Tag Archives: Mugabe

Southern Africa – the curse of struggle politics and the liberation movement divine right to power

The Conversation

How liberators turn into oppressors: a study of southern African states

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Mugabe has been in power since 1980. Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

This article is a foundation essay. These are longer than usual and take a wider look at a key issue affecting society.

Since coming to political power, the anticolonial movements of Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa have remained in control of the former settler colonies’ societies.

At best their track record of running the countries they helped liberate is mixed. From the “oiligarchy” in Angola under José Eduardo dos Santos and his family clan and the autocratic “Zanufication” under Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to the presidential successions in Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, all movements embarked on what could be termed “state capture”.

This is true of all five: the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU PF), Namibia’s South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) and the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

During the years of organised resistance, activists in the liberation movements often internalised a “we-they” divide that categorised people as comrades or enemies. This was true in exile politics and armed struggle, as well as militant internal underground mobilisation.

The repressive regimes the liberation movements opposed were based on human rights violations as an integral component of minority rule. To have a chance of success against them, the struggle mainly operated along the lines of command and obedience. Operating in exile or for a banned organisation at home left no room for complacency. Suspicion was required for survival. It is normal for resistance movements to adopt rough survival strategies and techniques while fighting an oppressive regime.

Unfortunately that culture takes root and is permanently nurtured. Such confrontational mentality has become entrenched in an authoritarian political culture that is based on the claim that liberators have an entitlement to rule within a new elite project. This has happened much to the frustration of those who believed that the struggle against settler colonialism was also a struggle against a range of other things. These include economic exploitation, redistribution of wealth, plural democracy and respect for human dignity, rights and civil liberties.

This happened in societies in transition almost everywhere. Those who sacrificed during the resistance felt in many cases entitled to new privileges as a kind of compensation and reward. As a new elite, they also often mimicked the lifestyles of those they replaced. Mugabe’s cultivation of Oxford English is as much a case in point as the new Indian elite culture analysed by Ashis Nandy in “The Intimate Enemy”.

There is also nothing new about militant movements that are supposedly justified in ethical and moral terms losing their legitimacy quickly when obtaining power. Since the French Revolution, liberators have often turned into oppressors, victims into perpetrators. New regimes often resemble features of the old one.

Wounds old and new

Armed resistance was in different degrees part of the liberation struggles in the southern African settler colonies. While liberation did not come from the barrel of a gun, the military component accelerated the process towards self-determination. In the cases of Zimbabwe, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, South Africa, it was a contributing factor for a negotiated transition towards majority rule.

The compromises required from all sides were part of a wider appeasement strategy tantamount to elite pacts. Negotiated transfer of political power did not abandon the settler colonial structures of society.

It bears repetition that the unscrupulously violent character of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) regime had already revealed itself in the early to mid-1980s. Already during the exile years internal power struggles led to assassinations and showed the brute force inherent in liberation struggles, even within their own ranks. This willingness to resort to violence was seen on a massive scale after independence as it was turned against political opponents and their support base.

A special unit killed an estimated 20,000 people through Operation Gukurahundi, where the opposition Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) had most support. Atrocities bordering on genocide did not stop until ZAPU agreed to sign a pact. ZANU basically took ZAPU over.

When the Movement for Democratic Change as a new opposition party turned into a serious competitor, the Chimurenga, or revolutionary struggle, became a permanent institution. Violence was the customary response to political protest. And as political power shifted away from Mugabe after the lost referendum in 2000, his regime became more violent.

Swapo’s human rights violations have also been downplayed. In the 1980s the organisation imprisoned thousands of its members in dungeons in southern Angola, accusing them of spying on behalf of South Africa. These people lost their liberty and often their lives in spite of never having been proven guilty. Indeed, they were not even brought to trial. Most did not survive the torture. Those released are scorned even today.

While political leaders of these movements might not have practised such acts of violence themselves, they were accomplices and knew of them.

South Africa’s trajectory is sobering too. Given the country’s vibrant political culture pre-democracy, the prospects for democracy were more encouraging.

But the horrific degree of violence displayed by those executing “law and order” on behalf of the South African state in Marikana was a reminder that Sharpeville was not past.

The 2012 Marikana massacre brought bitter memories of the apartheid-era killings of protesters in Sharpeville. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

As early as 1990, veteran underground activist and later constitutional judge Albie Sachs expressed doubts that ANC activists were ready for freedom. He worried about the habits they had cultivated. While the culture and discipline of resistance may have served as a survival strategy in the underground, these skills were not those of free citizens.

Raymond Suttner’s work, based on his view from the inside, points out that ANC ideology and rhetoric do not distinguish between the liberation movement and the people. The liberation movement is a prototype of a state within the state – one that sees itself as the only legitimate source of power.

He also explains how during the struggle there was a general suppression of “the personal” in favour of “the collective”. Individual judgment, and thereby autonomy, was substituted by a collective decision from the leadership. Such a “warrior culture” included heroic acts, but also the abuse of power.

As in many instances, women – as mothers, wives and daughters, but also as objects for satisfying sexual desires – paid the highest price and made the greatest sacrifices.

South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, institutionalised by the government, also talked about human rights violations committed by the ANC. Although the final official report containing these findings was never published in its original form, President Nelson Mandela did not shy away from earlier offering a public apology to the victims of the ANC’s failures to respect basic human rights.

Beyond the ‘end of history’

As we now know, postcolonial life looks for far too many people very much like that of the colonial era in respect to day-to-day living. One reason for this is that socialisation and attitudes from the struggle have shaped the new political leaders’ understanding of politics – and their idea of how to wield power.

In office, liberation movements tend to mark “the end of history”. Their party machineries – as sociologist Roger Southall describes it – promote the equation that the party is the government and the government is the state. Any political alternative that does not emerge from within will not be acceptable.

This attitude explains the strong sense of camaraderie between the Mugabe regime and the governments of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. Typically, any political alternative will be discredited as being part of an imperialist conspiracy that is designed to sabotage national independence and is seeking “regime change”.

The relevant categories of thought are winners and losers. But democracy is about something completely different: compromise, and even a search for consensus, in pursuit of the public good. To achieve that, one does not need mindsets in combat mode, but rather a broad political debate.

Looking at the history of the liberation struggles in southern Africa can, therefore, also open our eyes and sharpen our sensibility, awareness and understanding of forms of rule that show clear limitations for genuine emancipation and liberation.

We should also critically reflect on those – within the countries and globally – who rendered those movements support. How have they positioned themselves vis-à-vis the new power structures? How are they practising the notion of solidarity in the context of inequalities and injustices?

We should return to the mindsets, values, norms and expectations of those who supported these struggles. The notion of solidarity might then live on with a similar uncompromising meaning and practice.

A luta continua [The struggle continues]” as a popular slogan during the struggle days would then not translate into “the looting continues” but return to its true meaning. If implemented accordingly, it underlines that there is no end of history when it comes to social struggles for true emancipation, equality, liberty and justice.

Zimbabwe – Mujuru and Tsvangirai form alliance to fight Mugabe


Tsvangirai, Mujuru finally seal poll pact

By Fungi Kwaramba

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday fired warning shots at President Robert Mugabe and his warring ruling Zanu PF — signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Harare ahead of the finalisation of the planned grand coalition as the make-or-break 2018 elections approach.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru form alliance to challenge Mugabe
Tsvangirai and Mujuru form alliance to challenge Mugabe

This comes as the mindless bloodletting that is devouring Zanu PF has escalated in the past few weeks, resulting even in the party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, coming under serious pressure to resign from his post over a slew of charges — including bizarre claims of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.

Describing yesterday’s developments as historic, a buoyant Tsvangirai said the two opposition leading lights had decided to join hands after realising that Mugabe and Zanu PF had “no clue” about how to end the myriad challenges afflicting Zimbabwe.

“We have chosen to give hope to the people of Zimbabwe … that indeed there is a bright light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

“We have taken the first step to bring all Zimbabweans under one roof so that we can work together to remove the unmitigated repression and misgovernance that pervades our lives.

“I am pleased to inform the nation that today we have signed a memorandum with Mai Mujuru of the National People’s Party (NPP) … to establish a pre-election alliance en route to the establishment of a coalition government which shall drive a comprehensive democratisation and transformation agenda.

“This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Zanu PF between now and 2018,” Tsvangirai said.

The indefatigable former labour union leader emphasised that the door had not been slammed on other smaller parties being part of the pact, with “similar arrangements” to be decided with them soon.

“While political parties have their role in nation-building, it must be understood that they are not the only key stakeholders.

“We are in this together with other key stakeholders such as traditional leaders, the Church, labour, vendors, war veterans, civic society, business and the generality of Zimbabweans.

“This is our collective struggle and I call upon the people of Zimbabwe to join hands with us and play their part as well so that we can reclaim our country, our freedom and our dignity,” Tsvangirai added.

“Even at the ripe old age of 93, president Mugabe knows that the country’s crisis is unsustainable. Every Zimbabwean from every station of life knows it too.

“So, we should all stand together in unison and say enough is enough. As president Mugabe enters the sunset of his life, it is incumbent upon all of us to pick the pieces and rebuild our country together.

“I hope the understanding we reached today, and which we will reach with many others, will culminate in a solid political co-operation agreement that should usher in a new governance culture in our country,” he said further.

On her part, Mujuru promised “greater things” for long-suffering Zimbabweans.

“We were being asked by people wherever we would go about when we would form the coalition. It took about six months to discuss the coalition.

“We know your expectations are very high … what we want to see is a greater Zimbabwe again … We are going to deliver a new Zimbabwe,” she said.

According to the two opposition leaders, the MoU would act as a roadmap towards forming the planned grand coalition which is expected to be in place before next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Optimism has been high ever since Tsvangirai and Mujuru publicly flaunted their readiness to join forces against the ruling party, when they appeared together in Gweru last August.

In a move that political analysts described as “very significant”, Mujuru held hands and also joined Tsvangirai then during a massive demonstration in Gweru that was organised by the former prime minister in the government of national unity’s MDC.

Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the first black post-independence army commander, could provide the much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.

However, they have also warned that without a broad coalition involving all the major opposition players, Zanu PF would use “its usual thuggish and foul methods” to retain power in 2018.

In 2008, her late husband Rex was accused by Mugabe and other Zanu PF bigwigs of having engineered the 93-year-old’s stunning electoral defeat to Tsvangirai in that year’s hotly disputed polls.

Last week, a bullish Tsvangirai vowed to finish off Mugabe and his deeply-divided Zanu PF — adding that he stood ready to lead the planned grand coalition.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News then, Tsvangirai said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that the MDC — working together with other opposition parties — would, like it did in 2008, once again defeat Zanu PF in 2018 and bring to an end Mugabe’s long but tumultuous rule.

“I stand ready to heed the calls by Zimbabweans that I lead … Indeed, when I moved across the country, the people said I should lead.

“So, if that is what people want, then I am ready to lead the coalition. But this should not be about individuals but about Zimbabwe.

“Indeed, the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe is not between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, but between long-suffering Zimbabweans and a heartless, looting Zanu PF,” Tsvangirai said.

“The commitment towards forming a grand coalition is there … But we must exercise due diligence in regard to our partners.

“Imagine at the end, just before elections you have people who will say ‘I was not part of the talks’ … so due diligence is very important,” added the dogged former labour union leader, as he explained why it was taking long to conclude the mooted coalition talks.

Soon after, Mujuru signalled her readiness to join Tsvangirai in the planned electoral pact when she said the mooted grand opposition coalition was the only way of extricating the country from its economic problems.

“As NPP, we believe that what ought to be 37 years of independence has been turned into 37 years of slavery and misery to Zimbabweans.

“We believe we have capacity as Zimbabweans to extricate ourselves out of the social, economic and political mess we find ourselves in as a result of Zanu PF’s failed government.

“It is time that all progressive forces within the rank and file of opposition parties put their differences aside and face the failed Zanu PF government as a united front by every constitutional means necessary come 2018.

“Our people never went to war so that the destiny of our country can be turned into political dynasties.

“Zimbabweans deserve to be free and that freedom has to be exercised now. To that end, as NPP we urge all the progressive forces within the rank and file of the opposition parties of this country to go back to the basics of the revolutionary ideals of oneness.

“It is our belief as NPP that what divides us as opposition political parties is smaller than what binds us as a country. Our motto should therefore be united we stand, divided we fall,” she said.


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses a rally to mark the country"s 37th independence anniversary in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 18, 2017.Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Robert Mugabe has said he is not losing sleep over the coalition

Two of Zimbabwe’s best known opposition figures have agreed to form an alliance against President Robert Mugabe.

Long-time Mugabe critic Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru say they will work together in next year’s election.

However, it is not yet clear which of them will be the presidential candidate.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980 and has said he will seek re-election.

“This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Zanu-PF between now and the next election,” Mr Tsvangirai told journalists.

Real test lies ahead: Shingai Nyoka, BBC News, Harare

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and fomer Vice President Joice Mujuru(R) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate coalition ahead of 2018 general election in Harare April 19th 2017Image copyright AFP

The alliance is an important first step towards uniting a deeply divided opposition.

And if this alliance succeeds it will be the first time President Mugabe has faced a united opposition on this scale since coming into power in 1980.

At least a dozen parties are expected to be part of the coalition.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru who was fired from the ruling Zanu-PF party in 2014 was the first to sign a pact with Morgan Tsvangirai. She says it follows six months of consultations.

A Movement for Democratic Change splinter group has now also come on board.

Divisions among the opposition have been blamed for previous electoral losses.

For the first time, Mr Tsvangirai apologised for this and accepted responsibility for the mistakes made in the past. His party has split four ways since it was formed in 1999.

Ms Mujuru’s National People’s Party recently splintered after less than a year.

But the real test for the opposition lies ahead. The parties still need to hammer out the terms of this alliance. In particular who will lead the coalition.

President Mugabe is a formidable opponent. He has been accused of stealing elections and using violence to stay in power.

Mr Mugabe has previously said he would not be losing any sleep over the proposed coalition.

Mr Tsvangirai has run against Mr Mugabe several times since he helped found the Movement for Democratic Change.

Each time he has said he was denied victory because of violence and rigging – charges denied by Mr Mugabe and his allies.

He became prime minister in a tension-filled coalition government with Mr Mugabe from 2009 until 2013.

Ms Mujuru was vice-president to Mr Mugabe for 10 years until she was fired in 2014.

Zimbabwe’s funny money

BD Live

Zimbabwean currency: funny money

Does the $200m facility designed to prop up Zimbabwe’s bond notes exist? Without it, bond notes — which citizens believe mark the return of the devalued Zimbabwean dollar — have no value

19 April 2017 – 07:13 AM Chris Muronzi

When the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in May last year announced plans to launch bond notes with a value on par with the US dollar, the news made headlines. It had never been done elsewhere.

It also aroused suspicion.

Lingering fears of the return of the devalued Zimbabwe dollar had been dismissed by the central bank on many occasions after it adopted the US dollar. But a liquidity crisis has affected the recovery initiated by the dollarisation of the economy.

Zimbabwe abandoned its currency in 2009 after hyperinflation destroyed its value. In 2014, RBZ chief John Mangudya introduced bond coins to Zimbabwe, backed by a US$50m African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) facility. The coins were grudgingly accepted as a means of trade.

But biting shortages of US dollars have created the need for an alternative to the coins, and Mangudya believes bond notes could address the problem.

The value of the new currency would be derived from a $200m Afreximbank bond facility, Mangudya said in May 2016.

Questions quickly arose about the $200m facility.

Before Zimbabwe released bond coins in 2014, Afreximbank announced on its website that it would back the coins. In contrast, by September 2016, there was still no official confirmation that the bank would make the $200m facility for the bond notes available.

The debate quickly spilled into the public domain.

In December, Ecobank economist Gaimin Nonyane questioned the existence of the facility. “We understand that while Afreximbank is supporting trade within the gold industry, [it has] not committed to backing the bond note programme directly,” he said.

“In reality, the central bank has just printed a new currency in the hopes that this will ease liquidity pressures, but I doubt this will have the desired effect.”

No go: Opposition parties demonstrated againt the introduction of bond notes as currency. Picture: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

No go: Opposition parties demonstrated againt the introduction of bond notes as currency. Picture: JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Fed up by what he described as a wall of silence, businessman Frederick Mutanda asked the high court to bar the introduction of the bond notes, but the court dismissed the challenge. His lawyer, David Drury, attempted to get an explanation from the central bank, but it failed to provide him with proof of the existence of the bond facility.

“[Zimbabwean President Robert] Mugabe will leave the country with worthless bond notes … The RBZ governor has always known that there is no Afreximbank facility. It has always been a lie. That is why I went to court,” Mutanda tells the Financial Mail.

Mutanda’s legal challenge is not the only form of public opposition to the bond notes.

Economist Ken Yamamoto believes the bond notes are a calculated robbery of Zimbabwe’s hard-earned currency. He has labelled the alleged facility a “scam”.

But University of Zimbabwe economics professor Ashok Chakravarti says the existence (or nonexistence) of the bond notes facility is water under the bridge.

“I think the question is not whether or not the bond notes facility exists. In my opinion, it can be funded in other ways, including by nostro accounts,” he says, referring to accounts that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank.

“If the quantity of bond notes in circulation is maintained, then the bond notes could actually hold value against the US dollar. If they increase the amount of bonds in circulation, then we could see problems with the value,” says Chakravarti.

He adds that a good quality tobacco crop — which is likely, thanks to good rainfall — will help Zimbabwe’s cash flow. A good maize harvest is also expected this year.

But most citizens regard the bond notes to be the Zimbabwe dollar by some other name.

Drury says, in the absence of a bond facility, the bond notes have no value.

“In any economy, a currency is backed by some commodity. In our case, it seems to me there is no exchange instrument to back the bond notes. We don’t have the backing of the RBZ either,” he says.

Some commentators suggest the bond notes are an attempt to rob Zimbabweans of their cash.

It’s happened before. At the height of economic decline in 2008, then RBZ boss Gideon Gono helped himself to $400m held in foreign currency accounts in the country, allegedly to finance Mugabe’s government operations. He was forced to reimburse these funds by issuing treasury bills.

Zimbabwe among Africa’s worst on good governance index

Zimbabwe Independent

Africa’s track record of governance since independence is, at best, mixed. Despite the moderate socio-economic and political progress made since independence, only a few countries have improved their performance relative to those in other parts of the world, and these are mostly recent developments confined to some of the smallest countries on the continent.

By Lyal White & Adrian Kitimbo

Poverty is still rife in most Africans countries.

According to most measures,Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the least competitive region on the planet, stuck between the ebbs and flows of commodity cycles and global paradigm shifts.

Despite enjoying its best decade of economic growth on record from 2002 to 2012, African countries continue to populate the bottom rungs of the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI), which measures key aspects of human progress such as life expectancy, per capita income and education.

One in two Africans still live in extreme poverty, and Africa has overtaken Latin America as the most unequal region in the world.

Countless arguments have tried to explain Africa’s lacklustre development record and perennial underperformance on various scores and indices.

It was the British economist, Richard M Auty, who coined the term “resource curse”, linking the endowment of natural resources such as oil and minerals, as we see in many African countries, to slow development, corruption and authoritarianism.

Others have blamed the continent’s underdevelopment on geography, diseases and the legacy of colonialism.

In more recent years the development debate has become a sparring contest between two opposing camps: One side, championed by the economist Jeffrey Sachs and celebrities like Bono, advocate for more aid.

Others, like famed Zambian economist, Dambisa Moyo, insist that development aid is part of a bigger problem, crowding out productive capital and undermining good governance in Africa.

Regardless of which side of the ideological debate or angle of the argument taken, at the heart of it, poor governance has undermined Africa’s socio-economic progress.

By falling short on their key obligations, which US political scientist Robert Rotberg calls “political goods”, African governments fail to deliver on security, political participation, the rule of law, and ultimately sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

And through the grand debates, a mixed record of results and a sketchy collection of data and facts, Africa’s overall governance is difficult to measure.

Application for policymakers and practitioners seeking an empirical basis for comprehensive competitive performance is even trickier. But new tools with a decent record of annual averages dating back more than a decade can provide better insights through a composite collection mixed with practical observations and experiences on the ground.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) and the GIBS Dynamic Market Index (DMI) are two such measures.

The IIAG is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and robust tools for gauging governance performance in Africa.

Funded by the Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim, and first published in 2007, the index measures the quality of governance across 54 African countries.

In its most recent iteration, the 2016 IIAG found that over the last 10 years Africa has experienced a very slight overall improvement in governance.

Notable improvements were in the areas of human rights, human development and sustainable economic opportunity. But a concerning trend saw safety and the rule of law decline sharply over this period.

Up to 33 of the 54 African countries measured experienced a decline in these categories, questioning the ability of African states to meet the fundamental needs of any society.

The top three performers on the IIAG were Mauritius, Botswana and Cape Verde.

Interestingly, this is consistent with other indices that measure economic performance. Meanwhile, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia took the unenviable bottom spots. Some of the most improved countries measured include Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe and Rwanda. South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised country, saw an overall deterioration, with its scores plummeting, especially in the areas of safety and rule of law.

The IIAG’s results tend to echo those of the DMI 2016. The DMI measures and compares the institutional performance of 144 countries around the world, using averages between 2007 and 2014.

While the DMI is a global study and not just Africa-focused, some of its conceptual pillars do overlap with the variables that inform the IIAG. The DMI pillars include: Open and Connected, Red Tape, Socio-Political Stability, Justice System, Macroeconomic Management and Human Capital.

In step with the IIAG, the DMI’s findings demonstrate an overall (albeit small) improvement in the quality of institutions towards good governance. But there was a significant drop-off in performance since 2012 and a significant number of African countries still lag behind their global peers.

Most African countries are categorised as “catch-up” markets in the 2016 GIBS DMI. These are predominantly low-income countries with poor institutional foundations but have demonstrated impressive structural improvements since 2007.

Similar to the IIAG findings, Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire are among the fastest improvers on the DMI, while the Central African Republic (CAR), off an already low base in 2007, registered one of the sharpest declines in governance on both indices.

Botswana and Mauritius, which are the top performers on the IIAG, are also the only two “dynamic” markets on the GIBS DMI.

Dynamic Markets are characterised by a relatively high level of dynamism in the 2007 base year. More important, they have maintained and often improved on a number of institutional measures over the period of analysis.

Meanwhile, in tandem with the IIAG, South Africa performs rather poorly on the DMI despite its relatively high base level of institutions in 2007, registering no improvement during the period of measure. South Africa’s poor performance has been plainly evident in the uncertain political and economic environment that has hamstrung the country during the last few years.

There are some notable differences in the results of the two indices. For example, East African powerhouses — Kenya and Ethiopia — were among the fastest improvers on the IIAG in the last 10 years. But both countries are categorised as “adynamic” on their DMI performance.

This was largely as a result of inadequate progress in Ethiopia’s justice system along with a lack of open and connectedness, while Kenya suffered a serious setback around recent insecurity, political instability and social violence at the end of 2007, which had a lasting impact on the data.

Simply, while both indices often have broadly similar results, they do not necessarily employ the same methodologies, and are thus not identical in their findings — a useful insight for composite measures and granular details needed in analysing the African context.

An interesting finding, albeit a broad correlation, is that between economic performance and the results from the two indices. Those countries that recorded an improvement in governance on both the IIAG and the DMI over the past 10 years are now some of the best economic performers, with either the highest growth rates or sustained levels of healthy growth.

Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire are such examples, growing at an average upwards of 6% over the last five years, and are increasingly two of the most competitive countries in Africa.

Both countries are among a handful of SSA economies to appear in the top 100 on the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Competitiveness Index. This does suggest an important correlation between good governance and economic performance, where improved governance will lead to economic progress.

At a time when Africa seems to be caught in a perfect storm comprising the world’s lowest levels of governance and productivity, alongside the highest rate of inequality globally, individual countries need to get on track with a simple solution that will address these challenges and deliver growth and development. Measurable good governance is that solution.

Prof Lyal White is the director of the Centre for Dynamic Markets at GIBS, and Adrian Kitimbo is a senior researcher for the Centre.

Zimbabwe – ctivist pastor denied bail, faces two weeks in jail


A Zimbabwean pastor at the heart of a protest movement against President Robert Mugabe was denied bail on Friday, leaving him facing at least two weeks in jail before his next hearing on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

Evan Mawarire – whose #ThisFlag movement led the biggest anti-government rallies in a decade in 2016 – is also charged with inciting violence and insulting the national flag.

The preacher arrived at the magistrates court in handcuffs in an open police truck and sat calmly during the proceedings.

Magistrate Elisha Singano said facts presented by the state showed there was reasonable suspicion that Mawarire committed a crime and advised him to seek bail at the High Court.

“Thank you guys. Don’t worry,” Mawarire told a group of supporters and reporters as he headed towards a prison vehicle after the hearing. He has denied all the charges.

The #ThisFlag movement used social media messages to rally demonstrations against social and economic decay.

In one online video, Mawarire said the colours of Zimbabwe’s flag – green, gold, red and black – symbolised how Mugabe’s government had ruined the country – the basis of the charge of insulting the national standard.

The most serious offence against him, of “subverting a constitutional government”, carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

The preacher was arrested on Wednesday on his return from self-imposed exile in the United States

His lawyer Harrison Nkomo said he would apply for bail at the High Court on Monday.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, turns 93 years later this month. He was endorsed by his ruling ZANU-PF party last December to run in next year’s presidential election, his last allowed under a constitution passed in 2013.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Zimbabwe – Mugabe calls for calm over economic crisis


2016-12-07 07:22

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabweans have taken to social media to react to President Robert Mugabe’s 28 minutes State of the Nation Address.


Harare – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has appealed for calm as his government battles to contain a debilitating economic crisis.

The 92-year-old president appeared frail but jovial, struggling with his lines a bit as he delivered a 30-minute State of the Nation address on Tuesday.

He praised the country’s security forces for maintaining order, although critics accuse them of using violence to stifle dissent.

This once prosperous but now economically struggling southern African country is battling cash shortages, high unemployment and company closures.

A new local currency, introduced last week, has failed to end cash shortages, with many people still sleeping outside banks to access their money.

The cash crunch has meant that Mugabe’s government has failed to pay its workers on time since June.

Mugabe did not mention these issues in his speech, resulting in murmurs of protest from opposition members of parliament.

He chuckled when one opposition representative asked him to make sure he was reading the correct speech.

This followed last year’s embarrassing incident when for his State of the Nation speech, Mugabe read the same speech he had delivered just a few weeks before.

Zimbabwe – why violence is increasing

Financial Gazette/allAfrica

At least 68 civil society organisations (CSOs) have reported a sharp rise in incidents of politically-motivated violence, intimidation and human rights abuses across the country, as Zimbabwe swings into election mode.

This is despite the fact that the potentially epoch making general elections are due in about 18 months’ time.

Tension has already engulfed the country, much of it triggered by escalating hardships stemming from economic mismanagement, corruption and a severe drought that has left over four million people facing starvation.

Reports compiled by Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), with input from 68 CSOs, illustrate how threats of violence and violence have created a siege mood across the country.

In its report titled Civil Society Organisation Stakeholders Report 2016 released recently, ZLHR documented several incidents of rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe.

It said while government has pledged to strengthen the rule of law, there had been selective application of the law against “perceived supporters of opposition political parties”.

It said 3 629 human rights activists were arrested, and detained between January 2012 and December 2015.

About 1 000 of the human rights activists were released without charge.

“The Prosecutor General also disregarded some court orders and only complied after censure from the Constitutional Court. Police are not investigating all cases reported to them by those with dissenting voices against government or perceived opposition political party members,” ZLHR has indicated.

Trafficking of women and girls has continued, with poor people among the worst affected.

In its findings, HZT claimed that ZANU-PF officials in Bikita West, Mbire, Mount Darwin, Zvishavane, Masvingo, Nyanga South and Mhondoro-Ngezi were cracking down on opposition supporters.

They are also threatening to deny hunger stricken villagers in rural communities access to food aid if they support other political parties, alleged HZT.

A school headmaster in Ngezi was threatened for “receiving donations from opposition political party members” and was warned that his job was on the online, HZT said.

It added that the headmaster was also being accused of “allowing people from the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) to be part of the school development committee”.

ZPF, one of the biggest parties expected to contest in the 2018 polls, is headed by former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was fired from ZANU-PF two years ago.

Those that have been denied food aid are scrounging for food in some of the country’s driest and impoverished regions, where rains are poor and crops perennially fail.

Millions of them have been depending on State sponsored food handouts, as well as donations from relief agencies.

This week, ZANU-PF spokesman, Simon Khaya-Moyo, denied that ZANU-PF supporters were beating up people, referring further questions to the party’s political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.

Kasukuwere was not picking up calls to his mobile phone yesterday.

Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, said police had not received any reports of politically-motivated violence.

The CSOs reports, however, said even within ZANU-PF, those perceived to be working against the party have not been spared.

Two warring factions have emerged in ZANU-PF.

There is Generation 40 or simply G40, which comprises mainly of the party’s young turks; then there is its archenemy, Team Lacoste, which is said to be backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over leadership of the ruling party whenever President Robert Mugabe decides to retire from active politics.

“ZANU-PF candidate in the pending Bikita by-election, Beauty Chabaya called for a meeting at Mukute ward centre on 29 October 2016. At the meeting, Chibaya told people that they should vote for her resoundingly in the event that the by-election is held. She threatened to deny anyone who does not vote for her food aid. She warned people that if they ‘rebel’ by voting for another candidate, her party was going to unleash political violence similar to the 2008 election violence,” said HZT, which described the situation in Bikita West, Mbire and Mount Darwin as “tense”.

Mukute ward is in Bikita West, which fell vacant following the imprisonment of its member of the House of Assembly, Munyaradzi Kereke on rape charges.

Despite the fact that no by-election date has been set, the area is already a political hotspot, especially given that new kid on the block, ZPF, has thrown its hat into the ring.

HZT said on 24 October, ZANU-PF provincial secretary for finance for Masvingo Province, Jeppy Jaboon threatened community members who were gathered for a funeral.”

“In his address, Jaboon told people that if they vote for any candidate who is not from ZANU-PF in the coming by-election, they will be ‘dealt’ with accordingly,” said the report.

Jaboon, however, denied the allegations saying:” It is not true. I never addressed any funeral.”

Bikita West has, however, since 2001 been notorious for violence pitting ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC-T.

ZANU-PF supporters are reported to have also disrupted an agricultural meeting in Mashonaland Central’s Mushumbi Business Centre on October 25, where Department of Agriculture and Rural Extension (AREX) officers were compiling names of potential beneficiaries of cotton seed.

“(ZANU-PF district chairperson, Robert) Chawada was in the company of ZANU-PF youths. When the AREX officers were addressing villagers, Chawada and ZANU-PF youths started making slogans. As they were doing so, they took the seed beneficiary list from village heads and tore it. The matter was reported at Mushumbi Police Station leading to Chawada’s arrest,” the report said.

“On October 24 2016, ZANU-PF conducted a meeting to restructure its party cells at Mapako Business Centre. ZANU-PF party chairman Howard Dzokoto told people at the meeting that in the 2018 elections, they must ensure that ZANU-PF wins the election by any means possible. Dzokoto also said that he will ensure that ZANU-PF youths set up a base at Mapako Business Centre so that they monitor all opposition party activities in the area.

“Community members in Mt Darwin ward 8 are being intimidated and threatened… for supporting opposition political party, Zimbabwe People First (ZPF). On 24 October 2016, (ZANU-PF youths officer Boaz) Matambanadzo led ZANU-PF youths, who were moving in the ward telling people that anyone who attends the upcoming ZPF rally that is to be conducted on 29 October 2016 at Dotito Business Centre, will have their names written down and will not receive food aid,” said HZT.

In the recently held Norton by-election, an independent candidate, Temba Mliswa beat the ruling party’s Donald Chindedza, even after ZANU-PF had parceled out food and large swathes of land on nearby farms to give to at least 9 000 supporters.

ZANU-PF has declared that the embarrassment that it suffered in Norton must never be repeated.

In a presentation to the United Nation in Switzerland last week, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was committed to observing human rights.

“The negative impact of the current drought is putting pressure on the government to redirect resources from national social programmes towards feeding over 800 000 vulnerable households,” he said.