Nelson Chamisa visits late President Mugabe’s Blue Roof home to console widow Grace Mugabe (PICS)

Most loved MDC leader Nelson Chamisa today visited late former President Robert Mugabe’s family home to pay his last respects to the great African hero who passed away in Singapore on September 6. He later tweeted: I’ve been to the Mugabe f…

Most loved MDC leader Nelson Chamisa today visited late former President Robert Mugabe’s family home to pay his last respects to the great African hero who passed away in Singapore on September 6. He later tweeted: I’ve been to the Mugabe family residence to pay condolences as a gesture of Ubuntu, rising above political differences […]

Mugabe: A towering figure that confounded critics 

Source: Mugabe: A towering figure that confounded critics | The Herald 12 SEP, 2019 Former President Mugabe Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor Love him or loathe him, one thing is beyond dispute: Zimbabwe’s founding President Robert Mugabe, in the words of the late hero Stan Mudenge, was “a man of unmistakable intellect, great […]

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Source: Mugabe: A towering figure that confounded critics | The Herald 12 SEP, 2019

Mugabe: A towering figure that confounded criticsFormer President Mugabe

Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor

Love him or loathe him, one thing is beyond dispute: Zimbabwe’s founding President Robert Mugabe, in the words of the late hero Stan Mudenge, was “a man of unmistakable intellect, great oratory skills, alluring wit and charm”, and an extraordinary kind of national leader.

He had been described by many as a person of passionate and unswerving moral and political conviction, while others have gone a step further to define him as an “unbending revolutionary and unyielding Pan Africanist and visionary.”

Cde Mugabe’s unyielding toughness with white former settler farmers and Western countries, his pitiless enforcement of the land reform programme and rough unfettered black empowerment policies alienated many of his opponents.

Despite serious opposition from political actors at home and abroad, many agree that Mugabe moved the central ground of Zimbabwean politics, and was a huge figure on the world stage. His opponents disagreed with some of his policies, and yet they also greatly respected his political achievements and personal strength.

Well documented comments from some of his fiercest opponents show that his critics had been slain by his personality and intellectual brilliance.

Former Finance Minister and MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti once described former President Mugabe as “Zimbabwe itself” and as a fountain of wisdom.

“He is a fountain of experience, knowledge and, most importantly, fountain of stability . . . He is the number one symbol of stability. Us, the younger generation, are lucky to have gone through his hands,” Biti said.

“We find counsel and wisdom in him. His importance in this country will be seen after he is gone. When he is gone that is when you will see that this man was Zimbabwe.”

Former United States of America Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, who worked 24/7 to push for the ouster of Cde Mugabe, reluctantly conceded after his tenure that he was a brilliant tactician.

“He is cleverer than any other politician in Zimbabwe. To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactician . . .” said Dell in one of the secret American Embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks in 2011.

Dell’s successor Ambassador Charles Ray, as Mudenge once put it, “poured out his admiration for the (former) President” by describing him as having an “encyclopedia of a brain.”

A veteran guerrilla leader and nationalist, Cde Mugabe was underestimated at first by his opponents, the Western media and foreign adversaries.

But they all soon learned to respect him for his ferocious will and determination. From his Catholic and Jesuit teachings, Cde Mugabe learned the values of justice, discipline and industry as a young man.

Even those who disagreed with him have never doubted the strength of his conviction and his unwavering belief in Zimbabwe’s destiny and sovereignty in the world. His critics saw him as a unique figure, who reshaped the politics of a whole generation and commanded enormous respect throughout the world.

“He is a strong leader, who still commands enormous respect throughout the world. In Senegal, when I say to the man on the street that I am from Zimbabwe, the response is invariably ‘Mugabe! I like your President! He is a very strong man,’ Gertrude Stevenson, Zimbabwe’s late ambassador to Senegal once remarked.

“People like the fact that he still stands up to our former colonisers. As I have come to know him better, I have been struck by his interest in my family and my life, as well as his sense of humour and his phenomenal memory. I hope and pray that his recollection of pre-independence struggles and meetings, particularly on the rest of the continent, are captured for posterity. He is a walking history book.”

Revolutionary icon Cde Mugabe’s unshakable belief was that Africans too had a right to enjoy and benefit from their heritage  natural resources tugged at the heartstrings of many of the continent’s impoverished people. And his admirers in the opposing camp were often particularly taken by his charisma.

Opposition politician Welshman Ncube in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper in February 2013, said he had been exposed to a different side of Mugabe that he never imagined existed.

“Ninety percent of the time, I cannot recognise the Mugabe I sit with in Cabinet from the Mugabe who has ruled this country,” he was quoted saying.

“He shows real concern for his country and people, like a father. And he can master detail over a wide range of Government matters.”

Politician and former minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga also saw Mugabe as a great patriot with a deep inner conviction for things he seriously believed in.

“I did not think Mugabe believed in things,” she said in an interview with the Guardian way back. “Now I know that Mugabe actually believes in things, ideologically, like that the British are after regime change in Zimbabwe.

“When he believes in something, he will genuinely defend it. If he believes in an action, no matter how wrong it is, he will not apologise. That is one hallmark of Mugabe. He is loyal to his beliefs.”

In the same report, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who was an MDC political member, said she did not know that Cde Mugabe was “a serious charmer around women”.

“A very, very, very good charmer . . . He also has an exceptional sense of humour,” she said. “You literally are in stitches throughout Cabinet. But he also has an intellectual arrogance.

“If you do not strike him as someone intelligent, he has no time for you. There are certain people who, when they speak in Cabinet, he sits up and listens, and others who, when they speak, he pretends to be asleep.”

Even though Nelson Chamisa, who was by then MDC-T organising secretary and Information Communication Technology Minister, did not like some of Cde Mugabe’s leadership aspects, he nevertheless showed great admiration for Mugabe’s intellect and his powerfully held principles.

“Sitting in Cabinet with him, I admire his intellect. He has dexterity of encyclopaedic proportions,” he once remarked. “He is a bad leader, but a gifted politician. Why do I say he is a gifted politician? He has the ability to manage political emotions and intentions.”

Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that Cde Mugabe will leave a unique and lasting imprint on the country and the continent he served. In 2004, a survey conducted by the London-based New African magazine placed founding President Mugabe among the three greatest Africans of all time.

He was positioned alongside Kwame Nkrumah and South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Developing countries’ foreign ministers and ambassadors at one time after Cde Mugabe had addressed the United Nations General Assembly remarked that: “Three free men of the world spoke without fear during the debate of the UN General Assembly, one was George W. Bush of the United States of America, the other two were Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia and Robert Mugabe of Africa  no Zimbabwe.”

World acclaimed icon Cde Mugabe may have divided opinion in his time, but everyone seems united in acknowledging the strength of his personality and the radicalism of his politics.

And despite grumblings from his adversaries, Mugabe remains a lantern and role model for many people and a long haul social change agent blessed with uncommon commitment and talent.

Love him or hate him, Cde Mugabe’s fingerprints are quietly embedded in many of the transforming events of the last three decades of independence as Zimbabweans pushed open and walked through previously closed doors of opportunity.

His intellect and strength remained as sharp as his signature sense of style.

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Setting devolution up for success: Part 1

Source: Setting devolution up for success: Part 1 | The Herald 12 SEP, 2019 Devolution allows local communities to manage their natural resources for their own benefit and that of the nation Rudo Grace Charamba Correspondent The term devolution refers to the transfer or delegation of power, resources and representation down to the lower level […]

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Source: Setting devolution up for success: Part 1 | The Herald 12 SEP, 2019

Setting devolution up for success: Part 1Devolution allows local communities to manage their natural resources for their own benefit and that of the nation

Rudo Grace Charamba Correspondent

The term devolution refers to the transfer or delegation of power, resources and representation down to the lower level of government, thus creating a government that is close to the people.

Such local governments are responsible for addressing the everyday needs of the population that they serve through the management of the associated social, economic and political development programmes.

The Zimbabwe Constitution provides for the organisation of Government at three levels, namely, national, provincial and local authorities, with the provincial and metropolitan councils making up the provincial level while urban and rural district councils constitute the local authorities.

In principle, devolution provides a major opportunity for improving governance through the following:

Giving powers of local governance to the people, thus granting rights to communities to manage their own resources

Enhancing their participation in making decisions that affect them

Promoting democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government in Zimbabwe as a whole

Preserving and fostering peace, national unity and indivisibility of Zimbabwe

Transferring responsibilities and resources from the national Government for the purpose of establishing a sound resource base for the devolved governments.

Devolved governments are expected to deliver improved service and also drive development more effectively than central Government because the officials responsible for planning are closer to the peculiar circumstances of various regions or localities.

They are, therefore, believed to be well-equipped for designing optimal solutions to the development problems of these areas.

It is also argued that central Government planners lack adequate appreciation of the critical factors that influence development at the local level, and are thus inclined to develop generalised and unrealistic plans that cannot sufficiently address the developmental needs of communities.

Accountability is also expected to be enhanced because local governments are directly answerable for the quality of programme implementation, whereas with centralised administration, they can easily shift blame for their defective implementation or misuse of resources to their superiors at central Government.

The success of devolution, measured by the achievement of its objectives, calls for commitment and buy-in of the agenda by all stakeholders followed by highly participatory, inclusive and prudent implementation processes, guided by objectives that are derived, by consensus, from the national goals.

According to literature, devolution is often implemented far less comprehensively than intended and thus fails to achieve the objectives of the agenda.

For example, a wide range of progressive legislation was passed, in several nations, but was never implemented.

The shortcomings were attributed to significant challenges that were mostly pronounced in devolved governments where additional roles and responsibilities are assigned.

This piece considers experiences with devolution as a driver of socio-economic development, recorded in literature, in efforts to promote successful implementation of the devolution agenda.

Devolution entails meaningful engagement of citizens, by local authorities, to actively participate in making decisions that relate to addressing their needs.

The two groups of citizens primarily relate to each other on matters regarding service delivery, which is ordinarily perceived to be highly unsatisfactory in many regions and nations, Zimbabwe included.

Such dissatisfaction tends to consistently strain relations between the two groups that are supposed to work to together for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Several common contributing factors, for this shortcoming in service delivery, are cited in literature, notably poor management and equally poor governance systems, which lead to the loss of resources through waste, corruption and rampant theft.

The weaknesses in governance systems mostly relate to limited or lack of opportunities for citizens’ participation, as well as the unresponsiveness of local authorities.

In the same context, local authorities cite lack of capital and rising cost of supplies, defaulting citizens as well as interference from central Government as the main contributors to the poor quality service delivery.

On top of the challenges relating to the strained external relationships, there is often another pressing issue and associated shortcomings involving councillors and council officials.

Councillors are, ideally and officially, the decision-makers on key council policies, programmes and projects, implying that they manage council business.

Like all managers, their effectiveness depends on their level of control on such business.

However, their management capacity is ordinarily built by way of briefings, on council business and the associated processes, provided by council officials.

Moreover, the majority of councillors ordinarily depend on council resources that are also controlled by the council officials.

The officials thus become the councillors’ de facto benefactors, a situation that is suboptimal for ensuring good governance, as well as the objectivity in the functions of councillors as citizens’ representatives.

Constant review and adjustment of governance systems is thus imperative to ensure their effectiveness in promoting success.

The adequacy of financial, human and institutional capacities for sound equipment of the devolved governments to manage additional, and often more complex, tasks assigned to them, is key for successful devolution.

For example, instances of duplicity of effort at both the central and local levels were attributed to incompetence among officials as well as poor institutional structures.

To be continued next week.

Dr Rudo Grace Gwata-Charamba is an author, development project/programme management consultant and researcher with a special interest in Results Based Management (RBM), Governance and Leadership. She can be contacted via email: rgcharamba@gmail.com

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Empowering graduates for life after college

Source: Empowering graduates for life after college | Herald (Opinion) Prof Murwira Elizabeth Andreya Features Writer Government recently announced a programme that will assist graduates with funds to implement business ideas beginning next year. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said a revolving fund dedicated to incubating ideas by […]

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Source: Empowering graduates for life after college | Herald (Opinion)

Empowering graduates for life after college
Prof Murwira

Elizabeth Andreya Features Writer

Government recently announced a programme that will assist graduates with funds to implement business ideas beginning next year.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said a revolving fund dedicated to incubating ideas by college graduates will soon be available.

“People need skills, but they are not enough, there is also the money component which needs to be addressed objectively,” he said.

“So, as Government, through the Cabinet Committee on Job Creation which I chair, decided there is going to be Graduate Employment Empowerment Programme. This will be seed money given to start-ups created by our graduates.

“We will not be giving the money to individuals. They have to form companies or consortiums to access it. The people will have to prove the bankability of their idea to get the funds.”

Due to the current economic difficulties facing the country, graduates who wish to start their own businesses have been finding it difficult.

The Graduate Empowerment Programme, which the Government is putting in place to help these graduates is welcome as it will empower many.

Through this programme, students will no longer be jobless or complain over the limited employment opportunities.

Instead, they will start creating employment for other young people in their communities.

Unfortunately, in most cases, entrepreneurs are not aware of these Government programmes, specifically designed to help them.

There is little information on the various financial products available to entrepreneurs, never mind the application procedures.

It is, therefore, crucial for the responsible authorities to provide full information on these programmes.

This programme will also create decent jobs in the country in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UN website, encouraging entrepreneurship is key to decent job creation, as it is an effective measure to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking.

With such initiatives, Zimbabwe can achieve productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

To make this initiative a success, Government should put in place laws and policies where all beneficiaries of the fund are compelled to repay loans within a certain period.

The ministry should also do background checks of those who need these funds.

In many cases, the bona fide beneficiaries are not able to access the fund because of corruption.

Strict policies on how to choose people who will benefit from the programme, those who have meaningful business ideas, should be put in place.

More so, to make this initiative a success, business training and mentorship programmes for beneficiaries are required.

Research has shown that lack of skills leads to business failure.

Entrepreneurial education is also needed to enhance skills and knowledge if these graduates are going to start their own businesses.

Low levels of financial literacy can influence the degree to which entrepreneurs access formal sources of finance.

Therefore, entrepreneurship education should be made accessible to all tertiary learners in order to equip them for life in business.

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