Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

A clear and present danger of Kariba Dam collapse

Several decades on, the much heralded Kariba Dam is in big trouble, even facing possible collapse, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Source: A clear and present danger of Kariba Dam collapse – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 2, 2016

Daily Maverick

Zambia and Zimbabwe currently derive the bulk of their electricity supplies from hydroelectric dams on the Zambezi and other rivers in the region.

The drought has resulted in prolonged low water levels in the dams, which has resulted in sustained blackouts in Zambia for upwards of eight hours per day in recent times.

Provided the rains return, electricity supplies should normalise. But a far greater potential danger exists.

The region’s largest hydroelectric dam — Kariba — has developed some extremely serious flaws during its 50-plus years of existence and some observers have even suggested that the dam is in grave danger of collapse, with the attendant catastrophic consequences.

Currently at 18% full, Kariba hit a recent low point of around 12% in January 2016.

The Kariba Dam on the Zambezi, between Zambia and Zimbabwe, was designed and constructed just before and after the end of British colonial rule in Africa.

Designed by Coyne et Bellier of France and constructed by Salini Impreglio of Italy in two main phases between 1956 and 1977, the dam was financed by the World Bank.

This was the heyday of the Zambian Copperbelt activities near Ndola in the north of the country and sustained electrical supply was critical to ensuring the smooth operation of the copper industry.

At the time, Kariba was one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in the world in terms of its power output, though today it doesn’t even come close to being in the top 20.

Serious and unexpected flooding in the Zambezi Valley during 1957 and 1958 led the designer and constructors to deviate from the original plan for the dam insofar as they decided to install six sluice gates rather than three, to accommodate hitherto unheard of water levels.

This action may have inadvertently resulted in serious design flaws that only manifested themselves years later.

The scouring action of the spillways has, over time, resulted in a 90-metre deep “plunge pool” being formed in front of the dam wall.

This canyon is now only about 30 metres away from the dam’s foundations and, if left unchecked, threatens to undermine those very foundations.

The erosion problem was first identified as early as 1962, after only three years of operation.

At that time, the plunge pool was around 30m wide, but by the 1980s it had more than doubled in size.

Since the 1990s, only three of the six floodgates have been allowed to be opened at any point in time, thus limiting the scouring impact of the spillway.

This action appears to have resulted in no further erosion of the plunge pool.

Of course, this is a mixed blessing, as it has meant that average water levels in the dam have required to be kept lower than they otherwise would have been, resulting in lower amounts of electricity generating capacity.

A less pressing problem is that the concrete surrounding the floodgates has swelled over the years, inhibiting the ability of the dam to rid itself of excess water during times of flood.

Of course, this is not a problem at all currently, due to the average dam level of the past two years only being 18%.

The World Bank has organised syndicated funding of almost $300 million to rehabilitate the dam.

This would involve reshaping the floor of the plunge pool so that spillway water no longer splashes back towards the dam wall.

It also involves rebuilding the six sluice gates.

The estimated repair time for the reshaping of the plunge pool is three years, with the sluice repairs taking eight years.

Notwithstanding the very low dam level, work can only be carried out during the dry winter season each year and cumulative delays so far have meant that reshaping contracts were only due to be awarded last month and sluice gate contract work only beginning in June 2017.

The World Bank is very confident that Kariba Dam is not in any danger of collapse, a view that is diametrically opposed by the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) and AON South Africa, which issued a report in 2015 written by IRMSA founder member Kay Darbourn that stated that the dam wall would collapse if urgent repair work wasn’t carried out very quickly.

The report contained the extremely chilling line: “If nothing is done, the dam will collapse in three years”.

So which body is correct — the World Bank or IRMSA? Although The World Bank seems very confident that the wall won’t collapse, there have been suggestions that the body has been only too happy for scaremongering reports along the lines of IRMSA’s to circulate, as this has helped speed up the notoriously slow process of syndicating the loans required for rehabilitation.

But if IRMSA is correct, the consequences could be devastating.

A collapsed Kariba Dam would wreak havoc on human and animal life, as the resulting tsunami tore through the Zambezi Valley.

The force of water would be so great that it would likely also destroy Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, about 480km away.

Under such a doomsday scenario, aside from the loss of animal and human life, electricity production in the southern Africa region would be seriously degraded.

Around 40% of Southern Africa’s electrical generating capacity (ex-SA) would be gone and the industries that depend on this power, such as mining, would be crippled.

South Africa currently relies on Cahora Bassa to deliver 1 500 megawatts of clean power a day and if that were to be switched off, rolling power cuts could resume in that country.

Reconstructing both dams would take up to eight years and during that time, the cumulative misery of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people would be incalculable.

Perhaps, the last word on this subject should be left to the late South African prime minister John Vorster; in a completely different context, he is credited with coining the phrase “consequences too ghastly to contemplate”.

If the World Bank is wrong and Kariba does indeed collapse, the consequences really would be too ghastly to contemplate.

Waiting for Mugabe’s Exit, Zimbabweans Endure Shattered Economy

Edgar Garwe sits repairing mobile phones behind the counter of his tumble-down stall, worrying about a scarcity of customers and how he’ll pay his two children’s school fees.

Source: Waiting for Mugabe’s Exit, Zimbabweans Endure Shattered Economy – Bloomberg December 1, 2016

“We’re just waiting,” Garwe, 31, said in an interview in the town of Mvurwi, north of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, where he fixes three or four phones in a good week. “It’ll get better when he’s gone.”

“He” is Robert Mugabe, who’s led Zimbabwe since independence from the U.K. in 1980 and overseen an economic meltdown that’s left an estimated 95 percent of the workforce jobless and driven as many as 3 million people into exile. Even though the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or Zanu-PF, insists Mugabe will be its presidential candidate in the next elections in 2018, there’s a growing belief that the 92-year-old’s rule is nearing its end.

As the Mugabe era enters its twilight, Zimbabwe is facing rising poverty and protests. A power struggle in the ruling party to succeed him pits one faction backing his wife Grace and another coalescing around Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former spy chief. At the same time, unrest is spreading over food shortages and a cash crunch that has delayed payment of salaries and prompted the central bank to introduce dollar-pegged bond notes that Zimbabweans immediately dubbed “zombie currency.”

Faction Fights

“Mugabe has been holding the various factions of Zanu together,” Aditi Lalbahadur, a researcher at the South African Institute for International Affairs, said by phone from Johannesburg. “I don’t think the question has been answered about who will take over. Until that is resolved, I doubt Mugabe is going to step down voluntarily. There is going to be some kind of shift, but nobody knows what that will be.”

While Mugabe and his aides say he is “fit as a fiddle,” he’s visibly frail and has traveled frequently to Singapore to undergo undisclosed medical treatment.

A former schoolteacher who was jailed for 11 years for fighting white minority rule, Mugabe was initially hailed for promoting racial reconciliation and improving health and education. Now he’s seen as a pariah by many Western nations, who accuse him of stealing elections, waging a violent crackdown against his opponents and ruining the economy by condoning the seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black subsistence farmers.

Opposition to Mugabe’s rule has been fueled by widespread poverty, joblessness, the collapse of basic services and an abusive police force.  The worst drought in two decades has added to the gloom, with about 4 million people, more than a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population, in need of emergency food rations.

Brezhnev Zvouya, a 32-year-old resident of the town of Banket which lies about 96 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of the capital, points at a Zanu-PF slogan “Empower, Employ, Indigenize” on his tattered T-shirt. “Big, big lie,” he said. “No new jobs, and people with jobs have no guarantee of being paid. Zanu is rotten.”

Sleeping in Streets

Seven years after abandoning its own currency and using mainly the dollar to end hyperinflation that reached 500 billion percent, Zimbabwe is grappling with cash shortages that have stalled salary payments to civil servants, the military and employees of private companies. Lines of people waiting to make bank withdrawals snake around city blocks in Harare. Some sleep in the streets to ensure they’re served.

In a bid to address the cash crunch, the central bank started distributing $10 million worth of bond notes.

Read more: New Notes Stir Memory of Hyperinflation

With many businesses refusing to accept the notes, protests erupted in Harare on Wednesday, and the police sealed off the city center and used water cannons to disperse the crowds.

“The introduction of bond notes won’t make any difference because you’re only allowed $150 a week and many places won’t accept them as real money,” said Joel Matamba, a farmer from the tobacco-growing region of Mutepatepa in northern Zimbabwe, who pays his eight staff about $150 each a month. “It’ll take me eight weeks to pay each worker what I owe them for a month of work. There are no banks here; these people have to be paid in cash.”

Opposition Unites

The discontent is strengthening the appeal of opposition parties, which are considering uniting to contest the 2018 vote. Mugabe’s main adversaries are Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change and Zimbabwe People First, which is led by Joice Mujuru, who was vice president between 2004 and 2014 and was expelled from Zanu-PF two years ago after being sidelined in the succession race.

Mujuru, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s war for independence, has strong support in rural areas that have traditionally backed Mugabe, while Tsvangirai has overwhelming sympathy in urban centers.

“Mugabe’s decision to purge Mujuru and her allies was a critical blunder that brought to life the one party that could pose a real threat to the ruling party’s clutch on power,” Charles Laurie, head of country risk at Bath, England-based Verisk Mapelcroft, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Her personal knowledge of the Zanu-PF playbook means that for the first time the ruling party will face a political opponent that intimately understands its strategies.”

While the end of the Mugabe era can’t come too soon for Garwe, he expects the president to die in office or leave on his own terms.

“Life can’t improve while the old man is in State House, so the country’s waiting for him to go,” Garwe said. “No one can chase him out, no one has that power. When he’s gone, we can start repairing the damage.”’

Has Zim become an afterthought to Mugabe?

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was due to address the nation yesterday, but he instead chose to fly halfway around the world for the funeral of the late former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Source: Has Zim become an afterthought to Mugabe? – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 2, 2016

No doubt, Castro was a colossus and African leaders, who benefited from the Cold War divide, are likely to stampede to that country to honour him, and Mugabe, being the fond traveller that he is, was surely not going to miss out.

But this reveals Mugabe’s priorities and running Zimbabwe and turning its fortunes around does not seem to top his list of priorities.

While there have been many events to honour the late Castro, the funeral is only on Sunday and there would have been no harm had Mugabe waited until after his State of the Nation Address to leave for Cuba and he would have made it in good time too.

Maybe Mugabe does not realise it, but Zimbabwe is broken and needs fixing.

As the captain of the ship, his speech is important as it would have helped galvanise some of his crew members who are now dithering as the vessel continues to sink.

Zimbabwe needs all hands on deck now and this is not helped by Mugabe’s approach, as he seems to be looking for any excuse to travel.

Others will point out that other African leaders, like South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, left for the burial as early as Mugabe did, but the truth is that those countries’ economies are not as bad as Zimbabwe’s and such trips can easily be sustained.

Zimbabwe’s economy simply cannot afford numerous trips and long stays abroad and the cost of these foreign sojourns is well-documented.

What Zimbabweans yearn for is a leader who is blind to everything else and has his mind fixed on fixing the sorry situation that Zimbabwe is in, but Mugabe does not seem willing to be that leader.

Mugabe’s aides have maintained that there is foreign policy value in his many trips. Without being dragged into that self-serving argument, all what Zimbabweans want is that he prioritises the country and if everything is working fine, then he can travel as much as he wants.

As the English adage says, charity begins at home, Mugabe must work on placing all his energies on fixing the country before he goes on a spree to conquer the world.

Zimbabwe desperately yearns for a captain who can steer the ship through troubled waters, but Mugabe only seems to think of the country as an afterthought, after he is done with his travels.

While he can postpone addressing the nation, Zimbabwe’s problems need an urgent solution, which can only be addressed by a person who puts the country first.

Water crisis severely affecting beverage, dairy industries: CZI

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has lamented that its members in the beverage and dairy sectors are operating under diffucult circumstances due to a severe water crisis, which has hit Harare and Bulawayo hard.

Source: Water crisis severely affecting beverage, dairy industries: CZI – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 2, 2016

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

CZI president, Busisa Moyo told NewsDay that the situation was unbearable for most companies.

“The Bulawayo City Council is protecting industry from water rationing, which we welcome. We have assurances from the mayor of the City of Bulawayo that industry will be spared during the festive season, in particular. CZI members in the beverage and milk sectors are, however, severely affected in Harare, Ruwa, Norton and Chitungwiza,” he said.

In Bulawayo, for instance, the city council has implemented a 72-hour long water-rationing programme due to the supply dams drying up.

Harare has witnessed frequent outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as typhoid and diarrhoea because of the poor water supplies.

Economic analysts told NewsDay that the shortage of water was affecting the development of industry.

“Firstly, it must be noted that the crisis is not new. For years, companies have raised concerns on the water issue and its effect to production,” Reginald Shoko, an economic analyst, said.

He said due to water-rationing being implemented by local authorities, water charges for companies had skyrocketed.

“A classic example is the abattoir at CSC (Cold Storage Company), where they are charged commercial rates on bulk water, which affects the running costs,” Shoko said.

He said the government should come up with better methods of harvesting water.

“Water harvesting is one of the long-term solutions and also, the Zambezi Water Project, and above all, proper water management at dams through the timely removal of siltation,” Shoko said.

“The successive governments from Rhodesia to present day Zimbabwe have managed to identify and diagnose the cities’ water challenges and tabled the Zambezi Water Project as the solution, but the speed of the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

“But on the same note, industry must come in and help with the funding of the project either direct funding or investment in projects along the pipeline creating a serious green belt that could drive exports of agricultural products.”

Another economic analyst, Butler Tambo, said the government and industry should adopt new technologies to harvest water. He said water saving strategies before dams start running dry could be implemented.

“For instance, cities like Windhoek in Namibia, which are in a desert country, ban car washing for individuals and everyone has to get their cars washed at commercial car washes in order to save water,” Tambo said.

Analysts urged the government to be pro-active when it comes to water issues.

Tsvangirai deals coalition talks body blow

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has scoffed at the so-called coalition talks among opposition parties that ended in South Africa yesterday, insisting that Zimbabwean political parties do not need an external hand to bring them to the negotiating table.

Source: Tsvangirai deals coalition talks body blow – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 2, 2016

by OBEY MANAYITI/RICHARD CHIDZA

This comes amid reports that several opposition leaders were last week invited to South Africa by an international think-tank, In Transformative Initiative (ITI), to facilitate talks aimed at choosing one opposition candidate to challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 presidential elections.

But Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru boycotted the meeting held in Cape Town.

Addressing journalists in the capital yesterday, where he was welcoming back party deserters, such as Paul Madzore and Pearson Mungofa, Tsvangirai said he chose not to go because the agenda was unclear to him.

“There was no reason for me to attend. How do you introduce a subject that you have not planned with me?

“But that doesn’t mean I am underplaying the role of coalition talks. I don’t even know who is co-ordinating it and what mandate they have to co-ordinate us in that manner,” he said.

“Have we failed as Zimbabweans to sit down and talk among ourselves? Do we need outsiders to organise ourselves? I didn’t see it necessary to go to that meeting. Is it a crime? (But) that doesn’t underplay the issue of coalition.”

In what appeared a subtle stab at people who quit his party, Tsvangirai said: “You don’t leave a party and go on the side and say come let’s join, yet you left the party and then say now let’s have coalition talks. Why did you leave in the first place?”

He said there was a strong national sentiment for the opposition to unite, but there was still need to build trust among opposition leaders.

According to sources in South Africa, Mavambo/Kusile leader, Simba Makoni was tasked with issuing a statement on what transpired during the talks.

“We appointed Simba Makoni to give a statement we prepared upon return,” one of the opposition leaders, who requested anonymity, said.

“We agreed to form a broad coalition and we are preparing an MoU (memorandum of understanding), which all leaders must sign within 30 days after consultation with their parties. The MDC-T and ZimPF will be invited to the coalition.”

Tsvangirai told the news conference yesterday that they were preparing for the 2018 elections although they would continue pushing for electoral reforms.

Turning to Wednesday’s demonstration, Tsvangirai lamented police heavy-handedness in crushing the protest against the introduction of bond notes.

Meanwhile, PDP leader Tendai Biti has thrown his hat into the ring for the leadership of an envisaged coalition ahead of the 2018 elections, joining Tsvangirai and Mujuru, who have also been tipped for the same post.

PDP secretary-general, Gorden Moyo told NewsDay that Biti would be presented by his party as a possible choice.

“All serious political parties have presidential candidates. MDC-T, ZimPF have and we also have,” he said. “We are not indicating left and turning right. When the parties sit to decide on a possible coalition candidate, PDP will present Biti for consideration. I guess others will present their own too.”

Mujuru and Tsvangirai lead the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), a loose coalition of opposition parties demanding changes to the country’s electoral laws, while Biti’s party plans to use the Coalition of Democrats (Code) card as its entry ticket.

Senators rap ministers

Source: Senators rap ministers | The Herald December 2, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—

Senate yesterday rapped Government ministers for failing to attend question time as well as responding to motions raised by Thematic committees, saying that had an adverse effect on their oversight and representative function.This happened after ministers failed to attend yesterday’s question time in Senate as only Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora was in the chamber.

Senators were, however, divided on how to proceed as legislators from Zanu-PF said while it was wrong for ministers not to come, they should direct their questions to Dr Dokora, while those from MDC-T argued that they should defer the session to the following week to allow a sizeable number.

MDC-T Senators eventually walked out after Acting Senate President Fortune Charumbira, ruled that those with questions to Dr Dokora were free to raise them.

Chief Charumbira described the non attendance by ministers as a crisis that ought to be looked into.

Yesterday’s sitting started with Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe deferring question time to allow ministers to walk in.

After deliberations of other issues, ministers were not in sight to respond to motions, something that irked Cde Madzongwe.

“We have been waiting for ministers. They have even been contacted by the administration of Parliament. This has taken long for some motions to be disposed of,” said Cde Madzongwe.

After Senators exhausted motions on the Order Paper it was then resolved to revert to question time but only Dr Dokora was in the House.

Midlands Senator Morgan Komichi (MDC-T) then said they had watched with dismay that most ministers were keen to attend question time in the National Assembly, but were reluctant to attend to Senate business.

He suggested that while he commended Dr Dokora for coming consistently, it was not prudent to pose questions to him in the absence of his other colleagues.

Senators from MDC-T took turns to support him while those from Zanu-PF said it was not proper not to pose questions to Dr Dokora following his effort to attend Senate.

After a protracted debate, stand-in Senate President Chief Charumbira acknowledged that there was indeed a problem with Government ministers.

“The Clerk of Parliament (Mr Kennedy Chokuda) is here and it falls with the administration of Parliament’s shoulders and presiding officers. We are sitting for no value, wasting taxpayers’ money. We have a crisis which our administration of Parliament and presiding officers should look into. I want to agree with Sen Komichi. This is not expected by Zimbabweans. We do not come here for no purpose. They must be reprimanded in terms of the rules. I think a committee should be set up to establish why ministers are not coming,” said Chief Charumbira.

10 death row inmates escape hangman’s noose

Source: 10 death row inmates escape hangman’s noose | The Herald December 2, 2016

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
TEN inmates on death row successfully petitioned Cabinet for exemption from the hangman’s noose and their sentences have since been commuted to life imprisonment, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament recently.

There are 90 inmates on death penalty.

He was responding to a question from Zvishavane-Ngezi legislator John Holder, who had asked the Leader of the House what Government policy was on capital punishment.

“The current law in the country as articulated under our new Constitution is that women are exempted from capital punishment. Every citizen under the age of 18 is again exempted from capital punishment but men from the age of majority upwards are liable to death penalty,” he said.

“Under the current law, it is only one offence that attracts death penalty and that is aggravated murder. Until three weeks ago, we had 90 inmates who had been sentenced to death but three weeks ago, 10 of them submitted petitions to Cabinet, under a provision in the Constitution, for the President to exercise his prerogative of mercy where he deems it fit in terms of that provision of the Constitution,” explained VP Mnangagwa.

“Fortunately, the 10 were granted reprieve and their death penalties commuted to life. So we now have about 80 or 79 inmates in the death cells.”

VP Mnangagwa said inmates sentenced to death were still in prison because the country has not had a hangman for the past 12 years.

He said applications for the hangman’s job were still open.

VP Mnangagwa said during their attendance of the Universal Periodic Review meeting in Geneva a month ago, 89 members of the United Nations member states appealed to Zimbabwe to reconsider the issue of the death penalty.

He said Government was in the process of making a paper for public debate on the issue.

“I just wanted to find out if after this paper that is going to be presented to the public for debate, are we going to vote for it or what is the process then since capital punishment was part of the Constitution when we were making the Constitution?,” said Honourable Holder.

VP Mnangagwa said the issue of death sentence was made a public issue during the making of a new Constitution.

“The majority of our people in this country went for the death penalty. They supported the imposition of the death penalty and a minority, me included, went against the death penalty. We believe that the issue of the death penalty should not be partisan or should not be a political party policy. It should be a national policy where we need to have outreach programmes countrywide to discover the attitude of our people towards the issue of the death penalty.”

Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka asked VP Mnangagwa if the Constitution was not discriminatory against men when it only exempts women from the death penalty.

“To me, it would appear to be allowing men of a certain age to be killed; already it discriminates against men. Is that provision unconstitutional in as far as that is regarded?” he said.

Responded VP Mnangagwa: “I believe that the Honourable Member was a Member of this Assembly when we passed the Constitution, but he did not raise the issue that the Constitution was contradictory or discriminatory. So, the current Constitution is a document which was passed by the House.”

13 laws to spur Zim-Asset set

Source: 13 laws to spur Zim-Asset set | The Herald December 2, 2016

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
Government will promulgate at least 13 pieces of legislation in the first quarter of 2017 to improve the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business as it accelerates the implementation of Zim-Asset and the 10-Point Plan enunciated by President Mugabe last year.

The Office of the President and Cabinet will at the same time move sector-by-sector facilitating the ease of doing business and ensuring the private sector plays a decisive role in the achievement of Zim-Asset targets and implementation of the 10-Point Plan.

This was said by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda after touring three companies that have made life-changing investments in Harare’s Workington industrial area in the past few years.

The companies are Trade Kings Zimbabwe, Pure Oil Industries and Chloride Zimbabwe.

Dr Sibanda was accompanied by his deputies — Dr Ray Ndhlukula and Retired Colonel Christian Katsande — and senior officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet.

He said 2017 should be a year of practical delivery of Zim-Asset targets and that every Government stakeholder should play a part in ensuring that industry was revived.

“Certainly, beginning next year, we are going to be moving faster. We have legislations that are about to be completed. Thirteen of them, which will be completed by the first quarter of next year to make the ease of doing business more visible. And, as I said earlier on, we will go sector-by-sector including manufacturing, the agro industry, even more often the utilities like Zesa, the Environmental Management Agency so that we reduce the cost of production which is caused by unrealistic charges,” said Dr Sibanda.

“We want to compete with our neighbours rather than charging unnecessary high prices — be they at council level — because at times you find that those who want to invest also pay to the councils different fees or levies.

“We want to standardise that. We will be going sector by sector in the implementation of the ease of doing business,” he said.

During his first stop at Trade Kings Zimbabwe, Dr Sibanda said he was impressed by the modern plant set up by the company using advanced technology from Italy.

He assured the company of full Government support in the implementation of its project, which is being carried out in three phases.

The first phase, which is the setting up of a detergents production plant worth $15 million, was given national project status.

Said Dr Sibanda: “We want to assure you that our job is to facilitate the private sector to be a lead agency in our development process and this is why our office is at the forefront following the pronouncement by His Excellency, the President in his 10 Point Plan that we should ease the environment of doing business and the easing of the environment of the doing business is going on. We will be moving very soon in the New Year, especially in the manufacturing sector.

“If you have any challenges do not hesitate to come through your parent ministry and we will facilitate to ensure that you are fully-fledged in the shortest possible time.”

Trade Kings Zimbabwe managing director Mr Sayed Mahmed said they would be exporting some of their products.

“The capacity of the powder plant exceeds the total requirements of the Zimbabwean market,” he said.

“This makes us self-sustaining as a country and provides large potential and capacity for the export markets.”

Mr Mahmed said their aim was to deliver truly Zimbabwean products working with downstream suppliers to stimulate the economy.

At Pure Oil Industries, the company’s managing director Mr P.K Ganediwal who represented Parrogate in the company’s shareholding, said their focus was mainly on the production of basic commodities.

He said the company had the capacity to produce seven million litres of cooking oil every month but shortage of soya beans was hampering progress.

“We should not be importing basics and our staple food,” he said. “We are also supporting farmers in the production of soya beans and this year we are targeting 2 000 hectares under contract farming.”

He said they also planned to engage Government with a view to going directly into large-scale farming to produce cheaper raw materials.

Pure Oil Industries head of operations, Mr Rod Musiyiwa, said: “We are very grateful each time we see senior Government officials coming to witness what we are doing here. I think it’s a good testimony of what can happen when we combine efforts with Government. Creating synergies like these will go a long way in creating employment, a long way in improving our economy and to make our Zimbabwe a better country.”

He said the company was facing challenges and he was happy that Dr Sibanda had assured them of Government’s support in their operations.

ART Corporation, which owns Chloride Zimbabwe, said it had benefited from Government policies including a waiver of duty on capital equipment imports.

ART chairman Dr Thomas Utete Ushe said they had invested $3 million in the past two years and their focus now was to expand their export market for car batteries.

Currently, the company is exporting to Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and has set its eyes on Angola.

Parly ejects bungling Youth Council officials

Source: Parly ejects bungling Youth Council officials | The Herald December 2, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
A parliamentary portfolio committee yesterday threw out of the House officials from the Zimbabwe Youth Council after they turned up unprepared to respond to how they used 100 000 litres of fuel they got from Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).

ZYC acting executive director Ms Julian Kariri and programme manager Mr Lungani Zwangobani were reprimanded after they failed to give a detailed account of how the fuel was used.

This happened when they appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF).

Cde Wadyajena and other legislators warned them to take the business of Parliament seriously before ejecting them and asked them to return next week when they were prepared to respond to issues raised by lawmakers.

The 100 000 litres given to ZYC by Zimdef forms part of an investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, which is investigating Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa for allegedly abusing $450 000 from Zimdef to strengthen their social ties in their respective constituencies.

ZACC has indicated that the 100 000 litres given to ZYC did not get to Zanu-PF Youth wing, the intended beneficiary.

In his evidence before the same committee a fortnight ago, Secretary for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Mr George Magosvonge, said he had no knowledge about the 100 000 litres given to ZYC despite him being the accounting officer of the ministry who should be seized with such information.

When proceedings started yesterday, Ms Kariri told the committee that she was standing in for ZYC executive director, Mr Livingstone Dzikira whom she said was in China.

When asked to give comprehensive details of how fuel was utilised and how other funds from development partners were used, Ms Kariri said ZYC had already furnished the committee with such details.

When told that no such details were submitted to the committee and that they were obliged to explain to legislators, Ms Kariri said she had no adequate details since she was not the substantive executive director, prompting Cde Wadyajena to ask why they came unprepared when the committee had informed them of the information required.

“It is my understanding that the report was delivered and it was quite comprehensive. At that time I was not yet acting director,” said Ms Kariri.

Prior to yesterday’s meeting, ZYC had written to Parliament requesting for the recusal of Cde Wadyajena saying since he was a member of the Zanu-PF Youth wing which was the beneficiary of the 100 000 litres, he would not be impartial.

Parliament, however, dismissed the assertion saying that Cde Wadyajena was exercising his mandate as Member of Parliament and not as a member of Zanu-PF.

Asked yesterday why ZYC had wanted Cde Wadyajena to recuse himself, Ms Kariri said she was not able to respond since it was Mr Dzikira who had written the letter.

At that stage Cde Wadyajena read out to Ms Kariri a letter written by Counsel to Parliament Ms Gladys Pise dismissing ZYC’s request.

Zim to sign maize importation deal

Source: Zim to sign maize importation deal | The Herald December 2, 2016

Business Reporter—

Zimbabwe will, by next week, sign a 100 000 tonnes maize importation deal with Mexico following successful negotiations with the central American country’s agriculture minister held in South Africa last Saturday.This year, Zimbabwe is the biggest buyer of Mexican maize, having already imported about 517 000 tonnes from the central American country since the beginning of the year.

In total, Government and the private sector have since January imported 632 000 tonnes of grain from around the world.

The deal was negotiated between the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, the representative body of the country’s millers and Mexican Minister of Trade for Europe and Africa Carlos Sanchez Pavoz and his high level delegation of grain producers and exporters.

The GMAZ delegation was led by chairman Tafadzwa Musarara.

“GMAZ will sign up for 100 000 metric tonnes of white maize to be supplied by Terra Wealth to supplement its grain reserves,” said Mr Musarara, who is in strong position to take up the vacant Grain Marketing Board post of chief executive officer.

“We are finalising on the payment instrument and hope to complete that in the next seven days. We are speeding on the signing of the agreement because we are competing with Venezuela for the Mexican maize,” he said.

Further to that, a GMAZ delegation is set to visit Mexico before the end of the year to meet other prospective maize suppliers.

Mr Musarara said two Mexican maize producers and exporters, Terra Wealth and Megacante, are keen to participate in maize contract farming in Zimbabwe.

In that regard, the Mexicans are due to visit Zimbabwe in January next year to tie-up the loose ends in the contract farming deal and also explore other investment avenues within the agricultural sector.

Currently, Zimbabwe has enough grain to take the country to the end of February and the additional 100 000 tonnes is expected to push the country through to August next year.

GMAZ said last month that the grain situation in Zimbabwe will remain stable in the short to medium-term to see the country through to the next season owing to Government’s strategic grain management and the private sector’s importation programmes.

The experts said the country has enough stock to cover for the drought currently ravaging the southern African region, cited as the worst in 40 years.

Currently, Zimbabwe is sitting on 320 000 tonnes of maize in Strategic Grain Reserves and 65 000 tonnes of wheat.

The private sector has close to 200 000 tonnes.

Mat South leads in TB deaths

Source: Mat South leads in TB deaths | The Herald December 2, 2016

Richard Muponde Gwanda Correspondent.—

MATABELELAND South Province has the highest number of tuberculosis related deaths in the country. About 309 people, a majority of them locals based in South Africa, commonly referred to as Injiva, have died of TB between January and September this year.Gwanda District Medical Officer Dr Andrew Felix Muza told stakeholders at the commemorations of the belated World TB Day held at Stanmore Clinic yesterday, without divulging statistics for other provinces, that Matabeleland South has the highest number of TB deaths in the country.

He said about 11 220 suspected TB cases were recorded in the same period in the province, while 9 215 were tested and 1 697 treated of the disease.

The deaths, said Dr Muza, have slightly dropped from last year when 433 people died with 13 133 suspected cases being recorded while 11 373 were tested and 2 053 received treatment in the same period.

“We have recorded multi-drug resistant TB (MDRTB) with 74 cases being diagnosed last year and 51 receiving treatment. This year 72 cases were recorded while 44 were treated,” he said.

“Up to 96 percent of TB patients tested HIV positive last year with 89 percent being enrolled on anti-retroviral treatment (ART), while this year 94 percent tested HIV positive with 90 percent put on ART,” said Dr Muza.

He said some TB patients die before being diagnosed for treatment.

“We want to minimise deaths as TB is curable. We want to work together so that we eradicate it by year 2035. Currently we are having a problem with the multi-drug resistant TB that has contributed to the high rate of deaths as patients die due to late presentation to health facilities and most of these are coming from South Africa,” he said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Acting Provincial Administrator Ms Sthandiwe Nduna-Ncube, the Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednico Ncube said TB was a great concern in the province and urged people to unite and end the scourge.

“I’m told the province has the highest TB deaths in the country. The magnitude of suffering and death caused by TB is both alarming and unacceptable.

“We have to reach out to all communities. We have to find them. You must lead us where they are. Health workers must help us find them and put them on treatment and ensure each one of them is cured,” said Cde Ncube.

He said the emergence of MDRTB posed yet another big challenge for the province as the treatment was not readily available and expensive.

The commemorations were held under the theme ‘’United to End TB.”

Kereke case: Judge recuses self

Source: Kereke case: Judge recuses self | The Herald December 2, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—

High Court judge Justice Herbert Chitapi yesterday recused himself from hearing the case in which jailed Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke is seeking release on bail pending appeal.Kereke is serving a 10-year prison term for raping his 13-year-old niece at gunpoint.

For professional reasons, the judge saw it fit to refer the matter to a colleague.

The judge considered the fact that he had represented Kereke in the same matter before he joined the bench.

Justice Chitapi was once Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe lawyer at the time Kereke was advisor to the then Governor Dr Gideon Gono. The judge and Kereke were once co-directors in some companies before the former’s appointment to the bench.

“I am not able to deal with this matter. I have to recuse myself. Apparently, I was involved in this matter as the applicant’s counsel. My law firm was the one that represented him up until the State declined prosecution.

“Under the circumstances, it will not be proper that I deal with this matter,” said the judge.

He deferred the fresh bail hearing to Tuesday before Justice Owen Tagu.

Kereke, through Advocate Thabani Mpofu, launched a fresh freedom bid following the intervention of his estranged wife, who offered to accommodate him and to fund a house arrest pending determination of his appeal.

He is seeking to be released on bail pending determination of his appeal against both conviction and sentence.

Alternatively, he is seeking an order placing him under house arrest at his own expense. The estranged wife, Ms Elizabeth Sibanda, has also undertaken to surrender her title deeds to her Mandara property as surety to secure his freedom.

Last month, Justice Happias Zhou threw out Kereke’s initial bail application on the basis that the politician was not a proper candidate for temporary freedom.

In the same judgment, the judge also indicated that Kereke’s prospects of success on appeal were high.

In the fresh application, Kereke submitted that Ms Sibanda had offered her Mandara property measuring 1, 1 hectares as surety. Another couple Mr Arnold Chidhakwa and his wife Barbara, offered another property as surety, Stand 694 Bannockburn Township of Stand 1 Bannockburn, Harare.

The lawyers submitted that Ms Sibanda was prepared to fund any overhead expenses incurred in connection with a house arrest at her property Number 31 Ness Road, Mandara.

The developments, Kereke argued, constituted changed circumstances warranting his freedom pending finalisation of his appeal. Regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa sentenced Kereke to 14 years behind bars but set aside four years for five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within that period.

The court, however, acquitted him on charges of indecently assaulting the victim’s elder sister.

Kereke still insists that the charges he was convicted of were fabricated by the complainants’ maternal grandparents after he refused to pay their school fees arrears, but Mr Mupeiwa said at the time the case was reported to the police, the arrears had already been settled.

Two former MPs rejoins MDC-T

Two former MPs who defected to Tendai Biti’s breakaway party have rejoined the MDC-T.

Source: Two former MPs rejoins MDC-T – The Zimbabwean 01.12.2016

Paul Madzore and Pearson Mungofa were welcomed back by party president, Morgan Tsvangirai at Harvest House.
Also rejoining the MDC -T today was former Harare city councilor Victor Chifodya who had also defected to Biti’s People’s Democratic Party.

Court raps ‘shameless’ ZINWA

Source: Court raps ‘shameless’ ZINWA | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

THE High Court has described as shameless the move by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to increase raw water tariffs for Hippo Valley and Triangle Estates by a massive 27 percent, in violation of existing supply agreements.
High Court judge, Justice David Mangota, expressed revulsion at the manner in which ZINWA tried to justify the decision to increase water tariffs by a huge margin without consulting the two sugar estates and in violation of valid water supply agreements.
ZINWA had also sought to apply the new tariff retroactively.
On December 17, last year, ZINWA wrote to Hippo Valley and Triangle notifying them of an arbitrary increase in water tariffs.
“This serves to advise that government through the recent National Budget pronouncement has reviewed raw water tariffs for commercial agriculture (estates) from US$9,45 per mega litre to US$12 per mega litre. The new tariffs are with effect from December 1, 2015. You are therefore advised to take note of this development in your plans,”  wrote ZINWA.
Because the two firms have water supply agreements with ZINWA, which provide for negotiation before any tariff reviews are effected, Hippo and Triangle decided to challenge the unilateral decision on the basis that it was unlawful, grossly unfair, irrational, irregular and discriminatory.
The firms argued that in terms of existing supply agreements they have with ZINWA, they should have been consulted before a decision that has a serious bearing on their operations was taken.
They said ZINWA’s failure to consult and offer them an opportunity to make representations constituted a breach of the agreements.
They insisted that the retrospective application of the tariff showed that the respondent’s conduct was not lawful, reasonable or fair.
They were convinced that government, and not the respondent (ZINWA), made the decision to hike the water tariff by 27 percent.
They said the discriminatory nature of the decision was evidenced by the fact that all other users of raw water got a reduced tariff or no tariff at all.
In response, the authority argued that it had acted within the provisions of the ZINWA Act and the Water Act and therefore had no obligation to consult the affected parties whenever it sought to increase the water tariffs.
It added that the provisions of the said Acts had superseded the agreements that the two firms were referring to.
ZINWA also urged the court to dismiss the case as misplaced because the two companies had rushed to the court without exhausting local remedies available, including making an appeal to the Minister responsible for the administration of the ZINWA and Water Acts.
However, the court rejected one after the other, all the arguments that ZINWA made, starting by quoting the provisions of the ZINWA Act which provide for checks and balances to ensure that the authority complies with clearly defined processes and procedures, which ensure fairness, reasonableness and rationality when tariffs are reviewed.
“The respondent violated the agreements which defined its relationship with the applicants (Hippo and Triangle) in a most shameful manner,” Justice Mangota said in a ruling in which he nullified the purported tariff hike.
“The court noted, with disquiet, that the respondent made up its mind to, and did actually, flout the agreements which it concluded with the applicants. A fortiori (from the stronger arguments) when those agreements were both subsisting and valid. Its statement, which was to the effect that the agreements were superseded by provisions of the Water Act, remained anyone’s guess.
“The respondent’s assertion, which was to the effect that it had no obligation to consult the applicants when it increased the water tariff in a manner which adversely affected the applicants’ budget was misplaced. It had a contractual obligation to consult, at least, the first applicant.
“It had a clear duty not to make the increase, which it imposed upon the applicants to operate retrospectively as it did.”
The court noted that according to the law, ZINWA is obligated to consult stakeholders before applying to the Minister (of Water) for permission to review water tariffs. In this case, the process had been done in reverse, as it was government that had initiated the tariff hike, not ZINWA.
“There is no doubt that the respondent acted irrationally, unfairly and unreasonably when it increased the water tariff for the applicants by a margin of 27 percent. It clutched on straws to prop up a defenceless situation. It failed, in a dismal way, to justify its conduct,” the judge said.
Hippo and Triangle also cited the discriminatory nature of the move as at the time ZINWA announced the 27 percent hike, it was cutting the tariffs for other agro water consumers by between 26 percent and 56 percent.
With the reduction, A2 farmers now pay US$5 per mega litre of raw water from US$6,82, while A1 farmers pay US$3 from US$5.
Communal farmers are now paying US$2 from US$4,50.

Fresh turmoil hits ZANU-PF

Source: Fresh turmoil hits ZANU-PF | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

ZANU-PF factions are squabbling over a proposal from five provinces to re-admit members who were expelled from the party as well as rescinding the suspensions of those cadres who were sidelined from party activities for hobnobbing with former vice president Joice Mujuru, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report.
Since the party’s December 2014 congress, a total of 201 members have been suspended and 14 expelled from ZANU-PF for supporting Mujuru, who was fired from the ruling party and government for undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority.
Mujuru has since formed an opposition political party called the Zimbabwe People First, which is currently mobilising support ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.
So far, ZANU-PF has re-admitted only seven of the 50 members who filed appeals with the party’s National Appeals Committee (NAC), chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, while the remaining cadres await their fate.
Among those who were either re-admitted into the party or had their suspensions lifted are heavyweights namely Nicholas Goche, Webster Shamu (pictured), Francis Nhema, Flora Buka, Jason Machaya, Chiratidzo Mabuwa and Fred Moyo, who were counted among Mujuru’s acolytes.
Mujuru had fought a long, bruising battle with Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe, who has been at the helm of ZANU-PF and government since the fall of the colonial regime in April 1980.
Her presidential bid collapsed like a deck of cards in 2014 when she, along with her key backers, was dismissed from the ruling party for allegedly attempting a failed palace coup on the incumbent.
But as the party prepares for its national people’s conference to be held in Masvingo next week, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland South provinces have recommended that ZANU-PF should pardon members it suspended and expelled after the 2014 congress.
One of the factions in the ruling party, Team Lacoste, has immediately raised the red flag, saying the list of beneficiaries of the amnesty did not include vocal members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA)’s national executive who are allies of Mnangagwa who replaced Mujuru as Vice President in 2014.
On top of the list of Mnangagwa̓s allies is ZNLWVA chairman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, and other members of his executive, among them Douglas Mahiya and Victor Matemadanda, who were dismissed from ZANU-PF sometime this year for insubordination.
Also conspicuous by their absence from the proposed pardon are former provincial chairmen for Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Midlands, namely Joel Biggie Matiza, Ezra Chadzamira and Kizito Chivamba, as well as former youth leader Pupurai Togarepi and other provincial youth chairmen, who were known for their closeness to Mnangagwa.
Team Lacoste is thus alleging that their rivals in Generation 40 (G40) are attempting to beef up their faction ahead of the 2018 general elections, by integrating into the party individuals who had fought alongside Mujuru, to derail Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions.
By bringing them onboard, Team Lacoste is alarmed that G40 wants the party to either re-admit or lift suspensions on those cadres who may be having scores to settle with Mnangagwa.
It is thought that Mujuru’s former allies are bitter with Mnangagwa and would not support his bid to succeed President Mugabe in the event that he leaves office because they hold the Vice President responsible for their woes.
They would, therefore, likely align themselves with G40, whose members are currently subject of corruption investigations instigated by their Team Lacoste rivals.
ZANU-PF deputy-secretary for legal affairs, Paul Mangwana, could not be drawn into shedding more light on the nature of the resolutions made by the party’s 10 provinces a week ago.
He said the party’s legal affairs department was yet to receive the full list of the proposed resolutions.
“We will receive all resolutions from provinces and party organs during the course of the conference for consolidation. At that point, we will be able to say something. At the moment, we are simply hearing different versions coming through and we cannot comment on unofficial reports,” he said.
However, his department, which is dominated by Team Lacoste, has trashed the Women’s League resolution seeking to tweak with the party’s constitution to allow for the return of the women’s quota for positions in the party’s presidium.
The resolution, presented at last year’s conference in December, was viewed by Team Lacoste as targeted at Mnangagwa.
The women had particularly demanded that they wanted the change to be effected by the end of this year but are now suggesting that this could be done in 2019 after elections.
So contentious was the proposal that the party left the conference without tabling the resolutions for adoption, the first time this has ever happened.
Masvingo provincial political commissar, Jappy Jaboon, confirmed that Masvingo had recommended that the suspensions be lifted.
“It was recommended that all Members of Parliament’s suspensions be lifted unconditionally,” Jaboon said.
He, however, denied reports that the decision was part of a campaign to weaken Mnangagwa.
“The resolutions came from the people and people’s views must be respected because we draw our mandate from the mass of Zimbabwe,” he said.
If this resolution is adopted, Chivi North MP, Tranos Huruba, Chiredzi South legislator, and former Masvingo provincial chairman, Callisto Gwanetsa, Paul Chimedza (Gutu South) and Tongai Muzenda (Gutu central) could bounce back in the party.
Matabeleland South province has also recommended the return of former chairman, Andrew Langa.
Interim provincial chairman, Rabelani Choeni, confirmed this but refused to shed more light.
“I have already submitted that (resolution). I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.
Harare province resolved to set up a provincial disciplinary committee chaired by provincial political commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, to try its executive member, Robert Kahanana, a perceived Mnangagwa ally who is accused of mocking the party leadership on social media following its humiliating defeat in the Norton National Assembly by-election.
Mashayamombe refused to comment, referring questions to provincial spokesman, Abisha Ushewokunze, who could not be reached.
Manicaland provincial chairman, Samuel Undenge, referred questions to provincial secretary for administration, Kenneth Saruchera, saying he did not attend the inter district meeting that passes the resolution as he had travelled out of the country.
Saruchera confirmed that the resolution was made, but said it only had to do with Chipinge South MP, Enoch Porusingazi and no one else.
“The issue came from Chipinge where people were appealing for his suspension to be lifted on the basis that he was repentant and working well with people in his constituency. It was debated and supported and we have duly submitted the recommendation for his re-admission,” Saruchera said.
Mnangagwa’s supporters argued that provinces had no basis to petition conference to lift the suspension of members.
According to the party’s constitution, such cases are handled by the national disciplinary committee.
However, the committee was recently stripped of those powers after the establishment of NAC.
Team Lacoste members, however, argue that Mphoko’s committee is not provided for in the 2014 party constitution, but this has not prevented it from clearing or re-admitting a number of former heavyweights such as Goche, Shamu, Nhema and Buka.
Some senior party members are now claiming that allegations that Mujuru attempted a coup against President Mugabe were mere political banter.
At the time, Mujuru was tussling with Mnangagwa whom she had dramatically upstaged to land the vice presidency in 2004.
With Mujuru out of the picture, Mnangagwa is now battling to outfox G40, consisting largely of Young Turks.
G40 has since assumed control of provincial structures.
 In a recent development, Mashonaland Central province  proposed to amend the party’s constitution in order to allow party members to vote for President Mugabe’s two deputies.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Dump utopian ideas

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Dump utopian ideas | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

LABOUR and Social Services Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, announced last week that Cabinet had approved the establishment of a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in order to enhance access to health by the generality of our population.
Zimbabwe has a population of about 14 million, of which 67 percent of the country’s citizens are in rural areas where access to healthcare is a major headache.
Of serious concern is that only 10 percent of the population is covered by some form of health insurance, while 90 percent of it pays cash for healthcare.
That alone tells you that Zimbabwe is still very far from achieving universal access to health for all its citizens.
If the truth be told, no one wants to pay cash for healthcare.
It therefore goes without saying that those who are not on health insurance cannot afford the monthly payments, either because they are not gainfully employed or that the subscriptions are too steep for them.
When disease strikes, no one — unless if it’s for religious reasons — does not want to be examined, and treated by a registered health worker:
Those who cannot afford paying cash for health services are dying in their homes, leaving behind dependants who have no one to take care of.
The proliferation of churches and herbalists suggest that the spiritual realm is now providing respite for many.
Production is suffering due to absenteeism at workplaces and deaths that could have been avoided as the nation struggles to fight diseases due to a crumbling health delivery sector.
On paper, government’s plans for a NHIS appear noble, after all who doesn’t know that a healthy nation is a productive nation.
The assumption is that the working population would contribute some form of tax or levy towards NHIS for access by those who are currently not covered by health insurance.
But who doesn’t know that access to health facilities is no longer guaranteed even for the 10 percent who are on medical aid schemes owing to the wrangling between health workers and medical aid schemes?
With unemployment in excess of 90 percent, can the few who are still in employment afford to carry the overwhelming majority?
Even if it is to be argued that the tax net shall be extended to the informal sector, has government suddenly developed the capacity to mobilise resources from this hidden economy?
For all we know, not even the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has succeeded in taxing the informal sector.
The establishment of NHIS sounds like one of those utopian ideas that surface in the run-up to elections to hoodwink voters into believing that their government has them at heart.
Any serious administration does not waste its time living in a dream world.
What Zimbabwe requires at this juncture are workable solutions to the current economic malaise, capable of lifting the majority of the country’s population from poverty.
Once the pathetic per capita income gets to reasonable levels, Zimbabweans would not need NHIS to access healthcare.

Smuggling escalates on Mozambique border

Source: Smuggling escalates on Mozambique border | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

By Kenneth Matimaire
MUTARE — Smuggling of goods along the porous border between Zimbabwe and  Mozambique has escalated, as locals seek to eke out a living through cross-border trade.
Zimbabweans have resorted to smuggling to dodge paying duty to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, government’s tax collection agency.
Most of the smuggled goods comprise bales of second-hand clothes, soft drinks, fuel, alcoholic beverages, livestock, toiletries, hardware, household appliances and foodstuffs.
There are only two designated entry points into Mozambique at Forbes Border Post in Mutare and Cashel Valley Border Post in Chimanimani.
Smugglers are taking advantage of the porous borders to illegally transport goods using undesignated routes along Burma Valley, Penhalonga, Imbeza and Mutasa.
Most of the smuggled goods find their way to sprouting general dealer shops dotted around Mutare for resell at lower prices.
This has posed viability challenges to wholesalers, supermarkets and local manufacturers who pay higher duties as they import their products into the country.
Smuggling of goods in Manicaland has deprived Treasury of revenue, which could have been generated through duty payments if the goods were imported into the country through the two designated entry points.
Police details have made frantic efforts to curb smuggling in the eastern region where they have been recovering goods worth about US$250 000 per month.
There has been 30 arrests between October 1 and November 12.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) admitted this week that smuggling was rampant.
“It is very easy for people to smuggle goods in or outside the country due to the nature of our borders,” said CZI president, Busisa Moyo.
“Goods continue to find their way into the country illegally. Although we experienced a 14 percent decrease in imports after the introduction of Statutory Instrument (SI) 64, we cannot rule out smuggling (as a contributing factor) because some of the goods are finding their way in through undesignated entry points,” he added.
SI 64 of 2016 restricted the importation of a number of basic commodities into the country to protect local industries.
Police details in Manicaland confirmed the smuggling, although they have deployed more uniformed and plain clothes officers under the Border Control Unit to curb the scourge.
Information availed to the Financial Gazette indicates that Manicaland police officers seized 2 320 litres of smuggled diesel and 606 litres of petrol worth US$3 468 between October 1 and November 12.
A total of 297 bales of second hand clothes worth US$156 058 and 96 pairs of new shoes and 57 bales of second hand shoes worth US$17 978 were also recovered.
In addition, thousands of litres of soft drinks, beer, whiskey and 75 boxes of soap and spaghetti were confiscated during police raids that also netted margarine, stoves and gas tanks worth over US$40 000.
Manicaland police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa, told the Financial Gazette that there was a serious crisis along the border.
“There is rampant smuggling along the Zimbabwe and Mozambican border,” said Kakohwa.
“At first, we used to have headaches with smuggling of bales of second-hand clothes, but now it has spread to soft drinks. Fuel smuggling is also rampant and we have made a lot of recoveries,” he added.

Fiscal bullies, terrorism a threat to the fiscus

Source: Fiscal bullies, terrorism a threat to the fiscus | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

THE continued deterioration of Zimbabwe’s economy is causing untold suffering among the majority of the citizenry who have, by design or default, remained in the country.
There are no particular areas of the economy that may be looked at with joy and unreserved hope.
The National Budget continues to extend into undue deficits and this is causing major headaches for planners in terms of how they could fund such gaps.
From the trade front, imports  continue to pour into the country and, not surprisingly, compete aggressively with the few local products on prices.
The few resilient, patriotic and lucky firms still operational, or better still, that are trying to make sure they contribute meaningfully to the upturn of the economy, are faced with a plethora of business and man-made challenges.
Some of these challenges may be alleviated by deliberate policy positions meant to change the fortunes of the country.
As opposed to thwarting the creativity and survival instinct of the populace by statutory instruments that inhibit the very survival of the individuals and enterprises, options that are not self-seeking and promote competitiveness are a better option to draw the country up to its regional, and perhaps, global peers.
Admittedly, our circumstances require the highest degree of flexibility and creativity. They are not normal.
This manifests from various windows; from huge unemployment numbers, exorbitantly priced and poorly competing local products and cash and liquidity shortages.
Promoting a local entity under these circumstances may require flexing the “normal” business provisions to match the abnormal circumstances with a view to aid the economy to swim ashore, to safety.
One such possible avenue that has been inhibited by reluctance from the policymakers has been the tax avenue. Important as it is to largely sustain the fiscus, this one common denominator between government and business has had little attention from the policymakers to better the economy.
Given the harsh business atmosphere that local businesses find themselves in, the taxman has continued to unleash terror to the barely surviving businesses. The tax amnesty extended was inadequate given the economy never really recovered in a while since dollarisation from a business perspective.
Such fiscal terrorism has, in a number of instances, been solely responsible for the closure of companies due to inflexible tax conditions.
Such arrogant stances on pursuing and recovering taxes from ailing institutions do not improve the fiscal space.
In contrast, it diminishes the chances of ever growing the fiscus in the short to medium-term.
Quite understandably, the policymakers are reluctant because seemingly they wish not to adjust their “luxuries” in sympathy with the real economic atmosphere. They would rather; the taxpayer is milked dry for as long as that will “provides” for them in the interim.
Later, we then lament the tragedy that was consciously manufactured by lack of flexibility obtaining from self-indulgence.
Lately, the tax authority has been transformed into a fiscal terrorist, less sympathetic to the unusual business circumstances that face enterprises today by applying the same tax principles that were applicable in a completely different economic setting.
To put you into perspective, try and interrogate the age of the current Income Tax Act Ch23:06.
Without despising the need and importance of paying taxes in a timely manner, we should not be unconscious to the circumstances in which the taxpayers are exposed to.
Establishing common ground can be a sure way to encourage good corporate “citizenry”. It can, further, be a stimulant to court taxpayers to a committed long win-win relationship into the future unknown terrain.
Fiscal bullying is a condition that subsists in cases of fiscal impunity.
When taxpayers are unduly exempted and use undue means to evade and defeat the tax contribution obligations it is tantamount to fiscal bullying.
In an environment where the majority are generally concerned about how the fiscus is used or abused, it defeats the desire of taxpayers to play their part when the deemed greatest plunderers are in the habit of evading taxes by abusing their positions in society to further deplete the resources they do not, themselves, contribute.
There has been quite some talk about who does not pay taxes because of this or that position or title.
Further, we have noticed tax cases that are only ignited when the foundations of one’s power are shaken.
The question is: Are the taxman’s eyes only opened when some taxpayer is stripped of power or status?
It is apparent that, while the status exists, some remain untouchable till they flip to “the other side” of the power spectrum.
Such fiscal bullying is a great blow to the patriotic contributors.
Such tax protesters may invoke tax resistance.
The fiscus needs to make the requisite adjustments to enable downstream policy review that incorporates the woes of the tax- payer.
Tax collection, as a matter of law, must further ensure that there are no sacred cows so everyone participates to the development of the nation.
The policymakers need to awaken to the reality that when things are not well everywhere, they cannot continue to enjoy  normal benefits, otherwise they may fail to fully grasp the reality of how bad things are simply because nothing changes for them. It is time we all make adjustments throughout the entire value chain.
Kapeza Kapeza is a senior business consultant at Franlink Consultants, a registered public accountants and auditors firm. He can be reached at kkapeza@franlinkcons.co.zw or kkapeza@gmail.com

Latest update on traveller’s rebate

Source: Latest update on traveller’s rebate | The Herald December 1, 2016

The traveller’s rebate is a duty-free allowance which is granted to genuine travellers, subject to prescribed conditions. It is divided into two categories namely total rebate and partial rebate.Total rebate is an allowance granted on all used personal effects. Personal effects refer to articles pertaining to or carried upon the body such as used clothes and toilet requisites.

Partial rebate is an allowance granted on goods imported by a traveller once in a calendar month and on their first entry into Zimbabwe.

This duty-free allowance is $200 per person and is granted on goods imported by travellers for their personal use.

The list of goods that are excluded is as follows:

Goods which are incorrectly declared;

Goods which are imported for commercial purposes;

Alcoholic beverages in excess of five litres per traveller of which two litres may be spirits:

Goods which are imported by any member of the crew of an aircraft, ship or vehicle arriving from outside Zimbabwe;

Stoves, refrigerators;

Cooking oil, laundry bar soap;

Blankets, beds, mattresses;

Flour, maize meal, sugar;

Meat, fish, eggs;

Powdered milk, yoghurt, cheese;

Corn puffs, jam, and honey

This means that importation of such goods will attract duty at the prescribed rates even though the value might be under the duty-free allowance of U$200.

You may recall that goods carried upon transport service vehicles drawing a trailer as defined in Statutory Instrument Number 148 of 2015 were also excluded from the travellers’ rebate.

However, kindly take note that with effect from 21 October 2016, the rebate has been restored to goods imported by genuine travellers for their personal and household use and are being transported in trailer drawing omnibuses and other passenger carrying vehicle drawing trailers.

This means that any person who travels by bus, for example, and the bus is drawing a trailer, provided all the other conditions for granting the rebate are fulfilled, shall be entitled to this $200 travellers’ allowance.

Please note that the importation of certain commodities such as cooking oil, milk, blankets and washing preparations in whatever quantities requires an import licence from Ministry of Industry and Commerce and this licence should be produced at the time of importation. Failure to produce the import licence would result in the goods being detained until such time that the import licence is availed.

You are hereby encouraged to correctly declare all the goods in your possession and to take note of the current changes to avoid any inconveniences.

 

Disclaimer

This article was compiled by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for information purposes only. ZIMRA shall not accept responsibility for loss or damage arising from use of material in this article and no liability will attach to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Fidelity Printers boss’ High Court bid fails

Source: Fidelity Printers boss’ High Court bid fails | The Herald December 1, 2016

Court Reporter—

A bid by Fidelity Printers and Refiners boss to stall proceedings in a case in which he is facing $800 000 fraud, hit a brick wall on Monday. The application was dismissed by a Harare magistrate for lack of merit.Ronald Madhara (48), the company’s accountant, is jointly charged with senior finance manager Tinashe Mumbengegwi (35), Swisspack Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd and its owner James Munemo (35).

They allegedly defrauded the country’s sole gold buyer of nearly $800 000 through underhand dealings.

They reportedly transferred $780 565 from their employers account to Munemo’s bank account.

They lied that Munemo had supplied gold to Fidelity Printers and Refiners and Munemo would withdraw the money.

They would then share the loot.

Chief operating officer and finance director Godknows Hofisi (42) and company secretary Terence Machawira (42) were acquitted at the close of the State case by magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa.

Through his lawyer Mr Gift Nyandoro, Madhara made an application for temporary stay of proceedings.

While giving evidence-in-chief in his defence, Madhara asked for proceedings to be stopped to allow him to approach the High Court.

The prosecutor Mr Michael Reza opposed the application on the basis that there were no compelling reasons why the proceedings should be stopped.

“Your Worship there is nothing from a superior court ordering the temporary stay of these proceedings,” Mr Reza said.

Mr Mupeiwa dismissed the application for lack of merit.

He remanded the case to December 8 for trial continuation. He said the defence did not cite any case law or section of any statute to support the application.

Messrs Oliver Marwa and Muyengwa Motsi, who are representing Munemo and Mumbengegwi, distanced themselves from Nyandoro’s application.

They then notified the court of their intentions to apply for separation of trials in the event that the matter fails to continue on December 8.

During the period extending from October 2013 to September last year, Mumbengegwi and Madhara, who are the signatories to Fidelity Printers and Refiners bank account held at Stanbic, allegedly transferred $579 042 from their employer’s account into Swisspack Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd bank account, also held at Stanbic.

It is further alleged that between December last year and April this year, a further $201 518 was again transferred into Swisspack Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd.

 

Implementation costs for Deka Project to increase

Source: Implementation costs for Deka Project to increase | The Herald December 1, 2016

The cost of implementing the Deka Pump Station Upgrade and Pipeline project could increase after the Exim bank of India (EBI) advised that it will carry out an independent assessment of the project.This comes as the EBI turned down a request by Angelique of India – the Engineering and construction contractor for the project – to implement the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) in two phases.

The project has an initial estimated cost of $39 million.

EPC is a particular form of contracting arrangement used in some industries where the EPC Contractor is made responsible for all the activities from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handover of the project to the End-User or Owner.

The Deka project is being implemented by India’s Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), and Angelique of India was contracted as the EPC Contractor.

And the Government secured a $28,56 million loan facility for the project from EBI.

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) Holdings CEO Mr Josh Chifamba said recently the insistence by EBI for the project to be implemented in one go could result in the need for additional funding.

“EBI turned down the request to implement the Deka Project in phases. EBI advised that they will carry out an independent assessment to ascertain the cost of implementing the whole project at once,” he said.

After the independent assessment and if there is confirmation that there is additional funding required, the additional funding will the subject to approval by Government of India, through EBI, and the Government of Zimbabwe.

“If approved there will be pre-qualification to be done by the EBI as per the new LoC guidelines.”

The CEO explained why the EPC Contractor had sought to carry out the project in two phases.

“The reasons to suggest to implement in phases was because available funds were falling short by $11 million to do the whole project at once.

“The first phase would have covered 30, 7 kilometres at a total cost of $22 million being available funds. Part of the $28, 6 million was utilised on works done by local companies to ensure continuous supplies of water to Hwange Power Station. The other portion was for the WAPCOS services,” he said.

The Deka project entails the upgrade and rehabilitation of the existing Deka Pumping Stations, old raw water pipeline (42km) supplying Hwange Power Station and associated infrastructure, as well as installation of a new 42km pipeline.- BH24

Zanu-PF gives Masvingo facilities facelift

Source: Zanu-PF gives Masvingo facilities facelift | The Herald December 1, 2016

From George Maponga in Masvingo—

Most lodges, boarding houses and educational institutions in and around Masvingo are getting a facelift after receiving funding from the ruling Zanu-PF for them to offer suitable accommodation to over 5 000 delegates expected to attend the revolutionary party’s 16th national annual people’s conference later this month.Zanu-PF has so far secured over 7 500 beds that will be used by delegates to the indaba that will run from December 13 to 17.

The conference will be held under the theme, ‘’Moving with Zim-Asset in Peace and Unity’’ at the Masvingo Showgrounds.

All hotels and lodges in and around Masvingo have been fully booked for the week-long indaba with the ruling party leadership in the province also sourcing extra accommodation from schools, colleges and univer- sities.

Speaking during a recent visit to Masvingo to assess the province’s capacity to accommodate the delegates, Zanu- PF Secretary for Transport in the Politburo Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri expressed reservations about the state of some of the lodges booked for delegates.

Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri said the lodges needed a facelift adding that the ruling party would release funds for the refurbishment exercise.

Acting Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana yesterday confirmed the ruling party had released the funds, but declined to give figures.

‘’The party (Zanu-PF) recently released funding that is being used to spruce up some of the lodges and educational institutions where our delegates will be accommodated during the forthcoming conference.

‘’I cannot reveal the exact figure that was released but the money will go towards procurement of things such as bed linen, installation of new windows and doors together with making sure that the lodges where our people will be staying have running water and operational toilets,’’ he added.

Besides hotels, lodges and education institutions, Masvingo residents have also offered their houses to accommodate the delegates.

The ruling party in Masvingo has raised over 55 beasts and nearly $60 000 in cash from donations to feed and accommodate del- egates.

Pitching of tents and construction of access roads at the conference venue is almost complete, while three boreholes have been drilled to augment water supplies from Masvingo City Council.

Mucheke Clinic is also undergoing rehabilitation to help it cope with emergencies that might arise during the indaba.

Work on Kariba South Power Station advanced

Source: Work on Kariba South Power Station advanced | The Herald December 1, 2016

Business Reporter—

THE expansion of Kariba South Power Station is now 65 percent complete with the first unit expected to start electricity generation in the next 12 months, a senior official has said.Briefing the Zimbabwe Power Company board on the progress of the project in Kariba on Tuesday, plant general manager Mr Kenneth Maswera said about $230 million has so far been spent on the project.

ZPC is a power generating subsidiary of Zesa Holdings and also runs Hwange Thermal Power Station and three small thermal stations (Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo).

The project, expected to add 300 megawatts onto the national grid upon full completion is being implemented by Sino Hydro at a total cost of about $370 million.

“We are on target; the first machine is expected to start operations on December 24 next year,” said Mr Maswera. The completion of Kariba South will raise the plant’s installed capacity to just above 1 000 megawatts. At peak period, Zimbabwe requires 1 400 MW.

The Kariba Power Station has six units currently producing an average of 591 MW against installed capacity of 730 MW due to water rationing by the Zambezi River Authority.

Unit four was closed for annual maintenance while unit five and six are due for maintenance in the next two weeks.

Unit three is already overdue for annual maintenance.

The board later toured the plant and expressed satisfaction on progress of the project.

While the overall project is 65 percent complete, some of the works are 100 percent complete.

“We are very impressed with the work that has been done and we think we are on target,” ZPC board chairman Dr Herbert Murerwa told journalists after the plant tour.

Earlier, the management highlighted some risks facing the project including costs escalation resulting from penalties for delayed PAC payments and cash challenges should the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority garnish Sino Hydro accounts due to none remittances of the Value Added Tax.

Dr Murerwa, however said the issue of outstanding payments were being addressed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Finance Ministry.

“The financing side is something that is ongoing but the contractor is going ahead with the project,” said Dr Murerwa, dispelling fears that the contractor may stop works due to delayed payments.

Turning the socio-economic benefits accrued from the giant project, ZPC paid about $10,2 million its strong 1 200 workforce.

The management said about $60 million has so far been spent on the local market and ZPC has since established Charara Quarry Site and Gache Gache Sand site where the sand for construction work is being extracted.

This has also resulted in the rehabilitation of Charara and Badze road.

US dollars depleted from banks

Source: US dollars depleted from banks | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

…externalisation blamed
A STAGGERING US$358 million in cash has been spirited out of the banking system by depositors in the past five years, a leading economist said recently, quoting data from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Ashok Chakravarti, an academic and advisor to Zimbabwe’s Cabinet, said banks held about US$627 million in cash in 2010, which represented 38 percent of total sector deposits.
He told a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) public lecture in Harare that deposits had declined to US$269 million this year, far below the 10 percent threshold of liquid cash required to sustain an economy.
The US$269 million represents about six percent of US$6 billion of total banking sector deposits.
Chakravarti, a former University of Zimbabwe lecturer and United Nations senior advisor, cast a grim picture on future prospects, as currency externalisation mounts.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing acute cash shortages that have resulted in depositors queuing for cash, with many sleeping in bank queues at night as they seek to withdraw money from their accounts.
Many are fearing that they are likely to incur huge losses once bond notes are in circulation.
Foreign investors who had invested in Zimbabwe when the country switched to a multi-currency system are also reportedly withdrawing their savings from banks, worsening the cash shortages that are currently affecting the market.
Chakravarti’s analysis revealed that in 2011, 18 percent of total banking sector deposits, or US$618 million, were in cash.
Cash declined further in 2012 to US$596 million, or 17 percent of total deposits.
“We have about US$269 million in banks, which is about six percent of total bank deposits,” said Chakravarti.
“Cash in the system has depleted compared to deposits. There is a serious shortage of currency in the system. There has been genuine externalisation. You need to have a non convertible currency to stop externalisation. If you need this country to move you have to have a currency which cannot be externalised,” he said, suggesting that the South African rand would work.
The stampede to wipe out cash from the banking sector increased this year, after the central bank announced plans to introduce bond notes.
Bond notes are meant to fund a five percent export incentive, but have lately appeared to likely become widely used to inject liquidity into the economy.
When Zimbabwe ditched its vulnerable currency to escape relentless inflationary pressures, it lost the ability to control its monetary policy and create its own liquidity through money printing.
So, the best way to create liquidity under a hard currency environment is primarily through exports, which help create the stock of money in the economy.
But since 2009, imports have grown faster than exports, resulting in a widening trade deficit. RBZ governor, John Mangudya, has indicated that more cash has been lost through externalisation of export sales proceeds by companies through individual bank accounts.
Banks have coasted from one crisis to another, with cash shortages precipitated by massive withdrawals and reduced savings exacerbating their woes.
The long banking queues have brought back memories of the crisis era when depositors queued for long hours in banks to get their money, which suffered from a daily erosion of value due to hyperinflation.
“South African funds were locked here. The Angolan kwanza was not health and they were depositing funds here,” he said.
He spoke as economic indicators suggested that the country’s fragile economic situation is lurching towards fresh depths amid indications that small United States dollar denominations are disappearing from circulation.
The development has triggered speculation of a conspiracy to mop up the small denomination US dollar notes.
Chakravarti said with bond notes which came into circulation this week, everyone was likely to become a currency trader.
“All 13 million people will become currency traders. There will be multiple exchange rates,” he said.
Despite widespread resistance against bond notes, government proceeded with the introduction of the domestic currency.
The central bank released bond notes in $2 and $5 denominations this week.
Mangudya has tried to allay public fears that the bond notes would mark the return of the Zimbabwe dollar.
He indicated two months ago that the central bank has “taken note of the public’s concerns, fear, anxiety and scepticism of bond notes which all boils down to the general lack of trust and confidence within the economy”.
“The bank is addressing the concerns by planning to introduce smaller denominations of bond notes of $2 and $5. In addition, the bank has proposed for the setting up of an independent board to have an oversight role on the issuance of bond notes in the economy,” he said
Mangudya said it was “critical to emphasise that the introduction of bond notes does not mark the return of the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door”.
“The macroeconomic fundamentals or conditions for the return of the local currency are not yet right to do so,” he said.

Work on US$984 million Beitbridge-Chirundu-Harare dualisation to commence next year

Source: Work on US$984 million Beitbridge-Chirundu-Harare dualisation to commence next year | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

THE Austrian firm which won the tender to dualize the Harare-Beitbridge road will commence work early next year following the signing of an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with the Zimbabwe government on Wednesday.
Geiger International will construct the Beitbridge-Harare segment of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway at a cost of $984 million under a 25 year Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.

The project is expected to take up to 3 years to complete. The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway is Zimbabwe’s busiest and is the gateway to neighboring countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Malawi.
Work on the highway was stalled by court processes in 2013 after the initial winner of the tender, Zimhighways, took the government to court for breach of contract.

The court case was, however, withdrawn leading to the submission of fresh bids for the mega project.
At the signing ceremony, Minister of transport Joram Gumbo said given Zimbabwe’s strategic location as a potential transport hub in the SADC region; government’s strategy is to open the major regional trade
corridors.

Under the agreement at least 40 percent of the value of the project  will be subcontracted to Zimbabwean companies.

The scope of the work covered by this cost includes the full dualisation of the road, including the widening and rehabilitation of the existing road.  Also included is the cost of construction of 37 new two lane bridges and 8 tollgates.

“Government’s strategy is to open the major regional trade corridors. In this regard we started with the Plumtree Harare Mutare Road at a cost of $206 million. This road traverses eight of the ten provinces in the country. I’m am pleased to note that this project has been completed except for some snags which are being attended to,” he said.

The Harare-Chirundu segment of the highway is expected to be constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company under a loan financing model. Gumbo said the Chinese delegation was expected to fly in the county before year end for the signing agreements.’

“The EPC contract has now been approved by government   and we expect a Chinese delegation from CHEC to fly into the country before the end of the year for the signing ceremony of that portion of the road. Thereafter full negotiations will  be opened with the  financing partner in China  and the loan agreement should be concluded by year 2017.,” he said. FinX

AAG plans to take govt to task over indigenisation law

The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has threatened to take the Zanu PF government to task over inconsistencies in the Indigenisation Act, as the body seeks to open opportunities for many aspiring business people in the country.

Source: AAG plans to take govt to task over indigenisation law – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY STAFF REPORTER

At the AAG’s annual general assembly to be held tomorrow, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to clarify the government’s position, while Zanu PF’s secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo will give the party’s position.

The Indigenisation Act has been a source of intense infighting among Zanu PF bigwigs.

“This is an annual conference, but as you would know, we had challenges with the interpretation of the indigenisation policy at some point, the President had to intervene, but we still need some direction on the matter, hence, we invited the VP representing government and a Zanu PF representative,” AAG president, Chamu Chiwanza said.

“We want to take the government to task because we feel there are a lot of inconsistencies that must be cleared.”

Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao at one point had a face-off with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa over the policy, with each minister digging in until President Robert Mugabe stepped in to clarify some clauses of the law.

The public spat generated debate in and out of the country over Zimbabwe’s policy inconsistencies, with South African President Jacob Zuma recently advising Mugabe to rectify the empowerment laws if South African investors were to come to the country.

Others to deliver speeches include ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi.

Chiwanza said Mzembi would focus on how the international community had reacted to the unclear policy.

The AAG’s annual conference will be held at Zimbali gardens in Greendale under the theme: Stimulating Growth and Wealth creation on the back of Economic Empowerment through ZimAsset.

‘Bond notes won’t end Zim’s problems’

The introduction of bond notes will not solve Zimbabwe’s socio-economic problems, University of Zimbabwe senior economics lecturer, Phineas Kadenge has said.

Source: ‘Bond notes won’t end Zim’s problems’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

The introduction of bond notes will not solve Zimbabwe’s socio-economic problems, University of Zimbabwe senior economics lecturer, Phineas Kadenge has said.

BY NUNURAI JENA/JAMES MUONWA

Speaking at a public lecture held at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) yesterday, Kadenge said people were expecting “too much” from bond notes, as their introduction into the economy was only meant to incentivise exporters, boost local industry production, create employment and ease the liquidity crunch, among other benefits.

“People are mistaken that the coming on board of bond notes will solve all the country’s socio-economic challenges.
No! The bond notes are merely one of the various interventions the government has adopted to resuscitate the ailing economy. Let’s go beyond bond notes,” he said.

The issue of bond notes, which started circulating on Monday, had been blown out of proportion due to ignorance, Kadenge said.

“Some people think bond notes are linked to politics, but the truth is that they are not a currency, but a ‘thank you’ token for United States dollar receipts,” he said.

Kadenge said some quarters were agitating for “self-fulfilling prophecies” by portraying the promissory currency as doomed. He said those peddling such information were pursuing a political agenda.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Kadenge lamented, did not adequately educate the public on the merits and demerits, hence, the hullabaloo over the bond notes, which are valued at 1:1 against the US dollar.

However, participants at the lecture expressed scepticism of the apex bank’s move to roll out the bond notes without widely consulting various stakeholders, saying this was tantamount to playing “guerilla warfare and arm-twisting” tactics.

Onisimo Ngwere said: “We reject this arm-twisting, as we never agreed to them. Government is going ahead with bond notes so that they loot our forex in the banks and give us worthless bond paper.”

Another participant said instead of giving exporters incentives, RBZ must directly provide funds to revive industry.

The public lecture was held in conjunction with CUT, RBZ and Alpha Media Holdings, publishers NewsDay, The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent.

Meanwhile, a snap survey by NewsDay in Chinhoyi, Chegutu, Kadoma and Karoi yesterday showed that some banks had reduced maximum withdrawals from $50 bond notes to $25 and from $100 to $50 per day.

Long queues were witnessed at most banks amid chaotic scenes, as depositors jostled to make withdrawals.

Some retail outlets, service stations and vendors were rejecting the bond notes, while others had moved to embrace them.

Court orders Mutasa to pay legal fees

High Court judge, Justice Felistas Chatukuta has ruled in favour of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel and ordered former Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Noel Mutasa, to pay $26 919 in legal fees.

Source: Court orders Mutasa to pay legal fees – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The law firm had last month filed a chamber application at the High Court seeking a default judgment against Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and newly-elected Norton MP, Temba Mliswa, who had not filed opposition to summons issued against them in September this year.

Part of the order issued by Justice Chatukuta on Monday read: “Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record, it is ordered that the first defendant (Mutasa) be and is, hereby, ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of $26 919, 25, interest on the above amount at the prescribed rate calculated from the date of issue of summons to the date of full and final payment and costs of suit.”

Although Gumbo and Mliswa were cited as second and third respondents respectively, the order was silent on them.

The three were expelled by Zanu PF in 2014 and 2015 on allegations of attempting to remove President Robert Mugabe from power, acting in cahoots with former vice-president Joice Mujuru.

They then approached the law firm and engaged it for the provision of several legal services related to their expulsion from the party. The services included challenging the expulsion both in the High Court and the Constitutional Court.

However, the legal firm said when the three realised their actions were not successful, they allegedly became evasive and despite numerous meetings and demands for settlement of fees, no payment was ever made.

“Despite demand, the defendants have failed, refused or neglected to make payments,” they said, urging the court to grant a default judgment.

Zimbabwe: A village of fools

IN Zimbabwe, everyone is an expert, everyone is an analyst, everyone has a strategy, everyone has a valid opinion, everyone is educated, everyone has an organisation, everyone is everything and on top of that there are over 50 registered opposition political parties.

Source: Zimbabwe: A village of fools – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

guest column: PATSON DZAMARA

However, it is mind-boggling that for 36 years, one man, together with his legion of clueless minions, has been urinating on the heads Zimbabweans. A village of fools?

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Southern Africa. It has the best arable land in all of Africa. Zimbabwe is extremely rich in natural resources, it has plenty of minerals including diamonds, platinum and gold.

It’s fauna and flora are second to none in Africa. Zimbabwe is the most literate nation in Africa, with an adult literacy rate of 90%.

It was once the most industrialised and developed nation in Southern Africa after South Africa. Its infrastructure, inherited from its colonisers, was among the best in Africa.

But how has this great nation plummeted to these shocking levels of stagnation, regression, failure and hopelessness?

The truth of the matter is that Zimbabwe’s problems are deeply entrenched in Zanu PF’s leadership failure and inadequacies.

Our problems are not an act of nature, they are a result of a perennial leadership drought we have experienced for the past 36 years.

For some unknown reasons, perhaps President Robert Mugabe’s cunning, the world, the continent, and, more shockingly, Zimbabweans, seem to believe Zanu PF has reformed, or will reform, if only they are given a chance.

It signals how short people’s memories are, and how desperate we have become. Barely three years ago, in 2013, Mugabe had one of the highest approval ratings for any leader, according to AfroBarometer.

Having destroyed the country for over three decades, Mugabe somehow convinced a lot of people he could reform, and go one step further and create 2,2 million jobs.

Zanu PF has destroyed the country and the economy. They have done so twice in nine years, and with a different cast altogether.

Summarily, reality shows the following.

It is a fact that Mugabe and his Zanu PF have a history of enacting draconian laws that scare away investors.

That’s the reason why there is no foreign direct investment to talk about other than some dubious Chinese “deals”, which have not come to fruition because the Chinese themselves simply do not trust Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s industrial utilisation capacity is at 15% (1950 levels). We even import toothpicks. Investors have fled Zimbabwe on their own, not because anyone told them to leave.

Zanu PF is past its sell-by date. Trusting that mafia to continue running the affairs of our nation is ludicrous and regressive.

Zanu PF has presided over monumental corruption. For example, the country lost over $15 billion diamond revenue as a result of the party’s modus operandi and corruption.

Zimbabwe is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

Zimbabwe’s national debt is officially estimated to be $10bn. Other authorities posit that it’s now approximately $30bn.

Sadly, Mugabe and his minions are not the ones who shall service these debts, seeing that they are already in their twilight, yet they are the ones who have sustained their opulence through abusing such facilities.

The country’s life expectancy, 57 for men and 59 for women, is one of the lowest in the world. This is attributed to poverty and the HIV and Aids epidemic.

Although there has been a noticeable decline in HIV and Aids, Zimbabwe is still battling with poverty.

Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food needs. A haphazard land reform programme presided over by Mugabe’s government has largely precipitated this scenario despite the reality of drought in some instances.

About four million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid. It is estimated that a million of pupils go to school hungry.

About three million Zimbabweans are in the Diaspora. They ran away from harsh economic conditions and Mugabe’s oppression.

More than 95% of Zimbabweans scattered all over the world want to return home. I have travelled far and wide, but I do not ever wish to make any other nation my home.

The unemployment rate is over 90%. It is, therefore, not surprising that three million Zimbabweans are in the Diaspora and the crime rate is very high in Zimbabwe.

Businesspersons travel to other countries to import things such as toothpicks and clothes. That’s nothing to brag about. It’s a manifestation of failure.

Poverty levels are alarming.

Ninety-six percent of villagers across the country live on less than one dollar a day. Seventy-two percent of the population lives below the nation’s poverty datum line.

Meanwhile, some still nod, ululate, clap and shake their backsides at anything Mugabe does. A village of fools?

I am reminded of my primary school days. There was a class that was called a special class at our school. It was essentially a class for those students who had special learning needs.

In the midst of all that has happened and is happening in Zimbabwe, others do not see anything wrong with our status quo, others are just not at all moved and they don’t care. They are indifferent and fatalistic. One wonders whether Zimbabweans are a mystery in a special class. A village of fools?

As though that is not enough, in Zimbabwe, those who gather the courage to take a stand for what is right, are lampooned left, right and centre by those who do not have that courage.

It’s as though Zimbabweans are happy slaves, who have an amazing ability to make fun of anything and everything, even their oppression. Their proclivity towards romancing trivia is petrifying. A village of fools?

Zimbabweans have created so many victims as a result of their special class condition, which decimates their fight and constricts them to a spectator’s bay. Individuals like my missing brother, Itai, were marooned in the open by the happy slaves, thereby, becoming victims of Mugabe’s insatiable propensity of oppressing his subjects and thwarting opposition.

Even with the benefit of hindsight, the special class still doesn’t grasp it. Today, those who dare take a stand to oppose Mugabe and his surrogates’ failure are labelled attention seekers, money hunters and traitors. A village of fools?

It’s nonsense.

One is tempted to believe that Zimbabweans deserve their leaders.

We are a bunch of spineless cowards and pathetic analysts. I am afraid that “cowards and analysts” won’t take us out of this pit of failure and despondency.

After all is said and done, I still believe that a new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime.

I commit to continue working towards its realisation and I dare all Zimbabweans to divorce their relaxed posture and mere talk.

Let’s work and pay the price for the Zimbabwe we want. It won’t be delivered on a silver platter.

It will cost us tears, sweat, blood and even lives. We are not fools, who will be oppressed forever. A village of fools?

Patson Dzamara is a leadership coach, author and pro-democracy activist based in Zimbabwe. This article first appeared on Khuluma Afrika

Mugabe should admit failure

President Robert Mugabe was today due to give a State of the Nation Address (Sona) with the nation in a worse off state than it was at his last speech.

Source: Mugabe should admit failure – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

In the past year, he has harped on a 10-point plan that never really took off and ZimAsset, which even the most sycophantic of Zanu PF supporters will agree has been an outright failure.

What Mugabe has to concede that his policies over the past year have been an absolute disaster and only from such an acknowledgement of failure can he try and come up with something that may work.

Instead of stubbornly ploughing on with failed policies, Mugabe needs a more pragmatic approach.

In the past, he has rubbished plans to cut the civil service salary wage bill, but he has to accept this is now beyond him and this is a reality that he has to accept, rather than stick with populism when the country is begging for realism.

While Mugabe would want to maintain the civil service at its size for political reasons, Zimbabwe cannot sustain that wage bill and the recently-introduced bond notes cannot cover the gap left by a reduction in tax collections.

By continuing with a bloated civil service, Mugabe is actually worsening the economic situation and being the author of the country’s economic demise.

Suspending civil servants’ bonuses is a no-brainer, the economy cannot afford it. Government workers will feel the pinch, but they too realise the state of the economy and would accept that, as most workers in the private sector have.

Mugabe should also address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, where police officers and, in some cases, the military have been accused of using force to crush dissent.

Freedoms of speech and association continue to be violated willy-nilly in an effort to keep this government in power, but surely after signing the Constitution into law three short years ago, Mugabe must feel a tinge of guilt each time people’s rights are trampled upon.

Mugabe’s speech should also touch on corruption, although we are not holding our breaths on this, as he has shown a stunning propensity for paying lip service to the vice.

Underhand deals, nepotism and corruption are the hallmarks of Mugabe’s time in power and they have contributed immensely to dragging this country down.

Mugabe and his ministers’ relatives get all the plush jobs and tenders and little consideration is being given for capacity and ability.

This has seen millions of dollars being lost to shoddy and incomplete deals.

Mugabe has a lot to touch on during this year’s Sona, but as usual, we expect the speech to be heavy on rhetoric and populism and very light on substance.

‘Zim supplied a drop to UN procurement agencies in 2015’

ZIMBABWEAN companies only managed to supply goods and services worth $76 million to the United Nations agencies last year, out of $17,5 billion the agencies procured, an indication that local companies are failing to take advantage of the system.

Source: ‘Zim supplied a drop to UN procurement agencies in 2015’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

ZimTrade, the country’s trade and export promotion body in a report, said the UN offered opportunities for companies to participate in tenders for the supply of a diverse range of goods and services.

It, therefore, urged local companies to participate in the UN tenders.

UN senior procurement officer, Edward Meck said: “Although the UN does the bulk of its mission work in Africa, most of the African tenders are won by companies from developed countries because African companies do not participate in the process.

“However, African companies are subcontracted as local suppliers. I encourage Zimbabwean companies to actively participate in this process.”

According to ZimTrade, Meck emphasised that the UN procurement process was fair and transparent, hence, even the smallest of players should register as vendors and respond to tenders.

Products frequently outsourced include pharmaceuticals, building materials, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, telecommunication equipment, engineering and electronic equipment.

Services that are on demand in UN mission fields include aircraft services, freight forwarding, construction, catering, as well as transport logistics.

Once registered, suppliers are encouraged to be proactive in looking out for requests for quotations and tenders, ZimTrade said.

This year, so far, over 40 companies have successfully registered on the UN suppliers’ list following the hosting of the UNPD vendor briefing and registration seminar held in Harare recently.

Counting the cost of bond notes: What Parliament should be aware of

In early November, Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at John Hopkins University in the United States and a renowned currency expert described the introduction of bond notes as “a way to completely contaminate the currency system”, akin to “putting poison in a bloodstream of a person”.

Source: Counting the cost of bond notes: What Parliament should be aware of – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

Financial sector spotlight: with Omen Muza

He didn’t stop there. He went on to discount the value of bond notes. “You know they are inferior from day one because government is, in a way, arguably offering a subsidy for people to take the bond notes, which means the bond notes are trading at a discount to the US dollar even before they start circulating,” Hanke said.

Although his pronouncements appeared melodramatic, his drift was that bond notes had attendant costs not related to their production and distribution but tied to their acceptability — almost like a bribe, in the form of the 5% export incentive.

My contention in this instalment is that there are more costs, which Zimbabweans should be aware of, and I discuss them accordingly.

This week (November 29 to December 3, 2016), the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development is conducting public hearings across the country on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Amendment Bill, which seeks to pave way for the introduction of bond notes as.

Public views gathered through this exercise form part of the committee’s recommendations in a report to be tabled at the Second Reading Stage of the Bill in Parliament.

Accordingly, this could be of interest to lawmakers, as they seek to determine the viability of the bond notes project — not that we expect a reversal of the introduction of bond notes — we are not holding our breath — but, at least, there must be informed debate.

Printing costs

Although the RBZ has since declined to disclose the identity of the company which is now printing the bond notes, after their preferred printer was spooked (if not hounded) into declining the job by pressure groups, the apex bank has confirmed that this print job will be done outside Zimbabwe. Clearly, this will cost a considerable sum of money, which is due and payable in real US dollars.

Transport costs and cash handling costs

The bond notes and coins need to be transported to Zimbabwe at a cost that must be borne by the central bank on behalf of the government. Then there are local distribution costs, which will be passed on to banks. Under the new currency regime, cash handling costs of banks are expected to increase dramatically as they must ensure that bond notes are distributed to every branch in the country.

Marketing spend

Unlike normal cash in other hard currencies, for which only security features must be released for the benefit of the banking public upon introduction, bond notes have literally had to be marketed, as they faced resistance from the transacting public even before they were introduced.

In an attempt to change public perception of bond notes, RBZ has spent a considerable amount of money splashing advertisements in all the major newspapers and placing billboards in strategic locations, all of which, however, still don’t say much more than what we already knew about bond notes.

The bank has also commissioned live radio programmes or roadshows, which have, at times, failed to achieve the desired/intended effect, as they gave voice to disgruntled sections of society that are wary of a fast one being pulled on them.

Independent board

The monetary authorities have promised that they will constitute an independent board to monitor the printing of bond notes.

While the board’s oversight role is most welcome, as it is one of the checks and balances required to ensure that the RBZ does not print beyond the limit imposed by the $200 million Africa Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) facility, which backs the notes, it will not come without its costs because the members will have to be compensated for their time and effort and there will be administration costs.

However, it is questionable that the RBZ has started distributing the bond notes before the independent board is in place.

Facility fees

The Afreximbank facility is not for free — there is interest and other fees such as drawdown fees to be paid. The RBZ, however, says the nature of the facility helps it to manage costs.

“This is a standby overdraft facility so that we do not incur costs. We pay on what we withdraw,” RBZ governor, John Mangudya said in mid-May.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday June 23, 2016, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the cost of the facility, which was around 5% per annum on drawn down amounts, would be borne by the government.

If the government acquiesces to industry’s demands for the incentive to be increased from 5% to 15%, the value of the facility would have to go up with its attendant costs in tow.

Lawsuits

The introduction of bond notes has been met with several lawsuits from the likes of Zimbabwe People First leader, Joice Mujuru, businessman, Fredrick Mutanda and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Others such as the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have also threatened legal action.

These lawsuits need to be defended so the government and the RBZ have had to engage some of the country’s top legal minds to represent them, which obviously costs considerable sums of public funds.

Cost of multiple pricing structures

Already, there are reports that there are three pricing regimes in the market for goods and services depending on the mode of settlement — cash, plastic money or bond notes. Bond notes are clearly introducing higher costs to the doing business environment through their devaluation, which might have some inflationary impact.

Going for broke

Given all these costs and many others — which the government is still willing to bear, by the way, as long as the bond notes are introduced, there can be no doubt that it’s no longer just about the export incentive, but a means to a much bigger end.

If the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee intends to add some value to this debate, they should interrogate these costs to establish their quantum, so that in the spirit of accountability, Zimbabweans can at least be aware of the cost at which the bond notes are coming.

Omen N Muza edits the MFSB. You can view his LinkedIn profile at zw.linkedin.com/pub/omen-n-muza/30/641/3b8 or initiate contact on omen.muza@gmail.com

Lockdown: Mugabe’s brute force on show

HARARE came to a standstill yesterday, as President Robert Mugabe’s government, in an unprecedented show of force, brought out its anti-riot hardware to ruthlessly crush a planned protest by opponents of his regime’s introduction of a surrogate currency, bond notes.

Source: Lockdown: Mugabe’s brute force on show – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Zimbabwe’s capital was teeming with security agents, while roads leading into the central business district were littered with police checkpoints.

Hordes of police officers, armed to the teeth and singing liberation war songs, manned almost every corner of the city in anticipation of the protest that turned out to be a damp squib, amid reports of growing divisions within opposition and civil society ranks.

The demonstration had been organised by opposition parties and civil society groups in protest over the introduction of bond notes, as well as the unabated economic decay.

After braving the heavy police presence, a group of protesters gathered near the MDC-T headquarters around mid-morning to start their march, but a few metres into the demonstration along Nelson Mandela Avenue, police used water cannons, spraying bluish water to break up the march.

As the demonstrators fled in different directions, baton-wielding officers followed in hot pursuit.

As a result, several shops near Nelson Mandela Avenue were closed, while police sealed off Harvest House.

Journalists had to run for dear life, as police threatened to assault them together with suspected protesters.

On Tuesday, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo threatened to crush the demonstration, saying the organisers had not sought police clearance, as required by the contentious Public Order and Security Act.

Numerous moves by the protesters to stage a comeback across the central business district were unsuccessful, as police reacted swiftly to the sporadic attempts.

As police made their patrols, passers-by tried to maintain their distance for fear of being rounded up.

MDC-T youth assembly boss, Happymore Chidziva claimed the demonstration was a success, although he deplored the police’s heavy-handedness.

“It was a success given that we were able to send our message clearly,” he said.

“The continued police brutality in dealing with peaceful protests is an indication of panic on the part of the regime. The number of people, who turned up and joined the demonstration shows that the people of Zimbabwe are fed up of this regime.

“The message was sent out and it is clear that people are not going to stand by and watch while the regime destroys the country. This is just but the beginning of resistance to the economic genocide presided over by Robert Mugabe’s government.”

Leading figures in the opposition movement, among them MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai and his Zimbabwe People First counterpart, Joice Mujuru were conspicuous by their absence.

The two are leading figures of a loose coalition of opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner that was party to organising the protests.

Social movement, Tajamuka co-ordinator, Hardlife Mudzingwa said the fact that people came out to demonstrate and police decided to use brute force was evidence enough that the Zanu PF-led government was in panic mode.

“The general public has been reminded that the surrogate currency was an imposition and people should continue to voice their concerns. As usual, the State will not listen, but reacts by deploying its repressive apparatus,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports said at least six people were arrested during the demonstration.

Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba yesterday said she was yet to be briefed on what transpired during the day.

On Monday, police swooped on two Tajamuka leaders, Promise Mkwananzi and Mehluli Dube, who were addressing journalists in the capital. The pair was taken to court yesterday.

Recently, suspected State-sponsored militia reportedly abducted leaders of a failed demonstration dubbed #MunhuWeseMuRoad (Everyone onto the Streets) and one of the organisers, Patson Dzamara, was hospitalised after the attack, while his vehicle and a colleague’s were burnt to shells.

In the past few months, Zimbabwe has witnessed social unrest, with police involved in bloody clashes with pro-democracy protesters.

The State reacted by introducing Statutory Instruments to ban the demonstrations.

However, after the expiry of the regulations prohibiting demonstrations, the protests seemed to have lost some steam.

Mnangagwa ally ‘Croc Junior’ acquitted

ZANU PF Bulawayo youth chairperson, Magura Charumbira, reportedly aligned to Team Lacoste faction, which is linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been acquitted of charges of impersonation.

Source: Mnangagwa ally ‘Croc Junior’ acquitted – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

Charumbira was facing allegations of invading a city building to evict its occupants, while posing as a police officer.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate, Batanai Tuwe.

Last week, Tuwe found him not guilty of the charge at the close of the State’s case and acquitted him.

In his ruling, the magistrate said the State had failed to prove that Charumbira masqueraded as a police officer.

Even the witnesses, the magistrate ruled, could not clearly prove that Charumbira had committed the offence.

In his defence, Charumbira, who last week appeared before the court clad in a red jacket with an image of a crocodile, inscribed, “Crocodile Junior”, said the leasee of the building had engaged Zanu PF to assist her to evict an illegal tenant.

Charumbira was alleged to have visited Save The Nation Building, where the complainant, Maxwell Kandiero was conducting lessons, masquerading as a police officer and ordered him and all the occupants to vacate the premises.

During his defence, Charumbira accused the complainants of having been sent by G40, a Zanu PF faction said to be
opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe, of trying to tarnish his image.

He said the Bulawayo-based G40 faction always accused him of supporting Team Lacoste.

“The truth is I never misrepresented as a police officer,” he submitted.

“They (applicants) are sent by Antipas Banda and his team, who call themselves G40.”

Charumbira claimed the applicants where framing him because he had refused to relinquish his chairmanship.

He also said they wanted to tarnish his image so that they destroy his chances of becoming a legislator in the next general elections.

But Kandiero said Magura visited his workplace and claimed to be a police officer before demanding the keys to the building and ordering him and his students to vacate the premises.

The court heard that Kandiero, of Pumula North, who is a private tutor at a private college, was at his workplace at the Save The Nation Building teaching his students on September 16 when Charumbira and Andrew Munyoro visited the property.

They allegedly identified themselves as police officers from Bulawayo Central Police, saying they had come to evict the occupants from the property.

Kandiero asked them to produce their identity particulars and they refused, before allegedly becoming violent.

Kandiero fled and solicited help from Efeso Mumera, who identified Charumbira and Munyoro as Zanu PF members, not police officers, leading to a report being made and their subsequent arrest.

We won’t disclose where bond notes are printed: Mnangagwa

VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday refused to disclose to Parliament where bond notes are being printed, telling MPs to speculate if they want to.

Source: We won’t disclose where bond notes are printed: Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 1, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Mnangagwa was responding to a question in the National Assembly from Binga North MP, Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T), who wanted to know if the government would not end up printing bond notes in excess of the $200 million Afrexim Bank facility.

Mnangagwa also told opposition legislators that anyone who was not comfortable with the bond notes was free to use any currency of their choice.

“MPs should not be worried because government will restrict itself to the amount of bond notes anchored on the $200 million facility,” he said.

“Those of us who feel uncomfortable using bond notes should continue using the United States dollar because bond notes and US dollars are interchangeable. If you have no faith in bond notes, why not continue using the currency that you have faith in?”

Chitungwiza North MP, Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) then claimed that the bond notes, released into the market, were different from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) specimens advertised in newspapers.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Mnangagwa should explain why the $200 million loan facility anchoring the bond notes was not first brought for Parliament’s approval, as required by the Public Finance Management Act.

Mnangagwa said whenever the RBZ governor deals with monetary policy issues, he has legal authority to transact with other central banks in the world for the benefit of the country.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa further explained to the House, that the legal framework for the issuing of bond notes was in place in the form of Presidential Powers and the RBZ Amendment Act.

Unimpressed, opposition MPs queried the rationale of conducting public hearings when the bond notes were already in circulation.

But Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the surrogate currency was already in circulation courtesy of the Presidential Powers, which would expire in six months and the RBZ Act would then give them permanency.

Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke then asked Chinamasa when banks would be issued with more bond notes, claiming people were clamouring for more, to which the Finance minister said the limit was to curb inflation. He said the government would punish shops found rejecting the bond notes.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe’s address to the nation has been postponed to next week Tuesday because he is away in Cuba attending the funeral of the late Cuban President Fidel Castro.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Patrick Chinamasa spot on

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Patrick Chinamasa spot on | The Financial Gazette December 1, 2016

DITHERING government bureaucrats and their political principals are said to have started a process of establishing the cost required to revive the moribund Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) with the view of determining whether this can be done using local funds or by mobilising external resources.
The Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, has however made an unexpected admission: Zisco is now a dead asset and should be given to any interested investor for free.
The truth is that we have demonstrated clearly an unwillingness or inability to transform our parastatals to ensure that they add value to the economy.
Instead, what we have done is to destroy assets inherited by Zimbabwe from colonial Rhodesia, looting them to bankruptcy.
Zisco is one such asset: The enterprise sustained Rhodesia, which was under United National sanctions, allowing the regime at that time to deal with the trade embargo.
But what was once one of the continent’s largest integrated steelworks is in ruins, and efforts to revive this giant enterprise, which this year laid off                  1 600 workers, who had gone unpaid for nearly five years, have failed dismally.
Government knows what needs to be done to get Zisco working again.
Before it hammered a takeover deal with Indian conglomerate, Essar Group, through its unit, Essar Africa Holdings Limited (EAHL), an evaluation had been done to ascertain what was needed to restart operations at Zisco, whose furnaces went silent in 2008.
That assessment should have informed EAHL’s strategy in reviving the business: An investment of approximately US$750 million, which included relieving government and Zisco of all their liabilities, which included guaranteed foreign debt; historic liabilities in respect of trade and other creditors — including unpaid salaries and associated benefits owed to the employees — fixed capital investment for reviving the plant to 1,2 million tonnes per annum steel production; and working capital requirements for operations.
Zisco has rich iron ore deposits and it could potentially become the hub of the steel industry in the region, given Zimbabwe’s position in southern Africa.
For nearly 10 years, we have accrued no benefit from Zisco, whose workers are now wallowing in poverty after going for years without work and pay.
Something needs to be done, and Chinamasa’s advice sounds realistic: We should give this asset to an interested global investor for free, and agree on timelines over its revival and job creation.
There is no doubt that the benefits to the economy would be huge.
We also need to re-look at our other failed parastatal businesses like the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Grain Marketing Board and many others whose contribution to the economy would be vast were it not for the ruinous looting that has ground them down.
These businesses require fresh capital, and it is as clear as daylight that government has no capacity for any form of bailout.
We need to find a way of courting foreign investors to get into these assets to sweat them for our economy.

Zimpapers to defend Kasukuwere’s $7m claim

Five Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) journalists, who are being sued by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere alongside their publisher in a $7 million defamation lawsuit, have entered an appearance to defend notice.

Source: Zimpapers to defend Kasukuwere’s $7m claim – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The journalists and their employer will challenge the Zanu PF political commissar, when the matter is set down for hearing.

Kasukuwere filed the claim last month, accusing Zimpapers and its reporters of being appendages of those who were behind the so-called Blue Ocean Strategy allegedly penned by war veterans with a view to mapping a plan to dismantle G40, a faction said to be in a protracted battle against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction.

In his summons, Kasukuwere said The Sunday Mail and The Herald had on various occasions written articles titled Spotlight on Housing Allocation Graft, President Grills Kasukuwere and Stands Saga Turns Nasty, which were defamatory and aimed at ending his political career.

“And in relation to what has become known as the Blue Ocean Strategy, the various defamatory articles against the plaintiff (Kasukuwere) are intended by the defendants (Felix Share, Tendai Mugabe, Praise Bvumbamera, Caesar Zvayi, Mabasa Sasa and Zimpapers) to have the following effect: In relation to succession politics within Zanu PF, to advance the political fortunes of the beneficiaries of the Blue Ocean Strategy to which the defendants are an appendage,” Kasukuwere said in his declaration.

“As a result of the defamatory articles, plaintiff, who is a Cabinet minister, a Member of Parliament for Mount Darwin South and a respected political commissar in Zanu PF, has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of $7 million.”

Kasukuwere further said his claim was based on the fact that all the publicised articles he referred to in his lawsuit were false and misleading and that the reporters and Zimpapers “openly intend the defamatory article to convey the innuendo that the political fortunes of the plaintiff (Kasukuwere) are threatened by imminent demise”.

He further said the articles claimed he “irregularly allocated land to political bigwigs, in particular to firms linked to Betty Kaseke, Sarah Mahoka, Innocent Hamandishe and Shadreck Mashayamombe”, and that he also “unprocedurally offered land reserved for youths to Walter Magaya’s company, Planet Africa”, with whom he has “an improper relationship”.

Regarding The Herald article of September 8, 2016, headlined President grills Kasukuwere, the former Environment minister said the piece was defamatory, false and misleading with allegations that he was taken to task by President Robert Mugabe for selling land in Shawasha B, Norton and Harare South earmarked for youths’ housing to Magaya and political bigwigs.
The matter is pending.

Just What is a Bond Note

Money is quite simply just a “medium of exchange”. It has no inherent value on its own. Down through the ages people have issued and adopted various forms of money – from rock carved in specific shapes to sea shells and pieces of various metals with symbols and more recently printed money on paper. But in fact the definition of money must go far beyond the above description in an electronic age. It can also take the form of an electronic transfer between individuals or companies, it can be stored in records on paper and it can be converted into various legal forms with a specific value and terms attached to it and which will determine its real market value.

Source: Just What is a Bond Note – The Zimbabwean 01.12.2016

In the history of money, the US Dollar has a special place. It is the reserve currency of choice – people hold their savings in this form because they are confident that it will not depreciate in value over time. It is also the main currency for global trade – products and commodities are priced in this currency and over 70 per cent of all the cash used on the streets of the world is in the form of the USD. It is acceptable as a means of exchange everywhere and often is the first choice to do so.

This is an enormous advantage for the States, it means that their own borrowings are in their own currency, they are the producer and supplier of dollar notes to the whole world and the huge profits made by turning bits of paper into real money with value, accrues to the US Treasury via the Federal Reserve – perhaps the most profitable enterprise in the world. It also means that whenever they want to they can simply turn on the printing presses (both real and electronic) and create billions of dollars to flood their domestic and international markets as they recently did during the process of recovery from the economic collapse of a decade ago. They did this without stimulating inflation in the States and without damaging the reputation of the currency as a safe haven for value.

Many have tried to replace the mighty dollar as an international reserve currency, but have failed – the most recent challenger being the Yuan – the currency of China; it did not even get out of the gates.

Many have argued since we adopted the USD among a number of currencies as our own means of exchange that this was a tactical error in that we are surrounded by countries with currencies that are depreciating against the dollar. Therefore, we are uncompetitive. There is some truth in that but we have very short memories – when I started work I earned local dollars – worth at the time nearly 3 US dollars.  When we gained our Independence in 1980, the local dollar was still trading at 2 to 1 against the greenback and we were not only competitive but were exporting a wide range of goods and commodities to the world. So a “strong” currency is not necessarily a weakness or a problem.

The fact that the Asia Tigers have all used a manipulated exchange rate (artificially low) for their own currencies by buying USD with their own currency on open markets, as a means of stimulating growth and penetrating foreign markets is another matter. In fact one of the unexpected outcomes of such practices has meant that the Asian Tiger economies have built up huge surpluses of USD which they use as collateral for foreign borrowings on a vast scale – the numbers are staggering, China is the most indebted country in the world with over $250 trillion in borrowings. China’s rapid rise in the world as a manufacturing giant is built on the back of the USD and almost unlimited, low interest borrowings from the older economies with accrued savings.

When the Zanu PF regime in Harare began running an unsustainable budget deficit (it averaged 9 per cent for 20 years) and then began simply printing money to cover a burgeoning deficit from 2000 to 2008, the result was inevitable as any economist or banker will tell you – the currency crashed, all savings were wiped out, every bank and financial institution was pushed into technical liquidation.

So why has Obama been able to use quantitative easing – a euphemism for simply printing money on a massive scale and get away with it and not Robert Gabriel Mugabe? The answer is in two parts – firstly he was not using the Federal Reserve to fund a massive budget deficit – he was spending tax dollars and the Federal Reserve – a tough, independent institution, was controlling the money supply and watching the fundamentals. The US budget deficit was never allowed to spin out of control.

The second reason is more complex – the world of business and global consumers trust the US system. The United States is still one of the most under borrowed economies in the world – as measured by debt against output, and the macroeconomic fundamentals in the States are managed by strong independent institutions that do not allow politicians (even the President) to break the rules. US business has shown steady improvement in productivity for over a century and US workers are amongst the most productive and innovative in the world. Although US average incomes at $52 000 a year for every man, woman and child – are among of the highest in the world, their actual pay rates in real terms have been static for half a century.

Our problems are due to more fundamental issues – we are very heavily taxed and our kleptocratic government steals 14 per cent of our GDP equal to another half of all tax revenues – an impossible burden. Then they spend more than they are earning and to fund this they have to drain out of the economy whatever surpluses are being generated. To understand this you have to understand what they have been doing since they took over the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank in August 2013. This is illustrated in the following table:

Year 2013 2014 2015 2016
Factor US$ billions US$ billions US$ billions US$ billions
Bank Deposits 4,5 4,8 5,2 6,1
Budget Deficit 0,5 1,0 1,0 1,0
Treasury Bills 1,5 2,5 3,5 4,3
Gov Overdraft 0 0 0 1,1
Export Proceeds 0 0 0 1,4
Bond Notes 0 0 0 0,5
Cash in the Banks 2,5 1,3 O,7 -2,3
Daily cash limits NIL NIL 10 000 100

What this table shows is that after the GNU when we ran a balanced budget for four years and did not allow the Reserve Bank to conduct any fiscal activities, savings, as represented by the cash balances held by Zimbabweans with the Commercial Banks grew from perhaps US$250 million in 2009 to US$4,5 billion in 2013. Half of which was in turn loaned out to the private sector for productive purposes. This left $2,5 billion in the banks to meet local demands for cash and trading payments. This was quite adequate as we were able as individuals to withdraw any amount of cash from our accounts on a daily basis.

You can see from these estimates (mine) that the available cash in the banks rapidly declines – despite rising savings, as the budget deficit absorbs more and more of the Banks liquidity. Despite this they remain in surplus until 2015, when the situation became so serious that the Reserve Bank had to impose withdrawal restrictions of US$10 000 a day. It is in 2016 that the situation deteriorates rapidly and out of control.

In response, on the 4th May 2016, the Government announces that it is to issue a new local currency called the “Bond Notes”. On Monday – the 28th November, the first Bond Notes appeared. The same size as the US dollar notes for counting machine purposes and only in $2 denominations.

Now just what are they? Well clearly they are a new form of local currency and it is clearly shown on each note that they are being issued by the Reserve Bank at par with the USD – interesting as the local banks will have had to buy these notes from the Reserve Bank in USD from the accounts of their depositors. Bearing in mind that the cost of a $2 bill will be a fraction of that sum, this is a very nice new stream of revenue for the Bank. None of the $2,5 million they have spent on advertising the new currency in a desperate effort to gain acceptance, says this though.

In the Courts where a battle is being waged to stop the new currency, the dialogue has raged to and fro – the latest version of the State’s case that I have seen is that the new notes are NOT a currency but a Promissory Note. Legally that is an interesting argument as a Promissory Note is essentially an IOU. It should be time bound and have the signature of the person issuing the note (done) and the person taking over the note (not done). Clearly this is nonsense and it shows how much the regime is at sixes and sevens on this issue. The first defense I saw was even more ridiculous.

But in reality the Bond Note is simply yet another extension of a massive scheme which is systematically stripping out the entire savings and surpluses of the country. When they issued Treasury Bills they were converting real money into worthless paper – worthless because the underwriter is broke and simply cannot under any circumstances be expected to either redeem the Bills at Par plus interest. This exercise was then extended to a massive overdraft to the State by the Reserve Bank – not using their own resources but private funds “borrowed” illegally from Nostro accounts held by the Bank on behalf of the private Banks. This overdraft is unsecured, carries no interest and can never be paid back by the borrower. As a consequence the RTGS system which was working so well in 2015, has virtually collapsed with some transfers 5 months in arrears.

As if that was not bad enough they are now taking US$200 a month, US$2,4 billion a year, from exporters and replacing it with electronic transfers of phantom money. The use of this form of money as an “export bonus” is laughable and completely undermines the viability of every exporter who now has to go cap in hand and bribe at the ready to get his own money (real money) from the Reserve Bank.

Bond Notes – whatever you call them, are just another extension of the scam this regime has been running since 2013. However, it is both an accelerator (will make matters in the market much worse) and an initiator of potentially very damaging public violence. Already the markets are discounting the new currency and this discount can only grow. As it does and the Banks are unable to pay out their customers in real money in any sort of quantum (at the moment it is about US$80 million a month across the whole economy) and fall back on the use of this new currency – issuing at par with the client only able to recover a small part of its face value in the real market, all hell will break loose.

Perhaps that is the intention.

Trade deficit narrows 27 percent to US$2,16 billion as exports increase marginally

Source: Trade deficit narrows 27 percent to US$2,16 billion as exports increase marginally | The Financial Gazette November 30, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S trade deficit in the ten months to October narrowed 27,5 percent to US$2,16 billion on imports of US$4,24 billion and exports of US$2,08 billion. In the same period last year, the trade deficit was at US$2,99 billion on imports of US$5,07 billion and exports of US$2,07 billion.
According to the latest statistics from ZimStat, total exports (including re-exports) in the period grew a marginal 0,16 percent mainly on the back of a boost in the gold and tobacco clusters. Gold exports increased to us$672,5 million from US$503 million same period last year mainly on the back of firming prices and efforts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to get more gold from artisanal miners. Tobacco worth us$506 million was exported against US$481 million last year

Other main exports include cut granite US$30,8 million, nickel concentrates US$237.3 million, crocodile skins $16.2 million and food and beverages US$112,3 million. Month on month, exports grew nearly 27 percent to US$318,73 million from US$251,31 million in September. Main export markets by country included There is still need for Zimbabwe to improve its export performance if it is to achieve meaningful economic growth. Zimbabwean products have become uncompetitive, due to, among others, to cumbersome regulatory and administrative processes and the generally high manufacturing costs.

In the ten-month period, imports were down nearly 17 percent. Generally, 2016 has been difficult a difficult year for importers. Having to endure the challenges associated with the external payment systems which crept in late last year, importers were subjected to a new intervention from Government; pre-shipment inspections through Bureau Veritas. The objectives of the inspections were to check on the quality of imported goods to reduce importation of hazardous and substandard substances, including improving the collection of customs duty.

But before importers could adjust to the new requirement, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in May introduced an import priority list to aid in the utilisation of foreign currency. The list favours the importation of raw materials, fuel, capital goods and dividends. It was hoped that the measure would reduce the importation of trinkets and unproductive. But yet again, soon after this, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which took out 42 products from the Open General Import Licence.

FinX

Zimbabwe government completes US$40 million Telecel takeover

Source: Zimbabwe government completes US$40 million Telecel takeover | The Financial Gazette November 30, 2016

THE Zimbabwe government has completed the acquisition of Global Telecom Holdings’ (GTH) entire shareholding in Telecel International for US$40 million.

The deal, which has dragged on since 2014 when Vimpelcom, the parent company of GTH announced its intentions to exit Zimbabwe,  will see government — through its wholly owned internet service provider ZARNnet — take effective control of the country’s 3rd mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe in which Telecel International had a 60 percent shareholding.

The remaining 40 percent is owned by Empowerment Corporation, a group of local investors.

“The transaction was completed for a consideration of US$40 million; of which US$21 million has been transferred by ZARNet (Private) Limited to GTH outside Zimbabwe, and the balance of $19 million will be paid as deferred consideration,” said Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira in a statement on Wednesday.

“Government’s intentions remain to secure 100 percent shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe, in the process sanitising the numerous shareholder related disputes that have dogged business growth and scared away investors.”

Mandiwanzira said the deal allowed ZARNet to take management control of the telco immediately.

Government already controls another mobile operator NetOne, which is struggling financially and also facing corporate governance issues. The Source

Police crush bond notes demo

Source: Police crush bond notes demo | The Financial Gazette November 30, 2016

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Wednesday deployed police details that far outnumbered protestors, swiftly crushing the demonstration against the introduction of bond notes in central Harare.

The protests were organised by several pressure groups led by #Tajamuka, a grouping of youths that have had several run-ins with authorities in recent months.

Opposition political parties coalescing under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), had also given notice of their intention to participate in the demo which police had refused clear, but there was no sign of their presence.

Instead, just a few dozens of #Tajamuka activists picketed along Harare’s busy Nelson Mandela Street around midmorning and started toy toying, attracting a swift response from the ZRP, which deployed truckloads of truncheon wielding riot cops numbering at least three times more than the demonstrators.

Sensing danger, the protesters quickly melted away into the crowds and later made sporadic appearances elsewhere in thinner pockets, co-ordinated by what appeared to be choreographed whistles.

But each time that happpened, police trucks furiously drove through the busy streets of the capital, sending pedestrians scurrying to safety, while mystified motorists swearing.

By around midday, order had returned to the city centre as police took control of the situation.

By lunchtime, the capital city, Harare, which has been the centre of deadly running battles in recent months, as police cracked down on rioters, had calmed, with shops and other ventures opening for business.

Traffic was flowing smoothly, while vendors and pedestrians went about their daily routines without incident.

However, #Tajamuka activists still claimed the demonstration was a success.

#Tajamuka national co-ordinating committee member, Hardlife Mudzingwa, said the demonstration was not the monumental flop that it appeared to be.

“We do not measure success of an event just by the expected results; there are so many other aspects we are looking at to say it succeeded. For example, the ZRP deployed its officers at predawn to take positions at all strategic areas and intimidate people. So for us, it is a success when government commits so many resources to fighting us,” he said.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) spokesman, Obert Gutu, also said the protests succeeded.

“The demo was very successful until it was ruthlessly and unlawfully crushed by the police. This is the homestretch for the crumbling, paranoid and bankrupt ZANU-PF regime. Of course, the regime is terribly afraid of the people.This explains why the regime has deployed so many armed police officers and secret service operatives onto the streets of Harare,” said Gutu.

Interestingly, national police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, said she did not know that police officers were on the ground.

“I do not know what was happening. I was away at some function and I don’t know what took place or what was supposed to take place,” she said.

The demonstration comes as government fast-tracked the introduction of bond notes in the country despite a major public outcry. Government argues that bond notes are a temporary solution to a devastating liquidity crises ripping through the tottering Zimbabwean economy.

Bank charges weighing down ordinary Zimbabweans 

Source: Bank charges weighing down ordinary Zimbabweans   | The Financial Gazette November 29, 2016

By Shingie Muringi

THE current economic meltdown coupled with a serious cash crisis has forced every Zimbabwean citizen to adopt the use of electronic payment systems such as card swiping mainly in retail shops. Also, mobile money platforms such Ecocash, Telecash and OneWallet have found their place in the same financial market mix.

However, despite these electronic payment systems ushering in convenience to the bankable public, the regulatory bodies such as ZimSwitch and the regulator Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) have been accused of being reluctant to fairly review the charges because some are still to exorbitant for the consumer.

In June this year, RBZ governor, John Mangudya, announced that charges for electronic payments had been cut after an agreement between the central bank and other service providers. Nevertheless, charges being exerted onto the consumers are still high.

Real-time Gross Settlement System, which is now the most desired way of transferring funds at inter-bank level was once pegged at US$10, later slashed down to US$5 after the June resolutions. This means that most Zimbabweans who are now resorting to paying rentals and other social amenity costs using bank transfers have to fork out a minimum of US$5.

All Point-of-Sale (pos) transactions, which exceed US$10 are now pegged at a minimum cost of US$0,10 from the previous benchmark of US$0,35. The maximum charge on POS transactions using ZimSwitch is now pegged at US$0,45 whereas consumers will be charged a maximum US$0,20 if they are swiping on POS machines from their own banks.

When using mobile money platforms such as Ecocash to pay for groceries, in particular, the consumer is charged a minimum of US$0,12 for every transaction below US$5 while the maximum charges will amount to US$4,95 when transacting for goods worth US$300.

Barclays Bank, in particular, has US$2,50 pegged as minimum fee when swiping using International Debit Cards. Stanbic charges a minimum of US$1 per transaction with other charges varying depending on whether you are using a local debit card or international cards such as Visa or MasterCard.

Steward Bank offers the most convenient electronic payment options to its clients due to an integrated Ecocash platform which allows account holders to access their funds using numbers linked to Ecocash. Steward Bank charges a minimum US$0,10 for every balance inquiry no matter its being done on Ecocash or ZimSwitch. Card charges start at US$0,15 varying on the value you are transacting.

RBZ has been pushing for the adoption of plastic money via the increased use of bank cards and other electronic payment systems as part of its strategy to respond to the deepening cash crisis. However, the most repelling factor has been the high charges being levied by banks on their Debit, Visa and MasterCard, forcing the public to shy away from plastic money, resorting to cash which is now in short supply.

However, on a much positive note, mobile money has been the biggest mover of electronic transactions in the economy, with the latest statistics from RBZ showing that it accounts for 89 percent of all the transactions in the country. To sum up, if you factor in 10 percent for all overhead bank transactions added to the minimum values of US$0,15 being charged by service providers during transactions, you will find out that an ordinary Zimbabwean has to incur a record US$139 in services fees per month.

Shingie Muringi is an engineer and writer for Technomag

Mineral revenue flat at US$1,4 billion

Source: Mineral revenue flat at US$1,4 billion | The Financial Gazette November 29, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S mineral earnings in the nine months to September were flat at US$1,4 billion despite a marked increase in platinum and gold output, the Chamber of Mines said.

Although commodity prices remained depressed gold prices rose by six percent this year, but the average price of platinum has fallen by nearly 10 percent while that of nickel declined by 2,7 percent.

Gold output increased by 13 percent to 16,1 tonnes, earning the country US$648,6 million from US$532,5 million last year.

Platinum output has increased by 20 percent to 10,8 tonnes from nine tonnes last year, while revenue only grew four percent to US$298,5 million.

“Reflecting depressed prices, among other challenges, mineral revenue for the period under review remained flat at US$1,38 billion compared to US$1,34 billion in the same period last year,” said the Chamber chief executive officer, Isaac Kwesu.

“Our industry remains fragile, notwithstanding output growth we still have a high cost structure compared to other mining jurisdictions. The operating costs were characterised by high electricity tariffs, expensive funding and sub optimal fiscal charges,” he added.

Revenue from diamonds has declined by 43 percent to US$72 million as production in the sector fell 37 percent to 1,6 million carats.

Nickel production increased from 11 900 tonnes to 13 200 tonnes, but revenue declined by 22 percent US$87,8 million.

Coal production fell by 36 percent from 3,1 million tonnes last year to 1,9 million tonnes this year.

The mining sector has recorded negative growth for the past two years; -3,4 percent in 2014 and -2,5 percent in 2015. Earlier this year, Kwesu said the sector is likely to remain depressed in 2016 and 2017.

Breaking: Kasukuwere re-suspends Gweru councillors

Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has re-suspended Gweru councillors, with most councillors receiving their new suspension letters yesterday evening.

Source: Breaking: Kasukuwere re-suspends Gweru councillors – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

By Stephen Chadenga

The councillors were set to resume their duties after Kasukuwere on Monday withdrew his appeal at the Supreme Court in Bulawayo, where he had challenged a ruling by High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere ordering him to reinstate the 11 MDC-T councillors, who include mayor, Hamutendi Kombayi.

The councillors were suspended in August last year on allegations of abuse of office.

The councillors’ lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika confirmed the new suspensions and said they were yet to be furnished with a full charge sheet.

More to Follow…

Mafioso resolution opens can of worms

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Cracks have emerged in Zanu-PF leadership structures in Mashonaland Central over a controversial resolution that seeks to challenge the party’s one centre of power principle that empowers the President and First Secretary to appoint his deputies.

Source: Mafioso resolution opens can of worms | The Herald

Cde Dickson Mafios, who is acting chairman of Mashonaland Central Province, reportedly smuggled the resolution (now known as Mafioso) into the final set of the provincial resolutions ahead of the Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference in Masvingo next month.

Some members of the province have since disowned the centre of power resolution.

However, provincial members who exposed Cde Mafios’ plans are now reported to be targets for a vote of no confidence, which is allegedly being engineered by Zanu-PF national commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere.

Sensing the plot which was supposed to be effected starting yesterday, the members have reportedly decided to pre-empt it by resigning from the provincial executive.

The offence the provincial members allegedly committed was to talk about Cde Mafios’ resolution to The Herald newspaper.

First to throw in the towel was Cde Shantel Mbereko, who is the deputy secretary for education.

She tendered her resignation from her provincial position at the party’s provincial offices in Bindura yesterday morning, before a provincial executive meeting that was convened at the same venue later in the day.

In her resignation letter that was copied to Cde Kasukuwere and secretary for administration Cde Ignatius Chombo, Cde Mbereko said she took the action for security reasons.

Cde Mbereko said other party members told her that her life and that of her family were in danger.

“The pressure resulted in me receiving numerous calls from people advising me to watch out for my life and that of my family and hence (I) decided to quit and remain a party card holder,” reads part of her letter.

“The reason is I responded to a call from someone who I did not know was from The Herald. But the main issue is I honestly explained that the resolution to have Vice Presidents voted for did not come from the Women’s League, but was smuggled in as it was against the amended party constitution, which gave all powers to the President,” said Cde Mbereko.

“The second reason is that the national commissar Cde Kasukuwere is victimising (me) — in fact he did that in the coordination (meeting) held on Sunday and even before, his intention being to grab the (Kitsiyatota) mining project I and other women own.

“He even openly stated it in the meeting that the mine should be taken away from us by force and made a provincial project.”

Cde Mbereko said Cde Kasukuwere wanted to grab the mine for personal benefit.

Cde Mbereko declared that she would fight to the bitter end to expose the evil works by Cde Kasukuwere under the name of the party in Mashonaland Central.

Cde Mbereko said Cde Kasukuwere was a national figure and it was mind-boggling why he was obsessed with issues happening at provincial level.

“(Cde) Dickson Mafios was the first to respond to The Herald reporter when he stated: “One centre of power is not benefiting anyone and it’s undemocratic.

“The national political commissar pretends to be blind and deaf to that and decided to zero in on me, clearly showing that he had come to clear his brother by riding over us and myself in particular.”

A provincial executive meeting that was meant to pass a vote of no confidence on Cde Mbereko yesterday turned out to be a farce after she pre-empted it by her resignation.

Cde Mafios denied that they had a meeting yesterday.

“I don’t know about that meeting,” he curtly said.

Efforts to get a comment from Cde Kasukuwere were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

A provincial member who attended the meeting said: “It became difficult to pass a vote of no confidence on the other comrades after Cde Mbereko pre-emptied the plan.

“It was later resolved that the matter of people who spoke to the media over that resolution will be dealt with next year.”

‘2013 electoral pact’ haunts Tsvangirai

THE loose political coalition of 2013 elections, which saw MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai emerging as the only presidential candidate, has come to haunt the opposition leader, who is being sued for failing to pay those who brought it together.

Source: ‘2013 electoral pact’ haunts Tsvangirai – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Tsvangirai has been dragged to the Labour Court over failure to pay Moreprecision Muzadzi, who claims to have been behind bringing opposition leaders, including Welshman Ncube, Simba Makoni, Margaret Dongo and Dumiso Dabengwa, to rally behind his candidature.

Muzadzi claims that for the work done for Tsvangirai, he was supposed to receive two Nissan NP 200 vehicles from the MDC-T leader, which were supposed to come from one Western ambassador, together with a $7 800 pay cheque.

According to Labour Court papers, the project – codenamed One Zimbabwe, One Presidential Candidate – which was being run by Kisinoti Mukwazhi and Muzadzi, was supported by Western diplomats.

“Embassies got information about the project and we got invited. We saw ambassadors and first secretaries,” the papers read.

Mukwazhi is reported to have dumped Tsvangirai a week before the elections after a fight over unpaid allowances, and moved to join President Robert Mugabe.

Muzadzi wants Tsvangirai to make good his promise to pay the allowances and cars, which were promised despite failure by the loose coalition to secure electoral victory.

Further, Muzadzi alleges that in early October, following a meeting with Tsvangirai at his residence, there was an exchange of harsh words and threats, which led to a criminal matter being reported against Tsvangirai.

“We had a nasty altercation over the phone in which Tsvangirai, the respondent, made threats and bragged that I would never get a dime. I opened a docket at Braeside Police Station, where the member-in-charge then advised me to approach this court,” reads the papers.

Muzadzi, in case LC/H/APP/988/16, is seeking leave from the court to allow the matter to be heard even though time for the application had lapsed.

In the application, Muzadzi noted the delay was an attempt not to embarrass Tsvangirai over a paltry allowance. “The applicant didn’t want to tarnish the repute of the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe over the ‘paltry’ allowances ($7 800 and two Nissan NP 200 vehicles),” the papers read.

War vets unsure of Mugabe candidature

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will have to do more if he is to gain the confidence of war veterans and win their support in what is likely to be his last stab at being elected Zimbabwe’s leader.

Source: War vets unsure of Mugabe candidature – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mugabe (92), has already been declared Zanu PF’s candidate in the 2018 elections. He will be 94 and indications are that he may not get support from war veterans despite an apparent thawing of relations.

Mugabe and the former freedom fighters, under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) led by Christopher Mutsvangwa, have been at each other’s throats for the better part of this year.

Quizzed by journalists if the war veterans would endorse Mugabe’s candidature, Mutsvangwa told a Press conference on Monday: “It is not our position to say whether he should stand as the party’s candidate. We were expelled from the party and you would rather enquire with those still in it.

“But I must say that (late former Cuban leader) Fidel Castro died at 90 and had handed over power to a younger person for some years now.”

Matters came to a head in July after the war veterans issued a communiqué haranguing Mugabe for capturing Zanu PF and manipulating the former liberation movement in order to stay in power. The former freedom fighters also demanded that Mugabe passes on the baton.

“If he announces his retirement date, the economy will improve because there is nobody who will invest his money where the future is uncertain. Nobody will lend money to a 92-year-old and if he does not step aside, 2018 will be the most difficult year to campaign for us, as war veterans,” the communiqué read.

Mutsvangwa refused to promise Mugabe the support of the former freedom fighters.

“You can make your deductions from what I have said,” the former Cabinet minister said amid laughter.

Asked on his views regarding Zanu PF’s contentious “one centre of power principle”, Mutsvangwa retorted: “When we went to war, we fought for democracy and constitutionalism. While it is important to consolidate power, we must also understand that diversity of views in leadership is essential.”

Mugabe has watched helplessly as senior leaders in Zanu PF engage in a bitter war for control of the former liberation movement, amid the emergence of two distinct camps, with one openly rooting for his wife First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over.

The war veterans have thrown their weight behind a rival faction reportedly fronted by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mutsvangwa reminded Mugabe that the wartime guerilla leader owed his rise to power and popularity to the former freedom fighters.

“It was us, who sat and made sure Mugabe becomes the leader that he is. We sold his name to the masses across the length and breadth of this country. The freedom fighters sold his name in every village, not the party, because there were no structures to talk about,” he said.

“We respect President Mugabe as a revolutionary, but in revolutionary parlance there are no superior and inferior individuals. We are all equal and we all earned our place at the top table through individual contributions.”

Mutsvangwa said that the war veterans had accepted the reality that Zimbabwe was a multi-party democracy and now had “good relations even with opposition parties”.

 

Self-styled prophets con-artists: Chombo

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has said Zimbabweans should not believe in miraculous success being championed by some self-styled prophets, as most of them are con-artists.

Source: Self-styled prophets con-artists: Chombo – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

Addressing a Press conference yesterday on the proliferation of traditional healers accused of tormenting villagers across the country under the guise of cleansing ceremonies, Chombo said religious cults were duping desperate Zimbabweans, promising them a better life — even without sweat.

“People ought to know that there is no miracle to success, they have to work hard and ensure that they eat (the fruits of their labour) and not to be told that we can make you successful overnight,” Chombo, who was flanked by Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage minister Abednico Ncube, said.

Due to economic hardships facing the nation, desperate Zimbabweans have resorted to so-called prophets and other religious figures, exposing themselves to manipulation.

Chombo said, while the government did not regulate churches, people should engage the police whenever they felt cheated by fake preachers and self-styled traditional healers commonly known as tsikamutandas.

“We would like to warn these (tsikamutandas) to stop this behaviour of conning people of their valuables and strongly warn them that we will not sit idle and watch while they fleece the general public,” he said.

Ncube weighed in, saying people duped by either fake preachers or traditional healers, should approach chiefs and police for recourse.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday announced that it was in the process of introducing an electronic traffic management system to deal with rampant corruption and bribery along the traffic system — especially by police officers.

“The system has the capacity to monitor activities of deployed traffic personnel throughout the country in real time, detect unlicensed drivers, as well as fraudulently obtained licences,” Chombo said.

Mugabe keeps envoys guessing

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has kept at least four envoys from European capitals unaccredited months after they arrived in the country, citing a busy schedule.

Source: Mugabe keeps envoys guessing – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Diplomatic sources told NewsDay this week that one of the diplomats awaiting accreditation had to seek refuge in his house during an official function at his country’s embassy in Harare.

“The German ambassador-designate had to hide in his house during his country’s national day commemorations as the reception went on in the garden,” an impeccable source said.

“Other ambassadors waiting for accreditation are from Sweden, France and Portugal.”

Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha confirmed the situation.

“This is a very bad period and the President has been tied up with universities’ graduations as well as international engagements. He has been travelling a lot and that has made it difficult for us to find a way around the issue,” he said.

“But we are trying to find time. We had provisionally set December 1, but given the fact that the President is travelling to Cuba, which was not originally planned, that date would have to be moved as well.”

Mugabe’s international trips have been so frequent that during the first quarter of 2016, he had already gobbled over $50 million in foreign travel in a country that can hardly afford rudimentary medical supplies.

NewsDay heard that Mugabe had rescheduled the accreditation ceremonies at least five times since August.

“So far, Mugabe has scheduled the accreditation ceremony over five times and cancelled. The deputies are holding fort, as acting ambassadors, but you can imagine that some of them are now getting restless. With Christmas coming up, the whole thing has messed up contingency planning,” a source said.

“The Portuguese guy has been here since 2014 as chargé d’affaires (a diplomat who heads an embassy in the absence of the ambassador) and has since been promoted so he cannot be seen in public before he is accredited.”

Late deputy minister’s family seeks closure

The family of a senior Zapu official and late deputy minister, Jini Ntutha, who was killed in 1984 at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres, is still seeking answers to what really happened to their relative, as government has been evasive about the issue.

Source: Late deputy minister’s family seeks closure – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Ntutha, who was Mines deputy minister, was reportedly killed at his farm by unidentified people trailing his car.
Former Bulawayo councillor and family member, Michael Batandi Mpofu told a meeting organised by Ibhetshu Likazulu to remember Ntutha and that the family was still bitter about his callous murder.

“We are very angry because we haven’t found answers as to why he was killed? We also don’t
believe that whatever is happening in this country around the treatment of this region and its people gives us any hope that there is reconciliation,” he said.

“We just hear about reconciliation, but haven’t seen any efforts to achieve it. We don’t believe there are any serious efforts towards reconciliation when the person, who is supposed to push for it is going around giving us chicks.”

Mpofu was taking a dig at Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is responsible for the national healing and reconciliation portfolio and has been going around Bulawayo donating chicks every weekend for about three months now.

The former councillor said after Ntutha’s death, the family has been struggling.

“We tried all our best to hold it together. Ntutha died a disappointed man. It was a painful death. He died after being chased on foot for a long distance. As old as he was, he was chased by well-trained youngsters, who killed him,” he said.

“It has been difficult to cope and even to accept (his death). Answers are needed. We need to understand how a minister could be killed that way in an independent country. We still regard the Unity Day holiday on December 22 every year as a day of mourning our people, whose souls are still roaming the bushes.”

According to government sources, Ntutha, 60-years-old at the time, was killed by three anti-government dissidents, who chased him on foot for four kilometres before shooting him with automatic rifles.

However a New York Times report said diplomats in Harare expressed reservations on the official explanation, adding that Ntutha had earlier charged that army troops, posed as dissidents and then killed civilians.

The then Zapu secretary-general, Cephas Msipa, reportedly suggested that the government’s account of Ntutha’s killing was incongruous and called for a thorough investigation of all murders attributed to dissidents.

Kereke’s bail pending appeal postponed

Incarcerated former Bikita West MP, Munyaradzi Kereke’s bail pending appeal application on changed circumstances, yesterday failed to take place at the High Court and the hearing was postponed to tomorrow after the victim’s guardian requested time to go through Kereke’s submissions.

Source: Kereke’s bail pending appeal postponed – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The former legislator is serving a 10-year effective jail term for raping his relative’s 12-year-old daughter at gunpoint at his residence sometime in 2010.

The complainant in the matter, Francis Maramwidze, through his private lawyers representing the State, told High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi that Kereke had served them with his application late last Friday and, as such, they had not had ample time to read and to file their response.

The matter was eventually postponed by consent.

In his application through his lawyers, Mutandiro, Chetsanga and Associates, Kereke said he had lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and had three wives and 17 children, 10 of them minors, who rely on him for sustenance.

Kereke further said after the dismissal of his bail pending appeal application, his estranged wife, Elizabeth Sibanda visited him in prison and offered to be surety for his release on bail.

Sibanda is said to have offered her immovable property, as surety and to house Kereke until the finalisation of his appeal.

Sibanda is said to have offered a property in Mandara, while Kereke’s two other relatives, Arnold and Barbarah Chidakwa, also chipped in and offered a piece of land situated in Harare as surety for his release.

In the court papers, Sibanda is further said to have offered to fund any overhead costs that might be incurred in connection with a State, while implementing proposed house arrest on Kereke.

The former legislator is praying to be granted bail on condition that he deposits $3 000, surrenders title deeds for a Mandara property and for a piece of land offered by the Chidakwa family, that he resides at his given address until finalisation of the appeal and that he reports at Harare Central Police Station every day.

Govt, protesters go head-to-head over bond notes

THE government has threatened to crush today’s planned “grand” demonstration over the introduction of bond notes, but Tajamuka/Sesijikile and other organisers have vowed to fight back, vowing no amount of violence will stop them.

Source: Govt, protesters go head-to-head over bond notes – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI/XOLISANI NCUBE

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday said people should embrace bond notes, as they were already in circulation and stop what he termed grandstanding.

“They did not seek authority to do that (demonstrate) and, as a responsible government, we will not allow that to happen,” he said.

“Everyone has embraced the bond notes. Only the so-called Nera (National Electoral Reform Agenda), which is, in actual fact, a nonentity, is trying to make noise. They must embrace the bond notes and stop grandstanding.”

But the protest organisers vowed to go ahead and resist the police’s heavy-handedness.

MDC-T youth leader, Happymore Chidziva, under the #MyZimbabwe campaign, justified the demonstration, which comes after the introduction of bond notes, saying they had to fight “this economic genocide”.

“The government promised to consult people first and we know people were going to say no to the bond notes, but the government has forcefully introduced them against the will of the people,” he said.

“The demonstrations we are going to have now are called defiance campaigns. This is a period of defiance, which starts tomorrow (today) and the government will surely be defied by its people until it respects the people.

“We are basically not afraid of getting into the streets. People are prepared to mix and mingle with batons and teargas. We are not afraid. We are fighting against police brutality and the setting-up of the militia against the people. We will be in full force to defend the people.”

Tajamuka spokesperson, Silvanos Mudzvova said although the bond notes had begun circulating, they still needed to send a message to the government.

“We want the government to respect the Constitution of this country. Now they have started Parliamentary outreaches in provinces, yet these were supposed to be done before the bond notes were introduced,” he said.

“What it means is that the bond notes are not legal tender and people still have a right to refuse them.

“This is why we are saying, tomorrow (today), let’s meet and make sure that we bring out this message loud to RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) and to the government that we are not amused at the manner they are taking us back to the 2008 period.”

Many protests against the government have ended in violence following serious clashes between the police and the demonstrators.

At one point, the government introduced statutory instruments to ban people from demonstrating.

On Monday, police swooped on two Tajamuka leaders, Promise Mkwananzi and Mehluli Dube, who were addressing journalists in the capital.

Recently, suspected State-sponsored militia reportedly abducted leaders of a failed demonstration dubbed #MunhuWeseMuRoad (Everyone Into The Streets).

One of the organisers, Patson Dzamara, was hospitalised after the attack, while his vehicle and a colleague’s were burnt to shells.

‘Outlaw polygamy’

LEGISLATORS yesterday called for outlawing of polygamy as a way to end early child marriages.

Source: ‘Outlaw polygamy’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2016

by Veneranda Langa

This was raised during debate on a motion moved by MDC-T chief whip in the National Assembly, Innocent Gonese calling on Parliament to adopt and domesticate the Sadc Model Law on eradicating child marriages and protecting those already in marriage.

“MPs must lead by example because almost all governments acceded to the Maputo Protocol, which makes it clear that monogamy is the only form of marriage and we should stick by it,” he said.

Seconder of the motion, Paurina Mpariwa (MDC-T Mufakose) advocated for a ban of polygamy.

“If possible, our marriage laws must be amended to remove sections which allow men to marry two wives (polygamy) because that is how young girls find themselves being child brides,” she said.

The Sadc Model Law, if adopted and domesticated, encourages reproductive health communication to young boys and girls to ensure they are aware of dangers of indulging in premarital sex.

Jasmine Toffa (MDC Proportional Representation) said Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa should ensure that nightclubs and striptease clubs are monitored, as young girls were lured there to engage in prostitution.

Uzumba MP, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Zanu PF) said poverty was the main cause of child marriages, adding development of rural areas to end poverty was one way to eradicate it.

Fanny Chirisa (MDC-T Proportional Representation) said child marriages were dangerous in that children that fell pregnant in the process could give birth to deformed babies and endanger their reproductive health.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill to enable Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to issue bond notes went through the First Reading Stage and has been referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to check for its constitutionality.

24hr ultimatum for Moyo

Source: 24hr ultimatum for Moyo | The Herald November 29, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—

ACTING Prosecutor-General Advocate Ray Goba has said criminal allegations against Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo were well-substantiated and urged the Constitutional Court to issue an order compelling him to appear before a magistrate in terms of the law within 24 hours to answer to the charges.Prof Moyo, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund finance director Nicholas Mapute, stand accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to Zimdef.

Dr Gandawa and Mapute have since been placed on remand at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, but Prof Moyo filed an application at the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of his arrest

Responding to Prof Moyo’s challenge, Adv Goba said his office had perused the docket prepared by the investigators and reached a conclusion that there was an “overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion” that the politician and his accomplices committed fraud, theft, money laundering and criminal abuse of office.

“Upon perusal and proper consideration, it was concluded that the allegations were well-substantiated. It was further considered that there was, on the facts, most of which have not been disputed by the applicant (Minister Moyo), an overwhelmingly reasonable suspicion that the crimes of fraud, theft, money laundering and abuse of office had been committed by the applicant, other perpetrators and socii criminii working as a syndicate or racket.

“The applicant personally benefited from the proceeds of fraudulent diversion of funds from Zimdef accounts, to accounts operated by Godfrey Gandawa, his deputy through a beneficially-owned company called Fuzzy Technologies and another belonging to an associate,” reads Adv Goba’s opposing affidavit.

To that end, Adv Goba urged the court to dismiss with costs the constitutional challenge by Minister Moyo and instead direct that he immediately surrenders himself to the investigators and appear before a magistrate to answer to the charges.

“The application should be dismissed with the contempt it richly deserves with costs on the higher scale and order that the applicant surrenders to the investigating officer for purposes of appearance before a magistrate within 24 hours of the order of this Honourable Court in accordance with due process,” said Adv Goba.

Adv Goba and his team of chief law officers also picked from the docket that Minister Moyo authorised various transactions in which Zimdef lost close to $500 million.

“The applicant, on several occasions, approved fraudulent transactions which authorised the release of funds to Fuzzy Technologies and was at the end among others, the recipient of some of the funds by way of cash loans and payments from goods such as bicycles and tricycles for chiefs and villagers in his Tsholotsho constituency and furniture, as well as for unverifiable services purportedly rendered by other persons.

“An amount of almost half a million United States dollars in public funds, a very substantial amount by any account is involved,” reads the affidavit.

Adv Goba denied ever directing the police to arrest Minister Moyo, but instead said he only directed the Police Commissioner-General to follow due process of the law and assist in the finalisation of investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Acting PG said Prof Moyo did not deserve to be treated differently from other suspects.

“In the premise, it is respectfully submitted that the principle of equality before the law and the right to equal protection and benefit of the law enshrined in Section 50 of the Constitution is sacrosanct and must be observed.

“The wheels of justice must be allowed to swiftly turn so that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done.

“I submit that applicant’s application is unprecedented, violates the equality clause under Section 50 of the Constitution, is premature and wholly devoid of merit,” he said.

Minister Moyo early this month approached the apex court a day after his release challenging the manner in which he was arrested by Zacc on allegations of abusing in excess of $400 000 Zimdef funds.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku suspended the arrest of Minister Moyo, who was being represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri instructed by Mr Terrence Hussein, with the consent of the State.

In his main application, Minister Moyo is questioning the constitutionality of his arrest by Zacc and the role played by the police.

He argues that Zacc does not in terms of the Constitution have the power to arrest and detain suspects.

He also argues that the PG does not in terms of the Constitution, have the power to order the police to arrest an individual.

He sought to stop his appearance in court, describing it as an illegality.

The investigating officer Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha, he argued, could not be part of Zacc and the police at the same time, while Mr Goba had no power to order his arrest.

The court directed the parties to file all the relevant papers by December 2 this year, before the Registrar of the Constitutional Court set the matter down for hearing before a full bench of the apex court.

Air Zim plane fails to land

PASSENGERS flying to Bulawayo from Harare on Sunday had a nightmarish flight after the Air Zimbabwe plane failed to land at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport due to non-functioning navigation equipment and bad weather.

Source: Air Zim plane fails to land – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

The plane was forced to return to Harare.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Alpha Media head of marketing and communication, Nancy Ziyambi, who was among the passengers, said the captain announced that the plane would not land due to bad weather and non-functioning equipment.

“As we approached Bulawayo, we were advised that the plane could not land due to airport navigation equipment that was not working and the poor weather that affected visibility. The plane turned to Harare,” she said.

This happened on flight UM331 that left Harare for Bulawayo at 7am.

Ziyambi said the plane only made it on the second trip.

“When we got back to Harare, the passengers disembarked and had to wait for an hour before we started the journey again, this time landing safely,” she said.

There was no immediate comment from Air Zimbabwe.

Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Ripton Muzenda said he was driving and could not attend to the question.

“I am sorry I am not in the office. I am actually driving and cannot assist,” he said.

This is not the first time that the airline has failed to land in the recent past. The issues have always been related to visibility and failed navigation systems.

Air Zimbabwe also has problems in flying into the resort town of Kariba, particularly during hot summer days.

Temperatures in Kariba, which is in the Zambezi Valley, can reach nearly 50 degrees Celsius in summer.

Chaos rocks bond notes introduction

THERE was commotion in Harare yesterday, as some retailers refused to accept the newly introduced bond notes, saying they were still to acquaint themselves with the key security features of the surrogate currency.

Source: Chaos rocks bond notes introduction – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI/VICTORIA MTOMBA/TATENDA CHITAGU

This comes as bankers also raised concern over the manner and timeframe in which they were told to collect the bond notes on Sunday.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) sprung a surprise on Saturday when it announced the introduction of the bond notes, which went into circulation yesterday.

At one of the shops, NewsDay witnessed security guards having a torrid time trying to restrain angry customers, who were demanding answers on why the supermarket was refusing to accept the notes, while shop attendants said they risked accepting fake notes, as they were unaware of the security features.

Their explanation did little to calm restive customers, who were then joined by vendors in blasting the hasty release of the bond notes without adequate education.

NewsDay was inundated with calls from people complaining that some retailers were refusing to accept the new notes.
Some accused the RBZ of waylaying them on the matter, as they expressed fears that they might end up receiving fake notes.
“The problem is that the RBZ didn’t give us enough time to learn the security features, as former governor, Gideon Gono did. They should have released the specimens in time,” Isaac Mudzi said.

Despite the backlash, RBZ governor, John Mangudya defended his actions.

“There was no ambush at all. That’s the normal standard process of introducing new notes. Banks were advised on Sunday,” he said.

In the informal sector, some people said they would accept the notes once the formal sector embraced them, while vendors expressed reservations.

“Although we are accepting the bond notes, it still remains to be seen if they will also be accepted where we buy. I think we needed some education focusing on the security features,” Tendai Murambwa said.

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation director, Samuel Wadzai said they held a consultative meeting with their Harare Socio-Economic Champions, where it emerged that the informal sector had no confidence in the bond notes.

“None of the 25 who attended is ready as yet to transact in bond notes. Our membership does not have confidence in bond notes,” he said.

Some shop operators in Harare said they would accept the currency out fear of victimisation if they refused.
At some service stations, fuel attendants told NewsDay that they were accepting the bond notes,

Tajamuka leaders arrested ahead of ‘grand’ demo

POLICE yesterday disrupted a Tajamuka/Sesijikile-organised street Press conference and arrested two of its leaders Promise Mkwananzi and Mehluli Dube ahead of tomorrow’s demonstration against the government’s decision to introduce bond notes.

Source: Tajamuka leaders arrested ahead of ‘grand’ demo – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The Press conference was supposed to be addressed at the corner of Jason Moyo Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way, but was later moved to a shop veranda because of rain.

Before the Press conference, baton-wielding police details had sealed off the area, ordering passers-by to keep away or risk getting caught up in their operation.

Although other Tajamuka leaders fled, police swooped on the pair as hordes of people fled in different directions to avoid being caught up in the melee.

In his statement, Mkwananzi said they were starting a season of un-governability on the Zanu PF-led government.
“We call upon the government to step down immediately and allow for an inclusive political settlement as soon as it is practically possible,” he said.

“They failed dismally, not only on the issue of bond notes, but on various other issues, which we have noted in our 10-point plan of action. We, therefore, state our total rejection of the criminal currency and the entire Zanu PF government that brought the abject poverty and the suffering of our people.”

Mkwananzi said they had since informed the police of their demonstration and hoped the law enforcement agents would co-operate with them as per constitutional requirements.

He said all members and youth assemblies of political parties, youth organisations and formations and citizens in general would join the push to force Mugabe out of power to pave way for an all-inclusive government.

“November 30 marks the beginning of political un-governability. Tajamuka will be conducting demonstrations across the country until the issues we are highlighting have been resolved,” he said.

The MDC-T youth assembly has also vowed to shut down the capital tomorrow.

MDC-T youth boss, Happymore Chidziva said they had decided to combine their planned demonstration with Tajamuka’s.

“We have been peacefully engaging our government and the RBZ governor (John Mangudya) through different means on the issue of bond notes and other pointers to economic genocide. We have seen that the government will not listen to its own people, therefore, we have no option expect to just tell them that enough is enough.

“Let (President Robert) Mugabe and his regime know it’s time for defiance. Zimbabweans all over the country must show their anger on 30 November 2016,” he said.

Petrotrade grilled over Sakunda fuel deal

PETROTRADE was yesterday grilled by Parliament over a $5 million fuel contract they entered into with Sakunda Holdings without following proper tender procedures.

Source: Petrotrade grilled over Sakunda fuel deal – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Godfrey Ncube, the Petrotrade acting chief executive officer, yesterday appeared before the Daniel Shumba-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy together with other managers, Elisha Bokoro and Siphambaniso Kundai.

Ncube, who has been acting CEO for close to two years, acknowledged before the committee that State Procurement Board (SPB) procedures were not properly followed when 180 million litres were procured from Sakunda following instructions from Energy ministry secretary, Partson Mbiriri.

The contract between Petrotrade and Sakunda was entered into in May 2014 and expired in September this year.

“The reason for entering into this contract was that Sakunda had loaned $5 million to the government, and this was an interest-free loan,” Ncube said.

“As a result, there was an agreement that Sakunda would supply Petrotrade (a government company) with fuel,” he said, adding the contract did not however last for 12 months, because of economic challenges.

Quizzed on why Petrotrade did not follow the correct tender processes, Ncube said the procurement from Sakunda was through a spot tender, where the Energy ministry used a waiver within the Procurement Act to make decisions to procure goods without following tender procedures.

But MPs queried the provision in the State Procurement Act allowing the breach of SPB rules, accusing Mbiriri of violating corporate governance codes when he authorised the deal, claiming the loan from Sakunda was not to Petrotrade, but to government.

The committee also castigated that Petrotrade settled for Sakunda after being given a directive by Mbiriri, when the fuel dealer was charging high premiums, to which Ncube said the deal was that Petrotrade received the fuel in advance.

He said that there was a possibility that those companies charging low premiums would have smuggled contaminated fuel. Asked where they were now going to procure their fuel after expiry of their contract with Sakunda, Ncube said they would procure from other suppliers such as Total, Engen, Trafiqura, Glenco and even Sakunda.

But MPs warned Petrotrade to follow the correct procedures when they procure fuel.

Take a leaf from Castro, step down, Mugabe told

ZAPU has urged President Robert Mugabe to resign over his deteriorating health, taking a leaf from the late former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who retired from politics in 2008 due to failing health.

Source: Take a leaf from Castro, step down, Mugabe told – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said the opposition party benefited a lot from Castro’s leadership during the liberation struggle and said Mugabe must emulate him and resign due to his old age.

“We also commend and learnt from his wise leadership after he retired when the time for his retirement came. We urge Mugabe to pluck a leaf from Castro and do the right thing and resign over old age and reports of ill health,” he said.

Castro died aged 90 on Friday evening after a long battle with illness. Cuba has declared nine days of national mourning to mark his death.

Castro retired from politics in 2008 over failing health, and his brother, Raul succeeded him as President of Cuba.
Mugabe turns 93 next year and has been endorsed by his party as its 2018 presidential candidate.

He has regularly flown to the Far East to receive treatment, with analysts saying the frequency of the travels is synonymous with people of old age.

His critics have also said his frequent visits to the Far East were draining the cash-strapped country, urging Mugabe to retire and give way to a younger and agile leader.

“Zapu is appreciative of Cuban assistance during the liberation struggle and at this time, Castro was the leader.
It is Castro’s wish to see the world as an equal platform for humanity and human development that he invested his time and resources assisting in the decolonisation of African States.

“Zapu is one of the authentic liberation movements in Africa that got immense assistance from Cuba under Castro and, as such, Zimbabwe became a direct beneficiary of his dream of an Africa free from Western colonisation and dominance,” Maphosa said.

Castro helped lead the Cuban Revolution, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the several United States presidents during his half-century rule.

. . . court throws out challenge

Source: . . . court throws out challenge | The Herald November 29, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—

Judge President George Chiweshe has dismissed, with costs, an application by a Harare businessman challenging the legality of Statutory Instrument 133-2016 that backed the release of bond notes into circulation.Mr Fredrick Charles Mutanda also contested the constitutionality of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act that was used in the promulgation of the bond notes law.

Through his lawyers — Mr David Drury and Advocate Girach Firoz — Mr Mutanda argued that the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act was unconstitutional in that it violated Parliament’s primary law-making role, thereby encroaching on the doctrine of separation of powers.

The lawyers argued that the issuance of legal tender in the form of bond notes and coins was unlawful as it fell outside recognised legal tender and currencies as provided for by the RBZ Act.

Justice Chiweshe yesterday handed down the judgment, dismissing the application after the new notes and coins had already hit the market.

The judge ruled that the matter lacked urgency and that the concerns raised by Mr Mutanda were speculative.

“More importantly, the applicants have not established, to the satisfaction of the court that the introduction of bond notes would cause them irreparable harm.

“The third and fourth respondents (RBZ and its Governor Dr John Mangudya) have clearly spelt out, as monetary authorities, the objectives sought to be met by the introduction of bond notes.

“The concerns of the applicants are not based on any objective facts. What the applicants foresee as the inevitable consequence of the introduction of bond notes is, to all intents and purposes, based on speculation.

“I am satisfied that the requirements for urgency have not been met in this application and for that reason, the application cannot succeed.

Accordignly, it is ordered that the application be and is hereby dismissed with costs,” ruled the Judge President.

During the hearing, Adv Mpofu argued that the bond notes were supported by the RBZ Act hence their issuance was lawful.

He also slammed the applicant for the manner he challenged the Presidential Powers.

“It is not possible for a serious litigant to challenge the constitutionality of the whole Act. Is the title of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) unconstitutional, is the short title unconstitutional. A serious litigant will identify the provisions and juxtapose them with the Constitution,” said Adv Mpofu.

Adv Mpofu said promulgation of a Statutory Instrument did not constitute usurping of Parliament’s primary lawmaking process which, in any case was subject to review by Parliament.

Presidential Powers, he said, had a life span of six months.

Adv Mpofu submitted that by challenging the issuance of bond notes, the applicant was questioning the policymaking role of the Executive.

He said issues like export incentives and measures aimed at curbing foreign currency leakages were policy decisions which rested with the Executive.

Bond notes acting as supplements: RBZ

THE bond note is supplementing what the banks were already giving to depositors and the maximum withdrawal of the new currency is $50, the central bank explained yesterday.

Source: Bond notes acting as supplements: RBZ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya yesterday said the maximum withdrawal limit for bond notes per day is $50, which means if the bank was giving $100, then the bank can give up to $150.

“Bond notes are supplementing what banks were already doing, not substituting,”he said.

Sources in the banking sector yesterday queried the central bank’s decision to introduce bond notes, whose features they were unaware of, saying they were unsure on the modalities of how the currency would work.

RBZ sprung a surprise on Saturday when it announced the introduction of bond notes, which went into circulation today.

In separate interviews yesterday, NewsDay established that the central bank called bankers on Sunday to go to the RBZ cash depot to collect bond notes without any prior meeting on how the notes would work.

“We took the money and distributed to the branches today (yesterday). The branches did not know how the money was to be distributed,” one banker said on condition of anonymity.

Sources said there was a lot of confusion, as bank tellers needed to understand the features as well as communicate them to the depositors.

“We are sure that people are going to hold on to their US dollars, and we are not sure if we will continue receiving deposits,” a banking source said.

Some banks were issuing out $50 in bond notes and others $50 in United States dollars.

Mangudya said: “There was no ambush at all. That’s normal standard process of introducing new notes. Banks were advised on Sunday.”

Local economist, Prosper Chitambara said the lack of clarity was a big problem and the way the bond notes were introduced was shocking.

“The emergence of the parallel market is certain because the market cannot support 1:1 with the US dollar currency, as it is a loan,” he explained.

Some supermarkets were yesterday refusing bond notes, as they said they were not aware of the features and needed time for their workers to acquaint themselves with the new currency.

The central bank introduced bond notes yesterday and said depositors should get a maximum of $150 bond notes per week.

The bond notes are said to be backed by a $200 million loan facility from the African Export Import Bank.

Zapu dissolves Bulawayo structures

ZAPU has dissolved its Bulawayo provincial committee over poor performance and appointed an interim committee to run the party’s affairs, pending election of a new provincial committee.

Source: Zapu dissolves Bulawayo structures – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

The interim committee is expected to prepare the province for elections to choose a new substantive committee in January 2017.

Zapu national chairperson, Isaac Mabuka confirmed the developments that took place on Sunday.

“Yes, I can confirm that we have dissolved the Bulawayo province,” he said.

“We are going to have elections for a new committee in January. We dissolved it because its performance, compared to other provinces, was very poor.”

Bulawayo provincial spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa confirmed the developments, saying the province was expected to come up with a new committee, and to reorganise its structures.

“We are preparing for elections (in January) to reconstitute the province, and that means not only reconstituting the committee, but the whole structure.”

Maphosa said there were reports of fist-fights at the Sunday meeting because “some people were resisting the dissolution”.

“Apparently, there are people, who wanted to resist the dissolution,” he said.

“However, they have now backed down and accepted.”

Outgoing chairperson, Gibson Sibanda confirmed the development, but refused to shed more light.

“It is difficult for me as the target of the axe to defend myself,” he said.

“But at the meeting, we outlined what we have achieved, as a province even though some people were not convinced that things are moving well.”

Bulawayo province has had challenges dating back to 2012, when the then chairperson, Ray Ncube, was expelled on allegations of disrespecting protocol.

This was after Ncube wrote a letter directly to the party president, Dumiso Dabengwa outlining some of the challenges the party was facing in the province.

Hardly a month after Ncube’s expulsion, the party suspended the national youth representative in the national executive council, Mqondisi Moyo, for gross insubordination.

A defiant Moyo refused to attend a disciplinary committee hearing dismissing the committee as “a kitchen cabinet”, that had already resolved to expel him.

Moyo now leads Mthwakazi Republic Party, as president.

Crushing dissent: Democracy premised on diversity, tolerance

THE continued inhuman and degrading torture of protesters by suspected State security apparatchiks casts a colossal shadow on the integrity, commitment to rule of law and the general democracy of the Republic of Zimbabwe at a time when the world’s eyes are fixed on the Southern African nation over the implementation of key reforms.

Source: Crushing dissent: Democracy premised on diversity, tolerance – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

It would appear no one in government took heed of the urgent and overwhelming need to improve the country’s despicable human rights record in light of last month’s ratification of the international debt by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Zimbabwe’s human rights record just got worse in a manner that makes the country unsellable to the international community comprising multi-lateral lenders.

Organisers of a demonstration against bond notes were the subjects of callous battering when soldiers allegedly ran amok in the high-density suburbs of Glen Norah and Budiriro indiscriminately beating up revellers for “rejecting bond notes”.

The previous week, it was human rights defenders Patson Dzamara and Ishmael Kauzani, among many others, who were the victims of severe assault.

These happenings have left a huge dent on Zimbabwe’s ability to reform or democratise as a nation guided by a Constitution.

The damaging reports, as expected, reached foreign nations faster than lightning and it was all over in the foreign media.

Foreign newsrooms began with the words: “Zimbabwe’s atrocious human rights record went a gear up this week when . . . ”

However, it is not so much material what these reports say as the State’s attitude to the perturbing events.

That people can be maimed with such severity for voicing their concerns demonstrates the height of impenitence characterising our national leadership.

It is shocking when a country wantonly disregards national principles embodied in its own supreme law for people have a right to protest.

This saps away all the confidence of international institutions such as the IMF; it will perpetually be held that Zimbabwe has failed to democratise.

The very Constitution, upon which proper governance of this nation is premised, becomes a worthless document in view of what took place last week.

The right to protest is expressly guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.

It further befuddles the mind that we hear of some militia offering to help in the suppression of dissenting voices.

This, on its own, indicates the height of lawlessness gripping the country.

It may as well be said that the country has become a banana republic, as no one else is mandated with enforcing the law, except the rightful enforcers, who are the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

In any case, even the ZRP cannot go on a senseless rampage assaulting protesters as we continue to witness.

It is time that government and Zanu PF, in particular, respected and accepted diversity, which is the very essence of democracy.

Differences in opinion do not make your brother an enemy. Zimbabweans wield the right to differ from the government and are allowed to protest.

Instead of exerting assiduous effort on things like mending the broken economy, righting the awful human rights record and delivering on election promises, the government chooses to maim its own.

Honestly, the efforts strenuously invested in the crushing of dissent would have the country at the apex should the efforts had been expended in patching-up the economy.

Crushing of dissent, in the last months, has proven to be so methodical and well co-ordinated.

There is an air of “care” and cohesion in quelling protests than there is in attending to the economic quandary.

Why people should be savagely beaten like animals defies logic. What crime is it to hold a different opinion and to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate?

Zimbabweans are well within their rights to demand good governance and comment over things that affect their daily bread.

There are no jobs and now cash shortages have become the order of the day. Why should these things not be pointed out in a supposed democracy?

The economy cannot wriggle its way out of a 16-year-old paralysis and people have a right to speak out.

There is an all-pervading thinking that anyone who points out to the economic malady in this country and failed governance is not patriotic and, therefore, an enemy of the State.

This line of thinking represents one of the most facile ways of political thinking.

Patriotism is not the same as myopia. Patriotism means loving one’s country to the end that one is willing to even die in defence of its proper governance.

No political party has a monopoly over what constitutes patriotism. It is a right bestowed upon the citizenry to demand the good governance of its country.

True democracy is one that can be traced back to the people. It is literally rule of the people by the people.

That the people spoke through the Constitution sanctifies the Constitution.

It is time the government learnt adherence to the respect of human rights and the upholding of true democracy premised on tolerance of divergent views.

Strategise before taking to the streets

Opposition parties are planning a demonstration tomorrow and they hope this will gain traction compared with previous protests, as people wary of the recently introduced bond notes are likely to join in.

Source: Strategise before taking to the streets – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

We have lost count of the number of demonstrations that have been held in the past five months, yet nothing has changed.

It is one thing to hold a demonstration for the sake of holding one and another to have a strategy with set goals and targets.

Failure to set goals and targets will result in Zimbabweans being weary and sceptical of demonstrations and this will ultimately lead to these protests flopping.

Opposition parties should set tangible goals for their actions, because, from a layman’s point of view, these protests are not achieving anything except the obvious violence with which the State will respond.

These demonstrations are akin to the opposition boycott of elections, whose objective nobody seems not to know.

Opposition parties say they will not participate in elections until there is electoral reform, but Zanu PF is intent to forge ahead and will pay a deaf ear to their concerns, while at the same time consolidating its hold on Parliament.

It is quite clear that there is no Plan B and the opposition are just prodding along and hoping for a lucky break, rather than a carefully laid-out plan.

The questions the opposition parties should be asking themselves is “then what?” each time they plan an action.

We are yet to learn what the plan was about boycotting elections and also with demonstrations.

Zanu PF, as it has reiterated, will not reform itself out of power, so on that end boycotting elections alone is inadequate, and, we dare say, a poor strategy.

The same is likely to happen with these demonstrations; Zanu PF is likely to use violence and brute force to crush them and then what?

Before weariness takes root, opposition leaders should lead these demonstrations from the front, as this will embolden their supporters to follow suit.

The opposition, could, for example, say we are taking to the streets for an infinite number of days until Zanu PF agrees to certain reforms.

These are examples of what the opposition could do to reinvigorate their supporters and win new followers, otherwise tomorrow’s planned demonstrations are not going to be any fruitful.

Without a clear strategy, the script for tomorrow’s demonstration is quite predictable: The police will deploy heavily, opposition members will try to converge at the open space near Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts, teargas will be thrown, several people arrested and they will be violence and the following day, things will proceed like nothing happened.

Then what is the point of these demonstrations if they are going to be this predictable?

Kereke seeks bail pending appeal

Former Bikita West legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke, who is serving a 10-year jail term for raping a minor, has applied for bail at the High Court citing changed circumstances.

Source: Kereke seeks bail pending appeal – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Through his lawyers, Mutandiro, Chetsanga and Associates, Kereke said he had lived in Zimbabwe most of his life and has three wives and 17 children, 10 of whom are minors, who rely on him for sustenance.

His lawyers said Kereke previously succeeded in applying for bail, while the court observed that he had limited chances of success in his matter, but he never absconded.

In the application, the lawyers stated that after the dismissal of the application for bail pending appeal, Kereke’s estranged wife, Elizabeth Sibanda visited him in prison and offered to be surety for his release on bail.

It is indicated that Sibanda offered an immovable property, as surety and to accommodate him until finalisation of his appeal.

Sibanda offered a property in Mandara, two other people, Arnold and Barbarah Chidakwa, also came forward and offered a piece of land situated in Harare as surety for his release.

The lawyers said Sibanda further offered to fund any overhead costs that might incurred in connection with the State implementing any house arrest on Kereke.

The lawyers proposed that Kereke be granted bail on condition that he deposits $3 000 with the clerk of court at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, that he surrenders title deeds for a Mandara property and for a piece of land offered by the Chidakwa family and that he resides at his given address until finalisation of the appeal.

They also proposed that he reports at Harare Central Police Station every day between 6am and 6pm.

The State is still to respond to Kereke’s application that was filed on Friday.

Mugabe launches new currency in ‘last gamble’ for Zimbabwe

Many fear ‘bond notes’ will cause hyperinflation as protests grow against autocratic 92-year-old’s rule

Source: Mugabe launches new currency in ‘last gamble’ for Zimbabwe | World news | The Guardian 28 November

Zimbabwe has launched a controversial new currency in a last ditch bid to inject desperately needed cash into its failing economy.

Many ordinary people fear the new “bond notes”, issued on Monday by the central bank in Zimbabwe, will trigger economic chaos, wiping out savings and causing massive hardship for millions.

Zimbabwe has been ruled by Robert Mugabe, 92, since 1980. Some observers have called the bond notes the autocratic president’s “last gamble”.

The central bank says bond notes will ease crippling shortages of currency, but there are fears their introduction could encourage rampant printing of cash, as happened in 2008.

Only the introduction of the dollar as the official currency in 2009 halted an economic meltdown.

In recent months there has been unrest after the Zimbabwean government was repeatedly forced to delay salary payments to teachers, doctors, soldiers and administrators.

The country is also suffering high unemployment, a severe drought and is threatened by famine in some parts.

The bond notes will be officially interchangeable 1:1 with the US dollar, and banking officials said last week they would be deposited directly into US dollar accounts, where they would be reflected as dollar balances.

Few appear reassured. “I just want to try to purchase something from one of the big supermarkets,” said Tennison Tigere, a 36-year-old street hawker, shortly after withdrawing $50 of bond notes from a bank in Harare, the capital.

“People are sceptical because of what happened to our old currency in the past when the money lost its value. That is why they think it could happen again.”

Pro-government newspapers announced the issue and said “the majority of people” were optimistic that the new notes would resolve “the cash shortages afflicting the economy”.

However, news agencies reported a run on the banks as Zimbabweans tried to empty their accounts of hard currency.

The prospect of the introduction of the notes has also fuelled some of the largest protests in a decade against Mugabe. This month, authorities arrested dozens who were planning to demonstrate against the move.

Those detained include Patson Dzamara, a high-profile opponent of Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF party, who was found at a local hospital 24 hours after his burnt out car was discovered.

Dzamara – who appeared to have been badly beaten with sticks, according to pictures posted on social media – was one of the coordinators of a coalition of opposition groups that had pledged to “shut down” major cities in Zimbabwe to protest against corruption, alleged human rights violations and the bond notes.

The UK and the EU condemned the arrests.

Observers say the pressure on Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, and the Zanu-PF party is immense. Ignatious Chombo, Zanu-PF’s administration secretary, accused western embassies in Harare and opposition parties of trying to cause anarchy.

Mugabe will seek re-election in 2018. Zanu-PF retained power after elections in 2013, which were tainted by allegations of vote-rigging.

Tendai Biti, an opposition politician, predicted earlier this month that the bond notes would be a disaster. He said: “We are already in a disastrous situation. We are in a deep recession. If you add bond notes there will be the return of the black market, hyperinflation. It will be a dog’s breakfast.”

President off to Cuba for Fidel Castro’s burial

Source: President off to Cuba for Fidel Castro’s burial | The Herald November 29, 2016

Herald Reporter
President Mugabe left the country yesterday for Havana, Cuba, to attend the burial of that country’s founding President Fidel Castro Ruz who died last Friday at the age of 90.

President Mugabe, who was seen off at Harare International Airport by his two deputies Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet ministers, services chiefs and senior Government officials, was accompanied by Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, among other officials.

VP Mphoko is the Acting President.

President Mugabe joins other Heads of State and Government attending the burial of a man who spent decades fighting more than 10 US administrations’ economic embargo on the Caribbean island.

Cde Fidel, a revered guerilla leader, together with Che Guevara and others led the revolution that saw the overthrow of the Batista regime in 1959 and ruled Cuba for five decades.

He died almost 10 years after stepping down from power due to poor health and after having ceded power to defence minister Raul Castro Ruz, his brother.

The late Cuban leader was admired by many African and developing countries the world over as they saw him as a revolutionary who stood up against the US that bullied and vilified poor countries.

Cde Fidel’s body was cremated on Saturday in line with his wishes: “According to the will expressed by comrade Fidel, his body will be cremated in the early hours” of November 26, 2016, said President Raul.

The government declared a nine-day period of mourning.

His cremated ashes will be laid to rest at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba on December 4.

Reports say the Cuban Government invited people to Havana’s Revolution Square for a two-day ceremony with a thunderous cannon salute that could be heard throughout much of the capital.

The world is indeed mourning the death of Cde Fidel, a revolutionary par excellence.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday declared eight days of national mourning in honour of one of the 20th century’s iconic figure.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also declared three days of mourning and said it would keep flags at half-mast to honour Cde Fidel, its state news agency KCNA said.

In Japan, Kyodo said a senior lawmaker would head to Cuba in lieu of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Gushungo dairy bombing suspects face indictment

Three members of the Zimbabwe National Army, who were early this year arrested on allegations of attempting to bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy processing plant, were yesterday remanded to December 13.

Source: Gushungo dairy bombing suspects face indictment – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The suspects appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court and will be back on December 13 when they are expected to be indicted to the High Court for trial.

The quartet of Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makumbe, Silas Pfupa and former police officer, Owen Kuchata, who is serving nine years for banditry and money-laundering, are facing treason charges.

The four men appeared before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti, where prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa told the court the State was expecting to receive the indictment papers before the next remand date.

Defence lawyer, Gamuchirai Dzitiro consented to the postponement of the matter after her application to have the suspects removed from remand was dismissed by the court based on the seriousness of the offence.

Makumbe and Pfupa were represented by Dzitiro and Ngwenya was represented by Exactly Mangezi, while Kuchata was self-acting.

The State alleges Kuchata, Makumbe, Pfupa and Mangezi established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

On January 1, it is alleged they went to President Robert Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba, where they identified suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.

The State alleges the four held several meetings at Queens Hotel in Harare, mapping strategies on how they would strike, but police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant, leading to their arrest.

Hotels, lodges fully booked for Zanu PF conference

Hotels and lodges in and around Masvingo are fully booked for the forthcoming Zanu PF conference scheduled for December 13 to 17 at the Masvingo Showgrounds.

Source: Hotels, lodges fully booked for Zanu PF conference – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 29, 2016

By Tatenda Chitagu

More than 7 000 delegates are expected to attend the conference, according to the party’s provincial chairperson, Amasa Nenjana.

Among those expected are President Robert Mugabe’s bloated security team, local and international journalists, legislators, ministers as well as conference delegates and Zanu PF members.

The usually sleepy city is expected to burst into life before and during the event, while vendors are expecting a windfall.

A snap survey revealed that most of the hotels, lodges and even brothels were fully subscribed for the dates, more than a fortnight before the event.

A hotelier, who spoke to NewsDay, confirmed that reservations had already been made and their facilities would be fully booked for the event.

“Many people have made reservations for accommodation and we will be fully booked days before. If you want accommodation during the event, I am sorry we cannot accommodate you,” she said.

Masvingo provincial chairperson of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe, Fredrick Kasese could not be reached for a comment yesterday. However, he is on record saying Masvingo can accommodate 400 guests, meaning there will be a deficit of rooms.

Nenjana said the party had organised extra accommodation at tertiary institutions and schools in the province.

“We have made arrangements for 7 000 beds for our delegates. Some of the complementary bedding will come from colleges and universities, as well as schools in and around the city,” he said at a tour of the venue last week.

Nenjana said 55 beasts and $60 000 cash has been raised so far for the delegates.

Vendors are optimistic of making a killing from the event, while other downstream benefits in the tourism sectors like monuments seeing, boat cruises and game viewing are expected to inject revenue into the local economy.

And not to be outdone, sex workers said they expect brisk business during the event.

“It is an early Christmas for us and we expect to get ‘big fish’ from Harare. These guys are big spenders,” boasted one lady of the night only identified as Rudo.

Is Land Nationalisation in Zimbabwe a form of slavery?

Harare – Last week I went back to the grave of my father-in-law, Mike Campbell, on De Rus farm in Chegutu, 100 km south of Harare. I snuck onto the farm, which was taken over last year, on foot. It was eerie walking down the towering avenue of jacarandas planted by my friend’s great grandfather. They were bare without a single flower, nor even any leaves. Normally there would have been a haze of cooling blue in the high canopy but there wasn’t even one pool of blue flowers in the driveway.

Source: Is Land Nationalisation in Zimbabwe a form of slavery? – The Zimbabwean 29.11.2016

I called Heidi, whose parents own De Rus farm, on my cell phone.  “I am on De Rus and the jacarandas aren’t flowering,” I told her.  “It’s as though they’ve gone on strike.  They are crying out about what has happened.”

The process of land nationalisation in Zimbabwe has been going on ever since Independence in 1980.  Initially land was paid for – and a total of 3.6 million hectares was bought for “re-distribution.”  It was not re-distributed though.  The State held onto that land and only people supportive of Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party received any part of the land.  It was a control mechanism to ensure the rural people could be controlled by the ruling Party.  Approximately 70 percent of the population lives in the rural areas and so this vital voting bloc had to be kept secure from any opposition.  If people went against the ruling party, they could be thrown off the land – because they had not been given title to it.  A feudal slavery to the party was being established.

After a viable opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was formed in 1999, the process of land nationalisation had to be sped up.  Land was violently seized.  Invaders were sent in by the ruling party to terrorise the farm workers because they formed a substantial voting bloc of perhaps a quarter of the population of the country.  Within a month of the violent invasions, no opposition party rallies could be held on either the commercial farms – or the former commercial farms – ever again.  Soon after that, all diplomatic efforts by international ambassadors to go out to the farms to see what was going on were also stopped.  Total control was being achieved.

I believe it is fair to say that the only currency that the ruling ZANU PF party has left is fear.  Over the intervening 16 years, fear levels have been continually stoked.  A constant barrage of propaganda is spewed out.  95 percent of white farmers have been evicted.  The farms of the few who have escaped so far are slowly being ‘listed’, one by one. The draconian Section 72 of the new Constitution allows that once a farm is ‘listed’, a farmer is actually committing a ‘crime’ by farming if he is still doing so after 90 days.  Farmers continue to be criminally prosecuted all the time.  Others have had to join the protection money racket where they have to pay ZANU PF ministers to be able to stay farming.   Others are beaten and made examples of – or killed.

I arrived unseen at the grave site.  It is unmarked.  We left it like that.  There seemed little point in putting up a gravestone after Mike was buried and the farm was then invaded.  It was likely to get vandalised.  My father-in-law was a leading commercial farmer who had been made an example of.  He approached the law – and finally the Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community – and got a judgment to try to stop land nationalisation and the destruction and dependence it caused.  The ruling party didn’t like that.  We were abducted and Mike was beaten so badly in their attempt to get him to sign a bit of paper that we would withdraw from the courts, that he never recovered.   Mugabe then managed to get the SADC Tribunal closed down.  Courts are not good for the unjust.  Mike was buried on De Rus opposite another farmer who was murdered in his bed on his farm.

Some of the more compliant white farmers are allowed to go back onto stolen farms – but, like dogs that need to be controlled, they are kept on a very short leash.  The Vice President – and President elect – Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been promoting what he calls “Command Agriculture”.  Those that partake in it are controlled.  None of the white farmers who have gone back to farm will speak to the press.  None of them will expose injustices going on around them.  If they do, they know full well that all they have invested in growing crops will once again be taken away.

Afterwards, I met up with one of the farm workers from De Rus.  Last year nearly 300 of them had jobs.  This year none of them are working.  Like the jacaranda trees, the farm lies eerily dormant.

I asked him how he was surviving

“We are hungry,” I was told.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Even water we now have to pay 1 dollar for each time we collect 4 buckets.”

I was horrified.  I thought about it.  In a dry and thirsty land water is essential to life.   On a flat farm with no rivers or dams, the people would die without water.  They were now like the bare jacarandas with no leaves or flowers.   They had no jobs, no houses – apart from the ones they were still clinging onto on the farm, and no way of sending their children to school because it costs around US$40 per child per term.  And now this “new farmer”, who was stripping the farm by selling off all the assets he could – which has happened on commercial farms across the country – was charging this exorbitant sum for the water they needed to survive.

I worked it out.  By last year, Heidi’s family were on the last 30 hectares of their 1,200 hectare farm.  They would have had to have a capacity of about 150,000 litres of water an hour from boreholes to irrigate the 30 hectares.  If that water had been sold to poor and desperate people at the rate it was being sold now by the new farmer, it would have bought in US$1,875 an hour at a pumping cost of perhaps US$10!

“That’s slavery!” I said.

That’s what land nationalisation has done, I realised.  No-one is accountable any more.  The powerful can do what they like.  The people are held in a slavery of feudal patronage, reliant on the ruling party for food and shelter and even water.  Justice dies.  And when ordinary people die, they are buried and lie in unmarked graves under trees that do not want to flower any more.”

Video on Day 1 of Bond Notes in Harare CBD

IN THIS VIDEO: We visit the Harare city centre to check the situation on the first day after the introduction of bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Source: Video on Day 1 of Bond Notes in Harare CBD – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

Bank queues remained quite long because with some banks giving out $50 worth of bond notes per transaction

Some retail outlets were refusing to accept the new notes, while others embraced them

Vendors were equally still sckepital, but the majority were accepting the new notes.

There were been reports, though unverified, of fake notes circulating, and wary vendors said they were closely inspecting the new notes before accepting them.

Members of the public felt ambushed by the last minute announcement of the features of the new notes.

On Tuesday we give you Day 2 update.

Zimbabwe cash crunch forces Fastjet to scale down flights

Source: Zimbabwe cash crunch forces Fastjet to scale down flights | IOL  28 November 2016

Harare – Budget airline operator Fastjet – which has stopped flights between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls – has cautioned that online purchases for tickets from Zimbabwe are curbed at $200 (R2 815) owing to the continuing cash crunch in the country.

Zimbabwe is battling for foreign currency and a liquidity crunch is threatening to cut fuel and electricity supplies, as well as commodities in shops.

Travel agents and other companies in the tourism industry are advising travellers to Zimbabwe to carry with them sufficient cash as banks often run out of bank notes.

“Service frequency between Harare, Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, South Africa, has been increased, while services between Johannesburg and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, will be suspended as from next month,” Fastjet said on Friday.

Rationalise

This has been a result of the group’s “continued process of assessing its route network”, and its bid to rationalise routes to “match supply levels with demand” in the markets.

The developments at Fastjet have come in light of mounting cash shortages in Zimbabwe that have seen banks being asked to curb Visa and Mastercard transaction values at about $200 per day.

Zimbabwe is encouraging the usage of electronic payments and mobile money, but has imposed restrictions on bank card usage, even when travelling outside the country.

Fastjet has informed travellers wishing to book tickets using credit cards that transaction values are now curbed. “Zimbabwean Visa/Master Cards for online purchases above $200 may not be processed as a result of the current financial situation in Zimbabwe,” it said.

The company, looking to boost its operations through a fresh capital raising exercise, has also announced the resignation of non-executive chairman, Colin Child. Fastjet chief executive, Nico Bezuidenhout, will assume the vacant post and handle both positions until a replacement is appointed.

With the traditionally lucrative festive season beckoning, Fastjet executives are anticipating a surge in the volumes of travellers between Zimbabwe, Tanzania and South Africa to drive revenue generation.

“The remaining routes within Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and between these countries and South Africa, are all projected to positively contribute to fixed cost during December 2016,” it said.

Farmer-led irrigation in Africa: driving a new Green Revolution?

A new open access review paper is just out in the Journal of Peasant Studies on farmer-led irrigation in Africa. The authors, led by Phil Woodhouse, define farmer-led irrigation development as “a process where farmers assume a driving role in improving their water use for agriculture by bringing about changes in knowledge production, technology use, investment patterns and market linkages, and the governance of land and water”.

Source: Farmer-led irrigation in Africa: driving a new Green Revolution? | zimbabweland

Covering a huge array of literature and many cases (although surprisingly very little from Zimbabwe), the paper offers a fantastically useful overview of the debate about what form of irrigation is most likely to support increases in smallholder production and livelihoods in Africa.

The paper in particular identifies furrow systems in mountainous areas, valley bottom/vlei systems, small-scale pumping from wells/open water, and peri-urban agriculture, as areas where farmer-led irrigation is important. All of these are important in Zimbabwe, whether the famous furrow systems of Inyanga, the ‘wetland in dryland’ vlei or dambo cultivation in the miombo zones, small-scale pump systems everywhere, and the massive growth of cultivation in and around towns and cities. Yet such forms of irrigation are often not acknowledged, nor counted in the statistics or supported by donor investments and government policy. This is of course not a new argument, but it’s one that has become more pertinent given the rise of small-scale, informal irrigation systems, with the decline of state support for formal schemes and the decline in costs of pumps in particular allowing informal systems to expand.

There was one statistic that really struck me in the paper, based on work by Beekman and colleagues in Mozambique. They estimate that over 115,000 ha are irrigated by farmers on a small scale. Accounting for this area, this would nearly double the national total irrigated area. Perhaps not to such an extent, but the total area irrigated in Zimbabwe is surely a gross underestimate too. This is a pattern increasingly seen by more detailed satellite-based estimates of irrigated areas globally. Estimates vary but there are approximately 150,000 hectares of irrigation land in Zimbabwe, mostly in large-scale schemes, including the sugar estates. The irrigation infrastructure in Zimbabwe, however, is in a sorry state, but people are compensating by digging boreholes or pumping from open water bodies directly. Earlier blogs and some of our films profiled ‘irrigation entrepreneurs’ operating small-scale farmer designed and managed irrigation systems, mostly for market-oriented horticultural production.

Our data from Mvurwi area in Mazowe district in 2014-15 showed that 34% of A1 households in our sample of 220 had pumps, with 0.44 on average being bought per household in the five years from 2010. Around 12% of households have irrigated plots on their main fields, while all households have gardens, either at the home or by a nearby river/stream. Even former farm workers living in compounds are buying pumps, as they branch out into farming (see earlier blogs), with 0.2 pumps on average bought per household in the same period. Pumps now cost only around $200 for a cheap Chinese make, and these can irrigate small gardens. Some are upgrading to larger engines, while others are expanding production areas through storage systems, and having a series of pumps. The extent of such irrigated areas is not known, but just taking our study areas in Mazowe, Masvingo and Matobo districts, my estimate is that it’s considerable.

The JPS paper highlights five characteristics of farmers’ investment in irrigation. They all apply in Zimbabwe, and each has important policy implications.

  1. Farmers invest substantially. Whether this is in new pumps or pipes or furrow systems in mountain areas or in vleis, irrigation requires investments of cash and labour. This is significant, and as we saw in our survey data from land reform areas in Zimbabwe, pumps in particular have become a priority investment, across social groups and geographical areas.
  2. Interactions among farmers, external agencies and the rural economy are crucial. Too often studies of irrigation focus just on the technology, but not on the interactions required and generated. In Zimbabwe, most new irrigation is spontaneous, independent of the state, NGOs and projects. But connections with the rural economy are important. There is a whole new set of businesses emerging for selling, maintaining and repairing pumps. And the production generated from new irrigation is transforming markets, as we showed in our earlier work, highlighted in our SMEAD films.
  3. Innovation occurs in broad socio-technical networks and complex agricultural systems. The classic engineering approach to irrigation focuses on flat areas, large water supplies and fixed technology. This is the form of standard irrigation schemes. But farmer-led irrigation manages water in different ways, making use of water within a landscape. Slopes, pits, valley bottoms and so on all become significant in maximising irrigation potential. The late Zephaniah Phiri was perhaps the most famous of Zimbabwe’s farmer irrigators, and was a master of harvesting water in landscapes. Technologies – in Mr Phiri’s case, a combination of pits, check dams, pumps and contour ridges – are constructed in a social context, and must always be seen as ‘socio-technologies’, part of ‘networks’, as the paper suggests.
  4. Formal land tenure is not a prerequisite for irrigation development. As discussed many times on this blog, ‘formal land tenure’ (such as freehold or leasehold) is not a prerequisite for investment in farming, including irrigation. This is especially so with mobile, flexible irrigation. Communal tenure or the permit/offer letter system found in A1 areas is not a constraint, as we have seen. This seems to be the case across Africa too, as the paper shows.
  5. Many benefit, but others are adversely affected. Highlighting the benefits of farmer-led irrigation must be tempered by an assessment of who wins and who loses. As discussed in respect of the new pump based irrigation systems in Masvingo, downstream impacts can be severe, and second-generation challenges of water management are emerging. The investors in these new irrigation systems are usually men (able to buy the pumps) and the losers may be women and other family members, who often have to supply the labour (a theme largely ignored in the review). Gluts of production are common in such systems too, so those surviving along market chains may be affected. As the paper argues, an overall assessment is necessary, but the benefits are significant – and underestimated.

There is a much-repeated narrative about Africa’s agriculture – that it missed out on the ‘Green Revolution’ due to the lack of irrigation. The comparison with Asia is always made, where approximately 20 per cent of land is irrigated, while in Africa it is supposed to be less than 4 per cent. As discussed above, this contrast is probably not accurate, and far more land is already being irrigated in Africa, but through different systems. Because of rainfall, topography, markets and a host of other factors, Africa and Asia are never going to be the same, and such comparisons are often rather futile. But nevertheless, we should learn more about what is happening with water and agriculture on the ground in Africa. This paper identifies farmer-led irrigation as an important trend, and one that may well be driving an unnoticed Green Revolution in Africa.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and appeared on Zimbabweland

Against the tide — Mugabe ploughs through with bond notes

FINANCE minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya are strong-willed individuals.

Source: Against the tide — Mugabe ploughs through with bond notes – NewsDay Zimbabwe

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

In the face of mounting opposition to their plan to introduce a surrogate currency known as bond notes, which critics have argued is a ploy to bring back the Zimbabwean dollar through the back door, the duo have put on a brave face and rolled out the bond notes that will start circulating today.

Indications are that the bond notes will continue to divide Zimbabweans and opposition to the introduction of the currency will continue, even with their forced introduction.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi remains the lone voice of reason in President Robert Mugabe’s government, arguing the introduction of the surrogate currency will spell doom for his sector.

Mzembi has called for the adoption of the South African rand as a solution rather than printing the bond notes.

While Zimbabwe’s economy continues on its downward spiral, the tide continues to rise against the notes, but Mangudya and Chinamasa have obstinately pushed on.

“The bond notes shall be introduced by the end of the month, as we have been advising. Bond notes will operate within the multi-currency system, where citizens have a choice to withdraw from their bank accounts legal tender of choice from US dollars, rand, euro or bond notes,” Mangudya said last week, before, at the weekend announcing that the surrogate currency will be in circulation today.

Mangudya threw the gauntlet at his critics, challenging them to “bring alternatives rather than just shout”.

“Those that are arguing against bond notes must bring alternatives on the table. We cannot continue with this monologue that bond notes are bad. We cannot be expected to fold our hands and watch the economy go down.

“We have met with these groups as a way of interaction and our doors are open for continuous engagement. This has helped, in a way, sharpen our programmes and policies, but it has never been an indication of government’s willingness to reverse the introduction of bond notes,” the apex bank chief said.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer and economist, Ashok Shakravathi said Zimbabwe must adopt the South African rand.

“There is a much better strategy, the most important of which is to adopt the rand. We do not need to talk to the South Africans, but just do as we did with the US dollar. It is a fact that in 2009, about 60% of the currency circulating in the economy was the rand and we can adopt that currency informally.

“All prices should then be charged in rands and Chinamasa’s budget should also be in that currency. That way we can bring stability into the market,” he said.

Arch-government critic and opposition People’s Democratic leader, Tendai Biti accused the government of outright theft and bringing bond notes as a stop-gap measure to cover “their corruption”.

“We have to analyse why the bond notes are being foisted on Zimbabweans. This is a way of trying to fill a big hole they have created by stealing depositors’ money kept at the central bank.

“Now they want to force people to all use plastic money. They are creating hot money through the use of debit cards. They want even the woman selling tomatoes to have a debit card,” he said.

“We all live under the illusion that we have money when in actual fact we do not. The solution is political. We are tinkering with the deck when the Titanic is sinking.”

Biti said adopting the rand would not solve the country’s problems.

“Some are arguing that we adopt the rand, but they will just bastardise it as they did with the Zimbabwe dollar, the US dollar and the bearers cheques. In the end, we will likely move on to the naira, but that is not a solution.
We need political solutions and the national transitional authority will be a giant leap in the right direction,” the former Finance minister said.

Social activist and Tajamuka front-man, Promise Mkwananzi argued that authorities were getting it wrong and instead of concentrating on the currency issue, Zimbabwe needs to deal with its poisoned policy environment.

“The argument that we have not given alternatives is as lame as the authorities are chasing the wrong things. They need to deal with the investment environment, repeal the indigenisation law and such other toxic legal statutes that have kept investors away,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said Mangudya and Chinamasa represent an uncaring State that can afford to ignore the people’s views.

“The Zanu PF regime has never, ever cared about the interests of the majority of Zimbabweans. From 1980, President Robert Mugabe has been obsessed with the politics of power retention at whatever cost.

Political commentator, McDonald Lewanika said the government’s “pigheaded” response to protests and arguments against bond notes pointed to a sinister motive behind the surrogate currency. He said the decision by the government to introduce bond notes, despite counsel on its disastrous effects economically, was self-serving.

“The insistence shows that they are a lifeline for the government and because of those myopic interests it will serve in the short run, they are prepared to do long term damage to country’s economy,” Lewanika said.

That, unfortunately, is not new and is the bane of Zimbabwean politics, which is a tragic story of how those in power serve no one but themselves, and listen to no counsel other than theirs — the challenge of people in power to serve myopic partisan interests rather than to represent the people and facilitate long term development and economic growth for the country.

Cabinet meets today

Cabinet meeting has been moved to today, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda has said.

Source: Cabinet meets today | The Herald November 28, 2016

Herald Reporter
Dr Sibanda called on all members to take note of the changes and attend the meeting today.“The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr M.J.M. Sibanda, wishes to advise Cabinet ministers that the next Cabinet meeting will be held on Monday, 28 November, 2016 at the usual venue and time,” he said.

Moyo’s ‘loyalist’ claims dismissed

Source: Moyo’s ‘loyalist’ claims dismissed | The Herald November 28, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
zanu-pf Secretary for Science and Technology Professor Jonathan Moyo has a long and documented history of disloyalty to President Mugabe and zanu-pf and should stop lecturing people on obedience, political analysts said yesterday. Observers also said Prof Moyo could not claim to champion the legacy of the liberation struggle given his checkered history as reports indicate that he was studying in the comfort of imperialist America as true sons and daughters were being maimed and massacred by the brutal Smith regime.

The analysts’ remarks were triggered by Prof Moyo’s comments in the private media, where he attacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga in Bulawayo on Friday.

In defiance of President Mugabe’s counsel on zanu-pf cadres attacking each other in the media, Prof Moyo said VP Mnangagwa was taking his close association with the President as basis for entitlement.

Prof Moyo claimed to be loyal to the President, adding that he was among those preoccupied with “the national question of unity and inclusivity”. He said while addressing journalists in Bulawayo: “In the last two months, it is always Moyo and (Saviour) Kasukuwere (zanu-pf national commissar)”.

“Two is a duo and three is a trio, not a faction. A faction is many people. G40 will never become a faction, whether you have said it or not. Whenever there are successionists, you must ask yourself who is the rest. Who are the other people? Usually what a successionist wants is not to get power through an election. They want to be given (power). The opposite of a successionist is a loyalist.”

Analysts, however, scoffed at Prof Moyo saying that he was the least qualified person to talk about loyalty as his past was full of documented treachery. Political scientist George Tigere said it was amazing that out of all Politburo members and Cabinet Ministers, it was Prof Moyo who was always making noise about Vice President Mnangagwa.

“Prof Moyo’s thoughts on President Mugabe and zanu-pf are a matter of public record, yet he wants to reinvent himself as a (President) Mugabe or zanu-pf loyalist. Nothing can be further from the truth. The problem with Moyo is that he thinks he is the cleverest person in this country, who can get away with anything as long as he says the right things but people are not stupid. He is fake.’’

Mr Goodwine Mureriwa described Prof Moyo as a “sequential political flip-flopper” who lacked consistency and principles. “The controversy around Prof Moyo is traceable even to the times in the 80s, 90s,” he said.

“He simply lacks consistency and principle, that is why when he decided to stand as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho, he was saying zanu-pf was a sunset party, led by an old and stagnant clique and surprisingly that zanu-pf was under the leadership of President Mugabe. He even said that President Mugabe in 2008 will lose to a donkey. At the moment, he is propping up factionalism, which is not in the interest of the party.”

Mr Mureriwa said if Prof Moyo was loyal as he claimed, he would not be seen trashing presidential appointments in the public, let alone defying Politburo decisions. “He is facing corruption charges and now wants to divert attention from the real issues, trying to undermine those who have been appointed by the same leader he is claiming to protect.

“When things are alright for him, he seems to take one direction when things are against him he does the opposite. “When you are a politician, you need to be principled and have an ideological path that you should always follow. By attacking VP Mnangagwa, he is undermining even the President himself.”

He added: “The guy simply lacks maturity, loyalty and discipline. The leadership of zanu-pf should be aware of juniors in the party who because of ambitions are causing divisions.”

Another political analyst Mr Tendai Toto said Prof Moyo was living to his word, “destroying zanu-pf from within” and no amount of dust-kicking would exonerate him. “His actions don’t show any loyalty,” he said.

“If he is attacking other party members, that element of destabilisation from within comes into effect. As a senior member of zanu-pf and an intellectual, he must believe in constructive dialogue within the parameters set by the code of conduct of zanu-pf.

“This whole idea of taking issues into the public domain, tweeting exposes the party fractures and friction which he seems to be enjoying. The party should just deal with him once and for all. Summing up pointers among others are that Prof Moyo can be identified as having a suspicious identity and personality self designed to accompany zanu-pf to its demise.”

He added: “On one hand he professes and confesses loyalty to President Mugabe and zanu-pf, but if he continues to denounce senior party members on social media, defy a directive by zanu-pf against social media attacks, he is demonstrably disloyal to the party structures and protocol.”

Political scientist Mr Maxwell Saungweme said Prof Moyo had no moral ground to talk about loyalty. He said: “If loyalty has its true meaning, after reading all Moyo’s books and articles against (President) Mugabe, then even an illiterate person will understand that he is not loyal to zanu-pf or the President.

“It’s foolproof that one cannot defy his principles and standpoint for political expediency and then be said to be loyal to that which his values and principles are against.” Prof Moyo has also continued with his frenzied tweeting and last week used the platform to trash the one centre of power principle which empowers President Mugabe to appoint his deputies and Politburo members.

He labelled the one centre of power principle in zanu-pf, which was ushered in by amendments to Section 32 of the revolutionary party’s constitution, “a mistake.” South African-based analyst Mr Tinashe Tiki said the fact that Prof Moyo acknowledged that Cdes Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and himself were pursuing the so called “loyalist agenda” meant that their faction replaced the one led by Dr Joice Mujuru.

“Surely the trio or the duo is leading a faction. They can account for their members. When it comes to Cde Mnangagwa, he just mentioned one name. “So according to their analysis, its them who are leading a faction with many people. As for Cde Mnangagwa, he (Prof Moyo) failed to give names, he just mentioned Cde Mnangagwa. One is just that, one,” he said.

Govt relaxes medical advertising rules

Source: Govt relaxes medical advertising rules | The Herald November 28, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Government has relaxed the advertising policy for the medical sector in a bid to increase public awareness on essential health services available locally, president of the Health Professions Authority (HPA) Dr Adolf Macheka has said. Speaking at the HPA’s annual congress held in Harare on Friday, Dr Macheka said Zimbabwe was lagging behind in providing information to the public on what services were available.

This is in contrast to what is happening in other countries.

“The current legislation does not allow advertising and severely restricts even provision of simple health-related information to the public hence the need for a review of the legislation in order to embrace technological advances, emerging concerns and changing international best practices,” said Dr Macheka.

He said in reviewing the advertising policy, the HPA weighed the merits and demerits of advertising for commercial purposes versus advertising for public awareness.

He said the advertising policy had since been relaxed and was now in place. He said this would see amendment of Section 135 of the Health Professions Act, which prohibits advertising of professionals.

“That is the process we are currently doing of amending this section and after this, both the advertising policy and the proposed amendments to the Act will be submitted to the minister for his approval,” said Dr Macheka.

Dr Macheka said the HPA was also working on a one-stop shop for registration of service providers in line with Government’s policy on ease of doing business to attract foreign investments.

Currently, service providers are required to register with different medical institutions before they get approval to operate in Zimbabwe. “The one-stop shop would eliminate much of the bureaucracy and duplication of processes that are behind the over-regulation of the medical industry,” he said.

He said in line with international trends, the HPA had unveiled an electronic register for all its registered members, which members of the public could easily access from any part of the world.

“We realised that one of the reasons why there has been so much traffic of patients to other countries for health services was partly because of lack of knowledge by the patients on availability of such services locally. Thus this register will assist patients to locate health service providers available in the country by location, town or province,” said Dr Macheka.

He said to date, a total of 3 500 health service providers had been registered both in private and public health sector.

In the same vein, Dr Macheka said foreign doctors who offered follow-up care through telephone to their patients whom they would have treated from their countries were now required to register in Zimbabwe.

He said while tele-health makes it possible for health service providers to connect with their patients after treatment, the public also needed to be protected from unscrupulous, incompetent and impaired practitioners. He said accordingly, the HPA had come up with a generic regulatory model regulating tele-health, which provides for registration of any doctor intending to practise tele-health in Zimbabwe among other principles.

“The principle behind tele-health regulation is to come up with some form of recourse when patients are treated across boarders. Currently, there is no law that address patients’ concerns in cases of malpractice or adverse effects that might arise,” he said.

Health and Child Care Secretary Dr Gerald Gwinji, who officially opened the congress, welcomed HPA’s initiatives on relaxing medical regulations to ease doing of business in Zimbabwe.

He said this would go a long way in attracting foreign investors and making health services available and accessible in the country.

“We are saying the process must not be impeding on people who want to open health institutions. It is not only about the process but the costs that one has to pay at every stage in order to be able to register and obtain a licence to operate,” said Dr Gwinji.

He commended HPA’s electronic register, which he said was long overdue compared to the health sector of other countries.

“This is what is happening in other countries and as Zimbabwe, we were lagging behind. There are various specialist services available in Zimbabwe but because that information was not readily available to the people, patients were going to other countries to seek such specialist services,” said Dr Gwinji.

Tokwe-Mukosi Dam nearing completion

Source: Tokwe-Mukosi Dam nearing completion | The Herald November 28, 2016

Tinashe Makichi recently in Chiredzi
The construction of the $300 million Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is expected to be completed before the end of the year. The dam’s construction, wholly funded by Government is being built at the confluence of Tokwe and Mukosi rivers in Chivi district, Masvingo. Upon completion, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam will become Zimbabwe’s largest inland dam with an 89,2 metre high dam wall. The purpose of the dam is to provide irrigation water to the Lowveld sugar estates and surrounding communal farmers. Tokwe-Mukosi Dam also has potential to generate 15 megawatts electricity. It is estimated that setting up a mini-hydro power station at the dam will cost $40 million.

“There are still some outstanding works to be done at the dam but we are quite confident that all critical works will be completed by the end of this year,” said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).

Recent additional intervention by Government, through the Infrastructure Development Bank, IDBZ, has been a timely shot in the arm and the contractor, Italian company Salini-Impregilo, is fully mobilised to substantially complete the Dam by end December 2016. Government recently released $20,3 million to finance the outstanding works.

Speaking after a tour of the project site last week, IDBZ chief executive Thomas Zondo Sakala, said the dam was a landmark project. He said the project demonstrates Government’s commitment towards the transformation of the economy .

“As IDBZ we are pleased to have been a part of a project that is not only strategic to the nation but will contribute towards sustainably transforming the lives of many other in the communities around it,” said Mr Sakala.

He went on to highlight that the bank has also gained valuable experience which will be useful in planning and implementing similar projects in the future. Meanwhile, the IDBZ is making urgent efforts to raise $7 million to fund the excavation works for the proposed mini-hydro power station.

Zim-China trade to reach $1bn mark

Source: Zim-China trade to reach $1bn mark | The Herald November 28, 2016

Sydney Kawadza Senior Writer
Trade volumes between Zimbabwe and China are set to go beyond the $1 billion mark by year-end. China imports tobacco, cotton and various minerals from Zimbabwe while local businesses have turned to the East Asian economic giant for electronic, clothing and other finished products. Speaking on the sidelines of a handover of various educational materialand equipment by Tian Ze China Tobacco Company to Dunnoly Primary School in Beatrice yesterday, Chinese Economic and Commercial Consular Mr Li Yauhui said trade between the two countries continues to firm.

“Trade volumes between Zimbabwe and China had reached about $948 million as of September this year and we expect it to have surpassed the $1 billion mark by the end of the year,” he said.

Mr Li said the export-import balance still favoured the Chinese as more goods, especially tobacco, were being exported to the East. Zimbabwe exports at least 55 percent of its tobacco to China.

Addressing guests at the handover ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Huang Ping, hailed the Tian Ze China Tobacco Company for ploughing back into communities that support their business.

“Your corporate social responsibility activities show that you are not in Zimbabwe for profit making only but also to help in the economic development of Zimbabwe,” he said. He urged Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe to assist in the development of communities.

“I am going to mobilise more Chinese companies to plough back into the communities as an appreciation of the economic partnership we enjoy as the two countries.” Tobacco Industry Marketing Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said tobacco exports to China had surpassed the $1.5 billion since Tian Ze joined the Zimbabwean market.

“Tian Ze started operating in Zimbabwe in 2004 and the company has significantly and importantly altered the tobacco industry in the country. “Zimbabwean tobacco farmers export between 50 to 60 percent of their produce to China providing a ready market,” he said.

Tian Ze managing director Mr Ye Hai said his company’s participation in the tobacco industry has brought positive results to the farmers and Zimbabwe at large. “As some of you might be aware, Tian Ze Tobacco Company supports sustainable agriculture in Zimbabwe and plays a part in the promotion of the mutual friendship that exist between Zimbabwe and China,” he said.

Besides offering the best and most viable pricing model, Tian Ze also provides interest free loans, free technical support, training and service to contract farmers so that they improve on tobacco production.

Court cases can’t stop bond notes

Source: Court cases can’t stop bond notes | The Herald November 28, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
THE existence of pending court cases in which some individuals are challenging the legality of Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016 Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act does not stop the issuance of bond notes as feared, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said. RBZ lawyer Mr Gerald Mlotshwa of GN Mlotshwa and Company told The Herald that in the absence of a court order or an Act of Parliament nullifying the piece of legislation, the central bank can proceed to issue out bond notes and coins today without any hindrance.

“The law on bond notes exists, including SI.133/2016. It has not been set aside by any court. The fact that there may exist before the courts curious, if not ill-conceived, applications challenging the law as it presently stands, does not, by virtue of such actions, suspend the operation of the law.

“As such bond notes, and their issuance, remain lawful and proper until and unless our courts and or Parliament determine otherwise,” said Mr Mlotshwa.

Last week, Judge President George Chiweshe reserved judgment in a constitutional case in which businessman Mr Fredrick Charles Mutanda was contesting the legality of Statutory Instrument 133 of 2016 – the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act and Issue of Bond Notes) that backed the introduction of bond notes.

While the judgment was yet to be pronounced, RBZ announced that bond notes will be introduced today. The Herald newsroom received calls from readers questioning the legality of introducing bond notes before Judge President Chiweshe hands down his judgment.

Mr Mlotshwa, in his response, added that the relief sought by Mr Mutanda was clear in that it accommodated the possible introduction of the notes and coins before the judgment. “In the particular case of Mr Mutanda, he has asked as an interim measure that either the court stop the issuance of bond notes or alternatively, in the event that they have been issued, that the RBZ withdraw them from the market.

“As you have correctly noted, the Judge President after hearing full and extensive argument on the legality and constitutionality of SI 133/2016 reserved judgment to give fuller consideration to what he opined had been a case well argued and presented by both sides.

“In short, therefore, a law is not suspended on account that an ambitious litigant has filed an application in our courts challenging the same,” said Mr Mlotshwa. The law allowing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to issue bond notes and other financial instruments of a similar nature (Sections 7 and 49 of the RBZ Act), Mr Mlotshwa said, has always been in existence and has never been challenged.

“The legality of these provisions, forming the primary basis upon which bond notes have been created for the purposes of their issuance, has never been challenged, nor is there any application pending before our courts challenging the ability of the RBZ to create and issue out bond notes on the basis of these two sections.

“Statutory Instrument 133/2016 – the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act and Issue of Bond Notes) bolsters these already existing provisions,” he said.

The lawyer said SI 133/2016 only has the effect of making it the law that one bond note unit is equal to US$1, and providing that bond notes, and coins, are to be considered legal tender.

CCJP, ZimRights speak out on Gukurahundi

AN international human rights group has credited ZimRights and the Catholic Commission for Justice in Peace (CCJP) for documenting Gukurahundi atrocities, saying their records will assist in national healing processes.

Source: CCJP, ZimRights speak out on Gukurahundi – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The International Federation of Human Rights (IFDH) vice-president, Arnold Tsunga said Zimbabwe’s human rights situation remains critical, urging the government to honour its obligations of protecting and promoting of human rights.

Tsunga, who was the guest of honour during the ZimRights 2016 awards on Friday night in Bulawayo, said ZimRights and CCJP records on post-independence human rights violations, such as Gukuruhundi, will, assist in peace and nation-building initiatives to promote human rights observance.

“It is the human rights movement that has documented the killings of thousands of people that occurred after our independence in Matabeleland and Midlands that remain unresolved.

“ZimRights, the Legal Resources Foundation and the CCJP were instrumental in defending the rights of every Zimbabwean and documenting atrocities committed after independence and providing a historical record that will help the country resolve the post-independence killings and achieve true national healing in future,” he said.

The ZimRights awards were held under the theme Celebrating Community Courage.

It is estimated that over 20 000 civilians died when President Robert Mugabe deployed a North-Korean-trained army to Matabeleland and Midlands to crackdown on dissent to his rule.

Mugabe has described the mass killings as “a moment of madness”, with Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, at the burial of the late former Speaker of Parliament, Cyril Ndebele saying that was an apology enough.

Mphoko said the Gukurahundi issue must be tackled in a manner that does not dwell on finger-pointing, but benefits survivors with, for example, acquiring birth certificates.

“We need that rejuvenation and a lot of hard work to safeguard human rights and move our country from a good Constitution into good constitutional practices. The events of this year tell us in no uncertain terms that our human rights remain at stake. We have seen efforts to intimidate and discourage human rights activists by both State and non-State actors,” Tsunga said.

“Our message to the government of Zimbabwe is that it must honour its obligations with respect to observance, protection and promotion of human rights. The Constitution must be implemented in full through aligning all laws and bureaucratic practices.”

Clergy express reservations on foreign mediated coalition talks

THE clergy, under the umbrella of Christian Voice International-Zimbabwe (CVI-Z), have questioned the logic of having an international think-tank facilitating unity talks among opposition political parties, arguing the process must be home-grown.

Source: Clergy express reservations on foreign mediated coalition talks – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

CVI-Z president, Tapfumaneyi Zenda said the clergy in Zimbabwe were at hand to facilitate the coalition talks, questioning the logic of having a foreign think-tank leading the process.

“The church’s secondary role is to mediate, manage and maintain peace between conflicting parties. Apart from our primary role of preaching salvation, as the clergy we are the most neutral entity of society that all other entities should depend,” he said.

“As the church we strongly hold the opinion that mediation of a coalition between ZimPF, MDC-T and other political parties must be home grown. It is the people on the ground who know what is best for them and the destiny of our nation.”

Local reports said coalition talks between opposition parties to have a single candidate face President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections will be held in neighbouring South Africa this week, and will be facilitated by an international think-tank.

According to the reports, the In Transformative Initiative (ITI), an organisation that seeks to assist and support peace-making processes, has agreed to facilitate the unity talks between Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC T, Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF and other parties.

The ITI works towards promoting dialogue among citizens, government and any other sectors, where conflict and violence exists or might become a possibility.

Analysts have emphasised the need for a coalition to unseat Mugabe’s Zanu PF, but talks to unite them have not succeeded, with reasons such as mistrust and personality egos cited as the reason for their collapse.

“We have enough representation of highly qualified and mature leaders within our ranks to carry out such a mandate (mediation),” Zenda said.

Liberation struggle was worth it: Dabengwa

The Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) president, Dumiso Dabengwa has paid tribute to the heroes of the war of resistance in 1893 and the first war of liberation in 1896 saying although liberation came at a price, it was a worthy cause.

Source: Liberation struggle was worth it: Dabengwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Dabengwa was speaking at the Politics of the Armed Struggle in Southern Africa conference at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The armed struggle was worth it, but very costly to the extent that not all immediate benefits were realised,” he said.

“The best result is that an independent people have acquired the inalienable right to determine their course, with ups and downs.

Zimbabwe was colonised in the 1890s and 1893 and 1896 marked the first form of resistance to colonial rule by the oppressed blacks. The blacks were, however, defeated and resultantly suffered a century of oppression until 1980 when an armed liberation war forced the white minority rulers to the negotiating table.

Dabengwa said one of the immediate benefits of the liberation struggle was that: “We got the right to choose and to control our rulers, never mind that those who got into power soon saw themselves as rulers instead of elected representatives of the people.”

“This is in clear violation of our basic demand that led to war, the demand for one man one vote.

“Universal suffrage has virtually been replaced by universal control by a powerful President and ruling clique. A culture of ‘winner takes all’ in which outwitting competitors is given priority over goal-oriented collaboration has been built by the ruling party and unconsciously pervades even models for collaboration among the opposition parties.

“Political repression and economic mismanagement in independent Zimbabwe has led to well-known [negative] results, such as youth unemployment, emigration of skilled and unskilled, but industrious workers, and collapse of vital institutions that were among the best in the region.”

Dabengwa said in spite of all these challenges, “the armed struggle was worth it”.

“It proved beyond all doubt that anyone can wield modern state power, not just a‘chosen race,” he said.

“The armed struggle gave opportunities to people that were previously officially denied them because of their race and allotted social status during the racist regime.

“More controversially, the armed struggle made it possible to acquire or grab economic assets that had been reserved for people of European origin. The implementation of this necessary land redistribution was brutal and poorly implemented from both an economic point of view and reverse racism whose consequences are the decimation of commercial agriculture and resulting food insecurity.”

Dabengwa paid tribute to the young people who led the Ndebele nation to war against the British South Africa Company (BSAC) at the time of colonisation in November – December 1893.

“There are contemporary accounts of the 1893 Matebele war that recount the fierceness of the encounters,” he said.

“At Gadade, in Mbembesi, in their familiar bull-horn formation, several regiments threw their might, spear and shield, against the approaching invaders who were armed with guns and heavy cannon.”

War vets bid to invade conservancy thwarted

A BID by three war veterans and some villagers to invade an animal conservancy in Beitbridge was thwarted last week following the intervention of the police.

Source: War vets bid to invade conservancy thwarted – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY STAFF REPORTER

The former liberation war fighters, identified as Steven Mohade, Julius Siziba and Bigboy Ndlovu, were allegedly accompanied by eight villagers when they descended on Mananje Conservancy’s Scops Safari Camp on November 20.

Mohade allegedly ordered the only employee, who was at the camp at the time, Evelyn Ndlovu, to pack her belongings and leave the property as they had taken it over. The war veterans claimed that they had been given offer letters for the property by the government in 2004.

“There were safari clients, who had left early that morning to go fishing on Zhove Dam. The terrified Evelyn phoned (Ian) Ferguson, the managing director, to contact the clients and tell them what was happening so that they could come back and retrieve their belongings,” a conservancy employee said.

When the conservancy manager, Elliot Shoko arrived, he was instructed by Mohade to ensure that Mananje’s employees, who included game scouts and fence maintenance staff, vacated the property immediately and were only allowed to take their personal belongings.

Notwithstanding the ranting and raving by Mohade, Shoko told them no one would leave the property under any circumstances.

The two game scouts, who were accompanying Shoko, found that their living quarters had been broken into and their personal belongings removed, including a cellphone and $50. Company tools had also been removed.

“Shoko found all the stuff except the cellphone and $50 at the back of Mohade’s vehicle and returned them to the lodge.”

The invaders later moved up to a game scouts base near the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Highway, where they told the employees to vacate their rooms, as they intended to spend the night there, but they refused to budge.

The invaders spent the night in the open before moving back to the safari camp the next morning. When the invaders heard that the case had been reported to Beitbridge police they left the property in a huff.

Ferguson, who has endured several invasions of the property by the war veterans, commended the police for their swift reaction.

“It is worth mentioning that during the day, the invaders were phoning various people to inform them that our staff was refusing to vacate the property. It was clear there were some senior people behind the scenes planning the invasion,” he said.

Ferguson said the police officers were very professional compared to their colleagues, who have a habit of harassing the conservancy’s staff each time they report an invasion.

“Zim re-engagement with EU anchored on respect for democratic values”

Restoration of relations between Zimbabwe and Western countries is dependent upon the Southern African country upholding the values of democracy including holding credible polls, the European Union has said.

Source: “Zim re-engagement with EU anchored on respect for democratic values” – The Zimbabwean 28.11.2016

The EU imposed targeted measures against Zimbabwe in 2002 following a wave of human rights violations and the continental bloc is on record saying that free and fair polls as well as respect for human rights are a pre-requisite for the restoration of relations between Zimbabwe and European countries.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme acknowledged that Zimbabwe had a history of disputed polls that have come with negative impacts on the Southern African country’s economy.

As a result of disputed elections as well as the controversial Indigenization Act which compels foreign owned firms to cede majority shareholding to locals, Van Damme said European investors had lost confidence in Zimbabwe.

“For this country to reintegrate into the international community fully and create an environment which creates confidence for investors to come back, it is critical that these (2018) elections are peaceful and lead to an acceptable result which means that there should be aminimal level of transparency and fairness in the system. If you don’t have that you create a new cycle of instability which will scare off investors.

“The conclusion of everybody (European investors) is always the same, they are all charmed by this country ad impressed by the potential of this country but they all have the same type of concerns. The legal framework remains very uncertain,” said Van Damme.

He said the EU was committed to assisting Zimbabwe to hold democratic polls that are in line with internationally recognized standards adding that they were also assisting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in terms of capacity building.

Van Damme said it was critical that key provisions ofZimbabwe’s constitution such as equal access to the voters’ roll are respected.

“We have ongoing discussions with ZEC, the Ministry of Justice, Parliament and I think we have come up with some common understanding of what thedemocratic process in the run up to the 2018 elections has to look like and on that basis, we agreed with ZEC and the United Nations office in Harare to support the capacity building of ZEC.

“Some of the critical elements in this agreement are that all stakeholders agree that this election must be an inclusive process and that ZEC must have regular dialogue with the political parties and that the key provisions in the constitution including access to voters’ roll are guaranteed. So I think on that basis,we can go ahead but of course the test of the pudding is in the eating. So we have to see over the next months whether this will be implemented,” said Van Damme.

On the implementation of Zimbabwe’s constitution adopted in 2013, Van Damme said the EU was working with civic society organizationsand the government to develop a constitutional culture in the country.

“What is important is that we continue dialogue with stakeholders to see how we can entrench a democratic culture. Constitutionalism is aboutaligning the laws to the constitution. It is also about peoplebeing aware of the contents of the constitution and what are the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution and knowing what are the consequences of that to their daily lives,” said Van Damme.

He however expressed over the wave of human rights violations in the country saying “all this does not create a positive image for the country”.

Zimbabwe has of late been hit by a series of protests over the continued economic decline in the country and law enforcement agents have responded with brutality. The result has been a series of torture, arrest and abduction of protestors.

In September this year, the EU challenged the Zimbabwean government to desist from authoritarian tendencies and release hundreds of protestors who had been arrested for protesting against misgovernance.

Zanu PF insists on ‘anti-Mnangagwa’ resolution

ZANU PF Mashonaland Central province yesterday stuck to its guns that the party’s two deputy presidents must be elected, a resolution that is seen as targeting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, although it said this should be implemented at the 2019 congress rather than at next month’s conference.

Source: Zanu PF insists on ‘anti-Mnangagwa’ resolution – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA/OBEY MANAYITI

There had been hullabaloo over the resolution, with a section of the party up in arms, as they said this whittled down President Robert Mugabe’s powers — as the one centre of power — but Mashonaland Central stood by its position.

Provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafios claimed the province had not sought to have the contentious resolution implemented at the conference, but rather at the party’s next congress in 2019.

“People thought we were targeting their factional godfathers, but our resolution is targeting the next party congress, not the sitting Vice-Presidents,” he said.

“That madness is gone now; the people are behind their chairperson. The province is clear that the one centre of power principle must give way to democratic processes that should see the Vice-Presidents elected at congress.”

Mafios’ brother and Zanu PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who attended yesterday’s provincial co-ordinating committee meeting in Bindura, confirmed the resolution was not aimed at turning the forthcoming conference into an elective indaba.

“The Mashonaland Central resolution was never meant for this year’s conference. It was twisted along the way to suit some agenda that we do not know. The resolution is meant to be implemented at the 2019 congress,” Kasukuwere said.

The resolution is viewed as a concerted effort by a faction of Zanu PF known as G40 to get rid of Mnangagwa.

“We allowed the districts to look at the resolution and all of them supported the chairperson and the resolution except for Bindura. But our position has not changed. It was just a bit of confusion,” Mafios said.

Sources, who attended the meeting, said all the districts showed support of the resolution, except Tinashe Matangira, the provincial youth secretary, who professed ignorance of it, and when quizzed why he was making an about turn on a resolution, he was party to, he claimed he was possibly asleep when it was passed.

Mnangagwa’s backers, mostly war veterans, have been calling for action against Mafios.

Mugabe has managed to tip-toe around the issue of changes to the party constitution repeatedly, which are reportedly meant to pave way for a female Vice-President, ostensibly his wife, Grace.

The provincial war veterans’ branch in Mashonaland Central yesterday weighed in arguing Mafios was only a proxy in the messy succession fight.

“It must be clear that Mafios is merely a megaphone; the architects are his brother and boss, the failed political commissar, Kasukuwere, and the professor (Jonathan Moyo). Kasukuwere’s denial can only fool the dead. His hand in this mess is not so hidden,” Mashonaland Central provincial war veterans’ chairperson, Sam Parirenyatwa said in a statement.

He said Moyo immediately supported Mafios, showing that the whole resolution was a G40 plot against Mnangagwa.

Meanwhile, several provincial youth chairpersons yesterday threw their weight behind the resolution, as long as it was supported by the party.

Bulawayo chairperson, Anna Mokgohloa said the resolution was welcome, saying VPs should be voted for.

Masvingo provincial youth chairperson, Nobert Ndaarombe said the resolution was welcome because sometimes those appointed end up abusing their privileges for other sinister motives.

“It is better to have the VP going through an election. They should be voted for,” he said, adding those appointed by Mugabe end up abusing their new-found powers.

Isaiah Mandaza of Mashonaland Central described as unfortunate the stance by other provincial leaders, who are reneging on the resolution that was made by all the wings in the province.

Manicaland provincial youth chairperson, Mubuso Chinguno said the resolution was in order, saying those who criticised it were afraid of losing in an election. He also said youths supported the position that one of the VPs should be a woman.

‘Govt should commit to Gukurahundi reburials’

Tsholotsho North legislator, Jonathan Moyo has expressed optimism that the government will deliver on its promise to help families in Matabeleland and Midlands to rebury their relatives, who died during the Gukurahundi massacres.

Source: ‘Govt should commit to Gukurahundi reburials’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Moyo was responding to a question at the Bulawayo Press Club on Friday evening whether there were any links between the timing of allegations that he corruptly abused State funds soon after his family’s desire to rebury his father.
“I don’t have evidence that this is the case (on the links),” he said.

“In any case, this (Gukurahundi) is current history. As far as I am aware, Vice-President (Phelekezela) Mphoko is in charge of the national healing policy and he has clearly indicated that this is the case, that those who want to rebury their relatives can approach the government. If you keep telling people to do that, they will simply do that.

“The VP of Zimbabwe has said it will be done and it will be done in an orderly manner. As an affected Zimbabwean, I am satisfied with that position and hope that what the VP said will be done as soon as possible. For a number of communities, you see shallow graves, they are not hidden. We believe it is proper and it is African to bring them home and bury them where the rest of the ancestors are.”

Moyo dismissed fears that too many people would be asking for reburials in Matabeleland, saying there were a specific number of people in shallow graves in the region.

The Higher Education minister said those alleging that he was corrupt in order to threaten him from seeking his father’s reburial would not succeed.

“Successionists never win,” he said. “Against the successionists, the loyalists are a formidable people. The people will always govern.

“Anybody, who thinks they can rule without the people is a joker. I don’t see any confusion around this, but desperation. History and the archives have no examples of victorious successionists.”

Moyo said he worked very hard and has “no time for corruption”.

“Fighting corruption is important,” he said. “Corruption is a cancer. However, nobody should make Zimbabweans seem stupid as if they don’t know who is corrupt.

“Some of them have £30 million, and not $400 000, in offshore accounts. Why should I be said to be corrupt just because I gave chiefs in Tsholotsho bicycles? We don’t have roads in Tsholotsho, but some people have roads up to their farms.

Moyo was making a subtle attack on Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa, whose road to his farm was recently tarred by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration.

Mnangagwa is reportedly leading a faction that is battling with G40, another Zanu PF faction in the race to succeed Mugabe. Moyo is linked to G40.

Moyo added that he will fight his detractors.

“Some people mistakenly fetch woods with scorpions, but these ones have fetched one with a mamba. It is wrong to stigmatise people because they don’t support you.”

Coalition impossible: Biti

PEOPLE’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti has cast doubts on the ability of political parties in Zimbabwe to unite and form a formidable coalition, which will challenge President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF in the 2018 general elections.

Source: Coalition impossible: Biti – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Biti said opposition party leaders were too selfish and had big egos, which stood in the way of progressive coalition talks, making it very difficult for the mooted grand coalition to take effect.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult in Zimbabwe to have coalitions, there are a lot of egocentric and selfish actors in our discourse, but I think we have to do better, he said.

“We have to go beyond these individuals and establish a matrix of working together because that’s what our people want. It’s not about me or what the next leader of a political party wants. So we have to put our people first, so we can reconstruct this country after the mess and collapse caused by (President) Robert Mugabe.”

Biti was speaking ahead of a crunch meeting for opposition political parties over the coalition snubbed by Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF, which is due to take place in Cape Town, South Africa.

The meeting has been facilitated by the Zimbabwe Institute, led by Isaac Maphosa, who MDC-T and ZimPF sources claimed has close links to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction and the South African government.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru were called by Jeff Radabe, a minister in President Jacob Zuma’s office, but they snubbed the meeting at the 11th hour. Some of the opposition parties, however, left the country yesterday to South Africa for the talks.

Although he declined to talk about the meeting, Biti said his party remained hopeful that a coalition will take place and be at the centre of rescuing an ailing Zimbabwean economy by establishing a National Transitional Authority (NTA).

“We are focusing on a National Transitional Authority, this country needs a soft landing. This country needs an inclusive moratorium on elections until we sort all the disasters and beyond the NTA we need to establish the democratic developmental State,” he said.

Biti, who said he was prepared to take over the leadership of the coalition if elected to do so, rubbished critics, who have labelled PDP as a small party seeking a coalition to safeguard his own political future.

Tsvangirai told his supporters that he was not interested in a coalitions or a government of national unity, but, instead, conditions that make it possible for a free and fair elections.

Insiders in his party said MDC-T had snubbed the South Africa meeting because they believed some of the opposition parties were being funded by Zanu PF to undermine the MDC-T.

“There are parties, who are pushing to undermine the MDC-T and we think they are being sponsored by Zanu PF, we have since seen that plot and pulled out of those negotiations because we are now not sure of who is behind this push for a coalition,’ a source said.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu, said his party believed in home grown solutions and would thus not seek to form coalitions outside Zimbabwe.

I miss you Zimbabwe

I BELONG to the generation born when the war of liberation was nearing its end. We only heard the sounds of guns and bullets in our slumber of childhood.

Source: I miss you Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

Develop me: Tapiwa Gomo

Some of us could not have made sense of those booming and cracking sounds of the battles, but we were in war time.
We were too young to fight or to hold a gun. We too suffered neglect as our parents heed the call to play their part in liberating Zimbabwe.

There were a few moments when I saw the liberation fighters singing, dancing and toyi-toying as they summarised the long battle to liberate the country.

Every song carried a message of hope and signalled a brighter Zimbabwe ahead. It was a time pregnant with huge expectations and a moment preceding the long anticipated relief.

We are the generation that was born when the time was redolent with hope and replete with so many avenues of opportunities.

Zimbabwe was full of possibilities as we inherited the second biggest economy in Africa in 1980.

Our dollar was stronger than the American dollar, our industry was roaring, churning out products from our agriculture to our neighbours.

The connection between the different industrial sectors was amazingly ecological.

Access to education was aplenty, albeit limited facilities. Jobs and income-generating opportunities were in abundance. Those who had acquired skills changed jobs willy-nilly.

Industries in Harare and many other towns were buzzing, as they switched from day to night shifts. Yes, there used to be day and night shifts in our industries.

The milk and honey promised during the war remained a pie in sky, but our Zimbabwe was a land of possibilities.

We never dreamt of a future of anywhere else, but in our Zimbabwe. Currency from other countries was nothing but a zuda. Our President was the darling of Africa, whom we were proud of and indebted to.

Seeking employment in other countries was seen as an act of madness, as home had everything to fuel our aspirations. No one ever guessed the growth of the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora could occur during our time.

It was a crash programme — a survival strategy, as the country crash-landed into protracted political turmoil.

We were the shining beacon of what a post-independence African country could be. We were the best breed in the region, so we thought, as we were the envy of many of our neighbouring countries.

We hosted all the regional offices and major conferences, including All-Africa Games. We even negotiated peace in other troubled countries on the continent.

Our advanced industry then supplied neighbouring countries with household and domestic products. Yes, we had the best of everything. The quality of our education was more than just golden.

It attracted many from Southern African countries and beyond. And for my generation, that was growing with the times, there was nothing as liberating as the day you stepped into college or university campus.

That was the day when you smelt the dreams of the future looming.

It was liberating because it was the first time most of us finally had keys to our places in our own pockets.

But most importantly, that was the first time we came face-to-face with our dreams of what we imagined over many years of primary and high school.

It was just a matter of few years of book worming before we could be addressed by our professions. It was also the first time we started earning a student grant.

Even though we pushed for an increase, campus life was never a place of poverty. Food and accommodation, including amenities, were provided. So were books and study facilities. Who needed to depend on parents when the situation allowed self-reliance?

These are the stories, which, when told to our children today, they think they are from a story book.

Thanks to politics, greed and corruption, we have sadly lost that country and remained with just the name.

The country we have now is dry of opportunities, has become a desert of hope and a bed of thorns. We have lost the economy and our own currency. We have banned the use of our flag, our source of pride.

The people who kept our education rich, have become destitute, as they are underpaid or never paid.

The once thriving and roaring industries are now pale shadows of themselves, breeding bats and rats, instead of generating jobs and the economy.

Everything foreign has become life-saving for Zimbabweans, including relocating to the Diaspora. And we have become the laughing stock.

Most of those of my generation, who had dreams of a better Zimbabwe, have relocated their futures elsewhere.

And those in leadership positions have turned politics into the most thriving sector manufacturing nothing but lies, poverty, destitution and corruption. Yes, I do miss you Zimbabwe.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa

Transparency key for Zec

INDEPENDENT election watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has outlined voter registration regulations, which would be critical in making the 2018 general elections credible.

Source: Transparency key for Zec – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Top of the list is how Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will manage the procurement of the $50 million biometric voter registration (BVR) equipment and how the final voters’ roll will be handled.

In its position paper, which has been shared with Zec, Zesn calls for a transparent and open tendering process as a confidence building measure.

“The regulations should specify the steps for the voter registration exercise including key processes such as the biometric voter registration (BVR) equipment tendering and procurement,” part of the paper reads.

Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau has promised that once they raise the required funds, they will open a tender, which will match international standards, as they move to acquire the equipment.

Handling of the voters’ rolls was also cited as an integral part of the election, with Zesn saying it should be easily available in readable format.

“The regulations should ensure that readable, analysable and up to date election information is availed at the finest possible level of detail such as copies of voters’ rolls and election results at the polling station level.
The provision of analysable electoral information at the granular level is essential for promoting transparency and accountability,” Zesn said.

Opposition political parties have in the past have failed to access the voters’ roll even after getting court orders to be given the registry.

In 2013, opposition parties went into the elections without the voters’ roll, which later turned out to be at the centre of the electoral dispute that followed.

Other regulations, which Zesn highlighted as critical and needing clarity, include recruitment and appointment of voter registration staff, compilation and updating of a new voters’ roll.

On recruitment, which has been a thorn in the flesh of the commission, Zesn said professionalism and ethical conduct should be at the centre.

“The regulations should provide clear terms of reference, including competencies with emphasis on professional and ethical conduct of all electoral officers.”

Zesn also called on Zec to make its position clear on those who will be eligible to cast their votes in 2018 with reference being given to “alien” voters, who have been denied the right in the past elections.

“The electoral regulations should clearly specify the eligibility criteria for voters and deal with issues of ‘aliens’ and the right to vote.”

Bond notes: A success or financial Armageddon?

ZIMBABWE begins a new economic chapter, which we are not very optimistic of, as the first batch of bond notes are rolled out today.

Source: Bond notes: A success or financial Armageddon? – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 28, 2016

Something had to be done about the cash shortages, but we are convinced bond notes are not the panacea and may lead the country to financial and economic ruin.

There are many factors for the mistrust of bond notes, beginning with our chequered financial history, the legal framework for their introduction and confusing statements from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and government ministers.

We have been on this path before with the introduction of the special agro-cheques and bearers’ cheques and the scars are still visible.

Zimbabweans still remember vividly the promises made under RBZ’s sunrise projects starting from 2006 and how these brought gloom and doom, as the printing presses ran overtime, spawning inflation.

Central bank boss, John Mangudya has told Zimbabweans about a deal with Afreximbank for a $200 million loan to back the bond notes, except no one has seen this agreement, only helping to sow the seed of mistrust in him and the government.

Mangudya has hidden behind the veil of confidentiality and refused to make public the agreement with Afreximbank, but he should know the stakes are high and his actions will only fuel suspicion on the government’s real intentions.

Bond notes may turn out to be a genius idea, but as long as the country’s anxiety and suspicion are not assuaged, then they are doomed to fail.

Then there are the belated public hearings by Parliament on bond notes due to start this week, whose objective has now been rendered meaningless because of the RBZ’s decision to introduce the bond notes today.

While Parliament has been reduced to nothing more than a rubber stamp of Zanu PF’s policies, authorities would have had an opportunity to hear what Zimbabweans really think of these notes.

As it is, the notes are being introduced to a highly sceptical people, who feel the government has bulldozed them into accepting the currency and this is suicidal for any currency.

To add onto that, bond notes are being introduced on the backing of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, whose constitutionality is under question.

This raises many questions and were the Constitutional Court to rule that this law is unconstitutional, will the bond notes be withdrawn or the government is hoping that by this time, the parallel parliamentary process would have resulted in the RBZ Amendment Bill having received the parliamentary nod?

For the country’s sake, we hope the bond notes are a success or today could mark the beginning of a financial Armageddon.

The final nail – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th November 2016

Despite the government’s last minute hesitation, the Reserve Bank has announced that it is to release its monopoly money on Monday – widely seen as the final nail in the coffin of the Zimbabwean economy.

Source: The final nail – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th November 2016

Human rights lawyer Irene Petras said that the authorities have ‘illegally, immorally and inhumanely set about destroying Zimbabwean lives for a second time’ – a reference to the hyperinflation era which ended with the abandonment of the Zimbabwean currency in 2009.

The Reserve Bank says $10 million of bond notes in denominations of $2 and $5 are to be issued, along with $2 million worth of $1 dollar bond coins. But few believe it will stop there. The currency is said to be backed by the African Import and Export Bank, which has not itself confirmed this.

Because Zimbabweans have lived through this asset stripping before, they know exactly what to expect. Savings will be wiped out by rapidly depreciating Mickey Mouse money for the benefit of the elite which will externalise all remaining US dollars in the country.

The move is likely to be badly received by the army. Reuters news agency says it has seen a report by the Central Intelligence Organisation warning Mugabe that introduction of bond notes would cause his downfall (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-mugabe-insight-idUSKBN13K1J2).

There has been widespread unrest at the move although the promised ‘mother of all demonstrations’ against bond notes last week failed to gain support amid allegations that money collected for the Harare protest was misappropriated. It is reported that this prompted Tajamuka to pull out of the demonstration at the last moment.

Zimbabwe People First spokesman Jealousy Mawarire said as much as $100,000 may have been involved. He said: ‘As long as the struggle is commercialised we will always have these solo sporadic selfie moments disguised as demos’ (http://www.myzimbabwe.co.zw/news/9337-why-tajamuka-pulled-out-on-the-demo.html). Others talk of activists ‘milking donor funds’ and ‘living large’.

The accusations come as no surprise to us. We ourselves refuse to have anything to do with one of the protest leaders because of our own experience working with him. This person certainly fits the bill of being a ‘selfie activist’: always in the photograph, in the news, known to all the journalists, ready with a quote.

We at the Vigil marvel at how he seems to have a ‘get out if jail free’ card. With no visible means of support, he nevertheless pops up regularly in the UK, always impeccably dressed, hustling for money. The social media protest movements need to beware the bad apple effect.

Other points

  • We were joined by the MDC for a candlelit vigil to honour people who had lost their lives or been abused in the struggle against the Mugabe regime. It was part of our programme of prayer vigils held on the last Saturday of the month. Thanks to Beverly Murandiro for leading the prayers and to Simba Mutero and Sharon Moyo of the MDC for organising the candlelit vigil.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help: Mavis Chisvo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Gladys Meck, Zimazile Mguni, Sharon Moyo, Roseline Mukucha and Virginia Mutyambizi. Thanks to Roseline, Sharon and Gladys for looking after the front table, to Simbarashe Mutero and Maxmus Savanhu for handing out flyers and selling ‘Mugabe must go / has gone’ wristbands and to Phillip, Mavis and Virginia for putting up the banners. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO Zimbabwean HR Charity. Please be advised that any posting on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 46 signed the register. 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th December. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-one months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 10th December from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Prayer Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. Contact Beverley Mutandiro (07412053415) with names of Zimbabwean pastors and prayer groups who might want to participate.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
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BOND NOTES OUT . . . Reserve Bank sets cash withdrawal limits

Source: BOND NOTES OUT . . . Reserve Bank sets cash withdrawal limits – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Sunday News Reporter
THE wait is over! The much talked about bond notes will start circulating on the market tomorrow in denominations of $1 bond coin, $2 and $5 notes, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has said.

In a statement yesterday, the RBZ said the bond notes would be released into the market through normal banking channels.

RBZ said no new accounts would be opened for the bond notes as they would be deposited into existing US dollar accounts.

The notes will come in small denominations of $2 and $5 to fund export incentives of up to five percent which will be paid to exporters of goods and services and Diaspora remittances. RBZ said the initial release of bond notes will be in an amount of $10 million.

According to the specimen of the notes released yesterday, the $2 bond note’s main features are the three balancing rocks and the picture of the Zimbabwe Parliament Building and the Independence torch on the other side. The $5 bond note has the three balancing rocks while the other side has three giraffes. The $1 bond coin looks like other coins already in circulation except that it has a gold circumference.

Some of the other features include the optically variable ink, tactile marks for the visually impaired, latent image and see through perfect register. The bond notes also have the Zimbabwe bird watermark.

The central bank said in line with its thrust to promote a cashless society through the use of plastic money, the withdrawal limit of bond notes have been set at a maximum of $50 per day and a maximum of $150 per week.

“This measure is in tandem with the objective of the Bank to release bond notes into the market on a measured basis which is critical to mitigate against abuse of bond notes,” reads the statement.

The use of bond notes within the multi-currency exchange system which are anchored on the $200 million facility will operate along the same lines as bond coins, pegged 1:1 to the US dollar. RBZ said retailers, fuel companies and other businesses had agreed on the use and acceptability of bond notes as a medium of exchange.

“The Reserve Bank has engaged and agreed with the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe, fuel companies, representatives of the various business associations and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe on the use and acceptability of bond notes as a medium of exchange in the country,” the bank said.

Members of the public have been encouraged to report any form of abuse of bond notes. According to the gazetted RBZ Amendment Bill 2016, anyone who may choose to inflict any form of damage on bond notes could face up to seven years in prison.

“The Reserve Bank would like to request the public to report any form of malpractice and abuse of bond notes including but not limited to hoarding, defacing, disfiguring or unlawful use of notes and manipulation by person or banks or currency dealers or traders in connection with the use of bond notes,” said the RBZ.

Bond notes come at a time when the country is facing a serious liquidity crisis owing to a number of situations, among them externalisation of the United States dollar. The notes are expected to ease the cash crunch which has seen some banks limiting daily cash withdrawals to as little as $20.

RBZ earlier this year said $1,8 billion was externalised in 2015, a development that worsened Zimbabwe’s liquidity challenges.

That necessitated stringent measures that included restrictions on the amount of cash that can be taken out of the country at any given time to $1 000 per an individual.

Uncertainty over bond notes only making things worse

THE bond note circus keeps rolling on and Zimbabweans are none the wiser on what is going on, only leading to anxiety and ultimately rejection of the currency.

Source: Uncertainty over bond notes only making things worse – NewsDay Zimbabwe Nov 27, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Firstly, President Robert Mugabe gazetted amendments to the Reserve Bank Act, but now after the realisation that this move was patently unconstitutional, the government has belatedly decided to go the parliamentary route.

This week, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that they were suspending some parliamentary processes to fast-track the amendments.

A schedule has also been released on the public meetings to be held before the bond notes legislation goes to Parliament and is finalised.

To all this, there is a backdrop of media reports that the bond notes would be introduced this week, which ends today, while Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya said they will be out by November 30.

This means one of two things: Either the bond notes are not coming out before the end of this month or the parliamentary process is just a smokescreen. Either way, this will not help the new currency get approval from an already sceptical and highly untrusting public.

If Mangudya were to go ahead with his plan to introduce bond notes by the end of this month, this will mean the public would be barely acquiesced with the currency’s security features, a sure recipe for disaster.

In the meantime, there have been a number of court challenges to the bond notes, which betray a lack of planning from the authorities, as, if they had planned and thought the process through, they would have eliminated the possibility of these mounting lawsuits.

In hindsight, Mangudya should have only announced bond notes when he was sure what form they would take and how to counter any possible lawsuits and legal hurdles.

He might not have anticipated such a response, but the continued delay and uncertainty in introducing them is only making things worse.

Even for the ordinary person, who may genuinely believe that bond notes are a panacea to the cash shortages or externalisation of money, the delay in introducing them is only heightening anxiety.

Sceptics among us then speculate that the government is not pulling in the same direction regarding the surrogate currency, as there can be no logical explanation for this confusing state of affairs.

Government ministers have also been inconsistent in telling the nation how the currency will be used and this has further added to the disquiet.

If the bond notes are not ready or the legal framework is still questionable, then Mangudya should stop announcing dates of when the currency would be introduced, as setting dates only puts pressure on banks, as more people rush to withdraw their money before the notes are introduced.

The government has a duty to rid the country of this uncertainty and anxiety, as this will only increase mistrust and rejection of the bond notes.

MDC-T in ‘Shutdown’ rally

UNDER-PRESSURE MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is today expected to address thousands of his party supporters at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, at a rally dubbed the Shutdown.

Source: MDC-T in ‘Shutdown’ rally – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Tsvangirai’s appearance will come after a lengthy absence from the public glare owing to ill health.

MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora said the rally would be the last one to be addressed by Tsvangirai in 2016.

“We are going to have the rally, which we have called the Shutdown. It will be the last rally that will be addressed by our president in 2016,” he said.

The rally will come just four days before the MDC-T takes on President Robert Mugabe’s government in what they have called the finale of demonstrations.

Mwonzora said the party had planned a major demonstration against Mugabe’s rule over corruption and general suffering of the people, for November 30.

“We are going to have this demonstration as Nera (National Electoral Reforms Agenda). Initially, it was a day we had set aside for an MDC demonstration and Nera had planned its demonstration for November 23,” he said.

“But it was outlawed by the police. So it has been moved to that date, where, as one people, we will challenge poor governance, corruption and brutality.”

The rally, which is expected to be attended by political leaders from other parties, will be Tsvangirai’s first in nearly three months.

The opposition leader has had to limit his public appearances, as he has been routinely travelling to South Africa for cancer treatment.

Following a public fallout with Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, Tsvangirai is reportedly under pressure to increase his public appearances, which have been reduced to a bare minimum and has been pushed to address the rally.

Sources in the party said Tsvangirai would seek to address critics over his move to support Mliswa in the Norton by-election.

However, Mwonzora said the MDC-T was too big to be pushed into action by the outspoken independent legislator.

“Mliswa alone cannot push a monolithic party like MDC into action. We planned this rally some time ago and it has nothing to do with him,” he said.

Mwonzora said Tsvangirai would also map a way forward for the MDC-T, as they energise for the 2018 election preparations, which would mark 2017.

“The president will interface with our members and review what has happened during the year as well as propound a way forward for the party,” he said.

The greatest hindrance to fighting corruption in Africa

Corruption in any society or State can take many forms. It can be petty and minor and it can be massive and State wide in its implications. It can be simple and crude in nature or highly sophisticated. It finds partners very easily and can operate at will across borders and in between Continents. It is often linked to criminal networks and because of its very nature it is very difficult to uncover and prosecute.

Source: The greatest hindrance to fighting corruption in Africa – The Zimbabwean 27.11.2016 By Eddie Cross

I cannot speak about corruption in any other country than my own, Zimbabwe and do not feel that this is in any way makes my experience less relevant to people who live in other countries which may be more or less infected by the scourge of corruption in all its many forms.

I define corruption as “any activity which enables an individual or group of individuals to secure access to resources that have not been accrued through market related activities by means of the integrity of enterprise and work in a transparent manner”.

Zimbabwe is today rated as one of the most corrupt States on earth by Transparency International. I do not dispute that finding, but very few have any understanding of either the aggregate cost or the implications for our country. One estimate of the overall cost of corrupt activities in Zimbabwe puts it at US$80 to US$90 billion since Independence in 1980. That is slightly more than two billion dollars a year.

But it is when you pitch this figure against GDP and potential resources to the State that it takes on more significance. In the 36 years since Independence the formal sector in Zimbabwe has generated US$575 billion in economic output and US$145 billion in total revenue to the State. If we take the lower figure as a reliable estimate of corruption this represents 14 per cent of gross domestic output over the period but even more significantly, 55 per cent of revenue to the State for all the functions of the State. Total foreign aid to Zimbabwe over this period has probably been in the order of US$35 billion – 24 per cent of the budget and less than half the total loss due to corrupt activities.

Some forms of corruption can find broad acceptance in our societies for a variety of reasons. In countries where the Civil Service is either very poorly paid or not paid at all, citizens might simply brush off having to pay the police at road blocks or for service in a government office. A colleague of mine was posted to the Congo for business reasons and hired a post box at the post office in his town. He never got any mail and was complaining to an associate about the poor service. He was then asked – do you pay anything? He said no and his colleague said to him you have to put money in the box when you want your mail. He did just that and came back in an hour to find his mailbox packed with mail going back several weeks.

Then there is the influence of our different cultures – a Zimbabwean, handling money in a firm will find it very difficult to remain honest if his or her extended family urgently needs funds for a crisis. In Zambia at one stage Banks were not bothering to investigate small thefts by staff – they took it as a cost of doing business in Zambia.

The attitude of many multilateral firms operating in the developing countries must also be taken into account. The CEO of one major European manufacturer, whose products are visible throughout Africa, said to me once that he did not like operating in market driven economies – socialist, one Party States were the best from their point of view – they simply built in an element for local costs and paid bribes – often quite small payments for very considerable concessions. Left to their own devices such firms do not see anything wrong with paying bribes – it is an accepted cost of doing business.

What is quite different though are the networks that spring up around large scale corruption. In the case of the Congo and our own diamond experience, large and very sophisticated networks were created to extract and market the output and to dispose of the subsequent funds. Very large sums of money are often banked with reputable international financial institutions who collude with the perpetrators. I suspect that much or the accumulated wealth in States with banking secrecy has been accumulated from this sort of activity and becomes the asset of the institution when something happens to the people controlling the funds. When Mabuto died in the Congo he was reputed to be worth US$4,8 billion – only US$350 million was ever recovered.

In many African States access to opportunities and resources are closely linked to having influence with the ruling elite. Open tenders are unheard of and regarded as a nuisance and deals are done behind closed doors by men and women with contacts and influence. A Zimbabwean business tycoon, Tiny Rowland, CEO of Lonrho – a multinational based in London, was famous for his links with the powerful in Africa. He maintained luxury apartments in London for his “friends” and a phone call would result in an Executive Jet landing at an airport in Africa to pick up a family member who needed urgent medical treatment – all costs covered without any questions.

Tiny could call any leader in southern Africa and secure an appointment at short notice almost at any time. The deals he struck and the business empire he created were legendary. In many ways he ran his business just like his friends ran their countries.

This form of corruption is both legitimate and reasonable in the circumstances that prevailed in Africa at the time. But today corrupt practices taken on many other forms which are both damaging and exploitive and which can seriously affect economic growth and fosters the growth of absolute poverty in many countries.

In Zimbabwe all you have to do is to visit the country for a short time and to drive a car on our roads. You will be stopped by a Police Road block and questioned as to the State of your vehicle or what you were just doing on the road. For any one of a 100 misdemeanors you will face demands for a “spot fine”. Often accompanied by a threat to impound your vehicle or accompany you to a Police Station.

The reason for this activity is that the Government has given the Police the right to keep the revenue from these fines for their own needs. So the Police are all well dressed in uniforms made in a factory controlled by senior Police Officers, they drive new motor vehicles and Police Stations, unlike other government buildings, like schools and clinics, are all well maintained and equipped.

But our Police are not well paid and they use this opportunity to moonlight for themselves – evidence of this is everywhere, large homes, vehicles and cell phones and fancy hair do’s. The net effect is a massive surcharge on all road transport activity and this increases the cost of living generally and the cost of doing business. A side effect which is just as damaging is the impact on tourism and transit traffic through Zimbabwe.

In the same vein when you visit Zimbabwe you must drive through one of our border posts. On arrival you will greeted and treated like much missed distant relative by a small army of touts who will offer to get you through the border for a fee. Turn them down and you will soon discover why this may not have been a good move as you approach the border post in 40 degree heat, to find that the queue into the building winds down the road and will clearly take you some time to clear, in the sun.

Once in the border post itself you will subjected to carefully orchestrated chaos that will encourage you “next time” to use a tout. The touts clearly share the fees charged with the Officials on duty. Ignorance of procedure is rewarded with high charges for “duty” and “taxes” and even “road access fees and insurance”. For those in the know, small but significant payments can buy you anything – duty free access to Zimbabwe for 30 tonnes of whisky or bags of groceries. They will also buy you quick and easy transit through the border, even if you do not have any legitimate documents.

The consequence, total revenue from all charges at the border including Duties and taxes last year was just 5 per cent on imports amounting to an official figure of US$385 million on imports of US$6 billion. Duties on vehicle imports alone in 2015 should have been US$600 million and the Commissioner of Taxes has just been suspended for a scam involving imports of luxury vehicles. No post is more sought after in Zimbabwe than that of a Customs Officer at a major border post. Zimbabwe lies at the very heart of southern Africa and this corruption impacts on every State that uses our borders and transit routes.

Another focus of State facilitated corruption has been through a network of State controlled agencies in the liquid fuels industry. This system has been used to not only hold down the market price for fuel in the past, but to defraud bulk suppliers and to take substantial margins both within and outside Zimbabwe. During the Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, this sorry mess was sorted out by a very capable MDC Minister and the entire industry put onto an open, transparent market related basis.

Within weeks of the total assumption of power by the Zanu PF Party in July 2013, the rats were at it again and today a commercial group led by a major British Company has a monopoly over the pipeline supplying Zimbabwe and has imposed a premium on all fuel imports of between 25 and 35 cents a litre. Every cent is worth US$1,2 million a month and the total value of funds being siphoned off under this scheme I estimate to be about US$450 million a year.

For some reason all fuel payments by Zimbabwe to offshore suppliers go through Singapore which, in 2015 supplied 22 per cent of our total imports – that is US$1,3 billion a year or over US$100 million a month. You can do the maths – our imports were about 140 million litres a month in 2015 so the average price paid was 78 cents a litre in a world market where refined fuels were selling for half that price. Ask yourself who visits Singapore on a regular basis for medical treatment and just join the dots. But the impact on the streets in Zimbabwe is clear – pump prices for fuel average US$1.16 a litre compared to a regional average of about 80 cents.

Like South Africa we have established a major diesel based generating capacity for electrical energy. It is allowed to import duty free fuel for this purpose but even so the cost to the consumer is more than double the cost of imported energy and ten times the cost of hydroelectric energy from Kariba Dam and Mozambique. Surprise, surprise, a Zanu PF aligned company with links to the corruption in the fuel industry has control of this facility. There is no economic justification for this operation.

But nothing demonstrates the significance of State controlled corruption on a massive scale better than the story of the Marange diamond fields. Discovered by de Beers, they abandoned the find in 2006 only to have the discovery taken over by a London based company, African Consolidated Resources Limited. ACR pegged 3 800 hectares of the discovery and almost immediately found gem quality diamonds. As a public company they were obliged to make public disclosure as it might affect the share price in London. They did so and the notice was seen in Zimbabwe.

Within weeks the mining rights of ACR were illegally cancelled and the Government allowed some 40 000 small miners to occupy the site. After two years the State, for the first time appreciating the size of the discovery, moved to take over all mining on site through a number of companies linked to various key players – the Minister of Mines, the President and his family, the Army and the security services. The small scale miners were simply driven off the site using live ammunition, dogs and physical violence.

In the next 5 years some US$17 billion in raw diamonds were extracted from the alluvial deposits on an 80 000 hectare site. Less than US$650 million or 3,8 per cent of these revenues was paid to the State. The rest vanished. Evidence of new unexplained wealth abounds – luxury homes for army officers, the former Minister of Mines, now a multimillionaire. Real estate in Sandton and an Nkandla style home for the Zimbabwean President on millionaires row north of Durban. At the site an international airport with ground defense equipment and thousands of hectares of sand dumps which can be clearly seen on Google Earth.

None of the companies used for this plunder are capable of mining the hard rock resources that are left containing perhaps 9 billion carats of diamonds and what is left of the alluvial field is being consolidated into a single company controlled by proxies of the First Family. In the process we flooded the world market, depressed prices, forced Botswana and South Africa to reduce sales to world markets and created a number of very wealthy intermediaries in the near and Far East, at least one of whom is in a Chinese jail.

In a similar operation Zimbabwean elements in the Government and the armed forces were involved in the blatant exploitation of the natural resources of the Congo during and after the Kabila overthrow of Mabuto. The scale of these operations is stunning – in one case involving logging of exotic hardwoods over 33 million hectares of land. Many billions of dollars of cobalt and diamonds were extracted from the Congo and sold internationally with little to show for all this activity on the ground except conflict.

Zimbabwean influence in the Congo is much diminished but the Congolese remain the victims of genocide and forced labour and exploitation – there are hardly any functional roads or railways in the Congo; few schools and even fewer establishments for higher learning. Everyone behaves like a vulture in the Congo, denying its inherent wealth and potential and leaving little except skeletons behind when they are finished.

When Zimbabwe became an independent State in 1980, we had perhaps the best educated Executive in the world – we had 17 PhD graduates in our Cabinet, many from world class Universities. But they had never managed anything except perhaps a cash box in a bush camp. They had little or no experience of Government.

They took over complete, a small competent Civil Service (67 000 Civil Servants), a diversified and fairly competitive economy which supplied 95 per cent of local needs and exported a wide range of goods to the region and abroad and a Reserve Bank which had a great record of monetary discipline. National debt was just US$700 million – less than 10 per cent of GDP.

They pretty soon discovered that the Reserve Bank was a marvelous institution with a printing press in the basement. Faced with huge expectations and despite receiving foreign aid, the regime began spending more than it was receiving in taxes. Over 20 years the fiscal deficit averaged 9 per cent – an impossible figure which was bound to lead to problems. They borrowed money to cover the deficit and when this became more and more difficult they began printing money. Ian Smith had been a nationalist and a socialist in public affairs. He had instituted many controls of market forces including exchange control. The new Government simply maintained these and soon found that these controls created opportunities for creative State accounting.

Since then the Reserve Bank in Zimbabwe has become a major institution for the looting of public and private funds. Acting as the banker to Government the Bank has huge reach and capabilities and in the current legislative framework is very much simply an agent of the Executive. The State President is able, with a simple note to the Governor, to draw millions of dollars in hard cash almost at will. None of this is ever returned or accounted for. The same has applied to gold reserves for which the Bank has exclusive responsibility.

During the hyper inflationary era in Zimbabwe from 2000 to 2008, the Reserve Bank took 35 per cent of all export proceeds and paid for them in local currency at official exchange rates. Effectively this meant that the bank was commandeering about US$1,5 billion a year and replacing it with printed paper at a small fraction of its value. At one point it was calculated that someone with connections to the Bank and allocations of foreign exchange, could buy a Mercedes Benz for the price of a pack of cigarettes.

Allocations of even small amounts of foreign exchange were enough to make millions and many did just that. The business sector, desperate for funds to import essentials readily complied and this marked a massive transfer of funds from the private sector to an elite with State connections – none of it illegal in terms of local legislation. Is this corruption or just State managed pillage and plunder? But the consequence has been the near total destruction of the economy taken over from the Smith era.

As if we had seen everything, the past three years has given us a lesson in criminal fiscal management that is actually quite scary. After the four years of renewed fiscal discipline imposed during the life of the Government of National Unity from 2009 to 2013, the new Government immediately reversed to its old ways and a budget surplus planned for 2013 of US$100 million was turned into a budget deficit of US$500 million by expanding the Civil Service and raising salaries.

The State has continued to live beyond its means and in 2014 to 2016, incurred a fiscal deficit of over US$3 billion. In a tiny economy like Zimbabwe’s these sums are enormous – over 20 per cent of the budget. Isolated and unable to access funds from outside the country, the State simply issued Treasury Bills. This effectively converted half of all bank deposits into paper whose value as an asset was dependent on a broke Government to repay the borrowings at a small interest rate. Today financial institutions and companies carry US$4,2 billion in Treasury Bills that are essentially worthless.

With total Bank deposits of US$6 billion this has exhausted this avenue and in response to the need for still more borrowings, the Reserve Bank did something that is totally illegal. They borrowed money from Commercial Banks Nostro accounts with the RBZ and lent them to the Government as an unsecured overdraft at no interest. This now stands at US$1,1 billion.

As if this was not enough the State then imposed exchange control and began taking – not 35 per cent, but 70 per cent of all export proceeds for its own use. They are replacing these funds (US$2,4 billion a year) with an electronic transfer which they call “US dollars” but which in fact have no value outside the banking system in Zimbabwe.

This description makes no effort to even estimate what it costs us a very year in manipulated tenders and the theft of public resources. These run to many hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Despite this, few are ever exposed and even fewer find their way to the Court system. Recently the Chief Executive of the National Road Authority in Zimbabwe (handling about US$200 million a year) was arrested for corruption involving US$1,4 million. He and an associate were being held in Police Cells in Harare when the Vice President Mpoko who was Acting President of the Republic arrived late on a Saturday and demanded that his “friends” be released. When the Officer in Charge protested he was beaten by the Vice Presidents security details and the suspects were released. There is no evidence that they have been rearrested or prosecuted.

In a nutshell it is this last incident that reveals the main problem with corruption in Africa. It is the failure by leadership to recognise and respect the rule of law. Until this is addressed, African States are unlikely to make any progress towards creating stable democracies and progressive policies that allow growth and development.

However what is not understood are the wider implications of corruption in society. It is generally accepted in economics that if you invest a dollar in an average economy, the velocity of money will mean that that dollar will multiply by four or five times as it circulates. The reverse must also be true, take a dollar out of your average economy and the impact will be magnified many times. If it is true that US$80 to US$90 billion has been taken out of circulation in Zimbabwe over the past four decades then the actual economic impact could be four times the face value of the theft. This is US$320 billion or 55 per cent of actual GDP over the period.

Had these funds been reinvested in the economy actual growth rates would have been over 12 per cent per annum and final GDP today would have been many times the actual GDP. Zimbabwe would be a middle income State instead of occupying a slot at the very bottom of all global indicators. Instead of having over 70 per cent of our population living in absolute poverty, this number would have been cut by two thirds.

The same sort of factors would have come into play with regard to the total revenues available to the State. Had the Zimbabwean economy grown at the average rate that has been experienced by the Chinese economy over the same period, Zimbabwean GDP today would exceed US$420 billion. At this level Zimbabweans would be the wealthiest people in Africa with an income per capita of $28 000 – instead our average income per capita is US$1200 – ten per cent of that of Botswana.

What this says is that you cannot take out of an economy 14 per cent of GDP every year for an extended period and expect to see economic growth and development. If you do you behave like that you will impoverish your people, no matter how industrious and well educated they are.

When we talk about losing US$2 billion a year to corruption most people simply cannot comprehend what that means. It means that you have lost enough money to make 2000 individuals US dollar millionaires. It is enough money to double the salaries of every Civil Servant or to double the budget for education and health with money left over. It is enough money to build 200 000 homes for low income families each year.

It means that if you simply replaced a corrupt regime with an honest one, the new government could meet the full needs of every family in the country within 5 years and to deliver a good quality of life and income to all citizens within one lifetime. This would not require borrowings on any scale; would not need foreign aid and would reduce poverty levels very rapidly.

So what is the issue, why do we find corruption so difficult to deal with in Africa? I do not think this is only an African issue – it is one of the truly global problems of our time and must be addressed as a priority by all with influence and power. The Chinese have a simple solution – they treat all corruption as a very serious crime and if it involves either large sums of money or very senior officials, it is treated as a capital crime. Visions of the third most important official in the Chinese Government being arrested in a Politburo meeting and executed shortly thereafter, has a salutatory effect on everyone.

We must stop treating principles such as;

Ø The supremacy of the Constitution;

Ø The Rule of Law and equality before the law;

Ø The separation of powers between the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature;

Ø The use of open, democratic principles to guide elections which are free and fair and which allow regular changes to national leadership;

Ø The use of market forces to determine the level of prices and the cost of projects;

Ø A free press and free competitive electronic media as well as open access to IT services and the internet;

Ø The need for independent, professional police and prosecuting authorities;

Ø Strict application of the law and the penalties that are associated with corrupt practices and activities;

Ø Protection for whistle blowers; and

Ø The adoption and strict adherence to sound macroeconomic policies and practices to protect fundamental economic interests.

Not just as just optional extras: they are the very foundations of a modern, democratic State with checks and balances against the abuse of power. What sets Africa apart is the blatant use of political power and privilege to protect the corrupt and to take advantage of these elements in the pursuit of personal gain.

I was involved with the President’s Office in a recent workshop in Zimbabwe and was astounded at the knowledge and information available to these very senior officials. They know what is going on and who is doing what and to what extent. There are no secrets at that level, therefore why is the knowledge not used to clean up the situation and punish the perpetrators? The reasons are obvious – people at the highest level in our society are benefitting from these activities or are allowing them to happen just in case the information may be useful at some time in the future.

The use of such information is clearly being applied in Zimbabwe in today’s conflicts in the Party in power. Attempts by one faction who control the Ministry of Justice, to apprehend and prosecute senior Government Ministers in another faction are now common cause. The allegations are true, the facts available in great detail, but the President is stopping the exercise for his own ends. The reality is that the great majority of the present Cabinet in Zimbabwe has been involved in corrupt activities, some for many years. To some extent this explains the desperate attempts to protect their control of the State and all its key institutions.

In this environment the rule of law is more abused than recognised, is more often used to suppress legitimate political activity or to eliminate competition. In this environment the independence of the Judiciary is a mockery. Strong independent institutions are an essential feature of sound governance in any country. It will be what carry’s the United States through the Trump era.

But in the end it all comes down to leadership.

Mash Central disowns ‘Mafioso resolution’ •dubbed a family affair •Vote of no confidence touted

Source: Mash Central disowns ‘Mafioso resolution’ •dubbed a family affair •Vote of no confidence touted | The Herald

Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central provincial and district executive members have distanced themselves from a resolution read out by acting provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios challenging President Mugabe’s status as the only centre of power in the revolutionary party with the mandate to appoint his deputies. The resolution, they said, was apparently “a family affair’’ and the brainchild of Cde Mafios, who is brother to national political commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere.

Cde Kasukuwere is reported to be a key figure in the so-called G40-faction along with Professor Jonathan Moyo, who hails from Matabeleland North but has been at the forefront of defending what has been dubbed “the Mafioso resolution’’ on social media.

Several district and provincial executive members yesterday held meetings and distanced themselves from the controversial resolution. The party members said they had “hunted” for Cde Mafios, but he avoided them and reportedly told them over the phone that: “I will stand for (the resolution) myself.”

Members from the main wing, Youths and Women’s leagues said no single district passed a resolution seeking to strip President Mugabe of his powers when it comes to appointing his deputies.

They said the purported resolution only popped up when final resolutions were being read out, a clear indication that it was smuggled in by senior members. The members said Central Committee member Cde Martin Mavhangira was in-fact, rebuked when he inquired about the resolution during the provincial inter-district meeting in Bindura last weekend.

Cde Mafios, who himself was not elected, yesterday told The Herald that there was no going back on the resolution that President Mugabe should not appoint his deputies but have them elected by party members.

“Hazvina nebasa rese izvo,” he thundered! “Isu takatotaura, and that’s our position. It will not change.” Zanu-PF amended its Constitution at the 2014 congress and gave President Mugabe powers to appoint his deputies and Politburo members.

The one centre of power principle was a way of stemming factionalism which sought to manifest in alternative centres of power, which had afflicted the revolutionary party ahead of the congress.

Mashonaland Central secretary for Education in the Women’s League Cde Shantel Mbereko said, Cde Mafios should be taken to task over the “treasonous” resolution. She said they had to convene a meeting yesterday as they were under fire from party members who sought to know where the resolution emanated from.

“We didn’t agree on that, and we tried calling him and he is avoiding us,” she said.

“Ati anogona kuzvimirira ega, hanzi ndopedza nyaya yangu ndega. Chatiri kunyatsoona inyaya inenge ine kamhuri mukati, yavakatoronga vega. Vari kuita zvechimhuri-mhuri (He said he will personally defend the resolution. He said it was his baby and it is clear that this is a family thing),” Cde Mbereko said.

Cde Mafios was imposed as acting chairperson last year when Cde Luke Mushore was booted out in the run-up to the 2014 December congress. Cde Mbereko added: “As we speak, party members are firing questions at us leaders from all angles, as they want answers to that. Our resolutions as women didn’t have that nonsense, but it came from the main wing members.

“Our Central Committee member Cde Mavhangira immediately stood up and asked where that resolution had come from, but he was told to sit down by the chairperson (Cde Mafios). It is that greedy family alliance which has seen women being elbowed out of mining activities taking place at Kitsiyatota,” she said.

Said Cde Mavhangira: “We are working on something and after that, we will come to you with all the information.” Cde Mafios is on record saying the one centre of power principle should be abolished as it was not benefiting anyone. Cde Tinashe Matangira, provincial youth secretary for lands said the youths had not passed such a resolution.

“We sat as provincial members in Bindura and we denounce the announcement made that Vice Presidents should be elected and the one centre of power principle should cease to exist,” he said.

“That is a move meant to strip the President of his powers. Vanoda President vasare vari President wezita chete? We exonerate ourselves from such a resolution. We phoned Cde Mafios and he said the resolution is from the youths, but we the youths are saying there is nothing like that. The owners of the resolutions in various districts are surprised and breathing fire.”

Cde Pozaiti Sireu, deputy secretary for business liaison added: “We don’t even know where it came from and we are all surprised. We disown that resolution.” A senator, who preferred anonymity, said efforts to get hold of Cde Mafios had been fruitless.

“Starting from the districts, it was agreed that we remain with one centre of power. We are not part of that idea of electing deputies. We wanted to get hold of Cde Mafios to speak with one voice, but he is playing hide-and-seek, and a vote of no confidence is on its way,” he said.

Another district chairperson from Bindura Cde John Risinamhodzi said: “It’s an individual decision which did not come from the people. The province never made a decision. There are a few individuals pushing their agendas. We are for the one of centre of power, and that centre of power will choose its lieutenants. If allowed to pass through, those people will end up saying let’s vote for Politburo members.”

The Zanu-PF Women’s League and Zanu-PF affiliates like Zeppedra, Ziliwaco and ZNLWVA have since trashed “the Mafioso resolution’’ as an attempt to undermine the President and First Secretary, Cde Mugabe.

All other Zanu-PF provinces have reaffirmed their support for President Mugabe as the one centre of power ahead of the 16th National People’s Conference to be held in Masvingo next month. The conference will run from December 13 to 17.

$33m AfDB power project set for 2018

Source: $33m AfDB power project set for 2018 – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE is expecting to start work on the Zizabona regional electricity transmission interconnector in 2018 after receiving a grant of $33 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to commence the project.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Hwange on Wednesday, Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company systems development manager Engineer Ikhupuleng Dube said the project, which is seen as critical to stimulating investment in new generating capacity in the power-stressed Southern African region and had been on the cards for about a decade was expected to start in two years.

As implied in its name, the project would facilitate power trade across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, ease congestion on the existing north-south transmission corridor from South Africa to Zimbabwe and add a 400 kilo volts western corridor to the Southern African Power Pool.

“For component A which is Zimbabwe we have got a grant of $33 million from AfDB. It’s a 100 kilometre line from Hwange to the border with Zambia. Zizabona has taken a long time, close to 10 years. The problem was the implementation modalities and structures that when you deal with a project that is implemented in four countries it takes time to harmonise issues, requirements and legislation and agree on the way forward,” said Eng Dube.

It has been estimated previously that the project, which could involve a capital investment of more than $220 million, would be able to support the transfer of 600 megawatts of electricity arising primarily from existing and future hydroelectric plants located in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

We were expecting all the approvals to have been done by the second quarter of 2017 so that by 2018 we start. Zimbabwe has the longest line in component A Hwange-Livingstone but there is even a longer one on the Zambian territory going to Namibia but that is in component C, which is going to be developed after component A. There is also another component on the Zimbabwean territory which is a line from Victoria Falls to Pandamatenga,” said Eng Dube.

He said some families in Hwange’s rural areas were going to be displaced when the project starts.

“There are 65 families that are going to be affected by the plan and we are working with them and local leadership, stakeholders and communities to come up with a plan of resettling them. As a company we compensate people who are affected by our projects. We build them structures. The people will have to be compensated before we start construction because they will be on the way and that will take 24 months,” said Eng Dube.

He said work on another massive power project to benefit Zimbabwe and Zambia, the 2 4000 MW Batoka Project was set to resume soon. Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to benefit from the trailblazing transnational project which has the potential to make both countries new exporters of power across the Sadc region.

The project which is expected to take approximately 10 years to reach full completion, will result in Zambia and Zimbabwe significantly reducing power shortages and reliance on coal-fired power stations.

“We have advanced plans of constructing new power plants like Batoka. Feasibility studies are supposed to be completed this year, there was an issue of completing the Environment Impact Assessment on the Zimbabwean side . . . work is going to resume very soon and we are looking at the commissioning to be done in 2022 to 2023,” said Eng Dube.

HCCL to ramp up coke production

Source: HCCL to ramp up coke production – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has set plans to resuscitate its underground mine and take over its coke oven battery from Chinese company, Taiyuan Sanxin Economic and Trade Company.

HCCL managing director Engineer Thomas Makore said the company wanted to take advantage of the soaring prices of coke on the international markets to boost its business.

“The coke price has gone up by 200 percent . . . so we need to resuscitate 3-Main and we are also working on the termination of Hwange Coal Gasification Company (HCGC) Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement, so that we are able to produce thermal coal, industrial coal, coking coal from underground that will help us address all the markets. We want to export to South Africa and intensify our markets in Zambia and we also want to benefit from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s export incentives,” said Eng Makore.

The company’s 3-Main Underground Mine has been non-functioning since early last year and $6,4 million is needed to revive it. The 3-Main Underground Mine, is the main source for production of its coke and coking coal.

In 2010, HCCL entered into a BOT agreement with Taiyuan Sanxin Economic and Trade Company to form HCGC. Under the arrangement HCCL has a shareholding of 25 percent while the Chinese hold the remainder with the coal mining giant delivering coking coal to the coking plant while Taiyuan Sanxin Economy and Trade Company injected capital.

However, a forensic audit carried out in 2013 revealed alleged massive externalisation of funds from the gasification unit resulting in the coal mining giant seeking the BOT agreement to be revisited. To date the two companies are embroiled in a legal dispute over debts which they owe each other.

“We have a (HCGC) BOT agreement which is almost expiring and therefore HCCL is in the process of implementing its rights to takeover. It has taken longer because first of all we were not producing coking coal and then there were also legal disputes between us but we are sorting that out so that there is a smooth takeover and take advantage of the coke prices. It is something that was coming in terms of the BOT agreement,” said Eng Makore.

Last month the coal mining giant introduced a short working programme where workers are working two weeks per month in all departments, effectively slashing their earnings by half as the company battles to contain costs.

“The two weeks in, two weeks out started last month. It is one of our cost reduction initiatives and buttresses our turnaround strategy because when production is low, our core structure must also be low otherwise we are unable to survive. We believe it’s temporary as we kick in initiatives such as the scheme of arrangement and other things such as injection of working capital,” said Eng Makore.

He said the company was also working on a scheme of arrangement with its creditors to reschedule its more than $300 million debt, as its going concern status remains under threat.

“We have already started with cost reduction, reducing management and also streamlining operations. We had our strategic planning workshop and we want to realign and increase production,” said Eng Makore.

Corrupt officials destroying Zanu-PF — Chombo

Source: Corrupt officials destroying Zanu-PF — Chombo – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Harare Bureau
Senior Zanu-PF officials involved in corruption are “destroying the party from within”, and this issue will be tackled at the 16th Annual National People’s Conference in Masvingo this December, a top official has said.

In an interview with our Harare Bureau, Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo said bad apples should be dealt with decisively to clearly establish the party’s position against graft.

Dr Chombo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said inaction would create the wrong impression that Zanu-PF and its leader President Mugabe condoned corruption and general criminality.

“It’s a public secret that as a party, we do not tolerate corruption. Again, the President has, at every opportunity, condemned such acts. Those who are corrupt are undermining the party and destroying it from within.

“The party will not stand idle while it is being tarnished by corrupt, selfish individuals. If the party does not act against dishonest members, this will send the wrong message to supporters.”

Zanu-PF heads to conference as authorities are investigating allegations that Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo siphoned hundreds of thousands of United States dollars from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.

It is alleged that Prof Moyo did this in cahoots with his deputy, Dr Godfrey Gandawa.

Prof Moyo has claimed the allegations are motivated by tribalism and has sued the public media for reporting the investigation.

Dr Chombo also said Zanu-PF was working on clearing outstanding disciplinary cases ahead of conference, adding that the ruling party would continue prioritising the people’s welfare.

He said the indaba, themed “Moving with Zim Asset in peace and unity”, would review Zimbabwe’s economic performance, among other key issues.

“We are a grassroots political party. As I speak, we had seven political meetings per day for the last two weeks, while all opposition parties held only one meeting.

‘‘We are having between 36 and 48 meetings in one week, with an average of 500 people per meeting. MDC-T is having three or so, with an average of 180 per meeting. Mai Mujuru’s party is having five, and 150 people attend each meeting on average.

“And when we win elections, they move around saying Zanu-PF rigs elections. No. We work with the people and know what they want. There is need to interact with the people, and that’s what we do as a party.”

Dr Chombo continued: “We interact with the people in the language they understand and on issues they are concerned about.

Critically, we have always focused on what people say and issues they are concerned about; their aspirations, dreams and interests. That’s where we stand as a party.

“We have never taken an agenda from outside; we have never tried in our history to push a foreign agenda. We push and work for a Zimbabwean agenda.

“That agenda comes from our villagers and the generality of our people. What they want is what concerns Zanu-PF.

‘‘It is difficult for any political party to separate us from the people because their interests are our utmost concern; from the days of the liberation struggle.”

Defence forces unite Africa

Source: Defence forces unite Africa – Sunday News Nov 27, 2016

Harare Bureau
The Zimbabwe Staff College is helping to foster regional unity and assisting Harare in maintaining cordial relations with Sadc and the rest of Africa, President Mugabe has said.

He has also commended China for providing professional training staff and equipment, saying joint training is key to unity among participating nations. The President was speaking at the graduation ceremony of 56 students who completed the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 29 at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare yesterday.

“I note with great satisfaction the critical role that the Zimbabwe Defence College plays in maintaining cordial relations through the enrolment of students from Sadc and African Union Member States.

“The college in its next intake will widen its Joint Command and Staff Course catchment area to include students from Kenya.

It has always been my Government’s wish to see the college enrolling more students from Sadc and beyond as doing so will further enhance our existing co-operation as African states, while at the same time nurturing mutual trust among the defence forces.”

President Mugabe commended the Zimbabwe Staff College for reviewing its courses in line with the changing geo-political environment.

“The Zimbabwe Staff College continuously reviews its course curriculum to align it with the prevailing geo-political environment. On September 10, 2016, the college celebrated the International Culture Week, a celebration that was an appreciation of African cultural diversity and richness.

“An important cultural component of the course provided students with an opportunity to interact with Chiefs Chingombe and Nemashakwe of Gutu. Interaction with the two traditional leaders and their communities among other culture promoting activities of the course went a long way in inculcating an appreciation of our culture by the Defence Forces trainees.”

The President also said: “The geo-political studies package of the Defence Course saw trainees embark on a one-week external study tour to Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria and Namibia. The external study tour was aimed at broadening students’ conceptualisation and comprehension of the countries’ political, socio-economic, cultural, military and architectural potentials as well as the status of their civil-military relations.

“The college has, in addition to its traditional Service Papers, and beginning this year, introduced research projects for its students. This development is a step towards fulfilling global academic standards which enable students to conduct universal research, consonant with international academic practice. The conduct of research at this level not only equips the students with basic academic research skills, but also prepares them for further studies at the Bachelor level in Defence and Security Studies.”

Of the 56 students who graduated, 27 were from the Zimbabwe National Army, nine from the Air Force of Zimbabwe, two from the President’s Department and one each from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.

Others were from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. One student came from Nigeria, marking the beginning of military cooperation between the West African giant and Zimbabwe. The graduation ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, senior Government officials and service chiefs.

President to address Parliament

Source: President to address Parliament | The Herald November 26, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira: Senior Reporter

President Mugabe is set to deliver a State of the Nation address next Thursday in which he will address Parliament on the country’s achievements and priorities over the next year. The yearly event serves as a platform for the President to inform the nation about the country’s current and socio-economic and political situation.Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda, confirmed the development on Thursday.

“Yes, I can confirm that His Excellency, the President, will address a joint sitting of both the National Assembly and Senate, where he will deliver a State of the Nation Address on December 1 2016.

“We have since started making preparations for the event and obviously look forward to it,” said Mr Chokuda.

In his address, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, is expected to update Parliament on national developments, challenges and how Government intends to overcome them.

Key among them is the introduction of bond notes aimed at stimulating export-led industrialisation through the provision of a 5 percent incentive scheme for exporters. Another objective of the bond notes would be to curb the foreign currency leakages as well as arrest the current cash challenges.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, which seeks to give legal effect to the bond notes, is already before Parliament. The President is also expected to give an update on the Command Agriculture programme, where Government is providing inputs for farmers to improve crop yields, and food security.

At least 19 600 farmers have received inputs under the Government specialised scheme, with about 163 865 hectares of both irrigable and dry land now under contract farming. President Mugabe is also expected to touch on other aspects aimed at implementing Government’s economic blue-print, Zim-Asset.

The event is expected to be attended by captains of industry, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and senior Government officials.

All set for Chimanimani poll

Source: All set for Chimanimani poll | The Herald November 26, 2016

From Abel Zhakata in Chimanimani

All is set for the Chimanimani West by-election which kicks off today at 51 centres across the constituency. Voting starts at 7am and ends at 7pm. Zimbabwe Election Commission Manicaland provincial elections officer Mr Moffat Masabeya said yesterday that everything was in place.“We are ready to conduct the elections in line with the provisions of the law. All the necessary materials required for the elections have been taken to all centres in the constituency. We have enough personnel to carry out the exercise. “Voting will take place in all the 11 wards in Chimanimani West where we have a total of 51 centres. Our Command Centre is situated at Nhedziwe Secondary School,” he said.

A visit to the command centre late yesterday afternoon showed that some people were still requesting to be accredited. Some who did not apply with electoral body to observe the election were turned down. Mr Masabeya said all those accredited to observe the elections applied to ZEC and were given the green light to do so.

“In the absence of that application which must be confirmed from the head office in Harare by way of an authorisation number you won’t be accredited to observe the elections. This applies to everyone,” he said.

A survey across the constituency showed low political activity as there were no rallies. It was relatively quiet with a number of police officers deployed at all polling stations to maintain order. Zanu-PF candidate Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyere will battle it out with Mr Peter Gudyanga (Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe), Mr Edmore Mtetwa (Independent) and Mr Pesanai Musakaruka (National Constitutional Assembly).

Govt reverses bid to fast-track Bill

Source: Govt reverses bid to fast-track Bill | The Herald November 26, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira: Senior Reporter

Government has reversed its decision to fast-track the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill that seeks to give legal effect to the introduction of bond notes to allow for wider consultations, a Cabinet Minister has said. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the National Assembly that he would no longer fast-track the Bill.Initially, Minister Chinamasa had indicated to the National Assembly that he would seek leave of Parliament to suspend several procedural requirements that were related to the introduction and deliberation of Bills to allow it to be heard on an urgent basis.

Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda met Minister Chinamasa, where it was agreed that the relevant portfolio committee, Budget and Finance Committee would hold countrywide public consultations next week before debate could ensue.

In yesterday’s sitting, Minister Chinamasa told the National Assembly that he would amend his motion and only retain a clause that suspends the 14-day requirement before a Bill could be tabled in Parliament.

“Following my discussion with you (Adv Mudenda) and also following an announcement you made (of public hearings), I want to amend my motion,” said Minister Chinamasa.

A source close to the discussions said the view was that there was no prejudice in allowing normal process to take its course since there were already Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) to run for the next six months taking care of the introduction of bond notes.

Some of the procedures that Minister Chinamasa had initially sought to be suspended included the period within which the Parliamentary Legal Committee would report, and the time-frame upon which the relevant portfolio committee should report to the House.

Minister Chinamasa had also initially sought the suspension of Standing Order Number 139, which provided that not more than one stage of a Bill may be taken in the same sitting or on the same day without the leave of the House.

Kuwadzana East MP Advocate Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) commended Minister Chinamasa, saying while he had differed with him on several occasions, he agreed with his decision.

“This is a positive thing. We must not just criticise for the sake of it. It is a pro-people decision. It is in line with the dictates of our Constitution,” said Adv Chamisa.

Meanwhile, the Land Commission Bill sailed through the second reading stage yesterday.

The Bill seeks to establish a Land Commission, whose function is to carry out land audits and resolve land disputes. Land Reform and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said the commission would also advise Government on several land related issues.

MDC-T challenges Lupane rally ban

THE MDC-T has filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the police for banning its rally scheduled for tomorrow in Lupane.

Source: MDC-T challenges Lupane rally ban – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

The party cited the officer commanding Lupane district as the first respondent, Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, as second and third respondents, respectively.

“The first respondent has sought to bar the applicant’s planned political public meeting to be held on November 27 and it, thus, reasonably conceived that the first respondent may unleash members of the police force to disrupt and disturb the meeting, yet the applicant would be exercising its constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of assembly and association,” the application read.

“More so, first respondent has not advanced any reasons or legal basis to suggest that he has powers to bar applicant from freely assembling and associating.”

The party said it had already committed its time and resources to the event, hence, aborting it would be costly to it.

It further stated that due to the closeness of the day of the planned meeting, it would be reasonable for the court to deal with the matter on an urgent basis.

MDC-T submitted that the police had no legal basis to bar it from holding the rally and the cops would not suffer any prejudice if the rally proceeded, hence, the party prayed for an interim relief to continue with the rally.

In his founding affidavit, Matabeleland North MDC-T chairman, Thembinkosi Sibindi submitted that on November 19 this year, through the party’s provincial organising secretary, Noah Khumalo, the party notified the police about the rally.

“On November 22, I received a call from the first respondent’s office informing me that the applicant’s response was ready for collection. I proceeded to the first respondent’s office, where I was served with the copy.

“The first respondent stated that the applicant should reschedule the planned meeting because ZRP Lupane district is overwhelmed with operations, which kick off on November 23,” Sibindi’s affidavit read.

“It is apparent that the first respondent’s response has the effect of barring applicant’s political meeting in that it seeks to compel the applicant to reschedule the meeting.

“In purporting to disallow the political meeting, the first respondent seemingly suffers from the misconception that the Public Order and Security Act clothes him with such powers. First respondent could be sincere in holding this view, only that he is sincerely wrong as the Act simply requires one to give notice of a public meeting in writing, which is precisely what the applicant did.”

The police were yesterday yet to respond to the application.

Sakunda problems mount

PROBLEMS for Sakunda Petroleum continue to mount, with the company being sued for allegedly failing to pay for work undertaken at its Mabvuku Fuel Gantry plant.

Source: Sakunda problems mount – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

A Harare company, Sprint Engineering, is demanding payment for work done on the multi-million dollar Sakunda Petroleum/National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe plant, which is used to store fuel pumped through the Feruka Fuel Pipeline.

The plant has become the region’s largest inland fuel storage facility.

In case number 5085/16, Sprint Engineering, through its lawyers, is claiming $141 116,56 from Sakunda Petroleum for the work they did.

They argue that part of the money owed was for overtime for Sprint Engineering workers allegedly at the behest of Sakunda, which wanted the project finished in time for the facility to be commissioned by President Robert Mugabe.

“That on December 1, 2014, Sakunda, represented by its project engineer, Tawona Mutungwazi, verbally requested plaintiff to intensify the work programme so that the gantry would be commission by the President. This involved employing persons to work overtime and agreed charge was $58 742 together with value-added tax,” it reads in part.

Despite finishing ahead of schedule, Sprint Engineering said Sakunda neglected or refused to pay the money owed to the company.

Sakunda has, however, entered an appearance to defend the lawsuit, saying they did not owe Sprint Engineering any money after paying all dues.

“Although it is admitted that the work was completed, it is denied that an amount of $141 116,56 remains outstanding,” their plea reads.

Mutungwazi, in a declaration attached to the papers, contradicted his bosses, saying no payments were made to the engineering firm.

Sakunda Petroleum, which is linked to top Zanu PF politicians, recently lost a $203 000 lawsuit after it was ordered to pay Arup Zimbabwe for services offered at the controversial Dema Power Project.

‘Civil servants to fund Zanu PF conference’

ZANU PF has reportedly ordered civil servants to contribute at least $10 each towards the ruling party’s annual conference set for Masvingo next month.

Source: ‘Civil servants to fund Zanu PF conference’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2016

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

A donation form circulating in Masvingo, reportedly prepared by the party for fundraising towards the annual conference, states that each civil servant should contribute at least $10 towards the annual jamboree, whose budget is pegged at over $4 million.

Part of the form, which has already been given to teachers at various schools, reads: “This is being done at ward level for all civil servants and businesspeople. We are expecting help of a minimum of $10 to assist us to run the conference in Masvingo.”

Zanu PF secretary for finance Obert Mpofu said he was unsure if the form circulating in the said areas had been sanctioned by the national leadership, raising fears that people could be swindled.

“I don’t know if those people are representing the party or not. It could be the provincial leadership doing it or not. Even conmen would do that. As a party, we have a mechanism of fundraising for the party and our programmes,” he said.

Acting Zanu PF Masvingo chairperson Amasa Nenjana could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Some civil servants described the demand as tantamount to extortion, as they were being “forced by a ward chairperson to do so”, particularly in Gutu.

The demands come after reports that traditional leaders were also demanding 50 cents from each household to fund the party’s December fiesta, while threatening to withhold food aid to drought-stricken villagers who fail to contribute.

The conference is set to run between December 13 and 17, with over 6 000 delegates expected to attend.

Recently, Zanu PF attracted the ire of opposition parties over the $4m budget for their one-week conference, considering the country is facing serious economic challenges at the moment.

The party claimed it raised $3,7m from a fundraising dinner hosted by First Lady Grace Mugabe, but sources claim most of pledges made had not been met, leaving the party to scrounge for new sources of money.

The host province is expected to raise $100 000.

Accountable to each other?

Dear Family and Friends,

Source: Accountable to each other? – The Zimbabwean 25.11.2016

After a fortnight away you return to Zimbabwe and instantly know you are home: you can feel it in your heart, sense it in your soul, breathe it into your lungs, see it with your own eyes. It’s not just the beautiful blue sky, hot sun and stunning landscapes but much more than that, it’s the people: children straggling home from school along the highways, waving as you drive by; women sitting on the roadsides selling veggies and bowls of wild fruits; hundreds of people along all the pavements selling everything they can think of in order to make a living. Yes, there are the negatives too and as ugly as they are, they have also become the face of home, the face of Zimbabwe in 2016 and for many years before today: hundreds of people queuing outside every bank in every town to try and withdraw their own money; endless police stops, many with their intimidation and determination to extract a few dollars from you; derelict, unproductive seized farms; endless kilometers of missing roadside fences leaving cattle, goats and donkeys straying onto the highways; dumped litter everywhere, on the roadsides, around the towns, in the suburbs; closed factories, crumbling industrial areas with rusting fences and weeds growing through concrete.

Before long it is your civic duty as a Zimbabwean to again catch up on the news about what’s been happening while you were away: the incessant political positioning and posturing, finger pointing, accusations and stories of corruption. There has been more brutality at attempted demonstrations, more arrests, and just more, more, more of the same. It’ almost too much to bear, too shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful to follow but then you find the hidden gem, the light in the darkness. This week it came from 28 year old Zimbabwean Nyasha Musandu.

In a superb article after her arrest in Harare for sitting in a park with nine others in peaceful protest against the introduction of Bond notes in Zimbabwe, Nyasha Musundu uses one simple phrase that leaves you unable to sleep at night as you wrestle with your own conscience about your place and your role in the 17th year of Zimbabwe’s crisis. Musandu says: “I am You.” Musandu’s article is posted in full on social media sites but these extracts bear repetition:

“Despite earlier reports that activists… had been abducted and tortured during the night, … we decided to be accountable to each other.”

“We …decided that sitting peacefully in the park, in solidarity, was the very least we could do to exercise our constitutional right and to register our dissatisfaction with a policy of government.”

“We held on to the belief that if we could be the example of the Zimbabwe we want to create, then that would be a victory…”

“I am merely a concerned citizen, who looks up and sees a country being deprived of the promises it was made at the dawn of independence.”

“I am a citizen who wants the opportunity to work hard, buy a home and also create opportunities for my future children. I want an equal playing field that allows me to thrive within my own country….”

“I wanted to lead by example and face fear. I wanted to be a living example of kusatya (being unafraid). I wanted to reassure myself that if a few people stand up for what is right, eventually we can all stand together. I wanted to get home and feel I had played my part in nation building.”

“I am someone’s daughter… I am someone’s sister… I am someone’s girlfriend, friend and associate. I am you . . . a mere citizen of Zimbabwe.”

“We don’t want to be something special, we don’t want to be heroes, we just want to be the change we want to see in the world…. if we really want change, we all have to do better. ALL OF US.”

Nyasha Musandu, a 28 year old Zimbabwean, born eight years after Zimbabwe’s Independence, ended her article with the words: “ I stood up to Goliath. What are you doing?…” A damning question that leaves us searching our souls and questioning if we are being accountable and empathetic to each other through this nightmare or simply floating in a bubble. I salute you Nyasha Musandu and as we struggle in our own ways to strive for a new Zimbabwe and not be broken in the process , it helps to remember the words of Michelle Obama: ”When they go low we go high.”

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.

SADC must intervene on Zimbabwe Crisis

As human rights violations continue to escalate in Zimbabwe, Methodist Church Bishop and prominent proponent of human rights in South Africa, Bishop Paul Veryn has challenged the Zimbabwean government to uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Source: SADC must intervene on Zimbabwe Crisis – The Zimbabwean 25.11.2016

In his opening remarks at a meeting with a Zimbabwean delegation of civil society and social movements that is on a regional mission in South Africa, Bishop Veryn also called upon Africans to denounce human rights abuses including xenophobia.

In a scathing attack, Bishop Veryn castigated the Zimbabwean government for failing to respect its citizens. He said there were several South Africans willing to help Zimbabweans to find a lasting solution to its current crisis.

Bishop Veryn said what was happening in Zimbabwe was “painful” adding that the South African government ought to act to extricate Zimbabwe from the current social, economic and political crisis. He said it was critical for SADC and South Africa to act in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis as it could become a regional problem if not urgently addressed.

Bishop Veryn hailed Zimbabweans for their intellect and human capital which he said South Africa could take advantage of, instead of ill-treating Zimbabweans who find their way into South Africa legally or otherwise.

“The intellectual capacity of Zimbabweans is amazing and someone up there should find a way that ensures strategic use of the human capital so that Zimbabweans are able to fend for their families while contributing to economic growth in South Africa and the region. We cannot put this human capital to waste”, said Bishop Veryn.

Bishop Veryn also called on documentation of the abuses that are happening in Zimbabwe to enable healing processes in the future.

The Director of Platform for Youth Development (PYD), who is also the Chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition youth cluster, Claris Madhuku bemoaned that young people had lost hope in the current government due to the fact that electoral promises made during the 2013 election were not fulfilled.

“The ruling party promised the young people 2.2 million jobs and business opportunities through the Zimbabwe agenda for social and economic transformation (Zimasset). Instead unemployment has risen with more than ten companies closing every month. Young graduates now find their way into the streets as vendors and cannot use skills gained at colleges and universities”, Madhuku retorted.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Director, Memory Kadau called for people to people solidarity between Zimbabwe and South Africa. She said the regional mission was the beginning of engagement between Zimbabwean civil society and wielders of power and influence in the region.

She also appealed to Bishop Veryn to use his prominence and influence to urge the South African government to engage SADC to put Zimbabwe back on its agenda as a hotspot in the region.

“We know you have influence; we know you have the convening authority to bring together eminent people that can convince the South African government to act on Zimbabwe. We will do our part but we are aware you can add a strong voice to our call”, said Kadau.

The Zimbabwean  delegation was comprised of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Board Chairperson, Sally Dura, Crisis Coalition Youth Chairperson and Platform for Youth Development(PYD)  Director, Claris Madhuku,  Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions(ZCTU) Advocacy and International Relations Officer, Vimbai , Zimbabwe Democracy Institute(ZDI) Director, Dr. Pedzisayi Ruhanya, Young Voters Platform(YVP) National Coordinator, Nixon Nyikadzino, #Tajamuka Spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi and National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe(NAVUZ)  Chairperson, Sten Zvorwadza.

India to invest in Zim’s SMEs sector

The Indian government is set to invest in Zimbabwe’s small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost trade between the two countries, which has been skewed in favour of the Asian giant.

Source: India to invest in Zim’s SMEs sector – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

So far, trade between Zimbabwe and India is $133 million. Last year, the figure was $132,37m.

Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Rungsung Masakui, told NewsDay on Tuesday his country wanted the trade figures to tilt more in Zimbabwe’s favour, as they were virtually off the market, with the SMEs sector being an area of focus.

“India is completely off the market here in Zimbabwe, but we are making all efforts in areas of the SME sector, agro, manufacturing health and of course the mining sector. We are making more efforts to come into this market.

About 40% of our exports are coming from our SME sector and 30% of our gross domestic product is from the sector,” he said.

“Again 45% of our workforce is from our SME sector. Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT), which is a parastatal in India, has come in to set up a technology centre at the Harare Institute of Technology, which is still running … which is one of the finest examples of the collaboration between India and Zimbabwe in the SME sector.”

HMT Limited is a State-owned manufacturing company under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in India.

Masakui said the partnership would help SMEs learn how to design machinery to help them scale up their businesses.

Estimates have placed exports to India at $3,95m from last year’s $690 000, with the rest going in favour of India.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, 8% of equipment and machinery for the manufacturing sector comes from India.

India is the third largest source of raw materials for Zimbabwe at about 5%.

Trade promotion body ZimTrade lists India under “other countries” in terms of the country’s export concentration market after 10 of its biggest export markets.

“All of us agree that Zimbabwe is going through difficult times and, of course, our trade relations are much lower than the desired potential we would want it to be, which is just below $133m of which it is skewed in favour of India,” Masakui said.

Mugabe to address the nation next week

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will next week give a State of the Nation Address (Sona) at a time the country is in a political and economic tailspin characterised by serious cash shortages, company closures, job losses and goods disappearing from the market.

Source: Mugabe to address the nation next week – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced in the legislature yesterday that Mugabe would face the nation next Thursday.

“He will address a joint sitting of Parliament on the Sona, which will be delivered at 3pm in the National Assembly,” Mudenda said.

The announcement attracted derision from opposition MDC-T MP for Musikavanhu, Prosper Mutseyami, who interjected saying that this time Mugabe’s speech must be checked to ensure he delivers the correct one.

“I hope you are not addressing the chair, who is not responsible for the President’s speech,” Mudenda responded.
Last year, Mugabe mistakenly read the 2015 Sona during the official opening of the previous session of the Parliament.

Meanwhile, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was commended by the opposition for following procedures on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill by allowing the public to air their views on it.

The compliment was paid by Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) after Chinamasa had moved for suspension of standing orders relating to the introduction of Bills in respect of the draft legislation to ensure the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance holds public consultations on the Bill.

The Bill will amend the RBZ Act (Chapter 22:15) (No. 5 of 1999) to enable the central bank to issue bond notes exchangeable at par value with the United States dollar on the same basis that it previously issued bond coins.

The Bill will also seek to validate the issuance of bond coins currently in circulation.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance is expected to visit various parts of the country next week to get public views on the Bill.

Members of the public have already expressed disdain and lack of confidence in the bond notes, but Chinamasa on Wednesday told Parliament that Zimbabweans would only reject them at their own peril.

Phulu tipped to replace Sipepa Nkomo

Prominent Bulawayo lawyer, Kucaca Phulu is tipped to win the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deputy presidency, which fell vacant when Samuel Sipepa Nkomo defected to the Joice Mujuru-led ZimPF.

Source: Phulu tipped to replace Sipepa Nkomo – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

PDP’s Bulawayo provincial executive was expected to sit yesterday to nominate candidates for vacant positions, which will be contested during the party’s policy conference in Harare tomorrow.

Bulawayo spokesperson, Edwin Ndlovu confirmed the nomination of candidates was done yesterday, but declined to comment on the names being touted as top contenders.

“We are conducting the nominations and I cannot give the names of the nominees now, as we will know tomorrow (today),” he said.

But PDP sources insisted Phulu was a shoo-in to deputise Tendai Biti.

“As for the vice-presidency, Phulu is the favourite to land the position after more than half of the provinces nominated him and Bulawayo is likely to do the same,” a source said.

The sources also said former Bulawayo mayor, Patrick Thaba Moyo was also likely to be nominated for the position of vice-chairman, which was vacated by Watchy Sibanda.

Moyo will face competition from Petros Mukwena, while Sengezo Tshabangu and Dumiso Matshazi will battle it out for the deputy organiser post.

Wilstuff Sitemere will face off with Harrison Mudzuri for the post of deputy secretary-general.

Ndlovu called on delegates to nominate their choices in a cordial manner, without having to soil the reputation of others.

President returns

Source: President returns | The Herald November 25, 2016

Kuda Bwititi recently in MALABO, Equatorial Guinea

President Mugabe returned home yesterday from Equatorial Guinea where he was among several Heads of State and Government that attended the 4th Africa-Arab summit. The President who was accompanied by the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, was received at the Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Cabinet Ministers, senior Government officials and service chiefs.Themed: “Together for a Sustainable Economic Development”, the high-profile summit saw the adoption of three main documents — the Malabo declaration; support to the state of Palestine; and, action plan for the three-year period leading to the next summit to be held in 2019.

During the summit, President Mugabe delivered yet another thought-provoking speech on the international arena when he said the union between Africa and Arab nations had potential to transform the global economic course and challenge Western hegemony.

He was one of the selected Heads of State who addressed the working session of the summit on Wednesday. Heads of State and Government from Africa and Arab nations, also directed Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance from the two regions to convene within the next six months to craft a framework that was likely to see Arab States allotting more funding to African nations.

At the third Arab Africa summit held in Kuwait in 2013, Kuwait availed a $3 billion facility for developmental initiatives for African states. It is anticipated that the new funding for the next three years will be larger as more Arab nations are expected to emulate Kuwait.

Zimbabwe has benefited from the Kuwait funding through a $35 million citrus farming project to be established in Matabeleland South as well as construction of two new hospitals through the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The summit was jointly organised by the African Union Commission and the League of Arab States with the aim of promoting development by strengthening trade and investment among Gulf and African states.

Heads of State and Government at the summit also resolved a potentially explosive situation when Morocco attempted to boycott the summit protesting the presence of the Saharawi Republic before the matter was amicably resolved.

‘Too many police roadblocks threatening tourism’

PLAYERS in the tourism industry have approached Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in reducing the “too many” police roadblocks on the country’s major highways, saying they stifle free movement of local and foreign tourists.

Source: ‘Too many police roadblocks threatening tourism’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY JAMES MUONWA

Speaking on the sidelines of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) congress, which ends in Kariba today, HAZ president, George Manyumwa said his organisation was engaging relevant stakeholders to have the number of roadblocks reduced.

“There are too many roadblocks on our country’s roads and this is particularly not good for the hospitality and tourism industry,” he said.

“Generally, roadblocks hurt economic activity. Imagine, from Harare to Kariba it is not surprising to encounter 20 roadblocks.

“HAZ is negotiating with the police and we have also petitioned Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seized with the issue of numerous roadblocks as well as inefficiencies at ports of entry (border posts),” Manyumwa, who is also Zimbabwe Council of Tourism vice-president, said.

Police have previously defended their heavy presence on the highways, saying this was meant to curb road carnage.

Manyumwa also said HAZ was lobbying for a special dispensation for the hospitality and tourism industry to have a reduction of value-added tax from the current 15% to 5%.

He said Statutory Instrument 64, which restricts the importation of certain classes of goods, should be an enabler for hospitality and tourism industry growth.

Manyumwa reiterated the need for a relaxation of statutory tax obligations that industry players had to pay to various government and quasi-governmental institutions.

“There is need to walk the talk regarding the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe,” the HAZ president said.

The congress, held under the theme Economic Recovery through Tourism and Hospitality, saw Manyumwa retained as HAZ president, while Innocent Manyere and Naume Size were re-elected first and second vice-president, respectively.

Jonathan Moyo slaps Zimpapers with $9m lawsuit

HIGHER and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has filed a $9 million defamation lawsuit against Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers), its editors and reporters, accusing them of impairing his dignity through publicising defamatory articles.

Source: Jonathan Moyo slaps Zimpapers with $9m lawsuit – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

In a lawsuit filed at the High Court yesterday, Moyo cited Brian Chitemba, Mabasa Sasa, Limukani Ncube, Lloyd Gumbo, Zvamaida Murwira, Ceaser Zvayi, Innocent Madonko and Zimpapers, as respondents.

Moyo said a number of articles that were published by The Herald, Chronicle, The Sunday News and The Sunday Mail allegedly portrayed him as a dishonest man, a thief and a corrupt minister unfit to hold public office.

In his declaration, Moyo cited articles published with following headlines: Probe into Prof Moyo, Probe into Prof Moyo, Dr Gandawa: The Details, Moyo likens self to Robin Hood, Prof Moyo ‘admits’ funds abuse, Zanu PF didn’t get Zimdef loot, Parly summons Professor Moyo and Parly summons Professor Moyo to explain Zimdef abuse allegations.

Moyo said in various articles, in addition to the aforementioned articles, most of which he said were published in the 40 days prior to the issuance of summons, the cited Zimpapers journalists, “in furtherance of their intention to defame and malign the plaintiff (Moyo)”, also authored and published various defamatory statements.

“The claims, allegations and assertions made by the defendants as set out above are false, malicious, scandalous, wrongful and defamatory of plaintiff in the extreme in that in their plain and ordinary meaning, they simply allege theft, corruption and a penchant for lawlessness by plaintiff and were intended by the defendants and understood by readers to mean that plaintiff is corrupt.

“That plaintiff (Moyo) is a thief, who diverted fuel coupons meant for the Zimbabwe Youth Council and sold them on the black market for personal profit; that the plaintiff is engaged in subversive and unlawful conduct demonstrative of disloyalty to the President (Robert Mugabe), his appointing authority, by plotting student demonstrations against the Head of State, and utilised funds to fund the said demonstrations.”

The minister further said the Zimpapers journalists’ conduct in relation to the defamatory allegations, “evidenced a wanton and absolute disregard of ethical journalism and showed unrelenting intention to impair and injure” his reputation.

“As a result of the defamatory articles, plaintiff, who is a Cabinet minister, a Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho constituency and a respected academic, has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the amount of $9 million,” he said. All the defendants are yet to file appearance to defend notices.

Chained protesting cleric appears in court

An anti-President Robert Mugabe cleric, who protested against the government by chaining and locking himself against the steel rails at Africa Unity Square, yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing criminal nuisance charges.

Source: Chained protesting cleric appears in court – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Patrick Philip Mugadza (46) was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti, who remanded him out of custody to December 14 on free bail.

Mugadza was represented by Gift Mtisi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Prior to the granting of bail, Mtisi had challenged his client’s placement on remand, arguing he had committed no offence to warrant placing him on remand.

Mtisi told the court that police officers allowed Mugadza to be tortured in their custody, while detained at Parliament’s guardroom, by people who were in civilian clothes. Mtisi further told the court that Mugadza was not advised of the charges, only to be told four hours after the arrest.

However, the arresting officer, Cosmas Matanha, who testified on the allegations of torture, denied assaulting Mugadza, adding the cleric was advised of the charges he was facing before arrest.

During cross-examination, Mtisi asked Matanha why Mugadza was arrested and he told the court that the cleric was making noise and disturbing peace.

Mtisi asked the officer why they seized the pastor’s chain and lock if he had committed an offence of making noise.
The officer said he had also committed criminal nuisance, as the chain was locked on a State property.

Mtisi further asked Matanha why the police did not confiscate his Bible, which was the tool he was using to preach, thereby, making noise and the officer failed to answer.

Allegations against the pastor are that on Tuesday, police from the reaction group were on patrol at Africa Unity Square, when they allegedly heard Mugadza shouting at the top of his voice disturbing people who were passing through the park.

The police officers allegedly proceeded to where Mugadza was and noticed he had chained himself by the waist to the steel rails in the park.

The State alleges Mugadza had positioned himself directly opposite to the Parliament building.

The State alleges Mugadza made annoying noise while facing the Parliament entrance.

Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.

Mahoka in hot soup

Source: Mahoka in hot soup | The Herald November 25, 2016

Walter Nyamukondiwa: Chinhoyi Bureau

The Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial Women’s League executive has resolved to recall its treasurer Cde Sarah Mahoka from the national executive on a litany of allegations including causing divisions, abusing First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe’s name and insulting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.The recall also came with recommendations for disciplinary action against Cde Mahoka on allegations of abusing Dr Mugabe’s name in embezzling funds. Cde Mahoka, who is also Hurungwe East Member of Parliament, would allegedly give instructions to the provincial executive purporting that they were coming from the women’s affairs secretary.

Slightly over half of the 40-member executive gathered at the provincial headquarters in Chinhoyi on Wednesday where they resolved that Cde Mahoka was causing incoherence in the executive through proxies that would do her bidding.

Cde Mahoka shocked everyone during a rally to celebrate President Mugabe’s successful tenure as the African Union chairperson early this year when she challenged the Head of State and Government to announce if he had authorised his spokesperson Mr George Charamba to give an interview to ZiFM radio.

She turned her guns on VP Mnangagwa challenging him to lay his cards on the table regarding succession debate before likening him to a “duck” by keeping quiet while people abused his name.

This drew the ire of war veterans and other bodies who viewed her disregard of protocol and public etiquette as setting a bad precedence in the party. Provincial Women’s League chairwomen Cde Angelina Muchemenyi said after the meeting the women resolved to recommend disciplinary action against Cde Mahoka.

“We sat as the provincial women’s league and resolved that national member Cde Mahoka should be disciplined and recalled for causing divisions in the executive through her interference,” she said.

“Because of her actions, we cannot continue working with her. We have listed allegations that we are going to forward to the national executive for disciplinary action.”

Cde Muchemenyi said the treasurer would influence some members of the executive not to attend meetings to sabotage deliberations. She also faces allegations of being the force being disturbances that occurred at the Women’s League provincial inter-district meeting where political commissar Cde Chinjai Kambuzuma, nearly exchanged blows with her deputy Cde Abigail Gava.

The fracas saw the provincial executive relegating Cde Kambuzuma and several other members to other positions outside the top five positions in the executive.

A motion was moved to reinstate those elected after suspension of the Constance Shamu-led executive. Those holding positions were viewed as having been handpicked by former chairman Mr Temba Mliswa without exercising people’s right to vote. The elections were, however, disregarded resulting in the status quo remaining.

Cde Mary Phiri is now the vice chairwoman while Cde Angela Nyenyai is now the political commissar, Cde Martha Munondo (treasurer) and Cde Joyce Mukazhu is the secretary for administration, a position previously held by Cde Maggie Chidarikire.

Cabinet okays health insurance scheme

Source: Cabinet okays health insurance scheme | The Herald November 25, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter—

Cabinet has approved the setting up of a National Health Insurance Scheme that will allow the majority of Zimbabweans access to universal healthcare. All sections of the community, including those in the informal sector and farmers, will be considered as Government moves to ensure all citizens have access to health cover.

The move to establish such a scheme came after the realisation that only 10 percent of Zimbabweans were covered by medical aid societies.

Drafting for the HINS Bill has since started following the approval of principles presented to Cabinet by Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Prisca Mupfumira and supported by her Health and Child Care counterpart Dr David Parirenyatwa.

Minister Mupfumira yesterday said Cabinet had recommended that the National Social Security Authority administers the scheme.

Workers will be taxed to finance the scheme.

“Cabinet approved the drafting of a universal National Health Insurance Scheme Bill which is intended to mitigate current woes bedevilling the medical aid schemes,” Minister Mupfumira said.

“The objectives of the scheme are to extend health care coverage to all Zimbabweans as the current private medical aid schemes only cover 10 percent of the formally employed citizens. The scheme also seeks to redress inequities in coverage. The informal sector will for the first time be recognised under this massive quasi-Government institute.”

The scheme was initially mooted in 2007 but was shot down by workers and parliament.

They argued it would further strain overtaxed workers since the initial proposal was to tax workers five percent.

Minister Mupfumira said NHIS would usher in a new era of transparency in the financing of health care.

“Currently, the health care standards are deplorable due to mismanaged voluntary medical insurance schemes traditionally benefitting workers in formal employment only.”

“Government deliberately pursued the idea of a universal health insurance after conducting a series of study visits and numerous consultations which added value to the proposed principles. The main drive and rational for the national health scheme is that resources for health services are being grossly over-stretched. In most instances, Government is left to provide free health for more people while the financing base is too small to support such a system. This is resulting in the deterioration in quality of service and poor staff morale.”

She went on: “Cabinet recommended NSSA for administration of the scheme as it remains the most resilient insurance and pension agency. A National Health Insurance Scheme which is within the framework of social security will not only ensure the financing aspect of health services but is also a social programme that legislatively grants individuals the right to health services.”

She said further investments in the health sector were needed if Government’s target of “a clinic within eight kilometres for all” was to be met.

“The pooling of resources in a national scheme gives an opportunity for investment in health provision. There are inequalities in accessibility between the ‘rich’ who enjoy sophisticated levels of services, largely financed through medical aid societies and the ‘poor’ who receive the basic services. The rationale of a National Health Insurance Scheme is the risk sharing amongst all members of the scheme and redress of the imbalances and inequalities in the provision of health. There is need to bring in new sources of financing and to reconsider how the limited funds available can be effectively rationed to meet the Governments’ overall health and equity objectives. The pooling of resources would facilitate meeting the objective, while at the same time a fund is created which is clearly earmarked for health purposes and is independent of the pressures on the general Government budget.”

Other countries like South Africa and Tanzania have already adopted such a scheme.

Cabinet approves EPC for highway dualisation

Source: Cabinet approves EPC for highway dualisation | The Herald November 25, 2016

Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent—

CABINET has approved the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreement for the $3-billion Beitbridge-Chirundu dualisation project, a senior Government official has said.EPC is when the engineering and construction contractor carries out a detailed engineering design of the project, procure all the equipment and materials necessary, and then constructs to deliver a functioning facility or asset to its clients.

Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), won the tender for the construction of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway, which would be financed by an Austrian Company Geiger International.

In an interview in Mvuma on Wednesday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said the EPC agreement would be preceded by a concession agreement, which would see funds disbursed by the contractor to start work on the dualisation of the highway.

“Cabinet recently approved the EPC agreement, which would pave way for the contractor to come up with designs and bring their equipment into the country.”

“On Wednesday next week, we are going to be signing the concession agreement, which would see funds being injected to kick-start the project.

“We expect that in the first week of December, President Mugabe would preside over the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the construction of the highway,” he added.

Dr Gumbo said the project would be done in two phases, with the first section from Beitbridge to Harare being done on Public Private Partnership/Build Operate and Transfer (PPP/BOT) basis, and it is full dualisation.

He said the second section would be done through a loan facility.

The development is going to restore the highway as an artery and hub of Sadc’s road transport network linking Southern Africa with the rest of Africa.

The Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway facilitates the movement of millions of people between Southern Africa and central, east and north Africa, while also facilitating regional trade. Work on the 897km stretch from Chirundu to Beitbridge, which could gobble an estimated $2,7 billion, is expected to be completed within the next three years.

The project was once stalled due to a court challenge by Zim Highways Consortium, a grouping of local firms that had initially been awarded the tender in 2002, but allegedly failed to raise the required capital.

This resulted in the withdrawal of the tender and in turn the consortium approached the courts for relief.

However, the dispute between Government and the consortium was resolved last year, with Secretary for Transport and Infrastructural Development Munesu Munodawafa saying the project was expected to proceed.

The rehabilitation and dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway has been cited as one of the major projects under Government’s Zim-Asset economic turnaround blueprint.

The highway has recorded a lot of accidents due to the huge volumes of traffic and dualisation has been identified as a long-term solution to the problem.

Moyo trashes VP appointments

Source: Moyo trashes VP appointments | The Herald November 25, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter—

Zanu-PF secretary for Science and Technology Professor Jonathan Moyo has described vesting power to appoint Vice Presidents in the Zanu-PF First Secretary and President as a mistake as he leapt to the defence of Mashonaland Central Province’s conference resolution seeking to revoke President Mugabe’s constitutional authority to appoint his deputies.In a series of posts on his Twitter handle @profjnmoyo yesterday, Prof Moyo described the 2014 constitutional amendment that positioned the President as the one centre of power in Zanu-PF as a gaffe.

President Mugabe, Prof Moyo said, should not appoint his deputies, but have them elected by party members.

“A ruler that’s not flexible to bend will break,” Prof Moyo said.

Other Zanu-PF provinces, however, yesterday reaffirmed their support for the status quo.

Continuing with his prolific tweets on party issues despite the President’s counsel on social media use, Prof Moyo said the move to amend Section 32 (1) b of the Zanu-PF constitution at the 2014 Congress, which gave President Mugabe sweeping powers to appoint his deputies and Politburo members, was a mistake.

“Amending Constitution in 2014 because of (former Vice President Dr Joice) Mujuru cabal was a mistake,” Prof Moyo said.

“Case for Female VP & elected VPs is strong! The case for electing VPs is compelling given that successionists have taken a VP appointment as an anointment!”

This latest development exposed Prof Moyo’s flip-flopping character as on November 27 last year, he tweeted supporting the one centre of principle.

He said: “When we say one centre of power under President Mugabe as the one leader in Zanu-PF, it’s because we know too many cooks spoil the broth!”

Asked by one of his followers using the twitter handle @MafuriranwaL on why he was shifting goalposts, Prof Moyo responded: “A ruler that’s not flexible enough to bend will break!”

Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios this week said the one centre of power principle was useless as it was not serving any purpose and was not in sync with democratic tenets.

He said the norm was not “benefiting” anyone.

Singing the same tune of flexibility, Cde Mafios said: “There is need for flexibility in a democratic system. There is need for flexibility to advise the President that we adjust the concept of one centre of power, be flexible such that the Vice Presidents are elected.”

Other provincial executive members have distanced themselves from the resolution saying it was “a decision by Cde Mafios and his handlers.”

Cde Mafios is brother to Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Savious Kasukuwere, who is reported to be a key figure in the so called G40- faction.

After he was empowered by the party as one centre of power to make key appointments, President Mugabe appointed Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko as his deputies.

This was after a realisation that the practice of electing VPs and other officials had become a breeding ground for factionalism and individualism that afflicted Zanu-PF in the run up to the 2014 Congress.

Zanu-PF provinces yesterday confirmed their unconditional support to the 2014 constitutional amendments adding that President Mugabe had done nothing wrong that warranted stripping him off his appointing powers.

“As far as we are concerned, we still support the one centre of power,” said Harare acting chairperson Cde Charles Tawengwa. “According to our resolutions, we support the one centre of power principle.”

Mashonaland West chairperson Cde Ephraim Chengeta said: “Takaita chisungo in 2014 and we will never change come what may. We agreed that this is a position and we never divert from that or support anyone who wants to divert that. Gushungo chete chete and in 2018 he will be our candidate. Let’s go by what we have agreed on.”

Midlands acting chairperson Cde Joram Gumbo, said his province was “solidly behind the one centre of power and his appointed and elected leadership.”

Bulawayo provincial chairperson Cde Dennis Ndlovu weighed in: “As a province, we abide by whatever the party decides. We agreed on one of centre of power and as a province, we support that. We agree with the 2014 declaration unless the party as a whole sits down and rescind that decision.”

Matabeleland North chair Cde Richard Moyo said: “People agreed at Congress and we will never change or back that idea (to abolish one centre of power principle). We are content with the status quo. If we try to change that, people will beat us. We gave President Mugabe all the powers and if there is need for change we will take it from there but for now it’s not negotiable.”

Mashonaland East’s Cde Bernard Makokove, said their conference resolutions did not contain such wayward agreements.

Matabeleland South chairperson Cde Rabelani Choeni said the province was behind the one centre of power concept.

Mashonaland Central province was the first to raise the issue of centre of power, but is now amazingly trashing it.

The 16th Zanu-PF National People’s Conference will run from December 13 to 17 in Masvingo.

Zanu-PF organs and affiliate organisations have accused Mashonaland province of trying to usurp President Mugabe’s powers for factional ends.

Chimanimani by-election independent candidate expresses worry over Zec

INDEPENDENT candidate in the Chimanimani West by-election, Edmore Mtetwa, yesterday decried the failure by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to unveil the voters’ roll ahead of tomorrow’s poll, saying he feared it was aimed to allow vote-rigging by Zanu PF.

Source: Chimanimani by-election independent candidate expresses worry over Zec – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

The outspoken candidate yesterday said he was also unsettled by Zanu PF Buhera South legislator, Joseph Chinotimba’s alleged claims at a rally at Nyanyadzi that in the event that their candidate, Nokuthula Matsikenyere lost the election, there would be a “rerun”.

“I am disappointed with Zec because they are yet to give us the voters’ roll. They were supposed to give us on the 21st of this month, but we are yet to get it,” he said. “I communicated with them and they said that we should check today in the afternoon (yesterday),” he said.

But Zec Manicaland provincial boss, Moffat Masabeya yesterday said the voters’ roll was ready for collection.

“The voters’ roll is now ready for collection. They should not expect us to go and give (it to) them. They should come and collect it. l have been here (Nedziwa) since morning and no one has come to collect the voters’ roll,” he said.

Mtetwa said he was also worried at the level of intimidation in the constituency, claiming people were locked inside Nedziwa Primary School while waiting for Cabinet ministers to come and address them.

“Chinotimba told people yesterday (Wednesday) at a rally that there was going to be a rerun if their candidate loses the election,” he said.

Chinotimba was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Zanu PF bigwigs, who descended on Chimanimani, include Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri and Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Matsikenyere also had a campaigning team comprising Chinotimba, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene and Agriculture minister Joseph Made. The party has arranged a series of rallies in the constituency, as it fears a successive loss after outspoken politician, Temba Mliswa won the recent Norton by-election.

Other candidates contesting the by-election are Peter Gudyanga of Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe and Pesanai Musakaruka of the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly.

Govt insincere, incapable of fighting graft

The fight against corruption seemed to have gained pace in recent weeks, but it has been revealed to be nothing more than a façade and – dare we say – a political point-scoring exercise, whose objective is anything, but fighting graft.

Source: Govt insincere, incapable of fighting graft – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Revelations in yesterday’s NewsDay show, beyond any reasonable doubt, that this government is both insincere and incapable of fighting graft, and the noises about combating the vice are an elaborate smokescreen.

As the adage says – charity begins at home – if President Robert Mugabe was serious about combating corruption, then he should have ensured that nothing of that sort was happening in his backyard.

But revelations that Mugabe’s own ministers, one of them his own nephew, were beneficiaries of alleged graft, betrays a shocking unwillingness to fight corruption.

The director of State residences is also implicated, meaning the highest bureaucrats in the land are being caught with their hands in the till and if Mugabe was serious about fighting corruption, then surely he has an easy starting point.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) should be by now all over this case of people getting land improperly, but they are mute, as if waiting for instruction from someone and this puts their so-called independence into question.

Speaking of Zacc, disclosures that one of its commissioners, Goodson Nguni, is a wanted man in South Africa are quite nauseating and reveal that the body is compromised and lacks integrity.

The crime Nguni is accused of occurred a long time ago and he has had ample time to clear his name, but instead he has chosen not to by not going to court in South Africa.

It is important to note that he has not been convicted, but if he was innocent, then his name would have been cleared by now.

Nguni’s appointment, as one of the commissioners, diminishes Zacc’s status and calls into question their investigations.

Nguni can turn out to be one of the finest commissioners, but the warrant of arrest issued against him will always be a monkey on his back and shall see most of his decisions questioned and second-guessed.

Until he has cleared his name, Nguni has no business being one of the commissioners and if he is a man of honour, he would do the honourable thing and resign.

The appointment also says a lot about Mugabe and his willingness to fight a scourge that is responsible for the country’s demise.

Zacc needs commissioners of good standing and in light of these revelations, in the court of public opinion, Nguni may not be the right person for the job.

It’s war at CFI Holdings

Source: It’s war at CFI Holdings | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

Vela claims van Hoogstraten is broke
.Tycoon says Vela ‘caught with pants down’
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has come out guns blazing, vowing to defend any legal action by British tycoon, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who has approached authorities seeking the reversal of a US$18 million deal involving CFI Holdings Limited.
Both NSSA and van Hoogstraten are the major shareholders in the 108-year old agro-industrial outfit, which has had two of its mills placed under external administration after shareholder squabbles paralysed operations.
Van Hoogstraten controls 35 percent shareholding in CFI through the London-headquartered Messina Investments, which holds interests in several listed firms, including leisure outfit, Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) and the tri-listed coal producer, Hwange Colliery Company Limited.
NSSA and Messina’s shareholdings are so interwoven in a number of firms whose interests government guards jealously, and in all the firms, the investors have been fighting endless battles, said by NSSA chairman, Robin Vela last week to be the Achilles heels for CFI.
Last week, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markers (C&M) reported that the lockdown at CFI had reached catastrophic levels.
Van Hoogstraten has approached the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZIM) and the Insurance and Pensions Commission pleading for CFI and Fidelity’s suspension on the bourse in order to protect his interests and those of minorities.
At the centre of the dispute now under investigation by the regulators is that the tycoon, whose wealth was queried by Vela this week, said ZSE listing rules had been violated when the US$18 million disposal of Langfords Estates to Fidelity Life sailed through at a CFI extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in October last year.
Under the Langfords transaction, CFI sold 81 percent shareholding in the 841-hectare estate to the free spending Fidelity, which has been diversifying into the property market.
Van Hoogstraten claims that there was conflict of interest in the transaction after Zimre Holdings Ltd (ZHL), which holds shareholding in both Fidelity and CFI, voted at the EGM, while NSSA was also in conflict of interest when it cast its vote.
Vela, who spoke exclusively to C&M last week, hit out at the tycoon.
He queried why newspapers called van Hoogstraten a “London tycoon” and said if he was cash rich he could have defended CFI, Hwange and RTG, when directors asked for fresh injections.
He claimed that instead of building companies in which he was invested in, van Hoogstraten had destroyed them, leading to him falling out of favour with “most ministers” in President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Van Hoogstraten is said to be a close friend of President Mugabe, and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“You seem to take a view that whatever van Hoogstraten says to you is right and correct,” Vela said in reaction to CFI stories published by C&M in the past three weeks.
“It’s a view that historically whatever a white man tells to you, you believe. You believe what he is saying is true because it is a white man. Look at the examples of van Hoogstraten in Zimbabwe, objectively. He has invested in Hwange, he has invested in RTG, and he has invested in CFI. All of them have problems. All of them have shareholder issues. None of them have been successful, why? It cannot simply be because he is right all the time. The fact of the matter is that van Hoogstraten tells you and everyone else he has a lot of money. He has put nothing at the table, ever! The fact that CFI, Hwange and RTG are in trouble as they are is because he has got no money; he barks, he pretends, he says I am going to write a cheque for US$100 million but he doesn’t,” the NSSA boss fumed.
A Wikipedia post updated on November 10, 2016 says van Hoogstraten, who is known for his property empire, as well as his controversial life story, has an estimated net worth of £500 million.
Wikipedia says by 1968, at the age of 23, van Hoogstraten was Britain’s youngest millionaire with a portfolio of more than 300 properties.
By 1980, aged 35, he is said to have expanded his properties to over 2 000.
He later sold the majority of his housing, investing in mining and farming in countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
“On RTG, NSSA is now owed US$10 million. We have offered van Hoogstraten and the board a reconstitution of that loan,” Vela said, adding that NSSA has promised to inject at least US$14 million in RTG to rebuild the group.
“And what does van Hoogstraten do? He says no, this is too rich for NSSA. So we met him and we said step exactly into our shoes. Just give us the US$14 million we will allow you to have this very rich deal. He goes quiet. Why? He has got no money. Then he goes to an AGM (annual general meeting) and says these guys are thieves they stole money, all these people are fraudulent. Van Hoogstatren has got no money. You say he is a tycoon from London? What tycoon? He is no tycoon! With CFI, it is exactly the same issue. We offered that we are putting US$10 million to rescue CFI. CFI is a national asset. It has got two mills that are now under judiciary management. We said we will put in the money to rescue CFI. We said we will do that but remember we have got pensioners money. I need to protect pensioners’ money. So we said we will put in the money as a rights issue or we will do a pure equity placement. All of you take your pick. We are not being greedy; we are saying all of you participate. What does van Hoogstraten do? No, he does not want. Why? He has got no money. It is very simple; van Hoogstraten has got no money. He barks, he threatens but when push comes to shove, he has got no money,” he added.
The NSSA boss said in other investments where van Hoogstraten had interests, he had used the same modus operandi.
Asked how van Hoogstraten had managed to increase his shareholding in CFI to 35 percent from about 24 percent last year if he was broke, Vela said the CFI stock was too cheap.
“Look at the share price, what is the share price? In order to buy 10 percent of CFI it costs you about half a million dollars. That is not money. We are talking about putting in US$10 million, US$15 million. That is real money. My challenge to van Hoogstraten is to put his money where his mouth is. If he really is honest, let’s come up with a deal. He voted for those transactions. He voted in favour of all these resolutions, all of them. It is only now, late in the day, on the 11th hour, that he needs to find some angles. He starts throwing spanners.  We have no doubt we will defend ourselves. He wants control but he does not want to put some money. He wants control at the behest of other people funding CFI. In RTG, we offered him the deal, we said bring money. Just pay us our money you take the sweet position. He couldn’t. In CFI, we said put in money but he could not. I am not saying there are no issues at CFI,” said Vela.
He said on CFI, NSSA had completely aligned with ZHL.
They were ready to inject fresh capital.
“NSSA’s problem is not money; NSSA’s problem is getting the right transaction that we will justify to our shareholders. The guy has got no money, but he has 35 percent so he blocks everything,” he added.
But the tycoon, who claims to have significant holdings in London, Frankfurt and New York, immediately reacted to criticism by the NSSA boss particularly on what he called “the race card”.
He described Vela’s comments as “pathetic and feminine-like rants”.
“As chairman of NSSA, he should be more circumspect and professional. It does not need the brain of Albert Einstein to work out that the non ZHL and Fidelity shareholders of CFI were consequently defrauded of more than US$20 million! Obviously, he is rattled that his ‘cosy’ relationship with the Rudlands at Zimre/Fidelity is not going to work so well now that the illegality of the Langfords deal has been exposed. (It is) interesting that he resorts to playing the race card. This is the last vestige of a man that has been caught with his trousers down! Robin now needs to face the reality of the situation and sit round the table with a mandate to resolve this and the related matters,” said van Hoogstraten.
He said Messina did not vote in favour of the transaction but abstained.
“The illegality of this transaction is very clear. Nowhere in the circular to shareholders is there any mention of the fact that both ZHL and NSSA were substantial shareholders in both CFI and Fidelity which would make it illegal for them to vote on the transaction. Furthermore, as it was a highly “material” transaction at an EGM, it would require a special resolution passed by the non conflicted shareholders – this is not rocket science! Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I should also make the point that this land was being ‘sold’ at an effective price of US$2,70 per square metre as opposed to the minimum sale value of such undeveloped and unserviced land in the area of US$6 per square metre. Obviously, I fought this on behalf, again, of the small shareholders,” he added.
CFI has been teetering on the verge of insolvency and has sought to embark on a cash call which shareholders have snubbed since 2009 when the country switched to a multi-currency system following a disastrous hyperinflationary crisis which ended in 2008.
Confidential documents seen by C&M recently indicate that van Hoogstraten had initiated moves to reverse the Langfords transaction.
He approached the three regulators on November 1, asking them to suspend trade in CFI and Fidelity shares.
An analyst said it was possible that the tycoon wanted to make sure stocks under dispute were not transferred to other investors through the open market while the standoff was unresolved.
His discussions would mostly be with the Rudland brothers, who swooped CFI shares through the takeover of ZHL last year.
The Rudlands, famous for building the logistics firm, Pioneer Corporation Africa into one of the biggest sector players following the takeover by Unifreight last year, are understood to be edgy about the developments.
But the tycoon, feeling prejudiced by the transaction is said to be determined to regain one of the most priced estates on the fringes of Harare.
“We would suggest that, at the very least, while this matter is being resolved via litigation or otherwise, the listing of both companies should be suspended and your own office should carry out their own investigation as to how this transaction managed to circumvent the law and regulations,” said Messina.
Messina says CFI legal representatives, Honey & Blanckenberg, were liable for the damages that Messina and other shareholders had suffered in the letter to ZSE and SECZIM.
But the lawyers denied liability.
“We dispute that we are liable for damages to you or any other shareholder,” they said in a letter to Messina dated October 31, 2016.

Dr Mangudya blasts retailers demanding cash payments

Source: Dr Mangudya blasts retailers demanding cash payments | The Herald November 24, 2016

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter—

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya has blasted demands for cash payments by certain retailers as an unscrupulous business practice meant to externalise foreign exchange.The central bank governor is on record saying the country lost an estimated $1,8 billion in 2015 alone through the smuggling of foreign currency or illicit financial flows.

According to the African Union, the continent loses between $50 billion and $60 million annually through illicit financial outflows, depriving poor countries of resources that should be channelled to economic development and service provision.

The move to demand cash payments also comes as the number of point of sale transactions nearly doubled to 4 758 in October 2016, as the transacting public continues the shift to electronic payments due to the growing shortage of hard cash in the country.

In line with the growth in the card based transactions, the value of POS purchases increased by 38,7 percent to $190 million in October from $137 million a month earlier, reflecting gradual rise from $36 million since March.

The increase in the number of POS transactions followed the sharp increase in the number of POS machines deployment in the market as well as deployment of POS machines in major retailers and service stations.

And Dr Mangudya said that there was no justification for retailers, service stations and other businesses in Zimbabwe to decline electronic payments for goods and services or offer incentives such as discounts to entice the public to pay in cash.

This comes as some reputable retailers are demanding cash payments for cooking oil purchases arguing that manufacturers were demanding hard cash as well, as “required” by banks to facilitate foreign payments for unprocessed edible oil.

Among the retailers that are demanding payment using hard cash citing similar conditions by manufacturers are giant wholesalers, Mahomed Mussa and Metro Peech. Reports have also implicated big supermarket chain Choppies.

Similarly, some fuel dealers are actually giving discounts for motorists who agree to pay in cash although they are prioritised by banks when importing the fuel. Dr Mangudya said he will issue a statement on these unethical practices.

“There is one major retailer who is doing that (name supplied) and we are aware of it. Their business does not need physical cash and the reason they are doing it is that they do not want the money to go to their bank account,” he said.

The central bank chief added that the culprits of the illegal practice could also be trying to avoid the trail of bank records in order to evade paying taxes due to Treasury. Dr Mangudya said Zimbabwe faces a structural problem due to the US dollar.

He noted that use of the greenback, an international reserve currency being used for ordinary domestic transactions, made it difficult to police its movement internally and its rampant illegal shipment to various offshore places.

However, Dr Mangudya said Zimbabweans strongly prefer continued use of the stable currency, after the unpleasant experiences of the hyperinflationary era, and so monetary authorities needed to make sure it remains the medium of exchange.

Dr Mangudya has led calls for Zimbabweans to use alternative payment systems other than the elusive cash.

This is because the country uses a basket of currencies, dominated by the US dollar, an elusive international reserve currency being used in Zimbabwe for daily transactions.

But due to the mismatch between inflows of hard currency and imports, Zimbabwe faces serious cash or liquidity crisis, having scrapped its inflation-ravaged currency in 2009.

Dr Mangudya said the reason for holding cash was the need to transact and hard cash was only a physical and alternative medium of exchange used to complete truncations. Notably though, Zimbabwe’s largely informal economy still has many instances in which electronic payment facilities are not readily available and people inevitably require physical cash to pay for or acquire goods and services.

Although the cash crisis griping this country has driven card based transactions, it has seen marked decline in the number of transactions carried out on automated teller machines, lowering withdrawal limits due to high demand. ATM transactions plummeted from 101 093 in March to 1 824 in October, as the teller machines constantly run out of cash to meet the huge demand.

Govt mulls taxing informal sector

Source: Govt mulls taxing informal sector | The Herald November 24, 2016

Business Reporter—

Government is looking into the possibility of taxing the informal sector which has so far remained out of the tax net, depriving Treasury of revenue. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya said Government needs to expand the tax base and extend the net to those who are also reaping benefits from the tax that is being paid by a few corporates and individuals.“We need to plug the leakages. We need to expand the tax base. If Zimbabwe is 70 percent, 75 percent, 80 percent informal sector it means we must have a tax that talks to the informal sector.

“Maybe we now need a flat tax for everyone who is business in terms of the informal sector, say maybe $10, $20 per month because those guys are also enjoying the benefits of the few companies that are paying,” said Dr Mangudya.

He was speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries manufacturing survey launch yesterday.

“I think it might be high time we looked into the possibility of introducing a flat tax, not presumptive tax. You cannot have presumptive tax to the informal sector in Mbare because they do not sell to those who are formal.

Last month the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority announced that it had added nearly 4 000 tax players to the revenue collection system and will enforce more revenue collection strategies beginning January next year.

The new tax players were added to the net through the automation of the revenue collector’s systems, but this has not been extended to the informal sector. Tax avoidance and evasion are some of the issues that have contributed to the contraction in revenue collections in the country.

The tax collector’s focus is also on SMEs most of who are not also within the tax net. According to a FinScope SME Survey of 2012, SMEs employ approximately 5,7 million people. The sector is estimated to contribute more than 60 percent of the country’s GDP.

A World Bank survey of 2011 on 50 000 firms drawn from 99 countries showed that SMEs contribute to 66 percent of jobs in developing economies.

Thousands of houses face demolition

Source: Thousands of houses face demolition | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

By Nyasha Chingono
THOUSANDS of homes built on wetlands face demolition.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has, for some time, raised the red flag over the growing environmental hazard posed by the illegal settlements.
While EMA has been fining local authorities for allowing settlements on wetlands, this has not helped solve the problem since more colonies continue to sprout.
Interestingly, the issue has been escalated to Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, who revealed this week that all settlers who erected houses on marshlands should leave these areas to avoid losing their properties when their illegal structures are demolished.
“For lack of supervision and monitoring, Harare has been parcelling out these important pieces of land for residential stands,” she said.
“We have been doing quite a lot of demolitions as a result of (the illegal construction of houses on wetlands) to try and ensure that we protect our water sources, but where we have not managed to do serious demolitions, we have put programmes in place to try and divert water courses to make sure that there are no disruptions.”
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is part of a six-member inter-ministerial taskforce set up in March this year to investigate the chaos on wetlands, said they would abide by Mushinguri-Kashiri’s decision.
“The committee has resolved to confront issues of environment pollution and challenges posed to the environment,” Kasukuwere said.
Other members of the taskforce, chaired by Muchinguri-Kachiri, include Lands and Resettlement Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made, Home Affairs Minister, Ignatius Chombo and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Minister, Abednego Ncube.
Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, said council would not protect residents who are allocated stands on wetlands by bogus land developers.
“We cannot run a city without rules. Those residents should face the consequences of building houses willy-nilly,” Manyenyeni said.
Recent reports indicated that 30 wetlands in Harare alone were under threat from illegal settlements.
“She (Muchinguri-Kashiri) has not yet approached us, but she is speaking the right language. We need to protect these wetlands,” said Manyenyeni.
“We should not parcel out land on wetlands, we should protect these areas. Even if some of it is private land, we all have a duty to protect it,” he added.
In Harare, areas such as Kuwadzana, Glen Norah, Waterfalls, Warren Park, Borrowdale, Belvedere, Budiriro, Msasa, Ruwa, and Malbereign have many housing developments on marshlands.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the 1971 Ransar Convention on Wetlands. This gives the country an obligation to conserving wetlands that act as sponges that store water and act as flood controllers and carbon sinks that purify and supply water to water sources such as streams and dams.
In 2007, government issued Statutory Instrument 7, which provides for the protection of wetlands as a follow up to the convention.
EMA’s environmental education and publicity manager, Steady Kangata, said the agency was not empowered to demolish the structures.
“Our jurisdiction does not go as far as demolitions. Those are the duties local authorities and the government. Our push is to properly take care of the wetlands,” he said.
But while the idea of saving the wetlands is noble, this could set government on collision course with rights activists and the international community which view demolitions of properties as a gross human rights violation.
In 2005, the ZANU-PF government caused an international outcry when it razed down thousands of properties in a clean-up campaign dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, which affected close to a million citizens.

Mining revenue flat; gold, platinum output higher

Source: Mining revenue flat; gold, platinum output higher | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S mineral earnings in the nine months to September were flat at US$1,38 billion despite a marked increase in platinum and gold output, as commodity prices remained depressed, the Chamber of Mines said on Wednesday.

Gold prices rose by six percent this year, but the average price of platinum has fallen by nearly 10 percent while that of nickel declined by 2.7 percent.

Gold output increased by 13 percent to 16,1 tonnes, earning the country US$648,6 million from US$532,5 million last year.

Platinum output has increased by 20 percent to 10,8 tonnes from 9 tonnes last year but revenues only grew four percent to US$298,5 million.

“Reflecting depressed prices, among other challenges, mineral revenue for the period under review remained flat at US$1.38 billion compared to US$1,34 billion in the same period last year,” said the Chamber chief executive, Isaac Kwesu.

“Our industry remains fragile notwithstanding output growth we still have a high cost structure compared to other mining jurisdictions the operating costs characterized by a high electricity tariff, expensive funding and sub optimal fiscal charges.”

Revenue from diamonds has declined by 43 percent to US$72 million as production in the sector fell 37 percent to 1,6 million carats.

Nickel production increased from 11,900 tonnes to 13,200 tonnes but revenue declined by 22 percent US$87,8 million.

Coal production fell by 36 percent from 3,1 million tonnes last year to 1,9 million tonnes this year.

The mining sector has recorded negative growth for the past two years; -3,4 percent in 2014 and -2,5 percent in 2015. Earlier this year, Kwesu said the sector is likely to remain depressed in 2016 and 2017. The Source

Bond notes challenge judgment reserved

Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe has reserved judgment in an urgent chamber application filed by Harare businessman, Frederick Mutanda, challenging the planned introduction of bond notes.

Source: Bond notes challenge judgment reserved – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

Presentations in the matter started at around 6pm on Tuesday and ended at around 8pm after all the parties made their submissions, which Justice Chiweshe said he needed time to consider before making a determination.

In his application, Mutanda said the move by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to introduce bond notes, as an official currency in the country, was unconstitutional and an infringement on his fundamental rights, as they would interfere with the normal operation of his business.

In his heads of argument submitted on Monday, Mutanda castigated the government for seeking dismissal of his application on a technicality, saying it was “regrettable that in a matter of national importance, RBZ governor, John Mangudya and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa were content to raise points that were designed to prevent a determination of the matter”, which was raising important constitutional issues.

Mutanda’s submission followed an argument raised by Mangudya and Chinamasa, in their heads of argument, that he (Mutanda) was not properly before the court and as such his application ought to be dismissed.

However, Justice Chiweshe made a determination and allowed the matter to be heard on merits after which he reserved judgment.

Govt begins hunt for missing $15 billion

MINES and Mining Development deputy minister Fred Moyo has revealed that the government is undertaking an audit to put closure to the missing $15 billion in diamond revenues.

Source: Govt begins hunt for missing $15 billion – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

President Robert Mugabe in February shocked the nation when he disclosed that nearly $15bn in expected diamond revenues had disappeared.

Despite the disclosure, the government has not shown any appetite to follow up on the matter, attracting criticism and scorn from opposition parties.

Moyo said his ministry had begun investigations into the matter.

“The issue of the $15bn was mentioned by those that are in Cabinet and the Executive, that is, His Excellency, the President,” he told Senators recently.

“At our level, as directors and deputy ministers, we have not been tasked to do anything, but what I can say is that we already have our programme, as a ministry, where we are carrying out an audit using an international company.”

Moyo was responding to a question from Senator David Chimhini (MDC-T) on whether the ministry had “put in place, a mechanism to find closure to the question of the alleged missing $15 billion from Chiadzwa”.

Moyo said the ministry had instituted an audit into the issue, but insinuated that the missing money was not as much as $15bn.

“It is normal practice for companies to reconcile their activities and geology that we had predicted and the geology that came out — the minerals that we had estimated, the minerals that came out and the prices that we had estimated,” Moyo explained.

“That audit has been put in motion, but the $15 billion — talking as an engineer — it is quite a general statement and I am not sure where you will be starting from, because you say $15 billion or saleable equipment of what was in the ground or what was mined. So, I am not too sure what that figure was referring to.”

Zimbabwe is rated among the most corrupt countries in many surveys ranking graft trends worldwide.

Reject bond notes at your own peril: Chinamasa

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday claimed Zimbabweans will reject bond notes at their own peril, as their families and businesses will be negatively affected by such a snub.

Source: Reject bond notes at your own peril: Chinamasa – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Responding to Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) in the National Assembly during the question-and-answer session, Chinamasa said Zimbabweans should have confidence in the surrogate currency.

The Finance minister had been asked to explain how the value of bond notes would be maintained at a rate of one-to-one with the United States dollar in the face of fierce resistance by the market.

“You are correct in saying that the value of any currency is supported by confidence, and everyone accepts the US dollar even if it is not supported by gold. But it is supported only by confidence, which is important to restore whatever we are going to do,” Chinamasa said.

“We need confidence in whatever we are going to do because if you do not accept the bond notes, you do it at the peril of your families and businesses and it is important for the nation to give bond notes confidence because if you do not, business will collapse due to lack of US dollars in the market.”

He said bank deposits now stood at $6,3 billion, but this was not in the form of physical cash.

“We have to use foreign currency to import US dollars from the United States, which we then use to buy important things. There is no other country on the continent which uses US dollars to pay salaries and for buying tomatoes and mazhanje (indigenous fruit),” Chinamasa said.

Asked by Hatfield MP, Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) to explain if bond notes were the ultimate solution to Zimbabwe’s liquidity crunch, Chinamasa said it was an incentive for exporters, adding they would also address issues of capital flight.

“If we invest $3 million into the market, it will all go through a sieve and we cannot afford that,” he said.

Chinamasa said the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank were not the panacea to Zimbabwe’s economic challenges.

He said the responsibility lay with Zimbabwe to create a conducive environment for both foreign and domestic investment.

Kuwadzana East MP, Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) asked Chinamasa if there was any guarantee that export earnings in accounts of bond notes would not be externalised.

“It is like prescribing Norolol (malaria medication) to an HIV-positive patient. Right now, the issue of bond notes is affected by lack of confidence, and how are you going to cure the question of lack of confidence through introduction of bond notes?” Chamisa queried.

Chinamasa said bond notes were not being introduced to build confidence, but to enhance exports and foreign currency.

“We are saying, any foreign currency earned in Zimbabwe, is going to be liberalised in terms of its usage and we are no longer going to allow foreign currency to buy trinkets,” he responded.

Parliament is soon expected to craft the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Amendment Bill, which will make provision for the introduction of bond notes.

The august House has already asked for written submissions from the public on the Bill.

But according to the newly-gazetted RBZ Amendment Bill 2016, people who deface bond notes could face imprisonment of up to seven years.

No devil from hell nor Zanu PF can stop me: Dzamara

ACTIVIST, Patson Dzamara has said he will soldier on and continue fighting Zanu PF’s tyranny following an alleged attack and kidnap attempt on him on the eve of a planned demonstration last week.

Source: No devil from hell nor Zanu PF can stop me: Dzamara – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Dzamara was hospitalised after he was brutally assaulted and had his vehicle burnt to a shell by suspected State-sponsored militias.

In an interview following his discharge from hospital on Tuesday, the younger brother of missing activist, Itai, Dzamara said no amount of intimidation would force him to cower.

“The harder you hit a tennis ball, the higher it bounces. I have been discharged, and I am recovering well, no major injuries and raring to go. I still have something to give. I am not finished yet. I am bigger than this. I am a testimony and I know who I am,” he said.

“I am a child of God, anointed and appointed for such a time as this. No devil from hell nor Zanu PF can stop me. I am not back to join spectators, rumour mongers, naysayers or vain analysts, but I am back to hit with a big stick, as always. I can, I will and I must. To hell with the devil and his Zanu PF agents, they have been defeated already.”

Dzamara said there was a lot of confusion created by misguided elements over citizens’ movements and opposition parties.

He said they would be working towards galvanising efforts of citizens’ movement with those of the opposition parties in order to “decapitate” Zanu PF.

“There is only one God and I will never be afraid of any other human being. If they did this thinking it would break me, too bad, this has made me stronger. It has emboldened my resolve to fight for freedom, justice and ultimately a better Zimbabwe,” he said.

Sakunda Holdings ordered to pay engineers $203 000 for Dema project

Sakunda Holdings was yesterday ordered to pay engineering firm, Arup Zimbabwe, over $200 000 for services it rendered to the controversial Dema Power Project.

Source: Sakunda Holdings ordered to pay engineers $203 000 for Dema project – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

In its application for a default judgment placed before High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Chigumba, the engineering company accused Sakunda Holdings of reneging on a contract signed in May last year.

According to Arup, the contract included, among other things, that it would provide certain services in connection with the construction and operation of a 200-megawatt emergency power station at Dema.

The company also said the contract required that Sakunda would, within 30 days of being presented with invoices, pay for the services rendered at agreed rates.

Apart from paying the fees, Sakunda would also be obliged to reimburse Arup Zimbabwe certain expenses incurred during the discharge of its obligations.

“Pursuant to the aforesaid contract, plaintiff (Arup) rendered its services to the defendant (Sakunda) during the period stretching from February to July 2016,” Arup Zimbabwe said in its declaration.

“On June 16, July 14 and August 12, 2016, the plaintiff presented the defendant with invoices in respect of the services that had been rendered in terms of the aforesaid contract … the defendant has failed and/or neglected to pay the services notwithstanding that the 30-day period within which each of those invoices ought to have been settled has expired.”

Upon being presented with the summons in October this year, Sakunda Holdings did not enter an appearance to defend notice, prompting Arup to approach the court seeking a default judgment, which Justice Chigumba granted.

Before being granted the judgment, Arup’s administration associate, Nicolette Wallace, had also submitted a supporting affidavit, urging the court to rule in her firm’s favour.

“The defendant does not oppose the plaintiff’s claim, as demonstrated by its failure to file a notice of appearance to defend in terms of the rules of this court. I aver that the non-opposition of the plaintiff’s claim by defendant is understandable in view of the fact that there is no perceivable defence that the defendant could have raised against the claim in question,” Wallace said.

Corruption rocks Mugabe’s backyard

MASSIVE corruption has hit President Robert Mugabe’s rural home, with top government officials reportedly benefiting from illicit land deals that have prejudiced Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC), already reeling under a $2,4 million tax debt, NewsDay can reveal.

Source: Corruption rocks Mugabe’s backyard – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY Albert Masaka

The scam includes awarding of contracts to companies to develop the upmarket Sandton suburb in Mt Hampden – the site for the proposed new capital – without going to tender, double allocation of stands, undervaluing land allocated to cronies and fraudulently reducing sizes of stands, among others.

This is revealed in council documents, which are expected to be tabled today at a full council meeting, where fireworks are expected.

Some of the beneficiaries of the alleged murky land deals include Innocent Tizora, the director of State residences, Mines minister Walter Chidakwa and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, the Indigenisation minister, and local legislator, Felix Mukwangwariwa, among others.

A shelf company, Spincraft, was also allegedly created and allocated land at Rainham Farm measuring 2,6 hectares that was then subdivided at the council’s cost and reallocated without charging cession fees under the instruction of ZRDC chief executive officer, Peter Hlohla, prejudicing the council of thousands of dollars, the leaked documents revealed.

The CEO, the documents further alleged, made several unilateral decisions without council approval that have prejudiced the local authority of millions of dollars in compensation, including allocating himself allowances using government rates to go to Switzerland, when council had not approved the budget.

The ZRDC was also sitting on a $2,4 million tax debt, a figure that was arrived at after negotiations with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), down from $7,5 million after Hlohla engaged a tax consultancy firm, Misfort Tax Consultancy.

The CEO was now turning to a “political engagement” to stop Zimra from garnishing the local authority’s back accounts, the documents further reveal.

“The CEO was responsible for billing of Rainham, Murombedzi, Banket and Sandton, which created a huge debt in terms of penalties, and this burden will be passed to ratepayers for incompetence and ignorance on the part of the CEO,” part of the documents read.

Hlohla also allegedly awarded a contract without going to tender for the subdivision of plots in Rainham and without due process, which required that the said plots be repossessed.

“Upon repossession, the said plots were then supposed to be allocated, if the process was above board, following a council waiting list, which was never done,” the leaked documents continue.

“In some instances, he (Hlohla) went on to downsize the plots, as a way of clearing arrears without due authority of a resolution instructing or guiding him on the computation.

“By billing of Rainham as a planner, which was a prerogative of the finance department, Hlahlo went on to create a debt by billing Zimra exclusive of value-added tax, thereby, creating a tax obligation in both Sandton and Rainham exceeding $1 million and penalties were further added for non-remittances as a result of his actions.”

Hlohla also allegedly agreed to over-priced compensation rates for Rainham Abattoir in Nyabira, prejudicing ZRDC of millions of dollars.

“Having caused the loss of millions due to overcompensation, the resultant company, Blackdawn, was further allocated land, which had an approved layout done by another developer called Datco, which has created correspondences written by Datco claiming over $1,2 million for the portion of surveyed land allocated to Blackdawn.”

According to the documents expected to be tabled at a full council meeting today, more than 200 people not on the housing waiting list were allocated stands measuring between 1 000 and 4 000 square metres by ZRDC in the new Sandton suburb, prejudicing council of $4 600 worth of application fees at a cost of $23 per person.

Businessman, Lovemore Kurotwi also allegedly benefited immensely from the land deals, paying $96 000 for land valued at $426 700.

Contacted for comment over allegations raised in the documents, Hlohla first referred all questions to the ZRDC chairman.

But he later denied any wrongdoing in the execution of his duties. He said everything was done above board by council and the Local Government ministry was aware.

“The issue is, whatever is there was done above board through resolutions and many of those projects you are talking about were started before I was appointed CEO. I was a planner then,” Hlohla said.

“All those things done by council, there are papers and settlements to prove that they were above board.”

The documents further question the rationale behind the CEO having to drive from Chinhoyi to work, claiming fuel from the local authority, when he was allocated a council house.

Zimbabwe seeks investors for uranium mine

Source: Zimbabwe seeks investors for uranium mine | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation, (ZMDC) the state-owned mining company, is seeking a partner to explore and develop an uranium deposit in the northern region of the country after an earlier agreement with Hong Kong-based CNNC Overseas Uranium Limited. broke down.

The state miner plans to conclude a deal by the end of the first quarter of 2017, ZMDC Acting Managing Director Farai Karonga said in an interview in Harare, the capital.

It is also looking for a 49 percent shareholder to extract coal bed methane in a separate venture, he said.
“We’re seeking investors that may be interested in enhancing the deposits and even go further to exploiting and developing the mineral deposits,” Karonga said. ZMDC owns mining licenses for gold, chrome, copper, nickel, lithium and tin and is “open to” partnerships for operations in any of those sectors, he said.  By Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham
Bloomberg

Zacc commissioner Nguni on wanted list in SA

ZIMBABWE Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) commissioner in charge of investigations, Goodson Nguni, is allegedly a fugitive from justice in South Africa, raising questions about his suitability for his position at the anti-graft body.

Source: Zacc commissioner Nguni on wanted list in SA – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Court papers from South Africa reveal that an arrest warrant for Nguni is still open, as he is wanted to answer charges of defrauding his former employer, the South African Post Office (Sapo), in the Eastern Cape region of over R500 000.

Attorneys in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa in Port Elizabeth yesterday confirmed to NewsDay that Nguni has since 1999 been on the wanted list for fraud involving R523 836.

Nguni reportedly left South Africa for Zambia and then Zimbabwe when the trial commenced.

South African authorities yesterday revealed they had sold some of his property in the neighbouring country to recover some of the “looted money”.

“The respondent (Nguni) in the matter failed to turn up for the past years when the case was supposed to go for trial,” an official at the NPA’s Port Elizabeth office said.

According to the NPA attorneys, the warrant of arrest issued against Nguni in 1999 had not been cancelled at law, as he had not yet presented himself before the courts.

“Since 1999, according to court papers, Nguni has been on the run in South Africa after he was being investigated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on allegations that he had defrauded the Post Office, his employers then, of R523 836.

“As appears from papers already filed of record under case number 2529/99, the respondent (Nguni), while employed as regional manager Eastern Cape of the Sapo, defrauded his employer on various occasions.

“During approximately June 1999, the respondent left South Africa. A warrant for his arrest was issued and, although it remains valid, it cannot be executed because the respondent has not returned,” read part of an affidavit deposited by the then State attorney, Johannes Coetzee, who has since left the NPA to pursue a private career.
Court papers suggest that Nguni, who was married to the late Marion Nguni nee Sedze, then allegedly fled South Africa to Zimbabwe via Zambia, resulting in his property being attached by the State for sale to recover the alleged looted money.

“The assets attached by the curator bonis (State legal representative) were valued by him at R266 478, subsequent to the curator taking possession of the respondent (Nguni’s) assets, this honourable court (High Court South Eastern Cape Local Division) in case number 1128/00, granted leave to the applicants (National Director of Public Prosecution) to sell certain immovable property, which formed part of the assets attached,” read the court papers.

The investigating officer then, Paul Claassen, in his affidavit stated that Nguni was on the run since June 1999 and wife (now late) did not know the whereabouts of the now commissioner tasked to fight graft, a scourge that has crippled Zimbabwe’s economy.

“After the respondent left South Africa, I was in contact with his wife, Marion, who was still resident in Port Elizabeth,” the investigating officer said in an affidavit filed with the courts.

“I asked her on several occasions where I could find the respondent and she informed me on each occasion that she did not know, but he contacted her from time to time.”

According to court papers, Nguni allegedly corruptly engaged companies to paint various post offices in Eastern Cape, which did shoddy jobs and they would return to re-do the job, prejudicing the institution of thousands of rands. Claassen, according to the court papers, said before the warrant of arrest was issued against Nguni, the Zacc commissioner telephoned him claiming he was in Lusaka, and asked him to delay the process, as he wanted to travel back to that country, so he could attend to the allegations that were being raised.

On September 16, 1999, the day he had promised to be in South Africa, Nguni did not show up and this resulted in the warrant of arrest being issued.

“Accordingly, I arraigned for the issues of a warrant for the respondent’s arrest in respect of the fraud and corruption charges against him. The warrant of arrest was issued on September 22, 1999,” the papers stated.

An affidavit filed by Mvunyiswa Nzuzo Mfono, Anand Cooar Singh and Lindiwe Aurelia Dolly Ngozi – all then Nguni’s subordinates – said the hired painters did shoddy jobs and in some cases at stations that did not require renovations.

Another affidavit filed by Christian Johannes Stephanus Sharp, the then works inspector for Sapo in Port Elizabeth, said Nguni did not follow laid-down procedures to engage the contractors, who did the renovations at all post offices.

“The postmaster of a particular post office requiring repairs or maintenance will submit a request to the area manager for the work to be undertaken. My investigations revealed that Nguni was the person, who in almost all the cases mentioned, approved all the relevant documentation pertaining to the contractor, TC Nyoni,” the affidavit stated.

The papers indicate that Nguni, in a bid to clear his name, hired Gqobo and Company Attorneys at Law in South Africa to represent him, but later ditched them for TK Hove and Partners based in Harare.

Papers reveal that Nguni denied the allegations and accused the police officer, who was investigating the matter, of plotting his downfall, claiming he was not a fugitive from justice.

Tinofara Kudakwashe Hove, who took over the case, yesterday said he was unaware of the warrant of arrest issued against his client (Nguni).

But in communications between his office and South African prosecutors, Hove confirmed he was aware of the pending order to nab his client.

“Did you see the warrant yourself? Was it issued in the first place?” Hove asked.

“There have been a lot of issues with that case, I would need to see you later.”

But correspondence between the local law firm and Coetzee shows that the lawyers were aware of it.

“Our records indicate that the provisional order (to sell party of Nguni’s property by the curator) has not been confirmed and/or discharged, neither has the warrant of arrest been cancelled,” wrote TK Hove to the State representative on November 8, 2002.

Nguni’s property was sold in March 2008 after the South African NPA obtained an order in the High Court of South Africa (South Eastern Cape Local Division) authorising the curator, under case number case number 2529/99.

This was after the courts ruled that Nguni had benefited from his participation “in the offences of fraud and corruption”.

After his stint in South Africa, Nguni served in various capacities in Zanu PF, including the post of deputy information and publicity secretary for Harare province.

In spite of his pending charges in South Africa, Nguni is now at the forefront of fighting corruption in the country, as a Zacc commissioner.

According to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, a person with a criminal record cannot be a commissioner.

President Robert Mugabe has since reportedly instituted due diligence on Zacc commissioners.

‘Zanu PF will loot school levies’

The Zanu PF government has been accused of trying to loot school fees paid by parents to fund the 2018 elections through abolishing school development associations (SDAs), which have been running of all State-owned schools.

Source: ‘Zanu PF will loot school levies’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

SDAs reportedly manage $1,2 billion in fees yearly.

Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday said he feared that if the Primary and Secondary Education ministry took control of fees, the quality of education would collapse, as the money would not find its way back to schools.

“This is Zimdef (Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund) part two. Our government must take stock of its own record of performance before assuming further fiduciary duties. The SDA funds will fund politics,” he said.

Social commentator, Rashweat Mukundu called on government ministers to keep their hands off the management of schools, which most of their children do not attend and leave them in the hands of parents.

“School development levies are not taxes and the government has no business in dictating to parents what and how to use levies on. Rather, the government must capacitate schools to enhance accountability,” he said.

“No one trusts this government with money, so this is another thieving project by (Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus) Dokora and team. Parents are not asking for protection from Dokora, but to be left to manage schools.”

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu dismissed the move to establish a National Building Fund (NBF), where all schools would contribute their fees, as an attempt to loot funds ahead of the 2018 general elections.

“Hands off SDAs! We know that the proposed NBF will be looted left, right and centre, just like what is happening with Zimdef. You cannot release a hungry lion inside a cattle pen and hope to still keep and grow your cattle herd,” he said.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said Zanu PF was already abusing school buses to ferry its supporters to rallies and it was only logical to fear the takeover of SDAs was for “looting”.

“This government is full of crooks from their own confessions. Look at how they have been abusing school buses and now they want to keep money. How can they be better at keeping money when they have lost a whole currency?” he said.

Human rights activist, Gladys Hlatywayo said the move should be opposed because it was a big scam.

“This is serious fundraising at play and surely the schools will cry foul. This massive fraud waiting to happen must be opposed by every sane Zimbabwean,” she said.

Capacity utilisation up on import restrictions

Import restrictions drove capacity utilisation to 47,4% from last year’s 34,3%, as the manufacturing sector increased output to plug the gap, a new report by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has shown.

Source: Capacity utilisation up on import restrictions – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

In July, the government promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which restricted imports on 43 products, which have local equivalents to boost local production.

CZI president, Busisa Moyo told NewsDay on the sidelines of the release of the Manufacturing Sector Survey 2016 that the results were in line with CZI’s desired goal of 65% capacity utilisation by the end of next year, but stressed more needed to be done.

“Yes, SI 64 of 2016 is one of significant contributors, but we were also having a lot of interest in local manufacturing as well, the buy local has been gaining momentum. SI 64 of 2016 came in to buttress that with a policy, but there was already a mind-set from CZI and Buy Zimbabwe that we should buy local,” Moyo said.

Due to ballooning imports, government responded by putting several protective measures to restrict the import bill.

Despite the increase in capacity utilisation, the survey showed only 20,7% of respondents viewed SI 64 of 2016 as positive on the back of the overriding concerns from industrialists on the macro-economic environment.

CZI found that 77,1% of respondents rated policy instability as negative or very negative for the economy, while 73% felt government was not engaging the private sector enough.

“Sixty-percent of the respondents do not know of any public-private dialogues or consultations conducted by Government … in the past 24 months to address economic challenges,” CZI chief economist, Dephine Mazambani said.

The manufacturing sector needs $2 billion to fully re-capacitate, with 45% of manufacturers reporting using machinery older than 20 years.

However, Mazambani said more than 50% of the respondents “indicated that it is not easy to access funding or loans from local banks, while another 44% indicated that financial sector is unresponsive to industry needs”.

Central bank governor, John Mangudya recently said the manufacturing sector reported the highest demand for imports, with low exports and as such needed to focus more on exporting.

The CZI report found that manufacturers listed corruption as the major factor impacting on business followed by policy instability, access to finance, competition from imports and low demand for domestic products.

Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the results were encouraging, but that more needed to be done to curb imported goods.

“We need research in order to know what needs improvement. We are still a very long way to go but this is not for government alone, we need a lot of people, who can contribute to where we want to be,” he said.

In terms of employment, CZI said 24% of manufacturers retrenched workers, while 76% did not. The manufacturing sector employs 250 000 employees.

Going forward, Moyo said industry would be working to get South African exporters to set up factories locally to try and get some of the proceeds from trading with South Africa.

South Africa accounts for close to 60% of total trading with Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe miners dig deeper for solutions

Source: Zimbabwe miners dig deeper for solutions – Mineweb November 24, 2016

Gold, platinum and nickel are sparkling for Zimbabwe but coal, diamonds and chrome are down. But that is not the only good and bad news from the mineral-rich but struggling southern African country, with miners hopeful that the government will speedily address fiscal and policy issues weighing down the sector. 

Investors are weighing up the introduction of local bond notes at the end of this month, with a liquidity crunch forcing miners into arrears in terms of foreign payments, this according to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe. 

According to the Chamber, the mining industry requires about 50% of earnings to pay for supplies and obligations to the government and shareholders. As much as $1 billion is required for such payments annually. 

“We are still seeing foreign payments challenges when miners have to pay for raw materials and the gold sector has been affected the most,” Isaac Kwesu, chief executive officer of the chamber of mines said on Wednesday. 

The problem has been felt across the economy, with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries also flagging this in its manufacturing sector survey released this week. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe however, prioritises exporters to retain half of their earnings although the recent worsening of the cash crunch has meant delays. 

The major miners in Zimbabwe include units of Asa Resources, Anglo Platinum, Sibanye Gold and Impala Platinum. Other local and international miners active in Zimbabwe are RioZim, Caledonia Mining Corporation and Falgold among others. 

There are “systematic challenges that are afflicting the industry” and Kwesu pointed to high-cost structures, funding constraints, as well as high fiscal charges. “We have high mining fees that the industry cannot afford,” he said. 

However, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Mines Minister, Fred Moyo, says the miners also have internal issues that they have to sort out. He however said the government was always responding to pressing issues the industry was facing.  

“There are a lot of structural issues that need to be sorted on the part of the miners because we always want to look at what the miners can also address on their own. There are issues such as mine design systems that need to be changed in line with developments elsewhere,” Moyo told Mineweb on Wednesday. 

Although gold, platinum and nickel producers have been facing mounting challenges in Zimbabwe, the producers in these categories registered significant growth in the nine month period to the end of September. 

Bullion production for the period rose 13% to 16.2 tonnes, with the country targeting output of more than 20 tonnes for the full year to December. Platinum increased from 9 tonnes in 2015 to 10.8 tonnes for the period under review while nickel also significantly rose to 13 tonnes. 

In terms of revenue, Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki managed to raise income from platinum sales by 4% to $300 million. Gold revenues, dominated by Freda Rebecca, Blanket Gold mine, RioZim and artisanal miners as well as other medium sized operations, propped up from $532 million in the 2015 nine month period to $648 million for the 2016 comparative period. 

Zimbabwe’s overal earnings of $1.38 billion from sales of the minerals that it produces were nearly flat for the period, with gold accounting for about 47% of this. Revenue potential was suppressed by poor performance from diamonds (income down 43% at $72.8 million) and chrome which saw a 39% decrease in revenues to $9.5 million. 

Although revenue from coal was up 6% to $66 million, production of the energy commodity was down 36% at 1.9 million tonnes. Kwesu said operating challenges faced by Zimasco and equipment as well as capital constraints encountered by Hwange were mainly to blame for the suppressed performance in the coal and chrome categories. 

Controversy has dogged Zimbabwe’s diamond industry in the past few years and the standoff between gem miners in Chiadzwa and the government earlier this year muzzled gem output. Zimbabwe has moved to form a consolidated diamond mining company incorporating all diamond miners in the country and the state will own half the shares of the corporation. 

The government has asked mining companies in Zimbabwe such as Zimplats and chrome producers to give up excess land for it to be given to new investors. Kwesu said the industry was yet to see the short term impact of this on investment and operations. 

However, Moyo said the government was sticking to this policy, saying : “If we are taking ground to empower others then it is fair” and highlighted that the excess land would be given to new investors. Zimplats is locked in a battle with the government in the Administrative Court in Harare where Zimplats is contesting this.

Rebrand Africa as continent of hope, development, vibrancy

When a nation perceives participation in active politics as the sole gateway to success in all forms of human endeavour then that nation is doomed to collapse. Without developing a transgenerational paradigm shift in the manner in which nation-building is conceptualised; failure will, inevitably, become the only option.

Source: Rebrand Africa as continent of hope, development, vibrancy – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2016

OPINION: Obert Gutu

Africa has stagnated in matters of socio-economic and political development mainly because the founding mothers and fathers of the modern-day African nation state largely failed to locate Africa beyond the mere acquisition of political independence from the former colonisers.

Intoxicated by the euphoria of independence and largely unmindful of the unfinished agenda of real and substantive nation-building, the average African country, soon after attaining independence, quickly slid into a downward spiral of profligacy, kleptocracy, tyranny and general socio-political degeneration.

Thus, the prototype of a typical post-independence African nation state is a country full of strife, civil commotion and human misery.

Of course, the former colonisers have sought to exert control on the development trajectory of post-independence Africa by ensuring that the global trading environment is hugely tilted in favour of the developed world.

The global financial architecture is also firmly under the control of the G8 countries, who will, naturally, always ensure that Africa’s development needs are subordinated to the economic and financial priorities of the developed world.

Africa has been caught up in some form of catch22 situation; a state of affairs, where Africa is full of natural resources, which it cannot develop without engaging the developed countries and on the other hand, the developed countries themselves are extremely worried about the prospect of an economically resurgent and united Africa.

I am acutely aware of the manoeuvrings of neo-colonialism, neo-imperialism, as well as socio-cultural imperialism.

In the same breath, I refuse to buy the argument that Africa has failed to develop economically and politically simply because of the evils I have just mentioned.

I agonise each time I hear or read about political strife and human misery in any African country. While I appreciate the evil machinations of neo-liberalism and cultural imperialism, I am quick to accept that the destiny of Africa is largely in the hands of us; the Africans.

Put alternatively, Africa has to introspect and plan her own survival strategy. Development should not and will not be donor-driven and neither will it come without us, the Africans, driving our own development agenda.

The days of plundering Africa’s resources and stashing ill-gotten loot in Western cities such as Rome, London, Paris and Milan should be a thing of the past. Africa needs leaders and not rulers. Indeed, Africa is too rich to be poor.

A predatory state is obsessed with power retention as an end in itself. In this kind of nation state, political power is ruthlessly used to suppress any dissenting voices and also to concentrate wealth in the hands of a small privileged elite.

This elite is notorious for its greed and rapacity. Always scared of losing political power and, therefore, access to ill-gotten wealth and economic power, this small elite is extremely unpopular, but at the same time, it will always endeavour to maintain a vice-like grip on the levers of State power.

To some of us, this is Africa’s biggest tragedy. It is the deficit of good governance that has largely driven Africa into a state of political strife and human misery. From Cape to Cairo, Africa is largely populated by hungry and angry citizens.

My blood runs cold when I realise that 100 million of the world’s poorest people are found in Africa. Africa has been branded as a continent in perpetual strife and misery. Afro-pessimism pervades all the global mainstream media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News and, to some extent, even Al-Jazeera.

On our part, what have we done as Africans, to rebrand our continent? To paint a picture of hope where there is despair; to portray an image of unity and joy where there is human suffering, war and disease? The future of Africa is in our hands.

None but ourselves are going to retrieve Africa from this precipice of misery and hopelessness.

Let me take this opportunity to challenge those of my generation, and also the generations that have come and that will come after us, to repackage and rebrand Africa as a continent of hope, development and vibrancy. We, as the New Africans, should refuse to solely locate Africa’s misery on the evil machinations of our former colonisers and the erstwhile imperialists.

We are the New Africans. We are forever grateful to the earlier generations, who took up arms and fought the colonisers in order for us to attain independence. But we will not stop to blame our former liberators if they start to imagine that they, and they alone, have a monopoly of wisdom and, therefore, only they should hold the passport to rule us until donkeys grow horns!

As I have already alluded to above, the New African wants leaders and not rulers. We want leaders not rulers. Thus, without adopting a trans-generational paradigm shift, Africa will forever remain the world’s most under-developed continent.

The politics of power retention will drive us to more strife and human misery; it cannot and will not take Africa in general and Zimbabwe, in particular, to the next level.

We need a new brand of politics; indeed, we need an African renaissance. The politics of development should be in vogue.

We should forever renounce the politics of violence, thuggery and intolerance. This kind of politics should be confined to the dustbin of history; because that is precisely where it belongs.

We are the New Africans. We have a new and refreshing vision for Africa. The destiny of our wonderful motherland is in our hands. And we are not going to disappoint.

Obert Gutu is the MDC-T spokesperson. He writes in his personal capacity

Zimbabwe: When policies lead a country to nowhere

Source: Zimbabwe: When policies lead a country to nowhere | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

FIFTY-ONE years ago, the colonial Rhodesian regime led by the late Ian Douglas Smith declared independence from Britain on November 11, 1965.
This was the second time that a British colony had broken away after the United States had declared its own independence two centuries before in July 1776.
Britain, the Commonwealth and the United Nations immediately announced that Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence was illegal, leading to the country being slapped with the first ever UN sanctions.
But Smith remained adamant as he began building a stronger economy regardless of the country’s isolation.
This is what Zimbabwe inherited in 1980: A leading and prosperous economy, supported by a strong agricultural sector, vibrant manufacturing industry and a productive mining sector.
Given the miserable state of the country today, this is just one hard fact of history that has become so difficult to swallow, especially for those who eschewed a better Zimbabwe at independence in 1980.
Ruling ZANU-PF propagandists have found excuses to explain how their regime failed to take the country to the next level, although these have fallen short of being convincing.
Hard as it may have tried to forge its own destiny, under a new regime led by the former guerilla war fighters who had fought a protracted bush war against Smith, Zimbabwe somehow appears to be getting it all wrong at each and every attempt.
The narrative that has been shoved down everyone’s throat by President Robert Mugabe’s government, which has been in power for the past 36 years, is that the present sad situation the country finds itself in is a result of the sanctions Britain and its allies imposed on Zimbabwe over human rights violations.
ZANU-PF denies the human rights violations saying the restrictions were in fact meant to penalise the regime for embarking on the chaotic land reform programme in 2000.
Incidentally, that land reform programme was the first major effort by the ZANU-PF government to redress past historical imbalances, 20 years after it had gained majority black rule in 1980 through a compromised deal that principally maintained the status quo, whereby the former colonial masters remained in charge of the economy.
Zimbabwe’s own declaration of independence came in the form of an attempt to right a century-old wrong that had seen indigenous black people being disposed of their land by an invading British colonialist, Cecil John Rhodes, whose surname was later incorporated into the name of the Rhodesian State.
Because of the diplomatic tiff between Zimbabwe and the western states, Harare took the emotional decision to withdraw its membership from the commonwealth in December 2003.
If one is to go by ZANU-PF’s argument that the country’s economy has collapsed because of sanctions, why then is it that the Rhodesian government prospered under all manner of sanctions? How did Zimbabwe fail where Smith succeeded against all odds?
It has been argued before that while sanctions have contributed to the current crisis, their impact has been minimal compared to government’s own incompetence.
For example, the indigenisation policy, whereupon government sought to compel foreigners to cede majority control to blacks, has been a monumental disaster.
While President Mugabe has now sought to clarify certain issues unnerving investors, it has been a matter of too little, too late.
Currently, government is also taking steps to amend the Mining Act, in a harsh manner that would make it even more unpopular with capitalists.
The land reform programme was another monumental disaster, and nothing is being done to redress maladies impeding the agricultural sector from driving the country’s economic engine.
Efforts such as the current command agriculture initiative are under constant threat from corruption.
Over the years, government has come up with so many policies to deal with its pressing economic challenges.
While on paper, most of the policies look okay, the devil has always been in the implementation.
At the moment, government is stuck with the ambitious Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) blueprint, which requires funding to the tune of US$27 billion.
But what has really been wrong with our policies? Or maybe what has been negatively affecting the implementation of these policies?
“We have had very good policies and blueprints, but as soon as these policies and blueprints are introduced we fail to make a follow-up on these policies,” said Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Davison Norupiri.
“We are failing to review the impact of these policies, whether negative of positive…We need consistency in terms of monitoring and evaluation of these policies, so we end up having challenges. I strongly believe that for all our policies we need monitoring and evaluation teams that help identify loopholes for the policies to be effective,” he added.
Economist, John Robertson, believes the country’s policies can hardly be called policies because they are simply “wish lists” that are never followed through.
“These policies amount to a declaration of intent… They (government) intend to do something about what is said in the policy, but in the end they actually do nothing about it…A policy doesn’t actually become policy at all. They believe that releasing a policy statement is enough in itself. Many people in government don’t seem to understand that there is need to bring the change after making a policy statement,” said Robertson, adding: “What we need are policies that attract investment. But what we now have are policies that are unattractive to investment. Government has created a very hostile and unwelcoming environment for investors, which I think needs to be fixed first.”
And the results of this hostility are evident as even the locals are wary of investing in their own country.
As a result, Zimbabwe’s once attractive and bustling economic hubs such as Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Mutare and the capital Harare are now virtually ghost towns and cities.
Even small towns such as Norton and Chegutu that once upon a time had a contribution to make to the country’s economy are derelict with no sign that any of the nation’s protectionist policies have been effective in boosting production.
It is like going through a very bad dream to imagine that Bulawayo, since it was founded in 1894, had seen the establishment of big companies such as the Tregers Group, the Zimbabwe Engineering Company, Hubert Davies, Merlin Textiles, Stewarts & Lloyds, Build Elect, Dunlop, Hunyani Holdings and G&D Shoes.
Fast forward to today, the second largest city is now practically a ghost city.
Harare has, meanwhile, turned into a vendors’ city, while Gweru and Kwekwe — home to steel factories and foundries since independence in 1980 — have been reduced to industrial ruins.
To the east of the country, Mutare saw more than a dozen companies closing shop a year after government announced its Zim-Asset blueprint in 2013.
Some are arguing that government’s is not doing enough homework before producing its policy blueprints.
It, however, does not need rocket science to figure out that what is lacking is just the political will to do the right thing.

President Mugabe to pull trigger

Source: President Mugabe to pull trigger | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

A SURPRISE resolution by the ruling ZANU-PF party’s Mashonaland Central province is seen giving President Robert Mugabe  the ammunition he has been desperately looking for to end factionalism, which has left his party extremely vulnerable with only less than two years before the make-or-break polls in 2018, the Financial Gazette can report.
President Mugabe will descend in Masvingo for the party’s 16th annual people’s conference as the only heavyweight in ZANU-PF’s presidium with a secure job, having received the thumbs up from the 10 political provinces to represent the party as their presidential candidate in the 2018 elections in which he is likely to face his long-time deputy-turned foe, Joice Mujuru, following their nasty fall out in 2014.
A resolution by Mashonaland Central — the bedrock of ZANU-PF’s support — pushing for the amendment of the party’s constitution to allow members to vote for President Mugabe’s two deputies in the same way they voted for the party leader, would mean that none of the bigwigs in the presidium, with the exception of the incumbent, is safe in the event that the resolution is adopted at the conference.
President Mugabe and his two deputies, Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, constitute the party’s presidium.
Before the 2014 congress, the national chairman of the party was part of the presidium, but the functions allocated to that position are now being exercised by the two Vice Presidents on a rotational basis in what was supposed to end the ugly factional fights that had broken out in ZANU-PF.
Political observers opined this week that the ball was now essentially in President Mugabe’s court who, as the party’s first secretary and president, has the discretion to determine what goes into the conference’s agenda. That in itself, according to observers, presents the ZANU-PF leader with a perfect opportunity to strike factionalism in the head by decisively dealing with the “mischief makers”.
ZANU-PF is currently torn between two factions that are embroiled in a bitter contestation to influence President Mugabe’s succession.
Before the 2014 congress, the two factions were led by Mujuru, the former vice president, and Mnangagwa who, at the time, was in charge of the party’s legal portfolio in the Politburo.
Mujuru could not survive a ruthless purge that uprooted her foot-soldiers across the party’s political provinces going into the congress. She, along with her key allies, were dismissed from ZANU-PF and government for plotting to unseat President Mugabe, unconstitutionally.
But that did not destroy factionalism in the party. Another faction, going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) emerged immediately after the congress to frustrate Mnangagwa’s bid to replace President Mugabe whenever he so decides to retire.
None of the perceived faction leaders have admitted their role in the internecine infighting rocking ZANU-PF.
In July this year, Mnangagwa distanced himself from the so-called Team Lacoste, which is alleged to be propping up his interests.
A quartet comprising ZANU-PF Politburo members namely: Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao, President Mugabe’s nephew, has also denied purported links to G40.
Nonetheless, the infighting has spiralled out of control to the point of paralysing both the party’s business and the workings of government at a time when the country is faced with an economic crisis of gigantic proportions.
Last week, the ZANU-PF leader acknowledged the existence of the two factions – Team Lacoste and G40.
He warned against successionist politics, saying those plotting to take-over from him should rather redirect their energies to working for development.
It now appears that the ZANU-PF leader could have the last laugh at the five-day conference to be held in Masvingo between December 13 and 17.
On Tuesday, Dickson Mafios, the Mashonaland Central provincial chairman, said the region had resolved to push for the amendment of the constitution to allow members to vote for vice presidents in the same way they voted for the President.
He said the current situation, created after the party expelled Mujuru, was not democratic, adding that Mashonaland Central felt the one-centre-of-power principle was not beneficial to anyone because those appointed by the party’s President under this concept were not protecting his integrity.
“The one centre of power concept came from us and we can have it altered. We are saying we want alterations. The President is an elected official, why not the vice presidents? It’s an appeal which we are putting before the party and we want the vice presidents to be elected with at least one of them being a woman,” said Mafios.
Mnangagwa and Mphoko were appointed into their current positions by President Mugabe in 2014.
Mphoko’s appointment was in line with the 1987 Unity Accord signed between President Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, now late, which obligates ZANU-PF to accommodate a former ZAPU cadre as one of the two Vice Presidents.
In terms of the ZANU-PF constitution, the power to amend the constitution rests with the Central Committee, subject to ratification by congress.
It is either that any member of the party supported by 50 other members or any organ of ZANU-PF may propose or move a motion for the amendment of the constitution provided they follow proper procedures.
It would appear that the resolution by Mashonaland Central is in sync with last year’s plans by the ZANU-PF Women’s League to remove one of the Vice Presidents and replace him with a woman.
Also, Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister, Mandi Chimene, demanded sometime this year that an extraordinary congress be convened to deal with Mnangagwa if President Mugabe was hesitant to fire him.
 This was after the President had been fingered for stoking factional fires in the party.
It therefore appears that the proposal from Mashonaland Central fits into this plan notwithstanding the fact that President Mugabe has previously indicated that he has been with Mnangagwa for so many years that he would unlikely conspire against his deputy.
Perceived G40 members are also under pressure, especially in the wake of corruption allegations against Moyo and Kasukuwere, and allegations of incompetence against Zhuwao.
Team Lacoste wants the conference to flush out those fingered in acts of corruption in a bid to weaken G40.
Amid the conflicting pressures, it is now up to President Mugabe to decide in which direction the pendulum should swing.
There were indications that Mashonaland Central province’s resolution was unlikely to succeed given that there is insufficient time before the party conference to allow for constitutional amendments to effect the proposals. But precedent suggests that anything that has the backing of President Mugabe would find support from members and sail through regardless of constitutional provisions.
All the 10 provinces met to deliberate on their conference resolutions at the weekend, with Mashonaland Central providing the most contentious resolution after its inter-district meeting in Bindura.
G40 currently controls party structures after it successfully purged Mnangagwa’s allies this year. They could use that numerical advantage to spring surprises at the conference.
Team Lacoste members are accusing G40 of designing the latest scheme simply to target Mnangagwa, saying their rivals were seeking to challenge President Mugabe’s appointing authority. They accused Kasukuwere, who comes from Mashonaland Central, of orchestrating the resolution.
But Kasukuwere said he had nothing to do with the proposal.
“I have nothing to do with the resolution. (Yes), I come from the province (but) I do not meddle in provincial issues; I am a national leader. I do not make the resolutions; the resolutions are made by the people so it’s nonsense to believe I influence their decision,” he charged.
He also denied reports that the resolution was specifically targeted at Mnangagwa saying: “I thought it was a resolution by the province to conference. Let conference handle it. After all, we have not received resolutions from the provinces. We will receive them on Friday then we consolidate.”
Kasukuwere has come under fire from Team Lacoste functionaries, including war veterans, who want him fired.
They accuse him of orchestrating the purge of Mnangagwa’s allies from the party, among them the leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
The entire leadership of the war veterans was shown the exit door by ZANU-PF in July this year after they questioned its leadership.
ZANU-PF’s deputy secretary for legal affairs, Paul Mangwana, who is believed to be a Mnangagwa ally, poured cold water on prospects of the resolution succeeding.
“The changes will have to go through the party’s legal machinery. So at the moment, we are simply hearing so many propositions being made, but we are not in any way tweaking with the existing party constitution,” said Mangwana.
He said ZANU-PF would need to convene a special congress to make constitutional changes required by Mashonaland Central’s resolution; this could not be done by the forthcoming conference.
Political scientist, Ibbo Mandaza, said Mashonaland Central’s overture was a direct challenge on Mnangagwa’s position in the party.
“They are targeting Emmerson. They are hoping that through elections they may be able to boot him out …  It’s part of the succession fight, especially given that G40 has regrouped,” he said.
But another political scientist, Eldred Masunungure, said it was very curious that Mashonaland Central had only requested for the revision of the selection of the Vice Presidents only, leaving out other structures such as the Politburo whose members are also handpicked.
“It was very unwise and imprudent for Mashonaland Central to make that recommendation. It’s an extreme move…There might be undercurrents, although it can be read as a challenge to the President’s powers. If Mashonaland Central wanted to be taken seriously they should have challenged the whole constitution. For example, everyone in the Politburo must be elected rather than confine their resolution to one layer of the party structure… It doesn’t make sense. It should be applicable to all levels and not just the Vice Presidents. As it is, it is designed to affect one layer of the party structure. However, in the absence of explicit reference to those undercurrents it (resolution) represents a challenge to the President’s powers…but it’s a challenge that has not been made in good faith,” said Masunungure.

Bond notes to help industry: Mangudya

Source: Bond notes to help industry: Mangudya | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, yesterday said bond notes would be introduced at the end of this month, advising that the central bank would “not be careless” with the new currency.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)’s Manufacturing Sector Survey 2016, Mangudya said the bond notes would help the faltering industry, whose capacity utilisation jumped to 47,4 percent  this year, from 34,3 percent last year.
“We need support from business. There is fear that we will print more. Where that scepticism is coming from, I don’t know,” Mangudya told captains of industry and commerce who gathered for the breakfast meeting in the capital for the survey results.
Mangudya said bond notes would certainly be in the market at the end of this month, as part of efforts to incentivise exporters.
He has previously indicated that bond notes would be used as a funding mechanism for the export incentive in order to preserve the United States dollars supporting the scheme, which will be bankrolled to the tune of US$200 million by the African Export and Import Bank.
The bond notes would be zero-coupon, tax-exempt debt instruments.
Exporters would receive the incentive in US dollars and the incentive would be credited to their US dollar accounts.
An exporter would then transact through the real-time gross settlement systems, make foreign payments for imports of goods and services and transact freely within the multi-currency exchange system.
The RBZ boss said the issuance of bond notes has a self-control mechanism in that when there are no exports, there would be no bond notes. The bond notes would be released gradually into the economy in sympathy with export receipts through normal banking channels up to a maximum ceiling of the facility (US$200 million). The ceiling would be attained when total exports are around US$6 billion.
The central bank governor welcomed the results of the CZI survey, saying: “These are very good results. The trend is good. We have an economic research desk at the central bank and your figures are talking to the figures that we have as well. But we need to do more. As government, we need to do a lot in terms of coming up with an investor friendly environment and export more.”
Government also hailed the improvement in capacity utilisation in the country’s manufacturing sector, saying this was a positive development, but admitted more needed to be done to help industries avoid collapse.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Mike Bimha, told guests at the launch of the survey that: “There is no doubt that there are still challenges, but we have been coming up with measures such as imports management. This survey is very important. We need research-based information to be able to make good decisions. This is good feedback for government. I know we are not there yet, but let’s do more to get where we want to go.”
An overflow of imports, estimated at about US$7 billion per annum, against exports of about US$3 billion, has been aggravating de-industrialisation in Zimbabwe and widening the current account deficit, which is projected to rise to US$2,8 billion this year from US$2,5 billion last year.
Government issued Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016 in June, banning the importation of 42 products into the country as part of measures meant to protect the domestic industry.
Products that have been removed from the general import licence under SI 64 include fertilisers, plastic pipes, wheel barrows, roofing frameworks, tinned fruits and vegetables, dairy products, furniture, coffee creamers and petroleum jellies.
Previously, government had gazetted a ban on the importation of batteries, candles, floor polish, tobacco twines, second-hand clothing, blankets, 23 pharmaceutical products, milk, potatoes, onions, biscuits, meat products and yeast.

NSSA buys 10 percent of NicozDiamond shares

Source: NSSA buys 10 percent of NicozDiamond shares | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

STATE run pension fund, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), on Wednesday bought  56,6 million shares, 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s largest short-term insurer NicozDiamond’s total issued share capital, that were offloaded by a foreign investor at 2,75 cents.

Foreign buyers are deserting the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in record numbers, with net outflows of US$56,28 million in the 10 months to October, the biggest sell-off in five years over government plans to introduce bond notes, a token currency into the financial system.

Stockbrokers said NSSA’s big buy, of 56,643,478 shares at US$1,557,696 is part of the narrative where local investors are on the hunt for safe haven equities to guard against potential loss of value when the ‘bond notes’ are introduced.

The pension fund already owned 28.15 percent shares of NicozDiamond before today’s purchase, which makes it the largest shareholder ahead of Zimre Holdings, which holds a 28,58 percent stake. Other major shareholders are Zimre Holdings Limited with 28,78 percent and Campbell Bruce with a 10 percent stake.

The central bank has said it plans to introduce US$75 million of the surrogate currency, which it  says is backed by an Afreximbank facility, by the end of this month and US$200 million in total.

NSSA, which has 70 percent of its investments in the equities market, has interests in 53 of the 60 companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, holding at least 10 percent shareholding in 12 counters.

The NSSA deal propelled turnover for the day to a healthy US$2,255 million, from  US$148,773 recorded on Tuesday. The main industrial  gained  0,65 percent to close at 128,72 points, while the mining index advanced 0,37 percent to  settle at 42,84 points.

Market capitalisation edged up from US$3,533 billion recorded the previous day to US$3,556 billion while volumes traded increased from 2,234 million shares to 66,123 million.

Econet advanced 3,70 percent to close at 29.04 cents.

Willdale and Masimba picked up 25 percent and 15,38 percent to close at 0,25 cent and 1,50 cents respectively. Fidelity and Lafarge advanced 10 percent and 9 percent to settle at 11 cents  and 30 cents respectively. ART also added 8,57 percent to close at 3,80 cents.

The resource index gained on the back of Bindura, which added 0.70 percent to close at 2,90 cents while other mining counters remained unchanged.

Foreigners sold off  US$2,132 million of shares and bought shares worth US$78,228. – The Source

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Budget should resolve crisis

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Budget should resolve crisis | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, is expected to deliver the National Budget for 2017 on December 8, 2016.
Public expectations are high, especially considering that the economic environment is worsening and there are fears that there is a real possibility that Zimbabwe could plunge into a crisis comparable to the one experienced during the years leading to 2008.
The budget is likely to be presented when the country would have finally launched the contentious bond notes, whose introduction was first announced in May.
There is public resistance to the planned introduction of the bond notes, with manufacturers, through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, rejecting the so-called surrogate currency in toto. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has similarly expressed grave concern over the planned currency. These concerns are predicated on the suffering of the past, and justifiably so.
Retailers, however, insist Zimbabwe should not he held hostage by fears of past experiences, and have backed the proposed new currency, which now has the backing of legislation, although this is being contested in court.
Zimbabwe requires radical measures to extricate itself from the current quagmire, and the country may have now reached a point where it may have to give the central bank the room to experiment the bond notes to see if it can give succour to a nation that has suffered for too long.
But the bond notes should only act as a stop-gap measure to give temporary relief to the economy, while long-term solutions are sought to permanently repair this economy.
The biggest challenge for the 2017 National Budget statement will, therefore, be to inspire public confidence and cultivate the trust needed to get this economy working again.
Our manufacturing sector is dead, with the few industries that have survived operating at minimum capacity. The agricultural sector is equally in the doldrums, forcing the country to import basic food commodities and in the process exporting the little stock of United States dollars or foreign currencies it had earned. This has essentially drained liquidity from the economy.
We, therefore, hope that the budget will announce measures to ensure that these two key sectors are revived. We hope there will be measures in Chinamasa’s budget to also ensure that the mining sector, which has critically supported this economy since dollarisation in 2009, is allowed to grow.
The International Monetary Fund has indicated that the economy will contract this year and that it will shrink by a further 2,5 percent next year.
We hope there will be good rains to augment any efforts government will take to turnaround this economy and ensure growth next year. The command agricultural project, while sound, should be guarded against potential abuse.
The views given by the business sector during pre-budget consultations should be taken into account, as well as any thoughts proffered by the trade unions.
Together, we can make Zimbabwe great again.

Adopting exclusive use of the SA rand 

Source: Adopting exclusive use of the SA rand  | The Financial Gazette November 24, 2016

… A cruel necessity for Zimbabwe
By Joseph Kanyekanye
AT its peak, industry contributed a total of 22 percent to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 37 percent of export earnings.
Post the crafting of the Industrial Development Policy (IDP) 2004-2010, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP continued to decline in spite of implementation of interventions such as assistance to distressed and closed companies, import substitution and value addition, development of integrated industrial clusters and the creation of sub-sector task forces that were developing detailed action plans for each sub-sector.
We spent hours in the National Economic Consultative Forum alongside fellow industrialists trying to ensure that we could arrest the decline.
Put simply, we met with some limited success especially during the Government of National Unity years of 2008 to 2010 when I was Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president and Professor Welshamn Ncube was the minister of industry and commerce.
The subsequent IDP (2012 -2016) itself envisages “transforming Zimbabwe from a producer of primary goods into a producer of processed value added goods for both the domestic and export market through the promotion of viable industrial and commercial sectors”.
The overall objectives of the policy at inception, was to restore the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP of Zimbabwe from the then 15 percent to 30 percent and its contribution to exports from 26 percent to 50 percent by 2016.
Clearly this has failed.
The so-called five-day window for investment was truthfully never achieved despite pronouncements contrary to this.
The failure was not because Industry Minister Mike Bimha did not push for it, but I argue here that this was not largely feasible on the basis of a strong United States dollar amidst a weakening rand.
It is my outright contention that any new IDP would only be of academic use like its fore-runners if it is not anchored on a rand currency.
Notwithstanding the apparently strained bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Britain and the valid colonial abuses of the past, Britain bequeathed Zimbabweans with some of their cultures such as the English language and History.
In my case, this included their university education in Wales.
In British history, we have Cromwell, an English soldier and later statesman who referred to King Charles 1’s execution as a “cruel necessity.”
I shall not equivocate but state bluntly that adopting the rand is now a cruel necessity.
In this article, I want to arouse the interest of fellow citizens to build consensus on taking this route by examining objective evidence of our current economic situation and industrial capacity without losing sight of the inescapable and absolute need to re-align Zimbabwe back towards a sustainable growth trajectory.
Indeed inaction is not an option.
Common sense
Zimbabwe is a country where by far the largest consumer of US dollars is the government which in turn is not productive and requires greenbacks to pay salaries.
It makes no sense to use a high value currency on unhelpful consumptive behaviour and then essentially force everyone else to find US dollars to feed their government.
If government salaries are paid in rand, the cost that everyone else incurs feeding that same government goes down dramatically.
Hence using the rand has always made sense from the beginning.
A significant amount of consumer and/or industrial goods that are brought in from South Africa actually do not originate from there but from China.
If you go into a supermarket or wholesaler it’s sad to note that goods such as household electricals come with standard South Africa plugs yet the packaging says made in China.
This scheme called “white labelling”, is legal and stems from the fact that South Africa has resources to be able to do this while Zimbabwe has limitations particularly now when bank nostro accounts are literally empty and local Real Time Gross Settlement balances do not translate to a definite ability to export notwithstanding that the accounts are all in United States dollars.
South Africa can afford to import these goods from China and put a huge mark up and re-route these goods to Zimbabwe due to having substantial domestic foreign currency reserves, lower transaction costs, economies of scale/scope and the comparative advantages of having ports and a more fluid economy compared to ours.
Thus when the National Railways of Zimbabwe imports railway sleepers made of Msasa (Brachystegia spiciformis) from Mozambique as opposed to abundant Matabeleland sleepers, it is simply because it is significantly cheaper to import than procuring locally.
Milk producers also find it cheaper to import milk from South Africa/New Zealand than from local producers.
Put simply, our domestic factors of production are messed up badly and anyone telling otherwise is lying.
This makes Zimbabwe producers for raw commodities and finished goods uncompetitive except in a command economy that forces Zimbabweans to pay more for everything than they should.
These South African companies, including other foreign firms, are there to essentially take our US dollars available locally.
I concur with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, that money is getting out but, in my view, this currency harvesting is happening fairly, legally and principally because of our unnecessary use of the US dollar.
On the issue of gold mining, a radical and necessary route is to liberalise buying and selling of gold and allow individual firms, banks and designated financial institutions to buy and sell gold.
This will have the effect of creating new liquidity while also removing need for people to hold currencies as a store of value.
Readers must surely remember the time when we had continuous fuel challenges.
Retired Lt. General Mike Nyambuya, as minister of energy, successfully liberalised the sector, leading to no shortages up to now.
The current regime where only Fidelity Printers & Refiners is the sole player has long been discredited and is not applied anywhere else in the world.
Common sense suggests that we can create liquidity in rand by structuring such deals in South Africa which most of us are quite familiar with.
 Export of minerals such as chrome should not be restricted as what happened not so long ago amid declining liquidity.
Such an irrational policy flip-flop when firms are invested in the sector defies logic given our operating environment and harms our country.
We should rather allow exports through previous channels.
Exaggerated issues concerning environmental damage and/or degradation can then be dealt with through improving inspections, fortifying current degradation laws and the administration thereof.
Anyone who has observed how oil is extracted in Canada from a process called fracking would be shocked by misplaced and exaggerated environmental degradation concerns often proclaimed when any development is to be done.
We cannot use a “tree-hugger” posture to effect an urgent economic turnaround desperately needed in our country.
This academic nonsense is best deployed in the West were basic needs are available to their people and not in our case.
I am an environmentalist myself, but let us be practical. Allowing unrestricted exports will arguably increase liquidity which we desperately need more than bond notes can.
Most of our chrome exports are into South Africa and using the rand will surely enhance quantities and liquidity to Zimbabwe.
We should be wary of holding stock of things in the ground and claim we are rich.
We should exploit these today and now because we don’t know what the future holds.
The world is changing rapidly and we seem to be getting left behind.
I believe the issue of leveraging minerals raised previously by former RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Patrick Chinamasa in his maiden budget as Minister of Finance needs to be tackled with the same level of efficiency the ZANU-PF Politiburo dispenses with disciplinary matters.
Get Gono and some of us to work on this.
This is not new and it’s happening in other countries.
President Robert Mugabe ought to create a minerals leveraging commission with set financial annual targets to be incorporated into the national budget.
This should complement the hardworking Minister of Finance and present an additional basis for mobilising liquidity.
Again using the rand especially makes sense than paying external debt in the hope of getting more debt.
It’s sad but true that one does not give alcohol to a recovering alcoholic with the hope that he/she will drink moderately.
Our use of statutory instruments to regulate international trade is arguably not wise, legal or sustainable.
Under GATT Article XI, “no prohibitions or restrictions other than duties, taxes or other charges, whether made effective through quotas, import or export licenses or other measures, shall be instituted or maintained by any member on the importation of any product of the territory of any other member or on the exportation or sale for export of any product destined for the territory of any other member”.
The only exceptions are found under Article X1I as follows:
•Export prohibitions or restrictions temporarily applied to prevent or relieve critical shortages of foodstuffs or other products essential to the exporting contracting party;
•Import and export prohibitions or restrictions necessary to the application of standards or regulations for the classification, grading or marketing of commodities in international trade;
We must therefore ensure that we manage our brazen attitude to international trade which we have wrongly regulated by using domestic laws.
We need to use derogations permissible under the safeguard rule in Article XIX of GATT 1994 where a World Trade Organisation member may temporarily suspend multilateral concessions on its imports of a given product.
Suspension of concessions may inter alia include: Increasing the tariff above the bound rate, application of a quantitative restriction, or take other trade restrictive actions that otherwise would be prohibited.
Such a suspension of concessions is taken “if its domestic industry is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury caused by a surge in imports”.
If our trading partners reciprocate this illegality, this can have a serious impact on the little liquidity we still talk about.
Bilateral discussions need to be done to safeguard ourselves and contain what appears to be an inconsistent act in international trading terms.
Martin Luther Junior aptly noted in his famous speech called “I have a dream”, that “this is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off to take the tranquilising drug of gradualism”.
Our nation is littered with industrial carcasses from Mutare’s paper industry, the comatose Midlands giant, Zimbabwe Alloys which is trying to get back on its feet to the decimation of Bulawayo’s industry.
We cannot postpone the exclusive adoption of the rand now!
In the forestry profession, where I originally come from, there is a concept called silviculture whereby such a scenario is called the DDD complex i.e. dying, diseased and deformed.
Silviculture manuals suggest a remedy for dealing with a DDD complex i.e thinning of DDDs or there will be group-death.
Thinning is an effective sanitation clean-up hence the urgency to use the rand exclusively now to avoid apparent group death manifesting itself in our nation.
If anyone doubts this, a casual analysis of both fiscal and monetary policies by both Chinamasa and Mangudya respectively show a healthy focus towards production and an apparent thrust to finance foreign exchange generation in  a scenario where industry now does not even account for two percent of foreign currency being received by this country annually.
Mining, tobacco and Diaspora remittances currently make up almost 98 percent of our sources of foreign currency.
Michael R. Waldmann, York Hagmayer  and Aaron P. Blaisdell in their book “Beyond the Information Given” , discuss causal models in learning and reasoning with the conclusion that “people’s ability to predict future events, explain past events, and choose appropriate actions to achieve goals belongs to the most central cognitive competencies necessary for being a successful agent in the world.”
Where are we getting it wrong in not using the rand only?
Malaysia has moved from being poorer than Ghana to a middle income country and its set to achieving full industrialised country status by 2020.
They developed their motor industry through protection.
In fact, their motor industry has been protected up to 2016 at a duty of 300 percent for car imports.
No wonder ministers there drive protons, I drove in a proton and everyone there looks at them with pride.
This was achieved through pain and concerted effort.
Ironically, our own car industry such as Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries has better cars.
They cannot compete with South African imports that have a 40 percent export rebate.
In any case, Zimbabwe has a two-year derogation that it could use to protect selected industries.
We can protect industries where we have a competitive advantage and encourage locals to Buy Zimbabwe.
This is about creating jobs, protecting industries and taking ownership of our economic problems.
Any protectionist policy needs to have a sunset clause not exceeding five years or we will end with perpetual infants or “big youths”.
Using the rand exclusively is clearly one of the most cost effective methods of restoring competitiveness in some industries like the timber industry in Zimbabwe.
In this industry currently, a treated pole producer in Polokwane has a lower transport and material cost to Lusaka than any producer in Mutare or Harare to the same destination.
Our politicians are engaged in mortal combat for political supremacy at the expense of our economic growth, industry viability and ultimately at a great disservice to the young generations.
We are a nation of elections, by-elections, restructuring of parties, congresses and primaries between elections and outstanding issues.
These elections about elections dissipate economic recovery efforts and create deep-seated, anti-business policies and actions.
An alien visiting earth, assuming he/she has one gig of brain would probably say you guys have one outstanding issue; economic prosperity.
Amid all this cognitive dissonance, objective models for industrial recovery are being dumped for politically compliant but economically inefficient policy positions.
 Here are some not so inconvenient truths:
•Singapore works not because of democracy;
•China is the best ally for infrastructure developments;
•Best mining partners for Zimbabwe are Canadians and Australians;
•Diplomacy and scholarship is best executed by the British in the case of Zimbabwe;
•Political governance using South Africa is not backed by efficacy  or any African country as a role model;
•RSA is not our trading partner but fierce adversary.
My fellow Zimbabweans, Russia, Malaysia, Brazil, China and India have made a dent on poverty by growing at least seven percent per year.
There is no abject poverty in Malaysia and yes unemployment is 0,0036 percent.
Malaysia has moved from being poorer than Ghana and yet they attained independence on the same day.
It is now a middle income country and its set to achieving full industrialised country status by 2020.
They developed their motor industry through protection.
Our national situation
Statistics recently published by Africa Monitor Southern Africa, are worth looking at. The numbers are not only depressing but show that we are economically a small country…very small. Put sarcastically, a couple of firms on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange like BIDVEST are almost the same size as Zimbabwe in GDP compared to their annual revenues.
The numbers also confirm that we have an unhealthy current account balance, little to no economic growth prospects for 2016 and insignificant foreign reserves.
This is aggravated by an increasing total debt stock suggesting that increased debt is not being efficiently deployed when viewed against a declining GDP and exports.
That we are giving each other business awards with such a dire situation is tomfoolery.
The late Eddison Zvobgo would perhaps have coined a humorous analogy to discourage this.
My view is that having a weaker rand being super-imposed over such a scenario is a recipe for continued de-industrialisation.
Africa Monitor Southern Africa further argued that the weakening rand is depressing cost-push pressure given that most consumer goods are imported from South Africa and then priced in dollars.
With consumer price index inflation being negative on a year on year basis, local manufacturers must realistically not expect any price growth.
As the rand weakens further and it will, the business case for a dollar based local manufacturer is getting untenable.
I come from 26 years of uninterrupted manufacturing industry experience from the shop floor to the boardroom but the current rate of de-industrialisation is alarming notwithstanding the odd good case investment as seen in Mutare.
The Zimbabwe industrial complex was arguably anchored on a profiteering mentality adopted during the Zimbabwe dollar “burning” days as stated bluntly by Noah Paswani in response to my personal call to adopt the rand in August 2014.
Various business leaders and lately the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) are now in agreement with this. Dear friends and colleagues, it has taken you two years to accept this reality? Really?
Call to adopt the rand
In August 2014, I argued unsuccessfully at the CZI congress for the adoption of the rand (see Business Live of August 1, 2014).
I opined then as I still do now that this was necessary for competitiveness.
At the risk of being labelled a prophet, I argued then that it was “only logical that we should use the rand as a currency as it has depreciated 40 percent in the past year, which works to our advantage”.
I further suggested that “I have to dispel this notion of an academic comfort zone that we will only adopt a certain currency after optimum conditions are achieved.”
This was neither a prediction of the coming of bond notes nor a call to recreate a casino economy coined by Gono.
I wanted to cut through intellectual noise in favour of practical remedies to our deteriorating economic condition.
While I do not claim any prophetic powers, I also argued then that, “a weakening South African rand is making South African goods cheaper for Zimbabwean importers who have a strong dollar. This severely reduces the stock of liquidity as the dollar is used to buy South African goods.”
 I went on to suggest that South Africa was now aggressively pushing “their exports into the nearby Zimbabwe not bothering going all the way to Europe, Asia or America to earn foreign exchange.”
We are now in 2016 and my afore-mentioned views in 2014 have been validated by the obtaining situation.
Kupikile Mlambo, deputy governor of the RBZ, did not dismiss bluntly my views then but suggested then that there were complications from using the rand.
I will revisit this complication business later in this article.
In 2015 I further opined that South Africa “was not our major tradin