Tag Archives: mugabe

26 June: Remembering Zimbabwe’s torture victims and the role of the Zimbabwe National Peace and Reconciliation Commission

27 Jun

On June 26, Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating the United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This commemoration is important in reminding perpetrators especially those aligned to the state that the crimes committed will not be forgotten just like that. On the other hand, it serves to remind victims, survivors and their families that their pain and suffering will not be forgotten until they receive justice.

In Zimbabwe, much focus has been placed on the work of the constitutional body that is the Zimbabwe National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). Lately there has been a lot of publicity on its work vis a vis violence prevention in the upcoming 30 July Harmonized elections in Zimbabwe. This is important and commendable. While this work continues, I would like to note a few points related to the work of the NPRC, past victims of torture and how the NPRC can contribute further to the achievement of sustainable peace in Zimbabwe.

The issue of human rights investigations – the NPRC looking for an elephant standing in front of them

The NPRC has since its formation carried out wide consultations across the provinces and communities in Zimbabwe. I cannot speak for them on what they have achieved thus far but certainly there are issues that they might want to consider as they carry out the work of reconciling Zimbabweans. Firstly, it is important for the NPRC and its sister institution the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) to acknowledge that the information about who was violated, by who, when and how is largely known to most Zimbabweans. Minor details might be missing but most of this information is held by reputable human rights and civil society organizations in Zimbabwe and at the international level. It would be at the least time wasting and at most preposterous for the NPRC to want to go on a frolic purporting to be investigating past human rights violations when they can as well approach most of the human rights organizations that have carried out this work before for information and clarifications if need be.

The need to attend to the mental health issues of victims and their families

Secondly, it is a known fact that Zimbabwe has in the past experienced very serious levels of human rights abuses by state security agents such as the police, the army, the intelligence as well as other private organizations working with the acquiescence of the state especially during election periods and other significant national events. Most of the victims and even their families have suffered major post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) leading to mental health challenges. These challenges are well documented and known in communities. While families might have challenges in identifying such issues as clinical problems it is important for the NPRC to take this matter up and decisively deal with it. Zimbabweans are a traumatized people coming from years of abuse by the Mugabe regime. Our traditional beliefs where people suffering stress disorders are easily considered to have been bewitched or plain crazy are very real and play a detrimental role in perpetuating the plight of victims of torture who suffer from PTSD or mental health issues.

The NPRC could do well by articulating a policy to government where it requests government and its financiers to avail funds so that mental health programs are implemented countrywide free of charge. One program that could be implemented is that of having “mental wellness clinics” in most major hospitals and other safe centers with dedicated staff to cater to the needs of such patients. What would be most critical in such a policy and program is to ensure that no questions are asked to the victims and even the perpetrators but generally just ensuring that those who feel they need help are assisted by the doctors and mental health experts deployed to the hospitals and the other “safe zones”. The NPRC could work with the Ministry of Health as well as mental health practitioners at home and abroad for the finer details of implementing such a program.

Government’s failure and refusal to pay damages/compensation to victims

This issue has been discussed at length in Zimbabwe but never seems to get solved no matter how much noise is made about it. The Government of Zimbabwe has managed for a very long time to dodge paying damages for crimes of torture and other human rights violations committed by its agents citing inability to pay and a weak economy. While at face value this argument seems to hold water, it is largely absurd and needs to be held with all the contempt it deserves. The Government of Zimbabwe has also managed to rope in the State Liabilities Act and continues to abuse such legislation to their advantage. While this strategy of refusing to pay by pleading poverty looks “clever”, it simply looks arrogant and treacherous to the victim and their families who would have lost breadwinners and loved ones.

The NPRC and even the ZHRC by extension cannot argue that they are bound by what the law of the country says when such matters arise. If anything, by now the NPRC should have gone to the High Court or the Supreme Court to ask for an opinion on how the Government of Zimbabwe’s refusal to pay damages for crimes committed by its agents should be handled.

Neither the NPRC nor the ZHRC are extensions of the state – they are independent institutions set up to serve the people of Zimbabwe. To remain quiet without even trying to question the government on such an important issue is to abrogate a very important constitutional mandate. The refusal by the government of Zimbabwe to pay compensation/damages has an added negative effect of touching on issue of accountability.

The question that the NPRC and the HRC must be asking themselves is that: If the Government of Zimbabwe and its agents cannot be asked such important questions who else will be able to hold them accountable to anything?

The problem of crimes that just fall away because of time – Prescription

On numerous occasions one hears victims of torture and past human rights violations lamenting that they failed to report or act against their perpetrators on time. The Prescription Act in Zimbabwe gives elaboration on the time periods to report violations which is usually 3 years for civil matters and 20 years for criminal matters.

This is highly problematic and fundamentally wrong. While the law could have been made with the purpose of wanting to ensure the swift administration of justice and preventing fraudulent claims against other people or the state, this law is no longer fit for purpose considering our circumstances in Zimbabwe.

The NPRC and the ZHRC know fully well what has happened in the past with regards the reporting of human rights violations at police stations. It is important to note that reports abound of victims being arrested when they had gone to lodge their cases; it is known that several case files were destroyed by the police during the 2008 election violence and most evidence was destroyed.

Now, when faced with such scenarios – it is difficult and unrealistic for the Government of Zimbabwe, the courts or anyone in his or her right state of mind to argue that cases of torture and related human rights violations can prescribe.

The suggestion here is that the NPRC and the ZHRC need to move from their comfort zones and deal with the hard questions of reconciliation and healing in today’s Zimbabwe. Part of the solution will lie in these bodies challenging laws that do not make sense or stand dead against reconciliation and healing in Zimbabwe.

It is ironic that the state in Zimbabwe can try to give Zimbabweans, the NPRC with one hand and then take away whatever the NPRC will give with the other. It cannot be right and this mentality and or policy by the Government of Zimbabwe will need to be turned on its head.

Pushing for law reform and standing for justice –

Such issues of changing laws or interpreting laws positively definitely need collaboration with the Parliament as well as seeking the advice of the judiciary in certain instances. The NPRC and the HRC need to elevate their work to a higher ground where they discuss the moral fiber of society, where they talk about the software of the microcosm that is the individual Zimbabwean and ensure that our values as a people are respected by all who live in our country. A new parliament and senate will be in force by August. It would be important for the NPRC to also have its legislative agenda set for the next few years so that they deal with some of the issues if at all this is something they regard as critical.

In this regard, the NPRC besides carrying the mundane tasks of investigating human rights violations now needs to more actively confront some of the ugly issues bedeviling healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. This kind of work does not need people who toe the line and want to be people pleasers.

Parting shots

There was a time during the early years of South Africa’s independence when most of the country clamored for the death penalty because of high levels of crime. The courts were confronted with this matter but ultimately, unanimously decided for different reasons that the spirit of ubuntu which everyone had fought for needed to be respected. Killing perpetrators was vengeful and did not represent the true values of a society running away from such an ugly past.

The same is true for Zimbabwe. The time is now for mindsets to change. The government cannot send its security officials to torture citizens. Private organizations affiliated to the state or ruling party cannot be allowed to victimize fellow citizens. The scourge of impunity and corruption that has seen most perpetrators walk scot free from the jaws of justice cannot be allowed to reign supreme in Zimbabwe. The idea that a whole government can refuse to pay for damages through its Ministers and hide behind the fat finger of the state should be long gone. Zimbabweans are a broken society from years of abuse. The evidence is there and we all know it. Zimbabweans need healing and reconciliation. Part of that healing will come from an NPRC that fights for the repeal of archaic legislation that prevents victims of torture and other human rights violations from claiming damages. Part of that reconciliation will come from the efforts of an independent and impartial NPRC that questions government and the legislature about senseless prescription laws.


Robert Gabriel Mugabe must go by any means but Military rule in Zimbabwe is a No – No!

16 Nov


Zimbabwe woke up to the mugabe go home and restnews of a “coup” on Wednesday 15 November 2017. The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is refusing to call this action a coup. The African Union and SADC say they are still assessing the situation. What is clear for me however is that this action led by General Constantino Guveya Chiwenga was a coup against the government of geriatric ZANU PF leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I am more than excited at the removal of Robert Mugabe and will not hide it. However, I refuse to be cajoled or convinced that the actions taken by Mnangagwa and Chiwenga are for Zimbabwe’s good. As Oliver Mtukudzi sings “ngoromera ingoromera chete, harina zvarinoshanda, haringabatsire” ZANU PF and its cohorts in the police, army and intelligence are a violent lot. Violence is violence, no matter what it is supposed to achieve. This is how ZANU PF has managed to lead Zimbabwe up to this far with disastrous consequences. The coup is for all intents and purposes an internal ZANU PF succession problem which must not be given a national status. It is what it is and a spade must be called a spade. Mugabe must go but the idea of a military takeover in Zimbabwe must never be entertained.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe removal most welcome

The removal of RGM from the Presidency of Zimbabwe is the most welcome news anyone would wish for in Zimbabwe. The man has tormented Zimbabweans for ages and the fact that he has reached his twilight without sorting out his succession has now become a threat to Zimbabwe. However, this dilemma must not and never be interpreted by ZANU PF supporters who are jostling to succeed him as something that is common between them and all of Zimbabwe. The Lacoste faction and the ZNA have a different agenda and Zimbabweans at large have another for his demise. The Lacoste group that wants him out is doing so because they have been sidelined from Robert Mugabe’s patronage leadership of plunder, kleptocracy, and national plunder, where they benefited immensely. For the ordinary Zimbabwean, the need to have Mugabe off the Presidential seat is to end the proposed dynastic rule through his wife Grace Mugabe, state sponsored human rights violations as well as being rescued from the jaws of the debilitating economic decline among other things.

Mugabe must just go. There must be no doubt in anyone’s mind. The old man just needs to go – where he goes and how he goes is really none of anyone’s business.

Mugabe’s succession is an internal political party problem

Every Zimbabwean saw what has happened in ZANU PF coming. It was only going to be a matter of time. The jostling between the two ZANU PF factions of Lacoste and G40 was always going to be a do or die encounter for the two groupings. Robert Mugabe delayed his succession to his own peril. The toxic choice to have his dull, dumb wit, fake PHD wife, Grace Mugabe as his successor was just what the doctor ordered for his opponents. This was never going to fly and very soon it had to be thwarted somehow.

My challenge with this whole matter is the apportioning of a national brand that the military and Lacoste faction in ZANU PF are trying to give to their coup. The succession issue in ZANU PF is not a national “Zimbabwe” problem. Of course, Mugabe’s replacement and stay in power has national consequences but the replacement of the geriatric at the ZANU PF level is an internal political matter and it should stay there.

Robert Mugabe fired Mnangagwa and several of his acolytes in the Lacoste faction according to their party rules and regulations. Whether the process was fair or not was for them to deal with internally or even take to the Zimbabwean domestic courts for adjudication. Mugabe’s succession in ZANU PF is not a national problem the ZNA or the Lacoste faction would want the whole of Zimbabwe to be seized with.

Chiwenga is part of the factional successionist politics in ZANU PF

Those in the know and who have followed Zimbabwe politics will note that the Army General has always exhibited signs and interests in the governance of the country. From rumors that he had a car with plates labelled #Zim2 after Robert Mugabe’s Zim 1, and to the fact that he is highly linked to the Lacoste faction led by Mnangagwa – the evidence is written all over the place. The General from his actions cannot be said to be neutral. He is heavily involved in the successionist politics bedeviling Mugabe and ZANU PF and he is a major and interested player with lots to benefit.

Moreover, Chiwenga’s statement last Tuesday betrays him. The man talks about “the criminals” around Mugabe betraying the revolutionary values of the liberation war and ZANU PF. He talks as if the ZANU PF values are shared national values. That cannot be true. If anyone should be accused of betraying their own ZANU PF values it should be him and his acolytes as they have managed to prop up Robert Mugabe’s regime for years after his hands down defeat by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008.

If at all the Lacoste faction led by Mnangagwa feels aggrieved by their ouster by Robert Mugabe, they should have left ZANU PF to form their own party as Mugabe intimated in one of their so-called youth Interface rallies. Mnangagwa and his acolytes chose another way and they decided to use the military route.

Furthermore, If Mnangagwa, Chiwenga and his Lacoste are of the view that they have been mistreated by Robert Mugabe and his G40 cabal, then they must deal with them decisively by openly challenging him and deposing him in ZANU PF. They should take charge of ZANU PF completely but never and not in any way try to sell this “National Democratic Project” ruse to the whole of Zimbabwe. The revival of ZANU PF cannot certainly be a national democratic project. ZANU PF is not Zimbabwe and neither is Zimbabwe equal to ZANU PF.

Whatever sentiments are being shared now by this Lacoste group, they cannot be deemed national. They are partisan interests being peddled by a group of ZANU PF members either civilian or in the Zimbabwean military or security forces who had been taken off the “feeding trough” by Robert Mugabe, his wife and the G40 faction.

The African Union and SADC stance on the coup puts Chiwenga and Mnangagwa in a catch 22 situation

It is well known that the African Union and SADC will not recognize coups in the region. This has been the norm and it is not likely to change because of Zimbabwe. To acknowledge and accept this coup would present a dangerous precedent for the rest of Africa and Southern Africa specifically.

Zimbabwean commentators have been noting since the coup that they will not accept any interventions or deals from Zuma, SADC or the AU for Mugabe to stay on. This is fair and fine. However, the ZNA through Chiwenga knows better. Chiwenga knows bitterly well that if he in is military fatigues he will not be accepted as a Zimbabwean political leader. His actions and the statements from the army are quite telling of a man and strategy that the army will not attempt the strategy of slipping into Mugabe’s shoes. If they had the wherewithal they would have been violent. But they cannot. It will taint them, so they will not use the army against the people nor their opponents in G40.

The civilian face of Lacoste, Emmerson Mnangagwa also knows too well that internationally and at a local level he will face serious challenges being recognized as the new President of Zimbabwe. He was fired in his own party by Robert Mugabe without a fight – being brought back by the gun will mean that he will have to sustain his rule by the gun. Of course, he could carry on but that would not augur well for him internationally and at home. Zimbabwe did not elect him, so why would anyone outside his Lacoste faction recognize him as the bonafide President of Zimbabwe? If he takes by force without going through an extraordinary ZANU PF Congress he will forever be remembered as the weak ZANU PF leader who got to the Presidency through the back door and by the gun. “Akapinzwa nekumashure”. I’m sure he doesn’t want that tag either.

Whether South Africa through Zuma, and SADC as well as the AU intervene or not is one thing. What is clear though is that any leader emerging from the coup process will not receive the required international recognition in Zimbabwe, the region, Africa and the whole world.

I have mentioned earlier that the Robert Mugabe succession debacle is an internal ZANU PF matter. If Chiwenga and Mnangagwa want to have their way and be respected at least on face value by SADC and the AU they must depose Robert Mugabe from his seat in ZANU PF and then find a way to the top constitutionally but coming from ZANU PF. Otherwise this whole circus will just leave them stranded with Mugabe, G 40 and Grace Mugabe having the last laugh.

Transitional Government or not – what way for the opposition?

Talk and rumors about a transitional government have continued throughout this whole period. There is nothing new about this proposition. It has been there ever since the Zimbabwe crisis in whatever form started.

My take is that the opposition was ready to meet Mugabe in an election in 2018 with or without an interim joint government as well as no new electoral reforms. So, what has changed today? The situation is different today but it does not warrant opportunistic behavior to want to jump into bed with the enemy especially for the opposition. This is a recipe for disaster akin to the Thabo Mbeki brokered 2008 Government of National Unity days. The most likely outcome of this charade would be a delay in elections, huge budgets and unnecessary prolongation of ZANU PF’s hold on power. Clearly unnecessary!

I do not support the idea of a coalition/interim government.

People who were not elected into office should not lead government in Zimbabwe.

It is nonsensical and purely opportunistic to want to argue that Joice Mujuru, Morgan Tsvangirai or even Dumiso Dabengwa or any other political leader who is out of government now should get into such a formation. It is akin to this rhetoric that anything other than Robert Mugabe is acceptable. No! Zimbabweans must be principled and know what type pf leadership they want. The idea of “Anything and anyone that can walk and talk” is not going to fly Comrades!

If at all Zimbabwe should get to the extent of forming that highly undesirable settlement called the interim/coalition government then the political parties in Parliament should nominate representatives from their sitting MPs. I’m sure they would be capable enough to negotiate the terms of a new transitional process leading to new democratic elections.

The way forward

As I mentioned earlier, while the Robert Mugabe succession matter has some national consequences it clearly is an internal political party debacle within ZANU PF. To want to give this matter a national status is akin to elevating the charlatans in ZANU PF to unnecessary levels of importance.

These people have destroyed and run-down Zimbabwe. If they want to run Zimbabwe they must sort out their mess on their own and not drag every Zimbabwe down with them. Robert Mugabe’s ouster as the leader of ZANU PF first and as the President of Zimbabwe should be resolved inside his party. ZANU PF should be able to replace him through constitutional means and then continue until the next election is held.

Zimbabwe has waited for a long time to have this man ousted and for an open election to be held. Why would anyone in their right sense of mind want to spoil the party by forming unholy alliances with the devil?

What is the opposition afraid of?

Honestly, this coup can only be celebrated to the extent it has helped ZANU PF succession battles but it cannot and is not a panacea to Zimbabwe’s deep-seated politico – economic problems.

The election in 2018 should decide who will finally democratically lead Zimbabwe after Robert Gabriel Mugabe!

No! to direct or indirect rule by the military in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe cannot be another Burma. The military are of the misguided view that they can turn Zimbabwe into a mini China of sorts. It can’t!

Zimbabwe’s “Bondnotes” crisis: The questions that now need to be taken to Afreximbank and Aliko Dangote’s doors

13 Oct

Date: 13/10/2016

To: Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah (https://afreximbank.com/dr-benedict-okey-oramah-president/): President: African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) 72 (B) El-Maahad El-Eshteraky Street – Heliopolis, Cairo 11341, Egypt

Re: Request for information on the Afreximbank $200 million loan offered to Zimbabwe and subsequent cancellation

The above matter refers.

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Zimbabweans deeply concerned about your recent dealings with the Government of Zimbabwe led by one President Robert Mugabe. We write to you in peace and we would like you and your institution to lend us an attentive ear. Our apologies if any of our language might seem disparaging. Be assured Sir, that we do not intend to do so. Anyway, we will get into the details of the reasons we are writing you.

Firstly, we are informed through feedback meetings held with ourselves and the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya as well as other public pronouncements by the Zimbabwe Minister of Finance, Mr. Patrick Chinamasa that you have agreed to loan the Zimbabwean government USD$200 million. The details of the loan arrangements remain hidden and classified but we are told that the money will be used to secure an equal value of 200 million so called Bondnotes that will effectively become the new trading currency in Zimbabwe.

Secondly, we would like to note that we have asked the Zimbabwe government on several occasions through letters, public meetings, and social media and in person but we have failed to get any satisfactory answers about the conditions of this loan. Instead we have been told that the information is confidential and will be treated as such between yourselves and the Government of Zimbabwe. If you go onto your Afreximbank twitter account, or generally on twitter you will notice how your bank has become so (un)popular in Zimbabwe and internationally because of this USD $200 million loan to Zimbabwe. Several Zimbabweans have written to your bank on social media and they have not received any responses from yourselves. Fair and fine, you and the Government of Zimbabwe might refuse to respond but we would like to set a few issues clear with your bank before your bank relaxes and believes that all is well with regards this loan to ZimbabweWe are of the view that your bank has misdirected itself and gone against its Mission Statement and rather is abusing the “profit oriented” approach to its business and utterly disregarded the “socially responsible financial investment institution” that you describe yourselves as by awarding this loan to the Zimbabwe government. It is in our humble view irresponsible of Afreximbank knowing fully well and having seen on international media the resistance to the said Bond Notes that you continue to be quiet and not respond to Zimbabweans’ concerns. We are now of the firm view that your bank is only interested in profit making and will do so at any cost. However, we the people of Zimbabwe refuse that position and are making it clear to you now!

We would like to warn you that you are entering into a bad investment deal by lending this current Zimbabwe government such an amount of money. You can be rest assured that we will not be sitting idle while our country is auctioned away by this government and allow this our generation and our children to be saddled with President Mugabe’s ill- informed debts funded by institutions like yours. We are Zimbabweans and we know what we are talking about! You can save us the trouble of trying to explain any legal niceties about international treaties and so on. We are fully aware of the implications. However, we would like to warn you that we will when the times comes, scrutinize each and every loan that this government has borrowed in the last 5 years with Afreximbank. If indeed we will find any loans ill – gotten and not having been used wisely we will certainly refuse and recommend that any new Zimbabwe government to dishonor such loans.

Your bank and its shareholders cannot purport not to know the socio – political and economic situation in Zimbabwe at the present moment. Definitely, your regional office based at Eastgate Mall in Harare must have briefed you and continues to do so on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. We are of the firm belief that Afreximbank and its shareholders are acting in no less than criminal and exploitative ways to get Zimbabwe hooked onto bad loans in the name of assisting the Government.

In addition and to our dismay, we are fully aware that some of your shareholders and Aliko Dangote in particular who we greatly respect as a progressive African brother and father is also unwittingly trying to benefit from this sorry situation unethically. We know that Mr. Dangote acquired a substantial amount of shareholding on 30 May 2016 in Afreximbank and thus has keen interests in how the bank performs. As you and ourselves know Mr. Dangote has to make investments all over Africa and he has been making these overtures in Zimbabwe as well. Is it a coincidence as well that at the same time that he is making inroads with his Dangote Group in Zimbabwe your bank is also making unbridled offers to bail out the Zimbabwe government financially. Could it be that, your Afreximbank or even Mr. Dangote himself is preparing a red carpet for his businesses in Zimbabwe by giving the economy a false sense of liquidity? Unfortunately, we will give you free advice and note that your bank is making or might have already made a wrong move that will cost you dearly by giving Zimbabwe this loan.

Mr. Oramah Sir, you might wonder and be less amused by this letter and our actions. However, we have to let you know that we cannot allow anymore this country, this Zimbabwe, the land of our forefathers, our fathers, ours and our future children to be continuously run down by unwise decisions which border on criminality, senselessness and pure selfishness. This means therefore that we have to guard our country from such bad decisions and deals as the ones the Government of Zimbabwe is making with your bank now. We respectfully ask you to reconsider and immediately halt any financial assistance to the current Zimbabwe Government until us as Zimbabweans have sorted out our internal problems. We believe strongly that by your continued purported efforts to assist this government you are indirectly funding our misery, torture and desecration of our country by the current Government of Zimbabwe.

Our demands are quite simple and very clear. Afreximbank must be accountable to the peoples of Africa where the bank invests. In this case it is the people of Zimbabwe. We have rights and freedoms to access information on deals conducted by our government and external parties. Zimbabwe has serious problems with freedoms of expression and access to government information. Your bank cannot be found to be aiding and abetting such manipulation of peoples’ right. Your bank cannot purport to be oblivious of a situation as is obtaining in Zimbabwe and continue to hold your bank in high esteem. We need information from Afreximbank on what kind of deal you have reached with the Government of Zimbabwe. In addition, we need to know what the interest rates are, how long the loan will be for and other related information. Furthermore, we implore you to do the right thing and withdraw this USD $200 million from your client – The Government of Zimbabwe. The purpose for which they have asked the money is not in sync with what the Zimbabwean people want. It is more destructive and will take our country back to the days of strife and hunger that was marked by hyperinflation running into millions. The Bondnotes are just another back door way of the Zimbabwe government to reintroduce the local currency. We do not necessarily have any problems in having our own currency but you must understand as a financial person that the current situation in Zimbabwe does not allow that.

We will be waiting to hear from you and your bank Sir. In the event that we do not hear from yourselves in reasonable time which we will allow at two weeks from the date of this letter, we the people of Zimbabwe will definitely be calling on your offices in Harare; Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi and Abidjan to demand a response by any means necessary.


We the people of Zimbabwe.


The art of bathing in dirty water: Joice Mujuru and land compensation in Zimbabwe

12 Oct

The theatrics to take over after the geriatric President Mugabe kicks the bucket or calls it quits (honestly I don’t see him leaving office on his own volition anytime soon) seem to be reaching a crescendo in opposition quarters. What with all the drama last week from former Zimbabwe Vice President Dr. Joice Mujuru when she announced that she met with the white man whose farm they grabbed or got “reallocated to” by ZANU PF when her late husband was still alive. At the least I find the whole thing unfunnily theatrical and at most cheap propaganda trying to sway the international community (read white people) to believe she is a repentant former ZANU PF zealot. I am convinced that her theatrics were not even meant for the general Zimbabwean audience. This is just trying to take a shower in dirty water, IT CAN’T!

I am not getting it. Joice Mujuru says she wants to compensate this man, this former white farmer whose land she alleges they “grabbed”. My understanding is that ZANU PF policies and laws that were enacted at the time the land was taken from most white farmers and redistributed to black people converted all that land into state property. So if the land belongs to the state, how then will she be able to compensate this white farmer when the land does not belong to him and purportedly never belong to him?

Maybe, Joice Mujuru wants people to believe that she wants to work out an arrangement that she will compensate him for “developments” made on the farm. Maybe she wants to compensate the former “landowner” for his machinery and or crops they “looted” at the time. That would in a sense be understandable but still it would be interesting to see how they will reach an agreement on the compensation rates. Of course, whoever lost his property would have an inventory but I’m really interested in seeing how the values for these properties/machinery etc. will be calculated.

This same Joice Mujuru who pleaded bankruptcy in recent court processes after her alleged step – children stepped in to claim their inheritance from their dead father is the same person who is claiming she can compensate people? Okay?

Cheap, very cheap, miscalculated propaganda I say!

One might want to see racism in these questions. However, I am of the opinion that the land question that Joice Mujuru wants to fiddle with cannot be used as a backbone for her attempts to get back into politics. There is no question that the majority of former white farm owners inherited from their ancestors this land that was stolen from black communities that were in Zimbabwe at that time. Joice Mujuru now wants to ride on a charade that seeks to trivialize this matter. She of all the people cannot forget that the liberation struggle was fought for among others to retain this same land from the erstwhile colonizers.

That ZANU PF is rogue and could have made mistakes in handling the land question does not mean that Joice Mujuru can try to downplay the need for land to be repossessed and be utilized by black Zimbabweans. The argument that white people were “very good’ and were good farmers is just unacceptable hogwash that should be told as folktales in faraway lands. It is a fact that most white families benefited from cheap bank loans, protected markets and so on such that they became “profitable farmers’. The new farmers in Zimbabwe who have been given that same land need to be given the same chance. There is nothing special about being white and neither is anything wrong with being black.

If there is one issue that will break Joice Mujuru’s attempts at the Presidency in Zimbabwe’s future it will be the land question and how she proposes to deal with the land redistribution process from the controversial “Third Chimurenga”. There are questions of principle on the much delayed and botched land redistribution process as well as questions about black empowerment and the need to possibly compensate the white folks who lost “their farms”. For her to conflate and confuse these issues with her attempts to renter politics is just mere political suicide and puerile propaganda which will not fly or win her the hearts of Zimbabweans! In any case, it is not these folks who will vote in 2018, if her recent theatrics are about looking for votes.

Compensation! Compensation for what purpose, to who and how much is the question she has to answer!

Pensions Conversion Commission: Zimbabwe tinkering with justice for past economic rights violations

28 Jul

On 25 July 2015 President Mugabe set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe the process used to convert pensions and insurance benefits following the dollarization of the economy in 2009. This is a welcome development which was long overdue. This process is essential in terms of addressing the mayhem caused to Zimbabwean workers and pensioners during the inflationary Zimbabwe dollar period. Thousands of workers and their dependents lost the real value of their pensions and this lacuna needs government intervention at the least. It would seem the corporate world took advantage of a lax system and benefitted unfairly. This matter raises 3 issues 1) questions on the part of the government of Zimbabwe’s responsibility to give protection to its citizens from rogue private corporate entities; 2) corporate bodies and fair business conduct and 3) the right to remedies for pensioners shortchanged in the process of converting Zimbabwe dollar pensions to the US currency.

The first thing to note in this whole discussion is to admit that the Zimbabwe Government and statutory bodies charged with regulating the Life Insurance and Pensions fraternity failed to “protect” citizens by intervening at the time they were needed the most – when the insurance companies started making unilateral decisions on what rate of exchange and value they would place on pensioners’ contributions. This given, it is important that the government of Zimbabwe realizes henceforth that there is need to come up with a proper plan in the event that problems arise again. This discussion would warrant stricter measures set on institutional reform in the insurance and pensions industry to govern such in the event of an economic collapse, company closures etc.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to juxtapose this discussion on the conversion process and to see what rates will be used to determine the real value of the Pensions as at 2009 and the recently implemented rates used in the highly controversial (https://tchabvuta.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/what-exactly-is-this-animal-called-demonetization-in-zimbabwe/) demonetization process. There will have to be uniformity in purpose on the part of the government in terms of dealing with the lacuna of the wrongs of the past.

Secondly, this development will of course not go down well with business especially the insurance firms who have now been placed at the center of “inquiry”. For a long time after the dollarization process these companies in my view enjoyed undeserved profits from the unilateral conversions they made on pensioners’ contributions. In the event they are found wanting they might have to review their finances and pay out more and this will be contentious on the basis of what laws to follow, what rate to use and so on. However, I believe that this process calls for corporate social responsibility and moral accountability on the part of insurance companies to ensure that they “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”. I am not an economist or finance expert but it honestly does not make sense that one contributes funds into a pension fund which then invests in high rise buildings, stocks and so on and then one day you work up to be told that your contributions have been reduced to half or are not even worth following up because INFLATION devoured the money. It cannot be right!

Thirdly on the part of pensioners, this discussion centers more on the need for redress of the wrongs of the past. To what extent this becomes a matter for transitional justice debate I would not be sure, but I definitely think that there is some merit in placing this issue under the myriad of issues being pursued on transitional justice in Zimbabwe. The matter whilst economic, requires some form of justice in the form of compensation for any losses incurred; it requires restoration of peoples’ confidence in financial institutions and their investments (Institutional Reform) and the need for the truth to come out on what exactly happened during the conversion processes.

The work of the Commission
The work of the Commission is clearly cut out for them and it will be interesting to see how they handle this one on a number of aspects. The statutory instrument establishing makes it clear that the commissioners have jobs for a period of 9 months which can be extended for another 3 months. I find this overly long but well I guess these people know better what and who they have to investigate to get to the bottom of the matter.

Legal Questions: The next question is on a question of operation. To what extent will the findings of the Commission be implementable especially in the light that the insurance companies might be found wanting. The government has advisors and they should have discussed the legal consequences of such processes by now. It will also be interesting to see if the assurance companies can be retroactively held liable if found to be in breach and generally how this will define government’s relationship with corporate bodies in future.

Transparency: Another issue relates to the transparency of this process. Previous Commissions set up to deal with investigations on human rights violations, football stampedes etc. have been a disappointment to the public. The deliberate ploys by government to ignore civil society and offer half – hearted overtures such as the defunct Organ on National Healing and the still born National peace and Reconciliation Commission to handle past human rights violations are well noted. Government has not even considered investigating the high levels of corruption at institutions like the Reserve Bank when senior officials were “burning” money and buying US dollars, the rampant theft of gold, how NGOs and Embassies forex accounts were raided during the peak of the economic crisis etc.

Integrity of the Commissioners: It will be interesting to see what will come out of this body. People like Dr. Kanyenze would be reminded to ensure they maintain their professional and personal integrity and deliver a good job. The 9 member Commission would be well advised as well to ensure that they will be able to live with the realities they will encounter in their investigations and be able to stand up to the “regime” and make the report public. In the event or likelihood that this will not be possible, they are better advised to stand down. Knowing Zimbabwe and the tough times we are in, a good Commissioner’s allowance is not easy to fend off though, so let’s see.

Interrogating Government’s own policies: It will also be important to see and get information on how the government has dealt with own staff and pension funds. This is information that should be in the public domain and government could begin their transparency by giving out such information.
The bottom line is that while the Zimbabwe government can be lauded for coming up with such a process, it would be much more important to have a national dialogue first on these matters to collect views from the nation and all stakeholders. A more robust discussion on transitional justice needs to be held at a national level to discuss what happened during the economic crisis in the years between 1999 – 2008 and a whole host of other pertinent issues is really delayed and must be convened.

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