Tag Archives: ZANU-PF

Zimbabwe – Mugabe reportedly reaches deal with war veterans over 2018 elections

Zimbabwe Independent

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has struck a 2018 election deal with war veterans amid reports the Joint Operations Command (Joc) brought pressure to bear on the Zanu PF leader to meet their demands. This is despite the fact that the freedom fighters are still backing Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid in the post-Mugabe era, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

By Elias Mambo

War veterans, including chairman Chris Mutsvangwa (left), at a meeting in Harare with President Robert Mugabe in April last year.

Joc, which brings together the army, police and intelligence chiefs, has been key to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s survival by working behind the scenes to prop up the party, while blocking a democratic political transition. Senior Joc members have also perennially campaigned for Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The deal comes on the backdrop of a massive fallout between Mugabe and the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWA), which had withdrawn its support of the nonagenarian ahead of the crucial 2018 elections.

In a hard-hitting communique released in July last year, the war veterans announced they would not campaign for Mugabe after accusing him of neglecting the masses and betraying the values of the liberation war.

The war veterans also said Mugabe had failed to “use the resounding mandate given to him in the 2013 general elections”. They said Mugabe had failed to address the economic problems affecting Zimbabwe and to deal with corruption among other issues.

Although Mutsvangwa would neither confirm nor deny that war veterans had struck a deal with Mugabe after behind-the-scenes negotiations, he confirmed that former liberation fighters would now back the ageing leader.

Mutsvangwa, however, said the war veterans would continue fighting the G40 faction, which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe, a confirmation that the association was solidly behind Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

He said the war veterans had excellent relations with the army, which Zanu PF insiders say was supporting the former liberation fighters at a time they were publicly opposing Mugabe and his wife.

The army is loyal to Mugabe, but is also supporting Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

“As chairman, I want to assure the public and the national body politic that there are no contentious issues between ZNLWA and the patron President Robert Mugabe,” said Mutsvangwa.

“By the same token, war veterans are delighted with the ever-warming relations with the First Family as a whole. We also take this opportunity to reassure all and sundry that we have excellent relations with the entire defence and security establishment. General (Constantino) Chiwenga enjoys our utmost trust and confidence.

“We are of shared military progeny as young men sacrificing only life for freedom and independence in the 1970s. The bonds of blood are too strong to be torn asunder by mahumbwe (child’s play) type trickery of G40.”

Zanu PF insiders say following behind-the-scenes talks, Mugabe would meet war veterans later this month where he is likely to commit to address issues pertaining to their welfare.

War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has confirmed the meeting.

Insiders say the ex-combatants’ leadership met in December last year after which they wrote to Mugabe demanding, among many other issues, the removal of Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere from the commissariat department. Kasukuwere is a key member of the G40 faction.

“Following the demands, some senior Joc members held meetings with Mugabe over the war veterans’ demands concerning the need to revamp the commissariat,” said an official, adding: “The countrywide demonstrations and vote of no confidence passed by nine provinces against Kasukuwere have worked in the war veterans’ favour.”

Joc officials reportedly told Mugabe he would need the war veterans to campaign for him in next year’s elections as they live among the electorate.

The officials say Kasukuwere may be moved from the commissariat department as a way to appease the war veterans.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa told the Independent that the G40 faction would soon lose relevance.

“The inescapable reality is that the G40 is facing its waterloo. It has already been a torrid season with the (Jacob) Mudenda inquiry, the vote of no confidence by 10 party provinces and the thorough drubbing of the G40 pretender (Mutero Masanganise) by chairman (Ezra) Chadzamira in Masvingo party provincial elections. The end is nigh for the G40 cabal and its diabolic power grab pretences,” he said.

Zimbabwe – Grace Mugabe blocks Kasukuwere investigation meeting

news24 WIRE/allAfrica

Photo: The Herald

Zanu-PF political Commissar and Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.

President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace has reportedly told five top Zanu-PF officials, who are investigating the party’s embattled political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, to call off a meeting in Bindura, after it emerged that rival party factions were planning on disrupting it.

Last month, News24 reported that close to 1 500 placard-carrying demonstrators had marched in Bindura, Mashonaland Central Province’s provincial capital, demanding that Mugabe wield the axe on Kasukuwere.

Some leaders of the protest accused Kasukuwere of harbouring presidential ambitions and plotting behind Mugabe’s back, with a view to take over power from him.

One of the provincial leaders, John Ngwenya, told the protesters who were carrying a coffin with Kasukuwere’s pictures stuck on it, that the local government minister had overstayed his welcome as a cabinet minister and senior party official.

Another provincial leader, Chantelle Mbereko, was quoted as saying that Kasukuwere had grabbed a number of unnamed mines and had parceled out residential stands to his relatives, despite the stands having been provided for Zanu-PF youths.

Reports have said that the Mashonaland central province was the first to pass a vote of no confidence in Kasukuwere, before it eventual spread to other provinces.

This reportedly triggered President Mugabe to deploy a high-powered Zanu-PF delegation last week to investigate circumstances that caused the province to pass a vote of no confidence in Kasukuwere.

The task team was made up of Zanu-PF secretary of administration Ignatius Chombo, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, Women’s League commissar Marble Chinomona, and Senate President Edna Madzongwe.

According to NewsDay, unnamed sources said that Grace had called Chombo over the weekend to call off a meeting scheduled for Sunday, after some politburo members and legislators from the province threatened to disrupt it.

This was after it emerged that the politburo members did not trust Chombo, as he was seen as being sympathetic to Kasukuwere.

“The province raised issues with the First Lady. (Kenneth) Musanhi has direct contact with Grace, so he advised her that the province does not trust Chombo. Grace had to instruct Chombo to call off the meeting,” the unnamed source was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha had said that the directive came from Chombo, as some members of the task team were not available to attend.

The paper quoted Dinha as saying that they wanted the handling of the accusations against Kasukuwere to be dealt with expeditiously.

He added that the meeting had been rescheduled to Wednesday.

“We received advice from the secretary for administration [Chombo] that we will reconvene on Wednesday. Some of the politburo members who were supposed to attend were committed elsewhere. As the head of the province I want the issue to be dealt with expeditiously,” Dinha was quoted as saying.

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 opposition demands UN and AU role in conducting 2018 elections


A fruit vendor pushes a cart past sitting police ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare

A fruit vendor pushes a cart past sitting police ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare, Zimbabwe March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Riot police members are deployed on the streets ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare
Riot police members are deployed on the streets ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare, Zimbabwe March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE Zimbabwean opposition parties demanded on Wednesday that presidential elections next year be conducted by a committee set up by the United Nations and African Union because they had lost confidence in the neutrality of the local election agency.

President Robert Mugabe, 94 and in power for 30 years, is due to run again.

Leaders from several political parties, including Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai, told a few hundred supporters during a protest rally in the capital that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had failed to be partial and should be disbanded.

Police deployed water cannon and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital throughout the day after confining the protesters to an open space on the edge of the city centre.

The opposition parties, who were united under a National Election Reform Agenda (NERA), were protesting against changes to the voter registration process and said they would rally behind Tsvangirai to face Mugabe in the presidential vote.

Anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over.

NERA chairman Farai Mbire said the United Nations, African Union and the Southern African Development Community “must immediately establish an independent, tripartite election management body to take over the full functions of ZEC.”

The opposition parties also said Mugabe’s government should back off from its decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration kits from the United Nations.

They fear this will make it easier for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to skew the list of eligible voters in its favour.

Mbire did not say what would happen if Mugabe’s government rejected their demands. ZANU-PF legal secretary and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the state-run Herald newspaper that it was ZEC’s constitutional right to run elections.

Anti-riot police allowed a handful of NERA officials to present a petition to the offices of ZEC.

Zimbabwe is due to hold its next presidential and parliamentary election by July 2018. Mugabe has been endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ed Cropley/Jeremy Gaunt)

Zimbabwe – Mugabe distributes more land as next election looms on horizon


Mugabe gives more land to ex-freedom fighters ahead of 2018 vote

2017-03-14 08:30

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is promising to give more land to the country’s former freedom fighters, telling those who have not yet benefitted from his land programme to “indicate” which farms they prefer, ahead of next year’s elections.

War collaborators, former political detainees and restrictees are also set to benefit.

Critics are adamant the Zanu-PF strong-man faces his most defining moment next year, as his party is ravaged by factionalism over uncertainty on who will succeed him.

Zimbabwe polls are tentatively due in July 2018 but information obtained by News24 suggests Mugabe is already “oiling” his election campaign machinations amid concerns by the opposition the nonagenarian intends “stealing” yet another vote, as he seeks a fifth term at the helm of the republic.

In seeking to curry favour with the grumbling veterans of the country’s war of liberation from colonial Britain, Mugabe’s ministry in charge of the freedom fighters has written a notice alerting them he is addressing their grievances – top among them parceling out farms at provinces of their choice for those who have not benefitted from his controversial land redistribution programme.

Epic meetings

Mugabe, who turned 93 last month, met the veterans last year amid complaints some of their lot failed to benefit from his controversial land reforms. They also complained they were being discriminated against in the allocation of residential and commercial plots.

“During their epic meetings with His Excellency the President, veterans generally complained of being dispossessed of their allocated lands, be they agricultural, urban or peri-urban, under various unjustifiable pretexts,” reads part of the notice to the veterans dispatched on 11 March 2017 by Tshinga Dube, the Minster responsible for war veterans.

“Some have initiated housing co-operatives which are seriously under attack from various cunning land barons. Due to the above circumstances, the veterans of the liberation struggle have pleaded with His Excellency to intervene at the highest level to stop the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlements or any other authorities involved in these dastardly activities from countenancing or approving such dispossession and displacements,” said the notice, calling on the veterans to approach the ministry for redress.

The veterans who had been offered farms but failed to settle on the properties are required to name the farms, and bring copies of offer letters. Those threatened off the land or issued with withdrawal notices or court action or if court action is under way, must submit supporting documents to that effect. These stated requirements, officials say, would aid Mugabe to reverse such actions or ensure they get the farms.

“Veterans of the liberation struggle who have not yet been allocated are urged to submit their names, indicating their provinces,” added Dube in the notice to the veterans.

Election sweeteners

But critics say these are election sweetners as Mugabe moves to placate the veterans who have been his mainstay in power since the advent of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) ahead of polls.

Opposition politician and human rights lawyer David Coltart believes Mugabe maybe “activating” the war veterans ahead of the crunch polls in which he is likely to face a grand opposition coalition. Coltart says, however, that another possibility is that Mugabe is trying to head off Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s threat by ingratiating himself with war veterans.

“One of Mugabe’s biggest headaches as he moves towards the 2018 elections is that the majority of war veterans no longer support his candidacy. He is desperate to rectify that – hence this advertisement,” says Coltart.

Political analyst Rick Mukonza concurs, adding that Mugabe knows he has the odds stuck against him in the upcoming 2018 elections.

“He knows the economic situation of the country continues to deteriorate and there is no solution in sight. Substantially, therefore, he has nothing to campaign with, the indigenisation and land redistribution mantra has passed its sell-by date and people want food on the table. Mugabe has lost some important and key allies such as the war vets, add to that the splits within Zanu-PF. As if that is not enough, there is the prospective coalition between Tsvangirai, Mujuru and others. All these militate against his victory in 2018,” said Mukonza.

Significant influence

In wooing the war vets and war collaborators with promises and addressing their greviances, he is bringing back an important part of the machinery that has kept him in power for all these years.

Critics note the war vets are particularly important in that they have significant influence in the military, police and intelligence, a province that Mugabe doesn’t want to be tempered with.

Mukonza adds that the war veterans also have strong connections in the rural base, which is Mugabe’s stronghold. More importantly for him, they can be easily used as tools for violence when the need arises, he says.

“It would, therefore, not be a farfetched idea that Mugabe may be thinking of employing violence towards the 2018 elections. In fact violence is always part of Mugabe’s power retention strategy, either as the main or backup strategy.”

But Reason Wafawarova, a Zanu-PF sympathiser who trained the militant youth brigades, argues the war veterans have genuine grievances.

Mugabe’s politics of patronage

“The timing could simply be a tactic by those pushing for the benefits to put them forward at a time they can hardly be brushed aside or ignored. What better time to arm twist the executive than during an election eve era,” he says.

Reward Mushayabasa, another political analyst points out that Mugabe’s politics of patronage is the reason why Zimbabwe is in a mess, economical and political.

“The cornerstone of Mugabe’s dictatorship is a system of patronage. He uses it when he sees it fit to perpetuate his rule,” says Mushayabasa.

“We saw it happening with the war veterans’ $50 000 pay offs in the 1990s when Mugabe found himself under siege. Each time his grip on power is threatened, he uses the ‘carrot’ to seduce his impressionable supporters. Now he knows that the endgame is nigh,” he says.

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 – Mugabe flies to Singapore for “medical review”


Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who celebrated his 93rd birthday last week, flew to Singapore on Wednesday for a “scheduled medical review”, his spokesperson said.

Mugabe appeared frail at his birthday party on Saturday, when he stood for more than an hour to deliver his speech, but he paused for lengthy periods and mumbled at times.

“The president left this morning for Singapore for a scheduled medical review,” his press secretary George Charamba told the state-run Herald newspaper.

“We expect him back in the country early next week.”

Mugabe, the world’s oldest national leader, has held power since 1980 during a reign marked by repression of dissent, vote-rigging and a sharp economic decline for the country.

He recently spent several weeks in Asia on his annual vacation, returning in late January, though it has not been officially confirmed that he had medical treatment during the trip.

He has made regular trips to Singapore for medical check-ups, and his health is a frequent subject of speculation.

In 2011, WikiLeaks released a US diplomatic cable from 2008 saying that Mugabe was reported to have prostate cancer and had less than five years to live.

In 2016, the government had to deny that he had died abroad during his annual vacation.

The ruling ZANU-PF party has been riven by factionalism for years as Mugabe has declined to name a successor.

Senior Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen as a leading contender to be the next president, as is Mugabe’s 51-year-old wife, Grace.

Mugabe’s spokesperson was not available to comment to AFP.