Friday, October 28, 2016

$6bn Industrial Park to Bolster Sino-Zim Ties
October 27, 2016
Lovemore Chikova in Qingdao, China
Zimbabwe Herald

Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group, a Chinese multi-billion dollar firm, is on the verge of starting work to set up an industrial park in Zimbabwe. And if all goes according to plan, work on the major investment project, that is set to change the Zimbabwean economy forever, will start taking shape next year. This is good news for Zimbabwe, considering that the total investment the firm will bring at the industrial park will be nearly $6 billion.

Apart from the money flowing into the country, the industrial park is expected to increase export earnings and create the much needed employment both directly and indirectly. The industrial park will cover an area of around 20 000 hectares. The $6 billion investment cannot be taken for granted, especially if the country’s national budget has been pegged around $4 billion in the last few years.

And it seems the passing of the Special Economic Zones Bill by Parliament last week added more impetus for the realisation of the dream for a successful industrial park in Zimbabwe. The law is expected to become operational within a few weeks when President Mugabe appends his signature.

Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group is one of the firms expected to become the first to take advantage of the enabling law to start work on specialised economic zones in Zimbabwe. According to officials here, the actual site of the industrial park is yet to be determined, but it is known that it will be located along the Bulawayo-Gweru-Kwekwe railway corridor.

This will be strategic for the project in terms of being well-linked to both internal and external markets.

It is equally important that Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group officials are optimistic about the success of the project. Briefing African journalists visiting Qingdao City on the Zimbabwean project, the firm’s president Mr Jia Xiaoyu said they were looking forward to a successful venture.

“Yes, Zimbabwe is our next important target for implementing an industrial park,” he said. “So, we got some developments towards the industrial park. “We are now planning to advance the Zimbabwe industrial park this year. So, we hope we can launch this product next year based on our political and economic exchanges.”

Mr Jia noted that one of the major motivating factor for the industrial park to be more successful was an environment of peace. “We think the political or development environment is very important to us in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We hope for an environment of peace and also we want to preserve the available professionals and talents in Zimbabwe.”

The industrial park will come with many other benefits that will accrue to the Zimbabwean economy. The Chinese firm will construct an electricity generating plant that will help power the industrial zone and surrounding areas.

The industrial zone will also consist of a non-ferrous metallurgy processing plant and will supply mining equipment. There will be production of agricultural processing equipment and supply of agriculture related products.

What this means is that the industrial zone will cut across some of the major economic pillars of Zimbabwe, like mining and agriculture. This will help the country move towards its goals of industrialisation, important for any modern-day economy. There are also prospects of the revival of the ailing railway system in Zimbabwe, which has been crying out for partnerships for a long time.

The railway system will be important for the industrial park to operate efficiently since there will be need to transport raw materials and finished products. In that pursuit, Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group roped in China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group and Qingdao City Construction Investment Group as the major partners on the project. These firms will look into other areas related to the successful operation of the industrial park, especially the infrastructure.

Work at the industrial park will help provide answers to enhance beneficiation and value addition of minerals as envisaged by President Mugabe. The President has been at the forefront of calling for not only Zimbabwe, but other African countries, to beneficiate and value add their minerals before exporting them.

As the African Union chair and the Sadc chair last year, President Mugabe set the agenda for industrialisation, beneficiation and value addition for the two continental bodies. Apart from the industrial advantages of the park, Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group will also set up a primary school, whose planning is already in motion.

The coming in of the Chinese firm is confirmation that Zimbabwe offers many opportunities for cooperation in major areas like mining, agriculture and tourism. The industrial park project was sealed when Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accompanied by Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha, visited the firm last year.

It was during the visit that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the project to take off. Zimbabwe has been yearning for the building of infrastructure to aid its industrialisation ambitions and this project will provide some of the lessons and solutions.

The economic zone will provide a full industrial chain that will benefit both upstream and downstream businesses. The other major benefit will be the transfer of modern technology to Zimbabwe to help improve the country’s industrial production capacity. All the work to be carried out at the park will fall under the country’s sectors that are crucial to facilitate the much anticipated economic turnaround.

Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group is almost completing its industrial park in Indonesia, which will be a model for such future projects, including the one in Zimbabwe. The Indonesian park, called Hengshun Sulawesi Industrial Park, “integrates the business mode of coal, electricity, smelting, road and port for comprehensive service”.

It “highlights four functional areas including blast furnace and electric furnace nickel iron and smelting, logistics storage and work and residential areas equipped with facilities such as roads, a hospital, hotel and church”.

Just like in Zimbabwe, it is expected that the project will provide job opportunities, promote economic development and speed up the transformation of the Indonesian economy. It will be necessary that more projects of this nature come to Zimbabwe, since they help not only with the uplifting of the Southern African country’s economy, but also enhance cooperation with other countries.

The industrial park project is being run in line with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pronouncement on the way forward in cooperation between his country and African countries. At the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation summit in Johannesburg last year, President Xi proposed a 10-point plan that will guide the economic and political relations between the two sides.

The 10-point plan straddles across areas that will help African countries realise quick economic turnaround and enhance their prospects for full industrialisation. China has helped transform its fortunes on the back of such industrial parks that have attracted unprecedented foreign direct investment.

That the Asian country is the second largest economy in the world after the United States is largely credited to its reform and opening up of the economy, which saw more foreign companies bringing investment.

According to Chinese expert on investment Mr Zhihua Zeng “the basic concept of Special Economic Zones includes several specific characteristics: (a) it is a geographically delimited area, usually physically secured, (b) it has a single management or administration; (c) if offers benefits for investors physically within the zone; and (d) it has a separate customs area (duty-free benefits) and streamlined procedures.”
Africa Has Good Reasons to Warm Up to China
October 27, 2016
Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

The influential think tank, Afrobarometer, has just released a report which has found that the attitude of African people towards China is becoming more positive and the Asian giant now rivals America as a model for development. The study covered 36 countries on the continent and interviewed 54 000 people. Afrobarometer notes that Africans rank the United

States and China number 1 and 2, respectively, as development models for their own countries.

“Remarkably, in three of five African regions, China either matches or surpasses the US in popularity as a development model. In terms of their current influence, the two countries are outpaced only by Africa’s former colonial powers,” says Afrobarometer.

Critically, the think-tank adds: “Public perceptions not only confirm China’s important economic and political role in Africa but also generally portray its influence as beneficial. China’s infrastructure/development and business investments are seen as reasons for China’s positive image in Africa, though that image is tainted by perceptions of poor-quality Chinese products.”

Other highlights include, inter alia; China’s influence is perceived to be highest in Zimbabwe (55 percent), Mozambique (52 percent), Sudan (47 percent), Zambia (47 percent), South Africa (40 percent), and Tanzania (40 percent).

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Africans say China’s influence is “somewhat” or “very” positive, while only 15 percent see it as somewhat/very negative.

A majority (56 percent) of Africans also see China’s development assistance as doing a “somewhat” or “very” good job of meeting their country’s needs. The most important factors contributing to a positive image of China in Africa are its infrastructure/development and business investments.

There are two main things that can be noted here, namely, being a model, or example; and perception. China is pitted against the US and this is only normal as the two global powers compete for influence.

Africa, as a rising continent, is a natural theatre of such a contest — almost, perhaps disturbingly, like in the Cold War Era. But today’s contest between the two major powers is about the economy and growth as well as political influence. That China rivals the US is an affirmation of its rapid growth over the years.

The story of its exponential growth to global stardom is inspirational hence, as this report points out, its being held as a model by the majority of African countries. As the Harvard Business Review noted in December last year, “China has accomplished a remarkable feat in transforming itself from one of the world’s poorest countries to its second largest economy in just 30 years.”

Many African countries have an average of 50 years of independence but they have never been able to achieve what China has done. In fact, in the late 1970s and 1980s, some African countries were better off than China but have since been overtaken.

Chinese growth was anchored on a conducive political system and strong leadership, export led growth, investment infrastructure, labour utilisation, Special economic zones and FDI; economic diversification and so forth.

China has in turn turned benefactor and has been helping African countries achieve growth, investing heavily in the process. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework has been the hallmark of Chinese investment in, and cooperation with Africa. In 15 years from 2000, Chinese trade with Africa has increased from $10 billion to $300 billion in 2015.

The US-Africa trade is half of that as explained by John Burnett, writing for US News, that, “In 2013, for example, trade between China and Africa totalled roughly $200 billion, with Chinese electronics goods and textiles flowing into African nations, while African natural resources were shipped off to China. Remarkably, Chinese-African trade was more than double the trade level between the United States and Africa.”

The figures speak for themselves and Africans know who is a force for good in their countries. While there are pockets of propaganda-driven hate for the Chinese, and indeed some genuine misgivings about quality of certain products, the reason for Africa’s increasingly positive perception of China is understandable.

And if the two global powers, America and China stand there, China has more winning policies and philosophy than its nosy, meddling, bloodthirsty counterpart. It is not a secret that most of the wars and instability being faced in the world today have the fingerprints of America whether by proxy or directly.

America has been seeking and funding illegal regime changes, some of which have led to the suffering of people. Zimbabwe is a case in point where, not satisfied with its sanctions regime, the US sought to drag the United Nations Security Council to “do a Libya” on the country.

China, Russia and South Africa intervened. For the best!
RioZim Launches Gold Processing Plant
October 28, 2016 Business
Walter Muchinguri recently in Kadoma
Zimbabwe Herald

RioZim yesterday launched its $10 million Cam and Motor Mine gold processing plant, which will triple production putting it on course to becoming the biggest gold miner in the country.The plant has capacity to process 2 400 tonnes of ore per day and has a recovery potential of 93 percent. The company is expected to increase its gold production to about 130 kg per month which will give the mining group a combined output of 200kg per month together with the 70 kg being mined at Renco mine.

Prior to the launch Rio Zim had been processing 700 tonnes at Old Dalny Mine at Chakari, approximately 50 km away from Kadoma. The firm’s outgoing CEO, Mr Noah Matimba said the launch of the plant epitomises the growth trajectory of Rio Zim.

“This tells a story about who we are as Rio Zim, we have gone through a lull period and today is a sign of the awakening of a sleeping giant,” he said.

He added that it also a testimony of fact that the economic situation is not necessarily a stumbling block to business.

“The current environment should not be seen as an impediment but purely a challenge that can be overcome,” he said.

He paid tribute to the company’s shareholders for supporting a rights issue proposed by the company in 2015 which raised $10 million that made the project possible. Mr Matimba said that the launch of the plant was part of the growth trajectory that Rio Zim is pursuing which is premised on organic growth and non-organic growth based on mergers, acquisitions and alliances.

He also paid tribute to Zimbabweans who were responsible for putting up 97 percent of the plant under the instruction of the Chinese manufacturer. Rio Zim Board chairman Mr Lovemore Chihota said that the investment was an indication of the company’s commitment to Zimbabwe.

“We are a wholly owned Zimbabwean company that is run by Zimbabweans,” he said. “Work on this plant started in January and was supposed to be completed in 12 months but the team has done it in 10 months which is a great achievement,” he said.

He also paid tribute to the company’s shareholders for supporting the board and management team in their bid to grow the company. Cam and Motor Mine was reopened in April 2015 after having last mined gold at the site in 1968.

Apart from its gold division RioZim, also have four other divisions Riobase Metals, Rioenergy, Riodiamonds and Riochrome.

The group has been riding on its gold division. The company reported a 42 percent growth in gold output in 2015 (vs 2014) at 1 200 kilogrammes (42 328 ounces) after it commissioned Cam & Motor, which resulted in revenue from gold increasing from $25,8 million in 2014 to $44,6 million in 2015.
Zimbabwe Herald Editorial: Let Us Do More to Cut Red Tape
October 27, 2016

GOVERNMENT needs to move at a faster pace in implementing the ongoing ease of doing business reforms to improve Zimbabwe’s global rankings and attractiveness to investment. Efforts by Government to improve the domestic business environment are meant to cut costs, shorten processes for starting a business and getting approvals for investors. Many countries on the continent and across the world have spiritedly undertaken reforms with urgency in demonstration of their hunger to attract significant investment. Given our situation, we surely should do more and better than our peers and the rest of the world to bring about the kind of environment that makes us a darling for investors.

We say so because inspite of registering some positive reforms to improve business environment, Zimbabwe has slipped on World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings for 2017 from 157 to 161.

The Doing Business Report presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights compared across 190 economies and it is WB’s flagship publication that measures countries’ regulations governing business activity. Despite the progress made in improving ease of doing business, the reforms undertaken thus far have not been able to improve Zimbabwe’s position of the WB rankings.

Zimbabwe is desperately seeking foreign investment and the country needs offshore capital to boost the economy. As such, moving at a snail’s pace as far as doing business reforms are concerned will only make the country the least preferred investment destination. Over the past few years, Zimbabwe has been lagging behind regional countries such as Mozambique in terms of attracting foreign investment.

This is despite the advantages the country possesses, among them, the use of a stable currency, a highly skilled population and fairly stable political environment. Economies are ranked on their flexibility on the ease of doing business, from 1–190. A high position on the ease of doing business rankings means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a business in a country.

The WB’s rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate distance to frontier scores on 10 topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. The rankings for all economies are benchmarked to June 2016.

The WB has noted that Zimbabwe made dealing with construction permits faster by streamlining the building plan approval process. Registration of property was made easier after the launch of an official website containing information on the list of documents and fees for completing a property transaction, as well as, a specific timeframe for delivering a legally binding document that proves property owner- ship.

Zimbabwe also improved access to credit information through the establishment of a credit registry. However, Zimbabwe made trading across borders more difficult by introducing mandatory pre-shipment inspection for imported products.

As a result, Zimbabwe was almost static in terms of distance to frontier score, moving only 0,2 points. Since 2015, Zimbabwe through the Office of the President and Cabinet was overseeing the Doing Business reform initiative using the Rapid Results Initiative approach.

Given that the process is being spearheaded from the highest office in the country, we can only implore authorities to go a gear up and accelerate such that by the time the next report comes out, there will be very little left out in terms of all reforms.

It is also critically important for Government to see to it that the reforms do not just appear a process formally completed on paper, but that the new way of doing business is promptly implemented in order to attract investment for the benefit of us all.
Bond Notes to Be Released Gradually in Zimbabwe
October 28, 2016
Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

BOND notes will be released into circulation gradually and sparingly to ensure that they retain a critical characteristic of currency — scarcity — the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said.RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya told a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce business review breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday that $65 million worth of bond notes would be released next month. The balance making up the $200 million bond notes support facility from the African Export and Import Bank will be released into circulation gradually, until end of 2017.

But Dr Mangudya said while there is a lot of hype around bond notes, focus should rather be on growing production and exports since problems facing Zimbabwe were economic not the impending bond notes.

The bond notes will come into circulation next month after nationwide awareness campaigns, with an initial amount of only $65 million being released into circulation.

Dr Mangudya said the Reserve Bank is fully aware of the need to ensure scarcity and not abundance of money. The bond notes are meant to monetise the incentive of 2,5 percent and 5 percent to the different exporters who qualify for the carrot.

Dr Mangudya said that the release of the surrogate currency into the market will be so gradual and in small amounts some people may not be able to notice it.

“The maximum is $200 million and that will take us up to 2017. The release of bond notes into the market will be on a gradual basis and we are going to release them sparingly that you may not even notice it,” he said. “We will finalise an oversight board that will monitor issuance and management of the bond notes.”

He said that bond notes were part of measures to generate foreign exchange for a country without its own currency, but uses a basket of currencies. As such, this demonstrated bold commitment to multi- currency.

“This is an incentive to increase exports. We want to promote export generation. They (exporters) are facing difficulties (from high cost of production) due to a strong US dollar. Other currencies have been depreciating yet they are price takers. We want to support them so that they maintain or increase exports.”

The bond notes will be printed only to a maximum $200 million with each unit ranking equal in value to the dollar. However, the RBZ says it could not release real green back into circulation, as they would be externalised. Small notes of $2 and $5 bonds will be released.

A total of $1,8 billion, the central bank governor said, was creamed off from the Zimbabwe economy last year by unscrupulous individuals seeking the comfort of the widely sought after international reserve currency.

As such, there was need to provide a medium of exchange, which is regarded as legal tender only in Zimbabwe. The Governor said as monetary authorities, they want money to be scarce and not have abundance of it in a manner that could end up driving inflation in the economy.
Zimbabwe Herald Editorial: Land Barons Must Be Brought to Book
October 28, 2016
Opinion & Analysis

A potentially disastrous situation was averted when Government yesterday availed housing stands to over 3 000 residents in Harare South after their houses were razed to the ground on Wednesday by Bak Storage Company that was armed with a High Court order.

Surely, thousands of people who were left homeless could have been affected by rain and eventually many communicable diseases associated with wet weather such as diarrhoea, typhoid and dysentery. Kudos to the Government working together with various stakeholders for intervening and saving the situation and what is needed now is assistance from local and external donors to help the affected families have at least a roof over their heads.

It is our hope that the land on which the new homes at Skyline area along the Harare-Masvingo Road is owned by the State and no one in the future, will come claiming ownership of the same land.

Harare South legislator Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe, representatives from the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry and the Urban Development Corporation (UDICORP), should leave no stone unturned to ensure that all the affected people receive assistance.

However, after everything has been said and done, we have no kind words for heartless Zimbabweans, among them politicians and land barons who move around conning innocent people by selling them stands on land belonging to companies and private individuals.

People are losing their life savings buying stands and building houses that are later flattened after the owners of the land surfaces claiming their property. Surely, where is the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the police and local authorities?

Land barons put adverts in newspapers selling stands under the nose of local authorities and in some cases we have seen councils connecting water and in these areas, while ZESA also installs electricity pylons.

Surely, why can’t someone in these higher offices assign officers to investigate the authenticity of all sprouting suburbs before resources are spent putting infrastructure on areas that will eventually be destroyed? We believe it is also the duty of local MPs and councillors to help protect the interest of their supporters against the marauding land barons.

This idea of Government intervening every time and saving people milked of their hard earned money by land barons should stop and people who steal from innocent Zimbabweans must be punished and made to compensate them.

The affected should know that they have the legal right to pursue class action and demand compensation from fraudsters. Buyers of these stands from land barons have their fair share of blame as well. Properties such as houses, stands, vehicles among others are bought after serious scanning of the environment, instead of blindly getting into transactions.

The deeds office is a public institution that keeps all records of who owns what in Zimbabwe and it is the duty of the buyer of the property to go and authenticate ownership of the said property or land.

In cases of housing cooperatives, leaders should do that on behalf of their members to avoid loses. There is serious suspicion that the cooperative leaders might be working in cahoots with the land barons to fleece their members and demand that they should also be investigated.
Hopley Residents Dither Between Hope and Despair in Zimbabwe
Mai Kuku using a metal plate fill one of her 12 empty plastic buckets

Ruth Butaumocho: Gender Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

A twenty-three-year-old mother of four kneels towards an empty-man made hole to scoop water, coming from a patchy sand area known as “mufuku”.Using a metal plate, she patiently scoops water to fill one of her 12 empty plastic buckets. Known to her neighbours as Mai Kuku, she ignores incessant wailing from her two year old daughter to concentrate on the arduous process.Mai Kuku momentarily adjourns to change her kneeling position, before quickly resuming her task. With the growing queue of women patiently waiting for their turn to draw water from the same hole, she increases her speed. Sadly for her, the trickle does not correspond to her speed.

As mid day approaches, more women join the queue, whilst others pace up down the open space impatiently, while keeping an eye on less crowded holes, from where they can fetch water.

The seething high temperatures does not make life any better for the Hopley residents who now dither between hope and despair, owing to critical water shortages that have hit this informal settlement.

Situated along Chitungwiza Road, Hopley informal settlement is among several residential areas in and around Harare facing acute shortage of water cause by erratic rainfall and lack of a proper water-reticulation system.

With no piped water, let alone a community borehole, from where they can draw water, Hopley residents are now resorting to man-made holes known as “mufuku” to fetch water for domestic use.

“We come here after every three days to look for water. We would have wanted to come here every day, but it is not possible because you have to join the queue and wait for your turn, which takes about three or four days,” said Mai Kuku.

Those not patient enough to wait for days, walk a distance of two kilometres to fetch water at Irvines and a cotton production factory situated along Chitungwiza Road.

“Resilience” has become the buzzword for the residents of this informal settlement as the water situation has become so precariously, that some are now using water from the neighbouring Mukuvisi River, being sold for a song by some unscrupulous individuals.

“We buy 20litres of water for between two or three cents, depending on demand. It is pointless to ask the origins of the water because it is being fetched from Mukuvisi,” said Mr Albert Chareka, a Hopley resident.

At one time the local leadership attempted to have a community borehole installed, a move which was rejected by the majority of residents, arguing that the requested contributions of $2 per each household was too much. With more than 1300 households, the decision could have ameliorated water woes in the settlement.

“Our water situation is now dire. Last month (September) we requested residents to pay $2 from each household to have at least two community boreholes drilled in the area, but they rejected the deal.”

“It was embarrassing when the company we had hired to drill the boreholes, had to stop drilling halfway after residents refused to budge. We are yet to come up with another solution to ameliorate the situation that we find ourselves in,” said Zvikomborero Usai, aka Samutoko, who is Zanu-PF’s chairman for Hopley area.

With each day presenting new challenges, residents are now silently praying for the onset of the rains, which will only bring temporary relief. They are also hoping that the Government will soon provide them with piped water, once it realises residents’ plight.

The water crisis has been particularly devastating for women who now have to spend most of their time, fetching water instead of attending to other chores. With the majority of women in this residential relying on vending and other menial and piece jobs to supplement their family incomes, they have had to abandon these activities and devote the time to fetch water.

“We should not be spending sleepless nights worrying where we will get water, because it is a basic need that we should have access to. Our lives have been disrupted and we do not know when this will end.

“With no alternative accommodation for the majority of people who live here, we just have to soldier on. We however remain optimistic that our problem will be resolved,” said Mbuya Chipiwa, who has been living in Hopley Zone Six since 2012.

Access to clean water continues to pose headaches for the Government despite concerted efforts it has been making to ensure that the problem is resolved. Major cities like Harare and Chitungwiza have been facing serious water shortages in the last six months which are being attributed to infrastructural challenges.

Harare City Council says it losing 65 percent of all the water it is purifying through leaks from dilapidated infrastructure. Sadly for the municipality, it is not in a financial position to constantly provide enough water daily for domestic and industrial use as its reservoirs are too small and highly polluted for a fast growing population estimated to be 2,1 million residents.

The city council says that the city needs 1400 megalitres daily, but the best it can do is to provide 650 megalitres – less than half of the required figure.

Lake Chivero, the sole major dam serving the Harare, has thousands of litres of raw effluent pumped into it every day from the city’s sewerage farm. With such a scenario hopes for Hopley residents of clean water from the city, will remain a pipeline dream. The Government concedes that lack of clean water has indeed become a problem.

Officially opening the Water Resources and Investment Summit that was held in Harare this year Vice-President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa lamented the lack of access to clean and potable water for the most vulnerable groups in the country.

“Women and children walk long distances in search of water and this is affecting children’s learning,” he said, adding that this has seen people in urban areas, for instance, going for days and even weeks without water and at times, relying on unsafe water sources, which is an infringement of their rights. Section 77a of the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises the right to safe, clean and potable water.

Besides water being equated to life, dependable water supply is important to an economy because it contributes to economic growth. According to studies, economies are based on engagement in economic activities that produce goods and services. Such interactions depend on water supplies, with individuals requiring it for their health, survival, and lifestyle in order to be productive.

Illness, malnourishment, and treatment for water-related diseases take an enormous economic toll on individuals and their communities, according to experts, who contend that water is also crucial for the production of goods.

With Zimbabwe’s 2008 cholera horror, still fresh in the minds of many, water woes are already fuelling fears of outbreaks of diarrhoeal diseases.
SADC El Nino: 'Don’t Despair, Rains Are Coming'
Sifelani Tsiko Syndication Writer
Zimbabwe Herald

Farmers should not despair and should continue with land preparations for the 2016-2017 cropping season despite the late onset of rains, weather expert and director of the Meteorological Services Department, Dr Amos Makarau says. He told journalists on the sidelines of a regional training course on the use of satellites for drought monitoring and agriculture meteorological applications that farmers should not lose hope despite the prolonged drought and late onset of rains.

“Rains have been a little late this year due to a prolonged drought, but farmers should not despair as our predictions for good rains this year still stand,” he said. “The moisture is building up and we expect rains in November. People should not worry much, but continue with their land preparation activities.”

Most areas have received low and erratic rains in the past few weeks drowning “rain-desperate” farmers into despair. After the first hints of La Niña from the regional experts, farmers across Zimbabwe and the entire region believed that the brunt of the rain would start to occur from early in October.

But so far this season, the opposite has happened. “We still stand by our predictions and for the entire region, we don’t expect a drought,” said Dr Makarau. “We are going to have better rains this season and there is no need for people to worry.”

In August, this year, regional climate experts forecast that the approaching rainy season, which starts in October, would be normal to wetter than normal in Zimbabwe and most other Sadc countries.

The news brought excitement to a region in the middle of one of the worst droughts in decades that has wilted crops, decimated livestock, slowed economic growth and driven food prices higher in the past season.

The experts said from October 2016 to March 2017, SADC countries are likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall bringing relief to this region which relies heavily on rain-fed agriculture.

“However, northern-most Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) northern Angola, southern-most of Tanzania, northern Mozambique, the islands states of Seychelles and eastern-most Madagascar are more likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall most of the season,” read part of the report.

Sadc member states have declared this year’s El-Nino-induced drought a regional disaster, paving the way for donor agencies to assist in mobilising US$2,8 billion required for food aid for millions of people facing hunger.

Drought has left up to 40 million people in need of food assistance across the region, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Out of this, 23 million require immediate assistance.

Zimbabwe is one of the worst affected countries by the driest year in decades facing Southern Africa – including Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. The UN’s World Food Programme said about 16 million people in Southern Africa are facing hunger due to poor harvests in 2015, caused by El Nino weather conditions.

The impact of the drought that swept across the Sadc region in the past two years has been felt across all sectors including agriculture, food and nutrition security, tourism, energy, health, water and sanitation and education.

A majority of small-scale farmers are struggling to produce enough food to feed their families owing to the drought that ravaged most parts of Zimbabwe. Dam levels have dropped to their worst levels in decades while pasture and water scarcity has decimated 643 000 livestock with an estimated value of up to US$1,9 billion.

SADC climate experts say the 2016-2017 cropping season which is likely to shift from the dreaded warmer-than-average weather pattern – El Niño – which caused a devastating drought in the entire sub-region.

Earlier this year, Sadc climate experts said the El Nino weather pattern which caused drought in Southern Africa and other parts of the world in the 2015-16 cropping season was now breaking into a neutral phase that could degenerate into its opposite phenomenon – La Nina – creating a possibility of heavy rainfall and flooding in the 2016-2017 cropping season.

Experts say La Nina is the opposite condition of El Nino and while the latter causes high temperatures and dry spells, the former is characterised by heavy rainfall, floods and violent storms.

The shift to the La Niña event has buoyed hopes for some farmers who hope that the better rainfall and climate ­conditions in the months ahead could significantly boost yields, water availability and pasture for livestock.

“The 2015-2016 season was bad for Zimbabwe and the entire Sadc region. Sadc countries declared the drought a state of disaster and we need to learn from this experience the significance weather forecasting and all the necessary tools such as satellite in disaster preparedness and management,” said Dr Makarau.

“We are running this training together with the World Meteorological Organisation to help strengthen our technical capacity on satellite use and drought monitoring. “This is to add value to our tools for weather forecasting.” He expressed concern that most African countries were still taking weather forecasting for granted something which had dire consequences for economies.

“Many countries have been taking weather for granted and they ought to be prepared,” the weather expert said. “Training on satellite use is a strategic move. Droughts are becoming more frequent and prolonged and we need to use satellites to monitor droughts in southern Africa.”

Sadc Climate Service Centre regional co-ordinator Bradwell Garanganga said it was important to strengthen national and regional capabilities in the area of remote sensing, agro-meteorology and GIS.

This, he said, was critical for early warning for food security, natural resources and disaster management. “Retooling the meteorological community and the agricultural community is quite important for the region,” he said. “It’s critical that our experts are able to monitor crop, vegetation and weather developments during the crop growing period using satellite images and GIS techniques.

“This enhances the development and maintenance of our databases-satellite images, maps and associated data.”

– Zimpapers Syndication Services.
Women Critical in Economic Turnaround
October 27, 2016
Victoria Ruzvidzo Business Focus
Zimbabwe Herald

Current economic challenges demand that stakeholders in the economic think outside the box or far away from the box as many would posit. In all this, women, who constitute about 52 percent of Zimbabwe’s population, have a critical role to play to turn the economy around, bringing it back to a sustainable growth trajectory.

Experience has shown that excluding the majority is any economic strategy will not be sustainable. Women need to participate actively in the country’s socio-economic discourse. They already contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product, hence policies that deliberately include them will yield better results.

The reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has taken a pro-active stance by directing banks to create women desks to ensure financial inclusion and tailor made products. Already eight banks have set up such facilities. These are critical steps in harnessing women’s potential to make a difference in the economy. The World Economic Forum on Africa has just released its Global Gender Gap Report 2016 which states that economic parity between sexes could take about 170 years to be achieved.

“The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop,” concluded the report, which is an annual bench-marking exercise that measures parity between men and women in educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity and political empowerment.

Zimbabwean women have much to contribute to the country’s economic well-being and are doing all they can to be included in the processes. I solicited views from top local and regional women and herewith their submissions:

Zimbabwe Open Univerisity Vice Chancellor and President of the Professional Women and BusinessWomen’s Forum (Proweb) Professor Primrose Kurasha had this to say:

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in the article: How can women promote India’s economic development? says,“Denying women opportunities to realise their potential is a waste of human capital and bar to economic progress. Women are undoubtedly the foundation of the basic unit of society — the family. Even in traditional roles they demonstrate great innovation, skill, intelligence, hard work and commitment.”

It is against this background that I say Zimbabwe needs to harness these attributes effectively, to grow a more inclusive and equitable economic environment. Women are natural multi-tasking beings and will naturally survive most economic environments. Almost always, women play a dual role in the society, that is, they produce goods and services and they also have their domestic chores; and, above all that, some of the women are wives and mothers.

This is their initial contribution to economic development that has been neglected in many societies. In most societies, women are the custodians of traditional/indigenous knowledge relating to resource management and again provide access to modern technology.

Women have proved to use micro-finance effectively to develop small enterprises and are recognised as good at paying back loans (Sustainable Development Solutions Network: A Global Initiative, United Nations). Dollar and Gatti,1999 highlighted that ‘societies that discriminate by gender tend to experience less rapid economic growth and poverty reduction than those societies that treat males and females more equitably’.

Today, gender equality is no longer a lofty aspiration for economies on the growth path like Zimbabwe; it is the critical missing link for sustainable development.

As a woman folk it is time to fully embrace gender equality and gender equity to ensure meaningful participation in the economy. Women, the world over, constitute more than 50 percent of the world’s talent base and are known, on average, to reinvest up to 90 percent of income into their households.

Given resources therefore, working women would reinvest significantly back into the business and ensure thriving economic environment thereby, fostering the success of their local communities.

A study by Swamy (2001) found out that women are less involved in bribery than their male counterparts. It concluded that women have higher standards of ethical behaviour and are more concerned with the common good. In that study, it was recommended that increasing women’s presence in public life can reduce levels of corruption and increase sustainable economic development.

To Johnsson-Latham (2007), strengthening both the gender equality perspective and the voice of women in decision-making, enhancing work on sustainable (economic) development, not least in the leadership sphere is what appears missing. Goetz cited in Sampson (2009) pointed out that corruption functions primarily through all-male networks and in forums from which women are socially excluded.

Varley, (2005) has shown that gender is an important determinant of leadership and female leaders tend to share power with staff and use a more democratic approach to leadership than male leaders. (Chiome C, 2013 British Journal of Social Sciences)

The role of women in Zimbabwe’s sustainable economic development is two fold; that is, making the market work for women and empowering women in the market place. Zimbabwe needs therefore to incentivise companies on the employment of women in leadership positions in order to “improve performance and achieve higher profits”.

Despite what other people may say and believe supporting female empowerment would almost always have positive outcomes and impact on family life and the community for sustainable economic development in Zimbabwe. In addition, women induce values and integrity into the workplace. Women are driven by task accomplishment and not the clock. They will work until the task is done.

Entrepreneur Gerry Rantseli from South Africa said: “Women are by nature entrepreneurs, and have remained resolute to their entrepreneurial aspirations against all odds. It is because of women’s determination to succeed that micro-lending has become big business, since 65 percent of borrowers are women.

Despite women’s determination to push the boundaries and claim space in the economic sphere, the existing economic structures in different countries in Africa are stifling growth and flexibility of entrepreneurship among women.

Looking at the effort that women have been making in the economic sphere, by now gender empowerment should no longer be a point of conjecture. But here we are, seating in this room, discussing and sharing notes on how best we can move forward.

Women should disregard societal attitudes and instead push for recognition through hard work. Glass ceilings should be broken and not spoken about.

Women should not be caught up in the challenges and lose focus but they should plan and be able to implement their projects, even with limited resources.”

Women’s rights activist working in communication, gender and development Virginia Muwanigwa had this to say :

“Women’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s economy of course is hampered by the uncertainty surrounding the impending bond notes. However, women have never been known to just sit back and I know that they have over the years devised home grown mechanisms to not only put food on the table but to earn a living.

One method to counter lack of equal access to finance be it income, credit or otherwise has been the rounds which have taken various forms, where they take advantage of their numbers to pool together resources for distribution to each other.

These methods are, however, affected by macroeconomic policy so women need to be part of the dialogue — to inform on their analysis of the issues and also present alternatives. I have always wondered why the formal financing institutions have not adapted or at least target the rounds groups as a niche market.

The potential in the groups some of which are high stake is quite immense and should be tapped for increased economic growth and also from an indigenisation perspective.

However, women can only thrive in their contribution to the economy provided the fundamentals are right, their increased participation requires support that recognises the sustainability of their approaches which are based not on risky investment of lots of money into a venture by one person but grows a community-driven resource pool. The control mechanisms largely work and penalties are enforced where relevant.

Network of African Business Women (NABW) chairperson Hazel Chinake had this to say: “Despite the myriad of challenges that women face, many have been able to rise to the occasion and make a significant contribution to the economy, not just in Zimbabwe but in the region as well. They may not have enough space to manoeuvre but they make the most of what they have.

In this economy even in the days of hyper-inflation where empty shelves in supermarkets became the order of the day, cross-border women went across the length and breath of the continent to fend for their families and the economy at large. Their socio-economic activities play a vital role in the economy but at the same time we feel so much needs to be done to harness their full potential.

More strategies and efforts are required to augment women’s efforts on the grand stage. Financial inclusion is critical to facilitate increased participation be women.

Furthermore, women bear the brunt of the effects of debt, particularly in their families and communities hence the need for sustainable debt management strategies for this constituency. Awareness programme are also necessary on such issues as the impeding introduction of bond notes to tame the anxiety that has gripped many while fully apprising women of the benefits of these notes and how they will work. Involving women in decision making and high level discussions on national policies and strategic will certainly bring positive results that the economy needs at this juncture.”

In God I Trust!

Email:;; WhatsApp messenger: 0772129972; Twitter Handle: @victoriaruzvidz1
Advancing Africa’s Prospects for Inclusive Growth
October 28, 2016
David Makhura Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

There is no better time to discuss Africa’s prospects than now — the major economies of the world are going through turmoil and grave uncertainty. Africa is the cradle of humanity and human civilisation.I am mentioning this because any conversation about the future prospects of our continent will fall short if it fails to mention Africa’s unique role in the evolution of society, the origins and development of humanity.

In this regard, we recall the enormous contribution of ancient African kingdoms to the development of knowledge, science, mathematics, commerce, astronomy, architecture and religions — all of which shaped the evolution of humanity.

Speaking of Africa’s unique role and place in the origins and the evolution of society as well as the development of humanity, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki had the following to say:

“One will make bold to say that those of us interested in the history of the evolution of the Earth, have to look at the history of Africa. “If we wish to examine the history and the genesis of life, that evidence points to the history of Africa. “And as it is now well established, if we want to look closely into the history of the beginnings and evolution of humanity, that history is also in Africa.

“Of course, all these have been corroborated by the rich and unique African fossil evidence. Indeed, nowhere on Earth is there a concentration of fossil records that reveal so much about the Earth, the evolution of life and of humanity, than those found on the vast expanse of the African landscape, especially in the south and east of the continent.”

Indeed Africa has bequeathed to humanity her origins, her civilisation and hence her development! Africa must bequeath to economics and business the spirit of Ubuntu, which is at the centre of the new global call for inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

Without shared prosperity, there can be no sustainability. Ladies and Gentlemen, over the past decade, the continent of Africa has cemented its place as one of the world’s key and leading emerging markets.

There is no doubt that ours is a continent of growth — a continent of hope, a continent on the rise. The Africa Rising narrative emerged from concrete evidence that our continent is making tremendous progress.

Even as the global economy goes through turmoil, Africa’s growth is set to continue strongly in the coming years, making Africa the continent of the future and giving credence to the understanding that this is Africa’s century.

According to the 15th edition of the African Economic Outlook Report 2016; “Africa’s economic growth remained resilient in 2015 amid a weak global economy, lower commodity prices and adverse weather conditions in some parts of the continent.

“Real GDP grew by an average of 3,6 percent in 2015, higher than the global average growth of 3,1 percent and more than double that of the euro area.

“At this growth rate, Africa remained the second fastest growing economy in the world (after emerging Asia), and several African countries were among the world’s fastest growing countries.”

The report forecasts that Africa’s economic growth will gradually pick up during 2016/ 17, predicated on a recovery in the world economy and a gradual rise in commodity prices. While all of this is worthy of acknowledging and even celebrating, we must resist the temptation to romanticise our continent’s prospects because major challenges still have to be overcome.

To address Africa’s challenges, we need to push ahead with interventions in areas such as building a democratic culture; ethical leadership that prioritises citizens, sound and enduring institutions that outlive specific leadership personalities and withstand leadership transitions; building infrastructure; promoting economic integration, driving industrialisation and innovation; greater levels of intra-Africa trade and ensuring that growth is inclusive and shared among all citizens of the continent.

This is the dream of the kind of African continent, whose prospects were eloquently articulated by Pixley ka Isaka Seme, in 1906, when he said:

“The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her desert plains red with harvest, her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities. Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce, her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business, and all her sons employed in advancing the victories of peace greater and more abiding than the spoils of war. Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period!”

Ultimately, our goal must be to build the kind of Africa whose chains are dissolved; whose desert planes are red with harvest; whose Congo and Gambia are whitened with commerce; whose crowded cities send forth the hum of business — an Africa where all her sons and daughters are employed in advancing the victories of peace, that are greater and more abiding than the spoils of war.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063, which is about a transformed Africa, with clean and democratic governance, an inclusive and growing economy as well as human development, is our loadstar to the Africa we desire; the Africa of Pixley ka Isaka Seme.

Specifically, we must address in a comprehensive manner issues related to the integration of our economies and markets, investment in Africa’s citizens who are our greatest assets, boosting intra-Africa trade and investment, strengthening infrastructure development, encouraging innovation as well as expanding access to funding, including alternative funding, as well as access to regional markets.

In particular, our deliberations must help us leverage off the current reality that Africa is the centre of gravity in terms of future prospects of the entire global economy; that we have abundant natural resources; that we have a younger population; that our citizens are energised and entrepreneurial, always searching for opportunities and that ours is potentially a market of more than one billion people.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Listen to Africa’s Voice, UN Urged
October 28, 2016
Lovemore Chikova in BEIJING, China
Zimbabwe Herald

China on Tuesday urged the United Nations to listen to the voice of Africa and increase its representation considering that more than a quarter of its members come from the continent.Speaking during a reception to mark the 45th anniversary since China regained its lawful seat at the UN, State Councillor Yang Jiechi said the world body should consider developing countries. The reception was attended by officials at the UN offices in China and diplomats from several countries, including Zimbabwean ambassador to China Paul Chikawa.

Councillor Yang’s appeal for more representation of Africa at the UN resonates with President Mugabe’s consistent call, in line with a resolution passed by the continent’s leaders at Ezulwini in Swaziland, for the continent to be accorded two permanent seats in the Security Council.

President Mugabe made his latest call for the resolution to be respected after returning from the United Nations General Assembly last month. He said African countries were intensifying their push to get the two permanent seats and were exploring the option of pulling out of the UN if their demand for the reform was not met.

Under the Ezulwini Consensus agreed to in 2005, African countries have been requesting two permanent seats in the UN Security Council, as well as five non-permanent seats.

Councillor Jiechi said the UN should listen to Africa, considering the continent’s contribution to the world body. “With over one quarter of its membership coming from Africa, the United Nations should direct more attention to Africa, listen to its voice, deliver benefits to it and increase its representation and say,” he said.

“This is the key to global peace and development and what international responsibility and justice is about.”

Councillor Yang said the United Nations should remain the pacesetter for improving global governance.

“It meets widely shared aspirations of UN member states, the developing members in particular, to foster a global governance system that is more equitable, just, inclusive and rule-based,” he said.

“In this regard, the United Nations should take the lead in speaking up for and acting in the interests of developing countries.”

Councillor Yang said China would continue to fight for a fair world system through the United Nations. He said the international community should remain united and committed to a shared future, despite the numerous problems facing the world.

“China will stay committed to the win-win strategy of opening-up and reject any beggar-thy-neighbour practice that serves one’s own interests at the cost of others,” said Councillor Yang.

He said by doing that, “we will be able to seize opportunities, resolve challenges and achieve the lofty ideals of the United Nations”. China lost its seat in the UN at the height of internal fighting, which saw the Communist Party of China ousting the then government from the mainland in 1949.

Leaders of the ousted government retreated to Taiwan and the communists re-named the country The People’s Republic of China from the Republic of China.

Western powers continued to recognise the Republic of China at the UN as a way of preventing a communist government from gaining a permanent seat. But in 1971, the People’s Republic of China had gained enough support from other countries, leading to the UN passing a resolution to recognise it instead of the ousted Republic of China.
Khama: SADC's Slouching Novice
October 27, 2016
Sydney Kawadza Senior Features Writer
Zimbabwe Herald

“Khama, Khama, Khama,” President Mugabe said on September 15, 2008. The President was addressing delegates who had witnessed the historic signing of the Global Political Agreement between Zanu-PF, MDC and MDC-T. The parties, which made up the Zimbabwean Parliament, were agreeing to form an inclusive Government, which came into effect the following year.

For the first time, President Mugabe seemed to be at a loss of words as he tried to make a point towards Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama. The momentary pause came after the President had taken time to chronicle the journey Zimbabwe had travelled since 2000 and how each Sadc country had played its part to find a solution to the challenges faced in the country.

Khama had in his wisdom or lack thereof decided to throw overboard diplomatic etiquette to attack the Zimbabwean leadership. He had taken a stance and peddled it while meddling in Zimbabwe’s political affairs. President Mugabe, acting like a true statesman, instead gave his counterpart a history lecture.

It was a lesson on relations shared by Southern African states. It was a lecture on, firstly, the role played by the Frontline States, leading to the independence of most countries in the region and, secondly, how as Sadcc, the countries united in pushing for economic cooperation and development.

All in all, President Mugabe’s lesson to Khama, was on the importance of regional integration.

Did that lesson reach Khama?

It seems nothing is getting into the Botswana leader’s head. Khama continues to be the region’s problem child! A slouching novice who does not seem to know the strictures of sovereignty.

His statements against President Mugabe have become nothing, but rhetoric. His grandiloquence deserves only silence. But, Khama, the delinquent and insolent cousin, is never done until he goes against the region. He has since decided to pick a fight with South Africa over the latter’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

South Africa announced last Friday that it plans to withdraw from the ICC. The move came three days after Burundi issued a decree withdrawing from the same court. Under the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the court in 2002, countries are obligated to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.

The South Africans refused to do so when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited the country on African Union business. An arrest warrant has been issued against al-Bashir on a number of allegations, including torture, human rights abuses among others.

SA foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane formally notified United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week of South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the court. It takes close to a year for a country to leave the court.

However, the region’s insolent cousin issued a statement against South Africa’s sovereign decision to pull out of the ICC. Botswana, in a statement, expressed its regret towards that decision. Ironically, Botswana acknowledged South Africa’s sovereign right to become party to, or withdraw from any international instrument.

However, Article II (1) of the United Nations Charter recognises sovereign equality of members while Section 4, in part, calls for members to refrain from threats against political independence of any state.

These provisions clearly inform Botswana to mind its own business. The South African government’s decision is guided by Article 127 (1) of the Rome Statutes which states that a State Party may, by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, withdraw from this Statute.

The provision further states that withdrawal should take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification, unless the notification specifies a later date. Politics and international relations dictates that South Africa made a sovereign decision. Such a decision has nothing to do with its neighbours or other states in the international arena where members are guided by respect towards each other’s sovereignty.

Botswana argues that South Africa should have aired its grievances during the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute meeting at The Hague next month. The fact that Botswana feels that the ICC is an “important and unique” institution in the international justice system does not hold any water.

Africa has made it clear that it is tired of the bully tactics used by the West, particularly, the United States and its allies, in persecuting African leaders through the ICC. The declaration, made by Comoros, Djibouti, and Senegal in 2009, was specifically in reference to President al-Bashir’s indictment.

At the 2013 AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa unanimously accused the ICC of being racist and stated that the ICC was prosecuting only African cases. AU announced its support of Kenya’s application for legal proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta his deputy William Ruto to be returned to Africa.

Professor Mbaku of the Weber State University said the AU’s position was that the Kenyan situation demands that the UN Security Council exercise its mandate under Article 16 of the Rome Statute, read it together with Chapter VI of the UN Charter, and allow Kenya to move forward and deal with the challenges confronting it.

This, he said, was informed in Africa’s strong belief that Africans should be allowed to solve their own problems.

He further notes that there were four flaws in the ICC mentioned by the AU summit, which are;

(i) The ICC fails to adhere to stringent evidential standards and investigative techniques critical to the collection of reliable evidence — this flaw arises from the fact that the ICC outsources critical functions of the Court’s Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP”) to unregulated and often privately funded NGOs and individuals who are not accountable to the Court or to the judicial process and may have incentives beyond or inimical to this process.

(ii)The impact of permissible funding from private sources on the justice delivered by the Court — private funding can significantly influence the Court’s impartiality or give the appearance of doing so.

(iii) The Court’s grounding is in principles of humanitarian and not criminal law — a prominent feature of the ICC is that while it is grounded in principals of humanitarian law, it purports to investigate and judge essentially criminal cases.

(iv) The ICC Office of the Prosecutor, using proprio motu jurisdiction, can initiate a case without referral from a member State or the UN Security Council.

Without a referral from a member state, the OTP runs the serious risk of lack of cooperation, which undermines the integrity of the investigation, and without a referral from the UN Security Council, the OTP discretion is unchecked and lacks the focus and political support obtained by having the UNSC narrow the issues.

Professor Mbaku asks; “Does it mean that Africans are the only ones in the world who commit the most insidious war crimes and crimes against humanity?” Africa also queries that the ICC is not unlike the colonial order established in Berlin in 1884-1885, whose most important missions was to protect “vulnerable groups,” one of which included citizens of the “Dark Continent.”

Supporters of the ICC make similar claims. “The Rome Statute was driven, to a great extent, by Western-based NGOs, with only marginal contributions from official country representatives,” he said.

Sixty member countries, out of 189 member countries of the UN, were needed to approve the Rome Statute. “This is extremely problematic, especially given the fact that the ICC has worldwide jurisdiction, including over countries that are not signatories to the ICC Statute,” he says.

He also notes the absence of important global players, United States, China, India, Japan and the Russian Federation, from the agreement establishing the ICC. “Over 70 percent of the world’s population is outside the Court’s jurisdiction — India (1,27 billion); China (1,390 billion); Indonesia (230 million.); Russia (150 million.); Japan (125 million.); US (312 million.).

“The ICC’s members represent only 27 percent of the world’s population; yet, the ICC purports to be a universal court exercising universal jurisdiction. “The ICC has ignored cases of superpower abuses of human rights and abuses by client states.”

The ICC has only gone after those people seen as being weak and unprotected by the UN Security Council—consider human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. He also quotes Dr David Hoile, an expert on the ICC and African affairs, who notes that the ICC was nothing more than a European Court whose statute was rushed through in four weeks by Western NGOs with very little time given to effective contemplation.

The UN Security Council, he noted, is granted special prosecutorial rights to refer or defer an ICC investigation or prosecution, effectively inserting political interference into the Court’s terms of reference.

The ICC is unaccountable to any public entity. So who can blame the South African government to “wash its hands” off the burden that the ICC has become to Africa? Botswana, the British protectorate that gained a pseudo-independence in 1966 from their masters, should start reflecting on the direction it is taking against its neighbours.

It should take cue from South Korea, currently battling to remove the “US’ baby” tag that is causing so much discomfort in their region. Botswana could be gaining favours for supporting the powerful Western countries but it should also reflect on its relations with its Sadc counterparts.

It’s also high time President Khama is called to order before his wayward behaviour causes division and chaos in the region. South Africa has a sovereign right to withdraw from the ICC, after all, most African countries are disillusioned by the international court. ICC has simply lost its credibility and Africa should start withdrawing its support to the Rome Statutes.
Zuma Expected in Harare for Trade Talks
October 27, 2016
Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

South African President Mr Jacob Zuma is expected here next Thursday to attend the inaugural session of the Bi-National Commission where Zimbabwe and South Africa are set to discuss trade, investment, energy, tourism, water, health, regional and global developments. The Bi-National Commission would be jointly chaired by President Mugabe and Mr Zuma. President Zuma leads a delegation of eight Cabinet ministers and a number of agreements are expected to be signed at the conclusion of the meeting. The BNC was established on April 8 last year following the signing of an agreement by ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries during a State visit to South Africa by President Mugabe.

During the visit, three landmark agreements and two memoranda of understanding, which are expected to steer bilateral relations and development of the two neighbours to greater heights, were penned.

The BNC is a successor to the Joint Commission for Cooperation signed by Zimbabwe and South Africa on March 2, 1995 and it seeks ways and means of promoting and enhancing cooperation in the various sectors of Government and to coordinate initiatives in this regard as well as to facilitate contact between the public and private sectors of the two countries.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the session to be held in Harare on November 3, would be preceded by a ministerial meeting on November 2 and a senior officials meeting from October 31 to November 1 this year.

“It is also expected that a number of agreements will be signed at the conclusion of the meeting. On October 21, 2016 the Political and Diplomacy Committee of the Zimbabwe – South Africa Bi-National Commission met in Harare.

“The committee emphasised the importance of political and diplomatic consultations as a forum to enhance bilateral cooperation and an effective mechanism to track progress on the implementation of decisions taken at the BNC and other consultations,” reads the statement.

During President Mugabe’s visit to South Africa last year the key agreement signed was on the establishment of the BNC, which Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and South Africa International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane signed off.

The two ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding on Diplomatic Consultations; while Finance ministers Patrick Chinamasa and Nhlanhla Nene signed the agreement on Mutual Assistance Between Customs Administrations.

The agreement on Co-operation on Water Resources Management and establishment and functioning of the Joint Water pact were signed by the then Environment, Water and Climate Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his South African counterpart. Industry and Trade Minister Mike Bimha and South Africa’s Rob Davies, signed an MoU on Economic and Trade Co-operation.

Presidents Mugabe and Zuma both hailed the agreements, MoUs and talks as notable milestones in the development of the two countries’ relations, expressing their desire to see these reflected in greater regional and continental integration for the betterment of citizens’ lives. President Mugabe said there was much the two countries could learn from each other. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner in Africa.
Statement on Remarks Attributed to ANCYL President Cde Collen Maine
18 October 2016

On Saturday, 15 October 2016, the ANCYL President, Cde Collen Maine, addressed the ANC Ethekwini march, outside the Durban City Hall. The address of the President of the ANCYL prompted some opportunists within the country to allege that some of his statements amounted inciting violence.

As the ANCYL, we do not view the said statements in that way and in particular, we do not view the said statements as amounting to inciting violence.

Section 16 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa affords every person a right to freedom of expression, which right includes the right to impart information and ideas, provided that this right does not extend to inciting imminent violence.

For one to be accused of inciting violence - "violence must be intended, likely and imminent".

The statement made by the President of the ANCYL were taken out of context.

First and foremost, the statement was not directed against any specific person; neither was it intended or directed at any particular person or group of persons.

The President of the ANCYL League does not have the authority to instruct members of the MK Veterans to bring guns. Such authority lies elsewhere, in particular with the President of the MK Veterans.

The President of the ANCYL did not call for any members of the MK Veterans to shoot at any person. Therefore, it cannot be said that he was inciting violence. In anyway, he is incapable of doing so given that he is not the President of the MK Veterans. As a result, the alleged violence is not likely nor in any way imminent.

The ANCYL wishes to put it on record that both itself and its President does not promote violence in South Africa in any form and/or whatever manner.

Attempts to Remove President Zuma from Office

Ironically, the ANCYL has noted the ease with which any person in South Africa today, including leaders of various political organisations and civil society organisations, call for and threaten to remove our democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa. They make these threats by calling for mass demonstrations and making irresponsible statements in public. In our view, this is tantamount to inciting violence and destabilizing the Republic of South Africa.

We are of the view that there are democratic ways of removing a seating President of the Republic of South Africa, including amongst others, calling for a motion of no confidence and/or impeaching the President in Parliament. The opposition parties have tried and their attempts have failed! As a last ditch, we now see a trend by some in the country to attempt to, indirectly so, remove the President of the Republic of South Africa through the Courts or by inciting violence and instability in the country through mass demonstrations and irresponsible statements in the media. The conduct of most in the country in calling for the removal of the President of the Republic of South Africa in this manner is tantamount to "an attempted pseudo coup".

Security agencies and to a certain extent, MK Veterans must be alive to "any attempted pseudo coup" by some in certain circles of the country who are calling for the removal of a democratically elected President of the Country to be removed despite the current democratic dispensation.

Having noted the above, the ANCYL and its President have noted that the statement by the President was received adversely. It is within this context that the President of the ANCYL will like to unconditionally retract the comments made on Saturday, 15 October 2016, in Durban.


Mlondi Mkhize
National Spokesperson
African National Congress Youth League
27th October 2016
ANC Viewpoints

On this day 99 years ago, a liberator, fighter and protector of women’s rights was born.

We hail the blessed mother to Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo (OR), umama uJulia, who carried and nurtured an African man with a sensitive heart and fighting spirit for women’s emancipation.

The year 2016 marks the 98 Years of Women’s Struggles.

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) has been honoring those who have made significant contributions in the struggle for women emancipation. This cannot be complete until we take the journey from the era of President Oliver Reginald Tambo who took women issues to the center stage within the African National Congress (ANC) and provided leadership in society with regards to women empowerment.

It may not be a story that’s usually narrated but history tells us that back in 1941, one white person who was in charge of the kitchen at the then College of Fort Hare where Cde OR was a Sciences student, assaulted a black woman employee. As it was expected during the dark days of segregation, an enquiry into the matter exonerated the white man involved. It was none other than Tambo who influenced students to stage a boycott of classes in protest. Standing up for the rights of a black woman employee, amongst many of his leadership qualities, elevated Comrade OR’s into being unanimously elected chairperson of the Students’ Committee of his residence, Beda Hall in 1942.

As we honor the life and the legacy of President Tambo, we acknowledge his contribution towards women empowerment and gender equality and the impact thereof. His commitment in advocating for gender equality that began during his student days, continued. When Tambo was the head of the ANC’s Constitutional Commission in 1959, he recommended that more constitutional recognition be given to the ANCWL hence we are indeed humbled to be part of today’s celebration.

President Tambo further advanced the agenda of our liberation by forming a committee on women emancipation guided by the ANC on issues of gender equality and the struggle for women’s rights. This era also marked the endorsement of non-racialism and the Freedom Charter amongst others. The revised constitution came to be known as the Tambo Constitution to signify his commitment to political work within the ANC.

The banning of the ANC and the ANCWL in 1960 forced women to work underground in their pursuance for liberation. The women in exile organized themselves into the ANC Women’s Section. It was at the ANC Women’s Section Conference in Angola in the year 1981 that President Tambo affirmed his confidence in women leadership where he said,

“We invite the Women’s Section of the ANC and the black women of South Africa, more oppressed and more exploited than any section of the population, to take up this challenge and assume their proper role outside the kitchen among the fighting ranks of our movement and its command post.”

He believed that the Women’s Section was not an end in itself but a weapon of struggle to be correctly used against all forms and levels of oppression and inequality in the interests of a victorious struggle of the people. It was under his leadership that another gain was achieved for women where the ANC accepted the attribute of non-sexism into its constitution in its vision for a new South Africa.

Subsequently to the unbanning of political organizations the ANCWL was relaunched in 1990. In his message to the Women’s Conference in 1990 he said,

“It is the women of South Africa who have played a vital role in the mass mobilization, armed struggle, which together, made possible your meeting openly and legally today. The struggle must now be taken forward to ensure that the gains which have been made lead to further advancements.”

The words of President Tambo have remained a compass in all struggles for women. Therefore, it remains the duty of the current leadership to ensure that the agenda of women emancipation does not fall by the wayside, in particular, for the women who still require access to resources and are still at the bottom of the economic ladder.

As we celebrate this giant of our movement, let us acknowledge that the leadership of Cde OR has laid a formidable foundation for different generations of women. His legacy includes numerous gains for women in the negotiations for democracy and also ensured a high proportion of women in parliament, a gender sensitive Constitution and the establishment of State machinery to mainstream gender equality. He did not live long enough to witness democracy but his legacy is democracy, his legacy lives on!

As South African women we are greatly indebted to this selfless giant, a man of integrity, the embodiment of the National Democratic Revolution, the longest serving President of the ANC. Indeed, today, we are proud to stand on the broad shoulders of this unifying giant of the oldest liberation in the world.

Cde Oliver Reginald Tambo. We thank you.
Machi, uNomfe ayigotywa; igotywa ngethokazi.

27th October 2016
ANC Viewpoints

October month is important in the African National Congress (ANC) as it marks Oliver Tambo Month, a month of renewal and reflection on the values of our glorious movement, based on the life of this illustrious leader of our people.

On this day, 27th of October 2016, President Oliver Reginald Tambo would have turned 99 years old. This makes 2017 a crucial year for our movement as it marks the Centenary of OR, one of the most outstanding leaders to be produced by our country and continent.

We must therefore use the next twelve months leading to the centenary of OR Tambo to draw the best lessons from his life and to understand his rare qualities that compelled our icon and former President Nelson Mandela to describe him as “a great giant that strode the globe like a colossus.”
Deep and strategic reflections on the life of President Oliver Tambo will offer us the opportunity to confront and deal with the challenges facing both the ANC as a movement of the people and our beloved country, South Africa at this juncture.

This is because OR Tambo was a solution oriented leader who always sought to move forward on the basis of building consensus among all forces necessary for such a movement forward. This ability to bring together people with different views on both strategic and tactical questions and inculcating in them the appreciation of superior logic earned President Tambo great admiration from all his comrades and affirmed him as an impartial leader belonging rigidly to no particular group or strand of thinking within the movement.

Comrade OR, as he is affectionately known, gave everyone in our movement the confidence that they could engage him on any matter and they would receive a fair hearing without prejudice or predetermined attitudes. It is precisely owing to this that he is credited foremost among all leaders as the one who skilfully held our movement together during the darkest days in our history when all seemed hopeless.

The longest ever serving president of the African National Congress from 1969 to 1991, OR Tambo’s presidency firmly entrenched the broad church character of the ANC, where all comrades from various ideological persuasions felt at home in our movement, united by their commitment to realize the strategic objective to create a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. O.R. insisted through his words and conduct that there are no antagonistic contradictions between the ideological strands existent within the ANC and he possessed the rare ability to quell whatever tensions arising from nationalist anxieties and communist imaginations in particular.

He was the embodiment of our broad church character which he correctly understood as a necessity and precondition for the unity of all the motive forces of our National Democratic Revolution. It is for this reason that the tripartite alliance of the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party grew stronger under his leadership, based on a solid political programme and led by the ANC.

His tolerant, measured and cautious response to difficult situations allowed for the impatience and militancy characteristic of young people to find expression in the body politic of the ANC. President Tambo allowed for the development of young people and their growth through the ranks of our movement, whilst at the same time insisting on the observation of organizational discipline. He appreciated the energy of young people and sought to exploit it appropriately in order to propel the ANC onto a higher trajectory of struggle. President Tambo centrally determined the overarching political direction of a key generation that earned itself a reputation as the “young lions of Oliver Tambo.”

His connection with and understanding of young people in the ANC was indeed informed by the fact that decades before he became President, he had been part of the radical generation that founded the ANC Youth League and served as its very first Secretary. We all therefore have a responsibility to learn from OR how to better handle contradictions that arise between the young and the old comrades, operating within the same political space.

One of the things that set OR Tambo above many was his spirit of self-sacrifice. A few days after the Sharpeville Massacre in the then Transvaal in the autumn of 1960, the African National Congress dispatched him to go and galvanize international support for the revolutionary anti-apartheid struggle.

Without thought of it, OR obliged and placed himself wholly at the disposal of his movement. Unbeknown to him, he was to set foot on the land of his birth again only three decades later. Such was the sacrifice that this humble servant was willing to make for the liberation of South Africans.

He represents the calibre of cadreship envisioned in our Strategy & Tactics document when it says:

“Wherever they are to be found, ANC cadres should act as the custodians of the principles of fundamental social change; winning respect among their peers and society at large through exemplary conduct. They must be informed by values of honesty, hard work, humility, service to the people and respect for the laws of the land.”

President Tambo epitomized these and other age old values upon which our movement was founded more than 104 years ago.

In memory of this stalwart of our movement who made an unmatched contribution to the liberation struggle of the South African people, let us continue efforts to unite the ANC so that it can better serve the people of our country. Like OR Tambo, we must not be too inward looking when dealing with our challenges. We must always look at our challenges in the context of the broader implications they have on our people.

Our branches must use this OR Tambo month to deepen our reflection and intensify debate about the current political situation, domestically and globally, using the question “what would OR Tambo have done” as a stimulus to such a debate. Needless to say, such a debate would require that ordinary members of the ANC improve their knowledge of President Oliver Reginald Tambo.

For it was Comrade OR who warned prophetically in 1977 in Angola: “Comrades, you might think it is very difficult to wage a liberation struggle. Wait until you are in power. I might be dead by then. At that stage you will realize that it is actually more difficult to keep the power than to wage a liberation war. People will be expecting a lot of services from you. You will have to satisfy the various demands of the masses of our people. In the process, be prepared to learn from other people’s revolutions. Learn from the enemy also. The enemy is not necessarily doing everything wrongly. You may take his right tactics and use them to your advantage. At the same time, avoid repeating the enemy’s mistakes.”

As we recall the wisdom of this giant leader and unifier of our movement, we also call on our structures to hold public lectures aimed at educating society at large about this inimitable leader of our revolution after whom an important international airport in our country was named.

The celebration of President Tambo and his contribution to our struggle must mark the beginning of efforts to teach our people in earnest about all their heroes and heroines who made immense sacrifices for our liberation, more so to assist us address the pressing challenges facing both the African National Congress as the leader of our society and the society it continues to lead.