Category Archives: Features, Opinion & Analysis

Editorial comment : SA can’t afford xenophobic madness, again

We want to point out once again that xenophobia and the attendant challenges is a cancer the South Africa authorities have to deal with in a decisive manner, and do so fast.

The on and off xenophobic attacks are a powder keg that South Africa is sitting on and as emotions boil over on either side — the attackers and the victims — the results could turn out to be too ghastly for imagination.

Our concerns stem from reports that sections of the South African community today plan to hold a protest march against immigrants in Pretoria’s central business district, and they have been given the green light by the authorities.

This is of course allowed in the country’s constitution and it is not our business to tell them how to handle protesters. Our concern is merely that we have witnessed loss of life from previous protests of this nature. We want to believe the South African authorities are better prepared to avoid a repeat.

There is a sense some South Africans want to copy what’s going on in Trumpland, including the populist approach posturing. But unlike America, we are all Africans. There should be better ways to address our people’s grievances.

Donald Trump wants to kick out an estimated 11 million undocumented migrants, some of whom have contributed immeasurably to the United States’ economic growth and development. A few bad apples have led radical measures for the majority.

We don’t want to believe that South Africa could be contemplating that route in light of a faltering economy, instead of attacking the root causes of black discontent.

Nigeria is fighting to make sure its citizens don’t fall victim to xenophobic attacks. Soon other African Union members might be forced to take a stand, leading to avoidable tensions.

Media reports indicate the Nigerian government has gone so far as to appeal to the AU to “intervene urgently” and put in place “decisive and definite measures” to protect its citizens and those from other parts of Africa.

On Saturday, properties belonging to foreigners in Pretoria — Nigerians and Zimbabweans — were vandalised and looted and some homes set on fire. The protesters accused foreigners, Nigerians in particular, of drug peddling, promoting prostitution and other vices.

One Nigerian national spoke out after the mêlée saying: “We didn’t do anything wrong. We don’t deserve what is happening to us. South Africans must watch out. There are also South Africans in Nigeria and we will do the same to them there.”

A threat made on Saturday became reality yesterday when Nigerians reportedly attacked and vandalised MTN’s (South Africa) headquarters in Abuja.

Reports say the Nigerian government summoned the South African envoy to explain the xenophobic attacks. We hope that this will tone down the simmering anger on both sides and enable constructive dialogue.

We also commend South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba for calling on people who want to demonstrate today to exercise restraint: “There will be no progressive and sustainable victory in xenophobic violence. Opportunistic individuals who partake in it erode the human face we have struggled very hard to acquire. While a more measured approach may not make me the most popular politician, I believe it is the right thing to do.”

But Minister Gigaba’s seeming threat to businesses employing illegal immigrants makes it more difficult to look at the issue holistically.

He cautioned: “Companies, businesses: Be warned. We are coming for you. We will charge them, there’s no doubt. The manager will be charged. Often-times, we focus on the undocumented employee and not the company.”

There are a number of variables at play, but South Africa can ill-afford to have a “them and us” approach. Why is it that xenophobia continues to be a black-on-black issue when we know that there are millions of white migrants, some of them illegal as well? Is this a reality that is so difficult to deal with given the power that the white race wields in the South African economy?

It would be a sad day indeed when a great African nation such as South Africa would be forced to choose who its neighbour is between white and black.

Editorial Comment: Sustainable power generation mix viable

Zesa, once it committed itself to Kariba South Extension, is now in a position to explore a lot of other options in both generation methods, including solar and in managing a daily generation cycle that allows it to push output in peak periods and cut back in slack times without huge investments in storage.

So Kariba South Extension allows Zesa to push for the 100MW solar station in Gwanda. Solar generation is becoming even cheaper, with the least-cost tender of $173 million accepted for the Gwanda plant, that is $1,73 a watt.

The Government through its full support behind that scheme, giving not only a guarantee, but now also listing it as a prescribed asset, which makes it attractive to pension and insurance funds.

The biggest advantage for solar stations is that the fuel is free, sunlight falling on earth, so operating costs are very low and the cost of recovering the capital investment being the main expense.

This is much the same as with hydro-schemes where the water is free, but the cost of dams, civil engineering and the turbine and generator sets is high.

The biggest disadvantage of solar is that the sun does not shine at night and output is reduced in cloudy and rainy weather.

Zimbabwe has chosen Gwanda, one of the driest and sunniest parts of the country, to site the station, so the only real problem is the lack of night generation.

But this is not a serious problem considering the generating mix that Zesa will have when the Gwanda plant comes on stream. The extensions at Kariba do not add to the energy output of the power station over a year. That is limited by the flow of the Zambezi River and only occasionally, such as when there are a sequence of years with higher than average rainfall in the catchment can there be a temporary increase in the water ration for the station.

But what the extensions do allow is for Zesa to meet a demand cycle. The extensions made sense looking at pure Kariba output, giving Zesa the option of running eight generators at peak demand and say two at 1am.

But they make even more sense as other stations are added to the mix. And one of these is Gwanda.

Gwanda will generate during the day and generate more between the early morning and evening peaks than it does at the peaks. But Zesa can store Gwanda energy by cutting back at Kariba when necessary and then putting in extra generation during the dark.

In effect, Lake Kariba can store Gwanda energy, but only with the extension to the power station allowing Zesa to vary output.

Gwanda will also allow Zesa to get valuable data on just how solar generation variability during the day and during the seasons affects its mix and start getting an idea of the maximum percentage of Zimbabwe’s generating capacity can be solar, even taking into account that Lake Kariba can function as the largest storage battery in the world.

Boosting the percentage of Zimbabwean generation from green renewable sources, such as hydro and solar, makes environmental sense since even developing countries need to think how they can reduce carbon emissions while boosting development and standards of living.

But they also make economic sense, since they are fuel free. Once built and paid for their output is remarkably low.

But it also requires some thought and the creation of an intelligent mix.

Last year a serious regional drought cut Kariba output, but if there had already been a solar station on line the drought would probably have boosted its output, just as a first-class rainy season will probably cut solar out, but boost hydro output.

Zesa is now taking the first steps in creating an intelligent mix of capacity, reducing the chances of simultaneous problems. It deserves to be backed.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Bring closure to Harare water woes

Morton-Jeffrey-Water-WorksJust a few years ago, we were being told that the $144 million loan facility obtained from China for the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant will work miracles for water supply in Harare.But the story we published in our edition yesterday that the city now needs another $1,6 billion to solve the water supply problems took us back to square one. In fact, our story quoting Harare water director Engineer Hosiah Chisango made an interesting read.

While the $1,6 billion can be a good move for forward planning, especially with the city set to expand, the revelation brought up fresh questions on when the water problems hounding the city will come to an end.

We are being told that even with the completion of the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray, $670 million is still required for the upgrade of pipelines, pump stations and reservoirs.

With the controversy that surrounded the $144 million loan facility from China, residents are left wondering how the city will raise the new figures for water reticulation.

There were allegations of corruption, which heightened after city authorities decided to use a chunk of that money to purchase 25 luxury vehicles for use in work related to the project.

But since then, residents are still faced with acute shortages of water, years after the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray started. We believe that before the city authorities start talking about the new figure of $1,6 billion for Harare water, a comprehensive audit of the $144 million loan facility should be carried out.

The probe should look at what the loan was supposed to achieve, what it has achieved so far and if the goals set in the agreement will be met.

Such an audit will be good for the city council as it will restore confidence in residents that the money they pay in rates is being put to good use.

We often wonder why the city authorities prioritised Morton Jaffray, without considering the upgrading of other facilities like Warren Control pump station and Letombo reservoir.

This was a big mistake since the smaller water stations and pipes are expected to absorb the increased pressure of water from a rejuvenated Morton Jaffray.

The problem should have been looked at holistically, instead of having piecemeal solutions.

We note that Harare residents have suffered long enough when it comes to shortages of water and we hope the city authorities will move fast in whatever project they will embark on next after Morton Jaffray.

We are fully aware that the problems of water supply in Harare have been with us for a long time, even before independence in 1980. The takeover of water supply in cities like Harare by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority some years back did not also yield the desired results.

In that light, we urge Government and the city council to work together to ensure a quick solution is found to the water supply difficulties.

This can include the fast track construction of additional dams like Kunzvi, Musami and Muda, which have been on the cards for a long time, but being touted as part of the solution.

President Mugabe is forever

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

MY TURN WITH TICHAONA ZINDOGA

Western powers such as Britain and the United States are furious. They have been livid, in fact. To them Mugabe set a bad example, especially by trying to show the world that the white man can be defeated, and more so be stripped of stolen wealth which should be returned to its owners.Yesterday, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, turned 93, marking a record that is likely to stay on for a long time. President Mugabe is the world’s oldest and most probably the wisest leader, and it is something so remarkable as to add to the legend that he already is.

He is widely considered the most educated too, and his country the most educated in Africa.

Standing out thus, President Mugabe is inevitably one of the most recognisable faces in the world — if not the most recognisable faces now — an honour that once reposed with the likes of Queen Elizabeth II of England.

And it is for a good cause.

President Mugabe is seen as a hero by many Africans at home and in the Diaspora. He is the last of Africa’s warriors who liberated the country from colonial rule and continues to stand for total liberation to this date, winning himself many admirers and enemies in the process.

Many Zimbabweans have been warmed by the fact that when they visit capitals of the world, most Africans ask after President Mugabe, fondly refraining that with how they love him and his principled stance against black oppression.

You do not have to be a supporter of President Mugabe, as many opposition supporters have learnt, to be imbued in such glory — the glory of President Mugabe.

It is humbling.

In that instance, you feel the halo of the man pervade you — just as many Africans see Zimbabwe as this blessed land gathered under the protective wings of President Mugabe as he protects his brood.

President Mugabe has given most of his life to serving Zimbabwe.

He suffered for it: 11 years in Ian Smith’s Rhodesian jail and in the bushes of Mozambique. He survived assassination attempts on numerous occasions.

He suffered personal grief and productive years of his life went up in smoke. Yet 1980 gave us Independence that he led, alongside other nationalists dead and alive.

He immediately put shoulders to the wheel to ensure the country’s majority got their humanity back and henceforth need to be uplifted. That is how he set out systems that have given Zimbabwe its place among nations of the world in terms of human development with good indices in areas such as education — the best in Africa, health, and so on, which were severely limited and degraded during the colonial period.

President Mugabe also oversaw, most critically, the attainment of aspirational historical goals of not only ensuring self-government and self-determination, but also ownership of land.

This is the one major factor that makes him stand on a pedestal. No African leader has managed to do that.

It is only one Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who managed to dismantle the skewed and racist colonial land tenure system in which a handful of whites owned 80 percent of arable land in the country.

The system is still entrenched in neighbouring countries and elsewhere on the continent, as Africans continue to be marginalised. President Mugabe would not brook that.

He even went further.

He introduced the indigenisation policy to further entrench the economic participation and ownership of wealth by black people.

Today, more ordinary people participate in the economy, chiefly in agriculture, as owners of the means of production than anywhere in the world.

Blacks are more assertive in this country — whether at economic levels or political consciousness — than any other country in the world.

But it has come at a price. Western powers such as Britain and the United States are furious.

They have been livid, in fact. To them Mugabe set a bad example, especially by trying to show the world that the white man can be defeated, and more so be stripped of stolen wealth which should be returned to its owners.

Zimbabwe was punished.

President Mugabe was demonised. Zimbabwe is being punished. President Mugabe is being demonised. It is a war.

Western countries have been seeking the ouster of President Mugabe by sponsoring opposition in the country to present an alternative to Zanu-PF whose job the Western countries made hard by slapping punitive sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The sanctions crippled the economy by targeting productive arms and companies and restricting Zimbabwean trade.

The sanctions were designed to bring down the economy and President Mugabe with it.

President Mugabe would be the scapegoat.

Puppets in opposition were made on standby.

Thankfully, President Mugabe has not fallen.

It has been almost two decades of spirited attempts by Western countries to bring Zimbabwe and its leader down.

It has failed. This makes President Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe heroes, proud heroes — especially with all the scars that mark such a story of survival against the evil plots of Western bullies. President Mugabe stands tall among the people of the world.

But it is not without blemish.

For the faint of heart, and the myopic ones, he should just quit, reminding one of the foolish Israelites that came to hanker after Pharaoh’s food when the journey in the wilderness took toll on them.

Come on!

His only crime is to seek total independence of his people. He is equally a victim and he must fight to the end and bow out of the stage with honour. Which is what he is doing.

At 93 President Mugabe has seen more days — and he has seen the backs of many leaders of the world, good and bad. It must have been sweet seeing the backs of evil little men like Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Tony Blair as they bowed out of the stage leaving him standing.

It is not for his ego only — even if he may entertain that pleasure. It is for us Zimbabweans, for us blacks at home and abroad. The little evil men of the West hate a man who defends his people and their God given resources.

In their evil thinking whites must own the minerals, the soils, the waters, the animals, the fishes and the birds of this land. The milk and honey and fat of this land must be theirs.

That cannot be! President Mugabe has rejected that on behalf of Zimbabweans. He has been severely punished. It is a pity that some people do not understand this and they tend to blame a victim and man who has put himself in the line of fire. But history will judge Robert Mugabe. Granted, he is not a Saint Mugabe.

Man is imperfect and President Mugabe is no exception. Except, he holds higher ideals. You see a man, a mere mortal, many of us see an idea.

That is why President Mugabe is forever.

Editorial Comment: Safeguard, emulate President’s legacy

Zimbabweans, today join President Mugabe in celebrating his 93rd birthday. Gushungo, as the President is affectionately known, has spent all his life fighting for the freedom and economic emancipation of the majority of the people.

His life has been one of undoubted sacrifice that saw him being involved in nationalistic politics at a very young age.

President Mugabe is a good example of selflessness. Putting the interests of other people ahead of his has been his hallmark as exemplified by the many years that he spent in prison for the liberation of Zimbabwe and the many programmes and policies he has introduced to benefit the people.

He has been on the illegal sanctions list for many years now because the West felt threatened by his pro-people policies that stood in the way of their regime change agenda. The sanctions have failed to tone him down, as the West had expected, but instead they have strengthened his resolve to work hard to improve the standard of living of the masses.

In the midst of such adversity, other spineless politicians, those that have allowed themselves to be used as puppets to fight their own people, would have forsaken the masses preferring the lifting of sanctions. We have a lot to emulate from President Mugabe in terms of what it means to be a principled person.

When he takes a stand on what he believes to be for the greater good of the nation, he never wavers, but pushes it through to the end. His commitment to the liberation struggle is astounding as others of lesser resolve would simply have abandoned the fight to live comfortably elsewhere.

The land reform programme, indigenisation and economic empowerment, Presidential Inputs Support Scheme and Command Agriculture are some of the examples of President Mugabe’s commitment to the empowerment of the majority of the people.

He has never been one to engage in programmes that benefit only him, but the entire nation. Today many Zimbabweans are proud owners of vast tracts of fertile land, companies and houses thanks to President Mugabe’s policies. This season Zimbabwe is poised for bumper maize harvest, made possible by the good rains in general and President Mugabe’s desire to make all farmers productive through the provision of agricultural inputs.

We have seen quite a number of selfish politicians whose only interest is to acquire wealth for themselves and their cronies without any regard for the masses. President Mugabe has relentlessly spoken about it urging people to refrain from corruption yet some politicians continue to be found on the wrong side of the law.

They are so immersed in material wealth to the extent that the interests of the masses no longer matter to them. This is when we wish we had a nation full of people with President Mugabe’s attributes.

The man is hated by the West because of his unwavering stance on issues, especially those that involve the well-being of Zimbabweans in particular and Africa in general.

As we celebrate his 93rd birthday today, we do so in the knowledge and comfort that our country is in very good and capable hands of a man who is never easily swayed. He is a man who has always put the people and their interests ahead of his own and this is exactly what true leaders do.

We want to encourage our youths to emulate the President by living a clean life away from drinking and smoking, but life that is centred around studying and working for the development of the country. The youths must learn from the President, the importance of sacrifice, the importance of being principled even in the face of adversity.

As we wish the President a happy birthday, we must all of us take time to reflect on the rich legacy of the man and strive to achieve only a little of his achievements to become a better people. We wish you President many more years of good health and wisdom.

Happy Birthday Gushungo!

‘I don’t listen to prophets of doom’

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

President Robert Gabriel Mugabe (RGM) turns 93 years old today. The following is Part One of the interview the President had with Tazzen Mandizvidza (TM) of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corportion ZBC.

TM: Thank you very much Mr President for affording us this time to talk to you. We know you have a busy schedule. Let me start by saying congratulations, makorokoto on turning 93.

RGM: Thank you.

TM: Your Excellency, during the Harare Agricultural Show some years back, a palmist once read your palm and predicted that you will live up to 100 years, makore zana. But almost every year we come across the so-called prophets proclaiming that President Mugabe is going to die on this date and that date but you are here, you are alive. What would you want to say to these so-called prophets as you celebrate 93 years?

RGM: So-called prophets. Why don’t you say prophets of doom? Uhhm? They are prophets of doom who prophesy what really are their wishes, so they turn their wishes into prophecies or dreams perhaps, but hardly any dreams. I would want to think. It’s just wishes, that this man must go. This man must go and the man is not going. So year in year out, it’s the same wish. And the same prophesy.

Why do you care about them? I don’t care about them anymore. We have had even some pastors praying for my death. And even a bishop in my church, wekuMatabeleland uya watakazobata anemudzimai akazviregera. So we get such people in society. They won’t see some of them. In fact, the numbers may tend to increase sometimes. Ndakanzwawo chimwe chichiti President arikufa muna October, asi kana asingade kufa ngaataure, nhai? (laughs) So there it is. I don’t pay much attention to them at all.

TM: Meanwhile, Your Excellency, there have been calls for you to step down on account of your age and how do you answer such calls including from non-Zimbabweans like Julius Malema?

RGM: Do you listen anything from Malema? Who is Malema? The call to step down must come from my party; my party Congress, my party Central Committee. I will step down. But then what do you see, get? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party. And it’s their voice I heed and the voice of no one else.

Of course, if I feel like I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so and even if I might feel I wanted to rest but with, you know, that volume of wishes for the President to stand, the number of people who will be disappointed is galore and I don’t want to disappoint. More so, that the majority of the people feel that there is no replacement actually nor successor who to them is as acceptable as I am.

But the people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criterion, but I have been at it for a longer period than anyone else. Leaders will have to be, you know, as it were given time to develop and to have that ability to meet with the people and to be judged by the people.

Silently in the majority of the cases, the people must see and be convinced that yes so and so can be a good successor. Others think because they have been this long in the party or they are this in the party they are capable of succeeding the President. It’s not that easy.

TM: But Your Excellency, are you now changing your mind? You are on record as saying you will not groom a successor, but now you sound like you are saying maybe somebody needs to be given time. Are you now thinking of grooming a successor?

RGM: No, no, no. that doesn’t suggest grooming a successor. A successor is groomed by the people actually. You see. Those around you can get the confidence of the people as they operate around you and gain the confidence of the people. When the people see their leaders, they can trust their leaders beyond corruption, their leader’s knowledgeable, sure, that’s grooming I mean.

TM: Thank you Mr President. Now allow me to move on to the First Lady. When Dr Grace Mugabe was requested to lead the Women’s League, I remember you pointed out that you advised her on what to expect in the political arena. But now, today with so many stories about her, the family and yourself, how do you console her against all that? And don’t you regret maybe you could have advised her not to get into this?

RGM: Against all the what?

TM: The stories that are coming out about her, about you, the criticism and all that.

RGM: The criticism. Well the criticisms, I get are criticisms from the opposition. From the party, well there have been a few criticisms from vananaMutsvangwa and so on and so forth who, you know, I then saw something quite different in her. They thought she was an ambitious woman who would want to work herself into a position of power. But I had my first wife Sally, she organised the women.

We did not have the Women’s League here, the Ghana’s style, the (Kwame) Nkrumah style of the Women’s League which gained acceptance in our region was introduced by my wife and others in Zimbabwe, my late wife I mean. But in fact people were saying aaah the leaders must not disallow their wives from participating in politics, we want their wives to lead us, but what you get nowadays from some quotas is that the leader’s wife should not participate in politics. Why not? Why not? I don’t know what criticism you are referring to? She is very acceptable, very much accepted by the people. I thought you saw her on television today (Friday).

TM: Yes, I did Your Execellency.

RGM: It’s fireworks isn’t it? (laughs)

TM: Yes, it indeed (laughter all round)

TM: Sometimes the media tends to write so many stories and when she is facing all that, how do you comfort her as a seasoned politician?

RGM: I donot know what do you mean? She is well seasoned now, she is a very strong character.

TZ: Let’s move on from the family to look at economic issues. My first question is on the land reform. I remember you once said on his deathbed the late Father Zimbabwe Cde Joshua Nkomo told you to ensure the land is given to the people.

RGM: Two things, land to the people, unity.

TM: Yes, two things but let me focus on the land first. If you were to talk to him what would you say about the land reform?

RGM: Yes, I would say we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land, which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our own people and what there is now for us is to ensure there won’t be any retrogression. That those we have given the land will keep it, use it, cultivate it properly and ensure that its made productive.

So I would say what you wanted me to do I think I have done and done well. And I think our objective earlier on which constituted our first grievance as we fought the struggle, that the people, land that is possessed by settlers must be repossessed by we the indigenous and not just that, but that it should also be defended, protected and never be allowed once again to fall into the hands of the settlers. I think we have done that well.

TM: The issue of unity we will talk about it later on. Still on the economy, Zimbabwe’s economy is still on a recovery path, but Your Excellency, what else would you want to see done in order to speed up the process and also to ensure that those jobs that were promised by Zanu-PF towards the last election are made available?

RGM: Well the process, you know, it’s a gradual one as we improve the economy sector by sector and bring about employment alongside that improvement. Naturally, we shall also be transforming the overall economic sectors in accordance with our Zim-Asset and transforming means, adding value to the raw materials that might come out of agriculture, mining et cetera.

So we ensure that upon the exportation of goods from these sectors, we shall receive, perhaps, double or even more than double what we might have got if we did not transform them all and add value to the particular goods. That whole process its an economic process. As you transform the economy, you are actually ensuring greater employment sector by sector. It’s the creation of industry, by the way and industry is created in mining, in agriculture and in commerce by that transformative process, which ensures that we can now talk of our country having transformed and a greater part of our people having been employed.

By the way employment, getting a job is not the only thing that we need to look forward to, we would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs such thats what I was talking about this morning kuma researchers. Is it just the production of tobacco, or production of tobacco and turning tobacco into cigarettes but in the process, if our producers were dependent on foreigners for the production, are we now the main producers.

Have we really become the producers of our own goods? Have we become the masters of our own economy, or are we still, you know, thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs ? I have my worry in that regard, great worry indeed. Because even where we have said to our people get together form companies, partnerships, collectives as African, Zimbabwean entrepreneurs , you know they would want to see investments made by whites, where they are able themselves to get together and invest in the particular area. They want to see a European invest and then they go and work for that European as director, as managers, the CEOs, yes.

Of course the whites would be happy to see us to continue to work for them. If yesterday they did not, as they held the economy, did not want Africans to be at the management level, today in order to secure their positions no and ofcourse also because they recognised Africans are well educated and well skilled, they would be very happy to stay in the country, run various enterprises with Africans, African young people from universities at the top as accountants, managers CEOS etc be there in the background, after all they are not that many.

They are in the background and they play their game. They have a company here, they like Zimbabwe a lot and they want to stay here and they have something also in South Africa so they are not foolish at all. One leg here and one leg in South Africa but those who were here, I think it’s better here than in South Africa. We are seeing in the agricultural sector quite a number of these surreptious operations where they come and say “you don’t have to worry if you have a farm, we can cultivate for you. Stay where you are, live in town, we will do the work for you”.

At the end of the day of course they cultivate, they have the machines and you are in town and you say, “ah yes, I am using him he is a worker in my farm”. He is a worker on your farm yes, and he will say yes I am just a worker, a manager here. Year in, year out and what happens after five years, he is in the same position. Stupid, stupid we, as indeed we are doing that. Ndozvatirikuita hameno kuti chiiko? Kutadza here basa, kana?

Those who are doing it I know there are some who are really genuine about farming and they are doing farming. Even though they are in town they have some jobs to do at the weekend, Fridays like today they go and ensure that their managers are doing the right thing at the farms and stay on for some time and correct a number of things at the farms and have their own children in some cases. But there are others who really have gone to sleep and the whites have taken over once again, its sad isn’t it? Yataiti tinoda nyika, maida kuti muzope varungu zvakare? Aah!

TM: Your Excellency, you mentioned the concept of weekend farmers vari kumabasa kumatown during the week then voenda kufarm paweekend, are you therefore suggesting a model where if one is farming they should be farming, kana watsvaka basa watsvaka basa kutown? Somebody has argued that Zimbabweans are doing two jobs, one as a farmer and then a banker somewhere else, so should we be moving towards that where we are seriously on the land?

RGM. I think for now that double dealing is necessary because it is those in the banks, those in management areas, those working in town, those employed in the civil service, where we have given them farms, they are the ones with the capacity, financial capacity, with money, you know, really to do something on the farms. Then there are others without that capacity and I would like to believe that those who have financial capacity by and large have been ensured that the farms belong to them and they will become like managers.

Some have their own children who have been to university and done agriculture and it’s not that bad everywhere. But it is bad in some cases. Kozoti vasingagone zvavo including some of our chiefs. Eeh kozoti mamwe maheadman vanofunga kuti if they have an area of control vanokwanisa kusettler wo vanhu, aah nzvimbo iyi ndakaipihwa ndeyangu. So persons coming from elsewhere can be resettled, provided they pay something. That has been happening.

Fanika nyaya yemachiefs, yeah, I know machiefs vanorimirwa nevarungu and who say aah oh today ah oh murungu akanaka uyu, akanaka anotirimira. So especially vamwe vakasaririra varungu vatanga tisati tabvisa, vari juxtaposed to the farms dzema chiefs, nemaheadman and ivavo who are neighbours, you know, the trickery of doing something for their neighbours who are chiefs and headmen yah and then the chiefs say ah, regai kubisa uyu wakanaka.

Nharo chaidzo idzo. Musatibisire uyu and we have had missions, paid to us to ask kuti ah the ministry would want this European who is next to us and who has been doing quite a lot for us yah yah yah, he is also a member of the party. Anoita zvakati, zvakati, zvakati aah tinomuda.

TM: Your Excellency, from that let me take you to the issue of investments. You have signed a lot of investment agreements including mega investment deals with China and recently you met the Chinese President while you were on your annual vacation. From that meeting, Your Excellency we just want to know, what did you focus on?

RGM: We just focused on programmes that we have with them and the programmes which they themselves have offered us so that they can be accelerated and where I think one or two areas like defence. They felt I should raise the issue ye claim yavo yeplatinum yavakapa ku a Chinese company kuti iitwe exploit so the money therefrom can be used to secure and pay the debt which they have rema arms avakatenga kuChina.

I think that was the only fresh one. The rest were just, you know, pushing, pushing. Trying to push so that there is speed in executing and ensuring that the programmes are done. But some are underway actually. They are underway but others have stalled because Finance has not been able to pay mainterest on the funding. They have delayed paying but they been paying but slowly anyway.

The programmes with the Chinese are very good programmes. It was really to ensure that we are strongly together nanaXi Jinping on the programmes they promised us and that the others that come from the $60 billion and we have those which are bilateral, the others in these multilateral grouping and we have so many African beneficiaries mu $60 billion. Isu I think we have gone for about three or four programmes to be funded from mari ye $60 billion. So hushamwarika, kana taendako hamungarege kutaura zvamurikuita.

TM: Asi muchitarisa shamwari dzedu muchiita compare nedzimwe nyika dzirimuAfrica varikutipawo here zvakawanda. In comparison with others in terms of investments?

RGM: I think so. I don’t know what they are giving other countries but it depends on our capacity not only to absorb the funding but to ensure also that we repay what we should repay by way of the refunds. Mamwe mafunds are not gratuitous, they are not grants. They are debts, loans that are being extended to us and we should be able to repay or start repaying them. When then we fail to do so then our friends say ah, but whats happening? And this has been the situation in some cases regarding the Chinese loans.

TM: Let me bring you back home. There were calls made for the establishment of a Women’s Bank I think as far back as 2013, what has been stalling or delaying the launch of such a bank. I know you are championing the empowerment of women

RGM: I push, I just push from the back but I think it’s oncoming. You don’t just establish a bank by word of mouth. It must have funds. It must have depositors. And not just initial little amounts. It must attract on regular basis deposits. I think we have been going through bad times. No liquidity flowing cash was vanishing and I don’t think it has returned yet but we hope it will return.

So unless we can say there is now the possibility of having the bank resourced financially and then you will be paying lip service to it. And I think this is what we have tended to be doing. it’s still the talk on the lips of the women. Mai SME, Nyoni, I call her Mai SME, yah she has been very very very interested in having a bank, a women’s bank and we back her in that, but ka interest yake, yemadzimai ndokunge vaine mafunds to be deposited.

But if they say we have a bank and at the same time from their earnings and there is the informal sector and they carry what they carry those earnings into their pillows and briefcases back home and hold the funds back home and become reluctant to release them, then the bank will not have any resource and will continue to talk of illiquid banks, illiquidity in the system. Thats what has happened. Dzimba idzi dzizere nemari. Tikati kumapurisa nemasoja go yee house by house and dig for the funds that are being hidden there.

Don’t take them as yours but dig them up and tell us who and who have them. You will be guilty, I will be guilty, I don’t know who will not be guilty here nekuti tinotya . . . (laughs) . . . dzimwe (laughs) ukaona tumari twako wotya (claps) kuti aah ndikanoisa uko kuti ndizonoitora mangwana hapana. So you tend to keep it. it’s not your fault, its not his fault. It’s the fault of a system that has not yielded enough cash. Mind you the dollar is not our currency we are actually using it.

MaAmericans vari kuti aah we will not impose sanctions on that one we want them to use our dollar and make it more popular but then they will say aah that is as far as we can go but we can’t issue them fresh piles of dollars when they need them. Ndopouya masanctions ipapo and that’s how we have been restricted, that’s the cause of most of the liquidity that we have, illiquidity that we have because we have not been able to replenish the dollars.

If you look at some of the dollars that have gone round tsvina (laughs) ine mari yacho, goodness me! Kana ari madollars, one dollar I think they are the dirtiest of all, the smaller ones, one dollar, two dollar.

TM: Your Excellency, talking of the dollars, we have the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries they are calling for the adoption of the rand as the official currency and I know right now we also have the bond notes they are also in circulation but does it appear like Zimbabweans are not confident of having their own currency, what is the solution to having our own currency in Zimbabwe?

RGM: (Laughs) . . . My you don’t seem to know the history we had with our own currency, that galloping inflation and we thought of giving it up and adopting the dollar. That’s how it all happened, the rand, we are a multi-currency country.

Well, I don’t know why the Ministry of Finance together with the Reserve Bank have not wanted to use other currencies. I have asked actually again and again kuti why not have euros, why not have yen, why not have rand alongside with the dollar? Ah tichazviita, tichazviita. At least if we had the euro, I don’t think we have sanctions on the euro but the euro is slightly more expensive than the dollar but the difference is minimum.

TM: That’s okay Your Excellency, last year you lamented over how diamond mining has not benefited the nation, you even spoke about how Zimbabwe had been prejudiced of up to $15 billion but now we have the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company in place but why is it that the benefits are not yet apparent?

RGM: Oh! Oh! Oh! These various companies which operated alongside the ZMDC operated for quite a long period. We don’t know how the earnings, you know, from their operations were accounted for and they just regarded them as their own earnings and nothing seems to have come to the ZMDC, which was partner. In turn nothing seems to have come to Government as revenue.

Then we decided, after studying how the diamond sector was controlled in two countries, perhaps three, Botswana, Namibia and Angola, and there just one company. It may have two operations or so, the system in Botswana, system in Namibia those two, I looked at they were satisfied that there was need for consolidation, they don’t allow anyone else, no small company, hakuna makorokoza so the diamond industry is in the hands of the state and maybe the State and the private company together in this case and I was told by Khama how they are very strict about the earnings dzemadiamonds because that the resource they depend upon in the main for their survival.

So anyway we offered the other companies, the Chinese one, the Lebanese one and neyanaMhlanga all the three, the choice do you want to join Government in a consolidated company or do you want to stay out and go? Make your choice, the Chinese said they wanted to go, the Lebanese said they wanted to go, the South Africans said they wanted to go, Mbada ndeyema South Africans yana Mhlanga they wanted to go. Aaah, we said think again. They didn’t want consolidation hmmmm, so we said why would you resent consolidation it’s a get together, working together and then you share a product.

Because they used to pocket everything they got ivo anaMbada ivava. Alright your question is why has there been no change, well ah it’s because it’s much more recent, getting you know this new company together, the consolidated company together has taken time yet it had to have the machinery and in a number of cases also it has been taken to court and it tended to delay the process of its operations. It affected the speed with which it could begin its operations.

TZ: Thank you very much Your Excellency for being with us on this special programme. That brings us to the end of part one of the programme President Robert Mugabe at 93. Viewers note that we shall be bringing you Part Two where we will continue with this discussion.

Zimbabwe People First race for relevance

Joice Mujuru

Joice Mujuru

Rungano Dzikira Correspondent
The launch of Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) two years ago sold a dummy to a section of gullible Zimbabweans, political analysts as well as misguided veterans who viewed the Joice Mujuru-led political outfit as a different political narrative, forgetting that politics is but a mind game.

However, a growing suspicion mounted as it became evident that the newly launched party was a retirement home for expelled ZANU-PF renegades.

Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Bright Matonga, Dzikamai Mavhaire, amongst others who were booted out of the revolutionary party, formed the core of ZimPF.

A brief reading of the names forming the nucleus of ZimPF spelled looming disaster from the onset and to cap it all, Joice Mujuru, another ZANU-PF outcast, led the party!

Recent developments in ZimPF spell out what awaits the electorate in 2018 if they mistakenly choose to align themselves with this confused party.

With Mujuru’s inner coterie of kleptocrats masquerading as patriots discarding her the minute they were expelled, and labelling her a confused, emotional and irrational leader, it is plain the level of disorganisation about ZimPF party.

Mujuru, who is believed to have turned into a Judas Iscariot overnight after realising that the party “Elders” intended to topple her and save the party from her confused rule, rushed to expel potential “threats” in an effort to save face and cement her reign.

But what kind of a friend ambushes “a friend” to fortify and soothe one’s ego.

It’s plain cowardice to crawl in the night to kill an enemy. Why not face them in broad daylight and present a good fight, that way one earns respect for bravery. Instead, Mujuru decided to be calculative and cunning, expelling her unsuspecting followers while they awaited her at the party venue.

The expelled members – Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, Margaret Dongo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Luckson Kandemiri, Munacho Mutezo and Claudius Makova’s – only relevance in the party seems to be party ”Elders”.

Anyway, who would want to be aligned to old hogs without direction, and conveniently clinging on to what’s left of their once “big” names? Apart from that, they all have nothing to offer!

Insiders claimed the party had received a $1,6 million donation towards the 2018 campaign, which Mujuru is believed to have kept to herself, to the elders’ discontent.

Another snitch in the party revealed that the postponement of the ZimPF inaugural elective convention last September to this September, has stirred the pot.

As the clock countdown to September continued, serious squabbles and canvassing of leadership positions emerged particularly in the National Standing Committee, leading to the seven casualties who have been shown the door.

So while everyone patiently waited for the congress to determine their fate, there was growing discontent over the presidency, which somewhat seemed uncontested, yet other members felt that there was need for Mujuru to be voted in since she was an interim president, like everyone else in the party, holding interim positions.

Remaining ZimPF bigwigs to reckon with in the party are Sylvester Nguni, Dzikamai Mavhaire, and Marian Chombo who is reportedly seeking to lead the women’s wing, and former army brigadier general Aggripa Mutambara who is reportedly eyeing the position of national co-ordinator.

In this tug-of-war conquest, I guess we all just have to adopt a wait and see attitude as the rule of the jungle paves way for survival of the fittest.

Farewell Mujuru! Farewell ma “Elders”!

Welcome ZimPF – Mujuru! And ZimPF -Mutasa! Clearly MDC-T’s advice and expertise is taking root in ZimPF’s bedroom.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Trump must be given a chance indeed

IT has taken more than a month since the swearing in of the United States of America’s 45th president Donald J. Trump, for President Mugabe to make his views known about the US leader, as we report elsewhere in this issue. Speaking in an interview to mark his 93rd birthday anniversary, President Mugabe said like most people around the world, he was surprised by Trump’s election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but said we should not be quick to judge and think that when it comes to Zimbabwe, he would walk the beaten path used by Bush and Obama.

Thus he said Trump should be given time and an opportunity to prove himself.

President Mugabe said this in view of the fact that Trump has so far not articulated his policy towards Zimbabwe, let alone Africa. Last week, there were reports that he held teleconferences with South African President Jacob Zuma, and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammad Buhari.

From a policy perspective, nothing much was said, although Trump said he looked forward to having fruitful bilateral relations with the two major economies on the continent.

In short, President Mugabe was telling everyone to be patient, and give Trump a chance. He could not castigate him, when he knew that he has not done anything yet against Zimbabwe, despite the spoilers who are itching to turn him against Zimbabwe.

This cautious optimism is coming from a leader who walked a similar road as Trump, despite the different circumstances.

When he became Prime Minister in 1980, President Mugabe faced a daunting task, just like Trump is. Coming from a protracted liberation struggle, there were claims that he would never manage to lead the country the way the Rhodesians had done, just because he is black.

His ideological thrust – Marxism/Leninism were also cited as impediments to good governance, as his detractors said he would turn Zimbabwe into a Communist one-party state.

To add insult to injury, and give his enemies more fire to attack him, none of the members of his cabinet had experience in public administration and governance, but he was patient, and put in place measures to ensure that he proved his detractors wrong.

What is surprising is that 37 years on, the very people who said he would not manage, have not changed tact, with some becoming cheerleaders of the illegal regime change agenda.

So much has been said about Trump, because he has never been part of the Washington bureaucracy. He became the billionaire-turned president because his motive was to correct that which he thought was wrong with successive US administrations. And most of it has not endeared to people.

No one expected him to win, but now that Trump is in the White House, Zimbabwe can speak, considering that the best “gift” Obama decided to give to Zimbabwe was an extension of the illegal sanctions regime imposed in 2001. Obama did the same with countries like Russia.

As Trump learns the ropes of governing (not big business, but the nation), falling and rising at the same time, we believe that it is about time that he also reverses some of the destructive and inhuman policies against Zimbabwe put in place by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This is why President Mugabe expressed hope that “Mr Trump may even re-look the sanctions on Zimbabwe.”

It is about time that such a positive comes from Trump, despite the shortcomings that are being blown out of proportion because it is a hostile liberal media that wanted Hillary Clinton in the White House.

We say so, because since his election, we have seen how exasperated he is sometimes, as there seems to be a world against Trump agenda, with some of the criticism coming from his own party — the Republicans.

We believe that during his first 100 days, as he puts his cabinet in place, Mr Trump will also put a number of issues in proper perspective.

And for Zimbabweans, it is the repealing of the illegal sanctions regime that has pauperised ordinary people.

Previous administrations have tried to sanitise the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, by calling them targeted sanctions.

What manner of “targeted sanctions” allow one sovereign nation to put pressure on another sovereign State, by ensuring that lines of credit are closed to it? Meanwhile, the US owes trillions!

The Bush and Obama administrations have claimed that they are doing it for the people of Zimbabwe, because Zanu-PF was not adhering to democratic principles, but when Zimbabwe loses more than $42 billion, are these actions pro-people?

We all are still learning who President Trump is, but his America first call, gives hope to nationalists the world over, for nationalism is the bedrock of Zimbabwe.

And, President Mugabe summed it up so well: “But anyway, when it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans — on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”

If Trump is promising to undo some of the so-called favourite Obama policies, including the affordable healthcare programme – Obamacare, is ZDERA too much?

It is time Zimbabwe enters the marketplace, not because certain world leaders gives it the nod, but because it has the capability to do so. Zimbabwe has natural resources and a promising human resource base, which should make it a major player in bilateral and multi-lateral trade with big and small nations, alike.

Zimbabwe: Denying ‘chaosists’ the pleasure

Zimbabwe has many positive stories like the Government-driven Command Agriculture Programme which is set to improve food availability, but detractors cast a blind eye to this

Zimbabwe has many positive stories like the Government-driven Command Agriculture Programme which is set to improve food availability, but detractors cast a blind eye to this

Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
ON February 17, an organisation called European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) published a paper titled, “Zimbabwe: A Crisis Unfolding” that was grim in prognosis of Zimbabwe’s political situation, even though it was not totally unexpected both in form and content. EISF describes itself as an independent network of Security Focal Points who represent European-based humanitarian NGOs operating internationally, based in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

It will be useful to dig a little deeper as to ascertain its full identity.

According to information available, and according to its website, EISF began in 2006 as an initiative of security managers from several European NGOs, creating an informal alliance for information-sharing within a network of Security Focal Points, with 81 Members (as of January 2016).

EISF is currently funded by the Office for US Foreign Disaster Assistance, Department for International Development, UK, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and member contributions.

That said, the February 17 piece carries a lot of interesting submissions, most of them couched in alarmist and exaggerated tones.

Some of the information is downright wrong — like that Zimbabwe is facing the worst drought in 35 years and 4.4million people are starving — but reports like these are not only important in-so-far-as they tend to inform policy bases in Western capitals but, inadvertently communicate to us the rather dark wishes of these forces in relation to Zimbabwe.

According to EISF, Zimbabwe is facing an “imminent crisis that will require an international humanitarian response in the near to medium-term future, with appropriate security measures for humanitarian workers.”

This crisis is lodged in the main sectors of security, health, finance, fuel and logistics; and immigration.

The paper claims that amid factionalism in the ruling Zanu-PF party, the Army is divided and weakened.

“As its grip on power splits, the prospect of escalating civil disturbances and a potential military coup become more likely,” speculates EISF, forecasting a “rapid deterioration in national security”.

It says “healthcare in Zimbabwe has broken down”, necessitating “medical evacuation” of Zimbabweans to South Africa.

EISF notes that with shortage of money in the country and, “With the price of commodities falling in international markets, the government finds itself backed into a corner.”

Incredibly, we are told that 5000 people leave Zimbabwe each day into neighbouring countries.

“If large numbers of migrants return to a country unable to support them, then the stage appears to be set for a humanitarian crisis with the potential to destabilise both Zimbabwe and its neighbours,” speculates EISF, again providing for “evacuation” and “crisis response”.

But it is not finished.

It concludes: “Zimbabwe’s position appears grim. Zimbabwe has become internationally isolated due to its internal and external policies and has burnt its bridges with agencies such as the International Monetary Fund that could have offered possible lifelines. The humanitarian community should prepare to intervene and operate should Zimbabwe’s fragile systems finally collapse, in what will be a challenging and difficult environment to operate in.”

We have already noted above that this reports carries some disturbing smell regarding mainly its authorship and the intentions of its funders.

It is also safe to point out that it may have been churned out by some NGO hacks in Harare, all for the purposes of seeking to draw funding that is a source, albeit dwindling, of livelihoods for a good number of people.

It has to be acknowledged that Zimbabwe is facing problems, some of which are blown out of proportion in this and similar reports.

It has been pointed out that some of these predictions and scenario actually represent the wishes of Zimbabwe’s detractors and their parasitic organisations.

Read in that context, Zimbabwe cannot afford to give them the pleasure of seeing that doom crisis unfold.

There are several ways to do so.

The humanitarian systems have to command particular attention and happily Government embarked on the Command Agriculture programme that will address food security in the country.

Hunger is probably the most menacing of crises the country can face, a fact that is not being helped by inclement weather that has seen recurrent droughts over the years.

Hunger is also bad for national politics.

Command Agriculture is set to remove this spectre and so far, in its inaugural year, it has held immense promise, which can only manifest more in the coming year or two with smoother implementation.

Heavens have been generous with the rains this year and successive years of good rains mean that the country can avert a hunger-driven national crisis.

It also saves money, millions of which have been spent on imports.

Good agriculture is good for other economic sectors.

That the health sector in the country is in a bad state, marked by poor resource allocation and under-functioning systems, is hardly anything new.

The country is often wracked by crises such as cholera outbreaks.

However, these have remained under control and is it not particularly interesting that the biggest crisis, that of 2008, coincided with the height of Western regime change agenda in Zimbabwe as the US and UK conveniently blamed the about 4000 deaths on President Mugabe?

It will be recalled that at that particular time, the two super powers called for a military intervention in Zimbabwe under the dubious Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

The health sector in Zimbabwe is surely limping yet it is far from sleepwalking into another 2008 abyss.

In fact, on the balance of probabilities, nothing will.

Not even on the financial, fiscal or macroeconomic levels that gave us 3008 along with its record hyperinflation.

The bond notes that the Government introduced last November have given the economy a needful fillip and for all the prophecies of doom, they are just not about to unfurl.

Inflation is in check, even so in the economically cold negatives, and the black market is not as bustling towards burning the economy down as is often wished for, or feared.

Bond notes will stick for longer.

Fiscal and monetary authorities in the country are much wiser and prudent in the year 2017.

Pressures remain, and this cannot be airbrushed.

Yet they are not as terminal as to predicate a crisis.

Not in 2017, at least.

It will thus incumbent to point out that the single most factor with destabilising potential reposes in the arena of politics and watchers such as EISF view this as the ace in their chaos scenarios.

Needful also is it to point out that whole schools of thought have been developed over the years on the so-called “post-Mugabe” permutations.

The good Dr Ibbo Mandaza comes to mind.

A particular scenario is one which sees the behemoth of the security sector crumbling and turning guns on each other and plunging the country into civil war.

It is a very attractive proposition for an African country in “transition” — one which is so attractive to the extend that it fulfils some self-serving prophecies of doom and create a lot of jobs, in the NGO sector not least, including potential arms sales.

But the fact is that this is Southern Africa and this is Zimbabwe.

And without belabouring that point and prospect, it has to be remarked that a stable Zimbabwe is, and will remain possible.

In fact, the prospect of a unified and stable Zimbabwe under Zanu-PF is something that even some Western countries including, and in particular Britain, have come to accept going I to the future.

It is something the chaosists do not particularly like to hear.

It is interesting and disturbing that there is manifesting a streak even in Zanu PF that is angling for a chaos scenario, based of course on some narrow interests and ego problems.

However, it is a safe bet that chaosists will not prevail because of solid structures and systems that go beyond parochial and superfluous troubles and troublemakers.

In this sense, Zimbabwe will not give the luxury of chaos to its detractors, including some, mischief makers in the ruling party itself.

Editorial Comment: Infantino’s visit tonic for Zim football development

Gianni Infantino

Gianni Infantino

ON Thursday, Zimbabwe will be thrust on to the global football spotlight when FIFA president Gianni Infantino arrives for a two-day visit.

While there has been a lot of reservations from the Confederation of African football leadership over the visit, especially now when the drama related to the campaigning for posts to run the game on the continent is in full swing, Infantino has refused to be swayed by these political battles.

CAF president Issa Hayatou, who faces a very strong challenge for his post from Ahmad Ahmad of Madagascar, feels Infantino’s presence in Harare at a time when scores of African football leaders will also be in the capital, could be used to campaign against him.

For a man who has ruled the game on the continent since taking over in 1988, Hayatou is suddenly seeing a lot of shadows as he faces his first credible challenge to his grip on African football which he wants to extend by an eighth term.

We are surprised that while Hayatou didn’t see any problem in inviting scores of African football leaders to Gabon when the 2017 Nations Cup finals was held in that country, as part of his campaign machinery, he now sees problems in the congregation of football leaders in Harare fearing that could be used to boost the appeal of his opponent.

It’s sad that the Cameroonian has tried to drag the FIFA boss, who has a right to visit any country that is a member of the world football governing body, into the politics related to the fight for the CAF leadership and now wants to dictate to him who and when he should visit in Africa.

There is no doubt that there is a huge constituency on the continent which feels that the game could be better managed by someone who is not Hayatou and, for the first time in years, they now have a voice and an individual they believe can replace the long-serving CAF boss.

This constituency has watched for years as Southern and Eastern African nations were treated as second-rate members of CAF by Hayatou and his friends while the Western and Northern parts of the continent have been receiving preferential treatment.

For there is no justification that can be used to explain why only two of the last 16 African Cup of Nations, which have been held under Hayatou’s watch, have been held in Southern Africa — with both of those tournaments being staged by South Africa — while the other 14 have been staged by West and North African countries.

No one, but Hayatou and his cronies can explain why a country as poor as Burkina Faso, which staged their Nations Cup tournament in just two cities, can be deemed to have better facilities than Zimbabwe who were stripped of our rights to host the 2000 AFCON finals on the basis that we were running behind time in our preparations.

No one, but the CAF president and his inner circle can explain why Gabon have hosted two AFCON finals tournaments in the past five years, will host the African Under-17 championship this year, while the next two Nations Cup finals will be hosted by West African countries.

Those who are calling for change in the way CAF is being run have a point and that the crusade is being fronted by leaders from Southern Africa isn’t surprising because this region has been badly treated by Hayatou and his people.

On Thursday, the Football Association of Zambia head Andrew Kamanga, became the latest high-profile administrator from this part of the continent to openly say that he will vote against the perpetuation of Hayatou’s leadership while COSAFA have said they will all back Ahmad.

Against this toxic background, we are cheered by Infantino’s decision to refuse to be drawn into the football politics of the continent by accepting an invitation to come to Harare next week.

We are also happy that the FIFA boss has said he wants to see his visit being used by the local football leadership to build a platform that will see the game in this country, with the support of the world football governing body, growing in the future.

We believe that Infantino’s visit presents ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa and his team an excellent opportunity to brief the FIFA boss of the challenges they are facing, especially how they can dissolve the more than $6 million debt that has been derailing their operations, and try and find ways of how the Zurich-based organisation, which is awash with money, can help them.

It’s good to realise that in an era where Western countries have adopted a hostile stance towards Zimbabwe, there are global leaders who are willing to see beyond the curtain of lies they have created and are willing to come here and explore ways of how they can play a part in helping a key sector of this country develop.

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