 age bracket. All business revealed that they had
family members participating in operations of the business. Over 80% of the
businesses were first generation except 15% which was second generation. The
bulk of the business owners had attained Grade I to Form VI education level;
25% (Diploma); 25% (University Degree) and 10% (Post Graduate Diploma).
Regarding the first succession strategy on Personal and Estate Profile,
almost half of the respondents indicated that they had gathered all the
important information they needed to prepare an estate and succession plan.
Slightly over half had not gathered the information for some aspects on
succession for they did not know what information to collect for the Estate
profile. Ninety percent indicated that the family knew where the important
documents were in the event of an emergency hence helping balance competing
family and business needs.
On business financial analysis, 90% of the respondents indicated that the
business financial statements were open to family members. The statements
were discussed with a view to grow interest in the family members who are
outside to participate in business. However, 10% of the old generation black
businesspersons expressed fear that once family members knew that the
business was doing well, it would spell danger to their lives. Further
investigations revealed that this is true in polygamous families.
Ninety five percent of the respondents indicated that they had talked about
the goals, mission, values and objectives of the business but had not
written them down. The mission statements/white paper described the family's
vision, values and acted as a multi-generational collaboration exercise that
could be used as a framework for determining the future business and family
policies alignment. Only 5% had a written down white paper containing the
Sixty percent of the businesses that responded had been assisted to come up
with a business strategic and implementation plan that determined which
family members could rise to the challenge of successful entrepreneurship
and business management. The business strength, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats had been clearly laid down. Forty percent did not think a
business strategic plan was necessary though.
Seventy percent of the respondents indicated that the business owner had not
planned for the retirement and future of the business and self. Only 40%
scouted for a successor in or outside the family while 60% indicated that
they preferred their own family member to inherit the business irrespective
of having interest or not. Sixty percent of the successors were hand-picked
by the owner and given on the job training while 40% had gone through a
period of formal and apprenticeship training in business succession.
Stewardship was considered the most essential quality of a good successor.
A majority of the respondents stated that they assumed an advisory role on
retirement. It took them between three and five years to adjust to a pending
retirement, let go off the business and fully develop external interests.
Seventy percent of the respondents kept advisor reports and documents for
future reference. While monthly progress reports were given sometimes, a
quarter of the respondents said that they saw no need of getting monthly
reports once advice had been given. Almost half of the respondents held a
Board of Directors meeting while over half consulted family members only
when there was need.
The black family business in Zimbabwe especially in the young generation
category is making great effort at succession planning. Failure to plan
succession is a recipe of failure to business continuity. There is a
possibility the owner might fail to retire when he/she is due. The owner
owes it to the family to create a realistic and workable succession plan.
Strengths and weaknesses of the successor must be identified. Provision and
development of skills is necessary. Ownership and management transfers are
conscious acts of intentions. A tough and pragmatic decision as to which
family member if any, can continue to run the business successfully has to
The successful continuation of a business requires objective decision-making
by all family members and a commitment to develop personal goals within the
family business structure. Old generation business persons fear to disclose
information about the business operations, but the majority of the young and
first generation entrepreneurs have spurned the cultural belief that once
you disclose information about your riches then you are dead. Lack of past
experience in business management and ownership is fast being overcome.
Black family business owners are making a conscious effort to ensure that
they plan for succession in their businesses.
In order for family-owned businesses to be successful members must
communicate rationally and objectively. The characteristics of each family
or potential successor must be identified. The qualities should include
commitment to the business. There should be constant dialogue between the
advisor and the business. Follow up strategies to obtain buy-in for family
objectives must be made. Accountability goals and task timeliness for all
parties in the succession process must be developed.
Failure to utilise family council may lead to delayed decision of who takes
over. That is devastating to the business-especially in the event of death,
where the business can end up in limbo due to probate. The founder should
meet and discuss with the family to determine who has the desire, skills and
vision warranting taking over the business. Ways to share wealth and ensure
ramification of extended family such as spouses should be examined. - The
* Katazo C Mbetu is Executive Dean, Midlands State University, Gweru,
By Katazo C. Mbetu
Saturday, 13 February 2010 17:50
THERE is an evident trajectory of change marked by the democratic sever from
patterns of political authority in Zimbabwe signified on February 11, 2009.
This break† was marked by the formation of an inclusive government, which is
made up of a tripartite alliance of Zanu PF, Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-T) - led by Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC headed by Arthur Mutambara.
However, a nuanced interpretation of the transition confirms a teleological
proposition that the transitional phase of democratisation is a period of
great political uncertainty.
Sketching back the contours of history from Chile to South Africa and from
Nicaragua to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), scientists observed
that transitions are often complex and fragile. Building dams against
reverse waves is the top priority for democratic actors in a transition.
In Zimbabwe, the fragmented and fluid new institutional context, where
authoritarian elites skeptically co-exist with democratic actors in the
hybrid governance system confirms the uncertain nature of most post-conflict
or post-authoritarian transitions.
More to the point, the "loiter and linger strategy" evident in Zanu PF and
manifesting itself in political bickering and culminating in recurrent
institutional immobilism in the governmental structures and other
transitional institutions such as COPAC, JOMIC and National Security Council
is not surprising at all.
It is a deliberate attempt by hardliners in Zanu PF to frustrate democratic
reforms, delay elections and postpone their relegation to permanent
political irrelevance. It happened in DRC in 2004, and we continue to
observe it in Madagascar, Kenya and Guinea.
Uncertainty and confidence crisis is prevalent in all democratic
battlefields ranging from political to economic reform processes.
The constitutional reform exercise is way behind the original schedule and
the official reschedule.
The outreach phase was supposed to start soon after first all-stakeholders
conference held from July12-13, 2009 but lack of financial resources,
directionality, coherence, co-ordination and political will has stalled this
critical stage of constitutional reform process.
The National Security Council has only met twice and the parallel Joint
Operations Command is still holding regular meetings, contrary to the letter
and tenor of the GPA.
Further, the National Economic Council, an important legislative board
mandated to provide strategic oversight on the economic stabilisation and
growth trajectory is at risk of suffering a stillbirth. The rule of law,
which is the corner-stone for macro-economic stabilisation, is still a
Further, Zanu PF announced in the state media on January 28, 2009 that there
will be no more concessions in the on-going talks.
The† hard-line position of Zanu PF is opportunistically predicated on the
recent statements by the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, David Miliband,
to the effect that MDC-T will be their lodestar in the removal of† smart
sanctions imposed on the authoritarian elites mainly from or strategically
linked to Zanu PF.
This is despite the fact that the conditions which led to the imposition of
the restrictive measures are still there.
In Zanu PF, it has been difficult transforming the psychology of liberation
struggles into that of democratic consciousness. Farm invasions and
harassment of democratic actors are the order of the day. State media is
proving to be impervious to democratic pressures.
Zimbabwe's transition posit a phase whereby the former ruling party is in
firm control of state power with the former opposition parties coming in
largely as junior partners. To this end, the erosion of authoritarianism and
construction of democracy will take longer than anticipated.
An analysis of the transition so far shows that the hardliners in Zanu PF
will continue to make outrageous demands, such as "we will make more
concessions when sanctions have been removed" only to resist the winds of
change blowing across the country. To them, authoritarian regression or
democratic reversal is the endgame of the transition, and not free and fair
However, in the words of the late Professor Masipula Sithole, Zanu PF has
reached its levels of incompetence and the law of diminishing returns has
irreversibly set into motion. Further, authoritarianism is a pathology
against which democratic actors rebel. Nothing is permanent except change.
Democratic forces continue to question the democratic legitimacy of the
inclusive government since it was not elected by the people.
The authority of the hybrid regime is only appreciated by the democratic
actors only to the extent that it leads the country into a free and fair
election, which produces uncontested outcome. The Zimbabwe transition is not
permanent and an exit point is inevitable.
So Zimbabweans must charter this territory of effective institutional and
cultural reforms for real change.
The democratic forces should start to seriously advocate for minimum
electoral conditions to be met before the breakthrough post-conflict
election, tentatively scheduled for 2011 - after the adoption of a new
democratic constitution. Some of the key pre-elections democratic tenets are
a)††† Promoting constitutionalism and rule of law to guarantee fairness and
openness in electoral matters. No society can claim to be free or democratic
without strict adherence to the rule of law. Dictators and authoritarian
regimes abandon the rule of law at the first opportunity and resort to
brazen power politics leading to all manner of excesses. This is why former
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower observed: "The clearest way to show what
the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened
when there is no rule of law."
b)††† Strengthening of civic society organizations to act as purveyors of
democratic practices and values in the Zimbabwean body politic.
c)††† Establishment and institutionalisation of an effective electoral
infrastructure, which will guarantee a credible election and concomitantly
inauguration and expansion of a democratic authority in Zimbabwe. In more
concrete terms there is need for genuine electoral reform, media reforms,
security sector reforms and judiciary reforms as a practical way of
addressing the legislative, constitutive and ecological factors in the
context of a post-settlement election, where fear, mistrust and suspicion
will be a common place.† As President Barack Obama said to the parliament of
Ghana: "In the 21st century, capable, reliable, and transparent institutions
are the key to success - strong parliaments and honest police forces,
independent judges and journalists, a vibrant private sector, and civil
d)††† Eradicating material poverty of people, which often promotes electoral
clientelism and servitude. Elections will count for little in an atmosphere
of crippling poverty, want and despair.
e)††† Addressing the crisis of accumulation in Zimbabwe, this makes the
capture of state power a priceless political project, for which all tactics
fair and foul are permissible. This will include demilitarisation of
politics in the country.
f)††† Invitation of regional and international observers and monitors to
ensure that the next election is in conformity with the Mauritius Sadc
guidelines on the conduct of elections and other international standards and
BY WASHINGTON KATEMA
Saturday, 13 February 2010 17:41
THE timing of gazetting regulations under the Indigenization and Economic
Empowerment Act of 2008 calling for foreign investors to cede 51% of their
investment to "indigenous people" is most perplexing and appears hurried.
Last month the government gazetted the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment (General) Regulations 2010 which say that by mid-April all
businesses must give the state details on the racial composition of their
shareholdings. The move drew swift responses from partners in government and
a panicky industry.
The directive wants companies to put a majority of their shares in the hands
of "indigenous" Zimbabwean blacks. It calls for completion of the exercise
within five years.
Under the new rules the government will determine what stake in an
enterprise must be ceded to "indigenous" Zimbabweans. Companies missing the
deadline face up to five years in jail.
The timing is perplexing because it comes soon after Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,
where he faced international investors unsettled about whether to put their
money in Zimbabwe. After his assurances the regulations would appear a slap
in the Prime Minister's face.
It is a move that seems to undercut efforts at reviving the economy.
There was a swift and trenchant response from the Prime Minister saying
neither he nor the cabinet were shown the regulations before they were
gazetted. The regulations "were published without due process as detailed in
the Constitution and are therefore null and void" he shot back.
The Prime Minister's office through a press statement said the regulations
were null and void because the rules were published without "discussion or
authorisation by the cabinet".
This is the second discordant development in government in as many weeks.
The first was a directive to ministers and permanent secretaries to report
directly to Vice-Presidents instead of the Prime Minister.
This directive has fortunately since been withdrawn but not before exposing
the fragile nature of the inclusive government and the contesting centres of
It is not just the Prime Minister who fired off an irate response. Industry
swiftly registered its alarm, begging the question: who then was "consulted
widely" prior to gazetting the regulations and whether due consideration was
given to concerns from the international investor community.
The urgency with which these measures have to be implemented suggests the
"land grab model" is being applied to businesses possibly to secure Zanu PF's
interests - vote-buying of the powerful elite clique - and support for its
election war chest ahead of next year's polls.
Since 2008 the government had done little to indicate its intent on
enforcing the regulations.
However this recent development could prove counter-productive because it
risks portraying Zimbabwe as a dodgy investment destination.
It is curious that the same ministry which clandestinely recruited 13 000
Zanu PF youths onto the government payroll, should again and so soon be
linked to this unilateral, and controversial regulations.
This would appear a deliberate attempt to undermine the country and its
people at a time when Zimbabwe desperately needs foreign direct investment.
The suspicion is that Zanu PF is creating a new theatre for abuse by its
"loot-ocracy". The beneficiaries, as under the land reform, will not be
ordinary men and women, but those politically-connected to Zanu PF bigwigs.
There is need to stay or reverse the regulations. Otherwise the inclusive
government has scored a major own goal.
Saturday, 13 February 2010 17:38
FOR some weeks the press has been regaled with reports about President Jacob
Zuma's recent marriage, his fifth, and the recent birth of his daughter out
of wedlock, his twentieth child. This is a familiar story in Zimbabwe too,
where many rich and powerful men do indulge in both polygamy and
promiscuity. Generally these rich men are involved with girls and women from
These girls and women, and often their families as well, welcome their
liaison with rich and powerful men. This is their opportunity to improve
their financial and social position in the world.
Many poor men also indulge in both polygamy and promiscuity, as having many
"wives" may be seen as a prestigious status symbol. Some people think this
is good, as it is part of our "traditional culture". Others think it is very
bad, as it is fuelling the spread of HIV and Aids.
This is a good time for all of us to examine this "traditional culture".
Culture does develop according to the needs of the people, of society and of
Clinging to an inherited culture may be good or bad, as a cultural trait may
be progressive or it may be retrogressive. There are many aspects of
Zimbabwean culture which are wonderfully progressive.
There is no doubt that polygamy and promiscuity remain prestigious status
symbols for men in Zimbabwe.
Having more than one wife is still taken as a symbol of wealth and power by
some Zimbabweans, both men and women.
A man may be admired for having many wives, particularly if they are
beautiful and talented. They are objects of admiration and envy. However, a
woman who is promiscuous is not praised.
She is regarded as a shameful person, a disgraceful person, a sinful person,
a despised person, and even a criminal person.
Yet sexually transmitted diseases, including the much feared HIV/Aids, are
spread by promiscuity, whether of men or of women. Why should men be praised
for promiscuity, and women be condemned for the same behaviour? Should the
rules of society not be more equitable?
In traditional societies everywhere, marriage was used as a way of cementing
It is a well known phenomenon that the kings and queens of Europe are
related to each other, as marriage formed social cement which united the
The same thing happened in Africa, where a king or chief would marry a wife
from every clan or from every district, in this way ensuring that the nation
or the ethnic group remained closely bound together by blood. This is common
in all feudal societies.
Modern societies are larger than the small kingdoms of the Middle Ages in
Europe and Africa.
So the idea of linking polygamy to national and tribal unity can no longer
be utilised as a good reason for its continuation.
Citizenship in the modern world is not due to the fact that everyone is a
blood relation. Unity in today's world can no longer be based on marriage or
Thus African polygamy can be seen as a hangover from the Middle Ages which
does not serve the same purposes, social unity, that it served then.
In fact, it can be said that perhaps polygamy today serves social disunity.
Yet there must be important social and economic considerations for its
continuation in modern Zimbabwe and modern Africa.
For the poor, obviously it is economically and socially useful for a poor
family to become linked up with a rich and powerful family.
Since more than three quarters of the population are poor, it is not
surprising that there is a lot of energy spent by girls and women, often
backed up by their families, to become involved with rich and powerful men.
Hence the thousands of small houses.
Is a girl or woman who goes for marriage and polygamy for economic reasons
equal to a maid servant?
Should society recognise the status of the wife or girl friend in the "small
house"? And is the man who marries what is called a "trophy wife", that is a
wife whom he can show off, rather like how he shows off his fine Mercedes
Benz, treating his wife like a prize possession rather than like a human
Is polygamy good or bad for society? Why do we condemn a prostitute for
selling her body for money when other women may be praised for doing the
same thing through "small houses"? Is polygamy good for society? Are the
known sexual practices of President Zuma good for society, for example?
In Zimbabwe, it is a well known fact that many women who are "small houses"
may in fact entertain a number of other "husbands" or boyfriends.
This is generally economic necessity, as they may find it difficult to
survive with only one source of income.† It is unusual to find the many
wives being absolutely faithful to their shared husband.
It is difficult for the husband to police them all, especially when they
number a dozen or a hundred.† Thus the idea that the many "small houses" are
faithful is happy fiction, but problematic in reality.
The women who seek such positions are many, and they are of all ages and all
What are their values?† What are the values of Zimbabwean society as a
whole?† Is the current high level of corruption not linked to the need to
support many wives, many "small houses", and a few dozen children?† Can a
Big Chef really afford to support all these people without some form of
A responsible father of say three wives and twenty children needs a pretty
high income, not possible when you are earning the minimum wage or even a
ministerial salary.† How to do it?† How is it done?
BY FAY CHUNG
Saturday, 13 February 2010 17:34
ONE afternoon, just over a decade ago, a young man sat across the table in
my office at a Harare law firm. He had been sent down by one of my
colleagues, who being higher up the food chain probably did not have much
time to deal with small clients of this young man’s type. This particular
client was a young white man.
I certainly hadn’t had dealings with his kind before.
I wondered what he thought of me — young and green as I certainly looked.
I have to admit I was quite eager to make an impression.
There was the added incentive to impress the boss, too.
As it happened, things went well over the next few weeks and I had secured
for myself a satisfied customer.
So satisfied, in fact that he returned the next day, holding a bunch of
files, which he placed on the table and discussions commenced. He explained
that he was starting a new business but wanted a lawyer to look after
certain aspects of his work.
He had recently incorporated a company and his principal line of business
was selling mobile phones and lines for a mobile phone company. It was a
pretty competitive environment in those early days — the days of the large
mobile phones which were derisively referred to as zvidhina (bricks), on
account of their size.
In those days, the mobile phone was a status symbol. It announced one’s
arrival, as it were. My new client satisfied the who is who’s desire to be
seen with these bricks and other accessories.
But not everyone who wanted the new phones had the means. They got them
anyway, on credit, which they still could not pay.
So my client wanted me to pursue them. Essentially, he wanted me to be his
Now, debt collection is not a particularly exciting line of legal practice.
In any event, the bulk of the work I did for the state-owned company that I
have already referred to was largely collection of debts from customers who
had failed to meet their payment obligations.
Most of them were ancient debts — the circumstances of which went some
significant way to demonstrate how state companies had been sucked to near
death by those who were supposed to look after them who turned out to be
Over the next few weeks, the files trickled in, evidence of customers who
don’t like to pay their dues. Then he came again and said he wanted to
register some trade marks.
Now this was more high profile work in the field of intellectual property.
The only problem was that this line of work was carried out by a specific
department in the firm so the best I could do was to pass him on to my
colleagues. I did so, with much reluctance.
I am not sure how that piece of business went on.
A few months later I called him to say I had been awarded a scholarship for
postgraduate studies in Britain and I was due to leave the firm in late
1999. We agreed that his custom would be handled by a colleague who was in
line to replace me. He wished me good fortune.
That young man went on to build one of the most successful technology
businesses in Zimbabwe. It is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and
remains one of the most vibrant companies in the country.
The moral of the story is that human ingenuity knows no bounds and if
allowed freedom, it can flourish to everyone’s benefit.
If you place barriers, you stifle innovation and ultimately, you
disadvantage all those who are potential beneficiaries — employees,
suppliers, customers, etc. In other words, you kill off the goose that lays
the golden eggs.
It is against this background that I have observed with some concern the new
rules introduced by government ostensibly to promote indigenisation of large
companies operating in Zimbabwe.
It is not because I am against the principle of empowerment, especially of
formerly disadvantaged people, given the context of colonial experience
which tended to be exclusionary.
Rather, it is because the law potentially creates a moral hazard and fails
to properly take into account the nature of the problem they are trying to
Far from being a tool for empowerment, it is likely to create incentives for
lethargy and rent-seeking behaviour.
The moral hazard is that you create a generation that believes that you can
benefit from the efforts of others — that having property or a stake in a
company alone is the key to success.
Wealth creation is a result of many factors but importantly, you have to
possess the equipment to make property work.
In other words, you need knowledge, ability and drive. It creates a nation
of consumers and not creators of wealth.
To my mind, Zimbabwe does not have a shortage of black men and women who at
some point or another have done well in business.
You only have to look at the transport industry to see the potential there
has been from an historical viewpoint.
Yet, by and large, after experiencing enormous bouts of success in the short
term, most of the bus companies have failed to survive their original
Something certainly is wrong somewhere, in the business model pursued by
these businessmen or indeed in the general governance of the businesses.
To return to the example of my client: he built his technology company and
then listed it on the stock exchange to raise more capital to fund growth.
True his ownership became diluted but it ensured that the company could
survive him, passing into new hands through exchange of shares from time to
If government truly wants to empower people it needs to make an honest
assessment as to why many of the so-called indigenous businesses do not
survive their founders.
In my view, the greatest form of empowerment is to provide a facility for
business knowledge and skills. The informal sector is awash with young,
innovative minds and hard-working hands.
But how come these businesses remain in the informal sector — carried on
kuSiya-So in Mbare? Why can’t they transform into fully fledged formal
businesses employing people, paying taxes, etc?
There are reasons why they cannot transform and instead of advocating the
seizure of existing companies government simply needs to identify the
challenges faced by the informal industrialists and create avenues to
empower them — provision of micro-finance, business knowledge through
Giving people stakes in companies simply to meet the 51% rule is not going
to cure the business knowledge deficit that has seen many indigenous
business fail to live up to the rigours of the market.
A man does not have to be given half a share of the fish that someone has
already caught — rather, it is better to give him the equipment to enable
him to catch his own fish.
As I observe the developments I can’t help but think of the contrast between
my two clients a decade ago that I have referred to above: one a large
state-owned with great potential but generally run down and in a comatose
state and the other, a fresh, young company that was only finding its feet.
The state company has remained in a coma since then; the parasites still
sucking from it annually, as they have always done.
The young man’s company has grown in leaps and bounds — it is now listed on
the ZSE, employs hundreds and has a future to look forward to.
Yet, the makers of the new law want the company built by that young man to
cede 51% control to so-called indigenous people because its owner is not
indigenous enough; whilst the lifeless state company which basically lives
off taxpayers’ funds remains in the hands of vampires.
Quite frankly, it’s ridiculous and an insult to the many ordinary
Zimbabweans who respect hard work and would rather be given a facility to
grow their own rather than a chance to free-ride on others’ efforts.
The government had better focus on helping people acquire knowledge on
running business. Otherwise one day we’ll wake up and there will be no 51%
rule to enforce because there probably won’t be any decent company to
enforce it against.
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and can be
contacted at email@example.com
MDC hopes to use global spotlight on South Africa to ensure Robert Mugabe
runs a fair and non-violent poll
††† * Alex Duval Smith, Africa correspondent
††† * The Observer, Sunday 14 February 2010
Opponents of President Robert Mugabe have demanded early elections in
Zimbabwe, timed to coincide with the World Cup being staged in neighbouring
The demand by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) came as talks to
extend the lifespan of the year-old unity government ended in deadlock last
The MDC hopes that the media focus on the region will raise the possibility
of staging free and fair elections. High-ranking figures in the party, whose
leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister a year ago, said
South Africa's desire to host a successful World Cup depended on peace in
the region. "The spotlight of the world will be on them. They do not want
trouble up the road," said a senior MDC official who declined to be named.
Tsvangirai was touring drought-hit Matabeleland in the south of the country
yesterday, but his finance minister, Tendai Biti, said relations with
Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) were at
an all-time low: "Zanu-PF cannot continue to urinate on us. They have no
right to continue abusing the people of Zimbabwe. If there is an
irretrievable breakdown then one must accept the reality of divorce."
Elections in 2008 were marred by widespread state-sponsored violence and up
to 200 deaths. After the MDC won a slim parliamentary majority in March,
Tsvangirai pulled out of the June presidential runoff against Mugabe because
of the high death toll.
A South African mediation process led to the creation of the temporary
"unity government", tasked with drawing up a new constitution and organising
elections. But in the past year, Tsvangirai's authority has continually been
undermined by Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.
Biti denied that staging early elections was risky: "We will win elections
in Zimbabwe yesterday, today or tomorrow." He also said the elections would
be free from violence: "South Africa and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) are guarantors of our global political agreement and they
know that an election is the logical exit from that agreement."
Mugabe told Zanu-PF's congress in December to prepare for elections soon,
but few expected them before next year. Speculation now centres on elections
taking place in April, even though there are huge questions about the state
of the electoral roll and where the loyalty of the police and armed forces
Biti said the MDC would prefer the unity government to see through its
mandate of drafting a new constitution, ahead of elections, but added that
"more than anything else the people of Zimbabwe want real change".
The finance minister is credited with transforming the country's economy in
the past year by scrapping the Zimbabwe dollar, which for 10 years had been
printed at will by central bank governor Gideon Gono, causing record
Biti has also restarted part of the economy by arranging for teachers,
government ministers, soldiers, doctors and nurses to be paid monthly
salaries of up to US$250 (£160). However, the rural poor are dependent on
barter and restiveness is setting in: last week civil servants went on
strike claiming they need $700 a month (£450) to survive.
Meanwhile, the junta surrounding Mugabe has continued to enrich itself from
mining operations and business arrangements with a small number of cowboy
entrepreneurs who are evading international sanctions.
Indications that on Tuesday the European Union (EU) will drop some sanctions
against businesses linked to the regime have left Mugabe unimpressed. The
foreign secretary, David Miliband, told the Commons last month that
sanctions would be lifted in a "calibrated way". But Mugabe - who since 2002
has been under an EU travel and asset freeze which now extends to nearly 180
other officials - wants faster action. In the past year, it has become clear
that his motivation for swearing in Tsvangirai was to use him to lobby the
EU on sanctions.
Opponents of Mugabe who are hoping for an early election had expected South
African president Jacob Zuma to arrive in Zimbabwe this weekend to make the
announcement. Last Wednesday, a South African facilitation team sent by Zuma
left Harare after two days of fruitless talks, giving no date for a return
Zuma's spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said yesterday that the president was
playing golf and would be tied up on internal government business in Cape
Town until Wednesday at least.
Zuma is due to visit Britain next month. He would like to see progress on
Zimbabwe but any move towards elections would risk attracting unwanted focus
on the region ahead of the World Cup kick-off on 11 June. Already, South
Africa is home to an estimated three million Zimbabwean refugees and a
violent election could spark a new exodus.
Magwenya denied knowledge of any planned election. He said: "We would like
to see Zimbabwe heading towards an election but there are outstanding
matters. We would prefer a less confrontational environment. Zuma has
emphasised that the parties do not have any other option than to continue
engaging, regardless of their differences."
He said that, in the event of an election, it would be for the SADC, rather
than South Africa, to decide on how to ensure a free and fair poll.
In 2008, SADC observers judged the controversial election to have been "free
By Moses Muchemwa
Published: February 13, 2010
GWERU† - Gweru General Hospital patients' wards have been operating without
running water for the past three years as the underground pipes have
developed numerous leaks and need to be replaced.
The hospital's matron, Elizabeth Gonzo revealed that the hospital was using
buckets to supply water to the wards.
"Most of the pipes that are supposed to bring water to the wards are leaking
because they are too old and need to the replaced.
"Members of staff are therefore using buckets to supply water to the wards,"
Gonzo said the bins that were donated Friday will not be used to put litter
but will instead be used as water containers for the wards.
"We had limited water containers so wards were sharing the containers. Now
that we have these additional water containers, each ward will have its own
container where patients can easily access water," she said.
Lack of running water supply revelation comes at a time when doctors at the
same hospital watched two Siamese twins die because Zimbabwe has no medical
expertise "to deal with such situations", as revealed by New Zimbabwe.com
earlier in the week and amid reports of cholera outbreak in Beitbridge area.
From The Scotsman (UK), 13 February
By Jane Fields in Harare
White people will no longer be able to open hairdressers, advertising
agencies or bakeries in Zimbabwe under black empowerment regulations hastily
signed into law by president Robert Mugabe's side of the government. Morgan
Tsvangirai, Mr Mugabe's estranged prime minister, described the new law as
"null and void" because he had not been consulted. But analysts say he will
likely be unable to reverse it. The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Regulations force executives of white-owned companies with assets of more
than ¬£320,000 to commit to hand over 51 per cent of their shares to black
Zimbabweans within 75 days of 1 March ‚€“ or face five years in jail. The
executives cannot choose their new shareholders: they must pick from a
database set up by the empowerment ministry, headed by former secret service
operative Saviour Kasukuwere, who has vast business interests of his own.
"This says to investors: Don't you dare come here," said political analyst
John Makumbe, of the University of Zimbabwe.
The new regulations will affect several London-listed banks and mines:
Barclays Bank and Old Mutual have a significant presence in Zimbabwe. The
law also sets out an impressive list of traditionally lucrative smaller
sectors now reserved for black Zimbabweans. Among the "sectors reserved
against foreign investment" are hairdressers, beauty salons, employment and
advertising agencies and bakeries. Whites and foreigners will no longer be
allowed to open estate agencies or valet services, nor will they be allowed
to engage in the retail trade or grow cash crops. "This comes down to loot
and pillage," a Tsvangirai aide said. "It disqualifies a lot of black-owned
foreign companies, including ones from South Africa, which shows it has
nothing to do with black empowerment. They (Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party] just
want things for free like the farms."
Mr Tsvangirai, the head of the former opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party, met Mr Mugabe to register his disapproval of the new
law. The 84-year-old president made the astonishing claim that he "knew
nothing about it". The regulations were passed by the Zanu PF-dominated
parliament in 2007 but put on ice, leading many to believe they'd been
permanently shelved. They were quietly published last Friday, exactly a
decade since Mr Mugabe launched a violence-riddled land reform programme
that has turfed about 4,000 white farmers off their land and seen Zimbabwe's
agricultural production plummet. The first white farm invasions were in
February 2000. South African lawyer Willie Spies, who has fought to protect
white farmers from Mr Mugabe's land grab said: "The new development calls
for more drastic measures by the South African government to assist its
citizens affected by Mugabe's controversial policies."
Mr Tsvangirai said: "The regulations would have scared off foreign
investors, already jittery about Zimbabwe, as well as disenfranchising
citizens." Only this month the former opposition leader assured the World
Economic Forum in Davos that "confidence has returned" to Zimbabwe's
battered economy. Analysts said the regulations represented another slap in
the face for the premier from his rival, who has been bolstered by South
African president Jacob Zuma's recent taking of sides during negotiations to
revive a stalled unity deal signed in September 2008. Mr Zuma told Mr
Tsvangirai he should be "more flexible" in what looked like a plea for the
MDC leader to drop his demand that Mr Mugabe's central bank governor and
attorney general be replaced. Mr Mugabe insists he will make no concessions
until western sanctions on him and 200 close associates are removed.
Zimbabweans are akin to Plato's “Allegory of the Cave”, a people dwelling in
a dark cave analogy: a group of people living in a dark cave chained all of
their lives and facing a blank wall. The only form of activity they see are
shadows projected on the wall by objects passing in front of a fire behind
them. The people in Zimbabwe are not seeing reality but only a shadowy
representation of it.
As in Zimbabwe, the people deep inside of a dark cave have begun to believe
whatever the government and ZANU (PF) tells them is true. The few brave men
and women who have escaped from this vortex of propaganda, and have seen the
real democratic world, are struggling to come back to the dark cave. They
have seen life as it truly is and not as how it is said to be by Mugabe and
his peddlers of misinformation.
The most successful economies and democratic societies thrive on tolerance
and cultural pluralism, are not homogeneous, but embrace diversity. These
progressive societies reward work with wealth and encourage
entrepreneurialship which invariably creates businesses that are a source of
vitality. There is honour in achievement and work. Economies are driven by
citizens who only invest their hard-earned capital and impart their skills
when guaranteed that their property, civil liberties, and business rights
are protected by unbendable laws cast in stone.
ZANU (PF) criers have gone hoarse, bleating the mantra that sanctions hurt
the ordinary masses and must be removed as a condition for the land audit to
occur and for outstanding issues on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to
be resolved. The shutdown of extra-terrestrial radio stations, which give
dissenting voices a platform, has now been thrown in as a pre-condition for
ZANU (PF) to adhere to the rule of law. It is no coincidence that the mere
suggestion of an election triggers a response that is tantamount to callous
food depravation for poor rural voters. ZANU (PF) and its ministers have
unilaterally sanctioned the rural poor for political expediency.
Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, announced through the government
tabloid Manica Post, that the government has banned food handouts by
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO). This heartless directive affects two
million starving villagers whose crops failed due to the bungling government
failing to supply fertiliser, seeds, and draught power on time. Or was it
deliberate? ZANU (PF) is now introducing the Juche (North Korean) style
food-for-work programme and if its past programmes are the barometer, a ZANU
(PF) card and voter registration card are prerequisites for food aid.
Skilled exiled Zimbabweans who eventually want to return from the Diaspora
will find it difficult to function in a dark cave again. The leaders of the
dark cave will prosecute anyone inside the cave who does not believe that
what they are told is true.
After independence, the international community and the populace were first
told that the killing of innocent civilians in Matebeleland during
Gukurahundi was an internal operation against armed bandits known as
dissidents. 20 000 innocent women and children of Ndebele ethnicity were
brutally murdered by men led by Robert Mugabe.
A decade later, Mugabe announced that land from whites would be taken and
given to landless peasants in order to redress a colonial imbalance.
Instead, land was taken from white farmers and given only to ZANU (PF)
officials, with Mugabe grabbing as many as twelve farms for his family. The
few handpicked smallholder farmers who support ZANU (PF) received plots that
are predominantly in marginal agricultural regions.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, announced by Kasukuwere, a
minister responsible for the dreaded youth militia, is now in place to
strip, not only from whites, but Asians (maIndiya) and other non-indigenous
business owners, of their companies. Mugabe is embarking on his
winner-take-all campaign to reward his loyal followers, whom he relies upon
to buttress his unpopular regime.
If, as a nation we are to split hairs over what constitutes an indigenous
citizen, then Mugabe’s disputed foreign parentage becomes a genuine topic
for national debate. It is glaringly obvious to any anthropologist or
genealogy novice that Mugabe’s nephews with last names like Zhuwao are of
Mozambican origin (Machukunda), and yet are in the forefront of
dispossessing genuine Zimbabweans of their birthrights.
Zimbabweans must understand that a vindictive law that makes a wealthy
person poor, will never reverse poverty—nor make the indigent prosperous.
The credulous Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership, which should
never have abandoned its own democratic policies and popular stratagem of
removing tyranny via the ballot, has been outmaneuvered by a cunning
dictator. Mugabe is now stronger, thanks to the political immaturity,
gullibility, naivety and avariciousness of the MDC leadership-“Makateyewa
nedovi segonzo”- lured to a trap with peanut butter like a mouse.
The MDC leadership is being treated like mushrooms in the Government of
National Unity (GNU).† Mushrooms are kept in the dark fed cow manure and
grow only to be eaten later by the same persons who were feeding them bovine
Soon it will be difficult for real revolutionaries to distinguish friend
from foe, as the MDC leadership’s posture is a clone of that of the tyrants.
They now enthusiastically sing from the same verse of the same hymn.
The few fearless and probing persons with the gumption to seek the truth,
have sneaked out of the dark cave and discovered a different world in which
people live with plenty of light, freedom and contentment. The time has
arrived to enlighten and free the rest of the people still yoked to the
prehistoric and abusive leadership of the cave.
Phil Matibe – www.madhingabucketboy.com