Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Developing: Nationwide blackout hits Zim

Source: Developing: Nationwide blackout hits Zim – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

ZIMBABWE lost 800 megawatts early this morning after there was a system disturbance at Insukamini, resulting all power imports being lost, but the situation is being rectified and by the end of the day, power will be restored, Zesa has said.

In an interview, Zesa spokesman, Fullard Gwasira said the system disturbance occurred around 5.15am on Tuesday and resulted in the country losing power imports from Hydro Cahora Bassa, South Africa and Zambia.

“All power stations, expect Hwange, tripped when the disturbance happened,” he said.

“Hwange Power Station did not trip because of the works that we have been undertaking.

“Our engineers are working on the issue and, by the end of the day, power would be restored and so far 95% of the power has been restored.”
He said the country had 300 megawatts of power after the system disturbance.

Police blamed for drug proliferation

DRUG addicts and peddlers have blamed corrupt police officers for abetting the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Source: Police blamed for drug proliferation – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Recovering addicts and activists told a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network held in Harare last week that “police officers demand bribes” instead of arresting those selling or using contraband.

“The police officers know people who sell drugs and places where they are sold, but arrest the wrong individuals.

“Drugs are being sold openly, especially in Mbare, and police are aware of it. In fact, they interact daily with the druglords,” a man, who claimed to be a recovering drug addict from one of Harare’s poorest suburbs, said.

He said police officers collected bribes from drug dealers, who were then allowed to go about their illicit trade without being molested.

A female drug addict said police officers used to bring her drugs in cells whenever she got arrested.

“Police officers offer people in detention drugs in exchange for bribes. If they stop doing that, this problem can be resolved,” she said, adding those arrested for peddling drugs were charged as little as $5 before being set-free.

Speaking at the same event, a police officer, Petros Maenzanise admitted that rogue members of the force could be involved in such practices, but pointed out the possibility of criminals masquerading as police officers.

“Remember that there are bogus police officers, who are also operating. If somebody approaches you they should be identified by producing their identity cards. Don’t just let someone flash their identity card, maybe they would have stolen it,” Maenzaise said.

“We do not have the names and we do not even know who the dealers are. Give us the names, we have suggestion boxes, but nobody has used them to notify us”.

UN food aid in drought-hit Zimbabwe stalls on cash shortages

Source: UN food aid in drought-hit Zimbabwe stalls on cash shortages – The Zimbabwe Independent June 28, 2016

THE United Nations’ World Food Programme has stopped giving some people money to buy food in its initiative that helps 300 000 people affected by drought in Zimbabwe because of the nation’s lack of dollars.

The institution is the latest organisation to be hit by the shortage that has prompted the government to delay paying salaries to civil servants and compelled banks to limit the amount of money that can be drawn from cash machines.

The WFP gives a household of four US$36 monthly, WFP country director Eddie Row said in an interview Friday in the capital, Harare. Beyond that number, it caps the amount spent on each family at $45 and the program costs about US$1 million a month. It planned to increase its distributions this year until the cash shortages began.

“That had been our plan — to gradually scale up — until this shock,” Row said . “If we cannot access cash, we will switch to in-kind food, which takes about five days to move” up from a food reserve facility in South Africa’s port of Durban, he said.

Zimbabwe, whose citizens consume 1.5 million metric tons of corn annually, may harvest 700 000 to 1 million tonnes this year, with imports needed to fill the deficit after the drought. The U.S. Agency for International Development will provide the WFP US$10 million to buy grain and will also provide 9000 tonnes of corn that should arrive in July, Row said.-Bloomberg

NPA defends recruitment of army personnel

THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has defended the employment of soldiers at the authority, saying this was dues to staff shortages.

Source: NPA defends recruitment of army personnel – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

In a statement, NPA spokesperson, Allen Chifokoyo yesterday dismissed reports that militarisation of the authority compromised the justice delivery system.

“We would like to categorically state that these are nothing, but malicious misrepresentation of facts by forces bent on destabilising government operations at large and NPA in particular,” he said.

“It is very malicious for anyone to pick on the three military officers, as if their presence at NPA was outside the authority of the parent ministry and is the only security service arm at the NPA.

“The current posts, which are held by seconded members, will only be filled when Treasury has approved the NPA establishment and authorised the recruitment of staff to fill the vacant posts.”

Chifokoyo said in order to operationalise the NPA, there was need to have personnel assisting the Prosecutor-General in setting up the authority.

“It is against this background that the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry requested personnel from the Defence ministry to assist the Prosecutor-General in the establishment of the NPA. The Defence ministry seconded the three senior officers in 2014 for this purpose,” he said.

Chifokoyo said besides army officers, the NPA had police and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services officers among its staff.

He said contrary to reports, his office was well equipped and enjoyed cordial relations with the donor community.

Govt inaction on Zec could affect 2018 polls

GOVERNMENT delays in filling the six vacant posts at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) could negatively affect elections in 2018, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said.

Source: Govt inaction on Zec could affect 2018 polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

In a statement yesterday, Zesn called for the expeditious appointment of the six commissioners, whose interviews were held early this month.

“It is imperative for the new commissioners to be sworn in immediately given the limited time before the 2018 elections and the number of electoral reforms and processes that need to be implemented before the election,” the poll watchdog said.

Zesn director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said: “The appointment of Zec commissioners must be done forthwith to enable the commission to prepare for the elections effectively.

“There are a number of processes that Zec must complete before the 2018 elections such as media reform, reviewing of voter education methodologies, the creation of a conducive electoral environment as well as the adoption and implementation of a sound voter registration model that electoral stakeholders accept and have confidence in.”

The posts became vacant following the expiry of terms of six commissioners in March, among them the commission’s then deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazembe.

Kazembe had been with the election management body since the turn of the century and submitted her name for consideration to fill the vacant posts. Her name caused a raucous among members of Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee. There were arguments, Kazembe, who worked with the then Electoral Supervisory Commission, Zec’s predecessor, was not eligible, but Zanu PF representatives argued she qualified.

Zesn said it was important for Zec to remain independent of political influence and “is led by persons of high integrity and proven technical abilities in election management is crucial to the holding of credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe”.

“Therefore, individuals, who are non-partisan and have a proven track record of integrity, competence and experience in the conduct of affairs in public management and elections, in particular, must be appointed to fill in the vacancies,” the lobby group said. Zesn added government needed to speed up alignment of electoral related laws with the Constitution.

Police arrest 30 Byo protestors

POLICE yesterday arrested at least 30 Bulawayo youths protesting against grinding poverty and joblessness they blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Source: Police arrest 30 Byo protestors – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The youths were arrested after they had gathered at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex, where they intended to deliver a petition to Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi Moyo.

They were taken to Drill Hall Police Station opposite Mhlahlandlela Government Complex.

The anti-government protest march was organised by a local pressure group, Bulawayo Youths Arise (Buya).

The youths were demanding the resignation of Mugabe and his administration to pave way for fresh elections and usher in a new government that will better the lives of hard-pressed Zimbabweans.

Mthokozisi Ncube, the Buya co-ordinator, said the “struggle has begun” and vowed the pressure group will roll out more anti-government street protests.

“The struggle has begun, there is no turning back now. We have had enough of this suffering and we demand a better life,” he said.
“We will be rolling many more street protests until the government listens to our grievances.”

The march, however, did not attract a massive turnout of Bulawayo residents as earlier anticipated, but Ncube said they were not deterred.

“We are moving ahead. Our message was heard by the people and we were heartened by whistles and cheers in a show of support to this cause,” he said.

Bulawayo police spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango could not be reached for comment.

The protesters were reportedly later released without charge.

A number of anti-government protesters have been nabbed over the past weeks, with the majority later released without charge.

Mujuru not yet off the hook: Moyo

ZANU PF politburo member and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has warned that former Vice-President Joice Mujuru could still be dragged to court for offences she allegedly committed during her tenure as a government official.

Source: Mujuru not yet off the hook: Moyo – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mujuru, who now leads the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, was stampeded out of Zanu PF and government at the tail-end of 2014 on a litany of charges among them corruption, extortion and plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

However, she has denied the charges, and told her party supporters at a campaign rally in Harare last Saturday that she was hounded out of the ruling party and government over her anti-corruption stance.

At the weekend, Mujuru dared her rivals to prove the graft allegations levelled against her.

“Up to this day, we have not gone to jail, neither have we been stopped by police at the numerous roadblocks that we go through on a daily basis. Everything they said about me was a lie,” she said.

But Moyo, on Twitter, took a pot shot at Mujuru, saying her past criminal activities would subsist until the law has taken its course.
“The whole world knows that’s a lie,” he said.

“Mujuru did not want corruption exposed. Have you forgotten her Chinhoyi audio?”

Moyo was referring to a February 2014 speech made by Mujuru at the Zanu PF women’s league conference in Chinhoyi months following the explosion of what became known as the salary-gate scandal.

Mujuru at the time said the anti-corruption fight then and the salary-gate scandal were meant to destroy Zanu PF from within.
ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire yesterday accused Moyo of misinterpreting Mujuru’s speech.

“He (Moyo) should have picked Mujuru’s speech in its context. What Mujuru meant was that there was a danger that the anti-corruption fight could be used by those in power and influence in political battles,” he said.

“Now, given the events in Zanu PF in the aftermath of the February 2014 speech, it could be argued that Mujuru was actually vindicated.”

Pay crisis: The tragedy of populism

Source: Pay crisis: The tragedy of populism – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

EARLY this year, around January, the issue of civil servants’ bonuses dominated news headlines. In fact, the previous November had begun with echoes of the raging question of whether there would be a 13th cheque for the over 500 000-strong government workforce. As the year 2015 drew to a close, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa pulled a shocker when he made the announcement that bonuses for the civil service had been suspended for two years in line with measures aimed at creating fiscal space to fund ZimAsset. This was quite a bold statement under the circumstances. It was going to be a first, an unpopular first though for a government that had dutifully paid bonuses since independence.

Learnmore Zuze

Even when the darkest clouds hung above the nation in 2007 and 2008, bonuses were still availed. However, faced with a crippling liquidity crunch and an underperforming economy, the minister stood between a rock and a hard place. With the Government of National Unity (GNU) gone in 2013 and the operation of the multi-currency system dominated by the elusive United States dollar making business difficult, the prospect of giving bonuses was manifestly out of question.

Chinamasa, in his knowledge of Treasury then, made the following announcement: “In order to create fiscal space, the Government has decided to suspend bonus payments to civil servants in 2015 and 2016 and the situation will be reviewed in 2017 in the event that we are able to build enough capacity.” His decision divided opinion. Some strongly felt that he had done the logical thing given the topsy-turvy state of the economy, while others argued that the bonuses had to be awarded anyway. In the past few years government has awarded bonuses albeit with difficulty. It is not rocket science why the government has struggled with civil servants salaries: it is financially hamstrung.

Logically, it was something next to impossible for the debt-ridden government to manage a wage bill twice the normal bill. For the record, the government had grappled with the enormous wage bill since the end of the GNU; the paying of civil servants, since then, had become a matter requiring “mobilisation of resources.”

Candidly, given the state of affairs, all reason would have dictated that the awarding of bonuses be shelved until such a time that the economy improves. It was a statement of the obvious by the Finance minister; surely, if the government had struggled with a normal wage-bill, wasn’t it common sense that it would choke under an extra weight.

If the government had mooted retrenching at one point owing to the bloated number of workers, wasn’t it a given that the awarding of bonuses would be suicidal? Sound judgment then, clearly pointed to one inescapable thing: the definite suspension of bonuses. But what happened? How did the government end up in this unenviable position? How did the government come to an arrangement where it spends more than six tough months paying bonuses? This, evidently, is the ultimate consequence of pursuing populist ideas. This is exactly where populism leads to; it breeds more trouble.

Chinamasa, who had earlier spoken an accurate position started singing a different hymn after the Presidency overturned his decision at an Independence commemoration. ‘Analysts’ had also berated the minister for suspending bonuses to the end that logic was ultimately supplanted by populism. Now that populism rode roughshod over sense, the country finds itself in a worse quandary. What does the world make of a government that fails to pay its teachers, doctors and police force? How is that for an image of a country?

All this could have been easily averted by embracing the brutal truth that there simply wasn’t enough for Treasury to present bonuses. Suspension of bonuses was an unfortunate, but necessary thing to do. Look now what populism has wrought? The government has got itself in a vicious web from which it can’t untangle itself. There is simply no way the government can finish paying June salaries for the rest of civil service on July 14 and thereafter go on to pay them timeously a week later. By the time the government finishes paying June salaries on July 14, the due date for the pay of the army would be upon them. It’s really catastrophic.

Today the government is saddled with huge debts and after insisting on paying bonuses, the stubborn reality is slowly setting in. The decision to persist with bonuses has come to haunt the government like homing pigeons. Strikes and demonstrations will now reign supreme. Unions have already given warnings.

It promises to get ugly. The situation promises to go right to the wire in view of the fact that civil servants representatives were not involved in the whole process. They were only consulted after the announcement and this defeated the whole purpose of the salary crisis meeting.

This indeed is the tragedy of populism.


 Learnmore Zuze writes in his own capacity. E-mail: lastawa77@gmail.com

 

Mugabe in Botswana for Sadc troika summit

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday left for a double Sadc Troika Summit on Lesotho in Botswana, as the United States government is pressing the regional bloc to urgently resolve the political instability in the mountainous kingdom.

Source: Mugabe in Botswana for Sadc troika summit – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha said Mugabe will meet other members of the double Troika on Defence and Security, who include Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania to receive a report from South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Sadc facilitator on the political situation in Lesotho.

“The President is attending the meeting this week,” he said.

Last week, US ambassador to Lesotho, Matthew Harrington, visited Sadc secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax and pleaded for the intervention of the regional body to deal with the security situation in Lesotho.

According to a statement from the Sadc secretariat, the US envoy said Lesotho should be pressured to implement recommendations from the bloc’s commission of inquiry to end the fights.

“He (Harrington) stated that Sadc’s continued efforts in the Kingdom of Lesotho are showing positive results, and that the US government was open to discuss and provide support that the region would require in this endeavour.

“The US ambassador further informed the executive secretary that the US government believes that implementation by Lesotho of recommendations by the Sadc commission of inquiry would determine her future collaboration with the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho,” the Sadc statement read.

Mugabe is a member of the troika as former chairperson of the regional bloc.

The troika is chaired by Mozambique leader, Filipe Nyusi, who is set to attend along with Swaziland’s King Mswati and Tanzanian leader, John Magufuli.

The political turmoil in Lesotho arose following the assassination of Maaparankoe Mahao, a former chief of staff in the Lesotho armed forces reportedly by reneged soldiers.

A Sadc commission of inquiry was established to investigate the murder and related issues.

Lesotho is still to implement a Sadc recommendation made last year that army commander, Tlali Kamoli be discharged as part of efforts to restore stability.

Activist threatens to burn Rainbow Towers

NATIONAL Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe leader, Stern Zvorwadza, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with threatening to torch Rainbow Towers Hotel in protest over Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued stay at the facility.

Source: Activist threatens to burn Rainbow Towers – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY MARY TARUVINGA

Zvorwadza (38), who was arrested on Sunday was granted $200 bail and ordered not to set foot at the hotel until finalisation of the matter.

Regional magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe remanded the matter to July 13 for trial.

The State alleges that Zvorwadza on Sunday caused a scene at the hotel and insulted police officers sent to arrest him.

The court heard that the activist-cum-unionist stormed the hotel together with eight others and proceeded to the foyer and police ordered him out.

He allegedly started shouting at the police before he proceeded to the main entrance and shut the doors.

The court heard he demanded that police officers should instead vacate and let him and his colleagues stage their demonstration peacefully since it was their constitutional right.

He is alleged to have said that Mphoko was wasting taxpayers money by staying at the hotel yet refusing to stay at a government house bought for him.

Zvorwadza is alleged to have told the hotel staff that Mphoko should check out by Friday, failing which the youths would set the hotel ablaze.

Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.

Govt offers $100 advance salary

GOVERNMENT yesterday tabled a $100 advance salary offer to each of its unpaid civil servants, as it moved to avert a crippling strike over delayed June wages, and insisted that the balances would only be paid next month as Treasury coffers were dry.

Source: Govt offers $100 advance salary – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 28, 2016

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

Addressing journalists following a marathon meeting with civil servants union leaders in Harare, Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira said the $100 offer was to enable government employees to continue reporting for duty, while Treasury mobilised funds to pay the salary debt.

“After deliberations, government has offered to pay $100 as advance payment by Friday to alleviate the challenge of bus fare so that civil servants report to work,” she said.

“We will be encouraging the use of plastic money with effect from July and also adopt the use of a multi-currency system so that banks are in a position to give out all the currencies that are allowed in the country.”

Workers’ representatives said they were going to consult their constituencies before accepting the offer, with Apex Council boss, Cecelia Alexander saying they would continue pushing for their June salaries to be paid this month.

According to new pay dates announced last week, soldiers and air force officers were supposed to have received their salaries yesterday, followed by police and prison officers on Thursday

The education sector will be paid on July 7 followed by health workers and the rest of the civil service on July 14. Pensioners will get their dues on July 19.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira and central bank governor, John Mangudya.

The meeting was a follow-up to the June 22 crisis indaba that ended in a deadlock.

CMED saga: Police get new leads

Source: CMED saga: Police get new leads | The Herald June 28, 2016

Crime Reporter
One of the two First Oil Company (Private) Limited directors believed to have fled to South Africa is reported to be in Mpumalanga, as investigations on their case deepen.

The two are facing allegations of obstructing the course of justice after they reportedly connived with CMED (Pvt) Ltd managing director Davison Mhaka to cook up papers showing how $2,7 million in the botched fuel deal was spent.

Last week, police said they were working with the International Police (Interpol) to assist them in locating the two First Oil Company (Private) Limited directors.

Alex Kudakwashe Mahuni and Lynon Gilbert Katunga are believed to have manufactured fake documents together with Mhaka through an IT expert in South Africa to conceal the case.

According to police, Mahuni and Katunga fled to the neighbouring country to evade arrest and being questioned over the case.

Sources close to the investigations yesterday said that they had received information that Mahuni was staying in Mpumalanga and they would soon track him down, while the whereabouts of Katunga are still not known.

It is believed that once Mahuni is arrested, he would lead police to Katunga since they are communicating.

There have also been reports that Mahuni has been communicating with Mhaka, checking on latest developments on their case.

It is also alleged that he is boasting that he will not be arrested since he had fled to the neighbouring country.

A senior police officer yesterday said the net will soon close in on the two directors as they had widened their investigations to bring them to book.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi recently said the manhunt for the two was still on.

“Alex Kudakwashe Mahuni and Lynon Gilbert Katunga are wanted persons in a suspected case of money laundering, which is contravening Section 8 (2) of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act Chapter 9:24,” he said.

Last month, Mhaka, who is facing charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and violating the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, gave notice that he intended to make an application of refusal of further remand.

Mhaka, who is on $500 bail, had his matter remanded to June 28, prompting him to notify the court of his application on the next remand date.

Dangote shows interest in Sengwa

Source: Dangote shows interest in Sengwa | The Herald June 28, 2016

RIOZIM Limited says engagements with potential investors continue for the Sengwa power project but no one had shown enough interest to sign a sale agreement. This comes as Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote and an unnamed Chinese firm have made enquiries in partnering RioZim in its long standing power project.Group chief executive Mr Noah Matimba said that RioZim had received many expressions of interest, but the Nigerian billionaire’s Gangote Group and a Chinese firm had recently shown “more aggression” for the project.

But Mr Matimba said as they have indicated in the past, the issue of an off take agreement or lack thereof, remains critical in attracting potential investors. As such, RioZim has been talking to the Southern African Power Pool, but the problem is that SAPP is non committal.

“It remains so, as we read it from them, to say if I invest in Sengwa and produce power to the extent indicated of over 2 000MW, where will I sell the power. So we have been talking to the likes of SAPP.”

Mr Matimba said RioZim also attempted to engage South Africa’s power utility Eskom during one of the State visits by President Mugabe, but while there was interest, Eskom did not commit to a power purchase agreement.

It is estimated Sengwa has potential for over 2 000megawatts while an investment of $2,1 billion would be required to develop the thermal power project.

Sengwa power project, in Gokwe North, is based on a coal resource of 1,3 billion tonnes. It was touted as one of the solutions to the country’s power deficit. Zimbabwe has depressed demand for power of 1 400MW, but is currently only able to generate about 1 000MW, due to limited output at Kariba and old plants.

Government has since issued several licences to independent producers such as RioZim, while working on Kariba South and Hwange 6 and 7 extensions.

“The Sengwa project is one that continues to attract a lot of people; they come in, make enquiries and they go. They come for a second enquiry and disappear.

“However, in the past six months we have seen a couple that have come with a little bit more aggression, one is some Chinese company, the other is Dangote.

“They have continued to make enquiries, that is why we have signed non disclosure agreements. In this case, it can be coal resource, it could be information on general environment, some of them have gone as far as engaging with ZESA and with ZERA in terms of licensing and so forth,” he said.

Government reviews agricultural policies

Source: Government reviews agricultural policies | The Herald

Melody Mashaire : Business Reporter

Government is in the process of reviewing a number of agriculture-related policies to improve domestication and local farmers’ rights. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said Government has made efforts to domesticate farmers’ rights. “Zimbabwe has made efforts with regards to domestication and realisation of farmers rights at national level through enactment of various pieces of legislation which include the Plant Breeders Rights’ Act (chapter 18:16) and the Seed Act (Chapter 19:13).

“These pieces of legislation however, are being reviewed so that they reflect on the country’s interest through inclusion of provisions related to the realisation of farmers rights at national level and in particular the needs of our local small holder farmers,” Dr Made said in a speech read on his behalf at the Africa stakeholders’ consultative meeting on Farmers’ Rights

Speaking at the same occasion, an expert in the Ministry of Agriculture (Cameroon) Mr Francis Seku Agenaku said the variety of crops depends on the way by which farmers manage and conserve their seeds.

“As we all know is that more than 75 percent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend largely on traditional agriculture.

“In Africa, close to four hundred million depend on traditional agriculture and most of them depend on their own farm-saved seeds.

“These farmers do not have access to commercial varieties and inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. The diversity of crops is dependent on the way which farmers managed and conserved their seeds. The majority of farmers in Africa mainly get their seeds from the informal channels which include farm saved seeds, seed exchanges among farmers and/or local grain/seed market. These informal systems may even contribute to more than 80 percent of seed supply depending on the crop and the country.

“However, this informal management mechanism of obtaining seeds by farmers is becoming more and more limited, and is being challenged by rather recent regulations such as seed laws, Intellectual Property Rights, policies and regulatory frameworks that are less or not supportive to farmers’ customary management system,” said Mr Agenaku.

He said farmers’ rights are vital as they enable them to maintain their essential role to conserve diversity for local and global food security, nutrition and poverty eradication.

“As farmers are custodians and developers of crop genetic resources in the field, their rights are crucial for enabling them to maintain their vital role to conserve diversity for local and global food security, nutrition and poverty eradication,” he said.

Govt in catch-22 over medical aid

Source: Govt in catch-22 over medical aid | The Herald

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
In a move that is likely to see Government in a catch-22 situation, private doctors and other service providers resolved to postpone the June 30 deadline for accepting medical aid cards only if Government proceeds to revoke operating licences for all defaulting health funders as previously warned.

Most medical aid societies were given six months operating licences, which expire on June 30.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Aldrin Musiiwa is on record warning all funders that their licences will not be renewed if they continue failing to meet their financial obligations to service providers.

But sources within the medical industry say 90 percent of medical aid societies were paying service providers well after the stipulated 60-day period, and those who were compliant were paying less than the gazetted tariff.

Zimbabwe has 31 medical aid societies, with an estimated 1,2 million people on health insurance.

In a statement released by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) yesterday following their Friday meeting, the doctors reaffirmed their earlier position that with effect from July 1, 2016 they will no longer be accepting medical aid cards.

“Following a ZiMA national executive council consultation with its branches and affiliate medical specialists association representatives on Friday June 24, 2016 it was resolved that the ZiMA position remain but will be reviewed when there is clear evidence of progress from the regulator (The Minister of Health and Child Care) towards addressing key issues that were discussed on Monday June 20, 2016 in a meeting between the regulator, ZiMA, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe and health funders (medical aid societies).

“ZiMA is grateful to the minister for the meeting and for agreeing to share the names of all health funders that the regulator would have been informed by health insurers to be compliant with the laws of the land and ready for registration by the 30th of June 2016,” said ZiMA in a statement.

This, according to the doctors, would provide them with a platform to provide evidence confirming compliance or non-compliance by the health funders.

“ZiMA will immediately revisit its position once the Minister of Health and Child Care (the regulator) has taken appropriate action on those health funders that remain non-compliant and continue to break the law,” said ZiMA.

The service providers which include specialist doctors, radiographers and radiotherapists also resolved that once the current impasse is solved, a medical aid card must only be considered valid if it is paid for within 60 days.

They also said, once presented, obligation for payment must also be transferred to the health insurer for it to be considered valid.

“The ZiMA reiterates that while this matter is being addressed, patients who are not able to pay cash are still going to be seen and will not be left to suffer. All patients will be stabilised and referred for further comprehensive care at public health institutions where they will be attended to by general medical doctors and specialist doctors who are mostly ZiMA members.”

The meeting was attended by the ZiMA national executive council, representatives from the Surgical Society of Zimbabwe, National Association of Physicians of Zimbabwe, College of Primary Health Care Physicians of Zimbabwe, Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Association of Radiologists and Radiotherapists of Zimbabwe, Psychiatric Association of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Anaesthetic Association.

Civil servants to get $100 transport relief

Source: Civil servants to get $100 transport relief | The Herald June 28, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday offered civil servants $100 advance pay for transport to work as they await their June salaries to be paid in a fortnight.

The arrangement excludes members of the security sector including the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe who were paid yesterday, while the police and prison officers will get their dues on Thursday. Government yesterday met the workers’ representatives and gave the $100 option after long deliberations.

The workers said they would consult their membership and inform Government on whether or not to accept the offer.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the $100 would be paid by Friday.

She was accompanied by Ministers (Finance and Economic Development) Patrick Chinamasa, Supa Mandiwanzira (Information Communication Technology Postal and Courier Services), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya and Civil Service Commission officials.

Said Minister Mupfumira: “During the consultations, the representatives of the civil servants noted the challenges we said we were facing as Government. However, they did put to us that although they were willing to come to work, they cannot come because they will not have money to take them to and from work.

“After deliberations, Government offered to pay $100 as an advance payment by Friday this week to alleviate the problems so that they are able to go to work. The workers are going to consult, but we think this is the best position at the moment, what Government can afford and we hope to improve in the future subject to availability of funds.”

Teachers are expected to be paid on July 7 with health workers and the rest of the civil service getting their dues on July 14.

Minister Mupfumira said Government would abide by the initial salary dates announced last week: “Today, we have paid certain security sectors, and we are also going to pay the police and prison workers on the 30th of June and we maintain the same dates for teachers, health workers and the rest of the civil service,” she said.

“Another consideration, which was resolved was realising that the health sector is a critical sector, and we are going to ensure from July onwards we prioritise payment of health workers. We also discussed and agreed that there is need for further consultations and workshops to educate each other on economic issues. Workshops are going to be organised for the rest of Zimbabweans to understand the goings on.”

Minister Mupfumira added: “We have also agreed through the RBZ Governor that we will encourage the use of plastic money with effect from July 1, and the use of the multi-currency systems such that the banks are able to use all the other currencies which are allowed in the country.”

Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecilia Alexander said while they understood Government’s position, the way forward would be mapped by their membership.

“We came back with the same position that workers will be incapacitated to report for duty if salaries are not paid on the traditional due dates,” she said.

“We are saying the economic burden should not be put on the shoulder of the workers, hence, we requested Government to look at the welfare of their workers from June 30 to July 14.

“We had a long discussion with Government and at the end, the employer came up with a stop-gap measure to say they will pay every civil servant $100 in their bank accounts to enable them to go to work. Now we are going back to the workers to consult. We are only representatives and we are going to consult on whether or not they accept that. We will come back to Government probably tomorrow (today) afternoon, considering the urgency of the matter.”

On shifting the pay dates, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development cited cash flow challenges as the reasons for not paying salaries on time.

Government is paying nearly $200 million every month towards salaries which is more than 80 percent of revenue collected.

To rectify the anomaly, Government has embarked on a rationalisation exercise in the civil service to cut the costs in a move that will see $400 million being saved annually.

Parks boss suspended

Source: Parks boss suspended | The Herald

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general Mr Edson Chidziya was yesterday suspended to pave way for investigations following anomalies identified in rhino horns stockpiles.

In a statement yesterday, the ZPWMA said Mr Chidziya would be on forced leave for the next 60 days in order for him not to interfere with the probe.

“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority announces the sending on leave of the authority’s director-general Mr Edson Chidziya. The move has been taken to allow for an audit.

“Mr Chidziya will be on full benefits for the 60 days. Meanwhile, Mr Wilson Mutinhima who is a non-executive board member and chair of the Conservation and Human Resources committee will be in charge,” reads the statement.

Reports say the country has over five tonnes of rhino horns that it cannot sell because of the Convention on International Trade in Endangers Species (CITES) restrictions.

Recently, Mr Chidziya was quoted by our sister paper the Sunday News as saying the country’s ivory stockpile was continuously increasing from many sources such as culling of problem animals and natural deaths.

Govt sinks $20m in private school pay

Source: Govt sinks $20m in private school pay | The Herald

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter—
GOVERNMENT is paying teachers in Trust and private schools about $20 million annually when those institutions are supposed to meet their staff costs.This was revealed by Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri in her 2015 Civil Service Audit presented to Parliament last week. She stressed that Government must stop using taxpayers’ money to subsidise private institutions. Government, Ms Chiri said, was paying 3 000 teachers in private and Trust schools.

Ms Chiri also indicated that there was over-staffing of teachers in schools by 5 500. These are mainly relief and student teachers. “The audit established that a total of 2 888 teachers were being paid by Government while working at Trust and private schools, drawing a salary of $1 650 048 per month, which translates to $19 800 576 per annum,” said Ms Chiri.

“Trust schools levy relatively higher tuition fees than Government and mission schools and are therefore capable of paying salaries of teachers currently employed by Government.”

Masvingo Province has the highest number of Government-funded teachers (680) at private primary schools. Manicaland comes second with 419 teachers. Matabeleland North Province has the least number of Government-funded teachers at private primary schools with 32.

Manicaland has the highest number of Government-funded teachers at private secondary schools with 279 followed by Masvingo which has 229. Mashonaland West Province has the least number of Government-funded teachers at private secondary schools, with six followed by Matabeleland North with 14.

Mrs Chiri recommended that Government should stop paying the salaries. “Since Government is spending $19 800 576 per annum in payment of salaries to Trust Schools, Government should forthwith cease payment of salaries to these teachers because it is an unfair charge to public funds to subsidise a private entity.

“Notwithstanding the withdrawal of Government assistance in the payment of salaries of teachers in private schools, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should intensify and strengthen the supervision of Trust and Private Schools in line with the provisions of the Education Act (Chapter 25:04),” she said.

The audit also revealed that there was overstaffing of teachers in Government primary and secondary schools. Of the 127 091 teachers found at schools during a head count, 12 554 were students teachers while 12 371 were relief tutors.

“Total pupil enrolment for the same period stood at 3 696 779 for both primary and secondary schools. Using a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:40 for primary schools, the 2 838 235 pupils at primary schools required 70 956 teachers. “Using a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:33 for secondary schools, the 858 544 pupils at secondary schools required 26 017 teachers.

“With the above ratios, the total number of teachers required should stand at 96 973 excluding student teachers and relief teachers totaling 24 925. The overall over-staffing situation at the time of the audit for the teachers was 5 588,” said Mrs Chiri.

She said Government was paying about $33, 5 million annually due to overstaffing. She said the situation was as a result of the failure by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to put mechanisms in place to reduce the wage bill. The report recommended that the Ministry must address the overstaffing issue.

It also suggested that recruitment of temporary and relief teachers be stopped as well until the excess staff was obsorbed. The AG said the Ministry’s establishment must not exceed 102 600 teachers at any given time to avoid excess expenditure to the fiscus. She said the Ministry was expected to adhere to the stipulated teacher-pupil ratios of 1:40 and 1:33 in both primary and secondary schools, respectively.

The audit also established that there were 170 primary schools with deputy headmasters despite having less than 281 pupils. This contravenes the Ministry’s Circular 15 of 2006. The deputy headmasters were drawing about $1, 2 million annually. There were also 170 secondary schools with less than 600 pupils but with deputy headmasters.

The deputy headmasters were also drawing about $1, 2 million a year. “The commission established that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education deployed two heads per school at 32 schools and two deputy heads per school at 63 schools drawing about $1, 3 million per annum,” said Mrs Chiri.

The report also revealed that there was over-staffing of more than 700 teachers in both primary and secondary schools where there were enrolments of less than 100 pupils per school.

The over-staffing cost Government about $4, 2 million annually.

Chinhoyi murder suspect in court

Source: Chinhoyi murder suspect in court | The Herald June 28, 2016

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
The man accused of killing a Chinhoyi farmer and robbing him of his car, cash and clothes was a fugitive from justice after a conviction for stocktheft a month ago, it has emerged. Kudakwashe Nduma (24) was on a warrant of arrest after being convicted and sentenced to 10 months in prison for stock theft in May, of which two months were suspended for three years on condition of good behaviour.

Another three months were suspended on condition that he restituted the complainant in the matter involving $50 by May 30. The remaining five months were set aside on condition that Nduma performed 175 hours of community service at East Range Primary School.

However, he defaulted on all the conditions and had been on a warrant of arrest. He appeared for initial remand before Chinhoyi magistrate, Mrs Brenda Dhliwayo, who pronounced the immediate reinstatement of the earlier sentence.

It has also emerged that Nduma was alone when he hijacked Mr Gardner Bertram’s car, of Sunningdale Old People’s home after being given a lift on the pretext that he wanted to go to Chinhoyi town where Bertram (90) resided.

He had initially indicated to the police that he was helped in killing Mr Bertram by a man known only as Nhema but investigations by the police show that Nhema was last seen at East Range Farm in March.

Nduma, who stayed at the same East Range Farm where Mr Bertram had gone before disappearing for three days, asked for a ride as he saw him leave for Chinhoyi. He allegedly convinced him along the way that his vehicle was making some noise associated with a mechanical fault.

Mr Bertram stopped the vehicle to investigate the “noise” and Nduma took advantage of that to strangle him with the T-shirt he was wearing, which he later stuffed into his mouth to stop him from screaming.

He force-marched him into a bushy area about 30 metres from the Chinhoyi-Baguta Road, where he allegedly struck him once on the head with a boulder. Nduma stripped him of his clothes, cellphone, a wallet with $250, bank cards, national identity particulars and a driver’s licence before driving off in the Ford Ranger truck.

It has also since emerged that Nduma was unlicensed. He sold the vehicle to one Gweshe Ganda, who detectives caught up with while parked outside Pote Bottle Store at Chinhoyi Rank shops on June 24.

On being questioned, he led police to Nduma’s girlfriend’s house in Cold Stream suburb where a trap was set, leading to his arrest. He was wearing Mr Bertram’s khaki shorts, his black jersey and identity particulars were found in the room.

Magistrate Ms Dhliwayo remanded Nduma in custody to July 8 before advising him to apply for bail at the High Court as the courts had no jurisdiction over such serious offences.

Mr Rummage Isaac appeared for the state.

Call to ban cellphone use during working hours

Source: Call to ban cellphone use during working hours | The Herald June 28, 2016

Bulawayo Bureau
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni has castigated the use of cellphones by officers in the Registrar-General’s offices during working hours, saying this was resulting in little attention being paid to people seeking passports, birth certificates and other important documents. Speaking during the Home Affairs Ministry’s awareness campaign in Ward 18 at Nkunzi Area in Tsholotsho South registry sub-office last Friday, Cde Mguni said he once asked officials to put away their cellphones for a day at the RG’s office in Karoi in Mashonaland West Province, and noted a big difference in terms of service delivery.

“A big difference was noted considering that on the previous day, about 168 people had been served, and on that day the number had doubled to more than 366 people. “I am saying to you, be people-driven, and put them ahead of everything else.

“We should consider that most of our clients here would have travelled more than 60km and in all aspects deserve to be served. Let’s put our cellphones away and see how we will work in terms of client service purposes,” said the deputy minister.

He said civil servants need to change their attitudes and must be competent, helpful and people-driven. The deputy minister also told villagers that his ministry’s awareness campaign was meant to conscientise people on the importance of having identity documents.

“It is impossible to access jobs and social services for the elderly, hence, creating a generational problem. In this area, I understand we have the San people who never used to acquire identity documents due to traditional beliefs yet today when their children try to acquire identity documents and be at par with the current trends, they face difficulties from our registry offices. This is what I intend to rectify today,” he said.

Cde Mguni said a number of children drop out of school at Grade Seven after failing to acquire birth certificates, while some pupils fail to participate in extra-curriculum activities and sports, creating a cycle of poverty.

The deputy minister said they intend to come up with a law to ensure that any expenses arising out of mistakes made by an officer from the RG’s Office are not shouldered by people making an application.

“Mistakes and errors should not be paid for by clients as it is not their fault but the ministry’s fault. We can’t be charging citizens $25 for an error made by our printers or our officers. That is not a citizen’s fault, and by making them pay, it means we will be denying a citizen’s right to acquire correct identity documents,” he said.

US dollar shortage highlights Zim’s woes

Source: US dollar shortage highlights Zim’s woes – NewZimbabwe 27/06/2016

The queue outside the Harare branch of CABS bank stretches to at least 60 people, as Zimbabweans wait patiently to withdraw cash amid a deepening US dollar shortage in the country.

If they are lucky, the cash machine will have notes — many do not and availability can vary depending on the time of day.

In nearby shops, retailers warn that the scarcity of dollars — the dominant currency in the import-dependent nation — will soon start to show on supermarket shelves. Authorities this week imposed restrictions on imports of a range of goods, from bottled water to fertilisers and canned beans, while local businesses complain of not being able to pay suppliers.

The currency crisis is indicative of the dire state of the economy under the regime of President Robert Mugabe. The country is desperate to reopen credit lines with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

The government had promised to address the dollar shortage by printing so-called bond notes — effectively currency notes — that are supposed to have the same value as the greenback. The announcement in May effectively meant Harare was reintroducing its own currency seven years after it ditched the Zimbabwe dollar at a time when the country was gripped by record levels of hyperinflation.

But in the weeks since, a series of confusing and contradictory statements by officials, coupled with concern that the government’s intention is to use backdoor methods to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar, has merely compounded economic uncertainty.

“It is a spectacular own goal,” says one banker who did not want to be named.

Zimbabwe’s central bank originally said it would introduce up to $200m of bond notes backed by a loan from the African Export-Import Bank starting from July. But their introduction has been delayed twice, and the central bank says that only $2m of the notes will be in circulation by the end of the year.

“We are in classic headless chicken territory,” another banker says.

Zimbabwe has used a multi-currency system since 2009 after dumping the Zimbabwe dollar in the wake of a period of economic chaos during which the central bank issued Z$100-trillion notes that lost value almost as soon as they were printed.

The US dollar has dominated since then, accounting for more than 90% of transactions. The rand accounts for about 5% of transactions.

But the depressed state of the economy that has been hit by political uncertainty, including over who will succeed Mugabe, crippling infrastructure bottlenecks and drought, has triggered the US dollar shortage.

A vehicle importer says he has been unable to pay his suppliers for five weeks and will have to downsize his operations if payment conditions are not eased. Quest Motors, a local vehicle assembler, says it has sold just 40 units this year and is operating at below 1% of capacity.

Few believe the introduction of the bond notes will provide the solution — the notes are derided on social media as “Zimbabwe dollars that went to private school”.

But Zimbabweans, badly burnt by the hyperinflation of 2005-2008, fear that in an effort to ensure it can pay its bills, the government will “de-dollarise” and bring back a local currency. Another option is to adopt a different currency, such as the rand.

“Unless things change soon, forced de-dollarisation by September is a distinct possibility,” says a bank economist.

The government last week pushed back public servants’ June salary payments by three weeks, as well as pensioners’ benefits. With state revenues 12% below budget expectations in the first three months of the year, the government borrowed $245m — about 1.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) — in Treasury bills. It needs to raise at least another $600m during 2016.

In a bid to manage the US dollar scarcity, the authorities are promoting the use of debit and credit cards, while encouraging households and companies to use other currencies, notably the rand.

Through currency and import controls, it is also prioritising the allocation of dollars to four sectors. But the priorities have already been reshuffled in response to political pressure, with foreign payments for education elevated to “priority one”. That followed demands by heavyweights in the ruling Zanu-PF party whose children are educated abroad. Bankers say it is a worrying indication that the priorities will be revised randomly even as companies face closures.

And while nine currencies are legal tender under the multi-currency system, in practical terms Zimbabweans are dependent on US dollars.

“The government wants me to buy food with Chinese and Japanese cash,” says an attendant at a filling station battling unsuccessfully to get a point-of-sale machine to accept a Visa card. Both currencies are legal tender in Zimbabwe. “Where do I get that money?”

Financial Times

Masvingo water woes to continue

MASVINGO City Council’s water woes might not end soon as the local authority has not yet secured the $60 million loan promised by a Chinese company three years ago to increase pumping capacity.

Source: Masvingo water woes to continue – Southern Eye June 28, 2016

BY REGIS CHINGAWO

In April 2013, Masvingo City Council and a Chinese company, China CAMC Engineering (Pvt) Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where $60 million was supposed to be availed to the city towards increasing water supply to 60 mega litres a day from Lake Mutirikwi.

The MoU was signed during the era of then Masvingo mayor, Femias Chakabuda.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, city engineer, Tawanda Gozo said they were still waiting for paperwork and other modalities to complete the loan deal.

“Three years ago, we signed an MoU with a Chinese company, China CAMC in which they promised to channel to us $60 million to construct a water pipeline from a new treatment plant from Bushmead water works and construct a new and separate pipeline from the current one we are using,” Gozo said.

“Once the project, which is meant to last three and half years is complete, we hope to improve the current water capacity being consumed by residents and ratepayers from 48 mega litres a day to 60 mega litres.

“But the project has been stalled as paperwork and other modalities are still being worked out. The process is still in progress as our financial books will be audited. It is important to point out that the $60 million will not be loaned to us, but we are using borrowing powers from government under the private companies partnership deal,” Gozo said.

Council has in the meantime ordered its estimated 120 000 residents and ratepayers to use water sparingly as they carry out essential maintenances at Bushmead water works.

“We are currently carrying out our annual maintenance programme which includes cleaning up of water reservoirs at Bushmead and therefore the city will experience some water cuts.We are urging residents and ratepayers to use water sparingly as we want to maintain the highest standards,” he said.

Dabengwa endorses Mutsvangwa snub

ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has hailed the decision by Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) ex-combatants to sever ties with the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), saying the move was necessary to preserve the distinct integrity of the liberation war fighters.

Source: Dabengwa endorses Mutsvangwa snub – Southern Eye June 28, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zipra ex-combatants quit the ZNLWVA in March this year to launch their own independent welfare association, accusing the latter of expending its resources fighting Zanu PF succession wars, instead of addressing the well-fare of its members.

Dabengwa said the Zipra ex-combatants needed their own independent welfare association to ensure the liberation war fighters were not abused and used by selfish politicians.

“For my part, I think veterans of the liberation struggle, who fought under the auspices of Zapu need an association that retains their distinct values and vision of a liberated country that is not driven by egos of individual leaders and exclusive interests,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by Zapu Matabeleland South chairperson, Matthew Sibanda at a rally on Saturday in Insiza.

“More to the point, veterans should not be used and dumped like used tissue paper or used as tongs for rescuing corrupt and compromised, self-serving politicians.

“Furthermore, their record must not be used to manufacture fake heroes declared for political loyalty and not what they have done. It is not too late to salvage the integrity of what we fought for.”

Dabengwa said Zapu was willing to forge a coalition pact with other opposition parties to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the 2018 polls.

“That is why Zapu was among the parties that drew up the framework for the Coalition of Democrats (Code),” he said.

“We, therefore, remain committed to the principle of a united front, whether it is a coalition, alliance or pact. United we stand, divided we fall.”

Despite drawing up the Code framework, Zapu did not sign the document, which some believe was a precursor to a coalition.

Tsvangirai speaks on his health

On the 8th of May 2016, my Zimbabwean doctors referred me to South Africa where a further diagnosis revealed that I am suffering from cancer of the colon. Following the diagnosis last month, I underwent an operation last month that was very successful.

Source: Tsvangirai speaks on his health – The Zimbabwean 27.6.2016

However, a diagnosis of cancer is the first of several medical procedures that include treatment through chemotherapy, which treatment I began this week. As a leader and a public figure, I have taken a decision to make public my condition. It is my firm belief that the health of national leaders, including politicians, should not be a subject of national speculation and uncertainty.

I want to thank my wife Elizabeth for her love and caring, my family, MDC members and the broader Zimbabwean society for their prayers and support on this journey.

This health condition is unfortunate but can be faced by anyone. I intend to confront this development with the determination to overcome it. In the meantime, let us remain focused in confronting the national crisis we face.

God bless you all.

President sets stage for unity

Source: President sets stage for unity | The Herald June 27, 2016

From George Maponga recently in Chiredzi—
President Mugabe has set the stage for unity among Zanu-PF feuding parties in Masvingo, after he presided over a no-holds barred meeting in the Lowveld, pitting all ruling party legislators in the province and some party provincial executive members on one side, against the revolutionary party’s senior leadership led by Politburo members Cdes Josaya Hungwe and Shuvai Mahofa on the other.Although the closed-door crunch indaba held at Triangle Country Club on Saturday lasting until around 6pm did not come up with resolutions after all the parties failed to make presentations because of limited time, the move by President Mugabe to call for the meeting has been hailed as a harbinger of a new era of unity in Zanu-PF in Masvingo.

The meeting was called at the instigation of the majority of the 26 Zanu-PF House of Assembly representatives from Masvingo together with three Chiredzi chiefs who appealed for President Mugabe to intervene and solve the party’s problems and make sure Zanu-PF was united in the province ahead of the 2018 general elections.

The Members of Parliament together with Chiefs Sengwe, Tshovani and Gudo of Chiredzi asked President Mugabe to give them a platform to raise various complaints mainly against the province’s senior Politburo member Cde Hungwe and his counterpart Cde Mahofa, who is also the provincial affairs minister.

This culminated in President Mugabe calling for Saturday’s meeting that was attended by all the 26 Zanu-PF Members of Parliament, Senators, Zanu-PF acting provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana. Women’s League provincial boss Cde Veronica Makonese and her Youth League counterpart Cde Nobert Ndaarombe.

Also in attendance were the three Chiredzi chiefs together with Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira as well as Chiefs Chitanga of Mwenezi, Serima of Gutu, and Marozva of Bikita in their capacities as members of the provincial chiefs’ assembly.

The meeting was also attended by Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Ignatious Chombo and National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, who accompanied the President to Chiredzi. Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora was also in attendance.

Speaking after the meeting, Cde Kasukuwere described the indaba as very fruitful, saying the second round was going to be held at a date to be announced. Cde Kasukuwere refused to disclose what had been discussed in the meeting.

‘’We had very fruitful discussions with the leadership of the party in Masvingo and legislators from this province who had some issues they felt were causing divisions in the party but I cannot reveal the issues that we discussed,’’ he said.

However, reliable sources who attended the meeting said the legislators and Chiredzi chiefs raised several complaints against Senator Mahofa and Cde Hungwe with the latter defending themselves.

Most of the fire was reportedly directed at Senator Mahofa, who was accused by Chiredzi chiefs and the legislators of favouritism in the allocation of sugar cane plots on the 4 000 hectares that was recently acquired from Lowveld sugar cane producer Tongaat Hulett.

Senator Mahofa was accused of allocating most of the plots to her allies and relatives but the Masvingo provincial affairs minister is said to have shot that down saying that the allocations were done by her two predecessors.

She said she was yet to allocate land in Masvingo from the time she assumed office. She was also accused of embezzling $20 000 donated by Tongaat Hulett for President Mugabe’s daughter Mrs Bona Chikore’s wedding.

However, Senator Mahofa reportedly dismissed the allegations saying the company did not send the donation via her office but directly. Senator Mahofa was also accused of illegally collecting 900kg of Tongaat Hulett winter maize grain from each of the 26 legislators who were supposed to get 44,9 tonnes each for distribution to their constituencies.

However, she dismissed the allegation saying the maize that was collected was for distribution to vulnerable groups in the province such as Children and Old People’s Homes through the Social Welfare Department.

Cde Hungwe and Senator Mahofa were also accused of collecting and diverting donations to Zanu-PF that were made by the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (Zismiwu) before the ouster of former secretary general of the Union Cde Admore Hwarare, but the pair denied the allegations saying the donations were made directly to the party through the then secretary for administration Mr Didymus Mutasa.

The meeting ended before all the parties had been afforded the chance to speak, resulting in the decision to hold another meeting at a future date in Harare. After the meeting, Senator Mahofa who was in a jubilant mood refused to shed light on the deliberations.

“The meeting went well and everyone was expressing themselves freely but I cannot disclose what we were discussing. I am not allowed to say anything; maybe the superiors will say something if they want, but we did not finish the meeting because of time so we will have round two at a future date where the final outcome will be announced,’’ said Senator Mahofa.

Bikita South Member of Parliament and Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial secretary for the commissariat Cde Jappy Jaboon equated the meeting to a “truth and reconciliation commission’’ which would heal the ruling party in Masvingo.

Chiredzi East legislator Cde Denford Masiya and his Chiredzi West counterpart Cde Darlington Chiwa also echoed the same sentiments saying President Mugabe had made a good decision to bring all the warring parties on the table in Masvingo.

Chief Charumbira described the move by President Mugabe to come to Masvingo as a master-stroke that will breathe fresh air into the ruling party in Masvingo.

“The meeting was a ventilation exercise. I cannot reveal what we discussed, but it was characterised by very frank discussions. It was an open meeting where everyone was allowed to express themselves and it is good for the party in Masvingo. There is still another round to come but I think this meeting has set the stage for an end to all the problems in our province,’’ said Chief Charumbira.

In his introductory remarks, President Mugabe is said to have called for unity in Masvingo so that the province remains united. The President is also said to have appealed for peace and unity in Masvingo, reminding those in attendance that Masvingo was very key to the country because it is home to the Great Zimbabwe monuments from where the name of the country is derived.

In the run up to the meeting, there was apprehension in the entire Lowveld, with everyone eagerly anticipating the outcome of the meeting, especially on the fate of the 4 000ha of cane fields that were recently acquired from Tongaat Hulett and allocated to indigenous A2 farmers.

Tongaat Hulett managing director Mr Sydney Mtsambiwa and members of the top management of his company spent the whole day milling around the venue of the closed door meeting amid expectations that a decision was going to be made on the recently acquired land.

The issue of sugar cane plots is very sensitive in the Lowveld with people from Chiredzi, led by their three chiefs, arguing that people from the district were being marginalised in the allocation of plots.

Workers in the sugarcane industry are also said to be against the acquisition of sugarcane plots from the company, arguing that the coming in of indigenous farmers will render most of them jobless.

Zanu-PF mulls poll exemptions

Source: Zanu-PF mulls poll exemptions | The Herald June 27, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Zanu-PF is mulling exempting its hardworking Members of Parliament from being subjected to primary elections as part of efforts to ensure that the revolutionary party registers a resounding victory in the forthcoming 2018 general elections.The announcement was made by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko last Wednesday in Mukumbura District, Mashonaland Central Province while addressing senior party and Government officials during a briefing where he had toured Government departments at the border post.

He later addressed thousands of people, the majority of whom were Zanu-PF supporters. In his address to senior party members, VP Mphoko urged sitting Zanu-PF legislators to work hard in their constituencies to ensure that the revolutionary party registered a landslide election victory in 2018.

VP Mphoko told party and Government officials that he was touring several areas to establish the state of preparedness of Zanu-PF ahead of the harmonised polls.

“The ball is in your court. We are saying all hardworking MPs should be exempted from primary elections. If you are not working in your constituency then do not blame us. We want people to work,” said VP Mphoko.

The statement was received with jubilation by Zanu-PF Mazowe North candidate, Advocate Martin Dinha who assured VP Mphoko that he would ensure that he worked hard so that he was guaranteed of the right to represent the party in 2018.

Adv Dinha, who is also Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister, will be representing Zanu-PF in Mazowe North constituency by elections set for July 23, to fill the vacancy that occurred following the death of Engineer Edgar Chidavaenzi two months ago.

VP Mphoko said he was moving around all provinces assessing the implementation of Government’s economic blueprint Zim-Asset ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections.

Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central Provincial chairperson Cde Dickson Mafios warned legislators not to blame party leadership if they were found to be lazy and subjected to primary elections.

“We are watching you. We need people who work hard. Only those MPs who are hardworking in their constituencies will benefit from this. If you are not working hard and you are a Missing Person, do not blame party leadership,” said Cde Mafios.

In his brief to VP Mphoko, Adv Dinha rapped the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Ministry for misdirecting the $20 million facility it got by constructing most schools in urban areas ignoring rural areas.

“Honourable VP, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education got a $20 million loan facility, but strangely it is constructing schools in urban areas like Kuwadzana, yet here parents are being asked to mould bricks, scrounge for money for roof sheets for the schools; yet we all know that most of them are not gainfully employed.

“Is it prudent for the ministry to construct schools in areas where parents already have the means and ignore rural schools where some children walk more than 20 kilometres to the nearest school. It is also in the rural areas where Zanu-PF had been registering landslide election victories,” said Adv Dinha.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education secured a $20 million facility from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting countries for the construction of schools.

VP Mphoko said the Ministry was one of the ministries that he superintended and he will be convening a meeting with all the ministries he oversees next week.

Sealing the cookie jar for collective interest

Source: Sealing the cookie jar for collective interest | The Herald June 27, 2016

Stanely Mushava Literature Today

Public ownership can achieve socially beneficial outcomes, develop poorer regions normally shunned by profit-oriented players, serve a redistributive function, advance environmental ideals and protect national heritage.

Zimbabwe’s state enterprises, widely entangled in abuse, opacity and under performance, come across as a millstone.

Ministers, permanent secretaries and executives have been occasionally caught with their hands in the cookie jar, reaping for themselves where the taxpayers sowed.

Recently implicated sectors, including health, energy and information and communication technology (ICT), have been bled by embezzlement and crony capitalism.

The burden of dishonest stewards is not exclusively Zimbabwean.

Most countries, saddling the same vice list, do not report socially optimal returns from their public entities.

The tragedy rings clear when one considers that public wealth is not only bigger than public debt in most countries but promises sustained avenues for growth and social transformation.

Dormant and diverted public wealth, which includes state-owned firms, commercial real estate, forests, bank holdings, pension funds and toll-based transport infrastructure, has polarised economic thought.

How to maximise return on public assets is the enduring site of contest.

The market-oriented camp prescribes privatisation as the remedy whereas the state-oriented camp maintain that Government is a more reliable steward of public wealth.

And now, two leading economists are proposing to put paid to the debate.

In their 2015 book, “The Public Wealth of Nations,” Dag Detter and Stefan Folster argue that both neo-liberals and statists have it all wrong.

For them, to privatise or to nationalise is not quite the question since avenues for abuse equally obtain in both structures, with privatisation prone to crony capitalism where state ownership is entangled in inefficiency.

“It is time to focus on all the profit that is being left on the table to be captured by vested interests, after all the arguments over who owns the table,” demands the duo.

Detter and Folster estimate that better management and monetisation of state assets worldwide could increase annual return by $2,7 trillion, a figure surpassing global spending on infrastructure, and reduce austerity.

They advocate, for either setting, infrastructure for quality asset management to spearhead overall economic growth.

“The single largest owner of wealth in nearly every country is not a private company or an individual like Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, or Warren Buffet.

The largest owner of wealth is all of us collectively — you and your fellow taxpayers. And we all have our own personal wealth manager, who we usually call “the government’”, observe Detter and Folster.

“As far as we can calculate, governments own a larger stock of assets than all very wealthy individuals put together, and even more than all pension funds, or all private equity funds.

What is more, most governments have more wealth than they are aware of, including the many nations caught in the grip of debt crises,” writes the duo.

Greece, currently in the grip of a debilitating debt crisis, has not been able to come up with a well-functioning land registry.

The authors argue that vested interests which keep public wealth opaque in countries such as Greece can facilitate failure.

They argue that quality asset management requires protecting public wealth from the direct access of politicians and installing the infrastructure for democratic scrutiny.

Public ownership can achieve socially beneficial outcomes, develop poorer regions normally shunned by profit-oriented players, serve a redistributive function, advance environmental ideals and protect national heritage.

However, unfettered political meddling results in elitist tentacles overthrowing the public interest.

“Ministers should only be able to influence a sector and its participants through transparent and fair regulation,” they say.

The authors are sceptical about the dual role of politicians as players and referees, rather advocating the clear separation of ownership and governance.

Politicians are the custodian of public interest, a role which involves consumer advocacy in the economic scheme of things.

Ministers and secretaries normatively speak with the voice of the consumer to keep public entities on their feet for optimal social return.

However, this ceases to be the case when they are the faces of state-owned firms which they must hold to account, or have vested interests in the same.

Inconsistencies often emerge when politicians with boards in their direct ambit are tempted to direct state-owned companies according to self-interest.

The recent implication of Mines and Mining Development Permanent secretary Prof Francis Gudyanga, who sits on three boards of parastatal companies under his ministry, in a $1 million corruption scandal suggests the pitfalls of power and uninhibited access.

The same goes for Information and Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira and Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge’s allegedly self-directed meddling in entities under their ministries.

Stuck between the pursuit of self-interest and stewardship of public interest, politicians cannot be expected to maximise return on public assets.

In becoming complicit in abuse, they cede high ground and cease to be the consumer voice.

“Freeing politicians from administering public wealth allows them to squarely align themselves with the citizens, formulating expectations, goals, demands and, where needed, also regulations that attenuate market failures.

This goes to the heart of a well-functioning democracy — accountability, transparency, and disclosure,” contends the duo.

This should not imply detachment of public officials from state-owned enterprises; rather a shift of roles from participant to adjudicator.

The authors argue that politicians will be more successful if they focus exclusively on issues concerning citizens and the economy collectively.

They argue that for a state-owned firm to be more competitive and immune to abuse, government must outsource responsibility to independently managed but state-regulated national wealth funds. The case studies are not entirely salutary to the alternative and emerging economies such as China and Russia have propagated public wealth in state ambit.

However, it is expedient for nations to consider, against their unique experiences, “time-proven tools and frameworks of the private sector” which can enhance public wealth.

Transparency and democratic scrutiny of public assets is indispensable for socially optimal return to be realised.

Complementary arms of government and key sectors such as the media and the academia must step up to the assignment.

The writer can be contacted at [email protected] and blog jitknowledge.blogspot.com

Zesa pours millions into bungling firm

Source: Zesa pours millions into bungling firm | The Herald June 27, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Zesa Holdings has come under fire for awarding tenders worth millions of dollars to a local electrical firm that is failing to deliver despite being paid handsomely.Repeated offers of contracts to Pito Investments when it is failing to perform have raised suspicion that senior managers at the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) could be conniving with the firm’s officials to milk the power utility.

This comes amid revelations that Pito Investments once won a tender to supply 30 tonnes of silica gel, but delivered “stones” and was still paid $138 000 in public funds.

Silica gel is used to prevent forming of moisture in electricity distribution transformers, and the “stones” supplied by Pito Investments did not have the properties to absorb moisture.

The Herald last week exposed the company for recently supplying wrong underground cables in a $6,8 million tender it was awarded six years ago. ZETDC had paid a $1,1 million deposit to Pito, but the firm brought 1 kilovolt cables instead of 11kv cables.

Despite that history, ZETDC went on to award the firm another $7,2 million tender for the supply of 3 000 distribution transformers and paid a deposit of $1,9 million. Pito is failing to deliver on the tender, forcing ZETDC to turn to its sister company, Zesa Enterprise, for the transformers.

ZENT is also failing to meet ZETDC requirements. On the latest tender, ZETDC managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri confirmed receiving wrong material instead of silica gel from Pito Investments. “Pito won a tender in 2013 for the supply of 30 tonnes of silica gel,” he said.

“Payment was made for the full consignment. The 30 tonnes they delivered failed the test and they had been paid $138 000. The company was asked to collect its ‘silica gel’ and replace it with the correct product. They collected their product from us and are yet to replace the silica gel. Pito has produced shipping documents for 15 tonnes of silica gel which is still in transit.”

Pito managing director Mr Allex Chideme confirmed “erring on the contract”. “We have the shipping documents to replace the whole consignment we got from India,” he said.

“I can show you and the things are in Durban. We have the stocks which were rejected and the Indians have rejected them. The rejected product is at our offices in the store house. They did not manufacture the silica gel properly. It’s silica gel but it was not properly manufactured. We had to buy another product. Tanzwa nekurohwa nenewspaper shamwari yangu, come and let’s sit down.”

A source said the firm had delivered “stones” which did not have absorbent characteristics of silica gel. “Silica jell is granular, the size of coarse salt and blue in colour,” said the source.

“What they delivered is more like stones, which explains why it failed tests. Silica gel absorbs moisture and changes its colour from blue to white. The one supplied when it was tested it was discovered that it does not have the properties to absorb moisture. It (silica gel) is used in transformer breathers to prevent moisture entrance into the transformer. In brief, Pito’s stones did not have any absorbent characteristics.”

Added the source: “There are supposed to be tests before making any payment and what is happening leaves one to suspect that senior managers are conniving (with Pinto) and making a killing out of these contracts.

“How can you pay without being satisfied by the product? It’s also either the engineers are incompetent or procedures are not being followed somewhere somehow.” The source said there was no need to continue awarding the contracts to Pito Investments when it was failing to deliver.

Chinhoyi farmer murdered in cold blood

Source: Chinhoyi farmer murdered in cold blood | The Herald June 27, 2016

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
TWO men murdered a 90-year-old farmer who had offered them a lift by crushing his head with a big rock before dumping his body in a bushy area along the Chinhoyi-Baguta Road.

The assailants made off with Mr Gardner Bertram’s Ford Ranger truck, a wallet with $200 and clothes.

One of the assailants has since been arrested after detectives from Chinhoyi CID found a man he intended to sell the vehicle to at Chinhoyi Bus Terminus.

The prospective buyer was parked in front of a bottle store and indicated to the police that he wanted to buy the vehicle and was test driving it. Upon questioning, he led police to Kudakwashe Nduma (22), who was at his girlfriend’s place in Cold Stream suburb.

Nduma, who was found wearing Bertram’s khaki shorts with his wallet inside, then led the police to the scene where he and his accomplice crashed his head with a boulder.

Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara confirmed the murder, adding that investigations were still underway.

“We are investigating a case of murder in which a 90-year-old man’s head was crashed with at large stone before the assailants made off with his vehicle,” he said.

Investigations so far show that Bertram left for his East Range Farm outside Chinhoyi town on Monday last week at around 7am.

He reportedly left the farm at around 10am and Nduma, who was accompanied by a man only known only as Nhema, asked him for a lift.

They drove towards Chinhoyi and a few kilometres before town, one of the assailants, who was occupying the front seat, indicated to Bertram that the vehicle was making strange noises associated with a mechanical fault.

Bertram stopped the vehicle and they pretended to look underneath before they dragged him out of the driver’s seat. They force-marched him into a bushy area about 30 metres from the road, where they picked up a boulder which they used to crash his head. After leaving, Nduma and his accomplice searched him and took his wallet and clothes before driving off.

A report of a missing person was made at Chinhoyi Police Station by Bertram’s security guard after he did not return and all police units were put on high alert.

Nduma’s luck ran out when the person he intended to sell Bertram’s vehicle was intercepted by the police during a test drive.

Insp Mabgweazara said Nduma is expected to appear in court soon, facing murder charges before calling on the public to assist in locating the other suspect.

“We have no particulars of the other assailant except that he is known as Nhema. We appeal to anyone with information on the whereabouts of the outstanding suspect to approach their nearest police station,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Chinhoyi man was stabbed to death with a knife following an altercation at a beerhall.

Ephraim Jani (30) was stabbed to death by Elias Bitress (59), whom he left with from Jengera Speed Bar at Omagoro Farm in Makonde after an earlier altercation over cattle.

When they left together, people thought that they had settled their misunderstanding amicably.

However, Bitress returned a few minutes later telling their now deceased uncle Givemore Marambambuva to follow him and see how he had settled his dispute with Jani.

Jani was accusing Bitress of deliberately injuring people’s cattle in the area.

Marambambuva noticed some blood on Bitress hands and alerted others at the bottle store including a headman in the area, who went to the scene. They found Jani lying in a pool of blood with a stab wound on his collar bone. Police recovered the handle of a pocket knife a few metres from the body, while the blade was a further distance away.

Insp Mabgweazara called on people to involve others to resolve differences and to avoid confrontation on sensitive issues when drunk.

Poor governance hurts health delivery

Source: Poor governance hurts health delivery | The Herald June 27, 2016

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Poor governance at local health institutions resulted in loss of lives and poor health service delivery at some major hospitals, while equipment purchased under the targeted approach programme has been lying idle over the past three years.

This was revealed by Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri in her report for the financial year ended December 31, 2015 on appropriation accounts, finance accounts, revenue statements and fund accounts.

In the report which was made public last week, Ms Chiri expressed concern over poor service delivery in the health institutions.

“I noted with concern the unavailability and poor management of vital, essential and necessary medicines which are critical to service delivery to the ministry.

“This was due to poor prioritisation and weak internal controls on medicines management,” she said.

The report reveals that during 2013, poor health delivery was observed at Masvingo Provincial Hospital where cases of negligence by staff resulted in the loss of lives.

An examination of the hospital’s misconduct register revealed that three midwives did not attend to a patient in the labour ward which resulted in the death of the newly born baby due to cold.

“Two registered nurses also neglected a patient who was critically ill who later died under the care of a nurse aid. This was in violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (no 20) Act 2013 read in conjunction with the Health services Regulation 2006,” Ms Chiri wrote.

On the issue of equipment which is still lying idle, Ms Chiri wrote: “Equipment purchased under the targeted approach at a cost of $295 553, more than three years ago was lying idle at Ngomahuru Institute for the mentally challenged. The equipment has not been installed and commissioned.

“At Mutare Provincial Hospital various equipment purchased under the $3 million targeted approach facility had remained idle for over a period of three years. The equipment had also not been installed and commissioned.”

The report also states that Kwekwe District Hospital failed to account for 80 boxes of 10×2 millimeters promecethazine injection vials, while Gweru Provincial Hospital had run out of vital and essential medicines. Tsholotsho District Hospital was said to be operating without vital and essential medicines.

Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital had unqualified staff dispensing medicines, while Bindura Provincial Hospital did not have a standard unit of measurement in recording and issuing of medicines.

The risk is that service delivery could be compromised if health institutions were operating without essential medicines. Weak internal controls could also result in medicine pilferage.

The ministry acknowledged the error and said it was planning to standardise the stock card recording with the national pharmaceutical units of measurement.

The ministry attributed the shortage of medicines to budgetary constraints.

The report also revealed that there was poor management and implementation of Government programmes.

The audit found out that service delivery at Karoi District Hospital, Kariba District Hospital, Bindura Provincial Hospital and Tsholotsho District was greatly compromised adversely affecting the achievement of the Ministry’s functions as outlined in the Public Health Act.

The audit revealed that obsolete hospital equipment, excessive electricity power cuts, inadequate funding for the procurement of new equipment, medicines and facilities and unavailability of alternative water sources affected service delivery at these institutions.

The Ministry was recommended to ensure that Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital has a dedicated electricity line to avoid excessive power cuts as loss of lives could occur if the hospital operations are disrupted by power cuts.

“The ministry was also advised to consider drilling boreholes at Masvingo Provincial Hospital as an alternative source of water at the institution, reads the report.

The Auditor-General’s office also stated that there was need to tighten controls on supervision of staff to ensure that professional conduct and due care is practiced by all its employees when carrying out their duties and responsibilities to mitigate against loss of life.

The ministry acknowledged the dilapidated state of equipment and facilities which affects service delivery.

The ministry said it had always improvised to deliver with limited resources or outsource the required services.

“Plans have been made to construct, replace and refurbish equipment and facilities. Disciplinary action had already been taken on health workers who were found negligent and supervision had been tightened at Masvingo Provincial Hospital,” the Ministry wrote in its response to the report.

VP Mphoko explains hotel stay

Source: VP Mphoko explains hotel stay | The Herald June 27, 2016

Nduduzo Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau—
VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday dismissed allegations of corruption against him and his son Siqokoqela as he explained his stay in a Harare hotel, saying there was a mudslinging campaign by detractors seeking to soil his name.Addressing journalists after handing over day-old chicks to members of the Nketa community here, VP Mphoko denied private media reports that he was corrupt.

The private media claimed recently that VP Mphoko allegedly tried to secure a $350 million loan at 20 percent interest on behalf of Zesa Holdings from Botswana’s Capital Management Africa (CMA).

It was further reported that the Vice President, taking advantage of his son Siqokoqela’s links with the Botswana-based firm, wanted Zesa to get a $350 million loan at 20 percent interest per annum .

Siqokoqela allegedly holds 5 percent stake in CMA and was said to have been directly involved in structuring and negotiating the loan. President Mugabe, the reports said, allegedly blocked the deal which would have seen Zimbabwe paying $70 million in interest on the loan. “There are accusations being made against me that I’m corrupt. It’s also said that I’ve overstayed at the hotel,” said VP Mphoko.

“First thing, I’m not corrupt. I don’t need anybody’s money. God gave me what I have. I’m 76 (years) now. I’m not looking for anything. I don’t want President Mugabe’s position. He (President Mugabe) appointed me to be a Vice President because John Nkomo had died, I didn’t take anyone’s position. I didn’t take anyone’s wife, and I have my children, my home and my own life is God-given. It is corrupt people who are saying I’m corrupt.”

A group linked to the MDC-T calling itself Tajamuka last Friday held a demonstration at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare alleging that VP Mphoko had overstayed at the hotel. The group, through messages on social media, also called for a boycott of Choppies supermarkets’ products.

“We run Choppies, it is a people’s shop. Our low prices have forced every retailer to reduce theirs. They can’t overcharge because people would opt for Choppies. They want to tell lies and say I’m corrupt as a justification so that when they go and attack Choppies, they would have misled people,” said VP Mphoko.

“I know the people who are responsible. They know that I’m not corrupt. I have a very clean record throughout my life and that is the biggest problem they have. I don’t have any record of transgression. For them to carry out their plot they need to soil my name first but it won’t work.”

VP Mphoko said before his appointment, he stayed in private hotels but moved to the Rainbow Towers as per Government requirements.

“The day I was appointed VP of this country, I was staying at Meikles Hotel. According to Government regulations, I had to move out of Meikles because it is a private hotel. I moved to a Government hotel which is Sheraton (Rainbow Towers). The Government has got shares there,” he said.

VP Mphoko also dismissed accusations that he refused to move into a Government house bought for him by the State in Harare.

“People don’t know what they are talking about. The house that the Government has bought me is not even worth $3 million. It’s $1 million and something. I live in a Government hotel. It’s as good as staying in a Government house. It’s as good as (Morgan) Tsvangirai who is staying in a Government house. Tsvangirai is staying in a Government house which is as good as staying at Sheraton.”

VP Mphoko said before moving into the house acquired for him by the Government, it has to meet laid down security standards. “The Presidency is an institution governed by strict security, strict protocol not anything outside that. Long back I used to drive from South Africa, park my car along the road and sleep but I can’t do that now. The men I travel with can’t allow me to do that,” he said.

“People talk about things they don’t know. My house even here in Bulawayo has been turned into a Government house in the sense that protocol and security are dominating.

“Those who are talking have failed. They know it because they want me to be like them. I will never be because my life is governed by prayers and God. All their efforts will not work.”

Ministry diverts $500k BEAM funds

Source: Ministry diverts $500k BEAM funds | The Herald June 27, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare diverted almost $500 000 meant for the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) to buy food hampers for officials at a time Government is struggling to clear the backlog in tuition and examination fees for disadvantaged pupils.

In her December 31, 2015 report, Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri noted that Treasury, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, released $7 million to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare for BEAM, but half a million dollars was diverted to buy food hampers for staff.

The welfare ministry has been failing to pay fees for thousands of vulnerable children. It owes schools about $27 million.

“During the year under review, Treasury released $7 million for the programme (BEAM). Despite arrears amounting to $39 000 as at December 31, 2015, the ministry used $419 968 to meet expenditure not related to BEAM objectives. The risk is that BEAM may fail to meet its objectives if its resources are utilised for expenditure other than advancing the education of the disadvantaged,” reads Ms Chiri’s report.

In its response, the Ministry admitted diverting the money but appeared to dispute the figure.

“It is acknowledged that a total of $239 250 was used to finance staff hampers as per ministry policy and Secretary’s approval. Ideally, this cost should have been met from institutional provisions but unfortunately Treasury did not release the requisite funding over the period. This payment was done using the 10 percent amount,” reads the response from the Ministry.

But Ms Chiri dismissed the claims of 10 percent saying it was a far-fetched assertion.

“The 10 percent that the ministry is basing this expenditure on appears remote from the administration of BEAM,” said Ms Chiri.

BEAM is based on a policy and legal framework that is designed to provide quality education to children, including specific policies aimed at supporting orphans and vulnerable children.

In 2014 representatives of teachers’ unions said BEAM was largely benefiting children from well-to-do families at the expense of the vulnerable. The unions urged Government to review Beam selection criteria as the limited resources were not always going to the most deserving cases.

In another case, Ms Chiri observed that nine Members of Parliament took delivery of vehicles under the Parliamentary Motor Vehicle Loan scheme valued at $315 000 without signing loan agreements.

She also noted that Parliament of Zimbabwe had not taken action to recover vehicles from 26 MPs that were recalled by their political parties.

The vehicles were worth almost $1 million.

Parliament admitted its failure to ensure that MPs signed loan agreements in respect of the vehicles they took.

“Parliament is engaging the Members to rectify the error,” responded Parliament to audit enquiries.

It also said that the delay in taking action was because the legislators were challenging their expulsion.

“The process to effect the recovery commenced in 2015 and the final letters of demand were sent to members in February 2016,” reads Parliament’s response.

Zanu PF’s London sales pitch – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: Zanu PF’s London sales pitch – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 25th June 2016

Exiled Zimbabweans are to picket a conference in London on 5th July at which Zanu PF will try to persuade the world that it is reforming and should be bailed out with Western loans. The meeting comes as the bankrupt regime hopes to convince the International Monetary Fund that it is serious about implementing the constitution adopted in 2013.

The Zimbabwe Vigil will be outside the meeting to tell any prospective investors the real reasons why Zimbabwe has run out of money and why the world should be sceptical about any assurances given by the likes of Finance Minister Chinamasa, Minister of Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Obert Mpofu (unaccountably one of the richest men in Zimbabwe) and Mike Bimha, Minister of Industry and Commerce. They are listed to speak at the conference along with Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya.

Strangely enough, although these four feature prominently on the programme (see: http://africa-confidential-meetings.com/programme/) they are not on the list of confirmed speakers, suggesting their attendance is uncertain. In which case, the Vigil wonders whether people will be entitled to a refund of the fee for the one-day conference of more than £500.

The meeting has been organised by Africa Confidential, a fortnightly newsletter covering politics and economics in Africa. Explaining the conference, Africa Confidential says Zimbabwe ‘is on the brink of finalising an historic deal which will end a decade and half of sanctions and unlock substantial new funds for economic growth and development’. This comment indicates from which perspective the organisers are coming (see: http://africa-confidential-meetings.com/rationale/).

Contrary to Africa Confidential’s assumption, the MDC T MP Eddie Cross says the sudden announcement that Zimbabwe is introducing a new local currency (bond notes) has exposed the real state of affairs and the IMF realises it has been deceived and the regime’s liabilities are much greater than previously revealed.

As an indication of Zanu PF’s intentions, Mr Cross cites a new bill tabled in Parliament this week to reinstate the powers that the new constitution had stripped from the Minister of Local Government to suspend and dismiss the elected leadership of local authorities. He says ‘In preparation for the next election – expected in 2018, the Minister (who is also the Political Commissar of Zanu PF) has been instructed to cripple and even remove as many MDC controlled Councils as he can’.

Mr Cross continues: ‘It clearly demonstrates that Zanu PF has no intention at all of implementing the new Constitution. Secondly, it shows that they know that they cannot win a free and fair election and are therefore strengthening their defenses against the MDC. The Voters Roll is still under Military control and is managed, not by the Electoral Commission as provided in the Constitution, but by a secretive company called NICOV from Israel. The Minister of Local Government has announced his intention of settling up to 250 000 members of the “Youth” wing of his Party in urban areas using Urban and State land and allocating these people small plots at virtually no cost to themselves.

‘You do not need an imagination to understand that the programme of fear and coercion, and the control given by the fear of being removed from your allocated stands, is now being extended to all urban centers and the newly settled people will be used for political purposes and controlled violence against all opponents.’

Mr Cross concludes: ‘What does this all indicate? Very clearly it says that the Leopard that has been courting the IMF and the International Community in the past three years; has not changed its spots in any way. The consequences for the country are disastrous. They are again taking money out of our accounts and replacing it with a worthless form of virtual money. Their economic policies are destroying what little is left of a once diversified and sophisticated economy. They are clearly not going to allow a democratic election any time soon and the wholesale theft of resources by a tiny, military and civilian clique is continuing.

“I am afraid that the days of trying to whitewash this Leopard and to persuade it to change its ways are over. We have no choice but to take matters into our own hands and effect real change in our Country.  The best solution would be an internationally supervised election without a voters roll as soon as possible. If this is not facilitated by the region, then the streets will have to make the required decisions. We the citizens of this country, really have no choice.’ (See: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/zanupf-the-leopard-has-not-changed-its-spots)

Other points

  • Protest at Zimbabwe Conference 2016 ‘Rebooting and Rebuilding’. Tuesday 5th July from 8 am onwards. Venue: outside DLA Piper UK LLP, 3 Noble Street, London EC2V 7EE. For more information: http://africa-confidential-meetings.com/.
  • Several activists from the Vigil and its sister organisation ROHR are planning to walk the 110 kms from Brighton to London to fundraise for our organisations. The walk ‘Mourning the death of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe’ will start in Brighton on Friday 12th August and end at the Vigil at around 3 pm on Saturday. Walkers can do the whole walk or join it at various train stations along the route. If you wish to participate or sponsor the walkers contact info@zimrohr.org. More information to be provided as plans develop.
  • Jets from the Royal Air Force aerobatics team the Red Arrows flew low over the Vigil leaving vapour trails in red, white and blue, marking the annual Gay Pride Parade which ended in nearby Trafalgar Square. A number of people from the parade signed our petition calling for Mugabe to be tried by the International Criminal Court for genocide.
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Joseph Chivayo, Humphrey Dube, Sandra Kudenga, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Bonisile Manyatsi, Rosemary Maponga, Praisego Moyo, Paula Mukonwayasaka, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Chipo Parirenyatwa and Eva Sanyahokwe. Thanks to: Roseline, Sandra and Praisego for looking after the front table, Humphrey for handing out flyers, Phillip, Alfredy and Humphrey for putting up the high banners and tarpaulin and to Chipo P for selling the Vigil wristbands. Lucia Mudzimu kindly brought toasted corn and peanuts for all to enjoy at the Vigil.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 32 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 2nd July from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • 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). Saturday 2nd July from 6.15 pm. Venue: StrandContinental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achievetrue democracy.
  • Protest at Zimbabwe Conference 2016 ‘Rebooting and Rebuilding’. Tuesday 5th July from 8 am onwards. Venue: outside DLA Piper UK LLP, 3 Noble Street, London EC2V 7EE. See above.
  • Zimbabwe Play: Workshop Negative by Cont Mhlanga. Wednesday 6th July to Saturday 9th July at 7.30 pm + 3 pm performance on Saturday. Venue: Gate Theatre, 11 Pembridge Road, Notting Hill, London W11 3HQ. The play is a response to theaftermath of Zimbabwean independence. Its comic and controversial approach led to it being banned by the Mugabe government in 1986, a challenge to artists’ freedom of expression. For more information and tickets check: www.gatetheatre.co.uk/events/all-productions/tangle_presents_workshop_negative.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 9th July from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark sixteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 9th July from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Reading branch summer national fundraiser. Saturday 30th July from 2 pm till late. Venue: Pakistani Community Hall, London Road, Reading RG1 3PA. Contact: Nicodimus Muganhu 07877386792, Charles Mararirakwenda 07964731721,Joshua Kahari 07877246251, Shylette Chipangura 07828929806, Deborah Harrry 07578894896, Sihle Sibanda 07985712749.
  • Vigil and ROHR Brighton to London Walk. Friday 12th August to Saturday 13th August. The theme of our fundraising walk is ‘Mourning the death of democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe’. The walk will end around 3 pm at the Vigil. If you wish to participate or sponsor the walkers contact info@zimrohr.org. More information to be provided as plans develop.
  • 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.
  • Facebook pages:

Spot fines scam unearthed

Source: Spot fines scam unearthed – Sunday News Jun 26, 2016

Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
THE charging of spot fines by traffic police officers has once again come under the spotlight with the Auditor-General’s office revealing that there were serious inconsistencies on the charging of spot fines by the police.

According to the 2015 annual report by the Auditor-General, Mrs Mildred Chiri, the inconsistencies were noted at 10 traffic police depots in the country.

She noted that these discrepancies were the reason behind the lack of public confidence in the traffic policing system.

Despite the controversy surrounding the collection of spot fines in the country, with a number of court cases challenging its legality, traffic police have continued to demand that motorists pay the fines or risk having their vehicles impounded.

This comes in the backdrop announcement by Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo last month that traffic police officers will soon stop collecting fines for traffic offences in cash at roadblocks as this drives corruption.

However, in her review of the police’s accounts and activities, Mrs Chisi noted that 10 traffic police’s depots — inclusive of four in Matabeleland region — were discovered to have inconsistences in the charging of the spot fines, where the officers were charging above or below the prescribed levels.

“Contrary to the national deposit fines schedule which requires that officers charge fines as prescribed therein, I noted that there were inconsistencies in the charging of fines at Bulawayo Traffic West, Hwange, Beitbridge Urban, Victoria Falls, Chinhoyi, Karoi Central and Chegutu Traffic Police Stations as the officers were receipting fines above or below the prescribed levels,” reads part of the report.

Mrs Chiri, in her report, revealed that this was not the first time that they had raised the anomaly but it had also been included in the 2014 annual audit.

She noted that the implication of this irregularity was that it negatively affected service delivery and public confidence in the police force.

In response to the findings of the Auditor-General, the police noted that; “The issue has been addressed through printing and distribution of 6 000 reference copies. Distribution is in progress.”

Still on the same issue the Auditor-General revealed that the police were once again caught on the wrong side of the law as they were receipting more than one offence on one ticket.

Mrs Chiri revealed that the matter was once again raised in her previous report but had seemingly been ignored by the police.
Only traffic police depots in the Matabeleland region were caught offside by the AG in this irregularity.

“Police officers are required to issue a ticket on each offence which must not exceed level three ($20). However, I noted that Bulawayo Traffic West, Victoria Falls and Plumtree Traffic police stations were receipting more than one offence on one receipt resulting in fines being charged exceeding $20 despite that the issue was raised in my prior year audit,” reads part of the report.

In response the police, while acknowledging the recommendations, instead noted that the statutory requirement was silent on the number of offences to be receipted on one admission of guilt form.

“The audit observation has been noted. The position is that police should not accept fines exceeding level three per each traffic offence, a position which the organisation is conversant with.

“The statutory requirement is silent on the number of offences/charges to be receipted on one admission of guilt form (Z69J receipt). However, in the interest of reaching common ground, police have been directed to adhere to the recommendations,” responded the police officials.

Last month, Dr Chombo revealed that traffic police officers will soon stop collecting fines for traffic offences in cash at roadblocks to curb corruption in the force.

He said the Government was working on mechanisms to ensure fines were paid through an electronic system.

Dr Chombo also revealed that about 320 police officers were fired from the force last year for various offences bordering on abuse of office through corrupt activities.

Fresh outbreak of FMD detected in Mat South

Source: Fresh outbreak of FMD detected in Mat South – Sunday News Jun 26, 2016

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
A FRESH outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) has been detected in the Esigodini area of Matabeleland South Province.

Matabeleland South provincial veterinary officer Dr Mbuso Moyo said the highly contagious viral disease was reported last week although he said it was not severe.

“I can confirm that there is an outbreak of FMD at Mpisi dip tank in Esigodini. We confirmed the presence of the disease on Thursday (last week). We don’t know where it is emanating from but it not that severe, it’s mild.

“We are, however, urging farmers in the affected area and surrounding areas to adhere to procedural and recommended movement of cattle as prescribed by the Department of Veterinary Services and avoid any unauthorised movements to guard against the spread of the disease,” said Dr Moyo.

The first recent catastrophic FMD outbreak was reported on 27 April 2014 in Masvingo Province’s Mwenezi District and later spread to the Matabeleland region.

FMD is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock with significant economic impact. The disease affects cattle and pigs as well as sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants. All species of deer and antelope as well as elephant, and giraffe are susceptible to FMD.

In a susceptible population, morbidity approaches 100 percent. Intensively reared animals are more susceptible to the disease than traditional breeds. The disease is rarely fatal in adult animals but there is often high mortality in young animals due to myocarditis or by lack of milk when the dam is infected by the disease.

FMD is characterised by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves. The disease causes severe production losses and while most affected animals recover, the disease often leaves them debilitated.

The first case of FMD in the country was clinically detected on 16 August 2000 in a cattle feedlot in south-western Zimbabwe.
Prior to the outbreak, the country was known as an exporter of meat especially to the European market.

Over the past few months FMD has reported spread to most parts of Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces.

The spread has resulted in the Government banning the movement of cattle especially in areas regarded as red zones.

This has also resulted in the suspension of Bulawayo’s most popular cattle auctions at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds.

The Veterinary Department has previously noted that about 2,5 million of the country’s cattle were in danger of being affected by FMD and more than $20 million was needed to vaccinate the animals mostly in the southern parts of the country.

However, the Government does not have enough resources to procure the doses.

Zanu-PF Midlands on three-month ultimatum

Source: Zanu-PF Midlands on three-month ultimatum – Sunday News Jun 26, 2016

Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
THE Zanu-PF Midlands Province will not be able to meet the three-month ultimatum which the provincial executive was given to resolve internal squabbles that have seen the creation of two parallel structures which passed votes of no confidence on each other and were holding parallel meetings.

The province was given a three-month ultimatum at the beginning of April to resolve its internal squabbles under the stewardship of Cde Joram Gumbo following disciplinary issues that had seen parallel structures emerging in the province and the vote of no confidence being wantonly passed on each other by provincial executive members.

In an interview after a Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meeting last week, Cde Gumbo, who is also Zanu-PF Secretary for Education in the Politburo, said the province was delayed by several issues that also include funerals and State functions.

Cde Gumbo said the province will, however, deal with the outstanding issues even if they fail to meet the deadline which was set by the Politburo.

“We are not looking at the three months now because there have been delays there and there. These include State functions and funerals. However, we are positive that we will resolve all the outstanding issues. We also want all individuals who fanned divisions within the party to be put to task. We are going to compile a report and present it to the Politburo,” he said.

National commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere announced the development in April saying the Politburo, the highest decision making board outside congress, had appointed Cde Gumbo to captain the province on an interim basis for three months and resolve the internal squabbles and factionalism.

The province had passed votes of no confidence on provincial secretary for administration Engineer Tapiwanashe Matangaidze, Cdes Makhosini Hlongwane who was the commissar and Anastasia Ndlovu who is a national youth executive member.

The three also passed counter votes of no confidence on Cdes Owen Mudha Ncube, Goodwill Shiri, July Moyo, Clarisse Mutambisi, Victor Matemadanda, Cornelius Mpereri, Justice Mayor Wadyajena and a Cde Chigaba.

Cde Kasukuwere also said the province should restore the old structures and resume commissariat meetings identifying grey areas before dealing with the issues that also include that of indiscipline.

SMEs frown at the taxman, local authorities

Source: SMEs frown at the taxman, local authorities | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

SMALL and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), who are estimated by the World Bank to employ more than 5,7 million locals; are disenchanted by the treatment they receive from local authorities — the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). While as fledgling businesses they expect to be granted concessions, SMEs feel they are being tied to the same conditions that are expected of big business.

Most of the enterprises are laden with punitive levies, fees and excise duties that make their operations onerous. Most SMEs that spoke to The Sunday Mail Business last week said the incentive of not registering companies was far more rewarding than having them registered.

In an environment where most of them are not given a helping hand by Government, they are naturally eclipsed by big enterprises that rely mostly on economies of scale.

As a result, some small businesses are gradually abandoning brick-and-mortar shops in order to avoid the nuisance of ever-demanding statutory bodies.

Last week, the Zimbabwe National Cooperative Federation — which represents various SME sectors including housing, transport, agriculture, savings and credit, security and services, arts and crafts and manufacturing – appraised SMEs and Co-operative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni of the challenges that they are currently facing.

SMEs that are involved in land development generally feel that they are treated harshly when buying land. In fact, head of the housing cluster, Mr Never Karombo says SMEs — the bulk of which cater for low-income earners — pay double the cost for land compared to institutional investors.

“Co-operatives are charged between $4 and $8 per square metre for the land intrinsic value while banks and other big companies are charged US50c. I don’t know how this happens because as SMEs we don’t have as much resources as the bigger companies,” said Mr Karoro.

Just as local businesses are grappling with municipalities, those in the transport cluster have to contend with high excise duties from Zimra, particularly when they have to replenish their fleet.

Registration fees from city councils are also high. Mr Fanuel Chakawa, who represents the transport cluster, said there is need for Government to ensure that they were charged fair excise duty. Fees and permits charged by local authorities, he said, have to be slashed.

There isn’t any respite for those in the arts and crafts either as industry players are finding the high export taxes a huge disincentive. It is believed that there is a growing market for granite tombstones in countries such as the DRC, Angola and Malawi.

But the high costs of exporting the product has reduced the country to a predominantly source market for granite. “This has turned Zimbabwe into an exporter of the granite raw material when we can add value to it and get more money from exporting value added products.

“We feel that if the export tax was reduced, Government can make money out of this cluster,” said Mr Dorsen Mwashita who represents the industry. In West Africa, handicrafts contribute about 25 percent to total economic output

Government is currently preoccupied with promoting industries that are involved in value addition. But there is growing concern that Zimra is increasingly becoming an agent that is working against SMEs rather than promoting them. It is widely believed that they are largely favouring the stick approach as opposed to the carrot approach when dealing with small businesses.

Miss Kudzai Chikowore, the owner of Gatelect Marketing, a Gweru-based SME, said Government and municipalities need to rationalise their charges. Her businesses mainly rely on imports, which attracts excise duty.

“When I import products, I declare them commercially at the border posts. But as SMEs, I feel Zimra should differentiate us from the established players such as large supermarket chains.

“For instance, when I import goods worth 20 000 rands, I end up paying duty of about 8 000 rands and most of my profit end up taken up. These big shops just import in containers and may just pay for a few of the parcels, giving them the edge over us in terms of prices.

“We are supposed to compete with the big guys but their prices are already too low and we are forced out of business. Such duty charges result in SMEs abandoning their shops and flooding the streets where they don’t pay taxes,” said Miss Chikowore in a recent interview. She also said the high cost of formalising businesses is discouraging investment.

“I try my best to settle my obligations with Zimra, you can go and check my record. We don’t want to operate for free but we feel they should reduce the costs for young and growing companies.

“It seems as if registering a company is a crime in this country because the moment you do so, Zimra descends on you heavily. Those that comply are persecuted by Zimra more than those that operate illegally,” she added.

In addition to high excise duty, Gatelect Marketing shells out a fortune for a shop licence from the Gweru City Council. In Gweru, it costs $649 to obtain a shop license. The charge is universal irrespective of the scale at which the applicant operates.

It is also impossible to operate a tax licence without a tax clearance certificate from Zimra. Considering such a difficult operating environment, it is therefore unsurprising that the 2012 World Bank survey indicated that only 15 percent of SMEs were registered.

At the time, 85 percent of small businesses were in regulatory default by failure to be registered. Last week, Minister Nyoni told The Sunday Mail Business that the cost of doing businesses, especially for SMEs, was very high. She said SMEs cannot should not be milked as cash-cows by Zimra, NSSA and municipalities.

“We are meeting Zimra in the next few days to discuss the issue of high costs of doing business that are affecting the operations of SMEs. But also there is an Act (Companies Act) that is being revised to improve the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

“The revision of the Act focuses on the high fees of registration, excise duty and so forth so I think that is being attended to under the Ministry of Justice. But we are not really in favour of people just exploiting the SMEs.

“They want SMEs to just pay for services that they have not delivered, it is wrong, it is not fair. This is why we are going sector by sector so that if the ministries understand, and the big businesses understand that if we all assist SMEs, we would make more money than we are doing right now,” said Minister Nyoni.

The minister has previously pleaded with Zimra to craft packages that suit SMEs so that they remain viable. Zimra had not responded to emailed questions by the time of going to print.

A special team, led by officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet, is seized with improving the doing business environment in the country.

President cracks down on factionalism

Source: President cracks down on factionalism | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

From Levi Mukarati in Triangle, Masvingo—
President Mugabe yesterday held a no-holds barred meeting with senior Zanu-PF leaders in Masvingo to resolve factional fights that have spurred divisions in the province. A second interface will take place in Harare on a date to be announced. Emerging from the indaba at Triangle Country Club at around 5.30pm, and after listening to presentations from a number of leaders for six hours, President Mugabe said further briefings were in order.

Zanu-PF’s First Secretary and President personally called on the province to restore order in the wake of successionist politics that are detracting attention from the ruling party’s mandate of delivering on socio-economic transformation.

The President has previously stated that his successor will emerge from the people via laid down procedures. President Mugabe told journalists: “We had frank deliberations; people were afforded the chance to say their views, but, unfortunately, we could not exhaust everything. We have planned another meeting for Harare.”

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said the meeting was part of efforts to rid the party of factional politics.

“We have had a fruitful meeting with the leadership and legislators from Masvingo who had various issues which they felt were dividing the party. Because we are a democratic party that wants to afford everyone a right to respond, we could not come up with a conclusive position.

“As such, the President saw it fit to convene another meeting in Harare with the people we met today so that each party member has a chance to present his/her views. In general, we had a frank meeting where people were free to say or express themselves.”

Gutu Central National Assembly representative and Zanu-PF Chief Whip said: “The meeting went on very well. The President heard the complaints from some Members of Parliament who had raised issues against (some of their seniors in the province). They were complaining against the treatment they are getting from them.

“The President said we will meet in Harare because everything that was raised needs a response and those who presented needed to be responded to.

“As a party we are democratic. Everyone spoke freely and responded freely. I would not want to dwell too much on issues because most of the things we agreed on were confidential.”

Weeks ago, parliamentarians from Masvingo sought audience with President Mugabe to air their concerns on issues affecting the province.

At the last Zanu-PF Politburo meeting on June 8, National Spokesperson Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists Cde Kasukuwere had reversed changes made to the Masvingo provincial executive when commissar Cde Jappy Jaboon, Youth League chair Cde Nobert Ndaarombe and Women’s League chair Cde Veronica Makonese were demoted by the provincial co-ordinating committee.

Zanu-PF Masvingo province is headed by acting chair Cde Amasa Nhenjana whose predecessor, Cde Ezra Chadzamira, is contesting his suspension. Cde Paradzai Chakona, who was removed from the chair’s post and replaced by Cde Chadzamira, also claimed his ouster was based on malice.

Zanu-PF romped to victory in all the province’s 26 National Assembly constituencies in 2013 as the party claimed a landslide victory in that year’s national harmonised elections.

NAFAZ caught offside . . . SRC rules Zifa dissolution fraudulent

Source: NAFAZ caught offside . . . SRC rules Zifa dissolution fraudulent | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

Makomborero Mutimukulu Sports Editor
Zifa employees who have filed a High Court application seeking the dissolution of the association to be declared null and void are ready for an out of court settlement. Through their lawyer, Pauline Kadembo, the employees – who want the new Nafaz declared a non-existent legal entity – disclosed that their negotiation team would be led by former Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze.

THE Sports and Recreation Commission has described the purported dissolution of Zifa as seemingly fraudulent and in violation of the soccer governing body’s constitution. The country’s football leaders met at Zifa Village on June 4 and overwhelmingly voted to dissolve the body before creating the National Football Association of Zimbabwe (Nafaz) a few hours later.

However, that day may go down in local football history as one full of drama but little substance. SRC acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere yesterday said the country’s supreme sports body would not endorse the process which gave birth to Nafaz.

“The SRC is there to safeguard national interests and we cannot be seen giving our blessings to a seemingly fraudulent process,” he said. “There people who are owed money by Zifa are Zimbabweans, their Zifa workers are Zimbabweans and their interests must be safeguarded.“There has been a lot of speculation and misinformation but our position as the SRC is that Zifa is not dead and we don’t know about Nafaz, we just read about it.”

The SRC’s stance has stopped Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa and his board, who have been pushing for the dissolution of Zifa and the flourishing of Nafaz, dead in their tracks.In an apparent climb down a notice has since been issued advising for a July 9 extraordinary congress in Harare to discuss Zifa’s proposed dissolution.

“We are glad that the football leadership has seen the light. This is a step in the right direction but the first in several steps that should be made if Zifa is to be deregistered,” said Muchechetere.

The SRC boss urged Zifa to engage its creditors.“Some of the creditors are corporates who have been sponsoring football and these are the same people that whatever new association will come to replace Zifa will run to seeking help. Do you think they will assist when they have been treated like this?

“Zifa should engage its creditors, who include the workers, and present their case. This habit of making wild statements has no place in such a delicate matter,” he said.

Pressed on a letter he is said to have written to Fifa a fortnight ago seemingly giving backing to Nafaz, the SRC acting director-general said the correspondence was meant “just to let Fifa know that we had begun the process of deregistering Zifa”.

“Deregistration is not a one-day process. Zifa came to us with their proposal, we wrote to Fifa advising that the process was about to begin. However, in the process of trying to strike off Zifa from our register we realised that their move to dissolve the organisation at meeting on June 4 was in violation of sections 71 of their constitution.

“We have since told Fifa that things were not done properly and have advised them that our football association will continue operating as Zifa …there is no Nafaz in terms of our statutes.”However, Muchechetere highlighted that the SRC would abide by whatever ruling the High Court made in a case in which Zifa is applying for voluntary sequestration.

“We are a law-abiding body and will stand guided by what the court rules. If it rules in favour of Zifa we will deregister the association and start the process the of registering a new one whether is Nafaz of whatever,” he said.The matter in which Zifa wants to be placed under voluntary sequestration was postponed to June 29 to allow the soccer governing body time to respond to a report filed by the Master of the High Court opposing the request.

Ex-ENG director in tender storm

Source: Ex-ENG director in tender storm | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

Africa Moyo
GOVERNMENT’s integration of systems of agencies falling under the Transport and Infrastructural Development Ministry is stalling after a company in which former ENG director Mr Nyasha Watyoka is a shareholder, Mopani Projects, appealed against awarding of the tender to Univern Enterprises. Mr Watyoka’s bid partner, Mr Geraard Fischer of Fischer Consulting, is said to be an ex-South African intelligence officer who developed that country’s Electronic National Traffic Information System in 2001.

Compounding the situation are allegations that Transport Ministry staff and Civil Service Commission officials are throwing spanners in the works as they try and get companies with which they are personally linked in on the deal. The integration is in line with the Sadc-Comesa-East African Community Tripartite Free Trade Area goal of harmonising transport systems in the region.

Through the Transport Registers Information Platform and Systems (Trips), tripartite states will establish, harmonise and develop compatible national road traffic information systems.

Agencies falling under the Transport Ministry include the Central Vehicle Registry, the Vehicle Inspection Department, Road Motor Transportation and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration. The scope of the project also involves linking insurance policy provision and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority transactions.

Overall, the computerisation project should interconnect the Transport Ministry agencies with Home Affairs and Local Government ministries and Zimra to enhance enforcement and reduce revenue leakages. Mopani Projects has lodged an appeal against awarding of the tender to Univern at the Administrative Court.

Allegations
In line with Sadc-Comesa-EAC goals, Government developed the Zimbabwe Transport Integrated Systems (Zimtis) document to spell out the roadmap for effective implementation of the project. Sources who spoke to The Sunday Mail Business said Zimtis not only faces challenges from the appeal lodged by Mopani Projects, but also from senior Transport Ministry and Civil Service Commission staff.

Central to the allegations are claims that there was a well-orchestrated plan by some bureaucrats within the CSC and Transport Ministry to push for Mr Godwin Chapanduka’s appointment as the ICT director within the ministry.

Mr Chapanduka once worked with Mrs Angeline Karonga, the ministry’s director of legal affairs, at the then Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. The allegation is that Mr Chapanduka would be pliant to some staffers who intended to give Zimtis computerisation project works to their associate companies and themselves.

It is understood that the Office of President and Cabinet has endorsed Univern for Zimtis.

Said sources: “They (the staffers) feel that if Univern, a company with a 10-year contract with Zinara for the computerisation of tollgates and the Office of the President and Cabinet’s choice for Zimtis under public-private partnership, is given the greenlight their associates/companies and themselves will not benefit.

“They prepared their own request for proposal, a bid technical document for tolling system under the Department of Roads … The document will, among other things, enable the Ministry of Transport to manage its own tollgates separately from Zinara where it will independently collect funds. This will be problematic given that Zinara is under the Ministry of Transport.”

Putting sensitive projects such as computerisation of the Central Vehicle Registry to tender – which the officials intended to do – is largely opposed by Government for security reasons. Some of the officials in the midst of the storm are not strangers to controversy.

Mrs Karonga, for example, co-owns Akodac Consultancy Services with Mr David Chaota – the managing director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, which falls under the Transport Ministry. Akodac was in 2012 and 2013 investigated for winning a tender “under unclear circumstances” to supply bitumen to Zinara. The company grossed more than US$869 000 from the project.

In addition, the principal director in the Transport Ministry, Engineer Eric Mufaro Gumbie, was listed as one of the directors of Tencraft Enterprises in September 2006. It is alleged that Tencraft won inflated Zinara and Harare City Council tenders to supply bitumen and services.

The Watyoka factor
And now former ENG director Mr Watyoka – in his capacity as a director of Mopane Projects – and Mr Fischer are appealing against the Zimtis tender process. In 2015, Fischer Consulting and Mopane Projects made a bid for the Road Motor Transport computerisation tender. Mopane and Univern were shortlisted after meeting the mandatory technical score of 70 percent.

The tender went to Univern, which quoted US$170 000 for the project compared to the Fischer/Mopane costing of US$837 000. Mr Fischer developed South Africa’s eNATIS and while it was a five-year contract, it was extended by a year to address technical malfunctions.

Mr Fischer also consulted for the Namibian Road Authority on drivers licence requirements, and almost two years down the line, there have been multiple cancellations and reissues of that tender.

Industry insiders say Mr Fischer is more focused on consulting revenue than on developing customer requirements. Mr Fischer pushed his bid to be appointed the regional project (Trips) consultant at the Sadc Transport Ministers meeting in Zambia in November last year.

The ministers referred his product – eNATIS – to the technical working group for further scrutiny, and despite some reservations, Mr Fischer was appointed to do baseline surveys for Sadc members so as to assess what was needed to make them Trips compliant.

Government reacts
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Ray Ndhlukula, last week could not be drawn into revealing the current status of the Zimtis tender. He, however, said Government was implementing reforms and modernisation programmes within the Results-Based Management Framework.

Errant Government officials who tried to exploit national projects for personal gain, he said, would held to account. “Government has agencies that deal with all citizens with regard to criminal activities. The laws of this country do not discriminate whether one is a lowly citizen or senior civil servant.

“All are equal before the law. If anyone regardless of status in society commits a crime then he or she is liable to face the wrath of the law. “The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission are some of the arms of Government that will deal with those found to be corrupt,” said Dr Ndhlukula.

Added Dr Ndhlukula: “The Office of the President and Cabinet is the lead agency in ensuring that the e-Government policy is implemented across the entire Public Sector. One of the major objectives of e-Government is to ensure unification of systems to allow interconnectivity and inter operability within various Government departments.

“Government is also working on the Zimtis that will lead to interconnectivity between Ministry of Transport agencies, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Zimra to enhance enforcement and reduce revenue leakages.”

Transport Deputy Minister Eng Michael Madanha said he was not aware of the problems around Zimtis. “You see, people can also declare their interests and go for competitive bidding. What is wrong is for one to claim money when they haven’t supplied anything; what is wrong is for someone to use their position to inflate prices and then get paid higher amounts because you are someone in higher authority.

“Our policy is not to support any violation of corporate governance. Once we get the correct information, we see there was a breach, then we take action right there but we can’t base our investigations on newspaper stories,” he said.

ZBC bosses arrested over car deal

Source: ZBC bosses arrested over car deal | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

Kuda Bwititi and Tongai Nhamburo—
ZBC acting chief executive Patrick Mavhura and the national broadcaster’s acting head of finance and administration, Benania Shumba, were arrested in Harare last Thursday for criminal abuse of office related to a deal with Croco Motors involving 35 vehicles. Both appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Vongai Muchuchuti yesterday and were released on US$1 000 bail each. They were ordered to stay away from their workplace and to surrender their passports to the clerk of court.

They were also told to report to the police once a week and not to interfere with witnesses.

Mavhura and Shumba are accused of buying 35 vehicles Croco Motors without following due process, prejudicing Government of US$20 000. They face another charge of potentially prejudicing ZBC of US$738 900.

The State, represented by Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa, has it that on November 3, 2015 Mavhura wrote to the Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba seeking authority to buy 20 Toyota Hilux single-cab vehicles, 15 Nissan Datsun sedans and 10×30-seat Toyota Coaster vans valued at US$1 719 900.

On November 25, it is alleged, Mavhura and Shumba met Central Mechanical Equipment Department officials to negotiate purchase of the vehicles. The meeting was informal, the court heard, and the two got specifications and requirements that included seeking Cabinet authority for the purchase.

CMED officials are said to have indicated that ZBC was to pay the department 2,5 percent of the total value as commission if the broadcaster wanted to ride on its tender.

Mr Mutizirwa said, “This led Mr Charamba to write a letter to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Mr Munesuishe Munodawafa, on 14 December, seeking authority on behalf of ZBC to give authority for direct purchase of the vehicles.

“The letter specified that ZBC had already secured quotations of vehicles from Croco Motors as outlined in the ZBC letter with a cumulative value of US$1 719 900. On the 19th of January, the accused convened and held a meeting with Croco Motors where they decided and agreed to procure a completely different set of motor vehicles from those they were pursuing on the Cabinet authority, with a completely different value and without the involvement of CMED.”

Mr Mutizirwa added: “On 23 January 2016, (Mavhura) sent an e-mail to Father Gibson Munyoro, the ZBC board chairman, informing him that they were expecting the first batch of 20 Ford Ranger pick-up vehicles from Croco Motors.

“On February 5, the accused received the Cabinet Authority which specified that they were supposed to buy the 45 vehicles as outlined in their application for values as they indicated. On the same day, the two accused originated an RTGS transfer of US$649 000 to Croco Motors against a procurement agreement with a barter deal of 75 percent payment and 25 percent retention being broadcasting/advertisement airtime to be enjoyed by Croco on ZBC.”

The State alleges there was no contract/agreement document to back the barter and that Mavhura and Shumba tried to regularise the unlawful and unprocedural purchase by ordering CMED officials to backdate key documents. On May 18, 2016, it is alleged, they authorised payment of US$20 000 as the CMED’s commission.

War vets are being abused, says Mujuru

Source: War vets are being abused, says Mujuru – The Standard June 26, 2016

Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru yesterday condemned what she called government’s poor treatment of war veterans, who were early this year teargased by police for trying to demonstrate against First Lady Grace Mugabe.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Mugabe and his wife have on numerous occasions attacked war veterans over their alleged involvement in Zanu PF factional wars.

The 92-year-old ruler recently described war veterans as dissidents, threatening to deal with them in a similar manner he crushed an alleged uprising in Midlands and Matabeleland soon after independence.

Mujuru, who repeatedly told her supporters that ZimPF was a unique and diverse party, condemned the violence meted on freedom fighters.

“Youths are being taught the culture of disrespecting the war veterans. We expected that by this time they would be enjoying their pensions; they went through a lot during the war,” she said yesterday while addressing a rally in Harare.

“The majority are struggling and were not fortunate enough to get gainful employment as some of us did.

“They are the ones who were attacked with water cannons and assaulted by youths. That is so bad, especially in a country that was freed by these people.”
She said the culture of violence should stop and urged government to open platforms for dialogue whenever there were disputes.

Mujuru said it was painful to see freedom fighters being denied a chance to air their views, saying without dialogue, there was no democracy.

She said everyone should be equal in line with the Constitution and called for the culture of impunity to end in order to address issues such as the rampant corruption in the country.

Mujuru said even if they were formerly Zanu PF, they had cut ties with the “ruinous” ruling party.

ZimPF secretary for mobilisation and former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire took aim at Mugabe and Grace, whom he described as the “Marujata” character in a local novel, because of her divisive speeches.

Mavhaire also blasted Grace over her remarks that Mugabe will rule the country from the grave.

Video: #ThisFlag movement piles pressure on under fire minister

Source: Video: #ThisFlag movement piles pressure on under fire minister – The Standard June 25, 2016

Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge came under renewed pressure to resign on Saturday when activists took to the streets of Harare to demonstrate their anger over reports linking him to corruption at Zesa.

Watch video

The activists under the banner of #ThisFlag Citizen Moment waved the Zimbabwe flag as they urged morning shoppers in Avondale and Borrowdale to sign a petition calling for Undenge’s resignation.

Evans Mawarire, a Harare based pastor who inspired the movement through videos on Facebook in April, said 5000 people had signed the petition so far.
He said they were targeting 10 000 signatures before the petition is handed to President Robert Mugabe for action.

Chinamasa gives greenlight for salary cuts

Source: Chinamasa gives greenlight for salary cuts – The Standard June 26, 2016

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says government and the private sector can cut salaries and wages to align their employment costs to the operating environment.

BY OUR STAFF

Speaking at TelOne’s annual general meeting on Friday, Chinamasa commended the parastatal for aligning its costs to the prevailing economic environment.

Last year, TelOne effected a 15% cut in salaries and wages across the board to contain costs in the wake of declining revenue on voice calls attributed to the harsh economic environment and the use of social media applications such as WhatsApp.

“I want to commend you highly for aligning your employment costs to the operating environment. the decision that you took to undergo a 15% cut in salaries and wages needs to be emulated not only in the private sector, but also in government. It’s a very positive decision, a very courageous one that you took in order to align your costs to the operating environment,” Chinamasa said.

He said Econet had also cut salaries to align its costs with the operating environment, a move he also commended.

“They [Econet] have also, like you, forgone bonuses. This is in order for you to survive during this difficult period. So I commend you on that,” he said.
Chinamasa’s remarks come as government’s coffers have been depleted due to low revenue inflows. However, although they receive relatively modest salaries, ministers and senior government officials are pampered with huge allowances.

An attempt by Chinamasa to forgo bonus payments for the civil service was overturned by President Robert Mugabe who gave the minister an angry public reprimand. Government is now struggling to pay salaries, with some employees expected to get their June salaries next month.

AG’s graft findings for 2016 at a glance

Source: AG’s graft findings for 2016 at a glance – The Standard June 26, 2016

The Auditor-General’s Office last week released three sets of reports that exposed massive corruption in government and financial leakages amounting to millions of dollars last year alone.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The Auditor-General Mildred Chiri blamed the leakages on deliberate deviation from laid down procurement regulations, lack of corporate governance and a litany of cases of financial indiscipline in several ministries, State enterprises and parastatals.

The report was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday and all eyes are now on the government, as it has failed to act on previous damning findings by Chiri’s office.

Below are some of the major highlights of the three voluminous reports:

l Construction of a new runway at Harare International Airport was inflated by $13,6 million without approval from Treasury. Two officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) accepted vehicles from a contractor, while a truck meant for the Victoria Falls Airport project turned up at a gold mine in Bindura.

Chiri said a contract awarded by Caaz for the rehabilitation of the Harare International Airport runway was priced at $22 million in 2009 but by 2015, the price had inexplicably risen to $35,7 million.

l State enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) were struggling with over $1 billion in legacy debts to the extent that it was now threatening their viability. TelOne had a $99 million debt by December 2015, Zimbabwe Power Company ($324 million as of 2014), National Railways of Zimbabwe ($276,4 million), Caaz ($174,3 million), Zesa ($65, 3 million) and NetOne ($55, 6 million).

l Some parastatals are owed millions by debtors and were not making serious efforts to recover the money. For example, the National Social Security Authority is owed in excess of $217 million which might compromise payments of pensions.

l SEPs and ministries were failing to follow good corporate governance, with ministries incurring almost $22 million expenses that were not supported by source documents, resulting in differences between expenditure amounts reflected by the Public Finance Management System and that of the Sub-Paymaster General Accounts for seven ministries. The money involved was nearly $71 million.

l Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira was implicated in a car loan scam where his ministry got loans amounting to $10 million, $194 564 and $95 000 from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe for acquisition of government’s shareholding in Telecel. Some of the money was used to buy Mandiwanzira and his deputy Win Mlambo new vehicles.

l Some ministries failed to pay over $53 million for goods and services received, against instructions that they should pay as soon as possible.

l The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in 2014 incurred substantial expenditure of $2,4 million that was not supported by documentation, which could imply loss due to fraud and payment of fictitious suppliers.

l 160 headmasters, deputy headmasters and teachers were found to be absent from their schools without official leave of absence. Forty-eight school heads, 10 deputy headmasters and 106 teachers were not available on the day of the head counts.

l 12 500 government workers providing services were not on the payroll. The government dolls out $85 million on the suspected ghost workers annually.
l An additional 3 500 ghost workers on government payroll and drawing $21 million are not accounted for.

l Ninety-six percent of the ghost workers are from the Primary and Secondary Education ministry.

l Most Local Authorities are not up-to-date with their audited financial accounts, with Harare City Council having failed to account for $201 million, Mutare City Council had unsupported bank withdrawals of $44 284, Kwekwe failed to account for $2,5 million, Gweru Municipality failed to justify transactions entered into with one of their councillors’ companies worth $10 000, and Chegutu had unexplained variances of $177 000.

l Zesa Training Centre’s performance was found to be dismal at 10% capacity utilisation and incurred a $411 311 loss in 2013 and $917 403 in 2014.
l Hwange Power Station was found to be emitting too much sulphur causing ash dams that affected the nearby residential area, Ingagula Township.  ZPC suggested that the township must be relocated.

l CMED in 2014 paid $36 793 as board members’ allowances for board and committee meetings, which was not approved by the Transport minister.

l Zupco buses were fined $393 705 in 2013 and $806 118 in 2014 for operating without spare tyres, route permits, certificates of fitness and insurance cover, which registered a 105% increase in fines and compromised travellers.

l Zupco’s Southern Division had no written approvals for discounts given to the Local Government ministry for hire of buses amounting to $3 809.

l POSB board of directors in 2015 were paid $500 per sitting without documentary evidence to support that the allowances were approved by the minister.

How Zanu PF milked besieged farmer dry

Source: How Zanu PF milked besieged farmer dry – The Standard June 26, 2016

Homeless, with no income or relative to turn to and with nowhere to go: this sums up the predicament in which former dairy farmer, Yvonne Goddard, finds herself after her Cresta Ibeka farm on the outskirts of Masvingo was grabbed by suspended Zanu PF provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira.

By Tatenda Chitagu

Despite twice staving off attempts to invade her property — first by a senior intelligence operative and then a senior army official — for the past decade through donating to Zanu PF, the 66-year-old widow and long-time ruling party benefactor finally lost the 120-hectare farm in February this year.

Now without money for rentals, she is in the care of a friend.

“Things are really terrible for me. I am living at a friend’s place since I am now homeless and without a source of income,” she said.

After living at the farm for the past 45 years and knowing Zimbabwe as her only home since she and her parents were born and bred here, Goddard says she has nowhere to go.

“My parents were both born here. I am a Zimbabwean as well. I have no kids or relatives to turn to and farming was my only business,” she said.

Trying hard to avoid shedding tears, Goddard said she was trying a hand at landscaping and interior décor, but business was low.

After Chadzamira took over the farm — including the farmhouse — she said she had to sell all her dairy cows and is now left with a few bulls, which she leased to a neighbouring farmer.

The justification to take over the farm was that she was “under-utilising” her property.

“The farm was not being fully utilised. We could not just watch the land lie idle yet it has the potential to grow the economy,” Chadzamira, the Masvingo West legislator, said then.

All this was despite the fact that Goddard and her late husband Graham, who died of a heart attack, had been funding Zanu PF since 2000.

Leaked documents in our possession reveal that the Goddards paid ZW$20 000 in February 2001 for the “successful” hosting of the party’s provincial conference.

Then Zanu PF Masvingo chairperson, the late Samuel Mumbengegwi wrote to the Goddards on February 26 2001 to thank them for their donation to the ruling party.

“We are very grateful for all the trouble you have taken to support our cause. We realise the difficulties faced by business these days, making us all the more appreciative of your donation,” he wrote.

Mumbengegwi went an extra mile by adding a handwritten post script (P/S) which read: “I would like to meet you in person to thank you again for such generous support.”

In 2005, the couple again oiled the ruling party’s election campaign machinery with a cash donation of ZW$1 000 000.

In another stamped letter, with a receipt with the party’s logo (number 48811), dated June 27 2005, then provincial treasurer, Lovemore Matuke, thanked the couple for the support.

“On behalf of the party, I wish to express my profound gratitude and sincere appreciation for the donation towards the 2005 parliamentary elections,” reads the letter.

“Your donations will go a long way in assisting the party. Once again, I wish to thank you sincerely for supporting the party.”

After pouring such large sums of money into a bottomless pit, it has finally dawned on Goddard that one good turn does not automatically deserve another.
However, she is not the only Zanu PF benefactor to lose her farm.

Former liberation war financier, Allan Munn’s family also had its Mashonganyika Farm in Goromonzi grabbed by First Lady Grace Mugabe’s aide, deputy police commissioner Olga Bungu.

Munn was heavily involved in the liberation struggle, fighting in Zanu PF’s corner and later played a pivotal role during the negotiations leading up to the September Declaration and the signing of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, which culminated in Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

At her peak, Goddard produced 65 to 75 litres of fresh milk per day, as well as 30 litres of sour milk. The 12 workers she employed were also entitled to two litres of milk per day, she says.

She had 21 dairy cows and five quality Braham bulls, according to records she produced.

“Every six weeks, six cattle from the surrounding farms would come for mating with the bulls and the next lot would come. At every time, there were around 50 cattle for mating with the bulls,” Goddard said.

“But what pains me is that nothing is going on at the farm. He closed the gates and refused to grant neighbours water from the farm.”

The government also disregarded a petition signed by 106 indigenous farmers from the surrounding area who were benefiting from the bulling programme and opposed Goddard’s eviction.

The petition was handed over to Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa and copied to Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora and his deputy responsible for livestock David Marapira.

“To date, 106 farmers from undersigned, have benefitted with cumulative droppings of 643. We are very desirous to see the programme progress through our five-year development plan which will culminate in the winding up of Mashona breed replaced by quality cross breed which will attract favourable returns on the market,” it reads.

“This project with the Goddards has a high prospect of changing the livelihoods of our communities and the cooperation ought not to be disturbed by any other arrangements.

“We, therefore, impress on government to consider the interests of the majority over an individual, running around the province scouting for land after 16 years past the land revolution.

“The allocation of Ibeka should be reversed without delay as it has already affected our operations immensely and we have lost 12 breeding weeks.”

The petition added: “We are one family with the Goddard family; sharing anything and everything we possess.

“We thus urge government, particularly the Minister of Lands in this case, to act in the best interests of the majority and consider Ezra Ruvai’s [Chadzamira] desperation for land outside Cresta Ibeka.”

A visit to the farm on Friday revealed no meaningful activity as the gates were locked, although there were a few bulls grazing in the pasture.
Efforts to ascertain what production Chadzamira was doing at the farm were fruitless as he did not pick up his phone.

Makoni talks coalition, Mujurus and bond notes

Source: Makoni talks coalition, Mujurus and bond notes – The Standard June 26, 2016

At one time Former Finance minister Simba Makoni (SM) was considered to be among the front-runners in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe before he ran out of patience and abandoned the ruling Zanu PF party in 2008.

At the time, he expressed frustration at Mugabe’s refusal to pass on the baton and said many in Zanu PF were going to follow him into opposition politics.

However, only former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa joined Makoni as he campaigned against Mugabe in the hotly-contested polls the same year. Judging from Mugabe’s recent statements, the 92-year-old leader has still not forgiven the former Sadc executive secretary and believes the late army commander Solomon Mujuru was behind Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) movement.

Our reporter Richard Chidza (RC) on Friday caught up with Makoni and he opened up on life outside Zanu PF, Mugabe’s claims against Mujuru and his passion for a united opposition to challenge the ruling party in the next polls.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

RC: Can you update us on the status of MKD. When are you going to have a substantive leadership?

SM: We are building the party up. yes, we would like to have substantive leadership at all levels, but as you know, political parties are people-based. We are still building our structures and the hope and expectation is that this will culminate in a national convention which will establish a substantive national leadership.

RC: Are there any timelines set for these processes to be completed?

SM: At the moment we have no timelines that have been set.

RC: Mugabe has in the past accused the late Solomon Mujuru of using you and MKD to destabilise Zanu PF. What is your reaction to that?

SM: Mugabe is completely consumed by conspiracies and sees conspiracies everywhere. There are many people in Zanu PF who have wanted change for a long time.
I worked with many other people to effect change first from within and when I realised it was not possible to do that, I left.

I am now trying to institute change from outside. I was not sent by anybody and I have said this before. I am nobody’s agent and I am nobody’s tool.

RC: What do you think about Zanu PF’s plans to have Mugabe as its candidate in 2018 aged 94?

SM: It is sad and nonsensical. Sad because every one of the people in Zanu PF acknowledges that Robert Mugabe is past his sell-by date.

That he has ruined this country, but unfortunately they do not have the courage to live their convictions and so they blindly follow the crumbs, knowing deep inside them that they are yearning for change.

RC: Do you think they are also blindly following him for personal gain?

SM: Partly, maybe mainly, but most importantly, because they are afraid of life outside Zanu PF and out of power.
They cannot account for their wealth and everything else that they have amassed over the years. They cannot also account for the things they have done and continue to do.

RC: What is your view about government’s failure to pay civil servants their June salaries and its implications on the country’s stability? Did these things happen during your time as Finance minister?

SM: Government never failed to pay all its employees, and we did not have preferences or a league table as to who was supposed to be paid first. We paid everyone on the same day, as and when their salaries were due. I do not know about the security threat but to some extent, yes, because Mugabe and Zanu PF have created this differentiation.

The moment they failed to satisfy the needs of the security people they created a security threat, but there is a security threat in not being able to pay public servants whether they are cleaners, permanent secretaries or military generals.

These people must fend for their families and there is a danger if they were to abandon their posts, which could lead to the collapse of the State. That is a very palpable threat.

RC: You are one of the opposition politicians at the forefront of the Coalition of Democrats (Code) unveiled recently. What do you seek to achieve with this coalition?

SM: Our people need time to understand the Code agreement. There are three main platforms, first the structure and organisation platform.

What Code is made up of; the organs, governing council, assembly of delegates, the steering committees and the values we are proposing for leadership in Zimbabwe, whether one is part of Code or not.

I think it is valuable for people to inform themselves. We also have the framework for a programme of action defined by the objectives.

This is not just about electoral cooperation; it’s not about working together on or during elections.

It is about working together to bring about change in the way Zimbabwe is governed, ranging from removing fear to unity, harmony, reconciliation and forgiveness, to economic recovery and upliftment, social services, frameworks that cover all areas of human endeavour in Zimbabwe. There are five of us who signed and we are hoping more will come on board. We are committing ourselves towards this.

RC: Will you consider working with former vice-president Joice Mujuru ahead of the 2018 elections?

SM: Yes, I am ready to work with her and others. I am communicating with all leaders in politics, the church, business and civil society. I spend a lot of time meeting people.

I have met Mrs Mujuru and [former Prime Minister Morgan] Tsvangirai several times and [will] continue to do so.

I do not want to make this personal because this is what I find resonating with the yearnings of people of Zimbabwe who would want to see their leaders working together.

The current situation of splinter groups is not doing our cause for change any good.

RC: Do you think the coalition will succeed without the so-called bigger opposition parties?

SM: I think they [bigger parties] are better placed to answer that. All I can say is that extension of invitation for cooperation is a constant factor.
That is why I said I personally invest a lot of time in talking to other leaders. You will be aware that there are two cooperation platforms in the opposition movement, Code and the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera).

My yearning is that those processes converge and that we go beyond converging among political leaders; that the circle widens to include civil society, professional and business leaders so that we have a truly grand coalition of change inclusive of all areas.

RC: Do you think this would be possible before the 2018 elections?

SM: It would be very good if we achieve it ahead of that election. I want to underline though that at least from my perspective that the yearning for cooperation is not just about going into an election.

It’s about dealing with today’s problems affecting the people of Zimbabwe. It is about dealing with bond notes, shortages, dwindling jobs, banning of imports and low productivity.

Our cooperation must respond to the problems facing Zimbabweans every day.

RC: Talking about shortages and bond notes, as former Finance minister, what are the solutions available to government?

SM: The solutions are not immediate; they are not short-term. I feel sorry for our leaders when they try to convince our people that there is a quick-fix solution.

The ultimate solution to our problems lies in restoring production, so that maize farmers can produce 2,5 million tonnes again, tobacco farmers can produce 200 million kilogrammes, and cotton farmers can produce 350 000kg again. And we can go through all the numbers into mining, that gold miners can produce 27 tonnes, we peaked at that. When we start to produce surplus to export, then we will not need multi-currencies. The answer is there, but it is not short-term.

Please let nobody take people for granted or lie. I feel sad that Mugabe, [Finance minister] Patrick Chinamasa and [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor] John Mangudya are trying to convince people that with a $200 million loan from Afreximbank they can solve the problems of decades of entrenched collapse. It’s disingenuous, it’s dishonest.

RC: So bond notes are not the solution?

SM: Not at all.

RC: Do you understand them?

SM: Well, a little bit but not yet because even Mangudya and Chinamasa have not yet explained how it is going to work.
Basically, they are going to put up a piece of paper which to me is not dissimilar to bearer’s cheques, that they say is backed by a $200 million facility from Afreximbank.

But if you have $3,5 billion in circulation, then what is $200 million? It is really a drop in the ocean.

So, I do not understand them because they are yet to explain. I do not know if it is because they also do not understand the issue. The bottom line is bond notes are no solution to the hardships our people are going through.

Mphoko told to leave hotel as pressure mounts

Source: Mphoko told to leave hotel as pressure mounts – The Standard June 26, 2016

Former Midlands governor Cephas Msipa says Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko must listen to cries by Zimbabweans and leave his hotel accommodation where he has been staying for over 550 days.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Mphoko and his family have been staying at the Rainbow Towers Hotel since his appointment by President Robert Mugabe in December 2014.

According to reports, the former envoy and businessman has refused to move to a house bought by the government for over $3 million as he wants more renovations to be made to suit his newly-found status.

On Friday, angry protestors stormed the upmarket hotel demanding that Mphoko vacates to avoid wasting more money on his luxurious lifestyle.

Msipa told The Standard in an exclusive interview that Mphoko had no business staying at the hotel for such a long period.

“If it’s true that Mphoko is staying in the hotel . . . what is he doing really to our economy?” he queried.

“He must just leave the hotel.

“If it was me given an opportunity to stay in [late Vice-President Joseph] Msika’s house, I was going to grab it running.

“The only problem would be its size. It’s too big for me. I would ask myself this question: What will I do with such a big house?

“I really don’t have much history on him [Mphoko]. I don’t want to lie, but whatever he is doing, it is wrong for a national leader.

“I can’t spend a week in hotel. I loved my (late) wife’s cooking. I really don’t know what he is enjoying in a hotel.”

Two activists that were arrested during the demonstration against Mphoko were released on Friday without a charge.

One of them, National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe chairperson Stern Zvorwadza, said they would be back at the hotel today in a bid to force the vice-president out.

Meanwhile, Msipa has accused Zanu PF of abusing Mugabe by allowing him to cling onto power despite his advanced age.

The former minister said the 92-year-old leader should be resting, but was forced to stay on because of problems facing the party, chief among them factionalism.

“Zanu PF, I have said it before and I will say it today, we are punishing him. Zanu PF is Mugabe,” he said.

“They know that without Mugabe, there is no Zanu PF. They know that without Mugabe, perhaps they will not win an election.”

He continued: “That’s the problem. They are holding onto him because of their selfish reasons. Of course he loves his party, so he doesn’t want them to lose hence he continues.

“But then, what happens? What’s the future? He cannot go on forever, at some point [he will have to leave]. I don’t know, really. I really don’t know.

“He has done a lot, [he] led during the struggle, he led here with [Joshua] Nkomo, led us to victory and we got our Zimbabwe together. That is a lot of achievement and, of course, there are some areas he failed.”

Msipa — who retired from active politics in 2014 — said Zanu PF was facing many challenges that also mirrored problems bedevilling Zimbabwe.

He said Mugabe’s government was clueless, adding it was time “they swallow their pride” and “open up for dialogue to ensure the calamity does not reach the tipping point”.

“While we should not be prophets of doom, what is happening at the moment is not good for the country. Clearly, this is our country. We will sink or swim together,” the former Zanu PF politburo member said.

Msipa said Mugabe was not to blame, but accused his lieutenants of bringing the country to its knees through unbridled corruption.

“Most of the people around him were not there at the beginning of the struggle. It’s people who have joined because of other agendas. They come not so much to correct things, but for selfish reasons,” he said.

“A lot of people who are coming now are thinking of themselves, not of the people they represent,” he added.

He said liberation war veterans like him had nothing to show for the sacrifice they made because they joined the armed struggle to free Zimbabweans.

Msipa said the new crop of Zanu PF leaders were lining their pockets, building mansions and living luxurious lives, in sharp contrast to the suffering being endured by many.

The former Zapu senior official said during Zimbabwe’s formative years, Mugabe and his Cabinet prioritised development and ministers were given monthly targets.

However, the work ethic died over the years, with government officials channelling their energies to wealth accumulation.

He said soon after coming into power, Mugabe rejected a government offer to install tap water at his Zvimba rural home, saying ordinary people should benefit first.

Msipa, who was the Water minister at that time, said he decided to take the project to the then Deputy Prime Minister Simon Muzenda’s rural home after Mugabe refused to have his home installed with piped water.

He said it was possible Mugabe had changed with time. “Maybe power corrupts,” he said with a beaming smile.

Mujuru turns heat on Mugabe

Source: Mujuru turns heat on Mugabe – The Standard June 26, 2016

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday threw the gauntlet at President Robert Mugabe, accusing her former mentor of wasting money on endless foreign trips at a time the majority of Zimbabweans were suffering due to his misrule.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Addressing her maiden rally in Harare, the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader said Zanu PF leaders were like fools who spent time and energy discussing immaterial things instead of working on turning around the economy.

This year alone, Mugabe has gobbled over $60 million on international travel even when the country was facing total economic collapse, as evidenced by the government’s failure to pay its workers on time.

In apparent reference to Mugabe, Mujuru said: “Our traveling this year should be limited because there is a lot of work to do for the people. You cannot be boarding airplanes always because there is a lot of work for people this year.”

“After a year you should take stock of what you have done for the people,” she said amid thunderous applause from thousands of her supporters gathered at an open area near Rainbow Towers hotel.

Mujuru said ZimPF was taking off at a fast pace, adding many people were disgruntled by Zanu PF’s failure to tackle important issues.

“From the day we started, it was like we lit a matchstick at a gas station. Everyone was waiting for the formation of a party which is all inclusive even to those who were not interested in politics,” Mugabe’s former deputy said.

“When people heard there was a political party called People First they were saying ‘Mai Mujuru we were blaming ourselves asking what we were doing [in Zanu PF] when madzana mbwanana achitambwa nemazidinga aya’ [fools were playing with people’s lives],” she said.

Mujuru described her party as an all-inclusive democratic movement which had the energy to work for the people.

The former Mount Darwin MP was accompanied by ZimPF elders, among them Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.

Officials from the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party among them Willas Madzimure and Jacob Mafume, also attended the rally.

Mujuru said they were working towards restoring Zimbabwe’s lost glory.

“We are national democrats and we believe in putting people’s interests first ahead of everything,” she said.

“We are Zimbabweans who seek to restore the dignity, economic, political and social emancipation of all people who sacrificed their lives for all to achieve political independence without discrimination or dehumanisation.

“We are ready to work with those who respect the values of the Zimbabwean people as they exercise their right to freely choose without fear or cohesion in order to achieve our total peace, democracy and prosperity for all.”

Mujuru said she went through a traumatising time when Zanu PF leaders were propagating lies against her including calling her all sorts of names.

She said police were yet to question her about alleged corruption almost two years after First Lady Grace Mugabe threatened to expose her.

“Up to today we haven’t gone to jail or been summoned by police. Even in the roadblocks, we go through them especially when I go to the farm but we haven’t been told to stop and go to jail,” Mujuru said. We said let’s keep silent. They can’t open a docket for keeping silent.”

She added: “I want to come in the open and thank the people on the support and prayers.

“They were trying times and it was very traumatizing but your support, your prayers were truly amazing. May God bless you.”

She added: “Today I stand to tell you the truth. Everything said about me was a lie. Those who were used to create the lies have now come in the open and revealed how they were abused.

“No lie can lie forever,” she said adding that she was speaking on behalf of other Zanu PF officials that were expelled from the party for allegedly supporting her plot to overthrow Mugabe.

Mujuru said she differed with Mugabe and others in Zanu PF on how to tackle problems facing the country hence her expulsion.

She accused Zanu PF leaders of lacking the zeal to work for the people as they sought to only enrich themselves.

“Some of us wanted people’s views to be pronounced in the party. We knew that in the party we said (iwe neni tine basa) but where is it now,” Mujuru said.

“Our position was always put people first. If you fought for people to be free they should be free. Our colleagues were not willing hence the expulsion.

“Will that be painful that we have been expelled because we have a mentality of going back to the people,” she added, accusing Zanu PF leaders of being self-centred.

Mujuru said ZimPF was not an extension of Zanu PF or a proxy of anyone and vowed never to return to the ruling party.

She said if elected, she would conduct a land audit and redistribute underutilised farms, improve the lives of the people, reform parastatals, find ways to harness alternative energy, revive industries, fight corruption and call for people living in the Diaspora to vote.

Msipa bares soul on Gukurahundi

Source: Msipa bares soul on Gukurahundi – The Standard June 26, 2016

AFTER widespread criticism that his long-awaited memoirs did not reveal anything new, particularly his close relationship with President Robert Mugabe, former Cabinet minister Cephas Msipa has opened up and called on the 92-year-old leader to provide answers on the Gukurahundi atrocities.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Msipa, a former senior Zapu leader and a relative of Mugabe, launched his book titled In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir in November last year.
A review of the book on the former Midlands governor’s publishers, Weaver Press website, says one of the most touching chapters in the book was the one titled From Geneva and Dissidents and Gukurahundi.

However, some critics were of the opinion that Msipa did not reveal much about Gukurahundi as one of the people who played a pivotal role in exposing the massacres in the Midlands and Matabeleland soon after independence.

The politician also had Mugabe’s ear and was one of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s trusted lieutenants.

He told The Standard in an exclusive interview at his Gweru home last Thursday that Mugabe must make public the two reports that were authored by commissions of inquiry that he set up to investigate the massacres by the North Korea trained Fifth Brigade.

According to human rights groups and researchers, over 20 000 civilians — mostly Zapu supporters — were brutally killed by the feared brigade in an exercise that only ended in 1987 after Nkomo’s party was cowed into joining Zanu PF.

Msipa also spoke for the first time about the tension in Mugabe’s government at the time, which resulted in the expulsion of several Zapu ministers — including Nkomo — on allegations that they supported dissidents.

He also spoke about the late Vice-President John Nkomo’s open confrontation with some of Mugabe’s loyalists during Cabinet meetings as the killings intensified in Matabeleland and Midlands.

John Nkomo came from Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North, where most of the Gukuruhundi killings took place.

Msipa said in order for the victims of the massacres to find closure, Mugabe must let the nation know the truth.

“This is where I have a problem [non-disclosure of what happened]. There was a Dumbutshena Commission, the Chihambakwe Commission, and they have never been made public. Their findings have never been made public! Why?” he queried.

“We need to know why these people [former Zipra fighters] decided to leave the army and in a way, become what may be called dissidents.

“We don’t know for certain. No one has really gone to them and done proper research. I hope this National Peace and Reconciliation Commission will go into such matters and find out what motivated them to get out of the army.”

Msipa believes Zimbabwe went off the rails when Mugabe fired Joshua Nkomo and other Zapu officials from his Cabinet in 1982, after arms of war were allegedly found at one of the party’s farms.

He described the charges Mugabe raised against Nkomo and Zapu as spurious.

Msipa believes the publication of the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe reports will vindicate ex-Zapu cadres and in the process, help Zimbabwe achieve national healing.

The former minister said from his recollection of events, there were less than 100 people who could be described as dissidents.

He said there was no need for the deployment of the army in Matabeleland and Midlands to deal with them. Msipa said when Joshua Nkomo and the entire party leadership — which included Josiah Chinamano and Joseph Msika — were sacked from government, Mugabe retained him along with John Nkomo.

He said at the time, they tried to take the Zanu PF leader head-on and challenged him to prove his claims against Zapu.

The former governor narrated what transpired at one of the meetings, where he confronted Mugabe about the killings.

“When the prime minister called to inform me that he had sacked Joshua Nkomo and others, I asked why and he said: ‘Well, because they are involved in dissident activities,’” said Msipa.

“I said ‘I don’t know, maybe you have information which I don’t have, but I don’t believe in that’.

“I said to him, for example, ‘I know Chinamano is always here in Harare and he is such a peaceful man. I can’t believe that he can be involved in such acts. What do you say to it’?”

Msipa said Mugabe responded by saying: “The trouble with Chinamano is that he never opposes Nkomo publicly’.

“I said, ‘Hey, wait there, [the late Vice-President Simon] Muzenda has never opposed you publicly. Does it mean he agrees with you all the time?’ Then he laughed.”

However, Msipa was subsequently fired and at one of his last Cabinet meeting, he presented a detailed report on Gukurahundi naming all perpetrators and debunking lies that Mugabe had been made to believe by those surrounding him.

“My dismissal towards the end of 1984 was quite dramatic because a week before that, I had presented a report on dissidents’ activities and they listened to me in Cabinet,” he said

“I said, ‘Look gentlemen, I find it most embarrassing to continue to sit here with you when you are killing our people in Matabeleland and the Midlands’. I was very clear.

“I didn’t try to mince my words and Mugabe himself said to me, ‘Look, that is an important issue. You can’t raise it under matters arising’.

“He [Mugabe] said: ‘Next week, we are giving you all the time to present your case in Cabinet. Prepare your case and present it in detail’.”

Msipa detailed how explosive the next Cabinet meeting was as tempers flared, particularly among those who were directly involved in the killings.

“Come Tuesday, after the minutes and matters arising, Mugabe said: ‘Today is a special meeting. We are discussing the problems in Matabeleland, so we are giving the floor to Msipa’,” the veteran politician recounted.

“Everything seemed okay, and he even warned that anyone who interrupted me would be sent out.

“He told everyone in the meeting to ‘take down whatever notes and so on and when he is through you can ask [questions]’.

“So, for an hour, I was speaking about events that were happening. I named people and detailed everything.”

Msipa recalls that after his presentation, others in attendance started firing questions at him and “at one time, it was very tense”.

“John Nkomo lost his temper and said certain things which are unprintable, you know. He insulted others in Ndebele using proper insults. They were deep insults and they almost exchanged [blows], you know”.

“Mugabe handled the whole thing very well. He was listening and at the end, he summed it up and said: ‘This is not the time to be pointing fingers at each other. We must find a solution to the problems at hand. We want peace to prevail.’

“I thought I had done my part. So the next Friday after the Tuesday Cabinet meeting, there was some shooting and killing in Beitbridge, where one of the senators, a Zanu one, was shot dead.

“So Kembo Mohadi [now State Security minister] phoned me to say there were problems. Mohadi back then was not yet in government.

“He said the government wanted to kill us and so on and so on. Back then, the [Home Affairs] minister was Simbi Mubako. I called him in the middle of the night and told him that his government was killing our people in Beitbridge and he said: ‘Hey, what are you talking about? It’s your people who are killing our people. Haven’t they told you that they have killed our senator’?”

Msipa said he asked him what he meant and Mubako responded: “They haven’t told you that they killed Senator Moven Ndou Ndlovu?”

He said he then phoned Mohadi, whom he said in his responses retorted: “That’s not our problem!”

The ex-Midlands governor went on to reveal that it was during the burial of Ndou that Mugabe declared Zapu the “number one enemy of the people” and a decision to fire him (Msipa) and John Nkomo from Cabinet was reached.

“So I got to Mugabe’s office on Monday morning and I found John Nkomo there and we were handed dismissal letters,” he said.

“He [Mugabe] tried to explain that he couldn’t have people sitting in Cabinet that supported dissidents.

“I was very angry and I confronted him. I said: ‘Look, you have the right to fire me, but please, don’t say things which are not truthful.

“You know the truth about these issues and that I have no dealings with these issues, not even Nkomo [Joshua]’. So he then said: ‘Come home let us discuss’,” Msipa added.

He, however, contends Mugabe knows the truth about Gukurahundi. Msipa said the country’s economic misfortunes could be traced back to the massacres as Mugabe’s government appeared to lose direction from that period.

Mugabe has described the Gukurahundi era as a “moment of madness”, but is yet to apologise for the killings.

But Msipa said the peace ushered in by the 1987 Unity Accord signed between Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo should be cherished through peaceful elections where the army was not involved, as this [army involvement] went against the dictates of the armed struggle.

The former politburo member left politics in 2014 due to old age and increasing factional fighting in Zanu PF.

Fearless AG Mildred Chiri vows to expose corruption

Source: Fearless AG Mildred Chiri vows to expose corruption – The Standard June 26, 2016

EVERY year the Auditor-General Midred Chiri produces reports exposing corruption in government departments, local authorities and parastatals but none of them has led to the prosecution of people implicated in the pilferage, neither has there been any efforts to recover the lost revenue.

Chiri’s office last week produced three reports and she lived up to her reputation of shining light into the darkest government corridors as she exposed brazen corruption involving tenders and ghost workers.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa presented the reports covering State enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) and local authorities as well as audits of fund accounts run by ministries.

The reports revealed losses of several millions of dollars through lack of good corporate governance, failure to repay loans resulting in accrual of interest, gross financial mismanagement, fraudulent activities and other financial misdeeds.

in an interview with The Standard last week, Chiri said she remained committed to exposing graft and would not be intimidated by anyone.

“The AG is not scared to expose corruption through the Auditor-General’s reports because she will be executing her mandate as provided for in the constitution,” she told The Standard last Friday.

“As you may be aware, the AG’s reports incorporate management comments provided by the board or accounting officers of ministries, SEPs, or Local Government, and this gives a balanced view.”

She said as a follow-up on her reports, boards and accounting officers of ministries, Local Government and SEPs would be summoned by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) to provide more information and updates on steps to be taken to address issues raised during audits.

“The cases of financial indiscipline are dealt with in line with the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act (Chapter 22:19),” she said.

The Public Financial Management Act provides for appointment of the Accountant General and staff to provide for the regulation and control of public entities, administration and repayment of loans by the State, and matters pertaining to fiscal misconduct of public officials, among others.

“The Auditor-General is mandated to produce an annual report covering the whole of the public sector, which includes central government, parastatals and SEPs, and local authorities,” she said as she explained her job.

“The report may be in three volumes specific to each sub-sector but it is considered as one report.

“Since my appointment, I have been producing the annual reports. In addition to these, I have produced 15 Value For Money reports that were all tabled in Parliament,” she added.

Chiri said her motivation to expose corruption and irregularities was guided by international auditing standards.

The AG welcomed Chinamasa’s recent announcement that a Bill to deal with issues of corporate governance would be brought before Parliament.

“I believe that to some extent, as an addition to the current controls, the Bill, if crafted into law, will enhance accountability,” Chiri said.

In some countries, the PAC sits with members of the Anti-Corruption Commission and police so that they immediately arrest corrupt government officials implicated in the scams, or get further information that might assist them in investigating corruption.

Chiri said she valued the work of the PAC in interrogating audit reports.

“Communication already exists between PAC, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc),” she said.

“The law can always take its course even without the presence of the ZRP in the PAC meetings interrogating audit reports.”

Despite exposing a lot of fraudulent activities at government institutions and local authorities, Chiri said her office was not spared from challenges facing government institutions such as lack of resources.

“I feel that the powers of the AG’s Office as given by the Constitution are adequate as there are other arms of government to collaborate with,” she said.

According to Chiri, there has been an improvement in the implementation of some of the recommendations she makes in her reports regarding accountability.

Chiri was appointed Comptroller and Auditor General on February 24 2004 before the post was changed to Auditor-General through the new Constitution.

She holds a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Zimbabwe and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (FCIS) as member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca), and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

She is also a registered public accountant (RPACC) and currently she is studying for a Masters in Business Administration.

Her stint in the government audit department began in 1983 when she joined the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General as an audit assistant, and rose through the ranks to the position of Comptroller and Auditor General (now Auditor-General).

Some of her achievements include managing to clear a backlog of the annual Comptroller and Auditor General’s reports which had lagged behind since the year 2000.

She is also acclaimed for reformatting the annual reports to include key audit findings which are then presented in a narrative form in response to stakeholders’ concerns that the audit reports needed to be simpler and easier to understand, as opposed to being too technical.

Among her plans to improve the office’s output, Chiri wants to expand the Value for Money and Information Technology units, as well as introduce Forensic and Procurement Audit units, and professionalising her office and staff.

Among the accolades she won in her career is the Chartered Secretary of the year award for 2010 from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) for promoting transparency and accountability in the Auditor-General’s office. In 2016 she received an award from the Women’s Institute of Leadership called the Women’s Top Leadership Excellence Award for the Government Sector.

She is a board member of the Intosai Development Initiative — a Norway-based international organisation that capacitates supreme audit institutions (Auditor-General’s offices) through training.

Chiri is also in the governing board of African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions, and is immediate past vice-president of Afrosai-E for English speaking countries.

Mugabe fails to douse Masvingo fire

Source: Mugabe fails to douse Masvingo fire – The Standard June 26, 2016

Zanu PF could be headed for a split after President Robert Mugabe yesterday failed to contain serious divisions in Masvingo amid accusations that he appeared to have sided with one faction.

By Tatenda Chitagu

The ruling party is torn between two factions — G40 which is linked to First Lady Grace Mugabe and another group said to be loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe, who yesterday flew to Chiredzi aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane to try to quell the raging fights in Masvingo, left Triangle Country Club an angry man after witnessing the two factions squaring up in front of him.

The meeting with MPs from Masvingo was a follow up to another one he held with some of the legislators at State House three weeks ago.

There was a strict screening of participants to the closed door meeting which lasted five hours with many officials linked to Mnangagwa being shut out.

While the meeting was said to be for legislators, provincial youth leader Nobert Ndaarombe, women’s league chairperson Veronica Makonese and provincial chairperson Amatha Nenjana, who are linked to G40, were allowed to attend.

But provincial war veterans chairperson Tendeukai Chinoonka, former Cabinet minister Paul Mangwana, retired brigadier general Livingstone Chineka and provincial secretary Ailes Baloyi among others linked to Mnangagwa’s faction were chucked out by Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

Many of Mnangagwa’s supporters had no kind words for Mugabe and threatened to leave Zanu PF if the 92-year-old leader continued to show bias.

“Why were we barred yet G40 members were allowed inside? If they do not want to hear our side, we will leave the party,” said a provincial executive member.

Sources who attended the meeting said Zanu PF Masvingo political godfather and politburo member Josaya Hungwe and Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa were hammered in front of Mugabe for trying to prop up Mnangagwa.

Earlier on Mugabe had a one and half hour briefing with Hungwe, Mahofa, Home Affairs minister Ignatious Chombo, Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, Kasukuwere, Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora and Chief Fortune Charumbira.

After the meeting which ended well after 6pm, Mugabe left in a huff without addressing the hordes of Zanu PF supporters milling outside the venue, which was uncharacteristic of him.

Asked to comment, Chombo could only say: “This was a fair and candid meeting by the party. We are going to have another one after this one.”

Govt to inject $50m bond notes by year-end

Source: Govt to inject $50m bond notes by year-end – The Standard June 26, 2016

GOVERNMENT expects to inject $50 million in bond notes into the economy by the end of year despite resistance from the general public.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

The bond notes will be introduced under the $200 million export incentive facility guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the cost of the facility, which was around 5% per annum on drawn down amounts, would be borne by government. He said the capital would be preserved from the proportion of the exports supported by the facility.

“At the rate at which the country is exporting, we anticipate that bond notes equivalent to around $50 million will be in the market by end of December 2016,”he said.

Last month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya said he would introduce bond notes in the form of a 5% export incentive as one of the measures to address the cash shortages gripping the economy.

The bond notes will be in denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $20.

However, the move has been met with resistance from the public, who see it as an attempt to revive the Zimbabwean dollar which was decommissioned last year.
The local unit was dumped in 2009 in favour of a multicurrency regime that had the United States dollar, South African rand, Botswana pula and the British pound.

RBZ contends that the facility is meant to incentive exports, with exporters receiving an additional 5% of their export proceeds in bond notes. RBZ said an exporter would receive a 5% incentive on any exports which would be given by the bank after a request has been made to the central bank.

Chinamasa said the bond notes would be at par with the United States dollar and no one would be forced to use them, especially if they were not exporters.

The country’s main exports are platinum, gold, tobacco, ferrochrome and chrome, which are Zimbabwe’s highest foreign currency earners.

Chinamasa said the central bank was monitoring cash deposit trends within the various banks, where it was generally noted that cash deposits had declined by an average of 40% during the month of May 2016.

He said RBZ was assessing banking trends for high cash generators that included wholesalers, retailers, fuel dealers and mobile phone companies. The exercise started on June 3.

Chinamasa said some players were selling cash, engaging in illicit deals and were not depositing cash.

Analysts say high bank charges and low interest on deposits were chasing away depositors.

Zanu-PF gears for 2018 polls

Source: Zanu-PF gears for 2018 polls | The Herald June 25, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zanu-PF has started strategising for the 2018 harmonised elections and this week launched the first meeting of the Political Mobilisation Sub-Committee tasked with knitting strategies for the polls. This comes as the revolutionary party has also begun to revamp its administrative systems to enhance viability, vibrancy and best practices.

Secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo is spearheading the exercise and is moving around provinces holding workshops with provincial secretaries for administration and chairpersons.

He was in Mashonaland East on Thursday and next week will be in Manicaland before heading to Mashonaland Central.

“Sound administration will help us to institute efficiency early, warning systems, correctly project election patterns and results and in addition to mount an effective campaign and mobilisation strategy,” said Cde Chombo to party members in Marondera.

“Sound and efficient party administration should be our everyday motto. It is my wish through these visits to share ideas and examine current systems, experiences and guide each other on how we can work in a methodical, synchronised manner with provincial and district offices. There are always advantages derived from a culture of doing things right all the time and it will be most appreciated if we were all, with one accord, to adapt such a work ethic.”

Cde Chombo said the ultimate purpose of the strategies was for Zanu-PF to win elections and govern forever.

“These elections are now just 24 months away,” he said.

“So whatever we do, let us be vigilant about the MDCs, People First, other political parties and NGOs. We must win the 2018 elections so that we continue to govern the country and create employment for our members.”

Cde Chombo said the welfare of party employees such as accommodation, medical aid and funeral assistance would be tackled during the visits.

“We are also interrogating the possibility of moving the medical aid contributions to another insurer,” he said.

“The Employee Committee at party headquarters has been mandated with engaging the Minister of Local Government and all local authorities with the view of securing housing stands for party employees in the areas they reside or work.”

Cde Chombo said the departments of administration, commissariat and finance were seized with the issue of new electronic party cards members paid for.

Govt loses millions to AWOL educators •Audit unearths massive absenteeism in schools •160 heads, teachers miss official head count

Source: Govt loses millions to AWOL educators •Audit unearths massive absenteeism in schools •160 heads, teachers miss official head count | The Herald June 25, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter—
The Auditor-General’s Office has unearthed massive absenteeism at schools after auditors found over 160 headmasters, deputy headmasters and teachers absent from their workplaces without leave. To that end, the AG’s office said there were high chances that this was prevalent in most schools which would see the State paying them for days they did not work for.

In the 2015 civil service audit report, AG Mrs Mildred Chiri said Government could be prejudiced of about $2,5 million per year through unsanctioned and undocumented absenteeism from workstations.

“The audit exercise established that in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, school heads, deputy heads and teachers were away from their stations without official leave,” said Mrs Chiri.

“For example, there were no leave documents to justify the absence of 48 school heads, 10 deputy heads and 106 teachers on the day of the head count. “From Table 44 below, this trend could be prevalent throughout the year and may be practised by an estimated 11 600 teachers with an establishment of around 166 000 teachers.

“Assuming that 10 percent of teachers absent themselves at least one day per month on average, it is possible to conclude that Government could be prejudiced of about $2 449 920 per annum through unsanctioned and undocumented absenteeism from workstations.”

Mrs Chiri said the 48 headmasters who were absent for a day cost the State about $11 000 per year while the 10 deputy headmasters who were absent per day cost about $2 200 per year.

The 106 teachers who were absent cost about $22 500 per year for every day they were absent without leave. The AG’s Office recommended that there must be 100 percent compliance with the Public Service Regulations (2000) on leave management.

“Members should proceed on any type of leave only after the approved leave application form is received at the member’s station. An approved copy of application for leave form should always be retained at the work station.

“The commission (Public Service Commission) shall raise a disallowance against all members who were absent without official leave on the day of the head count according to levels of responsibility with effect from May 1, 2015,” said Mrs Chiri.

Tsvangirai’s ill-health fuels MDC-T power struggle

Source: Tsvangirai’s ill-health fuels MDC-T power struggle | The Herald June 25, 2016

Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
The opposition MDC-T has been thrown into succession mode following what is seen as the deteriorating health of its leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, The Herald has learnt. Mr Tsvangirai, who is suffering from an undisclosed ailment and last month underwent a surgical procedure in South Africa, has been unwell for some time.

On Thursday, he was billed “to lead from the front” a rally in the eastern border city of Mutare but had to shelve it for “a routine medical review”, according to his party and spokesperson.

In a party that has strong factional undercurrents, sources revealed that Mr Tsvangirai’s present ill health had fed into frenzied jockeying for his position.

Mr Tsvangirai was unlikely to lead the party into the 2018 harmonised elections, sources claimed.

“This is due to a combination of factors including his inability to defeat President Mugabe since 2000. For him to stand in 2018 will be expecting a repeat of the same result,” said an impeccable party source.

“He has gone past his sell-by date, and that is why he was long ago challenged to become the Mandela of the party, if you recall. His present ill health only complicates matters for him,” added the source.

It is also understood that the Western countries that back the opposition outfit are looking beyond Mr Tsvangirai.

The fight to succeed Mr Tsvangirai has been seen to be pitting vice president Thokhozani Khupe and former national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, who was denied the position of secretary-general at the party’s congress in 2014.

Despite being temporarily emasculated by the loss to Mr Douglas Mwonzora, Mr Chamisa commands a lot of support from the structures and membership.

The contending factions in the party have denied any angling for the top job with Mr Chamisa describing Mr Tsvangirai as his “father”.

“But you should also bear in mind that Mwonzora, given his role as SG is in a good position and increasingly he has used that powerful position to angle for leadership,” claimed another source.

Mr Mwonzora could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, yesterday dismissed the speculation around his boss’ crown.

“The Herald is trying to equalise the MDC with Zanu-PF,” he shot back.

“There is no one jockeying for any position in the MDC and the so-called ructions are a figment of your imagination.

“For the record, President Tsvangirai has a very good relationship with his deputy, Hon. Thokozani Khupe, and the rest of the standing committee which has stood by him in his current indisposition.

“As I have said, Mr Tsvangirai is only worried about the health of the country’s economy. Mr Tsvangirai is in high spirits and he is recovering,” he said.

He said Mr Tsvangirai’s no show in Mutare was because “we had to bring forward the march and the new dates coincided with his routine review”.

Party spokesman Mr Obert Gutu said the party stood by their leader.

“(p)resident Morgan Tsvangirai is our best foot forward; he is the real deal,” he said.

“We are all of us solidly united behind our leader. Any talk to the contrary is just but bar talk fuelled by lazy and misdirected people who have nothing better to do with their time.”

The original MDC formed in 1999 suffered a major split in 2005 followed by minor splinters that saw the likes of Prof Welshman Ncube, and Messrs Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma forming their own parties.

President to whip Masvingo into line

Source: President to whip Masvingo into line | The Herald June 25, 2016

From George Maponga in Masvingo—
PRESIDENT Mugabe descends on Chiredzi today to meet the entire Zanu-PF leadership in Masvingo province, including the 26 National Assembly representatives and senators as part of efforts to unite the province. The visit by the Zanu-PF First Secretary follows complaints by some legislators who recently engaged President Mugabe and briefed him on problems affecting the party in Masvingo.

The President is expected to meet the Zanu-PF Masvingo leadership led by Politburo member Cde Josaya Hungwe and ruling party legislators from across the province in a bid to unite the party and make sure Masvingo remains a ‘’one-party state’’.

Cde Hungwe yesterday confirmed President Mugabe’s visit saying the entire Zanu-PF leadership in Masvingo would be in the Lowveld to meet the Zanu-PF First Secretary and President.

‘’We will be meeting President Mugabe in Chiredzi tomorrow (today) after he called the entire Zanu-PF leadership to go there in the wake of complaints by some Members of Parliament who were not happy with certain things. So the President said both parties should be there so that one side can put forward their allegations with the other side defending itself,’’ he said.

‘’I cannot disclose issues that will be discussed but we will only know the agenda after attending the meeting. We were just summoned by the President and we are all going there together with the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs (Senator Shuvai Mahofa),’’ he added.

Cde Hungwe said the ruling party in Masvingo was expected to come out of the meeting with President Mugabe strong and united.

Acting Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana corroborated Cde Hungwe’s statement saying Zanu- PF would emerge stronger from the meeting with President Mugabe.

‘’You will recall that some Members of Parliament from Masvingo met President Mugabe and raised a number of concerns over the state of affairs in the ruling party in Masvingo, so the President is coming to solve the problems so that we work as a united team,’’ he said.

‘’It is our hope that after the meeting the ruling party in Masvingo will be pulling in the same direction. There are also other requests that we would want to make to our President as a province and we are looking forward to the meeting,’’ added Cde Nhenjana.

Masvingo has been beset with problems which culminated in the “demotion’’ of some senior members of the ruling party provincial executive.

Provincial commissar Cde Jappy Jaboon, Youth League chair Cde Nobert Ndaarombe and Women’s League boss Cde Veronica Makonese were demoted by the ruling party provincial co-ordinating committee but the demotion was reversed by the Zanu-PF Politburo.

Zanu-PF is the dominant force in Masvingo after it swept all the 26 National of Assembly seats in the 2013 harmonised elections.

‘Ghost workers’ haunt Govt

Source: ‘Ghost workers’ haunt Govt | The Herald June 25, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
THE Auditor-General’s Office has confirmed 12 500 people are providing services to Government chewing about $85 million annually yet they are not on its payroll. In her audit report, Mrs Mildred Chiri also said that about 3 500 employees on the Government payroll were unaccounted for yet were drawing annual salaries worth about $21 million.

She said this was highly suspicious.

“Twelve thousand three hundred and ninety two (12 392) persons found to be rendering services and not appearing on the payroll are a committed expenditure translating to $81 147 840 per annum,” reads the report.

“It has been observed that 96 percent (11 813) of these members are from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. “This has the effect of distorting the payroll leaving the system open to abuse in the form of members being allowed to provide services without authority.

“Thereafter, they will request payment for services rendered since there is a legal obligation for the State to pay for services provided, which in essence, amounts to committed expenditure on behalf of Government.”

The AG said the Public Service Commission had set out procedures and timelines for appointment documents to be processed and submitted to the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) as well as mechanisms to flush out irregular appointments.

Mrs Chiri said the PSC would identify and charge officials who failed to follow these rules.

“Three thousand three hundred and seven (3 307) members on the payroll were unaccounted for during the head count drawing a salary of $1 761 200 per month translating to $21 134 400 per annum (highly suspect members).

“Since 3 307 members on payroll could not be accounted for, the potential prejudice to the State translates to $21 134 400 per annum. There is a high risk that Government is paying members who are not rendering services.

“The above figure can actually cater for a number of ministries’ employment costs for a whole year.

“In view of the foregoing observation, it is therefore necessary to cease salaries and allowances of the affected members with effect from 1 May 2015. The fact that 3 307 members on the payroll could not be accounted for also indicates a system failure in terms of the pay sheet acquittals by heads of offices, human resources officers and heads of departments in line ministries.

“The speedy finalisation of the Statutory Instrument for Human Resource Directors cannot be overemphasised,” said Mrs Chiri.

To that end, the AG came up with recommendations to plug the loopholes, among them ceasing and recovering payments made to people who are not on the Government payroll which would save about $21 million per annum.

“The commission (PSC) should identify and charge members who failed to process and submit appointment documents within the set timelines.

“The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs should expedite the promulgation of the Statutory Instrument so that human resources directors are accountable to the Public Service Commission.

“The head of Ministry for Primary and Secondary Education should put in place measures to ensure that the human resource supervisory mechanisms are effectively functional,” said Mrs Chiri.

Harare Hospital scores a first with ear clinic

Source: Harare Hospital scores a first with ear clinic | The Herald June 25, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Harare Children’s Hospital, in partnership with a non-governmental organisation WizEar, has opened a new clinic specialising in diagnosis and treatment of children with ear, nose and throat conditions. The clinic, which is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and in Africa, is expected to offer consultation services to over 6 000 patients, and assess over 2 500 audiology cases over the next three years.

It is also expected to consult over 2 500 cases of children with speech difficulties and conduct about 1 400 paediatric ear, nose and throat surgeries.

In addition, about 1 000 people with hearing problems are expected to benefit from hearing assistive devices over the same period.

Apart from setting up the audiology unit, the whole project looks forward to improve ear medical care in six provincial hospitals across the country, through the provision of medical equipment and training of health personnel.

Officially opening the unit in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the project was made possible through a donation of 660 000 euros by the German Cooperation and the Christian Blind Mission.

The Beit Trust also donated audiology equipment worth nearly $65 000 through the Harare Children’s Hospital Trust. Dr Parirenyatwa applauded the assistance from the all the partners saying it fell within his ministry’s vision of providing quality health services to the people.

“Through collaborations such as this one, Government is finding creative and innovative ways of increasing access to quality healthcare services for our population. We look forward to more such collaborations between non-governmental organisations and Government institutions,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said at least 6,8 percent of all children in Zimbabwe suffer from ear problems – a figure that is higher than the regional prevalence rate of about 6 percent.

The prevalence is even higher in children with HIV, where the prevalence rate is about 32 percent, and this further compromises their spoken language, literacy and numeracy skills.

“Children with hearing loss are prone to loneliness, social isolation, stigma and discrimination, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. This results in a poor quality of life, and decreased employability later in life,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Importers slate govt over licence gaffe

Source: Importers slate govt over licence gaffe – The Zimbabwe Independent June 25, 2016

Importers have blasted government after it hastily gazetted stringent regulations meant to control importation of goods under Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which has resulted in trucks accumulating demurrage at the border post, amid revelations that those who are supposed to sign for import licences were not available.

By Fidelity Mhlanga

Last Friday the Ministry of Industry and Commerce gazetted stringent regulations with effect from July ,meant to control the importation of goods available locally under SI 64 of 2016, but customs officials at Beitbridge Border Post reacted by enforcing the regulations the following day.

One importer, whose goods are valued at R1,2 million, has been stuck at the border post since last Saturday, said government erred and acted irresponsibly by hurriedly introducing the SI without proper communication thereby triggering chaos.

“Naturally, despite promises of rush release of licences, the ministry is failing to issue all licences on time. Whoever is supposed to sign licences is not available to sign them. Licences have still not been issued by the Ministry of Industry, so since Friday trucks are stuck (here at the border). For all importers trucks are accruing demurrage of anything from US$300 to US$500 per day,” he said on Wednesday.

He added: “They should have waived it for goods that were being transported and now stuck at the border. Then if you go to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to waive this and they say we don’t have to put a temporary licence. They should order the Zimbabwe Revenue Athority to waive and release goods which were already in transit.

The Shipping and Forwarding Agents’ Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ) was told the ministry will give them a licence”.

The import licence fee valid for three months is pegged at US$30.

A letter gleaned by this paper on Wednesday signed by SFAAZ chairman Felix Nyaruwanga to the association members reads: “We wish to advise you that we held the meeting with Ms Makombe, director Enterprise Development at the ministry of Industry and Commerce offices and she stated that the position of window period is not being accepted but that for all cargo that require import licences at the borders or airports they will speed up issuance of import licenses which must not take more than 3 days.

“She introduced us to her team who are handling the licenses and she stated that we should approach the members of the team. ”

Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders Association secretary-general Augustine Tawanda said most traders were caught unaware and inconvenienced, adding that government acted in an irresponsible manner when it announced the SI.

“We have been complaining about this issue that it has caused a lot of inconvenience. Applying this policy is inhumane. People were ambushed. We were not aware. We were still busy engaging government about the previous rebate. I am actually receiving calls from our members who are at the border,” he said.

Economist Eddie Cross said government policy was ill-advised and will not address the real problems besetting the economy.

“We are doing this too often — rush to print ill-considered policy measures which will not address our real problems, but in the process make life more difficult for everyone,” he said.

“I am afraid this is typical of government — no prior consultation. Rushing to print and then imposing the new controls at the border immediately. I am glad the people took the law into their own hands and did what they did.

It is time that they know that we let them know we will not be taken for granted. I do not think import controls will contribute anything to the crisis we are in at present,” he said.

Cross said the country’s manufacturing sector is reeling in dire stress and introduction of the policy will trigger massive smuggling of goods at the country’s border posts.

“I think it will take many years to get our manufacturing sector back and functioning properly. What we need is to learn how to compete in price and quality with imports and not hide behind controls. Smuggling will grow and negate the gains made anyway,” he said.

However, responding to questions in Parliament from MDC-T MP for Harare Central Murisi Zwizwai about the rationale behind the SI on Wednesday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the move will reduce the import bill by restricting importation of goods that can be locally produced.

“The Statutory Instrument merely removes goods from the general import licence. For you to import those goods you now have to apply for the licence. Part of our challenge is the import deficit. We are importing more than we are exporting.

“We are operating in an over liberalised foreign currency economy so we want to limit the use of foreign currency and these are some of the measures we are taking to address the import bill. We have been supporting local firms so we know what can be locally produced. Let’s support Zimbabwe,” Chinamasa told parliament.

Goods that have been removed from the general import licence and now required a permit to be brought into the country include coffee creamers (Cremora), camphor creams, white petroleum jellies, synthetic hair products and body creams.

Goods categorised as builders’ ware like wheelbarrows (flat pan and concrete pan wheelbarrows), structures and parts of structures of iron or steel (bridges and bridges section, lock gates, towers, lattice masts, roofs, roofing frameworks, doors, windows and their frames and threshold for doors, shutters, balustrade, pillars and columns) and plates, rods, angles, shapes section and tubes prepared for use in structures of iron and steelware, were also put on the list of restricted products.

The list also includes furniture, baked beans, potato crisps, cereals, bottled water, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese.

Fast track land reform crippled the economy

This is the third in a series of articles extracted from a report done by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) titled Conflict or Collapse? Zimbabwe in 2016. ‘

Source: Fast track land reform crippled the economy – The Zimbabwe Independent June 25, 2016

3.3.5 The economy

It is banal to point out that the economy is in deep trouble. The transformations brought about by the “Fast Track Land Reform Programme” (FTLRP), led directly to the collapse of commercial farming and the manufacturing sector and the consequent displacement of millions of workers and a man-made humanitarian crisis. The long period of ineffective economic management — the short period of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) excluded — have informalised the economy to such an extent that some estimate 90% of employment is petty trade, vending, and artisanal mining.

Mining is now the major foreign currency earner, but all economic actors are hamstrung by the lack of a clear and consistent policy direction from government. Furthermore, the possibilities of revenue from diamonds have been wholly dissipated by opaque policies, elite capture of the resource, and now massive dissimulation about the loss of revenue. Endemic corruption and policy contradictions have resulted in both capital flight and disinterest by many external players in direct investment. As regards the latter, remittances are probably a far greater contributor to the economy than Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), but the former has little direct effect upon the economy since very little enters the formal economy through tax or savings. Added to the equation are the collapsing infrastructure and the costs of rotten roads, erratic power, poor sewage and sanitation as cities become hubs for those fleeing rural collapse, especially with current and future impact of climate change and the severe drought.

3.3.6 Land and food

Issues around land reform are subject to the same policy inconsistencies that affect other areas of the economy. However, the most serious implication of the FTLRP is in connection with food security. According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac), 1,49 million people of the rural population would be food insecure during the peak hunger period between January and March 2016. This figure has proved to be conservative, with the effects of the El Nino influenced drought having a much larger effect on cropping.

The original figure has been drastically revised, and ZimVac now estimates that three million Zimbabweans will be food insecure in 2016-2017.

While it is obvious that drought cannot be avoided, planning for drought can be and here the abandonment of any planning and the absence of policy have exacerbated the situation enormously, leaving millions of Zimbabweans, both rural and urban, at risk of extreme hunger and even starvation. The downstream effects are difficult to gauge, but some recurrent themes are suggested.

Firstly, rural citizens will require food assistance on a very large scale, and this will make them vulnerable to patronage and coercion around food hand-outs. This has been a recurring theme in past elections, and already there are allegations about violations involving food (ZPP, 2016). This is well documented and there is an extensive literature on the links between land, food, patronage, and coercion (Hammar, Raftopoulos & Jensen, 2003; International Crisis Group (ICG).

Secondly, the informalising of the economy has resulted in deepening poverty and, with Zimbabweans now existing on greatly reduced income, daily hunger has now become a feature of urban existence itself.

Data from the Afrobarometer surveys of 2012 and 2014, based on citizen opinion and asking the questions how often have you gone without food in the past year and how often have you gone without cash income in the past year, provides an interesting insight into Zimbabweans. The contrast was between those that reported these events, always or many times, with those that reported less frequency, never just once or twice, or several times. This suggests two findings of empirical content.

Firstly, the correlation between lack of income and food is highly significant for both years, which suggests that there will be synergies between drought, poverty and hunger. This should be expected.

Secondly, these changes point to two other issues of concern for any understanding of possible conflict. One has been highlighted already; the vulnerability of rural people to food violations and patronage. The other issue relates to the possibility of urban unrest, exacerbated by hunger. Zimbabwe has only seen one major upheaval related to economic adversity, the Food Riots of 1998 (HRF, 1999) that was sparked by both economic adversity and increased food prices. It is not improbable that similar events could emerge in the near future, and the strong turnout for the MDC-T march in April 2016 suggests growing frustration and anger with people coalescing around the question of what happened to the diamond profits. There is also evidence of increasing protests over failure to provide public goods and services. The growing frustration with the poor quality of social services has been evident in all Afrobarometer surveys since 1999 (see Table 6 in Section 2.3.2). This single issue eclipses all other areas of potential civic concern and indeed may prove to be a trigger for future unrest.

It is universally agreed that commercial agriculture has collapsed since the land invasions of 2000. Most point to the on-going collapse of agriculture as rooted in the failure to develop an effective land policy and the distribution of multiple holdings to a small political elite, who for the most part have not used them productively. Many of these “new farmers” have allowed viable farms to become derelict, whilst more invasions still take place. Recently, in response to the complaints of the war veterans, President Robert Mugabe threatened even to take over some 300 or more farms remaining in the hands of white Zimbabweans. Most recently, there is the threat to remove 18 000 families that illegally occupied former white commercial farms, and also the displacement of Matabeleland farmer, David Connolly. The confusions in land policy thus continue, which may not be encouraging for foreign investors.

Supporters of FTLRP point to a substantial body of successful new farmers who have been lifted out of poverty by the policies (Scoones et al. 2010), but this is disputed by other researchers (Zamchiya. 2014). It is certainly doubtful that these farmers will produce any food surplus during the worst drought in 35 years.

Overall, the tenure of those allocated land under FTLRP is highly insecure with even the elite losing farms once they fall out of political favour. There have been strong attempts to implement a lease arrangement for these beneficiaries, but efforts are tenuous as most banks remain unconvinced of the financial backing for such an arrangement and mistrustful given the continual re-allocations of properties. Land tenure is now a feature in the succession struggle, with suspended or expelled members of Zanu PF having their farms appropriated, and on-going invasions of commercial farms owned by white farmers.

3.3.7 Rule of law and investment

The disregard of the rule of law did not merely apply to the problems in dealing with opposition political parties, civil society and commercial farmers, but has become a major problem for the economy, beginning with the violations of property rights that began with the seizure of farms in 2000. However, the blunt disregard of property rights was merely the next step in a series of seemingly irrational economic decisions prior to 2000. Beginning in 1997 with the unbudgeted payments to the war veterans, and subsequent collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar, this was followed by the involvement of Zimbabwe in the DRC conflict, and these two decisions led to the suspension of Zimbabwe from bi-lateral support by the World Bank and the IMF.

The land invasions signalled contempt for the most fundamental basis for any investment, made even worse by the breaching of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs). Added to these were the disregard of international treaties and agreements such as the Harare Declaration of the Commonwealth, the Cotonou Agreement, and the decisions of SADC Tribunal. If this was not bad enough for foreign investors, the government resorted to hyperinflationary printing of money, and finally the implementing of a discriminatory indigenisation policy.

This last has been the cause of complete confusion, mostly because of the conflicting policy statements emanating from the government. Much of the confusion arises from a (deliberate) misconstruing of the Indigenisation Act. As Derek Matyszak has pointed out, in a number of detailed analyses of the legislation, it has been incorrectly interpreted, in most of the literature, media and public discourse, to mean that all non-indigenous companies (including those owned by white Zimbabweans together with the foreign companies) had to cede 51% of their shares to “indigenous” Zimbabweans (Matyszak, 2011(b)). The effect is that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Zimbabwe, presently at much reduced levels and vital for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, will be withheld until Zimbabwe‘s indigenisation laws are clarified.

This may now have been resolved with the latest statement by the President, but this will need to stand the test of time, as the President has a well-documented habit of reneging on his previous views.

While adherence to the rule of law is crucial to creating business confidence, and is addressed in the Lima Agreement (GOZ, 2015), albeit in most terse terms, equally critical to business confidence and investors is coherent policy. However, it has been the case since at least 2014 that all experts are agreed that the Zimbabwe government needs to address at least five major policy issues before economic stability can be achieved and foreign direct investment will find an attractive home”:

Policy consistency and an end to conflicting policy positions emerging from within the government. Here, for example, can be evidenced the conflicting statements from Patrick Chinamasa and Patrick Zhuwao (Matyszak, 2016(b));

Clear commitment to the protection of property rights;

Clarity on the indigenisation policy. This may now be clear, but time only well tell;

A comprehensive land audit, leading to the development of an effective agricultural and land policy. This is seen as critical to future employment, with agriculture seen as one of the drivers in the economy;

The rehabilitation of the parastatal sector. This sector contains a number of critical components for economic recovery. Here various parastatals, such as the National Railways of Zimbabwe, are critical to economic recovery, and most are in a parlous state, with both massive inefficiency and corruption identified. (Sapes & NED, 2014).

While the Lima Agreement outlines 10 areas for reform, and does mention both public enterprise reform and the rule of law, adherence to the rule of law is dealt with in seven short sentences and dealing with corruption, expressed as a reform area, is not discussed at all.

Incidentally, all of these recommendations find some echo in the views of ordinary citizens, and their concerns about the delivery of public goods and services (see section 2.3.5 above).

These concerns of the citizens seem unlikely to receive much attention in the very short term, and it is more likely that increasing poverty and hardship will be their lot until the political crisis is resolved.


l To be continued next week.

‘Zim being run by fools’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe leads a government of “arrogant men” who have pillaged the country with no moral reason to remain in power, respected United States-based Zimbabwean academic Ken Mufuka has said.

Source: ‘Zim being run by fools’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

In a no-holds-barred presentation at a public discussion hosted by the Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes) Trust on Thursday, Mufuka said Mugabe and his band of former guerrilla fighters had hoodwinked the nation that they were socialists, while they amassed wealth for themselves.

“Zimbabwe’s problems have been self-imposed by arrogant men who have learnt nothing from the past and from their neighbours,” Mufuka, a lecturer at Lander University in the US, said.

Former Cabinet minister and opposition Zimbabwe People First senior official Sylvester Nguni, who was also a discussant at the event, however, said wrong policies had ruined a strong economy at independence.

“We did not learn from what happened in Botswana and Zambia. Botswana had nothing at independence, but worked hard to exploit and invest income from diamonds. On the other hand, Zambia had a relatively good economy, but ran it to the ground,” he said.

“Having had the privilege to sit in Cabinet, I am not sure I would say these people are arrogant. I think they are innocently ignorant if there is something like that.”

Nguni said Mugabe had unquestionable power in Cabinet.

“I did not see anyone propose a different view to that of the person who chaired Cabinet (Mugabe),” he added.

With Zimbabwe reeling under the weight of a debilitating economic, social and political crisis as well as a crippling cash shortage that has seen the re-emergence of queues at banks, Mufuka argued the country was not broke.

“In any case, Zimbabwe is not broke. How can we be broke when we have gold, diamonds, platinum? We have the same minerals, if not more than what South Africa has,” he said

“And they have confessed the high and mighty that in the last 10 years, more than $15 billion of diamond proceeds has been stolen. It is not that we are a poor country; we are simply managed by foolish men.”

Mugabe early this year claimed at least $15 billion of the country’s diamond revenues had been spirited to foreign lands, but did not provide details of how.

Said Mufuka: “The common denominator in the looting of the country is that the looters have authority to write cheques. They are not stealing, but looting by people who are trustees of our money. The problem is that these looters walk proudly in Jerusalem with Peter and John, while the generality suffers. The problem is not the economy, but the dearth of moral leadership. To see only the superficial symptoms and mistake them for the disease is wrong.”

He said another problem was a legal system that seemed to protect the rich and powerful.

“Those who are highly regarded most esteemed in their circles are looting our country. But none of them have gone to jail while an ordinary villager, who steals a bull, is jailed to 10 years. The crisis is a lack of moral leadership and without a change of that leadership the economic problems will remain,” Mufuka said.

Employers struggling to remit deductions to NSSA: Chiri

EMPLOYERS are struggling to remit deductions made to employees’ salaries to the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) which was owed $217 million as at December 31, 2015.

Source: Employers struggling to remit deductions to NSSA: Chiri – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

According to the 2015 Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s report, NSSA was also owed close to $200m by government, local authorities and parastatals.

She said the situation might result in NSSA failing to settle current and future pension obligations if they do not follow up on payments.

The majority of Zimbabweans draw their pensions from NSSA, which also embarks on investments in order to keep the pension fund afloat.

The report also stated that the top 10 NSSA debtors owed a total of $100 675 801,56.

The debtors included State employees ($91m), Air Zimbabwe ($1,4m), Chitungwiza Municipality ($720 783), City of Harare ($831 188), Farm and City Centre ($597 315), Harare Water and Sanitation ($631 562), TN Harlequin Luxaire Limited (S618 600), Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation ($1,8m) and Zimbabwe National Water Authority ($1,9m).

Other agencies owed $97m in arrears as at December 31, 2015.

“The authority is deprived of funds for its daily operations and investment opportunities,” Chiri said in the audit report.
“A non-performing debtors’ book creates liquidity challenges which have a direct impact on the Authority’s ability to settle current and future obligations.”

The audit report recommended that NSSA should continue engaging those non-paying government departments and business entities to recover outstanding amounts.

In their response, NSSA management said while some outstanding bills were current, failure of public entities to remit contributions severely affected the authority’s cash flow.

“Efforts have been made to recover outstanding contributions, including garnishees, legal recoveries and entering into payment plans, with some of them bearing fruit,” NSSA was quoted as having told Chiri’s office.

Some of the institutions that promised payment were government, which undertook to issue NSSA with an initial $69m worth of Treasury Bills by end of May 2016 to extinguish the debt balance.

Local authorities such as Chitungwiza, Harare, Harare Water and Sanitation, ZBC and Zinwa, however, agreed on a payment plan.

Outlook and Options Zimbabwe in mid-2016

Descriptions of Zimbabwe’s business environment have at least as many twists and turns as the descriptions of the economies of much more developed countries, but Zimbabwe distinguishes itself from nearly all the others because a very high proportion of the problems are self-inflicted. More accurately, they are inflicted on the country’s business sector by the country’s authorities. In very blunt terms, the country’s formerly impressive productive capacity has come under such a sustained attack that now most of it can barely function.

Source: Outlook and Options Zimbabwe in mid-2016 – The Zimbabwean 26.6.2016

Unfortunately, the nature of this attack had a political objective that was considered to be of overwhelming importance, so much so that all attempts to point out economic consequences were dismissed as irrelevant. These consequences have now solidified into so much damage that only a small number of well-positioned people can be said to have enjoyed the empowerment benefits that were promised to the whole indigenous population. These benefits were supposed to arise from the claimed dramatic increases in earnings that every loyal supporter of government policies would enjoy when they were given collective ownership rights over the country’s productive assets.

Confiscations of land, which was re-allocated to people who were believed to be deserving supporters, is often considered the first of the wealth-redistribution attempts made by government, but a much earlier exercise had seen the withdrawal and redeployment of the foreign exchange allocations and import licenses that had been competed for and awarded to thousands of established businesses. As most of the selected beneficiaries of this empowerment plan discovered that the easiest way to enrich themselves was to sell the allocations and licenses back to the people from whom they had been taken, most of them never learned to make productive use of the funds, but the businesses that recovered their money had to contend with much higher costs.

Empowerment promises that depended on land redistribution then appeared to offer the best options, but as the dispossession of skilled farmers, plus the elimination of billions of dollars-worth of the collateral that had served as the security for most bank loans, caused Zimbabwe’s major productive sectors to suffer a steep decline, government had to turn its attention to new empowerment promises. For these to work, every company started by non-indigenous people was required to relinquish 51% of its shares to indigenous people, none of whom should be expected to pay for them any time soon. And if the companies depended upon mining or natural resources, government declared that no payment would ever be made for their shares.

Curiously, government seemed unconcernedby the consequences of these policy decisions, mainly because they tied in with the “take control of business” objective.Severe licensing restrictions were among the many factors that severely discouraged new manufacturing investment in the 1980s, and the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programme in 1992 was of far more value to retailers that it was to manufacturers. Stores filled with imports and consumers started to turn their backs on local suppliers.

But when Land Acquisition Orders, backed by constitutional amendments, began to cause the eviction of farmers, the falls in agricultural output were quickly followed by further declines in manufacturing. Falls in foreign exchange earnings from agriculture as well as manufacturing then accelerated the country’s shrinking ability to service foreign debts, or to pay for the imports on which the country was becoming increasingly dependent. And all of these caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

A lengthy list of casualties began to emerge from this staggeringly poor set of policy choices. In specific areas, such as employment creation, food security,the textiles industry, pharmaceutical production, steel production, city centre property development, vehicle assembly and consumer goods exports, the sectors have almost collapsed, or they have gone out of business. Even those that have survived, such as the milling industry and the edible oil-expressing firms, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe, are all in severe difficulties, none of which will be solved without expenditures of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.

Perhaps the most spectacular casualty of all was the Zimbabwe dollar. As this broke world records, taking the length of time it did to move its decimal place 25 steps to the left, its destruction can be described as absolute.A consequence of that is, simply, it is not on its way back. No currency can possibly be worthy of respect if it does not have the support it needs from a sound and dependable national productive capacity. When Zimbabwe’s productive capacity was so thoroughly disabled by government policies, and when the same policies were defended and even reinforced by the country’s supreme authorities, the country also ceased to be worthy of respect.

That describes the problem that now has to be overcome. Recent measures by the Reserve Bank barely even address the symptoms, but the inept way they were put across to the public caused misinterpretations and rumours that were enough to prompt and sustain large cash withdrawals from the already depleted balances. Unfortunately, the distrust for the authorities is so severe that if an announcement were made to reverse the latest pronouncements, that retraction would not encourage many people to start banking their cash again. But bank balances remain and appear to be accessible for settling accounts, provided those who have to be paid have bank accounts into which the money can be paid. If it all keeps working, physical cash seems unnecessary, but real money has to be somewhere in the system if it is to keep working. It is in this regard that Zimbabwe has come off the rails.

Because the country is up against a deadline for settling the most pressing component of its total $10 billion debt, this being the arrears now amounting to $1,8 billion, and because it has other international obligations, it is in urgent need of foreign exchange. The most important feature of the recent Reserve Bank measures is not the bond notes at all. It is the decision to demand that the commercial banks release to them at least half of the foreign exchange earned by all the banks’ commodity export clients.

In normal circumstances, a country’s exporters will happily accept that country’s local currency in exchange for the foreign currency it is earning, so the exporters surrender the foreign exchange to their central bank. Exporters can usually settle a good proportion of their payment obligations in their local currency, but when they have to pay for imported raw materials or machines, they will expect to have no difficulty exchanging some of their local money for the foreign exchange that they need.

Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, no local currency is now available to exchange for the foreign currency that the State needs to settle, or even service its international obligations. And to make matters worse, the country’s damaged productive capacity means that it now imports goods worth about twice the amount that it earns from its exports. Because they have no option, the exporters need all of the foreign currency they are earning to settle their local debts, as well as to pay for their imports, so the decision to capture at least half of their export proceeds has placed at risk their ability to pay some of their local accounts as well as to continue generating their exports.

The Reserve Bank’s answer to this is to assure the markets that amounts equivalent to the value of the export proceeds captured from exporters will be credited to the RTGS accounts of the exporters’ banks. RTGS stands for real-time gross settlement, and it means that funds are instantly transferred electronically from one bank account to another, either in the same bank or in another bank, but it has to be a bank in the same country. The real money backing those transactions is supposed to be in the foreign exchange reserves earned by the country’s exporters, part of which is now being sent to the Reserve Bank. More is brought in by foreign investors or tourists, or offered to the country as Balance of Payments support, Budget Support, foreign loans or foreign aid.

Regrettably, Zimbabwe’s policy decisions in recent years and its inability to service its existing debts have disqualified it from receiving Balance of Payments support, Budget Support or further international loans, and foreign investors are almost all severely discouraged by the investment climate. Some foreign aid is arriving, but it usually comes in the form of food. If it arrives as money, the donors have most often identified the people who need it, and to ensure that all of it reaches the targeted communities, they are choosing to bypass government.

As a result, Zimbabwe’s foreign reserves have become so low that they are not sufficient to provide for the rate at which importers want to place orders and pay for goods from foreign suppliers. In its efforts to manage the growing imbalance, the Reserve Bank has established a Priorities List that is intended to regulate the release of foreign exchange to pay for imports. The fact that the trade balance is so severely negative is evidence enough that the country has badly damaged its ability to produce the goods that used to satisfy most of the needs of consumers. Many were even good enough to attract orders from foreign markets.

The damage itself is a complicated mix. Many of the businesses that used to produce excellent consumer goods were not able to update their production methods when price controls were imposed and wiped out company profits. Others could no longer continue when Land Reform caused the eviction of the farmers who were supplying their inputs. As the inflation problems developed into hyperinflation, access then to foreign exchange arrested all forms of investment spending, even affecting basic maintenance of plant and equipment, and by the time that the Zimbabwe dollar collapsed, the entire manufacturing sector was in need of retooling and modernisation. Recapitalisation would have called for massive injections of capital, which could come only from existing external shareholders or new investors, but such people were swept from the board by the imposition of the indigenisation legislation in the first months of 2010.

Zimbabwe’s trades unions then further complicated the scene by demanding wage increases from the already handicapped productive sectors, all of which had to struggle against rising costs while export commodity prices were entering a long, downward slide that might not yet be over. With local productivity remaining low, but wages and other costs rising and the US dollar also appreciating, imported consumer goods became cheaper, while what was left of the list of locally manufactured goods became more expensive. When the prices of almost everything produced in Zimbabwe were higher than the prices of imports, the hopes of building up foreign reserves disappeared.

As the crunch appears to have arrived, the issue of most concern is the real value of the balances represented in the RTGS accounts of the banks. Domestic transactions seem to be carried out smoothly enough, but when the payments are being made for imports, how soon will the sellers be allowed foreign exchange to replace their stocks?

If the money being accumulated by the Reserve Bank is to be used to settle some of government’s foreign commitments, when that money reaches the creditors, the balances in our RTGS accounts will no longer have the needed backing. In practical terms, this will translate into lengthening queues of delayed payments for goods already bought and even longer queues for applications for funds to pay for new imports.

Government is arguing that these conditions should energise Zimbabwe’s entrepreneurs and investors to restart all the closed factories and rebuild local productive capacity. To this end, government’s contribution is a 5% export bonus. Given the scale of the problems that need solving and the fact that we still have in place all the political features that have discouraged investors for years, these government hopes have attracted a great deal of criticism.

As the difference between local goods prices and their imported equivalents is closer to 50% than 5%, the export bonus is being dismissed as irrelevant. For the producers of gold, platinum, diamonds and tobacco, reducing the royalties and levies could have much more easily generated the incentives of that order, but more importantly, they did not need incentivising; all these were being produced only for export markets anyway.

For any consumer goods factory to be reopened, the immediate need will be for foreign exchange to pay for new machinery and stocks of raw materials. As such funding can come only from abroad, and as Zimbabwe’s credit rating has fallen to the bottom of the scale, the only source of such funds would be courageous investors. But they would want to see a very extensive remodelling of our investment climate before making any such commitments.

The total repeal of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act would be a good start. This should be followed by the removal of the several dozen licences, permits and approval procedures that slow the investment process, add to the costs and uncertainties, and unproductively absorb large amounts of time.

Those dependent on agricultural inputs would want to see their farming suppliers regaining secure property rights, as these would facilitate their own access to finance as well as strengthen their longer-term planning abilities. The investors themselves would also need uncomplicated procedures for obtaining residence permits and work permits.

Looking to the future is extremely important, but having to start from where we are now places an additional requirement on all Zimbabweans: we have to reassess our understanding of the nature of money.

From the point of view of investors as well as consumers, money is supposed to serve as a Store of Value. This value can be expressed as both an income and a capital amount.The income value describes the earning capacity of the assets in which the original money has been invested, or the interest being earned from money if it is out on loan, or if it is a deposit in a bank.Earnings usually amount to rents, profits, dividends or interest. And better wages can flow from investments in skills. All of these can go up, or down, depending on conditions in the economy and how well they are managed.

These conditions can be described in many different ways, but most of them can usually be summarised by comparing demand and supply. If demand is rising faster than supply, prices will normally rise, and vice versa. But other issues can come into such debates, such as the quality of what is being offered by the supplier, or the buyers’ ability to purchase things they need. Declining local incomes can force the producers of good products to search for external markets against much fiercer competition.

Wages are usually treated separately; we don’t often expect them to go down, but the supply – demand relationship is still there:if wages are not allowed to fall when demand for labour falls, the jobs cease to exist. So, wages do fall anyway – to zero.

Focusing on investors, if the capital amount is tied up in properties, or in a selection of shares, the income will be in rents or dividends, but if these actually rise, or even if they are expected to trend upwards, the capital value of such assets can go up. Capital appreciation is then said to have improved their market values, but just how much will depend upon what other market forces are doing to property or share prices. Market forces will also influence interest rates, if the money has been placed on fixed deposit in the banks, but these market forces might be different from bank to bank.

Popular banks might offer less interest because, having attracted more money than they can readily lend to shrinking numbers of sound borrowers, they might offer lower rates to discourage the inflow of deposits that cannot be put to good use. But all these facets of the flows of money, the demand, supply, prices and rates, bring in the behaviour, conduct and responses of people. This highlights an important fact: the country’s main productive assets were people, not factories, mines or farms. For that reason, the effect of the persistent and strenuous efforts by government to impose regulations, controls and limitations on every business decision-making process has been to de-motivate and discourage the very people whose contributions were most needed.

These deteriorating conditions have put Zimbabweans into survival mode. Many of the supply gaps have attracted informal operators and the more successfulof these have recognised trading opportunities that they could turn into income sources. But buying and selling, not manufacturing has become the most common of all the informal activities and this makes a very limited contribution to the creation of wealth.

For these traders, the liquidity collapse has impacted on the buying power of their target markets and has made their lives far more difficult. Unfortunately, recent trends suggest that if dramatic changes to the damaging policies are not made very soon, even more people will find themselves forced to join the increasingly stressed informal sector.Already, far too many people are relying on the limited purchasing power of the markets targeted by informal traders, so adding to that number while further cutting the total earnings through additional job losses will cause the very low average informal earnings to fall even further.

But there are limits to everything. The country’s whole population now needs to become much more critically aware of the needed process of change. Very big problems need very big policy changes, and so far we have had only very small attempts that are dealing only with the symptoms. If we all recognise that we need to be stimulating changes that will lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and if we keep reminding ourselves that each job costs thousands of dollars to create, we will readily accept the fact that many hundreds of millions of dollar’s-worth of new investment has to be attracted into the country. Only by rebuilding productive capacity can we hope to restore our international credibility, employ our people and generate foreign reserves.

To attract investment, investor confidence has to be rebuilt so well that the investors, who could choose from 200 other countries, become eager to choose Zimbabwe. Very big policy changes are needed if we are to make ourselves that attractive. Confidence will be rebuilt when we show complete respect for civil rights, judicial rights and property rights, and when we entrench that deep respect in very clear Constitutional guarantees.

Fixed property, particularly land, is by far the best form of collateral that can be offered to banks as security for loans, so it is essential that all the land that was declared to be the property of the State should be placed back onto the market to allow it to becomes the financial foundation upon which the whole economy can be rebuilt. With their rights respected and access to local working capital, local investors who are empowered by secure property rights will regain the faith and courage needed to start the reconstruction process.Without doubt, many foreign investors will arrive too, with millions of dollars to take up the many other opportunities that so clearly exist.

The current official mindset claims that being allowed to invest in Zimbabwe is an enormous privilege, so investors should pay dearly for that privilege. This is particularly so for the mining sector, for which the minerals under the ground are said to have such immense value that half of every mine has to be given to government free of charge.

But the cold, hard fact is that the minerals under the ground have no value whatever while they are still under the ground. The business of mining is locating them, reaching them, extracting them and putting them through expensive processing to turn them into something of value. That long process carries with it huge costs and enormous risks, only one of which is that the world price of the mineral might fall and make all those cost impossible to recover.

Government’s current demands on mining companies are preventing any prospect of new mining investment inflows. For that reason, they are preventing the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and the generation of billions of dollars-worth of export revenues.

Common sense demands that the policies must be changed. When they are, Zimbabwe’s recovery will start. And when Zimbabwe does turn that corner, the restored property rights will provide farmers with the collateral they need to borrow the working capital, as well as the confidence to make the very considerable efforts that will be needed to rebuild Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

For property owners in the residential, commercial and industrial areas, one of the first signs of economic recovery will be an improvement in property prices. As the adoption of the needed policies will greatly improve economic prospects, and as Zimbabwe, even now, offers a better investment platform than can be found in most other African countries, the country will regain the recognition that it is the best placed in the entire region to become the transport and communications hub, the prime financial services centre and the major supplier of agricultural inputs for the full range of agricultural processing companies.

All the evidence suggests that the conditions now in place are too damaging and totally inappropriate to our needs, so they cannot be left in place for much longer. Therefore, change must be on the way. We have to remain hopeful that it takes place soon and that the changes will be in the right direction.

Chidakwa confusing diamond mining operations

On Tuesday June 15, 2016, the State media carried an article about Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) being poised to begin mining in Gache Gache, Kariba.

Source: Chidakwa confusing diamond mining operations – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

BY Special Correspondent

It must be stated that ZCDC is a registered private company in, which shares are held by several firms that used to do diamond mining in Marange.

Zimbabweans are aware that Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa withdrew the licences of seven companies that had been mining diamonds in Marange. That means there are seven sites in Marange where ZCDC should be mining diamonds.

Yet, ZCDC is mining diamonds at only one site. Last month, it only managed to extract a paltry 120 000 carats of poor quality diamonds which realised only $5,5 million. Of that only $1,1 million went to the fiscus.

In the article it is stated that ZCDC is at Gache Gache and is about to start mining gold, not diamonds, and that it already has mining equipment, including

2 x 80 tonnes per hour Nelson Concentrators on site ahead of full-scale operations.

The equipment is already undergoing commissioning and production should start soon, according to Chidakwa. Why did Chidakwa send a company that was formed to mine diamonds to Gache Gache to mine gold?

The Environmental Management (Control of Alluvial Mining) Regulations 2014 were promulgated in SI 92/2014 on June 6, 2014. Section 3 of the Regulations provides as follows:

“3.(1) No person shall, notwithstanding that they are in possession of a special grant, conduct alluvial mining activities or prospecting of alluvial deposits without an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and a Certificate issued by the Agency in terms of section 100 of the Act.

(2) Alluvial mining shall not take place on:

land within 200m of the naturally defined banks; or

land within 200m of the highest flood level of any body of water conserved in a natural or artificially constructed water storage work or stream; or

any bed, banks or course of any river or stream; or
Subsection (5) of section 3 provides that under no circumstances should alluvial mining be carried out through the use of mechanical equipment or motor-powered equipment.

ZCDC does not have an Environmental Impact Assessment report or a certificate issued by Environmental Management Agency (EMA). In fact, it has not even applied for a certificate. Before issuing a certificate EMA has to consider the application and then appoint a consultant to do a report. That will take a few months to be completed.

Paragraph (a) of section 5 of the Regulations provides that no person issued with an Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate and a mining permit to carry out alluvial mining shall set up a residency camp on site.

The camp must be set up at an area designated by the local authority, at a distance of not less than 300 metres from the boundary of the alluvial mining site. No alluvial mining site has been designated.

Section 5 also provides that before commencement of the project and the issue of an Environmental Impact Assessment, a water permit for the use of water in the alluvial mining process should be obtained from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). No water permit has been issued.

Chidakwa must be aware of the Regulations and the provisions thereof. Why has he instructed ZCDC to go to Gache Gache with mechanical equipment and set up a camp and then commence alluvial gold mining as soon as possible, when it does not have an EMA certificate?

If ZCDC does start mining it will be in complete contravention of many provisions of the Regulations and will be liable to prosecution.

In fact, ZCDC is already in contravention of the Regulations because it has moved on site with mechanical equipment and motor-powered equipment and set up a residency camp on site.

In the article it is stated that government has indicated that it will solely be the responsibility of the State to conduct mining activities in the area in line with a recent directive that all riverbed mining is to be done by the State. Yet, Chidakwa has awarded to a company called Stromspice Trading (Private) Ltd the project to desilt and extract minerals in the Odzi River from Chimanimani to the Marange area.

Stromspice is not the State so it cannot be given a licence to mine. Obviously, Chidakwa considers that Stromspice Trading will not be mining in the river, it will be desilting the river, and only if it discovers any gold or diamonds in the sands that are extracted will it be entitled to beneficiate the sand by removing the gold and diamonds.

Corruption: Mugabe’s ugly legacy

Source: Corruption: Mugabe’s ugly legacy – The Zimbabwe Independent June 25, 2016

IF there is one defining feature of President Robert Mugabe’s long rule and its attendant rotten leadership, besides human rights abuses, governance failures and corrosive incompetence, it is corruption: it’s undoubtedly part of his awful legacy.

Editor’s Memo,Dumisani Muleya

Of late the media, especially the Zimbabwe Independent, has been exposing petty, grand and systematic corruption involving state enterprises, mainly Zesa, senior government officials, including cabinet ministers, and their cronies.

Corrupt deals involving hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions, of investment and taxpayers’ funds have been exposed.

While corruption is troubling as it gnaws away at society’s fabric and destroys the economy and people’s lives, what is even more worrying is that Mugabe doesn’t do anything about it. In fact, his office is deeply entangled in some of these murky transactions.

Consequently, Zesa and other parastatals have become looting grounds for ministers and their partners in crime.

It’s not only Wicknell Chivayo, a convicted fraudster, and his partners who have been corruptly awarded tenders worth US$400 million; Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore and his US$83 million (initially US$194 million) Dema Diesel Power Plant project; Energy minister Samuel Undenge and his corrupt activities; or Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s son Siqokoqela with his US$350 million usurious loan offer in the Zesa feeding trough, there is lot of rot at the state power utility.

Chivayo got US$5 million unprocedurally; Undenge received a suspicious US$200 000 payment and Mphoko’s son wanted to reap US$70 million in interest charges.

Some of ZPC’s multi-million-dollar tenders include Munyati solar (awarded to ZTE Corporation), Insukamini in Bulawayo (17 Metallurgical China) and Mutare peaking power (Helcraw). Tenders were also awarded for the 300MW Kariba South extension, 600MW Hwange 7 and 8 extension (Sino Hydro), 30MW Gairezi hydro (Intratek, BHL India, Angelique) and repowering of Bulawayo (17 Metallurgical), Munyati (Intratek, Jaguar Overseas Limited) and Harare stations (Jaguar).

In some cases, companies which initially lost the tenders ended up involved in lucrative projects. The deals were inflated by more than US$500 million amid reports of corruption and bribery.
The Kariba South Power Station Extension Project, officially commissioned by Mugabe in September 2014, was initially pegged at US$355 million, but shot up to US$533 million. The cost escalation was US$178 million.

The cost of the Gairezi Project, awarded to a consortium led by Chivayo, surged to US$248 million, up from the initial US$90 million. This created a price variance of US$158 million.

The inflated costs in total amount to US$507 million.

Energy experts say Zesa could have saved approximately US$200 million over three years had it explored cheaper alternatives in the Dema deal alone.

What is the moral of the story?

The point is government officials are looting state enterprises with impunity on a massive scale. Corruption is now one of Mugabe’s ugly legacies and it’s getting worse.

State enterprises and parastatals remain in the red as it emerged their cumulative loses and net liabilities are in excess of US$1 billion, while local authorities lost more than US$500 million through mismanagement, corruption and theft in 2015.

This is contained in latest audit reports from the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri.

In her report for the period up to December 31 2015, Chiri warned that the culture of poor corporate governance, along with the failure to implement proper revenue collection, management and debt recovery strategies, posed a huge threat to the continued existence of the loss-making parastatals. All the while, Zimbabweans live as if they are citizens of a backwater desert. Despite Zimbabwe having vast natural resources and huge human capital, Mugabe has dismally failed to manage and develop the country.

Millions live in dire frustration, hopelessness and poverty, die from preventable diseases, or flee to neighbouring countries and overseas to survive.

The greatest crisis in Zimbabwe is hence not disease, hunger or poverty, but lack of leadership — corruption being one of its most appalling manifestations.

1 000 new farmers resist Mutendi’s Central Estates takeover

MVUMA — Over a thousand resettled farmers at Central Estates Farm, 10km northwest of Mvuma, are resisting Zion Christian Church leader Nehemiah Mutendi’s attempts to take over the farm’s headquarters.

Source: 1 000 new farmers resist Mutendi’s Central Estates takeover – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

By Garikai Tunhira

They allege Mutendi was fraudulently given an offer letter at a time Cabinet had been dissolved five days before the 2013 elections.

“He got an offer letter with the help of Shingirayi Chibhanguza. Indications are that Chibhanguza is related to Herbert Murerwa, who was Lands minister before Cabinet was dissolved in 2013 for the elections,” a resettled farmer who preferred anonymity said.

“His offer letter is dated July 26, 2013. Most of us here got their offer letters from as way back as 2009. Now Mutendi wants to take over 500 hectares of Central Estates, particularly the headquarters area.

“As you can see, there are nice houses here and that three-storey mansion, which the former farm owner built before his farm was repossessed during the peak of land reform era. This is what Mutendi is coming after.”

But Chibhanguza denied any knowledge of “any offer letter” and also being related to Murerwa.

“I’m in no way related directly or indirectly to the (former) minister,” he said on Tuesday.
Murerwa, on the other hand, did not respond to messages sent to him yesterday.

Central Estates Farm used to belong to mining and properties magnate Nicholas van Hoogstraten before government took over the land.

Now more than 1 112 families have settled into the area following the land redistribution exercise.

There are more than 20 up-market houses and a three-storey house, which he had almost finished building, but had to desert it and pave way for the new farmers when the land reform took precedence.

Encompassing 131 927,519 hectares, Central Estates stretches from WhaWha near Gweru, to Gutu, then Chivhu and borders with Mhondoro.

At its peak, Van Hoogstraten’s farm used to keep over 60 000 cattle for beef.

A visit to the farm last weekend showed some of the houses were locked with Van Hoogstraten’s property reportedly still inside, while other yards had been turned into cattle pens.

There is a state-of-the-art abattoir as well which is lying idle.

The new farmers said apparently, the Mvuma lands office was now writing to old offer letter holders that they had encroached into Mutendi’s land, which the new farmers argue “it’s actually him who came here after us”.

A letter to one of the farmers, Leornard Hlathini, gleaned by NewsDay Weekender and was signed by the district lands officer, a T N Chikura, reads: “Encroachment into Central Estates Remaining Extension Boundaries. The above subject matter refers. A survey done by this office has revealed that your plot is within Central Estates Remaining Extension Boundaries which was allocated to ZCC. Pleased visit this office for clarification. Your co-operation will be greatly appreciated.”

The letter is dated January 21 2016 and stamped February 9 2016, but Hlathini said it was only delivered to him last week on Wednesday.

The new farmers said Mutendi got another 1 000 hectares of land at B Hallum Farm, which they accused him of plundering irrigation equipment that was there.

“He says he wants to build an agricultural college here (Central Estates). We want to see his seriousness by first doing that at B Hallum, where there was everything and he plundered it,” one of the farmers said.

Also, after a meeting held on May 13, 2014, the Central Estates headquarters Huchu ward development committee wrote a letter to the Chirumanzu district administrator saying: “May we brief you on ZCC illusions of expansion. During Easter (holidays) 2011, ZCC was allocated Sibio Drift GG in Alaska during the visit of the commander in chief to Mbungo Estates. They had requested to build a university, but nothing has materialised.”

In the same letter, they added: “We wish to draw your attention to government policy with regards the use of infrastructure in land that has been apportioned to farmers under the land reform programme. Needless to say you are well-informed that such infrastructure remains State property and the community is the beneficiary of the same.

“Mbungo Estates is close to 2 000ha and can we say this is not adequate for a college. Lovedale Farm near Mvuma is another farm of ZCC and they have moved further into (the) national park area in Gokwe. Does the one-man-(one)-farm concept apply to the poor only?”

ZCC lawyer Shepherd Mutendi of Mutendi and Shumba Legal Practitioners told NewsDay Weekender on Tuesday that Mutendi had an offer letter for 500ha to set up an agricultural college.

“I am not aware of any settlers that have been evicted for encroaching on its portion. Unless they produced eviction letters to that effect, their claims are misleading. We are a law-abiding church that will use legal channels to settle boundary disputes, if any. Why don’t you contact the Ministry of Lands officers at Mvuma for clarity? Maybe they know something that I don’t,” he said.

The matter has since spilled into the courts, with Mutendi initially seeking the ejection of Hlathini from one of the farm houses.

In Ref Case No GL4/14, magistrate Mildred Matuvi on November 20 2014 at the Mvuma Magistrates’ Court ruled that Hlathini be evicted from the house, but the latter has since appealed at the High Court.

In the appeal, he says the lower court erred in concluding that ZCC had an offer letter to evict him, yet the church’s letter did not show its plot number.

“Respondent (ZCC) was not even aware of its plot number, but the court went on to grant an order for ejectment of appellant (Hlathini). The court a quo misdirected itself by disregarding the offer letter which was produced by the appellant which was not revoked, while accepting that of the respondent,” Hlathini said in his heads of argument.

He is being represented by Everson Chatambudza of Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners, while Shepherd is representing the church.

Govt salary delays: Indicator of worsening economic crisis

Source: Govt salary delays: Indicator of worsening economic crisis – The Zimbabwe Independent June 25, 2016

LAST week’s announcements by the Ministry of Finance to the effect that civil servants’ salaries for June will be delayed to as late as mid-July as well as the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) hitting a new low are key indicators of the worsening economic crisis.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Last Friday, finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo wrote to the Public Service Commission proposing staggered salary payment for civil servants.

According to the proposal, the national army and the air force will be paid on June 27, followed by police and prison officers on June 30.

The education sector will be paid on July 7 followed by health workers and the rest of the civil service on July 14. Pensioners will get their dues on July 19.

This has angered civil servants, who have accused government of being disrespectful by not consulting them over the issue despite having met with them barely 48 hours before the announcement. Some government workers have even threatened to down tools.

The continued failure by government to pay its workers on time is evidence of the devastating effects of an imploding economy hard hit by a debilitating liquidity crunch, low capacity utilisation of less than 35%, company closures and massive job losses.

The job losses have resulted in a decline of government revenues, hence the failure to pay salaries on time.

At least 81 companies closed shop in the first quarter of 2016. This adds to the 4 610 companies that shut shop resulting in the loss of 55 443 jobs. Thousands more jobs were lost last year after a July 17 Supreme Court allowed employers to retrench workers on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.

There seems to be no respite to the economic implosion with the current cash shortages wrecking further havoc on the market which could result in more company closures and job losses. So acute is the shortage that some banks have resorted to giving depositors as little as US$100 dollars a day.

The hemorrhaging of jobs and closure of companies has been keenly felt by the taxman who has failed to generate adequate revenue for government.

Tax collections, including Pay-as-You-Earn revenue, continue to plunge, according to a first quarter report of 2016 by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority chairperson Willia Bonyongwe.

Bonyongwe noted in her report that companies owe Zimra US$692 million in income tax, up from US$578 million last year.

“This largely reflects the incapacity of most companies to pay, some of which may no longer be operational. In the short term, this tax head will remain under pressure and performance is not expected to improve all things remaining equal,” Bonyongwe said.

She said individual tax collected in the quarter amounted to US$167,43 million which fell short of the targeted US$196 million and a further reduction to the US$200,18 million collected during the same period last year.

Bonyongwe added that value-added tax on imports and customs duty both dropped by 1% to 12% and 9% respectively.

Corporate income tax contributed US$52, 55 million which was a miss on the targeted US$76 million.

The worsening crisis is caused mainly by a low productive base, according to economist and Buy Zimbabwe chairman, Oswell Binha.

“The failure to pay civil servants on time is due to low economic performance where productive sectors are not showing any signs of recovery,” Binha noted.

Binha added that it was also a result of government having “too many employees” creating an imbalance where expenditure exceeds output.

The ZSE has not been spared from the vagaries of the economy as investors continue to desert the local bourse.
Last week, the bourse suffered a seven year low with foreign sell-offs dominating trade at $122 418, compared with foreign inflows amounting to $67 441

At current levels, the lacklustre local bourse is now 59,22% lower than the peak of 233,18 points recorded in 2013 towards the end of the inclusive government whose tenure ended in the same year.

This according to Binha is an indication of “deep rooted uncertainty and lack of confidence in the economy”.

The fleeing of investors from the embattled ZSE is as a result of toxic policies such as indigenisation, which remains opaque and vague despite being signed into law by President Robert Mugabe in 2008.

That nearly 80 business delegations from various countries that include Russia, United States and United Kingdom who visited the country last year but failed to consumate deals pointed to the law as an obstacle shows just how poisonous the legislation have been has been to the country’s investment prospects.

Mugabe’s pronouncements at the burial of former health minister Felix Muchemwa at Heroes Acre on Sunday sounded a death knell on any hopes of significant investment.

“Some will say our policies are blocking funding. Americans and the British might want to pour lots of funds into the country if we don’t have policies like indigenisation and empowerment. Nonsense,” he said.

Mugabe’s remarks show his reluctance to revive the economy according to economist John Robertson.

“The comments by the President show that he does not care about anyone,” Robertson said.

He said cash shortages in the country have resulted in lower turnover in retail outlets means that government taxes “which were bad enough to start with are getting worse”.

Mugabe must stop Mphoko’s profligacy

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko will today clock 552 days in the ease and luxury of a five-star hotel in Harare, gobbling over $310 000 in accommodation alone at the impoverished taxpayers’ expense.

Source: Mugabe must stop Mphoko’s profligacy – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2016

Under normal circumstances, this would have raised dust a long time ago, and President Robert Mugabe would have kicked his deputy out of the top hotel to save the scarce financial resources.

Yet, the opposite is happening as the President is ignoring calls by the public to adopt austerity measures for the good of the country. Otherwise, how does one explain a situation such as Mphoko’s where one stays in a hotel for a good 18 months after refusing to take accommodation at an official government house simply for selfish egos?

Who does not know that Zimbabwe is going through abnormal — if not extraordinary circumstances — given the unprecedented political and socio-economic challenges spawned by Zanu PF misrule, corruption and misgovernance among many ills Mugabe has dismally failed to remedy over his 36-year rule to the detriment of the country?

Mphoko’s continued hotel stay is simply a microcosm of the macrocosm, typifying as it does the attitude of Mugabe’s government at a time Zimbabwe’s social services are in a tailspin due to dwindling international support caused by Mugabe’s intransigency, among other things.

It is no wonder that matters came to a head yesterday when a group of activists, frustrated by Mphoko’s attitude, particularly his refusal to move into his newly-renovated government house which cost $3,5million insisting that he wanted the property “touched up” to his satisfaction.

NewsDay broke the story on Thursday this week that Mphoko was reportedly refusing to move out of the hotel into a State mansion in Harare’s leafy Grange suburb amid claims he was not happy with renovations made to the house so far.

The commotion which happened when a group the protestors stormed the hotel demanding Mphoko’s immediate removal was merely a demonstration of the feeling of the majority of Zimbabweans, who continue to endure the brunt of the economic downturn procreated by callous Zanu PF politicians.

The manhandling of the activists by the riot police sent the message that Zimbabwe is a repressive State, which is not safe even for tourists or investment.

The fact that Mphoko has spent over $300 000 in accommodation costs at the taxpayers’ expense is in itself an indictment of Mugabe’s administration and an indication of how the Zanu PF establishment he represents is so out of touch with what the ordinary Zimbabwean, are going through.

Mphoko has reportedly demanded more changes to the house to ensure it meets “his stature” at a time when the State is struggling to fund the required improvements due to a depleted revenue base.

This shows that he is not moved at all by the dire situation in the country. The presidential suite that Mphoko is staying costs $403 inclusive of bed and breakfast for two per day, while lunch and dinner cost $15 each, and an additional $130 for his two grandchildren he stays with — figures that the majority of Zimbabweans, can barely afford in a month.

Mphoko must be reminded that Zimbabweans will increasingly get frustrated by such conduct and by the look of things, it is probably just a matter of time before an explosion occurs. The Zanu PF leadership has long been an albatross on the necks of Zimbabweans.

They have been taken for a ride by Mugabe and Zanu PF politicians for far too long.
Zimbabweans deserve better leadership, not a kleptocracy.

Govt land commission just another wild goose chase

Source: Govt land commission just another wild goose chase – The Zimbabwe Independent June 25, 2016

“You know our policy; we do not give somebody land who is less than 21 years, but we are getting people with 10 years, 12 owning plots and that could explain why some plots are vacant,” Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora said in 2014.

BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA

“Some people acquired farms on behalf of their children and used the correct ID numbers, but lied on the date of birth,” he added after his ministry had taken a batch of identity document numbers to the Registrar-General’s Office to get details of land reform beneficiaries, including dates of birth, as part of an interim audit.

The audit revealed massive irregularities in Zimbabwe’s land reform programme, which has been carried out in a chaotic and often violent manner since 2000.

Mombeshora revealed the land reform programme was marred by double allocation of farms, but said a comprehensive audit, which would cost the country US$$35 million, would reveal more details.

Zimbabwe though, is yet to carry out a comprehensive land audit, which would expose multiple farm owners and unproductive farms, among other things.

The country, however, took a potentially massive step in addressing some injustices and anomalies in the land distribution after President Robert Mugabe’s decision to appoint the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC).

Among its many duties, the ZLC is expected to conduct periodic land audits and investigate and determine complaints and disputes regarding supervision, administration and allocation of agricultural land.

It is also meant to ensure that there is no discrimination in the allocation of land and that no one holds more than one farm.

Although the appointment of the ZLC is good news and can potentially bring sanity to the controversial land reform, the body faces a very difficult task.

Observers say like other commissions, the ZLC is likely to be underfunded and possibly face massive resistance should it try to address the anomalies brought about by the land reform programme, given that most multiple farm owners are senior government officials, service chiefs, and their cronies.

The daggers, which were thrown at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for investigating corruption in government ministries, are a pointer to what awaits the ZLC should it attempt to do its work.

Despite advocating for the one-man-one-farm policy, the Mugabe family owns 14 farms. The family represents a major stumbling block to the ZLC.

Analysts also say the Tendai Bare-chaired commission is handicapped by the fact that it has to seek Mombeshora’s permission to make regulations thus affecting its independence.

Agriculture expert Dale Doré says not much can be expected from the ZLC this year as it will probably operate without funds.

He said the commission was likely to be allocated enough funds to set up offices and buy expensive cars. Questions have been asked whether it is conceivable that the land commission will carry out a land audit and recommend the enforcement of a one-farm policy, minimum farm sizes, suggest that idle land be transferred to those with experience, training and full-time farmers as well as end discrimination, which is also part of the commission’s remit. Doré, however, believes the ZLC will most likely take a cue from Mugabe.

“The only mandates they can follow are those from the president, and do the bidding of a president who orchestrated and justifies the seizure of the most productive commercial farms, which he and his cronies have grabbed in a manner that was neither fair nor transparent. The president himself, and many of the ruling party elite are multiple farm holders,” he said.

“By changing the system of tenure when they nationalised farms, they destroyed the underlying capital (collateral) value of land so farmers can no longer fund their farming operations. Because most bureaucrats, politicians and military officers who received land don’t have a clue about farming, and have hardly spent any time on their farms. Most farms are lying idle.”

Doré questioned how the commission can be independent as required by Section 297(6)(a) of the constitution when it can only make recommendations to government, seek the minister’s permission to make regulations and must exercise its functions in accordance with the minister’s policy directives.

“How can the land commission suggest anything that will make the administration of land accountable, fair or transparent when a Zimbabwean doctor, with a practice in Britain, who has no farming experience or training, but who is a friend of the First Lady, is allocated a productive farm owned by another Zimbabwean — who just happens to be white?” Doré pointed out.

“How can it suggest that fair compensation be paid for farms, when the government has reneged on this constitutional obligation for the past 16 years? It simply seized land without the slightest regard to its duty under the Land Acquisition Act to value it for compensation purposes. There is nothing to suggest that the Land Commission will have anything to say about the government’s refusal to uphold its own laws and the rule of law,” he added.

Senior researcher for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga said if the government allows the ZLC to discharge its duties independently and without undue influence, there is a chance that they will be effective.

“A major weakness of the land commission is that it has to make recommendations that the minister responsible for land must approve, and it operates in accordance with directives from the same minister,” said Mavhinga.

“This gives the government overwhelming power over the land commission that undermines its independency. Given that the majority of the beneficiaries of the land reform exercise are senior government officials, I predict that the land commission will not be able to tackle the problems of multiple farm ownership or of transparency and accountability.”

He said in the end, either the land commission will be unable to carry out its mandate effectively, or, like many other commissions in the past, its recommendations will not see the light of day.

Man kills 4 lions for devouring donkeys

Source: Man kills 4 lions for devouring donkeys – NewZimbabwe 25/06/2016

A CHIREDZI man angered by the loss of his livestock to stray lions laced donkey corpses with poison, killing four lions from Gonarezhou National Park, a local court heard Friday.

Douglas Madhuveko, 65, pleaded guilty to contravening the Wildlife Control Act, when he appeared before magistrate Tafadzwa Mhlanga

Prosecutor Gladmore Gwara told the court that on unknown dates this year, Madhuveko laced three corpses of donkeys that had been killed by the stray predators with a cotton pesticide.

Court heard that Madhuveko then took the laced corpses to some the national park boundaries and four lions late died after eating the poisoned carcasses.

Gwara told the court that Madhuveko became a suspect after he had earlier told parks officials that he was going to revenge the death of his livestock.

In his defence, Madhuveko said he was pained by the loss of his two cattle and three donkeys and had asked the parks officials to kill the lions which were straying from the national park but they refused.

He also told the court that he even asked for a gun to hunt down the lions but the officials also refused resulting in him taking the law into his own hands.

Madhuveko was remanded in custody to 27 June for sentencing.

The value of the four lions was pegged at $80,000.

 

Zanu PF youths fleece 15,000 home seekers

Source: Zanu PF youths fleece 15,000 home seekers- NewZimbabwe 25/06/2016

CHITUNGWIZA: A retired army captain and the Zanu PF Mashonaland East Youth League have ordered an estimated 15,000 home seekers in Nyatsime to each pay them $10 to have applications for housing stands processed.

Last Wednesday, the ex-soldier – only identified as Masimbi Masimbi – and Zanu PF provincial youth leaders forced to a meeting hundreds of home seekers in Nyatsime, a peri-urban area near Chitungwiza.

At the meeting they ordered the locals to pay $10 each for “council files and construction of roads” despite the fact that the home seekers had already paid deposits for the residential stands to the Chitunwgiza Town Council.

Masimbi with the Zanu PF youths on tow, threatened to physically assault and remove from the waiting list any of the prospective home seekers who attend opposition parties’ rallies in the area.

“We will repeat what we did on Saturday in Zengeza where MDC-T supporters were assaulted at a meeting. I don’t want to see any of you attending an MDC-T rally,” Masimbi told the home seekers.

Last Saturday, the MDC-T MP for Zengeza West, Simon Chidhakwa and scores of other residents were assaulted at a constituency feedback meeting. Although the perpetrators of the violent attacks are known, no arrests have been made.

An estimated 15,000 people have been allocated semi-urban stands in the area but the processes is being rushed as Zanu PF prepares draw support from the beneficiaries ahead of the 2018 elections.

However, sources in Nyatsime said Masimbi and the Zanu PF youths were trying to take advantage of the confusion created by Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu PF national commissar and minister of local government, in parceling out residential stands to party supporters without the involvement of the local authorities.

“We bought these stands some 10 years ago but we could not move in as the land was at a centre of an ownership wrangle with some A2 farmers who had obtained a court interdict barring Chitungwiza council from interfering in their activities,” one of the home seekers said.

However, the issue has been resolved with the land now falling under local government.

“What Masimbi and his team are doing is outright fraud as they want to take advantage of the chaos that has been created by Kasukuwere and fleece desperate people,” the source said.

“As we speak, there are people contracted by the council to construct roads but these Zanu PF people want to be paid for that work,” he added.

Last week, Kasukuwere dished out residential stands to 7,000 Zanu PF youths in Bulawayo without consulting the city council.

Ncube: How we lost our cash reserves

Source: Ncube: How we lost our cash reserves – NewZimbabwe 24/06/2016

I REGULARLY drive myself between four Zimbabwean cities – Harare, Gweru, Mutare and Bulawayo. Such errands are not just about my legal practice. If you are a serious leader of a national political party, you need to maintain a vigil of physical contact as often as possible in the area bound by the country’s foremost industrial, commercial, mining, agricultural and rural settlements.

Flying around at high altitude in a white helicopter will of course give you a surrealistic panoramic view, but keeps you detached from realities on the ground. Moreover, zooming past bemused citizens in a twenty-car Mercedes Benz convoy flanked by five BMW motorcycle outriders does create some sort of dramatic impression but would hardly afford one the intimacy needed to appreciate challenges that bedevil citizens in their day-to-day lives.

It is during my road trips that I encounter serious traffic accidents and thanks to our dysfunctional emergency public health delivery service, victims spend several hours in distress before receiving crucial first aid.

I always notice when, eventually a medical team arrives, they try and talk to as many victims as possible. Those who respond and point to broken limbs receive less attention than those afflicted with life-threatening injuries. In fact, when there is a case of muscular injury that exhibits serious arterial rapture and incessant blood loss, even the medical team gets into a state of panic to try and arrest the haemorrhage. In other words, it is crucial to get such a patient to hospital as soon as possible for blood transfusion, but whilst they are lying in painful helplessness on the tarmac or grass, what becomes urgent is to stop blood loss. Unchecked, this loss can result not only in brain damage, but fatal cardiac arrest. Such is my country Zimbabwe’s state of economy.

When ZANU PF ‘allegedly won’ the 2013 presidential and parliamentary elections they rode on a myriad of dazzling false promises of economic growth, employment creation and empowerment. As it stands now, the country is experiencing its worst economic and social crisis since 2000.

Our national monetary and fiscal system has been bled dry. We have passed the stage of cardiac arrest-induced shock and fast approaching brain-dead comatose.

One of the most vital ‘fluids’ that drives economic well -being and survival – money –has dissipated. A country with no savings, no national reserves, no import cover; a country that cannot pay its civil servants, service domestic and foreign debt or even pay rentals for its ambassadors is a failed state. President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF ministers, Legislators, Governors, Chiefs and Headmen must hang their heads in shame. If Zimbabwe was a truly democratic country with men and women of honour and integrity in government, President Mugabe and his team would have resigned yesterday.

There is no country, economy, community, institution or even family unit that operates effectively without money. Zimbabwe boasts some of the best national endowments – natural and human – so how have we found ourselves with empty national coffers, empty bank accounts and empty pockets? How is it that a country that exports the best of everything in the region; human capital, tobacco, gold, coal, diamonds and tourism – has no money? This is the billion dollar question I want to attempt to answer this week – at least without indulging in juvenile soon-to-graduate-PhD-economics-student-type rhetoric.

The first problem we have is that as a country we are not generating enough money internally. This has nothing to do with importing more US dollars or printing Zimbabwean ‘bond’ notes. It has everything to do with a strong vibrant industrial, commercial, agricultural industry. When a country is operating at full capacity – like Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – locally made goods and services are exchanged for money locally, and cash circulates abundantly. Zimbabwe has literally stopped producing anything and all the little money that is around is used to import onions, oranges, potatoes, cooking oil and cabbages. Between 2000 and now, ZANU PF’s political and economic policies have been so destructive to local industry that all citizens do is import cars from Japan, clothes from China and groceries from South Africa. Billions of dollars cross our borders every quarter to quench our thirst for consumer, not capital goods. Thousands of Zimbabweans – including President Mugabe, his family, ministers and of late, Morgan Tsvangirai – pay millions of dollars to hospitals in Singapore, Mumbai. Dubai, Cairo and Johannesburg to access ‘proper’ medical care. Thousands of young people – our children – pay millions of dollars to universities in Australia, Cape Town, Germany, United States and United Kingdom to access ‘proper’ higher education.

Then comes President Mugabe’s foreign trips. This year alone President Mugabe has had no less than twenty foreign trips overseas, taking with him a large entourage each time. I have no doubt that he can easily be a contender in the Guinness world records as the most travelled Head of State. As a nation, we find ourselves asking, what have we benefitted from all these trips which gobble up millions of dollars? We are yet to see the fruits of these costly travels.

At the business front, we all know that large multinational corporations in Zimbabwe source raw materials and machinery from abroad. However, some of them – because of years of a weak and corrupt central banking system – either do not remit resultant export proceeds back to Zimbabwe, or simply inflate the cost of imports in order to ‘transfer’ the excess price to the external supplier. In the past fifteen or so years, the ZANU PF government has violated civil and political rights to the extent that international financiers have minimised if not cut off business relations with Zimbabwe. In desperation, President Mugabe invited Chinese and Russians to ‘invest’ in Zimbabwe. This is fictitious foreign investment because all they do is bring in finished goods and labour then take out millions of US dollars out. There is no transfer of technology, sustainable use of local labour or value addition. Imagine the millions in tons of raw tobacco exported to China at cost and how many trillions of cigarettes Chinese tobacco companies then manufacture in Beijing on our account. What a loss for us in hard currency!

Finally, since we are under a corrupt government, ZANU PF political and capitalist cronies who make millions of dollars in tenders do not keep their contraband in the country. Like most wealthy citizens in government and private sector, they have no confidence in the future of the country, thus would rather keep their money in offshore accounts. Therefore, it is shocking that almost ten years after diamonds were discovered in Marange, it is only now that President Mugabe ‘notices’ that fifteen billion dollars is missing. Here are the facts: all diamond companies in Chiadzwa were run by individuals with direct military, civilian and business relations with ZANU PF. So when these gems were being ‘exported’ without equivalent remittances, where were the officials in the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the Minerals Marketing Corporation looking? Where was ZIMRA and the air force as small planes flew into, out and across the eastern borders? Hundreds of high-level government officers who travel outside the country, including presidential delegates to numerous international conferences: who monitored how much money they took out? It will therefore take a government elected on the basis of popular credibility to eliminate this monetary and fiscal haemorrhage – the type of government I have in mind had I to be afforded that opportunity in 2018.

 

Compassion and empathy have gone out the window

Dear Family and Friends,

Source: Compassion and empathy have gone out the window – The Zimbabwean 26.6.2016

An icy wind swept across Zimbabwe this week pushing temperatures down dramatically but not the temperaments of ordinary people as we approach the second month-end in a country which has run out of money. There is no sign at all that the cash situation has improved in the country despite a month in which almost everyone’s been forced to use debit cards, do bank transactions or simply go without. Nor is there any sign that our government have got a plan on the way forward; in fact quite the opposite.

A week ago the Ministry of Finance put out a notice to all civil servants of whom there are thought to be around 200,000 but may well be many more than that. The notice said that “on account of cash flow challenges,” they “propose the following Pay Dates for the month of June 2016 which allow for the mobilization of the requisite resources.”

Army and Air Force : 27 June

Police and Prison officers: 30 June

Education sector 7 July

Health sector and others 14 July

Pensioners 19 July.

In a country at peace it wasn’t clear why the army and air force would get their pay first or why doctors and nurses would only get their pay two weeks into next month. Nor was it clear how on earth pensioners, already living on the smell of an oil rag, would survive until they got their meager pittances three weeks late. Almost immediately following the revised pay dates notice there came threats of strikes, talks and more talks but at the time of writing there has been no progress on revised pay dates. Civil servants are looking at month end commitments with dread and despair. Will landlords accept being paid rent three weeks late? How will people keep their electricity on when they haven’t been paid and haven’t got money to pay for power; how will they buy food, pay for telephones, transport, school fees and medical commitments? It seems our government don’t recognize that most ordinary people live from hand to mouth, support large numbers of unemployed relations and extended families and simply can’t wait three weeks into next month to get paid. Compassion and empathy have gone out the window in our beleaguered country. It’s unknown when the Pay Date for government Ministers will be. A week late? Two? Three?

At about the same time as this was happening the government said they had started to retrench people in order to cut the civil service wage bill which the Reserve Bank Governor said was just over 100 million US dollars a month. The quoted example of retrenchment came from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs which has apparently abolished 100 posts. The Women’s Affairs Minister was quoted as saying: “ We had a situation where some of our officers who were supposed to educate women on gender issues… did not have the necessary skills…” The Minister did not explain why those same officers had been employed in her Ministry in the first place or how long they’d been earning a salary for something they weren’t qualified to do. How many more are there like this, in this Ministry and all the others, that’s what we want to know.

Despite this desperate place we again find ourselves in, there is hope because people have had enough and civic activism is on the rise. This week Transparency International posted a half page newspaper advert hailing one of the civic activism initiatives known as the This Flag campaign. Transparency said it was “an initiative that needs the support of all citizens to take action and voice their concerns against corruption, bad governance and looting of resources.”

Different to the rash of political parties popping up in Zimbabwe, the campaign: “This Flag. Taking Back Our Zimbabwe” seems to have recognized that it’s not about supporting one person or one political party, it’s about one country, about all of us. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy 24th June 2016.

Clinton likens bellicose Trump to Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s money printing policies before the Zimbabwe dollar went bust in 2009 have been likened to belligerent United States Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump’s suggestion that the world’s biggest economy could print its way out of debt.

Source: Clinton likens bellicose Trump to Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Trump’s main rival, Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, in her first economic speech delivered in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, tore into the Republican candidate’s policy prescriptions and described him as a “loose cannon and danger to the US”.

“Trump also says we can just print more money to pay our debts down. We know what happened with countries that tried that in the past like Germany in the 1920s or Zimbabwe in the 1990s, it drove inflation through the roof and crippled their economies,” Clinton said.

“The US dollar is the safest currency on the planet, why would he want to mess with that?”

Academic and political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza said: “It’s a stricture of massive proportions that should leave us ashamed. It speaks loud about the casino economy”.

Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono presided over the rampant printing of the country’s currency and called the traumatic period The Casino Economy, a book he later wrote.

Opposition parties said Clinton’s comparison of Trump and Mugabe’s policies was spot-on.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba and Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo were not available for comment.

At the height of the hyper-inflationary era, Mugabe’s government resorted to printing currency to fund expenditure, but it continued to tumble in value until the market rejected it, forcing authorities to accept the US dollar as legal tender.

Performance of some ministers at question time pathetic

In the last couple of weeks, I took time to observe question time proceedings in the National Assembly and came to the conclusion that some of our policy-makers do not take seriously their public accountability obligations.

Source: Performance of some ministers at question time pathetic – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

John Makamure

Question time is one of the major instruments used by parliaments the world over to exercise executive oversight.

Executive oversight is one of the three core functions of Parliament. The other two are law making and representation. Executive oversight entails the review and monitoring of operations and activities undertaken and implemented by the Executive. Parliament performs executive oversight by scrutinising government policies, programmes and expenditure plans in order to ensure that they are in line with legislative intent and are governed by documented policies and procedures. This is done by, among other things, making inputs into and approving and monitoring the national budget.

Question time in the National Assembly takes place every Wednesday. This segment allows Members of Parliament to fire questions to ministers on issues to do with government policy. Ministers are expected to provide well-informed and substantive responses to questions and allow debate to be robust enough.

Generally, the MPs must be commended for asking questions of critical public importance. However, it is the nature of responses from ministers that can be described as pathetic. I could not believe it that some ministers appear not to be on top of policy developments in the ministries they preside over. In most cases, the ministers take a defensive approach, especially if a question is coming from an MP who belongs to a different political party. The end result is that the public is deprived of their right to bring policy-makers to account for their actions.

So, we may have formal accountability mechanisms such as question time in place, but they are not necessarily made to work because of the behaviour of some policy-makers. This explains why many good laws and policies have been enacted in Zimbabwe, but they are not always enforced or monitored. Public agencies are given mandates and funds, but their performance may not be properly assessed and suitable action taken to hold them accountable. Public audits of accounts and parliamentary reviews have been done, but follow up actions may leave much to be desired because the ministers are not meeting their side of the bargain.

Policy makers must be reminded that public accountability is an obligation and not an option. Public accountability or social accountability pertains to the obligations of persons or entities entrusted with public resources to be answerable for the fiscal, managerial and programme responsibilities that have been conferred on them and to report to those that have conferred these responsibilities. Accountability plays a particularly important role in the public sector. It is about giving an answer for the way in which one has spent money, exercised power and control, mediated rights and used discretions vested by law in the public interest. It is fundamental to any system of government that those to whom such powers and responsibilities are given are required to exercise them in the public interest fairly, and according to the law.

Trading insults and deliberately not providing substantive responses during sessions such as question time flies in the face of the concept of public accountability. Such behaviour is also in contravention of the Constitution, in particular section 194, which outlines the basic values and principles governing public administration. Some of these principles are that public administration must be accountable to Parliament and to the people and that transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.

Citizens have a right to public or social accountability. The right to social accountability places an explicit duty on members of the executive arm of government, public officials and private service providers to justify their decisions and performance regarding the manner in which their use of public resources has affected the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights. It entails the right of citizens to obtain justifications and explanations for the use of public resources from those entrusted with the responsibility for their management in order to progressively realise human rights. Officials and service providers have the corresponding duty not only to produce such justifications, but to take corrective action in instances where public resources are not effectively utilised. Citizens have the right to demand these justifications and explanations from the State when it fails to provide them adequately and corrective action where required. The public exercises this right through their elected representatives. This is what representative democracy entails.

Ministers must be reminded that the public is expecting them to implement policies that address the pressing problem of poverty and inequality. The major obstacle to poverty alleviation is poor governance, which includes not simply corruption, but also poor performance of government officials in their management of public resources and a lack of political will to act against underperforming officials. The poor management of public resources translates directly into poor public service delivery implementation, and, thus, obviously undermines poverty alleviation policies.

Let me end by quoting one scholar, Atifete Jahjaga, who said “democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law and accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation”.

l John Makamure is the executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust.
Feedback: john.makamure@gmail.com

Cash crisis impedes grain imports: GMAZ

THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is set to hold a meeting with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) over Telegraphic Transfer (TT) delays which have affected imports posing a threat to the food security situation.

Source: Cash crisis impedes grain imports: GMAZ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

Currently TT transactions are taking four months, while before the cash crisis they would clear in one week.

In a circular to its members, GMAZ said the meeting with RBZ has been confirmed and some of the issues to be discussed include access to cash for maize and soya beans purchases, outstanding foreign payments for maize, wheat, rice and soya beans imports and future TT payments regime.

“There is a suggestion that, in light of the TT delays and the need to prioritise grain imports in a co-ordinated manner, RBZ may just appoint a single bank to handle grain TT payments,” read the circular.

An industry source told NewsDay that the cash challenges were posing a serious threat to food security.

“Delays are posing a serious threat to the food security in the country and this can negatively impact on the supply of flour, stockfeeds, bread and other things,” he said.

The miller said the purchase of maize was different from that of tobacco as currently in Zimbabwe maize producers were mainly small-scale farmers who produce at least one tonne.

Currently the price of maize is $300 per tonne.

“We need cash, if we don’t have cash this will result in side marketing where farmers will end up being trapped to sell their grain at $100 to unscrupulous dealers and this will affect farmers that they would not be able to go back and prepare for the next season,” the miller said.

“We are appealing to banks so that we can access cash to purchase maize and we can’t use any other payment method apart from cash, and by so doing we are putting cash into the market.”

Another player said the delay in TT transactions was affecting their relationships with suppliers.

He said millers had an arrangement with suppliers to receive grain and pay later, but this arrangement was also being affected by failure to settle payments timeously.

“Currently millers require at least $30 million to offset the current debt to supplies so that they are able to continue receiving grain. It’s not that the money is not available, but it’s sitting in bank accounts. There is need to settle the outstanding amount, so that we continue to receive grain,” the miller said.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Wednesday the grain reserves are at 120 000 metric tonnes, enough to last for four to five months.

GMAZ has also imported more than 300 000 metric tonnes of maize to address the food crisis caused by the El Nino-induced drought.

In February, the government launched a $1,5 billion food aid appeal to feed an estimated three million people following the El Nino-induced drought that affected southern African countries.

Government said it was addressing the national deficit of 700 000 tonnes of maize through imports of grain from a number of countries, with the help of the private sector.

Mugabe must step down: Khupe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe must step down from power because he has failed the country, opposition MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe has said.

Source: Mugabe must step down: Khupe – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Khupe was addressing about 4 000 MDC-T party supporters, who yesterday brought business in Mutare to a standstill as the opposition party’s demonstrations against alleged misrule by Mugabe’s government.

She read the speech on behalf of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who failed to attend yesterday’s event reportedly because he was scheduled to undergo “a routine medical review”.

“We all witnessed Zanu PF’s grand political corruption in their lootings of $15 billion from Chiadzwa here in Manicaland. Mutare city is supposed to be like Sandton in Gauteng, South Africa, and you, the team of Manicaland, should be richest because of diamonds,’’ Khupe said in the short speech.

Early this year, Mugabe claimed at least $15 billion of the country’s diamond revenue had been looted, but could not provide details.
Khupe added Mugabe should hand over power because “he is leading an illegitimate government”.

“The Zanu PF regime is essentially an illegitimate regime after notorious rigging of the 2013 elections. It is a regime that has neither the political nor the moral authority to remain in power a day longer,” she said.

“The hour has come for Zimbabweans to stand up and fight to the last drop of their blood.”

Other top party leaders who took part in the demonstration included secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, national spokesperson Obert Gutu and shadow home affairs minister Giles Mutsekwa.

The demonstration started mid-morning, with some vendors at Sakubva flea market — normally perceived to be Zanu PF supporters — joining the snaking crowd that stretched for at least five kilometres from Sakubva Beit Hall to Meikles Park in the city centre.

Khupe chronicled the collapse of industries in Manicaland and said Zimbabweans must demand of Mugabe’s administration “re-industrialisation and job creation”.

The demonstration was a follow up to those that were successfully held in Harare, Bulawayo and Bindura respectively.

The MDC-T is planning to move a motion to impeach Mugabe in the national assembly despite the fact that it is a minority in the legislature.

MDC-T baulks at Mugabe ouster

AN audacious attempt by MDC-T legislators to force President Robert Mugabe out of power through an impeachment appears to have suffered a stillbirth, with opposition party officials giving conflicting statements over the plan.

Source: MDC-T baulks at Mugabe ouster – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mabvuku/Tafara legislator, James Maridadi last month told NewsDay he would move a motion to have Parliament impeach Mugabe once the legislature resumed sitting on June 6.

However, three weeks on, Maridadi has not brought the motion to the National Assembly, with MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese yesterday saying he did not have information on the issue.

“I think you should ask Maridadi. He is the mover of the motion, I do not know much about it at the moment,” he said.

Section 109 of the Constitution allows a vote of no confidence to be passed in government through a joint resolution passed by at least two thirds of the total membership in Parliament, but the project appears impossible, as the ruling Zanu PF party has the majority control in Parliament.

When he announced the plan last month, Maridadi claimed he had the backing of more than 70 Zanu PF legislators sympathetic to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who had lost faith in Mugabe’s capacity to continue in office.

Efforts to contact Maridadi for a comment were fruitless, as his mobile phone went unanswered yesterday.

But MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu was adamant the 92-year-old Mugabe would be forced to defend himself and show-cause why he should continue in office.

“The party is not developing cold feet. Why should we? The leader of the opposition in Parliament is Thokozani Khupe and she is the one who isresponsible for marshalling and leading our troops in Parliament,” he said.

“You can be assured that the impeachment motion is very much on our agenda, but as you should know, it may not be strategic for us to publicly disclose all our plans, warts and all. Just watch this space.”

Contacted for comment, Khupe, the MDC-T vice-president, seemed not to be in the loop on the issue.

“I have been away and I am not sure what the caucus decided,” she said.

Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke dismissed the impeachment plan as daydreaming.

“It is nothing more than daydreaming. The President will not be removed that way and I doubt if any Zanu PF MP will support such a stupid move,” he said.

“I have always said Zanu PF is not a party, but a culture and in particular issues to do with President Mugabe are a complete no, no.”

With the opposition having indicated it would demand a secret ballot to protect Zanu PF lawmakers, who would want to break ranks with their party and support Mugabe’s ouster, Matuke was evasive on whether the ruling party would allow it.

“We cannot talk about procedure when we know they will not bring the motion. Anybody thinking of that needs psychiatric examination,” he said.

Insiders claimed the motion had received tacit support from warring Zanu PF factions “for different reasons”, as well as lawmakers linked to Mujuru, but still in Parliament on Zanu PF tickets.

Zanu PF has in the past two years been rocked by vicious internal struggles for power, with senior party leaders looking beyond Mugabe and seemingly positioning themselves for eventual take-over.

But Mugabe has obstinately dug in, telling his lieutenants “I am going nowhere”.

Govt loses millions through financial indiscipline

THE government lost millions of dollars last year through deliberate deviation from laid down procurement regulations, lack of corporate governance and financial indiscipline in several ministries, State enterprises and parastatals.

Source: Govt loses millions through financial indiscipline – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI/VENERANDA LANGA

This was revealed in Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s 2015 report, which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.

Chiri disclosed that a number of ministries incurred almost $22 million expenses that were not supported by source documents, making it difficult to ascertain whether the expenditure was properly incurred to constitute a proper charge on public funds.

It was also revealed that some ministries used money in bank accounts under their administration as collateral security for loans issued to private individuals, exposing the government to losses of huge amounts.

There were also differences between expenditure amounts reflected by the Public Financial Management System and that of the Sub-Paymaster General Accounts for seven ministries of nearly $71m.

According to the report, the ministries did not produce reconciliation statements showing the sources of differences.

Some ministries failed to pay over $53m for goods and services received, a move that is against standing instructions requiring ministries to pay as soon as they get the services. The AG said she feared ministries could incur overruns on contracts and be sued.

Under revenue collection and debt recovery, the report highlighted that due to inefficient accounting systems, at least two thirds of the ministries failed to collect dues from clients and employees totalling $48,8m. The huge chunk of the money has not been collected for up to six years.

Chiri said State Enterprises and Parastatals continued to be plagued by lack of good corporate governance systems.

“Some board members borrowed from institutions that they have oversight responsibility, while some entities continued to operate without boards following the expiry of terms of the previous boards and these entities included Printflow and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe,” she said.

Zinara, in its 2014 accounts, was adjudged as having incurred substantial expenditure of $2 419 511 that was not supported by adequate documentation, which could imply loss due to fraud and payment of fictitious suppliers.

NetOne failed to service its loans resulting in penalty charges of $1 696 748 and that its current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $55 616 801 as at December 2014.

Other companies whose current liabilities exceeded their current assets were Zesa by $65m, Chinhoyi University of Technology by $3m, Zimpost by $23m, and TelOne, which had a net liability position of $163m as at December 31, 2014. Zimbabwe Power Company failed to service its overdue foreign long-term loans of $324m.

“The National Railways of Zimbabwe was operationally handicapped, as more than 50% of its locomotive fleet was down. A number of entities were paying board fees, management salaries and benefits, which were not authorised or which were not subjected to tax,” the AG said.

Short-sighted Mugabe at it again

Just over a year ago, President Robert Mugabe overruled his Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, telling civil servants they will get their annual bonuses, in spite of ample evidence the country could not afford.

Source: Short-sighted Mugabe at it again – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 24, 2016

Mugabe, as has become the norm, chose to go the populist route and threw all sound economic advice out of the window.

With the bonus statement, he received plaudits from civil servants, but fast forward a year later, Mugabe’s government is failing to pay salaries on time.

No matter how painful the bonus suspension would have been, civil servants would certainly have understood the country’s financial position and would have taken it on the chin.

But a salary delay is another matter, as it affects budgeting and normal family routines and practices.

That Mugabe paid the bonuses is now forgotten and has been replaced with anger and hostility over the failure to pay salaries on time.
As has been reiterated several times, Mugabe and his government seem to take short-term measures to appease the populace, with little regard for the future.

If the government had not paid last year’s bonuses, which they paid this year, then this stalemate over delayed salaries would not be there.

The government over-extended itself and paid bonuses with money it did not have and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Civil servants’ salaries were already gobbling more than 80% of revenue, meaning bonuses made sure all the money government received was dedicated to the 13th cheque, and authorities had to borrow to fund the excess that was dedicated to that futile exercise.

The situation is going to get worse in the coming months, as the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) continues to miss all its revenue collection targets, meaning salaries are likely to be delayed further and further.

With a shrinking economy, increased unemployment, companies shutting down and depressed commodity prices, Zimbabwe’s economic position can only get worse, as the money Zimra can collect will continue dwindling.

If a year ago, the government had taken the hard rather than populist, short-term and myopic decisions, Zimbabwe would not be hurtling towards economic doom as it is happening at the moment.

Government should have allowed for the retrenchment of civil servants and also not paid them bonuses as they were unaffordable and the country is living well beyond its means.

It is generally frowned upon to kick a man when he is down, but it is safe to say “we told you so”.

Going forward, the best thing would be for Mugabe and Chinamasa to issue a clear and unequivocal statement that as much as they would have loved to pay this year’s bonuses, they cannot because of the prevailing economic situation.

Also, as the word bonus denotes, it is an incentive that should be paid when all targets are met, which means as long as the country is in this mess, then government cannot pay any bonuses. On this one issue at least, Chinamasa has now been vindicated.

 

Video:Protestors demand immediate evacuation of VP Mphoko

THERE was commotion at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare Friday as a group of protesters stormed the hotel demanding the immediate removal of Vice President, Phelekezeka Mphoko. ‘

Source: Video:Protestors demand immediate evacuation of VP Mphoko – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

By Edgar Gweshe

Watch the video below:

Today marks 551 days since Mphoko has been staying at the hotel following his appointment by President Robert Mugabe in 2014 where he has spent over US$300 000 in accommodation costs.

Mphoko is reportedly refusing to move into a US$3,5 million mansion which was bought for him by government and recently extensively renovated at yet to be established cost.

BREAKING: Britain must leave ‘as soon as possible’ – EU chiefs

Source: BREAKING: Britain must leave ‘as soon as possible’ – EU chiefs | The Herald June 24, 2016

Brussels – EU chiefs told Britain to start negotiations to quit the bloc “as soon as possible”, after outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday he would leave the negotiations to his successor, News24 reports.

“We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be,” said a joint statement after Britons voted for a Brexit.

“Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”

The statement was issued by EU president Donald Tusk, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Parliament leader Martin Schulz and Dutch premier Mark Rutte, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, after crisis talks in Brussels.

Earlier on BBC News reported that Cameron is to step down by October after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

The PM had urged the country to vote Remain but was defeated by 52% to 48% despite London, Scotland and Northern Ireland backing staying in.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed it as the UK’s “independence day”, while Boris Johnson said the result would not mean “pulling up the drawbridge”.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely determined” to keep Scotland in the EU so a second Scottish independence referendum was now “highly likely”.

European leaders made it clear they were keen to get the process over with as quickly as possible and wanted Britain to start talks immediately. – AFP

DEVELOPING STORY: Ammunition smugglers nabbed at Beitbridge border post

Source: DEVELOPING STORY: Ammunition smugglers nabbed at Beitbridge border post | The Herald June 24, 2016

Thupeyo Muleya

THREE men were intercepted at Beitbridge border post early Thursday morning while smuggling R42 855 worth of live rounds of bullets weighing 130kgs. The men were on their way from Johannesburg to Bulawayo in a South African registered Toyota Quantum van.

The ammunition which is reportedly for seven types of fire arms was discovered during a routine search by border. Investigations are still under way.

Mugabe’s office abets corruption

Source: Mugabe’s office abets corruption – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

THE Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has blocked the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment from investigating Sakunda Energy on the controversial Dema Diesel Power Plant, it has emerged.

By Elias Mambo

This comes amid growing concerns President Robert Mugabe’s office could have corruptly helped Sukunda to secure the stinking deal. APR Energy Holdings initially won the tender, but was side-lined in favour of Sakunda.

As exposed by the Zimbabwe Independent, Sakunda, owned by Zanu PF benefactor Kuda Tagwirei, partnered Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore, brother to Simba who is married to the president’s daughter Bona, in the dodgy and costly deal without going to tender.

Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which commissioned the project, could have saved approximately USD$200 million over three years had it explored other alternatives such as the use of liquid petroleum gas instead of diesel powered generators at the 200MW Dema Diesel Power Plant.

The contract, which is likely to run for three years, was initially set at US$194 million a year, but has been reduced to US$83 million following pressure from the media and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) officials.

Sources this week said the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth,

 

Parastatals US$1bn in the red

Source: Parastatals US$1bn in the red – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

STATE-owned enterprises and parastatals remain in the red as it emerged their cumulative losses and net liabilities are in excess of US$1 billion, a government audit report has shown. This comes as local authorities lost more than US$500 million through corruption, underhand dealings and unaccounted for expenditures.

By Herbert Moyo/ Hazel Ndebele

State enterprises, which once made up 60% of the economy, have been struggling mainly due to mismanagement and corruption, recording perennial losses and relying on Treasury for survival.

In her report for the period up to December 31 2015, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri warned that poor corporate governance practices, along with the failure to implement proper revenue collection, management and debt recovery strategies, posed a huge threat to the continued existence of the loss-making entities.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) led the way with cumulative losses of US$276,4 million and according to Chiri, “this cumulative loss and net liability position along with other matters indicate the existence of material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt over the National Railways’ ability to continue as a going concern”.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) also fared badly as current liabilities exceeded assets by US$174,3 million. The authority also failed to service its foreign loans amounting to US$170,7 million, while operating losses increased from US$14,8 million in 2013 to US$21,5 million in 2014.

“These conditions indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast doubt about the authority’s ability to continue operating without financial assistance,” Chiri noted.

She also expressed concern over the long-term prospects of fixed telephone service provider TelOne and Zesa Holdings. TelOne’s current liabilities exceeded assets by US$98,9 million, while scandal-ridden Zesa’s liabilities were US$65,3 million more than the assets.

Mobile service provider NetOne was also found to have liabilities, which outstripped assets by US$55,6 million, while its losses totalled US$7 million.

The National Social Security Authority was owed in excess of US$217,5 million, with state employees owing US$91,9 million, Air Zimbabwe (US$1,4 million), Zimbabwe National Water Authority (US$1,9 million) and ZBC (US$1,8 million).

In a case of possible fraud, the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) failed to account for expenditure vouchers amounting to US$2,4 million — a development which according to Chiri, cast serious doubts on the “validity and accuracy of the related expenditure.”

All in all, a total of US$888 million was lost in these parastatals while further varying amounts were also lost in other entities.

At the heart of these losses were the perennial issues of poor corporate governance practices which government has failed to address despite Chiri raising the matter every year.

“Most of the challenges that continue to plague the Zimbabwean public sector entities are of a corporate governance nature,” Chiri noted.

Among the poor governance practices observed were some entities that operated either without board of directors or fully constituted boards. Some parastatals allowed board members to when this should not be the case as they has an oversight responsibility.

“A number of entities were paying board fees, management salaries and benefits which were not authorised or subjected to tax,” Chiri reported.

On local authorities, Chiri noted that most councils were not up to date with their audited financial statements, with some being as far behind as 2012 financial year. Harare City Council (HCC) failed to account for US$201 million during the period under review.

The audit revealed that apart from governance issues, most of the weaknesses emanated from weak internal controls and irregularities in the procurement of goods and services.

Underhand dealings were also noted at the Gweru council which failed to disclose US$10 000 transactions entered into with a local company belonging to one of the councilors.

Furthermore, an inspection of fuel books revealed that fuel was given in excess of the stipulated weekly allowances for management and councilors which did not have supporting documentation.

The report further reveals that the majority of councils maintain multiple bank accounts and generally bank reconciliations were not up to date. “In some instances these bank balances did not reconcile to the cash book balances resulting in unexplained variances,” reads the report.

Mutare made unsupported bank withdrawals of US$44 284 while Kwekwe’s bank reconciliation statements revealed an unaccounted figure of US$2,5 million which could not be traced to any underlying transactions.

Gweru and Kariba failed to include some properties in the valuation rolls and did not bill these for owners’ rates and supplementary charges.

Money was also lost at other municipalities. For instance, Chegutu had an unexplained variance of US$167 000 between the payroll and the financial statements.

$300m Mphoko deal: Fresh details emerge

Source: $300m Mphoko deal: Fresh details emerge – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

“ZPC asked CMA whether it would be possible to scale down the interest, as it was of the opinion that the interest was too high. CMA pointed out to ZPC that they were investing their own funds in the transaction and given the funding cost, risk and the complexities of the deal the interest could not be scaled down.

VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko’s son, Siqokoqela, was directly involved in structuring and negotiating a usurious US$300 million Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) loan which the VP was facilitating on behalf of Botswana’s Capital Management Africa (CMA), the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

By Elias Mambo

Mphoko’s son has an interest in CMA as a shareholder.

President Robert Mugabe blocked the deal, which would have seen Zimbabwe paying an extortionate US$70 million in interest on the loan. This comes as it emerged that last week Mphoko attempted to get cabinet to approve the loan.
Minutes of a Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and CMA meeting held at the ZPC boardroom in Harare on October 13 2015 show that Siqokoqela, who holds a 5% stake in CMA, represented CMA alongside a T Marsland and V Utedzi.
The minutes show that in return for the US$300 million loan extended to Zesa for the refurbishment of the Hwange Thermal Power Station, ZPC was going to pay back the sum at an interest rate of between 18% and 20% per annum. ZPC was also going to export 100 megawatts of electricity from the national grid to Botswana in return for payment. The minutes further reveal that ZPC was not happy with the applicable high interest rate, but Siqokoqela and his team refused to budge.

“Following calculations by KPMG, the interest rate had come to 18-20% of the capital cost. ZPC asked CMA whether it would be possible to scale down the interest, as it was of the opinion that the interest was too high,” read the minutes.

“CMA pointed out to ZPC that they were investing their own funds in the transaction and given the funding cost, risk and the complexities of the deal the interest could not be scaled down.”

The deal was, however, blocked by Mugabe who also protested that the interest rate was too high and smacked of corruption. Zesa is seeking US$350 million in order to secure a US$1,2 billion loan facility offered by China Exim Bank to refurbish the Hwange Thermal Power Station.

The power utility is in a serious financial crisis as it is owed close to US$1 billion. It is also struggling due to mismanagement and corruption.

In January, China offered Zesa a loan of US$1,2 billion to refurbish the Hwange Thermal Power Station. The Chinese loan requires that government raises a substantial guarantee, of at least 15%, before accessing the facility, hence efforts to raise the US$350 million.

The minutes show that ZPC was required to supply power to Botswana Power Company which would pay on a monthly basis.

“CMA stated that they would prefer a situation wherein the power being sold in terms of the Power Purchase Agreement is coming from the grid and not from a particular power station,” the minutes say.

Siqokoqela worked as the head of business development at CMA from January 2008 to August 2013, starting when his father was still Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Botswana.

Questions remain over whether Mphoko abused his position as ambassador in Botswana when he cut deals for himself and his family to emerge as a partner in that country’s biggest supermarket chain, Choppies.

According to his LinkedIn account, Siqokoqela’s duties included, among many others, “establishing investment opportunities for our group in the form of development projects, infrastructural projects, and finance financial institutions such as banks”.

“CMA had Pula 2,6 billion (US$240 million) assets under its management and it was my job to find good investments for our group. I became a 5% shareholder of the company. CMA was the number one leading asset management company in Botswana and the only company that had the skills and expertise to manage annuity portfolios in the whole of Botswana,” Siqokoqela states on his account.

Mphoko’s deal comes at a time when the power company is rocked by tender scams.

As reported by the Zimbabwe Independent recently, Zesa is reeling from a series of scandals, including the US$194 million-a-year Dema diesel power plant deal (now US$83 million) which would leave the struggling ZPC and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, another Zesa subsidiary, in deeper dire straits.

The corrupt deal, given to Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore, elder brother to Simba who is married to the president’s daughter Bona, and Sakunda Energy boss Kuda Tagwirei, was later revised down by about 50% to US$83 million due to pressure.

Energy experts say ZPC could have saved approximately US$200 million over three years had it explored cheaper alternatives.

Zesa tender costs have been escalated by over US$500 million, raising corruption concerns.

Government sub-contracts diamond mining at Marange

Source: Government sub-contracts diamond mining at Marange – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

GOVERNMENT’S hastily arranged Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) lacks capacity and resources to carry out diamond mining operations in the Marange region amid revelations that it has contracted Adlecraft Mining to mine on its behalf.

By Herbert Moyo

ZCDC was formed in March after government shut down seven mining firms namely Anjin, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Gye Nyame and Kusena in order to facilitate a merger in which it would have a 50% stake.

Mines ministry sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that ZCDC lacked the necessary equipment, hence the decision to bring in Adlecraft who are being paid for their services in diamonds rather than cash.

“Government rushed its decision to kick out the original mining companies, but its creation ZCDC is not working, hence the decision to rope in Adlecraft,” said one source.

“The two parties reached an agreement to bring in Adlecraft in February and this company has been mining on behalf of ZCDC. They receive payment in diamonds rather than cash.”

On Wednesday, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa suggested that the companies’ refusal to enter into the merger with government in ZCDC was the reason why the company had limited capacity, hence the need to sub-contract.
He also said although he did not have information about the Adlecraft deal, there would be nothing unusual because “companies contract other companies every day”.

“I don’t know this particular company (Adlecraft), but companies contract other companies to extract ore and then that ore is processed by the equipment that belongs to the contracting company,” Chidhakwa said in an interview on Wednesday.

“ZCDC became wholly government-owned because we had decided that we couldn’t work with companies who refused to merge and whose licences had expired. Now given this context of expired licences and ZCDC acting on its own, do you think we would have immediately had several hundreds of millions of dollars to buy equipment?”

Chidhakwa said they then entered into negotiations with DMC’s Lebanese owners who had not taken government to court.

“But we only have processing equipment because DMC used to sub-contract the mining and when you sub-contract mining you would have to let your contractor use their equipment to bring the ore to your processing plant and pay them per tonnage for ore delivered,” Chidhakwa said.

“All the companies were doing that because sometimes it’s not feasible to buy and maintain your own equipment, but I need to find out about Adlecraft because the board doesn’t need to come to the minister to ask for permission to ask to sub-contract.”

ZCDC’s apparent challenges contrast sharply with the rosy picture Mines ministry permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga sought to portray last month during a presentation at the Chamber of Mines in Victoria Falls where he stated that (ZCDC) produced 387 551 diamond carats and sold 362 238 of them realising US$19,7 million in gross turnover two months into operations.

“ZCDC has so far recorded positive performance in both volume and value for the first two months of its operation.

The major driver of performance is the technological transformation of processes through the fifth-generation XRT plant. Capacity upgrade is critical to protect both the revenue and margins going,” Gudyanga said.

The sources said the sales included diamonds that had been produced by the companies whose operations had been stopped.

Zesa to pay me US$7m: Chivayo

Source: Zesa to pay me US$7m: Chivayo – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

DESPITE a huge outcry over the US$5 million which the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) paid to controversial businessman and ex-convict Wicknell Chivayo’s company Intratek for the Gwanda Solar Project without a bank guarantee, it has emerged that the parastatal will soon release an additional advance payment of US$7,2 million to the company.

Elias Mambo

Hurling unprintable obscenities after being asked to comment on a R8 million (US$552 602) lawsuit filed in South Africa against Intratek for failing to pay for a container of smartphones and allegations that he bought computers worth US$40 000 for former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire at a time his US$400 million tender was being negotiated, Chivayo in the heat of the moment this week revealed he would soon get more cash from Zesa.

“You are very cruel and you will die a poor man. Imagine ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company, a subsidiary of Zesa) is paying me another US$7,2 million. I have secured an advance payment guarantee. Iwe uchingoti sika-sika nemunhu one. Kundivengera mari yangu. (You are ever on my case. You hate me because of my money),” he fumed.
The Zimbabwe Independent a fortnight ago visited Judd’s Farm in Gwanda where the US$200 million 100-megawatt project will be built and found no work done despite the US$5 million payment.

Chivayo has since dispatched excavators to clear land following the exposure.

In a move which could border on conflict of interest, corruption and possibly aimed at manipulating the tender process, Chivayo bought computers for Mavhaire at a time the energy tenders were being processed and negotiated.

Chivayo confirmed having bought 200 HP computers worth US$40 000 from Computer Warehouse in 2014, which he gave to Mavhaire. Mavhaire, who was Masvingo senator, later donated the computers to 20 schools covering five constituencies in the province.

Intratek also bought smartphones worth R6,5 million (US$448 989) from Red Emperor Commodity Brokers, the parent company of Computer Warehouse, but failed to pay. The company is now suing Intratek in the Gauteng High Court in a bid to recover the R8 million inclusive of interest.

A senior Computer Warehouse official said that Chivayo approached the company in April 2014 seeking 100 HP computers valued at US$20 000. He advised the company that he was buying the computers for Mavhaire to donate them.

Computer Warehouse refused to supply the computers unless Chivayo offered security because Intratek then owed US$8 000.

Chivayo surrendered his Mercedes Benz S350 registration number ABE 9585 as surety and parked it at the company’s Milton Park offices before signing an acknowledgement of debt for the US$20 000. Full payment was expected by June 4 2014.

The agreement and acknowledgement of debt signed by Chivayo and seen by the Independent states that: “In the event that full payment is not received by 04/06/2014 the vehicle becomes the property of Computer Warehouse and will be officially transferred to them according to the laws of Zimbabwe and be valued at the cost of the computers.”

Chivayo only paid for the computers in September 2014 after being summoned by Computer Warehouse lawyers.

It is not clear if Chivayo supplied the additional 100 computers, but in October 2014 he contacted Computer Warehouse for another batch of 100 computers.

The company, however, insisted he pays cash for the computers.

“Within a few hours after Wicknell had left, Mavhaire called and said he wanted 100 computers for which he wanted to pay US$18 000,” the source said.

Mavhaire paid the agreed amount resulting in the release of 100 computers. Chivayo confirmed purchasing the computers for Mavhaire.

“Mavhaire was the most senior party member in Zanu PF Masvingo province back then and our donations were aligned to the revolutionary party,” he said.

Upon being asked if the computers were not meant to ensure he gets energy contracts, Chivayo threw a tantrum.
“You will die a poor man. Poverty makes you bitter. You are going to continue suffering. Article or no article I will continue making money,” he said.

Mavhaire did not respond to calls and questions sent to his mobile phone.

Meanwhile, Intratek has been dragged to court for failing to pay the company for the smartphones.

“On or about February 2014, and at Johannesburg, the parties entered into an oral agreement in terms of which the plaintiff delivered three containers of stock consisting of smartphones and hair products valued at R6 572 600 to the defendant,” reads the court documents.

“The plaintiff during the period May 2014 to October 2014 requested from the defendant payment of the amount received from the sale of the goods. Despite the above knowledge the defendant failed and/or refused to pay the plaintiff.”

Marcus Vermin, who is the director of both Zimbabwe’s Computer Warehouse and Red Emperor Commodity Brokers (South Africa), said Intratek has left his two companies in serious financial stress.

“The Intratek directors are conmen and corrupt individuals who stole our stock and disappeared,” he said. “We are now paying lawyers to recover our money. We have always struggled with them since they started buying computers to support politicians in Zimbabwe.”

Chivayo, however, said: “Marcus is an idiot and he can go ahead and sue”.

Chinese companies in Zim blacklisted internationally

Source: Chinese companies in Zim blacklisted internationally – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE has become a haven for dodgy and corrupt companies amid revelations that China Jiangsu International Economic and Technical Co-operation (CJI), a firm contracted by government to undertake the refurbishment and expansion of the Harare International and Victoria Falls airports, was blacklisted by the World Bank and African Development Bank for fraud and corruption.

By Herbert Moyo

The company, which is eyeing a number of construction projects, is part of several dubious companies operating in the country.

Another Chinese company, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), which was awarded a tender for the dualisation of the US$2 billion Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, was also blacklisted by the World Bank for fraud and corruption.

The revelations come at a time there is controversy over the country’s energy deals, which were inflated by more than US$500 million, raising suspicions that Zesa senior managers and top government officials could have corruptly benefitted through the price escalations.

Some projects were awarded to shady businesspeople, including the US$200 million 100 megawatt Gwanda Solar Project, which was given to Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratek despite losing out on the original tender.

Chivayo is a convicted fraudster and his partner, Ibrahim Sildky Yusuf, a Zambian based in South Africa, has a well-documented history of drug trafficking, money laundering and theft by fraudulent means. Yusuf is founder and executive chairman of the Intratek Group of companies, which owns Intratek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd where Chivayo is listed variously as “managing director”, “director” and “representative”.

An investigation by our sister paper in South Africa Mail&Guardian, revealed Yusuf was “linked to a Zambian mandrax smuggling network in the mid-1980s and named in a 1985 Zambian court judgment”.

The paper also received a document on Yusuf prepared by the Zambian Drug Enforcement Commission, which confirmed that that he had been arrested in July 1989 in connection with the unlawful importation of vehicles and trafficking in mandrax and again in December 1997 in connection with money-laundering and illegally importing vehicles.

Documents from the World Bank seen by the Independent this week show that CJI was blacklisted by the Bretton Woods institution from February 14 2014 to February 13 2017. The company was blacklisted for submitting false information to the bank when it bid for a construction contract for the Ethiopia Irrigation and Drainage Project.

“The specific accusations made by the bank’s integrity vice-presidency (INT) in the SAE were that the respondent (a) submitted a false corporate experience claim in a pre-qualification application for a construction contract and in a later bid for that contract; and (b) submitted false personnel experience claims in two bids for that contract,” the World Bank stated in its 2013 document titled Sanctions Case No. 294.

The document was signed by Pascale Helene Dubois, the chief suspension and debarment officer at the World Bank.

The bank consequently recommended that CJI be declared ineligible to be awarded or to benefit from a “bank-financed contract and to be a nominated sub-contractor, consultant, manufacturer or supplier, or service provider of an otherwise eligible firm being awarded a (World) Bank-financed contract”.

“CJI be declared ineligible to receive the proceeds of any loan made by the bank or otherwise to participate further in the preparation or implementation of any project or programme financed by the bank and governed by the bank’s procurement guidelines, consultant guidelines or anti-corruption guidelines; provided, however, that after a minimum period of ineligibility of three years.”

The bank further stated that it reached its decision after taking into account that CJI engaged in a “repeated pattern of misconduct by submitting fraudulent documentation”.

The bank, however, noted that CJI had agreed to meet the bank officials and acknowledged that the fraudulent practices had occurred.

The sanctions are also supposed to be enforced by other multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank Group.

Last month, CJI said it was nearing the completion of the expansion project of Victoria Falls International Airport with preferential loans provided by the Chinese government.

“Currently, 97% of the total work has been completed, including the construction of runway, terminal, control tower, parking apron, light navigation, communication system and other facilities.

“On December 1 2015, it was put into service by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and has been highly spoken of by all sectors of society in Zimbabwe,” CJI stated in an interview in China with the state media.

“Guided by the principles of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Zimbabwe and the Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, we will increase input in the infrastructure of Zimbabwe and expand our co-operation and try to launch projects in the mode of BOT (Build Operate and Transfer) or PPP (Public-Private Partnership) when Zimbabwe faces financial problems.”

On Wednesday, Transport minister Joram Gumbo said he was unaware of the CJI blacklisting, adding they won their contracts before he became minister.

“I know nothing about that because l had not been appointed minister then,” Gumbo said.

Mujuru needs to do more to win people’s hearts

Source: Mujuru needs to do more to win people’s hearts – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

FORMER vice-president Joice Mujuru “came and saw” but it is highly unlikely that her rather muted political message “conquered” the thousands that thronged the 5 000-seater Stanley Square to hear her address her maiden rally in Bulawayo’s Makokoba suburb.

By Herbert Moyo

Saturday was meant to be the day on which it all came together for Mujuru and even the weather appeared to recognise the auspicious nature of the event. The wintry chill gave way to a warm welcoming vitality that is usually associated with summer.

Party officials co-ordinated by former energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire played their part by distributing a reported 4 000 t-shirts with a smiling Mujuru emblazoned across, turning Stanley Square into a sea of white.

And when she finally arrived to a thunderous welcome — an hour later than the scheduled time of 12 midday — it appeared the stage had been set for an electrifying delivery from the liberation struggle icon and politician who had unfinished business in the province. She had a tainted reputation after her reported slur on the late former vice-president Joshua Nkomo in 1997.

“Mina ngingu ma Ndlovu (I am of the Ndlovu totem),” were the first words Mujuru uttered, in a move that was clearly calculated at establishing a connection with the province’s Ndebele-speaking people.

“We have to face the task of uniting the Zimbabwean family. There are a lot of people with a lot of problems. Some are old people who can’t acquire national identity documents. We have to work on such issues and this is part of what made us come to Bulawayo for our first rally.”

The other and perhaps more important reason for the choice of Bulawayo was the pressing need to address the long-standing issue in which Mujuru reportedly denigrated Nkomo who had backed businessman Strive Masiyiwa’s bid for a licence to launch Econet Wireless in 1997. Mujuru then Information, Posts and Telecommunications minister disregarded Nkomo and reportedly described him as senile and hence incapable of rational judgement before handing out the licence to Telecel.

“A lot has been said about me denigrating Father Zimbabwe (Joshua Nkomo). Media is good, but sometimes the media over-exaggerates things. To me Father Zimbabwe was my father… That is why I decided to talk about it because for a long time you have been hoodwinked and I want to say sorry about that misleading silence,” she said.

Indeed, Mujuru said all the right things but shied away from any explicit mention of Mugabe and any of the controversial issues that people from the Matabeleland provinces have complained about. These include marginalisation and deliberate underdevelopment under Zanu PF rule.

Instead, she merely contented herself by alluding to the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres where 20 000 civilians from the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces lost their lives at the hands of the Fifth Brigade, deployed by government ostensibly to deal with dissidents who numbered less than 120.

The closest she came to mentioning Gukurahundi was by way of a reference to its effects which resulted in among other things the failure by hordes of people to acquire national identity documents thus losing out on education and other initiatives which could have improved their lives.

“On the balance of it, hers was a good move to finally come out of political hibernation,” observed Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist and academic, adding “now she’s in the ring fighting. The gloves are off.”

However, as Masunungure also noted, Zimbabwean politics is a messy cesspool which has so far not allowed room for any of the niceties and decorum that Mujuru has projected ever since her entry into the trenches of opposition politics.

“The suspicion is that she still has one leg in Zanu PF and she appears hesitant to come out and attack Mugabe and Zanu PF. This may mean that she wants a more sober and less confrontational approach to politics. While this may be morally justifiable, it is not the kind of approach that would win her support in the polarised environment of Zimbabwean politics,” said Masunungure.

“In Matabeleland and elsewhere in the country the public would not be sold to her message which was a muted attack on Mugabe and Zanu PF. They would want an opposition politician who displays a more fervent and even more emotional attack on Zanu PF.”

The more fervent and emotional attack is something that Tsvangirai has excelled in since the MDC was formed in 1999.

Had it been Tsvangirai, whose MDC-T party have made Bulawayo their stomping ground by winning the parliamentary seats in all constituencies in the 2013 elections, he would have probably performed the “Mugabe mudenga” (lift Mugabe high in the air) slogan. And the delighted audience would have vociferously responded by chanting, “roverapasi” (smash him onto the ground). Tsvangirai has also ingratiated himself in the past by not only explicitly condemning Gukurahundi, but also promising justice and compensation for its victims.

Even Tsvangirai’s erstwhile colleague and former Makokoba legislator Gorden Moyo, now secretary general of the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party, who graced the rally, used animal imagery in describing Mugabe. He said Mugabe was a hyena before praising Mujuru for leaving Zanu PF.

“This is a courageous woman who has to be saluted for disembarking from the hyena,” said Moyo.

But Mujuru is made of different and more cultured stuff and she came across as one who sought to inaugurate a new era of clean politics shorn of the highly vituperative and confrontational approach where the public delights in the pejoratives politicians use to denigrate their opponents.

If Mujuru cannot learn from Tsvangirai’s copybook on how to win support as an opposition politician, she might as well learn from Simba Makoni how not to operate in the opposition terrain. In 2008, Makoni fervently insisted that he was still a Zanu PF member while plotting his candidature in the presidential elections.

“I plan to continue my functions as a member of the party until I am excluded by the due (disciplinary) process,” Makoni said in a media briefing, dismissing reports that he had been fired from Zanu PF.

Observers believe that it was that cautious approach which cost him a lot of support as he ultimately garnered 8,3% in the March election which Mugabe won after a bloody presidential election runoff.

Mujuru should take a clear stand or the suspicion will remain that she still has one leg in Zanu PF.

ZimPF, MDCs in coalition talks

Source: ZimPF, MDCs in coalition talks – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE People First leader Joice Mujuru, MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe and the party’s secretary general Douglas Mwonzora as well as MDC proportional representation MP for Matabeleland South Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga reportedly met in South Africa last week to discuss plans to form a coalition ahead of the 2018 general elections.

By Wongai Zhangazha

This comes as it emerged MDC-T leaderMorgan Tsvangirai is still struggling with continued illness despite being discharged from a South African hospital last month.

According to sources, Mujuru, Khupe, Mwonzora and Misihairabwi-Mushonga had a meeting in Polokwane to discuss various issues affecting opposition parties in Zimbabwe, although the major subject was the need to form an alliance to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from power.

The meeting was held on Tuesday and the quartet returned to Zimbabwe the following day.

The sources said the parties agreed there was need for the opposition parties to contest the 2018 elections as a united front, although the modalities of the grand coalition were yet to be thrashed out.

The meeting was before Mujuru addressed during her maiden rally as a member of the opposition at Stanley Square in Makokoba, Bulawayo, on Saturday.

Mujuru lost the Zanu PF and State vice-presidency at the ruling party’s 2014 congress before being expelled from the party in 2015.

ZimPF spokesperson Jealous Mawarire confirmed the former vice-president was in South Africa last week, but said he was not aware of the meeting.

“She was on a private business which was ambushed by our coordinators in South Africa. Those are the people she met. I am not aware of the meeting you are talking about,” he said.

Mwonzora also confirmed he was in South Africa with Khupe, but denied attending the meeting.

“It is not true that we had a meeting with People First. We (him and Khupe) were in South Africa for a completely different business, that is our internal party business,” he said.

Mushonga also denied having a meeting with the trio, but said she met her opposition counterparts on the plane.
“I absolutely have no idea of such a meeting. I met Khupe, Mujuru and Mwonzora in the plane where I greeted them. Besides in what capacity would I be meeting them?”

Sources in the opposition, however, insisted the officials had met to lay the groundwork for a coalition.
In May, five opposition parties signed a Coalition of Democrats (Code) agreement to guide them towards forming a coalition ahead of the 2018 polls.

The agreement, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, was signed by Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), Professor Welshman Ncube’s Movement for Democratic Change, Elton Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe as well as the little known Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment led by Gilbert Dzikiti and Zimbabweans United for Democracy.

MDC-T, ZimPF and the Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party and Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa did not sign the document.

Following the signing, analysts, however, said an opposition alliance without Mujuru and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was likely to be ineffective.

According to the Code agreement, the mission of the coalition is to be a “democratic platform, where likeminded political parties, bound by common values and objectives, collectively take responsibility for providing leadership and opportunities which address the multiple and complex challenges facing our nation”.

While it is still not clear who will lead the coalition or how they will work together, the political parties said they shall be guided by principles of working and cooperating with others in an equal, open and respectful manner, respect and observance of collective decision-making, equality, diversity, tolerance, and respect for all and each other, non-violence, tolerance and the peaceful resolution of issues and conflicts among many other principles.

The coalition said its objective was to engage in joint programmes, activities, actions and programmes that facilitate the objectives of achieving a peaceful prosperous and democratic and socially just Zimbabwean state and to work for the economic development and upliftment of every Zimbabwean through various programmes and activities, including the production and presentation of documents and blueprints that will assist the objectives.

The agreement states that a Governing Council, comprising all the presidents or principals of the party, will design a framework for candidate selection and nomination in fielding one presidential candidate.

The parties agreed that the coalition will have its own distinct symbols and logos separate from those of the parties that are its members, for the purposes of participating in elections and sponsoring candidates or doing any other programmes.

Tobacco farmers wipe out cash from banks

Source: Tobacco farmers wipe out cash from banks – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

Had it not been for the massive withdrawals, the move by RBZ could have shored up deposits in the banking sector and increased money supply in the market.

THE RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s decision to channel all tobacco payments through banks as part of a financial inclusion strategy has backfired amid indications producers of the golden leaf are wiping out financial institutions with large withdrawals.

By Fidelity Mhlanga

A snap survey by businessdigest this week revealed that as cash shortages continue unabated, tobacco farmers are having to wait for almost two weeks at banks at the auction floors in a desperate attempt to withdraw all their money.

At the beginning of the tobacco marketing season, banks agreed to waive some of the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements for tobacco farmers with more farmers opening accounts.

Had it not been for the massive withdrawals, the move by RBZ could have shored up deposits in the banking sector and increased money supply in the market.

The tobacco crop attracts huge export earnings with statistics from treasury showing that its exports were only second to gold, valued at US$481 million, accounting for 23% of all exports from January to October 2015.

Jose Jose, a farmer from Raffingora, 140km from Harare, said he has delivered 13 bales to the auction floors and has been shuttling from his rural home to withdraw his money for the past two weeks.

“So far I have managed to get US$1 500 out of US$2 300. My bank only gives US$500. I have been coming here for two weeks. They are refusing to give us more than US$500 per day. There is no bank in Raffingora, so I have to come here until I get all my money,” he said.

RBZ last month qualified tobacco farmers as corporate clients eligible to withdraw US$10 000 per day, but owing to the cash crisis banks are even struggling to give out US$1 000 per day.

Titus Makii, a Bindura farmer, said he has not been spared by the current debilitating cash shortages.

“I sold 31 bales of tobacco worth US$7 800. For two weeks, I have been here. On a lucky day, I have been withdrawing US$500 per day. So far I have withdrawn US$5 500 from my bank. They are not allowing us to withdraw US$1 000 per day at my bank. I need cash to pay our transporters and workers,” he said

Vengai Kandiye, who sold tobacco valued at US$3 600, said he only got US$400 through a mobile money card.

Kandiye said he has been struggling to withdraw his money, a situation which has forced him to solicit for cash from queuing customers in supermarkets who then use his card to buy goods.

Economist John Robertson said farmers have no option since they need to pay for services rendered to them.

“It will take a long time for farmers to leave their cash in banks. Up until a time all the people have bank accounts to pay services through bank-to-bank transfers. The option by farmers to change the way of doing things (cash basis) will take long,” he said

As of day 56, a total of 140,5 million kg of tobacco worth US$410 million has been sold at both auction floors.
A total of 47,2 million kg of tobacco has been exported realising US$259,1 million.

Zimasco placed under judicial management

Source: Zimasco placed under judicial management – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

THE High Court of Zimbabwe last week placed Zimasco under judicial management after the firm voluntarily applied for the order as global selling prices of ferrochrome continued on a downward slide.

Judicial management is a process aimed at assisting companies to manage their liabilities with all stakeholders in an equitable and orderly manner with the help of a court appointed administrator.

This comes after Zimasco management applied to the High Court in December seeking an order to be placed under the care of a judicial manager.

A judicial manager executes a turnaround plan to return the company to sustained viability in the shortest time possible.

The company’s application was initially opposed by Zimasco’s bankers, who had raised concerns about their status as secured creditors, demand independent review of the turnaround plan and be underwritten. However, after negotiations with the bankers, the judicial management process was seen as the best way forward for the ferrochrome producer.

Turnaround strategist, Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton, was appointed by the High Court as the provisional judicial manager for the company.

Saruchera and his team are working on the strategic review of the company’s business and operations as part of the reconstruction plan of Zimasco.

Prior to the granting of the Provisional Judicial Management Order, Zimasco and its major shareholder, Sinosteel Corporation of China, were working on a five-year business plan that is premised on various cost reduction and productivity enhancement strategies.

Under the five-year plan, the company will run its two East Plant furnaces from Quarter 3, 2016 provided its initiatives are supported by the relevant stakeholders and authorities.

The company feels the plan, which is based on a sustainable lower production cost base, will see the miner generate positive cashflows enabling it to settle its legacy and current liabilities.

Before underwriting the plan, Sinosteel Corporation engaged Deloittes Hong Kong, who are working in conjunction with Deloittes Zimbabwe, to review the plan.

Saruchera has acquired a reputation as a turnaround strategist in the market after successfully reviving Cairns and Blue Ribbons.

At Cairns, he secured an investor who committed millions to the business and brought in Tanzanian firm, the Bakhresa Group, to inject US$40 million in the next five years to turn around the fortunes of the milling company.

It is hoped Saruchera will achieve the same results at Zimasco.

Exemption applications flood Retrenchment Board

Source: Exemption applications flood Retrenchment Board – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

A NUMBER of companies, among them state entities, have applied to the Retrenchment Board to be exempted from paying retrenchment packages as stipulated in the amended Labour Act, businessdigest has learnt.

Staff Writer.

According to the Labour Act, employers are obliged to pay two weeks’ salary for every year served as part of the severance package.

“We have had several companies that have applied for full exemption from paying two weeks’ salary for every year served as prescribed in the Labour Act,” an insider told businessdigest on Wednesday.

“We have however refused to completely exempt any company from paying a retrenchment package.”

Among the who applied for full exemption are Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and CMED, sources revealed.

GMB has applied to the Retrenchment Board to lay off 90 workers while the CMED are looking to retrench more than 70 employees.

“We told the GMB to go back and discuss with their workers before coming back to us,” a board member said.

Some companies, sources revealed, have applied to pay retrenchment packages over a period of between 24 and 36 months.

“We have cases where a company is applying to pay a sum of US$5 000 as a retrenchment package over a two to three-year period, which is unacceptable,” the board member revealed. “We have to protect not only the employer, but the employees as well.”

Retrenchments have been on the increase as companies struggle to stay afloat amid a plethora of challenges that include a debilitating liquidity crunch, lack of affordable funding and low capacity utilisation of less than 35%.

Last year thousands of workers found themselves in the street after a July 17 2015 Supreme Court ruling allowed employers to dismiss workers on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.

Audit unearths shocking scams• Secret computers used in billing • Millions creamed off in councils

Source: Audit unearths shocking scams• Secret computers used in billing • Millions creamed off in councils | The Herald June 24, 2016

Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council could have been fleeced of millions of dollars following revelations that two anonymous computers were being used to bill customers each month amid the likelihood that more funds were looted through the fraudulent issuance of receipts.

According to Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri’s report on local authorities for 2015 which exposed corruption in most councils, the city’s IT department failed to detect the computers that were being used to generate the bills.

“Therefore, there is room for the employees to create fake receipts that can be used to receipt customers when they settle their monthly bills,” reads the report.

The same report shows that Gweru City Council failed to account for a more than $1 million loan balance and the city’s mayor and town clerk had no fuel limit while council’s senior employees were being paid holiday and education allowances outside the payroll.

The audit showed that Mutare City Council had a bank overdraft facility with FBC Bank of $4 162 154 as at December 31, 2013 for which the city paid $1 215 349 as interest and service charges.

The audit also revealed that most councils were not up-to-date with their audited financial statements and a majority of councils maintains multiple bank accounts whose reconciliations were not up to date.

In some cases, the bank balances did not reconcile to the cash book balances resulting in unexplained variances.

“Harare City Council did not reconcile its cashbook overdrawn balance of $208 430 777 as per financial statements to the bank overdraft balances of $7 590 828 giving a significant variance of $200 839 949.

“Harare City Council had weaknesses in internal controls which resulted in significant variances between the system and financial statements. Cash and bank balances, receivables and property, plant and equipment had variances of $317 254 823, $114 237 875, and $486 701 941 respectively,” reads the report.

The Auditor-General also found out several council-owned properties which were being leased but were not recorded and accounted for.

In Kwekwe among other irregularities, the audit found out that the councils’ bank reconciliation statement had an unexplained reconciling figure of $2 569 043 which could not be traced to any underlying transactions and there was a risk that the unreconciled balances may have been used to conceal irregular activities.

In Kariba, the AG was unable to confirm the accuracy, completeness and validity of receivables written off totalling $1 103 543 as council could not provide documentation that supports the write-off of debts.

In Redcliff an analysis of residential stand files showed that most of the agreements of sale were not signed and they seemed to have been prepared post allocation and terms of agreement varied depending on the initial deposits made, some of which were as low as $5.

The audit also revealed that the councils’ CBZ Bank account was in overdraft with an amount of $400 000 and municipality was unable to service it as the loan interest continued to rise.

In Norton the audit showed that the council had total employment costs of $3 108 321 out of expenditure of $5 022 069 indicating that employment costs constituted 62 percent in violation of the ministerial directive prescribing a ratio of 30:70 in favour of service delivery.

The AG said the audit findings warrant the attention of management and those charged with governance.

“The audit revealed that most of the weaknesses emanated from governance issues, revenue collection and debt recovery, employment cost and procurement of goods and services,” Ms Chiri said.

Magistrate questions bombing suspect’s sanity

Source: Magistrate questions bombing suspect’s sanity | The Herald June 24, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Jailed Zimbabwe People’s Front president Owen Kuchata could have lost his mind after he mumbled incoherent statements about President Mugabe in court, Harare magistrate, Mr Tendai Mahwe said yesterday. Kuchata, who is serving nine years for banditry and money laundering, appeared in court yesterday alongside Borman Ngwenya, Solomon Makumbe and Silas Pfupa. Kuchata told the court that he wanted to expose certain things between him and President Mugabe.

“I am afraid that when this matter starts, he (President Mugabe) will be told the information and the exhibits will be recovered and be hidden,” said Kuchata. “I pleaded guilty to my charge.”

Mr Mahwe interjected and asked Kuchata what his request to the court was.

He replied: “My request is that when I committed the offence, I wanted the complainant to know that some of the things he thought were not known are now known.”

Mr Mahwe advised Kuchata that the matter was not yet set down for hearing and he should tell the court if he had any problem with being remanded to July 7.

“Are you normal accused person?” asked Mr Mahwe.

Kuchata said he had no problem with the remand and his mind was settled.

The matter was adjourned to July 7.

Kuchata is jointly charged with Ngwenya, a soldier attached to military intelligence, Makumbe also a Zimbabwe National Army corporal and Pfupa an ex-soldier.

The four were arrested early this year after their abortive plot to bomb the First Family’s dairy farm in Mazowe.

Makumbe and Pfupa are represented by Mrs Gamuchira Dzitiro while Ngwenya is being represented by Mr Exactly Mangezi.

Kuchata is a self actor.

The quartet allegedly established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

On January 1, this year, they allegedly proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried out reconnaissance, identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.

It is alleged the four held several meetings at Queens Hotel in Harare mapping strategies on how they would strike.

Police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and a tuckshop during the night.

Acting on the tip-off, the police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target.

At around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the processing plant and immediately arrested them.

Send Kereke to jail: Prosecution

Source: Send Kereke to jail: Prosecution | The Herald June 24, 2016

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
THE private prosecutor wants Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke jailed insisting there was overwhelming evidence he raped his wife’s 11 year old niece in 2010. In his closing submissions, Mr Charles Warara said by refusing to be tried for the past five years, Kereke knew he was guilty of raping the minor and indecently assaulting her sister. The magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa set July 11 as the judgment day.

“In the circumstances, we pray for a conviction as charged in respect of both counts as we proved the charges beyond reasonable doubt. If this case is therefore found not to be fabricated as claimed by the accused, it can only be the accused that is lying. He has to be found guilty as charged on both counts,” he said.

Mr Warara said if Kereke was innocent, he should have proved it in court.

“Accused took years to be brought to court with even the Prosecutor General shielding him. Can this be the character of a person who an ordinary citizen like complainant’s grandfather, Mr Maramwidze can frame? Do innocent people fight such serious cases in the corridors of power or he would dare any person with such allegations bring them to court.

“Accused has been refusing to come to court, but his protection crumbled when the Prosecutor-General was convicted by the Constitutional court. Is this the conduct of an innocent person? Will this court ignore this conduct and do justice to this case,” Mr Warara said.

Mr Warara said the doctor’s report confirmed that the victim was raped. In his defence, Kereke discredited the medical report which he said was false. “It is clearly strange that accused thinks that the doctor’s report was aimed at him. He has a reason for this. He raped the complainant hence his conduct. It is also clear that the complainant’s story makes sense. This court cannot be persuaded that complainant lied to the court by either fabricating a story or exaggerating what happened,” he said.

Kereke claimed the allegations were fabricated to fix him after he had refused to give the complainants money for school fees. The prosecution insisted that Kereke committed the offences.

“If these rape charges were created to fix the accused, why would the complaint’s grandparents not have alleged that both were raped? Why would medical evidence confirm that indeed one of them was raped?

“In any case, why would a normal family want to go through five years seeking justice? Is the political story mentioned by accused of any truth? “How could accused’s story be anything else other than a desperate attempt to pull wool onto the face of the court? Where do politics and political enemies come in? This is a clear case of rape.”

Kereke’s lawyer Mr Erum Mutandiro is expected to respond to Mr Warara’s submissions on July 1.

Govt rules out Randification

Source: Govt rules out Randification | The Herald June 24, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has ruled out the use of the South African rand as the sole official trading unit, saying Government did not intend to adopt a single currency, but would maintain the multi-currency regime.

Minister Chinamasa said the rand was already in the multi-currency basket, hence it had to be used like any other units.

He was presenting a ministerial statement on the state of the economy and the pending introduction of bond notes.

“Further, there have been calls for the adoption of South African rand as the transacting currency by many people. The rand remains part and parcel of the multi-currency system and economic players are free to switch to any currency as a way of managing their operations. We do not intend to adopt a single currency, but we will continue to bolster the strength of the multi-currency system,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said bond notes would not be imposed on anyone who did not intend to use them.

Minister Chinamasa was responding to fears that the introduction of bond notes would signal the return of the Zimbabwe dollar.

“It is also important to note that bond notes will not be forced to people who don’t like them especially if you are not an exporter. It does not mark the return of the Zimbabwe dollar because key fundamentals are not yet present,” he said.

Minister Chinamasa said the release of bond notes in the economy would be consistent with export receipts.

“The issuance of bond notes has self control mechanism in that where there are no exports there are no bond notes. In other words the bond notes are issued relative to the volume of exports. The bond notes will be gradually be released into the economy in sympathy with export receipts through a normal banking channel up a maximum ceiling of the facility of $200 million. The ceiling will be attained when total exports are around $6 billion. Currently our exports are $3 billion something that I worry about because we are very low when compared to other countries,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was monitoring depositing trends of some businesses as a way of ensuring that they deposited all their monies in financial institutions, the initial objective was not to close businesses.

He said businesses that did not deposit their money would be explained of that legal requirement in a “market friendly way,” and the law would only be invoked if that did not produce desired results.

“We do not intend to close any shop. We will explain to them only if they do not comply will we descend heavily on them,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said more than 17 400 point of sales had already been set up in various businesses as way of encouraging use of plastic money.

Raw milk production increases 17pc

Source: Raw milk production increases 17pc | The Herald June 24, 2016

Melody Mashaire : Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S raw milk production has increased 16,6 percent since the beginning of this year to 26,5 million litres. Statistics as at May 31 showed significant increase from 22,7 million litres that was produced last year during the same period. The local dairy industry is currently producing an average of five million litres of raw milk per month against a monthly demand of 10 million litres. The balance is being offset by imports of processed and already packaged milk.However, production has been gradually rising as processors like Dairibord, Nestle and Dendairy rolled out heifer importation schemes, a move that has seen a significant increase in the dairy sector’s capacity and output.

Government also introduced a 25 percent levy on imported dairy products as a way of stimulating the sector’s performance.

There was a 7,2 percent increase in the amount of milk sold by producers to 3 million litres in the period under review from 2,8 million litres last year.

Month on month, raw milk production for May was 0,8 percent up at 5,32 million litres compared to 5,28 million litres produced in April.

The dairy industry is operating on low capacity, with an estimated 223 registered dairy operators and a herd of about 26 000 animals leaving producers struggling to meet national demand of 120 million litres per annum.

In 1990, the country was producing over 256 million litres of raw milk and exporting into the region before output plummeted to an all-time low of 36 million litres in 2009 as the economic environment deteriorated.

Production has since improved marginally to approximately 55,5 million litres in 2014.

Despite the growth, the country is still lagging behind other countries in the region in terms of raw milk production.

High Court approves Hwange protection

Source: High Court approves Hwange protection | The Herald June 24, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The High Court has approved a request by Government and other shareholders at Hwange Colliery Company Limited to engage its creditors and stop all litigations against the firm to allow it to reconstruct.

Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo revealed this in the National Assembly on Wednesday while responding to questions from Zanu-PF MP for Chegutu West Cde Dexter Nduna who sought to know what mechanisms Government put in place to improve production at the firm following a fresh capital injection from Government for buying equipment.

Deputy Minister Moyo said there were a number of issues affecting HCCL though Government and other shareholders were working hard to improve the company’s fortunes.

“The focus areas at the moment are to re-craft the company’s business model in order to lower overheads,” he said.

“The second area of focus is one of creating a shared asset vision which is still to be discussed with ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company) and NRZ (National Railways of Zimbabwe), but that is an area we are looking at with the focus to try and reduce the capital requirements of the company.”

Deputy Minister Moyo said the other focus was to reduce the company’s workforce from about 3 000 employees to 2 000 at most.

He said the biggest challenge that the company faced was litigation from its creditors.

“Government, together with shareholders has put in place a scheme of arrangement that has been authorised by the High Court.

“The aim of the scheme of arrangement is to get the creditors to agree with the company to stay all litigation against the company and to approve the reconstruction business plan which I have talked about in my earlier comments.

“To this end, a meeting of the company and its creditors is planned for the 14th of July and we believe that there will be a meeting of heads and that the company will be protected against litigation, thereby allowing all revenues and finances that it has to be directed towards the productive efforts,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

But Cde Nduna further inquired what Government was doing about the faulty equipment that was supplied by an Indian firm, Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).

“The equipment that came from BEML of India has exhibited problems centred on excavators. This issue has been discussed with the supplier of the equipment. We have elevated the matter to the Embassy and I can confirm that the parties are cooperating, although a permanent solution has not yet been ushered in.

“The supplier of the equipment has extended the insurance and guarantees and the Embassy of India is doing everything they can to assist us to push the supplier to make sure that the equipment that is not working well is in fact brought to order,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

He said the company also faced working capital challenges that made it difficult for it to operate viably as they did not have money to buy fuel and other consumables.

Deputy Minister Moyo said they would engage financial institutions to provide short-term loans.

MDC-T MP for Hwange East Mr Tose Sansole asked the Deputy Minister to confirm that in spite of receiving new equipment, HCCL still relied on contract mining from Motor Angele instead of its own mining.

“I do concede that since the purchase of the new equipment up to date, the contractor, Motor Angele has in fact produced more of the coal that is being sold than the company itself.

“The reason has been that, as I said, the equipment that we bought was deployed in an area that would not have allowed the company to produce more and surpass the coal that is coming from the contractor.

“We have instructed the company to relocate the equipment to go to an easier to operate area that suits parallel to where the contractor is working. It is our expectation that entering July, the company should produce for the first time more coal than that which is coming from the contractor,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

He said once that is done, they expect Hwange Colliery Company and the contractor, Motor Angele to produce at least 150 000 tonnes of coal per month each to satisfy the current market demand.

Parly adopts report on Bill

Source: Parly adopts report on Bill | The Herald

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Parliament has adopted a Non Adverse Report on Local Government Laws Amendment Bill by the Parliamentary Legal Committee despite protests by the MDC-T that said their members were not present when the committee sat to deliberate. The Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, currently before the National Assembly, was part of Government measures to align Urban Council Act and Rural District Councils Act with the country’s Constitution through providing for an independent tribunal in removing from office a mayor and councillors.

Stand-in Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Reuben Marumahoko, announced that he had received a Non Adverse Report from PLC on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill triggering protests from MDC-T MPs.

Glen View North MP Mr Fani Munengami (MDC-T) was the first to rise on a point of order saying the PLC had not met because two of the five member committee Mr Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central) and Ms Jessie Majome (Harare West) who were not present.

Other PLC members are Cdes Jonathan Samkange (Mudzi South) , Ziyambi Ziyambi (Zvimba West) and Fortune Chasi (Mazowe South) (all from Zanu-PF). But Cde Marumahoko ruled that PLC had met yesterday morning after giving 24 hour notice to all members as required by Standing Orders.

Pensioners gobble $500m

Source: Pensioners gobble $500m | The Herald June 24, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT paid 400 000 civil service pensioners about $500 million last year alone, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said. He was responding to a question on Wednesday in Parliament by MDC-T MP for Bulawayo South, Mr Eddie Cross. Mr Cross sought to know the number of civil service pensioners on the Government system in 2015 and the amount of money they were paid.

Minister Chinamasa presented a table of the number of the pensioners from January to December last year with the numbers fluctuating between 377 000 and 397 000 while the monthly pension bill was $39,8 million.

In January there were 377 228 pension beneficiaries, 396 298 in February and 380 496 in March. The number went up to 388 162 in April but came down to 380 844 in May before going up to 382 856 in June.

In July 2015, the total number of pensioners came down to 381 260 while in August there were 381 934 before shooting up to 389 174 in September the same year.

The total number came down to 381 428 in October rising to 389 174 in November while in December there were 377 342 pensioners on the Government system.

The total amount spent between January and December last year was $477, 6 million. Mr Cross also asked Minister Chinamasa the total value of duty-free certificates for imports between 2014 and 2014.

“Duty free certificates are used for duty free clearance of imported goods for the exclusive use of Government,” said Minister Chinamasa. “In line with Treasury Circular No. 13 of 2005, in 2014 and 2015, about $292 million and $258,5 million worth of goods were imported by Government departments respectively.

“Duty free certificates cannot be used to clear goods for individuals, parastatals, local authorities or similar organisations formed through an Act of Parliament.

“However, it is important to note that some Government departments, particularly Ministry of Health and Child Care also receives donated goods from external donors. The goods are also cleared using duty free certificates.”

Minister Chinamasa said some critical Government departments used retained funds to import goods for their operations but mechanisms were put in place to avoid a situation where officials abused the facility to import goods for private use.

Meanwhile, Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa says Government and South Sudan have not yet reached an agreement for the exportation of State registered nurses to that country.

He was responding to a question on whether Government was aware of advertisements in the media inviting State registered nurses to seek employment in South Sudan.

“Both the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the South Sudanese Embassy are not aware of the advert in the media inviting State Registered Nurses to seek employment in South Sudan,” said Minister Parirenyatwa.

“This was only brought to the attention of the Ministry through the question from Parliament. If there are any advertisements to be done, this will have to be discussed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Health Services Board, guided by consultations at the appropriate levels. Work is still in progress on a Government to Government agreement with the South Sudanese Government on a bilateral agreement on export of health workers.”

Consider plight of patients, doctors urged

Source: Consider plight of patients, doctors urged | The Herald June 24, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Doctors must reconsider their resolution to stop accepting medical aid cards with effect from next month so that patients do not suffer because of their differences with healthcare funders, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe field epidemiology training programme in Harare yesterday, Dr Parirenyatwa said together with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, they met with both the doctors and the health funders and appealed for a postponement of the July 1 deadline to pave way for further dialogue.

“We have said to both doctors and health insurers; we do not want our patients to suffer. If you are fighting between yourselves, patients should not be the ones to suffer and this is actually the premise from which we are appealing to them to postpone whatever they had resolved to do,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said Government was aware that the doctors were being taxed on unpaid claims. He said Minister Chinamasa who attended the meeting also promised to look into the issue.

“We are aware that doctors make their claims to health insurers but before they even receive their money, they are already taxed, but Minister Chinamasa who was also part of the meeting said he is going to sort that out,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the recent concern showed by President Mugabe during the burial of the late National Hero Dr Felix Muchemwa on the deadlock between the two parties was also a reflection of what the leadership feels about the whole issue.

Dr Parirenyatwa said the meeting also deliberated on provision of health services by health insurers.

“One of the biggest issues with medical aid societies is that of conflict of interest and that must be addressed.

“They should not channel patients to their institutions. A patient should be free to go wherever they want to go,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said although there is not yet a common position because both parties would need to consult their constituencies, the doctors promised to feedback today on way forward regarding the July 1 deadline.

“They are going to consult and they are going to come back to me tomorrow (today) and thereafter we will know our way forward. But I think we had a very frank and very constructive discussion,” he said.

ZiMA president Dr Agnes Mahomva echoed Dr Parirenyatwa’s sentiments that patients should not suffer.

She said following the meeting with the Government officials, ZiMA will today meet with the national executive council and representatives from all affiliate associations from various medical disciplines to map a way forward.

“ZiMA is extremely grateful for the meeting we had with Government officials because those are the conversations we wanted. As we have indicated before, we are for the patient, we are not leaving any patients unattended and we have no intention of doing so. Every single patient will be seen.

“However, we do need to resolve this and after that big meeting we had with the Ministers, we are meeting as ZiMA tomorrow so that we re-look at it to make sure we continue with one position,” Said Dr Mahomva.

She said although the meeting with the Ministers did not come up with an agreement, ZiMA appreciates the opportunity given to it to air its problems.

Last week, ZiMA reaffirmed its position to stop accepting medical aid cards arguing that health insurers were not settling their claims on time and using the gazette tariffs.

Zim imports decline by 12%

Source: Zim imports decline by 12% – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

A 12% decline in imports to US$2,07 billion recorded by Zimbabwe in the first five months of 2015 compared to the same period prior year has been attributed to a shrinking buying power, weakening of the South African rand and overstocking by retailers for the 2015 festive season.

By Taurai Mangudhla

Economist John Robertson said the shrinking demand is as a result of continued company closures and subsequent job losses which contributed significantly to the decline in imports.

“The shrinking economy has resulted in declining disposable income which means there is less expenditure,” Robertson said in an interview, adding the liquidity crisis that led to a cash crisis that was more visible in April meant citizens had less spending power.

The economist said most supermarkets had overstocked ahead of the 2015 Christmas holidays in anticipation of annual bonuses that came late for civil servants.

“Civil servants constitute half the workforce and they are still getting their 2015 annual bonuses,” Robertson said.

“This meant people bought less than anticipated and some shops had to carry over that stock into January or even February hence a decline in imports.”

Economist Vince Musewe said the country should not read too much into the decline given the weakening of the South African Rand.

“It means you can buy more for less,” he said.

Zimbabwe imports most of its products from South Africa.

Former economic planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada said looking at the periodic performance in isolation could be misleading.

“There is no need to read too much into the variance as the gap is small and can be closed in the next three quarters of the year,” he said.

“Nothing has changed to suggest that imports are declining. Capacity utilisation is under 30%. The rand is still weak and local industry is still uncompetitive.”

“In economics that difference is called a time series difference not related to fundamentals,” Mashakada said.

“Periodic correlation does not paint the full picture because of cycles. That’s why we should take a cue from annual data. Besides a weakening South African rand makes imports cheaper,” he added.

Cameron resigns as the UK votes out of EU

Source: Cameron resigns as the UK votes out of EU – NewZimbabwe 24/06/2016

DAVID Cameron has announced he will resign as Prime Minister after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Speaking after Britain voted in favour of leaving the EU, he said the “will of the British people” must be respected and it was an “instruction which must be delivered”.

He said there should be a new leader in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.

More follows …

 

Investors keen on $2bln Sengwa project

Source: Investors keen on $2bln Sengwa project – NewZimbabwe 23/06/2016

HARARE: Resources group RioZim says investors remain keen on its Sengwa thermal power project near Gokwe, even though the company is still yet to secure an offtake agreement, with Nigeria’s Dangote and an unnamed Chinese firm pushing aggressively for the venture.

The resources group has an ambitious plan to build a 2,400 megawatts power plant at its coalfields at Sengwa in North West Zimbabwe, at an estimated cost of $2,2 billion.

Chief executive Noah Matimba told journalists after the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday that investor appetite for the Sengwa project had increased as power supply constraints in the region worsen.

Southern Africa has an installed capacity of 52,598 MW against a demand of 49,563 Mw. Output, however, stands at 46,910MW giving the region a shortfall of 8,247MW.

Zimbabwe, which is currently generating 1,300MW against a peak demand of 2,200MW, is among the hardest hit in the region.  The collapse of the country’s manufacturing and mining industries have seen demand drop to 1,400MW, according to energy officials.

“We have signed hundreds of nondisclosure agreements with parties interested in the project. In the past six months we have seen a bit of aggression from one Chinese company and the Dangote Group,” he said.

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote in August last year announced plans to build a 1,5 million tonne cement plant in Zimbabwe and said he was looking invest in coal mining and power generation in Zimbabwe.

In 2014, the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI), one of China’s five largest state owned electricity producers was mentioned in connection with the project.

The Sengwa power project has been in the pipeline since the 1990s and is an attractive option, with guaranteed supply of coal from the Sengwa coal mine.

Matimba said that the project’s feasibility study, carried in 1997 had also been updated.

“An offtake agreement remains the main attraction to most investors but we have observed that some of the investors would want to explore the possibility of going ahead with the project even where there is no power purchase agreement,” said Matimba.

An offtake arrangement would guarantee a ready market for the power once it is generated.

“We have been talking to Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) who have indicated that there is capacity within the SAAP market but the problem is that it is noncommittal.  Again we made an attempt to engage with Eskom of South Africa they expressed interest but they have not committed to a power purchase agreement,” he said.

 

RioZim under probe

Source: RioZim under probe – The Zimbabwe Independent June 24, 2016

The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (Neci) have instituted a probe into the goings on at RioZim Ltd amid indications the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) will soon issue a corrective order on the mining company.

Chris Muronzi/Bernard Mpofu

Sources this week told businessdigest that the OPC and Neci instituted investigations into the goings on at RioZim with a particular focus on proving whether minority shareholders’ pre-emptive rights were usurped when RZ Murowa, a company controlled by Harpal Randhawa, acquired Murowa Diamonds last year. The acquisition is mired in controversy after the Lovemore Chihota led board did not follow laid down procedures.

RioZim Ltd shareholders were never offered the right to sell their 22% equity stake in Murowa Diamonds at the same terms as Rio Tinto Plc as provided by tag-along right of the shareholders agreement of 2004.

The company announced that the RioZim board waived shareholders pre-emptive rights to Murowa because it could not pay the purchase price. But minority shareholders say the board misdirected itself in the transaction and did not even consider the value of the deal.

“OPC has been in touch with the ZSE trying to understand the issues that are being raised about the pre-emptive rights and tag along rights. Basically the ZSE was told to look at it seriously,” a source said.

A corrective order is said to have been issued on RioZim this week but the matter is being kept under wraps. Secz is said to have demanded to have cite of the order before it is issued.

“Secz is yet to receive the order from the ZSE. But the OPC wants to know if everything was done in line with the articles of association and if the board had those grounds,” a source said.

However, businessdigest has established that RioZim had been ordered to follow laid down procedures in the Murowa transaction. “They had counsel to the effect that they should do the transaction above board in line with the regulations,” said another source.

We want our money! – Defiant State workers

Source: We want our money! – Defiant State workers – NewZimbabwe 22/06/2016

A CIVIL service strike now looms after a meeting between government workers and three cabinet ministers Wednesday failed to reach an agreement over plans to delay to July, payment of June salaries.

Government workers have rejected proposals by the Finance Ministry to pay teachers and health workers their June salaries next month on July 7 and 14 respectively.

Pay days for the police and the army have also been delayed to the end of June with government saying it is trying to raise the cash.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and his public service and health colleagues Prisca Mupfumira and Dr David Parirenyatwa met union bosses in Harare Wednesday but no agreement was reached.

The head of civil service unions emerged from the meeting to declare that government workers expect their June salaries “in June”.

“As workers, we have remained with the position that we have been sent with our members and we say that salaries should be paid on the due traditional dates.

“We still hold on to that positionexpecting their June salaries this month,” said Apex Council leader Cecelia Alexander.

“Our reasons for making this demand are there are penalties that we will incur as a result of late payment of salaries, which penalties will be our liability as workers.

“By the end of the month, our transport allowance will be spent and we will not be able to travel to and from work. We also face the prospect of being evicted from our rented accommodation.”

Minister Mupfumira said another meeting would be held next Monday.

“We have come up with certain decisions, which we are going to consult our various constituencies. The unions are going to consult their constituencies and we will also be consulting.

“As such, we have resolved to meet on Monday at 4:30pm to map the way forward together,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has since said that its members would go on strike over the pay delay.

“Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) hereby notifies its members of a pending strike. It has come to the attention of the association that the employer is not intending to pay teachers their June 2016 salaries,” the union said in a statement.

“As such the association has resolved that all its members should down their tools as from 22 June if the employer does not change the pay date to a date in June.”

The union said it had lost patience with the government.

“Comrades let us all stop delivering service as from Wednesday 22 June 2016. Enough is enough. Please forward this message to every teacher you care about,” said ZIMTA.

 

China envoy meets President on deals

Source: China envoy meets President on deals | The Herald June 22, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Chinese President Xi Jinping has deployed a special envoy to Zimbabwe to update President Mugabe on progress made in the implementation of mega-deals that were signed when the two leaders paid each other reciprocal State visits in 2014 and last year.

Beijing pledged to bankroll a number of infrastructural projects that Harare intends to implement in line with the Zim-Asset economic blueprint.

Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming met President Mugabe for over an hour at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare yesterday where he also announced his country’s commitment to donate about 20 000 tonnes of rice to Zimbabwe as food relief following the drought-induced poor yields last year.

Deputy Minister Zhang arrived in Harare on Monday and is expected to leave today.

Speaking to the media after a closed-door meeting with President Mugabe, the Chinese envoy said his country was committed to the implementation of the deals.

“I reported to His Excellency the implementation of the important consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and President Mugabe during President Xi’s visit to Zimbabwe in December last year and the consensus they reached to deepen and further develop the friendly and cooperation relationship between our two countries,” said Deputy Minister Zhang.

“During President Xi’s visit to Harare, the two countries reached a series of common understanding on our cooperation. China decided to provide assistance to Zimbabwe for the construction of the new Parliament building of Zimbabwe.

“I reported to President Mugabe that China has already completed the design of the Parliament building and submitted three design plans to the Zimbabwe side and we are waiting for the confirmation from the Zimbabwean side for the early launch of this project.”

Deputy Minister Zhang said President Mugabe appraised him about the economic interventions that Government was implementing to stimulate economic growth.

He said for that reason, the Asian giant would continue to support Zimbabwe in its quest for economic revival.

“China is confident in the capabilities of the Government and the people of Zimbabwe in overcoming the current difficulties and restore health development of the economy in Zimbabwe.

“We will continue to work hand in glove with the brothers and sisters of Zimbabwe to ensure economic and social development of Zimbabwe.

“His Excellency, the President also shared with me information about the impact of the recent drought on agriculture and people’s well-being in Zimbabwe as well as the vigorous and active measures taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to offset that impact.

“To help the people of Zimbabwe to overcome the difficulties created by the drought, the Chinese government has decided to provide a batch of assistance worth 160 million renminbi of rice to the Zimbabwean people with an amount of 20 000 tonnes of rice.

“Departments of both countries are now having close coordination with one another to send the batch of assistance to those in need as quickly as possible. Both countries are confident that with the solidarity and cooperation of our two countries, we have every capability to overcome all difficulties and sustain our economic and social development in the future,” said Deputy Minister Zhang.

Zimbabwe and China signed several deals that run into billions of dollars when President Mugabe visited China in 2014 on a State visit before President Xi reciprocated in December last year.

Airport robbery: runway deal inflated by $13mln, cars for CAAZ officials

Source: Airport robbery: runway deal inflated by $13mln, cars for CAAZ officials | The Source June 23, 2016

HARARE (The Source) – A deal for the construction of a new runway at Harare International Airport was inflated by $13 million without approval, the Auditor General has said in a new report that raises questions over the handling of airport tenders.

Two officials at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ), the agency in charge of national airports, accepted vehicles from a contractor, while a truck meant for the Victoria Falls airport project turned up at a gold mine in Bindura.

According to an audit by the Auditor General, released on Wednesday, a contract awarded by CAAZ for the rehabilitation of the Harare International Airport runway was priced at $22 million in 2009. However, by 2015, the price had unaccountably risen to $35,7 million, a variation of $13,6 million. This increase in the tender cost had not been approved by the state tender board and there is no documented explanation for it, Auditor General, Mildred Chiri says in her report.

“I was not availed with documentary evidence to show that the State Procurement Board (SPB) had approved the contract price variation,” the report says.

The true value of the runway contract remains difficult to pin down.

In July last year, CAAZ general manager David Chaota told a parliamentary committee that the original cost of the project was $5 million, but that $11 million was now required to complete repairs on the runway, Africa’s third longest at 4,725 metres. At the time, Chaota said CAAZ was seeking a $2 million loan from FBC Bank for the project. Chaota had previously warned that the runway would be unusable within three years if no rehabilitation was done.

However, the 2012 national budget shows that government had set aside $7 million for the project.

On why the cost of the project had risen without SPB approval, CAAZ management, in its response to the auditor’s questions, responded: “Management will engage SPB for the approval of the variations as the project is still ongoing and we are hopeful that the approval will be granted before the completion of the project.”

No explanation is given on why the cost had ballooned by $13 million. However, CAAZ says the contractor and consultants on the project had requested for an additional $500,000 as “remobilisation fees”.

The Auditor General also pointed out shady dealings in a separate airport contract.

A project to build a new airport terminal at Victoria Falls was granted “national project status”, which meant all vehicles purchased for the project were granted tax rebates. However, the audit found a dump truck imported for the airport project being used at Timsite Mine in Bindura.

This was “in violation of rebate conditions that stipulate that the equipment should be used solely for the Victoria Falls project”, the report says. The truck also appeared to have changed owners, as its registration was changed from ACU 9493 to ABS 6729, suggesting the new ownership.

The AG’s report does not say who owns Timsite Mine. However, a search by The Source revealed its directors as Munyaradzi Banda, a former Zanu PF central committee member expelled from the party last year, as well as Leonard Chiketa, Yang Linhai, and Cheng Minglei. However, Timsite mine’s ownership appears to be disputed.

Last year, Chiketa was accused of kidnapping co-director Cheng Minglei, driving him to the airport and forcing him to leave for China. At the time, police were quoted as saying they were keen to interview Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Martin Tafara Dinha over the case.

The link between Timsite and China Jiangsu International, the contractor of the Victoria Falls airport, remains unclear.

The audit also found that two CAAZ official had received vehicles from China Jiangsu International. The two Toyota Hilux vehicles had been meant for the project at Victoria Falls, but were being used by the two CAAZ officials in Harare.

“The vehicles were being used in Harare and not Victoria Falls while the employees in question had their personal issue vehicles. The circumstanced leading to the allocation of the vehicles to the employees were no documented and I could not verify whether the allocation was appropriately authorised,” the Auditor General reports.

CAAZ admitted that the officials had received the cars from the contractor. CAAZ says: “The vehicles have since been withdrawn from the two individuals and the authority is investigating the circumstances under which they were issued the vehicles by the contractor.”

According to the audit, CAAZ’s financial losses widened in 2014 to $21,4 million in 2014, from the $14,8 million loss it made in the previous year.

AG: Supa Mandiwanzira gets $200K car loan from own parastatal

Source: AG: Supa Mandiwanzira gets $200K car loan from own parastatal | The Source June 23, 2016

HARARE (The Source) – ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira broke the rules and got a $194,000 loan from a parastatal under his Ministry for the purchase of a vehicle, a report by the Auditor general reveals.

The Auditor General’s department, in its new report on government ministries, also revealed how the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) loaned $10 million to the ministry for its acquisition of a controlling interest in Telecel Zimbabwe. The loan was extended with no Treasury approval.

“The Ministry (of ICT, Postal and Courier Services) got loans amounting to $10 million, $194 564 and $95 000 from POTRAZ for the acquisition of government’s shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe and purchasing of the Minister and Deputy Minister’s (Win Mlambo) vehicle respectively, without Treasury concurrence. These amounts were still outstanding as at the time the audit was concluded,” the report says.

The Ministry also borrowed an additional $58 888 from POTRAZ and state owned mobile operator NetOne.

Says the Auditor General: “The ministry did not provide documentary evidence to show that they were given treasury authority to borrow from state owned enterprises. Since the amount of $58 888 relates to appropriation expenses by the ministry, the expenditure should be accounted for in the 2015 financial year.”

“In addition, the ministry did not provide documentary evidence on how it intends to account for the $10 289 564 for the purchase of shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe and the purchase of the Minister and Deputy Minister’s vehicles.”

Telecel is the country’s smallest mobile telecoms firm with 2,4 million subscribers. Earlier this year, Mandiwanzira said the $40 million purchase of Telecel had been done through ZARNet, a struggling Internet Service Provider wholly owned by the government through the ICT Ministry.

In April, pension fund NSSA announced it had put up $30 million to buy the Telecel stake, a deal it described as “too compelling” to pass over. Until the Auditor General’s report, it had been unclear how government had raised the other $10 million.

NSSA chairman Robin Vera said then that the $30 million advanced to ZARnet was not a loan but quasi-equity participation funding, which would give NSSA equity control of Telecel Zimbabwe until certain conditions are met by ZARNet.

“In all circumstances, NSSA will emerge as a significant equity holder in Telecel Zimbabwe Limited”.

On February 25, the Amsterdam-headquartered telecoms giant VimpelCom said the deal was yet to be completed. Mandiwanzira told Parliament that the money for the stake was yet to be transferred to Vimpelcom due to cash shortages in Zimbabwe.

Telecel’s remaining 40 percent is owned by Empowerment Corporation, a consortium of local shareholders. The group has opposed the sale of Vimpelcom’s 60 percent shares, although Mandiwanzira has claimed that they too had approached NSSA to buy their shareholding.

POTRAZ’s part in the purchase of a stake in a company it is supposed to supervise, and its loan to Mandiwanzira, may raise fresh questions about its role as a regulator. The authority already faces criticism of being unfair in how it treats the licensing of operators.

Govt-owned Hwange to sack 1,000 workers

Source: Govt-owned Hwange to sack 1,000 workers – NewZimbabwe 23/06/2016

HARARE: Hwange Colliery Company is considering cutting a third of its 3,000 workforce as part of measures to revamp the loss-making coal miner, a government official said.

Hwange, in which Zimbabwe’s government is the biggest shareholder with a 37 percent stake, is the nation’s second-largest coal producer and supplies coke to state-owned electricity generating firm Zimbabwe Power Company.

Fred Moyo, the deputy minister in the mines ministry, told parliament on Wednesday that Hwange, which has been making losses for more than a decade, would cut overheads, trim its workforce and has set a meeting with creditors next month.

The firm should have 2,000 employees, the official parliament record, Hansard, quoted Moyo as saying on Wednesday.

Moyo did not say when the job cuts would be effected.

The deputy minister said the High Court had approved a scheme by Hwange that would suspend all litigation against the company from creditors who are owed $160 million.

Hwange chief executive Thomas Makore said on Thursday approval for the scheme was granted in the first week of June.

Moyo said Hwange would meet the creditors on July 14 to find an agreement on how to repay its debts.

Hwange produces 150,000 tonnes of coal a month and Moyo said the company was working to double the output by end of year.

Renamo actions force Agriterra to wind down cattle ranches

London (AIM) – The Guernsey-based trading company Agriterra on Thursday announced that actions by armed militias belonging to the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo have led to it destocking cattle on its ranches in central Mozambique.

Source: Renamo actions force Agriterra to wind down cattle ranches – The Zimbabwean 24.6.2016

Agriterra is an agricultural company with maize and beef operations in Mozambique. It is based in Manica province but also has operations in Tete province.

The company has released a statement lamenting that “the political and economic environment in Mozambique has deteriorated during the course of 2016 and local Renamo militias are now entrenched in some rural areas in the Manica province, where the Company’s three farms are located”.

It added that “the decision has been made to destock these farms in order to protect the value of the herd during a period in which there is an increased possibility of livestock theft and an increased risk in the movement of people and goods in the country”.

The three farms in Mavonde, Dombe, and Inhazonia, currently hold four thousand cattle. Over the next ten months, the company will transfer them to its facility in Vanduzi for fattening and slaughter.

The company is hopeful that “the political situation in Mozambique will stabilise, permitting the farms to be redeveloped as cattle ranching farms”.

Renamo’s ambushes on traffic in central Mozambique have had a serious effect on the country’s economy, contributing to rising inflation. It is also having a direct influence on employment with the decision of Agriterra to wind down its operations inevitably leading to local job losses.

What will prosecutors do about Renamo attacks?

Maputo (AIM) – Parliamentary deputies of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party, on the second day of a debate on the annual report on the state of justice given by Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili, demanded to know what she would do about the crimes committed by the illegal militia of the rebel movement Renamo.

Source: What will prosecutors do about Renamo attacks? – The Zimbabwean 24.6.2016

Agostinho Vuma, a Frelimo deputy who is also a senior figure in the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), said these crimes have now reached “alarming proportions, resulting in the death of innocent citizens and the destruction of important social and economic infrastructures”.

From October 2015 to the present there had been 107 Renamo attacks, Vuma said, in which 40 people had died and 79 had been seriously injured. Giving a breakdown of the attacks, he said they had mostly been in the central provinces (56 in Sofala, 21 in Manica, 11 in Tete and eight in Zambezia). There had also been six attacks in Inhambane and two in Gaza, in the south of the country, and three in the northern province of Nampula.

The Renamo attacks had severely affected transport operators. In the past a journey from the south of Mozambique to the north could take about 24 hours. Since there are now stretches of road where movement is only possible in armed convoys, the time has tripled to 72 hours, representing a significant increase in costs.

Because passengers are now afraid to travel, the average number of people in a long distance bus had fallen from between 40 and 50, to just five to ten.

Smallholder farmers, fearing for their safety, had abandoned areas affected by the Renamo attacks, Vuma said, which was affecting the supply of fresh vegetables in parts of central and northern Mozambique.

Tourism had also been badly hit, with a decline in guests, and several hotels and lodges  – Vuma mentioned four in Inhambane and two in Cabo Delgado – forced to close.

Furthermore, the two Renamo attacks against trains had led the Brazilian mining company Vale to stop using the Sena railway line from its mine in Moatize to the port of Beira. Vuma said this threatens the export of ten million tonnes of coal this year.

He asked what the Public Prosecutor’s Office was doing to tackle these crimes. Could Buchili explain to the Assembly “why there is so much tolerance for this type of crime? Is it normal for a political party to own military equipment? Is there anywhere else in the world where the existence of armed political parties is accepted and legal?”

Buchili admitted that the Mozambican Constitution does not allow armed political parties, and outlaws the use of force for political purposes. But she did not explain how prosecutors would deal with Renamo attacks.

She declared that “criminal responsibility is individual”, and promised that her office would pursue all those who commit crimes, regardless of their motive or of their political affiliation.

Frelimo deputies were not satisfied with such answers. Valeria Mitelele accused Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama of being “the confessed moral author of these crimes”.

In any other part of the world, the Renamo gunmen “would be called terrorists”, she said. “Have any cases been opened against these terrorists?”

Pedro Cossa said that Renamo attacks are happening “day after day”. President Filipe Nyusi was attempting to end the conflict through dialogue – but what, Cossa asked, was the Attorney-General’s Office doing to fulfil its role as guardian of legality?

It would be possible for prosecutors to open cases for each and every Renamo attack, even if there are no named suspects. The cases would be against “persons unknown”. This is what has been done in several high profile murder cases – such as the assassination of constitutional lawyer Gilles Cistac in March 2015, where nobody has yet been arrested.

Buchili did not give a straight answer to these questions, but merely insisted that peace is a requirement for the rule of law. As for the demand to outlaw Renamo, made by some Renamo deputies on Wednesday, Buchili replied “We are seeking appropriate mechanisms for maintaining peace”.

$100m windfall for HIV, Aids programmes

Zimbabwe, which is burdened by the HIV and Aids pandemic, is set to benefit from support of over $100 million from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) over the next few years.

Source: $100m windfall for HIV, Aids programmes – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

By Phyllis Mbanje

Although the prevalence rate has dropped from an all-time high of over 30% to around 15%, the country is still grappling with inadequate funding to curtail the disease.

Speaking at the launch of the Harare phase of the ground breaking survey, the Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZimPhia), Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) country director, Beth Tippett Barr said Pepfar will continue to support the country to further bring down the prevalence rate.

She applauded Zimbabwe for being the first to implement such a survey, which is population-based and not based on data generated from people who have reached out to health institutions.

“This survey will allow participants to be tested for HIV and Aids from the comfort of their homes,” she said
ZimPhia survey data collection started in mid-October 2015 and has so far covered nine provinces.

The target is to collect data from about 15 000 households across the country.

For Harare, 1 699 households will take part in the survey, which seeks to measure the burden of HIV and the impact of Zimbabwe’s HIV prevention, care and treatment services.

The results from the survey will act as a baseline to benchmark progress towards the UNAids’ 90-90-90 targets and help to focus programmes and resources towards populations at greatest risk for HIV and in most need of services. ZimPhia results will also assist in guiding future investments in health.

Chamisa warns minister over Parly ‘interference’

PARLIAMENTARY Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology chairperson, Nelson Chamisa yesterday warned ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira against interfering with its processes by querying why suspended NetOne chief executive officer, Reward Kangai had been called to give oral evidence.

Source: Chamisa warns minister over Parly ‘interference’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by VENERANDA LANGA

Kangai appeared before the ICT committee on Monday to give oral evidence on why he was suspended as NetOne CEO.

Mandiwanzira appeared before the committee months ago and gave oral evidence about corruption at NetOne, saying he was instituting a forensic audit and was leaving no stone unturned to get to the bottom of all fraudulent deals.

But Chamisa said the committee was playing its oversight role and could not be questioned for giving a chance to people involved in the $248 million NetOne base station tender saga to give oral evidence.

“In terms of the Constitution, Parliament must be open to the public, and when we invite people to give oral evidence, the committee will have made that resolution on the basis of the Constitution and Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders,” he said.

“We hear oral evidence from all relevant parties in order to have a complete story. We need all interested players to speak and all stakeholders have a right to be heard. In fact, Parliament cannot be stopped from investigating an issue because there is a forensic audit taking place, and we are also looking forward to the forensic audit.”

In a statement, Mandiwanzira insinuated the committee was trying to pre-empt the auditors by inviting Kangai to give oral evidence.

“I am aware that the Parliament hearing and other activities that I have ignored are meant to pre-empt the audit report and intimidate the auditor. These cheap efforts shall not succeed,” he said.

But Chamisa warned such utterances by Mandiwanzira might constitute contempt of Parliament.

“The minister (Mandiwanzira) is the one who came to Parliament and raised these issues about Megawatt and Bopela (Group of Companies) and that is why we invited Kangai. In fact, the minister’s conduct is now bordering on contempt of Parliament because he cannot veto committee hearings and cannot supervise Parliament. It is Parliament that supervises the minister because he has to account to the public. The minister will have his day and, for now, he must not try to intimidate the committee.”

Mabvuku-Tafara MP, James Maridadi (MDC-T) yesterday raised Mandiwanzira’s statement in the National Assembly, saying it constituted contempt of Parliament, but Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona ignored the point of order.

Zanu PF passes favourable report on Local Govt Bill

ZANU PF members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) nicodemously passed a non-adverse report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill in the absence of opposition members.

Source: Zanu PF passes favourable report on Local Govt Bill – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by VENERANDA LANGA

The issue came to light when MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese yesterday raised a matter of privileges in the National Assembly complaining that he and another member of the PLC, Jessie Majome got informed about the convening of the meeting which adjudged the Bill as non-adverse, effectively declaring the contest law as constitutional.

Zanu PF members of the PLC who outfoxed the MDC-T members are Jonathan Samukange (chairman), Fortune Chasi, and Ziyambi Ziyambi.

“I was informed that a purported meeting of the PLC had taken place, and the chairman indicated they had already agreed on a non-adverse report on the Bill,” Gonese said.

“I was not aware of that meeting and Majome was not present, and we were not given notice of the meeting. The PLC is an important committee, and the only committee mentioned by the Constitution (section 152).”

Gonese said there were also requirements that if any member of the PLC did not agree with opinions of others, they can do a separate report to be then discussed paragraph by paragraph.

“We must do things properly because already (Local government minister, Saviour) Kasukuwere has moved for suspension of provisions of standing orders relating to stages of Bills when the Local Government Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is still out. The minister wants to come here and do a fast-track of the Bill. I suggest that the motion must be expunged from the Order Paper as it is not lawful.”

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona promised to look into the issue together with administration of Parliament.

When Kasukuwere was about to introduce the Bill all opposition MPs walked out of the House to ensure there was no quorum.

Only 58 Zanu PF MPs were present when the quorum is 70.

Meanwhile, during the question and answer session Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Statutory Instrument 64 does not ban importation of goods, but only required people to get an import licence to acquire goods available locally.

“We are importing more than we export and a lot of foreign currency is going to buy trinkets. We need to import goods critical to the development of the country,” he said.

Tsvangirai to miss Mutare protest march

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai will today miss the opposition party’s Mutare protest march against President Robert Mugabe’s alleged misrule, as he is scheduled to undergo a routine medical review, NewsDay has learnt.

Source: Tsvangirai to miss Mutare protest march – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by BY OBEY MANAYITI/ KENNETH NYANGANI

This comes as the party was optimistic of pulling a bumper crowd to demand Mugabe’s immediate resignation over the poor economic performance and maladministration.

In April, Tsvangirai led thousands to a peaceful demonstration in Harare, but missed a similar march in Bulawayo, as he was recuperating in South Africa from an undisclosed medical procedure.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss’ absence would not affect the much-hyped Manicaland protest march.

“President Tsvangirai will not be part of the marching thousands in Manicaland, as initially planned, as the new date for the demonstration, now brought to Thursday, coincides with his scheduled medical review following a medical procedure done on him,” he said.

“President Tsvangirai is in high spirits and was looking forward to attending the Manicaland protest march on Saturday were it not for the incestuous relationship between Zanu PF and the police, who conspired to create a competing event by Zanu PF on the same day.

“But the event is going ahead because it is a provincial event and, in any case, the absence of the president does not affect party programmes.”

MDC-T was forced to bring forward its march after police said Zanu PF had a function on the same day.

Tamborinyoka described Manicaland as the “scene of the crime”, where $15 billion worth of diamonds were stolen to “fatten the pockets of the chefs and to pay Nikuv [an Israeli company] to steal July 2013 harmonised elections”.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the party was hopeful of pulling 10 000 people to demonstrate against Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“On Thursday, the MDC mother of all demonstrations takes place in the beautiful and serene Eastern Highlands city of Mutare. We expect a bumper crowd of no less than 10 000 people to take part in this demo,” he said.

“The people of Manicaland are particularly irked by the looting of diamonds that has taken place in their own hinterland of Marange and Chiadzwa. They would like to know, among other things, what happened to the $15 billion worth of diamonds that President Mugabe recently publicly admitted was looted.”

The opposition party will also be demanding to know what happened to the so-called community share ownership trusts in Zimunya and Marange area, as well as those who benefited from the programme.

MDC-T Manicaland chairman, David Chimhini said they were geared up for the demonstration, which starts at Sakubva Beit Hall at 9am and ends at Meikles Park in the afternoon.

“The only difficulty we are facing is the police. They keep calling us and they are demanding to know how people are going to demonstrate and the number of marshals. We are not concerned about the numbers, but the message, to be conveyed,” he said.

“The demonstration comes at the right time for the civil servants. They are employed, but are not getting their salaries on time. We also have people who were affected when industries closed.”

The Mutare demonstration is a follow to those held in the Harare, Bulawayo and Bindura. The demonstration becomes the first one to be cleared by police, as the other three were okayed by the High Court, after the cops attempted to block them.

Re-inventing our Great Zimbabwe

IT’S been a long time coming, but surely change is going to come.

Source: Re-inventing our Great Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

Vince Musewe

“If we are going to suffer and be denied resources by outsiders, them demanding that they should do as they like in our country, we say no, keep your resources. Our land which we have died for and suffered for is greater, much greater than your resources. Your resources will come and go, but my land will be there.” — President Robert Mugabe
Firstly, I really do not think that Zimbabweans want to invite investors here so that “they do as like” in fact, it is the Chinese who have done and continue to do as they like in our country and externalised billions of dollars at the invitation of the same man who said the above words recently.

As Churchill once said: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened”, and that is exactly where we are right now. President Robert Mugabe continually stumbles on the truth, but chooses to ignore it and continues as if nothing has happened. Surely, it must be clear to all, even to the President that the Zimbabwe project has failed to live up to expectations and it is time to now re-invent ourselves.

Despite our prodigious resource base, our country is bankrupt and has since 2013, been unable to invest anything in the economy because our government has accumulated a budget deficit of $2,5 billion, which has mainly been spent on consumption and not investment or capital formation. A government that spends $35 million on telephone calls as reported recently is highly irresponsible and not fit to govern us.

The country also has no savings and is not generating adequate export revenues to meet its needs, while imports are ballooning because we no longer produce much here, thanks to Mugabe who believes that land without secure tenure and minerals in the ground are assets.

Dear Mr President, these assets are dead assets until we can have the capital and technology to unlock them. In other words, Zimbabweans will continue to be food-insecure and beg for food from the West, while our mineral resources will lie redundant as we insult those with the very technology and capital we need.

No doubt illicit fund flows are one of the main culprits where foreigners and Zimbabweans have fleeced the country.

By just plugging gold and diamond smuggling, Zimbabwe could be able to double its export revenues.

It is a lie that progressive Zimbabweans want to “sell” the country. This lie only serves to give Mugabe and Zanu PF some false comfort on why they should stay in power. They have failed and that is that. They should go.
Our aim is to re-invent the country, repackage these dead assets and offer value so that any foreign or local investor who has capital can invest in our country, but that will not mean that they own us or they can do as they like. In fact, we want thousands and thousands of local small companies to be empowered as they participate in the supply chain so that they can create employment. We want millions of our citizens to enjoy a decent income so that they can offer their families a quality lifestyle by having decent high wage jobs through industrialising Zimbabwe.

All we have to do is to be an attractive investment destination without cumbersome Indigenisation laws.

Bond notes will not create this and the only viable solution is for Zimbabwe to position itself to attract private capital from the market because we offer value and nothing else.

This repositioning requires first that our President calls it a day and hands over the responsibilities to others.

Second, that we appoint a new team to replace Mugabe’s Cabinet. This new team will then institute substantive economic reforms and manage the economic revival project and also come very hard on corruption and illicit funds flows.

If we can for example attract $20 billion in investment now as an emergency and economic revival package, this would allow us to: revive agriculture sector and rebuild rural infrastructure to ensure food security in one season and stop maize imports; ensure that we have enough cheap energy for industrial revival; rehabilitate our roads and rail sectors; inject huge capital into the banking sector; facilitate retooling of our industrial sector; upgrade our ICT sector and create broad access to internet; rehabilitate and upgrade all hospitals and clinics; build enough schools and ensure they are well equipped; provide immediate emergency assistance to all vulnerable groups; pay off all local public debt and still have some change.

We would of course, create millions of jobs thereby increase disposable incomes and local demand for goods and services. We will also focus on rehabilitation of the tourism sector and aggressively upgrade properties and standards as this is a critical sector.

However, this cannot happen as long as we have the current Zanu PF-dominated institutions simply because they have no vision, no capacity or competence to manage such large sums effectively and transparently.

Without a significant injection of long term capital into the country and a new management team, our economy cannot be revived. This unfortunately is openly being refuted by the President whose fight is really not about economic revival or citizens’ welfare but more about his fears, his ego and selfishness. Zimbabwe will rise.

 Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com. He writes in his personal capacity.

Import ‘ban’ fallout deepens

Informal sector organisations on Tuesday stormed Harare’s Roadport bus terminus, where they rallied cross-border traders to resist government’s move to confiscate selected imported goods at the country’s border posts.

Source: Import ‘ban’ fallout deepens – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by Edgar Gweshe

Addressing the cross-border traders on Tuesday, National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) chairperson, Stern Zvorwadza said government’s latest move had proved its indifference to the plight of poverty stricken Zimbabweans.

He urged cross border traders to be united and resist any move that negatively affected their livelihoods.

“The government is responsible for the poverty that has pushed people into being vendors and cross-border traders, yet the same government is coming up with policies to stop people from earning an honest living at a time they have killed the economy and failed to create jobs,” he said.

“So, we are saying that government has proved beyond reasonable doubt that they do not care about the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans and it is time for us to unite and act.”

Zvorwadza bemoaned that instead of addressing corruption and bribery at the country’s border posts, the government was “focusing on destroying people’s livelihoods”.

“Cross-border traders have, for long, suffered from corruption by Zimra [Zimbabwe Revenue Authority] officials and despite numerous complaints, no action is taken against the culprits. We expect a reasonable government to focus on ending corruption and improving people’s livelihoods, but that is not the case in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“What we are seeing is a government focusing on destroying people’s livelihoods and, as Navuz, we will join other progressive forces in resisting this.”

Coalition of Traders Association secretary-general, Stanley Manyenga condemned government’s latest move.

“It is quite inhumane, cruel and inconsiderate that a lot of our members lost their wares at various entry points around the country’s borders. The government must immediately stop the confiscation of traders’ goods at the country’s borders or at roadblocks,” he said.

A female cross-border trader, who declined to be named, said: “I turned to cross-border trading after failing to get employment and to feed my family and send my children to school and this move by the government spells doom for my family and the future of my children.

“Personally, I think government is being too harsh on desperate citizens of this country.”

Maize reserves enough for five months

The grain reserve now holds 120 000 tonnes after the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) received 50 000 metric tonnes from farmers, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

Source: Maize reserves enough for five months – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Chinamasa told NewsDay yesterday that Treasury has paid all farmers for maize deliveries, adding that the reserves would last four to five months.

“We do not owe anybody and have received 50 000 tonnes of maize. We never anticipated any maize this season,” he said.

In February, the government launched a $1,5 billion food aid appeal to feed an estimated three million people following the El Nino-induced drought that affected southern African countries.

Government said it was addressing the national deficit of 700 000 tonnes of maize through imports of grain from a number of countries, with the help of the private sector.

Farmers have been crying foul over late disbursements of funds by government when they deliver maize to GMB.

Last week, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe said the maize supply was now stable and adequate to address the food crisis induced by drought as millers have imported more than 300 000 metric tonnes of maize.

In an interview with NewsDay, GMAZ president, Tafadzwa Musarara said his organisation was importing maize from Mexico, Ukraine, Thailand and Brazil.

“We have imported in excess of 300 000 metric tonnes and the country’s maize supply is stable and more than adequate. The market is promised of stable prices and constant supply. In fact, there is cut-throat competition,” he said.

Mphoko refuses to leave hotel

VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko has reportedly refused to move into his State-acquired mansion in Harare’s leafy Grange suburb vowing to continue staying in an upmarket city hotel at taxpayers’ expense, amid claims he was not happy with renovations made to the house.

Source: Mphoko refuses to leave hotel – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

According to government insiders, Mphoko was reportedly demanding more changes to the house to ensure it meets “his stature”, but the State was struggling to fund the required improvements due to a depleted revenue base.

The Vice-President’s house was bought by government at a cost of $3,5 million, but the renovation costs were not readily available yesterday.

“The house is ready for occupation, but the VP wants more improvements done. We really don’t understand what he wants the Ministry of Public Works and National Housing to do, but we have done our best to it. We don’t know what more needs to be done,” a senior government official, who requested not to be named, said.

Mphoko has clocked over 550 days in a five-star Harare hotel, where he checked in soon after his appointment as Vice-President in December 2014 — gobbling huge sums of taxpayers’ money in accommodation and meal costs.

Local Government permanent secretary, George Mlilo, yesterday said his ministry was no longer involved in the issue, as the matter had been handed over to the Presidency.

“That issue is being handled by the VP’s Office and the Office of the President. We no longer have any business with it,” he said.

Director of State residences in President Robert Mugabe’s Office, Innocent Tizora, refused to comment on the matter.

“Who is this? Yes, how can I help you,” a cordial Tizora said.

But when the NewsDay reporter identified himself, Tizora angrily said: “What do you want, nxa,” before terminating the call.

Several attempts to get a comment from Mphoko himself were fruitless as his phone was busy, while Minister of State in his Office, Thabetha Kanengoni-Malinga was not picking her calls.

Mphoko, a career diplomat who served in various countries, landed the Vice-Presidency in December 2014 following the ouster of then Vice-President Joice Mujuru from both government and Zanu PF.

He was appointed co-Vice-President together with Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is staying in his government-issued house.

Since Mphoko had no government accommodation in the capital, he was booked into the presidential suite at Rainbow Towers Hotel where he has now clocked 18 months.

The presidential suite, located on the 17th Floor, costs $403 inclusive of bed and breakfast for two per day, while lunch and dinner cost $15 each.

Mphoko is reportedly staying with his grandchild in the suite, which significantly increases the cost.

The hotel charges an additional $130 for an extra bedroom in the same suite for two children and Mphoko’s aides.

Early last year, Mphoko’s wife, Laurinda, reportedly rejected three houses, among them a mansion in Ballantyne Park worth $3 million, claiming it was too small for a person of the VP’s stature.

The Mphokos also refused to move into the house once occupied by the late Vice-President Joseph Msika in Mandara, saying they wanted a house of their own.

Mphoko’s demand for an upmarket house is in direct contrast with his predecessor, the late Vice-President John Nkomo, who lived in a modest double-storey government house in Milton Park. Government is, according to the Constitution, obliged to provide State accommodation to Vice-Presidents, who are also entitled to buy the properties at market value when they leave office.

Mugabe aide in land row

President Robert Mugabe’s top aide, Innocent Tizora and Mt Pleasant legislator, Jason Passade (Zanu PF) have been dragged into a land wrangle, where they are accused of trying to wrest prime property earmarked for residential development from a war veteran.

Source: Mugabe aide in land row – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by Everson Mushava

Tizora, the director of State residences, and Passade were said to be initially roped in by war veteran, Adwell Chiminya in his dispute with ex-banker, Nyasha Makuvise and Masimba Msipa over what is known as the remainder of Echo Farm, on the north eastern fringes of Harare.

Chiminya claims he sought Tizora’s help to resolve his dispute with Makuvise and Msipa before Passade was also brought in as an intermediary amid a flurry of meetings reportedly at State House in Harare.

According to Chiminya, Passade now claimed ownership after allegedly undercutting the former freedom fighter.

“We wanted to see President Mugabe. Tizora promised to resolve the matter before it got to the President. He told us not to report the matter to the media, as he tried to resolve it.

“He first appointed Misheck Katuruza to mediate. We had seven meetings at State House and we have minutes of the meetings,” Chiminya claimed.

“But we were surprised later to see that Passade was already on the ground, paving roads. When we queried this, he rushed to secure a court interdict against us, saying we were interfering with his work.”

Tizora was not answering his phone and did not respond to messages sent on his mobile, while Passade claimed he bought the land from Msipa, the owner of Crowhill Properties in a partnership with Temba Hlongwane.

“I am going to sue you,” Passade threatened.

“And we are going to get him (Chiminya) arrested for interfering with me. In fact, I have already spoken to my seniors and papers are being prepared to have him arrested. He cannot drag names of senior people into the mud like that.”

Passade claimed Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere was behind Chiminya’s fight, alleging he also wanted land from Crowhill Properties, which he was denied.

Kasukuwere, however, rubbished Passade’s claims. “He (Passade) is mad. Investigate and get to
the bottom of the story,” he challenged.

Makuvise said: “I am the owner of the farm (remainder of Echo — Borrowdale Estate) because I bought the company (Gilson Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd) which had freehold title.”

However, investigations showed Makuvise did not even appear on the name of directors for Gilson Enterprises, whose directors are still the white former owners.

Hlongwane referred questions to his lawyer, Tapson Dzvetero, who said Makuvise was the owner of the land after buying Gilson Enterprises.

“The issue is clear in terms of the law; if Chiminya has a problem, he should approach the court to set aside the deed.

“We are past the age where people can just invade others’ property and claim that since they are war veterans, they are entitled to any piece of land. If the land is his, why is he not on the land?” Dzvetero asked rhetorically.

He said Chiminya’s offer letter had been overtaken by events, as the land has been changed from agricultural to residential land and that the remainder of Echo has now been annexed to Crowhill Properties after a presidential proclamation in 2014, incorporating the land from Goromonzi district to become part of the capital. He said Makuvise has already registered the deed and permit.

But Chiminya’s lawyer, Farai Nyamayaro said he was not aware his client’s offer letter was withdrawn querying the claimed consolidation of the remainder of Echo Farm in 2009.

“They (Makuvise and Hlongwane) got an interdict to force our client from interfering with Lot 1 of Echo, not the remainder of Echo, the land that is in dispute. We have already filed an appeal with the High Court and are preparing heads of argument to this effect,” Nyamayaro said.

Makuvise’s title to the land is dated August 1, 2013 before the presidential proclamation and the permit for consolidation was done in 2009, before Chiminya’s offer was reportedly withdrawn.

Chiminya claims to have invaded the land in 1999 and received an offer letter on October 18, 2003 before registering a housing co-operative called Mishakuvanhu. He claims to have successfully applied for change of land use in 2012, as shown by exchanges between his co-operative and the Local Government ministry.

He claimed Msipa and Hlongwane had tried to offer them some stands and money to buy Mishakuvanhu executives out, but they refused.

‘Peace commission urged to seek independent funding’

FORMER commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Yasmin Sooka has urged Zimbabwe to come up with independent funding for its National Peace and Reconciliation Commission in order to guarantee its independence.

Source: ‘Peace commission urged to seek independent funding’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 23, 2016

by Everson Mushava

She was speaking in Harare at a conversation on reconciliation in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

Sooka said Africa was awash with examples of commissions that had been sabotaged by government at the 11th hour and Zimbabwe should guard against that by ensuring there was an independent fund for the commission.

“The commission should have the capacity to raise its own money. That should be critical and should be in your law because if you don’t do that, let me assure you, you will be hamstrung,” Sooka said.

“Money is tied by government and across the world, when commissions are close to the truth, the government will hamper your work by withholding the budget. What we see in Africa is that there have been a lot of commissions that produce good reports, but the reports are never implemented. Government will withdraw funding at the last minute.”

She added: “Most important is to seek the independence of the commission. You don’t need permission from politicians to carry out your work. The only way to guarantee independence is to protect the independence of the commission and its structures.”

Zimbabwe, a country with several past human rights violations dating back to pre-independence times, recently appointed commissioners to the NPRC, but the commissioners cannot get to work because the country was still working on the laws governing their operations.

The NPRC Bill was withdrawn from Parliament by Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko after the Parliamentary legal committee produced an adverse report. Among the objections raised, MPs said the Bill gave too much power to the Justice minister compromising the independence of the commission.

Sooka also said the choice of commissioners should be public and that people should participate in the process that should be victim-centred.

She said a law should be at the fore before suitable commissioners are identified.

A successful healing process, Sooka said, should involve truth telling, right to justice, reparations and protection against non-occurrence of violations.

“In your society, you will never rest until the main perpetrators are hold accountable,” Sooka said.

Could this be Zimbabwe’s Kairos moment?

Source: Could this be Zimbabwe’s Kairos moment? | The Financial Gazette June 23, 2016

EDITOR — This letter is in response to CZ. It shall be a longish letter to you CZ and I ask for your indulgence.

“GOVERNMENT is not producing much for export. Industry is not moving according to plan and this means low revenue. Government has been trying to borrow money to pay people without productivity. Government is trying at least to pay workers, it might be delayed, but it will be paid.”
This was Prisca Mupfumira, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare talking tough this week after representatives of government workers boycotted a meeting with a high-powered government delegation that had wanted to sweet-talk the civil servants to bear with their beleaguered employer who is searching high and low for their salaries.
When a whole minister, who is supposed to build and keep harmonious relations between the government and its work-force suddenly resorts to insults, hectoring, brow-beating and veiled threats because it is becoming increasingly difficult for government to keep its side of the bargain, the situation would have deteriorated to crisis levels.
This is the proverbial rock and hard place situation that the government of President Robert Mugabe now finds itself in. After winning the 2013 elections that brought an end to a coalition government that had brought about a semblance of stability to the country, politically and economically, both detractors and analysts predicted that the economy would be the new government’s Achilles’ heel.
“If (President) Mugabe really won the election, he should deliver what he promised the people,” MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai told his supporters in Mutare a few days after the announcement of the results of the July 31, 2013 election that gave President Mugabe a healthy 62 percent of the vote. “If he succeeds, I will shake his hand and tell him that he really won the election, (but) the truth of the matter is that he can rig the elections, but he can’t rig the economy.”
This was after President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party coasted to victory on the back of their economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), under which the party promised to unlock a US$1,8 trillion economy that was to create 2,2 million new jobs.
However, barely three years later, Tsvangirai’s prediction seems to be coming to pass as everything that should never happen to an economy appears to be happening.
Since the 2013 election, the economy has been slowly, but surely, drifting South. Companies started closing one by one before the trend turned into an avalanche, while those that have remained operating are limping, a majority of them struggling to pay their workers on time, all signs of a collapsing economy.
Economist, John Robertson, told the Financial Gazette last week: “In some respects, we have experienced collapse already in specific areas, such as food security, the textiles industry, pharmaceutical production, vehicle assembly, city centre property development, employment creation, consumer goods exports, education standards, medical aid society payments … I am sure many more could be added to the list.”
With the economy on the slide, it is inevitably dragging with it the government, as there are signs everywhere that the government — which has now resorted to pushing back pay dates of the civil service — might actually fail to pay the salaries at all in the next few months, which would be the climax of the crisis.
While things are going horribly wrong on the economic front for President Mugabe, they are not getting any better on the political side.
Barely two weeks after members of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s Youth League had flooded the streets of the capital, Harare, to thank President Mugabe for what they called his “iconic” leadership qualities, the same President Mugabe had to use the strongest possible language to rebuke marauding war veterans who are now questioning the wisdom of his continued stay at the helm of the ruling party and government with no definite succession plan in place despite his well advanced age.
Two months previously, President Mugabe’s government had — in an unprecedented move — unleashed riot police to disperse an angry crowd of the same war veterans who had gathered in Harare for a protest march over their general ill-treatment in the party. He had to organise a meeting with the war veterans to try and mollify them with a whole cornucopia of promises, but this did not stop the former freedom fighters — until now President Mugabe’s trusted battle-axes — from wading deeper into the feral succession politics that is tearing ZANU-PF apart.
Just like a genie out of a bottle, the vicious succession war raging in the ruling party has spiralled out of control. While the party has resorted to descending heavily on those suspected of harbouring vaulting political ambitions by suspending and even dismissing them, this has not killed the devilry in the so-called “successionists”.
Just like an eight-headed monster that once you cut off one head, two grow in its place, the more the party has tried to deal decisively with the dissidents, the more of them it created resulting in a recent situation where President Mugabe himself had to put a stop to the suspensions and dismissals to save the party from self-destruction. Cynics feared that at the breathtaking rate at which members were being suspended and dismissed from ZANU-PF, it was not long before President Mugabe was left alone!
Dissent has not only been confined to those in ZANU-PF, as even those outside, as more and more citizens — spurred by unforgiving economic pressures highlighted by blighting cash shortages — have been increasingly becoming bold as to stand up to question the state of things.
In December last year, during the ZANU-PF annual conference held in Victoria Falls, a pastor from Kariba got himself into trouble after staging a one-man protest, by holding a banner that appeared to admonish the country’s leadership against being indifferent to the plight of the suffering masses.
Since then, the protest movement has been growing, with the latest railing going under the #ThisFlag and the Occupy Africa Unity Square campaigns, both of which protests are primarily centred on the deteriorating socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe.
As the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, it is becoming impossible to predict what it would be like next week, let alone next month, making one wonder how the year is going to end.
Kenneth Mufuka, a Zimbabwean who is a History professor at Lander University in the United States, told this writer during a recent encounter that from his experience, when a government mismanages its own affairs so much that it ends up with no money to pay its workers, the consequences have been dire for the ruling elite.
He said this is what happened in other African countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and others where long-ruling parties ended up discrediting themselves in the eyes of even their most loyal of supporters, making it easy for political change to take place.
Could Zimbabwe be approaching this stage, a stage where unpredictable things just happen without anyone being able to predict or control it… the Kairotic moment? Could it be that moment that many believers have been waiting for when in their frustration they professed leaving everything, including hope to God and the gods?
To those who believe in God’s time, Kairos time is a period of opportunity. It is often chaotic, a time of crisis.
However, it is through the chaos and crisis that God is fully present, disrupting things and providing an opening to a new future — to God’s future.
Kairos time is a time bursting forth with God’s call to a new relationship with our very history and sense of self, and thus a new relationship with one another, and even with God.

Equatorial Guinea’s Nguema makes son VP

Source: Equatorial Guinea’s Nguema makes son VP – NewZimbabwe 23/06/2016

Equatorial Guinea’s veteran ruler, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, on Wednesday named his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang vice president of the tiny oil-rich nation, in charge of defence and security.

Obiang, who seized power in a military coup in 1979 and was re-elected again in April with 93.7% of the vote, promoted the 47-year-old second vice-president by a presidential decree read on state television.

Obiang senior is currently Africa’s longest-serving leader.

Obiang junior is wanted in France on suspicion of embezzlement, corruption and stealing public funds.

 

Govt defends import controls

Source: Govt defends import controls | The Herald June 23, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government has defended its decision to control the importation of specified goods that are locally-produced saying this sought to curtail externalisation of the United States dollar and to protect the local industry.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Parliament during a Questions without Notice Session yesterday that the country was losing a lot of foreign currency through the importation of goods that were locally produced, let alone of better quality.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce recently gazetted import controls under Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, featuring products drawn from across industry.

Those intending to import some of the specified goods would have to apply for licenses and justify the cause for importing of such commodities.

Some of the specified goods are Cremora coffee creamers, camphor creams, white petroleum jellies and body creams, plastic pipes and fittings, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jams, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza base, yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice creams, cultured milk and cheese.

Some MPs asked Minister Chinamasa to explain the rationale of introducing the regulations claiming that it was tantamount to banning importation of the said goods.

They argued that the control would negatively affect the informal sector.

“The Statutory Instrument does not ban the importation of commodities,” said Minister Chinamasa.

“It merely removes those items from the Open General Import Licence. For you to import those goods, you need to apply for a licence.”

Minister Chinamasa said Government was committed to continue supporting the informal sector through facilitating that players access credit, develop their skills and through infrastructure development.

“Currently our challenges with revenue collection arise from the fact that the economy now is highly informalised and it presents problems

“We are importing more than what we export. A lot of the hard-earned foreign currency that we make is going to buy chicken because we have over legalised foreign currency usage.

“A lot of those items, which have been removed from the Open General Licence are locally produced. The goods locally produced are of higher quality and it will be good for this House (Parliament) to support our local industry, our local manufacturers and our local economy. Please support the Buy Zimbabwe campaign,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said Government was aware of the capacity of the local industry, hence importation controls on the same products.

Minister Chinamasa reiterated that Government was not planning to reintroduce the Zimbabwean dollar through bond notes. He said bond notes were meant to enhance money circulation and to incentivise local exporters.

Minister Chinamasa said some of the major reason was the liquidity crunch because some people did not deposit their money in banks.

“Why we are incentivising exporters is because our only source of foreign currency is exports and Diaspora remittances. Diaspora remittances are not coming in a structured way, so we have to fall back more primarily on exports. So, we need to incentivise exporters,” he said.

BAZ misses digitisation deadline

Source: BAZ misses digitisation deadline | The Herald June 23, 2016

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has missed the March 2016 digitisation deadline it had set for itself and the process is now expected to be completed by mid-2017, an official said yesterday. The initial deadline could not be met due to funding challenges.

The team spearheading the digitisation programme yesterday revealed this to Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda during tours of some stations that it had initially set March 2016 to complete the digitisation pro- gramme.

Dr Sibanda, accompanied by his deputies, Rtd Col Christian Katsande, Dr Ray Ndhlukula and Mr Justin Mpamhanga, Information, Media and Broadcasting Service Ministry permanent secretary Mr George Charamba, principal director Mr Regis Chikowore, ZBC and BAZ top management among others, toured the Bindura base stations, Pockets Hill and a monitoring station in Highlands to gauge progress in civil works taking place at the stations.

BAZ chief executive officer Engineer Obert Muganyura told the team the project last received funds in October 2015.

“Non-disbursement of funds has become the biggest challenge for the smooth implementation of the project. The target date was March 2016, but we are no longer able to complete the process by December 2016.

“We owe the contractor $19 million. Shipments of the remaining equipment has been stopped. We cannot collect equipment from the warehouse in the country. Engineers have become idle and the contractor is threatening to recall them for re-assignment,” he said.

Eng Muganyura said vast progress would be made if the company received $27, 2 million urgently.

He said with this money, equipment worth about $10 million would be shipped to Zimbabwe, 11 towers replaced, and the company would be able to pay for satellite lease costs as payments were now due.

“The money will also enable us to place orders for 400 000 set top boxes, pave way for digitisation of an additional 15 sites, shipment of additional six new towers, acquire 10 ENG camera systems and FM transmitters for six sites, and three radio transmission studios,” he said.

Eng Muganyura commended Government’s intervention on content creation.

He said Government created a Content Commission Committee and acquired content production equipment and was meeting production costs among other interventions.

Dr Sibanda said digitisation of broadcasting services required Government support to co-ordinate with funders and come up with an innovative way of mobilising funds to enable its completion by mid-2017.

“We feel this is a project that needs the support of Government so that we take it to its logical conclusion to make it successful before the end of 2017. If possible by mid-2017, we need to have achieved the anticipated objectives of this project because it is a fundamental project with a multiplier effect.

“It is at the core of Zim-Asset in terms of employment creation, introducing ICT, creating business opportunities of artistes in various forms,” he said.

Dr Sibanda said he was impressed by the project particularly the progress that had been made not withstanding the funding constraints.

“I am more impressed by the fundamental changes that have happened here in the whole area of integrated broadcasting where you meet the whole aspect of the media side, together, with actual broadcasting; where you interpret the two systems and the use of engineering in an integrated form,” he said.

He said it was pleasing that digitisation was being done within the context of Zim-Asset.

“It is pleasing that we are utilising young graduates from local universities and beneficiaries of the Presidential Scholarships who have had the opportunities to acquire very rare skills.

“It is important that we nurture these skills and not let them depart from Zimbabwe. We need to quickly utilise the acquired skills. This is an opportunity which we cannot let pass.

“In Bindura, we were impressed by the transmission station. This is a big opportunity that will let our country be together with other countries in ICT. It will ensure we do not lag behind so that the rest of Zimbabwe will develop.”

Digitisation is expected to address challenges of reception of broadcasting services in Zimbabwe.

Govt, civil servants deadlocked

Source: Govt, civil servants deadlocked | The Herald June 23, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government and civil servants’ representatives yesterday reached a deadlock over pay dates, with the employer maintaining that June salary payments will spill into next month owing to poor revenue inflows.

However, the workers remained adamant saying their June salaries should be paid within this month as they had obligations like bank loans and rentals to meet.

The parties agreed to convene again on Monday to map the way forward after “consulting their relevant constituencies.”

This emerged from a meeting the civil servants’ representatives had with three Cabinet ministers, Civil Service Commission officials and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya.

The three ministers who attended the meeting were Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development), Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare) and Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care).

Addressing journalists after the meeting, Minister Mupfumira said the parties had been “frank and sincere” with their positions.

“We had a good meeting and consultations,” she said.

“We have come up with certain decisions, which we are going to consult our various constituencies. The unions are going to consult their constituencies and we will also be consulting. As such, we have resolved to meet on Monday at 4:30pm to map the way forward together.”

Minister Mupfumira added: “People have been sincere and frank with their positions, but what we have resolved is that we are going to have regular consultations in future, on a quarterly basis, just to discuss pertinent issues. We have discussed and agreed that there is need for a workshop with the RBZ governor so that we know what is happening as far as monetary issues are concerned.

“We agreed that we need transparency, honesty and trust in all our deliberations. We also resolved that we need to involve and engage the Apex Council in the budgetary process and this will be done,” said Minister Mupfumira.

According to the new pay dates proposed by Government last week, teachers and nurses will be paid on July 7 and 14, respectively.

Members of the uniformed forces will get their salaries between June 27 and June 30.

Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecelia Alexander, said they were not turning back on their position.

She said Government had taken them through the challenges they were facing in mobilising resources, but shifting pay dates was “unacceptable”.

“They have promised to rectify this postponement of salaries in July, which means that they are committing to pay July salaries within that month but for this month they said they are not able to change the dates,” Mrs Alexander said.

“As workers, we have remained with the position that we have been sent with our members and we say that salaries should be paid on the due traditional dates. We still hold on to that position, and we are going back to consult, and after consulting we are going to sit again with Government on Monday.”

She added: “Our reasons for making this demand are there are penalties that we will incur as a result of late payment of salaries, which penalties will be our liability as workers. By the end of the month, our transport allowance will be spent and we will not be able to travel to and from work. We also face the prospect of being evicted from our rented accommodation.”

On releasing the new pay dates, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development cited cash flow challenges as the reasons for not paying salaries on time.

Government is paying nearly $200 million every month towards salaries which is more than 80 percent of revenue collected.

To rectify the anomaly, Government has embarked on a rationalisation exercise in the civil service to cut the costs, in a move that will see $400 million being saved annually.

$122m gold lies idle at dumpsite

Source: $122m gold lies idle at dumpsite | The Herald

Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
A firm hired to examine dump at the State-owned Kwekwe Roasting Plant has indicated the residues have three tonnes of gold worth about $122 million at current prices, The Herald can reveal.

Peacocke and Simpson Minerals Processing Engineering submitted its findings to Government through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in 2007.

Bureaucracy at the ministry delayed the roping in of an investor to help extract the gold.

Mines and Mining Development Secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga was quoted a fortnight ago saying Government had identified an investor for Roasting Plant.

He did not name the investor.

The Herald understands that it only costs $13.4 million to set up infrastructure to process the calcine dumps for a whopping $122 million return.

Peacocke and Simpson Minerals Processing Engineering sampled and evaluated the tailings dumps.

In a confidential report on its findings, the firm confirmed the existence of three tonnes of gold at the Kwekwe Roasting Plant whose extraction could go a long way in alleviating the liquidity challenges facing Treasury.

Reads the Peacocke and Simpson report prepared in November 2007: “The total tonnage of the four dumps was measured as being +/-344 000 tonnes. The total gold content of the four dumps, based on the above tonnage and 1000 fire assayed samples, was determined as being +/-3 024 kilogrammes (three tonnes) of gold, or +/-97 220 troy ounces.”

Peacocke and Simpson noted the gold was worth millions of dollars.

“At a gold price of $800 per troy ounce, the value of gold in the dumps is approximately $77.8 million.”

Yesterday gold price stood at 1 264 per ounce.

This means the Kwekwe Roasting Plant dumps have gold worth $122 886 080.

Government received 19 bids for the Roasting Plant last year.

The plant ceased operations in 2000.

“Nineteen investors have made submissions on the Kwekwe roasting plant and they will be making presentations in the next two weeks,” Prof Gudyanga told Gudyanga told The Herald last September.

The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development took over the Roasting Plant from the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe sometime ago.

The ministry has been adjudicating on potential investors since 2014.

At one time a foreign company Deswick is said to have won the tender to operate the plant but could not proceed as they failed to meet the country’s indigenisation requirements.

Another company, Gondwana Solutions of South Africa, is said to have also expressed interest in the project.

Sources say the resuscitation of the facility would attract investment in all mines with refractory gold ores.

These are ores with high levels of sulphides.

The Roasting Plant started operations in 1937 under the Roasting Plant Corporation Act and used to process refractory gold ore from over 20 mines in the Midlands Province.

It also served mines as far as Zambia and Botswana.

Be professional and accountable, new election commissioners urged

Source: Be professional and accountable, new election commissioners urged | The Herald June 23, 2016

Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Election commissioners have a prerogative to deliver credible elections whose results are a correct reflection of the will of the people and give rise to legitimate governments within the region, SADC Electoral Commissions Forum president Justice Rita Makarau has said.

Addressing delegates at the orientation of new commissioners of SADC English-speaking electoral commissions, Justice Makarau, who is also the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, said election managers were perceived to be free from biases.

She said it was a requirement for commissioners to have integrity, professionalism, transparency and accountability.

“There is no school that offers a first degree in elections. We all did not study elections at school. We are teachers, political scientists, politicians, human rights activists and social scientists,” she said.

“We have, however, been entrusted to uphold our various constitutions, and have been thrust in those seats where we are no longer spectators of electoral processes but the very people our societies expect to deliver credible elections,” said Justice Makarau.

Participants at the three-day workshop were drawn from Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Responding to a notion that it was difficult to unseat a sitting Government because commissioners were approved by the head of that sitting government, Justice Makarau said: “The best way is to adopt a system where the appointment processes are public-oriented, where you involve even the Parliament instead of an individual appointing.”

International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance regional director (IDEA) Professor Adebayo Olukushi, said election managers should acquire skills of knowing the Electoral Act and also to interpret it in all contexts.

“Elections are technical, but they are also political, so they call for the election manager to be a leader in a situation where the whole country might be on tender rocks. You should be able to calm tensions and divisions,” he said.

“Elections on our continent are still a do-or-die affair as former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said.

“As election managers, irrespective of your backgrounds, you should have that political judgment without being a politician.

“You cannot control the behaviour of politicians but you should manage a situation”.

The ECF-SADC is an independent regional organisation in which each SADC member state is represented by its electoral management body.

The forum has been in place since 1998 with the thrust being to ensure improvement in the management and administration of elections within SADC.

Tobacco: Forests under siege

Source: Tobacco: Forests under siege | The Herald June 23, 2016

Tedious Manyepo : Correspondent

AFTER years of toil in subsistence farming with hardly any surplus to sell, 45-year old Peter Chiwara of Wedza finally decides to try his hand in tobacco in the 2015-2016 agricultural season. A natural hard worker himself and religiously following expert guidance from agricultural extension officers, Chiwara suddenly starts to sniff a fortune from the tobacco sales floors as his healthy crop, spread on a single hectare, nears maturity.But not without first having to contend with the rigorous process needed to cure it.

The nearby bushy area swiftly disappears as fellow villagers jostle to gather firewood to be used in the curing of the tobacco on the request of Chiwara who promises to pay them upon selling the crop.

As soon as the tobacco marketing season opened in late March, Chiwara was one of the early birds and as a first time tobacco farmer he is thankful that he did not labour in vain.

As the father of three currently enjoys the rich pickings with his family, inspired village colleagues work round the clock preparing their land for tobacco growing in the next farming season.

But they do not have any workable plan on the source of fuel they will use to cure the crop.

Such has been the trend on which more and more people have become interested in growing the golden leaf, unfortunately without due consideration to what their activities would do to the environment.

And who can blame them?

Most of them have tremendously improved their living standards. In fact these tobacco farmers have helped the country improve its export earnings.

This tobacco marketing season alone, the country has earned over $600 million from exporting the crop.

Yet it is the country which could actually lose more than what it is gaining from tobacco farming if the environmental question associated with the venture is not adequately addressed.

Out of the 80 987 registered tobacco farmers in the country, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of them use other energy sources like coal to cure their crop. The rest use firewood.

According to the Forestry Commission, tobacco farmers alone destroy about 50 000 hectares of forests across the country every year, representing 15 percent of the 330 000 hectares of forests the country is losing annually.

“We have found that more people are joining the bandwagon of tobacco farming, obviously due to all the lucrative rewards it offers.

“While the practice is worthwhile due to the fact that it is reaping a lot of benefits to the country, it should also be noted that due consideration is not being taken to protect the environment,” said Mr Stephen Zingwena, Forestry Commission’s operations manager.

Mr Zingwena said his organisation was working with other private players to see to it that tobacco farmers embarked on programmes to grow fast maturing tree species to be used in curing their crop.

He said the Forestry Commission had partnered with a private player, Sustainable Aforestation Association to ensure that the plan was effectively implemented without necessarily strangling tobacco farming which has hitherto proved to be one of the key pillars of the country’s economy.

“We are saying all farmers who wish to grow tobacco should demonstrate that they are able to grow at least 0,3 hactres of fast growing tree species for every 1 ha they wish to put under tobacco,” he said.

Mr Zingwena said he was happy though that most of the tobacco farmers were very much cooperative when it came to programmes which help reduce deforestation.

“I should say I am very much impressed by most of the tobacco farmers’ cooperation.

They do value all these programmes and most of them have actually started to grow these plantations,” he said.

Obligations of a taxpayer at cessation of business

Source: Obligations of a taxpayer at cessation of business | The Herald June 23, 2016

It is the duty of every registered operator to notify the Commissioner General of ZIMRA, in writing, of his/her intention to cease operations and apply to be de-registered. The reasons for cessation of business operations include but are not limited to; Deregistration of a company by Registrar of Companies; Liquidation of a company;Insolvency of the business;

Dissolution of a partnership business;

Death of a sole trader.

On cessation of trade, a taxpayer who was registered for any tax head is supposed to fulfil the de-registration requirements as detailed below:

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax Act [Chapter 23:12] Section 24 requires any person who intends to have his/her VAT registration cancelled to apply in writing to the Commissioner General of ZIMRA to cancel his/her registration on VAT 5 form.

Also, a person is obliged on cessation of trade to notify the Commissioner General of ZIMRA in writing, within 21 days of the date of such cessation on VAT 5 form.

Once the Commissioner General is satisfied that the registered operator has complied with all his/her obligations as laid down in the VAT Act, which include payment of all outstanding debts, the submission of all outstanding returns, availing of all records for a final audit and any other such conditions as the Commissioner General sees fit, a notice of cancellation shall be issued.

What happens to the Invoice Management System/fiscal device on de-registration of the taxpayer?

The IMS device must be surrendered to ZIMRA; and

Erased data from the IMS device will be retained in the IMS system;

PAYE

Income Tax Act [Chapter 23:06] Paragraph 2(2) of the Thirteenth Schedule details that any person who ceases to carry on any business or who was registered as an employer shall, within 14 days after ceasing to carry on any business or to be an employer, notify the Commissioner General of ZIMRA in writing, of his/her having ceased to carry on business or ceased to be an employer.

Income Tax

Companies Act [Chapter 24:03] Section 320, details that the Registrar of Companies may strike a defunct company off register where he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that a company is not carrying on business or is not in operation.

Duties of a taxpayer upon cessation of trade

Submit all requested outstanding returns to enable a final de-registration audit to be conducted;

Pay all outstanding amounts;

The client who request for deregistration must provide proof from the Registrar of Companies that the applicant has been deregistered (by the Registrar of Companies).

After having fulfilled the above obligations and any other such conditions, the Commissioner General of ZIMRA shall issue a notice of cancellation of registration of either a contract account/revenue head or Business Partner.

Reminder for payment of tax;

Our valued clients are reminded that the 2nd QPD and Value Added Tax (VAT) for the month of May 2016 are due on or before 25th June 2016

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.

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IMF engages State, stakeholders

Source: IMF engages State, stakeholders | The Herald June 23, 2016

Conrad Mwanawashe : Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S current economic situation is under spotlight as an International Monetary Fund mission is engaging Government and other stakeholders to chat the possible way forward. The mission started on June 15 and will end tomorrow. The mission’s coming could be seen as preparatory to the meetings of the boards of the IMF, the World Bank and African Development Bank in September which is expected to confirm the settlement of all outstanding payments tothe international finance institution. The September meeting will also discuss possible fresh support to Zimbabwe.

Responding to questions from The Herald Business, IMF resident representative in Zimbabwe Christian Beddies said the purpose of the mission is to discuss the current economic situation and possible way forward.

“Consultations are being held with all stakeholders. The mission also comes after the conclusion of the African Development Bank meetings and is an opportunity for stakeholders to continue the discussions to expedite the re-engagement agenda,” said Mr Beddies.

New mission chief, Ms Ana Lucía Coronel is leading the team which comprises of Mr Edgardo Ruggiero, senior economist (African Department), Mr Vimal Thakoor, economist (African Department) and Ms Haimanot Teferra, senior economist, (Strategy, Policy and Review Department).

The IMF mission also comes as Government is this week expected to finalise its agreement to repay $1,8 billion arrears to multilateral financial institutions which could mark Zimbabwe’s return to the international financial system.

For almost two decades, Zimbabwe has been ostracised by the international community and cut off from international funding. The isolation meant Zimbabwe could not access international capital. So far the country has made significant strides and stacked a huge claim for full re-engagement with international financiers.

The IMF board, seating at the beginning of May, approved the country’s Staff Monitored Programme and Article IV consultations laying a solid foundation for re-engagement. Zimbabwe met all the quantitative targets for end-December 2015 and these included the recapitalisation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through the Debt Assumption Act, amendment of the Reserve Bank and Banking Acts and the establishment of the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation.

The country also amended the Labour Act, instituted reforms to the fiscal regime for the mining sector and developed a strategy to reduce the public service wage bill by 2019. The re-engagement process includes the clearance of the $1,8 billion arrears to multilateral creditors, expected to be concluded this week, a fund arrangement and debt treatment under the Paris Club.

Govt drafts poverty reduction strategy

Source: Govt drafts poverty reduction strategy | The Herald

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday the Government is developing a two-year poverty reduction strategy whose focus has been limited to a few sectors due to lack of funds. Stakeholder consultations for the strategy paper that will be implemented in 2017 and 2018 are currently at the final stage with a draft document having already been produced.“The Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (IPRSP) will focus on practical well targeted measures that can be implemented in the short to medium term, with long lasting impacts that guarantee improvement in the welfare of the citizenry,” Minister Chinamasa told stakeholders.

“We have limited resources, therefore, we have to prioritise programmes and projects that have high impact on poverty reduction and are achievable while the remainder of the projects will be carried forward into the full poverty reduction strategy.

In the draft paper, agriculture has been singled as key to dealing with poverty challenges the country is battling with, which in the past season were exacerbated by an El Nino induced drought.

National co-ordinator of the IPSRP, Dr Jesimen Chipika said consultations in all the country’s provinces had revealed that poverty levels were high across the country, with most families experiencing food shortages.

“The under performance of agriculture underpins the levels of poverty in the country,” she said.

“People are saying if we can solve agriculture, we would have solved the poverty problem in the country.”

Dr Chipika said issues around irrigation development

and developing a culture of paying for water were also integral

in boosting agriculture production.

Besides agriculture, the IPSRP, is also focusing on education, health, women and youth development as well as mining and manufacturing.

Dr Chipika said consultations had revealed a hunger for information and support across the country in activities that can uplift the lives of people as well as some form of Government support to kick start developmental programmes.

Meanwhile Chinamasa said after the consultations the

poverty reduction strategy would be presented to cabinet for approval before it can be implemented.

“Turning around agriculture will have a transformative effect on the rest of the economy, certainly that is where livelihoods are made as 75 percent of the population depends on agriculture,” he said. — New Ziana.

Cabinet approves National Diaspora Policy

Source: Cabinet approves National Diaspora Policy | The Herald June 23, 2016

Zimbabwe’s efforts to effectively engage its Diaspora community are taking shape after Cabinet yesterday approved the National Diaspora Policy. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the document will give direction to the strategies the country will adopt in engaging Zimbabweans living in foreign countries.“We met as Cabinet yesterday and approved the Diaspora Policy, which is being pushed by the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion,” he said.

Last year, the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion submitted a draft of the policy document to Cabinet for modifying.

Government is of the opinion that the Disapora community can be leveraged to boost financial investment into the country, as well as increase trade and technology and skills transfer.

Diaspora remittances to the country dropped last year from the 2014 figure of around $1,8 billion.

“Last year, as a country we got around $900 million in Diaspora remittances, but more can be achieved through a greater level of engagement.

“The document will show what strategies we are going to implement, and some of these strategies relate to harnessing the skills that the Diasporans have acquired in the respective countries where they are based,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said the idea was at least to emulate Ethiopia, which has made significant economic progress with the co-operation of its Diaspora community.

The minister was speaking during a validation workshop for the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP).

The I-PRSP is aimed at enhancing Government efforts in fighting poverty in Zimbabwe and ensure inclusive growth, guided by the country’s national development plan Zim-Asset

He said the I-PRSP would be used as a significant component of the ongoing efforts to re-engage international financiers.

“The strategy (I-PRSP) is also a means to facilitate the ongoing re-engagement process with the international financial institutions, which is critical in mobilising financial resources for the country’s development process.

“The strategy will thus focus on practical and well-targeted measures that can be implemented in the short-to-medium term with long-lasting impacts that guarantee improvement in the welfare of our people.”

Typically, Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers (PRSPs) provide lending organisations, like the World Bank and the IMF, assurance that countries receiving aid would utilise the assistance to pursue development outcomes that have been elaborated in the PRSPs and approved by lenders.

According to the minister, the I-PRSP will be brought before Cabinet by the end of next month.

“It is our hope that the strategy will provide focus to increased funding. I stand ready to steer the final document to Cabinet by end of July this year,” said Minister Chinamasa. — BH24.

We want our money! – Defiant State workers

Source: We want our money! – Defiant State workers – NewZimbabwe 22/06/2016

A CIVIL service strike now looms after a meeting between government workers and three cabinet ministers Wednesday failed to reach an agreement over plans to delay to July, payment of June salaries.

Government workers have rejected proposals by the Finance Ministry to pay teachers and health workers their June salaries next month on July 7 and 14 respectively.

Pay days for the police and the army have also been delayed to the end of June with government saying it is trying to raise the cash.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and his public service and health colleagues Prisca Mupfumira and Dr David Parirenyatwa met union bosses in Harare Wednesday but no agreement was reached.

The head of civil service unions emerged from the meeting to declare that government workers expect their June salaries “in June”.

“As workers, we have remained with the position that we have been sent with our members and we say that salaries should be paid on the due traditional dates.

“We still hold on to that positionexpecting their June salaries this month,” said Apex Council leader Cecelia Alexander.

“Our reasons for making this demand are there are penalties that we will incur as a result of late payment of salaries, which penalties will be our liability as workers.

“By the end of the month, our transport allowance will be spent and we will not be able to travel to and from work. We also face the prospect of being evicted from our rented accommodation.”

Minister Mupfumira said another meeting would be held next Monday.

“We have come up with certain decisions, which we are going to consult our various constituencies. The unions are going to consult their constituencies and we will also be consulting.

“As such, we have resolved to meet on Monday at 4:30pm to map the way forward together,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has since said that its members would go on strike over the pay delay.

“Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) hereby notifies its members of a pending strike. It has come to the attention of the association that the employer is not intending to pay teachers their June 2016 salaries,” the union said in a statement.

“As such the association has resolved that all its members should down their tools as from 22 June if the employer does not change the pay date to a date in June.”
The union said it had lost patience with the government.

“Comrades let us all stop delivering service as from Wednesday 22 June 2016. Enough is enough. Please forward this message to every teacher you care about,” said ZIMTA.

Convenient fiduciary confusion

Source: Convenient fiduciary confusion | The Financial Gazette June 23, 2016

THE majority of government ministers and other public officers in Zimbabwe seem to court controversy in handling their mandates.
From capitation in health, stolen diamonds and lost diamond money in mines, war proposal for not supporting the National Pledge, right through to careless tender awards amid accusations and counter accusations in energy. This is not entirely new in a country where scandals span way back to the immediate post-independence era.
The question is: “Are public officers confused as to what is expected of them, or it is mere convenience to satiate selfish motives?”
When a person is appointed to hold a public office, a solemn swearing in ceremony takes place. The ceremony is typically characterised by a recital of a generic pre-written oath to serve and God is amiably requested to help the newly appointed office bearer.
My take is that this task is an arduous responsibility that requires a deep desire to serve.
It has to be premised on a sincere drive to labour for the betterment of the public and other stakeholders.
This calls for selfless commitment so profound one has to call on God to help in this humanly insurmountable quest.
Elementary governance studies labour to impress the fiduciary responsibility imposed and assumed by a public officer.
In the context of the government, these are our honourable and not so honourable ministers.
A fiduciary duty may be defined simply as a legal and/or ethical duty to act in the best interest of the other party, a burden ministers accept by repeating seemingly empty words recited in an oath, they may perhaps do not hold in due regard, or an oath they never even understand given they just say after someone or read from a piece of paper.
One may be forgiven for supposing the void of meaning of the oath to the crop of public officers we currently have. If the recent past has been anything to go by, we have had just too many saddening episodes of the abuse and insult to the pledge to serve the people of Zimbabwe.
For a government full of busy bodies and a barely existing economic environment, it could be only fair to expect a positive out turn of governance efforts.
Such efforts should definitely not manifest in further fiscal pressure, or even closure of the remnants of what used to be sound industry and commerce. It should not be apparent careless awarding of tenders, the potential result of which will only further deprive the constricted public.
The efforts should not be so much in further frustrating the few and willing citizens who wake up to try and make ends meet in man-made difficult times through innumerable road movement restrictions and other such superfluously draining and ill-timed initiatives. Economic crises such as currency cash shortages, is surely not one indication of a good exertion of a fiduciary duty.
If not for the fellow “human principal”, why not, at least, be a fiduciary for God, or whatever you hold sacred? It may be a simple routine for public officers that every time they sit to commit and transact business, to have a simple one line checklist as a reference in executing their fiduciary duties: “Is the welfare of my principal, who happens to be the public (definitely not otherwise) going to be improved by this act or actions?”
This important checklist can be repeated at every turn; when deciding the next trip, when signing the next treaty or agreement, when authorising the next payment, when accepting due (or otherwise) rewards from a “deal” and when demanding the allowances for holding such office and definitely when making public declarations on policy matters, particularly those with a financial and economic bearing.
I am sure if the invisible guide in execution of such public offices remains the public, due care becomes the order of the day and better returns may be enjoyed by many people, directly or indirectly. The public can rest assured their concerns are in good hands and no one will require to be reminded to be a good general or corporate citizen.
Apparently, major public offices in Zimbabwe today, leave a lot to be desired. There is always a matter or two that deny the principals well-wished sleep. What is worse, such latent disregard to the fiduciary duty has often turned in tremendous immediate undeserved benefits to the fiduciary and extended and repeat appointments.
With proper fiduciary mindset, public officers can be better stewards of national resources, not making news headlines for all the wrong reasons.
How I wish more media space could be devoted to better business use that would bring back faded smiles on the faces of principals.
The fiduciary may as well realise that, it remains permissible and possible to surrender the realms should it became apparent they are unable, for one reason or the other, to withstand the burden of “minding” the business of the public.

Kapeza Kapeza is a senior business consultant at Franlink Consultants, a registered public accounting and auditing firm. He can be contacted at kkapeza@franlinkcons.co.zw or kkapeza@gmail.com

ACTUARIAL LENSE:God loves Zimbabwe

Source: ACTUARIAL LENSE:God loves Zimbabwe | The Financial Gazette June 23, 2016

I KNOW you probably read that title above and thought to yourself; “what has this got to do with actuarial issues? “The conclusion that God loves Zimbabwe is one that I reached after a day’s worth of intense thought and reflection into why exactly Zimbabwe is in its current socio-economic mess. I confess that due to my line of work, I am more comfortable with mathematical and factual analyses as opposed to theology and philosophical viewpoints but please take the time to follow through my reasoning process below.

If you follow the global news, you have to concur with me that the world seems to have gone wild. People are getting their heads cut off; some are living under constant threat of terrorism and attacks from radical elements of society. In certain parts of Africa, albinos cannot walk alone in secluded areas.  A simple trip to the department store or a musical concert can land you in a hostage situation. Drug lords in other parts of the world are sponsoring wars, you hear of children disappearing in Mexico and a whole school being kidnapped in broad daylight in Nigeria. I can’t help but wonder what would become of Zimbabwe if these things were to take place in our country. The fact that we couldn’t account for $15bn in diamonds just speaks volumes on our incapacity to deal with such societal rot.

The Ebola epidemic is another issue that really convinced me that we owe a lot to the Heavens above. Take a look at how our health system went on its knees over a cholera outbreak – a disease that just requires you to wash your hands before eating and exercise basic levels of hygiene in order to curb it. We have monkeys and bats here in Zimbabwe and I am sure that someone somewhere out there is being driven to eat those creatures in light of the hunger in our country. We also have lots of mosquitoes and yet we are spared from the ones which spread the Zika virus. Is it luck or is this divine intervention?

The magnitude and frequency of natural disasters in the world seems to have increased dramatically. We learn of new earthquakes, major cyclones, severe heat waves and all those CNN type of events almost on a fortnightly basis but somehow our country is spared. Take a look at the skyline of Harare for the past 2 decades (today, 2006 and 1996) and you will appreciate that if an earthquake had struck our capital city say in 1996, Harare would have just been a pile of rubble today.  Close to zero infrastructural development and yet the nation keeps ticking. We only have God to thank for not occupying the geographical position of a state like California where earthquakes are as common an occurrence as is the sun rising in the east for us.

Coal reserves that can last for over 100 years, the second largest platinum deposits in the whole world and a great dyke riddled with many other mineral deposits. Compare the amount of arable agricultural land that we have versus that of a very developed country like Japan. By some luck, our Manicaland diamond deposits were not discovered by Cecil Rhodes when he colonised this land in the 1890s meaning that they were spared from being exploited and shipped offshore. But sadly, this God given wealth has never benefitted the ordinary man on the street – not even the villagers who had to be moved off the diamond fields to facilitate mining. At least Rhodes had some sense not to take everything to Britain but built roads and bridges.

Why then are we in this economic mess? Some will say that economists have just been unlucky as opposed to engineers and doctors who have not yet seen catastrophic events in their respective professions. The answer is that our troubles are purely man made. The capitalist desire for self-gain and profit is what has led to most of our demise. Things such as externalisation and liquidity challenges are traceable to a Zimbo’s desire to accumulate individual wealth. Lack of infrastructural development is not due to a lack of money but actually greed that directs any excess revenue towards salaries. It is a pity that when measures to mitigate these economic problems are introduced e.g. bond notes, they affect everyone including those living on less than a dollar a day (who do not have the money to externalise in the first place).

We seem to have inherited a colonised mind-set that tells each and every one of us that we cannot be a self-sufficient country. In today’s world, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have all the minerals in the world, some countries don’t have a single mineral but they specialise in refining and processing our wealth, which they sell back to us. The daily price of gold for example, is set by five bankers in London at 10.30am and 3pm, ours is to set targets for producing 50tonnes by 2020 without regard to the pricing or enhancement in value of our ever depleting gold resource.

Some of you reading this article are in the diaspora not out of choice but due to necessity. As you look back at your motherland, I am sure that you agree with me that Zimbabwe is such a beautiful place to live in. I think that God has already blessed our country beyond measure – our cup is surely overflowing. It just remains to be seen whether we can remove the deep desire for personal gain that has affected our nation and use the wealth that God has given us to our benefit.

About Author: Thomas Sithole is an actuarial analyst specialising in Enterprise Risk Management. You can contact him via his twitter handle @ZimboActuary or his corporate website: thomas.bluecroftsolutions.com

Government fiddling with urban constituencies

Source: Government fiddling with urban constituencies | The Financial Gazette June 23, 2016

GOVERNMENT is preparing for massive expansion of urban constituencies in selected towns and cities in order to strengthen the ruling ZANU-PF’s hand ahead of national elections in 2018, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report.
The creation of new settlements is meant to neutralise forces opposed to ZANU-PF’s continued rule, especially the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) which has previously capitalised on the rising disenchantment amongst urbanites against President Robert Mugabe’s administration, under whose watch the country’s economy has imploded.
Government is seeking to ride on the National Housing Delivery Programme under which it plans to deliver over 300 000 housing units across the country by 2018 to vanquish the opposition.
Launched in November 2014, the programme is being spearheaded under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) — an offshoot of the ruling party’s 2013 general elections manifesto.
Under Zim-Asset, Harare province is expected to deliver 105 935 houses by 2018; the Midlands (56 760); Matabeleland North (28 772); Mashonaland West (23 819); Manicaland (21 830); Masvingo (20 269); Mashonaland Central (16 607); Bulawayo (15 100); Matabeleland South (12 500) and 11 776 in Mashonaland East.
Because of resource constraints, the Ministry of Local Government has positioned its guns for a major onslaught in the country’s two major cities, namely Harare and Bulawayo.
The MDC-T has posted easy victories in the metropolis since its inception in 1999 as a labour-backed party.
Its dominance is now confined to the capital and the second city after former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party was trounced by ZANU-PF at the 2013 polls.
In Bulawayo, Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere pledged, in April, to dish out 20 000 residential stands to youths when he addressed a party gathering there.
Government has since identified swathes of State land in an area called Umvustshwa Village, just outside Bulawayo to rollout the first phase of the programme.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the initial phase of the housing scheme that will see about 700 houses being built was held last week while land development is set to commence soon.
Already, the move has unsettled the MDC-T, which has dominated Bulawayo for the last 16 years.
In Harare, ZANU-PF is determinedly fighting to push out city fathers who were voted into office on an MDC-T ticket to pave way for the election project.
Huge tracts of land have previously been allocated to housing cooperatives, most of which were parcelling out land to desperate home seekers without the involvement of the local authority.
The housing cooperatives are led by officials aligned to ZANU-PF.
“It’s a political strategy to bring in new settlements in the capital or encroach into existing suburbs. There will certainly be new (local council) wards and (Parliamentary) constituencies in 2018,” said a ZANU-PF insider privy to the plan.
He said victories in the last election in new settlements such as Harare North or in areas in which new settlements had encroached into existing ones such as in Mt Pleasant, had emboldened the party to “move on with this plan”.
In the 2013 polls, ZANU-PF’s Tongesayi Mudambo beat Theresa Makone of the MDC-T by 7,917 votes to 6,555 to land the Harare North seat.
In Mt Pleasant, Jameson Timba of the MDC-T lost to Jason Passade of the ruling party by a massive 4,128 votes.

ZANU-PF insiders said expansion was expected in areas around Borrowdale, Budiriro as well as in Mabvuku where land has been parcelled out to desperate home seekers in Caledonia by ZANU-PF activists.
Currently, the Urban Development Corporation has embarked on an initiative aimed at regularising slums such as Caledonia – home to over 100 000 people.

Hatfield’s Retreat area, also known as Harare South, is also expanding.
“More of those areas are being created. The land will be parcelled out by the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing,” said the source.
Reports from Gweru also suggest that ZANU-PF driven housing projects are sprouting.
Gweru businesswoman, Smelly Dube, who is a member of the ZANU-PF Women’s League’s national executive, is leading the programme through her River Valley housing project.
In Mutare, efforts are underway to revamp a massive slum settlement known as Gimboki, with local ZANU-PF legislator, Esau Mupfumi, leading the process.
ZANU-PF sees these slums as key in winning urban constituencies. The party is further encouraged by the discord rocking opposition parties, especially the contest of strength between the MDC-T and Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), led by former vice president Joice Mujuru.
ZPF and the MDC-T are involved in a nasty tug-of-war for urban voters and have hardly threatened ZANU-PF in the rural areas, where nearly 70 percent of the country’s population resides.
For ZANU-PF to achieve its objectives, the party needs city fathers who are compliant and not those who will demand that there be proper urban planning; that the allocation be done by councils and not the Ministry of Local Government and that the allocation should follow the housing waiting list.
ZANU-PF’s strategy is likely to worsen urban planning nightmares confronting city fathers in towns and cities where settlements are mushrooming in the absence of supporting facilities such as roads, sewer, water and electricity infrastructure.
The situation already poses a health time bomb for residents who are being settled in these slums.
Analysts this week intimated that while ordinarily the move should have necessitated the delimitation of new constituency boundaries in the affected settlements, ZANU-PF is not bothered.
They said the party simply wants to dilute opposition voices in metropolis that have been hostile towards it without necessarily growing the number  of constituencies in these areas which might work against it.
In their current form, the National Assembly constituencies are a product of an intricate delimitation exercise carried out in 2008.
Political scientist, Ibbo Mandaza, said it was not proper to use land, which is a human right, as a campaign tool for elections.
“It’s not proper, yet it’s already happening. Have you seen anything proper in our version of politics?” he asked rhetorically, and added: “It’s no longer even a question of whether or not constituencies will be disfigured, that is exactly what is going on at the moment.”
The MDC-T is, however, attempting to put spanners into the works by frustrating Kasukuwere.
Last week, councillors in Harare requested the Local Government Minister to allocate land for the resettlement of thousands of residents illegally settled on land around the city, including council farms and land reserved for other uses such schools, hospitals and recreational facilities.
Council made the resolution during a full council meeting held at Town House and has since established a special committee to lobby Kasukuwere to address the matter with urgency.
“Council approves the recommendation to relocate illegal settlements on institutional sites, that is schools, hospitals, clinics, churches, open spaces, home industries, commercial centres and recreational centres in line with the (government) housing policy,” reads part of the minutes.
“A team comprising of the acting town clerk, director of works and acting director of housing and social development and the two chairpersons of the environmental management and housing and community services will consult the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on illegal occupations within council farms and paddocks and request for additional land to relocate people,” the minutes said.

The MDC-T hopes that Kasukuwere will be duty bound to provide the land, capitalising on his recent promises at ZANU-PF gatherings.
Political analyst, Alois Masepe, said ZANU-PF had realised there was a great opportunity to expand urban settlements and was ready to make full use of it.
“They have discovered that it can work to their advantage.
“They can expand these settlements and move their people there. It is purely a political consideration and, ordinarily, there is nothing wrong with that.
“Problems can only come if the people are settled in an unplanned manner,” said Masepe.
“The ideal process would be for government to identify land for urban expansion and hand over to a local authority which, through planners, wo-uld determine what goes where and this is done well before allocation of stands.
“So you cannot honestly blame ZANU-PF for exploiting this system but if done without following proper urban development procedures, it can create problems like those we are seeing in some slum settlements.”