Saturday, December 05, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE) GPA: Outstanding issues are mere trivia

GPA: Outstanding issues are mere trivia
By Bishop Trevor Manhanga
Sat, 05 Dec 2009 03:25:00 +0000

MUCH has been spoken and written of late about what is commonly referred to as the, "outstanding issues" of the GPA. It is my conviction however that while much time has been spent, and effort expended in pursuit of solving these "outstanding issues," all this time and effort may not bring the kind of outcome we long for.

The sad fact about all this is that the real "outstanding issues" are being sacrificed at the altar of expediency, while a flurry of meetings are held in pursuit of issues that have no real bearing on the peace, security and prosperity of the nation.

The real issues, which unfortunately are not getting the priority they deserve, are the national healing and reconciliation process, economic empowerment and developmental issues that will enable Zimbabweans to have a decent roof over their heads, bread on their tables, affordable education for their children, affordable and dependable medical treatment and service delivery issues that give them access to clean water, a constant supply of energy, (for both domestic consumption and transport) and a living environment that affords them a dignified existence.

These are the real "outstanding issues" and it will be to our eternal shame that we spent so much time, and effort haggling on what really are peripheral matters, while the real issues remained on the back burner.

One has to wonder if our political leaders are aware of the centrality of national healing and reconciliation to all that they are trying to accomplish.

The relegation therefore of national healing and reconciliation down the ladder of priorities, is a fatal error, in that anything that the Inclusive Government does outside of a genuine National Healing and Reconciliation process is doomed to failure.

Why do I say this? Because the levels of mistrust, acrimony, and in some instances hatred between various political players, ethnic or racial groups, cannot be overcome by the removal of certain individuals from national institutions. On the contrary, any attempt to enforce this kind of thinking adds to the division rather than serves to bring unity. The schizophrenic manner in which the parties to the GPA have presented themselves to various audiences since the signing of the GPA bears testimony to this.

This inability to present a cohesive, united front is in large part due to the fact that there has not been genuine reconciliation between those who were previously antagonists. Until there is a genuine acceptance of, and not merely tolerance, of each other, all we are currently engaged in is building castles on the seashore.

It should be clearly and categorically stated that the removal of Dr. Gideon Gono from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Mr. Johannes Tomana from the office of Attorney General will not be the antidote for the antagonism that we have previously witnessed between our political parties, nor will it lead to the harmonious co-existence of these political parties. In what way we must ask therefore, will the removal of Dr. Gono from the RBZ lead to political activists refraining from acts of political violence? In the same manner that the mere possession of a marriage certificate does not immunise a marriage from violence between the two parties that signed the marriage certificate, so too the signing of the GPA and even the resolution of these so called "outstanding issues," (which continue to multiply faster than amoeba with each passing week,) will not lead to these political parties peaceful co-existence.

What makes a marriage work, and what will make a political agreement work, is not the paper it is written on, or the vows and commitments agreed to, but rather the sincerity of the hearts, unity of purpose and embracing of shared values, of those who signed the agreement. This is something that no Sadc Troika or any other group for that matter can enforce – it is something that must be born in our hearts as Zimbabweans, because we believe in it and want it.

The arrival of the GPA in 2008 was met by the broad population of the nation with much relief, thanksgiving, and hope that finally we were as a nation at the threshold of a new era. The hope was that the signing of the GPA heralded the beginning of a new day where we could all as Zimbabweans put aside our differences of whatever nature, coalesce our collective strengths, ingenuity and resources to build the kind of nation we all know we have the potential of becoming. With just over a year into the new dispensation, all the goodwill, hope and expectation that ushered in the GPA seems to be dissipating with each passing day. There can be no doubt that there have been noticeable positive changes that have been made during the brief tenure of the GPA. We have witnessed positive movement in the education, and health sectors for example, in addition to the vast array of goods now available in the shops, the availability of fuel coupled with the not so frequent power outages most definitely have been welcome steps in the right direction for the majority of the population. That does not mean to say all is rosy, many challenges remain. The introduction of the multiple currency system with the attendant withdrawal of the Zimbabwean Dollar has caused, and continues to cause untold suffering to the majority of the population. It is a slight against the Inclusive Government that more time has been spent talking about "outstanding issues" when the matter regarding the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar is just brushed aside with the now familiar refrain "we are not yet ready to see the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar," without proffering a timetable or plan as to when we could expect to see our economy performing in a manner that would allow the reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar. This lackadaisical attitude to a matter of such national importance, is one which suits those who are paid by NGO’s or have access to sums of US dollars that the ordinary populace do not have access to, but it is cold comfort to those who are barely eking out a living and failing to source the elusive greenbacks. Those who parrot this refrain should ask themselves why for the first time since independence in 1980 well over 60 percent of eligible students failed to find the money to pay for their exam fees this year? And so sadly we continue to stumble along from one mediation meeting to another, seemingly oblivious of the desperate plight of the people whose needs we purport to be concerned about.

It is in this vein that the headlines that met Zimbabweans in yesterday’s edition of The Herald: "GPA Fresh issues emerge" were most distressing. This is tantamount to a game of football where the rules keep changing as the game is played.

The emergence of these fresh issues must be seen against the backdrop of the statement by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown prior to the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad last week. If ever we thought that the GPA was a matter for Zimbabweans, then Brown’s statement brought our thoughts down to earth with a thud. It has been clear in the period leading up to the signing of the GPA and the period thereafter that certain western countries were not happy with the unfolding events in Zimbabwe.

One does not need to be the proverbial rocket scientist, to see that signing of the GPA was met with a very tepid response from certain western countries, that promptly stated that certain "benchmarks" needed to be met before there could be the lifting of the economic sanctions they imposed.

These "bench marks" were not arrived at in consultation with Zimbabweans, the very people whose interests the western countries are purportedly trying to protect. No, Zimbabweans have been relegated to be mere bystanders as events unfold before them.

These "benchmarks" had nothing to do with the wellbeing of Zimbabweans, but rather are a testament to the condescending attitude of the western nations, that unless the Sadc mediated process met with their "bench marks," the current economic embargo on the nation and travel restrictions on certain people would remain. So Brown’s statement last week that there must be: "progress on reforms in security, justice and the economy – including restructuring the Reserve Bank to improve management of public finances – and embracing a vibrant free press," let the proverbial cat out of the bag.

It must now be clear to the discerning eye that once the "Reserve Bank has been restructured," read that as Dr. Gono being removed from his position as Governor of the RBZ, or failing that, made impotent by the enactment of legislation that makes him a mere figure head. Then we hear from Mr. Brown that there must be progress on reforms in "justice." Read that as the removal of the Attorney General from office, the next logical step in accordance with Prime Minister Brown’s statement is "progress on reforms in security." Let us be crystal clear that as part of the grand strategy being pursued by Brown and his colleagues there must be the total removal of all current Service Chiefs who fought in the liberation war and are seen as pillars of President Mugabe’s continued stay in office. Now the implications of this external interference in our national affairs must not be taken lightly. Those who believe that the removal of our security service chiefs and other personnel perceived to be stumbling blocks to what the western world wants imposed in Zimbabwe must understand the very serious repercussions for the well being of our nation that such thinking will usher in.

It becomes clearer with each passing day that as long as the preconceived plan of Brown and his allies is not met, we will be faced with ever shifting goal posts. This is where we expect Sadc to put its foot down and very firmly. It is Zimbabweans who must decide whether they want a government led by Zanu-PF or one led by the MDC-T, MDC or any other party. The future of Zimbabwe must not be decided in the corridors of Whitehall but in the polling stations in Glen View, Muzarabani and Sakubva, nothing more, nothing less.

The idea being presented currently, (or rather before the introduction this week of additional "outstanding issues), that the future well being of the nation is predicated upon the removal from office of the Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General must be seen therefore for what it is, a diversion from the real issues.

Will the removal of these two gentlemen lead to political harmony and the removal of acrimony between the political parties? Does this mean that once these two offices have been filled with different people there will be no political violence in future and we will have enough fuel and electricity, the shops will be awash with goods and unemployment will be reduced to single digits? For as long as we continue to focus our efforts and attention on minor issues while leaving the major issues untouched, we are condemning ourselves to continued strife and upheaval. The fact of the matter is that there remains unresolved anger, residual hurts that have nothing to do with Dr. Gono or Mr. Tomana or any of the new list of "outstanding issues." For as long as national healing and reconciliation remains a peripheral issue – as it currently is, we will not deal with the real issues that have divided us over the years. While the GPA acknowledged the need for national healing – and they must receive the credit for at least acknowledging that national integration, peace and prosperity would be a pipe dream in the absence of a process that dealt with the unresolved issues that have plagued us for years, they have erred in not making the process the number one priority issue following the signing of the GPA in September 2008.

Today almost 30 years after that glorious night on April 18, 1980 when the Zimbabwe flag was hoisted for the first time, signifying the birth of the independent sovereign nation of Zimbabwe, we are still a very much divided nation. Let’s look at the white community for example from which political power was being transferred then, who it is clear President R. G. Mugabe (who was Prime Minister at that time) was reaching out to, in that epochal and bridge building speech, when he announced the policy of national reconciliation. For all intents and purposes the white community did not reciprocate, but spurned the hand that was extended to them and the magnanimity showed to them responding with acts of sabotage and when that failed adopted a business as usual approach, with the feeling that you have political power but we will continue to exercise economic power. There was no apology for past wrongs committed. For the most part when the land reform program was embarked upon it was not seen as an attempt to correct the injustices of the past and therefore rebuffed by the majority of the whites still present in the country. That is why today you still have white members of the community starting their own schools, congregating in churches where they are the majority (even if it means changing their lifelong held religious convictions,) meeting in their own social clubs and circles, because right from the onset in 1980 no genuine reconciliation had taken place. While I have heard many calls for there to be a reconciliatory process started to atone for the tragedy that unfolded in the post 1980 period in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces respectively, these calls while noble and deserving of attention, should of necessity start with the pre-independence period as well. If we are going to truly see national healing and reconciliation then we cannot be selective in deciding what period to cover, it must be all inclusive, both pre and post 1980. Then, and only then, can we hope to genuinely put to rest the demons that have imprisoned us all these many years. As part of the national healing and reconciliation process there must be finality put to the land reform program. Once again this does not start with the land reform program post 2000. We cannot call for the compensation of white landowners who had their farms taken as part of the land reform program while forgetting the indigenous people of Zimbabwe who had their land taken from them when the white settlers came. The seriousness of this matter is evident in what we see unfolding with the MDC national treasurer Roy Bennett. It is clear that Bennett is at variance with what his party signed on to in the GPA in that he still believes he has a right to, and will have his farm returned to him. Obviously in his mind the land reform program is not final, and if indeed he holds on to this viewpoint does it follow that his party holds this view as well? Now that it appears the land issue is back on the agenda as part of the "outstanding issues" does it follow that as part of the issues to be resolved is the return of farms to their former white owners? This in effect would nullify the entire land reform program with catastrophic consequences for the well being of this nation. These are the issues that pose the gravest threat to national cohesion and stability, and yet they are being conveniently left on the sidelines while we hear tons and tons of words spoken about what in essence are peripheral matters.

The inconvenient truth that those who have been trying to have Dr. Gono removed from his position, do not want to acknowledge is that he has a proven, successful track record, that saw CBZ emerge from the ashes of the bankrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce, to become the largest commercial bank in Zimbabwe. No mean feat and one that should earn him commendations, not brickbats. To have called Dr. Gono an "economic terrorist" is nothing short of scandalous and if we were serious about national healing and reconciliation, the starting point would be for those who uttered such false, derogatory and inflammatory words to publicly repudiate them.

This would send a signal that indeed we are genuine about national healing and reconciliation. We should celebrate people of Dr. Gono’s ilk, but we don’t, and we have several like him, who have risen to the challenge that faced them, seized the opportunity, showed tremendous vision, tenacity, business acumen, outstanding leadership skills, and built business empires that can stand up to the best in the world. Strive Masiyiwa, Mutumwa Mawere, Shingai Mutasa, Philip Chiyangwa, and Oliver Chidawu, are just a few who come to mind. It is most unfortunate therefore that, rather than celebrate the heroes and heroines that we have in our midst, from a wide spectrum of fields, (the business sector being just one of the many,) we have on the contrary, continued to exhibit this fatal attraction of attacking those we don’t understand or accept, and seeking every opportunity to not only pull down them down, but do all we can to see them destroyed. For as long as we continue on this self-destructive path, we will never realise the vast potential that lies within Zimbabwe and build the kind of nation we so desperately need.

Hate speech of whatever nature, uttered by whomever does, must not only be condemned, it must be stopped. We should ask of our public officials to heed the words of Gautama Buddha, who said, "If you propose to speak, always ask yourself – is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?" In light of the destructive potential of their words, those who have engaged in uttering inappropriate speech need not wait for the organ on National Healing and Reconciliation to come knocking at their doors to initiate a process of healing and reconciliation. On the contrary, they should proactively come out, acknowledge that what they have said is wrong, apologise for what they have said and seek reconciliation. That is the right thing to do, even if it may not be the most politically correct thing to do.

The fact of the matter is that while President Mugabe magnanimously announced a policy of reconciliation in 1980, this did not and has not become a reality in our nation. We owe it to ourselves therefore, and future generations to not allow this moment to pass us by, to acknowledge the wrong doings of the past, make amends for injustices and hurts caused, but be magnanimous in forgiveness and unite to build a better future. In so doing let us be led by our own convictions, and shut our ears to outside interference by those who wish to serve their own interests, not ours. National healing and reconciliation cannot be put off a day longer, let us give it the priority it deserves.

l Bishop Trevor E. C. Manhanga is the Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe



(NEWZIMBABWE) Government takes over Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project

Government takes over Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project
04/12/2009 00:00:00

A CENTURY-OLD ambitious plan to tap water from the Zambezi River to ease intermittent water shortages in parched Matabeleland is finally getting government attention.

Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo announced Thursday that Zimbabwe’s unity government formed in February was assuming charge of the project “in terms of both leadership and management”.

A trust set up by concerned leaders from the Matabeleland region who accused the previous Zanu PF government of lacking the political will to push through the US$500 million project will now delegate to the government.

Nkomo said: “The project has assumed the much-needed political will that was lacking all along.

“We are hopeful that this would remove the many bottlenecks the project encountered over the years.

"The decision means the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project effectively becomes a government project … It ceases to be a regional one, with government being the accountable authority.”

Nkomo set no timeline of how the cash-strapped government would manage the project, first mooted by white colonial settlers in 1912.

“Our biggest commitment from now onwards will be to mobilise resources both financial and technical for the implementation of the project including the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam [the first of three phases],” Nkomo said.

The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, as it has come to be known, includes three phases -- Phase One: construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Phase Two: construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo Pipeline and the final Phase Three which will see the construction of a pipeline from the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to the Zambezi River.

By the end, a 450km pipeline will supply water to Bulawayo and create a green belt on its path.

Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam – expected to provide a reservoir for the project -- began in September 2004 but has been hampered by lack of funding.

Successive budgetary allocations for the project were either a drop in the ocean, or diverted by the Zanu PF government, fuelling perceptions in the region that Matabeleland was being “marginalised”.

Political leaders in the region say the unreliable water supply has forced many companies shun the area, or relocate to Harare.

Bulawayo, the largest metropolis in the region, has managed to supply water to its 1.5 million people with the help of five dams -- Lower Ncema, Umzingwane, Upper Ncema, Inyankuni and Insiza.

The city’s water problems were magnified in 1992 when Zimbabwe was hit by its worst drought ever. In the 13 years preceding the drought, the region had only twice received normal rainfall.

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(HERALD) The revolution marches on its belly

The revolution marches on its belly

The budget has come, and unlike other things it does not come and go. We are stuck with it for the whole of 2010. What we can be sure of is half-hearted scrutiny from most of our MPs when debate on Biti’s document formally begins and so it shall be passed more or less as is.

To be fair, it is a sober budget by any measure; the kind of fiscal policy document that one would expect from any Finance Minister in a country in which everything is hunky-dory and the politicians are the "come-over-for-a-braai-this-weekend" types. Except everything is not normal.

And this is why the least we can ask of our pampered MPs — who are the undoubtedly pleased recipients of a Constituency Development Fund — is to ensure the Honourable Minister of Finance carries through on what he has said about agriculture.

The experience of this past year has shown us that saying something shall be done and actually doing it are two very different things.

Biti effectively sat on US#510 million from the IMF for a good three months while farmers, and the rest of the nation with them, wailed pitifully about money for inputs.

Biti has also acted in a rather strange manner over funding from the African Export-Import Bank and the PTA Bank, which together are ready to give us some US$400 million that can go to agriculture and other key sectors.

So what assurances exactly do we have that agriculture will this time around be treated as decently as its worth to the national economy deserves?

Saboteurs or clueless clowns?

President Mugabe made a very interesting point when he met some of those poor, neglected farmers in Mutasa this past week.

We all know that the Head of State and Government is a consummate politician who knows how to play his cards very well, and all the time with that huge dose of national interest that is woefully lacking in most of our political and economic leaders.

We also know that he has the cojones to express his mind so clearly and unambiguously that there is no danger of him ever being misquoted.

Similarly, we know too that he can choose to be strategically demure in his public statements and in the process say so many things in so few words.

Which is precisely what he did in Mutasa.

"Tanga takaronga seHurumende zvirongwa zvemwaka uno kuti varimi vawane mbeu, mafetiraiza nezvekurimisa…

"Panoratidza kuti panova nekunyeperana kana kuti vanhu vatakapa basa havana chavanoziva nezvebasa racho kana kuti havasikuda kuita basa racho," he said.

Very clearly he said there were members of the inclusive Government who had sabotaged the current cropping season.

But he did not say who, and neither will anyone be able to name names in public.

Not that he feels it doesn’t really matter, but rather maybe because he is aware that we all have an idea of why ASP Marketing has not been given the legal guarantees it requires to push over US$100 million worth of inputs into Zimbabwe.

And to be true, the names don’t really matter.

What matters is whether they did these heinous and treasonous things out of ineptitude or constructive intent (I would much rather prefer that it is because they are complete dunces who don’t know their toes from their elbows).

What really matters is the political interests these names and faces represent.

Subsidies: good for EU, bad for Zim

The argument we have been told is that Government has no business subsidising private farmers. All manner of legal and economic mumbo-jumbo — or perhaps what Christopher Dell should more correctly call voodoo economics — is rolled out to justify the lack of support to farmers and institutions like GMB and Agribank. And all of them sound so pretty and logical that political neophytes, or more precisely intellectual virgins, would tend to think are sensible neo-liberal economics.

The people who advance these arguments will not tell you that it is Government’s core business to take care of the pillars of the economy, in this case agriculture.

And more crucially, they will not tell you that the European Union spends nearly half of its budget on subsidising agriculture and ensuring farmers feed the nation.

It has been stated in this column before and it will be stated again: in as much as an army marches on its stomach so does a revolution.

This is why Western governments, think tanks and non-governmental organisations are pressuring some members of the inclusive Government not to support agriculture.

At play over the past few months has been a calculated attempt to starve the new farmer of resources for three reasons: the resultant hunger causes anger directed at politicians, it gives NGOs room to come in with their political food aid, and it paints the Land Reform Programme as a failure.

Couple this with the fascination over a land audit and all the pieces fall in place.

We should find it strange that the West has suddenly been eager to support smallholder, peasant farmers and those members of the inclusive Government President Mugabe referred to in Mutasa feel so self-righteous about assisting.

There is never any noise from MDC-T when it comes to support of the small farmer and we should question ourselves why this is so.

The logic is as simple as it is repulsive.

The new farmer who is trying to become a commercial farmer to replace the settler who is so supportive of MDC-T should not get assistance.

Support small-scale agriculture and make it clear that the black man is only good as a peasant farmer and not a commercial farmer.

And this brings us full circle to what Biti has in store for agriculture over the next two or so years.

Farmers have said they are cautiously optimistic about the vote he gave them in his 2010 National Budget presentation.

But what we really want to know is what Biti is going to do about those saboteurs in Government that his chief executive, President Mugabe, spoke about this past week.

His performance on this front over the past year certainly cannot be described as enviable and anyone would be justified in feeling that Biti let agriculture down long before the rains started pounding.

To show his commitment, perhaps he could start by unlocking — late as it is — those inputs that are in South Africa and waiting to cross the border.

Hopefully by now Biti has sent that one little letter that could have made the difference between survival and a bumper harvest.

Ambassadors of doom

Five soon-to-be representatives of the State in foreign missions went on a tryst to the Czech Republic recently. These ladies and gentlemen who are going to represent this country in other lands found it prudent to throw away all protocols and go on an unsanctioned trip to Prague.

So if they go on junkets that are not sanctioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as their employer, whose interests are they representing?

More so, whose interests will they be representing when they finally get posted in those foreign missions where they will be drawing thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money as salaries?

Such behaviour, surely, is but a shadow of the parallel structures looming so large and so menacingly over the inclusive Government.

And on that issue, we should be justifiably wary of the Constituency Development Fund and the potential it has of being used to funnel slush funds to further the agenda of the parallel government.

The fervent hope is that Mariyawanda Nzuwah will indeed do something about all those spooky characters entering Government buildings and working in State offices and yet they are representing an interest that is as strange as it is malevolent.

Threesomes have never quite worked and there is little evidence — on the strength of what is happening — that this ménage trois will give much satisfaction to any of the parties involved.

l mabasa.sasa ***



Making a career out of propaganda

Making a career out of propaganda
Philip Murombedzi
Fri, 04 Dec 2009 00:19:00 +0000

AS if the ethics of the mainstream media aren’t questionable enough in the first place, I’m noticing a disturbing trend in Zimbabwean journalism: The use of blogs, Facebook, web forums, and other social networking sites as sources of information.

There are blogs on Zimbabwe many of them purporting to be news sites. Others are mere propaganda sites that use the catchphrase, "And here's today's news bulletin!" and then go on to broadcasting anti-Government propaganda and hate messages.

This is the calibre of journalism that Harare Polytechnic has produced; journalists who create news and make a career out of propaganda.

It’s laziness in journalism, pure and simple. This is one of the reasons why many of these 'journalists' have remained on those blogs for years on end and failed to make it to the mainstream news organisations.

They simply spend hours trawling Google News or the internet for news; news they can twist to suit partisan ends.

Two well-known online websites reported that US$28 million was spent by the Zimbabwean government in 2008 on foreign travel; but failed short of highlighting what a reasonable amount of foreign travel should be and who was actually travelling and to where, and for what.

These are the sorts of questions journalists should ask.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his Budget Statement this week did not expand on the nature of those trips. The blanks were filled by a highly speculative, anti-Government website that claims to be the only source of 'independent and credible news on Zimbabwe'.

The website reported, "The chief culprit of these trips is obviously Mugabe, although Biti did not single him out. In November for example the Zanu PF leader traveled to Italy for a United Nations World Summit on Food Security and was accompanied by a delegation of at least 60 officials."

That website failed to say how many people should have gone to that U.N. trip, or verify that the number 60 was indeed the correct one. We are supposed to believe these sweeping statements by journalists who make a living off denigrating their own country.

This is pathetic.

One wonders how much the globetrotting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party have spent on non-UN trips.

Note, also, the citation of unnamed members by many of our Zimbabwean websites and blogs. This frees the journalists from obtaining permission to quote or verifying what they call 'credible news'.

Since they are already lazy enough to only bother surfing Facebook or Google for sources, it is not much of a leap for readers to imagine complete falsification of quotes.

Obviously, it is entirely possible to do that with ‘real’ sources and quotes as well, but it’s more difficult when you use anonymity sparingly.

Unnamed sources should be used infrequently and only when absolutely necessary.

This may seem like a small nit to pick, but it is not – if reporting on Zimbabwe is to be credible.

My concern is that this practice is going to become more and more common, more and more mainstream, and thus even more Zimbabwean journalistic integrity will be lost.

The BBC, CNN and many other global news agencies that relied on Zimbabwean journalists for news, do not bother now. They have simply started regurgitating their own propaganda and inviting non-Zimbabweans to comment on the country.

PM Tsvangirai won a human rights award for his "dedication to democracy" and earned an Oscar nomination. WOZA won US human rights awards. Biti won the "Best Finance Minister in Africa".

No one in Africa believes they are worthy of these accolades. They have to cross the seas for recognition.

Interesting that all these awards are conferred by those people and countries who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe; and who champion propaganda on the country.

They are actually rewarded for doing the dirty work for the British and U.S. governments. It makes it easier for these governments to criticise President Mugabe and Zanu PF if Zimbabweans do it first. This is the U.K. and U.S. public diplomatic approach on Zimbabwe.

The likes of Dambudzo Marechera are no longer important. To win a prize these days, you simply have to criticize President Mugabe in a novel or in the news. Many Zimbabweans have won U.K. and U.S. awards in the last few weeks - a move meant to discredit the country as it makes progress.

Reporting on Zimbabwe has simply become poisoned and even Zimbabweans are making a career out of this poisoned space.

Let's hope history will not judge them harshly.

* Philip Murombedzi is the editor of the Zimbabwe Guardian. He can be contacted via philipmurombedzi ***

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The Litunga needs support

The Litunga needs support
By Editor
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

The various regions or provinces of our country cannot be developed in an arbitrary way, in a firefighting-like manner.

Developing a country and its various regions requires planning and discipline; it requires consistent work guided by a strong vision. It’s easy to dish out a few brown envelopes, some cash to a few individuals here and there and win or secure their praises. But a country and its regions or provinces cannot be developed in that way. For this reason, the people of Western Province should not allow themselves to be deceived by Rupiah Banda that he can do this and that for them simply because they are drawing away from him and he wants them back to vote for him in 2011.

As Patriotic Front chairperson Inonge Wina has correctly observed, Rupiah is not interested in the welfare of the people of Western Province. What he is interested in is their votes in the coming elections. Rupiah is not out to serve the people of Zambia heart and soul. Rupiah does not in all cases proceed from the interests of the people. Rupiah proceeds from self-interest. And in this case, what is driving Rupiah today is the fear and desire to retain power in 2011. Whatever he is doing today is not as a result of devotion to the Zambian people without any thought of self. Rupiah doesn’t have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart. What he has at heart is self-interest.

Today Rupiah can go and promise the people of Western Province things that are not in the budget. Where is he going to get the money from to do all those things? If the Mongu-Kalabo road was important to Rupiah and his government, why didn’t they make adequate provision for it in the budget? If all this was important to them, why treat it as if it is an afterthought? These things are not important to Rupiah. He doesn’t lose sleep over the lack of development and high levels of poverty in Western Province or indeed any part of our country.

What is making Rupiah jump up and down today is simply the reality that things don’t look okay and if they continue this way, he will be out of power in 2011. This is what is bothering Rupiah and making him promise the things that are not in the budget. Yes, it’s easy for him to dish out a few brown envelopes here and there but a country cannot be developed that way. And his political crisis is spreading and deepening. At the rate things are going, we don’t know how many promises of this and that he will have to make across the breadth and width of our country. We say this because Rupiah will need to go to North Western Province and make some new promises after losing Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election. He may have to do the same in Kasama.

There is also a storm brewing in Ndola Rural. In short, there is veritable chaos everywhere in the nation. Even Eastern Province is not firmly under his control and he shouldn’t cheat himself that he owns the people of that province and they will vote for him come what may. The truth is the great majority of our people are starting to see and understand who Rupiah is and what he stands for. They are starting to see through his lies, dishonesty, deceit, manipulation, ineptitude, laziness, lack of capacity to work, extravagance, recklessness and so on and so forth. All these things are not recipes for governing well. Rupiah has sown seeds of confusion and discontent in the nation and he is starting to harvest the fruits of all this.

It is not possible to build a strong and prosperous nation on arrogance, corruption, intolerance and unbridled lack of humility. Rupiah has been arrogant. He has been the most ardent defender of corruption in this country. And the worst form of corruption in this country has been that of Frederick Chiluba. And this is the corruption Rupiah has defended and still defends without respite. Rupiah has not hesitated to tell lies about humble citizens, including those working for him. One can’t run a country successfully on such terms.

And this whole episode should teach our people a lesson in what it means to be self-reliant, to participate in shaping the destiny of their country. As for the Barotse Royal Establishment and the people of Western Province, Rupiah’s behaviour should teach them that their development rests upon their shoulders and no one else. The people of Western Province have to realise that the Litunga and the entire Barotse Royal system depends on their support to maintain integrity, pride and dignity.

Even the strongest, the most prominent of all the Barotse kings, Lewanika himself, his strength came from the people, from their support politically, economically and otherwise. The Barotse Royal Establishment is very big and cannot survive on brown envelopes from Rupiah, cannot be maintained on favours from those in power in Lusaka. A way has to be found to make the Barotse Royal Establishment financially independent and prosperous. There is no reason why such a rich and prestigious royal establishment should be broke, should have no money when it has so much resources at its disposal, including highly educated subjects and members of the royal family.

This lack of respect that the Barotse Royal Establishment and indeed the Litunga himself are today experiencing from the likes of Rupiah and others, including some Barotse royals and subjects, is as a result of the establishment being financially crippled. Today, the people of Western Province have very little to expect from their most prestigious leadership, that is the Barotse Royal Establishment. We sincerely believe that the Barotse Royal Establishment has people with very valuable talents, education and experience to turn things round. We also believe that the Litunga himself is a man with sufficient education, experience and wisdom to lead his people in a different direction and on a route to prosperity.

To make Barotseland rich and strong needs intense effort and a policy of diligence and frugality, relying on their own strength and efforts. Relying on the forces they themselves can organise, they will overcome their problems and see a reversal of fortunes.

Yes, they will need help from the government in Lusaka and from the international community but cannot depend on it totally; they should depend on their own efforts, on the creative power of the Litunga, his Ngambela and indunas, on the creative power of the entire Barotse people.

This is the only way the prestige of the Barotse system can be developed and maintained. They must thoroughly clear away all ideas of getting a better life through good luck, through handouts and brown envelopes from Rupiah, without hard and bitter struggle, without sweat. We know that some people don’t like to think much about difficulties. The options we are advocating are difficult.

It is very easy to sit under the shade and wait for handouts from someone in Lusaka. But difficulties are facts; we must recognise many difficulties as they are and should not adopt a policy of thinking someone will do it for us. We must recognise difficulties, analyse them and combat them. There are no straight roads in the world; we must be prepared to follow a road which twists and turns and not try to get things on the cheap. It must not be imagined that one fine morning, the skies of Barotseland will open up and all that we want will float on the waters of the Barotse flood plains. In a word, while the prospects are bright, the road has twists and turns. There are still many difficulties ahead which we must not overlook. By the Barotse Royal Establishment uniting with the entire people in a common effort, they can certainly overcome all difficulties and see a reversal of fortunes.

This is the only way to maintain the dignity and prestige of the Litunga and the Barotse Royal Establishment. Lewanika, with literally no formal education in the way we know it today, built a country, a nation. His son, Yeta, took over from him and extended his efforts, including the building of the Limulunga Palace that we see today.

We have every good reason to expect the same from Litunga Lubosi Imwiko, the grandson of Lewanika. And in saying this, we are not in any way overlooking the changed circumstances, the immense difficulties that the current Litunga and the entire Barotse Royal Establishment today face under the current political dispensation. And we therefore make a clarion call to all the people of Barotseland and all Zambians of goodwill to give all the support they can – politically, financially and otherwise – to the Litunga so that the dignity and prestige of the Barotse system can be developed and maintained or sustained.

This is the only way we can stop the corrupt politicians – flying around with brown envelopes – from abusing and undermining our people and their traditional leaders.



Chituwo emphasises infrastructure development in agriculture

Chituwo emphasises infrastructure development in agriculture
By Florence Bupe
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

AGRICULTURE minister Brian Chituwo has emphasised that infrastructure development is vital to the growth of the agriculture sector.

And Care International Zambia assistant country director for programmes Steve Power has said there is need to provide affordable inputs at the right time for the agriculture sector to register meaningful increase in production levels.

Officiating at the Care International Zambia organised Agro Dealer Project Dissemination meeting at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Chituwo observed that the private sector was unwilling to participate in agricultural activities in most rural areas of the country due to the existing poor infrastructure.

He said inadequate infrastructure was contributing to lack of sector growth.
Dr Chituwo therefore called on all stakeholders to contribute towards the improvement of infrastructure.

“Because of unfavourable conditions like infrastructure, the private sector is usually not willing to go and buy produce from small-scale farmers, most of whom are located in far-flung areas. We should appreciate that the private sector is not a charitable organisation, they use resources, most of which are borrowed,” Dr Chituwo said.

He said private sector players were profit oriented, hence the need for them to operate in favourable conditions, which included conducive infrastructure.

Dr Chituwo noted that most far-flung rural areas housed highly productive farmers who were facing challenges in marketing their crop because of the disadvantaged location.

He cited Muyombe district in Northern Province as one such area which faced challenges in crop marketing due to poor infrastructure. Dr Chituwo further called for the strengthening of linkages between agro dealers and small-scale farmers.

And Power called on agro dealers to promote the correct use of agricultural inputs for increased production. Power observed that Zambia’s small-scale agricultural production had remained static partly due to the challenges faced in the input distribution chain.

The meeting was aimed at disseminating findings from a baseline study that was commissioned in January this year to assess the agro dealer and farmer relationship, bringing out the challenges and achievements.

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Rupiah is blackmailing people of W/Province - Inonge Wina

Rupiah is blackmailing people of W/Province - Inonge Wina
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) national chairperson Inonge Wina yesterday charged that President Rupiah Banda is blackmailing the people of Western Province over the gifts he has promised to shower on the province.

Commenting on President Banda's recent trip to Western Province where he promised to find money for the Mongu-Kalabo road which was not budgeted for, Wina - who is former Nalolo member of parliament – said President Banda's interest in the province was not genuine, saying he wanted to take some development projects to the area in exchange for the vote in 2011.

“Definitely, the interest in the province is not genuine. The interest is based on what votes he can get or what support he can gain from the Western Province. It is a great pity that the President had no plan or no programme for the province,” Wina said. “The gifts that he is showering to the province are an indication that all he wants from the province are votes for 2011, and definitely this is not sustainable.”

Wina said this was not the first time the MMD was trying to blackmail the people with development projects in order to get the votes.

“We have seen it. We have heard statements made by prominent MMD officials during the time of the elections and by-elections, that 'if you do not vote for a certain candidate of MMD, you will not see development in your area.' That definitely is tantamount to blackmailing. During the 2006 elections, people in Western Province were told that 'if you do not vote for an MMD councillor, an MMD MP, an MMD president, you will never see the fruits of development in your area,'” Wina said.

“It is one of the reasons why there was a bigger vote from that area because people have not been sensitised to know their rights and to sometimes dismiss some of these pronouncements. So definitely, this President Banda's recent promises is blackmailing the people.”

Wina said the people of Western Province wanted development but not in the manner President Banda was going about it. She said President Banda needed to think twice about development, not only in Western Province but in the nation generally.

“I was saying that we want our people in the Western Province to have food, but not food given in this manner where they have to protest, where they have to exchange unpalatable words with the leaders,” said Wina. “I insist that we need to put into place sustainable programmes that will address the issues of food shortages and development in general.”

President Banda recently promised to develop the much talked about Mongu-Kalabo road.
This followed the recent fallout he had with the dissolved MMD Western Province committee who demanded that the road to be worked.

The President also had a fallout with the Litunga after several of his officials blamed Simasiku Namakando-led Western Province committee of working with the Litunga against the party.

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Rupiah urges improved conditions for judiciary

Rupiah urges improved conditions for judiciary
By Abigail Chaponda and Speedwell Mupuchi in Ndola
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said there is need to improve the conditions of service of both the adjudicators and support staff in order to recruit and retain high calibre staff for the judiciary.

And Chief Justice Enarst Sakala said there is urgent need to improve the funding to the judiciary to enable it acquire the requisites needed for the timely dispensation of justice in the country.

Officiating at the Ndola High Court golden jubilee celebration in Ndola yesterday, President Banda said the government needs to do something about the physical infrastructure of the judiciary, which could no longer meet the demands of the growing population.

"The exponential increase in litigation calls for the increased and improved judiciary infrastructure in the country. Government is committed to building capacity in the judiciary. For this reason, the judiciary needs to recruit more qualified adjudicators and support staff," he said. "Additionally, there is need for appropriate office equipment and transport to enhance justice delivery. The autonomous judiciary has developed its own administrative structures country-wide which needs financial support. This is in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which provides for the separation of powers."

President Banda also said separation of powers was a basic principle of the political system of modern democracies which Zambia was party to.
He said the doctrine of separation of powers implied that the function of the state should reside in the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary as different and separate entities with none of the three branches of government able to exercise total power over the other two.

President Banda said his government appreciated and valued the doctrine of separation of powers because he viewed the judiciary as a complementary arm to the executive and legislature in providing checks and balances.
He said the doctrine of separation of powers was critical to the deepening of the democratic process and strengthening of institutions in the country.

And Justice Sakala said lack of facilities compromises the quality of court performances.
"Libraries and archival facilities are important tools for any judge. Apart from the Supreme Court and the High Court at Lusaka, all the court stations have no library facilities to talk about. In the United Kingdom, the success of the greatest judges has been attributed to the availability of the best law libraries. For any judge to perform effectively, a library is an urgent facility, "he said.

He said it was imperative that the judiciary must build more court houses, recruit and train more adjudicators and support staff.
Chief Justice Sakala noted that Zambia's population had increased six-fold since 1969 and that the number of judges at the Ndola High Court had increased from two to five but courtrooms had remained the same, at two.

He also said crime rates had gone up with high unemployment rates outdoing justice infrastructure, hence the backlog of cases.
Chief Justice Sakala said that during Supreme Court sittings in Ndola, the High Court work come to a standstill as the highest court took over the two courtrooms.

He said it was imperative for the judiciary to build more courtrooms and recruit more adjudicators and other staff to enhance delivery of justice in the country.
Meanwhile, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu said the judiciary played an important role in a democratic country.

"As an association, we believe in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary because both the independence and impartiality of the judiciary are fundamental not only to the capacity to do justice but also to individuals and public confidence in the administration of justice," he said.

He said LAZ would always protect the independence of the judiciary from unwarranted attacks.
Lungu said an independent judiciary upheld the rule of law.

Meanwhile, police manning the Bank of Zambia Guesthouse where President Banda went to refresh himself and have lunch before flying back to Lusaka blocked Copperbelt Province MMD chairman Joseph Chilambwe from entering the premises.

The officers did not heed to his explanation that he was the MMD provincial chairman and that he was expected to meet President Banda.
Frustrated by the officers action, Chilambwe decided to stay outside the fence. Chilambwe was only allowed in when Copperbelt permanent secretary Villie Lombanya and the assistant secretary Stephen Lindunda arrived at the guesthouse.

Chilambwe complained about the conduct of the police.
Earlier, MMD cadres who welcomed President Banda at Ndola International Airport complained about the judiciary's decision to block them from attending the function.
President Banda was accompanied to Ndola by chief Nzamane of Eastern Province.
President Banda did not address the cadres but merely thanked them for welcoming him.

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Rupiah directs govt to pay Chongwe US$5.9m

Rupiah directs govt to pay Chongwe US$5.9m
By George Chellah
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has directed that Lusaka lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe be paid approximately US $5.9 million as compensation for the 1997 Kabwe police shooting in which the latter and former Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda were injured.

Well-placed sources at the Ministry of Finance disclosed yesterday that President Banda has issued instructions that the government should compensate Dr Chongwe.

“The President has issued a directive that Dr Chongwe be given a sum amounting to approximately US $5.9 million. These instructions came from the Head of State himself,” the source said.

“But to understand this matter clearly, one needs to appreciate the fact that this issue was once handled by the late Levy Mwanawasa's administration. During the late Mwanawasa's administration, a sum of about US $60,000 was offered as compensation to Dr Chongwe and about K 500 million was also offered to Dr Kaunda. But we are told that Dr Chongwe could not get this offer from the government. Therefore, it was only Dr Kaunda, if I am not mistaken; who received his amount and the matter was settled.

“But it seems the late Mwanawasa's government was not willing to negotiate with Dr Chongwe or take anything higher than the US $60,000 they offered. Now we are being told that State House, and President Banda in particular has issued instructions that about US $5.9 million be sourced and paid to Dr Chongwe.”

The source said the minister of finance Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane was worried because he does not know where the ministry would get that kind of money.

“I can confirm that we have been informed that about US $5.9 million be sourced and paid to Dr Chongwe as compensation from the Zambian government over the 1997 Kabwe shooting in which he was injured with Dr Kaunda,” the source said.

“But the question everyone here at the ministry is asking including the minister is, where will the government find that kind of money to pay Dr Chongwe alone? To be honest with you when you look at the numerous obligations the country has, there is no way we can proceed to pay that amount unless President Banda as usual leans on the minister of finance.

“What is even strange about this whole issue is that we cannot understand why the President is so much involved and no one also understands how he arrived at such a huge figure as compensation for Dr Chongwe when the late Mwanawasa didn't even come near to that figure when the issue of compensation was raised; not even Dr Kaunda received anything close to that.”

Dr Chongwe could not be reached for a comment, as he was reportedly out of the country. During last year's presidential by-election, PF leader Michael Sata said Dr Chongwe was supporting Rupiah Banda’s candidature on tribal grounds.

“Comrade Rodger Chongwe is trying to use tribalism thinking that if he comes in the open to support Rupiah Banda and when Rupiah Banda is elected, he is going to get his (Chongwe's) US $2.5 million but that should not be our preoccupation,” said Sata.

He said former president Frederick Chiluba and president Mwanawasa refused to pay Dr Chongwe the US $2.5 million, which he claimed from the government after being shot in Kabwe on grounds that the judgment was obtained in a foreign country and the Zambian government had not been given an opportunity to defend itself.

In 1997 during Chiluba's rule, Dr Kaunda was shot and wounded by police and Dr Kaunda accused Chiluba of attempting to assassinate him.

Dr Kaunda was grazed on the head by a bullet. Dr Chongwe, who was the leader of the Liberal Progressive Front (LPF), was also injured during the same shooting.

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Be honest with each other, Nalubamba tells Sata, HH

Be honest with each other, Nalubamba tells Sata, HH
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 05 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

SENIOR chief Bright Nalubamba of the Ila people of Namwala district has asked Michael Sata and Hakainde Hichilema to be honest to each other over the handling of the UPND-PF pact.

And Sata said chief Nalubamba has taken it upon himself to go round and talk to the other chiefs in order to remove the notion that chiefs should only support the government of the day.

Well-placed sources who attended the closed-door meeting, which was convened by chief Nalubamba, chief Hanjalika of Mazabuka district and chief Chimbuka and was attended by Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata and UPND president Hakainde Hichilema at Lusaka's Blue Nile Lodge on Thursday, chief Nalubamba asked Sata and Hichilema to be transparent to each other.

"There is one key word that he said that the two leaders of the pact must be honest and transparent to each other over the pact. Chief Nalubamba asked them not to be distracted by the MMD who were trying to put pressure on them over who would be president. And the chief said it did not matter who is the president, what the people need is change," the source said.

"He asked them to explain clearly that they were two organisations who were working together to remove MMD."

When contacted for comment over the matter, Sata said what chief Nalubamba said was that it was incumbent upon him and his colleagues to remove from the other chiefs the notion that chiefs should support the government of the day.

"He said working with the government of the day is something else. He said everybody can work with the government of the day, including the opposition, but that does not mean that we should support the government of the day politically," Sata said.

"You see, there are other chiefs that are peddling 'support the government of the day', they have played on their minds to say 'support the government of the day'"

Sata said chief Nalubamba asked him and Hichilema to harmonise the PF and UPND's policies on how they planned to work with the chiefs.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

(HERALD) President decries agric sabotage

President decries agric sabotage
From Sydney Kawadza in MUTASA

President Mugabe has said some elements in Government may have intentionally or unintentionally hampered Govern-ment efforts to provide farmers with inputs ahead of the current summer cropping season.

Addressing farmers at Grange Farm in Mutasa District, Manicaland, yesterday, President Mugabe said farmers had unfortunately failed to holistically benefit from the Government’s well-intentioned programmes for the 2009/2010 season.

He, however, said Government would continue assisting resettled and communal farmers despite the shortcomings. The President spoke as he toured resettlement areas in the district.

"Tanga takaronga seHurumende zvirongwa zvemwaka uno kuti varimi vawane mbeu, mafetiraiza nezvekurimisa.

"But after going around and getting to understand that the tractors we saw arrived yesterday; it means that we have failed to implement the programmes.

"Panoratidza kuti panova nekunyeperana kana kuti vanhu vatakapa basa havana chavanoziva nezvebasa racho kana kuti havasikuda kuita basa racho," he said.

"Even if we sent tractors to help the farmers now, it’s a bit late. When would we get the crops?

"Asi ticharamba tichibatsira varimi kuti mwaka wavo uenderere mberi," he said

President Mugabe said regardless of the challenges, the season was progressing well.

"There are issues that we agreed to as a Government and I wanted to see what is happening on the ground.

"We also want to understand the challenges that farmers, especially resettled and communal farmers, are facing in their farming activities," he said.

He reiterated that Zimbabwe would never be controlled by the erstwhile coloni-ser again.

"In Manicaland Province, a lot of your sons and daughters sacrificed their lives when they crossed the border into Mozambique to fight for this land, this country.

"We do not want people to forget that many of them died during the struggle.

"Without the struggle, without the war, they would never have been land for the people. We had to fight for this land.

"Now we have got the land, that is when some of us start going astray. The province performed badly during last year’s elections.

"Nekuda kwenzara here iwe uine munda? Mosarudza vanhu vasingade zveChimurenga? Maita sei? Maita sei? Maita sei?

"Chii change chapinda pakati pedu? We are in the inclusive Government because of last year’s election results."

President Mugabe said the inclusive Government had its challenges, but would continue going forward in serving Zimbabweans.

"We are, however, hopeful that people have realised the mistakes they made last year and would not want to do it again.

"Kana munhu akaita nzara yakadii, say no! Unoti ndiurayeyi zvangu asi ivhu rangu handidi naro.

"Ndosaka tichiramba tichirwisa kuti nyika yedu isaende. Ini kana ndikatyityidzirwa zvakadii handitengese nyika iyi. I would rather die than give away the land.

"Pane vamwe vedu vakaita savana Chitepo akafira nyika ino saka ticharamba tichidzivirira nyika ino. Kudududza kwete, hatidududze aiwa!"

He said Zanu-PF signed the Global Political Agreement on the understanding that the land question was settled and would never be reversed.

President Mugabe urged Zimbabweans to be wary of people who came to them with gifts and money — especially through non-governmental organisations — while attempting to reverse the gains of the liber-

ation struggle.

"You can accept what they give, but on your conditions. But if they impose anything on you, tell them to go away because there are others who would want to work with you," he said.

The area he toured yesterday has 89 A1 farmers who received tillage services for three hectares each and are targeting to put about 180ha under maize and other crops such as cotton and sunflower.

President Mugabe donated fertilizers and seed to 500 A1 farmers in the area.

The households each received one 50kg bag of compound D fertilizer, two 50kg bags of either AN or urea fertilizer and 20 kg of maize seed.

The President also donated over 200 computers and accessories to 20 schools in the province.

Manicaland Governor and Resident Minister Christopher Mushohwe; Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Samuel Undenge, Zanu-PF provincial chairman Cde Basil Nyabadza and senior Government officials accompanied the President on the tour.

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(HERALD) Botswana, US propaganda pact exposed

Botswana, US propaganda pact exposed
Herald Reporter

Botswana entered into a bilateral agreement with the United States to beam anti-government messages into Zimbabwe and recently completed the upgrading of a transmitter to scale up the pirate broadcasts, it has emerged.

In a statement in which Voice of America’s Studio 7 contradicted itself in trying to deny that it is a pirate broadcaster, an official of the subversive station said they were beaming into Zimbabwe under an agreement between Botswana and the United States.

By hosting the pirate stations, Botswana and Madagascar — which hosts a relay station for Voice of the People — are violating International Telecommunications Union protocols by supporting the broadcasting of the hate messages.

The two countries are also in contempt of Sadc and the African Union as the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC.

VOA director of Africa broadcasting Gwen Dillard was quoted by another pirate broadcaster, SW Radio Africa, as saying the US and Botswana had a "government-to-government broadcast agreement" to beam the anti-Zimbabwe propaganda and this was not illegal.

However, she then admitted that they were beaming illegally into Zimbabwe and would continue doing so until Government "liberalised the media space".

Yesterday, the Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity Mr George Charamba said the government-to-government agreement between Gaborone and Washington was in violation of ITU protocols, Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and the Sadc-guaranteed and AU-recognised GPA.

"Neither America nor Botswana can enter into an agreement to violate the sovereignty and interests of a third party.

"None of them represent the interests of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. Besides, the existence of such an agreement is no justification for beaming hate messages to Zimbabwe.

"The operative laws governing international broadcasts are not premised on Botswana and America’s bilateral agreements but on ITU protocols that regulate the use of frequencies.

"I challenge VOA to show the world the agreement between Botswana and America and how it encompasses Zimbabwe," he said.

Mr Charamba said Botswana was suggesting it had usurped the sovereignty of a neighbour by entering into an agreement to attack the country and this made the resolution of this matter all the more urgent.

"We know that they have recently completed upgrading a transmitter site with the specific intention of upgrading the media terrorism against Zimbabwe and its people."

On the issue of "opening up media space", Mr Charamba said VOA was trying to cloud the issue by not dealing with the real matter at hand.

"This country has had a State broadcasting monopoly since day one of radio services.

"Why is it that VOA never beamed messages into the country during UDI?

"Why didn’t they do this all throughout Rhodesia if they cared so much about the people of Zimbabwe?

"How about during that thing called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, why did they not broadcast?

"Why is it they never found it necessary to broadcast into Zimbabwe at independence and they only saw the need to start when we embarked on the land reform programme? What is the principle at work here?"

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said it will make a formal complaint to Botswana about the succour it is giving to purveyors of hate messages.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha this week said Zimbabwe made a formal complaint last year through the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation and they would soon raise the matter with Gaborone, probably through the Committee on Defence and Security and the Joint Permanent Commission.

Botswana ironically hosts the Sadc secretariat but has been at the forefront of violating the GPA that the bloc has said it will act as guarantors of.

The activities of the pirate radio stations and external interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs are some of the main outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA.

Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC negotiators have been meeting over the past week to resolve the outstanding issues in line with commitments made at a recent Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security summit in Mozambique.

Apart from pirate radio broadcasts of hate messages, an issue sources said seized negotiators was that of the reported establishment of parallel government structures in the PM’s Office. The Public Service Commission has since said members of the parallel government will be barred from entering Government offices.

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(HERALD) West bent on recolonising Zim

West bent on recolonising Zim

EDITOR — The erstwhile coloniser is still bent on reversing the gains of independence.

Looking at the new demands by the MDC-T which they keep on referring to as "outstanding issues, it shows the imperialists will never rest on Zimbabwe the same way they do not rest on Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Venezuela, DRC, Angola and other countries with rich natural resources. Here in Zimbabwe it is now known that their mask is MDC-T.

They use opposition parties as their ponies, targeting the ordinary man under the guise of promoting human rights.

If they know the importance of human rights, why then meddle in other people’s affairs?

MDC-T’s new demands are aimed at collapsing the inclusive Government.

Tsvangirai and his party who had earlier on announced their "disengagement" from Government had to swallow their pride in Mozambique and stage a comeback, but it is a fake comeback considering these demands.

What does Tsvangirai really want?

He goes own to say about sanctions, "patakazosheedza masanctions makambenge maita sei?" And, surprisingly, people ululate at that nonsense forgetting that because of these illegal and cruel economic sanctions relatives succumbed to cholera last year.

The whole education system was destroyed just because Zimbabweans had decided to say no to Tony Blair and George W. Bush putting on black masks to hide their pallid faces.

Why should the West decide who leads us here when they can’t even allow us to monitor their own elections, let alone choose leaders for them?

Cde Jairos Tapfuma.



(HERALD) Budget: Land reform short-changed

Budget: Land reform short-changed
By Farirai Machivenyika

TWO major events occurred in Parliament this week. The statement by Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the 2010 Budget presentation by Finance Minister Tendai Biti were easily the highlights of proceedings.

However, the 2010 budget was the major highlight given the weight of expectations from the spectrum of society on the direction Zimbabwe is taking given the measure of stability enjoyed this year with the adoption of a multi-currency system.

It was not going to be easy for Minister Biti to fully address everyone’s concerns but he, however, managed to fairly answer to the divergent expectations from the citizenry.

However, in my analysis there are areas that I believe required extra attention given their importance to the welfare of the people.

Health and education will obviously come to mind; remuneration of public servants, given their importance to the fulfillment of Government programmes and incentives for investors and the manufacturing sector.

However, it is agriculture and the land reform programme in particular that had to be prioritised as a measure of boosting economic revival and economic activity in other productive sectors of the economy.

The centrality of agriculture to our economy is not in dispute and the need to adequately support resettled farmers is of paramount importance. I, therefore, personally expected this vital sector to be given the due attention it deserves.

In his statement Minister Biti promised that Government would strive to support farmers but was glaringly short in enunciating policies targeting especially the resettled farmers.

Given that the land reform programme is irreversible, technical and financial support for the farmers should be the area of focus at the moment.

The land reform programme is a national programme that I personally believe should continue to be on our tables for sometime until the new farmers can manage to stand on their own.

It is a myth and should be treated with utter contempt that the support afforded to farmers in the past 10 is enough because farming is a long-term investment.

The old white commercial farmers received massive support from successive settler governments and even in the developed world farmers continue to receive huge subsidies.

We might not have resources to offer support of a similar magnitude but we can come up with other incentives that encourage productivity.

The generality of the population especially ordinary workers were concerned about the bread and butter issues and the minister responded by exempting taxes on bonuses for up to $400 raising the tax-free salary threshold from $150 to a modest $160.

Other measures that have a direct bearing on the day -to-day lives include the extension of the duty free facility on basic foodstuffs and other commodities to July 2010 and allocation of US$285 million and US$109 million to the health sector and water and sanitation programmes respectively.

Given the major challenges that have been faced in the above mentioned areas, it was imperative that they be allocated significant amounts to cushion the population against the effects of such outbreaks of diseases like cholera and to fund the acquisition of drugs and medical equipment.

Education has also been in the doldrums in the past 10 years like any other sector, given the debilitating effects of the illegal economic sanctions, and deserved special recognition.

Zimbabwe has always been renowned for its quality education and we expect it to remain there and regain lost glory.

The minister allocated US$13, 1 million for the procurement of learning material and donors would augment this amount.

Minister Biti promised that Government would reform the operations of Zimsec, a body that has threatened the credibility of public examinations in the country.

This was long overdue given the bungling we have witnessed from the body over the years.

Minister Biti also set aside funds to ensure proper supervision of teachers and lecturers in schools and colleges.

On social protection programmes he also said Government and cooperating partners would provide support for nearly 800 000 vulnerable children in both primary and secondary education under the Basic Education Assistance Module.

The figure might be lower than those in need of such support but it is a giant step in ensuring that the most vulnerable and unfortunate groups get the necessary support.

As usual we, however, expect that only the deserving children get support otherwise this noble programme would not achieve its objectives.

Turning to other sectors, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries past president Mr Anthony Mandiwanza was generally receptive of the budget saying it was developmental and would impact positively on economic revival.

He cited the reduction of corporate tax from 20 to 25 percent as a move in the right direction and said the reduction was in line with what was obtaining in the region. He also said other concessions on tax on inputs for local production would help stimulate domestic industry.

Zesa also got some support.Though way below their requirements, it will go some way in improving their operations.

The establishment of a Constituency Development Fund is another major development that is most welcome although it has to be monitored adequately to ensure that it is used for its intended purposes and is not abused for both personal and political gain.

It is necessary that this fund be audited properly to ensure that communities benefit from it.

The minister said the fund would be used to drill boreholes, repair of clinics and schools and building of market stalls.

I would also suggest that the fund be used to establish income-generating projects especially for unemployed women and youths to improve livelihoods.

Minister Biti said some of the measures to be adopted to ensure minimum abuse if any would be to pay suppliers directly and disbursement on the basis of each constituency development fund.

In the same vein of improving accountability in the use of public resources, Minister Biti said Government was working on resuscitating the Public Finance Management System, a computer based accounting and financial system.

This is commendable given that the success of any programmes that we have adopted or will adopt depends on a high degree of accountability and we hope this will go beyond the budget statement but would be translated into action.

Other measures that the minister proposed include the resuscitation of the Housing Guarantee Fund.

Given the lack of investment in this sector the US$26 million set aside for the fund should go a long way in the revival of the construction industry especially the provision of low cost houses.

Next week I will continue with the analysis of the budget and, as usual, am open to your views.

In conclusion, PM Tsvangirai made a statement to the House of Assembly and urged parliamentarians to carry out their oversight mandate on the executive.

As the leader of Government business in Parliament, PM Tsvangirai said Parliamentarians should hold to account all public servants and should not hesitate to bring to book those found abusing their offices.

He also promised to make himself available during question and answer sessions when parliament returns from the festive season’s break.

We hope he also ensures that ministers also come to respond to questions from backbenchers so that the public is always in the know of Government programmes and have any other concerns they might have answered.

Another important aspect he touched on was the remuneration of MPs given their role as representatives of the public.

While we do not expect legislators to earn executive perks, it is also important that they be given something reasonable given their responsibilities.

Apart from legislators, every civil servant should be adequately remunerated to ensure that they are not susceptible to bribes and other corrupt activities.

l machivenyikafari ****

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(HERALD) Paprika production falls

Paprika production falls
Agriculture Reporter

LACK of financial back up has forced some farmers to abandon paprika production for other cash crops.

Paprika used to be produced under contract system but now most of the financiers have shifted to other horticultural crops that give high returns within a short period.

Paprika is a long-term crop just like maize and takes long before the profits are realised.

Agritex officer Mr Annanias Bare said production costs for paprika were very high while the crop did not have a competitive market.

"The problem is that paprika has a more centralised market like tobacco and this has an impact on the prices being offered by buyers. Poor prices will obviously discourage production of the crop," Mr Bare said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union director Mr Paul Zakariya said economic hardships resulted in some companies diversifying from sponsoring long season crops to short season varieties.

"Nowadays most contractors are into horticultural production supporting production of crops such as fine beans, broccoli, peas and other highly paying crops, " he said.

Paprika requires much attention just like tobacco and requires intensive pests and disease control and this requires a high working capital.

This season, 9 700ha have been targeted for paprika production but only 29ha have so far been planted against 2 460ha of paprika that were planted over the same period last year.

The drop in production has been attributed to high costs of production and poor prices on the market.

On the other hand, some tomato producers are complaining of poor prices on the traditional markets.

Most tomato producers said they were selling their produce at US$1 for four boxes and sometimes return with their tomatoes to the farms. Agritex, however, advises farmers to carry out a market research before production to avoid situations whereby produce flood the market and prices fall resulting in farmers incurring huge losses.

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BAZ endorses wholesale base rates

BAZ endorses wholesale base rates
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 04 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

THE introduction of wholesale base rates in the country will help to reduce misunderstandings between commercial banks and customers over interest rates, Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) chairman Saviour Chibiya has observed.

Central Bank has indicated that it will next year abandon the open market system it had pursued since the liberalisation of economic policies in the early 1990s. Under the current regime, Zambian commercial banks determine their own lending rates without any official reference point.

Commenting on the announcement by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) that it would next year introduce a wholesale lending rate, Chibiya said a policy shift would facilitate further development of the financial markets in Zambia.

“The absence of this window in the local market has in the past led to difficulty in agreeing on a widely accepted reference rate as banks would typically refer to their own Base Rates whilst some customers did not fully agree on the determination of such an interest rate,” Chibiya said.

“Banks also had to discount their Treasury Bills or borrow in the interbank market when they have a normal short term liquidity requirement and these rates could be punitive and quite unpredictable depending on the timing.”

Chibiya, who is also managing director for Citibank Zambia, further said the new monetary policy would in turn help enhance liquidity in the local financial sector.

“This window at the Central Bank will therefore aid liquidity management of the banks and hopefully have a positive influence on overall interest rates,” said Chibiya.

“In principle we are pleased with this development and we await to see the implementation.”

BoZ deputy governor for operations Denny Kalyalya said the fixed rate system would allow the Central Bank to influence lending rates commercial banks charge.
Simultaneously, as part of the new monetary shift, the Central Bank this month introduced an overnight lending facility, which Kalyalya said would enable BoZ to provide liquidity to the market whenever necessary.

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Agriculture in Africa worries World Bank

Agriculture in Africa worries World Bank
By By Margaret Mtonga
Fri 04 Dec. 2009, 13:20 CAT

WEAK national commitment and bureaucratic capacity are major constraints for commercial agricultural in Africa, the World Bank report has observed.

According to a report on agricultural and rural development, the World Bank stated that it was important to have improved incentives to invest in agricultural sector in Africa.

“African entrepreneurs face major constraints in equaling the success in international competition,” read the report.

The report also stated that African agricultural exports were still being taxed at higher levels than elsewhere.

“It is important for African governments to move domestic prices towards export prices by moving export taxes and replacing them with less distortionary taxes,” the report stated.

The World Bank further stated that continued macro policy reforms must be rapidly implemented in the regional integration.

“Governments must rapidly implement regional integration agreements that support regional trade, such as banning arbitrary export to harmonize standards and regulation.”

The report stated that agricultural development cannot be done on the cheap ignoring the fundamentals of productivity growth in the food system.

“Particular damage has been done by neglecting to invest in agricultural research institutions,” read the report. “Africa needs investment to replenish agricultural education at all levels,”

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Gvt making progress, come back home: Tsvangirai

Gvt making progress, come back home: Tsvangirai
Philip Murombedzi
Fri, 04 Dec 2009 03:20:00 +0000

ZANU PF and the two formations of the MDC have made progress on implementing the conditions of the inclusive Government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday. "I want to assure you there is progress," PM Tsvangirai told a media briefing in Cape Town, South Africa.

He said negotiations covered the positions of central bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, appointed before the formation of the inclusive Government and not covered by the agreement, but whom the MDC and Western donors would like to see removed from their posts.

The MDC-T party, which boycotted Cabinet meetings with in a dispute over the indictment of their party's treausrer Roy Bennett, ended the boycott last month.

"Now that these issues are being attended to, we want to open a new chapter and say that the inclusive Gvernment is consolidating and that we need to build momentum to ensure we can reconstruct the country," PM Tsvangirai said.

The inclusive Government is battling to rebuild an economy officially estimated to have contracted by 50 percent between 2000 and 2008 due to illegal; sanctions imposed by Britain and United States and their allies.

The economy is on track to expand for the first time in a decade this year and to grow by 7 percent in 2010 as agriculture and mining start to recover.

"An increase in the capacity of mine manufacturing from 10 percent to 30 percent will have a direct impact on the growth the minister (Finance Minister Tendai Biti) is anticipating and I think it can be achieved," Tsvangirai said.


The Prime Minister also urged Zimbabweans to "return home to take part in the reconstruction of the country".

He said that he was having to convince sceptics that had a role to play in rebuilding the country.

"My message is that this is the time to consider taking part in the reconstruction phase of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans who are in the diaspora," Tsvangirai said.

He said the Zimbabwean diaspora constituted almost four million skills of various attributes needed in Zimbabwe for its reconstruction.

"I am here to convince the sceptics who are quite wide ranging, including my own countrymen. This is not a salesman's job. It is real serious patriotic challenge to all Zimbabweans to come and really create a Zimbabwe we demand and deserve."

The Zimbabwean government, in turn, had to provide the necessary policy measures and confidence to Zimbabweans for them to consider participating in the country's reconstruction.

"It is a two way process," he said.

Things had changed for the better since the global political agreement (GPA) was signed last year, he said.

"For the past ten months a lot of social economic progress has been registered in terms of socio-economic stabilisation.

"I am sure with current negotiations taking place on implementation of the GPA we should see more freedoms being restored, through the constitutional reform process, through the legislative reform process and other reforms we have put in place," said PM Tsvangirai.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Talks undermining inclusive Govt

Talks undermining inclusive Govt
Prof Jonathan Moyo - Talks undermining inclusive Govt
Fri, 04 Dec 2009 01:55:00 +0000

AS Zimbabweans reflect on Wednesday’s Budget speech by Finance Minister Tendai Biti, which contained some arguably progressive measures that were delivered with an unprecedentedly positive oral tone that smacked of a palpably new spirit of collective government responsibility, while confining the usual divisive acrimony to the fine print, it is a pity that the same spirit has thus far eluded the resolution of the so-called outstanding GPA issues whose number is now a staggering 27 to the detriment of the coalition government and national stability.

Although its allocative framework was fundamentally flawed because of its hostile approach to land reform, and its glaring failure to acknowledge the devastating impact of the illegal American and European economic sanctions that have ravaged the livelihoods of ordinary people while incapacitating government and the business sector, Biti’s budget sentiment was nevertheless constructive.

With President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in co-operative attendance, Biti’s 2010 Budget Statement was presented in an affirmative manner and congenial atmosphere that would leave a visitor from Mars in total disbelief upon learning that Biti’s MDC-T party had disengaged only a few weeks ago from the same government that formulated Wednesday’s promising Budget, and that Zanu PF and the two MDC formations in government are currently embroiled in divisive and even dangerous GPA negotiations which threaten the survival of the coalition government ahead of 2010.

In the interest of transparency and good governance, the people of Zimbabwe and their regional, African and international well-wishers need to know that all does not seem to be well in the ongoing GPA negotiations.

There can be no other conclusion given that what were originally six alleged outstanding GPA issues have now ballooned to 27 such that the agenda of the deadlocked negotiations stands as follows:

1. Swearing in of Roy Bennett

2. Appointment of provincial governors

3. Appointment of (a) Johannes Tomana as Attorney-General and (b) Gideon Gono as Reserve Bank Governor

4. Sanctions

5. Media: (a) pirate radio stations, (b) hate speech and (c) bias in the media

6. Rule of law issues and State organs and institutions

7. Review of ministerial allocations

8. Land issues: (a) land audit and (b) tenure systems

9. Electoral vacancies

10. Framework of Government: (a) chairing of Cabinet, (b) Cabinet and Council of Ministers rules, (c) ministerial mandates, (d) transport arrangements for the principals, (e) staff and security of principals, (f) vote and budget and (g) communication among the principals

11. Parallel government

12. External interference

13. National Economic Council

14. Constitutional Commissions

15. National Heroes

16. National Security Issues: (a) security sector reform and (b) compliance with the National Security Council Act

17. Respect of national institutions and events

18. Role of and reform of the public and private media

19. Role of and position of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity (George Charamba)

20. Constitutional Amendment Number 19

21. Allocation of ambassadors

22. Interference with the right of freedom of assembly and association

23. Role and funding of NGOs

24. Multi-Donor Trust Fund

25. Politicisation of humanitarian food assistance

26. Selective funding of elements/ministries by donors

27. Electoral amendments

Within the ongoing negotiations, the first six items outlined above were what the three parties in the coalition government considered to be the so-called outstanding issues while the first three of those issues led to the disengagement from government by the MDC-T in October and the holding of the SADC summit of the Troika on Politics, Defence and Security in Maputo last month.

This means that there are now 21 new outstanding issues which are also supposed to be outstanding GPA matters that are expected to be resolved by the negotiating teams from Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, with the assistance of the new facilitating team from South Africa that has replaced former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

There are three reasons why this situation is not right and should be stopped dead in its tracks.

First, the fact that the very same teams that negotiated the GPA before it was signed on September 15, 2008, are once again back negotiating an agenda with 27 items is scandalous and unacceptable. It would be most unfortunate if this fact was made possible by the summit of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security that met last month in Maputo after which the MDC-T ended its ill-advised and ill-fated disengagement from the coalition government.

The ongoing negotiations are a blatant violation of Articles XXII which set up the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) and XXIII which established a Review Committee to "ensure full and proper implementation of the letter and spirit" of the GPA. Why are these two important GPA committees not being allowed to do their job?

Second, and related to the first reason, the fact that the original negotiating teams have been reconstituted to effectively reopen the GPA with 27 issues on the agenda is tantamount to undermining and subverting the signed GPA itself. Those, especially in America and Europe, and indeed in the MDC-T, who keep talking about the need for the full implementation of the GPA must realise and understand that the GPA cannot be fully implemented by undermining its internal processes and instruments.

Jomic and the Review Committee established in terms of Articles XXII and XXIII of the GPA are clearly being undermined through the recalling of the original GPA negotiating teams to deal with 27 agenda items of which 26 are new and not even mentioned in the GPA as outstanding issues. It boggles the mind to imagine how SADC has allowed this anomaly to take root.

Third, and above everything else, it is a matter of grave concern that 21 of the new issues that have been falsely added as outstanding GPA issues not only undermine the GPA itself, but they also subvert the coalition government formed on February 13 this year in terms of the GPA.

A cursory examination of the agenda issues outlined above being negotiated by the teams from Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, from the seventh bullet downwards, clearly shows that those are issues that must in reality and policy be dealt with by the coalition government itself.

For example, why should the teams that negotiated the GPA before it was signed on September 15, 2008, now review ministerial allocations? Is Constitutional Amendment Number 19 not clear about how ministerial appointments are to be made and if so, why is that the business of the original GPA negotiators when Constitutional Amendment Number 19 was passed into law by Parliament?

Why should original GPA negotiators deal with the framework of government when that is established in terms of the Constitution? The same goes for land issues and national heroes among many other issues including those relating to the media. Are these policy and legislative matters for the original GPA negotiators or for the government of the day?

What is the purpose of having a government if important policy and legislative matters such as the new 21 issues on the agenda of the ongoing GPA negotiations outlined above are to be handled by teams from political parties that negotiated a signed agreement whose purpose was to set up that very same government?

It should go without saying that the most critical point of the GPA negotiations before September 15, 2008, was to set up a coalition government and to establish the principles and framework of that government.

Once formed, that government must get on with the business of governing the country in terms of the laws of the land and the Constitution without reopening the original negotiations as is now happening with the apparent but most unfortunate Sadc blessing.

The fact that the GPA discourse on the so-called outstanding issues now has an agenda with 27 items demonstrates beyond any doubt that the time has come for Zimbabweans to demand an end to negotiations and a start to the serious business of governing the country in the national interest.

This is because, as can be readily gleaned from the 27 agenda items before the negotiators from Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, the outstanding issues can only be addressed by the unity government that was formed on February 13 in terms of the September 15, 2008, Global Political Agreement.

With Wednesday’s Budget presentation by Minister Biti as a case in point, the time has now come to let the GPA government, led by President Robert Mugabe, to do its job in accordance with the GPA and under the laws and Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Anything else is just mumbo jumbo.

*Professor Jonathan Moyo is MP for Tsholotsho North and is a member of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

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