Saturday, March 27, 2010

(ZIMBABWE GUARDIAN) Who is an indigenous Zimbabwean?

Who is an indigenous Zimbabwean?
By: Tafadzwa Musarara
Friday, March 26, 2010 10:25 am

IMAGINE its 1968, Ian Smith is in full command of Rhodesia apparatus and all white Rhodies are drowned in the proverbial milk and honey. How many of those Rhodies would have wanted to be identified as indigenous or natives of 'Zimbabwe' then?

Who is indigenous?

This question has been very topical of late, thanks to the Economic and Indigenization Act. Interestingly, we have seen and heard unexpected characters clamouring to be termed indigenous Zimbabweans.

I would have loved this question to have arisen at the apex of colonialism when many African states were under white minority rule.

In this article, I would like to attempt to provide both the narrow and wide definition of an indigenous person.

Indigenous means originating or occurring naturally in a country or area. This word is derived from the Latin word called indigenus. Admittedly, given the nomadic nature of African tribes, it is difficult to appoint certain tribes as indigenous people of a particular country, but suffice to say that blacks are the indigenous people of Africa.

The Holy Book tells us about children of Israel who stayed in Egypt for time longer than the White Europeans have been to Zimbabwe. At no point did the Children of Israel declare themselves to be indigenous Egyptians. It was because they were clear of their origins and knew that their entry into Egypt was materialistic.

The blacks in America had their ancestors, many years ago, transplanted from this beautiful continent and shipped to this country. The rest of what happened thereafter is history. To date, many centuries after the abolishment of slavery, they are not called Americans but African-Americans and live in the midst of a system that is unjust and reminds them daily that they are not first class citizens.

Here in Zimbabwe we do not call white Zimbabweans, European-Zimbabweans. I think we are very kind people and accommodating people, are we not?

Colonialism brought exotic fauna and flora in Africa. Admittedly, much of it has been very critical in enhancing household food security. In Zimbabwe, we have mango, cats, peaches and others that have remained classified exotic, though they serve us very well. Sadza remains indigenous and hence it has no English name. Neither has switched sides.

Article continues below

Zimbabwe, in the past five decades, exported millions of its citizens into the Diaspora. Many are now resident in United Kingdom, North America, Australia, South Africa and other countries. Many of them remain mere residents and continue to constantly re-apply for permission for continued stay. Attaining citizenship in these countries remains a pipedream. They remain foreigners and never been regarded indigenous people of those countries.

The colonial rule in Zimbabwe created the structures of the Native Commissioner who, inter alia, was charged with the full implementation of repressive laws. These laws include the Animal Husbandry Act that limited amount of livestock natives could hold and also the Land Apportionment Act that moved indigenous Zimbabweans from fertile land to sandy soils. Remember Chief Rekayi Tangwena. History has no record of a white man whoever opted to stay in these reserves on the basis that they were indigenous. So when did they turn indigenous?

The question is: At what one point does an exotic or foreigner become indigenous person?

The Indigenization Act defines an indigenous Zimbabwean as "any person who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person, and includes any company, association, syndicate or partnership of which indigenous Zimbabweans form the majority of the members or hold the controlling interest."

These previously marginalized persons and their descendants must be allowed to enter into the mainstream economy because we cannot create a second economy.

This economy, had it not been for colonialism, belongs to the indigenous Zimbabweans.

Imagine if the Cecil John Rhodes’ BSAC had subordinated their operations to the orders of King Lobengula, I have no doubt that joint ventures between blacks and whites rule would have started then, possibly on 51/49 rule.

This Act does not seek to punish those who oppressed others, but seeks to address the imbalances caused by the repressive system.

This is an Affirmative Action policy which is very active in America where it favours non-indigenous, but previously underrepresented groups. By any measure, this definition is generous because it does not favour a particular race, but persons and groups affected by the colonial system.

It must be noted that whilst this economy was being built, many others were deliberately marginalized by brutal and repressive machinery.

The hand of reconciliation extended by the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe did not turn white people into indigenous but simply acknowledged the wrongs of the past and solicited forgiveness from the aggrieved.

Can someone be an indigenous in two countries? I ask that question because most white Zimbabweans have or had dual citizenship or are eligible on the basis of ancestry. They are able to get either British or any other European citizenship because they originated there.

It is cunning, disrespectful and treacherous for any White Zimbabwean to claim to be indigenous

Tafadzwa Musarara is the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Affirmative Action Group

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(ZIMBABWE GUARDIAN) No agreement yet with MDC: President Mugabe

No agreement yet with MDC: President Mugabe
By: TH-tzg
Saturday, March 27, 2010 6:46 pm

PRESIDENT Mugabe has dismissed reports that the principals in Zimbabwe's inclusive Government have reached an agreement on 'outstanding' issues as stated in the media last week.

Media reports suggested that Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations, had agreed that Roy Bennett - MDC-T's deputy minister of agriculture nominee will be allocated another portfolio, apart from agriculture and the MDC-T would field another candidate. Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney General, Johannes Tomana were said to have agreed to step down.

A report in The Standard newspaper suggested that South African President Jacob Zuma had agreed a "package of measures" with the principals; and that President Mugabe had agreed to restore the mandates of MDC ministers, which he took reallocated recently.

President Mugabe refuted these claims, saying there would be no more concessions until the issue of sanctions is fully addressed.

The president made these remarks whilst ddressing the 80th Ordinary Session of the Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare on Friday.

"Reference to (RBZ Governor Dr Gideon) Gono, (Attorney-General Mr Johannes) Tomana and (Roy) Bennett is nothing because it has never been part of the agreement.

"The reply from Zanu-PF has always been the same: Gono and Tomana have no case to answer while Bennett has a criminal case in the courts.

"The position is that they cannot be any further concessions from us unless the illegal sanctions are gone," President Mugabe said.

He also dismissed reports of agreement on re-appointment of provincial governors.

"They (the MDC-T party) are just paying lip service to the issue of sanctions and they need to do more.

"It is not true that we have reached an agreement. I do not know where these journalists who write in papers get these stories. Tomana and Gono are not going anywhere. The sanctions must go first!"


On the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, President Mugabe said "a backward mentality" of servitude to whites informed opponents of the law and its accompanying regulations.

"There are a lot of companies that are being set up in the country but our people still want to be workers and they have never sought to rise above that and become entrepreneurs.

"You are not looking at being the owners of the businesses and when you rise to management levels you get blinkered because that is what the owners want you to be.

"They will continue to be what they have been since 1890, being masters, while you are content to being the chief executive officer.

"These CEOs will oppose empowerment programmes we are trying to push.

"They will oppose because they have been conditioned to being below someone.

"If there are some of us (in Zanu-PF) who oppose it, then they are backward members of the party.

"You do not want to be owners of the means of production. This is astonishing! But I hope they are not many among us who are opposed to the drive.

"I can assure you that that it (indigenisation) is the right arm that will rope in young people to be empowered," he said.

President Mugabe said the indigenisation programme was designed to benefit young entrepreneurs and not established businesspersons.

"Right now we are talking about Chiadzwa, Chimanimani but we still haven't seen some blacks who have put together their resources to constitute a company to participate in the mining activities.

"We have a lot of geologists who are working for white people. We have been forced to make a choice between companies that are non-Zimbabwean. Where are the young men we educated over the years?

"You should never say ‘We don't have money’. All those people who come here do not have money.

"They come together and look at opportunities of borrowing that exist and indicate that they have the capacity to go into business.

"They do not draw from their pockets but draw from these facilities. Come to us and we can assist you," he said.

President Mugabe expressed disappointment at non-participation of Zimbabweans in the mining sector.

"Let’s grow out of the slave mentality and be our own masters. We have been mentally enslaved to a point where we cannot help ourselves succeed.

"Even the companies that are mining our diamonds are not our people.

"Everything being done is not an initiative from our own people. Let’s be awake. The sun has already risen!"

President Mugabe implored the Zanu-PF leadership to move with the times.

He said the party should develop in tandem with practicalities while maintaining its founding ideologies.

The Central Committee resolved and supported the stance taken by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on the matter of the immediate removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

The Central Committee demanded that those countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, particularly UK, US and EU should immediately remove the illegal sanctions they have unlawfully imposed.

The grouping further resolved that the resolutions of all the outstanding issues should be concluded concurrently with the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

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(WHATSLEFT) The NED, Tibet, north Korea and Zimbabwe

The NED, Tibet, north Korea and Zimbabwe
By Stephen Gowans
March 22, 2010

Vin Weber, a former chairman and current board member of the US National Endowment for Democracy, has written an article in The Washington Times defending the NED against calls to eliminate its funding. [1]

The NED was established by the Reagan administration after the CIA’s role in covertly funding efforts to overthrow foreign governments was brought to light, leading to the discrediting of the parties, movements, journals, books, newspapers and individuals that received CIA funding. This undermined the efficacy of these agents as tools of US foreign policy.

As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of “democracy promotion.”

As the NED’s president Carl Gershman explained,

“It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60’s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.” [2]

Thus, the NED was founded, as New York Times reporter John Broder explained in 1997, “to do in the open what the Central Intelligence Agency has done surreptitiously for decades.” [3]

As part of the NED-program of regime change, governments the US foreign policy establishment targets for overthrow are demonized as anti-democratic while the recipients of NED largesse are angelized as pro-democratic. What links targeted governments is not their electoral democratic practices – which can range from absent to present — but their economic policies, which tend to be restrictive of foreign investment, imports, and property rights. What links the recipients of NED grants is not their attitude to electoral democracy, but their embrace of US policy.


The NED’s angelization of the Dalai Lama is a case in point. The Dalai Lama is hardly a democrat, yet he has received Washington’s lucre for decades, including from the CIA and later the NED. Tibet’s “spiritual leader”, as he has been anointed in the West, presided over a backward theocratic feudal society, before fleeing to India after a botched uprising against the Chinese government, which had supported the dismantling of Tibetan feudalism. As Michael Parenti explains,

“Until 1959, when the Dalai Lama last presided over Tibet, most of the arable land was still organized into manorial estates worked by serfs. These estates were owned by two social groups: the rich secular landlords and the rich theocratic lamas…The Dalai Lama himself ‘lived richly in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace.’

“There also were slaves, usually domestic servants, who owned nothing. Their offspring were born into slavery. The majority of the rural population were serfs. Treated little better than slaves, the serfs went without schooling or medical care, They were under a lifetime bond to work the lord’s land–or the monastery’s land–without pay, to repair the lord’s houses, transport his crops, and collect his firewood. They were also expected to provide carrying animals and transportation on demand. Their masters told them what crops to grow and what animals to raise. They could not get married without the consent of their lord or lama. And they might easily be separated from their families should their owners lease them out to work in a distant location.

“As in a free labor system and unlike slavery, the overlords had no responsibility for the serf’s maintenance and no direct interest in his or her survival as an expensive piece of property. The serfs had to support themselves. Yet as in a slave system, they were bound to their masters, guaranteeing a fixed and permanent workforce that could neither organize nor strike nor freely depart as might laborers in a market context. The overlords had the best of both worlds.” [4]

The NED calls the former feudal overlord, the Dalai Lama, seen here with George W. Bush, “a devoted democrat.” The slaves and serfs of the old Tibet might disagree.
The old Tibet, then, was hardly a society of peace and tranquility ruled over by a benign ruler. It was a class society torn by conflict and predicated on brutal, naked, exploitation. Despite this, a February 16, 2010 NED press release describes the former Tibetan feudal overlord “not only as a moral and religious leader respected throughout the world but as a fellow democrat who shares America’s deepest values.” [5]

In the same press release, the NED urged the Obama administration “to express America’s strong support for him” (a “devoted democrat”) “and what he represents – genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.” [6] But why should the NED urge the US administration to express support for autonomy in Tibet, when Washington has never supported autonomy for the Basques, Corsicans, the Kurds in Turkey, the Scots and Irish nationalists, or the South Ossetians?

“The answer is obvious: the United States does not support separatist movements in countries they consider their allies. The targets are either countries they consider rivals, like Russia or China, or countries that are too weak to resist, and where they can obtain totally dependent client states from the breakup – which is what happened with Yugoslavia.” [7]

Weber’s defense of the NED comes in response to a call from Shika Dalmia, a senior analyst at the Reason Foundation, urging the Obama administration to cut funding to the NED on grounds the organization has outlived its original mandate, overthrowing communism.

In a Washington Times article, Dalmia wrote that the NED,

“…was founded by President Reagan in the heyday of the Cold War to contain communism. Communism has since evaporated, and democracy has spread like wildfire in the former Soviet Union, Still, President Obama proposes to hand the NED $109 million this year. This despite the fact that NED has been dogged by controversy, the least of which being that it once spent $1.5 million to defend democracy in the Soviet bastion called France. Worse, although NED gets all its funding from the government, it is structured like a private entity over whose board – an improbable hybrid of representatives of business, unions, and other concerns—Congress has little control. The upshot is that sitting presidents have used it to do things abroad that Congress wouldn’t approve. In the mid-1980s, for instance, it directed funding to the political opponents of the then-president of Costa Rica—long a beacon of democracy—simply because he opposed Reagan’s Nicaragua policy.” [8]

Predictably, Weber rejects Dalmia’s arguments. “Take the example of her contention that communism has ‘evaporated’,” he counters, “and tell that to the defectors who have risked everything to escape the hell on earth that is nuclear-armed North Korea.” [9]

Hell on earth? Is this like the hell on earth that is a ghetto in the hyper-nuclear-armed United States, or the hell on earth that is the Gaza blockaded by a nuclear-armed Israel backed by the hyper-nuclear-armed Pentagon?

North Korea

As a member of the US foreign policy establishment, Weber ought to be careful about talking of hell on earth, for Washington is among the principal authors of unnecessary torment in this world. Iraq, site of the greatest contemporary humanitarian catastrophe, is a hell on earth, and it was created by the United States, for reasons that have nothing whatever to do with what Washington said motivated the country’s Iraq sanctions policy and invasion. What did US B52 bombers create in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia if not hell on earth? And what condition prevailed after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and the fire-bombing of Dresden?

Hell on earth in north Korea didn’t begin with the US demolishing every building over one-story, but it did nothing to relieve it. The torment didn’t end either when Washington practiced nuclear terrorism by deploying battlefield nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula or when in 1993 it announced it was targeting strategic nuclear missiles on north Korea, a country which, at the time, had no nuclear weapons.

The NED’s role in overthrowing communism played its own part in creating hell on earth in north Korea by bringing about the collapse of the country’s markets. Decades-long sanctions have also made life tougher, precisely as intended by US policy makers. And unremitting military pressure from the United States, a military behemoth, has forced north Korea, a military pipsqueak, to channel a punishingly high percentage of its meagre resources into self-defense, depriving the country of the capital it needs for productive investment. If there is a hell on earth in north Korea, it exists because the United States has created one, deliberately, systematically, and with the intention of crushing a top-to-bottom alternative to Third World dependency on the United States.

Jestina Mukoko

Meanwhile, the NED has celebrated Jestina Mukoko, a Zimbabwean who was arrested in December 2008 by Zimbabwe state security agents, who Mukuko claims tortured her.

Mukoko is variously connected in leadership roles with organizations funded by the NED and United State Agency for International Development (USAID.) She is, for example, “the executive director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a grantee of the” NED [10], as well as a member of the board of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, an organization interlocked with a number of other Western-funded anti-Mugabe groups, and which receives its funding from the NED and USAID.

Jestina Mukoko, center, feted in Washington for her role as a US government-funded regime change agent. Honored by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and US First Lady Michelle Obama for services to the empire.

To understand why Mukoko was arrested, it helps to place her activities in the context of the Mugabe government’s efforts to carry through land reform, the West’s opposition to the expropriation of white settler farmland, and the efforts of the United States to enforce respect for private property rights through a campaign of regime change in which Mukoko plays a role.

The following points, therefore, are salient:

1. The United States is openly working to exclude Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF party (which champions land reform and economic indigenization) from government, and to replace it with the Movement for Democratic Change (which advocates policies that would inevitably strengthen foreign domination of Zimbabwe’s land, labor and natural resources.)

2. The US-sponsored regime change campaign operates through the NED and USAID-financing of domestic activists, like Mukoko.

3. While the ostensible objective of NED and USAID-sponsored activities in Zimbabwe is the promotion of democracy and human rights, the real aim is the installation of a government committed to facilitating the pursuit of US and Western interests, including allowing the sale of agricultural land to foreign investors.

That the United States and its foundations have the slightest concern for promoting democracy and human rights is belied by the US practices of detaining people without charge in secret prisons, the scandals of Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo, the furnishing of aid and support to such notorious autocracies as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the backing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza to punish Gazans for exercising their democratic rights in electing Hamas. The NED does, however, care deeply about the interests of US corporations, banks and investors which, after all, play the dominant role in shaping US policy and whose representatives staff the key positions of the US state.

In other words, Mukoko is deeply connected to a US state which is openly hostile to Zimbabwe and its land reform and economic indigenization programs, and seeks to oust the Zanu-PF element of the current government. Is it any wonder she has drawn the attention of the Zimbabwe’s security services?

This mercenary on behalf of US interests recently travelled to Washington where she was feted by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and US First Lady Michelle Obama, an act not too much different from Petain traveling to Berlin to be showered with honors by Ribbentrop and Eva Braun. What would the US security state do to a US-based jihadist who took money from a foundation financed by the Iranian government to promote the rise of an Islamic Republic in the United States and who would later travel to Tehran to be personally presented with official honors by Mabouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister?

At the ceremony honouring Mukoko’s services to the empire, Michelle Obama expressed shock that Mukoko “was interrogated (by Zimbabwe security agents) for hours while forced to kneel on gravel…” [11] This was precious, coming from the wife of a president whose country has spent the last decade kidnapping militants who oppose their southwest Asian countries being dominated by the United States and its corrupt puppet regimes and then subjecting them to stress positions, water-boarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, when they’re not being shipped off to allied countries to face more unrestrained forms of torture, or are simply being assassinated. Belaboring the Eva Braun analogy, Obama’s shock was like Hitler’s partner complaining about the Soviets exchanging territory with Finland by force, long after the Nazis had gone on their rampage through Europe.

In his book Age of Empire, historian Eric Hobsbawm observed that,

“The age of democracy turned into an era of public political hypocrisy, or rather duplicity, where those who held power only said what they really meant in the obscurity of the corridors of power. Thus was born an enormous gap between public discourse and political reality”…

…a disparity all too evident in the NED’s public pronouncements.

[1] Vin Weber, “Vin Weber: Defending the well-endowed,” The Washington Times, March 11, 2010.

[2] David K. Shipler, “Missionaries for Democracy: U.S. Aid for Global Pluralism,” The New York Times, June 1, 1986.

[3] John M. Broder, “Political Meddling by Outsiders: Not New for U.S.,” The New York Times, April 1, 1997.

[4] Michael Parenti, “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth,” Michael Parenti Political Archive,

[5] National Endowment for Democracy, “How to welcome the Dalai Lama to Washington,” February 16, 2010.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Diana Johnstone, “Breaking Yugoslavia,” New Left Project, March 3, 2010,

[8] Shikha Dalmia, “Busting the well-endowed,” The Washington Times, March 4, 2010.

[9] Weber.

[10] Michael Allen, “Activist demands accountability and end to impunity in Zimbabwe,” Democracy Digest, March 12, 2010.

11. Ibid.

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(HERALD) No agreement yet: President

No agreement yet: President
By Sydney Kawadza

Zanu-PF has not reached any agreement with the two MDC formations over "outstanding" Global Political Agreement issues and will not do so until the issue of sanctions is fully addressed, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing the 80th Ordinary Session of the Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe also castigated Zimbabweans who were against the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive.

"References to (RBZ Governor Dr Gideon) Gono, (Attorney-General Mr Johannes) Tomana and (Roy) Bennett is nothing because it has never been part of the agreement.

"The reply from Zanu-PF has always been the same: Gono and Tomana have no case to answer while Bennett has a criminal case in the courts.

"The position is that they cannot be any further concessions from us unless the illegal sanctions are gone," President Mugabe said.

He dismissed reports of agreement on re-appointment of provincial governors.

"They are just paying lip service to the issue of sanctions and they need to do more.

"Hamheno avo vanotaura kuti takawirana panyaya yacho.

"Kana ivo vanonyora mumapepa kuti Gono kana Tomana vachaenda hamheno kwavanozviwana.

"Tomana na Gono hapana kwavanoenda. The sanctions must go first!"

On the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, President Mugabe said "a backward mentality" of servitude to whites informed opponents of the law and its accompanying regulations.

"There are a lot of companies that are being set up in the country but our people still want to be workers and they have never sought to rise above that and become entrepreneurs.

"You are not looking at being the owners of the businesses and when you rise to management levels you get blinkered because that is what the owners want you to be.

"They will continue to be what they have been since 1890, being masters, while you are content to being the chief executive officer.

"These CEOs will oppose empowerment programmes we are trying to push.

"They will oppose because they have been conditioned to being below someone.

"If there are some of us (in Zanu-PF) who oppose it, then they are backward members of the party.

"Hamudi kuita imi vene venyika, zvinoshamisa! But I hope they are not many among us who are opposed to the drive.

"I can assure you that that it (indigenisation) is the right arm that will rope in young people to be empowered," he said.

President Mugabe said the indigenisation programme was designed to benefit young entrepreneurs and not established businesspersons.

"Iye zvino tirikutaura ana Chiadzwa, Chimanimani asi hatisati taona some blacks who have put together their resources to constitute a company to participate in the mining activities.

"We have a lot of geologists vanenge vachingoshandira varungu. We have been forced to make a choice between companies that are non-Zimbabwean. Where are the young men we educated over the years?

"You should never say ‘hatina mari’. Ivo vese vanouya havana mari.

"They come together and look at opportunities of borrowing that exist and indicate that they have the capacity to go into business.

"They do not draw from their pockets but draw from these facilities. Come to us and we can assist you," he said.

President Mugabe expressed disappointment at non-participation of Zimbabweans in the mining sector.

"Let’s grow out of the slave mentality and be our own masters. Takabva tapondwa pfungwa zvekusaziva kuti tinozviitira tega.

"Even the companies that are mining our diamonds are not our people.

"Everything being done is not an initiative from our own people. Let’s be awake. Zuva rangori rabuda kare!"

President Mugabe implored the Zanu-PF leadership to move with the times.

He said the party should develop in tandem with practicalities while maintaining its founding ideologies.

The Central Committee resolved and supported the stance taken by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cde Jacob Zuma, on the matter of the immediate removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

The Central Committee demands that those countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, particularly UK, US and EU should immediately remove the illegal sanctions they have unlawfully imposed.

The Central Committee further resolved that the resolutions of all the outstanding issues should be concluded concurrently with the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

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(HERALD) Zim worth emulating, says Saharawi envoy

Zim worth emulating, says Saharawi envoy
Herald Reporter

Visiting Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed Ould Salek has described Zimbabwe as an example for Africa to emulate.

Speaking to journalists after paying a courtesy call on President Mugabe at State House yesterday, Minister Salek said he had come to deliver a special message from President Mohammed Abdelaziz to his Zimbabwean counterpart.

"It’s a great pleasure to visit one country which I can call my home because Africa is one country.

"I am visiting Zimbabwe as a special envoy of my President to deliver a special message to President Mugabe on the latest development in our country.

"Zimbabwe is an important symbol of sovereignty and independence and the special message from the Western Sahara is that our people should have an opportunity to have their independence," he said.

SADR nationalists are fighting Moroccan colonialism and will soon hold a referendum to choose autonomy or stay under occupation. Zimbabwe, Algeria and other African countries have been at the forefront of advocating for the country’s independence.


(MnG, AFP) Zuma drums up support for end to Zim sanctions

Zuma drums up support for end to Zim sanctions
KAMPALA, UGANDA Mar 27 2010 06:53

South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday renewed his call for Western sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's regime to be lifted during a visit to Uganda.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the close of a two-day state visit, Zuma argued the sanctions created an imbalance in Zimbabwe's national unity government.

"One part of the government, which is the MDC, is functioning at full strength because they can travel abroad and mobilise while the other side cannot operate effectively because of restrictions, therefore these sanctions are an impediment," Zuma said.

Both the European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle in protest at disputed 2008 elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government.

A power-sharing government between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has failed to make major headway since it was installed a year ago, following mediation by Zuma's predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

"Zanu-PF has raised these issues that the sanctions are not allowing the unity government to operate at its full strength," Zuma argued.

"If sanctions are lifted we can make faster progress," he added.

Museveni endorsed Zuma's position in a joint statement.

Zimbabwe's descent into political and economic crisis began 10 years ago, when Mugabe lost a referendum on a new Constitution that would have expanded the powers of a man who has ruled since independence in 1980.

Zuma travelled to Uganda with a delegation of Cabinet ministers and business leaders to discuss a range of bilateral issues, including investment in the East African nation's new-found oil wealth. - AFP

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(THEZIMBABWETIMES) ANC warned against destructive land reform

COMMENT - The DA are showing their true colours. They should say absolutely nothing on the issue of land, until they come up with their own effective and speedy plan for land redistribution. It is cynical in the extreme, to justify the massive land alienation that was at the core of apartheid, with the claim that we need to 'defend property rights'. The present land situation is the result of a massive violation of property rights, the property rights of the African population. If the DA was a genuine party, I would not even have to point that out to them.

ANC warned against destructive land reform
By Junior Ncube
March 26, 2010

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has warned the ruling African National Congress (ANC) against adopting any land policy that kills commercial agriculture, as has been the case with Zimbabwe over the last decade.

Annette Steyn, Shadow Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, made the comments after the introduction of a three-tier land tenure plan on Thursday by the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform.

The DA said the plan was indicative of the ANC’s continued attempts to infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right to private land ownership. Land reform under the ANC had failed and the administration was inspired by an outdated nationalisation dogma, she said.

“It is common cause that successful economies are built on the foundation of the protection of private property rights,” said Steyn. “Zimbabwe is a perfect example of a country where the lack of secure property rights led to a destruction of the economy following disinvestment.

[No it's not. Zimbabwe did just fine until sanctions froze the government's credit lines in 2002. - MrK]

“Investors are, of course, also less likely to invest in countries with insecure property rights. The South African economy is already fragile and we cannot take this risk. The Democratic Alliance will continue to block any attempts by the ANC-government to infringe on constitutionally guaranteed rights.

[It is typical for neoliberal parties like the DA to put the interests of foreign investors over the rights of the local population and labour. - MrK]

The plan will be set out in a green paper in April and proposes qualified freehold for private land, leasehold for state land and precarious tenure for foreign ownership of land.

Section 25 of the South African Constitution states that “No one may be deprived of property in terms of a law of general application, and no law may prevent arbitrary deprivation of property.”

Steyn said the placing of caps and qualifications was tantamount to such deprivation. Not only was the institution of a land tenure system that would qualify land ownership unlikely to stand constitutional muster, it would also be disastrous for South Africa’s economic growth, she said.

South Africa has in recent years embarked on a programme to equitably distribute land among the country’s races.

However, critics have warned that any controversial allocation of land would degenerate into a crisis as faced by Zimbabwe following its so-called land redistribution programme.

[No one would qualify land redistribution in Zimbabwe as 'so-called', unless they are either ignorant or dishonest. Land was redistributed to over 320,000 families. - MrK]

In 2000, the regime of Robert Mugabe violently took over mainly white-owned commercial farms purportedly to resettle the majority blacks.

It, however, turned out that the land had been distributed to Zanu-PF officials and ill-equipped farmers. This, observers say, eventually killed the once-thriving agricultural sector resulting in massive food shortages and the flight of investors much to the detriment of the economy.

Steyn warned; “It is precisely the sort of foolish measure that would cripple South Africa’s agricultural sector. The devastation to the economy that would occur should South African agricultural land be nationalised cannot be underestimated.

“One need only look at the near irreparable economic damage that was caused by the nationalisation of agricultural land in Zimbabwe.”

The DA was in full support of reversing the effects of cruel land dispossession under apartheid and for the injustices to be undone, said Steyn.

She said in DA’s alternative budget proposed the expansion of the budget for Land Reform and Restitution grants by more than 50 percent.

“We have in the past and will continue to argue for a state land reform policy that provides a comprehensive set of proactive measures, with budgetary backing, to tackle the stagnation of land reform in South Africa,” said Steyn.

“Land Reform under the ANC has failed and the administration, inspired by outdated nationalisation dogma, now seems to be looking for a shortcut that will destroy the right to private land ownership – a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and has a Zimbabwe-styled crisis written all over it.”

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(TALKZIMBABWE) ACR diamond mining licence cancelled

ACR diamond mining licence cancelled
By: TH-tzg
Posted: Saturday, March 27, 2010 12:28 pm

THE Government of Zimbabwe has finally cancelled African Consolidated Resources’ Chiadzwa diamonds mining licence after an unsuccessful appeal by the London Stock Exchange listed company.

The news comes as Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu denied having any relations with Mbada Holdings, one of the investors mining in the Marange diamond fields, as had been speculated in certain sections of the media.

Government had, through Secretary for Mines and Mining Development, Mr Thankful Musukutwa, served ACR with a notice to cancel its claims last month arguing that they were pegged in an area reserved against prospecting.

It was Mr Musukutwa’s intention to cancel the licence on March 10, 2010 for this reason. It was also believed that ACR's diamond licence was obtained fraudulently.

President Mugabe this month revealed at a meeting with journalists that ACR had obtained its licence after the flight of DeBeers, who were illegally extracting and exporting diamonds from the Chiadzwa district for 15 years without the knowledge of government.

DeBeers had misinformed government that they were prospecting for the precious mineral, when they were infact mining and exporting it.

"ACR just inherited the claims from DeBeers where they (DeBeers) managed to hide from us information regarding the Chiadzwa diamonds for more than 15 years," said President Mugabe.

“DeBeers was telling us that they were just testing to evaluate whether they were diamonds or not, ivo vachitokumba madiamonds edu kuenda nawo kuSouth Africa (whilst looting those diamonds and taken them to South Africa).

"When we discovered what was happening, DeBeers ran away and ACR inherited the claims.

ACR appealed against the decision by Mr Musukutwa to the minies minister in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act.

After considering ACR’s grounds for appeal, Mpofu on Wednesday cancelled ACR’s title to Marange, reiterating that its claims were pegged in a reserved area.

"I hereby, in accordance with the provisions of Section 50 (4) and (5) of the Act give directions to you and the Secretary that the Certificates of Registration are to be cancelled. In cancelling the Certificates of Registration, no concession is made that the ACR certificates of registration were ever valid," he said.

Mpofu said he was satisfied that Mr Musukutwa had exercised his discretion fairly, reasonably and correctly when he invoked Section 50 of the Mines and Minerals Act.

"The pegging of claims in a reserved area is simply a matter that the Secretary, vested as he is with the duty of overseeing the administration of the ministry, cannot ignore.

"I am satisfied that the grounds detailed in the notice of appeal do not warrant me exercising my discretion in favour of the ACR group in general and the ACR subsidiaries in particular in relation to the certificates of Registration," he said.

Mpofu said ACR had also acquired its claims fraudulently.

"On 19 February 2004 the area more fully described in Reservation Notice number 1518 was declared a Reservation Area with effect 0600hrs on 20 February 2004 . . . The Certificates of Registration are all dated subsequent to the date upon which the Reservation Notice became effective.

"At the time the Certificates of Registration were purportedly registered, the ACR subsidiaries were non existent, and according to the Chief Mining Commissioner, fraudulent misrepresentations were made to the Assistant Mining Commissioner that the ACR subsidiaries were in existence," Mpofu said.

The ACR subsidiaries are Dashaloo Investment, Possession Investments, Olebile Investment and Heavy Stuff Investment.

According to Mpofu, Dashaloo was incorporated on or about 29 June 2006, whereas from the records kept in the Mining Commissioner’s Registry, it appears that Dashaloo registered its claims on 4 April 2006 and 1 June 2006.

Possession was incorporated on or about 29 June 2006, whereas from the records kept in the Mining Commissioner’s Registry it appears that Possession registered its claims on 4 April 2006 and 1 June 2006.

Mpofu says Heavy Stuff was incorporated on or about 14 July 2006 yet from records kept in the Mining Commissioner’s Registry, it appears that Heavy Stuff registered its claims on 19 April 2006 and 1 June 2006.

Olebile was incorporated on or about 29 June 2006 whereas from records at the Mining Commissioner’s registry, it appears Olebile registered its claims on 10 April 2006.

Mpofu said this constituted a breach of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act.

"Section 20 of the Act provides that only a ‘person’ can be granted a prospecting licence. A person in this context refers to a juristic person, so constituted by the act of incorporation or a natural person. At the time of the purported issue of Certificates of Registration, there was no ‘person’ to whom such certificates could be granted," he said.

Mpofu added: "More importantly, Section 61 of the Act provides that every company holding mining rights shall at the time of the registration of the rights, register the name of an accredited agent with the Mining Commissioner.

"If, therefore, the ACR subsidiaries were non existent at the time of the cancellation, they could not have complied with the necessary requirements of the Act, and to the extent that they purport to have complied with the Act, they misrepresented to the Mining Commissioner and the Mining Commissioner acted on that misrepresentation to his prejudice."

Mpofu denied that he had become a party to the disputes saying it was ACR that instituted proceedings against him and that he was forced to defend himself.

He accused ACR of denigrating and vilifying his office and the Government in court proceedings and in various publications across the media around the world.

"It is, in fact, the ACR group which has maliciously circulated the false and misleading reports that I have been instrumental in granting Reclam mining rights over the disputed Marange diamond area.

- Maliciously claimed that I have a relationship with Reclam dating from the time when I served as Minister of Industry and International Trade.

- That I have had personal financial benefit from that relationship, I deny all the allegations relating to bias, specifically, I deny any alleged bias relating to my alleged association with Reclam at Zisco," Mpofu said.

"I have never had any association with Reclam other than in its capacity as a shareholder of Grandwell Holdings Limited, which is, in turn, a shareholder of Mbada Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd. It is common cause that Reclam’s association with Zisco started in the 1990s while I only became a minister in 2005," he added.

Mpofu said all actions by his office were in the national interest adding: "I cannot, and do not have direct or personal interest in this dispute."

He said the onus was on ACR to make valid and founded allegations and to substantiate them by producing cogent proof.

The minister said ACR’s contention of bias in its notice of appeal was without merit.

"I consequently decline to recuse myself," he said.

On Tuesday, Mr Musukutwa wrote to ACR notifying it of the cancellations of its Certificates of Registration by Mpofu.

"As a consequence of my aforesaid cancellation of the Certificates of Registration, the relevant Mining Commissioners shall post upon their respective notice boards a notice giving particulars of the cancellations. The particulars of these cancellations shall be published in the Government Gazette and a newspaper circulating in the relevant mining districts," he said.

ACR boss fears arrest

Meanwhile, ACR boss Mr Andrew Cranswick is currently out of the country on business and is afraid he will be arrested on his return.

The application was filed on Monday and is related to charges stemming from Cranswick’s alleged illegal acquisition of diamonds, including 129 000 carats recovered from the company in 2007.

Cranswick was once arrested over this issue but the Attorney-General declined prosecution pending determination of a wrangle over ownership of the gems.

The 129 000 carats of diamonds are currently kept by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as per a Supreme Court order.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Empowerment critics backward: Mugabe

Empowerment critics backward: Mugabe
27/03/2010 00:00:00

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has dismissed as “backward” those who are opposed to the government’s contentious empowerment legislation and its supporting regulations which took effect at the beginning of March.

Addressing the Zanu PF central committee meeting at the party’s Harare head office on Friday, Mugabe said the controversy surrounding the country’s indigenisation legislation was being fanned by individuals who are content to remain employees in businesses owned by foreigners.

"There are a lot of companies that are being set up in the country but our people still want to be workers and they have never sought to rise above that and become entrepreneurs.

"You are not looking at being the owners of the businesses and when you rise to management levels you get blinkered because that is what the owners want you to be.

“They (foreigners) will continue to be what they have been since 1890, being masters, while you are content to being the chief executive officer,” Mugabe said.

Regulations requiring foreign owned businesses to cede 51 percent of their issued share capital to locals took effect at the beginning of March sparking impassioned debate with some warning that this could hold back the economic recovery by scaring away investors.

The country’s coalition administration appears split along party lines on the issue with President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party supporting the regulations while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party urged a review.

Meanwhile President Mugabe told the Zanu PF central committee meeting that he hoped there were no dissenting voices in his own party over the issue.

"If there are some of us (in Zanu-PF) who oppose it, then they are backward members of the party. Hamudi kuita imi vene venyika? Zvinoshamisa! (Don’t you want to control your country’s resources? It’s Shocking) But I hope they are not many among us who are opposed to the drive,” he said.

Central bank governor Dr Gideon Gono, who is seen as Mugabe’s chief economic adviser, has emerged as one of the key establishment figures to express concern over the regulations.

Dr Gono warned the empowerment issue had been hijacked by individuals with selfish interests and could easily undermine efforts to bring investors into the fledgling economy.

“Let us avoid falling into the trap of being driven by the shrill war-cries and voices of a few who are driving their own private agendas for personal gain in the name of empowerment of the masses. We definitely need to sober up and do what is ultimately in our best interest.

“A balanced and gradual approach has to be followed, ensuring that we maintain the good faith and trust of those investors who are already here, while negotiating our way for more to come in. This is absolute common sense,” Gono was quoted as saying in a local business weekly.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe also bemoaned the minimal indigenous participation in the country’s lucrative resources sector making particular reference to diamond mining.

"Iye zvino tirikutaura ana Chiadzwa, Chimanimani asi hatisati taona (right now we are talking about Chiadzwa and Chimaninimani, but we have not seen) some blacks who have put together their resources to constitute a company to participate in the mining activities.

"We have a lot of geologists vanenge vachingoshandira varungu (who are working for white investors). We have been forced to make a choice between companies that are non-Zimbabwean. Where are the young men we educated over the years?

He said the lack of capital should not hinder locals from starting businesses adding government was ready to offer assistance.

"You should never say ‘hatina mari’ (we don’t have money). Ivo vese vanouya havana mari (most of those coming into the country do not have money either). They come together and look at opportunities of borrowing that exist and indicate that they have the capacity to go into business.

"They do not draw from their pockets but draw from these facilities. Come to us and we can assist you," he said.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe sets sanctions condition in talks

Mugabe sets sanctions condition in talks
26/03/2010 00:00:00

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Friday ruled out any concessions in ongoing negotiations with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party until sanctions imposed by Western countries were removed.

"The sanctions must go. If they don't, there is nothing, no concession we will make. None whatsoever," Mugabe said in an address to members of his party's central committee.

His statements followed representatives from the country's three main political parties working to iron out issues hampering the power-sharing government formed last year by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a splinter from Tsvangirai's MDC party.

The latest round of negotiations came after South African President Jacob Zuma held mediation talks with the three leaders in Harare last week to try to resolve their outstanding issues.

Zuma said his talks had been fruitful and that the parties had agreed to a package of measures to be put in place, but gave no indication of had been agreed or when the measures would be implemented.

The unity government's work has been stalled by haggling over the allocation of key cabinet posts, political violence, Mugabe's unilateral appointment of attorney-general Johannes Tomana and central bank chief Gideon Gono, and Mugabe's refusal to swear in Tsvangirai's aide Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister.

"All the talk about outstanding issues is nonsensical. It's nonsensical for anyone to expect us to move on these issues when we are burdened with sanctions, not only as persons but as a country, that the MDC has asked for," Mugabe said in the speech, which was shown on national television.

"It's the repeated references to Tomana, Gono and Bennett. It has become a song for the MDC. They are not going at all. Tomana and Gono will remain with us."

Mugabe’s comments have put a dampener on talks between Zanu PF and the two factions of the MDC which began Thursday and were continuing Friday through to Monday.

The negotiators would then report to Zuma on March 31, after which Southern Africa Development Community troika chairman Mozambican President Armando Guebuza may call a meeting to discuss the deal.

Guebuza leads the SADC political organ that also involves Swaziland's King Mswati III and Zambian President Rupiah Banda.

Mugabe also he criticised British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for rebuffing a call by Zuma this month to end sanctions on senior government officials and companies.

"Mr Brown must know that there will be no movement if sanctions don't go. The movement must come from him and who is he anyway to talk about that situation," said Mugabe. - Reuters/AFP

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Rupiah, those surrounding him have no capacity to reason – Nawakwi

Rupiah, those surrounding him have no capacity to reason – Nawakwi
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:01 CAT

RUPIAH Banda and those surrounding him have no capacity to reason, opposition FDD president Edith Nawakwi charged yesterday.

And Nawakwi charged that President Banda and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga are running what she described as an ‘animal farm’ where those close to the President were being protected from prosecution, while those on the opposite side were denied justice.

Reacting to a challenge from the MMD for her to explain whether she accompanied President Banda to the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia last year because of allowances, Nawakwi said it was sad that instead of listening to her advice for President Banda to stop travelling aimlessly, those in MMD chose to attack her.

She said President Banda and those surrounding him kept on making glaring mistakes because of the inability to listen to advice from the citizens.

“You don't have the people with the capacity to listen. Rupiah and those surrounding him have no capacity to reason. On my advice on the travels and the one where women are carrying buckets to the hospitals, they would have just said 'yes, we have this problem, and this is how we hope to address it'. But the arguments from MMD shows you that there is no capacity to reason,” Nawakwi said. “I think basically this government is full of people who don't listen, and they want to bury their heads like the ostriches.”

Nawakwi said President Banda had not bothered to even visit the flood victims, save for the public relations trip he took when he returned from his more than 10 days' visit of China.

“If Rupiah and his people want to turn themselves into a despotic government, they only have themselves to blame, which they have done. You know this is the making of despots. If people don't listen, then you know they are doomed to failure. When we advise them that women are carrying buckets to the maternity ward, they say that is politics,” Nawakwi said.

“Has Rupiah Banda, since he came back, even gone to see what is happening at UTH? According to information minister Ronnie Shikapwasha, people are there for a short time and they are dispatched to wards. Unfortunately, people are there for more than 48 hours, sleeping on the floor. And you members of the press are accomplices, you don't show people pictures.”

Nawakwi said on average, President Banda had travelled more since he was elected than Dr Kenneth Kaunda did in his 27-year rule.

“How can you go to a busy country like China and spend 10 days? No wonder when they have nothing to do with you, they send you down a river on a boat, with just an ambassador escorting you because you stayed their generosity,” she said.

On assertions that she should explain if she accompanied President Banda to Ethiopia because of allowances, Nawakwi said she asked if she could buy her own ticket but those in government refused. She said besides that, she was a tax payer and an employer who could manage to buy her own tickets.

“In fact, what I discovered there is shocking. Zambia had the largest delegation of just hang-arounds. The delegation from State House itself is larger than the people who are going to do decent work there,” Nawakwi said.

And Nawakwi charged that Mchenga was still sitting on her case.

She said it was surprising that while it took Mchenga only a few days to issue a go-ahead over the prosecutions of Fr Frank Bwalya, George Mpombo, Mwenya Musenge, Chishimba Kambwili, Mumbi Phiri and Jean Kapata, her case had not been approved for prosecution up to now.

“In fact, I saw that Fr Bwalya was arrested on a Friday and on Monday he was in court, and by Sunday Rupiah Banda was commenting and expressing his disquiet and unhappiness about the conduct of one Fr Bwalya,” Nawakwi said.

“And yet this is the same person, in the same breath who stands up and condons assault and injury to a leader. This is the same person who is wining and dining with the likes of Chris Chalwe.”

Nawakwi said Mchenga had not issued instructions for the prosecution of MMD Lusaka Province youth chairperson Chris Chalwe because President Banda was against the same prosecution.

“Rupiah Banda is running an equivalent of animal farm. So the matter before the DPP is supposed to be expedited, but surprisingly again, they think it will die a natural death. And Rupiah Banda is the one who is sitting on it.

Mchenga knows that under this system of patronage, if he does go against his boss, the next day he will be out of office,” said Nawakwi.

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The rot in public procurement

The rot in public procurement
By Editor
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

PUBLIC procurement is one of the main areas open to abuse and corruption in the country.

This type of corruption and abuse of resources continues to cost the country huge sums of money, which could be ploughed into important sectors such as health and education. It is very clear that people in the public service are not ready to follow procedure and have resorted to shortcuts when it comes to procurement of goods and services. The tender procedures are very clear but in most cases these procedures are ignored with impunity. In other instances, guidelines are followed just for formality because the government already know the company they will award a particular contract.

The concern raised by Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Emmanuel Haachipuka that the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been engaging two companies, Nyiombo and Omnia, to supply fertiliser to the government for the Farmer Input Support Programme for the last seven years requires serious reflection and deep meditation. We say this because this is another example of what form our country’s procurement process has taken. We are not in any way suggesting that these two companies are not qualified to supply fertiliser to the government for whatever purposes. We just think that seven years is a long time and it is difficult to believe that there have been no other players with the capacity to offer the same services, even at a lower cost.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is not an isolated case on this score because several other ministries such as energy, works and supply, education and communications and transport are just as guilty when it comes to engaging suppliers. It is more worrying that the government has actually turned to single sourcing as its preferred mode of procurement in most of these ministries. Deals are being sealed for big projects involving the supply of various goods, services, the construction of infrastructure and many other key works without following proper procedure.

It is not too long ago that the Ministry of Communications and Transport single-sourced RP Capital Partners of Cayman Islands to value Zamtel assets before partial privatisation. Recently, the energy ministry single-sourced a Chinese company to drill boreholes at a disputed cost of US $50 million. At what cost is each borehole going to be sunk?

The country has also faced fuel shortages before as a result of corruption in the procurement process. Even Rupiah Banda on November 11, 2009 was quoted as having said, “...there are a lot of vested interests in the procurement of fuel. Of course there are vested interests and they get upset that we may be interfering with what they have been doing all along.” But Rupiah did not reveal the names of the people behind the vested interests. Rupiah knows these people with vested interests that he talked about.

There is need for the people involved in public procurement in our country’s public service to relook at the manner in which they are doing things. They are using public funds, which are generated from taxes paid by a few of our people that are currently in formal employment. This money can sort out a lot of problems but it ends up in the pockets of a few unscrupulous individuals as kickbacks for facilitating these deals. This is unacceptable and it should not be allowed to continue.

We need to ensure that public service workers adhere to the guidelines set by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) when contracting suppliers of goods and services. ZPPA cannot just be there to rubberstamp deals that are sealed at midnight by the powerful without their involvement. ZPPA cannot just be there to issue statements at press briefings, endorsing certain transactions even when the people in that institution know deep down in their hearts that they have nothing to do with a particular contract. We have seen this happen and it should not be tolerated.

The corruption in procurement is also disadvantaging other companies, which have the capacity to supply goods and services to the government. We have cases where projects that can be handled by small local companies are given to foreigners at a huge cost while in other cases, big contracts are given to companies or friends of the powerful whose briefcase companies’ capacity to deliver is questionable. You cannot have a country where the preoccupation of those running its institutions is to amass wealth, expect kickbacks, cuts and favours in every transaction. It is such corruption that saw this country get genetically modified organism (GMO) maize supplied to the Food Reserve Agency and yet the country does not accept GMO maize. It is such corruption that has led to unnecessary fuel shortages, causing problems in the country’s economic sector.

There is need for those entrusted with the responsibility of discharging public service to be serious and arrest this problem, which seems to be endemic in our country. We will not make any development progress as a country if we do not spend our country’s resources prudently. If the insatiable appetite to seal questionable deals at midnight in exchange for kickbacks, cuts and favours is not addressed, we will continue to lag behind as a country and poverty will continue to ravage our people. No matter how much we publicise the national anti-corruption policy and the implementation plan, corruption will reign if nothing is done to stop it in the various key areas such as procurement. We will continue to talk about unemployment, disease, floods, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, poor healthcare and education services for years to come if Rupiah and his friends do not stop the rot that is going on in procurement. There is clearly a problem and it needs to be addressed.

We need to understand that corruption in procurement impedes economic development, affects the efficiency of public spending, creates waste and affects the quality of service provided and ultimately the quality of life. We cannot continue to take the approach of the ‘the best briber takes the deal’ because this tendency has in some cases led to a situation where policy processes are determined by bribing firms.

We know that contracting is the main way in which any government operates and spends public money. We know that these contracts are the vehicles for implementing public policy but these vehicles should not be used to amass wealth at the expense of poor Zambians. The country’s efficiency in delivering services and ensuring development to the people will largely depend on how much we control corruption in procurement and it is possible to do this. Our continued talk about development and fighting corruption will continue for years if no practical steps are taken to fight the abuse of public resources in the government. We will continue reversing the gains that the country has recorded if we do not stop the rhetoric and act on this cancerous vice, this abuse of public funds. Like someone once said, in all our efforts to develop the country, we will be “trying to take off at the end of history’s runway” if corruption and abuse of resources is not curbed.

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NUCIW condemns govt stance on fertiliser tenders

NUCIW condemns govt stance on fertiliser tenders
By Florence Bupe
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE National Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers (NUCIW) has condemned the government’s stance on the awarding of tenders for the supply of fertiliser to Omnia and Nyiombo Investments over the past seven years.

Commenting on concerns raised by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the government has been favouring the two companies in the awarding of contracts to supply fertiliser meant for peasant farmers under the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP), union president Seth Paradza said he could not agree more with the committee.

He said it was surprising that Omnia and Nyiombo had continued to be the only suppliers of fertiliser even after proof had been shown that Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) had the capacity to produce higher grade fertiliser at a lower cost.

“We agree with the PAC chair Emmanuel Hachipuka on the worries that only two companies have been awarded the fertiliser supply contracts for the past seven years. There is clearly something sinister happening behind the scenes,” he said.

Paradza said the NCZ technical team had convened a meeting with former agriculture minister Dr Brian Chituwo at which the concern in question was raised.

“We had challenged Dr Chituwo to give us an explanation on how the two companies have continued to be picked to supply fertiliser when there was actually a season in which they failed to deliver 100 per cent of what was required,” Paradza said.

“Dr Chituwo expressed surprise as well and told us it could be because Nyiombo and Omnia were smarter than the rest of us (NCZ).”

Paradza described the explanations given to PAC by agriculture authorities as annoying, unsatisfactory and untrue.

He disclosed that another meeting was held with the ministry director of agribusiness Green Mboozi on February 23 this year to try and resolve NCZ’s production impasse.

“We had a meeting on February 23 with the director- agribusiness at which we made comparisons between the imported fertiliser and the locally produced one. It was proved that comparatively, our fertiliser quality was higher and cost effective. I don’t, therefore, see why government can’t work towards strengthening the capacity of NCZ instead of undercutting the institution,” he noted.

Paradza said if the financial muscle of NCZ was strengthened, the manufacturing plant would be able to produce and supply fertiliser to the government, and ultimately create employment for local people.

And Isoka West member of parliament Paul Sichamba disclosed that there was an existing cartel by Omnia and Nyiombo against any other company to bring in fertiliser from Saudi Arabia.

“We are aware the Omnia and Nyiombo have arrived at a decision that no other Zambian company can import fertiliser from Saudi Arabia for sale here in Zambia. I would like to urge the ministry of agriculture to look into this matter so that we break the monopoly of fertiliser supply that do not benefit the country at all,” said Sichamba.

Earlier this week, PAC questioned the government’s continued awarding of contracts to supply fertiliser under FISP to Nyiombo and Omnia annually for the past seven years.

Hachipuka said it was worrying that the government had continually awarded contracts to the two companies despite the unfavourable conditions attached.
Hachipuka said the trend was holding Zambians to ransom and suffocating agriculture efforts.

In response to the concerns, agriculture permanent secretary Dr Abednigo Banda claimed that the two companies continued getting the tenders for the fertiliser supply because they were the only ones that had been meeting the tender requirements through the years.

This comment unsettled Lukashya member of parliament Alfrida Mwamba who said it was impossible that Omnia and Nyiombo should be the only ones meeting the tender requirements for so many years without other players learning the ropes.

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Muyanda takes govt to task over Zambian Airways probe

Muyanda takes govt to task over Zambian Airways probe
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:01 CAT

SINAZONGWE UPND member of parliament Raphael Muyanda yesterday took the government to task over its silence on the outcome of investigations into the operations of Zambian Airways.

And his Siavonga counterpart Douglas Siakalima asked Vice-President George Kunda to tell parliament whether or not as government they had regretted having secured a conviction against Frederick Chiluba and others in the London High Court.

During the Vice-President's Question and Answer session in parliament, Muyanda asked Vice-President George Kunda whether or not the pronounced investigations were meant to embarrass the owners of the defunct airline, especially that it had been over a year since the investigations were instituted.

"I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, what has happened to the case of Zambian Airways? Was it meant to merely embarrass the owners of that airline since the nation has not been told anything about the outcome of those investigations? Why not apologise as government to the owners of Zambian Airways and allow them to continue operating because Zambians still need the services of Zambian Airways?" Muyanda asked.

In his response, Vice-President Kunda maintained the usual statement that the matter was still under investigation.

"The matter is still under investigation in Zambia and abroad. As you know a lot of tax payers money is the subject of investigation, as how it got into Zambian Airways. Police and other law enforcement agencies are still looking into this matter and as soon as these investigations are concluded, the nation will be informed," Vice President Kunda explained.

"We may all know that offshore investigations take time to conclude; the matter has not been closed. As you know, billions of Kwacha went into Zambian Airways and the people of Zambia deserve to know how it was used. If anything is found after investigations, appropriate measures will be taken. The airline closed on its own and we are following up on the issue of recovering public funds."

And Vice-President Kunda could neither deny nor confirm that his government has regretted securing a conviction against Chiluba in the London High Court.

Responding to Siakalima's question, Vice-President Kunda simply said: "The simple answer is that, that issue is subjudice."

In May 2007, the London High Court found Chiluba liable of defrauding the Zambian people.

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KCM backtracks on suppliers quality management system

KCM backtracks on suppliers quality management system
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Thu 25 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has rescinded its decision to compel all its suppliers to have in place quality management systems (QMS) before they can be registered for contracts.

And Kitwe District Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KDCCI) president Berry Mwango has said KCM has agreed to proposals to conduct quality certification training for selected companies that mainly feed into the production line of the mining company.

Recently, KCM wanted to extend its QMS to its vendors (suppliers) and would- be vendors in line with requirements of International Standards Organisations (ISO) 9001:2008 quality standards to which KCM is certified.

KCM had argued that it would be easier to validate compliance as the system to be implemented would be compatible with the KCM scenario as it would have demonstrated conformity to ISO 9001 quality standards thereby retaining its certification and continue to contribute positively to the national economy.

“If your organisation is not certified to the quality standard, at least one member of the organisation must be trained in QMS from a recognised institution through your own arrangement. Thereafter vendors will be allowed to trade with KCM and vendors who shall have no representative trained at the time of the expiry period will be on standby until the requirement is fulfilled and vendors seeking registration for the first time must fulfill requirements before they can be registered,” KCM stated.

But following a series of meetings with stakeholders such as KDCCI, KCM changed its mind to have compulsory certification on quality standards by all its suppliers.

In an interview, Mwango said quality should not be compromised at any cost and quality certification should be a continuous process among industry players.

“But some suppliers don’t need it. For example, it will not make sense to compulsory certify all suppliers including those who provide cleaning services or landscaping. We need certification but it should mainly apply to companies that feed into the production line of KCM or those involved in the core business of the mines like suppliers of explosives, pumps and related equipment,” said Mwango.

“In this line, we made a proposal to KCM and they agreed to conduct a certification training for about 100 companies, especially those that participate in the core business of the mines so that suppliers can perform better and KCM will benefit more. But we advise our members to enhance quality training on their own and not wait for it to be compulsory.”

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‘Poverty has continued to bite Zambia’

‘Poverty has continued to bite Zambia’
By Henry Sinyangwe
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

POVERTY has continued to bite Zambia despite the positive economic indicators, transport and communications minister Prof Geoffrey Lungwangwa has said.

During the 44th Annual General Meeting of the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) yesterday, Prof Lungwangwa said this was not healthy as it bred bad vices which did not encourage investment thereby leading to abject poverty.

“You will agree with me that poverty has continued to bite our nation despite the positive economic indicators,” he said.

“This is in turn not healthy for the employers and workers alike, because the situation breeds insecurity, crime and other evils all of which do not encourage investment but instead driving it away thereby completing the vicious circle which in turn results into abject poverty.”

Prof Lungwangwa urged the private sector to create more jobs so as to ameliorate the impacts of the global economic crisis.

He said the government would continue to provide an enabling environment for business to attract investors who would retain their investment in Zambia.

Prof Lungwangwa said there was need for all employers to join the Zambia Federation of Employers as it would enhance social dialogue and allow the government deal directly with their concerns and interests.

And ZFE president Dr George Chabwera said labour inspection was a critical tool for the implementation of labour laws.

He said many employers violated labour laws because they were not being inspected by officers from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security due to inadequate resources.

And Dr Chabwera said it was necessary for the economy to be robust in order to accommodate over 300,000 annual new entrants on the job market.

Dr Chabwera said this could only be achieved with an annual growth rate of over 80 per cent hence the need to make Zambia the most preferred investment destination.

He said there was need for the government to reintroduce apprenticeship training as it would address the core issue of basic skills that had resulted in the importation of such skills.

Dr Chabwera said ZFE was concerned that up to now the country did not have adequate provisions for social security.

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Zim economic recovery has improved – IMF

Zim economic recovery has improved – IMF
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Fri 26 Mar. 2010, 20:30 CAT

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Zimbabwe’s economic recovery has improved although it still remains threatened by the absence of significant policy implementation.

An IMF mission led by Vitaliy Karamarenko that visited Zimbabwe between March 3 and 17 to conduct the 2010 Article IV consultation discussions stated on Wednesday that following a decade of severe economic decline, there was improvement in the economy.

“In 2009, following a decade of economic decline and hyperinflation during 2007–08, policies improved significantly. The multi-currency system adopted in early 2009 helped restore price stability, restart financial intermediation, and impose fiscal discipline by precluding the option of budget deficit monetisation,” Karamenko stated.

“Budget revenue increased significantly, which helped finance improved delivery of public services, while the fiscal position was broadly balanced. Price and exchange system liberalisation improved allocation of resources and availability of goods in the domestic markets. In response to better policies, short-term capital inflows and FDI increased in 2009. All these positive steps have supported a nascent economic recovery.”

But Karamenko stated that the country’s resurgence would be threatened in the absence of sound policy implementation.

“However, the economic recovery remains fragile and domestic and external imbalances are building up; therefore, significant policy challenges need to be addressed without delay,” he stated.

The IMF stated that the Zimbabwean government needed to ensure that sufficient budgetary allocations were made to critically important infrastructure rehabilitation projects and social programs supporting vulnerable groups while maintaining a fiscal stance consistent with macroeconomic stability.

“To this end, budgetary expenditures need to be better prioritised and the central government wage bill needs to be reduced as a share of revenues, including through the elimination of ghost workers based on the results of the on-going payroll audit. The multi-currency system, which the authorities have decided to maintain until 2012, will provide a strong nominal anchor,” Karamenko stated.

Karamenko called for an increase in donor assistance to Zimbabwe, as the country struggles to win international support to secure the US$10 billion needed to restore the economy to its original levels.

“Zimbabwe remains heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs of its population. Continuing efforts to strengthen relations with the international community and attracting increased donor assistance, in particular in the areas of health, education, and critical infrastructure, would help improve the living conditions of ordinary Zimbabweans,” Karamenko stated.

He stated that the IMF would continue to maintain a close policy dialogue and provide targeted technical assistance in the context of regular visits.
Recently, the IMF restored Zimbabwe’s voting rights.

During the recent visit, the IMF mission met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, finance minister Tendai Biti, economic development minister Elton Mangoma, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono, and other senior government officials, as well as representatives of the diplomatic and business communities, and civil society organisations and labour unions.

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Sata, HH are miserable and frustrated politicians – Rupiah

Sata, HH are miserable and frustrated politicians – Rupiah
By Chibaula Silwamba in Mazabuka
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:01 CAT

MICHAEL Sata and Hakainde Hichilema are miserable and frustrated politicians, President Rupiah Banda charged yesterday. And President Banda declared that he is going to fight hard to retain the Presidency next year.

Meanwhile, President Banda wondered why Fr Frank Bwalya was still a priest when in fact he was supposed to have been removed over his statement on Radio Icengelo after the 2008 presidential by-elections.

Speaking on arrival at Munali Nickel Mine where he officiated at the mine's reopening, President Banda said Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata and UPND's Hakainde Hichilema were frustrated because they had tried but lost elections for the Presidency.

“Have I ever insulted anybody here? How many times am I insulted every day? Many times! A red card should be shown against Mr Sata and Mr Hakainde. They are the ones who are breaking the rules of our politics in this country,” President Banda said.

“I understand them. To a certain extent they are frustrated, they are miserable because they have tried so hard to be President of this country and each time you the Zambian people have rejected them. Mr Sata has failed three times, Mr Hakainde has failed twice and now he wants to go again and fail the third time.”

President Banda urged the people of Southern Province to reject the PF-UPND Pact.

“You reject the Pact. Why should the UPND go into a Pact with a person you rejected in the last election?” President Banda asked.

“I am the first President of this country since independence to come from Eastern Province. The late president, my dear brother the late Mwanawasa was the first president from the Central Province to become president. He did not complete his 10 years of tenure because of death. I have only been President for one year. Does it not make sense to anybody that we follow the pattern of our Constitution, we follow the pattern of our predecessors that if somebody is the President he must become the President for the full tenure?”

President Banda said Sata was duping the people of Southern Province to support his 2011 presidential candidature.

“I am sure that the people of Southern Province would like one day to produce a President for this country and you are entitled to. You have good children here, well educated, hard working. You too must produce a President one day for this country. But you have been duped; you have been invited to participate in blocking me from completing my tenure as President. You are being duped by Mr Sata who is telling your president, president of UPND that he must join him so that in 2011 they must produce a president. But surely is that fair to me? No!” President Banda said.

“I am going to stand for elections in 2011. I am going to fight; I am going to appeal to the conscience of the Zambian people to give me and my party a chance to fulfill our mandate and to fulfill our development plan for this country.”

President Banda condemned Fr Bwalya for championing the red card campaign against him.

“The politics being introduced in this country by those who are following Mr Sata like Fr Bwalya who are saying you must produce a red card. In football when you produce a red card it means that that player must leave,” President Banda said.

“Is it in our Constitution that a President must leave by a red card? What have I done wrong to deserve this so-called Fr Bwalya, I said so-called because he was supposed to have been removed when he was using Radio Icengelo to stop other people. Whose Father is he?”

President Banda urged people in Mazabuka to rally behind the MMD and his candidature.

“I invite the people of the Southern Province to join us; our chairman for the province for the MMD here Mr Solomon Muzyamba, Honourable minister for the Province Daniel Munkombwe are inviting you to join the government. It is not fair that every time you are talking you have to be referring to the people of Southern Province as if they were tribalists. And I know you are not tribalists. That is why so many people are living in your villages. So many people are living in Mazabuka, they are living in Kalomo, Monze, in Livingstone because the people of the Southern Province are not tribalists,” President Banda said.

“I don't want people coming to you to teach you tribalistic politics. Join the rest of us and let us together develop this country. You know why you should join MMD? Because the MMD is the party for the whole country.”

President Banda bragged that during the 2008 elections he beat Hichilema in Livingstone, the provincial capital of Southern Province.

“Look at the famous map of the last elections, it will show you that the support of the MMD is in the whole country. Even here in Southern Province, we received a lot of votes. The only thing is that we didn't get the majority. Many people in Southern Province voted for the MMD. But the other political parties like your leader has led you to, to join Mr Sata's PF, it's a tribal party. Look at the map and you will see that the majority of his supporters only come from his province,” President Banda said.

“I can stand here and say, 'I was elected by the Southern Province'. Even in Livingstone, I beat Mr Hakainde, the president of the UPND. The people of this province supported me.”

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Vatican backs Mpundu

Vatican backs Mpundu
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 27 Mar. 2010, 04:02 CAT

THE Vatican Embassy and all Catholic Bishops in Zambia have expressed complete solidarity and support to Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu.

In a statement yesterday, The Pope's representative in Zambia Archbishop Nicola Girasoli (left) stated that the Vatican together with all Catholic Bishops of Zambia, the clergy, the male and female religious congregations, the Catholic Laity Institutions of Zambia, in this moment of spiritual suffering of the Archbishop of Lusaka expressed complete solidarity and support to him (Archbishop Mpundu) in his pastoral ministry as Archbishop of Lusaka.

Archbishop Girasoli stated that he had never met anybody or any group of the 'Catholics' claiming to have delivered a petition to The Pope against the Catholic Archbishop of Lusaka.

The Zambia Daily Mail on Friday carried a story entitled 'Pope given ultimatum' where they quoted one Edmond Zulu, group spokesperson for 'some members of the Catholic church' giving an ultimatum to the Vatican to respond to their request to remove Archbishop Mpundu as head of the Lusaka Diocese for allegedly tarnishing its image.

Zulu was quoted as having said that if the Pope failed to discipline Archbishop Mpundu within seven days, they would go ahead and demonstrate at the Vatican Embassy in Lusaka.

But Archbishop Girasoli stated that the so-called petition against Archbishop Mpundu was delivered to the Apostolic Nuncio by the officers of the police service who were doing their appreciated job of protecting the premises of the Vatican Embassy and not directly by the so-called 'concerned Catholics'.

"The people who gathered before the Apostolic Nunciature-Vatican Embassy on Friday, March, 19, 2010 are not known to any Catholic Institution of Zambia," Archbishop Girassoli stated.

He said the Catholic Church as a Universal Church has its own rules and norms based on more then 2,000 years of tradition and were duly collected in the Code of Canon Law.

Archbishop Girasoli stated that any kind of genuine action or claim in the Catholic Church should be sustained by the procedures indicated by Canon Law.

"The Apostolic Nunciature-Vatican Embassy at the beginning of the Holy Week, invites all Catholics of Zambia in union with their Bishops to pray more so that in this beloved country of Zambia can be strengthened the unity through diversity and the mutual respect and dialogue with all different beliefs, cultures and opinions," stated Archbishop Mpundu.

The Lusaka Archbishop has in the recent past come under attack from the government, the MMD and some quarters of society including former president Frederick Chiluba for speaking out on various issues.

In a letter of petition presented to the Vatican Ambassador to Zambia, the alleged concerned Church members from Chainda and Kamanga parishes called for the immediate removal of Archbishop Mpundu for allegedly issuing alarming statements in the press.

They also called on the Pope to issue a public apology on behalf on Catholic Church over Archbishop Mpundu's attitude towards the government.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Interview: Gono on Indigenisation

Interview: Gono on Indigenisation
26/03/2010 00:00:00

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono spoke to the Financial Gazette's Editor in Chief Hama Saburi about his views on Zimbabwe's indigenisation laws and a wide range of other subjects. This is the full interview:

Hama Saburi: Last month, the government gazetted the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which among other things, compels foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent of their stakes to blacks. Many people are not disputing its objective but are not happy with its timing, methodology style and approach. What’s your position?

Gideon Gono: While national calendars and sovereign debates should never be dictated to by outsiders, it is an act of madness for a family to engage in domestic quarrels at a time when the whole village is up and about its business; more so when they are working around the borders of your household.

By this I mean that it is less than 90 days before the FIFA World Cup soccer showcase in South Africa opens, and between June 11 to almost a month after July 11 southern Africa in general and Zimbabwe and South Africa in particular are going to be under the focus of over 30 billion viewers the world over.

And as is common cause, the accompanying media is not going to focus on the soccer event 24/7, as that would be boring to the diversity of viewers out there. Therefore the media is going to be compelled by natural forces of curiosity to be focusing on Zimbabwe.

How better it would be focusing on a country that is experiencing a breath of fresh air in terms of tranquility, unity of purpose, business confidence and general cohesiveness, as is being shown by our principals to the inclusive government.

It is the kind of unanimity of voices that is emanating from the President, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on such issues as sanctions, for instance, that the world must hear, that the 30 billion viewers out there must hear and not the throwing of stones and acts — whether real or imagined — of trying to dispossess one another of this and that.

Zimbabweans, and the world at large, have been witnesses to the futility of trying to rebuild their economy in an environment of pointless conflict and therefore should know better that some battles are better solved behind closed doors than through megaphone diplomacy.

I know like very few men and women know in this country how delicate the economy is to aspects of negative sentiment and perception. I know, like no other governor in this country know, how difficult it is to achieve sustainable economic development in an environment of conflict between major stakeholders, in particular business, government, labour and the civil society.

Business needs labour and cannot succeed if it is engaged in battle with its government. Government, on the other hand, needs business and cannot succeed in an environment of acrimony between itself and business or a section of business. The same goes for labour and the civil society. The best economic ambassador of any country is the business community, while governments are the best creators and facilitators of sound, safe and secure operating environments.

With labour coming in to support both government and business with its expertise which we call intellectual, physical and sweat capital, civil society, which include the academia, the clergy, the media and others, come into this equation. They play a watchdog role and provide the psychological, emotional, religious and feel good factor, which is very necessary in any society. There is also the aspect of bringing controversy on ourselves no sooner than after the country held successful investment promotion conferences where at various assurances were given by the country's leadership regarding the sanctity and safety of investment. The last six months have seen a flood of interest in the economy from both friends and foes and we must not disturb the momentum by being reckless, inconsistent and self-contradictory with our pronouncements or with what we say or do.

Another mis-timing relates to the general global economic climate. You don't shoot yourself in the foot during a time of scarce capital availability neither do you start any new wars before concluding battles of yesteryear.
This will lead to spreading the troops too thinly over a wider spectrum of vulnerable fronts that require guard with potential for unintended and opposite outcomes and consequences reminiscent of the June 2007 price blitz.

HS: As the RBZ governor what do you think of this law in general?

GG: We must realise that the subject of indigenisation and empowerment is in fact intrinsically a supreme debate that has its roots in the Constitution. When one looks at the Constitution of Zimbabwe and look at who is being defined as Zimba-bwean, one sees the coverage of black Zimbabweans, Indians, and mixed races that are also Zimbabweans. This inclusivity and diversity dictates that we de-politicise both the constitutional-making process, and we must also de-politicise the indigenisation and empowerment process itself. We must consider objective facts that shun racial discrimination or political polarities that do not move the country forward.

We must achieve the desired outcome of empowering the majority of Zimbabweans through smart, and innovative ways that maximise the overall benefits to Zimbabwe without throwing the wheels and engines of economic stabilisation, recovery and growth off balance.

HS: You seem to be critical without offering any alternatives. What are you offering as an alternative?

GG: It has to be appreciated that it is the prerogative of politicians to come up with policies that are popular with their electorate — after all politics is a game of numbers. It is he who gets the greater number of votes who then occupies the position of political authority in any country and therefore is entitled to craft policies that delivers according to their manifestos.

I am not being critical of the legitimate right of government but what I am saying is that our legislators as well as government, having come up with what they have come up with, should, in my view, step back and let technocrats implement that vision in a less disruptive manner as possible.

In other words, our political leaders should accept technocratic suggestions that attempt to achieve a fine balance between the objectives of indigenisation and the need to attract and retain foreign direct investment in magnitudes that promote a quick turn around of the country's economy, sustainable growth and balanced geographical development, while being respectful of the natural dictates and demands of capital and financial markets.

The position that I am advocating is not different from what I advocated through my Monetary Policy Statement of October 1 2007, Page 80 to 82; I quote: “As monetary authorities, we fully support the noble objective of empowering the majority of Zimbabweans through the introduction of enabling statutes that expand wider involvement of the people in the mainstream economy.

“Noble as this objective is, however, our well considered advice to legislators and government in general is that a fine balance should be struck between the objectives of indigenisation and the need to attract foreign capital.

“Specifically, the local-foreign ownership thresholds must be taken and implemented as down the horizon targets, as opposed to excitable but impractical overnight conversion events…Where foreign investors bring in clear long-term benefits to the country, a reasonable degree of flexibility ought to be exercised in allowing investors to hold, at least in the initial stages, majority shareholding so as to deliberately accord them escalated dividends that enable them to plough back their initial investment outlays.

“As monetary authorities, we also call upon government to ensure that the empowerment drive is not derailed by a few well connected cliques, some who are already making the most noise in ostensible support of this initiative, who would want to amass wealth to themselves in a starkly greedy but irresponsible manner, while the intended majority remain with nothing as happened in the past with respect to government empowerment schemes such as the land reform programme.

“In the world of finance, it is a recognisable fact that capital is a timid commodity, which always stands ready to jump ship at the slight inclination of attack whether factual or perceived…Of particular concern to us, as the monetary authorities, would be any attempts to forcibly push the envelop of indigenisation into the delicate area of banking and finance. To this end, we call upon those with interests in the financial sector to approach the central bank with their applications for new banking licenses. We will allow them 100 percent ownership as opposed to 51 percent. These applications will, however, be subjected to vigorous vetting, in line with the Reserve Bank’s normal pre-licensing scrutiny, as opposed to any inclination towards unstructured interventions into the shareholding of the sector.

“Generally we believe that 27 years down the road, there should be no free lunches as such.”

My heart is heavy that this advice was not listened to, as over two years down the road the controversies around this issue are deepening as opposed to abating.

HS: Are you therefore saying the law will not apply to Stanbic Bank, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, CABS and MBCA Bank which are foreign controlled?

GG: First and foremost, it is imperative that as a country we appreciate that Zimbabwe, like any other sovereign nation the world over, cannot hope to succeed in the global financial landscape by running contrary to and against the progressive dissolution of geographic borders in the realms of money and capital markets, as well as trade and commerce in general. The past two or so decades have seen global financial markets being closely intertwined, such that market players interface with one another across sub-regions and continents.

For instance, those in the financial hubs of China in Beijing and Shangai engage in multi-billion daily trades with those in New York, London, the Euro area, Australia, Canada, the Middle East and the rest of us here in Africa. In other words, the global financial landscape epitomises the efficiency gains that come with oneness and conformity with basic principles and conventions that respect private property and honour financial obligations on both spot and forward contracts. It is this oneness, and universality in the global financial markets that enable countries and companies to scout for strategic financial support in regional and international markets to benefit their own backyards.Against this background, the concepts of indigenisation and empowerment need to be handled and managed with extreme caution when dealing with the financial sector. If it is agreed that the financial sector serves as any country’s umbilical chord with the rest of the world's money and capital markets, then the indigenisation and empowerment model in that sector must be crafted and implemented in a manner that optimises that country’s possibilities of tapping into international money and capital markets.

Accordingly, therefore, the firm policy position of the Reserve Bank is that all existing foreign owned banks must be left under their current parentage ownership to optimise on the capacity of the domestic economy to penetrate international financial markets.

To all the fellow indigenous individuals or companies that aspire to be empowered by penetrating the financial sector, the Reserve Bank stands ready to appraise their fresh applications for bank licenses which would ensure indigenous new applicants not even 51 percent but 100 percent of their new entities once the applications meet the inescapable requirements that we enforce statutorily to guarantee stability in the financial sector.

The public has to appreciate that no individual or company can climb the ladder to financial success with one’s hands in the pockets. To open and run a bank, it requires explicit minimum conditions that cannot be avoided, given the intricate linkages between the financial sector and the rest of the economy.

The position is, therefore, that the institutions you name, that is Stanbic, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered, MBCA, CABS will not see the central bank seeking to dilute or disrupt current shareholdings unless of course if it is a voluntary manifestation of their own internal strategic planning processes.

Just to reiterate for double emphasis, we are saying that those itching to go into banking must feel free to apply for their fresh licenses, which they will own 100 percent.

HS: Banks are expected to play a central role in bankrolling empowerment transactions. Given the difficult conditions prevailing in the banking sector in particular and the country in general, are banks ready for this challenge?

GG: We will cross the bridge when we get there. But what has to be appreciated is that the collapse of a bank has wider consequences than an individual non-banking institution, so a one-size-fits all ownership structure is not an option that we will support. The nation must also appreciate that banks on their own do not necessarily create wealth that is divorced from the actual economic activity on the ground.

What this means is that the financial sector in any country is essentially a mirror image of the health levels in the real sectors of the economy.

I can confirm that to the extent possible, the financial sector in Zimbabwe will continue to play its part in supporting the country’s developmental programmes. This support is already happening in the form of increased lending levels, following our moral suasion and strong calls on banks to move away from the rigidities and aversions that had been bred by the excruciating hyperinflationary environment that characterised our economy over the 2007-2008 period.

Banking is a unique field that requires unique structures. Some people would want to mischievously equate and interpret the land reform type of indigenisation as the one that should, must and could be applied to other sectors of the economy.

Well, that will be the final nail to this economy and nothing of that sort should be allowed.

To that effect, we as technocrats are not going to be lazy in thinking. We shall assist our political masters in fulfilling the noble objective of empowering the majority of our people. I believe that we have got technocrats with workable ideas in the chicken industry, which is what I know best, banking, manufacturing, retail, infrastructural development, IT, tourism, mining to name but a few.

What is accepted as PPP (Public Private Sector Partnership) can be turned into a PPIP — Public Private Sector Indigenisation Partnership. Those who want to know more can engage the governor.

But it (PPIP) basically involves the inclusions of Zimbabweans or previously disadvantaged Zimbabweans into the mainstream of every economic activity undertaken by government, parastatals, local authorities, the private sector etcetera in the supply chain management and involves such concepts as outsourcing, mentorships, alliances and franchising empowerment programmes as opposed to the current approach advocated for by the Indigenisation law which seem to focus on empowerment at the bottomline level of profit and dividends, which are a very small fraction of the economic cake of government, local authorities, parastatals and private companies’ activities. That is PPIP my friend. I am prepared to engage the nation in that regard.

PPIPs are also suitable for such programmes as geographical gender-specific empowerment initiatives that can easily be monitored and are aligned to the natural endowment of specific provinces as well as gender and age distribution, which takes into account the majority of women and the youths across the country as opposed to a select few and connected individuals. We must also learn from the experiences of other countries. In South Africa for instance, industry specific black economic empowerment charters were developed and there exist in that country mining, petroleum, maritime, tourism and financial services charters. The transport, construction, health, cosmetics and wine sectors have also developed and tailor-made charters to suit their particular industries.

For example, the financial sector charter represents, banking, insurance, the stock exchange, fund managers and brokerage firms, while the ICT sector has a charter of its own that was developed by the ICT community in conjunction with the government. In the transport, construction, wine, tourism, health and cosmetics sectors, specific guidelines and commitments were developed encompassing even the pharmaceutical sector, care providers and retail. So a one-size-fits all as seems to be envisaged by the current legislation is a high hanging skirt that could lead to the commissioning of crime by those without self-control. Is that what you want especially when you have 30 billion people looking at you?

In short, therefore, we have got ‘a job of work to do’ to assist our country move forward in an all encompassing manner.

HS: It appears there is a lot of confusion in the country about what really constitutes indigenisation and empowerment. Some argue that empowerment should come by way of indigenisation, which is all about equity issues, while others say it is better off coming by way of increasing opportunities for entrepreneurship and access to finance. How do you relate the two — empowerment and indigenisation?

GG: From first principles, Economic Development can be defined as the general upliftment of the standards of living for the majority of a country’s people over time.

Indicators that are usually used to track these time-dynamics in an economy include access to clean water; availability of food; access to high quality health services; availability and functionality of infrastructural pivots such as roads, railway networks, electricity supply, coal, as well as other social amenities and educational facilities, among several other variables.

The more a country has, the majority of its people gaining ready access to these imperative facets of humanity’s existence, including the guarantees to national territorial integrity, sovereignty, human rights and individual freedoms, and freedom of association to its people, the more that country is deemed to be developed. To my mind, therefore, the real relevant factor and guiding principle must lie in what as a country we must do to successively elevate the quality of life for our people.

The above point may seem subtle per se but it is profoundly far-reaching. In America and Europe for instance, we saw very large corporates and banks failing during the now somewhat thawing global financial crisis.
These multiple collapses did bring intolerable pain and anguish to men and women, including children and vulnerable groups that depended on income streams from these failed entities. The lesson here is that ownership of capital or a corporate is by no means guarantee that that corporate will withstand the cruel and chilly winds of global competition in the new world order.

If we pose and think deeply and soberly about this, we will find that rather than exclusively focusing on ownership of the existing cake of private equity, real, and meaningful empowerment can be achieved through other iterations that are less disruptive.

HS: What sort of empowerment model would you wish to see in Zimbabwe?

GG: I want to reiterate that what we must preoccupy ourselves with is finding ways to trigger and attain broad-based general improvement in the quality of life for the majority of Zimbabweans; men, women, children, the youth and vulnerable groups characterising our society.

Accordingly, therefore, we must try and resist the lure of and the aroma and tempting opium of empowerment models that are driven by hate, racialism, greed by a few or absolute myopia on how the worlds of international trade, money and capital markets and the global economy in general functions and react to the interventions that national governments implement.Without suggesting that one alternative is the be it all, I want to argue, probably in a very thought provoking way that the most effective empowerment model is one that focuses more on giving the majority of the people access to capital and exposure to entrepreneurial self-growth, as opposed to overnight assimilations into existing structures.

I say this for the following three incontestable reasons: To acquire, say 51 percent of something that is legitimately privately owned, one must have the financial capacity to do so. Money is needed, otherwise what would end up happening is naked expropriation which, as you will agree with me, we must avoid by all means.

With a population of around 13 million people, not all Zimbabweans can feasibly end up in companies. Only a few will be able to do so; and in each individual company’s financial flows, 70-95 percent is spend on such areas as raw material procurement, financing charges, employment costs, utilities and other operating overheads. This leaves about 5-30 percent in profits, which only typically come right at the end of each corporate’s financial year. The typical revenue and expenditure cycle, therefore unequivocally suggests that a more effective model of empowerment is one that sets thresholds or benchmarks on companies, particularly government ministries and parastatals to procure from indigenous suppliers. This would create wealth for the majority of our people.

Through this, the targeted indigenous groups will be empowered through the existence of ready markets for their products, as opposed to clamoring for the smaller cake of 5-30 percent in profits that come once a year. It is a fact that every day each company in the productive sectors spends money on raw materials, utilities and other overheads. Where the empowerment model is one that stipulates thresholds of companies sourcing from indigenous suppliers, there will be empowerment on a daily basis, as opposed to exclusively limiting empowerment through dividends that come to those few who would end up owning the scrambled existing smaller cake.

By advocating for this procurement-linked alternative, which is much more broad-based and potent in reaching out to empower more people, I am not completely ruling out the admissibility and importance of smart partnerships and win-win joint ventures between locals and foreign investors. These should be encouraged in line with international best practices on capital flows management and under formulations that see the so set corporates having internal social responsibility programmes that benefit the locals through such schemes as PPPs in infrastructure development.

HS: After the so-called land grab, international investors are concerned the same may happen in other sectors of the economy. For instance, terms such as “expropriation” and “nationalisation” have been used to describe government’s proposition to indigenise the mining and other sectors. Is indigenisation not a threat to property rights and foreign direct investment?

GG: I would not want to be drawn into the emotive intricacies of the land reform programme, especially given that the inclusive government has unanimously declared that this programme is irreversible.

What I can say, however, is that there is a vast difference between the building blocks for the case for the land reform programme and those which ought to be deployed when dealing with private capital inflows, some of which capital came in even from our friends within the SADC region in the context of the current moves towards regional economic and financial integration. Whereas the soul of the land reform programme was the need to reverse and correct the injustices of the colonial past where, as history attests clearly, our forefathers and mothers were disposed of their land without compensation, the same cannot be blindly said about foreign investments that we as a country canvassed for in the SADC region, from the rest of Africa and from all over the World, including the East.

Take for instance, foreign investments in the mining, manufacturing, tourism, banking and afro-processing sectors that came in as a result of deliberate government investment attraction programmes. We will be shooting ourselves in the foot if we turn a blind eye to the giant leap of faith that these investors deposited in our government by bringing in their hard-earned financial resources to create jobs and produce goods and services for our country and go ahead to blindly push for the 49/51 percent rule without carefully looking at areas needing flexibility. As I said earlier, there is a considerable need for us to meticulously look at various alternative formulations that achieve empowerment without penalising the country’s image and attractiveness as an investment destination.

Going back to the land issue you raised, I am a firm believer in the concept of some kind of a land tax so as to motivate people to utilise their pieces of land. Those who leave their fields idle would find it hard to pay the taxes, which would persuade them to give up some of that land to others in need. Treasury would then deploy the tax revenue to go towards various developmental programmes.

HS: There is a widely-held suspicion in the country that indigenisation is a guise being used by people who have personal interests in certain sectors or companies. What is your reaction to that?

GG: Let us face facts. Already, in my own backyard in the financial sector, there have recently been very unfortunate incidences of ‘vulture-style’ attempts by some cohorts to wrest out stakes in some foreign-owned banks.

Fellow Zimbabweans, let us avoid falling into the trap of being driven by the shrill war-cries and voices of a few who are driving their own private agendas for personal gain in the name of empowerment of the masses. We definitely need to sober up and do what is ultimately in our best interest. A balanced and gradual approach has to be followed, ensuring that we maintain the good faith and trust of those investors who are already here, while negotiating our way for more to come in. This is absolute common sense.

HS: We understand US$10,2 billion is needed to support indigenisation in the mining sector, do you think indigenous people have the financial wherewithal to fund this?

GG: Again, I reiterate that getting equity of any legitimately held asset means paying fair value for that equity. This is how the real world of finance works; period. People must appreciate the difference between industrial capital in the productive sectors and the financial sector and the very valid motivations for the land reform programme.

HS: Consultations have been kick-started to see if the Act can be fine tuned. Are we not likely to see any change in this policy being construed as yet another example of policy inconsistencies?

GG: I am very hopeful that objectivity and a firm realisation that as a country we cannot go it alone will prevail such that the Act is fine tuned to restore investor confidence that our country is a sound and friendly destination for international capital.

HS: What sort of change would you like to see coming through these consultations?

GG: We expect refinements that reaffirm our collective observance of the sanctity of private property rights and a reflection that we are serious about the promotion of inbound foreign direct investments. As a country, there is no harm in us empowering ourselves through regulations that promote gender equality in employment, as well as procurement policies that encourage well established companies to buy from upcoming indigenous entities, among other workable variations.

Equally true, we must not be ashamed of even setting aside such thresholds and sectors that can be preserved for women and other disadvantaged groups as a deliberate government policy to expedite achievement of the balanced growth and economic development agenda.

HS: What safeguards should be put in place to ensure the noble cause is not manipulated by vultures seeking personal gain?

GG: Our political leaders must take the lead in openly condemning what we see as self-centered approaches that are evolving under the guise of indigenisation and empowerment drive.

This does not mean giving up the need to bring about a better quality of life for the majority of Zimbabweans.

HS: Were you consulted before the gazetting of this Act?
GG: As far back as 2007, the Reserve Bank submitted its comprehensive inputs and well considered advice to those who were in charge of the technical process at the time, but unfortunately this seems to have been set aside. We hope that the on-going reviews would see some of those modest suggestions being taken on board.

HS: Are investor fears on indigenisation in its current form justified?

GG: Absolutely, those fears are justified in the sense that most of those to be affected came in as a result of us as a country calling them to come and invest in our landscape.

We, therefore, need to find a way of striking a fine balance between the virtues of indigenisation and empowerment and virtues of attracting meaningful investment inflows into the economy.

HS: You have previously noted that capital is fickle, but is foreign capital averse to the political status quo or the policy formulation?

GG: The world over, it has been proven that foreign capital is very sensitive to the political events in any given country. This is why we are so pleased that the inclusive government is working.

HS: Have we aligned our policies to compete globally for hot capital?

GG: We need to be part of the action in attracting global capital. With the present laws on Indigenisation and empowerment, our chances of doing so successfully are very limited. There is, therefore a huge opportunity for us to introspect and improve critical needy areas so as to move our economy forward.

HS: It appears there is a hard push towards adopting the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative to retire the country’s debts. As the central bank governor, do you think this is the best route available? Are there alternatives to the HIPC initiative?

GG: I have made my very strong views against the HIPC route known to my Principals along with these views, I have also submitted modest proposals on alternative ways that would allow us to leverage on our natural resources.

We remain hopeful that this advice will be considered in good light.

HS: You have been linked to suggestion that we can retire our debts using Marange diamonds. How is this possible?

GG: I wish to defer debate on this to allow our Principals time to look at the proposals we gave them. Suffice it to say that how tragic it is that we are seeking help from other countries yet we are sitting on vast wealth of untapped minerals.

HS: There are fears of stringent conditionalities being tied to this route. Do you think people are ready for any belt tightening coming out of a crisis?

GG: There is need for all of us in Zimbabwe to realise that we are our own salvation and this comes at a big prize of selflessness and absolute dedication by all to make a positive difference. Short of this, we will take a very long and painful time to recover.

HS: You have previously expressed your disappointment with the IMF. Do you think there is now any goodwill to support Zimbabwe's recovery?

GG: I am a firm believer in the model of talking whilst doing things on the ground. Let us wait and see how the road ahead evolves, but in the meantime, let us work internally to self-correct and move the economy forward.

HS: What do you think of Merkel’s statement that we have to undo the land reforms before any support? Do you think this will inform debt forgiveness?

GG: The Inclusive Government has made a clear policy position on the Land issue and this matter to me seems closed.

HS: Your boss, who happens to be the Finance Minister, as told the nation that “we are all alone,” after failing to secure the US$10 billion needed to bankroll the country’s recovery. Are you at all surprised by this sudden turn of events?

GG: Indeed, we are all alone. Let us work together to unlock value from our internal resources.

HS: You have been too quiet lately Governor. What is happening?

GG: I have agreed with my Principals that under the new mandate of the Central Bank, our various pieces of advice will be given behind the scenes and more directly to the relevant arms of Government. My Minister of Finance is very happy with this new way of doing business.

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